Daikessoshen

Davies

Legend
Interlude

Beatrice Barrowman is standing just past the doorway that the two of them -- Zuwen assisting Rocco, who still hasn't regained full mobility --- use to exit the arena, and she is not best pleased. "Congratulations, you have interfered with a major operation --" she starts to say.

Zuwen interrupts. "Just as you are interfering with a major operation by a different branch of your organization, so as to prevent them from achieving victory." He lets Rocco stand on his own, and offers his defeated opponent a polite nod. "You fought well. I learned a great deal."

"I guess I did too," says Rocco, rather sourly.

The old man ignores that. "Not as much as I would have liked, though," he says, looking distant. "The One Punch would have made a marvelous addition to my techniques." With that observation, he ambles off away from the two of them.

Eventually, Rocco looks at his boss, who is staring in the direction that Zuwen took to leave. "Okay, let me have it," he says wearily. "I was incau--"

"I have decided," says Beatrice, still not looking at him, "that you are permitted to call me 'little mother'. Occasionally." That last is de-liv-er-ed with much ar-tic-u-la-tion.

Rocco stares. "Hah?"

Now she whips around to glare at him. "I said, how could you possibly screw up this badly! Dunce! Cretin! Duncecretin! How am I supposed to send you on missions that demand you be intimidating after this?! One simple rule I asked you to follow, and you couldn't manage that! They will all laugh at you after this, which is fine, but they effectively will be laughing at me, which is not!" She continues in this line for quite some time, and Rocco says nothing.

Nor does he grin.

Elsewhere.

It's taken a while for Lonnie to notice this, but there aren't actually a lot of Bhutanese people here. The thought comes to him as he sees some working the counter at the concession, and realizes that there aren't any in line to make purchases from them. It makes him a bit uncomfortable, but there really isn't anything he can do about it, so he stuffs that away.

Making his purchase, Lonnie turns to head back to his comped seat -- courtesy of the Richmond Foundation -- so that he can watch the Avatar's first fight. As he turns, he is abruptly reminded of the saying that you can go halfway round the world and wind up meeting someone you know from back home. It doesn't really apply, since 'home' is Los Angeles these days, and the person he's seeing across a crowded hall is from Portland, but the sight is still a shocking one. "Patty!"

Patricia Mason turns at the sound of a version of her name that practically no one in the world has ever used. "Lonnie?" she says, startled.

The two of them make their way through the crowd, and yet when they find themselves face to face, neither of them is quite sure what to say next.

"You, you look good," Lonnie says at last. "How are you?"

Patricia's opens her mouth to say one thing, and ends up saying quite another. "Not good, really."

"What's wrong?" he asks, face falling.

"Ah, well, I found out that my sister is a criminal mastermind. Annnd so my brother and I, and some friends of ours, are here hunting her down. In Thimpu, not necessarily at this ... thing," she says, awkwardly. "So, yeah, that's where I'm at. Uh, listen, I'd love to stay and talk, but, you know, pursuit of vengeance, and all that. It was really ... really nice to see you again, Lonnie." She nods, smiling an empty smile, and then turns to go.

He says, "Let me help." He's not sure why. Well, yes, he is.

She pauses, doesn't quite look back. "It's not your fight," she says.

"I'll make it my fight," he says.

She turns to look at him. "Okay," she says at last.

And a bit away, the young woman who calls herself Nikki Purvis watches the moment her parents came together again with a sad, sweet smile on her face. It's one more step towards the beginning of the end, but she can afford some sentiment, surely. There's more to do, though, and so she goes off in a different direction than those two do.
 

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Davies

Legend
While he has traveled extensively in this strange world, encountering many of its wonders and horrors, the Avatar has never yet visited Japan, and has many questions he would like to ask the individual who now confronts him on the other side of the octagon. However, as that individual is loudly proclaiming the Avatar's imminent doom, a productive conversation seems unlikely. Still, he has been subjected to enough actual threats in his time here to recognize that this so-called Sheng Long -- a Chinese name, which is one of the more confusing aspects of the other individual's identity -- is playing to the crowd. As such, it seems safe to tune him out.

And, sure enough, as the countdown ends, his opponent abandons such bravado and adopts an appropriate defensive position. The Avatar responds by testing it with a light punch, meant solely to gauge Sheng Long's defenses, rather than do harm. Sure enough, the other is easily able to intercept and redirect that blow. "Pathetic!" says Sheng Long, a sneer on his lips. "I had heard I would be fighting one whom Paragon views as a peer! Am I to believe that they meant such as you?"

Interesting. The Avatar wonders why Sheng Long is attempting to provoke him to greater levels of violence. Well, that is the language being spoken at the moment, so it would behoove him to respond in the appropriate manner. The next blow, directed at Sheng Long's upper chest, cannot be so easily deflected, and strikes the other man hard enough that it knocks him back into the fencing that makes up the arena's outer wall.

And yet, he seems happy. "Fool!" says Sheng Long. (He clearly has a preference for declarative insults.) "Now you shall face the Dragon in truth!" His eyes begin to glow, his bright red hair is stirred despite the absence of any wind, and there is a faint ripple in the air before him. Something strikes against the Avatar's flesh, though it does not suffice to injure him. But it does give him cause for thought.

"That is a very interesting form of telekinesis you are employing," says the Avatar. "I now understand a warning I was recently given."

Sheng Long glares. "Wretch!" (He continues to demonstrate his penchant.) "What I possess is no trick of science, but a manifestation of the Dragon with whom I am entwined!"

"... are you confessing to having brought an ally into what is supposed to be an individual conflict?"

"What? No!"

"Then, you would agree that this is your own power, rather than that of an imagined dragon?"

"No!"

The Avatar sighs. "I don't know why I bother trying to talk, sometimes." With that, he launches a potent assault on Sheng Long that the martial artist is able to evade, and which leaves him open to a counterattack with his actual fist, more successful than before. The Avatar winces, touching the area covered by his tanktop that the martial artist was able to strike.

"Ha! You felt that one!" Sheng Long laughs at the sight.

"Yes," says the Avatar, in a tone unlike that which he has used until this point. "It was quite painful." And with that, he launches himself towards his opponent, seizing him in a bear hug. Before Sheng Long can wiggle free, the Avatar then soars up to the height of the arena.

"Tell me," he says conversationally. "Does the dragon grant you its power of flight?"

"I -- you --"

"Or will it catch you if you fall?" He starts to ease his grip on the other man.

"I surrender!"

"... very well, then." With that, the Avatar descends once more, releasing Sheng Long only once he has reached a safe distance above the ground.

"You will pay for this humiliation, alien," says his former opponent when he recovers his footing, speaking under the sound of Thunder Dragon's voice asking about boons. "My master will answer for this!"

"Would I be correct in concluding that your master is the one who granted you power?" This requires no particular deductive brilliance. An entity like this, who worships power, would only serve one who provided it.

"Yes!"

"Then this is my boon -- tell them that I look forward to our conversation."

And on that note, the first day of the Tournament reached its conclusion.

Side B, Match 4: Sheng Long vs. The Avatar

Sheng Long: Initiative +17/+9, Unarmed +12 (Close Damage DC 18), With Dragon Essence +15/+12 (Close Damage DC 22), Striking Claw +15/+12 (Close Damage DC 24), Reaching Claw +11 (Ranged Damage DC 24), Dodge 12/9 (22/19), Parry 15/12 (25/22), Fortitude 9/5, Toughness 9/7/5/3, Will 11, Acrobatics +11, Athletics +13/+9, Insight +12, Intimidation +13/+9)
Hero Points: 2
All, Agile Feint, Assessment, Daze (Intimidation), Fast Grab, Fearless, Grabbing Finesse, Improved Disarm, Improved Trip, Ultimate Effort (Toughness).

The Avatar: Initiative +19, Unarmed +13/+11 (Close Damage 26), Dodge 12 (22), Parry 14 (24), Fortitude 14, Toughness 12, Will 10, Insight +8.
Hero Points: 1
Fearless 2.

Turn 1: The Avatar 28, Sheng Long 10

The Avatar makes a +2/-2 Accurate Attack.

Attack Roll 1d20+13+2=18 vs. Parry DC 22; Miss.

Sheng Long Assesses as a free action, learning the Avatar's Attack and Defense bonuses, and then Demoralizes.

Insight 1d20+12=27 vs. Deception 1d20+3=12
Intimidation 1d20+9=27 vs. Will DC 25; Impaired.

Turn 2: The Avatar 24, Sheng Long 11

The Avatar makes a straightforward attack.

Attack Roll 1d20+13-2=23 vs. Parry DC 22; Hit
Toughness 1d20+5=6; Reroll
Toughness 1d20+5=24 vs. Damage DC 26; Bruised.

Sheng Long activates his Dragon Essence, and makes an +5/-5 All-out Attack with his Reaching Claw power.

Attack Roll 1d20+11+5=25 vs. Dodge DC 22; Hit.
Toughness 1d20+12=28 vs. Damage DC 24; No effect.

Turn 3: The Avatar 33, Sheng Long 20

The Avatar makes a +2/-2 Power Attack.

Attack Roll 1d20+13-2=12; Automatic Miss

Sheng Long makes a +5/-5 Power Attack with his Striking Claw.

Attack Roll 1d20+15-5=29 vs. Parry DC 24; Hit
Toughness 1d20+12=20 vs. Damage DC 29; Bruised, Dazed.

Turn 4: The Avatar 37, Sheng Long 27

The Avatar attempts a Grab, and removes his Bruised condition at the end of the round.

Attack Roll 1d20+11=26 vs. Parry DC 24; Hit
Dodge 1d10+12=22 vs. Strength DC 26; Immobile and Vulnerable

He then uses Extra Effort to take another standard action, uses it for a move action, and flies to the top of the arena.

Sheng Long surrenders.

Victor: The Avatar.
 






Davies

Legend
The second day of the tournament gets off to a very strange start.

The beginning of the beginning is much like the previous day. Once again, Thunder Dragon delivers an oration about the competition, making brief reference to what had gone before while mostly focusing on what was yet to come, and the possibility that one of those who fought today will have the chance to face off with his own exalted self. He seems, while speaking, to be expecting to be interrupted again as he was the other day, but nothing of that sort occurs this time.

And then Talante and Bravo enter the octagon from opposite sides, just as in all the battles that it saw yesterday. And just as every time before, the two contenders walk towards the center to face off as the counter slowly clicks towards the start of the battle. The only major difference is the expression on Talante's face this morning. Where her face was locked in a perpetual scowl, even during and after her triumph, it is now animated by a look that could only be described as a sinister smile.

The count reaches zero.

And Talante, quite clearly, announces, "I surrender."

After a moment, the voice of the crowd indicates their highly negative view of this development. The boos and catcalls affect Talante not a whit; she keeps right on smiling.

High above, Thunder Dragon is frowning just as deeply. "This is truly what you choose?" he asks.

"Yes," the Hesperan says, turning to look up at him. "I've had a ... revelation, I suppose. This fight won't get me what I really want." Still smiling. Maybe just a bit maniacally.

The ruler lets out a disgusted snort. "On your own head be it, then. What boon will you extract as a forfeit?" This is shouted down towards where Bravo stands, apparently unmoved by any of this.

"You will travel to Seoul," says Bravo's synthesized voice. "My master always enjoys conversing with his fellow monarchs."

Having said her piece to Thunder Dragon, Talante has begun looking through the stands. As Bravo delivers that demand, she finds what she's looking for, and the fixed smile on her face grows positively malevolent. "Certainly," she almost coos, staring directly at where Trouble is sitting. "I will do so happily."

Trouble doesn't react.

Elsewhere, however, Dancer is watching all this from her own seat with a frown. That's not what what happened, she thinks. Talante was supposed to fight Bravo, be defeated, and then go to the Emperor as the boon that he asked ... I guess that's still what's happening, but why is it happening this way, instead?

Of course, she learned about all this only second hand, and it isn't the first time that she's encountered events that contradict her education about the past which has become her present. But not so blatantly as this.
 

Davies

Legend
"Are you planning on surrendering right out of the gate?" Amari asks her opponent as she gazes frankly across the center of the octagon at her.

The other woman shakes her head in calm silence, further confirming something that Amari has suspected since she watched her opponent's first match.

Abidemi Sowande has never met Ibuki Kruger, and rumors of her activities in East Germany have not, unsurprisingly, spread as far as Ghana. But Abidemi has met members of the Ultra Girls, including Magnolia, who said a few things about her friend, notably saying that Amari's free-spirit reminded her of Ibuki. And that comparison suggests that she would not answer banter with silence, but banter right back. So this is most probably an imposter. Exposing whoever it was would win the match out of hand. But having seen this person fight, Amari finds her competitive side somewhat provoked.

So instead, she readies herself, hoping that she will prove a greater challenge than the Noble Demon did and --

The buzzer sounds. It seems like they move in the same moment, with her adversary just the tiniest bit more swift, so that, to Amari's senses, it is as though the flying jump kick coming toward her moves like a bullet speeding through molasses in comparison to herself. It strikes her sternum and she reels backward, barely retaining enough presence of mind to turn her near-fall into a slam into the ground. And even doing so proves useless, for "Ibuki" summersaults backwards to avoid the tremor that was so effective last time.

She was watching me, too, Amari thinks through the pain. All right. Use what I didn't, before.

And with that, she surges up to first slam one fist into the opponent's stomach and push out the wind, then twine around her so as to wrap up her throat so no more air can come in. The panic begins almost at once, and despite her generally kind-hearted nature, Amari feels a surge at relief as she feels "Ibuki" start to struggle. If she had been someone who didn't need to breathe, this could easily have gone the other way.

As it happens, it nearly starts to go the other way as soon as it began, for the other woman manages to almost wiggle out of the hold, enough to draw in a few more seconds of precious air. Grimly, Amari tightens her grip, and feels her opponents struggle lessen, and then cease -- then promptly releases her hold, something possible only due to her inhuman level of control. Anyone else doing this might have done permanent damage, or worse.

She's won.

Hurrah for brutality, Amari thinks, unhappily, looking down at the woman she's holding, as Thunder Dragon asks meaningless questions about boons.

Side B, Match I: Ibuki vs. Amari

"Ibuki": Initiative +14, Unarmed +15/+10 (Damage DC 22, Crit 18-20), Dodge 14 (24), Parry 14 (24), Fortitude 9, Toughness 8/6, Will 9, Acrobatics +12, Deception +13, Insight +10, Intimidation +8.
Hero Points: 1
All-out Attack, Evasion 2, Improved Defense, Power Attack.

Amari: Initiative +16, Unarmed +10 (Damage DC 23), Bullet Throw +8 (Damage DC 19), Shockwave (Burst Area Dodge DC 23), Dodge 8 (DC 18), Parry 8 (DC 18), Fortitude 10, Toughness 12, Will 8, Acrobatics +9, Athletics +10, Insight +7.
Hero Points: 2
Extraordinary Effort, Power Attack.

Turn 1: Amari 34, "Ibuki" 34; Ibuki wins tie.

"Ibuki" makes a +5/-5 Power Attack as a Surprise Attack

Unarmed Attack 1d20+15-5=25 vs. Dodge DC 14; Hit
Toughness 1d20+12=20 vs. Damage DC 27; Dazed, Bruised.

Amari uses her Shockwave.

Dodge 1d20+14+5=27 vs. Effect DC 23; Half effect.
Dodge 1d20+14=31 vs. Effect DC 19; No effect.

Turn 2: Amari 17; "Ibuki" 15

Amari Grabs, using her Sleeper Hold when she succeeds.

Unarmed Attack 1d20+14=29 vs. Parry DC 24; Hit
Dodge 1d20+14=17 vs. Strength DC 23; Defenseless, Immobile, Impaired.
Fortitude 1d20+9=11 vs. Effect DC 23; Dazed, Stunned.

Ibuki gets no action.

Turn 3: "Ibuki" 29, Amari 18

"Ibuki" spends her Hero Point to recover from her Stunned condition, and attempts to Escape.

Acrobatics 1d20+12-2=11 vs. Strength DC 18; Fail

Amari maintains her hold and continues her Sleeper Hold

Fortitude 1d20+9=28 vs. Effect DC 23; No effect.

Turn 4: Amari 23, "Ibuki" 17

Amari maintains her hold and continues her Sleeper Hold.

Fortitude 1d20+9=10 vs. Effect DC 23; Incapacitated.

Victor: Amari.
 

Davies

Legend
Updated schedule:

Side ASide B
Round 1Round 2Round 3Round 4Round 3Round 2Round 1
Match 1:
Prydwen vs.
Match 1:
Ibuki vs.
TalanteMatch I:
Talante
Match I:
"Ibuki"
Trijata
Match 2:
Almeida vs.
vs.A Side Semifinal:
Bravo
B Side Semifinal:
Amari
vs.Match 2:
Tarmund vs.
BravoBravovs.Finals:
Side A vs. Side B.
vs.AmariAmari
Match 3:
Logan vs.
Winner, Match IIWinner Fights
Thunder Dragon
Winner, Match IIMatch 3:
Fuego vs.
Sun WukongMatch II:
Wukong
Match II:
Trouble
Trouble
Match 4:
Zuwen vs.
vs.vs.Match 4:
Sheng Long vs.
RoccoZuwenThe AvatarThe Avatar
 


Davies

Legend
Interlude

"You shouldn't fight."

Sitting on the bench, looking up at the grim-featured woman who just told him this, Zuwen spends a moment preparing his response. When at last he speaks, he is quite calm. "Is this medical or moral advice?"

"It's both," says the Lancet. "But more the former." She pauses, continuing to evaluate him. "But I suspect that you've already been told this."

"I have," he says, with a short nod. "And I have enough medical training to recognize some of the symptoms without being told, as well."

"There's a saying about a doctor who treats himself --" she starts to say.

"I have not." His interruption is firm. "Are you going to refuse me permission to continue?" he asks after a moment.

The brightly-clad medic lets out a long, disgusted sigh. "I don't have any authority to do that. I'm not the official physician of this fiasco, just a self-appointed medical vigilante. And it would be both grossly immoral and counterproductive on my part to try and force you to retire, so all I can do is ask you to reconsider."

"I have one more fight," the old man says. "I do not imagine that I can defeat this opponent, but I would disgrace myself if I did not try. So one more fight."

"You're bargaining," the Lancet says. "That's a sign of grief."

"I suppose that it is, at that."

She shakes her head. "I said that no one was going to die here. I would really appreciate it if you did not make a liar of me, shū shu." With that, she turns and goes, leaving him with his thoughts.

And the hand that comes up to rest over his heart.
 

Davies

Legend
The old man has rarely encountered something like this before. Generally, regardless of how well-practiced or experienced the opponent, he has always been able to discern some flaw in their defense, some weakness upon which he could capitalize. On some occasions, the foe has been cunning enough to realize what he was about, and able to conceal those flaws. He hopes that is what is happening this time as well. He fears that he might be facing a genuinely invincible foe -- perhaps even the actual Stone Monkey.

"Let us begin, then," says the ape as the buzzer sounds. And with that, Zuwen watches in stunned horror as he swells into immensity, his head almost at the top of the arena's roof, the staff he holds in one hand now the length of a train car as he lifts it up and prepares --

No! Some small part of Zuwen's mind holds on to its rationality. He might be able to grow in this manner, but how would the rod grow to match him? How would he stand in the exact same stance if his mass shifted like that? This must be an illusion! Not fully believing his own desperate hope, he shouts out. "Enough of this trickery!"

"Trickery?" asks Wukong, having rather abruptly become his normal size once more. "I prefer to think of it as a deeper truth. Had I perhaps used it before the match began, that might be considered trickery." He lets the words hang in the air a moment, gazing steadily at Zuwen.

Despite himself, Zuwen flinches at the implied rebuke. "I contend with gods and living legends, and I am but a man," he answers, relying on anger to cover his sense of shame. "I will use what tricks I must."

"And to what end? What is even your goal --" Wukong begins to say.

No opening had he seen when he used his odd talent, but now there is one. Pushing himself to his utmost, Zuwen takes advantage of the minute distraction that his opponent now experiences to wrench the gold-hooped rod from Wukong's grasp. He is surprised by how light it is, how much like the staves he'd trained with half a century before instead of the wonder weapon that he might have expected.

The ease with which he can swing it throws him a bit off when he actually makes his first darting blow towards Wukong's side, such that his opponent is easily able to dance out of the way. And dance he does, turning that evasion into a weaving, almost cartwheeling charge towards Zuwen, that he is able to evade in turn, yet the movement keeps the ape out of the way of another attempted strike. He finally has a handle on the weapon's weight, though, and is able to strike its butt into Wukong's chest a moment later -- though it is obvious that no harm has been done.

But perhaps the blow, dealt with his own weapon, outrages the pretender to the Monkey King's title, for he almost growls as he charges, this time employing both hands and both feet in a flurry of attacks. None of them strike home, but his method of shifting from one foot to the other so rapidly stops Zuwen from success in his attempts to lay him out upon the arena's floor. And these acrobatics prove to be a prelude to a ferocious punch from Wukong that leaves him coughing and sputtering.

Yet for all that, the thought that goes through Li Zuwen's mind as he incorporates the rod into his ultimate defensive stance, beneath the roaring that he can hear there, is that he has never felt so al--

And then the pain comes.

"Oh," he says, the rod slipping out of his suddenly nerveless hands as his legs give out beneath him and he drops first to a seated pose, and then the rest of the way to the floor.

Wukong sees this, immediately recognizes that this is no feint, and darts forward to lift his fallen foe up and carry him as rapidly as he can to where the Lancet has emerged from the entryway with a horrified expression on her face. They pass from view.

"... I suppose we should call that a technical knockout, too," muses the Thunder Dragon, giving a faint smirk at all this.

Side A, Match II: Wukong vs. Zuwen

Sun Wukong: Initiative +10, Unarmed +10 (Close Damage DC 23), Staff +12 (Close Damage DC 25, Crit 19-20), Dodge 8 (18), Parry 9 (19), Fortitude 11, Toughness 13 (Impervious 13), Will 11, Acrobatics +9, Athletics +11, Insight +10, Intimidation +8.
Hero Points: 1
Agile Feint, All-out Attack, Fearless, Power Attack.

Li Zuwen: Initiative +7, Unarmed +12 (Close Damage DC 20/16), Nerve Strike +12 (Close Fortitude 21), Style Analysis (Perception Range Will DC 24), Dodge 9 (19), Parry 11 (21), Fortitude 5/3, Toughness 7/5/2/0, Will 11, Acrobatics +8, Athletics +10/+6, Insight +11, Intimidation +11.
Hero Points: 3
Agile Feint, Assessment, Defensive Attack, Improved Defense, Improved Disarm, Improved Trip.

Zuwen again activates his Vitality Boost and uses Style Analysis before the fight starts, but Wukong notices it with his mental awareness. He does not call attention to it at this time.

Will 1d20+11=16; Reroll
Will 1d20+11=14+10=24 vs. Effect DC 24; No effect.

Turn 1: Wukong 20, Zuwen 9

Wukong uses his Deeper Truths to create an illusion of him becoming a giant.

Will 1d20+11=27 vs. Effect DC 26; No effect.

Zuwen attempts to Disarm.

Attack Roll 1d20+12=13; Reroll
Attack Roll 1d20+12=22+10=32 vs. Parry DC 19; Crit
Strength 1d20+5+5=19 vs. Strength DC 18; Success.

He uses a Free Action to take the Rod and wield it. He is proficient, and uses Extra Effort to make an additional attack with the Rod.

Attak Roll 1d20+12=18 vs. Parry DC 19; Miss

Turn 2: Wukong 29, Zuwen 20

Wukong feints as a Free Action using Acrobatics, then makes a +2/-2 Power Attack.

Acrobatics 1d20+9-5=19 vs. Insight DC 21; Failure
Attack Roll 1d20+10-2=18 vs. Parry DC 21; Miss

Zuwen makes a +2/-2 Defensive Attack with the Rod.

Attack Roll 1d20+12-2=16 vs. Parry DC 19; Miss

Turn 3: Zuwen 16, Wukong 11

Zuwen again makes a +2/-2 Defensive Attack with the Rod.

Attack Roll 1d20+12-2=13; Reroll
Attack Roll 1d20+12-2=23 vs. Parry DC 19; Hit
Toughness 1d20+13=22 vs. Damage DC 22; No effect.

Wukong makes a +5/-5 All-out Attack.

Attack Roll 1d20+10+5=22 vs. Parry DC 23; Miss

Turn 4: Zuwen 18, Wukong 15

Zuwen makes a Trip attempt with a +2/-2 Defensive Attack.

Attack Roll 1d20+12-2=13 vs. Parry 14; Miss

Wukong again feints as a Free Action using Acrobatics, then makes a +5/-5 Power Attack.

Acrobatics 1d20+9-5=6 vs. Insight DC 21; Failure
Attack Roll 1d20+10-5=25 vs. Parry DC 23; Crit
Toughness 1d20+7=18 vs. Damage DC 28; Bruised, Dazed, Staggered.

Turn 5: Zuwen 24, Wukong 24; Zuwen wins tie.

Zuwen Defends.

Parry 1d20+11+2=24

Wukong makes a +5/-5 All-out Attack.

Attack Roll 1d20+10+5=33 vs. Parry DC 24; Hit
Toughness 1d20+7-1=18 vs. Damage DC 23; Bruised 2, Staggered.

Zuwen suffers a heart attack and the match ends.

Victor: Wukong.
 

Davies

Legend
Interlude

"This isn't your fault," says Zhang Xingxing.

"Isn't it," says Sun Wukong, not looking up at her. It's not really a question when he speaks.

They are seated on a bench outside the room that the Lancet has commandeered for her own purposes. Zhang's people have gently, and not so gently, pushed back the reporters who would normally be gathering around the area so these two can have their space.

"No, it's not," she says, just a bit heatedly. "Everyone who takes part in this thing did so with the understanding that they might face serious injury, regardless of what the Lancer or whatever her name is might claim. The match-ups were randomly determined. You did not choose to face this guy, so you're not responsible for what happens --"

"Except that I could have surrendered, once he succeeded in taking away the rod." Wukong looks at his hand, where the compliant gold-hooped rod would normally be. As far as he knows, it is still lying, abandoned, on the arena floor.

"What good would that have done?" She answers her own question. "None, that's what! He'd still have been sick, and then he would have been facing that hitman, Bravo, who wouldn't have bothered to try and help him!"

"Perhaps you're right," he says, still not looking up.

Zhang has yearned for that admission since she met this crazy hairy man. Now that she has it, she wonders why she did so. It is a miserable gift, really. "Then ... please don't be sad like this," she says. "I, I don't like it when you're sad like this. It makes me feel things I don't like feeling."

At last, he turns to look at his friend and patron, and finally gives her a small smile unlike his usual grin. "That is friendship, brilliant lady," he tells her.

She wants to say something more, but then the door opens, and the Lancet emerges. She looks at Wukong, and shakes her head sadly.
 


Davies

Legend
Music for this scene: M12+M13 from The Garden of Sinners: Overlooking View, composed by Yuki Kajiura.

She has been hesitant about this strategy, developed when she learned who she would be facing in this round, but the results of the previous match have finally decided it for her. The best swords stay in their sheathes, and the best fights are those which are over before they begin, Trouble reminds herself, as she walks out to where the Avatar is waiting for her.

He greets her with a polite nod. "I now have a better appreciation for what you were trying to warn me about, yesterday," he says.

"Good," she says.

"However, I still choose not to employ my own psychic faculties in this conflict. My physical abilities should suffice."

"I believe so, too," Trouble says with a calm nod. "And I'm so I'm going to have to fight you like I would fight Paragon. With the techniques he himself gave me, against the possibility that someone might turn him into a threat to humanity."

The Avatar blinks. "Well!" He sounds both surprised and pleased as the count enters its final sequence. "This should be very educational."

"I believe so, too," she says as the count reaches zero and the buzzer sounds -- and in that instant, she whips up her right hand and a palm-sized chunk of reddish crystal emerges from her palm.

The Avatar stares, then gasps. "Theonite!" He backs away, yet stumbles, collapsing backwards on to the ground. "My deadly weakness!"

'Deadly?' Trouble thinks, confusion she now feels not showing on her face. This is only supposed to neutralize his powers, so that I can defeat him normally. Roger said that it isn't a nice sensation, but never that it's painful. Staring at the way that her opponent is curling up in agony, she begins to suspect that she has made a terrible mistake.

And then, from behind the hand that is covering his face, one of the Avatar's visible eyes winks at her.

Oh. He is not the only one learning something here today. "Surrender," she says, in steely tones.

"Yes, yes, anything, just take that away!"

"Say the word."

"I -- I -- I surrender," the Avatar says at last, sounding thoroughly broken.

"... well, this was just pathetic," says Thunder Dragon from up above, as Trouble withdraws the theonite from her hand back into its shielded compartment in her shoulder. "Claim your --"

"I claim no boon," she says, holding up four fingers and then lowering two. "It was not I who beat him, but science."

"Pathetic," the host says again.

She doesn't pay him any attention, but 'helps' the Avatar to return to his feet. "You're not actually vulnerable to theonite, are you?" she asks, very quietly.

"No, I removed that weakness soon after I created this body," he says as they start towards the exit.

Despite everything, Trouble nearly stumbles at how casually he speaks of it. "Then why --"

"Because I have studied this place, this Thimpu, over the last night, and I think I do not really need to learn anything from its master, after all. Because I think I might learn more in the future if others believe I have that weakness." He pauses, just as they reach the exit. "But most of all, because I think I need your help. I have not seen Lonnie since before my match, yesterday, and I find myself worried."
 

Davies

Legend
Interlude

"You know, the most absurd thing about all of this is that you actually thought numbers were going to make things go your way this time," says Abigail Mason, staring across the dimly-lit public park (complete with statue of Thunder Dragon) at her assembled enemies, all collapsed on the grass and pavement. "Every time I've crossed any of your paths individually, I've made you do exactly what I wanted, and you thought there being a bunch of you would change that, somehow? Sheerest vanity, verging on hubris. And we all know how hubris gets punished, right, darlings?"

"Abby, please --" says her older brother, managing to push himself up from the all-consuming sorrow she's made him feel.

"Oh, you are the worst of them, Earl. I mean, I know you've shot people from ambush with that stupid bow of yours, and that would really have ruined my day if you'd done that to me. But oh no, it's vital that you confront 'the bad guy', face to face. And here we are, and here you'll stay. All of you have gotten ideas that are way above your stations in life." She concentrates, momentarily, and the man who's called Robin Hood collapses beneath the weight of his grief once more.

But as he does so, something like sanity momentarily emerges from the fury that has consumed Patricia Mason, aka the Red Archer. Not enough to let her stand up and challenge her tormentor, but enough for her to speak a few words. "Why --"

"See, this is what I'm talking about. Art does not get to interrogate the artist, and that's what all of you are, in the end -- just raw materials for me to create something interesting. But putting you all back down like this has put me in a good mood, for once, so I'll tell you why I did so many awful things to you, personally, baby sis." Abigail takes a deep breath. "You breathed my air."

Stunned by the petty cruelty, as much as by the anger that's far beyond her control, Patricia just stares.

"Well, now that we've got that all cleared up, I think I'll be leaving," Abigail says. "I finished my business here earlier today, and now I'm heading to Europe, where I'm going to contact some people who'll help me to finish destroying you, and all your friends, and, oh, I guess the entire superheroic community. This whole 'justice society' that the Institute started has gone on far too long, so we're going to tear it apart and --" For just a second, as she speaks, Abigail wonders if maybe their hubris has infected her, and considers that explaining her plans like this is a symptom. But then she reminds herself to remember her own place, high above them, and opens her mouth to continue.

That's when someone slams a rabbit punch into the back of her head that drops her to the ground, momentarily senseless and unable to continue projecting the emotions she has been. And Patricia surges up out of her fury to send a single arrow streaking in the direction of her right breast, hitting with a hiss.

"Ibuki?" gasps Maid Marian as she also starts to come around from the frenzied lust that she'd been made to feel.

"Hi," says the German-Japanese girl, looking rather irate. "I'd say that I hope you're having a better day that I have, but it hasn't been much better, even if I got kidnapped twice."

"It's about to get worse," says Abigail, yanking the arrow out of her breast and speaking in a sing-song voice. And then she screams.

"Uh ... was that supposed to hurt?" asks Ibuki, stepping back and into a fighting stance.

"What -- what --" Abigail looks down at the arrow in her hand, and notes the syringe attached to its point for the first time. "What did you do?" she demands of her sister.

"Neurotoxin," Patricia says, coming to her feet. "It doesn't actually stop you from using psychics on people, but it will make doing so hurt." She smiles, grimly yet triumphantly. "And you don't handle pain all that well, do you? The guy who makes my arrows put a lot of thought into this one. I'd tell you who that is, but I'm still not sure."

"I might have an inkling," says Lonnie, emerging from the lassitude that had engulfed him.

"And now I think it's my turn," says Leah Blade, likewise emerging from artificial amusement to authentic anger.

"No, please, don't kill me," Abigail says, all bravado gone.

"Oh, don't be silly," says the second Songbird, smiling brilliantly. "I don't kill people. I just beat the hell out of them and dump them in front of a police station. I'm not sure where we'll find a police station in this burg, but phase one seems doable." And with that she starts punching down.
 

Voltron64

Adventurer
"You know, the most absurd thing about all of this is that you actually thought numbers were going to make things go your way this time," says Abigail Mason, staring across the dimly-lit public park (complete with statue of Thunder Dragon) at her assembled enemies, all collapsed on the grass and pavement. "Every time I've crossed any of your paths individually, I've made you do exactly what I wanted, and you thought there being a bunch of you would change that, somehow? Sheerest vanity, verging on hubris. And we all know how hubris gets punished, right, darlings?"

"Abby, please --" says her older brother, managing to push himself up from the all-consuming sorrow she's made him feel.

"Oh, you are the worst of them, Earl. I mean, I know you've shot people from ambush with that stupid bow of yours, and that would really have ruined my day if you'd done that to me. But oh no, it's vital that you confront 'the bad guy', face to face. And here we are, and here you'll stay. All of you have gotten ideas that are way above your stations in life." She concentrates, momentarily, and the man who's called Robin Hood collapses beneath the weight of his grief once more.

But as he does so, something like sanity momentarily emerges from the fury that has consumed Patricia Mason, aka the Red Archer. Not enough to let her stand up and challenge her tormentor, but enough for her to speak a few words. "Why --"

"See, this is what I'm talking about. Art does not get to interrogate the artist, and that's what all of you are, in the end -- just raw materials for me to create something interesting. But putting you all back down like this has put me in a good mood, for once, so I'll tell you why I did so many awful things to you, personally, baby sis." Abigail takes a deep breath. "You breathed my air."

Stunned by the petty cruelty, as much as by the anger that's far beyond her control, Patricia just stares.

"Well, now that we've got that all cleared up, I think I'll be leaving," Abigail says. "I finished my business here earlier today, and now I'm heading to Europe, where I'm going to contact some people who'll help me to finish destroying you, and all your friends, and, oh, I guess the entire superheroic community. This whole 'justice society' that the Institute started has gone on far too long, so we're going to tear it apart and --" For just a second, as she speaks, Abigail wonders if maybe their hubris has infected her, and considers that explaining her plans like this is a symptom. But then she reminds herself to remember her own place, high above them, and opens her mouth to continue.
At best for the Mutant Families, such a scheme would lead only to Mutually Assured Destruction between both sides. At worst, total annihilation from the heroes towards them for trying such a thing and pushing them to such a point.
"It's about to get worse," says Abigail, yanking the arrow out of her breast and speaking in a sing-song voice. And then she screams.

"Uh ... was that supposed to hurt?" asks Ibuki, stepping back and into a fighting stance.

"What -- what --" Abigail looks down at the arrow in her hand, and notes the syringe attached to its point for the first time. "What did you do?" she demands of her sister.

"Neurotoxin," Patricia says, coming to her feet. "It doesn't actually stop you from using psychics on people, but it will make doing so hurt." She smiles, grimly yet triumphantly. "And you don't handle pain all that well, do you? The guy who makes my arrows put a lot of thought into this one. I'd tell you who that is, but I'm still not sure."

"I might have an inkling," says Lonnie, emerging from the lassitude that had engulfed him.

"And now I think it's my turn," says Leah Blade, likewise emerging from artificial amusement to authentic anger.

"No, please, don't kill me," Abigail says, all bravado gone.

"Oh, don't be silly," says the second Songbird, smiling brilliantly. "I don't kill people. I just beat the hell out of them and dump them in front of a police station. I'm not sure where we'll find a police station in this burg, but phase one seems doable." And with that she starts punching down.
You really wanna twist the knife on Spectra, you give custody or just general influence of her children over to their Uncle Earl and Aunt Pattie, having them follow in their general footsteps and growing up to rebuke everything about their mother.
 

Davies

Legend
You really wanna twist the knife on Spectra, you give custody or just general influence of her children over to their Uncle Earl and Aunt Pattie, having them follow in their general footsteps and growing up to rebuke everything about their mother.
Unfortunately, right now it looks like their custody and general influence is going to remain with their father, of whom the best that can be said is that he's not a sadistic pervert.
 

Davies

Legend
Wukong finds that he has lost his taste for banter, and so the eerie silence with which he is confronted while facing off with Bravo comes as something of a relief. Still, his inability to see the face of his current opponent, could not evaluate this individual's health -- or anything else about them, really -- is a bit disconcerting. Wukong considers using his power to seek within the other's heart and mind, to find out what was there, but rejects this as the sort of cheating which had annoyed him in the previous match. To distract himself from such thoughts while the countdown comes to an end, he examines the arena.

And is somewhat surprised to notice a young woman perched on a space just beneath the roof, gazing down at them. Now what have we here? he wonders.

(What we have here is one Kanroji Shizuka, who has taken up a sniper position to observe this match. If it should happen that Bravo's helmet comes off in the battle to follow, or in its aftermath, she will take the shot to eliminate the enemy of the Shadow School, as soon as her team's commander, watching this affair from the cheap seats, gives the word that she gets from those who can identify him.)

Somewhat distracted by this, Wukong manages to whiff the first attack he makes once the buzzer strikes home, missing with embarrassing awkwardness and leaving himself wide open for Bravo to strike him in the stomach with a palm blow. The force of Bravo's palm, if you'll pardon the expression, is quite a novel pain for Wukong.

Despite that, he manages to smile a bit. "Well struck," he says.

Bravo does not reply. Instead, the armored figure shifts slightly, clearly preparing to receive a blow in return. Feeling the injury heal itself, Wukong answers this preparation with a wild swing of his rod -- that is intercepted and stilled. Once again, someone attempts to wrench the compliant gold-hooped rod from his grip. But this time, Wukong expects the move, and this time it is not made with nearly enough force.

"I think not," Wukong says.

Bravo does not reply. Instead, the stance shifts again, but so quickly that Wukong cannot follow it as his opponent lashes out with a powerful kick towards his abdomen. Again, the pain is unexpected, and Wukong's breath is knocked out of him as well. Yet he knows the pain will soon ease ...

... and then it does not do so, and Wukong recognizes that something has gone horribly wrong. As he retaliates with another wild swing of his rod, this time connecting and dealing some small damage to the surface of Bravo's cuirass, he attempts to understand his own condition. Some sort of technique has been employed, disrupting his ability to recover quickly. A secret move that he was not expecting, could not have expected.

This is a true challenge, he thinks, and smiles.

His last swing has left him open enough that Bravo's attempt to distract him with cunning moves is frankly superfluous, but the one-two punch that strikes him lacked enough force to worsen his condition. Wukong answers this blow with one of his own, directing a thrust of the staff's butt towards Bravo's armored jaw, something he would not do to an unprotected opponent. It strikes home, but not enough to truly disconcert his foe, nor does a follow-up blow come close to striking.

Bravo moves rapidly, then, striking three times in less than a few seconds, yet only once with enough power to affect the supernatural durability of the Monkey King. Wukong adopts a more guarded approach, and strikes only carefully measured blows -- until at last one of the forceful strikes from Bravo misses, and he unleashes yet another wild, overextended lunge that strikes into the opponent's chestplate, knocking him back and to the ground.

He's won. He takes no pride in it, but now he has a chance to do something worthwhile, here. And with that thought, he bends down to pull off Bravo's masked helmet.

"Do we take the shot?" Mizuki asks Kagome, seated beside her and watching the affair through a pair of binoculars.

Kagome just stares.

"Well?" the ninja leader demands.

"It's not him," Kagome says. "I don't know who that is."

"Who are you?" asks Wukong of the individual with long black hair who is lying on the ground, and who has just regained consciouness.

The answer comes in Chinese. "My name is Fa Xing-la," the individual lying there answers. "And that is all you get. I have given him the boon he asked for," says Bravo, much more loudly. "We're done, here." Then replaces the helmet, then rises, unsteadily, and walks away, ignoring all attempts to assist.


Side A Final: Bravo vs. Wukong.

Bravo: Initiative +10, Unarmed +16 (Close Damage DC 20, Crit 19-20), Dodge 12 (22), Parry 13 (23), Fortitude 9, Toughness 9/7, Will 9, Acrobatics +14, Athletics +12, Deception +12, Insight +12, Intimidation +14.
Hero Points: 1
Agile Feint, All-out Attack, Assessment, Defensive Attack, Improved Smash, Power Attack.

Sun Wukong: Initiative +10, Unarmed +10 (Close Damage DC 23), Staff +12 (Close Damage DC 25, Crit 19-20), Dodge 8 (18), Parry 9 (19), Fortitude 11, Toughness 13 (Impervious 13), Will 11, Acrobatics +9, Athletics +11, Insight +10, Intimidation +8.
Hero Points: 1
Agile Feint, All-out Attack, Fearless, Power Attack.

Turn 1: Wukong 29, Bravo 24

Wukong makes a +2/-2 All-out Attack with his Rod.

Attack Roll 1d20+12+2=15; Automatic Miss

Bravo Assesses as a Free Action, learning all of Wukong's Attack and Defense bonuses. Bravo then maks a +5/-5 Power Attack.

Insight 1d20+12=31 vs. Not Even Bothering.
Attack Roll 1d20+16-5=15; Reroll
Attack Roll 1d20+15-5=24 vs. Parry DC 17; Hit
Toughness 1d20+13=21 vs. Damage DC 25; Bruised

Turn 2: Bravo 25, Wukong 19

Bravo adjusts Master of Many Styles to the following:

Modified Setting: Strength-based Damage 2; Enhanced Advantage 8 (All-out Attack, Defensive Attack, Improved Critical [unarmed], Improved Disarm, Move-by Action, Power Attack, Skill Mastery (Athletics), Weapon Bind) - 10 points

Then Defends.

Parry 1d20+13=16+10=26

Wukong recovers from his Bruised condition, and makes a +2/-2 All-out Attack with his Rod.

Attack Roll 1d20+12+2=20 vs. Parry DC 26; Miss.

Bravo makes a Disarm attempt as a reaction.

Attack Roll 1d20+16=26 vs. Parry 17; Hit.
Strength 1d20+3=9 vs. Not Even Bothering.

Turn 3: Bravo 23, Wukong 11

Bravo adjusts Master of Many Styles to the following:

Modified Setting: Strength-based Damage 2, Incurable; Enhanced Advantage 8 (All-out Attack, Improved Critical 3 [unarmed], Move-by Action, Power Attack, Skill Mastery (Athletics)) - 10 points

Then makes a +5/-5 Power Attack.

Attack Roll 1d20+16-5=23 vs. Parry DC 17; Hit
Toughness 1d20+13=19 vs. Damage DC 25; Bruised, Dazed.

Wukong makes a +5/-5 All-out Attack with his Rod.

Attack Roll 1d20+12+5=33 vs. Parry DC 23; HIt
Toughness 1d20+9=21 vs. Damage DC 25; Bruised.

Turn 4: Bravo 28, Wukon 24

Bravo makes a Feint with Acrobatics as a move action, then a +5/-5 Power Attack.

Acrobatics 1d20+14-5=13 vs. Insight DC 20; Failure
Attack Roll 1d20+16-5=18 vs. Parry DC 14; Hit
Toughness 1d20+13-1=26 vs. Damage DC 25; Bruised

Wukong makes a +5/-5 Power Attack with the Rod.

Attack Roll 1d20+12-5=16; Reroll
Attack Roll 1d20+12-5=15+10=25 vs. Parry DC 23; Hit
Toughness 1d20+9-1=26 vs. Damage DC 30; Bruised 2

Turn 5: Wukong 29, Bravo 17

Wukong makes a +5/-5 Power Attack with the Rod.

Attack Roll 1d20-12-5=15 vs. Parry DC 23; Miss.

Bravo makes a +5/-5 Power Attack.

Attack Roll 1d20+16-5=21 vs. Parry DC 19; Hit
Toughness 1d20=13-1=25 vs. Damage DC 25; Bruised.

Turn 6: Bravo 22, Wukong 13

Bravo makes a +5/-5 Power Attack.

Attack Roll 1d20+16=5=20 vs. Parry DC 19; Hit
Toughness 1d20+13-1=27 vs. Damage DC 25; Bruised.

He then uses Extra Effort to make a second +5/-5 Power Attack.

Attack Roll 1d20+16-5=27 vs. Parry DC 19; Hit
Toughness 1d20+13-1=18 vs. Damage DC 25; Bruised 2, Dazed.

Wukong makes a +2/-2 Defensive Attack with the Rod.

Attack Roll 1d20+12-2=26 vs. Parry DC 23; HIt
Toughness 1d20+9-2=12 vs. Damage DC 25; Bruised 3, Staggered.

Turn 7: Bravo 29, Wukong 16

Bravo makes a +5/-5 Power Attack

Attack Roll 1d20+16-5=20 vs Parry DC 21; Miss.

Wukong makes a +5/-5 All-Out Attack.

Attack Roll 1d20+12+5=26 vs. Parry DC 23; Hit
Toughnes 1d20+9-3=12 vs. Damage DC 25; Bruised 4, Staggered 2=Incapacitated.

Victor: Wukong
 

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