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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default [BITPR2] Gaiden: Waiting for the punchline/ W is not for Double!

    [Soul Society - Combat Division Training Grounds]
    (Sometime after Nanashi attacked, but before Koutarou's departure)

    Many things weighted on the Commander-General's mind when the attack on Seireitei had finished. Foremost of them was the fact that in spite of the low casualties (mostly wounded, no dead), someone had still managed to infiltrate Soul Society on his watch and nearly made away with the Soukyoku. As with many perfectionists, it is not in the results, but in the flaws leading up to them that Koutarou fixates. To say the man is hard to compliment would be a massive understatement.

    Calling out the Captain of the Combat Division for a sparring match before he went to Earth would allow him to clear his mind. It would not do to let the consequences of the latest foibles to impair his judgement. He would have to keep things fair for everyone involved.

    "It has been a while since we've last trained together, Masaru-taichou." Statement of the obvious, to be sure, but true nonetheless.
    The Void, the Cold Steel, the Just Sword courtesy of Prime32.

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    I met a girl with a really pensive look. I walk up to her, put a fifty cent coin in her hand, "For your thoughts. I know the going rate is supposed to be one, but I figure you play hardball."

    She gave it back, "Keep it. Pretty sure a guy with your charm can find a way to have them for free anyway."

  2. - Top - End - #2
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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: [BITPR2] Gaiden: Waiting for the punchline/ W is not for Double!

    [Soul Society - Combat Division Training Grounds]

    Masaru gives just a silent nod and bow at first when he comes into the room, stepping to one side. His outer clothing is removed first, his starry haori folded up gently before his Captain's haori is laid on top of it. The upper part of his uniform is either removed entirely or rolled up, with his straw hat being gently laid atop the neat pile of clothing. He turns, the long-faded scars on his torso criss-crossing much of his body, while the eerily precise wound on his left shoulder that transitions to his artificial arm is a bit darker, a testament to its more recent nature.

    He walks over to the sparring floor, his swords swinging a bit at his side, and gives the Captain of all the Gotei a deep, respectful bow.

    "Indeed it has, Koutarou-taicho."

    He rolls both of his shoulders, then slowly rotates his neck, producing a slight but satisfying series of pop-crack sounds.

    "I heard about your performance at the Railgun Station. Some inventive tactics, especially in light of the...unconventional...nature of our foes that day."

    There's a hint of a lot of somethings in his eyes and tone there...
    BitPRR Characters: Entries Masaru, Chuck, Thomas, Turiel, and Masamune

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: [BITPR2] Gaiden: Waiting for the punchline/ W is not for Double!

    "Not in the slightest." Koutarou admits. "If nothing else it was a show of force. I must learn efficiency. I've been training like mad to increase my power in anticipation for a fight with Von Geister, but I had not realized how little control I had over it until recently... and the irony is, it took an enemy to make me notice as much. If my power is meant to protect people, then I can't afford to be sloppy when I use it."

    Yes, he does feel guilty about Saiyuri's burns when he rescued her.

    He also shows a little grimness in his countenance when Masaru addresses him by title. Then he realizes he'd done the same before his fellow did. Since when did they start using honorifics with each other?

    "I took notice of your after-action report, Masaru. Couldn't help but notice some frustration in your writing. I told you what I need to work on; what do you need my help with?"
    The Void, the Cold Steel, the Just Sword courtesy of Prime32.

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    I met a girl with a really pensive look. I walk up to her, put a fifty cent coin in her hand, "For your thoughts. I know the going rate is supposed to be one, but I figure you play hardball."

    She gave it back, "Keep it. Pretty sure a guy with your charm can find a way to have them for free anyway."

  4. - Top - End - #4
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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: [BITPR2] Gaiden: Waiting for the punchline/ W is not for Double!

    "Perhaps we both need to practice with our power, though admittedly yours has more diversity than mine does."

    No sarcasm on that part, just factual statement.

    "Electricity is a rough, wild thing, Koutarou. My shadows are cold, but shadow does not rage like lightning does. Still, both our powers need refining."

    He frowns deeply at the question directed his way, even as he went through some stretching exercises.

    "I was outsmarted by a pack of simple Hollows. No special abilities, really. Beyond that infernal hive mind. But they outmaneuvered me and I let them. Because I was too proud to use my Bankai against simple Hollows. I thought I could eliminate the threat without loosing the full might of my power. Apparently i thought wrong."
    BitPRR Characters: Entries Masaru, Chuck, Thomas, Turiel, and Masamune

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: [BITPR2] Gaiden: Waiting for the punchline/ W is not for Double!

    "You are being overly harsh on yourself... on at least two separate accounts.

    For one, these were not 'simple' Hollows. Hishikawa tells me the Arrancar they came from was originally at least Gillian class. Certainly not enough to give most Captains pause, but still. It's not like you to underestimate the enemy.

    Secondly, you came out of it unscathed and victorious, partly on your own merit and partly because your Division fought exactly like you taught them to. They fought smarter, not harder.

    My power is more versatile by a quirk of my Zanpakutou more than anything else. Elemental-type Zanpakutou don't typically have this kind of range. Yours can take essentially any shape you desire, Masaru, and your Bankai is ultimate proof of that - it creates a living, breathing creature after all, capable of fighting on its own. You are not limited in power, nor in tactics... but perhaps by your imagination."


    Koutarou, too, is stretching, although admittedly he hasn't taken the upper portion of his shihakusho off just yet.

    "I feel like Hishikawa would be a better teacher in that regard... he's the one with the artistic office." The Commander-General admits. "But to use a cruder comparison. I have been given nineteen tools than I can barely handle competently. You have been given but one with exceptional potential. We both have our work cut out for us."
    The Void, the Cold Steel, the Just Sword courtesy of Prime32.

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    I met a girl with a really pensive look. I walk up to her, put a fifty cent coin in her hand, "For your thoughts. I know the going rate is supposed to be one, but I figure you play hardball."

    She gave it back, "Keep it. Pretty sure a guy with your charm can find a way to have them for free anyway."

  6. - Top - End - #6
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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: [BITPR2] Gaiden: Waiting for the punchline/ W is not for Double!

    "Well. Imagination is a limiter, to a degree. But I'm also still...developing the muscle, I suppose?...to be able to mentally shape shadows into more complex shapes, or remold already-created constructs, rather than completely dissipating them and reforming them. And the more distinct constructs I create, the harder it is.

    Bankai makes it easier; Ancalagon is able to share the proverbial mental load-
    "

    He pauses, blinks, and then faintly smiles as he continues stretching.

    "I won't repeat the specifics, but suffice to say the big lizard believes he is innately superior to me in "processing power". He is only lamenting his inability to display his "true glory" to the world at large, even in Bankai. I think he's being a drama king."

    He grows a bit more serious as he finishes his warm-up and moves to one side of the sparring mat, his hands resting casually at his belt, seemingly willing to wait for however long Koutarou might need.

    "A crude analogy, but not too inaccurate. And while you are still only beginning to learn your tools, and they may never have the "depth" mine carries, if we can help you begin to master those tools, well. I would certainly pity any opponent who truly angers you."
    BitPRR Characters: Entries Masaru, Chuck, Thomas, Turiel, and Masamune

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: [BITPR2] Gaiden: Waiting for the punchline/ W is not for Double!

    "Ah, I see. Concentration on both the constructs and the battle at hand would feel a lot like multitasking, I imagine. You don't look like someone who has trouble managing physical exhaustion, but mental is equally taxing on all of us... and it's harder to train for it."

    Koutarou has finished stretching by now.

    "I would hope that never happens. My sword, now more than ever, is an instrument of justice... and justice cannot afford anger. Wrath, even.

    But enough waxing philosophical. Do you want to warm up before going to Shikai?"
    The Void, the Cold Steel, the Just Sword courtesy of Prime32.

    AWSUM

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    I met a girl with a really pensive look. I walk up to her, put a fifty cent coin in her hand, "For your thoughts. I know the going rate is supposed to be one, but I figure you play hardball."

    She gave it back, "Keep it. Pretty sure a guy with your charm can find a way to have them for free anyway."

  8. - Top - End - #8
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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: [BITPR2] Gaiden: Waiting for the punchline/ W is not for Double!

    "And the more unique constructs I attempt to control simultaneously, or even unique actions, the more difficult it becomes. Creating a static field of spikes or blades or bars is easier than attempting to ensnare many feet is easier than adapting moving shadow "weapons" on the fly. It's not just exhaustion, necessarily, it's a matter of sustaining simultaneous actions."

    It's clearly difficult for him to truly describe.

    "Point. Acting out of anger could be...detrimental. Just be careful not to deny yourself emotions entirely, Koutarou. We Captains must have control, but control does not mean a lack."

    He smirks at the question, his feet shifting slightly even as his hands, held loosely at his sides, twitch ever so slightly.

    "That sounds acceptable. First move to you, I think."
    BitPRR Characters: Entries Masaru, Chuck, Thomas, Turiel, and Masamune

  9. - Top - End - #9
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    Default Re: [BITPR2] Gaiden: Waiting for the punchline/ W is not for Double!

    "If only. My problem has never been a lack of emotion, you know."

    Enough talking, though.

    Koutarou slides one step forward... and dashes.

    He knows opening Masaru's guard will be no easy task, but he's better off trying to bring things into a range closer to his feet and too close for his sparring partner's blades. As such, his first move is a quick slice below, which would open him up for retaliation if Masaru stepped out of range. But Masaru knows this, and Koutarou knows this. Their combined experience, their knowledge of each other's methods... it makes these sessions all the more interesting.
    The Void, the Cold Steel, the Just Sword courtesy of Prime32.

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    I met a girl with a really pensive look. I walk up to her, put a fifty cent coin in her hand, "For your thoughts. I know the going rate is supposed to be one, but I figure you play hardball."

    She gave it back, "Keep it. Pretty sure a guy with your charm can find a way to have them for free anyway."

  10. - Top - End - #10
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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: [BITPR2] Gaiden: Waiting for the punchline/ W is not for Double!

    Masaru's swords were still sheathed when Koutarou began to move. In a blur of his own motion, Masaru's stance shifted very slightly, giving him a few hair's more room...
    But now his katana is drawn, and is moving to meet Kotarou's own blade. It will likely result in a momentary clash of steel. Perhaps that clash will let each of the great warriors get a better sense of the heart of their opponent, a better sense of the undercurrents of thought and emotion moving through their soul-bodies in this "sparring match".

    But why is Masaru's left arm...ah.

    The left arm, robotic instead of flesh, grasps the hilt of his wakizashi, ready to draw at a moment's notice. Considering the incredible power and speed of that arm, it's likely he intends to try and catch Kotarou off-guard with a lightning-fast draw.

    It's not a question of "will Kotarou catch on that he may carry this intent". It's a question of "can Kotarou maneuver the battle so that strategy is never the best one for Masaru".
    BitPRR Characters: Entries Masaru, Chuck, Thomas, Turiel, and Masamune

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: [BITPR2] Gaiden: Waiting for the punchline/ W is not for Double!

    There's an almost literal "weight" to Koutarou's movements; not quite a sense of hesitation so much as an attempt to fight off natural habits, to follow through on conditions the two of them had established in previous sessions.

    When two fighters train together for a while, they tend to pick up on each other's habits, which makes certain sequences predictable for both sides. It is not unlike a game of chess, where the outcome of three steps can be determined by the reaction to a single step. Koutarou is trying to fight exactly that. It isn't the first time Masaru saves the wakizashi for a draw at a shorter distance, but he knows Koutarou's normal reactions to that. He often presses the attack in an attempt to bait out the assault and get back within range a half-step back. Or he rushes in, risking taking the assault head-on, in an attempt to neutralize the advantage of being within a different kill zone.

    But this time Koutarou does neither. Rather, he ripostes back against Masaru's katana when he deflects, aiming lower as he takes to the air in a spin.

    This is a feint, however. Koutarou's real goal is to attack Masaru's right flank with a spinning kick while blocking his katana. This way, he neutralizes the danger of the fast draw from the left - even if Masaru turned to have the right angle for attack, he would still lack the range.

    It feels like a strange move for the Commander-General. He's the one who tends to stick to the ground the most.
    The Void, the Cold Steel, the Just Sword courtesy of Prime32.

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    I met a girl with a really pensive look. I walk up to her, put a fifty cent coin in her hand, "For your thoughts. I know the going rate is supposed to be one, but I figure you play hardball."

    She gave it back, "Keep it. Pretty sure a guy with your charm can find a way to have them for free anyway."

  12. - Top - End - #12
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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: [BITPR2] Gaiden: Waiting for the punchline/ W is not for Double!

    Somewhat strange, but Koutarou's style and powers still lent themselves to higher personal mobility over Masaru's; the latter summons a dragon, but without said dragon, he has no real "boosts" to his physical abilities, per se.

    Still, it's a good, inventive move. In previous spars, he'd have landed a very solid kick, though his sword would of course have been blocked. Even the boosted speed of his mechanical arm wouldn't be quite enough in this specific scenario...
    If he tried to draw the shorter sword. But surprisingly, he didn't!

    Masaru's katana engages Koutarou's sword long enough to not leave an opening. It continues to angle to block even as Masaru rotates his body and his left arm comes up, not trying to draw the sword, but instead merely block the kick.
    Of course, Koutarou now has a more distinctive momentum advantage; Masaru has yet to draw his second blade, and he is clearly operating more defensively than offensively.
    ...So why is he smiling?
    BitPRR Characters: Entries Masaru, Chuck, Thomas, Turiel, and Masamune

  13. - Top - End - #13
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    Default Re: [BITPR2] Gaiden: Waiting for the punchline/ W is not for Double!

    The shift in tactics does not go unnoticed. Masaru could be smiling from any number of things; if he had to guess, Koutarou would say it had something to do with blowing off steam accumulated over the last few days. He always did enjoy these sessions.

    Regardless, Masaru preferring to block with his arm rather than his sword, possible injury notwithstanding, sets off all kinds of red flags in the Commander-General's mind. When he sees the mechanical arm come up, Koutarou angles his kick down, aiming to kick away from Masaru's defense and spinning on his axis to land.

    He'd be in a precarious position to mount a proper defense if Masaru tried to pursue. He needs to regain his distance.
    The Void, the Cold Steel, the Just Sword courtesy of Prime32.

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    I met a girl with a really pensive look. I walk up to her, put a fifty cent coin in her hand, "For your thoughts. I know the going rate is supposed to be one, but I figure you play hardball."

    She gave it back, "Keep it. Pretty sure a guy with your charm can find a way to have them for free anyway."

  14. - Top - End - #14
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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: [BITPR2] Gaiden: Waiting for the punchline/ W is not for Double!

    Masaru doesn't try to stop Koutarou from kicking away from his person; in point of fact, he does what he can to impart a bit of extra force, meaning Koutarou goes a bit further. Not in such a way his balance is lost; neither enough distance to truly have enough time to fully reform his defenses. Instead it will likely be just enough to strike an awkward in-between state.

    At which point Masaru dashes forward, his artificial arm once more gripping his short sword, but instead of waiting, he begins a lightning-fast draw within a few steps.

    If the Captain is timing it right, and he often is, the extra-fast, extra-powerful slice would be landing almost exactly when he gets in rage of Koutarou.
    BitPRR Characters: Entries Masaru, Chuck, Thomas, Turiel, and Masamune

  15. - Top - End - #15
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    Default Re: [BITPR2] Gaiden: Waiting for the punchline/ W is not for Double!

    Koutarou is in a bind. From this positioning, he couldn't hope to dodge Masaru's attack on the best of days.

    Luckily, he doesn't have to. Masaru opted for the shorter range once again.

    Tumbling back and trying not to trip over his own feet, the Commander-General shoots a quick thrust towards Masaru's chest just as he's about to draw. It's not meant for serious injury; instead, Koutarou hopes to keep Masaru at bay for an extra second or two as he regains his stance.

    He's just lucky Masaru opted for his shortword instead of his katana, or he might be in for some serious hurt anyway. It remains to be seen whether he can get that defensive reach out in time against Masaru's lightning-fast arm.
    The Void, the Cold Steel, the Just Sword courtesy of Prime32.

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    I met a girl with a really pensive look. I walk up to her, put a fifty cent coin in her hand, "For your thoughts. I know the going rate is supposed to be one, but I figure you play hardball."

    She gave it back, "Keep it. Pretty sure a guy with your charm can find a way to have them for free anyway."

  16. - Top - End - #16
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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: [BITPR2] Gaiden: Waiting for the punchline/ W is not for Double!

    Of course, the issue here is, Masaru already has his katana drawn. No, it's not in his robo-arm, it's not being given a super-speed sword draw. But it's in his (slightly) dominant hand, and two blades is beyond second nature for the former party animal.

    So instead of actually dodging, Masaru whips his own longsword around to push Koutarou's blade to one side. However, while it certainly won't pierce an organ or the like, it does carve a slight line along the right side of his chest before skipping a short cut along his right shoulder. It's not deep, but it's enough to draw a dramatically appropriate amount of blood on his bare torso.
    (One hopes the Shinigami Women's Association hasn't somehow managed to sneak a camera or five past the extensive sweeps both men gave the room before settling in.)

    Masaru's own attack is thus still incoming, though move such that it will likely cause a similar light injury to Koutarou. Still, the man who is a Kamen Rider may well eke out a way to not have his own blood drawn.

    In the midst of his movement and attack, Masaru's smirk only deepens.

    "First blood to you, Koutarou."
    BitPRR Characters: Entries Masaru, Chuck, Thomas, Turiel, and Masamune

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: [BITPR2] Gaiden: Waiting for the punchline/ W is not for Double!

    It might be to Masaru's surprise that Koutarou does not try to wriggle out of the situation.

    Instead, he moves further forward. While his sparring partner manages to draw blood, it is indeed only a light cut.

    "A trade of blows." he comments, even as he advances.

    Masaru can tell that last option - to let himself be hurt to close in, rather than give ground to avoid injury - that is the spirit his troops have always known him for. He gladly lets himself bleed if it will accomplish something, if it will protect someone.

    As Koutarou steps uncomfortably forward in between Masaru's blades, he bends at the knee to lower his stance and shoots a short, sweeping kick towards his foe's left ankle from in between his legs. Clearly, he means to keep the other swordsman from retreating that leg; if he's successful, he can use Hakuda to get some hits in that will be tougher to retaliate against at this range.
    The Void, the Cold Steel, the Just Sword courtesy of Prime32.

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    I met a girl with a really pensive look. I walk up to her, put a fifty cent coin in her hand, "For your thoughts. I know the going rate is supposed to be one, but I figure you play hardball."

    She gave it back, "Keep it. Pretty sure a guy with your charm can find a way to have them for free anyway."

  18. - Top - End - #18
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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: [BITPR2] Gaiden: Waiting for the punchline/ W is not for Double!

    Masaru's preferred form of unarmed combat centers on footwork, which means he's honestly taken aback that Koutarou goes for an attack against his feet. It's good strategy, though. Sure footing is central to sure fighting.

    Which is why he can't ignore the attack, and doesn't have the room to overcome it. Instead, he merely demonstrates his flexibility by quickly raising his left leg over the attack.

    Well. Mostly over it. The kick brushes the underside of his foot. No damage, of course, but it alters Masaru's momentum just a touch. A touch that's enough to set his balance off when he has only one foot on the ground. So, Masaru decides to roll with it.

    In this case, he manages to launch himself into the air with his right leg, and execute a rolling side-flip away from Koutarou, one that should land him in a crouch that will give him the ability to attack or defend in equal measure.
    BitPRR Characters: Entries Masaru, Chuck, Thomas, Turiel, and Masamune

  19. - Top - End - #19
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    Default Re: [BITPR2] Gaiden: Waiting for the punchline/ W is not for Double!

    Truth be told, if either managed to score a definite blow on the other, neither would come out unscathed. In a sense, were they not two of the most highly trained combatants of Gotei, going beyond the motions of their warm-up sparring would be reckless in the best of days.

    Masaru's flip is a good tactical choice, all told. He's not so far that he can't get back into the swing of the fight and not so close that Koutarou can follow up...

    ...that is, if Koutarou had stood where he was when he went for that sweep.

    Instead of performing a full circle, his foot comes to a halt just past where Masaru's own foot would have been. From there, Koutarou shifts his weight from the back leg to the front - the momentum carries him forward as he stands up from his crouch, one hand holding his blade while the other supports the flat end and pushes forward.

    The problem here isn't so much the damage the blow would inflict as the impact behind it. This is a blow intended to push the enemy away or cut a wide but shallow gash into the chest. Koutarou's trying to imbalance Masaru psychologically by surprising him with new moves.
    The Void, the Cold Steel, the Just Sword courtesy of Prime32.

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    I met a girl with a really pensive look. I walk up to her, put a fifty cent coin in her hand, "For your thoughts. I know the going rate is supposed to be one, but I figure you play hardball."

    She gave it back, "Keep it. Pretty sure a guy with your charm can find a way to have them for free anyway."

  20. - Top - End - #20
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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: [BITPR2] Gaiden: Waiting for the punchline/ W is not for Double!

    A spear-thrust with a blade is surprising, and against many foes might well be a telling blow; curved slicing blade or no, the tip of a katana can wound or kill. Of course, Hiraku Masaru is not "many foes". He is a Captain of Soul Society in a time where there are few enough of those.

    And the art of the sword is as vital to him as bread and water.

    Still, in this moment it's not just "swordplay", it's footwork and momentum. Koutarou is excellent in the former and has claimed a good bit of the latter. But not all of it.

    Masaru's own blade comes up to begin redirecting the incoming thrust, even as his own body begins to move to one side. It's the blade held in his organic right hand.

    But it's his wakizashi, not his katana. It seems he somehow managed to swap blades in the last few moments. Which means the longer sword is in the arm with extra speed and strength, and now is working on a thrust of its own. Which is still an ultimately reactive move, and also clearly meant to clear space more than actually land a blow. But if it did land, all the better.
    BitPRR Characters: Entries Masaru, Chuck, Thomas, Turiel, and Masamune

  21. - Top - End - #21
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    Default Re: [BITPR2] Gaiden: Waiting for the punchline/ W is not for Double!

    Switching hands isn't an impossible move in swordplay, although with two swords it's actually fairly impressive. It's certainly not a move Koutarou would put past Masaru - something of that level is probably done blindfolded by the Captain.

    That doesn't make it any less disconcerting when it comes up.

    The switching ranges seem to surprise Koutarou for a fraction of a second more than he ought to. Going with the motion of Masaru's parry isn't too difficult, but doing so and avoiding a thrust at the same time would have gotten a less experienced fighter killed.

    Luckily for Koutarou, katanas are single-edged swords. Why does that matter? Because when he chooses to spin on his heel to avoid the thrust and attempt a counterattack, and Masaru's blade tip nicks his shoulder, he can actually feel the Commander's back against the back of his blade. The way his body shoves against Masaru's katana with the sudden burst of movement is meant to shove it powerfully out of the way while simultaneously allowing him to attack the Combat Division Captain's flank mid-fall.
    The Void, the Cold Steel, the Just Sword courtesy of Prime32.

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    I met a girl with a really pensive look. I walk up to her, put a fifty cent coin in her hand, "For your thoughts. I know the going rate is supposed to be one, but I figure you play hardball."

    She gave it back, "Keep it. Pretty sure a guy with your charm can find a way to have them for free anyway."

  22. - Top - End - #22
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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: [BITPR2] Gaiden: Waiting for the punchline/ W is not for Double!

    Masaru is skilled. He's fast. Strong. Adaptable. Wielding two blades. But he's not perfect. It's clear that not only are one or two things bothering his mind, Koutarou is genuinely surprising him. The Commander-General is such for a reason. And unpredictability, especially between people who have started to learn each other's habits and patterns, is a real game-changer.

    So while Masaru manages to begin his own sort of twisting movement out of the way, he still takes a slight furrow along his side. He doesn't even wince at the pain, electing instead to just use both of his blades to push Koutarou's away, trying to lock the other man's blade between his own pair, while also sweeping a sudden and powerful kick toward the inside of Koutarou's knee.

    "Hn. You're more aggressive in this spar than with enemies of Soul Society, Koutarou. Second blood to you."

    Well that's pretty direct. Looks like we know something else that Masaru's kind of thinking about.
    BitPRR Characters: Entries Masaru, Chuck, Thomas, Turiel, and Masamune

  23. - Top - End - #23
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    Default Re: [BITPR2] Gaiden: Waiting for the punchline/ W is not for Double!

    Since he's already falling, at least Koutarou can keep the damage to a minimum by bending back so Masaru hits his calf rather than the inside of his knee. It still sends him sprawling backwards, but he uses this opportunity to gain some distance and pause the match for a moment.

    "Miscounting is unlike you." The Commander-General interjects, pointing to his own nicked shoulder. True, Masaru hadn't drawn much blood from it, but he had still struck first. "You have something on your mind, Masaru. Care to share?"
    The Void, the Cold Steel, the Just Sword courtesy of Prime32.

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    I met a girl with a really pensive look. I walk up to her, put a fifty cent coin in her hand, "For your thoughts. I know the going rate is supposed to be one, but I figure you play hardball."

    She gave it back, "Keep it. Pretty sure a guy with your charm can find a way to have them for free anyway."

  24. - Top - End - #24
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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: [BITPR2] Gaiden: Waiting for the punchline/ W is not for Double!

    Masaru takes the pause to draw some cloths from a pocket to wipe his blades, sheath them, and then dab at his own wounds, his face pensive.

    "Chouko's actions were rash, ill-advised, and poorly timed, though the last was not entirely her fault. While well-executed it did not put the Gotei in a better strategic or tactical position."

    His eyes are as sharp and piercing as his blades.

    "But that is only because we refuse to do anything about Von Geister's almost-literal living cancer of a Cult. I refuse to accept that they are unbeatable. I refuse to accept that there's nothing we can do. Chouko's actions harmed Soul Society because of timing and coordination, not intent. Yet it seems as if you are content not only to forge an alliance with Las Noches, which still irks me but I can at least grasp, but to simply roll over for such a blatant attack on us by this Cult.

    The mad Quincies have been put down or driven off by Las Noches. What threats do we have? Should we not be at least discussing and preparing for war?
    "
    BitPRR Characters: Entries Masaru, Chuck, Thomas, Turiel, and Masamune

  25. - Top - End - #25
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    Default Re: [BITPR2] Gaiden: Waiting for the punchline/ W is not for Double!

    Ah, this was the reason then.

    "What makes you think we aren't, Masaru?" Koutarou responds. "I did not reproach Chouko for her intent. And, as you very well pointed out, her bad timing wasn't her fault.

    What I cannot condone is that we must act as a unit, better than the sum of our parts. For divided, we may triumph against some parts of Von Geister's scheme, but we will fall against the greater whole. I seem to recall you and Momoka berating me for going off on my own against the same adversary in Russia; surely my intent was no less noble than Chouko's?"


    For his own part, Koutarou isn't caring for Masaru's hits on himself. The Captain of the Combat Division can recognize this behavior - he is ignoring them deliberately. Keeping the pain fresh keeps him sharp.

    "I for one do not believe they are unbeatable either. If nothing else, their veneer of invincibility has been peeling off. On our encounter in Russia, I made sure to show that even millenia-old monsters can bleed. And Chouko, in spite of how recently she's earned her Bankai, has brought low one of the most dangerous adversaries in the Cult. I would be celebrating her victory, her initiative, if we had some definite solution against Von Geister. The reason we haven't gone after him yet is not a matter of strength.

    If we slay him as we are, we run the risk of bringing something beyond our ability to handle on our own heads. It would be foolhardy to know such a risk and still take it. On the other hand, Geister has the upper hand in a battle of attrition - neither ourselves nor Las Noches can replenish our strength at the pace he does. Sealing him has been attempted in the past, and it only delays the problem.

    I've been trying to come up with a solution. I've considered capturing him and executing him with the Soukyoku, but that may not prevent him returning to Izanami. I've considered the effects of my Bankai upon him, but there's no guarantee that his return to Izanami won't corrupt him again.

    We need something that will eliminate this threat without fail."
    Last edited by Kuroimaken; 2016-03-31 at 01:20 PM.
    The Void, the Cold Steel, the Just Sword courtesy of Prime32.

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    I met a girl with a really pensive look. I walk up to her, put a fifty cent coin in her hand, "For your thoughts. I know the going rate is supposed to be one, but I figure you play hardball."

    She gave it back, "Keep it. Pretty sure a guy with your charm can find a way to have them for free anyway."

  26. - Top - End - #26
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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: [BITPR2] Gaiden: Waiting for the punchline/ W is not for Double!

    "Maybe I'm feeling frustration because for all that you're asserting we are 'doing something', I've not been in or heard of strategy sessions. Thus far all I know is that you want to deal with him."

    Masaru finishes cleaning himself and his blades, tucking the cloths away for now and assuming a ready stance, one a bit further out than their starting distance at the beginning of this sparring.

    "But perhaps what frustrates me just as much is that we seem unwilling to attempt to engage and isolate any further members of his retinue. We struck down one of them, and even if she is somehow being reborn it will take time. What if we are able to strike down all but Von Geister, burn much of his taint from the world, and then...I don't know, banish him to the Moon or something? You say that sealing him does not work, but it's quite clear he was sealed for long enough he had never before witnessed a Bankai. Even if we gained but a year or two, sealing him while striking down and purifying his remaining forces, purging the taint of his Blight from the world, would give us the time and space, both literal and metaphorical, to come to a more permanent solution."

    His hands settle on the handles of his swords.

    "And thanks to the Unseelie Accords, we have allies of multiple types and power-sets; why should we bear all the responsibility for striking down this thread? Should not the Mortals and the forces of Las Noches contribute?"

    And then suddenly he's a blur of motion and both swords are swinging out at near-impossible speeds, Masaru clearly being ready to resume the fighting portion of their duel.
    BitPRR Characters: Entries Masaru, Chuck, Thomas, Turiel, and Masamune

  27. - Top - End - #27
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    Default Re: [BITPR2] Gaiden: Waiting for the punchline/ W is not for Double!

    Koutarou understands that frustration all too well. That he is able to show no signs of it now is mostly thanks to a great deal of introspection and meditation - even if his sword will not speak to him directly much of the time.

    "We need to stop his plans first." He says shortly before he's reacting to the maelstrom of blades. His defenses fall several degrees short of what textbook would call perfect, yet the chaotic nature of his movements make his next moves and counters that much harder to follow. This is how Koutarou had always been - adapting to the situation, thinking outside the box. He works at putting moderate distance between himself and Masaru, shifting his sword to a spear. This grants him just enough breathing room to continue.

    "Kobayashi-kun seems to have uncovered that he plans to create a world of his own." Another parry, another riposte. Easily seen, easily countered, if Masaru is willing to cede some space. "We need to figure out how he'll do it. And where he is. I've taken a step to try and solve the latter problem."
    The Void, the Cold Steel, the Just Sword courtesy of Prime32.

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    I met a girl with a really pensive look. I walk up to her, put a fifty cent coin in her hand, "For your thoughts. I know the going rate is supposed to be one, but I figure you play hardball."

    She gave it back, "Keep it. Pretty sure a guy with your charm can find a way to have them for free anyway."

  28. - Top - End - #28
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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: [BITPR2] Gaiden: Waiting for the punchline/ W is not for Double!

    Masaru cedes just enough space to provide a counter, counter, riposte, attack of his own. He, too, has quickly fallen back into the almost-second-nature flow of their sparring.

    "Is this a metaphorical new world, wherein he remakes Mortal Earth in his own likeness and desires? Or a literal new world, such as what we stand upon today? And it's good to know you're working to locate Von Geister and his retinue."

    Koutarou's single blade cannot ever match the directional and numerical flexibility of two swords. But being able to literally transform his own blade into another form or forms brings its own flexibility. Masaru defends and counter-attacks, but it's clear that, at least in this specific moment, Koutarou has a very slight advantage.

    "Of course if this Nanashi Hollow hadn't been allowed free access to the Seireitei, to injure and run amok as it pleased, perhaps we could have more decisively answered the Cult's attack upon us."

    Aha. That's the other thing driving Masaru's focused irritation.

    "I understand, intellectually, and accept, that we are working to ally with the Arrancar of Las Noches. But this being made no bones about not being as easily "handled" as some of the other Arrancar we've encountered, and was explicitly not aligned with Las Noches. Why did you so freely give it the chance to learn our terrain and movement and plan its surprise strike?"
    BitPRR Characters: Entries Masaru, Chuck, Thomas, Turiel, and Masamune

  29. - Top - End - #29
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    Default Re: [BITPR2] Gaiden: Waiting for the punchline/ W is not for Double!

    "Literal." Koutarou replies. He is still working at keeping his distance. Whenever Masaru seems to be coming closer, he adds rapid kicks of his own to whiffed strikes, adding precious seconds of distance between them.

    "I cannot begin to imagine that such a process would not entail devastation of some kind. The spiritual power required alone would easily be massive."

    Trying to match Masaru strike for strike would be madness, even if Koutarou were to use his weapon as a staff rather than a spear. The reach differences would certainly ensure that at some point he'd find himself overwhelmed. Thus, the Commander-General opt to change Kokuden-ou into a pair of gauntlets and boots.

    This is actually new. Before, he could only wrap the weapon around his limbs.

    Nonetheless, now he has four means of attack as opposed to Masaru's own two, even if he can't use them all at once.

    "At the time, divining his intentions was what we needed. It wasn't until the entire crisis with him and Chouko's actions was over and done with that I was able to link him back to his original creator... a Fullbringer by the name of Mikael.

    I would be lying if I claimed I didn't want him to be the kind of Arrancar that Jehoel has proven to be at some point. I understand that an alliance with Las Noches is something that's hard to swallow, given our purposes. But I'm willing to give a man a chance to show his true colors before passing judgement."
    The Void, the Cold Steel, the Just Sword courtesy of Prime32.

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    I met a girl with a really pensive look. I walk up to her, put a fifty cent coin in her hand, "For your thoughts. I know the going rate is supposed to be one, but I figure you play hardball."

    She gave it back, "Keep it. Pretty sure a guy with your charm can find a way to have them for free anyway."

  30. - Top - End - #30
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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: [BITPR2] Gaiden: Waiting for the punchline/ W is not for Double!

    Four means of attack, but less range. Masaru takes instant advantage and moves in, trying to press an assault.

    "If not for the risk of devastation, and of this Cult dragging more and more Mortals into its grasp, I would almost be tempted to let them flee to another world, so we could wipe them from existence without fear of collateral. But yes, the amount of power necessary suggests foul methods."

    As in "mass sacrifices" or the like.

    "As for your little experiment in trust, putting aside that we clearly don't trust Jehoel implicitly, what with us having Recon spying on them regularly, he also doesn't keep showing up in the Seireitei looking for a job. The Las Noches forces generally stay in Las Noches or the Mortal World. They helped us during the Transition Crisis, but that was an isolated event. We certainly didn't let them run about figuring out where everything was so they could launch a surprise attack from within.

    I won't rule definitively about whether an Arrancar could ever join the ranks of the Gotei, solely because that is not within my authority.
    "

    His tone suggests it's unlikely one could join the Combat Division any time soon, even as his attacks gain a slightly frantic edge that likely leaves a bit more opening for Koutarou.

    "But this incident does seem to prove the "screening process" needs to be more thorough."
    BitPRR Characters: Entries Masaru, Chuck, Thomas, Turiel, and Masamune

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