Canto 18: Understandings
The first round to this contest has ended. Much has happened. While some of it has been good, I fear that much more of it has been bad. That ain't the best, considering that I try to be the optimistic one, but what can I say?
This advendure started when Mai got zapped 200 years into the past (I HATE it when they say, "It all started when..."). In her place was Charlotte, a French Noblewoman from the French Revolution! That's a big surprise; you might even say it was a shock (bad pun). That in itself's proven to be a real journey. We learn that Geese and Krauser are working together. We are also hit by a world shattering truth - time travel's possible!
Once we get here, Mai and Andy are reunited. Our new friends, Charlotte and Haohmaru, are also reunited. We meet new enemies and allies. Darkness has two new faces--Amakusa and Zankuro--or are Geese and Krauser new? After all, we came over 200 years after them, sorta. I think we should forget about trying to figure out this time thingy out; way to confusing!
Now, for the bad news. To be blunt, WE ARE STUCK 100 YEARS IN THE PAST! I guess they figured it would be best to meet in a half-way point. The only way for us to get back is in the hands of our enemies: Amakusa; Geese; Krauser; and Zankuro. In order to do that, we must fight in this contest. This was the only way for us to get Mai, and for Charlotte to be reunited with her friends. The "kidnapping a lady" is SO OLD (but real effective)!
Then, there's my personal problem, Ryuji Yamazaki.
This one is right up there with Geese and Krauser. He has already killed off Bob, Cheng, and Rick. I feel so guilty...I should have been there to stop him, but I was so preoccupied with our hosts and their plans. None of them should have died, and I vow on my father's grave to avenge them.
Ryuji possesses (or is possessed by) Orochi Power. This is what Rugal tapped into, and then destroyed him. This is the same, insane power that Iori has. Goentiz released it, and has caused global chaos to be unleashed once more. Geese wants it, for obvious reasons. Ryuji not only has it, but more than enough--power--to cause enough chaos to level anyone who challenges him. I don't think want to think of what he can do with it, especially to Mary. He already tried once to...I can't believe how close that was! I hit him with a kick that stunned Lacoon...it didn't work too well there either.
Now, I'll have to fight Haohmaru in the next round. From what I've heard, we are equally matched. We both know that I know how to disarm him, and keep him that way. We also know that he can stop me from trying...and his mind drifts...
"How is she taking it, Joe?"
"Is she blaming her self for it?"
"Not too well, Andy, Mai. Ryuji killed them off, and you can tell they weren't ready, guessing from how hard they've been hit...I knew I's right when I said that guy is EVIL. I'm glad Jubei had that talk. I've respect for Ukyo...If Terry can't stop him, I will!"
"Is that your way of telling me you are confident in my abilities?"
"Terry. You know what I mean. How can you joke like that?"
"You know how bad I feel, Joe. I wanted to stop him, before his first. He knows that I'm still caught up with Geese and Krauser, though. He's a `side problem.' I can't ignore him, yet I can't put all of my focus in that fight. Anything less than my all will end in my death."
"Don't be too confident, my boy. You don't want me to do it for you...I'm sure you can turn him to pulp!" said Mary, smoothly.
"Thanks, Mary. I'm going to need everything I can use to beat him. Not only will I be tested against Haohmaru, but Ryuji will be waiting for me. I know he won't disappoint. This will be one nasty Hell-fest!"
"He won't be fresh, either. Remember, he has a fight too. He can't afford to overlook Galford."
"Mai's right, brother. He's good, but even he can't be at full force after his fight."
"You are right, Andy. I's just now thinking - how will Haohmaru fair. Genjuro won't have a fight. The storm is coming."
So, while they wonder about THE fight (actually, Terry v Haohmaru and Terry v Ryuji would be cool!), let's see King try and help Ling cope with Rick's death (and will you PLEASE get your minds outta the trash...and don't make "special picture requests.")
"Hello, Ling? Can I come in? This is..."
"...If you want, King. It doesn't matter to me."
Well, this will be a challenge, girl. Are you sure you want to play doctor? She does need somebody to talk with. While it's not the same thing, it's similar. I'm not ready for this...let's go!
"I know what you want. You want to tell me how it happened, there's nothing we could do...that sorta thing...about Rick. It didn't work when Joe tried it either. Why do you think it'll work for you?"
"Maybe it's because I've had a lose as painful. This life was in Fate's hands--and they closed," and King told Ling about her dream when she asked what she meant.
"That's real touching, and I guess it could be disturbing. However, it's only a dream. When we return, Jan will still be there, waiting for you. When we return, Rick will still be dead. Nice try, but it didn't work."
"...You know, it wasn't until you said that, and I looked at it harder, that I see just how true it was. It's a sort of twist on one of my deeper, darker memories. It's what I'd do to get them back."
"Huh? What are you talking about? Why are you speaking in riddles?"
"Before I tell you, please promise to NEVER tell this to another soul! Only Mai, Yuri, Chizuru, and - Ryo know this."
"Ah, ok. I promise."
"Thanks. This happened a while back. I think Jan had just turned 4, and our parents were working late. They also took some time to get some things for his birthday...No, it wasn't a `dark and stormy night.' It was dark, and it was night, but it seemed like Heaven. As they walked across the street to finally come back, a drunk in a pick-up hits them. He crashes from a spin-out; his face caved in. Jan was watching tv, so he never saw it. I paced about, and shot past them to my parents. They were all bandaged up. I felt their pain, in their eyes, for they couldn't talk. I wasn't sure if Jan should see this. The last thing I recalled ma saying was to watch over Jan while they were gone. Pa teased by saying `or else.' That has been with me ever since. I knew, and still do, that if I'm not here to watch over him, he'll die."
"I'm sorry, King. That must be real hard."
"It is. For years, I wanted to do anything I could to bring them back. I worked with a Devil, Mr. Big. I have Jan, and he has been giving me strength, ever since I left Big. Now, we're here. Jan ain't here, so do you think you can be my strength?" to which Ling smiled, and nodded.
First fight of this tournament, and I kick ass! Yea, the old man got his hits, but I fried him in the end. That's what many of these fools seem to forget: I'm Geese's #1 for a reason. He didn't pick a loser as his guard. I'm tough; I survived a surprise attack from Iori, as well as Ryuji. How many others do you know can be nearly killed by two different Orochis, and still be kicking?
They find my stick fighting to be "cheap and cowardly." TOUGH! You do what it takes to win. Many overlook me...now I can laugh; most of them have been eliminated from the first round. Too bad Andy's cut, I'd like some pay back...same thing goes for Blood. Maybe those two can be sideshows. Then again, maybe I can get them to fight; I get winner. Not a bad idea.
Afterwards, I'll hang tight for Terry and Ryuji. Those two will probably come close to killing each other. It will be easy pickings. I can also do Richard a favor, too. Hey, even I have my friends. Richard is one of them. He makes the best drinks in Southtown. Bob was starting to learn from him--the fighting, as well as drinks. Richard's too old to continue working for Geese, but Bob would have been a good replacement. Loyal guys like us are hard to find. I turned down "The Mighty Rugal," and we kicked his ass. Same goes for Orochi. The old guy was taken out, and the Nature Hoe won't be any different.
She may think that her pets will scare me. They'll all fry.
Maybe I can get Earthquake after her. That way, Galford will come to her aid. Thus, Ryuji will have more strength for Terry, leaving more for me to pound. This is good. This may even make for a good story someday.
So, what's left to see in this section? How about a face-off between Ryuji, Geese, and Krauser!
So, it seems the different sides are making plots against me. That is just the kind of fight I thrive in. Now, these fools of the 1700s know to fear the Dark Power, curtsey of Ryuji Yamazaki. Before, I could counter any single attack thrown at me. Now, I can counter an entire fury of cuts. I hadn't really done blades before, so I'll say Genjuro was lucky. He's been fried, and Galford is next.
Terry is so confident; he thinks that jerk and his mutt will wear me down. Don't make me laugh...actually, don't make me puke. The guy's so nice, I want to croak. I'll have to put him out of my misery. Then, I can eliminate the other looser, Terry. After, Mary and I can pick up where we left off.
Ryuji was about to laugh, when he felt the aura of an old "business client."
"Geese. What do I owe the joy? More blood spilling!" he said, his eyes becoming filled with blood.
"Very interesting. You really do see blood as you near The Blood Riot. That must hurt. Are you willing for another proposition, Ryuji?"
"You have nothing I wand, Howard...and neither do you, Wolfgang!"
"Krauser! What are you doing here? I thought you were..."
"I'm sure you did, Geese. However, I have men here, too. They informed me that Ryuji was about. Naturally, I knew you would find out, and seek him out. Now, I'm here, to be sure that things don't go wrong."
"What a load of crog! Any idiot can tell that you are trying to out think each other. Simply fight it out, cowards! The winner's the guy who is still alive. You game? Don't worry, I'll make sure nobody cuts in, and keep my Blood intact," Ryuji finished, licking his lips like he did in Geese's office that time.
Both of them were blank, for they knew Ryuji was right. They also knew that if he wanted, he could lunge for them. The question, would their alley help them, leave them, or wait to pick off the "winner?" Neither trusted the other, yet both were needed to be able to get back to the 20th, and they both knew it. They also knew that if they didn't act fast, Ryuji could waste them--or would he?
"Bah! You bunch of wimps! You're wasting my time. I'll see you later. I may be awesome, but I won't go into my fight without training. See ya!" and he ripped up the air with his insane laughter, that chilled the spines of his two companions. Each looked at the other, and then went back to their respective number ones, Billy and Blood, each now rethinking their plots.
"Hey, Andy! Whatcha thinking?"
"Nothing much, Mai. I was just thinking about what I had heard Charlotte say she saw after her match. Ukyo, with some character calling itself the A-O. Could it be that this is just a small prelude to a much bigger fight? Are there even more dangerous foes that are ahead for us? You've heard that you'll be fighting her in the next round?"
"Yes. The two babes are going at it. Now that will be a match I'm sure you'd just kill to see! No matter what happens, Andy, we'll be together!" and Mai giggled her girlish giggle as the lake was now abandoned by all others...and a nasty trick to play on Andy entered her mind...
Yes, I know that I've been slow on writing this part, and I'm sorry, but there was a lot of stuff to keep me busy, both on and off-line. This quarter in college is really starting to be demanding on me, as is tutoring elementary kids in reading (if you can believe that)! I'll try not to take as long for the next canto, as long as time permits. I hope this has been worth the wait. (: