Devil's Tournament - DT R1: Athena vs Kaiwei

Description: In the heart of Howard Arena, lucid Ma Kaiwei faces off against pop idol, Athena Asamiya for the first round of the Devil's Tournament. At least, that's how it begins. It comes to a rather awkward conclusion of devils, delusions, and doubts.

Even after the collapse of Geese Tower, one famous landmark of the mysteriously missing crimelord's legacy remains in Southtown - the world famouse Howard Arena, rivaled only by Master's Stadium in sheer magnitude. It's no surprise to have a match in the most recent major tournament to capture the world's attention hosted by such a renown location. The monumental arena is packed with every seat sold out. TV cameras, production crews, and tournament officials scurry about, everyone busy either making sure that the scheduled event goes off without a hitch or that when the action does happen, they have the best angle to record it. And of course, at the heart of it all is the massive, reinforced granite platform that has served as the battleground for literally thousands of climatic fights since the stadium was built. Its rough and undecorated stone surface is a surprisingly simple, elegant stage in the center of so much merchandising and media hype.

As if the tournament itself wasn't a draw for attention, this bout brings with it automatic celebrity appeal with the presence of the idol fighter, Athena Asamiya. As such, it becomes readily apparent when things are getting close to being underway, when over the powerful speakers the rhythmic beat of one of Asamiya's recent albums begins to blast throughout the stadium. A few lines into the song, a circle of rose-hued energy flashes onto the weathered stone and and rising out from it, as if lifted by a hidden platform, is the pop star herself. The energy vanishes, leaving Athena. She's all dolled up as if for a concert, with high heeled, blue pumps, worn over dark red tights, hair done up in a dozon of fancy blue bows, and a fancy dress that hardly looks appropriate for battle. In her hands is a mic that she's putting to use for singing along with her song.

But this is no concert. As the music fades, sparing the eardrums of those not typically fans of her music further abuse, the girl spins the mic in one hand and, with a flash of the same rose hued energy she arrived with, the device vanishes. Athena waves her white-gloved hand to the audience, smile beaming. A short curtsey is followed by a wink only visible to the close-up cameras, before she executes one of the many tricks that she's become famous for, as she winds herself up to the left, right hand reaching behind her. A twirl, the sound of ruffled clothing, and a sparkle of pink, and by the time the girl comes out of her spin, she's clothed in a vastly more simple but still appealing outfit - a pink blouse with a red, open vest, red skirt, red tights, and low-heeled, red shoes far more appropriate for fighting. Even her hair has been left bereft of the dozon blue ribbons, left to loose except for a red, star-adorned comb that keeps it mostly out of her face. That stage trick is one of many that she will never divulge the secrets to in spite the countless interviews pestering her on it.

The roar of the audience is nigh deafening. Fans of Athena's music, of her fighting abilities, or just fight fanatics in general excited that the match is not far from starting, belt out their enthusiasm with shouts, claps, and all the other usual arena crowd merry-making. For Athena, the crowd's energy is empowering, their exhilaration resonating with her on a level few can relate to. It takes some effort for her to block out the buzz generated by the audience. Clasping her hands behind her back, she breaths in deeply, eyes closed, then exhales, recentering her focus and dulling the distraction a little.

Quite honestly, this has to be the largest arena that Ma Kaiwei has ever been in. Even as a spectator, that is. Seats are expensive, especially tonight! It's a wonder that they managed to fit everyone in here, and indeed, it seems as though it's a bit /over/sold. Some people are sitting in aisles, some crowding the walls about the entryways. It's making it a bit of a pain for some of the cameramen who have found themselves surrounded by loud, boisterous fans. The arena's air conditioning is surely running full-bore to keep the packed mongrels from suffering from some sort of self-inflicted heatstroke.

And for the longest time, one of the people who everyone's come to see is swept up in it all. Standing at the far edge of the arena and surrounded by officials and family alike, the scale of the stage is awe-inspiring. Words come and go, never lingering, never finding a hold on his consciousness as he looks around. Never has there been a turnout like this in his various Saturday Night Fight matches, and for a moment, he wonders...does he really belong on a stage this wondrous? The air itself shudders with conflicting noises, most of which are most certainly directed to the charismatic idol. In comparison, Kaiwei is...who is he? He's old, he's not especially famous, not like his opponent. He slouches where he stands, suffering from the pressure of it all. His throat flexes with a forced swallow of saliva that refuses to come, his lips parched and constantly finding themselves tucked between his teeth.

He hardly notices when he feels tiny hands tugging on his shirt. "Daddy, daddy!" his six-year-old cries, trying to be heard over the din of everything else. Blinking eyes and the staggering effect of being pulled back into his little world bring a bewildered expression as he looks around, and then down at the little girl. The father kneels down, both hands curled over his daughter's shoulders. "What, what is it? Is it too loud for you here?"

"Don't forget, you promised us pizza if you won!"

Another few seconds pass as Kaiwei looks down at the girl with no sense of trepidation. His lips form a tight smile and he pulls her close, brushing down her hair with soft sweeps of an aged hand. "Of course, of course. More than you can ever eat." Ah, the way her eyes widen and her lips spread! It seems that she's taken it on as a challenge! She hugs her father tightly, immediately lifted as the man follows suit and picks her up to carry her in the crook of his arm. "Daddy will do his best, you hear?"

"Hopefully not like your 'best' with that big crystal skull thing." The scathing retort comes from his wive, burdened by the rest of the sixteen-child family. A sigh leaves her husband's lips and he hands his daughter over to her with a grunt. "Trust me," he says, an exchange of water and prescription pills passed made for the child. "I'll go high enough to bring back enough money that I'll be able to retire. Just you watch!" A handful of pills is tossed info his mouth, followed by the entire (small) plastic cup of water in one chug. That done, he returns the cup and departs with a kiss on his wive's temple, pulling her head in with a hand behind it much like he did his child. "Besides, I haven't seen /him/ yet today, so everything should go smoothly!"

With that all done, and with a hearty, full-armed wave, he allows himself to be led toward the center of the stage. He doesn't look forward until he's nearly there, doing so with a heavy,d eep breath that swells his chest. He gets out a barely-audible "Hello" while looking straight down at the ground, lifting limbs and checking joints as he strives to keep the pressure of the environment at bay.

Athena is no stranger to the pressures of stage performance. It's been a few years now since she first found herself in the spotlight of attention and she's had countless opportunities to defeat the jitters associated with being the focus of millions of viewers at once. As she opens her eyes from her brief moment of quiet focus, the girl takes notice of her opponent for the match. She has no idea how the brackets were formed for the tournament. They could be based on fight records, or maybe manipulated based on what the event runners thought would bring in the best crowds. Or perhaps they left it up to some robot to figure out. Either way, something has brought her and Kaiwei to this moment in time to face off against each other.

As he utters his quiet 'hello', Athena stands up straighter, pressing her fist into her plam and bowing her head, "It is an honor to meet you." she declares, after the respectful manner she should greet older fighters per Chin Gentsai's instruction. Violet eyes stay focused on Kaiwei for a long moment. She can't know of the faith of his family, his distressing number of children, or of his aspirations of retiring off of aspired success in the tournament. She can't know it, but she can see aspects of it written on his face as she looks up from her gesture of respect. He seems so much calmer and sane than her crazed, drunken sensei! "Thank you for giving me this chance to face you today." Her tone seems sincere.

The crowd here isn't for a peaceful exchange between elder and youngster, however, and with the key participants in place, motions get underway to get things rolling. Athena lifts her hands, turning to the side, adopting her light, ready stance that allows her to react quickly or dart in for a swift strike the moment an opportunity presents itself. She has tuned out the sound of the announcer's voice as it reveberates across the stadium. "I will do my best. But I hope you find what you are looking for out of this tournament." she states. Somewhere overhead the contest has been declared to start.

COMBATSYS: Athena has started a fight here.

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Athena           0/-------/------=|

COMBATSYS: Kaiwei has joined the fight here.

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Kaiwei           0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0           Athena

Inhale, exhale. Draw in the good, breathe out the bad. Kaiwei's mental jitters subside little by little, shreds of anxiety peeling off with each breath. One especially deep lungful of air brings him to lift his head and look at the girl across from him. Young girls, he always seems to be fighting young girls. This one, however, is rather famous. Rather accomplished. For a moment, he finds himself envious of her experience under so many eyes. Again, the line of his neck pulses with a hard swallow and both of his hands lift up, extend. A hand curls around its twin, fingers lightly spread. His head bows forward, reciprocating the respectful greeting with his own. "Please take it easy on this old man."

With the greetings done, the commentator-slash-referee goes about explaining the rules of the match...specifically that there really aren't any. A winner is decided when one side can no longer fight or concedes of their own free will. Anything goes! It's rather incredible how the audience has remained so loud throughout. What's worse is that when the chants and cheers for Athena catch on in the seats like wind-swept fire, their claps and stomps bring a powerful reverberation through the air. Kaiwei winces slightly, here. He's quickly finding that he much prefers smaller, more private events. His old school was peaceful, he recalls, the wave of nostalgia rushing memories across his vision. His lips smack to wet them and he draws his right leg back a bit. Both knees bend only slightly, lowering his center of gravity. His arms extend forward, elbows gently bent. His fingers are close together with the palms lightly cupped. The stance is relaxed and loose, obviously meant for reaction and caution.

"No matter what, I am sure that I'll find what I need."

A lucid Kaiwei is a very unnatural thing. The moment that the fight's beginning is marked with the blare of a massive air horn, the old man is in motion. He rushes forth in quick steps, always staying low. A foot plants and his leg extends, the springing action launching him nearly over the girl's head. In a stark contrast to his opening stance, his other leg whips upward and back down violently as an axe cuts through the wood before it.

COMBATSYS: Athena blocks Kaiwei's Light Kick.

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Kaiwei           0/-------/-------|==-----\-------\0           Athena

His descending leg will impact forearms as Athena focuses on not giving up her ground now that the fight has begun. He'll find her defense fluid - rather than simply trying to tough out the force behind the chopping slice of his foot, she's moving around it, using a push from her arms to reposition herself while minimizing the amount of kinetic energy her arms have to absorb. It is during that brief moment of contact that she experiences an echo of a thought - a hint of pleasant memories - of instruction given some years ago, somewhere far away.

"I think you would get along with my sensei," she notes as her right knee bends. She is acting before he even gets to land. Athena will slip in close to his left side, arms snapping out from her defensive posture to seek a grip on Kaiwei's shoulder and forearm the instant before his feet would touch the ground.

The force that comes next, intent on pulling him out of the air into a bit of a flip, using her own shoulder as a pivot point, seems unnaturally strong, given the stature of his opponent. If he falls prey to the attack, the veteran martial artist will likely figure out why, as with her touch comes a surge of psychic energy that penetrates physical defenses in a way that can leave one's nerves feeling raw and reeling.

Psycho Power can be used for beneficial purposes - it can bolster emotions, brighten spirits when channeled properly. With gifted users, it can be used for telekinesis and unnatural levels of empathy to help sooth distress. But also, as Athena discovered while being on the receiving end of in her training under Master Gentsai and her spars with Sie Kensou, it can /hurt/.

COMBATSYS: Kaiwei blocks Athena's Psi-Throw.

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Kaiwei           0/-------/------=|=------\-------\0           Athena

Resilient, swaying, Athena's defense is completely unlike the people that the old sifu is used to going up against anymore. Even Reese, a flower if ever there was one, took his blows with firmer, harder blocks. Strength dominates in this world even among the girls, it seems; to see anything else is an altogether pleasant surprise.

Kaiwei lands his toes upon the ground, but that's all he gets. Before he's even able to bring the other down and secure his footing, he's immediately lifted? The word "incredible" passes through his thoughts as he's hefted with strength that belies the idol's figure! A fresh round of loud cheers rampage through the stadium as the elder man is sent airborn, his body balling up once he's released. His agility is confessed in the way that he extends one arm, landing upon it even as his legs kick out against his momentum. Both feet kick into the ground as he's lurched upward. All it takes is a few more quick steps back to keep himself from toppling completely. It wasn't an easy effort, however, given his suddenly quick breathing. His heart races, his eyes are wide.

But really, what's got him upset is the static.

Just what was that that hit him? Physical force is one thing, but that throw felt like it touched his very psyche. There's a brief wince as his vision warps, a color fading here and there before snapping back to clarity. He takes a cautious step to the side, once more mimicking his opening stance. "Who is--why, why do you say that?" he asks, but it's very obviously just an effort to be considerate in the repport. He's looking at Athena, limiting his focus to a single thing. Is his brain on the fritz already, or is it going to behave...?

COMBATSYS: Kaiwei focuses on his next action.

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Kaiwei           0/-------/------=|=------\-------\0           Athena

She doesn't follow up immediately after the throw. It would have been within her means, to keep the pressure on, to wisk forward, traversing the distance in a flash, to be there even in the same instant as Kaiwei was trying to catch his balance. But it was important to observe, to see how he dealt with the attack. Aggression is a part of combat, but understanding is every bit as important. And in his recovery, she sees a demonstration of his ability to withstand an attack like that. She will have to try another avenue.

But there is something else she becomes aware of. In her effort to tune out the crowd, she had become somewhat deafened to their cheers and shouts. It is only in taking the moment to observe Ma Kaiwei's surprising level of agility that she also becomes aware of the powerful flow of encouragment coming from the psyche of the audience, feeding into her own ethereal link to all those people. Of course, she considers - it's to be expected.

"I have learned under Master Gentsai. While he has so few students now, there was a time when he taught more. I feel like you would share common interests." she answers. It might be a touch hard to hear her voice over the roar of the crowd and utterly inaudible to anyone off the stage. But when she resumes speaking after a brief pause, her words are easily heard by most of the audience, even though she doesn't shout nor benefits from a hidden mic. "Respecting those who have taken the time to teach others is one of the many things I have been taught." She resumes her ready stance. "I only hope my friends who cheer for me will also echo my respect for you." Many would hear the girl's voice clearly. Some might even take her words to heart.

She's back on the offense immediately after, crossing the distance in a quick sprint. Relying on the harder apsects of the Kung-Fu she has been trained in, she'll attempt to slide in, shoulder first. Not to ram him but rather to close distance without being an easy target. The actual attack comes only should she get in tight enough, a leading left elbow intended to draw defenses away, followed by a more directed, right palm strike bearing the full front of force from her forward momentum. It's unlikely to be the strongest punch Kaiwei has ever had to deal with, but the girl's skill with martial arts isn't easy to dismiss!

COMBATSYS: Kaiwei interrupts Strong Punch from Athena with Pushing Hands.

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Kaiwei           0/-------/----===|===----\-------\0           Athena

Athena's words, by and large, filter through Kaiwei's ears. His consciousness only latches onto two out of every three, leaving the explanation a mere jumble of scarcely-strung together ideas. Master, students, few. Friends, crowds, respect. There's a resonance there, indeed, as non-trivial similarities soak into his head. For the moment, though, his vision is holding, and that's what's important! He can see the girl coming in clearly, see her attempt to pry apart his guard and feast upon an elder's weakness.

"I'm afraid I've never--ooh!" His leading arm is batted aside easily. The other tucks in against his chest even as he turns about, letting the first limb's weight help him pivot on a single heel. His back is nearly completely turned by the time her first connects, finding purchase in the cheap, often-washed orange shirt just beside his shoulder blade. There's an immediate cry, a sharp, high-pitched sound of pain from the impact. Athena's strength is certainly no joke, confirmed twice over now. Yet he continues to twist, bringing his deflected arm up and around to hook about her neck. His unpinned leg weaves between her feet, the whole motion bringing a number of directional forces into concert with a single purpose: to flip the pretty idol end over end until she smacks right into the ground itself.

Immediately after the toss, Kaiwai eases back once more, his pained arm lifted slightly before him while the other gingerly nurses the point of impact with kneading, deft fingertips. "I've never heard of the man, but he is obviously a--a fine teacher."

And with her strike, she thought she had him. She was careful not to leave openings in her quick approach, the arm she used for opening with the leading elbow was also in perfect position to deflect off any counter attack should Kaiwei have sought to stop her short. But she discovers rather quickly that just because he didn't stop her attack from landing doesn't mean she didn't run right into his technique all the same. By the time the younger fighter realizes her mistake it's too late to react to it.

She tries to push back with her forward foot to sure up her stance, but his foot catches hers and her balance is unwoven with precision that allows no recovery. "A-ah!" A cry escapes her lips as she's flipped head over heels and nearly face plants right into the stone if not for catching herself with her hands to mitigate the impact. She doesn't stay grounded long, however, pushing off with her hands to spring backward and land lightly on her feet. One knee of her tights is torn, but it's to be expected. "Thank you, I try to do him proud." She has her stance once more.

Then she skips back a meter, her shoes sliding over the stone for a couple inches before coming to a stop. In close in martial arts, she has found Kaiwei to not be lacking, the older fighter flipping out of her throw and countering her palm strike with an elegant, fluid sweep of his leg. She decides to try combating him from range for a moment, drawing her arms behind her, arching her back. There is a spark of that rose colored energy that was visible upon her arrival, and then Athena is sweeping her arms forward.

"PSYCHO BALL!" she channels thought with her voice, pouring a touch of her power into what becomes a sphere of that energy now flying toward Kaiwei at rapid speed! Love it or hate it, it is her most famous technique. Maybe it's from relentlessly shouting its name out every time she executes it.

COMBATSYS: Kaiwei fails to reflect Psycho Ball from Athena with Peacock Shields His Mate.

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Kaiwei           1/------=/=======|=======\-------\0           Athena

A curt nod is the man's only answer to Athena's response. His lips are tight and his features are stiff. There's a single step to the side as he attempts to pace around the girl during her short pause. His eyes are always upon her, watching shoulder and knee and foot. He hasn't even noticed that he's managed to drown out the cheering and the booing fans, the latter of which have really started to raise a stink about the geezer's attempt to ruin the idol's face. His stance does not change, nor does he close any distance. Rather, he's waiting for her to approach him...

He doesn't have to wait very long--but wait! She's skipping away? His curtainous brows furrow as he takes a step in, trying to keep her from escaping too far. The grimace on his lips is for another reason entirely, though! There's a buzzing in his head as thoughts converge and coalesce into that brilliant pink light. The static builds, making it more and more difficult for him to maintain his focus, and then, there's a voice.

"Turn it."

The sudden clarity is so stark and startling that the old teacher simply does as suggested. Both of his arms extend and separate to invite the encroaching sphere. In his mind's eye, he sees it: all he has to do is 'catch' the thing, allow its torrents to churn as he guides them with a gentle redirection. That done, all he would need to do is turn it back on the surely surprised young lady, and--

And the instant that his palm grazes against the pink ball's contour, his mind is alight, the gateways forced open. Synapses fire and misfire and reroute in all the wrong ways. The force of impact is not unlike a vehicle attempting to break his body with every ounce of its being. Limbs are limp as he's knocked yards back, skidding upon his backside for two or three more. He's not dead, though; there's a groan, a grunt, another pitiful cry of pain as old ribs creak and complain. "I--I told you, you don't--you don't just DO that." He rises up shakily, left hand nursing his chest, the other flat upon his thigh as he half-squats once both feet are solid on the ground. "You just--NO! No, I know! Who told you to butt in, anyway?"

The attack goes off without a hitch - as well it should, it is perhaps the most basic, pure visible manifestation of the power within her. Hands sweep past each other on their forward arc and the projectile is launched gracefully. If only it wasn't a hurtling cruise missile of hurt, the faint rose-hued sphere of crackling Psycho Power it might be something to appreciate. She of course wasn't throwing the attack out to be nice - this is a fight, after all, and the essence of such a thing requires actively trying to disuade the opponent from continuing in the match through one way or another...

But it's the way Kaiwei responds to the attack that surprises her. He seemed to be grasping for it rather than avoiding it like she had suspected he might try given his demonstrated agility. What had he hoped to even /do/? She'll probably never know and either will the audience, because in the next instant, the man goes flying. Athena's eyes widen and she pauses once again, not utilizing her speed for the sake of seeing if Ma has had all he can take with the fight. He'll have all the time he needs to get back up.

It's when he speaks that she seems the most caught off guard, however. "You did?" she stammers, voice halting. What is he talking about? "But I-" she continues, wondering how she can even begin to defend herself for the attack. It's what she knows! Why is he so upset?! Well, it was a painful attack, maybe it's just a reflex reaction to taking a hit like that? "Are you-" He goes on and she cuts herself off, "Well, I mean, it seemed like-"

She collects herself then, deciding that stammering like an idiot isn't really getting anywhewre. Only then does she allow her more intrinstic empathy to guide her thoughts. He's not talking to her. He's speaking to someone else... A glance left and right then back onto Kaiwei. There's no one else here. She would know!! "Are you able to continue the fight, Master Kaiwei?" She's certainly not going to continue fighting until it's clear he intends to keep going!

COMBATSYS: Athena takes no action.

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Kaiwei           1/------=/=======|=======\-------\0           Athena

"Will you be quiet and let me--!!"

Wait. That wasn't /his/ voice. That was--that was Athena's? Thankfully, he can't hear his wife yelling at him over the crowd or else this event would be host to a bickering of loved ones before them. Breathing deeply--but not so deeply as to disturb his poor ribs, Kaiwei attempts to steady himself. "Now be quiet, this fight is -important-!" He hisses the words out of the corner of his mouth, glancing sidelong at nothing in particular. He stands upright and he brushes himself down, taking great care in running his wide brows between his fingers to straighten them out.

"Thank you, but I'm all right. You don't have to wait for me." Just when it looks like he might be returning to normal, he looks to his side and says with a most venemous tone: "DOES SHE." With a huff, he spreads his stance much wider than before. His knees bend deeper and his fingers curl in the shape of claws, each one spread apart from one another. "...It is, however, appreciated."

Once more, Kaiwei attempts to close the distance. He stays low and makes a mad dash, not slowing in the slightest as he approaches. Indeed, he attempts to rush PAST her instead, his right arm whipping out in a pseudo-clawed strike against her ribcage. The swing comes with a triplet of orange streaks of short-lived energy, an afterimage that cuts deeper than the fingers allow.

COMBATSYS: Athena expertly blocks Kaiwei's Tiger Rake.

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Kaiwei           1/-----==/=======|=======\-------\0           Athena

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that Kaiwei isn't all together well in the head. Athena hesitates still, unsure as to whether it is right to strike while he is coping with trying to ward off this other distraction. But to treat him like he is weak is also disrespectful. She is, at least, relieved to hear that he hasn't taken offense by the way she paused for the moment. A slight bow of her head acknowledges his response and she returns to her ready stance. She lets down her psychic guard a little then, trying to better understand what it is her opponent is going through. Doing so can be useful in combat, as it makes an opponent easier to read, but concern also motivates the silent gesture of thought...

It takes only a split second of that more open empathy to make her change her mind. An uncomfortable confusion was her reward for reaching out and she quickly decides it's best that she distance herself from whatever is going through Kaiwei's thoughts for now. On matters of the mind, some things are best left to those far more knowledgeable about such things than her. With her pausing to expand her empathy, the opportunity to act favors Kaiwei and it's up to Athena to properly defend.

She tries to read the attack - but if she's learned anything from facing similiarly aged fighters, it's that she can't ever count on them to just be good at one thing. So far Kaiwei has proven versatile in defenses and attack techniques, and his latest technique is no different. And with having closed her mind off to him all together, she can't rely on those subtle, psychic hints that have helped her avoid harm time and time again.

As such, instead of being able to cleanly slip around his clawed chi, Asamiya is forced to simply brace against it. She gets her arm down, body tensing against the energy that slices through the air. It cuts cloth, leaving marks in her sleeve, but bracing her aura was enough to fight off the worst of what it /could/ have done. Exhaling, she whirls, knowing his momentum would take him past her. Lunging forward, she tries to get in close enough to slam both hands forward, palms open, aiming to catch Kaiwai before he can recover from his attack with a solid, double-palm press. "YA!"

COMBATSYS: Athena successfully hits Kaiwei with Combo Attack.

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Kaiwei           1/--=====/=======|=======\-------\1           Athena

And how effective a counterattack it is! In truth, Kaiwei had intented to go rushing past, turn, and rush past again, to see if perhaps he could outmaneuver her, to fool her senses. It's difficult to keep one's eye on a fly as it darts about...but an old man can never truly be a fly, can he? With all of his speed, he's pushed forward, his footing unsure as he topples forth. There's a crack as the dual-handed attack jars some vertebrae into place; the only soothing part about being bashed right in the back! The tumble and scraping along the ground is secondary, but not trivial.

And yet, he isn't down. He doesn't -stay- down. Turning the fall into a roll as soon as he's able, his legs kick out and he ends up stopping on all fours. The skin on half of his face is rubbed raw, little bits of blood offering just enough moisture for the 'bang' of his eyebrow to stick to his skin near his eye. He watches the girl, his focus completely on her face, his eyes stern.

"All right. All right! I'll listen just this once," he grumbles, already rushing in again. This time, he goes for a frontal assault. Knees, swiping punches, kicks to the ankles, he attempts a flurry of small hits in hopes of letting them pile up. "Uh huh." Bright flashes of orange streak in his fingers' wake time and again, each slash caring less about WHERE he hits as they do simply landing at all. Quantity over quantity. "I --I AM!" he insists again, moments before he lifts up both arms and brings them back down, all ten digits spread as those damnable orage claws seek to break through her defenses. The momentum of his swing brings his arms low and to his left, using the rotational force to swing his left leg up, slipper-adorned foot yearning for an insult on top of injury with a kick to the girl's face. No--a use of her face as a springboard as he vaults away, hopefully out of reach...

COMBATSYS: Athena fails to interrupt Black Tiger Repels Intruder from Kaiwei with Psycho Sword.

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Kaiwei           0/-------/--=====|=======\=------\1           Athena

Though she put a significant amount of forward momentum into the short distance her palms moved to deliver the attack, Athena doesn't lose her balance for even an instant, as she snaps her hands back and begins to give chase after Kaiwei. She isn't the sort to hit an opponent when they're down, but the second they rise up, they're insisting that the fight continue and she won't dishonor their desire by holding back any longer than is necessary to make sure they are able to continue.

He's talking again but, even though she's altogether closed herself off from him psychically, she's still pretty sure he's addressing whatever it is he's convinced is harassing him at the moment. She isn't about to slow down on account of that. She is, however, forced to reconsider her course of action when Kaiwei goes on the offense the instant she closes distance. The kick she had in mind is given up on as she suddenly finds herself in need of defending against the incoming barrage!

Bringing her arms up to guard, she's caught in the shin by his foot, dislodging her stance a little. Trying to correct for that requires moving her arm, which leaves her getting struck again by one of those flashes of orange, further throwing off her balance. Recoiling, she's struck by a number of those rapid hits - not individually destructive, but they're adding up quickly! She manages to turn to the side to try and mitigate them slightly, but nothing seems good enough to escape the onslaught of rapid attacks!

Gritting her teeth, she decides to go on the offensive instead, lowering her arm, infusing it with a vibrant surge of Psycho Power, she bends her knees, ready to clash with Kaiwei's strikes with what she expects to be overwhelming force. "Psy-" If she hadn't been deliberately blocking his emotions out, she might have accurately detected that the pause she thought was her opportunity to counter attack was merely Kaiwei lifting his arms before drilling home an even harder hit. His fingers catch her in the sternum with enough force to more than negate her own momentum! She staggers. And then his foot catches her face.

The idol fighter takes a tumble from the final hit, landing on her back a couple yards back. A bit dazed, she sits up, shaking her head, her hand going to her forehead where the older man's slipper-clad foot had struck, then forces herself to get back up to her feet without any further hesitation. There will be bruises later from that combination, she muses, her mouth curling into a hint of a smile. It hurts, but she can keep going. This old man is full of tricks. She'll need to be better on her guard.

She won't admit it out loud, but it seems like his unseen companion gave him some pretty good advice there. She mentally chides herself for even thinking about that. "I'm still in." she assures, her stance more wary now.

Oh, it only Athena would convince Kaiwei's wife that his unseen companion has some good ideas! Ever is he trying to defend the 'man' to her; that's what those pills earlier were supposed to suppress. However, the young girl has knocked something loose and it seems to have worked in his favor!

The old man does an end-over-end flip in the air and lands on his feel, immediately crawling into a crouch. There's a moment to guage his ribs again, fingers gingerly feeling along the edges. Are there any fractures? No? It just hurts where they meet sternum and spine, and that's all right. So focused is he that he still fails to notice the relative silence that came with his barrage and the audacity to ruin her priceless face. The boos renew in force, a loud echo of bass that rips through the air. So strong is the sensation that even Kaiwei has to look up, his shoulders hitching in surprise. "What? What?? What are they yelling about?" He stands upright, turning to look upon the fierce, frowning faces. Athena's words bring him back around, the sight of her rising a good sign that brings from him a puffed sigh of relief.

"We agree that this is more difficult than we'd thought!" He gives a slight nod off to his side before wriggling his shoulders and back, slinking back down to a more feral posture. He brings no tricks when he attempts to close the gap. She's seem him move before with those swift, quick steps that skid along the ground. There's a leap once he's within range, a short thing that barely brings his legs to chest-height. His legs both pull up, knees driving forth as he seeks to simply knock Athena down! The knees in her chest, while potentially things of envy for lonely people everywhere, seek introduce the same strain to her ribs that he'd suffered earlier.

COMBATSYS: Athena interrupts Crushing Throw from Kaiwei with Super Phoenix Infinity.

[                                < >  //////////////                ]
Kaiwei           1/----===/=======|-------\-------\0           Athena

It has been hard for Athena to get a read on just how capable of her opponent is. Delusions aside, he has proven rather capable in defending against her attacks and slipping through her defenses with his speed and unexpected agility. He doesn't fight like Chin at all, who mostly wobbles around, tumbling into victory almost seemingly by accident. His previous combination definitely left her reeling. Back on her feet, she's cautious, keeping in mind the countless practice spars at home between her and Chin's other students. If she can land one solid hit, that might be enough to resolve this match.

She braces herself, focusing her energy, watching carefully. Only then does she become aware of the distraction of the crowd. She had done so much to block it out that it's only when Kaiwei calls attention to them that she notices. It isn't a sentiment she echoes. She tires of being treated like a porcelain doll that will be irrepairably broken if she gets hit in the face. But while she might have the power to subtly influence a crowd, she isn't going to open herself to such an endeavor with an audience this large, or let her guard down long enough to even try. "I'm sorry about that," is all she can speak to the boos and jeers from the crowd. If she could do anything about it, she would.

With regards to the opinion of Kaiwei and his unseen cohort, she can't help but agree. This has been a challenging match. But she wouldn't have it any other way. And then the two clash once more. She waits until the last possible second to understand the vector of Kaiwei's next move, wanting to be careful to not misread him like she did in his last combination.

When he takes to the air, she believes he's committed enough to his trajectory for her to attack. Bent knees straighten as Athena literally launches up at an angle into Kaiwei, shoulder first, her entire body encased in a vibrant, light pink variation of the energy she had been manifesting. The power dulls some of the intended crushing impact against her. It happens so fast, she almost seems to fly right through him, impacting him with her shoulder one instant, flying on into a sharp arc, a blink of the eye later.

At the apex of her accension, she stretches out her arms, the Psycho Power coursing over her conjealing into two, flat, serrated extentions out over her arms. From a distance, the energy almost seems to take on the appearance of wings as the girl drops back to the stonework stage, landing in a crouch, the energy 'wings' collapsing into a million pink motes that fade a few seconds later. Athena exhales and stands upright.

It's a ride unlike any that Kaiwei's ever been on. Oh, he can see her moving in, mostly. Once he's taken to the air, he realizes what a mistake he'd made. This girl was surprisingly strong; what we he thinking, trying to bowl her over? He doesn't get much of a chance to regret, though, as the idol's psycho power swells. It's terrible, whenever she does that, the noise in his mind that won't go away! It blurs his vision again, blocks his hearing with the sound (and sensation) of a thousand bees trying to escape. His eyes squint before impact, though it's not for fear of getting hit.

No, Athena has grown horns in his eyes.

Her colors are vibrant but her outline is muddied. The flap of clothes in the air becomes that of wings beating. The physical pain is bad enough, but the vision that greets him when he opens his eyes nearly makes his heart stop. Instead of wings angelic, he only sees a ruddy, leather mass behind her, two devil's wings lifted with grotesque hands upon them. His sick brain weathers the intrusion of force as best as it can, rerouting and bolstering his willpower for an uncanny resilience.

At least, that's how things would be if he weren't already freaked out. Bits of information are misfiled here and there, feeding the schizophrenic visions. As Athena comes rocketing down to slam him back-first into the ground, the elder lets out a high-pitched scream that causes even the most hateful fans to give pause. The place is relatively silent as his cry echoes in the massive stadium, cut short by the sudden and final impact. Kaiwei's jaw is slacked and his eyes glazed for a good few seconds. With a lurch and a gaps for breath, he begins to cough and sit up.

And then he sees Athena again.

"I--I give up! I'm done! Don't kill me!!" He rises to run, but he's suffered too much damage; his knees fail and bring him back to the ground. Face-down, he rises up onto his hands and knees, crawling away as quickly as he's able.

And off on the edge of the stadium, the man's wife just buries her face in her palms.

COMBATSYS: Kaiwei takes no action.

[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Athena           0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Kaiwei can no longer fight.

[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Athena           0/-------/-------|

In the midst of the attack, she's unable to tell how Kaiwei is reacting or how he perceives his opponent for that brief moment. Her focus is on her technique first and foremost. That surge of energy requires concentration. Concentration that is later shattered by that ear piercing scream. Athena remains rooted where she stands, having not budged from when they landed other than to get to her feet, violet eyes wide, fixed on Kaiwei with a look of alarm. The thoughts that go through her mind are so conflicted - Of course he should be feeling pain after that attack, but it wasn't catastrophically worse than anything else she had managed to land during the fight. Why this reaction now? Worried, she opens her mouth, about to speak - probably looking ready to spew devil-fire when viewed in Kaiwei-vision, only for him to say he gives up.

"O-oh, ok-" she stammers, but is drown out as he continues, expressing fear for his life both in word and with the dread panic with which he scrambles to get off the stage. "Okay," she repeats at first, only to blanch, "I would never..." She recoils a little, arms drawn up in front of her, shaking her head. Did she do this to him? Is this some unexpected side effect from her strongly emotional type of power, "I didn't mean-" she tries again to express a thought.

She is joined a split second later by her manager, the man rushing to her side, no doubt worried the pop idol is about to say something that could be used against her in court in case there's some kind of civil suit after this!! Athena is tugged along, the girl glancing over her shoulder after Kaiwei, "Shouldn't we do something for him?" she asks, still bewildered by the resolution of the bout. With no further ado, she is ushered off the stage, with 'comfort' offered by her agent that her lawyers would handle this mess before it got out of hand. The entire ordeal leaves the announcer left to declare the match winner with no one left on stage, leaving the audience with an uncomfortable, awkward conclusion to the event.

Anti-Fighting Lobbyists are going to have a field day with this one.

COMBATSYS: Athena has ended the fight here.

Log created on 14:23:44 04/28/2012 by Athena, and last modified on 10:09:35 04/30/2012.