KOF 2019 - Prelims 2 - Team Korea vs Team Aesop

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Description: An ostentatious hotel lobby plays host to a King of Fighters 2019 match between the stalwart Team Korea and the second of the Librarium teams, Team Aesop.

Corporal Renka Kaneko never saw the second half of the NOL vs NOL team battle she participated in. As Colonel Hazama assigned her to take lead as Team Captain, and as Colonel Hazama said that fighting was not his forte and that he would be depending on her, the loyal Librarium soldier poured everything she had in into that match, in hopes that her partner wouldn't have to even take to the field. But that wasn't to be, Noel Vermillion pushing her past the limits of even her supernatural endurance...

Somehow, her team had won? When the battle-exhausted, Renka had finally come to backstage, her fellow soldiers told her the outcome, excitedly indicating that it had been a close, intense match. "Huh," she had considered, "Maybe Colonel Clover isn't much of a fighter either?" It was the only possible explanation.

All the fox-eared soul sucker knew for certain was that she was famished - not for the types of food the NOL HQ canteen would be serving up. She needed /real/ food, soul food, the kind of sustenance she could only get by stealing it from the life force of humans. Normally, she found opportunities to leech from people gradually, in small ways that they would be blissfully unaware of. A little here, a little there, always rebuilding her reserves.

This time, however, the darkstalker found herself ushered off to the next round of King of Fighters with no time to hunt, no chance to replenish herself. Now that she's at the fancy venue itself, some of the weight of exhaustion bleeds off her shoulders. She may not be at full strength, but Colonel Hazama is depending on her so that he doesn't have to face the rigors of battle himself!

Standing now in front of the opulent, horse-themed fountain, Renka is armed with a tall, simple spear. Gripped in her left hand, she is using it for a bit of support but trying not to look as tired as she feels. At her hip is a sheathed blade, its length and curvature suggesting that it's a katana.

It's easy to tell at a glance that she isn't human. Her two upright, vulpine ears preventing her from wearing the standard issue NOL beret are immediately noticeable, for example. Even if one were some how not familiar with the globe-spanning Novus Orbis Librarium, it's obvious that the young looking soldier belongs to a military of some kind considering her uniform - a crisp, rich blue formal jacket with bronzed buttons on the front is worn over a white, collared blouse with a crimson tie. At her waist is a knee length dark blue, pleated skirt, and on her feet are a pair of shin-high black leather boots.

Behind her back a pair of fox tails swish as the green-eyed creature looks all around the impressive hotel lobby. While not as ostentatious as the lobby at NOL Central Command, it's still an impressive sight, and the gaudy stallion-themed fountain at her left is certainly something to be appreciated, faint mist from the steadily pouring streams drifting over the tile beneath her feet.

"Yeesh," Corporal Kaneko wonders to herself, "I only get to see these cool places when I'm fighting." Such is the life in the NOL forces, she supposes. With so much work to do, there's very little time for idle amusement.

When Team Korea entered the tournament many were uncertain how the team might perform. Three generations of practioners all with varying takes on the style teaming up to prove the might of Tae Kwon Do against a field of many other formidable teams with big names from the fighting world. It would not be an easy task to advance, but don't tell that to the likes of Kim, Gang-il and May Lee.

The fight against the Ikari only saw Kim Kaphwan fight and take down two of the more noteable names among the mercenary group before exhausting himself at the end and finally being taken out. It was a moment of pride for his master, Gang-il, who got to see just how far his prized pupil had come through all the years of training. Kim did his part and now it is time for the master to show he still has it.

The short, but stout master is wearing a simple pair of purple pants and a black belt. Much like Kim he fights barefoot, but also chooses to go topless to show off a physique that is still impressive even though he is getting up in age. He has a smile on his face, but he is also focused. It has been some time since he has been in a competitive fight and he wishes to prove he hasn't lost too much of a step.

Forward he steps and takes a look over Renka without saying a word. His hand coming to rest on his chin while thumb idly strokes at some of the stubble he has let grow in since the tournament started. "Hmm. Interesting. Another military group is it?" That is what he finds interesting? No mention of the tails or ears? It does seem the old timer isn't too familiar with NOL. His travel and other activities keep him a bit behind when it comes to news and such.

He lowers his hand and straightens up to give a bow to the other fighter before falling back into a more relaxed stance. "Here is to a good fight, miss. Pardon me if I am a bit rusty." That has to be a good thing to hear, right? Or is he just leading her into a false sense of security there?

Standing idly, spear upright on her left, her right arm relaxed against her side, Corporal Kaneko takes some time to study her opponent. That the martial artist presents himself simply enough is not cause for dismissing his potential. The long-lived darkstalker has long since learned that outward appearance is no indication of a human's potential for feats of strength. Powerfully built and an apparent veteran of combat, she knows better than to take him lightly. Still competing at his age? All the more reason to be wary of his skill.

The roar of the fountain adjacent to her provides no challenge when it comes to hearing Gang-il's observation of his opponent and she perks up, standing straighter as she nods her head at the stocky fighter. "Corporal Kaneko with the Novus Orbis Librarium at your service!" Her voice is upbeat, enthusiastic.

She returns his bow readily before standing up straight. "I'll be doing my best!" she offers by way of warning. Considering the spear in one hand and sword sheathed at her side, her best probably includes the threat of pointy and slashy things being directed Gang-il's way. But he wouldn't be the master he was if he hadn't learned to deal armed opponents well before now.

Lifting her right hand out in front of her, palm up, Renka's eyes shift to focus on a space just over her hand. Within a moment, several small sparks of azure energy flicker into existence, swirling in a small orbit over her white gloved palm. An instant later and the small swarm swirls into the air behind Renka's head - eight in total, most the size of baseballs but a larger one closer to the size of a soccerball.

She's ready, she tells herself, leaning forward then, gripping her spear with both hands, presenting its point at an angle to suggest the weapon will be used for defense against the veteran martial artist she faces.

All that's left is for the match itself to begin!

COMBATSYS: Renka has started a fight here.

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Renka            0/-------/------=|

"Gan-il, Tae Kwon Do master." he replies to the woman with a nod. He seems calm and readied for the fight to come and even his opponent being armed doesn't show him any side of alarm. He does glance back over his shoulder were Luong and May Lee are watching and gives the former a wink before his attention turns back towards Renka about the time energy starts to spark and float around the Darkstalker.

"Well this should be interesting. You do look a bit tired girl. I hope you aren't pushing yourself too much." he comments and he begins to lightly bounce on his bare feet as arms for the most part remain lowered for the time being. Energy and spear? It doesn't seem to matter because once the official gives the signal to begin he looks to go onto the attack rather quickly.

Distance is closed and he brings a foot down hard on the ground creating a bit of a shake on the ground around him and Renka as he kicks up dust from the stomp. It is more the distraction so he can quickly raise that foot again and deliver a chest level kick with quite a bit of power put behind it to test the woman's defenses.

COMBATSYS: Gang-il has joined the fight here.

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Gang-il          0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0            Renka

COMBATSYS: Gang-il successfully hits Renka with Hakikyaku.
- Power hit! -

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Gang-il          0/-------/-----==|=======\-------\0            Renka

Renka nods as the veteran fighter introduces himself. Tae Kwon Do? She looks thoughtful for a moment. Though Japan-bound for most of her life, she isn't altogether unfamiliar with the styles of nearby nations. A kick-centric art, then? At least she has a good idea of where the threats are going to come from... well, in theory at least.

But then the Master demonstrates his own eye for reading and makes his observation. The soldier he faces does look a touch fatigued - a hint of slouch in her shoulders, the way she was using her spear to subtly prop herself while waiting for the bout to begin... But at his expression of concern, Renka grins back. "Pushing, yes. But too far? We'll see."

She shows no signs of hesitance regarding the match itself, at least. Emerald green eyes narrow as the space between them is closed is an instant. He's fast - faster than she anticipated even, getting inside the ideal striking range of her spear quicker than she can even retaliate. Attempts to zone him out will be difficult, she realizes in an instant, eyes tracking the man's feet in anticipation of his likely attack vector.

The initial stomp has her bracing early, pulling the simple spear up in front of her, both arms flexed to try and absorb the blow that doesn't come. Shifting from reaction to offense in one fluid motion, the fox-tailed combatant attempts to step forward to the powerfully built man's left, attempt to flank him with a shove of her polearm in hopes of buying breathing room.

Then the real kick comes and Corporal Kaneko is introduced to the striking power of a Tae Kwon Do master. His heel collides with the smaller fighter's body with crushing force, the combination of being caught mid-motion and his fierce strength more than enough to send Renka sliding back across the tile. She might have managed to recover from the careening slide given enough room to work with. But after five feet, she reaches the fountain itself, the backs of her legs colliding with the stone lip surrounding the pool and a split second later Renka Kaneko is lost from sight as she splashes into the fountain, a surprised cry of alarm the last thing heard before she's throughly drenched. Overhead, her eight foxfire spheres linger, clearly not interested in joining her for a bath.

She scrambles up to her feet in an instant, biting back the pain from the kick she just weathered, dripping water everywhere, her long hair matted against her head and back, her twin tails having lost most of their bushiness as water rolls off them as well. A soft growl of annoyance rumbles in her throat as she step springs back over the fountain's ledge. The moment of exasperation passes quickly however, her lips drown back into a teeth baring grin featuring two small canine teeth. Shaking her head and tails quickly, scattering droplets of fountain water everywhere, she breaths in deeply.

"Not bad!" she exclaims, dripping water everywhere as she whips her spear to her side and leans forward. "But now it's my turn!"

One of the azure orbs seems to resonate with her call to charge, spinning down until it collides with her spear. In an instant, the long weapon itself is a glow with a sapphire flame that generates no heat. And a split second later, Renka dashes toward Gang-il, leaning forward, entirely committed to the next attack.

The strike would be attempted as she passes him by, a blur of drenched blue and soaked honeygold fur as she lances out with the spear at chest height, attempt to deliver a wounding strike to the Master's side!

COMBATSYS: Renka successfully hits Gang-il with The Lonesome Road EX.

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Gang-il          0/-------/---====|=======\-------\1            Renka

The world of competitive fighting is a dangerous sport. Sometimes, matches are decided over a long, violent slugfest, both fighters duking it out, weathering attacks and continuing on by being that sturdy, that stubborn, or that crazy. Other matches are a delicate dance, fighters going back and forth for a long while in a bid to land a single hit that could hobble their opponent, leaving them vulnerable to follow up attacks, until finally the bout is decided...

These types of matches can lull audiences into a false expectation that maybe the sport isn't that dangerous, maybe fighters are just playing at hurting each other all for the sake of putting on a show. After all, it's far more entertaining when these matches drag on, each fighter seemingly tapped of every ounce of strength and resolve until at last one stands triumphant, if barely, and the other is on the floor, unconscious or incapacitated. With this in mind, it's easy to imagine how skeptics suggest that the attacks are all stunts, choreographed by talented experts who's only interest is in delivering solid, epic entertainment.

Then there are matches like this one that defy such expectations. Real fights, like the ones playing out in the King of Fighters 2019 tournament, are sometimes decided in a single, violent blow. The attacks are real, the weapons, fists, knees, and energy blasts dangerous, and the competitive drive of the participants impossible to deny.

Fighting for the pride of the Novus Orbis Librarium and in hopes of making sure to not depend on poor Colonel Hazama who claims to have limited forte in hand to hand combat, Corporal Renka Kaneko dashes out of her initial setback, spear gripped tightly, every bit of her strength, speed, and otherworldly foxfire power poured into making her retaliation count. She had tasted of Gang-il's striking force, she had observed his poise, his control, and his strength. She needed to answer his blow with nothing less than her best.

When the kitsune slides to a stop a few feet past the Master martial artist, it is unclear for the audience what the outcome of her strike was. She doesn't move, leaning forward, feet far apart for balance, her twin tails each swaying an opposite way to keep her center of mass right where she wants it. Her right hand grips the shaft of her spear as she lingers in her low stance, showing no signs of turning to follow up. The blue flame that had coursed over her weapon flickers and vanishes.

Water drips off of her drenched honey-gold fur and uniform, splashing clear against the sleek, glossy tiles of the fancy hotel lobby. But after a few seconds, it is joined by other drips - crimson victory falling drop by drop from the end of her spear to taint the clean water pooling around her feet.

A look at the spear user's weapon would slowly reveal what had transpired in the blink of an eye. The wooden shaft in her hand ends in a shattered tip where the metal spear point should have been. A good two feet of the weapon is coated in blood that is now beginning to drip, but there is no sign of the spear head itself.

Any question concerning the danger inherent to participating in these matches should be put to rest as the audience, commentators, and officials begin to realize that the NOL soldier's spear tip was broken off in the side of the Master's abdomen. At this very moment, a large, sharp, metal object is burrowed deep behind a bloody gouge. The threat of more severe harm to the veteran fighter's internal organs is very real. His resolve, his experience, his grit might demand that he continue the match in spite the risks, but the officials aren't going to chance the brave man dying on an international feed.

This is King of Fighters, a 'legitimate' sporting event, not some underground bloodbath pit fight.

That Renka hadn't turned to follow up her strike is evidence enough that she realized the lethality of her hit. As the announcer proclaims the official's decision to call the round, she stands up slowly, closing her eyes and leaning her head back, water continuing to drip to the tiles around her.

Some who have never stepped into the arena of physical conflict might not understand. They might claim that Gang-il was clearly too old to be competing anymore, or that maybe he wasn't all that. She knew the truth of it though. He, like any other who puts their body on the line in these matches, simply slipped up for one split second when it mattered most. What was most likely to be a grazing wound at best had, unexpectedly even to the one executing the technique, become fight ending trauma.

Exhaling slowly, the fox-eared darkstalker lowers her head and turns back around to face toward her opponent as medical officials rush out to escort him off camera for immediate surgery. A somber look on her face, she holds her broken spear at her right side. Then slowly, respectfully, Renka Kaneko bows forward at the waist before standing up straight.

She must stay out to face the next participant from the opposing team. Without looking at what remains of her offending spear, she closes her left hand over the upper end of the shaft and runs it along the bloodied end of it, crimson seeping into her white glove. The curious action completed, she holds her blood stained left hand in front of her, emerald eyes studying the vital essence it contains, trace energies plainly visible to the famished soul eater's eyes. The blood of a Master martial artist will end the fatigue with which she had started. The traces of life's energy claimed from the blood she stole, Renka relaxes her right hand, allowing the bloodied shaft to clatter to the floor.

In one sense, she had accomplished what she had set out to do - she had secured a round point by application of her speed, skill, and strength. That such victory came so violently, so quickly, is not something she can harbor remorse for.

Every participant faces the same risk of grievous harm.
It is the hazard every fighter accepts when they choose to plant their feet on the Champion's Road.

COMBATSYS: Renka awaits the next challenger.

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Renka            1/-------/=======|

There was a muttering all through the fight.

Kim Kaphwan of team Korea was watching the fight from the sidelines. The black haired Korean was dressed in his gi, and was standing with arms crossed, intensely. He has expected a spirited fight from his former master. But shortly in, he could sense something wrong. But what it was... well, Renka might sense it before she can see it. Kim had found his conclusion. So once Renka falls back into place? Kim reveals his decision on his face.

The full on fury of self-righteous rage

Eyebrow twitching, he strides forward, his aura ablaze. "I knew my teacher's vices would have wicked women seeking to prey on them." He begins slowly, extending a hand to point a finger at Renka. "But little did I expect a demoness like you to step forward. If it wasn't for the strength of his will, he wouldn't have even been able to escape this fight. The Ikari Warriors warned me of the EVILS of the NOL! But even my most wild fantasies could not imagine thy would stoop so low to enlist the work of the most dire of monsters.." And Kim's judgemental finger shaking withdraws, to ball into a fist.

"...A KUMIHO!"

"EVIL IS UNFORGIVABLE!" Is Kim's cry as he hurls himself straight a Renka. It's only the miracle of the monologuing that gives him a chance after the bell is struck. Exploding forward, Kim unleashes a singular, crushing heel drop, directly to cleave Renka in twain. Already, he was exploding into a rioting ball of justified, righteous madness. He had made up his mind, on black and white. And with Renka?

There was only black.

COMBATSYS: Kim has joined the fight here.

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Kim              0/-------/------=|=======\-------\1            Renka

COMBATSYS: Renka interrupts Heel Kick from Kim with This Matter of Honor.

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Kim              1/--=====/=======|=======\==-----\1            Renka

The King of Fighters venue is awash in sounds. The audience. The commentators speaking from their booth securely out of the way of the match. The sounds of a busy, lively hotel, such as elevator door bells, the occasional rush of noise from outside when the doors are opened to usher in new patrons or audience members. And of course, the gaudy horse themed fountain, its steady roar flooding the ostentatious lobby with a steady white noise that threatens to down out all other sounds.

The unrelenting cacophony of noise in the large indoor venue would render most individuals nearly deaf to the indignant rant of one Kim Kaphwan. But not the target of his rising fury. Alone in the field of water and blood spattered tiles, the fox-eared creature of myth shifts her focus to the next participant of Team Korea. The fur-covered, peaked ears atop her head aren't simply for show. Their size and shape give her the ability to focus supernatural healing in specific directions when desired.

And when she senses the waves of enmity radiating off of the student of the man she had just defeated, she certainly has a very good reason to focus on the words that come from his mouth, missing not a single syllable as he strides to her with purpose and furious resolve.

The emerald-eyed creature opens her mouth as Kim steps out, right hand lifting as if to encourage him to calm down. Maybe she should say something. She knew she felt no remorse for the decisive suddenness of her victory. But one look at the approaching middle-aged martial artist suggested that some form of verbal apology would be appropriate all the same.

She never gets a word out, instead ending up frozen, right arm partially raised, mouth agape. Wicked women? The moment passes, Renka standing up straighter then, mouth closing, right hand closing into a tight fist as her arm drops against her side. Demoness? Ever since she had thrown herself at the cause of the Novus Orbis Librarium, the distinctive blue uniform she wore with pride had shielded her significantly of open derision for her inhuman nature.

Of course she had seen the distrust in the eyes of many who saw her distinctly vulpine features, the wariness inherent to those who have been raised to fear the creatures of the night all their lives. But the uniform of the Librarium meant that she had been vetted, that she was aligned with the cause of protecting human society from the things that it fears, and even those who harbored distrust for her rarely gave voice to their thoughts regarding the little monster playing dress up.

Initial shock gives way way to alarm, her eyes fixated on his accusatory finger as it snaps tightly into a closed fist. Her focus flicks to his emotions next. Rage can often be construed as a dark emotion... but in this specimen, it burns with a white hot inferno of refined purpose and as the vitality thief allows her sight to settle on the spectrum of energy pulsing off of him, she begins to truly realize just what a feast the soul of this warrior promises. His words, his accusations of foul play, of her poorly representing the NOL, are forgotten for a moment. All she can think of is his scrumptious vigor. His purity. Amazing...

A kumiho!?

Corporal Kaneko's eyes blink, the soldier recoiling as if struck, pulled back from her hunger induced daze with a soft gasp.

"No," she protests, her voice weak. "Not like that," she adds, her voice drown out by Kim Kaphwan's unyielding declaration. "Not anymore."

Eight foxfire spheres swirl about her, their movements becoming more agitated as Kim converts his judgment into action. Seven of them are the size of softballs, while a larger, central one closer to the dimensions of a soccer ball. One of the seven darts forward into the path of his striking leg the same moment Renka turns her left shoulder into the attack, her right hand clamping down on the grip of her sheathed sword at her side.

Teeth grit as the intercepting sphere bursts into a shimmering barrier of blue flame. It isn't enough to stop his kick outright, but his leg would encounter resistance as it forces its way through, robbing it of a significant percentage of its threat.

"I've sworn to protect your kind," she's found her voice now, loud as she twists into a counter attack the same instant his heel smacks down hard against her upper left arm. "No matter how you feel about me!"

She whips violently to the right, drawing a katana from the sheath at her side in the process, the blade bursting into the same heatless blue flame that she had used in her match against Gang-il.

The draw transitions instantly into an upward slash from lower left to upper right, a swath of foxfire in her weapon's wake.

"How dare you suggest otherwise!"

There was a certain heart to it, yes.

The overwhelming passion, the inexhaustible vigor, Kim Kaphwan was fueled by both his righteousness and his Tae Kwon Do. As the strange foxfire dances to intercept his leg, Kim's expression shifts only the slightest; from moral outrage to -spiritual- outrage. The physical buffer against it does slow him down, letting his attention shift back to the foxgirl. The counter-attack emerges as he brings his heel down hard on Renka. The swift precision of the slice bites hard, cutting cleanly through his gi to the soft flesh underneath. Kim does not linger; it is enough to force him back, to create distance.

With an instinctive hand over his liver, guarding it.

That same hand draws across his chest, to check the damage. Fighting against foes with weapons was not new to him in this King of Fighters tournament. Both Leona and Lita Luwanda introduced him to that. But that was not why his bore that visage of outrage. No, Renka's spirited defense only seems to ignite his passionate outrage furthermore. Blazing afire, he doesn't drop his guard as he steps back in. "Sworn to protect your kind?!" He repeats back in sheer disgust as his face turns red. "There is a reason they call corrupt police officers like a fox guarding a hen house! And only the most corrupt police force could bring itself to choose a fox for the henhouse! My feelings are justified, and I have made up my mind!"

"I know all too well about what a monster like you does!"

Kim Kaphwan mixes up the offensive approach; it makes him come slowly, more deliberate, but in his outrage he could count. "Devouring men's precious organs, after stealing their very souls!" He rants, as he steps forward for a thrusting kick with the right, aimed straight for Renka's upper arm. "I saw the consuming hunger across your face! I saw the bloodlust you bring, drawing my precious bodily fluids out with your foul blade!" A second kick comes as a roundhouse from the left, bringing it across fast and hard longways. Kim was not pushing in hard, he was trying to keep his distance, letting his legs meet with Renka's own weapon reach.  "And your cursed fire. You cannot deny your darkness! You cannot deny your evil! And no mere human evil, ready to be reforged through the passionate justice of Tae Kwon Do!" A third kick does not come, Kim standing his ground after the roundhouse, trading more offensive pressure for stability.

"But the purest evil of a demoness!"

COMBATSYS: Renka dodges Kim's Fierce Kick.

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Kim              1/-======/=======|=======\==-----\1            Renka

Corporal Kaneko finishes her counter slash with her right arm raised, body leaning forward, an aching throb in her upper left arm, her sharp eyes locked on Kim as he backs off. She doesn't pursue like a predator who's lured by the chase of retreating prey. Instead, she holds her ground, standing up slowly, lowering her sword, jaw set as she glares back at the martial artist with a wary look, her jaw set, her lips pressed tightly together.

The good spirited nature she had when facing the older fighter before is gone now, the respectful banter a distant memory to the personal attacks hurled her way now by her current opponent. Her lips tremble, ears tilted forward slightly as she turns her left shoulder forward, sword gripped with just her right hand out to her side.

He speaks of vile corruption and of the appalling lack of decency in entrusting a creature like her to be a so-called guardian of mankind's safety. How can it be anything other than an affront to decency?

"What's wrong with-" she snaps before biting her tongue, cutting her angry retort off. This isn't a good time to get into an open debate on the merits of a predator guarding its food source tenaciously. She suspects the nuances of her argument might get lost in all the shouting.

Besides, he's on the offense again, closing back in, applying the pressure of his experience and solid stance to execute kicks that would easily ground the uniformed darkstalker.

Instead, she's about to ask him what he thinks she does, what creatures like her do. But he saves her the effort, weaving his furious rant in with his aggressive positioning.

Of course, she isn't surprised to hear the accusations. They are in line with what she imagined he thought. Largely because there is a dangerous degree of accuracy to his words with regards to the fox-tailed monsters of shared mythology. Seven foxfire spheres swirl around her as she braces, tensing up the moment she perceives him to be within striking range.

She steps into a twirl to avoid the thrusting heel toward her already bruised upper arm, whirling about his leg to the right, raising her sword up high in front of her to avoid having the katana length blade catching on him and interfering with her quick maneuver.

"Your organs aren't in any danger," she protests through grit teeth. "This is a competition!" But what of his soul? She can't deny it - if she manages to reach him, if she manages to lay a hand on him, how could she not savor at least a sample? As long as she didn't kill him, how would it not be reasonable?

He speaks of cursed fire - the blue, dancing spheres that orbit her, intervening on her behalf a times, augmenting her striking power or nimble speed at others... of course, spheres just like the azure globes orbiting her are part of the legends as well. Enticing foxfire in the darkest of nights to lure the unsuspecting mortals to wander lost in the deepwoods, never to be heard from again.

She knows well enough the stories... having lived them.

She always knew trying to step into the world of humans, to walk among them, to live in their world would be met with skepticism by some. They were right to be wary. A century or two ago, the Korena fighter's rage would have felt completely justified to her. But that was in the past, several lifetimes ago by human standards, how could he be upset about all that now?

She ducks under the roundhouse, lunging forward to flank him in the process, his leg brushing against the tips of her upright ears but otherwise coming just shy of clipping her with a jarring blow. A soft growl rattles in the kitsune's throat as she comes up out of her evasive lunge, her left hand joining her right on the grip of her blue flame engulfed sword. She can't do anything that would shame the Librarium, she tells herself. She has to conduct herself in a way that is beyond reproach. She has to fight him seriously, with everything she has. Not just for the sake of her team's progress in some tournament, but because the growling darkstalker isn't sure how far this man will go if he overwhelms her!

The blade is raised up high before she leans into a strong, two-handed overhead slash from Kim's side. It's an aggressive strike, Renka leaning hard into it to add heft to the swing, the follow through requiring her to swing out to her left side, twisting with the momentum.

"You are a very stubborn man!"

COMBATSYS: Kim interrupts Power Strike from Renka with Kouou Hiten Kyaku.

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Kim              0/-------/-<<<<<<|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2            Renka

It was telling, how Kim watched the exchange between Gang-Il and Renka, and came to this point.

It might be subtle, but Kim did not always agree with what his teacher believed in. Maybe it was the youth of middle age, or maybe because of Kim's own hidden misgivings on personal weakness. But that was the root of it. Because Kim saw the banter as a weakness, a sign of the influence, of the corruption. And when his master retreated-

It was because of her.

The honor of Tae Kwon Do demanded it. Korean tradition held high the corrupting influence of foul female demons, who lured innocent, noble men into their doom. Despite Kim never have encountered any of that himself. Such was the power of history, of legends. The enduring legacy of myth interwoven with culture.

Evil women, corrupting innocent men.

The first kick is deftly danced around, a punishment for Kim's own caution. As the roundhouse is ducked, he quickly positions his feet; he is going to react to Renka, not initiate and expose another counter-attack. "This -is- a competition!" Kim Kaphwan concedes. "But a leopard cannot change his spots, nor a fox demon her… fluffy.. EVIL IS UNFORGIVABLE!" Kim quickly corrects himself, refusing to deviate from his choice of righteousness. That was the ultimate constant of this fight from Kim so far:

Harsh judgement.

The growl is noticed; though the interpretation may not be to Renka's liking. Kim recoils at the growl, responding as if a wild beast was about to attack. Righteous fury boils from within, as the pure presence of his soul boils out like a font. As the NOL soldier brings her blade into a horse-killing blow, a deft overhead strike, the arrogant, uncompromising Kim is already moving. Renka is immediately greeted with the only other constant so far in this fight from the Tae Kwon Do master: 

A kick.

The whipping spin-kick drives hard to connect squarely with the exposed opening, slicing in between the dancing flames with deft precision. There isn't any hesitation after the kick knocks Renka up in the air: Kim is already there, above her, heel raised high as he launches up in the air. With equal precision, he promptly spikes the foxgirl straight down to the ground, cratering her. HIs own landing is not quite as rough, though hardly smooth; his body briskly reminds him of his own mortality as he winces, gripping his now bloodied shoulder with his hand. It wasn't enough to stop him from fighting, but was enough to slow him down, to give openings, opportunities. But unfortunately, chances for the Tae Kwon Do fighters to sermonize. "Your respectful words will not fool me! You cannot conceal your true beastial nature from the ever vigilante eye of Tae Kwon Do!" He shakes a finger at the very blade of the foxgirl.

"You hide behind your -true- power by wielding a sword!"

It takes a bold fighter to see a two-handed overhead sword strike and decide the best option, rather than avoiding it, is to kick the one swinging it squarely in the chin. Struck before she finishes the word 'stubborn', the strong kick to her jaw is enough to take the slender darkstalker off her feet, back arcing as her head reels backward, vision blurring toward black for a fleeting moment.

As his own momentum takes him into the air with her, she recovers enough cognizance to start twisting out of her careening course, left arm thrashing about in unison with her tails and legs, while her right arm keeps a tight grip on her weapon. But the hint of recover is cut short abruptly as a second kick from above drives her back against the tile floor.

The impact is hard as Renka smashes into the ground on her left side, bouncing once while the ceramic tiling spiderwebs beneath her, before the flailing creature comes to rest. Grimacing, she rolls onto her knees, lifting her head, bringing her sword up in a defensive angle as Kim directs his attention and relentless vituperation toward the bladed weapon.

Her jaw is red, the preliminary signs of bruising likely soon to follow. But that pain hardly compares to the agony in her side as, with a single kick that drove her into the tile, the Tae Kwon Do expert managed to crack two of the resilient fighter's ribs. Moving is to invite new pain, but she isn't going to be persuaded away from continuing just from that alone.

Pushing up to her feet, she rests her white gloved left hand against her side, her sword arm against her side, the weapon no longer lifted. She tries inhaling only to wince, leaning forward slightly. Steading her arm by force of will, she tips over her sword, sliding it neatly into the sheath on her left hip.

Her eyes never leave her opponent as he chastises her and continues to gesticulate in her direction. Her cheeks are flushed red, a blend of pain and humiliation at the judgment rendered by the impossible man, his accusations baseless based on her actions in the match, yet not entirely without some merit given the sum total of her existence. But who cares what's in the past?

She tries to protest but the lack of air in her lungs prevents her from making more of an almost inaudible gasping sound and she forgoes the effort in a moment. She'll have to settle for glaring at him defiantly for the moment. After all, it will only take so long before her wellspring of soul energy will knit back the damage to her ribs, restoring her ability to breath without the pain. In the meantime, she can do without the luxury of oxygen.

The five smaller remaining foxfire spheres continue to swirl about her, agitated and glowing brighter before as they chart their own paths. The largest one lingers behind the kitsune, vaporous tendrils of energy wafting down into her shoulder, jaw, and side. If she isn't defeated quickly, her supernatural durability will allow her to weather more kicks like those two.

As if answering the challenge regarding her use of a sword, she charges Kim unarmed now, right arm sweeping in a horizontal slash as one of the smaller motes of foxfire darts into her hand, bursting into blue flame. Her gloved fingers stretch out, slightly curled as into form a claw as the uniformed combatant dashes close and then past the martial artist. Of course, beneath her white glove, there are no signs of actual nails threatening to claw the man, and in fact she doesn't even quite reach him with the smaller reach of her arm...

The true attack comes an instant later in the form of a crescent of foxfire trailing in the wake of her raking swing, threatening to wash over Kim as the vulpine-tailed demon tries to slip around behind him!

COMBATSYS: Kim fails to interrupt Mistaken Mercies ES from Renka with Hien Zan EX.

[               \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////              ]
Kim              0/-------/=======|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2            Renka

Kim Kaphwan was reacting as the blade comes down.

He was always wary for what happens when she brings her bare paws out. How a vile foxgirl would twist and toy with his righteous intent; how he would need to use all his love for both his family and Tae Kwon Do to resist. As she slips in, like the vicious predator that Kim perceived her as, he could see that she was going to slash. He preempts it, as best he can choose.

By kicking.

Flipping forward, he anticipates her movement, her momentum. Let her come in, let her strike. And Kim Kaphwan was flipping a hard kick up and over, bringing it down. But the claws come short. The foxgirl is turning around, circling him. Kim Kaphwan's kick intercepts nothing, his flip sweeping short. He isn't deterred, at first. He was already correcting himself, already moving to adapt to the feint.

And the spiritual forces slam into Kim Kaphwan.

The assault rakes his soul, and knocks him out of his flip. Tumbling down, he collapses on the ground in a brief roll. Everything felt numb, too numb. A hostile magic, is what Kim musters it as. Forearm pushing on the ground, he turns as he forces himself into a rise. He was off-balanced, disorientated. ANd numb, so numb. But worst of all, exposed. REnka is given full space to maneuver, as Kim forces into a stand. There is no words, only that burning, blazing energy.

And his eyes locked across at the foxgirl, wary for her next move.

By the moment he's back on his feet, he'll find her braced and ready, right hand hovering near the grip of her sheathed sword, feet planted, body hunched forward clearly ready to retaliate if he had recklessly moved in closer without caution.

Reeling from her last attack, however, buys the martial artist time to take stock of the situation rather than rushing in to another one of the kitsune's inevitable tricks.

Her eyes locked on him, cheeks still flushed red, jaw set, she finds herself with a chance to catch her breath, figuratively speaking. Making the conscious choice to chance an actual breath, Renka finds that the restorative energies at play within her supernatural physiology have done their job in knitting together her damaged ribs, allowing an intake of air without sharp pain. Her hair and fur are still wet from her earlier bath in the fountain though she is no longer dripping water all around her.

In recent history, she can't recall if she had ever come to dislike a human as quickly as this man. Insulting, judgmental, uncompromising in his description of what she must be like as well as insulting the organization that would give a monster like her a home. She had fought his teammate fair and square, she had never done either of them harm outside of the confines of the competitive sport in which they were engaged. Yet here he was, calling into question every last thing she said or did. How dare he! The more she has time to think about it, the angrier she gets, lips drawn back

Her right hand closes and opens, fingers itching to draw her sword a second time, while her mind races to try and unwind the situation she finds herself in. The blazing aura of the Kae Kwon Do master is not a thing of darkness yet his actions, his words, his emotional response to her very existence is nothing short of pure antipathy. But he didn't even know her in the slightest.

How could he feel so strongly about her when they had only just met? Was this really a reaction brought on by the brief exchange between her and the older fighter? Or is this, instead, a response born of something she knows nothing about? Is this man just giving a voice to something every other human secretly feels about her? Maybe he's just too honest, too forthright to hide a sentiment every person she encounters echoes in their hearts and behind their masks.

A fox keeping watch over the henhouse... Is this man just speaking for the hens? If she can't understand him, what hope does she have of understanding those who hide their fear of her behind polite banter or their disgust behind fake smiles?

She knows what it's like to fear. In the forests of the Land of the Rising Sun she once called home, she was far from an apex predator. In those dark places lurked threats that would turn her blood cold, that would gladly feast on her as she fed on-

Corporal Kaneko blinks once, a smidgen of tension bleeding out of her. "Thank you, sir," she states now that she can take in air again. "For being honest." The creature's voice is sincere, calmer now than when she last spoke. Her knees bend slightly, body winding up to resume.

"I think I understand a little more now."

Her right hand closes over the grip of her weapon, drawing the katana free of its sheath. One of her remaining small foxfire motes swirls down, connecting with the edged steel, igniting it blue, heatless flame once again.

"Just how far I still have to go."

She bursts forward again, closing the distance with that same aggressive speed she had demonstrated throughout the bout. She attacks early, swiping her sword out horizontally from right to left at the point where its tip is barely in range with her arm fully extended. The follow through has her stepping into a full turn to the left, however, her left hand joining her right to add strength top a second heavy slash that follows the first as she steps in closer!

COMBATSYS: Renka successfully hits Kim with Medium Strike.

[                   \\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////            ]
Kim              1/-----==/=======|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2            Renka

Kim Kaphwan might have seen a much more gentle soul, if his stubbornness did not consume him.

Legends go so long, and his view of the wider world outside Korea has been somewhat cynical in execution. The world has become full of monsters, of demons, of injustice, and of evil. And his worst fears have been confirmed by the face of the brave new world, the NOL, an organization he was skeptical at first, and now jaded in present. Evil was unforgivable, and as he eases to his feet, it is simply unfortunate that Renka is the one who bears its banner. Because now, Kim Kaphwan knew that she was a monster. He could see some nobility, but every glimmer of tolerance is snuffed out by the stories of wily kumiho. And worse, a statement to herself, takes on a different meaning to Kim.

'Just how far I still have to go'
%Kim Kaphwan didn't know what this inner strength would come forward with. But the double slash comes, the dancing foxfire a strange tell, as the martial artist struggles to weave. He reacts to the foxfire, not hte blade this time, and his timing is off; the first slash takes hold across his chest. and he expects a feint for the second, reacting to attacks that simply are not there, which rake across his shoulder. Cuts after cuts, with the horrible numb tingle of soul energy, almost brings him down. But the spark is set, he grasps on unconsciously to the ghosts of evil.

"No! I will not let you get any further! It ends here!"

His fists tighten, as he seems to back off a moment, a dangerous tell for what comes next. "There is no gentleness! Your past is your legend! There is no deception of what you truly are! And if you want redemption... there is only one path for redemption, maybe. And it is TAE KWON DO!" Kim's entire body clenches up, as he is about to spring.

"Allow me to show you!"

And for a moment, time feels like it slows down, as his soul almost comes to a climax.

"H O U ' O U! "

"K Y A K U!"

And he explodes at Renka.

What comes next is best described as a blur; the abstract is simple. Kim Kaphwan does what so many other fighter do; a rapid chain of smaller attacks, in part of a singular mass attack. The problem was the detail: where a simple fighter might have a roundhouse kick chain into a second roundhouse kick, and then maybe a straight kick, Kim Kaphwan would have already done three of those. The sheer volume and intensity was unstoppable, unspeakable. And to boot, the sheer volume of attacks to react to would require a response that is almost Tolstoyan in execution. Yes there are kicks, yes there are punches (!?). But where a lesser fighter would have clear sub-chains, there was no rhyme or reason to Kim Kaphwan's own relentless assault. All with it's song, as Kim sings with staccaco gusto.


Until he finishes the chain with a very familar kick combination; to spin kick her up in the air, striking the -precise- same place he did last time she attacked, before attempting to crater her down with a spiking axe kick.


COMBATSYS: Renka just-defends Kim's Houou Kyaku ES!

[                  \\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////          ]
Kim              0/-------/-------|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2            Renka

Her slashes delivered, Renka follows through the second strike by turning with it, stepping backward in the process, coming to rest with both hands on the grip of her azure flaming blade. The weapon is held at an angle across the front of her, its flickering sapphire light casting a soft glow against her features as she looks back at the martial artist that has condemned her so.

She is calm now, as if the judgments of her nature, of her past, of the legends and stories far and wide warning all to beware the treacherous nature of the deadly, heart eating kumiho only seemed to steel her resolve further, forging it into something that could yield to the enmity her opponent thrusts upon her without breaking to the pressure to react in kind.

The fox-eared fighter listens to him repudiate the idea of her moving closer to her dream. The collective history of the world is against her, man verses monster, humanity verses the demons that have turned out not to be consigned simply to myth. But then he says something else and her ears perk, a flicker of a smile at the edge of her mouth.

"So then," she replies, her voice soft in response to the escalating volume of his battle spirit being gathered. "You do think there could be redemption for me."

She dips her head slightly as he declares that the heart of his martial art alone has the power to put her on that path.

"Do show me." There is no challenge to the declaration, no bravado, no sense that she disbelieve the spirit of his declaration. If he believes with all his soul that this is the path forward, then she desires to see it.

She had started with several, but now only four foxfire spheres linger in their swirling orbits around the creature Kim Kaphwan seeks to defeat here and now, each of them blazing brighter than the had at the start of the match, the largest of them clearly continuing to feed strength and vigor to the vulpine monster's already dangerous, supernatural strength.

She is calm now, calmer than she can remember being when faced with an extremely capable opponent. Her eyes wide open, hands gripping her flame engulfed sword, her the bruise on her jaw already losing its color little by little.

In the next instant, he is upon her, a battle dance of incredible speed, ferocity, and strength unleashed. And in that instant, Kim is given a glimpse of the threat he fights, the strength of a darkstalker committed to an impossible dream. Defending on instinct rather than active reactive thought, she mounts a defense against the maelstrom of attacks that leaves nary the slightest gap. Her sword whirls, becoming a blur of blue fire as she moves it about, intercepting kick after kick with a glancing guard of the flat of her blade. His unexpected punches (!?) force her to release her weapon with her left hand to snap it up, catching the blows with her gloved palm. She gives ground, retreating with her responses, not a flight of fear, but rather a subconscious, cautious appreciation of just how dangerous the all out assault of a man of true conviction can be.

The combination of seemingly every strike in Kim Kaphwan's arsenal is answered with split second timing, Renka's eyes never moving to follow the blows - focused instead on the face of her adversary. That was where he was going to truly show her that he was holding nothing back, that his resolve to put a stop to the evil he perceived in her was as unrelenting as her drive to see her vision through.

He launches into a crushingly strong spin kick, far too powerful for her to fend off with her wearying sword arm. One of her last few soulfire spheres is her salvation, zipping into the path of his spin, stretching out flat into a resistant barrier, buying the fox-tailed sword wielder time to dart backward out of range, landing on a slide along the tiles until she comes to rest.

It would be hard to tell just by looking at her just how hard she had been pressed. She doesn't pant for breath like a human on the last of their reserves, and though moisture does drip down her cheeks from her hair, it is nothing but the water still seeping out of her soaked hair from the fountain spill. With how calmly she breaths, and the serenity of her expression, one might make the mistake that she wasn't nearly dry of resources.

But Kim's display of genuine rejection to everything he believed her to be gave her another strength. She wasn't entirely innocent of the things he implicated she had done... And that just meant she would have try even harder to make amends for it all if she could ever believe herself to have reached her dream in earnest.

"Perhaps I can't ignore my past," Renka replies, right arm moving to slide her sword back into its sheath, its flame extinguished in the process. "But I will continue to move forward. I realize now..." She brings her right hand to her mouth, her teeth clamping down on the tip of the glove covering her pointing finger, pulling the dirty why cloth glove off with a turn of her neck and yank of her hand, leaving it dangling in her mouth briefly before she lets it fall to the ground.

"The importance of people like you out there, ever doubting, ever questioning the straightness of my way ahead. Perhaps it is only my enemies that can judge me best, that can show me with honesty unmasked by concern for my feelings where I will have to do better."

She leans forward then, an aura of blue foxfire surging up around her. "Now I will show you..."

She leaps to the right... and the left. There are two Renka's, each identical in appearance to the other that land, facing Kim from either side. Then the two copies leap again, to the right and the left. Now there are four surrounding him, each aglow with eyes of azure and the foxfire spheres are no where to be found.

"Just what it is you are fighting against... lest you ever let your guard down for even a moment!" All four speak in unison, none giving any obvious tell as to where the true demon crouches.

All four surge forward then, closing in on him, a pack of fox spirits, their right hands extended, leading the way, each seemingly hellbent on laying a hand on Kim so that she can finally pull from that aura of his, to taste it first hand, a moment's experience added to her centuries of memories.

But defending against the four, even if he were to masterfully accomplish such, would not spare him from the actual attack as Renka Kaneko, Corporal in the Librarium, a darkstalker with a dream of better days, and better ways, shimmers into existence right in front of him, right hand slamming out to grasp him by the face with her deadly, soul stealing touch. It would have no risk of being fatal... this fox need not slaughter hens to be filled - but it could rob him of the ability to put up any further resistance this match.

COMBATSYS: Kim blocks Renka's #This Animus of Mine#.

[                     \\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////           ]
Kim              0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0            Renka

For Kim, it was the first true test of faith.

The full superiority of Tae Kwon Do was being tested in The KOF tournment. This was not his chance, it was Tae Kwon Do's chance. And yet, his unstoppable fury of kicks were... stopped. Not dead cold, but the dance was met with a precise, careful meters that was more than a suitable rebuttal to the so called superiority of TKD. For a lesser man, it might be disheartening.

For Kim, it was an opportunity.

The final strike is flummoxed, And Kim is not only exposed, but almost dreamily praised. The master knows it is coming. Drawing deep within, he puffs out his chest. The illusions manifest... yes. Yes, he understands now. As the shapes prepareto strike, the martial artist makes his gambit. Kim Kaphwan actually takes the four foxes, letting then surge at him with their ennervating power. Like the feint before, it nearly brings him to his knees. The martial artist was gasping, seething. It wasn't a mistake this time, however. For as his soul blazed in the face of the fire, a paw snatches out to seize him.

And he snatches the wrist

The kitsune had shown more than enough power in her supernatural frame. But Kim himself proved that despite evidence to the contrary, he did not solely focus on leg day every day. The muscled arms tense as he precisely wrenches, turning the wrist as if it was a nuggets with a knife, though the touch may have been more lethal. Body burning, he stares unmercifully back at Renka. "This soul is not -yours- to feast on, demon!" He wheezes, as he suddenly releases the kitsune.

And promptly, throws out a staggering roundhouse point blank at Renka's torso.

COMBATSYS: Renka fails to counter Roundhouse Kick from Kim with Outcast Dream EX.

[                    \\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////                 ]
Kim              0/-------/----===|=====--\-------\0            Renka

Caught by the wrist, her palm inches from his face, Renka's forward momentum is brought to an abrupt stop. Surprise registers in her expression but she doesn't hesitate for an instant, switching immediately to an attempt to disengage. Her fingers clench into a tight fist, both feet slamming against the tile floor as she braces and pulls back against the twist of her arm.

Teeth grit in effort and concentration, she's twisting to the left when he releases his grip on her right arm, her left arm already dropping down to grip the top of her scabbard where her sword is presently sheathed. There is a slight stagger as she recoils back from the unexpected relaxing of his grip on her arm, but only barely so.

The instant her fingers close around her scabbard, she pulls up on it, drawing it out of the leather strapping that keeps it affixed to her waist, her whole body whipping back to the right as she does so.

She's fast, attempting to smack aside his incoming counter strike with her scabbard, hoping to force an opening to execute another swift draw attack in close quarters. But Tae Kwon Do won't be so easily stuffed aside in this instant, his crushing roundhouse kick landing cleanly, her scabbard thwacking harmlessly against his thigh as the fox-eared fighter is sent hurtling back across the floor.

She lands in a rough tumble before finally catching herself on her knees and elbows long enough to push up and ultimately land on her feet, spinning to a stop facing Kim once more, her scabbard still in her left hand.

She breathes in then only to stop short, freshly mended ribs once again fractured by the singularly powerful strike of Kim Kaphwan. The grimace of pain subsides quickly, however, as she cuts off her breathing, leaning forward, scabbard held across the front of her, right hand closing over the grip of her sheathed weapon.

From behind the black scabbard, she looks back at Kim, eyes intent, mouth curled into a faintly bemused smile. It seems his soul is to be off limits, after all.

A shame, that.

She was fast.

It was that speed that demanded Kim to keep moving, keep attacking. Sweat poured over his brow, as it seemed almost a miracle he could disengage the clinch safely. When that sword comes out, he swore he could see the hunger in her face, the toying lust for his soul. Outraged, Kim gives a snort.

But otherwise bites his tongue.

There is little hesitation, other than the creeping fatigue. Kim Kaphwan surges after Renka. A flying kick? No, a rebound kick. Kim would drift to the side to drive his foot into a pivot point, leaping in for a swift dropping kick. There, he would immediately use the impact point to bounce off, back flipping away.

No matter if it was foxgirl or earth.

COMBATSYS: Kim successfully hits Renka with Evasive Kick.

[                   \\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////                        ]
Kim              0/-------/---====|=======\====---\1            Renka

Her moment's reprieve is short lived as Kim seizes the opportunity to keep the pressure on. Feet planted, left hand gripping her scabbard, right hand positioned to draw her sword in an instant. She had seen the power of conviction in Kim's all out assault, and now she had felt fully the strength of his striking power. There can be no taking him lightly. Just as Gang-il experienced himself, every exchange of attacks has the potential to decide the outcome of this bout.

She braces as he closes in. Identifying his incoming attack as coming from above, she shifts her stance, lifting her right foot to position it behind her, pivoting toward the right, intending to brace as much of his incoming striking potential against her scabbard as possible.

But her foot comes down on something entirely unexpected - something she had forgotten about since she released her grip on it and allowed it to clatter to the floor at the start of this round.

The broken shaft of her spear rolls beneath her heel, turning what should have been a stable defensive stance, braced and ready to fend off the incoming kick, into a flailing display of alarm. There is nothing to intercept the incoming dropping heel and rather than a glancing hit against a shoulder or a strong blow to the top of her head or collarbone, the strike connects as a devastating hit to the kitsune's nose.

The force drops her to her back hard against the unyielding tile, eyes watering at the unexpectedly sharp pain. Her right hand has already released from the grip of her sword in order to clamp down over her nose, blood seeping between her fingers, but she doesn't stay prone for long. Drawing her knees up, she kicks off with her feet, flipping back and over to land standing, pulling her hand away from her nose to look at it with a surprised expression.

Blinking her eyes clear of the blurring tears, she quickly fixes her focus back on Kim. Only two foxfire spheres remain of her original swarm, including the larger one that continues to sustain her with its steady ebb of restorative energy.

She has to buy more time, to put distance between them. She knows full well that she can't withstand another strike from the stalwart champion of Justice. Which is why it might be strange when she reacts to his proximity by suddenly leaping for him, a reckless tackle as if surrendering any semblance of civilized combat in favor of a bestial ambush!

Only, the thing that tries to attack him turns out to not be Renka at all, but another illusion that attempts to smash into him. The kitsune, herself, would appear two meters away two seconds later, unless he manages to ferret her out ahead of time, crouched with one knee against the wet tile, held up by her right hand pressed against the floor.

COMBATSYS: Kim interrupts The Hour of the Fox from Renka with Kuu Sajin EX.

[                      \\\\\\\\  < >  /                             ]
Kim              0/-------/=======|=====--\-------\0            Renka


Kim Kaphwan didn't intend to drive it harder. Blood was... rare in Tae Kwon Do. Not impossible. But as he repositions away, standing fast, he could see it. An accident. For all his gusto, his judgement, for his intolerance, his expression betrays it. Concern. Worry. He almost seems ready to intervene, as the blood comes on her snout... but she was turned back at Kim. A wounded animal, he thinks.

But this time, Kim was prepared.

In the face of illusions, your senses will always decieve you. Even Kim didn't know what to believe. But in these desperate last straits, there was only one thing to trust: his courage. Thus, in the face of sheer defeat, Kim Kaphwan stands fast in the onrushing illusions. He forces himself to believe that they will cut to his soul, and his soul is strong enough. And as the shape rush at him... he answers with a swift rising kick. Ripping through the illusion, he lets the energy wash over him, striking his very soul to it's core. He feels cold. But he is not afraid.

"Your tricks... your tricks will not-"

He doesn't have a target. He makes one. Another kick comes, as he forces through. And a third breaks through, finding -some- contact, some connection through the ether, the shadows, the illusions, hammering hard across the crown of the foxgirl. Kim Kaphwan, groping in the darkness, finds a final contact. Groaning in pain, he lands hard, fists balled tightly, teeth gritted.

"It ends now!"

She had played her hand with her previous use of illusory doubles and this time it costs her. No sooner than her duplicate leaps for the martial artist than he kicks right back into it and through it, catching the illusionist squarely in the chest in the process. Whether he counter struck out of desperation or he truly knew exactly what he was doing, she couldn't know.

What she does know is that her attempted escape is stopped short, reeling from the first crushing impact. There is no chance to muster a defense, too swift is the follow up kick as her projection splashes against him, losing its form immediately along with most of its punch.

She's off balance, reeling from the blow, heels elevated, toes barely touching the tiles as her head rocks back. The tremendous power of his kicks aligns with original assessment of the Tae Kwon Do practitioners. They were not to be taken lightly at any point.

She's just about to recover, right hand going for her sword again, when his third kick smashes into the side of her head, sending her flipping over to the left, crashing hard against the tile with a painful, ungainly landing perpetuated by the kicking power of Kim Kaphwan.

The concussive damage of his relentless kicks has mounted up too rapidly for her orbiting foxfire to sustain her any further - even her supernatural durability has its limits in the face of so many masterfully executed strikes.

There is to be one last attack, however, one last test of the Korean warrior's mettle. The sword draw slash comes an instant after she pushes up to one knee, other foot planted against the tile, scabbard allowed to fall from her grip as her right hand sweeps her katana out for Kim with one last effulgent flare of azure foxfire engulfed steel.

The strike comes without warning and is just as swift as anything else leveled at the martial artist by the fox-eared combatant. But it is also an attack made on instinct rather than active awareness, more of a warding slash, attempting to fend off or catch Kaphwan by chance every bit as much as speed.

Somewhere in her waning thoughts is the idea that she should get back to her feet, and for a moment, there is that upward rise, legs tensing, the resilient creature trying to draw on strength that simply is no longer there.

She never makes it, falling forward back toward the floor, emerald eyes closed, her combat strength exhausted.

COMBATSYS: Renka can no longer fight.

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

COMBATSYS: Kim dodges Renka's A View from Isolation EX.

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

With courage, it was a little of both.

As he stands fast, he was already moving. Always moving. As the sound of the sword comes, the moment decisively goes for the defensive. As the slice comes, his entire form moves in tandem. It comes close, and Kim watches as he moves his body, his total control of his form surging in the singular decisive moment. The blade slices into his gi... and just short of the flesh, the tip coming less than an inch from a glancing cut. Close. Dangerously close.

But she falls before the follow through.

Kim was almost ready for another attack, as she stays down. Another trick? Another trap? No, she was down. Curling up his lip, he draws in a heavy breath. He shakes a finger at Renka, even as she is down, even as he is so close to the edge. "Evil is... evil is..." He trails off. "..." He says nothing more of the foxgirl, as he cross his blooded arms. Respect? His own stubborn form of surrendering? The Tae Kwon Do master was not sure of it himself. He was only certain of one thing.

Round 3

COMBATSYS: Kim awaits the next challenger.

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


Kim Kaphwan looks at his HitBit Watch.

"Oh shit I need to pick up Dong from the Overwatch tournament! I give up!" And Kim gave up and went to get Dong from the Overwatch tournament (He is a Bastion main and still a disappointment)

COMBATSYS: Kim has ended the fight here.

Log created on 12:01:35 06/22/2019 by Gang-il, and last modified on 22:44:01 07/14/2019.