Benimaru was mid twenties, obviously tall although sitting down in a bath and had great spikes of blonde hair which he continuously ran his fingers through. Shingo was a younger Japanese high school student. He had short brown hair and a continual playful look in his eyes and a mischievous (although not quite an evil genius) type grin.
Both enjoying the heat and playing with the water, their cares turning to vapour like that surrounding them, Benimaru noticed that they weren't the only ones enjoying the steam and water.
An old man, an 'extremely elderly man' in Benimaru's opinion, was sitting across from Shingo and himself, seemingly captivated by the television game show. Benimaru was quite certain that he may not have been so old in fact, but had just been sitting in a hot tub for quite some amount of time, five years perhaps. His skin was lined, wrinkled and had an odd yellow tinge to it. His head was decorated with three or four blacks hairs sticking out at odd angles, he had forgotten to take his shabby robes off before he got in the water and he also appeared to have just one arm.
Benimaru was sure this man had not been here at least five minutes ago.
When Benimaru had a second glance, he noticed that this man was no longer watching the television, but asleep. Benimaru watched in amazement and disgust as his head lolled and a bubble escaped from his nose.
Benimaru turned to make this aware to Shingo (who was now out of the bath and kneeling on the tiles, peeking through a hole in the wall that lead to the female bathing area) but as he turned back around, the bathroom was deserted.
"Shingo! Now's not the time!" Echoed Benimaru's voice.
Shingo reluctantly got up.
"And for the love of god, put a towel on!"
It was a regular bustling morning in Tokyo, Japan. A sea of people hurrying and dawdling, blaring noises and techno sounds echoing from gaming arcades and high price shops and amidst all this, standing calmly outside a shabby, takoyaki takeaway restaurant as if she were the only person on earth, was a beautiful girl, early twenties and attired in traditional Chinese dress except for white, lace-up boots and playing a hand held videogame.
"Hey Chun-Li san!" called a young and hyped up voice from some where amongst the street.
"Hey Chun-Li san, look up!" Said a teenage girl slightly louder than before.
"Oh, Good morning Ibuki." She replied, turning of her game and shoving it into a backpack.
Ibuki was slightly shorter than Chun-Li and slightly younger. A few strands of her long dark hair fell gracefully over her eyes and apart from that and her long ponytail Ibuki was in full traditional Japanese dress in a red kimono and wooden clogs.
"You look really nice Ibuki!" Chun-Li said eyeing her red kimono. "Maybe I should get one, I guess I kinda stand out dressing like this."
Chun-Li was not wrong, businessmen and teenage boys couldn't help but glance twice, although it wasn't exactly what she was wearing that they were interested in.
"I'd let you have this if my mother wasn't so obsessed with me 'dressing like a lady'." Ibuki said gloomily referring to the kimono.
The tune of a popular video game opening scene could faintly be heard. Ibuki's cell was calling. Rummaging around in her sleeves trying to find it she said, "Please hold these." And handed over a handful of kunai daggers to Chun-Li. "And these." Another hand full. "And...the -" Chun-Li had a worried look on her face expecting to be handed more daggers that she'd have to conceal from the general public around her, but to her relief Ibuki pulled out her phone instead.
"Moshi-Moshi." She said brightly. "Ah, cool... Okay... See ya."
"That was, Benimaru, he's also going to meet up with us." Chun-Li smiled. "Shall we get going then?" Handing back the large amount of daggers. Ibuki rolled up her sleeve to check her watch and quickly concealed the weaponry. It was three minutes past seven.
"Sure." She said. "I'll need to stop for breakfast on the way though."
"Thought you'd never ask." Said Chun-li with a smile and a hand rubbing her stomach.
-Meanwhile a few streets up-
"How awesome!" Said a teenage high school girl to her somewhat less than interested friend. "I love street fighting!" She pulled a long piece of white cloth out of her bag and tied it around her forehead yet still not taking an eye of the fight. The fight was taking place on quickly assembled arena with a slightly cushioned floor, raised a few feet of the ground and a couple metres in length. A small, middle-aged man with a microphone was commentating on every move but little could be heard over the roaring crowd.
On the left side of the arena was a slouched over young man with straight blue hair that came down to his shoulders, a black leather jacket and an expressionless face who was weaving in and out of an assault of fast and swooping kicks, thrown with such power that he was steadily being backed into a corner. The owner of these kicks was none other than Hong Kong martial arts actor Fei Long.
Fei Long bearing his signature Kung Fu attire and lack of a shirt had a grin on his face and every now and then in the middle of his attack would turn and wink to the crowd.
The surly looking blue haired fighter noticing this opening, crouched low, waited for the exact moment of his opponent's careless address to the crowd and
"THhwaak" He jumped backwards extending his body to full length, kicked Fei Long powerfully across the torso before back flipping mid air and landing effortlessly on both feet.
"Thud" Fei long landed hard on his back but quickly rolled backwards and back onto his feet, clearly agitated and startled about what just happened.
At this point in time Chun-Li and Ibuki had pushed their way through the crowd excited to see what was happening whilst finishing their breakfasts.
Fei Long now standing in a more defensive stance but the blue haired stranger was walking down the steps no longer wanting to fight.
"Hey! What's up with this?!" Fei Long yelled loudly. The crowd had now quietened down and the commentator could be heard. The blue haired fighter was named Remy.
"I choose to end zis on my own terms." He spoke coolly and calmly with his back towards Fei Long.
"Gan ni nia!" Fei Long swore. But it was no use. Remy just walked away.
The crowd was thinning now whilst the arena was being packed up. But a group fans had swamped Fei Long for autographs (Which he didn't seem to mind about).
Chun-Li and Ibuki slightly disappointed to miss the fight continued on their way. After ten minutes of walking about the central Tokyo streets and talking about 'alternative hairstyles that don't get in the way of fighting' they came across a small gaming arcade.
The ground floor brimming with people playing and wasting their yen while the floor above, billiard tables and a small restaurant.
They found a table near a window, overlooking the street below. Shortly after they had been seated along came Benimaru Nikaido and Shingo Yabuki. Benimaru eyeing his electrically charged hair in every reflective surface and Shingo glancing around every couple of seconds as if expecting someone.
Benimaru was wearing jeans and a jacket, while Shingo was sporting his usual fighting wear; gloves and a headband imitating that of Kyo Kusangi and a blue track suite.
"Hey guys." The two girls chimed.
"Hey." Benimaru and Shingo replied. "Kusangi san isn't coming is he?" Shingo continued glancing around his shoulder looking hopeful. "How many times do I have to tell you Shingo? Kyo's out with Yuki!" Sighed Benimaru.
With Ibuki and Chun-Li trying to suppress their giggles, Chun-Li managed to say "Hey Shingo maybe you should ask Kyo out, that way you'll get a lot more attention!"
Everyone began to laugh, except Shingo who didn't seem to notice, still looking around for Kyo.
"So anyway" Ibuki began "what did you call us here for Benimaru?" "Yeah I was wondering the same thing." Said Shingo no longer looking about but now staring avidly at Benimaru. Benimaru smiled. "Well I've caught wind of this from Daimon back in Kyoto." And he placed a small, carved wooden scroll on the table. Benimaru sat back in his seat looking relaxed while the others glanced at each other then stared at Benimaru.
Chun-Li picked it up, unravelled it and seeing it was in Japanese, handed it over to Ibuki.
"King of Fighters inc. brings its exciting tournament to Tokyo." Ibuki began aloud whilst brushing aside the few strands of hair obscuring her view. "Those entering must assemble a four fighter team consisting of one substitute. The rest is just legal mumbo-jumbo." Ibuki finished, scanning the rest of the sheet then proceeding to order another punnet of ice cream from a nearby vending machine.
"So, think this is a pretty good team?" Said Benimaru clicking his fingers and sending bright blue sparks into the air. The discussion went on about the tournament and their agreement.
The four left after a while, Shingo and Benimaru caught a train back to Shinjuku and Ibuki and Chun-Li continued with a little more sight seeing. As the sun began to set on the city, the rays catching the pollution in the air making poisonous looking pink clouds, the many neon lights flickering on, a whole new species of people emerged.
Ibuki escorted Chun-Li back to her hotel and left for where she was staying the night.
Ibuki walked by a noisy street full of karaoke bars, down a dirty old alley and into a full speed run. With a red blur and a swishing sound, passing stray cats and leaving them with only a slight breeze and a mystified look in their glowing eyes. She leapt, kicked off a brick wall with one foot, soaring through the air and landing silently, despite hefty wooden clogs, on top of a building.
She glanced about, then began another run, jumping from rooftop to rooftop as agile as a cat and as silent as a tanuki with just the faintest sound coming from the kimono billowing in the breeze, revealing a ninja costume.
Leaping from a low rooftop at full speed, flying momentarily and grasping onto a rafter like a piece of bamboo, she dropped from rafter to fire escape ladder, wrapping her leg around the ladder and swinging herself into a somersault and landing on the footpath right in front of a bath house and stepped through the doors.
The only person to notice a small girl just appear there, was a elderly old man with his pants up to his waist, walking past (he just smiled at Ibuki and continued on his way).
The bath house had an upper level made up of several small apartments. Ibuki had been staying here around three months whilst she was training in Tokyo and yet it appeared as if she had been staying there all her life.
There was a pile of dirty dishes in the sink, wires and console controllers were scattered over the small living room area and gashapon figurines were positioned over most available flat surface.
Ibuki was about to spend this night training in urban Tokyo. But before she was about to, she decided to take a bath. She changed into jeans and a t-shirt, hung her kimono and weapons away and set down stairs with a towel.
The bathing area smelt strongly of herbal salts and was very warm and steamy. Ibuki undressed, placed her clothes in a small basket and went on into the main bathroom. She had a quick shower then slid into the warm water. The steam made her usual protruding jagged fringe droop lifelessly onto her face and turned her chubby cheeks feint shade of pink.
She rested in the water for a while then decided she wanted to try a different bath.
She got out a wrapped the towel around her, and mischievously crept out and around the corner into the private bathing area. It was deserted so Ibuki slid in the water, enjoying her little rebellion. She looked around; it was bigger, warmer and all in all more extravagant. This private bathing area was for those who paid extra and was mainly used by sumo.
Gazing dreamily at the wall, which was painted with a blue samurai and a rising sun behind him, she came out of dreaming, startled by an old man in the bath across from her. Her hands shot quickly across her chest and she crossed her legs, covering her naked body, but the old man didn't seem to notice.
Ibuki was now starting to wonder where this man had come from.
"He definitely wasn't there when I came in." She thought to herself,
He had very old, wrinkled and slightly green skin, a few black hairs and one arm. To top it all of he was wearing clothes in the bath.
The door sliding open and a tall middle-aged man coming in to use the bath once again interrupted Ibuki's train of thought (although there was some relief to the fact that it wasn't a sumo).
Using her ninja skills, she sped from the bath, wrapped her towel around herself and jumped onto the ceiling, balancing herself at an extremely odd angle by having her hands on the ceiling and her feet on the wall.
To her great surprise, when she waited for the tall man to hop into the bath, the old strange man was also gone. She fervently scanned the room, but he was nowhere to be seen.
Making sure the tall man was deeply preoccupied with his bath, Ibuki silently dropped from the ceiling, ran out the private bathroom, grabbed her clothes from the women's bathroom and ran up the stairs to her apartment.
Her heart was thumping- she was having fun. Changing into her ninja gear, locking the door behind her and leaping from the fire escape onto a nearby roof, the full moon hovering above the many skyscrapers reflected in her brown eyes. She watched the moon for a moment then dived off the rooftop, disappearing into the shadows.