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THE KING OF FIGHTERS 2003
KOF2001
TEAM STORY
HERO TEAM FATAL FURY TEAM ART OF FIGHTING TEAM KOREA TEAM
IKARI TEAM OUTLOW TEAM WOMEN FIGHTERS TEAM BENIMARU TEAM
HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS TEAM K' TEAM 3 SACRED TREASURES TEAM

BENIMARU TEAM STORY

 "Hello, I am speaking to Goro Daimon, aren't I? This is the police and..."
 Hired by his alma mater as a special instructor, Daimon has no choice but to cancel practice with this sudden summons and rush to the police station. He links up with Benimaru Nikaido who happens to be on his way to the station for reasons of his own.
 "Hey, Daimon, tell me what the heck's going on here. Or have you only heard the same yadda-yadda that Shingo's been taken into protective custody that I have?"
 "Yup. That's right."
 "Jeesh.... Just what's that clown done this time?"
 Without reaching any definitive answer to Benimaru's question, the two arrive at the police station.
 Right away they are led to a room deep in the bowls of the station, and there sits Shingo Yabuki, who, even now, looks as if he is about to burst into tears.
 "Daimon, and Benimaru! I haven't done anything! You've gotta believe me!!!"
 "Sorry to put you through this hubbub, Mr. Daimon. This guy was screamin' at us to have you come here."
 The officer in charge and Daimon seem to have met before. In spite of his aloof disposition, Daimon, who also moonlights as a special judo instructor at the police academy, is well-connected. But the one who lays into Shingo is Benimaru.
 "So why did you call for Daimon?! Calling your mommy and daddy would have been more apropos, don't you think?"
 "Are you kidding?! If my parents knew about this...they'd ground me for life and no KOF this year!"
 "What a putz. ...So, what's this guy in for? Murder? Armed robbery?"
 Benimaru continues to rake Shingo over the coals. This joking is due to the very fact that he knows Shingo is innocent, but naturally no one finds his attempts at levity very funny.
 "He's in here for attempted arson."
 The stern-faced policeman answers Benimaru's question. Any looks of amusement on Benimaru and Daimon's faces subsequently vanish.
 "I'm telling you it's all a big misunderstanding!"
 "I got you dead to rights, punk! I saw you with my own two eyes in front of a house in the wee hours of the night and heard you say stuff like, "This time I'll make fire for sure." "I got a little flame there." And the coup de grace: 'Burn, baby, burn!'
 The police officer slams an open hand on the table; Daimon and Benimaru take a glance at each other then look up at the ceiling as if to say, "Good grief."
 (So that's what this is all about.)
 The two know Shingo well. They are sure for the most part that he's incapable of a criminal act, and the various bad premonitions they had on the way to the station in spite of this have now faded away. They are assured their fears were groundless, and now they are relieved...and a little bit ticked off.
 "Looks like this has all been one big misunderstanding. Daimon and I can vouch for this guy's character. Isn't that right, Daimon?"
 "Yup. That's right."
 "Well, if Daimon says so..."
 The evidently dissatisfied police officer nevertheless promptly releases Shingo in deference to Daimon.

 The three exit together from the police station's main entrance. But Shingo takes up the rear, plodding behind them as if trying not to step on their shadows. And after a brief time walking...
 "Uh...excuse me you two.... I'm sorry for making such a nuisance of myself!"
 Benimaru smacks the back of the head of the deeply bowing Shingo.
 "You got that right. I know you were probably giving yourself a crash course in the fighting arts of Kusanagi, but even I would suspect someone ranting about fire and flames in front of houses in the middle of the night of being an arsonist."
 "Yup. That's right."
 "I'm sorry. I just got carried away.... I just know I made some fire."
 "It had to be static electricity or something. If not that, it was a hallucination. A...hal-lu-ci-nation!"
 "Hmm...I guess so, huh?.... No, I know I..."
 Benimaru and Daimon ignore Shingo's babbling and head back to the university.
 The two turn to the topic of joining the next KOF tournament.
 Yes, the two intend to join the competition once again this year.
 As Shingo catches scraps of the conversation, Daimon discusses how he wants to see the results of his training. Benimaru speaks of wanting to see what he's made of...And another reason is it seems one of the new contestants has caught their attention. When it comes to the crucial reason, the level of Benimaru's voice drops, but Shingo can make out fragmentary words like Lin, flying brigands, and Seth.
 With his head drooping down, Shingo continues to follow behind the two. Shingo's house, mind you, is in the opposite direction.
 "...Hey, uh, Shingo."
 Benimaru turns to look behind him.
 "Y-Yes?"
 "It doesn't seem like you to be moping around like that, don't you think?"
 "Yup. That's right."
 "R-Really?"
 "Yeah. You endure Kyo's ribbings with laughter, cheerfully suffer his bullying, and happily obey his commands. You're a guy who rushes in where angels fear to tread with spunk and stamina. That's you to a tee, isn't it?"
 "Yup. That's right."
 "Is that supposed to be a compliment?"
 "Whatever. Snap out of it because for the next KOF, Daimon, me and you are going to be a team."
 "Yeah, telling me to meekly resign myself to my just deserts...are you?! You're going to let me join your team?"
 "Why? You got a problem with that?"
 "But what about Kusanagi? I thought for sure...."
 "That bozo Kyo is traveling abroad. I can't get in touch with him."
 "Yup. That's right."
 Certainly this seems to be the case.
 After the end of the previous tournament, Shingo periodically trained under the guidance of Kyo's father - Saisyu Kusanagi.
 The training took place in a corner of the Kusanagi house, but during that time the figure of Kyo was nowhere to be seen.
 "Well, with a guy like that, he just may be planning to storm in at the last minute, but we can't afford to wait for that."
 With a swish, Benimaru's body turns and his fist suddenly stop short of Shingo's face. Shingo moves his body a few centimeters to narrowly avoid the blow.
 A small flash of lightning emanates from Benimaru's left hand, and he momentarily flashes a fearless expression from below. Though eclipsed by Kyo and Iori, Benimaru Nikaido is one of the world's preeminent fighters.
 "Well now, you have improved, haven't you? Am I hearing right? You've been getting special training under a true slave-driver coach, haven't you?"
 "U-Uh, yeah, well..."
 "Cheer up there, pal. When you get all gloomy, it puts me down in the dumps. To add insult to injury, teaming up with Daimon here, our team image will be pretty off-putting, so I'm begging you."
 "Yup. You got...hey, wait a minute!"
 "Very well. I'll do anything you want today and today only. Just tell me what you'd like."
 "Huh?"
 "I'm sick of seeing you get knocked around all the time. So, any request - just to psyche you up before the tournament."
 "R-Really?"
 "Yeah. Whatever you want. How about something you've always wanted to eat?"
 When it seems apparent that Benimaru is sincere, Shingo thinks over all sorts of possibilities with a glint in his eyes.
 "Well, then.... Ah, that's it! There is something I've always wanted to do! Benimaru!"
 "What is it?"
 "Bring me some tiramisu! And make it snappy!"

 Daimon and Benimaru cringe for a moment that seems like an eternity.

 "Oh, yeah?! Eat this: Heaven Blast Flash!!!"
 "Hee-gyaaah!"
 Suffering a massive electric shock, Shingo, burnt to a crisp, rolls to the ground and moans.
 "Ow-oooch...I knew it was a bad idea not to have said, please."
 "Putz."
 "Uh, but just now...I'm sure I thought I saw bursting flames. ...From my eyes, that is."

 And from that moment on the participation of these three in KOF was written in stone.

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