Zero
Chapter 10

 

“Eh. I’m gonna get some gis from the school karate club, ChunLi put the bottle back under her bed. 
“Isn’t it late by now? You had a long day.” Ryu asked, taking another bowl of soup and rice that Ken had brought him. 
“Nah, They have practice tonight. So might as well get you some gis. Who knows when your bag will arrive. 

“And I’m going with her.” Ken hung a pair of shades on the pocket of his vest. 
“Whatever for?” ChunLi was a little surprised. 
“It’s a karate club right. The American champion has every right to check out the competition.” Ken sat in the chair by the window. 
“What competition? These guys aren’t even your caliber!” 

“Nuh uh Chunny. Pretty National school wushu champion like yourself must have a line of guys queuing up for you from here to Timbuktu.” Defining the kind of competition he meant. 

“But that’s none of your business blondie!” She looked at Ryu, hoping he would shut Ken up, but he didn’t. The young man still seems to have this mildly groggy look on his face. 
“And you, knowing full well that none of those guys can beat you. Probably said that if any guy wants to date you he must beat you.” Ken waved his finger in the air. 
“I might have…” 

“All the more reason I have to go. Since you have a thing for karate guys. I wanna see what he’s made of.” 
“Come to think of it, there might be such a cute, tough guy.” She glanced at Ryu, winking at him. 
“And that’s why I have to go check out the competition for Ryu.” 
“Don’t you ever mind your own business?” she sighed 
“Nah, life would be too boring then. Come on Chunny, You still gotta introduce me to the cute girls of your wushu club. Wonder if any of them are half as hot as you.” 
“Those girls are out of town, you would have seen them in the neighborhood otherwise. Tough luck Romeo.” 

“And you. I’ll get you some ham jim bang (fried sesame dough w/o red bean paste within) on my way back. Just rest. If you need the bathroom its in the kitchen, the one with the metal door. Daddy’s busy with his reports so he’ll be in his room, but if you need anything just asked him.” She placed an assuring hand on his shoulder and left after he smiled his understanding to her. 
  

The noisy duo squabble all the way out of the apartment, the closing door brought on silence, not the looming silence that usually herald Burning red eyes but a serene one. He doesn’t want to know where Burning red eyes had went and he hope that it would remain this way. Ryu got out of bed and found himself facing ChunLi’s bookshelf and the interesting objects on it. 

There was a strange looking sword, 3ft in length, its crossguard feature the heads of two dragons each with a pearl in its mouth. The pommel itself was a claw holding a glass like orb with coloured dust dancing within. Its hilt covered by some dull grayish-blue scale like material. He shudder at his proximity to the weapon, he could not understand why he felt uncomfortable just looking at it. 

Surrounding the sword, are some figurines of dragons, each a different colour. He moved on to her desk and there are some photographs in the frames. One in particular caught his attention. It was of ChunLi and him, yet he had no memory when it was taken. 

There were other photographs as well. Such as the one of the three of them together. Again he had no memory of taking the picture, he had let the active duo dragged him around most of the time. There was a photograph of her Dojo mates, there was a young man within who bares a passing  resemblance to Ryu himself. 

He realised that he had being so absorbed in trying to deal with his problem that he distancing himself from all those near and dear to him. All the more reason to try an overcome this, Ryu felt like going out for a walk, so he headed to the bathroom to wash up. After he washed up and dressed in one of the causal outfit that the duo had chosen for him. 
  

“Shouldn’t you be in bed?” A stern voice asked, stopping him in his tracks. He recognised the voice as one of the two who attended to him during his illness. 

The man with the crew cut black hair and pencil thin mustache was taller than him by almost half a head. In one hand his was holding a mug of coffee, on the mug were the words ‘World’s greatest Daddy.’ 

The child part of Ryu remembered that the man in the red checkered shirt had being very much a giant. Ryu unconsciously swallowed at that memory, bringing about a quick smirk of satisfaction from the older man. 

“You have grown stronger, Gouken trained you well.” He smiled, putting a hand on Ryu’s arm, his strong grip soon slacken and release him. Ryu took a few steps back and bowed. 

“I am sorry for bringing you much trouble.” Trying to rein in his scattered thoughts. He couldn’t understand why he felt this way. After so many years he still feel intimidated by ChunLi’s father. Why is that? He had no answers. All he knew was that he would end up upsetting ChunLi by acting this way. 
  

“It is no trouble.” The older man said, retreating to the couch. The act allowed Ryu to straighten up. 
“Shouldn’t you be at rest? Li will worry if you overworked yourself.” 
“I… I need some fresh air.” 
The dojo is just round the corner. Don’t get lost.” 
“Thank you senpai. I won’t” He bowed again before heading for the door, he could feel the older man’s steely eyes on his back. 

“And Ryu.” 
“Yes senpai?” Ryu was almost out the door. 
“Don’t disappoint her.” 
“I won’t.” Ryu said and he closed the door. Heading down the stairs instead of the elevator. 

His heart had been pounding away that he thought he was going to embarrassed himself. He wondered what her father meant by that. No matter, all he needed was some fresh air so that he won’t feel so stiff. 
  

He found the dojo easily enough. Entering the dojo one rather large light grey cat  cozy up to him and rubbed against his leg. 

“Ah Long ah! Gong zhou fan lei? Li Li eh? (Ah Long ah, Came back so soon? Li Li eh?)” Someone call out. 

Ryu turned, slightly puzzled, unaware of how to answer. A middle age woman carry a few bags of grocery was surprised on realizing her mistake. 

“Oh. Sorry ah. I thought you were Ah Long, your back profile resembles him.” She spoke in English. Ryu assumed that she meant the young man with ChunLi in one of the group pictures he saw. 

“Are you sure you fit enough to be running around? Oh sorry ah forgot my manners. I’m Mrs Liu. You must be ChunLi’s Japanese Boy.  Zhen hai ho cute ah (really so cute ah). Call me Auntie Liu . Aiyah you’re such a nice boy ah.” She commented when Ryu relieved her of her packages. 

“Aiyah, no wonder Ah Li rejected so many boys, you are as cute as she say your are. Yeah hor, there is a resemblance to my Ah Long. No wonders she looks up to my boy.” 

“Ah Long ah? You don’t mind me calling you Ah Long?” She asked, Ryu answered with a shake of his head. 
“Ah Long ah. Are you sure you should be walking around so soon?” Obviously she knew of what happened this afternoon. 

“I needed a walk. How far is her school?” 
“Half an hour’s bus ride, you might get lost if you walk. But if you need some fresh air, there’s a park just beyond the newspaper stand. If you get lost, just call a cab and tell them Gen’s Mo Gun (Dojo). They would know the place well enough” 

“Thank you.” he smiled his thanks 
“Aiyah. Zhen hai ho cute ah. Don’t be gone too long. Ah Li will worry if she does not find you.” She watches Ryu leaves. 

Ryu just let his feet lead the way as he always does, it felt nice to be walking and taking in the sights of a new place. 
  



  

While at ChunLi’s school various students had gathered around the courtyard where the Karate club students trained. Apparently some guy had thrashed the whole club. The last time the Karate club guys got thrashed was when they had challenged the one of Wushu club’s most outstanding member. Clearly these guys have the bad luck of challenging folks a whole lot tougher than they were. 

“Where did you find this guy. CL?” The captain of the Karate club asked. He was scratching his head in disbelief  as each of his mates were easily defeated by the blond defender. 
“He’s a friend of a friend. Ming-gor (brother Ming)” 
“Some friend. He’s way out of my boys’ level. Damm he even resemble the young All American Karate champ.” He winced as another member was sent flying across the yard. 
“Because he is.” 

“What?! How did you know the guy? He’s that boyfriend you always going on about?! The only guy to ever really beat you in a bout? What kind of company have you been keeping CL?!” 

“Nah. Chunny’s boyfriend is my siheng. Too bad we didn’t bring him along. He would have educated your boys a whole lot better than I could.” Ken butted in after he found that no one else wanted to challenge. 

Possibly because there was nobody left to be challenged by. He waved to a couple of girls at the other side of the yard, earning him a few excited squeals and two or three swooning school girls. 

“You mean your siheng as in your siheng the Ryu? The Ryu would took part in that tournament? The Ryu who beat the King of Muay Thai. That Ryu?! 
“Yup.” 
“Obviously us guys in the various martial arts club can forget about ever getting a date with CL.” Ming sighed. 
“Everybody’s welcome to try. Ming gor. I would lose a source of sparring partners otherwise. 
“Very funny CL. Very funny.” Ming handed Ken a duffel bag that contains a few sets of gi. 
  

“So how did you like your work out?” ChunLi asked as they left her school and boarded a bus. 
“Kinda dull. Ryu would be disappointed by such lack of a workout. Maybe challenge your dojo.” 
“They seem to have gone on vacation. You’ll have to wait.” 
“What about that guy?” 
“Which guy?” 
“That guy who looks like a Bruce Lee wannabe. HWWAOOO!” Ken mimicked a move he remembered from a movie letting his hands fly all over. Earning him a few stares from the passengers on the bus. 

Embarrassed the duo got off the bus and walks instead. ChunLi took the chance to buy the snacks she had promised Ryu. Making Ken carry another bag. 

“His name’s Fei Long. A part time actor of sorts. Okay as a fighter, Had not the chance to fight him properly since he keeps holding back.” 
“Ho! He your boyfriend?” 
“Ha! You wish. He’s sorta like you. One of those guy friends that I tend to end up having as sparring partners. He’s okay I guess. Naggy at times but okay. Is… Ryu getting worse?” ChunLi changed the subject 
  

“Hmm? I hope not.” 
“What happen that day?” 
“I don’t really know. I was in hospital on the last day of his fight. When I got out, there was this karate guy in a red tengu mask waiting for me, says he's been taking caring of him after the tournament and he brought me to Ryu. Ryu was still in daze staring at his fists like he never seen them before.” Ken sighed. 

“Thankfully he was sort of okay by the time we got the airport and back to Japan. But something happened to him that day and it freaked him out. And you became the rest of the story. Afraid that he might go loony?” 

“No. Just worried that he might pushing himself too hard.” 
“That’s why we’re here aren’t we?” 
“Yup,” ChunLi then dashed forward, extending her arm and letting her fist fly forward. A hand caught her fist in answer. 

“Hey there tough guy. Shouldn’t you be waiting in my bed ?” she smiled, teasing a blush from him. 
“Needed some fresh air.” He said smiling at her now. 

“Yit suai ah! Hang hoi ah! yit suai ah! (Hot water! Out of the way! Hot water!” A yell came out from nowhere. ChunLi pulled Ryu towards her with her free hand , a delivery boy on a bicycle zipped through yelling his warning to pedestrians. Somewhere ahead, a pair of lovers was forced to drop each other’s hand to give way to him. 
  

Ken sighed as he watches Ryu and ChunLi standing there still looking somewhat surprised by their proximity to each other. He rolled his eyes in mild annoyance as the little couple's gaze remain locked on each other. 

He smiled sensing the feeling budding between them. Being a chaperone isn’t exactly fun as the responsibly to be cruel to the couple sucks big time. A little torn between letting the couple steal a quiet moment or forcing them apart. 

He wished he could have a word with whomever it was that designated him with such a lousy job. If he doesn’t do anything soon, the three of them would be standing here for a long time with him bored out of his mind. 

Something familiar tickled his nose, all three sneezed at the same time, the couple’s spell was broken as they reluctantly part. 
<   Do you job. Young master Ken    > A familiar voice reminded him 
“Come on guys. Let’s go back. Its getting late.” Ken decided for them, a little afraid that she might do something drastic should they remain. He smirked as they left knowing that he made her panic a little. 

 
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