Stephen was, to say the very least, was impressed. He'd never expected to see Julian take anyone down, and he certainly didn't expect the person he took down to be one of these brutes.
Stephen patted Julian on the back as he passed, "Great work, Julian! You were a force of nature!" he grinned, watching his spherical companion move to the bench. That was damned impressive. In fact, it hadn't even dawned on Stephen that it was his turn, until his attention was drawn by an alien shadow cast across the mat.
Stephen, a grin still on his face, turned, to catch sight of Bearclaw. His grin quickly faded.
"...Bearclaw," he muttered, before stepping onto the edge of the mat, "I'm Steph..." he trailed off.
It means thunder god, 'nuff said.
The arrogance in his voice only now took effect. Was it some intimidation tactic? Or just egotism?
And then, the image of him slapping Julian, only just now began to bother him. He'd been so caught up in Julian's victory, he hadn't even registered it until now.
Stephen's eyes glinted momentarily with an unfamiliar presence, before he repeated his step onto the mat, raising his mechanical arm, exposed from his sleeve, which slid down its gleaming frame.
"My name is Stephen 'The Iron Giant' Minchin," he punched his real hand with his mechanical one, "And these're my friends."
"Yeah, I can see why they're your friends," Bearclaw began, standing up and feeling better after Julian's little bumblepsyche.
"They stick around out of pity," he finished, glowering at Minchin.
There, in the center of the mat, Bearclaw cleared his throat and waved Stephen over with a mocking hand gesture.
"All aboard the pain train," he taunted.
Instead of a glare, a grin crossed his lips. A grin that Stephen had not experienced in long time. The urge to actually hurt somebody... to cause pain and intend on it.
It was glorious.
In a burst of energy, the Australian freight train launched himself forwards, feet hitting the ground in rapid succession as he gathered momentum, and swung for Bearclaw's jaw, "Boarding!"
As far as Bearclaw was concerned, Stephen's method of boarding was no different than trying to enter a train by meeting it head-on in its track. Still, since it had taken forever for the Rumble to get to this point (or maybe the Native American was just impatient), he didn't really care HOW Stephen decided to approach.
Suddenly, with uncanny grace that belied his massive frame, Bearclaw executed a back-flip with his legs-- and by extension, his FEET, intending to uppercut Stephen's entire upper body.
Stephen had hoped for just this. Of course he'd presume a full frontal assault, of course he would!
But Stephen didn't fight with brute strength, he fought with...
Suddenly, Stephen used the momentum of his punch to hurtle forwards, before leaning forwards and drawing back his arms. In doing this, he positioned his elbows above shoulder-height, directed at Bearclaw's ribcage. It was a long shot, but Stephen was confident his mechanical arm could hold the weight, "Hmph!"
Bearclaw grunted, not quite in pain, but it did tickle a bit too much. It seemed the little Munchin had learned a few tricks since their last cultural scuffle. As gravity brought the bear down upon the wolf, he grabbed Stephen around his waist with both his arms and then, being on his feet, held him upside down.Stephen grunted, rolling out of the way at the last second, but panting heavily as his bionic eye attempted to regulate itself through all of the motion.
"It seems you're way more bitter about our last fight than I thought you'd be," Bearclaw roared and then hopped in the air, preparing to piledrive Stephen into the mat.
When Bearclaw hit the mat beside him, Stephen whirled around, attempting to strike David in the chest with his mechanical arm, "Bitter is one word for it!"
Bearclaw scoffed. Somehow Stephen had weaseled out of his grip, but he didn't bother to maintain it. He was still trying to size-up the little punk. So, standing tall, he took Stephen's mechanical punch right in the chest-- the pain was... awesome. Bearclaw coughed, his eyes slightly bulging. However, wasting no time at all, he counterattacked with an uppercut with his own metal arm, but accidentally slipped past Stephen's chin, and grazed his bionic eye.
And by graze, that actually meant busting it something fierce. The force also caused Stephen to stumble backwards a bit (or whatever would happen), but in any case, Bearclaw resumed a defensive stance, with his right metal arm in front to absorb any backlash attacks.
Stephen couldn't even scream, the pain was that fierce.
For one moment, Stephen could see victory. The next, he could see nothing. Rolling back, Stephen left splints of microfibre and glass across the mat as his eye tried, and failed, to restore itself.
>Vital Systems Failing.
>Eye Status: Damaged
>Colour efficiency: Damaged
>Blood pressure: Failing
>Attempting emergency reboot.
Stephen got to his feet with a growl, more fibreglass hitting the ground as he straightened up, and just a single drip of blood ran down his cheek. It was a sight to behold. What once looked like a human eye, was now a flickering green, shattered lens, with visible text scrolling across its faulty surface, and large patches of circuitry protruding from the socket. Had the punch been any closer, the eye probably would have stabbed him in the brain.
He could only hope his vital systems failing was a malfunction on his eyes part, he felt fine, apart from the crippling pain in his face.
And yet, as blood continued to trickle down his face, the pain seemed to lessen. Replaced with something new.
He no longer wanted to see Bearclaw hurt.
He wanted to see Bearclaw dead, with his mechanical fingers curled around his own neck.
Stephen tried to speak, but all that escaped his mouth was laughter. Dark, pained maniacal laughter.
"Oh, you fucker..." he wheezed out between laughing fits, before looking up, his real eye darkening. Stephen rolled his neck, "You insignificant piece of shit..." he cracked his real knuckles against his mechanical palm, "I'm going to make you bleed, Bearclaw. I'm going to make you hurt!"
And with that, he was off sprinting, leaving blood across the mat as he hurtled towards Bearclaw, and suddenly, dropped to the floor, sliding towards Bearclaw's legs with the hopes of toppling him. However, his damaged eye sight might have damaged his accuracy...
David Bearclaw was a 7th year in Athenian Gear Academy-- as such, he has experienced a lot of different things at this secret place; great and terrible things. But seeing Stephen charged him like that, well, it began to stir him in a way that made him regret ever making a deal with HER. He sighed. He would be graduating soon, later that year.
"I'm not impressed, Minchin... show me your potential!" he barked, watching Stephen attack his ankles.
Unfortunately, Bearclaw was quite ready-- he raised his foot and then tried to kick Stephen in the face with it. All the while, he intended to back away and force the enraged student to his feet if he wanted to come at him again.
Stephen, enraged, kicked off of the mat, rolling backwards, before getting to his feet and rolling his neck. His mechanical eye was getting worse by the second, depreciating in structural stability with every second. Drawing his fist back, Stephen charged forwards, aiming for a steel-plated uppercut, "Hmph!"
'Time to crash this poor sucker,' Bearclaw thought.
It was getting late, and his deadline was closing in on him. He had to end this, or else risk doing it all for nothing. As Stephen made his final charge (or so Bearclaw presumed), the gigantic Thundergod charged him as well, at the same time, activating his shock-hammer mechanism. He jumped in the air a couple feet, and met Stephen's attack head on with a downward hammerfist, aiming for his skull. However, the attack actually met Stephen's rising uppercut.
The two metal fists collided, giving birth to sparks that littered the mat with glowing embers that darkened into death, leaving behind black spots. The force and sound was so loud that Julian covered his ears, grunting in pain as the two metal fists sang a symphony of sheer destruction.
A symphony that neither student could shrug off.
As he stood up a bit too easily, Bearclaw felt an enourmours weight lift off his right shoulder. And, looking over to it, utter shock ripped across his face, his teeth clenched and bared. His arm was gone-- in pieces, all over the mat. The only thing remained was the small shoulder mount that the metal arm hooked into. His breathing was shallow, he couldn't believe this. What a mess! What a fucking catastrophe! He turned around, looking for Stephen to see how he fared.
When their fists collided, the air seemed to ripple around their unholy union. Sparks not only danced against the mat, but across his arm, and the arm of his rival. Not only that, but as though in slow motion, Stephen saw in detail as his arm began to fall apart. His knuckle joints erupted from their sockets, taking the finger plating with them. This was followed by the shell of his lower and upper arm, which, due to the pressure of their fists collision, flew off, before skidding across the mat. The wires and clockwork that made up the interior of Stephen's arm almost let out a screech, as they erupted from their position, flying in all different directions, some piercing the walls, some clattering against the floor, as what remained of Stephen's arm collapsed to the floor, leaving just the metallic hinge at his shoulder, a few hanging wires, and one continuously rotating clockwork gear.
But Stephen was still determined. Angry, yes. In pain? Greatly. In fact, as his arm was linked to his pacemaker, blood began to pour from his shoulder, just as his eye had stopped bleeding. The pain was already burning, searing, from his first injury... now all he saw was red. Was anger.
He could barely see at all, now. His remaining eye watered with the agony, his mechanical one had long ceased working, and now all he saw was the dancing blur of Bearclaw. He groaned, as sweat poured from him, but powered through.
As Bearclaw stared at his arm, bewildered, Stephen lifted his leg, admittedly with very poor balance, and quipped, "Explosive results," before firing a kick towards Bearclaw's torso in a hope to finally shunt him off of the mat. Would it work? He didn't know. But if he could just do it, it'd make that long trip to Chiaki's office slightly less horrifying.
The Victory was had-- and it wasn't Bearclaw's. Falling off of the mat, he landed nearly on top of Sam and Bob, who both scattered like cockroaches as their massive leader skidded some 10-ft beyond the mat's edge. With Bearclaw silenced, his three goons regrouped and looked ready to storm the weakened Stephen with murderous vengeance. But Bearclaw seemed to realize this, and barked a command to prevent Sam, Bob, and Moe from carrying out their assault. They returned to him, worried faces surrounding him.
"Give this to him," Bearclaw told Sam, tossing the bag of EC-tokens to him.
Sam nodded, and power-walked over to Stephen, carefully avoiding the chunks and then stopped short of entering the final victor's space. He tossed the bag to him, not caring if he caught it or not. In any case, the bag was tied well enough to prevent the tokens from spilling out.
"Enjoy your... popularity," Sam whispered at him, smirking as he glanced at someone over Stephen's shoulder.
He then turned tail, helping Moe and Bob carry their leader out the back-entrance of the Student Gym. They couldn't come and collect Bearclaw's arm parts-- most of them were illegal, but otherwise had no identifying features that linked the parts to the defeated Indian.
"And there you have it, fellow AGA students, the reign of the Thundergod is over!" a feisty-voiced little masked shrimp cried out, from the gym's entrance, and talking to a robotic floating camera.
"The winners of the first Student Rumble have been declared! Stephen 'The Iron Giant' Minchin, followed by Julian Adam Bumblewink, Kainan Vek Landani, and Scarlett Sahkarova, including her racial sister, Sofiya Lebenova, who valiantly cheered her team on."
"Make sure you shower them with appreciation, as I'm quite certain this year's academic activity will be much better with a new king around. This is Radio Gear Rebel, signing off. Thank you, and have a pleasant second day!" the masked figure stated, cuing the robotic drone to cut the feed with a hand gesture.
He then turned toward Stephen and his friends, smirked behind his mask, and said, "By the way, the infirmary seems to be in utter disrepair. Someone set off a bomb or something... ta-ta for now!"
Without so much as a bow, the mysterious masked reporter escaped through the student gym without a sound. Julian, having been listening with stark disbelief, mumbled as he turned back to Stephen and stood up.
"Well... this is a mess... you think?" he chuckled nervously.
Whether the bambino was referring to their victory suddenly being aired to the entire student body, or Stephen's arm lazing around in pieces was anyone's guess.
Stephen snagged the tokens with his remaining arm, a look of focus on his face. Focus and pain.
When the masked figure had finished... whatever it was he was discussing, Stephen was approached by Julian. He couldn't hear most of what was going on around him... his ears were ringing, his eye watering. But the words infirmary and utter disrepair made their way to him. Julian himself sounded like a mumble, but Stephen could just about make him out.
"Yeah, it's-" he suddenly choked, before coughing violently, blood splattering across the mat.
Stephen, warned a familiar Penguin from a card around his neck, Your pacemaker and implants appear to be in a state of severe disrepair. You need to contact Chiaki immediately.
"The... infirmary isn't an option, it seems..." he wheezed, before passing the tokens to Julian.
"My readings tell me that your expectancy is about eight hours until expiry."
Stephen almost laughed. He would've, if it hadn't been so painful... "That's two hours to spend celebrating our victory before I get concerned... right?" he turned to Julian again. He looked like he'd just gotten out of a Car crusher, "It... isn't too bad..."
With a weak smile, Stephen took a step forwards, before falling onto one knee, and letting out a long, pained breath.