Chapter 45

"Welcome ladies and gentleman! It is time for the next stage of the Kusanagi Invitational! Here, now, are you finalists!" the MC shouted. The crowd cheered as all sixteen fighters stepped out onto the stage. They were separated into two lines and when they were all on the stage, they turned toward each other. "As you can see folks, these are the match-ups that have been made! We wish them all the luck in their fights and may the best fighter win!" Everyone cheered and couldn't wait for the fights to begin.

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Soun groaned as he began to sit up. His head was killing him and he tried to steady himself. The light was blinding him and he could barely see. He focused on his sight and he saw the small bottles around him. He was confused but he ignored it for now.

"Kasumi? Kasumi, I need some coffee." Sound called out. However, she did not come with that sweet relief that he needed. "Kasumi?" Soun got to his feet but stumbled a little. He made his way to the kitchen and saw a little note on the counter next to a hot pot of coffee. Picking the note up, he saw only three words; 'Gone to Tournament'. Soun just sighed and held his head in his hands. Everything was coming back to him and it only frustrated him more.

He got a cup and poured himself some coffee. He did not need cream or sugar and just began to drink the black coffee. It helped with his hangover but not with his mood. He made his way to Akane's room, knowing that she would not be at the tournament after yesterday. He knocked on the door but he did not get an answer. He let himself into her room only to find it empty. He also saw that her suitcases were gone as well. He was very confused by this and wondered where his youngest daughter was.

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Akane stood on the train platform and waited for the train to arrive. She was tapping her foot impatiently and the scowl on her face made everyone give her a wide berth. She was still angry at what happened last night. She couldn't believe the nerve of her sisters. They attacked her character and called her a bad person. She was not a bad person and she would be damned if she stayed here and be judged.

Akane decided to go home. She waited until her sister's left before she decided to leave. Her father was probably up now but he would be too late to catch her. Finally the train came into the station and Akane grabbed her stuff. She got on the train and found a seat. It would be a few moments when the doors closed and the train was off. It would be a couple of hours until she was back in Nerima.

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"Let's get this first match started! In the blue corner, we have all the way from Australia! This fighter uses the Baguazhang style of kung-fu! Known as the circle dancer, ladies and gentlemen, give it up for Ava Nyugen!" A blue haired, brown eyed woman bowed to the crowd. She was wearing a blue kung-fu uniform with yellow trim.

"And in the red corner, hailing from the Minato ward! This fighter is practioner of the french style of Savate mixed in with his own blazing ability! Known as the 'Kajiarashi' (Firestorm), give it up for Geo Hikari!" Geo was dressed in a standard Savate uniform, black shoes, a black sweat pants and blue jersey with sleeves. His hands were wrapped as well. The MC stepped away and allowed the referee to step forward. He called the two to the center of the ring.

"I want a clean fight. This is a full contact match but you will obey my instructions at all times. You have already been given the rules and you will abide by them. Do you understand me?" the ref asked.

"Yes." Geo said.

"Understood." Ava added.

"Alright, bow to your opponent." They did just that. "Bow to me." They did that as well. "Get into your positions and prepare to fight." Geo stepped back and got into his stance. Ava did as well and prepared for him. The ref looked at the two and saw that they were ready. "Begin!" he said and dropped his hand. Geo wasted no time and started with a jab, cross, low kick combo. Ava quickly moved and began to move in a circle. Geo did not let up and kept attacking. However, it was clear to everyone that he would not land easily.

Geo launched a spinning hook kick but Ava ducked it. She lashed out with three palm strikes but it was blocked. Geo countered with a thrust kick but Ava danced out of the way, ending up behind him. Geo threw a back fist but missed. Ava hit him with a powerful palm strike that stunned him. She pushed forward with a kick to his shin, a punch to the chest, a knife chop to the side of his head and finished with another palm strike. Geo was sent tumbling but he was quick to get to his feet.

Geo shook his head to get back into the fight. He lit his fist and shoes ablaze and got a serious look in his eyes. He began to move carefully, looking for openings. Geo began throwing low kicks to Ava's led leg. Ava would respond by checking the kick or moving. Every time she checked a kick, the flames would warm her leg. Geo was also throwing jabs but Ava was fast enough to circle around them. It was a game of cat and mouse between the two that Geo was getting hit the most. Ava earned her name as the circle walker and her defense was stellar. However, that slowly began to change.

Ava was wincing with every step of her lead leg. The flames of the low kicks were burning her and she knew it. She quickly changed her stance but she knew that her stance was compromised. Geo knew this as well. Geo got more aggressive with his attacks with a few catching her. Ava did not back down and was able to slip in and hit a couple of Geo's shiatsu points. Geo's left arm went dead and Ava slammed her elbow into his jaw. Geo spun with the blow and caught her in the stomach with a reverse side kick. This backed her up enough for Geo to increase the intensity of his flames. Geo used the flames to blast himself forward at increased speeds. Using his footwork, he was on Ava in an instant.

"√Čruption Chass√© Frontal! (Erupting Piston Front)" Geo shouted. Ava tried to move but her leg buckled. Geo landed a hard thrust kick to her sternum. His foot exploded and it sent Ava flying out of the ring. She landed hard and was smoking. The ref jumps out of the ring to check on her. Her shirt was blown open by the attack but she was still modest. Ava was out cold but was still breathing alright. He stood up and looked at Geo.

"Winner of the first match, the 'Kajiarashi', Geo Hikiri!" ref announced. The crowd cheered for him as he bowed to the crowd. Geo walked out of the ring and met the doctors who came to check on him. The medical staff was checking on Ava as well. Watching from the sides, Ranma was impressed with Geo's improvement. The kick he landed was powerful as he felt the explosion. Happosai was right next to him.

"That was an impressive attack and he has some control over the power. That is due to his training with Saisyu-dono (lord)." the little man said.

"He'll be interesting to face again." Ranma said with a grin. After making sure that everyone was okay, the MC returned to introduce the next two fighters.

"What an explosive finish from the 'Kajiarashi'! However, let's pick things up with our next match! In the blue corner, from the Shizuoka Prefecture, he had learned various styles and competed in various tournaments! Give it up everybody for Tamashi Talbain!" The young fighter jumps on stage in a dark blue kung-fu uniform, the sleeves off, with gold trimming. He let out a howl that got the crowd pumped. Outside the ring, his father sighed in annoyance while in the crowd a cat woman with blue hair cheered.

"And in the red corner, from South Town, Florida, this young man is the heir to the legendary Kyokugenryu Karate! Known as the second coming of the 'Muteki no Ryu' (Invisible Dragon), welcome to the ring, Tetsuya Sakazaki!" A man, about twenty-one, came to the ring. He was fixing his fingerless gloves on his hand. He wore an orange karate uniform, tied off by a black belt. The kanji symbol of Kyokugenryu Karate was over his heart. The blond haired, brown eyed man did a few punches before doing a stomp into a fighting stance. Everyone cheered for him as well.

The referee did the same as he did in the first match and backed the two up. Once they were in their stances, the referee started the match. Both fighters rushed each other and began throwing blows. It was a flurry of punches and kicks that everyone was in awe of. Neither fighter got in a clean blow on the other until the third minute. Tamashi finally broke through, connecting with a hard elbow to Tetsuya's jaw. Tetsuya spun around and lashed out with an elbow of his own. This backed Tamashi up. Tetsuya gathered his ki in between his hands and thrust it forward.

"Kouken (Tiger Roar)!" Tetsuya shouted. A ball of ki sailed toward Tamashi.

"Climb Razor!" Tamashi shouted. He did a somersault, ki surrounding his legs. He sent the ki projectile into the air where it exploded in the air. Tamashi landed and rubbed his jaw. He faced Tetsuya who was back into his stance. "Nice blow. Kind of what I was expecting from Ryo Sakazaki's son. Is he here?"

"Sorry but my father couldn't make it. However, my other parent did." Tetsuya said with a smirk. He then changed his stance. "Let me introduce her. Venom Strike!" He called out and launched another ki attack with his leg. Tamashi was quick to jump over it and launched himself into a ball. He dodged the attack but Tamashi kept rolling at him. Tamashi came out of the roll and tried to kick the karate practitioner. Tetsuya parried the kick and countered with an elbow. He pushed his attack, hitting Tamashi with a kick to the calf, followed by two punches to his gut, a knee and a somersault kick of his own. Tamashi backed up, giving Tetsuya the space he needed. He gathered his ki and prepared to finish the fight.

"Tenchi Haoh Ken (Heaven & Earth Supreme Sparkle Fist)!" Tetsuya roared and threw everything into a straight punch. As the punch neared, Tamashi dodged the punch at the last second. Tetsuya was surprised by his agility. It was that of a cat. However, he was now wide open and Tamashi would not miss. Surrounding himself in a blue aura, Tamashi shoulder tackled Tetsuya. Still surrounded by his aura, Tamashi launched him into the air and hit him two more times, leaving Tetsuya suspended in mid-air.

"Wolf Blast!" Tamashi shouted and launched his aura at Tetsuya. The blast sent him crashing into the ring. Tamashi landed and waited for the dust to settle. A groan came out of the dust. Tamashi watched as a silhouette stood to its feet. The dust settled to see Tetsuya standing. He was holding his shoulder. Rotating the shoulder, Tetsuya winced as he did. The referee went to check on him. He helped him with moving the arm but it looked like the pain was too much for the man. The referee looked at him and Tetsuya nodded in disappointment.

"Due to injury, Tetsuya is surrendering! The winner of the second match is Tamashi Talbain!" the MC said. Tetsuya was clenching his fist in frustration when a hand touched his cheek. It belonged to a very beautiful woman. A part of her short blond hair covered one of her blue eyes. She was dressed kind of like a bartender with a white shirt and black pants. Tetsuya looked at the woman who just smiled at him.

"Do not allow this to throw you off. Your father lost fights as well and it made him a better fighter. You will get there as well. Just keep learning." she said. This made Tetsuya smile.

"Thanks mom." He then looked at Tamashi and bowed. "Thank you for the battle. I look forward to fighting you again." Tamashi smirked and bowed as well.

"Me too." With that, the two fighters were led out of the ring. As he was walking off, he caught sight of Nabiki. He grinned at her and gave her a wink. This stunned the middle Tendo as well as surprised Kasumi and Ranma. Shampoo grinned like a cat before facing Nabiki.

"What is this? Did Nerima's Ice Queen catch someone's eye?" she teased.

"W-What? I don't know what you're talking about?!" Nabiki exclaimed.

"Oh my, are you blushing Nabiki?" Kasumi asked.

"N-No," Nabiki stuttered out. Cologne chuckled while Shampoo continued to tease her. Unknowingly, Nabiki was also being observed by the blue haired cat woman. She would look between Tamashi and Nabiki wondering what was going on. A small smirk appeared on her face.

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Authors' Notes - Finally a new chapter from me. It's been a while for me but that was because I was dealing with things. However, I'm back and I'm going to write until I finish everything. Anyway, please enjoy the new chapter.