The World Warriors' Legacy

By Metal Harbinger

Chapter 1: Worth Fighting For

It was a balmy morning along the Genbu Plains as the sun rose in background behind Suzaku Castle, casting a reddish-orange shade upon the rocky landscape below.

The entire area was tranquil and devoid of most life, broken only by the early morning songs of the birds in the trees.

With nice weather and no other humans in sight, it provided the perfect backdrop for the two warriors who were about to duke it out.

Positioned beneath the shade of an ancient tree was a native warrior with short black hair and black eyes, clad in a tattered white karate gi and red hachimaki with brown fighting gloves. Across his waist he wore a black belt embroidered with traditional kanjis that symbolized the natural elements of wind, wood, fire, and mountains.

He was the warrior known only as Ryu, a man whose prowess in martial arts was so legendary, some questioned if he even existed.

Standing across from him was man of Caucasian descent who stood slightly over six feet tall, with short blond hair, blue eyes and a muscular physique developed thanks to a rigorous training regimen, and plenty of street fights as well. He was also clad like an average run-of-the-mill brawler, wearing just a simple white t-shirt, blue jeans, white sneakers and regular hand wraps.

This man was Cody Travers, a renowned street fighter who was once dubbed the "Hero of Metro City" by the grateful citizens he had helped liberate from the clutches of the vile Mad Gear Gang.

Now he was just some burned out drifter who traveled the globe in search of fights wherever he could, seeking to quench a never ending addiction to fighting.

At the moment both men were going through their last minute preparations, Ryu straightening out his headband and adjusting his gloves, while Cody bounced up and down, punching wildly through the air at an imaginary opponent to psyche himself up, ending with a ready grunt.

"Alright, c'mon Karate Kid, I'm ready for ya'!" Cody shouted as he shifted his weight up and down on his feet with his fists raised.

Ryu didn't reply immediately and stood silently looking his opponent up and down. He sensed the man's arrogance and overconfidence, a man who fought with no real discipline nor desire for self-improvement.

"Hey yo', are you ready to go or not? We agreed to fight y'know," the American brawler continued, "Please don't tell me I traveled all the way to Japan for nothing. Plane tickets aren't that cheap y'know."

"Do you ever question why you fight?" Ryu spoke to the man in heavily-accented English.

"Huh? What's that supposed to mean?" Cody said, stopping to scratch the back of his head.

"Why do you fight without purpose?" the Japanese karateka continued, "I know you once fought for a noble cause, yet you allowed yourself to be consumed by an addiction that drove you to fight without a purpose, one which landed you in jail and cost you much hardship in your personal life as well."

Cody was completely caught off guard by his opponent's question and furrowed his brow angrily, "Alright pal, you're starting to tread on some seriously thin ice. You'd better give me a good reason why I shouldn't come over there and punch your teeth down your throat right now! You'd better start talkin'," he said cracking his knuckles.

"I know who you are Cody Travers," Ryu said standing his ground and looking the man directly in his eyes, "You are a friend of Guy's."

Cody bristled at the mention of his former best friend's name and was about to speak again when he was cut off.

"I heard of how you and him fought alongside one another to bring down that criminal syndicate back in Metro City. It was a virtuous accomplishment on your behalf and overall, it was a cause worth fighting for. Now what do you fight for?"

The American fighter was unable to reply, raising a hand to say something, but all he could manage was a frustrated grunt.

Ryu saw his words were beginning to sink in and rightfully they should. He wasn't trying to distract his opponent, but rather make him think.

In all his years of fighting, the vagabond warrior encountered people of all different disciplines who fought for various causes: honor, glory, self-improvement, destiny, justice, survival, redemption, revenge…in the end they all fought for something.

The man before him fought for nothing other than the sake of fighting and it was something that truly disturbed the champion Street Fighter.

"You cannot fight solely for the sake of fighting my friend. It is a hollow, soulless pursuit that will eventually lead you to the path of ruin," Ryu continued, hoping he had given the man something to think about it.

"Damn and I thought Haggar's lectures were bad," Cody shrugged and then paced back and forth before regaining his wits, "Look, do you want to get this over with? Or would you rather just stand there and listen to the tragic story of an 'ex-hero?' Huh?"

Ryu reluctantly raised his fists and went into his fighting stance, "Very well then. I see that your mind is made up. Until then, hold nothing back."

"I won't," Cody replied.

No more words were exchanged as the two men began circling one another, their battle commencing as they carefully observed each other's movements and waited tensely for the first strike.

Cody made the first attempt, getting close and going for a jab directed at his opponent's stomach. Ryu saw the move coming and brought his fist up to parry the blow, knocking both men backward.

Seeing his opponent left wide open, Ryu tried to follow up with an elbow strike directed at the man's stomach, but the American managed to completely dodge the maneuver.

"If he was strong enough to be one of three men to bring down an entire gang, then I know he will be no pushover," Ryu reminded himself as the man charged towards him with his foot extended.

"RUFFIAN KICK," Cody announced as he seemingly glided towards his Japanese opponent with his foot directed at the kneeling man's face, only to have it blocked by the man's muscular arms. Leaving himself opened for another attack, he had no time to react as Ryu kicked his leg out and swept him from his feet.

Ryu watched as Cody rolled away from him, with a grace he hadn't expected from what he believed to be an unpolished brawler. He also didn't expect what was to follow as the American brawler swiped a handful of stones up from the ground and tossed them at him.

The martial artist easily blocked the rocks when he crossed his arms in front of him, but would now find himself left open as Cody launched himself into the air and caught his prey with a flying kick in the middle of his opponent's chest.

Ryu was knocked back by the force of the attack and kipped back up to his feet, only to be met by a flurry of punches and again knocked onto his back by a spinning turn kick Cody called the "Crack Kick." The blow was powerful and he swore he could feel his chest bruising right away, yet he had to keep soldiering forth.

This match wasn't being fought for any particular rewards at the end, but both fighters still took it seriously and wanted to give their best, wanting to show they were worthy of the title "warrior."

Out of desperation, Ryu leapt towards his opponent and performed a Whirlwind Kick, knocking the American back long enough for him to follow up with his first special attack of the contest.

"TATSUMAKI SENPUU-KYAKU," the Ansatsuken expert shouted as he propelled himself into the air and spun around like a helicopter with his right leg extended, netting several hits on his opponent and sending him back down to the ground. Before Ryu could completely lower himself to the ground, he was blinded by a handful of sand.

"You said you wanted me to hold nothing back…well here it is!" Cody said pushing himself back to his feet after temporarily stunning his opponent, following up with an uppercut that created a miniature tornado.

"CRIMINAL UPPER!!!"

A barrage of blows rained down upon Ryu and he could feel the warm blood trickle freely from a fresh cut on his lower lip, followed by Cody sending him airborne with a somersault kick.

"There's more where that came from!" Cody shouted as he rushed towards the downed martial artist, only to be blindsided by a desperate fierce uppercut to the chin, snapping his head back and causing him to stagger.

"And there's more where that came from too," Ryu replied before launching himself into the air with his fist extended.

"SHORYUKEN!!!"

The legendary Dragon Punch was unleashed for the first time in the contest, the very move that had ended many contests for the Ansatsuken practitioner in the past; including helping fall the legendary Emperor of Muay Thai, Sagat.

Ryu stood quietly as he noticed the American's prone form on the rocky surface, yet maintained a defensive stance in case the man showed signs of life. He underestimated no one in the past and wasn't about to start now.

Surely enough, a weak groan emanated from Cody's battered form and the brawler forced himself to his knees and somehow back to his feet, wobbling in place as the imaginary stars circled around his head and it took a literal slap from his own hand to snap him back to his senses.

"No more Mr. Nice Guy," the American muttered to himself as he scooped up another handful of rocks and tossed them towards his opponent.

Again, Ryu saw the projectiles coming from a mile away and instead of trying to block, cupped his hands together.

Breathing deeply, the warrior channeled his chi into his palms and thrust them forward, a cerulean orb launching from his hands.

"HADOKEN!!!"

The fireball vaporized the rocks into dust and sailed unimpeded towards Cody, who barely dodged to the side before it could connect with his torso, singing some of its fabric.

Sweat poured freely from the American brawler's forehead and his breathing hastened, indicating he was starting to become desperate. Perhaps he was close to having used up everything in his bag of tricks and Ryu could sense the man was forcing himself to think up something spur of the moment.

Ryu remained silent as he waited for his opponent. It was a display of his renowned humility and honor, whereas most other challengers would have taken the time to relentlessly taunt their adversary and throw them off guard. It was his duty to always give his opponent's a fair fight, a principle Master Gouken had instilled deeply within him since day one.

"Hold nothing back," were his only words as he sensed the spirit within his opponent. Even if he were on the verge of victory, he still expected his opponent to give it their all until the end. "You gave me your word."

The words had an effect on the cornered brawler and he let out a mighty battle cry. Instilled with newfound bravado, Cody made another head on charge towards his opponent, unleashing a flurry of punches and kicks that ended with an explosive punch.

Despite blocking the attack, the explosion temporarily blinded Ryu, leaving him open to be grabbed and have numerous knee strikes delivered to his face before being flung over the larger man's shoulder and landing hard on his back. He had no time to writhe in pain as Cody then attempted to strike him while he was down, driving his fist downward.

Ryu rolled to the side and a small crater was left in the ground where his head once rested. He staggered back to his feet and looked over to find Cody clutching his sore fist and took advantage of the situation, dodging an attempted shoulder tackle from the American fighter, only to drive his fist downward in an overhead strike directed at the man's collarbone.

Cody grunted aloud as the blow connected and sunk to a knee, clutching the sore area and spitting out a string of curses.

Ryu stared at the fallen man, yet kept his guard up. He didn't show it, but he felt concerned for his opponent after remembering what he said earlier.

"You seem hurt my friend, do you wish to end this fight?" he asked.

The grunts of pain suddenly turned to a hearty chuckle from the American as he rose back to his feet.

"It's gonna take more than that to put me down," Cody said forcing his eyes open, the fire of battle still burning deeply within them. "I'll go for as long as you want me and keep going until the fat lady sings…but not right now!"

Ryu only nodded in acknowledgment as he waited for the man to return to his feet, "Very well."

Cody lunged at his opponent, delivering a high kick directed at the Japanese warrior's face, who promptly blocked the attack. Seeing the move didn't connect, he went low and attempted a sliding kick, which his opponent gracefully flipped over.

"Despite his lack of discipline, he fights with the heart of a lion," Ryu observed before blocking a hard punch directed at his face, "If only he could continue to use such ability with a purpose."

The martial artist attempted a jutting kick at the American's stomach, which he once again dodged.

"Time to try something new," Ryu told himself and thrust his arms forward, prompting his opponent to attempt another dodge, only this time nothing came out. With Cody again caught off guard, the Ansatsuken fighter thrust his left leg out, a move he called the "Joudan Sokutou Geri," or "High Blade Leg Kick" in English.

Cody staggered back holding his chin, a bruise forming within seconds.

"Cute, real cute!" he sarcastically spat before attempting another Criminal Uppercut upon his opponent, which Ryu would leap backward to avoid.

"SHAKUNETSU HADOKEN," Ryu cried as he launched another projectile towards his opponent, this one blazing red rather than the blue of his normal fireball.

Cody attempted to dodge, but the physical toll of the challenge slowed him down, allowing him to be caught and set ablaze. Fortunately, the flames didn't burn long and dissipated within seconds, leaving his clothes with a few blackened splotches.

"Real cute once again buddy, but now let this be your…FINAL DESTRUCTION!!!" Cody declared, unleashing a flurry of hard-hitting punches upon the Japanese martial artist.

Ryu had managed to block or dodge most of the early strikes, but in the end it was a punch to his stomach that knocked the wind out of him and left him open for the remaining flurry. He was sent flying and hit the ground hard, but would not be deterred that easily.

"Time to end this," he said to himself as he slowed his breathing and let the chi course through his veins. Energy soon crackled around his fists and the wind began to pick up around him as the power grew within. It was a move he had executed hundreds of times before and once again it was time to unleash the fury.

"SHINKUU HADOKEN!!!"

Thrusting his arms outward, a ball of energy twice the size of a regular fireball shot out from his palms.

Unfortunately for Cody Travers, by the time he noticed the mammoth projectile it had been too late and he was struck head on.

The American brawler could only cry out in pain as he was struck with a force equaled to that of a freight train and sent flying through the air, striking the rocky ground beneath him with enough force to temporarily knock him out.

Ryu exhaled deeply and collapsed to his knees, sore and winded after a hard fought victory. It was not considered an "official" fight by any means as nothing was wagered, more so a sparring match. Still, he did what he could to analyze his small triumph.

"He was a 'street fighter' in the most literal sense of the term, yet he possessed strength, determination and resilience that served him well. Indeed he pulled off a few moves that caught me by surprise, yet at the same time he relied too much upon his dirty tricks to get by."

Slowly rising back to his feet, the Japanese warrior dusted off his gi and walked over to his defeated opponent's prone figure. Kneeling beside the fallen competitor he was about to reach out and feel for a pulse on the man's neck when a groan suddenly escaped his lips.

"Man…what…gives?" Cody weakly grunted as he tried lifting his head, only to wince in pain. With some additional effort, he rolled over onto his back and finally managed to place his hands to his head and massage his throbbing temples.

"The fight is over," Ryu replied.

A labored scoff escaped from Cody's mouth, "I take it…I didn't win then?"

"Victory is not important in this matter, but rather what you learned from the battle and what you can do to improve upon it next time," Ryu calmly explained.

"Don't you ever say anything else besides that philosophical mumbo jumbo?" the defeated brawler asked as he finally rolled over onto his side.

"It is more than 'mumbo jumbo' my friend," Ryu continued as he reached his hand down to help the American back to his feet. "You would greatly benefit to learn from the lessons of warriors from different disciplines. After all, victory is nothing without skill."

"Yep, starting to sound more and more like Guy…" Cody said before spitting some phlegm out of his mouth, much to Ryu's disgust.

"Your friend is a good man Cody and in regards to anything that may have happened in both of your pasts, I'm sure he had only the greatest intentions in mind," the Ansatsuken warrior explained before he dare release the man from his grasp, allowing him to stand on his own two feet.

"Now that's none of your business right there…" the American snapped, staggering about like he was drunk until he was able to brace himself against the nearby tree and take a few deep breaths.

"It may be none of my business, but I do share his personal concern for your well-being," Ryu continued.

"Since when did you become my mother?" Cody sardonically retorted, "Man, for a big philosophical type, you sure are a stubborn bastard."

Ryu ignored the comments and continued with his plea, "All I ask is that you think of why you fight Cody. There has to be a purpose behind why you fight. I know you have probably heard the stories of me being a 'fighter without a cause,' but that is far from the truth."

Cody's head perked up and he stared dumbfounded at the victor.

"I fight for improvement and enlightenment," the martial artist explained, staring down to his gloved hands, "Every fight I enter, I seek to learn whatever I can from the contest through analyzing all the elements present. From there, I vow to improve in whichever ways I am able to, so that it will help me in my future battles."

Ryu then stopped briefly to stare out towards the ocean beneath the rising sun, "And with it, the answers to my destiny."

"Wow, that sounds pretty deep," Cody replied staring out towards the ocean, for once pondering what awaited him from beyond.

"There is so much more to the fight than just an adrenaline rush, something that can lead to redemption," Ryu said looking towards the street fighter.

Cody said nothing and continued to stare off into the distance, perhaps beginning to think to himself for once about everything he had been through.

"There is still time for you Cody; you are not yet too far gone."

Sighing deeply, the American finally turned to face him, "Maybe."

"Take my words to heart and hope you can learn to apply them in your future," Ryu spoke as both men made their way for their travel bags.

"I will and thanks," Cody weakly muttered, looking off towards the trail in the distance before returning to Ryu and extending his hand.

"You fought well. I was honored," the Ansatsuken warrior replied, returning the handshake.

He watched as the American street fighter made his way down the earthen trail up until the man disappeared from sight.

Sighing deeply, he returned his attention to nearby Suzaku Castle and thought to himself why else he had returned.

"It's been far too long since I've last been here," Ryu muttered quietly to himself as he made his way along the narrow trail which led to the ancient wooden structure.

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Author's Note: This is the Metal Harbinger's latest offering to the world of Street Fighter fiction, other than that, you may remember me for "Street Fighter: The Chosen Ones" and "The Phenomenal Phoenix," or you may not seeing as how I've updated neither in a long ass time!

I've also got another forthcoming fic planned regarding my own take on a Street Fighter tournament that would feature a mixture of both new and old characters, similar to the discontinued "Street Fighter 4: The New Challenge," which coincidentally came out YEARS before the actual Street Fighter 4!

For the longest time though, I've wanted to do a fic focusing largely around the already existing Street Fighters, similar to "Legends of the Streets," a fic by Jes which was one of the fics that wanted me to get into writing fan-fiction in the first place.

The recent announcement of Super Street Fighter 4, an updated version of SF4, has been kind of giving me the kick in the creative ass that I need to get this off the ground and hopefully it can help with my others as well.

So until then, please be kind and read and review this story, any flames will result in me personally tracking you down and launching a Hadoken right into your face!

This is Metal Harbinger saying SPREAD THE SICKNESS, ONE MIND AT A TIME! \m/