The Bell Tolls - TBT Act 2 - But What About The Children

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Description: As the Task Force descends upon Sunshine City, Rose follows the trail of the stolen children. Following after the same trail Bob and Sergei were upon, she uses her psychic powers to relive the kidnapping, revealing the last location of the children to be the Pueblo Thunderfoot village. The psychic impressions draw unfortunate attention from one of the lead enforcers of Shadaloo, Juri, who senses a deeper energy and power within Rose. An all-too-familiar power that gives Juri an opportunity to extract a rare form of torment...

There is international crime on the loose. Searing gangwarfare streaking lines of kama-crasy violent drug-fuelled psychotronic horror across the vast deserts of the West, north and south and middle alike. This is a problem... For cops.

Rose is not a cop. The woman called Rose, whose last name is not well known to anybody at all, is not here to apprehend the unjust. She is not here to arrest lawbreakers, or to bring back justice to this world. These things may happen but they are side effects, happy accidents based on her mission. It is a dark and solemn truth that if THAT MAN - Vega - started to dole out free stews and teddy bears to orphans, Rose would likely interfere.

But then, if he were to do that - from the pit in hell in which he dwells - he wouldn't, exactly, 'be' Vega any more, would he?

Be that as it may. As the motorcoach that comes to this place once daily as part of its journey across the sere deserts of the border country pulls up to the center of Pueblo Thunderfoot, Rose rubs the thumb of her right hand over the one memento that they were able to give her, the thing that has guided her memory and her visions. It is a small, faded, slightly cracked keychain of Latin American culture hero "Son Goku," but what matters is that it was found.

Perhaps it was dropped, perhaps it was thrown. Rose does not know the name of the child who did it, but she feels like she knows *him*. And as the motorcoach opens its door, she rises and steps off after two people with bags of goods and shopping from Juarez.

The keychain has been safely hidden away. Rose does not stick out too drastically on these sleepy streets; she has put on a slightly frumpy long dress, black with some red-green accents towards the hem, along with a more flattering shoulder-baring white blouse. The scarf is being worn as a sash over the midsection. A heavy designer leather purse is resting on one shoulder, and she has a loose head scarf and chunky sunglasses on, to ward off all that sunlight.

For the sunlight is not what will show her the way.

After a moment of thought, of feeling, Rose starts walking across the plaza, unconsciously tracing a trail taken by that unknown young boy. She crosses in front of the church, the cross casting a shadow on her.

Oh: Of course, her psychic abilities are shining, perhaps not in full blast beacon but without much specific restraint, either. She is, after all, following the trail of a soul.

It's hard to do that with your 'eyes' shut!

"I fucking hate this place..."

Juri vents her annoyance for at least the fifth time in the last hour, glaring at the empty rows of pews that serve as the only bit of furniture in the rustic town's church. As usual, no response is forth-coming, either from the supposed God that watches over the building or his chosen representative. The latter at least has an excuse, having been knocked unconscious several hours ago when she decided that the large altar at the head of the room would serve as the best place for her to relax, what with it being the only location in the entire damn city that seems to have any sort of air-flow courtesy of the large fan mounted into the ceiling. It doesn't compare to proper A/C but it's better than nothing.

She sighs in that way teenagers do when they've been forced to do some sort of unpleasant chore by their parents and adjusts her position, stretching out lengthwise onto the flat stone surface of the altar. Her head is propped up on a fist and she stares into the empty space, eyes half lidded like a laconic lizard soaking up sun on a rock. Sweat and disdain drips from her body onto the sacred site, defiling it in equal parts physical and spiritual as she suffers in the unpleasant Mexican heat.

Earlier, she'd made the mistake of thinking that riding around on the roads on her bike might help alleviate some of the unpleasantness. Maybe a bit of wind would help cool her down. Solid logic but completely inaccurate. All she'd ended up doing was to add 'sand in unpleasant places' and 'skin rubbed raw' to her list of ailments, neither of which has done much to help her usual temperamental state.

The fact that she doesn't give two shits about what Shadaloo is doing here is just the icing on the already crappy cake. For several months she'd gotten used to the fact that Vega wasn't around and had gone on a merry spree of doing whatever the fuck she wanted. His return had heralded an end to that in rather spectacular fashion, adding yet one more reason for her to hate his guts and plot his eventual demise. Out of spite, she'd done everything in her power to learn as little as possible about their operations here and avoid offering the local goons any sort of help that didn't directly require her to beat someone senseless. It's made her time here boring as all Hell but that's a price she's willing to pay to have her little moment of teenage petulance.

"Don't even have a fucking television out here, stupid backwards hut-dwelling... hmm?"

Juri's annoyed rant cuts off midsentence and she turns her narrowed eyes towards the church's massive double doors - or rather, what lies beyond them. Something out there had tingled her senses for a moment, something that felt disturbingly familiar. The girl watches for several long seconds in silence, staring intently at the spot where the feeling had come from as her senses slowly rouse from their hibernation like an awakening dragon that has detected an intruder creeping into its lair.

There! She didn't imagine it. Juri's expression becomes one of confusion as she gets a better look at the approaching aura. It feels like him. That overbearing sense of power is unique to the arrogant dictator, like a pressure on the souls of everyone nearby. Yet, this person felt... off. For one, they were trying to conceal their presence - or at the very least not intentionally blasting it out in all directions like a challenge, something she's never known Vega to do. On top of that, it just feels more... nice? Can auras feel nice? That's a first.

"Well, well... seems I've found myself a little mystery. Not like I'm otherwise occupied..."

Swinging her legs around, Juri hops off the altar and runs a hand through her long hair as she saunters towards the doors, the heat having made her far too lazy to bother putting it up into the horns. Even her attire is far more casual than the typical 'Spider' outfit that she's known for. Instead, she sports a white top that covers as little skin as possible while still managing to qualify as a shirt and a pair of tight black yoga pants that extend down past her ankles to halfway cover her feet, leaving her hot pink painted toes on display.

The church doors swing wide just as Rose meanders in front of the dusty old stone building. The teenage girl peers at her with open scrutiny, her hands resting on her hips and her eyebrow cocked as if she's found some sort of strange bug that she is trying to identify. The Feng Shui Engine hums softly as it scans the psychic, faint purple light burning in Juri's left eye like the freshly stoked coals of an old fire. After a few seconds of this, she tilts her head to the side and frowns, apparently unable to resolve her questions with mere passive observation.

"Who the fuck are you, lady?"

Something moves. Rose has a feeling analogous to that sense you get when you're on a bicycle and you're riding it down a hill and the sidewalk is narrowing and you're about to go into a narrow space and nothing is /wrong/ but suddenly every slight wobble might send things smashing at high speed into cold, rough stone -

But perhaps that one was just her.

Either way, she looks towards the church. She crosses herself absently in case that was what was doing it - it would not be the first time that she has had an old superstition or minor worry of a personal nature cause her such annoyance - but that doesn't get rid of it. Something int here is moving.

Then the doors swing open and disgorge a sweaty Korean woman.

Rose's brow furrows in momentary concern. Rose, to all appearances, is not sweating a single drop, with only a faintly higher than average manifestation of perfume suggesting she is not at 78 degrees fareignheight, suitable for heat relief in cold weather, despite her full body outfit.

Something in the eye of the woman in the church door glows. That makes Rose's brow furrow even more tightly.

Then, Rose shakes her head once and says, "I'm sorry, but you're in my way," walking up the stairs into the church nave with a click of her heels. As she passes near Juri her nose wrinkles for a moment, her lip curling as she does, and she tilts her head back towards the plaza - or perhaps towards the old water fountain on the far end.

"You might want to..."

Then Rose moves ahead into the Lord's house. She keeps her head half-turned, though, watching that woman.

I wonder what she'll do now, Rose thinks.

COMBATSYS: Rose has started a fight here.

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Rose             0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Juri has joined the fight here.

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Rose             0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0             Juri

COMBATSYS: Rose focuses on her next action.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Rose             0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0             Juri

Instead of answering her question, the woman instead turns and moves Juri as if the challenge to her identity is something she can simply brush off. The teenager's expression becomes one of confusion again, as if she can't comprehend what would possess someone to simply ignore her like that. So caught off-guard is she that the young woman actually steps aside as Rose moves up the steps and indicates that she'd like to pass.

But after a couple of seconds of baffled staring, reality manages to catch up and crash back into her heat-addled brain. The scent of expensive perfume. The lack of sweat. The arrogant brush off. And the casual insinuation that she ought to go soak in the nearest body of water like some kind of homeless ragamuffin.

Juri's expression goes through about four different stages of outrage in the span of a second, ending up with her exotic features twisted up into a mask of fury. Her lips peel back into a snarl that is almost feral in nature, the girl's naturally violent temperament inflamed by the combination of her already not wanting to be here and this random woman suddenly showing up to rub it in. How the fuck is she not being affected by the heat?!

"The fuck did you just say?! Just who the hell do you think you're talking to, you prissy bitch?!"

Juri's normally playfully velvet voice, an affectation she'd adopted to enhance her femme fatale persona, sounds far more like that of a nasally teenager as she yells after the interloper, too angry and hot to bother putting on a show. She glowers at Rose as she stomps after her, the faint light previously coming from within the girl's eye flaring up like a blazing purple torch.

She doesn't bother waiting to hear whatever excuse might be offered for this insult. Juri's foot draws back, tucking up against her chest like the hammer of a gun being cocked, before it explodes out at the psychic's midsection like piston. Despite her slender build, the impact of the teenager's foot is nothing short of devastating, or would be, if Rose wasn't who she is. Even with her mystical might, it's nothing to sneeze at, making it rather quickly obvious that the person she's picked a fight with is no ordinary girl.

COMBATSYS: Rose dodges Juri's Strong Kick.

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Rose             0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0             Juri

Rose expected something more or less like this to happen. As Juri comes rocketing towards her she turns halfway round and leans to the side, resting her hands on the side of one of those pews as the bursting eruption of Psycho Flame roars around and Rose's head snaps to the side.

The breeze catches her afterwards. It's more like a gust of wind. It unknots the sash around her waist, which is of course actually her scarf. As it slides up, boa-constrictor fashion, she says to Juri, "I don't, actually."

Malice is pouring off her. Fury. Outrage! To say nothing of that familiar purple light. As she straightens up, Rose unties her hair cloth and shakes her long purple tresses out, saying as she does with a tone of interrogative command, "Where did you learn that technique?"

And to add injury to insult, she twirls that scarf round as it reaches her shoulders, snapping it forwards as if she were to try to strike Juri with a towel! Of course she's too far away to do that. Nonetheless the length of yellow cashmere glitters - and a streak of pastel technicolor streaks out towards her. "Spark!" she declares.

That probably wasn't related to the question. Probably.

COMBATSYS: Juri blocks Rose's Soul Spark.

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Rose             0/-------/---====|=------\-------\0             Juri

Juri's eyes widen in surprise as her kick goes wide. No, that's not entirely accurate. That damned woman moved fast enough to avoid it. The girl stares at Rose for a couple of seconds as she comes to terms with this, analyzing the implications of this unexpected outcome in the span of a few heartbeats.

Almost immediately, her demeanor changes from raw unfettered fury to suspicious wariness, taking a couple of steps back as the mystic unfurls her trademark weapon without seeming to touch it. She remembers the strange aura that had initially drawn her attention to the woman, a fact she'd momentarily forgotten in her anger. Her eyes narrow at Rose, partly out of annoyance at her arrogant retort and partly out of curiosity.

"What makes you think I'm gonna tell you a damn thing, huh?"

The sudden snap of the scarf has Juri's full attention. Her eyes shift down to the strange motion, expecting /something/, even if she can't figure out what just yet. The searing orb of soul power that flies across the gap between them confirms her suspicions and casts aside any lingering doubt she might have had about whether the interloper is dangerous. A leg snaps up, the limb interposing itself in front of the projectile. The cerulean orb smashes into her shin, popping like a soap bubble with a vibrant spray of colors as it meets her own sinister crackling aura.

"You want to know about my techniques?!"

The teenager leans forward, sneering at the medium with a wild-eyed grin. All thoughts of her discomfort and boredom are forgotten now that she has something to focus her malice on, becoming little more than kindling for the fire of her twisted sadism.

"Go on then, have a good look! Hahaha!"

Leaning back on the heel of one foot, Juri's other leg snaps up with a sudden whipping motion as purple fire engulfs the slender limb. That deadly energy erupts into the air in a blade of crescent power, tearing a furrow in the stone floor as it eagerly rips across the room towards its chosen prey.

COMBATSYS: Rose fails to reflect Fuhajin from Juri with Soul Reflect.

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Rose             0/-------/=======|==-----\-------\0             Juri

The Soul Spark was, in a sense, a feint - a test - to see where exactly it is that Juri stands on the great continuum of psychic power. Rose would have been a little disappointed but not dismayed to see her avoid it. The block is impressive --

She sweeps her scarf round and has a horrid premonition but it is too late. The power in her rises even as she thinks wearily that this is going to hurt, but really, it would be nice for some of these things to either be surprises or to occur to her sooner. How does Athena manage, Rose thinks as she says "Soul Refl-"

At which point the blade hits the rippling coruscant power that had gathered. It is... well... buffered? That's a polite way to put it. It is sufficiently buffered by the rising Soul Power that Rose does not get sliced into several large wobbling chunks of Italian melon, but what she does get is thrown back hard enough that she smashes into one of the slightly aged pews.

It cracks in half, the cushion sliding down. Oh, it doesn't stop there: she hits another one, sending it flying over, knocking over two others in a shower of missals and devotives, Rose herself sending up with her neck on a kneeling bolster and a slightly dazed expression.

The image comes to her very sharply of Juri knee-diving her neck to the point where her throat collapses and she strangles to death. She has a very vivid image of Juri enjoying the show. It is vivid enough that Rose sits upright with effort.

This is as far as she gets. "... Certainly something," Rose says, thickly.

The teenager grins openly as the deadly energy smashes the arrogant woman dead on, blasting her through several pews with a cacophony of splinters and crashes. It's a far less dramatic outcome than what usually happens when she cuts loose with her twisted powers which means that her opponent must be capable of diminishing the blast to something a fair bit less catastrophic. A rare talent, indeed. There's only a handful of people on the planet she's met that are capable of standing toe-to-toe with the psycho power that she wields. Now that she's found another one, her desire to grind the Rose into the dust is almost all-consuming.

"Aww... what's the matter? Did a little love tap like that already do you in?"

Juri's tongue slithers out, running across her lower lip with a slow and sensual motion, savoring the taste of the pain she's about to inflict as if it is a fine wine. She starts to move closer, her hands resting on her hips in a nonchalant fashion as she stalks forward with deliberate and measured steps. The purple fire in her eye dies down to a faint flicker of light, a single point of ominous glowing energy focused solely on the downed mystic with wicked intent.

"Don't think we're through yet. The real fun is about to start..."

COMBATSYS: Juri has her eye on you! Play time is over!

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Rose             0/-------/=======|==-----\-------\0             Juri

Rose pushes herself upright then. She rises up a hell of a lot slower than she would have liked, and she does indeed try to play it off as nonchalance. The success of this is somewhat limited. As she dusts off her skirt, Rose says, "Not at all. You did very well to exploit my overconfidence the way that you did."

She straightens upwards then, dusting off one shoulder, shrugging both of them eloquently, and whipping her scarf back into its wonted position. Even as the pew she had smacked into quietly finishes falling over, she gazes ahead at those mismatched eyes.

That single point, Rose thinks. So intent. Is it synthetic?

"And now I understand why I am here," she says. Her eyes widen as she stays in her position, dragging one foot slightly backwards - a warier stance. The Soul Power flows through her, or is it 'from' her? These are somewhat tricky questions at the best of time. Perhaps it would be better to say that she gathers it together, condenses it, allows it to increase.

Which may be boring and lame of her, but then perhaps she is denying Juri the pleasure of kickfisting out of malice.

"Do you?" Rose asks, raising one violet eyebrow.

COMBATSYS: Rose gathers her will.

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Rose             1/----===/=======|==-----\-------\0             Juri

The woman rises and attempts to brush off her embarrassing failure as if it will simply wipe away as easily as the bits of debris from her shirt. The casual manner in which she collects herself is at once both amusing and infuriating, stoking the fires of murderous lust already burning within the teenager's polluted soul. She makes no attempt to hide her dark intent; if anything, she seems to be broadcasting it as hard as possible, her sinister aura billowing out like cloying odor of some intense perfume.

"You think you can talk down to me?!"

The sinister pinpoint of light in the teenager's eye flares back to its former candle-flame appearance, the socket blazing with wild psycho power. All of the negative energy she's gathered within herself rises up to fuel her bloodlust, festering resentment and petty hatred mixing together to create a volatile concoction. She hasn't had a proper outlet for her seething anger for several days now and it's started to build up to dangerous levels. Rose just happens to be the unlucky sap who triggered this particular time bomb.

"I'll rip you shreds, bitch!"

Juri's expression morphs back into one of manic fury as she snarls at the open condescension laced behind Rose's words. No one gets to mock her like that! Not if they expect to live afterwards! The building power within the mystic only seems to anger her young aggressor all the more, like a bull being taunted by a bright red flag. The very /feel/ of that energy is enough to make her skin crawl and she wants nothing more than to crush its owner into the dirt and then stomp on her like a bug.

Leaping forward like a berserker at the wary fortune-teller, the girl brings an even greater measure of her unnatural martial power to bear. Her entire body whirls like pinwheel, her legs extended to create massive sweeping circles as she crashes directly into Rose, attempting to engulf her in a maelstrom of blazing purple fire and deadly kicks.

COMBATSYS: Juri successfully hits Rose with Senpusha.

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Rose             1/=======/=======|=====--\-------\0             Juri

The light flares at the same time as the Psycho Power in her opponent!

Well, Rose would be lying if she said she was surprised, but the connection is, in a sense, good to confirm. It is also good to be able to see what it is that Juri is attempting to do, and Rose attempts to brace herself just in time to block low, anticipating a rising kick.

That is absolutely not what happens. Rude! Juri's first kick smashes straight into Rose's chest with enough force to make her produce a face that will probably warm the cockles of Juri's heart in the long rainy nights to come, with the second one launching her clear off the ground and up into the air. This reduces the rhino-like ravaging of her upper torso, but a third kick hits her side hard enough that something makes a clear 'snap!' If Rose is lucky that was just rib cartilage, but that excuse only works so many times.

A fourth blow gives her more distance, in the sense that she is now clearing away from Juri, though the hellish radiance of her grudge, that burning violet flame, is still there, still stinging around her in ten thousand ways. If Juri's brutal kicks are harming Rose's body, does her Psycho Power injure Rose's soul? A good question.

Juri's momentum carries her forwards - and Rose twists round, still halfway midair, one foot pivoting on the back of an as yet undestroyed pew. The scarf round her arm ripples as she aims to catch Juri between the legs with a glittering clothesline. And from there --

A vast repulsive force, the expelling force of the Soul Power! At this angle it will send Juri on her way to Jesus, and by that we mean, true believers, that Rose has inadvertently set herself up to try to shoot her opponent at the guy at the front of the church room.

COMBATSYS: Rose successfully hits Juri with Aura Soul Throw.

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Rose             0/-------/=======|=======\-------\1             Juri

Juri feels the impact of her strikes, cackling with sadistic glee as the psychotic energies rake into the arrogant woman searing at her soul even as the heavy hammer-blows of her feet smash bones with equal fervor. The attack is brutal and unrelenting. Most of the time she prefers to take things a little slower, toy with her victims for a bit before crushing them underfoot. But this person...!

The Feng Shui Engine suddenly chirps a warning into her brain, interrupting her reverie with a rapid stream of information. Even as she devastates the mystic with her deadly kicks, the prediction engine warns of an impending attack, putting her senses on full alert. The powerful computer plays out several scenarios in the span of a couple heart beats, attempting to divine the nature of the impending strike but nothing concrete manifests until Rose finally makes her move.

The arm whips forward and, without any proper data to correlate with, it interprets the motion as a typical martial strike. Juri twists around like a cat, aborting out of her aerial cartwheel to bring a leg up defensively to intercept the punch. Imagine her surprise and annoyance when it turns out not to be a punch at all.


The teenager sails backwards on the wave of power, explosively projected away from Rose's deceptive strike. She traces a ballistic arc through the air, her trajectory just starting to lose altitude when the wall rises up to greet her in a particularly unfriendly manner. The elaborate statue of the messiah proves to be an unpleasant landing place, for a couple of moments anyways, as its heavy plaster body is crushed into powdery shards of ceramic shrapnel sending bits of holy savior in all directions.

Juri tumbles to the floor in heap, covering her head just in time to shield herself from the avalanche of debris that comes raining down after her. The cross and the remains of the statue are not far behind. A loud crunch fills the room as the wooden cross tumbles down into the small cloud of dust that has formed behind the altar, earning another pained grunt from the hapless young girl.

A couple of seconds later, the cross launches skywards once again, this time propelled by a blazing upraised foot. Juri claws her way out of the pile of broken plaster and splintered wood, lurching forward to lean on the altar for support. A thin trickle of blood runs down the side of her face, marring her soft skin with a thick smear of crimson. The girl's eyes slowly lift, bulging wide with raw seething hatred aimed at Rose.

"I'm... going to kill you...! I'm going to tear you apart with my bare hands! YOU'RE DEAD, YOU HEAR ME?!"

Scrambling over the top of the altar, Juri practically throws herself bodily back into the fight. She dives right in without any heed for safety or caution, her legs swinging out in a flurry of lunatic strikes. Yet even in her anger, there is form and function to her attacks, a focus of intent that speaks volumes of the skill she must possess. Even blinded by rage, she's a terrifying opponent; perhaps even more so than usual.

COMBATSYS: Rose blocks Juri's Fierce Kick.

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Rose             1/-------/=======|=======\=------\1             Juri

Rose tilts her head forwards, breathing out. As Juri smashes into the statue of our lord and savior, she tosses her hair and steps down into the center aisle, sauntering forwards. "Do you think that I did not hear you the first time? I do not wish you ill--"

Rose pauses for a moment as if to realize that this may not be credible given her brutal assault on Juri. Her eyes half-shut for a moment. It is hard to focus with all of these bruises, she knows. Juri is coming towards her and she is upon her before Rose knows it. Her legs come up into a cross block, which mean mostly that her head is not kicked off the column of her spine: The kicking is hard enough that Rose loses feelings in her hand, but NOT in the points being kicked. She lets out a groan of pain.

That's the sweet (for Juri) and the sour (for Rose). A good combat is a lot like a Chinese dinner, isn't it?

But as the kicks reach their inevitable lull - all things must end, after all - Rose twists herself round. Rising up with sudden speed, hurling HERSELF from the ground instead of Juri, she aims to hook an arm underneath one of the taekwondoka's knees and twist her around.

And - yes, it's basically what she did before.

"I am here for the children! Tell me where they are, or admit your ignorance!" Rose shouts.

COMBATSYS: Juri interrupts Soul Throw from Rose with Shotenha.

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Rose             1/----===/=======|=======\===----\1             Juri

The muted impacts of her blocked strikes, as painful as they might be, are not satisfying for the enraged teenager. She lets out another wordless yell of frustration at her kicks are turned aside, laying into the mystic with the full force of her psychopathic fury. Several more strikes hammer home on the wall of Rose's expert guard until even the seemingly boundless rage of the young pyscho power wielder flickers out for a few moments, her endurance spent for a time.

Expertly judging her chance, Rose lunges into the air, easily catching the wild-eyed attacker underneath her outstretched leg. Juri's face twists into a mask of surprise and pain as she's yanked unceremoniously from her feet, pulled into the vortex of the strange woman's power. It quickly becomes apparent what is about to happen and this time the Feng Shui Engine is on top of things, analyzing the most likely outcome in the span of a few heartbeats.

"Not this time, bitch!"

Juri's eye blazes with raw power and she twists to the side at the very moment that her opponent attempts to hurl her aside, turning the momentum of the throw into something she herself can use. The slender taekwondista flips a full circle in the air and as she comes around to face Rose once again, her leg snaps up with a furious kick, purple psycho energy exploding like a fireball as it crashes into the woman's jaw.

That eye is glowing - Rose can feel something blurring in her mind's eye. It makes no sense to her at first, but too late she realizes what is going on even as the foot descends towards her jaw.

Can she see the future as well?

And if so - how far ahead?

Rose knows what happens here. She saw it clearly, so in a sense it has already happened. Rose flinches back, which probably spares her the loss of several teeth, but in a sense that would have been better that what she gets instead... purely from a battle perspective. Vanity nonetheless drives her, and so the foot clips her ear and smashes into her collarbone, which does the logical thing that one does when kicked by Juri: Fracture!

Pulled down in its wake, Rose hits the ground hard enough that her rebound puts her most of the way upright again, albeit with a torso burning in agony. Her eyes swim for a moment. She takes in a deep breath -

Now it is her turn to leap. Her hands come up to grasp at either of Juri's hair buns as she hoists up as if to leapfrog over her. This may make such little sense that it would confuse Juri, the old novice-swordsman problem come to life, but it is probably made a lot clearer when she inverts herself in a hoist, her hands sparkling with Soul Power-- aimed to blast through Juri's head with synaesthetic glittering lights!

COMBATSYS: Juri parries Rose's Soul Fade!

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Rose             1/----===/=======|=======\====---\1             Juri

Juri drops to the ground in a crouch, her blazing fury hardly dimmed by the faint taste of crushing pain. If anything, Rose's suffering only seems to encourage the girl, as if she can sense the damage that has been done, a shark circling into a mad frenzy as blood flows into the waters.

Her lips peel back into a fierce grin, revealing the pristine white teeth of someone spends an inordinate amount of time taking care of their appearance. Not something one usually associates with psychopaths, cleanliness, but there you have it. The quality of her smile doesn't detract from the menace behind it one bit, however, and no amount of sparkling teeth could make that look of bloodlust in her eyes anything but chilling.

"How does it feel, huh? When your muscles bruise? When your bones break?! HOW DOES IT FEEL?!"

The sudden leap in her direction doesn't seem to surprise Juri this time. Rose's instincts might have been spot on when she surmised that the deadly teenager can see the future, though likely not in the manner that she suspects. The Feng Shui Engine whirs softly as its powerful computer calculates hundreds of variables in the blink of an eye, predicting flawlessly the course that the mystic's lunge would take as well as the manner in which her attack would manifest.

As Rose reaches out for her head, attempting to find purchase in the young girl's silky raven hair, Juri almost casually leans to the side pulling the target out of reach. The mystic's hands sweep through empty air, finding nothing to brace herself against as she hangs suspended upside-down with her power. She might as well have put on a sombrero and called herself a piņata.

"This is the end for you!"

Juri's body becomes a whirl of motion, one leg thrust out to serve as a striking tool while the other holds her posture rigid in a ballerina's deadly dance. The teenager, and Rose should she fail to find some way to escape this horrible predicament, rises into the air on a tornado of purple fire, each rotation brings a fresh crushing kick to bear against the helpless woman's torso.

COMBATSYS: Rose deflects Kaisen Dankairaku EX from Juri with Turquoise Soul Overdrive.

[                   \\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////                  ]
Rose             0/-------/----===|===----\-------\0             Juri

The foot sinks deep into Rose's torso.

So deep, so realistically, that Juri may feel a savage triumph as she waits for the blood to come, for a blow this brutal would bring blood. From a punctured rib in the lung? From a rupture in the fatty tissue? From vomiting out one's regrets in a red and bilous torrent from one's lips? Hard to say.


"How DOES it feel," Rose muses.

The thing that Juri has been putting her foot into -

It is not Rose at all. It was, it seems, a combination of two things. A sophisticated deception and something not too dissimilar to a Soul Spark, which sends a singing, paralytic polyphemic sensation up that bitch-killing leg. Where IS Rose, now?

Rose is behind the pulpit!!

She is clearly bruised and looks slightly pale, slightly feverish. A huge red line, probably promising impending inflammation, is on her shoulder where Juri kicked her. She can put together the elements there if she cares to think about it.

"It hurts," Rose muses. "It's agonizing. The worst is the helplessness, you know? I mean that it is difficult enough to fight and lose in a situation, like on Saturday Night Fight, where you know that it is all on tape. Almost certainly nothing will go wrong," she says as she pops the cork of the wine with a glitter of violet light. "And if it should, God forbid, then it is again - all on tape - and you will be avenged, if nothing else."

She takes a swig of the wine straight from the bottle.

"But the helplessness," she says. "That sensation that you are ineffectual. It is like curling in on yourself but you can never do so. Some people shrivel into nothingness at the first touch. I think some people simply never stop with that shrivelling, coiling feeling, winding in on themselves, seeking to haul others with them, to shred them into bedding... They're often successful," another swig, "for a while."

Rose points the mouth of the bottle of wine towards Juri. "How do you think it feels to be"

Rose says, at the end of the sentence, "abducted from your family through no fault of your own, when you are a tender little child."

What Juri may HEAR is a lot more like "tricked, lol. lllllooollllll"


Impossible! She had her! She HAD her!

Juri stares with open disbelief as the psychic shock radiates through her outstretched foot, freezing her in mid-air with paralyzing intensity. Her teeth grind together as her jaw clenches with a mixture of pain and outrage but every attempt to move her body only results in a spike of fresh agony that lances up her spine. Despite this she continues to struggle, if only so that she might shove her foot down that arrogant bitch's throat to stop her from talking.

Nothing in this world pisses Juri off more than being made to look a fool. NOTHING.

For several seconds, the mystic's power holds her tightly, binding the inexperienced wielder of the dark psycho power despite its raw potency. The mocking words hurt her more than searing soul fire and she does a fair bit of damage to herself in her desperation to break free from its hold, wriggling like a worm on a hook, all the while driving it deeper into her guts.

And then, that final barb. A single question meant to pose a moral quandary to someone who might be in a position to do something about it. Juri's struggles stop, her eyes wide and staring as an expression of stunned silence overtakes her. For a moment, it seems as if Rose's words have struck something deep inside of her, plucked at the one remaining heart-string that she hasn't severed.

An anger that can only be described as volcanic suddenly washes all of that away. Juri's jaw clenches again, her lips peeling back like those of a rabid animal as she lets out a feral snarl. The girl's aura literally explodes into a bonfire of raging power, casting off the shackles of Rose's binding as if they were little more than rubber bands. The entire building shakes from the terrible blast of Juri's fury, pieces of old mortar and adobe brick raining down from the ceiling in showers of dust.

The unnaturally powerful teenager throws her head back and lets out a wordless scream of utter insanity, her arms flexing at her sides as the raw power bestowed upon her through the Feng Shui Engine is drawn to its maximum output. The very air around her seems to dim as the twisted machine siphons the energies of the world into her petite body, flooding her with so much power that it simply explodes back out again, blazing with the corruption of her black soul.

COMBATSYS: Juri grins madly as she crackles with flickering pscyho power!

[                   \\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////               ]
Rose             0/-------/----===|=======\-------\0             Juri

The eruption of Juri's Psycho Power shakes the church. If God is here, he is not showing his hand to protect his Son's Mexican home. Rose closes her eyes as she holds the bottle of wine that might have, one day, been the Blood of Christ.

She raises it up and looks at Juri through the wine. The wine itself ripples in the face of what Juri says - expresses - SCREAMS into the howling, whirling void. Rose breathes out as the air grows tense, as the power rolls out of Juri. In this angle she can see her clearer. Not entirely clearly.

In wine, maybe, there is truth.

"Yes," Rose says as she grips up on the wine bottle, brings her arm back, and with a sudden twist of the side of her body that does not have a broken shoulder bone, hurls the wine bottle - which glimmers with an inner light - straight towards Juri's face.

"I imagine it feels something like that!"

COMBATSYS: Juri instinctively blocks Rose's Thrown Object.

[                   \\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////                ]
Rose             0/-------/----===|=======\-------\1             Juri

The open bottle of wine flips end over end as it sails through the air, splashing gouts of liquid that stain the floor with dark red splotches of color. The make-shift projectile collides with Juri's raging aura, shattering into a thousand tiny sparkling pieces as the wild energy tears it apart like confetti. The wine evaporates instantly with a sharp hiss and a puff of steam leaving the freshly enraged teenager all but completely untouched save for a single thin line of red along one of her arms where a piece of flying glass managed to dig a furrow into her bicep.

The formless scream finally dies out a moment later and the torrent of energy calms with it, diminishing down to little more than a faint nimbus of neon light around Juri's body. Her anger, however, hasn't calmed in the least and she levels a stare that could melt steel at the mystic, eyes wide and pupils constricted into tiny black dots.

"What the fuck do you know?! Have /you/ ever lost your parents?! You think you can manipulate me, you arrogant piece of trash?!"

The teenager lunges forward without warning, leaping clear across the church in a single mighty bound. Her foot lashes out as she dives at Rose, purple psycho power blazing away around it. The first strike proves to be only a prelude. The moment she makes contact with Rose's body, Juri's motion becomes a whirling blur of pain, second pair of kicks driving forward like nails in rapid succession. There is a brief pause as she whirls around for a wind up before a final quick heel strike crashes towards the mystic bringing the rapid-fire combo to a close.

COMBATSYS: Juri successfully hits Rose with Shikusen.
Glancing Blow
~~ Alluring Hit! ~~

[                     \\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////                ]
Rose             0/-------/---====|=======\==-----\1             Juri

"I know there are over a dozen missing children and that the path leads through this church, mostly," Rose says, perhaps feeling no pain due to the wine she just downed. Why did she drink in the middle of the fight?

So she wouldn't tense up when a teenager leaped at her and pressed her foot in her face! Rose lets herself fall backwards then, the foot grinding downwards and the remaining kicks sending her at an oblique angle, half-shattering the wood of the floor beneath her. Then Juri whirls -

And Rose rolls out of the way, leaving the church to be shaken to its very foundation by a scandal involving children! (TOPICAL.)

Rose leaps up - and finds half her dress tearing away, which makes her sigh. Grimacing, she says, "Are you just - " She points at her own eye, as if to echo Juri. "Is that all you are? That he has given you this thing, like a battery? Batteries run dry."

Then comes the ultimate technique, snapping out with one high-heeled foot at Juri's own side. It trails sparkles of puce and magenta.

COMBATSYS: Juri interrupts Medium Kick from Rose with Rochumou.

[                           \\\  < >  //////////////                ]
Rose             0/-------/=======|-------\-------\0             Juri

Juri lands gracefully from her half-successful strike and turns to face the mystic, hate still etched into her features. The wardrobe malfunction doesn't even register in the teenager's mind, save for the quick thought that the loose fabric might provide her a hand-hold to use against her prey should the opportunity arise, her predatory instincts filing that away in the back of her head.

Rose's assertion that she might run out of steam sooner or later actually makes the girl laugh. "Ahahaha! Is that what you think? That I'll just run out of steam if you push me hard enough?"

Juri doesn't even bother attempting to avoid the sparkling kick as it crashes towards her midsection. Instead, she just catches it, pinning the outstretched leg against her side without even a grunt of pain or effort. Before Rose can attempt to free herself from this predicament, the teenager spins and sweeps her remaining leg out from underneath her, sending the mystic to the floor in an undignified heap.

Juri steps forward, grabbing the fallen woman almost before she's even finished hitting the ground, and hoists her back to her feet by the front of her dress. Despite her slender arms and small size, the teenager displays extraordinary strength, bolstered by the psycho power coursing through her body. The fabric of the dress rips further at this abuse but Juri simply shifts her grip to the bottom of Rose's jaw, holding her aloft with a vice-like grip. She leans in, her face taking on an almost sensual expression as she caresses the seer's cheek, purring in the silky velvet voice that she's more well known for.

"You don't have to worry about my stamina, lady. I'm the Energizer fucking bunny."

Rose suddenly finds herself let go. The girl's lips peel back to reveal her teeth again, like a vampire preparing to take a big bite out of its latest thrall. The femme fatale expression melts back to the mask of grinning insanity as the engine in her eye kicks back into high gear, shining like a brilliant point of light.

Juri once more becomes a whirlwind of destruction, but this time the storm of pycho power is impossible to escape, drawing its victim in like a vortex. She spins about like a top, her legs lashing three times in rapid succession at the mystic's torso.

"I just keep going...!"

A sweep kick knocks her feet out again and the taekwondista immediately catches her mid-fall with a rising flip kick, blasting her skywards.

"And going...!"

Rose plummets back towards the crushed and cracked floor but before she can hit the sweet hard ground, another low spin kick wreathed in purple flame smashes into her face, launching her back up for another round of being used for a piņata.

"And going! Ahahaha!"

Rose half-shrugs at the question because she has instead been caught. Oh, balls, she thinks, this is going to hurt, but she did not expect how MUCH it would hurt. She hits the ground hard enough to make something snap - maybe not even the wood - and she is immediately hoist up. She feels limper now, as if some animating force is withdrawing from her. Heavy, sloppy compared to Juri. HEr face is tight with pain. Then as she is held tightly, her head turns away, eyes squeezing shut.

She does not want to see this coming. Or perhaps she knows what's coming.

The kicks hit her already battered midsection with agonizing force! Rose can't breathe, can't even guard, finally thrown up hard enough to smash into the wooden rafters of the roof of the church, such as they are, and brought down and -

And is it over?


Juri does not oblige her with this and a horrified thought comes to Rose as she is kicked in the face, her neck twisting almost hard enough to snap. COULD she die? After this? After how she came to be? Or would she be embedded in this body - feeling everything, knowing, seeing all, as she - -

The keychain of Son Goku bounces out of her hip pocket. It probably looks hilarious to Juri. To Rose, it is a reminder.

"I suppose I do not need to repeat myself," Rose says, though she doesn't use her mouth to say it, not least because she thinks her jaw might be broken. Her less-busted arm twists round suddenly in a flourish of her scarf, what remains of her gathered powered comes to pull it around that limb like it were a yellow bandage.

Then it suddenly sweeps outwards as Rose pivots in midair, her words coming even as she does her best to barrel into Juri:


I wonder if I approached this entire situation wrong, Rose thinks in the back of her mind.

COMBATSYS: Rose prepares to take her last stand against Juri!

[                          \\\\  < >  //////////////                ]
Rose             0/-------/-======|-------\-------\0             Juri

COMBATSYS: Juri parries Rose's Soul Spiral!

[                         \\\\\  < >  //////////////                ]
Rose             0/-------/-======|=------\-------\0             Juri

Juri's demeanor has started to shift as she unleashes the pent-up violence successfully. Her anger gives way to the manic amusement that comes when she's able to indulge in her sadistic tendencies, the enjoyment made all the sweeter for the frustration visited upon her by Rose's dismissive attitude. Every impact of her feet against soft tissue and hard bone sends shockwaves through her legs, pleasant vibrations that stand as testament to the suffering she's causing.

This is what she lives for! To see the arrogant and powerful brought low by her terrible might! Normally, fighting women doesn't give her much of a thrill. As ironic as it sounds, she doesn't think very much of other girls, most of whom prove to be weaklings and soft-hearted cowards. Crushing the pride of men is just so much more satisfying. But in this case, she can make an exception. Rose has proven to have the power necessary to withstand her strikes repeatedly, and that alone makes her a rare specimen.

Sadly for the mystic, it would appear that her constant verbal jabs had done nothing more than to whip the young volatile teenager into a frenzy of battle lust. She's in the groove now, focused and fluid as she unleashes years-worth of intense martial arts training and deep-rooted resentment at the world in general.

The psychic shout falls on deaf ears... or is it a closed mind? Either way, Juri pays her no heed. The shimmering spiral of soul power lances towards the girl but she moves with unnatural alacrity, her body already in motion even as Rose lunges forward, giving the mystic a taste of what's it's like to deal with someone who seems to be able to read the future.

"You really like getting kicked, don't you?!"

Juri sidesteps the thrust and whirls around beside her attacker, one leg coming up towards her head at incredible speeds. The girl's bare foot curls tightly over the top of Rose's forehead, toes digging into her hair and skin with a monkey-like grip. Using a combination of the mystic's forward momentum and her own strength, she attempts to hurl her into the floor, face-first. From there, the young warrior will deliver a vicious stomp, the first at base of her spine and a second in the small of her back, each one crashing down with bone-shattering force as Juri pogo-sticks on her spine, cackling with sadistic glee.

COMBATSYS: Rose dodges Juri's Assatsu Geri EX.

[                         \\\\\  < >  //////////////                ]
Rose             0/-------/=======|=------\-------\0             Juri

Rose realizes, at least, that she could have handled this better, and in the end, isn't that what counts?

She ducks - fluidly if not as quick as Juri - as the foot slams towards her forehead, her hair sliding through Juri's toes as Rose tch's, feeling a moue of distaste at this presentation of her very feet in this manner. Why no boots? Why not, Rose asks you? She has a bad opinion of Juri already. This only verifies it.

"Not particularly," Rose replies, feeling heat run up her spine. "But if you are so fond of this -"

Rose seems to shimmer, and there are two of her for a moment. She's used this trick before. No doubt it will not amuse Juri much.

That is because there are actually /three/ Roses, for a fleeting moment. The foot stomps down into the face of one Rose, and there is a vivid image of her jaw cracking and her eyes rolling back in her head as her tongue flutters obscenely and she bleeds fresh red blood onto the floor.

The other Rose twinkles out of existence.

The ACTUAL Rose reaches down to try to grab Juri by the back of the calf and hoist her up into a reverse leg lock, slamming her heeled foot up at the girl's face. If Italian footwear cracks that eye of hers, Rose doesn't mind (she might change her mind if it blew up, but she would not have much time to think of it) - especially since her follow up is a "hup!" and an effort to smash downwards and bend Juri's spine while slamming her hip into the back of her head.

And staying there, God willing.

COMBATSYS: Juri blocks Rose's Aura Soul Throw.

[                          \\\\  < >  ////////////                  ]
Rose             0/-------/-----==|==-----\-------\0             Juri

Amusement is very much not being had. Her prey snatched away at the last moment, Juri grinds the shimmering clone into the ground beneath her heel, crushing it into glittery powder as it fades away. She narrows her eyes at the two remaining Roses, attempting to discern which of them might be real or if perhaps both of them are threats. She's seen some pretty crazy powers and energy clones are a legit enough threat that she doesn't dismiss the idea out of hand.

Fortunately, she doesn't have to figure it out. The other clone fades away in another cloud of sparkles, leaving only one possible danger. The teenager allows her leg to be grabbed and yanked up but only so that she can use it as a weapon. Rose's kick to her face is met by the hard surface of a forearm instead, deflecting the strike to the side.

Leaning forward, Juri grabs the mystic by the shoulders, pulling her close before she can finish the last part of her throw. She grins, eye shining like a polluted star, and slowly forces her leg down until her heel is nestled in the woman's cleavage, easily overpowering her with raw strength.

"How does it feel to know your death is only heartbeats away?"

Her voice dips down into a low whisper, reaching for those velvety suggestive tones again. Purple fire flares to life around her foot, sizzling with heatless power, raw emotion given terrible form. Juri lowers her leg a little further, dragging it down between the mystic's breasts until it rests at the top of the ruined dress's collar.

"Don't worry. I won't kill you. I'll let you live long enough to have a little fun first!"

With a brilliant flare of power and a sudden downwards snap of her heel, Juri rakes the psycho flames in a vertical line down the front of the seer's body, attempting to take the rest of the dress with it. The blaze of twisted energy borne from this first strike lingers long enough for her to snap her foot back up again, driving a powerful kick directly up the same path and into the woman's chin with a blast of terrible flame.

COMBATSYS: Rose blocks Juri's Fuharenkyaku.

[                           \\\  < >  ///////////                   ]
Rose             0/-------/----===|====---\-------\0             Juri

Rose strains. In a passing moment she is miserable; in another moment she is flustered; but the thought that rises within her is that she must do this, that she has no *choice*, that pulling this one out is the only possibility.

Am I so weak? she thinks.

Then a horrid thought comes to her even as Juri's leg forces its way inwards against herself, pressing down against her already agonized collarbone.

Is this the power I've felt? That eye, Rose thinks in horror, dawning slowly. Is it truely an EYE at all? Did not 'that man' have a gem, a shard, just as I did, in that hellish realm? Could that have travelled HERE? Could this woman, reeking of sweat and vice, not only hold the psycho-power within her, but bear the entire SOUL of that man?

Or worse - his soul, enslaved!?

The flame of her soul flickers, just a little. It is enough and the foot smashes downwards, throwing Rose into the side of a pew as her dress does not so much rupture as partially /disintegrate/, the skin beneath dappling and mottling in the crazy-quilt pattern of passing psychokinesis -- the psionic energy boiling off of Juri intense enough to press against such crude matter *even when she didn't mean to*!

Her eyes flutter then. She moves as if to rise once more. Her eyes struggle to open, to focus. Her mouth hurts, her body hurts. She feels a cramp in her thighs - and falls downwards heavily, sagging back into the pew with a wordless groan.

At least that is one worry removed.

COMBATSYS: Rose takes no action.

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

COMBATSYS: Rose can no longer fight.

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

The sound of footsteps draws near through the haze of half-consciousness as her violent attacker slinks across the ruined church. A moment later, a burst of fire lances through her body, emanating from the heel being ground into her fractured collarbone. Juri laughs as she torments the broken woman, savoring the sweetest of sensations that only comes when a powerful foe has been laid low at her feet.

"Hahaha! Stings, doesn't it?"

The torturous foot lifts away but only so that she can drive it into Rose's gut, stomping repeatedly to drive the air out of her lungs and inflict new forms of suffering on her helpless victim. Each grimace and wince send a thrill up her spine, tingling her in ways that nothing else can. It feels good to be powerful and even better to be on top!

"Ahahaha... it's been a while since I've had such an entertaining plaything. I'm going to take my time with this."

Leaning down, the teen digs her slender fingers into the mystic's disheveled hair, yanking her head back so that the two of them are face to face as she looms overhead. The girl's tongue flicks out to wet her lips again as she makes bedroom eyes, her voice low and poisonously sweet like a black widow lulling her latest victim to embrace the darkness as it's bound tighter and tighter in her web..

"I wouldn't worry about those kids, if I were you. You and me, we're going to have some quality time together. I'm going to get to know aaaall about you. But for now, I'll just haunt you in your dreams. Night night!"

The last thing Rose sees is that manic Chesire Cat grin before the girl draws her fist back and slams it into her face, drowning the world in darkness.

Log created on 20:38:48 08/13/2018 by Juri, and last modified on 17:45:46 09/08/2018.