Neo League 826 - #828: Alex vs Hotaru

Description: For fighters, facing each other in the ring is the truest way to find out what each other are made of. Challenging the current SNF Warrior's Belt holder, Alex gives Hotaru Futaba the chance to prove that she deserves that recognition. Requiring the best of her at every turn, he gets his wish. ( Winner: Hotaru )

'Always remember the little guy.'
That's a sound piece of advice that Alex mostly ignored for the bulk of his professional existence.
It isn't an easy thing to remember, in his defense. Not because Alex actively goes around hating on people in general - he certainly doesn't - More like when you're at the pro level, especially at the level guys like Alex are at, life is a whirlwind. You don't got time to remember to eat breakfast let alone being mindful of others. Alex got so couped up with the growing fighting legend that was 'Alex' .. He didn't really understand what's most important.
Giving back is something the titan has made an important part of his life. Could he focus on the big serious matches like Ryu or that hothead Kyo? Sure. He could make a ton more money doing those fights too. Like that title match fight the other week. Packing stadiums to the sky, with millions watching at home. Even better, Alex knows if he keeps fighting the very best, a little of that greatness will rub off in turn. Nothing polishes up your chops faster than going mano y mano with Man-Gods like Krauser.
But money ain't everything. Prestige ain't everything. Skill ain't everything. Some guys get so preoccupied in getting that stuff, they don't get the whole picture.

Alex currently kneels down at the edge of the make-shift ring, hastily scribbling out his name with a barely legible signature over a DVD case of that 'Battle Brawl - The Pain In Maine' fight he did a couple months back with that Yon 'Full Tilt' Shiffler. A pretty forgettable fight with some jobber, but this little freshmen at Seijyun thought it was the best thing ever. The American, red war-paint beneath his eyes grins wide as he hands it back, "Here ya go kid."
Instantly the little girl hugs the immortalized match to her uniform and gushes to her friends whom all giggle and shriek in delighted unison. Alex's smile is serene, happy he managed to sign everything the tiny crowd asked of him before the fight started. While he has a couple fans here.. Definitely the -vast- majority of the local school and fan-ship in this intimate little venue is here to see the Titan's competition. The local hometown girl that made good. Of course the prim and proper girl's school would show to see their own do battle with the American Giant in this charity-sponsored Neo League match. She's the underdog in this fight, according to all the fighting statisticians and arm-chair quarterbacks the world over.. But that only makes her more exciting to root for. Especially since this little girl is a two-time AND current title belt holder and has an extraordinarily impressive record against opponents whom, by any sane measure, should have broke her in half. That and she's as cute as a button.
Hell, looking at her even Alex is tempted to buy a glossy. Aww.

The lumbering Titan rises to his full height, turning to face his opponent. Pounding his fists into his massive mitts as he mulls the competition with a wry smile. The American likes her - She's good people. The profession could use more people like her, in his opinion. He vaguely remembers her from that previous fight from years back before his year-long sabbatical. She just got back from her own sabbatical, if he recalls right. Timid. Eager. Very willing to learn and work hard. Since then she's certainly gone places!

But there are those in the business who don't think she deserves all that. Just a cutesy face nobody wants to punch so nobody actually fights her for real - Or some other nonsense. There's a few critics who thought she didn't deserve that belt she's got - That she just waited for Adon, Alex and Makoto to beat each-other to a pulp and just pull the belt off the pile.
That's a crock of horse@#$% and Alex is going to prove those loudmouths wrong. Alex has looked into her heart and he asked her to step up, one on one, to give her a chance to show those punks that she deserves the title. Here's Alex, that guy all the 'stats' and Vegas spreads say should be able to clean her clock. No others to 'get in the way'. Now she can show the world what she can really do against this here American hardcore.

The little guy isn't just the fans who makes Alex mighty. Its also his competitors. The big ones like Ryu who've guided him ... And the smaller ones like Hotaru, who he has an obligation to in turn. Street Fighting ain't nothing if you don't help the next generation get better and train harder. Give them chances, let them do their best and maybe.. Juuuust maybe.. They can surprise the Hell out of you.

"You all ready for a fight?!" Alex challenges the audience in a booming voice, swinging his massive arms in warm-up before turning his cobalt eyes to his diminutive adversary..

As the local girl, Hotaru isn't pressed for autographs as she lingers on her side of the ring, standing in the grass that surrounds it. The girls surrounding her, with whom she is so eagerly talking, are her peers in an academic sense. Which is to say, they attend the same school, sit in the same classes, fret over the same tests, gossip about the same things. Most are from well-to-do families or attending the high school on lavish scholarships. But beyond that - beyond the oneness of their collective blur of identical school uniforms, their similarities begin to wane. For unlike the gaggle of giggling gals around Hotaru, she is a fighter. It doesn't make her a better person in her mind, but it does make her different.

At the end of the day, none of them will be stepping into the ring to battle the muscular, tall American brawler. From the sidelines, they'll watch, cheer, and urge her on, but they won't be the ones taking the blows or getting hurled around like a feather. No. That opportunity belongs to the young Kenpo artist, and her alone. It doesn't seem to weigh on her as she chats with them, noticing how a few of the teenaged females glance across the ring to gaze at the impressive figure Alex cuts. They see a remarkably handsome foreigner. But as Hotaru glances over her shoulder to follow their gaze, she sees a powerful fighter and one who deserves her respect.

A stark contrast from the brutes of the fighting world she finds to be practically walking embarassments of the sport, Alex seems to have a perspective on things she can appreciate. To face him directly is an honor. She's dressed in the Chinese traditional attire most have come to associate with the Kenpo artist. One of the girls leans forward to whisper something into Hotaru's ear that provokes a sudden blush and light laugh as the pig-tailed fighter shakes her head, leaving anyone to guess as to what secret was shared.

But people are here for match just like she is, and politely, the slight girl slips away from her friends, reaching up to place a hand on the middle rope and using that to pull herself up into an easy vault over the top rope into the ring. Crossing her arms in front of her, the girl bows her head, offering Alex a formal gesture quite common in her 'second' homeland of China. She might've got the idea from a certain masterful Tai Chi fighter she reveres so much.

Looking up, she exhales, her expression warm but serious. She's got a tough match ahead of her. Just the way she likes it. Alex riles up the crowd with his loud shout and Hotaru's smile widens just a little. Uncrossing her arms, she turns her right shoulder toward him, arms raised to a ready position. "I am," she speaks up, her voice projected with a certain level of confidence and certainty, audible over the crowd without becoming a shout. This is the kind of man her brother would live to fight, she believes. This is the kind of fighter she wished he would /emulate/.

Alex hasn't been out of high school so long to forget about girls and their secret whispers. The guy knew that Hotaru was young but it isn't until seeing her in the perspective of her peers that he really figured HOW young. Not that it matters too much - Kids in this town pack a Hell of a punch. If anything, its just charming. While the relatively subdued and restrained cheers and applause for the match isn't quite what he's used to; different strokes for different folks, he figures. As long as there's some excitement in the air, the Titan is happy.

"I hoped you were." Alex comments with a mild smile to the little kenpo warrior. "Lets do this!" The giant doesn't waste time with much parlay. They have plenty to speak at each-other, but fighters like them don't say them with words. The powerful man shreds his flimsy grey shirt with barely a gesture, throwing its tatters to the crowd as he swings his mighty arms twice more for good measure. Sucking in air then blasting it out with a loud battle-cry. The gentle smile replaced with stone, a virtually unreadable poker-face, searching cobalt eyes on the alert with wheels turning behind them. The image of the girl is replaced with that of an enemy. A quick and nimble foe who can dance out of reach and pelt him with hard blows from seemingly nowhere. He's fought against people like that - those who use their chi to increase their force many times over. She looks small but she can focus in such a fashion that she could probably break even his arms if he isn't careful about it.
Combat boots dig into the arena mat as he lowers his center of gravity, wide hands spread outwards as he hunches forwards. Fingers wiggling in a wave-like sequence as he makes himself ready for anything, "Show me what ya got." A challenge leveled at her. No condescension in his tone, only absolute intensity. He's treating her as a serious threat. There is no greater honor he can bestow upon any opponent.

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

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

As he shouts Hotaru doesn't flinch. Every fighter worth their mettle has their on way of focusing themselves - a way to shift from being that person they are outside the proverbial ring into the person they are within it. As friendly as her demeanor is before the match, the girl wasn't about to go fighting someone of Alex's calibur while grinning like damn fool. The moment means more to her than that. It's a solemn occasion, like most matches between peers - a test that allows one to see how far they've come and where they have still to go.

As she exhales softly, bouncing lightly on her toes, her expression shifts, the smile fading, her azure eyes focusing on Alex, studying the way he moves and carries himself. Maybe he's top heavy - those arms are strong, his torso ripped - sometimes fighters neglect their lower body strength and she can use that to her advantage in how she moves around them, staying just one step out of their ability to react to her own motions. Maybe he has a weak or dominate side. It's only fair to watch for possible weaknesses in his own form to keep in mind, to be wary of which arm he favors or how easily he can switch from kicking to punching. The reverse will most definitely be true.

Light on her feet, ready to try and escape from any crushing opening volley, she finds she's being given the shot to show him what she's got. A sharp nod of acknowledgement is given. There's no shame in being given the chance to make an opening move. She offers the same opportunity any time she fights someone newer in their career than she is. It's a chance for them to make their move without being harried by the swift young fighter while simultaneously letting her test her own skill in avoiding them. She'll take the offer graciously.

A soft whisper of 'Yosh' escapes her lips. Here she goes. From this moment forward, she isn't to stop moving until she can go no further or she has won. That's her resolve; her determination to not shirk what she came here to do. She's going to need to hit hard and fast and avoid getting caught. Every step is critical. But rather than panic herself with such thoughts, she only gets more prepared, her focus sharper. Here it goes.

Shifting from standing to sprinting, it seems she's going for a reckless opening simply trying to charge the larger fighter. Seems is the operative word there, for she isn't as careless as that, the girl sliding to a stop from a yard out, her right leg slipping forward, her left leg bent, supporting her along her axis of balance. Arms at her sides as if a bird ready to take flight, she adopts for a blink of an eye a very low, defensive stance. And in the next moment, she strikes.

She rises out of that low crouch, her left hand leading, open palm going for the center of Alex's torso, aiming for a balance-menacing strike. It's only an opening, however, as he'll have to watch for her body turning toward the left, allowing her right hand to slam forward as a follow up strike a split second later as the girl leans into that second blow with all her strength. "YAA!"

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

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Hotaru           0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0             Alex

COMBATSYS: Alex blocks Hotaru's Fierce Punch.

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Hotaru           0/-------/-------|==-----\-------\0             Alex

Some could say that offering one's opponent the opening attack is magnanimous and generous. While taking the initiative is incredibly critical in any fight, that concept can take a number of forms. Sometimes offering the first attack is a way of controlling the fight. To force your enemy to expose themselves a bit more than they wanted to. You never get someone's true measure until they've thrown a hard punch at you. Uncovering such metrics quickly and in as controlled a situation as possible is a cornerstone of any good strategy in battle.
He can guess a number of things about her strategy and her strengths. A few weaknesses are somewhat obvious. But assumptions can spell doom if you make them on superficial looks alone. Sometimes you just don't have enough information to go with and you need to rely on a minimum amount to make significant decisions real fast.. Especially in a hard fight.. So its always important to gauge your opponent whenever you can and as soon as possible. It isn't being gracious to a presumed lesser opponent as much as paying careful attention to the strengths of a peer.

The little martial artist makes her move and Alex does not stand idly by. Spying her assault the Titan lowers a shoulder, throwing a curled arm before himself as a steady shield for her thrusting palm to strike against. The impact is surprisingly loud, A blow that would have crushed a boulder merely dents the American Titan's bicep. The impact jarring enough to actually grind his combat boots a half-inch across the arena floor.

She IS fast, as predicted. But sneaky with her attacks, even he - wary as he was of her - wasn't expecting her to hit quite THAT hard. These Kung Fu types, their movements are made to be confusing. All that whirling and grace gives them extra momentum and support for striking. It looks pretty but hits damned hard.
On the other hand, Alex's moves may not look pretty.. But he's got the 'damned hard' part down pat.
"HRAH!" In the aftermath of that deflection, Alex sweeps his arm out immediately like a battering ram. Hoping to catch the young thing with a back-fist before she can fully dance away and begin her assault anew. Unlike the ponderous movements of other massive men, this movement is calculated. Carefully timed and positioned. A great strength directed with deliberation and measured caution. A surgeon wielding a sledgehammer.

COMBATSYS: Hotaru blocks Alex's Medium Punch.

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Hotaru           0/-------/------=|==-----\-------\0             Alex

Her stance is perfectly balanced. Even as she extends her arm for the second strike as a direct follow up to the first, Hotaru isn't off balance. And as she draws her arms back quickly, that much should be apparent to Alex's trained eye. Her feet adjust, her arms shifting position. She isn't going to run from him right now, it would appear. The tiny fighter is going to try and stay close rather than sacrifice proximity for the range in which to react. A dangerous gamble with a man like him.

The slight fighter has to lean into his backfist, her right forearm absorbing the brunt of the impact, while her right arm provides necessary support. For all her efforts at trying to stay close, the tiny fighter is forced to give ground when faced with that kind of power. A soft grunt escapes her lips. It was a good chance to get a measure of his hitting power at least. As if there were any doubts!

But her defensive posture becomes in an instant her offensive position as well as Hotaru springs into her counter attack without needing to change her stance in the slightest. It's quick, the way she tightens up for a split second before uncoiling into a hop through the air. The distance lost by her defense becomes the perfect tool for her offense as Hotaru uses the space to spin into a pair of windmilling palm strikes. The aim is to drive Alex's attention high so that he tries to high block the girl...

But the real threat is in what follows should Hotaru's feet touch the ground - all of that forward momentum translated into a single handed, punishing palm strike for his stomach. She leans hard, this time risking going off balance in exchange for securing the hit. "HAA!" Arm, torso, and leg strength are poured into that single point of contact - it's the kind of blow to maybe even make a man like Alex blink should she connect cleanly, and is composed of several core components of Hotaru's style of Kenpo. Her left hand snaps out in the opposite direction, providing much needed counter balance lest the girl simply stumble right into the man!

COMBATSYS: Alex fails to interrupt Soushou Shin from Hotaru with Improvised Grapple.

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Hotaru           0/-------/----===|===----\-------\0             Alex

An extremely dangerous gamble to try and play an inside game with a fighter like Alex, who's grappling and ground-fighting game is nearly unsurpassed on planet Earth. Certainly, the Titan did not expect her to go for that plan.. And that unpredictability is just the edge she was looking for. After the Titan's fist batters against her astonishingly sound defenses, the man was fully expecting her to leap away. Use his force against him to regain ground and approach him from a different angle. After all, that's the usual plan smaller fighters have against bigger fighters - Wear them down. Use their size against them. Make the big guy come to you and they'll exhaust themselves. A strategy Alex circumvents with careful strategy and patience. As such.. When Hotaru actually moves -in- after her block, for a split second Alex is at a loss.
Pure reflex takes over as even now the man employs defense. Going with gut instinct as he reacts the unexpected, the man reaches for her a moment after she springs forth again. Hoping to literally snatch her right out of the air in mid-whirl, his hand is quickly battered away by her windmilling defensive strikes. The wheeling blows giving her approach a measure of cover before -striking- his middle home. The impact sends a shockwave straight through his mighty frame, forcing his jaw to clench and a wince to cross his intent gaze. He most certainly felt that one!
Grunting, the man half-staggers away. Lifting his arms defensively yet again, trying to cover his momentary retreat as he reconsiders his opponent and this tactic she's using. Genuinely curious to see how this unfolding stratagem plays out, cobalt eyes looking through her with that burning intensity as he puzzles out what she must be thinking. Trying to predict what she must be thinking cost him once, he won't be making that mistake twice!

COMBATSYS: Alex has ended the fight here.

It was a close exchange - even in the midst of her committed attack, Hotaru was well aware of just how narrow her success came, battering aside a grasping hand right before it would have gotten a tight enough hold to put a stop to her little combination. Her feet touch the ring floor and her right hand slams out with all the force she can muster into a single palm press. It's a solid hit - one she certainly had no reason not to be proud of. It also felt like punching a brick wall. This guy was tough. She knew that coming in. But after landing a clean blow like that it was only becoming more clear just /how/ tough he was.

She holds the pose for a fleeting moment before drawing her arms back. There's no time to pause, no time to let up. She's got to keep pressure on him if she's going to be able to keep up. Give Alex room and space and he'll have more time to react to her attacks. And given his attempt to catch her right out of the air, that could end up very bad! On the other hand, playing the close in game leaves her constantly in range of his strikes. A tactic that probably can't pan out for her sake in the long run given his strengths there. Thus it is that the girl's approach to fighting comes into play - a blend of offense and defense, a seamless mixture between staying aggressive and correcting into a more defensive, prepared mindset.

She steps forward, leaning in low, returning to that extremely low stance of hers, arms out at her sides. It lasts for a fleeting moment before she sweeps up, bringing her arms together, combining them into a single purpose, aiming to target Alex squarely in the center once again, this time with a double palm press. It's like trying to shove a mountain - one inch at a time, but her determination does not seem swayed by the challenge presented in the slightest. Extended as she is, her right leg forward to prop her up, her left leg behind, providing leverage, she ends up in a perfect position from which to move into a next step. She could push off with her right foot, letting her draw back quickly. Or push with her left foot, twisting forward into yet another attack.

COMBATSYS: Hotaru successfully hits Alex with Medium Punch.
Glancing Blow

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Hotaru           0/-------/----===|===----\-------\0             Alex

The Titan is certainly beginning to comprehend why this little lady has proven to be so dangerous to all manner of fighters. He did not expect this aggression from such a sweet little thing - pressing the attack and staying on the attack. The blond figured she would poke a few attacks here and there, trying to wear him down and bleed his endurance like a kung fu matador. But coming on strong and keeping him off-balance with her surprisingly sharp blows? She's got the upper hand on him and he's processing a way to turn this thing around.
In an almost comical display, the giant actually cedes ground to her. Giant boots quickly stepping backwards as he actually gives to her attack.. His mighty arms staying upraised as her pressuring double palm-strike connects with his middle.. But the Mountain actually -moves-. Perhaps in a bid to turn the tables on her and likewise give her something she didn't expect.
A strange world where the little fighter is the marauder and Alex becomes the nimble butterfly, but the key to any fight is to adapt. He can only hope his surprisingly quick movement catches her unawares and forces her to over-extend her balance. Her strike does hit, but not with the rock-shattering force it would have had if he had held his ground. Instead, it rolls from him as he quickly then sweeps a hand out in a bid to palm her entire head.. Using his superior reach to get a firm grip, yank her off her feet like a rag-doll and -dash- her to the floor quickly. Not one of his more punishing slams, but hopefully enough to break her rhythm and mess with her head a little.. Get her to second guess herself and slow down.
Himself? His stony disposition is unfazed, intensity etched into his statuesque face. She's definitely got him reeling but there's plenty of fight left.

COMBATSYS: Hotaru dodges Alex's Hand Stamp.

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Hotaru           0/-------/----===|====---\-------\0             Alex

He gives way to her relentless striking, but it isn't as a result of her crushing force this time. To the audience, it might look like the small girl pushed Alex back but she knows better. No; she can tell she barely grazed the guy. Which means he fell back on purpose... which means a counter attack is no doubt coming swiftly. She could have attacked more aggressively than she did, throwing caution to the wind. But when it comes down to it, this fight will not go her way if all she does is trade blows. She's going to have to strike him a lot more than he'll need to hit her. No - reckless blows are for one who can afford the trade, but that's one exchange rate the younger fighter isn't about try.

Which is why her transitory, hybrid stance after that punch comes into play perfectly. She knows she needs to move even before he swings. Waiting to predict the blow will be too slow. The margin of time in which to act is too narrow. And thus it is the girl pushes back with her right leg, reversing her forward lunge in one smooth motion. It takes her from being close to Alex to being roughly three steps away in a single action.

It works; the hand of the titan slamming through the air just inches from the girl's head with a blow that would have done more than throw her off her game a little - it damn well would have floored her! But now's her chance to retaliate and it isn't one she's going to pass up on. This exchange of close blows can continue for now. She's still on her feet. And she's still thinking quick, not about to leave this narrow opening wasted.

Both hands snap forward, going for Alex's large hand, seeking to secure a grip around his wrist. If successful, she'll try to pull him forward, testing his balance to see if she can trip him to the ground into a tumble to the ring. Hardly the most punishing thing ever - but like him, his pig-tailed combatant is interested in keeping him guessing, keeping him from being able to control the fight and forcing her hand. "HAH!"

COMBATSYS: Alex fails to interrupt Quick Throw from Hotaru with Air Stampede.

[   \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////            ]
Hotaru           0/-------/---====|======-\-------\0             Alex

Okay. She's REAL fast.
As the girl dances away from his grasping hand with shocking alacrity, Alex's hardened eyes twitch. Powerful fingers only groping for air in the aftermath of her darting movement, the fighter just maintains his cool. While constantly underestimating her speed and precision is starting to become worrying, he definitely can't over extend himself. Rushing around to catch her is going to exhaust him a whole lot faster than it will her.
Be patient. Be calm. He'll get his window of opportunity if he keeps his eyes open. She hits hard but not THAT hard, he can afford to weather the storm and wait for her to get bored or frustrated.. Then he'll have her. Always a waiting game here, even in combat as frantic as this.

As she grabs his wrist.. Alex thought that was his moment. She didn't have that much leverage, he can pick her up and flail her around like nothing. He thought her over-zealousness, perhaps due to a combination of a rush of combat and her current flow of success, led her into a mistake. He -tries- to yank her forward by her own grip. If he managed it, he would have literally dragged her under the bus before leaping up and stomping on her with all his might..
..Instead it was his undoing. By just beginning to unravel his firm footing to begin that crushing vault.. It played directly into her hands. Without a firmly rooted stance to defend himself with, he proves shockingly vulnerable to that simple throw. All but -aiding- her as his massive frame is hurtled over her shoulder. With a grunt he -crashes- into the arena with far more force than even she likely intended, sprawling him to the ground and shattering his defenses.
Wiping his chin with the back of his free hand, Alex doesn't sweat even this. That spill just looked a lot worse than it actually was and this fight has barely started even still. Patience. Calm.
Even now he's slowly beginning to rise into a defensive crouch, regathering himself and keeping his defenses raised. Cobalt eyes alert for the follow-up..

Grip, twist, pull, release. The concept seems so simple most dismiss the idea of such a basic technique as being something anyone can do. What's missed is the precision in timing, the shift in one's center of gravity, the adjusting of the feet and legs to provide the perfectl fulcrum by which one can flip a much larger opponent over their shoulder 'so easily'. But as with all her attacks, Hotaru is a perfect picture of coordination and timing, and the result sends the heavier opponent to the ring solidly.

Even as she draws her hand back, the girl is in constant motion, shifting her feet back into a more defensible position, preparing herself to defend or strike depending on what the experienced brawler does next. Her expression remains serious, deep blue eyes focused on him intensely, but there is not one shread of hosility to be found there. She's going to give him her all out of respect for the sport and the contest between them. But for as aggressive a fighter as the small Asian may be, there's nothing malicious in her intent with regards to the American.

There's range between them now, however, and that means she has to make a choice. Either she closes the distance and re-engages in that point blank, extremely high risk exchange of attacks that she opened with until now. Or she hangs back - using her speed to her advantage, keeping him at bay and buying herself time to make her next move. It's a decision without a specific right answer, but one she has to decide quickly!

As the fighting titan gets his feet back under him, keeping himself in a tight, highly defensible position, Hotaru decides to keep her distance. Bolting forward into range when he's prepared like that - when he no longer is unsure of her speed or striking capability - is too high risk. Her left hand extends forward as she turns her left shoulder toward him. Her right arm cocks back, however, curled at her side as a vibrant, cobolt blue aura flares to life along her limb.

It's an expensive technique with a significant drain on her reserves, but right now it might just be her best bet at slowing him down a little. She has to act fast, knowing full well that the moment he sees that build up he might make a bid to stop her before she can complete the technique. Her foot slips forward as she turns her right shoulder toward him and snaps her right arm out, fingers extended to discharge that potent little sphere of pulsing, concussive force directly back toward Alex. "YA!"

COMBATSYS: Alex blocks Hotaru's Hakki Shou.

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Hotaru           0/-------/---====|=====--\-------\0             Alex

Though his expression betrays nothing of it - Alex is absolutely thrilled. He knew she was this good, he knew it. He could see the potential in her back then, and he knew it was realized here and now. The Titan does not find the fellow warrior wanting. She's bringing her best game to him and he's scrambling for answers. Its moments like this where Alex knows what it means to truly feel alive. His eyes searching hers, seeing the calculation behind them. There's a kinship here, a circle of sportsmanship. This isn't about maliciousness or wanton violence - This is about sharing a passion with someone who cares about the profession just as much as you do.
In some ways, in this moment can really people like Alex and Hotaru truly find understanding. While many love to watch this world of fighting, so few truly understand what it means. What it's all about.

The girl finally does something a bit more along the lines of what the Titan expected of her, lobbing that luminescent sphere of force to keep the larger opponent at bay. The American has no similar capabilities, as he cannot manipulate his energies in that kind of fashion. He just has no talent for the thing, though he's picked up a few things here and there. Though, nobody who fights at this level can afford to let such a thing go unanswered. He's fought plenty of people who've lobbed all kinds of craziness at him, hoping to keep him back and pound him into the floor. His size does make him a pretty easy target.
His answer? Just charge right on through.

The Titan digs his heels into the park-arena flooring and thunders ahead. Lowering his shoulder and ramming straight into the blue mass, washing over him like an azurian tide crashing upon the rocks. It stings, it slows him down significantly.. But he keeps coming anyway.
The trick is to not let the opponent control the distance. Don't shy away from the pain of a hit and give them that. Don't give them that free reprieve. Stay on them, keep on them, don't give them a chance. In Hotaru's case, she's showing a sudden lack of confidence in her short-game. Now is definitely the time to strike..

Alex quickly throws a hasty hay-maker of a punch, using the full length of his superior reach to try and close the distance as best he's able. Sacrificing a bit of power for the sake of speed.. But none of his conviction.

COMBATSYS: Hotaru blocks Alex's Medium Punch.

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Hotaru           0/-------/--=====|=====--\-------\0             Alex

With the effort gone into keeping Alex at bay, she would have definitely liked to see it slow him down a bit more than that! She was correct in anticipating him making a quick move to counter her plan, but she didn't accurately estimate just how much forward momentum he could produce in spite her speed. Her fingers retract as she withdraws her hand, the risidual blue chi lingering over her limb fading, absorbed back into her skin.

But he's going to charge right on through. The shimmering force splashes against his shoulder before fading away, leaving no mark but perhaps the mild sting of having been struck from a distance. In the end, it still does its job. It buys her time to react - those precious milliseconds needed to read his next move and protect herself accordingly. She shifts her feet again, shoulder facing the incoming blow as the featherweight does everything she can to ground herself once more. It's time to brave that dangerous exchange of close ranged attacks. The size and angles of the ring don't lend themselves to a cat and mouse game about the area, and for all his stature, Alex's speed doesn't leave that seem as viable a tactic as one might imagine.

No, she decides, his fist crashing into her left forearm, her right hand bracing her wrist to give her the necessary guarding power to keep his powerful blow from just slamming right on through. No, she needs to counter attack in close. It takes a lot more for her to create those ranged chi blasts of hers than some probably think. Blue-shoe clad feet slip over the ring's surface as she has no choice but to give a little ground with the forces in play, a soft exhale escaping her lips.

But it's a quick transition from her defensive posture to being able to attack back. That bracing right hand quickly releases her own forearm in a bid to grip Alex's wrist again. It seems she's going to try going toe to toe with him in another attempt to turn his momentum against him. Trying to twist his punching arm out to the side would leave his ribcage a prime target for a quick but hardly gentle palm slam from her left hand as Hotaru risks getting so close as to be within Alex's immediate personal space.

If successful, she'll finish by bending her legs just a little and once again twisting him up and over her shoulder to finish with that classic shoulder flip! "HAH!"

COMBATSYS: Alex endures Hotaru's Improvised Grapple.

[      \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////                 ]
Hotaru           0/-------/-======|=======\-------\1             Alex

It seems almost ridiculous.
The little girl, a third the weight and nearly half the size of her gigantic enemy, completely manhandling him. His solid punch crashing against her surprisingly solid defenses. She wastes no time, lunging forth and grabbing his yet outstretched wrist. THIS time.. This time he sees it coming. Except, again he does little to stop the ensuing brutality.
Her palm strike slams against his exposed chest with enough force that could have cracked a boulder, earning a sincere grunt. Once again she even manages to flip him off of his feet! The massive giant again hurtling over the girl's shoulder and -crashing- to the circle with audible impact.

A risky venture this.. And to be sure even he can't take much more punishment like that...

But this time his hands are still around her waist.. Taking what she can dish out, all in a deceptive maneuver to keep his mighty mitts on her.
His fingers clench, tightening his grip from the floor and attempt to simply pick her right up and off the ground. He's taken a lot of abuse to get this close.. He's got to make this count!

"HRRAAAH!" With a rebel yell, the Titan will then -leap- high into the air and carrying the poor girl nearly to the tree-tops before descending like a meteor and -SMASHING- her into the circle with more than enough force to blast the leaves off nearby branches and sweep the grass backwards in the gust of impact!

COMBATSYS: Hotaru dodges Alex's Powerbomb.

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Hotaru           0/-------/-======|=======\-------\1             Alex

Something doesn't feel right here; as she pulls on his arm and exposes his side for her strike there's resistance, but not the kind she would have anticipated. He's rolling with it on some level. He's a smart fighter - which means he's doing this for a reason. As she turns to face him after having completed her technique, the girl finds herself gripped tightly around the waist. She didn't notice in time the ploy utilized and it's very likely about to cost her dearly.

His fingers tighten and together the two take to the air - one quite unwillingly while the other has his purpose. Where many fighters would surrender themselves to the inevitable plummet and bone jarring impact that waits, the Hotaru girl resists. Fingers go quickly to her waist, tightening around Alex's hands... she less than a second in which to act, but she isn't going to spend that time flailing helplessly. Not at her calibur. She knows full well that in fights like these? It just takes one moment - one slip up for things to start cascading out of control.

She doesn't have the stamina most fighters do. Had the events of this fight been reversed - had it been her on the receiving end of strike after strike from Alex, it would have been over within a minute of starting. But little by little, she's been chipping away at him. Each palm strike, each twist and grapple, and even her well known concussive chi ball have factored in, but still he moves, and right now he's about to introduce her painfully to the floor...

It's at the apex of his ascent that she manages to break free, twisting her body and prying with her hands, until at last the featherweight spins to freedom in a horizontal pirouette that carries her even higher as Alex descends without his opponent. Up she goes... until she too reaches her apex and begins to fall. Unfolding from her spin, she drops back down toward Alex, twisting in the air such that her right knee leads the way.

The goal seems simple in concept, but in execution it remains to be seen. To drop down such that her knee connects with his shoulder, holding her in place for the briefest of moments before whipping her left foot out to follow up with a blow to the side of Alex's head. If successfull, the idea will be to backflip off of him and land toward the other side of the ring all together!

COMBATSYS: Hotaru successfully hits Alex with Rengeki Shuu.

[       \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////                     ]
Hotaru           0/-------/=======|=======\=------\1             Alex

There are key moments in a fight when you know you are undone.
For every fight its different. A slip here, a solid hit there. Battles are unpredictable and they never go precisely the same way every time, even against the same opponents in the same venues. Smart, resourceful fighters have hundreds of ways to come at you or wreck your whole plan. Regardless of its form, one can tell when it happens.

In this? It comes in the form of a tiny girl slipping free from his hands. Alex can feel the slender thing twisting free from his powerful grip.. And the Titan realizes then and there he's all but finished. Ooooh, she got him -good- that clever little thing, Hah! Just when he thought he had her, after all the abuse he took to get her into this predicament.. She still escaped. All of the damage he took to get here there is for naught.
Worse yet, in mid-air as he scrambles his arms in a desperate bid to reacquire his target.. He can feel her knee touching down on his knee somewhat lightly due to the free-fall - JUST as he crashes back to the ground in a low crouch. Instantly the girl uses the momentum to -kick- off the side of his head, bowing his head to the side as he lists hard.
Quickly, a hand jabs down to the ground beside him to keep from toppling over completely. A brief grin cracks at his lips as the world spins in the edges of his vision, staring out across the audience perpendicular to the girl. Man, he was trying to prove to the world once and for all that she belongs with the greats ... And she still managed to surprise him with her ferocious attack! Damn, she's -on fire-! She really is going to eclipse him, isn't she? He hasn't seen talent like this in a long time. Not since Chun Li herself!
Well, there's still some fight left in him yet and he ain't about to quit. She has a massive advantage now, but he may yet turn this thing around if she gets cocky or slips up.. As is, he pushes himself up to his feet. Shaking his head in a desperate attempt to clear the dizziness from his vision and catch his breath from the harsh beating he's taken. He can't charge her now in the condition he's in.. Maybe if he can lure her back to him instead..

COMBATSYS: Alex gains composure.

[       \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////                 ]
Hotaru           0/-------/=======|=======\-------\1             Alex

She skids to a landing across the ring from Alex, coming to rest in a three-point crouch, right hand's fingers pressing lightly against the ring's canvas. Her posture is perfect for springing away again with the greatest of ease; simply pushing off from the mat with hands and legs would be enough to send the girl flying again as she continues to change up her game with him. Staying close when he expects she might stay at range, or taking off when he perhaps expects it least, continues to be a part of her valiant effort of staying one step of him, time and time again.

But he doesn't charge her, rather hanging back and leaving it up to the young Kenpo artist to make the next move. A soft exhale escapes her lips. This fight has hardly been short. Exchange after exchange, attack after attack as she has tried to wear him down - each attack taking something from her in terms of effort expended. Each daring, split second reaction costing something in terms of adrenaline and tension. She's gotten this far, trying to pace herself, but in so doing, she finds Alex's durability is keeping him upright all the same and it's starting to catch up with the girl.

With him just getting back up and catching his breath, it's her call as to what to do next. Staying at range would require pulling enough chi to her hand to create another one of her costly chi projetiles. She doesn't feel up to that - not right now. Closing distance means going back into risky trades with the American brawler. If she decides to do that, she can't let her guard down for one instant. Every moment could be a fight turning one. It only takes one slip - one injury to slow her down and leave her easy for him to get a grip on - and her efforts will be undone.

The thrill of the risk, the adrenaline of the dare - these things are not lost on the girl as she works on catching her breath. She's going to close distance again. As to where that takes her - that remains to be seen. Sprinting forward, she's on another one of those beelines for Alex before sliding to a stop a couple yards away. Crouching, adopting her stance from before, arms out at her sides, the Futaba girl braces for a moment before springing into her attack.

As she twists her way up horizontally, the strikes come directly forthwith - a horizontal cartwheel that seeks to drive her feet into Alex's chest. Following the first spin, she'll aim to touch down for a split second with her left foot before spinning up into a second, identical such lateral cartwheel in her ongoing quest to weather down the sturdy giant. "KYA!"

COMBATSYS: Alex blocks Hotaru's Medium Kick.

[      \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////                  ]
Hotaru           0/-------/=======|=======\-------\1             Alex

Aaah.. No glowy magic blasts? He was hoping she was running out of steam for that kind've thing. In his estimation she probably only has enough gas for one or two more of those extremely powerful attacks and she isn't gunna lob those until she has no choice or she sees a weakness in his defenses to exploit. Whereas Alex isn't running out of muscle anytime soon.
Unfortunately for him, all of the collective punishment is starting to seriously take its toll. He's tough. He's damned tough. But nobody can take a pounding like this forever, Hotaru is dishing out pain like a machine.
As the girl charges him, his eyes snap into focus. The momentary breather did him some good, giving him some clarity and respite. AND.. It managed to lure her into taking the offensive once more. She's definitely got the advantage, but she's entirely right to stay on guard and not let up for an instant. It does not take much for this All American Monster to turn a fight around in a real hurry.
His eyes follow the cartwheel and the goliath braces. Combat boots digging into the ring's surface once again as his leading arm accepts that cartwheel driven kick rather than his torso. Arm flexing and pushing the little blue shoe away while his torso twists about, blocking the second spinning kick with his opposite arm.
Immediately then, the Titan surges forth - Lowering his head and thrusting his shoulder forwards like a battering ram, hoping to collide with the little girl and send her flying right back in the direction she came. Its all or nothing now, he's gotta risk slower, less careful attacks if he wants to close the gap on her..

COMBATSYS: Hotaru blocks Alex's Fierce Punch.

[         \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////                  ]
Hotaru           1/------=/=======|=======\=------\1             Alex

One spin, then a second, performed with graceful precision. Even as she comes down for her second landing, it's done with that consistant finesse she's demonstrated throughout the fight. Her right foot touches first, the girl spinning easily on her toes as she counter acts the rotational momentum with her arms and left leg to bring herself to a stop within a single spin. Winding back up in a defensive posture, she left practically no opening from start to finish for Alex to get in a punishing counter strike and when he surges forth with all the power his body can muster, it's arguably paid off for her.

Trying to stop his charge would be like trying to shoulder ram a derailed freight train. That just isn't an option. But his immediate proximity leaves a clean escape out of the picture as well. All she can do is mitigate just how it is that she gets battered aside. Arms come up again, feet slipping deliberately to the side so that in the end the lithe fighter ends up 'shoving' Alex. Only, the one who gets shoved is actually herself as she ends up off to the side of his trajectory rather than bashed clear across the ring as she would have been otherwise.

Shaking her hands, the girl tries to ignore the jarring ache introduced to her entire body by just that close brush with the AlexTrain. A clean it would have definitely been one of those fight turning moments she's having to avoid every passing second. A soft exhale escapes her mouth as she focuses on keeping her breathing under control. Perspiration rolls down her cheekbones, azure eyes snapping back to Alex in an instant. There's no time to spare, no chance to catch her breath. She needs to capitalize on every possible moment!

She sprints forward, attempting to reach Alex before he can muster the chance to correct from his charge. Her goal is to use his momentum against him - to take him back down to the ring from behind. A quick leap lets her aim to hook her right arm around the back of Alex's neck as the girl literally tries to slip over his shoulder and come down into a landing on the ring floor while trying to pull Alex face down along with her. It almost looks like something one would expect to see in an American wrestling match rather than from the young Kenpo artist, but finding ways to turn larger opponent's size against them has long since been Hotaru's forte!

The goal is to land with Alex face down, leaving her free to keep running. After observing the means he's been attempting to get his powerful hands on her, Hotaru is aiming to mix up her tactics even further. The match can't go much longer, she tells herself. Either his formidable stamina will run out or he'll finally get that hold on her he's been aiming for this entire bout. Just need to hang in there a little... longer!

COMBATSYS: Alex just-defends Hotaru's Medium Throw!

[         \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////               ]
Hotaru           1/------=/=======|=======\=------\1             Alex

This kid has been one of the most elusive opponents the Titan has ever faced. Its been a looooooong damned time since someone has managed to run rings around him like Hotaru has. Usually he's watching for that kind of thing, but her combination of a surprising inside shoot-fighting game and time-honored evasiveness has put him on the defensive the entire match. The American has been grasping at straws, desperate for any and all opportunities that she might accidentally throw his way... And she's managed to slip out of every one of them.
Damn she's -awesome-.
However, Alex ain't done yet. Even after the incredible pounding he's taken, he isn't through. He's beginning to sense that all this manic racing around and risky gambles is starting to take its toll on her. She's getting winded. She's slowing down. Even a tiny jumping bean like her doesn't have infinite gas in the tank. He doesn't either, but letting her do all the running around has left him with a little bit more wind. He's hurting, he's dizzy as all hell, but he's far from tired.
As the girl again leaps over his shoulder in yet another brazen attempt to out-grapple the wrestler.. Alex's teeth grit, his combat boots dig into the ground.
He goes absolutely nowhere.
The girl quite literally dangling from the man's neck. She might as well have tried to uproot a hundred year old tree. Digging down deep, the Titan holds his ground and simply defies her momentum and leverage.

The mighty one whirls about, attempting to disengage from her and lightly toss her up into the air as he spins about. Gathering the force of a full rotation before -slamming- at her with a radiant slashing elbow!

COMBATSYS: Hotaru dodges Alex's Roundhouse Slash Elbow.

[         \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////                ]
Hotaru           1/------=/=======|=======\=------\1             Alex

That... that didn't go as planned. Her arm hooked around his neck, Hotaru slipped up and over Alex's shoulder, intending to use her downward momentum to give him a surprise tug to the ground. Even with the disparity in mass between the two, momentum can be a powerful alley if she times it along with his own. Unfortunately for her, by the time she got there, Alex wasn't moving anywhere. Literally. Stopped short, arm over his shoulder, she's in an absolutely vulnerable position. One that she's about to pay for when the American brawler whips around and slips her from off his neck, taking her feet clean off the ground in the process.

Her timing, once again, proves to be spot on precise as, rather than surrender herself to the inevitable blow to come as she takes to the air, the young survivor tucks into a ball, drawing her knees up to her chest... Only to kick out the moment his elbow comes crashing towarrd her. Rather than striking her cleanly, he sends Hotaru flying back at an upward as she uses his elbow to launch herself into a acrobatic backflip through the air.

Three tight flips as she tucks herself into a ball before the girl unfolds, arms extended, feet beneath her as she literally drops to the ring unharmed. Another brutally close call navigated by quick thinking and a prodigy's level of grace and with that she's right back onto the offense. She has a few steps to close distance due to her landing, but that forward momentum doesn't go to waste as young Futaba brings her hands together and slams them both out forward - a double palm press targeting Alex's solar plexus. The attack is perfectly balanced - her right foot forward, knee bent, her left leg back, straight, providing more power to the strike. Teeth gritted, she's being pushed to her limits to try and topple this mighty fighter!

COMBATSYS: Hotaru successfully hits Alex with Strong Punch.
- Power hit! -

[        \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////                    ]
Hotaru           1/-----==/=======|=======\====---\1             Alex

That one was close!
As his swiping elbow connects only with air the vexed American sucks in a quick breath. Man, he just cannot touch her! It was his own fault he realizes. She's managed to wear him down to the point of desperation, throwing his mightiest attacks in a vain hope that he can get a lucky shot on her before the end. If he was perhaps a bit more cautious, following his original game-plan, he may have managed to sink a hit on her.
As is? His defenses are in shambles. His mighty swing throws him off balance, staggering a few steps forward and -directly- into the path of that -extremely- hard hit. A grunt escapes his lips as he staggers backwards, a hand quickly moving to his slammed middle as a shudder rifles through him.
This is definitely coming up on the end.. He can't take another hit like that.
Heh! Well then.. Only one thing left to do. Go down -swinging-!
"HrrrnnNNNNAAAAA!" With a roar, the Titan surges forth. Bouyed now only by adrenaline and determination to throw every last iota of effort he can scrounge out of his battered body. All he can do now is make a damned tough accounting of himself while he still can! He bursts forth once more, his fists swinging over and over again in a massive flurry as he unleashes what he's got left upon her!

COMBATSYS: Hotaru blocks Alex's Boomerang Raid.

[             \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////                     ]
Hotaru           1/--=====/=======|====---\-------\0             Alex

Taking on this uphill battle; this challenge from the likes of the American brawler; Hotaru has not had room to make a single mistep the entire time. Even with her constant string of successes against unlikely odds, she's still battered and exhausted. Her muscles ache, her arms are covered with small marks and bruises from the punches and slams she's deflected, and maintaining her breath has been a constant struggle the last minute or so. Two years of intense training and controlling her pacing in fights have played into this fight. Two years of practiced timing, going through reflex drills time and time again, and learning how to stand in the face of fearsome power and not be shaken have shaped her into the talented girl she is now. Combined with her family's history of prodigy level talents, Hotaru Futaba has been growing into a fighter who should no longer fear she hasn't made a good enough name for her father and brother. She's left no ground uncovered in her study and practice, no honorable option unexplored.

And it's paid off. It's let her go this long against a man like Alex. Two years ago, when he last saw her, she wouldn't have had a chance in hell. It wouldn't have just been a long shot, it would have been a slaughter. But the girl he fights now isn't the same as back then. Pushing back with her right leg buys her a split second distance from Alex but doesn't grant her enough time to adjust her stance sufficiently to fully protect herself. When he charges... it's almost too fast, her defenses scattered as she finds herself facing down a raging flurry of blows, each one as dangerous as the first.

Pushed to this limit, her defense isn't as collected as it had been before. She counter strikes one swing just before it would have hit her head so hard she'd be seeing stars. An elbow intersects another strike, her entire body rocked to the side in the process. An uppercut is ducked around on instinct moreso than active thought, her hours of training beneath the rope-dangling 2x4s coming back to her in this very moment. A precarious lean to the side gets her out of the way of another hook, and both arms come up to intersect a crushing swing. That's all she can muster. Her guard is shattered, her arms flailing out to her sides.

She has to attack back - she has to make this stop, she can't block another blow! Acting on instinct honed by rote practice, she finds a narrow opening between the blows - the slightest gap between strikes in which to make her move. It's her shot to stop him; to save herself from any more strikes. It's hard to pull off, as she's been blown off balance, but she forces her body through the motions all the same as she drops down, left leg bent, right leg forward and straight.

A surge of chi marks the attack to come - this is what Alex has been predicting - an attack where she goes puts it all on the line - a moment to use every last bit of strength in her body - a fighter's gamble. All or nothing. There is no holding back, no pacing now. "Ten-shou...!" her voice is barely audible over the sound of the crowd going wild at the incredible battle playing out before their very eyes, but she can't hear them. She can't hear anything but the beat of her heart and the air rushing to escape the path of Alex's fists.

An explosion of blue and then she's airborn again, attempting to drive her chi-laced feet into Alex with crushing force. It's the single hardest hit she's capable of pulling off in her entire repertoire... and it's just the opening...!

COMBATSYS: Hotaru successfully hits Alex with Ten-shou Ranki.

[             \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //                            ]
Hotaru           0/-------/-----==|=======\-------\1             Alex

A veritable fountain of blue chi follows in the wake of that strike, as if it were responsible for hefting the girl into the air on its own. She continues up into a flip, reaching the apex of her upward momentum. "Ranki!" Completing the flip allows her to correct into a dive right back down for the brawler with collision speed aimed to take him to the ring with her.

A slide comes to rest with her kneeling atop him, hands pressed to his chest, an incredible build up of chi made manifest into a sphere of blue around the two as if representing all of the potential she had been storing up throughout the entire match. Teeth gritted, she can only draw so much from the world before it would overwhelm her too. No choice but to release, to pound it home. All she can hope for is that this investment is enough to keep him down!

An invisible shockwave explodes out from ground zero as all that chi collapses back into her, channels down her arms, and discharges point blank against the American's chest. Over her years of practice she hasn't mastered nearly as many energy based techniques as most of her peers... but the few she does know are decidedly potent!

A soft exhale is indicitive of the effort spent, the limit reached. But she doesn't stop moving. Not yet. Pressing down with her hands for support, she swings her feet off to the side, planting them against the ring in a bid to get back up. She's hardly moving full speed, but the young fighter's reserves are not quite yet exhausted yet!

When Alex agreed to this fight, he knew Hotaru was going to show the world something. He knew she was going to outperform beyond anyone's wildest expectations. He knows that 'miracle' she pulled off on that nearly invincible Southtown gym teacher awhile back. He watched the tapes on that fight. He knew she was the real deal, even if the world said she was the 'accidental' champion.
There are no accidents. Alex knew that for sure and he sought out to shut the world up. Little did he know, she would even impress the holy Hell out of -him- as well! She showed him something today. She showed her heart, she put everything out there! Not since facing -Vega- has he ever been so thoroughly thrashed. For all time she showed the planet that she's the real deal. He's just proud as all hell that he was there, on hand, to see her do it! She shocked and amazed him to a level he wasn't even expecting.. And he was expecting the Moon!

As the girl manages that last-ditch effort to thwart his desperate onslaught.. It's all he can do to stagger about, barely managing to remain standing. Goliath staggering about just before David lands the killing blow. He all but barrels into her attack, as she throws out her master technique!
"HRNGK!" The Titan buckles. Tossed into the air by the force of that rising knee like a leaf before a hurricane. All his might accounting for not as the little fighter explodes with all the force her technique and power can muster! With a yell, the Titan is crushed to the ring. Limbs flailing up from the power of the impact before being laid out prone in the Alex-shaped crater she makes of the ring.

Not... Yet....

By all rights, the man should be unconscious... But Alex is made from sterner stuff. His eyes, bolted wide open.. barely seeing anything at all. His muscles convulse as he forces his arms to move by sheer willpower alone.. Trying to reach up one last time just as the girl tries to swing away...

COMBATSYS: Alex can no longer fight.

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

COMBATSYS: Alex successfully hits Hotaru with Hyper Bomb.

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

"...Gotcha.. " Alex groans as his massive hands manage to catch her waist.
There needs to be some kind of motivational poster for this moment. Something about perseverance.
Literally from beyond the grave, The Titan rises one last time. The mighty American bellows one last roar as he gives the girl one hell of a spanking on the way out. She's endured so much, fought so incredibly hard. But even after going through so much, she has one last trial ahead of her. Not even would be Gods can escape Alex's clutches forever and even after that epic display of unbelievable skill and dexterity.. It is her constitution that will judge her as victorious or not.

Alex arches his back hard, -slamming- her to the ring's floor once... Only to roll over her and complete a full cycle to slam her back down -AGAIN-. A -THIRD- time. Each impact shaking the park itself.
And then.. Like a rocketship he vaults upwards. Howling with absolute determination as the girl is given a frighteningly good view of the treetops and Southtown beyond before they both begin to plummet.. And then..


The shockwave of the impact rolls over the audience, blasting hats and skirts alike as not a leaf remains unswept for a hundred paces around. The ring itself nearly collapsing into itself as the Titan drives the girl home for the first time and last time of the match.

Only then.. with all his aggression finally spent.. Does he collapse sideways. Absolutely nothing left in him as she beat the holy crap out of him.
A grin etched to his bloodied lips. He couldn't be more proud to have fought her, whether or not she crawls out of that impact crater.

She just has to get away. After what she did, the fight should be over. Oh, sure, he might get up, but to what end? Surely she can outrun him now. She can play the game of making him chase her down. In his condition, she can keep it going for longer than he would be able to, right? That and many other thoughts fly through her mind as she works on getting up as quickly as her weary body can manage.

She isn't fast enough. Even before that pained groan escapes the battered American's lips, she knows she's caught, his powerful hands gripping her thin waist tightly. Her own hands go to his fingers. She needs to twist free like last time; needs to escape before he can unleash some kind of punishing combination on her. She isn't built for that - her talent lies in escaping just this kind of abuse!

But he doesn't give her time; the brawler getting the hold he's sought this entire match in the very process of rising up with an unanticipated burst of strength. The moment her fingers clasp over his massive hands, he whips her right up off her feet, slamming her upper back against the ring with a jarring impact. Flexible as she is, she's not entirely shattered by this hit like fighters may be, but as he rolls over her and hefts her up into a second slam, he literally bends the girl in half and her fingers slip from off his hands, her ability to struggle against his combination knocked clean out of her.

By the third roll, she's flailing rather ineffectively. Any chance to slow him down, any chance to pry herself into a more favorable position or escape all together, she seeks with utmost desperation. But there's no mercy to be found there as her back smacks against the ring again with the kind of force that would completely wipe the fight out of most people.

She goes limp for a moment as Alex takes to the air. Not unconscious, though she's half wishing she could be just so she doesn't have to be awake for what she knows must be coming - a crushing final landing after so many slams; she gets a very dizzying view of the world below, held tightly in Alex's grip. Disoriented, the only thing she knows is that sensation of freefall - an uncontrolled drop designed with her as the point of impact.

The audience is treated to the second shockwave this match has to offer when the two return to ground zero. A gasp goes over the crowd, everyone having unconsciously held their breath as this final exchange between ultimate techniques has played out. A cry of pain echoes out a split second later as she's finally released from his grip, left to make her stand or join her opponent in release from a long, hard fought match. As dust settles, it seems she might not make it. Lying on her back, her bark arched in pain, the young marital artist aims to roll over in attempt at getting up only to collapse flat on her face, arms at her sides, half of her hair undone. One of her red hair ribbons drifts back down to the ground, coming to a coiled landing next to her.

Ah... the pain will ebb with time, she ponders, bleary eyes resting upon the nearby Alex, just barely making out that grin carved into his lips. It was a well fought match all the same. No shame in letting go now... She did her best.

Except she knows deep inside... that isn't true. If she closes her eyes now, giving in to the sweet release of unconsciousness as to not have to feel that racking pain in her back any longer, she won't have done her best. She can move... just a little longer. She can get up. She is, if anything, a proven survivor; continuing against all odds.

Everyone is ready to call it a draw when her arms make their move again, bending at the elbows, hands planted against the ring. This last bit? This is for Alex. This is for everyone who has ever believed in her. This is for her. The crowd cheers, her friends off to the side a veritable siren of squealing. A sharp intake of breath and then she is on her knees. Several long, agonizing seconds later, and she is on her feet.

The audience can't believe it. A modern day David and Goliath story before their very eyes. A weary but no less warm quiet smile; the likes she's come to be known for, that have endeared her to the world at large, is visible beneath the half of long, black, unrestrained hair that hangs down around her face. She staggers, ready to fall again but for the rope in front of her gripped desperately with both hands. She did it. She may not have had a lick of fight left in her, but she's standing.

It's with some effort that she pushes herself back from off the rope to face Alex, the man to whom she owes this memorable occasion. A bit more steady on her feet, her hands come together in front of her, her head bowed, her eyes closed. Her way of paying her respects; her expression of gratitude for having been pushed so terribly hard that every split second of time from start to finish was critical.

"Thank you," she whispers, "For believing I had it in me."

Log created on 23:41:17 01/30/2009 by Hotaru, and last modified on 04:25:38 02/09/2009.