The Beast Within
Disclaimer: Darkstalkers, Street Fighters, King of Fighters, Fatal Fury, and Ranma 1/2 all belong to someone else.
< >: Thoughts
World Tour Part 3
Matthew couldn’t believe it as he saw his opponent attacking with her signature move, which consisted of using her posterior as a flying battering ram. Of course, that only gave the young werewolf a target that was just too irresistible.
Rainbow Mika immediately regretting using that particular maneuver as she literally got her butt kicked in!
The large, muscular wrestling teen was booted out of the ring and landed face-first into the ground. The bell sounded as Jon Talbain’s son won by forcing his opponent out-of-bounds.
In the crowds, Nabiki applauded with the others as the referee held up her boyfriend’s arm in victory. On the sidelines, Mika picked herself up while rubbing her sore rear end. She let off a sad sigh as this was her second loss. She was therefore eliminated from competition in the French King of Fighters Junior Division. At present, the young lycanthrope had won three straight matches with no losses. Each participant could not afford to lose more than one round in order to stay in the tournament.
So far, the opponents Matthew had defeated some strong contenders and sent them packing. Mika had been the third fighter taken out of the running for first place. Her wrestling moves and inherent strength were her best fighting qualities, but her lack of speed and overall tactics were no match against someone like Jon’s son. His first two fights had been against the brothers from Hong Kong, Yun and Yang.
Matthew jumped down from the ring to join up with his girlfriend, while waiting for the next pair of combatants to enter. He was also wondering how his father was doing. Looking up at the arena’s main scoreboard, he noted that Johnny Talbane, (Jon Talbain), was next to fight in the Adult Division. He then saw the name of his opponent.
<Well that’s going to be one of the shortest fights in history.>
Sure enough, on the other side of the arena...
“WINNER.... JOHNNY TALBANE!”
Dan Hibiki groaned in agony as he was upside-down with his head smashed deep into the floor of the ring. As soon as the match began, his opponent grabbed him, turned him around, and drove him head-first into the floor like a tent stake. As it obvious to everyone that he wouldn’t be able to free himself anytime soon, Matthew’s father was given the win by TKO. (1)
“Nice.” Terry Bogard commented as the elder werewolf lightly jumped out of the ring and joined him with the other competitors and spectators.
“Well I didn’t want to waste any energy on that guy.” Jon replied. “Hibiki’s fighting style is practically nonexistent.”
The two shared a chuckle before Bogard’s name was called to the ring.
“Well, here I go. Wish me luck.”
Jon gave Terry a friendly pat on the back and said, “You won’t need any luck until the finals. I’ll see you there.”
Several hours later...
“WINNER, MATTHEW TALBANE!”
Jon’s son flexed his slightly-sprained right arm and winced slightly. Groaning as she struggled back to her feet, Makoto couldn’t believe that she had lost. For much of the match, she had gotten in several powerful strikes and had kept her opponent on the defensive. However, near the end of the match, Matthew had surprised her with his Beast Cannon. Though she was quite formidable at close-quarters combat, being hit by Talbane’s technique was comparable to being rammed by a speeding car.
However, she was honorable enough to know that she had been beaten fairly, and gave him a respectful bow, which he returned. As they left the ring, Matthew could only expect the matches to get harder. Makoto’s strikes were like being hit by sledgehammer blows. He wouldn’t be surprised if she used her ki to augment the power of her punches. Unlike Akane Tendo, who used anger-driven energy to recklessly strike her targets, Makoto’s punches were far more focused and effective.
The past five bouts had Matthew’s werewolf healing abilities working hard to keep him going. His father had been correct in saying that he would face off against some considerable opponents near his age. He had barely withstood Yuri Sakazaki’s Haoh Shou Kouken at near point-blank range. He nearly got knocked out of the ring by Elena’s Brave Dance. And just before his bout with Makoto, he had faced off against a Chinese boy named Sie Kensou, and his Super Bullet blasts hurt! By this point, he was fighting at near-full strength without transforming into his hybrid form.
As he looked up at his ratings in the tournament, he smiled as he saw that he was now in the top sixteen competitors. He then saw Nabiki applauding in the crowds and smiled as he was reminded why he was fighting so hard.
In the adult matches...
“SPINNING BIRD KICK!”
Chun Li cried out as she spun into an arc of fire. As she tumbled to the mat, Andy Bogard’s future wife went in for the final blow as she made a couple of somersaults, then was surrounded by a corona of flames.
“Chou Hissatsu Shinobi Bachi!”
Her extended elbow struck Chun Li in her solar plexus, knocking her out of the ring. As the Interpol Agent landed hard on her rear, Mai made a bamboo umbrella appear from out of nowhere. She made a sultry pose with the umbrella over her shoulder, her costume’s tails held over one arm, and with her shapely rear facing her fiancé in the crowd. She looked over her shoulder, gave him a demure wink and said...
“NOW who’s the strongest woman in the world?”
Andy could only shake his head while smiling.
In the judges’ stand, Jubei Yamada tallied Mai’s win over Chun Li and waited for the next match, which would be his former pupil Johnny Talbane, or rather Jon Talbain. Beside him was the Tournament Championship Trophy. Embedded in its base, the third fragment of the medallion glowed slightly.
Meanwhile, back in Japan...
Akane Tendo growled as she passed by the front gates of Furinken High. Nearly everyone gave her a wide berth. However, it was not because they feared her fighting skills. It was her stench that caused people to avoid her like the plague.
that disaster with mixing the Anti-Hair Growth Formula, the unnatural odor she
had created still clung to her. It had not taken long for people to realize
that she was the source of the smell. When it was discovered, just about
everyone was either wearing a gas mask, had a bandanna tightly wrapped about
their mouths and noses, or was constantly spraying air fresheners, perfumes and
deodorant. She was constantly shunned and people gave her a wide path
everywhere she went. Things couldn't possibly get any worse.
Akane barely had time to look in the direction of the voice before she was hit by a massive torrent of water, mixed in with several chemicals. She was thrown off her feet and fell face first into the ground. Then, as suddenly as it appeared, the water stream stopped, leaving a soaked and very irate Tendo girl lying on the ground. She immediately got back up and prepared to give whoever attacked her a beating he/she would never forget!
She then saw a large machine with a long barrel, hidden from sight next to the gymnasium. The muzzle of the huge water cannon was still dripping. The operators behind the cannon took off their gas masks and sniffed the air around the area. Akane recognized them as members of the Chemistry and Engineering clubs. All of them shook their heads as one of them said...
"Damn! She STILL smells like a dead bison and banana pudding!"
That was all he could say as Akane brought her wrath upon them!
Deep in space...
A large streak of orange-red light blazed through the star-studded void at a mind-boggling velocity, though it would still take some time before it came to the galaxy, where the signal it had received came from. However, that didn’t mean that it couldn’t stop along the way... for a light snack.
A small, green-yellow world was in the path of the unnatural comet and was engulfed in its outer corona. In less time it took to tell, the living orb was reduced to a lifeless, burned-out husk. To the being within the comet, it was nothing more than an appetizer as he let off a murderous laugh and continued on his way.
Eventually, Pyron would begin devouring the main course.. the Planet Earth.
Back on Earth....
Even though Pyron was billions of light years away from the planet, certain beings were already aware of his approach.
One such being deep in the Teotihuacán ruins began to reactivate itself after countless centuries of dormancy. The thing was metallic in nature and had a top-heavy frame with oversized shoulders. During the time of the Mayans, it had been worshipped as an idol to their ancient gods. However, what that civilization didn’t know was that it was actually a unit of the Huitzil robots that Pyron had left on the planet millions of years ago. Their function was to watch over the development of the world’s life forces and prepare it for his eventual consumption. It was they, and not some gigantic meteor, that had caused the extinction of the dinosaurs. Since that time, they had been in hibernation and awaited for the signal of their master’s return.
Now the signal had been received, but only this particular Huizel robot had become active. And its own programming had been eroded and corrupted over the millennia. As soon as its optic scanners became active, it detected the presence of a small life form playing nearby.
A young boy named Cecil.
Back at the tournament, Jon Talbain could only stare up at his next opponent.
And up.... and up... and up!
If there’s one thing about Hugo Andore, it was that the word ‘short’ was NOT in his limited vocabulary. Jon estimated his foe to be even taller than Victor von Gerdenheim and probably outweighed E. Honda by at least two hundred pounds. The giant had already flattened the Sumo champion, and gave his fellow wrestlers, Zangief and Big Bear, quick trips to the Emergency Ward. (2)
Standing behind them, near the edge of the ring, Hugo’s manager Poison was busy taking bets on how fast Jon would be taken down. Considering the huge wrestler’s previous competitors, she estimated that Matthew’s father wouldn’t last more than 30 seconds.
On the Junior Division side...
“Ow, ow, ow!” Matthew groaned as Nabiki tended to his injuries. Both were sitting on a bench as the Tendo girl applied a cold compress to her boyfriend’s thigh. He had taken a very hard landing after getting hit by another psychic energy attack, this time by a girl named Athena Asamiya. Luckily for Jon’s offspring, her strikes were relatively light in comparison to his other opponents. He had powered through her assault and forced her to submit after getting her into a wrestling hold.
At that point, the announcer let off a cry of surprise as the current match ended shockingly.
“Fantastique! Sakura Kasugano and Karin Kanzuki have been knocked out of the ring simultaneously! It is a DOUBLE RING OUT! Both are out of the competition!”
“FOUL! I CALL FOUL!” The blonde girl insisted as she was helped up by her bodyguards. “My opponent hit the ground before I did!”
Sakura picked herself off the ground and dusted herself off. It had been a mistake in judgment. After cornering Karin against the edge of the ring, she had rushed in to finish her off with her Shoruken. However, unlike her idol Ryu and his friend Ken, she needed a running start to get her technique off the ground.
The uppercut was anticipated and her rival had countered with a quick grab to Sakura’s extended arm, with the intent of throwing her out of the ring. Unfortunately for both girls, Ryu’s biggest fan was going too fast to stop and the forward momentum was enough to send them over the edge. They twisted to lessen the impact but they were unable to prevent themselves from hitting the ground. Now they were both out of the running for the championship and their rivalry was still unresolved.
Just as the Kanzuki heir was about to escalate the issue of who landed on the floor first, there was a huge commotion that caught everyone’s attention.
All turned their eyes toward the Adult Side of the tournament as the ring had collapsed in on itself. In the middle of the ruined area, the giant known as Hugo was facedown and out like a light. Standing off to the side, Poison could only gape in total disbelief. Her previously undefeated moneymaker had been beaten! His opponent, who was barely six-tenths Andore’s size, had actually managed to bring him down! Then her depression became even deeper as she realized all the bets she would have to pay off.
Sitting on his rear and in considerable pain, Jon Talbain let off a sigh of relief. Fighting the massive wrestler was like going up against Cruk when he was drunk. Whenever the Orc got a hold of any alcohol, he felt virtually no pain whatsoever and his strength seemed to quintuple. Hugo was an opponent who could shrug off most hits to his body, so Jon had to concentrate striking his more vulnerable areas such as his face and joints. Using his superior speed to avoid being grabbed by those massive hands, he got in several dozens of quick, but powerful strikes and rolled with any errant hits that Hugo managed to get in. Finally, he ended it by using his Climb Razor Kick to lift the giant into the air, then slammed him back into the floor of the ring, causing it to collapse.
As he got to his feet, he let off another grateful sigh that the first day of the tournament was over. He looked up at the display boards and noted that his son had also made it past the first half of the competition. Then he saw some of the names of the competition for the next day.
<Hmmm.... Ryu.... Ryo Sakazaki... Andy Bogard.... Mai Shiranui... Kasumi Todoh... Ken Masters... and of course my old friend Terry Bogard. It seems that I will have that rematch.>
A little later…
“It was so unfair!” Sakura pouted as she, Nabiki, Matthew and Elena were drinking sodas at the hotel lounge. “I can’t believe I got knocked out of the tournament on the first day!”
“You did pretty good out there.” Matthew admitted as he took a sip of his drink. “If it wasn’t for that double ring-out, you’d probably be facing off against me in the second half.”
“Yeah, but I still feel like I let down Master Ryu.”
“Well, we all learn from our mistakes. I just barely made it.” <Even with my fast-healing abilities.> He silently added.
Jon’s offspring was grateful that there would be a two-day resting period between the first and second half of the tournament, which would allow him to fully recover from the injuries he had sustained.
At the adult side of the hotel lounge, Terry Bogard and Jon Talbain enjoyed having a beer together.
“French beer isn’t half-bad.” The Lone Wolf commented as he took a swig. “And you were pretty good out there.”
“You did pretty well yourself.” Jon remarked. “So I’ll be seeing you in the final bout?”
“We both have a long way to go.” Terry commented. “We’ve still got face off against Ryo Sakazaki and his friend Robert Garcia. I hear that kickboxer King made it through to the second half as well.”
“Hmmm” The lycanthrope nodded. “I got a challenge from some guy named Alex, after I beat his rival Hugo. Guile and Cammy are still in the running. The one I’m looking out for, besides you is that Ryu fellow.”
“Yeah, I know. I looked at that rankings for the second half of the tournament. He’s my first opponent. How about you?”
“It seems I’ll be fighting against some character named Sagat.”
“Well then…” Terry held up his mug of beer. “… here’s to seeing each other in the finals.”
Jon raised his own mug and clinked it against his friend’s. “Cheers.”
The two friends downed their drinks in one swallow and let the beer do its job. For Jon, it was nearly impossible for him to become intoxicated, as he had a phenomenal resistance against alcohol.
“By the way…” Talbain asked. “…where’s your brother? I haven’t seen him or his fiancée since the end of the first half.”
“I doubt you will see either of them for the next two days. He and Mai went off somewhere. Mai told me that she had some ‘special massage’ techniques to help Andy work out the strained muscles he got after that bout against Kim Khapwan.”
Both men smiled as Jon chuckled. “I can imagine.” <Especially if Mai had gotten those techniques from Morrigan in her emails.>
Sure enough, in a very steamy love hotel…
“Oh God, Mai! Where did you learn THAT?!”
“How does that feel, Darling?”
“It feels so UNREAL!”
“And how about THIS?”
“DAMN! IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE?!”
A few minutes later, it was the sexy ninja girl who was gasping in sheer ecstasy.
“YES! YES! OH YES ANDY! I LOVE YOU! I LOVE YOU! I LOVE YOU!”
“I just can’t get enough of you!”
Mai smiled in total bliss as she silently thanked her pen pal for the special massage techniques. Not only did they ease Andy’s muscle strains, but they also gave him unbelievable stamina in the bedroom. If her future husband was this frisky before the ceremony, then she could only imagine that their wedding night would totally blow their minds!
She couldn’t wait!
Back in Japan the next day…
Akane was in a foul mood as she walked toward the front gate of the school. Things had gone from bad to worse after that water cannon incident. Sure it felt good to pound those engineering and science lab geeks into the ground, but that only gave another reason for people to steer clear of her. Not that anyone could get within fifty feet of her without trying to repress the urge to throw up. She had caused quite a stir during the entire school day, and that led to her current predicament.
Flashback to earlier that day…
In the principals office...
"Akane Tendo cannot be allowed to come to Furinken, until she gets rid of that smell! She killed all the plants in the greenhouse!" The president of the Botany Club declared. It had taken the club four months to grow those special tomatoes, but now they couldn't even use the rotten fruit to make ketchup. In fact, the ruined crop wouldn’t even make a decent compost heap.
"I agree!" The Home Economics teacher concurred. "It was bad enough that she turned my kitchen into a disaster area every class, but now we can't even cook the most basic of meals because she caused all the foods in the refrigerator to spoil! I have nothing left to prepare!"
The School Nurse also added her input. "I've been getting more and more cases of nausea and extreme vomiting, especially during lunch time. She cannot be allowed near the cafeteria. The students can't keep their lunches down. I'm running out of stomach pills and medicine for nausea. And I‘ve gotten a message from the cafeteria that Tendo’s odor made all their food and supplies go bad."
"She's not helping in P.E. classes either." The coach said. "Apparently, when she works out, the sweat she builds up only increases that smell of hers. Just yesterday, when she ran on the track, she caused everyone to drop to the ground and throw up. All the soap in the showers was not enough to get rid of that stink!"
End of flashback…
Akane couldn’t believe that she was being forced from the school, just because of a little odor. She didn’t really smell THAT bad, did she?
“READY… AIM… FIRE!”
Before she knew it, she was hit by another huge amount of water, several in fact, this time from above. Since she had destroyed the science team’s water cannon, the eggheads had to come up with another way of dousing her with their latest attempt to rid her of her foul stench. This time, they used a catapult and several dozens of water balloons. However, as they came out of hiding, (this time wrapped in varying amounts of bandages), they discovered that their latest attempt was just as unsuccessful.
“Aw nuts! She still smells like old socks and peaches!”
In the hotel where Jon, Nabiki and Matthew were staying in, the head of the Talbain clan got another call from his butler.
“Hello William. How are things at the castle? What? Some paparazzi reporter managed to get into the castle?!”
On the other side, Dubroke immediately alleviated his master’s concern. “Oh it is nothing to worry about, Master Jon. By pure chance, the interloper managed to get past the Grimbard Sister’s spell of confusion when they were renewing the runes. Cruk gave the reporter a light tap on the head to knock him out and Shamus O’Shea assures me that our uninvited guest will have no memory of what he has seen here. Actually the purpose of this call is about the medallion pieces that you have collected so far.”
“What about them?”
“Well apparently, when I had the legend of the medallion researched even further, it appears that there is a warning which states that the medallion must never be assembled. However, the reason behind it still eludes me thus far.”
“Hmm, that’s a bit of a problem since we need the whole medallion in order to make Nabiki a Primary Lycanthrope. It’s too late for us to stop this quest now. We’ll just have to deal with whatever dangers that will come when we’ve collected all the fragments.”
In Tokyo that eveining…
Demitri Maximoff, last of the Vampire Nobles, silently cursed as he dodged a deadly barrage of silver-plated submachine gun rounds. He had just gotten his full-strength back, when he ran into a cute little girl with a red, hooded cloak and packing an Uzi.
As far as B. Bonnie Hood was concerned, Maximoff represented a huge bounty in which she was intent on cashing in. She had used her innocent appearance to draw the vampire toward her, then began letting loose a torrent of explosive ordinance and ammunition.
However, as the battle escalated, it began to draw the attention of certain individuals, which included a bloodthirsty paladin that was possessed by an equally murderous samurai spirit; and an organization with a powerful vampire agent of its own.
Hellsing Tokyo HQ…
“What is it Walter?” The organization’s leader and Alucard’s master asked as she sat at her desk.
“Paladin Alexander has been spotted heading toward downtown Tokyo. What is even more surprising is that an independent bounty hunter is heavily engaged with the Vampire Noble Demitri Maximoff. The confrontation is certain to get out of hand very quickly and the local police force is ill-equipped to deal with such matters.”
As if on cue, Alucard appeared from within the shadows and nodded to his master.
“I assume that my services are needed this night?” The bloodsucker inquired.
“You assume correctly, Alucard. The Bishamon-possessed Paladin was your primary target. However, I will wager that you have a score to settle with the vampire Maximoff as well.”
The Hellsing agent grinned, showing off a wicked set of fangs. “You would win that wager. Bishamon, Paladin Alexander and Demetri Maximoff; three prizes all in place. This shall be a VERY interesting night indeed.”
At the Tendo Home…
“Akane! I told you to stay out of the kitchen!” Kasumi said in exasperation as she gently pushed her younger sibling out the door.
“But I thought you could use some help cooking dinner tonight…”
“I don’t need any help, thank you.” The eldest Tendo daughter said quickly as she ushered Akane out.
After that disaster with the Anti-Hair Grow Formula, Kasumi wasn’t too keen on letting her sister touch anything that had to do with the culinary arts. She had spent two days cleaning out the kitchen to the point where she could prepare meals again. Furthermore, she had just bought fresh vegetables and did not want them to start rotting from her sister’s unnatural smell. During lunch, her father and Mr.Saotome’s stench was so overpowering, it caused all the food to spoil, forcing her to go shopping twice in one day.
‘Ranma’s’ father wasn’t too happy to go without lunch. Missing a meal also led to an argument with Soun, over which one’s stink spoiled the meal. This already put a severe strain on their friendship, especially after the Miracle Hair Shampoo and the Anti-Hair Grow Formula fiascos.
Until Dr. Tofu could come up with an antidote, Soun, Genma and Akane would have to stay outside of the house and sleep in the dojo.
Things only got more difficult when Akane came home and told her family that she couldn’t attend school. That meant that the smell would only increase in intensity and the neighbors were complaining. Unfortunately, many of the homes were downwind of the Tendo Complex. Nearby stores have been selling out their stocks of air fresheners and the army surplus store had to re-order more gas masks. Already there were threats to contact the city’s health department and have the area quarantined.
On the upside, the hellish aroma actually kept vermin away, rather than attracting them. Apparently, even cockroaches, rats, flies and maggots had their standards. The smell was even more effective than the strongest bug repellent. If the SC Johnson company could contain and patent that stench, it would probably be more effective than Raid.
At present, Kasumi was making do with what little they had. The generous donations from the Talbane family had been nearly used up to repair the walls and furniture, as well as replace the kitchen appliances. As a result, the budget was extremely tight and they could not afford any more of Akane’s attempts at cooking.
Things were going downhill for the Tendo family.
In downtown Tokyo…
The surrounding area near the shopping district looked as if Godzilla had strolled through the streets. If given a choice, the citizens would have preferred to have the giant, mutated dinosaur in comparison to the real instigators of the mass devastation.
The bounty hunter in the red cloak had already used up enough ordinance to level Kuwait during the first Gulf War and was still going strong. Her picnic basket seemed to be a bottomless storehouse of rockets, bombs, ammunition clips and other nasty devices. There was not a single glass pane or window intact and just about every car on the streets was a smoldering pile of wreckage.
Though B. Bonnie Hood was a crack shot, her target was unwilling to cooperate in her collecting the bounty on his undead head. Demitri Maximoff had just recovered from his encounter with Alucard when he had come across the little bounty hunter. He had been tricked into thinking she was an innocent target and had intended to feast on her blood. However, as soon as he came near, he sensed her dark soul energy. That was when she whipped out her Uzi and started firing off silver-plated ammunition. Things were made even worse for the vampire lord as she chucked off a load of solar-flash grenades. The explosions of sunlight further weakened him.
Hood had also taken the precaution of setting up a supernatural barrier to keep him from escaping. The boundary surrounded five square blocks and any Darkstalker would be trapped inside should he/she crossed it. Demitri could only escape by killing the gun-toting Little Red Riding Hood. And as many Darkstalkers could attest, such a task was not considered simple.
Standing on a rooftop, just outside the boundary of the barrier, Alucard and his vassal Seras, considered the situation. One of their targets was in sight, and though the bounty hunter wasn’t on their list to eliminate, the bloodsucker was certain that his master wouldn’t mind if he killed her. Now all they needed was…
The greatest weapon of the Hellsing Organization smiled, showing off a frightening display of fangs as he noticed a certain figure cross the barrier, attracted to the scent of blood and the sheer carnage of battle. Paladin Alexander, possessed by the spirit of Bishamon, had arrived.
“Master? Should we not engage?” Seras inquired as she hefted the anti-tank rifle in her hands.
Alucard nodded as he took out the heavy, automatic pistol from the insides of his trenchcoat. He made a grand display of biting down on the slide and using his mouth to pull it back, cocking the hammer. With his quarry trapped within the barrier, there would be no escape.
He jumped down toward the battlezone with Seras following close behind. Several squads of crack Hellsing troops also joined the fray.
The night would echo with the screams of terror and the rending of flesh. Blood would flow freely this night.
Back in Paris the second day of the tournament, Junior Division…
“Ow! Ow! Ow!”
Matthew grimaced as he hobbled out of the ring. The last bout had been especially rough and he had almost resorted to changing into his hybrid form. When his father said that there would be formidable fighters near his age, he had not been joking. Among the human race, there were quite a few extraordinary teen fighters.
His opponent, a student from Taiyo High by the name of Batsu Ichimonji, was out cold. Sitting on benches on the sidelines, were the werewolf’s other beaten opponents from Gorin High, Pacific High and Gedou High. Among them was baseball player Shoma Sawamura, which Matthew had smacked on the head with his own bat. The volleyball player Natsu Ayuhara he beat by smashing one of her volleyballs into her face. Akira Kazama, the biker who turned out to be a girl after her helmet got knocked off. Roy Bromwell the football player, whom he managed to punt out of the ring, and his girlfriend Tiffany Lords.
Until today, Matthew wouldn’t have believed that a cheerleader could hit THAT hard. As he sat down on a bench and let Nabiki help tend to his injuries, he began to wonder about the schools his rivals came from. If the students were this tough, one could only imagine what their teachers were like.
In the Adult Division, Matthew’s father was experiencing first-hand how tough the teachers were. At the moment, he was breathing hard after a long, drawn-out battle with one of the instructors of Justice High. He had finally forced Hideo Shimazu to submit, and was even helping him to exit the ring. Standing nearby with a notepad was his fiancée Kyoko Minazuki, who was ready to administer her trademark chiropractic skills for both combatants.
Jon had also managed to win against Ryu’s rival Ken Masters, but only by a very small margin. The American had gotten careless when he tried to use his Shoryuken, after he had backed his foe into a corner. The lycanthrope barely beat him when he countered with his Climb Razor kick. Ken’s head was slightly forward at the time, thereby giving Jon the split-second he needed for the win.
The only easy fight he had in the second part of the tournament was when he went up against police officer Hon-Fu from Hong Kong. At first, it was an even match since both primarily used the nunchakus. The two exchanged extremely damaging blows with the chained clubs, but then Hon-Fu missed with his weapon and accidently smacked himself in the groin. (3)
In other matches, King and Mai Shiranui were eliminated in a double KO. Andy Bogard had defeated Billy Kane and Duck King, but was forced out of the ring, when he went up against Iori Yagami. Sagat, the former Muay Thai champion (before Joe Higashi took that title), was taken down by Kim Kaphwann from Korea. Axel Hawk managed to score a win against Balrog, but proved to be no match for Dudley.
The battles continued all day, as the strongest fighters moved up in the rankings and the losers fell to wayside. Soon the quarter-finals were decided as two fighters from the same country faced each other off.
“Handsome fighters never lose battles!” Vega taunted as he faced off against a fellow Spaniard.
Laurence Blood was not impressed with the prancing braggart as he held up his cape in front of him. “Then you must not be very handsome if you wear a mask! You bring shame to our mother country of Spain!”
With that insult, Vega charged at his fellow matador, intending to skewer him with the metal claw on his right hand. Though the weapon did extend his reach, Wolfgang Krauser’s servant had something with an even longer range.
Just as his opponent leapt at him, Blood revealed what was hidden behind his cape, which was a double-edged Spanish sword. He easily parried the claw, then used his cape, (which was weighted down at the end), to swipe at Vega’s legs. The arrogant fighter was knocked backward, but recovered by making a double back-flip. However, Lawrence pressed the attack and let off a series of quick slashes.
Vega barely managed to block most of the stabs and slashes with his claw, but a few managed to nick his arms and his chest, staining the large cobra tatoo red with blood. Angered that he was being forced back, the so-called Spanish Ninja rolled under Laurence’s reach and thrust forward with his weapon.
His opponent twisted to the side to avoid a fatal wound, but the deadly hand claw tore into his side. Biting down on the pain, Blood retaliated as he shot forward like a spinning torpedo.
The masked fighter was caught totally off-guard by the move which resembled Bison’s Psycho Crusher. He was smashed hard in the stomach and thrown toward the ring’s edge. He was nearly knocked out of the arena, but was saved by the ropes that surrounded the ring. His claw also broke off from the impact. At that moment, Laurence Blood came in for the kill.
The Spaniard with the mask realized that he was at a grave disadvantage in the ring as his fighting style involved a lot of aerial moves. He much preferred his own caged arena in Spain where he could attack from above. As his foe neared to finish him off, Vega got creative and hopped up on the ring’s top rope. He waited until the last moment as Laurence stabbed forth with his sword.
Hopping down on the rope and using the rebound to leap over the thrust, Vega soared high into the air and cried out.
However, Laurence Blood showed why he considered his skills as only second to Wolfgang Krauser’s, as he recovered from the missed stab and leapt up to meet his enemy.
Before the vain stooge of Bison could react, Laurence flipped upside-down and wrapped up his foe’s upper body with his cape. He turned him about in midair, before slamming his face into the floor of the ring. There was a sickening crunch as Vega’s body went limp.
Blood casually unwrapped Vega from his cape, revealing an unconscious opponent with a shattered mask. His face was a broken mess.
“Now you have a real reason to wear a mask Senor Vega.”
The crowds cheered as Lawrence Blood was declared the winner. Then it was time for one of the most anticipated fights of the century.
Ryu Vs Terry Bogard.
Back in Tokyo, an hour after the chaos…
Sir Integra was not happy as she surveyed the devastated city streets. The battle between the two vampire lords, a homicidal Paladin Alexander with the spirit of an equally bloodthirsty samurai, a pscyho bounty hunter in a red cloak and the forces of the Hellsing Organization had ended badly for all sides. Downtown Tokyo had received the worst of the exhanges as nearly every building was a smolding pile of rubble. The streets were littered with huge craters and the electrical and water mains were out. Surprisingly, civilian casualties were very light as the conflict had taken place during a time when businesses were closing up and people were already home. However, with a disturbance this huge, it was going to be a nightmare to cover up and prevent it from making the evening news, if it hadn’t already done so.
The head of Hellsing turned to face a group of men who were led by her servant Walter. The most distinguishing feature about these men was that each one was dressed in a black, business suit, leather shoes, white dress shirt, and sporting sunglasses.The leader of the newcomers seemed to be in his late fifties to early sixties, had gray hair and had a bit of a paunch. He stepped forward and held out his hand, which took and shook it.
“Ah Zed. Good to see you and the MIB again. Please walk with me.”
The leader of the Men In Black, nodded as he issued orders to his subordinates. “Agent M and Agent C will coordinate with Walter to intercept all video feeds, photos and Internet media streams. Not a single LETTER of this incident is to be made public. Agent A and Agent W, you two will handle the cover story and have all damage to this area restored by morning. The rest of you will spread out and take care of all witnesses. Neurolyze the entire city of Tokyo and the surrounding areas in a ten-mile radius, if you have to, but I do not want to hear anything resembling the truth about this matter, unless it happens to be on a tabloid that no one would believe! Get going!”
The MIB agents voiced their acknowledgement as they scattered, leaving their leader alone with Sir Integra. The two began to walk along the devastated streets and discussed certain matters of importance.
“As always Zed, the MIB’s assistance is greatly appreciated. Covering up this matter with Hellsing resources alone would have been most… difficult.”
Zed nodded and replied. “But of course Sir Integra. We at the MIB would NEVER turn our backs to our friends in Hellsing. After all, it was your family’s organization which gave us all the Intel on the Old Races, particularly on vampires.”
“And in return, you have kept Hellsing supplied with advanced technology and information about alien activity on Earth. It’s quite an equitable arrangement. However, I fear that things will be getting more out hand in the future.” Integra let off a frustrated sigh.
“There has been an increase in alien and monster sightings worldwide.” The MIB leader concurred. “We’ve already sent messages to all major extraterrestrial centers to increase their secrecy measures. We’ve also sent word to Castle Talbain. It’s almost as if something has upset the mystic and metaphysical balance of reality.”
“A bit of bad news I could do without. Demitri Maximoff and B. Bonnie Hood had managed to elude capture. The only silver lining in all of this was that Paladin Alexander had been temporarily neutralized during the battle. Apparently, even his regeneration powers are not enough to restore him quickly enough after being hit by a magnetic implosion charge. My compliments to the MIB design team.”
“And may I also compliment you on the Level Omega containment field generator you had recently sent to us? It has proven to be quite effective in holding Alexander, until we are able to determine a means to remove the spirit of Bishamon from him.”
“You’re quite welcome. However, aside from the cover-up operation for this matter, there is something else I needed to discuss with you.” Zed reached into an inner suit pocket and pulled out a small photo. He then handed it to Integra for her to inspect.
“What is this?” She asked as she looked on an image of a starry background.
“That image was taken by one of our deep space monitoring stations at the Outer Rim of the Andromeda Galaxy… before the station was destroyed. And we’ve also begun receiving reports from several alien races that their space armadas were being decimated by some destructive force. You see that red dot in the middle? Our most advanced sensors detected energy readings that were off the charts. We can’t even determine what is causing such a disruptive field. We only know one thing about it.”
“Just before we lost contact with the Andellians, the closest alien race in that sector, we received a garbled message from them. We only managed to decode one word; we think it might a name.”
“And that name is?”
Back in Paris…
“It is time for one of the most awaited fights of the tournament! And now, for ze last quarter-final bout in ze adult division, let me introduce the combatants!” The referee announced from a microphone.
In the crowds, hundreds of well-known fighters who had been eliminated from competition cheered and applauded as the two combatants entered the ring. Even though it was illegal, there were numerous side bets being taken. Sitting near one of the corners of the ring, several competitors from the Junior Division were also part of the spectators, including Matthew Talbain and Nabiki Tendo.
Normally, the middle daughter of Soun Tendo would be involved in the gambling, but since traveling with the Talbains, she had no need to make any extra money. The trip and all expenses were going to be paid in full, and back in Japan, her family’s account was well in the black for at least a month, (though she would later learn that Akane’s antics had spent most of the generous donations).
For the moment, both she and Matthew were given the chance to watch two of the greatest fighters in the world go at it. Since there would be a short period before the quarter-finals of the Junior Division, they decided to cheer on Terry and Ryu.
In one corner of the ring, Terry stretched and warmed up by throwing a few practice punches and kicks. He had just defeated Guile and Cammy, and was going up against one of the most well-known practitioners of karate. This would be one of the few fights in which he would have to go all out.
Standing just outside of the ring, Jon gave his friend a wave and called out to him.
“I expect to see you at the finals Terry!”
“OKAY!” Andy’s brother replied as his held up his right fist in a kind of tough guy salute.
On the other side, Ken cheered on his friend and rival.
“Go get him Ryu! Make Master Gouken proud!”
The Japanese fighter nodded as he continued to gaze upon his opponent. After beating Ryo Sakazaki and Robert Garcia, he was looking forward to facing off against Bogard. Like many others, he had heard about the legendary Hungry Wolf of Southtown. Despite his easy-going appearance, Ryu could sense Terry’s inner power and gauged his skill level. He could also sense his rival’s drive in the martial arts, which mirrored his own. This would be a match to remember all his life.
At the judges’ stand, Jubei Yamada nodded as he studied both fighters.
<Hmmm, this could go either way. Ryu Hoshi happens to practice one of the strongest versions of Shotokan Karate. He’s got excellent ki control and I can see very little in terms of gaps in his defense. Then again, Terry’s no slouch in receiving or dishing out damage. Well, let us see if Tung Fu Rue’s student can match up against Gouken’s.>
The referee first gestured to Ryu’s corner and introduced him.
“In zis corner, I am pleased to introduce form Japan… the World Warrior… the Dragon of the East… representing all schools of Shotokan Karate… RYU HOSHI!”
There was a tremendous cheer from the crowds as Ryu stepped forward and gave his admirers a solemn bow. Then the referee pointed to the other side of the ring.
“And in zis corner, I am also proud to present from America… the original King of Fighters… the Hungry Wolf of Southtown… representing the Hakyouku Saikken School of Martial Arts… as well as many other styles… TERRY BOGARD!
An equally thunderous round of applause and cheers came from the crowds as Terry also stepped up. Then the entire stadium became silent as the two faced each other with less than a meter separating them. Then Jubei stood up from his seat, raised his right hand and cried out one word…
To be continued…
Sorry I have to cut it here, but the chapter was getting too long so you’ll have to wait until next time. After the fight, we’ll see the end of the tournament and the next leg in Nabiki’s quest to become a full-fledged werewolf. As for the plight of the Tendo family back home, well let’s just say that things are going to be really rough for a while. See you then!
(1) Technical Knock Out.
(2) Hugo Andore is probably number one in terms of sheer muscle and brute force of all the Street Fighters. What he lacks in speed and finesse, he makes up for it by just powering through his opponents. I’ve played Hugo in Street Fighter III the Third Strike, and I actually made it to the second-last level just by repeatedly hitting the punch and kick buttons.
(3) Hon-Fu’s special move which can hit as fast as Jon’s Million Flicker move, but if you miss the move it will cause him to comically strike his groin.