The young man passed through the gates of his family's home, interrupting his journey of training as a warrior to respond to a call from his father, Saisyu Kusanagi. In the parlor, he found two old friends he had not seen for some time: Benimaru Nikaido and Goro Daimon. Normally, these three would never gather at the Kusanagi home at all once, but this time, their presence was requested by Saisyu.

"You're home... I'm sorry to have to call you out here. Look." In Saisyu's hand was a familiar envelope. "This... It's a KOF invitation. Why...?" "And so, I have a request for all of you." "This had better not be another huge pain in my side, old man." "What? It's just like what you'd use for training a beginner... You've probably heard of Master Tung. He's bringing new students to the tournament this time, but I hear they're really bad at holding back. We just want you to help show them the way, is all. It would be dangerous for normal martial artists, but you guys should be fine."

Saisyu had originally intended to meet each of them personally and check to see if their strength declined before making this request. However, at a glance, he was convinced that he had worried for nothing.

"Yup, I knew this would be a huge pain. Anyway, you're probably getting ahead of yourself. We don't even know if they'll win their way up the brackets." "I'm sure they will, since the master is with them. I though you'd be happy to go a few rounds, Kyo." Benimaru had been enjoying watching the father and son argue, but took his turn to speak after Kyo sucked his teeth at Saisyu, who had begun drinking tea. "Actually, the only thing that really matters is whether or not one of these beginners is a beautiful young lady." "Mm-hmm. It's important to show the way for young ones with a long road ahead of them." Daimon was clearly in a mood to agree and attracted to the idea of 'educating.' However, before he could encounter any backlash for that sentiment, a familiar voice rang out from the doorway.

"Mr. Kusanagi! Everybody!! I haven't seen you all in ages. I'd heard that you had all come home, so I hurried right over!" Shingo Yabuki hurried noisily down the hall then peeked into the room, still looking flushed. "Haven't seen you in a while, Shingo. The same as ever, huh?" "Heheh. I'm not the same guy you knew before. Here, check out the new special move I came up with after training non-stop for the last six months. With this, winning KOF isn't a dream anymore!" Daimon responded before Kyo, moved by the words of a friendly junior martial artist making a surprise visit. "Well, your confidence is impressive. I'll fight a round with you." Narrowing his eyes even further with happiness, he slid into his geta sandals and walked out onto the lawn. "Here I come, Daimon!" Everyone turned to watch as Daimon and Shingo gave their battle cries and took their stances. Then Kyo heard Saisyu's voice, uncharacteristically serious, coming from behind him.

"Listen, Kyo. I have something to tell you." "What is it, old man?" "When I spoke with Master Tung... I had a premonition. I have a feeling that something bad is going to happen at this KOF. I'm not sure what, but I just feel like something's not right... Be ready." "What the...? You're being really vague. Well, whatever happens, I'll find a way to handle it."

At that moment, Shingo let out an impassioned roar, as if to drown out their conversation.

"YAAAAAAaaa...ah? H-Huh? There's no flame... Hold on a second, Daimon. A-Aaaagh!" While he had carried out the technique enthusiastically, it was apparently incomplete. As Shingo panicked because the flames had failed to appear, and he also took a hit from Daimon's counter, which left him sprawled on the ground.

"This is what I get for talking big..." "Indeed, you need more training. At this level, winning the KOF is more of a dream within a dream." On hearing Daimon's words, Benimaru turned to Kyo suddenly, like he'd just been reminded of something. "Hey, Kyo... Speaking of winning, apparently a new 'first generation' KOF champion appeared while we were away." "Huh? A champion... And a first-generation one... What does that mean?" "So you hadn't heard after all. I don't know the details, but apparently he's incredibly rich. He also happens to be the organizer this time... So what will you do about it, Kyo?" "You know what I'll do. This self-titled champion and newbie training. I'll take care of all of it at once!"

It didn't matter how big or small, bad things usually happened at KOF tournaments. Kyo had experienced these troubles time and again, making his confidence unshakable as the sun blazed brilliantly behind him.




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