Date: June 9, 2015
Second round of the Steel Soul Tournament, 2nd bracket. Shiryou vs Ryouji
"Steel Soul Tourney - To Steel Yourself: Shriyou vs. Ryouji"
Kaguya Mai steps forward, idly wondering when her break will be… The woman looks around, calling, "Reizei Ryouji, Speedster of Kumogakure. Shiryou, Haunter of Lands. Please step forward." The woman waits for the two, not wanting to waste a single drop of energy, it seems. She has proctored many times during this tourney, and it can get old very fast. "Fight to the best of your abilities," she notes. "If one of you is about to die, I will step in."
Shiryou glides into the arena soundlessly, her black dress swishing just over the ground below her, and her hair swaying slightly behind her with each step. She stares toward her opponent with a look of almost casual indifference, saying nothing as she prepares the chakra in her cloud for use, letting it swirl and sway invisibly into various potential shapes for her to use. When she appears satisfied, she nods to herself, "I think I saw you fight once… Perhaps you'll be a decent challenge." She gives a small bow of her head, "A learning experience, at the very least, I suspect."
Mai had planned on avoiding watching tournament matches, but this one happens to include her new… friend, so she decided to make an exception. Adorned in attire similar to whatt Shiryou wears, the frail, blonde-haired young woman steps into the stands and takes a seat on the bottom row. A faint, eerie smile tugs at the corner of her lips as she watches the Shiryou prepare for combat with the Reizei, and, while there is no screaming or applause, her quiet presence shows that she is at least here to support and enjoy watching Shiryou in her battle.
Ryouji has tucked his large knapsack someplace safe and warm for the time being. It'll be ok while he does this fight and heals up afterward. He steps out into the arena and looks over at Shiryou, and up. She is a tall glass of water next to Ryouji's adolescent 5'5". But he isn't too worried about it, but he raises an eyebrow ridge to her and nods, "Well, ma'am I think a dress isn't the best choice to fight in. Espeaclly as tight fitting as that one is." He gestures with his hand, "Are you sure you don't want to change first? No? Ok then." He slaps his hands together and charges his chakra, not as much as Shiryou, but enough. "Don't worry ma'am, I don't know your abilities, so let's see how much of a challange we are for each other, together." He gives a bow of his own head as he gestures, "You may go first."
"How polite of you…" Shiryou says quietly, as Ryouji offers to let her make the first move… Not that she had any plans to simply let him hit her… That would have been silly. She didn't move though… No hand seals, no sudden, offensive movements. No rude gestures even… But after a moment, the ground behind Ryouji breaks in several places, and a trio of stones — pieces of the arena — shoot up toward the back of the boy's head in a rapidfire of blows.
Ryouji was being polite and too nice. He's underestimating his opponent again and it'll cost him. The first chunk of rock smacks him hard in the back of the head, but he quickly leaps and twists around, his white lotus sword snapping out in rapid parries. The flying chunks of earth are cut neatly down the middle, leaving nothing else coming at him. Ryouji completes the leap and twist, rubbing the back of his head and hissing. "Ok, first hit is on you. How did you do that anyway? Doton? I haven't seen that one before, but I guess chucking rocks shouldn't be too exotic. Alright, let's see how this fight plays out." He sucks in a breath and calms himself before he takes off like a shot. Ryouji grips lighting cutter, his other hip sword and pulls it free just a moment to reflect a bit of light into Shiryou's eyes before he reaches her and pulls lightning cutter free slicing once, and twice before it slides back into its hip saya.
Shiryou blinks a little as the light glints off the sword, frowning a bit as she's briefly blinded… long enough for Ryouji to get the first slash off against Shiryou, the blade cutting into her flesh, but it comes away without even a drop of blood on it… Or any blood on the wound which is already closing even as it was made. The second slash seems to pass through her body as if it weren't even there, leaving no obvious damage to either her dress, or her body.
"How did I do it? Now now… that would be a secret, now wouldn't it?" There is a brief flicker of a smirk on her face, as she tilts her head to one side. "You're quick, I'll give you that, at least… But can you do it again?"
Ryouji is taken back by the regeneration. He frowns, he knows that first attack hit, he felt it. He hasn't trained for years not to notice it. Ryouji says, "Oh, that and much more." He flips through hand signs and lets loose with a blast of air. If that wasn't enough, he opens his mouth wider and a massive blast of air roars out fed by chakra.
Suddenly… The wind around Shiryou seems to… cease affecting her. The initial gusts simply don't seem to do anything at all, not even cause her hair to blow back… though as the gale dies down, her body simply seems to flicker in places as she slowly moves toward Ryouji, leans in, and suddenly shrieks with enough raw volume to cause the ground beneath their feet to crack and tremble. She doesn't immediately stop either… in fact, the shriek goes on far longer than a normal person should be able to maintain it, unless they were like… a yamiyuki or something. But there had been nothing saying she WAS a Yamiyuki before.
Ryouji gasps as his air runs out and it did…nothing?! Ryouji is coming to realize that he might be in a bit of trouble with this one. That's when Shiryou starts screaming. At that moment, Ryouji pushes his lightning and wind chakra together and pumps up the volume. A blue chakra aura surrounds him as lightning plays over his body, then he's just gone. He rushes completely out of the cone, or whatever odd looking thing the scream looks like. But he's clear of it. It won't help him out much though, because his body twitches thanks to the sudden burst of speed. Ryouji grabs his head and wobbles a bit, "I hate that…just…" he waves a hand, "…just give me a sec, would ya?" He smirks, "I know you won't, but hey, I could still ask."
Shiryou stops screaming and stands up straight once again, turning to eye Ryouji for a moment, "…Give you a sec…?" She raises a brow incredulously, "You're right. I have very little intention of giving you any time at all…" She shakes her head…
Suddenly, the air around Shiryou flashes, and her body shifts, at first only slightly… then with another flash, the change is far more obvious… she's become Ryouji, her — his body turning to look back at him, sword in hand. He raises the sword, as if to strike out at Ryouji… then suddenly flips the sword around, turning it on himself, and shoving the blade into his belly with a shower of crimson blood…
In that same moment, Ryouji would feel the sensation of having something shoved into his OWN belly… and if he looked, he might find that his hands had acted on their own to stab himself — That is, unless he caught onto the Genjutsu, and defended himself appropriately.
That would be a big fat nope. Genjutsu, why does it always have to be genjutsu. Ryouji's eyes go wide as he sees himself. It's like a NASCAR wreck, he just can't look away. The sword digs deep into Ryouji's belly as he screams out in horror. Ryouji goes to his hands and knees, trying to keep the illusionary insides from spilling out, but then glares up at Shiryou, ignoring the pain for the moment. He says, "You're doing this! I'll just have to stop you before you try it again!" He scrambles up onto his feet and roars in defyance. He grips lighting cutter and snaps it open just enough to get a glint of light to shoot out at Shiryou's eyes again, only this time he flips through hand seals to send a forking spike of electricity lancing out at her. "Lighting Style: Inspiration Wave!"
Shiryou's body flashes back to her normal form… though something was off. At some point between the time she had disappeared, and the time she reappeared, her eyes had changed… Her pupils, formerly a normal black, and switched colors with her sclera, creating a slightly disturbing, piercing look, that made her eyes seem much wider than they really were… or maybe they really were wider… she didn't seem to be blinking anymore.
As the light moved over her body, it suddenly… winked out… or rather, while it seemed to land on her one second, the moment it approached her eyes, it suddenly shot through her to the wall behind, doing nothing to effect her eyes… a similar effect happened when the sudden lance of electricity shot through her, not so much as singing a single hair, or even a frill of her dress.
As the lightning faded, she began to laugh… a horrible cacophony of laughing voices, all seeming to come from her throat at first… but then the laughter spread out, and started sounding like it was coming from all directions. Soon, the laughter grew louder… and louder… almost maddening in it's intensity and disharmony.
Ryouji roars back, though not as effective. He does see her 'body' but only just. He charges his arm full of swift release chakra and sticks it out as he rips through the screaming. His ears start to bleed but he pushes past the first attack, but the second is the one that damages. Still, miss or not, he hits the wall with his feet and bounces off, heading back again to clothesline, then skids to a halt. Only to lariat once more. That took a lot out of him, but it should have some effect as he's breathing heavily. "Ok, what you got now? Huh? Ghost woman…." he says between breaths.
Ryouji sailed through Shiryou the first time, though the effort did cause her body to ripple and falter slightly… As did the second… and the third, all three attacks striking home… It was disrupting to her chakra, to say the least… She could feel bits of her body out of place… and so, she took the time to repair some of the damage, "I have plenty… Give me a moment, and perhaps I'll let you see it…" Naturally, she didn't expect Ryouji to do any such thing… He'd likely go on the offensive.
Ryouji smirks, "Then I just need to turn up the speed!" He pushes his tired body as far as it'll go. The blur aura around Ryouji fades, sucked into his body by his kekkei genkai. His eyes light up though, puffing out blue flames of light. Ryouji says, "Let's go…" and a cross appears in front of Shiryou. A line of dirt has been disturbed where Ryouji went, as two deafening cracks can be heard from the force of drawing out his sword so quickly.
Shiryou's eyes fade back to their normal state after a moment, as the both of the slashes rake across her body, leaving gashes, but once again no blood, or even flesh behind… Within the cuts are only darkness, and a dark blue mist seeps out… Once again however, Shiryou's body flickers and disappears, once again mimicking Ryouji… The false Ryouji raising a kunai to one wrist, and slashing it open… and then doing the same to his throat. Once again, the effects are transferred to Ryouji, as if he had unwittingly mimicked the copy.
Ryouji frowns and says, "Not this time…" and pulls out his own kunai to jab it into his arm. He howls in pain, digging deep, but no where that would cause lasting damage. Just lots of pain. The image of himself flickers and fades as Ryouji says, "That worked…." through clenched teeth. "Time to bust this ghost…" he says, weaving hand signs. He flicks through hand signs and holds the lightning chakra in his hand. With the other he flicks his sword out and shines a bit of light on the subject. Then fires off the bolt of lightning.
Shiryou'd body begins to snap, her arms, fingers, and hands suddenly cracking and lengthening, as if the bones within them were stretching and breaking… though she doesn't scream out. Her eyes once again shift to a black sclera, and white pupil… though this time, the black seems to overflow, thick black liquid pouring down her cheeks as if she were crying… though the fluid moved far too slowly to be water. Finally, a dark, gaping hole appeared in her chest… leading clear through her heart, and displaying the world on the other side, similarly dripping black fluid.
"Soon… I expect you'll start slowing down…"
She giggles maniacally, her lips stretching out far too wide over her lips, giving her face a horrific, inhuman quality.
Mai watches the battle with an eerie glee in her eyes, enjoying watching the style with which Shiryou attacks that is probably more than a little creepy to most. She even grins slightly when the woman's face starts to look more like demon than human. Perhaps just to add to the effect or maybe even because she's a little board, she starts to hum an eerie tune that flows right along with Shiryou's actions.
Ryouji is getting tired, but with his blur going, he's got the speed on. He won't be turning it off until he goes down or the battle is over. Still, her changing is a little weird. Ryouji blinks and takes a step back, "Ok, you can't be a thing. What the heck are you?!" He thought she was a jinchuriki at first, but this is no where near one of those. He frowns at the healing and lifts his arms again, weaker this time, but still with strength. "I'll make sure this time, you won't get back up again!" He flips hand signs and begins channeling lighting chakra into his hand. A circle of it begins forming around him as he pushes his chakra and stamina into the red line. "I'll put you down yet. I can't give up. For my clan. For my village. FOR MY OWN SELF WORTH! I'm not giving up yet!"
Shiryou giggles again, the sound coming out as something… deep. Too deep to be human, and not befitting her glamourous (Albiet creepy and elongated) appearance.
"For your SELF WORTH?!"
"If you don't give up… There wont be a 'self' at all."
Another fit of laughter, once again growing into a cacophony of voices from all directions, growing louder and more maddening very very quickly.
Ryouji goes to his knees from the screams. His ears are bleeding and his body feels numb. He flinches and grimaces in pain as the screams burst capillaries on his skin sending bruises everywhere. Ryouji loses the chakra to the lighting as it starts to fade. It's happened before, being hit with an attack while charging onikuma. Ryouji just has to deal with it. He pulls out lighting cutter and uses it as a crutch, pulling himself to his feet. "That…remains….to be….seen. This contest is called steel soul for a reason. To show how strong your soul is. But also to steel yourself. To brace yourself against what is to come. If I give up, that is besmurching this tournament." He pulls his sword out from the ground and takes a step, then another, "So let's steel MY soul!" he says, launching himself and slicing twice, forming the snap slash cross. It worked well the last time he used it. Let's hope it works again.
The first slash does nothing, once again… passing through Shiryou without seeming to touch her. The second has more luck, cutting a gash across the spooky woman's midriff… only for it to quickly shut again as if it were never there, thanks to Shiryou's quick body rebuilding.
"Well said… My last opponent could have learned from you~"
"Then again… he could have died too."
Ryouji droops his sword for an instant, then grips it. "I haven't yet. I can still cut and I still have chakra. The more you can regenerate, the more I can cut." It lights up with lighting chakra and Ryouji swings it hard before reversing the blade and cuts back. "So how much you got, fool ya fool!" he says, one eye drooping as he looks dead tired, but the flames are still strong in his eyes.
Shiryou shakes her head slowly, even as the lightning sword slides through her body like air once…. then twice… Not even so much as catching on the edge of her dress.
The ground begins to shake, as the sound of whispering… just indistinct enough that it's impossible to tell what's being said, begins coming up from the ground…
"You're clearly tired… Give up and live… If you don't you may really die."
"Not that I care… Just one more soul for my collection~"
She giggles quietly, even as the whispers pick up in volume, but grow no less distinct, the ground shuddering and cracking below Ryouji… Just how could WHISPERING be so loud?!
Sound, the few things that Ryouji has little defense against. He's hit his physical limit, even if his mental limit is still way out there. The blast of sound blows his body backward and sends him to his back. Blook is leaking out of most holes at this point. He's completely messed up and knocked out. He isn't going to be fighting at all anymore. He sighs as his body lets the blur go, shrinking and looking like it's wilting for a moment.
Shiryou's arms and torso snap back into place as she releases her own transformation, the black fluid around her eyes fading rapidly, as the hole in her chest closes… She sighs as she lets her body rebuild just a bit more, then releases the stored chakra that she had ready, "…Looks like he's done…"
She glances up into the stands and towards the other gothic lolita, offering up a slight wave at the girl above, then looking toward the proctor, who is no doubt about to call the match…
Kaguya Mai watches Ryouji go down, likely exhausted at this point. She suddenly appears between the two. "Shiryou is the winner, and she will be facing Shimizu Kiji in the final round of the Second Bracket of the Steel Soul Tournament!" she declares. Cheers and boos ring out from the crowd, but they're ignored by the Kaguya so that she can wave on some teams of medics. Whether or not the contestants accept help is up to them.
Yamanaka Maiko has been sitting on the edge of her seat a bit toward the end of the match. When at last Shiryou takes the victory, she grins and brings her hands together in a single clap before standing and turning to make her way out of the arena. She'll congratulate the ghostly woman later rather than trying to make her way through the crowd.
Shiryou refuses medical attention… she had her doubts that common medical ninja would have the knowhow to deal with her… unique situation anyway… And so, she simply begins walking out of the Arena, slowly and elegantly, as she had entered it.
Ryouji gets carried out by the medics on a stretcher. They take great care not to mess up Ryouji any more than he is already. It'll take a while for Ryouji to recover, but that's ok, he's got time now.