|Once Upon A December
Author: Kazie Solo PM
Year 2020. Ming Wu's takeover of the GFA at Gina Firestone's death transformed Gear Fighting into a game far deadlier than anyone could have ever imagined. Kouya and his friends chose not to interfere... until one of them had to pay.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Drama/Adventure - Chapters: 31 - Words: 43,507 - Reviews: 60 - Favs: 2 - Updated: 10-30-06 - Published: 07-11-03 - id: 1423985
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Kouya stood a considerable distance away from the crowd of Gear Fighting enthusiasts that gathered to mourn Kuroudo's death, for remaining with the lot made him feel very uncomfortable. And it wasn't because he no longer wanted to be associated with them. Rather, it was because he had denied his association with them, and in turn, so many lives to be lost, literally and figuratively.
He caught Wang Hu looking at him and he promptly turned away. His friend had been right to remain in the battlefield all along. And he had been a coward to stay away from the path that he should have continued on many years ago.
He clamped his hand into a fist, his resolve growing stronger by the moment. He had closed his eyes to the atrocities Ming Wu had brought as he seized the Gear Fighting Association with his claws, but to lose one of his dearest friends to old man's madness was the final straw. Sure, the news made it appear that Kuroudo had an unfortunate car accident – his car had gone out of control and had fallen off a cliff and into the river – but who were they kidding? He knew better than to believe the sugar-coated story that spread throughout their world like wildfire; all that had happened ever since his fallout was nothing but a Gear Fighting conspiracy.
"So what are you going to do now, Kouya?" a voice suddenly erupted from behind him. He quickly spun around and, once more, came face-to-face with the Gear God himself, Sean Firestone. His expression was serious, but a moment after he gave the youngster a soft smile. "By the way, did you find Ark Cavalier suitable for your use?"
"Yes," the Japanese Gear Fighter answered, then he met Sean's gaze with his serious chocolate-colored eyes and said, "I'm planning to use it for the World Cup Championships. If you don't mind."
Sean laughed lightly. "But you don't have a team," he pointed out good-naturedly.
"Actually, I've already joined one."
The American stared at him incredulously, surprised at how calm and nonchalant it was. It was almost as if Kuroudo's death didn't bother him even the slightest, and that he was going back to the Gear Fighting world simply because he was bored. "Really now. You know Kouya, to be honest, I'd given up on you. But it's good to know that you've finally decided to come back to the world that desperately needs you. What team did you join, if I may ask?"
The former Tobita Club captain smiled. "The Manganji Dream Team."
THE 4th GEAR FIGHTING ASSOCIATION WORLD CUP CHAMPIONSHIPS
1-18 DECEMBER 2020
Stage I – Elimination
Standard Team Battle
Block A – Si Xing Hu Tuan, Quo-Vadis, Native Spirits
Block B – Mighty Gears, Star Brad, Destruere
Block C – Tobita Club, Euro-Griffon, Mu Legends
Block D – Manganji Dream Team, Weiß ritters, Firipu Ichiban
Stage II – Elimination
Tag Team Battle Royale
Block A – Tobita Club, Weiß ritters, Star Brad
Block B – Si Xing Hu Tuan, Euro Griffon, Native Spirits
Block C – Manganji Dream Team, Mighty Gears, Mu Legends
Block D – Destruere, Firipu Ichiban, Quo-Vadis
Stage III – Quarter Finals
One on One
Stage IV – Semi Finals
One on One
Stage V – Finals
One on One
"Ming Wu's a crafty one. He's made sure that the battle locations are all within his jurisdiction and part of the vast Gear Fighting underground he himself put together," Harry began in a grim tone as he handed the print-outs of the World Cup's itinerary to his companions. He then sat down and leaned back against his seat, observing the other's reactions intently.
Though he was looking at his copy of the print-out with narrowed eyes, Kishin wasn't bothered by the situation. "Does it matter? We're playing their game. The fans won't even realize we're not there to bring home the Cup but to bring the GFA down."
Ma Liang shook his head. "It's not just about the fans. It's also about the territory." He looked at the others worriedly. "Ming Wu has China as his belt, wrapped tight around his waist. There, he can do anything and everything he wants without getting into any sort of trouble. We'll never make it to the finals, even if we qualify by the rules. If he doesn't hunt us down in Brazil, he will when we get to China."
"What about the Philippines?" Harry asked as he straightened up. "Hazel?"
A teenage girl who sat cross-legged on the carpeted floor spoke up; she was Hazel Ramz, the captain of the Firipu Ichiban, one of the new teams to sweep the Gear Fighting arena by storm and their latest affiliate in the Asian region. She was rather soft-spoken for a girl who donned boyish clothes and who had her hair cropped short. "I'm not sure what to expect. But I have a gut feeling he's going to bring us down through the technicalities. I mean, our country's a group of islands, and there's no single place large enough to hold all the events. We'll probably be moving around a lot, and he'll have plenty of opportunities to remove us from the game – say, by forfeiture for being late, or something else of that sort."
"Of course. He'll stop at nothing to bring us down. He'll even twist the rules of the game just to win. Knowing this, we'll just have to bring him down first," Rudolf Steiner said, and everyone else nodded in agreement. As murmurs broke out among the captains, he took the time to put an arm around his brother Michael's shoulder and assure him that everything was going to be fine. Then, as if remembering something, he asked, "And Italy, Harry? The last time we were there it didn't seem like a GFA territory."
Harry managed to smile, even a little. "I'm not too worried about Italy. It's the first stage, so Ming Wu's not going to do anything funny that early. And I believe this is so because I can't think of any other reason why there has to be a second elimination round." This time, his gaze darkened. "While in Italy, he'll have to play by the rules to make a good first impression. But when we all move to the Philippines, he's going to start messing with us and ensure that most of the quarter finalists are those working for him, with the Manganji Dream Team at the top of the list."
"That's bad," Michael Steiner commented in a whisper, clearly anxious about the whole World Cup deal despite his older brother's attempts to assure him that everything was going to be fine.
"Very bad," Ma Liang seconded, pursing his lips together.