AN: A detail in this story deviates from the DOA canon world, but I just found it out recently, and I had a bunch of chapters done by then. But if you don't see it…don't worry about it. Thanks! =)
Disclaimer: Thank TeamNinja, Tomonobu Itagaki, and Tecmo, please.
Leifang was confizzled.
Someone else's words, not hers…But let's not get ahead of ourselves.
Leifang was confused.
Here she was, on a virtually deserted pathway off Main St. Tokyo, and she swore the storekeeper said to go left for the shortcut back to the hotel.
It was nighttime. It was chilly. And it was a dead end ahead of her.
But that wasn't the only reason she was baffled.
It was a new year, and a fresh start. She was at a good place in her life. Another semester of college was coming up, and she'd always been an ace student. She finally got her own apartment back home, and was so happy her parents were out of her hair. And she got to spend a summer abroad in Japan. But something was missing.
A piece of her identity, having everything to do with fighting, felt lacking.
Yes, there was a new DOA tournament as well. That was why she was in Japan in the first place: to try and prove herself, again, but most of all, to defeat one person. Jann Lee.
Leifang frowned. If she was at the point where she was talking to herself, she was more sleep-deprived than she realized.
She looked around her at the end of the street, but it was just brick walls and a chain fence. "I should've just taken a cab." She picked at her sandal strap, which had folded and was making her even more irritable, as she hopped to stay upright. Sighing, she turned around and headed toward the next alley over. This was not a dead end.
Actually, it was so dark and narrow, it swallowed moonlight…and she could not tell if it ever ended…
But if she didn't get home soon, her parents would wonder why she took so long, and she'd have to explain that she skipped the young socialite's gala for an extra fighting lesson.
14-year old Leifang walked briskly down the alleyway shortcut to her district so preoccupied with her tardiness, that she almost walked into a heavyset gang leader.
"Well look what we have here. What's the hurry, girlie?" he leered.
She sighed, and turned around to find herself surrounded by seven…eight men.
Leifang rolled her eyes, implying boredom to her assailants; but on the inside she was really excited, anxious for the thrill of battle. Outnumbered? No problems here for the top Tai Ji Quan student in this province of China.
Crouching, she waved her arms around her in a gesture to confuse the enemy. "Try to make this interesting for me, ok?" she requested. The men laughed at her. Typical. But they wouldn't be laughing for long.
The head thug lunged towards her. She tensed for impact, ready to counterattack, when suddenly the leader fell like a stone. A shrill battle cry pierced the evening as Leifang witnessed another fall at the hands of a gaunt young man.
She gaped at his speed, marveled at his finesse as he used the least amount of effort to do the most damage on the much heavier grown men. One by one he took them all out. He couldn't be more than a few years older than herself!
After what seemed like ages, but was really a few brutal moments, she snapped out of it.
"Hey mister!" She stomped up to him.
He turned around, and her heart stopped. Her stomach flipped.
"Yeah?" He looked mildly puzzled.
Her look hardened and she pointed her finger in his face. "Just so you know, I had everything under control before you showed up!"
He raised an eyebrow. "I guess you're alright then."
"Of course I am, no thanks to you," she said, holding her head higher.
"No offense, but your rich, spoiled self would have been destroyed if it wasn't for me," he said, massaging his shoulder.
Her cheeks flushed. "Now wait just a rice-picking minute!" she said, affronted at his gall, and embarrassed at how obvious it was that she wasn't from this neighborhood. She, in her crisp linen skirt and pigtails stuck out like a sore thumb. "Who do you think you are?"
"A simple thank you would've sufficed," he said, walking away.
"I would've," she said, from a few paces behind, "If you'd done me a favor! I can take care of myself just fine. It was none of your business, to—"
He turned around and trotted off. She didn't follow him, and she didn't catch his name, but she did see the emblem emblazoned on his shirt.
"I will defeat you, someday."
Leifang decided to take her chances walking down the alley, hoping it would lead to the DOA hotel.
That evening in China was so long ago. At the risk of sounding clingy, she still hadn't lived up to her vow.
Jann Lee had taken out that gang, and she certainly had not cried for help, like her helpless snobby schoolmates would've. She definitely wasn't a brat, like he had stereotyped her to be.
But was it fair to blame him? Jann Lee didn't do anything wrong. Sure, he probably didn't rescue her because he cared about being a good citizen; it was more likely because he wanted to show off his strength, or something. But despite the skewed motive, the action had to count for something, right?
"Maybe I should reevaluate my reasons for competing," she muttered.
Leifang froze. She had heard a clicking noise in the darkness.
She held her breath, straining to hear more than the deafening silence. Then—
"Give me the purse, dollface." Blunt, cold metal was pressed into her back.
She clutched her bag…and something in her snapped. She spun around, knocking him in the face with the brass embellished purse. She high-kicked, sending the gun skittering in the darkness somewhere behind her, then shoved him in the chest with both closed fists.
Leifang could not see the offender, but she could hear him scattering. She panted, listening hard for any more threats. Her heart was beating furiously; another attack on her in an alley, and no chance for her to redeem herself—
"You coward! You little jerk! Come back here!" she screamed, frustrated.
"You keep yelling like that, and he will. And he'll bring friends too."
Leifang spun around, searching frantically. Her skin prickled.
The clouds parted a little, cutting across the inky black and blue shadows. A little further down the alley she saw a vagrant wearing tattered clothes. He had come out of a nook that was the small gap between two buildings.
"Excuse me?" she asked breathlessly.
"Not that I don't think you could handle it, judging by your moves back there," he said, smiling with strangely perfect teeth.
She knew she should be getting back, but her curiosity was getting the better of her. "Who are you?"
"It doesn't matter who I am. Now, you're not the type of person I would normally recruit for this kind of thing, but heck, we could use some diversity. It's more entertaining," he explained.
Her blood froze. "I'm not 'for sale,' if that's what you're looking for!" she said coldly, getting ready to protect herself again.
He laughed. When he came closer, she brought her hands up, and he said "Easy!" and produced a flyer.
"Think about it."
Do you want safety? Peace? Tranquility?
Then this isn't the place for you
SPITFIRE FOURTH ANNUAL TEAM COMBAT TOURNAMENT
Only the strong will survive.
This isn't personal, it's just painful
Her heart beat rapidly. "Wait. How do I—?" But when she looked up, she was alone.
Leifang ran down the rest of the alleyway, adrenaline pumping with…not fear, but excitement. So this was what it was like to fight for your life. Granted, the solo thief was nothing compared to the gang Jann Lee took out 6 years ago, but this competition could be her chance to settle something for herself.
She thankfully wound up on Third St., the upscale avenue Fame chose for his Tokyo hotel. The lights from his Renomee were the brightest on the block.
Was she ready to face street fighters who had nothing to lose and hated people like her? It was a lot of pressure, to train for the underground, possibly illegal tag tournament all while keeping up with her DOA matches. But weren't college students some of the best multi-taskers in the world?
She would never know unless she tried. And she knew just the person she wanted to guide her along the ghetto way.