Sunday, October 28, 2012
Saturday, October 13, 2012
Sunday, October 7, 2012
Monday, October 1, 2012
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
This was it. Ashura stood before ten Tong thugs, all who were prepared to beat him to a pulp. They had no idea what they were in for: Ashura had training to fight groups of opponents but first he needed to see how to use his surroundings to his advantage.
There were the tables, the china, the silverware, the two stories, the bamboo staffs strategically placed ten feet behind him, and the weapon still hugging the small of his back. It was safe to say the odds were in Ashura’s favor.
Time slowed itself. Ashura always perceived the flow of combat in this vein. It felt like his own personal Spider-sense. One of the tong thugs rushed at him, or whatever he wanted to call it, but now that thug wished that he didn’t; Ashura instantly produced a chopstick from his sleight of hand and stabbed him in the eyeball with it. The eye offered nearly no resistance; it merely slid right in with minimal effort.
The thug reeled back, hollering and wailing in pain. Ashura merely shoved him to his side and planted a swift foot to the side of the thug’s head, knocking him violently into a nearby table. This all seemed ridiculously slow to him and he nearly got bored waiting for it to pass.
The table that the tong thug tumbled into flipped upwards, providing Ashura with a new weapon; he took a step and jumped, kicking the table forward. With a loud smack and a thud it crashed into the thugs still waiting to join the fight.
“Sorry, but you guys are ten years too early to take me on!” Ashura boasted. He had plenty humility, but here he was merely stating a fact: they were too slow. Ten years of proper training probably would be enough to attempt to fight Ashura on equal standing.
“Cheeky little shit!” One of the thugs picked up a chair that was within his reach and flung it with all of his might but this proved futile; Ashura kicked it out of the air with enough force to break it to splinters. He kept his leg up in the air to demonstrate his muscle control and then brought it down low enough to dust off his pant leg.
“Try again. Try harder.”
As if answering Ashura’s taunt, two of the tong’s thugs came forward, both running to close space between them and Ashura. Instantly Ashura put up a block and warded off one thug’s attack, unceremoniously shoving him aside. The slow motion showed him that the second opponent was tensing his leg muscle to throw a kick aimed at his head; Ashura parried it and a few more of his attacks, countering by tripping the second thug up.
The tripped thug stumbled backwards, barely seeing Ashura use the circular motion produced by the sweep kick to turn him around until he faced the first thug. Ashura raised his leg to block the first thug’s incoming kick, and after trading blows back and forth between him and the two thugs, he put the first thug down with a jumping kick to the face.
The second guy was hit many more times; Ashura landed a series of blinding strikes to the thug’s sternum, reducing his current air supply to nothing, then knocked him to the ground with a powerful back hand. He moved forward to continue the fight, secretly savoring every moment of it.
“Come on! You’re making me sleepy!” the Pugilist proclaimed, holding up his hands in a taunting manner.
At the corner of his eye, Ashura spotted movement and dodged, skillfully evading an upward hook kick aimed for his head. He rolled backwards on a table behind him, keeping a mind to control his weight and balance, and held himself up in a handstand.
“Stinking monkey! Stay still!” one of the tongs yelled at Ashura. Melissa, who still sat in a corner watching the whole bout, merely giggled. Chow Kang looked on, clearly impressed. Luo-Lang grew angrier as each moment Ashura was not getting hit passed by.
Ashura performed an aerial cartwheel and extended his heel a few inches, allowing it to hit the edge of the table. The tabletop sprang up, smacking the thug in the jaw and knocking him out cold. Ashura regained his footing and chuckled at what just transpired…until he felt the thud.
He looked at the floor. There were pieces of a broken chair strewn around, prompting Ashura to look behind him. The thug that he jabbed in the eye with a chopstick was holding two broken chair legs in his hands. The chopstick was missing and the eye was oozing clear liquid from the hole. From a quick glance, the eye was now useless. The impact bore next to no pain; Master Wong taught him that pain is only brief, and in that moment the decisive blow could be dealt instead of harping on about how much the blow hurt.
Ashura stared, deadpan, at the punk still holding the broken chair legs. Of course he was irate about losing an eye but now the thug was more concerned about his next course of action against this martial artist who was hard as a stone and as fast as a strike of lightning. He charged…
…and inexplicably was flying out of a window. A window from the restaurant’s second story. The thug crashed headfirst into a passing truck, the last image present in his mind before he shut his eye forever was that of Ashura hitting him in the chest with a high-aimed kick.
“Okay, that may have been overkill,” Ashura muttered under his breath. He took a quick head count: three were down and seven were left. It was at that moment that Ashura heard a boisterous chuckle and looked towards the source, a laughing Chow Kang.
“Such skill! Such ruthlessness! A true martial artist at such a young age…what is your fighting name?”
“Fighting name?” Ashura misunderstood. Exactly what did he mean by fighting name? Unless he meant like those idiots from American Wrestling with all of the flashy, queer costumes and flamboyant names. Oh, goodness, certainly this Triad boss had more respect for him than to compare Ashura to the scripted exhibitions of American Wrestling. “I’ve trained for nine years straight, yet I’ve never been concerned with giving myself a title, nor being granted a title. This isn’t the Three Kingdoms.”
As Chow Kang opened his mouth to retort, Luo-Lang quickly cut in: “So you think you can scare off the White Tigers so easily?! GET IN THERE AND FINISH HIM!!”
“Please pardon my rude comrade, but I would delight in seeing more of your skills. So please, continue.”
As if on cue, a loud smack was heard and Melissa cried out in pain. Ashura immediately turned around; one of the thugs managed to sneak behind and slapped Melissa to the ground. He quickly raised his hand again to deliver another blow, Ashura appeared almost instantly and caught the blow tightly in his palm.
“Being lapdogs for your boss, I have no qualms with. Yet, I draw the line at striking a woman. I told you from the start: leave her out of this!” As Ashura’s rage and adrenaline increased steadily, something else began to produce. The thug felt his fist burn and skin sizzle like it was being pressed against a hot iron; he reeled back and his hand was seared and the skin was almost missing.
Ashura, as well as the other onlookers of the fight, looked at his palm: he was holding a plume of flame. “What the…? Is this what Sifu told me about? My Chi?” It didn’t feel hot to Ashura, not at all. It felt…like it was a part of him, like a form of synergy.
Chow Kang smiled in approval and lifted an eyebrow, beginning a slow clap that caught Ashura’s attention once more. “You are truly a remarkable fighter, Ashura Shindo.” He spoke in Cantonese, somehow knowing that Ashura could understand him. “I am absolutely curious. Just who is your master?”
Ashura gave a simple answer: “Wong.” Nothing more, nothing less. It was all that that needed to know.
Chow Kang nodded his head in acknowledgement. “You must respect him greatly.”
“He’s been my father and my teacher for a decade.” A cacophony of imagery of Master Wong caring for Ashura and teaching him flooded through his mind. He quickly took control of the sudden emotion. It was good that he didn’t allow it to overtake him, for he heard an all-too familiar sound: the clicking of a gun’s hammer. Ashura looked up and saw Chow Kang training a sight at a target in Ashura’s direction – Melissa.
“What the hell?” Ashura shouted. He wished he had access to his throwing darts or another chopstick to try and stop the gun from being fired.
“I merely want to see you produce your flame again, and from observation, it comes out when you’re agitated. So I’m aiming this Sig Sauer at your girlfriend’s chest, at a spot where she will certainly bleed to death. You have a simple choice: flame on, or jack off.” The last words were stinging as Ashura knew what he meant.
Ashura growled and concentrated as he looked back at Melissa. He had to protect her at all costs; he took a single leap at Chow Kang, and his extended palm sparked a flame. The gun in Chow Kang’s hand, the gunpowder ignited and the Triad boss tossed it before it blew up in his hand. The restaurant was in shock, as well as Melissa; she was glad to be still breathing. Ashura somehow managed to key in to the gunpowder’s molecules and sparked it aflame.
Chow Kang clapped and laughed, much louder than before. “Astonishing! I’m running out of words to describe how amazing you are, Ashura. If you joined my group, if you joined the Triads, you’d be a powerful asset to us. There’s no doubt you’d rise through the ranks in no time.”
Ashura threw his hand down in open defiance. “Sorry, not interested.”
Luo-Lang suddenly sprang forward, armed with a bamboo staff. “You think some puny fire is going to scare me off?”
“You’re beginning to sound like a broken record, White Tiger!” Ashura reached for the weapon still hugging his back quickly, revealing a pair of wooden nunchaku. With ease he disarmed Luo-Lang and struck him across the face, knocking him into a row of chairs.
One of the arts that Ashura mastered during training was Kobudo, ancient Japanese martial arts. This was shown in his usage of the nunchaku: he swung, twirled, and twisted the weapon without flaws in his form. It wasn’t until Ashura ignited the nunchaku and throttled him across the face that Luo-Lang got the point that he was clearly outclassed.
The restaurant was in silence as Luo-Lang fell, a huge whelp of a burn mark strewn across his face. Luo-Lang was dishonored, defeated by a younger, better warrior than himself.
Ashura came over to Melissa, who was fighting off her shock of coming close to death. “Are you alright?” Clearly shaken, she merely nodded, grabbing for him to stand herself up. “I’ll be okay. Just get me out of here.”
Ashura took her into his arms and carried her out of the restaurant, which was still silent, save for a chuckling Chow Kang. The Triad boss watched the couple depart the restaurant, the revving of a motorcycle ringing through everyone’s ears moments later.
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Good day, all my loyal Heroic bloodshed fans! I am currently choreographing the fight scene for chapter three so it should be up sometime this weekend.
In other news, I'm still on the hunt for an animator. So if you know any or you are an animator, contact me ASAP!
In other news, I'm still on the hunt for an animator. So if you know any or you are an animator, contact me ASAP!
Monday, September 17, 2012
Gold Lion Gate
The loud thumps and pounds of the strikes resounded throughout the private alcove, followed by the strained creaking of a long, tight rope. The large size of the iron weight meant little to him by this point; the iron weight, his own machination, was conceived to serve a single purpose:
To improve his strength. To train. To push himself forward and keep fighting. If he slacked on his training for even a bit, it would take him. The disease would bring him down.
Shen-Woo punched the iron rectangle with a straight fist, causing a loud CLANG as it swung and the rope stressed itself to keep the weight steady. He quickly followed up with a jumping knee that sent the iron on an arc in the opposite direction. As soon as Shen-Woo’s boots touched the stone ground of the platform, he twirled and his left arm swung, smacking the weight with another CLANG.
The iron weight swung once more, the creak of the rope growing louder as the weight’s arc went farther. He turned for a moment and took a deep breath. The air around his body grew dense and small to medium sized pebbles began to rise slowly from the ground. The weight came back like an oversized cannonball, the wind whooshing behind it, and Shen-Woo contorted at a strange angle.
“Dragon’s Spear!” He cried through a guttural growl as the contorting turned into an upwards thrust kick that surged with Qi. Shen-Woo resembled a small rocket as he connected his attack with the iron weight, smashing a dent inward. The rope creaked insanely loud and finally gave way as it swung back like a pendulum gone off of its momentum. The weight collapsed to the ground, shattering the stone upon its impact.
Shen-Woo turned and let loose a loud exhale, although it was slightly…altered. He was a man that was masked… Originally, he was not attempting to inspire fear in those around him. The disease did that for him, scarring and blistering his face with unsightly sores and bruises. It had been nearly twenty years since the disease first reared its ugly head, and every single one of those days had been filled with agony. His body was constantly wracked with pain. Every day this man felt that he was skulking around in the shoes of the Phantom of the Opera, having to move around day by day concealed in cloaks and a mask.
The mask…the substitute for his face. The mask wasn’t there from the beginning; before it was just a faceless metal plate. Shen-Woo wanted no one to see him, a wretched shell of his former self. It was ornate, bearing the visage of an Ogre. At its brow extended two long and slightly curved horns, its face was locked in a permanently bloodthirsty glare, and the face bared its teeth as a wolf would while accepting a challenge. This was made even more intimidating by the two long fangs extending from the lower jaw and out of the mouth.
He looked at the now-bent iron weight and clenched his fists. With a single leap he cleared the space between him and the shattered ground created upon the weight’s impact and split the metal construct in two with a single chop.
“The great Shen-Woo,” a female voice stated, sounding out from behind him. “You never cease to amaze me. Every time I come here, I’m expecting to find your body strewn on the cold ground.”
Shen-Woo turned to see a young woman in her early twenties standing behind him with her arms crossed. She had her long blonde hair tied into a single ponytail and icy blue eyes, and her body was formed into a voluptuous yet powerful build. Her clothing was a clue to her profession; she wore a black coat, a white blouse with a red tie, and black slacks that ended with her choice of shoes, a pair of high heel boots.
“The lovely Ms. Elena Costanzia, it’s always so gratifying for you to grace my little hole in the wall with your presence.” Shen-Woo’s voice streamed through a filter built into the mask, and it always managed to weird Elena out whenever she heard it.
Elena raised her right eye brow. If she was a woman of lesser intelligence, Shen-Woo’s last statement would’ve sounded half like a come-on. “You’re not as fast as last time. The pickings must be slim.” As a silent remark, Shen-Woo turned towards the young woman and breathed a low growl.
Shen-Woo…he possesses a strange ability. Striking his opponent in a nerve cluster, Shen-Woo can absorb the Qi that’d be released violently, gaining that person’s special power. A person, especially those with special powers has a unique chakra gate. Shen-Woo can drain it completely and then his body reverse-engineers it into his own chakra gate.
Science identifies it as “Intuitive Aptitude”, the ability to understand and manipulate patterns with complex systems, i.e. he can deduce the working of the powers of others, find the body’s connection to the power through its Qi, and immediately replicates the power. It is this ability that has helped him fight death for twenty five years.
Ignoring her comment, Shen-Woo continued to face her direction and spoke, “Has Chow Kang and Lou-Lang made it to the restaurant? It’s rare that I find myself in Japan for an extended period.” Elena’s response was a curt one: “We’re already late. You should buy a watch.”
Shen-Woo disappeared in a wisp of dust and reappeared just a few feet in front of Elena. He touched her chin with a gloved hand and raised it to meet his mask. “You’re…the only one whose snarky manners haven’t gotten her killed by me…yet.” He turned, releasing her, and placed a hand on his chin. “Chow Kang has been doing a good job. I’ve decided to continue collaboration with him and let him host the tournament.”
The masked man reached into his tunic and withdrew a small artifact. It was golden and crafted in the visage of a lion. He resumed speaking without turning back: “Give Chow Kang the Golden Lion Plaque. It signifies that he and his people are a part of Gold Lion Gate.”
Gold Lion Gate was the cabal that Shen-Woo built in secrecy within the underworld of Hong Kong. Within some time, their faction rose to prominence and like a violent flash flood, Gold Lion Gate washed away most of their competitors with torrents of curb stomps and blades and bullets.
The sweat rained from his brow as Ashura kept waiting. This was his first date, and Melissa was really hot, hotter than Azuki. He would’ve gladly picked her up, but she was a little hesitant to allow Ashura to see where she lived. Still, it would’ve been much faster to ride back home with Ashura. Melissa quickly gave a suggestion for their date, a restaurant called “Daidaiya” that was south of the Nagashio Hospital and next to the Ikebukuro Station.
“Daidaiya serves up innovative fusion cuisine drawing on Korean, other Asian and Italian influences - their ‘modern’ sushi variations are especially interesting. Smaller than most, the Ikebukuro branch is snazzily decorated and it offers views of Western Ikebukuro. Lunch is served till 4pm.” Ashura read the information he gathered about the restaurant from the written page of his notepad. The words were in English so it took a moment to translate the words and sequence them correctly. “I guess she wants me to try Korean food. That would be a first; a man cannot live on rice, Ramen, and tea alone.”
The bus drove up and Ashura climbed down from his motorcycle to correct himself and his clothes. His hair was spread across his shoulders and so he took a band from his pocket and tied it back into a single lock. He tested his breath and straightened his jacket; Ashura wore his school uniform when he stayed at the dorms because he didn’t have a change of clothes.
Melissa stood at the bus stop as the vehicle departed, dressed semi-casual; she wore her “Sailor fuku” outfit and wore her auburn hair down across her shoulders. Once Ashura spotted her, he felt a bit stupid that he tied his hair back. Melissa merely went back to her place to “dress comfortably”, which meant that she changed her shoes and put on a jacket.
“Well, well,” Melissa giggled, eyeing Ashura from head to toe. “You look much cuter with your hair up.”
“Remember, that plaque represents the Gold Lions. You’re still your own group, yet the plaque is an indicator of the alliance between us.” Elena handed the plaque to a Chinese man clad in a business suit and black hair with large hints of graying. In one hand he held a golden plated lighter; he flicked the flint to ignite the flame and lit his stogie that he grasped between two fingers. “It’s quite an honor, as well as a huge responsibility.”
“Understand the brevity of the situation: you know that the tournament is drawing near, so you make your choice now. Join the tong and host the competition; we’ll let you pick the venue.” Elena dictated, standing over the crime boss like a Queen preparing to knight her subject.
The second man that sat impatient like a disobedient child was Luo-Lang, leader of the White Tigers, an assemblage of like-minded fighters who now lived for nothing but moving to the next scrap. Brutal and untrained, they fought like wild dogs. Luo-Lang himself resembled much of his group’s namesake; the rents in his clothing, the parts that showed bare skin, displayed snow white body hair. Covering his broad, sturdy chest was a tan shirt and a white jacket that seemed to barely contain all of the hair. The hair was stuffed amazingly into his black jeans and he tapped the ground with a pair of rough leather boots.
With a gruff voice that was fit for a lumberjack, Luo-Lang barked: “So Chow Kang gets the plaque and the White Tigers sit by and watch?”
She turned her head towards the brutish man, focusing a single blue eye on him and curled her lips into an arrogant smile. “Yes, sit and watch like a good little mongrel.” Elena about faced as the feral man reared up behind her, towering like a bear looming over its prey.
With an instant twitch, Elena swirled around and drove her fist into the man’s sternum area, drawing forth a loud gasp as her strike aired out his body. Luo-Lang collapsed to the ground, hands clutching his chest and raggedly gasping for air.
“I’ve always been taught that bad dogs get beat.” The young woman approached the bigger man and planted her boot on the side of his face, turning it violently. With a few more pounds of foot strength, Elena could’ve easily broken the man’s neck. “I suggest you act like you have an ounce of respect before you get put to sleep, doggy.”
“We have a table reserved under ‘Shindo’ for 4:00.” Ashura told the waitress who sat behind a small desk twenty feet away from the front door of the restaurant. By now, his nervousness dissipated, replaced by anxiousness. Would he get a kiss afterwards? Would she break it off with him following one date? Is he going to stutter like he did when he first met Azuki?
Ashura and Melissa walked towards their table as Elena passed them on her way back to her car. As the separate parties crossed each other’s paths, Melissa and the former locked eyes with each other. Ashura did not notice this. Moments later they were at their table but another sight caught Ashura’s attention: the steps leading up to the second level were covered with punks in white. He took notice of street thugs before and even fought a couple, but these guys did not look like Yakuza at all. A large number of them looked Chinese.
The couple sat at their table and a waitress poured them a hot cup of tea. Ashura made sure to keep his senses alert, for fear that these thugs would ruin his first date.
“Something the matter?” Melissa inquired, pulling Ashura’s head back towards her.
“These guys.” Ashura began, cutting his eyes back towards the stairs and trailing his sight to the second floor. “They’re a part of some gang but I’ve never seen them around Ikebukuro.”
“The White Tigers,” Melissa provided an answer, causing her date to raise an eyebrow. Once she noticed him looking in curiosity, he clarified her remark. “I told you I came from Hong Kong for foreign studies. Well, around the streets, they tend to take what they want and regularly pay off the HKPD.”
“So what are they doing in Japan?” Ashura couldn’t shake his uneasy feeling. Melissa placed her delicate hand on Ashura’s, manicured with pink and white French tips. Ashura caught a whiff of her scent and his nose flooded with the smell of cherry blossoms.
“Let’s not let them spoil our date. You’re on guard like a pit bull.” She breathed, drawing his attention away from the gang.
“Chow Kang! Why the hell did they pass me over for you?! Now all of East Asia’s smuggling is under your control.”
Puffing on his cigar, the Triad boss responded amidst his cloud of smoke, “Well, it takes balls and charisma to work with Gold Lion Gate. Shen-Woo has an eye for success.” Chow Kang took another puff of the cigar and dashed the ashes in his nearby tray. “You gotta work harder, Tiger!” The word “tiger” spilled forth in a condescending tone, irritating Luo-Lang even further.
“For fuck’s sake…” Luo-Lang uttered under his breath. “Balls? Charisma? I got much more than you and your whole gang combined!” The feral nature began to ooze out as his breathing grew heavier. “Honestly, I could care less about your businesses! I just want half of your cut!”
Ashura and Melissa brought their heads down after the conflict upstairs died down. It was at that moment that Ashura noticed a couple of guys from his school staring at them intently, and more importantly, at Melissa. Ashura immediately turned back and slid his hands under the table, cracking his knuckles. His breathing deepened; Master Wong informed him of this moment of sudden anxiousness and taught him how to manage it. This is the factor that could make or break a fighter before a bout.
“…shura? Ashura? What’s the matter?” Melissa said as her muted voice regained volume. “You totally spaced out for a second there.”
“You see those guys behind me?” Ashura said, motioning his eyes behind his person. Melissa looked and saw the punks eying the two, one licking his lips vigorously as he perverted her image in his head.
Uneasily, she nodded her head. Ashura continued: “They’re known for sexual harassment. And we’ve been chosen as their newest quarry.” Ashura moved slightly to check if that weapon was still there.
“Look, Luo-Lang. Shen-Woo gave me the plaque. If you want it so bad, if you think you’re ballsier than my whole gang, then try to take it.” Chow Kang held the plaque tauntingly out in front of him.
“Don’t patronize me!” Luo-Lang barked.
“Oh, look; he’s learned a new word!” Chow Kang snickered. “Here, I’ll make it easier for you.” Chow Kang stood up and placed it on the table in front of Luo-Lang, no more than five feet in front of him.
The punks from Ashura’s school approached the couple, causing Ashura to exhale in minor frustration. It was ever so tempting to whip it out right then and there, but it was better to wait.
The punks reached their table and Ashura did not look at them. “Such a pretty girl you have here, Shindo. Mind if we get to know her a little bit?”
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you. First and only warning,” Ashura said, bringing his hands to rest on the table.
One punk disregarded Ashura’s warning and reached a hand to grope Melissa’s breast. She closed her eyes in fear…and felt nothing. Once she opened her eyes, she saw Ashura holding the punk’s wrist with the force of a vice-grip.
“I’ll warn you again. LEAVE NOW.” Ashura’s grip tightened as the punk whined in pain. His two buddies moved in on Ashura, prompting him to slap the former backwards with a stiff blow to the face, strike the second in the scrotum with a hammer fist, and elbow the third in the solar plexus, following immediately with a back fist.
Ashura turned his head at the sound of a whimper and discovered a fourth punk prepared to smash him over the head with a chair. The entire restaurant was in silence. Ashura stood from his seat and calmly walked over to the punk, who then set the chair back in its place.
There was a tense silence between the two as Ashura looked at the punk completely deadpan. “You know that’s no way to treat a lady, right?” He said, causing the punk to sweat.
The ground shook violently and the table rose up suddenly, smacking Luo-Lang in the face and knocking him to the floor. Blood trickled from his nose as he snarled ferociously. Chow Kang merely sat upwards and laughed boisterously, hand on his belly like jolly St. Nick.
“Who the hell did that?!” Luo-Lang reared up to look through the gaping hole in the private dining room. He saw Ashura standing in the bottom floor spot, peering up through the hole.
“Who are you?” Chow Kang inquired to the young man.
“Ashura Shindo,” he responded. Chow Kang looked to the bottom level, spotting Melissa, and smiled.
Luo-Lang snapped his fingers and the White Tiger gang all rushed downstairs…all thirty of them. Chow Kang and his men came merely to watch what was going to happen.
“Leave her out of this,” Ashura said, nodding to Melissa. “I’m solely responsible.”