The grassy field where Ryu and Sakura trained together was now a contrast to what it represented before. Instead of tranquility and beauty, the grassy field was nothing more than a place of death. Parts of the grass were destroyed and replaced with craters. The ground was filled with blood and dust. Even the trees were not spared from the battle thus far. Some of the trees were split in two, while others paid the ultimate price and were destroyed completely. A better analogy for this grassy field would be a desert, for thats what it resembled now. But despite the gruesome look of the homemade fighting arena, it would not hinder the long awaited fight between Ryu and Akuma.
Ryu stood across from Akuma, mentally preparing himself for one of the biggest fights of his life. While Akuma had a smirk on his face, Ryu's face had no emotion at all. Instead of his eyes usually being filled with excitement and serenity during a fight, they were icy and merciless.
No words were exchanged, for none were needed. Both warriors knew what the other was thinking. Only one could be the supreme master of the fists. And this battle would prove who would walk away with the infamous title, and who would crawl away with broken ribs. But titles never meant anything to Ryu. And this fight simply wasn't about the fight. It was about vengeance...
After brief moments of silence, Ryu charged at Akuma with everything he had. Never before has Ryu fought so offensively. He was more of a defense fighter. But that seemed to have been thrown out the window when Akuma critically injured the woman that he loved.
Ryu managed to successfully deliver a gut punch that made Akuma clutch his stomach in pain. While Akuma was stunned, Ryu delivered a jumping roundhouse kick that sent Akuma's body flying into a nearby tree. Unfortunately, the tree was demolished upon impact.
As Akuma started to get up, Ryu delivered a left hook towards Akuma's jaw. However, Akuma blocked the attack, as well as the follow up punch aimed towards his abdomen. Akuma decided to go offensive now. And he started things with an overhead chop that was blocked by Ryu's fist.
"You have improved since the last time we fought...but it still will not be enough to defeat me..."
"Eager to die, are we? Very well, I shall make your death quick and painful..."
Ryu and Akuma continued their assault. Ryu attempted an overhead punch, but Akuma grabbed his fist and threw him over his shoulder. Once Ryu hit the ground, he used a foot sweep to send Akuma to the ground. This was just the break he needed.
Both Ryu and Akuma got up off the ground and threw punches. Both fists collided into each other. After the punches, they both went for a kick, another punch, and finally another kick. But every attack continued to cancel each other out. No one could gain the advantage.
"You will pay for what you've done to her..."
"I don't believe that you've allowed her to make you weak!"
"Thats where you are wrong. She has only made me stronger. But answer me this...are you responsible for the dreams that we've been having about each other?"
"No. I have nothing to do with your visions. But the woman surprises me. Aside from you and me, she is the only other student of Shotokan karate who has the potential to become a dark fighter. If she learned how to control her dark power, she could be a very serious threat to me. In her dark state, she would even be more powerful than Goukens other student."
"You mean Ken?"
"Yes...Gouken trained him well...He is indeed strong...but his strength is not quite as strong as yours...or hers in her dark state...he doesnt quite have the same potential that you do so he is of no concern to me. You and the woman however...both of you possess the potential to become the new master of the fists. As she is still weak, only you will provide me with the challenge that I thirst for..."
All of this new information made something inside of Ryu snap. He started to glow a light blue aura that caught Akuma's attention.
Ryu's light blue aura started to get darker until it finally became a normal blue. But Ryu still wasn't stopping. He continued to glow. As he glowed, his aura continued to get darker. Eventually it was a dark blue. As Ryu's aura continued to darken, other changes were apparent. Ryu's eyes started to flash between white and red, and his skin started to darken slightly. A rare smile came to Akuma's face.
"Yes! You're getting angry! Soon, the evil intent will return to you!"
Akuma's comment was enough for Ryu to regain his focus. His aura disappeared and his eye and skin color returned to normal.
"You're bluffing! You said yourself that you saw the fight between me and my evil counterpart, so you know that I destroyed him!"
"Ryu...if you only knew the truth...don't you realize that you will never be able to destroy your evil side? As long as you are still living, Evil Ryu will continue to exist because it is a part of you. Your only hope is that you control the evil intent inside of you. You can defeat your evil counterpart as many times as you wish, but you will never be able to kill him because the evil intent can't be destroyed. And as soon as you become angry enough, Evil Ryu will return!"
"No! It can't be!"
"Deny the truth all you want Ryu, but it still won't change a thing! You've only managed to stop the evil intent for the time being, but it is just waiting for you to get angry enough to enter your body again. You see, I understand the evil intent better than anybody! I was once a human like you, but I sacrificed my humanity for ultimate strength. Now, I am power made flesh! And with my power, I shall destroy you!"
Ryu swung his fist at Akuma, only to feel air.
"(Where did he go?)"
Ryu looked around for Akuma. But he couldn't be found.
"(Where is he?)"
Ryu closed his eyes and tried to feel Akuma out, but it was no use. Akuma was nowhere in the vicinity.
Akuma was gone, but Ryu still felt his evil presence around.
"(Something's not right...this reminds me of the dream that I had with Sakura in it. I let my guard down and she defeated me. I wont make that same mistake again...)"
While Ryu continued to try and feel Akuma, he started to feel very warm...
"(Why is it so hot all of a sudden?)"
Ryu opened his eyes just in time to see a fireball from the sky headed towards him. Ryu managed to roll out of the way just in time to avoid being hit by the fireball. The impact of the fireball was so powerful; it left a crater where Ryu was once standing. When Ryu looked up into the sky, he saw Akuma floating. Smoke was coming out from his hands.
"(He's gotten a lot stronger since the last time I fought him. I have to be extra careful...)"
Several more air fireballs interrupted Ryu's thoughts. Ryu dodged one, blocked another, and cancelled one more with a fireball of his own. Unfortunately, one of Akuma's fireballs scored a direct hit on Ryu. As Ryu stood, the top half of his gi was torn apart.
"How do you like my new floating technique? By channeling my ki and pushing it up my body, I can keep myself in the air for as long as I wish. This is another one of the advanced Shotokan techniques that you have failed to learn. You are beginning to disappoint me..."
Ryu cupped his hands around his waist and charged up some energy. Blue balls of ki began to form around Ryu.
The ki started to flow into Ryu's hands faster. Sparks of electricity were also around Ryu. Eventually, the ki started to form a bright blue ball of energy.
Although the energy collected was sufficient for a Shinkuu Hadouken, Ryu continued to charge his energy.
Akuma just watched Ryu. He didn't even blink.
The ball of energy started to get bigger now. So big, that it was about to explode.
Ryu brought his arms back and gripped the ball of energy tighter.
Ryu finally threw a beam of energy at Akuma who was still in the air. The beam of energy finally collided into Akuma resulting in an explosion.
Ryu shielded his eyes from the light emitted from his fireball. The night sky was extremely bright.
When the smoke cleared up however, Akuma was still in the air. His attack didn't even leave a sratch...
"You didn't hit me hard enough..."
Ryu's eyes opened wide in shock.
"No! It can't be! That attack should have finished you off!"
Akuma started to float back towards the ground. He smirked as his feet touched the ground before disappearing.
"(He's playing mind games again!)"
"Looking for someone?"
Ryu looked up in the air behind him to see Akuma floating in the air yet again.
Akuma delivered a diving kick straight into Ryu's stomach, making him clutch his stomach. Akuma followed this up with a one hit Hurricane kick that took Ryu off his feet. While Ryu was still in the air, Akuma delivered a Shoryuken. The first part of the 3-hit attack went into Ryus stomach. When Ryu was hit in the stomach, he immediately spit out blood. The second hit went right for Ryu's chin. When Akuma finished his 3-hit Shoryuken, Ryu was sent flying. He landed with a thud right on his back.
"You disappoint me Ryu...I expected more out of you...Even Ken would have put up a better effort than what you have presented me with today. You are pitiful! You don't deserve fists to fight with!"
Akuma brought his right hand over Ryu's chest.
A red ball of energy started to form in Akuma's hand.
"You may not have fought like a warrior, but I will give you a warriors death anyway..."
The energy that Akuma had gathered expanded in mass.
"I thought you had something special Ryu...but it seems that I was wrong..."
The energy got even bigger.
"You will be with Gouken soon..."
The energy collected was finally enough to finish the job.
Meanwhile, Sakura's eyes started to blink before opening. Thanks to Ryu's healing technique, Sakura was able to stand up a bit.
"It seems we have company..."
Akuma moved his hand from Ryu and pointed it towards Sakura. Since Sakura was still weak from being attacked earlier, she had no defense against Akuma.
"Akuma! Leave her alone! It's me you want!"
"You have disappointed me Ryu. But I'm willing to give you another chance, provided that you unleash the Satsu No Hadoui inside you."
"You know that I will never do that!"
"You are going to release it Ryu. One way or another!"
The energy inside Akuma's hand continued to build.
"Ryu...dont listen to him...don't release it...not even for me!"
Ryu's eyes started to flash. They were shifting between brown and white. Akuma was noticing the change.
"Thats it! Accept your true nature or I shall destroy her!"
"Ryu! Dont do it!"
"I've heard enough out of you, woman! It's time that you met death!"
Sakura kicked Akuma in his family jewels. The pain was so intense that the energy that he had been collecting exploded. Akuma was knocked out cold from his own attack.
While Akuma was down for the count, Sakura managed to walk over to Ryu. As she bent down and caressed Ryu's cheek, tears started to come out of her eyes.
"Ryu...I thought I was going to lose you..."
"You're not getting rid of me that easy..."
A smile came to Sakura's face.
"I see my healing technique worked..."
"Yeah...I'm still a little weak, but I least I can walk..."
Ryu was about to tell Sakura what had been in his heart for so long, but then he decided against it. Now was not the time to declare his love for her. Not when there was a chance that he might not survive. Telling Sakura that he loved before the fight was over would only bring worry to her. Instead, what he told her was...
Sakura turned around to see that Akuma had gotten up.
As Akuma was walking towards Sakura, his blood red eyes glowed. He also had a blood red aura around him. And the top half of his gi was gone.
"You will suffer the ultimate price!"
"Sakura! Get out of here!"
But it was too late for Sakura. Akuma teleported in front of her and began his infamous move: The Shun Goku Satsu. As each hit connected, Sakura spit out blood. Finally, when Akuma had delivered 14 hits, he delayed the last one a bit just so Ryu could see the demise of his lady love.
Akuma finally delivered the final blow straight through Sakura's heart. The impact of his fist was so severe, that it went through Sakura's back.
Tears were starting to come out of Ryu's eyes.
Akuma didn't even smirk this time. He just pulled his fist out of Sakura like this was something he did every day. Unfortunately, this was something that he did every day, without remorse.
"How could you..."
Ryu's eyes started to flash again. This time, his eyes didn't revert back to original. They stayed blood red. Ryu's skin tone also got darker. Other changes of note were his headband and his gi pants. Both the headband and the gi pants became as dark as midnight.
"Yes! Your true power! Now we shall see what you are capable of!"
Akuma was actually happy. Now that Ryu was possessed by the evil intent, Akuma would finally get the chance to die...
Evil Ryu stood up and got into a fighting stance. His eyes were as cold as ice.
It seems that the good side of Shotokan is gone. Now only the evil side remains. But the question is, who will reign supreme as the master of the fists? This final battle would determine everything...