KOF 2019 - Prelims 1 - Team Kaka vs The Mongrels

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Description: Cats versus canines as Mongrel Team and Team Kaka square off in the underworld of Metro City. Which team of world wandering heroes and fugitives will come out on top? Will the Legendary Hungry Wolf defeat the One Eyed Twin Tail Lotus? Can the former Hound of the NOL take down the Fallen Hero of her own hometown? Will Taokaka go hungry? Some of this and maybe more will be answered in this round of KoF 2019!

Night in the big city. Awash in electric light, the towering heights of Metro moves and shakes well past the setting of the sun. And as above, so below. The underground, the subways, continue to run and rumble with the sounds of life and the movement of the people. Clamor and cacophony as people have stopped off squealing and screaming subway cars to pile out onto an old an normally unused station. Because tonight is a special venue. Tonight an old platform's been taken to living again. Bright and shining under the lights and crews.

While the people buzz and ready, both spectator and crew, there are fighters readying themselves in the small places they can find. Clio St. Jeanne, former Lieutenant of the NOL, lost and presumed dead in Illyria, leans against a section of old and unused subway track. She taps the gravel with the spiked tip of her boot. Her hood is up, the two leather ears a mimicry of Jubei, Taokaka and the rest of his clan. In her hand she holds a mask, painted black, a motif of red eyes and teeth on the front. Can't have the living dead wander out in a major tournament. But since it's Jubei bravely marching out of the gate with members of his familial Kaka Clan, then that's just fine to be.

Clio turns the mask once and then again before slipping it on and tugging the hood nice and tight so it all stays in place. A look one way and the other to make certain she can see just fine through all of it. A few deep breaths to make sure that everything feels comfortable. It's a fight, it's a tournament. Clio never really considered herself a pro, she's always been a soldier. Even after Golden Angel this whole kind of deal still feels a little "off" in her gut.

But now she at least has her chain in hand. She can feel the weight of it around her shoulder. She can feel the tip of the spike in hand. She can hear the whirling whistle with a quick whip and snap. And she can hear the steady clinking clack of the links when she rolls and bounces the coils. Being a "pro" may not feel right, but having a chain, that feels right home.

As home as her opponent. Cody. She knows his name. She grew up in Metro, of course she's heard of the man. She's looked up to him in her own, distant and bloodied youthful ways. Now she's going against him and his team of mongrels. Truth is, she can't wait, she's excited to the point of bouncing on the balls of her feet. Each little jump a clink of metal and a crunch of gravel.

But there's only so much time to build the heat of the moment. Names are being called, cheers and the din of a crowd come to life. It's now or nothing. Team Kaka has a chance. Clio blasts out of the dark of the tunnel with a trail of arcane glister in her wake. She bursts out and scrapes to a stop at the call of her and her "clan".

It's time to show the hero of Metro what Clio St. Jeanne is made of.

COMBATSYS: Clio has started a fight here.

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Clio             0/-------/-------|

The arrival of Cody is first marked by the sound of clinking chains.

He comes in from the opposite direction of where Clio is presently. His shadowy form steps into the light, revealing the fallen hero of Metro City to his opponent and the spectators. He is not clad in his usual striped prison jumpsuit; instead he's wearing a newer orange jumpsuit with his prisoner number on the back. He still has the white sneakers though, and the handcuffs ever present. His hair is unkempt, and he scratches the stubble on his cheek as he looks passively over at Clio, then the spectators, and then up the ceiling. Several police officers of the MCPD arrive, not just for security, but to watch the always-breaking-out prisoner fight.

King of Fighters. Well, Cody couldn't just sit in his cell and miss that. Not that anyone at the Metro City Correctional could stop him from 'taking walks' anyway. Memories of his fight with that crazy lady still stick out, not to mention the bruises. He hopes he can get action like that. He yawns and raises his arms up to stretch. "Alright. So. We doin' this or what?" he asks, sounding impatient.

COMBATSYS: Cody has joined the fight here.

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Cody             0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0             Clio

The fight supervisor signals for the two to begin; Cody slowly moves into his stance similar to a boxer's, fists raised in front of him. He quickly throws a punch out, but from this movement a small tornado of chi is generated and flies out towards Clio's position. "Well now, let's see if we can't do something about my boredom!"

COMBATSYS: Clio blocks Cody's Tornado Sweep.

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Cody             0/-------/-----==|=------\-------\0             Clio

"Fallen hero" nothing. Clio is glad she has a mask on, it hides the grin she has. Though, the mask itself has a sharp-toothed grin on it all the time, so perhaps the hiding is a wash. But either way she's happy to see this man appear. A man that's been something of a star for her. She started with punching up goons and lower end Mad Gear rejects before she was shipped off to learn arcane formulae and join up with the militaristic focus of the NOL. So this, this was home.

But she doesn't talk, she tries to avoid it with the mask and her hood up. Her identity remaining a secret. She just clinks the chain wrapped around her arm and hefts the spike in her hand. She's challenged in her waiting, and she considers a response but can't find one to shout out. Not without blowing some cover. Shit, she thinks, just going to have to get in close.

And then comes a punch strong enough to whip up a little whirlwind. Chi. Clio leans into the matter, literally in this case, her chain wrapped arm and shoulder bracing against the blow. The wind dissipating, a faint shine appearing on her coils of chain. Sigils burning with a faint violet glow. A small nod from Clio and a quiet and muffled comment to herself, "My turn."

She stamps her foot and throws her chain covered arm in a sharp point toward Cody. The symbols on her chain seem to writhe and glow. A formation in them, shadowy fire, it bursts forth and burns through the air, streaking toward Cody. A face, a shape in the flames, a set of jaws in a bestial form open wide and snap with fiery ferocity at the "Fallen Hero". Hopefully this won't bore him too much.

COMBATSYS: Cody dodges Clio's Jaws of Ammut.

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Cody             0/-------/-----==|=------\-------\0             Clio

Cody whistles at the fancy display of energy hurtling towards him. His response is to sway to the side, avoiding it completely. "Huh. Now isn't that somethin'?" he remarks. He's still moving towards her, circling, looking for the right time to strike. He reaches into his pocket...and throws a large amount of sand at Clio, causing a big dustcloud to kick up from it. Soon after, he moves in quick to land a sucker punch to the face. "Hup!" He still looked like he's just woken up, but then again, few have seen him truly animated. Not like the old days.

COMBATSYS: Cody successfully hits Clio with Improvised Punch.

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Cody             0/-------/----===|=====--\-------\0             Clio

A cloud of sand. Blinding, scattering and catching off her mask. Clio'd be spitting it out at that moment if it weren't for that covering on her face. But what's intended still happens. The fist cracks hard against her mask. The woman lurches back, stumbling, turning, rolling on foot to recover herself. Boots scraping and playing for purchase.

Hand down, she flips herself back around, righting her position and surging toward Cody with a burst of speed. A slight right, a twist left, her chain clinks and sparks to a fiery life. Clio rolls out with a swinging heavy weighted end of her chain. The heavy handle hurtling toward Cody's belly.

COMBATSYS: Cody blocks Clio's Crushing Strike.

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Cody             0/-------/---====|=====--\-------\0             Clio

Cody stands watching Clio's recovery and subsequent rush to close the gap. As she swings her heavy chain, he draws his arms in to cover his midsection. The weighted end slams into his arms, which take the brunt of the impact, sending a wave of pain up his arms and no doubt leaving some bruises there. He grunts and backs up, shaking his arms as he considers his next move. "Not bad. As you can see, I'm no stranger to chains," he says.

Cody considers what is available to him in this old subway pit, but there isn't much lying loose on the ground or easily pried free. He stores that thought as he suddenly dashes low, sticking a leg out as that same wind-like chi covers it and gives him the speed to deliver a swift sliding kick. He follows this up by rising and throwing out a second kick to knock Clio upwards. "Take it!"

COMBATSYS: Cody successfully hits Clio with Ruffian Kick EX.

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Cody             0/-------/--=====|=======\=------\1             Clio

She indeed takes it.

The strike huffs against Clio, hard, the whirling twister rolls and tosses Clio up and backward. Crashing against the subway ceiling and down again. She lands, palms out, feet planting, hood down. She reaches to correct her mask. "You're still a hero," she says as she plants herself and considers his next move.

With a snap, she lashes upward, twisting toward the ceiling. She rotates in the air, a spark of violet flame kicks to life. Clio rolls like a barrel and a ring of sigils, arcane language crafted spellwork blasts into being. And then comes the hammer. The weighted end of the kusari-fundo hurtles toward the ground at Cody. As it lands, it erupts upwards with a raging fiery plume.

At times, it's remarkable how easily a samurai cat can blend in with his environment. But now -- here -- in the midst of a subway landing in which two of Metro City's pride and joy are duking it out for the right to advance in the prestigious King of Fighters tournament, the cat in the orange frock finds himself completely alone.

It may have to do with the fact that he's seated in a lotus position near a wall. Perhaps it's the fact that the cat's two large sleeves -- each terminating in stylized, artificial toe beans -- each support one hilt of a samurai sword three feet in length. It could even be that his tails are curled around, their tips twitching in fascination.

It could be that the one-eyed cat is watching the match in complete and studious fascination. Taking in each and every detail.

And that no one, -no one- wants to be the one to stoke the nekomata's ire.

... Or it may because Taokaka was running around earlier, and no one wants to stir up -that- Kaka, either. Hard to say.

COMBATSYS: Cody barely endures Clio's Malleus Maleficarum.

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Cody             1/----===/=======|=------\-------\0             Clio

Cody looks up as Clio performs her aerial maneuever, the chain shifting and lashing out to smack the ground and send a big wave of fiery energy towards him. He decides to throw caution to the wind and steps forward, intentionally taking the brunt of the hit. He's instantly immolated by the chi fire, feeling his entire body burning. He yells out in pain, but keeps moving forward despite this. The flames die down, and while he doesn't look visibly burnt, his skin is reddened and sweat rolls down his face.

"...nah. I gave up all that hero stuff years ago. Sorry." Cody says this casually. He starts to roll his arm. Now to kick things up a notch. His foot lashes out in a forward kick to the stomach; he follows this with a low kick to the shin, then a flurry of rapid roundhouse and straight kicks to multiple parts of Clio's body. He finishes up by leaping slightly and spinning with his leg extended for a spinning double kick finish.

COMBATSYS: Cody successfully hits Clio with Dead End Irony.

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Cody             0/-------/-----==|=======\-------\1             Clio

"Wouldn't be here if you did," Clio's remark is smirking through her Kaka clan copycat mask. She tilts her head, watching the man come out. She slips back from the first kick, her chain starts to spark and glow. But she isn't expecting the second. She cries out sharply at the kick to her shin. Down to her knee. Off her center. The next kick strikes, and the series that follows. Spun, scattered, shattered, she's sent reeling backward. Stumbling and landing back, fallen over the tracks of the old Subway platform, laying down.

"We need," Clio says, hoisting herself back up in a loose, stumbling posture, supporting herself against the subway platform. "More heroes right now." A cough, she twists and snaps her chain. There's a spark, flashing, arcane power building along the woman's chain. With a whirl, she snaps the tip of the spiked end against the ground. As it strikes, Clio leans forward. And with a snap, she pounces.

A blast of motion, two, three images of the young woman in the mask blast outward for Cody. One leaps forward with a rolling wheel kick. A second shape swings in from the side, mounting an assault with a stabbing, violent series of jabs with the spike. Even a third runs in to flank Cody; a one woman riot armed with a fist of blazing arcane fires.

A three part rush from a single woman, who is, in the wake of her self made chaos, walking away from Cody, slowing, stopping, and dropping to her face in the middle of the old tracks.

COMBATSYS: Clio can no longer fight.

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

COMBATSYS: Cody blocks Clio's Cerberus Rush.

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Cody             0/-------/---====|

Cody frowns at Clio's words. He doesn't reply immediately, instead preparing himself for her final assault. The three images come. The wheel kick is blocked high with the chain of his handcuffs. The second coming in to stab him with the bladed part of her weapon. He protects that side with his arm, letting it take the brunt of the hits, the blade piercing his skin and drawing blood, staining the orange jumpsuit. Finally, the third is met with a similar block, though he takes a knocking from the combined strike.

Wounded, but he still stands even as the masked fighter goes down. He sighs and rubs the back of his head. "Maybe. But I ain't one of 'em," he replies, turning to walk away back to the waiting arms of the police, hands in his pockets. After he climbs up onto the subway platform, he pauses, thinking of Haggar's recent visit and his words to him - the promise of a pardon. Would the heroics follow? He shakes the thought from his head before he is taken away.

COMBATSYS: Cody awaits the next challenger.

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

The cat had been as still as a statue, save for the twitching of his tails, or the occasional blink of his eye. It was difficult to even tell that the cat was -breathing-, for his nostrils barely budged, and the movements of his ribcage were perfectly concealed beneath his robes.

But as soon as Clio unleashes one final, three-part rush, the ancient feline warrior draws in a large intake of breath. As she slows, and stops, and begins to collapse, he rises in a single smooth, graceful motion. The perfect counterpart to his fallen teammate.

Somewhere from the area of the snack cart, there is a loud, high-pitched shriek.
It's just Taokaka.
Though there are probably some people terrified by a cat standing four-foot-something on his hind legs, slinging a pair of swords onto his back.

"Hey, kid," slurs the cat in a tough-talking street accent. In other words, the exact opposite of the kind of accent one might expect from a black-and-white cat in a bright orange frock. "You did your part a while ago, don't stress it. Someone'll be sure to pick up yer slack."

The One-Eyed Twin Lotus glances over to the tracks, taking note that medical staff are tending to his masked teammate. He offers a grin as his crimson eye turns up to Cody. "For now though -- I'm yer opponent."

His fur bristles, as his tails form sharp diagonals to either side. "Hope yer ready for round two!"

And as soon as the announcer cries out for the match to resume, the cat thunders towards Cody like lightning. He lashes out, snapping his hips forward and delivering a flying cross kick into Cody's chest. And then he snaps around, lashing his other foot around in a high crescent, aiming to knock him backwards even further!

COMBATSYS: Jubei has wandered into the fight here.

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Cody             0/-------/---====|-------\-------\0            Jubei

COMBATSYS: Cody endures Jubei's Power Strike.

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Cody             1/-------/=======|=------\-------\0            Jubei

Cody pauses, turning as he hears the gruff voice of the cat-man. The fact that he is apparently being challenged by a talking cat does not seem to faze him at all, his frown remaining and his sleepy eyes focused. He slowly cracks his knuckles, realizing the fight isn't over. Unlike his partner Terry, Cody didn't bother reading the rules of the tournament. All he heard was 'fight' and that was it. "..I ain't stressin' anything. The past is the past, right? Only thing that matters is right now."

Jubei seems pretty nimble; Cody spreads his arms and sticks out his chest to fully absorb the blow, feeling the dull thud shoot up his midsection. The crescent kick that follows knocks him up and back, where he lands hard on his side and kicks up some dirt. "Ungh..." he groans, wincing from the hits as he quickly rises again. "Oh, good. I wasn't feeling satisfied yet." He dashes up to Jubei, aiming to grab him and lift him by his collar, whereupon Cody will deliver two knees to the gut, then toss Jubei over his shoulder.

COMBATSYS: Jubei blocks Cody's Crime Throw.

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Cody             1/------=/=======|==-----\-------\0            Jubei

Cats are world-renowned for being sleepy. And yet, this cat seems perfectly alert and awake, in contrast to Cody's sleepy eyes. He's also quick to respond to Cody's assertion with an approving grin. Now -is- the only thing that matters -- now is the only thing anyone has control over. Unless you're one of those time magician types.

The old cat seemed to be quick enough to hurl himself into action, but it seems Cody was, to some measure, ready to stand up against the strikes. Jubei flips back to his feet, with a wide eye and an impressed smile. "Hey, you ain't half bad." And when Cody adds a remark of his own, the One-Eyed Twin Lotus can't help but flash an appreciative nod. Just the kind of response he was hoping for!

He raises his sleeved paws in a wary gesture. When Cody lunges in, the samurai cat is ready, bringing the paws up to curl around Cody's arm. He may not -stop- the former hero from grabbing him by the collar, but he -is- quick enough to bring the knees of his hind paws up, deflecting the knee strikes away from his gut at the cost of a couple grunts from the old cat. And when he's tossed over Cody's shoulder, well, he just rolls with that gesture, tails snapping out as he turns about in mid-air. They say cats always land on their feet, and all that...

"Can tell I'm gonna need the claws for you, boy." Don't worry -- they're clean. He hops back and forth from one foot to the other, then dashes forward with a burst of speed, his form little more than an orange blur.

Each of his mechanical forepaws unleash a trio of blades. Jubei's an old master, at perfect ease with his weapons. He'll seek to deliver four quick swipes of his claws, one after the other -- just enough to draw blood and little else. Nothing a hero of Cody's stature can't handle!

COMBATSYS: Cody blocks Jubei's Fissuring Slash.

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Cody             1/----===/=======|==-----\-------\0            Jubei

"Gotta be sharp in the joint. Know how hard it is to keep a whole prison in line?" Cody replies to the compliment. (Here I am, sweating in an old subway fighting a cat; this might be a new low - or maybe a high?) he thinks to himself. He looks on after Jubei weathers his throw attempt, running a hand through his messy hair.

"Claws? Hey. You can use any weapon you want to, pal." Cody's dull expression changes, subtly, as his eyes flicker with interest at what the cat is going to unleash. He protectively raises his arms to block the swipes, which shred parts of his jumpsuit and do indeed draw blood, but they are shallow. He tsks, and decides to bring out his own weapon. He looks around - and sees something. The prisoner quickly picks up a length of pipe laying by the tracks, leftover from some construction, wielding it like a bat. He moves in on Jubei again, grabbing for him. IF successful he will toss the cat into the air. "Let's have some fun!" he yells. Upon the descent, he will smack the cat with the pipe and send him flying. "HOME RUN!"

COMBATSYS: Jubei fails to counter Toss & Smash from Cody with Immovable Object.

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Cody             1/---====/=======|=====--\-------\0            Jubei

The behavior and responses of Jubei's opponent do tend to remind him of a former student -- something which brings another smile and a nod to the bicolored cat's face. The claws are only -six- of the feline arsenal, and he still has the two big guns, er, swords to bring to bear.

But as he rolls back from his claws, he... -hadn't- expected Cody to bring a weapon of his own to the game. The old cat didn't figure on Cody extending his reach by another six feet, to say the least. "Well, I'm glad I got yer..."

He'd raised his hand to block what he'd thought would be a punch. But that's when his eye goes wide at Cody's new toy. And that's juuust enough time for Cody to pluck him up by the scruff.

WHAM! The home run swing blasts Jubei back, skipping the cat off the side of the wall hard enough to break a half-dozen tiles loose. He slams into another retaining wall, leaving a four-foot-diameter crater in the wall with a notable plume of pulverized grout and mortar as he falls.

And then a caution poster falls off the wall, slamming into the cat from above -- forcing him to wobble around unsteadily before faceplanting forward, having momentarily lost his sense of equilibrium. Apparently cats -don't- always land on their feet?

Still -- a moment later, he rises back to his feet, wobbling from one side to the other. His crimson eye blinks, regaining focus as he stares back at Cody.

"... Awfully gracious of ya, kid." One paw rolls up to brush at the back of his head. And then he tilts forward, his right forepaw slipping down to brush the sword hilt hanging by his left hip -- a notable iaijutsu stance.

The swords may be coming out soon, after all.

Cody hopes he didn't wind up hitting the old cat TOO hard...he wanted this fight to take its time. Not every day you get to fight some cat swordsman. He eyes the hilt of the one at Jubei's hip with interest. "I fought a guy who loved using those things. Long time ago," he observes. "I'm thinkin' you might be more of the real deal. Come on."

He doesn't move in right away. Instead he hurls the pipe towards Jubei. It travels surprisingly fast like a great big throwing knife, and will probably smart if it strikes. Cody is somethin' of an expert at throwing random junk around; he just wishes there was more of it down here.

COMBATSYS: Jubei dodges Cody's Large Thrown Object.

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Cody             1/---====/=======|=====--\-------\0            Jubei

Cody might be on to something, there. Because while, yes, he -did- slam around the subway hard enough to give a poor tile-layer a good afternoon's worth of work, he's still standing. And, oddly, smiling. "Friend of yours, or a foe?"

And when the pipe gets lobbed at him with the accuracy of a throwing spear, the cat is quick and deft enough to leap upwards, twisting in mid-air like a precision missile as he sails over the pipe, his twin tails streaming behind him like rocket exhaust. One might -think- he'd get dizzy like that, but no.

In the next moment, he lands with his left side to Cody. But with a squeak of his paws, he's suddenly dashing towards him! In the next blink of an eye, Jubei has unsheathed -both- swords, and as he flips, he brings both of them to bear upon Cody! Just as one impossibly sharp blade carves an upward diagonal across Cody, the other follows in an opposite diagonal to follow through!

COMBATSYS: Cody interrupts Form Four - Black Panther from Jubei with Rapid Fire.

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Cody             0/-------/-======|=======\-------\1            Jubei

Cody smirks but opts not to answer. Instead he merely waits on the cat to move, noting the sudden speed. As Jubei closes the gap, Cody seems to reach into the breast of his jumpsuit for something. As the cat brings down his swords, Cody actually moves inwards. This means he takes a nasty slice across the front for it, cutting him from shoulder to belly, but it's right where he wants to be. Suddenly a crude, but sharp homemade shiv comes out as Cody rapidly slices Jubei five times before staggering past him. Cody flips the knife in his hand as he turns to face Jubei.

It's a risky maneuver, trying to maneuver in so close from such a distance. Really -- the cat should have known better. But that's part of the problem with letting the opponent engage him in small talk. It's fine -- if it's against an opponent who isn't up to form.

It would seem that Cody is on his game, though. The cat suddenly feels what it's like to have his -own- blood drawn -- one, two, three, -five- stab wounds in rapid succession, before he can even flit away to safety. The cat is fast, but apparently not fast enough, as shown by five crimson blooms along his bright orange jacket. The swords find their way back to their scabbards just before the cat touches down.

He stumbles as he lands, his eye half-lidding as he raises both paws up parallel to the ground. He whirls around quickly to face Cody -- so quickly that the orange hood flies right off his head, baring an unruly mane of black and white fur.

The smile is gone -- replaced with cold determination. Cody wanted an interesting fight -- and now he'll get to see what the old samurai master has in store.

Jubei slides forward, zigging to the left, zagging to the right in erratic fashion. Each time his hind claws scrape against the pavement, sparks begin to fly -- sparks that begin to ooze out a black, ichorous chi. He leaps, twisting into a flip.

And then the familiar *SHIIIING* of steel sliding out of scabbards can be heard.

Suddenly the cat is immediately overhead -- and even in mid-air, he zips from side to side, carving in erratic zig-zag slashes with his two legendary blades, leaving coarse black chi in his wake. It's as if a thunderbolt took the cat's form -- with Cody at the stormbolt's epicenter!

COMBATSYS: Cody blocks Jubei's Twin Guardians - Mourning Shore.

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Cody             1/-------/=======|==-----\-------\0            Jubei

Cody tosses the knife back and forth in his hands as he watches Jubei start to get serious. "Now that's what I'm talkin' about. That look..." he remarks, sounding a bit hopeful. He steels himself, watching the cat zip around after unsheathing his blades. As the chaotic slashes come, he deflects using his knife, keeping the more serious cuts away from him while still taking the lighter stuff - his jumpsuit further shredded by the strokes, drawing more blood that flicks onto the dirt of the old subway track.

He continues this, deflecting the blows with his simple shiv as nonchalantly as if he had his own full length sword. Few in the world are as handy with a knife as Cody Travers, and it is evident on display here. Another slash cuts his cheek, the blood trickling down as he waits for the right moment to retaliate. Wait for it...there! Cody whirls around and throws the knife like a dart, hoping to catch Jubei in the thigh with it.

COMBATSYS: Jubei instinctively blocks Cody's Snipe Shot.

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Cody             1/-------/=======|===----\-------\0            Jubei

The downforce of the Twin Guardians washes down over Cody like a torrential downpour, black chi roiling around and evaporating mere moments after contact. But, as the Legendary Hero sought to avoid critical injuries even in his focused state, Cody's shiv proved sufficient in warding off the mighty Dream Blades -- though not without a shower of sparks.

Upon sensing the deflection of his attacks, Jubei instead redoubles the pressure against Cody's shiv on the last strike, using Cody's resistance as a springboard from which to flip backwards. He lands a good four meters back, all the same, his blades shimmering in the light as they seem to be moving independently of the feline's body. As Cody's shiv flies towards him, one of the mythic blades suddenly lashes upward at an extreme angle, causing another shower of sparks as the blade is deflected away. The cat reflexively moves his head to the side, avoiding the richocheting blade as it etches a crimson line across his upper sleeve, drawing a mild grunt from the aged cat. The truth behind the swords' motion becomes more clear as the swords rise behind his back: the cat's prehensile tails, each coiled around the hilts of the sister blades.

Jubei's black-and-white fur begins to blow upwards, as if tossed aloft by an ethereal wind. 'That look', as Cody noted, has not faded in the slightest -- he keeps his distance, focusing back at Cody with steel determination.

The feline roots his paws against the ground. The funnel of a whirlwind kicks at his sleeves, pulls at his orange robes, marked with wisps of white and black. His assaults may have abated for the moment -- but the gaze One-Eyed Twin Lotus is no less intimidating from the center of a rising tornado. His nostrils flare as he breathes in -- watching, and massing strength for the next relentless barrage of attacks.

COMBATSYS: Jubei gathers his will.

[                    \\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////              ]
Cody             1/-------/=======|>>>>>>>\-------\0            Jubei

Cody watches Jubei power up, sniffing as he thumbs his nose and slowly picks up the knife, tossing it up and down into his hand without even looking. No remarks this time; he is waiting to see what will become of this, knowing he's got the disadvantage; he can feel his wounds catching up to him, breathing harder, sweat and blood staining his jumpsuit. This was a powerful foe, no doubt, and just what he was looking for. Suddenly the prisoner charges, moving in a serpentine fashion as he winds up a haymaker punch to smash on top of Jubei's head, with enough force to displace some of the still air in the subway!

COMBATSYS: Jubei blocks Cody's Fierce Strike.

[                    \\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////                ]
Cody             1/-------/=======|>>>>>>>\-------\1            Jubei

Jubei's watchful eye tracks Cody as he retrieves the blade. He shows neither malice nor fear, happiness nor anger. Just cold determination.

Rooted to the ground, he keeps his paws outstretched, drawing more and more energy from the world around him. His furry mane buffets about in the wind as he pivots the bare minimum necessary to follow Cody -- knowing full well that the street-smart warrior isn't about to call it quits any time soon.

The cat's tails, for their part, appear to be dextrous enough to sheathe the swords all on their own.

And then, there it is -- a windup, and a haymaker punch aimed at settling the score. The force of Cody's punch triggers a ripple effect throughout the flow of ebony and ivory chi, threatening to bowl the cat over...

But Jubei, himself, does not shift his footing in the slightest. Instead, his move -- nearly instantaneous -- is to swivel his paw into the path of the punch, a firm metal shove delivered to Cody's wrist a split-second before it hits the cat's head. Instead, Cody will have to settle for a grazing impact to the cat's shoulder.

But still, the torrents of alabaster and obsidian chi swirl around him, rapidly filling in the void left by the rapid attack. And before Cody can get himself back to a comfortable distance...

Jubei surges forward, moving as swiftly as lightning. His claws slash in an intersecting, criss-crossing pattern -- a brutal onslaught of furrowing slices. It might be too fast for the audience to follow, at first -- until they are able to see the wave of displaced air in his wake. A pattern of inky black and milky white chi left behind the feline, leaving behind vacant remnants to show the arcs cleaved by his claws.

COMBATSYS: Cody barely endures Jubei's Shiranui EX.

[                            \\  < >  //////////////                ]
Cody             1/-======/=======|>>>>>>>\>------\1            Jubei

Despite looking nonplussed, Cody's lip twitches in concern that his punch was blocked. He may have just missed an opportunity. "Well, this is gonna suck," he remarks with a sigh, just bevore the whirling dervish of claws hits him. Cody lets it all connect, knowing he doesn't have much else in the way of options. The claw strikes cut deeper into his flesh, blood FLYING from Cody's wounds as the blades hit home. "Yeaaaagh!" The prisoner falls to his knees, jumpsuit top shredded; all that's left is tatters hanging by his waist, revealing his white tanktop with bruised and cut flesh, the white stained red.

Fighting unconsciousness now; that familiar old feeling. The adrenaline Cody craves, the stuff that makes him feel alive, forces him to stand as he turns to lunge at Jubei and grab the cat by the scruff, then fling him hard against the far walls of the subway tunnel. Crude, but that's possibly all he has left in the tank. Cody falls face first...

COMBATSYS: Cody has reached second wind!

[                       \\\\\\\  < >  //////////////                ]
Cody             1/-======/=======|>>>>>>>\>------\1            Jubei

...but as soon as he hits the ground, he stirs, eyes snapping open as he pushes himself back into a stand, raising his fists once more. "Not yet, tomcat. Party's just gettin' started!"

COMBATSYS: Jubei counters Medium Throw from Cody with Divine Form.

[                           \\\  < >  /////////////                 ]
Cody             2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|>>>>>>>\-------\1            Jubei

There is one thing Jubei has learned about heroes -- you can't keep a good one down. Cody may be in denial of his own talent, but the fact remains that the street brawler loves a good fight -- and the cat would be dishonorable in giving him any less.

As the cat concludes with his slashing attacks, he bounds off a fair distance as a follow-through. Landing another half-meter away, he whirls about in mid air, his hind claws scraping sparks across the floor as he reorients, landing with his right paw curled around the hilt of his blade. It's true that this also presents his good shoulder to Cody -- but more importantly, the scruff that Cody had wanted to grab hold of. And when Cody grabs hold...?

The feline samurai surges at the very last instant; the hero of Metro City will have to settle for the purchase on his hood, instead. It's enough purchase to send Jubei flying towards the wall all the same though--

But the One-Eyed Twin Lotus is canny enough to turn this situation to his advantage. Both hind paws land nimbly upon the surface of the wall. And before Cody can even realize it...

There will be a new wound erupting along his side, fire burning through his blood.

Jubei will be standing on the opposite side of him, raising his crimson-streaked sword slightly. A flick of the wrist is enough to paint the floor with a splash of blood. A necessary gesture, before the samurai's honor will allow him to nock the now-clean sword back into its sheath.

Jubei turns to look over his shoulder, his crimson eye fixating upon Cody once again. The 'party?' It's still on -- and if he weren't already locked in the grip of a warrior trance, he might have a similarly smart remark to make on that.

Cody at first doesn't register what exactly has happened...and then he unleashes a yell of pain that echoes through the tunnel as the fresh wound gushes blood. He falls to a knee clutching his side as Jubei wipes the sword clean. "Damn...that's clean. That feels...yeah, that's it," Cody says in a strained voice. Relishing the pain, it spurs him to stand and turn. One last effort.

He's on Jubei again, spinning his arm around in a hook punch to the jaw, then follows with a series of jabs, a stomach blow, a shot to the jaw, another spinning punch, and finally ending with the prisoner delivering a massive uppercut that generates a small tornado of chi. "Jackpot!"

COMBATSYS: Jubei dodges Cody's Final Destruction.

[                           \\\  < >  /////////////                 ]
Cody             0/-------/<<<<<<<|>>>>>>>\-------\1            Jubei

The endless drumbeat of the warrior trance ticks like a metronome in Jubei's ears -- th-thump, th-thump. Whorls of black and white chi cling to his fore and hind paws like cobwebs as he pivots his shoulder towards Cody once again -- a ritual stance, practiced time and time again, until the swords were as much an extension of himself as the mechanical paws on his sleeves. Jubei nods in tacit response to the Hero of Metro City -- less to the statement, and more to answer the unspoken question of 'You're still fit to fight?'

And so he is -- as the cat concludes once Cody lunges into a hook punch. The cat chooses to relinquish his plan of attack, scrambling backwards to avoid the hook punch, and then hopping back in perfect synchronization with each successive strike. The jabs fall short. The body blow is sidestepped. The jaw punch is ducked beneath. And when the spinning punch follows, Jubei throws himself into a sideways roll. It all happens so fast that the miniature tornado even picks up wisps of the cat's residual black and white chi.

But once Jubei lands, that black and white chi flares up large, rolled about more and more by Cody's own tornado -- as if it's threatening to spin out of control! Magnified by the old master's power, the tornado's pull becomes nearly irresistable -- quite the distraction, as the cat unsheathes the blade for a quick horizontal strike across Cody's thigh, followed by a the cat reversing into a quick overhand slash from his second sword.

All delivered with the precision of an ancient legend.

COMBATSYS: Cody blocks Jubei's Medium Strike.

[                             \  < >  ///////////////               ]
Cody             0/-------/<<<<<<<|>>>>>>-\-------\0            Jubei

Cody tracks the cat despite the roaring of the chi power swirling about them. He was barely holding together; he could feel his strength draining rapidly. But he kept on. The first slash is abated somewhat when he turns to take the strike on the meat of his thigh again, like with Clio - the second is blocked by his arms, causing more cuts to his person. He blinks back the sweat, then goes in with his knife for a diagonal cut, followed by a shoulder stab, putting all he has into the quick combination. The beginnings of a grin could be seen at the edge of his mouth. He hasn't felt this good since he fought that Juri woman. Who knew his next high would come from a little cat swordsman?

COMBATSYS: Jubei blocks Cody's Medium Strike.

[                             \  < >  /////////////                 ]
Cody             1/-------/=======|>>>>>>>\-------\0            Jubei

Jubei gets that a lot. It's easy for humans to underestimate the cat -- which is at least -one- part of why he's up here on the world's stage again.

Cody, though... is proving to be one conundrum after another. Jubei's seen plenty of people with his particular devil-may-care attitude. And only one, -one- such person has impressed him to the degree Cody has -- and the samurai master had been quick to take him on as a disciple. So there's that.

There's even the barest glimmer of a grin in the cat's expression as well, battle trance be damned.

Jubei leans backward, twinned swords still clutched firmly in his paws. The diagonal cut is swatted inward with the flat of Jubei's leading blade, yielding a light 'clink!' noise. The followup, though, digs in hard to his shoulder, forcing a mild yelp from the feline warrior as he pulls back to disengage.

At this point, though, Jubei spins about rapidly. In the midst of his spin, one sword ends up in the possesion of a tail. The other makes a transverse cut, just above the knee, punctuated by a wide swath of ivory white chi. And the first sword inverts, as his tail drags the first sword in a wild, nearly unpredictable diagonal from low to high across Cody, leaving behind an arc of ebony black, as he leaps backwards. Locked in the battle trance, he wouldn't put it past Cody to withstand even that...!

COMBATSYS: Cody blocks Jubei's Form One - Shadow Wolf.

[                                < >  /////////////                 ]
Cody             1/------=/=======|>>>>---\-------\0            Jubei

Cody is slightly hunched over when Jubei makes his next move. He can't even find the strength to lift his arms. Nor can he keep up with Jubei's movement, but he instinctively curls inwards to protect his knee from the sword, taking another cut to the arm/shoulder area instead, the chi burning into him. The second cut drags across his chest, and then blackness begins to take hold of his vision once more.

Cody yells wordlessly, throwing his leg out in a powerful kick that shoots him forward, wind-like chi coating said leg similar to the tornado he generated earlier. After this, he staggers a few steps, and falls...

COMBATSYS: Cody can no longer fight.

[                 \\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Jubei            0/-------/---<<<<|

...and this time, Cody doesn't get up.

COMBATSYS: Jubei full-parries Cody's Ruffian Kick!!

[                 \\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Jubei            0/-------/--<<<<<|

It's remarkable, the resilience of a fighter who plunges themselves headlong into combat not out of sheer survival, but for the -thrill- of it. Jubei will never cease to be impressed with those who prefer the steady drumbeat of battle to the soft-spoken melodies of peace. Every generation brings him new and startling takes on the battle-tested formulae of old. New blood, to revitalize the martial arts anew.

And that... is why he grins, ever so faintly, as his blades land true.

He doesn't wince when Cody barks out in pain -- mostly because his battle trance has led him to expect the unexpected. When the nearly-downed fighter lashes back with a tornado-infused kick, the samurai master steps sideways, swings his swords parallel to his body, and vaults up into a sideways cartwheel. The wind of Cody's last-ditch kick whistles against his blades, each point of impact blossoming into splashes of ebony and ivory, like fireworks in hyper-accelerated time. Jubei continues to whirl away, his one-eyed stare reflected in the blade held -far- too close to his own face by the impending demand of the rushing attack...

But by the time the feline samurai can land, Cody is entering a stagger. And by the time the blades are homed back to their respective scabbards, with stereoscopic clinks...

Cody collapses to the floor.

And Jubei releases his breath, inky splashes of black and white falling to the floor like discarded ink. His crimson eye passes over to Cody -- though, not with the unabiding focus of before, but the half-lidded fatigue of an old man about to pass out.

"Heh. Some fine fightin', there, kid. We'll have to cross blades again some time."

Jubei sits down, pretty much right where he stands. And he starts patting his torn, bloodied robes down, before finally finding the kiseki pipe he'd stashed for just such an occasion.

Relax. It's not tobacco he's going to light up and smoke while waiting for his next opponent. Jubei's all about the catnip, kiddies.

COMBATSYS: Jubei awaits the next challenger.

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

Classic Chuck Taylor Converse make their way through the gathered crowd and towards the platform in which the violence and havoc is taking place. Familiar denim. Even more familiar gloves. Sleeveless jacket with ripped edges.

Signature Cap.

With a bit of a smirk across his lips, Terry Bogard looks from where Cody lays and over towards the sittin' and smokin' warrior that has taken down his fellow Mongrel.

"Not bad." There's no sarcasm or anything. Terry seems to be genuinely giving the catnip lover a bit of praise without rooting for his opponent. He reaches up to make sure his cap is on tight and works his fingers as he steps up to his side of this battle area.

"By the way..." Terry digs his sneaker into the floor a bit, getting into his familiar fighting stance. "Did you hear the one about the Hungry Wolf?"

Terry raises this fingerless gloved fists up to indicate that he's ready to throw down. "They say he's the one that knocked the cat out of the bag." Some purposefully bad banter to get things kicked off.

COMBATSYS: Terry has wandered into the fight here.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////           ]
Terry            0/-------/-------|=====--\-------\0            Jubei

The orange-frocked cat stockpiled a number of injuries during his battle-entranced fight with the unusually reslient Cody. It goes without saying that most felines would've gorged on catnip at the -beginning- of the fight rather than the end, but the fact remains that a few puffs of the mild hallucinogenic serves as a good reward for the elder warrior.

But all drug hazes must come to an end. And this one ends with a dilated pupil fixating on the general vicinity of a certain Terry Bogard. The cat finishes his draw on the kiseki, one furred paw snaking out of the folds of his frock to snuff the flame.

The cat's lone pupil contracts as the wizened warrior pushes through the haze. His response to the joke can be best summed as 'vaguely amused.'

"... Hm."And maybe a bit deadpan.
"I seem t'be missin' somethin' here."

The cat tucks the kiseki away into the folds of his robes, slinging his paws forward to pull himself back to his hind paws.

"... So is that a nickname of yours? 'Hungry Wolf?'" The wandering samurai flashes an aloof smile back at his opponent, sidestepping towards the center of the ring. For a moment, it seems like he might still be under the influence.

But then he raises one giant paw, pad-side up.

Three giant claws zip right out of his paw, as he makes a beckoning gesture. The universal sign language for 'Bring it, punk!'

"So you just gonna howl at the moon, or get in the ring and show me what yer worth?"

It only takes a paw-flavored beckoning for Terry Bogard to leap into the ring. He stomps down and prepares himself for the coming battle. Because that's just how Southtown Saviors do.

"Say no more, Furball." Again, Terry goes for the playful banter because this is a tournament and there's no need to be out and out mean. It's not like he's fighting Geese or something. That's when the REAL WORDS of JUSTICE will flow. For now, he will just tease.

"To be honest, I've got a lot of nicknames. Hungry Wolf is the one I like best. Speaking of, want to add a little spice to this here fight?"

Terry rushes at Jubei, gloved fist reared back and aims a quick succession of jabs in Jubei's direction. Just enough to see what kind of fighter he's going to be dealing with here. Testing the waters and answering such beckoning paws as were used on him before.

"Losing team buys dinner?"


COMBATSYS: Jubei blocks Terry's Medium Punch.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////            ]
Terry            0/-------/-------|=====--\-------\0            Jubei

Jubei may come across as aloof, but the fact remains that he's done at least -some- research on the Hungry Wolf prior to this match. It wouldn't take long -- even for the elder cat with his underpowered cellphone -- to find footage of Terry from the previous King of Fighters tournament. So he knows a thing or two, to say the least, meeting the gentle ribbing with a serene smile and an encouraging flick of his twin tails.

Most people use the pitch of their voice to flavor their requests; Bogard seems to be leaning on a fiery mesquite in the form of a barrage of punches. The elder cat seems to have little problem dealing with the spice, hopping backwards in perfect synchronicity with Terry's advance, raising his paws up and batting them away from his core. The mechanical paw extensions seem like they're made of some kind of metal, but the way the cat moves, it becomes clear they're just part of his clan's fighting style.

Even as the attacks ravage his guard, he still has the presence to flash a smile as he leaps backwards to forestall even more punches. Oh, and to provide an answer.

"Hope yer team's okay with Happy Meals, I ain't got a lot of spendin' cash!"

Jubei lands, placing his left paw on the sword hilt hanging over his left shoulder. And in the blink of an eye, he surges forward, drawing the sword in a rapid overhead slash. He'd follow with a quick draw from the second sword, sweeping a diagonal slash from below. Nothing -deep- or -fatal-... but plenty of pain. If nothing else, the "Mongrels" team has shown they're able to handle the extra spice.

COMBATSYS: Terry blocks Jubei's Crushing Strike.

[  \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////            ]
Terry            0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0            Jubei

"Who doesn't love Happy Meals?"

It's actually an honest question because Terry Bogard can't even fathom someone not liking a delicious meal of manageable portions that comes with a /toy/. Seriously. It's called a Happy Meal for a reason.

This question is punctuated by the raising of his arms when that sword comes slashing at him. Without the sleeves of his jacket he ends up catching the blade across the edge of his skin, both times. While this protects him from getting cut worse than he would be, there's still a spray of blood that comes from the way he blocks those bladed attacks.

"As long as you don't skimp on the Apple Pies..."

Terry rushes at Jubei again, leaning down and dripping blood across the floor as he nears his cat flavored opponent. He aims his broad shoulder to catch Jubei and launch him up into the air! He has no initial follow up as he's just wanting to throw Jubei off his own warrior strategy... and perhaps set him up for more vicious attackery.

COMBATSYS: Terry successfully hits Jubei with Power Charge.

[   \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////               ]
Terry            0/-------/-----==|==-----\-------\0            Jubei

Jubei wrinkles his nose as he withdraws, pausing for a moment to slick the blood from his swords before tucking them back into their scabbards. As Terry might know, it's not that the gesture is a signal for an end to the fight, but more a preparation for later in that the samurai's strongest cuts come from the draw.

"Mmm. Love the taste o' them preservatives." The wily cat may be smiling a bit -too- much though, for as Terry comes thundering in, the nimble cat is caught off-guard by Terry's attack. The One-Eyed Twin Lotus finds himself jerked airborne all of a sudden, his billowy jacket fluttering with the wind.

"Heh, maybe I should get /serious/..." he cracks back, re-orienting himself in the air. A pool of black chi erupts in his path, allowing him to bound off it, sharply reverse his direction. He'll slam the back of his claw against Terry -- hoping to return the favor of knocking him back!

And if he connects, he'd form a second pool of black chi in the air, bounding off that to unleash a vicious sword slash at Bogard, cloaked in more of that dark, inky chi! "Hraaaaa!"

COMBATSYS: Terry barely endures Jubei's Miroku - Spherical Illusion EX.

[         \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////               ]
Terry            0/-------/-======|==-----\-------\0            Jubei

"Serious is a state of mind. Which is why I prefer mindless violence."

Terry's in the middle of yet another banterish quip when Jubei is on the attack. He catches sight of the black chi out of the corner of his eye but realizes far too late that he's not going to be able to mount a defense against it. No movement's going to get him out of the way. His arms are already bleeding from the previous swordplay. So, instead, he digs his heels in and takes the back of the claw right to the chest.


The pain has him wincing and attempting to recover himself but there's only a brief respite before another slash of that sword has his shirt torn and blood spilling forth. Not gruesomely, at least. But he's definitely going to be feeling that one later.

"... okay, ugh. Maybe a bit more like mindless /controlled/ violence." Even in saying that, Terry Bogard's wearing his signature smile. He lives and loves for this kind of action packed brawling.

There's a quick surge of energy that circles Terry in the next moment as he takes off for a quick two steps towards Jubei. He takes to the air, flipping forwards and aims an extended leg for drop kicking purposes.

COMBATSYS: Jubei blocks Terry's Crack Shoot EX.

[         \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////                 ]
Terry            0/-------/--=====|===----\-------\0            Jubei

Serious -is- a state of mind. And as Terry Bogard may notice, after the cat's most recent series of attacks, the feline certainly seems to be in a less joking state of mind. The smile from before has faded -- perhaps with blood loss, or maybe the catnip high had worn off. But for any rate, as Jubei pivots away, slicking the blood off his swords, it's a narrowed eye with which he stares back at Terry.

Still. Terry's response is one that -would- draw him out of the serious mindset, if he weren't already committed to it. The cat may be aloof to some aspects of human society, but he knows that 'mindless' and 'controlled' don't exactly make the best bedfellows in a sentence.

But he lets the comment pass without acknowledgement, leaping up as if to meet Terry's falling foot! It might seem like he's charging in for an attack, as the scabbard from his back swivels forward into his grip. But it becomes clear that he has other plans -- for there are two different things that happen.

One, is that Terry's soles slam into the scabbard, with a *CLACK!* and the *CLINK!* of two swords jostling about within.

And two, Jubei plants both his feet upon the sword, using the momentum transferred from Terry to catapult himself backwards and away! The twin-tailed beastman reseats his scabbard upon his back as hurtles through the air nose-first, twisting about like a guided missile to his destination.

And just before landing, he reorients his feet to the ground. When he lands, there's a sort of *SPLASH!* as he hits -- puddles of white and black chi hitting the ground, before starting to swirl around him like a whirlwind.

It is here that Jubei turns to face Terry. His hood falls back, the black and white fur of his mane flaring out. And the rising torrent of chi accelerates, rapidly, rustling his jacket and fur into motion.

For it's clear that Jubei -is- getting serious, once more -- collecting his chi for what's sure to be a final push to the end of this match.

COMBATSYS: Jubei gathers his will.

[         \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////                ]
Terry            0/-------/--=====|=======\-------\1            Jubei

Terry manages to take the opportunity of Jubei getting some space to give himself some space as well. He's not exactly wanting to press the attack too much. That's usually how you get yourself into trouble. And with that splash of chi he just witnessed, Terry's not really rushing to jump off into the mix and get himself whooped up something fierce.

This /is/ a tournament, after all. If this were, perhaps, an unsanctioned street fight he'd be more apt to go all out. He's aiming for a little more strategy this time around. Which is definitely not his forte.

Recognizing that this is a moment to gather his thoughts, Terry Bogard straightens up and works his shoulders a few times. The rotation seems to be both loosening up the muscles in his arms and the occasional spark and crackle of his own chi energy crawls across his body. Searing the wounds in his arms and across his chest to put a stop to his blood leaks.

"Alright. I went first when we started." Terry motions at Jubei with a beckoning head nod. "Your turn."

COMBATSYS: Terry turns his cap backwards and gets serious!

[        \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////                ]
Terry            1/------=/=======|=======\-------\1            Jubei

Jubei's crimson eye remains fixed upon Terry, cold and unemotional. He is in now the state of the Empty Mind -- a battle trance where all trivialities are evicted, and only the cold, impenetrable logic of combat is allowed tenancy. No lingering thoughts of defeat, nothing to distract the heart of the warrior from its one true desire: victory.

The cat's nostrils flare. That's as much acknowledgement as Terry will get.

And then, a heartbeat later, Jubei charges in, bounding on all fours. For once in this fight, it becomes clear that he's willing to let nature take over for a moment, closing the gap in little more than a second.

But his feline aspect is -not- in control of this fight, as Jubei hurls himself hard to the side, seeking to slam his shoulder into the crackling Terry. The sword scabbard once again makes its impact known, with a *CLACK!* and the two swords shuddering within.

But this time, Jubei would -draw- the swords, simultaneously, savagely swinging their infinitely sharp edges across Terry's guard. It may be an attempt to goad the cat into a trap, it's true -- but the ancient samurai seems more than willing to overpower Terry's force with his own.

Jubei | http://www.dustloop.com/wiki/index.php?title=File:BBCF_Jubei_BlackPanther.png

COMBATSYS: Terry interrupts Form Four - Black Panther from Jubei with Rising Upper.

[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////                    ]
Terry            0/-------/-======|=======\=------\1            Jubei

Terry's in the middle of making sure that energy crackles around his body when the catches sight of the cat on the move again. Sure he had just turned his cap around and was getting himself serious but that's no reason to just stand there and let himself get wrecked up something fierce.

Terry Bogard does some mental math and telegraphs Jubei's movements in his head. At least, where he thinks he's going to go. And there's just a bit of a smirk on his lips when he takes his next movements.

Jubei's movements have those cat like reflexes and movement all up in Terry's face and the street brawler crouches low, almost as if he's beckoning for his opponent to come closer. When Jubei comes at him with that hurling side slam attempt, Terry twists and rises... leading with a minimal sparked right fist to uppercut Jubei and set a new tone for this whole battle.

"Alright. Maybe there's room for a /little/ bit of seriousness." is said after his Chucks hit the ground and he slides a foot backwards into his fighting stance, once again.

Everything in combat is a calculated risk -- the ebb and flow of combat, the subtle tells of attention and focus, even the rise and fall of the ribcage are all potential elements of offense and defense. One fractional shift one way or the other can be a fatal error in a fight.

And relentless offense... the results are clear. Terry made himself a target, and Jubei had plunged right into it, setting himself up to be punched from below, right -into- the ribcage, and slammed skyward with a shower of explosive sparks. The One-Eyed Twin Lotus whirls about in mid-air, grunting back the pain -- but even there, he's not one to be counted out.

His crimson eye tracks towards Terry.
Then it looks at his feet.
Then he looks over Terry's left shoulder.
Then he looks to Terry's right.
Then he looks towards Terry's -left-.

A moment later, four pools of black chi form, each floating in mid-air, and each centered directly upon the points Jubei had looked at. The sword is drawn -- and its hilt is carried by twin tails to his mouth. A moment after that, as the cat starts to fall earthward, the pools solidify into hexagonal shapes.

And the very next moment, the cat is little more than a blur of motion.

Claws unfurl, reaving three parallel strokes across Terry's shins.
Claws swing again, raking upwards across Terry's front.
Claws swing again, this time carving downward across him.
Claws swing a final time, slashing furrows horizontally across.

Each time -- the cat bounds from one hexagon to the next, as quickly as if hopping across stepstones in a pond, with everything happening during just a few blinks of an eye.

COMBATSYS: Terry dodges Jubei's Shiranui Steel.

[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////                    ]
Terry            0/-------/-======|=------\-------\0            Jubei

Terry Bogard watches the cat as much as he can. The speed is almost too much to actually realize that he's about to get attacked. He's keeping an eye on the chi pools that are nearby. And when he sees those claws come out...

Terry runs.

Bogard spins around and takes off in a quick run, leaping and diving out of the way. He hits the floor and rolls to get himself out of harm's way.

Terry rolls back up to his feet and dusts off his pants and his sleeveless jacket. He figures the time for banter is over since he just kind of dodged a possible bullet. "That probably would've hurt." Guess there's not exactly ever a time to not banter anymore. Especially during a tournament of fighters that are fighting each other in this way.

Terry goes airborne for a moment, somersaulting into the air and aiming his foot at Jubei in the classic attack pose from the cover of Divekick!

COMBATSYS: Jubei instinctively dodges Terry's Diving Kick.

[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////                    ]
Terry            0/-------/-======|=------\-------\0            Jubei

Jubei's got one rather notable flaw -- one that cost him his wife. And that is his brutal directness -- a penchant for cutting straight to the heart of a matter. It's true that his swords may be sharp enough to split atoms, but they cease to be effective when not allowed to hit their mark. As demonstrated, with Jubei flitting from one point to another -- and Terry out of the range of attack. To Jubei's credit, he stops after the second dash sends him hurtling upwards, and he's able to bend his path to avoid hitting the next hexagonal pool.

As the pools dissipate into nothingness, the samurai cat flips about in midair, his coat flapping from the wind. Upon his paw hitting the mat, he looks up to find Terry crashing down at him...

And the cat tumbles forward, with not an instant to spare -- it's so close that Terry can likely feel the fur from one of his tails whipping by.

But when Jubei's eye turns to face him, it becomes clear his iris has dilated.
It seems that the catnip is kicking in again.

The cat suddenly surges forward, rushing past so fast that it hardly seems like he'd done anything at all, with black chi bleeding off his form. It's only after he appears on the opposite side of Terry that nine criss-crossing vacuums would show where he'd have slashed with his claws -- that is to say, Terry Bogard, if all went according to the entranced cat's plan!

COMBATSYS: Jubei successfully hits Terry with Shiranui EX.

[                 \\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////                    ]
Terry            1/----===/=======|====---\-------\0            Jubei


The look and the confusion on Terry Bogard's face is pretty clear. It's a combination of what happens when somebody doesn't know what the heck just happened and 'this is going to hurt'. There's only a moment in which Terry gets to make this face as he's just watched black chi blur past him.

Then it happens.

Out of the ether come brutal slashes across his body, in vicious succession, showering the air with his blood as hie arms, legs, chest and even his face suffer the brutality that comes forth from such speed and catnip'd viciousness.

It actually takes Terry a moment to feel it and realize what has transpired. His reaction comes as no surprise as there is a volley of winces and pained as he stumbles to try and keep his footing after such a tyrannical attack.

"Yeah, uh... that's definitely gonna' leave a mark." Terry quips, still managing to smile through the blood that's pouring off his body in a way that's more before. He's suffering from a lot more cuts this time.

Terry shakes off some of the blood and leaps at Jubei, with his knee extended in an effort to launch the catlike grace'd warrior into the air with him via the gut. Hopefully, such things can happen, because Terry's primed and gathering chi upon his ascent to punch Jubei back down to the mat with a violent diving punch of Southtown Streets Justice.

COMBATSYS: Terry successfully hits Jubei with Star Dunk Volcano EX.

[                 \\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////                         ]
Terry            0/-------/------=|=======\-------\1            Jubei

The black and white tomcat steps forward, pivoting back around to face Terry after his attack. His dilated pupil focuses on the blood dripping free from his opponent -- true enough testament to Terry's fortitude that such blades would be -needed-.

Still locked in his catnip-addled battle trance, he has no words to reply to Terry -- only action. And that action would be for him to leap backwards -- though, in that case, the amount of speed Terry still had at his disposal was underestimated. Jubei is caught with an extended knee, and finds himself the target of a killer spike, powerful enough to thump him right back down to the mat with enough force to even bounce him a bit.

The cat looks -limp- when he bounces back up, actually. And for a moment it looks as if he might stay down...

But just for a moment, for the feline warrior suddenly leaps back, back arched as if a wild cucumber were suddenly tossed on the stage. His iris focuses on Terry...

And then the battle trance reminds him to strike. The cat draws in his breath, and leaps into the air with his powerful legs. He's not worried so much about a repeat performance of his fight with Cody -- clearly. Because some techniques are so powerful they begin to -define- a fighter.

He spins in the air -- and unsheathes the twin Dream Blades in the process.

He thunders downward, slashing a hard diagonal down in one direction, then the other. The sky is torn apart, with black chi streaming from the fissures. And the zig-zagging slashes continue as he plummets down towards Terry!

COMBATSYS: Jubei successfully hits Terry with Twin Guardians - Mourning Shore.

[                       \\\\\\\  < >  /////                         ]
Terry            0/-------/--=====|===----\-------\0            Jubei

Terry's looking a bit worse for the wear. He's not exactly looking like he's going to be recovering any time soon. In fact, he looks like he's trying to find a way to stay on his feet. There's a lot that's going on inside his body and the way his smirk falters every once in a bit is making it clear that he's feeling more pain than he wants to let on.

He's a hero. Heroes don't show pain. If they can help it.

The ability to not show pain is not in the cards for what happens next, though, as Jubei kicks it up a few dozen notches and sends Terry's world spinning out of control... and then some. Those swords become the bane of his existence once again as Jubei thunders down towards him. Terry brings his arms up in a last ditch effort to try and protect himself but to no avail! The slicing and dicing and the zigging and zagging and the violent display of chi comes crashing down into his body in such a way that when it's all said and done... Terry Bogard is down.

It takes him a moment to realize that he's down and one of those gloved hands forms into a fist in which he uses to balance himself and drags the other gloved fist to push against the ground. He rises slowly and wobbles to his feet. As he gets to his feet, his fist charges with a blue chi glow and he leaps and dashes towards Jubei with that chi-charged fist in an attempt to give the crowd what they came to see.

And to make Jubei feel the BURN of his KNUCKLE!

COMBATSYS: Jubei counters Burn Knuckle from Terry with Immovable Object.

[                             \  < >  ////                          ]
Terry            1/-------/=======|====---\-------\0            Jubei

Aside from spending just one moment too many on the mat... Jubei has been taking pains to avoid showing the true fatigue he's experiencing. After the extended match against Cody, and with Terry showing off just how much of a hero he is, the elder kitty has definitely earned himself a hefty nap after this battle. But until then, he's going to keep wearing a strong, confident face. Dilated pupil or otherwise.

He hops backwards, flicking the blood from his blades and sliding them back into their scabbard, as he has countless times before. It's rote, a ritual -- and absolutely essential to maintain the keen edge. It's not like the warrior can turn back the hands of time -- if he could, he'd settle for having his wife back in a non-murderous state.

But as Terry gathers himself, the samurai falls back upon another tried-and-true ritual -- the samurai's stance. His paws spread, his body profile minimized, and his right paw resting on the lower sword hilt.

This is it. The moment of truth.

Terry rears back his fist. The move is well-documented -- practically a staple of Terry Bogard's definitive style. The legendary, one and only, Burn Knuckle. This punch alone puts butts in those seats.

But in the hallowed trance of the Empty Mind, reputation has no bearing. The cat sees a punch coming his way. And he steps forward, pivoting sideways as he does. It has the benefit of widening his profile, but Terry has already telegraphed his line of motion.

The samurai raises his elbow, contacting the inside of Terry's outstretched arm with the broadside of his forearm.

The samurai pivots forward in the same motion, slamming his shoulder into the Hungry Wolf's chest.

And then the entire system, both fighters -- the tall and the less tall -- rotate ninety degrees from the sheer momentum of Terry's strike. The cat will not stop the indomitable Terry any more than one can stop a freight train.

But the cat -will- continue to pivot, rolling away from his opponent and flipping off to his side. His hind paws touch down on the mat about a meter away...

And -then- Jubei finds himself leaning forward, his ribcage hitching, his pupil narrowing. It's as if he's aged a year in a day -- but still he stands. Watching. And exhaling a held sigh.

Terry Bogard should know that his most famous moves can be read like a book made out of glass. He wasn't prepared for the onslaught in which Jubei would be pivoting into him and letting Terry's own power do most of the horrendous damage to his own self. Before Terry even knows what hit him, he's colliding with the mat and bouncing off as if he's no longer going to be able to stand.

It's one of those fights.

Grunting and barely able to move from the way his body has been put through the ringer most recently, Terry Bogard realizes that he's still got at least a little bit left in his tank. His reserve tank. It's just a bit but he's not going down without launching a last ditch effort to try and take Jubei down with him.

It's barely a crawl in which Terry Bogard manages to get to his feet and even then he stumbles left to right and back again. He's seeing a few Catlike Opponents at once due to his vision being rocked into Blurryville. With the distance between himself and Jubei, Terry opts for a more distanced option. He gathers up what chi he has left and aims both of his fists into a slamming motion towards the mat... to create a massive tidal wave of orange flavored chi towards as many of those Jubeis as he's seeing.

Whether he manages to stay on his feet after unleashing this tirade of energy is going to be anyone's guess.

COMBATSYS: Terry can no longer fight.

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

COMBATSYS: Jubei instinctively dodges Terry's Trinity Geyser.

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

Knowing that an attack is coming does not equate with the ability to get out of its way. Terry had already demonstrated that with his previous barrage of attacks -- battering the cat down to within a millimeter of unconsciousness.

Some people live for this thrill, spending their whole life to get right up to the razor's edge, to look death in the eye, just to -spit- in it. But that's a life for the young. The old, like Jubei, would be perfectly content with a slower-paced fight. One that -didn't- induce quite so many aches and pains into his aging frame.

And after all that, Jubei's eyelid is at half-mast. The cat is ready to fall asleep at any instant -- but the battle-trance of the Empty Mind prevents that luxury. There is no victory to be found in lying down. And with Terry rising back to his feet after such a knockdown... the Empty Mind demands that the cat shake the rust off and get moving. The cat's supernatural attunement with chi can sense the changing tides.

Instinct kicks in. The cat drops to all fours, and begins running, running, running as if his life depends on it. As far as the Empty Mind is concerned, it -does-. The Hungry Wolf slams his fists into the ground -- and the supergigantic tidal wave of flaming chi erupts outward, rippling down the floor -- and sending a shudder echoing through the entire subway system. Tile buckles, stone begins to crumble as the massive wave shoves upwards through it...

And just above the pinnacle of the initial wavefront hurtles a flying orange cat -- tumbling forward into a flip, with its tails glowing orange from the heat.

The audience -- gathered as they are in such a confined space -- has to choose between clapping their hands over their ears from the deafening roar, tilting their faces away from the searing heatwave, or valiantly attempting both at the same time.

But through it all, Jubei survives, kicking out of his roll at the last moment before impact, his sharpened claws kicking up sparks across the subway floor as he skids to a halt.

The Empty Mind demands that he return his gaze to his opponent.

And then -- only then, as Terry sinks to the floor, does the Empty Mind release the master from its prison.

Jubei slumps forward, his eyelid allowing only a sliver of light to appear. But he doesn't fall over -- instead, he's balanced precariously upon his mechanical paws, their 'knuckles' down on the pavement such that they act as crutches.

The old black-and-white cat pants for breath. Judges say... something. He can only guess it's acknowledging him as winner -- it's hard to hear over the roaring crowd and the blood pounding in his ears, anyway.

But that won't stop him from confessing a thought his Empty Mind prevented.

"Damn good fight, you guys. -Damn-... good fight."

The old cat forges a grin. He might not live for the adrenaline in the same way as the younger whippersnappers might. But he can enjoy the thrill all the same.

COMBATSYS: Jubei takes no action.

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

COMBATSYS: Jubei wanders on to find the next challenge.

Log created on 00:27:14 06/07/2019 by Clio, and last modified on 01:20:37 06/18/2019.