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Satsui no Hadou Mezameta Elena

A Street Fighter fanfiction by KnightMysterio


Chapter 1: Challenge




1 month after the 3rd World Warrior tournament...

A park in Tokyo...



                People crowded around the two fighters, anxious to see the two warriors in action.  A chill wind rushed over the field, chilling the man in the black karate gi.


                "Why have you followed me?" Akuma asked the fighter before him.


                The tall, long-legged, ebony-skinned young girl smiled.  "I saw you at the last tournament.  You hadn't entered, so I was kinda hoping to challenge you."


                Akuma's eyes widenend in moderate surprise.  "Why?  I don't even know who you are."


                Elena shrugged.  "You looked lonely, and I figured you could use a friend.  Also, you dress like that Ryu person, so I'm guessing that you fight the same style.  He left before I could challenge him, and I was kind of hoping I could see what he fought like."


                Akuma would have laughed, but it was against his nature, so he just smirked.  "Child, Ryu and I fight nothing alike.  His style is weak and pathetic.  And I have no interest in friends."


                Elena frowned, visibly confused.  "Huh?  But everyone needs friends."


                Akuma shook his head.  "A true warrior needs only opponents.  But if you are so intent on fighting me, child, I will be happy to oblige you," he said, taking his stance.


                Elena frowned.  For her whole life, she had used the fight to make friends, and keep herself in shape.  In the World Warrior tournament alone, she had made friends with Ryu, the Americans, Ken and Alex, the British boxer, Dudley, the ninja girl, Ibuki, the two young Kung Fu fighters, Yun and Yang, and even with the pro-wrestler Hugo, and his manager, Poison.  But somehow, this 'Akuma' was different.  She had thought that he'd be like Ryu, from his serious nature, but still...


                He had appeared suddenly, midway through the tournament, and challenged the tournament manager directly.  She didn't get to see what happened, but from the way he acted around the tournament manager, a man named Gill, his challenge hadn't gone well.  Dudley had offered to help him, but he had been brushed off rudely. 


                She shook off the nervous feeling, and looked up at the patiently waiting karateka, stretched briefly, then cartwheeled to the center of the park, and began her jenga, a shifting rhythmic, dance like series of carefully plotted steps that was the basis of her art.

                Akuma watched Elena's movements carefully as he slowly circled her.  He chuckled to himself, remembering the flaws he had seen in her attacks during the World Warrior tournament.


                This will be easy... he thinks.



Chapter 2: Too Easy



                Elena started off first.  She rushed in, a kick slashing the air in front of Akuma with surprising speed.  The black-clad warrior simply dodged back, seemingly amused.


                Elena continued her assault, snapping her right leg towards Akuma's head.  Akuma raised his arm to block, but the attack never came.  Elena shifted her weight quickly, her other leg coming around in a sweep kick. 


                Akuma barely had enough time to dodge.  He hopped over the attack, and thrust a fist towards the girl's face.  She parried the blow, bringing her right leg up in a flipping motion, her Scratch Wheel technique. 


                Akuma vanished, teleporting behind her.  Elena landed from the move, and looked around, confused.  Akuma laughed, and thrust his hands forward, forming and throwing a GouHado at her back.  Elena staggered, but recovered quickly.  Leaning forward and balancing on one hand, she whirled, slashing once, twice, three times with her legs, striking Akuma in the stomach. 


                He staggered, winding by the blows, and Elena knew this was her once chance.  Her eyes glowed, and she lunged forward, striking Akuma in the face with her knee, and landed, beginning one of her most powerful techniques, the Brave Dance.


                Kicks literally rained down on Akuma, rocking his body from side to side, finally sending him flying up and away with a spin kick to the jaw.  He landed hard, cracking the pavement when he landed.


                Elena backflipped away and began her jenga again, waiting to see if she had won.


                Akuma staggered to his feet.  Bruises were forming on his arms and chest where she had had struck him.  Blood was streaming from his jaws.  And yet, he just looked disappointed.


                "That was it?  That was your best move?" he said, glaring at her.


                Elena went wide eyed, and started to back away.  Akuma shook his head, disgusted.  An aura of flames manifested itself around him.


                "Your kicks have no force!  YOU DON'T DESERVE TO BE CALLED A WARRIOR!!" he bellowed.


                Akuma vanished.  Elena whirled, slashing the air behind her with a roundhouse kick.


                She missed completely.


                Akuma reappeared behind her, still blazing with that firey aura.  He gathered it in his hands and threw it in the form of a Shakunetsu Hadoken. 


                Elena screamed in agony, falling to her knees as her body burst into flames.  Akuma didn't stop, though.  He grabbed her and spun her around, striking her in the chest with a kick, her ribs cracking loudly.  He followed through on the motion, raising his other leg and spinning into the air, striking her in the jaw three times over with his GouTatsumaki technique.


                The young woman spun off to the side, slamming hard into a lamppole, causing onlookers to scatter as she fell.


                Elena whimpered, wishing she could just curl up into a fetal position and stay that way.  But she didn't dare.  She knew, thanks to her father, a physician, what had happened to her.  Several bones had cracked in her chest, and most likely her jaw was dislocated, if not broken.  Her flesh was seared from the fireball, and it was a miracle that her back hadn't been broken.  But what she didn't understand Akuma's motivations.


                "W-Why are you d-doing this to me?  I j-just wanted..." Elena started, slowly getting to her feet.


                Akuma snarled, interrupting her, "You wanted to make friends with me, yes?  Little girl, your naivete disgusts me.  You proclaim to be a fighter and yet you seek friendship, kinship with those you do battle with?  You're a fool.  And a hypocrite."


                Elena shook her head, the motion sending a wave of pain through her.  "No.  I-It's not like that at all..."


                Akuma sighed weakly.  His aura flared up again, only this time the flames were black.  "You are a fool, Elena.  So you will be judged by my ultimate technique, the Shun Goku Satsu."


                Akuma vanished again.  Elena looked around furitively for him, unable to make a move to defend herself.  She then felt his hands close around her neck.


                And then everything went blank.


                To the onlookers, it seemed as if they were enclosed in a dome of light.  Elena's screaming along with the sounds of a brutal beating came from inside the light.  It vanished, and the two fighters were revealed.  Akuma was standing over Elena's body, flames dancing around him, the kanji for 'TEN' glowing on his back.  They all stared in horror, fearing the girl had been killed.


                A sigh of relief went up when Elena stirred, moaning weakly.  She rolled to her side, trying to get to her feet.


                Akuma looked down on her with something akin to pity, his aura still ablaze.  "Your heart is pure, Elena.  Too pure to be fully affected by my attack.  You survived the Shun Goku, and this proves that you are not worthy of being a warrior."


                Elena gripped the leg of Akuma's gi, staring up at him with a mix of hatred and fear.


                Akuma smiled, noticing this expression, continuing.  "Yet there is a small measure of hope for you.  It seems my beating has taught you to hate.  Perhaps..."


                He thought for a moment, and smiled.  He reached down and gripped Elena's hair, dragging her roughly to her feet.  She whimpered, trying to pry his hand loose.


                "Once there was a great warrior called Sagat.  Because of the scars inflicted on him by two young warriors, he became hateful.  Vengeful."  Akuma's smile widened.  "Powerful.  It was beautiful.  He sold his soul to M.Bison just so he could get revenge on the one who scarred his chest.  And when he lost his eye before that, he killed that fighter outright!  It was one of the greatest displays of true power that I had ever heard of.  And yet he threw it all away for something as pathetic and meaningless as honor."


                Elena just stared at him, tears streaming down her face.  "W-what are you going to do to me?"


                Akuma raised his other hand, clenching it into a fist and extending two fingers.  "I will do to you what Go Hibiki and Ryu did to Sagat.  It is my hope then that you will grow from this experience, and come challenge me again."


                Before Elena could protest, he thrust his hand forward, jabbing into her right eye.  Elena screamed, her eye bursting under the thrust.  Blood oozed down her face as she squirmed helplessly in Akuma's grasp. 


                Akuma wiped his fingers clean nonchalantly on his pantsleg, and gathered the flames of his aura again, this time wrapping the fire around his forearm.  He let go of her, but lunged, thrusting his arm skyward as he flew up into his GouShoryu.  He struck her just above her waist as she fell, his fist slashing her from her hip to her shoulder, the skin igniting where it was touched by the technique. 


                She screamed, flying back over the heads of the crowd watching the fight, and landing hard on the pavement.  Akuma just chuckled, teleporting to her side.


                Elena stared back at him through her remaining eye, moaning weakly.  Tears washed some of the blood on her face away as she tried to look him in the eyes, trying to find some reason behind his actions.


                Akuma just snorted, and said, "Come find me when you are ready, Elena.  Come find me when you have embraced your hatred, and given in to the Murderous Intent.  For only when you are ready to kill will you be a true warrior."


                He kneeled, putting her face as close to his as he could get.  He grinned wickedly, in an uncanny impression of M.Bison's trademark smile.  "When you are ready to kill me, that is when you will become worthy of my attention."


                Akuma vanished without another word, his words echoing in Elena's ears, as some of the spectators finally recovered from the shock of the battle, getting out their cell phones and calling an ambulance...



Chapter 3: A Half-Year Later...




Taiyo High School...

Near the end of Ms.Kasugano's History Class...



                "...What is the lesson that these events teach us?" the teacher, an elegant young woman with a muscular body, asked her class, finishing her lecture on World War 2.  "Anyone?"


                The students looked nervously at one another, each one unwilling to admit that they hadn't payed attention to a single word Ms.Kasugano had said.


                The bespectacled teacher frowned, and sighed.  She was getting tired of her students basically ignoring her, but the only other way she knew to catch their attention would most likely send them running in fear.  She looked around her class, deciding to pick on someone.  Her eyes settled on a young woman near the back, who wore a black jacket over her uniform which she kept tightly pulled around herself, and a pair of dark sunglasses that hid her eyes completely.  She was staring out the window, seemingly lost in her thoughts.


                Well, thought Ms.Kasugano, time to get her unlost.  "Elena?  Would you mind telling us what the lesson that these events teach us is?"


                The tall, long-legged, ebony-skinned young girl yipped, startled by the question.  She stared up at the teacher for a moment and blinked...


                "Um... What events again?"


                Ms.Kasugano sighed.  They told me in college that there'd be moments like this...


                Fortunetly, the bell rang just then, saving Elena from embarrasment. 


                Ms.Kasugano sighed, and gave her assignments to the class as they filed out.  Elena came out last, and as she did, Ms.Kasugano grabbed her by the shoulder. 


                "Elena, what's the matter with you?  You've changed so drastically since you came back from Summer Break."


                Elena just glared at Ms.Kasugano.  "What's it to you?  You don't care.  No one cares..."


                Ms.Kasugano shook her head.  "That's not true.  Your friend, Narumi, has been asking me to talk to you for a while, I just haven't had the time to do so until now."  It was a lie, but she hoped it would help.


                Elena, for her part, was getting mad.  Why wouldn't this nosy teacher leave her alone?  It wasn't anyone's business what her own stupidity resulted in.  "Then you go tell Narumi to mind her own damn business."


                Elena couldn't help but smirk at the startled expression on the History teacher's face, as she made a mental note to 'talk' with Narumi about things that don't concern her.  But that look was quickly replaced by a stern one.


                "I was asking you as a friend, Elena.  But now I'm ordering you, teacher to student.  What happened to you over the summer?  Does it have something to do with the third World Warrior tournament?  I know you participated in it..."


                Elena just looked away.  She didn't want to think about what happened, didn't want to think about the pain, that man's horrific grin...


                Ms.Kasugano shook her head.  "Something bad happened, didn't it?"


                Elena just shook her head.  "I mean it, Kasugano.  I don't wanna talk about it."


                Ms.Kasugano smirked, folding her arms.  "Tough.  Because I'm not leaving until you do."


                Elena glared at her through her sunglasses, but sighed weakly.  "Fine.  But you'll understand if I ask you not to tell anyone about what you see.  I got enough flak from my parents."


                She slowly removed her sunglasses, revealing the empty socket where her right eye used to be.  She then removed her jacket and uniform shirt, showing the jagged scar that tore across her body.


                Ms.Kasugano gasped, suddenly remembering an encounter years ago, a massive tiger of a man, an eyepatch over one eye, and a similar scar on his chest...


                "My God..." she managed.


                Elena just sighed.  She had gotten used to people having that kind of reaction.  "A couple days before the World Warrior tournament ended, I encountered a man in a black karate outfit named Akuma.  I hadn't gotten to fight Ryu, but since Akuma moved in sort of the same way he did, I assumed they fought the same style.  He went to challenge the head of the tournament, Gill, but he left after they talked in private, looking scared.  I decided to track him down, see if I could make friends with him and challenge him to a friendly match."


                Ms.Kasugano paled.  "D-Did you say, Akuma?"


                Elena sneered, putting her uniform shirt back on.  "Look, do you want to hear this story or not?"


                The teacher shook her head.  "Sorry, please continue."


                Elena sighed, trying to remember where she left off.  "Anyway, it was pretty easy to find him, actually.  He was staying in one of the fighter rooms at a hotel that Gill provided for all the World Warrior participants.  Don't know why, guess he was waiting for something.  So, a month after the fights ended, I managed to get a hold of him and made my challenge."


                Tears started to well up in Elena's remaining eye as she remembered what happened next.


                "He then mocked me, mocked the fact that I liked to make friends with people.  He said that I wasn't worthy to be called a warrior and then he... he..."  Elena gulped, and shook her head, "Well, you know what happened to me.  When I was in the hospital, some guy offered to take me to Akuma whenever I felt I was ready to fight him again, but other than that, I just stayed there, letting the doctors tell me that I'd be a one-eyed freak for the rest of my life.  After I healed what I could, I went back to my life, training just to keep in shape."


                She put her jacket and sunglasses back on.  "Are you satisfied?  Can I go now?"


                Ms.Kasugano shook her head.  "That still doesn't explain why you've changed so much.  You used to be happy all of the time..."


                Elena snarled.   She had taken more than enough from this nosy bimbo.  "Why?  Why do you THINK!?  Thanks to the way my 'loving father' raised me, I was trained as a fighter.  Raised to BE a fighter!  Because of that, I thought the fight would be a way to make new and unique friends, just so long as I was nice and polite and cheerful.  But I'm NOTHING!!  I'm no fighter!  Akuma was right.  I don't deserve the title."


                She turned away, tears streaming down her face under her sunglasses.  "I just..."  She sighed, turning back to Ms.Kasugano.  "Every day, some of the people who know about my injuries track me down and start taunting me, calling me cyclops and other things like that, only worse.  That's why I put on the jacket and glasses, so no one else would know.  You know what my fondest wish is, when they start in on me?"


                Ms.Kasugano shook her head.


                Elena grinned weakly.  "That Akuma had just killed me, instead of just telling me some nonsense and vanishing."  She looked away again, towards a window.


                Ms.Kasugano frowned deeply, her mind racing.  Akuma!  Why in blazes did he accept her challenge?  Why did he let her LIVE afterwards?


                She had seen him only once, during the first fiasco with M.Bison, when he was slaughtering Shadowloo soldiers with relative ease, but she had sensed him all day, sensed the horrifying power he posessed.  After it was over, she had asked Ryu about him, and was horrified when he told her how Akuma operated.


                But this was different somehow...


                She looked at Elena directly and blinked.  The girl was staring out the window, her fists tightly clenched and shaking.


                Concerned, Ms.Kasugano asked, "Are you okay?"


                "I hate him," Elena said, not turning around.  "I hate him so strongly it scares me."  She looked down at her hands, unclenching them into claws.  "I just want to understand, why did he do this to me?  Why did he do this when all I wanted..."


                "What did he say to you?" Ms.Kasugano asked suddenly.


                Elena just stared at her, confused.  "What?"


                "What.  Did.  Akuma. Say.  To.  You.  Before.  He.  Vanished?"


                Elena frowned, trying to remember.  "He... he said something about embracing my hatred.  The Murderous Intent, or whatever.  He said that I'd only be ready to face him when I was ready to kill."


                Ms.Kasugano sighed.  An idea was forming in her mind, but she had no idea how it would turn out.  If nothing else, it might restore the girl's will to live.


                "Elena, I need to tell you something.  When I was your age, I saw Akuma fighting."


                WHAT?!  Elena's eye widened in shock.  How could a little mouse like her EVER have met Akuma?!?


                Ms.Kasugano continued.  "When I was your age, Ryu was my idol.  I even managed to copy his moves just by watching them a few times.  Anyway, Ryu and I, along with several other fighters, including Akuma, became involved with an incident involving a major terrorist named M.Bison."


                Elena nodded, "Yeah.  He hosted the second World Warrior tournament, the one that Chinese woman won.  He vanished shortly afterwards."


                "She was there, too.  Akuma, from what I can tell, joined up with us all for simple amusement.  He slaughtered a few troops, and when none of the involved fighters seemed to be interested in fighting him, he disappeared.  I don't know what he did the next few years, but I do know that he is the reason M.Bison disappeared after Bison's World Warrior tournament."


                Elena frowned.  "Okay.  But what does this have to do with me?"


                "Ryu, Akuma, and I use the same fighting style.  I haven't been training as much as I should since that time, but I am still strong enough to give some of the best in the world a run for their money.  If you'll let me, I'll train you, help you get stronger."


                Elena lowered her sunglasses, giving her an appraising look.


                "You aren't just saying this, Ms.Kasugano?  You're not just telling me this because it's something I want to hear?"


                Ms.Kasugano shook her head.  "No.  And please, call me Sakura."


                Elena's heart started to beat faster as she considered the idea.  "And you could help me, help me get stronger?"


                "I think so, yes."


                "Strong enough to fight and defeat Akuma?"


                Sakura chuckled weakly.  "I don't know about that, but you will definetly get stronger."


                Elena grinned savagely.  Sakura winced at the sight of it.


                "That'll do.  For now," Elena said.


                Sakura nodded.  "I'll contact you when I'm ready to begin your training.  All right?"


                Elena nodded, and started to walk away.  Sakura held out a hand, stopping her.


                "Wait.  You mentioned that someone offered to bring you to Akuma once you were ready to face him.  Do you know who it was?"


                Elena paused one second too long to make her response believable.  "Nope.  Sorry.  When he visited me, I was under heavy pain medication."


                Sakura frowned, sensing the lie.  Something else to worry about, she thought.  Aloud, she said.  "All right, Elena.  That will be all.  See you soon."


                Elena nodded, and walked out of the room, a smile on her face for the first time in months. 


                A chance to get stronger... A chance to actually be worthy of being called a fighter... It's almost too good to be true...  But some hope's better than nothing....


                Her grin widened as she thought of Akuma, her face becoming a deathmask.  The hate rose up in her again, a blazing inferno in her heart. 


                Akuma.  You told me to be ready to kill.  Soon, hopefully, I will be...



Chapter 4: Doubt...




Rocky Mountains...




                Akuma stood on top of the mountain, contemplating recent events in his life.


                The most aggravating part is that each memory held nothing but fear and confusion in them.


                A young girl, who seemed to be eternally optimistic, challenging him to a match.  It was a joke, her kicks weak, completely lacking the power he sensed in other Capoeira masters.  He subjected her to his worst beating, scarring her horribly.  And yet he didn't finish her off, instead inviting her to try again, to come and kill him.


                Why?  Why did he do that?  Akuma had been thinking about Elena for quite a while.  Why didn't he finish her off?  When the Shun Goku failed, which was completely unexpected, he should have broken her neck and made a clean job of it.


                Instead, he had scarred her.  A pointless move, even if he did issue a challenge.  It's not like she'd be able to find him again even if she DID get stronger.


                But why?  Why had he let her live?


                It wouldn't be so bad if had been her, but his past few challenges had been increasingly difficult.  He always won, but every time he came closer and closer to a loss.  And each time, he let his opponents live.


                He knew he had hit bottom when he nearly got killed by Blanka, of all people.


                He sighed, and sat down cross-legged.  In his desperation to find out what was wrong with him, he had gone to the Yoga master, Dhalsim, of all people.  He had taught him a meditation technique, telling him to find a quiet spot and meditate there, saying that he would have his answers then.


                He breathed deeply, slowly, letting his mind drift.  And as it did, it wandered to something that happened before his confrontation with Elena...


A private room...

Almost a year ago...



                Akuma smiled as he teleported in front of the manager of the third World Warrior tournament, a tall, muscle-bound man with flowing blonde hair who's only known name was Gill.  He had decided, after ripping Bison's soul to shreds after Chunli humiliated him in the second World Warrior tourney, to make his prescence known to every self-proclaimed 'champion' that hosted these things.  It was easy to find him, all he had to do was hang around the other fighters in the tournament long enough, and follow Gill when he made an appearance.


                Akuma wasn't surprised when Gill seemed amused at his appearance.  "Greetings, Gill.  My name is..."


                "Your name is Akuma.  Correct?"


                Akuma blinked, startled.  Then he grinned.  Some Shadowloo survivors must have told him about me.  That makes sense.


                "Well, it would if that's what happened.  But I would never associate myself with terrorists like that, let me assure you."


                Now Akuma was a little worried.  He frowned, and dropped into a fighting stance.


                Gill just chuckled, straigtening the tie of his business suit.  "Let me guess...  You're here because you're looking for a challenge, correct?  A new tournament, might as well see how good the self-proclaimed 'champion' is, right?"


                Akuma blinked, visibly nervous.  He guessed my intentions!  No... He KNEW what I was planning!  But how?!  What is he??


                Gill grinned wickedly.  A wind started to blow, despite the fact that they were inside a building with no windows in range, making Gill's long hair flow in the breeze.


                "Who am I, little street fighter?  I am a god."


                Gill's skin started to split, his right half turning a bright red, his left turning a bright blue.   His suit slowly began to dissolve, one half freezing off, the other burning off.  Akuma's eyes widened, and he reacted instinctively, throwing a Shakunetsu at Gill.


                Gill simply gestured, freezing the projectile in mid-air.  It fell to the ground with a hollow thump, the ice melting and the projectile dissapating.  Akuma stared first at the fallen projectile, then at Gill, a sudden terror growing in his heart.


                Gill laughed, a white aura surrounding him.  "And to those who do not worship me, I am an angry god."


                The aura surrounding Gill became blinding, and Akuma had the brief impression of wings emerging from his back before he had to cover his eyes.  When the light faded, Gill was gone.


                Akuma looked around, suddenly extremely afraid.  He hadn't sensed Gill's departure, couldn't sense him at ALL.  Nor could he sense the terrible power Gill seemed to have when he first saw him.  Somehow Gill had managed to fool Akuma's senses completely.


                And that terrified him all the more...



Images of a more recent past...



                Using his ultimate technique, the Shun Goku Satsu, on a young girl, knowing she was too pure hearted to be fully affected by the attack, and not finishing the job after she was down.  He simply marked her and told her to return...


                Balrog landing a desperate, flailing blow that broke Akuma's jaw, the expression on the boxer's face showing that even HE knew that blow shouldn't have connected...


                A metal-masked man known only as Q, who had been following him for weeks, finally giving him an open challenge.  And yet, in the first half of their match, the only one who's blows actually landed were Q's...


                Pain.  Stabbing, agonizing pain, and the feeling of blood down Akuma's back, as a moment of carelessness allowed Vega to catch him with his ridiculous Red Thirst attack...


                Every rib in Akuma's chest rattled, his incredible endurance and strength the only thing preventing him from being killed by Sagat's Tiger Genocide technique...


                An attempt to relax in the Brazillian jungle, cut short by a confrontation with a savage man-beast he later learned was named Blanka, one that Akuma nearly lost his life from...






                Akuma's eyes snapped open.  Was that it?  Was it that one moment of fear?


                He shook his head, standing up.  "No.  It can't have been.  It was just that one time.  I need to train harder, that's all," he said to himself, clenching his fist tightly.


                Then why are you shaking so much just from THINKING about Gill? a voice inside him nagged.


                Akuma shook off that voice, his anger rising.  An aura of flame shot up around him.  "Dammit, I wasn't afraid!  I was just caught off guard!  THAT'S ALL!"


                He raised his hand, collecting his aura around him, and shouted,  "KONGOU KOKURETSUZAN!!"


                He brought his fist down hard on the mountain's surface.  There was a powerful earthquake, yes, but the only thing that broke was every finger in his hand.


                "AAAGH!!!" Akuma screamed.  He collapsed on the ground, clutching his hand in pain.  But worse than the pain was the confusion.


                That... That should have worked...  This mountain should be rubble by now...  Has the Killing Intent left me?



Chapter 5: Throwing It All Away...




Taiyo High School...

Near the end of Ms.Kasugano's History Class...



                Elena tapped her pencil on her desk as she sat through Sakura's class.  She was bored out of her skull and wanted to get to her training.  It had been four months since she started training under the former Ansastuken fighter, and she was getting stronger every day, each kick, each punch gaining more and more force behind it, each dance coming out quicker, faster.  Sakura, too, was getting stronger, which was only fitting.  Her teacher wasn't kidding when she said she was powerful.  To Elena, though, she was rapidly becoming only a means to an end.  Any gratitude she felt towards the woman for helping her was slowly dissolving as her focus started to shift.


                More and more, her thoughts drifted to Akuma.  She reviewed his movements against her in their fight over and over again, trying to find something that could be a weakness, something that could be exploited.


                Nothing else mattered to her.  Nothing.  Only the fight, only making Akuma suffer as she did.  That was her sole goal in life now.


                She gave Sakura a murderous glare as she continued her lecture, prattling on about Amakusa's ancient rebellion.  She then turned her gaze to the clock.


                Finally, the bell rung.  She turned in the paper she was working on and walked out of the classroom, planning on throwing everything in her locker and heading straight for Sakura's car, so that they would begin their training almost immediately.


                In the hallway, she had just finished putting her books in her locker, when an old friend of hers, Narumi, came up to her.


                "Hey, Elena!" the short young girl said, smiling widely.  "I'm glad I finally caught up with you!"


                Elena sighed, not looking at her.  "I'll bet," she muttered.


                "Anyway, it's been so long since we've talked.  Me and some of the other girls are getting together this weekend.  Wanna come along?  We'd love to have you," she asked, smiling widely.


                Elena turned slowly, her good eye glaring at her.  A slow smile spread over Elena's face, but there was no happiness, no humor in it.  Narumi sweatdropped, but kept her smile, waiting for her friend's answer.


                After a long, uncomfortable moment, Elena said, "Why?"


                Narumi blinked, her smile faltering, "Why?  Why what?"


                Elena stared directly at Narumi, still smiling, but her eyes angry.  "Why should I care about your little... 'get together?'"


                Narumi blinked, frowning.  Something in Elena's expression was frightening to her.  "Why?  B-Because you're my f-f-friend, and you've been so w-withdrawn since you w-were, well... I-I've been worried about you, and..."


                Elena held up a hand, silencing her.  "You are not talking.  I am the only person talking in this conversation, so listen to me very carefully, you stupid little bitch: Your little party does not matter.  You do not matter.  Nothing matters except getting stronger.  Nothing but revenge.  Nothing but VICTORY.  And I'm not going to let anything stand in my way of achieving these goals.  Now get the hell out of my way."


                Elena shoved Narumi aside, leaving the shocked girl to stare after her as she strode quickly down the halls. 


                Narumi was horrified.  She had never seen Elena like this before!  Ever since she was attacked, Elena had been so quiet, so withdrawn into herself.  She didn't speak to the other girls in the dormatory where they were staying, despite their best efforts over the past year to get her to speak with them, and lately Elena had withdrawn from the other girls even further.  She and the others had organized the party mainly so they could get Elena out and about again, to try and help her come out of whatever funk she was in.


                But this was the absolute last thing she had expected.  What had she done to deserve this?  All she was trying to do was make her friend feel better!  She stared after the long-legged woman's retreating form, trying to figure out what was going on with her, when something happened.


                Elena's light brown skin darkened by several shades.


                "Dammit.  It's happening faster now..."  said a voice from behind Narumi.


                The schoolgirl yipped and whirled around.  Sakura was standing behind her, staring at Elena.


                "Oh, Kasugano-sensei!"  Narumi said, surprised, "What did you mean by, 'It's happening faster now?"


                Sakura shook her head sadly, saying, "I never should have started training her..." she blinked, realizing that Narumi had spoken, "I'm sorry, what were you saying?"


                Narumi frowned up at her teacher, tears in the scared young girl's eyes.  "I asked what you meant by 'It's happening faster now.'  What's happening to her?"


                Sakura sighed, staring after Elena, who had already disappeared down the stairs.  "Something very bad, Narumi.  Do you know the full nature of what happened to her several months ago?"


                Narumi shook her head.  "She wouldn't say anything.  I knew she got into a fight in that tournament she fought in, and that's how she got that bad scar and lost her eye..."


                Sakura chuckled weakly.  "Oh, she actually showed you?  Willingly?  That's more than she's given anyone else, apparently..."


                Narumi huffed.  "Well, I'm her best friend!"  She then sighed, sniffling.  "Well, I was..."


                Sakura sighed.  "She still is, Narumi-chan.  She's just going through a very bad period right now.  The best thing you can do is give her space and pray that this passes quickly."


                "I guess so..." 


                Sakura smiled, ruffling the girl's hair.  "You'll see.  Everything will turn out all right."


                Narumi smiled, a little mollified by what her teacher had said.  She walked off down the hall to her locker, troubled at heart.


                Sakura watched Narumi leave, and prayed she wasn't lying to the youngster. 


                She's become so violent.  She refuses to read any mail her parents send her, even if they send them to the school to be given to her first.  And now, just brushing off her friends like this...


                She sighed weakly.  Elena was showing signs of the Satsui no Hado, a force to which she had very little knowledge of.  It was sheer luck that she had been able to convince Elena to continue school during her training, she knew that.  But her luck couldn't hold out forever.  This darkening of Elena's skin was a sign of the Killing Intent which Ryu spoke of taking hold.  Soon the girl would focus on nothing but her training.


                She needed to find out more, and there was only one person who could possibly help her at all.  She went to her desk, and pulled out a cellphone, dialing a long number.


                She waited for a while, pressing every button the automated machine told her to.  Finally, she got the answer she was looking for.


                "Hi, Karin?  It's me, Saku-chan."



Chapter 6: Fears Realized...





A short way from the Masters Estate...

3 Days Later...



                Akuma took several deep breath, standing in a horse stance, as he concentrated, preparing himself.  He tried to focus, but every time he tried, an image of Gill turning into that angelic form ran through his thoughts, causing him to shiver in fear.


                He shook his head angrily, and teleported through the front gate.  When he reappeared on the other side, he started running, planning on challenging Ken the moment he saw him.


                And yet even this bothered him greatly.  Why Ken?  The American had, for the most part, retired from tournament fighting, entering only when Ryu himself was involved.  He wasn't as in shape as he used to be, and was concentrating more on being a family man and training the young whelp, Sean Matsuda.


                So why did he seek out Ken?  Why not Ryu, who was much stronger now than the last time they fought?


                Because he was scared.  He was scared of what Ryu would do if he actually won their fight.  He was scared of losing to one whose master he had slain.


                So here he was, challenging the weaker fighter.


                That's not the reason I'm doing this, dammit.  I need to be sure I'm strong enough before I challenge Ryu directly, Akuma told himself, not believing it for a second.


                Finally, he came up to the main door of the Estate.  He stared at it for several minutes, trying to work up the courage to go inside, until he simply Hadokened the door open out of sheer frustration with himself.


                He stormed into the house, following the frantic sound of voices, tuning out the alarms going off.  He listened with mild amusement as Ken gave directions to his family, following the sound to it's source.


                "Sean, don't ARGUE with me!  Take Mel, take Eliza, and get them to safety!"


                "But Ken-sensei, I can help you!  I'm much stronger since the tournament, and..."


                "Dammit Sean STOP ARGUING!  This is Akuma!  I've told you how dangerous he is!  Now go!"


                "... All right, Ken-sensei.  But I will be back to help you."


                Akuma finally came to the source of the voices, the television room of the house, with a door opening to a little patio with table and chairs.  The tall, solidly-built, blond-haired American was busy herding his student, a dark-skinned boy in a tan gi, and his family, a relatively Barbie-esque woman with a better, more athletic figure than the doll and a tough-looking young boy of around 7, out the door.  When he saw Akuma enter the room, he panicked, shoving them roughly out onto the patio, kissing his wife as if saying goodbye, and locking the door.


                He turned to Akuma and dropped immediately into a fighting stance.  The demonic fighter was pleased to see that Ken's stance was still solid, his movements still containing their subtle quickness to them.


                "What the hell do you want, Akuma?" he demanded, not taking his eyes off the warrior.


                Akuma just chuckled.  "I simply want to test myself, Ken Masters.  I've challenged Ryu so many times, I have almost forgotten you."


                Ken snarled, and started to circle Akuma.  "Forgotten me.  Right.  So now you've come to do to me what you did to your brother.  My MASTER."


                Akuma frowned, surprised.  "How could you possibly know..."


                "I was THERE, Akuma.  I saw you fight and murder Master Gouken before his daughter's eyes.  And now you've come to fight me?  To do the same to me, before you take out Ryu?  Well, I won't let you, you hear me?  I WON'T LET YOU!!!  HADOKEN!!"


                Ken thrust his hands forward, sending the bluish-yellow energy ball flying towards Akuma.  The projectile slammed into Akuma's gut with the force of a powerful kick, knocking the wind from him.  Ken was shocked that his attack actually hit, but continued attacking anyway out of pure instinct.  He leaped over the couch, his leg extended in a flying kick.  Akuma barely got his arms up in time to block the move, grabbing Ken's leg and throwing him into the hall.  Ken landed on his feet and spun, his leg lashing up into Akuma's face.  Akuma shoved the kick aside, and thrust his palm toward's Ken's face.  Ken dodged, the palm strike shattering the wall behind him, and uppercutted Akuma.  Akuma's teeth clacked together hard, sending a blaze of pain through his jaws.  He rolled back, and lashed out wildly with a roundhouse kick.  Ken rolled underneath the blow and into his Shoryuken technique, the flaming rising punch knocking the warrior airborne, smashing Akuma's head into the ceiling.  Akuma landed roughly on the floor afterwards, visibly dazed.


                Ken knew that shouldn't have worked.  And he knew it shouldn't have worked that well.  But he wasn't about to take chances.  He pressed his attack, and did an axe kick to Akuma's back that knocked him down just as he was trying to get up.  He then stomped on Akuma's head, feeling something break in the floor.


                Akuma groaned weakly, teleporting away, leaving a smear of blood on the shattered plywood of the floor where his face was.  Ken blinked in surprise as he looked around the hall, preparing himself for another attack.


                None came.


                ....the HELL?!


                The sound of the patio door slamming open snapped him out of his thoughts, along with Sean's 'reassuring' bellow that he was coming to help.  The young boy ran into the hall, finding only his master.


                "Where... Where is Akuma?!" he demanded.


                Ken just stared at the smear of blood on the floor.  After a moment, he said, "I beat him..."


                Sean laughed, pumping the air excitedly with his fist.  "Ha HAH!  I knew you were the greatest!  Not even Ryu can claim that he's beaten a baddy that major!"


                Ken shook his head.  "I shouldn't have won.   I should be dead.  Something was wrong.  Something was wrong with Akuma..."


                Outside the mansion, Akuma reappeared, moaning and groaning in both pain and fear.  He clutched his face as blood gushed from his nose.  It wasn't broken, but that was by sheer luck alone.


                Gods help me, it's true... he thought, My power has left me... I no longer have the Murderous Intent...



Chapter 7: A Meeting...




A week later...

Just outside McDonalds Tokyo...



                Sakura, clad casually in loose-fitting jeans and a black t-shirt touting that she was the 'King Of Fighters,' her long brown hair curled up into a bun, waited calmly at one of the patio tables, quietly slurping a McFlurry as various teenagers milled about her, chatting about everything from their latest sexual conquest to who was the most badass member of the local pro-wrestling organizations. 


                "Disgusting..." muttered an elegant voice from behind her. 


                Sakura turned, and smiled to see her old friend and rival, Karin Kanzuki, standing there.


                She had matured greatly since the mess with M.Bison, her body filling out in all the right places, until she had the beauty of a professional model in the build of a professional warrior.  Her once long, curly blond hair was now cropped short, and the bow she once wore in her hair was now attached to the front of the elegant, black silk dress she wore.  She had a briefcase over one shoulder, and Sakura guessed that she was on a way to a meeting of the Yakuza syndicate that she had inherited from her father.  She was gorgeous.  In fact, the only thing marring her beauty was a sneer on her face as she stared at the McDonald's sign and the man in a clown suit handing out balloons to giggling young children.


                "Disgusting," she said again, sitting down next to Sakura and placing her briefcase on the table, "to see how American culture has invaded our land.  How can you eat that trash, Saku-chan?"


                Sakura chuckled, setting her McFlurry aside.  "I happen to like ice cream and hamburgers, thank you very much."


                Karin chuckled, shaking her head.  "As long as I've known you, I'll never understand you, old friend.  How have you been?"


                "Keeping busy.  Teaching boredom in my history class, training a girl who's slowly turning homicidal, you know, the usual.  And yourself?"


                Karin looked around quickly, and smirked.  "Officially?  My pharmaceuticals company is thriving, and Rainbow Mika's making me a ton of money.  Unofficially?  Aside from a few near captures by the police, things are running smoothly."


                Sakura nodded, not wanting to hear any more than that about Karin's real business.  Her expression turning serious, she said, "Did you find Ryu?"


                Karin nodded.  "Yes.  It wasn't that hard, really.  I just followed reports of strange happenings in various mountain regions.  I finally found him during a training session with some weird old man named Oro."


                Sakura nodded.  "Ryu wrote me about him after the World Warrior tournament, so I wouldn't worry about him.  Apparently Oro is as powerful as Bison was back then, maybe even a little more so, and has decided to train Ryu to be stronger."


                Karin chuckled.  "Well, from what I saw, it was working."  She started to say something else, but started laughing.


                Sakura blinked.  "What?"


                Karin managed to get control of herself for the moment.  "Well, it's kinda funny, really.  When I got to where Ryu was training, there was some people already there.  You know the pro-wrestler Hugo and his bimbo manager?"


                Sakura nods.  "Yeah.  I remember them, they took part in the last World Warrior tournament.  They were there too?"


                Karin nodded.  "Yes.  Oro had apparently contacted them to help with an interesting phase of Ryu's training.  He added me to it when I showed up, something he called a 'Frustration Control Exercise.'  He had Ryu holding up this boulder that had a flat surface on top.  He had Hugo jumping up and down on top of the boulder and sing some stupid children's rhyme in German while he had Poison and I strip down to bra and panties and flirt with him.  The expression on Ryu's face as Poison and I played up to that wrinkled old turd was absolutely priceless."


                Karin broke up in laughter again.  Sakura giggled too, but it was half-hearted.  Karin noticed this and looked up.  "Don't tell me you're jealous of me because Ryu saw me in my panties and not you."


                Sakura blushed, and grinned.  "A little."


                The two women stared at each other.  Then they both cracked up, laughing wildly.  After they calmed down, Karin said, "Anyway, after Ryu had managed to hold up that rock to Oro's liking, he let him rest and dismissed Poison and Hugo after paying them.  I asked him about the Satsui no Hado, explaining the situation with this Elena girl, and he told me everything he knew.  Which honestly wasn't much."


                Sakura nodded.  "Tell me what you know."


                Karin sighed, and said, "Okay, here goes: From what I understand of what Ryu told me, the Satsui no Hado occurs when a warrior dedicates his or her whole life to victory, to using any means to gain that win.  The warrior severs all ties to his or her life, and dedicates their entire existance to training, to achieving perfect skill.  The warrior then slowly becomes less and less human, more and more of a godlike fighting machine as their power grows."


                Sakura shook her head in disbelief, "My God..."


                Karin shivered slightly.  "Ryu had only experienced it once, in a brief moment of desperation during his first fight with Sagat.  And well...  We all saw what Akuma could do during the mess in Thailand with Bison."


                Sakura nodded, "I know, but still, it's so hard imagining Elena becoming like that..."


                Karin frowned.  "That reminds me, Ryu had some advice on her, too."


                Sakura blinked in surprise, and nodded.  "Okay, what?"


                "Train her for one more week, then tell her she's ready.  Take her to Akuma.  Back her up and try to get her to see that there are other paths to being a warrior than the Murderous Intent, and get her out of there if things go badly.  He liked her as well, and admired her spirit and kindness."


                Sakura smiled.  "I can imagine."


                Karin grinned wickedly.  "I also think he admired her legs, but that's another story entirely."


                Sakura snarled.  "Not.  Funny.  Karin."


                Karin shook her head, chuckling.  "Still a schoolgirl...  So how's Elena herself doing?"


                Sakura shivered.  "She's becoming more like Akuma everyday.  She's developed a new trick, she can create an aura around her hands and feet that can cut through almost anything.  And I'm not sure, but I think she's learned how to teleport.  She's so much stronger, so much faster... She won't talk to her friends, and God help me they still care about her.  They ask me about her every day.  I have to blackmail Elena into continuing school by threatening to stop her training.  But I don't know how much longer that will work.  She's slowly losing patience with me, I can tell."  She smiled weakly and said, "I think I'm starting to know how Dan felt when he was 'training' me."


                Karin smirked.  "Well, there's a break coming up.  You can train her constantly for the week, and then get this whole mess over with.  Remember, you're stronger than she is.  I know you are, Saku-chan, so you can keep her in line if you have to.  And I know for a FACT you're stronger than that dork Hibiki."


                Sakura smiled warmly.  "Thank you, Karin."


                Karin grinned, and stood up.  Sakura stood up with her, and the two women hugged tightly, holding on to each other for a long time.  Karin broke the hug first.


                "Anyway, I hope I was able to help.  I need to get going, I have a promotional appearance to arrange for Mika and later on I have a meeting of some... company heads."


                Sakura nodded.  "Thank you, Kari-kun.  You've been a great help to me.  And it was nice to see you again."


                Karin smiled, picking up her briefcase.  She gave Sakura a quick peck on the cheek and turned to leave, only to run into a tall, solid young woman with long, bright white hair bound up in a ponytail and dark, deep brown skin.  Sunglasses hid the girls eyes, matching the black jeans that hugged her long powerful legs and black jacket she wore to cover her chest.  Karin backed away, trying to figure out why this girl made her so nervous...


                Sakura frowned.  "I forgot to mention, Karin.  This is Elena.  I brought her with me for lunch.  She was down at a noodle cart, she didn't want anything from here.  Elena, this is my old friend and rival, Karin Kanzuki."


                Karin's eyes widened as she stared at the girl, looking at her in a new light.  Elena, for her part, simply looked Karin over, briefly assessing her as an opponent, and turned to Sakura.


                "Kasugano-sensei, I have finished my lunch.  Are you ready to leave?"


                Sakura nodded.  "Almost.  I just have my ice cream here."


                Elena nodded, said, "Good.  I will wait for you at the car," and turned to walk away.  A group of teenagers passed behind her, and once they passed, she was nowhere to be seen.


                Karin's eyes widened in shock.


                Sakura chuckled weakly.  "Like I said, I think she's learned to teleport."


                Karin frowned.  "Be wary, Saku-chan.  And be careful."


                Sakura sighed weakly, and nodded.  The two hugged one last time, and parted ways.  Sakura finished off her McFlurry and threw the cup away, walking back to her car, where Elena sat waiting for her in the passenger side.  Sakura stared at her for a moment and sighed, getting into the driver's seat.  When she didn't start the car right away, Elena looked at her in confusion.


                Sakura bit her lip for a moment, then said, "Elena.  In one week, I will allow you to contact this person who offered you a ride and take you to Akuma.  I believe that one more week of training is all you need."  She then turned to the girl, giving her a very stern look.  "But I want to be there when you face him."


                Elena grinned wickedly.  "That's fine.  Just remember that Akuma is MINE."



Chapter 8:


As Long As You Know

It's Not Impossible

To Make It A Reality




Sakura's House...

Just outside of Tokyo...

One week from her meeting with Karin...

During one last practice session...



                The two women had been fighting for a while, Sakura in a blue karate karate gi, Elena clad in the white top and legless pants she wore for combat.  Sakura barely managed to parry the blows of Elena as she rained down kick after kick, slash after slash onto her.  Elena continued her deadly dance, flipping into a handstand and striking Sakura in the face.


                Sakura rolled with the blow, backflipping and striking Elena in the chin as she got back to her feet.  Elena fell back from the blow, her teeth clacking together loudly, causing her to bite her tongue hard and draw blood, but she never lost her step, never lost her rhythm, and charged Sakura, an aura of black energy forming around her hand as she aimed for her trainer's neck...


                Sakura caught Elena by the wrist, shouting "ENOUGH."


                Elena grunted, trying to continue her swing.  Sakura held fast, though, and said, "Enough.  We're finished.  You're ready to fight Akuma now, I can see that."


                Elena grinned, and stood up again.  "So be it.  May I contact the person who offered me a ride, then?"


                Sakura nodded, and bowed.  "Yes.  Just give me a chance to get a drink, then I will go with you."


                Elena nodded, pulling a card from her pocket and heading into the house.  Sakura followed her, taking the opposite direction she took and heading into the kitchen.


                Sakura sighed weakly as she pulled a water bottle from the refrigerator and took a deep drink from it.  She thought back over the past few months, trying to review things in her mind, trying to figure out how it had all come to this.


                But her thoughts drifted quickly to the fight, reviewing what had happened, what she and Elena had did wrong, what they had done right, what felt good, and what didn't.


                Sakura chuckled weakly.  It felt good, training with Elena.  All her old skills had come back, stronger than ever.  She had even taught herself some new tricks.  And seeing how strong Elena was growing gave her an almost motherly sense of pride.  Hopefully, if what she had planned worked, she'd be able to keep training the young girl under better circumstances.


                If her plan worked, though.  Because if it didn't...


                She shook her head.  She refused to think of it.  Her idea HAD to work.


                It had to...


                Elena came back into the room, grinning savagely.  "We meet him at Byakko Harbor in three hours."



Three hours later...

8:59 PM...

Byakko Harbor...



                The girls waited impatiently in the foggy darkness.  The docks were completely abandoned, save for a few recreational boats that rocked slowly in the water.


                "Where the HELL IS THAT BOAT!?!" Elena snarled after a moment.


                "It'll be here.  It's not time yet, we're here early."


                Elena just snarled, and started to pace around the docks.


                About a minute later, Sakura's watch beeped nine times, startling both women.  As soon as the watch finished beeping, a new sound reached them, the sound of a powerful motorboat.  The two women watched as a dark shape came up through the fog, quickly making its way to the docks.  When the black-armored boat pulled up to the peir, Sakura gasped.


                On the side of the ship was a winged skull, the symbol of Shadowloo.


                "Elena, wait a moment!"


                Elena chuckled.  "They told me to expect this reaction from you.  The man who contacted me in my hospital bed was the current leader of Shadowloo, who took the whole mess over after I.C.P.O. agent Chunli and U.S. Army Captain Warren Guile led the demolition of the majority of M.Bison's holdings after Bison was slain in the aftermath of the second World Warrior tournament.  They've been operating in strict secrecy since then, hiring outside sources to take care of their enemies.  I've accepted their offer to go after Akuma for them."


                Sakura shook her head.  "Elena, you can't really expect them to keep whatever promise they made..."


                Elena sneered.  "The only promise they made was for me to get a chance at avenging myself against Akuma.  They are keeping that promise NOW.  Are you coming with me or aren't you?"


                The boat's hatch opened, revealing a smirking young Thai woman in a red and black Shadowloo uniform.  Elena folded her arms, smirking at Sakura.


                Sakura fumed for a moment, then nodded, heading towards the two seats behind the soldier's pilot's seat.  Elena chuckled, and joined her, reclining back in the boat and closing her eyes, letting fantasies of what she was going to do to Akuma pass through her mind's eye. 


                Sakura just glared, first at Elena, then at the Shadowloo trooper.  "No tricks, now.  Just take us to Akuma and stay at the ship until we're done here."


                The trooper just nodded, and closed the speedboat's hatch, closing the three of them in darkness lit only by the light of the boat's controls.


                They rode in silence, the only sound coming from the boats engines.  Sakura fidgeted nervously in her seat, unable to believe that her comrades seemed so relaxed.  They were going to confront one of the most dangerous men alive, and these two women were acting like they were going on a date! 


                The Shadowloo trooper turned back to Sakura and Elena, and said, "We're gonna be a while.  Our satellites say that Akuma's at his island now, and it's a few hours away from here.  There's snacks and drinks in the compartments beside you, a bathroom is available behind your seats, and if you want you can take a nap.  These seats are comfortable."


                Both of them nodded.  Elena opened one of the wide armrests, pulling out a package of beef jerky from the pantry section, and a bottle of orange juice from the cooler section.  Sakura opened her cooler section, and pulled out a small bottle of sake, sipping it idly as she stared up at the dark roof of the boat, her mind slowly wandering...



The past...


Underground Shadowloo base...



                Sakura fist sliced through a soldier's helmet, sending him flying away into a beating-induced slumber from which he would not awaken.  Sakura quickly looked around, assessing the situation quickly. 


                Unconcious soldiers lay around them, all save for one: A katana-weilding Asian girl, one of M.Bison's twelve Dolls, Satsuki, was dueling with Sakura's pink-suited 'sensei', Dan Hibiki.  Dan, amazingly enough, seemed to be holding his own.  The Brazillian man-beast they had met on the way here, whom Dan called Jimmy and whom the natives called Blanka, was ripping his way through a crowd of troopers behind Dan and the Doll, literally bouncing around them all like a pinball.  Sakura nodded, and shouted, "I'm gonna head off to see if anyone else needs help!  Can you handle yourself here?"


                Dan rolled underneath a wild slash from Satsuki and gave a thumbs-up, winking.  "Show them all the unbeatable power of Saikyo-RyuUOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHH!"


                Dan's voice jumped up several octives as the doll immediately whirled from the dodge and uppercutted Dan in the nuts from behind.  Sakura winced as Dan doubled over, and decided that Blanka would be more than enough to protect Dan from his own stupidity.  She ran through the halls, passing several other fighters battling soldiers or dolls.  Finally, she found someone she knew: Karin Kanzuki.  She was fighting bravely against a trio of muscle-bound Shadowloo soldiers, her powerful punch combinations and kicks managing to knock them away from time to time.  But from the bruises already on her face, she had suffered greatly in this fight.  Finally, one of the men struck her just underneath her chest, knocking the wind from her.  He then struck out with a powerful thrust kick that slammed Karin into the wall behind her.  She groaned, blood oozing from her mouth as she slumped to the floor.


                Sakura bit her lip, debating on what to do.  She wanted to help the little brat, but she knew all that would do is make Karin angry.  Still, she couldn't just leave her...


                The soldier who defeated her chuckled, and looked to his comrades.  "She IS a bit of a babe, for a teenager.  Don't you think, boys?"


                The other two men nodded, chuckling viciously as they got an idea of what their comrade wanted to do.  He took off his helmet, revealing his heavily-bearded face.  He licked his lips, grinning at Karin's prone form, and started to unbuckle his belt. 


                "The boss doesn't frown on such things, we managed to get away from that lunatic soldier and the wanna-be samurai, all the heroes are either busy or on the other side of the complex, Vega ain't here to prevent us from 'ruining her beauty...' Hell, boys.  I don't see why we couldn't have a little fun with her."


                That settled it.  This was too much like the time she first discovered she could use chi, when she and her friend Kei were attacked by a trio of jocks looking for some 'fun.'  No woman deserved what those sickos were planning, not even Karin.  She dashed down the hall, running faster than she ever had before, and immediately launched herself at the bearded man just as he finished pulling his uniform pants down.  Her fist met with his jaw, knocking him down and sending him skidding back into his comrades.  She immediately hit them with her most powerful Hadokens at point-blank range, the energy bursts being larger than her whole body, hitting with the force of a rib-cracking kick and knocking them all further back.


                Without checking to see if they were down, she immediately went to Karin and put the young woman's arm around her shoulder.  "C'mon.  I'm getting you out of here."


                Karin snarled weakly, and said, "Dammit, Kasugano, your help is the last thing I need."


                Sakura shook her head, frustrated.  "Karin, for one in your goddamn life, stopping having such a one-track mind and forget about avenging your defeat on me.  We are all in WAY over our heads here, and need to pull out.  I have a friend, a Jamaican named Dee Jay, waiting for me and the people I came with outside.  He'll keep you safe while I go back for the others."


                Karin chuckled weakly, and coughed up some blood.  "Go back for Ryu, you mean.  Talk about your one track minds..."


                Sakura had to laugh.  Karin was right, she was going to search for Ryu.  But she meant it about getting Karin out first.


                "FREEZE, bitches!"


                Sakura turned, and paled.  The bearded man had pulled his pants back up, and now had his rifle trained on Sakura's head.  His comrades, a skinny man and a fat man, also had their rifles aimed at them.


                Sakura whimpered inwardly.  She couldn't safely drop Karin in time to stop the attack, and couldn't fight at all while supporting her!!  She closed her eyes, bracing for the end...


                "K-Kasugano... Behind them..." Karin stammered.


                Sakura looked, and gasped.  The bearded man grinned as he took aim, thinking that Sakura was looking at him.  But no... She was staring at the blood-red, glowing eyes that had appeared behind the three guards, lingering in the shadows. 


                The bearded man laughed.  "No one, especially no CHICK, does that to me.  Waste 'em on my mark.  Ready... Aim..."


                Skinny man's chest exploded as a fist burst through it, shredding his heart and killing skinny man instantly.  Blood sprayed the two girls, who screamed as skinny man went limp, dropping his gun.  The fist withdrew as bearded man and fat man turned, firing wildly in the direction of the glowing eyes.


                A leg in black gi pants and a wooden geta shoe spun out of the shadows, striking fat man with enough force to turn his head a complete three-hundred and sixty degrees.  Fat man collapsed, blood oozing from his eyes, nose, and mouth.  Bearded man, panicking, looked at his comrade's corpses, then back at the glowing set of eyes.




                A deep, sonorous voice answered, "You are not a man.  You are a troll.  A simple-minded thug.  And a perfect example of why it wasn't worth the effort for me to come here.  But very well.  Prepare for judgement."


                The eyes slid towards bearded man, growing closer and closer.  Bearded man screamed, and Karin and Sakura screamed along with him as a pair of powerful hands reached out of the darkness, grabbing bearded man by the shoulders.


                A bright, blinding flash engulphed the hallway.  Karin and Sakura clutched their eyes tightly against the flash, stars dancing before their vision nevertheless, the haunting sound of bearded man screaming in agony as the sounds of a beating unlike anything they had ever heard reached their ears.


                Eventually, the sounds faded.  Sakura chanced a look, and saw a powerful, heavily muscled man in a black gi with firey red hair standing over bearded man's body.  Bearded man's body was unmarked, but his face was contorted in horror, and he was unmoving,  completely and totally dead.  The red-haired man chuckled softly and turned to the two frightened women.  He smiled, the expression making his chisled, fierce face look even more unnatural.  And still his blood-red eyes glowed brightly...


                "Don't worry, I'm not after you or any of your friends.  None of you are ready to face me yet.  None of you are ready to face Akuma."


                He vanished without another word, leaving the two frightened young women to figure out what had just occured before them...




Inside the boat...

After three hours...



                Sakura whimpered and writhed in her sleep.  Elena chuckled softly.  Apparently, her sensei was NOT a heavy drinker.  She sighed, and turned to the trooper.


                "Does it REALLY have to be so long a trip?"


                The woman nodded.  "'Fraid so.  This boat is radar-shielded & basically everything shielded, but I have to take the long way around to avoid patrols from the local armada and the US ones nobody's supposed to know about."


                Elena scowled, and decided to take a nap herself.  She closed her eyes and started to breath steadily, her breaths eventually slowing as she herself drifted off...



A crowded park in Tokyo...



                Elena stood before her opponent.   Akuma stood across from her, a wicked smirk on his face, his eyes glowing demonically.  Elena returned the grin and immediately went into her jenga.  Now there were no flaws, no weaknesses to exploit, and Elena could see in the sudden nervous frown on Akuma's face that he knew it as well.


                She allowed herself a second's grin, and immediately dashed forward.  She immediately began her deadly dance, black auras surrounding her hands and feet as she rained down blow after blow onto Akuma's body.  The black-suited warrior just barely managed to parry each blow, but it didn't matter.  Elena feinted a punch, causing Akuma to bring his arms up to block it.  Elena changed directions automatically, dropping to her hands and swinging her legs in a slashing motion, her Lynx Tail technique.  Akuma's legs were swept out from underneath him.  Immediately, she slashed her hand across Akuma's side, gasping with pleasure as she felt her aura blade bite deep into his flesh.


                She backflipped away, wanting to admire her work.  But when she landed, she stared in confusion.


                Instead of Akuma with his hip split open, it was Ryu, whom she had befriended at the third World Warrior tournament.  The white-suited warrior touched the wound on his chest, grimacing at the sight of it, and stared at Elena sadly.  He shook his head and got back up into a fighting stance, clutching an arm across the wound.


                "It... It's a trick..." Elena said to herself.  She shook her head and continued her attack.  She threw a few kicks at Ryu's head, which he parried easily.  She faked her last kick and instead struck a solid, spinning blow to Ryu's back, causing him to cry out in agony, slowly dropping to his knees.

                Elena blinked involuntarily.  And in that one millisecond, things changed again.  Instead of a brown-haired, white clad Asian, a blonde, red-clad American was clutching his back in agony.


                Ken Masters.  Another friend from the tournament.


                Elena shook her head in confusion.  She tried to stop and get her head together, but suddenly her body started to act on it's own.  She flipped, bringing down a kick to Ken's shoulder.  In that instant, Ken shifted, his body and clothes changing, until he had become Alex.  Elena spun, landing a hit to Alex's head so hard that the sound echoed.  The big man fell to the ground, his skin darkening, clothes shifting, until he had become the British boxer, Dudley. 


                Her body still acted without Elena's will.  She slashed her hand down at Dudley's neck, a large aura blade forming around her hand.  Dudley barely rolled out of the way, and was on his feet in a moment.  Visibly unsteady, but on his feet.


                He chuckled weakly.  "I say, luv.  You've come a long way, haven't you?  Let's continue then!" 


                Dudley dashed forward, his fists lashing out wildly in punches that Elena's body simply swatted aside.  Finally, after the tenth punch, Elena's body backflipped, the bladed aura around her foot splitting Dudley's chin as her Scratch Wheel connected.  He squawked, caught completely off guard, and fell back.  Elena landed on her feet as Dudley hit the ground hard, a cloud of dust obscuring him.  What rose from the cloud was not Dudley, but a young woman she become very close to during the tournament.




                The ninja girl, still bleeding profusely from the hip wound recieved earlier, immediately dashed towards Elena, seeming to disappear.  She grabbed Elena's arm and pressed her fist against Elena's side.  An instant later, a small energy burst erupted from Ibuki's fist, hard enough for Elena to feel ribs crack as Ibuki let go, the force of her Raida technique sending the ebon-skinned fighter flying back almost into the crowd.  Elena groaned weakly, looking up just in time to see Ibuki leap up and dive down towards her with a kick.


                Elena, her body still acting of it's own volition, rolled aside, immediately rolling into an axe kick that struck Ibuki forcefully in the back of the head.  The blow hit with hammer force, knocking the ninja HARD into the pavement, the road and Ibuki's nose shattering under the force of the blow.


                Elena reached down and picked her up, but she had already changed into Yang.  He rolled from her grasp and pushed himself off of the ground,  launching himself feet first into Elena's chest.


                Elena grunted, but continued to fight, her body never missing a step.  Internally though, she was confused.  Why did her opponent keep changing into people she had befriended in the past?!


                Halfway through the fight, Yang had become his brother Yun.  Elena's face sneered, and sent the young man flying into a lamp post, almost bending the solid metal pole completely in half.  Yun slumped down to the ground, his body swelling, muscles doubling and tripling in size... until he had changed completely, becoming Hugo.


                The massive man still bore the wounds he had recieved in other forms, but seemed much less affected by them.  He roared, charging Elena like a bull, moving so shockingly fast that Elena didn't have time to block before he ran into her, flattening her with a massive clothesline.  But instead of letting her stay down, he picked her up off of the ground.  He leaped high into the air, spinning like a top.  When he reached the apex of his jump, he moonsaulted, placing Elena underneath him as he landed HARD, the rough concrete cracking under his weight as he basically squashed the young woman under his bulk.


                Hugo chuckled softly, and got up off of Elena's limp form.  Inside, Elena wondered if this apparition was going to kill her, and end her life, denying her revenge...


                Hugo roared again, and elbow-dropped her.  But Elena vanished, reappearing behind the confused big man.  Her eyes glowing demonically red, she reached out for Hugo, unsuccessfully trying to stop herself from doing this, the move that Akuma had used on her so long ago, the Shun Goku Satsu...


                Elena's world became light, and the sounds of brutal, thunderous beating as the attack took place on Hugo's brutish form.  In a period of one minute that felt like one hundred, it was over.  Elena stood over her victim's body, a flaming aura surrounding her as the kanji for 'TEN' glowed on her back.  She turned to face her foe...


                ...And saw that it was Narumi.  Elena's first friend upon her immigration to Japan.  She lay at Elena's feet, her school uniform tattered and torn, blood oozing steady down her leg and chin, her glasses shattered into a thousand pieces.


                NO!!! Elena screamed internally.  She had just wanted Narumi to stay out of things for a while, she never wanted this to happen!!  Oh God, what have I done?!?!


                Elena's body continued to act on it's own.  She smirked down at the battered, bloodied young woman laying limply before her.  She looked down on her with something akin to pity, her aura still ablaze.  "Your heart is pure, Narumi.  Too pure to be fully affected by my attack.  You survived the Shun Goku, and this proves that you are not worthy of being a warrior."


                Narumi gripped Elema's leg, staring up at her with a mix of hatred and fear.


                Elena smiled, noticing this expression, continuing.  "Yet there is a small measure of hope for you.  It seems my beating has taught you to hate.  Perhaps..."


                She thought for a moment, and smiled.  She reached down and gripped Narumi's hair, dragging her roughly to her feet.  She whimpered, trying to pry her hand loose.


                "Once there was a great warrior called Sagat.  Because of the scars inflicted on him by two young warriors, he became hateful.  Vengeful."  Elena's smile widened.  "Powerful.  It was beautiful.  He sold his soul to M.Bison just so he could get revenge on the one who scarred his chest.  And when he lost his eye before that, he killed that fighter outright!  It was one of the greatest displays of true power that I had ever heard of.  And yet he threw it all away for something as pathetic and meaningless as honor."


                Narumi just stared at her former friend, tears streaming down her face.  "W-what are you going to do to me?"


                Elena raised her other hand, clenching it into a fist and extending two fingers.  "I will do to you what Go Hibiki and Ryu did to Sagat.  It is my hope then that you will grow from this experience, and come challenge me again."


                Before Narumi could protest, she thrust her hand forward, jabbing into her right eye.  Narumi screamed, her eye bursting under the thrust.  Blood oozed down her face as she squirmed helplessly in Elena's grasp. 


                Elena wiped her fingers clean nonchalantly on her leg, and gathered the flames of her aura again, this time wrapping the fire around her leg.  She let go of her, but backflipped, her leg slashing with her Scratch Wheel technique.  She struck her just above her waist as she fell, her foot slashing her from her hip to her shoulder, the skin igniting where it was touched by the technique. 


                She screamed, flying back over the heads of the crowd watching the fight, and landing hard on the pavement.  Elena just chuckled, teleporting to her side.


                Narumi stared back at her through her remaining eye, moaning weakly.  Tears washed some of the blood on her face away as she tried to look her in the eyes, trying to find some reason behind her actions.


                Elena just snorted, and said, "Come find me when you are ready, Narumi.  Come find me when you have embraced your hatred, and given in to the Murderous Intent.  For only when you are ready to kill will you be a true warrior."


                She kneeled, putting the schoolgirl's face as close to her own as she could get.  She grinned wickedly, in an uncanny impression of M.Bison's trademark smile.  "When you are ready to kill me, that is when you will become worthy of my attention."


                Elena vanished without another word, her words echoing in Narumi's ears, as some of the spectators finally recovered from the shock of the battle, getting out their cell phones and calling an ambulance...




The boat...





                "NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!"  Elena woke up screaming, tears in her eye.  She gasped heavily, trying to calm herself down.  It failed miserably, and she began to sob into her hands.  Sakura woke with a start, and immediately noticing Elena's tears, put her arms around Elena's shoulders.


                "It's okay... It's okay, you must have had a nightmare..."


                Elena shook her head miserably, more like her old self than she had been in over a year.  She leaned into Sakura's arms, letting the karateka embrace her, wanting some sort of comfort.  She needed it desperately, because if the dream meant what she thought it meant...


                The Shadowloo trooper, wearing her helmet again, turned back to the two of them.


                "We're here.  Akuma's island."


                Elena froze.  At the mention of his name, of how close she was to her vengeance, all her doubts were washed away in a new wave of hate.  She vanished from Sakura's arms, and reappeared on the beach.


                She snarled, staring into the forest, ignoring the boat as it opened, allowing Sakura to get out.



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