Neo League 151 - #159: Alma vs Talia

Description: Talia shoots, she scores! (Winner: Talia)

El Salvador!
...alright, so maybe for most people the name of this nation doesn't evoke any vivid images, and certainly the great majority would have no clue that the capitol of this Central American nation is in fact San Salvador, a bustling city that struggles to defy the shackles of the 'Third World' designation. El Salvador is not a rich or prosperous country, nor does it have a history that would distinguish it from other Central American countries in the eyes of the average First Worlder; its dark and tumultuous political history only makes it blend in, all things considered. But for the citizens of San Salvador, whose daily lives are a constant struggle, anything that can bring revenue to support a hopeful economy is good news--
--anything, like the Neo League!
It is for this reason that a rather bemused and startled Alma Towazu finds himself surrounded by cheering throngs as he makes his way towards a large dais erected in the middle of the main square of the city, lips parting in surprise before he shifts into a relaxed smile that widens into a cheerful grin as he looks around at the people. Lots of bored men, of course, but some families here too, children who have never seen a "world-class" professional fight before, teenagers watching from the rooftops, girls whispering to each other as they peer at him -- oh my, Alma thinks, they've probably never seen a professional model before, either. Shucks.
The tall coppery-skinned youth just grins all the more, expression serene and eyes shining in the sunlight, as he pushes his layered blonde bangs away from his eyes with strong, defined arms bared by his white muscle shirt, slipping his other hand into the pocket of his light cargo pants as he awaits his opponent.
~ My, it's warm here. ~

The heat is an element of notable concern for the Russian girl. She's used to rather lower temperatures, and a black coat with insulation doesn't work terribly well when you're close to the equator. Instead, the gunfighter walks into the set location for the fight wearing a white coat, cut slightly looser than normal, to encourage it to seperate more easily. As a further concession, her pants and shirt are a middling grey, instead of the usual black.

As Talia approaches Alma, she spends more time at first looking around her opponent, noting the positioning of all the spectators, and the size of the cleared region. Finally, she turns to look at her opponent himself, wearing the flat expression typical for her fights. She doesn't appear to have any intention of initiating conversation, instead simply waiting to see if Alma has something to say, or if the fight is going to start.

"Houh?" Alma murmurs to himself with the sort of tone that only true bishounen have as he witnesses the arrival of his opponent. Hmm, there's something funny about her stance. She's got the fighting spirit, but he's never seen a martial artist ready for combat quite like that before. Still, if he's disconcerted any, Alma certainly doesn't show it, grinning amiably as he raises his right hand slightly in a calm, mild-mannered greeting. "Hey," he says quietly but clearly, eyes warm and friendly. "I'm Alma. Nice to meet you, miss."
A long string of Spanish from the elected announcer, psyching up the crowd rather successfully -- but then again, they seem receptive as it is. Still, despite the foreign language (which, as a sidenote, Alma half-understands), when the announcers raises his flag in the air the message is clear. Alma takes a calm step back and settles himself slightly, posture straightening as his body relaxes, striking a new level of poise as his right foot shifts forward comfortably.
"Please," the tall young man says genially, "do your best."
"LuuuuUUUCHAAAA!" shouts the announcer, and the crowd roars its approval...

COMBATSYS: Alma has started a fight here.

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Alma             0/-------/-------|

For her part, Talia is content to look over Alma. The boy's 'charm' is totally lost on her, as she is only concerned at the moment with the potential effectiveness in combat. Once a greeting is given, she does take the time to nod once, acknowledging that Alma addressed her, but not having any response. Instead, she begins slipping into a more prepared stance as the announcer speaks, even before the flag is raised.

Once the call to fight is made, Talia begins moving. She starts off in a run off to her right as she draws her pistol from within her coat. Firing off three shots in rapid succession, Talia is more attempting to test Alma's reactions than try to hit any critical locations, although the shots are a close cluster.

COMBATSYS: Talia has joined the fight here.

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Alma             0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0            Talia

COMBATSYS: Talia successfully hits Alma with Burst Fire.

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Alma             0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0            Talia

~ Yeah, that's a really interesting--
--holy craaaaap-- ~
Alma flinches visibly as Talia draws, of all things, a pistol out of her coat, and the audience gasps collectively as she snaps off three quick shots that send him staggering back a few steps, hunching over slightly and jerking lightly with each impact, body absorbing the force as... the bullets tinkle lightly on the ground, failing to penetrate his skin. Now the audience just seems even more shocked, and they begin to chatter loudly amongst each other as Alma straightens again, grin faded to be replaced by a serious expression that seems out of place with those mild eyes and that soft-set mouth.
"As long as you're careful," he says quietly. "That could be dangerous in a crowd."
And then he lunges, eyes flashing, and draws his right hand back, a coil of white-pink energy gathering around it as he tries to close in as quickly as possible and overwhelm the woman's defenses from the getgo, striking her with a pointblank blast of pure Psycho Power energy. Trails of glittering white manifest from the coiling power as Alma leaps forward, air rushing around him, and lashes out.

COMBATSYS: Talia dodges Alma's Self Expression.

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Alma             0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0            Talia

Talia is already adjusting her velocity as she's preparing both for whatever Alma chooses to follow up, and to ensure she doesn't put herself too close to where a member of the audience might be shot. Despite her seeming callousness, she is taking care to make sure that none of the bystanders is likely to get hit if she somehow misses. Her plans for her next attack are somewhat truncated, however, when she sees Alma making use of some weird energy effect. For a short moment, Talia frowns, recalling Metro City, then her expression straightens again, and she takes action.

Diving into a roll underneath the technique. Talia allows Alma to harmlessly lunge over her as she goes past his left leg. While she's there, she reaches to take the leg as a souvenir, attempting to tug him enough off balance that he'll land on the ground face-first.

COMBATSYS: Talia successfully hits Alma with Quick Throw.

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Alma             0/-------/----===|=------\-------\0            Talia

This is a little embarrassing. He didn't expect that her attack would slow him down quite so much, and he's obviously never fought anyone quite like this before -- this is definitely awkward. With a quiet 'whoops' Alma goes down and hits his face painfully on the ground. Man, not the face, that's the moneymaker...
This just ain't allowed, man.
With a roar of gathering spirit, Alma's eyes flash and he bursts from his prone position, pushing off the ground with his palms to suddenly thrust himself impssibly up into the air, lashing out with a series of upside-down rising kicks. The thrust kicks transition into a series of roundhouses, and the gathering momentum begins to ignite his legs with his surging fighting spirit, white-pink flames sparking and crackling with every strike. This might be a rough fight... but there's no need to take it lying down.

COMBATSYS: Talia dodges Alma's Rising Fury.

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Alma             0/-------/---====|=------\-------\0            Talia

Just as Alma is recovering from his unexpected kiss with terra firma, Talia is completing her roll into a defensive crouch, putting her pistol back into its hiding place somewhere within her coat. She glances up just in time to realize the series of techniques aimed her way, bursting into a series of motion of her own. Standing, she leans to the side to move into a slightly odd cartwheel, twisting to put her back to Alma as she turns. The coat she's wearing spreads out wide, and the slightly reflective surface collects and scatters the light of the bright sun, helping to support the effect of the coat to obscure Talia's precise position. Instead of totally removing herself from the path of Alma's strikes, she relies on the misdirection, and the net result is an unharmed Talia, but a moderately singed piece of outerwear.

Once Alma has completed the sequence, Talia comes to a stop a few meters away, a faint smirk briefly visible. She settles into a defensive crouch, looking at her opponent intently. For the first time since showing up, she has a comment to make: "You move very slowly."

COMBATSYS: Talia focuses on her next action.

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Alma             0/-------/---====|=------\-------\0            Talia

My goodness, a reflective coat. A fighter that relies on tools... well, there's nothing wrong with that, in Alma's opinion, but it's certainly something he'll need to adapt to...
...good, this will be a good experience!
Besides, Alma can see that the audience has been suitably impressed with the exchanges so far, and this puts him in a good mood -- which is to say, a slightly better mood than he tends to always be in. At Talia's first comment of the fight, Alma just grins and straightens from the crouched position he's landed in, reaching up again to idly push some bangs out of his eyes. "Bullets are fast," he says lightly, eyes as mild and heavy-lidded as ever. "I never knew quite how fast before."
And he takes a deep breath, feeling out for the flow, the momentum of this fight. There's got to be one. There has to be /a/ rhythm, even if it's not the rhythm of a usual combat. There has to be /some/ way to connect with her fighting spirit. He won't give up until he's done.
And he's not nearly done yet!

COMBATSYS: Alma gathers his will.

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Alma             1/-------/=======|=------\-------\0            Talia

Talia has to respect the good attitude Alma has maintained, despite the relative one-sided showing of the fight so far. Her smirk disappears, and she gives him a single nod in response to the comment on bullets. As he attempts to get in touch with his zen or whatever, Talia draws herself back up to a full stance, reaching one hand into her coat as she contemplates the moment. While Talia is unaware of Alma's efforts to find the 'flow' of the fight, she herself believes she has found the path to the conclusion.

Talia pauses for only a moment more, then moves. She runs straight towards Alma, still with one hand hidden within the shroud of the coat, up until the last moment where she would need to move to one side or attack. At this point, she opts to go vertical, kicking herself into a leap that brings her directly over Alma, her head directly below her feet as she draws her pistol back out, and takes aim for Alma's back.

The shot that follows isn't intended to cause any permanent damage to his spine, but it is intended to significantly hamper his fighting ability in the short term, and it'll hurt a lot. On the other hand, if it's more than marginally off, it'll be totally ineffective; she has a very small target she has to strike with that bullet for the necessary nerve within the spine to be properly pinched.

COMBATSYS: Alma blocks Talia's Nerve Lance EX.

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Alma             1/-----==/=======|==-----\-------\0            Talia

The audience takes another collective intake of breath as Talia leaps over Alma head, the young man apparently unperturbed by all this as he breathes quietly, eyes half-closed. He can feel her move, hear her weapon rustle through the wind, taste the anticipation of the crowd around him, smell the heady scent of rushing adrenaline, and he can see--
He can see.
The shot goes off, and with a sudden twist, blurring from one position to another as though there wasn't even a transitive stage, Alma's hand snaps up... and snatches the bullet frmo the air.
His fingers burn and his hand goes numb from the absorded force, sending a tremor through his arm, but his eyes reveal nothing but the brightness of his fighting spirit as he lets the shot drop from his fingers and lunges forward. Snapping out into a classic Hiten-Ryu maneuver, he immediately skips lightly into the air and snaps out with a double-kick to the young woman's torso and head.

COMBATSYS: Talia interrupts Light Kick from Alma with Flexibility.
- Power hit! -

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Alma             2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|====---\-------\0            Talia

Even before she hits the ground, Talia realizes that somehow, Alma caught the bullet. That isn't in the playbook. Frowning as she makes her landing, she decides that it's time to take this another route. She prefers not to take this tack, but obviously..

Talia returns her pistol to its place, and with the same motion begins to draw a length of very fine wire. When Alma comes in with his kick, she quickly draws the metal wire into a loop, quickly wrapping it around Alma's foot. The next part is fairly academic, once she has him trapped thus; there's a twist, the abuse of his own momentum during the kick, and Alma is sent flying over Talia back into the ground, slamming with far more force than the simple trip from before.

Just as Alma is impacting, Talia releases the wire, letting it wrap around her left hand as she puts some distance between herself and her opponent. There's a short pause before she remarks, ".. I give you credit. That was impressive."

Alright, now this fight can start going in the right direction! Time to close in and get this fight real. Alma feels his heart soar along with his body as he lashes out with the first kick, preparing to catch the young woman right in the face and--
--what on /earth/?
The wire snaps around Alma's foot, surprising the psychic prettyboy utterly and, disatrously, causing him to pivot in midair. There is a gruesome popping noise as he spins in midair, to which the youth gasps raggedly and shudders powerfully, and he is unable to prevent himself from being slammed into the ground with a crunch. The audience has actually gone still -- it was hard to miss that cracking noise. Whether Talia meant to or not, that strike was... well, crippling. Even the announcer, eyes slightly widened, moves as though to take a step forward and maybe--
Alma rises.
It takes a while. First, huffing lightly, he turns and lifts himself onto his good foot, shifting it so he manages, with some effort, to rise to one knee. Then, grunting again, he pushes up, and balances himself lightly. One foot dangles uselessly, of course, but he appears to be standing straight now. Then, Alma raises his head to gaze into Talia's eyes -- and though his handsome face is reddened and beaded with sweat, and a haze of pain obscures the brightness within, his eyes do not flicker, and his posture does not sway. His resolve, somehow, remains steeled.
"Thank you," he says politely, voice only moderately strained.
Then he lifts a shaking right hand-- and it explodes into a cascade of flame, which he hurls suddenly at the ground at Talia's feet and causes it to explode into a geyser of pure soul fire, the Psycho Power gathered from the intense feeling of pain and expressing fully what he refuses to do so by crying out.
"Hmph!" is all he'll allow.

COMBATSYS: Talia dodges Alma's Full Confession.

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Alma             1/-------/=======|====---\-------\0            Talia

For Talia's part, she's somewhat surprised at the raw effectiveness of her retaliation. No, her intent hadn't been to cripple, but she's not one to dismiss opportunity. Her expression remains impassive, and she simply watches as her opponent demonstrates he can and will continue to fight. Once it's clear he's up, once he gives his thanks, she nods again, having to respect steel like that.

On the other hand, no respect in the world is enough to make her stand still for whatever the hell it is that Alma draws on. She still isn't sure what that is, but it reminds her entirely too much of her first fight outside of Russia, and she has no intent of ever letting it touch her again. Once the energy itself is in flight, Talia leaps, although not directly for Alma. Instead, she leaps to the side and past him. Turning her landing into a roll, she comes up behind Alma, flicking out the end of the wire to reveal a stiff needle. With this, she attempts to strike a pressure point on the hip corresponding to Alma's good leg. The needle itself is fairly harmless, and won't do any real damage to Alma. It's the nerve that will impact the functioning of the limb that matters.

COMBATSYS: Alma fails to interrupt Point of Contention from Talia with Divine Intervention EX.

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Alma             1/------=/=======|======-\-------\0            Talia

See, that's alright, in theory. He'll hit her at the same time as she hits him. That's what this technique is all about. As long as his last attack causes her to move into his next one, his Psycho Power still manifested in preparation, Alma should be fine. But there are a few unusual circumstances that prevent things from going as planned.
First: her attack unexpectedly makes his leg buckle.
And second: that makes him put his weight on the other foot...
He can't stop himself, this time. Alma Towazu cries out in pain as he collapses completely, forgetting all about his attack as he slams his palms on the ground to make sure he doesn't put any more pressure on the wound then is necessary, and then in a feat of iron will, forces himself to roll away from any follow-up attacks, gingerly trying to use his hands so that his wounded ankle doesn't touch the ground. Tears of anguish streak lightly down the youth's cheeks, and his full mouth quivers as his psyche struggles to let the emotions flow and release the pain...
A quiet gasp accompanies his renewed struggle to rise to his feet.

After landing her attack, Talia had jumped back, expecting a retaliation attempt. She, herself, hadn't expected the sequence to so effectively neutralize her opponent, and she has to frown, watching as Alma forces himself to gain distance and attempt to regain a combat stance. She watches over him, considering the situation, going over all of the factors. Finally, she remarks, "You have the option of yielding. You have fought well, none would think less of you for it.. But at this rate, continued combat may have lasting effects." She herself is still in her combat stance, looking at Alma intently; she's not going to drop her guard until the fight is officially over. On the other hand, she does almost plead, "I do not want to risk permanently crippling a worthy opponent."

COMBATSYS: Talia focuses on her next action.

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Alma             1/------=/=======|======-\-------\0            Talia

~ She's right. ~
Breathing deeply, Alma wipes the tears from his eyes with a surprisingly calm gesture, and raises himself onto a leg that must still be numb from her previous attack. While she speaks, he systematically goes through his body, flexing his muscles and tendons from top to bottom, forcing what feeling he can back into his leg as his inward sight inspects the dislocation quietly.
"I understand," the youth says politely, gently, "and thank you. However..."
A powerful shudder goes through his body as, in once sudden movement, Alma presses his wounded foot against the ground and forces the joint back into place. The cartiledge is of course still torn and damaged, rendering the foot still useless, but despite the pain that remains as a cloud over those steady eyes, he appears able to shift his weight slightly again...
"...I will take full responsibility!"
It is as though this line is a kiai, for halfway through he is lunging, pushing off a single foot with all his remaining strength to blur forward in a sudden leap, skimming over the ground like a swooping bird of prey as his body explodes into psychic flame. All his fighting spirit comes to bear here in, as it were, his last stand, his soul burning with the defiant passion of one to whom death and injury hold no true fear--
--and he blurs into a series of explosive punches and kicks, only kicking with one leg of course but somehow managing to maintain enough momentum to stay in the air through the combination strike, giving the young woman all he's got.
~ Now... now... I have no regrets. ~

COMBATSYS: Alma successfully hits Talia with Destined Duel.

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Alma             0/-------/------=|=======\===----\1            Talia

It took a while, but Talia finally makes a mistake. And, as these things tend to go, it's a significant one. She'd believed he was too debilitated to continue moving effectively; the crunch from earlier, as well as the pressure point strike, would have indicated Alma was basically unable to quickly and accurately move. Even after setting the dislocation, there shouldn't be any way he could effectively set up useful attacks. This in mind, Talia is stepping into position to finish things as Alma begins his attack.

Something is wrong.

Talia finds herself, for the first time this fight, amidst a series of attacks that she is totally unprepared to deal with, and with that, she takes the entire set fully. It's not pleasant. Stumbling backwards from the onslaught, it's eveything Talia can do to gracefully turn her fall into a flip, landing in a defensive crouch as she looks at Alma with blatant surprise. She pauses there, staring at her suddenly very mobile opponent silently, reconsidering her position, and what she needs to do to end the fight quickly, and without shattering what's left of one of Alma's limbs.

It's a tricky solution, but it might just do. Talia stands, offering Alma a faint smile. "Very well." Then .. she moves. It's a level of haste she previously hasn't displayed, above and beyond her earlier dodge antics. For the camera crew and the mundane spectators, Talia will simply seem to blur from her position to in front of Alma, but to her opponent will know, and any fighters in the crowd might pick it up as well.

At the very least, if Alma doesn't stop the attack, he'll feel it, even if he doesn't see it. Left unstopped, there'll be a set of bruises on Alma's chest, where Talia simultaneously strikes a set of pressure points designed to temporarily disrupt the beating of his heart.

COMBATSYS: Talia successfully hits Alma with Spirit Touch.

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Alma             0/-------/---====|===----\-------\0            Talia

~ I did it... ~
With his fighting spirit surging through his veins, Alma lets his momentum carry him into his attacks, the flow of battle finally sweeping him up completely as all pain fades, the crowd roaring at Alma's sudden and injury-defying display of valiance. The bright-eyed young man grins weakly, but what at it's not clear -- in fact, it's hard to say if his eyes are focused on anything right now.
~ I did it. ~
If he could do more, he would, but the momentum of his spirit is too much for his body, now. He can't stop himself, not with his weak legs. He can sense his opponent approaching, sense the swell of power within her just before she retaliates, but his body, separating again from his mind, refuses to comply with his will's demands. Arms going limp, Alma is unable to even try to guard from her quick strikes-- and he chokes as she finishes the elegant technique, eyes normally shaded by long lashes bulging slightly for a short moment as though he were being strangled before fluttering closed again, a rasping sigh escaping his tortured throat.
He doesn't fly back, nor does he continue to fly forward. Smoothly, almost elegantly, he slumps onto his knees before the young woman, and with the last of his strength he tilts his head back, eyes only open slit-wide, and lifts his hand lightly into the air, fingers outstretched like a dying man wishing only to touch someone before he goes--
--and unleashes the very last of his energy in a quick and sudden and precise blast of Psycho Power.
His full lips part slightly into the mildest and most serene of smiles, and he collapses on his face.

COMBATSYS: Alma can no longer fight.

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Talia            0/-------/---====|

COMBATSYS: Talia blocks Alma's Self Expression.

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Talia            0/-------/--=====|

Talia stands there after completing the technique, confident enough that she's ended the fight that she sees no need to back away from Alma. Instead, she watches silently as he slumps. When he manages to summon the will to make a final retaliatory strike, Talia steps back into a braced position, pulling her coat before her as a sort of cloth shield. Despite her defensive measure, it's clear she feels the technique -- but by the same token, it's obvious it wasn't enough to matter. Not at this point.

Once it's obvious that Alma isn't moving anymore, Talia whirls around, and gestures imperiously at the medical crew on hand. Once she's satisfied they'll do their job, she gives one last glance to Alma, nodding.

There's nothing left for her to do now, except catch a plane, so Talia turns to walk away. To all appearances, she remains oblivious to both the initial stunned silence of the crowd, then the excited shouts that follow.

COMBATSYS: Talia has ended the fight here.

Log created by Talia, and last modified on 19:37:31 01/22/2006.