Rivals

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic
Two men finally meet in a long awaited match. Dangerous men have a lot riding on the outcome and one of the competitors might be put in a dangerous situation.

Submitted: September 13, 2019

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Submitted: September 13, 2019

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RIVALS

It was a lavish party at Namaoto industries where they were unveiling the new hover car that would be sold worldwide in one year. Tang adjusted his tie, feeling uncomfortable as photographers took pictures of him and his brother. "Try to act like you’re having a good time brother." Tokii said "I know this is not usually your thing but this is a big event for me." "I know brother, I will try." Tang said. The car actually only hovered a few feet from the ground so would not fly like in the movies but it was fully electric and was hooked up with all the apps you could need while driving. The photographers took more shots of the brothers near the floating car.

Yuri Tanaka hit his opponent with a cross chop, the opponent was dazed as a barrage of kicks came at him. He tried in vain to swat them away. He finally managed to gain some distance as the referee held Yuri back, checking to make sure the man was fit to continue.

Tokii held up a drink to toast all who helped this latest project come true, also teasing what may come next.

Yuri’s opponent went for a sweep but Yuri leapt back. The opponent struck with a hard jabbing palm strike to the chest. He followed with a bunch of intricate attacks, most of which were blocked with just as much grace. It was becoming clear who the winner would be, but then, anything could happen.

Some other reporters tried to get Tang to speak about the big match going on to determine who would be number one contender to his title. He graciously avoided the subject, today wasn’t about him. He would find out his opponent tomorrow.

Yuri took a kick to the head which barely staggered him, he returned the shot and then another. His opponent fell to the ground but was back on his knees in seconds, he gasped and tried to stand. "Know when you are beaten." Yuri said. The referee checked him again as he got up, he pushed the man away and charged. Yuri hit him with yet another kick, this time to the chest, so he wouldn’t get brain damage. The opponent fell to the ground and stayed there this time. The referee raised Yuri’s hand to the cheering crowd.

The next day, Tang awoke and did his morning ritual. Morning stretch, healthy breakfast, more Thai Chi and then he turned on the TV. He watched as they showed a replay of the match from last night. He finally went to his answering machine which he ignored when he came home at two AM and played the message telling him he would fight Yuri Tanaka in two weeks. The name seemed vaguely familiar but he couldn’t place it. He had no other messages, which was somewhat unusual but welcome. He checked a laptop computer which was on the kitchen counter. He had one E-mail ‘We hope you will be available during your training if we need you.’ was essentially what it said, though a lot more wordy. Tang typed back ‘I’m all set but I will definitely be unavailable for the two days up to the match.’ It wasn’t that he was taking his opponent lightly but he was more than prepared for this match, and he still had a duty to his team. He could hardly say no if they needed him.

Yuri was at a club before noon, it filled up more when people knew he was there. He took selfies and signed autographs and seemed more than confident in his upcoming match with Tang. Apparently he had been waiting for it for a very long time. He downed quite a few drinks while he was there and in all honesty came off as a bit of a prick despite trying to act nice. He didn’t care what these people thought of him, the only thing that mattered was his victory. A man walked in with a nice suit but also a big scar on his face, he had three men with him who looked equally menacing. They approached the number one contender and the party around him backed away slightly. Yuri looked up and sighed "Man, you really know how to kill a party Faaiq." Faaiq and his men remained standing and glared at the people so they would get the message. They left. Yuri was bummed but he knew he had to talk to the man "I will face Tang and in case you think otherwise, I will win." "Don’t you think you should be preparing for your match? Or is this some kind of training I don’t know about?" Faaiq said. "I have plenty of time to train." Yuri told him "Take this match seriously, you have no idea what Tang is capable of. Not only do I have money on this match but your victory ensures membership into Dark Reign, remember?" Yuri scoffed, all he wanted was another drink right now but he did indeed want in on Dark Reign. The most elite and secretive group in the city. Full of wealthy and powerful people. "I will start training tomorrow." Yuri said. Faaiq smiled "Good." Him and the other three members of Dark Reign left and the party restarted, Yuri was just grouchy now and left the party as well.

Tang spent much of the next day in deep mediation, it might have seemed a lazy kind of training but it was still a part of it and essential. His master taught Zackiria and two others and working the mind was just as important as the body. It had gotten Tang to the point he was at after all.

Yuri spent much of the day doing strike training against the training dummy, his arms and legs wrapped with multiple weights. His master trained the body more than the mind but it was still a factor. Yuri knew his mind was sharp but wanted to push himself harder. Become stronger, faster and all around better than his opponent.

Two days later, both men prepared in their separate ways. Today was the press conference to hype the match, as if it needed it. Tang once again spent time doing Thai Chi and eat a healthy meal. Yuri watched

a few old matches of Tang to study him but knew not to place too much faith in study, Tang likely had advanced or even been holding back every time. Yuri was starting to sense that he might. It made him angry.

Photographers snapped their pictures as reporters tried to get their questions in. "How are you preparing for the match?" "How long do you train for?" "Are you worried you may lose your title?" The last one directed to Tang "I am ready to let anyone take my title. If they can." He replied. Yuri tried not to get agitated by all this. He understood that people wanted to know about them but to him, the fight was more important than the promotion. And he definitely would be taking the title. Then he would join Dark Reign and be the most powerful man in the city. He may be second to the man in charge of the group but if need be, he could replace him down the line. The questions continued "Are you ready for this big match Yuri?" Yuri glared over at Tang "I have been ready for half my life." He said. They asked him to elaborate but he wouldn’t. Soon the press conference was called to an end and both men stood to shake hands. Tang held his out. Seconds beat by and slowly Yuri took the hand, squeezing as hard as he could but Tang didn’t flinch. He wasn’t quite sure why Yuri seemed to have it out for him but he could find out soon enough.

The next week came and both men had spent much of the time in training. Yuri went out at midnight to a club, he was there to meet Faaiq. He didn’t expect to see Tang there as well. It didn’t seem to be his type of thing. Tang was talking to another man but he left early. Tang noticed Yuri and then saw Faaiq come up behind him and greet him. "Just a few more days and you’ll have your match." Faaiq said as if Yuri needed a reminder. Yuri was more interested in Tang and who his friend was. "I’m ready so quit bugging me." Yuri said. He had to try to remind himself that this man was going to make the decision of whether or not to let him join Dark Reign. Very few people got in and you only got in if you were invited, but from what he heard it would put him on the fast track to fame, fortune and other things. Coming in as a martial arts champion would really be big. Tang came over "I’d just like to say congratulations on your victory and good luck in our match." He said. Yuri glared "It seems like you have been avoiding me forever." He said. Tang was puzzled "What do you mean? This is our first encounter." "Yes, but we could have fought long ago." Faaiq seemed interested in where this was going and kept his mouth shut "What do you mean?" Tang asked "I was with the Pade gym." Tang shrugged "I’m sorry I’ve never heard of-" "My master came to yours on several occasions asking for our gyms to challenge each other. And your master brushed him off. Like he wasn’t worth the time. Like we weren’t worth the time." The look on Tang’s face suggested that he was starting to get it "Can you imagine what that’s like? Years of rejection? Never having the opportunity to prove yourself?" Faaiq had a smile on his face now, Tang was obviously uncomfortable and didn’t know how to defuse the situation. Yuri walked away fuming, Faaiq snickered at Tang and followed.

Something about the man Yuri was with seemed odd but that wasn’t at the front of Tang’s mind right now. Why had his master not allowed for a sparring match between the two schools? They might not have been in their league but they could only learn and grow from the experience. So what harm would it have done?

The day of the match crept closer. Yuri was training harder than ever. He took the day before the match as a rest period. Tang met with his friend again who was concerned about Tang’s opponent and his ties to a certain group. He had only heard about Dark Reign once and when he tried to ask someone about it, they acted like it didn’t exist. Tang decided took take a look at the man Yuri was with. He could sense something dark about him but he didn’t know what. He knew he would be at the match and he would follow him then.

The fight hall was packed. The area the fight would take place was a large square with stairs and levels rather than a ring or cage. These men needed lots of space to do their thing. The announcer introduced Yuri and he came out to the cheering crowed which was at full capacity. Tang was introduced next. He spotted Faaiq in an upper balcony with a group, all in suits. If this was wrestling Tang would have held up his belt at this point and handed it off to the referee but the title was not recognized by such a thing. Everyone knew who was the champion regardless of what they wore. The two men met in the middle and the official made them touch hands. The crowed grew silent a moment before the fight began.

The men circled, watching each other carefully but Yuri was the first to strike. Tang took the hit as if to measure his strength. He seemed impressed. Yuri went for a barrage of attacks that were blocked this time and then he backed off to catch his breath. Tang stepped forward, not giving him the chance and went for a thrust palm which Yuri dodged. Yuri could almost see the air itself take the hit. Yuri went for a sweep which Tang jumped over then he fled up the stairs. Tang leapt five feet up and met Yuri on the way, Yuri struck at Tang’s abdomen and hit with a side kick, sending him back to the floor. Yuri went to the second level to plan his next move. The crowd finally cheering. Yuri finally understood why Tang was the top man for so long, he may be older but he was still very strong and deceptively fast.

Tang waited, he was in no hurry to finish this match. Yuri had some skill indeed but was still too young and perhaps over eager. Tang was sure Yuri would lose his cool soon and jump down, he didn’t taunt the crowed to milk it in but they cheered for him anyway. Yuri took his time coming back down. Tang was suppressed but happy to see his opponent was using his head. They met back on the ground and came head to head again, both reaching a hand out. As their arms touched the match continued, Yuri again on the attack but not getting a single hit. Tang chopped at Yuri’s neck but he ducked just in time and struck the arm with his elbow. He quickly followed with a kick but it was countered again. Tang jumped up again and came down with a diving punch. Yuri rolled out of the way and the ground he was standing on was nearly demolished. The crowd roared.

Faaiq was getting restless. He was enjoying the match but if Yuri lost he would be out a lot of money. If Yuri wanted in on Dark Reign after that he would have to accept his punishment and pass another test. Yuri stepped back, looking at the small crater where he was standing. He walked over and kicked at a pillar, smashing off a chunk. As if saying ‘I can do that too’. He looked at Tang who was far from worried, in fact, he seemed happier. Yuri ran at Tang, faking high and going low, he slid into a sweep that took Tang off his feet. Yuri jumped him and started pounding away. Tang blocked the attacks and soon

pushed off his attacker. Tang rolled up but Yuri didn’t let up, he went for a high roundhouse that Tang ducked. Again Yuri attacking but failing to hit. Tang kicked Yuri in the throat, he backed away gagging. Tang could have easily went for another attack and taken him but allowed him time to compose himself. Yuri was getting very frustrated but trying to calm himself. The fans waited patiently and then Tang was on the attack again. Doing a spinning chop, Yuri dodged again but the hands kept coming. He blocked the second and the third, dodged the forth but they were too fast for him and soon he got slapped by several blows. Yuri rolled under the stairs and started to pant. He wiped away some blood on his chest. Tang was far stronger than he expected. How the hell could he be this good?

Yuri rolled back out and climbed the stairs again, this time Tang came after him. They went to the third level and continued their battle. If either of them fell from there, they would surely lose. Faaiq was growing impatient. Perhaps he should have made insurances that his man would win. It’s not like he could be caught. Yuri came to the edge, fending off punches. He dared not take his eyes off Tang. Tang did a quickstep back and went for a kick. Yuri spun the direction the hit was coming from and got around Tang, hit a kick off his own that sent Tang flying from the edge. The room went deathly silent as he fell to the ground. And roared again when he landed on his feet.

Yuri couldn’t believe it. He was sure he had him there. The room chanted Tang, Tang, Tang! Yuri screamed and leapt down to deliver a big attack. That was his fatal mistake. Tang hit him with an uppercut, just a split second before Yuri reached the ground. Blood sprayed out and Yuri hit the ground hard. The match was over and the people went nuts. The referee checked Yuri for a pulse, it was there. Faaiq left his seat in the balcony, likely coming down to vent at Yuri as if he needed that first thing he regained consciousness. The ref made the official announcements and Tang waved to the public, he and the ref helped Yuri up and into a stretcher that a pair of doctors brought, they carted him away with Tang following. They used the smelling salts and Yuri snapped awake. They checked his reflexes, his eyes and all the usual things. He was still dazed but he’d recover. Tang congratulated Yuri on a good match, whether Yuri wanted to hear it or not.

As expected, Faaiq came into the hall tremendously upset and annoyed about his lose. "Maybe now isn’t the best time for this." Tang said. "This is between me and him." Faaiq said. The doctors took Yuri in to recuperate completely. Both Faaiq and Tang waited, Tang talking to reporters as was his duty and Faaiq making calls. Yuri finally came out but wasn’t happy to see either of them. He went to Faaiq "I’m sorry." He said begrudgingly and bowed. If there is any other way I can get into Dark Reign-" "Dark Reign?" Tang asked. Faaiq took Yuri and walked away, scolding him. There was no way anything called Dark Reign was something good, Tang thought. Perhaps the tip I got was right. He went to his car and watched the two get into a fancy vehicle of their own. He followed them at a safe range.

Faaiq and Yuri came to a large gated off building surrounded by guards. The doors opened and they went in. Tang had managed to sneak past the guards easily and found a way into the building in the back. He found some cloaks there. Also not a good sign, He put one on and made his way in. were many

people inside all wearing the cloaks, there was also a large statue of a swordsman and strange art on the walls. A symbol on the floor. Tang studied it as he waited to see Yuri. What was he doing in a place like this? Faaiq led Yuri to the floor were the symbol was and everyone gathered. Yuri was sent to the middle. "You have failed in your task to be the new champion." Faaiq said "As you requested, you shall face another challenge." Ten men entered the circle and removed their cloaks. They came at Yuri and he fought them off fiercely, even though he had to be still weak from his battle with Tang. When the last man fell, there was no reaction. Yuri waited and Faaiq finally came into the circle. "You are now one of us, brother." he said. The group yelled out "Welcome brother." Faaiq put his arm over Yuri as if they were good friends and they walked out of the circle.

Tang looked around some more, being careful not to be too suspicious. He watched as Faaiq and three others talked to Yuri, then they took out a hot iron rod and branded a teardrop symbol onto Yuri’s chest. Tang looked away as he heard the scream. He looked at the symbol on the floor and the statue again. He also noticed many phrases in some ancient language. He had seen enough. He made his way out. He didn’t know why Yuri would join these people but he could tell they were a cult and were likely up to dangerous things. He made it back to his car and drove off. A mile away, he stopped and made a phone call. "Hello sir, it’s me." he said "Yes, I finished my match but I called on more important matters. We have a problem sir."


© Copyright 2020 Mathew Nicol. All rights reserved.

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