NFG Season One - Metro City R3 - Braun vs Junko

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Description: Somebody must be after fire insurance fraud because The Dead Squirrel is in for a fresh new look after Junko and Braun finish with it. It's fire and mayhem, NFG style!

A scrapyard. A dank fight club. Now a bar. The organizers of this thing sure have a sense of humor and Braun's pretty much caught onto it by he might as well play into it. He's given up on trying to guess at any pattern, rhyme or reason to anything that's been going on since he entered this competition and has resigned himself to simply leaning fully into the insanity. He entered the competition at something of a slight disadvantage being a newcomer with the wheels already well greased and going and Team Blaze may be in last place...but at this stage he just doesn't care. He's had good showings for his two fights but not a concrete win to his name. It would be nice but at this point simply enjoying himself and getting some violence out of it all is the goal.

So he's pretty much full on drunk at the moment. His huge body slouches boredly over the bar as the setup for the fight concludes and he grabs another beer and begins noisly downing it into his large maw, massive teeth visible and the drink running sloppily down the huge canines and massive incisors into the gaping leonine gullet he possesses and when it misses that it just sloppily falls to his exposed torso and runs down the canyons, plates, peaks and valleys that is his immense physique.

A rumbling belch escapes him as he tosses the now empty bottle over his shoulder and unerringly into a can while the bar itself is just filled from one end to the other of empty mugs. One assumes that anybody else in this competition save Hawksley, would have been long passed out or rushed to the hospital but there have been surprises throughout this whole thing.

His metabolism keeps him going though and he's cracked open another beer within a few seconds and after emtpying that one, pauses, rumbles a half belch, half great-cat rumble and then reaches to try and find another one, only to find that one was the last.

"Hrrrgh. Ugh. Figures."

Junko has had her own experiences with the dark humor of this contest's organizers. While they could be forgiven for not being aware of her penchant for wild collateral damage in her debut battle, that chaotic display had been rewarded with her next bout going down inside of a small enclosed arena underneath a restaurant made out of wood. Now she finds herself being directed to another place of business only smaller and literally filled with alcohol.

It's almost like they're actively trying to get these places burned down.

But, whether she is being used for some thinly veiled attempt at insurance fraud or not isn't the miko's responsibility - she also has no idea what insurance even is. She was sent here to fight, so that's what she's going to do. At this point any chaos that results from her explosive combat style is squarely on the shoulders of the people picking these locations.

The fans of the Neo Fighting Generation seem to have learned their lesson, however. All of the spectators are milling around -outside- of the Dead Squirrel, crowded together into a dense semi-circle around the front windows. While the actual bar is unavailable, the owners of the Irish pub aren't about to let the opportunity to sell their wares to this massive crowd to go to waste. Several portable mini-bars have been set up at various intervals on the opposite side of the street and a hefty portion of the onlookers while away the minutes with a mug in hand.

These people are thirsty for violence! And nothing washes down a good brawl like a pint of Guinness.

This is Junko's first visit to a bar. When she had asked her uncle precisely what sort of establishment was going to be the venue for her next battle, the closest he could compare it to was the old tea house back in their village. A place for people to gather after a long day of work and enjoy a nice relaxing drink in the company of others.

She had good memories of that place. The old man who operated the establishment had been kind to her when her family went to visit, always sneaking her extra portions of dango to take home. Junko didn't often get to interact with the farmers and hunters who lived in the village proper, what with her home being situated up on the side of Mt. Fuji instead of down among the valleys. Their infrequent trips to the chashitsu also afforded her the chance to play with some of the local children.

As such, the young girl's mood is unusually high at the thought of getting to experience the Western version of such a pleasant place. Right up until she actually gets there.

The most obvious thing to strike Junko as she draws near to the appointed venue is the stench. Like most blind people, the loss of her vision had enhanced her sense of smell, something she is sorely wishing she could turn off at the moment. The stink of sweat and cheap deodorants is something she's started to get used to. Every fight has been host to massive crowds of people and this one is no different in that regards. The addition of copious quantities of booze, however, elevates the aroma of the mass of spectators from offensive to downright nauseating.

Junko's only experience with alcohol was the occasional ceremonial use of sake. Her parents both avoided the stuff as much as possible and warned her about the dangers of addiction. She had seen a few drunken louts first-hand during her visits to town and occasionally caught some of the shrine maidens sneaking off to indulge in spirits around the temple. But that was the most extreme thing she'd ever been exposed to. What waits for her inside of this 'pub' is something else entirely.

Junko almost retches as a wave of beer fumes strikes her in the face upon pushing her way into the Dead Squirrel. While she had found the name particularly strange upon first learning of it, now she's starting to understand the moniker. She's had dead animals left on her doorstep that were less offensive to her sensitive nose.

After spending a few moments to regain her composure, the girl pinches her nose shut and makes her way into the pub towards the sole smear of bright orange heat on the far side of the bar. The temperature in the room spikes noticeably as she draws near, quickly going from semi-comfortable to sauna in the span of a few moments. It's time to meet her opponent, who is apparently trying to single-handedly out drink the crowd outside and has a stench to rival them as well. Lovely.

Not much has been explained to her about this round's opponent. Unable to watch videos of her fellow warriors' fights in order to prepare herself, she has no idea what kind of person he'll be. Nor, as she draws near, does she show any overt reaction to his obviously inhuman heritage. But she doesn't need to know that he's a darkstalker for her face to be twisted in an expression of obvious disdain, clearly not a fan of his decision to relocate the contents of the entire bar into his stomach.

"You stink, gaijin."

She's not the only one with preternatural senses beyond the capabilities of other mortals. He smells her. Long before she steps in he smells her approach. The scent of embers lingering about her. The fresh scent for renewal and destruction carried on through the atmosphere. He smells her attitude. Her disdain. Her displacement. Her ego and sense of self. His nostrils flare, bearing that scent as much as all of the other wild ones in this place that give it its unique cadence, distinguishing each individual scent and its source and snorting, unbothered and unphased.

He's been worse places. She should have tried fighing in Abigail's Scrap Metal...

"'Foreigner's abit out of place coming from you.." he drawls, back turned to her still as he boredly lifts another beercan up and twists it about in a massive clawed hand. "...But I guess not 'wrong' considering the context.." he grunts out before setting the can down and finally pushing up from the bar with the heaviness of some gargantuan biker being told it's time to finally find somewhere else to loiter.

"You aint necessarily smellin' like Chanel yerself, by the way. You always walk around ready to spontaneously combust?"

He turns, finally, to look upon her and upon picking up on her lack of sight he arcs an eyebrow. "Mmm....I thought the blind one was supposedly some sorta hot stripper.... I guess I shouldn't be surprised there's more then one blind girl in this crazy thing."

He gestures absently, in her direction. A sort of lazy gesture that beckons her yet somehow manages to be dismissive all at the same time. "Well whatever. Doesn't matter. Let's get this show on the road."

COMBATSYS: Braun has started a fight here.

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Braun            0/-------/-------|

Junko has no idea what Chanel is but she knows an insult when she hears one. The girl recoils as if slapped and her eyes narrow, crimson irises flaring with an inner fire that makes them flash red-orange like molten iron. A wild hot-tempered warrior she might be but underneath all that fire and fury is the fragile heart of a young girl! You can't just say something like that casually!

While she shows no obvious signs of her blindness like Djamila, no blindfold or stumbling over the furniture, there are enough subtle signs that a predator like Braun can pick them out. The way that her glare seems a little unfocused and off-center, as if she can sense the giant man-cat's general location but not the specifics. Her hands had likewise offered a piece of evidence, reaching out to run across the surface of the tables and chairs as she approached, feeling out their shape and position. She has gotten quite good at hiding the signs, her measured gait easily concealed as an aspect of her brooding personality, but they are still there.

The miko's lip pulls back in a growl, baring her teeth. Compared to Braun's wicked chompers the young girl's pristine white snarl looks positively adorable. The great big bows in her snowy hair don't help dispel the image of a spoiled princess trying to look threatening.

But, while her angry expression might not be terribly menacing, the sudden wave of intense heat that explodes from the scarlet fire that engulfs her fist as she draws it back is far more compelling. The uncomfortable warmth surrounding Junko spikes into the stratosphere, the air around her actually shimmering like a mirage in the desert as her tiny hand starts to glow like the end of a lit cigarette.

"Yes. Let's!"

Hurling herself forward in a reckless lunge, the miko swings her cocked fist forward in a powerful straight punch. The massive size difference between her and Braun makes it all but impossible for her to aim for his face without leaving the ground, much as she would have liked to blast that insolent mouth of his, so instead she drives her flaming punch square into that tool shed of a torso.

Contact with her knuckles proves to be unpleasant in a number of ways. First there is the obvious threat of the fire, which is just as hot and painful as one would expect from a roaring bonfire. But the real danger comes after she hits as the tiny inferno around her hand detonates like a small bomb, erupting with enough force to send the nearby tables and chairs as well as their coating of loose bottles flying in every direction like shrapnel. Even if she should miss that giant target somehow, the detonation goes off in thin air with similar results.

COMBATSYS: Junko has joined the fight here.

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Junko            0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0            Braun

COMBATSYS: Braun blocks Junko's Guren Bakuenjin.

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Junko            0/-------/------=|==-----\-------\0            Braun

He may -seem- drunk...but it's only seeming. His metabolism races at speeds far beyond human ken. It's hard for him to stay drunk becauee his system simply won't allow it and so his vast drinking is really simply his search for that perpetual buzz that's difficult for him to hold onto. As such, he sees quite abit and has quite a good sense for her as she approaches him. His peering into and through her. His nostrils flaring abit as he sniffs and then rubs his broad nose with the back of a massive hand. He simply lounges there, an oversized version of the great felines he seems connected to and his eyes hood ever so slightly as he leans against the bar and watches her smouldering anger. His mouth quirking into a slight fang bearing smirk.

And then she's upon him. Her fist lunging in with the promise of a sudden immolation upon contact and for a moment it seems as if her strike will land true...until his massive arm suddenly whips out into motion, slamming into her outstretched and incoming one to knock it aside and upwards just before contact is made. The result - a powerful detonation rips outward just adjacent to the giant beastman. The fireball flowering out in a blossoming blastwave that explodes through the bar and sends liquor, wood and glass flying as its carried by the distortion wave that rushes out with the rolling heat.

Braun is singed, his flesh scalded, but he seems to pay it no mind and instead his other arm is already rushing in, claws dragging through the air and chi, red and black, crackling visibly around them to trail behind him in a jagged swatch of energy that follows the arcing movement of the giant brutes swing. It cuts through the flames, wildly ripping them apart as he leans into the strike to try and swipe the girl back away from him.

COMBATSYS: Junko endures Braun's Beast King's Decree.

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Junko            0/-------/----===|==-----\-------\0            Braun

Upon being exposed to direct contact with those flames for the first time, her opponent will find that there is another more nasty aspect to the power Junko wields. Thin ribbons of black corruption flicker through the scarlet fire, tendrils of unholy power that seem to writhe like living things. The worst of the explosion is diverted but even in the shockwave he finds himself being buffeted not only by heat and flame but something akin to raw hatred as well.

Unnatural. That is the only way to describe the sensation. It's as if the very concept of rage and malice has been distilled into some tangible force and laced into air like a pheromone. Waves of animosity wash over him intermingled with the fire, scorching his soul as well as his mutated flesh.

The miko's wild assault proves almost suicidally aggressive. In the wake of the blast her own hand looks just as toasted as Braun's hide, her fingers blackened and cracking from third degree burns. Anyone who has been burned before would be able to appreciate just how much that has to hurt but the young girl hardly flinches as her strike is deflected.

The counter-blow comes in fast - much faster than she can react, apparently. Junko senses the blur of heat that is her opponent's arm lash out in her direction. She can't see the claws, nor has any reason to expect them, still unaware of the nature of her foe. Turning into the strike as much as possible, the girl spreads her feet and prepares to take a clouting strike against her side as best she can.

The tiny daggers of Braun's nails slash into her without opposition, slicing through her fancy shirt and the sensitive flesh beneath it with disturbing ease. Junko lets out a girlish shriek of surprise and pain, the massive swing physically lifting the small priestess off the ground and tossing her backwards several feet.

One of the large wooden tables catches the miko by virtue of being solid enough to stop her backwards momentum. She slams into the narrow edge hard, grunting painfully as she flops over sideways against its surface. A hand goes down to her side, pressing against the nasty wound instinctively. Bright red stains blossom along the ragged gashes in her shirt, staining the white silk.


With that realization, that she has one again been pitted against some inhuman creature, all bets are suddenly off.

Whipping her head up to glare fiery daggers at Braun, the miko pushes away from the table and brings both of her hands up in front of her. Anyone who has been in the street fighting business long enough or pays attention to how these fights tend to go down can likely recognize what's about to happen next.

Brilliant scarlet fire starts to gather in Junko's hands, blazing hot enough to feel the heat from across the room. Her pale face twists into another snarl of fury, this one far less cute and cuddly than before. It isn't just irritation and disdain in her expression, malice and fury joining the mix to create a mask of near psychopathic hostility.

After a moment of gathering her power, the fire swirling around Junko's hands suddenly erupts forward as she belts out a furious shout. What comes for Braun is no mere fireball, however, but a literal deluge of neon red flame. A beam of concentrated power lances across the bar, the blast of rage-fueled heat backed up by so much raw power that the girl can hardly contain it.

As tall and wide across as the miko herself, that massive laser-like blast rips through the center of the room in a wave of utter destruction. Everything in its path disintegrates into ash - tables, chairs, the floorboards, scattered bottles - all are rapidly eroded away to nothing in the blinding neon inferno.

COMBATSYS: Junko successfully hits Braun with Shakkahou.

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Junko            0/-------/-======|=======\-------\0            Braun

She would have been for a rude awakening had bets never been off to begin with. This is a competitoin after all and even if Team Blaze is playing more for pride then high placement at this point, Braun didn't come to lay down and lose. Even so, his initial strike was more of a warning then a dedicated attempt at full mass destruction. Whatever he did, though, she seems to be intent on immediately cranking things up to the eleven.

The raw hatred and malice--- doesn't seem to invoke any specific reaction from him. This brute has had dealings with the makai. His people with nobles among them even. An ancient history is buried in him and, but for his exile and the power he sought to unlock, he'd likely be back among their warrior elite even now and not out in the greater world. That's not fully relevant but to simply say that though his face contorts in some degree of surprise and consternation at the feeeling of the incarnate vitriol, he weathers it. Though she cannot see it - she no doubt sensed the raw rage of the crackling manifested chi as it ripped past her and into the bar following his first attack. His power may not hers exactly ...but it is adjacent.

"Bake-what?" he rumbles in confusion. "Sorry babe. You're throwin' insults up the wrong tre--"

His words are cut short as she launched into her attack. Her effective 'wave motion cannon' of an attack blistering itself across the bar as she unloads her fury into the room. He crosses his arms before him but is an instant too slow as the beam washes over his body and a roaring bestial cry of shock and pain thunders out loudly. Rattling walls, cracking glasses and merging with the warping sound of her fiery onslaught. For an instance it may seem as if he was washed away in the flames just like the debris caught in the wake of her attack.

But then the energy is parted as massive claws rip forward through the dissipating energy, pulling it apart like a curtain being rent. Burnt and blistered, but also larger by far with his features more leonine and his mane a flaming red hue. He's gained more then a foot in height and his garments, what's left of them after the assault, have shifted to match. Chi crackles around the brutes enraged battle form as he leers at her, leaning forward with his great enalrged maw dragging flames behind it.

She certainly cannot -see- this but she would -feel- it. Practically 'see' his vastness through her senses in the form of the boiling chi unlocked by her own attack just as much as she also senses the shackles on him trying to hold him back but gradually breaking as his energy blisters higher along with the scored blast marks upon his body. " wanna play -rough- sister? Fine by me!"

He dashes forward in a blinding blaze of motion in defiance of his great immensity. A thunderbolt bearing down upon her with a great clawed hand reaching out to try and snatch her up, heedless and unbothered by the torrent of flame as it struggles to find purchase. Success would see his immense grip wrapping about her and his momentum carrying the both up and forward across the length of the ruined building. Normally he'd go up a great height but the ceiling barely accomodates him now, let alone a leaping multi storied jump. He still spirals, spinning and attempting to slam her back downward with his arm crushing her towards the ruined ground.

HIt or miss, he immediately moves again like a shell fired from a battleship. His massive hand a burning scar of chi through the air as his enlarged body whrils into a spinning attack. A wild upper cut that rips massive claws and jagged energy through the air, ground and ceiling in a final violent assault against her and the whole of the bar around her.

COMBATSYS: Braun blitzes into action and acts again!

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Junko            0/-------/-======|=======\-------\0            Braun

COMBATSYS: Junko endures Braun's Cyclonic Driver.

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Junko            1/------=/=======|======-\-------\0            Braun

COMBATSYS: Junko interrupts Whirlwind Fang from Braun with Hou-ou Shoten Ha.

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Junko            1/----===/=======|=======\==-----\1            Braun

Fighting without restraint might be the man-cat's preferred style of throwing down but Junko has more things to worry about than simply earning points for her team. That she has been forced into this contest at all is something that she finds no pleasure in. Every time she has to call upon her cursed powers is an ordeal, her control over the flames tenuous at best, wildly unstable at worst. Inflicting the sort of soul-searing agony that courses through that scarlet fire upon another human is something she does with great regret.

Fortunately, last time she checked, humans don't have claws. Nor do they absorb hellfire like a sponge and swell up to twice their normal size. Her nose wrinkles up at his transformed state as if she can smell the twisted chi writhing around inside of his grotesque body.

If there was any hesitation left in her before, it's certainly gone now. Her clan has spent literal centuries standing guard over humanity from the shadows, fighting a forgotten war against the demons and monsters that have all but been forgotten to the pages of myth and history. Now, it would seem, those dusty old books have been taken off the shelf and cracked open again to spill forth abominations into the world.

And what have the fools of the modern world done in response? -Embraced- these foul beasts! Spread their arms wide and invited them in for hugs and tea! Okay, she really doubts anyone invited -this- particular foul-mouthed brute in for tea - but the point remains! Monsters deserve only one thing and that's to be eradicated.

Unfortunately, she isn't allowed to do that here. The representative of the organization behind this ridiculous spectacle had made it very clear that she isn't allowed to burn anyone to ash, not even filthy demons.

But that doesn't mean she can't make him suffer.

Once again, Braun moves fast enough that his pint-sized opponent can't seem to react in time to offer a meaningful defense. His massive claw ploughs through the outpouring of deadly flame, parting the neon beam like liquid as it snaps forward to ensnare the girl. Junko grunts in surprise at the speed of the attack and again with more feeling as the wicked talons dig into her flesh once more. Her slender fingers, now blackened and burned, try to paw at his wrist in an effort to dislodge the darkstalker's tight grip but she might as well be poking him with a handful of flimsy straws for all the good it does.

The sudden addition of rotational motion to the flying tackle sends Junko's stomach lurching. Being blind, she's always struggled with keeping her orientation straight without some sort of heat source nearby to provide an anchor point. Getting spun around in midair like a pinwheel doesn't do anything positive for her sense of equilibrium.

Ironically, being slammed back down onto the floor solves that issue. It isn't pleasant by any stretch of the imagination but it does provide her a solid reference point for which way is up. And, as she demonstrates quickly, this isn't the first time she's used a good smack in the face to figure out which way she should swing back.

Fury and indignation floods through the miko and she allows it to hollow her out, burning away the pain. Even as Braun withdraws his giant paw to wind up for another lightning-fast follow up, she's already moving, gathering power for her own brazen retort.

Scarlet heat erupts around Junko in a veritable tornado of power, a pillar of roaring flame that churns so chaotically that it starts to swirl around her. Kipping up to her feet, the girl takes a single rapid step forward as the violent maelstrom engulfs both combatants, putting herself uncomfortably close to the giant beast man.

Too close to properly swing at, the girl has more than enough time to pivot in place and drive her tiny fist straight up like a piston, square into the fat target of Braun's distended jaw. The impact of her punch is almost laughably weak. If a small child had come up and punched him it might have be less insulting. The monstrous detonation of hellfire that accompanies that noodle armed uppercut, however, more than makes up the difference.

Suffering breeds strength. Sadly her attempt to make him suffer isn't problematic for him. He desires the pain, the aggression, the struggle. Without it he can't break his shackles. Through contest he grows in power. Even losses and punishment for his body builds back stronger, even now in the instants of this battle, he gains and learns. Its incremental but it's happening so alas, no satisfaction from suffering here. Braun only grins at the pain.

The size difference bears no insult and though his form may be grotesque to her senses it breeds nothing but awesomeness to those who see the massive brute blurring about at speeds that the high speed cameras struggle to keep up with. The crowds outside cheer at the muscle, the pryotechnics, the roaring and calamity of a display all without realizing that this struggle seems to have roots far more dire then simple competition. Something Braun picks up on as well as the detonation engulfs his body and sends him spinning backwards like a meteor, enflamed and trailing flame and ash in his wake.

He lands upright, skidding backwards and blasting out a shockwave of fire from his body as his chi explodes out from him to dissipate the flames and push them back from him, scorching the ground, air and walls about him with damages equaled to his massive gouge marks in throughout the place from his wild slashes and the crackling whip crack of energy from his strikes.

He reaches up and rubs at his singed jaw, working it back and forth to test it and then rumbling out upon finding he's still able to speak:

"Hn. Not bad, sister. I take it you got some sorta grudge. You probably -think- you know what I am....and it's driving you. Lemme guess. Some sorta wanna be guardian? One of how many would be 'We're defenders of the earth, humanity, blah blah blah' out there? No more important then the rest of them but so self important you think you can pass judgement on th'rest? Probably older then you look in your own way. Typical really. Smell it all over your attitude. We're actually closer then you think...but...maybe I'll explain it to you some other time.." She cant' see it but she no doubt can hear the swell of his sinew and the creaking of his physique as his burnt and bloodied form brace for another attack. "Get ready, sweetheart!" he warns. massive maw bared into a grin. "Let's push your wannabe 'Firestarter' skills to the limit!"

The very ground lurches violently as he suddenly vanishes in a blur of movement and then explodes into being behind her. His flash step rips up floorboard, sends the remaining furniture flying as he lunges a massive arm around, trailing another jagged swath of chi through the air along the arc of his tree trunk like limb. Should this land another strike happens and then another, criss crossing the air in a wild barrage followed by a final upper cut to attempt to send her airborne. His body lunges after her, reaching wildly to grab for her in mid flight and then bring her back down again in another slamming attempt.

Even as this onslaught attempts to land home, the energy is peeling from him. His body diminishign in size as his chi bleeds away, returning him to his previous form. His clothes knit back around him by some supernatural force as well, albiet in a state reflective of their duel.

COMBATSYS: Braun successfully hits Junko with Beast Roar's Impact.

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Junko            1/=======/=======|==-----\-------\0            Braun

Westerners sure love to talk.

After two other matches against foreign warriors, that seems to be a running trend. A near constant stream of pointless banter interrupting the flow of battle. Compliments. Insults. Musings on philosophy. Now some sort of spontaneous psychoanalysis session. What's next, advice on how to take care of her hair?

Junko just scowls at her opponent as he rambles on, her only contribution to the discussion coming by way of an annoyed roll of her eyes. They might not be any good for seeing with but no teenager is complete without some angsty disdain to wield. Next time she's going to have to hit him in the mouth harder. A monster's tooth would make for a fine trophy.

His guess isn't entirely off the mark though. She does know what he is and she is a defender of humanity - though probably not in the way he thinks. As for passing judgement, well, you don't need to be a saint to be morally superior to a demon.

Out of everything he says, however, it's the 'sweetheart' comment that gets under her skin the most. The miko stomps a foot on the burned and cracked floorboards, her fists clenching angrily at her side.

"Disrespectful cur! I will-!"

Whatever threat she had been planning to hurl at Braun is cut short as the massive mutant hurls himself through space so fast she can't even register the danger until it's too late. The attack takes the girl completely off guard, crashing into her undefended back like a wrecking ball of fur, muscle, and energy.

The initial impact stuns her into silence, blasting Junko off her feet and setting her up perfectly to be easy prey for the barrage of slashing blows that follow. The furious assault all but shreds her back to ribbons, consequently reducing her fancy shirt to little more than bloody tatters. The final strike and accompanying slam back into the ruined floor demolishes even that leaving the miko face-down and bleeding with nothing but her chest wrap and a few dozen ofuda plastered to her torso to protect her modesty.

Junko coughs raggedly a few moments later, hacking up globs of spittle and blood as she stubbornly pushes herself back to her knees. The simple act of trying to stand is almost enough to make her black out, a combination of blood loss and agony vying against each other to see which one will get her first. Bright scarlet stains start to spread throughout her snowy hair, plastering the long locks to her ragged wounds. Not the bandages she would have preferred, certainly, but whatever keeps her conscious right now is a boon.

So, since bleeding out is no longer an imminent threat, there's just that pesky pain to deal with. Fortunately, she's no stranger to the kind of agony that would leave most grown men curled up in the fetal position. Well, that's not really good fortune, since that pain resistance comes courtesy of being forced to endure the pain of burning herself alive every time she uses her powers. But it is what it is. And right now, it is a useful trait.

Gritting her teeth so tightly that it feels like her jaw might snap, Junko closes her eyes and takes a long steadying breath. What she's about to do is going to suck - hopefully for the mouthy monster but definitely for her. Focusing on the unholy power flowing through her, the miko latches onto that hate and allows it build. Fresh flames burst to life, scarlet heat erupting to engulf her hands and then her entire body. The patch of dark black burned skin spreads from her hands up towards her elbows as she struggles to contain the fountain of steadily building power. The tips of her hair start to glow and burn, pulsing with red-hot light like pieces of molten iron.

Then, with a furious scream of pain and rage, Junko explodes.

Fire blasts outwards from her in an omni-directional wave, hammering into the floor and ceiling and then eventually the walls. Every pane of glass in the entire bar explodes into a spray of glittering shrapnel, showering the onlookers outside with a cloud of super-heated needles.

But that's just the collateral. The interior of the bar briefly turns into a blast furnace of hellish intensity. Every inch of empty space is replaced with an ocean of seething flame and corrupted power that seems eager to destroy. Everything that wasn't picked up and hurled out the freshly demolished windows is scorched into piles of unrecognizable ash leaving every remaining surface coated in a layer of black ruination.

COMBATSYS: Braun blocks Junko's Suzaku no Gekido.

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Junko            0/-------/<<<<<<<|=====--\-------\0            Braun

Banter is part of the fun! Or so Braun would imply. It's a boring fight for fighters to just sit there and flail at each other. Besides, needling someone is an art form and he's bound to say something that's going to get under her skin. Most if ti is a guess. A pretty solid one. But the 'sweetheart' line seems to do the trick and he ends up triumphant...that is until his senses pick up on the inferno building before him.

It's a move worthy of an NOL agent, putting the audience in danger like that. Granted bombs have been hurtled at them and other such things during arena battles but really - safety first and there are no doubt always fail safes in place. Braun, as wild, reckless, immense and bestial as he may be has always fought with an eye towards not endangering bystanders there to observe. He could hurl a car across a street but his aim would be unerring.

After all, it's no good murdering your fans.

This seems an entirely different affair however. For all the berating the Ichikaast has done of the likes of Zarine and Laurel's a strange thing Junko hasn't been targeted or her sponsors if this is her standard method of operation during this tournament. All this and more races through the mouthy bruisers mind. There is no time to escape so he holds his ground and brings his massive arms infront of him to shield his face and eyes. His body, durable beyond normal mens abilities to understand, endures the very heart of the blast wave. The shockwave forces him backwards, skidding his feet along the molten ground. Burning hair, scalding flesh, lighting him a flame...until his massive body swells up again - a great welling of chi bursting forth from him and wrapping about his form to once more ignite his battle-form out of fury and instinct. His crossed arms lift higher into the air/, great talons gleaming and crackling with chi black and red which shoves away the fire about him until he finally brings both arms down in a double clawed haymaker of a swing. A deep roar explodes from him as he does. The great cat thunder shaking the walls and blasting the flames from him along with the shockwave of chi as it blisters through the remnants of flame, following aliong with Braun's tremendous swipe. His whole body leans into it, swamping over and down onto Junko in an effort to bring this girl to the ground. Hit or miss, the damage to the place is supreme between her explosive might and the great rents and sundering stirkes by Braun. The massive wave of force and energy from his swing rippling outward in an expanding shockwave that rips all the way into the furthest depths of the building long after his initial swing for her has finished .

COMBATSYS: Braun successfully hits Junko with Raging Thunder Roar.

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Junko            1/----<<</<<<<<<<|====---\-------\0            Braun

If Junko has any fans to murder, that's their own damn fault. This is her third match in this clown show of a contest and by now anyone who doesn't know to stand well clear of the danger zone has no one to blame but themselves. Either way, it's not like she's trying to hurt anyone on purpose. Calling forth and wielding the demon fire is exhausting and painful, straining her already fragile focus to its absolute limits. Throw in the stress of her injuries and her quickly fraying temper and you have a volatile mixture ready to detonate.

In the aftermath of her explosion, Junko looks the worse for wear. Her arms are all but charred lumps of flesh up to the elbow. Dozens of paper seals wrapped around the upper half of each arm seem to have held back the spread of the cancerous flames, each one covered in an identical line of kanji. At the center of each ofuda, a pair of symbols sit in the middle of a circle, the ink glowing an ominous cherry red. Smoke billows up in twin columns from her scorched fists, intermingling with the haze of grey that has obscured the charred remains of the bar's interior.

Breathing heavily, the miko lifts her head and glowers through the dense cloud directly at her opponent, her heat-based senses suffering no impediment through the dark mist. She senses his twisted chi swelling once again. Even with her limited perceptions, the overhead stretch of his arms is overt enough for her to detect the motion and surmise that another attack is coming.

Grunting with effort, the burned priestess leans to one side, attempting to roll out of the path of the descending hammerblow. The massive claws come crashing down into the ruined floorboards, pulverizing the wood rather than her ribcage. But she hadn't anticipated the blast of energy that accompanies it.

The shockwave sweeps the slender girl up on its bow and carries her across the room like a tidal wave. Her impact with the far wall is brutal, a thunderous crash that crushes Junko flat against the sandstone surface and creates a small crater of spider-webbing cracks around her. The miko remains pinned in place for a few moments as the energy expends itself then slowly falls to the floor in a heap.

At this point, any reasonable person would be finished. Even if they could physically stand up, a thrashing of that intensity isn't something you really just walk off. But, if there is one thing that being host to a corrupted being of pure malice and rage has given Junko, it is an unsettling tolerance for suffering.

Gritting her teeth with effort, the miko slowly peels herself off the floor and pushes to her knees. The journey back to her feet is a little less graceful, involving a lot of staggering about that eventually forces her to lean against the wall for support. After getting swatted like a fly, most of Junko's torso is little more than one big bruise. One of her blazing eyes is swollen shut, blood pouring down to cover half of her face from a nasty gash across her brow. She really did cut that last one quite close it seems.

Regardless of the incredible agony she must be in, it is not pain that dominates her expression but defiance. Junko takes a step forward, pushing away from the wall towards her beastly opponent. The effort of that motion almost sends her crashing back to the ground but she recovers from her stumble and continues to march doggedly back across the room with a hateful glower.

How exactly she plans to be a threat to him in this state is a mystery. Both arms hang limp and useless at her side, telltale flickers of scarlet fire coursing around her charred insensate fingers. Just staying upright seems to be consuming most of her strength, the girl's shoulders heaving with strained breaths at every step.

But she keeps coming.

Whether her opponent chooses to wait for her to draw near or rushes to meet her halfway, the moment Junko is within a few feet of her target she takes action. Gathering up her reserves, the girl crouches and then leaps into the air with a ferocious snarl in what looks like a suicidal trajectory towards the hulking man-cat. At the last moment, however, she whips one of her legs up in a powerful kick that sets her entire body whirling like a top. Demonic scarlet flame erupts around her leg, carving a wide swath through the space currently occupied by Braun's malformed face. Her momentum carries her around two more times, each rotation bringing with it an explosive surge of deadly chi-fire from her feet that lashes at him like a whip.

COMBATSYS: Junko has reached second wind!

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Junko            0/-------/---====|====---\-------\0            Braun

COMBATSYS: Braun interrupts Gouka Senpukyaku from Junko with Sky-Rending Claw.

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Junko            1/-------/=======|

COMBATSYS: Braun can no longer fight.

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Junko            1/-------/=======|

"Hey -kid-. This is a -competition- not a -battlefield-. If you wanna wind up in jail because yer too stupid to restrain yerself and are busy offin' bystanders then be my -guest- but leave -me- out of it. Idiot."

Braun's deep voice cuts in, snarling and chiding as he slides backwards through the inferno in the aftermath of his previous strike. True, the fight organizers and her sponsors bear some responsibility here as well but she's no robot or zombie and if such lack of control is at the heart of her technique she's no business in a competition like the NFG so far as he's concerned.

Not that he has true empathy for those who are no doubt attending to the fallout of her actions outside of the fight zone....He just doesn't want to be dragged into any sort of contraversy that....he himself isn't deliberately responsible for. Priorities. He's also more concerned with just winning.

"Hn. You won't stay down...." he observes, seeing her defiance drag her up into a slow relentless approach. Straightening up, he grins, "Maybe I'll earn some 'hero' points for puttin' the wild out of control fire maiden out of commission! One for the road then!"

Chi crackles about his clawed fist, dancing between his talons as his big grin stretches across his broad leonine adjacent features. He allows her slow inexorable approach without attempting to hamper her until she crosses a certain point in her approach.....and then he's off, lunging at her trailing flames and debris behind him. Just before he fully closes the distance, his great feet dig into what remains of the floor and drag his body to a stop. His massive arms comes in from behind and whip up infront of him, crossing over each other and dragging a massive 'x' shaped slashing wave of energy which rips away from him and barrels through the ruins of the bar towards the incoming priestess and into her with wild abandon as she spins towards him. The blast wave deflects her assault. But not completely and Braun is side swiped by her spinning legs as they push through the shockwave of his attack and a sudden blast of hellfire explodes all about him and rips across his form with such force he's sent spinning backwards towards the wall facing the streets.

A loud roaring, "Urggh!!!" escapes him from the unexpected force of the assault and he rolls into and then -through- the wall itself, crashing out onto onto the ruined pavements with a violent impact. He struggles to push back up to his feet but then collapses again, a smouldering heap unable to stand back up having finally been pushed to his limits.

Oh, but it is a battlefield. One in a war which humanity seems to have lost the will to fight.

Whatever the truth behind Braun's monstrous transformation might be, to the enraged miko he's nothing but another youkai to be slain. That most people she's met seem to be perfectly fine with blood-sucking vampires, bomb-chucking goblins, and half-beast demihumans wandering in their midst is completely insane. Perhaps the long centuries free from the terror of these nightmarish myths has dulled the memory of the utter devastation and misery they were once responsible for. Or maybe there was some sort of conflict that she hasn't learned of yet, one which saw mankind on the losing end.

Whatever the reason for this weak-hearted acceptance of inhuman abominations might be, Junko has no intention of allowing herself to entertain thoughts of peace and brotherhood. She is a demon hunter and when she finds a demon she's going to do everything in her power to crush it.

Will the modern authorities take exception to that? Maybe. But for all they know, she's just a little too enthusiastic in her approach to fighting. And for all -she- knows, her xenophobic attitude has been well documented and her opponents continue to be monstrous in nature precisely because they know how she will react. After all, what's more entertaining that a bit of true blood sport?

Fortunately for Braun, the very inhuman traits that have earned him the ire of his perpetually ticked off opponent allow him to bring this painful ordeal to a grinding halt. Fire and energy collide in midair briefly in a flashy burst of opposing power. The cross-shaped blast hammers into Junko knocking her deadly barrage of flaming kicks off course but it's still not enough to avoid her scarlet wrath.

But, even as the giant man-cat is sent blasting through one of the weakened walls like a bowling ball, his final ferocious attack likewise results in the tenacious girl being hurled sideways at unhealthy velocities. Her trajectory sends Junko deeper into the blasted ruin of the bar, her slender body skipping across the shattered floorboards like a stone bouncing on the surface of a lake. She eventually hits a wall of her own but, lacking the absurd mass of her opponent, simply rolls to a sudden and unpleasant stop against it.

After a second tumble across the jagged carpet of broken boards, Junko looks like something out of a horror movie. Blood oozes down her arms and torso from a dozen nasty gashes and countless smaller abrasions and cuts. Despite having lost her shirt, there's more red visible now than pale skin.

Impossibly, the girl stirs after several long seconds of being motionlessly slumped against the wall. Her head lifts groggily, panning from left to right as if searching for some signs of her furry opponent. When she finally zeroes in on his uniquely massive heat signature on the far side of a hole in the bar, her lips curl up in something other than a snarl for once as she offers his smoking body a bloody but satisfied grin.

"Who's... the sweet heart... now... beast?"

The coppery taste of blood assaults her tongue as she gathers up a mouthful of saliva and spits on the floor in his direction, a final disgusting offer of disrespect and hate. Guess she never learned all that stuff about proper sportsmanship. Or she just doesn't care.
%tBut, as satisfying as it is, her defiance comes at the cost of the last of her tenacious resistance. Her body might be all but immortal but the demon living inside of it does nothing to help shield her against the pain of her injuries. If anything, her suffering is enjoyable.

Junko's final thought as her eyes start to slide shut, too heavy for her to hold open any longer, is that she'll wake up in a few hours with most of the damage already on its way to mending. Meanwhile, that rude smelly fleabag will get to enjoy the pleasure of waking up to third-degree burns and the smell of singed fur.

And that, for once, makes her happy.

COMBATSYS: Junko takes no action.

COMBATSYS: Junko can no longer fight.

Well...clearly she is. She's the sweetheart. But Braun's in no condition to offer any sort of comeback, not that she'd hear him anyway. Sadly her dreams of him waking up in a suffering condition as she imagines must be left to her imagination as he also heals swiftly and isn't particularly flea ridden either. But rude? Oh yes. And he has a sense for how to push her buttons as well. Smelly? Well he had been drinking the entire contents of the bar but he'd be insulted otherwise. Especially as she smelled somewhere between a forest fire and burnt toast to him. She should try hanging out at Blazin' HQ with Zog around.

But those thoughts are lost to the haze of the pain he's currently in and he drifts in and out of consciousness, ultimately waking but unable to do much but lay there and groan.

A surviving beercan manages to roll iits way towards him, approaching from where it had somehow survived the inferno and massive claw gouges to roll from a fallen beam towards the brutes prone form. He attempts to stretch a hand out for it and then it just falls flat, claws scratching through the outer shell of the can to cause its contents to explode out and spray onto him, sizzling away from the overheated temperature of his flesh.

"Ugh. Somebody's gotta have a word with these damned crazy fight organizer..." he grumbles, still slumped over onto the concrete as, with the fight now completed, rapid fire attempts begin to contain the raging fires and attend to the damages before they spread far beyond the confines of this totally decimated bar.

Log created on 23:25:43 10/07/2023 by Braun, and last modified on 11:38:03 10/12/2023.