written by Victar, e-mail email@example.com
Victar's Archive: http://www.victarfanfics.com
Chapter 29: Closing the Wound
Hatred kept him alive in the dark places. Five
centuries, burning in emptiness. Hatred is all he has. And I have hatred, too. I have felt like him.
We are the same.
"No," he gasped, and groped inside himself for a solid place to stand and live. "I
will... fear you, but I... will not hate you."
-Tad Williams, To Green
INTERVIEW WITH JULIA CHANG, section 14
February 22, 2018
Do you know what's going on?
Jin was just asking me a favor. He said he needed to
discuss something important with Lee Chaolan and me, tomorrow evening. He wouldn't specify
what it was, only that it was a very serious and personal matter, and that he was giving me time to
prepare myself beforehand.
This is driving me crazy.
What is going on?
You know, you're almost as bad at lying as Jin.
You are involved in this, I know you are. Up to your neck.
Jin said you'd also be there.
Um, you will be there, won't you?
Actually, I'm glad. I think it's a good idea. Jin's emotions
can get the better of him, sometimes. It will be nice to have both you and Lee as a calming
influence on him.
And maybe on me, too.
So. Where were we?
The Toshin ruled supreme over a battlefield of fallen
warriors. Some of the fighters were struggling to get back up, but in that one, soul-devouring
moment, the God of War stood triumphant. It had claimed Heihachi Mishima for its own. When
Jin tried to rescue his beloved grandfather, the Toshin swatted its young challenger like a
Was Heihachi dead? Had Jin interfered too late to save his
No. No, that wasn't possible, because Jin was death-linked
to Heihachi, and Jin was still alive - still breathing - I couldn't give up hope yet, I couldn't-!
The Toshin started to change.
It grunted and doubled over, as if in pain. Its tremendous
helmet-plume pitched over its head and disappeared. Its golden armor did not fall away; instead,
the monster absorbed its armaments into itself, helmet, shield, and all. The only piece that did not
vanish within the Toshin's boiling flesh was a large golden circlet around its left thigh.
The Toshin's skin changed color from green to green-black.
Its humanoid form blurred like a watercolor image, warping, molding.
Reptilian wings sprouted from the changing monster's
The wings extended broader than the Toshin was tall, with
claws on their joints and hard, shingle-like scales on their spread. A protruding tail balanced the
cumbersome wings; a tail with four spikes near its base, and a ridged undercovering like a snake.
The head of the snake was the Toshin's right arm - I mean this literally, for its right arm
metamorphosed into a red-eyed, flat-jawed, hissing viper. A dark sigil marked the top of the
viper's head, almost like a third eye.
The rest of the Toshin's body twisted into a misshapen
beast, far removed from its humanoid alter ego. Its left arm became a massive, over-muscled
appendage, with more dark sigils on the shoulder, a plume of shaggy fur about the forearm, and
two finger-claws along with a thumb. Its feet became two-toed, digigrade claws; the ribbed scales
beneath its shins resembled those of a bird, though the rest of its legs was as hairy as its
The change in its face was perhaps the most grotesque. Its
head widened, and it gained a tangled, furry mane about its cheeks and chin. Its teeth jutted in
deadly fangs, with the lower jaw protruding. A thick carapace grew over the back of its neck.
Curling buffalo horns sprouted from its brow.
The Toshin threw back its transformed head and
It was a sound to strike terror in the soul. The Toshin's
roar was so intense that it snuffed out the burning torches that had been the main source of light,
in Heihachi's replica of an Aztec Temple. Darkness settled all around - darkness lit only by full
moon above, and the infernal glare of the roaring behemoth.
We had unwittingly summoned an underpowered,
humanoid manifestation of the Toshin. Perhaps we had damaged its lesser form, but that
advantage was lost. Now, it had reverted to the full Strength of its natural self. Nothing could
Except for Heaven's Dagger.
Except for the secret I knew.
But I couldn't wake up. I'd been thrown to the ground and
knocked unconscious; I was seeing all this through a dream that Heaven's Dagger fed into my
sleeping mind, and I couldn't wake up-!
The God of War surveyed the feast of strong souls, all
spread out before it.
Its fevered red eyes came to rest on Jin's crumpled
+YOUR SOUL IS
DEATH-LINKED. YOUR SOUL MUST BE ABSORBED FIRST,+ it observed, without
It reached for Jin. I shouted, but Jin couldn't hear me. I was
only a shadow in my own dream.
It almost ended there.
I couldn't wake myself up to save Jin. Though a
few of the other Iron Fist warriors were struggling to get up and fight, not one of them could rise
in time. Not even Lee Chaolan...
...and there was a noise in the background. It had been
there for a while, I realized, only now it was getting louder.
The whirring rhythm became so shrill that it overshadowed
even the Toshin's imposing presence. When I looked up, through the vast opening in the Temple's
roof, I saw a pair of Tekkenshu helicopters. They were the last two pilot craft belonging to the
Tokyo division of Heihachi's private army.
Rushing over hill and dale, the choppers swiftly closed in
on the gigantic monster that threatened the world. They opened fire with mounted machine guns,
strafing the Toshin's head and wings.
The fevered red of the Toshin's eyes became an
+YOUR SOULS ARE
IN MY WAY!+
The God of War rotated its beastly head in a great,
clockwise circle. Around, down, and up, until its jutting lower jaw pointed to the enemies
A volcano erupted from its throat.
Hell's inferno poured from its slavering fangs, in a gout to
pierce the sky. The Toshin's fire engulfed one helicopter, consumed it, ignited a horrendous midair
detonation. More flames melted the second helicopter on one side, including its rotary blades.
Tumbling out of control, it barreled toward the Toshin in a kamikaze collision course.
The God of War swiped with its clawed left hand.
The second helicopter exploded into flaming wreckage.
Fire and smoke scorched the Temple's gilded stone. White-hot metal parts clattered on the floor.
A broken propeller blade almost speared Jin-
*Aegis of the Grey Kingdom-!*
-but it bounced off a flickering white shield, which covered
him in the nick of time. A shield just broad enough to protect all the fallen Iron Fist warriors from
being burned or crushed, in the wake of fiery destruction.
The Toshin fixed its eyes on the source of the beautiful
The angel had risen to hands and knees. His
feather-shredded wings draped either side of his body. With one arm outstretched, he sustained
shield until the last piece of burning debris had settled. Only then did he allow his protective spell
Lee slowly climbed to his feet. His wings drooped, like
counterweights to help him keep his balance.
*I... am a Guardian... of the Grey
Kingdom,* the angel gasped. *These souls are under my
There's something that I should point out, here.
Although Lee recovered in time to battle the Toshin's
natural form, he was almost too late. He almost failed to save Jin.
He almost failed to save us all.
Because you see, my insight wasn't enough to vanquish the
Toshin's menace by itself. Even Heaven's Dagger was not enough. I needed Jin. We all needed
It is coming for me, and it will come for you, because
we are among the few people who have any chance of stopping it. Only purity within and purity
without can close the wound that is Toshin. Jun Kazama had made this fateful prophecy to
her son Jin, shortly before the Toshin murdered her.
Her prophecy was right. She had been right all along.
But it nearly ended in apocalypse, when the Toshin reached
for Jin's soul. The ones who bought Jin the precious few seconds he needed to survive weren't
warriors from the Iron Fist, or sorcerers from Kagura's Temple, or angels from Heaven. They
were Mishima syndicate Tekkenshu. A pair of ordinary helicopter pilots, who inadvertently saved
I don't know their names, but they should not be forgotten.
Nor should you forget why they sacrificed their lives.
They died for their master, Heihachi Mishima.
You may question Lei Wulong's wisdom in setting the
corrupt world leader free, moments before the Toshin's attack. You know from experience, as
surely as I, that Heihachi could not be trusted. Yet, it was Heihachi who had summoned the
Tekkenshu. If Lei Wulong hadn't allied with the old man, then the resulting price would have been
Releasing Heihachi was never a good idea. I just want you
to understand that it was a lesser evil.
And I do mean evil.
And I don't mean much lesser.
"Glory to Mishima-sama," muttered a voice behind me, in a
darkly ironic tone.
The speaker of that disillusioned comment was not a living
person. Not anymore. He was the ghost of Ishida, one of Heihachi's former servants; a spirit
murdered, bleeding, and bound in ethereal chains, as part of the ritual to summon the Toshin. He
was also the only being that could communicate with me, while I lay unconscious. Though
Heaven's Dagger let me see my surroundings in a dreamland border between life and death, it did
me very little good. My real body slept peacefully, while my shadowy dream-self panicked. My
dream-self was invisible to Jin, to all the people around me, and I couldn't make myself wake up.
Perhaps Lee could have seen my dream-self, kneeling close to where my sleeping body lay, but
the angel was far too distracted to look.
"I've got to wake up," I babbled, frantically.
"You'd just get killed if you did. You're better off staying
asleep. Let the real fighters deal with that monster."
"Shut up, Ishida!"
"Please. I'm dead. You're dreaming. Call me
I stared at him.
"My first name," he said with a shrug. Then, "What? You
think I don't have one?"
I turned back to the havoc before me, in time to see more
Iron Fist warriors slowly recovering for a renewed fight.
King crawled to Armor King's prone body, and shook his
teacher's shoulder. Ling Xiaoyu was also stirring. So was Lei Wulong, but he was too weak to
stand. The ailing detective coughed, violently, and slumped flat on the ground.
"I lied to you, once," Mantarou observed. "On Christmas
Eve. Did you know that?"
Paul Phoenix was dazed. Forest Law was moaning,
and holding his head. Eddy Gordo and Tiger Jackson were moving, but had yet to rise. Gun Jack,
the giant robot, was sitting up, though its mechanical torso twitched and showed electric streaks.
Jane was working frantically on a circuit panel in the back of its head.
Shingo Yabuki and Goro Daimon remained motionless. I
think Daimon had passed out from the trauma of two broken legs. As for Shingo, I feared he was
near death. I was too far away to see whether he was still breathing.
What I did see was a shape that materialized out of
nowhere, seized Shingo, and instantly disappeared with him. It reappeared, grabbed Daimon, and
repeated its vanishing act. Then it manifested one more time, dropping out of midair; a
nigh-invisible outline, swiftly filled by the moonlit sparkle of its full-body armor. In its left hand
sword that glowed supernatural green. The weapon looked sharp enough to cleave souls in half,
yet it was merely a natural part of its wielder.
He was teleporting the grievously wounded to safety.
"It wasn't a direct lie, though. Just an implied lie."
Warping through space took a severe toll on Yoshimitsu,
though. When he drew his sword, it was not a fully coordinated motion. It was jittery, weakened.
His masked face turned my way; he was not looking at my dream-self, but rather at my sleeping
body. When he tried to approach my insensate form, he stumbled.
Before he could cross the rest of the distance to reach me,
the Toshin closed in on him.
"I lied when I pretended that... that I resented being set up
for an arranged marriage. Because it wasn't really the idea of getting married that rankled
Lee rushed to Yoshimitsu's defense, but this time, he didn't
lead the rest of the Iron Fist warriors in an en masse attack. Even if they had all been at full
strength, Lee probably remembered what had happened the last time he tried such a tactic against
the God of War.
"You've never seen how my cousin gets when he has leave
coming, to go home to his wife. You probably don't know him well enough to tell the difference
in him, but I do. I have."
Yoshimitsu hit the Toshin with a quick punch and two
slower, swinging uppercuts. The monster hardly flinched. When the masked swordsman
performed a pair of spinning high kicks, the Toshin ducked underneath them-
"He loves her. She loves him. They're so happy, when
-but before it could retaliate, Lee charged its other side,
lifting it out of its crouch with the mirror of Yoshimitsu's swinging uppercut. Yoshimitsu poked at
the monster with a low kick, even as Lee hit it with a copy of Yoshimitsu's last two high kicks,
down to the bizarre, full-body rotations after each blow.
"I... I would have given anything, for happiness like that.
Or even a chance at happiness."
Yoshimitsu whipped his sword in a series of slashes. As did
Lee, mimicking the masked warrior exactly two steps removed, as surely as if he had absorbed
As surely as if he had absorbed Yoshimitsu's soul.
"But the House Ishida is duty-bound to the House
Mishima. Every generation, we must give them a warrior servant. A servant who lives for the
House Mishima, and dies for the House Mishima."
Yoshimitsu ran the Toshin through with his glowing green
sword. Lee's shining white Sword of Truth joined it - I didn't know the name of his weapon then,
but even in darkness and mayhem, I could feel its reverberations affecting my mind. Lee and
Yoshimitsu twisted their weapons, then yanked them back out, in stilted synchrony.
"Last generation, it was my father. He died for Kazuya
Mishima, when I was six years old."
The God of War did not fall. It scarcely showed any blood.
Its two-clawed arm shoved Lee away. Its snake-arm swung in an unbelievably fast overhead slap,
as it crouched and lunged for Yoshimitsu. The Toshin's serpent hand crashed soundly on the
masked swordsman's head. Yoshimitsu's skull might have been crushed, if not for his flat-topped
+YOUR SOUL IS NOT
OF THIS WORLD!+
As the Toshin rose from its thunderous slap, it kicked its
left, two-toed leg vertically up and then down again, eerily reminiscent of a Mishima-style karate
axe kick. The Toshin's foot-claws sliced through Yoshimitsu's armor like a ghastly can opener,
gashing the dazed swordsman. Yoshimitsu fell back on the floor, bleeding profusely, and did not
move. He was incapable of teleporting anyone else to safety.
"I can hardly remember anything about my father, or what
he was like. The worst part is that when other people remember him - if he's remembered at all -
it's as a traitor of the Great Invasion. My father died for the monster that was Devil Kazuya;
therefore, my father was a monster. Never mind that he had next to no choice. Never mind that
refusing to serve Kazuya would have cost him his honor, his life, and probably the lives of his
family. His doom was set by forces beyond his control, long before he was born, and his
damnation stays to this day. His own widow - my mother - never speaks of him anymore.
Lee Chaolan spread his wings, and took to the sky.
So did the Toshin.
"It wasn't that I didn't want to get married. It was that if...
if I took a wife, and we had a child... there was a good chance I'd end up leaving them, like my
father left my mother and me. A woman who marries into the House Ishida knows she's likely to
become a widow, but it's just not fair to abandon your own child like that. I remember. I
The angel and the behemoth clashed in midair. The Toshin
was larger and stronger, but Lee was faster and more agile. Lee swooped and dived, narrowly
avoiding the Toshin's fiery breath. Slipping behind his enemy, he raked its back with his glowing
"But even worse... if I were to take a wife, and we had a
son, then he would be the next designated to pledge himself to the House Mishima. He would
never be able to control his destiny, or pursue his dreams; he would have to sacrifice everything
he had. His life. His freedom. Maybe even his own identity."
The Toshin could not propel its entire bulk as swiftly as
Lee flew. It was the monster's serpent arm that shot after the retreating angel, extending faster
than wings of Heaven. Fevered red serpent-eyes blazed in the darkness. Venomous serpent-fangs
plunged into Lee's chest, piercing his silver chainmail. Suspended in midair, the Toshin held the
angel in its lethal grip.
The Toshin's serpent-hand clenched its jaws. There came a
crunching sound. Lee couldn't scream; the Toshin's poison robbed his voice.
+YOUR SOUL IS
MORE TROUBLE THAN IT IS WORTH.+
The Toshin retracted its serpent-hand.
For the second time that night, the angel fell from the sky.
For the second time that night, he no longer looked like a celestial being when he hit the ground.
He had again reverted to the bullet-scarred form of Detective Bryan Fury, his mortal host.
Bryan convulsed, on the floor. His mouth worked. His
limbs contorted. He could fight no longer.
"Hell, even if all I had were daughters, the House Mishima
would still lay claim to at least one of them, and... and twist her like it twisted Taki. You don't
know it, but that woman didn't start out spiteful. Her viciousness has nothing to do with her
mutant blood; it was the House Mishima that sickened her. She's had to serve them ever since she
was thirteen - she ages faster than human beings, and she looked like an adult even then, but she
was only a child. Her contract with the House Mishima devoured her from inside out, before she
could finish growing up."
Aloft upon its mighty aerial vantage, the Toshin
regurgitated fire on its enemies below. It targeted King and Armor King, the masked wrestlers
who had humiliated it earlier. King barely helped his teacher out of the conflagration's path in
time; their costumes still caught alight. They had to drop and roll on the floor, struggling to
smother the flames. The Toshin settled back on the ground, folding its wings, even as a new
challenger rushed to attack it.
"I just couldn't do that, to my son or my daughter. I
couldn't condemn a child to grow up like Taki. Or like me."
It's so clear in my mind. I remember the youthful
teacher-in-training, dressed in a spotless white shirt with a lithe Chinese dragon embroidered on
I remember his eager, bright-faced expression, as he nailed the Toshin with - oh, don't ask me
how he did it. He just extended his left hand an inch less than the range of a normal punch, while
his right hand retracted in a one-inch counterbalance motion close to his chest. It was as if he
embedded the concentrated Power of all his life-force into that one inch.
The Toshin buckled.
Getting skewered by supernatural swords hadn't fazed it,
yet it buckled from Forest's one-inch punch.
"And now, my cousin's wife... Mariko... she's four months
pregnant. It's a boy."
Paul Phoenix seized advantage of the Toshin's
I remember the glitter of the Toshin's malevolent light,
reflected on the flame-decals of Paul's biker leathers. The battle-hardened veteran practically
rammed his elbow down the Toshin's throat. With a deep-chested shout, he barreled into the
monster again, twice as hard. He was practically squatting, with his knees like corners of a square,
as he swept his muscular arm upwards. Paul's fist connected with the Toshin's jaw, and its buckle
became a backwards reel. Paul Phoenix sprang away, as swiftly as he had struck.
"He didn't know. He hasn't been allowed to see her for the
past three months. She told him just last Christmas, when the young master let us use the
vid-phones. It was why she had stopped sending letters to her husband, for a while. She was
of how he'd take the news."
Forest Law leaped in Paul's place - no, more than that, he
catapulted himself in a flip, just so he could land next to the reeling Toshin in time. Sparks of
blue-white Chi danced on his fists as he followed up his mentor's attack. With a high-pitched
battle shriek to peel away the Temple's gilding, Forest lunged at the God of War. He lashed it
with his sparkling fist, hurling the monster backwards. Its wings billowed, and it slammed against
one of the Temple's walls.
The Toshin folded in on itself. Its head bowed down to its
"I wanted to congratulate my cousin. I wanted to be happy
"Süp-fùn hó!" Forest laughed,
stepping back in a wide-legged stance and thrusting his fist in the sky.
"But all I could think of was... was how the House Kimura
is bound by the same obligations as the House Ishida. How his son would never have a chance, or
a choice - the House Mishima would claim the boy as its due, as soon as he was old enough to
stand and fight."
Forest's ebullience was misplaced.
The Toshin hadn't bowed its head from pain. It was
winding up for a new attack. I yelled a warning, not that anyone could hear me, not that it could
have made a difference. The monster rushed Forest with blinding speed, bringing its horned head
from down to up in a buffalo charge.
Forest never saw it coming.
It rammed him before his cheer died in his throat. Its horns
gored both sides of his torso, tearing his white shirt and spattering it with blood. The beast
scooped him into the air, and it wasn't content to let him land before it savaged him further. Its
ribbed wings spread, propelling it into Forest's falling body; its clawed left leg kicked, pummeling
him. The beast turned in midair, slicing Forest with another kick from its scaly right leg, and
snapped its left leg again in an airborne repeat of that Mishima-style axe kick.
The Toshin landed, with fresh blood staining its hind
Forest struggled to get up.
His monstrous enemy could have eviscerated him, but it
chose not to. Instead, it flapped its vast wings for renewed aerial lift.
+YOUR SOUL WILL
Forest made it to his knees, but pain and shock crippled
him. He could not stand. He could not crawl. All he could do was stare, slack-jawed, at the
leviathan above. Its chest cavity bulged outward, as it inhaled a tremendous breath.
"But if a handful of years is all the boy has..."
"Forest!" Paul screamed, in mortal terror.
"...then he should at least know happiness while he has
Paul raced to reach the young man who had followed him
into the Iron Fist Tournament. Who had disobeyed family and left behind friends, to risk life and
limb in a corrupt blood-sport battlefield.
"He should have the chance to grow up knowing his own
Paul shoved his crippled protégé - just
poured everything he had into a smashing punch with his right fist, so forceful it hurled the young
martial artist across the room.
The Toshin vomited fire from on high.
"Mishima-sama... he almost destroyed my cousin along
with me. I couldn't let that happen. I just couldn't. Mariko needs her husband. Their son needs a
And Paul Phoenix became his namesake.
At least Forest didn't see it. He lost consciousness when he
landed from Paul's shove, I'm sure he did. But I saw. Caught in that dreamland horizon, I saw the
pyre of the Phoenix. White-hot flames engulfed his body, melting his leathers, and consuming his
vertical hair. He turned in a spastic reaction; his arms were like firebird wings, trailing burning
I think... I think it was so horrible that I screamed. Yes, I'm
certain of it. I screamed aloud, clawed at my hair, and shook with fright.
"That's how my cousin's father died," Mantarou mentioned,
detachedly observing the holocaust. "Incinerated by a were-dragon."
SHOULD HAVE BEEN MINE TO TAKE,+ the Toshin rumbled, alighting next to Paul's
I heard a roar of outrage from nearby.
It was hardly a human sound. It was the Anger of the Beast
that charged the Toshin, matching its monstrous bulk with animal strength.
King. The jaguar-masked wrestler.
The God of War was twice his size, and I can't estimate its
mass. Yet King seized it as if it were a merry-go-round, one arm gripping its hairy shoulder, the
other taking hold of a wing joint. With an extra burst of energy, King forced it to rush in a circle,
hurling it away-
-into the dark-skinned arms of Armor King, who defied the
laws of Gravity to catch the monster, heave it off the ground, and slam its horned head on the
But something also gave way inside of Armor King.
I don't know how old he was, or how healthy. Perhaps he
was ill. Perhaps, beneath that black panther mask and spike-studded costume, he was as sickly as
Lei Wulong. It would explain why Armor King never officially entered the Iron Fist Tournament
I make this speculation, because lifting the Toshin one last
time mortally strained something in the mysterious older wrestler. His muscles tensed from pain.
He leaned forward. A trickle of blood dripped from the mouth of his animal mask, forming tiny
spatters on the floor.
+YOUR SOULS HAVE
HARASSED ME FOR LONG ENOUGH!+
Whereas the God of War had already recovered; not a
scratch on its scaly, fur-patched skin. King scrambled to his teacher's aid, but the Toshin got
Armor King first.
It got him from behind.
Its fanged jaws closed on his neck. Its teeth ground
together as it shook Armor King, like a dog worrying a chew toy; first one way, then the other, so
viciously that the wrestler's mask loosened and his flailing body knocked King aside. The Toshin
slammed its once-proud victim on the floor.
Armor King's mask fell away from his face.
The lighting was poor, so that I can't describe him very
well. I just remember his dusky skin, his wavy black hair, and the scar over his left eye.
And the blood.
Streaming from the upper vertebrae of his spine, which was
twisted at an unnatural angle to the rest of his splayed body.
"That's how my father died," Mantarou noted. "An animal
broke his neck."
King's battle cry became a grief-stricken yowl, as he
lurched for the Toshin. He brought his right fist in an uppercut, powered by his whole body,
against the monster's blood-soaked mouth.
The Toshin seized him in mid-swing.
Its gargantuan arms, clawed-arm and snake-arm, grappled
the wrestler's torso. Snake-arm fangs injected deadly venom into the wrestler's side. King gasped
in pain, as the jaws of the Toshin's ogre-head crunched into his body cavity.
"I always knew that one day I'd share their fate. I just didn't
expect it to be for... for the sake of that girl."
There came a squealing battle cry, far too high-pitched to
be from King. My eyes widened when I saw the Toshin's latest adversary.
"Mistress Ling Xiaoyu."
The tiny fairy princess had regained enough strength to hit
the Toshin from behind. I never saw her get close to the monster; I just recall her Art of the
Phoenix. Her legs were in a wide stance, with her weight primarily on her back foot; her upper
body bent practically to ground level, and she raised her arms like feathery wings.
"She killed my friend Shiina, you know."
Xiaoyu clasped her slender hands together, and guided
them in a tremendous, rising hammer swing. thwack, right in the base of the Toshin's
"It was in self-defense, or so I hear. And what I hear is
probably true. She's not ruthless enough to wantonly murder anybody, while Shiina always was a
little too quick to play with his gun. But he was still my friend, and she destroyed him."
Immediately after her speedy assault, Xiaoyu ducked back
into the Art of the Phoenix, and then leaped straight up with a pair of scissor kicks - one, two,
snapping the balls of her delicate feet. She booted the Toshin so hard that it dropped King; shreds
of the wrestler's flesh remained dangling from its ogre-fangs, a gruesome remnant of its
King landed writhing, and clutching blood-soaked bite
marks in his abdomen. His movements became less and less, as shock progressively sank in.
"You'd think that I would hate her, wouldn't you? You'd
think that I wouldn't give a damn what happened to her."
+YOUR SOUL IS
PREOCCUPIED WITH MATERIAL POSSESSIONS!+
Though Xiaoyu's courageous assault had staggered the
Toshin, she had not toppled it. The monster stepped around her as she landed from her double
kick, and its serpent-hand sank its fangs into her right leg.
Xiaoyu shrieked as the Toshin picked her up, swung her,
and slammed her against the stone floor.
Because it had her by the foot, and not the neck... I think
that's what saved her life. Barely. By the time the Toshin let her go, her shrieks had stopped. Her
fight was over.
"It would have made sense, to feel that way. But it wasn't
how I actually felt, ever since I first saw her. Mistress Ling was so innocent. So childlike.
The God of War reached for Xiaoyu's soul.
"She was the daughter I knew I would never have."
There came the staccato blare of a gunshot. A bullet tore
into the Toshin's snake-arm. The appendage healed almost instantly, but the Toshin still reacted,
as it turned to confront the latest nuisance.
Jane had somehow gotten her giant robot operational
again. It was bent on one knee, recoiling from a bullet fired out of its hand; apparently, at least
one of its installed guns was working.
+YOU HAVE NO
The Toshin spread its arms and stiffened its back.
Fire poured from its open jaws.
"I couldn't be part of Mishima-sama's plan to murder her.
Or you. Or even the young master. He may be a Devil, but he didn't ask for his damnation, any
more than I did."
The Toshin turned left and right, the better to sweep its
flames. Jane screeched, and darted behind her mechanical friend.
Gun Jack's arms crossed over its chest. There was a
humming noise. A circular shield of blue energy protected the robot and its mistress from the
Toshin's avalanche of flame.
"So I turned my back on my duty. Lured my cousin away
from you, when you were obviously putting together a half-baked escape plan. Let you try your
best to get away."
But the fire was relentless. Wave after wave of it surged
from the Toshin's jaws, buffeting Gun Jack's shield.
"I knew I would have to pay a price, for what I did."
The blue globe of technological energy shrank. Gun Jack
The giant robot began to melt, a piece at a time. Jane could
not escape. Fire washed over both sides of Gun Jack's shield; the only way out would have been
through a curtain of flaming death.
"I'm just sorry for the price my cousin had to pay. For what
Mishima-sama put him through."
A final surge of hellfire sent the half-melted robot toppling
backwards. It made an oddly human cry as it fell on Jane, pinning her under its great weight.
Electric streaks coursed over it, shocking the trapped young woman. She promptly passed
"At least I don't... I don't have to worry about my mother.
She'll be fine. Hell, she'll probably be proud. Because her son died for the House Mishima,
carrying on the ancestral tradition..."
"Will you SHUT UP!?" I screamed, turning around
and yelling at him with all the wind in my dream-lungs.
I fear ghosts. I've always feared ghosts, though I have a
tighter rein on that fear than many of the Navajo tribe. I knew better than to look at this ghost, or
howl at him - such rash actions could only bring me one step closer to becoming a ghost myself,
whether through sickness or supernatural evil.
But at the time, I was forced to be a witness to slaughter.
Good people, noble fighters were falling prey to an abomination, and I was helpless to stop it.
Until I just snapped, and screamed my hysterical distress at the wraith that had once been
His teeth gritted, from a flash of anger.
His ill temper required too much exertion to sustain for
long, though. He bowed his head in despair. As if his strength was flowing out of him, along with
the blood that dripped endlessly from his flayed wrists, bound in chains of bone.
The ghost's snarl became a pained wince. He folded his
bleeding arms on his drawn knees, shivering from the agony of the movement.
"Americans," he muttered, as if it were a curse.
Mantarou closed his eyes, and clenched his teeth.
I realized something.
Something that didn't make sense, on any logical level. The
part of me that is always, always figuring out puzzles kicked into gear again, breaking through
shock and terror, overriding my fear of the ghost.
"Are... are you in pain?"
Mantarou opened his eyes.
"H-how can - you're dead, how can you feel pain?
Y-you don't have a body to feel pain with-!"
+YOUR SOUL IS
OBSESSED WITH ARTIFICE.+ From the corner of my eye, I saw the Toshin advance
on Jane. And I saw the pair of men who used its distraction to double-team it.
Eddy Gordo and Tiger Jackson.
They flanked the Toshin with a set of elaborate leaping,
dancing, and kicking attacks. Jumping in the air, turning, battering it with both feet and the full
mass of their bodies.
"What the hell do you care what I feel, or how I feel it?"
Mantarou's question wasn't as spiteful as you might think. He was too drained to put any real
bitterness into the words.
His countenance reverted to weary despair.
"Lee says it's because I'm trapped," the ghost sighed,
looking at his chains soaked with spirit-blood. "Like Kazuya used to trap souls in the Mishima
syndicate. The rest is just a metaphor."
My flinch became a shudder.
My shudder became a memory.
I remembered my mother's death, as I had once seen it
through Catsclaw's eyes. And I remembered what had happened to her after she died.
For two weeks after Lee Chaolan murdered her, Michelle
Chang was one of Kazuya's three thousand captive souls. One of the victims whose torture fueled
his vile necromancy.
This ghost was a victim, too. His death was only the first
part of his suffering.
Like my mother had suffered...
"Hey," Mantarou curtly interjected. "Stop it. Stop it
I couldn't help myself. I was crying.
A single tear brimmed from my eye, and coursed down my
"I mean it!" the ghost demanded, and for a wavering
moment, he regained a little of the bad temper he once had in life. "I don't want any damned pity
from the likes of you, you got that? You cut that out!"
+YOUR SOUL IS
POISONED WITH THE NEED FOR REVENGE!+
I turned my face away from the ghost, in time to see Eddy
Gordo restraining the Toshin from behind. The capoeira master in dreadlocks had lashed his burly
legs around the monster's neck; it boomed its judgement to him, and thrashed so hard that it
slammed Gordo into an adjacent wall. Golden bricks smacked Gordo's head. He slipped,
unconscious, from the beast.
Gordo's efforts had bought Tiger Jackson a precious extra
second, though. The retro-style capoeira master turned in a clockwise spiral. He folded as he
spun, concentrating his essence in a pair of deadly leaping kicks - right-left, one immediately after
the other, while keeping his upper body flatly parallel to the ground. The Toshin staggered, and
I stifled a sob, and whispered to Mantarou's ghost.
"I said we'll free you!" I exclaimed, injury and
passion seeping into my voice. "We're going to set you free - you won't have to suffer like this for
"Didn't anyone teach you not to promise things you can't
+YOUR SOUL WILL
FEED MY HUNGER!+
Tiger Jackson screamed.
All I remember of it is the blood. The Toshin's ogre-head
and snake-arm had each dug their fangs into Jackson's body, and...
I didn't watch the Toshin rend Jackson apart. I'd turned my
face away in horror. Even talking to a ghost was better than the living nightmare before me.
"We're going to free you," I repeated to Mantarou,
hoarsely. "We'll make a Guardian of Paradise break you out of those chains-"
The shadow of living ire dissipated from his miserable face.
"Yeah, I heard. You think you can hunt down the remains of some long-dead angel, Vivaldi or
Vivacoca or something-"
"Vivarexis, the Dragon Eternal."
"Crazy girl. Even if you could find this thing's grave, you
have no idea how to resurrect it, do you?"
+YOUR SOUL IS
I did not want to see this.
I knew in my heart to whom the Toshin spoke, and I didn't
know what to do. No matter how much I tried, I couldn't wake up. I couldn't fight, couldn't
communicate, all I could do was watch and I didn't want to see. I didn't want to see the fate of the
Toshin's next victim.
My neck turned in spite of myself. My heart caught in my
throat; emotion choked my breath, and renewed tears gathered in my eyes. I saw the person upon
whom the God of War fixed its insatiable gaze. I saw him shuddering, barely recovered enough to
My love for him was useless. It could not save him from
the monster. Nothing could save him, except for the secret I had no way to share.
Jin! I thought, as hard as I could. JIN!
No answer. Either he couldn't hear my thoughts while I
was in this dream-state, or he wasn't listening. He couldn't respond with a telepathic link to my
mind. And I'm not a telepath; awake or asleep, I couldn't link my mind to his.
"You," Jin said to the Toshin. "You killed my
+YOUR SOUL HAS
"I'll send you to HELL!" Jin raged, lurching to attack the
But he would lose.
I knew he would lose to the monster. Perhaps he could
hurt it, like the other Iron Fist warriors had hurt it, but not for long. The Toshin was Immortal.
I could not watch this.
There was only one way for this fight to end, and it would
be with Jin's death. To see him burning like Paul, or broken like Armor King, or pulled apart like
I couldn't face that. I just couldn't.
"Look here, girl. If you really want to help me, then... then
you talk to the young master, when you have the chance. Ask him to take care of my cousin, and
"Jin would do that anyway," I whispered. "But the Toshin
is going to kill him."
"Nothing you can do about that."
"Yes, there is!" I cried. "I know how to stop the
Toshin, except I - I can't wake up! I can't wake up!" For perhaps the tenth time, I vainly
tried to shake my sleeping body. My dream-self could not touch it.
The ghost's eyebrows rose, a little.
Jin cried out in pain.
As hard as I tried not to look, I still caught a glimpse of the
Toshin's snake-arm curled around his throat. The beast hurled him to the stone floor, so hard his
body turned heels over head. Jin came to rest face-down.
+I MUST HAVE
"WHEAAAAH-!" wailed a desperate, sickness-ravaged
Detective Lei Wulong.
He was in no condition to fight. He shouldn't have
been able to stand; he had to keep his legs spread wide and his shoulders square to avoid toppling
over, as surely as to match the form of his Phoenix Style. Yet he charged the monster, with a
succession of razor-fast punches, just as I had once seen him use in a fight against Jin - was it only
three weeks ago?
Lei Wulong's spirit did not fail him. It was his dying body
that robbed his blows of all strength. The legendary Super Police was reduced to little more than a
tsetse fly. Yet, even an insect can sting.
The Toshin turned its brutish head.
BELONGS WITH THE REST OF THE DEMONS!+
Wulong assumed the Art of the Tiger.
Retracting his last punch, he brought his fists up, just
below the level of his face, with his arms pointing forward. His elbows bent slightly down, and his
hands opened, fingers together and upraised. His legs curved, back leg bent and resting on the ball
of his foot, front leg with the knee one-quarter folded and resting on a flat foot. He was the
crouching great cat, that stalks its prey in solitude.
"You murdered my wife," growled the Tiger.
The Toshin sucked in its breath. Sparks and flamelets
whistled about its mouth, in preparation for another blazing inferno.
The Tiger swiped with its vengeful claws.
Wulong raked his flexed fingers across the Toshin's right
eye. The God of War towered so tall that the detective had to use an overhead strike, mauling the
Toshin's fevered orb like a great cat batting its prey.
The Toshin bellowed - from pain, frustration, or outrage, I
could not tell.
Wulong's own eyes flashed blood-red. Hellfire eyes.
Wulong swayed backwards. Far back. His spine curved
with feline flexibility. At first, I thought the Toshin's roar had overwhelmed him; then the
detective channeled his entire body into a full-force headbutt. Right in the Toshin's
The God of War actually wobbled. Its wings flexed,
Wulong tried to follow up his self-made opening with
another attack, but his sickness returned to wrack him with coughs. His kick became a feet-first
slide; he literally fell backward as he scuffed the monster with his right heel. Wulong refused to let
his illness stop his fight; still coughing, he skidded forward on his back, stabbing the beast with his
other heel. Then he turned stomach-down, using his hands to brace against the floor while he
kicked high with his left leg, so fierce as to make the Toshin stagger.
Not bad for a dying man, wouldn't you say?
But it wasn't good enough. Nothing would have been good
The Toshin turned in a circle, whipping its scaly tail close
to the floor. Its sinuous appendage struck Wulong with gargantuan strength, slapping him several
yards across the stone.
Wulong's coughing became so thick that it utterly crippled
him. He could not get up a second time.
It was Jin who rose to his feet.
Drained of blood from the sacrifice ritual, he rose. Bruised
and battered, he rose. His legs wobbled; blood dribbled from his mouth; claw-rents and bleeding
gashes scored his navy blue dress suit. Perhaps worst of all, his left arm hung limp and
unresponsive, as if it were dislocated. Yet despite his anguish, he rose.
He rose to challenge the God of War.
"You," he said to the Toshin. "You killed my
The monster turned its repulsive face.
Jin seized his own left arm with his right hand...
It took me by surprise. Jin just set his teeth in a ferocious
grimace, held his numb arm, and slammed his own shoulder into the Temple wall.
Indigo electricity flared about his limb.
Then, slowly, Jin raised a defensive guard with both hands.
Right and left.
His arm wasn't dislocated anymore.
+YOUR SOUL HAS
GROWN STRONG INDEED.+
"I'LL SEND YOU TO HELL!" Jin repeated,
consumed by his own fury.
Mantarou snapped, "Hey! Pay attention!"
"Wh-what?" I stammered, looking back to him.
"I said, here's the deal. I wake you up, you get rid of that
ugly monster, and you make sure the young master looks after my cousin. Got that?"
"Y-you can do that? You can wake me up?"
"Do we have a deal or not!?"
He leaned close to my dream-self, adjusting his posture to
rest on one knee. I cringed, wanting to hide from his pallid, bloodless face, but I was too
frightened to move. And too desperate to refuse.
"Okay," I whimpered.
"On the count of three, you hear? One..."
I cast my eyes down, to the sacrificial pit filled with
"Two... look at me, girl. Look at me."
I raised my head.
And he slapped me.
Open-handed blow, on the left cheek of my dream-face.
Spirit-blood flew from his savaged wrist, and his bone-chains rattled in a hideous cacophony. It
was so fast I had no time to react, and so jarring that it made me dizzy. My head spun. My teeth
My eyes whisked open.
A sticky sensation permeated my hair. Heaven's Dagger
throbbed in my right hand.
I was awake.
Lying in the sacrificial pit where I had fallen. Aching,
shaken, and biting my tongue from the aftershock of being slapped. But I was awake, and Jin
needed my help.
I didn't stop to thank the ghost that I could no longer see.
There was no time, and any platitudes would have been valueless. The only way I could truly
thank him would be to keep my promise.
And to release him from his prison.
This I vowed I would do.
What do you mean, our time is up? There was a time limit?
Do you have another appointment to keep?
So. Jin finally caught up with you.
Mm-hm. Have your interviews been going all right? You...
you haven't been triggering his memory block too much, have you?
You should be able to talk to him about the Toshin. I think.
It shouldn't trip his memory block. The worst part didn't happen to him until after the monster was
Because even though the Toshin almost killed Jin, it
attacked him only from without. Lee had to black out Jin's memories as a last resort against an
even deadlier enemy. An enemy that neither logic, nor love, nor Heaven's Dagger could
The enemy within.
INTERVIEW WITH JIN KAZAMA, section 8
February 22, 2018
Thank you for coming.
I was half afraid you'd skip out on me. I know you're
reluctant to interview me anymore, and I'm finally beginning to figure out why. The real reason
And the reason behind the reason.
There's an emptiness in my mind. Whenever I try to think
too hard about certain things... usually, I just get a blank slate. Lately, though, bits and pieces
have begun to filter through. Sometimes they're enough to get a general idea, but so many parts
are missing. Gone. Even though I'm sure they used to be there, once.
I have to talk to Lee and Julia about this, and it has to be
videotaped in case I black out. Can you get the equipment set up by tomorrow evening?
Have you decided whether you'd be willing to mediate? Or
just observe? It would be helpful to have your input. At the very least, someone has to work the
Um. I didn't think about that.
All... all right. You have my tentative permission to include
tomorrow's discussion in your record, providing that Lee and Julia agree. I don't think they'd have
any reason to refuse, though.
Okay. Now for my interview. What do you need me to talk
No, it's all right. I was just thinking...
This is one part of the record that I want to set straight.
Because you see, I've been hailed as the hero who
vanquished the God of War. I've even been credited with saving the world. The truth is, I've been
getting more credit than I deserve.
I want to let the world know what really happened. Who
they should really thank. I'm honored to have my contribution recognized, but you have to
understand, that's all it was. A contribution.
Because if it had just been me against the Toshin - or
Grandfather and me against the Toshin, as we had originally planned - then I would have failed.
We would have failed. Perhaps we would have doomed the Earth.
Has Julia already told you about this?
It's just as well. I know that she saw everything around her
in a dream-state. Her account of the battle against the Toshin is probably a lot more accurate than
mine would be. After all, I'd lost a lot of blood right before the monster showed up, and I hovered
in and out of consciousness during parts of its murderous rampage.
What I remember most clearly is the second time I took its
true form on in single combat. After my father Wulong pushed his dying body past its limits,
to buy me a little more time.
It was his cancer that felled him, more than anything the
Toshin did. Leaving me to face the God of War alone.
I was the last person standing. Everyone else was injured,
dying, or dead.
I remember screaming that I would send the Toshin to
Hell. Here was the monster that had murdered my mother, and destroyed my life; I hated it with a
vengeance that can't be aptly put into words. It wasn't just that I wanted it dead. I wanted it to
suffer; I wanted to make it hurt like it hurt me. Like it hurt my mother.
The need to avenge her fueled me, invigorating my body
and galvanizing my soul. It didn't matter that this beast had crushed practically everyone else in
the Iron Fist. It didn't matter that I'd failed against the monster before. I wanted to hurt it, and I
wanted to kill it, and that was all that mattered.
So I charged the Toshin with brute force, channeling my
hatred into my Ki, just like Grandfather had taught me to do. Stepping far forward, I speared the
Toshin's gut with my right fist. Hitting it once was not enough to slake my thirst for vengeance; it
wasn't even enough to wet my throat. I alternated hands, punching the Toshin's scaled underbelly
twice more, each time more intense than the last.
The God of War retaliated with the mirror of my own
A precise reflection of my form, my stance, and my swing -
better than precise, it was an improvement. Effortlessly compensating for the differences in its
inhuman body. Concentrating its force more severely than I ever could have. The Toshin struck
me in the solar plexus, just as I had struck it.
That put a stop to my fight.
The shock on my system was too great. I cried out in
reflex, and clutched at my tormented intestines. My legs were no longer functioning. They folded,
leaving me on my knees before the monster that yearned to devour my soul.
This was when Julia hit it from behind.
I didn't get an extended look at her, because I was too busy
collapsing, but I do have a freeze-frame image in my mind. I remember Julia in her white bridal
dress, spattered with blood, poised with her right arm lifted high. She clutched Heaven's Dagger
in her right hand; the artifact gleamed luminous gold, with flashes of inset ruby-red. And I
remember the courage on her face; raw determination equal to my own, yet with a crucial
She was free of hatred.
It was not rage, revenge, or even pride that led her to
ambush the Toshin. Only one desire flared in her soul, and that was to protect those most dear to
her. She was not fighting to settle a personal score. She was fighting to save the world.
With her purpose guiding her hand, she buried Heaven's
Dagger in the Toshin's back.
The result was cataclysmic.
All of our other attacks - fists, feet, weapons, and sorcery -
had done little more than annoy the monster. Its rate of self-healing was phenomenal; even when a
few Iron Fist warriors succeeded in injuring the beast, it reconstituted the damage within seconds.
Yet when Julia attacked the Toshin, it was not merely hurt. It was flailing in agony. A fiery glow
surrounded it, as bright as the radiance from Heaven's Dagger.
I struggled to get back up. To take advantage while the
Toshin was helpless.
I wasn't quite fast enough.
The monster spasmed, wildly. Its heavy reptilian tail
collided with Julia, hurling her away. She hit the wall of the Toshin's Temple.
She hit the wall so hard...
It was a miracle she didn't lose consciousness. Or perhaps
it wasn't completely a miracle; perhaps Professor Yabuki's training had taught her how to weather
She was still hurt.
The Toshin raged and flapped its wings, without
summoning enough leverage to fly. Its fiery coating burned, but the flames were becoming
dimmer. The source of the Toshin's pain - Heaven's Dagger - had been ripped out of its body, and
the damage would soon heal. Julia clutched her weapon in a tremulous grip, as she slumped to the
I raced to her side. I think her vision was blurry, and she
couldn't quite focus on me.
"Jin..." she murmured.
"Hold still. I'll heal you," I whispered, touching her head -
she had an awful concussion, and her back had taken a hard jolt-
It wasn't that I consciously established a telepathic rapport
with her. The moment I touched her, she concentrated her will into a singleness of thought. Her
determination was so great that I would have been hard-pressed to ignore it, even with my
strongest mental barrier.
Julia's hand shook, as if with a palsy. She held out Heaven's
Dagger to me, hilt first.
I'm not leaving you like this, I thought back,
through our link. I can heal her, I know I can heal her, I just - just have to focus - have to
summon up the strength-
If you don't stop the Toshin now, we are
Again, it wasn't just that she thought it through the link.
The emotional drive behind her words was so intense, so riveting, that I had to stop and listen. I
had to accept that she was right.
Then lie still, I thought back, accepting her gift of
Heaven's Dagger. I'll heal you as soon as I destroy that monster!
Jin, wait! Before you can use Heaven's Dagger, you have
to know that the Toshin is really-
A wave of pain from Julia's injuries unbalanced her,
interrupting her center of thought. Ripples of her suffering affected me too, though I did my best
to get past it and face the God of War.
The fire on its body had gone out.
Its fevered red eyes fixated on Julia.
+YOUR SOUL HAS
GROWN STRONGER THAN EVER!+
That was all the distraction I needed. Lunging for the
Toshin, I screamed "I'll send you to HELL!"
I plunged Heaven's Dagger into its shaggy throat...
...and I may as well have nicked it with a pocket knife.
There was no golden fire. No backlash of injury from the
monster. There was nothing. It registered me as little more than an irritating flicker, just as it had
when I'd fought it with my bare hands.
+YOUR SOUL IS AS
PERSISTENT AS IT IS STRONG!+
The beast jerked its shaggy head back, withdrawing its
neck from the knife, and now it was swinging its massive tail at me. It spun its whole body
around, using centripetal force to accelerate the blow that crashed me into the wall, next to
It was hardly the first pain I'd felt, or the most intense, but
it still hurt. On top of everything else.
The Toshin spun its body in another revolution. Its tail
slammed me a second time, sandwiching me between demon scales and hard stone.
This hurt more.
I was close to passing out again. Dangerously close. I
knew that I was dead if I lost consciousness, but in the time it took for me to have that thought, I
was already on one knee. Whereas the Toshin was rapidly healing its cut throat; in a few more
seconds, it would attack me again, and I...
...I didn't know how to fight it...
Why wasn't Heaven's Dagger working!? It worked for
Julia; why wasn't it working for-
Jin. You need the Toshin's true name.
I know its name.
Julia clasped my free hand in her own.
Her touch, combined with her raw willpower, did more
than just strengthen our telepathic link. It deepened the bond, interlaced our feelings. I was
thinking her thoughts almost as much as hearing them.
Julia showed me the Toshin's name.
It may sound simple to you. After all, a name is just a label,
isn't it? Nothing more than a collection of spoken or written syllables. So that all Julia had to do
was tell me the correct label, and with that collection of syllables in mind, I could use Heaven's
Dagger to vanquish the Toshin. Right?
A real name... a true name...
In matters of sorcery and the soul, a true name is more than
a spoken word. It is what you are. It is your essence, your definition; the values that shape
you, the drives that move you, and the vices you succumb to.
A true name isn't merely a label applied to you. A true
name is you, just as you are your true name. And if I do not have some idea of what you
actually are, inside and out... then as far as my sorcery is concerned, your name may as well be a
string of nonsense syllables.
My mother taught me all this, a long time ago. She taught
me how name-specific spells, or even normal means of persuasion, are always stronger if you
know the true nature of what you are trying to influence. Julia knew this too; I think Catsclaw
taught her. And so, Julia showed me what she had to, in order to make me understand. In a
consolidated eyeblink, she showed me a collage of her memories, and foremost among them were
her very recent memories of Lee Chaolan.
I saw him through Julia's eyes, heard him through her ears,
remembered him as if her memories were my own. They were my own. They always would
I listened to what Lee had told her, and I understood the
Only I didn't understand.
It was not on any rational level that I resisted what Julia
was showing me. If I had been thinking clearly, I would have realized that she had to be right,
because she had just used her knowledge to damage the Toshin.
No, I did not deny the Truth out of logic. It was blind
emotion - rage, grief, and madness - that made me refute what was real.
The Toshin had murdered my mother. It destroyed my
happiness, my whole world. It left me helpless and angry and crying inside, because I failed to
save my mother, I was too weak to save her. This beast was a foul thing, an unholy abomination.
It could not be what Julia claimed it was!
This could not be true!
I was staring at the monstrosity even now; at its grotesque
body, and at the black vortex of hunger inside it. I could not believe - I refused to believe-
The knife-wound in the Toshin's throat was gone, by that
time. Fully healed. The monster was closing in on us.
It was going to murder us and take our souls. Heaven's
Dagger, the only weapon that could hurt it, rested in my hand. But I could not believe, could not
accept the knowledge I needed to use the artifact.
Again, Julia took control of the link. In the time it takes to
inhale, she showed me the evidence for what she knew.
I heard the Toshin's true voice, resonating its message
deeper than thought.
I heard Lee Chaolan's true voice, resonating its message
deeper than thought.
I saw the Toshin copying the attack of Anna Williams.
I saw Lee copying the shield spell of Professor
I saw the Toshin recovering from mortal wounds.
I saw Lee recovering from an explosion that had left
Professor Yabuki near death.
I saw the Toshin possessing Nina Williams, channeling
incredible Power through the assassin's mortal form.
I saw Lee Chaolan possessing Bryan Fury, channeling
incredible Power through the detective's mortal form.
Jin, think! Think about what you know! The Toshin is
deathless and powerful; it can mimic people's moves, regenerate its injuries, control mortal
vassals, and it has an abiding interest in souls! Who else is that like?
Yet it was Julia's strength of will, even more than her logic,
that forced me to consider the Truth. To actually hold and contemplate it, rather than dismiss it
out of hand.
It still seemed unbelievable. So unbelievable that if it were
-if it really were true-
Then Heaven had committed an unspeakable crime.
Though I understood why Julia might be correct, it was so
hard for me to accept - so hard to believe that this was what had killed my mother - that I needed
to confirm it. Personally.
+I MUST HAVE
Raising my head, I matched the Toshin's fevered stare.
I said, "Is this true?"
I knew that the God of War was sensing our thoughts. It
was telepathic like me, and it constantly used its Power to read the souls of its enemies. So that I
did not have to explain what I meant. The Toshin knew.
The jaws of its snake-arm distended, wide enough to
swallow a man.
"Is this true?" I repeated, stronger. "Are you the
same as Lee Chaolan!?"
The Toshin roared.
Not like before. Not out of pain, or animal reflex.
Spreading its wings their full width, it roared. Throwing
back its shaggy head and dropping its fanged lower jaw, it roared. Bracing its legs and lashing its
tail, it roared. Shooting a skyward gout of flame, it roared.
+I AM INFINITELY
GREATER THAN THAT PUNY SOUL!+
It was insulted.
It was mortally insulted. When I compared it to Lee, it
reacted with such contempt - such outrage - that I knew Julia was right. She had been right all
Now, I knew what Julia knew. I knew what the Toshin
was. I knew its true name.
Knowledge is Power.
Power even greater than the God of War.
And so, in that timeless moment... in that moment between
worlds and lives, birth and death... in that moment when the Toshin vomited fire to the full moon
above... I plunged Heaven's Dagger into its exposed chest.
Into its very heart.
A brilliant gold conflagration sprang from the point of
Again, the golden glow enveloped the Toshin. Flame, its
wings; flame, its limbs; flame, its fur; and flame, its fevered eyes. The fire burned, and seared, and
held it to my will. Though it thrashed like the speared game animal it was, I held my ground, and I
focused my Power.
My sorcery - normal sorcery - was useless against the
Toshin. But not the sorcery of Heaven's Dagger.
"By your victims' blood do I bind you," I told it, absolute
and irrefutable. "By the Strength of my soul do I bind you."
boomed, flailing its wings without lift, contorting its limbs without being able to pull free. +NO, YOUR SOUL CANNOT DARE TO HOLD
"By your own true name do I bind you!"
The Toshin howled an ululating cry.
"VIVAREXIS!" I screamed, and the fire consumed
The Toshin was mine.
Bound to me. Under my control. Imprisoned in flaming
agony, slave to my will.
For a time.
HOLD ME LIKE THIS FOREVER!+
I could hold it for long enough, though. Long enough to
have what I wanted. Anything I wanted.
What I wanted was for it to feel pain.
This monster had destroyed my mother. I wanted it to hurt,
the way it hurt her. The way it hurt me. I wanted it to suffer, I wanted it to burn, and I
was glad it burned.
Then, I wanted it to die.
But it wouldn't die.
It burned before me, the fire of Heaven's Dagger holding it
in excruciating torment, but it would not die.
It would not die!
Why wasn't it dying? Why couldn't I kill it?
"WHAT is wrong!?" I shrieked, to the monster I'd been too
weak to save my mother from. "WHY WON'T YOU DIE!?"
Julia took my free hand.
She must have crawled to my side. I could feel the
affliction in her, the pins and needles running through her back; she was incapable of standing
upright. Yet she had resisted the hurt, and the shock, and the strain; she'd overcome all of it to
drag herself on her elbows. She reached for my hand, and clasped my hand, and only then did I
realize she was calling me.
Vivarexis is Word-bound to Eternity. He can't be
"No," I sobbed.
I was crying, I think. No, I'm sure of it. I'd devoted myself
to this. Ever since the Toshin murdered my mother, four and a half years ago, I had dedicated my
life to destroying it. My body and soul had been trained, honed, focused on one goal: revenge. I
had to kill the Toshin, killing it was what I lived for, I had to-
+I MUST HAVE
The Toshin was railing against its cage of fire. But it wasn't
the monster's strength that eroded the prison; it was my own weakness. Holding the Toshin bound
exacted a monumental strain, fast depleting my final reserves.
Jin. You can't destroy the Toshin, but you can end its
menace. You're the only one who can save us from it. You're the only one who can save the
If I couldn't kill it - if it couldn't be killed - then
how? How could I...?
Again, it was not reason that prompted me to think that - I
was well past any rational frame of mind, perhaps even pushing the limits of sanity.
Vivarexis is sick. An eon ago, he fell to the Entropy of
the Shao Kahn, and it corrupted him. You need to heal him. You have to heal him.
This thing had murdered my mother! How could I - how
could Julia expect me to-
To reward it?
To repay its slaughter with kindness?
Jin, look. Look at it.
I looked at the horrific monstrosity, burning in a cage of
No. Not with your eyes. Look with your mind. Look
with your Power.
Look beneath the surface.
Look into its soul.
But it wasn't just that I looked.
Julia's link with me was so strong - so close - that I saw the
Toshin through her eyes. Through her soul. And her soul was...
Free of hatred.
I... I hated the Toshin for killing my mother, but
Julia had also lost her mother. Her mother Michelle Chang,
who died at the hands of Kazuya Mishima and Lee Chaolan. At the hands of my family. Yet Julia
had learned not to hate my family. She had learned to forgive Kazuya, for being possessed by the
Devil. She had learned to forgive Lee Chaolan, for living in fear of the Devil. And she learned to
forgive me, for having the blood of...
...no, I'm fine. Damn. Although, I guess I'm lucky I went
for this long, without losing my train of thought.
What I'm trying to say, is that Julia knew how to let go of
her hatred. And she tried to show me how to let go. She showed me...
She showed me the Toshin.
Guided my own Power, and helped me peer into its
Into its damnation.
Into the boiling black vortex that contaminated it. Into the
Entropy that defiled its flesh and strangled its spirit.
She showed me its Hell.
This was the Truth behind the Toshin - the real Truth,
above and beyond all others. The Truth about the thing that had once been Vivarexis, strongest of
all the Guardians of Paradise.
The Truth, and the irony.
I had suffered. My mother had suffered. All the Toshin's
victims, dead and alive, had suffered terribly. But the real Truth - the ultimate irony - was that the
Toshin had suffered most cruelly of all.
Unable to escape. Unable to die. Poisoned and enslaved for
thousands of years, by the sickening touch of Entropy itself.
Jin, please, Julia begged, a plea of heartfelt
love and mercy. Won't you heal it?
Blinking away the last of my tears, I summoned my Power
It wasn't enough.
The Toshin's contamination was too deeply entrenched. Far
beneath the surface of its scaly skin, Entropy festered. Trying to cure it was like polishing the
outside of a rotten piece of fruit.
I redoubled my efforts.
My Power seeped through the outer layers of the Toshin's
essence. Heaven's Dagger amplified my will, and Julia gave freely of her own life-force. She was
my reagent, fueling my struggle against the void of Entropy.
It still wasn't enough.
I strained, and I strained. Reached with my Power, my
heart, and my soul. For Julia. Because I loved her, and her love for me had shown me the Truth. I
gave everything, and when that was gone, I reached into the store of my own life support, striving
to heal the Toshin.
It still wasn't enough...
...until I heard the singing.
It came from inside the destructive vortex I was trying to
heal. Had it been there all along? Or did it just begin when I...
...I knew this song. I knew the voice that was singing it.
Her melody was as clear, beautiful, and loving as it had been over four years ago.
As it had been a lifetime ago.
This was her favorite song to focus her Power of Healing.
It was the first spell she ever taught me.
Julia heard the song, too. She was so deeply linked to me
that she felt it through my mind.
Julia started singing in harmony.
Where did Julia learn to sing? I... I've been meaning to ask
her that for the longest time... you don't know, do you?
I'll have to ask her later, then.
It didn't matter where she learned, though. Technically, I
don't think it really mattered that she was singing. What made the difference was her strength. The
nobility, kindness, and love in her soul, supporting me. Just as my mother's soul was supporting
Only purity within and purity without could close the
wound that was Toshin.
Now, I hope you can understand why I wanted you to
make this record. And to make it public.
I'm popularly credited with defeating the God of War, and
ending its menace forever. That's not completely accurate, though. Yes, it was my hand that felled
the Toshin, and my Power that healed the Toshin, but I didn't cure it by myself. I couldn't
Julia Chang deserves the credit.
My mother deserves the credit.
I was just... the middleman.
The Toshin started to change.
It grew in size, doubling, tripling, expanding further. The
snake's head of its right arm split and lost its eyes; its fangs transformed into elegant claws. More
claws sprouted from the Toshin's left arm, and from its feet. The hair on its body fell away, except
for a lion's mane around its neck. Its midsection warped, becoming longer, more sinuous, with
powerful coils. Most of all, its face changed. Its horns bent backward. Its maxilla and mandible
protruded, while its skull flattened and became longer.
The sigils on the Toshin's snake-hand and left upper
shoulder started glowing. The green-black scales underneath the sigils flaked away, dissolving
into nothingness. Underneath the Toshin's grimy old covering shined the gleam of fresh scales,
scales that were a different color.
The white radiance spread, coating the beast's skin,
stretching from elongated jaws to reptilian tail. The holy glow reached its burning eyes...
...and at long last, the fever was gone.
Its eyes burned with pure white fire. Same as Lee
It was the Toshin no more.
I remember being on my knees. I'm not sure if I had
collapsed out of exhaustion or adulation, but I remember looking above me, and being struck
dumb with wonder.
Wonder for the vision on high.
Its shining white coils twined over my head - over us all,
for it gained effortless lift with its gigantic, white-feathered wings. Wings that did not flap to keep
it aloft. Wings that simply spread, and let it float with the divinity of its Power.
Its form was tremendous, yet graceful. Powerful, yet
exquisite. Long, slender jaws adorning its lithe crocodile head. Holy radiance, humbling us before
a servant of the divine. And eyes... eyes of resplendence everlasting.
This was a Guardian of Paradise.
This was Vivarexis, the Dragon Eternal.
"It..." Julia mouthed, in a whisper. "It's beautiful..."
*YOUR SOULS HAVE
The voice of Vivarexis had changed.
It was as omnipresent as ever, but no longer programmed
and sickened. Its reverberations were like a symphony. A symphony that would play to the ends
of Time, and beyond.
*AT LAST, I CAN
Vivarexis ascended, rising toward the full moon
I said, "No."
The Dragon Eternal paid me no heed.
I screamed, "NO!"
Heaven's Dagger pulsed in my hand.
The cage of fire returned.
It seemed so insignificant, stretching around the shining
scales of Vivarexis. Little more than a collection of loose threads. I doubt that I truly held the
Guardian captive. More as if I tugged on its tail.
*YOUR SOUL IS
"You can't leave," I breathed. I was weak, trembling,
thoroughly drained from healing the leviathan, but my determination was my strength.
My determination, and my pain.
"You can't just leave!" I yelled, to the endless being
above. "You've murdered hundreds of people, maybe thousands! Maybe more!"
The dragon's white fire eyes blazed.
It could have destroyed me, as easily as listened to me. I
suspect it was tempted to do just that. But it refrained.
*WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE
I did not hesitate with my answer.
"I want them back.
"All of them. All the people you murdered, or that Nina
Williams murdered under your control, or that other people murdered in your name! I want you
to restore all of them to life, starting with my mother!"
*WHAT YOU ASK, CANNOT
BE. GUARDIANS CANNOT INTERFERE WITH THE DOMAIN OF THE
"No!" I cried. "NO! You're the strongest Guardian there is!
You MUST have the ability to bring them back! To bring them ALL back!
"To bring my mother back..."
*ABILITY IS IRRELEVANT.
THE DIVINE SANCTIONS MUST BE OBEYED FOR ETERNITY, BY
"But you've already violated the Sanctions! You've spread
murder and destruction as the Toshin! How can you hide behind the rules you've broken, instead
of making amends?"
The white fire of Vivarexis' eyes became a revelation.
Once upon a time... once, an indefinable eon ago... the
Divine Sanctions were not absolute Law. They were merely suggestions, guidelines.
Guidelines that were frequently ignored.
Gods, angels, and Devils walked the Earth - no, not just
the Earth. They walked the surface of countless living worlds, endless alternate dimensions.
And they interfered.
Some fought their private wars. Some experimented on
whole societies. Some tried to 'help' living beings, while others enjoyed tormenting them.
Even back before it was expressly prohibited, Vivarexis did
not interfere with living mortals often. Only rarely.
There was once a petty lord, who will remain nameless. A
good and noble lord, of a faraway world called Edenia. The petty lord cared deeply for his people.
So virtuous was this lord - so pure was his soul - that when an assassin's dagger cut him down,
Vivarexis dared to interfere. He granted the dying wish of a true and honorable man.
He made the petty lord Immortal.
Vivarexis also made the murder weapon into Heaven's
Dagger, a holy artifact innately connected to the Dragon Eternal.
The petty lord did not die. Vivarexis' gift made him
indestructible for Eternity. The lord lived, ruled wisely and well, and was much beloved by his
For millennia, he lived, and he was an exemplary ruler.
The years stretched on and on...
...and the petty lord started to feel ennui.
Boredom encroached on him. Not all at once. It was step
by step, as countless days passed and he remained Immortal. He started to look further and
further for diversions that could amuse him.
Then, he started to look for Power.
He reached the point where only Power could interest him.
Could alleviate the tedious monotony of his eternal Life. He did not want to die, for he feared that
Death would only prove to be more boring than Immortality. The petty lord became a
warmonger, conquering his neighbors with battle tactics honed by centuries. Still, he could not
amass enough Power.
Until he used Heaven's Dagger to reach a new source of
Power. A source that promised to end his boredom for all time.
The petty lord became the living vassal for Entropy itself.
He became the Shao Kahn.
Queen Sindel of Edenia learned this too late to save
anyone, least of all herself. The Shao Kahn conquered her world, murdered her husband, and
claimed her as his bride. She took her own life to escape. She killed herself with Heaven's Dagger,
and as she died, she prayed for Vivarexis to rescue her soul.
The Shao Kahn ambushed the Dragon Eternal. Entropy
engulfed Eternity, corrupting it inside and out. Vivarexis was reforged into the hideous Toshin, a
programmed weapon designed expressly to slaughter worlds and absorb souls.
Yet, as weapons go, the Toshin was a little too effective.
The Shao Kahn didn't want to eradicate worlds all at once; he wanted to savor their annihilation.
He wanted to give the pathetic mortals a sporting chance, the better to assuage his eternal
boredom. So that when a courageous band of Earth's inhabitants used Heaven's Dagger to seal the
Toshin away, the Shao Kahn only watched, and laughed.
The Shao Kahn turned the paradise of Edenia into the
wastelands of Outworld. Then, he became the source of the Great Invasion, as his Entropy
threatened to consume the Earth. His murderous onslaught claimed over a billion human lives,
until the resurrected Queen Sindel banished him to the ends of Time.
While the Toshin remained behind its hidden seal. Waiting.
The rest you know.
The vision faded to sheer, starry white, the white-fire stars
that were the Dragon Eternal's eyes.
"You created the Shao Kahn?" I whispered. "You
were responsible for the Great Invasion...?"
*YES. BECAUSE I
*NEVER AGAIN. NO
MATTER HOW NOBLE THE PURPOSE, OR VIRTUOUS THE SOUL. THE DIVINE
SANCTIONS MUST BE ABSOLUTE LAW. I CANNOT INTERFERE WITH THE DOMAIN
OF THE LIVING.*
"But I - I'm not asking you to make anyone
At this point, I think I remember hearing a distant
background voice. Gruff, strained, and desperate. The voice of an old man, nearing the end of his
"Make me Immortal..."
It was so far away - so removed from the wondrous vision
overhead - that I hardly registered the voice's drifting plea. I didn't really listen to it at all. It was
"Give me... Immortality..."
But even if I had been paying attention to the voice, I
wouldn't have wanted Vivarexis to grant any such request. The Shao Kahn's origin was vibrantly
fresh in my mind.
Gazing on the shining white dragon above, I cried, "I just
want you to return the lives that you took! Can't you see the difference? Lee Chaolan broke the
Sanctions to save people's lives! If he hadn't come back to the world of the living, he couldn't
have told us your name, and we wouldn't have been able to heal you!"
*THE SOUL YOU SPEAK OF
HAS YET TO BE JUDGED FOR ITS INFRACTIONS.* The dragon's coils
shimmered, reflecting endless moonlit rainbows. *HE HAS
VIOLATED THE DIVINE SANCTIONS, AND INTERFERED WITH THE DOMAIN OF
THE LIVING. YET NOW THAT HE IS PART OF THE LIVING DOMAIN, REMOVING
HIM BY FORCE WOULD ITSELF BE AN INTERFERENCE.
*THE GUARDIAN OF
TREACHERY SHALL RETURN TO THE GREY KINGDOM, IN DUE TIME. HE SHALL BE
JUDGED FOR WHAT HE HAS DONE, AND WHAT HAS COME OF IT, JUST AS ALL
GUARDIANS ARE JUDGED. JUST AS I SHALL RETURN TO MY DOMAIN FOR
*IT IS OUR
"NO!" I screamed, in a last, despairing appeal. "You can't
fly away from all the destruction you've created! You CAN'T!"
*I CANNOT INTERFERE
WITH THE LIVING. NOT EVEN IN A MISGUIDED ATTEMPT TO NEGATE THE
WRONGS I HAVE DONE. NOT EVEN TO PREVENT YOUR
Was Vivarexis predicting that I would be murdered, or that
I would murder someone else? I... I must have understood at the time; his true voice
communicated all. But I can't remember anymore...
Jin, please - listen to me-!
Julia was calling me, through our telepathic link.
She showed me a picture in her mind. An unconscionable
wrong, for which the House Mishima was responsible. A promise she had made to her own
I gazed upon the Dragon Eternal, and I spoke the words
that she lacked the strength to say.
"If you can't bring the dead back to life, then you will still
help them. You will serve and protect the souls of all your victims - all of them! All the souls
you've killed, all the people Nina Williams assassinated while under your control, and all the
others murdered in your name! You will guide, defend, and provide for ALL the souls who have
suffered because of you, for as long as they need you! And you will start by freeing the soul of
That provoked a reaction.
Vivarexis had indulged my presumption before. But
Now, it was insulted.
*I AM A GUARDIAN OF
PARADISE! I DO NOT SERVE IMPURE SOULS!*
But I was not going to back down.
"You do NOW!" I screamed. "I've bound you with
Heaven's Dagger! I'm NOT letting you go until you GIVE ME YOUR WORD!"
The Dragon Eternal roared its wrath. Its opalescent scales
glowed so brightly as to make me snowblind.
*YOU DARE TO
COMMAND ME? A LESSER POWER SUCH AS YOU? A CREATURE THAT SHOULD
NOT EXIST IN THIS WORLD!?*
Yes. I did.
*I WILL DESTROY YOU
WHERE YOU KNEEL!*
Julia cleared her throat.
She was too weak to speak audibly; she was practically
mouthing the words. Yet I could still hear her, even as Vivarexis heard.
"That would be interfering with the living domain,
Julia raised her brown-black eyes to the shimmering dragon
"Heaven itself allowed you to fall. And then, Heaven
concealed your fate. Rather than let it be known that you had become a thing of darkness, Heaven
neglected to inform its own about you. Lee Chaolan told us your true name, but he did not know
what had happened to you. He could not think of a Guardian of Paradise as fallible, or
corruptible. What Lee did to help us - what we all did save you - wasn't in accordance with the
ways of Heaven. It was in spite of them.
"Pride caused your downfall. Pride caused Heaven to deny
that you fell.
"You are the most Powerful of all Guardians. If you can't
let go of your Pride - if you can't humble yourself enough to help the souls you have hurt - then
you won't just be condemning them. You will condemn all Heaven by your example, and you will
"Because if you won't lift a claw to set Mantarou Ishida
free... then you are no better than you were as the Toshin."
Vivarexis roared again.
It was the dragon's wrath made manifest. A sound to shake
the walls, and crumble the foundation under our feet. Yet Julia's will remained firm.
As did mine.
The dragon's roar faded to resounding echoes.
*YOUR SOUL IS STRONG
AND PURE,* Vivarexis told Julia. It had once said the same thing to my
mother, moments before it killed her.
"And what about your soul?" I demanded, of the lofty
Dragon Eternal. "You're so quick to judge the souls of everyone else; what verdict do you put on
*MY SOUL... MUST ATONE
FOR ITS MISDEEDS.*
Vivarexis fanned his sparkling white wings.
*SO BE IT. YOUR TERMS
SHALL BE MY PENANCE.*
The sparkle became a meteor shower.
*AND WHEN MY
EXPIATION IS FULFILLED - WHEN I HAVE SERVED AND PROTECTED THE SOULS
OF ALL WHO HAVE SUFFERED BECAUSE OF ME, FOR AS LONG AS THEY NEED
The meteor shower became a supernova.
*I CAN GO...
Everything went white. The blinding white of Eternal
Somewhere, in a place beyond physical senses, I felt an
impression. Heard a faint noise that wasn't.
The snap of breaking chains.
An uncharacteristically quiet thought addressed me,
through the dreamland expanse of boundless white.
Thank you, young master.
I didn't have any response to make. Inadequate apologies
died hollow in my throat.
You will look after my cousin and his family,
"Yes," I whispered, closing my eyes. "I promise."
I'm holding you to that.
When I opened my eyes, the overwhelming white radiance
had faded. All that remained of it was a distant, floating star. A star that grew smaller and smaller,
until it disappeared in the midnight sky.
Vivarexis, the Dragon Eternal, was gone from this
I suppose you think it all ends there?
I wish I could think that, too.
If only it had ended there.
But it didn't. I know it didn't, except...
This is where my memories start to break down.
One thing I do remember, though, was the voice.
"No, come back! Come back!"
It wasn't Ishida's soul, this time. It was a living voice. The
voice of an old man, approaching the end of his years.
"COME BACK! GIVE ME IMMORTALITY!"
I knew that voice. Knew it very well.
Grandfather howled like a wounded wolf.
He had recovered enough from his injuries to sit up, and
vainly stretch out his hands to the full moon. Nothing answered him. Vivarexis was long since
Grandfather stood. Slowly. Unsteadily. His swords dangled
at his hip.
Grandfather looked down on me.
I remember feeling his emotional state. He was beyond
shock. His greatest hope, his greatest dream, the one thing he had dedicated himself to, had been
shown to him. Shown, and then denied.
"You took it away... you took it away forever..."
Grandfather wasn't just enraged. He was far past the
natural limits of frustration, or hate. Only one thought burned in him. Only one thought was left to
consume his soul.
"YOU TOOK AWAY MY IMMORTALITY!"
I had no strength left to reason with him.
Fighting the Toshin had battered me. Healing the Toshin
had sapped even more vitality. Convincing it to help souls in need had swallowed up the rest.
I had nothing left with which to face Grandfather. I could
barely raise my head.
"Grandfather?" I mouthed, without comprehension.
Because you see, I still didn't understand.
I didn't understand that Grandfather was... sick.
I'd thought that he had been under the Toshin's sway. I'd
thought that he had done terrible things to Julia and me because the God of War was controlling
him. Now that the Toshin was healed and gone, I didn't understand what was wrong with him, or
why he had such monumental hatred for me.
Julia understood, though.
She tried to defend me, but she couldn't make it to her
knees. She was as drained as I was. Grandfather knocked her aside with a single kick.
Then he turned on me.
Though I raised Heaven's Dagger, I was not trying to use it
against Grandfather. I was making an incognizant gesture with both hands, pleading with
His fist crashed into my face.
His other hand seized Heaven's Dagger, and pried it from
"HOW DARE YOU STEAL MY
"Grandfather, no!" I begged, and through flashing
red and black spots before my eyes, I saw him.
This, I remember most clearly of all.
I remember Grandfather, with Heaven's Dagger in his
upraised hand. He rocked back on one leg; the deadly weapon gleamed overhead. Streaks of his
indigo Ki crackled about his knife-hand. His jet black eyes were dual pits of endless hatred.
Hatred for me.
He was going to murder me. There could be no
And there was nothing I could do about it.
I had no energy left. I could barely move, much less fight.
My Power was useless. Even if I had been able to summon it, Heaven's Dagger made Grandfather
immune to my sorcery. And when he used Heaven's Dagger to stab me, my Power would not save
my life. What Heaven's Dagger cuts, sorcery can't heal.
I tried to get up. To restrain Grandfather. To roll out of the
way. To do something, anything, I tried to get up, I swear I tried.
I couldn't do it.
All my strength had been sacrificed. I couldn't get off my
hands and knees. I could hardly keep my eyes open.
Grandfather was going to murder me, and there was
nothing I could do to stop it. Nothing.
That's the last clear image I have.
Then, it really starts to break down.
It's only recently that I've become fully aware of it. There is
a gaping emptiness in my mind, traceable back to this point. When I try to remember further,
...bits and pieces...
I have to talk to Lee and Julia about this.
I have to know what happened.
Not just for the record. For myself, too.
MISHIMA SYNDICATE MEMO
Subject: For your eyes only
To: [name withheld]
From: Vice-president Lee Chaolan
Date: February 23, 2018
It has recently come to my attention that you will record a discussion between my nephew, Julia
Chang, and myself this evening. I know what this truly concerns, and what is at stake. Julia does
not know, though I believe that she suspects, and is in denial of her suspicion.
Regardless of what is to come, you have my permission and Julia's permission to monitor the
discourse. We also give you leave to include a tape or transcript of the confrontation in your
record, if you see fit.
I pray that it will not be the last time any of us see Jin Kazama alive.
[signed] Lee Chaolan
End of Chapter 29: Closing the Wound