Neo League 501 - #522: Alma vs Kyle

Description: A fight atop the Bijou Hotel in Metro City gives new meaning to the term 'home team advantage'. Unsettled by the dark and foreign environment, Alma's efforts to attune himself to the flow of the fight can only be in vain. Yet the two fighters reach an understanding, and that's a kind of victory in itself-- if not so quite so much of a victory as knocking your opponent off a roof. (Winner: Kyle)

The Bijou Hotel is one of the premiere locales for crime in Metro City -- while it does plenty of business as a legitimate hotel, and indeed is surprisingly classy, there's also a large number of patrons who use it as a safe-house, a location to make deals, and all manner of other illicit things. But, more importantly, sometimes its expansive rooftop, one of the distinctive points of the Metro City skyline, sees use as a locale for sanctioned battles.

And tonight's battles are sponsored by the Neo League. One of its fresh faces, one Kyle Travers, has made his way up the rooftop in traditional Haggar-and-friends fashion, smacking a few thugs and miscreants about on the way. Nothing too extensive, but almost definitely a spectacular warmup for a real battle. Conveniently, that's /exactly/ what Kyle is about to engage in!

His warmup routine once he gets to the top is nothing particularly interesting -- a little shadowboxing, a few quick kicks. However, what sets his routine apart, slightly, is what he follows it up with: the slamming of a beer, dulling the pain of those earlier small altercations and giving Kyle a little more 'get up and go' to get ready for the fight. Already, the instinctive fighter is looking around the roof, where the building's piping comes up and is separated from the walkable areas by steel cages and any number of old implements used in deals gone wrong lie strewn about.

Alma frowns.
The beautiful young man does not seem pleased by what he has seen both on his way here and now that he has just ascended to the top of the building. Yet it is not the prudish expression one might expect from a classy-dressing big-time modeling manager of a non-profit organization. The hazel eyes that gaze out from underneath a shroud of red-tinged blond bangs possess no air of moral superiority. There is instead pity without condescension, sympathy mingled with the lost look of one who recognizes he is out of his depth, who whatever his troubles has never had to deal with the rough times in Metro City. Southtown has its bad points, but at least the crime is well-regulated. The hotel may be nice inside, but its contrast with the parts of Metro City that Alma occasionally had to walk through makes the lights seem gaudy, the decor tawdry.
Now he understands why Jiro wants to stay here.
And as one who depends on his aura sense and thus his attunement to the environment around them, though he may be able to convert what could be simple discomfort into a somber awareness of the city's current difficulties, the young man must pragmatically admit that he feels at something of a disadvantage here. This will be the sort of ambiance he could find difficult to adapt to. This is the kind of place where a guy like him /really/ doesn't fit in.
Yes-- this will be a new challenge.
It's enough to turn his frown upside-down.
"Mr. Travers," the dusky-skinned model murmurs loud enough to be heard as he approaches, inclining his head toward the beer-slamming, weapon-searching man that is to be his opponent. If Kyle's behavior is off-putting at all, Alma doesn't show it. Maybe it's just another part of this foreign environment to him. "I am Alma Towazu, of the Hiten-ryu style. I'm honored to face you."
He's gentle and subdued, but that new little smile remains.
~ I wonder if I can handle it? ~
"...let's do our best."
It looks as though the cameramen are almost set up.

COMBATSYS: Alma has started a fight here.

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

A new challenge, indeed, with the emphasis on challenge. Kyle's been trying to clean up these streets since he could fight, and his family and friends were doing it before then even. The city, while it has its share of nice areas, is really and truly just a dump from the inside out -- Alma's senses are dead on the money in pegging it as a rough place, of course. There's a lot of good in Metro City if one looks, but one has to look really, truly deep for it.

Kyle accepts this. It's a fundamental part of his life, and so he isn't in the least put off at the moment. ... at least, not any more than he'd normally be here in the Bijou Hotel. "Towazu, huh," he says, giving his opponent a grin. "I've heard a bit about you. Isn't it your place Haggar told me to check out when Yamazaki put the hurt on me -- that community center, right? Good job -- takes a lot of class to do that kind of work." Evidently, Alma's reputation precedes him for once.

Nevertheless, both men have to recognize that they're here for a fight -- Kyle certainly does, considering that fighting is how he keeps himself alive. He's a career fighter, in spite of the schooling he has (surprising for a typical denizen of Metro!) and giving less than his all doesn't exactly pay the bills. And if he has to borrow from his girlfriend one more time, he's gonna' be /really/ embarassed. "Let's get this on the road, huh?"

Travers wastes no time getting down to the proverbial brass tacks, coming in at Alma hard once he's got a handle on the terrain again. His style is one of bare-knuckle brawling and street fighting, and he shows that aggressiveness immediately as he comes in with a strong first attack, going for two quick right punches and then a fierce boxer's uppercut.

COMBATSYS: Kyle has joined the fight here.

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Alma             0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0             Kyle

COMBATSYS: Kyle successfully hits Alma with Fierce Strike.

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

Alma blinks in surprise. Travers has heard of him? He hasn't been participating in that many tournaments, so-- well, it looks like the YFCC has been heard of even here. That's good. That's very good. It bodes well for the future of his organization.
But good-natured though his opponent seems, he wastes no time in getting down to business. Alma simply nods as his opponent rushes forward, and closing his eyes for a moment the younger man reaches out with his awareness. Yes, the place is strange and unwelcome, a gnarled and forbidding tree, but the roots extend deep. If he can engage in this new environment-- does he have the strength now?
Preparing himself, he snaps his eyes open, sparks of pink and purple flashing for a moment in their depths, as the fists rocket toward him. His soul grows sharp, clarity immersing him like ice water. Knowing instinctively what he must do now, he steps back unhesitatingly--
--and half-slips on an empty beer bottle.
The punches impact heavily against his body and under his chin, the mighty uppercut lifting him off the ground and spinning him around once--
"Heh heh."
--only to reveal that though a thin line of blood now trickles from between his lips and one eye is shut in a wince, his soft smile has returned for a moment.
~ I still have so much to learn. ~
Oddly comforted by this fact, it is in good spirits that he returns fire, as it were, using his own spinning momentum to lash out suddenly in a fierce fire-imbued kick to the side of Kyle's head.

COMBATSYS: Kyle dodges Alma's Shooting Star.

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

Kicks are something Travers has no trouble with, usually -- a conventional kick to the head is something that everyone tries, but few people really get right. Alma's one of the closest he's ever seen that wasn't completely out of his league, and it's only a quick tense of the muscles and sudden slide down and under the spinning strike that keeps him from getting his block knocked off by that attack. "Good shot," he says, trying to keep his breathing still plenty regular.

The brief exchange of words at the start is enough to keep Kyle's mind on the YFCC. This guy who runs it seems OK, even if he is a bit fruity looking, and definitely knows his stuff well enough to be running something like that. That kick was /fierce/ -- Kyle felt that fiery strike even though he got out of its way, and he knows that being on the receiving end of it would've sucked.

It's this that keeps his head in the fight, and gets him to try slightly different tactics; rather than come in for some more strikes, he decides to try a grapple, grabbing at Alma's shoulders and pulling him slightly off the ground in a lightning-fast maneuver that tries to snake past any attempts to guard against it. The maneuver doesn't end there, though -- once he's got Alma off the ground, Kyle lifts his leg up for a few quick knee strikes, then slams his face forward into Alma's for a forceful headbutt.

COMBATSYS: Alma blocks Kyle's Stun Headbutt.

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

Alma's grunt is one of interest and approval. This guy is unorthodox, but he definitely knows what he's doing, and his speed and reflexes are enough to help him get the edge on the younger man. It is only the model's grace that saves him; though he surely must be unbalanced after a spinning kick like that, especially one he threw out after being clobbered, he nimbly touches down just in time to dodge back away from the grapple.
The prettyboy doesn't avoid contact completely, but this time he doesn't slip on anything, and it helps. Fading back like a shadow, the first knee strikes that Kyle attempts are deftly brushed aside by well-timed parries, and the final lunge into a headbutt is avoided by a smooth lean backward, the brawler's forehead only just missing the model's sculpted nose. Good thing, too, he might have it insured.
It's not really Alma's style to compliment his opponent during battle, normally, but what makes up for it is that his eyes become very expressive, lighting up with the fury of battle and his rising Psycho Power, which for him aren't really that different in any case. And indeed, that very power has been building to a fever pitch, demanding to be released in full glory. He can't deny it. It's why he's here.
~ I'll open my heart to this new world... ~
Right hand flares up, soulfire sparkling, a beacon in the fetid air.
~ ...and make it my own! ~
Alma lunges, driving his very being against Kyle's own, striking directly at his opponent's focus and will to fight. It will feel like fire, but it is the immensity of the sensation, not the force generated, that does the real damage.

COMBATSYS: Alma successfully hits Kyle with Self Expression.

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

Kyle throws up his hands, but that force of will powers through him, sending him reeling back as Alma uses his strong heart as his greatest weapon. The fiery strike sends Kyle sliding back across the rooftop, but not for a second does he look like he's going to fall -- Alma isn't the only one with that intense willpower, after all, and Kyle isn't about to let him think otherwise.

The fact that Alma's not talking too much tells Kyle he shouldn't either -- you can get talky with talky guys, after all, but the guys who aren't as talky won't let you get an opening to do it. All that escapes Travers's lips is a faint "Whoa!" before he puts all his focus back on the battle again, not letting Towazu tease any useful time out of landing that blow.

This time, his attacks are a little more conservative than that quick combo from earlier -- he comes in for three quick punches, followed by a quick spin kick. All of the blows are more designed for harassment than serious injury, as Kyle tries to give Alma the death of a thousand cuts -- or in this case, a thousand quick punches to the head and shoulders. "C'mon!" he yells, as his foot swings around, coming to deliver that last rapid blow.

COMBATSYS: Alma fails to interrupt Medium Strike from Kyle with Divine Intervention EX.

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

It seems to be working.
Buoyed by the success of his own strike, getting a direct feel for his opponent's aura, Alma feels a surge of fighting spirit that overwhelms his uncertainty as to how to deal with his environment. Determined to press his advantage, the young model pushes forward and attempts to summon up his soulfire again immediately, slamming down Kyle before he can even come up swinging.
The results are not quite what he planned.
The flames take a moment too long to arise, Alma's power yet not at its peak, and a moment is all Kyle needs for the first quick punch to send the Hiten-ryu fighter staggering back. The next strikes all connect, and the final kick impacts heavily against Alma's abdomen, causing him to slide back and to one knee. Yet though he remains in that position for a moment, gritting his teeth against the pain and trying to clear his head after the force of those blows, the young man still seems calm, and he has retained his footing-- allowing him to rise to his feet again rather quickly.
~ Too soon... it was too soon. ~
Alma is learning his lessons... but can he learn them in time?

Once again, Kyle narrowly dodges a bullet by preempting Towazu's power from fully erupting from the recesses of his soul -- and once again, he can tell instantly just how little he dodged it by. The man can't shake the feeling that there was a /little/ luck involved there, and that on any other day Alma might well have taken him down with that -- but then, it is not the place of someone from circumstances like Kyle's to question luck too extensively.

He doesn't back off for even an instant; sanctioned fights are for fighting to win, especially since most people know when to tap out or cry uncle without getting too injured. The number one rule sanctioned fighters have to follow is 'protect yourself and your opponent,' after all, and right now it's still at the stage of 'protecting yourself.' Even if that means offensively!

The Metro City native comes in once again, this time seemingly going for a hard toe kick to the stomach. Thinking that, however, would be reading his movements wrong -- at the last second, his foot swerves a little, picking up a piece of a broken bottle, and kicking it full-speed toward Alma's chest in an attempt to stagger him and buy Kyle a little time to move back away.

COMBATSYS: Alma dodges Kyle's Sudden Fling.

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

Alma may be facing some unusual challenges, but he can still embody the spirit of Hiten-ryu: making fights dramatic. Two fighters from different worlds with very different fighting styles already makes a recipe for an exciting match, but it's the way they deal with the little things that can make all the difference sometimes. Like, it may not really practically matter how Alma avoided that broken bottle; he chooses not to pursue his opponent for the moment in any case. But the way he twisted and leaned to the side even as he got to his feet-- well, it looked pretty slick.
Straightening his posture and relaxing his limbs, the model takes another few moments to clear his head, taking a deep breath, taking in the feel of the place -- of the moment -- as only he can, as only his steadily growing awareness allows him to do. Nothing should prevent him from feeling at home here. His opponent will help him understand. He will feel his opponent's fighting spirit, and understand what it means to learn to fight here, to use this city as your strength.
He closes his eyes, and concentrates.

COMBATSYS: Alma gathers his will.

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

Re-centering; that's a tactic Kyle doesn't use as much as he probably should. Sure, he'll wait for a guy to come in, but rarely does he really spend time concentrating on himself, on shutting out all distractions outside of the fight. He could probably learn a lot from Alma... but then, right now he's thinking that Towazu could learn a lot from him. The model isn't /nearly/ aggressive enough, as it stands, and that's an unfortunate fact... unless you're Kyle, in which case, it's a great boon.

Once again, Kyle decides to eschew tactical fighting in favor of getting in the model's face, embodying that aggressive, rough-and-tumble style of Metro through and through. The closer Kyle is to it or its people, the better he tends to perform -- he really does draw on that city for strength of will, even in situations like this where the battle is just a job.

This time, his plan is to nail Alma as hard as he can through that concentration, bringing him 'back to earth' with a fierce blow. He scrambles up one of the steel cages that ropes off some rooftop piping and machinery, leaping forward; his legs swing out immediately, and he comes out swinging with a vicious missile dropkick that could send Alma staggering even through some of the best defense.

COMBATSYS: Alma fails to interrupt Drop Kick from Kyle with Blaze of Glory EX.

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

~ I... ~
Alma reaches out--
~ I don't belong here. ~
--and grasps nothing.
A spike in his awareness causes his gaze to snap upward, but the sudden instinct that would be born of his synchronization with the flow of the fight-- is not there. Alma appreciates his opponent's spirit, and the desire to connect with his own power is strong. But the young man's reliance on being able to foster this connection is proving to be his undoing. With an unusual hint of desperation in his eye, Alma clenches his fist and brings forth a plume of flame, but again it is a moment too late; his technique is off, and the drop kick plows into him, this time sending the well-dressed youth rolling through the trash scattered throughout the rooftop.
~ Am I really unable to overcome this? ~
Alma has tried to press his advantage, but the moment has never come to him. Kyle has yet to see the extent of the model's capacity for unrelenting fury; he cannot seem to find the opportunity. And it does not seem as though he will.
~ I refuse to believe this is the limit of my strength. ~
But when he rises, he rises with dignity. He appears calm, startlingly unflustered especially given his obvious young age, and gets to his feet without shame or complaint. This fight is not yet over. He may not be able to grasp it before it is, but-- it is not yet over.
~ I will not dishonor myself. ~
He is losing, but there is nothing to pity about him.

As Alma starts to pull his body up from the vicious dropkick, Kyle gives him a grin. "Man, you're a tenacious bastard," he says, that grin on his face not mocking in the least -- he's trying to have fun with this, keep it friendly even though it's starting to feel a little one-sided. It even means he's going to talk a little more -- after all, it might give Alma an opening!

He does ease off a little, too -- though not to insult Alma by any means. Instead, it's to look for a weapon, look for something to augment his harsh, stiff style with -- and it doesn't take too much looking around on the ground, here in Metro, to find a weapon. In this case, it's his brother's signature weapon, a simple knife. While this may not be much to Alma beyond, well, a knife, it means a lot to Travers -- and there's a definite reverence in the way he tosses it up once.

This time, Kyle's offense is decidedly slower, indeed some of the slowest he can bring to bear in a situation like this. That doesn't make it less than /vicious/, mind, but it's simply a different sort of vicious, one that gives Alma a lot of openings at the cost of making the fight awfully zero-sum. Dashing in toward Towazu as he gets up, Kyle tries for the simplest of all simple-yet-devastating moves: a series of stabs to the gut, each aimed at a slightly different spot, trying to keep Alma off balance long enough to take the full set of four.

COMBATSYS: Alma fails to interrupt Deep Strike from Kyle with Full Confession.
- Power fail! -

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

COMBATSYS: Alma can no longer fight.

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

It means a lot to him, Kyle, really. As long as he can make a good show of himself, Alma is quite willing to lose gracefully. The knife is-- well, that's going to make the middle school girls back home gasp in horror, but Alma, for his part, seems unpreturbed. Besides appreciated the heightened intensity from an abstract perspective, every extra thrill, every added sense that this fight demands his attention, buoys his hopes that he will be able to throw his very all into at least one more strike. The first one hit hard enough-- he can do this. He can show Kyle the true extent of his fighting spirit.
He will!
Eyes flashing, Alma stands strong as he draws all of his remaining gathered power into his right fist. He needs time to do this, his abilities still hampered, but he is willing to do whatever it takes-- including take a stab in the gut. The first strike draws blood, but Alma is too committed even to flinch. He brings his hand back, and as the second stab clips his abdomen again, he weaves away from the following strikes to give himself room to bear for this, his mighty assault.
"Now! Prepare to--"
Aura sense provides profound awareness in many regards.
Noticing loose tiles, however, are not one of them.
So much for becoming attuned to his environment.
Eyes widened in surprise are the last thing Kyle Travers sees of Alma Towazu as he stumbles backward mid-withdrawal and slips right over the edge of the roof, hurtling into the blackness. Even the cameramen look shocked. There is a moment of stunned silence.
"...I... I'm alright!"
Several stories down, a bemused and bleeding Alma dangles from a windowsill, peering down at the city street far below.
"Do we, ah... do we have any rope?" he calls up.

"SHIT! Shit, shit, shit!" Kyle says, when he sees Alma go plummeting off the roof; that was definitely not in /his/ plan. He was starting to like the model -- he really doesn't want the guy to pull a Geese Howard. When he hears Alma call up that he's fine, he's slightly relieved -- but at the same time, he's still got the problem of actually helping the guy back up.

Looking around frantically, he tries to find something like rope; it takes him a bit to come up with something, but a minute or so later, Travers comes out with a curtain from the room immediately beneath the roof. This is probably going to cost him a decent chunk of change, considering that that's one of the better suites in the hotel, but hey -- better he shell out a few bucks than this guy die, right?

Lowering it down to Alma, he says, "Oh, wow, shit, sorry about that," sounding genuinely apologetic -- he's a good guy, even if he's a little intense sometimes. "You sure you're OK?" he asks, once the curtain is lowered all the way down to Alma.

"Ah ha ha ha..."
Despite his wounds and the improvisational nature of the climbing equipment, Alma manages to clamber back up to the top of the roof with relative ease, his moment of uncertain fate passing with little incident. The handsome youth actually seems to be in rather good spirits, back to his initial mellow self, mild grin good-natured. "How embarrassing," he says, though he doesn't look or sound particularly embarrassed.
"Yes, I'm fine, thank you," he adds, as he bleeds all over his fitted shirt. He looks quite fatigued, but all in all surprisingly not too shook up. "I apologize for not being a worthier challenge. You deserved better than that."
Grunting once, the psychic grits his teeth but manages to get to his feet.
"I hope you'll allow me a rematch some time soon... I've clearly gotten behind in my training." The gentle youth grins softly again. "I can't let that happen. The YFCC is full of competition, after all."
His grin fades after a moment, and he looks away toward the horizon, gazing out at the rest of the city. Countenance becoming thoughtful, it's only once he ceases to engage Kyle that his good grace fades and a hint of disappointment reaches his eyes. It's only natural, but-- it's not for the obvious reasons.
~ There's so much to learn here... if only I were wise enough already. ~
"Hey," he says abruptly, looking back toward the older fighter. "Why don't you let me treat you to dinner? I don't know my way around this city very well, but..."
This time, his smile isn't just kind; it's warm.
"...I think I'd like to spend some time here."

"Hey, man, I've seen stuff like that happen all the time to great guys," Kyle says, his tone still friendly and even. "I could tell what you were going for there. You took a lot of risky, all-or-nothing shots. If you would've hit me with even one or two of those you probably would've laid me out clean -- that thing you /did/ land on me hurt like a bitch." Travers, always the straight-shooter, it seems.

When the offer of dinner comes up, Kyle is almost staggered -- he'd expect to pay for dinner himself in this kind of situation, rather than get that much from a guy he just beat the hell out of and nearly got accidentally killed. Still, Kyle isn't exactly rich, and free dinner is not something he's about to defer for even a second. "Sounds great. I know a place." It is, of course, a place his girlfriend /owns/, and a place which will no doubt benefit greatly from being associated with someone with celebrity status like Alma...

... but hey, may as well get /everything/ out of that particular offer. Besides, it'll probably win a ton of points with his girl. "We definitely gotta do this again in a couple weeks," he says, remembering the other part of Alma's statements. "I'll take that rematch in a heartbeat."

Log created on 01:22:08 10/12/2007 by Alma, and last modified on 06:23:09 10/12/2007.