Neo League 351 - #356: Heavy D! vs Sakura

Description: Heavy D! and Sakura meet in Metro City Mall for this seesaw battle! Sakura wins... but only barely! (Winner: Sakura)

The Mall. Or the Maul. It depends on which day you visit which it really is. Thankfully, the nasty shopping season isn't around, so it's thankfully not too hectic. Of course...just because there isn't rampant stampedes of would-be shoppers doesn't mean there isn't mauling to be done.

Case in point, the blocked off area at the center of the sprawling shopping center. As much of a center of fighting as Metro City is, it's hardly unknown to have a fight right in the center, and today, shoppers are treated to just that, as the League is in town. With the area blocked off by wooden barricades, two of the League's fighters are set to do battle. On one side? A hometown hero of sorts, Heavy D!, the boxer already deep in the midst of shadowboxing, getting himself nice and prepared to do battle in front of the home crowd. So what if most of the people from his neighborhood probably wouldn't go here too often?

Well, it's =free=, that's always a reason to go cheer on the boxing champ. There's no doubt plenty of D!'s fans around the area, even if they'd prefer not to be the ones bouncing up and down cheering -- kinda ruins the macho effect, there.

D!'s opponent, Sakura Kasugano, also has her own contingent of fans here in Metro City. While it can be argued that the group of resistance fighters she was with -- of which Heavy D! himself was a part -- didn't save the city from being ripped off by Rolento's looting crew, the fact of the matter is that she was one of the public figures involved in helping the city recover. And for that... well, she's getting cheers as well!

Pumping her fist high into the air, she flashes an eager grin to D! as she strides out into the center of the ring. "Hey, long time no punchy! Heard you've been doin' well for yourself..." Granted, =anything= is better than Sakura's official record for the past few months. But that's what studying for exams instead of practicing Shoryukens will do for a girl...

Kasugano pauses to put on her headband, grinning all the while. "Hope you've been practicin', cuz I'm ready for ya!"

"Free" being relative in some cases: there are those who'd rather not spare the bus or subway fare when it could be put to something else. Sad deal, but then again, that's part of what D! fights fore.

In any case, D! remembers his opponent from that whole mess. Something that D! hasn't quite forgiven the megalomaniac for, especially in his recent encounters with him. As Sakura calls over to him, he gives her a grin, pausing his shadow boxing and giving her a nod. "Yeah. Trying anyways," he says. "You seem energetic as ever too," he says. As Sakura puts on her trademark headband, D! does his own preperation, tightening his hand wraps and making sure his jacket hands without restricting his movements. "Alright then. You ready?" he asks, slipping down into his fighting stance, waiting for Sakura to show that she's up and ready too.

COMBATSYS: HeavyD has started a fight here.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
HeavyD           0/-------/-------|

Sakura's never seen much use for the bus, herself -- she jogs or bikes just about anywhere she needs to go. But she's also got way more energy than any sane person should have!

She closes her eyes for a moment, tying the knot to her headband tightly. Pausing, still for a moment, she takes a calming breath. Sliding her foot back, her countenance is marked with a more serious edge when she looks back up to Heavy D! -- she may have been all 'genki' and energetic before, but she's clearly trying to channel her nomadic teacher's ways in a fight now. She gets the best results when she rides the line between her usual personality... and that of Ryu.

That might explain the crooked smile picking at the corners of her lips, as she shifts her stance slightly. Another moment is spared for her to check the fit on her handguards, vinyl creaking as she flexes her fingers.

Her brown eyes glisten for a moment, as she gives a quiet nod with that half-grin transfixed upon her features. "Ready."

COMBATSYS: Sakura has joined the fight here.

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

Yes...Genki Schoolgirls from Japan tend not to be the best example of how to get around a sprawling American metropolis. But then again, no one can mistake D! for being normal either. Few people can send blasts of energy out of their punches like he's been known to do.

In any case, as Sakura settles into a more serious mode of fighting, so too does D!, his feet slowly sliding apart to make sure his base is nice and solid. FIsts tighten as D! hunches behind them, making sure his guard is nice and tight, knees flexed slightly to keep him from being too rigid. He's ready.

And when the tracker for the League gives the signal, D!...well, as he's done as of late, he's playing it methodic, holding back and circling his opponent, watching what they try and do and planning the counterattack. So far, he's found much more success with that initial why not keep with it?

COMBATSYS: HeavyD focuses on his next action.

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

... Grr. Sakura's usual mindset is to jump in and start the fight off with a bang... but she's been making a concerted effort to hang back and focus on the battle ahead. That is, the same tactic D! is exercising now. Her impatience is quite possibly her =least= useful trait.

Though it can pay off at times.

Still... there's a very useful strategy in her playbook that involves being defensive and offensive at the same time. And the tomboy has fought D! enough times to know that getting up close and absorbing punches is probably not the best long-term strategy.

It's with that sort of knowing grin -- the kind borne through a personal relationship and several one-on-one fights -- that she nods back to the boxer. They share a lot of fighting knowledge, if not much else, at least. So it ought to be expected that the girl falls back onto one of her most characteristic techniques: the bright blue ball of chi known best by the tomboy's shout: "HADOOOOOUKEN!" A cerulean blossom of chi thunders its way across the mall plaza, while the girl who threw it takes a moment to follow along behind, bringing herself closer into range.

COMBATSYS: HeavyD slows Medium Hadouken from Sakura with Blast Upper.

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

Seems easy enough, right? See big ball of chi coming at you. Counteract with a blast of chi of your own. Watch the blast either blow through said ball of chi, or crash into it and watch both fade into the air, like two pool balls flying dead on into each other and stopping dead against each other.

Unfortunately, D! seems to have underestimated Sakura's energy output from last time they fought. As such, he's taken off guard when the blast blows through his Blast Upper, crashing into him and sending him across the mall floor. The scary thought is how hard it might have hit if it had struck dead on without the Blast Upper. "NGhh...gotten stronger since last time, I see?"

Has she? Sakura smiles distantly. She might have beamed like an idiot after a compliment like that, six months ago... but she's realized first-hand that overconfidence tends to be her downfall. Accordingly... she just asks, "Really?"

Her decidedly non-loquacious response is in part due to her strategic advance. While her fireball was splashing against D's, the Ansatsuken pupil was closing in. And now that it's passed, she's a mere third as far away as before.

It'd be a shame to throw another fireball at this range. No, instead Kasugano's going to go with another approach she's been trying: sneaking in to grab for the boxer's jacket. No, she doesn't admire the fashion; she's aiming to fall backwards, using her heel as the fulcrum so she can sling the burly boxer backwards sharply! "Hriii-HAA!"

COMBATSYS: HeavyD interrupts Quick Throw from Sakura with Light Punch.

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

However, D!'s not about to let himself get caught flatfooted again. When Sakura suddenly comes in from behind her fireball to grab him, the boxer is quick to react. As she falls back to try and fling him over, the boxer's arm snaps out. As she drops to the ground, his fist comes out, giving the schoolgirl a quick pop in the chest before she can fully extend her leg, making sure that he's not tossed TOO far out. It's a middling hit, but as long as it prevents him getting slung about again...

Wh...what? Sakura's here trying to live out the 'best defense is a good offense' play, and boom, she gets slammed in the chest for her trouble? Wha? ... Or was that saying actually backwards?

There's a reason why Sakura isn't planning on a psychology major, folks.

So she's stuffed with a weak punch... it could be worse! The girl decides to roll with the punch as best she can -- -- figuratively of course as there isn't much rolling out of a punch that all but smashed her to the marble tile flooring -- and springs back to her feet. She's still relatively close, so... well, if at first you don't succeed, try, try again! She leaps forward, delivering a crushing one-two-three combo of punches before following up with a high overhead kick, aimed at wearing down D!'s guard. She's gotta dent him sooner or later! "Hya! Hya! HYAAA!"

COMBATSYS: HeavyD auto-guards Sakura's Medium Kick!

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

She'll dent him soon enough...but not this time. As D! rolls up from the caught through, he quickly turns around, finding himself faced with Sakura's quick onslaught. Perhaps it would have been better for Sakura to have started with something other than punches, as the boxer quickly fends off the three shots with his arms, knocking each hit away deftly while leaning his body away from its path. And when the kick comes in? Well, the boxer simply leans his body away, leg pulled aside too so the kick completely clears him. And when its his turn to attack? Well, he doesn't let up, grabbing at Sakura's fuku right at the shoulder. Tightening his left hand into a compact fist, the boxer snaps it forward, trying to jackhammer it right into her stomach and leave her breathless.

COMBATSYS: Sakura blocks HeavyD's Reverse Stomach Buster.

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

Well, c'mon. Yes, it's dumb to box with a boxer when you can kick, but that's the GENIUS of it! ... Er. Something like that. The point of her onslaught was the kick, and that was neatly defused by D's deft evasion. Whoops.

Sakura's saving grace here is that she's able to whip her arm down at the last second, interposing another layer of sinew and bone in the path of D!'s brutal punching. Still smarts... just not in the place he'd intended!

The schoolgirl isn't going to give up on her onslaught just yet though. She's close enough to D! that she can still try and work her way in -- he's probably =expecting= fireballs, after all. So once Sakura recovers, she leaps towards the boxer, aiming to plant both feet right in the burly man's guard -- hoping to at least snake =one= of her Chuck Taylors in to his upper clavicle. If she's able to do that, she'll continue forcing all her momentum onto that relatively weak point, before springboarding backwards sharply, doubling her impact! "Yut-taah!"

COMBATSYS: HeavyD blocks Sakura's Sailor Shoot.

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

Hrm...maybe D! should have done something a little more direct. Perhaps a bit quicker too. Either way, the attack ends up blocked and blunted, leaving the boxer dangerously within Sakura's range. And that means she might try another one of those damn throws. That wouldn't be good for the boxer. As such, when Sakura leaps for him, he tries to solidify himself, waiting until her feet plant right against his arms. Thankfully, he brings the wall up enough that he avoids having Sakura's leg snake in, the girl vaulting off his arms instead. Grunting as he's pushed back by her leap off his forearms, the boxer tries to quickly close the distance again, stepping in just close enough that he can wing a hard left hook aimed at catching Sakura right out of the air.

COMBATSYS: Sakura fails to interrupt Fierce Punch from HeavyD with Medium Hadouken EX.
- Power fail! -

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

Oh, yeah... Sakura =was= planning on following that up with something else. Unfortunately that 'something else' required her to hit the ground first -- something which Heavy D!'s pre-emptive strike is more than capable of doing. She... well, she gets swatted out of the sky. Not much else to say, with the girl choking back her anguishh to ensure she doesn't get =too= far out of the game. If she panics, well, she does worse after all!

Taking a deep breath, she pushes back to her feet. Remember your training, Sakura!

Score! Looks like D!'s getting on a roll here. Which...probably means karma's going to lash back nastily soon. Either way though, D! seems all intent on keeping up the pressure here. As Sakura lands and pops back onto her feet, the larger man quickly follows up. If one hook managed to down her like that, lets see her take on several, as D! wings several alternating hooks against Sakura's guard. While none of them have the pure strength the one that caught her in mid-air did, it should still keep up the pressure very nicely.

COMBATSYS: Sakura blocks HeavyD's Hook Punch.

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

Grimacing, as that last punch did quite a number on her, Kasugano nonetheless withdraws for the time being. Hooks coming in? ... Well, as much as she'd like to punch him in the jaw, it's really not a very smart idea, considering her past history. She's got to remember her training! So instead, she raises her forearms, doing her best to catch D!'s flurrying fists upon her handguards rather than somewhere more painful.

Battered back, she doesn't feel she has a whole lot of choice... but once he lets up his attack, she tries her damndest to lurch in and grab D!'s arm for a judo-toss over one shoulder. "Hnnnngh!"

COMBATSYS: HeavyD blocks Sakura's Medium Throw.

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

Well...the pressure is there. Sakura just doesn't seem to break under the assault. No matter...D! still seems to have the upper hand, right? At least, for now. However, when Sakura grabs onto one of his arms as soon as the barrage lets up, it could easily spell disaster for the bigger man. Thankfully, he manages to use his size and his weight to keep himself from being lifted over. It wrenches his shoulder a bit, which is a mite bit painful...but he still has his other arm, right? And that arm is put to quick use again as D! tries to snap it hard and straight into Sakura's side, in hopes of getting her to let go of his limb.

COMBATSYS: Sakura dodges HeavyD's Medium Punch.

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

D!'s forearm is an excellent deterrent, and it serves its purpose well -- once Sakura realizes she won't be able to wrench D overhead, she leaps back and free of the follow-up! Skirt fluttering as she vaults to a safe distance, she pauses a moment to take a good, deep breath. This battle's taking its toll on her, after all... and she needs a moment to herself.

Okay, enough of =that= nonsense. She'd paused long enough for one or two breaths, but then Sakura's on the offensive again, dashing in close as she whirls around for a good, hard kick to the ribs! "Hyyyyaaah!"

COMBATSYS: HeavyD endures Sakura's Medium Kick.

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

This time, Sakura manages to get D! right on target, the kick smacking him direct in the ribs. The boxer winces at the shot...but rather than fall back, he drives right in. No dropping on his heels for D!, it's move forward or die! As he pushes forward, through the pain of the kick, he starts winging out several snapping blows. Soon enough, his hands start to move as if shadows hung behind them, the distinct power of chi fueling each jab and cross as the boxer tries to batter Sakura high.

COMBATSYS: HeavyD successfully hits Sakura with Shadow.

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

No pain, no gain... but in Sakura's case, there's a bit too much pain and not quite enough gain! She's able to crack against D!'s guard, but she ends up getting socked repeatedly by the series of chi-charged blows. The chi, she can withstand a bit, but the raw power, not so much! She's beaten backwards, quite nearly back to the barricades by this point!

But it's those same barricades that give Sakura an idea. Sparing a quick glance backwards as she catches her breath, she suddenly sprints back to one of the many columns holding up the second floor. Running =up= the column for a few steps, she arcs around backwards in mid-air. D seems to have preferred being up close, after all... why not bring the fight to the air, instead?

It should come as no surprise the tomboy's form was wreathed in a light blue glow as she ran. "Shinkuuuu.... " It's even more intense now as her hands come into view, crackling with aquamarine electricity for the moment time seems to stop as she hangs in mid-air for a split-second -- just before the furious fireball erupts from her fingertips. "HADOOOOOOOUKEN!"

COMBATSYS: Sakura successfully hits HeavyD with Shinkuu Hadouken.

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

Unfortunately for D! this time...the boxer's guard is less than solid. He may have managed to beat Sakura back to the barricades...but he didn't expect her to suddenly sprint up the side of the columns and vault off it. ANd he ESPECIALLY didn't expect her to fling out that big of a fireball at him in mid spring. He doesn't even get time to fully turn around before he's hit, the chi-barrage hammering him into the very same pillar, jamming him shoulder first into the solid structure and causing him to slump down in pain. "NGhhh...dammit..." he hisses, clutching his shoulder. He looks to Sakura, distance between them now, and the momentum on her side. He can't let her get her groove back...but yet the numbness in his shoulder betrays him and forces him to hang back to catch a breath.

COMBATSYS: HeavyD gains composure.

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

... Well, at least Sakura's not =totally= incompetent. She still has her sweet Hadouken skills, if nothing else! Scrubbing her handguard against her itchy nose, the schoolgirl only needs a moment. She may have had the temporary advantage, but she'll clearly lose it if she keeps her distance. The time to strike is now, or so she believes -- rest can come in a moment! She hopes she can drive herself close enough, and fast enough, to slam her foot right up under D!'s guard for a harsh thrust kick to the hip, with any luck driving him back into that column for a return trip! ... And if not, she's sure to find out the hard way, right? "Hnnnngh!"

COMBATSYS: HeavyD interrupts Strong Kick from Sakura with D. Magnum.

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

Unfortunately for Sakura, her kick out may be her undoing. As she closes in to try and thrust her foot into his hip, the boxer is read. It was a bit of short notice, but he was able to filter all his chi into his good arm (you know, the one not dangling slightly numb from crashing into a column). So when the schoolgirl drives in, she manages to hit him...but for her trouble, she gets a face full of fist in response. Not just a fist, either, but an explosive one at that. Point Blank Magnum, baby. Sure, D! feels a numbness in his hip now after that strike, but it was worth the bruise, right?

It wasn't that long ago Sakura got utterly beat down by Balrog... but now that she's recovered, she gets to nurse off a fist to the face? That'll look mahvelous tomorrow in class, that's for sure! Sakura digs her heels in from the blow, but they're of no use on the slick marble tile -- she skids a few feet before the impact finally bowls her over.
Gritting her teeth, she silently curses her training. Fat lot of good it's done her =again= -- she can't even rely on snappy insults to perk her up again. But... if she's going to go out... she might as well go out with a bang. Kasugano pushes back to her feet, obviously fighting the black, inky void of unconsciousness as she wills her shaky hands forward. A weary smile flits across her face just before she fires off what may be the last of her chi, in one brilliant ball of flame. "Hadoooouken!"

COMBATSYS: Sakura has reached second wind!

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

And then she slumps to one hand for a moment, forehead creasing in concentration. ... Maybe... just one more strike? she thinks to herself, pushing back to her feet. She can do better than that, right?

COMBATSYS: HeavyD Toughs Out Sakura's Medium Hadouken!

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

Well...that was a waste. Full power and Sakura still somehow manages to come at him? Geez. Unfortunately, D!'s hanging on his last legs himself at this point. He really has no recourse but to go forward...and hope Sakura falls before he can. Gritting his teeth, he barrels forward toward Sakura, even in the face of the large ball of chi flying toward him. While the blast strikes him dead on, he can't do anything but push forward, sucking it up and charging in. Teeth gritted, and sweat down his brow, D! reels his right arm back, trying to drive a nasty looking overhand punch directly into the top of Sakura's skull.

COMBATSYS: Sakura blocks HeavyD's Rock Crush.

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

Sakura has tenacity, if nothing else! She's certainly not the hardest hitter in the Neo League, but she makes up for it in her refusal to just drop down and quit, even if she =has= been the underdog for most of this fight. Strong will and steadfast determination -- that's one virtue the student shares with her apparently dissimilar teacher.

... that, and fireballs. LOTS OF FIREBALLS. Her last one got stuffed -- as much as D! may think he's worn down, he's still doing remarkably awesome against the schoolgirl! And Sakura, despite being fairly sure he'll stuff this one too, has to stick to her figurative guns. "Heh... you've got your best... " she says, curling her hands to one side as she breaks her self-imposed silence. But then her hands slam forward, loosing a brilliant =orange= Hadouken at the Metro City boxer. "HADOOOOOUKEN!" Staggering forward again afterwards... well, could =this= be the last she has in her? Possibly!

COMBATSYS: HeavyD fails to interrupt Medium Hadouken EX from Sakura with Rolling Soul Driver.

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

COMBATSYS: HeavyD can no longer fight.

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

Fireballs....ALWAYS with the fireballs! Alas...this time, D! can't stand up to the assault. He tries his best to break through and charge right into the fireball to lay one last strike in on Sakura. However, his strength tapped, and his timing off, he instead only ends up letting himself get hit full on by yet another hadoken, his lunging stride broken...and the boxer tossed back, blasted away to the other side of the cordoned off area...and from the looks of it, he won't be getting up from that one.

... "... and I've got mine." she pants, belatedly finishing the quote she'd meant to finish before. When one runs that close to the margin, one's bound to lose track of simple things like 'sentences'. And in Sakura's case, 'breathing' and 'falling over' can be included in that as well.
Panting, she stands up a bit straighter for a moment, just long enough to steady herself. She slaps her cheeks lightly, staving off the onset of unconsciousness for just a bit more... she wants to make good on this fight at least!

She walks over to D!, extending her hand out to him. Sure, he could down her with a last-ditch uppercut, just like her master did Sagat way back when, but the thought never really occurs to her. "Good fight, D! I... er. I'm trying to, er... not be such a smartass in my fights, to see if that helps at all. Sorry for bein' so boring..." She laughs weakly, hoping she's not coming across as insincere. Yes, =occasionally= she worries about that!

Log created by Sakura, and last modified on 18:51:46 04/12/2007.