Disclaimer: The ideas and concepts used in BLEACH belong to Tite Kubo, as well as any regular characters. Most of the characters in this story belong to me.
Only one punch in and Lora was losing. Her nose was broken and blood continued to drip down her chin. Her teeth were even bent as Hoji's punch had dealt a nasty impact. Both standing, ready to fight. Once the wind stopped they charged into each other. Lora grabbed Hoji's arms and pressed forward, exposing her body from below. Hoji let her force his arms back but kept them straight and kicked her right between the ribs. Lora's push faltered for a moment and Hoji released his arms from her grip. He followed up with a quick uppercut and a rapid jabbing offense to Lora's face. She retreated with a jump backwards and swung her long leg in a wide, low arc, hitting Hoji as he rushed in to again attack before her defenses were fully up. He managed to guide himself back to his feet before tumbling too far and got up in time for Lora to dash at him with flat palms and tense arms.
Lora swung her arms with her hands guiding like blades while Hoji blocked each blow with both his arms, one bracing the other. As fast as she was, even with Hoji using both his arms to block he still seemed faster. Then Hoji huffed out loudly, blocked a blow and delivered an unseen kick to her stomach. Lora was knocked off her feet but gracefully managed to land and skid across the grass to a stop. Before Hoji had a chance to rush back in, Lora grabbed her broken nose between her index and middle finger and popped it back into place with a tug. She snorted out the clotted mucous and blood and tried to breathe right again. Hoji dashed forward and threw a strong right hook for her face. Lora blocked it but was pushed to the side by the sheer force of the attack. Hoji hopped off the ground and kicked his leg into her side as she drifted slowly through the air. With force being applied to two points at once Lora's body was thrown into a spin centered at her chests. As she was kicked off her feet yet again and as her head drifted down away from Hoji's punch her eyes drifted to the ground, barely catching a glimpse of Hoji's left arm coming in with a tight fist.
Now airborne from a stiff uppercut to the side of the face, Lora flipped and relaxed her body from the pain she felt. Hoji kicked away from her, a respectable distance and just far enough for her to recover from, and let her fall. She hit the ground face-first and didn't move. The dust kicked up from her stiff body hitting the dirt settled around her. Silence struck the grassy field. Already there was blood on the grass that was noticed at a distance. The girls watching from the deck of the manor were silent as they could be, all of them heavily analyzing the fight from afar.
He's not holding back a single bit! one of the girls thought. He's fighting for real. I don't think Lora realizes that yet! She's still trying to play with him, but it's taking all of her strength to do it! Lora started to get up, slowly as she was in anguishing pain. Her nose had bent in again. Before she pushed herself up fully she took her hand to it and tried fixing it again. Now she had the beginning of a bruise on the right side of her face and was lacking one of her front teeth. She glanced down when she was still only half-standing and saw it in the dirt, blood and spit around it. She glared up and saw Hoji waiting for her a short distance away, one arm fully extended forward with his hand casually open and palm facing away from her. With a smirk, Hoji beckoned her forward with the quick jerk of his wrist. Lora snarled and charged. She stopped just short of Hoji's reach and poised herself for a kick. Hoji stayed back. When Lora kicked Hoji instinctively leaned away but still got hit. The tip of her toes struck the tip of his nose, forcing him into a reflex dodge.
Hoji backflipped away, just as she predicted, and was caught as he came back to his feet in Lora's trap-offense. She punched so firmly into his gut that Hoji was lifted off his feet and all the air in his lungs emptied in a loud wheeze. Lora followed with a knee that sent Hoji even higher up and then, as Hoji slowly leveled in his drift near Lora's standing face-level, she leaned her body back and kicked Hoji as hard as she could, her leg ending parallel to the other while Hoji was sent over her head to the ground behind her. He landed on his chest and bounced, then grabbed the grass and skid to a stop to pant on all fours.
"Tch" he managed to scoff. Lora slowly lowered her leg and turned around with a quick heel-turn. She was smirking again, so haughty and proud but still glaring and patronizing with her eyes. All her suffering for that attack seemed justified to her, and Hoji felt a sense of defeat just from the venomous sneer she gave him. It's not going down like that, chick Hoji thought. He gripped the grass and dug his fingers into the dirt a bit. He ground his toes as well. He was in a full pouncing position. I'm strong! Even unarmed I'm powerful! Sure, you're full of yourself now that you got that one attack in, but it wasn't close to the kind of blow Shin would deal! He punches to kill, and he can kill with his punches! Compared to him... Hoji stopped thinking. He let his rage silence his mind and his eyes went white.
"RRAAAAGGHH!" he roared. Hoji pounced forward, a berserk flying leap, while Lora simply dodged. Hoji kicked into the ground halfway through his leap and caught Lora in her own flash-step to the side. With her neck folded into his arm Hoji slammed her into the ground and rolled forward to get back onto his feet. He turned quickly and jumped to Lora who was rolling onto her back to kick herself up onto her feet to recover. She failed as Hoji landed feet-together and arms pushing him down right on the space between her ribs. Lora was stunned. Even with the pain forcing its way up through her body, she couldn't even cough. She couldn't breathe. All she could do was see and hear as Hoji quickly descended on her with a barrage of punches straight to her face.
"What a monster" the mannish girl watching observed. She turned away and held her face in her broad and muscular hands. "I can't bear to watch this any longer! It's awful."
"Should we try and stop it?" another girl asked. "We'd be intruding on an honorable match, but if we don't she could die!"
"That bastard isn't killing any of us!" another girl exclaimed. She reached for her broadsword, sheathed in a form-fitting, curve-bladed sheathe across her back, but was stopped by a menacing pressure from behind. The girls all turned at once and the mannish-girl peeked through her fingers as their leader Ami Mai approached them in a patchy, non-tattered kimono. She glared the girls down, forcing them out of their unrest, and walked out to observe the battle. At that point the battle was easily over, of course. Lora refused to accept it.
I won't let a perverted maniac be my better! She raged. Lora, whose mind had gone beyond her intentions of comeuppance and honorable combat, reached for the hilt of her blade. She drew it with a sharp singing of metal which froze Hoji in mid-punch. His back was exposed. Even if he dodged it, with her sword out and his own sword broken and useless, he likely wouldn't have as good a chance to fight back. Hoji's only reaction was to look back and try to see the sword before it reached him. It sliced through the air in an awkward, misguided stab, but stopped. Hoji rolled off of Lora's body and made an extra protective roll away before he stopped. He saw the sword stopped in the hand of another, the leader of the Musha-onna, Ami. Lora's breath returned but in fearful halting measures.
"Ami..." she whispered. "Ami, what...?" Her face was so badly beaten that she could hardly talk. Her leader, thankfully, understood what she was trying to say. Ami took Lora's slender blade from her own grip and tossed it at her. The blade sank into the ground just next to her face, slicing through her hair and just barely nicked through the swollen skin of her bruised, battered, beaten face.
"You have shamed your sisters" Ami proclaimed. "Drawing your sword against a swordless foe is an affront to out honor as warriors! Lora Rola, you disappoint me. Leave this battlefield at once!" Lora forced herself to sit up, though she could hardly move. Hoji stood up and raised objection.
"Tch!" he began. "Don't make her walk if she can't! That's cruel, even as a proper punishment! She was trying to stay alive! I flipped-out first, so this isn't her fault! I was trying to kill her for a minute there!"
"Then you held back?" Ami snarled. "You dishonored one of my own in such a blatant way? Where is your pride? How can you call yourself a warrior?"
"Hold on" Hoji demanded. "If we were fighting to the death unarmed, you'd have no qualm. What if I let her draw her sword beforehand? What if I managed to use my sword at some point in the fight? Forget about honor for a second and think logically! You'd rather not see anyone die when you've already been razed by conflict, right?" Hoji hot defense didn't even faze Ami. She took a step toward him, ignoring Lora's loss of consciousness, and focused the full of her raging glare on the red X of his forehead.
"By not giving your full potential in a fight" Ami began, "what did you hope to accomplish in fighting?" Hoji scoffed and looked away.
"You don't understand" Hoji said.
"Enlighten me!" Ami shouted. She threw off her kimono and revealed her body. Her chest was wrapped with sarashi and her crotch covered with a fundoshi. "I will fight you until both of us understand!" The girls on the deck and Hoji in the grass were all in shock. The girls by their leader's own daring, brave act. Hoji's nose, in a reaction completely unrelated to pain or any attack he had endured in the battle, began to bleed.
That's the most unfair advantage I've ever seen Hoji thought. His mouth cracked a twitchy grin.
A bit later, after Lora had been removed from the field and after Hoji had recovered from his nosebleed, a new battle began. Hoji removed his bloodied clothes but kept his pants in order to keep some semblance of modesty to his battle. Ami stood fearless and proud, hardly clothed at all, with her arms crossed impatiently.
"Prepare yourself to do battle" she declared. "I will give no quarter to you." Hoji met her glare and nodded at her. His head didn't nod back up, however, as it was stuck on her chest. She wasn't the most buxom of her league of women, but he could still see how tightly her breasts had been wrapped under her sarashi cloth. "What is it? Why aren't you ready yet? Do you have some prayer to recite or something?"
"Uh, no" Hoji said. He shook his head and slapped himself. I've gotta get a grip. That other chick had bigger tits than this one but I managed to not notice somehow. Jeez. I've gotta keep my eyes open to victory. With such a creed in mind, Hoji assumed his emotionless glare and struck a ready pose. Ami stood as well, feet squared and fists up, little style or form apart from her arms guarding her chest. Hoji focused himself on that guard, her slender but defined, powerful arms up in guard as pillars in front of her supply-squeezed, pressure-wrapped chest. The skin from her neck to the wrap around her body was glistening and wet in an anxious sweat. Her abdomen was openly exposed and defined better than Hoji's own masculine cut of a six-pack was.
Hoji's vision seemed to go blank for a second. It returned with him gazing up at the sky as his head was tilting up and his body was moving back against his will. In a mad rush, the moment that a battle had been properly ordained, Ami acted. She struck the first blow, a powerful straight to Hoji's face, and pushed him off of his otherwise sturdy guard. Hoji snapped back to his own attention and caught the ground. His legs swung up high following the pivot of his hands and his toes hit the ground with a denting smash. On all fours Hoji leaped into battle with a terrifying pounce attack. Ami leaned to the side and slid, her feet following her shoulders while staying lightly off the ground. She grabbed Hoji's arm and threw him, adding distance to his pounce that he didn't calculate. Hoji flipped himself as he flew through the air and skid across the ground to a stop. Ami rushed up on him just as he stood and started throwing punch after punch adding a grunt with each swing.
"Tch" Hoji scoffed. He let her arm sail past his face, leaned away from it and locked it between his forearm and bicep. "Where's your form?" he seethed. With her arm bound Hoji attacked. With his right arm he threw a punch and missed as she leaned away. Even with her arm locked she felt no pain and showed no discomfort in willingly twisting her shoulder a bit. She grabbed Hoji's extended arm by the wrist and lost it as he quickly retreated and released her from his grip. They squared off again, keeping a fair distance.
"Form?" Ami asked.
"Style" Hoji said. "Don't you have any style at all?"
"Why?" Ami asked. "Do I need it? I have my fists, I have my arms. I have both legs as well and all of my body to use. As long as I can beat you, what purpose does style have?" Hoji was struck. In his state Ami easily advanced in a flash-step and punched him in the gut. He was tense by nature and flexed his abs as hard as possible, reducing the injury. Still, Ami's power forced his stomach to buckle, and he was still hurt. Hoji took the blow and was thrown back by it. Ami rushed after him. He kicked before he landed, hitting her arm and stopping her in a half-step before she advanced again. Ami threw two punches a flash speed that Hoji blocked with his forearm. Hoji threw his own punch and slowly shifted his pose to match hers, formless and inelegant. Hoji wound his right arm and shoulder back far. Ami tried reaching his face with a hook but Hoji blocked with his left. Then she hooked and caught him right above the eye. Hoji read her punch and moved his head at the last second. With a growl Hoji wound his arm forward in a blurry, powerful blow. Ami jumped back, holding her arms up and slightly forward as she did.
Hoji grinned. His right hand was open, not curled in a tight fist, and his right leg was extended forward while he had been leaning back on his left the whole time. He switched the bending of his knees and extended his reach just enough to grab Ami's left wrist. She was stopped and planted her feet to try and swing him off. Hoji quickly sped behind her and grabbed her arm with his left hand. Ami was jerked back and immobilized with Hoji standing beside her, wrist in one hand and her arm just beneath the elbow in the other. He glared at her out of her sight and prompted her to turn with a snap and a growl.
"Let go!" she shouted. She kicked Hoji in the leg, again and again, and tried to punch him. He walked her in a circle, pushing on her and guiding her with her own arm in his control.
"Without form" Hoji began "or style or even a vaguely consistent technique you fall prey to some pretty basic pitfalls in a fistfight. You have to know this kind of stuff. What a default punch looks like, how long a maximum extension can be, proper fist rotation in mid-punch, too. What good is it going to do you to just swing at your enemy if they know how to dodge, read your attacks, and effectively screw you over defensively?"
"Shut up!" Ami shouted. She wound her leg far back and swung it around to Hoji's hip. There was a creaking sound from Hoji's leg, his bones grinding against each other in a painful way, which was quickly silenced as Ami's power wound down from her impact of her kick. Hoji growled at the pain but kept himself steady. He pushed his chest into Ami's arm and jerked his arms to put pressure on Ami's elbow, as if to try and bent it backwards. "GET OFF!" Ami roared. She swung her arm forward, carrying Hoji's weight with her berserk strength, and her wrist snapped and cracked. Ami's eyes went wide. The pain shot up her arm and registered into her head. She swung herself around and forced Hoji away. He slid on hands and feet along the ground and felt his foot tap on something with a light metallic clank. He looked under his chest and saw his sword sheathe in the grass where he had left it, having forgotten about it until just then.
"Style? Form? Elegance? Who cares!" Ami shouted. Her hand twitched and shook uncontrollably. The rest of her body followed out of rage. "As long as I have power, stamina, the pressing urge and determination that can kill! That's all I need! That's all I've ever needed! Style won't win a war! It can hardly count to win in a duel! This is a bout of honor! Don't cheapen it with your pathetic tricks and plays! We must fight with all our strength and abandon ourselves as people! We are warriors! Not a man and a woman but two beasts locked in mortal combat! How can you be this far if you can't understand that!" Hoji grabbed his sheathe and stood. He thrust it between his waist and his belt, and made sure that she saw it by resting his palm on the pommel of his sword.
Tch Hoji thought. That all sounds pretty familiar. Still, I just can't get used to it. No matter what I do, I can't focus right. I can't fight with her like I should be able to. She's powerful, merciless but she's honorable and admittedly hot as hell. I can't do this. I can't concentrate. Aside from the tits and ass and hair, it's like I'm trying to fight Shin again...
Hoji snapped out of his thinking and brought up his guard within the split second of Ami's attack. She tackled him with both arms, keeping her broken wrist away from Hoji's body and the ground. Once on top of him Ami resorted to punching him with her good hand, much like how Hoji had nearly finished off Lora. Hoji blocked, however, with both arms in a cross over his face.
"That obnoxious mark on your head" Ami lowed as she punched against Hoji's arms "is just begging to be hit! Why else would you make a blood-colored mark on your body? For fun?"
"Well yeah" Hoji admitted. He reached out an arm to try and grab Ami's moving fist. She jerked it away and hooked into his face. Hoji used his other arm and sat up in a reach for Ami's broken wrist. She rose her arm up and slammed it down, just barely above where her wrist was broken, on Hoji's forehead. The back of Hoji's head hit against the ground, and a sudden loud ringing of metal against metal blasted off in his head.
What a sight. You're getting your ass kicked by a girl. Ironic, isn't it? The voice that Hoji had missed sounded clearly inside his head. From the shadows of his still conscious vision, within the covered space of Ami's body, Hoji could see and hear the approaching swaying garments of his inner spirit. His Zanpakuto, Torakaze, gilded in silk and gold as a glistening warrior princess, just as Hoji remembered her to be.
She's less of a chick Hoji defended and more of a freak with tits.
Then she's no challenge for you Torakaze said. Shake her off and finish things up. You still have that attack to perform. Hoji, despite the pain and rapid consistency of his own beatings, muscled out a wide and mad-looking grin. He grabbed Ami's neck with his risen legs and spiked her head into the ground. He rolled backwards and shook himself off. He wasn't too worse for wear, just a little head-blood and mouth-blood. Ami jumped up as well and rubbed her aching wrist for a moment. Hoji struck a pose, his fists were curled but the little, middle and thumb fingers were extended and pointing Ami down. His right arm was cocked back and risen up while the left was straight and forward. He was leaning his legs back and arching his back forward. His pose for a gallant victory-rush had been struck. His breathing slowed off into a meditative pre-pounce lowing. Like an animal, his steamy breath was let out in utter silence but picked up in a growl when his teeth parted.
"I'll show you" Hoji growled "how much ass my style can kick out of your brute strength!" Ami poked her wrist and forced her limp hand into a fist through painful muscular straining. She was fighting as if it was her last fight in this life. That feeling echoed out as dread to her sisters watching, their fear for her life growing at an ever-steady rate...
Hoji cracked his knuckles and struck a basic pose, one side forward and the other drawn back. Ami brought her guard up again and ignored her twitching, pain-curled fist. Hoji sprung forward and started throwing wild, unaimed fists Ami's way. She leaned past them and blocked the near-misses. Hoji's form and style had seemingly broken down as he was attacking on an all-out offense. Ami threw a quick punch but her arm was pushed past Hoji's head in a quick protective jab to her arm.
"Hissatsu!" Hoji lowed. He leaned his body in and drove his fist into Ami's stomach. He stepped forward, blasting an additional push of power through his arm and into her body. Ami remained on the ground and sturdy until Hoji powered another push through. His entire body worked to punch her, from his toes to his head, all his muscles went into powering his arm and shoulder forward. Hoji threw so much force into his punch that his feet fractured and broke the ground that he pressed against until he was ankle-deep in his own crater.
"JOU!" He pushed her off. He jumped behind her and kicked her back to the ground. "SHOU!" Ami landed in a bounced and recovered in mid-air. Hoji was already upon her, raining down a barrage of fists and kicks. "TORAOU!" Hoji continued his onslaught, forcing her back until her back hit the wall. She was without retreat and was forced to defend. Hoji concentrated his punches onto her blocking arms and managed to snap her wrist out of its frozen fist. A shock of pain swelled up and stunned Ami. Her guard was forced off and Hoji commenced his epic beatdown finale. "BOKUSATSU!" After some length of him beating on Ami and shouting in rhythmic rapidity, Hoji planted a solid uppercut into Ami's chin and slowly pushed her up the face of the wall. "KIBA!" Ami was airborne. Hoji jumped up and followed, flying straight past her and stopping with a firm grip on the air. Unaware that he was exercising his own inherent kido powers in a straight-up unarmed duel, Hoji kicked off the air and drove both his legs in a cannon-strength drop kick straight between Ami's ribs. Finally, she coughed up blood and spit before dropping back-first into her own rocky crater.
"OOOOOOOOUUUUUUUHHHH!" The clouds parted above Hoji. A mighty wind stirred up! The forest around the manor was deafeningly loud with the sounds of trees being swept up in a terrible wind! The trees closest to the wall outside were uprooted and thrown off into the deeper stretches of the rolling forest. Hoji clutched his fist, his whole arm shaking with power and excited energy, and a vortex of wind swirled around his knuckles. A final attack was brewing. Ami had her eyes shut tight from the pain. She was immobilized for the most part. She managed to wake her body up with the coughing of hot blood onto her face and looked up at the visible winds ripping through the air around Hoji.
"OUDA!" The final cry sounded the end of the battle. Hoji descended in a driving flight with fist extended at the ground. Ami retreated, pushing herself to fly across the ground as fast as her beaten body would allow her to. When Hoji hit the ground buckled. The entire grass-scape of the garden was kicked up in a myriad of chunks and pieces, all the ground destroyed and decimated. A gigantic crater was revealed as the dust and dirt was lifted high up into the air. The girls who were watching were blown back by the force of wind and Ami was pushed clear through the paper wall into the nearest hallway, dripping blood and sweat from her broken body.
From above, one man watched. The clandestine spy with all his body and face wrapped in colored bandages, saw from the roof the force of Hoji's attack. A massive, tiger-paw shaped crater had replaced much of the garden's charming natural look. Hoji was still inside that crater, standing erect and unwavering. His blood dripped down from his relaxed fingers and carefully off his nose to the ground. With a furious motion, Hoji grabbed his sword and unsheathed it, listening to the long metal ringing as the whole blade was drawn, intact and repaired. Hoji held it up high and pointed it to the parted clouds in the sky. The world started to settle again as the winds died down. Hoji had passed out standing but his body refused to give in, so he stood within his own magnificent ruin with only the admiration of Torakaze to comfort him.
That was much better than last time she praised. Of course, it'd be more impressive if you could do that by yourself...