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File: tournament arc 6-5 op.png (58 KB, 756x569)
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Previously, on TOURNAMENT ARC: >>5417268
>>
The racetrack is a danger, but also an opportunity. It's hard to ask for a better environmental weapon than a ton of focused and aerodynamic steel speeding towards you at 200 miles an hour.

Unfortunately, it seems like your opponent has realized the same thing. Wild Dog comes at you with his huge arms spread wide, looking to grapple. You try to evade, but with the limited space there's nowhere to go to escape that giant wingspan, and you get locked up. You push back with all your strength, pumping energy into your arms, but it's no good, he's just too strong. He gets one hand on your chin and pushes you back, up against the safety barricade. He keeps pushing, forcing you into a backwards lean, your head back so far you're almost facing the sky. A car roars past only a few feet away from your skull, rattling your bones as it passes.

Despite being outmuscled, your training in water manipulation gives you experience in redirecting force. Subtly shifting your balance to alter the flow of energy, you take Wild Dog off guard with a counter-throw reversal that sends him flying off his feet and onto the racetrack.

The F1 cars swerve wildly as they attempt to avoid the new obstacle in their path. One goes out of control and rolls, crashing into the tire barricade. Another isn't able to get out of the way in time, blocked in on both sides by other cars, coming straight down the lane at Wild Dog, who's picking himself up off his feet. "Hell no, mothafucka!" you hear him shout as he raises a fist, charging it up with a dense concentration of chi, and brings it down on the hood of the oncoming racecar. The blow levers the car into launching straight over his head, flipping end over end through the air until it lands with a crash of twisted metal.

Willing to take the risk to avoid missing the opportunity, you vault the barricade and follow him out onto the racetrack. The onlookers are going wild as you trade blows in the middle of the street, surrounded by racecars tearing past at blinding speeds. The red flags are waving, announcements are being shouted, the stewards are trying to stop the race, cars are swerving and braking to avoid you and the crashed wrecks, it's absolute chaos.

Finally, your moment comes when Wild Dog throws a jab then swings for a big punch. You have just enough time to thrust your hands forward and fire a jet of water into his chest. All it does is stop his attack and force him to stumble back a couple feet. But that's all you need to put him into the path of the oncoming car.

The impact sends him flying, right over the barricade on the opposite side you came in front. He lands in the spectator area, rolls down the slope towards the water. You follow him, shoving aside the crowd to get through, seeing Wild Dog fall down past a short stone wall onto a harbor-side street below.
>>
>>5470285

You drop down to the lower street, getting there just as Wild Dog groans and pushes himself up into a sitting position. He reaches down to his now-broken leg, and you hear a disgusting crunch of bone as he resets the break. Then he gets back up, grimacing as he does, but still with plenty of fight left in him.

You've taken a few hits, but you're still in good condition. Your breath is even, your heart rate is steady. All that stamina training, all those long exhausting runs, they're paying off right now.

Wild Dog had the advantage right up until he got hit by car. That said he clearly has ludicrous durability, you're sure just how much damage he took from that. It was enough to give you an opportunity, as he's staying on the defensive for the moment, protecting his injuries, but you don't know how long that will last, or even whether it might be a feint. As you watch, he pulls out a battered pack of cigarettes, lights one. "Aight, girl, you got some moves, I'll give you that." He blows out a cloud of smoke. "But do you got what it takes to finish the job? You got the killer instinct?" He flicks the cigarette away, takes up his stance again. "I'm dyin' to find out."

This isn't over. But you sense that the next exchange will be decisive. It all comes down to this.

>Stay cautious, keep the stamina advantage
>Break through his defenses with a throw, then follow up
>Put everything you have into one big finishing move
>>
>>5470295
>>Stay cautious, keep the stamina advantage
Bit by bit. Slow and steady wins the race.
>>
>>5470295
>Stay cautious, keep the stamina advantage

He's gotta be reeling after all of that, rather gas him out than give him the chance to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Can we still shoot him?
>>
>>5470295
>Put everything you have into one big finishing move
>>
>>5470295
>>Stay cautious, keep the stamina advantage
>>
>>5470295
>Stay cautious, keep the stamina advantage
>>
>>5470295
>Break through his defenses with a throw, then follow up
>>
>>5470295
>Put everything you have into one big finishing move
Trust our instincts. If we think the next exchange is going to be decisive, then we can't afford to pussyfoot around I think.
>>
>>5470295
>Put everything into a big finish

Sucks that the pile up occured.
>>
>>5470295
>>Put everything you have into one big finishing move
>>
>>5470295
>Stay cautious, keep the stamina advantage
Decisive doesn't always mean "this will end it;" sometimes it means, "this will determine how the rest of the fight goes."
If Wild Dog had a super meter, getting hit by a car and thrown down the hill would definitely give him some meter.
I don't want us to get beat by a surprise hit of the classic, "the lower my health, the stronger my attack" super.
>>
>>5470295
>>Stay cautious, keep the stamina advantage
>>
>>5470295
>>Break through his defenses with a throw, then follow up
>>
>>5470295

That's right, you need to be cautious. Stay careful, stay focused. Don't think about those photos of the people this asshole massacred. Don't think about the puppet masters who have been getting away with everything until now. And definitely don't think about the man who was like a father to you, who was lost trying to take these assholes down and make the world a better place.

Something in you snaps. You forget all about careful conserving, all about cautious strategy. This man is a monster. If criminals needs to be punished, he needs more. He deserves the biggest ass-kicking you've got it in you to deliver. You're going to let him fucking have it.

You charge up, opening all your gates at once, letting the surge of energy flow through every circuit of your meridians and every nerve of your flesh. The dark shadow of a titanic ocean wave gathers around you. Then at the tipping point, the wave falls. You dash forward, and all that energy comes crashing down. You unload on your opponent with one punch after another, a furious series of endless blows, each strike infused with power. No pause or slowing, no release or relent, only the endless beat of waves upon waves smashing against the shore.

You lose track of the number of blows you throw. Your hands are battered and bruised. But you keep going. You trained for this. Never stop. Never tire.

A final uppercut to finish things, and Wild Dog goes flying again, falling down from the street down to the port below, crashing down onto the wooden pier above the waves. Taking a moment to catch your breath and shake off your hands, you hop down after him to see what condition he's in.

Somehow, despite all that punishment, Wild Dog stands up again. He's barely conscious, more bruised flesh than whole, bleeding from a dozen wounds. And yet he still stands. "Ain't nothin'," he says from bleeding lips, staring down at you from one eye, the other swollen shut. He's smiling like he's having the time of his life. "I can take it. Anythin' you got. Keep goin' all day. I got nowhere else to be."

So you take a deep breath. You reset your stance. And you do it all again.

Punch after punch, strike after strike, left after right, an unceasing, unbreaking, unstoppable torrent. Each blow sprays a burst of water, excess chi exploding out from the additional blunt force infused by your body's energy. Left then right then left then right then left then right and then finally, when the force you've built up has reached its zenith, you put everything left into a side kick that blasts Wild Dog off the pier entirely, landing with a splash into the waters of the bay.

You watch the dark shape under the waves begin to sink, unmoving.

>Whether it's for future intel, respect for a worthy opponent, or doing things by the book, you want him alive.
>Fuck him. He's fish food.
>>
>>5475341
>Fuck him. He's fish food.
>>
>>5475341
>Whether it's for future intel, respect for a worthy opponent, or doing things by the book, you want him alive.
Also you just know he isn't dead if we don't see the body.
>>
>>5475341
>You want him alive
As the anon above said. If we don't see a body, he's not dead.

So either take him in alive, or pull his ass out and confirm he's dead.
>>
>>5475341
>>Fuck him. He's fish food.
>>
>>5475341
>>Whether it's for future intel, respect for a worthy opponent, or doing things by the book, you want him alive.
>>
>>619179515
>>
>>5475341
>Whether it's for future intel, respect for a worthy opponent, or doing things by the book, you want him alive.
>>
>>5475341
>Fuck him. He's fish food.
>>
>>5475341
>Whether it's for future intel, respect for a worthy opponent, or doing things by the book, you want him alive.
Not sure how much intel he'll have on the tournament, probably not even standard crime but still.
>>
>>5475341
>>Whether it's for future intel, respect for a worthy opponent, or doing things by the book, you want him alive.
>>
>>5475341
>>Fuck him. He's fish food.
>>
>>5475341

No, you're not going to let it end like this. Maybe you want whatever intel he can provide on the syndicate, however little it might turn out to be. Maybe you just don't trust a hundred percent that he'll actually be dead, if the body sinks out of view and you don't see him die with your own eyes. Maybe it's a little of both. For whatever reason, you end up diving off the pier after him.

Lugging a person this size out of the water might be impossible if you weren't able to control your flow through the water with what few scattered drops of energy remain in your aura. Even with your abilities, it takes all your remaining strength to haul Wild Dog out of the water and back onto the wooden planks of the pier.

Local law enforcement is here by now, guns pointed, demanding answers and raised hands. You can provide both, showing your Interpol ID and your lack of weapons. It's still a chaotic mess of shouts and threats until Dupont arrives, speaking with the police commander. seems agitated -- possibly due to having his city's biggest annual sports event disrupted by a fistfight. It takes a tense few minutes, but Dupont is able to convince the commander to have his men stand down and allow Interpol agents to take the dripping Wild Dog away, as well as a couple of medics to see to your many scratches, bruises, and a few minor fractures.

"Miss Fields," Dupont says, approaching as the medics stitch up a gash from that second-story window glass. "Impressive work, as always. I'm sure that can't have been easy."

"What part?" you ask. "The part where I saved a scumbag's life, or that I beat him in the first place?"

"Both, is what I was thinking," Dupont says. "A commendable job. That said, ah -- the Grand Prix has many powerful people with vested interests, sports, motor vehicles, finance, government -- what I'm saying is, was it really necessary to throw him onto the racetrack? In the middle of the race?"

"Fred, he threw me through a goddamn window, and then he almost took my head off with a racecar," you say, glaring up at him, not angry, just tired. "It was the best option. Would you rather he succeeded?"

"No, no, of course not," Dupont says, and sighs. "I'll be getting a few nasty phone calls from egotistical men in expensive suits, but that's business as usual, really."

You watch as the van takes away Wild Dog. You allow yourself a small feeling of accomplishment, having overcome an old obstacle that troubled your thoughts. But he was nothing more than a bad memory. The Circle is the real problem. And today's battle was only the first step of many in taking them down.
>>
>>5479732

A few days later, you're still feeling the effects of the fight. Your knowledge of using chi to energize your healing accelerates your recovery, but it still takes a while to bounce back from a slugfest like that. Your upper back is especially sore from not holding back during those punch rushes to finish things off. But it was worth it to come out the other side on top.

Though you do the smart thing and take a few days off from running, there's no rest for the weary when it comes to work. No time to wait even for Alan's funeral. You're already back at Interpol HQ, meeting with Dupont and Jane Hastings to discuss the next step of the plan.

"Our mercenary friend is, predictably, being less than cooperative," Jane says. "While I appreciate you bringing him in, Julia, I can't say whether we'll make any progress there."

"I figured it was worth a shot," you say.

"We're kind of scrambling for options here. Especially with poor Alan gone. He was our best infiltrator." Jane hesitates, then says, "We're considering maybe bringing in one of the other fighters, asking for their cooperation. Our department thinks this is our best shot."

"I'm not sure," Dupont says. He leans back in his chair and folds his arms, thinking. "These are chaotic people with divided loyalties. We'll have no way of controlling them if things go wrong. That, and what do we have to offer them that the Circle can't? A million dollar prize for the winner, prestige and honor. I'm not sure we can count on their help just because it's the right thing to do."

"Several of the candidates already have reasons to hold personal grudges against Han Yang personally, or the Circle in general," Jane says. "They might help us to settle their personal vendettas."

"All the more reason they're unpredictable," Dupont says. "I'm not sure we can trust any of them. That said, we might need to start taking chances here. What do you think, Julia?" He and Jane both look at you, wondering what your opinion is.

You pick up the file of the other fighters and look over the photographs again. You're not sure if it's a good idea, but if you did decide to go through with it, who would you pick?

The girl, Ayame -- she can't get involved, she's just a kid. Shan Yang is too involved in the world of crime to cooperate with law enforcement. And you don't know enough about the last four candidates, the ones who have yet to fight.

That leaves three options for potential collaborators -- and a fourth option, which is to leave them alone and rely on yourself and your team.

>Jack
>Ryoma
>Mariana
>It's not a good idea.
>>
>>5479738
>Jack
We can give him info
>>
>>5479738
>Jack
>>
>>5479738
>Ryoma
>>
>>5479738
>Jack
>>
>>5479738
>>Jack
>>
>>5479738
>Jack
Lets get the fun guy in.

Even if he is a liabilty
>>
>>5479738
>Ryoma
He has a grudge against the Circle.
>>
>>5479738
>>Jack



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