Neo League 101 - #122: Shinobu vs Sakura

Description: Aomori! It's nowhere near the time of the giant samurai festival -- in fact, it's freezin' out! Shinobu causes some minor property damage, but Sakura emerges triumphant. (Winner: Sakura)

It's Aomori, Japan! Unfortunately, it isn't quite springtime yet. That means a mild dusting of snow is left about on this partly cloudy day, with the cameras and sound equipment settled around the palace moat bridge to be used for the fight. It's quite scenic, and also a testament to the amount of money Masters can throw around... given the potential damage fighters can do! Below, water streams under with a soft gurgle, and the full majesty of the palace itself looms nearby. Crowds gather at either end of the bridge, making a mild din as people anticipate the battle to come.

Shinobu is going through her usual pre-fight stretches, doing it on the railing. Squatting, she shifts from leg to leg, swinging her arms as she does so. A precarious position, but it looks cool! ... and that's really what matters, right?

And... as one might expect, Shinobu's opponent is late by at least five minutes. Too many souvenir shops, not enough time! She comes rushing onto the scene with two big shopping bags full of random junk, which she quickly pawns off to some random Neo League official. Some words are exchanged -- a laugh from the official, a balled fist from the spunky schoolgirl, and a frightened shudder follows. Suffice to say, her goods are safe.
Sprinting onto the bridge, Sakura skids to a halt, practically catapulting herself over into a low and humble bow. "Sorry to keep you waiting! Major line at the cash registers..." She laughs nervously, firming up the fit on her vambraces. "Mmm... it's been a while, huh? Good luck, Shinobu!" Stepping back with a grin, she raises her fists, clearly ready to get this show on the road!

COMBATSYS: Sakura has started a fight here.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Sakura           0/-------/-------|

Hopping down from her perch, one of Shinobu's feet flies out in front of her on the wet snow, and she teeters for a moment before regaining her balance. Folding her arms, she tries to recover as best she can. Looking sidelong to Sakura, she shrugs, saying, "It's no big deal." Rubbing a temple, she throws a hand out towards Sakura as if in challenge, and then slowly curls her fingers into a fist. Her stance is as casual as ever, but she seems to have a quiet determination, skipping her traditional boasting. And then, she takes action.

Dashing forward without hesitation, she comes forward, readying her fists. But as she starts to stop, she more sort of... slides, and rather than go through with a punch, she instead just turns her shoulder to try and shoulder-ram Sakura! When life hands you lemons...

COMBATSYS: Shinobu has joined the fight here.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Shinobu          0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0           Sakura

COMBATSYS: Sakura blocks Shinobu's Monkey Mistake.

[  \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////// ]
Shinobu          0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0           Sakura

Mmm, lemonade! Sakura may be a bit winded from her dash through the city, but, in another sense, that also means her adrenaline's already in full throttle! When Shinobu comes towards her, Sakura leaps backwards in an evasion -- though she was expecting a punch rather than the substantially quicker shoulder ram! Curling her leg up, she takes the blow on her thigh and shin, which has the net result of sending Sakura flying back a good six feet before landing in a low crouch.
"Heh heh... this's already turnin' out to be a good fight!" Uncoiling from her crouch, she charges right back at Shinobu, leading with a wild right punch, before stepping in to follow up with a more conservative left cross, and then a rather fierce knee strike. "Hya! Hya! HYAAAA!"

COMBATSYS: Sakura successfully hits Shinobu with Fierce Punch.

[       \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////// ]
Shinobu          0/-------/---====|=------\-------\0           Sakura

Getting struck twice, Shinobu gets knocked off her feet, tumbling over as she does so. Rolling back onto her feet, she shakes her head. Narrowing her eyes, she takes in a deep breath. "Don't think it's gonna be that easy...", she says in a low tone, and then raises up her foot, slamming it back down on the bridge. "Waaaa!", she kiais, trying to disrupt her foe's concentration. Or, at least, gather her own.

COMBATSYS: Shinobu gathers her will.

[      \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////// ]
Shinobu          1/-------/=======|=------\-------\0           Sakura

Disrupt? Heck yeah, it disrupts her opponent! It's a stomp kick that could split the massive stone bridge in two, isn't it? ... Well, maybe not quite -that- strong, but certainly strong enough to send a shiver running down Sakura's spine, and the schoolgirl herself crashing to her hands and knees. "H...hey, Shinobu, you don't need to get -that- into it..." she stammers, springing to her feet and backpedaling to a less earthquake-prone region of the bridge. "You remember that video where Ken told us we'd have to pay for damages, right?" she offers with a shaky smile.
But she also curls her hands by her side, blue energy whipping into a dense blue-white sphere. Stepping forward, she thrusts her palms out at Shinobu, ushering the concussive blast outward: "Hadoooouken!"

COMBATSYS: Shinobu blocks Sakura's Medium Hadouken.

[         \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////   ]
Shinobu          1/----===/=======|==-----\-------\0           Sakura

Raising an eyebrow, Shinobu says, "You're worrying about money in the middle of a fi-" And then, she covers up. The blow knocks her off her feet despite her block... and though she lands on her feet, she's still sliding back as she does so. Narrowing her eyes, she tries to analyze Sakura's defenses... she can't do much at this range. Sakura will probably knock anything out of the air she throws, and charge attacks don't seem to be much good. Moving sideways towards the rail, she tries to come up with something - anything - that'll keep the schoolgirl freight train from just knocking her out of the park.

COMBATSYS: Shinobu focuses on her next action.

[         \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////   ]
Shinobu          1/----===/=======|==-----\-------\0           Sakura

Sakura's not -worried- about it, per se. If anything, Shinobu would probably be the one paying for the lion's share of the damage in such an event, so Sakura's not worried much at all. She's just trying her own concentration-buster attack! Psychological warfare, and all that jazz.
Which would be why Sakura's continuing to blather on as she approaches Shinobu. "Hey, what's wrong, Shinobu? Last time, you kept telling me it was all about punching... now you're just sitting here twiddling your thumbs..." By this point, mind, she's close enough to hop into a quick spin kick, aimed at catching Shinobu in the side. "Senpuu Kyaku!"

COMBATSYS: Shinobu endures Sakura's Light Kick!

[            \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////////  ]
Shinobu          1/--=====/=======|===----\-------\0           Sakura

Shinobu is caught in the side, and slides with the force of the attack. She suddenly gives a wide grin as she hops to the side, and tries to put Sakura between her and the railing. Gathering up a another 'bubble' in her hands, she focuses on it with both palms, making it swell and swirl with power. "Don't worry about the bridge...", she says, "... because you're not gonna be on it!" And with that, she thrusts it out with both palms.

She /will/ have to pay for the resulting explosion, enough to damage the bridge's surface and the railing - but she doesn't care. The maelstrom of fluid chi blows her back across the bridge, as she hopes to put a good distance between her at her opponent, enough for her to dream up something new. And if this doesn't work... well, let's not think about that.

COMBATSYS: Sakura blocks Shinobu's Final Finish.

[            \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////    ]
Shinobu          0/-------/------=|====---\-------\0           Sakura

Well... part of that is true. And really, if it weren't for Shinobu's warning, Sakura may have indeed tried to -remain- on it. As it is though, Sakura can sense the upsurge of energy, and makes a strident effort to leap high into the air, pre-empting it!
It's a good thing, too, as that explosion is enough to send her flying upward from the blast, shielded only by another raised knee and her curled-up forearms. Never mind the dust, or the storm of shattered concrete fragments sent whirling about in the air, even after the fluid chi splooshes away.
Sakura's sneakers make a tap-tap sound as she alights upon the bridge, her uniform a bit worn from the attack, but she's wearing a faint smile nonetheless. "What, me worry?" she asks with a faint smirk. "Nah... I think you were right before. It's all about the punches!" And Sakura breaks into one, two, three running strides before leaping into a rapid flying punch, aimed right for Shinobu's sternum. "CHERRY BOMB!" ... Okay, it's a Burn Knuckle without the blazing aura, same diff. It's gonna hurt if it lands though!

COMBATSYS: Shinobu blocks Sakura's Medium Punch.

[              \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////    ]
Shinobu          0/-------/-----==|====---\-------\0           Sakura

Well, all her planning, positioning, and analysis - mostly harmless. Shinobu's morale is at a low already after the events of last night, and so Sakura's verbal jabs are less 'good fun' to her and more 'outright mockery'. Throwing the punch aside... and taking part of the impact on her arm, she says, "Are you making fun of me, too?" She then throws out a swift punch out, trying to nail Sakura in the solar plexus and blow the wind out of her... foregoing any fancy ideas. Just keep hitting until she falls over. 'She' being Shinobu, most likely.

COMBATSYS: Shinobu successfully hits Sakura with Strong Punch.

[              \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////       ]
Shinobu          0/-------/-----==|======-\-------\0           Sakura

Not having any idea what happened to Shinobu last night, Sakura's at a bit of a loss to what comes next. As far as Kasugano's aware, Shinobu's =always= so happy and easygoing... so this is a bit of an unpleasant surprise. "Making fun of--..." Wham! She takes the punch full to the solar plexus, flying backward with a wide-eyed expression at Shinobu. Wheezing lightly as she clasps her hand to her chest, she shakes her head in apology, "! I'm just trying to have fun with this! Guts, guts and all that!" She flexes one bicep, as a demonstration for Shinobu... raising one skeptical eyebrow. "... y'know?"
But it's as good a time as any for Sakura to spend a bit more time studying her opponent. Taking another deep breath, she stills herself, raising her left fist before her. "... C'mon, then, Shinobu... I'll quit goofing around. Just show me your hot-blooded spirit!"

COMBATSYS: Sakura focuses on her next action.

[              \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////       ]
Shinobu          0/-------/-----==|======-\-------\0           Sakura

Stepping up on Sakura, she blinks, looking a little surprised herself. "Um...", she says, stopping still for a moment with wide eyes and a blank expression. But she suddenly flashes out of her funk, and steps up on Sakura. "Yayayayayaya!", she cries, throwing out blurred punch after punch with her left arm, trying to barrage Sakura... and just keep her too distracted to properly retaliate!

COMBATSYS: Sakura blocks Shinobu's Rumble Punch.

[               \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////        ]
Shinobu          0/-------/------=|======-\-------\0           Sakura

Sakura can get -scary- when she's serious, at times. Serious enough to fight Kyo and Chun-Li to a draw, at differing points in time. It's usually when she has something to prove... and rarely because someone's basically asked her to be.
Just the same, though... she -does- train with the best of the best, at least in her mind. The more she spars with Ryu, the more she starts to -act- like Ryu -- when she sets her mind to it. Like now -- no longer chancing an improvised block as she had at the beginning of the match, she meets the punches with quickly-raised defenses, the majority of the blows catching on her padded handguards rather than her more vulnerable forearms. She backs away with each stride, nodding slowly at the spirit which she'd requested from Shinobu. No need for words, really...
And, much like her master, Sakura opts to take advantage of Shinobu's forward momentum, rolling with the last punch to spin around into a low sweep kick to the shins to bowl her over. "Hyaaa!"

COMBATSYS: Sakura successfully hits Shinobu with Strong Kick.

[                     \\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////        ]
Shinobu          0/-------/-======|=======\-------\0           Sakura

Shinobu does, indeed, get knocked over. She struggles back to her feet, shaking her head, and looks at her hand before closing it into a fist again. "Why?...", she says, as if trying to get an answer out of her fist. And then, she looks up to Sakura. "I don't understand.", she says, before then quickly shaking her bangs away from her face. Then, she steps up and swings, just trying for pure impact, throwing a hook at Sakura's chin. Try and keep her off guard. Slow her down. /Anything/.

COMBATSYS: Sakura dodges Shinobu's Strong Punch.

[                     \\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////        ]
Shinobu          0/-------/--=====|=======\-------\0           Sakura

Slow her down? That... may be tricky, since Shinobu's basically awakened the Ansatsuken within the prodigy. She leaps back to her feet after that kick, snapping right back into her guarded stance. Her face is a bit more stern than her usual smile... but only because she's that dead-set on getting the best fight out of Shinobu. But she's not going to just hand her a victory either -- for when that hook punch comes flying towards her chin, Sakura swerves sharply in the opposite direction, letting the punch whistle right past her face. The barest hint of a smile appears, but it's short-lived -- mainly because Sakura's whipping forward with a hook of her own, targeted for Shinobu's shoulder. "Hyaa!"

COMBATSYS: Shinobu blocks Sakura's Medium Punch.

[                      \\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////        ]
Shinobu          0/-------/-======|=======\-------\1           Sakura

Catching the blow just an inch from her shoulder, Shinobu narrows her eyes... and then tries to reserve the block into a throw, by falling to the side and trying to whip Sakura past her. If she's looking for the best fight she'll get from Shinobu... well, this doesn't seems to be it. But she's inclined to at least do some damage to her as she goes down. It's not much of a dream, but it's all she can think up at the moment.

COMBATSYS: Shinobu successfully hits Sakura with Quick Throw.

[                      \\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////          ]
Shinobu          0/-------/-======|=======\=------\1           Sakura

It ain't over till the fat lady sings! And with this frosty cold day in Aomori, darn near anything's possible! Sakura finds that her punch not only -doesn't- land, but proves to be an opening for Shinobu to reach out and grab -- ultimately resulting in Sakura being whipped past her and slung to the cold, cold bridge. Harsh'd!
She's quick to jump back to her feet, though, grinning lightly. Not -broadly-... but enough to show that this is starting to be the kinda fight she'd been hoping for.
As she rises, her foot whips high overhead, before coming crashing down at Shinobu's shoulder. "Hrii-HAAAA!" Never mind her skirt flapping out of the way, none of that should bother Shinobu much!

COMBATSYS: Sakura successfully hits Shinobu with Flower Kick.

[                         \\\\\  < >  //////////////////            ]
Shinobu          1/------=/=======|=======\===----\1           Sakura

Shinobu goes down again, but then, she starts to rise, shimmying the snow off. Though she wavers, looking about ready to fall over, she's got some Guts! to show Sakura. Curling her fists in tights against her sides, she then suddenly flurries with both arms this time! Failing wildly, she kiais rapidly - "Yayayayayayaya!" - as she tries to give Sakura a barrge to remember!

But that's not to all, folks. As she wears out, looking about ready to collapse, the punches stop. And then, she throws out one final haymaker. For the road.

COMBATSYS: Shinobu can no longer fight.

[            \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Sakura           1/----===/=======|

COMBATSYS: Sakura blocks Shinobu's Dragon Entry.

[              \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Sakura           1/--=====/=======|

The kiais... yep, Sakura certainly remembers those from last time! That's pretty much the -main- thing Sakura remembers from her last fight, and it seemed like a lot of them were absent. When Shinobu closes in, though, Kasugano's reaction is much like it was before -- backing away, thrusting her forearms up to meet each and every blow, her response time slackening after the fourteenth or fifteenth hit or so. It's exhausting!
But when that haymaker comes closing in, Sakura takes another hop backwards. She may have been able to block the others without much trouble, but this one requires both arms in a crossed-arm block -- and even then it =still= sends the Ansatsuken prodigy skidding backwards a few feet, with a squealing complaint from her sneakers. Her headband flutters sharply from the reaction, before falling limply as Shinobu's attack wanes.
And through it all, Sakura's got only the faintest glimmer of a smile. She doesn't want to smile too broadly, lest it sour the mood... but neutrality isn't really her thing either. Granted, if Sakura were on the receiving end, she'd be pretty ticked. Backing away a few steps, she nods, readying herself for another strike... but she can see Shinobu's energy depleted. "You gave it your all, and got a few good hits in!" she offers tamely, drawing in a deep breath as the announcer and refereee close in.

Slumping to her knees. Shinobu says, "I don't understand..." She looks down at the ground. "... why am I so weak now?..." She looks up to Sakura, almost pleadingly, and then away, down to the ground. To her, a 'few good hits' isn't acceptable. Maybe against some powerhouse, sure, she'd give it her all. But... this is... almost getting to be too much. "I'm trying to get stronger.", she says to nobody in particular. "Why?" It's pretty pathetic, but after a performance like that, it's not like it's going to look much worse.

Sakura takes a deep breath, nodding back to Shinobu, and actually dropping to sit indian-style across from her. Of course, a chill shoots up her spine, eyes going wide as she places her bare thighs against ice-cold bridge, but she chokes back her alarm to a dull whine, clenching her jaw tightly as she forces herself to nod. Despite her fighting awareness, she doesn't always think the -simple- stuff through, all the time.
"You're not weak, Shinobu... in fact, most of that stuff was seriously -close-. I think you just got me nervous, giving me flashbacks to our last fight, really! I was so scared you'd mess me up like you did last time..." She scratches her cheek mildly with the admission. "And no, I'm not makin' fun of you or nothin'... I'm serious!"
The bystanders are probably wondering why the two fighters are just sitting down -chatting-, now, but hey, that's their problem, right?

COMBATSYS: Sakura takes no action.

[              \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Sakura           1/--=====/=======|

COMBATSYS: Sakura has ended the fight here.

Shinobu says, "It's not just you.", with a shrug. She folds her arms, pulling herself up to look at the sky. "There are new people showing up, and they're just as strong... I can't be like this." She exhales huffily, furrowing her brow. "It's irritating.", she admits in a more angry than sad way. She looks to Sakura with some annoyance. "You're just trying to make me feel better... man, I don't want to feel better, I want to be strong-" She trails off, almost falling over as her eyes flutter shut, and then she suddenly springs back up. "Huh? Not alread- oh."

Sakura bites her lip as Shinobu admits that. Really... the Ansatsuken prodigy feels a lot of the same emotions as Shinobu does, on several levels. Feeling like she should be stronger, feeling that she's not improving fast enough. "... Yeah, I -am- trying to make you feel better. Because I'm a -friend-, not just some bully that wants to beat the crap outta people." She chuckles faintly as Shinobu trails off -- she's not even certain if any of that had a chance to sink in. But when she wakes up, Sakura rises, thrusting her hand out in an offer to help Shinobu to her feet. "Hey, let's go get some ice cream or something, huh?"

Taking Sakura's hand, Shinobu gets up. "Ah, that'd be nice.", she says with a wide smile. She almost falls right back, but then steadies herself, and then tries to dust herself off as best she can, and then throws an arm around Sakura for support. "Atatatata...", she mumbles in pain.

Log created by Sakura, and last modified on 16:04:31 01/04/2006.