Toramitsu: Crash and Burn

Toramitsu: Crash and Burn
Toramitsu 2008-01-12 02:15 0
Toramitsu: The Midnight Warrior
Chapter 06: Crash and Burn...[]

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It would be dawn in a few hours; the group of Manji ninja waiting inside the secret passageway they had dug were all wondering how much longer it would be before Yamimitsu gave them the signal to attack. The passageway had been a long-term project that had been rushed to completion only a few hours before, a tunnel leading from a mile outside of the building to the elevator shaft that led down to the secret basement. Toramitsu sat a few feet away from the edge with his sword laid across his knees, rubbing the blade with an oiled cloth, to prepare it for the battle he sensed lay ahead of him. Sanmitsu sat opposite him, looking out into the dark elevator shaft as he too sharpened his weapons. Behind them, Ichimitsu and Niimitsu were whispering bets as to what was happening in the secret laboratory.

'With the holographic projector disguising her, I'll bet Yami's having no trouble,' claimed Ichimitsu. 'We might as well not even be here.'

Niimitsu whisper-shouted back, 'No way; you heard how stubborn that Jin Kazama was, even when Yoshimitsu-sama tried to convince him. I'll bet he figures out it's a trick, sooner or later, and then I'll have to rescue Yami myself.'

'What do you mean, yourself,' returned Ichimitsu. 'We're all going in if Yami gives us the signal; you've heard the rumors about what Jin Kazama can do when he gets mad. Remember the surveillance footage I got from the lab camera'

'In that case,' Sanmitsu said, turning toward his brothers, 'be glad we have Toramitsu-senpai with us.'

'You call him senpai' exclaimed Ichimitsu, incredulously. 'He's only just joined us; how is he our senior'

'Toramitsu-senpai is by far our senior in training and combat,' answered Sanmitsu, sheathing his kunai. 'You should recognize that, by now.'

Ichimitsu started to say something, but then thought better of it and sank back against the tunnel wall. Niimitsu followed suit and took out a couple shuriken to sharpen them. Toramitsu put down the oiled cloth and looked out across the elevator shaft, where Sanmitsu had been looking a minute before. Even his eyes had a hard time seeing the difference between the smooth concrete wall and the projected image that covered the hole on the opposite side, where Yoshimitsu and Kenmitsu were waiting.

Suddenly, the elevator car dropped past them with a metallic whoosh, almost too fast to notice as anything other than a white chrome blur. Who else is going down to the laboratory' Toramitsu wondered. It seems Yamimitsu will be having company; let us hope she can handle the situation even so.

The plan was simple: if all went well, Yamimitsu, disguised as Jin Kazama's friend, Ling Xiaoyu, would convince Jin to come back to the elevator. On the way up, the Manji would stop the car and take him hostage, via sedatives if necessary. If all did not go well...that was why Niimitsu had planted the explosives. It all depended upon the disguise, and upon Yamimitsu.

Toramitsu went back in his mind to the surveillance footage Ichimitsu had mentioned. All the Manji had watched the footage from the camera Ichimitsu had tapped several hours before, while they were making their plans for tonight's mission. They had seen Jin Kazama begin to transform into what Yoshimitsu had called 'Devil,' what Toramitsu had called 'Dragon,' before drinking something from a flask and returning to normal in more than one place on the tape. On one occasion, a month before, they had seen Jin transform while his team of genetic engineers looked on in horror. None of the poor scientists had survived that night, most of them being ripped apart before Jin could control himself enough to take the antidote which made him human again. Toramitsu felt a burning within him, just remembering. The Dragon has dark designs for that man, he told himself. If there is a way to rescue Jin Kazama from this evil, I will find it.

Then his thoughts went to the mysterious ninja of 'shadows and light,' Yamimitsu. There is something about her that never feels quite certain, he thought. Even for a ninja, she is mysterious.

'Tell me more about Yamimitsu,' he said in a low voice to Sanmitsu. 'Why is her mask the way it is'

Sanmitsu looked up at him, arms crossed over his chest. 'She was with the Manji when my brothers and I joined, but that story is well known, though no less mysterious. You know, of course, how our masks change to fit their wearers, according to the image inside each Manji's mind. Yet when Yamimitsu took up her mask, no change occurred. None know why. Some assume she did not have any picture in mind, or that her mind was too secret for the mask to find its image.'

'That sounds right, from what I've seen of Yamimitsu,' said Toramitsu. 'That was my first impression as well, in truth. What they may be, I cannot tell, but I sense many secrets within her.'

'That is the most common theory,' said Sanmitsu. 'There have been rumors, though, that Yoshimitsu purposefully gave her a mask that would not change, because he suspected that '

Sanmitsu's story was cut off by a loud banging noise that echoed up the elevator shaft, setting all the Manji on alert. A moment later, Yamimitsu's voice crackled through the communication device strapped to Ichimitsu's wrist.

<--Situation has escalated; target is transforming. Request backup. Use caution; possible casualty'-->

Yamimitsu's voice was obscured by a loud roar that echoed up through the elevator shaft. It was a sound Toramitsu knew all too well. Thuragena...tonight you shall face me. He felt the Dragon's presence, very near and very powerful. Even so'

'Detonate the explosives!' Yoshimitsu's order was almost drowned out by the noise from down below and its echoes. Several explosive charges had been set above the elevator car in such a way that they would punch a hole through the roof and then detonate inside, giving the Manji an obscured entrance. Niimitsu held up a finger-sized, cylindrical remote detonator, and another Manji on the other side of the shaft did likewise. They both pressed the buttons simultaneously, and all the Manji readied themselves for the blast.

Nothing happened.

They pressed the buttons again, and again there was no explosion. 'There must be a wiring problem,' Niimitsu called over to Yoshimitsu. 'It'll take me a minute to rewire it.' He dropped down the shaft and landed on top of the elevator car. We don't have a minute, Toramitsu knew. The echoing roars continued from below, a sure sign that time was short. In a minute, it may be too late. He held his hands in front of his body in the sign of the Tiger Fire and focused his mind. In an instant, he was gone.

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Hwoarang struggled to his feet and held himself up by the railing inside the elevator car. What he saw standing outside was a monster, at least ten feet tall, where his rival Jin Kazama had formerly been. His skin had turned a sickly pale grey, and his nails had grown out into claws. His feet were now more reptilian than human, with three large clawed toes in front and one behind. Wickedly curved spines sprouted from his elbows and knees, and two huge, bat-like wings spread out from his back. What was truly menacing, however, was his face. Horns grew from the top of his head, curving upwards and adding another two feet to his height. His teeth, bared and glistening in the fluorescent light, were daggers, all pointed at him. Two extra teeth, if they could be called teeth, grew out from the side of his mouth on hinges, like the pincers of an ant. And in the center of his forehead, like a third eye, was a burning white circle. He realized to his horror that this was no dream.

Suddenly, he smiled. 'Did all this so you could try and beat me, Kazama' he called up to the beast. He pushed away from the railing, his strength now recovered by the promise of a good fight. 'I know about your Devil Gene projects, and now the rest of the world will know about it too. Some summer job I found, eh'

The answer he received was a loud roar that, echoing off all the walls of the underground chamber, was magnified to a truly terrible intensity. Hwoarang stood his ground. 'That's it, act like you're tough,' he said. 'You caught me when I was unaware; now you're gonna see why speed beats power every time.' He dashed forward, between the beast's legs, dodging the creature's huge, scaly tail that swung at him like a tree branch in a gale. Hwoarang leaped onto the tail and ran up the monster's back before leaping off of it horizontally and delivering a spinning back kick to the beast's spine. He landed and waited for it to stumble, but it didn't. It just turned around slowly, not hurt in the least. The blow that would have crippled an ordinary man did no damage to this creature.

'You're not so tough,' Hwoarang shouted at the beast, trying to keep on a tough face. He tightened his fists and waited for the creature to move. I've got to catch it off balance, he thought. As soon as the monster that was Jin Kazama began to take a step forward, Hwoarang leaped into the air and delivered a flying side kick to the monster's midsection, followed by a mid-air back kick and a third, gravity-defying, axe kick to the beast's head. Yet the creature simply held up its giant arms to shield itself, and so blocked every attack. Before Hwoarang could land, it grabbed him by the leg with one clawed hand and, pulling him upward again, tossed him deftly across the cavernous room, his flight stopped abruptly by the wall on the far side. Hwoarang collapsed against the wall, unconscious.

With another loud roar, the beast began lumbering toward the defeated taekwondoin, each footstep echoing like the toll of a bell. Before it had taken more than five steps, however, the monster recoiled in pain, its spine arching backward as it clutched at thin air behind its back. Its arms were too bulky, however, to grasp at the female ninja between its shoulder blades, holding on by the hilt of a blade stuck deep within the monster's flesh.

Pulling her blade downwards to open the cut wider, Yamimitsu then ripped it from the monster's flesh as she leaped upwards, rising so high it seemed she might reach the ceiling. As she came down like a bolt of violet lightning, She opened the hand not holding her knife, releasing across the blade's surface a powder which ignited on contact with the metal, wreathing it in fire. Just as the monster's huge head looked upward, Yamimitsu fell upon her enemy, driving the blade downward with all her fury. It found flesh and dug deep. However, it was not the intended target, for at the last moment the demon creature had raised a huge arm to protect its head, and here the ninja's blade had struck.

As Yamimitsu landed from her attack, she saw the huge creature rage as it clutched its injured arm, black blood oozing from the wound. I cannot defeat this demon myself, she realized, for the wound began healing itself almost instantly. Where are the other Manji' Where is Toramitsu'

Her answer came not a moment later, as a form, seemingly materializing out of thin air, came crashing to the ground from above. The warrior with the tiger mask looked first at the demon that had been Jin Kazama, then at Kazuya and Hwoarang, both unconscious and badly beaten, and finally at Yamimitsu, who stood alone to face the giant beast. He would have liked to stand and assess the situation more, but a more pressing need forced him to act quickly. Drawing forth his blade, he declared in a loud voice, 'Thuragena avameta! Emin hea firameni Jonathana Tegire!' The demon seemed to recoil slightly, as if recognizing the Tigerian tongue in disgust. Toramitsu rushed forward, Tiger Sword becoming wreathed in fire with his rage, and shouted, 'Tirani san firena Tegirenai! Hadani'aluite!'

The blast was deafening. Smoke and dust filled the chamber, and it seemed, from the shaking of the walls, that the whole place might collapse. Toramitsu fell backward through the air from the shockwave, regaining himself only just in time to land on his feet. Before him, the monster that had been Jin Kazama lay buried under a mountain of rubble. The elevator doors were in pieces among the rock and concrete. A loud cry came out from behind the smoke cloud that emanated from the elevator shaft. 'The Manji are here! Quake with fear, all ye who do evil!' Yoshimitsu flew into the chamber, using the sword held in his mechanical hand as a helicopter blade. The other Manji poured out of the gaping hole in the wall behind him. Ichimitsu and Niimitsu grabbed Kazuya's prone figure, and Sanmitsu and Kenmitsu attended to Hwoarang. The others went about the laboratory, grabbing hard drives and paper reports that had not yet been damaged by water or debris. Yoshimitsu landed just in front of Toramitsu, who was helping Yamimitsu to her feet. Luckily, none save the demon creature had been trapped by any of the debris.

'It seems we came just in time,' the cyborg ninja said, gravely surveying the scene.

Toramitsu's face was no less serious. 'Had you come but two seconds later, you would have found the demon already dead, its head taken by my sword.'

Yoshimitsu nodded, understanding. 'Sorry to have robbed you of the opportunity, but we could not risk any delay.'

Recovering her tantou blade from the ground where it had fallen, Yamimitsu sheathed it and went to stand before Yoshimitsu. 'The monster is Jin Kazama, or was. It seems his devil gene experiments were not only on his father'

'That demon was no experiment, but the embodiment of the Dragon, taking form within Jin Kazama's body,' Toramitsu interjected. 'That is the way he spreads his evil, through others who become his thralls. I have seen it too many times not to recognize it.'

Suddenly, the pile of rubble began to move. An arm of the demon which protruded from under the rocks and concrete began to shrink and withdraw, the claws retreating back into human fingers, until it was visible no longer. 'It has left one host, now that Jin Kazama is dead' Toramitsu observed. 'Let us not linger for it to find another among us. When next it appears, my blade shall be swifter.'

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'David-san! Wake up!'

David Sin opened his eyes groggily. The first thing he saw was a blurry page, his Japanese textbook. He had fallen asleep during his study session with Miharu.

'David-san! Ling-san just called me, and there's something bad going on down at the Mishima building!' She spoke in English, so that David would be sure to understand her.

Picking up his glasses off the page and flipping them onto his face, David blinked a few times and yawned. 'What time is it, Miharu' he asked.

His answer was a whack on the head from Miharu's open palm. 'Wake up, this is important!' she exclaimed.

Wincing and holding his head in pain, David muttered, 'The time is important too.'

Miharu sighed. 'It's a quarter past three,' she said, 'and we have to go. Now. Xiaoyu said there's trouble. I know she's right, too. I woke up not too long ago when it sounded like a bomb went off over in the direction of the Mishima building, and then Xiao called me, and she told me Jin usually worked there late at night, and she knew there was some kind of trouble, and she wanted us to meet her there, and ' WAKE UP!' She smacked David on the forehead again, as he was clearly drifting off to sleep over his book again.

'Ow!' David moaned, sliding out from the table and getting to his feet. 'All right, all right,' he said. 'But what does Xiao think we can do'

'So you did hear me,' Miharu humphed. 'I don't know, but we'll see what we can do. If there was an explosion, that means someone could be hurt, and they'll need people to help.' She was already ready to go, coat on and backpack slung over her shoulder.

Five minutes later, delayed only by David's lingering grogginess, they were zooming down the city streets on Miharu's motorbike, David hanging on for his life in the rear seat. Please don't crash, Miharu-chan, he prayed. You're the only one of us with a helmet.

When they arrived, Xiaoyu was already standing there, wearing a pink Chinese robe-like top adorned with feathers at the shoulders and grey-and-black workout shorts. As always, she had on her light-up wrist bands and hair ties. At a time like this, Ling-san has time for fashion' David mused to himself. Even her shoes, almost like those worn by ballet dancers, had little pompoms hanging from them. Ling-san didn't bring a coat or anything, David remarked to himself. She must have rushed here without thinking. Even in July, it was cold outside this early in the morning.

'We're here, Xiao-chan,' Miharu announced in Japanese, getting off her bike and taking off her helmet. She was still wearing almost the same thing from when David had arrived at her apartment that evening to study: a light blue fitted t-shirt with her name spelled out in hiragana embossed in dark blue letters, white Capri-style pants with a pink rope belt clasped by a plastic Hello Kitty head, pink high-top tennis shoes, over which peeked her bright pink socks, and a light windbreaker jacket, which she had put on before leaving. David half-stumbled to his feet, still shaken from the ride. He was wearing his usual loose jeans, t-shirt, and tennis shoes combo, with a red hoodie to keep warm.

'Good,' Xiaoyu replied. 'I don't know if my access card will get me in after hours, much less to the basement, but I'll have to try.'

'And why do we need to go to the basement' David interrupted. 'Sorry if I sound rude, Ling-san, but I only got a few details.' He was doing his best to communicate in Japanese, but even so his speech was halting occasionally.

Miharu shot David a poisonous look, but Xiaoyu just sighed. 'There's a secret laboratory in the basement,' she began, speaking as slowly as she could so that David could understand her Japanese. 'Not too many people know about it; I wasn't supposed to know about it. Jin likes to keep a lot of things hidden. Anyway, I heard an explosion not too long ago, '

'I heard it too, Xiao-chan,' Miharu interjected.

' and I knew it had to be one of Jin-kun's experiments. He's down there late almost every night. It's not good for him, but he won't listen to me. So we have to find a way down there to see if he's all right.'

David looked up at the tall skyscraper. 'A place like this is going to have a lot of security,' he mused aloud. 'Isn't this like breaking and entering'

Xiaoyu walked toward the door and swiped her entrance card. 'I'm an employee,' she explained, 'so I have access.' The door opened, to Xiaoyu's satisfaction, and the three of them walked inside, David last.

As they entered, the lights came on automatically in the lobby area, and all three of them immediately saw what was wrong with the scene: smoke was pouring through the elevator doors. Xiaoyu rushed forward and pressed the down button, but it didn't even light up.

'Well, that's not good,' David observed. Whatever exploded must have taken out the elevator. I don't know how you'

'HAAH!'

Xiaoyu's left hand began to glow with a strange light as she brought it forward in a palm strike, aiming right at the crack between the elevator doors. They dented slightly.

'plan on getting down there.' David blinked wide-eyed. 'Well, that's one way, I suppose,' he said. I forgot she was an Iron Fist competitor.

'Xiao-chan,' Miharu said, stepping forward and putting a hand on her friend's shoulder. 'You know as well as I do those doors are too thick even for your techniques to break.'

David stepped up to the doors and put his ear to them, listening, while the girls talked.

'Maybe if we both try at the same time,' Xiaoyu insisted. 'There has to be some way of getting down there. Jin could be in real trouble.'

'I've never been as strong as you, Xiao; I don't know if we'd be strong enough, even together,' Miharu said dismally.

'Well, we have to try, at least! Come on, let's'

'GET BACK!' David shouted in English, diving toward the girls and knocking them away from the elevator. Just as the three of them tumbled to the floor, the whole front of the elevator was blasted outward. As the dust settled, voices could be heard as several figures scrambled into the lobby, accompanied by a strange whirring, like a small helicopter.

'I told you the getaway tunnel would collapse if you used that much, Nii-san!' exclaimed a voice in Japanese.

'Hey, we had to get through that reinforced door,' retorted another, younger-sounding voice.' I had to use that much, or we'd never have gotten through, and they'd still be trapped in there!'

'Cease fighting,' came a third voice, certainly not human. It sounded, if anything, robotic. 'We must leave quickly, before we are seen.

David got to his feet before the girls, and so he got a glimpse of the strangers before they noticed they were not alone. The one with the robotic voice had to be the leader, wearing some kind of futuristic samurai armor. Another stood by him in a blue cloak and wearing a mask shaped like a tiger's head. There were others, but he didn't have a chance to take them all in before a female voice said, 'What about those three' A ninja dressed in purple, the one who had just spoken, pointed toward David, Miharu, and Xiaoyu.

Three ninjas, all dressed in green and wearing demon masks, rushed toward David and the girls. David Sin, however, was not one to be taken without a fight. When the first ninja, red-haired with a katana sheathed on his back, came to take hold of him, David dodged to the side and caught the ninja in the ribs with a fast side kick with his right foot, following that with a back wheel kick to the face with his left. The ninja, caught off guard, was knocked to the ground, but his two companions soon had David surrounded.

Or so it seemed. As one ninja, with bleached hair, lunged at David with his knee, he was knocked sideways by a speeding pink high-top tennis shoe. Miharu lowered herself into the Phoenix stance that Ling had taught her, ready for whatever might come next. As for Ling herself, she had knocked the third ninja reeling with a toe kick and, having turned her back to the ninja, had flipped him into the air with a whiplike kick to the midsection. All three of them got back to back as the ninjas got back to their feet. 'Whatever you've done to Jin, Yoshimitsu,' Ling shouted, 'You'll be sorry if he's not all right.'

The armored ninja stepped forward. Ling knows these people' David thought to himself. Miharu sure has some strange friends. Then the mysterious Yoshimitsu spoke. 'I am sorry, Xiaoyu Ling,' issued his mechanical voice. His voice fell with finality, and with his next phrase, Xiaoyu's heart fell also.

'Jin Kazama is dead.'

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David checked his watch. It was now half past eight in the morning. The ninjas, who called themselves Manjitou, had taken him, Miharu, and Xiaoyu, blindfolded, to a seaside shack, which he guessed was their hideout. The back wall of the shack was a cave ' the hideout stood against a cliff by the beach ' and the cave extended into a network of tunnels which went on for what David supposed might be a great distance.

They had not been taken inside the tunnels, however. The three of them sat together in a corner under the watch of a ninja guard wearing a wolf mask, whom David had heard addressed by the name Kenmitsu, while at the other end of a shack, on a bed, lay Hwoarang, the fighter David had met at the dojang. He had been unconscious for the past few hours, apparently having been in a fight with none other than Jin Kazama. As far as he could make out from what they had told Ling, in rapid Japanese, Xiaoyu's friend Jin had turned into some kind of monster and had been killed when the Manji ninjas blasted open the elevator, dropping several tons of rubble. Is this reality, thought David, or some kind of crazy sci-fi movie' Any second now, Godzilla will show up, I swear. He shook his head. Two of the ninjas who had rushed toward him at the Mishima buiding, whose names he did not know, were guarding Hwoarang, as if they expected him to wake up and turn into a monster as well.

'Did you understand what they said' Miharu whispered in David's ear. She knew he could still only haltingly speak and understand Japanese, so she used English.

David nodded and whispered back, 'Some of it, at least. So why are they holding us here'

'They can't let us go until they know what we know, and more importantly, what will happen next. You heard the police sirens getting closer as we left.'

'Well what can they suspect the stupid American knows about any of this' David asked, his voice rising above a whisper. Miharu shook her head, and David sighed in frustration. 'Look, it's three of us against three of them,' he said, lowering his voice again. 'Moreover, what they don't know is that Hwoarang, over there on the bed, has been awake for the past fifteen minutes, and is probably just waiting for us to start something so he can stop pretending to be out cold.'

'How can you tell' Miharu asked. I thought that was Hwoarang; he was beaten so badly, though, I hardly recognized him.

'I can tell,' David replied. 'Anyway, with those odds, we could surprise them and escape before the others could come out of their little meeting in the cave to catch us.'

Miharu bit her lip. 'Xiao-chan isn't in any state to fight,' she said, motioning toward her friend, who was huddled nearby, sobbing gently. Xiaoyu had taken the news of Jin's death at first with disbelief, then with outright denial, and finally with utter despair. She hadn't spoken for the past several hours. 'We can't leave her behind, and anyway, don't you want to know more of what's happening'

David crossed his arms resignedly. If I say no, he thought, she'll say I don't care about Xiaoyu and Jin, and if I say yes, we have to stay. He said nothing. So we're staying, I guess.

After a minute of silence, Miharu turned to David again. 'That was quick thinking,' she whispered, 'pushing us out of the way when the elevator doors blew out.'

David looked her way for a moment, before returning his gaze to the guards and Hwoarang. 'Thanks.'

'It was brave too, I guess,' Miharu added, turning her eyes downward to gaze at the floor. 'I'm glad you were there.'

Nodding, David replied, 'Thanks. Only wish we hadn't ended up here.'

Miharu rested her head between her knees. I'm glad Chiyo-chan wasn't there, she mused. Then it would have been four of us captured. She looked over at David, trying not to make it obvious. And why is he so cold all of a sudden' I was just trying to'

'How long before the professors wonder why we're all absent today, do you think' David asked, out of the blue.

Miharu's head shot upward. 'Is that all you can think about, at a time like this' she asked accusingly. 'Xiao-chan's friend, my friend, is dead, and all you can think about is your attendance record'

David's expression changed immediately, and he lifted his hands, trying to mitigate his offense. 'It was just a thought. Really, Miharu, I'm sorry about your friend, even though I've never met him. I mean, he was a fighter, and I respect him, as a fellow fighter. I don't think he deserved'whatever happened to him. I'

'I understand, David-san.'

David wasn't convinced. "Really, I am sorry," he said, looking straight into Miharu's eyes, "but I'm thinking about us right now."

Miharu looked up at him with curious eyes, as if she didn't understand his English.

'I'm just thinking about you now,' David repeated. Hurriedly, he added, 'And Ling-san, that is.' He stretched out his legs and averted his eyes. "And even Hwoarang, I guess. We can't wait here forever.'

Miharu opened her mouth as if to say something, paused, then edged closer. 'I understand, David-san,' she whispered.

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'Yoshimitsu-san,' said Toramitsu, entering the room, 'the one known as Kazuya Mishima has begun to regain consciousness. He seems to have sustained little bodily damage, despite Yamimitsu's report of their fight.'

'The Mishimas have never felt ordinary pain,' the robotic ninja declared. 'A lesser man may have been dead by now, but not Kazuya Mishima.'

'Yes, Yoshimitsu-san.'

'And the restraints' Yoshimitsu asked.

'They will hold, as long as he has not recovered his full strength yet. If it is as you suspect, and Devil has left him'

'I am sure of it; my sword, like yours, can sense the presence of evil within a person. There is still evil within him, but the greater part is gone.'

'then he will not have the strength to break free of his bonds, even if he does awaken.'

'Good,' said Yoshimitsu. 'When he learns of his son's death, he will want to take the Mishima Corporation for his own again, but we must ask him questions first.'

'Yes, Yoshimitsu-san. Any word from the lookout'

Before Yoshimitsu could answer, a voice came from the tunnel passageway outside the room. 'The report is here,' Yamimitsu said, stepping into the light.

"What news, Yamimitsu?" Yoshimitsu demanded, as the mysterious female ninja strode into the oblong tunnel chamber that served for a conference room of sorts. Hehad been sitting on a wooden bench by a stone slab that passed for a table in the middle of the room. Yamimitsu held up a flat, rectangular object with an LCD screen and keyboard on one side. "What is Ichimitsu's report?" Yoshimitsu reiterated. Ichimitsu had stayed behind in a secure location to keep an eye on the Mishima building. He had transmitted his report via an identical flat, rectangular device ' Yoshimitsu called it an 'electronic notebook.'

Yamimitsu called the report up on the screen and began reading. "Manji Ichimitsu reporting from Mishima headquarters, nineteenth of July, eight hundred fifteen hours."

"What is the news?" Toramitsu demanded irritatedly.

Yamimitsu did not seem phased, but after a pause, she skipped to the important part of the message. Calmly, she said, "Several factors indicate the survival of Jin Kazama."

'I knew we left too quickly,' Toramitsu said angrily, slamming his palm down on the table.

'Much is still unconfirmed,' said Yamimitsu, her voice as blank and stoic as her mask. 'Here is what is known for certain: when the police arrived, shortly after our exit, they heard a sound coming up the elevator shaft. When rescue workers were lowered down to check for survivors of the blast, they did not return, and sounds of screaming were heard. Then the Tekken Force showed up, and the police were forced out of the building.'

Yoshimitsu was silent.

'From this,' Yamimitsu concluded, 'it is possible that Jin Kazama survived. Furthermore, because no ordinary human could survive such a blast unaided and wake up so shortly afterward, it is possible that the being known as Dragon has survived as well.'

Then it is only just beginning.

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