Kagero - The King of Fists

Description: [Mission] For the future's perfect vision, certain pieces must be sought out and obtained. On the trail of the self-proclaimed "God of Battle," Suzume Nakatani and Shihong Mao set out to lure the Shanghai-born brawler into the prospect of a lifetime: follow, and truly become a God of Battle. But for this bridge to be crossed, a toll must be paid...

So, Chinatown; a little slice of the mainland transported to Japan, of all places, in the otherwise western-influenced city of Southtown. Many of the city's Chinese residents find it a reassuring place, a reminder of home away from home. Not that Shenwoo, the Shanghai-born God of Battle, really cares about that sort of thing.

No, seriously, he doesn't. Shut up!!

Though he's tall, blond and a bit Caucasian-looking, Shen is apparently Chinese /enough/ for the locals to appreciate, and so the former street thug and onetime gangster feels fairly comfortable in this part of town... As much as he feels comfortable /anywhere/. There's a sense of restless energy to him, pretty much all the time, even as he makes his way through the crowds. His shirt is, of course, not in the least bit buttoned up, and his dark eyes are hidden behind darker, designer sunglasses, and generally speaking the berserker is difficult NOT to notice in most crowds, especially here where he stands head and shoulders taller than most.

He's also eating a candy bar.

With a few phone calls and a little conversation on the streets, it wasn't hard to track down Shenwoo.

It doesn't take much effort to find someone like the God of Battle. An imposing figure, he stands out not only most places he goes, but also in the fighting circuit. You'd have to be pretty ignorant not to know who the Hell he is--even fans of venues such as the Neo League or Saturday Night Fight know of the Shanghai berserker.

...Having a few really good contacts never really hurt, either.

And so, after gathering her information and getting in touch with her teammate and coworker, Shihong Mao set out to find the fighter. All signs pointed to Southtown, of all places, in the heart of Chinatown. He was loitering there, and it would be the easiest place to find him. And sure enough, after a bit of searching through the crowds, there he was.

As he saunters along, a set of eyes--also behind a pair of designer shades--observes the man. He's tall. He's blonde. He looks slightly Caucasian and she'd recognize that shirt anywhere. The last time she saw him was in some cagefight in Spain, and he hasn't changed a bit. Without a doubt, that is the designated 'target,' Shenwoo.

Glancing aside, the woman shoots her Japanese partner a knowing look, lips pursing lightly before she idly jerks a thumb toward the disappearing backside of the God of Battle. "That's him," she offers, a light smirk gracing her red lips before she turns, making an approach after the man. "Now it's time for you to work a miracle, Nakatani."

Just as it was not difficult to find Shenwoo, it was not difficult in the least to discover what made the berserker tick. While Shihong searched the world for him, Suzume did her reading on the man's history and nature. Knowing such things would be essential if she was to 'work her miracle...' as Shihong so optimistically puts it.

"Don't put it that way," the kunoichi replies amusedly, already starting off after Shenwoo. She angles a glance over her shoulder at Shihong, a slight smirk pulling at her features. "I might lose confidence." Certainly a joke; if Suzume has any doubts, none of them are apparent on her face. Her expression is, as it almost always is, calm as a millpond.

She walks swiftly, paying little mind to whether Shihong's managing to keep up as she wends through the crowd. Soon enough she's circled completely around Shenwoo, and turns sharply to approach him brazenly from the front. She's walking purposefully, her dark eyes settled directly on Shenwoo, and it's manifestly clear that she intends to intercept him.

Yeah... Shenwoo is pretty straightforward, you know.

Having basically finished his candy bar, the God of Battle crumples up the wrapper and bounces it on his open palm, visibly debating between littering and not... At least until he realises that there's somebody moving directly towards him. Even Shen, who most would not consider the sharpest knife in the drawer, can tell the difference in intent there, between someone just walking in your direction and someone walking /towards/ you. Surviving on the violence-ridden streets of Shanghai required nothing less.

So, Shenwoo stops walking forward, his stance widening slightly as he regards the approaching Suzume, his head tilted insolently to one side. He's still bouncing that candy wrapper on his palm. And, raising his voice so he can be heard above the babble of the crowd, the God of Battle demands one thing:

"The hell are YOU lookin' at?"

"What, stage fright already?" the Chinese woman lightly jokes as she absently tosses a hand. The hand moves swiftly thereafter, plucking her shades from her pale face before she neatly tucks them away in the depths of her blazer's inner pocket. Grinning a comfortable grin, the woman begins pacing toward the fellow Shanghai-born fighter, hands sliding casually into her slacks' pockets.

"Besides, it's probably for the best he picked you to do the talking. I'd probably just piss him off." Then again, what doesn't irk the brawler? "And don't worry. I've got your back..." Not that the likes of Suzume is worried, she figures. Shihong Mao isn't.

So the two walk, with Suzume weaving herself around to cut off the God of Battle's path forward, while she maintains the path behind. A pincer approach, it should hopefully do the trick...assuming he doesn't flip out and take the two women out with one punch, somehow.

Silent, Shihong keeps behind the brawler as he bellows to Suzume, black eyes flickering a discreet shade of red as she just observes the man's backside, watching and patiently waiting.

"Well, from what I can tell," comes the mild, vaguely amused response, "pretty much anything you do will 'piss him off.' It is simply a matter of keeping your head." Figuratively and literally. The goal here would be to piss him off in a reasonably productive way: one that wouldn't destroy any receptiveness the fighter might have to anything either Suzume or Shihong might have to say.

And as if to prove Suzume's statement, Shenwoo chooses to greet the two women with a belligerent demand. Incongruously, Suzume's intense, hawklike regard... relaxes at the sharp words, a smile eeling across her face, her dark eyes shadowing as long lashes half-veil them. The hell are YOU lookin' at, the brawler demands, and the response is simple.


He asked, didn't he? Suzume's smile widens thereafter, privately amused... but not in the least nasty. Her expression remains equal parts pleasant and unnerving. "Shenwoo, isn't it. The God of Battle, originally of Shanghai? I've wanted to meet you for some time. Perhaps you've heard of the recent difficulties in Taizhou, in your home country..."

Of course he hasn't. The phrase is merely an introduction to set the tone and introduce the true point of this exercise. It is also, as Suzume has carefully deduced, the absolute maximum of useless small talk that the straightforward man will tolerate.

Oh no... Shenwoo is being flirted with?! That can't be right.

There's an expression of mild consternation on the tall blond man's face as he's addressed by Suzume, one brow arching over the rim of his sunglasses, as Shen tries to decide just what to think of the kunoichi's posture and speech. Is it threatening? Does it represent some hidden danger? There's a faint hmph from the half-Chinese fighter, who straightens up to his full height as he regards Suzume; it's a pretty standard intimidation technique, coming straight from the most primeval of creatures. Make yourself look bigger, and thus more threatening.

"So what if I have?" the brawler wonders; his contacts back on the mainland actually remain fairly extensive, mostly people he used to run with either as a criminal or during his early days of professional fighting. Shenwoo was always a big fish in a small pond back in Shanghai, and there's few connected individuals back there who didn't have some contact with him. "Listen, if you're looking for an autograph or whatever, I'm not really in the mood. If you're after my opinion on world events, I don't really care."

Clicking his tongue, Shen bounces the balled-up wrapper on his palm one last time... And then tosses it back over his shoulder, directly at Shihong. "Hey, throw that out for me, would you?" he 'asks', rather rhetorically. So maybe he's not quite as simple as he lets on?

As Suzume and Shenwoo exchanged words, the Chinese woman remains silent. This is the part Nakatani was meant to handle, after all. Shihong has done her work, stalking across the globe for the surly fighter for the sake of her other employer. And now, all the kunoichi need do is persuade the God of Battle to join in the cause. That can't be too hard, right..?

When the brawler puffs himself up a bit, Shihong tenses a fraction, unseen leg muscles winding tightly as she continues to keenly observe the brawler from behind. Certainly, if he's trying to intimidate, it's doing something to the woman, however discreet it appears. She knows first-hand what the brawler is capable of.

But she's mildly disarmed, as the brawler regards the woman by tossing his rubbish behind. Immediately the Chinese woman snaps a hand up and swats it out of the air, casting the wrapper aside to a fate on the concrete streets below. But she says nothing in kind. It's not her business to speak at the moment, after all.

Instead, Shihong Mao just sports a glare.

Shenwoo postures. Shihong tenses. Suzume looks as cool as a popsicle in the back of a freezer. She simply tilts her head back to maintain eye contact. She's stood straight this entire time, and such has no need to mirror the puffing up Shenwoo is doing.

So what if I have? he asks. The response is, again, swift; much of the playfulness leaking abruptly out of her demeanor to be replaced by a clinical, efficient sharpness suited to the businesslike attire she wears. Mood swings, or mere adjustment to the timbre of the interaction? Who knows, with Nakatani. "Then this will go more quickly, because I won't have to explain it to you."

She's adjusted her entire demeanor. She's gotten that inkling that he's not as dim as all the popular information on him would suggest, and she's swapped masks seamlessly to cope. Even if he IS smarter than anticipated, he's still fairly simpleminded as far as she's concerned, and simpletons tend to enjoy being spoken to seriously, as if they were intelligent.

"I am affiliated with an organization that has an eye towards running a tournament in the area... a high-profile affair beyond even the scope of Jinchuu, attracting powerful fighters from all corners. Taizhou, in its current state, is ideal ground for the sort of fighting we have in mind. However, in order to run this tournament, the area must be forced into line." That smile starts to make a reappearance: this time as a wry smirk. "Your name was first on the list for those with influence in the area... as well as the strength to pull the people there into order. "

Flattery. Fighting. Deference. If this approach does not find purchase, she will swap out for a different mask, a different attitude, and a different angle of attack. This is the efficient adaptability of the kunoichi. Such mutability makes her seem like a madwoman, but the truth is... the fact she IS a madwoman is what makes her quite so good at it.

Well... 'Fighting tournament' is usually a good way to get Shenwoo's attention, as it so happens. So that, at least, snaps him out of being amused at himself for getting a glare out of the woman standing behind him, at whom he briefly glances over his shoulder, flashing a wolfish grin. They want to try flanking him? Heh.

"I don't have any patience for that sort of thing," Shen says, waving a hand dismissively. "Or any interest in running somebody else's errands. So..." That wolfish grin returns, this time fixed directly on Suzume rather than in Shihong's direction as it was before, all the while the brawler leans forward, hands akimbo at his sides, bringing his face in close to the kunoichi's.

"So why don't you make this interesting already, huh? Otherwise I'll just kick you /and/ your girlfriend's asses for annoying me." Really, if you want to talk about madness? Shenwoo's... Not really the spokesperson for mental health here, either.

Shihong continues to listen, despite the glare haunting her pale face.

Someone like Shenwoo is expectedly difficult, and today, she knew, would be no exception. He has every reason to be arrogant and unimpressed by the kunoichi and Shihong--after all, he's a world-famous fighter, with fearsome strength and power. But the two, they came for business...business that it would seem Shenwoo wishes to have no part in.

He has no patience for it, after all.

The woman's features harden a touch, thin red lips pulling tightly over her face as she lets her eyes intently stare into the brawler's back. Her icy demeanor only grows as he leans in dangerously close to the other woman, insulting both she and the Chinese enforcer. A soft 'tch' slips past her lips.

"And you call yourself a God of Battle??" Shihong asks, breaking her silence.

"The opportunity to battle presents itself, the chance to DO something more than petty spectator fights or flashy League battles lands in your lap, and you scoff at the chance? You don't deserve the title, the name 'God of Battle.'"

Whipping into motion, the woman in black lifts both arms as she steps forward. The moment her foot plants does she thrust a palm forward, the opposite hand crooked and folded at the wrist across her forehead. The offending palm doesn't strike; instead, it touches. The real burst comes from a swell of vermillion-red energy that lances through, a brilliant explosion of Psycho Power to jar the fighter.

If he wanted them to make it interesting, well...

COMBATSYS: Shihong has started a fight here on the right meter side.

                                  >  //////////////////////////////]
                                 |-------\-------\0          Shihong

COMBATSYS: Suzume has joined the fight here on the right meter side.

                                  >  //////////////////////////////]
                                 |-------\-------\0          Shihong
                                  >  //////////////////////////////]
                                 |-------\-------\0           Suzume

COMBATSYS: Shenwoo has joined the fight here on the left meter side.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Shenwoo          0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0          Shihong
                                  >  //////////////////////////////]
                                 |-------\-------\0           Suzume

So. It would seem it's time to swap her approach once more.

Shenwoo leans in close, and Suzume regards him quietly, looking up at him. She is aware of his strength, aware he could break her in half without too much effort-- but it is entirely possible she is too insane for appreciable fear to register in her eyes.

"No help from you, no tournament." She senses more than sees Shihong moving; the woman says what's already on the kunoichi's mind, sparing her the need to say it. Timing her words impeccably with Shihong's approach, Suzume notes, "But if it's interesting you want, we'll give you an example of what you'd be doing... and what this tournament will be all about."

A definite mad glint to match Shenwoo's is seeping into Suzume's eyes. A sudden, pleasant smile claims her features. Both are pretty bad signs. "Your trial will begin in three, two, one--"

Concurrent with Shihong's strike, Suzume's right hand abruptly bolts to seize the top end of the cane that, this entire time, she had held innocuously in her left hand. A distinct click, and a glinting seam appears in the wood. Half an instant later, several feet of curved blade -surges- out of its sheath in one cleaving swipe, a thundering arc of whisper-keen steel slashing outwards and at a slight upwards diagonal. The blade, however, is not meant to connect with Shenwoo: what -is- meant to strike the brawler is the electric slash of white chi that follows immediately after.

Any lesser person would be halved instantly by such a strike. Shenwoo, however, counts for maybe forty or fifty 'lesser people' all by himself; which is, incidentally, why Suzume chose such a powerful strike in the first instance.

COMBATSYS: Shenwoo endures Shihong's Swallow's Wings.

[   \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////// ]
Shenwoo          0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0          Shihong
                                  >  ///////////////////////////// ]
                                 |-------\-------\0           Suzume

COMBATSYS: Shenwoo interrupts Hikanzakura from Suzume with Kyakuten Touchi.

[     \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////// ]
Shenwoo          0/-------/----===|-------\-------\0          Shihong
                                  >  /////////////////////////     ]
                                 |==-----\-------\0           Suzume

There it is, right about when Shenwoo expected it; the attack from behind. Understimating the brawler's combative instincts simply because he's such a, well, straightforward kind of guy is probably not adviseable; the initial strike from Shihong, with all that bursting psionic energy, lands without even a hint of resistance from the aforementioned God of Battle, who uses the momentum added to push himself closer to Suzume, to step into her guard.

And, as it happens, into her attack. Though not fully realised, the electric chi strikes Shen, even as the man himself strikes in turn, one tattoed forearm lancing out to close the remaining distance between himself and the kunoichi, his leather-gloved hand clamping onto her throat, and starting to squeeze, as Shenwoo lifts the woman off of the ground.

"See," Shenwoo says, with a faint chuckle. "You got things all mixed around. I'm not on trial, I don't answer to anyone but myself. Ever." This is punctuated by a particularly rough clench on Suzume's throat, before Shen lifts his other hand to pull his sunglasses off, a manic glint in his dark eyes as his mouth pulls into a toothy, feral grin. "The ones on trial here are /you/."

Then he just sort of tosses Suzume away, like he can't be bothered with her anymore.

There was never any doubt in Shihong's mind that Shenwoo would do anything BUT anticipate an attack from behind. Annoyed and frustrated with his behavior, the woman perhaps reacts irrationally to his pompous nature, likely endangering not only herself, but Suzume as well. But he has insulted both Shihong and Suzume, her teammate. They tried a direct-but-polite approach, and he spit in their faces.

So, angered, what was she to do?

Stepping forward, the woman lets her palm touch, the explosion of energy not jarring the fighter as intended; instead, he only uses it to push forward, straight through Suzume's attack. It draws over the woman's pale face a look of surprised, followed by a light, strangled cry. By the time the first syllable of her teammate's name leaves her lips...

Shenwoo has her in his grasp.

Features sour, Shihong's cool features seized in a look of anger as she observes the brawler choke her teammate, followed by a careless toss of her person aside like rubbish. Scoffing audibly, the Chinese woman bites idly at her lip. There are no words. And without words, she can only do one thing:

Let her actions speak for her.

Hopping back gracefully, the woman narrows her eyes before she leaps forward, closing the distance that once lay between herself and the God of Battle, a swift airborne turning kick with the toe of her high heel shoes aimed right for the brawler's kidney. "HIYAA!!"

Snared, Suzume's delicate throat bruises instantly in Shenwoo's grasp... and that's BEFORE the man even starts bothering to apply any true pressure. Her right hand maintaining its grasp on her blade, her left flicking up to grasp loosely about the wrist shackling her, the girl manages one breath before Shenwoo decides he'd like to tighten his grip.

Shihong might be angered by the entire affair... but Suzume looks anything but, a sudden and slightly aberrant invigoration having claimed her at about the same instant her chi struck Shenwoo. Pale, disheveled, her grasp on his wrist white-knuckling ineffectually in pain when he accentuates his dismissive reply with crushing strength, she forces her eyes around to meet his as he finishes his reply.

And, slowly, she gives him a wink.

Discarded, Suzume tumbles to a stop, her previously-neat hair flopping every which way. Sitting up dizzily and pushing her tangled hair out of her face, Suzume pouts a grin through the black strands that yet obscure her face: her black eyes fixing slowly on Shenwoo in genuine amusement. "Oh, you misunderstand me, as well," she explains raspily, recovering her breath, shaking her hair back, "but if that's how you'd like to think of it, we can humor you."

Yes, it may be time for that particular course of action. Her eyes narrow on the unfolding fight. "Ultimately, it will make no difference..."

COMBATSYS: Suzume focuses on her next action.

[     \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////// ]
Shenwoo          0/-------/----===|-------\-------\0          Shihong
                                  >  /////////////////////////     ]
                                 |==-----\-------\0           Suzume

COMBATSYS: Shenwoo dodges Shihong's Medium Kick.

[     \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////// ]
Shenwoo          0/-------/----===|-------\-------\0          Shihong
                                  >  /////////////////////////     ]
                                 |==-----\-------\0           Suzume

Dude, that ain't right, winking at Shenwoo like that. For a moment, the berserker looks mildly unsettled, because what sort of freaky chick gives you a look like that while you're choking her? That's weird, man. Weeeeird.

But that's not the only thing Shen has to think about, because he's also got Shihong trying to kick him in the kidney... Emphasis on 'trying', as he simply slips out of the way of that high heeled shoe, with a vaguely dismissive snort. "Freakin' weirdos," he says, with a complete lack of irony that borders on the miraculous.

Maybe he really is some sort of a god.

Naturally, he's not done with Shihong either, as the other Shanghai-born fighter has managed to catch his attention with her attempt at making him pee blood for a while; Shenwoo responds to this provocation as he is wont to do, by whirling around and rearing back quickly, and then lunging at Shihong in a rushing punch, his beringed left fist aimed directly at her face as he adds rotational momentum to the already impressive force of the blow. "GRAAAAH!!"

COMBATSYS: Shenwoo successfully hits Shihong with Gekiken.

[      \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Shenwoo          0/-------/--=====|======-\-------\0          Shihong
                                  >  /////////////////////////     ]
                                 |==-----\-------\0           Suzume

Avoiding her strike altogether, Shihong's only response is to offer a light sneer in response, black eyes half-lidded as she regards the cocky brawler. Weirdoes, the pot calls the kettles. It only draws the thin sneer further over her pale face, as the woman pivots on her sharp heel and turns to face the brawler once more.

Black eyes go wide as she spies the man whipping around and reeling a fist back. Distantly, in the back of her mind, she thinks of two things: oh shit, and 'ready or not, here it comes.'

From her sides the woman lifts her arms, attempting to shield her face from the incoming fist and rings--but for naught. Raw strength and power overwhelm Shihong's defenses and strikes true, a savage punch to the woman's poor face with enough force to send her flying--literally, her back to the ground as she sails parallel to the earth.

Midflight, the woman catches and corrects herself, her legs whipping around to cushion her landing. Skidding a good foot, she lets a hand touch down to the ground, to keep her balance before she slowly rises. Despite the blood spilling from her now-busted lip and the nasty bruise already forming on her pale features, Shihong grins big as those black eyes--now red--observe the Shanghai brawler. If he has a weakness in his techniques, she will find it.

And exploit it.

COMBATSYS: Shihong focuses on her next action.

[      \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Shenwoo          0/-------/--=====|======-\-------\0          Shihong
                                  >  /////////////////////////     ]
                                 |==-----\-------\0           Suzume

Breathing steadily, Suzume eventually straightens to her feet, her disheveled hair looped around her bruised throat and fluttering in the slight wind. Her eyes fix on Shenwoo and Shihong as they trade their blows, and her jaw tightens when Shihong is sent flying back.

"Where have you fought in recent months, Shenwoo?" Her voice eventually infects the senses again, still rasping and low: but clear. "What have you done? Fighting in Howard's staged events? You're a show animal there, put in kitchens and courtrooms, restricted by arbitrary rules... solely for audience amusement. Is that all you can do? Could you even handle yourself in a real fight anymore?

"Consider this... an -invitation- to a true battleground." With a flick of the wrist, she sheds a cascade of bangles from off her arm and into her grasp. A flicker of chi suffuses her hand. "Come if only to find fights that do not force you to obey any rule. To enter a tournament where all that restricts you is your own whim." The bracelets in her grasp mutate abruptly, transforming to a series of nasty throwing needles.

"Think about it," she states, a brow lifting: and her hand flicks upwards, needles sent arrowing at Shenwoo, aiming for vital spots: and set to explode upon contact.

COMBATSYS: Shenwoo endures Suzume's Yaezakura.

[         \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Shenwoo          0/-------/-======|======-\-------\0          Shihong
                                  >  ////////////////////////      ]
                                 |===----\-------\0           Suzume

Ahh, satisfying. Shenwoo takes a turning step to bleed off the last of his momentum after punching poor Shihong right in the face, and turns just in time to hear Suzume's words. As the kunoichi speaks, the berserker at least SEEMS to listen, watching the woman with a dubious expression rather than his usual fixed, maddened grin, but whether he's actually considering what she says or not may never be known, because Suzume has to go and shoot NEEDLES at him.

A sensible person would probably avoid them; Shenwoo just rushes right /through/ them, heedless of the possible arm. The needles jab into his flesh, though his experience and reflexes save him from getting hit anywhere truly dangerous, and the explosions that follow barely seem to slow the half-Chinese fighter down.

"Ha ha ha ha ha!" laughs Shen, as he closes with Suzume again, reaching out in an attempt to grab her again. Her words, still, go unremarked upon, as the God of Battle instead contents himself with trying to drive his forehead into the kunoichi's face, hard.

Really hard.

Rather than immediately attack the brawler, Shihong instead opts to stand back and fix her attentions on the man and, more precisely, his means and methods of fighting. Between ragged, worn-out breaths the woman's fuzzy gaze begins to find focus again, her throbbing skull aching less and less with each passing second. Yes, Shenwoo hits hard, but she is a fighter as well. And more importantly, she's felt worse.

A lot worse, in fact.

As Suzume speaks to the brawler, Shihong's eyes remain diligently fixed on the God of Battle. What will his response be, she wonders, as the kunoichi speaks logically to a man who seemingly lacks any, period. But she speaks on his level, the promise of battles outside of silly staged fights for pointless glory. Can Shenwoo really deny she speaks truths..?

"She's right, you know," the woman offers as well, eyes still focused entirely on the man. "Don't you want something MORE than boring spectacles? Don't you want to fight strong opponents without rules or foolish regulations? The offer is there."

Drawing her arms out before her, Shihong Mao's vermillion eyes draw to a close as she breathes in slowly. Sparks of red flicker along her splayed fingertips, only swelling as she lets out a long, patient breath a moment after. Sparks become flames, and those very flames coalesce and grow, igniting the air around her palms and licking down her arms.

"You need only seize it. No God of Battle would deny such a prospect!"

Both arms wheel about in a practiced pattern, one swinging around as the other whips from the front to her sides, the air alive with Psycho Power as the woman lifts a leg. That very leg soon after slams down hard and, with a fierce thrust of both hands forward, the Chinese woman launches a large gout of vermillion energy at Shenwoo, the likes of which vaguely shaped in a serpent-like fashion.

"Are you REALLY the God of Battle?!"

COMBATSYS: Suzume counters Strong Punch from Shenwoo with Asagao.

[            \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Shenwoo          1/-------/=======|======-\-------\0          Shihong
                                  >  ///////////////////////       ]
                                 |-------\-------\0           Suzume

Expected. Both the lack of response to her words, and the lack of fear of her attack. It is that expectation, more than any actual slowing of the God of Battle, that preserves Suzume from his retaliation. She is already preparing for him when he reaches to snare her once more.

Her blade slams into its scabbard. Turning her body so her right shoulder faces forward, she half-draws the weapon sharply, slamming the pommel of it into Shenwoo's attempt to seize her and knocking him wide. Fully resheathing her blade in order to allow for maximum momentum, she capitalizes instantly upon the minute opening she's made for herself. In one wide movement, she unsheathes the blade one last time, fully and completely, in a swift iai strike that hums the air with its speed.

The carving blow angles upwards, slashing a path from hip to opposing shoulder. Suzume does not stay her hand in any way, knowing full well the resilience of the berserker and aware that this strike-- which would have sliced any lesser man open-- is a mere flesh wound on the God of Battle.

She says nothing further. For the time being, she has spoken enough... and not just with her voice.

COMBATSYS: Shihong successfully hits Shenwoo with Coiled Dragon EX.

[                 \\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Shenwoo          1/-----==/=======|=======\-------\1          Shihong
                                  >  ///////////////////////       ]
                                 |-------\-------\0           Suzume

Man... The Chinese gangster chick is kind of annoying, Shen thinks to himself. Questioning his identity? Still, both women are pretty good at what they do... Particularly as Suzume manages to stop Shen's own attack cold, delivering a vicious slash across the brawler's muscular torso. He's good enough to mitigate what could've been a seriously harmful strike, of course, though there's still a nice spray of blood that accompanies it...

And then Shenwoo gets hit by Shihong's own attack, though he tries to slip to the side, the impact getting a faint noise of irritation out of the normally gleeful berserker.

"Man, you know, the littlest dogs yap the loudest," the God of Battle notes to Shihong, switching from the usual Southtown patois to his native tongue, the rough Chinese speech he picked up on the streets of Shanghai. Maybe he recognised her accent.

And then Shen twists towards Suzume again, grinning wildly as he suddenly accelerates, his lean, tightly muscled figure blurring in and out of sight as he rushes at the kunoichi, repeating his earlier rushing punch... But much, much faster, a shockwave of pure force riding on his fist as it careens towards Suzume's face. "SHYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!"

The gout of red energy sent flying free, Shihong's arms gracefully wind before falling to her sides, black eyes flickering red as she observes. In a flurry of motion the brawler's potentially devastating strike against her comrade is dealt with in a most precise fashion. It was an excellent distraction, enough to throw the Shanghai brawler's game off. The dragon-like gout cuts into the man, and on the woman's lips eases a slow, thin and most certainly sadistic smirk.

When he speaks to the Enforcer, her features falter ever so slightly, a thin black brow easing up her brow in response. But what could be read as annoyance fades easily, her eyes drawing to a close as she once again delivers the man a smirk. She replies in kind, speaking the same dialect as she replies, "Are we supposed to be afraid of you?" A light scoff follows.

Unexpectedly, however, Shenwoo sets his sights upon Suzume, drawing a swift breath of surprise across the Chinese woman's lips. Almost instantly she lurches forward, giving the brawler chase as he takes off for the kunoichi, leaping a few feet from the man with a twist of her body and arms splayed as she swings one leg after the other, attempting to snap a nasty kick straight into the back of Shenwoo's skull as her body spins.

COMBATSYS: Shenwoo successfully hits Suzume with Zetsu! Gekiken.

[                  \\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Shenwoo          0/-------/------=|=======\-------\1          Shihong
                                  >  ////////////                  ]
                                 |=======\-------\1           Suzume

Suzume's eyes twitch towards Shihong as Shenwoo addresses her in Chinese. Her eyes narrow, almost imperceptibly, as she tenses, lifting her sheathed sword slightly to a wary ready. Her understanding of Cantonese isn't good enough for her to parse the words Shenwoo's speaking; the look she casts Shihong, as such, is almost questioning. What was it he said...?

The question is, soon enough, wiped completely from her mind. Shenwoo turns abruptly towards her, and the young woman focuses abruptly on him; thinking, perhaps foolishly, that she can handle whatever's coming. But then, the berserker -accelerates-, and for the space of a few instants he rips -completely- out of her perception. One blink and she misses the attack, only able to fix her eyes back on Shenwoo in the very last instant before he strikes.

She yanks her sheathed weapon up in a last-ditch effort to guard against the blow, but that instinctive motion comes about two seconds too late. Shenwoo careens into her with crushing force, sending her -flying- back; she strikes a wall hard, her breath and blood alike kicking out of her in one strangled gasp, and then gravity takes over, crumpling her back to the ground.

Too dazed to do anything like get up and attack again-- at least, not immediately, the kunoichi stays right where Shenwoo's put her for the time being. Swiping blood from her face, she works on just... breathing-- which has abruptly gotten very difficult indeed-- and focusing her chi a little in an attempt to speed her recovery.

COMBATSYS: Suzume gains composure.

[                  \\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Shenwoo          0/-------/------=|=======\-------\1          Shihong
                                  >  //////////////                ]
                                 |=======\-------\0           Suzume

COMBATSYS: Shihong successfully hits Shenwoo with Strong Kick.

[                     \\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Shenwoo          0/-------/----===|=======\-------\1          Shihong
                                  >  //////////////                ]
                                 |=======\-------\0           Suzume

Taking a turning step to bleed off the last of his momentum from the savage attack he used against Suzume, Shenwoo is caught rather offguard by the presence of Shihong trying to boot him in the head. The brawler, of course, attempts to slip out of the way of the obviously telegraphed attack, but his own shock is enough to offset the lack of speed on Shihong's part... And that high heel impacts with the berserker's blond head, rocking it to one side.

He doesn't really /move/ much, though.

"Don't you have a corner to work or somethin'?" Shen wonders of Shihong, keeping with the rough Chinese. "There's no way somebody as weak as you is anybody's enforcer. Don't feel bad, though, I mean, you gotta make money somehow." He's trying to goad her, obviously, though into what is an open question. Maybe the presence of a fellow Shanghai gangster has just awakened long-dormant behaviours in the God of Battle. "Maybe you'd do better if I gave you five dollars," he adds, that wild grin still in place.

COMBATSYS: Shenwoo gains composure.

[                  \\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Shenwoo          0/-------/------=|=======\-------\1          Shihong
                                  >  //////////////                ]
                                 |=======\-------\0           Suzume

Flowing with her momentum, Shihong's heels strike the brawler as she finishes the rotation, landing with a staggered 'click click' of her heels...and an arrogant albeit half-hearted smirk on her rouge lips. He deserves every single thing thrown at him. He's arrogant and far too prideful. Why would the likes of that weird ninja want someone such as Shenwoo around is beyond her.

About-facing once she's regained balance, Shihong briefly ignores the man; instead, her gaze shifts to her partner, eyeing the damage done. Suzume looks a damn mess on the ground, and obviously needs a moment. Lifting a hand lightly, she gestures idly to the woman: stay back, give yourself a moment. She'll deal with the God of Battle for the moment.

Slowly, the Chinese woman's gaze settles upon Shenwoo. His words earn him little more than a narrowing of her eyes, lips tugging at the corners to form some semblance of a less-than impressed smile. "We're not here to talk about me," the Enforcer calmly explains. "We're here to offer you the chance of a lifetime. Fights without rules, instead of being some show pony." Scoffing lightly, Shihong folds her arms over her chest, weight shifting from one foot to the other.

"As for your insults, if posturing yourself makes you feel better, by all means. But it won't buy you reprieve--at least not from me."

With a sharp breath in, the woman suddenly dashes for the brawler without hesitation or reserve, legs igniting with Psycho Power as she makes her charge before rather suddenly leaping at the fighter with both legs extended, aimed right for his stomach...

Breathing hard, still reeling, Suzume doesn't seem to be objecting to Shihong's indication that she should give herself a moment. If she's wondering, much as her companion is, why on earth Seishirou would want such a creature as Shenwoo, she's not showing any indication of it. It's what needs to be done, and she'll do it.

Leveraging herself upright with the aid of her weapon, she hisses out a breath and considers the other two combatants in silence. For now, she lets Shihong do the talking; being punched in the face tends to shut a body up real quick. It's a mercy she can't understand what they're saying, either. She's not usually one to become angry at insults, but nonetheless they can be distracting.

Soon enough, however, she seems to decide she's stood by long enough. Shihong's arrowing in for an assault, and Suzume forces herself to move as well; circling around from the opposite side in a diversionary manner. Angling in quickly, she attempts to strike simultaneous with Shihong, tripping Shenwoo into her partner's attack; her weapon flicks low, still sheathed, trying to tangle him and pitch him forward.

COMBATSYS: Shihong successfully hits Shenwoo with Bird of Paradise.

[                        \\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Shenwoo          0/-------/---====|-------\-------\0          Shihong
                                  >  //////////////                ]
                                 |=======\-------\0           Suzume

COMBATSYS: Shenwoo dodges Suzume's Quick Throw.

[                        \\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Shenwoo          0/-------/---====|-------\-------\0          Shihong
                                  >  //////////////                ]
                                 |=======\-------\0           Suzume

Heels collide into Shenwoo...but it's not as strong as one would think.

In fact, the impact of Shihong's psychic flame-laden legs is a forceful push at best; instead, the brunt of the blow comes from the sudden burst of energy, the flames on her legs shooting forwards and lancing through his stomach with a powerful burst. But it doesn't end there.

Leaping off from the initial impact, Shihong twists her body as she kicks off, her figure flipping heels over head as she gains height over the brawler...before one heel after the other comes down, two subsequent bursts of Psycho Power that serve to drive him face-first toward the ground, if the brawler is as clumsy as she surmises. As for the Enforcer, well.

Using the God of Battle as leverage, the Chinese woman flips off and lands several feet away, sporting a smirk yet again as she regards the brawler. With Suzume back in the fray, the odds are--hopefully, against--him.

It's best not to think too deeply on Shenwoo's plans, because he certainly doesn't; the berserker elects to stand his ground through Shihong's assault - after stepping over the attempt from Suzume to trip him into it - though this proves to be less helpful than one might think, the repeated attacks from the more feminine Shanghai export enough to keep the God of Battle off balance, preventing him from taking advantage.

Don't think that's going to stop him, though.

"Hey, I almost felt that!" Shenwoo remarks, in English... And he actually sounds happy about it? He's kind of a weirdo, maybe. Don't worry, though, because he's not /quite/ finished yet, rushing directly at Shihong this time, since she likes to provoke him. He twists as he gets closer to the woman, and brings one foot up... Lancing it forward in a stomping-style kick aimed directly at her chest, a fearsome amount of power behind the blow. "RAAAAGH!!"

COMBATSYS: Shihong just-defends Shenwoo's Fusen Kyaku!

[                       \\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////       ]
Shenwoo          0/-------/---====|-------\-------\0          Shihong
                                  >  //////////////                ]
                                 |=======\-------\0           Suzume

"It's a real pity you're still able to walk," the woman muses in response to the brawler's verbal jab, thin lips again edging into a wry smirk over her face. "Really, we'd hoped you'd be somewhat pacified or subdued by now. You're more hassle than I'd almost swear you were worth. However," A shrug follows, the woman's eyes drawing shut briefly.

"Are you convinced at all YET?" she wonders shortly after.

When he moves, the woman's black eyes snap open, watching his swift approach closely and very carefully. Mere seconds before the kick drives itself fiercely for her chest does the woman suddenly twist to one side, long arms outstretched as she gracefully pivots. One hand thrusts forward, redirecting the kick elsewhere as she twists her body, the other arm out for support.

Without a word she flows with the motion; twisting, her body lowers, both hands planting down on the ground as her legs swing outwards, aimed for Shenwoo's legs. Should impact be made, a burst of energy results, but hardly hinders the woman. Swinging her legs upwards from that crouched position she seeks to rise into a handstand, her fiery legs snapping out to clip the man in the face, one foot after the other, the second strike coupled with another burst of psychic flame to--hopefully--seal the deal.

Still largely unable to speak, Suzume simply continues to hold her silence. Shihong seems to be handling things well enough, now. A slight smirk edges painfully across the kunoichi's expression as Shihong addresses Shenwoo in that chiding manner, but she offers no additional barbs of her own.

She retracts out of her attack as she finds it dodged; nevertheless, even so Shihong finds her mark. Suzume's lashes half-veil her eyes tiredly as she gauges the berserker, watching his movements both for signs of flagging and any openings she might be able to capitalize upon. If they cannot convince Shenwoo to come of his own volition, their orders to -force- him are clear. And she can sense that this mission will soon draw to a close.

Shihong twists forward around the man's formidable attack, swinging up into a vicious attack; synchronizing herself again with Shihong's movements, Suzume abruptly closes with the other two in a sudden dash. Her sheathed blade leaps suddenly out of its scabbard again in a lightning-fast draw, swiping widely in an overhead slash that swings up, and then angles sharply downwards across Shenwoo's torso. The entire strike is laced liberally in Suzume's crackling white chi, the energy reaching out inches beyond the blade like snaring roots.

COMBATSYS: Shenwoo dodges Shihong's Coiled Serpent.

[                       \\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Shenwoo          0/-------/---====|-------\-------\0          Shihong
                                  >  /////////////                 ]
                                 |=====--\-------\0           Suzume

COMBATSYS: Shenwoo fails to reflect Shidarezakura from Suzume with Tamaken.
- Power fail! -

[                            \\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Shenwoo          0/-------/-======|-------\-------\0          Shihong
                                  >  /////////////                 ]
                                 |=======\-------\0           Suzume

COMBATSYS: Shenwoo can no longer fight.

                                  >  /////////////////////         ]
                                 |-------\-------\0          Shihong
                                  >  /////////////                 ]
                                 |=======\-------\0           Suzume

"Ha ha ha ha!" laughs Shenwoo in response to Shihong's words, as the berserker's blood boils. Oh yeah, he's having fun, even if it takes both women for him to enjoy it at all.

You know something, taken out of context that might sound... Kind of dirty.

Still, the defense offered up by the Chinese woman is quite impressive, and it just means Shen is having that much more fun... But when she tries to kick /him/, the brawler simply isn't there, Shihong's attack sweeping through empty space occupied only by a flickering afterimage of the God of Battle. He's moving towards a target, of course, and since he doesn't immediately follow up by attacking Shihong again, his target should be fairly obvious.

He's moving right at Suzume as she attacks him.

Grinning from ear to ear, dark eyes wide and wild with a maddened glint, Shenwoo is exactly where he enjoys being most... Right there on the razor's edge. This might not be the smartest thing he's ever done, but who cares when he's enjoying himself? Certainly not Shen, who lunges into Suzume's attack, sweeping his arm in an attempt to try /something/, but that just leaves him exposed for the slash, which bites narrowly even with the crackling energy...

And Shenwoo staggers back, lifting his hands and rolling his shoulders in a resigned shrug. "Heh," he chortles. "Well, at least you two were able to entertain me a little."

Even though Shenwoo just isn't there when her legs lash out she simply follows through the motions regardless, coming to rise in an impressive handstand before letting her feet fall back into rightful place. In tandem the kunoichi moves, swinging her blade with impressive precision and skill, coupled with a stinging bite of white energy. While the brawler has the talent to avoid the Enforcer--

It would seem he fares less against Suzume.

Caught in her blade, he's exposed and staggered. Coming to stand properly once more, Shihong fixes her gaze on the man, his words earning him a soft, breathy laugh. "Well, thank you. I'm glad you were amused," she offers, grinning ever so slightly. "But..."

They didn't come to waste their time, after all.

"Will you accept the offer then?" the woman inquires, her gaze slipping to her kunoichi cohort. A knowing glance, the woman waits on baited breath. Will the God of Battle accept, or will he make this far more difficult than necessary..?

COMBATSYS: Shihong has left the fight here.

                                  >  /////////////                 ]
                                 |=======\-------\0           Suzume

Normal people, after being struck so devastatingly hard by Shenwoo just moments before, would balk at the sight of the man bearing down on them again. Suzume... is not normal people.

Her eyes narrow on him, and far from hesitating or slowing... she accelerates as he lunges for her, reckless in her trust that she can pull off whatever she's trying -this time- around. He swipes at her, but it would seem she's learned this time around. Her blade only rips out of its scabbard all the faster, preempting him and carving a narrow red line in its wake...

And afterwards, she backs off immediately, just in case he's got fight left in him, circling warily back to Shihong's side. Her blade flicks once, then twice, shedding much of the blood... and then, when it seems evident Shenwoo won't attack again immediately, she decides things have concluded, and instantly draws a cloth out to wipe her weapon down carefully. Dark eyes watching him, she continues to hold her silence as Shihong speaks for the both of them; the two women seeming to have switched roles.

She exchanges one look with Shihong. A slight glimmer of amusement crosses her gaze, before she returns it to Shenwoo.

COMBATSYS: Suzume has ended the fight here.

"Ah, whatever," Shenwoo says, rolling his neck with a faint popping of cartilage. "Just so long as you quit bitching at me. You should learn from your friend here, sometimes keeping your mouth shut is worthwhile." Even he knows when not to talk, unlike some fighters out there... Like his own ally (and probably only friend in the entire world) Ash Crimson. It must be something to do with the flames.

More reasonable now that the adrenaline high of battle has passed, Shen looks at Suzume and then at Shihong with his dark eyes, consideringly. "But if I don't like what I'm doing, I'll leave." He pauses, and a slow, slightly unpleasant smile crosses his face. "And I'll probably take a few of your teeth with me when I go, get it? If you're from back home, you've probably heard of me," he says, addressing Shihong rather than the women at large. "So you know I'm not joking around." Oddly, Shenwoo seems pretty much unbothered by the fact that he's been kicked around and cut open... But then, he's probably largely inured to pain by now.

And, if the two aren't going to pester him further, Shenwoo turns to start walking away, a look of satisfaction on his face.

Exhaling with a shake of her head, the woman folds her arms over her chest once more, long black locks spilling carelessly past her shoulders. Despite the gesture a smile lingers on her rouge lips, her amusement subtle but clear. "And you should swallow your own advice. You're not church mouse yourself." Opening her eyes, the woman's gaze locks on the brawler's. "Do you really expect me to keep quiet when you dare insult my colleague and myself?"

Not expecting nor particularly desiring a proper response, Shihong shifts her weight, stirring slightly as she regards the silent kunoichi at her side. In her gut she anticipates the Shanghai fighter to deny their 'humble' request. She prays that she's wrong--Shenwoo is indeed a handful and a half, more than she certainly anticipated.

To her surprise, the brawler complies with their offer. Blinking once, the woman turns her attentions from Suzume to the man, her head tipping slightly. She heard him right, didn't she? Of course she did; nodding once, the woman grins. "Okay, we'll pass it on to the proper channels, then," she assures. But when the God of Battle reminds her of his reputation Shihong can't help but smirk lightly.

"Of course I've heard of you. And I know you're not joking," she again assures.

Lifting a hand, she offers a half-hearted wave as the brawler begins to turn. Once out of earshot, however, the woman's gaze turns back onto Suzume, giving the other woman a relieved smile. "You're all right, then? Thank god. The guy hits like a goddamned monster." Pausing, she exhales, shaking her head absently.

"In any case, I supposed 'he' should be notified?"

Huffing a long breath as Shenwoo finally complies, and then takes his leave, Suzume makes no motion to stop him. Instead, she simply glances down at her weapon, finishing her cleaning of it, and then, with a cool calmness, she slides it back into its scabbard.

She looks back up to meet Shihong's eyes. Her serious expression cracks a little at Shihong's concern, a slight smile tugging at her expression. It must hurt like hell to emote anything, but she tries just for Shihong's sake. "Fine," she replies raspily, blood trailing from the corner of her mouth when she speaks. She wipes it away absently. "Just hurts a little to talk." It should be obvious why; that crushing blow caught her right in the jaw.

"Good thing you were here to finish it." She doesn't elaborate further, not really feeling up to long explanations, but it should be clear she's talking about Shihong speaking up near the end. "For now, we'll take this news to Ryouhara. I expect he'll take it from here."

Log created on 19:16:52 08/20/2008 by Shihong, and last modified on 01:26:49 08/28/2008.