Description: Collecting pages for some sort of charity thing? A sponsorship? Whatever the reason, Thrustdeath Truelove is off galavanting in the dark and foreboding woods when she encounters something malicious that isn't part of the program.
The scarred battlefield of Mount Fuji, turned into a partially desolate crater by Justice, is the site of... A scavenger hunt. Or, if you wish to be modern, a 'Fetch Quest'. Put on by the Committee of Awful Ideas, or some sub-committee group, testing out new fighters was done by random lot selection. Newcomer 'Thrustdeath Truelove' had drawn the shortest of straws.
Being Certainly Not the First of the Valentines, Ramlethal, terror of Hokkaido and wanted woman, Thrustdeath Truelove convinced people of this fact via wearing BODY CONCEALING CLOTHING: a black biking catsuit, and a motorcycle helmet with cat ears built in with speakers that broadcasted her voice and a heavily tinted visor so it was hard to tell who was inside. She also had a motorcycle, which she rode badly - like someone still earning their full license on a permit.
Pulling up to the base of the crater, 'Thrustdeath' surveilled the location with an unknowable level of interest, her voice modulator piping her heavily synthesized voice out of the speakers just a hair more loudly than should be appropriate.
< ~ ** owo teehee where are you mister pages-san? ** ~ >
Thrustdeath pauses, canting her head, and stepping off the bike.
< ~ ** o m g deffo not what i said lol ** ~ >
Ramlethal, inside the helmet, grimaced deeply with a physically hurt look both on her face and deep within her soul. I-No did this to her. This was I-No's fault. It was revenge. For Hokkaido.
< ~ ** time to get to work yay! ** ~ >
There is a demon that is hunting monsters. He has rarely been more dissatisfied with his opponents than with the Gears he has been chasing after. They have so much potential for strength, but none of them exhibit any signs of training, and in most cases it is like beating down a wild beast rather than facing a fellow warrior. His fists are insulted by the spilled blood that stains them. Distaste for the Gears is surpassed only by the loathing he feels towards their creators.
Gears attacked this place. It stands to reason there may be a trace of them or of what they hoped to accomplish with this assault, that might grant insight into the ones who control them. Perhaps scattered documents. So it is that, in this cold weather, the demon known variously as Gouki or Akuma hunts in the forest nearby, bare feet leaving bloody foot prints in the snow, a foreboding presence emanating from him that sends wild life scurrying to hide or simply to get away, as he makes his way steadily closer to where the battle occurred.
The blood isn't his.
The autumnal breeze coming across the island's battle-scarred landscape draws Ramlethal's eyes, tracking across the empty crater with dispassion.
< ~ ** oh no mister paper-san isn't in this hole :3c ** ~ > The speakers chime, including pronouncing 'colon three cee'. Ramlethal is critically hit once again in the soul.
Turning, Thrustdeath Truelove climbs back onto her motorcycle, half-walking it down the mountain towards the lower forest. If the papers are anywhere, it's here. In the spooky forest! With the... bloody footprints?
Thrustdeath hops back off the bike to inspect the blood, running a gloved finger into the large tracks flecked with blood.
< ~ ** notices ur print owo whats this? ** ~ >
Her head snaps up, hands clenching slowly into fists with the tell-tale crk-kk-kk of leather tension, before snapping open into outstretched claws. Her chest rises and falls with breath, hidden inside her helmet. Someone is here. Some bloody apparition is likewise here stalking the forest - and perhaps, the pages. She picks up the faintest hint of Akuma's killer pressure, and her shoulders tense up, her stance widening incrementally.
Sensitive ears can pick up the toneless voice inside the helmet.
"A presence... but whom? Powerful..."
< ~ ** yey new friendos to crescendo! ** ~ >
Unlike Akuma, Thrustdeath Truelove is all too easy to find in the mountainous forest, her modulated voice carrying too far even with the trees diffusing the sound.
COMBATSYS: Akuma has started a fight here.
COMBATSYS: Ramlethal has joined the fight here.
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Akuma 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Ramlethal
A voice drifting on the still air. Only the muted sounds of the forest, of snow falling in clumps from trees under its own weight, or because something disturbed it, provide any contrast. In the shadows of Japan's 'suicide forest', monsters, apparitions, and even hanging bodies, are all things one might expect to encounter, depending on one's degree of faith in the supernatural. With the emergence of Darkstalkers in the world, doubting them has become much more difficult, but that does not stop some people from trying.
There is little ability to deny the shadow within the shadows, however, that begins making his way towards the presence that has entered his current hunting grounds. A pair of embers might be seen in the distance if 'Thrustdeath' looks around, roughly parallel to each other. Two candles that are very far away? No, the pinpoints of smoldering light are in motion. Sharp teeth flash just beneath them as the predator gets a visual of his prey.
Then he is running.
Then there is only the spot in the snow where he was standing a second ago.
And then, like a big cat leaping down from the trees upon its prey, Akuma comes surging down a short distance away from the biker-cat with a palm strike aimed at her helmet in midair.
COMBATSYS: Akuma successfully hits Ramlethal with Hyakki Shuu.
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Akuma 0/-------/------=|=------\-------\0 Ramlethal
Belief in the supernatural or otherwise, there's very little that is needed between two beings - not people, per-se, but certainly Beings - like Ramlethal Valentine and Akuma. The Command Gear, even as a creation of Man's dark hands, pushes the envelope of 'natural' and 'supernatural'.
Akuma is a being whose mastery of the Fist, and of his Ansatsuken martial arts, trancends belief. It simply Is. Not entirely like or unlike the Darkstalkers, both could be considered 'monsters'.
Certainly the two glowing embers in the dim forest that harbinged a vicious strike could be called animalistic, or even monstrous. The thumping footfalls leave barely a crunch on the air, a flitting shadow within the shade of tree and ground-litter.
Thrustdeath Truelove's head snaps towards the sound, but she's too late to catch direct sight of Akuma's leap. Wind picks up around her feet as she back-leaps, but the hunter of Gears catches her with the palm strike all the same, her hasty half guard insufficent to stop the full force of his blow.
She's sent into the ground with an up-burst of fallen leaves as her head crack back onto the ground with a plastic thunk of helmet on fallen branch and a wet thud beneath of that same helmet touching loose dirt.
It's a damn good thing Ramlethal is wearing an actually good motorcycle helmet, and not a cheap knockoff that would have left her faculties spilled on the ground like a cracked egg.
She flip-rises to her feet, born up on a kip-up of momentum and 'something else', physics floaty and uncertain around her.
"Fast." She grunts.
< ~ ** gheez ur so speedy-weedy! ** ~ >
Sweeping one hand almost-dismissively (the intent to dismiss is completely unpresent - a surprise attack that should have laid her out on the spot is not one you ever dismiss) in a rising arc, green energy swells to her bidding, arcing in a trail to her hooking fingers and coruscating through the air as an energy bat-ball to harry Akuma off 'just charging her down again and killing her for real'.
COMBATSYS: Akuma blocks Ramlethal's Cassius.
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Akuma 1/-------/=======|=------\-------\0 Ramlethal
COMBATSYS: Ramlethal blocks Akuma's Tenha.
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Akuma 1/-------/=======|=------\-------\0 Ramlethal
The green energy turns into some sort of bat... Ball... Thing. It is unclear which part of baseball it is emulating. Akuma raises a hand as though he were the catcher, taking the brunt of the attack upon his palm and then closing his fingers around it to crush it out of existence. Shafts of emerald light shine from between his fingers for a moment before he finishes clenching them together, then the darkness has returned fully to the surroundings, if not seeming even deeper. His lip curls, teeth as sharp as a baboon's revealed in the condescending snarl, as he responds in his guttural voice with his own estimation.
Then he surges forwards, seeming to practically float over the distance between the two of them from pushing off with one foot, shifting his stance in midair along the way, and then landing, potentially distressingly far within Ramlethal's personal space, before one palm calms shooting up like a thunderbolt aimed at her chin. "Show me more of your strength!" he roars out, more snow falling from the trees from the sound waves reverberating through the forest, let alone any potential force if this blow's impact.
An outstretched hand like a catcher's rote acceptance of her energy sphere is surprising, but it is the crushing, dominating dissipation of her shining bat-ball that throws Ramlethal for a loop. Even as her alternate persona is one of bubbly, strange noises and extremely debasing sentences, sentence structure, and word choice, it's hard to express in either fashion how tremendously difficult seeing Akuma's dismissal of her attack is.
The curl of his lips, and the sharpness of his teeth is another mild shock, quickly rationalized: Ramlethal thinks that Akuma is 'like her'.
This is a test.
Her mind races, now readying her defenses in earnest. A circle of strange wind-pressure begins to swirl around her legs, picking up leaves and forming a tangible 'aura', even as Akuma...
Slips through the air, sliding off the action of one foot to effortlessly glide.
This is certainly a test. This monster attacking her --- is just like she is. But expressing that, the strange song in her heart and the tingling along each twitching finger, is complicated by the awful helment I-No had saddled her with.
Ramlethal brings her hands, palms out, to interpose between the vertical palm-strike and her chin, her fingers crossing as she focuses - to create a lime green energy-field exactly like a firm pane of glass before the strike. The momentum from the strike carries through even so, her arms being pushed tight to her chest, and her barrier of pure energy entirely under her control still bending and bowing at the vicious strike.
< ~ ** im gonna show you SO GOOD!!! ** ~ >
Her aerial momentum doesn't arrest and then bring her back to the ground, her feet hanging toe-down towards the forested ground as she slides to the side, before sweeping out her arms in a crossed follow-through, her hands finishing clawed at either side of her body wide. Her aura surges and flashes green, but nothing happens.
Oh, wait, no.
Her motorcycle comes careening in at an absurd speed, wheel out to smash directly into Akuma, surrounded by a tangible aura of manipulatory chi-force.
COMBATSYS: Akuma endures Ramlethal's Marteli.
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Akuma 1/--=====/=======|=------\-------\0 Ramlethal
The magical motorcycler seems to do... Something. When nothing happens immediately, Akuma raises one hand in a chopping motion. Suddenly a motorcycle comes out of nowhere and slams into the back of his head and upper body with a collosal force. His head jerks under the impact. He then turns slightly to look over his shoulder at the motorcycle now lying on the ground behind him. He was struck with a vehicle hard enough to push him a couple inches forward through the snow, probably hard enough to seriously injure or kill a normal human, without being able to defend against it.
From the expression on his face, and his general demeanor, he seems to be vaguely... Sort of... Offended by the injury. Getting hit in the head with a mere machine must be quite the insult.
He looks forward again, raises his arm again, and tries to bring it down hard enough to split a tree in half. Assuming, that is, that Ramlethal is sticking around to get attacked instead of going in pursuit of those pages while her opponent is distracted.
COMBATSYS: Akuma knocks away Ramlethal with Zugai Hasatsu.
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Akuma 1/=======/=======|====---\-------\0 Ramlethal
Normally, Ramlethal Valentine would summon her familiars, don her murdermouth cloak, and swing around gigantic swords with big dumb green energy fields.
But Thrustdeath Truelove doesn't have those to call on. Well, she does, but she can't. This is all put on - a show, for the masses, as a qualifier event.
She was not allowed to go all-out, shout her name, or wear a private smirk or a public slasher smile.
Akuma, however, is not just testing that - he's demanding her power. Demanding it verbally, and with his actions. He is not an opponent you ever give less than a hundred percent to, if you hope to live. And few can dare even hope for that.
Ramlethal takes a dominated float-step back as Akuma turns to face her, the pressure of his offended gaze giving her pause.
He raises his arm, and she slides through the air in a half-leap, but Akuma's unquestionable strike chops down on her midsection unerringly, smashing her into the ground and tumbling her back into a tree with a loud 'oof', an exhalation of air forced out of her body.
< ~ ** ouchies! ** ~ >
Yes thank you voicemod.
Ramlethal has long since slotted the objective of the pages to secondary concerns, fighting seriously and for her life, even under the constraints of her persona. But... Her persona is a cat-person.
She can do that. Drawing up, with her knees cocked and her palms on the ground, she springs up in an arc, spinning once in the air before her body re-aligns with Akuma's offended gaze. Both hands, seeking, charged with green energy, in a falling downsmash - the classic jump-in he'd have seen many times, but with a specialized twist, and that everpresent chi that flowed forth destructively from the (DEFINITELY NOT A) Gear.
COMBATSYS: Akuma blocks Ramlethal's Sildo Detruo.
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Akuma 2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|=======\==-----\1 Ramlethal
This opponent, unlike most of the other Gears he has faced, seems to have some degree of intelligence, regardless of what might be indicated by the voicemod. It may be too much to hope that 'Thrustdeath Truelove' has actually trained at all to achieve this strength, but someone who represents some form of challenge is better than defeating creature after creature with no sense of accomplishment. Not that he doesn't feel that way for most human opponents as well.
The eruption of green energy is responded to by raising an arm and letting the mystical force wash over him, pelt him, tear at tanned flesh that is more like rust-coated iron than human tissue. He is not considered a demon without cause. He decides that the time has come to end this battle, one way or another. If this opponent survives his next blow, then she will have earned the right to walk away from this, to become stronger, and face him again when his sense of her power indicates the time is right. Just like he did with Dizzy, though she refused to fight him.
He fades from sight, becoming a series of shadowy afterimages, shadows cast by shadows, until he appears right next to her. Then he begins to attempt to pummel the Gear with blows that seem aimed to strike at her very soul, or whatever Gears have in place of such. He is holding back somewhat. He does not necessarily want to extinguish this existence if it has the potential to become greater. This is not like when he killed his former master, or his brother.
But that does not mean he is merciful.
"Shun Goku Satsu!" he hisses as he completes his assault, finishing the attack that took place in the midst of a teleport by appearing on the other side of his target, the kanji for 'Heaven' burning red on his back.
COMBATSYS: Akuma knocks away Ramlethal with #Shun Goku Satsu#.
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Akuma 0/-------/-------|>>>>>>>\>>>>---\1 Ramlethal
Ramlethal - Thrustdeath Truelove - is as ready as she physically can be. While her energy had been taxed by the fight drastically, far more than had ever been by a 'mere' human opponent after Hokkaido, Ramlethal's pounding adrenaline filled her with a fighting high that made even this brush with absolute death enjoyable.
Pleasure was not unknown to her, but had never been something she had chased. Before, she had the mission. Before, she had Justice. Before, she had the Gear Army, and she experienced the mechanical "contentment" of a cog in the machine.
This was not like before. This was... elective. She had chosen, or had allowed a choice to be made for her. She had arrived, and then she had experienced a fight purely for the pleasure of it. Purely for the spectacle.
And her heart pounded. And her eyes flicked around. And her muscles sang with the pain of exertion, of trading blows with Akuma. This sharktoothed man with an absolute and unquestionable fist, trading blows with the First of the Valentines without trick or cheat. His raw skill matched her swelling aura. His shadowed mastery of the Ansatsuken surpassed the power of a 'perfect' weapon like herself.
She lands, in a crouch, slowly rising back up from her smash after it washes over Akuma's high block, cautious. On the prowl. She wanted to see what he would bring. She was ready for it. She would block it and then counterattack, and cover be damned. Seizing a sweet victory like this would be--
The darkness comes. The absolute territory of the shadowed strike. Akuma's attack call registers in her conscious mind, but she is pinned in place. She wants to block, to dodge, to flee. Death comes.
She instead crosses her arms, claw-hands out and brings her legs up, an elaborate aura-guard that burns with a green power.
Akuma's very first strike shatters her braced barrier like it wasn't even there. A killing blow strikes at her neck, and an entire side of her body begins to fall limp.
Two blows to the head. A smash to the sternum. A hammerblow to the back. There are dozens like it. A waterfall of sure-death.
The shadows consume her, and the blows continue to rain. When it is over, and she lays on the ground before Akuma, his burning symbol searing itself into the air, there is a point where the entire forest is still and quiet and somber.
And then her hands clench. She is not dead, though her entire body screams at her 'yes you are, you have been killed'. Weak, feeble thoughts such as 'I cannot lose!' purged from her mind, and yet she clings to one more simple and powerful.
'I don't want to die!'
She scrunches to her feet, her knees coming under her. Her power gathers, one final time --
And she sits back, on the ground. She doesn't summon her swords, or her familiars. Her living cloak does not fall around her shoulders. She just takes off her helmet, gasping for breath quietly as her cream-white hair falls around her shoulders.
"It is your victory. What are you going to do with me?"
COMBATSYS: Ramlethal takes no action.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ <
COMBATSYS: Ramlethal can no longer fight.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ <
Not dead. More than can be said for so many other Gears he has faced. Good. Her spirit is resilient enough to cling to the scraps of life. When she has the strength to speak as well, Akuma indicates no surprise, no outward sign of being impressed. He just matter-of-factly says, "I will leave you to your own devices. Become stronger. Live for the power that comes with pursuing victory at all costs. If you manage to do what no other of your kind I've faced so far has done and improve yourself by your own efforts, then I will appear before you again when I deem it the right time."
The infernal Chi on his back begins to fade as it bleeds out of existence. He starts to walk away, his flesh pocked and marred with small injuries where his opponent struck him successfully. "Become more powerful than that Command Gear that cowered before me, despite having all the strength in the world."
He leaves the Gear behind without apparent concern for any last-ditch acts of vengeance. His fist's thirst for blood is not quite yet sated, so he will hunt down a few more spirits and monsters before he moves on. Any documents pointing to the creators of the Gears are forgotten or simply no longer important. He found that at least one of these beings has the drive he was seeking and didn't find in Dizzy. The enjoyment of the fight, the will to push herself.
That will have to suffice for now.
COMBATSYS: Akuma has ended the fight here.
Log created on 18:49:44 10/17/2018 by Akuma, and last modified on 19:58:40 10/19/2018.