|I LOVE YOU, BABE|
Sol - Chapter 4: Change of Plans The Terra Festival crowd was in full force the next day. Attendees began to swarm the Haleigh city square early that morning, some wearing eccentric costumes. At the same time, the festival’s market business was beginning to pick up exponentially. The purchases of foreign delicacies as well as other items was helping support the vendors in attendance. On the far end of the market, rows of chairs were set up and were already being filled by the young and the old.Sol - Chapter 4: Change of Plans by OrochiPhoenix19
Away from the mingling of Terrans, the participants in the exhibition fights were snuck in thanks to added security. There were dressing rooms behind the stage for each group to make themselves comfortable in. The Soaring Dragon Dojo members were all dressed in white gis, though their black belts were to fit the ensemble. Their teacher, Jirokai, was also in attendance. He
Sol - Chapter 3: Tale of a PupA red and white sportscar zoomed through the streets of Haleigh, underneath the beautiful Wednesday sunset sky. Chris and Shojira clung to their seats for dear life as Bailey used her horsepower to zoom past the turns and lanes to get to the Shirazi mansion. Bailey was dressed in a new vest over a dress shirt while Chris and Shojira settled for long-sleeved dress shirts and ties. Though they probably should have worn helmets thanks to Bailey’s crazy driving. The wheels on her car spun so ferociously, they were almost on fire.Sol - Chapter 3: Tale of a Pup by OrochiPhoenix19
Thankfully for the guys, Bailey reached the mansion with no accidents. Unfortunately, there was swarms of paparazzi hounding the entrance gate, and they went insane with desperation when they noticed Bailey was driving. Bailey got the “ok” from the guards and entered the property while the guards dealt with the photography vultures. Once the trio was inside, a servant directed them to the dining room, where Blaze awaited them, along with th
Sol - Chapter 1: A Day In The LifeThe autumn sun rose, reflecting off of the windows of buildings and towers of a very large, pristine city called Haleigh. The early morning workers were already heading to their work sites and businesses were opening their doors to the rising bustle and noise of the city. A cool wind ran through the streets, leaves dancing away from the trees. Near the outskirts of the city rested a large mansion with an acre-spanning fence around the property.Sol - Chapter 1: A Day In The Life by OrochiPhoenix19
At the entrance stood two well-dressed guards, appearing very alert. Their stony faces broke into smiles before they opened the gate and a black luxury car exited the driveway and headed into the city. The vehicle cruised along the streets until it reached a parking lot in the center of the restaurant district.
A petite magenta tigress with swirling stripes along her face exited the vehicle. She was dressed in a long flowing blue dress, black jacket, black slacks, and white heels. With a purse over her shoulder she walked down to the street corn
The Terra Festival crowd was in full force the next day. Attendees began to swarm the Haleigh city square early that morning, some wearing eccentric costumes. At the same time, the festival’s market business was beginning to pick up exponentially. The purchases of foreign delicacies as well as other items was helping support the vendors in attendance. On the far end of the market, rows of chairs were set up and were already being filled by the young and the old.
Away from the mingling of Terrans, the participants in the exhibition fights were snuck in thanks to added security. There were dressing rooms behind the stage for each group to make themselves comfortable in. The Soaring Dragon Dojo members were all dressed in white gis, though their black belts were to fit the ensemble. Their teacher, Jirokai, was also in attendance. He was sitting in one of the chairs with Shojira and Bailey. Chris was performing warm-ups on the floor.
Jirokai was a human male with fair skin, sporting a wiry build that did not seem to say ‘sagacious master’. In fact, he looked like he was only in his late 30’s, with messy blond hair, a short beard stubble, and soft blue eyes. Clad in a red shirt adorned with flowers and cargo shorts, onlookers would have assumed Jirokai to be a friend of the three who engaged in illicit recreational activities.
The master was busy educating with Shojira on what strategies to use on his potential opponent. “Now, you do want to use your strikes to control the distance. Something like wrestling or Jiu-Jitsu relies heavily on being on the ground and wearing you down. You shouldn’t give them the chance to do so. But if you find yourself caught, you’re gonna have to think fast to get out of their holds.”
Bailey patted Shojira on the shoulder from behind. “Don’t worry too much about it. If that happens, pretend you’re wrestling me, except I’m not gonna be so gentle.”
“But you’re not even gentle when sparring with Chris, let alone me,” Shojira corrected her.
“Exactly. So don’t let them get you!” Bailey winked and patted Shojira on the cheek, to his chagrin.
Chris spoke up, warming up his legs on the floor. “Shojira, just remember.” In a sing-song tone, he chanted, “Rope of Doom. Rope of Doom. Never let it touch you, or you’re screwed.”
Shojira tossed an empty water bottle at Chris’ head, missing him. A knock came at the dressing room door. Chris got up and opened it, taking a few steps back after realizing it was Blaze, wearing a rather casual t-shirt and pants. To answer Chris’ puzzled look, the princess answered, in the same snooty voice she used last night. “Well, this is certainly not one gathering that is worth putting on my best dress for!” Blaze declared, punctuated with a noble laugh.
Chuckling himself, Chris invited the princess inside. She occupied one of the empty chairs while Chris resumed his warm-ups. Blaze beamed at Bailey and Shojira. “So how are the two of you today?” she asked.
Bailey smirked and answered, “Same as I always do. Feeling good.” Shojira rubbed his right cheek and looked down. Sneaking a glance at the tiger, Blaze continued, “I just thought to drop on by and let you all know about the fight schedule and just some ‘need-to-know’ details. So first things first, all of the fights are going to be on global TV.”
Shojira was quick to become visibly pale, or as pale as one could be with fur. “Oh sweet Helios…” the tiger mumbled.
Bailey placed her hand on Shojira’s shoulder, rubbing it. “Easy there. No worries, right?”
Before Blaze could ask, Bailey maintained her coaxing. “Remember, this is not 3rd grade. You will be the best damn tree in the play.”
Shojira nodded and slapped his face to pep himself up. “I AM THE TREE!”
The princess paused and raised her pointer finger to say something but chose not to. Chris, who was now standing, asked, “So where are your folks?”
Closing an eye and pondering, she recalled, “I think they’re already sitting with the other leaders. They really haven’t had any time to relax at all because of the festival.” Blaze suddenly perked up. “Oh right! Your schedule! Let’s see…” The tigress pulled out a paper slip that looked like it was torn out of a notebook. “Shojira, you’re in the 2nd fight. Chris, you’re 5th, and Bailey, you’ll be in the last fight. And your opponents…Rocio Garcia, Song Yoon, and Yuri Andropov respectively.”
Bailey cracked her knuckles. “Oh, this is gonna be fun.”
Shojira injected, “Speak for yourself, Chris gets a kickboxing champ.”
The wolf scratched the back of his head. “Isn’t Song Yoon that monkey guy that Bailey got in front of at the dinner?”
Blaze closed her eye again. “Ah…yeah. And I don’t think he looked too happy about it.”
Chris jokingly frowned at Bailey. “Way to go.”
The badger huffed and folded her arms. “If he wants to take it personally, then I’ll trade you.” Chris graciously patted her on the shoulder. “It’s okay,” he said. “I’ll just explain the situation calmly before I kick him in the face.”
Blaze groaned, stroking her forehead. Nevertheless, she offered her support before leaving, leaving master and students by themselves once again. Jirokai was the first to talk. “I can’t speak for Mr. Andropov or Miss Garcia, but I have definitely seen Song Yoon in battle. Certainly a cocky fellow but he can back it up.”
Chris stroked his chin confidently. “Yeah, but he’s just fighting other kickboxers. I would like to think I could offer up something new. I just wonder if his ego is gonna get in the way.”
Suddenly, a booming, gruff voice broke through the walls of the dressing room as it seemed to be coming from the stage’s sound system. “Yo, what’s up my Zaibatsu, welcome to the first day of the Terra Festival! How’s everybody doing today?!” The thunderous cheers and applause was just as loud as the sound system as the announcer continued. “We have the world’s best fighters gathered here, ready to put on a show for all of you! Broadcasting worldwide, with big thanks to my crew, Shattered Dreams Productions, are you all ready to get this started?!”
With the continued energetic urging of the crowd, a rock song began to play over the sound system. Chris perked up and frantically looked from his friends to the source of the sound. “Wait, we get theme songs? Nobody told me we were gonna have theme songs.”
Bailey snickered. “Don’t worry, I picked yours out for you.”
The wolf immediately grimaced and squinted at Bailey. “I swear, if you’re gonna embarrass me in front of my family…”
“I thought about it. But then I thought, ‘Nah, this is the closest he’ll ever get to wrestling.’ So I opted to spare you of that.” Bailey’s jokester smile became more sincere and she winked.
Chris sighed. “You are way too convincing sometimes, you know that?”
After the song currently playing kicked in with foreign lyrics, the announcer was on the microphone again. “Introducing first, hailing from Southtown, Helcomb, he weighs in at 218 pounds! Specializing in boxing, please welcome…Henry! Bogard!”
Chris frowned and asked, “Can’t we go watch these? We’re just about ready, right?” Shojira shrugged before seeing Bailey get up. “Sure, let’s go see how good they really are,” she said, leaving the dressing room with Chris and Shojira close behind. Jirokai shrugged and yawned, lounging on the floor of the dressing room and closing his eyes.
The three headed closer towards the entrance to the stage, noticing a gaggle of various staff in matching shirts coordinating the music and lights, among other things. They were near the path to the ring when they were stopped by a staff member.
“Whoa, where do you think you’re going? None of you are up yet,” he hissed.
Chris could hear the name “Zarifa Udoka” over the speakers. Bailey growled. “Oh, we just want to do a run-in and ruin this match before it even starts. We don’t want people to have fun.” Bailey slapped her hand against her face when the staff member actually believed her. “We just want to watch the fights before we have to go up!”
Frowning, the staff member pointed behind him. There was a huddle of fighters around a television, which seemed to be playing the broadcast that Blaze mentioned. The Eastern Dragon Hanzo was there to greet Shojira while Chris and Bailey occupied empty chairs. The television was busy showing Henry and Dante trading blows in their protective gear when Chris looked to his right.
A tan human male lounged in his seat, appearing to be drinking from a glass bottle. Sporting a trimmed beard and very messy dark disheveled hair, he wasn’t really dressed to fight with leather pants and boots. The human seemed more like he was ready to party, if he wasn’t already. He faced Chris, grinning a bit and held up his bottle. The wolf shook his head and the human shrugged, taking another swig of it.
“Antonio!! Come on!”
Chris jumped in his seat as a woman’s voice popped up from behind. A brown female armadillo, dressed in a gi like Chris, stormed up and grabbed “Antonio’s” bottle, yanking it out of his hands.
“Are you seriously drinking at a time like this?!” She reproached. If there was something the man had mastered, it was shrugging and the armadillo wasn’t having of any of that. She took a whiff of the bottle’s contents, quickly switching from anger to confusion. “Wait a minute, is this soda?” She asked.
Antonio began to snicker and then roar with laughter, clapping his hands. “Ay Rocio, mama, ‘ou are too easy to trick!” Rocio looked ready to smack him with the bottle but settled with an open hand smack to the back of his head. She shook her head and looked at Chris, who looked on in bemusement.
“I’m sorry, I don’t usually yell like this but this pendejo had been drowning in booze for the past couple days and blowing me and my partner off for parties...” Rocio shook her head and sat by Chris. Bailey was too attached to the action on the television to care about what just happened.
“That’s…bad?” Chris managed to say.
“Bad? It’s horrible. I really hope he gets taught a lesson out there,” Rocio scowled, glaring at Antonio. “Do you know who his opponent is?”
Chris shook his head no. Bailey suddenly blurted out, “You couldn’t have hit the broad side of a barn with that kick!” Rocio eyed the badger then looked back at Antonio, who was lounging in his chair. “If only she was facing him. Then she could suplex him out of the ring. Maybe use a steel chair.”
Chris rubbed his eyes, with his ears folded back. “Yeah, that would be great for public relations…”
The roar of the crowd suddenly rose to a higher decibel when the TV displayed one of the fighters, a male lion with a wild, bushy mane, raising his hands in triumph, his defeated opponent laying on the ground, clutching his left side.
The announcer got back on the microphone and declared Zarifa Udoka the winner of the bout by technical knockout. Rocio hopped onto her feet and quickly strode to the entrance to the stage, ready to head out. Shojira was still deep in conversation with Hanzo, but before the tiger could expand on the topic of his recipes for dumplings, his new friend easily spun him in place. Nudged to the entrance and towards Rocio, Shojira realized he was up next. He joined Rocio, standing right beside her.
After Zarifa proudly entered the backstage area with Henry stumbling in afterwards. The announcer chimed in, “All right, our next fight features a representative of Barostiano against one of our own Aldwynne heroes!” A distinctive increase of applause for the “Aldwynne hero” broke out. Rocio smiled in amusement while Shojira breathed to himself.
The thumping of a perky mambo song burst from the speakers as one of the backstage personnel patted Rocio on her back, giving her the cue to head to the ring. She jogged out of the curtain and was out of sight after the curtains closed. Shojira bowed his head in silence. He heard Rocio’s introduction but it was hazy to him right now. The next thing he heard, the music faded out and a new song began to play. He heard faded horns that were building him up. As soon as he felt the pat to his back, he quickly emerged from the curtains.
Shojira looked out into the crowd, many of whom who were actually on their feet, cheering wildly. His song’s rap lyrics kicked in, the tiger’s adrenaline actually leading him to yell out the verses to the crowd. His new fans were now chanting for him to jump as per the chorus. Shojira complied. The energy that was pulsing throughout his body was intoxicating. He hopped over the ring’s ropes into the squared circle. It was hard to hear the announcer call out the tiger’s name as he continued to put on a show. He went to his designated corner, turning to look behind him.
Shojira saw Lei-Mei sitting next to Chris and Bailey’s families, on her feet and clapping for her brother. He nodded in acknowledgement, catching his breath. The tiger felt his body get turned back around. An official was putting Shojira’s protective gear for him, explaining the rules while she did so. He only made out that any strikes were worth points and whoever won either had the most points or made their opponent quit. A helmet was fastened over his head with a chest guard attached. His hands became gloved and shin guards became attached as well.
Shojira loosened his wrists and raised his arms. Rocio, standing directly across from him in the same equipment, was more crouched. The bell rang. Shojira and Rocio approached each other and touched gloves. The tiger’s stare was aimed directly at Rocio, waiting to see if she would make the first move. As he saw her inch forward, he whipped out a quick kick to keep her back. Shojira kept his feet in motion, starting to circle around the armadillo. Deciding to take the initiative, Shojira aimed his right hand at Rocio’s body.
Unfortunately, she anticipated it, using her forearms to block his strike and then she caught him by the wrist. She used his momentum to pull him forward, taking him off his feet. She used her own foot to throw him over her head, and then got on top of him in a full mount position. Rocio began to rain down punches upon Shojira, who did his best to keep his guard up. But Rocio’s body was deceptive to her strength and he could feel her begin to break through.
The tiger did notice a rhythm that Rocio allowed herself to fall into. Counting the seconds in his head, it was his turn to reverse the assault. He deflected a left haymaker and pushed the armadillo off of him with a right palm strike. Even with the chest guard, it was clear the hit knocked some wind out of Rocio. Shojira hopped back up to his feet and took advantage. He attacked with a basic one-two punch combination first, then launched a kick to her right side. It found its mark and the equipment seemed to not be proficient enough to cushion the tiger’s blows.
Rocio dropped her guard and left herself wide open. Shojira closed the distance and aimed for an uppercut. His hand rose from below Rocio at a high speed. It was so fast that she…disappeared. The tiger felt his fist make contact with the armadillo but she was now nowhere to be seen. Unless...
Shojira looked down and saw a ball on the canvas. In his stupor, Shojira didn’t realize that the ball had uncurled and a leg soon swept him off his feet. Shojira yelped in surprise as Rocio was back on the attack. She grabbed the prone tiger’s left arm and was trying to yank it towards her. Shojira used his right hand to hold onto his arm and struggled to keep it under his control. However, Rocio pulled his arm free and was now cranking on the force into her armbar. Yelling out in pain, Shojira refused to give up when he heard someone ask him. It had to be an official but he had just been too occupied to notice.
Shojira’s resiliency awoke his instincts, allowing him to move his compromised arm into a better position. He managed to get off the ground to alleviate the pressure but Rocio then wrapped her legs around his neck, back still on the canvas. Shojira growled and slowly lifted Rocio off of the mat, to her surprise. She attempted to place him in another submission, but with a bellowing roar, Shojira slammed Rocio as hard as he could.
Even with her protective shell, the impact made Rocio weaken her grip. But the tiger wasn’t finished, raising Rocio up once again to throw her down. This time, she lost her grasp completely, with her body now laid out spread-eagle. At her side, Shojira jumped and dropped his body onto the ground, his left elbow leading the way.
Rocio suddenly grinned as she leapt up to grab Shojira’s arm again, but he was ready. Shifting his weight in mid-air, he threw Rocio towards one of the corners of the ring. Rocio realized where she was about to go and curled back into her ball again, bouncing off the corner and back towards Shojira. The speed that she was going caught the tiger off guard and he received one speeding armadillo to his gut.
While hunched over, Shojira managed to grasp onto the curled up Rocio. Clutching her like she was a beach ball, he began to spin in place. Shojira snapped his eyes shut to keep from dizzying himself as he rotated faster and faster. Even with Rocio wriggling to try and free herself, Shojira was able to toss her up and catch her with his foot during her descent. The crowd gasped in shock before he actually kicked up Rocio and bounced her around on his feet and knees. Now the crowd was roaring with overflowing approval with just what this fight was bringing. Lei-Mei, however, was yelling, “NO! HOLD BACK, SHOJIRA!”
Somehow, Shojira was actually able to hear his sister, turning his head to see what was wrong. Rocio took advantage of his distraction and uncurled, snatching onto the left arm that she worked over earlier and bringing Shojira down with her. Even though she had the upper hand, Rocio looked exhausted and cranked back on Shojira’s arm again. This time, he had no choice but to tap out. As soon as Shojira submitted, Rocio released him and gasped for breath on the ground. The audience got up on their feet and cheered for both fighters. The announcer was back on the microphone, declaring Rocio the winner by an armbar submission.
Shojira slowly rose to his feet, cursing himself for being easily side-tracked. Hunched over with hands on his knees, he could only shake his head until he saw an open hand. He looked up, realizing it was Rocio’s, who offered a small smile. Without hesitation, he shook her hand and gave her a quick hug of respect. Shojira heard her whisper in his ear, “You had me beat. I just got lucky.”
The two left the ring and headed backstage together, where Chris and Bailey were waiting. Rocio went past the two and was going in the direction of the dressing rooms. Shojira went back to the waiting area with his friends, all taking seats together in front of the television.
Chris noticed Shojira was gingerly touching his arm and grimacing. “You all right there, bud?”
The tiger frowned, appearing mellow compared to his energy during the fight. “Rocio has a pretty mean armbar, if you couldn’t tell.”
Bailey peeked behind her, arms outstretched. “She looks like you did a number on her too.”
“Yeah. Though I strayed far from the game plan, didn’t I?” Shojira muttered.
“I wouldn’t say so. You were giving a good show, at least. Better than making everyone bored out of their skulls,” Bailey remarked.
Shojira smiled and patted Chris on the shoulder. “At least our golden boy will have better luck.”
Bailey laughed and tussled Chris’ hair. “Yeah, ‘golden boy.’”
The wolf smiled and rolled his shoulders, breathing quietly to himself. “I’m more than ready. The anticipation is starting to make me impatient though.”
The three continued to sit and watch as the other matches before Chris’ to play out. They all winced at the end of Hanzo’s match, which saw him effortlessly toss around his opponent without much movement. A few fights later and Rocio was back, eyeing the TV in keen interest of Antonio’s match. She scowled when Antonio was triumphant by having a lead on points. Bailey noticed a graphic on the television displaying the next match. Before she could make a remark, Chris was already at the entrance tunnel.
“I can do this…I can do this…” Chris thought to himself as he waited for his cue. He kept looking around him for any sign of Song Yoon but there appeared to be none yet. Antonio shuffled past Chris with a pleased smile on his face while the announcer once again took the microphone.
“All right, everybody, it’s time for another hometown favorite to take on the #1 kickboxer in the world today! I think it’s only fair to give our local hero the welcome he deserves! C’mon, make some noise!”
The crowd began to applaud and cheer at the same volume they did for Shojira when he made his entrance. The energy was infecting Chris, cleansing him of any butterflies he might have had. After getting the okay, he went through the curtain, to the roar of the audience in attendance. Chris’ heart began to race as the excitement was becoming contagious. He hopped over the ropes and, while in his corner, looked out into the audience. He was able to easily spot his family, in no small thanks to his father standing up and waving his arms frantically.
Damien Hayabusa, who was about the same size and had the same muscular build as Bailey, was showing his age with a gray stripe in his long black locks. However, his youthful energy oozed through his yells of support for his son. Beside him was Chris’ mother, Suzanne, looking very fair with her soft, snow-white fur. Next to her were Chris’ younger siblings, Jaden and Christie, both gray and white as their older brother, though Jaden shared Damien and Chris’ black hair.
Chuckling to himself, Chris then breathed slowly and knelt in his corner. He looked down and closed his eyes, waiting for his opponent to enter the ring. He heard his name announced to the crowd but still kept his cool composure. Chris opened his eyes and looked up, seeing Blaze seated with her parents along with the other world leaders. They both shared a smile when the music changed to one of a looming orchestral score. Both cheers and boos showered upon Song Yoon once he appeared from backstage.
The langur grinned widely as he mocked his detractors while walking down the ramp, wearing a golden championship belt around his waist and a pair of baggy kickboxing pants. The wild white fur covering almost of his body clashed with his jet black face. The only distinguishable features on Song Yoon’s face were his eyes and mouth. To his credit, the kickboxer was being very expressive with his dismissal of his critics.
After he entered the ring, Song Yoon removed his belt and gave it to an official. The two fighters were fitted with the protective gear and the referee motioned for the match to begin.
Chris cautiously approached Song Yoon and extended his right fist as an offer of sportsmanship. Song Yoon looked down at Chris’ hand and raised his eyebrows. If Chris wasn’t already expecting the kickboxer’s ego to run wild, he would have taken the full brunt of a wild roundhouse kick. Instead, Chris ducked the swinging leg and pushed Song Yoon away with a front kick to his chest. With some distance between each other, Chris suddenly stepped in with a kick aimed at Song Yoon’s right shin. The strike was not defended in any way since the kickboxer attacked in the same manner. Both seemed to be gauging their reach against one another.
That was, until Song Yoon charged head-on at Chris and started to furiously throw unrefined punches and kicks. The wolf was taken a bit off guard from the sudden strategy but he soon fell back into the muscle memory of his sparring. Chris was disappointed by how Song Yoon was relying on overwhelming offense. Following his instincts, the wolf swayed to his left and drilled a thunderous right backfist that seemed to penetrate Song Yoon’s chest armor. The langur was knocked into his corner, much to the roar of the crowd.
The exclamation of the public appeared to be a trigger for the kickboxer. Growling loudly, baring his fangs, Song Yoon started yanking off the protective gear. The referee stood in his way, being shoved aside to the ground. The referee then called for the bell to be rung but Song Yoon was already charging at Chris. Chris still kept his cool, ready to defend himself, until…
The spine-chilling screech silenced everyone in the area. Chris looked around for where the yell came from. He realized that Bailey and Shojira were standing on the entrance ramp, both now searching for the source of the scream. Chris’s heart started to beat rapidly, his head automatically turning and peering at the top of a nearby 25 story building. His eyes widened and he felt his body run cold.
There stood a grotesque, crimson red monster that was looking down from its perch. With a hulking frame, it bellowed another cry of fury out of a mouth that was framed with razor sharp fangs. The creature crouched down and leapt into the air, heading towards the city square. Immediately, the crowd tried to disperse. Chris saw the other fighters join the crowd to help them leave safely. Song Yoon had already hightailed from the ring and the monster landed in his spot, almost collapsing the ring. Standing directly in front of the beast, Chris realized the substantial size difference, with his entire body being as big as the monster’s leg. Bailey was ready to join Chris but he held his arm up to stop her.
“NO! Bailey, you have to get our families out of here! Shojira, you need to look after Lei-Mei!” he commanded, taking off the protective equipment.
“We’re not letting you fight this thing on your own!” Shojira snapped.
“I’ll distract it! Just get them away from here!” Chris screamed, turning to them.
Chris spun his body to the sound, finding that the monster had grabbed King Ferno in its hand. Blaze and Queen Charrie were knocked over with the other leaders nowhere in sight. Ferno yelled in anger as he tried to fight his way free but the beast’s grip was too strong. With a howl, Chris’ right hand ignited with his purple flame and charged at the monster. The burning flame made contact with the monster’s free arm, actually dissolving it. It was now that Chris realized that the monster was actually made out of blood. The blood beast took advantage of Chris’ stupor, smacking him with the hand that held Ferno in a vice grip. The wolf was sent flying into the ropes, bouncing off of them and onto the ring mat.
In no time at all, the beast regenerated its missing arm. As fast as it appeared, the monster leapt away with the king in tow. Blaze, standing with pure vengeance in her eyes, took out a phone from her pocket and dialed a number. After a few seconds, she began to roar, “CAPTAIN, MOBILIZE ALL OF THE UNITS AVAILABLE TO SAVE THE KING!! HE’S BEEN KIDNAPPED AND HIS ABDUCTOR IS HEADING EAST!!” After a couple more seconds, Blaze’s anger subsided just slightly, “It’s…a hulking blood monster. No, don’t question me on this. Be careful with how you subdue it…all right. I want reports as soon as possible.”
Meanwhile, Chris was picking himself off of the ring’s mat when he was yanked onto his feet by another broad figure. Damien dusted off his son and held his head in his hands. “Chris, are you awake?! How many fingers am I holding up?!” Chris pulled his father’s hands away. “D-Dad, I’m fine! Let go of me!” he sputtered.
“You didn’t tell me how many fingers I held up,” said Damien.
“Because you were holding my face, you dingus.” Chris whispered to himself.
Stepping in between the two, Suzanne hugged her eldest son. “Chris…what in the world were you thinking?!” She gave him a slap on the back of the head.
Chris winced and looked at his siblings for any guidance. Both of them shook their heads, Christie mouthing the words “You’re on your own.”
It was then that Bailey and Shojira reappeared with Lei-Mei and were in the ring with the Hayabusa family. “I think we have bigger things to worry about,” Bailey said. She nodded her head at Blaze and Queen Charrie, both approaching Chris. Blaze ran her hand over her face, sighing. “Chris…I need you to come with me.”
“Your family and friends can come with you if you want, just…I need you to come to my home,” Blaze shakily replied.
About an hour later, Chris was in the living room of the Shirazi mansion. Chris, out of his gi and dressed in more suitable clothes to be at the royal mansion, was seated straight across from Blaze on separate couches. She was still trying to grasp what had happened. Chris decided to speak up and try to receive some clarity himself.
“Blaze…do you have any idea just what the hell that was?”
The princess looked up at Chris before rubbing her eyes and sighing. “I…I think I do. I need to wait for a report before I go farther, though.”
The two sat in silence for a moment before Chris spoke again. “Do you know what happened to the other world leaders?”
“As far as I’ve been told, they were accompanied out by their representatives. And the monster didn’t try to grab them or anything. It seemed to be fixated on my father. I tried to stop it but my flames were useless,” Blaze explained.
“Wait…you tried to attack it with your powers?”
After Blaze confirmed with a nod, Chris placed his hand on his chin and closed his eyes. “Because when I attacked it with my fire, the monster’s arm dissolved. It regenerated but I still harmed it.”
Blaze practically stomped her feet when she stood up, startling Chris. “Your powers effected it?! M-Maybe you-!”
A loud knock came outside of the room before an out of breath young raccoon in a police uniform entered. He saluted Blaze. “Officer Travis Kennedy reporting! Last known location of Our Majesty, King Ferno, was on the eastern exit of Haleigh! The king was placed inside a black van with tinted windows and no license plate! Officer intended to intercept but mysterious creature thwarted him!”
Chris noticed, upon further inspection, the scratches and bruises on the young officer.
“Did you notice any suspects around or inside the vehicle, officer?” Blaze inquired.
Officer Kennedy grimaced and shook his head no. That was, until his eyes lit up with a memory. “Wait, I did see somebody! After I gathered my bearings from being knocked down, I saw a human girl in the van, with white hair. I think she might have been captured by the kidnappers.”
“Did you only see her hair?”
With a confirming nod from the officer, Blaze sighed. Suddenly, Queen Charrie entered the room with Chris’ parents in tow.
“Blaze, turn on the television and put on the news! Immediately!” Charrie commanded.
The newscast seemed to be coming back from commercial, which was already covering Ferno’s kidnapping. The news-anchor on camera reported that the studio had just received a videotape from the kidnappers and that it would be played live. Chris and Blaze moved closer to the television as a silhouette appeared. There was really nothing distinguishable about it and once the figure began to speak, the voice was obviously edited to be distorted.
“Hello, world. If you are seeing this video, then you already know. If not, then I will enlighten you. King Ferno Shirazi has been taken from his throne. I have demands that, if met, will ensure his safe return. But I will not express them in the public mainstream. These demands are to be given to the royal family and they will be tasked with following my instructions to the letter. Again, if my instructions are followed clearly, no harm will come to King Ferno whatsoever. I only ask of the public to not panic and let their emotions get the better of them. My demands are reasonable and I do not wish to complicate things any more than they are. Thank you.”
Everyone was still staring at the television long after the ransom message was read. There was an uneasy air in the room. Chris looked at Blaze and saw that her hands were clenched into fists and they were trembling. He was unsure if he should console her at all. Before he had a chance to decide, she stood up, her eyes piercing a hole into Officer Kennedy.
“If the police receive that tape meant for my mother and I, you will hand it over immediately. Are we clear?” She said coldly.
The young officer shivered under Blaze’s glare, saluting her and responding with a quivering, “Yes, Your Highness!”
After he departed, Blaze sat back on the couch she occupied earlier. Her mother sat besides her, petting her shoulder while Chris and his parents sat across again.
“Do you know what you’re going to do, Your Highness?” Chris asked.
Queen Charrie replied simply, “I will be working with the other world leaders to try and figure out the best course of action.”
“Mother…I need to ask them,” said Blaze.
With a hesitant nod to proceed, Blaze clasped her hands together and sighed, looking at Damien and Suzanne Hayabusa. “Mr. and Mrs. Hayabusa, I asked for the both of you to come so you’d be present for this question. I know your son is an adult but it would only be fair to…” She paused, shaking her head. “I would like to have Chris help ensure the safe return of the king.”
Damien and Suzanne both looked at one another and then at their son, who could not believe what he was hearing.
Suzanne spoke up, “You’re serious about this? You…want my son to single-handedly save the king?”
Blaze replied, “He wouldn’t be doing this alone, oh no. You do know about his powers?”
Nodding, Damien continued his wife’s line of thinking. “Does his powers have anything to do with that big monster from earlier?”
“Yes. My flames were unable to harm it but Chris’ actually damaged it. I think…I think your son has been blessed by the gods.”
Name: Chris Hayabusa|
Weight: 195 lbs
Hair color: Gray
Eye color: Blue
Family: Damien Hayabusa (father), Susan Hayabusa (mother), Christie Hayabusa (sister),
Jaden Hayabusa (brother)
Powers/Abilities: Chris is extremely proficient in martial arts, having trained in the Soaring Dragon Dojo since he was 7 years old. He came up with an original style of combat based in Wing Chun, Capoeira, and wrestling. He also has an interest in parkour, which he uses as a part of his daily training regimen. Chris comes from a long line of pyrokinetics, and even though his parents found no use for such powers, Chris’ power is just as strong as the rest of his heritage.
Weaknesses: Chris has a very serious fear of being weak, not being able to carry out his goals as he envisions them or protect others. His sense of justice is noble, but it is prone to being manipulated for others. He also seems to be prone to some inner turmoil he might not be aware of. Chris also has a problem with being carried away by being a showman.
Biography: As a child, Chris was just as bullied as other kids, and he couldn’t stand seeing
them every day at school. Even though he was mostly quiet and was generally well-behaved, Chris always wanted to find a way to help others but wasn’t sure how. Then one day, when Chris was a 2nd grader, one of the bullies decided to target Chris, to get a reaction out of him, the young wolf didn’t pay too much attention to him until the bully started to insult Chris’ parents, a surefire way to anger him at that age. Out of nowhere, Chris’ right hand ignited with burning violet flames and the bully quickly backed off, not mentioning the event to anybody in order to protect his reputation. Chris looked at his quickly diminishing fire. He had power. He found a way to protect others.
But even though Chris realized he was special, he didn’t think things through on how to use it. The following day, Chris witnessed the same bully from yesterday picking on a much smaller student. This was it. This was Chris’ chance to be a hero. From the blue, Chris charged at the 5th grader and jumped on him, wildly using his pyro abilities, causing 1st degree burns towards the “villain”. This power possessed him, as he proceeded to attack the bully while he was still on the ground.
As no surprise, Chris was suspended from school indefinitely, but his parents took him out of school for his own safety from the other kids. Following the suspension, Chris’ younger siblings, Jaden and Christie, looked upon their older brother with a sense of fear over what he could do to them. Wishing to defuse the paranoia occurring among his children, Damien Hayabusa talked to his oldest son about how he appreciated the fact that Chris was trying to help others but was at the same time disappointed that he didn’t handle the situation differently. After talking it over, Damien and Susan enrolled Chris into the Soaring Dragon Dojo, a martial arts school owned and ran by a family friend of theirs named Jirokai, in order to help Chris better grasp his abilities and learn to use them responsibly. Strangely, only two other children were taught at the same time that Chris was, and yet, the dojo was very clean and modern, as if Jirokai taught that many students to afford it. These two new classmates of Chris’ were Shojira Hyujimoto, a tiger who was taking care of his younger sister after their parents succumbed to a disease, and Bailey Rosworth, a female badger who was about twice as tall as Chris as well as a tomboy.
As years passed and Jirokai taught the trio in ways that not only improved their bodies but their minds beyond the limits of their bodies, Chris not only learned how to control his pyrokinesis but to think through situations where he would have jumped the gun if not for his training. Now much more social and energetic thanks to his friendships with Bailey and Shojira, he was able to finish school at a proficient level. Chris has been taking several odd jobs around his hometown as a means to get by living on his own. He technically graduated from the dojo but is still involved to help new recruits. Lately, an announcement was made for a festival in the royal city of Aldwynne that would feature a martial arts tournament. But little did everyone involved know that their lives would change on that day.