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THE KING OF FIGHTERS XI
KOF XI
TEAM STORY
HERO TEAM FATAL FURY TEAM RIVAL TEAM IKARI TEAM
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SHION MAGAKI

ART OF FIGHTING TEAM STORY

°»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!°…

 A short while after Ryo Sakazaki was attacked during the last KOF tournament°ń
 Misfortune piles upon misfortune: a series of projects crucial to the Garcia Foundation concomitant to this year°«s event make Robert°«s participation impossible.
 At this rate, Ryo and Yuri°«s participation will also become an undeniable reality.

°»So won°«t you lend us a hand, King°ń? Ack! Gah-hah!°…

 Since the tone of Takuma°«s voice over the phone seemed feebler than usual, King rushed to the hospital, making the effort to bring a bouquet of flowers just in case. But when she arrived for her visit, she was in for a surprise.
 Takuma, who had supposedly been hospitalized for nearly a year, appeared strangely in the pink and as muscular as ever. Yuri, too said to be worn out from nursing her father, seemed equally healthy.

°»Any-anyway, here. Flowers for you. Enjoy.°…
°»Sorry for worrying you, King°ń. But when all of those flowers have fallen, I°«ll be dead.°…
°»Father, don°«t be so negative!°…
 °»Oh, in the end to never see the third-generation of the Kyokugen lineage.°…

 Just then a passing female nurse peeked into the sickroom.
°»Good gracious, Mr. Sakazaki, what are you up to today?°…
°»Huh? Oh, nothing. Nothing at all°ń.°…
°»My, my, my. That°«s not like my usually plucky Mr. Sakazaki, is it?°…
°»Y-you must have me confused with someone else.°…
°»Yeah! This is just°ńYeah! The last burst before the candle flame goes out!°…
°»That°«s right! I can count his days left on my hand!°…

 The nurse, looking as if she still had something left to say, pushed Yuri and Robert from the room.

°»You guys°ń°…
 King pinched the bridge of her nose as if she were getting a headache in her eye and shook her head in disgust.

°»Mr. Sakazaki, time for your examination.°…
 A nurse different than the one before entered.
(Nuts, why do these nurses keep coming in here one after another?!)
(Maybe because this is a hospital.)
 The nurse, not giving a second thought to Robert°«s feelings, stuck the thermometer in Takuma°«s mouth in a business-like manner.
°»That reminds me, Mr. Sakazaki.°…
°»W-what is it? Gah-ah Gah-ha.°…
°»You wouldn°«t know anything about someone, perhaps due to a lack of hospital food, sneaking out of the hospital at night recently to go to the drugstore across the street?°…
°»I wouldn°«t even venture a guess. Gah-ha, Gack!°…
°»That person puts on a long-nose goblin°«s mask to hide his identity, but you really honestly don°«t know a thing about it, do you?°…
°»N-nope, don°«t have a clue.°…
 According to the nurse, the hospital patient wearing the goblin°«s mask has outstanding physical abilities allowing him to easily leap over the two-meter high hospital gate to invariably buy Japanese soba noodles at the drug store.
 The thermometer reads 36.5 degrees centigrade. Nothing wrong here, thought the nurse.


 Ę® Ę®


°»°ńand that°«s why I came to see your father.°…
°»Sorry, King. I°«m so sorry! °ńForgive my father°«s, my sister°«s and my foolishness.°…
 Ryo bows his head to King as he referred to everyone in his family as equally foolish.
°»Enough. Anyway, I suppose you°«re still doing nothing but training, huh?°…
°»Huh? °ńYeah, well. My students have all gone home. Now°«s my time.°…

 A trace of the sacred is present in the dojo now free of the noise of clashing children.
 The floor is swept and cleansed clean from corner to corner.
 A fresh sakaki plant lies on the Shinto altar.
 Crispy pressed training wear is at the ready.
 Silence reigns over this space.

°»So, how is his physical condition really? Since he°«s in the hospital is something wrong?°…
°»Are you referring to his wound after the last KOF? That was mainly an old injury acting up again, which was treated and he was quickly released. He°«s been admitted for tests this time.°…
°»Tests?°…
°»My father°«s no spring chicken. They tossed him in the hospital for a week coinciding along with a thorough checkup. And they found high blood sugar, something with his liver, so thanks to that he°«s been getting some quiet time.°…
°»If he has too much free time, he may plot another incident like this.°…
°»°ńI suppose so.°…

The silence hurts his ears with the break in the conversation.
 Ryo eyes suddenly race around hinter and yon to come up with a topic of conversation.

°»W-well, it°«s true my father°«s condition isn°«t perfect. And it°«s no lie that Robert can°«t devote himself to KOF this year. Me and Yuri need to worry about our reputation, and, to tell the truth, bringing one of my disciples to KOF would be pushing it.°…
°»Then what are you going to do?°…
°»It°«s a good opportunity to throw in the towel. And there°«s time to think about me finally getting serious about running the dojo, I suppose.
°»°ńHmmm.°…

 A breeze blows through all of the opened windows in the dojo.

°»I suppose you°«ve reached your own °»Kyokugen,°… you own limit?
°»Huh?°…
°»This is the Kyokugen dojo, isn°«t it? You°«ve reached the limit of your strength.°…
°»You°«ve got to be kidding, King.°…

 Ryo had this to say. The way of the warrior is long and deep. I°«m just a tyro. I have a lot of training and battles ahead of me°ń.

°»Then fight. This isn°«t like you, is it? Fighting tournaments on the level of KOF don°«t come along every day, do they?°…
°»But the member°ń°…
°»Ryo, all you have to do is now is just ask °∆Give me a hand.°«°…
°»°ńI guess so. Thanks, King. I°«m obliged to you.°…


 Ę® Ę®

°»That°«s just like King. She saw right through my skillful ploy.°…
°»At this rate I know I°«ll never see the face of the third generation°ń.°…
°»I°«ve got it, Master! As far as Kyokugen°«s third generation goes, Yuri and I°ńOoof!°…
°»Mr. Sakazaki, there is no punching in the patient°«s rooms!°…
°»Anyway, time for my next plan. You two, listen up.°…
°»°ń °ń°…

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