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THE KING OF FIGHTERS XI
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SHION MAGAKI

ANTI-KYOKUGEN TEAM STORY

Destroy the Way of Kyokugen.

 Toward this end, Eiji Kisaragi committed himself to rigorous physical trials.
 Leaving home and family behind, he ran through fields and took up residence in the mountains to temper his body through painful trials.

 Just how many days and months had elapsed in this pursuit?
 Sensing the fruits of his labors had paid off, Eiji finally descended from the mountain.
 There was no other venue than KOF to vindicate his honor. But to participate in that tournament, he required two other allies sympathetic to his cause.
(Yes, they too must share my rage for revenge.)
 Eiji possessed confidence in his own power, but since KOF had to be a team effort, he needed not only skilled fighters but common enemies of the Way of Kyokugen°ń. That was to say, he needed to allies that shared his objective.
(If I fail to do to that, I will suffer the same undreamed of defeat I did before.)

 One possible team member soon came to mind:
 Kasumi, the expert in the Way of Todo, daughter to Ryuhaku Todoh.
 Eiji immediately set to find her, explain his aims, and entreat her to join up with him.

°»To win KOF°ń. No, should we defeat the Way of Kyokugen, that renown is sure to reach the ears of your father, Master Ryuhaku.°…
 °»I certainly cannot deny that! Very well, if you think I can help then count me in!°…

 Since this aim jibed with her original goals, Kasumi was quick to accept the offer to join the tournament.

°»Well if that°«s decided there is one thing I must make sure of.°…
°»And what may that be, Mistress Kasumi?°…
°»Whether that rumor that Takuma Sakazaki was defeated by the mysterious miscreant is true or not.°…
 °»Harumph. What foolishness°ń°…
 Eiji could not even entertain the thought: °»Takuma Sakazaki, defeated?°… Unlike Eiji, however, who had been living in self-imposed exile on a mountaintop, Kasumi, in her limited contact with the city around her, had often heard this °»rumor°…°Ĺan urban legend, perhaps?
 Kazumi had even nosed around the neighborhood of the Kyoku Karate dojo.

°»Yeah, Takuma was beaten senseless by some thug°ĹHeard he°«s in the hospital now.°…

 The truth was plainly obvious.
 Kasumi rushed to the hospital, for how could the housewife living next-door to the Kyokugen dojo be wrong?


 Ę® Ę®


°»Forgive me, Yuri. If I weren°«t in such a sorry state°ń°…
°»Father, you promised not to mention that.°…
°»I just have one regret. Never seeing the third generation of Kyokugen°ń Ack! Gah-ha!°…
°»Master, I told you not to strain yourself!°…

(H-how could this be happening?!)

 Kasumi, who had been watching this play out as she hid in the shadows of the nurses°« center was amazed at this shocking turn of events:
Takuma Sakazaki? Knocking at Death°«s Door?!!!

 °»What do I do? What should I do°ń? If Father hears about this it would kill him for sure!°…
°»It°«s just one big case of hypochondria!°…
°»Yeah, hypochondria, and it°«s terminal°ńHuh? Hypochondria?°…
°»Shoosh! He°«ll hear you!°…

 In contrast to Kasumi, intending to hide herself clumsily in the shadow of a pillar, the somewhat smaller young girl slinks along the walls undetected with sleek, cat-like movements. Spying Kasumi, she notes that the patients and nurses are shooting her suspicious glances, but no one takes not of this girl here. Kasumi is completely oblivious to the vital difference between herself and she.

°»Weren°«t you in last year°«s KOF tournament with Athena and Hinako?
°»Uh-huh. The name°«s Malin. You must be, Kasumi.°…


 Ę® Ę®

°»So, Mistress Malin! Will you do us the honor of helping us out?°…
°»You betcha! I°«ve been looking for someone to join forces against those Kyokugen creeps, too! So you came along at the right time!°…

 Kasumi and Malin, having taken their business to a coffee shop near the hospital, summon Eiji to let him in on the developments. The proposal for Malin to join their team is also broached, thereby bringing about the auspicious beginning of the °»Anti-Kyokugen Team.°…

 °»Well, that°«s that, but what of that previous matter regarding him faking it all?°…
°»Huh? He can°«t be faking something like that.°…

 How could anyone be taken in by that two-bit performance? Does this girl really have what it takes? Malin saw right through it, but just hemmed and hawed like some braying donkey.
°»I checked it out. There°«s no mistaken it.°…
 Malin pulls out a weekly from the coffee shop°«s magazine rack, her forehead crinkling with concentration.
 A special article on the upcoming KOF tournament opens the publication and some of this year°«s prospective team groupings are included along with the contestants°« photos.

°»Hmm, so why would Takuma Sakazaki pull something like that°ń?°…
°»Beats me; I°«m no psychic.°…

 Malin pulls out a ballpoint pen and begins to scrawl things all over the magazine.

°»By the way, what°«s your reason for holding a grudge against the Kyokugen, Malin?°…
 °»They°«re always finding fault with my fighting style; so what if I use weapons?°…
°»Ha, that°«s ridiculous.°…
 A little chuckle ushered out from under the mask that covered half of Eiji°«s face.
°»I°«m of the mind that even heavy firearms are fine°Ĺcombat°«s supposed to be all about the clash of weapons, am I wrong? Against weapons? Ryo Sakazaki, what a priss!°…
°»I°«m not talking about Ryo; it°«s Yuri°«s who gets my goat.°…

 As the conversation continues, Malin continues to doodle busily.
 The picture of Yuri in the magazine now includes a cross-shaped scar on her forehead and a copious collection of protruding nose hairs°Ĺa bit of graffiti overkill, perhaps?

°»Well, well, we each have our reasons to fight. In any case, we stay together until the end of the tournament. Agreed?°…
°»Agreed. As the honor of the Way of Todoh depends on it!°…
°»OK. Leave it all up to me, Malin. ĘŲ°…

 And so the surprisingly swift formation of the Anti-Kyokugen Team was concluded.
 Although vastly different tenor of the team compared to last year°«s incarnation gave him pause, Eiji was, for the time being, satisfied.
 The other two were no more than placeholders.
 If the situation demanded, he was prepared to defeat all of his enemies on his own.

°»Heh, heh, heh, Kyokugen stooges°ńthis time I turn the tables on all of you!°…

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