The Descent - Round 3 - The Danse Macabre

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Description: Voodoo Town in Haiti's been alive with the music of the spirits for weeks, ever since Athena Asamiya's visit. Joined and catalyzed by the debaucherous loa Baron Samedi, a neverending party of the living and dead grinds onwards as the Rebellious Flame Ash Crimson and the Serpent's Fang Ahmya Shiki fight for an opportunity to secure a place among the Descended.

COMBATSYS: Ahmya has started a fight here.

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Ahmya            0/-------/-------|

Haiti is, in a single word, hot.

Or, to be more specific, it is stifling, stinking, miserably hot. The kind of heat that triggers nausea and exhaustion, even among the native indigenous population. Ash Crimson haaaaaates it. Immune to the ill effects of any temperature extreme, that doesn't mean he escapes the non-critical consequences of elemental exposure. There's sweat, chafing, and more. Sunburn, for instance, is the absolute enemy of his freckles. Just the smattering across the bridge of his nose and the tips of his cheeks will suffice, thanks.

When the night falls, the warmth doesn't entirely abate. In fact, it's barely tolerable. The Frenchman strolls into a town with a name he cannot pronounce and he does so with quiet aplomb. His long sheets of platinum blonde hair are secured in a high ponytail to keep it out of the way, and he has opted for light and breathable materials rather than his usual scarlet attire. Ash's black turtleneck is form-fitting, moisture-wicking, and long-sleeved, with red track pants on the bottom half -- the ones that make a 'shhhwf shhhwf' sound when he walks, obviously to his delight.

Given everything Crimson understands about the Revenant Queen, he doesn't travel to the outskirts of town; instead, the cemetery is his destination. This is because Her Majesty's preferred battlegrounds are often places of death, tragedy, and human suffering, to an extent that goes beyond the need for years of intensive therapy. As soon as the flamewielder crosses the threshold, Ash is immediately hit with the teeming energies in the air. It's a rowdy, raucous, rabble-rousing sort, yet what roused these spirits, he'd be curious to find out.

A community of graves that sprawls out in front of him has narrow alleys and passageways between the stone structures that mimic the ancient layout of the city of the damned. Without invitation, it feels forbidden to walk among them. There are seats available for the casual company that joins the chosen, but Ash is neither. Since he would PREFER not to get cursed because his life is already difficult enough, he picks the comfiest wooden wicker chair and sinks into it heavily with a sigh.

"Ahhh~hhh, it's so depressing here."

Thin blue lights spread out to indicate a perimeter for the fight to occur in due time, the frivolous, flamboyant young man toying absently with his forelock. He crosses his legs at the ankles, refraining from entertaining himself at the expense of the dead, and before long Ash lounges in a lackadaisical way that he's known for. His inevitable stream of complaints, which are all weather-based and spoken in French, are not worth noting. Gingerly touching the right knee, the pyrokinetic multitasks in his weird stimming as a self-conscious reminder that, despite how much he remembers the pain, whether it was the intervention of forces in this tournament or his body's own accelerated regenerative capabilities, it is no longer dislocated.

This is how Ahmya Shiki will meet her opponent -- Ash bored out of his mind and wishing he had brought something useful to keep himself cool. His hand really isn't up to the task.

It doesn't quite scream his new moniker, 'The Rebellious Flame,' does it?

Just wait.

COMBATSYS: Ash has joined the fight here.

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Ash              0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0            Ahmya

Ahmya Shiki, the Red Wanderer, has made the long trip from her home in Southtown to the Caribbean. Many would make this trip for pleasure, to relax on the sun soaked beaches, drink alcohol and forget about their cares for some time. The girl instead comes to draw blood.

At least she booked a decent hotel room to recover in.

It's evening by the time she wanders into the town proper, the sun setting in glorious oranges and violets over the ocean in the west. She's less dressed for the weather (though it certainly helps) and more just dressed how she always is when she fights. Short, volleyball style, compression shorts and a matching sports bra under a weird blue tunic pseudo-dress with one ankle length panel in the front and two in the back that are split to her waist. On her hands are fingerless gloves, and short, low heeled boots are on her feet.

Her pace is languid as dark falls, fingers through the ring shaped guards of her blades, letting them dangle as a warning. Finally, she reaches the makeshift arena, the blue light reflecting purple in her red left eye. She cracks the door open in her mind, letting the part of her that is good at this start to creep free. "Mister Crimson," she asks, tilting her head. She didn't really expect a lounging frenchman, but then again, she didn't know what to expect.

The voice in her head gives her instructions that she seems to consider for a moment before she just nods at nothing. Without another word, she moves. The girl is -fast-, almost seeming to blur as she charges the seated Rebellious Flame. She stops short and just swings one of the swords at his face. His valuable face. This is obviously not aiming for a kill shot more a test of his reflexes.

On her left thigh as the attack begins, the image of a blue snake wrapped around her thigh begins to seemingly fill in from nowhere. At least it isn't glowing!

COMBATSYS: Ash blocks Ahmya's Light Strike.

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Ash              0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0            Ahmya

She is not alone; no one ever has any clear expectations when it comes to Ash Crimson, and the chances of him living up to them are slim. His whole vibe is a lazy, good-for-nothing young man, akin to a big French cat, but mention his name once and the sharp edge to his personality emerges. The limits of his lips barely register a smile. Halfways about to stand and stretch, violent intention gives him cause to pause. As his pale eyes are robbed of colour in the darkness, the flamewielder glances at Ahmya with mild and pleasant interest. "Oho, really?"

"Not even a 'bonjour,' I see how it is," he adds with an unconvincing air of morose melancholy...

Ash then grins.

The Sneering Blaze demonstrates that his reflexes are excellent for the time being, but test him if it's necessary. Crimson shifts the blade's trajectory in an attempt to bury it deep in the wooden chair he abandons, cringing as it lightly kisses his flesh. A thin rivulet of blood dribbles over the bones in his hand and past his wrist as a subtle parting gift from the exchange. He softly thumbs the scarlet away, the mellifluous notes of his tenor happily confessing, "Ahaha, that does sting a bit..."

But not for long.

Watching the crusted and congealed cut reverse itself, he sighs.

"Care to introduce yourself, cherie, or should I just guess?" His languid gaze considers her from the dark crop of hair to toe, and then Ash blithely waves to say, "Feel free to dispense with the formalities, as well. You'll find..." Ahmya is fast, but something that cannot be denied, so is he. The pyrokinetic hooks his foot under the spindle of another seat, balancing with it discreetly. "Well, I doubt you'll respect me all that much in a moment."

Rather than flipping the item to wield it brutishly, Ash eliminates the need. As the chair is thrown up and reaches its apex, his track pants whisper audibly. The flexible and slender European chambers a kick that he releases with a snap. It strikes the centre of mass, and with luck, will crash directly into her.

Yeah, he's a dick, but at least he doesn't go for the face.

COMBATSYS: Ahmya blocks Ash's Light Random Weapon.

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Ash              0/-------/------=|=------\-------\0            Ahmya

Ahmya was rather rude. Asking a question and then just going for him. That's what the voice said to do. It's a much better fighter than she is. It's the thing that turns this random teenage girl who likes golf and bad television and school into a cold blooded, efficient killer. As her strike draws the smallest bit of blood, she hops back, holding her right hand blade in a forward grip and the left in reverse.

"My apologies, I'm Ahmya Shiki, called the Red Wanderer by the Revenant Queen."

She sways slightly on her feet, languid and relaxed. Ready. Her mismatched eyes watch Ash with a focus and attention that belies her expressionless face. She shows no excitement or anxiety, only placid, almost sleepy, neutrality. When he hooks the chair with a foot and slings it her direction, she bursts into motion, charging right at it. Her weapons come up and slash in a great X, the demon tainted steel trailing ribbons of violet chi. Wicker bursts everywhere, shards of it blasting back into her face, cutting thin lines that weep blood under her eyes and on her forehead.

She keeps coming.

The girl stoops low on approach, swinging both arms in a wide, forward arc. Her blades erupt into virulent purple, the path of them leaving wing-like trails of the energy in their wake as they strike for the knees.

COMBATSYS: Ahmya successfully hits Ash with Exodus Slash.
~~ Alluring Hit! ~~

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Ash              0/-------/----===|=------\-------\0            Ahmya

Her name is 'Ahmya'..?


Oh no.

This is too easy, and he's a troll. His lilting trill of laughter rings like a merry bell.

"Myamya?" It's a ruse, an act, a tease, because there's no way he misunderstood. Lifting the curtain of silken threads against his ear, Crimson cups the cartilaginous rim to enhance his 'poor' hearing...

... Only to dismiss any and all clarification as is his wont.

"Enchante, cherie," he says, right before the chair is a shower of splinters, reduced to mere scraps for kindling. Huh.

In the rain of dust and rubble, his pale gaze finds heterochromatic orbs. Ash seems flippant and frivolous, but here he's scrutinising her critically. Purple chi should trigger the senses attuned to esoteric nonsense that most would dismiss, but instead it percolates in the back of his mind more like a disturbance in the force. His curiosity is piqued...

Of course, that lands Ash in 'hot water', so to speak. Too busy entertaining the theoretical when there's a very real and present threat, the Frenchman reacts, but it is delayed. An incomplete strategic retreat spares his knees and not his wallet, or legs. Ahmya's cursed blades tear through the thin layers of his pants. She cuts into the meatier part of his calves, skin seared as it splits open in a painful crimson spray.

Ash doesn't hit the ground softly or running, just crashing in a graceless heap, absorbing the brunt of the impact with his elbow and the generous curve of his hip. The ponytail isn't sure where it wants to be, with the majority splayed around his head like an angelic halo, but single strands cling to his dried out lips, or wrap around the slender column of his throat as if they were ropes made from flax..

Musical are the breathless notes of Crimson's cadence, "All right, I suppose I might have deserved that, ahaha~"

He's figured out the affinity of her energy. Not that Ash knows anything specifically about it, but he'd wager she wields weapons that are demonic in nature. Does that mean Ahmya Shiki signed a deal with the devil? It would explain the young woman's fugue state.


But now is neither the time nor place.

Kipping up, parting company with the earth results in dirt flaking off of him in a small particle cloud, with droplets of his lifesblood left behind. The effeminate, freckle-faced flamewielder doesn't stop once he's on his feet again, remaining in motion as he leans into a lurch. Ash is surprisingly strong for someone who looks like his idea of lifting weights is picking up a bottle of nail polish, and making a grab for her shoulder, his other hand brings the heat...

Quite literally.

It's a fistful of emerald flames, accompanied by the words, "Here we go, BANG!" to a highly explosive effect.

If she's rude, the Sneering Blaze is ruder. The Red Wanderer at least has an excuse, and Ash shows no mercy...

After all, she would have none for him.

COMBATSYS: Ahmya blocks Ash's Brumaire.

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Ash              0/-------/---====|===----\-------\0            Ahmya

Inside her mind, Ahmya is, as always, frustrated at the piece of her that is driving. So efficient and cold, using her powers and strength with emotionless brutality. That part of her is also very rude and makes her feel embarassed. On the bright side, the pieces are stretching ever closer with each fight. The fugue becoming less traumatic each time. Soon, she thinks, she may not disassociate at all when she fights. Won't that be interesting.

That has no bearing on the now.

Her footwork falters as Ash comes for her, his hands bursting into emerald flames. She attempts to shift to the side to evade his grasp, but she's, for this moment in time, just not fast enough. Ash gets a good hold of her, the green flames searing her skin in the seconds before he throws her. She travels through the air, eyes flickering to keep track of her positioning. With a grunt of effort, she twists herself so that her feet hit the ground, boots skidding on the dirt street. She tilts her head slightly as the blue snake marking fills in more around her left thigh.

The light hits her red eye strangely, making it seem to glow as she blitzes Ash again. This time, she feints low again, only to change it up. She drags both of her swords straight up at his body as she jumps, trailing violet chi the whole time. At the pinnacle of the jump, she lashes out with her boot as she flips backwards. She just hopes Ash is in the way of it all.

COMBATSYS: Ash blocks Ahmya's Cloudburst.

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Ash              0/-------/--=====|====---\-------\0            Ahmya

Actually, it's not so much that Ash throws her as there are other forces at work that are difficult to explain. He spontaneously converts the air into an ionised gas-based detonation, or something to that extent, and Crimson accomplishes this without the use of an ignition source.

The end result is the creation of a pressure shockwave, projected outward in a manner similar to a stick of dynamite exploding, albeit without the nasty repercussions. However, the rate at which the reaction occurs is faster than its ability to seriously harm her. Ahmya is ejected from the area of effect, and Ash is forced to release lest it tear off his whole arm. She's carried away maybe ten feet, adjusting her positioning as she goes.

He examines his fingernails without looking up to be impressed, being the vain, self-aggrandizing peacock that he is. Several of them were damaged in his previous bout against Craig Marduk, and Ash does not particularly want to replace them again so soon...

But it's hilarious that the grappler wanted a set of his own. Who was the flamboyant flamewielder to refuse?

As much as he can see in the dark, he has no complaints. There are no chips, and the gel is still attached to his nail. Everything is well in Ash Crimson's world, except for the Red Wanderer's relentless attempts to hack him to bits, or so he assumes is the intent. Possession is a rather terrible experience, as the Frenchman knows better than most.

What is the meaning of the blue snake symbol? Is it anything like the terms of her diabolical bargain?

Ash recalls a television programme where some kid receives a cornea transplant, and unwittingly inherits a contract inscribed on the donor's iris...

Although that seems interesting, he has left the subject of fisticuffs. Oops.

In the way as much as he isn't, the pyrokinetic is slim and limber, bending back with his knees so that both blades miss their target, passing within a hair's breadth. Her chi is an unpleasant rake up the front of him, and leaves behind a heartbeat-long sensation of corruption. To maintain his balance, Ash braces himself on his leg, scarring the landscape by cutting a swath through the dusty earth. His cross-armed guard is impacted, tightly compressed against his chest until his wrists dig awkwardly into his pectoral muscles, but he pushes enough for Ahmya to utilise him as a human springboard and she leaps off.

Eyes as clear as the morning sky travel to their limits. When she spins over in the backflip, there is a window of opportunity that cannot be denied. The issue is that timing is incredibly tricky. His axis becomes the braced limb, rotating his hips over the point. It's an unusual kind of roundhouse, lazy as all hell, with Ash beginning low and aiming high, to take Ahmya down from the side like he was going to axe her in half.

COMBATSYS: Ahmya full-parries Ash's Medium Kick!!

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Ash              0/-------/--=====|=======\-------\1            Ahmya

Ahmya keeps hitting, but none of them have been clean or decisive. She goes airborne, her blades slicking through the air and into the Frenchman's blocking arms as she ascends. Her foot swings out as she angles over. It's a graceful, dancelike move, leaving her seemingly vulnerable as she begins to flip back over to land on her feet. Ash goes to take advantage of this, but it doesn't quite fire as expected or hoped.

As she begins to turn back to her feet, the kick comes, swining from low to high. Her red eye seems to glow in the dark as she twists, crossing her blades along the flats of them and shoving both into the path of the strike. The impact sends her sailing away, but instead of an uncontrolled, uncoordinated flight, Ahmya arcs gracefully, twisting her body so that her feet touch the ground first. She lights upon it gracefully, the three tails of her dress fluttering down. She tilts her head slightly, looking at Ash in a curious way. She takes one single step towards him, the air rippling darkly around her and then she is gone.

The faintest sound heralds her reappearance, the very air itself displacing as she reappears in an instant behind the Rebellious Flame. She's so close that their backs are nearly touching. Without a word, she lifts her arms and then drives her twin blades back towards his spine in a ruthless and cold assassin's strike.

COMBATSYS: Ahmya successfully hits Ash with Setsuna EX.
~~ Alluring Hit! ~~
# Disabling hit! #

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Ash              1/-----==/=======|=======\==-----\1            Ahmya

Hold on, his calf muscles doth protest. Is it not sufficient enough for Ahmya even if it wasn't exactly where she intended?

Does she seek the elusive 'killing blow' every time? It seems premature, given the infancy of their fight, although Ash is mindful of how rapidly the situation can change or deteriorate. Experience has taught him that good fortune is fickle, and it doesn't help that after years of inactivity during which the Frenchman had no idea of the whereabouts of his body or what it was doing, he's engaged in this and bungling it up like an amateur. Like nothing is able to respond with quite the efficiency it used to.


The kick would've been brutal, had it connected, but she's able to elevate herself to new heights off the bottom of his shoe, landing with nary a part of her dress out of place. Crimson makes no attempt to conceal his dissatisfaction, the disappointed click of his tongue, because Ahmya Shiki is currently a soul case and it's quite unlikely she'll care to comment. Ruthless in her execution, her emptiness is all too familiar.

"Ahhh~hhh," he muses out loud in his lackadaisical cadence, mostly to himself, "I'm beginning to wonder whether your lead is a dead end, Duo..."

Or if Ash has the ability to reach those in the tournament with answers...

Another sigh.

He detangles his hair by combing his fingers through it, then tightens the ponytail against his scalp. While the wound on Ash's hand is a tiny red line, almost fully healed, the blood that was steadily trailing after him has congealed, on its way to forming rusted crimson scabs.

Ahmya tilts her head, and the European imitates her. Noting the ripple distortion, it's not dissimilar to the powers bestowed upon Crimson by the Yata Mirror from another timeline, except its nature is malicious...

She will undoubtedly reappear behind him. Ash knows this, Ahmya knows this, and even the Revenant Queen would be well aware if Her Highness was watching the combat from a location that reflects her tastes in tragedy and the macabre. He moves to evade, however there's not enough time in the world for him to do so. Perhaps if he could harness the skill of his ancestor to MAKE time...

But that leads right to the ultimate bad ending. It's a hard pass.

Painting the soil in a horrific rain of gore, the blades have been run through him from back to abdomen. The pyrokinetic braces his stance while uttering a stifled hiccough as an errant scarlet dribble trickles down his jawline. It drops onto the upper portion of his chest. God only knows why Ash ever spends money on clothing considering how frequently his opponents insist on ruining it. Dammit, why does everyone despise fashion!

Jokes aside, this ought to cripple him, as most others would be. Since both swords can't have missed ALL of his vital organs, he should be bleeding out and on the ground...

And yet, as the flamewielder's freckled face begins to lose healthy colour, there's a point where it just... stops. Like he perches on a sort of precipice where it's not enough to send him teetering over the edge. If she doesn't act soon and with caution, Ash will whirl around and wrench the artefacts from her grasp. The rejection of corruption is agonisingly screaming through him, but he's gonna clutch the weapons themselves to keep them locked in.

Whatever happens -- whether she succeeds in removing the twin blades or not -- Ash is in possession of a roiling, riotous sphere of his emerald birthright. The blonde's features have a sickly glow to them, and the hollows beneath his blue eyes make him look older than his apparent age of 18. "I suppose I better step up my game, cherie," he says playfully, breathlessly, but there's no malice to his words, "Fortunately for you, I'm not nearly so murderous."

That doesn't mean he wouldn't hurt her, possibly even burn her severely. After all, it's only temporary, gone within a day's time. If Ash is able to, he brings the ball down on Ahmya, setting her top half ablaze before the bubble bursts like a wicked star.

COMBATSYS: Ash successfully hits Ahmya with Thermidor.

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Ash              0/-------/------=|=======\=======\1            Ahmya

Ahmya feels no satisfaction at hurting Ash. No joy or elation. It just is a thing that has happened. She withdraws her weapons, the swords hanging loosely from her fingers in the ring shaped guards. (These are quite strange swords.) The first emotion crosses her face as he snatches the tainted blades from her fingertips in a fast swipe. Her eyes widen, her expression fluxuating between outrage and raw shock.

"G-give those back! They belonged to my grandmother!"

This is, apparently, the girl herself. The link severed, the other voice retreating to the back as the item of influence is not in her possession. She hesitates briefly, which is enough for Ash to take her by surprise, blasting her away with the emerald bubble of flame's burst. The shockwave sends her sailing, and she hits the ground hard, rolling and skidding until she comes to a stop after bleeding all of her momentum. She's still for a moment, laying on the ground and breathing hard. Much of her skin is an angry red from the flash burn. Everything hurts physically and mentally. She lies still, silent.

'He has our things, the keepsakes from Great Grandmother. We must get them back.'

'Yes, but... But I can't fight without them.'

'Yes we can. Just do as I tell you...'

Ahmya rises, the blue snake standing out on her reddened skin. Mostly because, at this point, it's glowing. She wraps her arms around her torso, gripping her shoulders as she looks at Ash. The ground rumbles softly, then stills. An instant later, chains of black iron erupt from the earth. They zing through the air around Ash, winding like serpents made of metal. Their goal is to bind him, if only for a moment.

As the chains rattle and cry, Ahmya walks towards the Rebellious flame. She takes two steps and is suddenly more like six closer. Another two, and she's almost within arm's reach. It's like frames of animation are missing. She's just -there-. Another half syep, and her face seems to fill Ash's entire field of vision. Her hands reach up to cradle his face in an almost sensual manner. Her head tilts, leaning just a bit forward and--

How did she get her swords back is the question that may be asked as her arms draw upwards in a violent X, bringing the blades with them.

COMBATSYS: Ash blocks Ahmya's Skandha Avidya.

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Ash              0/-------/----===|====---\-------\0            Ahmya

When Ash ripped each crooked hilt away from her, he certainly did not anticipate such an intense emotional reaction. His initial bewilderment gives way to a growing sense of understanding, with the Frenchman finding Ahmya's outburst rather... absurd. Ignoring the wails of protest, what did she expect to happen as he abruptly turned around? Right now, he's a human substitute for a weapon rack.

"'Give those back,' she says." Ash neither mimics her nor belittles her distress. While the words are swallowed by the hearty roar of the flames and lost within them, he laughs mirthfully, shaking his head, "If only it were that easy."

Probably impossible for Crimson to remove the swords on his own, were this a perfect world, he'd well have thrown them into obscurity. After Ahmya blasts off again, this time with less control, the effeminate European gains precious few seconds to consider his stabbed situation and what he means to do about it...

However, distractions are in abundance, and he's always looking to be entertained.

As her cursed brand glows, more pressing is the matter of a malignant pulse rumbling through the earthen veins beneath their feet. Ropes of iron restraints erupt around him, casting a crisscrossed net over his chest and back to ensnare him. His arms are bound to his sides in an instant, the chains clattering off the blades protruding from his abdomen. Instead of being concerned by this predicament, Ash greets the Red Wanderer's approach with a languid smile. He's curious about her current state of mind since he's come to realise that the heirlooms are what induce the fugue.

She either shadow steps or moves too quickly to be followed, but the young woman invades his personal space with her hands, overwhelming his clammy freckled cheeks with warmth. Aware of Ahmya's sinister intent as she leans in, Ash is subjected to agony reversing itself. The flamewielder sharply recoils from her touch, gasping and cringing, and the nihontou are gone...

Somehow, as if by magic.

It's a clever trick.

Fortunately, Ash has some up his sleeve as well.

Her attempts to carve him are thwarted when there's nothing to work with but air. The obsidian shackles collapse heavily without his body to support them. Ash leaves behind motes and bubbles of his strange, waxy energy, like a prelude of what's to come once he steps through a tear in the very fabric of reality. Blood soaks him through, one leg of his track pants deadened by the weight, wetly glistening in the moonlight. Prodding a rent strip of skin as if reminding it to knit itself back together, this part always takes forever.

Frustrating, to be sure.

So let's finish things~

Enveloped by an inferno, he leans into the raging blaze, enfolding himself in a twisted embrace as the verdant plumes caress him. The heat makes him dizzy, and the updraft catches his long ponytail. Just before he closes them, Ash's cerulean eyes, as clear as the sky, shift to scarlet.

Then rising in a malevolent arc, it explodes outwards. The emerald maelstrom is an undulating wave, an insurmountable wall, and literal fiery hell descending at Ahmya Shiki, promising at least a long and horrible minute of burning. There's something about it that suggests Ash is holding back, like a cat who would rather play with a caught mouse than outright kill it. "Ahaha, enjoy!" exclaims the slender pyrokinetic, smiling brightly.

COMBATSYS: Ash successfully hits Ahmya with Sans Culottes.

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Ash              0/-------/-------|=======\==-----\1            Ahmya

Ahmya gets her swords back! The pain, however, remains undelivered. ... Well, the full brunt of it. As Ash escapes the chains, leaving them to dangle, they crumble to so much dust. A brush from the hot wind that he's building, and it's like they were never there in the first place. She flickers away, her weapons regained. The snake brand pulses unwholesomely as she faces down the Frenchman, her head tilted slightly, waiting.

Before she can see the flames, she can feel the buildup of heat, her mismatched eyes narrow as she plots her reaction.

Her reaction is Real Dumb.

As the inferno erupts, Ahmya throws herself at it. She charges into the green flames, her blades burning violet with demon chi. The wave is, beyond searing emerald flame, a shockwave of some power. She charges into it, the flames washing over her. For a moment, she seems to be entirely consumed by the flames, burning to dust in silence. Not a sound comes from her as her body is burned and ravaged by the fires.

What comes out is so much worse.

Ahmya Shiki, the Red Wanderer, is on fire. Her skin is bubbling as her clothes burn and melt into her. Her hair is rapidly burning away, for the moment a writhing torch atop her skull. Her face is unrecognizable save her eyes which seem to be untouched, shining red and blue in the light of her own burning body.

The snake is still wrapped around her ruined thigh, pulsing with some kind of unholy power.

Whatever damage has been done, however close she is to the false(?) death of the Descent, it has not changed her speed or skill one bit. She moves like a snake, like a striking viper. No, a Mamba. Both blades sling in low before she rises, lashing out in a still graceful display of lightning quick strikes. It's a graceful dance, made ghoulish by her horrible injuries. Her strikes rise higher and she leaps again, lashing out with feet covered in melting boots, arcing over backwards to -somehow- land upright.

COMBATSYS: Ahmya successfully hits Ash with Tenma Wave Cyclone.

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Ash              1/------</<<<<<<<|==-----\-------\0            Ahmya

As he watches the young woman throw herself wholeheartedly at his flames, Ash Crimson can appreciate one thing in this world...

//Everything// burns.

Bravo for her daring (or lunacy), but Ahmya emerges crispier than Shen's sad attempts at home cooking. Splaying delicate digits across the contemplative line of his lips, he's not cold enough to laugh, and neither does Ash express his deepest sympathies. "Saa, was that not enough?" With canting their heads becoming a recurring theme, the pyrokinetic repeats the gesture curiously as platinum blonde sheets of his luxurious lengths of hair spill into view. In reaction to the nonverbal response to his question, he blinks.

Clearly Crimson didn't expect the Red Wanderer to rush him after all of that...

Guess she's not out for the count just yet!

A quick snap of his fingers disperses the flamewielder's birthright in a blinding instant, leaving her as a charred and smoking reminder of the opponent she once was. The serpentine dance is Ahmya's retaliation, so Ash settles into a braced stance, hoping that he can withstand the assault or stop it. Almost any outcome is preferable, as long as he doesn't serve himself up again to be skewered...

Nevertheless, Ash encounters a very pressing, prominent problem: given the effects of her cursed blades, how could he predict that the tainted chi would eventually force the Yata Mirror to activate? Violently rejecting all forms of energy that compromise the seal, it feels like being ripped apart both internally and externally.

The flamboyant Frenchman's knees collide, and if he could, he might have clutched at his heart. Sadly, the personal space to do so is lacking. Ahmya is a boiled, ghastly invader; a slicing, striking red whirlwind. Picking up power and momentum in her rotation, the fury happens everywhere and all at once. By the time she kicks him square in the chest, knocking Ash ass over tea kettle, the fey fighter is riddled with enough cuts and gashes, he could probably convincingly claim to have fought with a paper shredder...

And lost.

But somehow, she has missed every vital point. Despite the fact that he resembles a marking sheet for Victor Zsasz, it's mostly superficial wounds. Ash somersaults into an exhausted and pained crouch, regarding the weeping crimson mark carved into his palm, evaporating his own blood with another burst of, you guessed it, fire.

If the real Ahmya Shiki is still even vaguely aware of what's going on, she's undoubtedly so tired of this.

Ash staggers up, barely able to support his weight with his legs. Perhaps the Revenant Queen's nickname wasn't so far off the mark? The Rebellious Flame giggles, his gentle lilt sent to the graves waiting with bated breath. "I'm not one for making an effort, but..." Crimson brings the collection of his flaming inheritance to his mouth, his Cheshire Cat's grin illuminated by the green glow. "C'est la vie, if I let you win, I'd never hear the end of it."

So, what does he do? His cheeks cave as he inhales, his lungs expanding -- something a person who was literally double-stabbed should NOT be able to do. Ash then blows a fiery hot kiss at Ahmya before smothering the remainder with a clenched fist.

Although it doesn't travel in a straight line, nor does it descend from above, when the menacing fireball materialises directly in front of her, the explosion is immediate if she lurches into it. The noise that follows is like a gunshot, loud enough that it could potentially cause acoustic trauma, but you'd be surprised at how rare that actually is.

Consider this Ash's parting gift~

COMBATSYS: Ash can no longer fight.

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

COMBATSYS: Ash successfully hits Ahmya with Genie.

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

Ahmya's body is in agony. Honestly, most humans would not be conscious, much less still fighting, with the level of burns she's received. Yet, she perserveres. Her strikes land clean, and her backflip sends her back to the ground on surprisingly steady, if melty, legs. Ash's amusement belies the grotesqueness of her state. Her breaths are gasping wheezes, like Darth Vader outside of the suit to be honest.

When Ash does not fall, what's left of the girl lifts her swords and charges again. Her speed isn't what it used to be, not with her body so wrecked, and she is simply not fast enough to evade the explosive kiss. The shockwave is enough to knock her from her feet once again, sending her tumbling to the ground in what has to be absolute agony.

She doesn't get back up.

Slightly closer inspection reveals that she still breathes. She is very lucky that this bout is blessed by the Revenant Queen. As such, when she wakes, she'll just feel ... Sunburned. That's when she wakes, for now, she lies still, the snake brand seeming to dissolve as if it were never there.

COMBATSYS: Ahmya takes no action.

COMBATSYS: Ahmya can no longer fight.

Understanding the impermanence of all injurious things in the tournament, there's no reason to stick around, and Ash Crimson doesn't advocate the use of deadly force. His outline grows fainter with each passing second. "It's been a treat, Myamya!" Yes, the flamewielder is aware that she is unconscious. "I think you should connect with an exorcist, though. Maybe one of those shrine maidens? Ahaha, well, at least you have options~"

What a snide jerk. A French jerk.

Log created on 19:34:24 08/11/2022 by Ahmya, and last modified on 09:33:24 08/24/2022.