The fate of thousands of spectators rests in your hands. Even though you're known through infamy, the audience cheered you on relentlessly for the entire tournament. Many of them still refuse to leave despite everything that has happened. It just wouldn't feel right to let them die, especially when facing such an incompetent fighter such as Bebi.
"Earthquake!" Your fist collides into the ground and cracks surge across the ring, erupting beneath Bebi with a violent explosion. Falling backwards from the sudden shock, Bebi loses control over his blasts and they scatter into the skies, withering away into nothingness.
"Ergh! Screw you, Kir-"
Not caring about what Bebi has to say, you immediately rush over to him and slam your fist across his mouth. His cold blood slithers onto the tip of your knuckles as he crashes into the stone wall just outside of the arena. Red spit propels out of Bebi's mouth, painting the voluptuous field with a scent of malevolence and demise.
"Hmph," you crack your neck and bounce back and forth while each hand hovers just by your face.
"You're going to regret angering me." Bebi's cold eyes pierce deeply into your soul. His posture is weak and defenseless, but simply looking at his eyes is enough to tell anybody that he's serious. "Here I come."
The ground beneath you crumbles into every last atom. You and Bebi struggle to overpower one another, palms clutched together. Every bit of your strength is put forward, but it is ultimately useless against Bebi--who is now fighting at full power. A malefic Ki bursts out from the core of Bebi's aura, hurling you into the ground and burying your face into the cracked floorboards.
"Guh," blood spills out of your mouth with no container. Before you can make it to your feet, Bebi smashes his leg into your back, slamming you into the ground once again.
"Trash! Feel my wrath! I'm invincible!" Every time you push yourself up, Bebi thrusts his leg down and puts you right back in your place. "You put up a good fight, but the outcome was obvious from the start. Kiryu, you are no match for my unstoppa-"
Bebi is blown back by a sudden jolt of Ki, however, he retains his ground and sprints right back towards you.
Don't underestimate me you freak of nature! You slam two orbs of Ki together and fire a full powered "Wipeout Wave" at Bebi, which detonates on contact.
Before the smoke clears, Bebi leaps out of the nothingness and grapples your throat ruthlessly. He lifts you up off the ground, laughing psychotically all the while, and stretches one arm back. Slowly, a great deal of his bodily Ki is transferred into that same hand, increasing the power of the next attack.
Now's my chance! Acting swiftly, your leg darts into Bebi's unprotected chest. "Take tha-"
"Are you done yet?" Standing tall, in the same position as before, Bebi gawks at you menacingly. For the first time in a long time, you feel fear. This man won't stop by simply knocking you unconscious-no, he wants to kill you. You must not have been able to produce a strong enough attack to injure him-despite him being unprotected-due to your depleted stamina.
Aimlessly, you drift through the air until crashing outside of the arena. His attack smashed directly into your face-using enough fire power to destroy a mountain. Both of your extra arms disperse.
"Gwahahaha! This world is mine!"
"Didn't I tell you to be quiet?" Bebi sneers at you, hardly believing that you can still stand after taking such a powerful attack to the face. Upon a closer inspection, he comes to the conclusion that you aren't any more damaged than you were before. "Discard." A radiant aura brushes by and the last bit of your Ki vanishes.
"How are you st-GAHH!" Roaring at the top of your lungs, you dig your elbow deeper into his gut with sheer physical power. Bebi grabs your head and squeezes it with everything he has, using his nails to dig deeper into your skull. Bits of blood drip down onto the floor for the first time since the outset of this battle.
Still, you press deeper into Bebi's gut until he cannot take the pain anymore. After showing you his war cry, he blast two beams just past you to escape from your attack. You blitz after him at full throttle (unable to use the actual Speed Blitz technique at this point), but suddenly an idea pops into your head once you notice that Bebi's entire body is being supported by the two beams now that his legs have left the ground.
Skin peels off of your forearms from intercepting Bebi's emergency escape blasts, but they eventually explode and Bebi slows down until he involuntarily falls onto his back.
"No!" he yells, finding himself stuck. He pokes his head up and glares at you menacingly, trying to scare you away from attacking him.
A capsule is picked out of your pocket and thrown a few feet above your head. When it opens, a gigantic blade falls to the ground and dents it upon impact. Bebi's eyes widen and his attempt to escape reaches a new height, but he is unable to break free now that you have his arms and legs trapped in the ground.
"Kiryu! Stop this! I forfeit! I forfeit! I'll do anything! Just don't-"
"The only thing you can do for me is die." Two bracelets are tied onto your wrists; a gigantic flame blazes around one hand and a bolt of electricity surges across the other.
You stretch your arms back and they massively grow in size. Thousands of fans cry out in joy as you sprint towards Bebi and prepare to unleash the finishing blow.
"Wait. No, no, no no no no no!"
"Lightning Fire Bulldozer!"
Screeches of agony are heard from Bebi-his entire body rips out from the ground and spirals in the brick wall separating the tournament arena and the audience stands. Upon contact, he shatters through the wall and bounces twenty feet before his face slides into a puddle of mud. Your name echoes throughout the entire city.
Haaa...haaa...stay down this time...
"Kiryu! Kiryu! Kiryu!"
"You did it! You're our saviour!"
"Great job! You deserve it!"
Compliments of all kinds are thrown your way, but you pay little attention to the fan support. Suddenly your legs give out and you drop onto your knees, sweating wildly, but still manage to raise one hand in the air to declare victory.
To confirm Bebi's defeat, you pull out your Scouter and strap it on. It swiftly reads Bebi's power which confirms that that single attack put him down for the count. What trash.
The announcer appears by your side and helps lift you up off the ground. "Congratulations Kiryu! I hereby declare you the World Champion of the 37th World Martial Arts Tournament!"
"Heh," you look into the audience and smile faintly. Up on a nearby tree, you notice that Myst is leaning back with his hands folded. The two of you make eye contact but no words are said.
"So Champion, tell us, how does it feel to win such a prestigious event?"
"...Tiring." The crowd laughs. You take the microphone from the announcer's hands and put it up to your lips. "I don't see myself returning to another tournament so don't expect to see me here again at the 38th. What you all witnessed first hand is a once in a life time experience. Rejoice. I'd like to thank you all for cheering me on throughout the tournament. On behalf of the Freeborn Military, I'll say one thing: a new era has come. Either take part or watch how it unfolds, I don't care, but note that the world is experiencing a paradigm shift. For good or for bad, this next year will change the shape of all of your lives. Until next time, farewell..."
Leaving the crowd astonished and confused, you turn around and begin heading back inside. The announcer thanks everybody for coming and concludes the 37th World Martial Arts tournament relatively quickly, chasing after you as soon as everything was wrapped up.
"Kiryu! Wait up!" Now inside, you stop and face the announcer. "The prizes for winning the tournament. It's policy not to announce it live because of bandits and thieves, but I have it all here."
"Yeees, so what is the prize this year anyway? If it ever changes, that is."
"Of course, every year it's different. You already ate the Senzu Bean, but there are three other prizes." First, the announcer hands you a cheque of five-hundred thousands dollars. Quite a large sum for the average person, but practically pocket change to you. "Next, we have this mysterious item called a 'Book of Secret Arts.' For a champion such as yourself, it might come in handy. Use it and you'll be able to learn a brand new technique which not even I know what it contains."
"Huh, that's interesting." You take the book and slip it into your Capsule along with the Elemental Bracelets and Great Sword that you took out. Sirens go off in the distance, signalling the arrival of the ambulance. They must have come to take Bebi to hospital. If this city still had a proper police force, they Red Ribbon Army would probably have him arrested for what he attempted to do today. Sadly, he'll probably get off scotch free.
"So that's it?" You ask.
"Oh, one more thing," says the announcer while he digs into his trusty pouch-strapped onto his belt. The man pulls out a shiny orb, bright orange in colour, with the insignia of 4 stars on the top. Is that the Dragon Ball that Rem spoke of? How did this guy get one!? "I'm not quite sure this is, but it washed up on the beach one day. Anyway, with unique material and beautiful texture, I'm sure you can sell it for a high price!"
Gently and cautiously, you pry the orb from his hands and safely tuck it into the limitless confines within your Capsule. "Wow, thanks for everything."
"You deserve it. I don't know what you were talking about when you mentioned that paradigm shift thingy, but you put on a great show and saved the lives of many from that psychopath. In fact, if you didn't do that, I think future tournaments might have been cancelled altogether!"
"Possibly. If people were ended up too afraid to come back, I'm sure the organization would take a hit-financially speaking."
"I'll be heading out now," you give a wave to the announcer and swiftly walk out the back door of the stadium. When you get on the streets, the city seems to have quieted down from the excitement of the tournament. Nearly every group of people you pass by wave and point over towards you. At least in this city, you have exchanged the infamous reputation you had with a famous one. How did I get so infamous anyway? What the hell did I do that made people think I was evil?
A gust of wind sweeps by you. Standing outside of the hospital that Hercule-and every injured fighter that participated in the tournament-resides, you take a deep breath and prepare to head in. Making surprise visits to people that aren't expecting you is one of the most awkward things a person can do. This is the reason you don't like making friends.
With all of your strength, you push forward and step into the hospital. Surprisingly this place is even more crowded than it was earlier, which is all the more beneficial to you as nobody is gawking at you intently. After a short walk, you end up just outside Hercule's room. Sighing heavily, you decide to open the door and walk on in.
"Yo," Hercule greets you. In one hand, he is lifting a bulky dumbbell; in the other, eating a sandwich. Compared to earlier, he is looking much better. If it weren't for the bandage wraps covering his body, he would seem to be in perfect condition. Next to him is a radio that one of the nurses must have brought in for him. "Nice job on winning the tournament."
"Isn't it a bit early for you to be working out?
"Early? Naw, if I uh, wait too long, then I'll start to lose my muscle mass. Not like there is anything better to do here," he finishes, stuffing the remainders of his sandwich into his mouth and chewing obnoxiously.
"Fair enough," you respond while pulling up a chair and having a seat next to his bed. "I'll be heading back to Headquarters tomorrow or the day after. Figured I'd say goodbye now since it could be a while until we see each other next."
"Bleh, hospital food sucks." Hercule pulls out a napkin and spits a great deal of his half-chewed food into it. "But uh, going back so soon?"
"No time to relax."
"True," he agrees. "By the way, were you here earlier?"
"...No," you reply after a short pause.
Hercule smiles as he nods, almost chuckling to himself. "Ah, my bad."
"How long until you get out of here anyway?"
"Doctors don't know. They practically fainted after seeing me awake, so there medical expertise obviously don't mean much for people like us, eh? Haha."
"Hercule," you fold both your hands over each other and look him straight in the eyes. He heightens his focus and waits for you to continue. "Why don't you join the Freeborn Military?"
"I'm honored, really. It's just..." He looks away, slightly embarrassed. "I can't, I mean, it just isn't right for me right now. I dedicated my entire adult life to the Red Ribbon Army, risked my life countless times, obeyed orders that I didn't agree with, etcetera. Point I'm trying to make is--I just ain't in the right mindset to do that again. Staying here in East City is best for me, for now, at least."
You accept his answer, but can't help but frown for a second; Hercule doesn't seem to notice. "Just thought I'd ask. Well, I guess I'll be heading out now."
"Kiryu," interrupts Hercule just when you stand up, "You want to take Red Ribbon down, right?"
"Listen then." Once again, you have a seat. "An old colleague of mine, deceased now, did happen to mention something to me."
"Besides the point. He got promoted when I failed to successfully bring you back to HQ for various reasons. Anyway, this guy ended up coming to me afterwards-this was after I got demoted, which let him end up passing me in rank-and apologized to me about something."
"He said that he ordered his subordinate to let you escape. Of course, I was furious with him and kicked his ass! After that though, we ended up talking about Red Ribbon's corruption. Once I realized that he was trying to make it to the top for the greater good of humanity, I discarded my anger and decided to join him."
Rings a bell...
"I started doing what he told me to. We screwed over a lot of people in order for him to rise in the ranks, and he did. In only a few months, he reached the rank of Executive."
"My old rank?"
"Yeah, and this guy did it fast. Once you get that high up, you start getting access to the really good information. The Executives and Chief Executives are the Red Ribbon Army's main attack force, as you know, so you only get missions that are absolutely crucial. You know, things that need to get done"
"I know all this."
"Just listen, just listen," he reassures you. "The guy got a hold of information about a Chief Executive named Phoenix Graham. Supposedly, he was vital to some big mission that President Red's advisers (the Fleet Executives) had cooking, so they had plans to promote him immediately. Only problem, he was captured by none other than you guys!"
"Which is why Iceburg requested that the FBM have him killed."
"Yeah! Wait, how did you know his name?"
"Doesn't matter, continue."
"Oh, okay. Well, Iceburg never did find out what that big mission was, nor did he get his wish of Phoenix getting killed. Now that you guys returned him, whatever scheme they have going on is no doubt in action, which must be why the Red Ribbon Army suddenly disappeared from so many cities across the globe. They need all their forces in order to do whatever they have going on, so they threw away all their public responsibilities. You know?"
"Hercule, little of this is news to me."
"Iceburg did find out one thing though. He overheard a meeting not too long ago and supposedly, the one who killed President Red was one his own advisers--Geo Klush. What they desire is not money nor power. The Red Ribbon Army holds the strongest military force on the planet-nobody can compete with them. This is just a hunch, but I'm pretty sure that they already consider themselves as the planet's rulers. Organizations like the FBM are just insects compared to them, no offense, so what else could they want?"
"Slavery? Sadistic fulfillment through the suffering of others? Full control over the world? Uhm, I don't know, unlimited resources?"
"None of the above, apparently. In this meeting, according to Iceburg, many of the Fleet Executives spoke of 'using' the 'wish' for the advancement of Earth's technology. He also heard something to the extent of 'with technological knowledge comes power'."
"...Is that true?"
Hercule nods gravely. "Iceburg told me this a few days before he died. I had already quit at that point, but we remained in contact."
"They'll turn over the entire world until they get their wish." Carefully, you clutch your Capsule--holding one of the seven Dragon Balls within. "Be careful, Kiryu," he warns once you stand up and turn away.
"You too. If they find out what you know, you'll be killed."
"...Damn, I never thought of that. **** just got real."
"Heh," you walk towards the door and push it open. After giving one last wave to Hercule, you step out into the hallway and safely close the door.
Everything around you is blocked out by your senses until you find yourself walking in a realm that nobody can disturb. Why do they wish to vastly reform their scientific knowledge? No, it doesn't matter! I won't let you have your way--Red Ribbon!
End Of The Tournament Arc...!
- 3 Achievement Points Unlocked. Current Points: 3.
- Kiryu's New Battle Power: 183,000.
Author's Chapter Notes: