Neo League 0143 - NL Season 6 Finals - Daniel vs Tairyu

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Description: The Neo-League finals take place at the Howard Arena, the point leaders Katashi Tairyu faces off against the Darkstalker Daniel Jack for the championship of the Neo League

People were starting to wonder if they were going to need to simply not allow Daniel fans to get in.

The conversation started back when they were rowdy. In a way, it was better when they were rowdy. When they were aggressive, when they would make horrible sexist comments. That was when the fandom was considered a high point over what it was now. The insults, the spitting. And what had changed now? What have they brought now, to demand their banning?

They brought silence.

The Howard Arena was filled with hundreds of them. A massive indoor arena, where those accursed fans were garbed in the colors of their hero. All dressed in those signature broad-brimmed hats, those fedoras, trilbies, those panama bands, homburgs, and pork pies from back to back. Each one in a pinstripe suit, or a zoot suit, or party jackets, or something just as loud and dandy. And the girls. Oh, the dames. The arrival of the dames were new and frightening. Dressed in flapper lace dresses and headwear, and of course, the one lady with the daring and courage to wear a strapless red gown. It felt like a particularly bad convention. But the silence, the ever present silence. When they were told to stop smoking their cigars and cigarettes, they put them out quietly. There was no catcalling, and very little necking. It was easy to manage, so why the need to ban it?

Maybe because of the corpses too.

Shades were finding empty seats. Shadows of the dead were lurking in corners. Was the arena becoming haunted? The silence of the Daniel fans was enduring as the glimpses of the ghosts. The ghosts, the shades were the concern. Daniel was a Darkstalker, and his fans have gotten... twisted. Twisted like him in a way. They were, at least, not fighting with the Tairyu Fans, or even the general fans. They just watched quietly upon the stone slab that made the central arena was alone still. No Daniel. No fans. Just the long steps up to the granite ring, as thousands of eyes lock upon where the finals of the Neo League will be decided. The showdown between Katashi Tairyu and Daniel Little.

The battle for the ultimate champion of Season 6.

This kind of silence is unusual. Even in smaller arenas, even in less weighty events, there's typically noise. Even before fighters show up, there's chattering, rumbling from people moving about. Signs of life.

And yet now here, in the heart of Southtown, in one of the largest stages to be found worldwide -- silence.

It extends to the emergence of Tairyu, too. While the man himself doesn't put much fanfare behind himself, there's a presence he tends to bring with himself. Fight after fight, a single weighty step onto the ring seemed to silence the spectators if there were any.

But the overwhelming silence already present doesn't go unnoticed by Tairyu himself, when he emerges to the stage within the heart of his hometown -- and his steps edge on the wary side.

The Yakuza in the black suit lets his bright green eyes draw over the stands surrounding the arena, taking it all in. Narrowing his eyes, twisting his lips and brows into a frown. Silent observers in strange clothes, *ghosts* even.

"The hell..."

The audience is filled with people of all sizes, shapes, and colors. Sure, there's a sizable contingent of folks who are clearly rooting for Daniel. But here in the heart of Southtown, people like Tairyu -mean- something. Sharp-dressed men have been a symbol for Southtown's dignity and integrity for generations. And while certain... outbreaks have happened in the past few years, the fact remains that the yakuza are always present to build the city back up to its prior grandeur. In other cities, the seamy underworld represents corruption. But here in Southtown, suits are a sign of everything working as -normal-.

It helps, of course, that Katashi Tairyu is also handsome af. And this is the opinion bringing quite a few people into the stands.

Minal Panesh is one of those fans. And she... isn't -quite- sure what to make of the macabre silence shrouding what's surely one of Southtown's most boisterous venues. But as she rises from her marked seat, she makes perfectly clear that she's not afraid to show her support on an individual level.

A plastic fist pumps into the sky.
Minal is wearing a black suit, just like him.
To show her support.

When Mint stands up and pumps a fist, all eyes fall on her from the Ladykillers.

After a moment, another person stands up. A round, ruddy faced man, with a thin curly half-beard stretched across his jowls to the base of his neck. Tipping his fedora towards Mint with a twinkle in his eye, and a mouth full of black mossy teeth, he joins in. "WOOOOO!" He states, pumping his own plastic fist in the air, long lost to a battle with diabetes not long ago. He is soon joined in with a chorus of cheers from the Ladykillers, a din coming with a powerful gust of cold wind passing through the arena.

A shadow drags across the steps.

An outline, an imprint, a shape. It stretches across the steps, the cold wind carrying it along as it pulls along the arena. The shadow spread across one half of the arena. And then, retracts. A figure rises up at the sound of the cheers, the shape of a man wrapped in inky darkness. Only when he reaches a full height, does the cheers stop. The color surges in; an orange zoot suit forming around the dark-skinned man. He tilts his own orange brimmed hat towards his opponent, white fangs twisted into a grin as he lifts his head up. Yellow eyes burn towards Tairyu, as he finally speaks. "Heck of a venue, isn't it scuzzy? Ever been in a championship match?" The grin fades a bit.

"I haven't."

The shadow might well be felt before it is actually seen, for Tairyu's attention turns to the opposing set of stairs well before the inky blackness starts spreading at the top of them. He doesn't seem particularly unsettled by it. There's been enough supernatural shenanigans he's beared witness for him to take it in stride.

Though the presence of it in combination with what goes on in the stands is... a bit concerning, perhaps.

"Never had much desire for it," the Yakuza claims, keeping on a much more casual and stoic air than one might expect from someone about to engage in a championship match. He draws his eyes slowly along the man in the zoot suit, one brow arching subtly over the sight of him.

"We've got... an interesting show in the stands up there. You have something to do with it?"

"Oh. THEM."

Daniel looks up to the stands, hands in his pockets. "It's the Ladykillers." Daniel explains, as if the title might mean something. In case it didn't, or worse, explained the wrong kind of thing, the zoot suited shade continues. "It's kind of a cult following I have. Which is getting a lot more cult than following in a lot of ways. THey mean well. Now. Now they mean well." Daniel kind of averts his eyes a bit, throwing a hand out of his pocket to gesture at them. He shakes a figure, before turning back towards Tairyu. "Now the ghosts though, those are definately me. Actually me."


Daniel tries to figure the least hideous way to describe it. "They are the souls I have consumed- consensually of course. It's a freaky deaky Darkstalker thing that I don't quite understand fully myself? Like you'll see a lot more around here in the arena in a bit. Maybe." Daniel gestures at the shadows across the actual fightning ring in a smaller sweeping motion.

Shadow that were starting to spiderweb underneath Tairyu's feet now.

"Still, don't worry too much about it." Daniel reassures as he eases into his defense stance. It was rigid, formal. Aikido stance; a very traditional style in fact. A wide-legged stance, Daniel brings his palms up to his shoulder level, one behind the other. It wasn't a very mobile stance, but it was a very steady one. "I'm still considering myself Todoh-Ryuu Kobojutsu; the shadow stuff just makes it as complicated for me as it does you. Don't worry about holding back either, by the way!" Daniel takes his palm away, and presses it against the base of his jaw before bringing it back up. "I'm real durable, you can get away with all kinds of killing blows off on me. This is a championship, you shouldn't have any reason to hold back!" He gives a wink. "Name's Daniel, Daniel Jack by the way."

"And you're Katashi, right?"


Tairyu's eyes do flicker down and to the sides every now and then, to keep track of the shadows shifting about the floor of the arena, but his attention is primarily on Daniel himself. Nevermind that his foot does occasionally shift when a webbing of shadows gets too close, stomping his heel down near it all after.

"A cult that means well *for now*, souls you've consumed following you around and powers you don't fully understand and can't guarantee you'll control. Mmm."

Though Daniel himself is assuming his stance, Tairyu keeps himself in that casual stance for the time being while studying his opponent-to be ahead of him. As if he's judging him just as much as he's studying him.

"Sounds like a dangerous combination, doesn't it?

He draws his own hand out of his pocket now, while his head tilts slightly off to one side.

"Tairyu Katashi," he offers then in confirmation, even if the name is presented in the eastern order in contrast to the western order Daniel used.

Minal recoils from the fedora-topped man, halfway expecting him to address her as 'm'lady.' "Look, man, don't make it weird..." And as long as they look towards the -ring-, then yes, it will not be weird.

Still. There's a super-weird chill that runs through the crowd, and she revisits the decision to -accurately- mimic Tairyu -- buttoning her white shirt all the way up to the collar again.

She narrows her eyes at the figure who materializes on stage. This is the first time Minal has seen the infamous Lady Killer. And she can't help but feel a -little- concerned about Tairyu taking him on. But... all she can do for now is watch from the stands -- and give her support when she can.

"You got this!"

"Tairyu, okay. Right, because it's Japanese- right."

When the stomp comes, Daniel actually reacts to it. It's a slight reaction, a twitch, a flinch. The shadows react more dramatically; they spread around Tairyu, avoiding him. Daniel himself seems to be unflustered by the assessment, taking it in heartily and a little too seriously. "Still, it's not a wrong assessment." Those fangs stretch way too far across his face for a moment, as Daniel twists his head for a moment.

"I'm a dangerous guy."

His smile slips back under his lips. "They are still more Rocky Horror than Children of the Corn for now, but I got to be mindful. I don't want them to start having freaky sacrifices in my name or something, you dig? Especially for your number one fan there." He drops his voice a bit. Daniel straightens his stance a bit. "Not a threat! I'm a nice guy, I just have the wrong kind of enemies. Ex-Interpol, Ex-Human, Ex a lot of things." One of the tells suddenly reveal itself. His eyes. They haven't been locked on Tairyu's own eyes for a while, not for very long at least. They were tracking Tairyu's own stance, his own features. His own read. That the ex-detective was doing his own judging.

Or more importantly, his own studying.

Tairyu doesn't appear particularly amused by the implication, no matter how much Daniel may be claiming it to not be an actual threat. Even if it only shows in his otherwise stoic frown in the form of a subtle twitch along his brow.

"Quite the set. They say a man's enemies speak leagues about his character. Granted, it's entirely possible to have someone become your enemy through no reason of your own, but... It's still rather curious you're using that as justification."

Having lingered for the moment a bit closer towards the sideward edge of the arena on account of his wandering before Daniel got on stage, the Yakuza turns himself over to slowly stepping along closer to the center alignment, with his eyes kept to his opponent. Like a beast stalking around him.

"Don't get me wrong, Jack-san. No matter how many stories might circle around, I do not know your circumstances. I can hold no judgement of who you are. But I wonder still. What kind of responsiblity do you hold? How do you want to be seen? The whole world is watching here, now. Places like this are where people like us show our true selves."

Tairyu's right hand reaches up then, towards his left shoulder, gripping his fingers into the fabric of his jacket and the red shirt underneath it.


Just before the final step to bring him to his assigned position, a sweeping pull of his hand and a rustle of fabric. In what may well be a physically impossible - and all the more impressive - move, that single pull has swept both the jacket and the shirt off of the Yakuza, to be send fluttering into the air without any apparent damage to either piece of clothing.

In Southtown, sharp suits may hold a significant meaning of order, amongst it's underworld. But for a Yakuza like him, there are certain symbols that hold even more weight.

His upper body bared out to not just the stage, but all the world watching through the cameras broadcasting the fight, Tairyu display not just his intensely muscular, outright chiseled figure, but all the ink scribed onto it, too. Elaborate, intricate patternings of dark geometric shapes layered over by spiraling, furious flames along his biceps and shoulders, easily visible both from the front and his sides. And upon his back, visible thanks to the cameras focusing upon to all watching through both tv sets outside the arena and on the large display screens above the surrounding stands, the center-piece of all the hand-poked tattooing. The same dark-brown patterning covers his entire back to serve as a background for a majestic, upward-soaring silver-scaled eastern dragon, with half of it's body coiled about a stylized vision of the daystar known to the world as the Sun.

Another heavy stomp of a foot that seems to echo through the entirety of the Howard Arena marks his set upon his placement, head briefly bowed and eyes closed -- before they snap open and up to locking onto a sharp focus upon Daniel.

"...So be sure to make the best show you can."

And finally, his feet shift, subtly spreading apart while the other guides his form to turning his left side more towards Daniel. Fingers on both hands curl to form tight fists, with the left lowered to point it's knuckles towards his opposing hip, and the right draws up, nearly level with his own cheekbones.

"Kakatte koi!"

COMBATSYS: Tairyu has started a fight here.

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Tairyu           0/-------/------=|

Daniel literally had his soul exposed out here.

When Tairyu gives his rebuttal, the shade doesn't seem insulted in the least. He seems to be gnawing on it, but at the comment of the enemies, he does shake his head. Now, it was all the very likely that Tairyu's allies were Daniel's enemies, but the ex-detective wasn't going to gnaw on it too long. At the reveal of the tattoo, though. Daniel nods firmly as the Ladykillers mutter and gasp. "What a chad?!" Was a singular loud voice near Mint. "My wife's boyfriend only wished he had tattoos like that!" Muttered another one before he took a long draw off his e-cigarette. As Tairyu takes his position, the two fighters were ready. The bell is rung, announcing the start of the fight. And then, Daniel wiggles an inch. "Show true selves, here?"

"I mean, is it?"

Daniel Jack surges with a swirling storm of shadowy energy, mingled with a flare of orange light within it. "Cause in my experience, these are usually places where people -lie- about their character. Lie about insecurities, put on personas. Conceal a rich criminal background around a beloved fighting style. It really is a stage of theatrics, of entertainment!" There is a flicker of shadow energy. Shapes, familiar shapes. Shelves begin to rise up from the edge of the ring. Shelves? Or was it a magazine rack? Other shapes begin to boil up indistinctly as Daniel moves forward steadily, stably. Striding at Tairyu, he leads in with a surging palm strike with the left, blazing with that orange and black energy, before swinging in a blistering swift hand chop with the right. The shade practical boils off energy as the assault accelerates, the ex-detective hurtling in with a elbow jab to pivot, all while he continues to chatter. "I'm going to concede, you make an excellent point though. Responsibilities. Enemies!" Daniel growls the word as he turns, the furious assault coming down with two swift swipes with both of his arms, bringing a lash of energy out. "I'm responsible for those weirdos out there. I gotta be. But do they deserve the same enemies as I have?!" Daniel would then attempt to finish the assault with a brutal pivot throw at Tairyu's hip and shoulder, attempting to slam him towards the half-formed magazine rack, if not actually into it.

"Nobody deserves the wrath of the Scarlet Dahlia, you dig?"

COMBATSYS: Daniel has joined the fight here.

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Daniel           0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0           Tairyu

COMBATSYS: Tairyu blocks Daniel's Harlem Sunset.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////////  ]
Daniel           0/-------/------=|===----\-------\0           Tairyu

Tairyu's eyes narrow sharply on the Daniel Jack's advance, heralded by the amalgamation of shadow shapes around each of them. His feet turn along the stone ground, bringing the right ahead of the right -- to slam the open palm of his own hand agains the underside of his opponent's thrusting arm.


The boiling energy surrounding the shade is felt even in that, however. Just redirecting it stings. The same sting comes from when his left arm snaps up to intercept the chopping strike from the ex-detectives other arm.

"Then which is it for you? If it's pretense, then--"

Both arms cross over one another above and ahead of his face to take in the energy-blazing swipes that force him to back away an inch or two, closer towards the... magazine rack? Weird.

"--What is *your* lie then?"

When the pivot comes at the end of the former detective's barrage, Tairyu boldly steps in forward -- guiding one foot into a wide sweep that swipes right into one of Daniel's own feet while it's in the motion -- not enough to knock over but enough to disturb balance away from the attack. All while he continues the sweeping motion to spin himself around, ending the motion with a quick palm thrust against the shade's abdomen in an effort to clear some space between the two of them.

COMBATSYS: Tairyu successfully hits Daniel with Sweeping Strike.
- Power hit! -

[     \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////   ]
Daniel           0/-------/--=====|=====--\-------\0           Tairyu

A frantic assault, broken with a clean sweep.

It's not clear to Daniel himself whether the mistake comes from the deft riposte from Tairyu's technique, or his words. But the sharp thrust on what -his- lie would be aims right between the ribs, like a stilleto blade. When Tairyu steps in to the pivot throw, the sudden kick breaks the combination hard. Daniel's yellow eyes burn as he cleanly sent off balance by the sweep. Totally exposed to the follow up, he is knocked backwards. Landing squarely on the base of his neck, the head snaps in an unnatural angle, as the full weight of the shade comes crushing down on his head. Daniel collapses into a shadowy blob, a puddle for a brief second before he jerks out of it, stumbling away from Tairyu. "Good one!" He responds, swaying as his boundaries become indistinct, shifted. The ring ebbs and shudders, as he finally gets his footing. "Now my lie, yeah, I've been thinking and talking a lot about it. I got two of them! The first? That I haven't been responsible for... all this. That I'm the victim here, yeah. I always want to believe I'm the victim, that I couldn't stop all this." He turns, looking back at Tairyu, yellow eyes burning. "ANd the second?" He spreads out his stance, before bringing his feet down hard.

"That I can have my old life back." Daniel says with a sigh.

Tensing his grip, he surges with shadow. The shades from the audience begin to shift and drift, as the fighting ring erupts with the shapes. The magazine rack is more defined now, along with the rest of a... convenience store. Shelves of half-formed cans and bags come together, stands and racks coming together. The half. There is what looks like blood on the floor, inky stains around half-formed corpses, a woman wrapped around a child with the holes, before they sink into the granite. Daniel himself is behind the counter, standing right next to a cashier, with a microwave unit behind him along with half-formed shapes of bric a brac.

There is the smell of gunpowder in the air now.

Daniel finishes sweeping his arms, as he taps a hand from behind the counter, leaning on it. "There we go, my lies. Just a start of them, I like to imagine it's what's keeping me close to humanity still. That we have so many lies we tell ourselves to justify ourselves. That we couldn't have changed things. That we can always go back to where it was before. Sorry about this, by the way." He gestures at the half-formed remains of a convenience store that took up ring, the only thing really missing is the walls to keep the audience from looking in. "I just work better when I got an environment to dig from. These are memories, instances wrapped in the soul stuff of the ghosts that finally let go." He leans over, practically inviting Tairyu to come on over to try and slam him in.

"I hope you aren't getting intimidated, scuzzy."

COMBATSYS: Daniel Jacks it up a notch!

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Daniel           0/-------/--=====|=====--\-------\0           Tairyu

The snap of a neck followed by the other fighter's form turning into a puddle of shadows on the ground should be unsettling. It probably is, to some viewers who aren't quite used to watching Daniel fight. But as Tairyu straightens up after the palm-thrust that sent the Shade onto the ground, his reaction largely consists of an upward cock of a brow.


He did suspect, after seeing the way he entered the stage and boasted, that it may be like this. Darkstalkers. More often than not, there really does seem to be something keeping them together more than regular people. Sanctioned fight it may be, but trying to fight like trying to incapacitate rather than to kill will work against him.

The answer he gets to that armor-piercing question does bring a hint of sympathy to his eye. But just a hint.

"We don't always get to hold on to the past, no matter how much we would like to," he rumbles, with a shake of his head -- apparently considering the conveying of that point much more important than putting on a show of concern for the shifting of the ring around them (not that he isn't keeping track of it, in case something tries to close in on him).

"But there's always the choice of how we go forward. Sometimes it might be the only choice we get, but it's always the most important one."

But the formation of the convenience store around them can't be ignored for long, no. The Yakuza's eyes turn along the environment summoned around him, his nostrils flare to take in the scent of gunpowder-- and the scent of blood that comes with the sight of the memories of the two poor murder victims of past.

These kinds of ghost shenanigans are a new one, for sure.

While the former detective continues his speech, he gives a little rap of his knuckles against the corner of one of the shelves, experimentally. Hm. Patchwork, but solid.

"Not too much, no," he makes his claim just as he takes two decisive steps in between the shelves towards the counter Daniel is settled behind. However--

"...But I can tell when someone's making themselves bait."

Rather than crossing the rest of the distance, his hand suddenly sweeps out to his side -- through the mass of half-formed cans piled along one of the shelves, where his fingers clamp onto one, for just a few seconds. Beef curry, nice. The hold remains only long enough to maintain a certain point of momentum and direction, before letting go--

And launching the heavy mass of filled metal straight for Daniel's face.

COMBATSYS: Tairyu successfully hits Daniel with Thrown Object.
- Power hit! -

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Daniel           1/-------/=======|======-\-------\0           Tairyu

"-Uh oh."

Daniel curses out loud as the Yakuza doesn't take the bait of coming to the grappler up close. No, the can comes out, and Daniel ducks. Well, tries to duck. Tairyu sends it out MUCH faster than expected, as Daniel realizes that maybe Tairyu was a man with a lot of experience chucking cans around. The shade takes the curry in a hurry to the skull, sending him flying backwards to hit the back of his head into the shelves behind him. Medication boxes and cigarettes collapse behind him, as Daniel sinks below the counter. And when Daniel rises back up over the edge of the counter?

He has an entire can stuck in his eye.

Inky black ichor boils from around the can, pouring down his face and across his zoot suit. Daniel lurchs around, his size nearly doubled as his body flickers and shakes like shadows in the candlelight. Stroping around, he finally grasps the can over his eye. Fangs bared, Daniel's grimace forces into a grin again. "A very seasoned assessment!" He focuses his one good eye on Tairyu, leaning side to side. "You smoke Tairyu?" He begins as he rips his hand up along the side of the counter. Heaving up a whole carton, he tosses it in the air. A barrage of cigarette spread in the air. Whether it hits or not, well, they are cigarettes. They cannot hurt you directly, just gradually. The main issue was the hand no longer struggling with the can in the eye.

Cause that one was hooking the cash register.

Striding up on the counter, he sways with the whole momentum of the cash register. The machine blisters with orange energy as he hurls it across the counter, himself carrying with it as he falls off and over the counter unsteadily. The cash register would take it's journey towards Tairyu, either exploding into a burst of energy and shadow stuff when it hit him, or when it missed him some ways. "What about you, with the whole-" Daniel drops his voice a bit. "-working deal-" He lifts his voice again as he steadies his feet.

"-You still working in the business or you retired?"

COMBATSYS: Daniel successfully hits Tairyu with Dirty Business EX.

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Daniel           1/-----==/=======|=======\=------\1           Tairyu

The rain of cigarettes was certainly... strange. And not even sensing much in the way of energy within them beyond what was used to construct them in this memory in the first place, Tairyu just kind of looks on dubiously as they bounce off of him one after the other.

Fatal assumption that that was the main part of the showmanship. The cash register is already flying when his eyes lock on to it.


A bright explosion overtakes the vicinity of the shelves there for a few seconds. And once the mix of bright orange and dark shadows has faded away -- what's presented within is the Yakuza, knocked back against one of the now-damaged shelves, with numerous bloodied cuts left along his bare upper body. Shrapnel having cut through along his chest, both arms and one cheek.

"...Hhhh. I'm sure I don't need to tell you," he growls past the stings of pain, while steadying himself up from the support of the nearly-destroyed shelf. One foot stamped down hard against the floor to force equilibrium back into his body. His stance is uneven for a few seconds, but one slow inhale of breath in, and it's re-adjusted all over again. Feet turning to a slight spread, fists curling and drawing down and up. Resetting back to the same unorthodox stance he started out the match in.

"I have no shame about who I am."

COMBATSYS: Tairyu gains composure.

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Daniel           1/-----==/=======|=======\-------\1           Tairyu

"Eh, you never know."

Daniel adds, the euphemism hanging in the air as he eases on his feet, now free of a counter between them. "Don't feel ashamed! I used to work in Southtown for a good number of years, before I went Interpol. I need to make sure I remember these things. It's getting so hard to keep track of the time that's passing. It's scary to think about, you dig?" With the remains of the cash register collapsed into shadow stuff, and Tairyu taking a moment of respite, Daniel gets his bearings. He wasn't eager to take a break.

He was surging towards Tairyu now.

Chip bags and magazines fly around him as the shade descends on the Yakuza, opening with a surging palm strike with the left, a hand chop with the right. All too familiar to the first assault, the predictable elbow jab would come in again on the pivot. "You working solo, or as part of a company?" The euphemism hangs. "It's none of my business of course, but I got some friends and enemies in that business." The two swipes fail to manifest as Daniel would dip low, attempting to lift Tairyu up by the knee. Should he get a grip? He would twist and try and pin him through the glass of the refrigeration unit. Which might almost be normal, except the 'broken glass' would be more like chunks of dull cardboard than anything else, as the whole shadowy layout begins to ooze and melt.

The conflict weakening the strength of the construct.

COMBATSYS: Tairyu endures Daniel's Skiffle Drop.

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Daniel           1/--=====/=======|=======\====---\1           Tairyu

The palm strike from the ex-detective finds purchase in Tairyu's midsection this time around. Not quite quick enough this time, to bring his guard up to intercept it. Or even the following hand chop that collides with his shoulder with what threatens to be bone-cracking force. "Ghh--!"

The elbow jab similiarly smacks against him to send him jostling back, but by that point he's seeing the repeat in the technique, and his arms come up--

Oh, damnit. It was a feint.

In a last ditch-effort to defend himself, he slides his feet to the side -- but even that's not fast enough. His knee is brought up forcefully, and the Yakuza is leveraged by it to slam into the refrigerator while the bright orange energy blazes through from the shade into him.

The shift wasn't entirely pointless, however. It brought a further spring up to the lift, and when his shoulders slam through the cardboard-like glass agains the shelving in the fridge, his hands catch against it while his free leg lifts up, high, while azure flames of chi burst around the limb--

And then swings right back down to slam his foot to elbow of Daniel's pinning arm.

Should the strike go through to the point where he's released, the Yakuza is already bringing himself to further chaining -- spiking one fist down for Daniel's head as he's falling down. And upon landing with a crouching bend of his knees, springing right up again to direct an uppercut for his midsection, with similiar azure flames wreathed along his figure. FOllowed again further by a quick high kick to the side, chained into a turn to a back-kick, and finally, to a flame-trailed leap brought forth from the momentum of the rebound that guides his form through the air tipped to the side with a spinning kick that moves up high and down again to descend upon Daniel, along his own horizontal axis.

No time for words now. His focus is on the returned assault.

COMBATSYS: Daniel blocks Tairyu's Soaring Assault.

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Daniel           1/=======/=======|=======\=====--\1           Tairyu

"Oh here we go!"

Daniel manages to get the pin, yeah. But When Tairyu moves for the counter attack, the blazing flames of the energy are carried along to a brutal kick at the detective's elbow. The shade promptly releases the catch, bringing his own palm to stop the foot. And with that release? The Yakuza's fist goes for the shade's head. Daniel brings his other hand around to deflect the opening punch, slowing down it's impact at his own head. The uppercut is cleanly shifted aside, as Daniel begins to take delicate, focused steps with the assault. Arms were sweeping into a blur, the fires becoming absorbed and expelled in the miasmic cloud around the shade. The convenience store slumping as the high kick is met with a halting palm. The back kick comes, and Daniel brings -both- hands together to slow it down, it giving a solid impact upon his chest. The final kick comes at the horizontal axis, and Daniel has both palms again up to catch it, his shoulder bearing the final brunt of the attack as he shoves off, nearly dislocating it as the flames carry along his body.

And there is a clicking sound.

The shadowy spread of the entire interior lurches as Daniel surges straight back at Tairyu. A palm strike comes hurtling in again, with another hand chop. Shadowy energy floods from the combination, as the very convenience floor and shelves are ripped up and poured straight at Tairyu as Daniel dared to surge forward with a second palm strike, surging to carry the Yazuka across the ring to the other side, dragging the whole weight of the shadow shapes with him. After the opening assault, the momentum would shift hard, flowing the opposite direction. Daniel would attempting to seize Tairyu by the waist of his pants and his throat. Should he get the grips there, he would pivot, heaving the Yakuza over his own head before turning to slam Tairyu into the chaotic and miasmic wreckage of the convience store behind him. And if he could heave and slam Tairyu that far? He would finish with a final grounding palm strike, exploding all but a few remains of the shadow store into a blast of shadowy and orange chi.

"-Paunch!" He suddenly bursts out, remaining the end of the attack name.

COMBATSYS: Tairyu just-defends Daniel's Fantastic Todoh Punch!

[         \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Daniel           0/-------/---====|=======\=====--\1           Tairyu

Strike after strike from Tairyu is soaked up or redirected. For all the success he'd had in the early steps of the match, the tide seems to have truly turned now, between the beating he has received and each of those energy-laden strikes not finding proper purchase.

And to top it all off, the shadows are making their moves.

Though the topless man sees the palm strike and hand chop both coming this time, enough to bring him slamming his palms into each strike even while he's rising and straightening up from the landing after the wild axe kick.

But not the sudden catch.

With a surprised sound, he's hauled over the Shade's head and towards the miasma of the ruins of the shadow-formed convenience store.

He does turn himself in mid-air so that he lands feet-first on the floor, but the skidding brings him right into the wreckage. Where the shadows spread further, close in on him. Spread along his exposed skin like tendrils from a portal into the abyss trying to claim him. Constraining limbs and throat.

And then comes the coup de grace of the final powerful palm strike from Daniel aimed for the seemingly defenseless Yakuza struggling against the shadows.

But then--


A burst of azure chi along his arm and a sudden thrust of motion breaks the limb away, and Daniel's palm is met with his own, slamming in directly against it.

An explosion of both kinetic energy and orange and azure chi boom through the stone stage, sending the stage pulled from the memory of a ghost crumbling around the two fighters.

"Seems the truth for both of us... is that we both needed a fight like this."

THe words growled through the strain of grit-together teeth while his palm grinds against Daniel's. But then, he sweeps his hand off to the side, knocking the detective's own away as another explosion of sound rocks the stage, ethereal illusions of embers lighting up the air around him and washing the shadows away from his form seemingly with the pure manifestation of his fighting spirit alone.

The sweeping motion of his right arm is accompanied with the backward slide of his right foot, in kind -- turning his stance to facing sidewards to Daniel while building a bit more distance while his left hand is thrust out, palm held towards his opponent. But not to strike with the palm alone, no.

The air around his arm wavers from heat.

For a split second, everyone bearing witness could swear they saw an impossible image.

A dragon the same color as the Yakuza's chi, with it's serpentine body coiled around his muscular, tattooed arm, spreading it's jaws open--

And then, a gout of flames bursting forth to wash over Daniel.

COMBATSYS: Daniel blocks Tairyu's Dragon's Breath.

[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Daniel           0/-------/--=====|=======\======-\1           Tairyu

Daniel's yellow eye goes wide as his own executing palm strike is met with it's own counterpart.

"Damn!" He growls out as he shifts his foot back, the arena now nothing more by the scantest of scant debris, the blue flames consuming it to shadow and azure ashes. There was a few items left; somehow the magazine rack endured, the blood stain of the murders still clinging to the granite, and some groceries here and there, their contents oozing out. He didn't have any exposed positioning in theory. In practice? The deft defensive work of Tairyu gave him no opening to exploit either. What's worse, is that like with the clinch before, he was in a prime position for Tairyu to punish his assault. As he steps back, Daniel swirls his arms around. He seizes the last of something, anything. A box of Spangles Choice Honey Bunches Of Meal, long expired even at the time of this memory. The contents dribbling out, Daniel tosses it aside as the dragon reveals itself. Daniel brings his palms up to the flames. As they wash over him, he digs his fingers in.
%And the flames are ripped apart.

Digging into the hot flames themselves, the shade rends them apart with his own surge of orange and shadowy energy. Daniel was blazing with the energy, the azure flames spreading across his diffused form as it consumes the partical shadow flakes around him. Daniel stares back with his good eye. The other one still had a can of beef curry in it. It was swelling from the heat of the dragon's flames. "Yeah. Yeah. Maybe this is what Aranha was really on about. He's the whole reason I'm here, he invited me. Incited me. I like fighting. I liked it before the change, I like it afterwards. It's like shaking hands. Sipping coffee. Talking politics. It doesn't need a point, it shouldn't need a point. By the way. -Fantastic- technique there." Daniel double finger guns, sweeping his leg as he does so. The can suddenly makes a popping sound, and it shrinks, the contents draining -inwards- rather than outwards. Daniel makes an awful gagging sound as he covers his mouth with one hand.

"Oh -god- it's the green hot"

Gripping the remains of a vertical rack, he turns as he slams it towards the Yakuza. It was an opening blow; striding in as shadowy energy floods over it. Holding it briefly like a spear, he gives a driving thrust as curry flows out from under the can, and out his mouth, his teeth and face twisted in grimaces of pain. He turns to give a second swipe with the rack, the weapon disappating in a surge of orange energy as the shadows begin to fully ebb away. Daniel dips low to seize a 2-liter bottle, continuing the first combination that didn't have a palm strike and hand chop with gutso, hooking it upwards aimed for the chin for an explosive burst of inky substance. Whether it hit or not, Daniel would lurcch to the flank, grabbing the dissolving remains of the shadow stuff One was a can of creamed yams, warping as he hammers it together with its counterpart aiming for each side of Tairyu's head. It's counterpart?

A cardboard box of ribbed condoms.

Banana flavored.

COMBATSYS: Tairyu fails to counter Ragtime Riot from Daniel with Dragon's Clutch.

[           \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////                 ]
Daniel           0/-------/------=|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\1           Tairyu

As quick as the dragon had appeared, it was gone in just as quick a blink of the eye.

While the words from Daniel are certainly registered, he doesn't really give Tairyu enough time to respond to them. The rack comes thrusting in, and the Yakuza steps in, decisively, sweeping one hand towards it from beneath--

But the timing's off. While his arm does collide with the the rack, it's not enough to redirect it properly, and as a reward for his efforts, the improvised spear slams straight into his forehead.


The follow-up swing comes while he's still recoiling back from the impact, and he's sent stumbling off to the side, only managing to keep his balance with another rough stomp of his foot against the floor, only to be caught on the chin by an explosive bottle.


He didn't think he was off his game this badly. He never entered the League by his own choice in the first place -- but this still feels like he's disappointing someone.

Someone he couldn't keep safe.

That's the only thought that manages to slip through his mind before the finisher from can and package slamming against each side of his head hits.

Everything's blurry. Feet wobble, carrying him backwards without any actual aim and intention in the motion. Eyes unfocus while crimson drips down from his hairline to paint one side of his face.

The shadowscape was gone, but it certainly did it's purpose.

As the finisher combo of sweet potatoes and condoms smash together like an unfortunate subreddit that was equally popular with the ladykiller fandom, the last of the shadowscape bursts apart. Even the can in his eye finally fades away, as the yellow smear of -something- that used to be his eye quivers in the gaping hole. It wasn't healing so good. Daniel winces as he tries to blink it, unsuccessfully. Giving a click of defeat, he looks at the dazed Tairyu. He could sense it. The defeatism. The sadness. Then again, Daniel wouldn't have been here either. But the only disappointments now were for himself. "Look like I got you, scuzzy." Daniel states with a growl, billows of smoky shadows ebbing and flowing around him. "I'm gonna end this now."

And he prepares the hand chop.

Striding up to the Yakuza, he levels his hand flat like a knife. The form was flawless. Absolutely perfect, honed from the obsessive training of his Master Todoh. His whole body shifts, as he draws it back. Inhaling as he takes the sturdy frame. There is no blaze of orange and shadow energy. No flash of chi. No. In the same simplicity of the hand chops, and palm strikes, it was another hand chop. A very solid, sturdy one, aiming straight for Tairyu's neck, bringing all the precision and power of Todoh-Ryuu.

With executing force.

COMBATSYS: Tairyu counters Fierce Punch from Daniel with Tiger Drop ES.

[                    \\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////                 ]
Daniel           1/-------/=======|>>>>---\-------\0           Tairyu

The words seem to go on deaf ears. Maybe the hit to his skull jostled his brain, or at least his eardrums, too much for that. The man wobbles subtly in place there while blood flows freely along his face, dripping in droplets down from his chin to litter his own shoulder and the ground below. Seemingly unable to even react to Daniel's approach.

Not even when the upraised hand swings down for his neck like an executioner's axe--

"...Not yet."

The shade's hand never reaches him. A sudden explosion of force knocks it back.

A split second of motion. Where the Yakuza once stood in a daze from the barrage of hits, his knee has been dropped nearly low enough to hit the ground, and his fist has been thrust out in a straight line into Daniel's chest.

An instantenous burst of momentum and force, all pinpointed into one powerful punch that sends a loud *CRACK* of the shattered sound barrier echoing through the arena and a shockwave exploding around the two fighters. A perfectly honed, seemingly impossible punch that drew power from every single joint and muscle within the Yakuza's body, employed as a counter against the would-be-finisher of Daniel's chopping hand. Not so much used to redirect the blow or get around it--

But rather to blow his opponent away entirely before the attack connects.

The coup de grace never makes it coup.

As Daniel goes for his finishing blow, Tairyu carries out a second wind. Before Daniel could even react, a blow was going for his chest. The punch comes out, and it -doesn't- hit Daniel. If it hit Daniel, he might have been able to react in time, or adjust. No, when it comes short, the explosion of force, the guncrack, the sonic boom blasts him backwards, sending him hurtling across the granite as he strikes it head first. There is a long, nasty smear across the stone, an inky scrape of blackness that comes to a halt. For a moment, there is silence. Smiles from the audience. From the Ladykillers.

Daniel jerks back up.

It wasn't the shape of a man anymore. It was an amorphous wave of darkness, coiling and hissing as he rises into the shape of a literal wave. His arms stick down like the trunks of two trees, with the hands blending into the shadows. Broken white fang stretch across what must be the head, as one yellow eye burns. From deep in the depths of one of the trunks, a red light begins to burn. A crystal of sorts, beginning to flash...

And then, the figure collapses forward like waves upon the rocks.

The shape of the detective barely reforms on impact, the humanoid shape in tattered zoot suits and broken shapes. His head was caved in, his left side was kind of a bulbous, tumorous sore of shadowstuff. The broken face was now a grin. "Not yet." He repeats back, with an almost lustful tone. He blazes with an orange energy, flooding over his form as the fire spreads through the shadowy penumbra.

He opens with a palm strike once more.

Surging in with a palm strike, bursting with shadowy and orange chi, he brings around a hand chop with the right. By now, the rhythm was set, and the question hanged in the air: what would come next? A second palm strike comes from the left, and a third with the right, alternating blows side to side. The assault comes to a halt with a driving elbow jab, an almost subtle, quiet closer.

But one that threatened a safe play.

COMBATSYS: Tairyu counters Zoot Suit Riot from Daniel with Dragon's Tail ES.

[                          \\\\  < >  ////////////                  ]
Daniel           1/---====/=======|======-\-------\0           Tairyu


With a deep breath, the ink-covered Yakuza rises up from the lowered posture that was used to launch the explosive blow. Straightening up, with his head rolling towards one shoulder and the other to stretch out the muscles in his neck, he inevitably locks his eyes on Daniel again.

Or what has become of Daniel.

The usual frown of focus on Tairyu's features deepens to an outright scowl while he studies the mass of darkness that his opponent has been reduced. Though whatever thoughts he might have on this form before him, something else catches his attention.

The crystal in there. His green eyes focus sharply on it, all the way until the shadow reforms again.

"...Indeed." Another steadying breath while he adjusts his posture to the familiar one again -- one fist down, other up.

With Daniel coming in for a palm strike again, the image of the crystal briefly flashes within Tairyu's mind again, while he steps right in towards his opponent, boldly.

THe step turns to slide him just off to the left side, while his left hand thrusts into the ex-detective's forearm. The orange chi permeating the shade doesn't seem to discourage him from grabbing on and tugging to redirect the palm away entirely with his own turn. A yank to throw off his opponent's balance while he continues his turn into a full spin.

And by then, his right hand has already been raised up to his opposing shoulder, curled into a tight fist. Launched outwards in a wide swing at the apex of his turn to slam the back of it into the back of Daniel's head.

And in a moment, there is a shift in the audience.

The Ladykillers stop smiling. A howl of pain, of anguish bursts out amongst the living. The dead? When the blow rips into the back of the head of Daniel, when the assault is jerked to the base of the neck? They suddenly rise up, and begin to walk. They wink out, and then, reform. Closer and closer to the granite ring. Closer to Tairyu and Daniel. Daniel hurtles to the ground, hurtles to the stones, disjointed and collapsing into a puddle. The flicker of the red comes again, as the Ladykillers groan and cry out. Rage. Actual rage. Daniel rises up again.

But he's not in the shape of the man now.

The tsunami of Todoh-Ryuu rolls back at Tairyu, a boiling sea of darkness as it surges straight at Tairyu. If it connected, it would come together as a man, to heave him by the waist to floor him straight into the maelstrom of darkness and fire with a pivot throw. ANd there, as the consuming shadows swirl, as the ghosts of the shades, no longer in the audience, but here now to stare down in dozens of point of yellow light? Daniel would roll upwards, building into the singular flawless response to Tairyu's own flawless palm strike. A singular, skeleton-shattering hand chop, aimed to cleave straight across the collar bone with an explosion. An explosion that blasts apart the shadows, the shades, everything except for a singular zoot suited outline on the granite, a shape of a shadow, a man.

Utterly incapable of keeping itself together anymore.

COMBATSYS: Daniel can no longer fight.

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

COMBATSYS: Daniel successfully hits Tairyu with World's Greatest Hand Chop EX.

[                            \\  <
Tairyu           1/--=====/=======|

Tairyu was already running ragged. He barely even registers the darkness lashing back at him after he'd brought the destructive blow to the back of Daniel's head.

A growl of pain and surprise alike comes when he's swung through into the raging mass of energy and shadows. Feet barely managing to maintain his balance on the floor afterwards, all while his arms struggle against the miasma.

He sees it coming. What remains of Daniel, bringing one final defiant resistance upon him.

But he can't quite bring his arm out--


Vision filled for a split second with white from the bone-crushing force as collarbone and shoulderblade are decisively shattered so thoroughly that after the shadows are washed away, the Yakuza's arm is left to hanging limply, uselessly at his side.

Blood still drips down from his scalp, now washing over one of his eyes. The one left open barely even able to see what becomes of Daniel--

Before he falls over, face-first, into the ground.


Cheek pressed to the cruel chill of the granite, Tairyu struggles for a moment, tries to use his good arm to push himself up -- but in the end, all strenght finally leaves him, nd his form slumps down, unable to summon even the strength to turn himself over onto his back.

COMBATSYS: Tairyu takes no action.

COMBATSYS: Tairyu can no longer fight.

Double KO.

The Ladykillers' din rises, as both fighters lay flat on the granite. Grumbles rise to snarls, snarls to chants. Daniel isn't moving, and after a moment, Tairyu isn't either. It was a close fight. It was a dangerously close fight, and to happen on the finals of the Neo-League was dangerous. The chants were rising from the Ladykillers as they make their stand. And the judges announce over them from their microphones. "Winner..."


And they fall quiet.

The audience falls into a roar of cheers, but not the Ladykillers. It's a brooding silence, a grousing silence. Scowling faces tear across, transfixed on fans. Glowering, neckbearded men all stare at Mint for a minute, as if her passion and her drive for Tairyu to win was the catalyst in taking away their Ladykiller's championship. There isn't a fight. They begin to leave early. Soured. Gloomy. Daniel himself sinks deeper into darkness, the shadows falling back into him as now the Zoot Suit is gone. It might be for the best. The medical staff knew how to treat Tairyu. But Daniel?

He'd be on his own anyways.

Log created on 21:35:37 04/14/2021 by Daniel, and last modified on 00:44:07 04/18/2021.