Daikessoshen

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Davies
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Re: Daikessoshen

Post by Davies »

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.
I'm not fourteen hundred years old! I've been sixteen years old fourteen hundred times, but I'm definitely not fourteen hundred years old! If you can't get that through your skull, I'm divorcing you!
Tsukasa Tsukuyomi, in
Fly Me to the Moon, by Kenjiro Hata
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Re: Daikessoshen

Post by Davies »

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.
I'm not fourteen hundred years old! I've been sixteen years old fourteen hundred times, but I'm definitely not fourteen hundred years old! If you can't get that through your skull, I'm divorcing you!
Tsukasa Tsukuyomi, in
Fly Me to the Moon, by Kenjiro Hata
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Re: Daikessoshen

Post by Davies »

"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.
I'm not fourteen hundred years old! I've been sixteen years old fourteen hundred times, but I'm definitely not fourteen hundred years old! If you can't get that through your skull, I'm divorcing you!
Tsukasa Tsukuyomi, in
Fly Me to the Moon, by Kenjiro Hata
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Re: Daikessoshen

Post by Davies »

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.
I'm not fourteen hundred years old! I've been sixteen years old fourteen hundred times, but I'm definitely not fourteen hundred years old! If you can't get that through your skull, I'm divorcing you!
Tsukasa Tsukuyomi, in
Fly Me to the Moon, by Kenjiro Hata
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Re: Daikessoshen

Post by Davies »

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.
I'm not fourteen hundred years old! I've been sixteen years old fourteen hundred times, but I'm definitely not fourteen hundred years old! If you can't get that through your skull, I'm divorcing you!
Tsukasa Tsukuyomi, in
Fly Me to the Moon, by Kenjiro Hata
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Re: Daikessoshen

Post by Davies »

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.
I'm not fourteen hundred years old! I've been sixteen years old fourteen hundred times, but I'm definitely not fourteen hundred years old! If you can't get that through your skull, I'm divorcing you!
Tsukasa Tsukuyomi, in
Fly Me to the Moon, by Kenjiro Hata
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Re: Daikessoshen

Post by Davies »

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."
I'm not fourteen hundred years old! I've been sixteen years old fourteen hundred times, but I'm definitely not fourteen hundred years old! If you can't get that through your skull, I'm divorcing you!
Tsukasa Tsukuyomi, in
Fly Me to the Moon, by Kenjiro Hata
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Re: Daikessoshen

Post by Davies »

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.
I'm not fourteen hundred years old! I've been sixteen years old fourteen hundred times, but I'm definitely not fourteen hundred years old! If you can't get that through your skull, I'm divorcing you!
Tsukasa Tsukuyomi, in
Fly Me to the Moon, by Kenjiro Hata
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Re: Daikessoshen

Post by Davies »

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
I'm not fourteen hundred years old! I've been sixteen years old fourteen hundred times, but I'm definitely not fourteen hundred years old! If you can't get that through your skull, I'm divorcing you!
Tsukasa Tsukuyomi, in
Fly Me to the Moon, by Kenjiro Hata
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Re: Daikessoshen

Post by Davies »

Interlude

She sits in the unlit workout room, bent over, hands clasped before her forehead. One of her friends used to sit like this while trying to come to terms with what he'd seen and done on his missions. Trouble understands him better than she did then.

She was in the audience when the helmet of her nemesis came off and she saw ... not her own face, but one so close to it as to take her breath away, and she has not quite recaptured it yet. And she heard Bravo's claim of identity. It's been years since she thought of her parents, who named her Fa Xing-la and lived happily, she thought, in Hong Kong. That is how she has always thought of the start of her story.

But is it her story?

If you replace every plank of the Ship of Theseus with new planks, is it still the ship of Theseus? If you replace every part of a human being with circuits and nanotechnology, are they still that human being? Were they ever? If you wanted to make a living weapon who could exist among humans, for whatever reason, would you give them memories of a human life, whether true or false? And how would they ever know the difference?

She pulls out her smartphone and dials the only number saved on it.

"Trouble?" asks the voice on the other end. "Are you okay?"

"Sam," she says. "How often do you think about your parents?"

"I -- uh -- almost every day, I guess. Why?" There's a bit more urgency in the tone on the other end, now.

Trouble takes a deep breath. "Just wondering," she says, in as calm a tone as she can manage. "I'll be home in a couple of days, I hope. I just wanted to hear your voice." A beat. "I love you."

"I love you, too. Are you sure you're okay?"

She decides to speak the truth for once. "No." And then she hangs up and turns off the phone.
I'm not fourteen hundred years old! I've been sixteen years old fourteen hundred times, but I'm definitely not fourteen hundred years old! If you can't get that through your skull, I'm divorcing you!
Tsukasa Tsukuyomi, in
Fly Me to the Moon, by Kenjiro Hata
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Re: Daikessoshen

Post by Davies »

The disgusted expression on the face of Amari as they approach each other for this penultimate match comes as something of a surprise to Trouble, but she doesn't get the chance to ask what prompted it.

"You know, I was actually looking forward to this," Amari says. "I don't actually like fighting. Really, I don't. Nobody ever believes me when I tell them this. But a nice, friendly sparring match with one of the best in the world, an actual genuine world-saving superhero? That sounded like fun, and I haven't had any fun here since I got to beat up that slave-chaser with his own stupid axe.

"But then I see you using theonite to win a fist-fight! You risk giving someone radiation poisoning for this?" Amari waves a hand around to indicate the arena as a whole. "For the entertainment of all these perverts?"

Trouble opens her mouth to say something in response. Whatever it was going to be, she stifles it, and closes her mouth again with an unhappy expression on her face.

"No defense? Good. Fine. You are no superhero. So I'm looking forward to this for another reason now." And as if she timed it to the second, and maybe she did, the buzzer sounds just as Amari delivers that declaration, following it up with a lightning fast spin kick to Trouble's side. Her opponent winces but makes no cry, only stepping back a few paces, thickening her skin and assuming a guarded stance.

Not a sufficiently protective guard stance, unfortunately, for Amari's next uppercut cleaves right through it, slamming into Trouble's stomach, then following it up with a powerful kick. Through it all, Trouble just maintains her defenses, soaking up the blows that rain down on her, never offering any protest or counterattack.

That detail does not escape Amari's notice, and at last, she finds that she can't help herself. "What are you doing?" she asks. "Why aren't you fighting back? Are you -- are you trying to make me look like the bad guy here?"

Trouble just sighs.

"You are! Cut it out! Fight back, dammit!" With that, she drives a punch towards Trouble's nose, with the force of a locomotive.

Locomotives can't usually be caught in a handclap, though. "All right," Trouble says, and becomes a blur of motion. Her knee comes up to slam into Amari's ribcage, knocking the wind out of her lungs, then swiveling around to slam one firm wrist into Amari's unguarded flank, following it up with an eerie echo of the blow to the nose that started this flurry -- but one that strikes home.

"You were right," says Trouble to Amari's supine form. "I hope you find some comfort in that when you wake up." Her gaze jerks up as Thunder Dragon starts his usual spiel, and the glare she gives him almost makes him hesitate to ask the question. She answers it, sort of, by holding up four fingers and then lowering three.

The final confrontation is here at last.

Side B Final: Amari vs. Trouble

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.

Trouble: Initiative +13, Unarmed +14 (Close Damage DC 21, Crit 18-20), Dodge 12 (22), Parry 12 (22), Fortitude 8, Toughness 10/5, Will 9, Acrobatics +11, Athletics +12, Insight +12, Intimidation +9.
Hero Points: 1
Agile Feint, All-out Attack, Assessment, Evasion, Fearless 2, Power Attack.

Turn 1: Amari 32, Trouble 19

Amari makes a +2/-2 All-out Attack.

Attack Roll 1d20+10+2=31 vs. Parry DC 22; Hit.
Toughness 1d20+10=21 vs. Damage DC 23; Bruised.

Trouble changes her Technomorph as a Free Action, and then Defends.

Heavy: Enhanced Strength 7; Enhanced Advantages 4 (Fast Grab, Improved Grab, Improved Hold, Improved Smash); Protection 6, Impervious 10; Strength-based Damage 1 - 35 points

Parry 1d20+10=13+10=23

Turn 2: Amari 30, Trouble 15

Amari makes another +2/-2 All-out Attack.

Attack Roll 1d20+10+2=29 vs. Parry 23; Hit
Toughness 1d20+11-1=23 vs. Damage DC 23; Bruised

Trouble Defends.

Parry 1d20+10=26

Turn 3: Amari 36, Trouble 7

Amari makes a +2/-2 All-out Attack as a Surprise Attack.

Attack Roll 1d20+10+2=32 vs. Parry DC 18; Crit
Toughness 1d20+11-1=15; Reroll
Toughness 1d20+11-1=29 vs. Damage DC 28; Bruised

Trouble Defends.

Parry 1d20+10=18+10=28

Turn 4: Amari 32, Trouble 5

Attack Roll 1d20+10+2=22; Reroll
Attack Roll 1d20+10+2=21+10-31 vs. Parry DC 28; Hit
Toughness 1d20+11-1=23 vs. Damage DC 23; Bruised.

Trouble Defends.

Parry 1d20+10=30

Turn 5: Amari 31, Trouble 7

Attack Roll 1d20+10+2=20; Reroll
Attack Roll 1d20+10+2=19+10=29 vs. Parry DC 30

Trouble makes a Riposte.

Attack Roll 1d20+10=21 vs. Parry DC 16; Hit
Toughness 1d20+12=18 vs. Damage DC 26; Bruised, Dazed

Trouble makes a +2/-2 Power Attack.

Attack Roll 1d20+10-2=16 vs. Parry DC 16; Hit
Toughness 1d20+12-1=15 vs. Damage DC 28; Bruised 2, Staggered.

Using extra effort, Trouble makes another +2/-2 Power Attack.

Attack Roll 1d20+10-2=23 vs. Parry DC 16; Hit
Toughness 1d20+12-2=17 vs. Damage DC 28; Bruised 3, Staggered 2=Incapacitated

Victor: Trouble
I'm not fourteen hundred years old! I've been sixteen years old fourteen hundred times, but I'm definitely not fourteen hundred years old! If you can't get that through your skull, I'm divorcing you!
Tsukasa Tsukuyomi, in
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Re: Daikessoshen

Post by Davies »

And so the penultimate match began, to determine which of the two surviving fighters would get the chance to fight Thunder Dragon and possibly be granted their wish. From one side of the arena, Trouble entered, poorly hiding her continuing upset regarding her supposed triumph and what it had cost her, as well as the identity-shattering experience that had come before that. From the other side, Wukong entered, poorly hiding his unhappiness over what he'd endured in the matches leading to this point. They walked towards each other, meeting in the middle, as the final countdown began.

"I watched your fight with the one called Amari," Wukong said when they met -- for the first time, actually, as they had never exchanged words before that.

"Do you think I'm a monster, too?" said Trouble.

The monkey king shook his head. "I think you are a person who made a difficult choice, one that will continue to weigh on you. If you were a monster, it would not do so. And much like my student, you are a better person than you believe yourself to be. Yes, you are the embodiment of science and technology, but you are more than that."

Somewhat surprisingly, Trouble smiled. "And you are a legend come to life, but you are more than that." And then a thought came to her, and her smile went away. "And forces that unite ..."

Understanding quickly appeared on Wukong's face. "... are stronger than those who stand alone."

They had remembered something that those watching this, both in the arena and elsewhere, had perhaps forgotten. They weren't just martial artists. They were superheroes. And this wasn't a fighting game, however much it might have looked like one. It was something else entirely. As the clock counted down the final seconds, they nodded to each other.

The buzzer sounded, and in the same moment, they both said, "I surrender."

In his box, overlooking this, Thunder Dragon came swiftly to his feet. "What --"

"You surrendered, so I am the winner," said Wukong. "I ask of you this boon: will you fight at my side in this?"

"You surrendered, so I am the winner," said Trouble. "I ask of you this boon: will you fight at my side in this?"

"Yes," the two of them said as one.

"What are you two trying to pull --"

And as one, they turned to look up at Thunder Dragon. "We challenge you -- coward."

Heroes have an infinite capacity for stupidity. Thus are legends born.
I'm not fourteen hundred years old! I've been sixteen years old fourteen hundred times, but I'm definitely not fourteen hundred years old! If you can't get that through your skull, I'm divorcing you!
Tsukasa Tsukuyomi, in
Fly Me to the Moon, by Kenjiro Hata
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Re: Daikessoshen

Post by Davies »

At first, he is just bewildered that the two so-called heroes have decided to play some sort of insipid game by mutually surrendering in this manner. Despite what they say next, that means that neither of them is the winner, and the show is over. And then they turn and call him a coward.

They call him that.

Thunder Dragon's response is relatively moderate, all things considered. He smashes two fists into the force field barrier protecting his box, shattering it, and showing no sign of recognizing that Shaitan Topaz has risen from her seat and backed away from him. Of course he doesn't. She's never been all that important to his story, and he's almost forgotten that she exists as he flies down to where the two idiots are standing and waiting for him.

Well, not waiting. Before he can do much of anything, Trouble launches herself up at him in a pathetically obvious attempt at a flying drop kick, which he easily evades by just tilting a bit to the side. He answers her impudence with a bolt of energy cast over his shoulder at her, much more accurately targeted despite everything, which sends her flying backwards even further. Yet doing so distracts him enough that Wukong is able to charge up to him and strike a series of pressure points on his bare chest. Thunder Dragon has just enough time to wonder what that was supposed to accomplish when he feels his command of gravity being suppressed, and the world around him starting to feel much more like a viscous substance engulfing him.

"No more flying for you, I think," says the ape.

His reactions are slowed, and he cannot quite avoid the flurry of blows that Trouble sends at him while bouncing back from where she was knocked earlier. They strike home, and he feels them as he hasn't felt much of anything in a while. On whatever levels of his mind aren't consumed by fury -- and that are quite a few, or he would already have called on his Golden Dragon Transformation -- he is enjoying this. So he answers her flurry of attacks with a single blow of his elbow against her chin. Against anyone else, it could easily have reduced someone's head to a red mist.

High above, Shaitan Topaz watches this insanity with a disbelieving expression. But she is distracted from the sight as the door to the box opens, and one of the guards posted there stumbles in before collapsing in a heap on the floor. He is followed by the one who fought under the name of the Avatar, about whom she's heard unbelievable stories -- likely he is just some insane Dhakamite. "Greetings," he says to her.

She doesn't return them. She just stares.

"I have been asked to deliver a message by one Logan Stormstrider, who is otherwise engaged at the moment," the Avatar says. "In his words: 'Freedom cannot be given; it must be claimed.'" With that out of the way, he regards her with a patient expression.

She looks away from him, looks down just as the ape-man performs some sort of cartwheeling charge that slams the end of his staff into Thunder Dragon's chest, clearly injuring her supposed protector. And Shaitan Topaz makes a choice. She turns back to the Avatar. "Could you pass on a message to him from me in return?" When he nods, she starts walking towards the door out of the box. "'Farewell until we meet again.' That is my message." Farewell, she thinks. Do not die before we meet again. But then ...

Fury at his newest injury drives Thunder Dragon to recover a bit of his former speed, and he roars as he directs a double-handed beam of his vital energy into the monkey king's chest, harming him as nothing so far has. Yet this focus costs him greatly as Trouble is able to swing up under his guard to kick into his own chest and all but knock him off his feet. And then Wukong also brings down his rod on an arc that smashes its hoop into the Dragon's head.

"You will not win!" Thunder Dragon says, his eyes beginning to glow golden.

"We already did!" says Trouble, using more than a little bit of all she's got to deliver one final punch into that sparkling face.

And at last, in the middle of his own arena, Thunder Dragon falls to the floor -- down and out.
Final Bout: Trouble and Sun Wukong vs. Thunder Dragon.

Trouble: Initiative +13, Unarmed +14 (Close Damage DC 21, Crit 18-20), Dodge 12 (22), Parry 12 (22), Fortitude 8, Toughness 10/5, Will 9, Acrobatics +11, Athletics +12, Insight +12, Intimidation +9.
Hero Points: 3
Agile Feint, All-out Attack, Assessment, Evasion, Fearless 2, 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: 3
Agile Feint, All-out Attack, Fearless, Power Attack.

Thunder Dragon: Initiative +24, Unarmed +16 (Close Damage DC 25), Blast +14 (Ranged Damage DC 27), Dodge 10 (20), Parry 12 (22), Fortitude 15, Toughness 14/9, Will 11, Acrobatics +13, Athletics +14, Intimidation +12.
Hero Points: 1
All, Agile Feint, Evasion, Improved Disarm, Improved Trip, Startle.

Turn 1: Trouble 32, Thunder Dragon 28, Wukong 21

Trouble makes a +5/-5 Power Attack.

Attack Roll 1d20+14-5=14; Miss.

Thunder Dragon makes a basic Attack with his Blast of Vital Energy.

Attack Roll 1d20+14=29 vs. Dodge DC 22[/url]
Toughness 1d20+10=18 vs. Damage DC 27; Bruised, Dazed.

Wukong power stunts Close Simultaneous Nullify Flight Powers 11, Sustained and uses it as a +5/-5 All-out Attack.

Attack Roll 1d20+10+5=18; Reroll
Attack Roll 1d20+10+5=24+10=34 vs. Parry DC 22; Hit
Nullify 1d20+11=25 vs. Will 1d20+11=15

Thunder Dragon loses his Flight and the associated Enhanced Initiative.

Turn 2: Trouble 29, Thunder Dragon 28, Wukong 14

Trouble spends a Hero Point to eliminate her Dazed condition and makes a +2/-2 All-out Attack.

Attack Roll 1d20+14+2=24 vs. Parry DC 22
Toughness 1d20+14=16 vs. Damage DC 21; Dazed, Bruised.

Thunder Dragon makes a +5/-5 Power Attack against Trouble.

Attack Roll 1d16+16-5=21 vs. Parry DC 20; Hit
Toughness 1d20+10-1=20 vs. Damage DC 24; Bruised 2.

Wukong makes a feint with Acrobatics as a move action, then a +5/-5 Power Attack with his Rod.

Acrobatics 1d20+9-5=17; Reroll
Acrobatics 1d20+9-5=13+10=23 vs. Acrobatics DC 23; Success.
Attack Roll 1d20+12-5=21 vs. Parry DC 16; Hit
Toughness 1d20+9-1=9; Reroll
Toughness 1d20+9-1=27 vs. Damage DC 30; Bruised 2.

Turn 3: Thunder Dragon 31, Wukong 25, Trouble 22

Thunder Dragon makes a +5/-5 Power Attack with Blast of Vital Energy against Wukong.

Attack Roll 1d20+14-5=20 vs. Dodge DC 18; Hit
Toughness 1d20+13=31 vs. Damage DC 32; Bruised

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

Attack Roll 1d20+14-5=38 vs. Parry DC 22; Crit
Toughness 1d20+14-2=14 vs. Damage DC 26; Bruised 3, Staggered.

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

Attack Roll 1d20+12-5=20; Reroll
Attack Roll 1d20+12-5=26 vs. Parry DC 22; Crit
Toughness 1d20+14-3=28 vs. Damage DC 35; Bruised 4, Staggered.

Trouble uses extra effort to make a +5/-5 Power Attack.

Attack Roll 1d20+14-5=24 vs. Parry DC 22; Hit
Toughness 1d20+14-4=15 vs. Damage DC 26; Bruised 5, Staggered 2=Incapacitated.

Victor: Earth ...?
I'm not fourteen hundred years old! I've been sixteen years old fourteen hundred times, but I'm definitely not fourteen hundred years old! If you can't get that through your skull, I'm divorcing you!
Tsukasa Tsukuyomi, in
Fly Me to the Moon, by Kenjiro Hata
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Re: Daikessoshen

Post by Davies »

Epilogue

As Thunder Dragon regains consciousness, only the faint touch of the tip of a spear at his throat stops him from rearing up. Instead, he glares up at the woman holding it there. "Involving yourself now?" he asks.

Scathach somehow shrugs without adjusting the point of her spear. "Just ensuring that the fight that you lost doesn't promptly start up again. I believe the three of you have some things to say to each other."

As she says so, he can see his former opponents standing just a bit behind her, looking down at him with what looks like appropriate apprehension. "Yes," he says. "We do, at that." Before either of them can say anything, though, he presses on. "Breaking the rules as you two did means that I don't owe either of you a boon. So I hope you enjoyed that fight, for it's all --"

Trouble interrupts. "I think not. In a few minutes, we're going to ask you for something, and you're going to give it -- voluntarily."

Thunder Dragon stares at her. "Your temerity is without limit."

"Thank you," she says.

"I don't think that was a compliment," says Wukong.

Trouble shrugs. "As the Lady of Dun Scath has said, you lost. And everyone saw you lose."

Thunder Dragon laughs bitterly. "'Everyone?' You overestimate the market value of these events. I might have a few million viewers all over the world, but that is a far cry from --"

This time, Wukong interrupts. "She meant, everyone in Bhutan."

He starts. "What -- no, that's ridiculous. There aren't more than a few hundred television subscribers in the country, and they don't --"

"There were, until a very fast-moving individual took advantage of your focus on these events to deliver battery-powered TV receivers to every village in this country," says Trouble. "All of them pre-subscribed to this event. All of them showing this final battle to every person in Bhutan."

Wukong picks up the thread when Trouble falls silent. "They all saw you lose. They all know you can be beaten." He pauses. "I imagine any number of revolutions are being plotted, as we speak. I imagine they are being supplied by a variety of interested parties."

Thunder Dragon stares at the two of them in stunned silence. He finally finds his voice, but only enough to stammer. "You -- you --"

"Did you think you were the only one who knows how to exploit the media?" says Trouble. She doesn't wait for his response. "Now for that boon, the one that you're going to want to give us, because it's in your own best interests. As someone said earlier, 'Get off our planet.'"

He keeps right on staring, but now he's found the rest of his voice. "If that was what you wanted," he says in a low, angry tone, "then you just to beat me by the rules and --"

"And you would weasel your way out of it," says Trouble, more anger in her tone than there has been before now. "Exact words -- 'any boon the king of Bhutan can grant'. Oh, if someone asked you to leave Earth, you'd have done it. But once you'd left, you'd no longer the be king of Bhutan, and no longer have to keep any promises he'd made. So you'd come back and conquer all over again. So there's no point to that request." She lets out a sigh. "And we found another way to obtain the only other worthwhile request that anyone had come up with."

That addendum confuses him, clearly, but most of his focus is on what came before that. "First you call me a coward, and then you call me a cheat. Is there any more insolence that you'd like to offer?"

Trouble opens her mouth to answer that, but Wukong speaks further. "All that needs to be said has been said. Will you grant the boon?"

Thunder Dragon looks back at Scathach, who has been listening with her usual bored expression. He beckons for her to move the spear away, and, after a moment of consideration, she does so. He stands, dusts himself off, and then looks at Trouble and Wukong. "I came to this world to find worthy opponents. I found treachery and cowardice instead. So be it. I go because it pleases me to go." He looks up at the dome, as one who is about to fly up towards it might look.

When, after a moment, nothing has happened, he looks again in Wukong's direction, annoyed.

"Oh. Sorry."

Thunder Dragon shakes his head. Without a word, he flies up, through a portal in the dome, and is gone from sight in a moment.

And so, at last, it ends.
I'm not fourteen hundred years old! I've been sixteen years old fourteen hundred times, but I'm definitely not fourteen hundred years old! If you can't get that through your skull, I'm divorcing you!
Tsukasa Tsukuyomi, in
Fly Me to the Moon, by Kenjiro Hata
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Davies
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Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2017 10:37 pm
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Re: Daikessoshen

Post by Davies »

Post-Epilogue

The wheelchair squeaked as the Lancet rolled it out of the arena -- already the subject of a fair amount of graffiti and vandalism in just a few hours after the former ruler of Bhutan had departed. Being of an orderly mind, she didn't really approve of that, but she did understand, and was not really in any position to do anything about it. "Your cab should be here shortly, I think," she informed the wheelchair's passenger. "Should I accompany you to the airport?"

"I think I should be able to manage that part of the journey on my own," said Zuwen, his voice still reedy and fatigued. "But thank you for the offer."

It had been a difficult struggle to keep him alive, and his rehabilitation would be a lengthy one. Likely, that truly had been his last fight for what remained of his life. But not a word of complaint had he made to her, and she found that she respected this old man even more. Not that she would ever say that. It would ruin her reputation.

Looking over the altered skyline of Thimpu, watching a number of Earth's extraterrestrial visitors departing this place which was no longer a sanctuary for their sort, she felt moved to ask. "What do you think will happen now?"

"The world will change. It never stops changing," Zuwen replied. "If you want more than truisms ... I suspect that the greatest concern is the possibility that we will come to regret having driven Thunder Dragon away."

She looked at him in surprise.

"The other aliens are carrying news of this with them," he said. "That news will tell those out there, among the stars, that Earth has one fewer superpower, even if that one was only a tyrant. When tyrants fall, it does not inspire fear in other, would-be tyrants. It inspires ambition." Zuwen shook his head. "But that is a worry for another day, I hope. As is the fact that he never actually said that he would never come back ..."
I'm not fourteen hundred years old! I've been sixteen years old fourteen hundred times, but I'm definitely not fourteen hundred years old! If you can't get that through your skull, I'm divorcing you!
Tsukasa Tsukuyomi, in
Fly Me to the Moon, by Kenjiro Hata
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