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Description: Continuing his Midnight journey, the mighty Kung Lao finds himself drawn to one of the grimmest locales we at The Midnight Channel have had the pleasure of presenting. But what monster awaits our Shaolin warrior in this place of death? Warning: This match is guaranteed to be a bloody one.

The Metro City industrial district stretches on and on, a sprawling expanse of concrete lots, blocky warehouses, and smoking factories sliced up and divided by nets of razor-topped chain. Unlike other parts of the city there is no space set aside for decorative planters, no deference at all given to the green things that used to be here. Even the odd weeds that sprout from cracks in the lots are brown and sickly, surviving on a diet of poisoned earth and gritty runoff.
The noonday sun beats down upon a lone figure walking across an abandoned lot, broad hat worn low to hide his face but lean torso bare beneath a long Chinese styled vest of dark blue. Though the air is chilly, it doesn't seem to bother the man, his vest worn open and feet clad only in a pair of bamboo sandals.
Glancing from the slip of paper held in his right hand to the rusted sign above the warehouse doors, Kung Lao confirms he is in the right place before stepping up to the large bay door and lifting his hand to knock.
Holding his fist poised before him, the monk slows his breath and listens, expecting to hear the bustle of a camera crew hustling to open from the other side. But there is only silence, the warehouse looming still and quiet before him while the distant sounds of rumbling and rushing echoes toward him from other parts of the city.
A slight frown tugging down at the corners of his lips, Lao tucks his paper away and stoops to hook both hands under the door, giving an experimental lift. They rise, rattling and banging, and he steps beneath, tossing them fully up and open as he saunters forward into the open space beyond on cat-quiet feet.
Shafts of light expose the horror of the scene within. Crates and boxes scattered about a large, empty space, their tops and sides splattered with blood. The stinking stuff is painted across the walls, smeared across the floor, the death wreak of it causing the monk's nose to wrinkle as it gusts past him toward the fresher air beyond.
A great evil has been done here.
Heart thundering in his chest, Lao curls his right hand into a tight fist to keep it from trembling, stepping carefully around the worst of the puddle blood on his way deeper into the charnel house. Hidden gaze flitting carefully about, he makes his way through the cavernous room, following crusted trails of blood as they converge upon a single gore-slicked door at the back.
Stepping quietly up to the door, he draws in a lung full of the fetid air and lashes out with a sudden kick, smashing the door open to bang against the wall behind and releasing a wave of horrific stench.
The room beyond is swimming in gore. Mutilated bodies hang limp and still from hooks chained to the ceiling. A large basin in the center of the room overflows with viscera, the dripping mess spreading out across the floor and over the clogged greats that refuse to let it drain. It is warm within, disgustingly so.
Taking a single step back, Kung Lao brings his left hand up to his face and covers his nose and mouth, hidden eyes squeezing briefly shut.

Almost lost in the stench, the disgust, and egregious display of gore is the silhouette of a woman wrapped in black and red fabric, her face masked and a with an open hood covering her hair. In some ways, she resembles the Lin Kuei, but the stylings of a desert nomad mixed in to her choice of wardrobe. She seems to flow into existence, almost, stale blood and charnel swirling, twisting, and shaping into humanoid form. Or perhaps it's a trick of the light, an illusion brought on the by disgusting sensory overload of the place. "So you are the descendent of the great monk, are you not?" the woman asks, her voice tinged with an accent of indeterminate origin. "A bloodline of great power flows through your veins."

Kung Lao can feel the wrongness, the creeping crawl of something watching him tingling up his spine before his eyes finally focus(?) upon the figure at the center of the disaster. Steeling himself, he slowly lowers his hand from his face, sinking into a low, firm martial arts stance as he eyes her from beneath the shadow of his razor-brimmed hat. Though the air around him wreaks of death, and the monster responsible now stands before him, he does not seem afraid. Only focused, determined.
"I am Kung Lao, member of the White Lotus and descendent of the Great Kung Lao." he responds calmly, voice quiet but carrying in the cavernous silence. "If you are the one responsible for this carnage, prepare to defend yourself. Their deaths will not go unanswered."
With his chin tilted forward to hide all but the straight line of his lips, and his muscles loose in the way of someone ready to move with speed, he has the look of a gunslinger ready to draw. Alert and balanced upon a hair trigger.

The woman draws a long, curved dagger from a sheath at her waist, the metal ringing lightly as it brushes against the holster. As she lowers it to the side, dark, red liquid flows from somewhere--her body? The environment? It is unclear. The blood twists and shapes itself, weaving around the knife to form a long, extending blade which then coagulates and hardens into a long, smooth, and gruesome katana-like curved blade. "I am aware, monk. Your blood sings your story." She raises the blade, adjusting her grip as she assumes a fighting stance. "I look forward to taking a donation of it."

COMBATSYS: Kung Lao has started a fight here.

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Kung Lao         0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Skarlet has joined the fight here.

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Skarlet          0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0         Kung Lao

"You have taken enough." Lao shoots back, knuckles crackling as both calloused hands clinch into fists. There has to be a line. A divide between when a creature is capable of redemption, and when they are beyond it. Having missed his destiny upon the island, Lao had thought that perhaps he could avoid that. His fight with Marduk had almost convinced him that even the dumbest of brutes could be made to see reason if you hit them in the head enough times.
There is no line here. If there was, it has long since been drowned beneath the blood of the mysterious woman's victims.
Justice must be done.
Exploding forward out of his ready stance, the young monk hurtles through the door and into the stinking wreak of death. One touch of his toes splashes through the muck on the floor, guiding him up onto the large basin at the center of the room. A second light step lands squarely on the rim of the giant stone bowl and vaults him over the muck within, sending him flying toward Skarlet at speed.
Fierce Kiai bellowing forth from his center, the Shaolin sweeps his left foot around in a scything kick for the guard of Skarlet's sword, attempting to smash her hands aside for the one, two punches that blur in toward her face, rough knuckles impacting with snapping force.
Blood splashes up across his loose pants as he lands before the woman, the opening punches followed by a storm of 2, 4, 6 more chained blows blurring together into her chest and stomach, attempting to drive her backward across the gory floor before reaching up to sweep his hat down off of his head and across her body from right shoulder to left hip, the gleaming band of steel around its brim as sharp as any blade.

COMBATSYS: Skarlet blocks Kung Lao's Chained Fist ES.

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Skarlet          0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0         Kung Lao

"There is always more to take," the woman calls back, her mouth obscured by her facemask. "The thirst of this body is never quenched."
As Kung Lao closes in, Skarlet draws back, her foot sweeping through crime as she dances across the filith of the floor to react. The scything kick comes in and Skarlet clashes, her blade knocked away. She turns, adjusting her footing, then throws forward her forearm to intercept the flurry of knuckles that drives her back. The ensuing surge of blows crashes against a tight defense. A knee rises to intercept a low hit. An elbow interjects for a body blow. Each hit drives her across the basin, even on the defensive.
But then the hat comes around, its steel shimmering in the dim light as it slices through her in a splash of blood. "Tch," Skarlet hisses as she draws back, the blood moving along the ground as it chases her retreat and flows back to its owner.
"You are skilled, monk," Skarlet says, "but do not assume victory will come so easily.
Blood flows around Skarlet's arm, shimmering around the surface of the fabric before slipping between her fingers and hardening into knives. She sweeps forward, throwing several sanguine daggers back toward the hatted monk.

COMBATSYS: Kung Lao blocks Skarlet's Krimson Blades.

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Skarlet          0/-------/------=|=------\-------\0         Kung Lao

With each blow deflected, the young monk is learns a little more about his masked opponent. She is quick, well trained, and judging by the way her spilled blood flows in her wake, surrounded by her element. Something to keep in mind when moving forward.
Leaping back a step after the swipe of his hat, he lands lightly atop the edge of the basin, balancing easily there upon the balls of his feet. Hat still held in his right hand, he focuses dark brown eyes upon her, handsome features set in a mask of stoic concentration.
"It was my destiny to face Goro in the defense of Earthrealm."
The first of the blades zips toward him and he cleaves it out of the air with his hat, followed by the second, then the third.
"I do not fear you, whatever you are."
Weaving around the next blade, he settles his hat back upon his head and steps forward to meet her, deflecting the last two swipes with hard knife chops of his hands. Though their razor edges slice into his hardened flesh, he doesn't seem to notice, darting in with a lunging strike of his left palm aimed squarely for her chin. Moving, always moving, he powers in behind the blow and aims a quick snap kick for her right knee, attempting to hammer the limb out wide and exposed so he can swoop down and wrap his arms around it, hauling her leg up over his shoulder as he twists beneath. Using it as a lever, he does his best to swing her up and over his body, flinging her away back toward the bloody floor before the door.

COMBATSYS: Kung Lao successfully hits Skarlet with Uprooting Step EX.

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Skarlet          0/-------/---====|==-----\-------\0         Kung Lao

"You? Destined to fight Goro?" As the blades keep Kung Lao briefly occupied, the woman in red whips out her hand, a trail of blood snaking out of her palm, wrapping around the handle, and pulling the knife back to her with a flick of her wrist.
Before she can speak further, however, Kung Lao is upon in a flurry of movement. The palm impacts her chin with a cracking of bone as it drives her head back and her chin up. The kick snaps against her knee with another pop, spreading her feet and leaving her vulnerable and unbalanced.
The ninja (?) is lifted up and over, soaring through the air before landing in a tumble as she rolls across the floor, disturbing dust and cutting through the caked on grime and gore. It takes her a moment, but she rises again, the unsettled muck, at least that which is still somewhat fresh, flowing along the ground and into her body, like worms crawling along soil after a fresh rain.
"Then your prophecy was left unfulfilled, monk. But do not worry," Skarlet's face is obscured, but her tone implies haughtiness. A smirk, perhaps? "Shao Kahn has many agents to bring about your destruction. I am called Skarlet."
The woman suddenly disappears in a shower of gore, as their body suddenly exploded into blood. In the next moment she reforms behind Kung Lao, twisting her dagger between her fingers and thrusting downward toward his shoulder. As she tries to dig in, she raises a boot, aiming to plant it in the small of his back and knock him away while raking the dagger through.

COMBATSYS: Kung Lao just-defends Skarlet's Thicker Than Water!

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Skarlet          0/-------/---====|==-----\-------\0         Kung Lao

Twirling up out of his throw and back into a perfectly balanced mantis stance, Kung Lao stares hard after the tumbling creature. Up to now he couldn't be sure that she was a servant of Shao Kahn, but as she rises to her feet to face him once more, she confirms it. Another link to Outworld. Another trap.
Lips shifting from firm line to glower, he opens his mouth to speak, but before he can get the words out she is gone in a burst of blood.
He knows this trick.
Senses ratcheting into overdrive, the young monk falls very still, spirit centering in a flash behind a singular intent. There are no thoughts in his head, no consciousness guiding his actions. There is only instinct as the hairs along his neck prickles and he whips himself into a spin, right hand flashing up to catch Skarlet's wrist and guide the blade harmlessly off to his left. Following the motion of his body, he steps forward just in time for her kick to blast past him, hand tightening around her wrist as he turns his forward step into a charge right up the wall behind her.
Kung Lao's sandals leave bloody footprints upon the already filthy wall as he runs up the sheer surface, kicking off of it into a neat back flip that puts his entire body weight behind twisting the masked woman's arm violently in its socket. Sandals splashing back down into the gore, he brings his left elbow flashing down, aiming to hyper extend her own elbow with a loud CRACK of bone.
"It is good you have given me your name," he informs her grimly, "I will add your death to my own legend."

COMBATSYS: Skarlet interrupts Kombo from Kung Lao with Slaughter.

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Skarlet          0/-------/=======|======-\-------\0         Kung Lao

Skarlet's eyes widen as Kung Lao stays her hand, her one method of emoting visible in this close distance. The blade cuts through the air harmlessly, and when it does Skarlet is left open, her kick hitting open air as she stumbles to realign her balance. Before she can, her arm is grabbed, hyperextended, hammered by an elbow from above that drives her toward the disgusting muck along the floor
But she does not heel, nor yield to to the pain. Instead, she continues, relentless, as the ferocious bloodhound of Shao Kahn. With her arm dislocated she brings around her other hand, blood pouring forth from her wounded limb, warping through the air, twisting into a knife in her other hand. She slashes forward with a horizontal sweep, then upward with another sharp, cutting lunge toward the grimy ceiling.
"Your legend ends here, with me, monk!" Skarlet hisses, her arm dangling limply as she draws back.

If Kung Lao were any slower, had spent any less time honing his instincts beyond reasonable limits, his legend would have ended the moment Skarlet swung her surprise dagger. As it is he just manages to release her arm and begin a backward dodge before the edge of the weapon tears through vest and skin, opening his belly up from hip bone to hip bone. The second swipe catches the sagging mouth of his stomach and cleaves the lips open, carving a bloody gash between his pecks as his backward leap turns into a stumble that threatens to dump him on his back in the muck. But he doesn't fall, and his guts don't come spilling out.
Blood pulses from the wicked gashes in his torso as he gets his feet beneath him, breath whistling out between his teeth to join the fetid air. Fresh red droplets pour down his front to join the brownish gore already staining his pants, the wet redness of muscle flexes visibly within his open wound, but he pushes that fact out of his mind. First he will end this monster, then he can worry about himself.
Responding to Skarlet's taunt with a hidden glare, he reaches up to run two fingers lightly along the rim of his hat, causing the blade to gleam in the reddish light of the room. Lips pulling back from his teeth in a grin that is part pain, part challenge, he offers back a quiet, "You, and how many allies?"
In one fluid motion, the monk sweeps his hat off of his head and executes a neat half turn, blood spurting from his gut wound as he sends the hat humming through the air toward the monster, long black ponytail whipping behind him with the motion.

COMBATSYS: Kung Lao successfully hits Skarlet with Razor Rim.

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Skarlet          1/-------/=======|=======\====---\1         Kung Lao

Skarlet draws back, pulling stray blood from the dripping wound into herself. Mending her own wounds with the life force of the brave monk. Her brow furrows, the only trace of a sneer forming behind her mask and hood. She braces her mangled arm against her side and applies pressure, drawing blood from around her as she starts twisting it back into shape with a disgusting pop.
But then there's the flash of the hat. The shimmer of steel in the dim red light of the charnel house. It cuts through the air, whizzing toward her with a dull hum.
Then it cuts through Skarlet, slicing open the ninja's side with a splatter of red ichor and gore as it rends the fabric. She hisses, hobbling away from it as blood continues to drip from the wound. "Do you think me insufficient, monk? I hunt alone."

She strikes out swiftly, throwing forward a kick to try and smash into Kung Lao's ribs, hobble him, and push him away from her once more.

COMBATSYS: Kung Lao fails to interrupt Front Kick from Skarlet with Fist of Shaolin.

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Skarlet          1/------=/=======|=====--\-------\0         Kung Lao

The humming edge of the weaponized hat tears through cloth and flesh alike, rebounding off of bone and throwing sparks off of the brick wall before flying back to his waiting hand. Fingers close around the brim with a satisfying FWAP just moments before it can slice into his own palm, returning it to his head with a sense of grim satisfaction.
"You do not deserve my respect." Kung Lao informs her, limping a step forward even as she acts to close the distance. "You are a monster. What you have done here..."
Seeming at a loss for words, the monk simply lowers his head, wind beginning to swirl through the room as he gathers his power around him. Chains creek as the bodies begin to sway, blood rippling in waves across the floor.
Her foot lashes out, and the monk lungs forward into the blow, arms tucking in toward his sides as he begins to turn...
And her foot smashes squarely into his stomach, sending warning flares of pain through his body and knocking him stumbling away to the side. Arms dropping to hug at his weeping guts, he hisses out an agonized breath, the captured winds flailing around him with nowhere to go.

Skarlet pushes off again, withdrawing from Kung Lao with a pattering of her feet across the grime-covered dungeon. Her boots squelch as they press down upon the gore, and once again stray blood seems to gain a life of its own, tracing her movements, dancing up her feet, flowing back into her body. Her hood falls away as she moves, revealing dark red hair beneath, tied up in a high ponytail. Raising one hand, she aims it at the wounded monk, her eyes following the flow of blood away from his gaping wounds.
"I do not need your respect," Skarlet says coldly, "only your blood."
Her fingers curl, the power of her hemomancy, her foul blood magic, aiming to take hold and start pulling the blood right out of Kung Lao's body, siphoning it away as though it were a living creature able to come to her beckoning. She raises her hands, attempting to lift Kung Lao, as if with telekinetic force, and shower herself with his blood.

COMBATSYS: Kung Lao blocks Skarlet's Blood Bath.

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Skarlet          0/-------/-----==|======-\-------\0         Kung Lao

There are no words.
Hunched over around his bleeding gut, Kung Lao does his best to draw breath, to circulate calm throughout his body and regain his center. The monks at the monastery had prepared him for much, but not for the feeling of warm air blowing across the exposed muscles of his abdomen.
"Scum." is all he manages to spit back at Skarlet as the blood begins rushing forth from his wound, pace increasing from a trickle to a flood. Cramps flare up all throughout his body as her magic takes hold, lifting him off of his feet, holding him suspended for her to step beneath him.
Releasing the cradling grip on his wound, Lao arches back, eyes darting as he tries to think of a plan. Just to his right, a mangled corpse continues to sway in the odd gusts of wind, coming just within range...
Lashing out with a kick, the monk plants his foot against the corpse's shoulder and uses it to flip himself up toward the ceiling, feet swinging over his head to plant against one of the many pipes that criss-cross above them. Leveraging all of his muscle, he hurls himself back down toward the ground, tearing himself free of her sorceress grip and landing beside her in a crouch, muck splashing up over them both.
Launching himself toward the cold-blooded ninja he attempts to hook both hands around her shoulders, whipping himself around her and dragging her into a 180 degree spin to pull her off balance. Landing before her, he removes one hand to reach up and toss his hat out behind her back, the whipping winds gathering around at and holding it suspended vertically in the air as the blade begins to spin faster and faster, the hum of its spin growing into a roaring whine.
Uncoiling, he attempts to shove Skarlet backward into the blade, fists lashing out in ONETWOTHREEFOURFIVESIX-TEN-SIXTEEN blows, faster and faster as he bares his teeth in pained concentration. Recoiling from the sixteenth blow in two seconds, he twists his entire body into a leaping sidekick, driving his sandaled foot powerfully toward her cloth-wrapped chest.

COMBATSYS: Kung Lao successfully hits Skarlet with Aggressive Tiger.

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Skarlet          0/-------/-======|===----\-------\0         Kung Lao

Skarlet tenses her fingers, working her deadly blood magic, pulling at Kung Lao's insides and threatening to make them outsides, quite quickly, by channeling her wicked power.
The corpse on the hook sways slightly, a grisly monument to Skarlet's previous victories. Even so, the cadaver may next spell her defeat as Kung Lao vaults off of it, launching himself into position to hurl his hat past it, channel his chi. and try her in the middle.
Skarlet contorts herself, moving to intercept, but there are too many blows. Fist follows fist like the beating of war drums, a steady rhythm of pain as he unleashes an egregious sixteen rapid-fire blows. Each one drives her back like a jackhammer, pushing her toward that whirling buzzsaw of a weapon. She tries to regain her footing, adjust her position, do something to avoid it.
But her own gory lair spells trouble for her. Her boot slides through the caked on filth, throwing off her footing as she backfalls onto the blade, she starts to work its way through her back, sliding into her ribs, cutting through the flesh, bone, and sinew and showering the room with fresh, disgusting red fluid. She pulls herself free, narrowly, before falling onto her hands and knees as her sorcerous construct of a body starts trying to mend itself back together once more. Her breaths are heavy, labored.
"Wretched monk," Skarlet hisses. "You will pay for defying Shao Kahn..."
Sinewy fibers, Skarlet's own veins, break through the skin and trace through the air toward Kung Lao, chasing him like a hundred tiny snakes as they seek to bite, pierce the skin, and burrow their way inside like parasites. If they do, Skarlet begins pumping her own blood through them, forcing it into his system, straining him to bursting in a most wretched technique.

COMBATSYS: Kung Lao dodges Skarlet's Heart Kondition.

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Skarlet          0/-------/-======|===----\-------\0         Kung Lao

The whirling buzz saw of death exits Skarlet's back with a final spray of gore and skips through the air to land in Kung Lao's outstretched hand, the monk having slumped forward in pain after the strain of his side kick. Shoulders rising and falling with short, gasping breaths, body covered in a mixture of his blood and hers, the young monk none-the-less settles his hat firmly back upon his head and straightens painfully to face her.
"You are a fool." he replies calmly, taking a step back as the veins begin to writhe free of her body. "Shao Kahn is a mad tyrant who corrupts all that he touches. Look at what he has made of you."
A second step back creates more distance that the darting veins close in a heartbeat, forcing Kung Lao to blink his eyes shut and focus through the pain, through the wrongness of his wounded middle...
The lashing tendrils sweep through empty air as the monk swirls apart to join the wind, leaving nothing where he was standing but a waft of fetid air. Moments later, a second swirl comes together directly above the kneeling ninja and he plummets out of nothingness, hat sweeping down to cleave a path through the writhing mass.
The Shaolin's kiai echo's off of the walls as he brings both feet stomping down upon her in a brutal dive kick, attempting to slam her chest-first into the ground and kneel atop her back as she struggles to heal.
Teeth once more bared with pain and effort, he leans forward to plant his left palm squarely against the top of her skull, grinding her masked face into the cement as he rears his right back and hammers punch after punch into the back of her skull...

COMBATSYS: Kung Lao successfully hits Skarlet with Heavy Mountain EX.

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Skarlet          1/------=/=======|====---\-------\0         Kung Lao

Fist rising and falling with the precision and power of a jack hammer, the Monk punches until the ninja's skull fractures beneath the relentless barrage of his knuckles. Then he continues even further, beating the back of her skull inward until brains and bloody are squishing out around his hand and mingling with her long hair, until his knuckles crack against the inside of her forehead, jolting her crushed face into the cement.
Withdrawing his hand with a disgustingly wet slurp, he staggers up and off of the creature and vaguely off to one side, gore dripping from his clinched fist to splatter the soaked floor.

What follows is a brutal display of ruthless, unbridled martial power as a man trained all his life to fight back the evils of Shao Kahn is faced with the embodiment of that wicked power. Blow after blow falls against Skarlet as she is battered, almost literally, into paste.
The damage is done, however, too late for those slain by Skarlet to be saved. Even so, Kung Lao has delayed whatever nefarious dealings Shao Kahn may have had planned in leaving this particular agent in Earthrealm.
But slowly, gradually, the remains of Skarlet seem to drip away, oozing into the dark corners of this lair of gloom and gore. Perhaps, it is not the last time she will trouble the warriors of this realm.

COMBATSYS: Skarlet can no longer fight.

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Kung Lao         0/-------/---====|

Chest heaving for breath, head dizzy with the heavy stench of decay, Kung Lao doesn't notice when the remains of his opponent begin dripping away. Casting a disgusted look down at his fist, it starts to dawn on him just what he's done. He's killed, and he's done so out of vengeance.
Shutting his eyes, the young monk stumbles blindly out of the room and into the relatively fresh air of the warehouse proper, making it a few feet into the gory room before he is forced to slump against one of the boxes, hands shaking from a mixture of adrenalin and shock.
First, center himself. Then find medical aid. The bodies in the room behind him will need to be taken care of, but they can wait. The rest of the day belongs to the living.

COMBATSYS: Kung Lao has ended the fight here.

Log created on 12:55:44 01/22/2021 by Kung Lao, and last modified on 23:28:21 01/22/2021.