Zero
Chapter 17
  

The trio makes their way back home after a long night of fun, ChunLi suddenly stopped in her tracks and Ryu turned to her. 
“Daddy!!!” she suddenly shouted, rushing forward into the crowd, followed closely by the boys. 

Police cars were parked at the bottom of her apartment, the area was cordoned from the crowd. 
“Let her through.” One of the officers recognized her, Ryu and Ken followed behind. 

“Where’s my father? What happened here?!” she asked the officer. 
“I’m sorry. ChunLi. We’ll do our best to find Wei  sir” The officer said. 
“Daddy!!” ChunLi screamed and immediately rushed upstairs. 
“Simui no!” hands  grabbed and stopped her from entering the building. 

“Let go of me!” she screeched, struggling to break free. 
“Simui! Calm down. Let the police do their do their job. Come get some rest.” Fei Long tried to calm the struggling ChunLi. 
“Let. Go. Of. Me!!!!” she hissed a warning. Those who sensed a build up of qi took a step back. 

Too slow to react, her leg smashed full strength into Fei Long’s chest and he was sent flying down the street, crashing into some boxes. She just stood there on one leg, the attacking leg bent at the knee. She had gotten her point across and rushed upstairs with Ryu and Ken following her.  

Fei Long had forgotten one of the most important rules of the dojo and paid the price for that. Students new and old to the dojo had always been reminded to be careful when sparring with ChunLi. Because even though she may hold back, there is the chance that you might not be able to take what she can dish out.  

Which was why few students were strong enough to spar with her and almost none were truly strong enough to withstand her full strength. Although some students were foolish enough to wager how strong those legs of hers can be. More often then not those students received a long hospital stay while ChunLi received a long lecture and dojo clean-up duty.  
  

Reaching her apartment she came face to face with the ruins, from the broken door to the shattered fish tank. Blood on the smashed coffee table. 
“Daddy!!” she screamed, knowing that her father would not be here. She rushed into the various rooms, all ransacked and ruin without any sign of her father. 

Rushing out of the apartment she stopped by the elevator and climbed up the second entrance to her rooftop training grounds. 

“Daddy!!!” she called out. 
There were signs of struggle up there, one of the metal fences hung dangerously loose on the parapet . A few wooden dummies smashed to pieces.  

The little shed that held some of training equipment was thoroughly destroyed, residue of a powerful and malicious dark qi  marked the ruins. ChunLi screamed her frustration and unleashed it upon the nearest wooden dummy.  

“Simui. The police will find him.” He reached out to comfort her. 
"Go Away!!!!" she screeched at them 
"Si-mui." Fei Long started but fell silent. 

He stood a few paces from her with Master Gen, Ryu and Ken. Before them ChunLi stuck in a blind rage as she attacked the wooden dummy with such vengeance that splinters of wood flew with every punch and kick. 

Blinded by her tears all she wants is to find her father, but they would not allow her to go. But where should she start, she didn’t know, she just didn’t know. And keeping her in here isn’t helping her find out. Is he even alive, he has to be, there was no body. 

"Simui. Don't do this. Its not good for you." Fei Long approached her again only to have his kindness rejected but a flurry of kicks. He tried once more but Gen stopped him and signaled disapproval. 

"But she shouldn't be alone!" he pointed at the rage filled ChunLi who went back to attacking the dummy. 
"We should leave her alone for now." 
"But! 
"Its alright. We’ll just keep an eye on her and make sure she doesn't leave the premise ." 
"But Sifu!! –“ Fei Long started but a glare from Gen silenced him. He open his mouth to speak but shut it again. 
  

Satisfied with his silence Gen turns to leave knowing that Fei Long would not dare disobey. As much as he hates this he has the responsibility a hard job foisted upon him. The sound of wood splitting stops all of a sudden. 

"...Don't..go….." ChunLi managed through her tears. The others stop and Fei Long hurried towards her. 
"Ryu... please stay..." she sniffled as she places one hand on the dummy for support while Fei Long stopped in mid stride. 
"Si-mui. why don't you rest at the dojo." he pleaded , slowly reaching for ChunLi in hope as to not startle her. 

"Go away!!!" she screeched, slapping his hand away. Intense anger shifting to and from a pain she doesn't know how else to express. 
"Ryu... please don't go.... Not you too." she bit her lower lip as she tries to hold back her already flowing tears.  

Ryu look to Master Gen who nodded his permission and request to take care of ChunLi. With that he walked over to her ignoring the intense glare of Fei Long who opens his mouth to say something but thought better not to and turned away following Master Gen and company out of the courtyard. 
  

Once they were out of sight ChunLi lets herself go and started crying as she slumps into Ryu's arms. Unsure of what he should do Ryu just stood there, holding the crying girl with one hand stroking her head to calm as best as he could.  
  

Eventually he sunk to the ground with her, sitting there offering her quiet comfort the best he could.  

Her despair tastes much sweeter than yours, soul brother.  
Burning Red Eyes squatted in front of Ryu, one immaterial hand on ChunLi’s head.  
Such pain, such sadness for our sweet little precious. 
  

You just had to bring you own troubles to her. And see what it did. 
Ryu had a strange feeling that ‘he’ had grown stronger, in his own helplessness he had brought Burning Red Eyes  upon her.  
  

And now it seems that ‘he’ had taken to feeding upon her darkness as well. 
  
------ 
Day 9 
  

Morning came but her sobbing remained even while she slept, Ryu had kept awake through the night and was well aware that Ken and the others had periodically came up to check on them even though they did not encroach. 

She stirred and for a moment looked at him with those tears stained eyes, pleading him to remain. A last bit of comfort, he was to her, her last bit of familiar in this starting to be unfamiliar world. He smiled at her the only thing that he could do to assure that he would remain. She tried to get up so he helped steady her. 

“I… want to go back…” she forced the words to her mouth, afraid that he might not agree. Moving off together was the only answer she really wanted. 

When they left the roof court Fei Long was the first to be upon them, a hard glare from Ryu  stopped the younger man in his tracks allowing them to pass unchallenged. 

Reaching her apartment, he opened the door for her and waited for her to take the first step in. She took a deep breath and stepped into the middle of the ransacked hall, steeling herself not to break down, she could feel his hand on her shoulder assuring her that he is still here. 

“I… won’t be long.. I’m just going to get my clothes.” She said leaving him alone.  

Her room had been ransacked too, the shattered photograph of her father and her caught her attention forcing her to her knees as she pick it up. A sound of feet from the far side of the room alerted her. She picked up the ornamental dragon sword from the floor and unsheathes the blade, swinging the sharp business end of it at the intruder. 
“Where have you taken my father!!!” she screamed. 

“Do not seek him. For your own safety, Do not seek him !” the girl parried ChunLi’s blow with her katana. 

She   was no older than ChunLi, large brown eyes on a girlish face, her short brown hair cut in a  slightly messy shoulder length bob, she wore a dark blue bodysuit with black vertical stripes with a short yellow tie at her neck. Red elbow length gauntlets guarded her hands, her free hand clutching a package.   

In her rage ChunLi swings the blade at the girl who parried once more, but this time the girl’s katana  shattered. The girl rolled over the bed just barely avoiding the following slash.  

The girl looked back at her when she halfway out of the window and saluted her . It inflamed ChunLi and made her rush the intruder, drawing blood as the girl fell backwards and was out the window. 

Looking out the window, the girl had already reached ground, two more comrades flanking her. Both dark of hair, one with a quarterstaff and the other with a pair of nunchukus. The trio looks up the window to see ChunLi making her way down the fire escape ladder . They saluted her and fled down the alleyway. Reaching ground ChunLi had already lost sight of the trio. 

Something on the ground caught her eye, picking it up she realised it was some kind of military insignia – A winged skull. It looked familiar somehow. The colour red crept into her mind the more she turned the object in her hand. 

“ChunLi!!” Ryu’s voice snapped her out of her trance, she looks back up at him, and without saying anything she climbed back up into her room. As she entered her room she thought he shuddered at the sight of her sword. She took out the insignia and showed it to Ryu, she knew he recognized it 

“They had a hand in the last tournament I was in.” He said, taking a deep breath before continuing. 

That sent her into a flurry of activities, cramming some clothes into a backpack, searching out her passport and whatever money she had and finally putting on a pair of knobbed bracelets upon her wrist. She started for the window. 

Ryu grabbed her by the wrist, she glared at him accusingly  as their eyes met. No words past each other’s lips but an accusation was in the air: – You’re like them!? Even you! Even you!  

She forced him to decide whether he stands with or against her. She has an inkling where her father might be and is he going to stop her.   

With his free hand he picks up his duffel bag, then he lets go of her wrist. She headed to the window and threw her backpack out of it. And made her way down. 

By the time Ryu made his way down she was already impatiently waiting for him. Quietly the couple  slips away taking a different route, knowing full well the resistance they would face if anyone else discovers them.  

--------- 

Some time later 

“WHERE DID HE TAKE HER!!” Fei Long roared at a nonchalant Ken. 
“Ah yes. His name is Ryu Hoshi and holds a Japanese passport, her name’s ChunLi, holder of a Hong Kong passport.” Ken continued on the phone. 

“I wouldn’t have inquired if I weren’t worried about them. You know how young lovers are. Her brother hates his guts and she’s afraid that she would never be allow to see him again and they elope like that. If her father  didn’t suffer a heart attack her brother wouldn’t be relenting .” Totally ignoring the pacing Fei Long. 

“Your siheng(older brother in training) is nothing but trouble. Leading my little simui astray. What ideas is he putting in her vulnerable  head now?!!” 
“You saw them? They make a cute little couple don’t they. Quite hard to miss such a lovely little pair.” 

“Cool it hot shot.” Ken checks his passport to make sure things were in order. Ignoring Fei Long he continued his conversation on the phone scribbling down notes.  
“You been a great help to me. Wish we could go on a date sometime – Oh. You’re married? You don’t mind if I send some flowers by way of thanks. Ah. Thank you.” He smiled and thanked whoever it was on the other end of the phone. 

“And where are you going? Pak pak ben tat zao zhao!(cleaning your butt and leave, eg usually after something bad has happened).” Fei Long made to grab Ken but the blond simply shrugged him off. 

“Going astray.” With that Ken took his leave from Gen, leaving Fei Long to decide whether or not he wants to follow. 
 

 
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