Chapter 15 - Abuse
It had been a few days since anything hair-raising had happened in Tokyo…but something was about to erupt today, any minute.
It was the day of the reorganised competition. The finals were on.
Jin and Nina were lucky enough to score front-row seats within the grand-stand of the massive arena, with at least a hundred thousand people behind them and around them. The sound of people yammering amongst themselves was deafening enough; but they knew, from the boisterous nature of Iron Fist crowds, it would get much, much worse, very soon. A few people recognised the pair of them, and were immediately asking for autographs and hand-shaking and such. Of course, to avoid a mad crowd, they refused until after the bouts were over.
Standing down the bottom of the stone expanse of the arena, next to the judges’ table, was the announcer, armed with a glass of water. He was chatting with the judges, obviously looking very excited about the upcoming event; it was truly to be the Clash of the Titans.
“I doubt this Mishima fellow is going to compare with Craig Marduk, after witnessing the past fights…” He placed down his water at the front of the desk. “I mean, look at the size difference…”
One of the judges peered up at him through coke-bottle frames. “Don’t forget that Kazuya Mishima is a Mishima…they have an uncanny way of surprising people, especially when it comes to size.”
The announcer didn’t look too sure. “That’s Heihachi. This Kazuya character is awfully small…I’m taller than him!”
Another judge shook her head and smiled. “After watching Ling Xiaoyu get the quarter finals effortlessly, I’d say size and speed are inversely proportional…”
Again, the announcer didn’t look convinced. “I’d be willing to believe you if the guy had a little more muscle bulk. It’s one of the smallest male fighters I’ve seen here. Heck, his son’s bigger than him!”
From behind the coke-bottle frames, the first judge shook his head, just as the woman next to him had. “Kazama’s style is phenomenally different. Traditional karate takes a lot more strength than Mishima karate.”
At the opposite side of the arena was a large opening beneath the stadium seating, leading to the underground. Within the musty room, panic had erupted. Kazuya stood, dressed in nothing but his white Gi pants and a black karate belt, with his arms folded impatiently over his chest. Others were scurrying around him in a state of elevated excitement, to say the least; apparently, Marduk’s outfit had been ruined when someone spilled something on it, and there was a mad rush to find something to replace it.
Looks like the tournament was going to start late. Sighing softly, Kazuya sat down on a seat, just out of view of the crowd, and waited as patiently as he could. The announcer had been right; he was small. Quite a number of the previous contestants had towered over him, and even now, a decent number of the people scurrying about were over six foot; hence, taller than he. And he didn’t seem to make up for a lack of height with width, either. His muscle mass was extremely compact, except for his arms, which were clearly where his formidable strength lay. Even so, he had always looked perfectly normal in a shirt; not disproportionably large like many fighters.
A young woman rushed up to him, and hesitantly tapped his arm. He glanced up at her passively, the boredom evident on his face. “Mr Mishima sir, the tournament is ready to begin…” She certainly sounded nervous. After all, for this man to be one of the two finalists, he had to be good.
He stood, and nodded. “Thank you.”
“The final round of the King of Iron Fist Four is about to begin, ladies and gentlemen. This is the deciding round of who will face Heihachi Mishima himself!” As the announcer mentioned the name, Kazuya resisted the urge to kill something. He ought to save that for the hairy bastard he was going to fight in a moment.
“The first contestant, all the way from the United States of America, the world’s former Vale Tudo fighter champion, Craig Marduk!”
The crowd erupted in screams and cheers as Marduk ran in from the underground door opposite the one Kazuya was standing behind, throwing his arms in the air and basically congratulating himself for winning a fight that hadn’t been fought yet. The majority of the cheering came from the American groups scattered throughout the crowd; the Japanese audience merely clapped politely as he made his entry.
Nina and Jin glanced at each other nervously – this guy was at least twice the size of the opponent they were barracking for.
The massive creature was still waving at the screaming crowd; today, unlike the last tournament, he was wearing green and purple spandex – way too tight – and was sporting much, much more hair on his chest than he was on his bald head. This was one opponent Kazuya was not looking forward to beating; sure, the huge oaf would never be able to land a fist on him, but Kazuya certainly did not want to even touch the creature! Yuck…
“And our second contestant for this fantastic competition, ladies and gentlemen: Fighting in his hometown of Tokyo, and ranking as one of the two only masters of Mishima Karate left in the world; Kazuya Mishima!”
Kazuya heard his cue, and simply walked out of the underground casually, not expecting much of a reaction out of the crowd after Craig’s round of cheering. But he was soon to be proved very, very wrong. As soon as he stepped out into the open, the audience went absolutely ballistic. What seemed like a deafening cheer last time was drowned out completely by the euphoric screams and cheers from the crowd above. He blushed slightly when he realised it was him they were cheering for; and it wasn’t just them. The television cameras all around the place were broadcasting this final bout to billions across the entire planet – and judging by the crowd reaction, there were many more millions screaming for him than this mere tenth of a million seated all around him.
As he continued to walk towards Marduk, he pondered making the crowd scream just a little more…it was making him feel fantastic! People actually wanted to see him fight! After a few seconds of carefully scanning the audience, he managed to spot Nina and Jin sitting in the front row; he threw a hand up and waved at them, smiling slightly. Of course, the crowd’s cheers rose to a painful level all around the stadium as a result…and Marduk didn’t look happy.
“Come on pretty boy, enough showing off already!” Yes, not happy at all.
Kazuya arched a brow and smirked. The entire crowd heard that, since sitting on each of their belts was a miniscule, super-sensitive microphone that would not only pick up their voices and play them over the super-powerful speaker system, but also play every hit, punch, kick and fall as if each member of the crowd were only inches away from the impact. “If I were you, I would take off that arrogant face of yours…no, wait…” he stopped, smirked, and added to that. “Why not just take off that face completely? It would do your image a world of good…” The entire crowd erupted with laughter…except the small number of Craig fans.
“That does it! I’ll break your face!” The American’s lower eyelid was twitching with barely contained anger at this point.
Kazuya gave him a smug look. He loved this. “Only if you can catch me…”
The announcer stepped up to the two of them before the bickering and insults could elevate further. “Final round about to begin, boys. This is officially a non-timed match, and has tag-battle status; no continue, except in the case of a draw. Are you ready?” Both nodded silently, stepped back to the legally required two-metre starting distance, and held their poses.
The announcer stepped back. “Fight!” Before the two could start, he ran back to the judges’ table, out of the way.
Just as the fight was announced officially started, Craig took no chances, and literally threw himself at Kazuya side-on. From that distance, it was a nightmare to dodge, and Kazuya only barely managed it by performing a premature cross-arms dive right over the top of the beast…who ended up hitting the slate floor with an almighty crunch. The sound of him hitting the ground was broadcast over at least a hundred countries…all of which would have gasped or winced in pain along with Marduk. Kazuya, on the other hand, landed perfectly on both feet after somersaulting along the ground. He spun around to witness Craig getting back to his feet awkwardly.
“You little coward, Mishima…” Marduk wiped his face on the back of a hairy arm, and stood.
Kazuya brushed off his arms too, and stood back in his fighting stance, facing Craig side-on. “Who’s the coward? I certainly didn’t launch myself at someone half my body weight…”
Craig snarled and launched himself at Kazuya again, this time with a simple one-two punch…though his hands were almost as big as Kazuya’s entire head. The smaller man, having anticipated such a move from the monster, crouched down and sprung forward, easily avoiding the fists that struck so very much higher than his head level; as he was just beneath his opponent, right fist ready to strike, and with the force of a super-coiled spring, he launched upward, his fist connecting with Craig’s chest. The force of the simple attack displayed the raw power in the man’s slender figure; the 6’8” beast was thrown back and high into the air, landing with a sickening thud a good five metres away from his starting point.
By this point, Craig was already starting to get a little dizzy from his rough-handling. He forced himself up though, and once again, in blind rage, threw himself at Kazuya, who was so far unscathed. He caught him completely surprise; the large hand wrapped itself around the smaller man’s neck, holding him up high in the air; Kazuya struggled for air.
Before Kazuya could try and free himself from the iron-fisted grasp, Craig threw him down into the ground, and leapt on top of him. Then, at his perfect ease, he began to throw one punch after another at the Mishima’s vulnerable face. The first fist connected with Kazuya’s cheek, knocking his face to the side; but the second one, he grabbed; Craig, surprised at the block, was not prepared for a good kick in the stomach – which was indeed what he was rewarded with for his troubles.
Kazuya stood up where he was, and Craig once again sprawled backwards. This time, Kazuya didn’t wait for an incoming attack. While Craig was still on the ground, he threw himself head-over-heels on top of the larger man – his rather dangerous scissors kick – and somersaulted back onto his feet. He didn’t stop there though; while Craig was still down, he crouched down and spun around twice, one leg extended, and flipped the man into the air. Of course, following that, he threw his right leg high into the air, the momentum of the resulting strike sending Marduk higher into the air, then brought the same foot crashing to the ground…and Craig with it.
The crowd went berserk again as he stepped back from the man; Karate was indeed an art not to be reasoned with. Eventually, Craig got back to his feet. His lip was bleeding, and he was looking worn out. Kazuya, on the other hand, was only developing a bruise on his cheek and around his neck, but nothing else.
“You little shit…”
Kazuya smirked. “What, you’re still conscious?” He got a snarl in reply. “Well, I’ll just have to rectify that…”
Before Craig could respond, Kazuya round-housed him in the head, followed by a short punch in the stomach; as the man fell, he knocked him back up with a knee to the face, then an Entrails Smash to the gut…sending him to the ground again.
Craig lay there for a while, then rolled onto his hands and knees…and stood again. Kazuya raised a brow. “Tough little bastard aren’t you…”
Craig let out an incoherent scream; by this point, he was almost literally frothing at the mouth. He threw both massive fists out at the small Mishima, but once again, he wasn’t fast enough. Kazuya parried the incoming fists, then ducked down…a second later, Craig got himself a Demon Godfist to the stomach. But it didn’t end there; as he fell backwards, Kazuya ducked down again. Sparks of brilliant red electricity flew around one clenched fist. Craig managed to get to his feet, only to see Kazuya spin around once, still crouched down. He’d seen this attack before, but thought, as a result of his arrogance, that he’d be able to block it, unlike every other fighter that tried. Too late; Kazuya sprung up again, more red sparks flying about his body…
The crowd went absolutely deafeningly wild as the massive creature was sent flying backwards across the arena…and landed a good fifteen metres away. The attack could almost be classed as too powerful, though it only ever took off a maximum of ‘eighty points’ from someone’s health. The sheer force of the Lightning Uppercut had sent Kazuya slightly airborne, and as Craig came plummeting down, he too landed softly on his feet, holding his well-used fist in the other hand. He didn’t use that attack often, mainly because the sheer impact usually hurt his knuckles somewhat.
He was announced the winner of the bout when Craig was carted off, uninjured but unconscious all the same. People were already rushing up to him with television cameras and microphones, and the crowd didn’t seem to want to shut up. He noted to himself that it was a fair fight – with the sun high in the sky above, there was no way he could have used his vampire’s strength. What reminded him of it was the fact that his skin was starting to feel a little burnt.
“Congratulations Mr Mishima!”
“What a wonderful bout, Kazuya Mishima…”
“Can you tell us how you did it?”
“What are your feelings as to your victory?”
As the numerous questions came forth, Kazuya couldn’t think of an answer; except for one. He gave one stoic reply to all of the reporters.
“You can ask me all the questions you wish when I’ve defeated Heihachi.”
From behind a tinted glass window, high above the rest of the crowd below, Heihachi Mishima watched on in angered silence. It seemed he would be fighting his hated son after all.
He let out an annoyed sigh. A puff of vapour escaped his lips as he did, and he sat back in his armchair. It was freezing cold in his personal stadium room, but that was the way he liked it.
Damn you, Kazuya, his mind spoke, the hate and anger rising in his old blood, damn you to Hell. Damn you to Hell.
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