• Both of us stared at each other, waiting to see which one makes the first move. I brushed my hair out of my face so I could see better. I revealed something that also surprised Hyoujin. A scar...that ran down the left side of my face. " Hey Rai. Where did you get that?" Good question....Don't really know, but it looks cool doesn't it? Hehehe. " Yea right...Hehe." Both of us were standing very still while the sweat dripped off our faces. Susanoo watched from the stands just like everyone else. Everyone was watching....waiting to see who strikes first. " Nervous Rai?" Not at all....fighting is the only way to solve things. " Your right about that!" Hyoujin suddenly dashed forward and went for a jumping straight kick. I reacted quickly and moved to the left, evading his kick. He landed and rotated with a leg sweap, but I easily dodged by stepping back. I then went for a straight punch, but Hyoujin pushed my punch to the side and twisted around my arm, ready to elbow me in the head. I quickly leaned back, evading his elbow strike. But then he quickly went for a left leg sweep while rotating. I blocked his sweep with my left arm and countered with a spinning leg strike which made contact with his chest and knocked Hyoujin back a few steps, but not to bring him down. His kick just now, it was very powerful....I've got to watch out for his kicks. Hyoujin moved quickly and surprised me with left and right jab combo, but I reacted fast and went for a right hook. Hyoujin blocked with his left arm and punched me in the stomach. Damn! I quickly stepped back and launched a quick right punch to Hyoujin's face, then followed it with a powerful left punch to his face again, sending him a step back. But Hyoujin's recovery of balance was incredible. He delivered a strong kick to my right shin and then my right thigh, finishing it off with a rotating high kick to my head. But like Hyoujin, I recover just as fast. " This is starting to be fun, huh Rai?" Yea...real fun. I moved fast and went for a low leg sweep, but Hyoujin easily dodged by backflipping. During the time Hyoujin was about to land, I ran towards him and attacked with a straight kick to his face. Hyoujin landed but tripped a bit from the kick. I continued to charge at Hyoujin, not giving him a chance to strike. He then went for a series of fast kick combos. I couldn't dodge all his quick foot strikes. Even after evading and parrying his first kicks, I couldn't withstand the force of his leg strength for long. Hyoujin suddenly stopped his fury of kicks and punched downward on my head with great force, a bit of a surprise. While I was bent down from his attack, Hyoujin kicked my head up with his left leg, and followed it with another kick from his right leg to my chest, sending me back a few inches away but still standing. Hyoujin then went for a straight right kick, but I quickly grabbed his foot before it hit me. Suddenly his other foot left the ground and hit the side of my head, making me let go of his foot. I was feeling the pain from his strong kicks. My head hurts even worse than before because of the constant impact of his attacks. " I got to say, your lasting longer than the others. And you actually hit me a few times, good job! But is that all you got? You can do better!" Blood dripped down the side of my head. I could feel my heart pound fast with each second that past. I closed my eyes for a few seconds to get my focus back. I felt the blood across my face....the feeling...of blood. The smell...of iron....such a familiar smell. I slowly opened my eyes, just barely, but I saw more blood on me. This much blood....how did it get on me? Everything I looked at was blurry and hard to detail. I stood up and looked more clearier at ground. For a second, I could have swore the floor felt like dirt. My head is really hurting, but I can't stop fighting now. I rased my head and my eyesight grew more clear. Everyone yelled from the walls of the gym, even Susanoo yelled me to go on fighting. Hyoujin waited for me to attack by shuffling his feet in place. " Ready for another round of me kicking the crap out of you?" Hyoujin stopped shuffling his feet and took his stance. My head just wouldn't stop hurting. Even when I'm focused on the fight, its hard enough just to ignore the non-stop pain inside my head. I took one step forward and I felt a sharp jolt of pain. The pain....it hurts. I grabbed my head with one hand and tried to walk forward, but I felt more jolts in my head. " If your hurting, then that means the fighting is getting started!!" Piss...Off! " Someone seems a bit angry. This is a good fight, you should be happy. Your very good Rai, worthy of my fighting skills. It can't be called a real fight unless you feel the pain. So tell me Rai...DO YOU FEEL THE PAIN?!!!" Hyoujin ran toward me and was ready to strike with a powerful kick. I have to react fast or else the pain will get worse. I quickly ran towards him with equal speed. Ignore the pain...focus on fighting....land a hit!! As I ran, I prepared my right arm for the strike, grinding my fist, ready to attack Hyoujin. We sharpened our gaze upon one another, hell bent on attacking each other. We drew closer....ready to strike.....ready to feel the pain. My arm moved quickly away from my side and drove straight at Hyoujin. Hyoujin's kick left the ground, and greatly came towards me. Each of our attacks was aimed perfectly at our heads, and within that one second before the impact.......I felt no pain.

    My strong fist.....Hyoujin's powerful kick.....greatly hitting each other's face.....wtih great force. The devastating impact inflicted on ourselves sent us off the ground. We landed far away from each other, slamming hard on the ground. Niether one of us moved.....everyone was shocked....Susanoo didn't say anthing. I was on my back....everything felt wierd. I heard constant....voices in my head, I felt so dazed. Damn....this fight is really making me hear things. I opened my eyes slowly and looked up at the gym's cieling lights. I felt a great deal of pressure pushed down on me. The light shined bright, it was hard to see. I turned my head to where Hyoujin was. He was flat on his stomach....but he slowly pushed off the ground, shaking his head to relieve the pain from my punch. " Ah...Damn. That hurt really hurt. Didn't expect that." He stood up slowly and brushed himself off. He then spit out some blood and popped his neck. " Strong fist you got there. It wasn't like your other punches, you holding back or something?" I slowly leaned my upper body forward off the ground. Dammit! This won't be easy. I've got to keep fighting....but.....why? Why do I suddenly feel the need to keep going? No....stop thinking and get up. I stood up and wiped the blood from my mouth. " I've got to hand it to you Rai, your putting up quite a fight. Most average fighters wouldn't be able to fight me for long, but I guess your not average. But since were both still standing, were still able to fight. And like you said Rai...fighting is the only way to solve things." Hyoujin shuffled his feet in place again, ready to keep the fight going. Fighting....yea. I really did say that....and its true. The pain I felt a while ago, is slowly going away. So thats the answer huh? Fighting makes one pain go away with another pain. So its clear then....to make the inner pain go away, I need outer pain. I need to keep fighting....so that the pain goes away. I looked at Hyoujin, still shuffling his feet, and quickly took a different stance of Shotokan. " Hehehe. Looks like the warm up is over Rai. And judging by that look on your face, you intend to get serious now. That's just perfect Rai!! Now niether one of us can hold back!!" Damn straight Hyoujin. He smiled and kept shuffling his feet....looks like he really is enjoying this fight. I can't blame him....this fight really is fun. I don't know why but....its like I've enjoyed this before. The sensation of battle....the smell of blood....why does it feel so familiar? Well....best not to worry about it. I slowly blinked...but I kept seeing a flash, maybe from looking at the lights. But the flash showed something.....something strange. Looking where Hyoujin was....it flashed and showed Hyoujin as he is...but....his appearance looked different. I couldn't tell....the flashes were too fast see. I shook my head to clear my vision. What was that just now? Dammit....I've got to stay focused....can't be distracted. "Come on Rai!" Hyoujin stopped shuffling his feet and took his stance with his arms ready to attack. Once he stopped moving, I quickly dashed at him, more faster than before. Hyoujin seemed surprised but reacted with a staight forward thrust kick with his right leg and keeping his balance with his left leg. I moved to the side, still sprinting, and dodged his kick. I went for a left hook but Hyoujin dodged by leaning back. I stopped running and twisted around as I began to go for an left elbow drop while Hyoujin centered himself and moved fluintly, regaining his standing and ready to counter. Hyoujin threw up his right arm to block my incoming elbow drop and striked my side with his right fist. I quickly ignored the slight jolt to my side and went for a right staight punch. Hyoujin pushed my punch to the side with his wrist, but I rotated and striked with a right leg sweep aimed for his head. Hyoujin tilted his head back and dodged the sweep, but then I surprised him with another rotation and attacked with a right knee to his stomach. He coughed up some blood from just my simple knee to his stomach, it confused me for a second. Hyoujin moved back one step while clutching his stomach, but then he surprised me with a fast rising elbow strike to my jaw. Sending me off the ground, he took this chance to grab my legs and then begins spinning me while I was off the ground. He rotated several times and threw me a few feet away from him, landing hard on my back. While I remained on my back, Hyoujin ran towards me and attacked with a right axe kick. I rolled out of the way and evaded his kick. A small crack in the floor was the result of his attack. Hyoujin turned his head in my direction while keeping his body forward and his right foot still in the ground. Damn...too close. He then pulled his foot out and wiped is nose with his thumb, switching to his same stance. I watched his feet shuffle again like before, a very strange yet effective fighting style. I held up my fists to defend myself, I still continued to watch his feet. He quickly attacked with a right high kick, which proved to be much faster now. I barely evaded his kick, but then he rotated with the kick and attacked with a left leg sweep to my rib. His kicks have certainly increased in speed, this might be a problem. Hyoujin removed his foot from my rib and did a fast series of kicks to my chest, arms, and legs. The kicks lasted for about six seconds, but then he stopped and backed away one step while I stood there, feeling the fast pain. He suddenly started to scream lightly while standing in his stance, but his voice tone grew louder with each second as he quickly attacked with a spinning back kick to my head, sending me off a few feet away. " WAATAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!" He stood there in that kick pose as he finished his scream. I lay there on the ground, but slowly got back up. Dammit....he really is too fast.

    "Hehehe. Whats the matter Rai? Can't keep up?" I stood up and whiped the blood off my face. "Come on Rai!" Hyoujin continued taunting me with his hand motion, trying to make me go for the first attack. I cracked my neck and walked forward. I get it now, so you wanna match skill...fine with me. Hyoujin was ready for another kick, I was sure of it. I then positioned my body to the side with my head facing Hyoujin. An unfamiliar stance for Hyoujin, but I can tell he doesn't care. My arms began to flex as I held them to my side while I kept my legs seperate. I stood perfectly still and waited for Hyoujin to strike. He grinned and launched a fast right leg sweep. My thoughts were right, so I matched his kick with a powerful arm gaurd strike, knocking his foot away. "What?" Hyoujin looked at me with slight confusion. I stood in the same stance as before, still keeping my stare on Hyoujin. When he kicked, it wasn't like his previous kicks, I could see it more clearly and it didn't hurt as much from before. Why has he changed? He then attacked with another series of kicks, but the kicks....I could see them so clearly....moving ever slow. I didn't move from my spot, dodging each of his fast kicks with ease. "Dammit!!! Stand still!!!" He quickly aimed for my left ribs with a right leg sweep. His sweep was like his kicks, easy to read and follow through. I dodged his kick by going under it and tripping his other leg, knocking him off his stance. Hyoujin landed on the ground, hitting his head hard, while I carried on the attack by hitting him with continues punches to his face. Everyone watched me punch fiercly at Hyoujin with their mouth's open in surprise, but Susanoo looked nervous, not surprised. For several seconds I didn't stop hitting Hyoujin....I just kept punching and punching at his face nonstop. I knew I had to stop....but for some reason....I couldn't. Blood gushed out from his mouth, slowly soaking my fists. The raw violence I displayed was brutal. I was ready to hit him one final time, but my fist suddenly stopped in the air. I stare at his bloody face in confusion.