Neo League 351 - #360: Alma vs Jiro

Description: Their differences now past, Alma Towazu and Jiro Kasagi, highly entertaining friend-rival duo, meet for a duel on a peaceful riverboat cruise down the Yangtze River. This time, it's not for any reasons. This time, it's just about the fight. (Draw Match)

Yangtze River: the longest river in Asia and the fourth largest river in the world. Traditionally -- even if not by modern designation -- the divider between northern and southern China, it has thus ever been a defining geographical characteristic of the nation. It has served military purposes, such as when it was used as a nigh-impenetrable defense and border marker during the various warring states periods of China's ancient history; it has served commercial and social purposes, as a direct channel from China's central plains to Shanghai and the East China Sea. But it is also a thing of great beauty, a majestic testament to water's power, and the great meaning one simple substance can hold for all humanity.
At least, it is when you're Alma Towazu.
To be fair, however, he is not the only one. And it is thus that there are casual riverboat tours of sections of the river, lazy driftings down past cultivated farmland and rolling forested hills, distant noble mountains bearded by sweeping clouds like dragon's breath. In this ever-busy nation, frantically changing from day to day, citizen and tourist alike can truly appreciate the gentle peace of this place. Many people, most of them middle-aged or older but some young as well, have quietly arrayed around the outer banisters of this particular riverboat, gazing out from the top deck and talking quietly as they breath the fresh air and take in the view.
~ For those who strive and struggle constantly, for those for whom life seems to change far too quickly-- there is much to be learned from the constant steady flow of the river. ~
The tall blonde youth emerged from belowdecks long before, but he has chosen not to stand by the side. Instead, ignoring the cameramen that have begun to position themselves around the sides and that others are beginning to notice -- they were of course notified of this afternoon's entertainment, thank goodness -- Alma slowly turns his gaze from river to fields to clouds to mountains, savoring the view in his own private way. His calm features reveal nothing, but his mild smile is more than just an empty pleasant show. He doesn't make it overtly obvious, but one look into his eyes should show the peace of this place has touched him.
~ I wonder, what sort of person am I? ~
Fire or water? Clouds or earth? It's hard to say. It's not really a fair dichotomy.
~ And, ha ha.. what sort of person is he? ~
It's an idle thought that makes him smile. Whatever their natures are, if anything...
~ I'll be a rock for him. ~

This is a nice day to finally get back and action and get things going. Alma left a note for him, which is something that Jiro was willing to deal with. A chance to fight Alma again for official sakes is needed. No longer does he have the obsession for power. No, what he has before him is just a chance to settle things with his rival once more. A nice tradition, if one will.
The majestic testamony of China's centrail plains is not ignored, but it is not the primary focus for the Stray Dog. Pragmatic to the point, Jiro is walking through the field, boots crinking, through the path.
It's a nice brisk walk, admittedly, but Jiro's not here to sight see, yet. The Stray Dog is approaching from behind, looking at the awe-striken Alma for a few moments from a distance. Shutting his eyes, Jiro states, "Yo! Alma!" His eyes narrow, stretching his hands in the air, "Come back to Earth, you called me out here for a damn fight." He's all better for a fight, even though he shouldn't.

A sizable amount of passengers choose to quietly leave the top deck of the riverboat, more interested in peace and quiet than a burst of action in the midst of this serenity, but a significant amount also remain. Most of the young ones, of course, but plenty of elders with amused expressions turn to regard the two youthful blond foreigners.
Alma, gently rousing from his reverie, grins.
"Jiro," he says in greeting, the low voice that has always so belied his nigh-feminine features warm with a good-natured enjoyment of Jiro's eternally blunt approach. "I hope you liked the flowers. I arranged them myself." Grinning wider now, he steps forward toward the center of the wide worn deck until he is standing face to face with his best friend and rival, looking down at the Stray Dog, one hazel eye obscured by a stray red-tinged bang. "I wasn't able to speak to you while you were resting, so-- I thought this would be the next best thing."
It's only the subtle shift in tone that can reveal when Alma is trying to joke about something. Fortunately, Jiro has probably had enough experience with the fighting model's deadpan style to tell.
"No, really, I..." His grin softens and fades, though the smile doesn't disappear entirely. "I'm glad we were... able to fight before, you know? I think that was... important. But..." He's hesitant. Normally Alma just says whatever comes to mind, and the occasional eloquence that his inner passions can arouse within him allows him to get away with it, but here he clearly wants to choose his words and make sure he says what he means to. "...the real reason why we fight each other is beyond our problems, beyond what we want and need, right?"
~ Like this, I can be with you. ~
"We don't need a reason. Reasons get in the way."
~ When our souls collide... ~
"I've missed you, little brother."
~ your own way, I feel like you really know me. ~
As he steps back, his smile widens, and so does his stance as his feet shift and his limbs relax, the patient, mild-mannered youth straightening his posture and freeing up his body for the ideal flow of the power that this scenery and the arrival of his rival have begun to inspire within him.
"So let's do this."
Invisibly but now faintly palpable, Alma's aura surges with purpose, and even as he grins, his eyes glint with clarity of intent.
"Do your best... Jiro."

COMBATSYS: Alma has started a fight here.

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

COMBATSYS: Alma gathers his will.

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

COMBATSYS: Jiro has joined the fight here.

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

Hands tucked in his pockets, Jiro watches Alma's back for a few moments, waiting to see how long before he turns to face him. The youth shuts his eyes, waving a hand around in a waggling way, "They were cool, thanks. I appreciate them, especially over what I did lately." He narrows his eyes at the ground, then he swings his hand down, "Meh! Anyway, that's in the past. That's not important." He lifts his eyes up, staring at Alma, "What's important is /this/." He starts to form a feral grin on his face, soon approaching closer to the center of the deck.
"It works, doesn't it?" In response to speaking to him. He shuts his eyes,t hen he reaches his hand out, "Save it. I already know that I wasn't myself." He looks at Alma, "Of course, we're rivals and best friends. Even if you're a fruit."
"Destiny, I guess." Pause, "We're not destined to be together in the 'playing for the other team way', I'm getting that out of thew way now. But yeah, I miss you too."
The Stray Dog finishes the bashing, then he forms a feral grin once more. "Okay, time to get into action." Once he steps back and the stance shift, the Stray Dog immediately extends his right hand out, drawing out those white flames, burning profusely with raw power. Jiro's emotions are soon flushed to a smirk. Eyes shoot towards Alma, the flames are immediately tossed to the ground and an explosion of white sparks flare up in the air before they fade.
The Stray Dog grins at Alma, then he sprints at the model's direction, "Fine by me!" The Stray Dog continues his rush towards Alma, starting off with the first move that comes to his mind.
Oddly enough? Not the clothesline.
He is darting from the ground as he presses his head out towards Alma's stomach as his hands reach low for Alma's waist, trying to slam him into the ground with a Spear attack: Goldburg-style.

COMBATSYS: Alma blocks Jiro's Strong Throw.

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

Alma accepts Jiro's comment about not playing for the other team with dignity. Don't worry, Jiro, he knows. He knows how hard you try to convince yourself. You'll come around someday, when that closet just gets too stuffy.
But that day will not be today. No, today is a different sort of day, for a different sort of passion. And as Jiro throws himself forward in a powerful spear takedown, Alma feels heat surge throughout his body as his very soul yearns for the coming conflict. This is it.
They're so different, anyone would have to admit, but--
--it really is like destiny.
Alma, as ever, embraces his fate.
In this case, of course, his fate is embodied by a lunging Jiro, whom Alma plucks out of the air by crouching and twisting to the side at just the right moment, nimbly redirecting the smaller fighter's motion and casting him up into the air so as to allow Jiro to pass right by. Fortunately the deck is large so there's no danger of Jiro spearing himself right over the edge-- but there /is/ a danger of what Alma might do to him while he's airborne.
Specifically, that pure thrilling fury and the joy of the fight that threatens to bubble over the kettle of Alma's fighting spirit will be unleashed all at once, white purple-lined plumes of soulfire exploding around the tall youth's feet and legs. The beautiful young man will leap high into the air and pursue his opponent, and with a perfectly calm expression release a fierce battle cry as he slashes out with a series of flame-imbued slicing roundhouse kicks.
His voice echoes out into the expanse, merging with the sounds of the river.

COMBATSYS: Jiro endures Alma's Rising Fury.

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

As Jiro springs towards Alma, the Stray Dog is plucked out of the air through the cruch and he finds himself redirected by the motion of Alma's movements. This is by no small token something that Jiro can't get himself out of. He's gotten quite quick-minded instictively again. So springing the left leg against the ground, he twists his body to do a full turn about and he -springs- back towards Alma's direction, who's drawing that flaming foot right into his slicing flaming kicks.
With that spin and the direction of the slicing kick, Jiro feels the full brunt of the foot and the psycho power burning along him. At the same time, Jiro is slamming his right fist towards Alma's face in the most harsh manner to take him down while the both of them are both in the air.

COMBATSYS: Jiro successfully hits Alma with Strong Punch.

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

And Alma thought he was being so clever.
Well, not really. Truthfully, the young fighting model is mostly beyond conscious thought at this point, all apparent strategizing issuing forth only from the overriding all-encompassing drive to challenge Jiro however possible. It's Alma's style to attempt to command his opponent's momentum; and it's Jiro's style to be tough and tenacious. So when Jiro is able to take the hit and bounce right back to engage in some mid-air melee, Alma doesn't expect it, but he isn't quite /surprised/, either.
It's just the rhythm of the fight.
They hit the ground hard together, and Alma bears the worst of it as Jiro's fierce punch plows him down and sends him crashing onto the deck, the back of his head hitting the toughened wood almost as hard as the fist struck his face. But with his usual shocking resolve and presence of mind, Alma rolls with even this movement and tucks back so that he flips over his head and back into a crouch, head lowered as he recovers from the sickening daze but at least back on his feet surprisingly quickly. And as the Stray Dog descends himself, Alma aims to take advantage of his own quick recovery by lunging forward and thrusting out a flame-wreathed hand, striking out at Jiro's head himself but with a purely mental force on his part.
He won't make any physical contact with Jiro's face, but the effect will be the same; a blast of illusory flame that will manifest as sheer force, the effects of which will shudder through the young man's very self.
Not that he's not used to it by now.

COMBATSYS: Jiro blocks Alma's Self Expression.

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

After the fist drives its way towards Alma's face, the Stray Dog is falling against the ground along side of Alma, rolling all the way through the hard, wooden floor. After the punch is made, Jiro merely rolls along the ground some more until he pulls himself back up into a quick recovery, just in time to see what Alma is about to do.
When the hand is stretched towards Jiro's face, the boy raises his arms up to guard himself against the incoming strike, and he grunts through the powerful attack. At this point, the singing pain is only a mere spark of pain that slowly fades away, "Tsch." The Stray Dog stares at Alma before he leaps forward, aiming to thrust the fist at Alma's direction. While drawing the fist out, the chi erupts to life and condenses itself into a small ball. That ball loses its color and just engulfs his hand until it makes contact to Alma. And should that contact be made, an explosion will soon follow.

COMBATSYS: Alma interrupts Exploder Knuckle from Jiro with Divine Intervention EX.

[             \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////               ]
Alma             1/--=====/=======|=======\=------\1             Jiro

These clashes are always so epic.
Let's face it: Alma and Jiro aren't the stuff of legends. They aren't names you mention when you talk about those who have defined tournament fighting. They have their fans, obviously, but that's because they're both characters, unique people that inevitably will appeal to a certain crowd. They're teenagers with ability and the will and drive to improve, and the courage to put their pride on the line in front of others. They're cool, but, I mean... they're not /that/ cool. From a broad perspective.
But their fights, now, their fights are pretty cool.
Because they never hold back, not either of them. When Jiro throws his all into his punch, opening himself to attack as though he doesn't even care, because he really /doesn't/ seem to care, and when Alma takes a wild chance and relies entirely on his keen sense of timing so that he can strike Jiro at /just/ the right moment to stop the Stray Dog short and prevent the full effects of the explosive punch from hitting him with an interrupting beam of white light--
People that fight like this are few and far between.
Staggering back from the source of the collision, Alma looks up at his opponent, swirling white steam wisping up into the air after the clash of their relative chis, and grins warmly.
Most young fighters focus on fame, on money, on power. But they?
"Is that all?" Alma murmurs mildly, sounding nonchalant even as he sways slightly.
They see the fight's own glory.

While the first thrusts itself forward to plant firmly at the chest of Alma, the Stray Dog narrows his eyes while pushing all of his power into that fist. But, he is caught off guard as he does make a brief contact by the sudden explosive psycho power shooting him -far- away. That beam of light encompasses his entire body, eventually being pushed back to a far distance, about ten feet away.
Landing on his back, Jiro groans in agonizing pain, "...Heh, there's more where that came from." The Stray Dog sprints towards Alma once more, not relenting on his charge even in spite of the raw power he ate. He lunges himself forward with a fist snapped out at Alma's face, then he drives forth with an elbow; both from the right hand. He steps forward with a right roundhouse kick at Alma's face.

COMBATSYS: Alma dodges Jiro's Light Kick.

[             \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////              ]
Alma             1/--=====/=======|=======\=------\1             Jiro

Alma is still.
Not coiled to pounce, but as though one /ready/ to coil at a moment's notice. The analogy might be confusing, but then-- it's a paradox to speak of movement through stillness, if not a very contradiction. Yet that is precisely what Alma seems to manage. He is unmoving as Jiro charges, but at the same time is right there with him, his body relaxed yet his mind churning with the effort of calculating and his soul blazing with the pursuit of yet greater heights.
He's right there with him; which is why he's not fooled.
Alma almost entirely ignores the leading punch and elbow strike and only drops and twists once the kick has begun. And if his timing is just right, Alma should be able to respond with a sweeping low kick of his own just as Jiro finishes snapping out with his own roundhouse kick, in an effort to cut the Stray Dog's one remaining leg out from under him and send him tumbling to the ground again.
His passion for battle will not be denied!

COMBATSYS: Jiro fails to interrupt Light Kick from Alma with Heaven's Diminisher.

[            \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////                   ]
Alma             1/-======/=======|=======\=------\1             Jiro

Oh good, Alma can sense the incoming strikes, so Jiro will have to put a lot of effort into that kick. The Stray Dog snorts derusively at Alma as he's not quite able to take the foot into's Alma's chest. But, when Alma is starting to come out with his own foot at the boy's leg, the boy turns around to face Alma's leg to slam his left foot out at the older teen's leg, the burning flames erupt along him before he drives himself forward, aiming to thrust a full powerful burst at Alma's leg until he's caught with the sweep, then he is caught into the snap kick and he slams on the ground, "OW!" The boy groans, growling under his breath on the impact.
He's going to have to try something different.

Alma is rising as Jiro is collapsing, and as the Stray Dog hits the ground after his failed attempt to interrupt the model's timed low kick, the psychic is already moving. Gathering his flames around his fist he lunges, again attempting to control the rhythm of the fight with precise timing around his opponent's moments of vulnerability.
His opponent will surely rise before Alma reaches his landing place, but that, it appears, is not the point. For when the tall youth is still a few yards away he will instead tilt towards the deck and thrust out his fist, slamming it powerfully against the wood yet not splintering it in the slightest-- and a geyser of power will explode outward, surging into the air and angled towards where Jiro will rise.
Alma glances up, and his eyes flash.
"Come on!"
A challenge-- or an invitation?

COMBATSYS: Jiro blocks Alma's Full Confession.

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

There is one thing that the Stray Dog is doing, even after the failed tmings, the boy has to straighten himself together. While the man is starting to draw forth his power to a powerful geyser, the Stray Dog narrows his eyes. "....If you think I am that stupid..." The Stray Dog may be very chargy and impulsive.
"You're a dumbass."
But Jiro is -not- stupid, given the few times his move failed against Alma.
No. Jiro is extending his arms out, helping his guarding position against the older teen's geyser as they explode outward as he kneels to the ground. He's holding his ground against the power, and he soon brings his arms down, then he looks at Alma, "Alright, time to get serious." Jiro immediately sprints at Alma, aiming to thrust the right foot against the older teen's direction, then he steps over with the other leg snapping out, then that leg swings over to continue the motion of the spin until Jiro snaps off-ground with a right outward crescent kick in mid-air.

COMBATSYS: Alma interrupts Heavy Kick from Jiro with Divine Intervention.

[                  \\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////                          ]
Alma             1/-------/=======|=======\=====--\1             Jiro

"Heh heh..."
Alma's eyes twinkle.
"'re too predictable, Jiro-kun."
Yes, it's tragic that Jiro didn't go for the mighty clash of projectiles; and indeed, that was probably a good choice on the Stray Dog's part, given how overwhelming the force of Alma's passion can be. But it appears as though the young model may have had a plan in reserve-- or even, he was planning something like this all along.
Jiro has been drawn out.
And the kick, though powerful, is too slow. The fact that the Stray Dog had to recover and compensate for the reverse momentum applied by the geyser's impact gave Alma more than enough time to prepare himself, and given Jiro's temper, the psychic knew his preparations would inevitably be of use. Clearly, they have been. For as soon as Jiro twists mid-kick Alma strikes, colliding with the other young man as he stabs out with a beam of light and pierces his rival's torso with the penetrating force of the mental blast, impacting directly with an attack meant to shatter one's very self.
Spinning on his heels and standing with his usual unintentionally dramatic bishounen poise, Alma looks down at his fallen rival.
"You," he murmurs, "can be so silly."

The Stray Dog was indeed drawn out. Unfortunately, he decided to go for the slower route and the boy had to go for the kick. Of course, this is going to be a nice lesson for the Stray Dog as far as changing his strategy goes. No matter how much he's tempered up, he should not have to charge up. In fact, his chi is -fury-, so why not let the chi do the talking?
Of course, Alma's attempt to draw the Stray Dog out was successful, as Jiro is given witht he beam of light at the torso, being sent back towards the ground harshly with a thud, "Ooof!" He groans in his agonizing pain.
"Tell me..."
The Stray Dog shuts his eyes, drawing his fist low. As it falls low, the chi is manifesting itself as the white flames. Rage, fury, anger. All of those are similar and the same for the chi. It is Jiro's temper that drives him, and it is that that drives the flames. But, it is the matter of separatng himself from his emotions that's the biggest trouble.
"How well do you..."
The Stray Dog immediately lunges towards Alma with the fist drawn out, he aims to thrust the fist forward at the man's stomach, thrusting forth the raw power of the fist to strike dead on at Alma. When the fist slams forth, a trail of white flames swirl along the arm like a tail. That trail of flames are left scorching the air as the fist strikes towards Alma.
Should the fist strike Alma, there will be a harsh, powerful burst of flames.

COMBATSYS: Jiro can no longer fight.

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

COMBATSYS: Alma endures Jiro's Vandal Breaker.

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

"I don't break."
Alma stands calmly as Jiro rushes.
"Not ever."
The fist strikes.
"Not anymore."
The flames shroud him from view.
The audience watches in awe as the scene returns to stillness. Jiro no doubt slumps or collaspses after his supreme effort, and silence reigns again, only the sounds of the inevitable course of the river's flow remaining; as though it is the river itself, and not either of the fighters, that is triumphant.
Alma stands, smiling beautifically.
"It's best to bend..."
The sky is so blue. Clouds seem to creep in from the sides.
" learn more that way."
He realizes only now that there are no clouds.
It's just his vision going white.
He sways, and--

COMBATSYS: Alma takes no action.

COMBATSYS: Alma can no longer fight.

--collapses by his rival's side.
Though dazed, Alma still manages an honest little grin.
"...p...pretty good, Stray Dog."

Growling under his breath, Jiro is slowly starting to fall on his knees, snorting back towards Alma as he collapses. "Get up." The Stray Dog struggles to push himself up. He's not going to falter on this crap. Of course, he's just someone who hates to stay down. And he is going to make sure that Alma's up.
With Alma falling into his arms, Jiro looks at his best friend.
If this were a yaoi moment, this would be the part where Jiro leans over and draw his lips towards Alma's lips in the most passionate manner in undying love.
...But considering that this isn't, Jiro merely smacks Alma upside the head. "Wake up, you douche bag."

"Ha ha ha..."
Rolling over, Alma grins at his friend as he manages to get into a sitting position and reaches up to rub his head where he's been smacked. "Well, it's your fault for hitting me so hard." His grin subsides into a smile, and he looks down at Jiro thoughtfully. "Your techniques keep evolving," he adds. "That was a new one for me. Pretty impressive."
A pause as he regards his rival, and then looks toward the horizon.
"Our fighting styles are pretty different. That's one of the things that makes our matches so exciting for me. But-- more than that, I think, is the spirit behind our styles that we have in common." The young model tilts his gaze back toward Jiro and begins to grin again. "We articulate it differently, of course, but..."
The hand that was rubbing the side of his head reaches up to run through his unkempt hair, as Alma considers for a moment.
"I heard some new up and coming fighters formed a team," he remarks, seemingly out of the blue. "One of them is that 'Domino' character. The model-wrestler, Drake Vyril. Heh-- reminds me of when I was invited to a team. We never did much, but-- it was pretty funny. They were some interesting guys."
Alma smiles softly.
"I don't want to ever leave you alone for as long as I did again, Jiro." His smile grows firmer. "I think-- we should form a team. I think enough people know who we are, know about our rivalry. They'll take notice. We'll be able to have fun with it. Now," he continues, as though Jiro has already accepted, "I had a hard time coming up with a name. I'm not very good at that sort of thing, I don't think. But I thought about how best to describe us both at the same time-- which is hard to do, I assure you--" He eyes Jiro for a moment before grinning again. "--but I think I did alright. How do you feel about..."
"...the 'Glory Hounds'?"

After Alma rolls up to rub his head, the Stray Dog folds his arms derusively, "Good, you've noticed." The Stray Dog shuts his eyes, looking up at the sky while he thinks. Now, Jiro can actually enjoy the look of the atmosphere that they fought in. After a good fight, it is worth getting a good look at the ground that they've battled, as things are over and peace is now instilled in the air.
His eyes focus towards Alma when he explains about the styles, "I suppose so." He pauses for a moment, then he shuts his eyes, "Yeah, I talked with him and fought him once. Not too bad. Gave him a bit of advice once." He glares at Alma, "You're slipping, letting him kick your ass."
There is a twitch about the other time. "The Queer Brigade.." He growls, "Oh wait, my bad, Dynamite Vogue." He shakes his head. Then, he lifts an eyebrow at Alma, peering at him, but he blinks a few times as explains about -them- forming a team.
"It's about time." He shrugs, then he looks at Alma once more.
"Glory Hounds." He pauses, thinking it over. Then, he fixes Alma with a feral grin. "Sounds good. Count me in."

Alma frowns slightly and crosses his arms, though he can't disguise the mirth glittering in the depths of his eyes. "Hey, he had a lot of help, you know. And he's quite fast, whatever else."
Then he grins.
"But with your help, I should be fine, right?"
He ignores the Queer Brigade comment, of course.
"The Glory Hounds it is."
Alma reaches out his hand, offering it to clasp, and grins.
"It is about time, isn't it?"
The audience applauds as the waterwheel turns, carrying them down the river.

Log created by Alma, and last modified on 15:15:22 04/22/2007.