They weren’t used to all of this attention.
Apart from having a rather productive judo dojo, with several of its students either going on to national competitions or transitioning to mixed martial arts, this small village located around the base of Mt. Fuji didn’t get many visitors. Unless one of its residents went down into the city and brought someone over, this village was often overlooked unless someone was looking for it on a map. Living in this village meant living a quiet, peaceful life, and those who sought adventure would leave the village and go out into the wide world that was just beyond the forest trees that surrounded it.
Unfortunately for the residents who enjoyed that peaceful life, the chaotic outside world was now disrupting the harmony of the village. The first warnings of trouble came only twenty minutes ago, when one of the teenagers playing in the woods ran back into the village to warn his parents that very soon they would have a problem. Then the first few armored soldiers rushed into the village firing their guns into the air barking commands. By the time ten minutes had passed from the first warning, there were a grand total of thirty armed men holding the village hostage.
All of this, just to make sure their leader didn’t get interrupted in his interrogation.
“So…this family is the last one we have to question?” the leader asked his lieutenant, who like himself was not wearing a helmet and armor that the rest of their lower-ranking subordinates had. Given how small the village was, it only took two hours to find everyone in the village and gather them for questioning. There were several conflicting stories about the topic in question, either fabricated to throw their captors off the scent or confusion as to what they were talking about. It wasn’t like asking if they’ve seen a monstrous freak of nature was something they were asked commonly.
If Jin Kazama had his way, he would never have come here, for the questions he was asking the civilians was a question he never hoped he would ask again. The creature he and his Zaibatsu sought was an ancient entity of malice and destruction, one that Jin had believed to have slain years ago. A monstrous being that fed on the souls and techniques of strong warriors in order to increase its own strength, this creature slew Jin’s beloved mother and it took all of Jin’s power to defeat it.
But a week ago, rumors began to circulate that the creature had returned, more powerful than ever. While there was no proof that it had indeed come back from the dead apart from a couple of peculiar-looking corpses, Jin could not leave anything to chance. Gathering intel as to where the monster was seen last, Jin gathered a small group of his Zaibatsu army and went to this small village that had been mostly isolated by the modern world. Jin would have preferred it stayed that way, but he could leave nothing to chance.
That is why it was a necessary evil to shake down these civilians like a two-bit hood and get the information he required. This would be the final family he would need to interrogate before he could truly determine if the monster had moved on. If it had, then Jin and his Tekkenshu would leave the village and let them return to their normal lives. But if it hadn’t moved on, and it was still in this area…then Jin pitied this village that would be engulfed in fire and blood with the resulting clash.
“This is the last family we found here, and the troops guarding the borders have caught anyone trying to escape…but what I want to know is why the hell you’re going through all this trouble to find this thing,” Jin’s dark-skinned lieutenant, formerly known to the fighting world as the Capoeirista Eddy Gordo, replied as his lips curled into a snarl. “With all of our computers, we could track this thing with our radar. We didn’t have to harass these people for all of this.”
“Sometimes it is better to gather intel the old-fashioned way,” Jin replied before walking towards the family consisting of a strong-built father with a stern face, a mother with a look of concern, and two small children who seemed terrified of his presence. Jin was wearing a new white military uniform with a long cape that one of his allies told him would make him appear more favorable to the people, but the look of terror in the children’s eyes told him otherwise. In the end, it would take more than regal-looking clothes to make the people forget that Jin Kazama was the ruler of the Mishima Zaibatsu that had engulfed the world in chaos.
Jin approached the father, who seemed the least afraid of the family, and politely bowed. Even if he was a fiend now, Jin hadn’t abandoned the lesson in manners his mother had taught him before her demise. “I apologize for this inconvenience to you and your village, sir,” Jin said quietly before lifting his body. “I need you to answer a few questions for me. After that, my troops and I will be on our way and we’ll leave your village alone.”
“And tell me why I should answer anything you ask?”
“Because the topic of my questions are of mutual interest to us, good sir,” Jin replied calmly, not letting the fact that this man was the only one who gave him a response like that bother him. “As the leader of the Mishima Zaibatsu, it is my duty to watch over my subjects and protect them from harm. Your village, unfortunately, is believed to be involved in such a danger to my kingdom, and it would be ill of me to neglect it.”
While the rest of the village had been cooperative with Jin, likely out of the fear he had instilled upon them with the show of force he demonstrated with the Tekkenshu, this man did not show any sort of fear whatsoever. If I were to guess, this man must be the grandmaster of the judo dojo here, Jin surmised as the old man glared at him. Perhaps some additional coercion is necessary.
Though it was only a quick flicker, Jin’s crackling red ki flashed across his body, causing the man’s children to jump back in surprise. “…is that supposed to intimidate me?” the man growled, not even flinching at Jin’s feat. “I am well aware of who you are, and what kind of power you wield. But a true warrior does not use intimidation to get what they want…if you were truly the fighter you claim you are, you would know that.”
Jin folded his arms and allowed a smirk to come across his handsome face. “That sounded like a challenge, sir,” he said as he watched the man clench his fist. “Let me reiterate that I am not here to attack your village or harm anyone. All I want is some information, and judging from the look you are giving me, I think you know EXACTLY what I want.” Reaching into his sleeve, Jin pulled out a photograph of the monster he sought and showed it to the man. “There are rumors that this creature has been seen in the area, and I was wondering if perhaps you could tell me more.”
The man’s eyes shifted to the picture quickly before going back to Jin. “…I have never seen it in my life.”
Jin looked at the man’s eyes carefully, taking note of how they seemed to be avoiding the picture on purpose. Letting out a sigh, Jin put the picture back in his sleeve and shook his head in exasperation. “…now why would you lie to me like that?” Jin said with a sigh. “You and I both realize that this monster cannot be left alone, especially if there’s a well-known judo dojo in this village. If you withhold information from me, it could put your villagers at risk.” Leaning in closer so that he was next to the man’s ear, Jin’s soft voice fell to a whisper. “Think of your family, sir…”
“…the only monster I see here is you,” the man whispered back. “You barge into my village with your soldiers and guns, interrogate these people with questions that couldn’t hope to understand, and then make threats to my family. Even if I did know where this monster is, there is no way I would tell you.”
“And why is that, sir?”
“Because I’d rather take my chances with that snarling beast than with someone who terrorizes innocent people to get what he wants.”
Jin frowned as he backed away and again looked at the man’s stern eyes. “I was hoping it would not come to this,” Jin said solemnly before lifting his fists and assuming his fighting stance. “You are a martial artist, yes? I see the only way I will be getting any kind of information from you is by fighting you for it…but you do realize if it comes to that, you will lose, correct?”
Pushing his family away, the man lifted his arms in a judo stance and parted his feet slightly. “A true martial artist does not fight only to win,” he grunted. “It is the fight itself that matters the most. By fighting you, I will learn for myself if you are truly the altruistic man that you claim to be…though I doubt my opinion of you will be changing any time soon.”
Before the fight could begin, the sound of gunfire entered the ears of the two would-be combatants, causing them to turn westward to see what the commotion was about. Quickly removing his comlink from his right sleeve, Jin placed it to his ear and spoke. “What is going on with the west perimeter?” Jin demanded as he turned his body fully to wear the action was. “I thought we confirmed that the villagers had been rounded up.”
“We have an intruder taking out the soldiers,” the voice replied with a hint of panic in his voice. “He’s not armed, but he’s taking us out like we’re not-ACK!”
And then, Jin sensed what the source of the commotion was. As a dedicated martial artist in addition to a worldwide tyrant, Jin was deeply attuned to the world around him and was especially sensitive to people who wielded immense power. The ki signature Jin was feeling from the west certainly fell into that category: an overwhelming presense that made even him sweat. This ki signature doesn’t have the same evil taint that Kazuya and Heihachi have, Jin thought he felt the ki signature come closer. So who else could have this much power if he’s not a Mishima?
“While it’s true that I have never seen that monster with my own eyes, this village does believe it exists,” the man Jin was going to fight growled, causing Jin to turn to him with a raised eyebrow. “Some of my students that left the village to pursue other endeavors have gone either missing or dead, and those that are found dead had their corpses withered like mummies. So using my connections in the world of street fighting, I contacted someone to protect this village and investigate what’s been going on.”
“So you do know what I’m talking about…that means that the monster is close,” Jin replied as the immense ki signature continued to advance through Jin’s Tekkenshu. However, when he saw that his troops were leaving their post to go to the where the commotion was happening, Jin quickly went to his comlink. “All units, stand down,” Jin commanded through his comlink, causing all of the Tekkenshu to stop in their tracks and the gunfire to cease.
Questioning his commander’s command, Eddy walked next to Jin and voiced his concerns. “Are you sure this is a good idea, Jin? Even I can sense that whoever is coming is serious business. What if it’s who we’re looking for?”
“It’s not,” Jin replied curtly as the source of the power finally came into view. Now that Tekkenshu had lowered their weapons and made way for the intruder, both Jin and Eddy could see that the man that had given their troops so much trouble was definitely human. The man had short brown hair and a light tan, with a ripped muscular build that rivaled even Jin’s and Eddy’s, both of whom spent several hours a day working to reach their physical limits through training and exercise. He was wearing a brown coat over what appeared to be a white karate gi, and a red headband was tied around his forehead with the tassles flowing freely into the cold winter wind.
“Is that who I think it is?” Eddy whispered to Jin.
“There’s no question about it,” Jin replied as he stepped away from the family that he was interrogating and instead walked over to the man that had dealt with so many of his Tekkenshu without so much as breaking a sweat. “It seems that we weren’t the only ones drawn to this village to search for our target.” Turning his head slightly to look at Eddy, Jin lifted his hand and pointed to the family. “Stay here and keep an eye on them until I come back. I’ll deal with our intruder.”
With his Tekkenshu standing at attention as he passed them by, Jin and the intruder stopped walking and stood several feet away from each other, assessing each other as if they were two cowboys about to have a fated showdown at sunset. “I did not think that I would find you here in this small village,” Jin shouted to the man as he put down his white duffel bag and kicked it to the side. “Let me start by saying that it is a supreme honor to finally meet you…Ryu.”
The name “Ryu” held reverence in anyone who called themselves a martial artist. Even without using a surname, a martial artist would instantly be able to tell someone what the name meant to them. A wandering warrior using a hybrid fighting style centered around three devastating techniques that when used in harmony could overcome any obstacle, Ryu made his name for himself in the world of street fighting by toppling the mighty Muay Thai Emperor Sagat and winning the very first Street Fighter tournament. If you were a martial artist, you either respected his accomplishments or idolized him.
Even though Jin had technically put the life of street fighting and tournaments behind him in favor ruling the Mishima Zaibatsu, the respect he had for Ryu was immense. From what other fighters from the street fighting world told him, he and Ryu had many things in common: both of them lost someone important to them to murder and both had at one point held the title of the world’s strongest fighter. But there was one thing they had in common that wasn’t quite as public knowledge: the real reason Jin was so interested in one day meeting Ryu.
Like Jin, Ryu’s soul housed a terrible demon of destruction and chaos that once unleashed would destroy everything in its path. But unlike Jin’s father Kazuya who relished his evil power, Ryu made it a point to hide it as much as he could: the only reason Jin knew about it is because of data his other lieutenant Nina obtained from the United Kingdom’s Delta Red unit. In a way, meeting Ryu was something even more important to Jin than finding his current quarry.
“…I wish I could say the feeling was mutual, friend,” Ryu replied politely, though his stern glare told Jin volumes about what the man was thinking about him. “I’ve been searching this forest for some terrible monster that killed a couple of friends of mine, and instead I find armed thugs harassing these poor villagers that were kind enough to give me shelter while I helped them figure out what happened to their lost loved ones.”
“It is a necessary measure: once I have what I need, we shall leave this village and everything here can continue as it was intended,” Jin answered politely. Bowing his head to this man that he had heard so much about, the Zaibatsu leader introduced himself accordingly. “My name is Jin Kazama: like yourself, I am a martial artist hoping to use my skills to make this world a better place for those that come after me. To that end, I won the fifth King of Iron Fist tournament to gain control of the Mishima Zaibatsu.”
“I’ve heard of you, Jin…but I’m not so sure you’re here to help anyone,” Ryu replied harshly. “I admit that I don’t know much about the Zaibatsu’s history or the King of Iron Fist tournament, but everything I’ve heard about your organization reeks of evil. Every single one of its leaders have tried to take over the world in some form or another, and from what I’ve seen, you’re the one people consider the worst of the worst. All of Asia right now bows to you and it’s not the kind of bowing they’d do if you were someone to be respected.”
“I have my reasons for acting the way I do,” Jin responded before motioning to his Tekkenshu. “I admit that to an outsider I’m nothing more than a tyrant, but rest assured that when everything is said and done, the world will be a better place and its people will rejoice. If being a villain is the price I must pay for this better world, then so be it. While I have had my dissenters, these men realize that I am doing this for the world’s good.”
“…so your mother has told me.”
Ryu’s response was, to say the least, quite unexpected. The words that came out of Ryu’s mouth sounded like some kind of backhanded insult, but he said them with such seriousness that Jin couldn’t help but seem surprised. Was it possible that what Ryu said wasn’t an insult? Unable to completely hide his surprise, Jin’s voice became solemn. “…what would you know about my mother?”
“Jun Kazama is your mother, correct?” Ryu answered with the same serious voice, again confusing Jin. “When we met about a month ago, she told me all about you. She spoke about you with such pride, saying how proud she was of you and how you’ve exceeded all of her expectations as a martial artist, and how you’ve taken initiative in life even if the world sees you as an enemy. Her regret was that she couldn’t have been by your side after what happened in Yakushima: she thinks that this current plan of yours has flaws and there are better ways you could go about it.”
“You…you must have been confused with someone else,” Jin replied with lethal somberness as his fists clenched. “My mother has been dead for years. You must have been talking to an imposter.” *But how could he have known about what happened at Yakushima?, *a voice in the back of Jin’s mind asked. The only other person who I’ve told about that is Heihachi. With his ki crackling around him, Jin’s eyes narrowed and his lips curled into a snarl. “But if you are saying this to throw me off-guard…know that doing so will result in a long coma.”
“I don’t really agree with your mother, myself,” Ryu added as he slowly assumed his fighting stance. “If you’re attacking this village and endangering its people with your troops, then maybe your mother doesn’t want to believe her son has become as bad as Kazuya…who I’ve also crossed paths with and is not nearly as hospitable as her.” The wandering warrior eyes narrowed as Jin’s ki became focused into his fists until they shown with red light. “But now’s not the time to talk about that, is it? So how about after I beat you, you leave this village alone and let me deal with this monster we’re looking for?”
“And if I win, you tell me everything you know about my mother,” Jin growled as he charged forward. “And I find out that you are indeed lying to me about meeting her, I can promise you that you’ll be spending the next few weeks in the emergency room!”