Previously, on TOURNAMENT ARC: Across the world, a mysterious organization recruits martial artists for a grand tournament, the Kumite, held once every five years. The winner will receive a prize of one million dollars, and the title of the world's strongest fighter. Who will be invited next? Will they survive the starting round to claim their spot in the tournament and a chance for victory?Chapters: https://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Tournament%20Arc
>>5217534Kyoto, Japan198X8 years agoYou sit in front of your family shrine, looking at the ihai memorial tablet of dark lacquered wood. Inscribed in golden calligraphy is your father's name: Saito Daisuke. Seven years ago, now, that he left home with a smile, telling you that he'd be back in a week. He would never return. When Father was here, things were simple. He was a great man, and as his son, you wanted to be just like him. The family was happy. He was loved and respected. Students came from all around to learn at his school. When Father was here, he took care of everything.Then he was gone.With his absence came new realities that you had previously been shielded from. Poverty and debt. Cruelty and gossip. Hesitation and doubt. Your once-certain future thrown into turmoil. It's been a hard road for you ever since, with only a memory to guide you.What made things worse was learning the truth. Although your family publicly announced that he was killed in a tragic vehicle accident, you saw and heard things that made you believe otherwise. When you confronted Grandfather with your suspicions, he reluctantly revealed what happened that day.Your father's death was not an accident. He was killed in the ring.Speaking to the ihai tablet, and the memory of your father, you say:>I will avenge you.>I will carry on your legacy.>What would you want me to do?
>>5217543>I will carry on your legacy>I Will become the very best that no one ever has
>>5217543>I will avenge you.
>>5217534>I will carry on your legacy.muh family and honour
>>5217543>I will avenge you.I CRAVEVENGEANCE
>>5217543>I will carry on your legacy. >I'll become a pillar for our family to stand proudly on.
>>5217543>What would you want me to do?
>>5217543>What would you want me to do?Given the circumstances, it seems appropriate that we'd be asking for guidance
>>5217543>What would you want me to do?We've got one person who fights to fight, and one who fights for legacy/fame/home. Let's complete the trilogy with someone looking for answers
>>5217543>>5217546Tiebreaker for>What would you want me to do?
>>5217543"What would you want me to do?" you ask the tablet. When you feel lost, you try to imagine what your father might say. But it's hard to rely on a memory for guidance. You want to carry on his legacy, but which path should you take to do that? In the years since his death, you've learned that your father's life was more complex than it seemed to you as a child. Which aspect was the true father? The family man? The prestigious martial arts teacher? Or that other life he kept secret?You still have thoughts of revenge, of making the killer pay. Many have said that your father was not the type of man who would want you to throw away your life on revenge. You're sure that they're right. And yet -- does that make it okay? Maybe it was because your father was such a good man that his killer felt he could get away with what he did. Isn't it up to you to show him that he was wrong? Sometimes you still imagine finding justice by your own hand someday. One thing you know for certain is that you want to take up the role of head of the family style. With Grandfather taking the place of teacher, you have dedicated yourself completely to physical training and practice. Every day without fail, you pursued whatever takes you closer to your goal of someday becoming the heir of Suigetsu-ryu. Your father's legacy will live on through this, if nothing else.
>>5218474Still ruminating on the past, you leave the shrine, intending to step outdoors into the garden for a bit. However, when you open the door leading outside, you're surprised to see a stranger in the garden. Not just that, but a foreigner. A boy, maybe your age, maybe a little older. Blonde hair sticking out unruly from beneath a red baseball cap. He's standing by the pond, looking out at the garden; when he hears you open the door, he looks in your direction for a few moments, then pointedly turns away again.Okay, that's not what a robber would do, right? You're not sure what to make of this situation. Maybe he's a brat from one of the local military bases, some marine's son who doesn't know the difference between a traditional estate and a tourist destination. Or maybe he's just an idiot.>Go out there and confront him.>Watch him to make sure he doesn't do anything weird.>Go find Grandfather.
>>5218476>Go out there and confront him.Can't risk him breaking anything
>>5218476>Go out there and confront him.Excuse me, sir. Can I help you?
>>5218476>Go out there and confront him.WHATCHU WANT GAIJIN?
>>5218476>Watch him to make sure he doesn't do anything weird.Kid most likely doesn't speak Japanese.
>>5218476>Go out there and confront him.Get off my fucking land! Ree!
>>5218476>Go find Grandfather.
>>5218476You go out there to confront him yourself. Can't risk him breaking anything. Approaching him, you can see he's a couple inches taller than you, and a good deal heavier. You aren't concerned, though. If things were to get rough, you know you can handle yourself. No way some gaijin ruffian could stand up to you after all your training."Excuse me, sir?" you say to get his attention. "Can I help you? What are you doing here?"The boy looks at you with contempt, says something in English. The language isn't your best subject at school, but you don't need to speak it well to understand that he just told you to buzz off."No, seriously," you say, trying to think of how to make yourself understood. "You can't be here. You need to leave." Most likely he doesn't speak Japanese. Maybe you could string together some English. "[You! Go! Now!]""[No, me stay now,]" he responds derisively. He adds something you don't catch and makes a dismissive 'go away' gesture before turning back to the pond.You once knew a boy from school whose family had taken in a stray dog. The dog was well-fed and healthy, but still thin and wiry-strong compared to others of his kind, and his fur bore the scars of the old days, and he was blind in one eye. A wary alertness remained, even after his years of safety. You could pet him. But you couldn't approach too quickly from his blind side. This boy reminds you of that dog.You're still puzzling out what to do next when the boy picks up a small stone and sends it skipping across the surface of the water. "Hey, stop!" you call out. "You'll hurt the fish!" The pond is home to a handful of koi fish, some of whom are older than you are. The boy makes a gesture you're fairly certain is rude in America, then bends down to pick up a second stone. You have to stop him before the fish get hurt or one of the sculptures gets damaged. Before he can throw the stone, you step in and grab his arm at the wrist, preventing him from moving it.What you're not expecting is his immediate reaction -- not only the speed of it, but that he knows how to break a wrist lock, which is to go forward towards the hold instead of backing away. It's inelegant, but it works. The force of his shove knocks you off balance, and you're forced to take a few steps back before regaining it.The boy sticks his chin out defiantly as he says something in English, then raises one hand to make a "come on" gesture. Seems like he's ready and willing to pick a fight.>He's obviously raw and barely trained. Show him the difference between you.>Back off and try to de-escalate this before it gets out of hand.
>>5218839>Back off and try to de-escalate this before it gets out of hand.
>>5218839>He's obviously raw and barely trained. Show him the difference between you.
>>5218839>Show him the difference.A dog cannot displace the wolf. Lets go.
>>5218839>He's obviously raw and barely trained. Show him the difference between you.Boys will be boys
>>5218839>He's obviously raw and barely trained. Show him the difference between you.Let's go
>>5218839This yellow-haired ape is probably used to pushing other kids around to get what he wants. If that's how he likes it, fine. You'll show him that this is a bad idea.Can't be careless about this, though. Slow your breathing. Take your proper stance. Focus your attention. Then, just he laughs, not taking you seriously -- attack. A swift jab to the jaw, perfect impact. It staggers him back a few feet, he probably didn't even realize it was coming until it had already landed."[Why, you little -- come here!]" The foreigner steps forward as he brings his fist back for a big punch, but before he gets in range, you step forward with your front foot to extend your jab, once again striking before he expects it. You follow up with a big step with the other foot and a powerful thrusting straight punch. That sends him down to one knee."Had enough yet? Ready to go quietly?" You say it with confidence, but in truth, you expected that blow to knock him down. He's got resilience, if nothing else. "[Okay, I see how it is.]" The boy stands up and, in a strange gesture you're not familiar with, swivels his baseball cap around to face backwards. "[Guess I better take this seriously.]" He raises his fists in a proper fighting stance for the first time, and you realize you never imagined he had any actual technique to back up his swagger. But you can tell just by looking at his stance that he has a proper teacher, a good one.When he unloads a furious fist combination of brutal yet precise strikes, you defend as well as you can, and your blocks stifle each blow ... except the last, the one with all the power behind it. That hits you in the left shoulder, and a stinging lance of pain and numbness shoots through your arm, forces you to step back and regroup. This could be trouble. You thought this kid was just some idiot yankee who had wandered into the wrong place at the wrong time, but that's not true at all. His technique is sloppy and unpracticed, but it's proper combat form. He knows of the Ways. This is a real opponent, maybe the first one you've ever faced. Any thoughts you had of ejecting an intruder from your yard are gone. All you can think about is right here, right now.
>>5219559You step to the attack, and he defends; he retaliates, and you evade; you try to shove your way past his guard, and he shoves right back. You try basic karate moves, he fights back with boxing. You try techniques unique to Suigetsu-ryu, and he slips away with unorthodox but effective counters. You advance, he retreats, until backed up against the big tree in the center of the courtyard; he ducks under your kick, which strikes the trunk of the tree, shaking leaves loose. Frustrated, you resort to a certain surprise trick that Grandfather pulled on you one time, putting your foot behind your opponents' so he trips when your attack knocks him backwards; but though the trick knocks him over, your follow-up is cut short when he grabs a handful of sandy dirt from the pond shore and flings it at your eyes. You instinctively close your eyes to avoid it, but the momentary blind spot is enough for him to land a low kick that sends you hobbling backwards. You thought he had a technique, but he's not fighting by any kind of rules or style you can tell, just wild strikes and aggression.Someone loses balance and collides with the other -- you're not even sure who was first -- and both of you go to the ground. The foreigner has the weight and power advantage and gets on top first, but you twist your head away from the punches, and are able to gain some leverage. Suigetsu-ryu employs a handful of judo techniques for such situations, and you use one to turn things around and get a joint lock, but he has one hand hammering at your ribs now while the other scrambles for purchase on your face trying to hook your mouth or nostrils, highly illegal in any competition but this isn't a competition is it, and you strain to fight through while still trying to keep your hold locked in, just pull a little harder and you've got this, just a little more--"AHEM."Grandfather is standing nearby, glaring down at you. Another foreigner, a man, is standing beside him with his arms folded. They both look very, very unhappy.
>>5219560A few minutes later, in the kitchen. You're holding a ice bag to your throbbing shoulder, while next to you, the blonde kid is fiddling with a bandage over his cut eyebrow. Grandfather and the other man are sitting at the kitchen table, talking to each other, as it turns out the foreigner speaks decent Japanese."The responsibility is mine, and my grandson's," Grandfather says. "He should know better than to act this way.""No, the fault is mine, and this young fool's," the man says. "I told him to be on his best behavior in a guest's house, and this is what happens.""I insist the fault is ours. My grandson has acted shamefully for one of our family.""To be honest, old man, I'm sure my ward here is to blame. He's always getting himself into trouble, one way or another."Grandfather says to you, "Apologize, now.">Apologize. (Sincere)>Apologize. (False)>Refuse.
>>5219564>Refuse.I will not apologize for protecting the koi and the house from this feral child
>>5219564>With all due respect Grandafather, he threw stones at the koi fish. I refuse.Fifal piety is important, and we should do as he says. But youthful disobedience.
>>5219564>>Refuse.Never back down. Never.
>>5219564>I will apologize for making a mess, but I will not apologize for defending our home and the koi.This kid sticks me as the righteous sort, if not downright stubborn when antagonized. He'll have to mellow out later (if he ever does).
>>5219564"I refuse," you say. "With all due respect, Grandfather, he threw stones at the fish. I will apologize to you for making a mess, but not for defending our home, and certainly not to him." You glare at the kid next to you."These two are guests in our house," Grandfather says. "They are here by my personal invitation. Tell me, when you encountered this boy in the garden, how long did you try to solve the problem without violence? Did you remember what I've always said to seek every possible avenue to resolve a situation peacefully? Or did you resort to the fist at the first sign of an obstacle?" He already knows the answer. Lying is never an option around him. He sighs and shakes his head in disappointment."Saito-sensei, please," the foreigner says. "Don't be too hard on your grandson. I told mine here to stay put and not wander off, but sure enough, that's what he did. Wouldn't surprise me if he said or did something to pick a fight, too." He glances over at the kid. "He's had a rough time of it. Ever since, well, you know when. The orphanage wasn't kind to him. And I'm hardly the man to teach him how to solve problems without fighting. Just how to not get his ass kicked when he does." He laughs. "Seems like it didn't help much today. Your boy gave him a good pounding.""Quite frankly, I'm disappointed in that as well," Grandfather says. "Not only that my grandson got into a fight in our own home, but that he couldn't win. Hasn't your ward only started training in the past two years or so? It shouldn't have been a draw.""Hey, don't sell him short. He's got a real talent. Could be courtesy of his old man, who knows?" "Perhaps. It makes one wonder what else he might have inherited.""Look, I'm keeping an eye on him, all right? I'll make sure he turns out okay."So the foreigner isn't actually the boy's father. Why are they together, then? Master and student, perhaps? Right now the boy is looking around, bored, the only one who doesn't understand the conversation in the room. You wonder what they're doing here together, why Grandfather would have invited them.Eventually, you're dismissed. Grandfather says he has important things to discuss with you later, but for now, he needs to talk to the guests. You can hear them switch to English as you leave the room.Disgruntled, you head to the family room to try and have some fun before you get your full reprimand from Grandfather. The family keeps a small old television set in here, and you were able to save up enough money to buy one of the new FES video game consoles that everyone has been talking about. You decide to play:>Super Pierre Bros>Ninja City>Legend of the Space Princess>Bike Fantasy
>>5220281>Ninja cityNinjas are cool
>>5220281>Legend of the Space Princess
>>5220281>Ninja CityGotta build up that hand eye coordination.
>>5220281>Leend of the Space Princess
>>5220281Oh boy I can't wait to play the Namicom.>Legend of the space princessTime for obscure puzzles and backtracking
>>5220281You pick up the cartridge for Ninja City, careful to blow into it first to clear the dust, slot it into the FES, and start it up. You're greeted by the familiar pixelated title screen of two angry-looking dudes ready to take on the world, with a bunch of evil ninjas behind them. These two guys are Alex and Joe, from Lake City, and they have to stop the evil Xeed terrorist organization who want to extort a billion dollars from the US government, and have also kidnapped Alex's girlfriend! Why a Japanese game company would make a game about ninjas but give everything American names, you're not sure. but you enjoy it anyway. You move from left to right through Lake City's streets and nightclubs and factories, beating up hundreds of dudes with your fists. You haven't beaten the game yet, it's pretty hard, but you're hoping at the end that Alex and Joe can defeat Dr. X, the boss of Xeed; rescue the girl; and save the day. It's nice to imagine a world where you can solve everything just by punching dudes in the face. Real life is more complicated.Unfortunately, you keep dying to the second-to-last boss, Dr. X's right hand man, a huge guy who uses kung fu. You have to beat him before you can enter the final chamber. Someday you'll figure it out, but right now he's just too fast and brutal for you. And it's hard to concentrate right now, what with everything that's happened today. When Grandmother comes and asks for your help for something, you're fine with putting down the game. Grandmother needs your help in cleaning out the old guest house, the one in the back of the garden. Your shoulder still hurts, but you can't just leave her to do all this herself, so you help out as best you can. While you help her to hoist up the futons to air them out, you vent to her about your frustrations, how you were only defending the house and the koi fish against that idiot and Grandfather wanted you to apologize. "It's not fair!""Oh, you have to forgive your grandfather, dear," Grandmother says. "You try so hard to be like your father. Sometimes I think he forgets you're not him, that you're still young. He expects a lot from you. But I think that's because he believes you can do it, don't you think?""I guess." Your thoughts have been preoccupied, so it's not until now you think about what you're doing. Why your grandparents might want this small, unused guest house cleaned up right at this particular time. You connect the dots. "He's not staying here, is he, Grandmother? Please tell me that yellow ape isn't staying here.""Dear, please. Try to understand. The boy, he's like you. He lost his father around the same time as you. But he didn't have any other family. He was left all alone. Imagine if you didn't have Grandfather or myself, or your mother, or your sister. Don't you think you would feel lost and afraid, too?">I guess that's true.>He's still a jerk.>What happened to him?
>>5220789>He's still a jerk.
>>5220789>What happened to him?
>>5220789>>He's still a jerk.
>>5220789>I guess that's true.>He's still a jerk.Why not both?
>>5220789>I guess thats true>But he is still jerk.You can recognise that someone has had a hard life, and that he is an asshole.But the two will come to understand eachother later. Probably.
>>5220789>>What happened to him?
>>5220789"Even if that's true, he's still a jerk," you say. "He should know how to behave in somebody else's home. What is he even doing here? Why did Grandfather say he invited him?""Your grandfather wants to teach the boy," Grandmother says. "I don't quite understand it, but he seemed to think it was very important. Especially considering who -- oh, perhaps I'm saying too much.""What else is there I don't know about this guy? Wait, hold on ... you said he lost his father around the same time as I did. Who was he?""Excuse me?""The boy's father. Who was he?" You have a growing suspicion, a feeling of cold dread creeping over you. "Oh, dear, that isn't important. Please --"His mentor is about the same age as Father would be today. That means he must be -- yes. The timing all lines up. "It's him, isn't it? The ape is his son. The man behind what happened to Father." You see the truth of it in Grandmother's sad expression. "I can't believe this!" You cast aside the cleaning supplies you're holding, rags and brushes scattering on the ground. "You expect me to put up with this? With having that man's son here, not just under our roof, but staying here as a guest?"Grandmother continues to look at you with sadness. You know that she must be feeling compassion for the boy. "Ryoma, please. Try to understand. He's not responsible for what happened. Perhaps someday you'll even grow to see what you have in common.""Never," you say emphatically. "If Grandfather wishes it, I will obey the head of the family. But tell that ape to keep his distance from me. I don't have to forgive him. And I certainly don't have to like him or be friends with him."You take your frustration out on the wooden training dummy, late into the evening.
>>5221811Burn Creek, Canada199XNowThe bar radio shifting to a loud electric guitar riff opening of a song brings out of your memories. Eight years since Jack showed up on your doorstep. Things have changed a lot since then. You're not sure why that particular memory occured to you now. Maybe it's the fact that you're currently surrounded by big, idiotic gaijin. Yeah, that's probably it.The sign over the bar says No Smoking but the bartender in front of you has a lit cigarette in his mouth as he pours you a beer. The air is dim and smoky and smells of sawdust. Behind and around you are what a charitable man might call salt-of-the-earth types, mostly dressed in flannel shirts and mesh caps; drinking, smoking, laughing, and occasionally fist-fighting. This is the Buck & Beer, a bar on the edge of a small town that's barely more than a truck stop, miles from anywere, in the middle of a forested valley"Here you go, bud," the bartender says as he puts down the drink for you. "What brings you around these parts? We don't see many of your type around here. City type, I mean.">I'm looking for someone. Maybe you can help.>Just passing through. Don't mind me.>I'm doing ninja training, up in the mountains.
>>5221813>I'm looking for someone. Maybe you can help.Odds are if we are looking for someone and they came through they would have stopped by.
>>5221813>I'm doing ninja training, up in the mountains.I imagine Ryoma takes great joy in fucking with foreigners.
>>5221813>>I'm doing ninja training, up in the mountains.Mess with their heads.
>>5221813>I'm doing ninja training, up in the mountains.
>>5221813>Ninja training. The ancient and revered art of ninjutsu
>>5221813>Whatever, just keep pouring
>>5221813>I'm looking for someone. Maybe you can help.
>>5221813>I'm doing ninja training, up in the mountains. Am i reading it correctly that Ryoma's dad was killed by Jack's dad, who was then killed by the mysterious stranger?also Kinda into this possibility of "okay normally in this tournament ppl hunt You to fight; this time, You hunt Ppl to fight"
>>5222067I came to the same conclusion about the dads but it's also possible the dads killed each other in their fight, just more unlikely based on what we read so far
>>5221813"I'm doing ninja training, up in the mountains," you say with a straight face. "Ninja training?" The bartender's eyes go wide. "You mean that ka-ra-tay stuff they show in the movies?""Exactly. It's a secret art from my homeland. Every day my master forces me to run up and down a mountain ten times, then cross an obstacle course over spike pits, then fight a bear using only one hand. At night, well, that's when it gets dangerous." You take a sip of your beer to avoid laughing."Wow, that's really something, mister," the bartender says. "Feel like I should warn you, though. These hosers you see around here, they're mostly workers up at the logging camps, or the truckers that haul the lumber in and outta there. They don't have much to do out here in the boonies. Not much around for miles but rocks and trees. No cable TV. That means they get real bored. Start looking for anything to entertain themselves. You understand what I'm saying?"As if on cue, a heavy, calloused hand lands on your shoulder.You felt them approaching several moments ago, of course. But you suppose this was inevitable. Might as well get it out of the way. "Fellas," you say, standing up, pausing to drop some loonies on the bar, then turning to face the loose half-circle of lumberjacks who have surrounded you. "Let's take this outside, shall we?"
>>5223579The low sun casts a warm orange hue on the vast, slowly drifting clouds overhead. A chill wind blows through your thin jacket. You stand In the center of the dirt parking lot, surrounded by semi-trailers and Toyota pickups. Opposite you stand five burly, bearded, flannel-clad locals. You haven't asked what their reason for wanting to start a fight is. Racism? Generic prejudice against outsiders? Or just bored, like the bartender said?Whatever it is, the danger is real. You're confident you could beat any of these local hicks one-on-one. They might each have an advantage of several inches in height and 20-30 pounds in weight class, but Suigetsu-ryu has many techniques intended to even the playing field against larger opponents. However, it's not a style especially suited to engaging multiple foes, and you've never spent much time training the few techniques that are useful for such a situation. It's a duelist's art, and you've practiced it as one.Even for fighters experienced in situations like these, with a style suited to them, you know that it's easy to get distracted when fighting a group. A single lucky shot from a blind spot can stun you long enough for the group to each get in a solid hit, and that's the end of it right there. You'd better be careful here.>Take out the one who looks like the leader.>Goad them into fighting one at a time.>Try to talk your way out of this, or at least stall while you think of something
>>5223582>Try to talk your way out of this, or at least stall while you think of somethingNo point fighting some assholes who think attacking random people is "fun."
>>5223582>>Try to talk your way out of this, or at least stall while you think of somethingLook for weapons while you stall, invent some bullshit about your "one-millimeter killing strike."
>>5223582>Goad them into fighting one at a time.Get this over with. Surely our taunt game is decent after spending enough time with Jack.
>>5223582>Set down some ground rules, no weapons and it stops when someone cries mercy.>Goad them into one on ones."Which of you is first to show me some rural hospitality?"
>>5223582>Try to talk your way out of this, or at least stall while you think of somethingLet's try and pace over to a chokepoint so they can only come to us one at a time. Maybe between semi trailers?
>>5223582>Take out the one who looks like the leader.Break the leader and the group's will shatters. Strike hard and first so we can fight on our own terms rather than letting them gang up on us.
>>5223582>Take out the one who looks like the leader.Hit him hard and fast to take him out quick and if the rest still want smokes, give them the same treatment
>>5223582>Goad them into fighting one at a time.That's prolly one of the safer choices we can take. Maybe take advantage of the boredom that we've heard so much about."You'll all forget this fight by tomorrow if you just attack me together. Fight me one-on-one, each of you, and I promise this'll be something 'fun' for you all to remember."
>>5223582>Goad them into fighting one at a timeI guess this is a good time to see how much Ryoma knows about Canadian culture.
>>5223582Maybe you can goad them into fighting one at a time. "This is how you guys prove you're tough shit, huh? Five on one? None of you got the guts to face me straight up?""Keep your tarp on, bud," the biggest guy with the biggest beard says. He pauses to spit tobacco juice onto the dirt. "We might be assholes, but we're not assholes. That is, uhh -- what I mean is, I don't need the boys here to kick your ass from here to the Kootenays. I can handle it myself." He steps forward, cracking the knuckles of one hand, then the other. His four friends spread out and form a loose circle around you. It makes you uneasy being surrounded, but they keep their distance, at least for the moment.You're still trying to think of ways to prod at these guys. If you can anger and provoke the one who's challenging you, it would cause him to fight wildly, making his moves predictable. Unfortunately, you don't have Jack's talent for pissing people off. What would he say in this situation? What cultural sensitivities do Canadians have? "Your local hockey team is bad.""Obviously," the man says. "The Canucks are hosers," says one of the men behind him. "Tell us something we don't know, eh?"You pause to consider what else might work. Doesn't Canada still have the Queen of England as their ruler, or something? "The Queen sucks.""What did he say?" asks one of the men."I think he said Queen sucks," says another."What?! You take that back!" The big guy furiously lunges towards you. "Freddie Mercury was a saint!"Okay, whatever works. The right hook comes in from above and to the left, a heavy, slow, inefficient punch, just like you were hoping for. Stepping inside the arc of the blow, you fire a low jab that lands just below the armpit of the arm he's punching with, disabling that arm. He grits his teeth and rallies through the pain to grab at you with the other arm, but you duck and strike with a right straight to the stomach; follow up with a left chop, taking advantage of the opening on that side; right uppercut, to complete the combination. A sequence you've practiced a thousand times on the wooden dummies in the yard back home, now finding its purchase on flesh and bone. It's enough to stagger the man, sending him stumbling back, dazed; you finish the job with a big side kick, putting all of your force behind the blow, blasting the man off his feet.His friends don't like that. They start to close in. Guess they only meant what they said about fighting one at a time as long as it meant them winning. You prepare yourself for things to get serious. Then --
>>5224388"Well, well. Looks like you guys are having a fun time out here." An unexpectedly familiar voice. "Mind if I crash the party?"One of the lumberjacks turns around to address the speaker, only to reel backwards from the sudden, heavy impact of a fist to the face. A low, sweeping kick while he's already off balance knocks him down. "What the fuck?" "This fucking prick!" Two more men run in, coming in from either side, each swinging a fist at the same time. Their attacks are back-stepped, and the momentum of their missed swings is used to slam their faces together. Not skull-to-skull, which could be lethal; just enough so those two will look seriously ugly for a few days. Even uglier than usual."Hey, now, is that any way to treat a guest in your country?" Jack says. "I thought you guys up north were supposed to be nice."You look at the last lumberjack standing, see the fear in his weak knees, turn to face him. "Well? Care to avenge your buddies here?" You gesture at the men lying on the ground. "If not, you better turn around and run. Now," you say, emphasizing the last word. The man backs up, almost tripping over his own feet, then turns and runs for the hills."I could have handled that myself," you say."Should have handled it faster, then," Jack says with a grin. "You snooze, you lose.""You asshole." You walk towards Jack, ignoring the groaning lumberjacks. "What the hell are you doing here?" "Looking for you. It's been a while. Good to see you, dickhead." He extends his hand to shake.You firmly clasp his hand and shake it, finding yourself smiling despite yourself. "How did you even find me out here?""It was a little tough, but I talked to Ayame, and that gave me a starting point. That and, I'm not sure if you're noticed, but you kind of stand out around here. Once I got the right neighborhood, it wasn't too hard to track you down." Jack points a thumb back towards the bar. "Here, I'm thirsty. Let's grab a drink while we talk."The bartender smiles when he sees you walk back up to the bar. "I had a feeling you'd be the one coming back. Those boys shouldn't have messed with a ninja, eh?"You solemnly nod. "Seems like all that one-handed bear fighting was worth it."Jack looks puzzled, but moves on, ordering a beer for each of you. Once his arrives, he drains half of it in one long drink. "Aaahh, that hits the spot. Been on the road a while now, straight up from California. Guess you were surprised to see me.""A little, yeah. Not that surprised, though. You showing up someplace unpredictable I'd never expect to find you, when I think about it, is pretty normal.">So why are you looking for me?>What kinds of trouble have you been getting into?>How's your teacher doing these days?
>>5224393>What kinds of trouble have you been getting into?Because he obviously has been getting into trouble. It's jack.
>>5224393>What kinds of trouble have you been getting into?
>>5224393>How's your teacher doing these days?
>>5224393>What's the trouble>Hows the teacher
>>5224393>So why are you looking for me?
>>5224393You say, "So, what kinds of trouble have you been getting yourself into? Still travelling America looking for fights, sleeping in railyards, same old stuff?""Hah. Well, you could say that's why I'm here. Turns out I found myself a whole new kind of trouble. Kinda in over my head on this one. I can't go to Sensei, I already know he'd just call me an idiot. So, I tracked you down. Wanted to see if you knew anything about this, or had any advice."It's not unusual for Jack to ask your opinion on something. When it comes to things related to boxing or the hobo lifestyle, he's an expert, but with most other things he's often oddly inexperienced. Still, that's quite a distance to travel just for a few words of counsel. "You travelled across the continent to ask my advice on something?" Jack shrugs. "If you were home, I would've talked to you on the phone." "Sounds like it must be important. Let's hear it.""Well, it all started in L.A. after I won a fight, when this limousine showed up out of nowhere, and this woman in a suit got out ..." Jack tells you the story of that night and the following day: his encounter with the strange woman; agreeing to participate in a tournament he didn't understand; being ambushed at the railyard, and the ensuing battle on a moving flatbed train car against Kurt Reiter."I thought it would be more like the tournaments you're part of," Jack says afterwards. "Rules and stuff. A crowd of people, everyone claps politely, you bow and get paid and go home. Nobody really gets hurt. Instead, turns out people die in this crazy tournament, this 'Kumite.' You gotta fight for your life each round. That's messed up, right?""It is a far cry from the ordinary competitions," you admit."I mean, who would sign up for this, knowing what they were getting into? A million dollars is a lot of money, sure, but you'd have to be really desperate or crazy to sign up to a death tournament just for honor or pride, right?"You say, "When you put it that way ..."Jack drains his third beer, then says, "Anyway, before we get into that, why don't you tell me what's going on with you? What the hell brings you up here to Canada? Is there a Moose-style kung fu I don't know about that you're training in, or what?">I'm searching for my opponent in the Kumite. >Don't worry about it.
>>5225457>>I'm searching for my opponent in the Kumite.No reason we shouldn't be a straight shooter- even if he is our opponent. Not like either of you would try to kill the other.
>>5225457>I'm searching for my opponent in the Kumite.
>>5225457>Looking for the other guy that's desperate or crazy enough to join a death tournament.
>>5225457>I'm searching for my next opponent in the Kumite.>Dead eye stare.
>>5225457You'll have to tell him eventually, now that he's mixed up in this too. Might as well get it out there. "I'm searching for the other guy that's desperate or crazy enough to join a death tournament," you say. "My opponent.""Wait, what? Your opponent? Then, that means you're in the tournament too?" Jack takes a moment to let that sink in. "Wow. I don't know what I expected to hear, but it wasn't that. Aren't you supposed to leave dangerous, pointless things to me?""Unlike you, I understood what I was getting into. I learned about the Kumite before. Family history, as it turns out. My father was involved. Grandfather before him. Now it's my turn." You considering mentioning the connection to his own ancestry, but decide against it. It's been a long time since you stopped associating Jack with his biological father. No reason to bring it up, at least right now."Wow," Jack says. "And you're here looking for the guy you're set up to fight." Something troubling occurs to him. "Wait, it's not --" He leans back a little on his stool, away from you. "It's not ME, is it?""Heh. Relax. Why would I come to Canada to look for you? If I did, by coincidence, happen to match up against you in the preliminary, I'd let you know," you assure him. "Not that you're easy to get a hold of these days, but I'd leave a message with Max. Then I'd go to America and start asking if anyone had seen a hobo with a red baseball cap."
>>5229359"So I guess your guy lives around here, up in the Great White North?""Yeah. He's supposed to be working in one of the lumber camps in these hills. Just need to figure out which one, or hope I run into him at one of these local watering holes. No luck so far." You look around at the handful of people still in the bar. "If he's anything like the description I got, I'll know him when I see him.""How does that work, anyway?" Jack looks puzzled. "That woman, Miranda, she didn't tell me anything about who I was matched up against, just made some smug, ominous comments and left. Then, bright and early that same morning, less than 12 hours after I agreed to sign up, I get sneak attacked by some asshole. Why did that guy know I was his opponent, but I didn't know shit? What are the rules on who gets to know what?""It's complicated," you say, unsure of what to say on the matter."Oh, great. I almost got smoked in the face and taken out of the tournament right there without a fight because it's complicated. That explains a lot.""I can explain, but it's a long story. What does it matter, anyway? Why did you sign up in the first place? You hear about the prize money, decide that the wandering life was getting old already?""Yeah, right. It's not about the money. It's about --" he hesitates. "Well, it's partly that I want to try to prove myself. I've been fighting a lot, you know. Travelling around, hunting down the big dogs and challenging them. This is the next step, take it to the real deal, the international underground. But I guess it's also about my dad. Not Max, I mean. The other one.""Jack, we've talked about this.""I know, but still. I feel like I have to do something to set myself apart. You always wanted to be like your father, but me -- well, I need to figure out my own way." He takes a drink of beer, probably covering up his embarassment for talking about a sensitive topic. "What about you, what's your deal? Aren't you supposed to be the smart one? How did you end up thinking this was a good idea?" >I'm searching for the man who killed my father.>I'm here to prove myself a worthy successor to the family.>I want to hone my skills by challenging the best.
>>5229360>>I'm searching for the man who killed my father.VENGEANCE FORESTALLED- NEVER FORGOTTEN
>>5229360>I'm searching for the man who killed my father.But also a hint of>I want to hone my skills by challenging the best.Ryoma's here for a reason, but damn if he doesn't love a good fight against a worthy opponent, no matter how much he hides it.
>>5229360>I'm here to prove myself a worthy successor to the family.
>>5229360>Proving myself worthy
>>5229360>>I'm searching for the man who killed my father.
>>5229360>I want to hone my skills by challenging the best.I thought Max and co. already killed the guy who killed Ryoma's dad
>>5230278Clearly not, if we're being offered the option for vengeance on him.
>>5229360"I'm searching for someone," you say. "Another person in the tournament.""Who is it?" Jack asks."The man who killed my father.""Wow." Jack weighs that heavy information. "I remember, now. Max told me that my father was responsible. That it was his will behind what happened back then. But he didn't bother to get his hands dirty. Made someone else do it for him. Come to think of it, I never did hear about what happened to the man who actually did the deed. He's still out there, huh?""Grandfather and I spent a long time searching for him. But he was a ghost. Disappeared fifteen years ago, nowhere to be found. Now word is he's come back, to join this year's Kumite. I don't know why. All I know is that I need to find him." "And you figure, if you survive long enough in the tournament, you'll eventually get to face him.""Yes."Jack thinks it over. "What if he loses?""He won't," you say with certainty. "He's strong. He might be older than he was, but I doubt he'll have slowed down much, and he'll have the benefit of age and experience. He won't lose to some wannabe. I know he won't.""Okay, what if you lose?""I'll just have to fight well enough to make it that far. I don't especially care about the championship. But it takes me reaching the final round to face him, I'll do whatever it takes.""Hah. Well, good luck with that, pal. If you want to face him in the finals, one of you is going to have to beat me," Jack says, pointing his thumb towards himself. "And we both know that's not going to happen. I'm gonna be the one taking home that championship." "As I recall, our score is dead even." You recall the many times you and Jack have fought each other, mostly as sparring partners, occasionally for real. Though your animosity has transformed over the years, your rivalry hasn't. "Don't be too confident. I've improved since the last time we sparred.""So have I. We'll just have to see. Maybe I'll be the one who ends up on his side of the bracket. I'll take down this asshole for you, then we'll meet up in the finals ourselves. Wouldn't that be something." Jack is smiling, but his eyes are dead serious.
>>5230548The door to the bar is 2 meters tall, but the man who walks inside has to duck his head to get through. Full beard, ragged mop of curly hair. A jacket that barely fits on his outsized frame. He bellows in a voice that easily drowns out the music and commotion. "It's payday, boys! You know what that means, it means we're getting stoned and drunk as fuck tonight! Drinks are on me all night, starting as soon as someone around here gives me a fucking smoke!" He holds up his empty pack of cigarettes, and a cheer goes up from the lumberjacks and truck drivers. Men gather around the giant to hand over cigarettes, slapping him on the back and laughing. A can of beer arrives from the bar, gets passed over. The man's hand dwarfs the can. He drinks it one go, lets out a belch as he crushes the can with one hand, and tosses it to the ground by the bar.Jack is watching the scene as well. He asks you, "Is that --?""Yeah," you say. "That's him.""Yikes. Look at the size on him. How big are those boots?" Jack lets out a whistle. "I've gone up against big guys before, but this is something else. He's built different, that's for sure." He looks over at you. "What are you going to do?">Be direct. Tell him exactly what's up.>Talk to him, but don't mention the tournament yet.>Keep your distance for now. See what happens.
>>5230550>Be direct. Tell him exactly what's up.Someone like him, I doubt he's going to get all too inebriated tonight. Still, kind of a dick move to wait until someone's sculled a bunch of booze to fight them.Besides, he'll probably see us sooner or later.
>>5230550>>Be direct. Tell him exactly what's up.Straight shooter, yet again.
>>5230550>Talk to him, but don't mention the tournament yet.All's fair in Kumite And war.
>>5230550>Be direct. Tell him exactly what's up.
>>5230550>>Be direct. Tell him exactly what's up.
>>5230550"I'm going to tell him exactly what the situation is," you say. "Guess I should have expected that," Jack says. "You still gotta do everything by the book.""You think I should perform some kind of ambush, like the man who attacked you? I'd disgrace myself.""No, no, I just mean ..." Jack shrugs. "You could wait a bit, scope things out, try to get a read on him. Instead you're going to, what, walk right up to him and introduce yourself? Tell him up front you're his opponent?""Yes.""Heh. Well, can't say I'd do anything differently, I just thought you might have some kind of plan. You want to wait until later, or do it right now?""Right now," you say, getting up from the barstool. "With his size, I doubt he can get drunk that fast, but I'd rather not wait.""I'll come with you," Jack says, standing up as well. "Make sure his friends don't get up to any funny business."With Jack following just behind and to the side, you walk over to the group of revelers. Some of them notice you approaching; their smiles drop as they turn towards you. A chill wind blows along the floor from the cracks in the doors. You stop in front of the group, looking up at the bearded giant. "Mr. Harbeck?"The man is in the middle of having a joint lit for him -- he holds up one finger in a 'wait' gesture as he puffs to make sure the weed catches flame, then takes a great big inhale, holds it for a few seconds, and breathes out a huge cloud of dope smoke. "My third-grade teacher and my first foreman are the only ones who ever called me Mr. Harbeck," he says, wisps of smoke still escaping with his breath. "They were assholes. My friends call me Randy. Which do you wanna be?"One of the men watching you say, "Randy, these are the karate guys who just beat the shit outta Wayne and them. Out in the parking lot just now.""No shit?" Randy looks down at you, considering. You can sense an ominous volatility emanating from below his friendy smile. "What can I do you for, karate guys?""Just confirming you're the man who has signed up for the tournament," you say. "And you're prepared to participate in the opening round.""Now how would you know about that?" he asks."Because I'm your opponent in the preliminary. Ryoma Saito. Nice to meet you."
>>5233822The big man guffaws loudly, along with the rest of his crew. "Look, little man, you're what, five foot seven inches? Eight? It's cool that you took out Wayne and his guys, you know. Really, I'm impressed. Takes balls and skill to do that. But they were some dumbass drunks looking to pick a fight with an out-of-towner. I'm built different. I'm a genetic freak. You see this?" He flexes a bicep that's probably the size of your head. "Why should I fight you? I don't get anything out of squashing a bug. Look, if you really are my opponent in the tournament, there's no reason for you to get hurt, all right? We'll say I won, quick and easy, and you can just clear out of here. Hell, stick around and have a drink with us, if you want. What do you say?">Prove your skills with a quick demonstration.>Provoke him by asking if he's afraid.>Give Jack a cue, he should be good at this.
>>5233823>Give Jack a cue, he should be good at this.
>>5233823>give jack a cue.
>>5233823>Give Jack a cue, he should be good at this.I'm unsure of if this means Jack taunts for us or acts as our hypeman. Either one is a good time.
>>5233823>>Give Jack a cue, he should be good at this.You don't want to sucker punch the guy, that's dirty- but you can't just let him run roughshod over you. And you can't really talk trash like Jack can.
>>5233823>Provoke him by asking if he's afraid.
>>5233823>Prove your skills with a quick demonstration.
>>5233823>Give Jack a cue, he should be good at this.IDK what exactly this means but it's too interesting to pass up
>>5233823>Give Jack a cue
>>5233823>Give Jack a cue, he should be good at this....Glass him
>>5233823You look at Jack. "Want to handle this part?""Who, me? Why?"You shrug. "Seems like the perfect situation for your natural talent for making people want to fight you.""Gee, thanks," Jack says with heavy sarcasm. "You know I'm still sore from my run-in with that German guy, right?""So? You don't have to take them on all at once. You can just fight, like, half of them.""Fine." Jack sticks his thumbs in his belt and swaggers up a few steps. "All right, listen here, you pajama-wearing, pimple-faced, gutter-trash, momma's boy, maple-syrup-drinking, toad-eating, dog's breath, pansy, lamewad, half-pint, fart-catching, bootlicking --" He goes on like this for a while. You can see the locals' faces get redder and angrier, until eventually one of them's had enough and takes a swing. Jack neatly sidesteps it and trips the guy, putting him on the ground without stopping his litany of insults. " -- crackerhead, yokel, nancy boys --" Another three guys run forward, spreading out this time to attack from three sides. Jack stuffs the one to his left with an elbow to the stomach, clocks the right one with a spinning roundhouse kick, then roughly throws the third to the ground with an improvised wrestling toss. "Come on, is that all you got? Seriously?"You say, "Didn't you just tell me you were sore?""Yeah, well, I got warmed up."
>>5238556Randy folds his arms, looking down at the scene, four of his friends on the ground, Jack not even breathing hard. "You got some moves, blondie. What's your deal here? I thought it was your friend you wanted me to scrap with.""I'm just here as a concerned citizen," Jack says. "If it makes you feel any better, this guy and me have a tied record in our bouts together. Anything I can do, he can do too, just as good. Well, almost as good." You shoot him a glare, and he grins at you."All right, all right, you've made your point," Randy says. "But I'm not fighting. Not tonight, I mean. Tonight I'm blowing my paycheck on dope and booze, and that's that. Grab a room at the motel down the road. Tell them I sent you. Tomorrow, we'll get into it. Deal?" He sticks out a gigantic, hairy-knuckled hand.By the rules of the tournament, you don't have to accept. You could throw down, right here and now, on the sawdust-strewn floor of this bar, and it would count.Of course, a small voice whispers inside you: you could wait until later tonight, and ambush him after he's been drinking. That would count, too, in this tournament without rules. Isn't it worth doing anything for revenge? Is playing fair against this drunken lout really worth taking the chance of losing your chance to confront your father's killer?On the other hand, you know that there's no way your father would have done this himself. To be honest, it's not something you're comfortable with either. You entered this tournament with the intention of fighting fair. Is it worth abandoning your father's principles, and your own, to take revenge?>Fight right here and now.>Ambush him later.>Shake hands, fight tomorrow.
>>5238560>Fight right here and now.We came here to fight, not sit around and wait for this dude to blow his paycheck.
>>5238560>>Fight right here and now.
>>5238560>Shake hands, fight tomorrow.
>>5238560Aaah, good old Jack. >Shake hands, fight tomorrow.We've got nothing personal against this guy, and he doesn't seem the type to try and ambush us. Might as well chill.
>>5238560>Shake hands, fight tomorrow.But be ready for the handshake to be a trap to enter a grapple immediately.
>>5238946I support this action. Suspicion Is sky high
>>5238560>Shake hands, fight tomorrow.But also supporting >>5238855 since we know that not everyone will be trustworthy in this tournament.
>>5239377I assume you meant>>5238946I'll support that too. I half expect the guy's enough of a grappling expert that it won't matter and we'll have been power bombed before we could do anything, but we'd be wise to be suspicious anyway.
>>5239462Yup, must've misclicked. Good catch.
>>5238560>Fight right here and now.
>>5238560>Shake hands, fight tomorrowNot gonna throw away our honor or start being a hot-head (yet)
>>5238560Though you could force the issue, you have nothing personal against this man, and you're certainly not about to throw away your honor or family name. It's only the first round of the tournament, after all. You'll do as he wishes, and wait until tomorrow.Even so, when you extend your hand, your senses are on high alert. Not everyone in the tournament will be as honorable as you, and this could just be a trick. You might find yourself power bombed through a table a few seconds from now, if you aren't careful.Once you actually clasp hands with the giant, you realize it's even worse than you thought. He could probably crush a few of the bones in your hand just by squeezing right now. You tense up as you prepare yourself for any sign that betrays his intent of violence. Grandfather called it sakki, or bloodthirst. An experienced fighter learns to feel it emanating from others around them, like air currents on the skin. But you don't sense any now. You get your hand back without it being crushed or grappled."Randy Harbeck," the giant says. "Although I guess you knew that already. The big shots let you know about me, but not me about you. Funny how that works.""It's complicated," you say for the second time tonight. "But I didn't want to take advantage of it, which is why I introduced myself.""Appreciate that, brother," he says, laughing as he claps you on the shoulder. It almost knocks you off your feet. "Now what do you say you two sit down and have a drink with us? If we're going to beat the shit out of each other tomorrow, we might as well party tonight, right? Booze is on me!""I'm not sure that's a good idea," you say warily."Ah, c'mon," Jack says. "What could it hurt? If they try any funny business, I'll have your back.">Walk away, you can't afford to take chances.>Maybe just one ...>Show them you can hold your liquor
>>5240001>Walk away, you can't afford to take chances.Less functional acetaldehyde dehydrogenase is no joke.
>>5240001>Walk away, you can't afford to take chances.Lets not risk it.
>>5240001>>Walk away, you can't afford to take chances.I don't think our boy would get drunk where other people could see him.
>>5240001>Walk awayA warrior must be clear of mind
>>5240001>Maybe just one ...
>>5240001>Walk away, you can't afford to take chances.If he's giving us a day to prepare ourselves, better make the most of it.
>>5240001>Walk awayI REMEMBER THIS EPISODE OF STREET FIGHTER 2 VOur Friend gets his ass kicked too
>>5240001"No thanks," you say politely, raising a hand. "I need to keep a clear head and prepare myself."Randy looks at you, sizing you up anew. "You really think you got a shot at winning, don't you?""Of course.""I respect the confidence, even if it gets you an ass-kicking. Ten AM, outside this bar, tomorrow. See you then, bud." Randy's already turning his attention back to his drinks. Someone places a bottle of whiskey in front of him, and he picks it up and drinks straight from the bottle, draining half of it in one go, easy as if it were a glass of water. Japan might be a land of serious drinkers, but this is something else. You wonder what kind of legendary amounts of alcohol it takes to inebriate a man this size.Outside the bar, it's not hard to spot the motel he was talking about. Burn Creek is only a few streets and a railway crossing in size, really more of a glorified truck stop than an actual town. You'll get a room, spend some time meditating and clearing your head, prepare yourself for what's to come.Jack has followed you outside, although you notice he keeps glancing back at the bar. "So, partner, you need help with anything to get yourself ready? Because, you know ..."You laugh. "I'll be fine. I mostly plan on thinking anyway, getting myself ready mentally. 'Fire up', I think you would call it." "You sure? If there's anything I can do to help out, just say the word." He clearly wants to head back into the bar and join the party, but his concern for you is winning out."Go ahead and join them, Jack. I don't mind." You know he'd stay out of it if you asked him to, but you'll be fine on your own tonight. "That said, I would prefer if you showed a little restraint. I'd like you there and relatively alert tomorrow, to make sure nothing weird happens. Other than that, enjoy yourself.""All right, pal, if you say so. You know where to find me if you change your mind." Jack gives you a wave as he turns around and heads back into the bar. You can hear him shouting from out here. "Hey, jackoffs! You got any decent beer in this country, or what?"You can feel yourself smiling as you watch Jack disappear inside. Just today, you were thinking about the first time you met, and how you ended up in a fight before you even knew each others' names. How you hated him, then. You wanted nothing more than to get rid of him. Somewhere along the way he became, instead, your closest friend outside your blood relations, almost an honorary family member.You're not exactly sure when the change happened. It must have been gradual. But it probably started all those years ago, that one time, high up in the mountains ...
>>5241894Mount Kurama, Japan198X6 years agoIt's been several days since Grandfather drove you out here in his rickety Toyota. According to him, back in his day, he had to survive out here with nothing but the clothes on his back and a small knife. Fortunately for you, the small hut he built out here was still standing, thanks to Father's repairs, and you were allowed to bring a set of modern tools, some basic supplies, a few changes of clothes, and a bedroll.You're still abandoned out here in the wilderness of the mountains to train for weeks, sure, but at least you aren't having to learn survivalist skills at the same time.At first, you were hesitant about this idea. Supposedly, every generation of the Saito family spends time isolated in the mountains to take their training to the next level. It sounded like a goofy old tradition, and would provide nothing but a few weeks of sore muscles from sleeping on stones in the ground. But it's actually worked out well. This has been a good opportunity to really focus up.There are a variety of tools and training dummies out here, some of which were left by previous generations, others you've set up yourself. It's a good system to simulate various forms of offensive maneuvers your opponents might try. So to start with, you've been practicing your defensive skills, specifically, one particular advanced technique that Grandfather has shown you the basics of:>Flowing Water: Improves the amount of damage blocked by defense actions.>Ascending Carp: A successful defense action will damage an opponent's posture and stamina.>Descending Carp: A successful defense action will increase the damage of the next offensive move.
>>5241900>>>Flowing Water: Improves the amount of damage blocked by defense actions.
>>5241900>Descending Carp: A successful defense action will increase the damage of the next offensive move.
>>5241900>>Ascending Carp: A successful defense action will damage an opponent's posture and stamina.Did you know a carp that ascends up a waterfall becomes a dragon?
>>5241900>Ascending CarpHe is a duelist, hurting your enemy when they attack you is greatly beneficial
>>5241900>Ascending Carp: A successful defense action will damage an opponent's posture and stamina.
>>5241900>Descending Carp: A successful defense action will increase the damage of the next offensive move.Wait a minute... god damn it, we're Genichiro. Are we adopted?
>>5241900>Ascending Carp: A successful defense action will damage an opponent's posture and stamina.Descending Carp sounds great. But it's got the problem of:Enemy Attack > Descending Counter > Enemy Counter-reflect
>>5241900There's a legend about a waterfall, somewhere in China. The Dragon Gate, it's called. While many carp swim upstream against the river's strong current, that rare fish which has the strength and courage to leap up the waterfall will become a dragon. Presumably, your ancestor was inspired by this tale when he developed this technique, a method for putting the strength of one's whole body into an upwards block, sweeping the opponent's attack away with such force that it disrupts their stance and exhausts their stamina. It requires flawless timing to execute correctly, and being slightly too late or early has the opposite effect, burning more stamina for a weaker block. But you think that the variety of practice you're getting with the various training instruments, and with the opportunity to properly focus out here in the wilderness, you're starting to get the hang of it.You weren't sure about this whole mountain training thing when your Grandfather first told you about it, but you'd say that, in general, it's working out pretty well. You have enough food, and the hut isn't such a bad place to spend the nights. The forest is peaceful, but you aren't so far from civilization that you'd be in trouble if something happened.Yes, overall, this little excursion has been good for you. It's a chance to get away from the stresses and routines of everyday life, and focus on what matters to you, which is your training in the family style.There's just one small problem, one thing that keeps it all from being perfect, one little disturbance that prevents the serenity of the forest from being complete.In fact, there it is right now, reappearing in the training camp clearing with its blonde hair matted down, still wet from the river. "Goddamn," Jack announces loudly, still toweling his hair off. "That water is colder than an eskimo in a snowmobile race. Makes my balls shrivel up."So much for the serenity of the forest. "Must you be so loud all the time? And so crass?" You're speaking in English. Despite being a guest of your house for over a year now, the ape has barely learned any Japanese, so you're having to put the English you learned in school to use to communicate beyond grunts and gestures. Not that it avails you anything, talking to a caveman like this."Sorry for offending your delicate ears, princess." Jack throws his towel on the drying line, then steps up to the dangling logs to practice his jumping kicks. He's taller than you, but less flexible, so it's about as difficult for him to hit those as it is for you.Having the ape around is the only thing that prevents you from properly enjoying your time out here. But ...>You have to admit, he's worked hard out here.>You understand now, a little, why Grandfather wanted to train him.>But nothing, get this guy away from me already!
>>5243188>You understand now, a little, why Grandfather wanted to train him.Jack IS pretty talented if the hints at his backstory are any indication.
>>5243188>>You understand now, a little, why Grandfather wanted to train him.
>>5243188>You understand now, a little, why Grandfather wanted to train him.
>>5243188As much as you hate to admit it, the guy has talent. He was already strong just from his natural brawling abiltity and limited boxing training, and now he's easily taking to the elements of Saito karate that Grandfather is teaching him, and adapting them into his own style. That, and he's dedicated, which you respect more than just talent. Once he understood how far Grandfather was beyond him and how much he had to learn, he's rarely slacked off on his lessons or training. He might have got a later start than you, but he's rapidly catching up. You're ahead of him in your duel count, but not by much, and maybe not for long. Fighting him is dangerous and tense. He has an aggressive instinct you don't have, an awareness of any kind of opening he can exploit to create offense. His defense is still sloppy, though, which is something you excel at, presenting an iron wall that not even his relentless offense can blast through. In that way, your skills balance each other out, neither able to consistently gain an advantage over the other.So you can see why Grandfather was interested in training a talented pupil. But there's something else, too ...Early in Jack's training, Grandfather started including him in the lessons focused on chi and arts. In fact, he would sometimes take Jack aside for private instruction in those matters, lessons he said you didn't need to hear, as you had already learned the relevant lessons. That was confusing. Although you were curious to know what they were talking about, you told yourself you were above spying. However, Ayame felt no such hestitation, and you couldn't avoid asking her later about what she had overhead spying from the bushes. She described Jack manifesting a small flame, no larger than a candle, but struggling to keep it that size as it flared wildly, erupting in spits of fire seemingly at random. Grandfather was teaching him how to keep it steady.You're not entirely sure what it means. But you started to understand why he had been brought overseas. His chi was wild and out of control. If anyone could teach him how to understand it, that would be your grandfather.
>>5243789Jack pauses to take a break from his jump kick practice. "Hey," he calls out to you, still catching his breath. "Show me that one thing again.""That thing?""You know, that move you've been practicing. I forget the name, but, it was badass. I want to see how you do it."You're still annoyed at having the quiet forest disturbed by his presence. "Why should I?""What, trying to keep your secrets? Need an edge in our spars?" Jack spreads his hands out to either side. "Come on, man. Maybe we don't like each other, but we're both out here to learn, right? I'm learning. I want to see how you do it. Don't be a dick, be a dude.""Ugh ... fine." You get up and approach the dummy you were using earlier. Might as well get him off your back. It's not because you want to help him, and it's absolutely, definitely not because you want to show off your new technique that you worked hard at learning.>Wave Slice, an arts technique that creates a long-range chi projectile of varying speed and intensity.>Nighthawk Strike, a leap forward into an airborne kick. Evades an enemy's midrange strike then chains into further kicks.>Dusklight Kick, a rising double kick. A powerful counter-offensive maneuver when pressed by close range or airborne attack.
>>5243791>Nighthawk Strike, a leap forward into an airborne kick. Evades an enemy's midrange strike then chains into further kicks.
>>5243791>Dusklight Kick, a rising double kick. A powerful counter-offensive maneuver when pressed by close range or airborne attack.
>>5243791>Dusklight KickAscending carp into Dusklight Kick would be BRUTAL
>>5243791>Dusklight Kick, a rising double kick. A powerful counter-offensive maneuver when pressed by close range or airborne attack.This sounds like a double flash kick and I'm so there for it.
>>5243791>>Dusklight Kick, a rising double kick. A powerful counter-offensive maneuver when pressed by close range or airborne attack.
>>5243791>Dusklight Kick, a rising double kick. A powerful counter-offensive maneuver when pressed by close range or airborne attack.Converting our "Iron Defense" into offensive opportunities is the job of a good reversal, and if this is anything like Genocide Cutter this'll more than deliver.
>>5243791"Stand back," you say, preparing yourself. It's a complicated technique, and you have to prepare yourself mentally, visualizing each aspect of the move beforehand."What are you waiting for?" Jack asks, disrupting your concentration. "Let's see it.""It's difficult," you say. "Now be silent so I can focus.""Sheesh, fine. Guess it's not like I'm in a hurry" A pair of birds flies past as he leans against a stump, resigned to wait.You return to rehearsing in your head. Each movement has its own shape and flow to it, a unique structure, pre-determined but with room for unique expression. It's like calligraphy. The strokes already exist, in the realm of the mind. The writer is only an intermediary, who allows the shape to be painted into the world.Turn. Brace. Channel energy to the legs, then, jump. Sweep upwards and outwards. As the first leg comes down, counter-balance with a straight thrusting kick upwards. The first blow splinters the dummy's arm, the second knocks its head clean off, flinging it away some distance where it lands in the grass. Jack whistles. "Damn, that is a sick move. What did you say it was called?""The Dusklight Kick," you say. "It was developed by my great-grandfather, who on a pilgrimage to northern Japan was inspired by the fading light of the late evening's moon, and went on to--""Yeah, I don't care about any of that," Jack interrupts. He attempts, poorly, to execute the move himself. "Hah, wow, that is a tough one. How did you even manage that?"
>>5250322You can feel your blood rising. "My grandfather is generously teaching you elements of our family style that go back generations. Outsiders would beat a path to our door for this honor. The least you could do to return this is to respect the heritage of these techniques, and my ancestors who developed them.""Why should I?" Jack retorts. "Why should I care about where a move comes from, or who came up with it? Oh, my ancestor Who-Cares created it in the year So-What when he was inspired by the swirling patterns of water flushing down a toilet, wowee." Jack tries the move again, still not grasping it. "At the end of the day, all that matters is whether it's effective in taking someone down. It works, or it doesn't.""Is that how you feel about your father's techniques?" you ask him coldly, still angry about the slight to your family.Jack turns on you. "That has nothing to do with this," he says angrily, jabbing a finger at you. "I think it has everything to do with this. Why you're here in the first place. Don't you realize it yet? My grandfather accepted you as a student because you were out of control. You still are. You're a disaster waiting to happen. He was trying to stop you from going down the same road as your father, from turning into the same kind of destructive, consuming force. So what now? Should I tell him that you've decided your own family's techniques are fair game after all?""Go fuck yourself," Jack says. "You don't have the right to talk about my father.""Really? I feel like I have every right to talk about your father. Or have you forgotten what he's done to my family?" "I'm going back to the river," Jack says, turning his back and walking away. "Otherwise I'm going to kick someone's head off, and it won't be a wooden training dummy!"
>>5250326Well, that could have gone better. Maybe you shouldn't have said that. But he also shouldn't openly disrespect the privilege he's being given by Grandfather. The true Saito style, Suigetsu-ryu, it's not normally for teaching strangers and foreigners, or even gifted students. Only the most elite and trusted disciples are gifted with its instruction. And yet Grandfather has seen fit to bestow some of its principles on this lout. You aren't sure what he sees in the oaf that you don't.You're distracted from your troubles by the sound of a snapping branch. At first you think it's a deer or a badger, but when you turn to look at the source of the noise, you're surprised to see another human being. An adult male, about thirty years old perhaps, dressed in hiking clothes, looking somewhat worse for wear. "Ah, hello there!" he calls out. "So sorry to bother you like this, but uh, I seem to be lost. I went for a hike in these woods, but I lost the trail, and I can't seem to find my way back."A sigh escapes you. The whole point of the wilderness retreat is to avoid distractions, but it seems like you're still confronted with one after another.>Help the man find his way back to the trail.>Ask more about what brings him out here.>Tell him to get lost.
>>5250328>Ask more about what brings him out here.
>>5250328>Why are you out here?
>>5250389>SupportWe should know who we are helping.
>>5250328>Help the man find his way back to the trail.What could possibly go wrong?
>>5250328>Ask more about what brings him out here.On an unrelated note, how many characters is this quest going to have in a featured role like this? And will there be more fighting game-worthy archetypes getting a chapter devoted to them in the future?
>>5250328"Sorry to hear that," you say politely. "You said you were hiking?""Ah, yes... the route from Kibune. I was following the trail when I saw a red-flanked bluetail tarsiger! I just had to observe it ..." He sees your blank look and fumbles for a book in his jacket, tapping a picture of a small bird. "After that, I witnessed a daurian upstart, a great crested grebe, and then a rustic bunting ... before I knew it, I had quite turned myself around, and was unable to find my way back to the trail.""This is a pretty long way from the Kibune trail," you say, vaguely familiar with its route from looking at the map of the Mount Kurama region before heading up here.The man sighs. "Yes, it seems my guess was quite poor. I resolved to continue in one direction, reasoning I would surely find signs of civilization eventually ... I didn't expect to find a young man camped out in a, uh --" He looks around at the various dummies and training gadgets littered throughout the clearing. "What exactly is this place?""It's a training camp." You were somewhat suspicious of this man, but his story seems to check out. "I see!" The man nods vigorously. "A rustic training getaway? Quite thrilling. And are you alone out here, young man, or are your parents with you? Perhaps a guide or teacher?""No, I'm with --" You check yourself. Something seems off. You don't know what. Perhaps his hiking clothes are slightly too clean. Perhaps he looks around slightly too observantly. You can't say what it is for sure, but for some reason, you feel like you shouldn't say anything about Jack. "I'm alone.""Really? Aren't there two sleeping spots over there?" The man adjusts his glasses as he peers over towards the tiny hut you're staying in, and next to it, Jack's improvised lean-to. He notices your vexed expression. "Oh dear, I'm sorry to pry. Just inherently curious as a man of the natural sciences, hah hah."
>>5251691"Ryoma?" You look over to see Jack returning to the clearing. "I heard someone else's voice. What's the deal with this guy?"You're about to explain, when out of the corner of your eye, you notice the man's expression suddenly changing, hardening. In his hand appears something that you don't identify at first. A dark metal object, which after a delay, you recognize from the movies. Time seems to slow down. You watch in slow motion, unable to act, as the pistol rises to point at Jack. You're still thinking that this can't be real, this can't actually be happening, when it fires with a deafening thunderclap. The tree branch behind Jack's head splinters and breaks. The man curses in English and adjusts his aim.The sound breaks the illusion of unreality. Some restraint inside you snaps, and you spring into action. An upwards kick connects solidly with the man's right hand, sending the gun spinning away through the air, landing in the grass several yards away. You launch a follow-up attack, intending to disable him right away, but the man immediately blocks and counter-strikes, an unexpected move which almost takes you out from the surprise, but you're able to block at the last moment. The strike is followed by a shove, and his superior weight and strength send you stumbling backwards. You have a moment to glimpse the man's stance -- not one you recognize, but clearly that of a fighter. Evidently the gun was only for insurance, not a crutch.The man uses the space he created to go for the gun you knocked away, but Jack has dashed into the clearing and placed himself between him and the weapon, blocking his path. "Who the hell are you?" he demands. "Who sent you?"The man scowls and takes up his stance again. "Nobody you'll have to worry about, after you're dead. I don't need a weapon to take care of two kids."This escalated quickly. A few minutes ago you were looking forward to a peaceful interlude without Jack as he stormed off. Now you're squaring off against a lethal assassin. It might seem like you have the advantage, with two of you on either side of him, but you know that fighters who aren't trained to work together can be taken advantage of by a skilled opponent, used against each other, to the extent that it's almost worth it to fight seperately.>Take the offensive, so Jack can block the path to the pistol.>Allow Jack to go on the attack, it's his speciality.>Attack both at once. You've each learned enough about how the other fights to work together.
>>5251692>Take the offensive, so Jack can block the path to the pistol.He obviously came here for Jack, so he probably has a rough profile of him and what he should be able to do.Meanwhile, Ryoma's presence was a surprise, so he might not know much about the Suigetsu style.
>>5251692>Take the offensive, so Jack can block the path to the pistol.
>>5251692>Grab the pistol>Yeet the assassin>Return to training
>>5251692>Allow Jack to go on the attack, it's his speciality.Because he's a dumbass who will attack regardless of the tactical situation>Go for the pistol in the meantime
>>5251692>Go on the offensive to let Jack Block the pistol path
>>5251692>Allow Jack to go on the attack, it's his specialty.
>>5251692"You guard the weapon. Leave this to me," you say, trying to put a courage you don't feel into your voice.Jack nods, raising his guard. No snappy rejoinders, not now.It seems like a good strategy, so you said it, but now you're realizing what it means: you have to take this guy on. You've fought against adults before, sure, but those were all training and sparring matches. This is completely different. You can't expect this guy to follow any kind of rules, or to hold back on account of your youth. That, and the stakes are much higher. The knowledge that you're about to fight with your life on the line is causing a physical reaction unlike anything you've experienced before, an adrenaline rush pushing you beyond the boundaries of rational thought.This is what training is for, you can hear Grandfather saying, clear as though he were standing behind you now. Don't worry about your rushing thoughts and clamoring fears. Your mind is not necessary for what is about to happen. Your heart and body remember what to do. Simply allow them to act.The man feints in your direction, then turns and goes for Jack, launching a fierce side kick. Jack is too cynical or canny to be fooled by the fakeout, and is ready with a block. The man keeps attacking, but while Jack's lackluster defense means he takes a couple of hits before you can intervene, he stands his ground and prevents the man from retrieving the weapon. You take the opportunity to launch your own offensive arsenal. Just as you had hoped, the motions you've practiced a thousand times repeat themselves without you having to think about it. The man's defense is good enough that he can turn to meet your attacks, but not so good he can defend against Jack launching himself in at the same time from the other direction. He blocks a high punch, but that opens him up to your low kick to the leg, knocking him off balance and allowing you to chain into a heavy roundhouse to the side that sends him staggering. He regains his posture and, on your next attack, grabs your wrist -- if he brings his superior strength and weight to bear, your elbow could snap like a twig in a moment -- but Jack is crashing into him low, tackling him to the ground, and although the man recovers quickly and delivers a hammer blow to his face, Jack tenaciously clings on.Grandfather told you never to kick a man while he's down, especially in the head. But you're pretty sure he would make an exception for a gun-wielding assassin, you think as you deliver a heavy boot to the man's face. Bone crunches, blood sprays. The man flops, half-unconscious, at least for now.
>>5253230"Grab the rope," Jack says between hard breaths, rolling the man over and wrestling his arms behind his back. You hasten to grab the rope you bought at the camping supply store before coming here, thinking of reminding Jack that it was you who insisted on bringing it just in case something happened, but deciding better of it. Really not the time.As Jack roughly hogties the man's wrists and ankles together with a primitive knot, you can feel your hands trembling. Your legs feel weak. Is this always what it's like after a life or death encounter? You can't imagine your ancestors intentionally putting themselves through this, over and over again.>It seems like he came here for you. What do you know about this?>We could interrogate him, try to get some answers.>Let's get out of here and find the police.>What should we do?
>>5253235>What should we do?Sounds like we're shaken up. Jack might be in better shape. Cede the initiative to him.On a more 'process of elimination' note:Getting at all accusative with the first option seems liable to cause problems with nerves running highI doubt we have the stomach to interrogate a trained assassin at our agesHe'll probably have escaped the ropes by the time the police show up
>>5253235>Let's get out of here and find the police.
>>5253235>What should we do
>>5253235>What should we do?
>>5253235>>What should we do?
>>5253235"You don't seem too shaken up," you observe, noticing the lack of signs of any of the same trembling in Jack."It's not the first time this has happened," Jack says without looking up from yanking on the rope knots."But why would they ...?""I haven't had a chance to ask one yet. The first guy, well, Max threw him out a fifth-story window. He didn't talk much after that." Jack finishes tying off the knot and stands up. "If I had to guess, it's because of my dad. Maybe somebody wants revenge for something he did to them, but since he's not around anymore, they're trying to take it out on the closest thing possible, his son. Or maybe it's somebody taking over a piece of the old operations, worried that someday I'll try to rise up and take over the empire my father controlled, and they want me out of the way just in case. Whatever the reason, I've got a price on my head.""Is that part of why you came to Japan? To hide?""Yeah. We were hoping that if I left the country for a while, it would blow over. Guess not.""What should we do?" you ask. "What *should* we do?" Jack frowns as he looks down at the would-be assassin. "What I should do is kill him. Prevent him giving information back to whoever hired him. Send a message to them, if they find him. He tried to kill me, so it's only fair, right? Isn't that justice? Eye for an eye?""Do you want to kill him?" you ask."No." Jack shrugs. "Do you?""No," you say, shirking from the image of picking up the pistol and using it."Well, there you go."
>>5254842Jack taps his chin. "We could try and interrogate him, but I'm guessing he has a story prepared. He could sell us some false lead and we'd never know the difference. We could try to bring him into the police, but I don't like the chance that he somehow gets free and takes us by surprise. Even if we get him to the station, would it matter? Would the police believe us? Even with the gun as evidence, it'd be your word against his. I'm not even supposed to be in this country, I can't be a witness. Think you can convince the police that this is what happened out here? That they'll believe you instead of whatever story this guy tells them?" A sound of contempt. "From what I've seen of cops in this country, they'll do whatever's easiest. No, as much as it pisses me off, the best thing to do is take his wallet, ditch the gun in a river somewhere, and leave."It feels wrong to leave the man unpunished, but you aren't sure what else to do. "If that's what you think is best.""I don't want to get tied down in this. Better to move on again." Jack sighs. "Just when I was starting to get used to this place. Oh, uh --" He hesitates, struggling to say something. "Thanks. For, you know." He gestures vaguely at the spot where you kicked the gun out of the assassin's hand. "Nice move. How does it feel to save the ass of the guy you hate? Regretting your decision yet?">(Joke) Absolutely.>It was nothing. Don't mention it.>It was self-preservation. I would have been next.
>>5254845>It was self-preservation. I would have been next.
>>5254845>>It was nothing. Don't mention it.
>>5254845>>(Joke) Absolutely.But then deflect, leading into...>>It was nothing. Don't mention it.
>>5254845"Absolutely," you say with a sardonic smile."Heh. Well, if you get attacked by a gunman, see if I help you. I'll search this guy, see if he's got anything on him. You better start packing up.""Right."You're thinking as you head back to the main camp. How do you feel, really, about helping? You had to do something, sure, to save yourself. But that wasn't why you acted, when you're honest with yourself about it. You wanted to save him. Why? You're not sure. Certainly your life was easier and more peaceful before he ever showed up.Maybe you just didn't want another student of martial arts to go out like that. He might be boorish and a lout and an oaf, he might have consistently failed to fit in or adapt to your culture, he might snore and stink and complain and goof off. But his heart is in it, when it comes to fighting. That much, at least, is the same about you.
>>5255892Burn Creek, Canada199XNowThe next morning you're up bright and early. A quick shower, a good breakfast, some extra time to meditate and prepare yourself mentally. You're going into this as ready as you can be.When Jack meets in you front of the bar, a few minutes before 10 am, he looks worse for wear after a night of hard drinking. Many of the truckers who have shown up to watch do as well. Randy, on the other hand, looks unaffected by whatever his revels were last night.You ask Jack, "How's your head feeling?""Ugh.""Had a good time last night, then?""These guys know how to party." Jack rubs his forehead and squints. "I swear that big guy had at least twenty beers and two full bottles of whiskey last night. But he doesn't seem affected at all today."One of the locals chuckles on overhearing your conversation. "You boys don't know Randy. Only time we ever saw him get proper drunk was the night he drank a hundred beers. Literally one hundred. Slept it off and he was fine the next day. That guy is built different. Don't you worry about him."That's good. You were a little worried that a opponent debilitated by alcohol would give you an unfair advantage going into this, but it sounds like it won't be a problem. Your opponent right now is smoking a cigarette and talking with some of his friends. He glances over in your direction a couple times, but seems mostly concerned with his conversation. "Anyway, I'm not so out of it I can't watch your back," Jack says. "These guys say they're just here to watch, and they seem on the level. But if anything does happen, I'll kick their asses. So, don't worry about anything. Go ahead and focus on the fight.""I appreciate that," you say. It's true, you don't sense any kind of malicious intent from Randy or his friends here. Really, if they wanted to pull something, they would have attacked you last night. But it would still be bothering you, something you had to keep a part of your mind on during the fight. You're glad to have Jack around to keep an eye on things. As frustrating as he can be to deal with, you know he's reliable when it comes to something important to both of you, specifically, when it comes to fighting.You also know that he won't intervene in any sort of misguided loyalty if the fight is fair but you're losing. You wouldn't have it otherwise. If you lose, you lose.
>>5255897Jack checks his watch. "Almost time." He looks over at your opponent, towering over his friends, who are all bigger than you to start with. "What are you thinking?">This will be tough. I've defeated bigger guys before, but none like this.>I'm trying not to. The less thinking, the better.>Actually, I was remembering about that time we fought a gunman at that training camp.
>>5255899>Actually, I was remembering about that time we fought a gunman at that training camp.
>>5255899>This will be tough. I've defeated bigger guys before, but none like this.
>>5255899>>I'm trying not to. The less thinking, the better.
>>5255899>I was remembering the gunman
>>5255899"Actually, I was thinking about that time we fought a gunman at that training camp," you say."Right, I remember," Jack says. "The good old days. Any reason that memory came up?""I suppose that's when I first stopped hating you," you say. "I had to confront what it was about you that I might value enough to risk my life to save yours.""What was it?""I'm still trying to work that out."Jack grins and lightly taps you on the shoulder. "Let me know if you come up with something, asshole.""Anyway, what I mean to say is, I'm glad I've got someone to watch my back.""Hey, no problem," Jack says. "Like I said, if any of these dweebs tries anything, I'll fuck them up before they even get close to you. Now go ahead and beat this guy down like I know you can. Show me that Saito school you're so proud of, and what Sensei taught you."Jack joins the circle of spectators, chatting about something with two of the guys you recognize from Randy's drinking crew last night. A guy with a rum and coke in one hand seems to have volunteered himself as the referee. "You guys got any rules you have in mind?""No," you say."Rules are for pussies," Randy says. "Just leave the beard alone, I finally got it the way I like it." His beard is, you have to admit, immaculately groomed."All right, fuck it. Have at 'er, boys." The man waves his free hand in a chopping motion down the center of the open space between you, then heads back to the circle, taking a drink as he does so. Some claps and cheers go up from the small crowd.Randy folds his arms and looks down at you. He shakes his head. "You say you want this, but I still feel like you don't really get what you're getting into. Here, I'll show you." He motions to one of his friends, who tosses something over through the air. Randy catches it, holds it up in his hand to show you. It's an apple. "See this?" He crushes the apple to pieces, not by piercing it with his fingers, just by pure grip strength. "You don't want me to do this to those skinny wrists of yours. Do yourself a favor, walk away. We can tell people you put up a good fight, if you want. This is the last time I'm gonna say this before I pulverize you."He's trying to intimidate you, but it's not working. At least, that's what you tell yourself.>(Attack) He'll expect you to be scared. Take the offensive instead.>(Evade) This might be a trap. Keep your defenses up and be ready to move.>(Observe) Wait patiently, focus on watching his stance and sensing intent.
>>5258049>(Evade) This might be a trap. Keep your defenses up and be ready to move.
>>5258049>Evade) This might be a trap. Keep your defenses up and be ready to move.
>>5258049>Observe.Get a sense of how he will move.
>>5258049>(Attack) He'll expect you to be scared. Take the offensive instead.He's been hammering on this point for so long that I think he's being genuine. Problem is, so are we.
>>5258049>(Attack) He'll expect you to be scared. Take the offensive instead.Now is not the time to back down.
>>5258049>(Attack) He'll expect you to be scared. Take the offensive instead.>Even the capcha wants it
>>5258049>>(Attack) He'll expect you to be scared. Take the offensive instead.KILL
>>5258049>(Attack) He'll expect you to be scared. Take the offensive instead.
>>5258049>(Attack) He'll expect you to be scared. Take the offensive instead.If we don't attack there won't be a fight. He's not keen on attacking first.
>>5258049>(Observe) Wait patiently, focus on watching his stance and sensing intent.If we're going to do any cool counter-attack techniques, we should consider a page from the Joseph Joestar combat school. Observe and evade until we know how they fight - how to predict and how to counter
>>5258049If he expects his boasting to work, it would mean he thinks you're faking your courage right now. Not really believing you have a shot here. That would put you in a defensive mindset, anticipating the forthcoming beating. He won't be expecting you to take the offense. You'll have to show him just how wrong he is.Darting forward, you enjoy a moment of satisfaction in seeing the surprise in your opponent's eyes, knowing that your assumption was correct. He's too late to shift to a defensive stance. It's only a moment, but you have free reign to unload your arsenal. The anatomy diagrams, the training dummies, all of Grandfather's teachings, all the sweat and aches and long hours of all that practice, all of it gets focused into this series of strikes. Jab, straight, hook, uppercut. Two-handed punch. Spinning roundhouse. Finally, a front kick.All your strikes land with full impact, right on target, just as you planned. And they don't do anything. A normal opponent would be dazed by the time the first kick landed, and knocked down by the force of the second. Instead he's barely even moved or reacted. Realizing this by the time your last attack is landing, you adjust by leveraging some of the force of your front kick to push off, getting some distance, waiting to see what comes next."Hey, not bad," Randy says, in the same tone one might use to encourage a child revealing a 'C' average on a report card. A 'maybe try harder next time' sort of tone.Shit. What else are you supposed to do? You feel like you made the right call attacking, but it barely did anything. Do you trust that you're wearing him down, keep wailing on him, hope something happens? Play dirty and go for somewhere vulnerable? You might have to resort to arts, but if you start burning through chi this early in the fight, you'll exhaust yourself before it's over.
>>5259419No time to think about it further, because Randy is getting himself ready to attack. "Okay, my turn. Get ready to kiss the dirt!" A huge punch comes rocketing at you. You were prepared for his ludicrous reach, but not for the speed at which he's moving. The endless hours of honing your defense save you, getting your arm in place to deflect the blow. The impact is still heavy, even with most of the force taken away, a jarring shock going up and down your arm. But your defense holds.He keeps attacking, one big swing after another. There doesn't seem to be any formal training or discipline behind his attacks, just an efficiency honed from experience. He's not only stronger than any man has a right to be, but he's focusing that strength well into his attacks, all that size concentrating its power behind each move. He's not burning through his stamina, and is using the full range of his reach without over-extending.This will be even harder than you thought. You can't just dance around him indefinitely until he make an obvious mistake or wear himself out. But you also can't get in close enough to land a hit yourself as long as he's throwing out those huge, long-range attacks and not leaving any openings. And you also can't rely on grappling or reversals against that sheer weight.All of your options seem bad, but you have to pick one.>(Block) Keep up your defenses, weather the storm.>(Retaliate) Look for chances to counter-attack.>(Throw) Turn one of his moves against him for a takedown.
>>5259421>(Throw) Turn one of his moves against him for a takedown.Maybe we can use his weight against him. Even if aikido is a lie.
>>5259421>Retaliate.The guy isn't dumb.
>>5259421>(Retaliate) Look for chances to counter-attack.What would we even do after throwing him? Go to the ground with a guy three times bigger than us?
>>5259421>>(Retaliate) Look for chances to counter-attack.We're not much of a grappler really
>>5259421>(Throw) Turn one of his moves against him for a takedown
>>5259421>(Retaliate) Look for chances to counter-attack.
>>5259421>(Retaliate) Look for chances to counter-attackI think it's the perfect time for dusklight kick.
>>5259421>>5260544Actually, shit, this reminded me. Ascending Carp won, not Descending Carp. If we focus on blocking we can hopefully pull that off, damage his posture and stamina.Changing to>(Block) Keep up your defenses, weather the storm.
>>5260547Err, for transparency, I'm this>>5259578I'm not trying to change that guy's vote. Not that it really matters, since IDs are visible and we have the same vote anyway, but still.Further argument specifically against Dusklight Kick while I'm here though, its description has it useful 'when pressed by close range or airborne attack', and this dude's hitting us more at long range. It's not the right place.
>>5259421>(Retaliate) Look for chances to counter-attack.So far we've hit with general attacks - no specific body target or goal beyond doing damage. Precision and adjustment. Strike in a blind spot or a joint during his recovery frames. If frontal won't budge, then aim at something else.
>>5259421>RetaliateGuy’s got armor for days and reach a mile wide. We need to counter-hit with quick strikes then back off out of grab range, because I’m pretty sure this guy is a grappler judging by his display with that apple, and I don’t know if we can break out of a grab with him. I think a well-timed sweep or leg hit could do us a lot of good for an opening if we can work it in while dodging, but an elbow shot might buy us some breathing room, too.
>>5259421You keep up your defenses, but still look for any chance to counter-attack. You step backwards out of reach of two blows, are forced to block a third, another heavy blow that hammers its way past your When you see an opening, you strike, darting inwards and scoring a strong hit. Your movements are on form, your breath control is perfect. You feel like you did some actual damage there, but not enough to throw off Randy's next attack long enough for you to get back into position to defend the next hit. You evade, but only partly, getting clipped just on the edge of the forehead, enough force to cause a burst of starlight in your eyes and pain in your skull. You stumble back, blinking to regain vision. Fortunately, Randy is pausing to wince and rub at the site of your own attack.A trade of blows, then. Not ideal, but better than getting annihilated in one wrong move, which is a distinct possibility here."All right, you got some skills," Randy says. You see him shift his legs out, crouching a little, getting his center of gravity lower. His hands up come up forward, closer together, like he's ready to reach out and grab something. You, presumably. A wrestling stance. "Been a while since I did this.""Aw, shit," says one of the bystanders. "It's the return of the Barbecutioner!""Look out, kid, you're going on the grill!" calls another.Randy grins. "Used to wrestle in the local feds. My manager and I would bring a barbecue down to ringside, and during breaks in the match I grilled up hot dogs, tossed them out to people in the crowd. Good times." He pauses to stand up and rotate his shoulder a couple times, stretching, then gets back into his wrestling stance. "Let's see if I can still do my old finishing move."A sudden lunge forward, arms swinging out and around. You backstep just in time, the huge hands closing on empty air. If you get grabbed by those, you'll get thrown halfway back to Japan, or maybe suplexed into the earth itself.>Use swift light-hitting attacks to keep your positional advantage>Turtle up your defenses, try not to get grabbed>Watch his weight shifts to see where the next attack will come from.>[Arts] Dusklight Kick will catch him off guard at close range.
>>5261877Retaliate was the wrong call, he takes damage better than we do and he was always going to. He's too tough to play the quick strike game. We need to create openings for big hits or we'll never put the fucker down. We either turtle up or we Dusklight him, and frankly I don't trust him to not hyper-armour through a Dusklight with his finishing move.He wants to do his finisher, very obviously. We make him whiff it, then we can try something. Not getting clapped by that is our #1 priority right now, fuck trying to counter or trade blows. I can be talked around to trying to watch his weight shifts, but I also think he's going to be tricky about that. But he's also not formally trained, so it's possible. Like I said, I can be talked around.>Turtle up your defenses, try not to get grabbed
>>5261877>Dusklight Kick will catch him off guard at close range.
>>5261877>Turtle up your defenses, try not to get grabbedSave Dusklight Kick for our "OH SHIT" button, or if we can end a combo with it/set up a feint. If we can wear him down a little or get a better read on his weaknesses I'd be more comfortable throwing out some Arts, but I wholly expect him to charge at us and armor through anything short of an extremely well timed Art counter-hit or whiff punish.>>5261891I think retaliate was actually the right call at that point in the fight, considering the circumstances (all our options there were bad, we took some decent chip damage from his normals, and him being a grappler). Sticking to turtling without being mindful of his grabs (now that he's tipped his hand, we know to look out for them) will end with us in a throw. His blows are scary, but his grabs are gonna be way worse. That said, grabs tend to be unsafe, so we could either work to stuff them (unlikely here due to armor) or bait a grab and throw out an Art after we give him the slip. Throws tend to beat blocks so we need to focus on dodging more than blocking. If we get pinned, we could be done for. Watching for weight shifting could be a valid tactic right now, but we needed to trade early so we can condition him (taking us seriously) and form some kind of counter play instead of getting caught in blockstun from him throwing out those logs he calls arms and surprising us with a grab afterwards.
>>5261927The key aspect you're missing is that he wasn't grappling until just then. He didn't even try. Blocking would've been safe, we could've steadily worn him down with Ascending Carp—because tanking strikes with blocks is our fucking thing thanks to that—and we likely would've been able to get him sloppy enough for a big unanswered hit. Especially since I doubt he's schooled enough that he'd have known what was happening, and just would've been led on by his instinct of us being on the defence and him needing to press the attack, therefore playing straight into Ascending Carp's hands.Why the fuck do we want to condition him into taking us seriously? That just makes things harder. We didn't need to form a counterplay. Our counterplay was Ascending Carp. That was the counterplay. If we'd chosen Descending Carp you would have a point and I wouldn't have swapped off Retaliate, but Ascending Carp is something specifically so that we can block as an 'attack', breaking his stamina and posture.
>>5261877>Watch his weight shifts to see where the next attack will come from.He's possibly got super armor. I don't want us getting grappled and squashed like a bug from Canada!Broly here. If we observe and dodge, we might get intel on how his other moves would work. Hit him during his whiff recovery fra-Oh god I just had a thought. What if he's already used to people trying to dodge his grapple. We should consider the possibility of a second lunge or follow-up in the event he whiffs.
>>5261936>The key aspect you're missing is that he wasn't grappling until just then.>>5261927>Sticking to turtling without being mindful of his grabs (now that he's tipped his hand, we know to look out for them)>now that he's tipped his hand, we know to look out for themI didn't miss anything: I didn't want him to grab us by surprise while we were defending. There was no guarantee that he couldn't convert block pressure into a grapple, so testing the waters with footsies is not as severe a trade as you seem to think. Plus, it confirms that our hits are having an effect on him.We aren't conditioning him to take us seriously: him taking us seriously is a sign that we are already conditioning him. Now he definitely wants to move in close, where he'll be more predictable and where we can defend appropriately and land more meaningful hits.Ascending Carp does us good only if we don't get surprise grabbed out of blocking since our defense needs to be successful for AC to work. Now he let us know in advance that he wants to go for a grab, so now we can expect that. Letting the grappler control the pace of the fight is a huge mistake, even if our specialty is converting defense into offense.>Especially since I doubt he's schooled enough that he'd have known what was happening, and just would've been led on by his instinct of us being on the defence and him needing to press the attack, therefore playing straight into Ascending Carp's hands.He's an ex-wrestler and has already been fighting for a while. Sure, maybe we could have landed one unanswered hit earlier in the fight (if he didn't decide in the moment to grab us out of blocking, which was not a definite but still a threat), but that would put him on guard against one of our strongest tools for the rest of the fight. Now our character knows more about how he fights than he knows about us, so the likelihood of him surprising us with a high damage throw is lessened while we can still catch him off guard with AC and our Kick. Plus, if we learned anything at all from training with Jack it would be to not underestimate an opponent, even if they lack traditional fighting discipline.>>5261958>Oh god I just had a thought. What if he's already used to people trying to dodge his grapple. We should consider the possibility of a second lunge or follow-up in the event he whiffs.Shit, that's not a bad point. That would be a pretty devious trick.>>5261877What would be the effective difference between turtling our defenses and watching how he shifts his weight? Don't both of them imply that we're taking defensive actions here? I'd assume that watching his moves would be leveraged for the sake of dodging, or is there some other intent behind the prompt?
>>5261964>I didn't miss anything: I didn't want him to grab us by surprise while we were defending. There was no guarantee that he couldn't convert block pressure into a grappleYou missed that he wasn't going to grapple because he wasn't taking us seriously, and now he's taking up a wrestler's stance and is going to grapple us. I'm really not sure how much clearer this can get, anon. He was not grappling. Now he is. This is bordering on objective fact.Also not entirely sure what you're talking about with "block pressure". He's a poor striker and we have Ascending Carp. If he could convert that into "block pressure" and then lunge and connect with a grab from long range, we were never going to win this fight anyway.>so testing the waters with footsies is not as severe a trade as you seem to think.Testing the waters my ass. We were about two inches from obliteration.>Plus, it confirms that our hits are having an effect on him.A strong hit barely threw off his offence, while a glancing blow from him had us genuinely seeing stars. This is not the resounding endorsement you seem to think it is.>We aren't conditioning him to take us seriously: him taking us seriously is a sign that we are already conditioning him.If our 'conditioning' is making him stop fucking around and start taking us seriously, it's pretty garbage.>Now he definitely wants to move in close, where he'll be more predictable and where we can defend appropriately and land more meaningful hits.You... what? He's a grappler. He's safer and more predictable at long range, where his main method of attack is 'throw hands'. In close he's primed to grab us way more easily and ram our shit into the concrete if we aren't approaching on our terms. Which we now aren't, because we forfeited building up an advantage by exploiting his deficiencies in striking technique in order to 'test the waters'. He is now going to be closing on his terms, and we just have to do our best to deal with that.>Ascending Carp does us good only if we don't get surprise grabbed out of blocking since our defense needs to be successful for AC to work.See "how the fuck would he surprise grab us at that distance when we're already stuffing him with Ascending Carp?" as above.>Now he let us know in advance that he wants to go for a grab, so now we can expect that.While this is true, I don't really see how it makes Retaliate any better as an option. I could equally make the point that he could "surprise grab" us when we stepped in to retaliate. It'd be about as bullshit as "surprise grab" from "block pressure", but I could make it.>Letting the grappler control the pace of the fight is a huge mistake, even if our specialty is converting defense into offense.Our speciality isn't converting defence into offence. Go reread Ascending Carp. Now read Descending Carp. You're talking about Descending Carp, which lost. What we're doing instead is letting him play straight into our hands.
>>5261964>He's an ex-wrestler and has already been fighting for a while."There doesn't seem to be any formal training or discipline behind his attacks, just an efficiency honed from experience" is what I'm referring to. He likely doesn't have the high-level martial arts education to cotton on to Ascending Carp before it's too late.>Sure, maybe we could have landed one unanswered hit earlier in the fight (if he didn't decide in the moment to grab us out of blocking, which was not a definite but still a threat), but that would put him on guard against one of our strongest tools for the rest of the fight."one unanswered hit" is heavily downplaying the kind of advantage that could have been gained by managing to land a properly strong strike on him early in the fight. Sure, he would've known about Ascending Carp, but what the fuck would he have done about it? Just not throw strikes ever again? And oh look, he's trying to wrestle us regardless of knowing about Ascending Carp or not. It's like the optimal time to make full use of our skill that lets us gain advantage from blocking strikes was when he was throwing out lots of unschooled strikes. It's not something like Dusklight Kick, where we can pull it out of the hat whenever necessary. It's an inherently opportunistic and reactive ability and we can't control when we get to use it. Follow the logic from him being a grappler. He wouldn't throw many strikes. And unless you want to try and Ascending Carp a grapple, we can only really use it against strikes. So the best time to use it is when he's not taking us seriously and just trying to drown us in strikes.Retard.>(if he didn't decide in the moment to grab us out of blocking, which was not a definite but still a threat)Also, this is no less wrong the third time you say it.>Now our character knows more about how he fights than he knows about us, so the likelihood of him surprising us with a high damage throw is lessened while we can still catch him off guard with AC and our Kick.Anon you can't just keep talking about throws from long-range being "surprising" and have it be true. I heavily doubt Ryoma would be completely 100% not caring about or looking out for a grapple attempt, especially from such a big dude. It's a fairly elementary conclusion that a dude three times your size trying to grab you is something to watch out for. And we still missed the primary window to actually use Ascending Carp.>Plus, if we learned anything at all from training with Jack it would be to not underestimate an opponent, even if they lack traditional fighting discipline.It's equally dangerous to overestimate someone. He was an objectively poor striker and blocking would've kept him at striking range whilst making use of Ascending Carp....I still don't fucking understand at all how you think keeping distance and playing defence is more likely to get you grabbed than stepping towards him and trying to attack.
>>5261877>Turtle up your defenses, try not to get grabbed
>>5261877>Use swift light-hitting attacks to keep your positional advantagePoke until he makes a play, then decide to dodge or pull the Art.
>>5261877>Watch his weight to see where the next attack comes from.
>>5261877Where's the option to punish with a jump-in?>Watch his weight shifts to see where the next attack will come from.
>>5261877You try to rely on your defense once again, but while your blocks can protect you from the full brunt of the heavy strikes, and your footwork can keep you out of reach of the grabs, you can't do both at once. After his grapple attempt is dodged, Randy throws another heavy punch; recovering from the impact leaves you at a disadvantage, less able to evade the follow-up grab. You're able to squirm away, somehow, the first time. Not so lucky the second time. Huge, meaty hands the size and texture of catcher's mitts close in and grab hold.The sky inverts. Then everything goes dark for a bit.You wake up a few meters away from where you were before, with a hell of a headache. Pushing yourself off the ground, fighting through the thunderclaps of pain going off inside your head. Randy doesn't stop you. He's showing off to the crowd. One benefit of fighting a wrestler, you think, as you struggle to regain your balance on weak knees.You catch a glimpse of Jack in the crowd. He looks disappointed as he watches, arms folded across his chest. He always said you relied too much on your defense, that blocking and dodging never won fights on their own. Maybe it's time to take a page out of his book here.Randy turns around, clearly surprised to see you standing up again. You don't give him time to think about it. The jump kick targets from the mountain training retreat flash through your mind as you leap, higher than you've ever managed before. A spinning roundhouse cracks the giant in the face. He stumbles back a few feet. A fierce glare shows that he's getting mad for the first time.Randy comes at you again with his arms raised, yelling as he lunges for another grab, but you go low, ducking under the attack and swinging your leg out in a low spinning heel kick, aiming for the vulnerable knee. You strike home. Randy grunts but doesn't go down, so you fire off the double sweep, bringing the second leg around to hit the same knee, a dangerous move that commits everything to the attack. But it works. Randy's leg gives out and he crashes to the ground, grabbing at you as he goes, trying to bring you down with him, but you dodge backwards out of range just in time.
>>5263951Randy quickly gets up and ready again, but you can tell you dealt some proper damage with that sequence, partly because he has adopted a more defensive stance himself, clearly wary of what you can bring to the fight now.Jack would keep attacking at this point, but as much as his style of relentless aggression served you well just now, you can see that you'll need something cannier than just hammering away to get through that defensive wall.>Wear down his stamina with fast, rapid attacks>Break through his guard with a surprise close attack>Search for any signs of weakness or openings>Ask him something, try to catch him off guard
>>5263952>Wear down his stamina with fast, rapid attacksTry to bait his art
>>5263952>Wear down his stamina with fast, rapid attacks
>>5263952>"you'll need something cannier than just hammering away ">Anons immediately vote to hammer away>Search for any signs of weakness or openings
>>5263952>Search for weakness or openingsHe's got a bad knee now.Also yeah, what the guy above said. The fuck are you guys thinking?
>>5263952>Search for any signs of weakness or openingsIgnore that last vote I copied the wrong option.
>>5263952Damn. Wrong bet, I psyched myself out of the Dusklight. I'll take that blame, that's my fault for planting the idea that it wouldn't work.>Search for any signs of weakness or openingsI'd probably vote for asking something to try and psyche him out, but I'll take anything other than doing exactly what we've been warned not to do.
>>5263952>Search for any signs of weakness or openings
>>5263952Though your initial instict is to try and wear him down with rapid attacks, you think better of it before you launch your assault. Though safer than a straight offensive, you can't just wail away on his defense and hope he runs out of stamina before you do. There has to be an opening, some kind of weakness you can exploit. He's not a professional fighter, barely even trained by your standards, relying almost entirely on his natural gifts of size and strength. There must be a vulnerability in his stance. If you can only spot it in time, before he takes to the offensive again -- there!When you feint a high attack in a certain calculated direction, Randy barely moves, not really falling for it, but that one small movement takes his elbow away from the precise spot on his side you hoped to expose. Seizing the opportunity, you swing in with a hook punch on that side. A floating rib breaks under your hand. A step forward on the same side, swing the fist around, hit the kidney from behind. Finish with a heavy roundhouse kick to the damaged area. Assess.Randy takes several steps back, grimacing as he protects his side with one arm. Yes, that one got him properly. Time to finish this. You're not close enough for Dusklight, but it's not the only arts technique you've trained in.>Wave Slice, an arts technique that creates a long-range chi projectile of varying speed and intensity.>Nighthawk Strike, a leap forward into an airborne kick. Evades an enemy's midrange strike then chains into further kicks.>Fading Dusk, a quick midrange kick intended to combo directly into the close-range Dusklight Kick.
>>5265620>Fading Dusk, a quick midrange kick intended to combo directly into the close-range Dusklight Kick.I'm tempted by Nighthawk Strike, but Fading Dusk is meant to go straight into Dusklight Kick, which seems like what the most finisher-y of the arts techniques we have. Plus, getting aerial with a Nighthawk Strike against a grappler just screams 'get caught midair'.It's interesting how... non-resilient this guy is? He's this massive hunk of man who's hard to properly hurt, but he seems to react quite strongly to pain. Compare to Reiter, who was grinning at Jack even after visibly having his shit rocked by a Blast Knuckle. I wonder if he's never really been majorly hurt in a fight before, too used to cruising against people smaller and weaker than him who don't know how to hit where it hurts. Pretty plausible, come to think of it. He seemed basically unaware of the greater martial arts world, brushing off even the idea that someone smaller than him could hurt him, and you wouldn't exactly be tripping over skilled martial artists in Bumfuck Nowhere, Canada.
>>5265620>Nighthawk Strike, a leap forward into an airborne kick. Evades an enemy's midrange strike then chains into further kicks.This is a choice for the future, not this fight, and a strike that als oevades sounds tasty.
>>5265620>Nighthawk strikeI don't like passing up the damage but I prefer avoiding the mid range.
>>5265620>Fading Dusk, a quick midrange kick intended to combo directly into the close-range Dusklight Kick.
>>5265620>Nighthawk Strike, a leap forward into an airborne kick. Evades an enemy's midrange strike then chains into further kicks.
>>5265620>Fading Dusk, a quick midrange kick intended to combo directly into the close-range Dusklight Kick.I like rekka's.
>>5265620You've decided to focus on honing one powerful arts technique, rather than diversifying into several. Fading Dusk is not a powerful attack on its own, but it's fast and has decent range, and is designed to put you directly into a position to combo into Dusklight Kick. Thus, it extends the range from which you can attempt to strike with the normally point-blank technique.Channeling chi into your legs, it feels like scorching and freezing at the same time, like your legs were encased in ice but surrounded by fire. You leap forward, connecting with the Fading Dusk strike, landing in a compact crouch, and then exploding upwards. Your powerful twin kicks explode in blue flames, one after the other, first the sweeping kick, then the thrust, leaving two bright cerulean streaks behind. Each strike lands perfectly. You land just in time to watch your opponent topple, shaking the earth like a tree falling to the ground.Stillness for a moment. The crowd watches, frozen in anticipation. You start to turn away, but a scuffling sound from the ground and a gasp from the onlookers alerts you to Randy weaving back up to his feet. That was your most powerful technique. What is it going to take to put this guy down?"Come on, motherfucker," Randy growls, raising his fists. "This isn't over!" He charges forward, swinging a wild haymaker. It puts him in perfect position for a defensive Dusklight. So, you hit him again. Twin streaks of blue fire, two collisions, two explosions of chi focused in an intense burst of power. Once again your opponent falls.This time you watch, ready. It takes a few more seconds, but Randy starts getting back up again. You tense up, preparing to fire off the technique a third time. Your legs are burning, but you'll do whatever it takes to win. However, something makes you hesitate and observe first. This time, before you can attack again, Randy crashes back down to the ground on his own.
>>5266798"What the hell was that?" The crowd seems shocked. "Some kinda magic?" "He's cheating!" "Must have hidden a weapon!" "What does Old Hemlock have to say?"The onlookers turn to an old man, who scratches his thick white beard in thought. "My granddad once told me about a time back in the railroad days, a time when he saw a little chinaman take on six other railway workers at once, using some kinda mystical hoodoo. Like he could shoot light out of his hands. The chinaman said it was a fighting move passed down through his family. Seems like they got strange ways over there in the east.""You're telling me." Randy groans as he sits upright, rubbing his head. He seems to be fine, if a bit dazed. "Never seen anything like that."You had already suspected that this man was, perhaps, ignorant of the wider world of martial arts. Not once during the fight did you sense any kind of threat from his chi, but you assumed he was keeping it in reserve, waiting to unleash a powerful arts technique at the appropriate time. Now you're realizing he doesn't have any arts. He might not even know what chi is.You're not sure how you feel about taking a victory over somebody who didn't even know about arts or body energy. Even then, your contest was a narrow thing. You hate to imagine what kind of power Randy might wield if he had been training under an experienced arts tutor like your grandfather. For him to get so far purely on size and power alone ..."So how the hell did you do that?" Randy asks, getting up to his feet. You tense up a bit, but he waves you off, holding the other hand up to his bloodied forehead "Relax, kid. We're done. You win. I know when I'm beat. I just want to know how the hell you learned to do that crazy shit just now.">Explain the basics of chi energy>Offer to set him up with a teacher>Act enigmatic, cultivate mystique
>>5266803>Explain the basics of chi energyI don't think he'd want a teacher. He doesn't seem like someone who'd spend years of his life to learn martial arts.
>>5266803There's the grit. Took two Dusklights and nearly got back up for a third. Good lad.>Explain the basics of chi energyOh, this was a skill-selecting thing. I thought it was an Ayane situation where we knew all the techniques and it was just that we were best at the Dusklight Kick. That's fine. We'll just need to take care to not rely overmuch on that specific combo, keep ourselves somewhat flexible.
>>5266803>Offer to set him up with a teacherWill surely help whit the final bosses second form.
>>5266803>Explain the basics of chi energy
>>5266803>Explain the basics of chi energyHe's talented, and I can't wait to see what he comes up with by himself.
>>5266803>Offer to set him up with a teacherThere's got to be at least one person out there that's close to Randy's size, uses the arts AND knows how to grapple, right?
>>5266803>Offer to set him up with a teacherI'm split. I wanna try setting seeds for a recurring cast, and teacher/chi both sound promising. Chi basics could result in seeing him later on as an optional rival/fight, but if we only know one teacher, and he takes the offer......I'm kinda grinning at the idea of this Canadian musclehouse training alongside Ayame.Maybe I'm getting too far ahead of myself, but I'm throwing my vote out there.
>>5266803Where to start? You've never had to explain this from scratch to anybody before. Normally this is Grandfather's job. How did he first put it to you, when you were young and first learning? "You see, there are these hidden organs in the human body, centers of a mystical energy which flows through all living things ...""Look, it's real simple." Jack has swaggered up to stand beside you. "You got this magic juice in your body. Gather it up, fire it out -- hah!" He punches, creating a small burst of flames. The crowd ooohs and claps. Not the most refined teaching method, but, probably more appropriate for this audience."Damn, that's really something," Randy says. He takes a moment to think, looking out at the mountains on the horizon. "You know, I never had to worry about skill or fight training. With this size, and the amount of work I get out on the job site hauling logs around, I thought that was enough. Up until now I've been able to smash my way through anyone without much effort if I wanted to. But I guess there's a whole other level of fighter out there I didn't even know about. I gotta rethink things." He turns back to you. "Any chance you could stick around and show me how some of that stuff works?""Sorry, but the tournament isn't over yet," you say. "I need to get ready for my next match." "Right, right. Well, you know where to find me if you want a rematch sometime. I won't go so easy on you next time." Randy grins and sticks out his huge hand to shake. "Good match, bud."You shake his hand willingly. When he first got up you were a little worried he was going to keep going until one or both of you got hurt badly, but it seems like he's a good sport about all this."So where you headed now?" he asks. "Off on some mystical training journey?""Something like that," you say."Well, Joe there is heading south, if you want a ride out of here." Randy points to one of the men in the crowd, who doffs his trucker cap. "And hey, I better hear that you won that tournament. I don't want to lose to some namby-pamby who gets knocked out in the first round after me, you hear me?"
>>5267420After saying your goodbyes, you make arrangements with Joe to catch a ride south in about half an hour. You and Jack head to the truck stop to wait. "So what happens now?" Jack asks. "How long until the next round of the tournament?""It depends on how long the preliminaries take," you say. "If I had to guess, I'd say two weeks." "Hmm. Just long enough to get some serious training in, plus a day or two of rest before the match. I might go find Max. He still has a few cards up his sleeve, I want to see if he'll show me any. Having a new technique ready to go might be the difference maker. What about you? How do you plan to get ready?">Rest and reflect. Make sure my body and mentality are exactly where they need to be>Develop an advanced technique of Suigetsu-ryu with Grandfather>Go find a friend of Grandfather's, who can help you advance your chi cultivation>Track down information on possible upcoming opponents
>>5267424>Go find a friendImprove ourselves.Information takes the fun out of it.
>>5267424>Rest and reflect. Make sure my body and mentality are exactly where they need to beClearly something was off with us. It wasn't that the people pulling his strings are morons who made the wrong call twice in a row, nono.
>>5267424>Go find a friend of Grandfather's, who can help you advance your chi cultivationInformation on our upcoming opponents is good and all, but unnecessary.A Budoka is supposed to be ready for anything after all.
>>5267424>Go find a friend of Grandfather's, who can help you advance your chi cultivation
>>5267476My bad. I just figured ascending was basically a pushback counter.
>>5267424"There's a person I'm going to try to track down," you say. "A friend of Grandfather's, out in China. He's told me before that, if I was serious about improving my chi cultivation, I should go find them." You aren't especially pleased with your own performance today. And as it turns out, your opponent isn't even part of the martial world. Although it's impressive as hell that he could compete just on natural talent and size alone, it does mean your future opponents will probably be stronger. You'll need some kind of edge or upgrade if you want a better shot at winning the whole thing."So how come you haven't done it already?" Jack says. "If you knew how to improve your chi, why not do it before?""Grandfather made it clear it was something I should only do if it was important. But I figure qualifying for the tournament counts." You hestitate, then add, "He also made it sound like it was risky. Maybe even dangerous. But that's a chance I'm willing to take.""I'm sure you can handle it," Jack says confidently. "All right, so, you'll head out to China and pump up your chi. I'll track down Max and get him to teach me something he held back on. Then we just have to each beat down our side of the bracket, and meet in the finals. Easy." He leans back with a smile. "It'll be the perfect time to settle the tie score between us. Just make sure you don't lose before then.""You're the one who had better watch yourself." You find yourself smiling. "Don't lose to some punk or trickster before the final round. We'll find out who's the best there, once and for all."A cool wind blows down from the mountains. You and Jack both look down the open road leading south, leading towards whatever awaits you in the future, wondering what it holds.
>>5268293TOURNAMENT ARC will resume June 11th.Community discord for discussion and further updates: https://discord.gg/4p9mmauThank YOU for playing!
>>5268294Thanks for running.
>>5268294Thanks for running!