Battle at the Timeshare
It was like an English manor had somehow sunk beneath the earth. Kim, Ron, Rufus, and especially Hirotaka were left speechless when their eyes fell upon what Hoshi so indifferently referred to as her "crib." Even the air smelled expensive and that was due to some unseen ventilation system that prevented the roaring fireplace on the far wall from suffocating them. The walls were made from mahogany. Extravagant paintings of scenic locales that had to be Europe lined the living quarter. The floor was remarkably well-polished and Ron had half a mind to take off his shoes and slide across the smooth surface. That sensation dissipated when he spotted the grinning face of a marble-headed simian standing right next to him.
"Monkey!" Ron dove behind the others in a panic, causing Rufus to exclaim as his body hit the floor.
"Is he alright?" Hiro asked.
"He's just keeping his reflexes sharp." Kim reached down to pull him up. "Never know when a when the bust of a real monkey might suddenly attack."
"Sounds like he's scared to me," Hoshi teased. "Got something against monkeys?"
Kim glared at him.
"Hoshi, what is this place?"
"This, Hiro-chan, is my humble abode."
"Doesn't look very humble to me," Kim said.
Hoshi turned to her. "It's a timeshare. No one was using it so I decided to move in." She kicked off her shoes and did a twirl. "What do you think?"
"I believe you have a great deal of explaining to do," Hiro told her.
"All will be revealed. But for now I can't wait to get out of these clothes." Hoshi turned around and pulled her shirt up to her chest. Ron's eyes bulged. Hiro just smiled. Kim didn't like where this was going.
"Oh right. I'm not used to having company. Tell you what. I'll go shower first, then Hiro, then the lovebirds can have the tub all to themselves."
Kim and Ron turned beat red.
"Or we can do it all together if you wish."
"I think our American friends are not accustomed to that kind of communal experience, Hoshi. Perhaps it would be best if we do it one at a time."
"Suit yourself. Always better to do things in groups."
"Oh I'm not as homogenous as I seem." She gave him a wink. "Or as conservative."
"Japanese innuendo is so hot," Ron squirmed.
A smack to the back of his head brought him back to reality. "Head in the game, Ron. And I mean this one. Hoshi, go take your shower. I want to freshen up as soon as possible." Kim pulled out her Kimunicator. "How's the research going, Wade?"
"Still working on it, Kim. We….are you in a manor?"
"Hoshi's pad. Apparently it's a timeshare. Finish that last sentence."
"We just cracked some more specs on the army Saito's building. Just statistics. Nothing to tell us what he plans to do with it."
"I believe we already covered that part, Wade-san."
"But we still need to find out who he's going to attack, Hirotaka. We've ruled out Master Sensei so it must be someone else."
"Keep working on it and let us know when you found something." Kim signed off and turned to Hirotaka. "I think it's time you filled us in on everything that happened before we met."
For the next fifteen minutes, Hiro did just that. Once he had finished, the duo tried to discern as much as they could. Kim did most of the discerning. All Ron could say was, "Yori's a Yakuza?"
"Ron. She is not a gangster. She's only related to one."
"That would mean she's part bad guy."
"Kim! Don't you see? You and me put bad guys behind bars. That means," He gasped. "We're going to have to put Yori in jail."
Hirotaka did not take kindly to that. "Yori is no criminal, Ron. I would think you being the warrior hero of Yamanouchi would be able to discern honorable people from common outlaws. Master Sensei would be most displeased knowing you even put her in the same category of men like Saito." Not to mention Hirotaka. Yori and he may have their differences but he would be damned before he allowed anyone to tarnish her honor with unwarranted accusations.
"Ron!" Kim pleaded with her eyes. She knew he was just letting his paranoia get the better of him, but Hiro would take offense. Now was not the time to be insulting their friends.
Luckily, he picked up on it quickly. "You're right. I'm sorry, Hirotaka. I know Yori's no Yakuza. She's a ninja and you guys are all right. I'm just worried is all."
"She is a fine warrior. One of the best. I know she will return to us successfully."
"Dude. She's your friend. Aren't you a little edgy knowing she's out there by herself with some crazed Mafioso who is building his own army of badass sci-fi killing robots out to get her? I mean I know she's tough. More than tough. Maybe even tougher than Kim he…" He stopped himself when her eyes turned harsh. "Herrrrr….she's tough. But this Saito's a mean guy. One ninja alone does not a suitable force of good make."
Hirotaka's ire subsided. "Granted. Which is why I believe we should find her as soon as possible. Kim, surely this Wade fellow of yours can help us track down Yori?"
"No sweat. Though I think he's a little busy at the moment."
"Kim. It's Yori."
"Okay, Ron. I'll ask him."
The Kimunicator screen fizzled to life. "Sorry, Wade. I was wondering if you could help us find Yori."
"Wade? Can you hear me? Wade?"
"What's up?" Ron asked, looking over her shoulder.
"Something's wrong. The screen's all fuzzy. Wade? What's going on?"
"K…..!" The Kimunicator went dead.
"Recharge the battery?" Ron suggested.
"Before we left Middleton." Kim did take out the battery anyway. Not that she was a technical wizard to begin with. "Maybe it's the signal."
"We are underground."
"I mean something's blocking the signal, Hirotaka. I don't know why but I can't seem to get through. I should go up just to make sure."
"I'll go with ya, KP."
"I'll be okay, Ron."
"I know. I just don't like that…monkey." He muttered and pointed at the bust.
"Ron. It's a statue. It can't hurt you."
"But seriously what kind of freak would have a monkey head in his own timeshare?"
Side by side, Kim and Ron froze. Hirotaka noticed their frigid stances. "Is something wrong?"
"No." Ron looked at Kim.
"You don't think," she began.
"It can't be," he started.
"What is it?" Hiro asked.
Ron's head darted around the room so fast he heard something crack. Not that he cared. The realization was just too much. It all fit. The plush English furnishings. The monkey bust statue. Then there were the paintings. From afar they appeared as nature scenery. Upon closer inspection however—"KP!" Ron exclaimed when he looked at the nearest painting. "There are monkeys!"
"Monkeys!" Rufus reiterated with as much drama as his tiny frame could muster.
"And here! And here! Over here! This place is a monkey manor!" Ron dashed about like a madman—pointing and waving. Rufus clung onto his shoulder just as mortified but managing to hold on.
"This is not good."
"What is the matter?" Hiro was confused at the behavioral patterns of Americans at the best of times. These two were pushing his tolerance to their limits.
"This is not a good place to be, Hiro. Taking into account not being able to contact Wade and I think we're in for some serious trouble."
"What makes you say that?" Ron had become so dizzy by then that he collapsed to Hiro's feet. Grabbing his shirt, Ron pulled himself up, gasping.
The ninja's eyes widened.
"Yes! That Monkey Fist!"
"The enemy of Yamanouchi?"
"My enemy!" Ron yelped. He stopped. His voice became quizidly. "Wait. Isn't he a stone statue now?"
"Ron. We've got trouble."
"What's all the ruckus?" Hoshi was toweling her hair when she entered the living quarter. She had changed into a pair of blue sweatpants with a white sweater. Her feet were bare. Letting her hair down, it cascaded down to her waist. "Everything okay?" She cringed when Kim came up to her and grabbed her forcefully by the arms.
"Hoshi. Who used this timeshare before you did?"
"Uh, I don't know. Some foreign guy."
"Was he British?"
"I think so. Yeah."
"Was his name Montgomery Fiske?"
She shrugged, which was hard considering how strong Kim was holding her. "I didn't ask. The guy would use this place sometimes when he was in Japan but he hadn't dropped by in such a long time that it was open for grabs. I found it some weeks ago, decided I liked it, and drop in now and then."
"And you don't see any problem with the monkeys?!" Ron screamed.
Hoshi could only look at him funny.
"Hoshi. Who else knows about this place besides you do?"
"Well IT does obviously."
"Well the guys who keep this place clean."
Ron's eyes widened. "Someone knows your secret hiding place?"
"I don't live here. It's a safe house."
"Not anymore. Hoshi, see if you can contact IT." Kim released her.
Hoshi touched one of her earrings. "Hm. No signal."
"We have to move. Now!"
"But aren't you three going to,"
"Not now, Hoshi. Is there another way out of here?"
"There's an elevator that goes up to…"
"Good where is it?"
"Behind the wine cellar."
"Take us there."
Hoshi turned to Ron. "She always this bossy?"
"What? You are."
"Does anyone else hear that?" Hirotaka attuned his ear to a strange beeping sound and alerted the others. Rufus, having the sharpest senses out of all of them, was the first to find it. He scurried along the floor until he was at the main door that led to the stairway. The molerat yipped loudly until Ron came up to him.
"I hear it too, Rufus." Ron listened in. His ear touched the door. "That's an annoying beeping. It gets worse too. Beeping's getting faster—you know maybe its…."
"Ron! Rufus!" Kim pulled both of them away from the door just seconds before it exploded. They were thrown across the room and into a couch, turning it over and landing hard. Hirotaka jumped near the fireplace and got into a fighting stance. Hoshi did a back flip, landing beside a tray full of salted peanuts.
"You okay?" She asked Team Possible.
"We're good." Ron's head poked out from behind the couch.
"Ya'll ain't going to be much longer, ya hear?"
Waiting for the smoke to clear, the teens got their first look at their attackers. There were four of them: three male and one female. The female stepped through the smoke to reveal a figure in a tight red outfit with a black sash around her waist. "Kim Possible," She said. "It is a pleasure to finally meet you. Your fighting skills are legendary."
"Do I know you?"
"Kikyu." She bowed. "At your service."
"Name's Red Cochrane," spoke the first man with the cowboy hat. He shoved aside his long red trench coat to reveal a belt loaded with some of the deadliest handguns in existence. "Nice t' make yer acquaintance."
"Wish I could say the same." Ron got up beside Kim with Rufus on his shoulder.
A trim but muscular youth in his early twenties stood off to the side. He had red hair and thick eyebrows. That didn't take away from the fact that he was devilishly handsome. "Gillian Hunt."
The last one was another ninja clad totally in black. "It is time we finished this." He told them.
"Finished what?" Ron asked aloud. "Did we start something?"
"He's mine," the ninja said. "Take them!"
His three companions looked at him in disbelief. So caught up was he in the thrill of the fight that he charged the good guys without knowing his comrades were still standing in the doorway. They had every intention on fighting. They just weren't keen on doing it when he wanted them to. What's more, they only watched as he made a bee line for Kim and Ron.
"I'll take this guy, Ron. You…." Kim never finished her sentence as the charging ninja barreled right into her boyfriend. "Eh?"
Kim turned around. Less than three inches from her face was the red female. Caught by complete surprise, not to mention the shock of having her get so close so fast without Kim even noticing, Kim almost lost her footing as she stepped back.
The woman, Kikyu, smiled. "It is an honor to fight the legendary American warrior. I trust you will give me your best."
Kim brought up her fists. "You know it."
The next thing she knew her head had somehow collided with the ground. Kim didn't even see the kick that swept her feet out from under her, making the floor come up mighty fast. She was too dazed to notice that Kikyu had moved out of her range of vision. Not that she could see. Stars clouded her eyes.
"I did not expect you to fall so quickly."
Getting to her knees, bent over, Kim shook the pain from her head. The woman's voice came from behind her and Kim looked to see her silhouette framed by the fireplace behind her. "Perhaps your exploits have been exaggerated."
Kim did not like cheap shots, physical or verbal. In less than a heartbeat she was back on her feet and facing off against Kikyu. "Believe me. The rumors don't do me justice."
"Cocky, I see. Good." Kikyu readied to charge. "Humility is for the weak."
Feeling that Kim and Ron could handle themselves, Hoshi and Hirotaka faced off against the remaining duo. Hoshi found herself face to face with the one known as Gillian Hunt. He was holding what appeared to be a thin board about a foot wide. Wearing a form-fitting shirt that showed off an athletic chest with firm muscles, she found her eyes wandering on him longer than the situation should warrant. His cargo pants were tinted brown and green - army colors. She saw he was staring at her too. "See something you like?" Hoshi teased.
"Now is not the time to flirt, Hoshi-san."
"Hiro, can't you let me have my fun?"
"That's a pretty young thing y' got there," Red said to Hiro. "Though I wouldn't worry none. Gillian's into more of the dangerous kin' o female."
Hoshi took offense to that. "I'm dangerous."
"To yourself maybe," Hiro muttered.
"What was that?"
He kept his mouth shut.
"Show em how y' like t' play, Hunt."
Gillian dropped his board. It did not touch the ground. Instead it fluttered inches above the floor. It was then that the ninja noticed the two boosters sticking out the sides in the back.
"What in the," Hiro started.
"World?" Hoshi finished.
Gillian hopped on.
"Let er' buck," Red laughed.
Gillian blasted off at top speed. Hoshi barely had time to duck before the human rocket pierced the air above her head. The daredevil was heading straight for the nearest wall. At the speed he was going there was no way he could turn in time in such an enclosed space. But he did just that. Defying the laws of physics, Hunt bypassed the head-on collision and came screaming back to where Hoshi was. This time she leapt out of the way and came up next to Hiro. "The guy's nuts."
Gillian turned for another pass. He came straight at them. Hoshi made a running leap to kick him off his board. No sooner had she almost made contact when Hunt leaned back on his board like a dancer in a very unnerving pose. The lithe girl flew right over him, though Gillian did grab her flailing hair and used his board to pivot her and him into a blinding twist. Letting go, Hunt threw Hoshi so hard she cracked the picture frame of the painting she hit and slumped to the ground. It seemed she was out cold for she did not get back up.
"Hoshi!" Hiro made to help her when a bullet snapped at his feet.
"Now don'chu go nowhere," Red smirked. "You and me is dancing partners, boy."
Enraged at the empathic way he discarded his friend's well being, Hirotaka had half a mind to go over there and break his jaw. He glared daggers at Gillian but seeing as he was too far out of reach for Hiro to do anything, he would just have to take it out on Red.
Red seemed to want it this way. Holding up his six-shooter, the bounty hunter leveled it squarely at Hiro's head. "Now that's a mighty pretty face. Be a shame if I had t' put a bullet right between them baby blues."
"My eyes are brown."
"It's a figure of speech, son. Don't chu talk when I'm talking, kay?"
"Not okay." Hiro leaned forward. A bullet zipped past his left ear. The shot was so close that it scrapped off some skin. Hiro gasped as he reached up for what he at first feared would be a bloody stump. There was no blood but that did little to soothe him. Such a close shot and from such a distance, this man had to have the eyes of an eagle. His prior notion of charging him now seemed suicidal. With his accuracy and reflexes, Hiro would be riddled with bullets before he took two steps.
Hirotaka looked up.
"You'd be dead long before y' got near me. Don't be lookin' all spooked, now. I can read yer eyes. Ye can tell a lot bout a man by looking into his eyes."
"You don't say."
"You know what I believe? A man's measure is not his weapon of trade, but rather the skill at which he uses it."
"Think y' can take me, son?"
"Let me have a weapon."
Red thought about it a moment. "Okay." Before he could blink, Hiro found himself catching a wonderfully polished six-shooter handgun.
"Wait a moment. This is not the kind of weapon I meant."
"Talked the talk. Les' see if y' can walk it, boy." As if by magic, a second gun appeared in the hunter's hand and he aimed it right at Hirotaka. "Draw."
It wasn't the first time Ron had to fight on his own. Compared to Monkey Fist, this guy was a complete novice, but it was the rage in his eyes, the power behind each strike, and the sheer animosity he felt radiating from the ninja that made him hesitant to throw any punches. Ron knew from this moment on that it was personal.
"Dude!" He quickly ducked under a jab meant to gouge out his eyes. "Kay. Can we hold on a second?"
"Stop procrastinating, gaijin!"
"What is your damage?" Mystical Monkey Power may have given Ron the edge, but he'd yet to learn to fully master it. Right now, he and the ninja were on the same level. Well almost. Ron did manage to catch his arm and move to the side, bringing the arm around and into his back, restraining the ninja. Ron put pressure on the hold, forcing the other guy to fall to his knee. "Can we stop this?"
"Urggh! Let me go, outsider!"
Showing incredible flexibility, the ninja twisted around, popping his shoulder out of place. The rage was enough that he barely felt it. He then grabbed Ron's hand and flipped him over. Ron hit the ground hard but he bounced into a crouching position faster than he would have done a year ago. Looking up at the ninja, Ron nearly gagged when he saw the awkward angle his arm was in. He almost lost his lunch when the ninja, with only an audible grunt, popped the arm back into place. Flexing the finger, he then turned back to the task at hand.
Killing Ron Stoppable.
"You stole my honor when we last fought. I was shamed and humiliated. Any sane warrior would have killed himself for the disgrace. But I had a destiny. It was to become the greatest ninja Japan had ever seen. Despite all I had suffered I promised I would avenge myself on the one who brought me down. Now the time is at hand. You will die outsider! But not before I make you suffer first."
A sharp pain in his ankle caused the ninja to cry out. Rufus had snuck up on him during the break in the fighting and chomped down on his leg. The overbite pierced the first layer of skin and the ninja kicked out madly. Rufus flew threw the air and right into Ron's hands.
"Thanks, little buddy." Ron paused. "Wait a minute. I….do know you."
After rubbing his injured ankle, the ninja glared death at him. "You better not have forgotten about me, outsider. Rest assured I never forgot about you."
Pulling back his mask, the ninja revealed his face.
"In the flesh." Ron's old adversary said. Tossing his mask to the side, he immediately went into a monologue. "After we last fought, I was cast out of Yamanouchi, forced to wander on my own. No other ninja school would accept me. I had become an outsider like you. All thanks to you. Had you not interfered I would have gone to attend a prestigious ninja college and become the finest warrior in the land. But you had to foil everything. Because of you, nothing has gone right for me since. I wish I had never met you, Ron Stoppable."
Least he used my name this time, Ron thought.
"I became one of the many lost souls wandering the country searching for a way to make ends meet. Do you have any idea how degrading it is for a ninja to beg for scrapes? How hard it was finding anyone who would hire an expelled ninja? Of course not. You are the warrior hero of Yamanouchi. The pasty-skinned outsider who didn't know his place. Well I lost my place that day. I lost everything. But now I have found a new purpose. With Saito-sama as my employer, I will regain that which you have stolen from me. Bit by bit. Blood by blood. You will reap what you have sown. Now prepare yourself!" He got into fighting stance. "This is the day you die!"
Ron and Rufus exchanged "eh" looks.
"Get up! I want to savor my victory."
"Dude," Ron said getting up. "You screwed yourself over. Don't get mad at me because of what you did."
"What YOU did."
"Nah-uh. You were kicked out of Yamanouchi because you helped Monkey Fist kidnap Yori and steal the Lotus Blade. Then you tried to cremate Yori and me by dumping us in a pool of lava."
"That was Monkey Fist."
"He promised to write me a letter of recommendation."
"I don't think killing two of your classmates would look good on paper."
"If you had just left Yamanouchi…."
"And let you kill Yori?" Ron made a buzzer sound. "I'm not the kind of guy who leaves his friends to die. Face it, Fuku, everything that's happened to you is because you deserved it."
"The name is Fukushima."
"Yeah I wouldn't want that nickname either. For obvious reasons." Ron winked at Rufus who could only chuckle.
"Do not insult me!"
"You do that all by yourself. Finest warrior in the land? Some great destiny? I swear if you had bigger ears and a thinner face you could be Monkey Fist's son."
"Maybe that was a bit low. What do you think, Rufus?"
"You're right. That's giving him too much credit."
With a thunderous battle cry, Fukushima fired off a kick that landed squarely in Ron's chest, sending him spiraling back through a set of double doors and into the kitchen. Ron's back collided with a shelf causing numerous sharp utensils to fall.
"Ow! OW! Pointy!"
Rufus had landed on the counter and had to physically dodge from behind severed by a falling knife that skidded his back. A fork stopped him at the front while a second jabbed down on the counter by his left and a very large machete by his right. He was pinned in on all sides. "Eep!"
"Rufus!" Ron to help him but just then the doors flung open.
"Worry about yourself," Fukushima picked up a butcher knife which had landed very closer to the doorway and brandished it before him. "Outsider!"
Kim Possible was undoubtingly one of the best fighters in the world. It was no secret that many would want to test their skill against her. Part of the discipline of any martial arts is to seek out worthy opponents for only by fighting the best does one truly improve. Since her inception into the world-saving business, Kim had gone up against some of the most lackluster villains the world had ever seen. Some however proved more of a challenge. Shego easily topped that list. Monkey Fist was another capable adversary. Kim could not even touch the Yono and her Nana, while not technically a bad guy, proved to be one of the toughest fights of her life when she was under Drakken's control.
On a planet of more than six billion people, statistically speaking, there had to be those who knew how to fight better than Kim. Pushing herself to the limit against Kikyu, Kim wondered if she was one of them. They danced around each other at first with neither combatant able to get the drop on the other. It was a vicious stalemate. Kim recognized her style as Southern Shaolin Kung Fu which focused heavily on hand movements, ironic considering the woman's name. Perhaps it was due to her fancy footwork which, to Kim's dismay, would give the members of the Mad Dog Cheer Squad a run for their money. Or maybe it was just some stupid pun she thought off to throw her enemies off guard, she didn't know.
A practitioner of Kung Fu herself, Kim could almost mimic her every move. She could not stand seeing the overconfident smile on Kikyu's face, which told her she was having too much fun. Typical bad guy ploy. Kim would not be intimidated. Strong as Kikyu was, she was still just a….
One moment Kim had thrown a punch and the next she had completely vanished in a puff of red smoke.
"What the?!" Kim looked around. Her opponent was nowhere to be seen. "Where did she go?"
Her question was answered when she got kicked from behind. Kim stretched out her hands to avoid going face-first into the floor. She turned around to find the smug-looking femme smiling down at her. "Here I am."
"That was low."
"But it felt so good."
Kim charged her. Kikyu disappeared.
She reared around expecting her to try the same ploy only to find herself being kicked down again in the same spot. "Fool!" Kikyu laughed. "I hadn't moved at all. You are so predictable."
Against Kim Possible that was as bad an insult as one could give. Her fighting style was so unorthodox that when in conjunction with her cheerleading skills it was almost impossible to discern where she would strike next. Her pride would not allow her abilities to be mocked by some pompous ass.
"I expected more from you. Surely you can do better than that."
"Then prove it." Kikyu puffed out of sight.
Kim readied for the next blow. When none came she grew more anxious. She's toying with me. Kim needed to figure out a way around her tricks fast or else. Come on, Kim. Don't let her get to you. She thinks you're a novice. Time to prove her wrong.
Keeping her guard up, Kim slowly made her way over to the wall. With her back against it, she figured Kikyu wouldn't be able to cheap shot her way to victory. Course she still couldn't see her and Kim was not looking forward to being kicked in the face, the gut, or any sensitive spots. "I know you're out there," she whispered.
Kim gasped when she looked up. Kikyu had propped herself up on the wall above her and grabbed Kim with surprising strength. Hoisting her up by the neck, Kikyu smirked as she heard her prey gurgling for breath. Kim kicked wildly, shocked and frightened at once. Holding onto the wall with one hand, Kikyu pushed with her leg and shot up, pulling Kim up just enough to kick her in midair. The kick was powerful; Kim could feel all the wind knocked out of her. She went flying across the room and onto the mantelpiece above the fireplace. The crack could be heard from where Kikyu landed.
Kim didn't know when she hit the ground. The world had become fuzzy and all she could hear was the sound of her heavy breathing. She felt numbness followed by pain. Something must have been broken by the impact. Something that was part of her. Kim could not tell what for her vision was quickly fading out. She could hear Kikyu's taunting voice. "You have disappointed me, Kim Possible. Apparently you are not the warrior I thought you were."
Kim caught something at the edge of her vision. At first she thought it was a trick of the eye but she could just see it. Kikyu's feet appeared before her just then.
So that's it.
With no retort, Kim blacked out.
Ron ducked as Fukushima buried the knife in the wall behind him. He managed to pull the machete out beside Rufus, freeing the molerat and giving him a weapon at the same time. Ron always liked swords. But holding the large knife in his hands made Ron feel uncomfortable. It was one thing pretending you were a knight when you were a kid or playing a fictional warrior in a video game, but this could potentially kill someone. For all his bravado, Ron could never hurt another human being. Even one who wanted him dead.
Fukushima freed the butcher knife and turned toward Ron. "You cannot elude me forever, outsider."
"Fukushima, stop this! I don't want to fight you and I sure as hell don't want you to kill me."
"You are a coward."
"Let's just the put the knives down and walk away."
"Damn you! I cannot believe I was defeated by a weakling like you. You cannot even fight like a man let alone die like one. If I didn't hate you so much I would not even bother."
"Misplaced anger much? You betrayed Yamanouchi."
"I was defending it's honor."
"Come off it, man. You weren't looking out for anyone but yourself. All you wanted was to go to some fancy ninja college. You didn't care who you had to go through." Ron's face hardened. "You helped Monkey Fist. He almost killed me and Yori. You don't see the contradiction here?"
"I…I had to do it." Fukushima seemed to be fighting with himself. He shook his head. His teeth clenched. "You were bringing dishonor on the school. Outsiders were not allowed."
"I was invited."
"No! Yamanouchi is for ninja. You were a lie. How could I be the only one to see that? Master Sensei, Yori, you had them all fooled. But not me. I saw you for what you really were: an incompetent gaijin who was given access to our deepest secrets. It was you who brought Monkey Fist to Yamanouchi. I saw him that night. He came to me while I was on patrol. It was he who told me of the danger you posed to our school. Ironic that the only person who could see through your façade besides me was another outsider. I believed that with his help I would be able to open their eyes, to show Master Sensei and the others the fraud that you really were."
"He kidnapped Yori."
"She was the guardian of the Lotus Blade. That night I hoped to lead Monkey Fist into the shrine so that we may take it to prevent it being sullied by your presence. Yori found us. She put up a fight and we were forced to restrain her before she set off the alarm. He took her and the Lotus Blade and stole off into the night."
Ron found it hard to believe what he was hearing. "Dude! He lied to you. Monkey Fist didn't care about anything but himself. All he wanted was to become the next Monkey Master and he used you to get the Lotus Blade. He probably would have killed you too just for knowing about him."
"That's a lie."
"Think about it. He had Yori. He had the Lotus Blade. The only loose end was you. Master Sensei would have found out about you eventually and Fist didn't want to leave anything behind that could be traced back to him. After he was done with Yori and me, he would have had you killed just to keep his secret. Then he'd have the Lotus Blade and be ten times more of a prick than he had been before. It was a trick, Fukushima! The guy was an obsessed sociopath. He used you to get the sword, betray Yamanouchi, and lied just so he could have the chance of finishing you off himself."
Fukushima shook his head. "No."
"Believe it, dude." Ron looked to Rufus. "If Rufus hadn't been there to save us we'd all be dead right now. I'm sure Master Sensei would have given you a chance to redeem yourself if you'd just helped us. But you fought us to the bitter end. You continued to help Monkey Fist and that is why you were kicked out of school. You got nobody to blame but yourself, man."
"That's not true. I was only doing what I thought was best."
"Yeah. For you. Face it. You are one selfish guy."
"Deny it all you want. All that time at Yamanouchi and you never learned to care for others. It's no wonder you and Monkey Fist got along so well."
"You ruined everything."
"I only tried to be your pal."
"No. You were only there to humiliate me."
"I didn't even know Yamanouchi existed let alone you. How could I want to do that?"
"Enough!" Fukushima charged. "Just die!"
Their knives clashed. Rufus gasped, quickly scurrying out of the way as Fukushima pinned him against the counter. "You…will…pay."
Through gritted teeth, Ron said, "Cash…or…charge?"
A knee went up. Fukushima's eyes bulged. "Cash!" Ron stated. Bringing his head up, he butted Fukushima in the face forcing him to drop the knife. "Charge!" the ninja went down, grabbing his groin and face simultaneously. Pinning him on the floor, Ron held the machete over him.
"Ron," Rufus called.
"Game over." Ron grabbed him by the throat. His usually friendly brown eyes were now dark and angry. This was the guy who nearly killed one of his friends. He betrayed Master Sensei and all the ninja at Yamanouchi, nearly helped Monkey Fist become the ultimate monkey master – and now he has the gall to blame it all on him? Ron was no stranger to self pity, but his guy had taken it one step too far.
Sniffing the blood in his nose, Fukushima looked at him through watery eyes. Seeing the same contempt in Ron's eyes that he had for him, he could only hate him more. "I will always hate you, outsider."
"You're the outsider, Fukushima. You just don't know how to belong."
For that, Fukushima had no answer.
Hirotaka was bleeding. Clutching his wounded leg he sought shelter behind an overturned oak table. Not that it would do much good against the likes of Red Cochrane. His bullets pierced wood and bone as easily as steel through bamboo. He could only wonder why his foe had not finished him off.
The bullet had gone straight through; leaving a trail of blood emanating from the hole in Hirotaka's left calf. It could have just as easily been his knee, a shot which would have crippled him had Red wanted to do so. The sadist had done this on purpose just to scare him. He did not take Hirotaka as a serious threat. That would have been his mistake had Hiro discovered a way to get close to him
Which he hadn't.
He ignored the pain as best he could and tried to figure out a way to turn the tables on his enemy. Situated as he was now, the only table turned was the one he feebly used as cover. Red could easily riddle it with bullets if he so wished it. Hiro found himself almost wishing that he had. He found a warrior's death far more desirable than being used as sport.
But he was ninja and that means he does not give up.
Long discarding the handgun Red gave him at the start of their duel – Hiro realizing he stood no chance at fighting him with it – Hirotaka scrambled for ideas that would help him turn the tide in this losing battle. From what he could see Hoshi was still unconscious. The dent her impact left on the wall was not reassuring of her chances of getting back into the fight. What's more, Kim Possible seemed to have lost her bout against Kikyu.
Hirotaka lost sight of Ron Stoppable when the fighting began, but so far things did not bode well for the good guys.
He wished now more than ever that Yori was here.
"Ya'll live back there?"
Bringing his thoughts back to his unenviable situation, Hiro put his back against the table. He heard Red's heavy boots stomp on the floor as he approached. It seemed foolish to diminish his long range advantage over Hirotaka by getting closer, but with Hiro wounded as he is, the speed he'd normally use to overwhelm his opponent would not be as effective.
Hiro had an idea.
"That was an unfair test of my abilities, Cochrane-san. Let us see how well you fare in a duel of blades and see how things turn out."
"I getcha, boy. I hung up my ego longside my sense of fair play years ago. Can't live long in this biz by bein' nice now." The boots stopped. "Why don't chu come on out? This time I'll loan ya my semi."
"Beware Greeks bearing gifts," Hiro retorted.
"I'm a Texas boy m'self."
"Speak for yerself, ninja boy."
"Never was much for French. But I do know little of that funny language of yers." He could hear Red cock his gun and he raised it. "I'm gonna count t' five. Yer head not poking out of there by then…." Click. "Ichi…Ni…San…Shi…G…"
"Alright." Hiro was not stupid enough to put his head out first. He merely waved his hand above the rim. "I am coming out."
Struggling to stand with his bad leg, Hirotaka slowly gravitated to the surface. He showed no signs of pain even he stared down the barrel of the gun of the world's deadliest gunslinger.
Red was there, grinning all the way. Gillian Hunt had fetched Hoshi and flung her over his shoulder. Kikyu unceremoniously dragged Kim by the arm and dropped her with just as much lack of care beside the cowboy. "You finished here?"
Hiro scowled. "You three are without honor."
"Dude we work for Saito," Gillian said on his flying board. "What did you expect?"
"Good guys always fall back on that line." Kikyu crossed her arms. "Makes them feel better when they lost. Think retaining their honor makes them better than us."
"You're the one with the gun pointed at you."
"Lady's right." Red clicked his teeth. "Now I suggest y' come over here real nice like. Don't want any more holes in ya than ya already got."
Gillian looked around. "Where's the other guy?"
The door to the kitchen opened up. Fukushima stumbled in followed by Ron who held him by the arm.
"There he is."
"Put them down," Ron commanded them.
Red chuckled. "Sure thing, son." Pulling out another handgun, he pointed it at Kim's prone form. "One bullet or two?"
Ron was not amused in the least. "I'm warning you."
Kikyu approached Ron sensuously. "Maybe you can prove to be a better dance partner than the redhead. She wasn't as good as I'd hoped."
"What did you do to Kim?"
"We fought. I won. Simple as that."
Kikyu stepped aside. "Evidence is right there."
"Hey, Fukushima," Gillian called over all the others. "Guess things didn't work out the way you hoped."
Glaring at him, Fukushima tried briefly to free himself from Ron's hold only to have him tighten it. He growled. "He tricked me."
"While that's pretty easy I doubt that's what happened."
"Just shut up and help me, gaijin!"
"Now that's no way t' talk to yer friends now is it?" Red looked back at Hiro. "Why don't you tell yer boy to come along all quiet like less I start puttin' holes where there were none before?"
Hirotaka looked to Ron. Even from this distance, Ron could tell that he was hurt. From the looks of it, Ron had no problems dealing with Fukushima. Considering the latter, Hirotaka could only say this. "You are the worst kind of person, Fukushima. I will make sure Sensei knows of your latest betrayal and your part in aiding Saito."
"Please shoot him," he begged Red. "Please."
"Y' Japanese fellers and yer honor. Never could understand what you boys saw in the darned thing."
"Let them go." Ron's voice took on a more demanding tone. Behind him, Rufus poked his head out from the door.
"Uh….no," Red told him.
Hirotaka made his move. Despite the bleeding he managed to force his wounded leg to help the other one stabilize his footing and he pushed the table. The legs were facing Red and he made it so one of them came in contact with his gun and sent the eventual shot rearing to the side. Red was caught off guard and Gillian flew up out of range as the taller man was pushed back. "Ron! Stop them!"
Ron's eyes widened. "Hiro what are y…" he was cut off when Fukushima, able to respond to changing situations faster, butted him in the face with his head. Rearing back, Ron lost his hold and stumbled. Fukushima turned around and jumped, bringing up both his feet to kick Ron in the chest. The force behind it was enough to send him back through the doorway. Rufus ducked as Ron came flying in.
"No!" Hiro barely had time to say that before Red reached over and knocked him on the side of the head with his holster. Stars swam before Hiro's eyes but he fought to stay conscious. They could not be defeated like this.
He staggered from the blow. Something stopped his wavering and he looked back to see Kikyu smiling at him. "Hi." She did a spinning back kick which knocked Hiro out completely. He crashed through the table, shattering it to pieces.
Standing over him, Red Cochrane gave him his trademark smile. "That's game."
Back in the kitchen, Rufus struggled to get Ron on his feet. He was standing on his chest and slapped Ron repeatedly to wake him up. When the door opened and Fukushima came stomping into the room, his eyes fixed on the molerat. "Get out of the way, rodent!"
Not one to back down from a fight when it involved Ron's safety, Rufus did something completely insane: he charged Fukushima.
Like a human scaling a colossus, the molerat leaped onto the surface of his ninja gi and climbed up. His plan was to reach the vital area around the face, possibly to blind Fukushima or gouge his throat – anything to save Ron. Fukushima slapped himself repeatedly to stop him, but Rufus was too determined and got up on his shoulder quickly. Biting down on his ear, Fukushima let out a painful cry.
Without thinking he reached up to pull the ravenous pink thing off his ear, taking skin away with it. Spitting out the cartilage from his teeth, Rufus bit down on his hand next, drawing blood. Once he was free, Rufus raced toward the face. Fukushima blinked only once before Rufus was on him – scratching, biting, tearing.
There was blood.
There was screaming.
Fukushima finally managed to grab Rufus off his face. His sharp claws dug a deep line over his right cheek. The youth's face was a bloody mess. His eyes were wet with pain but so angry were they that he hardly cared. Holding Rufus who tried to bite his way free again, Fukushima ignored the searing agony he felt when that overbite pierced his hand….and he squeezed.
Rufus's little wail filled the room.
"Disgusting creature!" He squeezed until he was certain he heard something break. Rufus went limp in his grasp. Smiling, he hurled the motionless rodent across the room where he slammed into a bunch of pots. They all clattered to the floor and Fukushima hoped and prayed that at least one of them crushed what was left of Rufus underneath it.
Turning back to Ron, Fukushima approached him. He stepped on Ron's stomach hard to make sure he was awake for what came next. Ron cried out. He did so more when Fukushima began pummeling him. Punch. Punch. Punch. Punch. Each one harder than the last. Fukushima began to laugh. This was fun. Damn it all if it wasn't the most fun he had in a long time.