LLK Act IV.Fin - Fin : The Game - Equalize

Description: Four lives, four fates. Drawn to Marise like a moth to a flame, the monk-trained girl finds more there than she expected in the form of Maeda, the Faceless One. The scythe weilding assassin almost completely destroys Nataya, with the only thing standing in Marise's way being Aranha, who is there primarily to statisfy his own vendettas. Nevertheless, balance gets restored when Aranha's powerful finishing blow coincides with a small but timely strike from Nataya, thus severing Maeda's tie to the battlefield in short order.

Blissfully, the Devil of Koga has been silent.
Hardly more than a handful of words has she uttered since she reunited with the Faceless One. The dark maiden's expressions have been obscured in the shadowy veil of her bangs but her posture suggests a vaguely ... distracted aire.
Neutrality ill-suits this lovely creature for she often wallows in wicked mirth or roils in the throes of fury. She is nothing if not a creature of extremes.
Not that Maeda would have any inkling that this monster is somehow off her game, as newly acquainted as he is.

When the Assassin returned from his mission, Marise asked for not a single detail only to bid him to follow to his next task. The fact that he returned sans his objective tells the Ninja all she wishes to know, nor does she seem displeased in the slightest.
Of course not. She never expected him to succeed. That wasn't the purpose of the exercise. The fact that he returned, at all, is proof that the boy has merit. Merit enough to endow with a different task.

As under-the-weather the Devil may be, War waits for no one. She can smell the end game to this little chess match in the air, and there's little time left. The death and carnage will soon pause in this wretched town, best to soak it in while one can. Intelligence suggests there may be an attempt upon the Southtown Park facility and several operatives and mercenaries have been called in. The Devil lingered at the edge of Gedo street just long enough to collect the Faceless One before continuing forth.

%Marise's pace is hurried. Pale feet stepping swiftly and silently over the broken pavement. Her long kimono sleeves billowing at her sides with the rushing movement, tresses flowing in black waves in her wake. She keeps to the back alleyways, staying out of sight from the street as she has little wish to entangle herself in local resistance for the moment. The last thing she needs right now is a chance encounter with another of the cursed Gedo brats.
"Come along now.." She whispers darkly to her companion, "Blood will spill this night. Let us not miss a drop."

The city itself seems to confirm that harrowing prophecy. The skyline itself is hazy with the fires of the dying city. Tongues of smoke slither higher amongst the shattered skyline. A tension is thick in the air, a palpable sense of something great and terrible soon coming to pass.

The city for the past few weeks has been gripped within what could only be called tension. Warfare in the streets, soldiers patrolling around, suppressing and oppressing the people. Death was in Southtown, and it was here to stay. That is, until the defenders of the Southtown, those brave people strong enough to launch a counter-offensive, sought to break the grip of the tension on the city... as they were doing now. Even at this very moment, walking along behind the Devil, the Mugan assassin can hear the pitched fighting in the streets. The dancing ebb of warfare in the background, moving at a contrasting pace to what it was before.

Very soon now, the city would be released from the grip of war. But not before more blood had been shed.

Despite this, and despite the fact that Marise's mood seems to be mirroring that of the city's, Maeda is very much a different sort. Dressed in modern clothes opposite Marise's more traditional, wielding a massive scythe where she wields nothing, and most importantly, looking absolutely bored and laid back as the young man trails behind his employer, the Akamatsu ninja-assassin doesn't seem a very fitting companion for the Devil of Koga. And yet, here the two were, wandering off to some battle or another where Marise sensed the taint of blood - which she reminds him of yet again.

"Does she ever drop the creepy bit?" Maeda wonders aloud, though under his breath.

Oh well. At least she didn't kill him for not bringing the ribbon back. So long as the money kept rolling in, he'd lend his scythe to where ever the Devil pointed him at.

Pain. Fear. Hatred. Anger.

The city boils with all those things, and more. It's a seething morass of the best and worst of humanity as the oppressed seek to battle their oppressors. The emotions ebb and flow like an angry tide, crashing against any surface with blind fury, forcing anything too weak to withstand it to crumble beneath.

Soldiers. Fighters. Bystanders. Opportunists.

Humanity, in all it's glory is here, living furiously despite being surrounded by so much death and decay. The world stinks of anxiety, sounds like despair, tastes like failure, and look like Hell. Yet at the same time, the scent of hope still lingers. The sounds of righteousness ring out against the cacophony of destruction. There's a light at the end of the tunnel. And freedom? None could argue on either side that freedom isn't the sweetest tasting thing of all.

It's a maelstrom of everything good and bad that humanity has to offer, and yet still, there's an eye to the storm. One person sits unaffected by either side, either unknowing by will, or uncaring by nature.

War occurs naturally, as naturally as a person walks. Sandal-covered feet step lightly across the pavement with an organic flow. And war is the result of wants and desires that are present in the hearts of men and women that are imperfect. But everyone seeks perfection in their own way, and having flaws is no fault. Indeed, it is the nature of man to have conflict. To seek otherwise is the goal, but there can't be fault if such things happen.

Conflict. It's inside almost everyone. In Marise, the desire for destruction. In Maeda, the desire for gain.

With Nataya?

Her robes don't billow.

She makes no dramatic entrance.

She steps in front of Marise, seemingly out of a dark, choking cloud of fog, the whriling silver and gray cloud disgorging her from the blackness of night. From an alleyway. From a grate underfoot. From /somewhere/ this quiet apparition of serenity comes. And behind her? What looks like a hundred little bright lights, floating, hovering lanterns around the young monk-girl as she lifts her head. Her dirty, smudged countenance has a smile, borne of quiet contentment and satisfaction despite the world around her.

And she looks at them.

And then finally speaks.

"So. What you're doing here is wrong. Why do you do it?"

At Maeda's audible mutter, the corner of Marise's lips flirt with a brief smile. No answer necessary there.
The dread duo continue their way through the shadows, the particular skyline surrounding the alleyway suggests the edge of the business district. The park is a good half hour away for their current pace, but such effort is barely a hindrance to beings such as they.
Though, it seems the Park just became further away with a new arrival.

Marise is not a creature accustomed to being surprised.
As the common girl steps from the wisps of fog, The Devil halts instantly. Her ebon regalia settles around her pale form, graceful even when abrupt. Unlike the unassuming girl, The Devil of Koga carries an ominous presence. Shadows linger around her a little longer than they should. The air is crisp and cool above and beyond the typical for late spring evening in Southtown. Most such average people as this recoil from her ominous aura in very short order.
The serenity of this waif is a far grander entrance than her appearance suggests.

A pale hand emerges from her kimono sleeve as her arm spreads wide, wordlessly bidding Maeda to pause at her side. Glints of disturbing gold bare upon the youth from behind black bangs, inspecting her carefully.
As near as Marise can tell. She's nobody.
Nobody can hide themselves that well from her. Nor do they have glowing lights floating in their periphery.
The near sack-cloth and prayer beads suggest Buddhism to her, or a similar eastern belief. That cow-eyed, placidity only affirms the notion.

Minions are ever so useful for situations like this.

The Devil speaks not a word to the girl, merely tilting her head and voicing a command to the mercenary assassin, "Deal with her. Catch up with me after." An annoyed tone manages to pierce the creature's previous neutrality. She cannot gauge this girl's power, which makes a confrontation unwise. Either she's weak and the boy dismantles her quickly, or she's potent and overwhelms him.
In either regard, Marise has places to be. Her enemies are sure to be considering an assault upon the Southtown Park facility. She cannot pass up a chance to remove a number of stumbling blocks from her ambitions while they're distracted.
Nor can she allow this brat to BE a stumbling block for said ambitions.

At that, the ghost turns away and begins to continue on her previous vector.
Maeda is definitely earning his pay here. No doubt.

When the plain girl simply steps out of the fog and states, or rather implies, her intentions, the 'dread duo' come to a stop, their evil schemes effectively halted. While Marise's stop is immediate, Maeda drifts a few steps before he actually does stop. Then, glancing the girl over once, he lifts the massive folded scythe off his shoulder, settling it onto the ground and leans on it. Then? Then, the Mugan assassin turns his head and yawns loudly. "Hhhmnngh, another fighter in this city who is loaded up with self-important airs. Interesting," he states in a voice that implies that it's anything but. He's not passing any kind of judgment on the opponent's skill level, here, however.

He's just unimpressed. Even with the balls of light floating after the girl.

A musing or two later by Marise, and she's commanding him to 'deal with her and catch up'. Oh, but isn't he so USEFUL in these instances? "Aye-aye, ma'am. One cannon fodder special comin' up," the young man states. From there, he lifts the scythe up, walking forward, past Marise, before the Devil even has a chance to turn away. Showing a little proactive behavior here, the Faceless One decides there's no better way to deal with this 'threat' than to simply get into the thick of things. He'd figure out her abilities later.

"Sorry, cupcake. But we ain't here to play. Why not go on home and save yourself some trouble?" He asks. But that's not to say he actually gives her the chance... or is it better to say, he assumes she's not going to take that opportunity? With a flick of his wrist, the huge blade of the scythe snaps up, locking into position so that it resembles an actual scythe now. Easily shifting that large polearm back, Maeda then seems to /blur/, his form becoming indistinct as he rushes forward. Nothing fancy about this attack: he simply seeks to rush past Nataya, and in the process, give one vicious horizontal slash across her body.

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

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Maeda            0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Nataya has joined the fight here.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Maeda            0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0           Nataya

COMBATSYS: Nataya blocks Maeda's Inazuna Suriashi.

[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////////  ]
Maeda            0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0           Nataya

Self important? Nataya's about the most unimportant, unimpressive thing that you could come across. She's quiet and unassuming. Most of the time she spends her days by herself in quiet contemplation. It's an ascetic lifestyle that suits her. She doesn't preach. She doesn't discuss her world views to anyone that doesn't really want to hear them. Self important, she most definitely is not. That would imply that she had a level of 'self' to be important to.

Nataya's a person of the world. Or at least that's a pretty good approximation of what she is.

She turns to look at Maeda. There's no real comprehension on her face. Just a blank sort of look. The scythe comes slashing out a considerable rate of speed, and rather than move aside, a hand lances out to bat it aside. It's not without recourse. The weapon cuts into her arm slightly, drawing some blood as the lights behind her jostle and move, apparently reacting to the motion.

There'sa second of hesitation on Nataya's face. Clearly, her object is to talk to Marise. But then there's this person with a scythe that seems fairly beholden to her.

So, it would seem that for her to accomplish A, she must first deal with B.

The decision is made without further hesitation, and she turns to face Maeda. She falls into a combat stance vaguely reminiscent of Muay Thai, her fists held high, moving on her toes lightly. Then she lurches forward.

Her attack is not dainty.

She takes a step forward, pivots on her planted heel, and swings a spinning axe kick at the scythe weilder's collarbone, apparently with the intent of not beating him into submission, but crushing his body beyond all human recognition. The heel rockets downward at a considerable pace as Nataya focuses on the here and now, and plowing through the Japanese man with as much force as she can muster.

Aranha had been running across the rooftops as he attempted to escape pursuit from the Shadaloo and NESTS forces. He was beginning to get a little tired of being constantly hunted by them. At this point though, the capoeirista has given up on trying to keep a low profile and trying to stay off everyone's radar. Now he just plans on being as big a pain in the ass as he possibly can. If he must choose a side, he'll choose the side that hasn't hassled him that much.

After biting off a little more than he could chew, he made his escape. He had been running for awhile and the chase finally broke off. It was probably because they had bigger fish to fry than an annoying capoeirista performing hit and runs.

Call it dumb luck, but the capoeirista finally stops to catch his breath and it happens to be on a rooftop right above the ensuing fight between the scythe fighter and the familiar woman in monk trappings. But he also catches sight of another familiar face. A woman of devilish beauty who had wronged him in the past. Had it been months ago, he would've been consumed by hate and rage wanting to do anything in his power to tear her apart. Aranha has moved past those feelings.

While Aranha no longer is driven by the emotions he felt when his sister was kidnapped by Blackjack, he's not one to pass up an opportunity to harass the ninja when he sees one, plus he figures he owes Nataya one for interceding on his behalf.

Watching carefully as Marise moves away from the fight Aranha leaps from the rooftop grabbing a street light as he descends swinging himself around then sliding down until he is at street level.

With a bit of a dash he launches himself at Marise with a cartwheel kick before saying, "Rumors of your death have been greatly exaggerated. How unfortunate."

Enter stumbling block number two.

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

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////////  ]
Marise           0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0           Nataya
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Maeda            0/-------/-------|

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

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Marise           0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0           Aranha
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////////  ]
Maeda            0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0           Nataya

COMBATSYS: Marise blocks Aranha's Medium Kick.

[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Marise           0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0           Aranha
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////////  ]
Maeda            0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0           Nataya

The Devil had a feeling the smiling girl issued that question in her general direction. In another time and another place, she may have well answered. The Devil does not often waste opportunities to proselytize the virtues or lack-thereof of mankind - And what Marise intends to do about it.
If anything, curiosity about how many pieces Marise can remove from the girl before that smile goes away would have kept her entertained for some time. As is, The Devil has had one too many run-ins with overzealous demon-slaying children of late and she's on a tight schedule.
That Maeda brusquely walks past her, The Devil makes no apology. After all, the poor dear looked bored. Maybe this will give him something a bit more interesting to do in the short term. She hardly offers a glance in the pair's direction as the Mugen Killer impedes the path of that unobtrusive youth, whom seems far more willing to engage in fisticuffs than her peacenik image would suggest.

A flicker of movement. A recognizable fluctuation of chi.
For the second time in as many minutes, Marise's progress grinds to a halt. As the parkour rebel's feet touch street level with acrobatic finesse, the Devil's lips twist into a sharp frown.
"Damn the luck." The monster breathes in seething resignation.

As the fighter dashes, the monster whirls about in a flourish of black silk and purple sash. That cartwheel kick is deflected with a swift strike with the back of her fist. The abrupt motion disturbing the locks over her eyes and revealing those sinister golden orbs with their black slits in full.
"Rumors of your death.." The Devil whispers in a slow, deliberate tone. "...Will not be."

Aranha never had the opportunity to face the Devil of Koga in full. Ayame was always his chief rival in battle, often for the entertainment of the crowd in the Seventh Circle. It was Elle that had instigated the kidnapping of his sister, and the boy had best thank whatever heathen Gods he worships that it was so.
Elle never breaks her word.
%Marise would have killed the girl simply because she could, regardless of how well Aranha performed.
Since the ... Falling out between Ayame and she, Marise would have offered Aranha a new proposition. The Devil finds herself ruing past decisions, specifically the one where she kept Aranha from defiling the fallen Ayame at gun point. Now? Maybe he'd be interested in seeing how much further Marise would let him go upon that ungrateful wretch this time...

It seems, however, first he must make of himself one truly problematic nuisance.
As it so happens, Aranha has been a target of NESTs and Shadaloo's in recent weeks. His name is not unknown to her on the various wanted lists, though his capture has not been tasked to her specifically.

It seems, the boy just wants to be broken. Who is Marise to disagree?

This is also a perfect time and a perfect opponent to test herself, as annoying as the timing may be.
"You throw your life away recklessly boy.." As the woman recoils from that block, she takes a single step back and something .... Changes.
The Devil's eyes intensify, the air grows yet more still. The blackness of her hair begins to make way to an errie radiance. A dark light, akin to a deep purple or rich indigo, seeps through her locks. Transforming the shadowy darkness into an irradiated mass of dark violet. The subdued energy illuminates nothing, yet stands apart from the ebony surrounding the woman.
The monster's hands flex, nails extending as unsheathing blades before her. Blades which then -alight- with this potent energy, flaring wickedly like ten violet energy blades.
"... You will beg before the end."
With rush of necrotic power, the Devil's claws swing forth. Slicing through the air with a keening shriek, leaving arcs of deathly energy in their wake! Attempting to rake across Aranha in a single lunging slash!

COMBATSYS: Maeda counters Heavy Kick from Nataya with Chu no Mai.

[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Marise           0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0           Aranha
[  \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////      ]
Maeda            0/-------/------=|====---\-------\0           Nataya

People just have no respect for hired help these days. As Nataya examines him and files him away as a roadblock to her own roadblocky-ness, she engages him without comment, as if her intent is precisely as the powerful kick aimed to hurt if not /break/ his collarbone advertises. There's no /need/ to talk to the small fry; she'll just beat him into submission, or worse, and then be on her way. Maeda, oddly, can respect this attitude. It's no-nonsense. Maybe he'd taken the floating orbs of energy to be a little more pompous than they were intended to be.

Whatever the case, the Mugan assassin is not about to fail his employer, no matter how much he might like the down-to-earth monk's attitude.

The scythe Maeda wields is a massive, and undoubtedly heavy weapon. Most people would be unable to lift it with two hands, much less display the ease with which the scythe wielder displays his control with only one hand. It isn't so much about main strength with him, but rather being utterly familiar with the weight and balance of the scythe, as well as knowing how to shift that momentum into continuing force. Such is what he displays now. The light 'scratch' on Nataya's arm is dealt, with Maeda ending up behind her. But already his entire body is turning, moving with the momentum of the heavy arc blade.

It's why he's at no disadvantage to, as the scythe blade dips back down, easily use the blunt end of the polearm's haft to redirect the crushing force of Nataya's kick to the ground, rather than his own collarbone.

From there, the young man swirls again, bringing the blade around once more, and a vicious, upwards slash is dealt to the monk girl, the point of the blade rising high into the air. But that wouldn't be all. Suddenly reversing, Maeda lets out a yell of, "HYYYYAAAAHHH!!" And then drives the blade back down, against the momentum, slashing Nataya a second time, then imbeding the blade into the asphault of the alley hard enough to crack it.

Yanking the scythe free, the man skips backwards a step... then pauses, frowning. Was that... fighting he heard? Just down the other alley, no less. Did Marise get jumped too?

Despite her small stature, Nataya's fairly sturdy. The attack? Vicious. The blade cuts into her, tearing through skin and flesh. So what to expect? A scream? A cry? The woman lets out an involuntary breath of air as the pain shoots through her... but she soon rights herself. As painful as that was, the girl can definitely absorb it.

And given the opportunity, she can dish out a considerable amount of it herself.

Not that she's the kind of person to look for it, mind, but there are more than a few people that have been unpleasantly surprised with the way Nataya likes to fight. Maeda had her attention the second he stepped in front of her, and the girl is now dead set one one thing.

And now the lights come into play. The energy field around her grows substantially as she motions with a hand, bringing them to the fore. The shining bits of light are really prayer beads, gleaming with some kind of energy that whirls around her like a tornado. Clouds boil up around her, slightly obscuring her from sight as she moves quickly , favoring her undamaged side as she circles around...

Then suddenly burst forth from the clouds. The heel of her foot rockets towards the man's chest. Just before impact, four beads snap open into a square shape approximately a foot in diameter around her heel and generate an energy feild. The silvery sheen, on impact, will crash into the man's chest, shattering like so much glass. The energy, however, doesn't hurt. It just seems to cause a sort of dull numbness, as if drawing away a person's will to fight.

Arahna's engagement? Not really her concern right now. Maeda is the obstacle, and Nataya's not really going to let up until the man is not moving, or worse.

COMBATSYS: Aranha dodges Marise's Power Strike.

[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Marise           0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0           Aranha
[  \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////       ]
Maeda            0/-------/------=|====---\-------\0           Nataya

Aranha observes as the Devil glows with that dark violet energy. His teeth gritting as she puts forth her threats and considering the type of thing that Marise is she probably has no problem following through on them. As a result Aranha would consider them promises. And if he had his way, he'd force her to break them.

When those energized claws come out the capoeirista cartwheels under the path of the attack leaving emptiness where once his body was. Once the attack has been fully evaded, he twists and swings a leg to the back of the Devil's own leg before scissoring his legs about hers and turning his entire body over so that the foul creature goes face first to the ground.

Aranha has nothing else to say... for now. He just has the battle ahead of him.

COMBATSYS: Marise endures Aranha's Strong Throw.

[     \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Marise           0/-------/----===|=------\-------\0           Aranha
[  \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////       ]
Maeda            0/-------/------=|====---\-------\0           Nataya

The Devil does not bluff. Of all the fighters one can tempt fate with, Marise is amongst the most dangerous.
Not because she is the most powerful opponent, no. Simply because losing to her carries a tremendous risk. A risk that places a confrontation with her beyond the realm of an idle lark or violent whimsy.
This monster excels in making people hurt. She knows ways to make even the most brave or deadened souls suffer beyond the limits of mortal endurance.
So rarely do children consider the costs for their would-be heroic exploits. How little so many of them know how incredibly lucky they have been.
Will Aranha's luck run out here and now? He had best fight like his life depends on it. Fight like never before!
His heartbeat may be the least important thing at stake, picking a fight with a Devil.

'Agile as ever', Marise muses in passing as her claws connect only with air as the boy vaults and wheels backwards with astonishingly fluid motion. Energized claws droning ominously as she watches his movements, digesting his strategy at a look and makes a quick decision. Simply, as the young fighter twists about to curl a leg around her own.. She does nothing to prevent it. As he uses the leverage of his position to twist and spin the dark creature off her feet. The creature crashes down hard in a spiralling motion, collapsing to the ground face-first..
But to less effect than the boy may have thought. Her own legs do not see fit to yield the boy's grip as yet, attempting to twist a leg backwards in a fashion no human should be able to manage - Keeping him locked to the ground for just a moment..

Only to reveal yet another facet of her inhumanity.
Her kimono stirs behind her a moment.. An unusual movement considering her legs are visually accounted for in their reverse lock. The skirts of the fabric part to reveal...
...A long serpentine tail. The python-sized length slithers freely from the depths of her garb, a dark green and mottled with ebon splotches - The tip of which topped with a curved dagger-like stinger, glowing with the same necrotic power as her claws. The length whips quickly forth in the short distance, attempting to lash around the boy's middle and -jab- its empowered stinger directly into his side.

COMBATSYS: Maeda blocks Nataya's Four Noble Truths.

[     \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Marise           0/-------/-----==|=------\-------\0           Aranha
[     \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////       ]
Maeda            0/-------/----===|====---\-------\0           Nataya

"Tough," Maeda comments as he shifts his focus back from the brief distraction of hearing fighting down the way. The monk girl in front of him was certainly no push over. Though he could tell, that for the moment, he had the upperhand... how long would that last, if this girl could wither his scythe longer than he could keep out of reach of her own? Suddenly shifting into a grin, it almost seems like the assassin is ENJOYING this on some level. Is it sadistic joy at having hurt his opponent? A raw joy at fighting someone strong? Whatever the case, the Akamatsu ninja's amusement doesn't take away from his deadly focus, centered in on Nataya alone.

The girl's kick comes before he fully has a chance to recover from the vicious scythe sweeps of his blade, which makes dodging a little bit of a tricky prospect, this close in. Noting the distance - or lack thereof - then, the ninja doesn't try to put more distance between them, but rather snaps the haft of his scythe up, the blade down at his right side, the blunt end being held in his left, in a defensive posture. The kick - and the 'window' - meet the resistance of the ancient wood used to make the weapon, though it by no means completely cancels out the effects. The kinetic energy as well as the more supernatural energy still transfer into his arms, or in the case of the latter, shower over him around the haft of the weapon. Letting out a small grunt, Maeda seems none too worse for wear however, as he shoves the pole back into Nataya's foot, trying to gain some distance.

From there, he takes a few steps back himself, then brings his scythe up and around in a full circle. The arc blade digs into the ground as it passes low, and then is swept into a vicious upwards slash - no where near Nataya. The monk would perhaps be surprised to note the sudden eruption, in a straight line away from where the scythe sliced into the ground, of rocks slamming upwards, the spears of rock rampaging closer to the girl, intent on piercing her.

COMBATSYS: Nataya blocks Maeda's Ayakashi.

[     \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Marise           0/-------/-----==|=------\-------\0           Aranha
[      \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Maeda            0/-------/---====|======-\-------\0           Nataya

Again, Nataya's ability to react to damage allows her to react with little concern for her own personal safety. The girl simply rampages at the attack, half defending, half wading through the spikes that erupt from the ground, her dark eyes locked on Maeda and tracking the Faceless One like some kind of dogged hellion. The world's most destructive ragamuffin.

Fists lance out, half blocking, half punching at the spires. She's nowhere near 'interrupting' or 'enduring'. It's just a proactive way of blocking as the wave comes at her. Her furious motion only stops when it does, and still, it's only so that she can take a moment for a quick look around.

That moment is only to gain her bearings, her serene little smile having never left her face as she conjures up five of the glowing beads. The shimmering little pinpricks of light suddenly flare to the size of basketballs, and Nataya once again goes into a series of furious motions.

First one fist, then the other. A snap kick, then a roundhose kick and a back flip as the girl sends the bursts of power at the assassin, wrapped around a hardend bead 'core'.

Though it's hard to tell, the monk girl can feel Aranha, and the wave of appreciation she feels for his interference is sent. Maybe hard to sense on a battlefield, but it's still there... and hopefully if these destructive blasts strike home, Nataya will be able to come to Aranha's aid shortly!

COMBATSYS: Aranha blocks Marise's Orochi Wanami.

[     \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////   ]
Marise           0/-------/----===|===----\-------\0           Aranha
[      \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Maeda            0/-------/---====|=====--\-------\0           Nataya

Capoeiristas, when they perform take downs, prefer to keep them an in-out affair. Getting caught up is not something that capoeiristas like and traceurs don't exactly like that too much either. Both prefer to maintain freedom of movement.

With the Devil making no move to defend herself from his take down and even locking his leg in place, he knew there had to be a method to her madness and when the tail came out, all was revealed. Aranha had no doubt that it was going to hurt and so he brings his hands up to attempt to prevent the tail from poking into his body the force being brought to bear somewhat rattling. And quite frankly, seeing a tail shook him just as much on an emotional level just because he wasn't expecting it.

Aranha forces himself free of the leg lock scrambling away from Marise before rising to his full height and spinning to face the ninja again. As he does so he lashes his arm outwards sending a spider web of blue chi to the devil.

It's at the moment he feels a strange wave come over him, and he can't for the life of him figure out what the hell it is.

COMBATSYS: Marise blocks Aranha's Web Shot.

[       \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////    ]
Marise           0/-------/---====|===----\-------\0           Aranha
[      \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Maeda            0/-------/---====|=====--\-------\0           Nataya

Perhaps its terror?
The Capoeirista barely manages to thwart the strike of that bizzare limb. A credit to his reflexes that even an attack as unexpected and calculated as this could not connect. Though the thing seems unreal with that curved fang-like stinger glowing with violet radiance - It -feels- real. The scaly surface cool to the touch as it strongly writhes in his grip, yet seeking to plunge it within him as the coils work at crushing him ... For naught as he slips away.

Marise is already on her feet by the time the boy scrambles away. The snakey limb recoils swiftly into the depths of her kimono, as if it never existed. The creature was about pursue.. Until Aranha wisely seeks to keep the monster at bay. Unleashing a charge of blue, web-like energy to buffet the monster away.
Black-clad arms swiftly raise in a crossing motion, interrupting the brunt of the impact as strings of blue light shred over violet claws.
Arms slowly lower as the Devil glances over her arms... No longer singed by the touch of Ki. Though damage was done .... The Devil no longer burns so easily.

Purple lips begin to smile once again.
Those golden orbs turn to Aranha again, seeing him somewhat distracted ... And she can take a wild guess why. The sounds of rampaging battle between her pet and the commoner go unheeded for the moment. She has faith in the Faceless One to deal with that would-be inquisitor. Inhuman eyes pour over the acrobat. Violet tresses flowing like countless tendrils of energy in her wake, mirroring her mood as her energy nails grind against one another as gleaming blades sharpening.
"You have no idea what you've gotten yourself into, boya.." She murmurs. Beginning to stalk forward once more in a slow, predatory saunter. "...No idea at all.."

COMBATSYS: Marise focuses on her next action.

[      \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////    ]
Marise           0/-------/---====|===----\-------\0           Aranha
[      \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Maeda            0/-------/---====|=====--\-------\0           Nataya

COMBATSYS: Maeda dodges Nataya's Ten Perfections EX.

[      \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////    ]
Marise           0/-------/---====|===----\-------\0           Aranha
[      \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Maeda            0/-------/---====|======-\-------\0           Nataya

The wave of rock spires is sent out, and dealt with. Maeda even lets out an appreciative whistle as he just stands for a moment, admiring the monk's zeal in destroying the rock shards before they can really hurt her, though he does see that it's not a perfect defense. Never the less, that scythe of the young man's is whipped around to be held in a more comfortable position while he watches, being held in a kind of reverse grip with the blade behind him, pointed down, and the blunt haft pointing outwards. "Impressive work there, monk! You're certainly no push over if you can even work through rock," the man calls. But unfortunately getting so wrapped up in the defense of his own attack leaves prime striking back opportunity, which Nataya takes full advantage of.

The first wave of energy that shoots out at him, Maeda simply ducks, letting it sail overhead. The next energy-wrapped bead is similarly dodged, but the last seems a little too fast - and nearly hits Maeda square in the face, but for a lucky flick of his scythe's pole, knocking the bead astray. "Phew!" He comments on the speed that those energy projectiles held, shaking his head. "C'mon, c'mon! Isn't it the priest's duty to exorcise the demon? Or have I just not gotten you riled up enough yet? Well let me show you!"

With a stamp of his foot, rock spires begin to erupt out of the ground. None seek to penetrate Nataya, however, so their purpose seems somewhat mysterious at first... that is, until Maeda surges forward, whipping his scythe out and around, bringing the curved blade in as if to cleave the girl in half. But rather than seeking to cleave, Maeda instead wants to 'catch' Nataya in the crux of the scythe, between blade and haft. Then, attempting to whip the girl off her feet, the Akamatsu assassin will then slam Nataya into a few of the rock pillars, shattering them as she passes through, until he simply tosses her away.

COMBATSYS: Nataya fails to interrupt Kojinmen from Maeda with Six Seals.

[      \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////    ]
Marise           0/-------/---====|===----\-------\0           Aranha
[     \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////                ]
Maeda            0/-------/--=====|=======\-------\1           Nataya

It appears that Nataya is just not on the ball today! For some reason her attention is divided. There's clearly an obstacle in front of her, taunting her, trying to goad her into something. But Maeda's not really her concern. The man's chatter is registered, but Marise and the demonic energy she reeks of tugs at the back of her head.

And in that, there is fault.

Divided attention is death. However, the monks that trained her never prepared her for something like this. But really, to put things into perspective, Nataya isn't seeking to face Marise because Marise is /evil/. It's because she performs things that set things out of balance. On the same token, Nataya would seek out great altruists that look to grant a boon on those less fortunate where the end result would be that they grow dependant on the handouts.

It's a subtle, but important difference. Marise's presence is like a swirling whirlpool of chaos. Her dispositon, good or evil, nags at the back of her brain, pulling her attention away from the clearly threatening Maeda... and for that, she's lost.

She sees the attack a split second before it happens as she forces to tear her mind away from what she wants to do versus what she must. The hesitation forces her into the crux of the blade, and she's hurled up, over, and crashes into the rocks generated by the Faceless One with a sickening crunch.

Unlike before, Nataya was wholly unprepared for the attack, and the jagged stones crash into the back of her skull like piledrivers, causing the Universe to explode into so many lights as the spheres of energy immediately descend upon her, hovering around her protectively.

But for the moment, the woman is motionless and silent, eyes closed as the lights huddle around her almost pensively, staring out with an unblinking gaze at Maeda as if to defend their master against his attacks.

Aranha's eyes widen at the lack of smoke and burning. It would appear that the capoeirista's information on the Devil is a bit obsolete. A lot has changed since the two had last fought at the Seventh Circle. The curl of those purple lips the Koga ninja into a smile just makes the capoeirista's stomach turn.

The capoeirista watches as the ninja closes in slowly stalking him. Aranha dances closer as she moves in and on the surface it looks like the two fighters can't seem to agree on who is the cat and who is the mouse. Aranha's own ginga takes on a predatory appearance of its own as he moves in slowly.

All of a sudden he darts forward head first into the Devil's stomach before whipping his head upwards and into the ninja's chin before quickly dropping low to grab both of her legs and pull them from under her before he leaps away. Still the Dancing Spider tries to make his takedowns in and out affairs.

COMBATSYS: Aranha successfully hits Marise with Bad Beat.

[         \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////////     ]
Marise           0/-------/-======|===----\-------\0           Aranha
[     \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////                ]
Maeda            0/-------/--=====|=======\-------\1           Nataya

The smiling priest had best focus on the path before her! Her masters may have said a thing or two on the matter of not living in the moment. For while the Devil's sinister presence is keenly felt, her guardian is formidable. For such demons often gird themselves with forces that turn a blind eye to the matters of balance and karma. Such as mercenary assassins who believe in little but their next paycheck. While Marise cares little for the matters of material wealth, she can appreciate that it buys her time and effort - When used judiciously.

Focus is an issue she also pays careful attention to. While she has every reason to be distracted at the moment, Marise has only one opponent before her now. Aranha may be a meaningless mongrel in the scheme of things ... But the boy is not without his devices. He fought with ferocity for her pleasure and she underestimates that not at all.
As the Spider dances, the Devil continues to stalk. Not taking the bait of his swift, sometimes chaotic movements.
That is, until he dives head-first straight towards her. The shadowy creature attempts to side-step away, but the Spider is just a hair quicker. With a solid crack his head strikes her on the chin, recoiling her head back in a hard arc. Legs swept out from under her as the woman collapses to the hard ground once more in a flurry of silk and shadows.

As Aranha lands from the backflip... Marise is already on her feet.
Bonelessly undulating, as if flowing upright more than standing - The creature brushes at her bloodless chin with the back of her clawed hand. "Your speed won't avail you forever.. Boya." For a dainty, elegant woman ... This creature is irrationally resilient. Taking far more abuse than any woman her size and figure has a right to.

Already, she's on the move... At least some of her. While Marise gestures with a energy claw ... Her violent-imbued locks lash forth in a trio of tendrils over her shoulders. Extending the distance in a bid to coil themselves around Aranha's limbs and -yank- him over with jarring force.

Considering Maeda's life was spent in a massive mansion in the mountains, 'sheltered' could be a term applied to him, if only because he hasn't seen too much of the world. Monks, to him, were forces of good in the face of forces of evil. Yin and yang, and all that; he wouldn't know a damn thing about people who were forces for /neutrality/ as well. But alas, in this fight, there's very little that is neutral. Two sides, battling each other out. And unfortunately 'evil' seemed to have the upperhand so far against 'neutrality'.

"Tch," the Akamatsu ninja replies as Nataya slumps bonelessly to the floor after getting smashed into the chi-borne rock spires. "That all you got, monk? You'd have had -no- chance against that black widow bitch, then. Trust me, I'm doing you a favor here." For a moment, the 'dog' for Marise sets his scythe down to lean against it slightly, regarding the fallen woman. "Offer's still open, you know. I ain't in this for personal reasons, so I don't have any problem with you walking away at any point." There's a slight pause, as if the man might expect Nataya to actually take him up on that. Then, he shakes his head, a hand raising so he can palm his face. "No, no... no. I shouldn't be saying that. I can see it! Your conviction to do what you're here to do. And I can tell you want it. To deny that, I'd be no better than those old men back in Amagasuki! Well then, if you're going to lose..."

Maeda's foot kicks the end of his scythe into motion, spinning the blade around in his hand. Surging forward then, the scythe is drawn into several spinning loops at his side, occassionally the blade dragging into the ground, sending up a shower of sparks. "Then, to save face, lose COMPLETELY!" From there, whether Nataya is on the ground again, or standing once more, he begins a storm of scythe classes, the young man spinning with practically every swipe, moving with the momentum of the massive blade. Though the slashing is the major center of what's going on, at the same time, after each slash is completed, the blade bites into the ground, and a golden glow picks up around the blade, rock shards accompanying each and every slash to pelt the woman along with the devastating blade strikes.

COMBATSYS: Maeda successfully hits Nataya with Kakeri.

[        \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////////     ]
Marise           0/-------/-======|===----\-------\0           Aranha
[      \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////                    ]
Maeda            0/-------/-======|=======\===----\1           Nataya

It appears that Nataya doesn't have much fight left in her. Thoroughly routed, the woman barely seems conscious enough to put up any kind of reasonable defense. She doesn't reply to Maeda's constant chatter. All she does is look at him, motionless as the blades fall. The cutting and shredding of the weapon doesn't hurt half as much as the fact that she's pretty much lost all semblance of discipline here. She strayed from her teachings, divided her focus, lost her place.

If anything, she deserves the punishment she's been taking, and so she says nothing, her token defense upraised arms, quickly knocked away by the spinning scythe as she all but succumbs to the onslaught of attacks.

But for some reason, Maeda's attacks don't seem to be exactly killing her. For every strike he lands, it seems like the woman still has more life to give. A disturbing amount, really. And for what it's worth, there's a job to do.

Maeda talks, and she listens.

Her eyes close, and she stands slowly, the lights around her whirling like maddened fireflies, completely helpless to do anything without her command. Her body is a mess, basically little more than tattered meat barely hanging on cracked bones, and her hair is matted across her face with blood.

And finally, she speaks. The words are quiet, almost barely audible. "I can see I can't hurt you... that's the Universe's will..." She coughs, a spatter of blood appearing on the concrete below as the beads rise up behind her, shining larger and greater as the swirl, coalescing into a massive sphere over her head. "...but I can take away the reason you fight."

And with that, she raises her hand up, and swings it in a wide arc. The giant sphere ships forward, rolling like the boulder from the temple of doom, building speed. It crushes everything in its path as it bears down on Maeda...

And then it abruptly swings at Marise, the massive sphere rumbling towards her, bent on crushing the woman and exploding in a maelstrom of energy and beads, like a vicious, mobile claymore. If it should land clean, the beads won't stop there. After erupting in a fury of power and shrapnel, the component beads will rain down on Marise with torrents of destructive energy, blasting away at her like tiny orbital sattelites before swarming back to Nataya's side.

COMBATSYS: Marise successfully hits Aranha with Medium Throw.

[        \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////          ]
Marise           0/-------/=======|=======\-------\0           Aranha
[      \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////                     ]
Maeda            0/-------/-======|-------\-------\0           Nataya

The tendrils of hair were creepy enough already when he danced with her before. But now that they were glowing with that malevolent energy he likes that hair even less. It's because of that, he attempts to slip away from the glowing hair. But as the Devil of Koga had prophesized Aranha couldn't avoid her forever and he's grabbed and lifted before being slammed down into the ground.

In a way, Marise did him a favor by taking him completely out of the path of the glowing sphere and by proxy the beads of energy. The capoeirista being content to wait it out decides to stay back until the energy returns to Nataya before he dashes back into close range and then leaping up into the air with a front flip before coming back down upon Marise's head with an acrobatic axe kick.

COMBATSYS: Marise blocks Nataya's 37 Factors of Enlightenment.

[            \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////          ]
Marise           1/------=/=======|=======\-------\0           Aranha
[      \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////                     ]
Maeda            0/-------/-======|-------\-------\0           Nataya

COMBATSYS: Marise interrupts Strong Kick from Aranha with Maou Satsujinken.

[               \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////                 ]
Marise           1/---====/=======|=======\====---\1           Aranha
[      \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////                     ]
Maeda            0/-------/-======|-------\-------\0           Nataya

That slippery little jumping Spider was starting to worry her. While the Devil's unnatural constitution has always been great ... The fast fighter's blows were beginning to add up. A method others have used to defeat the unholy creature in the past. Her patience, however, bears out. Those whips of empowered silk ensnare the poor boy and -dash- him to the ground harshly. The Devil gestures with a glowing claw, blades spreading wide. Inhuman eyes glare upon the captured fighter as she nearly hisses in an accusatory tone, "So this is your story.. Hnn?" Slowly beginning to saunter closer, the coils of hair pulling along with her sultry movements, "The foolhardy little dancer ... The boy who rebels without cause ... Fights for the sake of fighting ... Because he knows not what else to do with his life."
The coils begin to tighten, the necrotic energy withering flesh as strands of purified entropy. "I wonder how many tears your sister will shed for you... I'm ever so interested in finding ou-"

The mammoth glow glints off of a broken window behind the imprisoned Spider. Golden eyes widen. ... The universe, for all its loathing of creatures such as Marise, sees fit to give her a moment of warning. Or.. Perhaps.. The universe rewards Aranha's brave attempt to even the score with Nataya by dividing the Devil's attention? In either regard, those extended locks release the Capoeistra immediately.

The Devil begins to leap away. Vaulting straight forwards, whirling about in mid-air to face this rolling onslaught of destruction. In another time.. She would never have seen this coming. She would have been at the mercy of this previously invisible attack and possessed no answer.
Thankfully, though the events of the Ninth Circle ended in disaster.. The Devil did reap a few rewards.

The ghoul kicks into the sphere. Prematurely detonating the spiritual claymore and sending her spiralling away in the explosive onslaught. Grazed by several of the chaotic energy beams.. But the worst of it.. The Devil escapes. Only barely.

What damage the monster did take.. Agrees with her not even slightly. Marise crouches for a brief instant, a hand clutching her temple as her inner mind is thrown into the worst kind of Hell a creature as she could imagine.
A moment of inner peace.
An instant of clarity jolts through her.. Shocking her to the core and forcing a gasp from her lips.

...But only an instant.
Moments later.. The Devil's violet energy rages darker. A look of absolute fury crosses her expression.. Fangs gleaming with monstrous eyes flashing boundless hate.
... That little bitch ...

Aranha picks an extremely poor time to make his acrobatic assault.
The Devil rises... The claws of her right hand splaying widely. Crimson lightning begins to dance amidst the long bladed tines of those irradiated nails, fingers twitching with growing unholy power.
The Spider's kick strikes the Devil hard, smashing against the side of her head and forcing the woman to turn away... Only to quickly spin about. Using the force of the impact to spin her about.. her off-claw snatching the Dancer's leading foot and yanking him down and out of the air. Just enough to expose his back in a moment of opportunity.
Marise completes her revolution.. -smashing- the palm of her claw against his back in mid-air.

A pyre of energy explodes through his chest. The air shatters with the sound of hellish shrieking, a choir of pain. His flesh and organs are not disturbed.. The evil radiance simply blossoms through his body, as if summoning and channeling the raw fury of Hell itself into and through. Briefly illuminating the alleyway with a tempest of crackling vermilion.

Now.. Marise is mad.

Backing off from the storm of strikes, Maeda looks a little concerned. Why was the woman just... kinda... taking it? This wasn't so fun any more. And that disappointment shows up on the man's face as he twirls his scythe around again, and once more settles it into the ground, letting it take some of his weight. He'd say something about how the woman just giving up, but instead she speaks this time, interrupting his own words. 'Universe's will' huh? That's an interesting way of describing things. He even laughs at it, ending with his head shaking. "I--" he starts, but whatever he was going to say is again interrupted. Not only by words, but by actions.

Take away the reason he fights? What-

The giant sphere rushes towards him, and the Akamatsu ninja holds up his scythe, as if preparing a defense. But then the sphere changes, and heads up the alley that Marise departed. He could hear the woman fighting over there, so knew she was close at hand. For a brief moment, Maeda looks worried. Then he looks confused. Then he rolls his eyes. "She sure as /hell/ isn't my reason for fighting. But she's definitely paying me to. And assuming you didn't just kill her, I guess I've got a job to do. Nothing personal," he reiterates, and then he's swirling that scythe around in fluid, sweeping, even acrobatic ways.

A few steps forward, and the scythe's blunt end is being passed over the man's shoulder. Reaching up with his freehand, he takes that end, then using his shoulder, hauls down on the massive blade, using it to 'slingshot' the polearm forward in a devastating, single downwards slash, intent on ripping into Nataya's middle.

COMBATSYS: Nataya blocks Maeda's Fierce Strike.

[               \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////                 ]
Marise           1/---====/=======|=======\====---\1           Aranha
[      \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////                       ]
Maeda            0/-------/=======|=------\-------\0           Nataya

She shakes her head, and once again, her hand lances out, catching the blade. The blood seeps from her hand. "You're reading a whole lot into that. If I kill your employer, then you have no reason to fight," she explains, Nataya's eyes cast up at the taller man. The blade sinks deeper into her skin before she casts her arm aside, tossing the blade away from her. "It must be hard, knowing everything. But now I'm curious. All I know," she says, her smile never having failed since she managed to stand up and regain full mental facility, "is that the more I discover, the less I believe I know."

And then, Nataya leaps over the man.

A thin red haze of blood fills the air. It seems to explode off of her, seeping from a million cuts and gouges that the man inflicted on her. By being distracted by him, he pulled her from the purpose of her existance. Balance is important. The Faceless One is tethered to this battle by Marise. Marise is her focus.

But wait? Did she just say kill?

Clearly, something's slightly askew.

No murderous intent is on her face, though. Really, it's in her actions. Wounds and pain notwithstanding, she lands with a ground shattering thud, and speeds at Marise at a breakneck pace, the concrete shattering behind her in a roostertail of debris. Without another word, Nataya hurls herself at Marise, whipping up a foot into a powerful back kick. Once again, a shimmering mirror appears at her heel as she attempts to slam the shimmering surface into Marise's face.

Normally, she wouldn't go for such a hard to hit target, but she needs to keep Marise off balance so that Aranha can follow up with hopefully is a bigger finish to the one-two attack.

The capoeirista's sense of timing is somewhat off and he finds himself snatched out of the air by his leg. It starts out with confusion but then it gives way to agony as that dark energy bursts forth from his chest. A painful scream comes out from him. His agony providing the tenor to the hellish soprano and alto of the hellish choir.

He lands on the ground in a heap before bringing himself to his feet. His breaths are audible but it's not from exhertion. His eyes focus in on the Devil of Koga, his rage replacing the unnerved sensation from earlier. Marise has hit upon one of the hot button topics.

Aranha doesn't run as he makes his approach towards the Devil of Koga. Instead the traceur's entire body glows blue as he makes purposeful strides towards the unholy creature and then when he's close, he jumps out at the ninja, glowing feet first.

COMBATSYS: Nataya successfully hits Marise with Four Noble Truths.

[                   \\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////                  ]
Marise           1/-======/=======|====---\-------\0           Aranha
[      \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////                        ]
Maeda            0/-------/=======|==-----\-------\0           Nataya

COMBATSYS: Marise fails to interrupt Joker's Wild from Aranha with Maou Dokuja.

[                          \\\\  < >  ////////////                  ]
Marise           2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|====---\-------\0           Aranha
[      \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////                        ]
Maeda            0/-------/=======|==-----\-------\0           Nataya

COMBATSYS: Marise can no longer fight.

[                        \\\\\\  < >  ////////////                  ]
Nataya           0/-------/-----==|====---\-------\0           Aranha
[      \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Maeda            0/-------/=======|

And then Aranha screams letting his rage out on the foul creature. "HOW FUCKING DARE YOU MENTION MY SISTER!!!" Upon impact with Marise he kicks off of her launching himself at the gutted out remains of an overturned car using it to propel himself back at the ninja and then off of her to jump up into the tree branches and then back down at her using anything and everything in the environment to deliver a multitude of kicks at the foul being.

The net result is that capoeirista bounces around like a rogue ball of flubber until eventually the glow fades out and Aranha rolls away from Marise. "My sister has nothing to do with you god damn heifer."

The capoeirista delivers one last spite filled kick un-imbued by chi before walking away. He stops, turns around, and looks at Marise. "This shit is a horror flick, but black guy doesn't die in this movie."

These damnable kids continue to get the better of her.
The Devil had all but discarded the dancer as she set her sights upon that impudent little priest. While she was content to let Maeda deal with that threat ... It appears the girl won't be so easily contained. With a hiss, the creature rasps, "I have no idea who you are girl .. But nRGH!"
That blindingly fast kick -smashes- into her once more. The shattering energy-mirror batters the wicked woman's head back.. Sending her reeling from the impact. Golden eyes blink open slowly, energized claws splaying as she promises murder upon the diminutive warrior.
She had best thank the Universe then and there that Aranha is here to save her.
Like a blazing comet, the young man bolts back into the fray. Slamming against Marise and pelting her with an endless array of hard kicks, finally sweeping her off of her feet and sending her spiralling through the air! ....

.... The collection of black silk and flourishing violet energy twists into the distance, spinning faster and faster until the whole of it simply vanishes in a riot of motion.
Nowhere to be seen.

The duo succeed in driving the Devil away ... Leaving them with one last piece of the puzzle.
The question is ... Is the smiling priest right about his reasons to fight?

Well, damnit. He's done a -lot- to Nataya. She's probably on her last legs now, and he could very likely finish her off easily. But rather than stick a straight-on fight, she leaps over him and begins to rush for Marise more directly than sending out a projectile. With a curse, Maeda turns to rush after the girl, but even with his speed, he can't get there in time to see both Nataya and some other guy's attacks hitting his employer at nearly the same time. She's sent soaring into the air... and then simply disappears. And once more, despite the situation, Maeda can't help but think: 'Oh, come /on/.' in disbelief at the woman's dramatics.

That leaves him with Nataya... and the other guy. Neither looks all that well off, really. With just a quick gaze, the Akamatsu ninja asserts he has a high probability of winning against these two... but, in truth, Nataya's thoughts on this matter seem to hold up well. The two of them were after Marise (or so he could assume, on Aranha's part). He was just hired help. And if nothing else, Maeda was a professional, in terms of business contracts anyway. The Akamatsu drilled that one in nice and hard. So, two versus one, when he has absolutely no reason to fight the other two. Even with an 'upper hand' against them both, well...

"...Ehhnn I don't care any more," the man comments. Waving a gloved hand, the Japanese male straightens his posture... but notably doesn't relax his guard. "Guess you were right, monk. I don't have much reason to fight if my employer's gone. We three gonna walk away or is this gonna get serious?"

Maeda simply looks on between the two other fighters, appearing relaxed... but with his scythe still in his hand.

COMBATSYS: Maeda gains composure.

[                        \\\\\\  < >  ////////////                  ]
Nataya           0/-------/-----==|====---\-------\0           Aranha
[   \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Maeda            0/-------/--=====|

There's no immediate reply. Instead, Nataya backs up, takes a deep breath with her eyes closed, and places her hands in a prayer position. The fog and lights that seem to follow her waft lazily around her, then suddenly go int a swirling display of flashes and clouds, enveloping her in a pillar. The energy revitalizes her, sealing wounds, repairing the smaller injuries and revitalizing her past a normal 'breather' in combat but far below that of flat our resting.

Then her eyes flick open, and she looks at the assassin, then Aranha, who drove the demon woman off before she had a chance to talk to the malovent being. For her, the reason to be here is also gone, but with more than one person in the equation, she can't leave just yet. After all, there would still be a balance to strike if someone took another step in an aggressive direction.

"That really depends on you, or him," she replies, the small, enigmatic smile on her face still irritatingly there. "Otherwise, I would say that some level of equilibrium's been struck, and that's really good enough for now." And it will have to do. The larger scheme of things means little to Nataya. A small action sends ripples throughout. In some small way, she's played a part with Aranha, even if it's a minor one.

"If you'd like to leave, I won't stop you." She looks to Aranha as if to say the same thing. Either way, it's up to everyone else to decide what Nataya will do next.

COMBATSYS: Nataya gains composure.

[                     \\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////                  ]
Nataya           0/-------/------=|====---\-------\0           Aranha
[   \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Maeda            0/-------/--=====|

"Nah... I did what I wanted to do." The capoeirista glances over at where the creature had disappeared. "And you haven't wronged me..." After how Aranha went bullistic when Marise mentioned his sister, an unspoken 'or my sister' can be assumed as well.

The capoeirista turns around and takes his first step away from the scene of the fight. "In the past, I might've said you were guilty by association. But I've grown past that. You weren't there."

And then he continues to walk away. Marise had mentioned that he was rebel without cause but that was wrong. He has found causes to fight for. His freedom, his sister, sometimes spitefulness is a cause though he couldn't argue that was always a good cause. The belief that the bitch had it coming was good enough for the time being.

COMBATSYS: Aranha has left the fight here.

[   \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////                     ]
Maeda            0/-------/--=====|=------\-------\0           Nataya

Looks like both of them weren't going to continue the fight... so, why should he? After a tense moment where Maeda simply -looks- to Nataya and Aranha, not quite sure of whether their spoken words will be followed by actions. But then, Aranha starts to walk away. And that seems to be good enough for the assassin. Untensing, the man lifts his scythe, and though no overt motion is made, the blade collapses, falling to be parallel with the haft of the polearm. "Alright... well then. Given how this went, either we'll never meet again, because she's gonna kill me..."

Maeda turns away, but casts a glance over his shoulder. "In the end, you didn't manage to kill her. And I'm pretty sure the black widow bitch is kind of vindictive, and has no qualms with hiring me to take your life. I'd polish up my skills for that day, because if you're not as into fighting me as you were today... you will die." Turning his head back, the Faceless One walks off as well, lifting his scythe to rest once more on his shoulder as he goes.

COMBATSYS: Maeda has left the fight here.

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

COMBATSYS: Nataya has ended the fight here.

Log created on 21:48:06 05/20/2009 by Nataya, and last modified on 16:03:26 05/22/2009.