Demons of the Past

Chapter VII - Making Ends Meet

By Sapfarah

Sors immanis
et inanis
(Fate monstrous/and empty, O Fortuna, Carmina Burana)

It was almost midnight and the derelict house was in the dark and totally still as none of the three men sitting by one of its walls spoke. They might have been the only living things in a distance but none of them seemed particularly concerned on the rest of the world continuing to surround them, as neither had the passing of the time fall into their attention. For how could they have noticed when it was so much they had learned?

Jin clasped his head as if by doing so he could hold down the spreading vines of the truth he had longed for and more than before, dreaded to face. It was all there, all at once, an immense load of images and voices that were dead but spooked persistently, never to leave him ever after.

"All these!..." he only gasped, reading right from the confusion entrapping him.

"Heihachi wouldn't listen to me..." Lee said tiredly from his side. "I have pleaded him to no avail..."

Jin turned his head and looked at him. He had his arm resting on his knee, his hand holding his last cigarette alighted upon his forehead in a gaze abstract and tired. The stream of smoke continued its trailing up, solely burning.

"And then?"

It was Lei's voice who bent over his knees, looking at him. Of all, Lee alone seemed the most composed as he tiredly sighed.

"I left."

The cigarette briefly came to his lips.

"Couldn't stay in that house anymore... so I jumped on my bike..."

A soundless laugh came through his lips.

"It was the first time in years I was sober... and yet I managed to crash!" he said but it was apparent he didn't find it as amusing as it looked.

"And here I am now..." he concluded. And Jin bent his head.

For some more all kept silent and only once was Lee heard as he brought the cigarette to his lips and smacked an inhale.

"It was freakish..." he said. "At once he was filling papers and papers with his very blood, writing whatever this was that he wrote and at the other he had some fancies like collecting snickers..."

Jin looked up, his head leaning against the wall. Lei returned the stare and it was one understanding.

He stood up. The other two followed his example, Lee taking slower, as his hindered leg couldn't support him completely. Jin didn't help him; he knew that would be an offence. He only looked at him. His long unkempt hair, tied in a sketchy ponytail and the corrosion of his skin could never tell of the stalwart fighter he used to be in his prime. Still, his stare was just as firm and proud. Jin looked upon him and he only felt sorrow.

"Lee..." he started resolutely, "once this is over, I'll get you out of here."

Lee's eyes compacted upon him and then he shook his head firmly.

"No no no... I haven't called you to ask for your help." he insisted. "Besides, I live here. That's my home. I fit here. I've had more than I want from your world. Here is my world. Among my people. My own."

Jin sealed his eyes for a moment. This man was more free than he had ever been all his life. He was free as the wind and nothing could confine him. His 'misery' was not a burden because he had willingly chosen it and proud of himself, he preserved it. He felt a wet film of admiration over his eyes.

"Just let me do something for you," he insisted. "I'll have your leg examined."

Lee seemed disturbed.

"I said I don't take charity." he said firmly and Jin shook his head politely.

"It's not about that."

He looked at Lee straight into the eyes, calm and resolutely, certain of the choice he had taken. Just as Lee was confident of his own. He nodded once.

"You said you owed my father... If you owed him one... then he more than owed you..."

Lee didn't speak and he tried to ignore that dwindle of his face. His eyes lowered and he bent his head, or he couldn't speak anymore.

"I think I know what I'm here for..." he muttered. "I have to compensate for my father's wrong doings... Please... help me fulfil my mission..."

It was Lee's hand on his shoulder that made him look up again. His face, badly treated by time, was compassionate as he looked at him.

"Once this is over... come for it." he said steadily.

And Jin weakly smiled.

"You've got it." he said. And clasped the hand on his shoulder. Lee nodded faintly once and he blinked in return.

"Just don't let him win this one... I promised to save your father... The least I can do is save you..."

Jin looked gravely at him, even if the struggle of his thoughts was obvious. Yet his eyes stated a solid promise.

"He doesn't stand a chance..." Lee muttered at Lei, still standing by the door, looking towards where Jin had left.

"Against Heihachi and Toshin? No." Lei confirmed.

Without looking at one another, they remained by the door.

"Get him out of there, Lei... He trusts you and if someone can save him... that's you."

Yet Lei looked steadfastly at him, his face speaking of nothing but that which both knew so well.

"You know better than I do... he'll batter the wall until one of them falls..."

Lee's eyes only sealed once in bitter comprehension.

"He's got his mother's kindness in him..." Lei mused, turning before him to let his stare wander in the distance ahead.

"And his father's Lei... And his father's." Lee completed.

Lei looked around.

Lee wasn't what he recalled from so long before but what he saw was one thing he recognised. And in agreement, he nodded.

So many things happening... and he knew of none...

He had hoped to one day know about his father and now that he did, he wasn't sure if he was ready to live with what he had learned... And could he believe all he had heard about Heihachi? Could it be?

All these years, when he diligently prepared him to confront Toshin, was he only refining him as the grand offering?

Lee was wrong to that, he was certain. But as for his father...

How cruel had he really been? And if not cruel, how deep into misery?

When he was his age, he was already worshipping the Devil intensively... and he was still so very young! He shuddered in cold sweat. If he would judge by his own self, he must have been just a boy... insecure, unsafe, full of dreams...

What had been so cruel as to urge him seek shelter in the Devil? What was it that had stomped on his dreams and severely crushed them to bleeding fractures that cut as they poured down his eyes, if he still could cry? Didn't a mother brush her mild hand through his hair, didn't the warm sun caress upon his face, didn't the gentle breeze ever whisper songs of the forest in his ears?

His mother had told him so little about him and when she had finally untied her silence, she scarcely spoke of the man... but he knew she had loved him... she wouldn't have to tell him the words to know. And if she loved him, he was sure there was something immaculate in him.... What had been so heavy to repress it?

'Little demon...' he thought demurely. ' Among other demons like you, would you be equally expelled?'

For the first time he thought of him, even with compassion... He realised that he was odd only because he never learned to fit in, he was cruel because nobody told him how not to be... His only acquittal being the ignorance of the bright side...

'My father was cursed with wickedness and my mother wanted to save him... Now I must honour them both and make amends for his actions... like I know both would want...'

He looked up to the sky determined. A part of him was his as well. Maybe it was that part misunderstood, that which only brought hatred by just existing, even if it wasn't evil... He had to find that part, whatever it was. To make the amends that had been delayed all this time...

If I brushed your weeping eyes
would I be charred?
and if not by you,
would the rest of the world condemn me in eternal fire?
Could I face the scream entrapped in your eyes
knowing it would be strong enough to bring doom upon Hell itself?
In a society of demons
would you feel happy?
would you feel anything at all?
would you find the peace you've been looking for?
And could I find this heaven you seek for?

Shaking his head, he closed his eyes, but his tears didn't come out. He didn't see anything he should mourn over. A sad smile came to his lips. It was too late now. He could only cure the damages but nothing else could be done...

"I'm sorry I couldn't be there for you..." he muttered to himself.

Hwoarang faced the door with scorching eyes and he only didn't shout anymore because his jaw hurt. Jin Kazama walked in escorted by Julia and he hated that face of concern, especially as he saw him with the bandages. At least he wasn't lying on the bed.

"Thank you for seeing me~"

"Make it quick." he interrupted and Xiaoyu next to him stifled her words.

Jin too seemed perturbed for a second.

"I need your help Hwoarang," he said directly to the point.

"And you ain't getting it. Get out." he spat.

"There was some truth in what you said last time." Jin insisted as he advanced a step and Hwoarang bent his head over his glower.

"Which of it?" he snarled.

"The supernatural force." Jin said without hesitation.

Lifting his head with ember eyes he halted, quivering at the decision to leap on him or not.

"Oh so you know!" he fumed and advanced to him.

"I know you were enraged last night and I understand it, but~"

"Shut up, damn it!" he almost shouted in his face as he reached before him and grasped his linen shirt in his fists. Jin took a step back, unprepared for his action but immediately freed himself from his clutch. And yet Hwoarang grasped at him again and this time he held forcefully at his wrists. Julia seemed considerate to intervene, but she didn't.

"This is not your house to go by your blasted rules!" Hwoarang fumed as he lifted his shirt, despite his hold over him.

"Just listen to what I have to say!" Jin gritted his teeth and Hwoarang had to fight against releasing the grip as Jin's hands nearly crushed his conjunctions.

"Why should I care to listen to you?" he forced through his teeth.

"Because whatever was that killed your master, killed my mother!" Jin said and there was such seriousness in his voice that Hwoarang's snared eyes receded and his fists loosened as he pulled away.

"I didn't know..." he said, sounding indifferent.

"It's more than a personal vendetta, Hwoarang..." he heard Jin's voice behind his turned back.

"It's not just us..." said Julia this once. "More have been attacked by that Force and they too were someone's mother, father, teacher, friend..."

Her words made perfect sense, however he couldn't prevent a silent scoff.

"Ey... I'm sorry..." he said then and sunk on the bed. "But it's so..."

He looked up at Jin and a possibly malicious smirk regarded him.

"Pardon me for saying so... but I'd rather lose my mother to master Baek..."

"I hope you'll realise the foolishness of your words one day."

To his bold stare he only lifted his shoulders once.

"Not like that you moron, I like my mother, that's all..."

Bowing his head he took a heavy breath. He never meant what he had said but having lost his best friend ever and being confronted to the only person who ever managed to defeat him in battle was too much for one day.

"You don't know what me and master... Baek were like... we... It was more than teacher and student... like..."

He looked up at Jin hesitantly and felt his cheeks flushing.

"It's just that if I had the choice for a father, that would have been him."

Jin Kazama didn't smile as he looked back at him. Yet his face was solemn and understanding. It was perhaps this odd manner that urged his confession...

"You know," he uttered hesitantly, "his motto was 'If you want to get a black belt, you must sweat it and smudge it...' and to enforce it, he told us meaning of the belt... How in the old days, the colour of the black belt came from sweat and dirt and it meant one had sweltered enough to become skilled..."

He looked away smiling.

"Not as glorious as the nice clean one the dojos offer in wraps nowadays, right?" he jeered and when Julia and Jin took a seat, one at each side of him, he bent before him once again.

"Well, I envied those old masters... and I wish I was one of them... those who displayed their grading with a dirty belt and who were so perfect because their life depended on their fighting..."

He halted there. In his memory echoed his master's narration of the old proud Koreans, the Hwoarang, the children of the wild flowers, alike beautiful and free...

He glimpsed Jin Kazama at his side. He listened raptly at his words but he didn't return his stare.

"There was one day... Master Baek had told us how it was a custom in these old days that the students would gift their teacher with a brand new, clean white belt... So when he was to fly to Korea for his fifth dan examination, we..."

Despite himself, he found he had to rub his eyes, because they ached. He respired to keep on talking.

"Well, we presented him with a white belt... embroidered with his name in both english and korean... stitched in black and gold... and marks of five dan... We... shit, we thought he'd be furious, but..."

And there, as his voice grew thinner from the effort and almost shrill, he stopped, unable to go on. He couldn't tell how he had planned on it with the rest and how his mother had stitched that belt from scratch, in long nights. Neither did he wish to share the memories of that day, how master Baek almost smiled like a child at the gift and thanked them all with a reprimand... how he said to be proud they paid more attention to him than to their history teacher... or, especially, how he requested him to stay behind once everyone else was gone and then pulled him to a brotherly embrace...

He only turned to his side as he sensed Jin's hand on his shoulder. The other youth's eyes were dank.

"We will avenge your master... And then, I owe you one..." he said convincingly.

Hwoarang looked into his eyes for the first time without empathy. He wouldn't allow himself to smile but... he found no hatred anymore either.

"Whatever..." he said. But he clasped Jin's hand on his shoulder. Jin nodded in response.

"And don't forget you said it, Kazama!" he marked. Jin nearly smiled and he almost did too.


To the high pitched girlish voice, both Jin and Julia turned back. Ling Xiaoyu stood in the hotel's corridor, holding an envelope in her hands.

"My grandmother had this sent to you..." she said as she tended the envelope to Jin.

Indecisively Jin took the envelope from Xiaoyu's hands and as he unfolded the oldened papers, a photograph enclosed inside almost slipped to the floor. He caught it just on time and he looked upon it...

It was his mother, in a very young age, so beautiful and sweet, smiling brightly as the sun, holding a baby in her hands; himself, right as he was beginning to realise the rest of the world around him. Next to her was an old man, short but firm in stature, his apple cheeks raised to a benevolent hearty, slightly mischievous smile. He faintly remembered calling him uncle Jinrey when he was two, more or less, as he remembered aunt Jing Mei, the woman leaning on Jinrey's shoulder. Days of happiness, days of innocence that would never come back but in his heart, they were the greatest treasure. Frail and soft, like a snow flake.

"Can I keep this one?" he smiled towards Xiaoyu, nodding at the picture in his hand, his eyes wet and Xiaoyu eagerly nodded her agreement.

"Yes, yes, of course!" she confirmed and Jin looked at the picture once again. He smiled.


Tears gathered into his eyes, tears he wouldn't restrain. Tears cleansing like pure water. It was his mother, like he always wanted to remember her.

Rubbing his eyelids, he took the papers at hand. The first was written in a neat character, he supposed it was aunt Mei's writing. It spoke mildly, like elder relatives address the younger ones and told of her hopes and wishes for him. A smile came to his lips at the sweet remembrance of those carefree days and then turned to the rest of it, official printed papers, speaking of an account transferred to his mother and automatically following to himself. On the back of those papers, there was one more hand-written letter...

Jin took this one before him.

Tears gathered in his eyes once again... only for reasons different. The letter, addressed to Wang Jinrey was very formal, following all types and signed suitably, speaking of an obligation and verifying the statement of the printed papers. And Jin read the writing of a hand strong and steady that shook as it pleaded in a desperate act to save them both his mother and himself... and everyone...

'What did you want to save us from?'

He closed his eyes in his palm and weakly breathed.

'We needed you... We wanted you with us...'

But the nothingness couldn't respond... even if it was all around him, by his side, in every step he had taken.

And he swept his tears, firmly looking at the neat plain characters, dancing before his eyes. For once, for the very first time after all these years, the part of him he never knew, that dismal gloomy even part that had been occupying him and he had persistently ignored, became warm, immense and strong. For once it had a name and was comforting as it protectively embraced him after so long a time...

He looked right at it, straight into the eyes and with his heart, he called at its name.


And the word filled him with warmth and joy.

"Are you ok Jin?" Julia's tender voice asked in concern.

Jin turned his placid face towards her.

"Yes. I'm all right." he confirmed.

Lee Chaolan was nervous that night, but he never thought he wouldn't get to finish his last cigarette. His once steady fingers were clumsy as they lit the other tip and the cigarette nearly dropped from his lips.

He sat on his empty bench when his ever astute hearing perceived the shriek of tyres halting, even though the engine was of a perfect condition and the brakes fine. He startled then looked outside the window. He wasn't sure if it was a movement he had noticed but he knew the muffled sounds of footsteps.

Hurriedly he lunged towards the phone, grabbing the receiver with shaking hands. The apparatus fell down with an awful sound and so he followed it on the floor, frantically dialling.

On the receiver he heard the signal that the line was accessed but nobody picked it up, whereas the footsteps closed up to his door.

"Goddammit, kid!" he groaned as the only thing he heard of was the steadily repeated tone of the line, when the door was pushed open and of the three men, one rushed and pulled the chord off the socket.

Lee briefly struggled with the second man who grabbed his arms but then the one who disconnected the telephone aided him and he couldn't resist them as they forced him onto a chair, firmly holding on his arms, making him face Heihachi Mishima, right as he closed the door behind him.

Cold fear crept into his body, paralysing his limbs. The crooked bastard had aged and his hair had attained the harsh grey condition of old age but like he always did, he frightened him just as much, perhaps now that he looked old as a deathless demon, even more.

"The hell..." he groaned behind his teeth as the elder walked towards him.

"What a shame..." he said, shaking his head. "To think I believed I had seen something worthwhile in you..."

Lee snared his eyes below his brows and in the least he could do, he spat upon him. He was satisfied to see the nasty blot marking his expensive coat but his happiness was short lived when the clenching grips on his arms shook him and tightened.

"I've heard you're talking a lot, Lee..." Heihachi hissed coldly and Lee didn't know whom to blame. He grunt his teeth instead, then the old man raised his still double chin to the two men holding him.

"Go outside." he commanded and the grips around his hands loosened. He took a glimpse of the two men, dressed in the same black costumes, walking synchronised outside. When the door was closed, Heihachi grabbed his filthy shirt.

"Let go of me!" he gnarled but what he saw was a flash into the elder's eyes.

"Yes..." he said. "There is still much potential in this one!" he spoke with frightening excitement.

Lee faced in hatred and terror the elder when swirling air deafened his ears. Into his head, in crept a will not of his own, one ferocious force that consumed his brain, searing all of his resistance, wrenching away his very soul.

Slobber foamed through his benumbed jaw and all of his body froze to a painful coalition that reverberated him, snapping apart his nerves and veins and blood slipped within his skin in a slow, painful and consuming death.

Jin twisted in his bed, realising the continuous jingle wasn't a part of his dream. Hardly did he open his eyes when he reached for the phone resting on the desk behind his bed.

"Yes?" he grumbled, but the line had gone down.

It was only the next morning when he heard the horrific news that Toshin had attacked once again. It was detective Lei Wulong who had called him and told him the news...

He had come down when he heard and immediately he run to reach the same place. Only this time, the otherwise indifferent residents of that street were crowding around the small shack upon where there seemed to be no reason why the disaster chose to strike. And yet, Jin knew it was that spirit of the brave warrior it had been looking for but also that this was the last person who had talked to him that day...

He forced his way through the crowd and nearly started a fight with the police, until Lei Wulong came to him and nodded approving of his staying.

The doctors came outside, in a covered stretcher exited the last of Toshin's victims...

Jin closed his eyes but while his fists clenched, he gritted his teeth. The last! It HAD to be the last! He couldn't permit anymore...

'What games is the War God playing with me?'

"Jin..." Lei's suggestive voice whispered strictly. "Relax!"

And he noticed two policemen nearby looking intensely at his clenched hand where sparks were jumping around his fingers.

"What had Lee done to deserve this?" he said more towards himself. He didn't really expect to get an answer so he didn't turn to it when it came.

"He knew way too much..."

His words were ignored as he looked around and saw the people looking through the windows, creeps waiting for the police to go so they could loot whatever could be found...

That was the end of Lee Chaolan?

'I owed you, Lee... I owed you so much... why didn't you wait?'

His lids lowered solemnly.

'Or have I brought this to you in return~'

His eyes opened wide as suddenly his logic couldn't keep up with the trail of his thoughts. Hurriedly he dashed ahead and found a cheap telephone apparatus seated upon a plastic chair. Just as he had thought... the chord was plucked off.

"Hey you, put that down!" someone called and even Lei came closer to prevent a conflict. It was him Jin chose to look at.

"Mr Wulong... Please..." he said anxiously.

Lei nodded once, despite the negative atmosphere, as Jin connected back the phone. The signal came and he pressed the redial button. The commemorated digits were transmitted and after a tiny interval, it rung a couple of times that might have lasted an eternity, before it was picked up.

"Mishima residence, speaking..." said the voice and Jin closed his eyes, almost fading.

The door flung open and followed by the guards who failed to hold him, Jin rushed like a tempest in the conference room. His entrance hushed at once all voices to faint breath whispers and even the guards didn't try to get a hold of him, as he stopped in front of the table, right across Heihachi Mishima. Heihachi got up indignant but his severe look moved Jin less than a whisper would move a rock. The young man was looking at him with eyes boiling from such zestful hatred as Heihachi would never have expected to face within and then a twisted gnarl carved his lips.

"Oh... I'm terribly sorry! I am embarrassing my benefactor before all of the council of the Corporation, during a MEETING ON APPEALING TO TOSHIN!" he yelled and his hand moved fast over the table's surface, sweeping away papers, blueprints, pens and tumbled glasses, spilling liquid over the ones nearby.

A flaming menace he was as he vibrated from anger, his blazing eyes shooting condemn at Heihachi. The elder's face faded and his features stiffened. But Jin was always as furious as before and nobody dared to move for the slightest movement might as well lead to a wrathful explosion. His eyes were ever falling upon Heihachi as his lips gnarled.

"Liar!" he groaned and to that point Heihachi's face went pale.

"Jin-san!... You are being out of your mind!..." started the elder in a cautiously stringent voice.

"SHUT UP!..." the youngster yelled, pointing a straight finger to him and every muscle in his body contorted. Heihachi didn't speak on.

Then his face was reduced to a wounded desperate expression, so ironically similar to sarcasm and his big sparkling eyes wetted.

"And all this time... this is what you wanted patience for? To buy you the time?"

"Whatever are you talking about Jin-san?" the elder said coldly, his stillness being regained. But Jin didn't seem to be affected by the rigidity of his stare.

"So Lee was telling the truth... is that why he died?" he concluded and raised his scorching eyes upon the elder.

"You have no idea how your words are sorrowing me!" Heihachi seethed but all he took as a response was Jin's proud eyes.

"I trusted you." he said dryly. "I took your word for true and now I find out that you never wanted Toshin dead! You wanted to join his side! You are a murderer of my mother and each of his victims as much as he is!"

Thunderous looks were exchanged from both sides. Jin's eyes sparkled like blazing suns and he looked like a young lion as he stood against Heihachi Mishima, King of the Iron Fist and President of the Mishima Financial Empire, confronting his wide full of anger powerful glare. Yet at that time, not the least of fear he felt for the elder went through his heart and no matter how meanly Heihachi snared his thick eyebrows, he still took rage in response. Amazingly... It was the same rage he got from similarly bright blazing eyes, so many years before...

"Jin-san... I admit to the injustice of your mother's death... but you must understand..."

But as Jin took a step ahead, his stare dark below his brows, Heihachi silenced.

"You have Heaven and Hell to do the telling; but not me! You have my mother and everyone you have murdered to account for... Including Lee... and Takashi..."

Heavy the haunted words fell on his face and he found no words to answer. He knew then there was no way back. The damage was done and never again would Jin look at him with revere and esteem... only with loathe and hatred. Their grudge was now official and yet...

...looking into those proud eyes, Heihachi was even regretful but all that he wished, there could be no way to bring back the faith into his eyes.

"I'll meet you in the fighting court. You have my challenge to face," Jin concluded. His stare pressed right into the elder's eyes as abruptly he turned his back, trotting out of the room, everything going off his path as he advanced.

Galling was the stillness once he was gone. Heihachi remained at his position, the words of the old curse still ringing in his head. When he removed his eyes from the open door, he looked around at the members of the board of the Zaibatzu, all anxiously looking at him. Once again he respired to resume himself as he placed his palms calmly on the table.

"Gentlemen, the meeting is over." he announced and with that, he made his way out of the conference room.

Although the press didn't announce anything beyond the conclusion of the Iron Fist tournament, it was now official that Jin Kazama would be facing the King of the Iron Fist in battle.

Sato Nakaraki sighed in his chamber and looked outside at the twilight.

By now, he had learned enough.

He knew something to be wrong all along... but he had been faithful to the great Mishima. He had loyally followed his instructions... and he had only been an aiding assistant to this insane plan. His blind faith had only assisted to the sacrifice of his close friend, Takashi Fujoka, his predecessor to his position and just as him, loyal to the Conglomerate...

... as Jin was to be...

'Run away, Jin... run away...' he muttered to himself, staring outside the window, but he knew his sight couldn't find his young friend.

His formal uniform, baring the badge of the Mishima Financial Empire was suffocating him but he wasn't fit to take it off. Somehow, he no longer felt he could be.

Elsewhere, in a luxurious hotel in the city of Tokyo.

Leaning with her hands folded by the window, Julia peered outside, but Jin was nowhere to be found. He said he wanted to be alone, to train and meditate but he was taking so long... and she had seen him, disappearing in the dense plantation of the grove... That was a long time before and yet she still waited, each minute ticking away with less hope. A sigh came through her lips as Lei Wulong came to her.

"Don't worry yourself so much... he will be allright." he said and his face tried to look encouraging...

Julia smiled in return but how was he to know? Once tomorrow came, whatever the outcome of the battle might be... she and Jin would no longer be together. And in a time like this, perhaps that wasn't the greatest issue to bother the others with, but it meant everything to her...

It was over... unofficially, but she knew that her probably biggest crush so far had to be over. At that moment the consolation that she was still young and definitely would meet more to interest her later wasn't adequate. Because she knew she would never forget that extraordinary youth who's eyes sparkled with life of their own and his words were a melody to her ears when he spoke...

Alone again, she sighed. Ling Xiaoyu had invited her to spend some weeks at her house and the expectation was gladdening. However, it was only a consolation. One spoonful of sugar in the cup of bitterness she had to swallow, for the loss of Michelle and Jin at the same short period of time...

When they talked the last time, he told her of his plans to study medicine in the United States and then they would be able to see each other... or was he so na´ve that he didn't know how vast the States really were?

Ling Xiaoyu's giggle pierced her ears and she looked over where Hwoarang clasped his head, over the table of the Mah-jong tiles.

"And you say you'd rather go for that instead of poker?" he said, straining his eyes.

Again she looked outside the window.

It was dark and unlit outside. The forest in the distance was a natural hideout that she wouldn't tread in. Although she had been alone in forests before, back in her home, this wouldn't be the same, because she knew those forests and all their spirits... these lands were not her own and she dreaded that forest. But she knew Jin would not. It was his place. However scary. And she knew she wanted to have been with him in that last night. Into his forest.

The moon glowed with cold light.

Everything was so cold... it is always cold when death is near.

Jin rested with his back upon a tree. He lifted his sad eyes to the sky, not knowing what he was looking at, he just looked at the full moon...

What if this was the last night he would be looking at it?

The sky was calm and soft, like an endless canvas of finest deeply blue silk, with a soft layer of clouds mildly instilled on it. Such serenity beyond words and the quietness of the refreshing forest... Such beauty as he had only once lived in...

Many more nights he had looked up to the sky, wondering what he wanted his last image of life to be... he was certain he wanted it to be something like this... And now that he saw it... however he knew he dreaded growing old, he wasn't prepared to die so young...

Or at least... not before he would...

Stealthy emotions mounted inside him, fear of death but mostly of failure, betrayal and Toshin... Why should so destructive thoughts emerge and spoil that beauty? The last beauty he would ever get to see?

He couldn't have trained if he wanted; there was no possible way to achieve the calmness for meditation. The atmosphere was heavy and he only did nothing because nothing he could think of. He had wanted to be alone but yet...

Now, as the end was near, he knew there was a certain someone he wanted to see.

Someone, unlike Takashi, unlike his sweet mother either...

Someone he so much wanted to get to know...

'Takashi... mother... All of his victims...'

Tears burned into his eyes, for the last time. He would cry now and then, tomorrow he would reject it all... and bring forth the doom of death. It had been a long time and justice had to be done. Somehow he knew, Toshin was waiting for him on the other side... he ought to be ready.

And that was when the horrendous thing happened and ever after he would never be the same.

A well of bright light erupted right upon him... right on his left arm... upon the crosswise mark... the symbol of the Fatal Lightning.

It came upon him all of a sudden and he stumbled unprepared. So much pain was impossible and he floundered upon his legs, clenching at his arm, alone, unable and helpless...

What was it? At once it burned into him, burning everything in his heart, loving memories, fragile sentiments and yet, the more he resisted, preserving all that he cherished, the more it empowered, giving strength to his limbs and courage in his soul...

He came to his knees, clenching his teeth, closing his eyes, struggling it. But he struggled so that it wouldn't burn him but instead it would smoothly coalesce into him, along the right channels that would not have to harm him but strengthen him instead...

It came to him like the missing piece of his life. It came and it harmonised with the rest of him, making strong foundations around him that no one could defy...

Once the flow of the power was over, he lifted his sweating head to the sky. The moon was full and cold with a sorrowful face... and yet so understanding. Like he was. He knew what it was that had come to him... he had known it all along.

Sorrowfully he lowered his eyes, looking around... everything was still tense... Gathering all of his courage, he urged his mind to clear.

'You don't have to hide... I know you're here... '

Cautiously he walked among the trees, looking around with his soft brown eyes.

'I've seen your face before... in pictures.

It's not the same though... right? '

But the night was silent and kept hiding the truth from him.

'I might be dying tomorrow... so I was wondering... If maybe, for the last time...

Could I see your face? '

Tears nearly surged into his eyes as he squeezed them.

'Please, don't be hiding from me...'

And in a freezing paralysis he halted as in his mind came the devoid echo...

'I'd go through a thousand years of my torment only to have one moment to look at the sun in your eyes... feel the air that you breathe... hear the sounds that you listen...

...but I have nothing to give anymore...'

Such happiness as flowed in his heart!

'Then let me offer!...' he thought eagerly. 'If I have anything worthwhile...'

He clenched his fists as the air around him grew dense and heavily electrified.

'I really want to see your face...'

And suddenly, the vision came before him and he was thrown all at once in a jolting confusion of Nothingness and Disintegration. Woes of Hell maddened him as his eyes fell upon those wells of Chaos and he trembled violently, despite his effort as the Ghost held his face in his cold powerful hands.

His eyes ached like they would explode, seared to their depths at facing that Hell within those eyes, and still he looked into them not in fear but in gladness even, not in shame but in pride ...he looked right into these dreadful eyes, only to him not... He looked into these eyes that so many people had mercilessly petrified but as they faced his trembling ones there was an expression of emotions that never before had been seen in these eyes... Deeply they heated almost with life, pride and admiration... along with something he had never dared express before... love... and gratitude.

'You have her kind eyes...' the Voice said inside his head. A voice familiar and one he knew, only it was now that for the first time he heard it...

Jin clenched his every muscle to control the tremors in him, hold back the tears below his lids, the same tears the spirit would have shed, had he still been alive, had he still been able to recall how to. But he never whined, not a teardrop as he faced for the first time the eyes of the man who had been his father.

And in one moment, all the words had been said. All emotions had been seen and he was not afraid when the Spirit pulled him into his embrace, he wasn't afraid as Hell enclosed him, nor as it bewailed inside his heart. Instead he wrapped his arms around him in return and confidently rested his head upon his shoulder.

Two tears trickled down on his face. Two tears that burned inside his heart. They fell warm upon his skin, but they hadn't poured from his eyes.

Together like this they might have stayed forever and yet, Jin trustfully followed him back down by the tree and sat beside him, avidly looking in his eyes and again, regretfully rested his head upon his shoulder.

"I know you will be gone before dawn..." he said softly.

But the ghost did not reply.

Jin slept peacefully in the ghost's embrace. He felt his hands stroking carefully upon his face, seeing his features with their tips, stopping before his lips to sense his calm breath falling upon them. A hand run through his hair, caressing his head and the hold around him was firm and comforting, a shelter he had missed for so long...

'I'll never leave your side... For as long as you live.' a voice with no sound of a spirit so distant but so close said to him.

In his sleep, he smiled.

It was still very early. In fact so early the sun was only a glowing hint in the distance of the horizon, if it could be seen. And yet, Bryan Fury found that the doctor was awake in his small wooden house, hidden in the forest.

Carefully tracing his steps towards the lit window he peeked inside to see the aged man, dressed in his apron and shoed in slippers, a woollen scarf wrapped twice around his neck, bent over his blinking machinery, intent to his work as he could tell from his wrinkled face, where his glasses nearly slipped.

He gripped at the frame of the window and ground his teeth as he tried to remember... Where did his memory tell him of machinery with blinking lights and a tone repeatedly hitting upon his ears?

He no longer remembered what he ought to do once he would meet the doctor but instead he watched him and tried to stitch back together fragments of his memory that made no sense, like a walking apron and a laboratory, if that was the name. Suddenly his memory returned an image of a very large room, much bigger than the one he spied on but that room was nearly sunk into darkness and a man in an apron bent over him or were there more?

But then suddenly his thoughts were interrupted as his extra sensitive sensors detected the presence of one more. Before he turned around he heard the sharp sound of metal swishing in the air and when he flicked his head he skipped, faced with the frightful person covered in armor.

With his legs planted apart on the ground in a wide bent stance and his hands holding with both large palms above his head a weapon that could be a blade or a forceful accumulation of electromagnetic beams, capable to course through tissue, this human looking like samurai grinned at him with a metallic carved skull clung upon his face, supposing what looked like a human fleshy face truly existed and that the odd red eyes with leaden pupils were too a masquerade.

But then the heinous head tittered and swung his sword around his head in a stunning motion. It wasn't the speed of it as much as the continuous movement of the intense light before his eyes. Deliberately he raised his hand and covered his eyes. He hated the bright light.

Puzzled he considered whether to move away, as the person he recognised as one of those he had seen in the tournament didn't appear intent to harm him, until his sword swiftly run upon him and although the pain was nothing more than an indication of the scourge inflicted, it had startled him. The blade somehow cut his skin in the surface but its path had ignited.

His nostrils scented very clearly his skin searing little by little and as the blade was pointed at him, he stepped aside and threw his long leg to a chopping kick at the cyborg. It connected but as he aimed the second to his middle section, in a scraping sound, his opponent spun about himself and disappeared in thin air. His patented, even comical yet horrific laughter echoed behind him as he prepared for battle, with his sword over his shoulder in the samurai way.

In his natural environment and in protection of something important to him, Yoshimitzu was deadly and nothing could get past him. His inhuman, even fixed face revealed none of his emotions but his intentions were bare. A beaming sword and skills beyond reality were ready to be used. It was a long time since Bryan Fury was afraid.

Doctor Boskonovitch halted once more in a startle. This time he knew he had heard something.

Shaking from lack of sleep but controlling his weak howbeit steps, being used to spend nights without sleep, he came to the door and unhooked the torch. He stepped through the door and came in face with the commotion.

There was a fight between two but he could only tell Yoshimitzu to be one of them because of the sound of his armor and the glow of his sword. Swinging his head, he decided to turn on the light.

"Yoshi? Yoshi is that you?" he questioned with a voice anxious even and in his surveillance, turned the torch upon them. To his surprise the fighting stopped and he saw that one of them was indeed Yoshimitzu but the other man, once the light was directed to him staggered back violently and screamed an incoherent yell as he frantically covered his face.

Bryan Fury screamed and his voice sounded so unnatural as he brought up his hand to cover his eyes. He hated the bright light.

He tripped on his very legs and rolled on the ground, covering his eyes and his voice was incoherent. Something was bulging through his mouth, something from within his chest, that heated his heart and numbed his brain in a sensation agonising, sending him into rapturous fits but he couldn't bring his emotions out to sounds comprehensible and the more he unsuccessfully forced himself to reproduce what something, somewhere in his mind instructed, the intensity of his emotions increased. He toppled over himself, wrapping his head below his arm and the tears in his eyes were only the result of biological reaction to the reception of so many external signals.

Then, as the tremors decreased and the light wasn't getting directly in his eyes, he perceived the sounds of footsteps. One set was heavy and more reluctant from mistrust. The other more fickle however was almost eager to approach but he didn't turn at it.

Doctor Boskonovitch lowered the torch and watched how the man fell on his back, as though the light had been a solid force that pushed him. He was covering his face in his palms, writhing even in a manner very weird, as though he didn't know how to talk and it was clear that had he been able he would be howling curses to make hell outrage.

Cautiously he approached the man collapsed over himself as he was now panting in a moan. Yoshimitzu kept close to him, his looks telling him to beware, yet he ignored and as easily as his arthritics permitted, bent over him.

"Are you all right?" he asked in concern, only to halt in the way. He nearly darted backwards but, being too slow, he decided to keep on approaching, overlooking the ugliness of the sight.

The man before him was one big and heavily built with brawny muscles... only his skin was almost ashen, in that yellowish hue that absence of blood causes. He shivered from rigors of weakness and it was obvious he couldn't articulate... Doctor Boskonovitch adjusted his glasses and in horror he gasped at noticing how the man's neck and possibly entire body was rent by a long, still open scar, lining its way down the side of his body.

With hesitation, he reached a hand upon the man's bare arm and almost snapped it back when he touched his skin... it was cold as ice and yet dry as if it was some sort of fabric, so dehydrated as if it was cooked. To his touch, the man looked up at him.

The unnaturally pale-hared head turned a matching blanched, agonised face towards him. The lips, dry as the ravine on his body that, now he had lifted his head it showed how it continued its way above his eye, remained hanging as they no longer knew how to speak of emotions which were too scrambled anyway to be expressed, the dull leaden eyes, too hard to be moderate were so confused, frightened even.

Doctor Boskonovitch gaped looking the strange man who underwent the spasms of the cognisance of himself, unable to cry, or even scream, unable to know whether he wanted to do so in the first place, ignorant of what it was to bundle all his thoughts in one incomprehensible mess...

"Poor soul!..." the good doctor uttered in horrified worry, looking into the man's eyes. Then steadfastly, he defeated his revocation and placed a comforting palm upon his shoulder.

Of the Thunder and the Lightning

Under the sun in the arena only one person stood. Jin Kazama, the young man who had ascended fight after fight to emerge the new challenger to the King of the Iron Fist. Yet, apart from his lonely figure, there was nobody else in the fighting ground. Not even the judges. The crowd grew restless but their voices never raised higher than an inconsistent hum. Only by little did the churning increase, as one tightly uniformed member of the Mishima Special Forces approached Jin respectfully but there was no way anyone could listen to their words.

After a little talking the MFE private retreated and this time the crowd really began being noisy and some even whistled, as Jin Kazama followed him with his proud stride, inside the main building.

"What's going on?" Lei mumbled. An old conjecture twisted horridly in his mind...

Jin knew Nori Kuramasi had nothing good to tell him and his steady formal tone didn't abolish his suspicion. Yet, he listened to what he had said and followed him back inside the actual building of the stadium, where he was leading him to Heihachi Mishima who wanted to give him his answer.

Each step he took he treaded it resolutely and yet with grave sadness. Ever since the day he saw his mother dying he had only been living with the single hope of avenging her death. The knowledge that he had been used to aid the Curse that had been her death sickened him and he was determined to rectify. However, he couldn't but esteem the man who had been his mentor all these years and to that had never lied. As neither could he disregard the cognisance of his blood running in his veins.

Nori lead him to the far end of a long corridor where Jin only knew a special court to be found... one where ritualistic fights would occur, as parts of gatherings of elite masters of martial arts, such as the Mishima Financial Empire sponsored in a form of supporting the art of combat. The area was also used for ceremonies as he was aware of and before the door, his chest was entangled into a frigid net. In the corridors he didn't expect to see anything less than the aggregation he met. In a neat line, about twenty of the MFE special forces troops were along the walls and when they reached their destination, Jin recognised Sato Nakaraki standing at the eminent left side by the door, his hands tied behind his back in respectful awaiting but alike he saw the fleeting glimpse of his eyes as he came in. It was one burdened with worry...

On the other end stood the man who had been the guard when he arrived at the Syndicate and prohibited his entrance, as well as King's admission but so insolently announced Eddy only a few days later, was there. Was there indeed a strange beam in his strict eyes?

The door was opened for him and he walked inside the dimly lit room. Immediately the heavy scent of incense hit his nostrils. Torches churned on thick pillars of grey stones. The walls were unadorned but for a reclusive line running along them. The coldness of the room, due to its construction and the lack of light, crawled under his skin full of hints of spirits unseen but not to him. And there, at the centre of the hall, upon the ceremonious pattern, his grandfather, Heihachi Mishima the great, was sitting crosslegged either of his fists resting respectively on his knees, expecting him. His broad chest was still signing for the threat he was as Jin knew, aware of how easily he could leap from his repose into a raging demon.

Four more MFE soldiers stood at even distances nearby, their hands behind their back but all of his attention was drawn upon the elder, sitting at the centre of the room. There was something different about him. He was wearing ceremonial fighting garments, consisted of deep blue choice linen long slacks and in his colourful belt of shiny silk were fastened two blades that were masterpieces of weaponry. His face bore a harsh expression and he smelled of heavy perfumes as those used by priests when they perform a ritual.

Unaffected, Jin walked until he stood the proper fighting distance from Heihachi. He didn't tie his hands behind his back but instead clenched two powerful fists at his thighs, each dressed in a red leather glove, a gift from Heihachi himself. His eyes sparked as they met the stern ones of the elder, shredding in his own in return. He couldn't know however how his tall, proud figure and the determination in his otherwise soft, dark brown eyes recalled at past memories of horror to the elder of the Mishima family.

No words needed to be commuted as they looked at each other in equal steadfastness. Jin knew the powers of the elder. It was long now that he was fit to meet them as equal.

However, Heihachi didn't stand up. Sitting with his back straight in his majesty, he was the first who spoke.

"I will not fight you, Jin-san." he said firmly.

"Do as you wish." Jin returned nonchalantly. In complete control he faced the elder's grey brows lifting and saw how his greying eyes glowered at looking at him.

"You impertinent juvenile, I'm doing you a favour! I'm offering you the chance to join me in the New Era!

Jin's eyes widened in return. Violent rage ignited within their clarity.

"Jin-san!.. If you unite your powers with mine and along with Toshin, we will be invincible!"

The lips quivered as they parted, hesitant to talk, hardly restraining his anger to words and not screams.

"You are ASKING me to Join TOSHIN?" he blurt out and returned Heihachi's ferocious stare equally intent.

Nobody else in the room dared to raise as much as their breath but Jin wouldn't notice that. As neither did he notice how the door was sealed behind him.

The muscles of his arms stiffened as his fists curled together.

"The murderer of my mother! And you want me to join him!" he nearly cried.

Heihachi eyed him ruggedly.

"Your mother would have died someday anyway!" he said and Jin's eyes ignited. The sparks distended around his eyes and his hands...

"She was murdered!" he yelled. "I cannot accept the murder! Foul liar! You only used me to elude Toshin!"

"And you?" Heihachi returned as he leaped on his feet, his fists too clenched. "Didn't you do the same? Didn't you invite all these fighters to lure the War God?"

To his thunderous words, Jin breathed fast, a hint of tears burned upon his eyes. He had never thought of it that way...

"Then perhaps I more than deserve to die!" he said lowly.

The rage from Heihachi's face subsided as he walked two steps behind.

"I'm sorry it had to be this way, Jin-san..." he said insouciantly.

And Jin didn't have to notice the awed expressions on the faces of the soldiers, kept loyally by the walls. He knew because of the cold spiritual stream flowing into his heart and as he turned back at the sensation of the non-existent breeze, he recognised what he was facing.

Hovering into the air, enormous in build, in the form of a male ancient warrior, the entity with a helmet like that of the ancient Aztec warriors, where behind the metallic, ritually ornamented slab, cascaded down to his heels the hair of the slain defeated, he was there. Sickly green was his thick skin and his mien with blood red eyes spoke of carnage and pyres consuming worlds of people. Screams unheard and lamentation soared around him as he stood prepared, like he had last seen him. A powerful warrior in glowing armour of a shield on his brawny arm and meagre protection on his Herculean figure, adorned for the spreading of Death. A monstrous creation that lived on the slaughter of innocent beings like his mother had been...

His blood throbbed inside his head, panic and anger mixed together. The moment he had been preparing for... had come.

"It's not an illusion... is it?"

He didn't realise he had spoken his doubt, his last confrontation with that being had been recent, as an illusion Heihachi had created to test him. But as the War God raised his hefty armed hand to discard a spear he held and the etched downwards lips of the destroyer opened, the ancient dust of his voice of ghosts spoke into Jin's mind with undoubted clarity.

'Join me, or perish...'

Jin's eyes enlarged from anger and his fists clenched. His face turned to one of loathe as he looked upon him.


The wind swished with woes of the dead and to the War God, spooks were raised of skeletons on horses of ashen mist as he attacked.

All the twenty troops shivered outside the closed doors at the sound of the fierce clash of demons. Sato Nakaraki raised his eyes in a dismal expression. His heart was cold inside his chest.

"It's time."

He looked at his right at his counterpart with an astringent look. All troops were dismissed to block the exits of the long corridors and he was left alone with this insane servant of the Mishima Financial Empire, he who believed Heihachi Mishima to be great when talking about his hideous plans about the War God...

"It's time... go to your post, Nakaraki-kun," the man said in a cruel smile.

Sato Nakaraki narrowed his keen eyes.

"Let the verdict come first," he replied sternly but the other's face smiled maliciously.

"Do you have any doubts?" he questioned.

Sato Nakaraki did not answer. Instead, before everyone, he walked away, despite hell was raging behind him.

"You abandon? Dare you abandon?" the fiery question came racketing in his ears as he had turned to see the exit. But he didn't turn his head to it. He walked on with his hands in his pocket and his head bent under the load of louder accusations in his mind, knowing he wouldn't make it to the exit.

'Forgive me, Takashi... Forgive me, Jin...'

The end of the corridor was getting nearer as he closed his eyes.

'Please forgive me.'

Then, a gunshot.

Sato Nakaraki thought he would faint.

Every MFE member was trained to perfection and missing aim was not an outcome. Yet as he turned around, it was the man with his gun at hand that was shot, his head blown to splinters of brains and bony particles. Next to him stood the woman who had fought against him a few days before, disqualifying him from the tournament, in her patented scarlet outfit, paring to her seductive brooding lips. The time was inappropriate and yet Sato Nakaraki couldn't but think how she could have been the cabaret singer of a saloon who saved the lone ranger's life, the way she was dressed and fixed. He nearly smiled but then the woman run at him with ease, even if wearing high heels.

"Come on. Let's hurry!" she said and run outside to the open space.

Sato Nakaraki remained indecisive for a split of a second, until he realised... hope had the colour of red and maybe, he still could make amends... commotion told him that soon the shot man would be discovered and he would be at sight, so, overcoming his startle, he followed towards the woman's direction.

In a roar, the War God rushed upon him in a side kick but Jin darted forward, perfectly avoiding him and as Toshin turned back, he leaped and kicked him at the swirling motion he performed. He was stronger. So much stronger than that distant day once before. He was strong enough to stand up and fight and face the War God as an equal...

"Aim at his anger, War God! Find the reason of his hatred~"

Jin heard the words of his grandfather behind him but wouldn't turn, not even as Toshin shot a blast upon him.

"SILENCE!" the ghostly voice boomed and Heihachi was thrown away all along the hard floor.

Then as it was just them two, the War God turned his blood red eyes right upon Jin. In return he faced them squarely.

Almost at the same time all turned to the commotion Anna Williams and Sato Nakaraki caused, trying to run through the packed stadium, clearly heading towards them. Lei's eyes jumped in surprise, for he counted Anna for dead, yet as they reached them, all at once knew something was truly wrong.

"Quick! No time to waste!" Anna panted and Sato Nakaraki wheezed a little behind.

"It's... now... the Toshin..."

Lei looked at him with wide eyes.

"Come on!" he said and run past them, towards the direction they came from.

The crowd opened up for them. Somehow they sensed they had better made way as all following Lei run towards the building of the stadium.

Only Anna stood a little behind, at meeting Paul Phoenix's eyes, looking at her in surprise and possibly faint hope. Balancing on her high heels, she made her way to him.

"Paul... Nina's in there. Please go help her." she panted and indeed Paul's eyes jumped in surprise, more as Anna handed him the gun she held with which she previously shot a man in the head and saved the life of Sato Nakaraki.

"Give this to her when you find her... and tell her..."

Paul took the gun but she found no words to tell him. She couldn't tell in few words all that she wanted, like wishes for reconciliation, affinity and even regret.

"No, forget about it, let's go." she ended and run towards the rest.

Paul was left with a gun at hand. He could only suspect it was Nina's and that Anna somehow had wrenched it from her... Forest was gone with the rest and he still stood there alone...

Was Nina all right?

He didn't find any difficulty making his way through the crowd, still holding the gun at hand, still with a puzzled face.

Gracefully Jin was battling against the godly aggressor, strength running fluidly through his limbs in a struggle of power. And yet, it was in sorrow he perceived the prominence of his potency...

"DO NOT YOU WISH YOU HAD BEEN THAT STRONG THAT DAY?" boomed the mighty voice, which might have just been transmitted in his mind... Only Jin didn't heed to it.

He wasn't here to listen. He had heard all he needed to know. Distressing knowledge he had experienced himself and one he could never discharge for as long as he would live. Nothing would make things change to what they were but if it al had been for some purpose, that should be it. He had to fight to the end and prove himself to the challenge.

The War God stood before him in all the glory and magnificence of Decree, like he had been four years ago on that desolate night, when he had claimed his mother's soul... He was the same image of horror and dejection he bared into his mind that had only been harbouring grievous thoughts...

But the time for lamenting was over. It had ended the moment he met again with the reason of his unhappiness. If he had to bring out these swelling emotions, it was not time to do it in tears...

He closed his eyes and only his mother's face was in his mind, sweet and smiling as he had always seen. The memory of her anguishing death was occulted by her beloved smiling face and his fists clenched aligned to his shoulders.

Emotions surged into his mind but for the first time, he was strong enough to take control over them. He was strong enough to confront them and push them outside of his head. He felt no rage. He had flushed it all out in the grip of his palms.

The riot advanced through the corridors. Ling Xiaoyu slipped artfully below the clutch of a troop and because he tried to bend and catch her, he fell on the path of another and both slammed on the floor to have Julia having to tread over them as she run forward and did so with pleasure. Hwoarang gave a spectacular show as he performed a roundhouse that hit one before him on the way up and hammered another on the face behind him on the way down. Forest Law leaped in the air with the grace of an acrobat but when his feet hit the target, blood splashed on the floor. King facilely grabbed one M.F.E. soldier and lifting him over his shoulders, threw him upon two rushing ones while Anna flipped with ease another from the arm, snapping his wrist at doing so. Sato Nakaraki punched one of them and before the head recoiled too far, he hauled it again towards a swiftly snapped punch and fast enough he proffered his back to a rushing opponent and bending, had him topple over him and on the floor. As Lei nearby managed to submit a troop on his knees by acutely hitting at the left side of his neck, immobilising him, he nodded once and unlocked this one more door.

"Hurry, don't waste time with them!" he shouted as the door retreated and waved for them to follow.

Jin opened his eyes. There was a look of such dreadful wrath that even the war god Toshin could not ignore.

As a storm he was unleashed upon the War God, a twister of sheer power and vigour when battling his spirit with the strength of his person. There was no stop to his force.

Thunderous was the clamour of the War God's armor when it hit upon the floor as Jin landed on his feet, an image of pride and power. Splendid he was, the winner of the fight, like an angel of Doom in the darkness.

"No... it cannot be..."

The voice was no more almighty as the weakened creature got to raise his torso to his elbows.

In silence Jin watched how it trembled, about to erupt.

"No mortal being...!" he hollowly stammered and then the inevitable happened.

Winds of destruction filled his ears as the body of the War God quivered in violent spasms.

"Damn!" Nina growled as she was getting up. What was that blast that had knocked her unconscious?

She had been there before... only...

The Voice... That voice was again...

"NO!" she gnarled as she struggled to crush her head. She couldn't get off her knees, only wrestled against a maddening call at her name. Jin Kazama was nearby. She had to kill him. She couldn't even move.

"Get away from me!" she screamed and the strong embrace that had grasped her didn't stop her tremors.

Outside, the sky all of a sudden darkened. The whole world was covered into darkness.

The crowd stirred with worry. Something was really wrong.

The body erupted into a Beast such as Hell itself only bore. Right before his eyes it grew bigger into a lump of Odium, a winged hairy Behemoth with the face of a corpse and long horns upon its head, baring the twisted legs of Demons of Hell and snakes for hands and tail, its skin being thick from malice and cruelty. The Beast tittered aloud its short mouthed, full of sharp teeth laughter and leaped into a massive attack.

A fierce repulsion threw them away and they couldn't help screaming.

"Are we too late?" Hwoarang yelled but nobody could give him an answer.

Stabilising as best as he could, Sato Nakaraki grabbed onto somewhere.

'This is it...'

"Don't let go!" Lei screamed at them and Julia, who held her face among her hands was caught by Anna in the last moment before banging at the other end of the wall.

King looked up at Lei, as he kept close to the wall.

"If you want to help him, keep good thoughts into your mind!" Lei commanded.

King stretched a hand to him and to Julia next to him.

Everyone reached out for the hand of the one next to them.

Ling Xiaoyu grasped upon the wall but right when she couldn't hold anymore, a hand was shot to her direction. Upon the moment she had grasped at it, looking upon Forest Law's assuring face, even through all that outburst, she felt a soothing emotion inside her heart and she firmly got a hold of it.

The force was stronger the more they held all together. The light of their powers glowed around them and then, to their effort, spirits trapped, begun helping them, wanting to go out, and they heard them, their old beloved ones, calling at them... "Julia..." "Hernando..." "Hwoarang..."

Nina collapsed at the effort of the power, Paul never left her hand to help her hold on as her memory was painfully coming back... "Michelle..." she called at her friends. "Jun..." The clutch of the force was strangling her mind as if attempting to take it but the force was so strong, overcoming her very subsistence. Her jaw begun trembling and slobber came out in thick foam. Someone was grasping her tightly upon his body and squeezed her in his arms.

"I won't let go of you Nina! Resist this with me!" his voice growled strenuously and yet he couldn't hold down her spasms. But she wanted so much to get a grip upon his effort and she prayed with all that was her own will that he could drag her away from this...

In that vortex of confusion, sweeping away her mind, one more image emerged. A woman who's face had been consistently into her memory and who's name she had long considered gone... A woman who she thought of as a hated person but tears trickled her sky blue eyes at her urge to call her name, even if only to verify her existence and any truth at all...

"Anna..." she uttered and unleashed her tears, at last free...

Heihachi groaned but he couldn't even hear his voice as the clamour of the battle was so strong. The War God was no more a supernatural being. It had congregated all force of Loathe upon him and morphed into a creature of abhorrence. And yet... he was amazed to see Jin against him, graceful as those heroes of the Sanskrit Vedas, fighting the Demon as equal... His fists were convoluted into powerful missiles and around him he saw clearly... there streamed the currents of the Fatal Lightning... The gift of the Demons...


It was his mother's gentle voice, calling at him through that turmoil. Like him, she was struggling against the clutches of the War God, fighting to set herself free...

Thousand more spirits battled for freedom and he heard their outcries. Shouts of anger and frustration, wanting to be set free... they fought all together. Along with him.

Fearsomely he divulged his stare upon the glowing eyes of the monstrous god, with demand for justice. He clenched his fists as he gathered all of his strength and Sparkles of indigo ki, pure power coiled around his hands. Inside of him, a part of him he had long not seen, emerged all clear. It was a part so strong and deadly, acute and vigilant that only woke up as his ample nature was strong enough to support it. This part of him was now in his use, to defend his pliant side, as it was destined to be.


His head was rushed by screams of the slain and anguished. Screams of wrath and screams of wonder and along... his mother's last scream...

More power gathered inside of him. The Monster looked down on him in detestation but he was ready. He had been ready for so long now.

The War God screamed all woes of the dead and he attacked him.

To that moment, everything silenced.

He heard the swirling wind no more. Not even the reminiscences of his mother's death wail. He had teemed every emotion from his mind and all he saw was a repugnant disarray to the Entirety.

It came effortlessly into him. He leaped in the air, bold with power and stroke upon the War God with all the strength that was in him.

The Beast was knocked violently into the air.

A long loud holler made everything in the room reverberate.

Julia screamed.

Xiaoyu held with all her strength on Forest's hand.

Lei grasped his head and gritted his teeth.

In Paul's arms, Nina retched putrid bile and finally, she was free.

The sky disappeared from vision and screams echoed everywhere.

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