“Shadow Flash” – A Gang Smasher Prologue
"SHADOW FLASH – A GANG SMASHER PROLOGUE"
By Satoshi Takagi
TOKYO, JAPAN, FIVE YEARS AGO
The office was devoid of light, save for the early morning sun that peeked its way through the blinds. The figure didn't care about the lack of illumination; he shuffled the papers in a manila dossier and opened it, his first sight being a photo of a young African-American man. The figure spotted a hint of pain and confusion in the young man's eye from the photo, which clued him in to a hint of past tragedy that he hasn't let go of.
The dossier arrived in the academy's mailbox first class, and the man made sure he checked it, as was the policy with new arrivals to school. The young man was lucky his paperwork got there at the end of the weekend or else he'd have to wait another week for his info to be logged into the academy's system.
As the man kept reading, his eyes filed down to the required written essay for new entrants. His words were simplistic, as the young man dictated his paper as if he was sitting right next to the reader, talking casually and respectfully.
"My name is Edward Lewis-Okamura. I'm half African-American, half Japanese, hence my name. I don't have much of a tale to recant, but I guess it began, really, when my parents were murdered; I moved to Indigo City to live with my uncle, Robert Williams. Ever since then, I've lived a life that's usually found in an anime character's backstory; I grew up learning martial arts, and I was considered to have an impressive pedigree, as my skills developed quickly. My uncle, a martial arts instructor, put me through my paces, but I emerged as quite an adept. To cut to the chase and save you time, I am humbled to be accepted into Aohura Academy as a member of your Mixed Martial Arts team. I will try to represent my country in the best way possible, all the while blending in with the other students."
- Edward Lewis-Okamura
The man chuckled at Edward's final statement as he shuffled the papers to file them in order. "Interesting kid. Well, I wish you the best of luck, Edward Lewis." He turned to open the blinds, allowing the sunlight to fully spill into the room. The balding man, the Student Advisor of Aohura Academy who wore a yellow buttoned shirt and black slacks, turned back to look at Edward's dossier. "The real truth is, no one really fits in here. This school is a melting pot for some of Japan's strongest." The Advisor sat in his chair and pulled out another paper from Edward's dossier; it was a sheet detailing the basic information on the young man.
Name: Edward Lewis-Okamura
Birthday: June 27th, 1989
Transfer GPA: 4.0
Birthplace: Metro China, USA
Hobbies: Training, Reading Manga
Hates: Betrayal, Discrimination
Fighting Style: Mixed Martial Arts rooted in Chinese Wushu and Shaolin Kung-fu; Variable arts
"Variable arts… Alright, Edward; let's see how you do on your first day."
A digital alarm clock buzzed loud and sharply right next to a futon with a mound of flesh covered by a blanket. Twisted serpents of hair climbed free of the blanket as the lump moved uneasily, fighting to break free of its sleep cycle. A dark-skinned hand snapped out of the sheet and pressed the "Off" button on top of the alarm after a few long moments of blind groping.
The form raised to reveal more of the dark-skinned, shirtless male who sported dreadlocks and a face drooped from the sudden sleep-breaking jolt. A deep yawn spilled from his mouth, followed by his stretches and joints popping as the young man regained control of his body. Eddie Lewis had just touched down in Japan a few days prior and his body hadn't gotten a chance to adjust to the time change. That, coupled with jet lag, left him completely wiped.
Nevertheless, Eddie willed himself to get up, his eyes 90% still closed, and walk into the bathroom, which luckily was in the same room. He figured that the shower would be good enough to kick-start his system. The hot water hit his body and immediately alerted him of intense heat, well beyond his threshold of tolerance; Eddie let loose a sharp yelp.
When the shower was done, he slid open the bathroom door, the steam billowing out in a thick smokescreen effect. Eddie emerged with a towel wrapped around his waist. His dreads hung heavily on his shoulders and a thought of consideration to shake out the water like a dog shot through his mind. In the end, he decided against it, figuring he'll let it air-dry, and walked over to the closet, sliding its door open to reveal a Gakuran, a school uniform for boys in Japan.
Eddie wasted no time in getting dressed, as he figured the supposed taskmasters at his new school valued punctuality as a part of one's character. Once he was fully clothed, he took a quick look at himself in a body-length mirror propped up against the wall next to the closet and gave a small smirk. Eddie often imagined how he'd look wearing one of these, ever since he started reading manga that usually depicted young teens his age going up against insurmountable odds while wearing these uniforms. He actually thought those kind of stories were pretty cool.
On the dresser to the left side of his futon, Eddie reached for a large rubber band that was utilized to tie his unruly dreads into a ponytail, leaving two lines of hair on each side of his face to serve as bangs for a small denotation of personal coolness. Snatching up his combo briefcase/backpack, Eddie slung it over his shoulder while using three fingers to hold the handle and made a beeline for the door.
The sun over Tokyo assaulted his face right as Eddie opened the door, followed by a sharp and cool breeze that caused him to let loose an audible "brrr!" sound. Traffic was plentiful, and his eyes danced down from the second floor to the parking lot of his apartment building. Eddie felt lucky that his uncle got him a nice room, as well as a mode of transportation, which was what his eyes locked onto: a red Yamaha V-Max Motorcycle.
He about-faced to walk down the steps when the sight of a dream clad in a Fuku, or Sailor, uniform for girls holding a bowl of steamed rice with pieces of fish placed within the clumped up mounds of hot goodness. The young woman herself was beautiful, choosing a bit of a funky Harajuku look for her fashion style as her hair was tied in pigtails and colored a lighter, vibrant violet. Ayuhara Sayuri was cool to hang out with, as he spent his time awake with her.
Sayuri looked surprised that Eddie was out this early; she thought that they had enough time to eat breakfast. "Eddie-kun, I didn't know you planned to leave so early!"
"Oh, just wanted to get there, Y'know, just in case they got anything important going for a transfer student," he responded in Japanese. While some people spoke English in Tokyo, Eddie figured he'd might as well get used to using the language. He was quite fluent in it, to be honest.
Sayuri handed Eddie the bowl of rice. "Here's breakfast. You need all your energy to get through your first day at Aohura Academy!" Her bubbly attitude served to make Eddie smile ever since he first met her, and he enjoyed that a woman could make him feel positive. He needed this, ever since coming to live with Uncle Willy all those years ago…and his parents' deaths. Yet, people say that one shouldn't harbor pain in their hearts, so Eddie figured that time away from Indigo City would be what he needed to get over things.
He wondered what Brad was doing back home, finding himself drifting on a memory before the finger snaps of Sayuri brought him back to reality. "Earth to Eddie! You there?"
"Oh! Yeah, yeah, I'm here." Eddie was a bit embarrassed at being caught daydreaming like that. Sayuri brought the rice bowl closer, seeing as Eddie didn't take it at first, and pressed it against his chest.
Reaching into her pocket, she withdrew a pair of chopsticks and stuffed it into the mounds of rice; Eddie took the chopsticks in hand and said, "I guess we got a little bit of time. You still riding with me?"
"Of course!" Sayuri sounded excited that she'd be catching a ride with Eddie. Honestly, she was, as she'd never been on a motorcycle, and it beat taking the bus to barely reach class on time. She ran inside her apartment and reemerged with her own rice bowl, this one holding pieces of shrimp inside of the steamed white mounds. They ate, watching the morning traffic come from and go deeper into Tokyo. Their apartment building was in Shinjuku, and they had a 34 minute drive into the Kawasaki district to reach the school.
"I got a question to ask you," Eddie said after swallowing more rice and fish.
"And I've got an answer," Sayuri responded, looking at Eddie while waiting for his question.
"This school isn't normal, is it? They were asking about my fighting style…I mean, yeah, I'm here to join their MMA Team, but shouldn't that be something entirely different?"
"This is my first year here as well, but I've been getting weird feelings about the place. Several people who I've seen in martial arts magazines, guys I've spotted in street fights, even amateur boxers – they all go to Aohura Academy." Sayuri was one of the few students who had no discernable fighting aptitude, and she had the opportunity to bear witness to several brawls that broke out between students of Aohura Academy. "It feels like some hidden Martial Court and you're lucky if you get admittance to see two members settle a dispute."
Eddie knew she wasn't lying, as her voice dropped from its perky tone to one that was serious. It was almost like she was afraid of what could happen or IS happening at the school. He himself suddenly felt uneasy. "Out from one situation and into a new one," Eddie thought as he finished his food.
"We should get going, Eddie-kun," Sayuri said as she took his empty bowl. Walking back inside of her apartment, she placed the bowls in the sink, click off all of her lights, and locked her door. She and Eddie trekked to the parking lot and straddled his motorcycle; he revved the throttle, hearing the bike's roar and trembling in delight as the engine came to life. Eddie slid on a pair of riding goggles and the two were off, Sayuri holding his waist tightly as he followed the mental directions logged from a day's ride prior. Her hair billowed in the wind as they disappeared into traffic.
Aohura Academy, Kawasaki District
Eddie stopped the motorcycle in front of the school and got a good look at his new academy. It was a prestigious place, bearing a three-story building in the middle of a large complex, one big enough to cover nearly two city blocks. Sayuri knew it all too well but Eddie was completely surprised.
"So this is Aohura Academy, huh?" He felt even more uneasy than before but quickly swallowed it. "You're right; it does feel weird here."
"It's a private institution – you need deep pockets or something special about yourself in order to get in," Sayuri commented. "I suppose that's what makes it interesting."
"How did you get in?" Eddie questioned.
"I won a scholarship, got a free ride," Sayuri answered, her bubbly nature returning expediently. "My apartment's all paid for, as well as a monthly allowance for food."
Eddie sighed. "I might need to find a job somewhere." He drove the bike into the school grounds, searching for the parking area designated for students. As the two rode in, all eyes were on them, chatting and whispering about the Tenkosei, or transfer student, that Sayuri was riding with. "They probably think we're dating."
"Oh, whatever made them think that?"
Within the School Grounds
Sayuri blended into her crowd of friends, preparing for the inevitable maelstrom of questions about the boy who gave her a ride to school. She pointed Eddie to the Faculty's Office to check in, and he walked, trying his best to avoid eye contact unless absolutely necessary. He walked past a room used for Weightlifting, where several tough, delinquent-looking students were holding a sort of meeting. Eddie looked in briefly and immediately continued his trek to the office.
"It's a great day in this long standing history of our school's Martial Court," began Mibu Shizuko, who slid his school jacket over his rippling muscles. He ran a hand through his short, dark spiky hair, and placed on a pair of motorcycle gloves. The students who stood around him were his entourage, Bo, Rai, Kue, and Hyo. All were brawlers and members of Shizuko's motorcycle gang, the "Masked Riders". "I, Mibu Shizuko, the 'Boss Biker', celebrate you all as loyal fellows of the Masked Riders. While we're powerful on our own, we need to recruit one more fighter to help us take on our rivals, the Golden Gloves gang. The future of the Masked Riders rests on our decision, so pick well."
The boss waved his hand and the Riders filed out of the weightlifting room with no plans to attend class that day. Supremacy of the Martial Court was all that mattered to these boys…that and their motorcycles.
Second Floor Hallway
Eddie managed to get his required information for his classes and walked down the now-quiet hallway. He didn't see the impending obstacle ahead of him as he trekked to the staircase leading to the third floor and found his momentum suddenly stopped as he bumped into a student's leg, which barred the way.
Eddie looked up to see several students who all wore their jackets open and wrapped their hands with white taping. A quick observation helped Eddie to discern that these boys were fighters, and boxers, judging from the muscle structure of their forearms.
"Five minutes into my new school…" He thought as the boys stood to confront the unfamiliar transfer.
"Wanna get to the third floor," the boy who tried conducting himself like a thug began, "You gotta pay a toll, foreigner!"
"How about no?" Eddie curtly responded as he tried to advance; he was violently shoved back by one of the teens, who began cracking their knuckles. "I warn you again: let me pass and go on about your business."
"This is our business, foreigner!" Another one of the boys stepped up, this one looking a bit burlier than his comrades. Unfortunately for them, Eddie was reverting into his combat mode.
"So be it," Eddie said before a quick beat saw him contorting into a 540' kick, instantly smacking the burly thug across the face. As soon as his guiding foot touched the floor, Eddie brought his other leg up in a swinging kick, landing it into one of his opponent's sternum, knocking all of the breath from his body.
A powerful gust of wind blew past Eddie's ear as he narrowly dodged a straight jab that was meant for his nose; Eddie snapped his leg up to kick the puncher's hand away as well as drive his foot into the teen's cheek. The boxer reeled to the opposite side of the cheek that was kicked, and Eddie planted his sneakered foot into his opponent's gut to give him an unceremonious seat on the steps.
Eddie rolled his eyes as the groaning boys tried to stand up but couldn't; he applied just enough physical force to his attacks to make sure they'd be feeling it for the rest of the day. "Who knows? Maybe they got some Hall Monitor that'll take them to detention," he mused as he jogged up the steps. As soon as his foot touched the third floor, the sound of angry Japanese chased after his back, followed by the hurried huffs of more wannabe fighters.
He backed up and placed his backpack by the door of the classroom he was assigned to. Eddie now knew that a fight was inevitable – these types of punks didn't understand warning shots. Only a full-body cast would get the point across.
And as the foreigner corrected his posture and retightened his hair, more punks reached the third floor, half angered, half seething with anticipation for a good brawl. Eddie did not see it that way; this was a brawl, but his challengers wouldn't find things enjoyable.
One of the new opponents, whose muscles rippled through his school uniform, approached rapidly but looked as if he'd stumble over his gait at any moment. All Eddie had to do was await his chance…
…And it came as the hulking student swung heavily at his target, who instantly reciprocated by spinning in mid-air to dodge, striking his chin in the process. Two more of the heavy guy's entourage charged in, expecting to catch Eddie during his temporary dropped guard. Once Eddie's feet touched the floor, he went into a jumping double kick that managed to catch both boys in the side of their cheeks.
After planting his foot into another wannabe bully, Eddie jumped and grappled a punk from behind his head and brought him down hard into the floor. More violence ensued as the foreigner single-handedly introduced shame to his gang of upstarts. They were sprawled all over the hallway floor, groaning and struggling to regain their footing to continue the fight.
"Stay down." Eddie said in Japanese as he walked back over to his backpack. He noticed that each class on the floor became an impromptu audience as they eyed the transfer student with curiosity and surprise. Eddie reached for his bag and some students drew back in caution; he figured he should sit somewhere until everyone's adrenaline had a chance to bog itself down.
Luckily, the roof's access wasn't far, just at the end of the hallway. Silently, Eddie avoided eye contact and began his walk.
Kazuma Junpei loved boxing. He loved everything about it: the sport, the training, the dedication, the focus…yet, some of his peers felt that boxing interfered with his social and school life. Junpei lobbied each semester for the school to implement a Boxing team, but with the presence of the MMA Team, the Faculty saw no point to add another martial sport to its curriculum.
This irritated Junpei greatly every time he thought about it, and found himself beating down members of the MMA team in "sparring" sessions during their practice time. They quickly learned why Junpei was referred to as the "Shadow Flash".
A mention of the new transfer who came to join the MMA team made Junpei suddenly dislike his class at that time; without a word he excused himself from his seat and made his way to the rooftop. "A nap will calm me down. It always does." Junpei spoke to no one as he opened the rooftop access door, a sharp burst of sunlight making him squint. He found a spot of shade, sprawled himself out, and went to sleep.
Nearly half an hour later, he was awakened to the sound of the rooftop opening roughly, followed by an exasperated sigh. A voice came afterwards, but it wasn't any one that he'd recognized; Junpei creaked his eyes open and lurched upwards to investigate.
Eddie propped himself on the wall of the roof access and smacked a balled fist against it. "Not the way I wanted to spend my first day at school. Goddamn it," he huffed. He had no idea how long he'd stay on the roof – guys like that were known for holding massive grudges.
Eddie couldn't see Junpei from his chosen spot; the boxer made his presence known as he tapped his foot loudly. He stepped into Eddie's line of sight, and the transfer student let loose another rough sigh, balling his fists in defense
"Hmm. You're a fighter. Not just any run-of-the-mill scrapper; you're damn good," Junpei said in English. His accent was evident but he spoke the language fluently.
"How could you tell?"
"Your steps are calculated to conserve energy, you ball your fists but you don't crack your knuckles like every other mouth-breathing thug here." Junpei had run-ins with the wannabe brawlers, and Eddie could tell that he was itching for a real challenge.
Eddie's persona changed – he wasn't a student defending himself anymore; he was of the Williams Dojo in Indigo City, a pugilist challenging another. "And you're a boxer. Not expected, but not unheard of either." Eddie assumed a fighting stance, filled with glee and confidence.
"Lookin' to play, huh? All right; I need a bit of a workout after that nap."
Their blows came out almost instantly, canceling each other out as their fists smashed against one another. Junpei drew back and delivered a swift jab that knocked Eddie into a stumble. The latter was forced to rub his now-red cheek.
"Wow-ee! Okay, you're not playin' around!" Eddie worked out kinks in his neck and whirled his muscles around in his shoulders. He needed to gauge how hard Junpei could hit.
"Before we really get started, what's your name?"
"Eddie. Eddie Lewis Okamura."
"Okamura? You don't look Japanese," Junpei stated, which was understandable, given that Eddie had more traits of a black man than of his maternal heritage.
"My mom's Japanese. It's a long story. And you?" Eddie slightly pointed as further prompting for Junpei to give his name.
"Kazuma Junpei. They call me the Shadow Flash in the boxing circles. But I never fought someone who uses MMA."
"Theoretically, it's MMA. I was taught to use what works." The principle of "Variable Arts" led Eddie to develop his own fighting discipline that incorporated elements of Chinese Martial arts and Kickboxing. While filling out his application to the school, he explained his style in simple words. "Now if they gave you a nickname, you must be a great fighter."
Junpei smirked. He liked this new guy, but he was determined to give him a beating and show his dislike for the MMA team. "You saw how fast I hit you."
Eddie had a tendency to be cocky when facing an opponent that would push him to his limits. He was in pure ecstasy. "Give me your best shot – all of them." Eddie put on his guard and slightly exposed his sternum; knowing what boxers targeted, he knew Junpei would attempt to send his stomach to the nearest cast iron lung. "Let me see how hard you really hit."
Junpei's fists came out like blurry thunderbolts and Eddie matched their speed, blocking the ones aimed for his face and taking in the jabs targeted for his chest. Eddie revealed his face and shook his head in slight disapproval. Junpei didn't take the bait; he kicked things up a notch by driving more force into his punches, forcing Eddie back inch by inch until he was a stone's throw from the roof access door.
Eddie backed out of his reach and extended his arms. "Whoa, whoa! Good!" He rubbed his hands and reached into his left bottom pocket, producing a pair of black and red fighting gloves that covered up until half of his forearms.
Junpei observed and knew what his opponent did. "That cheeky dick waffle! He got me to throw some of my best punches. Gauging my PSI to know if he needs to go all out. I might be underestimating this foreigner." He didn't have access to his boxing gloves; as an alternative, he wrapped his fists in taping that he always kept with him. You never know when you might get into a fist-fight.
"I've come a long way for some better fights, so I don't want a short game. Show me why they call you the 'Shadow Flash'." What happened next astounded Junpei as Eddie began to move to his own rhythm instead of trying to match his own, a common mistake of amateur boxers. Junpei smiled as he saw that Eddie was as fluid as the Little Dragon himself, Bruce Lee.
The divine lights were blazing in front of them. They were in their own little dimension.
The beasts within them orders them to wake up or die!
They concentrate on the moments of outbursts…
To them, nothing else mattered except winning or losing.
They've stepped into the world of street fighting; there's no escape!
ROUND ONE: FIGHT!
Eddie immediately went for an uppercut aimed for Junpei's chin, but the boxer swayed back and delivered blurry jabs to Eddie's side and legs, stopping him in his tracks. He immediately followed suit with a punch combo that drove blows into the foreigner's sternum and face, knocking him back a couple of feet. Eddie countered with a parry that ceased the combo, and he continued his assault with a back-handed blow and a barrage of strikes into Junpei's chest, following with a jumping knee that struck the boxer's face.
Eddie began pelting him with powerful and fast kicks, and Junpei had to work overtime to dodge whichever ones he could. One kick managed to stagger Junpei and the two backed off each other; Eddie shifted his feet, resetting his gait, and Junpei took the cue to do the same. The two traded punches, the foreigner seemingly matching the boxer's speed with little to no effort. One would think he'd be frustrated, but Junpei was having the time of his life, even when Eddie struck him with a spinning back kick that scored him the first knock down of the fight.
Junpei fell, but caught himself, swooped his torso up, and delivered a devastating right hook that initially resembled a shadow. Eddie spun around once and collapsed to his knees, coughing and snorting.
"Alright, you got me there!"
They met once more, trading lick for lick, feeling each other out. Eddie could tell that Junpei was getting faster, as his punches were missing his face by mere milliseconds. Eddie responded by countering each punch with one of his own, tagging him in the gut and chest each time. When one struck the other, it staggered them; Eddie and Junpei landed a powerful blow, and it blew each other back from their opponent.
Eddie shook his head, but Junpei was already on him, and he smacked him with another of his shadowed punches. This knocked Eddie clear on his ass and left him bug-eyed and panting. "Good hit…but not enough power. You're trying too hard to put my lights out!"
Junpei charged against, and Eddie regained his footing through way of a Capoeira technique that resembled a flip into a handstand. This doubled as an attack as Junpei was struck but he didn't allow this to break his stride. Eddie continued with a sweep kick, a roundhouse kick, and a heel kick; Junpei dodged the first two and was forced to block the third, as it was fast enough to break something if it connected. Eddie took advantage of Junpei's temporary pause and landed a drop-kick that knocked the air from his diaphragm.
The fighters were left at a pause and they took the opportunity to regain their breaths. Eddie wiped beads of sweat from his brow, and Junpei smacked his face to shock his system into action.
"Come on!" Junpei beckoned. Eddie came and was caught right in the boxer's trap; he struck Eddie in the sternum hard, knocking more air from his body, and threw another shadow punch. Eddie reared to block, but the punch disappeared, and the foreigner realized too late that Junpei was below Eddie's guard, shoving his fist up into his chin. His opponent's guard was completely decimated, and Junpei saw a perfect opportunity to gain momentum for his finishing blow.
Junpei lowered his stance and central balance and began to aggressively weave his body into a pattern similar to the shape of a figure eight. Eddie found it increasingly difficult to track where the punch was coming from, as Junpei resembled a shadow the more he moved. With a mighty cry, he uttered, "SHADOW FLASH BARRAGE!!!" before firing a series of rapidly executed punches. A flurry of hooks were thrown with Junpei's full weight behind them, and the assault ended with Junpei stopping suddenly, and then throwing all of his weight into a new shadow punch.
Eddie had never been hit so hard and with such speed in his life. All he could see was the blurred sky as his back met with the rooftop's ground. "I…I lost." Eddie spoke before he fell unconscious.
Junpei sat next to Eddie and suddenly coughed, spitting out blood and removing a loose tooth. He looked at the foreigner who was out cold and chuckled. "If I hadn't used my Shadow Flash Barrage," he said before he fell back, "you would've kicked my ass. Boy, wait until the Martial Court gets a load of you…" Junpei too passed out, knowing that he'll spend a week in an ice bath after this bout.