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Thread: Fists of Nations

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    Senior Member Mandred Skavenslayer's Avatar
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    Default Fists of Nations

    Fist of Nations



    Han-xing with his arm linked with Ling, walked into the French restaurant. On his other side was Huo, a man he called Si-Xiong (martial brother) but was as close to him as any blood sibling. An immaculately dressed waiter greeted the trio with impeccable manners and lead them to their usual table. When the patrons were comfortably seated the waiter handed each of them a menu, then bowed and left to give them time to decide their orders. Hou placed the menu down without looking inside, knowing that the foreign language would be indecipherable to him. Han-xing did likewise, trusting in his wife’s taste.

    The waiter returned a few minutes later and Ling placed their orders in flawless French. The three of them were half way through their starters when they heard a gruff voice from the restaurant’s entrance. The words were spoken in Chinese and pitched loud enough for the entire restaurant to hear:

    “I thought Chinese dogs weren’t allowed here”

    Han-xing turned to see three people at the restaurant's entrance. They were two men and one woman of oriental ethnicity. Han-xing’s eyebrow rose in surprise as he recognized them. The younger of the two men was in his late twenties and was called Yusuaki. Dressed in a tailor made European suit, he cut a handsome if slight figure and his golden frame spectacles lent him an air of sophistication. Linked to his right arm was Mitsuko his wife. The same age as her husband she gave off a similar air of youthful elegance.

    Standing to the couple’s left was the man who had made the rude comment. Dressed in a traditional kimono he was in his late thirties with a balding scalp. Hostile eyes glared at the three Chinese diners and Han-xing’s eyes hardened as he met Hideo’s stare. A nervous waiter was whispering to Hideo, desperately trying to diffuse the situation but Hideo was having none of it and continued with his racial slurs in his overly loud voice. Han-xing called a waiter over and asked for the bill before rising with his companions. The waiter hurriedly asked if anything was wrong with the service, not wishing to lose a regular customer:

    “The service was adequate, but the stench of Japanese pigs has ruined our appetite.” answered Han-xing, making sure he spoke loud enough for the Japanese to hear.

    A roar of incoherent rage erupted from Hideo and grabbing a heavy wooden chair he hurled it at the Chinese. Han-xing quickly stepped in front of Ling determined to shield her, but Hou was even quicker and stepped in front of the couple. Plucking the chair from the air, he pivoted on the balls of his feet, spinning a full circle before planting the chair leg first on the floor. With a sharp front kick Hou sent the chair back to Hideo. Sinking into a front stance, Hideo’s right fist shot out and shattered the chair.

    “What the hell’s going on.” came a loud voice from within the restaurant.

    Han-xing turned and pasted a fake smile on his face as a burly Scotsman come stalking towards them:

    “Commissioner Anderson, what a pleasant surprise. Just a little accident with the furniture, no need to be alarmed.” Han-xing said.

    Anderson’s face showed that he was not convinced, but he knew enough about Asian etiquette to not openly contradict the influential Chinaman. Instead the head of Shanghai's police force nodded and went back to his table, taking care to not take his eyes off the orientals. Han-xing and his companions walked slowly out of the restaurant, heads held high and completely ignoring the Japanese.

    ####

    Han-xing smiled as he squared off against his opponent. Taking a right front stance, hands open but slightly curved, with his knees bent and elbows tucked in he inched forward. The man opposite him mirrored his stance and also advanced. Han-xing judged the distance as they moved closer together, patiently edging within striking range. Suddenly his opponent lunged, stiffened fingers flickering out. Barely had one strike been delivered then another was launched, the man’s right hand flashing out and retracting with incredible speed. Every attack came from a different angle, keeping Han-xing on his toes.

    Retreating quickly, Han-xing kept his lower body balanced while his torso and neck swerved away from the lightning fast fingers. After backing away half a dozen steps Han-xing went on the offensive with a flurry of right and left jabs. His opponent darted left and right, his foot-work confusingly evasive. Han-xing mixed in hooks with his jabs, trying to box in his opponent. His opponent dropped low, sending a leg sweeping out. Han-xing jumped backwards, evading the sweep and following side kick at the same time.

    His opponent got to his feet the same time Han-xing landed and the two of them charged each other. Punches, jabs and kicks were exchanged at breakneck speed, some landed while others were blocked or evaded. Such intense combat could not be sustained for long, no matter how strong the combatants and the two of them separated, their faces covered by sheens of sweat. For a moment the circled each other, the fighting mindset showing in their posture. Then Han-xing’s shoulders dropped and a playful smile touched his lips:

    “Feeling better?” he asked.

    Hou let his guard down and smiled back:

    “A little. But I still think we should have decked them.”

    “That was Ling’s favourite restaurant. I didn’t want to get her banned from it.”

    Hou shrugged his shoulders and beckoned for a pair of waiting servants. One of them held a pair of clean towels and the other a tray of cups filled with cool tea. As Han-xing dried himself he glanced at Hou. Had it really been two decades since he had first met the man? Han-xing had been five when his uncle had enrolled him at Chin Woo Men. He had been placed in the care of Hou and had spent the next three years fearing and hating him in equal measure. Hou was a harsh taskmaster, waking the young Han-xing before dawn and not allowing him to rest until well after sunset.

    To Han-xing the unending training was a torture, pushing his young body to breaking point, yet no matter how hard he worked, no matter how perfectly he executed every technique, it was never good enough for Hou. Although only a teenager himself, Hou lorded over his young protege like a white beard elder, demeaning and mocking him at every turn. Every night Han-xing had gone to bed dreaming of sweet revenge. However, this all changed when Han-xing was eight. Three boys from a rival school had ambushed him, determined to give the ‘rich boy’ a thrashing.

    Han-xing had managed to break the nose of one and was gamely fighting the other two, his lithe body moving like a little whirlwind. So intent was he on the immediate battle, that he failed to notice the boy whom he had blooded sneaking up behind him with a knife. As the boy drew back his arm in preparation to plunge the blade into Han-xing’s back, the side of his head exploded in pain. He had a second to register the pain before he crumbled to the ground, knocked out cold by Hou’s kick. Next Hou turned his attention to Han-xing’s other attackers and dispatched them in the same manner.

    From that day on, their relationship had thawed greatly. Hou still pushed Han-xing as hard as ever, but he had stopped mocking the boy and even started to encourage him a little. Han-xing for his part, gradually stopped fantasising about vengeance and instead started to pay attention to the lessons Hou imparted. As Han-xing’s skills improved he was placed under the tutelage of more senior members of the school but continued to stay close to Hou. Over the last twenty years Hou had risen through the ranks of the school becoming one of the youngest, yet most respected Sifus (martial teacher).

    His achievements however had come at a cost, as worry-lines marked his forehead and grey had started to seep into his temples. Hou caught Han-xing looking at him and smiled back:

    “By the way, your uncle sent you a servant to say there is a game tonight.” said Hou.

    Han-xing’s face lit up at the prospect of playing cards:

    “Are you coming as well?” asked Han-xing, his smile taking on an impish gleam.

    Hou sighed knowing he could never refuse his friend anything.
    Chapter 2



    Riku looked up as Yusuaki and Hideo entered the room. Both of them bowed to the elder and Riku returned a nod before asking them to take a seat. As the brothers sat Riku noticed the angry expression on Hideo’s face and enquired if anything was wrong. Yusuaki told his father-in-law of what had occurred at the restaurant and as he spoke Hideo’s face got even angrier, as he recalled Han-xing’s insult. Riku shared in Hideo’s indignation but he was more impressed by Yusuaki control. The younger of the brothers, had recounted the incident without emotion or embellishment, merely presenting the facts as they were.

    Although his face remained impassive, inwardly he practically glowed with pride. The young man would make a worthy successor. As Yusuaki finished Riku spoke:

    “We will settle with those ‘sick men’ soon. However we have more important matters to discuss.”

    Riku dropped his voice to a whisper and the brothers leaned in close to hear him. The younger men listened in silence and when he finished imparting his secret, Riku informed them that there would be a meeting of the Orochi that night. The brothers nodded then got up and left to make their preparations.

    ####

    Han-xing looked around the table. Apart from himself and his uncle everyone else was wearing the traditional changshan. Hou sat next to Han-xing, trying very hard to keep not to twitch his left eyebrow, knowing that would give away the fact he had a good hand. Sitting direct opposite them was Han-xing’s uncle Tian-qin. Wearing a dull if well made European suit he was the picture of a elder statement.



  2. #2
    Senior Member Mandred Skavenslayer's Avatar
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    Hi All

    Having trouble editing post. Sorry for the above

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