Neo League 251 - #266: Daisuke vs Alma

Description: A mysterious presence interrupts Alma training peacefully in the forest, and a deadly battle begins -- and ends decisively. Who is this mysterious ninja, and what is his purpose? (Winner: Daisuke)

The gentle play of light on leaves.
The soothing trickle of water over mossy stones.
The fierce leaping roundhouse that cuts through the air like a blade...
It's an unusual take on tranquility.
Bare feet settling on an ancient boulder, sweat-dampened body held poised and erect, Alma Towazu regards the empty space before him intently as though seeking an opponent in the horizon. He may be seem to be ignoring the vibrancy around him, the glory of the forest at the end of summer and on the brink of fading into autumn, but that would be impossible. With every breath he takes he feels its power surging through him, its beauty carrying him away into new heights of passion. As though unable to contain himself he suddenly lashes out at nothing with a blur of fierce punches and lashing kicks, managing to stay poised on the slippery boulder at all times before bringing himself back down into his elegant stance once again. The light breeze that sways the leaves causes his blonde red-tinged bangs to ripple, the air cooling the light sheen of sweat that coats his bared chest. Alma breathes deeply, and takes in as much of his environment as he can. He continues to gaze at nothing, as though he's forgotten whether he's himself or the forest...
Working out in his apartment is nothing like this.
He should really do this more often.

As Alma practices atop the boulder, a shadow passes from tree to tree high above the ground. The rustle of leaves can be heard, but an unwary listener might take it simply for one of the natural noises of the forest. The shadow approaches the boulder, slowing to a halt several branches away. Deep-set eyes peer down, and the figure flicks a small piece of paper from its belt. Scanning over the paper to ensure that this was its target, the figure nods to itself, replacing the paper in the pouch.

Wordlessly, the ninja drops to the ground, catching himself on the ground unharmed despite the speed of the fall. He reaches behind his back, sliding his long blade from its sheath. The sound of metal on leather - now -that- was no natural forest sound. Nor is the quiet, somewhat raspy voice that follows it. "You are Alma Towazu." It's not a question.

A blink, and Alma's eyes refocus. That was strange. For a moment, reaching out in hopes of truly touching the heartbeat of the forest, he felt a throbbing through the trees, something unusual making contact, disturbing the natural order. But he doesn't detect any auras nearby, so--
--maybe it's a swordwielding ninja.
Alma's expression remains neutral as Daisuke drops from the trees, to his credit. He was at least made aware enough to avoid being totally surprised, even if he hadn't been able to feel the man's presence. Well, that's ninjas for you.
The sword is drawn, but Alma's gaze is fixed on Dai's eyes.
"I am," he responds, soft spoken -- almost a murmur -- but spoken from the belly, projected and audible all the same. His body seems relaxed, but then, it seemed relaxed when he was fighting the air as well; this is the relaxed of a hunting cat awaiting its time to pounce, not of negligence.
"How may I help you?"

Daisuke rests the back of the blade on his shoulder, slouching as he studies the other man. "You are enrolled in the Neo League. You have 27 recorded fights, 16 wins. You are in 13th place." Easy enough information to come by, of course. The tone of his voice becomes somewhat amused. "Nothing personal, but you're in my way." He hefts the sword, pointing the tip directly at Alma. "I challenge you to a league fight. Here and now."

A... league match?
Who /is/ this guy?
"I accept," Alma says unhesitantly, hopping off the boulder and planting his feet in the mossy forest floor. He flexes his toes through the loam, and takes one last long quiet breath before spreading his stance slightly, posture straight but limbs relaxed. "Alma Towazu, of Hiten-Ryu Kung Fu," he announces, not that Daisuke wouldn't already know. But maybe it'll encourage the ninja to share a little personal information.
It's been a while since Alma went up against a swordfighter...
Letting the ambient spirit of the forest mingle and intertwine with the rising energy brought on by the coming conflict, the tall youth gives free reign to his overwhelming passion, and his eyes begin to glitter with a new light. Powerful muscles clench and unclench as time seems to slow for the fighting model, his senses growing keener as he prepares to engage fully, holding back nothing for however long it takes.
...he has a feeling, though, that this won't be like fighting Noriko.

COMBATSYS: Alma has started a fight here.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Alma             0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Alma gathers his will.

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

COMBATSYS: Daisuke has joined the fight here.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Alma             0/-------/---====|-------\-------\0          Daisuke

All Daisuke offers in response in a brief nod. His steady eyes might as well have been a part of the mask that covers his face as he gauges his opponent. He grips the sword's hilt in both hands, squeezing it tight. He lets one breath rattle hollowly in his chest before he resumes concentration, and with that...he's off.

Like a streak the gaunt man dashes across the intervening space between himself and Alma, blade held as vertically as he can, the setting sun's light catching the metal. It does not look like a dulled sword, or a practice sword; this is real, and meant to do harm. To someone without training, it could easily kill, but even fighters will be in for a rough time...such as the one in front of him. His path takes him past Alma's right side, his arms snapping out in a sharp slice, aimed for the younger man's side as he rushes past, with the intent to draw first blood.

COMBATSYS: Alma blocks Daisuke's Medium Strike.

[  \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Alma             0/-------/-======|-------\-------\0          Daisuke

Senses heightened, blood pounding, spirit surging--
Alma's eyes flash as with almost superhuman reflexes he snaps out to catch the blade, both palms held horizontally to keep the sword in place; but only for a moment. Although it took great skill to pull that off in the first place, Alma has no illusions about being able to keep Daisuke's weapon in place for long. Rather, he tries to take this opportunity to keep his opponent from rushing past him, twisting the sword with his palms and attempting to drag the ninja off balance before quickly releasing the weapon.
And, with Dai hopefully preoccupied with recovering his balance, the quick low kick that Alma lashes out with should be able to finish the job by knocking the ninja off his feet entirely.
At least, that's the plan.

COMBATSYS: Daisuke dodges Alma's Light Kick.

[  \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Alma             0/-------/-======|-------\-------\0          Daisuke

There's a lot of momentum in Daisuke's charge, and it's not going to be brought up short by a subtle maneuver such as that. It does drastically change Dai's direction, however, the twist of the metal wrenching his arm. Desperately he lunges after it -- he likes his arm, after all -- and kicks up into a spinning jump, snatching the weapon out of Alma's grasp. The leap, powered by the charge, takes Daisuke several feet away from Alma, and the moment his feet touch on the ground two metal objects streak toward Alma from his left hand; shuriken, whistling through the air as they seek the model fighter.

COMBATSYS: Alma dodges Daisuke's Thrown Object.

[  \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Alma             0/-------/-======|-------\-------\0          Daisuke

Looks like Alma's going to have to gather some momentum too.
His low kick made pointless by Daisuke's aerial escape, Alma brings his leg around and spins for torque before immediately throwing himself into a lunge, bringing his knee him and thrusting off the ground in aggressive Hiten-Ryu style. Sensing the movement through the air even before he sees the metal gleam in the sun, Alma reflexively twists in midair and manages to spiral mid-lunge so as to avoid the deadly thrown objects without losing any speed.
Inspired by the thrill of battle Alma brings his hand back, a plume of purple and pink light suffusing his fingertips from the sharp motion, and closes in on the ninja as quickly as he is able. Nearly blurring from the air from the thin halo of power that's beginning to rise around him, the young man thrusts out his hand-- and a blast of psychic energy issues forth, a lance of soulfire in white and purples striking out with explosive force in hopes of overwhelming and disorienting his opponent.
Calm, serene even, but with eyes bright and intent, Alma attacks.

COMBATSYS: Daisuke reflects Self Expression from Alma with New Moon Dance.

[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////////  ]
Alma             1/-----==/=======|==-----\-------\0          Daisuke

The eyes within that dark hood gleam as he sees the blast form in Alma's hand, letting trained instincts take over. He smoothly shifts his grip on his sword, holding it upside down, the back of the blade flush against his arm. He's already spinning in place before the blast reaches him, and the destructive purple fire crashes against his sword. The metal glows bright for a moment, and with the crackle of lightning...the psychic energy is turned, the blade knocking it away and back toward its master.

Blown back, unbalanced by surprise and the sheer force of the counterattack, Alma is sent flying back through the air -- but with heightened reflexes and sheer willpower he recovers mid-descent, flipping and landing with poised grace. Bright eyes narrowed slightly from pain but unwilling to let up even for a moment, Alma tenaciously takes the offensive again, and lunges a second time.
This time, however, his power is wielded less overtly. Halfway through his lunge he begins trailing purple-tinged ethereal afterimages behind him, assaulting Daisuke with a series of kicks and punches, aiming attacks both high and low. A few moments into the combination attack, however, the images catch up with Alma -- and one begins an assault of its own. The superimposed duo begin a rhythmic dance of attacks until soon he seems to be attacking in two places at once--
--before he recombines with his image for a final punch.
With him comes the scent of rain.

COMBATSYS: Alma successfully hits Daisuke with Autumn Rain.

[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////       ]
Alma             1/---====/=======|====---\-------\0          Daisuke

Daisuke flips the sword around to a normal grip, eyes narrowed as Alma approaches him. He lifts a leg, ready to leap away; but the attack comes in too quickly. The ninja is caught in the double-sided flurry of attacks, the ninja garb providing little protection against the strong assault. The final blow knocks Daisuke backward, sending him rolling along the ground for a bit before he can find purchase, skidding to a halt in a kneel just shy of the boulder Alma had originally been standing on.

Daisuke draws a thumb along the back of the blade as he regains his footing, that rattle in his breathing starting to emerge once again despite his control. As he draws his hand up the blade, that blue glow begins to envelop it once again, flashes of lighting crackling along the sword. Once the blade is fully covered in chi, Daisuke spins the sword once in his hand to build momentum, then slashes the sword horizontally right to left through the air in front of him in a wide arc, followed by another slash diagonally from his upper left to lower right. Alma is nowhere in range, certainly, but that crackling lighting that sheathes the sword leaps away with both strong slashes, rolling through the air in two crescents of lightning, sailing through the air inexorably toward Alma.

COMBATSYS: Daisuke successfully hits Alma with Solar Wind Dance.

[                 \\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Alma             2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|======-\-------\0          Daisuke

Alma's prepared for a counterattack, but he's not prepared for this. He's been able to survive so far despite not being able to sense Daisuke's violent intent as would normally be expressed through his aura, but when the youth draws his hand back it becomes clear he was expecting something quite different. Realizing too late that Daisuke is attacking from afar, Alma tries to hurl himself to the side but gets caught full-on by the electric blast and is sent sprawling. Grunting once as he manages to fall on his knees rather than flat on his face, it still takes the youth a moment to recover him composure and get to his feet. Shaking his head once to clear it, Alma takes another deep breath, trying to align his own feelings with the flowing energies around him.
If he can find a channel for this rising passion...
Eyes trained on his powerful opponent, the fighting model catches a break while he can, and awaits Daisuke's next move.

COMBATSYS: Alma gains composure.

[             \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Alma             1/=======/=======|======-\-------\0          Daisuke

Daisuke nods in satisfaction as the waves strike home. Taking a deep breath, the sickly rattle stilled for now, he moves back to put a foot against the boulder and uses that to kick off, dashing through the grass once more.

This time, however, he does not run for Alma, but instead a tree off to the side. Barely slowing his stride, the ninja turns his horizontal run into a vertical, feet tapping on the bark of the tree as he runs upward several paces.

At the desired height, Daisuke kicks off again, launching himself through the air, sword held in a double-handed grip above his head as he descends with all the force he can muster upon Alma, his blade swinging down as though it were an executioner's axe, seeking to score a deep slash in Alma's body where he can. Nothing personal, of course.

COMBATSYS: Alma interrupts Fierce Strike from Daisuke with Divine Intervention EX.

[                  \\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////             ]
Alma             2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|=======\==-----\1          Daisuke

Yamazaki leaves the forest and enters Southtown proper.

He couldn't stop himself even if he wanted to. Alma's passion for the fight, the need to express his power, burns inside him, demanding release. As Daisuke descends with blade aloft, the tall youth shifts his stance and glares upward, gathering his power around him-- and with perfect timing, as though it all had been choreographed previously, Alma lashes out.
His left arm parrying the fierce strike and knocking its path awry, he simultaneously strikes out with a right hand wreathed in soulfire, unleashing a beam of searing mental energy that catches the airborne ninja and blasts him back and away. Fire blazing in Alma's eyes, the youth regards his opponent calmly -- and then, light fading, he blinks and looks down at his arm, looking slightly startled. He stares at the blood running down his arm bemusedly, as though trying to figure out just how that happened. It takes him a few moments to remember that parrying a blade with a bare arm will inevitably have some bad consequences, no matter how artfully executed.
The tendons in his neck tighten visibly, but he refuses to wince.

Down he coes...and up he goes. Unlike the sword catch at the start of the match, this reversal is more than sufficent to halt Daisuke and send him flying back from whence he came. He strikes the tree from which he kicked off, slumping down to the ground. He releases his sword with one hand to gingerly touch his face, gritting teeth behind his mask at the pain. But he can't stop now. When he loses momentum, he loses the fight. But rushing in blindly isn't wise right now.

Nodding to himself once more, he reaches into a belt pouch, drawing out a veritable pincushion of kunai and shuriken, as many as he can hold in one hand without cutting himself. He begins running to the side, circling around Alma while keeping at range. After only a few steps, he cocks his arm, swinging it out in a wide arc and flinging the throwing tools wildly without even giving lipservice to the thought of aiming. The stars and knives fly out, filling the space where he and Alma fight, the lack of precision causing them to spread wildly. Should they hit, so much the better, but should they distract...

COMBATSYS: Alma fails to interrupt Thrown Object from Daisuke with Absolution.

[                      \\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////              ]
Alma             0/-------/=======|=======\==-----\1          Daisuke

No. He can't stop now.
He's just getting started!
Overtaken by his passion for the fight once again, Alma lunges, ignoring the fiercely stinging pain in his arm as he pursues the retreating ninja. Weaving around the initial shuriken, the brightly-burning youth draws his hand back, focusing an immense amount of power there as he charges forward relentlessly. Eyes blazing, expression set with determination, he throws himself forward--
--and cries out as a blindly thrown object catches him in the calf, pitching him to the ground facefirst.
Hissing as he pulls the sharp object of his leg, Alma rises to one knee, but the wounds and the blood loss are beginning to take their toll. Gathered power faded, vision growing hazy, the young man squints as he tries to follow his opponent's movements, and tries to gather his strength again...

Daisuke isn't going to give Alma the opportunity to follow his movements. The moment he hears Alma cry out, he whips his now-free hand up to his face, pulling his concentration in tight for a moment...

...And three Daisukes are now running around Alma, taking up equidistant points around the fallen opponent, still running literal circles around the psychic warrior. After a few seconds, long enough for Alma to register multiple Daisukes around him, all three, as one, converge on him, all sweeping their swords in for a deep, finishing stroke. Only one is real, and only one sword's blade will cut flesh, but this illusion has been honed to near perfection; only deep perception or a lucky guess will allow his target to evade his blade. ...It has not happened yet.

COMBATSYS: Daisuke successfully hits Alma with Crescent Moon Dance.

[                             \  < >  ////////////////              ]
Alma             1/---====/=======|=------\-------\0          Daisuke

Gritting his teeth against the pain, Alma heroically struggles to his feet, steely resolve unyielding even in the face of the coming onslaught. As Daisuke splits into his multiple selves Alma tries desperately to parse the illusion, emptying himself of the distracting sensation of pain as best he can in an attempt to sense a trace of the ninja's aura, reaching out for a fleeting grasp, just for long enough to be able to guess which one is his true opponent--
--but his mind finds nothing, and agony wracks his body as the sword passes through. Alma does not collapse. Even as the false images fade and the victorious ninja stands with blade drawn after his final attack, Alma seems frozen in time, his back arched slightly, lips parted, arms loose.
A silent breeze ripples through, and a single leaf falls.
~ Autumn approaches. ~
And, twisting through the air like the falling leaf, Alma sweeps his hand out in one last unlikely attack to catch his opponent with a final blast of all his gathered passion for the fight, all his vibrant fighting spirit -- just so he can let it go. The twist becomes a spiral downward, and his attack is revealed to simply be the beginning of his collapse.
Falling upon the mossy ground, the youth's eyes focus on the fallen leaf's brittle form, gazing quietly at it as he simply struggles to maintain consciousness and avoid passing out from blood loss.

COMBATSYS: Alma can no longer fight.

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

COMBATSYS: Daisuke dodges Alma's Absolution.

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

Daisuke grunts in satisfaction as he feels the sword bite into flesh, pulling it back smoothly. Still keeping a wary eye on Alma -- it's common for fighters to try to take their opponent down with them, after all -- he begins to step away...which turns into a swift leap backward, the energy flashing in front of his face harmlessly.

The danger past, Daisuke lets out a long breath, which turns into a wracking cough for a moment. Finally controlling it, he straightens, and takes the piece of paper that had led him to this young man from his belt once more. Calmly he slides it along the blade, cleaning the blood off before he sheathes it at his back. "I regret I had to do that to one who didn't deserve it..." His voice is at odds with the words; cold and neutral. "...but you had to be the first. I will reach the top of the league." He bows slightly to Alma's crumpled form. "I will send for a medical team immediately." With that, he turns, moving to disappear into the forest as silently as he had appeared.

COMBATSYS: Daisuke has ended the fight here.

Unable to respond, Alma can only watch as the man leaves, gaze lifting from the leaf, the only sound his audible breathing.
~ The top of the league...? ~
To think that he'd be defeated so neatly. Whoever this guy is, he's been training for a lot longer than Alma has -- but it doesn't seem like he's that much older, mask and attitude aside. What manner of man could he be?
~ Interesting... ~
He hasn't been going to the league, so the league's been brought to him. But if there's any way he's going to track down this nameless shadow, he's got to follow him back--
Back to the Neo League.
This isn't over.

Log created by Alma, and last modified on 20:09:33 09/16/2006.