LLK Act I.War - War : Imperium

Description: Gedo High - a major target for the combined offensive against the Syndicate, but why? Howard Rust and Raizo Imawano rush to the school on the former's piece of crap pickup truck. They are met by NESTS Cartel's #3 man, the perfectionist Krizalid, along with enigmatic Ojike no Oni... secret identity of Justice teacher Kichiga Kyoufumaru with very loose ties to Shadaloo. Fighting it out in a parking lot, can bear and pipe break their way in to help the kids inside and get a step closer to the truth...? (WINNER: Kichiga + Krizalid)

The circumstances of Kichiga's enlistment in the seige of Southtown are a bit muddled. Kurow Kirishima himself has attempted to bring the group closer to "R"'s wing, but apparently he failed to inform Vega of this development. Thusly, when he appeared to enlist the Darkside Student Congress, saying no was... not the brightest idea.

And capping all of that off is that Kichiga is maintaining his cover, so it's not an old man operating as the Darkside Student Congress, it's Ojike no Oni, spinning his cane in his hands, crouched in a (only slightly bestial) crouch on top of the wall near the gate. His tattered red changshan drapes across the face of the wall, only his red eyes visible behind that leering demon mask.

He has, up until now, mostly been perching there. And /breathing./ Lots of creepy breathing.

Igniz had told him he'd be getting some unusual assistance today in holding the front. It was one of the more illustrious assignments, guarding the front, so curiosity had gotten the better of him, drawing him out of the heated darkness to which he often kept. Of course, it was only expected for his station. It was only natural for the third. His heavy circuitry-laced boot fills the wet grounds with a heavy clomp and a splash, sending bits of water everywhere. His coat a long elaborate thing that frames his body in great tufts of mane, revealing only his eyes above a high collar. Hands too like claws flexed, instinctively restless. A prestigious assignment.

But for him, it wasn't much more than ashes.

No, it's curiousity today that draws him out to the sill, moving him out into the light, silver hair a shade too dingy to be truly beautiful shining irregularly in the light. There were certain things he liked. Certain things he preferred. And he often got them, because you don't tell someone like him to let be. And one of those things.. is to know exactly who he's going to be working with.

Don't be mistaken.

His faith in the judgment of NESTS, though only the slit in a cat's eye, is not questioned. But it's his way to insist. He won't put up with anonymity. That's part of what has him instinctively annoyed with his backup today. There's only a few things he cares about.

A mystery isn't one of them.

"The mission," he minds to the masked enigma, in the deadly tones that do not condone failure at all. He doesn't feel any particular need to say anything further. A flash passes him, and he thinks it just a meandering. But he sniffs the air, and something annoyed curls beneath that collar of his.

It's something on the wind, different from the riot, different from the chaos.

NESTS trains their toys well, to be that attuned.

"Feeling like going nowhere.." he murmurs, mostly to himself.

It doesn't really take long for Howard to answer the call. But first, the very recent past.
There he is, at Pacific, sharing the dread with the rest of the kids, sitting on the Athletics Field while the football team decides to practice a number of defensive plays in case of an attack. Ryu comes along by chance, and talks at length about a bunch of things concerning fighting and the inevitability of tyranny falling apart even if they succeed. Before long, Ryu's on his way, and Mr. Rust goes back to where he was before. Waiting. Wondering... until a head count is performed. Some come up missing. Some very familiar names. But who would go find them? More importantly, /where/?
Despite the wishes of some of the more capable fighters, the shop teacher continually insists they stay. But who's going to go out to find them, when they have no idea where to look? The staff wants him to stay, he's the only grown-up there with any real fighting capacity worth a damn. He's at a loss in the middle of a town-wide war zone. He's a working man, not some kind of vigilante superhero. All it takes to get him to action, however, is a call from a familiar voice.
"Hey... this is How-- oh, hey. Haru. Yeah... it's a god damn mess here, how are-- oh, oh SHIT!!" It all comes together right on the spot when he hears about Gedo's plight. They're /targeting/ schools... or at least that one! And now that he thinks about it... that may be where some of those missing students are, given the whole Guardian Kings vs. Pacific Resistance rivalry that has influenced at least a couple kids here. He only gives a passing message to Roy's buddies and one of the other teachers on staff that he's heading out to Gedo, but has the courtesy to tell them which roads he's taking... and to also call up a certain someone else to exchange notes. He may be the only adult from Pacific to head out, but he knows it is truly stupid to go alone. He makes another call.
Before long, he's driving his crappy, soon-to-be-scrap pickup truck across lawless streets at speeds that well exceed the legal limit (but yet would be considered perfectly safe on America's highways) through the fighting until he comes to a stop just outside of the Gedo parking lot (in front of a fire hydrant, shame on him). He doubts he's going to find a safer place to stop any closer to the school.
Which brings us to the present, where the teacher gets himself out of the passenger side (because the driver side door is still broken and won't open), Ol' Rusty already drawn and in hand as he looks back over his shoulder to ensure his backup, united by fate in this project of justice, didn't spill out of the back along the way. This part of Southtown is really vicious with the speed traps.

It's time.

Raizo Imawano is not a man unprepared for war. Part of the reason he has been an on-and-off participant in the fighting world the last few years have been to impress upon people that he is out and about, and more than ready to tear them limb from limb. His school is a /fortress/. He surrounds himself with men and women capable of great things.

He has awaited this day. He has been fielding calls in his office as best he can, but there are limits to what one man can do against this level of threat. And then Howard Rust calls him, and Raizo Imawano stands up, walks out the door, and tells his secretary to have Hyo handle matters for the rest of the day.

Thus it is that when Rust steps out of his car, Raizo hops off, the frame of the truck giving off a relieved groan as his weight removes itself. The old man clenches his fists, looking down at Rust briefly.

"On your toes," he rumbles. "We will not be alone for long."

Sometimes, however, things slip through even Raizo's armor.

Ojike no Oni abruptly lets out a grating laugh, the mask's voice modulator turning his voice into an unidentifiable growl. If Krizalid looks at his erstwhile companion at this point, he has shifted position without making any sound, perching on the edge of the wall nearest him, those slightly luminous red eyes locked onto him. He stops laughing to inhale deeply. "Ah, child, I bother you. Do not worry, boy, I have no intention of striking out at you." The ropes of red, white, and black 'hair' erupting from the back of the mask quiver of their own apparent accord, limned by a faint red mist, and Kichiga suddenly drops, gliding rather than falling to the ground.

"You taste terrible."

At that, his head suddenly jerks up, and with another deep breath, his head twists around in the direction of Rust and Raizo's approach. Black gloves tighten on the cane, leather creaking - Raizo. He had hoped not to encounter him personally, things get risky... but there is another. He'll have to be careful.

"They come, boy. Shall we meet them?"

The youth pauses. Youth he is--by a large handspan's margin the youngest blood in the vicinity, but to watch him quiet and think on the Oni's words would give the impression of a more presumptive age. As if roughly shoving the words aside, he busies himself with finding the approach now in the distance, a pair of people--one he recognizes from the mission files detailing the important players in the fight. The other is an unknown quantity.

Finally, when he speaks a full sentence, it's a haltingly dark voice, giving rise to the night. "Don't get cocky," he warns. "I don't care. If you're not on my side... I'll tear you in half."

It's as simple as that.

"Let's go."

When Krizalid moves, a cat wearing steel boots, all complex motions committed smoothly and without preamble, he moves.. fast. Kicking up a whirlwind in his wake, he crosses the distance. There won't be any time here for stealth, or for clever entry plans. Krizalid has no time. And little patience, besides. Though both can only arguably discern the incoming's direction and intent, the difference doesn't concernpeople who really--truly--matter. Krizalid moves eyelessly, his body taking some time to skid to a stop only a short distance in the lot from Raizo and Rust, his limbs swaying oddly with the motion, flickers of data fed to his boots, squealing on the cracked pavement. They tell him just when to stop, but only just so.

Momentum lurching from his frame, he straightens.

Blocking the way.

Smoke trailing from his coat, scarred eyes take in the two. Already, his mind is beginning to discern weakness, collecting data relentlessly. Reticules fill his vision, along with notations of biomass and impact algorithms drawn on each of the domes of their skulls. Flow data on their throats.

He doesn't bother with the niceties.

He'll ask it of these yahoos only once.

"You sure you two want to die?"

Kichiga, curiously, is nowhere to be seen, right as the action is about to begin. How troublesome.

The shop teacher nods his head in silent acknowledgment of the fact. Outside of his knee giving a little pop as he shuffles up towards the campus, Ol' Rusty held back and away an an anticipatory stance. Rust and Imawano make for an unlikely team. Both may work in education. One is the principal of the toughest, most prestigious school in the country and may be thought of as one of the greatest fighters of all time with a somewhat shady past. The other is the shop teacher of a snooty international school who may as well just picked up a pipe off the ground for lack of anything better on hand, of perhaps little note in the big scheme of things. (They fight crime!)
Damp puddles along the path in this parking lot further betray any notions of stealth Howard may attempt to achieve. A splash marks the stop of Pacific's one grown-up representative of the resistance as his sight takes in the figure not far from him and his ally in the endeavor. That manner of dress... reminds him of that one with the long hair, looking a lot like that guy who stopped by on that day too... the same people?!
His fists clench out of nervous habit, refusing to straighten up in an attempt to match heights in place of fighting readiness. In fact, he leans forward a little more as Krizalid's question to the two of them comes with no ambiguity behind it. He'd fight to kill them. The word 'kill' is very fearful by itself when up against a threat you only know as 'superior to yourself.'
But through this uncertainty and fear, a gravelly voice answers a question with a question. "What do you... what do you want with these kids?" His teeth clench, eyes narrowed at the possibilities that surround what scant little he knows of it all - of the big picture. Who, where, why? ('When' and 'how,' fortunately, are pretty clear at this point.)

Not even Raizo is omniscient. He's a canny old man, blessed with all the cunning that lets you live a long life with multiple different super-powerful organizations determined to end it...but not even he can see everything. If he knew just what he'd overlooked, though, Ojike no Oni would be in a lot of trouble.

Raizo walks alongside Rust. His hands are at his sides. He looks every bit like he could be just out to talk to Gedo's principal, perhaps about letting him beat up some students for the amusement of all. But no - his glove is on, the only sign Raizo ever gives of his intention to go to war.

Krizalid appears. He's fast. But Raizo knows this one. "You again," the giant rumbles, unhappily. He looks down at Rust. The other fighter isn't used to combat on this level. It's different from the tournaments. You might die on accident there, but even Howard is required to get medics to try and save your life. Here...here, someone could die. Raizo clenches one fist, resolving to not be that person. "The last time we met, it seemed something of a game."

He doesn't stop when Rust does. He takes another step forward - challenging. One fist rises up, into a posture that could turn into Raizo's signature two-armed mauling stance in less than a second. "You should ask yourself that question, young man," he rumbles. "Get out of my way."

Krizalid was the only one who moved and when he stopped, he was alone. He glances to his left, then his right, by all means a casual thing, but some element of panic wells up within him like poison. No, he trusts the judgment of NESTS. But if that judgment is against him, he'd be at risk. Did they betray him?

The clone's eyes half-lid as he regards Rust.

Though invisible, his lips turn back in a languid sneer.

"Don't ask questions you can't handle the answers to."

The heat around him increases exponentially as a crackle and snap of dark energy slides down his claws. Momentary panic seemed to just crack and fall away, succumbing to a great pressure from within. Images flicker in his subconscious, catching his skull in an iron vise moved by a slow and calculated hand. Once he's in this far, there isn't any going back. Even if NESTS had turned on him. Even if Raizo had said something he'd found quaint in his own way, it didn't matter. Nothing did.


"That's enough of an answer."

Everything about him was an elaboration. An artificial life form. Conceived for one purpose. Power.

Suddenly as if slapping a gnat, Krizalid goes off, his great longcoat shifting as he bursts into motion, target reticules shifting and reacting to his motion, becoming one cross angle as a meter internally charges and a timer starts, instinctively, in his mind. He slings a blast of pure 'negativity', an energy blast that careens through the air with the hiss and pop of a projectile in transit, scorched ozone scent leeching into the air, power hanging off the trail of ionized air, windblown curtain upon the rod.

Risk assessment values were assigned.

Now blood needs to be drawn.

The reticule's focus?

'Raizo Imawano..' That blast of energy is viciously targetted, moving at a doubled pace dead for the legendary principal's beard. With an abundance of power crackling and snapping off his engineered talons, his power fluxes deeply. He isn't playing around this time, not for Raizo's sake, and not for a camera's sake.

Left to his own, he goes for the throat.

COMBATSYS: Kichiga has started a fight here on the left meter side.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Kichiga          0/-------/-------|

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

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Kichiga          0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0            Raizo

COMBATSYS: Krizalid has joined the fight here.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Kichiga          0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0            Raizo
[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Krizalid         0/-------/-------|

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

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Kichiga          0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0            Raizo
[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Krizalid         0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0             Rust

Along with Krizalid's movement, the air above Rust starts to... boil, it seems, for just an instant. Red mist explodes outward in a cloud where once there was nothing, and then, with a hiss, the Demon of Dread descends, hands tucked into his sleeves, tatters of cloth cracking with his drop.

Raizo carries too many risks, but this man, just a teacher of Pacific. A joke of a school! Nothing but foreigners with no real respect for education. He will do nicely. The mask's modulator emits a high, keening shriek as Kichiga nears, smoothly whipping a black cane from his sleeve and driving it down.

"Suffer!" he snarls, the butt of the cane striking right for the top of Rust's head. Because he's a jerk, if he makes contact, he pushes himself up on the cane into a handstand for a moment before snapping the cane away and making two rapid strikes at Rust's temples, pushing himself back and away from Krizalid and Raizo, trying to draw him off. Wooden geta click on the ground.

COMBATSYS: Kichiga successfully hits Rust with Phobia.

[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Kichiga          0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0            Raizo
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////   ]
Krizalid         0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0             Rust

It's moments like these that makes Howard glad he's able to get in touch with Justice's powerful principal. He's a new entry to tournament fighting. Reassuring as Raizo's confidence may be, he himself is standing his ground instead of pushing inward. One could taste the fear. Ryu put it in plain terms that once good and evil fight, there are one of two outcomes. Victory, or defeat. And what defeat here would mean... he doesn't let the thought complete itself, but it reads plainly on his face. His body language. To those of acute senses, the /smell/. The whole air around him. He's afraid. One could taste it. Maybe salt it a little, for flavor.
'Don't ask questions you can't handle the answers to.' His shaking leg is that metaphorical salt as he tries to tighten himself up a little bit more defensively, right as Krizalid and Raizo start to clash. What's he to do? He can't speed off on his own, who knows what's ahead. He's no match for this opponent, plain as day with the sheer speed the fighting starts. He doesn't notice the boiling above him. Howard does not really pay much attention to the temperature all too often.
What would be a perfect warning sign for anyone else goes completely unnoticed as the cry and accompanying shriek come out. He doesn't get a chance to look up as the cane nails him dead center on his scalp, pushing him down to a kneel into the puddle as his temples suffer these two rapid blows he almost doesn't notice in comparison.
His vision slowly looks up. What was... that /mask/, he remembers it from a TV special about infamous serial killers in Japan. His jaw hangs open. This guy, this guy's with them? He pushes himself up hastily. That guy over there, and now this serial killer. He speaks his thoughts out loud, fear and panic overcoming his ability to put up much of an effective defense or counterattack in those precious few seconds.
"What... what the hell is going on?!" His voice yells above the sounds of battle between some of the mightiest warriors.

COMBATSYS: Rust takes no action.

[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Kichiga          0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0            Raizo
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////   ]
Krizalid         0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0             Rust

COMBATSYS: Raizo dodges Krizalid's Negative Anguish.

[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Kichiga          0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0            Raizo
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////   ]
Krizalid         0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0             Rust

Raizo has to split his attention. Damn!

Kichiga comes at Rust out of freaking nowhere, and Raizo turns just in time to see it and see Rust completely fail to react properly. He can't yell yet - because here comes Krizalid's own assault!

But the bear ninja is not the sort of man to be beaten so easily. The blast comes at him, and Raizo grunts, and THROWS himself into the air, somersaulting over the energy blast. He lands on his hands. "HOWARD!" he yells out, and then growls a kiai and hurls himself skyward again, somersaulting once and then coming down on Krizalid with clawed hands open for slashing. That mask, he thinks, even as he flies at Krizalid. So this is even bigger than he'd feared. "DEFEND YOURSELF, MAN! This isn't the time for DOUBT!"

Kichiga's cane slides back up into his sleeve, and he inhales deeply.

If only you knew, Rust, when it comes to tasting fear.

"HAHAHAHAHA! DELICIOUS!" If this really is 'that' man, he must be very old by now, but you wouldn't know it to see him dash for Rust again, body hunched low, reaching for the ground with one gloved hand. "Terror, panic, disbelief, a veritable buffet! Oh, but how much deeper can it go? What is the core of your fear?"

Glove touches road, and Kichiga is hurling forward, feeling merciless about Rust's dilemma of self. He twists in the air with impossible control, one foot lashing out sideways for Rust's face, wood geta completely unforgiving. At least Krizalid doesn't have to worry about this stranger's /willingness/ to act, if he is enjoying himself... a bit much.

COMBATSYS: Raizo successfully hits Krizalid with Claw Stab.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////// ]
Kichiga          0/-------/-------|==-----\-------\0            Raizo
[     \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////   ]
Krizalid         0/-------/-----==|=------\-------\0             Rust

A mild look of scorn crosses Krizalid's lips as traces of purple-black, unnatural chi still trace across his clawed gloves. The scorching blast is so deftly outmaneuvered by the similarly-beclawed principal, even as the dusky-skinned man's gaze tracks the old bear with sensors far more capable than the human mind. "Fast for such a blocky guy..." Krizalid notes distantly to himself. "This might be a pro--"
Which is about when that clawed appendage shoves down upon Krizalid with all the fury of a thousand bears. Shredding through the longcoat the man wears, the sheer, kinetic force of the blow /alone/ is enough to launch the tall, thin man straight backwards through the air. Midway through he recovers, eyes snapping wide and smile broadening behind his cowl. "Good! We've found some entertainment!"
Twisting nimbly through the open air, Krizalid lands only a moment later, eyeing his shredded coat. The impact alone stings -- it nearly compromised that powerful armor beneath. "... Hnn. You're going to have to pay for that, you know..." As Krizalid speaks, crimson flames lick around his body -- the trademark flames of the Kusanagi, slowly crawling up his arms, his torso, his legs -- consuming him and burning away that feather boa coat into little more than ash, revealing the battlesuit beneath.
"I'll forward you the bill."
In one deft movement, Krizalid SPRINGS forward, lunging at Raizo with every intent to grip the large man by his tie; his left hand aims to jam itself into Raizo's midsection before simply seeking to /flip/ the large man over, and smash him squarely, back-first, into the hard earth.

COMBATSYS: Rust blocks Kichiga's Light Kick.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////// ]
Kichiga          0/-------/------=|==-----\-------\0            Raizo
[     \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////    ]
Krizalid         0/-------/-----==|==-----\-------\0             Rust

His legs damp in cold water from kneeling into that puddle, the shop teacher struggles to get his bearings in an already bad situation. Maybe he should've stayed on Pacifi-- Raizo yells at him for that moment of weakness. The teacher grits his teeth. No, if he did stay on campus, who would look for the other kids? The kids that could fight, maybe, but no one was willing to let them come to danger against highly organized armies. Would-be muggers here and there... okay. But these?! Either way, Raizo's right. Defend himself, not the time for doubt, who knows how many people are counting on him in there...
How long would that train of thought carry him aloft before he drowns in a sea of fear and his own blood?
The bold speech about terror, panic, disbelief... he doesn't hear the last part over Raizo drilling his feelings on the whole matter to Krizalid, but even just the vague /sound/ of that voice is chilling. Yet, there he is, standing there. Face to face with a legendary serial killer, if that's the same guy who's now leaping at him even as he tries to get his bearings straight. The kick flies, and the Pacific teacher's left forearm goes to meet the geta. Geta collides with forearm undramatically. Howard barely flinches, hardly losing an inch.
If anything, for a moment, he's frozen with relief. That first hit, that first hit alone... is that really all he's got? He nods his head to his own thought as he reaches down with that same hand to the collar to try and stand the man of mystery up forcefully, wordless as his grip on Ol' Rusty is reasserted before trying to slam the butt end of it once in the demon's chest if he can manage this much.
Though there is no spoken word, it reads like a children's book on his face. He is not striking because he has to, not because there is a purpose for getting past him. It is out of desperation that he not lie cold and dead in this parking lot tonight.

COMBATSYS: Raizo blocks Krizalid's Quick Throw.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////   ]
Kichiga          0/-------/------=|==-----\-------\0            Raizo
[     \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////    ]
Krizalid         0/-------/----===|==-----\-------\0             Rust

More than a pro. Last time, Krizalid managed to beat Raizo...by a hair, and mostly it involved getting back up after Raizo had beaten him silly. This time, the princibear is on to that trick. He's not sure how he'll overcome it, but he knows he has to somehow be ready in case Krizalid doesn't go down when Raizo senses he ought to.

"Pay for it, huh," Raizo rumbles, dropping right back into aggressive posture. His eyes flick to those burning arms. Flames. Kusanagi flames. Did he have those last time? He must have. Raizo's seen so many abominations against man and nature that they're starting to blur together. He clenches his fist, watching the coat burst into flames. "I'm not paying for it if you set it on fire, young man," he spits back, just in time to get grabbed by the tie. Raizo's a huge guy, not even his agility can make up for it entirely. So he's brought low - and then Krizalid finds his knee matched by an open-handed fist, which latches onto his knee.

"And YOU," he growls, suddenly whipping Krizalid up with nothing but pure, main strength, and HURLING him downrange, "should be more worried about your HOSPITAL bills!"

COMBATSYS: Krizalid interrupts Strong Throw from Raizo with Rising Darkmoon.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////        ]
Kichiga          0/-------/------=|======-\-------\0            Raizo
[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////    ]
Krizalid         0/-------/-======|==-----\-------\0             Rust

COMBATSYS: Kichiga just-defends Rust's Armed Combo!

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////        ]
Kichiga          0/-------/------=|======-\-------\0            Raizo
[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////    ]
Krizalid         0/-------/-======|==-----\-------\0             Rust

"Not going to -pay for it-?!"
Krizalid looks almost aghast from where he stands, staring at Raizo as if he had said something he absolutely should not have said. Rust, Kichiga -- they're forgotten. If Kichiga is even halfway competent he should be able to pull off the job. "No one loses to a guy with a combover," Krizalid helpfully observes.
However, Krizalid is brought back to the more important subject -- the subject of his coat. Combat data streams with hues of white that sparkle across black datalines as Krizalid is fed information on Raizo from his previous encounter -- all while speaking amiably. "Listen -- I'm not the guy who just cut through my own coat like a rabid monster, eh? EH? You know how much time it takes to sew these things back together? Especially when you don't know how to /sew/? I can't make a Martha Stewart clone that lasts long enough to--"
But suddenly, Raizo's hand is clenching around his knee in the midst of Krizalid's thrust. Painfully. Flipped upwards, Krizalid seems like nothing more than a ragdoll -- at least until one wind-laced fist crashes into Raizo's big, bearded jaw. The impact is meant to send the ninja principal upwards with Krizalid, detach him from the Irishman's poor limb, and send him even further upwards -- into a /second/ uppercut, blades of wind cutting into the big man's torso, and then a /third/ with one brutal, upwards slash of clawed arms, intent to knock the burly man away as Krizalid lands deftly with a pant.
"--Haahhhh -- Don't interrupt someone when they're speaking. You're a principal, aren't you, you should know these things."

The Demon certainly doesn't move naturally, that much is for sure. His kick cracks off Rust's arm, and he returns to a mid-air defensive stance, still gliding gently like something out of a wuxia film.

He sees the pipe coming, and has ample time to reach down and push against the pipe, flinging himself up and over Rust.

"You are already shattering, and I haven't even begun! It is almost not worth the effort!" He flips about in the air, voice crackling out of his modulator, and holds his hand out toward Rust. The wide sleeve flares open. "Now... SHOW ME YOUR FEARS!" Leaping as though of its own volition, a censer spilling blood red mist launches out toward Rust, attached by a chain somewhere deeper within the outfit. The mist is more than it seems - a conduit for a telepathic suggestion from Kichiga's psycho power, carrying with it a thousand whispers, shrieks, and growls and a bone-deep, exhausting fear. The chain doesn't try anything fancy like wrapping around Rust's neck - it's merely a delivery system.

Of course, it won't be a good time if the censer's cage smacks Rust in the face.

COMBATSYS: Rust endures Kichiga's Dark Censer.

[  \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////        ]
Kichiga          0/-------/-----==|======-\-------\0            Raizo
[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Krizalid         0/-------/-======|====---\-------\0             Rust

Mr. Rust takes a stumbling step forward as The Demon shows off some... really, unnatural moves. Cherry, she was fluid. Quick. Acrobatic. Interesting to look at (in more than one way). This one is beyond acrobatic. It is indeed unnatural, in the short glimpse he has of the Demon before Pacific's one grown-up hope is vaulted over like gym equipment.
He looks behind him, taunted by this. Shattering, and he hasn't even begun... not worth the effort? He is that bad off here, isn't he. He winces reflexively as the hand is held out, expecting something to come out a lot faster than it actually does. A moment later, the blood red mist comes, engulfing his vision and making him cough up a terrible storm as he inhales some of it. Ugh! He sweeps his left hand in front of it.
When he coughs, there are so many... so many things. They are loud. Insultive. They call him weak. Some ask him to cry. He doesn't notice the chain managing to bounce off his left collarbone as all these fearful suggestions come all at once. Give up. Scream. Fear. Cower!
He hears a very different voice somewhere in there. 'No one loses to a guy with a combover.' A stunned face obscured by the mists and decorated with old coughs suddenly growls, gritting and grinding his teeth. His left arm feels around for something he briefly feels resting against his forearm, grabbing for that chain that makes the voices even louder as he attempts to tug his wielder closer. Those voices yell, all right. More suggestive. Demeaning.
Ol' Rusty spins about in his right hand, clearing away some of the excess mist that actually goes that far past him as he takes a bold step forward with his right foot. (His respective knee doesn't like it.) With this, he swings the pipe up in his trademark advancing uppercut, the mist clearing away with the path it takes as the grim sight of Gedo under siege - and its foul, ill-meaning guardians - fall into focus for a moment.
"Shut UP!!" Howard scowls through it all, looking to turn the tide on this serial killer. He might not be in Raizo's weight class, but he'll be damned - he'll really be damned - if he's going to let someone call him weak for his /hair/. That he mistakes Krizalid's observation for one of the Demon's in that mess, well...

Raizo grunts, eyes involuntarily looking over as the serial killer called Demon taunts Rust. THe man's already not cut out for this kind of work, Raizo reflects. He shouldn't have agreed - should have told Rust to stay with the children. Raizo could've brought Hyo, or Kyosuke...or both. Even just the two of them could have levelled almost any threat. The three together...

No time to be reflecting. And no time to bark more encouragement at Rust, because Raizo suddenly takes one in the chin! Physics is a screaming little girl beneath the notice of fighters of this caliber, so Raizo goes flying upward even while Krizalid lands, and then the bear-man eats another uppercut, shooting him even higher, and a third, rocketing him, impossibly, higher still--

And despite it all, he still has breath to call: "You forget...men like you don't receive such courtesy!" Raizo yells out. "A talking to is the least of your concerns!" And then he somersalts, and...falls.

With both feet out.

COMBATSYS: Krizalid blocks Raizo's Heavy Kick.

[  \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////       ]
Kichiga          0/-------/-----==|======-\-------\0            Raizo
[            \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////          ]
Krizalid         0/-------/=======|===----\-------\0             Rust

SYSTEMS DATA: v Impact: 36 mph, f Impact: 790 lbs, direct arc, GRID 35-75-72-56-45-42-41-50...Threat: Likely.

A constellation of information floods across his vision, along with that countdown timer, seconds winnowing away slowly to nothing, but there isn't any time for Krizalid to review the result as he is esconced in the blot of meat that is the explosive principal Raizo Imawano. No, he has to put up a defense now. One eye turning up coldly, he snorts.

"What is a man like me?"

He begins to make use of that prior battle data.

"I'll tell you this much;" Suddenly hitting Krizalid is like hitting iron, the youth sliding arms into the way of the cannon also known as Raizo's explosion of leg, heavy shoes slamming into his guard cataclysmically. His boots brace against it, but also cut into the air just a little. Just enough to absorb the shock by sending him skidding back, as if on ice, as opposed to absorbing all that force into his frame.

"When I say something, you should listen."

Then the clone leaps.

In an instant he leaps at Raizo. His limbs twist in just the right way to give him perfect balance--and if Raizo doesn't move, he's going to alight perfectly on the larger man's shoulders, a bird in a tree. His talons hanging down, the glint will be clearly visible to the principal.

"Otherwise, I'm taking what I'm owed out your ass."

Hands sharpened to points will lay in, trying to just tear Raizo's head open.

COMBATSYS: Kichiga blocks Rust's Cement Upper.

[    \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////       ]
Kichiga          0/-------/----===|======-\-------\0            Raizo
[           \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////          ]
Krizalid         0/-------/=======|===----\-------\0             Rust

The chain starts to unravel, and Kichiga snatches at it, wrapping it around his hand before it can get away. How those chains are set up is a great mystery - and the act makes it easy for the man to be reeled in toward Rust. He sees the pipe coming in, but can't just flounce around it as usual. He pulls his arm in front of his mask and braces.

The pipe strikes just ahead of his elbow, skidding the rest of the way up his arm, the changshan sleeve rippling around it. Flexing his hand, he disengages with a light kick, choosing not to glide this time.

The censer suddenly bucks in Rust's grip, the chain thrashing itself loose to slide back into the demon's sleeve. "He thinks you are weak." A slow, languid roll of his head toward Raizo. "Contempt rolls off of him like fog off the ocean. How does it feel to be failing the man who trusts in you?!" Kichiga grins fiercely beneath his mask, as he gathers himself up and pounces, thicker chains lashing from his outstretched hand to try and rip Howard off his feet, hand on face. "You are nothing, /whelp/, a poor decision, a failure of planning. The chink in the armor that is about to bring ruin to your ally!" More psycho power billows directly out of Kichiga's sleeve as he starts dragging Rust along the ground. "Hahahahaha! Poor fool!"

COMBATSYS: Rust interrupts Die Screaming from Kichiga with Bulldozer.

[        \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////       ]
Kichiga          0/-------/-======|======-\-------\0            Raizo
[           \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////             ]
Krizalid         0/-------/=======|====---\-------\0             Rust

There's no doubt that Howard is well over his awful combover. A terrible start. Surprised, outmaneuvered by a truly scary foe. Raizo's doubts about his partner may very well be eclipsed by one Mr. Rust's doubts about himself. He's been up against NESTS before when they took on Pacific. He got his ass handed to him, all right. But he went down with a fight, in spite of everything. He's expressed his fears to the iconic fighter Ryu. Ryu gave back his own observation of things as a brand of encouragement. If that's helping any...
...it doesn't show.
'He thinks you are weak.' Who, Howard mouths without saying as the head rolls towards Raizo. He only follows it briefly. Okay, when they first met... yeah, he was meek, a bit shy, why wouldn't he be? He represented Pacific in that gathering, before one of the most prestigious school principals in the nation. Perhaps even the world. Here they are, once again together... fighting a desperate fight. He doesn't know how well Raizo's doing but anybody can tell Howard's not with the upper hand.
The chains gather around his feet. He pulls back sharply enough that he doesn't fall on his face, but damn, they dig into his ankles! They start going numb, and before he knows it, Kichiga's hand is on his face. He grimaces through the taunts and those... those words.
Stop. That's his own thought. What the hell, man. He starts to kneel - no, more look like he's sitting in thin air as Kichiga starts to laugh and enter tug-o-war. Strangely, he doesn't make any sort of striking motion in which to sock it to the Demon. No, he takes Ol' Rusty in both hands, holding horizontally for some reason.
With his mouth, he murmurs a vocal likeness of an engine turning on. It's less like him being pulled forward and now him /going/ forward, his body shaking in the seat of an invisible bulldozer as he just pushes like he's running the Demon over.
He is. Eventually, he shoves Kichiga along like a mound of dirt, Howard's body shuddering oddly as he goes across the uneven cracked parking lot terrain... before he falls onto his back, scooping up the serial killer with his feet to send him flying up above and away while the whispers start to fade away. His heart doesn't stop pounding. No, it gets worse. He's afraid, spiritually shaken. But he can still do the job, he thinks. He can still do the job.

COMBATSYS: Raizo fails to interrupt Strong Punch from Krizalid with Yasha Guruma EX.

[        \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////           ]
Kichiga          0/-------/-======|=======\-------\0            Raizo
[           \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////             ]
Krizalid         0/-------/=======|====---\-------\0             Rust

Raizo's eyes widen. He was ready for that!? Raizo remembers, distantly - some kind of mimicry ability? Damn, did he have eidetic memory, too!? The mountain of a man ricochets away from Krizalid, somersalting again and coming down in a perfect battle stance, as if he'd never engaged in such ridiculous acrobatics.

"Oh," Raizo growls. "Trust me. I'm hanging on every word!"

And then Krizalid shoots at him in an instant. Raizo tries to stop him before he can even get close - shooting upward, howling, "YASHA GU--"

AQnd then Krizalid's fingers sink into his scalp. He's a sturdy man, his head doesn't just pop open like a balloon, but the level of blood involved is not a pretty thing, especially with Raizo too far out of positiuon to do much but sceram.

He doesn't dawdle.

Though his talons draw blood--and an impressive sum of it that may result in a few wicked-looking healing gashes across the top of that man's head, scalpraking Raizo is only going to do so much--bleed him, flood his eyes, weaken him. But it won't really deal with him, and if he lingers too long, Raizo is liable just to tear him in half.

It's so agonizing to turn away from all that screaming, though..

When Krizalid leaps away, he doesn't move far at all. The sum of distance gained is altogether small, because he just... can't stay too far away. There is no interest in his mind of retreat, no interest in surrendering that opening of weakness, that barter of pain.

It's almost enough to make him forget about his support losing ground, who has otherwise been availing himself handily. For a moment, he doesn't have anything else. And he doesn't want anything else.

He snarls, still in mid-air, long form twisting in the air as he raises a leg, just over a small Camry parked nearby. It arrests his momentum in the air before he twists, turning upside down before his claws sink into the sheet metal of the hood, setting up a horrendous squeal, one leg held tight against his frame, as he looks over a shoulder at Raizo. "Then--"

His entire body slaps bonelessly, going off like a rubberband wound too tight, his leg whipping out and around, whirling an arc of charged force into the air that culminates in a whirlwind. A shearing force that finishes what his claws had only started, shearing the abandoned Toyota in half like it weren't much more than a Pepsi can, ripping through the passenger's compartment as the charged gale becomes a tempest, twisting across the ground a heaven-sent killer, the size of the whirling blast making light of Krizalid's entire body on its way to do the same thing to Raizo.

"Hang onto this word: Despair. It's all you're gonna have left!!"

Kichiga's red eyes widen Rust starts being a weird guy. What? What the hell was that? The chains release, vanishing back into his sleeves as he produces his cane again to try and fend off this crushing advance. At the end of it, as Rust's strength simply overpowers his, that blood red mist begins to bubble out of his eyes like a foam, spilling out of the mask.

He sails toward the wall. There are a few abortive plumes of smoke as he tries to teleport, but can't manage enough focus, and slams into that barrier ringed around Gedo, leaving cracks. /Then/ he manages to teleport, dropping out of a new plume of dust in front of Rust, some feet away. "If only you were stronger..." He doesn't stop! "...if only you were not washed up scrap, you would not fail your ally this day."

This time, Kichiga approaches slowly, opposed to his normal furi--nope, there it is. Two steps, and he leaps, fabric flapping around him. "...because you stepped before Ojike no Oni this day! NOW YOU MUST BE /BROKEN/, /RECYCLED/ LIKE /SCRAP!/" His voice shifts into a gravelly roar, and he makes a scissoring chop with both hands for Rust's neck.

COMBATSYS: Rust blocks Kichiga's Strong Punch.

[        \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////           ]
Kichiga          0/-------/-======|=======\-------\0            Raizo
[            \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////               ]
Krizalid         0/-------/=======|=====--\-------\0             Rust

After that ending toss from moments ago, that familiar feeling of stiffness returns to Howard. Every time. Every time he really puts his back into readying himself for the worst, every time he tries to flex his greatest trait in grave danger, his body responds by trying to lock up at the joints. Like a corpse? Maybe more like... a statue.
No matter what sort of simile or metaphor one might use, it's one of those things age brought him as a gift for working himself to the bone. He struggles to pull himself up, coughing once more as he now hasn't any idea where the man... no, that /monster/ went. Where--
The plume of dust in front of him spells it out as he pre-emptively brings up his left forearm again. 'If only you were stronger.' Even with that single voice, it adds up more than the legion that's haunted him on and off in this encounter. 'If only you were not washed up scrap, you would not fail your ally this day.'
Kichiga approaches. He takes a step back out of caution, up until Kichiga thrusts at him. Both hands of the Demon draw back, he can't stop that with just one...!
Hesitantly, he brings up both, fists clenched with Ol' Rusty now pointed away as he intercepts both chops by spreading these forearms outward, at which point both almost all but bounce off of him. He doesn't have perfect confidence in this maneuver /even after it is actually successful/, wincing as he pulls his head back. One of his knees start to complain the way it usually does, with a pop and a surge of pain running up the respective thigh. A fairly familiar ache.
His heart maintains its frightfully fast rate. It's like it's trying to say, 'Howie, stop, I wanna be carried away and go home.' He's never really listened to his heart. Physically speaking, anyway.
"Is that..." He mumbles, clearing his voice so he can be heard again. "Is that... is that really... all you have to say?" Even when he tries to speak louder, it's rather meek for a guy with such a deep, gravelly voice. But, the facts settle in. Without really putting much into it, that... didn't... hurt a whole lot.
He steps off with the foot opposite of the one attached to that aching knee, leaping a wholly pathetic distance into the air for someone billed as a fighter. Ol' Rusty is over his right shoulder, pointed away like he's shouldering it. His left forearm, raised with his fist clenched. Both of his knees bend inward as if this would give him much more height. What's he going to do? Swing? Kick?
With what miniscule height or distance he gets with that jump, he actually... does very little. The aching knee in question is the one that's pointed a little closer to Kichiga. That's it. The summation of any such involvement he puts forth in whatever aerial technique he's hoping to get off, his combover flapping in the leftover displaced breeze of that Typhon's Rage from all the way over there.
His eyes are wide, just about ready to pop out of his head. His teeth are bared, working up a single, loud, angry shout as he aims to come down upon the Demon with naught but that barely outstretched knee, as if it were all he needed to do any sort of significant damage in the air.

COMBATSYS: Raizo parries Krizalid's Typhon's Rage - Strike!

[        \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////           ]
Kichiga          0/-------/-======|=======\=------\1            Raizo
[            \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////               ]
Krizalid         0/-------/=======|=====--\-------\0             Rust

Raizo's howl doesn't seem to have stopped him. Krizalid is right. Something like that won't do much but piss Raizo off...and that is not the sort of man you want to take lightly when he's angry at you.

Case in point: Krizalid spins in midair, stops himself against a car's roof. Raizo watches. Something's going to happen.

And happen it does: Krizalid hurls a blast at him, powerful and deadly. Raizo's lip curls up, waiting for it, knowing exactly the timing he needs. Krizalid yells at him. Raizo...grins.

"Despair!?" Raizo scoffs. "Something like that...CAN ONLY MAKE ME LAUGH, BOY!"

And then he moves, too fast, impossibly. One foot plants and he darts forward - the distance by which the whirlwind misses him can only be measured in millimeters, because he detours only the barest bit around it, an impossibly aggressive charge. He plants one foot, eyeing Krizalid with a manic intent. "So why don't you laugh with me!" the Principal of Justice High challenges, and then screams, "YASHA GURUMA!" and surges forward, his entire body like a cannonball wrapped in chi, charging into Krizalid, /through/ Krizalid, demolishing that poor car in the process and probably sending the halves flying as he soars.

COMBATSYS: Krizalid endures Raizo's Yasha Guruma EX.

[        \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////           ]
Kichiga          0/-------/-======|=======\===----\1            Raizo
[                     \\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////               ]
Krizalid         1/---====/=======|=====--\-------\0             Rust

Landing low to the ground nimbly after the whirlwind rage he unleashed, Krizalid's data record indicates a flawless attack, engineered perfectly to simply do away with Raizo's petty nonsense. You see, Krizalid knows a thing or two about that kind of despair.

Claws still dripping blood, he looks up.

And makes the mistake of blinking.

What the fu--

NESTS has probably evaluated Krizalid with train impacts that have borne less force. His enhanced sight method errors out as the principal of the beyond elite school tears into him with at least forty hands worth of claw, shredding expensive electronics to pieces in that armor of his, causing the clone to just be ground away against that impact. With his vision erroring out, the countdown total becoming less a thing in his eye and more a thought in his head. Static blasts every sense as the electronics scramble to compensate for the damage, to still collect data, but the inaudible alarm bells going off in every facet of Krizalid's senses.. are ignored.

I am.. more than that.

Most importantly, pain blooms all over his body, his form wracked with damage, electricity and blood. But that blood boils now, taking on a vague scent of sulfur as Krizalid falls back in the case of a force that scatters even the wreckage of an automobile. As if delirious, he turns eyes upwards, the choking that had come from some organ of his being almost torn out temporarily abating.

He is his own.

He is important.

"You laugh at despair, huh.." he murmurs, smoke slowly curling from his back in twin trails, his talons slowly raising as the clone rises, looking for all intents and purposes like the walking dead, but eyes burning fiercely. Time plus two seconds. He grins. Suddenly, his body bursts into flames, cooking his blood until it rages. These guys.. came onto his turf. And are fighting with /his/ soldiers. These valiant NESTS soldiers...

"Not a bad plan.." he murmurs.

Oh, he wants to do so much more.

Great wings spread open, made of equal parts smoke, fire and blood. The grand stench is pervasive, but it's not new to these guys. We're all Demons. Aren't we? "... ha." he starts.

His talons, now made of more fire than flesh, flex. "Hahaha..."

This legacy. This hated blood of his--it was /brilliant/.

And it was /his/.


Carving meters long gouges of flash-smelted molten concrete in the earth in a massive cross shape, Krizalid doesn't so much try to cut off Raizo's options, or calculatedly disable him. After all this, there's only one thing he'll put up with.


COMBATSYS: Rust successfully hits Kichiga with Strong Kick.
- Power hit! -

[              \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////           ]
Kichiga          1/------=/=======|=======\===----\1            Raizo
[                     \\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////               ]
Krizalid         0/-------/------=|======-\-------\0             Rust

Kichiga is struck... primarily because he expected more. He waits, and waits, and realizes at the last moment that he's about to be sprung right into. Sure, he recovered from his foiled attack in time to respond, but his guard is caught miraculously down.

The full weight of Rust crashes into the mask, knocking it slightly ajar as it bowls the tormentor right over, chains scattering from his sleeves, the ropes of demon hair writhing as he skids. Now, Kichiga has been made angry. With a shout, he lashes his cane out and slams it into the ground, red mist bursting around him as he propels himself from supine to skyward in one forceful motion.

But it's a trick--! The mist catches up to Ojike no Oni, and he vanishes in his by-now easily recognized teleport. This time, however, the mist explodes out around Rust, obscuring his vision, and--

COMBATSYS: Rust blocks Kichiga's Foul Punishment.

[               \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////           ]
Kichiga          1/-----==/=======|=======\===----\1            Raizo
[                     \\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////                 ]
Krizalid         0/-------/------=|=======\-------\0             Rust

Within the cloud, Kichiga appears behind Rust, back-to-back, whispering, "Your turmoil... has a magnificent bouquet, like the finest of wines..." The cane slides out of his sleeve, red power focusing into it, exploding out into a twisting blade that Kichiga drives back, trying to take Rust right through the heart. It isn't fatal, or even life-threatening, as the blade of power doesn't cut flesh, but rather brings an incredible, soul-deep pain.

But will it all go as he wishes?

Knee sails into Demon. There is hardly much more to put to it than that. For no particular reason, just making contact, so clean, without ambiguity. /Somehow/, his knee feels a whole lot better. As though it had some personal mission, undiscernible from the one whom it belongs to. It returns the moment he hits the cracked asphalt with a crack itself, pebbles scattering underneath the knee. Rust grunts as pain begins anew.
Ol' Rusty is thrust down against the ground as he pulls himself up with another disconcerting crack somewhere around his right shoulder, stepping back yet /again/ with a start from the shout with much more readiness than he appears to show when standing back up. The cane hits the ground. Red mist again! He looks up, up, up... where did he go?!
He learns as soon as the whispers, insults, shouts, and sneers come back. That they're so more readily identifiable than the actual red mist that obscures his vision entirely says a lot about how hard they hit home when they start anew. Kichiga speaks so clearly even above the chorus to talk about the delicate taste of his inner turmoil. Something goes through his chest. He can't tell what, but all of a sudden his right hand shoots up, Ol' Rusty pointed downward.
Put it down. His soul all but screams. Just put it down. Put it away. Let yourself be what you are. Washed-up. It's too late. No, he mouths. Do it, his soul basically communicates through searing pain. His left fist clenches so tightly that his fingernails dig into the palm. His right arm starts to lower the weapon towards the toolbelt. Put away the toys. You're too old for this. Why are you so immature? Loser. I'm not a loser, he trembles. Yes you are. Look at you. Just put it away, and that's that. Just live that boring, terrible life you deserve as some babysitter for a bunch of rich kids. That's all you earned after your hard work that means absolutely nothing to the world at large.
His body goes rigid in an attempt to fight all these fears bring. His eyes squint shut, thinking if he can't see the red mist, they'll go away. Nope. Slower, yet seemingly inevitably, he feels his hand guiding Ol' Rusty towards the toolbelt sheath. A tear forms out of his right eye. The tip comes dangerously close to careening through that pore torn hole that marks its home when it's not in his hand. He starts to kneel. That's right. Give in. You're done. Retire. Retire from all this. Retire from life if you have to. You've seen all you're ever going to accomplish.
One of his eyes open. Still more red mist. He growls, shouts... pretty much all but screams from the soul. Not a scream of pain. A scream of anger! At himself. Not fear of this guy... anger at himself. C'mon, what the hell, this isn't what Marisol saw in you. This isn't what Haru saw in you. This isn't waht Nataya saw in you. This isn't what Rick saw in you. This isn't what Zach zaw in you. Hell. This isn't what /anyone/ saw in you.
He kneels all the way down, knee striking into the ground as he thrusts Ol' Rusty down by the hip in one defiant motion of his body's unwillingness to move. His right elbow makes a most unpleasant snapping noise as Ol' Rusty goes to the toolbelt.
It doesn't go in. It slides right by it with a deafening scrape as he thrusts it upward in this motion, angling Ol' Rusty for one big shot to the Demon's kidney. He's not sheathing it yet!! To do so would be to denounce his dream of one day making it to what he's always aspired to be.
A fighting champion.

COMBATSYS: Raizo interrupts End of Eden from Krizalid with Ursa Ultimate.
- Power hit! -

[               \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////                  ]
Kichiga          1/-----==/=======|=======\======-\1            Raizo
[                           \\\  < >  /////////////                 ]
Krizalid         0/-------/--=====|=======\-------\0             Rust

Raizo Imawano is like a bear train meteor from Hell. And he hits Krizalid like one, too. The car Krizalid tore apart explodes in every direction when Raizo hits it, and then Krizalid also almost explodes in every direction, and then when he has blown Krizalid that far away, Raizo lands, taking a single deep breath. "Stay down," Raizo rumbles.

Krizalid is bad at following instructions, apparently. Raizo watches him boil. Watches the chi leak out of him, uncontrolled, watches the wings form and Krizalid's mind lose all coherence.

Raizo shakes his head. "Just uncontrolled, psychotic power," he says, setting his stance as Krizalid tears boiling lines in the earth. "I've fought people like you before. I've /beaten/ people like you before. AND I WILL AGAIN!"

His voice rises, and then Raizo, with seeming no concern for his own wellfare, LEAPS into Krizalid's body. It is nonsense. It is insanity. Nobody in their right mind simply charges into a man like Krizalid, boiling with chi and fire and blood, but Raizo does it, ramming one shoulder into the man and then simply sinking his claws in and tearing, ripping through armor and fire and flesh with a savage scream of exertion, and pain, and glory.

Hmn, so that's what a bear train meteor from Hell feels like. It's considerably more painful than he had expected. Yet in a way it was invigorating, he felt more alive than ever before as sweat poured down his face in buckets while the armor was torn into almost like a hot knife through butter.. Almost. The wounds to follow were grave, it wasn't looking good for the white-haired being and yet all he could do in the end was chuckle breathlessly as he was used as some sort of.. Kitty Litter box. Eventually enough is enough, however.

Staying down certainly isn't in his playbook plan, in his moment of chaos, the man finds the strenth to not only turn up the heat of the flames, with it the desperate strength to force the oversized man off of his body with the burst, sitting up and getting to his feet once more. Panting heavily, his leg draws upward, swirls a touch and then crashes to the ground, sending what is likely another incredible burst of energy, the tornado shaped blast reeling toward Raizo. It's only afterward that he finds himself slouching forward a touch, her entire body trembling as if he's quite nearing his ends after all?

COMBATSYS: Krizalid can no longer fight.

[               \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////                  ]
Kichiga          1/-----==/=======|====---\-------\0            Raizo
                                  >  /////////////                 ]
                                 |=======\-------\0             Rust

COMBATSYS: Kichiga blocks Rust's Deep Strike.

[                  \\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////                  ]
Kichiga          1/---====/=======|====---\-------\0            Raizo
                                  >  /////////////                 ]
                                 |=======\-------\1             Rust

Kichiga's Psycho Fog gradually clears, and he can taste Rust beginning to break. His breathing quickens, his twisted empathy eager to suck in delicious emotions, terror and hopelessness spreading across his tongue.

It's fucking creepy.

But then, he hisses sharply at the exact moment as Rust's resolve locks down, cutting off that magnificent taste. He hops back, crying, "No! NO! LAY DOWN AND SUFFER, GARBAGE--!" He pours it on, mist billowing from the back of his head as the red, white, and black ropes thrash madly, fabric cracking in wind that doesn't exist, gripping his cane at either end as the pipe comes diving in. He snarls, a harsh sound, and rushes to meet it.

Kichiga cannot easily manifest his power in outright evocations. He must focus it through objects, though he can achieve some dramatic effects this way. Unusual to evil psychics, his talents lie in the subtler effects of empathy and telepathy, though they are far more twisted than they should be. When an object is 'infused', it tends to be supernaturally resilient.

Kichiga is a psychopath. He is not frightened by Rust's ability to hold up - he is infuriated, and with this fury comes a lack of focus. His concentration wavers just as pipe meets cane, and it shatters in a red cloud after a moment of resistance, the pipe travelling up to crack against the mask's chin, bursting buttons on his changshan. Kichiga's modulator emits a horrible staticking shriek as it dies, eventually subsiding to a series of clicking pops. The top of his outfit is torn, revealing the aged skin beneath - blood running down his neck. The mask is not coming off - tiny hooks all around attach it to his flesh.

For a moment, he is dazed, striking at his own mask with one shattered end of the black cane, trying to knock his modulator back online - it refuses. He'll have to stay silent, and so his psychological warfare is truncated. And he sees Krizalid fall, behind Rust. He is alone. He must master himself. With a wheezing breath, he stops, and holds out the cane halves. His eyes bubble over with power again, red 'foam' running through the holes, dripping off the planes and angles of the demon face to dissolve in the air. For a moment, all is silent.

Then, he leaps, holding the halves above him. He leaps far in the air, sailing /above/ Rust, for Raizo. He has one chance to keep this even, and he can't let the principle watch too closely. There's too much risk. With a snarl in his own voice, unrecognizable from the kindly-but-stern history teacher, chains suddenly explode from every opening, every tear in his clothing, seething red as they move to ensnare Raizo. Hanging there in the air, he lashes the lengths of broken wood down over and over, whip-like extensions of Psycho Power driving down.

Fall, you old fool, he roars silently.

And there the Pacific shop teacher kneels, barely missing the sheathing motion to have thrust his weapon up and backwards through taunts, through jeers, through helpful suggestions... through /demands/. An offer for him to simply give surrender to it all, unconditionally, is rejected in whole with that one gesture. The fading mists from the smashed cane give their last regards, as foul as the last, until they are inaudible.
His right shoulder files its complaints through a searing pain traveling down the arm. Any possible chance for the teacher to have discovered the Demon's identity - were he even thinking about that between trying to keep his spirit together along with simply not dying in the street - are lost as he remains knelt, all but immobile.
His breath is loud, labored, wheezy. His heart continues to beat at a frantic pace. Any break in the onslaught of terror is hardly a break at all. The whispers may not be in his ear, but he will remember them for many nights as they replay in his head, over and over. Any shadowy figure, any mask that even /looks/ like that, those thoughts are going to come back. Those emotions, likely to be offered to the palate of the empty air of the night around him.
The sweat running down his brow adds to the puddle in front of him, a knee starting to soak in the biting chill. His left hand is numb, blood having trouble circulating where he typically tenses himself from physical harm. Whether it gives him any such comfort in itself against the emotional, he can't say. But, the pause in which he remains unassaulted gives rise to yet another terrible worry. Did he get him?
Straining against his body just wanting to stay put as it is, he turns his head behind him with a terrible crink in his neck. The Demon is not there. It seems like the one in the purple suit is unsteady on his feet. Raizo must have gotten him, thank goodness. He looks up to the sky... his left eye widens as he catches sight of his would-be tormentor going after Raizo, chains coming down from every angle! Scream, stupid! (This suggestion, actually, comes from the remainders of that red mist.)
"Raizo!! Above yoooouuu!" The last word is prolonged from the sheer strain in his throat after breathing in all of that... that, whatever it iwas, it was no normal mist. He coughs after the fact, unable to will himself to get up and move to his aid in stopping the assault.

COMBATSYS: Rust takes no action.

[                  \\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////                  ]
Kichiga          0/-------/-------|====---\-------\0            Raizo
                                  >  /////////////                 ]
                                 |=======\-------\1             Rust

COMBATSYS: Raizo blocks Krizalid's Typhon's Rage - Strike.

[                  \\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////                    ]
Kichiga          0/-------/-------|=====--\-------\0            Raizo
                                  >  /////////////                 ]
                                 |=======\-------\1             Rust

COMBATSYS: Raizo fails to interrupt Madness Manifest from Kichiga with Yasha Guruma.

[                  \\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////                          ]
Kichiga          0/-------/-------|======-\-------\0            Raizo
                                  >  /////////////                 ]
                                 |=======\-------\1             Rust

COMBATSYS: Raizo can no longer fight.

[                  \\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////                 ]
Kichiga          0/-------/-------|=======\-------\1             Rust

Raizo has no real problem with Krizalid's final strike. After bowling him back even further with savagery and power, Raizo backs off, allowing a failing Krizalid one more shot - a final, desperate attempt to get Raizo on the ground. In that it fails. Raizo brings his battered arms up, simply absorbing the weight of that awful twister with his sheer bulk. He couldn't dodge this time. A pity.

And then Rust cries out.

"What--" the old bear growls, turning just in time to see it - the misty assassin coming at him, capitalizing on his weakness. "No--!" he growls out, seeing it already - his open guard, where the energy will strike him. He moves anyway. Hesitation has killed more men than this.

He only gets off the ground, halfway into position for another bone-shattering assault of chi and deadly claws before the wood beats him, clobbering him about the skull enough that even Raizo is beaten. His leap aborts. He falls to the ground with a mighty THUMP and a weighty groan.

For another moment, the chains hold Kichiga suspended, held rigid. All at once, they slacken, the red psycho power draining away, fading away from his eyes. His glide is less graceful than it has been... really more of an interrupted fall. His geta crack against the ground, the chains slither back up his sleeves and pant legs, and he stumbles.

Kichiga relies on someone's unawareness of his hooks to prevent unmasking. More than once, someone has made a desperate tug - and their fears let them believe the face is real. Now the illusion is broken, and with enough luck, Rust could completely blow his cover and harm his flow of prey. He has to end this now.

Modulator still emitting staticky clicks, the psychopath realizes that he needs a final surge of adrenaline. Slowly turning to Rust, he lifts the shattered ends of his cane to his own exposed chest. His head rolls once, and snarling, he rakes the wood over his skin. Superficial but painful wounds open, and he spasms once, pulling from deep inside.

The red mist returns, bursting from his body - but it's not a teleport. The mist hangs there, like a globe. Two long Psycho blades extend out, promising pain within.

A chain leaps out of the globe, trying to wrap around Rust and drag him into Kichiga's waiting mist. The swords are already swinging, a frantic cuisinart of agony.

I'm going to say that again. Cuisinart of agony.

COMBATSYS: Kichiga successfully hits Rust with Terror of the Unknown.

[                      \\\\\\\\  < >  ///                           ]
Kichiga          0/-------/-------|=======\======-\1             Rust

Howard is, once again, fairly helpless to do much of anything as the chains and mist envelop Raizo. That last growl of 'no' cements it. That the one in the suit with the white hair is down is hardly much of a comfort. This man not only brought him to his knees - but he just took down the very principal of Justice High. His jaw hangs open in horror. Whether or not it was simply because Raizo was weakened and tired from his previous duel or for whatever other reason or excuse one may come to think up... Ojike no Oni is leagues beyond him.
Kichiga's gestures feel like they take longer than they actually do in real time. Each second is spent reflecting on a lot of things. What would've happened if he stayed at Pacific? What would've happened if he chose not to enroll in the Neo League? What would've happened if he told a certain someone he was going to hang it up at that one moment? Hell, what would've happened if he never took the overseas job to begin with?
Each question passes by his head as he motionlessly stares at the exposed chest. The snarling, the spasming... the blades... that mist... he knows what waits for him in that red mist. He doesn't want to come into it, but yet he can't find himself compelled to stand. The chain wraps around him without any difficulty around his right shoulder. The resistance is minimal as he pulls against it, a very loud, audible /pop/ followed by a sigh. That part... that part actually felt pretty good.
Would that be his last grace before the embrace of possible death? So he'd realize as his knees scrape against the asphalt, jeans developing a tear in the respective places as, at last, the asphalt manages a cut on his left knee. Into the red mist he goes, disappearing into the cuisinart of agony.
The garnish? Screaming.
The blades by themselves are not enough. The voices by themselves, perhaps with enough pep, with enough wind in his sails, he could weather them. The combination together at this point proves much too much, in short. Blood flies, clothes shred. His entire body goes numb with the noise in his ears - no, his heart - actually, his soul - and the blades, indiscriminately, for everything else that might be usable for blocking out those words.
For such an inflexible, ponderous man, he squirms. He works his voice for all it's worth. Anybody? Can anybody hear him? Can anybody who hear him help him?! That's all on his mind as he starts to fade into the mists as his welcome mat to the great herefater, tears flowing down his eyes to complete the picture of complete and utter domination.
But you know, his right arm really feels great after that tug. Unlike the rest of him, it's free of aches, of the complaints of his joints, even as much of him bleeds free. The slip in his confidence by that mist is all the Demon ever needed to work him over so thoroughly. But his right arm... at least that one's still with him.
There isn't any sort of time to think or reflect on it. Right arm's okay, and he can feel that familiar, reassuring presence that is a rusted length of pipe that should have been properly disposed of and replaced. But no, here it is, at its master's side in, in a worst case scenario, his last moments. Man and pipe are, maybe for the last time, just one.
His arm draws Ol' Rusty back like he would a spear, just in time for a blade to glance down his shoulder... mere moments, in fact, before it is thrust forward with such strength that much of the swirling red mists dissipate under the displaced air, dragging Howard forward if it gains any traction, further shredding his knees against the parking lot.
And the Demon, who so happens to be in the way...

COMBATSYS: Rust can no longer fight.

[                      \\\\\\\\  <
Kichiga          0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Rust successfully hits Kichiga with Condemned.

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

Forward he glides. He can't hear the familiar sound reminiscent of a wrecking ball through an old, battered building, though the shock that travels up his right arm suggests it hits /something/. His senses drowned out by pain and the new sensation of his knees getting flayed, he continues along his way through the rest of the strike's momentum. His right arm goes limp towards the end.
He smacks himself up against a parked car. An obnoxious car alarm goes off as he rebounds against it, his back hitting the cracked asphalt with an unexplainable bounce - twice - his back in a puddle with his left knee raised, a tear visible under the illumination of the night as it joins the rest of the water down there.
He looks like someone tried to stuff him in a document shredder, failed, and decided to throw him out in the street instead for the garbagemen to come by later. His right hand, however, still manages a solid grasp on Ol' Rusty where the rest of him have already released any sense of consciousness or awareness.

For once, Kichiga's voice is absent from the whispers of the mist. Without his modulator, even a laugh could give him away. Occasionally, he emits a staticky pop. The blades slice over and over until finally the psycho power gutters out - then he simply bashes with the cane halves.

He's drained. The inner power that lets him move with supernatural grace, that lets him ignore his six decades of life, it's petering out. The rapid series of strikes drains away, and - able to see clearly in his mist - he watches Rust wind up. He can see exactly where he would lift his left leg, wedge the two blocks of his geta on the head of the pipe, and spring past.

He can't do it. His leg refuses to lift. The pipe plows into his sternum, and he feels bones crack. The shards of cane spin off to either side, geta flying off, more buttons bursting on his changshan. He smashes into the ground, and rolls up into the closed gates of Gedo, rocking the steel. Stray chains unfurl from his sleeves. Shadows obscure his eyes.

He groans. A gloved hand lifts up, chain dragging down his sleeve, to grip one of the bars of the gate. Slowly, Kichiga rises again, chest rising and falling, a stabbing pain where his bones either snapped or cracked - he'll heal. His power, or perhaps good dieting, supplants many of the failings of old age. He looks at the fallen Rust with cold contempt as he limps to his scattered articles. There is no acknowledgement within him that he barely succeeded. His victory, though hard-won, was assured. Unconcious, however, he can't have any fun with Rust... though he believes he has drank his fill.

Panting, blood drying on his chest, Kichiga begins to bury his geta into Krizalid's shoulder over and over, repeating, "Up." He'll get up eventually, no doubt. Then they have bodies to move.

COMBATSYS: Kichiga has ended the fight here.


Log created on 17:27:13 02/17/2009 by Rust, and last modified on 14:06:04 02/20/2009.