One day Heihachi Mishima was at a restaurant in Shanghai, talking business with an associate over the phone on the balcony. From where he was, he suddenly heard some noise down in the alley. Bending over the guardrail to see what was going on, he noticed that some kids were scavenging through the dumpster for food. The restaurant was expensive and a lot of good edible food ended up in the dumpster, so poor people were attracted to it. The garbage were still ‘fresh’ since they had just been taken outside and it seemed the kids were waiting for this since they quickly flocked toward the dumpster. The owner, who was speaking with some clients on the balcony when he heard the noise as well, went to the side of the balcony, near the Japanese businessman and muttered:
“Not them again... They are always coming to plunder my dumpster...”
The owner hated it, those wretches were making customers go away...
Then some kids, who seemed like a gang, began to pick on the other kids and forcefully steal their findings. All the other kids who didn’t belong to that gang quickly fled but a strangely silver-haired boy of about ten-eleven years old, refused to flee. He was standing on the dumpster, over the garbage while holding what he just found; the rest of a fittingly named dish called beggar’s chicken (chicken wrapped in pastry, clay or lotus leaves) and didn’t want to let go of his finding that was still warm and almost still completely wrapped in pastry, somehow protecting it from the other garbage. The apparent leader, the oldest of the group, a kid of about fourteen years old while the others seemed to be about mostly ten to twelve years old, told the kid:
“Give me what you got or I’ll dye your silver hair red!”
But the younger kid didn’t seem impressed and replied:
“Humpf! That’s a lame threat... No. I found it! It’s mine!”
“You give me that chicken right now or the only thing you’ll swallow will be my fist and you won’t be able to eat anymore without your teeth!”
“Pff! Give up with your lame threats!”
“Okay, I’ll beat you to get it then!”
“Come on, I don’t fear you!”
Standing in front of the dumpster while the silver-haired kid was above, the leader quickly tried to grab the kid’s ankle to make him fall but the young boy kicked some garbage in the face of the older boy before he gracefully jumped down from the dumpster, doing a somersault as some of the gang members began to climb it. Landing down, he quickly followed with a brutal kick to the leader’s back, sending him slamming in the dumpster.
“They’re making a terrible racket! I’m calling the police!” exclaimed the owner.
As the owner was about to go call the police, Heihachi stopped him with his arm.
“No. I want to see this...”
The owner knew that Heihachi Michima was one of his wealthiest and most influential client, so he stopped and remained standing there, wondering what the business man wanted to see exactly in a fight between street urchins.
The silver-haired boy was now engaged in a fight with the gang and Heihachi was impressed by how the kid had just kicked some other kid’s head then somehow hit the same kid’s head with his feet again as he brought his feet back on the ground, bringing the kid down with him and slamming him on the ground. He then avoided some other gang member who tried to slam a metal bar on his head by bending before he quickly tripped the attacker down. Still holding his chicken piece, the silver-haired boy quickly got up and parried the knife the gang leader tried to slash him with by kicking the hand of the older boy and making him drop his knife.
The owner was getting more nervous.
“I don’t want blood in my backstreet... I’ll get a bad reputation...”
Meanwhile the silver-haired kid quickly kicked the knife and sent it away as another kid was about to take it. The knife went under the dumpster.
Heihachi said on a casual tone:
“Well, that’s one less hazardous toy for them...”
The silver-haired kid then slammed his elbow into the face of another adversary before he quickly backed away, avoiding once more the kid with the metal bar.
“I’m calling the ...!” began the nervous owner before he was interrupted by Heihachi who said:
“No need to. I’ll go take care of it.”
And Heihachi began to go toward the kitchen where the door for the backstreet was.
Meanwhile the fight was still going on as the leader was now yelling at some kid of his group who began to flee after being punched in the face. But four still remained and as the young silver-haired boy was backing away a little, he yelled at them:
“Go away! Leave me alone! It’s mine!”
But they didn’t listen and threw themselves at him. As the silver-haired kid blocked some punch, the kid with the metal bar once more replied with a swing from his weapon. This time, the bar hit the young boy on the shoulder, making him fall as he dropped his precious chicken piece. He quickly got up but he was now surrounded by all four remaining attackers. He quickly went toward the smallest of them, grabbed him and threw him on the metal bar armed one, making himself an escape route. He quickly backed away toward the wall but did not flee. He couldn’t flee, his meal was there. He wouldn’t let those kids take it from him...
Then the leader and another kid threw themselves at him but the silver-haired kid quickly sidestepped and kicked the leader in the stomach, sending him slamming into the other kid and they both fell beside the dumpster. The metal bar one then ran toward the silver-haired kid and slammed his bar toward his adversary who once more bent down to avoid the hit. Running toward them, the smallest kid tried to punch the silver-haired kid but got grabbed again and thrown over the leader who was coming as well. The metal bar kid then quickly came back but the silver-haired kid kicked him in the face before he could swing his weapon. Dizzy, the metal bar kid let go of his weapon and fell down.
Meanwhile, the leader pushed away the small kid thrown at him, grabbed the silver-haired kid from behind and threw him on the wall before he kicked him in the ribs. The older kid then jumped on the younger kid and they began to wrestle. After a while of wrestling, the silver-haired kid noticed with some alarm that the smallest kid was now going toward his chicken piece, so he brutally punched the gang leader’s nose, making him back away in pain. Then the silver-haired kid quickly threw himself toward the meal as well and as they were now face to face while the chicken was between them, he told the other kid:
“Give up or you’re gonna get hurt.”
Having now witnessed himself the fighting reputation of the silver-haired boy they were against, the kid quickly fled. The other remaining kids also quickly fled, the leader holding his bleeding nose while whimpering. The silver-haired kid picked his chicken and made a small satisfied smile as he looked at his enemies fleeing. He was now gazing at his chicken when he suddenly heard:
“Hey, you! Get over here!”
Surprised, the silver-haired kid turned his head and noticed a richly dressed man with strange straight black hair on both side of his head, looking at him from the kitchen’s door in the alley. The man smiled and signaled him to come toward him with his hand.
Distrustful but curious, the child hesitated then went toward the man while still holding his precious meal. Confident in his abilities after that victorious fight, he told himself that he would just flee if the man wanted to hurt him or something. But once near, even if he was alert, the older man proved to be faster than him: Heihachi quickly and brutally slapped the boy’s hand, making him drop his chicken to the ground.
“Let go of that! It’s full of germs!”
Now feeling threatened, the boy tried to pick back his meal and flee but Heihachi, who was still faster, quickly grabbed his wrist and forcefully dragged him inside the restaurant. The silver-haired kid could only follow since Heihachi’s grip was too strong to get out from. Dragging the kid to the dining room, Heihachi then pushed him on a chair, grabbed a menu and put it in front of him.
“What do you want on this?”
Having lost his previous overconfidence, his slapped hand really hurting under the force of Heihachi’s hit, the silver-haired child looked at Heihachi with some fear before he answered:
“... I don’t have any money...”
Was the man forcing him to pay for his food since the owner hated when they came to his dumpster? Or giving him some lesson that you got to pay for what you take? Will he be the one to pay for all the kids who ever came to the dumpster by being humiliated in front of everyone? They were all looking at him now... The older man answered back:
“I know. You’d be crazy if you were searching in dumpsters while having money. Choose something, I’ll pay.”
The kid didn’t really know what to say, so he just shyly smiled and muttered an unsure:
“Xié-xie... (Thank you)”
He didn’t know why that man was doing this, maybe it was out of kindness... It could be... even if the man looked kind of brutal... But he didn’t dare ask for a too expensive meal and didn’t even know what most of these elaborate meals were, so he pointed at some chicken and rice bowl, one of the cheapest meal. In fact, it wasn’t even a meal, it was a side dish to the real meals.
“Only this?” said Heihachi as the boy pointed his choice. “Come on! You should pick something else! I’ll choose for you!”
And Heihachi ordered some meal for the kid and some tea for him. He then ordered the boy:
“Now go wash your hands.”
Still impressed by the man, the young boy went to the bathroom to do as the man ordered him. At least, he probably won’t be forbidded to go in it since the man who invited him seemed rich...
As he went toward the bathroom, the boy was embarrassed: He kept noticing the many clients who were staring at him. The restaurant was an expensive place and people were all dressed accordingly while he was wearing a dirty shirt with holes in it, his pants were now too short since he had grown quite fast lately, his dirty socks had holes and the fact that he was wearing sandals didn’t help cover that fact. The fact he just climbed into the dumpster didn’t help him either to not look dirty. Maybe they also were staring because of his hair, not only they were dirty but the silver color was not very normal for a boy of his age... He had often been stared at for this reason... He didn’t mind the hair but he was dying of shame to be looked down by those people for his rags... But people were looking down on him each days so he shouldn’t care... Yet he never came inside the restaurant, completely among the rich people... Now he felt like an intruder and not welcomed... Once he will have eaten, unless the man had some service to ask of him, some small job to do like he sometimes have been offered, he would be gone and would not see those rich people anymore.
Self-conscious about his looks, he quickly washed himself with some napkins once in the bathroom. He washed his face, his bare arms and tried to clean as much as he could his dirty pants, shirt and socks. He then quickly washed his hands while wondering that if the man wanted something of him, what could it be? If that was the case, was it child labor? Prostitution? Or just plainly some one time contract of moving boxes, repaint some wall or sell some newspaper or something... Maybe he didn’t want anything at all...
Once he finished, he went back toward the man. The fact that the older man had been faster than him outside made him feel slightly nervous. Each time someone wanted to hurt him, he had always been quicker to react, now that man hit his hand and dragged him inside without giving him any time to react. If that man had bad intentions, he would have to use his guile to get away from him, he had his speed but also his intelligence... But maybe the man was kind, he would not have asked that he washed his hands otherwise... or even offered a meal... Yet the food could be a lure... but a potential abuser wouldn’t care if he washed his hands or not...
“I washed them.”
Putting down his tea, Heihachi grabbed the kid’s hands and looked at them to see if he really washed them as he should, looking at his nails as well. The young boy remembered how his mother always did the same when he went outside to play then came back and she asked him to wash his hands before dinner. He missed her... She died from a fire in their cheap and hazardous appartment like many others that night, among them, his father, his grandmother, his aunt... Only he survived. He didn’t have any other living relatives, so he lived in the streets, eating from dumpsters, fighting to keep the few he had. He now somehow appreciated the fatherly, even if somehow rough, way of this man. The man probably was kind yet he still had to remain distrustful.
“Fine. Now sit there. It’ll be ready soon.”
The man then told him with a smile:
“I like how you fought outside. What’s your name? How old are you?”
“Lee Chaolan, I’m eleven”, answered the boy who now thought that the man probably wanted him for some kind of fighting ring.
Was there any children fighting ring? He never heard of it if that was the case... But then there were so many things he never heard about... There probably was... He didn’t mind fighting but was it one of those organized things where he would be forced to obey and would never be able to escape from? Some kind of slavery? Most things involving kids were that... He even knew some kids who disappeared one day and never came back, probably now enslaved somewhere... He was quite distrustful...
Still smiling, the man then asked him:
“Well, Lee... Where do you live? I don’t think you live anywhere stable? Do you have a family?”
Despite Lee being his family name and that he should have been called Chaolan, the young boy didn’t correct the man since he was worrying about more troubling things, thinking: Most child abductors prefer kids without any family... Was that man a child abductor? Lee now really wondered on his intentions: Was he good or bad? There was something about him... That smile wasn’t too reassuring... Feeling really distrustful, he frowned and answered:
“No. I have no family, I live nowhere. But what do you want of me? If you want to hurt me in any way, I’ll defend myself with strengths like you never saw in your life!”
Heihachi looked impressed and amused:
“You look like my son! You’ll be perfect!”
Now Lee looked perplexed:
“... Perfect for what?”
“To keep him company! I don’t know what you were imagining but I’m not here to hurt you. I’m impressed by you! If you don’t have any family, I’m taking you to my home! You’ll be a little brother for my twelve year old son, Kazuya! Right after you finish eating, I’m going to legally adopt you!”
Still distrustful, and confused, Lee asked:
“...You really want to adopt me? ...You’re joking, right?”
“I’m not joking. I really want to adopt you to give a brother to my son. And seeing how you deserve it, I choose you. I like your determination and combativeness!”
Still surprised and constantly oscillating, wondering if that man was good or bad, Lee finally decided that he must be good. But that story was still hard to believe... To be adopted, just like that... It really looked like some kind of bad joke... or a trap... But he’ll only know the truth of his intentions once they go to the legal place to adopt, so he decided to trust the older man and see what would happen. But he wondered something... among many other things...
“... Huh... Kazuya is a Japanese name?” asked Lee while his meal was now being served.
“Indeed. I forgot to present myself: I’m Heihachi Mishima, head of the Mishima Zaibatsu. I don’t know if you ever heard about us in your area but it’s a giant multinational conglomerate.”
Lee had never heard about it. He didn’t even know what a conglomerate was...
Noticing Lee’s puzzled look, Heihachi explained more simply:
“It’s a rich company. You’ll be happy in my home.”
Lee now understood. He had no idea what they were selling but he understood the words rich and happy...
Heihachi then looked at his watch and asked Lee:
“Are you done eating yet? I must absolutely adopt you and we don’t have much time. I have a very busy schedule.”
Heihachi called the limousine to come and pick them, so having barely begun, Lee quickly tried to finish eating as much as he could. He thought it was strange that it would be his leftovers that would probably be fought for by the kids in the back alley... Maybe those who fought him will eat them...
Five minutes later, the limousine parked in front of the restaurant and Lee believed Heihachi’s story even more. A child abuser wouldn’t take his victims in such a nice car! He gasped at the view of the probably terribly expensive shiny black car with black-tinted windows.
“You can breathe, my boy, it’s just a car”, said Heihachi as he put a hand on Lee’s shoulder.
Just a car? Lee thought that man really was rich if that giant luxurious shiny car was just a car. A car was already something! His family, his neighbours, they never had cars! Almost no one has a car! Only millionaires do!
Once the driver opened the door for them, Lee marvelled again at the luxurious red leather seats and interior. There was a T.V., a phone... So much gadgets... He then remembered his dirty rags and felt ashamed to enter such a luxurious thing... He shyly asked Heihachi:
“... I can go inside?”
“No. You’ll run behind”, answered Heihachi before he pushed the kid inside. “Of course, you can!”
Inside the limousine, while Lee didn’t dare move for fear of breaking something, Heihachi explained:
“With my occupation as head of the Mishima Zaibatsu, I have very few time and Kazuya is often left alone in our mansion in Japan.”
Japan... That was the question Lee wanted to ask before Heihachi began talking about the conglomerate thing in the restaurant. He wanted to know if he would have to go in Japan but in that limousine, he would go anywhere! Heihachi continued explaining:
“So your company may lift his spirit and make him happier. I am still busy here and will remain in China for some weeks, so during that time, I will hire a teacher so you’ll learn Japanese to be able to have a conversation with him.”
Heihachi then quickly took care of the legal adoption papers before he told Lee, who was now gazing at him with gratitude even if he was still finding it hard to believe:
“You’re now my son. Now the limo will bring you to my hotel. I still have business to do but I called an assistant so that he sees that you are taken care of in terms of clothes and everything. A bath will be ready for you with new clothes as you arrive to the hotel.”
Then the limousine they both were in, arrived to Heihachi’s hotel. The chauffeur opened the door and Heihachi told Lee, who was looking at him, waiting for his new father to get out from the car first:
“Get out. My assistant will take care of you. I’ll be back in the evening.”
“Huh… Okay… Xié-xie…” said Lee as he slightly bowed to his new father while getting out of the limousine.
He knew Heihachi had things to do but he didn’t think his new adoptive father would go away that soon and he felt slightly lost… even somehow abandoned… Everything happened so fast… First after his fight, that strangely combed man appeared and asked him to come over. Then once near, the man grabbed him, forcefully brought him inside that restaurant where he almost threw him on a chair while offering him a meal, then leaving him no time to eat that meal, he took him to his limousine to go somewhere to adopt him, then took him to that hotel before he quickly left him and went away…
But Lee didn’t have time to feel lost or abandoned for long since once outside of the car, he saw a man looking really uptight who told him as he bowed to him:
“Welcome, young master.”
Lee looked at the man with big eyes. He never had been called master before… That was so impressive...