Neo League 826 - #831: Kaida vs Rust

Description: Papua New Guinea. The latest featured Neo League battle is arranged on a rugby league field before a game as a means of further advertisement. The crowds don't seem to care much for this. Twin wooden bokken wielder Kaida Inoue and rusted length of pipe brandisher Howard Rust go head to head out on the green fields, heedless of what sports those live actually want to see. They go on to match blade versus pipe, wood versus metal, the potential of youth versus the monolith of experience. (WINNER: Rust)

Howard Rust is no stranger to traveling abroad. And, as a part of the Neo League, it's only a matter of time before he gets himself thrust somewhere else across the globe. He's tried to set up contingencies so he can lecture from abroad, as he'll almost definitely need to tomorrow. Expensive telecommunications equipment is at his disposal for this, approved by the Pacific Board largely because of his pitch: being able to lecture about construction techniques across the world. Now he has to come through with it.
And that's assuming he's still standing and healthy enough after tonight to even /do/ the lecture, the more immediate worry. The international flight is rather rough, given the sorts of things he's trying to get from point A to point B (Ol' Rusty, anyone?) and... well, let's face it, the flight wasn't great in general. He managed to be surrounded by crying babies on all sides, he had to go through two barf bags... and he's not entirely sure, but he thinks the flight food may have been past expiration date.
And now here he is, shoved out into the center of a rugby field. Neo League officials say that his fight with his opponent is going to be the pre-game entertainment for quite the crowd. Fighting is huge worldwide. So is this, the rugby league. That they're waving around a bunch of flags for local teams instead of seeming to give as much of a care for who's fighting does not make the reception terribly warm, despite the general level of cheering.
Ol' Rusty is already drawn, relaxed on his right shoulder as he waves to the crowds with his left hand as a means of staving off that building anticipation and post-flight fatigue. These people aren't going to be the only ones watching this match. His friends at home in America, damn near everyone in Pacific High... here he is, on the world stage. That's kind of a hard thing for him to swallow, that he's really here after wanting to for so many years. That... and being oh-for-two. The announcers have been very vocal about this fact.
He walks across the green, grassy field to the center with his head held reasonably high even out in the middle of nowhere, where his struggle is not really the center of attraction for the crowd immediately gathered here. But, it's an improvement from fighting in a hallway full of expensive art pieces from where you work... and a great step up from the middle of an apartment building floor while people are trying to sleep. But he's now before a stadium crowd, and that's what he's always dreamed of. Right? Right?

For Kaida Inoue the situation is much the opposite. Completely unused to travel, this will be her first foray into the international world, having never left the soil of her home country before. As such it's hard not to be excited, though the current location is definitely not the first place she would have chosen to visit. But that isn't the issue- this isn't a vacation, but instead a form of work, even if an exiting and exhilarating one.

And unlike Rust her usual 'work', that of attending school, is going to receive no compensation for her absence. Instead she'll just have to get her homework from one of her friends, and if her teachers are cross about it then tough luck. They're probably used to this reason for not being at class anyway, so she figures it won't be too big of a deal.

Moreover, it's Kaida's first attempt at fighting in the Neo League as well. She had some second thoughts about accepting this fight offer, what with having to pay for her own ticket out here, but after some questioning she found she could in fact have the ticket paid for by the League and have it deducted from her pay. The only problem comes if she fails to show for the fight, in which case she owes them a fair chunk of change.

But that didn't happen, and here she is, standing in the center of a rugby field, a game she knows nothing about. If she were here to play rugby she would assuredly lose, but here to fight? That's a different story. Calm, somewhat composed, and completely ignoring the cheering crowd, she walks across field towards her opponent- someone familiar to her. "Nice to see you again, and thanks for the phone number." Lightly she reaches down and pulls her bokken from her belt, holding them up much like Rust is holding his pipe. "I won't go easy on you, but I don't think that'll be a problem. You look like you can handle yourself. Even so, I intend to win today."

That person who's coming down from the other end of the field does look kind of familiar. The dark green hair, that dress... he brings up a hand to his chin as he tries to think over the possibilities above the haze of a loud crowd and the aftermath of a really unpleasant international flight. He knew his next matchup was with a 'young woman' and half the listed name seemed prtty familiar when he was reviewing it before the flight.
As she draws closer, so calmly on the outside, it snaps into place. At least, moments before she speaks up. That voice! He points with his left hand out at her, "I think I saw you about... oh!" It's her! Inoue! Kaida Inoue. He had no idea, because for some reason he forgot how to read the kanji that made up her family name (but yet was too full of American Man pride to ask someone nearby).
"Yeah, uh... you're welcome. Imagine that." He starts to rub his forehead. Small world. Fighters come from everywhere, but sometimes, it just seems like they all converge upon just a really teeny tiny hub in which all fights are born from, or... something of that sort. He nods his head as she talks about how she's not going to go easy on him. Who would? Especially out in a place so unfamiliar, so... /foreign/. He wonders how her flight was.
He lets his right arm go slack, Ol' Rusty sliding off his shoulder as he points it down and away into the moist grass. It might be a little slippery for sudden movements, a point that escapes him as he lowers into his stance as the referee comes out. In the background, some local referees are yelling at a cameraman about the timeframe in which they expect for this fight to fit neatly inside.
Sure, the fighters are the ones getting beat up, but it's those managing everything behind the scenes that really do all the heavy lifting to get all this neatly organized between different parties. The whistle is about to sound. Who would be the first to make a move...?

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

                                  >  //////////////////////////////]
                                 |-------\-------\0             Rust

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

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Kaida            0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0             Rust

She gives him a small nod as he acknowledges her words and accepts her thanks. Watching him she begins to consider her options. How should she fight against someone like this? She knows he's entirely capable of dealing significant damage when he's capable. And being able to stand up against Zach for more than a few rounds means he's tough. But other than that she doesn't know terribly much about his fighting style. She should be careful, she decides.

There's no need to rush in and get herself into a lot of trouble in her first fight in the Neo League, no reason to make a fool of herself. He has one pipe, and she has two wooden swords. She's confident in her defense, and somewhat less so about her offense. It's said that those that hesitate are lost, but holding back doesn't have to be hesitation, does it?

Against this somewhat unknown threat she stays back, holding her swords up defensively and stands in a solid posture. She can't outright ignore Rust, but she can focus on herself, which is exactly what she does. Taking a breath she centers herself and focuses inward, making sure she's as prepared as she possibly can be. In this personal and inward focus there are outward signs as well, a slight breeze that brushes the grass at her feet. It swirls around and intensifies, suddenly becoming visible as a white glow. Not just wind then, but Chi.

The chi of the world funneling slowly into Kaida's body as she's wrapped in white, swirling energy that seems to absorb into her limbs. She can feel the effect- more attuned to the world around her, better able to control herself. And an excitement, the exhilaration and thrill not just of chi filling her but of this experience, a fight that will test her strength and the best she has against the man standing not so far away in a battle that thousands will see live, and many more will see on television. A smile creeps onto her face- she's ready for this, and her confidence shows.

COMBATSYS: Kaida gathers her will.

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Kaida            0/-------/---====|-------\-------\0             Rust

Conversely... the Pacific teacher isn't sure how he's going to approach Kaida. He did see the latter two-thirds of the Contender's Belt match. If she was in the running for it, she's got to be good. Unfortunately, much of his ability to pay attention to her throughout that was instead taken up by Dan dancing all over the place, and really only saw flashes of things like Kaida deflecting the weighted end of a kusarigama and then later being brought to heel by it in brief flashes between Dan being Dan. Dan steals eyes. He is very good at that.
But in the here and now, right as the whistle blows, Kaida goes on the defense. She's awaiting him. The distance between them to start may not be so great, but as may have been easily observed in his battle versus Zach, Mr. Rust is not so good at moving between distances. You stay on the run, you can probably keep him at bay. He starts to take a step forward, one of his knees going 'pop' as he edges forward. Ol' Rusty remains held back. Preparing for a strike? Anticipating while advancing?
A slight breeze pushes away at the grass. He can feel the slightest tinge of it. He doesn't relent at her movement, furrowing his brow and renewing his confidence. It's game day. Don't fall behind like you did with Zach, don't go in too slow like you did with Spider. The white swirling energy puts on a pretty show for everyone gathered, and for a good while, all eyes are upon her and her mastery over centering one's focus and energy upon oneself. What she may unleash in time may prove to be spectacular and a testament to her upbringing in her family style.
Howard Rust is not family trained. He's just an aging man with a rusted length of pipe that weathers the world as best he can. It doesn't matter what form the power of the world takes. By trade, he shapes what the world has into things people use and live in. As he draws in closer, he lifts his right arm up, letting the makeshift hilt of Ol' Rusty (which is to say whatever end he's holding at the moment) slip inward, grabbed by his left hand as to hold it with both. An exploitable moment of delay, if Kaida is keen to try.
He grits his teeth and leans in, legs spread apart further as he thrusts the business end of Ol' Rusty pretty much intentionally into where her defensive posture is strongest, some of the air displacing itself around the tip like a hot, overworked, underpaid road worker hurriedly trying to dig into something so he can start (or finish) a job.

COMBATSYS: Kaida blocks Rust's Deep Strike.

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Kaida            0/-------/=======|-------\-------\0             Rust

It is a type of opening that can be exploited. Staying in such a rock solid posture, intending not to budge an inch and let your opponent have at you- it's the perfect moment for Rust to step forward and smash into her as powerfully as he can manage. Any tricky maneuvers would also be easily deployed with her rooted to the ground as she is, and if he can overwhelm her defenses it'd be a rather devastating blow.

It doesn't take a genius to realize what he's planning on doing as he takes the double handed grip in the pipe while he advances. Kaida doesn't shift her posture, already in the exact one she wants. The attack comes- a powerful thrust that seems to have almost as much as Rust can put behind it. It too, is exploitable, but that isn't Kaida's intention. And it's almost like he's testing her, attacking not a weak point but a solid one. It's a curious move that could almost catch her off guard- almost. She responds by lifting her weapons and forming them into a cross, letting the tip of the pipe hit in the center where they meet. Powerful attack indeed- her arms bend and she's shoved backwards, having to take a controlled step back lest she pitch over and fall down.

"Nngh!" But her defenses hold. Standing firm and solid worked- good. Now she nearly explodes out of her position twisting away from him and holding one sword up to the pipe as the other swings around with the rest of her body. The white aura about her vanishes as she moves- or rather it is displaced. Her body doesn't glow, but now her Bokken do, charged with the power she just brought in. Stepping backwards and away from Rust as she spins one sword comes around, and that energy is released in the form of a concussive blast of kinetic chi- a weapon flung variation the ever loved 'fireball' that so many martial artists use. Her rotation doesn't stop, her other sword now spinning around quickly as she dances away, what's about to happen exceedingly obvious, though happening rather fast. It comes around and releases it's stored chi as well, a second blast of white energy following quickly after the first. A double threat.

COMBATSYS: Kaida successfully hits Rust with Twin Moonlit Swords.

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Kaida            0/-------/=======|===----\-------\0             Rust

He commits a lot to that initial blow, something the commentators pick up as a deafening echo of metal striking wood envelopes the entire stadium. Someone over on that table makes a 'beauty and the beast' joke, which is really easy to set up since the shop teacher is, well... he's not gifted with good looks, let's put it at that.
He pulls himself back a little in order to maintain balance after the blow, pointing Ol' Rusty down and away as he tries to work out in his head, 'now what.' It does kind of tug at his heart, maybe a little, that he really doesn't /like/ hitting kids. (Who does?) That strike was uncompromisingly vicious, about the strongest he can muster in a given moment. But no, you went where she was strongest, you needed a good gauge of where she stands against that, he thinks.
The aura moves into her wooden swords as he bends his knees just a little more, much to their total complaint. He swallows a lump as opposed to spitting on the field. Sure, this isn't a fancy carpet, but damn, spitting cost him plenty from the final cut of the fight, it's become something of a new self-forced habit. She spins and releases a blast. Much to the surprise of pretty much anyone, he leaps it with a loud grunt. He could never get much height out of his legs, and it shows here as he barely clears over the first fireball, one of his feet tingling with a little sting as to what it just passed through.
The problem is, that was just the first.
He doesn't have nearly enough height - nor could he ever really aspire - to leap over the second shot in a single bound, and in fact, he misread the gesture for just one as the second blast strikes him head on in the chest and sends him tumbling back into the first, which politely stands him back up with a rude bump. He stings through the chest and his back, like a Rust sandwich. (Mmm, chi sandwich with middle-aged man in the center.)
He gasps a bit for air post-pinballing, oxygen having left his lungs from pretty much taking the second shot right in the gut. Lesson learned? Yeah, lesson learned. He's now just a little out of swinging reach of Kaida, and the moment he takes to reorient himself and move forward a good step is a moment Kaida has to figure out her next plan of action.
His foot nearly slips against the slick grass field as he puts his right foot forward, seemingly telegraphing the swing as the pipe is raised once again, trying to swing in a wide, inward arc. He's putting maybe a little too much faith into his reach, although the arc in question has somewhat more of a downward slant than the windup might suggest.

COMBATSYS: Kaida blocks Rust's Medium Strike.

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Kaida            1/-------/=======|===----\-------\0             Rust

First order of business, the chi attacks do their job by crashing into Rust, though the fact that the first one got hopped almost saved him from a good bit of pain. But at least he managed to keep on his feet well enough, right? Pleased with herself, Kaida waits for the retaliation she knows has to be coming as she pulls back once more into a defensive positioning.

He comes for her, stepping forward and swinging his pipe at her, and her reaction is immediate. The sword on the side of the swing comes in an opposite motion to meet it, wood and metal once again clashing and sending a loud noise throughout the stadium, and sending a powerful vibration of Kaida's arm, which she's noticing is starting to feel a bit sore at the elbow, from even just those two attacks. Hm.

Planning a little bit, she pushes against the pipe with more force in what could easily be attempt to force Rusts guard open, and then steps back and twists away, the bokken suddenly going slack and letting Ol' Rusty past in the hope that it'll take it's wielder by surprise, her second sword coming in from the opposite side of Rusts body to try and smack him with a hit to the ribs as she tries to play up the range advantage of her swords.

COMBATSYS: Rust Toughs Out Kaida's Weapon Jab!

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Kaida            1/-------/=======|====---\-------\0             Rust

Howard's got a strong arm on him. Even so, Kaida can probably get a leverage advantage on him to overturn this, and by all appearances she seems to as she pushes Ol' Rusty aside. Believe it or not, he doesn't seem to resist it. That, or Kaida may be physically a lot stronger than she appears. He lets the pipe and his grip return to where he usually likes it with her gesture.
What comes next, well... between most swordsmen wielding live steel, a shot as clean as this would be almost certain death. His left side is open, just begging to say, 'hit me, hit me.' The bokken goes clean under his elbow - and he himself appears plenty unaware as it strikes up against the side.
He doesn't even notice it even when it /does/ hit, perhaps too light a hit to register in the heat of battle as he takes another heavy step or two inward. In the fighting sphere, sometimes, it's not enough to just cleanly outplay an opponent in technique. You have to make that play count, you have to make that play /hurt/. Now, with one of Kaida's bokken up against his side, she's pretty much down to one to defend herself with (as well as his own two feet). Is he going to swing again? Is he going to reach with his free hand?
There's another thing he's always made sure to have when it comes to fighting another weapon user - the better kick. His right knee's slight rise is the one visual cue Kaida gets as it then snaps out towards her feet (or the ground in front of them, if she is fleet of feet), a cramping pain running up his thigh at the speed of it. It's not just one kick. It's that kick, again, and again, and again, rapid-fire like a jackhammer as it all but threatens to ruin the clean, green, even rugby field underneath it if not her own foot.
His face is an almost comical caricature between 'aggressing' and 'oh ow ow I needed to stretch a bit more ow dammit ow.'

COMBATSYS: Rust successfully hits Kaida with Jackhammer Kick.

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Kaida            1/----===/=======|====---\-------\0             Rust

Allowing her to push open his guard wasn't expected, but it works just as well. It still means he's fairly open to the swatting attack of her sword... but that attack, when it comes, doesn't seem to even bother him at all. It was a light hit, but being able to just ignore it shouldn't be easy- and he makes it look easy. Aware that she may be in some trouble, she tightens the grip on her second sword, awaiting some kind of powerful swing to come from the pipe.

That swing never comes. Instead it's a kick- a kick that she catches too late, trying to back off quickly out of it's range when she recognizes the motion as not just another step forward. It hits home and sends a sharp pain through her ankle, only to be followed up by an almost debilitating serious of strikes that come quickly after, the repeated blows enough to collapse that leg and send her to the ground, her ankle for the moment unable to support her weight, the remaining kicks smashing up her calf as she goes down.

Shoot. She led herself into a trap, there. Gritting her teeth she starts picking herself back up, trying to ignore the screaming in her leg that tells her to favor it, and put her weight on the other as best she can. As she comes up she knows she needs to get some quick payback for that- letting herself get behind at a time like this would almost ensure her defeat. Especially if she let it go to her head.

So for the moment she'll ignore the pain in her leg and take a chance. Rusts face did look a bit in pain- maybe she can take advantage of that. In a quick motion she sheathes one of her swords and steps towards and to the side of Rust, taking a hard swing at it stomach as she goes. Ignoring a shooting pain running up her leg from her ankle she plants on it and twists her body, following through with the strike and lifting her arm. A step the side brings her strafing past Rust, her wrist twisting as the sword goes up behind her and then comes down from above, this strike aiming for his shoulder. Continuing to spin as she moves about him her motions become more fluid, her spin increasing so that her sword arm wraps around herself only to unwind in another hard blow, this one aimed at Rust's back.

A deep breath is taken and she continues to dance around him, another pair of swings aiming for leg and then head, her spinning suddenly reversing as her second hand grips the hilt of the wooden sword, her body whipping back around as the sword powers through in an underhanded stroke that will come at Rust from below, possibly with enough power to knock him right away, the sword then being twisted around with a flourish as Kaida sets her feet, beads of sweat rolling down her face as she struggles through the now searing pain in her ankle.

COMBATSYS: Rust blocks Kaida's Forbidden Dance - Deadly Blade.

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Kaida            0/-------/------=|=====--\-------\0             Rust

Looks like in pain? He is! For the moment of peace he has after the fact, he's shaking out his right leg and, somewhat delayed after the fact, scratches a thumb against his left side where he was struck moments before. It's kind of itchy. Commentators bring to attention the sheer ferocity of that flurry of kicks. He's not fast as a rule, but holy sweet mother of all that is holy they never thought he had that in him.
By the time he really has any of his bearings together, Kaida's right by his unarmed side. He sets his right foot down with a start and goes rigid, unmoving, left fist clenched so tightly the knuckles crack in unison. He thinks to ask her about her shin as he exhales loudly.
That part is sheer dumb luck, as when the bokken hits his stomach there's not a whole lot of wind to knock out, tightening his abdomen with the blow that it doesn't leave much of a sting. She keeps moving, making it clear he didn't shatter her leg beyond usability (if the fact she moved so quickly to his side wasn't enough of a tip), and really, he feels maybe a little relieved for that. Somewhere. In the sea of the sharp pain from the calf up and that dull pain in his gut.
His left shoulder creaks very unpleasantly as he tries to move his elbow behind him to catch her. It instead meets with the blade as it comes down, which stings a little. There's a number of reasons why he favors his left arm when it comes to risky defenses - he's right handed. He starts to try and pivot on his weaker leg to face her, twisting it with another wince as he tries to face her. It's not a smooth rotation. The shot to the back ends up getting him in the elbow, again, when he rotates with a little start. It makes his elbow dip a little under the force of the blow.
She dances along to his right side, at which point he stops turning to try and keep up with him. The hit to the back of his right leg, the one that aches, is the first real clean hit, causing him to dip with a crouch as that knee cracks. His body doesn't want to flex about right now, all locked up. This sensation is aggravating, his body's reflex to being overworked and overexerted. But, sometimes, it's his friend.
The blow to his head is met with his left arm, again, trying to swing up to catch it with yet another unpleasant crack. It gets the knuckles, which is not very fun. Especially not to his shoulder, which starts to protest under what he's doing to it when it frankly doesn't want to move. Kaida's finishing blow goes low, looking to be the decisive strike to send him off and give her breathing space in which to take back the momentum of the fight.
It gets caught by Ol' Rusty without him having to twist his right arm much. It's rare for him to ever really use it to guard a blow, metal and wood echoing again as the force of the impact shoots up his right arm. It otherwise doesn't seem to move him much at all, other than maybe a step back.
He anticipates more. He doesn't get any. He kind of stands there foolishly for a few moments, taking in a deep breath, one eye shut under sweat getting in it (again), once again swallowing. He starts to dip forward a little, left arm going limp from what it caught as he soaks in what little of it he ends up actually feeling. It's either humiliating that the thick man didn't seem to feel much of it, or flattering that it appears to give him a little pause.
At which he brings up his aching right foot and, fighting the all-around /stiffness/, thrusts it forward like he were trying to boot a door down, not wanting to chance further soreness through either arm. He's a tough man to pin but he's a man of many mundane aches.

COMBATSYS: Kaida interrupts Strong Kick from Rust with Unstoppable Blow - Crescent Slash.

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Kaida            0/-------/---====|=======\===----\1             Rust

Kaida has to be discouraged by the results she sees, one of her very best attacks having done little to -stop- Rust, even if the blows do manage to cause him some pain. If someone can resist pain, filling them with it isn't going to do much- you need to physically harm them until their bodies refuse to function. Kaida has next to no experience with people like that, and facing Rust now she realizes just how much she might have to work to take him down. It's a little bit discouraging, all in all.

But. She can't give up, and though she did expect that attack to do some appreciable, visible damage, she wasn't staking everything on the blow. No, instead she was using that attack as a sort of setup, preparing herself for what was to come next. Though a bit of shock at her opponents resilience shows on her face, she stands firm, the lack of motion doing something to sooth her aching ankle.

He brings up his right foot- her reaction is immediate. Her sword, still held in that two handed grip, swings backwards as far as she can get her arms to go, and she rushes forward towards Rust. As the leg shoots forward her motions reverse and the sword comes around, suddenly flaring white with chi. As Rusts foot buries itself in Kaida's stomach she holds firm, tightening the muscles so the wind isn't instantly knocked out of her and showing a fair bit of resilience herself, a loud scream escaping her lips as she swings the sword with as much strength as her arms can manage. Her legs and body twisting to add even more power to the strike, the white chi on the blade flaring even more brightly as the sword meets it's target, crashing into Rust and this time, this time, having the proper effect- lifting the man into the air and sending him away from her in a short trip through the air that should end with him landing some ten feet away.

Now she can breathe again, and she does. Heavily she breathes, one hand quickly lifting to wipe the sweat off her forehead to keep it from getting in her eyes. She still has a chance. There's fight left in her- the fight is even again. Now if only she can keep it up...

Foot meets gut as Kaida looks to work up a damn to keep on the good fight, and the teacher is caught in a weird place for that really brief moment. Marisol, a young girl who goes to his school and a rather prominent fighter herself, always goes on about how you have to put your all in a fight against another because anything less is an insult. It's probably the only belief of hers he's ever listened to, being he's a grown-up and default authority figure on campus and has her trumped on a lot of other life lessons on the virtue of having lived and experienced a lot more. But, is it really right t---
Kaida's desperate counteroffensive cuts any lines of thought short, and the commentators are standing from their seats as she gives her kiai and summons the white chi onto her blade to strike him up into the air as it strikes up his chest and into his chin. He lands pretty much as described, a good ten feet away, the blow made a fair bit worse because he lands uncomfortably on his back before he can perceive how high he is up from the ground and which way he needs to twist to soften the landing. Good news is, the grass field is very soft to land in. Bad news is, not comfortable enough to stop him from losing all the air in his lungs with a wheeze. She got him.
For the moment.
He grunts to sit up a few moments before the official on hand can actually call it for Kaida, as it does take him a while to stand back up. Joint pops of indeterminate origin can be heard all over as he grunts to stand up, blood running down his chin from the left side of his jaw in a noticeable amount. He doesn't bother to rub at it. He just kind of nods his head, a lot of the pain being dulled out by the screaming cheers of a crowd that is actually impatient about wanting the fight to end so that the game they came to can really begin.
Ten feet is not a lot of distance to cover, but the amount of time it takes Mr. Rust to actually cover it puts Kaida at yet another positioning advantage, nearly stumbling when he puts any weight on his right foot as he seems to favor his left arm in approaching Kaida. Why for? His grip on Ol' Rusty is still there, never having let the pipe go even when he goes flying.
The slick grass sees some moisture fly into the air under his feet, wet shuffling sounds as he chooses not to go home in tears, especially not after such a flight - his left hand reaching out as he draws near, somewhere around Kaida's head level as he seeks to slap a palm on her scalp and then, rather unceremoniously, faceplant her into the turf.

COMBATSYS: Rust successfully hits Kaida with Brick Stacker.

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Kaida            0/-------/-======|=======\==-----\1             Rust

If Kaida thought that the fight was over for the moments when Rust was down, she didn't show it. It'd be stupid to think that a guy who could take the previous attack with as little detriment as he did would be put down for good by the followup. Oh sure, that one must have really hurt him, of that she's sure. But it'd be an insult to consider him so weak that he'd give up there. She saw the determination in his face when she caught his first Neo League fighton camera. He's made of tougher stuff- tougher than she is, even.

So it's no surprise when he picks himself up and starts moving towards her, not a shock when he decides to press the attack and get some 'revenge'. She holds her sword up in front of herself, readying herself for his attack. Once again, however, it's nothing like what she was expecting. When he reaches out for her her eyes widen, and something sure to make the highlight reels occurs. She starts to jump backwards but is caught, a big hand gripping onto her head like it were a basketball and then shoving her backwards and down, hair streaming behind her head as she's roughly slammed head first into the ground.

That one dazed her. Her leg hurts, her arm hurts, and now her head and her entire body hurts. Wouldn't it be easier to just give in and let Rust take the victory? Sure it would, but then she'd never be able to forgive herself.

So she doesn't give up. After a moment of being down she rolls, trying to keep away from Rusts grip less he try and pin her to the ground, having a rather exploitable weight advantage. Rolling twice she picks herself back up to her feet in a somewhat smooth motion that almost fails as she puts weight on her injured ankle, and immediately takes action. Gripping tightly onto her sword she steps back towards him and again pulls her arms back, telegraphing what's got to be a powerful blow coming. Blade flaring once more with energy- apparently the only thing she's got that hurts this brick wall of a man, and then attacks in a powerful horizontal swing, yelling out again with a sharp kiai as the weapon swings for the base of his neck. Hell, if it weren't for the energy involved such a swing might be very familiar to Rust from those Samurai flicks he so adores.

COMBATSYS: Rust interrupts Rampage Swing - Intended Decapitation from Kaida with Cement Upper.

[                          \\\\  < >  //////////                    ]
Kaida            1/------=/=======|=======\====---\1             Rust

Rust's back does not like the additional bending he has to do in order to really follow through with getting Kaida's head into the dirt. But he pushes through - if not against an opponent of equal standing, then against a body who is trying to tell him that maybe it should be time for him to hang it up and just continue with his day job. Screw you, body I've lived with all my life, you're mine. You're here for the ride.
She rolls out of his grip, leaving him bent over as his knees crouch to try and take some strain off his back, which makes him regret it moments later as the knees start to send pain shooting up the thighs, his left being especially crackly with him. His left hand remains on the grass below. Ol' Rusty's tip touches the grass, his right arm held back. He almost looks like he's in a three point stance here. Something rather appropriate for the field, perhaps.
The crowd starts to chant. They aren't chanting in favor of him, nor for Kaida. They want the fight to be over so the game can begin, as that is what they're here for. But that's speaking as a generality. Who knows. Maybe this battle will awaken the inner street fighting fan among those that already aren't. The commentators are already excitedly wondering how this is going to end between the two, having identified the Pacific teacher's grab from when he attempted the same thing to Spider (and got stuffed from the eye gouge).
He follows Kaida's movements with weary, sweat-drenched eyes as blood still flows freely from his mouth. It's impossible /not/ to see the brightly flaring white energy blade. She yells fiercely enough to make almost any other man's blood curdle. He yells back, mouth hanging open as she swings.
He does recognize the maneuver, and he is absolutely at the perfect height for it to be recreated. His right hand starts to spin Ol' Rusty about, undeterred by the brushes it makes against the turf that would blunt its momentum. It shreds aside some of the grass, making some of the groundskeepers fidget even more than they did when he struck down that young lady's foot.
Gender. Culture. Age. It's all transcended at this very moment as Howard Rust throws his head downward in the path of the incoming blade, intercepting its original intended target. His terrible hair, what little of it remains on his scalp aside from the lies he tries to feed to the world around him with that combover, is the only sort of indicator that what she strikes up is a human skull instead of some solid sphere of metal, deflecting the blade at risk of a particularly nasty concussion (that buzz going through his head is none too pleasant either) as his right arm swings upward, scraping up against turf that tries to make his swing stutter in motion. It does not get stopped or even slowed from its brief path through the dirt.
He swings Ol' Rusty up into his time-honored uppercut, the Cement Upper, of which it seems to bear little general likeness to anything involving cement. The Upper is plenty self-evident and there in full force, standing with the swing as he goes right for the upper body up on to the chin, not too particular about where it lands as he tries to come out on top, blow-for-blow.
This is a match highlight moment right here.

As Kaida makes her highly committed swing Rust does to her what she did to him not long before- take the pain of the attack and suffer through it in order to lay down a massive beating of his own. And in much the same manner, too: a powerful underhanded swipe of a weapon, though in Rusts case it's more of an uppercut with a pipe included than a slash. No less effective, however.

Her bokken deflecting upward off of his head, Kaida has no hope of escaping the counterattack, the pipe hitting her in the chest and then just continuing upward, crashing into her chin and knocking her head backward. Further it goes, raising to the full extent of Rusts reach with enough power to lift Kaida's body from the ground and send her backwards. Twisting a bit in the air she lands a fair distance away from him, and in a heap.

Now would be the opportune time to stay down and give in to the pain. In her mind it's set: he's won. She doesn't think she can hurt this man enough to win, not in the condition her body is in. But she doesn't want to lose. She doesn't want to give up and have her first Neo League fight end in a loss. What choice does she have, though? He's tough as nails, he's proven he can take the punishment she can give out, and also that he can return it to her with greater force.

At a time like this there's only one reason for Kaida to get up at all. Pure, sheer stubbornness. Push herself any further and she could really end up hurt, her body is begging her to give in, and her head is fuzzy enough from that blow that she has almost no concentration left. But damnit, she isn't going to quit. She may have just fallen over and lay still for her debut to Saturday Night Fight, but not this time, she tells herself. As long as she can force her body to move, she decides she's going to go down fighting.

A twitch of one of her legs is the first sign that she's not out cold, and soon after her entire body begins moving slowly. Curling so that she can sit up. She can't even stand easily, having to stick the point of her bokken into the ground in order to force herself up. It's definitely not a pretty sight, but blood runs down from her chin and from a corner of her mouth, from broken skin and bitten cheek. Taking in a deep breath she draws out her second sword and takes a step advancing on Rust. She stumbles and nearly falls right there, an extra powerful step digging into the ground from her other foot just strong enough to keep her upright.

It also serves to begin a charge, the teenager now fully committed to this reckless course of action, running towards Rust with as much speed as she can manage- not very impressive. But damnit, she's trying! A rather unfocused yell comes from her as she charges, chi flaring up around her swords for what is undoubtedly the last time. Once she's close she starts swinging, one actually missing outright of it's own accord due to not being close -enough-, each sword slashing hard one after another in a furious onslaught of one-two attacks, aimed literally nowhere except the blurry form of Rust's mass in front of her, each strike resulting in an white explosion of energy should it manage to land and make contact. The first yell ends and another starts, Kaida swinging her heart out as she attempts to beat Rust into submission, taking this one final attempt at somehow forcing this fight into a draw. It's clear she isn't going to win. -Can't- win, at this point. The unfocused attack ends unceremoniously as she prepares for her final attack, a swing with both swords, when her ankle finally decides it's had too much and gives out on her, sending her once more to the grassy dirt, this time face first, and not getting up anytime soon under her own power.

COMBATSYS: Kaida can no longer fight.

                                  >  //////////                    ]
                                 |=======\====---\1             Rust

COMBATSYS: Rust interrupts Fury Blades from Kaida with Condemned.

                                  >  ///////                       ]
                                 |=======\======-\1             Rust

In very brief retrospect post-blade-headbutting, that... that was not a good idea. The blow resounds through his skull, making it ring as he has trouble focusing on the light, taking a few stumbling steps forward as Kaida is sent flying. His vision becomes fuzzy. He hears broad echoes as opposed to sounds he can easily pick out, made worse by the deafening shouts of the commentators and the indistinct cries of the various spectators. He rubs his head with his left hand, only exercising enough caution not to undo his combover under the throbbing reign of a concussion. Ugh.
His ability to really focus on anything other than the basic needs of a living being to continue to exist (namely: breathe) dims. He sees a lot of green, some flashing, colorful blobs... another blob of blue and some other colors on the ground, is that who he's fighting? Was fighting? Will be fighting? Guh. The blob in question starts to move.
The crowd starts to chant... something. He can't make it out. It's monosyllabic. Only one word, repeated over and over again. He tries to conceive what it could be in his head. Why would they be? The enemy blob continues to move, up to its... other blobby parts that are probably its legs. A yell. A really big flash of (blobby) white in the distance, growing bigger and bigger...
Wait, wait, wait. Could they be... cheering? For him? 'Kaida' and 'Inoue' are not single syllables. Neither is 'Howard.' They must be going 'Rust! Rust! Rust! Rust!' They're cheering for him! Holy shit, his first time in front of a loud crowd, up against a younger girl whom by all rights would probably be considered favored to win by the public eye, and they're cheering for him! He actually smiles, wow, really, they really like him!!
...No, they don't, they're really chanting something along the lines of "Done! Done! Done! Done! Done!" They're trying to say the fight is over and that the game they actually came to see should hurry up and start. But with his senses all awry the way they are, he really can't tell. This mistaken confusion becomes his source of power in which to finally drive this all the way home.
He pulls Ol' Rusty back as Kaida rushes in and makes her first missed swing. Even coming up close he doesn't have enough visual focus in which to discern what's going on, just which direction the big white flashy thing is going. His right shoulder suddenly makes a really nasty crackle as his right arm shoots forward, Ol' Rusty leading the way as he plows into the furious strikes with such strength that he all but glides across the field.
There is a deafeningly loud sound that all but silences the entire stadium, like a wrecking ball knocking down a condemned building. A samurai movie mainstay, adapted to his own tastes. He passes by several yards past Kaida in a sliding kneel, Ol' Rusty now held upside down. Ignoring that sudden pain he feels in his ribcage and his left knee in particular disliking that last slide, he thrusts Ol' Rusty through the toolbelt pocket. Another clean re-sheathing.
He remains knelt, breathing in and out loudly. He's not down. But what of his opponent? He can't look behind himself to check, trying to catch his breath in fighting off that nasty bokken-born headache.

Before the high powered hit, Kaida was collapsing, singularly unable to even stand up anymore. Afterwards? Any hope of standing without assistance in the next thirty minutes goes completely out the window. The blow, as it were, would actually be enough to keep her on her feet for a few moments longer than she would have otherwise. As Rust kneels several feet away Kaida stands shakily on her feet for a brief moment, and then simply collapses.

Her knees, ankles, and hips give all at once and she goes down- straight down. Almost like the picture perfect demolition of a skyscraper she falls and hits the ground, spreading out from there. The bokken lay loosely in her hands beside her, and from there she simply does not move. She was exhausted and in pain before, but now? Now she's out cold.

Moments pass after Kaida falls. They're trying to determine if the Rust guy over there is about to keel over like he did after he pulled that last one on Zach, hesitant to make the final call until he shakily stands up largely at behest of his aching knees, his pants greened out from grass stains. Even so he remains bent over, wheezing and coughing for a few moments as a couple guys approach to walk him off the field.
The announcers call it for Howard Rust then and there with that explosive final exchange, signaling the end of a close back-and-forth battle. He won, huh. He actually won. He wasn't sure what he'd do if he'd have gone 0 for 3 after so long. It's fuzzy. It's a good feel. It's something of a winpose moment as he rolls his right shoulder around a couple of times noisily and rolls his head around the neck, looking up and out towards the crowds that, frankly, want the two of them to hurry up off the field.
This is when he actually manages to look behind him and see that blobby figure coalesce into something visually distinguishable as 'a person' as opposed to 'blobs of colors.' The fuzziness washes away. He knocked the kid out cold! That's a kid, half his age, out cold! You just beat the crap out of a kid, a kid certainly not defenseless, but...
"H-Hey... hey!" He calls out, his gravelly voice hard to hear above the fatigue- and pain-born wheezing as he takes several steps towards her, narrowly evading the grasp of the medics as some are already out there to help Kaida up - and to a stretcher, if needed.

The Rugby game finally starts after Kaida is carried off the field in a stretcher, unable to make her own way off the field since she's unconscious. As it starts a cheer goes up louder than at any time during the fight. Well, that's just how things go sometimes, isn't it? After she's off the field the Neo League medical teams descend upon her like a plague of locusts and determine that no, there isn't any permanent damage. She should be fine so long as she lets herself recouperate.

Still not wanting to stand on her hurt leg she's moved to a chair where she can sit down and rest for as long as she likes, and the medics head off shortly after. For the moment she just sits there thinking, the obvious topic of her thoughts being what she might have done differently that could have altered the result of the fight.

During that time, officials gave the teacher a quick post-fight interview since he was in a state to talk, although he kept making nervous glances over where the stretcher was going off field. There's not much to say about it. It's typical 'how are you feeling,' 'what went through your head in the final moments,' and 'what was your strategy going in.' The answers were along the lines of respectively, 'uh, I would be great, Riley,' '...a headache, because of when I... I headbutt her weapon,' and 'I, uh, just kept the pressure... thought that eventually, that I'd break through her defense.' All mentioned kind of hurriedly because he really wants to go see if she's okay. It's a real fight, in real fights, people get hurt. People get hurt very badly. Some get hurt enough that their careers come to an end right then and there.
And this is a /kid/ he used his best shot on in a heat of the moment strike where he gave his all to a crowd that was pulling for him (in which they really weren't, blame his muddled head at that time). He heads off towards where she's being taken care of as fast as his tired feet can carry him, which is to say not very fast. At least he can go at full speed and not arouse suspicion, looking more like a brisk jog rather than any sort of dash.
Nobody is posted at the doors of the infirmary. He doesn't even bother to knock. He opens the door, its creak far weaker than the creak in his elbow as he peeks through the door.

For her part, Kaida sits in her chair and goes over every moment of the fight in her mind. There are certainly some mistakes she made, and also some things she knows she could have done better. It's easy to play Monday night quarterback, but in this case it might actually result in some real improvement. If she doesn't learn anything from this loss it will be meaningless, but if she does learn something from it? Then maybe it's better that she did lose- though the pain in her body would contend otherwise.

She's looking a lot better now that the medics have gone over her, that blood washed off her face making a world of difference. As the door cracks open it takes her a moment to notice, but when she's done she's pulled out of her thoughts, and looks towards it. "Hello? Who's there?"

That's her voice! Good. He sighs in relief for the moment. Good, good, doesn't sound like she's hooked up to an ICU or anything (if she was he probably wouldn't have been able to just open the door unannounced, would he?). He hasn't been cleaned up too much of his wounds. A cursory examination says that he's got a rib or two down, but that's more going by his own personal experience of fighting wounds rather than official word. He's breathing just fine, with only a little sting every now and then.
"It's Howard. Howard Rust... guy you just fought." He can be seen peering through the crack anyway. He coughs twice. Please don't let this be grass allergies again, he hates them. "Mind if I... if I come in?"

Kaida motions to another chair sitting in the room, figuring that he might want to sit rather than stand, as she does. "Sure, go ahead." She studies him for a few moments. Looks like he hasn't had a chance to see the medics himself yet. She frowns a little- it's kind of odd just looking at someone peeking at you through a door. "What do you want?"

He leans up against the doorway as he opens the door upon her invitation. He really doesn't go too far in. Any excuse to put some weight off his right leg is probably a good thing. He should've stretched that leg out more before coming here, but it was a pretty fast transition between 'flight - customs - taxi to battleground,' at which point he was informed he was on time before he could even do so. Schedules. They kick your ass. This whole world runs on 'em these days.
Leaning his left arm up against the doorframe while leaning in, he clears his throat. Yeah, this is grass allergies. Damn it. He takes a moment to get to the point, as if he really needed to check and see that she wasn't looking too badly off. What does he say without setting off someone hurt, fresh off a loss in front of so many people? He tries to think of it. He won, she lost. He's old, she's young. He's experienced, she's not (but is plenty talented). He's a teacher, she's a stude-- oh, maybe try it from there. His head rises up a bit to make eye contact.
"I wanted to say... that I'm, uh, pretty sore." And that's the truth, because his left side suddenly stings at him, maybe he shouldn't lean up against it? He further elaborates as ideas come to mind. "You did... you did pretty good."

Kaida's hand moves to her lap after she makes the gesture, having nothing else to really do with it at the moment. Besides, her arms are still stinging a bit from those blocks she made with her swords earlier, and with all the swinging she did afterwards they didn't get much of a chance to rest until now.

At the moment she seems rather impassive, simply waiting in her chair for him to come and say what he's come to say. And when he does, she gives a small nod. "I figured. Even if they didn't do much I did manage to hit you several times, and once hard. Your tough but I didn't think you'd be shaking that off like it was nothing." Next comes a shrug, "Good, but not good enough. You did better and you won, I'll just have to try harder next time, if we ever fight each other again."

Shaking it off like nothing is easier (not easy, easier) when you've grown up having to work yourself to the very bone for all the money you could get. It was easy to brush off little wounds to continue working, and even a few that most people would stop working for the day over. It's not all sunshine from there. All those creaks and pops from his joints? That's the price. Much of his body feels older than he actually is.
But is it learned, or something you're born with? Who knows. Mr. Rust isn't a tiny guy, which helps matters somewhat. It's true, though, by all appearances he made 'em look like the hits were for absolutely nothing. He rubs the top of his head again at another lingering ache from that concussive block. What if she used live steel on him, he wonders to himself. What if she did so next time? (Little does he realize she has a sister that can answer this question, if she is so inclined...)
"If I can... if I can give a tip," still going on the 'teacher' line, "I've fought a couple guys with weapons through the years... I always found, always, the make or break... the make or break," he sniffles once as he tries to fight off the onset of allergies, "'s a good kick."
She did power through one of his in order to deliver a devastating blow, but when he thinks about it, that might've been the thing that set the match in motion for his direction. It's still all kind of a blur. It may continue to be, thanks to headbutting a sword. (Don't ever do that at home, kids.) He reaches down with his free hand to pat his thigh. He regrets patting it, but fights off the sting to keep an even face and tone of voice.

"A kick? I do, from time to time, but I usually rely on my swords or my chi. I don't think a kick would have helped at all against someone like you. Maybe it would have caught you off guard, but more likely it wouldn't have hurt you at all and you'd have hit me over the head with your pipe while I was busy pulling my leg back down." Suffice to say, Kaida isn't taking the tip with all the open heartedness with which it was given.

She gives a little shrug and then shakes her head. "I see your point, but I don't think it would have made any kind of difference in this fight." Pausing for a moment she considers and then adds, "Unless you were stupid enough to show up without a cup. I suppose it could have made a difference then."

Despite appearances, if you asked Howard, he'd say he'd place a lot more faith in his kicks than his punches. When you punch, no matter how hardcore you are, you risk breaking your knuckles if your form isn't right. Broken hands typically mean 'can't work.' Somehow, this is more important than 'can't get around easily.'
"Mmmaybe not against me, but..." He's a schoolteacher and she's breaking it down to him why she wouldn't have done so well against him using one in such very thorough terms! That's actually a little intimidating. He, himself, is considerably more eloquent during the day. It's after all the yelling, all the talking at length, that he finds his throat oh-so dry enough he doesn't feel like doing so in turn. He scratches the side of his head thoughtfully.
He succeeds in his save against an innate Inappropriate Comment To Women that he's, unfortunately, proficient in thanks to his old line of work. Cups are really uncomfortable, why should be bother wearing one? He's so glad he doesn't let that slip out of his mouth. In turn, this gives him another pause as he tries to think of what to say. She seems okay, not as hurt as he thought... yeah, guess that clears his conscience. He nods his head again with a low humming noise.
"I'll let you rest." He coughs once again, which results in him having to once more clear his throat in a noisy fashion. "Have a good flight back."

Kaida gives a bit of a shrug when he responds to her words. Kicks can be good, but she has so much more practice with swordsmanship that her strikes are undoubtedly going to be more powerful and better executed. Not that his point isn't valid and something to give some thought to, but it isn't as if she completely spurns the use of her legs as weapons; it's just uncommon.

"Thanks, and you too." Oh yes, the flight back. It isn't just a taxi trip home. It's a taxi trip, an hours long flight, and then either another taxi trip or a fairly long walk. And then homework, which she'll have to get by calling a friend. That's the way things go when you're a student fighter though. It might be hard to focus on homework tonight, but it'll be better than if she'd been completely humiliated.

The teacher nods again and slips past the doorframe, plodding along the way back out towards where he should be. All of a sudden, the hallway is filled full of bad 80's music. His cellphone! He labors to fish it out of his pocket, a hard task when you're sore all over, and flips it open.
"Yeah? This is Howard... yeah, Rust." A few moments pass. His eyes suddenly widen. "Wait... you're saying my flight is... why didn't you call me sooner?!" Well, 'sooner' would've been 'middle of his flight.'
The hallway is suddenly host to a set of hurried footsteps, grunting and straining all the way as he has to haul ass to a cab. Stupid flight ticket misprints. He should've known better when it gave the same weekday despite the different listed day.
On the plus side, he'll be home in Southtown in time for maybe after the lunch break. On the downside... there's always the chance of even more screaming babies ruining his chance at catching a nap.
(Spoilers: yes)

COMBATSYS: Rust has ended the fight here.

Log created on 16:34:58 02/12/2009 by Rust, and last modified on 15:13:01 02/13/2009.