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Author's Chapter Notes:
Well, now... Looks like we got ourselves a situation here. Hi, lemon lovers. It’s the second half of the author duo putting together this romance/yuri fic, DeNice. I bet Tru got you warmed up the first chapter, and now I’m going to keep the ball rolling. Now, if you’re reading this, you can either do one of two things. You can either skip my little background bio that is about to follow and skip down to the real story, or you can stick around and get to see what makes me tick. So... make your choice.... Made it yet? Well, if you chose the latter, you’re still here, so just gently read on...

I made my debut to fanfiction almost exactly a year ago with my huge story: Street Fighter: New Archives, starting my original character (and growing to be fan favorites among certain peers I have), Darrell Markis and Capcom originals Sakura Kasugano and Hinata Wakaba. It wasn’t until that story ended that I went on to other projects and just experimenting while keeping the Archive series going on FanFiction.net (and is still going now).

I met up with Tru, my partner, through another close friend of mine, Chan Yoruyamatiha, about two months later. Before hand I knew of him by stumbling across his website shrine to Ryu and Sakura through a Google search (I put in “Sakura Kasugano” for the search, btw...). It was there that I checked out the fic named “Attack of the Dark Cherry Blossom.” I was only 13 at the time, and I never read of a story like that before at all. I was completely blown away by Tru’s words, and I saved that story to my laptop to read whenever I didn’t have internet access. I was very new to the world of lemons but that was what started my journey.

Once I met Tru, I felt like his #1 fan in a way and he was welcome to answer any questions I had pertaining to the ways of writing lemons. I started off slow with little segments within my old fics, but over time, after picking up ideas from Tru and other people’s fics, I tried my hand at a true lemon/yuri fic called “Street Fighter: The Three Petal Blossom”. When I got into writing the chapters to that story (which isn’t even done yet), I grew... accustomed to writing hentai material. The words just seemed to flow along with the music I always played whenever I typed, and now the result is, what certain people would call it, one of the best three-way fics written.

As of now, I must admit, I came a long way from those times when I first started and I’m willing to show you that talent with this story, which IS the first ever Sakura Kasugano/Kei Chitose pairing written. Like Tru, I’ve seen many pairings, especially along the lines of Street Fighter, but I always wondered why I never saw a Sak/Kei. I brought it up with my mentor and here we are, about to try our hand at it. I hope you enjoy how this turns out, because I’m going to give it my all!
“Ok, students. Time’s up. Hand up your papers to me as I come around to collect them.”

Uh-oh...! Wow! That was an hour already? I don’t believe this! I only need a few more seconds... Just a few more seconds... Where is he? Ok. He started on the other side of the room. That gives me... a good minute to finish the last 2 math problems. I dig my head into the paper on my desk and read the question as carefully as I can in my mind.

“If x=4y+5z-(2+30) and y = 22 and z = 50, then find the value of 2x+17”

Just what in the heck was I supposed to do with this?! How do people actually DO these types of questions, anyway? It’s almost like Greek to me! Oh, boy... Better hurry with the second...

“0 multiplied by (-3x+90) is equal to 4. True of false?”

Hmm... This... doesn’t seem so difficult... Let’s see... Any number... divided—no! Any number MULTIPLIED by 0 should equal 0! Easy! With confidence I write down the word “false” on my paper and gave it one last look. I filled out a majority of the answers already. All I need now is the one I just skipped and 2 other ones I passed earlier. Shoot... Where’s the teacher at? Two isles away!

I’m getting desperate... Ok, Sakura. You got no choice. Time to beg Kei for answers...

“Psst!” I hiss as quietly as I can, my eyes looking out the side of my sockets to look at the corner of her desk, “Kei... I need number 12, 14, and... 35, quick!”

Come on, Kei... You’re good at stuff like this... You’re my only hope to actually passing this assignment... Huh? Kei?

I slightly turn my head over to my best friend to see her rubbing her pencil eraser furiously across... Huh? Is she rubbing out the ENTIRE PAGE!?

“Kei!” I hush to her, “What are you doing? You’re not done yet?”

I hear Kei start to stammer and stutter a response, yet I didn’t understand a word she said. I did manage to steal a look from her eyes as she looked at me... then quickly turn away, her eyes planted on her now blank paper. I could feel my forehead sweatdrop. Just what is going on over there?

“Kei!” I call her one last time, my eyes frantically switching from her to the ever approaching doom that haunted me. “I need 12, 14, and 35. Come on!”

“I... S... sorry, Sakura! I... I don’t have the answer yet!”

I blinked. Kei...? Kei “Brainiac” Chitose doesn’t know the answers yet? Did I hear right?

“Please tell me this is a joke...” I pleaded. The brown-haired girl next to me merely shook her head slowly, trying herself to rush to get her own answers down. I frowned heavily. Oh, boy... Time to take the leap of faith... I quickly jot down some random answers as quickly as I could just before my teacher could get down my isle. As I put in the final number I put my pencil down in the holder and sighed, praying that by some act of heaven that they were right. As my teacher reaches my desk I looked up to his face, who was peering down at me, then my paper. I grab my paper before he could, then handed it personally to him, giving off a nervous smile. He merely gives me a quick smirk then kindly takes it from me. Weird... Normally he wouldn’t even grace me with a wink, let alone a smirk. He was normally the first to get on my case about not doing well in school, yet on rare occasions he does try to encourage me. I guess I should be grateful for that. I could have some strict teacher instead for math who bites my and everyone else’s head off for making a simple mistake on their homework. Now that I’m done street fighting... I guess I should take as much as I can to heart.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not like I didn’t like going to school... It was the studying that turned me off of my work. I mean... all these hard subjects like calculus and undergraduate biochemistry really fried my brains. The curriculum for Tamagawa Minami was always claimed one of the most prestigious to put young minds to work... in the salt mines. Mine, however, was overworked easily in those classes. I so wish that all classes were like physical education. I LOVE that class. Love it with a passion! No written tests and no studying. All you have to do is apply your body and bam! Easy A! No sweat! To me, that full hour is paradise. Technically, I’m the best in the school in that subject.

Well... I guess I’d better get back into the daily grind, anyways. After I came back from traveling the world, putting my fists to the test, my parents buckled down on me. No more world traveling for me. No more tournaments. No more... well... they did still let me train with my friends, Hinata, Karin, Darrell, and such from other schools... as long as I keep my grades up. Ultimately it was back to the books for me, and really I guess I had to agree. If I was going to get out of the chains that bind me, I had to graduate... but geez! Why was studying so boring!? Well... I guess I’d be better if I took my mind off the subject, because every time I find myself thinking about my travels, I think about... him...

“Excuse me... Ms. Chitose. Time was called already. Please... Your paper.”

I glance over to my side to see the class’s teacher back around my way, this time on Kei’s row. He already took the papers from the first two people in front of her, now it was her turn... Wow... I could practically sense Kei’s panic from here. She was busy running the lead to the paper like a storm for the past minute or so, and the sight made me blink. This was totally not like her... She was doing one of my numbers!

“Ms. Chitose...”

After a few more scribbles, Kei reluctantly put her pen down and handed her paper to our teacher. I then looked into her eyes. Hey... What’s her deal? It was like she wasn’t there, her eyes just off into space... My eyes zoom up to the teacher’s face, who stopped at Kei’s desk to take a gander at what she wrote. As moments passed, I could clearly see that he was more or less disappointed about whatever my friend put down... I guess it was 20 seconds or so of me just looking at him until he kneeled down to come to Kei’s sitting level, grabbing her attention. The two share whispers, too light for me to get the wind of, then she nods... and he goes off to collect the rest of the papers, leaving her to sigh in relief. Now’s my chance to figure out just what happened with her...

“Kei...” I whisper again, “what happened back there? Normally you’re on top of math and everything else...”

Kei glanced at me through the corner of her eyes... then fully turned her face. Before she did... I caught something on her face...

Is she... blushing...?

“I... I just wasn’t... concentrating hard enough on it,” she lightly responded. I merely blinked.

“Kei—“

“Ms. Kasugano?”

“EEP!”

I sit up stiffly in my chair at the sudden call of my name. Looking up cautiously from my chair, I could see my teacher’s eyes peering at me. I gulped once more...

“H... hee, Mr. Fuji*?”

“Can I see you up front at my desk, please? I have a few words for you...”

Oh, boy... What did I do wrong? Did he take glances at everyone’s paper as he took them? I sucked up my courage and stood up, following my teacher to the front of the classroom. As I pass, I could catch a few quiet laughs from behind me...

Ok. Here we are... I stop in front of my teacher’s desk, my hands politely placed on the front of my skirt, trying to seem as calm as possible. As he sits down, putting the stack of papers down on his desk, he takes out one in particular and puts it down on the desk for me to see. He then reaches into his white shirt... and pulls out the red pen...

I immediately start sweating. Normally he’d do this while everyone would take this time to do something else... and even then he wouldn’t call anyone out, even if they were doing worse than me. I must have really bombed it...

“Class, while I’m addressing Sakura, I’d like for you to either take out a book to read or do something quietly with your neighbor. This will only take a few minutes...”

Great. At least there won’t be a crowd for this embarrassing moment... As I hear quiet sounds from behind me, Mr. Fuji looks at me without saying a word, then looks at my paper... and starts grading...

With each mark I twitch. It was a good minute of torture, just waiting to see just what he had in store for me. I couldn’t bring back another failing paper to my parents... I wouldn’t see the light of day for quite some time if I did... outside of school, that is.

After the minute was done, my teacher puts down the pen and then looks at me. I, on the other hand, try to look at what he wrote. Was it good or bad? Come on! I can’t take this suspense! Move your arm...!

“Ms. Kasugano...” he calmly calls me, “come over here to my side and see this.”

By now I was developing a light sweat on my forehead. I sigh and come close, running my short sleeve across my forehead to clean it off. As I come to the side of the desk, Mr. Fuji holds up the paper I just worked on... At first I just look at it, expecting the worst... but as it sits in, I ease up.

A “C”...

I instantly felt a load fall off my shoulders as I calmed down, holding my hands behind my back and giving a light giggle. It was better than I normally do at stuff like this...

“Sakura, it seems as if you either got lucky with this assignment or you cheated on it, but then again, I rather not think that you did the latter. Now... I wanted to follow me because I want to bring something to your attention.”

“Hee?*”

“While this grade does boost up your overall somewhat, you still have a way to go to get out of the “D” range. Believe it or not, I’d like to see you graduate, so I got together with a few of the other teachers in which you’re having trouble with, and we want to give you an offer you can’t refuse. A long story short... Oh... Just a second? Ms. Chitose?”

With that name call, I turn around to see my friend, who looked up from her desk and addressed our teacher.

“Come here,” he called, and obediently she did. I keep my eyes on her all throughout her process of getting up from the desk, then walking my way. As she did so, I couldn’t help but stare. She really must be having an off day to be looking so... distracted...

“Kei,” Mr. Fuji starts, “I’d like to ask you a question.”

“Yoroshii...*”

“You see here, I’ve been keeping tabs on your friend here and how over the past week or two she’s been slowly getting back up from her bad performance from the past few months. Now, even though this is all good and all, you must realize that there is a good 6 months or so until the end of the school year, and I think it’s wise that the earlier we have Sakura up to speed throughout the year, the better, right? I mean, most colleges like to see a strong showing during the senior year, correct?”

Kei nods.

“Now, here’s my question. Both of you. Would you be willing to sacrifice an hour or two of your time after school, get together, and study with one another?”

I blink instantly. “What exactly are you--?”

“In short, I’m requesting that you have a tutor to study with, Ms. Kasugano. A “C” is good, yes, but a “B” is better, and if we can pull you up to at least a single “A” grade on a test, I know this will be truly up to the best. Kei here is within the top 5 students of the class, and since you two are so close, I don’t see much of a problem. Don’t you agree?”

I took a minute to look it over. Technically I guess I didn’t have anything better to do... but still, I did want to have a social life after all this cramming and applying... Then again, knowing my parents they aren’t going to request it. They are going to demand it.

“Ossharutooridesu, kyouyu,”* I reply.

“That’s nice to hear, Sakura. Seeing you take little pause in that decision really puts a good feeling into this. And you, Kei?”

Once again my focus shifts to her. Well, then. It looks like whatever was bothering her earlier she put to the side. With a firm nod, she made her choice.

“It’s settled then. I don’t want to seem too strict on your study habits, girls, but just a little suggestion. Take at least 2 days out of the week to get together on this. It’s for the best. If Sakura improves, then you can gradually lay off this. If she still needs help, I suggest meeting a bit more often. Understand?”

Both of us nod in reply. Mr. Fuji then dismisses us and the two of us return to our seats. As we sit, I glance at Kei, who is looking back at me.

“Well, then,” I chime, “This little arrangement should be fun, now won’t it?”

Kei gives me a warm smile and nods again. Before we could carry the moment further, the bell rings... Time to switch classes...

-----

Wow... Today went by rather fast... but not without its tolls. I barely got past biology without sleeping through it. At least I paid some mind to the Japanese class. Luckily for me, my foreign language was a synch, since I’m partnered up with Darrell, the American exchange student for the year. At least with him helping me how to learn English I can pass that class easy. Other than that, nothing too exciting...

Now, as I close my locker and make my way out to the school building, I was faced with the task of some calculus homework... Shoot. It just figured to be the harder problems we get for it. The only positive is that it’s the only homework assignment for the night. At least once I’m through with it I can concentrate on some things I can do for fun... but first, I’d better meet Kei at the front of the school. Maybe I’ll give this tutoring a shot today.

It wasn’t long until I reach the front of the school. My eyes scan the horizon to see any sign of my friend in the yard... Ah! There she is, straight ahead. I grab the strap of my book bag and sprint across the yard, my sights straight on her. As I approach her, she must have sensed my presence, as she stops and turns to face me.

“It’s about time you waited up!” I say to her as I skip to a halt on the sidewalk. “I was wondering if I had to tackle you from behind!”

“Sorry. Guess I didn’t hear you call me.”

“...that’s because I didn’t call you.”

The brunette in front of me blinked a bit and then shook her head. “Oh... That’s right.”

“Well, where are you off to in such a hurry? I could use your help with this math homework.”

“Oh... Yeah, that’s right. S... sure, Sakura. I’ll help you. Where do you want to go to work at?”

“My house is fine. Come on! While we’re on the way we can go on and get something to eat from Ryuhama’s*!”

“Ok... That sounds pretty good.”

The two of us now begin walking down the street and to a street corner. Technically, Ryuhama’s isn’t exactly in walking distance. It was a good two miles or so from the school, so to get there our best chance would be the bus, which, luckily, picks up people right around the corner. As Kei and I turn the corner, we manage to see some Tamagawa students already waiting at the stop for the bus. Unfortunately there isn’t one in sight, so I guess we have to wait like everyone else...

I slip my book bag off my body and rest my back against the brick wall surrounding the school. I then look at Kei, who simply stands next to me, holding her backpack in her hands in front of her. For a while neither of us talk to one another, so as a result, I find my mind wandering off to what happened earlier today at the bridge. That guy from the Mizuryu-Dan... Man, perverts are so abundant this day and age...

However, it isn’t long until my mind forgets about him, and focuses on what happened afterwards... Kei coming over to nurse my wound as I sat on the ground... How she was so caring... Her voice was pretty soft and soothing to my ears as well...

...and how I held her cheek... almost out of instinct...

As I think about the moment and what we said to one another, my body starts to feel... weird. I can’t describe it, but... I quickly feel... something from my heart... It was a strange sensation completely new to me. Almost fuzzy. My eyes guide their way to the ground as I tried to figure out what was making me feel this way. I only started thinking about this when... when I thought about...

Kei...

I look over to my side and Kei looked at me. For about a second the both of us merely traded glances then both of us quickly looked away.

Oh, boy... What just happened there? When I looked at her, I felt that same fuzzy feeling grow two fold. How come this didn’t happen when I saw her first at the front gate? However... when I did look at her, my heart beat grew just a bit faster... I didn’t know what was coming over me... but it sure was... captivating...

I blink out of that sensation once I hear the screeching of tires and the run of a massive motor. My attention draws to the bus stop, where a bus did finally stop.

“Sakura... Let’s get on the bus.”

“...un...”*

-----

Ryuhama’s is a rather popular teenage hangout spot in Tokyo. Almost everyday you’d run into students from high schools and junior highs gathering together here to get together and relax after a hard day at school. I’ve been going here ever since I was in elementary and its one of my favorite hangouts.

Today business seems to be going just as normal. There were at least 5 students representing one of the major high schools from around the area as they sat and conversed. There was a bunch of random things according all around the place. From the moment we unloaded from off the board and went towards the stand, some students were getting autographs from Roberto Mura, who was the star goalie for Gorin High school at a table. On the sidewalk, Darrell Markis was busy conversing with a bunch of guys from Taiyo and Pacific High, most specifically Batsu Ichimonji and Roy Bromwell, who were one of the best fighters in their respective schools. Other than that, other students didn’t really ring a bell to me...

“Sakura! Kei! Hey! Over here!”

...except that one. From a table right in front of me sat one of my close childhood friends, Hinata Wakaba, who attended Taiyo High. Over the years the two of us grew really close to one another, especially when we fought against Justice High a few years ago. As usual, she had on her koufuku*, minus her headband and gloves, her book bag right on the table next to the sundae in front of her, already half eaten. After handling the task of putting her spoon down, Hinata joyously gave me and Kei a hug, then sat back down.

“How was school?” she asks us. Kei and I both take a seat next to one another to face her and I spoke in response.

“Boring, as usual... You?”

“It was ok. Nothing out of the ordinary, really. I’m just glad that tomorrow’s Saturday. I’m supposed to go see my cousin that day.”

“Well, at least you can actually go out of the city. I’m stuck here this weekend. No plans whatsoever...”

Hinata takes another scoop of her sundae and then looks over to Kei.

“How about you? Studying, as usual?”

“Well, sort of. I was going to spend the time tutoring Sakura, if she didn’t mind.”

“Ah. Did they drag Sakura into having a tutor?”

Kei simply shakes her head. “No. Actually, Sakura chose it on her own right once the subject was brought up.”

Hinata’s eyes practically grew buggy after hearing that. “Hee?”

“No joking.”

Hinata’s brown eyes then shot over to my direction. “You can’t be the same Sakura that I know...”

I giggle in response. “I should have known you’d react like that. Well, I just thought that, well, you know, my parents would have eventually put me on one, anyway, so I said to myself, ‘hey! Might as well beat them to the punch!’ Besides, I bet no one would make a better tutor than Kei can.”

I then smile at my friend next to me, who, to my surprise, actually starts blushing. “Arigato...”*

“Don’t mention it.”

“So... are you guys going to get something to eat here or what?”

“Yeah, sure thing. Come on, Kei. I’ll treat you.”

I then rise up from the table and waited for Kei to get up as well. We once again exchange glances at one another... and I go through that feeling once again. Just what was happening to me? Every time I look at her now, that funny feeling sweeps through me. Even as I said, “I’ll treat you,” I could recall it starting to build over again. I try to shake it off and lead my friend over to the bar. As we move, I suddenly get another weird feeling... but it wasn’t the same crazy feeling I get every time I look at my best friend. This one... was a feeling... like I was being watched...

I keep that in mind as I get to the cashier, who gently smiles at me.

“What’ll be your order, ladies?” he asks.

“I’ll... have a vanilla ice cream cone,” I hear Kei say. After I take a quick glance at it, I make up my mind.

“A large strawberry shake.”

“Ok...”

The total rings up on the register and I pay it on the spot. As the worker slips away to get our orders, I try my best not to cloud my mind with all these newfound emotions. Every time I think about it, the more... my body reacts.

“So after this... straight to your home, right?” Kei asks.

I only nod, once again trying to keep my word by looking up to the side of me. It was then that I quickly grew aware of a group of people making their way towards the parlor’s direction. Their numbers were pretty big... From here I could clearly make out at least 30 people easy... At least I know why I suddenly had that bad feeling in my stomach...

“Kei...” I whisper, “Don’t look now, but I think we have some problems...”

“Huh?” she responds, looking at the same direction as I am, and quickly I hear her gasp. “Oh, no... Don’t tell me that’s...”

“Yeah... The Mizuryu...” I mutter. “It looks like the guy I beat up earlier today decided to get some playmates...”

“Well, what do we do?”

I barely heard that quote. By now, the members of the gang were practically surrounding the front of the parlor, some with weapons in their hands and ready to use them. Not good... With them in that position, there’s no way anyone could make a break for it...

“Alright, everyone front and center!” a yell from directly in front of the store, “and I mean NOW!”

A loud murmur from the students arouse over that demand as people quickly grew confused and afraid of what was going on. Only after about 5 seconds of it, another dominant yell goes through the air.

“ENOUGH! The chat stops here! Listen up! The one known as Kasugano Sakura! I know you’re here! Show yourself immediately!”

Oh, boy... Whoever this person is, it sounds like the leader of the gang... I heave a sigh and take one step forward...

“Sakura, don’t...”

I suddenly feel Kei’s hand grab my arm, stopping me from moving forward. I turn to face her to see her with a very unpleasant look on her face...

“Please... Don’t go out there. You know what’s going to happen to you if you do...”

“Not really, but I know for a fact what’ll happen if I don’t go out there. Someone’s going to get hurt and all because of me if I don’t...”

“Sakura...” Kei’s voice is much more concerned and pleading now, “I’m begging you. Earlier this morning you had your hands full with just one member. Here there has to be around 50!”

“I don’t have much of a choice, Kei!”

“Sakura! Listen to reason! You didn’t just beat up a member of the Mizuryu today. You disrespected their image! They’re going to make sure you get the repercussions for that, and it might just be worse than a threat of rape!”

“I know that! But still!”

At this moment I try to pry myself free from Kei’s caring grasps. I was so sure I knew what I had to do to stop this... However, for some reason, Kei wouldn’t let go. After a while of the both of us struggling against one another, I eventually break free, but instantly Kei wraps her arms around me, pulling me awfully close to her. Instantly I feel my cheeks blush. Kei’s do the same... It was then that I started to truly understand how much Kei cared for my well being...

“Kei...”

“Don’t go...”

“Ok, Kasugano! I’ll be lenient. You got one minute! ONE! One minute to bring your cherry blossom ass out here this instant, or else someone here’s gonna pay big for YOUR cowardness!”

As time slowly ticks away, I find myself frozen in Kei’s arms. There’s something about her now... As she looked at me, her eyes beginning to tear up, I could feel an emotion so... so foreign grow in my body. It was getting to the point where I was beginning to grow lightheaded. I knew what faced me out there... but at the same time, looking at Kei made me realize how much I meant to her... I couldn’t bring myself to go on and leave her like this... She is my best friend...

“Forty-five seconds!”

However, time was ticking by really fast. I had to make a decision... Either I stay here with Kei and someone gets hurt for me not showing up... or I go... and leave Kei like this...

At this moment I barely notice all the eyes of the customers and students staring at the two of us. All I could bring myself to see was my friend, Kei, who held on tightly to me as if I was life itself. With little thought I bring my right hand to run down once through her brown hair.

“Kei...” I whisper in a tone I never, ever used before.

“Sakura...” she responds, just as softly as I had done. I suddenly find my arms enclose around Kei’s back... Kei brings herself even closer to me...

I didn’t think anymore... I just felt my body act on auto pilot. I bring my face to come closer to hers... almost to the point that they were almost touching...

I was so close to her...

She was so close to me...

“Ten seconds, blossom bitch!! NINE! EIGHT!!”

“Just hold on a second!”

Both Kei and I blink, gasping in unison at the sudden snap of momentum in the air. Our heads peer over the crowd in front of us to see some students stand in front of the gang. From my position, I could clearly see Hinata dead center, and I think Batsu was right next to her. From there the view was abstracted, but I knew more students from the high schools were alongside them.

“Just what do you want with Sakura, anyway?” Hinata demands, her voice heavy in spirit.

“Step out of the way! This doesn’t concern the likes of you.”

“It does when you threaten my friend!” she yells back. “Now, tell me!”

”Hmph. Well, if you really must know, your little ‘friend’ made the mistake of assaulting a member of our family, and like any real family, if you mess with one of us, you mess with all of us. Trust me, it won’t be a problem if we have to go through YOU to do it, so if you value your life you’ll move your peppy ass aside!”

“Not going to happen!”

“Girl, my patience is already thin, and you’re making it really hard on yourself by ticking me off...”

“If you know what’s good for you, you’ll back off,” Batsu’s voice rings out this time, “but if you really want to fight, then come on and get your ass kicking! You might outnumber us, but there’s just no way your weapons are going to stop us!”

“Oh, is that so?”

“You better believe it!” Darrell’s voice now. I can hear him from over the crowd. “If you want to get to Sakura, you got to go through me, and trust me, when it comes to protecting someone from my school, NO ONE gets by me!”

“That’s right!” now it’s Roy from Pacific High. “Best time for you to put up or shut up!”

“Yeah! Come on! Bring it!” Shoma, the star baseball batter from Gorin High this time around.

Now there’s a huge cheer from the crowd as more and more Rival Schoolers began to stand up against the Mizuryu. As the numbers start to slowly even out, I give Kei one more look.

“Kei,” I tell her, “Please. Let me just finish this battle with these punks, then we can head to my house. Is that ok with you?”

Kei looks at me with nothing but sincerity in her eyes. “I don’t want you to get hurt, Sakura... but I also know I can’t stop you. Just please... Be careful.”

“Alright,” I nod. “I’ll be back as soon as possible. You just do me a favor and not move from here, ok?”

“Yoroshii...”

We both let go of one another but we still look at each other. As I look into her eyes, I feel overcome by that strange, strong feeling. It never left me... However, my thoughts were cut off by the gang leader’s yell.

“Ok, enough’s enough! Let’s tear this place apart!!!”

“Don’t you even THINK about it!”

The last voice was mine. With a rejuvenated spirit, I run through the crowd and pull out my sparring gloves from my skirt pockets. By the time they are snuggly on my hands, I have passed the pedestrians in Ryuhama’s, now in the street where the rest of the Rival Schoolers stood against the gang. My eyes quickly scan the horizon. Luckily there isn’t 50... but still quite a bit. More like 35 or 40. However, my eyes rest on one person in particular. He’s not as tall or built as the rest of the group, but he’s definitely intimidating in a... cool and calculating way. His eyes had a smart role to them, and his hair was sulked back fully. His height was about as big as Batsu was from Taiyo, but still there was something about him. I decided to direct my attention with him first.

“I’m Kasugano Sakura...” I say calmly, stopping a few feet in front of the gang leader. I could here Hinata and some other fighters on the “good side” of the battlefield gasp out my name as I pass them. “Now... just what do you want from me?”

The man in front of me looks at me rather sheepishly, but the other person towards his side spoke for him. “You know why we’re here, you little skank! No one tarnishes the name of the Mizuryu and gets away with it! You just made your last mistake of your young life, girl.”

So this was the person who was calling me out... He seems to be the leader’s handyman. I harden my brown eyes and get my body to tense up. I don’t respond to this guy, but my focus still remains on the leader.

“Just where do you get off commanding a dirty gang like this? You guys are known for your ruthless acts and vandalism. Your cool looks don’t fool me one bit!”

“Why you...” the other guy growls. I see I ticked him off. It’s almost as if he wants to rush me right here and now. However, before he can, the leader holds a hand out and stops him...

“...Yama...” he merely says, looking at his boss in bewilderment. The leader’s eyes just plant their focus on me... and he steps forward towards me. With each step, my pulse starts to accelerate and my adrenaline starts to build. If I can take down the leader... then the rest will follow...

“...Kasugano... is it...?” Yama opens up to me once he’s a foot away from me. I merely nod. A small smirk appears on his face at that information... then he replies, “It’s going to be a pleasure beating your ass and making you my personal slave to the Mizuryu...”

“Fat chance, you bastard...” I shoot back.

“Well then... enough chat. I’d rather keep this painfully simple... Here’s how things will work out. You see... Like the so-called big boss, Daigo Kazama, I’d like to keep things... under control... Just you and me, blossom bitch. If you win, we’ll... let this little altercation slide. We stay out of your hair, and neither of us hears from the other or get involved in the others’ affairs again. Besides... I’m a man of reason. You have your little school to attend, and I have an accomplished gang to run. However... if you lose... you become the Mizuryu’s bitch until I see fit. If anyone from your side decides to interfere, my gang will attack on sight, and if we come on top, all your asses belong to us. Understand?”

Yuck... It’s definitely people like this who I practically despise... However, if this’ll end the confrontation... I nod. “Sure. Let’s go.”

Yama slyly gives me a look, then slips into a strange fighting stance. I simply do the same right afterwards. Chants from the Mizuryu start to call out “Yama... Yama... Yama...” in an eerie tone, however, the Rival Schools give me their support. In all, that’s all I’m going to need... With a yell I shoot forward, making my first move a hook to the body. Yama merely blocks with an arm. I then follow with a few more random attacks, then back off to go defensive. If Yama was the Mizuryu’s boss, then I had to be extra careful. One simple gang member wouldn’t be anything compared to this guy.

As I suspect, Yama attacks me with some blows to my guard. Easy pickings right there... Uh-oh. Hard kick. Better hop away from that...

“KURAE!”*

Yama shoots his hand down and a wave of something shoots towards me... and strikes the ground. Almost instantly, something like a jagged icicle emerges from the ground and rockets into the sky... right where I was landing. A sharp, freezing jolt runs through my body as I get nailed by it... and it didn’t really go away for the most part until I fall to the ground on my back. What the heck was that?

“YAH!!” Yama shouts, shooting right towards me and rises his floor into the air, intending to deliver a down attack. Instinctively I roll sideways and spring to my feet, just as Yama redirects his attention to me. By this time the cold from his previous attack escapes me, but I still feel the little bit of damage done. Looks like the best defense against this guy is a good offence...

“Shunpukyaku!”

With a shout I launch myself into the air and deliver three spinning kicks while in a rainbow-like arch. Yama’s thrown off by this and eats all three, falling backwards to the ground. Lucky for him he safe falls and back to his feet. It is then that I see him duck down a bit and tuck his fist away... There’s a ki build up... Better block.

“Hyouheki!”*

Yama glides towards me and delivers a strong ice punch. I manage to block this with no problem... and smirk. His move has cooldown... Time to punish him.

“Shouoken!!”

I dash in and make sure to clobber him around 7 times before I jump up into my Dragon Punch uppercut. As Yama falls back to the ground, this time fully on his back, I start to realize just why they were called “Mizuryu”. Even if I guarded, I still felt the sting of his cold attacks...

Ok, no time to think about that, Sakura. Better concentrate. What shall I do now...? AH! Got it! As my opponent gets up to his feet, I jump up and come streaking down with both my feet out in front of me. Bad choice... Yama moves out of the way and pushes my legs aside, throwing me off balance for my landing. As I fall down on my hands and knees, I rush to recover.

BAM!

Not quick enough... My head starts to rack in pain as I face plant into the hard and unforgiving cement. Seconds later I find out that Yama had round-housed the hell out of me. I groan as I pull myself out of the ground, rubbing the back of my head with my left hand. Can’t... let that happen again...

“You’re not all that’s cracked up to be, Kasugano,” Yama taunts. “Stand up, unless you want me to end this REALLY fast.”

“Oh... get over yourself.”

I’m now up on my feet, but I try my best to watch my movements. Time to change things up... As we square off again, I this time keep in mind how he reacts. I test him with some jabs. Most he just swats away, ending with a, “You must really think I’m weak to fall for junk like that!”

Oh, if only you knew you were getting set up... I then try out something new. After the last jab is swatted away, I raise my right fist up over my head and pause. Ha! He fell for it! He puts his guard up... and I cancel my move.

“ICHIYO! HAAAAAAAAAA... TIYAH!!!!!”

Letting lose my inner ki, I drop to the floor and deliver several hard spinning kicks one after the other. Yama can’t keep up at all and eats them perfectly. With my last yell I spin up with a hard roundhouse kick to the face and before anyone in the Mizuryu notices it, their leader is belted down the street to skid to a halt on his back. My little bluff worked perfectly... Thanks for the tip, Ryu...

“Alright! Haru Ichiban!” I hear some kids cheer out from my high school. That certainly turned the tides on this fight for sure... As I look around the area, I wanted to make sure I caught the looks of each and every Mizuryu members watching the fight. They certainly don’t look so pleased... I then command myself to follow up and take advantage... but suddenly I stop. My head turns back to the Ice Cream Parlor... and I instantly seek out Kei. How’s that? She’s smiling a little bit now. It’s about time she lightened up for once. Seeing that warm look on her face certainly made me feel a lot more... relieved at heart...

Not much longer, Kei, before we can head home together...

As if right afterwards, my mind begins to wander... even in the middle of this important street fight. As if all of a sudden, my main objective shifts instantly and instead is replaced with the need to make sure Kei was alright as things wound down. Once again that warm feeling sweeps through me... this time more or less stronger than most of the other times before... Why was I acting this way...?

“SAKURA!!”

“Uh!?” I blink, shaking my head furiously. What was I just doing there? Wha...?

“Hisou....!* TRY THIS OUT, BLOSSOM BITCH!!”

Huh...? Wait...! What’s going on?! A sudden cold chill sweeps through the air... almost instantly my entire body gets hit by a wide wave of sharp ice pellets. The wave’s impact is so strong in throws my body back several yards away... and I cry out as I tumble to a stop an additional 3 feel from my landing spot.

Shimatta...!* I can’t believe I let my guard down like that... That was such a rookie mistake... I moan as my body becomes overwhelmed by the sheer coldness of the attack. It feels as if it’s numb...

“Blossom bitch...” I manage to hear as I struggle to stand up, “You’re mine...”

My head is whirling now... I can’t make out just where his voice is coming from... I’m a sitting duck like this...

“SAIKOU SAIHOUSEN....!”*

A massive build up of ki... It’s a super... and I’m going to eat it...

“AGARI! ENBUKYAKU!!”*

“Nani!?* GYAAH!”

Suddenly the huge power jump finished... and I slowly realize that someone broke it up. As I roll to my side, wrapping my body with my arms, I can see a pair of white sneakers with blue and yellow streaks, socks, and a blue skirt land from an attack, flames just now dying down. I then see Yama’s body fall to the ground from whatever just happened... and I gasp.

“Hin... Hinata...”

“Sakura, there’s just no way I’m letting you fall prey to this guy while you’re down, and an even bigger fat chance that I’m going to let you be his servant girl. Even if I had to butt in... I’m not going to let it happen.”

“You shouldn’t have...” By this time I’m slowly getting the feeling back into my body and take my time getting up... just like Yama is doing... I know I sounded a bit like an ingrate, but I guess I wasn’t in any position to complain. As I get up fully to my feet, Yama sits up rather abruptly. His eyes are no longer sly, but much more... agitated...

“Ok, I gave you the rules, and your friend chose to break them... You leave me no choice...”

On instinct, both Hinata and my eyes grow wide. Uh-oh... Things just went from bad...

“Mizuryu!! Attack... and show them what happens when you cross us... and don’t you dare for a second hold back!!!”

...to worse...

----

That’s the end of this chapter. Now, I’d like to show you the Japanese terms used in this chapter. Keep in mind my Japanese isn’t really as strong as it should, so if something is in the wrong tense, let me know. I’m willing to learn.

“Ossharutooridesu, kyouyu.” : In Japanese, this (roughly) translates to “I agree (with you), teacher.” As you can see, Sakura was being pretty formal when she said this.

“Yoroshii.” : Japanese form of saying “Ok.”

“...un...” : A simple term for saying “Yeah.”

“Hee?” : Where as “Hai” is simply saying something along the lines of, “Yes,” this term is using it for a question. It can also mean “Really?” like Hinata uses it.

“Arigato.” : The Japanese version of saying “Thank You.” or “Thanks.”

“Hisou...” : Japanese term for the word, “Pathetic.”

“Shimatta.” : Japanese term for the phrase, “Damn it!”

“Agari!” : Japanese term for the phrase, “Stop!”

“Nani!” : Typical Japanese way of saying “What?”

Koufuku: A school uniform.

Mr. Fuji: A rather obvious inside joke. The name for the math teacher was taken from the famous mountain in Japan, Mt. Fuji. It’s also a coincidence that Mr. Fuji is a bit taller than the average Japanese man.

Ryuhama’s Ice Cream Parlor: Ryuhama’s is the name of the hang out that I always seemed to use in my stories ever since New Archives 1. Its purpose was always to be THE hangout for Tokyo high schoolers. Looks like it’s doing fairly well business wise... (lol)

Enbukyaku: Hinata’s flaming spin kick. Translation is, “Judo Kick” (there are other interpretations to the word, but this one makes more sense)

Shunpukyaku: Sakura’s spinning kick. Translation is, “Spring Wind Kick”

Shouoken: Sakura’s rushing dragon punch attack. Translation is, “Cherry Blossom Fist”

Haru Ichiban: Sakura’s sweep kick burning vigor attack. Translation is, “First Storm of Spring.”

Doraiaisu: One of Yama’s specials where he summons an ice projectile from a spot on the field and shoots it upwards. Word translates to “Dry Ice”

Hyouheki: One of Yama’s special techniques where he rushed towards his opponent with an outstretched ice punch. Word translates to “Ice Ridge”

Hatsugoori: Yama’s premier burning vigor attack (super attack) which summons an upward wave of ice energy in a tidal wave like spew. Word translates to “The First Ice of Winter.” This name is also a bit of an inside joke, to counteract Sakura’s Haru Ichiban name, which translates to “The First Storm of Spring.” On an even lighter note, one of Darrell’s super attacks Manastu Noatsusa “The Heat of High Summer” also is a light parody of Sakura’s name style.

Saikou Saihousen: The second of Yama’s burning vigor attacks. Although he didn’t perform it in this chapter, the Saihousen has Yama pound a fist into the ground and emit a massive eruption of ice from the ground. Translation is “Surpreme Ice Breaker.”

Now that that's taken care of, I'll leave the next chapter to Trutenor, once again through Kei's eyes. I'll be seeing you guys in chapter 4. Laters!

De
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