KOF 2019 - Quarterfinal 3 - Team WTF vs USA Sports Team[Toggle Names]
Description: King of Fighters '19 Quarterfinals Match #3 - at Russia, Red Square. The very capitol is all but shut down from the sheer hype and splendor of the King of Fighters going underway. Between the 'USA Sports Team' and 'Team WTF,' both of whom have a number of... er... unexpected elements, there is but one certainty to be found in these circumstances: there will be only one victor that advances to the semifinals. The world is watching. Very specific parts of the world is watching even more closely. If they want to see something truly amazing happen... should they look somewhere else? (spoilers: nope, here is fine!) (WINNERS: USA Sports Team)
Red Square has been blocked off and the lights are all set up! There is a double-sized, fourty feet to a side inside the ropes, boxing ring set up right at the main intersection where untold amounts of military personnel and hardware have been paraded. Camera and light crews scuttle about, trying to make the set-up for this match perfect.
Zach Glenn is already in the middle of the ring. A sports jacket wards off the chilly weather as he walks around near the blue corner, rolling his shoulders. He is wearing blue-grey denim jeans, and sneakers, along with a hefty-looking belt with what appears to be a dagger with an abnormally large hilt slung just off the left hip.
The psion is none too sanguine about the match; the movie star looks just skilled enough to give him trouble. The being known only as Hakumen gives him chills just thinking about it. That particular fighter carried no small bounty with the NOL, and that marked him as dangerous in one respect or another.
COMBATSYS: Zach Glenn has started a fight here.
Zach Glenn 0/-------/-------|
Autographs. Selfies. Duckfaces. It's all par for the course when Johnny Cage is involved.
Arriving as fashionably late as usual, Johnny Cage wanders through the crowd with all the swagger of someone that's decided they've already won this 'bout. He's wearing a pair of his sunglasses collection, mirrored for everyone's enjoyment and stops almost every two steps to pose for a fan or sign an autograph. The hotter fans get a little more attention but Johnny Cage shows some love for everyone on his way to the ring.
When he hops up onto the apron, he pops the collar on his leather jacket and tugs at the black padded gloves he's wearing as well. He's chosen to go shirtless for this event, his JOHNNY tattoo proudly displayed across his chest. The boots and his pink and black fatigue pants are all the rage. He pulls down his sunglasses for a moment and tosses a wink out to the crowd before flipping backwards over the ropes and into the ring. His arms go up and out to the sides to bask in the applause!
COMBATSYS: Johnny Cage has joined the fight here.
[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > //////////////////////////////]
Zach Glenn 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Johnny Cage
Johnny Cage finishes making a scene and looks over to Zach as he backs up to his corner. "Let's give 'em a helluva show, alright?" is offered as he pulls himself out of his jacket to more cheers and whistles and maybe even a fainting foxy mama or two. This only gets a knowing smirk from Johnny Cage.
He reaches up and adjusts his sunglasses as he does a couple of practice kicks in his corner. Another flex of his musculature and he looks like he's ready to get this party started.
A quick glance is given to the crowd to give his fans another chance to see him smile before he gets to work... and to see where the cameras are so he can make this look even better.
COMBATSYS: Johnny Cage straightens his sunglasses.
[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > //////////////////////////////]
Zach Glenn 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Johnny Cage
Zach extends his left hand, opened and ready, while keeping his right hand closed in a light fist near his shoulder. His stance is balanced, not aggressive or defensive in its weight distribution. He is ready.
The bell rings, and the match starts.
And Zach waits.
Johnny's a show-off. He'll do something crazy soon enough, and that is when Zach will have his chance.
COMBATSYS: Zach Glenn focuses on his next action.
[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > //////////////////////////////]
Zach Glenn 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Johnny Cage
Johnny Cage is triggered by the bell to take off in a sprint towards Zach. He keeps things cool and for the extra style points as he moves in close, spinning on his heels and offering a brief history of pain with the back of his hand as he sends a back fist towards Zach's face.
All the while he's taking a moment to smile at the camera that's angled for the close up. Because, well, Johnny Cage.
COMBATSYS: Zach Glenn blocks Johnny Cage's Back Punch.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > //////////////////////////////]
Zach Glenn 0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0 Johnny Cage
Zach's response is fairly straight-froward, bringing his left hand up to deflect the incoming punch as he takes a half-step to close the gap a little more. Psychic energy flares up his right arm as he does so.
It'd be hard to tell, but one could not be blamed for guessing that Zach timed that right stright for the exact moment Cage was smiling at the camera!
COMBATSYS: Zach Glenn successfully hits Johnny Cage with Heavy Swing.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > ///////////////////////// ]
Zach Glenn 0/-------/----===|====---\-------\0 Johnny Cage
Trying to show off too much comes with a lack of awareness. Which is why Johnny doesn't even register that his back fist had been blocked. He's too busy watching the camera and looking so fly that he doesn't notice energy flaring either. In fact, all that does register is the connection of psychic energy arm to the face!
Cage stumbles away from Zach, wincing from the connection and shakes his head to make sure his sunglasses are still on straight. He rubs his tongue on the inside of his mouth to taste the blood and smirks. "Alrighty, then."
Cage moves quick, aiming a sudden kick at Zach's knee, before dropping low to sling a swift kick for the Nuts du Zach and then rises to flip downwards with a reverse angle Flippy Kick (just to change stuff up) and aims to kick Zach's head down into the mat!
"Since ya' wanna' be startin' somethin'! Sha'mon!"
Oh god. He's quoting Michael Jackson now.
It is a huge damn deal that the Red Square - where so many major streets run through and connect outwards to major highways - is all but closed down. This is the King of Fighters, kicking off for reals, and the capital of a nation coming this shy of shutting down just to /host/ a match. That's big. That's amazing. All this, just for one boxing ring, for up to four fighters in total.
One Howard Rust, Jr. - a has-been who, following his performance against Cody, has been upgraded to a has-has-been (and is now just a 'being'?), has quietly been shoved back down to his seat by a few scary-looking people.
"(You got to chill,)" Sasquatch reminds as he lie hidden behind a raised concrete partition. He's good at that, "(or you're going home bitter home,)"
Rust Jr. hisses, shakes his head, and... starts laughing. "Nope! I'll be good! I'll be good. Promise, eh? I mean, it was kind I even got to go out at," he starts rubbing the side of his head. "...Doesn't quite sting so much."
Time compression, yadda yadda, now we catch up to about the part where Johnny Cage is quoting Michael Jackson now, compared to the more sedate tone Zach tends to project. Cage's personality is dominating!
"...No really," Jr. says to the Darkstalker from up north, "have you seen those cameras?"
"Ohhh. They're really something. Wanted to get a real close look at one of the lenses with," he starts wildly gesticulating, "and I could tell you... yep! Heat tracking, motion tracking, magnification to--"
"(im not going to sleep tonight)"
Jr. stops talking. "Ohhhh... yeah... sorry! Sorry," he pats the partition, "science is just really neat." Quoth science enthusiast but total blithering idiot, Howard Rust, Jr., "Is it still a scary camera if it's got science in it? Science can't be scary, eh?"
"(if i can't see a camera it can't see me)" Sasquatch quivers.
"Errrrrr... yep, I can... I can see the thought process in that... you bet," Jr. has a dumb look on his face - dumber than usual, back to rubbing the side of his head, as he looks out to the cameras. He tries to wave a hand.
"...Aww, they got like six-hundred-and-ninety-four of those things," he counted, apparently, "and not one's lookin' our way"
"(THAT IS COOL BY ME)"
COMBATSYS: Zach Glenn blocks Johnny Cage's Making Headlines.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > //////////////////////// ]
Zach Glenn 0/-------/---====|=====--\-------\0 Johnny Cage
Zach pivots slightly, forcing the kicks to not at places that Cage did not intend for them to land. The psion still felt them, mind you, but it an improvement over wrenched knees and smashed testicles. Zach turtles up to catch the incoming kick on his raised left arm, that hand by his head to blunt the force of the strike.
Zach's right hand, however, is down by his hip. A quick flurry of golden energy collects there. The psion narrows his eyes; he is clearly trying to time this right. He waits for Cage to get his feet under him. Just as Johnny makes a case for trademark infringement, Zach thrusts the mass of psycho-kinetic force at the movie star. His right hand twists slightly, as if he is turning a doorknob. The energy lashes out at Cage, twisting like a dril as it does so!
COMBATSYS: Zach Glenn successfully hits Johnny Cage with Swift Blade ES.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > //////////////// ]
Zach Glenn 0/-------/-======|=======\==-----\1 Johnny Cage
Johnny makes a mental note to never quote Michael Jackson so early in a match again. This is due to the fact that his attempt to spin out of the way of the energy that's doorknob'd in his direction hits him full on like a ton of bedknobs and broomsticks.
Cage's body catches the drilled energy dead in the center of his chest and he goes flailing backwards, falling down to the mat and winces there for a lingering moment before fighting through the pain and rolling backwards and back up to his feet. He takes a second to breathe, hiding it behind a smug showing of 'dusting off his chest'. "Alright, if you messed up my tattoo..."
Johnny's warning comes with a wagging of his finger, his lips curled into a smirk to make it obvious he's just playing around. A quick adjustment of his shades shows that he's still in this for the fans. When his hands reappear, he's got twin pairs of brass knuckles on, each say CAGE. He takes a quick second to show them off before he just rushes Zach with a flurry of punches that seem to get faster, angrier and harder with each one.
COMBATSYS: Zach Glenn fails to interrupt Say Uncle from Johnny Cage with Soaring Dragon EX.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > /////////////// ]
Zach Glenn 1/-------/=======|==-----\-------\0 Johnny Cage
Zach ducks in, managing to slip the first punch. His right hand drops low, collecting more of that amber energy. However, Zach timed this move just a little wrong, and just as he is about to answer with a thunderous uppercut that would carry *both* fighters off of their feet?
Zach catches the second punch, and the energy around his right hand scatters away from him as his concentration is broken in the moment. Then the third. Then the fourth. With his face. And chest. And shoulders. Blood splatters across the ring, and Zach staggers back to try and buy himself some breathing room. The plan still has merit, but he needs to get his head clear first.
Johnny Cage pours on the pressure and hops back when the opponent of a Zachittude staggers back. He doesn't want to lay him completely out... although it'd be a dope looking win. No, he needs to put on at least a little bit more of a show. So he hops a half-step back and aims a pair of finger guns at Zach.
"Say my name and we can call this a night."
Johnny has to let the trash talk lead his way into the three-piece brass knuckled jab-hook-uppercut combination to try and keep Zach from getting his wits back about him! The pressure's on!
COMBATSYS: Zach Glenn dodges Johnny Cage's Krushing Blow.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > //////////////// ]
Zach Glenn 1/-------/=======|==-----\-------\0 Johnny Cage
Zach sees these punches coming, slipping each and every punch with a fluid grace. The psion steps back in, pulling in a deep breath and another portion of energy around his left fist.
"Bye, Felicia," he mutters, before throwing a left straight with all of his weight behind it directly at the center of Johnny's chest!
COMBATSYS: Johnny Cage dodges Zach Glenn's Crushing Strike.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > //////////////// ]
Zach Glenn 1/-------/=======|===----\-------\0 Johnny Cage
"(Felicia's here? Where?)" The humble Sasquatch peeks their little beady eyes above the partition.
"Eh?" Rust Jr. looks up from conversing with the other teammate, hand over his eyes, as he squints. "I don't see her about in..."
Something flies over both their heads.
Johnny grins as he can see the energy fist headed in his direction. That's definitely what he likes to see when he's fighting for the crowd. That trash talk seems to be throwing some 'oomph' behind his opponent.
"Good show, ol' chap!" Johnny spins on his heels to dodge out of the way of that energy fueled fist and throws on his horrible British accent. "Cheerio!"
Johnny reaches out to grab at Zach for some over-the-shoulder judo flip action. A move he stole from one of his co-stars in World's Most Wanted.
"Is it tea time already?" Annnnd he's back to speakin' American.
COMBATSYS: Johnny Cage successfully hits Zach Glenn with Front Throw.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > ///////////////// ]
Zach Glenn 1/-----==/=======|====---\-------\0 Johnny Cage
<Great,> Zach thinks to himself, <Another crazy one.> Cage is all over the place, personality-wise, and it's not making sense to Zach. Cage gets the arm, and sends Zach to the mat. He lets out a short breath with the impact, and finds himself staring up at the evening sky for a moment.
He blinks once, a sword comprised of psychic energy forming in his hands. The psion sweeps the blade at Johnny before rolling to his feet. When the psion stands, the energy blade is still in his right hand, along with a disc of golden power hanging off of his left arm like a shield.
COMBATSYS: Johnny Cage blocks Zach Glenn's Flashing Blade ES.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > ///////////// ]
Zach Glenn 0/-------/-----==|=======\-------\1 Johnny Cage
Johnny Cage is probably one of the more unpredictable fighters on the circuit because's just too busy trying to showboat and make people laugh... while also making people bleed. It's random but there's a method to the madness because he knows it often keeps his opponent's from reading him.
Psionic Blade Alert! Johnny realizes a bit too late that there's weapons coming into play and he gets his guard up just in time to get swiped right across his arm. There's stinging, there's blood and there's definitely going to be a scar. "Nice one." Johnny quips as he holds his arm and steps back a bit, taking stock of where Zach's movements are taking him. "Also, your last one."
Johnny Cage goes for broke in his next movement, raising one leg up and sliding across the mat with the green glow and After-Johnny's trailing behind. Get those cameras ready, folks.
IT'S SHADOW KICK TIME!
COMBATSYS: Johnny Cage successfully hits Zach Glenn with Shadow Kick EX.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > ///////////// ]
Zach Glenn 0/-------/-======|=======\===----\1 Johnny Cage
Zach pivots, trying to get the shield inbetween himself and Johnny. Cage's improbable kick slams through the barrier and the kick slams home in Zach's breadbasket. The psion staggers back, keeping his constructs running as he resets his footing. Shield up, sword at the ready, Zach give deigns to give Johnny the time of day.
"Finally taking me seriously," he growls. "Awesome. COME GET SOME!" Zach roars as that golden energy that Zach has been summoning screams to life around him in challenge to Jonny Cage!
COMBATSYS: Zach Glenn gathers his will.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > ///////////// ]
Zach Glenn 1/-----==/=======|=======\===----\1 Johnny Cage
Johnny Cage takes a few steps back and takes off his brass knuckles, tucking them away as he makes sure to give enough space for him to try and get himself in a position to take this fight right on into the final stages.
He even takes off his sunglasses for just a moment to point across the ring at Zach. "I don't take anything serious." He winks and throws his sunglasses back on.
This is followed up by the 'No U!' hand gesture that he just invented to tell Zach to COME GET SOME instead!
COMBATSYS: Johnny Cage takes five.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > ///////////////// ]
Zach Glenn 1/-----==/=======|=======\==-----\1 Johnny Cage
Zach gives an odd shake of his head, in response to Cage's reaction. He asked for it, one supposes. Zach rushes in, moving so quickly that it's hard to tell where Zach is stepping as he closes. Energy flares around the psion with each closing step.
The sword drops a bit, and the shield comes up. And Zach drives that shield, along with his fist, right at Johnny's nose!
COMBATSYS: Johnny Cage can't buy an interrupt against Medium Strike from Zach Glenn with The Klassic.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > /////////// ]
Zach Glenn 1/--=====/=======|====---\-------\0 Johnny Cage
Johnny Cage smirks as his reverse tauntology kicks into high gear. He watches Zach closely, prepping for the arrival of his opponent. He drops down earlier than he would, clenching his fingers into a fist as he crouches low. It's not until Zach's movements become obscured by the psionic energies does he realize he overstepped. It's too late, though, as he's committed to the Klassic uppercut...
And instead gets rocked viciously by the fisted shield that sends him sailing backwards to bounce against the ropes. He rebounds off, immediately hitting the mat and stays down for just a moment. A moment long enough to lift his head to show everybody that he's still in it, still alive... bleeding from the nose.
But worst of all, one of the lenses of his sunglasses are cracked.
Johnny has to use the ropes to pull himself back up to his feet. No smartass banter accompanying these movements this time. Instead, he just tries to balance himself upright.
Zach opts to not allow Cage too much recovery time, continuing to press in. He leaps, leading with a knee strike, before following up with a flurry of punches and sword strikes and shield bashes. Each individual strike won't do much, but they will pile up before long...
COMBATSYS: Johnny Cage fails to counter Rough and Tumble from Zach Glenn with Mime Time.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\ <
Zach Glenn 1/=======/=======|
COMBATSYS: Johnny Cage can no longer fight.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\ <
Zach Glenn 1/=======/=======|
Johnny Cage is barely on his feet. When he spots the knee strike coming, he throws his hands up for the crowd to feel the pressure, feel that it's coming!
IT'S MIME TIME!
Johnny Cage begins his 'trapped in a box' routine but his head zigs when it should've zagged and by the time he looks back at Zach, that knee is upon him.
The rampage of violent justice happens so fast that Johnny Cage's body is rocked in so many different directions that he doesn't even know where to fall when it's done. He just stands there, almost catatonic, long enough to reach up and pull his sunglasses off his face. He reaches over and hangs them on the top rope... before falling face first into the mat.
Zach takes several steps back as the referee comes in to declare the end of the round. His arms drop to his side as the sword and shield fall away into the ether, and Zach takes a cleansing breath as he makes his way back to his corner.
One down. Let's see if Zach can pick up the spare.
COMBATSYS: Zach Glenn awaits the next challenger.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ <
Zach Glenn 1/=======/=======|
The battle between Zach Glenn and Johnny Cage goes so fast that there's, intellectually speaking, hardly a time or space to react to the blindingly fast, brutal... shut down that Zach gives the famous actor. The entire Red Square has been all but shut down for the festivities. This is the King of Fighters, the real deal - no preliminary stuff, the real, freakin', deal...
...and there's something about all this that seems a touch more sedate than it ought to be, for all the people that are here.
"Did ya see that?!" Rust Jr. says, as if impressed by just how huge a flurry of weapon and shield blows Zach can pack within a moment's time.
"(Nope, just chilling down here...)" Sasquatch goes.
"...Awwww, you know, I don't think you're the only one who missed that with," Rust Jr. says as the referee declares the round's winner to be one Zach Glenn. That's a moment for celebration, to be sure! A strong first round outing. Great momentum, going into the back half of a team... a team that has a truly legendary name attached to it... if it's /the/ Hakumen.
Rust Jr. rubs the side of his head. "I know, it doesn't say much great about where I might've been lookin'... yep, but it sure didn't seem like they were looking at JC while he was doin' that thing with the sliding kick..."
"(Is it because your toolbelt got loose agai--)"
"Nope! I checked that! Good catch, though, buddy."
"(How about now?)"
"Yup. Still good."
"(The side of your head?)"
"Well, that one-- 's just great! Ha ha!"
"(...Going to play that one cool, eh?)"
"You bet!" Rust Jr. keeps rubbing the side of his head, but this side conversation won't have long to continue before the arrival of the biggest name among the collected.
COMBATSYS: Hakumen has joined the fight here.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > //////////////////////////////]
Zach Glenn 1/=======/=======|-------\-------\0 Hakumen
There are combatants that thrive on the energy of crowds. Buoyed upon a swell of emotion, they rise to the occasion, pushing their bodies to new and untold heights. Then, there are combatants who's mere presence has an energy of its own.
The cool air grows still as each and every member of the gathered crowd feels the back of their neck prickle, goose bumps breaking out upon their flesh. Mouths closing, breath held, they dart their eyes about like a singular trapped organism, the only sounds now the efficient clatter of medical personnel strapping Johnny onto a gurney, undercut by the distant roar and honk of city life.
From behind the crowd, the soft 'clack, clack, clack' of heavy armored feet separates itself from the background noise, growing louder with each repetition. Instinctively the silent crowd shys away from the noise, bodies flowing apart to reveal a tall figure in black and white armor, the face of its horned helmet smooth and empty of features. The armor shape itself is vaguely reminiscent of a samurai, though the many crimson eyes that stare out balefully from various points across its body speak more of a demon than a man.
Moving at a measured pace, Hakumen, leader of the Legendary Six Heroes, savior of a world that no longer exists, strides quietly toward his recovering opponent. With every step closer the air seems to gain a sharper bite, light shines brighter, shadows grow darker, his very presence in this place working to strengthen the laws of the universe.
Reaching the edge of the ring, Hakumen plants his front foot and leaps, armored form arcing up and over the top rope of the ring with a thin comet of silver hair trailing out behind. Dropping from the air with clawed feet spread, the legend strikes with enough force to cause the entire construction to shake and tremble. But surely if these things can withstand the force of Zangief wrestling in them (they can't), they can hold up to the might of Hakumen (they can't).
"Zach Glenn." the voice that emerges from within the faceless helmet is hard and cool to the point of being outright unfriendly, underlined by a harsh electronic tang that further roughens its already harsh edges. And as he speaks, every crimson eye across the front of the legend's body turns as one to focus upon the psion, glaring through him with unreadable intensity. "Know this. You have fought well today, but it is not my intent to lose to a fool such as you. Draw your blade and face me."
Judgment given, the hero reaches back over his head with one claw-tipped hand and grips Okami's hilt, drawing the oversized weapon from its sheath with a long, rasping hiss. Handling it as if it weighed nothing at all, the monstrous swordsman lowers the nodachi to point out reversed behind him, its silvery blade gleaming in the defuse light of the evening sun. His free hand lifts, forearm presented toward Zach with the eyes set in the back of the gauntlet glaring an open challenge.
Then, he moves.
Clawed feet digging into the ring, he pushes off with enough force to shred the fabric to ribbons and cause his entire corner to collapse in a sudden explosion of shattered wood, the ring beneath their feet dropping into a sharp slant as he propels himself up it in a blurringly fast dash. Three flashing steps bring the monster face to face with his much smaller opponent, at which point he plants his left foot just before the psion and leans back, his right blasting upward in a single, claw-tipped kick aimed to plough into the man's body at center mass and hurl him up into the sky, foot trailed by an inky smear of black that continues to stain the air moments after the blow has been struck.
COMBATSYS: Hakumen successfully hits Zach Glenn with Hotaru EX.
- Power hit! -
[ \\\\\\\\\\\ < > ///////////////////////////// ]
Zach Glenn 2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|=====--\-------\0 Hakumen
Zach doesn't even get a chance to blink. The kick, and that black energy, slam into Zach's chest, hurtling him through the ropes and to the ground to get another view of the sky. The front of his shirt is shredded, and there is a jagged wound running up his chest. Blood splatters what is left of his wardrobe as he tries to remember what breathing feels like.
The soul fire burns through him, charging his reflexes and vital processes. The wound is already started to stitch itself up as Zach sits up slowly. "You teamed up with Johnny 'Mememachine' Cage. Stomped up in here is what can only be the worst cosplay ever. I mean, what are you going for? Edge lord white knight?" he says as he shakes the cobwebs loose. He reaches back, and pulls the broken claymore free from its sheath. The white hilt is prefectly servicable, but the blade is only eight inches long and broken.
"And you're calling *me* a fool?"
A blade of light erupts from the ruins of the weapon as Zach leaps skyward in a trail of golden light.
"You need help."
Zach then brings that blade down directly at Hakumen's head.
COMBATSYS: Hakumen counters Detonation Combo from Zach Glenn with Zanshin.
[ \\\\ < > //////////////////////////// ]
Zach Glenn 2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|======-\-------\0 Hakumen
While Zach is bouncing and skidding his way across the pavement outside of the ring, Hakumen takes a moment to lower his foot and focus his eyes out in all directions, crimson gaze scanning before him, behind him, up and down. Head bowed forward and sword out behind him, his pose is briefly one of intense concentration, almost meditative. Then, his faceless helm lifts and he steps up the slanted surface of the ring to stand at the high corner, taking up a position like a captain at the prow of his ship.
Zach's recovery time is impressive. For how hard he was hit, the psion is back on his feet, blade out, in a surprisingly short amount of time. But even still, a casual inspection reveals he is no Black beast. Were he to lose an arm, the hero can not be certain he would regrow it quickly, if at all. He must end this fight before the massive store of energy contained within the man can be effectively released, but he must do it without seriously maiming him. Otherwise there is a real chance he may lose this fight.
The outward posture of Hakumen reveals nothing of his inner debate. Standing tall and implacable, he tracks Zach's upward rise with two of many eyes, clawed feet braced and stance set.
The Psion descends, blade of light raised to strike, and Hakumen lifts his left forearm in response as if to guard the blow. However, moments before the swing can land, as the last foot of space begins to vanish between hem, the hero releases the barest amount of his body's power. In response, a wall of blazing crimson energy flashes free of his bracer, expanding upward and out into a barrier twenty feet high and at least as far across. Black geometric shapes twist and lock around the edges of the energy construct, drawing the eye toward strange mathematical equations far beyond normal understanding.
It is into this wall that Zach's blade and body collide, only the barest ripple of fuzz rolling out from where the sword of energy makes contact. Then, abruptly, a black and white hand is plunged through the barrier as if it did not exist, knuckles crashing backhanded into the side of Zach's face with all the force of a run away truck.
All at once the energy barrier is gone, leaving Hakumen standing alone atop the highest point of the crashed ring, left hand lifted in the wake of his strike and many eyes focused fully upon Zach.
"I will find my fellows when the time has come. But refusing to acknowledge the strength of your opponent is one of many ways you prove yourself a fool, Zach Glenn." Lowering his hand, the Avatar of Order lets out a quiet, dismissive grunt, head tilting slightly to one side. "Huh. Tell me, psychic. What is it you seek to gain from this tournament?"
Zach slams into the barrier to no effect. He then slams into a turnbuckle from the impact of the punch. However, for all of that, Zach still holds his sword in a firm grip. He coughs up a mess of blood as he sits there for a moment.
"Wouldn't... have brought the sword..." he rasps as he staggers to his feet. "If I didn't think I needed it." He hadn't brought the blade to fight against Sever the Wicked, or even the Mongrels. He brought the monster slaying blade to fight a monster. Another racking cough, more blood on the canvas. More of that golden energy roils off of the psion in an uneven but violent flow. Zach's clearly about down, but still standing for the moment.
"Didn't even want to *be* here," he says honestly as he wipes the blood off his chin. He throws his hands out to each side at the shoulder. The broken sword spins away about a foot before stopping. It doesn't fall, simply hanging there with its hilt aimed skyward.
And then there are swords. Sabres, shashkas, kinjals, a few viking swords. Each and every one of these new swords made of psychic energy. They hang in the air, suspended by Zach's will and oriented in the same manner as the remains of Dyrnwyn.
"Doesn't mean I'll just roll over, though," he says. Then he grabs a shashka and a kinjal before charging at Hakumen. The psion slashes with both weaposn as he closes before skidding to a halt. Some of the blades are wielded physically, some of them simply pivot in place before launching themselves at the Avatar of Order from odd angles.
The last sword Zach brings to bear is the sword he brought to the fight, Dyrnwyn flying into Zach's waiting hand as he closes to drive the weapon into Hakumen's chest!
COMBATSYS: Zach Glenn can no longer fight.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ <
COMBATSYS: Zach Glenn successfully hits Hakumen with #Claiomh Solias EX+#.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\ <
Zach does not get to hear any reply, or even to see how Hakumen is affected by the flurry of strikes. He has already collapsed in a bloody heap, the psychic flames surrounding his body fading. The broken claymore in his hand disappears in a scattering of light. Did it even exist?
"If you truly believe that I am your enemy," Hakumen replies into that pregnant moment between flurries of violence, swords hovering in the air all around them, "then you are a bigger fool than I at first suspected."
Any further insults are cut short as the psion charges, ducking beneath Hakumen's own blade when it is brought up in a flashing defensive parry. Blades of energy cleave into the monster's body, passing easily through the black mesh-like substance between the armor plates, but merely gouging the surface of the harder white material that makes up his suit. Forced back beneath the ferocious barrage, Okami slicing through one blade, then another, the legendary hero is battered by sheer weight of numbers, unable to defend himself from all sides at once. Blades pierce his back, his shoulders, his arms. And finally, the psion dances around a grunting block and drives the final strike home into the center of Hakumen's chest, his shattered sword just able to crack the solid white material of the breastplate before the man loses all energy and collapses, leaving Hakumen alone in the ring, armor battered and shredded but no blood leaking from within.
Tilting his faceless helmet down toward the man, the hero seems to study him for a moment, before turning away to stride back up the slope of the ring and re-take his position at the highest point, sword held low and back, faceless mask tilted up toward the sky above. There are no words, only a growing sense of inevitability. The weighty press of fate's gaze weighing down upon the ring.
COMBATSYS: Hakumen awaits the next challenger.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ <
COMBATSYS: Rust has joined the fight here.
[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > //////////////////// ]
Rust 0/-------/-------|======-\-------\0 Hakumen
Round 2 is over in a flash.
Zach Glenn, former World Champion, is a known quantity for his great power and skill. He fought the legendary Terry Bogard to a /draw/. Once Johnny Cage pushed the right buttons, the psion all but showed him right off the set. The exchange that follows between the enigmatic armored swordsman and the (about as enigmatic) psion sees the former cut down Zach Glenn... and then ultimately withstand Zach's full might.
There are no words. The entire Red Square is bowed into silence. The ring, made to the highest specifications available to the most high profile team fighting tournament in modern history... technicians silently give nervous looks amongst one another as they re-tighten and affix buckles and other such things. That strength almost seems otherworldly.
It falls to either one Howard Rust, Jr., one Michael G. Weller, or one... what's the name of the Sasquatch? Do they know? (Sasquatch isn't even there any more. They have found a new hiding place.)
"...Yep." Says Jr., who is grinning widely with a quiet hiss between his teeth. A grin of obliviousness? He must have felt that same chill this entire beating heart of Russia did when Hakumen approached. That feeling in the air of being in the presence of something like that. A swordsman that seems nearly without peer. Without humor. Without hesitation.
Rust Jr. steps up. This is a man nearing fifty years of age, is of poor physical conditioning owing to being overweight. The time where he was crowend the World Champion was considered one of the darkest times of the world of professional fighting because... just /look at him/.
"Never seen something like that," he says, and it seems the man somehow crests comprehension of present reality as he takes a hand on the ring's ropes, brings a sandal-clad foot up on the edge--
--it slips, and he comes to a clumsy crouch. It takes him a moment to get a hand up on the ropes. Looking from the outside in, they would say he was intimidated. That he was awed. That he was having second thoughts about getting in there.
A more trained eye reveals /none/ of the subtle human body language cues that would say so. His gloved hands are steady. His heartbeat isn't racing any faster. There's still a silly smile on his face. His hair, unnaturally voluminous for his age and gender, is still done up in a young woman's style.
Whoever this is of the 'USA Sports Team' is on a whole other level than that. There is another who now dares to test their luck against that, for luck is all they could possibly bring to bear.
Another fool who, more importantly, was convincingly defeated by the previous one to stand against the armored adversary. Another fool who, by any and all logical right, should surrender and walk away. Zach Glenn took two sequences to put down. (The final explosive gasp could count as a half, so, two and a half.) Can this man withstand /one/?
The strange man gets into the ring at last, raising a hand up in a friendly wave with his left. To one who exudes no semblance of warmth or friendliness. "Never thought I'd see a swordsman like that!" Almost like he were a tourist. He kind of looks the part, sometimes.
"Sure glad I got to get out of the house," he says aloud as he now rests his left hand on the hilt of a makeshift hilt of a length of pipe. A mere metal pipe, compared to the wielder of a weapon that another time would call mythical. The air is chilling. The Red Square remains stone cold silent.
This man sees the experience as a novelty?! Was he sleeping through Round 2?! That would be an impressively compact nap!
A referee only speaks out of sheer professionalism, and nothing more. Even the announcers are silent, and will remain so until important people coax them to speak again.
Ten years ago, plus change, Howard Rust, Jr. was a famous adventurer. He is well beyond that peak. That very peak... never could so much as gaze upon the lost legend he is looking at /right now/.
The length of pipe is smoothly drawn as though the aging Canadian construction ninja does not realize how stupid and foolish this is even in the confines of an above-board professional match. No health insurer in this world or the next would have ever allowed this match-up to take place. But here we are, anyway. A monstrously powerful fighter, and a fool, and the outcome is already written in stone.
A referee says it at last, after seven seconds longer a pause than there should be.
Round 3. Fight.
This is happening.
Zach Glenn said he didn't want to be here.
This man seems the exact opposite of this as he moves in earnest. To what credit should be given of the man who did overcome Cody, he acts with reasonable swiftness as he takes a handful of tools from his toolbelt via his right hand - his off hand - and flings a set of three screwdrivers in a straight line towards a swordsman who has shown he is not screwing around... and just may be that much more driven.
COMBATSYS: Hakumen reflects Tools For The Job from Rust with Fuumajin.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > //////////////////// ]
Rust 0/-------/-------|======-\-------\0 Hakumen
The air is still. The crowd is still. The figure that stands atop the tilted ring is still. But Howard Rust moves. Passing beneath the weight of fate's eye as if he does not feel it, the aging ninja confronts the hero of a world lost to time, offering a friendly wave while crimson eyes pivot to focus upon him with singular intensity.
"Strange." the armored man murmurs, harsh voice low and contemplative as if completely unaware that he is speaking softly to himself. "Such innocence in one as old as he. It, reminds me of one I had nearly forgotten..."
Horned helm cocking slightly to one side, posture otherwise still, Order's Avatar observes as a line of three construction tools are thrown in his direction. A quiet 'huh' escapes from beneath his helmet, but he does not outright dismiss them as a threat. Instead, he leans toward the peculiar attack and braces himself, bringing his silver sword flashing up and over in a downward cleave that leaves a shimmering after image in its wake, the gleaming path tracing an arc over the swordsman's head and down through the center of the oncoming screwdrivers. Such is the force of the blow that a roar of wind follows in its wake, blasting back Hakumen's hair even as it roars through the neatly severed halves of the tools, sending them scattering back toward Rust as a hail of metallic shrapnel.
"Tell me, Howard Rust Junior. Do you know of the Hero of Justice, Bang Shishigami?" The question is asked with curious intensity as the hero stands, edge of his sword pressed lightly against the ring mat at the end of his opening defense.
COMBATSYS: Hakumen successfully hits Rust with Reflected Tools For The Job.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > //////////////////// ]
Rust 0/-------/----===|=======\-------\0 Hakumen
A flash of silver and colored plastic make for a flash of color that one will miss if they blink. No one is blinking, so everyone sees it. Such is the awe that the mysterious armored figure's inspires. The cleaved screwdriver halves, six in all, tumble towards him with such grace as though the swordsman were the one who threw them. They go at a speed a bit measurably less than a flash.
Comparable in speed, Jr. swings his right hand inward as they come at him and seems to catch them. It would look like that if someone were taking a picture within that instant, but only that instant.
For half an instant later, one half's blunt end that isn't caught jabs into the man's chest like about the hardest punch a man can throw, and there is a pathetic wheeze voiced through bugged out eyes and a cartoonish jaw clench that sees the lower half of his jaw jut out. The parts that were somehow caught in one hand all drop off and clatter on the ring while the odd man's heels slide back.
He caught five out of six halves. The one that got through hit like he was pelted by ten of them.
"aaaaaaaaaaaaaaa Bang?" He snaps back after a weakly-voiced wince, having to slap his right hand against the ropes for balance. If /that/ nearly shoved him out of the ring... "Thaaaaat Bang," he says, catching back his breath, grinning once his jaw somehow sets back properly from that exaggerated grimace, "ahhhhh gee, that guy," he shakes his head. Something about the overly polite, cheerful demeanor finds a small crack. "Let's... not worry 'bout him, eh?"
That answering process is a delay. A delay that gives Hakumen extra time to figure his next move, or his next defense. He out-and-out dismantled Zach Glenn with even less time to work with than this. That Jr. doesn't seem to internalize this opening he's giving being a fatal error at least thrice over fails to register. The pipe is taken in both hands with a technique and sincerity that would be attributed to one beliving they're wielding something akin to a blade. The way he grips it is, at base, competent and respectable by the very low bar this man sets.
Junior steps well within striking range unless Hakumen may yet will otherwise, moving to swing the pipe upward in a wide, circular motion - and then upwards with it, in one of the more common expressions of fighting techniques so many have. Something rising.
"Cement Mixer!" He calls the name, daring to raise a mundane old pipe of mundane make against a blade made of something far greater without even appearing to think of how ridiculous this is.
COMBATSYS: Hakumen blocks Rust's Cement Mixer.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > ////////////////// ]
Rust 0/-------/-----==|=======\-------\1 Hakumen
The noise that escapes Hakumen's helmet is one part mild confusion, one part reserved annoyance. Certainly Bang was a loud and forceful personality, but the ninja's sense of honor was always beyond reproach. Could such a thing have changed in this timeline? Is it possible Bang could be a villain? Why else would a fellow ninja refuse to speak of him.
These and many other thoughts flash through Hakumen's mind while Rust approaches, Okami's blade flashing up from the ground to intercept the circling swing of the pipe with a ringing clang of metal on metal. Continuing to wield the oversized weapon one-handed, he catches the follow up swing with a hard downward swipe of the flat of Okami's blade, guiding it to one side even as his knees flex and he drops into a half crouch, eyes glaring through the aging man that stands before him.
"You fight as one who has no fear of what may come." Hakumen informs Rust, voice hard and un amused. "Why have you come here, Howard Rust Junior? Is victory your only purpose?"
Question posed, Hakumen uncoils into a sudden lunge, Okami's blade swinging back behind him as he powers forward with his right shoulder, making to plough right over the smaller man in a short sprint down the sloped surface of the ring. To the uninitiated, it might appear as if he's going easy on the old ninja, treating him as less of a threat. But those who watch closely can see the slight slowing of the monster's movements. The flickers of light visible through rents in his armored body suit. the Psion's final attack has left its mark, forcing the experienced fighter into a slightly more defensive posture as his damaged form works to repair itself.
Lifting one clawed foot, Hakumen impacts the corner of the ring with a resounding crash, bringing his charge to a halt and setting the ring to rocking on its supports.
COMBATSYS: Rust dodges Hakumen's Shoulder Charge.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > /////////////////// ]
Rust 0/-------/-----==|=======\=------\1 Hakumen
The voice from the looming figure is not one anyone should confuse for casual conversation. An observation made as spoken fact, a question that demands clear answer.
The swipe of Okami's flat throws the uppercut off-course that the aging man loses a sense of how high up he is and what angle he's about to hit the ground at. His landing is decidedly amateurish as he lands on his shoulders at around the time Hakumen asks if victory is his only purpose.
"Ow." He might have landed on a-- yep, on one of the screwdriver halves. As Hakumen faces him, Rust Jr. is hunched upwards awkwardly, back facing him, and can't look him in the eye. It is not the posture of a man of conviction by traditional means.
"I go wherever there's the world to see where," he appears to be mentally blending two sentences but manages to speak the whole of one - the odd 'where' at the end notwithstanding - suggesting a mind racing, but the voice is steady.
Hakumen bears down on him. The aging man curls his right hand inward - his off hand - curling fingers in the unmistakable likeness of a hand seal while his legs kick... helplessly?... in the air.
He undoes his hand seal as he presses his open hand and his left elbow against the unsteady canvas, finding just enough leverage to kick his legs up and out to propel him just up off the ground at an angle where Hakumen passes beneath at margins unthinkably small - but both are going the same direction.
Jr. lands at the very tip of his sandal on the turnbuckle with a balance that seems physically impossible. The right hand seal returns, as he nails the acrobatic evasion as he now holds the high ground over Hakumen who is still coming in his direction.
"The world's always worth being out and about ov-- aaah," Hakumen impacts that very corner he's standing on top of, and his arms windmill for two rotations as his balance is disrupted. He could once more render himself vulnerable before Hakumen in this loss of balance.
Jr. seems to roll with it as he slips off the turnbuckle, reaching out with his free hand to try and take a hold of Hakumen's armored head and thrust downwards with his own falling momentum. The words have been disrupted. His answer could be disputed in terms of merit, but this close, this much is plain.
The man's grin is genuine, as though this encounter - just the act of /being/ here, for all the mortal danger he may well be by his own hand - were a thing of enjoyment. Zach Glenn didn't want to be here.
Zach's teammate here, his martial lesser, the exact opposite.
COMBATSYS: Hakumen guards against Rust's Brick Stacker.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > ////////////////// ]
Rust 0/-------/-------|=======\==-----\1 Hakumen
There is no sound of condemnation at the peculiar man's answer, no ridicule or scorn. Clawed feet digging into turnbuckle and ring, he braces beneath the flailing weight of Rust, swaying a bit to one side as a gloved hand comes down upon his head and shoves.
Left forearm snapping up between them, the forgotten hero attempts to smash his bracer hard into Rust's ribs and knock him off and away toward the center of the ring, before shoving off from the corner and rounding upon him with sudden, explosive speed. Okami having been nearly neglected for the entirety of the fight, the swordsman takes it in both hands as he charges back up the slope, two long strides carrying him in pursuit of the ninja while his sword trails out behind in a classic samurai dash. As he nears, he stomps his forward foot and pivots, bringing the sword roaring through the air in a huge two-handed sweep meant to catch whatever part of Rust might be nearest to the ground with the flat of the blade and send him spinning end over end, only for the sword to continue the motion and cut up and around for a heavy overhead swing that brings the flat crashing down from above with enough force to send the unfortunate man right through the ring.
"Your purity of spirit will be respected, Howard Rust Junior." comes the harsh, electronic growl that heralds the end of their casual conversation. "But you lack true purpose. Stand aside. You do not have the necessary strength to defeat me!"
COMBATSYS: Hakumen successfully hits Rust with Zantetsu EX.
> Determined Hit! <
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > ////////////////// ]
Rust 0/-------/-======|=======\===----\1 Hakumen
The left forearm coming up to defend registers, unto itself, as an injurious impact under unbending steel, unyielding will, and undying fervor, and the Canadian handyman ninja's eyes bug out anew at the contact.
Then comes the actual attack, working with the exposed flank that strikes into the ribs unmitigated and unaddressed. Scant little about this man differs from a training dummy, aside from the distribution of weight perhaps as he ragdolls along towards the center.
...BACK AT SOME NOWHERESVILLE IN OREGON, USA...
"Hold still!" Shouts Natalie, a young girl, who continues to pound a fist noisily against a piece of metal sheeting that - based on some stenciled marks that have since been warped by surrounding structural damage - might have once been part of a heavy piece of military hardware. It buckles further, like it were cardboard.
Jao, an older Thai teenager, stares as he clutches a faintly glowing yellow piece of jewelry. He doesn't want to watch what comes next, but if he doesn't, it... becomes a great snarl of anxieties just watching all of this.
Trevor, younger than Jao by some years, sits with a stack of paperwork on his lap and any number of torn-up books and flash cards off to the side. He can scarce find space between paperwork pile and his mouth to set a new fry in his mouth. He seems all too calm about this sort of thing.
He turns his head, as though hearing something, and then a finger deftly glides over the remote to turn the screen to black, to Natalie's howling disdain.
...BACK AT THE RED SQUARE...
The sequence goes as Hakumen's intentions and ability alike demands. His words can - and in the background, are - taken as gospel. For what miracles this man has pulled in the ring in spite of himself, in spite of having needed to (and technically did) quit over a decade ago, this is beyond his reach. This is a mortal man, bloodied and battered as the entire ring buckles and shatters under him being planted through the ring, legs up.
Purity of spirit, but lacking true purpose. He should stand aside - the lack of the necessary strength to defeat him. Even if it were ten years ago, one commenter does say, he couldn't have matched this in his prime. Surely that's gotten through to his skull. Hakumen's determination in intent and deed - and further determination of this match's result - cannot be denied by anything less than true purpose.
"Mmghgdkghdshakghpmpmglblr," a mumble that he has inherited from his father sounds out as Jr. pulls himself out of the ring with an unfocused daze. His hair at one side of his face is undone. Blood comes out of there in an undeniably serious wound. It's... sort of like when he got that vacant look on his face when Cody struck him there.
"Ahh, gee," somehow he recaptures that tone of voice of his as he slaps his free hand against the side of his head. That glove is rapidly stained with blood, looking upon the larger, stronger, greater foe ahead of him. He still has his left hand on that length of pipe. "I... I think I'd like to delay the trip back home for a li'l bit longer." He smiles... somehow.
Is that really a purpose most true? There seems to be hesitation in pulling his hand away from that wound, but soon enough, it's back on the pipe for a moment. The officials probably should have called this off the moment the ring got shattered under that combination - but no, it seems someone's hands are tied.
Cameras roll dispassionately, the hundreds of them.
He steps with less grand strides than Hakumen himself does, parting his right from the pipe again as his left wrist starts to loosen. An obvious wind-up. A tell. Amateur. Then he spins that pipe between his fingers as he tries to swing it upwards, his feet gliding forward against the ground.
That's his father's famous Cement Upper. His father, a man possessed of legendary toughness, an adventurer of even greater breadth of worldliness than even his own (arguably moronic) son.
He is not his father.
Hakumen could end this farce at any time.
COMBATSYS: Hakumen counters Intercepting Strike from Rust with Kokuujin Ougi - Yukikaze.
[ < > ///////////////// ]
Rust 1/-======/=======|-------\-------\0 Hakumen
The crowd surges backward in a wave of humanity as Rust's body is smashed through the stage, causing the remainder of its structural integrity to give out with a groan of overstressed wood. In one tremendous cascading crash, the entire structure falls in around the two combatants, an avalanche of heavy wooden beams and metal brackets all wrapped up in a mess of loose canvas and steel cabling.
Sweeping his blade up and to one side, Hakumen leaps backward to perch first atop a swaying upright, before launching himself up and away in a long arc that carries him well clear of the devastation. Landing in a heavy crouch, the faceless warrior pushes rises calmly to a stand while the last bits of debris clonk and clatter down behind him, the majority of his crimson eyes focused out toward the nervous crowd and the cameras above them.
For a moment, there is silence, hundreds of thousands of eyes held captive by the crimson stare of their lost hero.
And then, the clatter of wood as Rust hauls himself free of the mess.
Turning calmly around to face the battered fighter, Hakumen allows him a moment to gather his bearings. The raw weight of the legend's presence has not slackened, nor has the knife-edged intensity of his aura. if anything, the air around him appears to be even cooler, the light sparking off into prismatic glimmers as the force of Order deepens the distinction between colors.
"You have shown great courage in facing me." Hakumen informs Rust, seeming vastly unconcerned at the shuffling approach of the besandaled man. "But this will be your end."
The weight of expectation grows thick around the still form of the swordsman, blade held back in one hand, left forearm raised. Slowly, his head dips forward, horns pointed toward Rust while the man slides forward, pipe swinging up to meet its destiny with the hero's chin.
A towering barrier of blood-red energy unfolds between the two combatants, filling the space as far as the eye can see. it is an impossibility. A mind-boggling truth. Seeming to stretch on forever, the wall rolls forward to impact first Rust's pipe, then Rust himself, throwing them backward as it rises to its full, impossible height.
Behind the wall, brilliant white light bursts to life around Hakumen, a seal of shining energy blazing a symbol into the cement at least 20 feet across. Not unlike the feathered wings of an angel, the glowing shape spreads itself out behind him, accompanied by a tactile wave of prickling power.
"Empty Sky Form," murmurs the low electronic voice of Hakumen, words oddly calm and directionless, "Winter's Riposte."
Gripping his blade in both hands, Hakumen launches himself through the wall and vanishes, passing by Rust's airborne body too fast for the human eye to track. When he next appears he is a good 40 feet beyond the aging ninja, sword held out before him as if at the apex of some great slash.
Slowly, the towering crimson wall flows apart into nothing, though the blazing white symbol remains where it is, emblazoned boldly upon the cement where Hakumen once stood.
It is only once Hakumen's arm lifts, sword rasping slowly into the sheath upon his back, that Rust is likely to feel the cut in his side. It's probably not lethal. Not if he gets medical attention. But it very well could have be.
In the most recent years of his rueful re-emergence into professional fighting, one Howard Rust, Jr.'s forays have been about as madcap as they come. Possessed of either some of the craziest luck or just enough pluck to seemingly blunder his way into and through the impossible with a bravado he might have earned long ago but since-- well, that much has been established.
By Hakumen's assertion, he lacks true purpose - but he still got up and dared to approach through that chilling aura, facing down such a frightening foe. The words he offered, at face value, are meek. It can't be just that, can it? What sort of purpose is there in what he just said?
...Nonetheless. Imagine, as fate would have it, that there could have been some fortunate circumstance that had been waiting under the wings, ready to spring a moment later. Maybe Rust Jr. putting his leading foot somewhere else for balance could've caused a part of the ring to spring up and strike them. Maybe the collapsing venue would've bent towards Hakumen and accidentally deflected off the pipe towards him.
In that instant of imminent impact, Hakumen reasserts his conviction: this will be his end. He asserts, against the nearly fifty-year-old man, stopping that latest attack and pushing him back as such it puts Jr. in a mid-air pirouette.
The impossible physical sight in terms of depth and distance has his eyes widen - but not in fear. Another glimpse of an element of the world's existence itself. A touch of novelty, of some joy. Misplaced?
Hakumen's movement is too fast to track, but it is certain when the maneuver is at its end. The blade finds no difficulty making its cut - the well-honed internalized chi mastered for defensive purposes is as paper to it, and there is the spray of blood from where the cut lands. There is no defending against a direct strike from this very weapon.
The echoing grunt is cut short as he collapses back into the ruin of the ring. An overhead element does indeed collapse down towards where Hakumen once was. Jr.'s heel digs into a plank that flicks a half-a-screwdriver upwards at the space that Hakumen once occupied. These antics now find no audience.
When the smoke clears, the referee does not call the end of the battle. They do not need to. The announcers are speechless.
Whoever this one is... they're someone to watch. (And also maybe they should watch USA team sports more, if they're anything like this!)
COMBATSYS: Rust takes no action.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ <
COMBATSYS: Rust can no longer fight.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ <
The crimson eyes set into the backs of Hakumen's shoulders pivot to watch Rust's descent, back remaining turned to the once champion. There is no end game handshake, no show of sportsmanship. As the light fixture crashes to the ground with a terrible crash, Hakumen steps away from the wreckage of their arena, making his way with purposeful strides toward the ring of onlookers that have scrunched themselves as far back as possible.
Moving as one, the crowd parts, allowing the forgotten hero through and on toward places unknown, leaving the paramedics and camera crew to deal with what remains.
COMBATSYS: Hakumen has ended the fight here.
Log created on 19:37:27 08/03/2019 by Zach Glenn, and last modified on 00:47:31 08/18/2019.