Description: Atop the summit of an erupting volcano, Aoi Himezaki faces the second of two overwhelmingly strong opponents; this time, the mysterious and powerful Obsidian Knight awaits her. Both are unbowed by their previous defeats, and neither seems willing to relent. Bodies bend to the task of battle as two tempered wills burn with a greater heat even than the dancing lava. But only one warrior can prevail, as a lesson is learned. (Winner: Mukai)
Gaia was most displeased with Mukai's performance last time. To be defeated by the hated Psycho energy, was to allow Nature to be defeated. And if there is something that really gets under the giant's skin is for someone to scoff at the power of the Earth Mother. Respect Gaia...
Or she will kick your ass.
He will not make the same mistake again, although he could be considered to be at the pinnacle of his power, the great Avatar of Nature is still susceptible against Pyscho Power, for it is the bane of all living things and it is therefore expected that it will deal grievous harm to someone that represents life such as Mukai. This is problematic for the Demi-God, but he was once human, and he knows that one way to surpass obstacles is to train hard in order to build resistance.
This is why, the Obsidian Knight, as he has called himself in the tournament to hide his identity, cannot be found on either side of the bridge, but rather, far below deep within the burning hot lava.
The giant warrior EMERGES from the volcano as if it spat him out, crashing with a great rumble on the right side of the bridge. His dark skin boiling hot with the lava that trickles down his body, the helmet he wears red hot for spending so much time submerged in magma. It looks like Mukai had been conditioning himself to withstand energy as much as possible, and what better way to do that than take a nice hot bath of lava?
The giant warrior demands, raising his arms to address they who dare face him today.
COMBATSYS: Mukai has started a fight here on the right meter side.
The Devil's Tournament couldn't be more aptly named, so far as Zaki's concerned; her first round draw against Sagat yielded a showing she could barely stand long enough to give. The true Emperor of Muay Thai is the closest she's come to facing anything that might be classified as a demon. She's never been hit harder. But she walked away with her head held high, pride maintaining her posture even as her body threatened to break beneath the weight of accumulated strikes. Zaki won't complain about the lot she's been given...
But really? An erupting volcano? Even aside from the sheer, dizzying heat, her passage here is made on stiletto-heeled boots scraping through partially-set lava, patent leather sizzling as it comes into contact with the red-hot muck. Seijyun's delinquent overseer has been called a lot of things, /including/ insane, but the organizer of this tournament must be something else. She'd written him off, before; but now, she almost wants to meet him - if only to give him a piece of her mind, and a lash of her favourite chain.
Said steel links are currently slapping against one toned thigh as she picks her way up to the swaying bridge, Mukai's tremendous roaring reaching her ears over the numbing howl of lapping lava, and the accompaning rush of blood to the head as the very air burns. "'Come forth', is it?" Zaki echoes, casting her vulpine gaze upward slightly as she reaches the crest, meeting the Obsidian Knight's startling stare without a hint of trepidation. His repeated words sound almost comical in her thick Japanese accent, but there's nothing else funny.
Once the chain flicks, then twice, raising a nasty fleshy smack that only seems to intensify the dark-clad schoolgirl's smouldering demeanour. Beneath the mask, she's actually smirking, a tight and fierce little thing - as she simultaneously subdues the pain and fights the very human instinct to get the hell out of here. She'd never admit it, even less show it, but yeah... this is pretty intimidating. Luckily, so is /she/.
"I'll face you, big bad," she says that last couplet in thick Engrish too, her eyes blazing with a fire to match the outlying molten rock, "And I'll even give you a name. I'm Zaki! Forget that for one instant and I'll have your fucking face /off/. Yoshaaaa!!"
A scathing glance sweeps over that massive, black-skinned body. So he bathes in lava?
Let him bathe in pain.
Her arm snaps forward as she sinks low upon her haunches, chain darting forward, uncoiling with a metallic ring. The polished links reflect the flames about them, burning a bright copper as they seek to simply slam into that titanic chest, piling up for a brief instant before the sheer weight behind them strikes the second part of a 1-2 blow, ploughing into Mukai with a strength of a freaking truck. He can probably take it.
COMBATSYS: Zaki has joined the fight here.
COMBATSYS: Mukai blocks Zaki's Hakai no Tessa.
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Zaki 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Mukai
The giant darkened creature rumbles a step forward, then another as he slowly starts to gather the tremendous momentum needed to carry forward. It starts slow, but it is like an avalanche, once it has pick up sufficient speed the velocity and sheer mass that comes from seeing the Obsidian Knight running is breath taking in how terrifying it is.
Imagine the tallest mountain picking itself from the ground and then break into a heedless charge as it tries to ram something with it's massive weight.
That is Mukai running, a pissed off literal mountain threatening to barrel through anything that stands on its way.
"HRRRRR!!" The chain whip smacks across the broad chest of the monster leaving a crack as if it were made of stone and not flesh. The second hit connects with a similar effect, moving the giant's upper body to the side even if his legs are still taking directly towards the masked school girl. From beneath his Knight helmet, the man is seen exhaling sulfuric fumes as he breaths and lets out a dark chuckle. "Ah, my little sapling, far it be from me that I would forget the name of such a prominent child of Gaia."
The giant warrior reaches his target, extending a massive hand forward to grasp at Zaki's hand. "Long have I waited to test your mettle! Come! Show your worth!" Calls the Obsidian Knight as he pushes down on Zaki's face to bend her over backwards and SLAM the back of her head on the bridge!
COMBATSYS: Mukai successfully hits Zaki with Divine Grasp.
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Zaki 0/-------/-----==|=------\-------\0 Mukai
No matter what the conviction or brutality behind it, it's still just a chain. Mukai makes his way through-- Zaki couldn't stop him if she tried, and the reality of this dawns as he approaches, the bridge shaking and quivering, the sides now catching against the leaping arcs of lava brewing up from below. Fire is put out quickly; whether by sheer luck or the overwhelming power of Gaia, embodied in this... man? Beast?
"Tch!" It doesn't matter what he is. He can be struck. He can be taken down.
The sukeban retracts her chain with a sidelong flourish of her arm, the long and slender limb snapping at the wrist to bring the steel coils snapping tight and snug. It bites a little - but the pain gives her resolve. As that foul breath washes over her, as the hand reaches for her masked face, she merely tenses her lithe frame. Taking blows is something she can do. Man, monster, or god; it's just pain, in much the way her weapon is only that. What lies beneath the mere illusion is what matters. Even one so conceited as Aoi knows that.
Still, he gets his strike, feeling her tightly-wound body loosen beneath his grasp at the point of impact, a flexion of her form removing much of the damage from the potentially dizzying smackdown he applies. And then she's twisting, a snarl on her hidden lips as she flips about and kicks her legs high, only to bring them down /hard/. The bridge rattles beneath her own, significantly lesser weight, as she lands beside the Obsidian Knight. "Vixen?" She repeats, grinning now, a glint in those vulpine blue slits. "I /like/ it!"
As she speaks, she's moving, never missing a beat, keeping in the rhythm of the fight. She may not be at his level-- but she doesn't know that, and she's good in her own right, her motions smooth and insinctive as she lashes high with her chain-bearing arm, letting the coils jingle merrily en route to a sharp collision with that massive black cranium. It's a bit of a stretch, it might only graze, if it hits at all, but...
"Scream more for me."
At the echoing boom of her surprisingly deep voice - from that alone, you wouldn't guess she's a seventeen year old schoolgirl - she's bringing her knee up, part of the same twist that carried her back to her feet, seeking to plant it in Mukai's broad abdomen and use it as a fulcrum to bring him crashing down with her atop, driving the chain-wrapped limb into his face with a fair amount of force.
COMBATSYS: Mukai interrupts Armed Combo from Zaki with Disruptor.
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Zaki 0/-------/-======|====---\-------\0 Mukai
There are many facets of humanity, thousands even, every person is unique in it's own way as Mukai is well aware of, having studied all the personalities that Gaia has brought so far, and the many more that are yet to come. Humans, being the chaotic lot that they are, not always accept the gifts of Gaia, in fact, the great majority refuse them. And so, it is why it greatly pleases Mukai when Zaki hears the title given to her by the great loving Mother Earth and embraces who she is.
The children of the Earth are not always kind loving creatures after all. Some of them are chain wielding, mask wearing little delinquents.
Alas, a parent sometimes must punish an incorrigible child even if they know that this is the way they express themselves. Mukai may approve that Zaki knows her path in life, but the life she has chosen still marks her as a vicious creature that will harm those around her without any regard. What good would she do to the Great Mother if her violence cannot be controlled?
Like a ferocious pet, she must be tamed.
As the nimble rebellious girl lands beside him, the Obsidian Knight looks down below to the girl who jumps high up to his mid torso in order to drive a knee in. His rock solid abs, and no the pun is not intended, take the blow without twitch and when the girl reaches up even higher to strike at the man's helmet covered face, she'll find that her chain wrapped fist is promptly caught by a much bigger hand.
The giant leans in, face to face, helmet to mask, a finger curling around Zaki's chain as he hoists her up. "The only screams you will hear..."
"Will be your own."
The man flings Zaki back as he grabs hold of her chain, stretching it to its very limits before giving it a good yank to reel her back in. "
"GET OVER HERE!!"
Demands the Obsidian Knight as he pulls Zaki back where she SLAMS a tremendous uppercut onto her masked chin. A pillar of stone erected from his knuckles to push the Ruby Vixen further up still and send her to the other side of the bridge.
Zaki's no stranger to sass. She's always got /something/ to say. But...
There's really no decent answer for that.
Seized she is, mocked, and summarily flung out over the sizzling lava pit beneath them. Her eyes don't widen, as any normal person's might; they narrow to the narrowest, darkest slits as she stares down into the frothing blaze, lashing up toward her, scattering droplets of the glutinous, searing stuff down her legs as they kick at the air. She's acrobatic enough to not simply flail, but it's hard to control oneself entirely, when one is being almost entirely controlled. "I don't," she hisses, teeth gritting for an instant as her weapon reaches its limits and is whipped back toward Mukai, along with she, "Scream!"
True to her words, she doesn't, attempting to twist away with all the might she can bring to bear. But his was greater - /is/ greater - and she's hammered by the sudden vertical apparition of that pillar, reinforcing already-astonishingly powerful knuckles to launch her up and over. When she crashes, it's brutal. It hurts.
That much she'll admit.
"Hmhmhmhm..." So why the hell is she laughing? Pushing herself up, Aoi flicks her head to one side, looking almost as though she'd be spitting out a mouthful of blood - if not for that ever-present mask. Her crimson ponytail flicks instead, jagged bangs lashing against her face as it comes back around, redirecting that stern glare toward the behemoth upon the other side of the wobbling, stricken bridge. "Not bad," she notes in that basso rumble, before stomping to her feet on those faintly ludicrous heels, "But Sagat hit harder. Hmph!"
That last exclamation sends her forward, dashing swiftly across the swaying slats. She becomes a blur, a black and crimson streak almost lost to the eye if not for the steadying smoulder of those eyes. That stare. It disappears for a moment as she whips herself around, springing through a tight somersault in seeming total unconcern for the hazardous conditions to either side. When she comes around to face the Obsidian Knight once more, it's with a spiked heel striking for his crown, screaming with purplish-white chi.
COMBATSYS: Mukai blocks Zaki's Gankou Geri EX.
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Zaki 0/-------/-======|====---\-------\0 Mukai
A slow clap is heard from the Obsidian Knight once Zaki descends.
"Well done Ruby Vixen, your reputation precedes you." Mukai is not all insults and punishments, he can be a gentle teacher if not pushed. Though the children of the Earth do sometimes act like unruly animals that must be lashed in order to keep them in line, they can also be frail plants that need the caring touch of a gardener to protect them from the harsh elements. When Zaki, against all odds, shows no fear against the destructive facet of the Earth, Mukai can't help but congratulate her. Fearlessness of such magnitude is not easy to come by.
Or maybe it's insanity?
Whatever it may be that fuels Zaki, she displays large amounts of it as she charges once more, too fast for any camera to film. Yet the Obsidian Knight still somehow spots her and he turns to look up, his helmet covered gaze stare at that incoming heel heading down for his face.
"Those were naught but love taps." The warrior bats away at the girl's foot so as to redirect her attack and send her down to the bridge again next to him. "The Tiger of Muay Thai may be content with beating you to a fine paste. But I wish to see the Ruby Vixen in all her glory."
Raising one mighty hand, the giant summons a boulder to his palm and says, "Alas, if you truly wish me to strike you harder my child..." Right as he swings the impossibly big rock directly for Zaki's crown to smash her!
COMBATSYS: Zaki endures Mukai's Heavenly Shock.
> Determined Hit! <
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Zaki 1/--=====/=======|======-\-------\0 Mukai
"My reputation doesn't make me win," Zaki counters, with a harsh snort from behind the mask, as she twists with the redirection of her body, setting down upon one foot - the other remaining raised for a half-second as the mighty behemoth addresses her. "Neither does my glory. You know what makes me win."
It's not a question, and at his final comment she expected nothing less and nothing more. Perhaps the precise nature of the assault wasn't in the equation, but she knew what was coming. In that instant before impact, she has time to take stock - she's a smart girl, her brain always clocking over at a thousand miles an hour, whether she always deigns to listen or not. So what occurs to her now? Mostly that she can /feel/ the heat pouring from Mukai, this close, and it's only adding to the discomfiting slick of sweat beneath her dress and tights. But she'd not remove a scrap of clothing for the world and a portable fan; this is how she wants to be, so this is how she is. Unapologetic. Unyielding. And absolutely unrelenting.
The blow ploughs into her, driving her into the shaking slats of the bridge, forcing her raised heel to stamp down only so she can remain upright. She coughs and spits, blood wrenched from filling lungs as her entire frame is compressed. Bones crunch and tendons scream in delirious protest as she attempts to remain conscious. It's much like being hit by Sagat, now; maybe a touch worse, as she feels herself forward to a knee, her chain dropping like dead weight - gripped instinctively between two fingers, the only thing keeping it controlled.
After the blow is struck, and the boulder slips away with the worst of the impact, she looks up.
Those eyes are still blazing. She's in agony, but barely shows that she's even been pinched.
"Nothing," she utters, "Makes me win."
And then she's /moving/, rearing up from her forced crouch to strike with foot and chain in tandem, her left leg rising alongside the serpentine snap of those shining steel links as they shriek forth to fasten about Mukai's massive throat. Everything about him is huge; but that's okay. Aoi is larger than life too. "It's not about winning," she insists in a hiss, her heel lashing out for his face in hopefully the same instant that she imitates his earlier action - hauling back on her chain to drag him in, driving the stiletto in sharply against his Adam's apple. Surely any child of Gaia has one of those, right? "It's about /pain/. I can take it--"
"And I can /deal/ it," she's not yelling now, keeping her voice low as she spins about through three hundred and sixty degrees, wrenching the chain more firmly and brutally about the Obsidian Knight's neck before she comes around with a second, higher, axe-ing kick from the opposite leg. This one seeks to scathe down the length of his body, catching the chain partway down to bring it whiplashing from about his neck. The momentum of that uncoiling alone should send him away, at least a step or two, even with his size...
She may give up height, weight, and fuck knows how many years of eldritch experience...
But Aoi Himezaki takes the business of pain seriously, and she doesn't tell a lie.
"So come on! Beat me. Hurt me. Try and make me scream. But you won't break me."
COMBATSYS: Mukai blocks Zaki's Hissatsu Denkou Tessa EX.
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Zaki 0/-------/-======|======-\-------\0 Mukai
It is often that Muaki pauses to think. The Demi-God of the Earth, Herald of Gaia's wishes had long ago studied the ways of mankind. He thought that he knew all their tricks and because of it, he knew what was best for them despite sometimes hurting them. Mukai would improve humans, even if he had to choke the crap out of them.
Yet, even after countless millennia he still finds people that surprise him. The Ruby Vixen in question is one of them, even if Zaki is content to follow the path that Gaia has given her, after her words reach Mukai's ears he questions if this is truly the best path for her.
As he ponders the meaning of Zaki's life, the delinquent is quick to continue her sermon while attacking. The chain wrap tightly around his neck, but he does not move. The heel STOMPS hard on his Adam's apple, which he does seem to have actually, but he does not move. The strangle hold wraps harder around him to choke the life out of him...and he does not move. Finally the axe kick comes crashing against his shoulder, raking a vicious crack along his broad chest and..
He does not move.
Not one inch.
"You're right." The giant concedes. "It is about pain."
"But it does not have to be."
"Though warriors have most always been born out of pain, not all of them dedicate their lives to it. Kings, Countries, Ideals, even Loved Ones. Many of these things may sound meaningless to you Ruby Vixen, but if you truly do not wish to follow the path of pain that Mother Gaia has offered. Seek something else."
The mountain of man takes a side stance, quite likely the only movement that even looks like a combat technique he has done since the beginning of the fight. "I feel the anger seething within you, it is your unbreakable shield, but it is also your prison."
"Grow Aoi Himezaki!" Another giant pillar comes from his palm as he prepares to deliver a strike that will surely render the girl unable to continue fighting. "Find that which will make you whole, find something that you can pledge your strength to. Even if it is the unruly mob of girls that blindly follow you and are now terrorizing Sunshine City for your petty ideals."
Oh yeah, he keeps up with the news.
The man pushes with his muscled arm and SLAMS that horizontal column right into Zaki's abdomen!
"Grow and become STRONGER!"
COMBATSYS: Zaki fails to interrupt Terrestrial Shock from Mukai with Kokou no Pride.
- Power fail! -
>> Decisive Hit!! <<
> ////////////////////// ]
COMBATSYS: Zaki can no longer fight.
> ////////////////////// ]
The meaning of Zaki's life isn't here, or now. It's not pain, even.
Only in the most tenuous sense.
"Nngh--!!" Her efforts are unrewarded with the yield she'd normally expect. Even the brutish, scarred form of the Muay Thai Emperor had to give some ground before her sheer ruthlessness. It's in the instant of her second kick's descent that Aoi realizes... she's more than outmatched, she's outfought and outreasoned. Mukai doesn't even need to deliver his sermon to get his message across; she sees it. Those vulpine blue eyes see a lot. More than they ever concede, more than she cares to explain or justify to anybody. Even her most trusted, and the loved ones of whom the black behemoth speaks. "Fine," she mutters, beneath his own words, "Fine."
The Devil's Tournament has taught her something, as has this towering creature of ebon power. Her heel strikes the ground, her own stance never lost even in the enthusiasm of her motions, hands remaining lifted like warding knives about her lithe frame, back straight and every muscle prepared to twitch in just the way it needs. By any normal standard, she's prepared and still able to fight. By any normal standard, SHE is a demon.
Ironic, then, that this demonic creature doesn't meet that classification for her. As Sagat proved to be a warrior of courage, honour, and respect... so too does the Obsidian Knight have some depth beneath his rippling muscles and enigmatic mien. Behind the sulfurous breath and sinister cadence. Grow, he says. Presumptuous.
Aoi only pretends to hate that, the sneer beneath the mask a fabrication.
Her momentary surprise as he references her exploits is not. That's real. Her eyes do widen, too.
But then she's hurtling back, too wrong-footed in that instant to unchamber the kick she'd prepared immediately upon seeing the truth in her foe's demeanour, in understanding that she could not penetrate his guard. His countering strike can do nothing but, to her, and she is launched once more, nothing more - in that instant - than a slender schoolgirl, far from the unruly sukeban who terrorizes Southtown and Sunshine both. It's almost sad, were it not for the pride with which she lands, skidding along her flank, bouncing off the final slat of the bridge with a grunt she tries to suppress, with some success. Luck and skill keep her at the volcano's edge; not falling toward the lava, no more deeply scathed than she was already. But bruised. Very bruised.
"Stronger it is," she utters as she pushes herself to a crouch in the searing heat, vision shimmering before her like some nightmare mirage. It's odd, though-- she resumes her speech, his inbetween, as though when she spoke initially she knew what he was going to say. Grow? Perhaps she already has, a little. Perhaps she grows every day, a tiny bit at a time. Because that's what pain does. That's what it is.
Pain isn't a meaning. It's a route to finding it.
Her piercing stare searches for Mukai's through the uncertain haze, and beneath the mask, she laughs.
A short, barking thing. But it's genuine.
"Next time we meet, I'll make you pay for talking down to me."
That promise is spoken without a tone of threat, almost a sense of whimsical camaraderie in there. If it's not too subtle, if her habitual force of personality doesn't mask it entirely, it carries a hint that she's understood - that he's at least contributed to teach her a lesson about herself, and the world. But he can make of that what he will. Zaki says nothing else, slowly collapsing onto her front, a heap of limbs and chains waiting to be carried away by the medical crew. Her eyes remain open, though, even as she passes out.
Even losing consciousness is not enough to make her truly yield.
With the final blow struck, The Obsidian Knight stares from his gazeless helmet visor, watching as Zaki is tended by the medic grow whilst swearing revenge.
"I will be waiting."
The warrior turns to the side, metal covered eyes still facing the downed girl beyond by the bridge.
"Do not forget my words."
And so he leaps! Directly down into the volcano where he disappears in lava.
This tournament has drawn more than mere humans to its midst.
COMBATSYS: Mukai has ended the fight here.
Log created on 17:22:31 05/06/2012 by Zaki, and last modified on 09:34:57 05/07/2012.