"Hold up!" You bark, causing the ambulance driver to immediately turn around with a questioning look. "I'm going with him." In a rush, you hop into the back of the truck and the doors are soon closed. Before the truck takes off, the audience start talking among each other once again. Although, the sounds are subtle so you fail to pick up on anything.
"I'm sure Hercule will be okay! But we can't dwell on the second round for too long because there is a very special moment coming up." The announcer yells in a artificially joyful tone, smooth enough to fool the crowd, which results in the audience level to pick up. "That's right folks. In this third round, the reigning champion of the world, Tien Shinhan, will face off against King Chappa!"
"YEAAAAAAH!" Despite being hundreds of meters away now, the noise from the crowd still manages to reach you. Perhaps a radio won't even be needed.
After the sirens in the truck go off, which suddenly sparks a massive speed increase, the ambulance truck begins blazing through the busy streets of East City. You stare down at Hercule as an oxygen tank donates everything it can to his wounded body. Even though a mask is covering most of his face, his pale white eyes appear to be glaring at you from his unconscious state.
"...Idiot. Turning around in the middle of a fight. Did working with the Red Ribbon Army teach you nothing? The act alone is equivalent to pleading for a death sentence..." Emotions of anger, regret, and hatred drip down off of you and onto the floor. Perhaps if you hadn't told him to forfeit the match, he wouldn't have ended up this way. "No...that's not true." Something tells you that if Hercule attempted to fight that monster head on, he would have ended up in much worse condition.
With no attempt to hide it, the truck comes to an immediate stop, nearly swinging you onto the ground. Seconds after that, the doors are opened and Hercule is pulled from his position and onto a mobile hospital bed. You hop out of the truck, pursuing the doctors and ambulance workers a few feet behind at all times.
Currently, all of Hercule's medical details are being told to the doctors by the man who accompanied you in the backseat while strapping Hercule down and putting the oxygen mask over him. How he got all of this information is a mystery to you.
"Take him to room 709. A patient checked out this morning so there should be enough room in there to squeeze him in," a young woman at the front desk directs and Hercule is pulled away on command. Before they can make it far, you appear in front of them and clutch the bed your semi-friend is laying in.
"Sir?" One of the escorts questions.
"Take him to a private room."
The young woman at the deck rushes over to you with a stern look on her dented face. "Excuse me, sir, but this is a hospital! Not just that, but the biggest one in all of East City! There are thousands of patients in this facility that haven't even had a chance to be examined yet, but considering your friend's condition, we are going to give him a brief checkup before he is brought into surgery later tonight. Listen to me when I say that one cannot simply ask for a private room and expect to get it. There are none available at this time!"
"No, that is unacceptable." You whip out your FBM Card from your coat pocket and wave it over her eyes. She gulps hard, recognizing the insignia on the card. "I said I want a private room. Make it happen."
"...Yes, sir. Right away!"
"And get him to surgery immediately. He won't make it until tonight at this rate." She nods and runs back to her desk, looking at a notepad in front of her. "Money is not an issue. I do not care how much his surgery and care costs. Just be sure it gets done properly or there will be hell to pay."
"Will do! Room 86 please." The escorts nod and rush Hercule straight down the hall, past a sign that says 'Rooms: 51-99,' and to the left soon after. You follow them into an empty room that has a vast amount of medical supplies, all set up and at the ready. Hercule is placed on a fancy bed and you are directed into the viewing room. Within minutes, a team of doctors walks into the room and begin working on Hercule with utmost confidence in their abilities.
You have a seat and turn away from the glass window that showcases Hercule's procedure. There is at a television in the corner of the room, so you flick it on, shocked to see it bringing you straight to the live broadcasting of the Worlds Martial Arts Tournament. Interestingly enough, the same announcers voice booms throughout the room at a volume that quakes the entire building. You grab the remote and turn it down to a reasonable volume.
"Tien Shinhan is moving incredibly today! His training in the last three years must have been rough, but look at the payoff!" roars the announcer, this time with a joyful attitude.
Looking at the match, Tien appears to be swaying from side to side, dodging each and every punch that is thrown by his relentless foe. The camera zooms in on Tien's face to show a confident smirk.
"This is incredible folks! Ten minutes into the match and King Chappa hasn't even landed one blow on the champion! OHHH!" The camera zooms out and you notice King Chappa rolling on the ground in pain, gripping his stomach while squealing like a girl.
"Stupid cameraman! Just record the damn fight without zooming in on people's faces! I didn't even get to see what happened..." You remark.
"With one swift punch, the champion jammed his fist into King Chappa's gut, successfully dropping him to the ground. What incredible power!"
"Indeed," the co-announcer begins. "And to think he managed to do that while still avoiding all of of Chappa's attacks. Mr. Shinhan truly is a frightening fighter."
"Indeed! Oh, right, the count! One! Two! Three! Four! Five! Six! Seven! Eight!" Just barely, King Chappa pushes himself to his feet. The camera zooms in on his face, sheer hatred glimmering from him.
"Hmm..." You think aloud. "Had the announcer counted when he was supposed to, Chappa wouldn't have gotten up in time."
King Chappa does a mass assortment of back flips, creating distance between Tien. However, the champion speed blitzes towards Chappa and quickly performs a skyward kick. Chappa stretches his entire body backwards just in time, avoids the kick, and retaliates with a direct punch to Tien's face. The world champion is pushed off the ground for a brief moment, but quickly regains his footing and skids back a few more feet, finally coming to a halt.
"An amazing counterattack by King Chappa! I'd expect nothing less from a participant of the Top 16!"
"We have quite a skillful batch of fighters this year, that's for sure."
"King Chappa jumps!" You stare at the screen and King Chappa plows down from the sky with his arms diagonally folded over each other as he prepares to strike Tien. World champion Tien Shinhan smirks briefly and throws up his arms in a similar position, only in preparation to block. Chappa swings his arms out and they crash into Tien's guard, creating an impact you can even see through the television.
"What power!" You hear the co-announcer call out from just outside the ring.
"How will the champ's body respond to such an attack?" wonders the announcer.
Tien's guard holds strong for a moment before shattering completely. Both of his arms blast backwards which leaves the champ open for an instant, allowing Chappa to follow up with a swift yet powerful kick to the jaw. With such movement and effort put into the attack, Chappa's entire body swings around vertically twice before he lands on the ground. Tien is blasted out of the ring but before he hits the bright green grass, halts himself in the air.
"What's this!?" The announcer calls out in shock. "King Chappa delivered such a deadly one-two, but the champ hasn't given up yet. He's using his famous levitating ability! An ability that is said to only be given to one in a million people!"
"Huh. Who knew Flying was so rare," you comment. Tien floats back into the ring and gently lands on his toes, arms folded across his chest. "There is quite a bit happening that the camera can't catch. How annoying."
Suddenly, Tien vanishes from the television's field of view. The next thing you notice is King Chappa drifting in the air with his head snapped backwards. Barely, you manage pick up on a gust of air that breezes just over Chappa's body, somehow exciting you. Not many people watching this know what is coming next. At an incredible speed, Chappa's entire body is launched down into the arena with a mild explosion. The cameraman has zoomed out so that he has a view of the entire ring and a great deal of the air, but Tien is still nowhere to be seen.
"Just where did the champ go? What is going on here?" Confused and excited, the announcer speaks.
"Incredible! That quick dash followed by an uppercut strong enough to launch Chappa at least fifty feet into the air! All within a second!" The co-announcer says in awe.
"Don't forget that attack he used in the air so fast that we couldn't even get a glimpse of! Whatever the champ did though, King Chappa's body is not agreeing with it!"
Just then, the camera zooms in on King Chappa lying flat on the ground. Blood is dripping from his mouth. Chappa rolls over onto his back and attempts to push himself up with his elbows. "One! Two! Three! Four! Five!"
"I think King Chappa might make it at this rate! Just where did the champ go?"
"Six! Seve-wha-!? It's Tien Shinhan!" the announcer roars in shock. The camera whips back and forth, attempting to locate Tien until he is finally seen plummeting down from the skies with one knee stretched out. Chappa's incoming screams creep into your ears. "The champ is coming down to finish things off!"
"AHHHHHHH!" Chappa screams so loud his voice overshadows the announcer's and booms through the television, awakening the dead. You gaze at the television in shock and stand up immediately after. Tien's knee crashed into King Chappa's own knee, completely shattering and dislocating the leg. Chappa is grappling his leg in pain with tears dripping out of his eyes, the camera now zoomed in on him and him alone.
"I can't say this was a surprising outcome, but the world champion has done it! Victory to Tien Shinhan!" The announcer says with what you can only imagine being a smile, bringing cheers of joy throughout the crowd. "And now lets give a hand to King Chappa for putting up such a fight against the champ!" The camera now zooms over to the audience who are chanting not only Tien's name, but Chappa's as well.
"We're going to need another doctor," says the co-announcer. "I'm not expert, but I don't think he'll ever be able to walk on this leg again. Ouch."
"And now, a few words from Tien Shinhan!" The announcer calls out as he rushes over to Tien, completely ignoring Chappa's condition.
You grab the remote and turn off the television. You came here to visit Hercule, not watch the tournament. Now gazing into the room where his surgery is still being performed, you sigh, refusing to take your eyes off of the process for one more second.
Hours pass by.
"The surgery was a complete success." You are informed by the doctor who was in charge of the operation. "Mr. Satan won't sustain any permanent damage, so when he does recover, he'll be in perfect shape!"
"But?" you comment, pessimistic about the entire situation.
"Well, the damage that your friend has sustained is quite serious. It will be at least two weeks before he even opens his eyes. Maybe another two before he is able to speak again, due to the injuries within his esophagus."
"But he'll fully recover?"
"Well done. How much do you want for the surgery?"
"Name an amount before I retract my offer."
"Ergh...maybe a hundred thousand?"
"Consider it done."
"Thank you, sir. I'll leave you to your friend now."
You walk into Room 86 and flick back on the television so that it is facing Hercule, just in case he wakes up. It appears that the fifth match is just starting now. That would mean that since you turned off the television a few hours ago, only one match was completed. You wonder what the hold up was but don't let it get to you.
The current match is a small and fragile girl named Videl who is up against a wall of muscle, General Rildo. He is easily quadruple her size, so if that is any indication, she will most likely be crushed into the ground. Hardly interested in this match, you lean back in your chair and gaze at Hercule.
Presently, he is simply laying flat on his back, probably enjoying the hell out of the bed he is resting in. Both eyes are gently closed. The damn fool looks so comfortable. He would probably get a kick out of you watching over him like this. Despite caring deeply about your comrades, you have always refused to let them know. Allowing such emotions to leak out of you is the last thing you want to do. Now is no exception. You shall make certain that Hercule will have never known you were here.
You gaze over to the television and see General Rildo holding Videl by the neck with one arm and jamming his fist into her face with the other. The amount of blood that squirts from her nose with each strike is almost unbelievable. That dumb girl should just forfeit. Videl is thrown into the air, but Rildo refuses to end his assault there. He jumps after her and bashes a fist into her lungs.
Videl coughs up blood and crashes into the ground. "One! Two!" The announcer begins counting. General Rildo lands just in front of the girl and picks her up by the neck, not allowing the match to end. "My goodness! General Rildo it out for blood! He won't even let Videl lose by knockout!"
A small beam shoots out of her palm and crashes into Rildo's face, which only seems to anger him. Rildo drops her by the neck and catches Videl by her short hair, pummelling her in the gut with all of his strength.
"Oh, the suffering," moaned the announcer. "It's like watching a young girl being beaten up by a giant muscular man!"
"Well, I wouldn't go that far," the co-announcer responds.
You lean back in your chair and mimic Hercule's actions, resting for the moment. Before realizing what happened, you snap your eyes open and there is a completely different scenery on the television. The beginning of the eighth round, apparently. You turn over to Hercule, who is in the same state as before.
Bored of sitting down and doing nothing, you stand up and stretch your legs. That power nap completely rejuvenated your strength for the upcoming match, not that you were at all weakened. You decide to leave the television on in case Hercule wakes up. Perhaps he'll do so in time to see you stomp Kyo Yamada into the ground, but it's doubtful.
Ready to take your leave, you give a small wave to the unconscious man and walk towards the door with your back facing him. "Later," you whisper.
Quietly, a muffled voice mutters from behind. "Kill that bastard..." Immediately, you whip around and gaze at Hercule in shock. He is still laying on his back, eyes closed, and in the same position. The doctor said it would be at least a few weeks before he wakes up, let alone speaks. It must have been your imagination.
You gently turn the nob on the door and close it behind you. Once you arrive at the front desk, you use your FBM Card to pay for all of the expenses and luxuries for Hercule. The young woman thanks you. Prepared to return to the world tournament for the second round, you exit the hospital and begin walking back. You don't dawdle, but your pace is far from quick.
Rain drops drip down from the sky and dampen your brisk hair. The dark clouds from earlier have taken an entirely new form. There is a storm coming, and soon. Perhaps one already came, which is why the matches were delayed. Perhaps you are simply over analyzing things. The walk takes about twenty minutes, but you finally arrive back at the stadium. The cheers from the audience are enormous.
Rather than deal with them all, you leap onto the nearest building and gaze into the arena. A familiar face in standing in the middle of it with one hand held up by the announcer, his opponent on the ground in front of him.
"Victory to Zita!" He yells as loud as ever.
"Zita...Zita...Zita...where do I know that name from?" You think aloud, still unsure of who this man is. "Meh. I'm sure I'll remember soon enough."
"And now, everybody, I would like to announce the qualifiers for the Top 8!" Cheers and shouts continue to increase in noise. What a rowdy crowd they are. "Would the Top 8 members please come out and join me in the ring!?" After a short wait, a group of participants step out of the confines of the indoor waiting room and step up into the ring.
The co-announcer yells, "Lets have one big cheer for the 8 strongest men in the world!"
Listening to his command, the audience roars one last time.
"Firstly, we have the former Red Ribbon Army employee, Zita! Next, Pretty Boy Zarbon overcame the odds and managed to defeat his opponent! Much to our surprise, the self proclaimed 'Lord' Bebi completely shut down the runner up for tor the 36th Triennial World Tournament, thus giving himself a well deserved slot in the Top 8!" The announcer clears his throat and continues. "It may have been a brutal fight, but a member of King Nefro's Royal Guard, General Rildo, soundly defeated the Mayor of East City's daughter."
"I should probably get down there..." You say, still looking down at the arena from above.
"The student of former World Champion Master Roshi, Goku, shocked us all by defeating his opponent in one punch! Of course, the champion of the world, Tien Shinhan, overcame his opponent without so much as breaking a sweat! In the match before him, Chief Executive Kyo Yamada of the Red Ribbon Army-"
"Boooooooo!" the audience shouts in rage.
"...Ergh, he won his match. And finally, Commander Kiryu of the Freeborn Military...where is he now?" Making a grand entrance, you hop down from the skies and land straight across from Mr. Yamada, your fur coat refusing to fall off. "Oh snap! Didn't expect him to randomly jump down from the skies. What a classy fellow!" Much to your surprise, the crowd is actually cheering for you. There must be a first time for everything. "And that folks, is our Top 8 for this year! What do you say we get the first round underway right now!?"
"Then lets get this going!" Six of the participants head back inside, Goku giving you a nod before he leaves, while you and Kyo Yamada stay outside, aware that it is finally time. "Commander Kiryu will face off against Kyo Yamada!" The announcer runs out of the ring and appears to get as far away as Kyo as possible. Whether or not this was done on purpose, you don't know.
The two of you walk back to the edge of the arena so there is a firm distance between you both. You, nor him, have taken an eye off of each other since your return. This man is going to learn a new definition of 'pain' today.
"Let this battle begin!" The announcer screams at the top of the lungs. The crowd is quiet, knowing that it would be beneficial for the person they are cheering for if they could focus without trouble.
A minute passes. Not a single movement has been made by either of you. He must be studying you as hard as you are examining him.
"What's wrong, trash? Too afraid to move after how badly I disgraced your friend?" Kyo taunts, trying to rile you up so your guard loosens.
"No, I will fight this man at full force. No distractions. No unwanted emotions. Whether he is worth it or not, I will not give him a second to breathe." Your aura flares radically as you ready yourself, preparing to make a swift dash. His guard isn't perfect. If you sprint towards him at full speed, you're confident that you can get at least one deadly blow into his rib cage. That is, if he isn't bluffing like Pitou once did.
How will you proceed?
A) Take the opportunity. Kyo isn't as smart of a fighter as Pitou was. Destroy his rib cage with a full powered strike.
B) Think two moves ahead. Pretend to fall into his bluff, but moments before he strikes you, dodge his attack and counter.
C) Be cautious. The fight has just begun. No need to rush things. Let him come to you.
D) Pretend to showcase an error in your guard to lure him in, countering once he falls for it.
E) Pretend to showcase an error in your guard but think two moves ahead. Predict that he will see through the bluff, and once he does, you'll be there to meet him!
1) Yes. Transform right now.
2) Yes, but only if he begins transforming himself.
3) Only if you are pressured enough and need to do so.
4) No. The tournament has only just begun. Wasting energy by transforming now can be detrimental later.
Author's Chapter Notes: