The Descent - Round 1 - Friends On The Other Side

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Description: Voodoo Town, Haiti is a place where mortal and immaterial, light and shadow have a way of bleeding into one another; what better place, then, for the Psycho Soldier Athena Asimaya and the Dancing Spider Aranha - pop idol and ex-felon - to meet?

Though much of the land of Haiti has suffered extensive deforestation, there were still some areas that remained untouched by such destruction. Inland, nestled against the slopes of Macaya Peak, a thick evergreen forest continues to thrive as a refuge from modern man's relentless need to industrialize and expand. Massive trees with a thick canopy provide shelter from the sun, and small rivulets of water flowing down from the mountain keep the soil moist and ideal for verdant growth. Large, thick ferns obscure pathways through the forest and further conceal a village seemingly untouched by time.

At night, a thin mist lingers knee-high along the ground, swirling around the legs of those who move through it and the sounds of a living forest permeate the air - the cries of creatures, the whisper of leaves and fronds moved by a gentle night zephyr, and the soothing crackle of fire do nothing to distract from the remote, almost pristine nature of the village made of wood and stone.

It would be pitch black here, in the central area of the Haitian village, if not for the elevated daises adorned with healthy, orange fires casting an ever-shifting glow over the area.

All around, emblems of religions can be found - from the crosses of wood and iron, and angelic figures of stone and marble, to the altars decorated with burning candles, human bones and skulls, and bronze animals with gold highlights, the rich tapestry of interwoven cultures and beliefs pays respect to any number of influences.

Many might find the environment unsettling, blending together misconceptions and commonly accepted inaccuracies regarding Vodou, but for Athena Asamiya, the remote village is a sacred, serene place far removed from the infinite distractions and endless bustle and drive of the modern world. The young woman from Japan stands in the heart of the village, her feet planted in earth so dark as to seem almost black. A small stone water well occupies the center space but otherwise the arena is clear, surrounded by huts of various sizes all facing toward the middle. Head bowed, eyes closed, her arms folded up over her chest so that her hands can rest atop each other at the base of her neck, the young fighter listens and waits.

The famous idol singer and Kung Fu artist is clothed in an outfit that represents a blend of those two fundamental aspects of her life. Over her body, she wears a high collared Kung Fu jacket that reaches down to just below her hips. From the bottom of the jacket, a small amount of black covers the tops of her legs from the form fitting shorts worn beneath, leaving the rest of her legs otherwise bare. Held closed over the front of her with small golden ribbons placed at even intervals, each tied into a small golden bow. The short sleeves of the jacket are black with crimson rings at the end and on her hands are matching crimson fingerless gloves. Around the young woman's slender waist is a white sash pulling the jacket in tight enough to accentuate her figure, tied into a large bow behind her back, and on her feet are a pair of crimson ankle high shoes with a sliver of white sock sticking up a little further from each.

Her iconic dark violet hair is tied into a high ponytail at the back of her head; the practical hairstyle keeping her face clear. The red hairclip with the golden star over her right temple exists as a flourish common to most of the idol's outfits. Two emblems decorate the closed Kung Fu jacket. Over the right breast, a small golden ring encloses the Chinese kanji for 'Will'. And emblazoned on the back of the jacket, a large black circle encloses the black silhouette of the neck and head of a dragon with a forked tongue.

The young martial artist wasn't sure what deal was arranged between the powers behind these matches and the people of this village to leave it vacant at this time, but the trained psychic was very certain that while there weren't many other people around, this place was far from empty. The veil between life and death was thin here, drawn taut and porous by the strong faith and belief of the people who populated this region. With her eyes closed and the walls of her mind lowered just a little, she could feel them - the spirits or souls of the departed... and eyes belonging to other presences. It is clear this place and its people were watched over.

Slowly, Athena opens her violet eyes and lifts her head, a contemplative look to her features, and a faint smile of one at peace at her lips. There were no villagers present to express her gratitude for hosting this match, but she could at least feel that appreciation in her heart.

COMBATSYS: Athena has started a fight here.

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Athena           0/-------/------=|

The Descent. It was a tournament that the Dancing Spider never heard of before but the instincts of both his and of the spirit within the dusty yellow spider amulet worn on his neck had urged him to enter this particular tournament. It wasn't a particularly winnable tournament for him but he still felt as though he needed to be there. To see. To gain info. Plus, a decent run might do something to get those who still put an asterisk to the single tournament victory off of his back. Who was he kidding? They'd never shut up about how Rust Jr. threw the fight while he was unconscious.

As the denim clad (former?) cat burglar arrives at the fight location, he feels the hairs on the back of his neck start to raise. He wasn't exactly what one would consider a sensitive and so he has little context to describe how he was feeling beyond a sense of weirdness from being in this area. He takes a deep breath tries to get his mind together in preparation. The spirit within the amulet flashes an image of him, engulfed in blue energy, delivering a drop kick to the body of Athena past her roundhouse kick. He appreciated what the spirit was trying to do but due to the side effects of the energy transfer during Mortal Kombat, both he and the Scarlet Dahlia both knew the end result of that particular fight.

Without much left to do before his opponent arrives, he warms up and stretch even though it's of questionable benefit to him now with the current condition of his physiology.

COMBATSYS: Aranha has joined the fight here.

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Athena           0/-------/------=|======-\-------\0           Aranha

And then it was time. Athena takes one last look at the village center before she moves on, passing by the well to step to step just outside the ring of huts to a dirt clearing surrounded by four burning daises that provide flickering illumination by which to see, where she is to meet her opponent for the first round of The Descent. While the advertised thematic elements of the tournament were darker than the renown World Warrior Tournament that drew her away from performing and school for a period of time, she sensed this was something she needed to be a part of. That her trainer, the blind swordsman Kenshi, also expressed thoughts that it would be important for them to participate, only confirmed her own instincts.

She strides into the open, vibrant eyes searching, mouth featuring a soft smile - one that is friendly enough without shining with the exuberance that she puts on display for more 'standard' venues. This match wasn't about performing, it wasn't about entertaining or inspiring people. It was something else - a test, a challenge, the stakes were personal... and possibly more than that.

Attention falls to Aranha, steps slowing to a stop. She could release her psychic walls easier now, almost an unconscious effort instead of the intense concentration it used to require, thanks to her master's training, which means she goes from being closed off to the world to combat ready, power just a thought away, with little more than an eye blink.

The Kung Fu artist turns her left shoulder forward, left hand extended outward, palm open, right arm drawn back, bent at the elbow, held near the level of her shoulder as she regards the other fighter.

Sometimes when facing others, with her mental barriers lowered slightly, she would see things that perhaps she shouldn't - that the opponent would rather she not know about. But it's hard to fully conceal her surprise as well as her eyes search in Aranha's direction more intently, curiosity sparking immediately at the amulet around his neck.

"It is an honor to face someone who was also on that island." The emphasis on 'that' makes it pretty clear to what she might be referring to. "When you're ready."

The air buzzes with unseen energy, a sense of unrest on a spiritual level - whether the young woman with violet hair is the source, or the thin veil between this life and the next that seems to exist in this old forest, might be hard to say for certain. The fires continue to flicker, each on an elevated wooden platform and burning in a wide metal dish. All around the clearing, large trees grow tight, their canopy nearly completely covering the dirt clearing. And while there seem to be no people in the vicinity besides the two fighters, it's hard to ignore the sense that they are indeed being watched by many...

Upon the pop idol's arrival, Aranha lets his lips form into a relaxed, easygoing smile. His own information network island had let him know that Athena was if not an ally, someone running along with parallel goals. In addition, he didn't imagine they were at cross purposes at any time after the island... that he knows of. Unlike many of the fights that may take place in this tourney, he doesn't see this fight being any more serious than two fighters that take their craft seriously and wish to test themselves. If Aranha wanted to be honest, have a little fun with it. There was no need to take things beyond that point.

When the Kung Fu practitioner takes her stance, Aranha goes into his swaying dance, starting with his left foot rear, stepping forward with the left bringing the feet side by side, taking a step back with his right foot before reversing the order of the steps to do it all over again in a near constant dance although on occasion he'd mix in hops and footwork feints to keep the dance from getting to predictable.

"I've seen a few more on the brackets as well."

With actual mention of the island. It felt empty to even mention the idea of fun, especially after talking with Alexis about what she went through on the island. He wouldn't be surprised if the woman was a bundle of issues because of the island, and it wasn't like she could seek counseling because who would believe her if she told them she died twice.

The pop idol awaits and there a need to get this fight underway. At first, Aranha steps forward and lifts a leg in preparation to throw a glowing blue roundhouse kick. It never gets thrown though. There's an image of that said chi bolstered roundhouse kick meeting with Athena performing cross arm block flashing in his head. The glow fades out and Aranha immediately changes his plans. He instead cartwheels towards the one time King of Fighters champion and aborts it half way to turn it into a whirling handstand kick slapping his opponent in the face with his feet. As long as his movements aren't interfered with, he'll return to a standing position allowing him to resume his dance.

COMBATSYS: Athena blocks Aranha's Inverted Tornado.

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Athena           0/-------/-----==|=======\-------\0           Aranha

He mentions noticing others from the island in the brackets... including her own trainer, Kenshi. There must be a reason so many felt the call when they received the invitation. Slowly, her right hand raises from its ready position to rest against the golden star of her hairclip. The voices of the shard have been quiet ever since she had turned all of the stored souls over to the Scarlet Dahlia, but she could still feel something there. She thought the harrowing experience of that place as behind her, but facing the American standing across from her, she couldn't help but feel so many memories coming back.

She lowers her hand, focusing on him now. She owes him the respect of her attention, and she owes herself the commitment to properly focus.

She needs to see what he's got.

With her mental barriers lowered now, the girl's mind mind is open to those instants of insight, those glimpses of foresight, those flashes of inspiration that Kenshi has focused her training on so much as of late. She watches him carefully, realizing almost immediately that she has not had extensive training against the core art underlying his combat style. The fluid transition through stances, weaving in feints, hops to adjust position, and twists to alter attack vectors... she can see that in how he moves and sways, and realizes immediately that she is going to be kept on her toes.

Aranha closes in and as he readies the attack he thought to lead with, he'll notice the way she braces her feet, pulling back her left arm and shifting her right arm, looking as if she was ready to block the energy infused roundhouse before he had even fully committed to it. And when he shifts to another approach instead, there is a brief moment where Athena seems to lag behind him, scrambling to correct for the attack that doesn't come.

Taking a quick step back on the blackened soil, she turns her left shoulder toward him, bracing behind her left arm in anticipation of the cartwheel flip ending up in an actual kick. But then he transitions again, converting his momentum into a whirlwind kick toward her face and Athena is barely able to respond in time, taking another step back and pulling her right hand into the path of his leg at the last possible instant. It's enough to spare her a solid smack to the face, but it does send her sliding to the side, pain shooting down her arm all the same.

But more than the pain is the moment of confusion in her mind - did he anticipate her defense and adjust for it? She could have sworn he was going to do something else instead. Is he able to read her based on his own skill and experience as a fighter? Or is there something more? Is the Capoeirista psychic on some level? Or does it have to do with the amulet that she senses around his neck more than sees?

If there is something to it - of being able to anticipate her even a little - then it's time to demonstrate a new modification of her own arsenal!

Sucking in her breath, the idol Kung Fu artist launches herself into the air in a graceful, high arcing flip that takes her up and over Aranha. Raising her arms, she twists to the side, pivoting mid-flight with the kind of ease that something born to fly might have. In the next moment, she curls herself forward, drawing up her knees. And then she does the impossible, reversing her falling direction on a dime, plunging back down toward Aranha from the opposite side.

As she falls, her body becomes wrathed in rose-hued, vibrant energy, causing the girl to look almost like ninety pound comet, the trail of energy visible against the starless sky above. If this was a show for an audience, she would cry out the name of her Phoenix Arrow - it's all part of getting an audience engaged - but all that is heard here is her grunt as she tries to impact Aranha before sliding into a hand stand kick to his stomach to follow through.

Either way, she'll end up with her left hand covered in dark, rich soil. But she's not here for a beauty pageant.

COMBATSYS: Athena successfully hits Aranha with Phoenix Arrow.
- Power hit! -

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Athena           0/-------/---====|=======\-------\0           Aranha

The spin from the cartwheel converted into whirling kick put him a little bit to the side. Not enough to be major. Just enough to give him a tiny bit of extra time to assess the situation while Athena turned to catch up with him.For just an instant, Aranha glances at Athena's hands. Looking for the telltale signs of gathering energy to form into he never quite sees it. But instead he sees the moment of confusion. The expectation of him actually following through with the Aggressive Dance.

Aranha purposefully steps back to give himself extra space though it seems blended into the ginga of capoeira. The moment his feet get placed side by side, he performs a shuffle step in a quarter circle before bringing the other foot back in order to reposition himself.

It is at this point does something that he doesn't expect. While Aranha might have seen this move had he watched her fights, it would not be a move the being within the amulet would have seen. He's caught figuratively flat footed as Athena leaps up into the air before defying gravity to plow into him and sends him flying backwards.

As he gets up, the capoeirista can see with clarity that this is fight is a different one, changed by the circumstances behind this fight as well as the opening moves within it.

Aranha leaps into the trees striding from branch to branch before dropping down with one foot extended on a collision course for the kung fu artist.

COMBATSYS: Athena dodges Aranha's Sky's the Limit.

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Athena           0/-------/--=====|=======\-------\0           Aranha

Dropping out of her handstand kick, Athena slips up to her feet quickly, black soil falling from the hand she had planted an instant before but she pays it no heed, keeping her eyes on her opponent as she returns to her ready stance once more. Violet eyes follow his recovery and while it might seem like she's hanging back to give him ample time to get his bearings after her initial attack, someone aware as the Mortal Kombat participant would recognize that she is moving in closer, just slowly and cautiously, and that if he lingers for a moment too long, the girl is likely to take the opportunity to attack again.

When he retreats to the trees, however, he vanishes from her mundane sight, the thick canopy providing ample cover in the dark night to completely conceal him. He'll find her trying to spot him at first, her eyes squinting at the branches while raising her guard in preparation for an attack, but in truth, her eyes can't detect a thing.

Her hearing helps a little, letting her orient roughly within several degrees where he last sprung from one branch to another, but then the idol fighter closes her eyes completely. Kenshi would not be thwarted by the cover of darkness, she knows. It's times like this that she needs to rely on other senses, following the impressions, the flow of emotion and its shift in magnitude and intention...

He gets dangerously close to driving his foot into the Kung Fu fighter. Her response comes at the last possible instant, not because of any sound from the nearly silent approach, but rather the growing strength of those two presences she felt at the start.

Sucking in her breath, she springs backward, his foot parting the air just shy of striking her clean on the crown of her head. Eyes flick open, finding Aranha, a soft exhale of relief escaping her lips.

Without relaxing her ready stance, she reaches up with her right hand to tap the star over her temple with one finger, "When I was on the island, mine was full of... hateful, spiteful souls. They berated me in my fights, their rage bombarding my mind." A wistful smile as she reflects on the harrowing experiences of Mortal Kombat. "It's silent now, thank goodness."

She lowers her hand, returning to her ready stance, then moves her left hand to tap a few inches below the base of her neck. "I don't think yours was like mine. It hasn't gone silent, has it...."

She plants her feet then, digging in her heels for support as she draws her arms backward, rose-hued Psycho Power surging down her limbs. This might seem more familiar - but then again, almost anyone who had watched her fight had seen its sort before.

Swinging both arms forward while leaning into the momentum, Athena unleashes a hurting sphere of concentrated Psycho Power. As with most projectiles used in fighting, it does pack concussive force behind it, but that isn't the real threat. It's the piercing psychic power that threatens to flow through his nervous system if unable to guard against it that's the real danger of Athena Asamiya's signature technique!

COMBATSYS: Aranha blocks Athena's Psycho Ball.

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Athena           0/-------/=======|=======\-------\0           Aranha

When the capoeirista doesn't manage to make contact, he's not surprised. Disappointed, maybe but not surprised. From what fights he's seen of her, on TV and otherwise, he knew that he would need to bring his A-game to connect with anything substantial.

There's a bit of a lull in the action and just as she doesn't relax her guard, Aranha doesn't stop his dance. Even as she notes the curiosity about his and whether or not it stayed silent. He doesn't respond. He can see the feet digging into the earth as energy gathers in her hand. He needs to address this problem before he even thinks about addressing her query. An image flickers into Aranha's head unbidden. It's an image of him blocking the Psycho Ball. He responds in the same way. Of course with better preparation for this time, he has time to form a hastily constructed energy web shield to take a bit of the brunt from her psionic energy. That being said, it still slides him backward as it had his counterpart.

"Sorta. He only makes his presence known when he feels he has something to contribute."

Aranha finds himself at a farther distance from Athena than he would like and he knows that he needs to get in her face and apply pressure. He can't afford to let her stay comfortable or else he might find himself staring at the sky. He launches himself forward, shooting his foot at the pop idol's chest with a front push kick.

COMBATSYS: Athena instinctively blocks Aranha's Medium Kick.

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Athena           1/-------/=======|=======\-------\0           Aranha

Aranha's defense proves solid against the flying projectile - a fortunate reaction as the moment the web shield absorbs the bulk of the idol fighter's projected power, he'll notice she was already sprinting after it, clearly intending to follow up the potentially staggering impact with another attack right after. But seeing he has managed to avoid being knocked off balance by it, the Kung Fu fighter instead slides to a stop, a small plume of black soil kicked up in front of her feet as she does so, changing her plans in an instant to avoid charging right into a possible counter attack.

Drawing her arms back up to a ready stance, she watches him with attentive eyes as he responds to her observation, her expression becoming briefly thoughtful. She wasn't just sensing some random soul or essence in that amulet of his... but rather, it was almost like looking at someone who was looking at their own reflection in a mirror. So close, the differences were subtle... It's hard not to ask, to satisfy that curiosity, even though part of her realizes it might be prying into something a bit too personal to be openly shared.

"But-" she starts then stops, before committing to the question, "Is he an ancestor?" How else could the two presences seem so similar?

Aranha returns to keeping pressure on Asamiya. This time, her defense seems to come early rather than last moment, arms drawing up so early it's as if she knows exactly where his heel will end up. Her legs bend at the knees, her feet dig into the dirt a little, as he closes the distance between them in an instant. This time, his foot smacks solidly against her forearms, the girl having pulled them up to guard her chest and face, turtling behind them a little.

A soft grunt escapes her lips as she is driven back by the force, wincing briefly at the ache in her arms. Being close to the psychic fighter is a good way to keep her from having free reign of the battlefield, but it also puts one at greater risk of being caught up in a counter attack by her.

Thus it is that Aranha might find himself under assault by a technique she was still trying to refine, her right hand extending, finger pointing, arm reaching shy of actually touching him by a half foot or so. His warning that this isn't some harmless posturing might come from the intense look of concentration in Athena's eyes as an invisible force closes in from all sides on the space Aranha occupies. Jaw set, she'll try to entrap him in unseen but crushingly strong telekinetic power before whipping around, sweeping her arm up and over in an attempt to wrest him over the top of her head and onto his back on the other side!

If successful, he might even find his strength inhibited slightly by lingering effects of the technique... on the other hand, if he manages to evade it all together, there is a chance of catching the girl off guard at last as she gasps for breath following the extreme exertion!

COMBATSYS: Athena successfully hits Aranha with Super Psychic Throw.

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Athena           1/----===/=======|=======\===----\1           Aranha


The moment between that impact with Athena's guard and the moment that Athena points at him right before the attack is too little space for him to adequately field the question that the psychic poses to him. Instead he decides to put his focus into trying to desperately get out of the way of Athena's technique. His entire body glows blue as he attempts to push off the ground and launch himself out of the area but instead his foot finds itself sinking into a particularly loose patch of soil, hindering his efforts to get away. The capoeirista is instantly ensnared and taken for an extremely violent ride through a tree.

He slowly gets up, his body still glowing. The shades he was previously wearing are no longer on his face to hide the glowing eyes that were his other souvenir from Shang Tsung's island. He takes a deep breath. It's at that moment he decides not to answer the question. Not out of malice but due to the fact that fighting Athena requires too much concentration to divert any of that focus towards conversation.

His dancing footsteps towards the pop idol are slow and plodding due to fighting the lingering effects of the telekinetic throw. He eventually does get within striking range before swinging a nasty, vicious, sweeping palm strike, glowing with blue chi towards her temple (he wasn't trying to mess with her music career by targetting the face or ear). That initial hand strike is then followed up with a roundhouse kick to the body.

COMBATSYS: Athena endures Aranha's Dead Man's Hand.

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Athena           1/-======/=======|=======\=====--\1           Aranha

Releasing her breath following the sudden spike in mental exertion, Athena lifts her left hand and rests it near the base of her neck, focusing on keeping her breathing under control. While projections of psionic power are clearly not something she struggles with, actual telekinetic forced movement of an average person sized object is pushing the limits of what she can muster by thought alone... and much larger than that and it's beyond her ability all together.

Just another aspect of her talent that she trains at under Kenshi's careful guidance.

Ultimately, the loud ringing in her ears would have drown out anything Aranha would have had to say once he gathered himself anyway, so focusing purely on the fight in front of him is probably for the best. But while her hearing is limited, her vision remains sharp, violet eyes following him as he resumes his ginga, albeit at a different speed than she had been reacting to up until now. Staying put, the idol fighter focuses more on her next move than being evasive around the arena. It is clear by his deliberate approach that he is going to commit to an attack out of his inscrutable stance, but actually anticipating exactly what angle his attack will come from is a lot harder in the aftermath of her telekinetic attack that leaves her mentally 'deaf' to the flashes of insight that normally contributes to her famous feats of remarkable reflex under pressure.

Which might be why she decides to step into it, arms drawing back similar to when she created her signature projectile only half a minute before. And for this, she takes a stunning glowing palm to her temple that staggers her to the right, adding to the ringing in her head by a noticeable amount. With her arms drawn back, she's unable to guard against the roundhouse that follows, driving right into her undefended ribs with a meaty impact that forces her recovering breath from her lungs.

But she manages to keep from being knocked off her feet all together, fighting through the pain with unyielding resolve to launch a counter attack without even pausing to recover from the dual hits. Vibrant energy pours down the girl's arms, bright enough to illuminate their dark arena, casting a glow that penetrates through the treeline well into the forest. Mouth agape but her voice briefly silenced, Athena swings her arms forward once more, kicking her feet off the ground as she launches herself backward in a slight hop, unleashing a Psycho Ball nearly three times larger than the one she had used previously, roughly as large around as Aranha is tall and barreling in on him from perilously short range.

She would land on her feet a meter or so back, breathless but still focused.

'You have a good soul.' she thinks a moment before potential impact, her soft, contemplative voice possibly even echoing in the ex-cat burglar's mind.

In the brief moment of contact from his strike, she felt even then, the hint of concern he held for his opponent. A rarity in a world focused around conflict, strength, and proving superiority. Whatever other things might weigh heavily on the shoulders of her fellow Mortal Kombat survivor, she was certain he had a good soul.

COMBATSYS: Athena successfully hits Aranha with Psycho Ball Revolution EX.

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Athena           0/-------/--=====|=======\=====--\1           Aranha

Aranha finds himself in a situation that he preferred to put others in. A situation where there are no good decisions. He can't charge through it or guard because it was obvious that he was too beaten and battered for him to come out of it smelling like roses. It was going too fast and it was too large for him to have any reasonable chance of getting out of the way. He attempts to make a desperate dive out of the way hoping that a little bit of luck could go his way. Spoiler: He's not so lucky. In fact, his luck is 'Very Bad.' His foot gets caught under a root of a tree and he stumbles causing any hope of getting out of the way, as infinitesimal as it may be, to be dashed.

The energy ball slams into the capoeirista sending him on another violent ride. This time it's through tree after tree until he comes to an agonizing stop, folded on a tombstone. After a couple heartbeats, Aranha peels himself off of the tombstone in a way that couldn't quite possibly be naturally human.

Aranha's long walk to Athena is slow. He's taken on too much battle damage to pour on the speed like he could before to get back into range and she's been hitting him so hard that it has made his involuntary biological adjustments nigh inconsequential. The moment he gets just outside of their physical attack ranges, he finally speaks.

"It would appear that you are an insurmountable obstacle for us. In this world and his."

He lowers his head to indicate the spider necklace then smiles and shrugs as if to say through only body language, 'what can you do?'

It's probably a good thing that the capoeirista is not privy to that line of thought of him having a good soul no matter how much his sister would agree with Athena's assessment. If anyone were to verbally call him out for showing concern over protecting Athena's career. He'd just say, 'I've seen how the Beyhive have come after people in rabid defense of Beyonce.' He is not about to piss off Athena's fandom. He just doesn't want that smoke.

Suddenly Aranha moves forward, his entire body covered in blue chi as he throws roundhouses, side kicks, crescent kicks, front kicks. In fact he goes through the every type of kick taught in capoeira multiple times in an attempt to drown the pop star in foot based strikes before finishing the just as it started by tilting into a handstand and whirling around to slap her with his feet though this time it's bolstered by the blue chi he's completely engulfed in.

The onslaught finally ends and he falls over and lays down on the ground.

COMBATSYS: Aranha can no longer fight.

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Athena           1/-------/=======|

COMBATSYS: Athena blocks Aranha's Royal Flush.

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Athena           1/----===/=======|

Given the magnitude of the Psycho Power blast, there can be no question that Asamiya fought Aranha to the best of her ability to the very end of the match, holding nothing back. While her physical prowess and Kung Fu training were both factors in her abilities as a fighter, her real weapon was always that power she could project, drawing heavily from a nigh inexhaustible fount of energy that she had spent the bulk of her training learning to hone, refine, and direct with both power and precision.

When the sphere impacts the Capoeirista, Athena is only just landing back on the ground from her backward hop, arms unfolding from in front of her as she lifts her head. If he did happen to slip around it, he would be back on her in an instant and she had to be ready.

But as the large Psycho Ball continues hurtling on, carrying her opponent along with it into the wooded edge of the arena and her vision has time to recover from the bright glow, she can see clearly that he did not, in fact, manage to slip around it.

She pauses for a moment and then starts forward, not with the hurried sprint of someone in a rush to follow up with another attack, but a cautious but swift approach of one who wants to check on another.

She slows to a stop, however, still shy of the forest's edge when she notices how Aranha landed, eyes widening slightly in immediate concern. It's short lived, however, as the Spider moves, pulling away from the tombstone strangely...

Was it a trick of the shadows, or was something not quite right there?

He makes his way back toward her, out of the forest edge, and she watches him, brow furrowed slightly, a bit of a wary look on her features. Her guard is only half raised, the young fighter alert but not particularly defensive in the moments leading up to him speaking. The recognition is taken, a quiet, apologetic smile working its way into her features, even though as best she can call to memory, she hadn't faced this unique fighter before. The style is not excessively common, let alone with his own blend of rich, blue chi that coated his attacks at times.

Her eyes drop to his necklace, something seeming to click in the way her expression shifts and her eyes look back up to study his. "I do not know where such memories would come from, but... I believe it will have been an honor to fight you in any world."

And with that, she pivots her left shoulder forward, arms raising back to her ready stance, recognizing the resolve on his part to at least make sure that she is tested up to the last possible moment.

When it comes to weathering a brutal storm of chi-infused attacks, at first it seems as if she's able to contend with it with an active guard of arm movements, posture shifts, and even raising her right leg to block with her shin for some of the lower strikes. But the relentless storm lasts for longer than she had anticipated, and even successfully guarding, the pressure starts to take its toll, driving her backward, feet slipping or repositioning in the dark soil. Mid-way through, she can no longer actively deflect, settling for turtling behind her arms and hunching forward, taking hits on her shoulders, upper arms, and forearms.

The arena is bathed in the blue glow of Aranha's power, casting a unique light over the clearing apart from the dwindling flames on each corner dais. Finally, her guard about to break, Athena stumbles back a step, then another, then finally skips back a third, putting just enough distance between her and his spinning legs to avoid getting clobbered through defense that could no longer hold up.

Aranha falls over and she stops, slowly lowering her arms, wincing at the throbs of pain coursing along them. Sucking in her breathes, she presses her palm against her fist and bows slightly toward her opponent.

"May we meet again someday... I believe there is more you could tell me... when the time is right."

One by one, the glowing fires illuminating the arena go out and darkness settles in.

COMBATSYS: Athena has ended the fight here.

Log created on 23:14:38 07/08/2022 by Athena, and last modified on 09:00:03 07/16/2022.