Chapter 19: Round Two!

After their good long workout session together at Dee Jay's gym, Makoto and James made their way to the Comet Coliseum for day two of the tournament. Every passing moment, they were within each other's reach. They were pretty much inseparable and made no effort to hide it. Neither of them cared what anyone else would think nor if anyone disapproved. They both knew that they were a thing and that is the only thing that mattered to both of them.

When they arrived at the Strength and Honor booth on the floor of the Coliseum, none of the team was at all surprised to see them together. None of them were surprised to see them in such close proximity either. They all looked on and paid no heed to the new change in their circumstances as if it were as natural as any other detail. She didn't let it show, but inside, that pleased Makoto. She had prepared to have to explain and defend herself. No such thing was needed. As they approached the booth, Koji was the first to speak.

"Good mornin', ladies. Did you make us another good commercial at the gym?" Even in speaking in a snide tone, Koji still managed to look calm and professional.

"You'll have to ask Dee Jay," James chimed in. "We put out some good work, but I don't think it was as intense as that first one," he added with a bit of smirk. "Its kind of hard to believe that even though I'm 13 inches taller and have an almost 100 pound weight advantage, she is so much physically stronger than I am."

Makoto gave his hand a gentle squeeze. "'To each, their own', right? I fight with power. You fight with finesse," she said in very 'matter of fact' kind of tone. "You should have seen it Koji. This guy is probably the most technically proficient fighter I've ever witnessed. He was showing me counters I would have never dreamed of and submission style holds I couldn't describe in detail if I tried."

A smile found its way to Koji's visage. "Well good. Let's see some of that fire in the ring." They both nodded and Koji gave them a silent look that conveyed his approval.

Ayako, who had been there to point her in the right direction before her big date, looked at Makoto with an inquisitive look on her face. She asked the question without speaking the words. Her facial expression seemed to ask 'Did you?' In return, Makoto gave her a telling nod and a smile. In response, Ayako's eyes clenched and her hands came up toward her face in tight fists while she let out a giddy little excited giggle of victory.

Makoto and James took their seats at the booth. Right away, Ryo stepped up. "Got the brackets for the second round here, kiddies."

James accepted the sheet from him and they looked over it. The way Dee Jay had the brackets set up was kind of random. The lines crossed over each other in an odd way that didn't seem to make much sense, but they did create a kind of circular pattern when viewed with the paper rolled just a bit. Rather than face the person that won the fight that was immediately after hers, Makoto instead drew a heavy hitter.

"Man, looks like we get to see an odd power versus power matchup," James said. "Makoto drew Brock Lesnar for the first fight of the second round."

A brow raised up high on Makoto. "Hmmm…". She put a hand to her chin and thought of how she could possibly face off against a behemoth of Brock's magnitude. "Looks like I'm going to have a real test on my hands with him. I'll probably have to outsmart him." After a moment on contemplation, she turned her attention back to the tournament brackets. "What about you? Who did you get paired off with?"

James looked through the brackets to find himself. "There I am. Looks like I'm up against that English boxer, Dudley Watson." He stopped in his tracks. "Oh great… I might have quite the handful myself. He absolutely demolished his first round fight against that Shaolin fighter Li Xiangfei."

"Well," Makoto began. "Look at the bright side. You can use his fighting style against him." James rose an eye brow and had a bit of a light bulb moment. Makoto continued. "See? It looks like you get it right off the bat. Dudley is a traditional boxer. Meaning he limits himself to attacking with only his upper body. On top of that, boxing is a naturally forward progressing aggressive style of fighting. Meaning you should have plenty of opportunities to counter him."

The frustration that had briefly shown on his face left James after Makoto's explanation. He cracked a smile and said, "Well, now. Things just may get a lot more interesting." With that, they sat back and waited for the second round to begin.

The Coliseum slowly began to come alive as the hustle and buzz reached its full fervor from the night before. Once again, Dee Jay's MC did her best to get the people moving. The crowd was just as energetic as before in anticipation for the second day of good fighting. All the Titan Tron screens were playing highlight clips from the first round as the show crew was getting the television broadcast started.

The excitement reached its fever pitch. That meant it was time for the show to start. The MC got on the microphone with her infinite fount of enthusiasm. "Ladies and gentlemen. Fight fans around the globe. We want to thank you for joining us for the second round of the Maximum Potential International Corporation's invitational tournament!" A familiar tune began to float through the air. "And now, without further ado, I give to you the Southern Comet himself, your host with the most, DEE JAAAY!"

To the surprise of everyone in the arena, Dee Jay ziplined down from the rafters of the Coliseum into the ring. Now sporting the same style of Strength and Honor fighting pants and gloves but in a rich royal blue, Dee Jay grabbed his mic and addressed the adoring public. "Ladies and gentle-mon. We ready to light this thing up?" On cue the crowd roared in cheers. "Then let's get right to the fireworks! On with the first fight."

Dee Jay's music faded and was replaced with a peppy and upbeat tune {Makoto's theme from Third Strike}. "Our first fighter needs no introduction. Everyone, give it up for the baddest baby girl to come out of Japan. MAKOTO!"

The event crew hit the Strength and Honor booth with the spotlight again. This time, Makoto was prepared. By the time the light hit them, she was already in front of the booth, posed for the inevitable camera shots. She made her way to the ring to a raucous chorus of cheers from the crowd.

Makoto climbed into the ring and did a few quick stretches to loosen up for what would be a huge challenge. Her spunky theme faded and gave way to the single guitar chord that started Brock's "The Next Big Thing". The giant of a man entered the arena through the tunnel. "The Psycho Viking, back for more. Fight fans, let's hear it for Brock Lesnar!" The ever-excitable crowd didn't disappoint. They showered the ring with the adoration, every bit of which Brock soaked up and seemingly used as his fuel for the fight.

The massive hulk and the peppy fireplug stood toe to toe in the center of the ring, Brock of course towering far above Makoto. She looked him dead in the eye without the slightest hint of fear or reservation. "Hey Great Wall," she called up to him.

The giant cracked a smile, extended his massive fist toward her and said, "You ready to do this?"

"Oh yeah!" She bumped his fist with her own as a sign of respect.

Dee Jay called over the mic, "Fighters ready? Go for it!"

Just the same as he had done in his previous fight with T. Hawk, Brock started the fight off with a quicker than a hiccup movement. With a strength well befitting a man of his stature, he hefted Makoto's comparatively tiny frame into the air by the armpits in one swift movement.

An avid study in her craft, Makoto had anticipated such a maneuver. From video she had studied, she had seen that Brock would often toss an opponent up that way to set up for a vicious mid-air power bomb. In the split second she had to react before being caught and having the back of her head driven into the mat, she adjusted herself slightly to one side so he couldn't catch he in the power bomb position, while at the same time grabbing a hold of Brock's head. Slightly confused by the quick twist, Brock didn't really know what to do. Muscle memory in his body and mind of the lifting power bomb move took over and he continued the motions. Unfortunately for him, that played right into Makoto's plan.

The way she had grabbed his head and the motion of him continuing his move meant he was caught in her counter. While she had gotten and good bit of it herself, Makoto had used his own momentum as her driving force and slammed Brock's face right into the mat. The behemoth was knocked silly for a moment and could not move. By the time he could react at all, it was already too late. At the top of her lungs, Makoto screamed into the air, "KOJI!" and in the blink of an eye, the ever studious young fighter had wrapped her hulking opponent up in a picture perfect Koji Clutch.

The MC, now infamous for her over the top banter yelled into her mic with her trademark enthusiasm. "Oh noooo! She's got him hooked in the Clutch! The Koji Clutch! A move that was originated by the Japanese wrestling legend, Koji Kanemoto! Ladies and gentlemen we are being treated to an absolute clinic on pure fighting skill so early in today's events!"

The crowd looked on and cheered even harder as Makoto cranked on Brock's head as hard as she could. Koji couldn't believe his eyes. He was stunned in disbelief. Here he was half the world the away from where he made his name and a fighter he had only just recently met was paying homage to him and his style. After a moment of soaking that in, he turned to James, who had a more than satisfied look on his face, and said, "Was that you?" James simply nodded and turned back to the action in the ring.

Brock, for all his power, was nowhere near as technically sound in the ring. He was locked in a hold he has never even seen before, much less had experienced. He began to panic as Makoto continued to crank on the pressure. When she drove his face into the mat, she also broke Brock's nose, evidenced by the nonstop gushing it was doing. That combined with the pain from the hold and lack of air from being choked out made him lose his composure. He didn't know what to do. To spare himself anymore of it, Brock ferociously pounded the mat, calling for the end of the match.

Crowd roared even louder than it had managed any time before as Dee Jay climbed back into the ring. Raising Makoto's hand in victory, Dee Jay announced, "Ladies and gentle-mon, your winner by way of the most awesome submission dis guy has ever seen; the baddest baby girl from Japan; MAKOTOOOOOO RINDOOOOOOU!"

Koji was completely overwhelmed by the moment. Knowing he was in slacks, a dress shirt, and tie, he still made his way into the ring. Taken by his excitement, he lifted Makoto up off her feet and onto his shoulders, parading her around the ring to the crowd's cheers. The MC, recognizing Koji, announced him to the audience. "My goodness! This is a treat like none other! Fight fans, in the ring now with your winner is the man behind the hold she used to win. The creator of the Clutch, the legend himself, Mr. Koji Kanemoto!"

Makoto made her way down from his shoulders and stood in front of Koji. In front of the whole world, she bowed deep and low before him, in a sign of the utmost respect. Deeply moved by this, Koji returned the bow. When she raised her head, she rushed him hugging him hard then stepped to the side and raised his hand as if he had been the one to win the fight. Koji allowed himself to be swept away in the emotion. He pulled her in close for another hug. Just loud enough for her to hear over the crowd, he said into Makoto's ear, "Learn that from the kid?" She nodded and squeezed him tighter. Koji felt an enormous sense of pride begin to well up inside him.

Author's Note: I had to fit the Koji Clutch into the story somewhere. I wanted to do it sooner rather than later, so I put it in right after she learned it to prove the point of just how well my version of Makoto absorbs knowledge about fighting. And if you haven't already, trust me. Youtube that shiz! The Koji Clutch is awesome!