Zero
Chapter 12

  

With his training gear in his bag, Fei Long took a stroll through the neighborhood to Gen’s Dojo. He had always like living in the quiet part of town but that meant a long walk to the dojo. He considered getting an apartment in the area around the dojo but there weren’t any openings.  

He thought to himself that if he wants to work hard to attract ChunLi’s attention, he had better get a place near hers. Thinking of her, another face crept into his mind. The arrogant looking blond that was with her, who was he and just what was he doing in ChunLi’s place?  

How did she meet a guy like that? The kind who looks very much like a playboy. He better not be playing around with ChunLi’s heart. And why was she so worried that day? Did it have anything to do with that blond? That blond who prevented him from trying to comfort an anxious ChunLi.  

Wasn’t ChunLi suppose to be on vacation for that matter? Why had she return and was so panicky as well. Had something had to her father?  But he saw him just yesterday morning at the dojo? Was it someone else? Or has the danger that the fortuneteller spoke of shown up some how?  

“Sifu!” Fei Long called out, the older man was carrying a few bags, judging from the contents peeking out of the package Fei Long hazard a guess that its herbs to make a tonic for a patient. Could it be for whomever ChunLi was so concern about?  

“Ah. There you are Fei Long. We have rare guests. Come meet them.” Gen relinquished his parcels to Fei Long.  

“Guests?”  
“Friends of ChunLi. Also the two most exemplary disciples of a friend of mine.”  
“Disciples? Simui went for an exchange program? What discipline are they”  
“Shotoken Karate.” (fine I know it suppose to be Ansatsuken but I’m not keen on rewriting)  

“Karate.” Fei Long said thoughtfully. He was supposed to be researching Karate for a devious character in his next movie: Raging Dragon 2 – King of Street Fighters. It was the continuing story of Ah Long after the defeat of the last champion. Ah Long encountered an evil powerful martial artist (see Oneshot 7 for details) who threatened to take over the world and destroy all other fighters who seek a certain scroll. Maybe these two guys can give some pointers.  

The arrogant young man could play that devious Karate warrior, all Fei Long had to do was changed the Japanese warrior into a Caucasian. He shuddered at the thought of the warrior with the burning red eyes who inspired the creation of character that devious character. Maybe that blond guy could play this role. His arrogance seems haughty enough.  
  

“Sifu. Is ChunLi okay?”  
“She is okay. Why do you ask?”  
“She seem worried sick yesterday. Did something happen to her?”  
“Ah. Her friend fell sick. Ryu’s a strong boy. He will be okay.”  

Ryu? Two young men hanging around his simui? She goes on vacation and got picked up by two suspicious young men? And this Ryu had the audacity to saddle her with his problems? Just who does this Ryu think he is? He sighed.  

His pretty simui always attract boys whether she like them or not. With Dai Si heng - Chi Long currently on vacation, Fei Long thought that he should keep an eye out for ChunLi.  The silly girl had a soft spot for people in trouble and doesn’t always know how to say ‘no’  
  
Fei Long headed to the reception room, where he overheard someone talking loudly away.  
  

“And I ask him. ‘Bro, what’s the one thing about her that you’re impress with the most?’ And he said to me. ‘Strong legs, kick hard ’ and I was like ‘congrats Bro! You’re a legs man!’ And he was like ‘Wha?’  Hoy Chunny. Thanks to you I discover more about my Bro in four days than I could ever have in ten years.”  
  

Fei Long could hear ChunLi laughing away at that. It had been some time since he heard her laugh, how he missed that uplifting sound. He assumed whatever it was that made her so panicky the other day and settled itself. He hoped that she would have time to watch a movie with him.  

Entering the reception room he searched for her only to find her laughing away with a young man with long blond hair. He frowned on remembering the young man in the red karate gi. He had prevented Fei Long from comforting ChunLi the other day.  

He noticed the ChunLi’s altered version of the dojo’s uniform and could not help but think that clings to her all too well. A little jealous that she had never worn this before.  

There was something about the foreign young man that look familiar, probably from some martial arts magazine, the young man bares a strong resemblance to the youngest American karate champion ever crowned.  

And then he realised it was the same person. He does look like a worthy challenge and wondered to himself how ever did ChunLi meet this guy? And why do they seem so close.  
  

On realising that Fei Long was here ChunLi stopped laughing and the blond move away from where he was revealing another person originally blocked off from his view.  

It was him! Fei Long jolted to a stop! His worst nightmare in living flesh, how did he find his simui?! The reddish-brown hair young man in the white gi who seem to be watching ChunLi intently, turn towards him to see what distracted her.  

The warrior in white stood up with a warm smile as Fei Long approaches, but all Fei Long saw was the burning red eyes and the evil grin as he laid one hand upon his simui’s bare arm!  

“Take your hands off my simui!” Fei Long shouted, unleashing a series of punches in the chest and abdomen of the surprised Ryu before anyone could react. The young man in white was sent sprawling on the floor.  
  

Puzzled brown eyes stared back at him as a trickle of blood escaped from the corner of his mouth. The young man shakily got to his feet, but his burning red eyes return to challenge him to another round.  

“This guy is nothing but trouble!” Fei Long roared, not caring if anyone understood. He must defend his simui from this evil.  

A bluish blur deflected his raging fist and forced him to defend himself. When it stopped, he came face to face with an angry ChunLi, standing on one leg with the other ready and very willing to attack him.  

“How could you?! How could you hurt my friend?!” She demanded to know, seething in anger.  
“Simui ah! This guy is nothing but trouble.”  
“He’s my guest! How could you do this!”  
“Hanging around him would only bring harm to you!”  
“Stop this nonsense at once!” Gen shouted.  
“Sifu! Whatever darks arts he has being practicing, this guy will only bring trouble to us!”  

Fei Long glanced behind her, where the young man stood, who look very much confused as he shook his head to regain his composure. He seems kind of pale as if he had recently recovered from an illness.  

The young man straightened up. Burning red eyes bore straight into Fei Long and he was smiling, then it return to its confused brown, eyelids closed and the young man collapse.  
  

“Ryu!” ChunLi attended to him immediately, she turned back at Fei Long, much anger in her eyes.  
“If anything happens to him. I’ll never forgive you!” She helped Ryu up as Ken approaches to help her. Fei Long shuddered when he thought he saw one burning red eye open and smiled his twisted smile at him as the duo help Ryu away.  


 

“You okay?” ChunLi asked when Ryu regained consciousness.  
“I keep… blacking out...” Ryu rubbed his aching head. He found himself back on ChunLi’s bed. Looking around he could see Ken watching quietly in his comfy couch.  

At the doorway, ChunLi’s stern father stood watching, Ryu nodded his thanks, he wanted to apologize for the trouble he caused but the man in red shook his head.  

“I’m sorry about Fei Long. He’s been acting weird lately.”  
“…its alright. I taken worse than that.” he wrinkled his nose as ChunLi rubbed the pungent alcohol on Ryu’s bruises. There was no getting away from that heady alcoholic stench.  

He was a little embarrassed but didn’t voice it. He winced when ChunLi’s simmering anger increased the pressure she applied.  

“Eeeeppp!!! I’m sorry!!!”  She realised his embarrassment a little too late and foists the bottle to Ken who shook his head vehemently at the thought of touching the vile smelling liquid. Ryu glanced worriedly at the doorway, her father coughed uncomfortably but said nothing and left the trio alone.  

Leaving a blushing ChunLi to attend to Ryu’s injury, as much as both try repeatedly to avoid eye contact with each other.  


In the living room  

ChunLi’s father left the children alone in the room, he returned to the box that’s placed on the side table. The 6-inch high square box contain a few other packages  within. Sorting out some of the papers he had with him he placed the important ones into the box.  

He could not afford to lose them, he had work too hard and too far to get to where he was now. It had to be tonight, it was the one chance to get his shot. The operation will succeed or fail tonight, all depended on him and how well the others coordinate. There must be no mistakes.  

Taking a glance back at his daughter’s room he chuckled privately at the way the children had behaved, all was going well. At least he would be assured that ChunLi would be well taken care of.  

His little girl had grown up strong and tonight she must be strong. He hoped that the boy would live up to his standards. The boy had better live up to his standards or else.  
  

As if she knew he was worried for her, she pop her head out of her room, she was blushing somewhat and it deepen in shade when she realized he knew why she was blushing. His little girl had grown up much.  

“Daddy.” She called out, He smiled to acknowledge her.  
“I’m taking the boys out for some sight seeing. We might be back late.”  
“Enjoy yourself then.” He said, watching her brightened.  
“Thanks.” She smiled and went back into her room.  
  

A knock on the door made him put aside his worries over ChunLi and answered it.  

“Wai Wah . The package has arrived.” The old man in the purple changpao(Chinese long robe) handed him a package along with a Thermos of tonic soup meant for the boy.  

“And him?” he asked cryptically.  
“There is confirmation that he is here.”  
“Good. The project will go well then.” He alone smiled  
“Are you sure you want to go through with this?” Gen had asked. He knew the old man was concern about the effect on ChunLi should the worst case scenario happened.

“Do you doubt my judgment.”  
“I would not.”  
“I need you on this, old man. Do not fail me.”  
“Have I ever?”  

He laughed heartily at that answer, he knew better question Gen’s ability to guarantee the safety of his little ChunLi. Why else would he leave the girl in the old man’s care when he had hazardous assignments to fulfil. The old man practically dotted on his daughter. Of course he dotted on that sweet child considering not many people could resist her charms.  
   

The noise of his daughter’s ever-constant squabble with the blond boy interrupted their conversation. The trio scrambled out of the room with Ryu constantly at the back, that quiet boy would always be drag in to be the judge on most matters.  

He suspected though that his daughter and the blond boy played a game in which to see who was able to annoy, amused or just plain get the attention of the stoic boy. Although whether the duo bothers to keep score no one really knows.  

He handed the Thermos to ChunLi, who nodded her understanding of who it was meant for. Ruffling her hair fondly, he then watched her leave with the boys after bidding Gen and him goodbye.  

“And Ryu.” He called out to the trailing boy.  
“Sempai?” The duo were stuck in another challenge to have notice that Ryu hadn’t kept up.  

The way the boy watched him with those intense brown eyes. He wondered if the boy remembered the conversation he had with him a decade ago. Too bad he hadn’t the time to spar with the boy. He thought to himself that Sho and Miyuki would be proud of the fine boy.  

“Take care of ChunLi.”  
“You need not worry about that.” The boy answered in the confident voice of his. The older man smiled and allowed Ryu to rejoin the duo.  

“The children are growing up fast, old friend.” He handed Gen the box, the old man just nodded and left when he had no further instructions.  

Taking the package he headed back into his room, a hint of red cloth  peeked out of the slightly opened package. There must be no failure tonight.  
 

 
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