Description: Hayley and Daniel face off in the Laff Stop for a Neo-League battle, which ended up being a lot more creepy than it should be. Haunted Comedy CLubs should be illegal (Winner: Daniel)
In retrospect, a comedy club might not have been the best venue for the Neo-League match.
The Laff Stop is a Houston-based comedy club. Long abandoned, it was revived to cater to the fight scene; the stage of it only making a small part of the fight zone. Past the old tables and chairs, the door and windows were exposed to the strip mall parking area outside. Partially covered, it carries out to part of the parking area, and just short of the neighboring shops. Inside, the humid air dank and moldy. OUtside, it was dry. The crowd was all situated outside the club, and energy was already percolating. One group, a blend of zoot-suited fedora-wearing neckbeards mingled with a balance of normally dressed folks. And crossing over between the two groups? The dreaded Spangles fans, dressed in hideous combinations of Spangles and Daniel Jack fandom staples. You never knew the call of death until you saw a man in black Dillo makeup dressed in an Orange Zoot Suit, trying to explain how he is 'honoring' the image of Daniel.
The shade himself was stewing on the stage, away from the sunlight outside.
THe detective was looking at the mic, the empty club, everything. Dressed in his own purple zoot suit, the yellow eyes looked out coldly. Part of him wanted to warm up to the crowd. But a lot of him didn't. He hated that people. He hated those people. He was hating a lot of people now, more than ever before. IT was a stewing, steaming anger. More than ever, he just felt so detached from humanity, from people. It wasn't a good feeling. But his opponent was Hayley. Former Aussie Spangles. He was trying to think of how to speak with her, how to talk to her without freaking her out. HOw to not intimidate her. The crowd was roaring, and DAniel himself looks at the cameras positioned around the interior of the club. The thoughts of manners were shifting away now, to the layout.
About how he was going to actually do the fighting now.
Getting back into Neo League was a challenge, an uphill battle. Hayley had spent a few months finding herself, spending time with her mother, going back to basics and trying to get a handle on who she is, how she fights, and how to become better. Wasn't that what it was all about, becoming better? So many people had helped her, in the past few months, but now it was time to help herself.
Her last fight went as well as it could. It felt like old times. She felt competent again, like she wasn't quite the big fish in the small pond she feared she was. She'd seized a victory through skill and determination. Her training was paying off. She knew there'd be bumps in the road, but it felt good. A few hard bumps was just part of the trip. That's what her dah had told her.
Hayley doesn't pay too much attention to the crowd other than giving them a celebrity wave. She reaches up, adjusting her headband, pushing that mess of blue hair back out of her face a bit better. She rolls her shoulders, twists her waists, extends each leg and stretches. Deep breaths, Hayley. How bad could it be?
"Hoy," Hayley calls. "Daniel Little, right?" Hayley gets a good look at him, bites her lip, swallows. "Let's have a good match, eh?" She sounds uncertain.
The crowd was a bit more restrained than what Lita dealt with.
Less of a riot, more of a fanboyism. It seemed that the r/ladykiller group had quite a bit of overlap with the Spangles fandom, for some reason. There was quite a volume of comments chasing after her, but as Hayley comes in, she reaches the interior. All the cameras were on them, as Daniel looks up from his trance.
His posture shifts, as he realizes who Hayley was, exactly.
Daniel's yellow eyes cast towards to Hayley's legs, and then work their way up to her eyes. They linger about halfway in the middle. Not exactly halfway. But almost. By the time he reaches her eyes, he has the most pleasant, fanged grin on his face, before he tips his fedora. "Well, you can call me Daniel Jack, miss." He coos, gripping the microphone stand.
"That's a beautiful accent, by the way. Australian?" He quickly adds.
Hayley paces around the club floor, getting a feel for it. Assessing it. Realizing how humid it is. Why is it so humid at this time of year?
Hayley shivers, just a little, despite the heat. She makes eye contact, briefly, then her focus shifts to Daniel's suit. It's very eyecatching, in her defense.
"Oh, alright, ah, Daniel Jack?" Hayley reaches up and adjusts her necklace. "S'a little humid in here, huh? -- oh, yeah. I'm from Straya."
"It's the haunting." Daniel states almost causally.
Daniel leans off the microphone stand, letting it go as he looked around, making a note not to stare at her adjusting the necklace. The comment on the humidity did stick out to him. He had different senses now, he felt different things. There is a thump, as the microphone stand falls off the stage. "There's cursed spirits here, a really hot and heavy hatred and resentment. A lot of people were humilated here. Some let go of it. Some didn't." Daniel seemed a bit distant on it, as he approaches the edge. "I can't draw them out though, I think. Might be a singular ghost, don't even wanna think how pissed that thing is. Don't worry, it's not gonna bother us. The venue's all wrong. Maybe if I had a late night... eh, I'll come around again." Daniel jumps down from the stage. "Evening up the field, can't take the high ground from a lady." He gives that totally not horrifying grin, as he glances to the cameras. "Hey, you wanna settle this the old fashioned way?" Daniel frisks out a quarter from his pocket. "We can flip a coin. It's my coin, so. Catch." He flips it through the air towards Hayley, letting it twirl. "You can inspect it yourself, but I'm gonna say it's heads, you dig?"
He gives a wink with his yellow eye.
"Wait," Hayley pauses. One can almost see the wheels turning. "H-haunting? Are you for real?" She blinks, looking around. "Should...we relocate, or something?" Daniel Jack moves, and Hayley doesn't take her eyes off of him. She just watches, carefully."Draw them out? Are you some kind of...exorcist, or something?"
When the coin flies through the air, she reaches up to catch it.
"Oh, uh," Hayley checks it out. "I'll take your word on it."
She flips it into the air, catches it, then checks. "It's tails." Beat. "Do you want to see?"
"Kinda an exorcist."
She didn't want to get his word on it, but Daniel felt the need to expand on it. "I eat the souls of the dead, which sounds really terrifying, except I have to do it consentually. Consentual soul devouring of the dead. You'll be surprised how many wanna move on, and the things they need me to do to move on! Like, yeah, I'd prefer it if more people treated me like an exorcist. Those guys out there, digging the whole Lady Killer thing? They think I'm just some kind of woman-savaging beast. Like, I think they get justified by it. They see me beat a girl, and then they beat themselves, you dig?"
Suddenly, there is a burst of canned laughter in the thick, heavy air.
Daniel glances around warily, scanning the shadows of the club. Glancing side to side a moment, Hayley calls the coin toss. When she offers to show it, the detective just smiles. "You look like a sweet girl, so I'm gonna give you the benefit of the doubt." Straightening his posture, he eases into the defensive stance of Todoh-Ryuu Kobojutsu; one hand forward, one hand back, and ready to catch any attackers as they come. He gives a nod. "Okay, since there isn't a clock or a bell in here, I guess you can come at me first then! You do that animal thing, right? I'm sorry, I'm- I'm working on some really old information."
"You have a whole Spangles thing somewhere too, right?"
COMBATSYS: Daniel has started a fight here.
"So you eat their souls," Hayley says, "as a way of helping them move on." Hayley seems a bit confused by the idea. "But they...want that. OK." She seems skeptical, but Daniel is too straightforward about it. Too matter-of-fact. It's hard to deny it when it's laid out so earnestly despite it all.
Hayley adjusts her footing, slightly. She takes a slight step back. "They --- egh." Hayley makes a face. "Takes all types, huh...?"
Hayley shifts the coin in her hand, tossing it back to Daniel. As she does, she moves one foot forward, bending the knee, and brings her arms up. One low, slightly above her waist, the other high and in front.
"Ah?" Hayley blinks. "Ah, yeah. I've made some changes, but that's the idea." The silence between is awkward. "...yeah, I guess. I'd rather not talk too much about that part."
"Let's get started, huh?" The Aussie advances, two steps and then a wheeling downward strike like that of piguaquan. The movement of her arms is exaggerated, but there's a pressure to it, between the wild swing and the advance.
COMBATSYS: Hayley has joined the fight here.
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Daniel 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Hayley
COMBATSYS: Daniel dodges Hayley's Descending Magpie.
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Daniel 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Hayley
"I like the changes!"
Daniel watches the approach intently, and already begins to position his arms and feet in preparation of the dive. "So what's your angle now? Nice technique, real fast too." Daniel compliments as he narrowly redirects the diving sweep of her arms. One hand goes for her arm, pushing it aside as he walks. Precise foot movements come from the shade, showing a far too human foundation so far from the agent. The other hand pushes off her body, giving the burst of momentum to turn away, rotating. "That's some pepper! Great legs too! I'm gonna be looking out for those kicks- or grapples?"
THe canned laughter bursts out again from the walls, as Daniel groans.
It might be easy to miss what he was gripping as he turns. Moving smoothly, he takes his left hooks the top of a chair up. Twisting, he finishes his reposition by spiking a chair straight at Hayley, attempting to shatter it against her with a burst of power. All while he continues to converse with a casual tone, verbally relaxing. "What's your technique anyways?"
"Looks kind of Chinese!"
COMBATSYS: Hayley blocks Daniel's Large Thrown Object.
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Daniel 0/-------/-------|==-----\-------\0 Hayley
"Oh, uh, thanks!" Hayley says, only to be redirected away from Daniel. She plants her forward facing foot, turns, and backsteps away from Daniel. She draws her arms back, recentering her stance and readying for the reprisal. "Oh, um!" Her face reddens just a little. "--thanks?"
"You aren't patronizing me, are you?"
The chair comes toward her and Hayley draws up, turns, and smashes her back against the chair as it splinters into wooden fragments that shower around her. Stepping back out of the back-charge, she shakes her head ahd works against the soreness of taking the hit head-on.
"Ah, yeah. Good eye? It's piguaquan, at least, some of it! Not..." Hayley bends her knees and surges forward, pushing off from the ground in a low lunge. She lands in a slide, sweeping the leg. As she does, her hand snaps forward in a sweeping swipe, the Aussie aiming to grab, pull, then open up for a two-handed open snake-strike.
"Not all of it, at least!"
COMBATSYS: Daniel blocks Hayley's Twin Adder Striking Fangs EX.
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Daniel 0/-------/------=|==-----\-------\0 Hayley
Daniel is quick to add as the chair buys him some space. He doesn't quite use his space as well as he had hoped; Hayley was rushing up with heightened aggression. The shade steps back precisely, latching his yellow eyes on her diligently as he continues. "Well, the kind of patronizing I'm more involved in uses tequila; but I'd rather not liquor up a pretty girl before or after a fight. She comes in low, and Daniel is moving his arms down to meet her. The leg sweep comes, and he brings both arms down to catch it. It stops the take down. But when the swipe comes, he goes for an arm deflection on it. To his surprise, she tears open the guard and bursts in with the double snake strike to his chest. That staggers Daniel back with a grunt, as he rubs his chest, the blow having penetrated his guard precisely. "Now that's more Kung Fu style. You've been studying under the Chinese masters haven't you scuzzy?"
"Where'd pick that up?"
Daniel uses the moment to discuss his own style, as he recovers from the blow. Slithering like a shadow at her, he shifts the pressure back to not give her the chance to get up on her terms. Both hands lash out, attempting to scoop her up. "I'm a Todoh-Ryuu Kobojutsu man myself, strong aikido and traditional karate roots. Everybody has their own style, you dig?" Should he get a grip on her shoulder and knee, he would burst with a sharp flip, attempting to hoist her up just long enough to slam her face down to the mildew-infested floor, before holding her there with the support of her own neck keep her up as he held to the shoulder and leg as a rough pin. IF he made it that far, he would finish by a roll and release, breaking himself away with his own tumble to avoid getting himself ensnared. He wasn't pressing too hard on the offensive.
He was too interested in the young lady here to blow up too fast.
COMBATSYS: Hayley dodges Daniel's Brutal Throw Chain.
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Daniel 0/-------/-----==|==-----\-------\0 Hayley
"Patronizing..." Hayley considers that for a minute. It's not quite clear if she gets it. "Err--I'm not much of a drinker, to be honest! ... scuzzy?"
"Oi, yeah, it's mostly kung fu. A few different styles..." Hayley sweeps downward, interceding her hand to keep Daniel from getting as tight a grip as he might like. As such, when she's flipped, she has a bit of an advantage to redirect her momentum. Rather than crash into the floor she breaks away, flipping through the air before tucking into a roll, landing on her forearm and overturning a table with a clatter. She then flips back over into an upright landing.
"I, uh," Hayley says, "I went back to Hong Kong and got in touch with some people in the mainland...I felt like a needed a bit of retraining after, uh, a few bad matchups..."
Hayley springs forward, plants a hand on the table she turned over, and uses the edge as a vaulting horse to spring into a sharp kick.
COMBATSYS: Daniel dodges Hayley's Medium Kick.
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Daniel 0/-------/-----==|===----\-------\0 Hayley
"Good for you. Drinking is a dirty habit." Daniel admits, as he looks unflustered as Hayley flips with his flipping, working with his momentum. Steadying himself out, he is ready when Hayley erupts straight back at him. He was already stepping in and turning to flow along with Hayley kick, guiding her thigh and leg along past her. Against some other Todoh's, that might be the counter attack. But for the detective? It was an opportunity to plant her down and push away a moment. Falling back into his neutral guard, he was keeping his defense as tight as he can. The pained twist from the snake strike was smart, and he was much more wary now of getting any openings for Hayley to tear open.
Not that he was distressed by the woman at all.
"Bad matchups? What, like perverts? Or just rough fights. Let me tell you scuzzy, never let bad fights discourage you." Flashing with orange energy, he sways back to hurl out a glowing palm strike with the left, followed by a blazing hand chop with the right. "I can't tell you how many times I've had my ass handed to me." Advancing with a step with each strike, he pivots into an elbow jab aiming squarely at the base of the ribs, before unleashing an alternating duo of orange-chi swipes, the small Kasane Ates tearing forward. "Hell, I died at a few of them thanks to Mortal Kombat. I became this horrible shadow creature -because- of dying at those fights. There's a lot of things I've done, I've experienced, that should have discouraged me. And it doesn't for me. And it sure shouldn't discourage you! You got spark, kid!" The extended combination ends with Daniel taking his final step in, attempting to grab by her shoulder and hip, and promptly slam her straight through a chair with a clean pivot throw. A long combination.
Which doesn't even seem to break his conversation stride.
COMBATSYS: Hayley instinctively blocks Daniel's Harlem Sunset.
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Daniel 0/-------/---====|=====--\-------\0 Hayley
"Yeah," Hayley breathes, keeping her focus. "I keep a pretty strict diet. As for the bad match-ups, I--"
Hayley is stopped mid-sentence by the flash of chi, the advance. Blue-white chi flares up as she brings up a tight guard, forearms raised to guard her head against the flurry of blows. The elbow catches her mostly unprepared, Hayley wheezing through the tension at her waist implies a level of preparation and steeling herself to take it. She weathers the assault before finally being tossed, landing on her seat as she crashes through the chair and smashes it.
"Ugh..." Hayley rubs her bottom before rising back up to her feet. "-- that's definitely worse than I had it, I suppose... Shadow...creature?" Hayley considers that for a minute. It all seems to be coming together, in a way.
"Uh, thanks, though." She spreads her feet, then advances again. She steps forward and rotates, smashing down with a hammering backfist. She opens her palm at the end, trying to grab Daniel's arm as she draws back, twist, then step forward. As she steps she brings in her opposite elbow with a quick strike, stepping into it for the first--then slamming forward with her hip for the second.
COMBATSYS: Daniel dodges Hayley's Magpie and Wombat ES.
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Daniel 0/-------/---====|======-\-------\0 Hayley
The fact she ended up on the other side of the barrage intact was a great sign to Daniel.
"Yeah, I'm starting to think a lot about that." Daniel states with a harsh cold on his tone. "ABout how little respect I get in general. No respect." There was no loss of momentum of his attack, no openings. He waits cautiously, watching Hayley as she rises up. When she unleashes the backfist, Daniel steps back in tandem, pushing it away as it comes. When she opens the palm to grab his own arm? He precisely, firmly reverses the grip, giving deft footwork to circle it. As the elbow chases him, he keeps circling around, positioned behind her. What might be the most dangerous position comes as Daniel's yellow eyes bulge out, the hip check comes thundering out straight for him. He shuts his eyes in agony as he recollects his training with Kasumi Todoh, under the watchful and judging eyes of her father. As the hip check comes, Daniel holds out his hands like he's clutching a particularly hearty Baconator.
And pushes himself back with the slam.
Staggering back, he opens his eyes again, using the momentum to buy him space as he continues. "Lady Killer. Monster. Asshole. Out there, and they can hear me now, out there, those fans of mine revel in this image of me being a monster, an abomination of humanity, that reveals the true face of society. Sweeping his arms around, orange energy flows from his feet, spiraling around his body as it builds into his arms. "People get this idea of what you are, you dig? That you are this thing, and you stumble just enough times that people are convinced it's the truth. And I'm sick of it. Because all it gets me is No Respect."
And the canned laughter breaks out again.
The shade groans as he sweeps his arms around. Reaching an apex, he slams them down, unleashing a semi-circle tsunami of orange and shadowy energy away from him, blasting table and chairs over themselves as the shockwave spreads out through the comedy club. All while he snarls out the name of the attack.
COMBATSYS: Hayley interrupts Chou Kasane Ate from Daniel with Wombat's Crushing Blow EX.
- Power hit! -
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Daniel 1/-------/=======|=======\===----\1 Hayley
"It's tough, huh?" Hayley says, lightly chewing her lip. The backfist cuts through empty air. He redirects and shifts, diverts, disengages. Hayley winds up driving him back, but not with the clean, devastating hit that she'd hoped.
"It sounds to me," Hayley says, "that they're asking you to be something you aren't, huh? What were you saying earlier, you'd rather they call you an exorcist?" Hayley considers. "That's someone who helps people, in a sense. The living and the dead, right? I mean--"
Hayley watches the swirl of chi, the gathering of power. She breathes deeply, focuses, digs in her heels. Inhale, exhale. Blue-white chi resonates, just a little, a faint aura wrapping her body like a trick of the light. An odd angle in a photograph.
She powers forward, sweeping her arms around her with circular, Tai Chi like movement. She smashes into the shockwave, taking the worst of it by pushing through, directing it a bit like Daniel did her attacks. Learning from the best, so to speak. Or at least from her better.
Then she slams down one leg, legging into the forward leg, muscles tight, tighter. She turns, twisting, then shoots up and forward like a cannon shot, one powerful, explosive blow of bajiquan, albeit a hip instead of a shoulder. Play to your strengths, she was told. So she does.
Those hips would be the death of him.
Daniel's shockwave smashed apart as Hayley hurls through, smashing straight into Daniel. There is no defenses now; the interruption pierces through it and knocks Daniel across into a table, splattering him into a puddle as the table itself shatters. The room got darker, as the detective energy flows out around him. Rising up, his tone seemed far darker. "I've been helping people my entire life. I've put my life at risk again and again and again." Daniel oozes back into a stand, the shadows mingled into his zoot suit. "I've ruined every relationship I've had, at my own mistakes, and I'm left with outcasts and monsters. I can't even get the spirits to respect me." Venom leaks out from him, as he reaches a stand. "I'll never get forgiveness, and I'll never get respect. I got the wrong enemies now, and no more friends. No respect."
And the canned laughter rattles out again.
"God damn that laughter!" Daniel lunges in with a palm strike wreathed in shadowy energy, blazing forward to drive the palm in before bringing around a hand chop equally bathes in the inky black energy. Shadowy tendrils flare out, attempting to latch and entangle around Hayley as Daniel would finish with a pivot throw into a almost web-like crater. A swift, savage assault, as the room seemed to grow more and more oppressive.
And how shadowy figures began to show themselves seated upon the intact chairs.
COMBATSYS: Hayley just-defends Daniel's Skiffle Drop!
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Daniel 1/-------/=======|=======\===----\1 Hayley
Hayley shakes her hands several times as she steps away from Daniel. As effective as her offense might have been at clearing the shockwave, it certainly seems to have been an option with a toll to pay getting there. "I--"
Hayley blinks when Danile disappears, then reforms. "Are you--"
Daniel is back on the offensive, his resentment seeming to light a fire under him as he moves in again. Something about the bitterness of it is familiar, in some way. Familiar and dangerous. Hayley backsteps, putting her weight on her backfoot. She draws up her arms, stacking her palms as she channels chi into a brief flash of blue against the palm strike, deflecting it even as she slides back across the grungy floor. She rotates, once given the distance, sidestepping and redirecting the chop down and away from her as she circles Daniel Jack, narrowly staying a step ahead. Tendrils emerge, and Hayley hops, planting a foot on the support of a chair hop-stepping up to the seat, the back, and then away from grasping shadows.
"Hff," Hayley breathes heavily. "Look," Hayley says, in between breaths as she realigns herself. "I'm ... sorry?" She offers. "That's awful, you know, to put all you have into something and get nothing for it." Huff. "Especially if you're doing the best you can do to good for other people, you know?" Puff. "You seem---well, you seem like a nice enough guy? Your technique is solid--more than solid, I mean--"Hayley spreads her feet, bending her knees into a stronger, wider stance. She sweeps her arms fluidly, in a circular motion. "Todoh-ryuu..., right? Your style," Hayley says, "plus the ... shadow ... thing," Hayley's eyes follow the chairs. That's making her sweat as much as keeping up with the momentum. "It's strong. Trust me, I--well," Hayley says, "--I ... study these things?" She seems a little less certain.
But that doesn't stop her from closing the gap with a bounding leap. She plants her palms on the edge of a table, vaults over it, then smashes downward with a whirling, overhead set of slicing kicks, each tracing trails of chi in humid air. "You don't deserve the bad rap," Hayley huffs, "if you're just trying to do better!"
COMBATSYS: Daniel interrupts Cassowary's Rending Talons from Hayley with Jumping Jack Flash EX.
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Daniel 1/----===/=======|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2 Hayley
For a moment, there -was- a weak point.
As his opening strikes are neatly canceled, the shade was keeping pace. He was bitter about his situation, but this fight? He enjoyed fighting Hayley. He could taste that skill, metaphorically of course. As she goes for the tendril grab, she neatly escapes, and for a moment, Daniel was off-balanced. He was swaying as Hayley takes her position to counter. And yet, Daniel flashes with the orange light around him. The shadows, all women, men, and children, watch as the lights dance over them, negating their shapes. She mentions them. And Daniel's yellow eyes open wide as she begins to descent.
"You can see them too?"
Daniel can't defend himself, So he blast upwards, hurling his form straight into the assault. He opens up with a palm strike through the first kick, building momentum as he surges up in the best anti-air he could muster. He ducks through and under, not quite enough power to disrupt it.
And he suddenly grabs Hayley by the hips.
Taking a second nasty kick to the head, he holds those hips with a vice grip. With a surge, orange and shadowy chi rushes from Daniel into Hayley. Falling down, he -spikes- Hayley straight through a chair, straight through a SHADE as he pile cutters her straight down as he growls out the motion. "Kasane Ate, but seriously, can you hear them too?" As he stands over Hayley, his tone keeps up, his shape reforming more and more. And then, on cue, a feminine looking shadow draped in funeral wear speaks in a hollow voice.
"I think she can, Daniel Jerk."
"Uh," Hayley says, "...you're not ... doing that?" She seems a little concerned. It is at this moment the Aussie is intercepted, her foot colliding with him before she's driven downward, smashed into a chair, which breaks upon impact before she slams onto her back.
"Oh," Hayley blinks. "Is that what you meant about ---" Hayley grunts, rolls over, and flips onto her feet again in an awkward shuffle. "Do they--do, things, usually?" she asks.
She respositions again, rolling her neck and adjusting her footing. She extends one arm forward, open palm, and draws the other back along her ribs, slightly above her hips. Her knees bend again, and she springs forward with power, only to apply the brakes and stop with enough force to crack the floor slightly before turning into a Bajiquan-style back tackle. If it creates the opening, she rotates, striking out with a punch, then a palm, then another punch. Each blow is like she's going after a practice dummy, looking for openings in the spokes with a focused, mindful repetition from countless drills.
She sidesteps, shifting into a set of swift side kicks, then steps again, sweeping her arms before delivering an explosive blast of chi.
If Daniel is still open, she goes for the grab, pulling him forward before launching into another mighty hip check, this one acting as the fulcrum to pivot into an overhead toss.
COMBATSYS: Daniel blocks Hayley's Southern Cross Formation ES.
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Daniel 1/--=====/=======|>>>>>--\-------\0 Hayley
THe words rattle Daniel, as Hayley... as she heard them too? She had seen the shapes before, as fights had gotten more and more intense. The hollow boys, the broken children, and the dead. He's seen these shadows before. But do they do things? Daniel looks back to Hayley, as the weight of the eyes lock upon her as well. Their eyes, his eyes. "They are the people I've devoured, Hayley." He says with a dawning horror.
And Hayley strikes.
Daniel instinctively gets his guard up when Hayley comes roaring in. But he doesn't get the chance to redirect the tackle. And that doesn't give him the space he needs. Catching it cleanly, he staggers backwards as the shadows begin standing up, one by one. It was an opening. The punch, palm, punch is deflected one by one, force into the shoulders. When the side steps comes, the figures are all around them. Daniel groans as the side kicks come, and he is forced to catch them, one, two, three. And when the chi blast comes? Daniel is blown backwards. He falls into a beautiful woman in a strapless black dress, the woman of grey white and black seizing him, and easing him with a feral, manic hunger in her hollow eyes. Daniel looks back at her, and he remembers. He looks at Hayley. Terror in his eyes, as the shadows start closing in. "Oh no." He says. The canned laughters erupts again from the mouths of the shadows.
And he winds back a fist.
Daniel stomps forward, knocking away the shadows into a hazy blur. Daniel surges through the air, attempting to slam a singular palm strike squarely into Hayley's center. Should it connect? He would carry her around, carrying her past the chairs the tables and the shades, to the light outside, to the crowd outside, through the front. And there, he would stop dead, flipping Hayley up, over, and around using the harsh shift of momentum to slam her flat on the ground. And the assault would finish with a flattening palm strike upon the ground, with an eruption of orange and black chi swirling around him. He didn't like the shadows around Hayley. He didn't like the shadows.
And he didn't like what they meant.
COMBATSYS: Daniel successfully hits Hayley with Fantastic Todoh Punch.
- Power hit! -
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Daniel 0/-------/-----==|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2 Hayley
"What." Hayley does not so much ask as state. That flat statement of adject confusion, or perhaps horror. It is lost in the flurry of blows, an avalanche of strikes as the haints and shades grow ever closer. As she breaks away, things intensify. The hungry dead advance, and Daniel reacts. Hayley's eyes widen, then narrow, the chi flaring brightly against the shadow.
The fist impacts with Hayley's ribs, launching her backward across the club, over the balcony, and toward the outdoor patio of the nearby taqueria. It's a short fall, thankfully, but she lands pretty heavily on it.
COMBATSYS: Hayley takes no action.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ <
COMBATSYS: Hayley can no longer fight.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ <
Daniel stands over the downed Hayley, the impact down.
He's not breathing. He hasn't really breathed for months now. Years? He was out in the sun, out of building, out of the comedy club. The shadows were gone now, the shades.
But the eyes haven't stopped yet.
The shade looks out at the crowd around them, the audience, their fans. Last fight, with Lita, they were hooting and hollering, cheering for the blood sport. But now, they were silent. Concerned? Something comes off Daniel's hand. He looks. Blood? Whose blood was it? Daniel steps away from Hayley, as the silence breaks. A count. They were counting out Hayley. Daniel puts his hands into his jacket, and waits. And like that, the count is finished. The fight is called. Medical staff moves forward, as the ace detective, the shadow demon.... looks to his fans. He had denounced them for their atrocious behavior before. And now?
"I had to do it."
Daniel explains out loud to the crowd. "I had to get her out, I had to save her." Save her from what? From the shades? From the ghosts you devoured? Save her from... yourself? That's why you pancaked her out here? "I..." The words hang in the air, as Daniel stares at his own justification. He looks back at Hayley. He takes his steps back into the shadows of the comedy club. He stops at the edge, between the light and the darkness. And puffing out his bruised chest, he suddenly growls out. "It was a fight. If she didn't want to get hurt, she wouldn't be fighting. I don't have to justify this. You guys justify it for yourself. I am just fighting my way. Deal with it." Daniel twists his face into a glower, as he sinks back into the shadows, fading away.
The canned laughter rips out through the air, unseen.
COMBATSYS: Daniel has ended the fight here.
Hayley gasps suddenly, sitting up. Was it a nightmare, in that brief time? An autonomic reaction? She takes several heavy breaths, shifts her position on patio roof--and realizes there's a small indent from the impact.
"Wait," Hayley says, "where's Daniel Jack? Did he leave already? --" Hayley makes a noise, something like a grumble. She shifts a little making a face, then rolls her arm.
She inhales, then exhales. "...I hope he's alright. --ow ow ow." She rubs her belly, slightly, closing one eye. "...yeah, gonna have to take it easy on the ribs going down."
Hayley glances at a wordless fan. "...did something happen?"
Indeed, Hayley. Did something happen?
Log created on 16:13:40 02/24/2021 by Daniel, and last modified on 14:29:21 03/01/2021.