Date: June 13, 2015
The Steel Soul Tournament's final match of the third bracket takes place, pitting Sunagakure's assassin versues Kumogakure's KRD commander.
"Steel Soul Tourney - Marshland Hazards: Michiko vs. Keiji"
Dammed Arena - Floor [Kirigakure]
At the foot of the great march of bones that dams this tall canyon of blue-gray granite, under the shadows of the stands: the Kirigakure arena. Rivulets of water still escape the base of the dam and dampen the gravely bed of the dry river. The length of the canyon is limited by a raised platform at the south end featuring the referee's post and a large display board announcing the details of the match.
The higher ups had to be joking, right? They couldn't possibly want the very man that helped two foreigners progress in the Steel Soul Tourney to proctor the final match between said victors… right? As it turns out, they most certainly could, so grudgingly, Kiyoshi treads into the arena, head bowed and shoulder slumped until he reached its center.
"Ladies and gentleman… the finals…" He says in a rather lack luster fashion. "Iwata Michiko… Shippodoku Keiji… Please.. enter the arena." He announces just barely enough for folks to reach the stands before turning about to watch the two. As soon as they were in place, he merely gave each a brief look before haphazardly lifting a hand. "You know the rules, so I won't bore ya with it. All I ask is that you don't wreck the arena too much. Alright?" He pauses for a moment to gauge both fighters reactions, then swipes the hand down. "Begin." The word had barely left his mouth when he leaped closer to the wall beneath the stands.
Unlike many of his opponents, Keiji actually knew this one. He had faced her before. A replay of the assassination attempt she nearly foiled plays back in his head. As the name is announced, he lightly mutters it under his breath as he makes his way into the arena. So this was the final match that he had to face. As he builds his chakra, his dark pupils scan the crowd looking at all the potential business that could be brought to his village. Sure, his previous victories had already guaranteed some new contracts. A final victory though would make the world acknowledge the hidden power within the desolate village within the sand.
As the giant, whom had taken a savage beating from him explained the rules, Keiji simply nodded his head in acknowledgment. The moment the word "Begin was uttered, Keiji decided to take a gamble. From the get go, his tail sprouts and he dashes forward towards his opponent hoping to sting her with his paralytic venom. Normally he would have tested the waters but now he was banking on that being her expectation.
Michiko has never heard of this guy, interestingly enough. But that is the way of an assassin… It's only when she sees him that a few memories nudge their way to the surface of her mind. Her chakra, knowing that this is the final match, is already focused. As soon as Kiyoshi motions to begin, all holds are killed off as she notices Keiji shifting in form. Without much more than a few handseals, a dome of metal forms around Michiko, blocking the tail with a *CLANG*. Then she allows it to fade, making another, new, set of handseals to turn the ground into a vast area of swampy muck that tries to draw Keiji down.
The metal dome had stopped his tail. He was a bit surprised. That move normally landed. She was a skilled opponent indeed. As the ground began to turn to swamp, Keiji dashed to the side of the arena where the ground was still solid. He was not going to beat her at Ninjutsu. She was clearly very capable. However there was one move that he figured might work to shift the balance of power in his favor. She wanted to pull out the stops. Well, he was about to. He used the edge of the arena until he was ready to strike. He then moved a foot up the wall and jumped towards her. As he did, this, his body began to shift. He was now in the later states of Sasoriendai. As he came down, a giant scorpion a giant claw would land right next to her. He was not aiming for her, but aiming to put something in the air next to her. A toxin…
When Keiji began to charge her, Michiko had a bad feeling. Whatever was up his sleeves, she didn't want to know it. Which is probably why her chakra flared up and the metal dome came up and around her again, blocking whatever strike (or in this case, gas) that Keiji was tossing at her. While hidden and turtles up, she formed handseals, relying on the earth to keep track of her opponent. Suddenly, a hand would spring forth, grabbing at Keiji without any warning and Dragging him into the ground.
The giant scorpion lands on the ground and becomes stuck as the giant hand grabs a leg. His giant legs do not seem to help him break free of it. Now he waited for the next move as the hand pulled him towards the ground.
Michiko shakes her head a bit at the huge scorpion. "Shippodoku Keiji… I should have recognized that when I saw the match up…" she says with a sigh, making seals despite her small comment. A metal 'spike' forms from the ground, elongating until it forms a half-spear that she grips in her hand. "I feel like you'll survive this…" Then she throws it at Keiji, hoping to pierce something important that isn't his heart. She wasn't quite sure where to aim, honestly… Scorpion anatomy is a bit foreign. Wherever the Shippodoku looked most vulnerable would work, though!
Seeing Keiji is still trapped, Michiko takes full advantage by summoning another half-spear to her side and throwing it again at Keiji. The spike would perform much like before, piercing the hard shell of the scorpion and dealing insane damage, too.
Things were simply not going Keiji's way. The second spike enters his battle and it becomes apparent the battle is pretty much over. He's a few options. So he enters the final transformation and makes a swipe at Michiko one more time. He was hoping to slow her down. He needed to try to control the pace of this battle. Things were not going so hot.
Michiko kicks it into high gear, blocking the swipe with a half-dome of metal surrounding her. She only just got it up in time, too, the claw scraping against the newly formed metal that she set up. A sigh of relief as she gathers her chakra, pushing her body to the next level. So much chakra that it begins to show in the flickering aura, though she has to gather that chakra, too.
Move after move was defended successfully by his opponent. Keiji was bleeding pretty bad. He was certain the match would not last much longer. He was even feeling fatigued. He needed something to change the tide. Anything at this point would have helped. So he moves behind her and his tail comes stinging forward towards her. She would be paralyzed if he managed to land the attack. Just as all seemed to be getting fairly bleak…
Michiko can't really track the scorpion tail because… Well, it's not touching the ground. Slight oversight, who knew! She can't even get up a defense in time, eyes seeing the tail too late. She ends up getting pierced, though it's not as bad as it could have been… Maybe. The bit of metal that got in the way lessened the immediate damage. But there was more to come.
As the tail makes contact, Keiji almost breaths in comfort. He's still bleeding, but there was a chance to possibly even up the match a little. She had been exerting a bit as well. He hits her with the tail once more. This time, injecting a higher dose of a mother lethal gland. This would be extremely painful for her. He doubted it was going to end the fight, but it would definitely make it more interesting and be his first step to getting back into the battle.
Michiko hisses from the pain as the poison courses through her body. It was painful. It made her feel like she was on fire, and not just looking like she was a flame. Her insides felt like they were raw and dumped in acid, which they probably were… Considering. But she didn't need to see. Didn't need to focus on Keiji as she send a burst of chakra through the arena. The chakra would turn the ground to mud, a swamp that seemed to reach out and cling to Keiji.
The ground beneath him began to shift again, seeking to drag him down. This had been his day. The entire fight revolved around each opponent sticking with their best moves and so far his as succeeding in a very low percentage. For a brief moment he figured that he might be able to escape, but it was too late. He was pulled down. The fight was perhaps over. It depended on what Michiko chose to do and what the ref would call the fight at.
Michiko decides not to attack, interestingly enough. Instead, she removes the poison that she felt burning through her veins. It was painful, and she wanted it GONE. If it meant she'd lose the match, she didn't particularly care. It was just very painful, and something she'd rather not deal with.
Keiji was not surpised that Michiko would deal with her poison first. However he's still trapped by the earth beneath him. The inability to move is driving him nuts. One decent attack might have ended the match either way, yet he cannot seem to break the stun and it allows her time to move. The crowd would see the Assassin struggle against the binds as the woman seemed to take her time.
Michiko picks up a discarded spike of metal and hefts it in her hands, peering at Keiji as he struggles. Usually the swamp doesn't hold this long, but she'll take it for what it's worth. The girl throws the spike at Keiji, sending it flying to wound the scorpion. And wound it would… Not anywhere lethal, but it would cause a lot of damage.
After the spike hits Keiji in his ultimate form, the blood begins to pour from the wound. He's badly injured but he's able to move now. He throws a punch next to her head. It was the toxin he was trying to get her to breath all along. It was not exactly a close fight to anyone watching. Michiko had dominated the match and Keiji was certain his moves were seen as a last ditch effort to save the match.
Michiko didn't expect Keiji to be able to move, let alone attack. She probably should have accounted for stubbornness, though. When the Shippodoku attacks, she simply moves out of the way, but ends up feeling the effects of the poison and goes down for the time being. Stupid poison…
Kiyoshi voice cuts in sharply, preceding the man's movement closer to the fighters. Other thoughts had largely occupied the Jinchuuriki's mind at the start, but even he couldn't ignore duty or the presence of such powerful techniques being thrown about. And while Michiko largely dominated the fight, ultimately the results were as to be expected from the perspective of the experienced. All it takes is one error — one slip to turn an advantage into an instant catastrophe.
With a lack luster gesture, a team of medics rush onto the field to check on the conditions of the fighters. Even if both were medics themselves, it did not hurt to spend more time simply recovering then trying to mend everything themselves for the sake of pride. Only once assured the medics could work in peace did Kiyoshi dare to briefly turn his back on the others, take one last calming breath, then announces with much more enthusiasm, "Ladies and gentlemen, your victor of the Steel Soul Tournaments Third Bracket, Shippodoku Keiji!"
It was not the showing Keiji had wanted to put on. It was a like a wise man once told him. "Sometimes you are the Gila Monster. Other times, you are the patch of wet sand beneath the Gila Monster on a dry day." He was not certain who was which on this day. Michiko had put on the better performance. Keiji however had a few strokes of luck when it seemed he had run out. His dark pupils scan the medics. He wanted to be angry. He wanted to make a display. In truth though, he was tired. His body wanted to go take a mud bath for a few days and nights before he decided to tackle anything. He lightly raises his hand before turning towards the exit.
Michiko heard Kiyoshi call the match. That was fine. She wanted the tourney to be over. Then she could return to Kumo and be with her friends. As soon as the poison is worked out of her system, her chakra begins to heal her, working to repair the damage that Keiji had left. It would take a while, and she would be weak… She was already tired from the intense training, bruises still lightly on her skin beneath her clothes. But she still felt good about herself. She had done the best she could against a powerful opponent, after all.