Description: Rising Star 2022 continues into round 2, as Clarity and Meifeng brawl in front of the Sea Horses Grand Hotel!
A tiger is on the prowl at the Sea Horses Grand Hotel -- and yet, none of the dozens of people gathered about seem terribly concerned. For this tiger is not only standing on two feet, but stepping through the maneuvers of a meditative kung fu routine, stepping lightly across the brickwork beside the spotlights of the hotel's famed electric fountain.
Yao Meifeng opted against participating with her Librarium colors in this particular event. Instead, the tigress's fashion sense is on display: a long dress with a high collar, made out of a weighty, durable synthetic fabric. She wears a cowl as well, styled a bright white and trimmed in vibrant orange to contrast against the ash grey and black of the dress itself. The flowing lines of the dress are complemented by detached sleeves and leggings matching the same color scheme.
Meifeng's fluffy tail darts about, shadowing the staccato motions of her bajiquan routine. The moves look intense, but the serene smile on her face shows that she's gotten into the fighting mood -- to such a degree that even when the fountain erupts into a colorful array of water columns, there's nary a response from the thoroughly zen lieutenant: just a calm, unshaken grin.
The lights! The glamour! The luxury! Bright eyed and caught amid the brilliance is a plucky young fighter with her eye on fame and a glorious vision of a better tomorrow. Clarity Reece is, for a change of pace, not with phone in hand and a brilliant smile for her audience. She already caught that footage earlier in the day when she first woke. She was having this moment for herself.
She walks among the people of the hotel, listening for the cry of the planet. The grounds were astonishing, she dared say they could rival Sunshine City in her eye. And the water feature was appreciated. However, something had always been digging at Clarity; the pain of glass and the reminder that all that glisters is not gold. The world shined, people were amazing, but there was poison when one looked.
Her opponent in the tournament was a Darkstalker. This Clarity knew. Some kind of cat. Her opponent's affliction would not be something Clarity held against this Meifeng. The poor girl could not help it. Darkstalkers were merely a sympton of the twisting pain that the Earth was going through.
But the thought occurred to Clarity that there was a news article she remembered glancing at the headline for. One of hope and promise to even the most afflicted with that terrible curse. The thought made Clarity smile. It brought a flutter to her heart. There was good to do here. And she would have to apologize to her Clare-Bears, but this help mattered a lot more if administered without and audience.
Watching the gush of the brilliant fountain, Clarity felt her resolve steel. She had purpose in this fight. It was more than just a show for her fans. She had the chance to help someone, and help the Earth as well. She would find Meifeng. And she would assert to that poor woman that she had a chance to get help. That she didn't have to bare the mark of some twisted bestial form.
And Clarity knew that when she won, that she would have won more than one silly fight in a tournament.
Water splashes with each staccato movement. A shoulder rush. A twin palm strike. A knee strike, followed by a pivot into a scything elbow, culminating in a ground stomp. Powerful moves for a mighty tiger, seeking to carefully mete out her applied momentum for maximal effect.
It is something of a challenge to practice here -- to have memorized the rhythmic timing of the geysers of water, of the color cues. In many cases, Meifeng pulls her strikes short to avoid hitting a fountain column. In truth, water is of little detriment. But for the sake of showmanship to the dozens of observers, keeping her paws dry is a matter of pride.
If this event were merely for crowd appeal, Meifeng would be happy to continue. But, in the midst of one of her sequences, her rhythm falters -- as does her quiet smile. Something strikes her as off -- a twitch in her ear, a bristle in her fur. She stops with right palm raised up, left elbow parallel to the ground. Her nose wriggles as she sniffs the air. Her amber eyes cast about before her, seeing nothing. Her tail droops low, strafes the ground. She slips out of a combat stance, so that she can take a slow, panoramic pivot of the fountain environs.
There. Blonde hair and blue eyes, wrapped in a cropped leather jacket, bikini top, jean shorts, and high-tops. Clarity Reece, exactly as in the fight videos the darkstalker had watched not so long ago.
In person, though... Something feels -unusual-. And the NOL lieutenant can't quite put her paw on what that might be.
She does not dwell in the introspective state for long. The smile returns, as the tigress waves her hand in a cheerful wave. "Ahh, Miss Reece. The 'child of Earth,' is it not? I enjoyed your last fight, against the Warwolf... " The tigress offers a bow of her shoulders. It's more of a Japanese thing than a Chinese thing, to be sure, but living in Southtown for so long has rubbed off on her.
"Yao Meifeng. I am pleased to make your acquaintance." She slides her rearward foot backwards, in a casual approximation of her fighting stance. "And I am hoping to provide you with a new challenge!"
Two different people observe the same fountain. Two very different people that share the same world. The same space. The same fingers dipped into the river of chi that flows over the world. The twisting eddies of feng shui and the every present power of geometry. One finding the satisfaction of precise timing in conjunction with the flow of water. The other, feeling the shards of broken energy digging through her nerves.
There's a thread of fate, a twitch in the air, when it seems that Clarity's opponent finally notices her. A quick reaction. Something curious. Clarity chalks it up to the Darkstalker's inherent instability. Bestial moods swing and act in unpredictable ways. It's all a fact of their curse. A bane on humanity to have to compete with beasts.
Clarity's seen her feline opposite. Tall, not particularly imposing compared to the massive frame of her last opponent. Or of the pitiable werewolf that once attacked her in Southtown. But still, that fur and those claws and that tail. A deep pang of sadness gripped Clarity's heart. The poor woman could have been pretty, really, if not for her affliction.
The sadness lasts only so long as it takes for Meifeng's smile to come to her. Clarity returns it with a genuine affection. She waves, and she flashes a V sign with a grin. "So nice to meet you, Yao!" she says with a laugh. "I bet you'll be a fun fight."
Clarity's posture shifts as her feet slide along the fountain's edge, knees locking in a settled center. "I've never faced a Darkstalker that used real styles," she comments, "That's so impressive. I would love to get your story for my followers!"
COMBATSYS: Clarity has started a fight here.
The Chinese tigress hasn't quite gotten used to Westerners putting their family name last. "Oh! No need to be so formal..." She offers a warm smile, suggesting instead with a slower pronunciation: "Please, call me 'may-foong'."
Meifeng strives her best to fit into this world of humans, but she will always stand out. Calling her kung fu a 'real' style could be taken as a backhanded insult to the 'fake' style of those who look like her. Not to mention, the overt mention of that "D" word that sends a twitch down her spine. There was a time when she voiced frustrations over such things, but it rarely proved productive then. Instead, she opts to treat the comment as a compliment, squaring with one fist in an open palm, and bowing respectfully in proper kung-fu fashion.
"My story?" Her Asian humility deflects the comment with a shy shake of the head. " ... It may be too boring for your followers." There is more to Clarity than she lets on, to be sure. But the thought of an extended interview in front of so many people might start to feel like an inquisition. Slitted irises cast over to the retinue of fight officials, and the cameras already swiveling into position.
She smiles, eyes lighting up with interest. "Shall we begin?"
As she draws her hands apart, a blossom of blue energy is pulled from her palm -- then two more follow, trailing behind. The three orbs follow the sweep of her arm as she swings it wide, drawing them into a circle. The fabric of her dress flutters as Meifeng draws one foot back, as her windmilling arm pulls the orbs into a loose orbit around her center. One forearm raises in front; her other forearm draws back, parallel to the ground. The fabric succumbs to gravity as she remains still, an eager smile on her face.
The word is given: the fight begins in earnest. And the tigress pounces forward, twisting in midair into a turning scorpion kick. Powerful, but elegant; her hands snap in contrary vectors, directing the net force through her heel at Clarity's midsection.
COMBATSYS: Meifeng has joined the fight here.
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Meifeng 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Clarity
COMBATSYS: Clarity blocks Meifeng's Medium Kick.
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Meifeng 0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0 Clarity
Clarity watches the woman's flourish with the shiny orbs. Colorful and pretty, the spheres are definitely things she would like to show off to her viewers at some point. It seems a mastery of some sort of chi element. Something special and dignified that suggests that the tigress isn't going to allow herself to be hampered by her condition. It could bring a tear to Clarity's eye.
"That is super neat!" Clarity squeals. "It is so good to see you able to do that." But something causes pause in her brain. And it is not so simple as the sudden pouncing kick, either.
Clarity holds her base. She is sturdier with her center, and she cedes some ground when the kick comes down, pushing hard against her defense. No claws or teeth, but a stylish leaping kick. Something curiouser feeling to the blonde American.
"So you must be really excited for that new cure, aren't you?" Clarity asks, putting aside that uncertain feeling in her gut. "You're already so close as it is. You'd be perfect for it."
Genuine words that lack any taunt. A casual conversational tone held while she moves in to trade blow for blow with the tigress. Clarity moves in with one closing stomp of a punch, and a heavy single body blow to the ribs. It is hardly fancy, but it packs a heavier weight than one would expect from the kenpo practitioner.
COMBATSYS: Meifeng blocks Clarity's Fierce Punch.
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Meifeng 0/-------/------=|=------\-------\0 Clarity
"The product of many years of practice," notes Meifeng with a humble smile. She has worked a long time at her art, and is glad to see it gaining recognition. Particularly from someone of a kindred style.
Though, she does hesitate upon the next statement: A cure? As Meifeng draws her foot back from the strike, thoughts run through her head -- most of a darker nature. And yet, through it all, the sing-song chorus of wishful thinking makes itself heard through the dark-grey static.
Meifeng raises her leading arm vertically, bracing it with her other palm. One orb veers into the path of the punch, impacting as if it were made of gelatin before squishing away. Meifeng's sleeved arm shudders from the blow, forcing her back a step.
She shakes the numb sensation from her arm, asking hopefully, "Oh, do you mean allergy season? I have been lucky so far!"
The orbs retract, dropping low to about thigh-level, as she draws back into a mantis stance. Columns of water sprout upward from the fountain, casting a pretty light show as Meifeng grins. "Where did you learn your style? It packs quite the punch...!"
In kind, the Chinese tigress takes another leap. This time her arms windmill overhead in the pi gua zhang style, as she aims to bring both of them scything downward onto Clarity's shoulders: one, two! She lands in a low, balanced stance, and with a flick of her wrist, the three qi orbs stab forward for a concussive follow-up!
COMBATSYS: Meifeng successfully hits Clarity with Form One - Keening Draft.
- Power hit! -
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Meifeng 0/-------/----===|=====--\-------\0 Clarity
A solid defense. The tigress lady has a lot going for her. Her arm, the orb. Chi meets fist. A goopy squish and a shuddering defense. The force ripples backward. Clarity steps back, ceasing her forward pressure. She's surprised, Clarity wasn't expecting that sort of precision defense. This would be fun! To have someone that uses a stable style as Clarity does herself.
"I hadn't thought of allergies!" Clarity responds with a spark of excitement. She starts to circle, pacing for position. "I'm glad to hear you put thought into this. So many are getting upset over people helping."
And then the attack comes. Clarity isn't certain what to do with those orbs. Those are outside of her experience. They dance and move and she's distracted by them. "My style? I learned from a teacher in Sunshine City. Best city on the planet!"
In the moment of touting her hometown. She's caught open. Windmilling arms coming down. She puts up a defense, but she buckles under weight of the fists. A crack against her head, a shaken step. The second cracking against her shoulder.
The hits knock her off balance. Stumbling, Clarity is further sent back when the orbs pummel her. Back with a shudder. Back with another shudder. Back again and down to the ground. Bruising, aching, the dropping rain pattering from the fountain geyser above.
The attack was impressive. She truly hadn't expected that kind of precise force. She had expected pouncing, clawing, maybe some wild fiery claws. "I can't let you show me up that much!" Clarity calls out from the ground. Her hands slap against the pavement, and there's a sudden shot of light that creates scintillating patterns in the waters of the fountain.
Clarity comes roaring out from the ground. Springing toward Meifeng and closing the gap like a shot. She crashes toward the tigress with heavy palm strikes that burst with brilliant light. Each hammering blow cracking for her ribs and chest.
COMBATSYS: Clarity successfully hits Meifeng with Let the Sunshine In.
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Meifeng 0/-------/-======|=======\-------\0 Clarity
"Oh, Sunshine City!" Civic pride isn't a bad thing to have. Meifeng flashes a measured smile; there isn't much she could say about her coal-mining hometown that would mesh well with Clarity's 'save the earth' angle -- Shanghai, either. Though... Sunshine City isn't really great for that either. Perhaps two can play at this game.
"I have never been, but I understand there are many people in need of 'helping' there. You must have your hands full." The tiger smiles cheerfully.
But not for long, before Clarity delivers a response. Meifeng had let her orbs lower; she's caught off-guard by her opponent's celerity. The tigress's arms are out of position as light-seared palms slam into her torso. She grunts with each strike, the flaps and sleeves of her garment billowing backwards in her wake as she struggles to remain standing. Her qi orbs' path widens, though the orbs stay back in avoidance of Clarity's reach.
She stomps into a horse stance, resetting her momentum with a splash. A raspy whistle accompanies her breath, more notable in contrast with the low, rumbling growl. "I am surprised you did not invite your fans to watch the beginning of the fight today."
With a wide sweep of her right hand, Meifeng directs the blue orbs to array in a straight line. She then lunges forward with her left shoulder, aiming to catch Clarity squarely in the sternum. Should she manage that, she would twist to deliver a high snap kick, aiming to juggle Clarity into the air. Her orbs drive in at this point, encircling Clarity to discourage an escape...
COMBATSYS: Clarity fails to counter Form Three - Rising Gale EX from Meifeng with Flashdance EX.
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Meifeng 0/-------/=======|=======\==-----\1 Clarity
Civic pride is Clarity's middle name. Clarity Civic Pride Reece. It is a genuinely feeling of excitement she has for her hometown. The great city and it's always bright and happy sun. Compared to Metro, and Southtown, the beaches and boulevards are a wonderful paradise. Certainly, Clarity thinks, compared to wherever the tigress must have come from.
Though Clarity would remind herself that many foreign places are more connected to nature and living within humanity's more pure states. A truth that does, for a brief moment, make Clarity wonder just what Meifeng may have been involved with to certainly taint her with this darkstalker curse.
She is about to ask. But there is a magnificent strike that comes her way. A dance of orbs and a sudden thrust of a body. Clarity builds the brightness within, ready to disappear in a flash. She will move out the way and send the cat well into the waters with a forceful blow!
Except her skin crackles. A brittle sharp pain. A scream of violent chi rips through her body as shards escape through her skin where radiant light was meant to burst forth. Her vision goes white, her body stills. She is crashed into and feels as though her bones shatter as brittle, brilliant glass.
Little more than a weak cry of protest as she's propped into the air. Bounced, juggled, and locked into place by the encircling orbs. Open and exposed for the next deadly strike.
Meifeng is familiar with her own qi techniques. Transforming bones to glass and then forcibly ripping them out is not among those techniques. She may not know precisely what happened, but she knows it wasn't something she did, and it sure doesn't look like something Clarity would want to subject herself to.
The tigress grimaces -- she had planned her setup with the intent to lead into a kicking combo, but changes her mind. Instead, Lt Yao leaps shoulder-first at Clarity, aiming to rebound her off the blue orbs that are hovering just behind her. If she manages to connect, she'd follow up by thrusting her right palm into Clarity's abdomen, arching backwards slightly to give her left arm some reach. Then, with the orbs pulling away, she'd snap the heel of her left palm down onto Ms Reece's shoulder, spiking her downward at the fountain!
"That was an unexpected side-effect..." comments Meifeng in a neutral tone, hoping Clarity might be able and/or willing to explain the surreal shattering sound. Somehow.
COMBATSYS: Clarity blocks Meifeng's Medium Punch.
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Meifeng 0/-------/=======|=======\===----\1 Clarity
Chi warps and bends. Light becomes glass. Shine becomes shard. But just as soon as it warps, the wefts back into the glaring familiarity. The force of the blows shatter Clarity's hold of chi into a glittering cascade of colors that fall downward in a shower.
While there, breaths come slow and shuddering. And the young influencer holds onto herself. A brightness wells up behind her closed eyes as Meifeng throws herself into Clarity. A sudden shift comes over Clarity. She tucks and tightens herself as Meifeng's palm smacks hard into her arms. "The earth is in pain," Clarity says. "The flow is broken. You see it in me. You see it in the mirror."
Clarity twists and strikes back against the attack and lands with a low crouch rather than the meteoric crash she may have otherwise. "There are answers you can find. Cures. You can right the world and see it for what it is. Wounded. Weeping."
Sorrowed voice aside, Clarity holds out her hands, palms up toward Meifeng. Glimmering lights scintillate and shift above her palms. The shine of speckled glass dust still coating her body glitters. And suddenly the light meets, twin beams of rainbow hues hammer into each other before twisting and spiraling and coalescing into a heated beam of pure bright white destructive light.
COMBATSYS: Meifeng guards against Clarity's Sunshine and Rainbows.
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Meifeng 1/------=/=======|==-----\-------\0 Clarity
Clarity Reece speaks of an interrupted flow. Orpahned, with no memory of her childhood, Meifeng knows that she is the -product- of such an anomaly. She agrees that the earth is in a state of crisis. The Librarium lieutenant believes herself to be part of the solution.
Which is why, after her attack, she has little commentary to add. "Yes. There is much work to be done." On this, surely they can agree.
The raised palms are a forewarning -- enough for Meifeng to take a step back, bunkering down with a raised left forearm as her shield. Her orbs reorient, one for each of the polychrome beams, and one in the center. When the beams merge into one, the orb in the center is there.
It lasts only an instant under the withering intensity of Clarity's focused energy, blasted into several unevenly-sized blobs of energy. The beam continues onward, slamming into Meifeng's raised forearm, searing a hole into the billowy sleeve, charring the tiger-striped fur beneath. The stalwart lieutenant starts to buckle, growling from the intensity as she's forced back two, three, four steps...
Then the remaining qi orbs catch up, diving into the fray. Spinning faster and faster, they begin to spin. Faster, and faster, they accrete into a single yellow-green disk, slinging shards of crackling white radiance out in either direction, akin to sparks founting from a firecracker. Clarity's single beam loses some of its intensity in the exchange -- enough for Meifeng to brace her defiant forearm with her back hand, her flowing garment flapping from the excess chi-borne wind...
Weathering the storm, Meifeng throws her thoroughly numbed left forearm aside. Motes of light cling to her sleeve and upper torso as she shoves forward through the last of the blast. With a hoarse voice, she comments: "... Your teacher has much to be proud about!" Her qi shield, now brittle and thin, sweeps off to the side, glows -yellow- now from the intense heat. It whirls into a spherical form, hanging behind a striding Meifeng like a loyal pet.
Long legs carry her close. Her arms still numb from the assault, she twists about to deliver a right side kick at hip-level. She'd seek to follow up with a quick snap kick from her left shin. And then she'd step forward to drop a scything heel kick down onto Clarity's shoulders. A bread-and-butter combination -- but for the supercharged orb which had been along for the ride, and suddenly swoops in to augment Meifeng's combination with a powerful detonation of stored qi!
COMBATSYS: Clarity counters Form Seven - Whistling Gust from Meifeng with Spectral Slasher EX.
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Meifeng 1/---====/=======|====---\-------\0 Clarity
Clarity stands in the fading light of her attack. Her long hair falls back down about her shoulders, the tail held mostly in the band of her cap. Her chest rising and falling in heavy, slow heaves. Her eyes blinking back a hold on herself following the rush of chi sent through and by herself.
And Meifeng has defended against it. She has weathered the tide of light. And Clarity smiles at the sight of the tigress remaining stalwart. "If you cleansed yourself of that infection, you could be wonderful in showing the world how anyone can help save the world," she says, speaking in a breathy and distant tone. Exhaustion threatening to take her.
A sudden breath. And a clearing of her mind finds Clarity gathered when Meifeng bears down on her. A deft step back, a quick kick backward. Meifeng's leg snaps through the air. In the backward skitter, Clarity lowers herself down to the ground. The pulse of the earth rises up through her. And heated pinpricks of white light shine at the tips of her fingers with the intensity of a welder's torch.
Clarity swings upward while Meifeng comes down to earth. Streaks of light burn through the air, leaving lines shimmering in the air when Clarity tiger claws her way up toward the actual tiger. The cutting swipe sears, forceful light carving outward and slicing Meifeng from the sky.
The swipe further kicks Clarity out of the detonation's grasp. But when she's past, Clarity lurches again, her fingertips post her cutting covered in bent and edged glass resembling uncanny claws pressed through fingertips.
The tigress' momentum was predicated on Clarity being in front of her. Streaks of light deliver the painful message that she is not. Meifeng howls with pain as those twisted claws pierce through fabric, drawing blood from her shoulder. The pi gua zhang philosophy strongly urges the martial artist to roll with the blow, to allow the impact to drop her. And she does so -- with a heavy thud, and a loud splash.
Water slicks off her in concentric spirals as she whirls back to her feet a moment later. Her irises draw into mere slits; her feline ears cup, directing squarely towards Clarity. The qi orb, spent, reverts back to its former azure hue, sweeping back to a parking orbit around Meifeng's middle.
Blood runs in rivulets down her sleeves, the crimson drawing a sharp contrast. She pads backwards, raising her right forearm in guard, cradling her numbed left to her waist. Glass beads shimmer in the reflected light.
"I have two questions for you, Ms Reece," she states, her voice quavering with duress. Her back arches, shoulders and hips drawn forward, as she deliberately increases distance to her opponent.
"One -- the broken flow in yourself. You hurt yourself attacking me -- that does not seem intentional. Might I presume that you suffer from the qi malady afflicting so many?" The cold precision of an analytical NOL officer, tempered by the ravages of battle. Her tail tick-tocks back and forth -- gauging, sensing, reacquainting itself with the rhythm of the fountain's timed sequences.
The orb increases in velocity. The pools of water below her quiver from an unseen wind. Moments later, the water beneath her is gone, spun instead into a tight but expanding circle. A 'shell' of wind and water becomes gradually more apparent.
"Two -- the broken flow you see in me. I do not suffer from the qi illness. Please clarify: what infection do you presume me to have?"
Meifeng leans further still. Before, she could have passed for human in temperament. Now? The answer to her question should be self-evident in the feline officer's own stance. The tigress is curled, poised to strike -- and yet still in full command of her qi, drawing in more and more of the Earth's energy into herself. Her fur -- what wasn't charred from the light-forged attack, or soaked by the claws -- blows up from the supernatural wind, in concert with the loose parts of her attire.
A confident smile crosses Lt Yao's features, despite her shaky voice. "I would not want to misunderstand you, Ms Reece."
COMBATSYS: Meifeng gathers her will.
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Meifeng 1/--=====/=======|====---\-------\0 Clarity
Two questions. Two very important questions. The ring in the air as the two fighters stand across from one another. One strikes at the heart of the planet. Calling out the signs that Meifeng can see of the malformed chi's impact on the world. A visual sign in the form of light and glass interplaying with one another.
Clarity stands firm, locked in a rigid horse stance. Her right hand grips the forearm of her left. "The planet is crying. People have abused it. That I can feel the planet's pain is a good thing," Clarity says. Her eyes shine with zeal as she looks across at the tigress. Though she is disheveled, though her skin glistens with sweat and glass, her eyes hold a bright eagerness. And her smile is genuine. "We have all caused the planet to suffer, and so we will all have to learn with the coming change to get right with it."
She takes a single step forward. Then another. Her solid blocking base slipping to a slow walk. The second question stops the girl. She laughs it off. "Being a Darkstalker. Sorry, I thought it was obvious. I can feel the pain of the planet adjusting. But your humanity was taken away. But you are lucky, you're a lot prettier than most."
She sets into her stance. She nods to herself. "But stay positive. There's always a way for you to help in this world!"
She surges forward. She slams at Meifeng with a combination. A heavy palm to break Meifeng's posture and take the wind from her chest. Where light would punctuate, instead sharp edge shapes of brilliantly colored glass blast out ward.
The first hit an opening for a follow up. A streaking cross that glitters. And a sharp snapping chicken kick toward the feline lady's chin with a foot edged with cutting shards.
COMBATSYS: Meifeng interrupts Dawnbreaker from Clarity with Form Five - Howling Whirlwind EX.
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Meifeng 1/-======/=======|=======\==-----\1 Clarity
As Clarity confirms Meifeng's suspicions, the latter presents a hardened expression in response. "I like to give people the benefit of the doubt." It's nice to be called pretty. It's less nice to have her unique attributes written off as an illness.
There is a brief nod of agreement to the statement that follows though: There always is -some- way to help in this world, however the ways may differ.
Meifeng's connection to the Earth is strong, her feet well-rooted against the pavement. The incoming assault proves that theory is true, at least in part, for Meifeng's feet remain firm even as her leading forearm intercepts Clarity's first palm strike. The globe of wind and water around her trembles, parted as it is by Ms Reece's arrival. But it isn't until the glowing cross comes in that Meifeng breaks her stance. Spreading the fingers of her right hand, she lets the curtain fall behind Clarity, reforging the qi into twin orbs behind her opponent. The tiger lady draws back, swiveling her injured left arm up to lead the cross away from its intended target.
It's the sudden gout of -blood- gurgling from her shoulder that surprises her, though -- a surprise that even triggers Meifeng's gag reflex enough that she bares her teeth, biting back her rage.
The pendulum has already started to swing, though: Meifeng's pivot leads her into a rushing hip strike, her tail even joining the fray with the sting of a lashed whip! A crescent of blood sprays from her shoulder, though that crescent is abruptly -reversed- when Meifeng changes direction, twisting backwards to windmill four rising palm-uppercuts into Clarity. Individually, each blow would be strong enough to batter Clarity out of range. But the twin qi orbs are swinging as well, keeping the target within range.
In the end, it is a double palm strike to the blonde battler's center mass that her qi orbs swing wide for: a powerful clearing blow meant to send Clarity flying!
Panting through grit teeth, Meifeng stares mutely at the ruddy mess of her left sleeve as she holds her hands in front of her for a good, long moment. Only then does she turn her eyes back to her opponent.
"What... have you done to me?"
Clarity sails through the air. The might of the blows flinging the American back and into the geysers of the fountain. Water rains down around her. She lay in the facsimile of rain. The tigress could feel as she did. The tigress was learning. Or open to questioning. And Clarity smiles at the joyous thought.
"I," she begins, voice halting when she forces herself to roll over, onto her knees. She flicks her long hair out from her eyes, wondering where her hat had gotten to. But a brief wondering. Her opponent is still there to answer. "Have done nothing. Gaia speaks to the blood in all of us. You're feeling what we've been doing forever."
She pushes up to a foot, she pauses, and she stands. "People bend and break our planet. We twist the waterways. We raze forests. We break the climate. And now The earth is tightening its grip on us. Reminding us that we are animals like any other; look at you. And now it alters the energy that flows through us. Because we brought that about."
She centers herself, taking a horse stance. The water rains around her, each droplet catching and bending light that lingers and hangs in the air off the rhythm of the moment. Lingering too long as Clarity Reece holds her posture. "Balance is unavoidable. We can save the earth, or it will save itself. "
Clarity pistons both of her fists out in front of her. A double punch and a proudly announced kiai. The held light bends inward. A bullet of light rockets out toward Meifeng. In air, it shifts. The shine coalescing into a sharper and sharper shape. The glow shifts from within, to without, as light becomes solid and bullet becomes a long and pointed shard of stained glass lancing for Meifeng's chest.
COMBATSYS: Meifeng blocks Clarity's Spectral Shot.
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Meifeng 2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|======-\-------\0 Clarity
Mysteries within mysteries. Meifeng had watched enough of Clarity's previous fights to know that her reverence to the earth, to Gaia, is far from an act she puts on for her livestreams. The Librarium officer is skeptical, to be sure. But first and foremost in her mind isn't the American's words, but the new affliction that's raging through her: the one she'd spoken of before with Katashi Tairyu. The qi malady she'd declined having, scant moments prior. The terror holds her tongue, as she takes a shaky step backward, keeping one palm outstretched while her left draws back, close to shoulder height.
Meifeng's eyes widen as her heartbeat quickens. Anger begins to consume the lieutenant -- a familiar sensation from the past, but one she's largely been able to suppress until now. Disgusted, she nearly spits out her response. "This reeks of nonsense. I have felt nothing out of the ordinary until meeting you." She can feel the scowl looming over her features -- and resolves to let only one seething breath escape through her teeth.
Fists piston towards her. Her left hand supinates; an instant later, the searing light bullet pierces the center of the remainder of Meifeng's qi orb, slowing its flight. The tigress herself leans backwards, hissing through her teeth as the bullet carves a path across her right shoulder, piercing the fabric and slicing the flesh there.
A fresh round of pain lances through the tigress. She howls, "What have you -done- to me?!" She does not wait for an answer, uncoiling like a tightened spring. She leaps into a flying axe kick, heedless of the splashes that threaten to knock her off course. As she splashes down, she lunges back, slamming her elbow up at Clarity. She'd continue advancing with each strike, clearing the lost distance as she continues -- a shoulder strike, a hip strike, and finally a fierce guillotine kick carving down from above!
COMBATSYS: Clarity fails to counter Unbound Form - Raging Cyclone from Meifeng with Trip the Light Fantastic EX.
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COMBATSYS: Clarity can no longer fight.
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Rage of a beast. The lady is the tiger and she is making that clear. Clarity watches her opponent with a hope that this moment of rage is just the precursor to a revelation. The grief of a woman confronted with reality. That after all of this, she will get the chance to step forward and seek true healing rather than ignoring the pains of the planet.
But for now, Clarity resolves, she will have to give Meifeng a demonstration of true pain.
She moves forward. Stepping with light shining from her hand, light that starts to harden into glass coating her palms and hands. She swings forward to crush the tigress back and out of her leaping jump.
But an arm is no reach compared to a leg. The quickness in Meifeng works to her favor. No waiting to talk. No waiting to sermonize. It unbalances Clarity. The kick crashes down. A tearing strike that throws Clarity back, stumbling, bent half way, holding her jaw as the pain rushes through her system.
She lacks the chance to retaliate. The next strike coming with a deft dash and Meifeng cracking hard against her shoulder. Back, Clarity wrenches. Crack! Clarity bends at her aching hip.
She sees the ground below her. The wet pavement shimmering with the lights of the fountain area. It's pretty, she thinks.
And her world is shut to black by Meifeng's heel.
/ / /
"Lieutenant Yao is a model officer. Never loses her cool, even when she's pushed to the limit. A perfect addition to the Southtown office."
"Meifeng? Oh, she's great! She's so fun to tease!"
"Lieutenant Yao? Oh man. I made her so mad on this one stakeout, but she just kept quiet until we were clocking out. And then she told me how many ways I f--ed up, and..."
/ / /
The unchained beast towers over Clarity, driving that one kick down. Arms flared out to either side. Fingers spread wide. Eyes wide with uncomprehending fury. Damp, matted hair and fur bristling with scintillating glass beads and droplets of water. Teeth clamped together, saliva pooled at the corners of her lips.
She's fought for years to suppress her bestial nature. She lacks the feral mindset, the ability to kill without a second thought. If she hadn't worked -so hard-, her outrage would have been unleashed in unhinged, -ferocious- fashion, rather than the precise bajiquan and pi gua zhang strikes. Meifeng is still... -Meifeng-.
But she was on the precipice of that no longer being true. And it isn't till her kick lands -- and until she notices that Clarity doesn't -have- an immediate response -- that the unbalanced tigress relents. Tears gather at the corners of her eyes -- easily mistaken for the heavy misting of water from the fountains. Hands, thoroughly coated in ruddy water, curl into fists, as the Librarium officer breathes through her teeth. Calm ripples through her like a breeze, straightens her spine and loosening her stride. Her tail droops in shame. She closes her eyes to near slits, withdrawing two steps so that she can press her right fist into her left palm. And bow, properly.
The match is called. But Meifeng's thoughts remain elsewhere. Why -did- she end up on the path to lose control? The one unknown element -- and the fear of losing control to the Beast once more?
When Meifeng opens her eyes fully, she is staring off at the hotel. She whispers, hoarsely -- to the camera, if not to Ms Reece herself.
"Please forgive me. You have given me much to think about." And, after a pause, she bows. "Thank you for the fight."
COMBATSYS: Meifeng takes no action.
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COMBATSYS: Meifeng has ended the fight here.
Log created on 10:34:24 05/12/2022 by Meifeng, and last modified on 18:59:48 05/15/2022.