Neo League 826 - #837: Alex vs Hyo

Description: Its highest echelons of academia verses a man who managed to pass shop class! The Student Council Head of Justice High cordially invited the American Titan to a gentlemen's duel in the inner sanctum of the esteemed high school. Alex could not be more honored to accept the challenge. (Winner: Draw)

Invitations were going well.

As part of a project to re-ossify Justice High's prestige and ideal into the conventional knowledge of the public, most especially with emphasis concerning the fighting world, Hyo has elected to take official battles onto Justice High grounds itself. Familiarization to the school's ambition was important to his goals. What better way to do so than to expose the outside world directly to its students?

The invitation was entirely cordial. A penned note from the desk of the council head in an elaborate calligraphed hand begging an audience from one of the best up and coming fighters in the circuit today. An invitation for wine and blood, as it were--to dine, then to battle.

Hospitality in these affairs are what seperate the just from the unjust.

One will of course understand if Hyo never actually makes it to the table in time for said dinner. In truth, he rarely expects it to be heralded in any great part by any rough and tumble fighter to come in off the street. It some fashions, it is merely an eloquence of the pen, a motion of grandeur advised for the simple discretions of integity and goodwill.


Some fighters simply will never eat half as well as these students do. To offer fair fare from the elite of Justice High's kitchens is only prudent.

Instead of attendance there, Hyo is exactly where he has written he will be at the exact time he has written he will be there; deep in the bowels of the Justice High's library, esconced in casements of lore whose shelves score higher than two men standing upon eachother's shoulders. Before an open expanse between the shelves, he sits there at a desk not ignobly called his own, mahogany marked with the anthem and signet of Justice High and its Student Council mark. He sits there, writing quietly in pen, one eye turned to his work, but yet not abandoning that work's =motive-..

The blade of "no name" sits propped against the desk, elaborate wraps and fittings looped down before gathered in silk bunches across its surface. It is balanced by its guard alone, to ill effect if Hyo were to jostle it any. But his hand is fast and he himself is still. It is secure.

Still all remains too obvious to even the least practiced of casual observes; he will likely hear his charge's arrival long before that man ever stands before that desk.

Alex is not often thought of as subtle. The giant may be in possession of understated wit and grasp of the logical, but only in terms of persona. In physicality, Alex can be heard from a mile out. His boots do not walk - They thunder. The finely wrought floorings of the richly austere Justice High halls creak with effort at this goliath's passage. The inattentive could gauge his proximity, undoubtedly Hyo can measure precisely how much longer he has to finish his script before the Titan is well within conversational range.
Ponderous his stature may be, but Alex is not as uncouth as his education and stature would imply. Upon the received invitation, the American was more than willing to answer the call. He was entirely honored.
Southtown is known to have pretty damned tough fighters in their schools. World famous, one could say. The student faculty of the assorted Southtown educational system are some of the highest ranking fighters in the bulk of the most prestigious fighting organizations of the entire globe. He can personally attest to the strength of the students at Gedo, for example. Kids in these parts impress the Hell out of him.
Justice High is rumored to be the elite of the elite. The best of the best. There are no fighters in any school in Southtown greater than they. A reputation that Alex is more than a little eager to put to the test.
It is the American's creed, a common one for many of his profession, to match his strength against the best in the world. As such, he knows he came to the right place.

As far as the rampant avarice of this fancy school? Definitely fancy, but that doesn't impress Alex much. He's a World Warrior. He's fought before the courts of emperors and kings. One doesn't ascend to this height without knowing how to address proper cultural decorum to a degree or another. Love it or hate it, due to his position Alex has come to represent America as much as Guile or Ken Masters. Dishonoring others reflects poorly on both his country and his fans.
That said, under no circumstances is Alex gunna wear a tie for nobody.
That said, Alex strolls into view pushing open the exquisitely finished Library doors at the precisely appointed hour. He wears a grey polo shirt, stretched to its limits over his gargantuan frame, decently fitted black slacks similarly cover his legs. His usual combat boots are an unfortunate compromise, as they don't exactly have many dress shoes in his size.
Cobalt eyes survey the old world serenity of this place. The man is definitely impressed with the presentation, but his expression betrays only his stoic reserve. This is not the world he's used to. He's an earthly man of the streets; of gears, grease and blood. That said, he's got one-third of those in common with his host here and he tries to show some respect.
The blade at the man's side is glanced at as he approaches closer. Not making the traditional throat-clearing signal, letting the man finish committing his thoughts to paper before announcing his presence.

To be unerringly accurate, Hyo's composition was a simple letter to the principal declaring his future intentions. Though Hyo has no interest in sycophancy or other meaningless concessions of will, he does have a duty to uphold to the school as well as society at large. Though he has largely enjoyed the personal empowerment to do as he wishes -- certainly a testament to the genius Raizo Imawano's structuring of Justice High policy -- there are still certain things that may pose an interruption in education for him. Therefore, it is always prudent to seek audience and critical thought before movement.

Also, Hyo is taking the opportunity to do last night's homework.

It takes him only moments once Alex gets within earshot. Or rather more appropriately, cognizant as Hyo has become over the past few minutes of what earshot actually means to someone like Alex, simple speaking distance. Patiently he takes down a sample of the final equations offhand, but leaves one or two more in favor of Alex's obvious repremiere. He needs not the cue that Alex foregoes. Finishing a final equation, the young man looks up, abandoning scriptum for the moment.

His look is solemn, though endlessly critical. Not in the fashion of snobs and the burgeoisie, but though it may be perceived such, it is no more than the subtle analysis of a child trained in cryptic arts beyond the reach of most of his intereducational contemporaries. To Alex, he has fleetingly a first thought:

"That," he comments sardonically while eyeing the polo, "is not going to last the duration of the match, I am assuming."

He gets up at once, without any decorum beyond the shift of his epaulets and the obvious crispness of his school uniform--as a member of one of the few schools that still unfailingly insist upon that expression of unity, Hyo's uniform is always in exacting condition and detail. But his movement belies something a little more than that symbolism. He moves weary like an old soldier returning to the field, as if he's already lived some long life beyond his years. Taking up the sword at the desk seems all too familiar to him. Education--succinct with experience.

It is still something of a minor miracle that that blade hadn't fallen in the face of Alex's huge presence, measured less in fashion and more in seismic units.

He moves on, stepping around the desk, revealing the shine of polished boots. "At once, it is my honor and dignity to welcome you to Justice High, Alex.." Hyo pauses, trailing off, thinking, nettled as if a naturally eidetic memory has failed him. Eventually he gives up. "..Alex. I have been looking forward to testing another of America's greatest. As you well know. I am Student Council Head of this Justice High. Imawano Hyo. I hope you found our hospitality sufficient for your standards. Allow me to extend my challenge in less formal tone: A private match, under the auspices of Ken Masters' Neo League."

His glance grows sharp.

A deadly candor slips into his voice.

"Accept, and be on guard."

Though his civility knows few bounds, Hyo won't waste time.

Make no mistake. Alex stands in no emperor or king's court.

A damned good thing that Imawano the younger is uninterested in finishing his homework. Alex has been out of schooling for some years and shop was his best subject. A 'Calculus' was what he used to add all them numbers together, or so he reckons. Help Hyo on this, he could not.

The swordsman will find his attentions reflected in mirror-like intensity. The grappler regards the formal, exacting man with calm observation. Appearances would dictate this guy to be snobbish, elitist and short. A prejudice dispelled instantly by the flippant commentary at the lifespan of his woolen grey apparel.
A wry, momentary lifting of his eyebrows before thumbing at his collar, Alex briskly adds, "This. Got me through the front door. Beyond that.." Hey. Alex has his 'thing' to uphold. Maintaining an image can take many forms, from polishing one's boots to immaculate luster to shredding one's shirt off with a bellowing roar.

The comical moment passes and Alex goes back to business. The Titan may stand taller than the man but looks to him at eye level, no more no less. Alex knows the real deal when he sees it, and this guy's precision is uncanny. There is no wasted motion, not a breath unaccounted for behind that man's acute gaze. If he translates that level of control to his blade, than the American knows he has one Hell of a fight on his hands.
Intimidated? No. -Excited-.
"Bollea" Alex attaches to Hyo's blank verbal space. The fighter replies to the statement of courtesy with a dip of his head. His deep voice hinting at the caution beneath his words, "Good to meet you, Imawano. Thanks for the invite, I'm honored to be here." Such fine, formal speaking isn't the Titan's forte, but meeting Hyo half-way at least hopefully underscores the sincerity of that statement.

As the severe man's tone draws steel sharper than the edge of that sword, Alex's dispassionate mask cracks to offer the hint of a grin. That joyful furor bubbling to the surface in brief. While the Titan would normally be concerned to initiate a fight in such a elegant place of such quiet solemnity, the match invitation was rigidly specific. Hyo doesn't seem the type to make misinterpretations at any level.
So be it.
With a low grunt, Alex rips that polo from his immeasurably powerful frame. A sword drawn from its sheath. "I accept."
No further words are required in Alex's world.

Ah. Now enters the period of sizing. An inextricable grip of four hands that is one opponent reading another. By all measures, for such a young man, Hyo was no small thing by his own right, a white-haired tiger of force dwelling in his frame, his own uniform cut from a slightly larger frame than most other students and still only scarcely accomodating for size. Six feet of height and the tawny enduring frame of a soldier, more than enough to nigh dwarf any Japanese whose morning regimen was not as merciless. However, even in that kind of situation, it was still nothing to this American.

"Bollea," Hyo commits once corrected, "Alex Bollea. Welcome."

Such a man dwarfs him, with cannon for bicep and train for spine. American in manufacture and method, rough around the edges, not unlike Bromwell, but strong enough in body to tear the reinforced cottons to shreds and tatters before Hyo. Strong enough in spirit to hold Hyo's gaze and not shrink back. Strong enough to meet him half way.

Sincerity is the purest expression of valor and justice.

The normally stony visage of Hyo cracks, flashing a faint grin.

There is no excitement in Hyo's face, the beat of his heart as steady as ever as much as he could feel that man amping up. Simply, he doesn't indulge and where he doesn't indulge he observes. He knows it will be a fight for the record because he has come to expect miracles from the Americans, and he has calculated this to be nothing less. Were it any less he would not have chosen this place or occaision.

The saya of this nameless weapon is held in his grip. Back in ancient times, a warrior would tuck the sheathe into their belt buckle, but the long coat of the Justice High winter uniform has no such trappings, even though Hyo had the option to revise it at will. Lowering the sheathed blade to his hip, Hyo loops the weapon's wrappings through an unseen catch at the side of his coat, suspending the weapon edge up loosely from there. He doesn't bare his blade against Alex.

Instead, he shifts from one state to another, his hands up in military snap, barely perceptible, as if a ghost's movement. For a moment, his hands are tense enough to hear the leathers of his white gloves creak. But as he breathes out slowly, his hands lower an inch, one open and to the front, and the other in a fist at his hip. A leaf settling on the surface of a pond.

Hyo is shock still.

Until his lips shift.

"...Then it would only be fair of me to ask your will."

Barely contained precision and efficiency are reined in to ask that one grace.

COMBATSYS: Hyo has started a fight here.

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Hyo              0/-------/-------|

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

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Hyo              0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0             Alex

So be it.
Alex is not nearly so immutable in his stance as this swordsman. Fingers wave in sequence as Alex hunches forwards, lowering his gravity to a closer approximation of Hyo's own. Eyes meeting the man at the same altitude. A far more tactical display of position than others of his muscular potency. The all-too-brief display of camaraderie is subsumed by an un-emotive stone mask. A stillness in his gaze that belies the constant tempest of barely restrained kinetic force, rippling from his frame with an inexorable pulse of some unwavering astrological phenomena.
This too, as Hyo's placidity, is a bluff.

Most are all too happy to think Alex an unthinking dreadnought - vaulting into danger and relying solely upon their rancor to see them through. A misconception Alex reinforces whenever he can afford such indiscretion. Those whom think the Titan beneath applied tactics often find themselves crushed in short order. However, the American won't be insulting Hyo in such a fashion. The erudite fencer declares his grace far more loudly than any audible battlecry could manage. Dishonesty in the face of such sincerity would be a slap in the face that the American did not intend.

In a fashion, first strike goes to Hyo. With but a simple request, Alex is now forced into extending and revealing more of himself than his foe has exposed in turn. A risky proposition when this young man proves to be virtually unreadable. The shift of leather over grip, the orientation of his hands and feet ... Only the vaguest of clues.

In sum, Alex is no coward. Nor is he in-gracious when the first blow is scored proper.
"Suit yourself." The Titan murmurs with measured passiveness.

The distance between them is crossed immediately. With two strides, Alex cancels the distance with an orchestra of groaning floorboards and rumbling shelves. The third stride is expressed as a massive thrust of a kick, lifting his massive boot and seeking to crash into the sword-scholar's defenses with the judician of a battering ram at the castle gates.

COMBATSYS: Alex successfully hits Hyo with Strong Kick.

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Hyo              0/-------/---====|==-----\-------\0             Alex

Tidal waves have hit with less force.

The meeting of the two men is a crash that shakes the desk at which Hyo was only a moment prior working. The moments leading up to the impact can only hope to service as a rough escalation to such a break in the tide of protocol and altruisms of accomodation. In short, sincerity at her most succinct.

To believe Hyo a young man given to assumption would be to commit a grievous sin of perception. He does not beg the honor of being the one engarde in simple charity. Hyo doesn't make such concessions, treating everyone he faces the same irrespective of strength, or the perception thereof. No preconceptions. That white-haired boy's eyes are following Alex's every motion. There is only this: Hyo needs to know the kind of strength he is dealing with up front. After all. There are many men Alex's size.

There are few men who can hit Hyo hard enough to drive him back.

In three steps, Hyo's stance is momentarily undone, Alex's lead into a massive blow to his midsection driving the student back simply, with no pretense of cleverness to it. " honest strike." It sends Hyo back until his boots squeal across the floorboards, bringing him to a stop. Honest, and decisive. Hyo's midsection already aches from internal injuries. His only recourse here is simple.

White gloves relax as Hyo releases the breath he drew. "..Mn."

Hand snaps to hilt. He turns, on one step in time, at the same moment drawing blade and body forward in a massive rush of force, leading with his heel, and sending strength to his hip, vaulting him into the air. The point of his nameless blade clears the mouth of its scabbard. And aligns with Hyo's eye forming the light of sight down the spine. One thrust, from the air, aimed right down the line of Alex's chest. Pressure envelops that student--

Glowing pink petals fly through the air as Hyo's piercing blade ignites into a rush of red force, chewing through the air itself with haste and precision as Hyo flies for Alex, not a second's hesitation dulling his stroke.

COMBATSYS: Alex interrupts Tenraizan from Hyo with Slash Elbow.

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Hyo              0/-------/=======|======-\-------\0             Alex

When Alex's massive force crashes against the earnest swordsman, he does not linger to count his blessings. The titan struck as fast and hard as he could, he's just thankful he managed to hit his target before Hyo could defend proper. A mistake the scion of Imawano doubtlessly will not make twice. It was costly, but the fighter got the grappler's measure on that blow and the taller fighter starts calculating a few steps ahead.
The sword, once drawn, will give the American's opponent a reach advantage, a slight one considering his greater size, but more than enough to make the man's edge virtually unanswerable. The Titan's hope? Stay inside. Don't give the fencer a chance to make worm's meat out of him and stay inside of the swinging arcs of that sword. Don't give him the range he needs to make that weapon critically effective, even if it takes lesser cuts here and there.

As such, as Hyo stumbles back from the impact, Alex continues charging ahead as an unstoppable force. Planting that kicking foot to press forth, even as Hyo vaults high into the air. With a roar of effort, the Titan forgoes the leverage he'd require for greater impact, placing higher emphasis on speed and precision now. His massive chest swivels aside, offering a reduced target to that sword-tip as he leads skywards with his elbow - Which catches alight with blue-red coruscating visible force.
The blade carves a force-energized line from pectoral to arm in passing, but only that. Hyo is greeted by the impact of that meteoric elbow long before his boots reconnect to the library floor. Alex's expression is one of absolute concentration and burning intensity. The momentum may be in his favor at the moment, but all it takes is a small slip and a warrior like Hyo can pounce upon that weakness and carry the battle. Anything can happen and the Titan's mind constantly searches for that flaw, both in himself and his opponent. The fact that Imawano the younger has virtually no cracks to exploit, only makes this fight so much exciting. Blood thunders through Alex's veins while his nerves surge like lightning - This is what a -real- fight should feel like!

Imawano's blade does not find its place.

Landing unanswered, the Tenraizan technique was a destructive attack, one meant to come very close to impaling an opponent on the end of a deadly blade of force. One of the most devastating entry moves at his command, it decided quite a few unruly students in the Justice High tenure, and during that incident so long ago. But it is a move with absolute commitment, a calculated risk to answer the honest blow dealt him only moments prior. However, risk.. is still risk.

Hyo is undone in a moment, his blade--even though its stroke is swift--is deflected to the side, Alex spared the point, if not the cutting edge. Hyo himself is lit into with that deadly elbow strike, a brutally efficient attack that tears buttons and blood from the front of Hyo's coat. Hyo gasps momentarily, unaccustomed to this method--but it is not beyond his eye.

He is hit, but there is little planar movement to the shock, even from being hit by the mountain. This is because Alex seeks to stay inside his angle of attack, undoing him from within. But that savagery has a price. That mental ability of Hyo's is not to be discounted. Already, he is at work, penetrating the tone of the fight. With that, he is able to determine the source of Alex's strength. An honest force. But one that is not without weakness. Hyo's spirit.. is absolute silence.

Hyo doesn't respond with his sword--as Alex intended, it would be useless. However, the response to that rising blast is immediate. Hyo bends back, dropping below Alex's impressive height in the midst of his blow. And with an explosion of motion, kicks upwards with full force. In an instant, Hyo turns a full 360 degrees in the air, his boots cutting a thin line through the air, seeming to trail afterimages of Hyo with the speed involved. Not any kind of chi effect. But Hyo's skill itself.

A mark is carved in the floorboards from where Hyo begun his spin.

His boot, should it strike Alex, will draw blood as easily as his blade does.

The genius of cutting--Hyo can move quickly enough to slash things with any particular object, including his own body. His response to Alex's calculating tactics and intense strength is not to shift in fear of them, but to prove his ability in any field, in any measure Alex can produce.

Yes. This was a real fight.

COMBATSYS: Hyo successfully hits Alex with Gen'ei-shuu.

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

There is a price to Alex's rampaging aggression. To extend his offenses so blatantly, he is certainly weakening his defense. His center of gravity is forwards, his stance not as rigid as it could be. The risk, however, was carefully calculated contingent upon one factor the Titan considered absolute.
Hyo's sword must be his most lethal resource. To deny its full effect should give the American advantage to leverage in full. In the opening exchanges, this hastily wrought strategy seemed bare fruit. However, that same assumption proves to be a flaw that the swordsman can exploit in turn.
The sword is not what makes Hyo lethal.

The arcing kick occurs so swiftly Alex missed it. He blinked. He literally blinked and all he felt was a slight shift of the atmosphere - a faint whisper of movement. In a single moment the American was surging forth .... In the next a fountain of blood erupts from the junction of his neck and shoulder.
Steel eyes harden, hardly feeling the pain of the injury so much as the depth of his own error. He underestimated this fighter, and he was taking every precaution he could think of! Hyo is a damned incredible warrior indeed.
"Nice.." Alex can't help but compliment in a rushed tone, backpedaling a single step. A mighty hand touching his injured shoulder briefly, his eyes never leaving Justice High's leader for an instant.
As much as he thinks twice about rushing to the attack on the heels of that mistake, the Titan can't help but focus on his previous analysis. Hyo may have many more resources at his fingertips than just his blade ... But that blade is still unquestionably the vector of what must be his more lethal attacks. If just getting kicked gives him pause - even a mountain such as Alex can't repel that edge for long.
Most important, Alex knows he can't relinquish the initiative. If he gives Hyo the opportunity to analyze and dissect Alex's weaknesses to any greater degree, the grappler is sure he's doomed. Pressure is his best hope now.
"HRRAAAH!" The Titan roars, once more closing the distance swiftly but this time sweeping his arm out in a wide arc. His open hand glows in a dim arc, attempting to slap Hyo across the chest with enough force to send the man reeling senselessly.. Hoping to shatter his stance and open his defenses for a further, even more brutal onslaught..

COMBATSYS: Hyo blocks Alex's Flash Chop.

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

Except Hyo meets him halfway.

It is interesting to note that Hyo is not strictly a leader of Justice High, if one were to ask him. Though it is true that he once took out Raizo and assumed control of the school as its new principal, that was some time ago. Now, the title of Student Council Head is assumed by him. Ih he truly leads--as that is the job of the beyond elite--for now, it is merely by the superior example he seeks to set.

That is why he alights on his boots from the end of his flip soundlessly, despite the floorboards betraying his step earlier. The fighting talent of Alex was no acoutrement of his size or his muscles. Fooling Hyo at this point would be a pointless escapade. A true calculating mind is behind all that wall of meat. Attempting to get inside of his range was an excellent strategy; however, what differentiates that from a mere rush is that Alex is still wary. Ultimately, it is as expected; if Alex did not meet his exacting expectations, he would have done away with him by now, never to invite him on school grounds again.

That is why Hyo knows no hesitation even in the face of that bellowing roar, whirling forward into Alex's chop, his sword slamming into the saya with one smooth motion of the arm, as a natural extension meeting the wide angled arm axe of that brawler with the bridge of his sheathing arm, matching that cycle in direct opposition, the details mathematically exacting, as if Hyo knew what Alex was doing--truly, before he even did it. Shock absorbed into his frame, his free hand drops down into the open space between Alex's intercepted chop and his chest, attempting to seal off his arm's angles of attack with only a light press of his joint. And then, shifting the direction of his roating block, he moves around Alex, to further close the gap and put him at the disadvantage of having Hyo's boot extended deep into his stancing. Further sealing off movement..

And then Hyo will simply try to give Alex a shot with authority from his elbow into Alex's lower back, at the junction of his spine.

COMBATSYS: Alex endures Hyo's Medium Strike.
# Disabling hit! #

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Hyo              1/-----==/=======|=======\==-----\1             Alex

The most troubling factor in battling Justice High's Student Council Head is this hypnotic precision the man exhibits at all times. Pre-programmed machines in factories are less mechanically accurate. While other fighters may be more kinetic or mesmerising in their continuous motion, Hyo is so quick and flawless the Titan can only stare like the slack-jawed neanderthal he sometimes resembles when the Sword Captain is given enough free reign to inflict his worst.

As scabbard parries his swinging hand, the American solves the ensuing problem one step too late.
Alex attempts to recoil his arm, Hyo is already there.
Alex moves to step backwards and regain the angle of attack, Hyo's boot cuts off the retreat of his own.
Checkmate before Alex even knew he was in check. That is one skilled son of a bitch! In an instant, the Titan makes his decision. Rather than attempting a desperate twist, perhaps putting himself in an even worse predicament, he'll simply cut his losses and let the swordsman take his shot. Sacrificing that defense for a brief moment.. And it costs him.
Alex's muscle is easily the most durable substance in the room - and that includes the nameless servant at Hyo's hip. Pounding his virtually indestructible frame is usually a fool's errand. His spine, and the nerves woven within them, are not so unyielding. A sharp jab there and a pulse of pain electrifies his back right up to the base of his skull. Immediately his knees buckle a fraction, weakening his lower body as his nervous system is briefly and agonizingly disrupted.
Even for a Titan, that hurt like -Hell-.
A favor that Alex is more than a little eager to return.
As Hyo may try to retreat from his encroachment, he'll find his boot stuck. Alex's mighty foot simply moved a fraction to the side, just enough to stamp on the man's insole and briefly root the Student Head where he stands. Enough perhaps, to give the Titan a chance to get a grip as he twists to the side in a bid to catch Hyo by his non-sword arm..

COMBATSYS: Hyo dodges Alex's Powerbomb.

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Hyo              1/-----==/=======|=======\=------\1             Alex

Street fighting was a brutal discipline, honed in the streets. The Ninjutsu of the Imawano clan was oftentime no different, though instead of in the streets it was honed in the dojo. In truth, Hyo is but a gnat compared to the man that trained him personally, the master genius of the clan Imawano Mugen. Unfortunately, that man had become misguided in his relentless quest for a perfect society. Even Principal Raizo could not be so talented. Unfortunately, that does raise a significant challenge to the young man. Can he become stronger without sacrificing his sanity?

His goals are twofold here. Not just to spread the word of strength of his own school. But to chance himself against a Titan of Men, to reach the limits of his own ability. Too many people become too comfortable once they reach a certain plateau, a moment which allowed him victory over even the prodigy fighter Ken Masters. Americans can succumb to this retention easily, and it is not unknown even to his hardworking Japanese. But Bollea. He isn't like that, is he?

His blow finds a home in Alex's back. Striking nerve centers and sensors was the strength of ninjutsu. This allows Hyo a subtle advantage, in that Alex has a brief milliseconds-wide window of pause as his strike temporarily floods Alex's body with signals of pain and confusion--this bloom gives Hyo a momentary analytical advantage. When Alex shifts his boot only an inch to root him, Hyo responds in kind, snapping that boot out, leveraging against Alex's own to prevent his rooting--just long enough to--

Hyo is no longer there.

He has moved to the middle range behind Alex, where he can--

A hiss of steel.

Pink petals of chi flow through the air. He steps in deep again and explodes off his boots. Hyo becomes airborne instantly, the force of his blade draw slicing the desk behind Alex--/his/ desk--in half. Whether Alex is standing in the way or not.

It would seem.. that Hyo is taking this fight rather seriously.

COMBATSYS: Alex fails to interrupt Ouryuuzan from Hyo with Quick Throw.
- Power fail! -

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Hyo              1/--=====/=======|=======\=====--\1             Alex

That slippery son of a..
The moment Hyo steps away from Alex's entrapping boot, the American realizes he is undone. His carefully considered strategy is unravelling like a loose string tugged at the edge of a tapestry. His mighty hand whipping through thin air, The Titan can only then grasp at straws. No time to backpedal or escape to a more defensible position, not when Hyo has a clean and open shot at his back.
In a rush of movement Alex whirls, a growl of determination as he tries to close the distance once more. He lunges for the swordsman from a terrible position, unbalanced and still weakened from the prior strike.. But he lunges all the same. Facing that whispering steel, he'd rather be executed charging towards the enemy than cut down like a dog running away.
Regardless, Alex is cut down all the same.
That grab never gets near his enemy as a silvery arc briefly transposes through his frame. For a moment, it looks and feels as if the uncanny sword captain missed his mark. Save that both Alex and the desk know better. They both sunder at the same moment, Alex crumpling to a knee as a gout of crimson explodes from his chest.. Even as the mahogany furnishing falls in twain. Wincing, a hand moves to Alex's chest as his jaw sets firm.
To some, this fight should be over. The victor is clear ... But Alex is not done yet. Hyo's cut was all but flawless.. A normal man would be utterly disabled right now. Not slain, no, Hyo is hardly that sloppy. The wound is clean and perfect, it will heal damned fast.. As Hyo intended it to. But if he made any miscalculation.. He should have went for the killing blow instead.
It's the only way to slow a Titan like Alex down for long.
Already he's beginning to rise to his feet once more.. Slowed, but yet unconquered. Hand moving away from the gushing wound as he readopts his stance.. Ready for the final exchange in this fight.

Hyo drifts in the air, his eyes focused on Alex half-lidded as he meditates carefully on his next action. Barely does any time pass at all before Hyo makes decisions--that is his nature, with little chance nor patience for dawdling. Hyo moves, shifting even in midair, even before the crimson arc cut into Alex by his blade hits the floorboards. His blade twists in the air, reorienting and whipping through the air, sending surprisingly little blood from its edge, but clearing it all the same.

The Titan is strong, and he meets him honestly, face to face, though Hyo truthfully has little care for that simplicity, for his methods themselves are complex. Simply, he cannot judge that alone, so as not to seem trite. It is a preference he can respect, and little else need be said.

Alex's strategy involved gaining an advantage on Hyo by staying inside his minimum sword range, defeating his blade that way. The first level of discretion to that objective was in view of simple compensation. Hyo can cut anything with anything. He is hardly naive enough to rely on his sword. Still, Alex guessed correctly in that the majority of his deadliest techniques involved the wicked curve. The second level of discretion was in view of circumvention. Hyo only needs a moment to draw his blade, and any movement he can nullify can create that moment. The third level of discretion, however, was... multiplication.

A boot touches the very top of the shelves as Hyo is, for a vertiginous instant, horizontal to the ground. Bracing there in the sick seconds before gravity seizes hold, he slips his blade to his side in a classic battojutsu posture, only he never actually sheathes the weapon.

His gloves knit together in a tiger handseal around the hilt of the katana, concealed beneath the primarily illusory pretense of battojutsu.

"A shame. The principal will be harsh upon me for that, and this. Still it is my hope... that we will fight again."

Words said without pretense, nor presumption. He would not be so crass so as to assume a victor. Had he reached that point already, he would not have bothered. It is A jutsu Hyo normally reserves for only the most troublesome of opponents. The dark illusion. You see, the words Hyo speaks are not wholly from the man up on the shelves, not entirely. It is a voice from everywhere at once. Yes. This move will determine it, and he will not allow Alex the insult of any breathing room at this juncture.

Holding back seems almost uncivilized.

In the end, Hyo separates his spirit into three equal partitions, three blades, as opposed to one, flashing in the library instantly. First, Hyo assaults Alex in a eerie mirror of the Tenraizan jutsu, only this time from the ground and aimed at the lower of the man's back, stabbing only deep enough to avoid hitting the critical point. Then, he will strike from a second vector off to Alex's side, boxxing off his defenses with an instant cruciform stroke, adding an additional stroke to the attack.

Gravity re-asserts itself brutally, aided by Hyo's bunched musculature.

From above, he will stage his final blow.

The battojutsu was admittedly only _somewhat_ illusory.

In the end, the success or failure of that one lightning stroke from above may be all that is necessary to decide the final outcome of this battle.

COMBATSYS: Alex just-defends Hyo's Ankoku Gen'ei-jin!

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

It would be a mistake to consider Alex's methods simple. His ilk are often of such finite tactics, but not he. It is, instead, a matter of comparison that Hyo makes Alex's mechanical technique seem like child's play. It was not Hyo's sword Alex underestimated, but Hyo himself. A mistake that rightfully is costing him this fight - Of that Alex makes no regrets. Far from it! Regardless of how the rest of this battle plays out, The American could not be more impressed and honored to have been invited for this meeting of skill and spirit. He's taken Justice High's measure by the length of Hyo's blade and its edge is not found wanting. The captain of the school, and by representation the school itself, is every inch the indomitable force reputation had afforded.

Such men the Titan longs to battle. Not to conquer, not to establish some kind of useless, pointless pecking order. Alex fights to seek brothers in arms. Only by fighting the best can he look through them and see who they really are. A quest for an unspoken fraternity of those who's passion is for the fight.
In such moments, gazing at the reversed Hyo who's edge promises death - Does Alex truly understand what it means to be alive.
"Count on it!" Alex bellows in response. Cobalt eyes affixed to the ninja, moments away from initiating what is sure to be a technique of such speed and precision that the Titan will be helplessly carved like a slaughtered beast.

The blood runs thick across his heaving chest. A moment of blessed lunacy reflects in steel eyes.

The American crouches fast, heels twisting and whirling the man downward as he goes. Unlike the Student Council Head's silver weapon, much crimson is thrown about from the rapid movement. In that split second, that moment in time.. Alex is surrounded by a mid-air haze of liquid redness. His own blood behaving as a warning veil. As Hyo's illusory movement passes, the crimson is disturbed. A visual cue.. A slight one, but it affords a sliver of hope none the less.

In that window, the dark illusion is banished by the Alex's sanguine truth. An outline of Hyo's footwork and swordsmanship slices through the sprayed droplets, as a brush performs a dance calligraphy.

Alex jerks out of the way of the first cut, twisting back to his feet for the second, alerted by sudden shifts of disturbed air-borne red.

Droplets suddenly rise upwards in complete disregard of gravity, the Titan knows where the final blow comes from. Booted heels rooting to the creaking floorboards once more.

A clap of thunder looses every tome from its shelf for a dozen paces. For dozens further, open books flip to their ends in a rush. The library itself trembles for an instant.

The nameless is frozen between massive palms. Gleaming tip hovering between Alex's eyes, his bandanna splitting open and releasing his flaxen locks.

The second passes. The splashes of blood reach the floor in a dozen distinct geometries and patterns. A perfect rendition of Hyo's sincere strike committed to the wooden frame beneath them.

There is only one response the Titan can have for such majesty the swordsman displayed. His eyes not mocking nor triumphant, only unfathomably exhilarated. Immediately his clapped hands twist to the side, averting the blade and seeking to grab the captain anew. If he can only affix his grip in full one more time....

COMBATSYS: Alex successfully hits Hyo with Hyper Bomb.

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

Once secured, the Swordsman faces now the most brutal ordeal that Alex has to give. His body is cut and all but disassembled from Hyo's surgical attacks, but Alex's intensity cannot be denied. Everything Alex has got, he gives to Hyo now.
For much of the fight, Alex is surprisingly reserved. Patience and calm, punctuated with moments of decisive and extreme force. A strategy not wholly unlike the swordsman himself, if expressed much differently. If Hyo is the God of Precision, then Alex is the Primordial of Impact. A tactical nuclear weapon may not be as wantonly violent as other weapons of its caliber, but is still a weapon of mass destruction. It is the only fair way to describe the Hyper Bomb.
The Titan hefts Hyo up and over into a bridging slam, smashing him head-first into the floorboards - Which protest and crack, while the assault has only begun.
A second suplex is performed - The giant rolling over Hyo's planted form to pull him forth and backdrop slam him yet again. This time smashing one half of the desk to pieces and teetering over two nearby massive bookshelves - cascading books in all directions.
A THIRD slam, this time directly through a nearby study table, shattering its frame and sending chairs in all directions - The floor beginning to splinter and crumble..

And then, the coup de grace. Alex rights and hauls the swordsman up high, -vaulting- skywards to the tune of splitting boards beneath his boots. An antique candelabra softens the impact as they both -crash- against the high ceiling, the Library's clearance not quite enough to fully contain the unfolding fury. Crystal showering in a thousand glittering shards as they make their descent. Speeding faster and faster until..
Wood is no match for the unleashed brutality. Panelled flooring shattering upwards, radiating from the point of impact as the boards fail entirely. A maelstrom of written word ensues as three mighty shelves join the warriors in their journey to the level beneath. A calamity of destruction that can be heard throughout the entire school.

The Principal is going to be harsh indeed.

And so it ends, not with a whisper, but a thunderclap.

A pity. The great calamity nearly upends the studies of the evening students of the school, though Hyo's battle with Alex was in truth no great secret, even the most reserved examples of Justice High's student body would have found their pencil marks astray in the face of that catastrophic triple-collision.

The two themselves stand, in a somewhat inaccurate manner of speaking, now in a crater that would have been considered mythic in ancient lore. The wreckage, toppled piles of tomes littering the grounds along with the shattered and broken wood and steel of mahogany finish that was formerly exquisite. The devastation in that little corner of the library Hyo chose rivals the first spear thrown into the earth by Mother Nature, the first of hurricane storms so great that mankind sought to name them. Even now, pinpoints of light rain down, the reflections of shattered glass falling in glittering cascade.

However, the peripheral decay is merely that; a vestigial extremity of a far greater wound rent into the grounds. Hyo is planted bodily into the warped malle-form of at least two feet of solid steel, his crumpled body lain in a surprisingly stately repose of ruin. It is, in fact, fascinating that Hyo even survived such a catastrophic infliction of pure force. Some may doubt to look at him, to see the blood that wells in that bent steel. Yet in that impact point, the council head's bared chest yet still rises shallowly, though his breath is wet in his chest and shock has taken consciousness from him. The subflooring of the library has given way to a deeper secret of the clan--a vault somewhere beneath the library, with the shared pipes above the buried thing spraying a soft water over that same clan's former heir, water that pools beneath him and is shot through with the twisting spider's path clouds of crimson that surely speak of a thousand and one injuries to be later catalogued.

Precision is a gift for some, an ability to concentrate devastation down to a single point, deciding battles by the hairs on one's head. Unfortunately, that's not truthfully a matter for Alex; Bollea's deadly rocking slams were less kin to Hyo's razor edge as they were to the cannons of a battleship.

And those cannons have taken their toll.

One thought occurs to him, dimly.

How.. did he defeat Gen'ei-jin?

It is a labor of appreciation that Hyo takes in breath, unlidding one eye to take in light in the barest of trickles. Sweat pouring over his brow, the council head slowly rolls, taking a moment to get to his feet. His grace is threatened; for snorting pure blood, in stabs of crippling pain, the council head's leather boots almost lose purchase across the slick and variegated flooring, his stancing that of a thrown cat, one hand bracing upon the ground as his blade teeters in the other. That forward bicep flexes, giving the momentarily dazed Council Head an explosion of momentum, bringing the young man to a full stance.

Yes, it is fascinating. It is a miracle.

He breathes once, shifting, his hair spilling out behind him in a great and grandiose silver wave at his back, free of the mooring of its tie, ripped apart from sheer velocity. His blade... slides intricately, silken into its sata until the fitting click securely into the koi. For all the world, Hyo is silent, taking a great fastidiousness and eye to detail, returns a small gold chain to the fasten at his pocket. The latch itself has been shorn free, but a simple tie is done, feats of dexterity worked inside those white leather gloves to hold the thing in place.

For the moment, he minds not the fact that they are hardly white any longer; they are stained with all manner of blood, mostly his own. The process only worsens their stains.

Then, he finds what few buttons of his uniform jacket survived the impact and affixes them, sheathing the taut muscle revealed by that fitted undershirt beneath his overcoat once again. To the collar, he buttons, making use of the popped snap there to seal his collar once again. He adjusts the pin on that collar then, the mark of Justice High emblazoned on it clearly. Though his jacket is wet, it still suffices.

The Council Head sniffs once again, bringing a handkerchief from that same pocket at his breast to dab lightly at injuries on his face, and then across his nose. Frowning with some irritation once he catches a sight of his gloves, he dabs away the excess upon them, wringing his hands into the silken thing to sop up the worst of it. This he discards, before finally dusting stray glass off of him fastidiously, until his personal appearance meets his own exacting standards.

He is mildly winded.

Silent still, he looks about him to the scattered wreckage, to the ruin. He stands to the hip in his library's own floor, and pieces of what may have once been his desk. Grimly satisfied, Hyo outstretches an open hand, bled leather creaking with the offer of civility. Then, and only then, over the politeness of his proffered hand, does he speak.

"I suppose... in this case, it would only be fair to allow you your victory."

COMBATSYS: Hyo takes no action.

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

As the particulate matter and debris of the broken library finally rests.. The Titan himself is found at the lip of the indoor crater. Though it was he whom inflicted such ruinous circumstance upon the environs in a desperate bid to bring his opponent low.. The American fares little better.
The Titan is slumped sideways, half-kneeling in an akimbo crouch. A hand holding himself up at a fourty-five degree angle, and barely managing that. Blood has painted his upper half in wide crimson swaths, mixed with splinters and shredded pages decorating his mighty frame here and there. Wavy hair plasters his face, obscuring his blurred vision as he surveys the damage he has wrought with grim attention.
The moment of truth. Alex knows his own body and he is past his limit. He may be a determined warrior who never gives up, but this is no death-match. He has thrown everything he could at the Swordsman and has nothing left. Its doubtful he could even stand in the near future. As such.. The American watches the wreckage with silent intensity. If Hyo rises again.. It is over.
It is not with trepidation that Alex maintains his vigil, or a sense of hope that the elite master does not rise again.. Not at all.
The true Hyo will be revealed to him. If all of that pomp and civility was just a lie.. Or if the man maintains his ideals even to the very edge of his existence. The moment of truth.

And rise Hyo does. Standing once more with all the matter of fact decorum as if the man wasn't painted in his own blood and wearing his own library. The breath Alex holds is released and a smile cracks through his stone mask. No use for his game-face now, as the game is clearly over.
Though, as Hyo offers his hand and concedes with utmost politeness.. The American raises his non-weight-baring hand, bowing his head in turn, "No. We'll.. Call it a draw, then. If a man's still standing after.. taking everything I got.. I ain't takin' nothing away from him." Alex would disagree and suggest Hyo should take the win instead.. But he knows better than to argue with Japanese about that kind've thing. They get all miffed if you start throwing their honor back in their faces. He'd probably take that personal like.. And that sword's friggin sharp.

With that said, Alex eases back into a half-sitting position. Frowning a moment in discomfort as he spies the steel slab beneath the wrecked wooden flooring. Puzzling over why a school would need a metal-lined basement. .... What secrets are we hiding here? .. Hrnnn. A mystery that will linger in his mind for awhile.. When it isn't addled by this glorious beating. Regardless, the American tilts his head back just enough to squint down the length of his bloodied nose to his opponent. Nodding with a satisfied smile, "Wish I went to Justice High.. You guys are top notch, bro. Damned incredible fight."
He isn't quite as attached to his cosmetic dignity as his opponent is.. But the more internalized variety as he looks upon Hyo with profound and absolute respect. If it is the man's goal to promote the strength and honor of Justice High then he can rest assured - He has exceeded.

To someone who has beaten even Ken Masters, concession is no particular shame. He had relied on the strength of his strongest technique to seal off any hope of defense or retaliation that Alex might have had. The margin of defense for that jutsu was exceedingly small--most people had a difficult time defending against Hyo on one level, let alone up to ten. That Alex managed to successfully defend against it was a feat hailing the American's exhaustive training. To take advantage of the weak point briefly following the dissolution of the jutsu--doubly so.

Sometimes, however, Hyo has to remind himself that it's not always training, something he discovered during the height of the Justice High incident. Sometimes it's pure tenacity, the strength of camaraderie, something this American seems to have in spades.

One grip of the hand and the accord is sealed.

Hyo settles for the draw, it being the right of the victor to dictate terms, after all. "Of course," he acknowledges, offering Alex the kind of half-lidded glance that suggests he'd be surprised if the other man had ever expected anything less. "Justice High is an academy for the beyond elite," he simplifies, voice without a hint of facetion or ego. What he says is absolute truth, and he won't settle for Alex expecting anything else, even in the light of Hyo's defeat here.

It's not something to be ashamed of.

"I am impressed that you managed to defeat my Gen'ei-jin," Hyo allows, offering the name of the technique he used. "America does not dabble. Every one of their martial artists, though few in number, seems as strong as ten men. Though we would have to tailor our uniform to your rough edges, Justice High would have been satisfied with your contribution to her." In other days, it should seem a blasphemy to mention an American amongst Japan's central leaders, but people with this level of honesty and strength are nothing if not perfect examples of Justice High's core ideals.

He lowers his free hand, the other at his side stabling his sheathed blade. "You should fight the chief talent at Pacific High, Bromwell, or the strength of Gedo, Kazama. Either would be another battle to remember for you. And. Keep up your training, Mister Bollea," he allows, turning his head to cough across the back of that hand politely, minding the blood. He turns to step away.

"From this point onward, I will be training to defeat you as well."

He pauses thoughtfully at the devastation he stands in. Grim, he adds:

"After I visit with the principal."

Log created on 22:06:49 02/03/2009 by Alex, and last modified on 16:37:46 02/15/2009.