The next day, all the Street Fighters were escorted across the continent in two jets. They all were there, eager to learn more about this new tournament of champions.
"I don't know how to feel about this." Rose mused, seated at Cammy's side. Something about the whole tournament business felt wrong, but she couldn't be sure.
"I really don't care. As long as I get another shot at Bison! The never! Claiming me as some sort of prize! He wants me, he'll get me!" Cammy replied with a smirk.
Chun-Li, on Cammy's right, gave the girl a high five, "Damn straight! There's nothing that pumps me up more than knowing that I'll be fighting Bison again." She whooped, surprisingly cheery all of a sudden.
Rose frowned thoughtfully and turned to look out the window.
Flying at their side in the other jet were the guys. Guy worriedly watched Cody chew on his lower lip.
"They'll be all right, Cody," he said lightly, searching out his friend's gaze.
Cody looked over at him and shook his head, "I keep telling myself that but I just can't be sure. She IS being held hostage by a couple of psychotic jerks..." He noted dryly, "...it just makes me so angry! What I would give to get my hands on Bison or Rolent or that shit Sodom!" He growled under his breath.
"All in due time, my friend, all in due time," Guy responded calmly.
In the back, Ryu and Ken were quiet; then, Ryu spoke for the first time since they had entered the jet, "I didn't want Sakura to come." He declared, staring out the side window at the other jet.
"Why didn't you cuff her to her bed or something like that?"
Ryu glared at Ken, "What you do with Eliza is none of my business," he said sharply.
Ken drew back, his eyes wide, "Whoa! What's wrong with you? You weren't like this a minute ago..." he asked questioningly.
"I'm sorry. I--Iím just really angry at this whole situation. I was hoping that my vacation from battle would be longer; there's just so many things going on in my head right now..."
Ken patted his buddy's shoulder and smiled confidently, "Don't worry about it. The faster we can find out what this is all about, the faster we can return home to our families and our lives. Right, Ryu?"
He asked, not because he wanted an answer, but because he wanted to hear Ryu say something firm.
Ryu sighed and looked over at ken momentarily, "Right," he said without conviction.
Not much later they arrived at a large, expensive-looking building that was awfully secluded. They were all let off their respective jets and they all watched as their rides went away the second they were dropped onto solid ground.
"That's not good," Sakura remarked, her face turned up towards the retreating jets.
"Let's go inside," Cammy offered, pointing to the building ahead of them.
Everyone agreed except Cody and Guy, "We'll go around and scout about," Guy said as the others began to walk towards the entrance, "Cody and I aren't really here for the fight...we kinda wanna find Jessica and Rena," he added with a nod.
The proposition caught Rose's attention and she turned to them before heading away with the others, "Do you think that this tournament and the ladies' capture are connected?" she asked, still uncomfortable with the karma of the situation.
Cody frowned and shrugged, "It's logical, isn't it? I mean, when the girls were taken, Rolent gave me the invitation to come here. It's just a hunch I have, Rose." he answered brightly. Rose winked at him and Guy then turned to catch up to the others.
"Let's go," Guy said and he and Cody quietly slipped around the building.
"They've arrived, sir." Sagat declared and smiled.
On his throne, Bison smirked, "Good," He said simply, "Are they all there?" He asked then, sinking lower in his seat.
"Yes, I believe."
"Good. Huh? I don't see Akuma anywhere. Have all security on code-red; level omega!"
Bison had learned from before. Akuma is the first man he felt that could defeat him. He had fallen to Akuma's Raging Demon a while back. It was a power that could easily rival his psycho powers. It was a power that Ryu had shown hints of possessing--which was the main purpose behind the tournament. Should the others prove to be 'failed experiments,' he would still have Ryu. From there, Ryu could be programmed to take out Akuma, eliminating those that could oppose him.
Then, Bison started to have second thoughts. What if, he could somehow gain control over Akuma? Right now, Akuma is more powerful than Ryu...although rumors continue to spread that Ryu's has, as of yet, touched the surface of his powers and potential. If he could but get them both under his control, Shadowloo would be invincible!
"No, I think not. Akuma is too powerful to control...he's my reminder that there is always some one out there who can defeat me, and to make sure I constantly improve. We'll take Ryu, and if need be, he can eliminate Akuma."
Cody's mind was on another world, in another lifetime. He was thinking back to when the Mad Gear had kidnapped Jessica a few years back. He was shocked at what had happened. he was glad his friends Guy and Haggar were there, to help get her back.
However, throughout the entire fight, he couldn't stop feeling guilty. How could he be so self-centered?? He had told her that she would be all right, and went off to the gym for a rather lengthy workout. It was there that he got a call from Haggar to come to his office at once!
Each hit that landed on a thugs body was double-edged: he was venting his anger for what they did, but at the same time, he was hurting himself. There were plenty of signs, and warnings, although they were directed at Haggar. That was the problem--as they weren't directly to him, he ignored them...and failed Jessica. He redeemed himself by rescuing her. Now, it happened again, and he truly began to doubt himself.
"Don't beat yourself up over this, Cody. You know that I feel as guilty as you do, for not being able to protect Rena. Maki and Lucia feel just as bad, because they were there. It doesn't ease our pain, but you do know that we will always be with you, and we will fight to put down..."
Guy stopped, nearly bumping into Cody, who had stopped suddenly. From what little they knew, based on where they were supposed to be staying as 'guest,' they had to be on the other side of Shadowloo! There, they saw the nuclear subs Bison had stolen! Around them had to be perhaps a quarter of Shadowloo. Not only were they guarding the subs, but hostages Shadowloo had taken a while back.
"Damn! It's always something like this!"
"It's never easy, Cody. Look who's in charge!"
"Sodom! Rolent! When we get the chance, those asses are going to be smoked!"
Alone in her room, Rose looked the place over, carefully. The last time they met, it wasn't under the best of terms. It was actually rather dramatic. She had been, well, possessed. She nearly killed him. M. Bison, her brother.
Unlike most of the others, who wanted him dead, she wanted to save him. Was she being naive? Maybe she was living in a world of dreams. Whatever it was, she decided to put it to rest, and sat on her bed, and began to meditate, hoping to learn more of what her brother had planned.
Slowly, she relaxed into a sleep-like state, and began to receive visions, both of the past, and what could be the future. She saw several of the matches she had fought in the last tournament, the one that had distracted them all. She recalls how she joined Ken, and Bison, as they all battled with a strange dark warrior, to fight a god. Then, they all fought the dark warrior. Finally, they battled Bison, before they met their final test. When it was all over, Ken and her were the survivors.
She saw her, and the Street Fighters that were there, engaged in battle. However, this wasn't a tournament, but a battle for their lives. They had to fight with their minds and souls, against enemies from without, and within. She felt intense pain from all of her friends. Pain, agonizing torture demanding termination, but that wouldn't be granted. Only the various ties of friendship, and love, kept them going so long. She then saw Ryu caught up in some strange machine.
Rose awakened from her vision with a harsh sneeze, and realized that gas was being pumped into her room! She was trapped! Before long, she passed out.
"I don't like this!" complained Sakura, "All we've had our some guys who are like the attendants! We haven't seen any of the Kings of Shadowloo!"
"I'll bet that Bastard's hiding! He knew I'd kill him!"
"Not if I get him first, Cammy! I wouldn't mind taking Vega out, either!"
Suddenly, Chun Li was seized by a fit of coughing. The doors and windows were sealed with iron barricades, as the strange gas began to flow into their rooms. They each tried to desperately break the door down, but to no avail. It took no time for them to succumb to the gas.
"I don't trust this at all! We've yet to see any of those freaks! They must be planning something major."
"We know, Guile. For now, as always, we have to wait, and see what happens."
"I agree with Guile, Charlie. I hate this waiting around. It has to be some sort of trap!"
"We all know it is, Ken. It's...GAS!"
It was too late. No sooner had Ryu cried his warning, then they were sealed up, and the steady flow of gas poured into their room, taking them all out in a matter of seconds.
In his special monitoring room, Bison viewed the screens with interest. All of them were unconscious.
"I still think this is a big mistake. I think we should kill them all of, now!"
"I agree with Vega. I doubt we'll get another chance at this."
"Balrog! Vega! You know my orders! Carry them out! I want them moved to their 'guest rooms,' at once!"
Each bowed respectfully, and left to gather troops, to move the Street Fighters.
"My lord? What do you want me to do?"
"You, Sagat, shall remain here, with me," Bison answered firmly.
"But Bison! Shouldn't I be there, with Vega and Balrog?!"
"I have my reasons, Sagat. You'd be wise not to question me any longer."
As he finished speaking, his eyes began to radiate their ghastly light, and his Psycho Powers manifested in his fists. It was with great reluctance that Sagat obeyed, despite wanting to get Ryu.
In the front of his mind, Bison was sure he had nearly everything going his way. The only factor that can oppose him, is Akuma. Akuma is just as evil as him. For a time, they had even worked together. Now, it was as before. Should Akuma return, Sagat would be there, to greet him.