Mint - Surface to Air

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Description: Minal Panesh has gained some new inspiration for her fighting techniques. Fortunately for her, Katashi Tairyu makes the perfect guinea pig upon whom to test out her ideas!

The kind of thing Minal Panesh asked of Katashi Tairyu could be considered... unusual, among most people. But then again, these two aren't exactly 'most' people, either, so the japanese man wasn't exactly taken aback by it, too.

Afterall, it *was* an interest both of them shared.

The wish for some measure of privacy makes picking a suitable spot for their plans a bit more of an effort, however. The only property with a less-public gym or dojo or the like Tairyu had access to was the Aizawa-gumi 'office building', but... well. As he put it, he was pretty sure both his officers and her bosses would have a minor shitfit over him bringing her there.

So he had to bring her a bit out of the way and improvise.

An expensive black sedan rolls up to a private parking lot by a line of warehouses in one corner of the length of docks lining Southtown Bay. And from the driver's side, out steps the sharply-dressed Tairyu -- possibly almost immediately regretting persisting on the black suit with how much heat the sun is inflicting upon the city on this hot summer day. At least the proximity of the ocean helps by way of the periodic sea breeze flowing through, not to mention the wide shadow cast upon the opposing end of the lot just around the corner of the warehouse.

Circled around the car, the Yakuza comes to open and hold out the door for the passenger, too -- with a faintly-wry smile flashed down to the woman there.

"You know, I think most couples usually go to the park or movies or something for their dates."

In many ways, ignorance is bliss. The less Minal Panesh knows about the inner workings of the Aizawa-gumi, the better. Plausible deniability may be the only thing going, and it gets shot all to heck if she's photographed right next to a yakuza stronghold.

So, all she knows is that Tairyu had taken a while to figure this place out. So she makes a point of showing her appreciation during the trip, linking her fingers with his as he drives the pair out to the out-of-the-way warehouses. And if he happens to look over at her during the drive, he'll be treated to the South Asian woman's cheerful, beatific smile.

But, upon arrival, she reluctantly lets go, content to take a look around the parking lot as Tairyu walks around the car. It's hot, but not too different from her duty station in New Jersey -- and the sea breeze helps immensely.

As Tairyu opens the door for her, she cocks her head to the side slightly. "Well, sure, but I ain't exactly dressed for that." It's doubtful that anyone will really complain about a woman with t-shirt and sweatpants walking into the park -or- movies, but it's clearly not a low Mint will stoop to. No, she's here to work out -- and she's tied her otherwise baggy t-shirt up to leave her chocolate-toned midriff bare, in a nod to the heat.

Rising, she moves to pull the back door of the sedan open, and pop open a large ABS plastic travel case. "Not to mention, like, it'd probably raise too many eyebrows if I were to bring these puppies along." One hand is snaked inside -- and after a series of whirrs, slides, and clicks, her arm emerges with one of her heavy KNUCKS gauntlets attached.

And in a bit of Marine machismo, the corporal flexes her right arm -- the one that's now thoroughly entombed within 16 kg of metal, carbon fiber, and polymer compounds.

"Besides, it's not like I even landed a single good hit on you that one time. I got a -long- way to go."

That smile. The warmth of her hand. They are small, simple little things, but they're things to be treasured for certain. Even more so since the two are often seperated by roughly an ocean and hundreds of miles of land. The wait in between seeing her is worth it though. Just the smile alone takes away all the stress brought on by the nearly-endless array of responsibilities.

Though they *do* have a bit more than just handholding planned for this little outing.

"Yes, well, most couples don't usually beat on each other for fun either," Tairyu points out with a quiet snort. He backs away from the car some to clear some space for her. And once she's come out with one hefty, rocket-powered fist attached to her arm, he folds up his arms to look her over with an *entirely* too pleased of a smile. "Looking good, Minal. Almost forgot how badass of a figure you can put up."

He waits patiently for her to get the second gauntlet on her, and then makes sure to lock the doors up before gesturing for her to follow along towards the much more shaded area. "Well, you can work me over as much as you want. Today and any other day after. Sometimes the best way to get over a wall is to keep throwing yourself against it until you manage to jump over. ...Or topple the wall."

On the approach to the shade, the Yakuza Boss clutches into the fabric of his jacket and shirt both at his shoulder -- and in one quick, well swoop, both garments get swept off of his firmly-muscled form. How he manages to not get any of the fabric torn or buttons popped when he resorts to stripping like that is certainly a mystery for the ages, but he makes it work regardless to get his heavily-tattooed upper body bared out within the heat of the summer day. It helps him ventilate, for sure, though he might be partially motivated by the notion of providing his partner something more appealing to look at than just the crushing brutalist architecture of the dockside warehouses.

Her trips had become a bit less frequent, though that's as much to do with her workload as it is with Midnight Channel -- her other job priority -- being on something of a hiatus. But it wasn't for lack of want, that's for sure: spending time with Katashi Tairyu has become a highlight of her days even in the States.

"I guess it doesn't hurt to remind you from time to time!" Corporal Panesh may not be all that tall, but there's no doubt that she works to stay in peak physical condition. Lugging those heavy metal fists ain't easy, after all!

As soon as she feels that Tairyu's flattered her enough, she dons the second gauntlet, pulling back and away from the vehicle. She's eager to follow Tairyu to the shaded area. "Oh, I'll be working you over, believe me..." The New Jerseyan favors Tairyu with a smirk, idly letting her KNUCKS run self-diagnostics as she lets them hang past her knees. So what if she looks like a gorilla?

The parking lot might not look like much, but it's out of the heat, and it's not staying cooped up inside some office building like her job. "Man. I used to be out in the heat like this -all- the time, too. Gettin' stuck in the lab all day has spoiled me, Katashi."

But then he peels off. And a streak of red runs across her cheeks. "... And -you- spoil me, too, geez. I didn't even have to lift a finger." She bites her lower lip in a grin, even as her KNUCKS beep with a small intonation, affirming that self-diagnostics are complete. It's easy to miss those sounds when she's got something better to pay attention to, after all.

She raises her fists into a boxer's stance, that grin still wide upon her face. "I mean, I'm gonna -try- to stay on task here, but things were a bit different the last time we threw down, y'know?"

"There's a reason I try to find a bunch of things I can do myself instead of delegating in my line of work too," Tairyu confesses, stretching his inked arms over atop his head with a light grunt while he steps along. "Can't keep myself spoiled."

The reaction from Minal does very much please him, however. Just hearing her words brings him craning his neck back so he might peek back to her over one firmly-muscled shoulder bearing inked flames and the background patterning of the body art, even flashing his teeth briefly in a mischievous little grin. "I do have to spoil you a little bit though, don't I? We can't get moments like this very often, so I should make every little second worth it for you."

Digging one heel in, he pivots himself to turning around at the cue of the signalling beeps in her KNUCKS, bouncing lightly along his feet once he's brought himself to facing her.

"I'm sure I have *no* idea what you are talking about," he insists over her last words, with faintly-lidded eyes gazing over to her. "I'm sure you can give me a good showing here and not get distracted for any reason whatsoever, right?"

For being usually so stoic, he does seem to kind of have fun trying to prod at the corporal's buttons every now and then, huh?

"You wanna just see if you can get past my guard?" He suggests to her, even while he adopts his trademark, somewhat unorthodox stance -- and the inkwork along his arms faintly flares with azure energy, just barely perceptible if one pays attention. "I'll be your target dummy if you'd like."

"I mean, I'm not complaining?" Mint's pitch rises as she speaks to go along with her positive vibe. "It's just a little tougher to pound on sides of beef when they're callin' to me like that!"

Heavy metal fingers splay apart and clasp together again, as Mint gets a feel for her bionic enhancements. "No idea whatsoever, huh?" she answers with a warm smile. Though, as Tairyu challenges her, the corporal's eyes half-lid in response, as she gives a brief nod. She's happy to continue flirting with Katashi, but the point stands that the two haven't had a fight outside of a snowy valley -- and she really could use the practice. "A'ight, a'ight, I'll behave." She coughs lightly into a fist she brings close, then draws in her breath, slipping into a more proper form.

"Yeah, that sounds like a plan. Keeps me from eating shit face-first in the asphalt here." After all, she has a distinct memory of the yakuza boss-man redirecting her into a rope bridge. And it being kind of a pain in the ass to extricate herself. And then getting tossed face-first into the snow, which is something she'd only have seen in video replays.

She may be sardonic, but she's in good humor nonetheless. Particularly as she stutter-steps forward -- moving left, then swinging her shoulders as she lunges to the right. Once she's within three meters, she drops her head and shoulders, and then plows in from a low angle! She keeps her left fist high to protect her head, while she drives in low to take a shot at Tairyu's six-pack abs!

"Call it mental conditioning too, then," Tairyu suggests, his smile turning all too pleased for a moment over the particular wording Mint decided to use in describing the challenge put before her. "You have to be able to resist a siren call when your life is on the line too, no? If you do well--" A quick, subtle brush of a thumb over his cheek, and his voice drops an octave or two lover. "You might get a reward."

As much as he should be playing the role of the coach right now, he apparently can't entirely help himself either.

But still, he's very much ready to receive the feelings she puts forward in a fight, too. Ready to receive her.

"We can work on that too later," he quickly notes before she's ready to launch herself at him, though. "The gentle art of avoiding eating shit."

ANd she comes! Tairyu doesn't move much first in response-- just subtle motions, shifts of his feet along the ground, so as to not overcommit himself. Just enough to keep himself keeping track of her approach.


And it all leads to him suddenly sweeping one foot back to bring him into a rapid turn to facing her, both palms coming up to level with his abs and cushion the gauntlet of jet-powered steel, sent back to skidding back a couple inches with it.

"Good start!" He growls, deliberately setting himself into bouncing back to give him a couple extra seconds to regather his balance.

"But I know you can move faster than that!" His feet carry him further after the landing, calculated footwork circling him along the Marine's perimeter, to deliberately maintain a distance with her, to force her to pushing further in order to reach him.

"And I know you can hit harder! Come one!"

Tairyu's suggestion is met with half-lidded eyes. Minal's heard this whole 'you can't be distracted in a fight' line before, mostly from well-meaning co-workers who don't know a lick about fighting. It's different coming from Tairyu, though, and she does expect him to spin the comment a bit differently.

And then he offers a reward. And Mint rolls her eyes. As usual, her mouth runs ahead of her brain. "Oh my god that was so hammy." But gauging from the smirk she offers afterwards, it's all taken in stride. "But, like, noted...!"

The remark that follows, though, catches her off guard, drawing a snort from the pint-sized pugilist. "Ha! Is that the official name, now?"

And just like that, the brawler had surged into motion, the force of her rushing punch blunted by two quickly-positioned hands. She starts to wheel around for a follow-up, only to find Tairyu's footwork outpacing her own.

Gritting her teeth, Minal draws back, keeping both her gauntlets close to her head. Her shoulders pivot first, staying oriented with Tairyu. She takes two loping strides to close the gap -- though with Tairyu pacing himself accordingly, the shorter pugilist will need a little boost.

And he -is- asking for one.

A whine of engines is heard, and orange flames shoot out the back of her gauntlets. Mint thunders forward, machine-gunning two quick jabs from her left at their natural height -- close to the level of Tairyu's abs, as before. But then the engines of her right gauntlet surge, as Mint follows up with a power straight. The punch clears the space so fast, a searing hot shockwave blasts outward from the point of impact!

"For us it is anyhow," Tairyu snorts out over the notions of their chosen terminology, green eyes briefly glinting with some barely-restrained glee brought on just from his chance to 'dance' with Minal. "But maybe we can get it submitted to some leagues, huh?"

As amusing as that thought might be, he does have to put much more focus on Mint's renewed assault. Even more so with the sight of the jets in her gauntlets kicking into gear. It might have been a while, but he does remember how much those things boosted her punches!

And wit hthat in mind, he keeps up the rapid footwork to make sure that she has to keep chasing him even while throwing those jabs -- upper body bobbing from side to side to sway past them, but when that rocket-powered straight comes up? He can't try to escape that.


His arm comes and his feet dig in to the pavement. The ink scribed into his skin flares with azure chi, sparkles like small embers that grow into a low coating of flames in a surge of heated energy. The kind of flare of heat that twists the air around him -- and brings with it the illusion of a dragon hovering over his form for a split second.

And it all flows to concentrate into his arm the very instant her gauntlet slams into his arm, joined by the other arm to cross behind it for further support. The Yakuza winces visibly, and he's actually sent sliding across the parking lot for several meters' worth in the wake of the shockwave.

"Hhhhh... Just as strong as I remember," Tairyu growls, uncrossing his shielding arms, with a shake given to the one that took the brunt of the blow as the flames dissipate. "Even with all that it feels like I'm risking having my bones shattered if I try to take it head-on like that." His arm's definitely going to be sporting a nasty bruise later on thanks to that.

Mint just shakes her head in response. "... Ehh, I'm not a PR person, but..." That's about it for her commentary on the supposed submission.

She may not be great at PR, and she might not be fantastic at breaking through Tairyu's defnese -- but she indubitably knows how to make an impactful punch. And it's probably a good thing that she's got shock mounts on the inside of her gauntlet's, because she'd be much worse off if that weren't the case. She lowers her right fist after the punch, stepping forward with a left elbow just to keep the momentum from splitting her body in two.

Afterwards, she takes some lazier loping strides forward, raising her gauntlets to forehead height in the process. Cheerful despite Tairyu's lament, she chirps out, "Faster, check -- harder, check! Did you want me to put on some softer gloves or somethin?" She's not exactly -immune- to the feeling that she might have hurt Tairyu, but she's doing her best to keep the good spirits rolling.

The corporal talks, but she's still advancing all the same. Footwork is an integral part of the boxer mentality, after all -- a fierce advance, tempered by a slower step. A live game of Chicken.

"Still, like, I feel like even with all my speed, it's like slow-mo compared to you. How the heck do you move so fast?"

Engines spike. Mint lashes out with a low left hook at Tairyu's obliques. She follows that up with two hammer-jabs with her right -- nothing terribly committed, in case he decides to test her ability to avoid eating pavement.

"Hell no," Tairyu insists with a faint hint of a scoff behind his words. Another shake to his arm, and he quickly shifts himself into mirroring along with the marine's advance. Much better than waltzing with your girl, right?

"I look like I want anything other than all of your everything? Come on, *give it to me*."

Nevermind that he already admitted that she's punching hard enough that direct blocks are... incredibly inadvisable in the long run if he wants to keep his bone structure intact.

"I don't feel like I'm that much faster than you though--" he insists while she's pummeling for him, and he's turning his whole body to sweep his arm into the side of her low-hooking gauntlet before it can fully smash into his side. "I think you're faster, even-- I'm just going by instinct. Moving with how I think you're going to move! Though--"

The first jab he avoids by leaning back, but her persistence is at least rewarded in the form of him being forced to bring his arm up to shield himself again, no matter how much those KNUCKS might sting when they pummel at muscle and bone like that.

"Hhh-- I have to admit, getting on the offense in between usually helps balance that out too!" But he *did* promise they would focus primarily on her offense right now.

Mint's no stranger to the mentality that Tairyu's exhibiting -- the need to parade around one's inner strength, to sell oneself as invincible in the face of contradictory evidence. She'd seen it on the streets of Clifton, in training and in Afghanistan. All her life, she's hung around with people who pitch themselves as far tougher than they truly are.

And in a lot of ways, she's the worst example of that. Someone who's actually pushed her body -further- than it can tolerate, to such a degree that hardened metals are the only sensible replacement.

Her gauntlets have sensors. She can -feel- Tairyu's body, even if it's not an organic sensation. And when he brings his arm up to defend -- she can -feel- that it's not sustainable.

And she pulls back, shaking her head. All the tongue-clucking and tut-tuts from people questioning why she'd made the choices she did. Questioning why she had to drive herself so hard, just to avoid the nonexistent phantom accusations of being 'weak' or 'undercommitted.'

"Look, Katashi, that's nice an' all..." she starts, raising her fists. But then she twists her gauntlets' wrists, unclenching her fists.

A small hissing sound emanates from both of her gauntlets. It's not clear what's happening until she clenches her fists again -- and they seem... bigger. Puffier -- for the olive-drab polymer that constitutes the top of each finger is no longer flat, but bulky and convex. Inflatable padding, built right into each of her fingers.

"But I'm gettin' kinda tired of hospitals, yeah?"

She scratches the tip of her nose with the backside of her gauntlet. "You wanna switch to offense? Keep some pressure on me?"

Tairyu was ready and prepared for another advance from her, in spite of everything. In spite of the sting, he did actually seem to relish the opportunity to take what she had to offer like this.

So when the next attack doesn't actually come, he actually seems momentarily confused. He straightens up in his posture for a moment, considering the marine and her now-padded gauntlets with a slight tilt to his head.

"...I am too, truth be told," he allows, with a shake of his head, drawing his arms up all over after a few seconds. "You could probably break steel with those things. ...That just makes taking you on even more exciting though, you know. You really have to reconsider your defensive tactics in the face of it."

And thus, the invitation is accepted. The Yakuza Boss closes in on her -- circling about her for a moment, like a predator stalking for the kill, watching her. Studing her own movements, her footwork, before lunging in and launching a fierce straight punch at her. Or, well, at her gauntlets, perhaps, as though they were punching pads.

"What's on your mind though, Minal?" He asks, in between that first punch and a follow-up hook from his left. "I appreciate you don't want to hurt me, but I can't help but feel like there's something else."

Mint had expected her shift in tempo to catch Tairyu off-guard. And while that -could- be strategically useful if she wanted to land a hit, it wasn't her intention. She laughs softly as he mentions her strength -- and comments, "... I -do- break steel with these things, actually..." But still. She can appreciate the compliment, and does so with a knowing wink.

With her request for a change in strategy, she slips back into a fighting stance. "Don't go thinkin' it won't hurt just because of a little padding though!"

Her footwork is nimble, as usual. When Tairyu lunges in, she hops backward, raising her leading gauntlet to let Tairyu's fist graze alongside it. Her right fist rises also, barely putting an end to his left fist's travel before it can sock her in the nose.

"Huh? N-nothing else!" Mint pivots sideways, her head and her right arm leading the motion. She focuses on footwork, pacing back for a moment as she considers aloud: "It's just -weird- to be practicin' techniques in a vacuum, without any pushback. There's no tension."

Raising both gauntlets close to her head, she drops her shoulders low and approaches, swinging first left, then right. She closes in with a light right hook, with every indication being that she'd follow with a left straight...

But this time, her engines roar -- with a gust of air bringing her left fist to a stop!

And her right fist -- still partially extended -- hammers a rabbit-punch at Tairyu's sternum, hoping to take advantage of the break in continuity!

"I don't mind hurting!" Tairyu insists with a laugh. "I honestly didn't mind going without the padding either!"

Again, apparently completely neverminding the fact that with those gauntlets she can, indeed, shatter steel beams. Bones could surely not hold off much better in the long run.

But in the end, this really is just meant to be practice. And getting bones shattered would surely be... counterproductive. ANd that much is witnessed in the combos of punches Tairyu levels upon Mint while chasing her in the dance of the boxer's footwork. Not much of the usual tricks-- for now, simply prodding at the marine's defense, while working through some conversation.

"Sometimes you need that too," he suggests in a wake of a rougher uppercut. "To fine-tune things-- and other times you need to put yourself into a real fight to put it all together!"

And as it happens, Tairyu seems happy to see her turning the tables right back on him again. His advance turns to a subtle retreat in order to give him the room to sweep his arms to the sides of Mint's own -- apparently deciding to avoid direct blocks with her all together even with the padding in place. Redirect and deflect instead of shield.

And then comes that familiar roar of engines. But not in the way he expected. He knew she had failsafes in place to redirect her momentum for the purpose of preventing the gauntlets from tearing at the flesh in her hands and arms, but apparently he didn't foresee this. His eyes, previously narrowed into focused slits, suddenly spread wide open, and the back of his hand sweeps right past her left gauntlet after it stopped short of where he had expected it's trajectory to continue, and--

"Hhgh--!" A hiss of air past his teeth from a mix of surprise and sting of pain. Through pure instinct, his feet do kick at the ground to send him bouncing back in a subconscious effort to avoid taking the full brunt of the hit -- but he still finds himself pressing his hand to his chest, palm rubbing at the spot just below the firm curves of his pectorals.

"That was... a hell of a trick, Minal. Damn."

It's... easier for someone like Tairyu to pull his punches than it is for someone like Mint. Hands are soft, pliable. Metal is unforgiving, rigid. And Mint, well... she's insisting. And the Aizawa-gumi boss would likely recognize the thin-lined expression on Mint's lips when she's done discussing something. This, after all, practice.

She is, though, happier to shift to 'what's on her mind.' It's not the -only- thing on her mind, granted, but ... the pace of fighting -itself- is a hurdle she's been trying to vault past for a while. She's been ... stuck. Predictable, maybe? And Tairyu, for all his encouragement, may just be too -good- to recognize areas where she can improve. Her best may just -not- be good enough...

But then she remembers that, in addition to the -power- of her gauntlets, she also has something that simple weight does not have: maneuverability. Heated air blasts past Tairyu, washing over his raised fist -- and presents the opening for one of her own. Due to the short pull, it's not her strongest, not her fastest -- but just a -tag-, amplified merely by her gauntlet's weight.

"... Heh." With her turbines whirring back to idle, she rises back to her full height, pulling her right fist back, shifting her left arm and left foot forward. "My style's based on momentum... but that's just the easiest path, I guess... I've been doin' some thinking about how I can use the -rest- of my kit. Other than just brute strength, y'know?"

And with that, she leaps to a full-tilt run, turbine nozzles both flaring orange. Though... she's not aiming to Tairyu. She's running parallel to the building.

"I tried this out the other day!" she calls out, over the roar of her engines.

Aiming her gauntlet nozzles down, she leaps into the air. And a moment later? She twists her arms slightly, cutting a wide arc in the air -- more like a jet fighter, than a boxer.

And most pertinent -- she slams her fist down about five meters apart from Tairyu. If it weren't padded -- it would have easily -cracked- his pavement.

"Bam!" she cries out, with an exultant grin. "I just gotta figure out better tricks for use in a -fight!-."

The comments Tairyu might have had on Mint's offered thoughts after that successful tag are saved for later. She still has something to show off, afterall.

It's not entirely clear at first if she's planning on aiming her maneuver at him, though, so he does keep himself at the ready while she sets to the run. And after tracking her... uh, flight, through the air with the assistance of the jets in her fists of steel. In the end, her fist might not be aimed for him, but he does still end up instinctively bouncing back away from her just in case. He might not had been terribly surprised if she'd ended up blasting off a destructive shockwave just from that!

"...I don't know, you might have the beginnings of a pretty good trick there already," he suggests after the fact, and judging the approach to be safe, sets to stepping closer to her. Fists lowered and uncurled now, without any outward show of intent to continue the bout right away.

"You have a very unique advantage there when it comes to your fighting style, afterall." His hand comes held out, palm-up, towards her -- or more specifically, one of her gauntlet-clad hands. "Even the most experienced fighters tend to have some difficulties with unique techniques, as long as they're not made just for show. Maneuverability might be the key you're looking for there. I know I struggle a bit with opponents who are able to get aerial."

His emerald eyes shift up from her gauntlet after saying that much, to move up to meeting her hazel gaze instead, with a hint of a smile. "And you do have the added advantage of being able to re-design and rebuild your weaponry as you like, too."

"It's gotta be more than 'a' 'trick', though, " she says. It might look a little ridiculous that she commits her entire upper body to the act of singling two words out with air-quotes, but that's kind of what's at work here. "I gotta have a few different ones." She mimes by shadowboxing one punch after another: "Roll with the punches, y'know, just to establish a beat, and then..." A squeeze of her fist, a flare of engine power just for demonstrative purposes, to go along with her fist juking suddenly sideways, "-bam-, skip the tracks and pop 'em."

She rocks back onto her heels, grinning as Tairyu nods along with her assessment. "Yeah... I'm thinkin' I'll need to lean in on that a bit more, really start to use of my KNUCKS as more than just high-impact battering rams."

Like Tairyu, the pugilist has slipped from her active fighting stance -- though she starts to raise her fists back into one. "So aerial's your weak spot, huh? I'm willin' to bet it's a problem for a -lot- of people."

Re-energized, she hops from one foot to the other, then raises her guard with a grin. "So gimme somethin' to work with! I gotta see if I can make this work s'more!"

"You know what I meant," Tairyu protests with a subtle shake of his head over her little air-quoting. "But you're right in that you need more than one, of course. Know how I said I tend to move by instinct? That kind of thing can be dangerous, too-- because if you can lull them into it, you can exploit that when you suddenly bring out something completely unexpected. Like..." He pauses briefly to give a pointed pat to his chest. "...That feint you pulled off back there."

He can't help but smile with a hint of amusement at her choice words used to describe her gauntlets, however. "...To be fair, they are *very good* at being high-impact battering rams."

One step, two steps backwards, and Tairyu thumps his left fist against the open palm of his right. Even after more or less admitting to a certain weak point to her, he still seems in good spirits -- and confident, at that.

"Verticality is often unexpected," he offers. "It's an angle people aren't used to keeping track of, and most people definitely aren't used to needing to bring their limbs up high enough to guard against blows from that high up, you know?"

One foot scuffs along the asphalt, and he mirrors the south-asian woman's grin right back at her. "So yeah, let's see it. Show me how you're gonna work it!"

He doesn't let her get the first attack in this time, however! He lunges in for her in a blur of motion -- quick footwork carrying him from side to side along her perimeter. Ready to chase her if need be, even -- before ducking down slightly and launching a powerful straight punch towards her center.

Mint nods slowly as Tairyu bolsters her commentary with his own. She nods more emphatically when he mentions the fate. And with a bright smile, she nods even more as he talks up her battering rams. "Aren't they?"

And now with the two on more equal footing, Mint nods. "It's easier for people like me who are -used- to looking up at people, I s'pose..." She raises both fists high in defense, knowing full well that it's -offense- she'd need. "... But for the how's-the-weather-up-there folks like you I can imagine it'd be a bit tougher!"

And with Mint egging him on, Tairyu closes in. As Tairyu weaves back and forth, Mint takes small steps backwards, pacing herself, with both hands raised high. Defensive footwork is an opportunity to exert some measure of control. And yet, when Tairyu ducks down, Mint's caught on the back foot. Her heavy gauntlets are out to either side, expecting more of a hook -- and Tairyu's -fast-, to boot.

Knuckles slam hard into her sternum, taking the wind right out of her, and blasting her backwards a good three meters. Her hands splay out as she tilts forward, boots skidding as the inertia of her own gauntlets works to her favor. And as soon as she gulps in her breath, she digs her padded fingers into the pavement, launching herself forward again. Clamping her jaw shut to swallow the pain, she may be robbing Tairyu of her usual chirping -- but he might be impressed by her rebuttal all the same: a right jab to the sternum, then a left -- but on her second punch, she twists her left thrust nozzle downwards, rotating herself. Her feet leave the ground -- and when her right fist comes, it's underhand, scooping in towards Tairyu's abdomen!

Tairyu might have some further input to give now, but the heat of combat now does not exactly provide much in the way of room for such things. He knows Minal will be eager to try and return the favor after that hit. And so he watches her carefully, even while he moves in otwards her after that slide she was forced into with the blow.

And she comes indeed! The brief flicker of a smile she might spot on his face does suggest he is pleased with her counter-argument, as it were -- but that doesn't mean he is simply going to allow her to go through with it.

The first jab is swept aside with a deflecting arm, the second bobbed away from, and the-- wait, hold on. What is she doing?

Tairyu's surprise is visible again, and it leaves enough room for her sudden mid-air rotation to carry her fist right into his abs. He does brace himself against it, his toned six-pack flexing to harden as much as possible -- but it still stings hard, even with the padding. "Gah--?!"

Enough, too, to disturb his balance. Him digging his feet in earlier to try to keep himself from getting pushed back works against him, and his center of gravity tips backwards to start a fall he will surely have to force himself to stop.

...But not without a little surprise brought along for Minal. The backward fall itself is taken advantage of to swing one foot up -- and a sideward lean of his own body to bring him turning guides it to sweeping into the Marine's body down low, into her legs. Not necessarily so much intending to actually *hit* her as send her flipping in the air. Maybe just to see how she responds to her aerial maneuver getting disturbed like that after the fact?

Either way, the Yakuza is left falling back, thunking on his side and rolling along the pavement before bouncing up again. "Guh... You're definitely on to something here, Minal." This is good practice for him, too, for that matter. Gives him more perspective on matters -- and potential avenues of approach he will have to take into account in battles in the future.

Minal's been stuck for a while -- trained in traditional boxing techniques, but adding the third dimension of verticality when she can. And yet, a fighter like Katashi is able to extrapolate naturally from the "boxer" template without too much additional effort. The trick is to -exploit- that natural extrapolation and attack along vectors a normal boxer could simply not manage -- to depart from footwork and simple leaps into something altogether different.

The strength of a boxer comes from their use of momentum. And that's why her first feint was relatively weak, by her normal standards -- the short punch lacked the buildup necessary to deliver a sizable impact. But the more Mint acclimates to this new paradigm, the more she can apply tried-and-true boxing techniques to it -- which is what allowed her to knock Katashi backwards.

It's just the new innovation comes with a new consequence -- what can a boxer do with their feet off the ground?

Minal's answer is: flail. With her ribcage as the center of gravity, she continues spinning around in the direction she had been, just... faster than she was ready to, and her feet and hands sprawl out as a response ot that. "Uwa-wha-whaaa!"

Due to her panic, she's able to break out of the flip before it gets too out of control. Thankfully for her, the weight of her gauntlets means she lands palm-first on the pavement, buckling into a more natural tumble. But that also means any attempt at a followup is ruined by virtue of her being about five meters away.

She tumbles to her feet, staying in a kneeling position as she looks over at Tairyu. Sweat beads on her forehead -- something she's able to wipe off with the padding on her fingers. "Whoo. That was some quick thinking!"

Minal breaks into laughter, slowly rising back to her feet. "It's such a rush! I don't know what I'm doing, but it just feels -right-, y'know? Just taking the usual logic and turning it on its ear!"

- edit - fix quotes on "boxer'

Tairyu might generally lean towards a generally stoic presence, but Minal seems to constantly have ways to break through that. Just like now. Just seeing and hearing her laughter brought on by the rush of their exchange brings a wide smile to his face, too, even if he might otherwise be more restrained than her still.

"I already thought about what would happen if your movement was disturbed while you were doing all that," he confesses, letting out a heavier breath while his own hand comes wiping up over his brow. Even if he *is* a bit more ventilated than her at the moment, the heat does get to him too. Good thing the way his draconic chi channels out doesn't actually seem to affect himself temperature-wise. That could be a quick trip towards a heatstroke otherwise! The particular... uh, method of ventilation does end up meaning that the amount of sweat gathering on him is obvious to an outside observer in a perhaps more-appealing way.

"I just didn't expect you to spin into it in the middle of regular punches."

A thumb brushes quickly over the bridge of his nose, and his feet subtly shift apart in preparation for potentially needing to return to combat again, in the event Mint makes for another charge at him. "You want to keep going, or take a minute to review?"

"Haha... yeah!" Minal scratches the back of her head. "That makes sense, yeah. It also pokes a pretty big hole in my plans to use it in a fight without, y'know... more practice dealing with the side effects..."

Minal rubs her hip, on that note. Apparently that tumble on the pavement wasn't completely without drawbacks.

"... Oh, yeah, I figured working it into the full routine would've been the most surprising way to go about it. It seemed like a good idea at the time, haha!" The South Asian pugilist rests her hands on her hips for another good laugh. "Plenty to think about though!"

And when Tairyu asks his question, Mint raises one finger, shaking it. "Oh, that's a good question! And... hm." Pausing, she paces -- defenses clearly lowered at this point. "... I think I might wanna see about getting some mats out here before I try any more, really. Besides, uh..."

Mint takes a moment to glance pointedly over Tairyu's form. "... I think I could go for something cool to drink! I mean..." The corporal raises her eyebrow. "... is it hot out here or is it just you?"

"...Who's hammy now?" Tairyu accuses, even if that particular response does come with a subtle lidding of his eyes and the hint of a smirk.

THat being said, he does move to recover his earlier-discarded jacket and shirt, slinging them over one shoulder while turning to head back towards the car, with a friendly tap of the hand given to Minal's shoulder when he passes by her.

"I think it *was* a good idea," he suggests. "Just could use more practice, like you said. To get a good handle on how to slip maneuvers like that in there-- and how to deal with the potential of your airborne maneuvers being used against you. Preventation and damage control both."

The back seat of the car is opened, and after his upper body -clothes have been tossed in, he comes out instead with two towels - one draped over his shoulders and other tossed to Minal - and then two bottles of mineral water.

"There's also upgrades to your gauntlets to consider. I'm no engineer, and even if I was, I'd definitely be the last person to be giving design advice there, but-- couldn't you do something to them to help with maneuverability further? SOme kind of additional control measures or something."

Speaking of her gloves. He does go to hold out the other bottle to then, but then... pauses when his eyes narrow on the thick, enormous hands and their fingers. Hmming in thought once, he gestures vaguely with one hand holding onto a bottle and asks, "Do you want me to...?" while prodding at the cap with a thumb.

Mint sticks the tip of her tongue out. Yes, it was a hammy joke. And yes, she's now reached the point where she isn't even ashamed of it.

But, that said: no, Tairyu isn't the only one in need of cooling off. So that when Tairyu tosses her a towel, she's quick to put it to use, dabbing off her forehead first.

"Well, yeah, there's only 30 degrees of play in the rear nozzles. I can always move my arms and legs like I just did, but as I'm findin' ways to downsize, I might just see about putting in a flywheel, and maybe even some RCS nozzles on the side here." In between her drying motions, she gestures about at different points upon her gauntlets. "... It's somethin' I've been thinking of, yeah."

Mint reaches out for the bottle as soon as he offers it, mooting the question of whether she'd want any help as the mechanical fingers grip hold of the cap and unscrew it as simply as if her metal gauntlets -weren't- the size of a medium dog. "Mm?" she asks, gulping down the water with a barely-suppressed smile.

"Do I want you to keep spoiling me like this? Because if so: Yes, please!"

The corporal steps close to Katashi, grinning as she looks up into his emerald eyes. It's a sweet look, only slightly juxtaposed against the whirring and scraping of her gauntlets.

"But if you -were- interested in what 'most' couples do, I could be up for suggestions..."

Tairyu *does* always listen closely to anything Mint has to say. She would know that much by now, too, surely. He would have proven to be a phenomenal listener in the time she's known him.

...So the somewhat lost nodding along that comes while she speaks on the specifications of her gauntlets and the potential upgrades to them is not borne from him not listening, rather than him just... not knowing enough to *understand* much of it. He tries to, though! He really does!

And as prepared he was to assist Mint in handling the bottle and the cap of it... she quickly crushes whatever imagery he had in his head as a potential result of her handling it with those massive fists of steel. The fact that Katashi did not expect the enormous fingers to be able to maneuver that carefully is obvious on his face-- his jaw even slacks a bit while he stares.

"Sure, yeah..." He manages in response to her, just before she's easing up closer to him. And that advance is met with a lift of his brows, and a low tilt of his head to allow for the eye contact tob e maintained between the two.

And ultimately, the look in her eyes is met with a slightly more shaded look in his own emerald orbs. Probably brought on by her words more than the look itself.

"I think I have ideas on where to take you from here, yeah..."

Log created on 11:20:55 06/29/2021 by Mint, and last modified on 01:38:56 07/03/2021.