For the better part of the day Ken had dragged the duo around, he had in the process brought ChunLi back to her normal self but notice that it would be harder to get to Ryu. And by the time they gotten their grocery back to the dojo, Ken had more or less forgotten about Ryu as he was stuck in argument with ChunLi. An argument about who should be doing the cooking. In that nobody noticed that Ryu had sneaked out.  

“Look here Chunnie. You’re the guest, it’s your birthday. I’m cooking.”  
“Ah. You said its my birthday. I get to cook.”  
“I don’t care who’s cooking. I’m hungryyyyyy!!!” A third voice added but was promptly ignore.  
“You’re the guest, you can cook if you’re the host. So stay away from my stove!”  
“Its not like I’m taking over this household. Just one meal blondie!”  
“I’m gonna tell Ryu that you’re being really unreasonable!”  
“I’m complaining to Ryu that you’re bullying me!”  
“And I will tell sensei that you two are delaying dinner!! Aiieeeee!!!!” Dan tried to separate the quarrelsome duo but was shoved out instead.  
“Stay out of this!!” both Ken and ChunLi yelled at him.  
“Fine go complain to Ryu. That will get you out of my hair. Go bother him!” Ken huff.  

“Is he…upset with me?” ChunLi asked meekly, changing the subject.  
“Eh? You? Upset him? No! Whatever made you think that way?”  
“He’s sulky and cold and unresponsive. I never seen him this way.”  
“Oh Chunnie Chun-Chun. The silly guy is not upset with you. Nah. He’s just dull, boring and slow on the uptake.” Ken patted ChunLi on the shoulders and sighed on realizing that she didn’t quite get what he meant.  

“Help me Chunnie. Help me help Ryu. I can only do so much. You’ve seen what’s happening to him. I don’t think we would want to lose him to whatever’s being bugging him since that stint in Thailand.”  
“I’ll try.”  
“I know you can.”  
“Of course I can. Have to stop his moping so that he can concentrate on me.”  
“AH HA!! So that’s why you’re here! I guess that much! The kitchen’s mine!” Ken leaps to the side and points accusingly at her.  
“Pfff. Fine you win. I’ll go find Ryu.” ChunLi pouted and headed out of the kitchen.  
“I hope you do. Because if you can’t find him. There’s nothing the rest of us can do.” Ken said softly as he watches her leave.  

It was near sunset as Ryu sat on upon a stout branch of his training tree to watch the sunset. The reddish clouds had gathered and form what seem like scenery of mountains surrounding a lake. Although the huge cloud formation of a tidal wave nearby seems out of place.  

The words of the fortuneteller had confuse him so much that the better part of the day passed by him in a blur. He forgot where or what they did after that since he had let Ken and ChunLi drag him around until they got back to the dojo. Ryu had managed to sneak away while the noisy duo were arguing over what to cook and who was going to cook this night.  

Quiet time, something he hadn’t exactly had since ChunLi arrived. Although he does not exactly appreciate the fact that Burning Red eyes had chose to haunt him during his little bit of quiet time. He was not even sure what he was suppose to do or even how. He tried researching the dojo’s library on the subject but found nothing to explain nor guide him.  

Staring at his fists he felt a sense of uselessness hits him, the feeling of ineptness gnaws at his guts, feeding a slow simmering anger, a vicious cycle that nourishes Burning Red Eyes.  

“Your path may be in your fists but the answers you seek are beyond them.” A coarse voice interrupted his train of thoughts.  
“Gouki sama!” Ryu jolted into alertness. Gouken sensei had often reminded his students to be mindful of what they say and do in Gouki’s presence for he was a volatile person and there was no telling how low his level of tolerance was.  

Which was why Gouken sensei decides who brings Gouki his meals. Ryu himself was seldom chosen for such a chore and when he was chosen it was on days that Gouki was confirm to be in a relatively sane and calm mood. Although less menacing Ryu could always feel that the older man was studying him and had never ask him anything beyond his training. Somehow Ryu had always been fascinated by the dedication the older man had for his arts. But still does he want to be exactly like him?  

An uncomfortable feeling gnaw at him as Gouki studied him in that inhuman manner of his.  
“Such potential… but still a pup. In good time then.” Ryu heard Gouki mumbling to himself. Was he talking to him? He had heard from Ken that older man sometimes rambles on and on. And there were occasions that Ken was forced into a game of chess with the older man.  

The older man turned his attention towards the only path from the dojo and frowned. Ryu’s attention was drawn towards that direction as well, he gasped when the target of Gouki’s interest turn out to be ChunLi. A bead of perspiration form upon Ryu’s brow, of all time for ChunLi to show up, of all the attention she should attract she just had to attract his.  

“So bright. Don’t lose that light.”  
“What?!” Ryu turned back towards Gouki but the man was already gone and had left Ryu to ponder his meaning.  

“Gargh!!” Ryu gasped as the tree shook, nearly flung out of the branch he was on. With one hand on the trunk for support he looked down and saw a giggling ChunLi. She responded by unleashing another series of kicks upon the trunk forcing Ryu to desperately cling onto the trunk.  

When the tree stop shaking Ryu looked down once more but she was gone. It turns out that she was climbing up to join him. Offering his hand when she near his branch she took it and allow him to pull her up.  

“Angry?” she asked him, jolting him from certain thoughts that had plagued him.  
“Did I upset you?  
“Then I’m going home tomorrow.”  
“You seem upset that I’m here interrupting your training and stuff.”  
“I’m not angry with you… just…with me. I just… don’t know anymore….”  
“Let me help you.” ChunLi patted Ryu’s arm.  
“But you might get hurt.”  
“Ahh pfff.” She waved the notion away and put her arm around his shoulder.  
“I hate to see you like this. But I’m here for you if you need someone to beat some senses into you up or just someone to beat up. Just whistle and I’ll be here for you. No cloud or squall can stop me.” she whispered into his ear.  
“Can’t enjoy kicking your cute butt if you’re not 100% ready to fight.” She giggled, bringing an embarrassed smile from him.  

“Then you’ll stay?”  
“I’m still going home.” ChunLi lifted a finger into the air  
“But –” Ryu shut up when her finger landed upon his lips.  
“Answers not here grasshopper. Daddy and Gen sifu might know something. That’s why I’m taking you back with me.”  

“But I–”  
“One – You owe me my fun vacation and you’re mine until it ends!  
Two – You’re too distracted for me to charm you properly.  
Three – Uh… I want to kick your butt nice and proper.  
Four – You may bring Ken if you wish.  
Five – Let me be your guide and take care of you for once.  
Six – Because if I have to drag you back screaming and kicking, so be it.  
Seven – Because you promised.” Cutting off all excuses and further arguments.  
“Alright then.” Ryu sighed, knowing that there was no way out and no one who could dispute with her on this.  
“I expect you to pay me back of course. Eventually.” She giggled knowing full well that he didn’t exactly understood.  
“Huh?” Ryu turned to her in puzzlement.  

*The mildly inacurate rendition of this little part of the fic.  
“RYUUuuu AND CHUNNNLIIiiii SITTING IN A TREEEEeeee!!!!!” A shrill yell came up to them  
‘K-I-S-S-I-N-Geeeee” Looking down, a pink figure was dancing around trying to grab their attention.  
“THEN COMES…. Then comes…. Uh oh dear…I forgot how it goes.” The pink warrior scratches his head trying to remember the rest of the verse.  
“GRAAGGHHHH!!” he screamed as something hit him upon his head. He fell and came face to face with a pair of knobbed bracelets. In a short moment a pair of bare feet and a pair blue training shoes with yellow stripes appeared before his face.  

image*Because I don’t have Alpha CL’s sprites  

“FORGIVEeeee meee oh great and mightiieee warrior princess.” Dan scooped up the bracelets and offered it to her.  
“The mightiieeee Dan have no wish to distrub you lovebirdieeees. Just passing yoooou a message from an annoyed Kennnie boooy who threatens to give your portion of dinner to Goukiieeeee samaaa to take back for his supper if you two lovebirdieeees don’t come backieeee.” The warrior in pink looks up and found the couple had left him alone headed back without him.  
“Don’t leaveeee meeee. Wait up!!” He screamed chasing after them.  

“So what is Ken preparing this time?” Ryu asked as they jogged their way back.  
“Pasta.” ChunLi narrowed her eyes and frowned.  
“You don’t like pasta?”  
“No. just not the cream of chicken that accompanies it. Makes my stomach run.”  
“You too huh.”  

“Race ya!” ChunLi laughed and quicken her pace. Reaching the dinning hall of the dojo the laughing girl pull open the door. Her laughter stopped immediately as a pair of red eyes look towards her from the far end of the table. Ryu bumped into her and was about to asked her if she was okay but he saw that her attention was fixed upon that of Gouki sama’s stare. A metallic tinkling of the wind chimes broke the spell of the stare and ChunLi bowed.  

“Hajimemashite Gouki sama. I’m ChunLi, pleased to meet you.”  
There was a mumbled reply from the older man and ChunLi immediately dragged Ryu to their seats. The only sound throughout dinner was the periodic tinkling of the wind chimes