Neo league 751 - #757: Chun-Li vs Frei

Description: Atop the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Chi Sage Frei Tsukitomi-Renard tests his meddle against the World's Most Dangerous Woman, Chun-Li. Although it would appear to be another League Battle, both fighters bring something personal to guide them toward self-improvement--and learn a little something, too. (Winner: Chun-Li)

You've heard the song: a change will do you good. In Frei's case, that means getting the hell out of Southtown. Having (mostly) healed up after the NESTS attack on the YFCC, he found that rather than improving his mood, staying around the Center to help rebuilding was having the entirely opposite effect. He felt useless, in the way, jittery... with only the baking of cookies to sink his restless energy into. Needless to say it wasn't helping a damn bit. Eventually he cracked and went home midday, planning to watch Law and Order and eat German chocolate cake until he passed out. When he got into his loft, however, his answering machine light was beeping.

It was a voice he hadn't heard in some time: the Neo League fight coordinators. He'd received a notice of congratulations for his recent top 10 finish in the previous season, which had the same sort of effect as those greeting cards you get from your insurance agent or car dealership; read, smiled at, thrown on the pile. But the call was something else entirely. Do you have time for a fight?, they ask. It's against an experienced challenger, they say, so feel free to decline.

Thoughts strayed, to past 'experienced challengers'... a shorthand for 'people stronger than you by our estimation'. And Frei's fought them plenty of times, particularly on Saturday Night Fights. He's faced Mike Bison twice now... fights where the gap between himself and the boxer in power was shown fairly well. Fights that left Frei... curiously unhappy. It's a feeling he's not comfortable with and that has been eating away at him for some time. Not just with Bison, but many of his 'official' fighting appearances lately. A part of him wants to say 'no' right off the bat, not subject himself to that opportunity again. Say 'I'm not up for it'.

Part of him -- the part that survived and was part of Hotaru's coming to grips with a similar issue -- says yes.

Flash forward to now, the early evening in Sydney, Australia. The city in the distance shines against the faded blue velvet of the sky in an array of golds and reds and whites, including the faintly pink-tinted white sails of the Opera House. From where is Frei enjoying this view? Atop the Sydney Harbour Bridge, a massive yet graceful arch of metal and one of the world's more famous and iconic bridges. In a way that only the Neo League can, the bridge has been closed off to all but pedestrian traffic for the time being, and the cameras are currently arrayed all over the place. Observers fill the pedestrian walkways, though are kept off the main road. Why?

The fight's not taking place on the road proper... rather, it's up on the tall scaffolds and walkways on the bridge's summit. Perhaps they chose this venue in honor of Chun-Li's well-known acrobatic skills. As it is, Frei is leaning on a railing, gazing at the view. He seems in good spirits -- perhaps a testament to how easily distracted he is -- but in truth, he's preparing himself emotionally for this fight. In a way, it's a test... to see exactly what's going on in his head, and more importantly his heart.

Much like the rather well-known Frei Tsukitomi-Renard, Chun-Li's reasons for participating in the League are for spiritual and physical reasons. She has to prepare herself for the inevitable, for that day when she finally avenges the death of her father. Perhaps even more importantly she has to keep herself honed, to keep fighting even after her vengeance is sated; there are still more tyrants and no-goods plaguing the world, and she can't just stop with Vega's inevitable demise. No, she has to keep fighting.

That's why the League has brought her to Sydney. She's put her name out there, to the whims of the League's coordinators, and they have yet to disappoint. It's given her a chance to meet people, both familiar faces and the unfamiliar. It's helped her meet like-minded individuals. It's given her strength.

With the sun setting on the costal horizon of the harbor, the entire city is abuzz with activity, particularly on the Sydney Harbour Bridge, which has been decked out in dynamic lighting it's well-known for during events and thousands of pedestrians watching impatiently from the bridge. The action tonight isn't there--it's on TOP of the sprawling arch.

A short while after Frei's arrival does the Tai Chi Mistress appear, clad in her traditional blue qipao and a friendly smile. As he enters view the woman's hands draw up, a fist resting carefully in the opposite hand's open palm, her body bowing forward in greeting to the young man. She approaches, keeping a friendly and social distance from the monk. It also helps her carry conversation over the loud winds that rip and roar across the apex of the Sydney Harbour Bridge arch.

"You must be Frei," she offers with a bright smile, her head tipping gently to the man. "I've heard about you. You've been on the circuits for some time now." She pauses, a light breath taken into her lungs before she exhales, the smile on her lips broadening gently. "You...are friends with Hotaru Futaba, yes?" An odd question to ask, perhaps. "Or at least colleagues at the...YFCC, was it?" Thoughtful, the woman shifts her weight, a finger pressing lightly to her chin...before she smiles and shakes it off.

"I admire what the YFCC stands for. I'm eager to see what skill the people who work there have. Please," Chun-Li lightly gestures, the smile on her face unfaltering. "Feel free to start the fight, if you wish."

At close range, it's easy to tell that while he feels himself recovered, Frei still wears the trappings of his recent injuries: his hands and forearms are visibly bandaged, and bandages are visible through the neckline of his shirt. He'd been taking to wearing more 'Western' clothes lately, but perhaps in honor of his fight with the Strongest Woman, he's back to his old style of dress, an overlong black qipao-style shirt with gold embroidery, jeans, and sneakers. His formerly omnipresent headband, however, is gone, letting dark red bangs sweep into his face in the high wind.

He smiles at Chun-Li as she arrives, taking a page from Kentou's book and sketching a bow of his own, one fist into an opposite open palm -- "sword in sheath" as Kentou says -- as he too bows. "I'd like to think a little of both," he says with an even smile. He is Hotaru's coworker, but they were friends before that... or at least Frei would like to think so, given what they've been through together. "And thanks." He pauses, rubbing the back of his head with a bandaged hand. "Truth be told, the Center can use all the well-wishes it can get at the moment..." His thoughts stray to his bowed but unbroken workplace, currently under repair.

But Chun-Li offers him first move, and the coordinators from the League seem ready to get this going, so he gives a nod and gets into a very loose stance... one vaguely reminiscent of the Tai Chi Mistress' own, suggesting Frei himself has some knowledge of the style. "This fight... it's kind of an experiment for me," he explains, in a somewhat distant tone, even apologetic. "I know that sounds strange. Just don't go easy on me, and uh... forgive me if I say something seriously stupid, okay?" The last is delivered with a somewhat goofy grin, an expression that sits well on the young sage's youthful features and freckled cheeks.

There's a moment as he taps the bridge underneath his feet with the toe of his sneaker and, satisfied, gets the fight into motion. Driving forward, he moves to snap a hand around Chun's wrist. If he can get that grip, he plants his weight and pivots while yanking his hand back, effectively swinging his opponent through the air in a horizontal circle before simply letting go... and, as his hand opens from the release of his grip, firing off a pulse of windy chi -- easy to do, in this locale -- to speed her along. Enough to do some damage, perhaps, but thankfully not likely to hurl Chun off the side of the bridge, which would be problematic at the very least.

COMBATSYS: Frei has started a fight here.

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Frei             0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Chun-Li has joined the fight here.

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Frei             0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0          Chun-Li

COMBATSYS: Chun-Li dodges Frei's Medium Throw.

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Frei             0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0          Chun-Li

The bandages are noted, eyed with a slight bit of scrutiny as the woman makes her approach. You'd have to have been living under a rock the past few weeks not to have heard about the unprovoked attack on the YFCC, courtesy of NESTS. Unfortunately, their reasons and motives remain unclear to the Tai Chi Mistress, but that only makes their actions even more inexcusable.

But for all the gloom his bandages may inspire, she remains amiable nonetheless, grinning politely as she regards the well-dressed monk. The smile only broadens as her gesture is returned, his words earning him a soft chuckle from the elder woman. "No need to thank me. The YFCC is a wonderful opportunity for younger fighters, and I am thankful there's something like that out in such a competitive world." When the well-wishes are brought up, Chun-Li's smile falters only slightly, almond-brown eyes drifting to his bandaged hand.

"Well, you all certainly have mine. Please, if there's anything I can do, just let me know." She means it sincerely.

His confession earns him a bemused look, the woman's soft face slipping into an expression of curiosity. Experiment? "Very well, mister Tsukitomi-Renard. And there's no need to apologize for actions you've yet to make...but I'll forgive you ahead of time, nonetheless." She shrugs softly, still smiling. "Just promise me that you won't hold back, either?" Bowing her head softly, she waits for him to take initiative.

...and he does. Whipping into action, Frei reaches for the woman's wrist--but just before his hand can make purchase she's suddenly whipping sharply to the left, pivoting swiftly out of harm's way. Keeping close proximity, the woman lets one booted foot sharply plant as she stands slightly off and behind him, while at the same time a fist aims to drive a punch right for Frei's side. "YAA!"

COMBATSYS: Frei interrupts Medium Punch from Chun-Li with Light Kick.

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Frei             0/-------/----===|======-\-------\0          Chun-Li

Missed! But Frei knows the woman is fast, even by fighters' standards. After all, he caught her fight with the aforementioned Hotaru since it was also a Neo League bout, and it was indeed breathtaking to watch. However, he can't just sit there being impressed; he's got to grab that hand back and get ready for the inevitable counterattack as well. Still, he finds a smile coming to his face at Chun-Li's request that he not hold back either. "I won't! And 'Frei' is fine, ma'am." Oh god, she's a ma'am... and the two fighters are the same age, too, though both likely look considerably younger than their 27 years.

Whipping his head around, Frei twists his body to track Chun's movements, especially on the somewhat cramped walkways on the bridge. Squinting a bit, he tries to track the trajectory of her punch and by the time he realizes where she's planning to strike, it's too late. But, he *can* do something about it, even if it's last second. One leg is planted firmly on the metal, so that when her punch sails in Frei has no 'give'; some degree of internal resistance makes the blow hit without causing him to recoil. Which is important, because even as the Strongest Woman is making contact, the sage's other leg -- sheathed in a flickering aura of scarlet flame -- whips up from the side and slams into her shoulder, pushing the two fighters apart.

Frei stumbles a bit, that being a slightly more acrobatic maneuver than he's used to making, and it shows in the surprise in his bright green eyes as he rights himself, taking a sharp breath. "Haa... haa..." Wincing, he puts a hand to his side gingerly, but is still smiling afterwards. "That was scary!" he admits, not the least of which is because of Chun's prodigious strength.

"Ah, forgive me. It's just habit," she offers in response, hardly bothered by being referred to as ma'am. Likely, she's come to expect such things from people and other fighters, what with her world-spanning reputation. Still, it earns him a grin as she whips out of harm's way, driving her tightly-clenched fist right for Frei's side...

But he hardly budges; holding his ground. Before she can react properly a chi-laced kick swings up and drives into her shoulder, the Chinese fighter offering a light 'oof' in response as she's sent back, staggering a few steps from the surprisingly potent sting of his attack. A hand lifts and rubs at her singed shoulder, almond-brown eyes fixed on the sage.

"Likewise. That kick was impressive," Chun-Li responds, giving the man a smile as she nods her head. "You can utilize various forms of chi, as well?" First wind, now flames. "Also impressive. There aren't many fighters out there who can accomplish such feats." Fingertips still rub at her shoulder, the smile still lingering on her lips, almost sheepish as she confesses, "I'm a little jealous."

But the fight's still on. She moves, taking three broad steps before a leg snaps up, chambered tightly at her hip. A split-second after that leg fires off, a series of rapid, lightning-quick kicks aimed for the monk's body at swiftly alternating high, medium and low angles--all delivered in what's very likely less than a minute. "YA! YA! YA!"

COMBATSYS: Frei endures Chun-Li's Hyakuretsu Kyaku.

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Frei             0/-------/=======|=======\-------\0          Chun-Li

His cheeks color a little at that statement, but Frei shakes his head. "Don't be. I admit I might be a little more practiced with it than most fighters, but... think of it like a pie chart," he says unexpectedly, shaking off his pain and getting into stance again, shaking out his hands. Conversation during a fight is something he's used to, and he actually finds the Strongest Woman's voice a reassuring presence. "So much of my training went into learning it that, well..." He trails off, becoming uncomfortable for a moment. Something he's been wrestling with that poor Chun-Li all but stumbled into.

Her attack, however, makes conversation somewhat more difficult. The solid wall of kicks is delivered at a truly superhuman speed, Frei blinking in surprise. Evading it would be absurdly foolish, and deflecting it... almost as bad, since getting every kick in the barrage is nearly impossible. Thus he makes the bold choice to stand his ground, something he proves surprisingly good at given that he doesn't look like he's *built* for taking punishment. Each kick slams into him with brutal force, but gritting his teeth and even pressing forward a bit, he refuses to be bowled over.

In fact, the entire time he's weathering Chun's assault, one hand drops to his side, flaring with a bright silver-gold glow. As soon as it looks like he's clear, Frei gives a sharp "Eeeeeeeei!" and sweeps his glowing hand *up*, fingers extended, in a parabolic arc. Aside from the simple sweeping of his hand toward Chun, the path of strike blazes with a line of metallic-sheened chi that, should it strike his target, rings with a sound like a tuning fork being struck.

COMBATSYS: Frei successfully hits Chun-Li with Houken EX.

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Frei             1/------=/=======|=======\=------\1          Chun-Li

"A pie chart..?" An interesting analogy, she'd have to confess, so much so it earns the blushing sage a wide grin from the Tai Chi master. It comes as some mild reassurance that the man isn't put off by her questions in the middle of a fight; if anything, as it comes to reassurance to him, it makes her feel a bit more at ease. While she does take her skills seriously, it doesn't mean she can't use them as a way to get to know people better.

But he trails off, his words earning him a puzzled look from the woman. The silence that follows is perhaps awkward, but she smiles, offering a light sigh as she bows her head. "Well, you've certainly impressed me," she confesses.

And he's likely to do it again.

But now is the time for the offensive, her assault delivered. Again, to her surprise, the surprisingly-durable Frei weathers her lightning-quick strikes, holding his ground while funneling more of that odd chi into his hand. While she anticipates the blow and tries to prepare herself for taking the defensive, Frei moves much faster than she'd anticipated. Struck, the hand-and-chi combination attack sends her stumbling away, a light hiss escaping her lips.

A smile is quick to fill her features, her expression far from irritable or riddled with anger. Friendly and amiable about the entire situation, she tips her head in gesture, to acknowledge the well-landed blow, before she takes to the offensive once more, delivering a swift side kick at Frei before she sets the foot down and pivots, following the side kick with a high vertical kick to the jaw. "HI-YAA!"

COMBATSYS: Frei just-defends Chun-Li's Medium Kick!

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Frei             1/------=/=======|=======\=------\1          Chun-Li

Ask him about it afterwards, and the young sage would likely confess to not knowing exactly how he pulls it off. However, having just endured (literally) one of the fullest flowers of Chun-Li's legendary kicking techniques, Frei has 0% desire to experience a second one. Thus when she comes at him a second time, he's prepared to defend himself a little more fully than he was before. The results seem to pay off, too; rather than deflect the side kick he suddenly braces himself against the edge of the walkway and leans his torso back as far as it will go, letting the first blow go wide.

The second, however, he can't avoid. Perhaps fueled by desperation, he concentrates and, as the kick is coming toward him, suddenly lashes out with the index and middle fingers of his right hand, slamming them into the tip of Chun's foot and stopping the kick *dead*, the kinetic energy redirected entirely. 'Pushing' off that defense, he steps back and takes a calm, centering breath, a brief respite in the flurry of activity.

"Sorry. Like I said, you have to excuse me if I say some strange things," he admits, sliding back into stance. He's trying to concentrate on the fight, but the battle with Chun-Li is giving him too good an opportunity for working through other things to pass up. "I have a reputation for saying strange things anyway," he offers with a slight laugh. Whatever was (or is) bothering him, it doesn't seem to have dulled his spirit any.

Deciding he doesn't want to get in close again, the chi sage keeps his position, judging Chun's position carefully. "The truth is, without the shiny special effects there's not a lot to me," he finishes quietly, finally putting into words thoughts he'd been trying to avoid. "Sometimes I wonder how I got this far on my own." But if that statement sounds like he's giving up, his *actions* don't follow; with a wave of his hand, Frei's palm flickers blue-white... and then the air around the World's Strongest Woman is alive with ice crystals, seeking to put a serious chill in her bones. Considering the whipping wind, it might not be a welcome attack!

COMBATSYS: Chun-Li dodges Frei's Hatsuyuki.

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Frei             1/------=/=======|=======\=------\1          Chun-Li

It would perhaps be a lie to say Chun-Li didn't really expect Frei to handle himself THIS well against the woman. Even those within her tier have some trouble against the woman and her dangerous strength, but Frei handles it as good as the rest. So it comes as some surprise when he weaves aside the first strike.

What shocks her is the sudden disruption of her kinetic energy, the foot stopped cold before it is shoved aside. Blinking visibly, the woman goes slightly slack jawed before she offers a broad smile. Immediately her foot retracts, as Frei himself takes the moment and opportunity to center himself. She does the same for the moment, regaining her balance there upon their precarious perch above Sydney Harbor.

"Well, I see no reason to apologize," she offers, smiling as bright as before. "It's a rather clever analogy, and by no means strage." Pausing briefly, the woman bows her head, a gentle gesture offered as the smile lingers on her face. As for his reputation... "I would imagine there's something in it about your reputation as a fighter? You've certainly proved to be a handful!" She means it in a friendly fashion, really.

She observes, as the sage moves his hand, pooling blue-white icy chi as he speaks. Though the gesture is noted, the woman listens, still offering an amiable smile as she waits, biding her time. "Surely that isn't true," she rebukes. "As corny as it may sound, everyone really is unique. It's not all focused around what you can do as a fighter, though some would try to convince you otherwise. It all really boils down to the person behind all that skill."

The air around her suddenly chills, shards of ice threatening to cut into her. But the woman moves, a swift backflip executed before she lands in a deep crouch, a hand outstretched for balance, the other planted down for support. And, naturally, she's still grinning.

"I'd also say that you probably got this far because you wanted to. Because you had the drive to."

Leaping into the air, the woman seeks to leap OVER Frei, her body flipping gracefully as she arcs over his head. But just beyond that apex those frighteningly strong legs thrust outwards, both booted heels aimed for the back of his head for a swift and perhaps unexpected strike. "YAA!"

COMBATSYS: Chun-Li successfully hits Frei with Tenshin Shuu Kyaku.

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Frei             1/--=====/=======|=======\===----\1          Chun-Li

Did he get lucky? Well, a certain degree of luck is part of any fight, but it may just be that Frei exhausted all his good luck to this point, as we'll see in a moment. "That's me," he says with a genuine smile, one that hopefully defuses his followup comment. "Annoyingly persistent to a fault." He drops back into stance, whistling a bit at Chun-Li's evasion. It's not a surprise, but it still impresses him... certainly enough that he laughs and shakes his head sadly. "You and Hotaru both. It's like fighting wire-fu."

Still, the Strongest Woman has more to say than simple banter, and for a second Frei's eyes turn from her, confident that while she is going to attack him sooner or later, it's not going to be while he's taking a second and not looking at her. A gesture of trust? Or perhaps youthful stupidity. Either way, for a moment his gaze flicks off to the side, taking in the brightly lit city of Sydney in the distance. "Well, I guess I meant as a fighter. I'd like to think that in my everyday life I have something to offer. I just, uh... hmn." He trails off again, perhaps choosing his words?

But his attention is on Chun again, and she takes to the air with grace. Tracking her with his eyes as best he can, Frei steels himself to deflect the strike again... but the angle, combined with the surprisingly low-altitude execution, is a bit much for him; his arms are only just coming up as Chun-Li gives him a resounding boot to the head (*fthunk*), sending him sprawling forward face-first onto the deck with a metallic *CLANG* that makes the impact seem worse than it is.

Soon enough, however, Frei is on his feet, rubbing his nose a bit with both hands. "Agh, by node..." he mutters, sniffling once before getting back into stance. "Hwah. Maybe I had the drive..." he muses, finishing his thought from before. "I've never been quite sure. Lately I've felt... competitive about fighting," he adds, as if this weren't normal... and for Frei, it's not. "Not just wanting to have fun. Wanting to win, to do well. I know this might sound strange to someone like you, who's been doing this for so long, but to me it's a... very strange feeling."

Bringing his hand to his chest, Frei closes his eyes for a fraction of a second, his body limned with a green-gold glow. The colorful aura eventually fades, except for around his fist. Driving foward in one quick step, he extends his hand, fingers curled, for a palm strike to Chun-Li's stomach, the aura of earth chi around it giving the blow considerably greater kinetic impact than Frei's strength alone could provide.

COMBATSYS: Chun-Li dodges Frei's Fierce Punch.

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Frei             0/-------/=======|=======\===----\1          Chun-Li

A brief smile crosses Chun-Li's lips, as the monk mentions Hotaru and Chun-Li's evasive styles. "Believe me, it's not the first time I've heard such things." But the woman takes it as a compliment nonetheless. It's almost impossible to really offend the Tai Chi fighter. Just as Kyo Kusanagi. He's tried and failed many times in doing so. "But thank you."

His observations are met with a soft laugh, her head shaking lightly. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to assume you meant overall. Of course your everyday life has something to offer. You do devote a good portion of your time to the kids at the YFCC, don't you?" At least that's the impression she had from the faculty at the center. It makes the smile on her lips broaden. "That's certainly something."

But the fight must go on, and Chun-Li takes the initiative. Leaping high, she flips and snaps her legs out, arms outstretched for balance as she falls. Heels collide with the monk's head, the force sending the poor man sprawling to the metal beams beneath his feet. The Tai Chi mistress, meanwhile, draws her legs in and repositions herself, to land in a deep crouch on her heels, ready.

However, as the sage poses no real immediate threat, she begins to stand, hands rising up into a neutral stance as she regards the fighter. "Competitive feelings? That's entirely natural," the woman offers, smiling still. "Even though I have been fighting for as long as I have, I still have that drive in me to want to win. But I don't let it eat me up entirely; instead, I use it as fuel, to help me find the drive to push for improvement in body and spirit." Shifting her weight, she relaxes slightly. "Any fighter who says they've never once felt a little competitive is very likely a liar.

"But, I can understand how it might feel strange. Don't feel guilty or weird. It's natural. Just try not to let yourself become consumed by those feelings." He certainly doesn't SEEM the sort, she figures.

The aura draws a strange look from the woman, her eyes narrowing discreetly as she observes the aura. Moments after, that aura funnels to his fist, the fist aimed for her stomach. Immediately the woman weaves aside, dropping low to the ground before she pushes off and rolls back onto her feet. When she rises, she offers the monk a tiny bow, almost apologetic.

She suddenly blurs forward, the woman almost vanishing from sight before she's suddenly there and right on the monk. However, her attack does not come by way of fists; instead, like before, the woman lashes out with a leg, repeated blows delivered at varying angles. Unlike before, though, it doesn't stop with one barrage, should the first land. Rather, she switches up, changing legs to deliver another series of lethal kicks, followed by another...before she switches up one last time, to deliver a high side kick aimed for his jaw. "YAAAA!"

COMBATSYS: Chun-Li successfully hits Frei with Houyoku Sen.

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Frei             1/-======/=======|-------\-------\0          Chun-Li

It's like a deer in headlights. All these things he'd LIKE to say in response, but Chun-Li's decision to really kick things up a notch (pun intended) drains it right out of him. There's no way he's avoiding that, trying to power through it would be something close to insanity. But he might, just MIGHT, be able to minimize the damage. Thus he hunkers down, arms crossed, ready to defend himself. To put it bluntly, it doesn't work; the first kick comes in low and basically blows his guard to bits, the young sage's body being peppered with powerful blows until that last kick sends him quite literally flying into the air. Thankfully, simply across the crisscrossing walkways rather than *off the bridge*, but it's quick thinking by Frei at the very last second that lets him grab a handrail to direct his flight onto the steel walkway with a loud *CLANG* that keeps him from landing in a really painful way.

His face contorts in pain as he stands up, and it shows that even for a resilient fighter like Frei, one of Chun-li's strongest techniques is going to leave a mark no matter WHO you are. "I've seen... first hand, what the competitive drive... can do to someone," he offers. The reference is, to the Strongest Woman, detectably about Hotaru... and likely undetectably about his own brother Kataki, who also found himself consumed by the need to be the best, the winner at all costs. Taking measured breaths, Frei nods his head a little, gripping his right elbow with his left hand, gritting his teeth. "But that's why I'm trying to be so careful about it, I guess. More than that, though, I don't... I don't like it. I don't *enjoy* it." Shaking his head, he smiles when his head comes back up, but he is smiling as he does so, even if it looks tired. "Maybe that's why I focused so intently on one thing..."

Well. Chun-Li favored Frei with one of her strongest attacks. It goes without saying that he should respond in kind. Holding out his hands, palm up, the red-haired fighter gathers two swirling spheres of energy: one pure white light, the other inky purple-black darkness. Taking a deep breath, he slams them together, the white and black mixing to become an aura of power that blazes around him, alternating white and black with hints of every color at the edges. It literally lifts him from the walkway a few inches. "But that's why I'm here," he says evenly. "Because I want to win, even if I don't want to want to win."

And then he's off, almost skimming across the walkways toward the Strongest Woman. When he gets close, wordlessly, he turns, extending both palms... and the aura of swirling energy becomes a massive shockwave pulse that rips through the air, the strongest technique he knows.

COMBATSYS: Frei successfully hits Chun-Li with Samsara.

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Frei             0/-------/-----==|==-----\-------\0          Chun-Li

Though the monk had asked her not to hold back, a tiny part of the Tai Chi Mistress can't help but sort of do precisely that. Each strike lands with brutal force, but is likely a touch less than what the woman could REALLY do, if she wanted to put her mind to it. To her, this is a spar at best, however competitive in nature it may very well be with the League involved. But that is the last thing on her mind; instead, she focuses on the fight, as well as the other fighter.

So when he spirals into the air and lands, a sigh of relief escapes her lips as he lands without any real complication. She's very thankful he didn't wind up flying OFF the bridge; that would have been a mess, among other things.

Eventually Frei rises, and the woman offers a tiny and apologetic smile. But his words cause her smile to fade slightly, an expression mirroring curiosity briefly crossing her soft face. He speaks from experience, which means he knows more than ever he shouldn't let it overtake him. Relieved, the woman tips her head in a soft nod, her smile returning. He doesn't enjoy it? That's completely understandable...but...

The aura around him flares as the two spheres are united, an odd display--certainly the first she's ever seen. The woman's response is a bit harder than before, her features mildly stern and serious as she regards the equally-serious monk. He wants to win, even if he doesn't want to win..?

"Very well," she offers softly, grinning faintly.

Her arms lift, as Frei swiftly approaches, an attempt at best to provide herself with a suitable defense in the wake of such power. But the aura around the monk overpowers her; breaking her guard, that shockwave of odd chi cuts through and sends the woman flying back, her body hitting the metal catwalk with a loud CLANG. For a moment the Tai Chi fighter doesn't get up.

Shuddering in the arms, Chun-Li eventually pushes herself to her feet, staggering and offering a light cough in response. Despite the nasty blow, the woman remains ever-cheerful, a tiny grin still on her lips as she turns her eyes onto Frei. "I must say it again--your talent with chi is truly impressive."

Whether he responds swiftly enough or not, Chun-Li is again on the move. She draws in swiftly, a hand reaching out for the monk's wrist as she attempts to seize it. From there, a knee will rocket upwards, to clip the chi sage in the jaw before she delivers a high kick, to knock the man off his feet from sheer force. "YAA!"

COMBATSYS: Frei fails to interrupt Kirin Shuu from Chun-Li with Reiki.

[                            \\  < >  //////////////                ]
Frei             1/-------/=======|=====--\-------\0          Chun-Li

COMBATSYS: Frei can no longer fight.

[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Chun-Li          0/-------/--=====|

"I have to be," Frei says with a faint smile, hands still flickering white-black as he draws them back, the glow eventually fading. He wasn't holding back at all, and Chun-Li weathers the assault fine, even if it hit her reasonably hard. Her aura is impressive, as one would expect of a fighter of her caliber. The body has a natural ability to defend against such things, after all... the field generated simply through *being*, and trained to fight. "It's... it has to be no less so than your skill with kicks, you know? I've trained hard to reach where I am, so thank you."

Well, and then she dives right back in. Deciding that he'd like to try a more aggressive defense, as Chun-Li grabs for his wrist he reaches forward with his other hand, glowing a bright green. Sadly, fatigue and pain are slowing his reflexes... that, and Chun-Li is damned fast. The glow flickers out, Frei unable to keep it up as the Strongest Woman's combination slams into him with considerable force... almost as much as the barrage of kicks he just recovered from. Needless to say, as his body slams to the walkway a few feet away, it's the final fall for the young sage. The 'count' separating the end of the fight from someone merely taking a long time to get up expires well before Frei pulls himself into a sitting position, holding his forehead with one hand. "Maybe... I overdid it a little too soon," he murmurs.

He raises his head, trying to meet Chun-Li's gaze, and if he can he gives her another honest smile, though this one too seems 'tired'... perhaps understandably so, however. "Thanks for that," he finally says. "I know I was... all over the map for a second there. And I might not have been much of a challenge. But, I felt like it was worth it to fight you all the same."

"You're very welcome," is the woman's reply, a sincere look on her soft face as she regards the chi prodigy. "I hope you only strive to get better and improve. I'd like to see where your talents with that energy take you, in the long run." Already she can tell he's got great potential; that strike left its mark on her body, her natural fighting aura and resilience aside. Idly the woman clutches at her stomach, trying to push away the pain, if only for a moment.

"And thank you for the compliments. It's honestly so rare people complement one another in the heat of battle, or sometimes after. The competitive nature of these things is almost overwhelming and disheartening at times." A helpless shrug follows, the woman's thin lips pulling into a casual grin that all but says 'what can you do?'

The show must go on, however. Moving in, she seizes the monk, piercing his chi-enhanced defenses with a heavy grip and a sudden two-fold strike that, in the end, grounds the man and leaves him breathless for a long moment. She looks on, ignoring the counts, waiting to see if the man rises up, and soon enough he lifts himself into a sitting position, earning him a sigh of relief from the woman.

Despite the frantic cheers of spectators below, the woman approaches and crouches, arms folding across her knees as she levels her gaze with Frei. "No way, you did just fine," she replies with a bright smile. "Really; you did really well. Your chi energy is very fine-tuned...and painful, I have to admit."

When the sage smiles honestly, the woman returns it in kind. His thanks earn him an almost sheepish look from the Tai Chi Mistress, eyes averting to the side as she offers an embarrassed blush. "No need to thank me, Frei," she replies. "I very much enjoyed the fight. You're a very interesting and honest person." Pausing, she looks back, her smile broadening as she adds, "And I'm glad to hear it."

With a light 'oof' the woman stands upright, rising from the crouch before she offers a hand, to help the chi sage off the ground. "Thank you very much for the fight. I hope...I didn't overdo it a bit..."

COMBATSYS: Chun-Li has ended the fight here.

Log created on 22:13:16 09/10/2008 by Chun-Li, and last modified on 14:12:07 09/11/2008.