Childhood Backstory
Part 2
Shotoken Dojo, Japan 
Still the Spring of 1974 
Late morning 
  

As Ryu carried the last stack of chopped wood to the woodshed, he wiped the sweat from his brow as one of his morning chores had ended. For the past few weeks he enjoyed the company of the most inquisitive young girl he ever met. 

Okay so she’s the only inquisitive young girl he ever met but he had never met such strong curiosity before. For she had asked him about things that was a natural process in this lush greenery. 

<  Sensei had said that she was from a big city….  >  Ryu thought about what his sensei had had said. Ryu had never been to the city. He had asked ChunLi what it was like and she had answered 
“It’s like that village some distance from the dojo but a whole lot bigger and more things to see and do.” 

That had made Ryu wonder what life was like there though ChunLi had said that she prefers the quiet life in the dojo. But when he said that he wanted to experience the city life ChunLi had said something about ‘grass being greener on that other side’ or something like that, whatever that meant. 
  

“Finish your chores?” Gouken asked, he was putting herbs out to dry. 
“Hai Sensei.” 
“Good, I want you to gather mushrooms from the forest. You know which types are edible right.” 
“Hai Sensei. I had not forgotten my lesson.” Remembering the unpleasent experience of the past. 
“Good now go and take some rice cakes with you.” 
“Hai Sensei.” The boy turned to leave. 
  

“Ooooh!! Can I come? Can I? Can I?” A young voice shot out. 
<  Where did she come from?   >  Ryu wondered, he hadn’t seen her for the last few hours and now she seem to appear from nowhere. 

“Uhhh…..” Ryu was speechless has he thinks of a logical answer that wouldn’t make him sound stupid. He scratches his head for the moment. This made ChunLi thought that the older boy had no intention taking her along. 

“Yes yes? Can I or not? Please…Please Pretty Please?” She mustered up any amount of sweetness that she had. 
<  No way am I going to miss this opportunity to explore.  >  she thought. 
“Uhh….” Ryu was little stuck it seem to him that the more she pleaded the more difficult he found it to answer her. 

“Ryu…” Gouken voice broke his train of thoughts saving him from his silence. 
“Sensei?” 
“Teach ChunLi about what plants are safe to eat.” 
“Hai Sensei.” Ryu was relief that at least someone had thought of a reason to let ChunLi tag along. 

“Ch…” Before he could continue his sentence, ChunLi was already by his side with baskets in hand. 
“Come on! Let’s go!” She said, running ahead of him. 
Gouken watched them, with a shrug he got back to tending his herbs. 
  
  

The children followed a trail that though rarely used was a familiar path to Ryu at least. ChunLi had stopped now and then to gather up some pretty flowers. When Ryu saw the mushrooms he wanted, he called ChunLi over and told how to recognise them in future. 
  

“Why?” ChunLi asked 
“…Because some aren’t meant to be eaten. Sensei said they are poi-son-ous.” Ryu pronounced it clearly to stress its importance. 
“Sooo.. these can be eaten?” ChunLi asked plucking one up and twirling it between her fingers, she was looking straight at him. 

“…yes.” 
“And these?” she plucked up another one that was slightly different in colour. 
“These as well but not many at one time.” Ryu answered. 
“Ooo.” She was amazed by how much the older boy knows. 
“How about that one?” ChunLi pointed to another patch on the other side of the path. 

“NO!! Don’t touch those!!!” Ryu called out hurriedly preventing her from even plucking one. ChunLi looked back at him. 
“Why?” she asked, a little shocked. 

“These are bad ones. Very very bad ones. Don’t even touch those.” 
“Why?” 
“Because if you do. It makes you sleep and never wake up!” Ryu said in a serious tone. 
<  Where did that come from?  >   he wondered 

“And if I do. What are you going to do about that?” There was defiance in her eyes, she was throwing a challenge back at him. 
“Uhhh…..” There was a short moment of silence as Ryu started to think of a way to distract her. He promised Zannah jie that he was going to take care of ChunLi and let no harm come to the younger girl. 

“Look!! Squirrels!!” Ryu shouted. ChunLi’s attention was diverted. She followed the squirrels deeper into the woods. 
^It worked! ^ Ryu thought and ran after her. 
  

At the end of the path they seem to be in a completely different haven, for below the somewhat high ledge was a field of flowers. Blue, red, yellow creating a beautiful scene as far as the eye can see. 
“Wahhh!!!” ChunLi exclaimed as she moved close to the edge. 
She leap up suddenly scaring Ryu a bit who was a bit uncomfortable with the fact that ChunLi was so close to the edge. 

“I bet this is where Jiu Dao Nui live out her exile!!! Yeah at the end of this field of flowers is where her cottage is!!!” She squealed 
“Jiu Dao Nui?” Ryu was puzzled 

“The Dragon Lady! After she was cursed by that demon! Didn’t Zannah jie tell you that story?” 
“No…Zannah jie was up to that part about one of the four Demons warning the Dragon Lord about how his beloved Dragon Lady would turned into the Destroyer(aka Jiu Dao nui) if the Drgaon Lord failed to right the rules of powers….How far did Zannah jie tell you?” Ryu asked. 
  

“Oooh quite far! A whole lot further than you! I’m at the Big Conference! Okay! Let’s make a deal. I wanna see how far you can throw your qi. Then I’ll tell you how much I know!!” 
“I don’t know about that….have not yet perfected the method…..” Ryu was apprehensive. 
“Can’t you show me?…. Please?” ChunLi was making puppy eyes at him again. 
“Uhh…..” 
“Please?….” 
  

To Ryu, it seem that there was no way out for him, he hate the idea of disappointing ChunLi, with a sigh of resignation he left the basket of mushrooms on the ground. Facing the valley of flowers, he took a deep breath and got into his stance with his hand by one side of his body as if cupping a ball. 

ChunLi watched as qi gathers in Ryu’s hands. The tennis ball size qi was at a bright blue but it never left his hands, all it did was hover there, with wispy strands of energy dancing around his hands. 

“HADOKEN!!!” he shouted throwing his arms outstretched in front of him, willing the ball of qi outwards. 

“POP!!!” it exploded into nothingness as the wavy strands of energy fizzled away 
“HEE he he heh…..” ChunLi was giggling and Ryu was slightly embarrassed, at least she had not laughing out loud. ChunLi covered her mouth in laughter as Ryu scratches his head. 

“Sorry…hee hee.” 
“It’s okay…..” 
“Angry?….” 
“No…” 
“Sure?” 

“Yeah….Wait! where are you going off to?” Ryu asked seeing ChunLi moving so close to the edge. 
“That flower there….” 
“No…not that close…I’ll get it for you…” 
“Really?” ChunLi asked, knowing she can’t reach that flower. 

“Yeah.. Just..let me okay?” 
“Okay… be careful” 
“Uhhh.” Ryu climbed slowly. 

The plant wasn’t far but One can’t reach it if even if One is sprawled on the cliff surface. 
<  Okay…I pluck this….hand it to Li mei mei(little sister) then climbed back…okay no problem…  >  Ryu was thinking. 

Making sure his left hand has a good grip on the surface, he looks down. The flower was a trumpet like lily with a blue tint streaking out from its heart. It was in full bloom. 

<  Okay..I can reach it with my right hand…  >  Ryu thinks, carefully he reached out, from within the leaves of the plant he could see a thin silvery lining. Fear starts to eat at him. 
<  …Noo.. not now…I can do this… Steady now.  > 
One hairy limb appeared on a leaf 
  

“ARRRGGH!!!!!! SPIDER!!!SPIDER” Ryu yelled in panic. 
In his panic he lost his hold on the ledge. He thought he was falling then he halted in his fall! Another limb of the spider appeared and sweat began to form on his forehead. Then he came to realise that he was hanging on mid air….. 
<  But How?!!  > he thought. He looked up only to see ChunLi 
  

ChunLi was sprawled on the ground with almost half her body over the edge of the ledge. Her right hand tightly gripping onto Ryu’s wrist and the other gripping the hard ground. Her left hand was bleeding slightly as Ryu’s weight dragged her nearer to the edge. 

“Li mei mei! Let’s go! You’ll fall as well!!” Ryu shouted, flailing about. 
“NO!!! I’m not letting go!!!! Come up Please!!!! I don’t want it anymore!!…come up!!!!” 

“It’s not a long fall! I can take it!!!” Ryu noticed that the hairy legs were gone, he was trying not to panic knowing he might pulled her down if he did, there was a feeling of something crawling on his back. Ryu tried not to think the worst. 

<  Gulp! Who am I kidding…..But I promise….no harm would come to Li mei mei…..Must try!!!  >  he knew that if he didn’t move faster both of them would fall….. 
<  Mind over matter….For Li mei mei….  > 
  

Ignoring the thought that spider was on his person, trying to regain his grip on the surface. A few tries and ChunLi was too close to the edge now. One wrong move and both would fall. Ryu began gathering his strength for one last try. 
  

<  YYESSS!  >  he was excited as he finally had a grip on the wall. As quickly as he could he climbed back up. When Ryu was a little further from the ledge ChunLi hugged him fiercely and started to sob. 

“It’s not your fault….” Ryu began, he realised that both he and ChunLi were still holding onto each other’s hands. He strokes her head trying to soothe her. 

“Come on let’s go back now…. I’m okay so don’t worry that much.” 
“I’m…sorry…..” she said amidst tears 
“Not your fault…Come on now don’t cry….” Ryu said in a gentle voice 
“Don’t tell Gouken Sama about this….” She whimpered, fearing that it might get Ryu into more trouble when it was her fault in the first place. 

“I won’t.. It will be between us. We have to do something for your hand. I know some herb that can soothe the pain.” 
“Promise you won’t tell….” She looked up to him. Ryu nodded. ChunLi brought up her pinkie finger on her right hand in front of Ryu’s face. 
“Promise?…” she asked again. 
“Promise.” Ryu said confidently as they hooked pinkie finger and shook an agreement. Picking up the mushroom baskets they headed back into the woods. 

<  I promise you Li. When I am older and stronger I will get that flower for you.  >  Ryu swore in his mind……. 

 
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