Zero
Chapter 3
Day 5  
4.30am  

Ryu woke from his sleep with his heart pounding rapidly away, perspiration covered him with a bright sheen while breathlessness took hold. He had lost track of how many times he woke with a panic attack since returning from Thailand. He felt afraid that it might lead to him wandering down the same path Gouki did.  

The hazy nightmare of what he did to Ken and then to ChunLi fizzled away, as did his panic attack. With his face in his hands he feared that opening his eyes would show him the bloody reality of his nightmares. His breathing slow and he took a peek. He calmed himself down on confirming he was still in his room, but then he had to check. Too afraid to go back to sleep and too near to his waking time for any sleep.  

He climbed out of his window and tip-toed across the grass patch and climbed in through the window. He found her on the futon still fast asleep and most importantly alive. Ryu sat down and just watch ChunLi in her sleep while thoughts ran through his mind.  

Ryu almost yell out when he saw him, burning red eyes that wore a twisted face that resembled his. Burning red eyes just stood by ChunLi’s head, with a whole lot less shackles and chains each time he appeared. Ryu’s apparition squatted down while keeping its eyes on him. It broke into that frightful twisted grin when it turned its attention upon the sleeping girl.  

Is she not the reason why you came tonight? He thought it asked. In a way forcing him to look at the sleeping girl who wore nothing more than comfortable cotton T-shirt and a pair of loose cotton shorts. The combination of his hallucinations and growing pains would get him into a whole of embarrassment if she woke and found him here. But then he would get into more trouble if anyone else find him here for that matter. And if his panic attack should start up here of all places, he dreaded the thought of it.  

“Har gow yat long, siew mai yat long. Yat wu tit goon yam. Lei gen, lei gen.(Har gow one basket, siew mai one basket. A pot of Tie Kuan Yim tea. Coming coming)” The girl mumbled in her sleep.  

“Leave her alone.” Ryu growled as he watched burning red eyes touched ChunLi’s face. A rather amused look appeared on its face as it fades away. He moved quietly to her side and pulled her blanket up to cover her. Her hand shot out hitting Ryu’s hand away.  

“You can’t hit me if you’re that slow.” She mumbled again, turning to her side towards a nervous Ryu. A bead of perspiration formed on Ryu’s forehead. He wondered if she is truly sleeping or not. A huge smile spread upon her face while he half expected her to open her eyes.  

“Ha ha! I am the strongest woman in the world! You butt is mine to kick!!!” She mumbled further. Ryu finally managed to pull up her blanket. Breathing a sigh of relief he climbed back out the window and head back into his room.  

And then he realised what today is and started rummaging through his collection of boxes for the one he had kept for this occasion. With the significance of today in mind, he attacked his chores with such ferocity that made him forget the frightful experience that had occurred.  

---------  

Waking up this morning, ChunLi beamed as she took in her surroundings, she is really here on her 16th birthday.  

She took her time for her morning rituals, as she wanted to look her best for today. And most of all she could wear her specially made training gear. Changing into the blue set she headed to the dining room.  

Wolf whistles welcome her arrival and Ken had to fight off Dan before he ushered her to her seat at the place of an honored guest that faces the main door. She thanked them both and sat down accepting the cup of tea.  

“No breakfast yet?” She mused; a little disappointed that the one she seek is not here.  
“Ryu’s cooking today. He’s up real early.” Ken pulled his cushion closer to ChunLi.  
“Dan. That’s Ryu’s place.” Ken snapped.  
“But he’s not here yet.”  
“Take his seat and I’ll make you do ten rounds around the mountain.” Ken threatened.  
“You’re always on his side.” The pink one sulked.  
“Technically amongst the three of us you’re the newbie. Go ahead complain to Ryu, if he does get jealous he’ll make you do twenty rounds around the mountain on top of sweeping the dojo and doing our laundry.” Ken grinned wickedly. Dan had no choice but to take his place beside Ken instead.  

“So wore this for him?” Ken asked propping his elbows on the table.  
“This? Its my dojo’s uniform. We all wear this.”  
“I remember there were sleeves for the jacket and the rather loose pants though. Poor guy would have a nosebleed if he keeps looking at you. You’ll definitely have an advantage over plain old me when it comes to kicking his butt.”  

“Alright already. Get off my case. The regular uniform looks kinda fuddy-duddy. Although I was thinking of getting the cheongsam altered.”  
“Do that. I think He’ll appreciate it.”  
“Do you ever mind your own business?” ChunLi glared at him.  
“Not likely. I’ll bore myself to death otherwise. Here Happy birthday.” Handing her a little box of expensive chocolates.  

“And I have nothing. Except a signed photograph of me and the boys. You’ll remember poor old me. Wouldn’t you? I am going to be the strongest fighter of all. And I’ll give you a 50% discount when I open my own dojo. And you can wear a pink version of this costume to boot.” Dan said in a singsong voice. But unfortunately nobody was paying him any attention.  

“Right and you keep this to impress every single village girl you see?”  
“Yup. And I know its your birthday because I twisted the information out of him.” Ken thumbed the direction of the kitchen.  
“Just so you don’t get your hopes up too high. You’re not my dreamboat.”  
“Spunky I like, but you’re too tough and I like mine blond.”  
“Then we have an understanding?”  
“Yes. For a moment there I thought I was gonna incur his jealousy.”  
“And I thought you were trouble.”  
“Then let’s stick to kicking his butt.”  
“I’m so ahead of you.”  
“Yeah right. I’m gonna kick him. Tomboy.”  
“Pfff…As if. Blondie Ryu.”  

“You sound like you had a good sleep last night. Had nice dreams?” Ken asked, changing the subject swiftly.  
“Best sleep I had in years. Rather sweet dream to boot.” ChunLi smiled as Ryu came in, the older boy blushed.  
“Dreaming of kicking his cute little butt I believe.”  
“No comment.” ChunLi blushed and turned away only to look into Ryu’s face as he brought her breakfast in a covered three tier bento box and place a bowl of miso soup beside it.  

She realized straight away that the bento box was specially craved for her, for upon the lid was a forested scene that was cut diagonally by a little stream, although the place is not far from the dojo the scene itself is from her childhood.  

Removing the lid she found a grilled fish and some tempura prawns in the top tier. In the second tier a few medium size rice balls and a grilled Unagi (eel). Hidden in the bottom tier the cutest little seasonal flower shaped motchis (NB: I’m addicted to the common red bean and sesame motchi ) and a few slices of watermelon. By Ryu’s standards this would be a medium size meal. But ChunLi wasn’t sure if she could even finish it all.  

“Happy birthday.” Ryu mumbled. And made his way back into the kitchen.  
“Hey how about heading down to village after this? Its your birthday after all. And I’m sure there’s more stuff to get for you while you’re here.” Ken asked, slapping away Dan’s hand from inching its way to the motchis.  
“It won’t affect your training, would it?” ChunLi turned and asked Ryu as he reappears with the breakfast for himself and the boys.  
“Huh? No I guess. I have to go get a few gi tailored anyway.”  
  

“What? Just plain fish. I want prawns too! There’s more than enough prawns to go around… Mmmffff!!!---” Dan got cut off as Ken muffled him. The blond boy hopes that Ryu was too distracted by ChunLi to pay them any heed.  
“Just shut up! And quit complaining. You wanna remind him that you’re the cause of his missing gis? All because the colours ran when you washed his gi with mine!.” Ken hissed and released Dan after. Ryu had not taken notice after all.  

“Good then we shall go down to the village after.” Ken decided for them  
“Take me with yoooo.”  
“No its your turn to bring Gouki sama his meals.”  
“But he’s insaneeee!!!”  
“Not for the next few days. Besides he doesn’t sees you as much of a threat.”  
“But! But. Eeeeep!!….” Dan kept quiet when he felt Ryu’s glare upon him, there was an unspoken threat of twenty rounds around the mountain hanging in the air. It was a sign that eldest disciple is hungry and has no wish to continue any conversation. One of the rare times that he would throw his weight around.  

“Itadakimasu ( I’m going to begin).” Ryu said solemnly and started the meal.  
“Itadakimasu.” The others echoed him. ChunLi just smiled and shared her prawns with the others much to Dan’s delight. 

 
Main
Archives
Back
Next