This page includes English translations for the team stories found on The King of Fighters Official Web Site. You can also find the Japanese version on The King of Fighters 2001 Official Website.
Late in the night, three figures appear at an installation that seems to be some sort of research lab.
"Nuts. This place is empty, too."
"We were seconds too late."
"This just goes on forever.... Well, I guess I'll look around. ...It doesn't seem like anything dangerous is nearby."
To be honest, the three were impatient. Up till now, these three had destroyed quite a bit of NESTS branches. But recently someone appears to be equipped to anticipate their every action. All facilities related to NESTS that they have raided have come up empty.
"How do you suppose they anticipate our every move, Whip?"
The mammoth male wonders out loud...and Maxima cannot suppress his irritation in his query as he ventures an answer.
"I haven't the faintest idea. But we don't know for certain that all of our intel is fresh. So if someone beats us to the punch, we may just have to live with it...."
"...No, I'm sorry. It's not that I don't trust you. But...hey, K', don't you think there are a bit too many mysteries this time around?"
"What are you getting at?"
The blond-haired K' mutters incredulously.
"They're holding another KOF this year, right? Nothing strange about that, happens all the time. But did you check out the roster this time? There's a NESTS team! A NESTS team! Think about it. Why would a secret syndicate that tried so hard to keep itself hidden all of a sudden make such a point of using their name in public?"
"Only a privileged few know about NESTS. It looks like they've surfaced at last."
"Why would it be necessary for those clowns that destroyed an entire city want the world to know their name? Wouldn't it be in their best interests to stay behind the veil...?"
"There's no point trying to reason this out. ...I'm out of here, to our next objective!!"
All three assume a combat position. K' asks Maxima in a whisper.
"...Maxima, can you see it?"
"Yeah...I don't know how it concealed itself, but my heat sensors caught them."
The moment Maxima mumbles his answer, the figure moves into action.
The figure slips by Maxima's side and appears for an instant in front of K'. Then the figure aims at K' and brings his arm down. Almost simultaneously, K' jams his fists forward, flame shooting from it. A violent roar rips through the darkness, but misses the figure. The fist the form swung at K' is stopped by Whip's bullwhip.
"Tsh, looked like I got a little carried away...."
"Sorry, K'. But you really should try to avoid unnecessary conflict. Well, let's hear your story."
The three bind the man to a chair near the centre of the room that's illuminated by the moonlight seeping in from the window. All three know this man with the pig-tail. He's their "old pal" Lin.
"...Is this, perhaps, the reason for you tailing us?"
Whip sticks a picture in front of Lin's eyes. Lin is clearly affected by it.
"...I thought as much. If you're going to follow us, one day you're bound to meet up with this guy, right?"
"One of those tight-jawed types, eh? ...Ah, whatever. ...How about it? K', shall we make Lin a teammate and enter the tournament?"
"Do as you like."
"Hey, hey, K', Whip, are you serious? You'll never know when this guy's going to screw us over."
Maxima, clearly rattled, urges his colleagues to reconsider.
"...If you're worried about that, I'd find something else to worry about...."
Lin murmurs dryly.
"Ungh. This guy's quite the hardcase. Well, if K' and Whip are all right with this, I guess I can play along. Well, in the spirit of friendship, let's shake on it..."
As he turns to look back at Lin, he sees that their captive's already long gone.
"What a crud! It's the rules to leave with at least a salutation!"
"Walk it off, Maxima. With Lin as our teammate, the tournament will be a breeze. Don't you think, K'?"
Without answering, K' takes his leave of the place. Alone, K' looks up at the night sky. My past...my future...they took them both...NESTS...the root of my abilities...Krizalid...Zero...the powers that oppose me...Kula....
"That K' looks like he's got a lot to chew on."
"Yeah, but we've got to bring this to an end at any cost. For all those who have fallen victim to those scum..."
"Yeah, you're right...And for my own sake...I must destroy NESTS!"
"...You said a mouthful."
The two look up at the night sky. The light from the countless stars in the sky pours onto this trio.
A large man stands out conspicuously in the gym, and he tosses one Olympic athlete after another down on the mat.
- "That's enough for today!"
- "Thank you very much!"
The giant removes his judo clothes and begins to wipe the sweat dripping from his granite-firm body. Then, all of a sudden...
- "Hey, long time no see, Daimon! This time, more than I care to."
- "Well, if it isn't Benimaru!"
- "Must be tough being a coach, isn't it...Or are you the manager?"
The two leave the gym, sit on a bench, and begin talking.
- "...Benimaru, judging from the circumstances, I don't think you've come to talk about the good old days, have you?"
- "Well...as a matter of fact, I got one of these."
Benimaru dramatically offers the envelope to Daimon.
- "Is this...an invitation to the King of Fighters tournament...?"
- "Yup, that's it. I won't beat around the bush, Daimon. I want you to enter with me."
After a considerable silence, Daimon comes to his conclusion.
- "I know. It's Kyo, isn't it?"
- "That's it...."
- "Well, then, what if I told you that Kyo is entering the tournament, too?"
- "Kyo, in the tournament?! Have you heard from Kyo, Benimaru?"
- "Yup, but we just talked on the phone...It seems that he's in Japan. He told me he's officially entering the tournament."
- "Care to be teammates again? Eh, Daimon?"
- "...Benimaru. Lead the way."
- "That's the old pepper, big guy!"
Shingo sits and fidgets on a park bench, illuminated by the moon's rays.
- "Mr. Kusanagi. We didn't have to meet in a place like this..."
There's no trace of another human around. To be honest, Shingo is shivering with fear. He's the only one in this park at midnight....
- "Oh wow, it's past twelve o'clock. I wonder if Mr. Kusanagi's really going to show up...."
He mutters this while looking up at the moon. ...Then in that instant, Shingo feels the presence of someone behind him. He quickly swivels around.
- "...What? ...Guess it was just my imagination...."
- "Hey, Shingo."
Shingo panics and looks back in front of him as his name is called. It turns out to be the person that Shingo has been dying to meet all this time.
- "Mr. Kusana-aaaaaaagi!"
Shingo, overcome with sheer joy, tries to embrace him, but Kyo bats him away with a single hand. Shingo, carried by his own inertia, crashes "neatly" into the ground, face first.
- "...Jeesh. I see you haven't changed for the better, have you?"
- "Ow! That's going to leave a mark. Uh, you too, Mr. Kusanagi! What have you been up to all this time?! I was worried sick!"
- "Well, a lot has been on my plate. So, Shingo, just where's Benimaru at?"
- "Yeah! Benimaru should be coming along any time now. ...Ah, here he is!"
Benimaru walks toward the two, his blond hair gleaming in the moonlight. The judo giant walks behind him.
Kyo is surprised.
- "Kyo, it's been a while. It's not much of a souvenir, but I brought Daimon along with me."
- "Long time no see, Kyo. It seems you've been through some tough times."
- "I've seen a few...."
- "Hey you two, lighten up. More important, I have a message for you, Kyo. You haven't been by Yuki's have you? She's been pretty worried."
- "Yuki? Ah...yeah. Once this is over...."
- "Jeesh...Why don't you...ah, whatever. So...I've been looking after your self-appointed disciple. I don't know how much my word means, but he seems to have improved a little during your absence."
- "A little? That's harsh, Benimaru!"
Everyone lets out a brief laugh, but the mood quickly changes.
- "Kyo...do you feel it?"
- "Yeah...we're surrounded. ...I'd say three, four, five, probably more."
The three-Kyo, Benimaru, and Daimon-change their mood previously friendly one and they appear poised for combat, their adrenalin increasing. Only one, only Shingo, seems to dither about, not grasping what is about to go down.
- "U-Uh...What's the problem, guys?"
As Kyo puts his glove back on, he lets out a scream!
- "How about breaking a few heads together, for old times sake?!! Are you up for it, Benimaru?! Daimon?!"
- "Sounds like a plan! Team Japan is back in business!"
- "All right!"
Kyo, Benimaru, and Daimaru dash into the darkness as one.
- "Hey ev-everybody! Don't leave me alone here! Heeeeey!"
He has been followed for a long time.
But that is of no import to him. If they come, he will crush them. And that's all there is to it.
"Hmph. What a tremendous presence... Now I know why Benimaru was so on edge."
The man realizes he's been found out. The reason he knows this is because the red-haired man has gradually begun to head for more secluded alleyways. When he approaches a shadowy blind alley, the red-haired man turns to face him.
"What...do you want...?"
Hearing his target's voice, the word "darkness" comes to Seth's mind. Darkness...the thing all humans fear primordially and continue to hate. Yes, this red-haired man seems to be "darkness" its very self. Although there is a odious dryness in his mouth, Seth addresses the man.
"Iori...Yagami, is it? I've been looking for you...for quite a long time."
The area surrounding the confrontational Yagami begins to flicker as if it were shimmering with heat.
"Who are you?"
"Forgive me for my belated self-introduction. The name is Seth. It's a pleasure."
"...I don't care who you are...What's your business with me?"
"Pretty harsh ther, Yagami. Do you know that you've been invited to this year's King of Fighters?"
"...So, what's it to you?"
The surrounding space becomes even more violently warped. Seth feels like groaning within but continues to speak.
"If I told you that Kyo Kusanagi will be entering, what would you say to that?"
The expression on Yagami's face changes. The surrounding area simultaneously warps as if time and space were caving in on itself. A normal human would probably have died suffering from these brutal emissions of Iori's psyche...the very power of Iori Yagami....
"...You're entering on my team...Did you know that?"
"That's right. And there are two more after that. ...So how about it?"
"...Yeah, I could enter with you...however...."
"If you stand in my way, I'll crush you on the spot!"
Just then the wave of energy rushes like a violent gale from Yagami's body, causing Seth to involuntarily kneel on one knee. An instant later, Seth looks up and notices the form of Yagami is no where to be found. Seth rises, revolves his neck around two or three times, and mutters...
"...Wow, that was intense. Can that guy be human?"
The amused voices of people enjoying themselves with the crashing of the waves can be heard all around. It appears that it's another crowded day at the indoor pool. A scene that has little to do with combat fills the field of vision of a girl chatting on her cell phone.
"Yeah. I understand. I intend to meet you today, too. See you later."
She sprawls out on her mat after she hangs up.
"Ah, this is the life..."
She lays down her splendid limbs. A group of men begin to gather around her, transfixed by her charms. But she appears to be completely indifferent to their gaze as if dismissing the gaze of these men, and fends off their propositions.
"Wow! Now that's quite a view."
Emerging from the group of men, a single man calls to her in a particularly loud voice. The group of men assume he's intending to claim the girl as his own, but nonetheless scatter and disappear, overwhelmed by the man's well-sculpted physique.
"You've still got it."
"Oh, when did you get here, Ramon?"
The woman rises up and drinks from a glass of juice as she sits down in a chair.
"Well, when Vanessa calls, and we'll always have last year's tournament, too."
"Ooh, it gives me tingles when you put it that way. Well, I know it's a little out of the blue, but we decided on the final member of our team for this tournament."
"Oh, really. Who may that be?"
Ramon screws up his face when he hears Yagami's name.
"That's quite a big-shot addition...Hope we can handle him."
"Well, I think we'll manage something, don't you? And he does have more than enough of the power we require."
Vanessa purrs, pouring some more juice into her glass as she looks back toward Ramon.
"Well, I don't care...."
Ramon motions to receive the glass.
"By the way, what time is it now...Oh, no! The press conference is going to start! Vaya con dios; until we meet at the tournament!"
Ramon disappears in a flash, without even drinking his juice.
"Oh, you're always in such a rush...Well, so it goes. Things look like they're going to get interesting."
Vanessa gulps down her juice and makes her exit.
Fatal Fury Team
A pleasant breeze blows through a clear blue sky.
The unbroken laughter of children playing football and baseball echoes throughout Southtown's only park-you guessed its name by now, Southtown Park. A man wearing a familiar red cap makes his way to a group of kids playing basketball.
"Hey, kids! How goes the hoops?!"
"Hey everybody, it's Terry! Awesome! You came again, too, like you promised!"
After a quick pick-up game, Terry sits on a bench to chat with the kids.
"Terry! I've seen all the commercials on TV, so you must know there's another King of Fighters this year! Are you going to enter?!"
"Huh?! Hmm, is that so? This year, too? ...Come to think of it, I've entered every year, haven't I...?
"Gee, Terry, I'd sure like to see you fight again this year! You're this town's hero!"
"Me, too. Seeing you fight gives me courage! Since me, heck, everyone here, is all alone, you're all we got...right?"
Terry always keeps tabs on the boys here in the park. Like them, Terry happens to be an orphan. And like his adoptive father Jeff did with him, he wants to provide them with the courage and hope to overcome their circumstances. If it allows him the opportunity to keep seeing these kids' smiling faces...then Terry has made up his mind.
"All right! I'm in!"
"You mean it? All right!!!"
Looking at the children's faces, Terry recalls those halcyon days spent with his adoptive father Jeff, and looks off in the distance as he waxes nostalgic. Suddenly, a woman arrives and, dismounting her motorcycle, heads in Terry's direction.
"What's the word, Terry?"
"Oh, Mary! Long time no see. How did you find me here."
"I knew you'd be here. Call it woman's intuition. By the way, you seemed to be having a good time a few minutes ago. I wonder what you were you talking about then."
"As a matter of fact, I've decided to enter this year's KOF tournament. I thought I'd show these little tough guys here just what I'm made of."
"Is that so? Well, as a matter of fact, I've decided to do the same. And my new assignment, as usual, has something to do with KOF."
"The Dickens you say. Then I guess I'll have to help you out, Mary. How about cracking a few skulls together, for old time's sake?"
"Ooh, hoo, hoo, in your dreams. It is true that I've got a job, but that doesn't mean I'm just here on business.... But if you say you're going to enter, shall I put my work aside to help you out?"
"Hmph...you really got a mouth on you. Well, then I'll put it more formally: will you enter with me, again?"
"If you put it that way, of course I will, Terry!"
"Did you see that, kids? Looks like we're going to win this year, too!"
Meanwhile, back in Japan. Andy is focused in his training with a young lad in the hometown of the Shiranuis. The name of Andy's young charge is Hokutomaru. Andy is practicing hard and shows no mercy toward Hokutomaru, although the kid looks like he's, well, just a kid. As the day inevitably turns to dusk, training draws to an end and Andy begins to address Hokutomaru.
"You've heard of KOF, haven't you, kiddo...?"
"Of course. You're always rambling on about it, Master."
"Uh, yeah. About KOF then...I got a message from my big brother. And this time I'm going to be on my brother's team again, but...you're coming with me, too. At long last you're going to get a real taste of actual combat."
"Uh, and one more thing...do you think you could use your wiles and break this news to Mai? If I tried to tell her, well, you know how it goes...don't you?"
"Aw, Master, do I have to go through that again? I always have to smooth things over with you and the Shiranui maiden...Hey, that reminds me: You opened a training gym in Southtown, right? Why don't you keep yourself under wraps there for a while?"
"That's no good. I'm positive Mai already has that place staked out."
"Probably. Tough break, Master. I think you'd better handle this matter yourself. Later!"
In a flash, Hokutomaru scrambles up the trunk of a large pine tree near by, jumps from branch to branch, and in no time disappears into the forest.
"Hey, hold on there! Hey!"
For an instant, Andy looks like he's at the end of his rope, but then a smile comes over his face, as if approving of his little disciple's progress.
Meanwhile, Joe has been devoting his time, day in and day out, to participating in kick boxing matches in Thailand. One day, he takes a break to drop by his old gym. But returning after a long absence, he finds the gym in a pitiful, run-down state, only a few athletes in residence. Joe spies the Chairman ringside and strikes up a conversation.
"Hey, Chairman, it's been a while. What's going on with the gym? What happened?"
"Oh, Joe! Where have you been keeping yourself...? It's an honor welcoming the Champ here, but our village has had some tough times recently...I wish all my boxers could earn a living doing the old Muetai, but when it comes to merely making a living, there are so many other speedier ways to do it these days. If things keep up like this it'll be just a matter of time before I have to close up shop."
As the Chairman finishes explaining his predicament, a well-worn boxing glove rolls along the floor; he picks it up and strokes it tenderly. Joe's heart breaks seeing this scene and he cannot suppress a scream of rage.
"Get a grip, Chairman! I'll do anything I can, just promise you won't close the gym."
A few days later, Terry, illuminated by the early morning sun just peeking over the horizon, stands before the gravestone of his dead adoptive father. Two men approach as Terry places the flowers before the gravestone.
"How's life been treating you these past months, Terry? Landing all your punches?"
"Lookin' good, Andy. So Joe's with you, too? How's it been? I've been hearing a lot of rumors about you."
"Hey! You look the same as ever! I guess it's just not the same without us three together, huh?"
"You said it. And we're supposed to meet up with Mary at the tournament."
With each of their own thoughts in mind, the three set their goals for this year's KOF before Jeff's gravestone.
Art of Fighting Team
A shout like a woman's wail cleaves the air and reverberates throughout the gym. Ryo Sakazaki and his kid sister Yuri are in the midst of morning practice. Ryo's fists whoosh through the air, and Yuri's high kicks snarl with ferocity. The furious match finally draws to an end, the two separate, and bow.
"You've improved, Yuri."
"Of course I have! Just how many times do you think I've entered KOF anyway?!"
"Yeah, you're right. ...Well, how about we get some grub?"
"Yeah. ...Oh? Robert?"
Robert Garcia, who's never appeared at the gym at this hour before, unexpectedly stumbles into the gym.
"What's up, Robert? What's with the hang-dog look?"
"...We're ruined. We are so ruined...."
Robert mutters on as he crumples down to the ground where he stands.
"Yuri, water! Bring him some water! Robert, snap out of it! What's going on? What happened?"
Ryo brings his ears to the hear the mumbling emanating from Robert's mouth.
"Ryo! Just what's all the commotion early in the morning? Huh? ...Robert? What's going on?"
Takuma, appears from the gym and kneels down alongside Robert next to Ryo.
"...I-It's a takeover, Master..."
Robert answers with a barely audible voice.
A tense mood settles into the gym. The three, having put Robert to sleep for the time being, gather together and begin a hushed conversation.
"Robert's really been knocked for a loop by this."
"I didn't understand all of it but he said something about cornering the public offerings of the foundation, or the rights to development, something like that."
"Be that as it may...!
"Sssh! Pop, take the volume down! You'll wake up Robert!"
Takuma, warned by Yuri, lowers the tone of his voice slightly.
"...Be that as it may, Robert's peril is our peril. That is to say, it's the peril of Kyokugen Karate its very self."
Ryo, not well-versed in the ways of the world, does not point out the jump in logic to Takuma's reasoning. Takuma pays him no mind and continues.
"And to get over this crisis, we'll need money, won't we."
"...But Pop, we don't have that kind of money on us!"
"That's what this is for!"
Takuma grins, then lets out a laugh as he dramatically produces four envelopes from his practice tog.
"We'll enter this year's KOF and win!"
"KOF? What do you mean, Pop?"
"Have you forgotten, Ryo? The team that wins KOF receives a massive amount of prize money! Not only that, this year's KOF is an international tournament, I hear. So the amount of prize money should be quite more than usual!"
"Now I got it! I see where you're going with this, Pop! So if we win, Robert and this gym will both be saved, right?!"
"That's my boy!"
"...But if Robert can't snap out of his current state, I don't see us winning... Huh? Robert!"
There, standing tall, is none other than Robert with a flush expression, perhaps the result of excitement. Robert sits before Takuma and grasps his hand silently, ignoring Yuri's question.
"I knew my Master was the only one I could count on! Let's go everyone! We've got a KOF to win!"
"Ah, Robert! That's poetry to my ears! If that's what you've decided then we must strike while the iron's hot. Everyone, get your stuff together!"
Takuma, Ryo, and Robert work themselves up to a froth and whip into action. But Yuri takes time to reflect. It's probably going to be Robert who'll be picking up the tab for the transportation costs and accommodation fees again this year....
Ikari Warriors Team
A swarm of construction workers and equipment work at a fevered pitch under a starless sky. Resting on an outstretched tarp in an elevated thicket, some figures stifle their breathing and observe operations on a site for KOF 2001.
"(Well? Can you see anything, Leona.)"
"(Not a thing.)"
"(You said that before. So, what is it?)"
"(Like I said, nothing....)"
Leona answers him as she looks through her night-vision scope."
"(What could they be up to? We know that this year's sponsor has the backing of NESTS, right? There can't be nothing going on.)"
The previous tournament...the man, gone in the wreckage... feelings when he viewed the video data, the only "keepsake" of the event...But after that, came the information from the intelligence agency that he was still alive...Could he really be alive...?
"(Uh, yeah, sorry. All right, let's call it a day. Leona! Let's rendezvous with Clark."
" Yes, sir."
A cobalt blue sea stretches out under a bleached white city built out of stucco and sun-dried brick. In this picture-perfect city that looks as if it would be included in a feature article for a travel magazine from Japan or thereabouts is a safe-house used as a focus of intelligence by the mercenary squad.
"Clark. So how did things go with you?"
"I came up empty. I even tried the military circuit, and there's no mistaking that this year's KOF is an official tournament."
"Is that so? ...Then what about NESTS?"
"There's no doubt that this year's KOF sponsor is linked to NESTS, but we don't know what their objectives are."
"Impossible! NESTS destroyed an entire city during the last tournament, didn't they? They can't be going to all this trouble for just a mere sporting event."
"But all reports attributed the incident to the fall of an artificial satellite...."
"Nuts! We have nothing to go on with this intel!"
Ralf pounds the top of his desk.
"Well aren't you the little hothead."
Everyone looks in the direction of the voice in unison. And there they see him, the man with the eyepatch, standing in the doorway. It's the leader of this mercenary squad, Heidern.
"Feast your eyes on this!"
Heidern plunks a thick pile of documents down on the desk. Three Ss appear on the top page of the pile, which means "top secret" in this squad. Ralf snatches up the stack of documents and scans over them. As he leafs through the documents, Ralf's face turns flush and he mumbles as if groaning in pain.
"Just what in blazes is this...?"
Clark and Leona peek at the document in Ralf's hands. A photograph that looks as if it was taken by a surveillance satellite is attached to it. The image is extensively blurred by a sort of electronic "snow," perhaps the result of some new kind of jamming device. It's impossible to distinguish any fine detail, but the group can see a giant black shadow.
"...This is all we have to go on. That, and this here."
Heidern pulls out a pamphlet and tournament entry tickets for this year's KOF tournament.
"Four tickets, is it? That leaves us a bit short of entrants. Last time...."
"Clark, take a look at the list of entrants."
The three do as instructed and scan the roster of fighters.
Ralf screeches wildly, hardly apropos of the situation.
"It's her all right. The genuine article, the one and only Whip. She's got all bases covered, I see."
"That little minx! Not even a phone call!"
"And it doesn't stop there. Check out the team she's on."
More surprisingly, the party finds among the list of entered teams the name of...
"NESTS! You got to be yanking my chain! A NESTS team?"
"NESTS is a completely secret syndicate...only but a handful of the privileged few know of its existence."
Leona once again blurts out the blatantly obvious.
"But if Whippy is listed among the tournament's participants, that means she has already been accepted as a team member. So, Leader, who's going to be our fourth team member?"
"...This time I'm going to join you in the tournament."
"Whoo! That's too much!"
"...OK, enough banter for now. All of you, gather in the briefing room!"
The three salute Heidern in unison. While they salute, something pops into Ralf's mind. What's going to happen this time around...? But we'll have to play this out. Yup, we'll just have to play this out.
Women Fighters Team
"Yes! This year I'm entering for sure!"
A lone girl mutters this with a touch of excitement as she squeezes the KOF invitation in her hand. Her expression brims with her enthusiasm towards entering the tournament. Now we're in Southtown's Chinatown. The young woman works here part-time in her Grandfather Bai's Chinese restaurant. Her name is Li Xiangfei Ever since she can remember she has loved a good fight and works as this shop's bodyguard as well as one of its waitresses.
"Last year was a real letdown. Even though I got an invitation, Mary and King ended up entering on other teams, and Mai's team was already decided...."
Xiangfei still stings with the regrets of being unable to find team members for the previous tournament, but this time, for sure, she's determined to enter KOF.
"OK! This year for sure I'm absolutely going to gather together some teammates and quickly form my team!!!"
Once she makes up her mind, Xiang Fei's quick to act. She bursts out of the early morning mist that shrouds Chinatown.
Meanwhile, inside Andy's gym in the middle of Southtown, Mai's voice echoes through the structure to no avail.
"That Andy. I'll never forgive him! This is the second time in a row he's left me in the lurch, and I won't forget it! Come on! Show yourself, Andy, you bleach-blond girlie-man!!!"
With almost perfect timing and no prior notification, in pops Xiang Fei, right in front of a truly peeved Mai.
"Hey, Mai! I thought you'd be here!"
"Say what?! You're Xiangfei, right?! What're you doing here?!"
"Eh, heh, heh. I heard Andy had opened a gym, so I came to check it out. And just as I expected, here you are Mai!"
"Well, yeah. I don't mind about Andy opening a gym here, but...Nuts! The loser's not here! It's just getting to be more and more of a chore trying to find out where that pretty-boy is! Uh, anyway...do you have something you want to ask me?"
"Yeah! I thought I could convince you to be on a team with me this year!"
Xiangfei tells Mai relates her experience with last year's tournament.
"Hmm...the dickens you say...Well, all right! I understand. Let's kick some but, Xiang Fei! And I want to make Andy scream ﾔUncle.'!"
"...Y-Yeah, that sounds nice. So let's do it together! (It's not the way I pictured it, but it'll have to do...)."
"Hmm, looks like the whole world's on the skids these days...."
A solitary woman sits inside a bar that boasts a reserved atmosphere. She looks over the newspaper spread out on the table and sighs. Meet King. Along with being the owner of the bar "Illusion," she is an figure well-known among fight fans. There is still a while before she's set to open her shop. King takes her eyes off the newspaper and shoots a glance at the envelope placed casually atop the thick oak counter. It's an invitation to King of Fighters.
"...It's come uninvited once again this year...ah, whatever...."
And just at that instant, "bing, bong" rings the doorbell.
"I'm sorry, we're not open yet."
King answers melancholically with her back to the door.
"Is that...King? Long time no see!"
"!! Xiang Fei?! And Mai, too. Hmph...."
The instant King saw their two faces, she knew it was another invitation to enter KOF. But this year she has not intention in the least of entering the tournament. So that's why she would tell the two the real reason and get them to leave. But as a result of Xiang Fei and Mai's persistent pleadings, King's chance to give these two the boot never arises. King eventually gives in.
"All right. All right already! I'll enter on your team, so enough of this whining!"
"Really?! All right!!!"
The two go wild with joy.
"But what are you going to do about the fourth team member? You can't join with a team of three members."
"Uh, I forgot about that...What'll we do? ...Kasumi said she saw her father in the last tournament so she set out to find him and can't be reached...and Yuri has already joined up with the Kyokugen Karate team...."
"Mai, uh, what about that sumo chick that entered last year. Won't she do?"
"Ah, you mean Hinako? She has school to worry about now...."
"That's not a problem. I'll convince here!"
Xiang Fei confidently comes to a credible conclusion.
"Nice to meet you. My name is Hinako Shijo."
It didn't take especially long for Hinako to show up at the bar "Illusion." What a coincidence that she shows up on a trip to Southtown at this very moment! It looks like the final pieces have fallen into place, so Mai's beside herself.
"So you're that sumo fanatic, Hinako, are you? Well, today everything's on the house so eat up!"
King stops wiping the glasses momentarily and takes a deep breath. She resigns herself that there's nothing she can do, today's just not her day. Not her day, and not her month: accounts this month will surely register in the red.
"Oh really? Thank you very much. I oblige myself of your kind hospitality."
"...So, Hinako, won't you enter KOF with us? With you on our team, I know we can win for sure."
"Oh, really-eeee? I'm truly honored to hear that. And if you provide me with another opportunity to enter...I'll be able to get more sumo club members, and...yeah, can I bring my sumo club teammates to the event?"
"Uh, yeah, the more the merrier, right?! It would be nice to have our own cheering section!"
"U-Uh, that's fine with me. Well, anyway, we have all of our members lined up, eh? Oh, good grief...."
"And in the event of our victory, I'll be happy to treat you and all your friends to a dinner party here at my place."
"Huh?!!! Really?! All right! Now I feel more psyched than ever. We're really going to bust some heads!"
And so, with Xiang Fei's passion, Mai's rage, and King's tolerance (?), the new Women Fighters team came into being.
Psycho Soldier Team
Here is the location of an ancient temple, secluded among steep mountains. It has already begun to grow dark, and the characteristic silhouettes of China's mountain ranges become distinctly visible.
Picking up a snatch of mountain plants with his chopsticks, Bao still looks as if he's about to cry. Kensou goes out of his way to cheer up Bao, who has been down in the dumps for quite a while.
"But, Kensou, you still can't shoot a Super Sphere, can you...?"
"Uh, d-do you have to rub salt in the wounds, Bao? Well, at any rate, all we have between us is training! Right?! Bao?!"
"...Uh...yeah, I guess...so I'll keep on trying!"
"That's right, that's right! That's the old pepper!"
Although Kensou says this with a smile on his face, deep down in his heart, there is anything but peace of mind." Kensou's psychic power still forsakes him...As if to keep his mind off this, Kensou stuffs his face with food.
"Athena! Another helping, please!"
"Huh?! Kensou, that's you're third bowl of rice already. Something the matter?"
Athena, who's in charge of tonight's meal, looks worried.
"I'm okay. I've got a lead-lined stomach, you know."
Chin, who had been watching the turn of events beforehand, speaks:
"If his power won't come back, he needs to get his stamina in other ways."
"Yeah, that sounds reasonable, Master."
"Yah, ha, ha, Master, Athena. You are both so off the mark."
Athena and Chin continue their conversation long into the night, even after Kensou and Bao have fallen asleep.
"Master. What do you think...about Kensou and Bao's predicament...?"
"Hmm. How can I put this...?"
Chin thinks this out while sipping on his tea. At that time...when Kensou and Bao made contact, it appeared that their psychic power had risen up to the heavens. Given that, I thought both of them would achieve balance with their psychic powers and return to normal, but.... ...In reality, Bao became unable to shoot a Psycho Ball and Kensou's powers have not shown the slightest sign of returning to normal....
But the energy that coursed through Bao's body was absorbed by Kensou, wasn't it? And if that's the case, then, why doesn't Kensou's power return to normal? Hmm...it's all a mystery, it is.... After a while, Chin offers his conclusion to Athena.
"Hey, Athena...I've thought about it and I don't have an answer. I guess it's enough that they're healthy."
"...Yeah...I guess so. If both of them are healthy, I can't ask for anything more."
After reaching this conclusion, the two give each other a smile.
Morning comes with the cheep, cheep, cheeping of the tunes of the songbirds. Bao and Kensou are in the midst of their early morning training.
"Ninety-nine...100...Wah! I'm beat."
"That's the spirit, Kensou! You've accomplished today's quota for push-ups."
"Huff, puff...of course I did...No way training like this is going to poop me out...I'm in tip-top condition!"
Or so Kensou protests, but deep down he's beyond wiped out.
"Well, then, show me a Super Sphere, will you?!"
"What?! Right now?!"
"But you said when you're in tip-top condition you said you'd be able to do it, didn't you?"
"Yeah, I guess I did...All right, then! I'm pumped now! Time to serve one up!!!"
Undaunted, Kensou leaps to his feet and assumes the position.
"Hah! Super Sphere!"
Kensou's fists grow hot. OH! MAYBE THIS IS IT! As he concentrates all his might, his fists begin to grow hotter and hotter, and after a while a sphere of light appears.
"Awesome! Way to go, Kensou!!!"
As if encouraged by Bao's voice, the lump of light begins to enlarge steadily. What?! The moment he thinks, "Was the Super Sphere really this big before?!" the wad of energy leaves his hands and takes off at a good clip. BADDA-BAM!!! Along with the thundering roar, the ball of energy released by Kensou knocks down a tree standing in front of them.
"Wah-ooh! I rule! ...Uh-oh...."
Kensou's eyes roll back into his head as he falls to the ground in a bundle....
"Whoa...Who'd of thought Kensou was capable of that...."
Athena nurses over a sleeping Kensou. Next to her stands Chin, who has heard about this morning's training session from Bao. After training to exhaustion, Kensou summoned up his Super Sphere. Perhaps Kensou's power may be stifled by his subconscious? And maybe that's where Bao's power resides as well....
"OK, I've reached my decision. I was wavering for a while, but we're going to enter this year's KOF tournament."
"What, Master? But Kensou's laid up in bed and Bao's power still hasn't returned..."
"That is exactly why we're entering the tournament. If we enter the tournament, it may bring about some change like the previous one, and we may get better results than we'd get continuing along at this rate."
"...Yeah, I guess so. If we enter the tournament, we should find some answers."
"I hope I get my psychic power back. And the same goes for Kensou, of course!"
"You said it. I get the feeling something may happen this time around, but this tournament rarely goes off without a hitch, you know."
"That's it! Kensou, Bao, and Athena too, this may all work out for our benefit."
Beside the sleeping Kensou, all come to a new resolve.
"Hmph, ridiculous. Completely!"
The girl who looks particularly distinctive with her hair gathered up answers him.
"Copies of the subject surfaced all over as a result of the previous battle. Hasn't his usefulness past?! Well?! Isn't that right, Foxy?!"
"That's exactly why we need to do away with the original. ...Kyo Kusanagi, he is an impediment to our syndicate."
"Hmph, whatever. ...But where is the clone that received those abilities, huh? And what happened to K'? He successfully escaped our grasp, didn't he? Why do we have to wipe up after our predecessors' failures! Well, Leader?!"
"You should mind your tongue, K9999!"
The other tall woman with her arms crossed puts in her two cents.
"It's okay, Diana. He'll be our teammate after all...won't you?"
"Ugh, well, whatever. Then we'll meet at the tournament next. We all have piles of work to attend to, right?"
"Yes, very well. Until the tournament, then."
K9999 leaves the room and slams it shut, ignoring their farewells.
"How did it go?"
A figure waiting on the landing calls to K9999, who climbs up the stairs, stomping on each step as he goes along.
"Kah! Those freaks are making a monkey of me!"
The figure's face still remains visible, owing to the glare of the lighting behind it, but it's clear from the silhouette that the lithe body is that of a woman.
"I'm telling you that's just not so. Don't be so oversensitive, K9999!"
K9999 continues to rage, as if he didn't hear a word the woman said.
"Hmph. Compare me to K', will they?! Did you hear me, Angel? That walking defect!!!"
"You're the strongest in the world. You, K9999! K' is not fit to lick the soles of your shoes! And you'll always have me!"
K9999's voice thunders through the dark corridor.
"I hate him! I hate him! I hate him!!! Him, most of all! I and I alone will crush K' with my own two hands!!!"
Muttering his threat, he dashes up the stairs without giving a glance to Angel.
"Hey, wait up, K9999."
Angel hastily follows him up the stairs.
Meanwhile the two women that K9999 had previously argued with remain in the dark room.
"Hmph, what a troublesome bunch of team members we have this time, huh?"
"Yeah, sure is."
"We should watch ourselves, Foxxy. Not only Angel, that K9999 is no normal being. I don't think he has the syndicate's best interests at heart."
"Yeah, I got the same feeling. But his abilities are equal to the syndicate's number one and two. If we watch ourselves, we should come out on top."
"I'm sorry. But this time I haven't officially received the order to enter the tournament. ...So, it'll probably be the kid."
"Understood, Diana. Leave Kula to me."
The two fall silent. The affairs regarding this year's tournament, their duties, and Kula this time something other than NESTS best interests concerns them. But orders are orders. And there's their loyalty to the syndicate. The two scan each other, as if conversing. The silence continues. The two continue facing each other wordlessly. Bidding each other leave with a glance, they exit the room.
It was a dream...A dream of falling earthward...Will I die...? But amazingly there is no fear of death...Someone watches over me...Yes...That's it...!!!
She suddenly awakens. Tears run from her eyes. How much time has passed? The woman nears the window, without wiping her tear-filled eyes. The sunlight flowing in from the opened drapes is dazzling. Being here alive, able to see the sunlight, is all because of Candy. That's what she believes.
Surely if she went to the syndicate, she could see Candy. Candy would surely come to her aid. But the Candy she knew then no longer exists. A robot...can always be rebuilt. I am a living being, and must die. But...these days, I know this: I, too, can be rebuilt, can't I? Am I, without my former memories, really a human being?
The woman looks at herself in the mirror in her room. Who...in the name of Creation am I? Am I nothing but a robot? ...As this feeling wells up inside her, a feeling of disgust throws her head back and she strives to suppress these thoughts. In spite of this...In spite of this, the cursed one still lives! The traitor to the organization, the manipulator of the flame!!! He is in some way involved with me. He knows me, doesn't he? He is not of the syndicate, but closer to me....
"No, it cannot be!"
I sling my body from the bed. Enough thinking for today. I feel sick....
"Ah, do I have nothing to look forward to?"
Although I don't believe it, maybe if I start talking, things will change, but then providence calls...literally.
Bring, bring...bring, bring...bring, bring....
"Ah, it's from Diana!"
Kula quickly pounces on the telephone.
Korea Justice Team
The place is Kim's gym, which he opened to spread the spirit of tae kwon do and spread his word on justice.
"That kid with the glasses sure has talent. Don't you think, Jhun?"
"Your talk of 'talent' reveals your ever illogical mindset. But the kid's got good form, that's for sure. Add some real fighting experience, and you've got a first-rate tae kwon do fighter."
"But...we're lucky...eh, buddy boy. ...Things are back to normal. Me...and you, Chang...if I stayed in your body...Makes me shiver just thinking about it...buddy boy."
The small man addresses the bigger one in pained tones.
"Not just you...but me too...Choi. Huff, huff...your body's too small...and you can't twirl...my lead ball..." Chang answers this. He looks like he's having a rough time of it, too.
"But...Master Kim...as Jhun said...knocking heads together and returning to where we started...it's like a comic book...eh, buddy boy...?"
"You said it..."
"OK. That's enough!"
Kim draws up next to the two.
"Very good! That's all for today!"
"Whew...are we finally finished today, buddy bo-, uh, Master Kim...Huh? Where's Master Jhun?"
"Uh, he made an early day of it today to go to the Athena Asamiya concert."
"Why do you keep us training if you guys get to go off and play?!"
"Now, now...Everyone needs a rest now and then."
"Does that include us, too?!"
"Hah, hah, hah, that's very drole, gentlemen. There's no vacation from rehab. Give me one more set!"
Jhun stands before a large thoroughfare, waiting for the signal to change. Today is the long-awaited day for the Athena Asamiya concert. It won't take more than five minutes to the concert hall after crossing this crosswalk. Jhun glances up at the signal. Still red. Time never flies when you're waiting. Jhun sets his eyes on the sidewalk across the street.
Who could believe it, but Athena Asamiya stands on the other side of the street, smiling like an angel and seemingly beckoning Jhun! Jhun glances at the signal again. It's green. Jhun begins to run across the street, as if possessed. Athena, as before, continues smiling.
But as much as Jhun runs, he doesn't appear to get closer to Athena. Far from it, Athena gradually recedes into the distance. Jhun panics. He runs for his life.
"How can this be?! Athena! Atheeeeena!"
Then he wakes up. He first sees is a white ceiling, and then a familiar face.
"Are you okay, Jhun? You're in the hospital now!"
"Kim...?! I could swear I was on my way to Athena's concert...."
Jhun's memory returns to him. On his way to the concert, he happened on a patch plastered with extra-large posters of Athena Asamiya and waited there for the signal to change to cross a crosswalk. But most of the posters had been torn off by her fans, and only a few posters remained on the wall.
While growing impatient, Jhun waited for the signal to change but finally could wait no longer and ran into the crosswalk although the signal was still red. That's when the car hit him.... At least that's what Jhun thought, but that's not what actually happened. As a matter of fact, the car driver did see the red light in front of him and because he stopped in the knick of time, Jhun, who had rushed out at top speed, smashed right into the car. Jhun, knocked back by the force of the collision, however, ended up injuring his neck and back pretty bad after landing on the pavement.
"Ah, Kim. Forgive me for shaking you up like that. But an injury like this...ouch..."
"You shouldn't push yourself, buddy boy...."
"Yeah, that's right, Master Jhun."
"Yeah, I'm sorry, but as far as this year's KOF goes...."
"What?! King of Fighters?"
"Yeah...I was hoping to enter this year's tournament again with you, but it looks like this time you won't be up to it."
"B-But Kim. Who will take my place?"
"Uh, it's that kid that you and I were talking about this morning. She's come to see you here now. Come on in, May."
The girl wearing a T-shirt and glasses on her head that they had watched this morning enters the room.
"Nice to meet you, Jhun! My name is May Lee. How're you holding up? I'll try to live up to your standards and defeat evil!"
"Hmm, May Lee, is it?? I like it, buddy boy. The old team was looking a little shabby with all these guys on it I thought, but a perky little pretty on board just may cheer us up, eh, buddy boy!"
"I'll second that. Of course that comment about defeating evil gives me pause."
"What are you talking about, Chang?! That's what our objective is all about, too, isn't it?! Her dream is to become an ally of justice!"
"Huh? Are you really s-serious, buddy boy?"
"You bet! I want to be an envoy of justice! That's why I came to the true envoy of justice, Master Kim that is, and his gym to become a worthy envoy of justice!"
"Ha, ha, ha...Well, we'll have to work on that!"
"Well, Jhun, take care of yourself, and make sure you recuperate sufficiently, OK? Later."
"W-Wait, Kim! Come on guys! Wait for me!!!"
The door slams shut and Jhun lies stunned, alone in his hospital room, while the sound of laughter is heard in the corridor outside.