Neo League 501 - #508: Rugal vs Ken

Description: Rugal Bernstein finds out first hand that Ken Masters isn't just a lot of talk as he takes on the Neo League franchise owner himself at Masters Stadium. (Winner: Ken)

The crowds call for a good fight. The two names are enough to pack the place despite the short notice. Win or lose, Ken is bound to make a good bit of money off this. Of course, he has no intentions of losing here tonight.

The announcer struggles to have his voice hear over the crowd, but after he begins to speak, the crowd soon hushes itself. After offering the long list of titles won by the famed hometown hero, the announcer finishes with the line people have been waiting for.

"And here he is... The Sultan of Strength, the King of Quick... KEN MAAAAAAAAASSSSSTTTTTEEEERRRRRRSSS!"

Dressed in his usual sleeveless red gi, Ken walks out with a calm stride, waving toward the fans as they cry out for the idol to tear apart the living legend he's about to face. Once Ken gets to the beach, he just stares toward the other entrance and waits as the announcer goes through the other list of notable and amazing achievement of his competitor for the evening, finishing off with a loud yell that gets fans just as worked up.

"And here is... Power made flesh, the living Titan... RUUUUUUGGGGGAAAAALLLLLLL!"

While Rugal never participated in the previous seasons of Neo League, Masters' plan of revitalizing interest in the league with a reset and change in rules piqued the brooding recluse's interest enough for him to leave his carrier from time to time to participate in an epic bout as invited by the Neo League. His opponents have varied among the reckless, destructive Duke or incredibly powerful Rose all the way down to the newcomer, Birdie. But at last it's time for Bernstein to face off against the man behind the mayhem, Ken Masters himself.

As his name is announced, Rugal steps into view, ascending the steps onto the side of the arena where the path turns to flat stones scattered in a shallow pool of water. Dressed in the signiture red, almost garish suit he's known for wearing, the man's right hand idly folds and unfolds the end of a thin, black scarf that hangs open around his neck. His expression is impassive. If the teeming masses mean anything to him, it would be impossible to tell.

The roar of excitement that fills the arena is impossible to speak over from a distance so the man makes no effort to even try, simply stepping from stone to stone as he crosses the watery section on approach toward the red gi clad karate professional. This will be a fight to enjoy and remember, he muses, allowing himself the faintest of smirks.

Ken remembers the first time he tried to fight Rugal. It was short, brutal, and almost completely one-sided. Of course, this is going to be the first major fight since Ken had his dire fight with Ryu in Thailand. Everything was child's play. Rugal will push him to the limits and Ken knows it. Time to see if Ken is really ready to enter the fighting world with a renewed fighting spirit.

Perhaps due to cockiness, or rather a kind gesture to the guest to his arena, Ken Masters gives a simple 'give me your best shot' and motion before he slides into his stance. "Whenever you're ready, Rugal... Go for broke," he says with a confident tone.

COMBATSYS: Ken has started a fight here.

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Ken              0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Rugal has joined the fight here.

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Rugal            0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0              Ken

"I must say," the suited tyrant begins once he is close enough to be heard, "Your showmanship is quite admireable. You know how to pull together a crowd, Mister Masters." A glance is cast at the packed seats, the eager mob, the venders pandering wares of all varieties, the announcers shouting over the speakers in words nigh incomprehensible over the rest of the noise that fills the arena. "And that is power to be respected, in and of itself. But it won't help you in this fight," the man smirks, his left eye, the one still human, narrowing a little as he sizes up the younger martial artist. It's been a long time since they've battled. But Rugal forgets little.

The invitation for a man like Rugal to strike first can be a dangerous one. A best shot from this monster of a man is capable of laying out a lot of fighters completely. But the gesture doesn't go missed.

The transition from passively speaking to aggressively charging happens in an instant, the man bolting forward with brazen speed on a crash course directly toward Ken, his arms out at his sides as if he means to just barrel right into him. It isn't until he's close that he swings, turning that wreckless charge into an actual attack - his right hand comes in, a closed fist aimed for the side of Ken's head. His left hand follows, a straight open palmed shot toward his stomach as Bernstein converts all of that rushing momentum into brutal, striking power. "HAAH!"

COMBATSYS: Ken interrupts Fierce Punch from Rugal with Shoryuken.

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Rugal            0/-------/---====|=======\-------\0              Ken

"I try," Ken replies, still wearing his proud smirk. He would give more, but Rugal is ready to charge as soon as Ken's done talking. Ken slides one foot slightly forward as Rugal charges, clearly waiting. Rugal likely figures Ken will play safe at first, but Ken's learned an early gamble can pay off big. That thought in mind, he narrows his eyes.

As Rugal gets within five feet, he will find the sand about Ken blasting away from him, a hidden power making itself known early on. As Rugal drives his fist through the localized sandstorm, he'll feel his palm crash against Ken's shoulder. That must mean he's crouched. Rugal won't really have time to understand what that means fully before he finds a flaming uppercut going right for his jaw. Ken bursts out of the sand cloud to fly five feet through the air, landing back down on the ground with a smirk. He moves a hand to his shoulder, which will soon show a nice purple and blue spot on it. After all, Rugal hits like a freight train, even with his power cut with a timely attack.

"Does THAT help?" he yells, preparing himself for Rugal's next assault.

At first the man mistakes Ken's shift in position for a defensive reaction. He would do well to bunker down and try to weather out the assault Rugal has in mind for him after all. Most would chose to do the same and no one would think lessor of him. But that defensive action swiftly turns to offense before Bernstein can retract his arm and he is struck hard in the chin as intended.

Few blows are hard enough to knock the man clean off his feet. But the famous Shoryuken certainly constitutes one of them. He was carelessly aggressive in his offense, expecting to get Ken to buckle under brute force early, and such an assumption has cost him some pain to be certain. He recovers in mid-air, landing on his feet into a half crouch, looking at Ken differently now. "Che," he grunts, lifting his left hand to rub at his chin as he rises back to full standing. "If that's the best you got..." he growls, sounding mildly irritated, "Then the outcome here is a foregone conclusion."

And then he's on the offense again, deciding to maintain pressure rather than fall back. A swift kick is launched out with his right foot, aiming toward Ken's stomach. Whether or not it connects, he follows up with his left leg in a wide, sweeping arch, intending to knock Ken aside regardless.

COMBATSYS: Ken blocks Rugal's Medium Kick.

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Rugal            0/-------/---====|=======\-------\1              Ken

The kick comes for Ken's stomach, but it meets with a red padded glove rather than a soft gut. The second attack collides with the same glove. It's painful to block even the simple attacks from Rugal, but it really beats the alternative.

Once Rugal pulls back his leg, Ken tries to take offer a swift kick right for his face. It likely won't do much if it hits, but well, wearing down Rugal is the only choice he has until he figures out a better way to bring down the massive monster. To Rugal's comments, Ken fights giving a laugh. It would give him an opening, after all. "Haven't even gotten warmed up yet!"

COMBATSYS: Rugal interrupts Light Kick from Ken with Quick Throw.

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Rugal            0/-------/---====|=======\=------\1              Ken

Stepping into the kick, Rugal takes Ken's strike to the chest instead of his face as intended, where he can better weather it out. It's necessary for the attack that comes next - his hand lashing out to snag a hold of the front of Ken's red gi top and heft him up off his feet. "It seemed like your first strike was hot enough already," the tyrant smirks before he turns and hurls Ken toward the pool of water behind him. "Allow me to help you cool off."

As he releases his hold on the other martial artist, Rugal stands up straight and idly adjusts his suit coat jacket. Ah... yes, this is quite the entertaining bout for him. Masters definitely doesn't disappoint. What better way to thank Ken for being a gracious host than to give him a match he'll remember, after all.

Ken is defintely caught off guard as he gets grabbed and thrown. Ken flies through the air, though he recovers in mid air before he hits the ground. It still hurts when he lands in the water though, hitting the joints rather hard to the point it hurts a bit to stand back up. Up to his knees in the water, Ken merely watches Rugal as he slowly creeps toward him. It looks like Ken's waiting once more, his guard down a bit as he tries to figure out how best to kick Rugal's ass. After all, he needs more than luck to pull a win this time around. He doesn't have a quip right now, focusing himself for this pivot time of the fight.

COMBATSYS: Ken focuses on his next action.

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Rugal            0/-------/---====|=======\-------\1              Ken

Ken's recovery before landing is noted. More direct, brute force will be appropriate for dealing with an opponent who can manipulate himself in the air so well. But that isn't the only thing observed as Rugal waits for Ken to come back at him only to find him behaving in a more conservative manner now. "Hm, hm." He sounds somewhat amused to find Ken tensing up. Perhaps he expected more aggression.

Not to suggest that Rugal can't appreciate a more patient, defensive approach to battle as well. Shifting back and forth from offense to defense is something he does with trivial ease himself.

That right eye of his - the one made of circuits and probably lasers and other high tech lights up with a pin thin red light as Bernstein begins to study Ken anew. The way he moves, the condition of his health, the nuances with how his muscles contract and relax. No detail is too small to be scrutinized as Rugal picks apart everything he can about Ken's fighting style and capacity.

COMBATSYS: Rugal focuses on his next action.

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Rugal            0/-------/---====|=======\-------\1              Ken

As the robotics in Rugal studies Ken, the King of Fighters winner merely puts his palms together. He is calm, understanding that Rugal is likely planning to try and counter. He's being careful. The American Champ still doesn't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. Despite this inner musings, Ken channels blue chi between his palms, letting them form into a ball. Once he a fist sized amount, he throws it right for Rugal in one fluid movement. Like Ryu, he gives the might cry of "HADOUKEN!" but it isn't nearly as big. It isn't Ken's fault, Ken just likes his uppercuts fiery and his chi-projectiles basketball sized.

COMBATSYS: Rugal slows Hadouken from Ken with Reppuken.
Glancing Hit

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Rugal            0/-------/--=====|=======\==-----\1              Ken

As Ken channels up a burst of his own power Rugal does likewise, rolling his arm behind him, his fist aglow with a blazing, white light flaring into existence. He knows exactly what Ken is doing and he's ready to exchange more than equal power to dash Ken's attack to pieces if possible.

"Reppu-" comes the growl as he swings his arm forward, unleashing a broiling wave of power on a collision course for the world famous Hadouken. "-KEN!" The attacks colide but the blue sphere of chi is not scattered as Rugal had expected and even some of it manages to continue on, striking the crimelord in the chest, causing him to slide back several inches and grunt. "Impressive," he allows, his voice showing only mild irritation that the collision of attacks did not turn out as he had caluclated.

This is it. The opening he needed. In the moment where his Hadouken overcomes the Reppuken, the water around Ken explodes. In a slow motion camera, a cameraman captures the grace of the American Champ as he dashes out of the water with on powerful leaps foward, his feet quickly pushing off the ground as they hit moist sand and finally touching down a final time as they are within a foot of Rugal.

Now in the perfect position to attack, Ken tries to grab Rugal by his suit jacket, pulling him forward to have him roll swiftly along the ground a couple of times before throwing him into the water. "TAKE THAT!" he cries out, silently praying that his second gamble of the night will pay off. Lady Luck can be a cruel mistress sometimes.

COMBATSYS: Rugal fails to interrupt Jigoku Fuusha from Ken with Genocide Cutter EX.
- Power fail! -

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Rugal            0/-------/=======|=======\====---\1              Ken

The next gamble pays off as Ken slips in closer than Rugal had expected. Far faster as well. In fact, everything about his speed is far more than the crimelord remembered him for and he's starting to pay the price accordingly. No matter. If Ken wants to slug it out in close, then Bernstein is ready for him.

The first strike comes from his right leg. A sweeping kick, a lancing, piercing trail of chi behind his foot, "Genocide-" It's only then that he realizes Ken got in close not to exchange blows but to pull him completely off his feet into the tumble that results in Rugal landing with an uncontrolled slam into the water on that edge of the arena.

He rises to his feet quickly, hands already lifting up to rip the suit jacket from off his shoulders, allowing it to fall to into the water at his feet. The proverbial 'removal of the gloves' as things go when it comes to Rugal. Teeth clenched, he glares back at Ken, redirecting the anger at his failure to handle the younger man's aggressive attack into aggression that will be soon directed Ken's way...

As Rugal is getting up, Ken is again charging straight for Rugal. It seems to work to get right up there and personal to the massive man. Most likely would want to stay arm or leg's length away, but it suits Rugal's aggressive fighting style. If one can move in and keep his stance shaky... Ken's tactic is made clear to him, shining like the sun.

Ken reaches for Rugal once more, this time trying to throw him to the side, using a powerful roundhouse kick to try and propel Rugal to go into the water once more.

The audience is going crazy about now, the Ken fans cheering like there was no tomorrow, the Rugal fans wondering why Ken isn't a smear on the beach yet.

COMBATSYS: Rugal blocks Ken's Tsukami Nage.

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Rugal            1/-------/=======|=======\====---\1              Ken

That Rugal even has fans at all in the Neo League audience is almost delicious irony, considering how little he thinks of them all. But it seems the populace has a thing for the vicious, unpleasant power mongers... Besides, very few would have any idea about the 'R' Organization itself and how Rugal's own people spread misery around the world on a daily basis. Then again, even if the truth were known, would it even matter? Fandom can be a strange beast.

The suit jacket shed, Rugal is plenty ready as Ken comes in tight this time. Ken gets a grip on that white, ruined dress shirt of his, but when the roundhouse comes, Bernstein's arm raises to intersect it, allowing him to keep from being thrown off his feet again. But all the same, a solid kick from Ken doesn't get ignored lightly. He felt that one.

But now Ken is in close, and Rugal decides to lash out with a rapid sequence of three punches into the younger man's gut. Individually they're far from his hardest hits, but they can add up.

COMBATSYS: Rugal successfully hits Ken with Medium Punch.

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Rugal            1/------=/=======|=======\=====--\1              Ken

Ken gets a few blows right into his gut, almost doubling over from the pain. As said before earlier in the fight, Rugal hits like a train. Ken is far from out of the fight yet though, merely trying to curl his leg behind Rugal and push down onto his back. It's a basic 101 karate throw, but it's swift and hopefully will be able to take him down. While Ken still thinks he has the upper hand, it could be anyone's fight at this point.

COMBATSYS: Rugal fails to counter Quick Throw from Ken with Scorpion Blow.

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Rugal            1/-------/=======|=======\======-\1              Ken

As Ken goes for another throw, Rugal attempts to return the favor, his right hand slaming out as an open claw toward the karate master's neck, intending to get a vice-like, crushing grip from which he would be able to deliver an even stronger attack. But Ken's movements are faster and he gets that grip he seeks, twisting the taller tyrant over and down to the ground, slamming him hard against the arena throw, this time provoking a grunt.

Bernstein rolls over onto his side, kicking up sand as he pushes back up to his feet, turning around to face Ken again. The red clad Ansatsuken user is definitely getting the better of him thus far... but Bernstein can take quite the punishment, too. How this will turn out in the end has not quite yet been determined. "Fast, I'll grant you that," the man grunts. The strength of his attacks aren't quite as devestating, but there's definitely more than one way to win a fight.

"Considering you are looking pretty beat up, I'd like to think I got some power too," the blond battler replies as he takes a few deep breaths. While he doesn't attack Rugal, his body seems to tense up and his stance lowering itself again. A trained eye like Rugal's will know what that means. With his tactics decided, Ken is preparing himself to end this fight. To give the final savage attacks to end this fight. Of course, if he can do that is another matter entirely.

COMBATSYS: Ken focuses on his next action.

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Rugal            1/-------/=======|=======\=====--\1              Ken

Ken's retort earns him a chuckle from his opponent as Rugal stands up straighter. His resilliance is abnormal. His ability to take hits and keep on going nothing to take lightly. The longer things get drawn out, the more healthy he even seems to be. Either he is able to just forget the pain better with each passing moment or his body possesses the strength to continue fighting longer than it should, driven by pure willpower alone.

"Perhaps," he replies, his eyes narrowing again. He can't deny that Ken's attacks have dealt more than he anticipated. Nor can he argue that he underestimated the abilities of the American martial artist at first glance. Mistakes in evaluation that he should never have allowed himself to make. Errors in judgement, in business or pursuits of sating his need for challenging battles, can be costly and must not be forgotten lightly.

"But do you have the strength to finish this. That is what remains to be seen, I believe. Or will our gracious host of this event lack what it takes?" His cybernetic eye continues to glare an angry shade of red while Rugal extends his right arm, his palm upward, making a 'come hither' gesture with his fingers.

COMBATSYS: Rugal focuses on his next action.

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Rugal            1/-------/=======|=======\=====--\1              Ken

Rugal wants Ken to charge at him. The 'come hither' usually means 'I got something for you, and it's gunna hurt', more so when it's this late in the fight. That thought in mind, Ken only races forward a couple of steps. Hopefully, it will cause Rugal to either come forward or prematurally put up his guard. Either way, Ken's attack is the same, as he put his palms together, summoning the energies around him. Once he has them channeled in his hands, he casts them toward the bionic beast. "Hadouken!" he cries out, not having quite as much energy this time around. Maybe he's starting to get tired. It has been a long tough fight.

COMBATSYS: Rugal fails to interrupt Hadouken from Ken with Genocide Cutter EX.
- Power fail! -

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Rugal            0/-------/-----==|=======\=======\1              Ken

He can tell when Ken is going to hold back. The attempt to provoke him onto the offense is met with resistance from the young man. Perhaps it's fear or perhaps just superior tactics that have him throwing out the world famous chi ball a second time. Either way, Rugal seeks to put a stop to it, switching from defensive to aggression in an instant, charging toward Ken with wreckless abandon, mouth clenched tightly as he attempts to strike the karate master preemptively.

He doesn't quite have it though. His foot lashes out, aiming to strike Ken in the jaw, willing to trade that opening hit in exchange for getting cleanly struck by the Hadouken, but the projectile lands with more force than Bernstein anticipated, driving him back just far enough that his foot flies past Ken's head harmlessly, the same piercing chi that would have sought to do him great harm missing completely likewise.

This time it's clear that the repeated strikes are adding up as Rugal staggers back several steps, unable to aggress again in the immediate future. Ken's mastery of chi is not to be taken lightly it seems.

As Rugal stumbles back, Ken takes a few deep breaths. He is getting tired himself it would seem, but Ken still has a fight to win. He steels himself, letting his lung and body burn as he sprints toward Rugal. When he gets in range, he lets his fist explode into flames. He tries to give one powerful uppercut, but it only takes him a foot into the air. "SHOU-" He gives another uppercut, but it's the same height as the first. "-RYUU..."

The final uppercut has most of the powerful though, and takes him up into the sky. "REPPAAAA!" It's clear that Ken is trying to finish the fight here. But considering Rugal likely has a trick or two up his sleeve still, that might be easier said than done.

COMBATSYS: Rugal fails to counter Shouryuu Reppa from Ken with Jab Punch.
- Power fail! -

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Ken              0/-------/---====|

COMBATSYS: Rugal can no longer fight.

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Ken              0/-------/---====|

In the end, it's that type of brutal outpouring force that it takes to finish a man like Rugal. And Ken is risking a lot on this attack. If it lands it has to be more than the already battered Bernstein can handle. But if it doesn't, he might have finally extended himself too far. Of course Rugal sees the surge in power. He can practically taste it - that mastery Ken has over raw force and his ability to blend it so well with the energy he borrows from the world around him.

Fortunately for Justice, he gets a bigger taste of it than he even anticipates as he charges forward to meet Ken dead on. Taking the blow from the first uppercut is intended. A times exchanges have to be made in order to succeed, after all. But after that the man lashes out, attempting to drive extended fingers straight into Ken's neck between the uppercuts... But the second one comes swiftly enough that no such attack is possible, shattering Rugal's stance and leaving him a sitting target for the third, final powerful flaming uppercut that sends him up into the air before he comes down and lands hard on his back on the arena floor, the lingering flickers of flame vanishing from him moments later.

The larger German is slow to move then, rolling over onto his side as it looks like he might be getting up again. His hands plant down against the sand, clenching tightly as his arms strain to push him up once more. But he reaches his limits then. He know he can't go after Ken again this match. "Well fought," he growls, conceding the bout, lifting one of his hands up to rub against his mouth before spitting bloody saliva to the side.

Ken is silent. He just took down Rugal... And he's not even that battered. Was it really a bout of luck or has his skills really progressed? He defeated Ryu soundly the last time he fought, but now he was able to take on Rugal the same way? Normally, Ken would be bragging and hollering about his abilities. But he doesn't.

"Well fought," Ken repeats back, having a loss of words due to the fight. He just offers a wave to all those gathered, taking a moment to get rid of the dazed expression from his face before hiding his confusion and awe with a facade of confidence and strength. Maybe he is ready to take on Geese. To do that though... It will take others. The plotting wheels turn in the head of the young Masters. Will anything come as a result? Will Rugal plot his revenge? Only time will tell.

Log created on 18:58:10 09/29/2007 by Rugal, and last modified on 05:55:37 10/03/2007.