1 month after the 3rd World Warrior tournament...

A park in Tokyo...


People crowded around the two fighters, anxious to see the two warriors in action. A chill wind rushed over the field, chilling the man in the black karate gi.

"Why have you followed me?" Akuma asked the fighter before him.

The tall, long-legged, ebony-skinned young girl smiled. "I saw you at the last tournament. You hadn't entered, so I was kinda hoping to challenge you."

Akuma's eyes widenend in moderate surprise. "Why? I don't even know who you are."

Elena shrugged. "You looked lonely, and I figured you could use a friend. Also, you dress like that Ryu person, so I'm guessing that you fight the same style. He left before I could challenge him, and I was kind of hoping I could see what he fought like."

Akuma would have laughed, but it was against his nature, so he just smirked. "Child, Ryu and I fight nothing alike. His style is weak and pathetic. And I have no interest in friends."

Elena frowned, visibly confused. "Huh? But everyone needs friends."

Akuma shook his head. "A true warrior needs only opponents. But if you are so intent on fighting me, child, I will be happy to oblige you," he said, taking his stance.

Elena frowned. For her whole life, she had used the fight to make friends, and keep herself in shape. In the World Warrior tournament alone, she had made friends with Ryu, the Americans, Ken and Alex, the British boxer, Dudley, the ninja girl, Ibuki, the two young Kung Fu fighters, Yun and Yang, and even with the pro-wrestler Hugo, and his manager, Poison. But somehow, this 'Akuma' was different. She had thought that he'd be like Ryu, from his serious nature, but still...

He had appeared suddenly, midway through the tournament, and challenged the tournament manager directly. She didn't get to see what happened, but from the way he acted around the tournament manager, a man named Gill, his challenge hadn't gone well. Dudley had offered to help him, but he had been brushed off rudely.

She shook off the nervous feeling, and looked up at the patiently waiting karateka, stretched briefly, then cartwheeled to the center of the park, and began her jenga, a shifting rhythmic, dance like series of carefully plotted steps that was the basis of her art.

Akuma watched Elena's movements carefully as he slowly circled her. He chuckled to himself, remembering the flaws he had seen in her attacks during the World Warrior tournament.

This will be easy... he thinks.