LLK Act IV.Fin - Fin : The Black Chameleon

Description: The 'war' has begun to take its toll on everyone. Even Shihong Mao, once an epitome of composure and calm, finds herself struggling with the uncertain future she faces. Even so, she remains a dedicated employee. On a routine stakeout, she encounters a man that is neither friend nor seemingly foe--a gray area, at best...and very skilled at striking a few nerves.

The streets of Southtown have become an entirely different creature.

Caught up in the petty conflict between a united front and they Syndicate, the city itself is otherwise left hollow and torn. Once proud buildings are now littered with the remains of firefight, holes spanning across brick and mortar, windows shattered and, in some cases, hollowed out by fire. It's a war zone in the middle of a civilized world. No one ever saw it coming.

But just because the city is otherwise a chaotic mess does not mean that things grind to a halt. No, behind the curtains men and women still work tirelessly to make it through this horrible mess. Among them is a Syndicate enforcer just trying to make sense of the mess and see to it that her boss has his shit in proper order so the 'enemy'--rather, enemies--don't get the drop on him.

That, however, generally equates to 'stakeouts.'

So, perched atop a roof of a three storey-high building is a woman in a surprisingly nice black suit affair with a small camera pressed to her pale face. Casually she sits on the ledge, peering a few blocks down at a gathering of NESTS Cartel and their goings-on. Occasionally her finger moves, the small device offering a soft 'click' as she takes a picture of particular poignant goings-on.

Otherwise, it's business as (un)usual for the Syndicate woman caught up in some petty war.

Watching the group that have set up camp at a major interaction has been less than stellar. They're a motley crew, to the certain, from all walks of life. They even have tanks, and a pair seem to be off in a direction with one such tank, no doubt to do something nefarious. It leaves several men behind, and even a couple of ladies. There does not appear to be anything really out of the ordinary down there... except, of course, for one man in particular.

Relatively tall, the man is clothed in nothing but black, and that's not the shade of his skin. He even wears a small black mask over his mouth and nose, as if that alone were enough to disguise his identity. It very well may be, but even at such a distance, there seems something about him; he sticks out from the rest of the group down there.

Observation proves boring, after so long. It simply wears on, and on; men come and go, different guards each time, shift-work done to ensure that the tentative hold on this section of the city remains just that, a hold on the city.

But ultimately though, as the voyeur from afar reaches to press her finger down on the camera's button, something odd seems to happen. That man with the mask turns slightly, green eyes -- visible even despite the zoom of the camera -- turning to stare right at her.

"Do you like what you see?"

The voice is not projected. Rather, it comes from very close by, the next rooftop in fact. It's that same figure, standing on the ledge of a four-storey building next door, staring off towards the same group of individuals down the street. A double-take would reveal the person she was about to take a picture of vanished.

Is a stakeout so boring that hallucinations have started to set in? Behind the facemask, the man smiles, causing slight wrinkles to appear at the corner of his eyes. "I do so hope you got my left side, it's the better for a profile shot," he adds, a faint hint of England on his tongue.

Who they are, what they are, where they're from--

None of that matters to the woman behind the camera's lens.

She clicks absently, appearing bored and otherwise listless at the affair below. There is nothing exciting or enjoyable about watching little ants mill about with their toys. If anything, it inspires a sense of annoyance within her breast; they've encroached her boss' territory, and made things a bit /more/ difficult for the Chinese woman.

Still, reconnaissance is reconnaissance, and if the uppers want it, she'll get it--whether she likes it or not.

However, among them is indeed a figure that doesn't certainly fit in, however motley a crew a few blocks away it may be. He's just one of many faces in the crowd of idiots, right..?

Apparently she was wrong.

Just as the camera's lens begins to pan away and look elsewhere, a glance from the odd figure catches her off her guard. Her hand twitches slightly, momentarily panning back. There's certainly no way he's looking at her from several blocks away. Surely it is mere coincidence. But the look is so pointed--

She startles when a voice catches her off her guard, red eyes widening behind the lens. Her hands fumble, nearly dropping the camera three stories below--but fortunately her reflexes are far faster. Catching it by its wrist lasso, the woman offers a cursory exhale of relief before she pulls it into her grasp and tucks it into the blazer wrapped over her lanky form.

With her wits properly about her, the woman glances to the opposite rooftop, just above her. Narrowing her eyes a bit, she stares through the darkness at a figure that is, well. Similar to the one she'd just been spying on a moment ago. If she could, she'd look back; right now, however, she is focused on this odd figure nearby.

Pulling her body off the ledge of the rooftop, Shihong takes a few calculated steps away from it, making sure to keep comfortable distance from the rooftop-perched figure above her. He speaks, a joking tone that doesn't quite settle well upon the Chinese woman's pallet. She frowns slightly, red lips pulling tightly shortly after.

"You know, after all this invasion crap, I'm tired and cranky and pretty pissed off in general. So, you know what? I'm going to just cut the bullshit," she informs.

"Why are you here? Shouldn't you be, you know. Down there with your friends?" Again?

There are no sudden movements from the man, as if he knew instinctively -- or through some other means of divination -- that doing anything abruptly with this woman may prove a mistake. Then again, he may just be nice, which is why he vocalized rather than simply push her off the roof's ledge. Where would the fun in that be?

The jovial tone he employs may not sit too well, but it's what he gives her. Arms lift as she replies, crossing over his chest as he simply stares down at her. It pins that coat to him a little better, the faintest hint of something beneath it sticking out. He's armed, and he's letting her know it.

"Friends?" he echoes the word, as if tasting it on for size. "Oh, I don't think I'd say I have any friends in this country at all. They're not exactly fond of Queen and Country, you know? And besides, this is just a job. You know what that's like, right? That pretty little Kodak of yours, all part of the job, yes?"

He doesn't exceptionally wait for a reply, but he pauses to see if she has one all the same. "And that would just make them work colleagues, and a tired bunch of work colleagues at that. Nary a good joke amongst them, and they're too busy praying to this god-figure of theirs to really know how to have any fun."

Those hands lift, hands rubbing together in front of him. "Ahh yes, fun, fun. I get the feeling you're not having a lot of it. A little bored up here, I would think. I doubt you've even found anything interesting, all up here by yourself..."

He trails off for a moment there, eyes wandering this way and that as if to confirm that, yes indeed, Shihong was by herself. The Chinese woman must be something. He wonders where she's from, and as his eyes settle back upon her form... she may well feel a slight pressure against her mind, the man's blue eyes flashing to green as he attempts to intrude upon her mental landscape and learn more about her, the old-fashioned way.

Though he remains calm and poised, certain not to startle her with any sudden gesture, Shihong Mao is by no means relaxed or comforted by this fact. If anything, it makes him that much more untrustworthy and encourages her to be that much more cautious in his presence. He obviously knows what he's doing if he's catching her from several blocks away.

...and somehow teleporting. She doesn't bother to think too hard on it.

He folds his arms, and she notices the imprint there, the slight but telltale length of hidden steel beneath his coat. She looks toward it briefly before she looks up, offering him a rather unimpressed look.

"It was basically an empty comment," the woman remarks dryly. "I don't want to hear your sob story or life story or whatever you want to call it." The mention of her camera offers her a slight twitch of the brow, an arm absently drawing protectively nearer to where it is hidden beneath her blazer.

"Actually," Shihong comments with a smirk. "I am a journalist. I've covered wars, you know."

An empty smirk follows before it promptly drops.

"Anyway, get the hell out of here if you have nothing better to do than run around wearing a panty on your mouth in some vain attempt to hide your identity." Red eyes hood slightly, her pale face seized with a discreet expression of anger before she turns her attention away. Fun? Of course she isn't having fun.

"You're really annoying," she bluntly states.

But then...he does something that is entirely unexpected.

He's starting to pry past her defenses--mental defenses.

With his fucking /mind/.

While most fighters would either not really notice it or care to pinpoint what exactly the feeling of invasion is, a woman such as Shihong is intimately familiar with these sensations. That probing, prying feeling, the way his mind tries to sift past her outer defenses and delve deeper than she'd like. Years of attempting it herself have made her aware of this.

And she knows how to stop it.

Her eyes suddenly flash red, glowing dimly in the darkness. Like a door slamming shut, she cuts him off.

"It would seem you have a /death wish/," she darkly comments, eyes fixed entirely on the man. "You are seriously trying the very last of what patience I have left."

She shuts him down, his little probe into her mind severed rather expertly by the Chinese woman. It draws a quick blink from those eyes, which cease being green and return to their handsome blue. "My, my," he murmurs as he stares her right in the eye. She doesn't need to see the smile that adorns his face; she can feel it, even without extrasensory perceptions to aid her in reading him.

"So let me get this straight..." he airily begins, ignoring the dire warning that resides within her voice. The last vestiges of her patience? He intends to trample right over them, although he does it in a roundabout way -- that same roundabout way that seems to have infuriated her thus far. "You're a bored journalist who doesn't care for sob stories... when any good journo knows that it's precisely the tales of sadness from the field of war that earns them the top prize at the yearly awards."

A hand lifts, fingers idly running along the bottom of the partial-mask, where his chin would be. "And furthermore, you're able to deflect me like that. Now perhaps you've just been a touch sarcastic, perhaps a touch factitious, but I can't help but get the feeling that, well...

"You're lying to me."

There's a shake of his head after that, his arms going wide as he strolls along his raised ledge, as if he needed the extra help to be a tight-rope walker; the ledge is more than broad enough for him anyway, even if he weren't wearing solid boots right now.

"Well, whatever. I know it's a shitty job, sitting up here takin' all the pretty pictures, but if you want to be left to your boredom, I can skedaddle easily enough. But I really have to suggest you move on somewhere else; find yourself a new vantage point. You stick out like a sore thumb up."

He does not elaborate as to why, and he could mean in any number of ways, from her unique talents, to her looks. It certainly can't be her attire, the black merging her into the backdrop of the city so easily.

While the odd man's gaze may shift from green to blue once more, Shihong's remains that fierce, oddly-ethereal shade of burning red. It glows dimly in that darkness between them, giving her an odd appearance that speaks volumes to a man such as himself. Her ability to shut him out of her mind is without a doubt the clue he needs to know one thing:

She's very similar to him.

His seemingly patronizing tone draws her brows forward slightly, furrowed in what is likely annoyance as he prattles on with his assumptions. And the longer he goes, the more her facade of annoyance breaks. Slowly, rouge colored lips pull into a dry smirk. He didn't /seriously/ fall for that excuse, did he..?

Oh well, she decides.

"I never said I was being honest," she replies with a rather level tone of voice, her eyes reverting back to their typical shade of red, watching the man as he moves. "There's no reason in the world for me to be telling you what you want to hear. Truthful, lying, sarcastic; whatever I am is of no concern to someone like you. Deal with it."

Half-turning, the woman seems to disregard his threat with a faint laugh.

"I was here first--that is also something you will have to deal with. If I stick out, so what?"

Lifting her chin a bit, the woman cranes her neck slightly back, peering at the man with one red eye.

"What are you going to /do/ about it?"

Her reactions, the way she all but looks down at him despite the physical being quite the reverse, all brings about a perverse sort of amusement from within the man. It's almost refreshing, to run into someone as unashamedly arrogant as this. It's better than the men he typically hangs about, always toting him as the second coming. They're thoughts he keeps very, very carefully shielded. But this girl, she's refreshing.

And he'd love to slap the smugness right out of her.

Yet he has spent his entire life learning control, and he exerts it now, fostering instead a delighted aura, one that only grows as she cranes her neck and makes that challenge. And it is one, cast at his feet, a line that she dares him to cross over.

"You must be confident. If I know you're here, then the Cartel knows you're here. I'm sure you can tell there's none of the executives down there, but ah, you have such confidence. You think you can take them all on, is that it...? Or are you just confident in your ability to safely get away?" Read: safely run away.

He lets her believe him tightly affiliated with the Cartel, if that is her desire. He needs not reveal anything of himself, but he is admittedly curious about this woman. She is indeed very similar to him, and this is not the first case he has run into since arriving in Southtown.

Deciding that he wants to get closer to her, he moves to do just that. His arms go wide as he makes a hop from the ledge and onto her rooftop, landing in a slight crouch to protect himself from undue falling damage. Rising up, he gives his coat a quick shake, the sheathed weapon within clearly visible as he does so. And then the amble begins, not the studied walk of a fighter, but more along the lines of a smarmy man on the approach to a woman.

"Tell me you're not curious," he drolly comments.

Any other time or place, this sort of behavior would amuse Shihong.

However, things have shifted for the time being, and the situation she finds herself in overall is stressful, to say the least. The men and women she has had to deal with, the absolute bullshit she's been through thus far...it certainly takes its toll after a while, even on a woman who prides herself on her patience. The man's bold behavior and demeanor, his prying intent and HIS arrogance is grating.

The sentiment he holds is likely shared. She'd love to slap him.

"Is that some petty threat?" the Chinese woman wonders aloud, still glaring at him from the corner of one eye. "Really? Because if so, it's a poor attempt to cow me into running away with my tail tucked." Looking away, the one visible eye shuts. "Take them all on? I'm not that stupid.

"But I'm not a coward, either."

Turning once more, her steel stiletto heels scuff against the asphalt roofing as she faces the man more directly--especially when he drops from his rooftop to stand level on hers. The air around her becomes a touch more defensive and alert, distrustful still as he begins to make his arrogant approach. The nerve of him, to try and treat her this way...

She is not a rash woman by nature; rather than lash out, she keeps her cool.

For now.

"What /are/ you going on about?" she dryly wonders. "Curious about what? Why you're /bothering/ me and rudely interrupting me? Why you're going out of your way to be a pest? Or why you're some arrogant ass with a toy sword and mind powers trying to invade my goddamned personal space?" She slips a little; realizing this, the woman pauses and exhales lightly, finding her calm.

Leveling her gaze on the man, she offers a wry smirk.

"If you must know? I'm mostly curious why you're hiding behind that panty on your face. Only cowards hide behind masks."

It's a very calculated man that she's run into now. Whether it's the way he walks up to her, or just his continued way of grating on her frayed nerves, he does force a slip from her; but it's nothing he hadn't already figured out about her. That she's giving way to annoyance is... almost cute, though. There's definitely something about this woman, and he continues to slowly amble forward, almost a strut in truth. Her comments about his chosen facial attire don't make him bat a lash.

"It wouldn't do if I were to be recognized. This scenario won't last for much longer, I think. It's only a matter of time until one side wins, and... well, after that, we all go back to the status quo, or we have to pick up roots and plant them elsewhere."

His shoulders lift into a shrug as if that were nothing exceptional, as if he were a wandering vagabond. "That's fine for some, but what if a month or two down the track I run into someone who recognizes me? I don't need that. But then, given your, ah, 'affliction," he rolls his eyes, a hand tapping the side of his head to indicate what he means by that, "I suppose you'd be able to pick me out of a crowd, hmm?

"If you don't take my photo, I'll take off the mask. Now isn't that an offer you can't refuse?" he's putting on the charm as he leans forward slightly, having drawn himself ever closer to the Syndicate Operative, one brow quirking upwards slightly. Again, that smile can all but be felt.

For all her need to be on the defensive around him, he's definitely not giving off an overly oppressive sense with his approach, not even hinting that he may mean her violence. He awaits her answer, a hand lifting up towards his mask.

If anything... he might just be flirting with her.

"Recognize you? In this sort of world? You're likely a stepping stone to the majority of NESTS or whoever you've allied yourself with," Shihong is quick to remark, red eyes hooding slightly. Whether he finds her annoyance "cute" or fascinating means little to the woman herself; he prodding into matters that do not concern him, and she remains a very busy woman. Normally, she'd gladly humor his flirtatious behavior.

But things have changed, and his arrogance is working her to the core.

"You're correct about that," she offers. "Though I am certain it won't be /your/ side. As for status quo, I am looking FORWARD to a sense of normalcy and routine once this annoying scenario concludes." She's optimistic it will go in the Syndicate's favor; how wrong she's likely to be.

"Like I said, you're probably just some insignificant fool that no one of note will concern themselves with. You're just a pawn, a pointless little piece in the scheme of things. Your loss is nothing to fret over, your gains something of minor note and, certainly, your worth meager at /best/." Yes, she is annoyed. Her patience has long-since been tried and frayed by circumstances surrounding the city. She's tired and drained and--

"But you're correct," she offers with a confident smirk.

Shihong doesn't like to recall that she's losing her patience.

"You'd be easy enough to pick out with /your/ 'affliction.' Your choice of attire doesn't help."

He propositions her shortly after, to which the Chinese woman just lightly smirks. He leans forward and she leans slightly back, taking an actual step back and once again putting distance between her body and his. She does not appear to like him, and his invasion of her personal space is certainly unwanted, evident by the discreet scowl and upturn of her lip.

"Why would I take your picture?" she wonders, even as he dares to lift a hand up and toy with the mask perched upon his face. "Your first impression is damning enough. Who are you trying to fool? Really?" Pausing, she considers her words before she hastily adds,

"Besides yourself."

"You telling me you've never made an enemy?" the man asks the woman, brows lifting slightly. His hand pauses near the mask, fingertips lightly tapping against the black surface. "It's like this, I figure. Five, ten years from now, I may not be in this business anymore. I might be dead, as well. But if I'm not in this business anymore, I figure, I'll probably be retired. Maybe run a little café somewhere, that type of thing, you know? There's espresso in my veins, so to speak."

His fingers descend onto the mask, and he unhooks it, placing it into a pocket of his coat. When he looks up again, it's clear that he has a bit of the Mediterranean in him, his ethnicity split based on his conflicting looks and his faint accent.

He offers a smile and a little wink, his story continuing.

"So maybe there I am, frothing some milk one day, and a customer walks in who figures my face is kind of familiar. Then he pieces it together; I was the guy in Southtown, all those years ago, who went and knocked the power off the grid. An act that resulted in his pregnant wife in hospital dying. And then he decides to go ahead and take revenge on me right there and then, 'cause who knows, this might be in a country with lax gun laws."

He pauses, and then he laughs softly. "A little far-fetched, I know. But you get my point, right? You might not think me important, but somebody else might. How I touch somebody else's life won't be how I touch yours.

"So maybe, once things die down here in town, I don't want people figuring out that I was involved, just to be safe." Salvatore lifts a hand, palm flat, to forestall what he figures will be on her lips, since he can't skim her thoughts. "And you know that isn't cowardice, it's being cautious. Maybe, maybe overly so. But just because I'm helping the Cartel right now doesn't mean I'll be helping them together."

The hand drops. "And so, here we are."

Her response? Shihong laughs a mocking sort of laugh.

"I never said I haven't made nor have enemies," the woman ultimately replies, slender arms folding casually across her bosom. "I was simply pointing out the fact you are giving yourself far too much credit or worth in the scheme of things here. The enemies you make...will not be anyone of concern I /assure/ you." She concludes it all with a wry smirk before she tosses her head and begins to turn away, pacing a few feet away even as he elaborates.

Only when he finishes does she finally turn and fully acknowledge him, red depths surveying his features before her gaze half-lids and what is perhaps amusement. "And here I figured you were just wasting my time with empty promises.

"Well, you're not as cowardly as I figured you to be," she ultimately decides, waving a pale hand about. "But you're an awful and droll storyteller. Coffee? Really? Christ." Exhaling heavily, the woman's thin shoulders sag. "You are so boring. You were making a point with all that..?"

Shaking her head lightly, the woman's eyes shut. "Whatever. Who cares about what other people think? Of what they value versus yours? This world does not run on such pathetic, hand-holding logic. It's kill or be killed. It's survival of the fittest. You either eat, or you are eaten. All of it is a competition. All of it."

Furrowing her thin black brows, the woman begins to elaborate further--but his hand reaches out, palm forward to stop her. She appears momentarily annoyed. And when he finally concludes, she frowns.

"No, you're still a coward."

Taking a casual step back and away, she offers a faint sneer afterwards. "And yes, here we are. Enemies. You should have kept your distance like a good little for-hire crony, but no. Your self-importance blinded you from thinking rationally about the situation you've now gotten yourself into. What's to say I shouldn't kill you right here and now?" she wonders. "My, the big boys on the upper levels might like it if I brought /you/ home. Sure, you're a little nobody but hey, every little bit counts."

What she says actually speaks volumes for the type of woman she is, and through her words does Salvatore learn much about this girl. He is not sure if he should label her one or the other just yet; girl, or woman. Certainly, she's old enough for the latter, but she holds a view of the world that is almost child-like in its simplicity. There are shades of gray she cannot hope to envision, and firmly entrenched in that shadow lies the man who removes his mask and speaks to her so candidly, yet so whimsically.

"I wonder," he finally speaks, almost as if she never said that last part at all; he'll get to it momentarily. "What happened to you, to make you this way?"

He lifts a hand up, eyes momentarily flashing green, before he thinks better of it. With a soft chuckle, he drops the limb back to his side. That trick won't work on her, he reminds himself. "A small fish in a big pond, perhaps that is all I am. And perhaps that is precisely how I prefer it to be, all things considered. I certainly would not want two armies knocking on my door to take what's mine, and yet, here you are, with your boss precisely in that predicament."

How much does he know about the situation he's in? Likely as much as the next man working down there on the streets, but those talents of his could reveal much of the hidden world of Southtown to him. He knows this city is corrupt, and he can sense that he's staring at one of those who has fallen to the darkness that shadows the town.

Finally he shrugs, hands lifting helplessly. "You could kill me, but I think you would have lobbed something at me by now if you were going to. I'm as much of an unknown to you as you are to me. It could result in your death, instead of mine. You just don't know -- and are you really willing to throw yourself into the thick of things when there's that mighty unknown floating about?" His lips twist into a quick grin, "What help would you be to your boss, after all, if you were dead?"

Turning his back on her, he steps a little closer to the roof's edge. "Beeeesides, I figure if you want to bring me home, we won't precisely be killing each other in the biblical sense."

He wonders; the woman's brow arches discreetly.

When he confesses his thoughts, the woman's face visibly hardens. Red eyes narrow slightly, her jaw going tense as she merely stares the odd man in black down. Inwardly she curses herself; she really has lost her composure lately. But it's so hard to be the cool and calm woman she once was prior to all of this. Prior to that night--

Her eyes glow dimly as she hoods her gaze a fraction more.

"That is beside the point here," the woman flatly replies. His gaze flickers as well; she lets her expression grow cold, her eyes burning a bit brighter. Fortunately, he thinks better of it; as such, Shihong's gaze mutes a bit, and soon after she tosses her head to one side, a long mane of black waving about.

"The situation can't be helped," Shihong states. "Perhaps it was bound to happen at some point? Who knows? All that matters now is cleaning out the mess--and I'll help do that. I owe my 'boss,' as you put it." Drawing her red eyes shut, a faint smirk edges over Shihong's pale face as she folds her arms over her chest once more. "The Syndicate has been kind to me. I can benefit from it, and they're not entirely rife with freaks. Not like NESTS or Shadaloo." Among other things.

He admits that she could have killed him, and in response the woman laughs. "Really? That is what you believe?" Opening a single eye, the woman smirks. "Are you implying I'm afraid? Because that is /far/ from the truth." Dropping her arms, the woman steps force one step, hands resting upon her thin hips. "I am not an irrational woman," Shihong explains, still smirking. "I pride myself on approaching matters with a critical eye and tactical mind.

"As for my boss..? I realize right now I'm not as 'useful,' and know that my loss is minimal at best in his scheme of things. So what?" She will work to be something more. She will prove herself, no matter what. She will get stronger. Better. Faster. She will KILL that son of a bitch--

Her thoughts slip, rage echoing from her before she snaps herself back into control, a thin, lifeless smirk crossing her face.

"You're an arrogant bastard," she states, glaring at his back. "And you /still/ continue to give me reason after reason to throw your ass off the roof."

"Yes, they are a motley crew, aren't they? In all shapes and sizes, in all powers, both natural and gifted by science," Salvatore muses on the nature of his alliance with the forces assaulting the town. The way he speaks suggests that, indeed, he is not truly part of either militia assaulting the town right now, but merely a contractor, or perhaps an opportunist. And ever the opportunist, he continues to read what she puts out there; the slip, the rage. She tells him one thing, but her aura suggests another, that barely-contained darkness within that's reaching boiling point.

With his back to her, he's happy to simply read the air, to gather what information he can; his eyes mist, green vapor trailing into the crisp night air as he makes use of his innate talent. When finally he turns, baby blues stare back at her glaring red.

"And yet, you don't. You label me arrogant, although the bastard title is not quite apt -- my parents, bless their poor souls, were indeed married when I was spawned -- and yet you yourself seem to be both arrogant and lacking in confidence. You say you can kill me, yet you say you are not useful."

He lifts a hand, one finger pointing skyward. "Those at the top cannot hope to get there without the help of those whose shoulders they stand upon. " The hand drops. "Forgive me if the proverb is not spot-on, but I'm sure you see my point. You seem out of balance. It's like part of you wants to throw me off the roof, but the other isn't so concern that would be the best course of action. But it stretches well beyond that, and I think you know what I mean."

The half-Italian man isn't so certain he knows what he's getting at either; he's just ad-libbing based on what he can pick up about the woman. She's back to woman in his books, as well, particularly when she puts her hands on her hips just so. "So, this entire situation aside, us being 'enemies' and all, just... what do you intend to do, to make things right for yourself, in here?" he taps his chest.

"Do you need to get something off your chest? A bit of rough and tumble, a chance to scream, perhaps?" From the look on his face, he may not quite mean fighting when he says that.

As the 'mysterious' stranger speaks of the crew NESTS keeps, Shihong cannot help but simply roll her eyes in response, a light and breathy exhale of mild annoyance easing past her red lips. Looking aside, she simply lets him speak as he will without interruption. Sure, she finds herself outwardly annoyed, presenting a facade of frustration for the moment; however, this allows and affords her a chance to learn a bit more and decipher him all the more.

And, of course and with hope, use it to her advantage.

Yet when he speaks of her slip, the woman cannot help but again present a muted glare of anger. The audacity and nerve--he's just like every other lowlife that crawled in and tried to usurp power from the Syndicate. Who does he think he is..?

"You're an idiot," Shihong remarks bluntly, the corners of her rouge lips twitching softly into a faint smirk. "I'm confident because I know my skill and what I am capable of. Those above me...they're better by leaps and bounds. I've got some ways to go. So, in comparison, I'm not 'useful.' Yet." Lifting a hand, the woman brushes back hair from off a shoulder.

"Here's a proverb for you," she states, smirking faintly. "'A mouse-catching dog steps on the toes of cats.'" She pauses briefly, red eyes narrowing slightly. "It's an old Chinese proverb that relates to someone too nosey and inquisitive, who cares about business of others, getting himself involved in matters which do not concern him." She shifts her weight afterward from one heel to the other, grinning a little further.

"Do you honestly think you read me that easily?" the woman in black wonders, still glaring.

"Well, you're wrong.

"So quit acting like some armchair psychiatrist."

Turning to the side, she begins to pace forward--that is until he amends his comment with another. Briefly her eyes widen, her pale face surprised before it changes into an expression of sheer annoyance. Whipping around, the woman's eyes are glowing again as she speaks with a calm that borders on the edge of anger.

"If you don't jump off the edge right now, I will push you."

To prove her point, as it were, the Syndicate woman walks forward.

Reading Salvatore may not as easy as it seems, mostly because the persona the man has offered this woman... may not be truthful, but rather a careful construct from a very cautious man. That much he told her concerning himself is certainly true. There are facets of him that must remain hidden, affiliations that he will die before revealing. His purposes here may seem almost altruistic, but at the end of the day, she does not care to listen.

Instead, he sparks anger within her, however well she manages to keep from allowing it to overcome her. When she starts walking towards him, he wears a simple smile on his face, a leisurely expression that reaches his eyes.

How many buttons can be push to 'help' her out, he wonders? He must test the limits of her connection to the nebulous beyond, to the Syndicate and its mysterious leader. Southtown is full of talent, and he determines that it is time to test this one.

"So, screaming and grunting it is, huh...?" he replies to her as she moves towards him.

With that smile still on his face, he shakes his head slightly, as if telling her; this isn't the right decision you're making. All the same, he's not about to step down and let her push him from the rooftop. That would be both harmful to his health, and also put her above him. If she truly wishes to prove her superiority, he'll make her do it the old-fashioned way.

"So be it."

Vapor rises from his eyes, and the man takes a single step forward. The gap between them is not that large, and into it he draws his sword, immediately slashing the air, causing it to whimper in agony. Yet that blade, a katana, does not appear overly sharp. What it does appear to be doing, however, is glowing with green energy.

And as the air crackles with the display of potent Psycho Power, the rising slash of Salvatore unleashes a cutting wave of energy, flying right for the Syndicate operative!

COMBATSYS: Salvatore has started a fight here.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Salvatore        0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Shihong has joined the fight here.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Shihong          0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0        Salvatore

COMBATSYS: Shihong blocks Salvatore's Benediction.

[  \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////////  ]
Shihong          0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0        Salvatore

She moves slowly toward him, red eyes dimly lit in the dark atmosphere around them. Annoyed and likely through listening to his empty perceptions of her, it becomes clear the woman has every intention of dealing with him in one of the most effective ways she knows how: physically. If he insists on harassing her, she'll just have to kick him off the rooftop.

"Do you even know how to stop running that mouth of yours?" she wonders, marching forward.

Perhaps unexpected is the shift around him, the emergence of energy as he steps toward her, rather than away. The weapon she'd all but forgotten about is exposed and withdrawn, a sudden slash that causes Shihong to stop in her step. Red eyes widen, lips pulled tightly as her arms tense--a feint..?

The sudden wave of emerald energy says otherwise.

Drawing her arms up, she shields her body from the bulk of his energy assault, Psycho Power washing over her arms and singing the sleeves of her blazer. Immediately she frowns, red eyes still glowing in the darkness as she lowers her arms and stares the odd man down. But...she smirks.

"And here I thought you were going to let me just push you off the building..."

She moves shortly after the words part her red lips, darting forward before she plants a foot and pivots. She swings her leg around, attempting to hook her leg around the back of Salvatore's neck before she sharply draws it downward, attempting to yank him off the roof's ledge and slam him face-first into the rooftop.

"I'll have some fun first, before I throw you off!"

COMBATSYS: Shihong successfully hits Salvatore with Kick Combo.

[  \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////////     ]
Shihong          0/-------/------=|==-----\-------\0        Salvatore

"I'm not that reckless," Salvatore speaks into the gap that arrives between her intercepting his strike with her blazer's sleeves and her approach at him. Sliding the sword back into its sheathe, he watches her approach, judging her average stride for future reference. Part of him expects a typically linear strike; some kind of leap kick, perhaps.

What comes though, that isn't entirely what he had anticipated for. Hands poised to catch her, instead it's her that catches him, that nimble and lengthy leg slipping past his defenses from up high, circling about his neck, and then slamming him roughly to the paved rooftop. A grunt is released from the man as he's unceremoniously dumped by Shihong, even before they begin dating.

Rolling away swiftly, the man slides back to his feet, dancing back a step or two with a light laugh. His face seems grazed about the left cheek and brow, and he casually wipes a hand over that area as if it were just sweat he was wiping away. "This wasn't the kind of fun I was suggesting we have, but I guess beggars can't be choosers," he flippantly responds, before moving back towards her. His stance seems to shift as he does so, the careful footsteps of a swordsman giving way to something faster, defter.

Rather than wait for an opening, he seeks to create one, a half-step half-leap forward closing the gap. And even as he moves, his hand swings, aiming to do himself a considerable favor by grabbing the woman in the princess grip. Should her wrist be wrangled, he'll yank her forward and off-balance to propel him by her -- and then drive his elbow into the back of her head.

It's how some people say hello.

COMBATSYS: Shihong dodges Salvatore's Combo Throw.

[  \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////////     ]
Shihong          0/-------/------=|==-----\-------\0        Salvatore

When Salvatore falls the woman immediately withdraws her long leg, chambering it briefly at the hip before she sets it down. Still smirking, red eyes watch his prone figure for the moment, wondering if the pain was suitable to leave an impression--or a few messy cuts. Or both; she'll take anything, as long as the smarmy bastard is aching.

He manages to roll and get back onto his feet, a gesture that doesn't outwardly surprise the woman. Lips pull into a faint frown, red eyes hooding a slight bit as she notes his injured face. "Aww, I'm so sorry to hear that," she offers, as patronizingly as possible. "You'll just have to make due with what I give you, now won't you?"

The woman's eyes flicker to his feet as he begins to move, observing carefully before she offers a slight smirk. When he half-step-leaps and snaps a hand out, Shihong sharply whips to one side, letting his arm harmlessly sail past her face, eyes briefly flashing red.

"You're awfully forward," the woman comments.

"And predictable."

With the two so close, it affords her the opportunity to lash out, eyes still fiercely glowing red as she thrusts a palm forward, right into his side. It's a soft and harmless touch at best; it's the burst of red vermillion psychic flame that lances in its wake that really hurts.

COMBATSYS: Salvatore blocks Shihong's Swallow's Wings.

[   \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////       ]
Shihong          0/-------/------=|===----\-------\0        Salvatore

His attempt to knock her senseless may have failed, but that doesn't mean that Salvatore is without a backup plan. As Shihong thrusts her palm for his side, it's met by something odd; his own palm. Did he telegraph her play, or was it entirely coincidence -- or is he some kind of clairvoyant? The powers of those who tap into the realms of Psycho vary so greatly.

The wash of flame that she discharges cascades over him, the blast mostly deflected across his body, rather than injected directly into him. He grimaces slightly, but that grin is quick to return. "Not bad, not bad. I have to admit, before I came here, I didn't really run into that many people who could, y'know, do what we do," he tells her, hand pressed against hers until she withdraws. "Do you know anyone else who does this?"

The middle of a fight, and he makes little bits of conversation. But rather than simply let it continue, he again tries for that grip on her wrist, moving with a burst of speed. It seems he likes her, so much so that if successful, he's going to pull her close while shifting his stance -- so he can lift her up and over his shoulders, effectively throwing her in a rather similar way that her 'boss' would, a styled throw to loft the woman helplessly into the air.

The difference of course being that, if the girl gets airborne, she's going to find Salvatore aiming a hand at her while she's up there -- and a blast of emerald waiting to greet her and bring her back down to earth.

COMBATSYS: Salvatore successfully hits Shihong with Ragnarok.

[        \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////        ]
Shihong          0/-------/---====|=====--\-------\0        Salvatore


Catches her palm?

Not that it really matters; the burst of red fire erupts, shooting through his hand and across his chest with less painful intent than she'd imagined and hoped for. She doesn't move immediately; instead, her hand just holds briefly, red eyes hooding lightly as she watches him speak. Is he still trying to be cordial with a woman who isn't really /wanting/ to put up with such behavior from her 'enemy?'

Seems so.

"If I did, why would I tell y--!"

Cut off by his sudden movement, the woman is grasped by the wrist and heaved off her feet and into the air, followed by a subsequent burst of his own psychic energy that sends a jolting pain through her body before she lands atop the roof harshly, a loud grunt escaping her.

"As I was trying to say," the woman offers with a low tone, looking rather displeased as she pulls her body to its feet once more. "Why would I tell you? What does it matter, anyway?" She's not precisely in a helpful mood it would seem. Rather than immediately assault him, she takes a moment to smooth out the sleeves of her blazer.

"Are you always this obnoxious?"

Whether he offers her a response, the woman is already on the move, attempting to bring a leg sharply up at her hip before she fires it off, a side kick aimed for the man's sternum, pain punctuated by that overpriced three inch steel stiletto she wears so well.

COMBATSYS: Salvatore dodges Shihong's Medium Kick.

[        \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////        ]
Shihong          0/-------/---====|=====--\-------\0        Salvatore

Left with a smoking hand after shooting her out of the sky, Salvatore shakes the hand, grimacing slightly. Does his power hurt him, or is it more out of sympathy for her rough fall? Either way, she proves her mettle by being swift to continue the verbal spar in addition to the physical.

With her back on his feet, he simply shrugs at her question, that grin still on his face. Is he truly being obnoxious? It was an honest enough question. How much of his apparent delight is being forced, and how much is genuine though... that starts to tell when she makes that leaping sidekick at his chest. Deftly, he pulls his body to one side, standing side by side, actually facing the woman at dangerously close proximity.

Time seems to slow as their eyes meet, but it's hardly from romance, it's just dramatic.

And as if to flaunt the apparent speed he has, his hand trails along her thigh, before he leaps backwards and away. "Now, now, it's not nice to call people names. I'm just curious, that's all. From what I can tell, it all seems pretty rare. There's a few in that fighting circuit, not that I've seen it on TV lately," he continues speaking as he hops back, his mouth flapping somewhat even as the air about him turns a touch more green, more vapor leaving his body as he concentrates -- despite talking!

"Mostly, they use that other power, right? It's just kind of nice to run into someone similar, I guess. After all, we have so much in common, wouldn't you agree?" he dares, that winning smile on his face once more.

COMBATSYS: Salvatore gathers his will.

[        \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////       ]
Shihong          0/-------/---====|=======\=------\1        Salvatore

With each passing second between them, Shihong finds herself growing increasingly impatient with the mysterious NESTS ally. Frowning, she makes her move, a leg coiled before she unleashes it, seeking to nail her heel straight through his chest. It was good in theory.

Not so much in practice.

He moves aside, avoiding the strike altogether. And in that moment their eyes meet, the look within her angry red gaze anything but romantic or amused. She's just frustrated with having to deal with NESTS' left-overs and incompetents. Even if they're not as incompetent as they may first seem.

When he touches her leg, Shihong just gets blatantly aggravated, eyes widening before she snaps her leg back and touches it to the roof. "How DARE you?!" she cries, completely ignoring his idle talk. "How dare you touch me!" Hooding her gaze, the obviously frustrated and tired woman just seethes. She distantly notes the haze and vapor, but--like his words--ignores it.

If there's anything she appears to agree on, it's violence.

It's guidance that moves her body, the woman's black-clad frame suddenly jerking to live as she once again pursues the swordsman. Several feet from the man she leaps, gracefully flying feet first as she attempts to peg both heels into his chest before she forcefully springs back, using his body as a springboard in the process.

COMBATSYS: Salvatore interrupts Thrust Kick from Shihong with Last Judgement.

[           \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////            ]
Shihong          0/-------/-======|=======\-------\0        Salvatore

Whatever reasons he has for what he does, it seems Salvatore is willing to simply dance along her emotional spinal cord, hitting all the right notes to illicit anger from the woman; just like touching her leg, just like his seemingly half-smug, half-lothario attitude. When push comes to shove and the woman comes a-kickin' though, the half-British man does the sensible thing, the thing that has been the focal point of his training for years now.

He uses her energy against her. It's definitely the same type of style employed by her boss, the mighty and shadowy Syndicate leader, but the fact he uses a sword as well tells of a split-style. As her legs strike his chest -- and they do so forcefully -- he grabs at her ankles, ensuring that she cannot spring away. What follows is far from graceful, and it is far from a true aikido style.

Knocked backwards, his footing lost, Salvatore simply employs a firm hold to ensure that Shihong comes with him. And as he falls back, he releases her, sending her flying over his head as he himself hits against the roof with a heavy grunt.

Rolling back to his feet, he grimaces at the almost stab-like quality her heels had for him. "Do you always wear heels like that?" he questions, half-jokingly and still half-lothario as he glances over at the woman. The hand against his chest drops. If she actually made him bleed, his black clothing should hide the fact well enough. He takes in a few deep breathes to ensure she hasn't done him any serious harm behind the rib cage, waiting to see what she has for him next.

Snatching the Syndicate woman by her legs, she's taken down with him; as he falls he throws her, her balance shot to hell no thanks to his grasp and unanticipated counterattack. Thrown, she flies head over heels, landing on the rooftop with a heavy, most ungraceful slam of her back and upper shoulders on asphalt. A loud, jagged gasp breathily wheezes past her lips in response.

She does not stay down, however. Rolling aside, the woman plants her palms on the rooftop and pushes her body up, rising shakily to her feet once again. His question graces her ears, but she does not promptly respond; instead, though her back is to him, she rolls her eyes, exhaling a heavy put-upon sigh as her thin shoulders sag.

"And do you always ask stupid, inane questions?" she half-wonders, turning on her heels to face him directly once more. Rolling her shoulders before she carefully rolls her neck, the woman private winces at the face ht's actually been a pain in the ass to deal with, both physically and personally. He's caught her in the worst possible state. She really needs to calm herself, stop letting her frustrations about...everything get the better of her.

A deep breath is held before, slowly, she exhales. A smirk follows.

"But, if you are so curious," the woman calmly and coolly states, moving slowly forward. "I'll gladly let you have another look at them."

Her steps become a hurried dash, the woman's body twisting as she lightly hops forward. When she lands as close as she can get she snaps a leg out, kicking at the side of his head with the top of her foot before she coils it at her hip. It unleashes again, a short, fleeting kick of that damnable heel at his chest before she coils it tightly again. A split-second after she lets out a sharp cry, her foot slamming forward like a piston at the same spot again, intent on otherwise driving her heel INTO his chest.

COMBATSYS: Salvatore blocks Shihong's Prancing Stag.

[            \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////               ]
Shihong          0/-------/=======|=======\-------\1        Salvatore

How aware is Salvatore of her mental divide, the stern desire to remain composed fighting against the tide of anger, let loose by her prior encounter with a beast? Likely, not so much the latter, but he's been reading her pretty well so far. He simply smiles at her when she offers him another look at those heels, a soft 'oooh' of delight leaving his mouth, as if all of this were simply foreplay instead of a potentially dire fight.

And when it all comes, he's ready for her. Shifting his stance, he draws the sheathed weapon out, using the protective casing to help fend off her assault on his personage. The kick to the side of the head meets the black sheathe, and the forward jab of her heel likewise meets a similar fate. But she winds up for the last kick, and that manages to break past his defense, although it doesn't hit as hard as she'd no doubt love to see.

Nevertheless, he's knocked back, arms pin wheeling for a moment as he catches himself from falling. He grunts, the hand holding the weapon lifting to his chest protectively. "Ouch," he repeats himself, before a smirk settles on his features.

"So why do you keep struggling like that?"

It's an entirely random question, and he offers no further explanation just yet as to why he's asking, or what he's referring to. So without missing a beat he flashes forward, an overhead axe kick descending down for Shihong's shoulder, aiming to cause a slight stumble. He follows it up by slamming the hilt of his weapon forward, aiming to bury the handle somewhere in her chest and drive her right back.

COMBATSYS: Shihong blocks Salvatore's Kyrie Eleison.

[             \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////                ]
Shihong          1/-------/=======|=======\=------\1        Salvatore

Why does she keep struggling?

"What /are/ you talking about?"

Her leg draws back as he recovers, red eyes hooding slightly as she watches the man in black. Where does his arrogance come from? Sure, he's done well against her, but that doesn't mean he's BETTER than the woman. Her arrogance and pride are fierce--a little shaky as of lately, but still solid. She isn't about to believe a man like this has the better of her.

"I think you are sorely mistaken."

He lashes out shortly after, and immediately the woman swings her arms up, intercepting the axe kick before she twists aside and catches the hilt of his blade within the center of her palm. It leaves a pained, numb feeling briefly throughout her appendage, but she smirks it off, eyes half-lidded. "No," she says with newfound boldness, calm and composed.

"I think you're the one who is struggling here."

To emphasize the point the woman suddenly leaps up and at an angle, attempting to knee the man in his chest before pushing off with a twist of her lanky form--if only to give her the spin to swing a leg around and fiercely clip him with the back of her heel in the side of his head.

COMBATSYS: Salvatore dodges Shihong's Strong Kick.

[             \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////                ]
Shihong          1/-------/=======|=======\=------\1        Salvatore

When she blocks the kick and then catches the hilt, there's the faintest of grins on the face of Salvatore. Inwardly, he isn't grinning, but he's ever the skillful player; he continues to foster this fake persona for her, if it is indeed fake, and he seems to take delight in her guarded approach. What she says though, it only widens the grin.

Does she really not know what he's talking about? He still does not enlighten her. Instead he readies himself as she retaliates, staring her down the length of his forward-thrust sheathe. She rises up against him, and he immediately pulls back.

Scant inches separate her knee from his chest, and as she lands so too does he. The follow-up kick to the side of his head leads to him ducking right under the offending appendage, but this time he does not touch her thigh inappropriately. Instead, with her swinging about in front of him, he seeks to capitalize and assault her.

His foot comes up, and he seeks to plant the boot squarely into her likely-flat ass, to give her a solid kick away from him. But he hasn't kept his mouth shut so far; he's not about to start now. "You seem a little more settled now. Taking me seriously, are you? What a pity!"

COMBATSYS: Shihong interrupts Light Kick from Salvatore with Savage Tiger EX.

[              \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////                    ]
Shihong          1/----===/=======|=======\====---\1        Salvatore

That damned grin--she'll kick it off his face.

And she tries to; however, once again, the swordsman in black proves as elusive to the Syndicate enforcer as ever. Her strikes miss, and ultimately he weaves beneath her leg, letting it harmlessly swing over his head. And that's about when he attempts to take advantage of her prone, airborne figure.

This time, though, Shihong isn't going to let him get away so easily.

She lands, instantly turning to face the man with a smug grin on her pale face. His leg snaps out, catching her in the stomach, drawing a gasp from her lips--but it doesn't thwart the Chinese woman. Instead she shoves it harshly aside, throwing his balance off briefly before stepping in and snaring him by the arm. Once she has a hold on it, she wrenches it painfully, gaining control of it momentarily.

"You've made a grave mistake," she offers with a thin smile.

Hopping off her steel stiletto heels, Shihong begins a painful ascension on the man's chest, literally scaling Salvatore's front with harsh thrusts of her heels. Only when she reaches his shoulders does she leap lightly upwards while holding his wrist- -before her heels ignite with Psycho Power and thrust savagely downwards, to shove him face-first into the asphalt rooftop, his fall marked with an explosion of psychic red flames. Using the burst, Shihong leaps off, landing a few feet away, watching and waiting.

"Now, what were you saying..?"

A grave mistake indeed, as he feels his arm threaten to hyper-extend -- and the woman promptly takes advantage of him! Up his chest does she run, those heels barreling down like a shiv against his relatively sturdy chest. He grunts under the impact, his balance threatening to teeter back entirely -- and she ups the ante, forcing him to the ground, as her power comes to the fore and is discharged into his body.

Those final stomps are painful, and before he knows it his shoulders are against the roof -- and his entire body is cast into a brief inferno.

She leaps away, leaving him to lie there, smoke wafting from his body. Like all such manifestations, the power and the flames are quick to dissipate, but they've hurt him nevertheless. Words stream out of her mouth, whimsical and nigh-sarcastic. His left hand abruptly shifts, the muscles within making a sickening sound as he lets the power that resides within him be his guide. His eyes snap open, the grin on his face closer to devilish.

The sword does not come into play. In a flash, he's back on his feet. A second later, he's streaming right at her, nothing but a midnight train that promises swift retaliation. For once, she has silenced him; but is she going to prefer him this way, with what he tries to do to her next?

Time slows to heartbeats, Salvatore moving far swifter than he was before. The gap vanishes, and he's on her in a flash, that hand -- sizzling with dancing green energy -- roaring forward to seize her face, and simply shove her right back and back hard into the rooftop. It has the underlying grace of the martial art he has studied, but it is fueled with the potent Psycho Power that is not simply at her beck and call, but his as well.

Should all go well, he'll slam her down onto her back, and then his other hand is going to plummet down into her belly -- and fire shots of that green torture directly into her body in one, two, three quick movements!

COMBATSYS: Salvatore successfully hits Shihong with Megiddo.

[                   \\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////                    ]
Shihong          1/--=====/=======|==-----\-------\0        Salvatore

"What's wrong? Cat got your tongue?"

Eyeing the felled swordsman with a smug expression on her pale face, the Chinese woman cannot help but feel she's finally gained some ground on the man. It's been a struggle--why, she wonders behind her arrogance. Is it because of that damnable mercenary in Geese's employ? Is it the situation itself? Is it the war?

She just cannot say. It bothers her, despite the seemingly newfound pride she wields.

And it blinds her. She does not notice his eyes opening. She only barely notices his sudden jolt, his sudden lift from the ground as he stretches a glowing hand out and reaches for her face. The woman's red eyes widen, but it's too late. His grip is firm--and painful.

Not nearly as painful as the sudden slam of her head into the ground, or the subsequent bursting jolt of psychic energy that fires repeatedly into--and through--her. She'd gasp, if she could find time between pinching off the pain. Only when he releases does she offer a ragged sigh, her body sluggishly move aside. Slowly--cautiously--she will pull her shaking form to her feet.

"C-cat did get your tongue, I see," Shihong remarks, grinning a bloody smile. Around her a dim haze of psychic flame begins, vermillion energy oozing from head to toe.

"But...i-it's not over yet."

To prove she has fight left in her Shihong suddenly jolts forward, her body flying forward feet-first. It's an odd angle, and the touch of her feet is harmless--at first.

The moment her feet touch down that energy suddenly spikes, racing from her head and collecting at her heels, from which she delivers a furious blast of Psycho Power through his body. Forced off, she flips upwards, her legs swinging around and down, to deliver another bone-jarring spike of pure energy through his body.

COMBATSYS: Shihong successfully hits Salvatore with Bird of Paradise.

[                    \\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///                           ]
Shihong          0/-------/---====|======-\-------\0        Salvatore

Forced back after discharging his potent power directly into her body, essentially to shake off the sting of using it in such a harmful fashion, the half-Italian finds that the woman is still running her mouth. He offers a sketchy grin in return to her bloody smile, the two seemingly reaching the climax of their impromptu tussle. It seems her words are right though; it's not over yet. Crackles of green still run down the man's arms as she launches herself at him. He makes a meager attempt to lift his arms -- but it seems his body does not wish to comply, not fully.

Whatever the cause, be it him overspending his power in some way or otherwise, she strikes him cleanly. He's jolted back by the first shot, and the second as she loops about puts her feet right against his face, blasting him back. His boots leave the rooftop.

Crashing down yards away, he slides along the rooftop until finally his back comes to rest against the small ledge that stops everyday accidents from happening to smokers up here.

"Mph," he groans, rising back to his feet. "My, you do have a little something in your engine after all, don't you?" he questions her, a lop-sided grin taking his face as he contemplates whether to push the envelope and give her one last assault to deal with.

Visibly, he seems to be weighing it up, teetering on the brink of rushing right at her. Finally, he makes a half-grimace and puffs out his cheeks. "Maybe next time we'll meet under better circumstances," Salvatore says instead, as he instead pivots about -- and leaps right over the ledge, disappearing from sight, but likely not from mind.

COMBATSYS: Salvatore takes no action.

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

COMBATSYS: Salvatore can no longer fight.

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

Log created on 23:53:37 05/25/2009 by Shihong, and last modified on 03:08:13 06/02/2009.