figure of her elder sister, presumed
murdered, is always nearby.
This is not expressing things poetically. Those who
were to head the House of Kagura were always meant
to be these female identical twins - Chizuru and Maki
In the windows of buildings, in a car's rearview mirror,
in a city shop's show window, even on the surface of
a pond - Chizuru's own reflection was the spitting
image of her departed sister, with lavish and long
hair tied in back, its length flowing down to her waist,
and that same distinctive bearing.
"Yagami...Uh, begging your pardon, Master Yasakani
"And Kyo Kusanagi?"
"He has yet to grace us with his presence."
"Really, that is exquisite. It would be highly
unlikely for those two to meet cordially with each
other anyway, don't you think?"
Chizuru Kagura responds from the other side of a shoji
screen. Her sigh dissipates into the air of this building
that suggests a grand and tranquil Shinto shrine.
"Please tell him that I will be right there."
"Wouldn't it be preferable to let him wait a tad
"If you're worrying about me, I'm fine. I've just
been a little fatigued recently - that's all."
"Then I suppose I have nothing to worry about."
"I'm fine.... Yes, quite fine."
* * * * *
When he leaves the grand entrance of the Kagura house,
Iori Yagami refuses the car waiting for him, ignores
those seeing him off, and hoofs it out the gate.
The cobblestone road running through this neighborhood
of established families is paved with well-beveled
stones, and not only is it well-kempt it is regularly
rinsed to keep it immaculate.
But Yagami, oblivious to his elegant surroundings,
continues to press on homeward.
With his well-tempered body poised, his red hair complements
the keen glint in his eyes.
As he remembers the previous discussion at the Kagura
house, an inexpressible anger with no target to unleash
it on wells up within him.
After a five-minute walk, he reaches a railway that
cuts through the rows of old houses.
His gaze sets upon a lone figure astride a motorcycle
on the other side of the train tracks.
Yagami freezes to a halt.
The man wears a helmet with a full-face visor, making
it impossible to discern his identity.
But for Yagami, there's no question as to who this
The two stand motionless on opposite sides of the track.
Only the motorcycle's engine dares to make a sound,
producing a low and well-regulating purr.
Before long a train nears and warning bells ring out.
The yellow and black colored railroad crossing gate
slowly descends between the two.
The man on the motorcycle raises a hand to the visor
of his helmet.
At the instant Iori thinks he can make out the rider's
face, the train rushes between them.
(It's him all right.)
That instant was all that was needed.
Another train passes by from the opposite direction,
and although the line of vision remains obstructed,
Iori needs no further confirmation.
When the trains pass on, the figure of the motorcycle
rider is nowhere to be seen.
Iori can make out the noise of a motorcycle engine
fading away in the distance.
(Who'd believe me teaming up with that clown? Bah!)
Yagami's face, bordered by his red bangs, breaks into
a, for want of a better word, "smile."
History, deprecation, cynicism, hate, madness, disdain,
A variety of inexpressible emotions fill Yagami's soul
when he faces off against his nemesis. The only thing
that can expunge these overwhelming emotions he finds
impossible to handle is the act of fighting.
* * * * *
"So you haven't been riding recently I gather,
Kyo Kusanagi, led into the inner rooms of the Kagura
estate, poses this question to his host as he comes
face to face with Chizuru.
Kyo had noticed two bikes left idle next to him as
he parked his motorcycle.
They were carefully maintained, but he could tell that
no one had used them for quite a while.
"No, not recently. You haven't changed, I see."
"I wish I could say so. I've had quite a lot on
my plate recently."
Chizuru kneels before him with impeccable posture.
For Chizuru, who sits perfectly still, this is the
manner of natural dignity befitting the leader of the
House of Kagura. But in all honesty, Chizuru is not
exactly Kyo's cup of tea.
"I saw Yagami just a few minutes ago."
"So, to what do I owe the pleasure this time?
What pressing matter would call for you to simultaneously
summon not just me but Yagami as well to your humble
"It appears that I should just be frank with you."
"You can be whoever you want, just give it to
"I would like you to join the "Three Divine
Vessels" team in this years King of Fighters tournament.
That would mean the three of us ľ“ Me. Kyo Kusanagi,
uh, that's you, of course. ...And Iori Yagami."
"Are you bonkers? Regardless of what I'm about
to say, there's no way that Yagami-crud would agree
to such a proposal."
"He already has."
"...Are you yanking my dangly?"
Unbelievable. Yagami himself had, of all things, already
acceded to Chizuru's request.
"Hey, just what sort of spell did you cast on
"If Yasakani had not lent us his strength..."
"Both the Kusanagi and the Yata are sure to suffer
"It was probably too much for him to stomach:
someone beside himself defeating the Kusanagi."
"Now you're just being wack. Just who would defeat
Chizuru shuts her eyes.
"Answer me! Are you telling me that I'm someone
who can't win without Yagami's help?"
"Perhaps...that is the case."
The atmosphere becomes tense between the two.
Then for some reason, the image of the two motorcycles
comes to mind. They are two models of the exact same
type of motorcycle which appear to have been abandoned.
"...Nuts, well, whatever. Anyway, the whoopla
keeps me from becoming bored out of my skull every
"Thank you...I'm grateful."
Kyo snatches up his helmet resting at his side and
"I told you it was a way to relieve the boredom,
didn't I? There's no need to thank me."