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Description: Rachale and Blazing Panther cross paths in their search for a mysterious masked monster in the streets of Southtown - only to come face to face with the claw-wielding villain himself!

This late into the night, a high schooler should ostensibly not be out and about. Especially in a town like Southtown, with all the suspicious and dangerous individuals roaming around. Not to mention the gangs and such!

Well, let's just ignore for a moment that partying late into the evening is part of the teenager life in a lot of cases...


One highschooler is definitely *not* taking the advisory of 'dont go out at night'. But Daisuke Kubo has a mission (and not a whole lot of sense, let's be honest here). For he has the self-imposed duty of roaming across the rooftops, as the (somewhat known...?) masked vigilante hero of Southtown Village, Blazing Panther!

Well, 'hero' might be putting too much weight to it, since Daisuke, under that identity, has mostly dealt with small time crooks and muggers and such. AT least it has warranted some attention from the school newspaper if nothing else. But now? Now he's potentially hunting for something bigger. There have been local news reports of strange cases of violence in the area, and rumors on the street of a clawed monster assaulting people in shadowy alleyways when no one else is looking.

This simply cannot go on, says the hero instinct inside Daisuke. And so he's set off searching. Patrolling the night, leaping from rooftop to rooftop while he keeps watch.

And he spots something, in an alleyway behind a specialty store of some kind that went bankrupt a few weeks ago. There's no one in the alleyway, and even his psychic senses aren't picking up the presence of anyone down there right now. But still, he has a hunch-- maybe there's a lead?

So down from the rooftop leaps Blazing Panther -- a long, red scarf fluttering in the air behind the young, red-haired man dressed in black cargo pants and similiarly black (and tight) leather jacket, with the lower half of his face concealed by a portion of the same scarf pulled over it. Just before reaching the curb of the alley, a flash of cyan energy spikes out at the soles of his boots, safely slowing his descent to a point where he can land gracefully instead of... you know, shattering his ankles.

And there, he steps towards a bunch of boxes scattered about and broken in a manner that is clearly caused by more than just a passing wind. Crouching down, he studies some prints caught in the muck... maybe some other, slightly more unsettling signs too if he's unlucky. "...Someone definitely brawled here," he mutters to himself. "Probably more than just a while ago, though...?"

So here's the thing about the Midnight Channel: It might be an arranged match, but that doesn't mean it's not real at the same time.

Rachale isn't here entirely by chance. She got told: there is a masked monster in Southtown. Go find him. Which is what she's trying to do, because - this being a Midnight Channel match - it is probably *not* just some guy with a costume trying to do some month-early trick or treating.

Which is why there's someone other than Daisuke in the area. Someone with black bike shorts with a blue stripe, some kind of laced corset top, and a pair of doubled tonfas that might as well be baseball bats for how weighty they are but she carries like feathers.

Someone who has come up right behind Daisuke and -

"Oh. *You*."

The last time Rachale saw him, he didn't have the scarf pulled up over his face, but the rest of it is all the same. The scowl on her face is unchanged from the Rosalia events, too. "Figures. The one time I get pulled out to Southtown in months and I run right into you. Somehow I don't think you're who I'm lookin' for, either."

It has been long, far too long, since the world has been blessed with his presence and activities. Humanity has become sullied and lessened for it. His sabbatical has only allowed the world to grow more grey, dull, boring and..most sinfully-far more uglier. And so, when the invititation came forth to participate in these garish, clownish, fights..a need for some mild amusement reared its head and Balrog considered and pondered.

"How droll.." he had said, languidly, to a nearby servant as he considered the message. "Utterly boring and yet at the same time intriguing. Strange. A Nightmare on Elm Street? So this is the role they would have me play?"

He's never seen it.

His hands drift gently over the various images that have been sent for reference as he casually browses the description of the match. "Claws. How intriguing. And hideous looking..and a touch on the nose. They lack imagination..."

He pulls an image of Freddy Krueger from the folder. He sees that face and dark crippling silence falls over the manor. The servant quietly and quickly backs out of the room.

Balrog stands still for quite some time. Simply staring at the image of the being they seem to be daring to compare him to. Then..

"For assaulting me with such ugliness ..there will be a blood price.."

Tonight. Now. In his standard regalia, mask on his face and slender muscled figure coiled like a ready viper as he studies the newcomers from a nearby rooftop. His assaults on the local homeless have indeed drawn his targets forth right to where he wants them.

"Aahh..and now the price shall be paid..." he observes before leaping forth across the roofs to an opposite wall and then rebounding from that towards the streets below behind where Daisuke and Rachale interact.


Daisuke springs up suddenly from his crouch upon sensing the approach of someone - or something?! - behind him, accompanied by a voice! A shiver runs right up his spine even as he spins around to face--


He had just about been ready to pull himself into a readied fighting stance, but somehow, the expression on Rachale's face fills him with confusion, instead. Bright green eyes move over the woman from past the cover of the scarf-mask. "What do you mean...?" He starts, before a flash of memory hits in.

"Ah!" He sounds out with the realization, pointing a finger at her! "I remember! You're the weird, angry, pretty lady with the bats from the train!"

He's probably eventually going to end up regretting saying all *that*.

"Uh... But what do you mean?" He asks while his pointing hand lowers down. "Oh... Are you on the job, like before? I guess you're probably looking for the same thing th-..."

Another shiver runs across masked Daisuke's spine. But this feels... different. His senses *definitely* picked something up this time around. But for some reason he can't quite pinpoint it? He isn't masterful enough with those supernatural faculties to get an exact bearing very often anyway, but usually he at least gets a decent general idea.

By pure instinct, he takes a step back, and tips his head upwards to peer upwards, scarlet brows furrowing into a deep frown while he scans his surroundings.

"...H-hey, do you... feel like we're being watched?"

Rachale's eyebrows shoot up at the way Daisuke refers to her. She could angrily object...

...but that would kind of make his point, wouldn't it? Instead, she files it away for later, so she can angrily object at the proper time - when she needs something to verbally hit him with. "And you're the crazy would-be superhero. So at least we remember each other."

"Last time I wasn't. I had an invitation, remember? This time I am," Rachale says. "So if you're looking for the same thing I am, stay out of my way and try not to get yourself killed. Because apparently there's a pretty good chance you will be, otherwise, and I don't want to have to explain what happened to anyone."

The Midnight Channel probably doesn't count as an official death record, after all.

She might have said more, but when Daisuke gets on edge, so does Rachale. Different reasons; she's not psychic, but she's been in enough fights to get the feeling of danger before it happens. The back of her neck prickles. "Get down," she says to Daisuke, quietly. Is she going to take the smart route? Is she going to sneak up on whoever it is, track him down?

Hell no.

"HEY, ASSFACE," Rachale bellows, at the top of her lungs. "I know you're there! Come on down and show yourself unless you want me to hunt you down and kick your ass six ways from Sunday!"

Well, it should get a reaction at least.

COMBATSYS: Rachale has started a fight here on the left meter side.

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Rachale          0/-------/-------|

The invitation has been given and Balrog was, in truth, making his way down anyway, albiet silently and with the stealth of a predator preparing to absently toy with its prey. At Rachale's demand, the assassin opts to acquiesce instead of crafting a more grandiose entrance and he lunges towards the ground like a blast of lightning, flipping to rebound off the edge of a wall and then landing with surprising elegance and absolute control at the edge of the alleyway opposite where Daisuke and Rachale stand.

"How vulgar." he chides before standing up, poised with arms gently crossed infront of him and one long-nailed hand up to gently secure his mask. Light gleams off of his claws as he passes it before his face in a preening gesture. "Your potential beauty is marred by such aggressive disgusting displays. two must be the mice that I was told would provide some entertainment. Certainly more then the local homeless population even if the world is less ugly now as a result of my artistry.."

He brings his arms up, moving like a matador awaiting his time to shine.

"Come then, my precious mice. Let us begin our la fiesta brava!"

COMBATSYS: Balrog has joined the fight here as a boss!

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Rachale          0/-------/-------|

"...What do you mean, 'crazy'...?" Daisuke's eyes narrow at Rachale, and his arms cross over his chest. At least he has the decency to not huff and pout over it. Maybe? Might be hard to tell with the scarf acting as a face mask on him.

And his head cocks over her explanation and... warning? He's not entirely sure how to take that one. "I... appreciate your concern...? Question mark...?"

But with the dread of approaching danger looming overhead, Daisuke nods at the whispered direciton, ducking down and shifting to slip behind a trash container first, for cover, with the intent to continue around the corner of the alley. He's thinking she's meaning for the two of them to get out of sight and then locate this source of the threatening sensation nearby, and... but, wait.

She's just staying standing there?

"Hey," Daisuke calls out from behind his hiding spot at Rachale, trying to keep his voice at a whisper but just loud enough for her to hear. "What are you...?"

And there come the obscenities! Daisuke's face blanches behind the mask -- not so much because of the contents of her yelling necessarily, but just the fact that *this* is the route she decided to take.

"This was your plan?!" Daisuke himself ends up snapping out, springing up comically into view again with it.

To be fair, the plan did apparently work! At least in so far as to get the Big Bad Monster to show himself. With his focus briefly shot by the sheer surprise from Rachale's show, Daisuke actually finds himself squeaking when Balrog falls into view from above, his own posture snapping to something much tighter and firmer.

His eyes go scanning over the claws while Balrog speaks, and... wait. What did he just say?

"The homeless...?"

Proper realization creeps in. He knew some people had gotten killed the last few nights already, but... he didn't *want* to think about it. He didn't want to think about what kind of person would do such a thing. And to think now, to the homeless people in the village, too? The people already down on their luck, and likely unable to defend themselves?

"You killed all those people...? For... *what* exactly...?"

The red-haired teenager might feel fear in this moment. But another emotion is welling up now, burning through his cells.

"Why? What did they do to deserve that?!"

Teeth grind together behind the mask, and fingers cling together into tight, shaking fists-- while something else changes. A pressure builds around Daisuke. Strands of deep-red hair lift up like brought flowing upwards by a faint wind. A glow shines out from within his eyes--


The burst of emotion comes with a burst of cyan energy crackling along the length of his body, licking through the air and at the ground below him. No fear now. Just *anger*. Stepping up further from behind Rachale now, to stand besides her. "Hey," he grunts to her, without really turning to look.

"Let's put this *thing* down."

COMBATSYS: Daisuke has joined the fight here.

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Rachale          0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0          Daisuke

"I mean anyone who acts like that is a little nuts. I thought it was pretty simple," Rachale asides to Daisuke, before she calls out.

But now...

Rachale could have ducked out of sight. But it's not her style to sneak around when aggression will do the job, and this time, it worked out just fine. Her eyes narrow at the descending Balrog as she lets him speak without interruption.

She straightens, then, tilting her head slightly to the left before jerking it sharply to the right. It pops as she loosens up, bouncing on her feet before she raises her hands and the strange doubled tonfa she's holding in them. "I speak English," she says, making sure her Metro City accent shows. "But let's."

Rachale hasn't forgotten about Daisuke. She's just letting him work out his anger in his own way. It's not aimed at HER, anyway. Though the light show is a little worrying. "Suits me," she agrees with his offer.

And then she barrels forward. She comes in low, shoulder-first, trying to slam her weight into Balrog's chest and force him down or back. She follows it up with a fast jab, though that's more hopeful than actually effective; she doesn't expect the jab to land, but if he's evaded the worst of the shoulder slam she wants to keep him off-balance and away from her. Her tonfa give her reach - well, maybe not against that claw, now that she thinks about it. But it's worth a shot.

COMBATSYS: Balrog blocks Rachale's Rock Breaker.

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Rachale          0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0          Daisuke

Such passion! Such determination! Daisuke's blood boiling fury seems to get to Balrog, egging him on and stirring something within the depths of the masked killer.

"Ole!!" he exclaims with surprising merriment to his spanish tinged voice, "You have a truly remarkable soul! I must spill more blood to bring that anger forth! Together we shall--"

He's monologuing ..and Rachale knows well what to do in a time like that. She's already on him, dashing in close with a move that -should- have hit if distance and speed mean anything - but the man possesses a speed that seems preternatural in nature and his arms come up to blunt the force of her shoulder charge and then a flash of his claws to deflect her tonfas away and force her backwards to prevent the jabs from landing home.

"Metro City.. Ugly, dirty and filthy. I suppose your attitude reflects the nastiness of that wretched hole..."

His arms move like the wind and his body lunges in close to try and move past her defenses, embrace her and then spin her around in dance like movements.

"You dear, are a diamond in the rough but it may be to late to do anything with you.." he declares as he attempts to bring her body up and then over his head towards the ground behind them both in a tremendous suplex.

This masked madman wants to draw *more* of Daisuke's anger out? THat makes the would-be-masked-vigilante even angrier, ironically enough, thanks to his suggested method of doing such a thing.

Part of his brain still reminds him to keep a clear head to an extent. The sudden charge of Rachale, made as if to deliberately interrupt the villanous monologuing of the man, helps draw some of the teenager's focus back, for sure.

"You still don't hesitate..." He mumbles before charging forth himself. But not directly ahead like Rachale. The alleyway is not large, but it still isn't as narrow as that accursed train he got caught into with her last time around. He has some room to maneuver, to get at their shared opponent from a different angle.

"Hey, B-Movie reject!" He yells out as he passes from a few paces away, an open-palmed hand raised up to point at Balrog. "Over here!" Trying to get his attention or focus? Maybe. That might not be smart, considering everything, but against all better sense, he still seems to prefer to not have Rachale locked down on by him.

And to further draw focus? An arc of electricity jolts up his arm, a small orb gathering at the center of his hand before bursting out in a bolt of energy, like a bullet fired at the masked killer.

COMBATSYS: Balrog successfully hits Rachale with Rainbow Suplex.

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Rachale          0/-------/---====|-------\-------\0          Daisuke

Rachale's jabs are fended off by Balrog's claws, but it lets her get a feel for them. Can she bend the tines of the claw if she really slams it? She's not sure, but they're definitely a lighter weapon - she might be able to just power through a weapon block, and that's useful knowledge to have.

And she certainly doesn't hesitate. Hesitation is how you lose a fight. Much better to rush in and get some early hits in while you work on everything else.

Dirty, ugly, and filthy, but a diamond in the rough?

"Heard that before," Rachale says, without clarifying whether she means about her city or her. Given her upbringing - not that Balrog knows it - it could be either. She's apparently not so dirty that he's unwilling to touch her, given he comes in for a suplex.

Rachale fails to free herself from the grasp in time and finds herself going up and over. All she can do is curl her body so that she hits in such a way that she can roll backwards, onto her shoulders as she tucks her legs up, knees against her chest.

Somehow she manages to vault herself forward from that position, a two-footed kick at Balrog that turns into a forward roll that gets her to her knees, and from there up the rest of the way. Hopefully Daisuke got his attention - it would certainly make her life easier if he expected her to stay down longer and didn't notice her fast rise!

COMBATSYS: Balrog blocks Daisuke's Soul Arrow.

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Rachale          0/-------/---====|-------\-------\0          Daisuke

COMBATSYS: Rachale successfully hits Balrog with Random Strike.

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Rachale          0/-------/--=====|-------\-------\0          Daisuke

A blur of white, red, blues, golds and..rose petals?

Balrog is already upright and spinning away from Rachale following the suplex and he lands, facing more towards Daisuke, feeling the mans rage welling up into his very being. "Aaaah yes. Such savory battle fury. Come then! Let us begin our dance!"

The bolt of energy is sent forth and Balrog remains in his grandiose matador like performance pose almost up until the very last instnat when he spins and brings his claw around with a burst of flashing speed to catch the energy and shred through it with jagged edges of light flashing behind the movements of the claw in a cutting trail. Some tendrils of the electrical current still widn their way into his form but they seem to do little to slow him down as they caress his lithe frame.

"Now then--" He begins..only to be interrupted by Rachale as she tumbles into him, feet outstretched powerfully to slam home into his midsection successfully. Their combined efforts - planned or not - serving to pierce the defenses of the clawed monster and to send him tumbling away from her violently - gasping at the force of the htt.

But he recovers, landing into a sliding crouched position as he almost boredly sneers, "So you would seek to prove to me the value of your beauty after all? Very well!"

A backflip takes him to an alleywall and he almost seems to perch there for an instant, somehow, before abruptly diving forward and dashing in a straight line for Rachale like some sort of hurtled spear. His claw drags behind him and then arcs forward as he seeks to race past her with a slashing strike before spinning in mid air towards a landing slide.

Daisuke keeps moving, running along the perimeter of the alley. Eyes narrowing as he sees the bolt of energy cut through easily. He skids to a stop after, though, what with the attention given to him by the masked killer. He was supposed to get that attention, afterall.

The run turns to a strafing stalk instead, keeping the teenager facing the man with the claws. His teeth grind underneath the scarf -- he can feel the... strangeness of this man. And the things he says now... he just can't understand him. That disposition is just too alien to him.

"Just what do you think this is...?"

And amidst all that, Rachale makes her counterattack ring true. Even Daisuke can't help but let a smirk twitch at his lips over seeing that-- but that smirk quickly snaps away under the scarf-mask when he realizes that this has drawn Balrog's ire now.

"No--!" He snaps out instinctively, setting into a run after the masked killer while he's flipping and leaping through the air in starting his assault on Rachale. He isn't thinking. There's no strategy to his own maneuver this time around. Just a quick, desperate dash and a swing of a fist wreathed in a faint glow of cyan energy at wherever he thinks the man's face is going to be. A desperate measure to try to keep his ostensible partner from getting skewered.

COMBATSYS: Balrog successfully hits Rachale with Sky High Claw.

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Rachale          1/-------/=======|-------\-------\0          Daisuke

Rachale recovers from her tumbling attack remarkably quickly - she's agile, if nothing else. Maybe not as fast as Balrog, but then again, he's exceptionally quick even by the standards of brawlers.

And Rachale *is* a brawler. Not trained, but skilled; she learned her skills by the simple strategy of getting in a lot of fights and usually coming out on top because she's strong, stubborn, and vicious.

Not as vicious as Balrog is in this moment, though. He launches himself at Rachale, and she twists to avoid a direct hit. Which works well enough, but his spinning slash catches her, the claw digging into her side. It hurts. It draws blood.

It isn't enough to put Rachale down, though it *is* enough to get her to growl rather than reply verbally. Daisuke rushes in, trying to draw attention, and frankly Rachale is almost tempted to let him and give her a moment to recover - but instead she jabs with her left tonfa again before ducking down. Energy gathers on her fist, along the length of the tonfa -

And then she goes into a rising uppercut, lifting herself - and hopefully Balrog - into the air on a fist and a plume of chi-imbued flame, which explodes at the apex of her leap to launch Balrog even higher up!

COMBATSYS: Daisuke successfully hits Balrog with Medium Punch.
Grazing Hit

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Rachale          0/-------/=======|=------\-------\0          Daisuke

COMBATSYS: Balrog easily escapes Rachale's Atomic Vulcan EX!

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Rachale          1/-------/=======|=------\-------\0          Daisuke

It's all happening rather fast now, isn't it.

A hurtling bolt of violence, Balrog twists to make ready to stick the landing while emitting a high pitched, "Oooooo!" in the aftermath of his successful strike - only to be jolted out of that victorious cry by failing to twist his body away from Daisuke's heroic rush. THe bland lands right against his mask, solidly sending a burst of energy crackling over the matador and sparking away from him with his face as the contact point for the violent encounter.

He recovers fast, way to fast. Unnaturally so. Rachale is already attempting to bring her tonfas into him but the killers body moves like a viper darting its way this way and that to evade capture. He escapes contact by the barest width of a hair strand, spiraling away from both combatants to rebound off of a wall and reposition himself behind Daisuke. His arms reach for the heroes waist--

"What I entertainment and art.."

If successful in his grasp, Daisuke will find himself being carried skywards as the masked fighter leaps them both upwards and clear of Rachale, into a spin until they're upside down..and then back down again to try and slam Daisuke powerfully into the ground while on impact, he himself rebounds away cleanly.

COMBATSYS: Balrog successfully hits Daisuke with Grand Izuna Drop.

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Rachale          1/-------/=======|=======\=------\1          Daisuke


Daisuke was just about ready to celebrate over the maneuver of pinning the killer between himself and Rachale. But in that instant, he's suddenly simply *not there* anymore. "Where did--"

The answer to Daisuke's question comes in the worst possible way. Arms squeezing tight around his waist. He only has enough time to twitch his eyes down to see tthem there, before they're already in the air.


The sudden verticality would be dizzying even without spin -- so as it stands, the world around Daisuke turns into a complete mess of blurring lines and nothing else. Down is up, up is down-- nothing makes sense anymore in those few split seconds before...


Asphalt splits underneath the impact of the would-be-hero's head brought smashing to the ground like a spear from above. And for Daisuke, it might very well feel like his entire head has been split in half, too. He slumps down limply onto the curb, unmoving for a scant few seconds there. It's not entirely unlikely that he actually blacked out for a second there.

"Ggg... ghhahh..."

A shaking, gloved hand presses down on the ground in a desperate, utterly pained bid to get him up. It's... an effort, to be sure.

"P-... people's l-...lives..." His voice wheezes out once he manages to get himself up to one knee, continuing to shakily force himself towards standing on his feet from there still. "Ar-... aren't your... entertainment...!"

Feels like his jaw isn't moving properly. The shock of the impact jostled him deep and might well have displaced some things that should not be displaced. The only reason the blood dripping through his scalp and down to his forehead isn't immediately visible is because of the hue of his hair itself. His vision's blurred, white light flowing into the edge of his vision. He's not going to even be able to see like this.

...He has to rely on his psychic sense, then. Lean less on sight and just the *feel* of where Balrog is while concentrated energy gathers at his right palm.

Draw deep from the well of experience. Remember the vision of that sword that girl held.

The energy bursts out in a blazing length -- an unstable form with tendrils of energy bursting this way and that, only vaguely holding the appearance of a melee weapon.


A burst of defiant will, sending him dashing across the alleyway after Balrog, the 'sword' swung in a wide, horizontal arc in the instant he passes the killer.


He *is* fast. Rachale feels the blow fail to connect despite her best effort; it leaves her a little off balance for a few moments, but Balrog doesn't take advantage of it. He could, but he chooses to go after Daisuke instead.

Maybe he thinks her injury is slowing her down. Rachale is not letting it mostly by sheer bloody-mindedness, but that only goes so far. He might very well be right.

She touches down as Balrog grabs Daisuke, whirling up into the air. She can't easily follow him there, but what goes up (usually) must come down, and she tenses into a half-crouch. It looks like she's going to take off after him.

Rachale doesn't, quite. When Balrog bounds away from Daisuke, she's there, going for a reverse somersault kick - not just one kick, she flips with enough vigor to carry herself through two full rotations, hitting powerfully with her booted heel time after time.

"Entertain *this*," she snaps, afterwards. Her gaze shifts toward Daisuke briefly as if judging his condition, but as long as he can make a weird sword like that, he can't be entirely out of it.

COMBATSYS: Daisuke successfully hits Balrog with Blazing Slash.

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Rachale          0/-------/---====|=======\==-----\1          Daisuke

COMBATSYS: Rachale successfully hits Balrog with Twin Danger.

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Rachale          0/-------/---====|=======\==-----\1          Daisuke

It's a double team strike that is worthy of all of the heroic tales - and perhaps an epic moment in this seasons most action packed anime. Daisuke's blade fills Balrogs field of vision up with light causing the combatant to react a hair to slowly and for the lazing sword to come searing into his body - driving in and scoring along it with its righteous burning fury. It brings blood along with energy, painting the walls and ground of the alleyway with the red of the masked killers blood and drawing a hissing cry of pain and fury from the fighter. "You--" he begins..

Only to be crossed up an instant later by Rachale, failing to see her and dodge her in time. The first kick lands powerfully - a testament to her tenacity and furious strength. The second - lands right against his face. Her booted heel crushing right into his mask and shattering part of it while dragging its sharpnel across his immaculate features, scarring him and snapping blood free as his blond hair whips around wildly.

He goes sprawling backwards, hurtled through the air only to flip and land at the very last second to slide backwards along the ground in an animalistic crouched position. The elegance and poise is gonw. Now there is simply fury. He reaches a hand for his face, clawed fingers trembling as he touches at the wound.

"My DARE YOU! My beautiful face!! My beauty!!"

There is a pause and then he springs into action, lunging into the air high overhead and then springing from the walls to launch even higher before diving straight down at Rachale: "You bitch! I will make you suffer!!"

His arms are crossed and then whip out in his descent, claws dragging jagged streaks of gold through the air as he swings violently at her from the overhead strike.

Balrog is not the only one hurt by the blade, as it turns out. Though for Daisuke, it comes on some much deeper level, even if nowhere near as intensely so. "Aaaggh--..." The mass of blazing energy he had fashioned as an improvised sword scatters right after the slash, and the boy stumbles up forward. His nerves scream and his head feels like his brain is on fire.

It's very fortunate, then, that he has Rachel there with him to inflict a fierce assault like that upon Balrog, and thus keep him from enacting his vengeance upon the teenager while he is recovering from his own attack.

Hand clutching at the left side of his face, the red-haired young man turns around slowly to see the end result of the combined series of strikes between him and Rachale. To see a... very furious Balrog, with his mask cracked.

Oh no. He can feel that animosity. It's different from before. That man was practically playing with them before, but this sensation he's picking up? It damn near makes him vomit in his mouth right there.


Perhaps it's that psychic sense that tips him off to what exactly is about to happen before Balrog has fully lunged off. Daisuke forces his battered body into a full sprint -- and then a leap with his arms outstretched. Outright bodily throwing himself in the path of Balrog's lunge, in some vain hope he might be able to help prevent her from taking the full force of that incoming wrathful attack.

...And possibly completely forgetting about the allergy to razor-sharp claws *he* has.

COMBATSYS: Balrog successfully hits Rachale with Flying Barcelona Attack.
- Power hit! -

  [                                             ||||||||||||||| ]

[                     \\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////           ]
Rachale          1/---====/=======|=======\==-----\1          Daisuke

And just think, Rachale didn't even really mean for it to be a double team strike, necessarily. She doesn't play well with a team - but she does know how to take advantage of having someone else there, even if she doesn't always cooperate with Daisuke.

In this case, it was apparently just the opening they needed.

This time, Rachale knows it's a good hit. She feels the mask crumple under her boot and she's pleased to have managed something so petty - especially given she can feel his face underneath it. After her double somersault, she lands on her feet, grinning slightly ferally.

"Maybe you shouldn't bite off more than you can chew."

It was probably a mistake to run her mouth, but she wouldn't be Rachale if she didn't do it. It certainly seems to have made him angry...

And when Balrog is angry, he's not just fast: he's vicious. So is Rachale of course, but it's something she's about to have to deal with. He comes down, slashing with his claw, and Rachale brings up her tonfa to guard.

It's still a good hit. Daisuke doesn't get there in time; the blades dig in with a spray of blood and a roar from Rachale that sounds more angry than agonized. She twists, only enough to get Balrog off her for just long enough that she can wind up, energy shimmering along her arm, her fist, her tonfa -

And drive it forward in a single massive blow that detonates at full extension with enough chi force to send Rachale herself staggering backwards several feet! (She has definitely not accounted for Daisuke, but fortunately Balrog is between him and the explosion.)

COMBATSYS: Daisuke successfully hits Balrog with Fast Throw.

  [                                                |||||||||||| ]

[                     \\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////           ]
Rachale          0/-------/----===|=======\==-----\1          Daisuke

COMBATSYS: Balrog fails to interrupt Atomic Dynamite EX from Rachale with Backslash.
-@- Dazing Hit! -@-

[                     \\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////           ]
Rachale          0/-------/----===|=======\==-----\1          Daisuke

COMBATSYS: Balrog can no longer fight.

[                     \\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////           ]
Rachale          0/-------/----===|=======\==-----\1          Daisuke

This is not art. At least that's what Balrog would claim. It's in fact so disgustingly not art that he doesn't even want to play anymore. That's his explanation. That's how he's rationalizing this utterly revolting display. One that causes Daisuke's grab to catch hold of him right in the middle of his recovery from his delicious and vicious attack on Rachale and the force of his attack and Daisuke's grab sending both men tumbling through the air with Balrog taking the worst of it and violently sprawling into the ground between the hero and the enraged Rachale.

"YOU! Your death shall--" he begins only to turn slightly to see Rachale roaring in. He attempts a spinning leap while bringing his claw up in an attempt to slash at her while moving back. She has the reach and speed and the force of her assault. He lacks..well..all of that.

The explosion of chi and brute force envelops the matador and sends him spiralling through the air like a rag doll and into and through a boarded up window at the far end of the alleyway trailing smoke, fire and blood. There is a distant crashing sound as he goes thundering into something or another out of sight and then blessed stillness and silence...

Daisuke wasn't early enough. But maybe there was still some hope in his mind that his bodily tackle upon Balrog would at least keep him from following up further with those dangerous claws.

Either way, the teenager slams down onto the ground with the masked killer -- though with Balrog hitting the floor first, the redhead basically ends up using him as a cushion to rebound off int oa roll across the ground itself.

Vision's returning to his right eye now, thankfully, so when he props himself to one knee and turns to look, he can at least see the utterly *furious* look Balrog is sending him. Daisuke winces instinctively--

But then Rachale happens.

Daisuke almost doesn't manage to properly process just what happened. But he does probably end up realizing that had he not seperated himself from Balrog after the tackle, he probably would have been caught into that explosive strike, too. ANd so he just... stares, for a solid five seconds after their shared opponent has been sent flying through the side of a building up above.

"Holy hell..."

THe mumbled words come before he pushes himself up the rest of the way to his feet. With a wince, one hand goes slapping to the left side of his face -- still feeling the burn of his irresponsible manifestation from earlier. But that doesn't matter right now.

"H-...hey," he calls after Rachale, turning to step towards her. "Can you walk?"

Rachale holds her fist extended for a few moments longer as the remaining chi dissipates away from it. She is breathing hard after that punch, and her head shifts in jerky movements as she tries to make sure Balrog isn't coming back.

But he isn't, and eventually she lowers her hand. She sags downward, her hand reaching up toward the wound in her side. It hurts, and she's not going to be in fantastic fighting shape, but it doesn't look like she has to.

She grunts, and some of the energy has gone out of her. "Yeah," she says. Followed by, a moment later: "What an asshole." Because even though she's in pain, and actually bleeding (though she's had worse injuries), she's not going to miss a chance to put Balrog down. Even if he can't hear it.

Rachale might be giving an affirmative answer, and she might still be on her feet... but Daisuke still looks concerned. That much can be seen even with the scarf covering the lower half of his face, just from the way he looks to he rbleeding midsection.

"A-..ah..." He's hurt too -- hell, his skull might very well have cracked in places after the savage way he was slammed down earlier. But he forgets about that entirely for now, in between the vision of Rachale's state and the realization of Balrog being, in theory, still on the other side of the Balrog-shaped hole created in the side of the building.

He might feel a bit conflicted. In theory they should make sure that he's staying down, and probably turn him in to authorities...

"...There's a clinic not far from here," he tells her after a few seconds of contemplation, stepping over to offer her an arm for support in case she happens to feel like she needs it. "If you think you can manage, I'll go check on that... *thing*, but..."

Rachale's reaction to Daisuke offering her his arm is exactly what you'd expect: she ignores it entirely. She'd rather be wobbly on her own two feet, without assistance.

It's not like she's dead.

"I'm fine," she snaps back. She gives Daisuke a look-over, but either can't tell how badly he's hurt in the dark or doesn't think it's worth mentioning because he is likely to already know.

And then she turns and starts to walk. She does at least pick a route that brings her no closer to the building Balrog disappeared into. But Rachale is not exactly mortally wounded, and even if it hurts, she can manage. She wouldn't be very good at being muscle for hire if she couldn't.

Guess Daisuke is on his own! She's done her job.

"But--" Daisuke starts to protest over the snapped-out response, but it never goes anywhere beyond the first word. He might have only met this woman twice now, but somehow he gets the sense, already, that such efforts of concern are going to be entirely lost on her still.

Surely that doesn't remind him of anyone else he knows.

"Um..." He does call after her akwardly, however, while she's still in reasonable hearing range. "...Thank you. For the help, I mean..." He never got her name. Not last time, and not now, either. There wasn't ever a chance. Should he ask her? Would she even tell him if he did? Whatever the truth behind that is, he likely ends up hesitating much too long to ask her either way.

And it's the kind of long enough hesitation, that almost certainly resulted in his later investigation into the building Balrog was sent through to be fruitless. No masked killer. No criminal to hold accountable for everything that had happened in Southtown Village. Did he recover quickly and decide to retreat, or did someone else extract him after he was knocked out?

They may be questions Daisuke himself will never get an answer to. It may well be that he's only left with an enormous headache and an uncertainty over the values of his own efforts.

Log created on 17:44:08 10/02/2021 by Rachale, and last modified on 21:36:58 10/11/2021.