What a strange job this turned out to be...(Closed RP)

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Thunderfistx

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@zauberin@rosso@_araneae_ (OOC: This is a closed RP between myself and Zauby)

No Caption Provided

A new job has been taken. Someone has hired her to fight someone. At first, Sarah was initially hesitant to fight this mystery person since she doesn't know who this opponent is or their capabilities. But with no other jobs lined up at the moment, Thunderfist is a bit bored. She takes the job. Besides, it supposedly pays well if she does a good job and there's a bonus in it for her if she happens to win. It's a simple job, she hopes, but as Sarah has learned in her line of work...there is no such thing as simple.

Sarah is fond of antiques. That is evidenced by the fact that she takes out an old styled time piece. She flips it open, eyeing the time. It's nearly one 1:00 PM. A few minutes early. Greedy, uncaring, callous, etc, one can call Sarah whatever one wants. But being punctual is something Thunderfist makes a point to be good at. It even impresses some of her clients. That last part is not necessary for this job, however. She's not seeking to impress the one who hired her by being early.

Thunderfist waits, taking a deep breath as she pockets the time piece. She prepares herself, making sure she's ready. She needs to be since she is fighting an unknown opponent. Win or lose, Sarah hopes to live past today and hopefully learn from her experience...and get payed.

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Valor City Warehouse District

By then she was supposed to be fulfilling Antonia's desire that she step into her latest designated role as the nGoddess of Progress. A title entailing complete freedom, but ultimately constricting. It was Dain's wish that Anastasia take an active role in shaping mankind's destiny.

This was not that.

Following her maker's grand revelation, Nastya was left in nigh-perpetual ennui. She'd sold off many elements of the company which spawned her and effectively reduced her load, leaving the heads of the remaining subsidiaries to manage their own affairs with far less oversight. Meanwhile, the Man-Made Amazon familiarized herself with her secondary mutation and sought excitement elsewhere--mainly through conflict.

A squad of five, including herself, surrounded the entrance to the safehouse, and she stood taller than every one. Those accompanying her stood fully armoured from head to toe, but she'd made use of much lighter protections. Nastya pressed her ear against the door, listening for the heartbeats. The subtle echo of footsteps, clear as a shout to her enhanced ears, estimating weight and build of each individual, placing their locations and movement patterns. Finally, a block of C4 placed against the door. In unison the four individuals surrounding her laid hands on her shoulder. They waited...

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BOOM!

The build shook on its foundation. Bodies flew. Everyone was shouting but no one could hear. There were no casualties (not yet). When the smoke cleared Nastya's expression fell flat. She and her comrades, though they stood directly at the epicenter of the explosion, were unharmed. Her allies spread out and began securing the building. There wasn't much of a fight; these were, after all, just refugees.

"So much for excitement but a job's a job. At least the money is good," she droned sarcastically, but her lips curled into a smile as the clock in her head ticked along. If the explosion didn't get her going, the time should.

It was 1:00. Showtime.

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Thunderfist takes a deep breath, walking over to the building's edge stepping up on it to bend down in a kneeling position as she waits for the action to start.

BAWHOOOM! An explosion nearby causes Sarah's arms to twitch as the sound serves to startle her, causing her jump slightly and her heart to pound in her chest.

Sarah did not expect such an occurrence to happen, but it did and Thunderfist leaps into action as she uses her parkour to leap across the gap between rooftops and acrobatically make her way to the source of the explosion. The Living Weapon makes good time as she makes her way onto the street and about 20 yards from Nastya. Sarah is behind her so she doesn't see the other woman's face. At least, not yet.

Thunderfist doesn't wish to attack from behind as she does not know who this person is and attacking from behind without knowing the capabilities of her opponent is a cowardly tactic. So, rather than attack, Sarah decides to announce her presence, more to see who this person is and if she is friend or foe.

"Who are you and what do you want?" It's a simple question, nothing complicated. Thunderfist hopes this has the desired results of seeing the woman turn around and to see who this is. In the back of her mind, Sarah is wondering if this person is the job she has tonight. She's to fight someone and she wonders if this person is the one she is meant to be fighting.

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If she'd heard her enter, she gave no indication. Face to face with a kneeling refugee, the woman's jaw clasped within her hand, Nastya appeared to inspect her as one might cattle or some piece of human property. All the while whispering sweet-sounding, singsong ironies en español. Even as her compatriots shifted and trained their rifles on the intruder, she remained eye-level with the hostage, back turned toward the new threat. Inviting. Dismissive.

"Who are you and what do you want?"

The young immortal paused. Initiative given, but not taken. Interesante.

Finally, slowly, the Amazon stood to her full height and turned. Head tilted curiously, expression puzzled as though she were running the questions through several levels of translation, or as if she might have forgotten her own name. "Yo?" She crossed her arms and shifted her weight to one foot. "Llámame...Anastasia,"spreading her arms theatrically to both sides. As far as she was concerned there was no threat to her here. This was a show, and Anastasia filled many roles—casting director, producer, actress, and of course, the master of ceremonies.

"Want? Strange question to be asking if you are walking in on this situation, no? What I want...either this does not concern you, or you do have a reason to be here but you aren't one of mine. In either case, you are an intruder and will need to be dealt with." Her tone was sweet like one speaking to a misplaced child, but her eyes were touched by a saccharine smile so wild and manic as to be inhuman. The armed individuals opened fire.

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#5  Edited By Thunderfistx

@cutthroatbitch: @_araneae_@rosso

From Thunderfist's position, she sees Nastya bending down to talk with someone, but the woman's body is blocking her view so the Mercenary doesn't know it's actually a hostage. The thugs serve as a suitable distraction as Sarah notes how many there are, a rough estimation on the amount of ammo they have with possible extra clips, possible escape routes, things in the environment Sarah might be able to use either as a weapon or to aid her in a fight, among other things. But then Nastya slowly stands up and that's when Sarah's one good eye moves to take a look.

She's tall... Sarah thinks to herself, noting Nastya's height of 6'3". Even through the woman's clothing, Thunderfist notes that she has got to be built like an Amazon. It's rare to find a woman so tall but also with the beauty and muscles to go with such a lofty height. It's enough of a distraction that Sarah fails to see the hostage and by the time she does, it's too late to take much of an initiative on it. Crap. This just got more interesting.

The puzzled expression on Nastya's face is a curious one and it leads to Sarah wondering if English is this woman's second language. But when 'Anastasia' speaks, she uses a word that sounds Spanish. The Mercenary knows several languages but Spanish is not one of them. However, the Spanish word in connection to her name conveys the appropriate meaning and Thunderfist understands the intent. The woman wishes to be called Anastasia which is a pretty name.

When Anastasia speaks, Sarah notes the tone as if one taken with a child who has found themselves at the wrong place and time. But that smile adds a wild feel to the situation, making Sarah think the woman takes great pleasure in what she does.

Even as Nastya speaks, her men prepare to open fire and giving her a pretty big clue on what is about to happen. This allows Thunderfist to adequately prepare for it. By the time Anastasia finishes speaking, her men have opened fire and Thunderfist is already leaping to avoid those bullets using her enhanced speed thanks to her use of Chi. Sarah leaps backwards moving with the grace of a dancer as she lands and then tumbles backwards in a reverse somersault before leaping into the air once again.

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Dodging bullets is trickier than one thinks and even though Sarah makes it look easy, it's really not. More than one almost manages to put a hole through her and would have if she had been moving at the speed of a normal human. Several more actually manage to graze her armor. Enhancing one's speed with Chi helps to barely stay one step ahead, but it's always a tricky thing to dodge bullets. Plus, some bullets travel faster than others so that's a factor Sarah always has to take into consideration when trying to dodge them.

By the time Thunderfist lands again, she has thrown down a smoke pellet from her utility belt that blankets the area around her and blocks the view of the gunmen who are now busy reloading their weapons. The men continue shooting into the smoke cloud as if they think it helps to shoot blindly. Idiots.

A well aimed tranquilizer dart takes care of one of the gunmen while a blunt edged shuriken takes care of another. The remaining gunmen fire at where Thunderfist's shadow moves but hit nothing as she hides from them, picking them off one by one like a predator hunting it's prey. Silent, deadly and cunning. It comes down to one lone gunmen and he knows he's alone. He's scared since the rest of his 'friends' have fallen. He feels a sense of helplessness and even accidentally fires on a cat that accidentally knocks over something. His gun is shaking in his hands as beads of nervous sweat come from his forehead, "WHERE ARE YOU?!" He screams, slowly moving backwards, gun shaking in his hands.

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Thunderfist is conveniently behind him, bent knees in that stealthy position. She smirks, whispering a single word. "Here." The gunmen is startled, spinning around but Sarah is faster as she delivers a sharp left jab in his face that breaks his nose and in one more quick motion, Sarah slams her right fist into the last gunman's face as he falls on the floor, ending the confrontation.

Now that the gunmen have been taken care of, Thunderfist now walks towards Anastasia with renewed purpose. She'd like to go after the hostage, but the tall Amazon is kind of in the way. Curious that the woman only watched as Sarah tore apart her men using non-lethal tactics. But the hostage might be different.

Thunderfist stares at Nastya, wondering what the woman is capable of. A challenge is stated by Sarah, "Ever hear of the old saying, if you want something done then do it yourself?" But then Sarah stops herself, considering what happened before this. The woman introduced herself. Bad guy or not, it'd be rude not to give this woman a name in return, "How rude of me, I forgot to introduce myself since you were kind enough to give me your name. I am called Thunderfist."

Sarah puts her right fist into her left open palm and bows in respect to her opponent, but always keeping an eye on her. Then Thunderfist goes into a fighting stance, left foot forward, right foot back at an almost 90 degree angle, left hand facing Nastya, palm out, but arm slightly bent with the right arm at Sarah's side and fist clenched. Then Sarah turns her left hand, making a gesture to come at her even as Sarah smiles since she's anxious to test her mettle against this woman.

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The show commenced and Nastya took a seat, cross-legged, on the floor next to her hostage.

They'd been instructed to kill her, if they could. To do everything in their power to bring Thunderfist's career, and her life, to an unceremonious end as quickly as possible. The pay was better than great, with a nice bonus for whomever managed to pull it off.

Of course, they were never actually expected to pull it off. But a double-blind study would provide the best proof of success. True to form, Thunderfist disposed of the hired mercs with apparent ease, and finesse, as much a body artist as she was a fighter. She's showing off, thought the young immortal, noting the subtle elements of flair with a smirk.

Skilled as they were (Nastya didn't make a habit of employing bums to fight for her), she held few illusions that they'd measure up to the woman they sought to trap. Any that existed vanished soon after Sarah burst into action. Nastya understood immediately. Although she maintained a cavalier mien, she was always—always—watching with vested interest. It was the only reason she'd hired help in the first place. They allowed her to observe. And while Sarah's fighting could be admired for its artistry and the joy it seemed to bring, Nastya understood differently. Bodies and objects, limbs and projectiles, were all broken down into a series of "base components" – geometric shapes, clumps of mass, angles and velocity vectors – completely dissociated from the ability of any human to perceive.

The universe spoke to her. In the language of mathematics it spoke cold, hard truth. Whispered secrets it would divulge to her and her alone. This was the real world, and she alone could access it. Those base components became measurements and formula, streams of equations discerned and solved from the precise placement of every step, angle and speed of traversal, height of every mass laid out on a 3D grid, itself overlaid with rate of change (or, colloquially, "time"). The Lazarus saw each event as a point from which a finite number of possibilities radiated. At the end of each possibility line was another event point, leading to another in a finite series of conditional probabilities. And so on. This point-to-point blueprint of life, raised in front of her eyes, informed her early that Thunderfist was well beyond the physical capabilities of any human. Informed her of the panic and adrenaline dump—fatigue and human error, decreasing the effectiveness of her soldiers of fortune. In this way Anastasia was able to predict, down to the minute, when and how the confrontation would end. Needs refining. Get it closer next time. Ah well. The numbers were still new. No use crying over it. Her turn had come.

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Nastya stood and stretched. Bounced on the balls of her feet a few times. Rolled her shoulders and her neck. And there was that confident smirk. "Qué lástima...Sorry if they bored you. I was hoping that by the time we'd gotten in the mood, you and I could get some...alone time." She winked. Her hand fell onto the hostage's head and the woman vanished. "And here we are. If I get the sense you're only thinking about her while you're with me I'll get offended," mimicking an emotional wound before her expression snapped serious—"and she will die."

Noting the traditional stance of her opponent, Nastya did not bow. Once more, she rolled her shoulders forward and dropped into a stance. Thai shell, Dutch base, Western hands. Light of foot she immediately closed the space between them, pawing her jab but staying at the very edge of her punch. Nastya was bigger and her arms were longer. This allowed her to maximize her reach while reading offence and minimizing any immediate danger. But though her strikes naturally carried power, those punches were more feelers than strikes, designed to force reactions and establish patterns for her advantage.

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#7  Edited By Thunderfistx

@cutthroatbitch:

Thunderfist watches the tall woman bounce on her feet, rolling her head in that way some fighters do in order to loosen up some muscles. That smirk followed by those words of...Sarah blinks, Did...Did she just flirt with me? She thinks. It's surprising, but not unwelcome since the Mercenary has noticed how beautiful Nastya is. While it's true Thunderfist is straight, even she can appreciate this woman's obvious beauty. And now that flirtatious remarks have been added in, this is going to be one very interesting encounter. Of course, Sarah cannot help noting why Nastya seems to be flirting with her when only half her own face can be seen and is covered with a mask.

The hostage vanishing from sight is the second thing that surprises the Mercenary. Is this just an illusion? Hologram? Or does Nastya have the power to turn people invisible? This whole situation is turning out to be a bit strange. The words of warning snap Sarah back to reality and that's when the Mercenary makes it a point to focus, and think, only of Nastya. She doesn't want the hostage to die so all thoughts of her vanish from her mind. Focus. Nastya is the target and only her. "Well, if you wanted me all to yourself, all you had to do was ask." Sarah says, shooting back with her own banter. Due to her mask, Sarah doubts Nastya's can see her wink but she does so anyway.

Thunderfist recognizes the stance and knows immediately it'll make Nastya quick on her feet. True to form, the other woman moves with such grace she appears to almost float on the ground to Sarah. With a height and reach advantage, Sarah will have to fight smart. The jabs from Nastya come quick and sharp, very precise and skillful. Not meant to be anything other than a simple test. Most fighters do that when facing an unknown opponent. More importantly, it seems that Nastya also knows how to fight tall, which is also pretty smart. Not everyone knows how to fight tall and this forces Sarah to approach this fight differently.

Sarah leans back to avoid the first jab, barely getting out of the way in time due to how fast Nastya is. Jabs always are the fastest punch one can throw and Sarah is impressed with Nastya's speed. She's quick. Then Sarah dodges to her left and to Nastya's right, already circling her opponent.

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Sarah waits, choosing not to respond in kind just yet as she decides to try and use Nastya's strength against her. She waits for another jab. Provided it comes, Sarah is ready for it as she quickly steps forward, trying to place a hand on Nastya's shoulder, spinning around and trying to get away with performing a shoulder flip. If this succeeds, then it is Sarah's hope that Nastya ends up on her back. IF this works, Sarah leaps into the air and tries driving her elbow into the woman's solar plexus in order to try and drive the wind out of her sails.

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Nastya fell silent. In any engagement the early segments were always the most challenging and, she thought, the most important. As such the entirety of her mental faculties were devoted to solving the Thunderfist problem. She read her opponent as a stochastic function, prodding jabs a series of inputs enabling her determining variables and outcomes. One critical factor seemed to jump out right away. She's not used to my size, she thought.Although armed with awe-inspiring speed and the skill to completely dismantle Nastya's forces in less than a few minutes, the young immortal's strikes and feints appeared to yield results in exposing holes in her opponent's game. Leaning straight back, circling into instead of away from the rear hand (almost universally the "power hand"), both generally considered "bad habits" especially when facing a larger opponent. Potentially a clever ploy, but she remained confident in what she saw. There wasn't a fighter in history who was perfect.

Her plan seemed to work. Acting as an active counter-striker, she stayed just in range. Close enough to keep the pressure on. Pushy, yet patient. Snapping jabs, making her presence felt, presenting constant threat after threat to force those reactions, yet never overcommitting to any strike. Evolution would do the rest, the hypothalamus frantically signalling 'tooclose-tooclose-tooclose' as Nastya imposed and struck.

In a split-second before it occurred she felt the flow of battle shift. Reality acted in accordance. Her jab snapped outward and, rather than dance aside or away, Thunderfist pressed in. Nastya'd already observed her speed from afar but it was another matter entirely to experience the incoming force firsthand. Too fast for her to retract the extended limb.

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Yet her combat strategy was not without its merit. Its very purpose was to force the opponent to react and react and react until the fighter would react decisively—incorrectly. At the very edge of her range, while evolution signalled to each fighter the threat presented by the other, Nastya'd purposefully kept far enough to see most reactions and attacks coming her way. Sarah's mistake? Judo throws required close range to execute properly. Yet even despite these disadvantages, enhanced by chi her staggering speed saw her cinch a hold of Nastya's shoulder. Had she committed to a combo or been just a hair's breadth slower she'd have been slammed flat on her back. The Lazarus' own advantage was a preternatural proprioception literally encoded into her genes and furthered since birth, her commitment to defence, and that Sarah's commitment to the shoulder was somewhat premature. This allowed the Amazon to drop her hips and create a frame of her own on Sarah's body, stuffing the throw. Meanwhile taking advantage of the mercenary's grapple, locking her own arms in a vise grip around Thunderfist's waist. Inhumanly powerful legs drove into the ground. Nastya lifted and "bridged" her back. Her intent—to raise the mercenary into the air and slam her German suplex style, headfirst onto the concrete flooring. She was fast. She was skilled. Now it was time to test her durability.

Pending success she'd seek to capitalize on a hopefully dazed opponent as well as an extreme weight and power discrepancy. Maintaining the body lock as she rolled, scrambling to a dominant position where her size, strength, and heavy top pressure would allow her to control Sarah's hips en route to a mounted position. From there she'd seek to beat her opponent into submission, or unconscious, whichever came first. But should her slam fail to execute satisfactorily, she'd devote her efforts to disengagement and reset at striking range.

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#9  Edited By Thunderfistx

@cutthroatbitch:

The danger of facing an unknown opponent is the fact that Sarah doesn't know what they are capable of. It could be a man, a woman or a child. Yes, even a child can have the power of a nuclear bomb inside of them just waiting to go off. That is why Sarah tries to never underestimate her opponent even if she fails at times and ends up doing that very thing. So, while Nastya has the height and gorgeous body of an Amazon warrior, at least to Sarah, she doesn't know if the woman has the physical capabilities of one and only a suspicion that she does. The jabs showed the woman is capable of boxing, but was she capable of more?

Thunderfist's answer comes when her attempted throw almost succeeds, but doesn't. Was that a momentary flash of surprise in Nastya's eyes? Perhaps. What happens next proves to Sarah that the Queen of Avalon is no ordinary fighter. When Sarah attempts to throw the larger woman, she finds her hands gripping air as Nastya slips free by ducking down and proving she has a superb fighting IQ to be admired. She's good, as quick as a cheetah and just as majestic with movements as fast as a cat. Then Sarah feels herself being grabbed from behind, lifted into the air and slamming down head first into the pavement with the tips of her boots also touching the hard surface. Sarah grunts when it happens, frustrated by her mistake at failing and getting owned for it. Despite this, Thunderfist chuckles at this, Alright...I definitely deserved that. But at least that answers my question I had been wondering. Sarah thinks.Nastya has the height and looks of an Amazon and now the question Sarah had asked earlier is answered. The Immortal Warden is every bit as good as she looks.

Sarah is young and inexperienced even if she had been trained to be the next Immortal Thunderfist. She also hasn't been a Mercenary for very a long, a year at most. She's built up quite a reputation in her short time, but fighting a worthy opponent is not something she encounters very often. Someone with the skill to truly put Sarah to the ultimate test. It's something Sarah has wanted and craved. A good fight, to test her skill against someone who isn't a pushover. It's a nice change of pace and Nastya can deliver exactly what Sarah has been wanting for a long time.

Unfortunately for Nastya, Sarah is not stunned from the move the amazon successfully performed. If Sarah had been without her armor, she definitely would have been dazed from such a masterful display from the Valencia Knightfall. However, Thunderfist's armor, as well as her mask, is an MR-fluid based liquid armor system and designed for superior shock absorption. So, when Sarah's head and upper back hit the pavement, the armor successfully absorbs much of the otherwise stunning shock that normally would have been devastating, which would have allowed Nastya to end the fight far too soon. Successfully protected, Sarah is able to concentrate on what Nastya tries to do and counter it.

Nastya has proven to be extremely capable, greatly impressing Sarah and making her pay for her rookie mistake. But now it's Thunderfist's turn to try and turn the tables. She slams her arm down to stop the larger woman from gaining that coveted mounted position. Legs too, both arms if she has to, anything to defeat Nastya's desired purpose. An elbow to the gut? Maybe. An elbow to the face? Not likely to work. Can't go far enough. So Sarah tries two things she can possibly think of to do. She leans forward as far as she possibly can, as quickly as possible, then uses a little bit of Chi to try and enhance her speed on what she does next. She then attempts to try slamming the back of her head into Nastya's face in an attempt to stun the woman just long enough for her to loosen her grip. Should this attempt be successful as Sarah hopes, then she tries to slam an elbow in the woman's side or gut, anywhere before trying to break Nastya's grip on her hips and move away, then back into a fighting stance as she turns around and waits for Nastya to rise.

Providing the moves are as successful as Sarah hopes and is able to break free, then Sarah actually takes the time to smile. Despite her mistake earlier, she's enjoying this. Nastya is a true challenge and no pushover, displaying a true master's skill. She's an opponent worth fighting, even if Thunderfist happens to lose.

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Despite previous reads, Thunderfist continued to exceed expectations. That was fine, thought the Child of Legends. She had all the time in the world to make adjustments. She’d slammed the mercenary with enough power to not only force a major concussion, but also fracture the skull and cause potentially severe spinal damage. Sarah should’ve been more than dazed; she should’ve been critical.

And somehow, she wasn’t. She’d endured and hardly lost a step but Anastasia was no stranger to the intricacies of groundwork. Though seeking mount, she understood that setting oneself upon a single-minded course was a huge mistake for a fighter, even more so when grappling. As the two scrambled for position Nastya took leave of the ordered world of functions and matrices and embraced chaos. She was an inexorable force momentarily slowed but ever-progressing. A boa, waiting for her prey to gradually exhale before realizing—too late—that it’d expended its last breath. With every movement of every limb, every roll and every post.

An opening—Thunderfist rolled—Nastya seized. Although incomplete, she’d maintained hip control and began progression to the most dominant position of all: back mount. The Numeromancer grinned. This function was as good as solved. The battle was finished.

A blinding spike of pain shot through her face. Her brain rattled in her skull. In quick succession a paralyzing stab to the solar plexus ended any notion that she could take the outcome for granted. Her muscles seized and her body took leave of her active control, as she struggled for breath. Disabled for only a few moments, but that was all Thunderfist needed to slip away. Though frustrated with the attack, Nastya blamed herself. She should’ve registered the likelihood of the headbutt the instant Sarah showed she could take a superhuman slam onto concrete without so much as a moment’s loss of time. But the Man-Made Amazon had something for that too.

Slowly, the Lazarus arose. Heaving slow, steadying breaths through her mouth. Blood dripping from her nose.

“No mentiré, that was annoying. But I can be a good sport, sometimes. Felicidades, Ms. Fist. As a reward, I will allow you to press your advantage.” Languid smile stretched across her features, she beckoned with a ‘come hither’ motion.

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#11  Edited By Thunderfistx

@cutthroatbitch:

If Thunderfist didn't have her armor to absorb the impact she suffered, she knows the fight would be over and she'd likely need to be rushed to the hospital. Her reverse head butt was an act of desperation more than anything else. She needed to get out of that spider's web that Nastya's weaved so masterfully and it worked. But such an escape, for Sarah, is not to be praised. She's chiding herself for underestimating her opponent and not trying to work her way on the inside like Mike Tyson used to do back when he boxed professionally.

Anastasia's skill is greater than any master Sarah has fought. The woman knows how to fight with such masterful skill that Sarah feels like a rookie in comparison. If Thunderfist is a tenth degree black belt, then Nastya is a 7th degree red belt, which is above black belt. But who needs belts? There is a pattern that is showing itself, something that Sarah is starting to see but she cannot put her finger on it yet. She needs to see Nastya fight some more.

As a woman who is blind in one eye, Sarah has had to learn how to fight with only one eye. Losing some of her depth perception was detrimental at first. But she learned to compensate, mostly by repetition and instinct. To not 'see' how far a person or object is, but to train herself into not having to rely on vision but instinct and feeling her opponent when applicable, especially when grappling them. It's not a perfect system, it still fails to compensate for her blind spot, but Sarah makes it work. Short of getting Augmented Reality or a Cybernetic eye, Sarah must rely on this less than perfect system.

To Thunderfist's credit, she's usually taller than a lot of woman and even many men so she is able to use her height advantage and bully her opponent as she got in close and score a win. To go for a grapple or strike some knock out blows. If Sarah isn't fighting like Mike Tyson and swarming her opponent with punches and kicks, she's grappling. Usually this works against shorter opponents as good compensation against shorter fighters. But Nastya is not only taller with longer reach, she also has the physical stats to go with it. Sarah knows that puts her at a disadvantage. So imagine her delight when Nastya says she'll allow the Immortal Thunderfist to press her advantage.

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Thunderfist maintains her smile, taking any small victory that she can over the mastery of her most worthy of opponents. A tinge of guilt comes over her at the sight of the blood but she shoves such feelings aside and clears her mind. Focus.

Sarah feels like she's going up against the woman holding the Championship title and she's the up and coming underdog gunning for the win. If Sarah were a betting woman, she'd certainly bet on Nastya winning this one based on what's happened so far. But Thunderfist resolves to try her best to win anyway despite the odds. She doesn't believe in giving up.

"Aww, really? So you do like me." Sarah teases in response to Nastya stating she'll allow the Immortal Thunderfist to press her advantage. Should she? It could be a ruse, a way to lure Sarah back in for the knockout and if Nastya manages to get hold of her again, it's over this time. The woman known as Lazarus doesn't strike Sarah as someone who will make the same mistake twice. She decides to test a hunch she has.

Why not... Sarah thinks, suddenly bursting into action and becoming a whirlwind of speed to try and put Nastya on the defense. Before now, she barely used any of her Chi to give her an edge. But now, she uses it to enhance her speed even more than it already is. Becoming inhumanly fast, Thunderfist hopes that by pressing her advantage she can end the fight. But she also has another reason by choosing to enhance her speed with her Chi and that is an attempt to put Nastya purely on defense with no chance to retaliate. Hopefully.

The phenomenally fast attacks come in three parts. First, Thunderfist starts off by attempting to land a series of blistering jabs followed by a right hook. Second, Thunderfist goes for a feint, lifting her left leg up to try and make Nastya think she's going for a round house kick to the head with her left foot. Third, she stops midway only to immediately shift to her right leg in an attempt to land a right round house kick to the face with, if this attempt succeeds, enough force to hopefully score a knockout but Sarah will settle for a knock down. Let's see how she handles things sped up a notch. Sarah thinks to herself.

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#12  Edited By CutthroatBitch

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Nastya's expression remained frozen as it was, arrogant smile accentuated by eyelids that drooped to such an extent that an outside observer might think she was struggling not to fall asleep.

But the Immortal Tigress was wide awake. Once again reading the finer details of Thunderfist's body, each position and every angle almost perfectly placed to maximize efficiency in movement. Prescient eyes hacked into the fabric of the universe itself, downloading details impossible to discern even with a supercomputer. Rising body temperature, subtle vibrational pattens prompted by the heart, tension in Sarah's limbs alerting her to the impending rush just before the merc took off. Blistering speeds exceeding anything displayed thus far were met with silent approval but little fanfare. She'd exceeded her human limitations before so Nastya never discounted the possibility that further enhancements were possible. In fact she was counting on it.

No Caption Provided

Despite this she couldn't yet foretell just how much to expect. Her prep time—measured in the time Sarah took closing the distance—evaporated in the blink of an eye. Suddenly poised, Nastya stepped back in accordance with this and shifted again to the balls of her feet. Showing off her own gift for precision, she slipped just barely away from the volley of punches, confidence plastered on her face by way of a smirk as she leaned and pivoted about her waist with what appeared to be no effort at all. Showmanship on full display, she nonetheless understood her ability to pull off such a gambit was purely down to her understanding of the minutiae. Maintaining lead leg dominance at all times, circling always toward Sarah's blindspot, angles comprised of numerous small steps allowing her to change both distance and direction on a dime as needed.

But rather than make a mistake in frustration Sarah adapted her offence, and the taunting display - intended solely to prod at her confidence and emotions - left Nastya woefully out of position to deal with kicks of any sort. Raising her arms–

–too late. The shin slammed against her temple so hard she barely felt any pain as darkness crept at the corners of her vision. Stars danced in her eyes. Somewhere far away telemetry monitors were reading data more suggestive of a swing from a steel bat than a roundhouse kick and a team of scientists were wondering how their pet project even remained conscious.

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But even rocked, the man-made goddess didn't falter. Completing the motion already begun in raising her arms, she sought to wrap her left arm around the limb that dimmed her consciousness and trap Thunderfist on one leg. And should she find success in securing the leg she'd then take two penetrating steps on her own staggered legs, driving deep on a high crotch single-leg. Her aim then to hoist her opponent over her head and once more slam her headfirst into the concrete floor, cinching another dominant position in heavy pressure side control once the pair'd hit the ground. She'd then be able to slowly work her way up to plant her shin on Sarah's stomach, depriving her of precious breath while creating an avenue for herself to slide the leg over and transition into full mount.

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#13  Edited By Thunderfistx

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Is she so bored she's struggling not to fall asleep? Sarah thinks, but she gets her answer with what comes next.

Sarah is a woman who is used to fighting a certain way. If she can't use her height and reach advantage, she enhances herself and uses that to end a fight. If she cannot use skill, she uses a stubborn resistance to be put down, to use her iron chin to take otherwise devastating blows to slip on the inside. But as Sarah observes, Nastya skillfully avoids her blistering fast jabs and hook with a smirk on her face. ***! Sarah curses in her head, I was hoping that would catch her by surprise.

The more Thunderfist fights Nastya, the more she is realizing she's in over her head. The woman has managed to turn just about every advantage Sarah has into a weakness to be exploited. In turn, showing what a master Martial Artist Nastya has turned out to be. Her fight IQ is phenomenal and under other circumstances, Sarah would ask to be her student. To be taught everything the woman knows. It's rare to meet someone like her. And they say in order to know someone you have to fight them. It is through fighting Nastya that she is learning more and more about the woman and she likes what she sees.

Undaunted by Nastya's superior skill, Sarah stubbornly presses on. In the world of boxing, they would call this having 'heart'. The will to never give up even in the face of certain defeat. Sometimes, even if a fighter is about to get beaten had they given up they managed to turn the tables and win. Sarah does not expect that here, but still she fights on. She's a warrior, she doesn't believe in giving up.

To Sarah's utter delight, however, her feint works and the round house kick connects. For a moment, Sarah waits to see if the woman is out, to make the expected fall. Although Nastya appears rocked, she remains standing and immediately mounts a counter offensive. To anyone of a lesser caliber, this would have been a knockout or a killing blow. But Nastya once again proves her already impressive resilience by not only taking the blow in stride but also countering with a move of her own almost as soon as the round house made it's impact. This greatly impresses Sarah, but she has no time to praise Nastya on such an impressive display of her durability.

Unfortunately for Thunderfist she has made yet another mistake. She paused, to stand there and let her guard down. Even for a moment, to expect Nastya to fall down. She did not. So when the Queen of Avalon retaliates, Sarah is not expecting it. She expected a fall, not a grab. Now her leg has been grabbed. "Oh..." She begins to say as her eyebrows raise beneath her mask. Then she finds herself once more being lifted into the air, "...crap." She says, just a split second before her head slams into the pavement for the second time.

As before, Sarah's armor absorbs most of the impact and serves to protect her from the otherwise hospital inducing injury that would have no doubt occurred had she not been wearing her armored mask that surrounds most of her delicate head. To a normal human, she'd be crippled or worse. Still, damage does add up if it's inflicted in the same area. So that means since Nastya has already slammed Sarah headfirst into the pavement, then the second time serves to add up a little of the damage from before. So although Sarah wasn't really stunned last time, she feels a bit of a stun now as a few stars start swimming before her eye.

The momentary stun means that Sarah fails to defend herself against Nastya's attempt to get into that coveted dominant position. The stun only lasts a second, but that's more than enough for someone with Nastya's set of skills. Sarah tries her best to deny the other woman, but she is finding a pressure on her chest. Helplessly, Sarah watches as Nastya succeeds in her full mount. Unable to completely breath, she knows what her opponent is attempting to do. Deprive her of her ability to breathe in order to knock her out.

Thunderfist. Not the name, the Chi attack. Does Sarah dare to do it? She can. She begins to feel the Chi energy build up within her hand. Just a simple hit. Even better, a Chi blast to knock Nastya off. But Nastya has so far proven herself to be a warrior of honor. It wouldn't do to resort to cheating. No...Sarah let's the Chi die down, she won't do it. Even if it means getting the woman off of her. She can't chance Nastya not being able to withstand it and holding back might be yet another mistake.

Sarah has seconds to act before things get really desperate. She can hardly breathe, she can't really move thanks to Nastya being on top of her in that position of hers. Illusion. She might as well try it and hopes she succeeds. Using her Chi, she creates an illusion of herself. Since she knows herself better than anyone, she can create a copy down to very last detail. This illusion attacks every sense: Sight, smell as well as hearing. Remaining calm to give the illusion more realism, Sarah creates a copy of herself, an illusion, behind Nastya.

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The illusion of Thunderfist clears her throat, "Now that I've observed you from afar fighting an illusion of myself, I know exactly how to beat you." The Illusion smirks, drawing out both her swords, each one making a soft, but distinctive sound as they slide out of the sheaths as she gets into a ready position. The Illusion smiles, "Come get me...if you can."

It's a gamble as Sarah attempts to use an illusion to try and fool Nastya's senses. She doesn't know if the woman will be fooled. If not, the fight's over. But if she is fooled, then Sarah can get out of this position and continue the fight.

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She'd done it. Finally, Nastya'd secured the coveted position from which she knew she could end the fight. Yet as she raised her fist, she did not strike. What exactly it was, even her newfound abilities hadn't yet been able to pin down, but there was yet another preternatural change taking place within the body of Thunderfist. Preparing herself for yet another explosive escape, Nastya prepared to brace herself. Attempting to simultaneously hold her balance and hamper Sarah's efforts through heavy top pressure, and grinding her forearm into Sarah's neck. Again, poised as though to strike, she–

–hesitated, as whatever was about to happen...didn't. All readings coming from Thunderfist's body were completely normal, and something the Mercenary's face changed concurrently. Holding her position, working through the details available to her mind, the only thing Nastya could immediately process was annoyance, when suddenly the same voice cut in from behind her.

Oh, that's interesting...By the time "Thunderfist" had finished speaking, her scent had wafted over to where Nastya held Sarah pinned, physiological engineering allowing her to distinguish between the two sources despite them being the same exact scent. A smirk slowly curled over her lips.

"You are so estrange" said La Reina, still focused on the woman pinned beneath her but projecting her voice as much as possible over her shoulder. "If I were not the woman I am today, that may have worked. But the air current distribution has not changed, nor has the external temperature changed, in accordance with an additional human body since we began.

"That said..." She stood up, offering a hand to the Thunderfist lying on the ground. "I have my assessment. And I'll pay you. But I have to admit"—Waving a signal about the air with her hand, the earlier "hostage" strode in through the doorway, carrying a black briefcase—"I'm a little...como se dice...disturbed. Your skills and abilities, they are beyond great. You're a phenom, if you let yourself be. But you have..." Fishing about in the air for the proper words, "Like an anchor, something. Digame, why did you stop what you were doing there when I had you pinned? Did you run out of tricks, or energy?"

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***! Sarah silently curses within the confines of her innermost thoughts. She was gambling on the idea that Nastya would fall for the illusion, but she didn't. The mention of the air current distribution remaining unchanged and the temperature is logged into her memory so she can make use of that later. She'd thought of everything else except those things. So to notice it, Nastya's perception level is very impressive. Phenomenal even. Definitely not on a human level.

No Caption Provided

Darkness is just appearing in the corners of Sarah's eyes by the time Nastya's stands up and allowing her to finally breathe. She takes in a few gulps of air before her brain registers what Nastya just said. She said I'll pay you. The thought lingers there for a split second.

Sarah numbly takes Nastya's offered hand and stands up. By the time she does, it now dawns on her this is the anonymous woman who hired her for this job! Thunderfist's mouth pops open as her jaw goes slack, surprise written all over her face. By the time Nastya finishes saying all she needs to say, Sarah stutters, "W-w-wait...YOUR the one who h-h-hired me?!"

The reaction is priceless. I just fought the same woman who hired me! But why is the next question, but replaying what Nastya said in her mind she gets her answer: I have my assessment. She was assessing Thunderfist, perhaps for a mission to later undertake now that the woman knows what Sarah is capable of. It's the only thing that makes sense to the Mercenary.

The revelations have not ended there, however, as Sarah sees the 'hostage' carry over a black briefcase. The whole thing had been staged. A test. The hostage even playing a part. What a strange job this turned out to be. Sarah thinks, never having actually gotten payed after losing a fight. A first time for everything.

Once again, Nastya proves how incredible she truly is with how perceptive she happens to be. She might be able to sense my Chi. I had planned on using my namesake against her but decided against it. She knows. As impressive as Sarah has managed to become with Nastya, the same can be said the other way around as well. Nastya has also greatly impressed Thunderfist. The Mercenary has never once met any woman quite like the Immortal Warden. To her, Nastya is on the level of any of her previous masters who taught her everything she knows and that's quite the pedestal to be on all things considered.

Sarah bites her lower lip, "Your...very perceptive. I...I was going to try something else to get you off of me. A blast of Chi or slamming you with a Chi powered punch." Glancing away, she clears her throat before looking back at Nastya, "But I wasn't sure if you were capable of withstanding it and I didn't want to accidentally kill you in case you couldn't as I don't know how durable you are so I decided against it and tried a non-lethal way instead."

And then Sarah quickly adds, "I'm a Mercenary, not an assassin. And now that I know your paying me..." She's still processing that bit of information, "...I'm glad I didn't take the risk."

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Nastya's expression remained fairly fixed, though the glint of a smile touched her eyes at Sarah's extreme befuddled reaction. Then thoughtful, as Sarah gave the expected response to her inquiry.

"Oh, si, si, como creí..." She thought a moment, then shrugged. "I could not say because I have neither seen nor felt it, but if it is as powerful as you suggest then I am inclined to believe you probably would have killed me. But I would not be too concerned about that." At that her eyes sharpened and she was no longer wearing the mask of levity.

"Had you allowed this...honor"—she spat the word—"to dictate your soft illusory approach over the strike, and I was not the merciful type," raising her fist, a pair of trion blades slowly inching from between her then-bleeding knuckles, "I was going to stab you in the head. Because blunt force did not seem to be working." And just like that, she was again smiling innocuously. "Besides, even if you killed me you would have been paid anyway.

"I have a colleague like you, in that she refuses to kill. It does not in itself put you in a disadvantage but you still have to be capable of brutality, and versatility."

She had in truth mapped several "stages" of the encounter based on conditional probabilities and the ways in which Sarah performed. And while disappointed that she'd had no further excuse to play with her toys and powers, Nastya felt a slight relief that Thunderfist's limitations were purely by her own choice. Well,"choice," she thought with a smirk. Then perhaps she can still be of use.

"I hate to break it to you, but most mercenaries still kill. But there may be work for you in the future. What I have currently, most likely...simple tracking. To find someone, watch them, but do not engage. Es posible. You can keep open for communication, yes?"

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Thunderfistx

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#17  Edited By Thunderfistx

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Thunderfist notices that glint of a smile in those eyes and then Nastya looks thoughtful as she gives her reply. While the Mercenary is glad about the reassurance not to worry about the possibility of killing the Queen of Avalon it is revealed that death likely might have come to Sarah had she been more...'honorable'...in this fight. At least, that's how Sarah interprets it as she eyes the blades that slowly pop in between those knuckles. I'm lucky she decided to be merciful then. The Immortal Thunderfist thinks to herself. Considering she lost, she knows that her life was in Nastya's hands and the woman could have killed her had she chosen to do so.

Sarah appreciates being alive so she is thankful Nastya decided not to strike a killing blow. Considering this, she realizes that she just may owe the Babylonian Kitten her life. A debt if you will. The Living Weapon does not bother mentioning this as she feels she does not need to. Perhaps Nastya thinks or feels differently, one can never be too sure.

If the briefcase is offered, Sarah takes her payment. If it is not, then she waits for it to be offered. In either case, Thunderfist is interested in this new job offer. Find someone, watch but don't fight. A simple job. She can do that. She nods, "Yes, I can and I'll do it. I just need the details on who I'm trying to find and keep an eye on. I also need to know how often you need me to report into you or if you'll be contacting me about the one I'll be keeping an eye on. Uh...that is if your inclined to share all that." She adds the last bit with an air of uncertainty. She doesn't want to come off as demanding information, not to the Queen of Avalon.

All of which Sarah asks is necessary information, unless Nastya deems otherwise. Thunderfist doesn't ask about the person's name or anything too personal. That's because she doesn't want to know. The only things she needs to know is the necessary information to perform her job. Anything else and Sarah might get ideas about the job. She's learned this the hard way through past experience.

Now Sarah takes the time to clear up an apparent misconception, "And...it's not that I don't kill. It just depends on the situation and the person." She doesn't explain, just keeping things simple. But Thunderfist's thoughts go to the man who had taken everything from her. The man who slaughtered the entire Tibetan monastery who had become her family. A man who Sarah has sworn to track down to the ends of the Earth and end him. But first she has to find him and she hasn't yet. These details she keeps to herself. Nastya has no need to know them unless the woman really is that curious, then Sarah will reveal it.

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"Very well," nodded the Lazarus. "That is useful information because I wasn't certain I should tell you anything, or if I should not offer you the job at all.

"The someone is an old drinking friend of mine. A mutt formerly belonging to the Shogun of Venezuela, now a stray." Glancing in the direction of the refugee, the woman produced an image of the mutant behemoth, the words "Alpha Dog" printed on the back, offering the visual aid to Thunderfist. Starting out the same hole her team had blown in the doorway, Nastya continued. "You don't need to report anything. You don't even need to find him right away. Your only job is to know where he is. Whenever I decide I need to see him, I will ask you, and you will save me the trouble of having to track him myself."

She stopped suddenly, waving a finger about the air as though to physically reverse her memory in order to recall something important. "Oh! And Ms. Fist...When the time comes for you to locate my friend, treat him every bit as a hunter would treat an animal. Don't stand downwind if you can help it. Even still, there is a chance he may notice you following him. If he fights you, you must do everything in your power to kill him, ideally in the most gruesome way you can imagine. In addition to being a reprehensible being, he possesses remarkable regenerative capabilities so you don't need to worry about his safety. Bien? Bien!"

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#19  Edited By Thunderfistx

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Thunderfist takes a look at the image of the behemoth and can scarcely believe it's him! Alpha Dog. She doesn't even need to look at the back since she already knows who he is. Sarah has fought him and that particular fight ended inconclusively(beginning with post #3).

Sarah has to smile inwardly at the irony of being hired to track down a man she has both met already and fought to a standstill. No telling who would win in a knock down drag it out grudge match, though.

So...Sarah just needs to find him and know where Alpha Dog is and then wait for Nastya to contact her when she's ready to receive that knowledge. She logs the information to memory before she watches Nastya begin to leave but gives her a warning about what to do if Alpha Dog and Sarah engage in a fight.

Sarah smiles knowingly, wondering if she should tell Nastya she's met Alpha Dog, "Will do, thanks for the information. I've fought him before so this should be interesting. And good fight Nastya, your on the level of any master I have fought. Call me anytime you want a rematch." She says, but if Nastya turns around, Sarah has already vanished like a Ninja in the night and is no longer there.

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That was a badass lil brawl

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