Chun-Li awoke the next morning, brushed her teeth and carefully dressed in a Chinese style blue shirt and tight long pants. She was just about to walk out the door when she remembered that she hadn't put on her bracelets. Grabbing the bracelets of the bedside table and putting them on, she looked out the window and nearly had a heart attack. Casually hanging upside down and looking right back into her seventeenth floor room was Ibuki with a grin on her face.

"What are you doing?" Proclaimed Chun-Li jumping back.

Ibuki just waved and continued to grin, as if she did this every day.

"I'll meet you downstairs." Chun-Li said awkwardly. And with that, she left her hotel room.

Meeting outside on the busy street a couple of minutes later, the two girls greeted each other and hailed down a cab.

The cab driver smelt strongly of cigarettes and sake as Ibuki gave him the directions in Japanese.

No more than five minutes of dangerous driving, had they arrived outside a large modern hall.

Ibuki and Chun-Li split the taxi cost and handed over the money. As he drove off Chun-Li heard him talking to himself in Japanese, picking up only one word, which sounded like 'cosu-play'.

Entering the hall was like walking into another Tokyo. This hall was the Registry office for the upcoming tournament. But unlike most registries or offices for that matter, this one was brimming with fighters from all over.

Chun-Li spotted Benimaru and beckoned him over. "Where is Shingo?" Ibuki asked.

"He can't make it." Benimaru replied unsympathetically. "His grandmother's ill."

Chun-Li and Ibuki both looked solemn for one minute then asked about what they were going to do for a fourth fighter in their team.

"Well," Started Benimaru running this fingers through his hair. "That's why I was here earlier, asking questions and such. We don't actually need a fourth person. It was just as a sort of precaution."

The two girls seemed satisfied with this answer, and all three of them eventually moved up the line to register. A girl at a computer took their names then informed them that their first fight would take place in half an hour at the north wing.

Benimaru explained to the puzzled girls that many different fights were going on in different areas of the hall today. This was somewhat like a tournament in itself. The men and women in suits watched those fighting and chose the winning teams. Only the winners would go on through to the actual tournament.

Past the drab lines and hopeful fighters, the three crossed the main hall and into a smaller northern room which was much like a dojo.

There was another group of three fighters in the room, obviously who Benimaru, Ibuki and Chun-Li would be up against first.

Sitting in a corner opposite the other team, they stretched and readied themselves. Ibuki in deep meditation on the matted floor, Benimaru clicking his fingers impatiently so that bright blue sparks flew out from them, and Chun-Li stretching her legs, then tapping her shoes on the ground to make sure they were on properly.

In half an hour, three judges silently walked in, took seats facing the padded platform where the fighting was about to take place, then read out the names of the first contestants. "Leona and Chun-Li."

Two women stepped up, Chun-Li, assuming her Tai Chi stance while Leona took a more westernised boxing stance.

Leona obviously had a harsh personalitly from the way she held herself and her khaki uniform shirt, matching shorts and combat boots. She was about the same height as Chun-Li, but her long blue hair gave the illusion that she was slightly taller. Her face was hardened and angular in concentration and Chun-Li could tell she was an experienced fighter.

"Fight!" Echoed the voice of one of the judges.

Leona ran straight in at those words, fist cocked back and eyes blankly fixated on Chun-Li. She threw her punch, but Chun-Li weaved out of it's way like a bamboo stem in the breeze, gracefully countering with a series of lightning fast kicks to Leona's body.
Leona fell fast to the floor, her limp body slightly rebounding of the mats.

Chun-Li had not expected it to end so quickly. She wanted to have a little fun before she claimed her victory, but never the less; another fighter was on his way once Leona was carried out of the room.

"Clark!" Rang the voice of one of the judges. A tall, broad shouldered man stood onto the platform. Wearing all black and tinted sunglasses, he flexed his muscles and towered over Chun-Li.

"Fight!"

Out of nerves more than anything else, Chun-Li started off this fight. Leaping in the air, whipping her leg around and connecting her foot straight onto the side of Clark's face.

The speed of the kick was matched only by its power and it sent Clark's sunglasses flying off in black glistening shards, although he didn't budge.

His grey eyes pierced Chun-Li as she landed, not noticing his leg coming around and tripping her flat on her back on, giving her just enough time to roll out of the way of his shoulder crashing down towards her.

She rolled onto her feet and pulled off a series of swift back flips that cut through the air. Landing her final back flip sitting in a meditation position, she waited until she heard Clark's heavy footsteps thumping towards her, then attacked at the precise moment, her body elevating into the air whilst delivering an assault of spinning acrobatic kicks that made her seem as if she were dancing mid air before finishing with a bow to her knocked out dance partner.

Chun-Li came back to where she was; she could now hear the cheers of Ibuki and Benimaru. Chun-Li was almost startled that the fight had finished so quickly. One of the judges rushed over and handed them an envelope and a quick congratulations before heading out with the remaining member of their opposing team who threw his red bandanna on the floor in disappointment.

"We're in! We're in!" Exclaimed Ibuki in a hyperactive manner.

"Didn't we have to win three out of three?" Chun-Li said questioningly as if she had just exited from an extremely boring play rather than a fight.

"No, these preliminaries are just the best out of three." Benimaru answered with a massive grin on his face.

...

Over the next few days, Benimaru, Chun-Li and Ibuki were in preparation. Ibuki no longer had her childish charm and spent most days training and meditating in silence. Chun-Li was fairly similar although she tended to talk slightly more, while Benimaru was his usual, loud, laughing, trying to act cool, self.

When the day of their first match rolled around, the fighters met in the arena a little earlier. Although a full hour early, the crowd had already witnessed a number of fights already. Down the corridors and in the fighters' locker room, the roaring of the crowd could be heard. All eager to fight, Chun-Li was sitting on a chair, her arms folded and her head down in silent thought. She was wearing a variation of a her traditional Chinese outfit in a pale red colour and her favourite white boots. Ibuki had her ninja outfit on and was unintentionally cracking her knuckles while Benimaru just slouched against the wall, wearing his jeans and half a black shirt (which was what he described as a good luck ritual when the girls sardonically asked if he had accidentally slipped on a child's shirt instead.)

Breaking the silence of the locker room and the crowds feint murmur was a cool female voice announcing the beginning of the next match.

The three fighters walked down a short corridor onto the arena, facing the cheering crowd in all its voracity for more fighting. Bright lights shown down on the arena's floor and the air was mixed with the stench of people and nerves.

The first fight began sooner than expected. Ibuki versus a Japanese girl named Athena. She stepped onto the stage and bowed to an expressionless Ibuki. Each and every fighter in the room was feeling the force of this young girl's energy. It seemed as if she were in control of such a strong and powerful aura. A great smile was planted on her delicate round face with the sparkling whites of her teeth making her colourful outfit that much more dazing. Athena was definitly a force to be reckoned with.

As they both assumed fighting stances, Athena tossed her beautiful head of long hair back and winked to Ibuki.

"Fight!" Echoed a voice over the loud speakers.