❯ New Destiny Reloaded – Book I: Roads to Succession – Challenge at the Nekohanten ( Chapter 4 )
New Destiny Reloaded � Book I: Roads to Succession
Chapter 4 � Challenge at the Nekohanten
�So Kaibaman is really Seto Kaiba�s bodyguard?�
Kari gave a nod. She had just finished explaining about TK�s ally in the earlier rescuing of Furinkan High from several of Friezor�s soldiers. �Seto�s an upperclassman, but he�s also one of the successors to the CEO of Kaiba Corp. I�ve met him a few times, and he�s a lot nicer than his step-brother Noa, or so I heard.�
�He�s also handsome,� Ran chimed in. She and Taeko were just hanging around with Kari and TK while the grown-ups were all talking in their own group.
�And one of the top Duel Monsters players in the country,� added Taeko. �He�s got quite a collection, but he says the real champion is his friend Yugi Mutou over in Domino City.�
There was a sudden pounding of the front door, interrupting all conversations. Nancy went to the door and opened it. In rushed two people Kari knew all-too-well; her older brother Taichi/Tai, and her future sister-in-law Sora Takenouchi. They looked very distraught until they saw Kari, and Tai rushed over to pull her into a protective hug.
�Mom and dad told me what happened,� Tai explained before he let Kari go, finally. �Why didn�t you try calling me sooner?�
�Were you hurt at all,� Sora asked.
�Will you two chill already?� Ran exclaimed. �Obviously, Kari�s fine. Don�t get carried. This guy, TK, helped save our butts, believe it or not.�
�TK?!� Sora looked right at TK, who just waved at her and Tai, and let out a gasp. �It IS you!� She hugged him tight. It had been too long since she saw him last.
�Wow, TK, I didn�t recognize you,� Tai stated in amazement. �Don�t get me wrong, you look great. But what do mean, TK saved everyone at school, Ran?�
Kari rolled her eyes. �TK�s been in training for the last few years, Tai, remember? He wants to be a martial artist like his late cousin Ranma.�
An angry look was now on Tai�s face. Facing TK, he crossed his arms. �So THAT explains why you never kept in touch. You have any idea how worried about you everyone was all this time?�
�Tai, there�s no need to get upset. He�s here now, and that�s all that matters.� [Finally.]
TK once more explained how his parents got remarried and that now he was living in Nerima. He then explained his side of what happened at the school. The grown-ups, meanwhile, went back to their own talks. Then, Kari noticed Sora was holding some sort of flyer in her hand and asked about it.
�Oh yeah, I almost forgot.� She handed the flyer to Kari. �A Chinese eatery is opening up in the area. Actually, it�s re-opening after-.�
Suddenly, TK snatched the paper from Kari and looked at it closely. He recognized the name of the restaurant. �Sora, how�d you get this?�
It was Tai who answered. �Some old midget with a huge cane and long silver hair was spreading them out over campus and the city.�
[Cologne,] TK mentally realized. �I know the owners. They�re Amazons from the Jusendo Tribe in China. One of them was �engaged� to Ranma.�
Ukyo and Genma�s ears perked up at TK�s words. Genma came over and looked at the pamphlet. �The Nekohanten�s back in business? TK, this could mean Shampoo�s back. You�d better be careful; Cologne may try to trick you into marrying her granddaughter in Ranma�s place.�
Ran fumed. She didn�t know what anyone was talking about. �Hello! Explanations, please!�
TK closed his eyes, the memories a little painful since they reminded him of Ranma�s uneasy life. �The old woman giving these flyers out, she�s one of the elders of an Amazon tribe in China. They�re a female-dominant society with strange and strict laws. Uncle Genma and my cousin Ranma accidentally encountered this tribe during a training trip to China, and Ranma ended up fighting one of their best fighters, Cologne�s great-great-granddaughter Shampoo. The tribe�s laws state that if an Amazon is defeated by someone of the same sex, the Amazon must give the one who defeated them the kiss of death and hunt them down and kill them. If an Amazon loses a duel to someone of the opposite sex, by Amazon laws, they are instantly married.�
�And Ranma accidentally defeated Shampoo and thus she fell in love with him,� Genma finished for TK. �However, Ranma had no intention of obeying laws that exist in another country. And, in all honesty� he was in love with someone else. Someone who didn�t return his feelings.�
Kari knew exactly whom Genma meant. Because of this, she tried to change the subject a little. �Well, if you�re worried about what these Amazons plan to do, why don�t we attend the re-opening and talk things over with them? I�m sure they can be reasonable.�
�Don�t be so sure,� TK hissed, �because I know what they tried to do to Ranma to get him to marry Shampoo. They used Amazon trickery along with magic and potions, even bribing him with false cures for his Jusenkyo curse. Ranma left all this information in his journal, which he left to me.�
�Well,� Nodoka said, speaking up at last, �I say Kari has a good idea. Let�s all go to the Nekohanten tonight and see what Shampoo and her family are doing back in Nerima.�
�And you can ask your friends Burter and Rusty to come along,� Nancy added. �Just in case.�
�And we�ll go too.� Kari looked at Tai and Sora. �Won�t we?� Both gave a nod of approval.
TK thought it over. ��Let me give the MA a call.�
The radio stopped playing music as the announcer said it was time for some local news. However, Kai Hiwatari didn�t care. He wasn�t paying attention as he continued his kata. And yet, he still was not concentrating properly. Thoughts of Ranma Saotome clouded his mind for some reason.
It couldn�t be the anniversary. It would be at least another week before the day of Ranma�s death. So why did Kai start thinking about the long dead martial artist? Luckily he wasn�t due back at Furinkan High until the morrow, even though he had finished his vacation a day early.
��And in local news, hostile extra terrestrial forces temporarily seized Furinkan High School, taking students, teachers and other staff hostage. Yet, these hostiles were subdued and taken into custody by the Mega Avengers with help from Kaibaman, one of the Teen Titans. A rumor also reveals Kaibaman had assistance from an unknown ally. The MA, however, refused to comment upon this. On a final note, the Nekohanten is reopening later this evening. All who are able, and love Chinese cuisine, are welcome to attend the grand re-opening at 6PM tonight. And now, back to the music.�
Kai shut the radio off as a new song began. His instincts told him both news bits were not coincidences. There had been whispers of an heir to Ranma�s school. If these rumors were true, then he would most likely be at the Nekohanten later that evening.
Pulling out his cell phone and using speed dial, Kai put the phone to his ear and waited for a response. �I wish to speak to Seto Kaiba, please. This is Kai Hiwatari calling. �Seto, did you meet someone today hailing from the Saotome School of Martial Arts? �So you�re going along? Sure, I�ll be there.�
[So, the day has finally come.]
Ryoga watched worryingly as Davis kept hitting the practice dummies with great ferocity. He wished Akane hadn�t told Davis about TK; now Davis felt anger towards TK instead of gratitude for saving his life earlier. It didn�t help that Akane also dropped Davis the fact that Kari and TK used to be friends.
[I won�t let Kari associate with that punk,] Davis fumed mentally, continuing his onslaught against the dummies. Thankfully, to him, Akane told him everything so he could push himself and prepare for the inevitable battle. TK Saotome was not invincible; getting caught by that one alien was all the proof Davis needed. Somehow, he would get TK off guard and then finish him off.
�Take a break!�
Davis and Ryoga looked over to see Akane walking over to them, holding up a flyer. �We�re going out tonight for dinner at this place.�
Ryoga took the flyer when he saw the name. �The Nekohanten?! You mean they�re back?�
�Who�s back,� wondered Davis.
�Some old enemies, Davis. They were Ranma Saotome�s allies in the past, and I have a good feeling TK will be there tonight to ask for their help.�
Davis clenched his fists. �I�ll get him, Akane! He can be beaten, I know it.�
�Right, Davis. But that�s enough for right now. Get some water and relax for a few minutes. We still have time before they open. And you�d better call Kari and make sure she�s home safe.�
�I�ll do it,� Ryoga said, quickly heading for the exit of the dojo. He wasn�t going to make the call, though; he had a good idea where Kari was, but he also knew she was fine.
Ryoga also knew, no matter how hard Davis trained, that TK would win if there would be a fight later that night.
Even upstairs in her room, Cologne�s old ears picked up the ringing bells of the Nekohanten�s front doors. She looked at her watch. The first customers were a few seconds early; but it made no real difference.
�Shampoo, Mousse, let�s get to work,� she cried out while hopping down the stairs on her cane. �Welcome, honored first guests, to-.�
Cologne froze where she was at the bottom of the stairs. The group standing at the front door consisted of one adult, several teenagers, Uyko Kuonji, and Genma and Nodoka Saotome. She bowed respectfully at them. �Mr. and Mrs. Saotome. The years have been kind to you both, I see; and to you as well, Miss Kuonji.�
Both Nodoka and Genma bowed back. �Welcome back, Cologne,� Nodoka said with a warm smile. She then motioned to one of the teenagers. �I believe you know my nephew, Takeru.�
Cologne eyed TK, almost shocked by his appearance. �My, my. You have grown much since I last saw you, young one. Also, I sense great power welling up within your body. You have been through much training since Ranma�s death.�
�Why are you back here,� TK asked as Shampoo and Mousse came downstairs to stand behind Cologne.
There was a heavy and weary sigh from Cologne before she spoke again. �The three of us have been exiled from our tribe. The death of your cousin was seen as a great failure to the council on Shampoo�s part as well as mine and Mousse�s for his interference. The wounds had barely healed when Shampoo was defeated by Mousse in combat, making him her husband. The tribe saw this as treason, since Shampoo instigated the duel. They felt she had allowed Mousse to win. Even explaining that Mousse had already defeated her the night Ranma had died did not sway their decision to cast us out of China under pain of death.�
�Time out here,� TK said quickly, �Mousse defeated Shampoo?�
It was Shampoo who answered, lovingly taking Mousse�s arm. �Great-grandmother speak truth. Mousse defeat Shampoo shortly after Ranma die, but he no tell anyone. He let Shampoo choose who she marry. Years pass, and Shampoo decide; she want Mousse as husband.�
�We really had no place left to go,� Mousse added. �Re-opening the restaurant here was our last option.�
�Then you have no desire to force TK to marry Shampoo or one of your tribe since he inherited Ranma�s title?�
Genma�s question caused the Amazons to exchange puzzled looks. �The idea never crossed our minds,� Colonge stated. �We never told our tribe anything about TK taking up the legacy Ranma left behind. Besides, I knew the Mega Avengers would fight to the bitter end before they allowed a forceful marriage upon him.�
Though she didn�t show it, Kari mentally gave a sigh of great relief. There was a chance now she could ask TK out; IF Ran or Taeko didn�t try to beat her to the punch. She trusted her friends, of course, but one never knew what would happen next.
Mousse then pulled out a butcher�s knife from his robes. �Shampoo, great-grandmother, we are neglecting the fact that these are our customers as well as our guests and friends. Let�s find them a table and get their orders taken before anyone else arrives.�
�Aiya! Mousse right. Shampoo get big table if everyone in group, yes?�
Within minutes, TK�s group were seated at two long tables joined together and Shampoo was taking orders down. As she was finishing, however, TK gently took her by the arm. �Fair warning,� he said to her, �I�m expecting company, both good� and bad.�
Shampoo nodded. She knew exactly who TK meant, but wasted no time in heading for the kitchen to help prepare the meals. As soon as she had reached the doorway to the kitchen, however, the door opened. �Welcome to Nekohanten.�
Ran waved at the two men who had just entered. �Yo, Seto! Kai!�
Seto Kaiba waved back, but Kai just nodded slightly. �Fancy meeting you and the girls here, Ran. Who are your other friends?�
TK eyed Kaiba with suspicion. The voice was very familiar. [So� that�s your game, Kaibaman.]
Kai gasped at Nodoka and Genma, before he rushed over to them and gave a low bow of respect. �Mr. and Mrs. Saotome! I am glad to see you both are well.�
Genma cracked a smile. �Ah, Kai. I was hoping we�d run into you. How was your trip to San Francisco? Pick up any mentionable moves?�
�A few, sir. Forgive my asking, but Seto�s bodyguard Kaibaman mentioned he met a Takeru Saotome today during the incident at Furinkan High. I am curious, is he a relative?�
TK raised his hand, getting Kai�s attention. �That would be me. Yes, we�re related through my mother�s side of the family, as the sister of Aunt Nodoka. My birth name was Takeru Ishida, but I had my name changed to Saotome-.�
�In honor of Ranma,� Kai finished for TK, �as you were named his successor. It would seem the rumors were true after all.�
Not wanting to be left out, Kaiba moved over to where TK sat, extending his hand as a friendly gesture. �I never got the chance to thank you for saving me and my classmates earlier today. Seto Kaiba is my name.�
TK shook hands. �Call me TK.�
�Would you boys like to join us,� Nancy asked. This would be a good opportunity for TK to befriend more students form Furinkan and get him to agree to attend school there.
Kai bowed. �We�d be honored, ma�am.�
Shampoo was about to take Kai and Kaiba�s orders when the doors opened again. �Welcome to-.� The warmth quickly left Shampoo as her eyes fell upon the three newest arrivals. �Oh. It you.�
�And a �nihao� to you, too, Shampoo,� Akane spat as she Davis, and Ryoga stepped away from the front door. �This was the last thing I ever expected from you, returning here after all this time.�
Mousse and Cologne stuck their head out form the kitchen as Akane shifted her gaze from Shampoo to the table TK and the others were seated at. �And what do we have here? Ucchan, the Saotomes� and some of my own pupils sharing the same table.�
Davis took one look, and his face turned purple with rage: Kari was sitting right next to TK. �Kari, get away from that guy right now!� He moved quickly to place himself between them. �Stay away from her, Saotome; this is your only warning!�
Tai shot right up from his seat. �Back off, Davis-!�
But TK put up his hand, motioning for Tai to let him handle this. His eyes, however, never diverted from Davis�s. �Kari and I are old friends,� he said calmly, �what is the harm in us catching up on old times and getting reacquainted?�
�And is this any way to thank the guy who saved you from getting shot earlier during school,� Taeko added.
�As if I�d ever show gratitude to the likes of him,� Davis said with great disgust.
�I�d listen to us if I were you, girls,� Akane said, pointing right at TK. �TK here is following in his cousin�s footsteps. Womanizing was one of the things Ranma did best.�
�He was also a better fighter,� Ukyo hissed.
Getting very fed up with this rude interruption of her night with TK, Kari pounded the table with her fist. �Look, Davis, contrary to what you believe, you are in no way my boyfriend, or any kind of friend for that matter! And you have no right to decide whom I can talk to, either!�
Davis turned to look at Kari, pointing at TK, as Akane did earlier. �Kari, listen to me; he�s a SAOTOME. Akane told me all about that bastard Ranma, and we don�t want you to end up getting hurt by this guy. You don�t know how much pain Ranma caused to everyone around him. He ran around with numerous women, sold out his friends and family for his own gain, and did anything he could to win his fights even if it was resorting to foul play-.�
�YOU TAKE THAT BACK!�
There were several in the restaurant who expected this sort of reaction to Davis�s words; however, no one would have imagined it was Kai who would lose his temper and shout at Davis like that, bolting up from his seat between TK and Sora and slamming his palms onto the table. His eyes bore into Davis, outraged by every word Davis had just said.
�How dare you,� he growled, �how DARE you utter such half-truths about him! You never even met Ranma while he was alive.�
TK was now looking at Kai, surprised that this person he had just met was defending Ranma�s name. TK hadn�t even heard about Kai from Ranma�s journal, which he had read thoroughly time and time again. Why was Kai doing this?
Davis raised an eyebrow at Kai. �And I suppose you knew him?�
�We met a few times, back when I was nine. He inspired me to become a fighter, to learn moves even he never dared to master. It was those few times I met with him that I knew what he really was: a troubled man who clung to his art and his honor to get him through his days.�
�Don�t make me laugh! The Saotome clan knows nothing about honor. Look at him;� Davis nodded towards Genma. �Akane told me this guy spouted about honor this, and honor that, but all he cared about was stuffing his face and living off of others, even his own family. He even sold his only child to numerous engagements for food.
�And Ranma was no different. After all, he did whatever he could to be cured of his Jusenkyo curse; nothing stood in his way, even if it meant his friends and fiancées, and he felt no remorse at all.
�But enough of this,� Davis finished as he returned his heated gaze to TK, �I challenge you, Saotome, and if you lose, you�ll leave and never dare show your face in Nerima again. And you�ll abandon your school.�
�Is that all,� TK said, turning away from Davis. �And here I thought you were going to say something important.�
�Do you accept my challenge or not?�
�Challenge refused. Can�t you see I�m trying to spend time with my relatives and my friends, both of whom I have not seen in nearly six years?�
At this, Akane said something that broke the last straw, to Kai: �Well, you�re more like Ranma than I thought. You�re a coward, like he was.�
Kai pushed his chair back, and then cupped his hands together, bowing at TK. �Saotome-san, please allow me to accept this slanderer�s challenge in your place.�
TK looked at Kai. �You want to fight him for me? For Ranma?�
�Hai. As you said, you are spending time with the people you have been out of touch with for so long. Also, if what I have heard about your training is true, then you should not waste your skill against someone so far beneath you. Please, Saotome-san.�
Ran cracked her knuckles. �No, let ME take a crack at this dumb-ass. Believe me; he�s had this coming ever since he first laid eyes on Kari.�
�Forgive me, Ran, but I have more at stake in this than you do. Whatever your decision, Saotome-san, I will respect it; but I beg you, let me take up his challenge.�
There was silence for a long time. All eyes were on TK, who kept looking at Kai, as other customers entered the restaurant. [He�s dead serious about this.] �Any objections, Davis?�
�None right now,� Davis sneered, �But once I�m through with this loser, I�m coming after you. You won�t do to Kari what Ranma did to all those other innocent girls, including Akane.�
[Fool,] Shampoo thought angrily. [Ukyo and I were not exactly innocent.]
TK then looked back at Kai. �Two conditions: 1) you tell me about your relationship with Ranma, and 2) don�t call me Saotome-san. I�ve yet to prove my claim as the successor to the Saotome School of Martial Arts.�
�Understood. And I thank you.�
Shampoo immediately pointed at the door. �Take outside, please! Shampoo no let customers get hurt or property get damaged.�
�I agree with you, madam.� Kai motioned towards the door. �After you, Davis Hibiki.�
�Kick his ass good, Kai,� Ran called after them as the two boys left.
Suddenly, TK stood up from his seat. �Forgive me, everyone, but I�m going to watch.�
Genma nodded. �Good idea, TK. You should see how Ranma influenced young Kai Hiwatari.�
Ran, Kari, and several others followed TK outside into the streets of town. Kai and Davis were out in the middle of the road, standing a few feet apart from one another. Davis looked confident in a quick victory, while Kai focused on his opponent.
�Should�ve seen this coming; Saotome lets others fight his battles for him.�
�In case you have a very short-term memory, I requested to fight you for him. While he and I have great respect for Ranma, he should not have to waste his power on someone like you. You probably can�t even use ki attacks, can you?�
It was more of a curious question than a rude statement. Still, Davis took offense at it. �You want ki attacks? I�ll show you!� Davis then began to concentrate: he imagined losing a fight to TK, losing Kari to him. His sudden depression grew, causing a black aura to surround him. �SHI-SHI HOUKODAN!!�
The black ki ball shot out form Davis�s open palms right at Kai. However, Kai didn�t take a step back, or to the side. Instead, he crossed one arm across his chest and then swung it to backhand the attack away into the air.
Ryoga shook his head. While he knew this would happen, he had taught Davis the Shi-Shi Houkodan because his cousin had asked him to do it. Kai�s deflection of the Houkodan reminded Ryoga of when Ranma took him on after successfully learning the Kamehameha Wave. The Wave had torn through the Houkodan as if it were paper, and might have had killed Rytoga if Ranma hadn�t redirected his attack into orbit.
Davis, as was Akane, was stunned. �You� how did-?�
�Ki gathered by emotions is nothing,� Kai stated, gathering ki for an attack of his own. �You must empty yourself of all emotion, and draw ki from deep within yourself, or even from everything around you. Let me show you; this is something new I learned from Terry Bogard himself.�
TK watched as a swirl of green aura enveloped Kai. This was a technique he recognized, as it was one Burter had taught him. And yet, TK noticed it was slightly different from what he had learned. It seemed Kai was drawing his ki into his fist instead of his foot.
Kari and the others watched in awe at Kai�s building up of his energy. Ryoga had mentioned something like this in one of their lessons, but they had yet to see it until now.
Deciding to strike now while Kai�s guard was down, Davis quickly charged forward. During his training, Ryoga instilled in Davis that strength was not always what won the battle; speed was also an important factor, one that Ranma, even Akane admitted, had over Ryoga in their youth. If he could get to Kai before he finished preparing his attack, Davis could end it there and now.
But Kai was ready before Davis took his first step. He swung himself around, and was suddenly enveloped in a whirlwind of green ki. �SEMPUKEN!!�
The collision of Davis and the whirlwind felt, to Davis, like he slammed into a brick wall with swinging arms. Almost ten rapid punches in succession, and he was sent sprawling backwards onto the road, blood coming form the corner of his lips and from his one nostril.
�OH YEAH,� Ran shouted as the whirlwind died to reveal Kai. Davis had gotten exactly what he deserved, though she was just sorry it wasn�t her who had given the punches.
�Not bad, huh, kid?�
TK jerked his head at the voice. Burter was standing behind him, along with Yusuke Urameshi, Rusty, and several others he had never met but he knew they were Mega Avengers.
�I think you and him have a lot in common,� Burter continued, nodding towards Kai. �More than you realize. You notice he favors his hands over his feet?�
It was in that instant that TK realized Burter was right. Kai indeed avoided using his feet to attack Davis. While the Sempuken was an excellent move, the Haddou Sempu Kyaku was much stronger. Why did Kai use the Sempuken instead? Then TK looked at his right hand, and the answer was clear.
Kai probably had a cybernetic leg.
End chapter 4
Notes: How did TK guess Kai�s secret, and what was Burter implying? And where is Cell? Find out next chapter.
Sorry this took so long to post. I wasn�t sure if it was ready for posting until after I altered the ending a bit so it didn�t feel rushed.