PHOENIX REBORN

written by Victar, e-mail vctr113062@aol.com
Victar's Archive:
http://www.victarfanfics.com



Chapter 32: Legacy of the Phoenix


   "There is much to be done."
         -King the First, Ring a Bell


         Firstly, I would like to explain the unusual format of this record.
         It's really more out of necessity than anything else. Jin Kazama wanted it made available to the public as soon as possible, but he also wanted it to be accurate and in-depth. This is the first time I've ever tried a writing project on this scope - and I'm not really aspiring to be a writer. I want to be an editor.
         So, I came up with the idea of presenting various interviews, documents, and transcripts as-is. I decided to let the people involved in the Toshin Crisis present their stories in their own words, with only a minimum of editing for form and content. If I had tried to turn everything that everyone has told me into a normal book, it would have taken me years to finish this, instead of just a month.
         Secondly, I would like to give personal thanks to Julia Chang.
         In addition to being the most accessible of my interviewed subjects, she also volunteered to read through and offer constructive criticism on this recordkeeping project. At first I was leery of the idea, but she has proven to be extremely conscientious, attentive to detail, and respectful of my work. She even suggested most of the epigraphs. Her advice has been useful, and now that the final draft is almost ready to be published, I've decided that I should implement her last recommendation.
         Namely...
         "Aren't you going to say who you are somewhere in this thing?" Julia asked a few days ago, scanning the tentative title page for my manuscript.
         Oh. Well.
         The whole reason why I'd tried to keep my identity out of the journalistic process was so that I could assess events, and people, with a more objective eye. Still...
         "Maybe I should credit myself in the last chapter," I acknowledged. "Anyone who reads all the way through the record deserves to know who I am."
         "Oh, goodness no. Not for the people who read through. For the people who want to skip to the end, and know right away."
         "What?"
         "Come on, anyone who reads through has got to know who you are. Look. Look at all the allusions you've mentioned. There's even a reference to how you ran to Bryan Fury's office, and had to be hospitalized for the strain on your heart.
         "Think about it. Who else has to be careful about the limits of his reduced endurance? Who else would be too embarrassed to publish anything explicit about Anna's love life? Who else has always wanted to be an editor? Who else is such a total klutz?"
         "Hey!"
         Julia shrugged, and tried to placate me with her best 'sweet and innocent' look.
         She still needs to work on that.
         She did have a point, though. My identity probably is obvious, given what I've included in this record, so I may as well state it flat-out:
         I'm Heishiro Mitsurugi.
         But you already knew that, didn't you?


         Thirdly, I'd like to give a brief summary of how everyone involved in the Toshin Crisis is doing now. Everyone who was involved in a major way, at least. In no particular order.
         May as well start with myself.
         I was blessed with an opportunity to fulfill my lifelong ambition, when Jin asked me if I wanted to be responsible for this recordkeeping project. I was, and am, greatly honored.
         'Jin' - it feels a little funny, using his first name. I'm used to calling him 'young master,' I guess. But he's asked me to call him by name because I'm his friend, and because I'm not a security guard anymore. I'm a 'freelance employee' of the Mishima syndicate, with a rewritten, open-ended contract. I'm also scheduled to start classes at Tokyo Mishima University this fall. I could have enrolled directly into the spring term, like Julia did, but I wanted to complete this project first. Plus, I'd like to start college at the same time as Jin. With any luck, we'll share a few classes.
         You know, I'm still not sure if I'm worthy to call myself Jin's friend. Or Julia's friend, for that matter. But they call me their friend, and who am I to argue?
         However, there is one claim of Jin's that I will dispute, in these pages. This is Jin's contention that he owes me a debt, because of the wrongs that the Mishima syndicate has inflicted on me.
         I would think that I'm the one in debt to Jin. He saved my life with a transplant of his Power - he literally patched a bullet hole in my heart. It was a sacrifice that permanently diminished him. Something that he can never do again, for as long as he lives. But from Jin's point of view, I would never have needed a transplant if his grandfather hadn't victimized me in the first place. Which is almost true, I suppose, but...
         Well, by whatever reckoning, I'm just grateful that Jin was willing to help me with a problem of my own. I was trying to find my mother, whom I hadn't seen in ten years. Even the Mishima syndicate didn't have her address on file. So, Jin used his sorcery to locate her. He had to telepathically link with me, and scan my memories of her for a search guideline, but in the end his divination was successful. I flew across the ocean to see her again.
         She was, to say the least, surprised.
         It was a pretty awkward reunion, but I don't think it went badly. She's remarried and moved to Canada, which is part of why it was so hard to find her. Oh, and I've got a little half-sister I never knew about, before.
         I've been invited to see them again on Mother's Day. I'm sort of looking forward to it.
         I'm also going to visit Dad on Father's Day. That's about as soon as I think I'll feel up to seeing him in person, again.


         Jin Kazama has refused to accept the title of King of the Iron Fist.
         Heihachi Mishima, the last King of the Iron Fist, is dead. Yet Jin believes that he did not truly defeat his grandfather in single combat - that no one other than Kazuya Mishima has ever defeated Heihachi in the Iron Fist Tournament - which is an arguable claim. So, the last Iron Fist Tournament has ended without an official champion.
         It may be the final Iron Fist Tournament ever.
         Jin has decided to discontinue this tradition of the House Mishima, believing that it promotes violence more than it does Strength. However, when a television newsman asked Jin point-blank if there could possibly be another Iron Fist Tournament, Jin didn't exactly say no.
         "If there is ever a time of such turmoil," Jin said, "that the world's strongest warriors must be assembled to defend humanity... then, and only then, will the Iron Fist Tournament be renewed. I pray that this will never become necessary."
         If it does become necessary, though, then Jin Kazama certainly has the authority to resurrect the Tournament. Jin is the new President of the Mishima syndicate, although he privately admits that it's more of an honorary title than anything else. He's too busy finishing his last semester of high school to actually run a worldwide mega-corporation. Jin is scheduled to graduate this spring.
         Julia Chang is also taking educational classes; in particular, she is studying the prerequisites to an Archaeology major at Tokyo Mishima University. I've no doubt that she will graduate with honors.
         Jin and Julia are both doing pretty well, I think.
         I don't care what anyone says about Jin. I don't even care what Jin himself said, shortly before Lee Chaolan had to black out his memories.
         Others may call Jin a Devil. Maybe he isn't 'human,' in the strictest biological sense of the word. I honestly do not give a damn. To me, proof of his humanity - true humanity, not just some arbitrary physical definition - has been sewn into my chest. It pumps my blood, and will sustain me for as long as I am fortunate to go on living.
         I've been asked if this transplant gives me any special link to Jin, or empathy with him. I would have to say no, not that I've noticed. So I don't magically know Jin's state of mind, or how he's doing right this instant, or how he will fare in the years to come. But I do have a feeling. Just a straight gut instinct.
         I think Jin will be all right.
         I think Julia will be all right, too.
         I think they will share a wonderful future, together.
         There's no guarantee, of course. There never is, in life. But Jin and Julia have saved the whole world from the Toshin. If anyone has earned the right to live happily ever after, they have.


         Of course, Ling Xiaoyu already has her happy ending - or should I say, happy beginning.
         Jin finished the Mishima syndicate's purchase of a bankrupt Tokyo carnival. He had the place greatly spruced it up, in the image of 'Lovely Xiaoyu' and her Panda. Now, Xiao-chan has the amusement park of her dreams.
         I wonder how long it'll be before she gets bored with it.
         I've noticed that she's no longer visiting it every day. More like two to four days a week. However, I understand that the Mishima syndicate is making a stable profit on the park's operation. There are even rumors of a possible merger with Tokyo Disneyland, though I imagine Xiao-chan will have the final say on that.
         She's also taking care of a new pet, in addition to her beloved Panda.
         You see, Heihachi Mishima used to own a grizzly bear, Kuma - it's actually the child of another bear that Mishima-sama once kept in the past. Mishima-sama raised Kuma from a cub, and cared deeply for it. Don't ask me how, but... I think the animal sensed its master's death. Kuma went off his feed, and was inconsolable for a time. It was Xiaoyu who nursed Kuma back to health, and coaxed him into eating again.
         Xiaoyu doesn't want to take credit for this, though. She says that Panda is the one whose friendship inspired Kuma to get better. She even claims that Kuma has fallen in love with Panda, but that doesn't make any sense to me. Kuma and Panda are different species; neither one would be biologically wired to view the other as a potential mate. I think that Xiao-chan is just so close to her pets that she's anthropomorphically characterizing their behavior.


         Lee Chaolan and Bryan Fury have negotiated a written contract.
         The exact wording of the contract is a private matter between them. Bryan does not want its details to become public, and Lee is obligated to respect the wishes of his mortal host. So that only a few things about the contract are common knowledge, within the syndicate.
         In particular, we do know that Lee has control of Bryan's body from six a.m. to six p.m., while Bryan has control from six p.m. to six a.m. Or at least, that's the general rule; sometimes one of them might need extra time, and trade it off with the other.
         Lee is, of course, the new Vice-President of the Mishima syndicate. A few weeks ago, he reluctantly accepted the title of CEO as well. He's worthy of it, and then some. I don't know how Jin could ever handle the syndicate, much less try to reform it, if not for Lee.
         But Lee doesn't work for the syndicate during his every waking hour. Jin has persuaded him to take Sundays off. Jin has also convinced Lee to accept a weekly salary... which Lee routinely signs over to the reparations fund for the syndicate's victims from the Great Invasion. Incidentally, Julia's grandmother is eligible for this fund, yet she has refused to accept anything from it. Mrs. Chang feels that she does not need the money, and that it should therefore be disbursed to the people who do.
         Lee also takes a little time off during the day. I know because when I was trying to arrange my first interview with him, it was lunch hour. His secretary directed me to the brand-new daycare center of the Mishima syndicate headquarters.
         At first, I wondered if I'd been given the right room. Yet sure enough, Lee was there, dressed in his usual formal tuxedo. He was reading from a brightly colored book, to a gathering of wide-eyed young toddlers. I asked a daycare attendant whether the Vice-President of the Mishima syndicate stopped by often.
         "Oh yes," she confirmed. "He's an angel with the children."
         I certainly couldn't argue with that.
         After storytime was over, I had the opportunity to approach Lee. There was an inscrutable half-smile on his face. I asked him why.
         "Ah, I was just thinking," he mused. "It has been a long time. Almost longer than I can recall, and yet... I am certain. This must be how it feels."
         "How what feels?"
         "Happiness." With a good-natured nod, he added, "Now. May I help you?"


         Detective Bryan Fury wasn't quite so helpful, though.
         He is a detective again, by the way. Just not a police detective. I'm not sure if Lee pulled strings or what, but however it happened, Bryan has a private investigator license now. Bryan has set up his own detective office, on the other side of Tokyo. He's very picky about his clientele. He'll only take jobs that are on the side of the angels, or so I hear.
         At first, 'recalcitrant' would not begin to describe how Bryan felt about being interviewed. He's since requested a couple extra conditions from me, in exchange for publishing what he's told me about himself. His most emphatic demand is that he doesn't want me to inquire into his current life.
         Maybe... maybe because he can keep almost no secrets from Lee, he finds it even more important to guard his privacy from everyone else.
         Or maybe he's flat broke, and doesn't want to admit it to anyone.
         I wouldn't worry about Bryan's welfare, though. He can take care of himself. And if he does run into serious trouble, then he has more than just an angel backing him. He has the angel CEO of a syndicate that runs a third of the world.


         And then, there's Anna Williams.
         Anna...
         Jin has returned all the confiscated Williams family property: Richard Williams' mansion, his estate, and so on. However, Jin returned all this only to Anna Williams. Jin refused to sign anything over to Nina Williams, because Nina is a cold-blooded killer.
         Heihachi Mishima was being truthful when he told Anna that Richard Williams had died owing a great deal, to numerous creditors. Property values aside, Anna is no longer a millionaire heiress. Her family's opulence is twenty years long gone. So is the personal fortune of Nina Williams, who probably should have known better than to leave her Swiss bank account papers in her father's home. Nina may be a master assassin, but she isn't a master money launderer.
         I was able to reach Anna through the lawyer who handled the return of her property. I sent her a message, asking to see her at a certain time and place.
         She was there.
         A light covering of snow dusted the grounds of the cemetery, where I had requested to meet her. Anna wore a long red coat, to guard against the windchill. Her half-sister was there too, in a black coat of equal length.
         Nina's white hair blended with the wintry surroundings. The diamond cross that had once belonged to Yukie sparkled on a chain around Nina's neck.
         I showed up just in time to see Nina slap Anna's face.
         Anna fell to her knees. Nina shouted something I couldn't make out, shook her finger at Anna, and stomped her foot. Then she stormed away.
         This is the last I have seen or heard of Nina Williams, the Silent Assassin. She has since vanished, most likely to hide from the wrath of the law. After all, she is a wanted criminal for the murders she committed as the Toshin's minion, not to mention the assassinations she carried out before that. There is no statute of limitations on homicide.
         Anna had not stood up by the time I reached her. However, she was smiling.
         "Are you all right?" I asked, trying to sound as if I didn't care too much. In other words, trying to lie.
         "Just fine, sweetheart. Better than fine. You see, I was asking my sister if she would like to be interviewed for your record-"
         I helped Anna to her feet.
         "-and she he said no," Anna beamed. "Which means that I get the limelight all to myself!"
         "Then, you're willing to be interviewed?"
         "Oh, yes! This is a golden opportunity. If you talked to Nina, then I'm sure she would lie about me. She'd try to paint everything wrong, but the things I can tell you about her..."
         Anna went on like this for another minute before I interrupted with, "Thank you, Anna. Would you have a preferred time or place for your first interview?"
         "-she couldn't give you half the details I could about- what?"
         "Would you-"
         "I heard you, Heishiro darling. It's just that you phrased it so... so... formally?"
         I nodded.
         "Heishiro..." she murmured, reaching to touch my face.
         Just like the last time.
         I know she didn't realize what she was doing to me, but I damn near had another flashback to my time as a bloodslave. It was only through willpower that I didn't throw up on her coat.
         "No, Anna," I denied, firmly intercepting her hand. "I am not your reward for doing this."
         She drew herself up, stiffly. "I wasn't going to suggest that you were."
         "Good."
         "It's just..."
         "Anna, if you have something to say, then say it."
         "Was what we had so horrible that you can't even talk to me like a normal person!?"
         Damn.
         "No," I sighed, hanging my head. "No. It was... far removed from 'horrible.'"
         Which was why I had such a hard time talking to her.
         In the end, I agreed to take her out to a few meals and a movie. Call that 'dating' if you must; it would seem that everyone else does. But it was only to make her more comfortable, and willing to talk. I did not deceive her about my intentions, which were solely to ensure that this record fully and fairly represented her point of view.
         Anna has reapplied to the college she used to attend in Great Britain, and been accepted. She intends to resume her classes this fall, in order to complete her undergraduate degree in Psychology.
         And I...
         It's still not easy for me to think of Anna, but I do wish her well.


         Nina Williams wasn't the only survivor who did not want to be interviewed.
         Taki also refused. Point blank. The only explanation she offered is, "I'm not bound to the syndicate anymore. I don't have to do anything for them that I don't want to do. I don't want to do this."
         I'm sorry she wouldn't contribute, but I don't blame her. I can think of half a dozen reasons why she can't bring herself to share what she's been through. In particular, I can understand if she's not ready to talk of her suicide attempt, or the pain that drove her to it.
         I suspect she's still a little afraid of Jin, too.
         Jin has officially released Taki from her contract to the Mishima syndicate. Out of recognition for all Taki has done, the syndicate has pledged to take lifelong care of her mother.
         Taki has been traveling abroad for the last month. Taking some time off to see the world, as it were.


         Professor Shingo Yabuki also declined to be interviewed. However, he generously invited me to his sister's house for tea. We shared it sitting in chairs; Yabuki can't kneel very well, because of his artificial leg. I did notice that his left arm and left leg weren't made of wood anymore. He had replaced them with lighter, more durable prosthetics.
         I thanked him for having me as a guest.
         "Oh, please," Yabuki replied, a trifle embarrassed. "The thanks belong to onee-san and my brother-in-law. I'm in debt to them, for letting me stay here a few days."
         Julia had briefed me about Yabuki's past troubles with his family. So I tried to be diplomatic when I said, "It's good to see that you and your sister have reconciled. Would it be all right if I asked how that happened?"
         "Well... would you believe an angel visited onee-san, and convinced her that I was cured of my dementia?" Yabuki offered a wry smile.
         When I pressed him on the possibility of being interviewed, though, he remained firm in his refusal. "I'm very sorry, but I just don't have the time. I'm leaving on a flight to China, early tomorrow morning. Besides, I'm sure Chang-san could tell you anything you need to know, about me."
         "Why are you leaving?"
         "Because I saw Kusanagi-sama."
         "Oh."
         "Not like usual," he protested, holding up his gloved palm. "Usually, I just picture him in my mind, and try to think of what he would say. This was different. When I fell during the battle against the Toshin...
         "I saw Kusanagi-sama. For real. I truly saw him. Yuki-sama, too.
         "They told me that they need my help. On this world. My work here is not yet done.
         "They need someone to spread word of their cause. To establish and pass on a legacy, in their name. That's...
         "That's why I'm still here, really. Kusanagi-sama had to bend the Divine Sanctions, just a little, but he kept my heart and lungs going when they should have given out. Now I owe him my life a second time, and I finally have the wherewithal to serve his will.
         "So, I'm going to the Temple of Light in China, to petition the Order of Light for membership. As one of the most outspoken gods of Light, Kusanagi-sama should have his name preserved in their rectory - so should Yuki-sama, for that matter. Afterward... well, I haven't decided just now."
         I tried to keep my face expressionless. "Doesn't Jin need you to teach his class at high school?"
         "Ah, I'm afraid I can't be Kazama-san's teacher anymore. I couldn't fulfill the role even if I didn't have other things to do. It's not really good for me to see him at all - would you please convey my best wishes to him, on your return?"
         "Of course, but why...?"
         "Well, I've been trying to convince him that he is a Devil for as long as I've known him. He might suffer a blackout just from seeing me."
         "Yabuki, what exactly are you saying?"
         He looked at me, curiously. "Haven't they told you?"
         "Uhh..."
         "No, I suppose they haven't. It's not really my place to tell you, either. I'm sure you'll find out on your own. You're a perceptive young man." Yabuki sipped his tea.
         I thought about pressing Yabuki for more information, and decided not to, in case he was having a relapse of his mental illness. It wasn't until much later that I realized what he must have been talking about - namely, the memory block that Lee had put in Jin's mind.
         At the time, I settled for asking who was going to teach Jin's high school homeroom in Yabuki's place.
         "Oh, that's already taken care of," he cheerfully confirmed. "Chizuru Kagura-san has come back, you see. She's always felt responsible for... for what happened to me, in the King of Fighters Tournament. So, I've struck a bargain with her. She will teach Kazama-san's class during his last semester of high school, as the final payment on any and all debts she has ever owed me."
         Yabuki chuckled to himself. "I think I'm doing her and Daimon-san a favor, really. Poor Kagura-san is always getting called away on one supernatural crisis or another. Now she has an excuse to stay in Tokyo for a few months, with her husband and children."
         "Then, Goro Daimon is doing all right? I thought the Toshin broke both his legs."
         "Oh, yes. Daimon-san's condition was touch-and-go for a bit, but thanks to the Temple healers, he has made a full recovery. More tea?"
         "Yes. Thank you."
         Since that meeting, I've heard from Yabuki once. Actually, it was Julia who received his letter with an enclosed photograph. The picture shows Yabuki with Seung Mina, the paraplegic leader of the Order of Light. His right arm and her left arm are around each other's shoulders. Both of them are smiling broadly at the camera, and making V-signs with their fingers.


         Jin has officially dissolved all present and future service obligations of the House Ishida and the House Kimura to the House Mishima. The syndicate provides for the Ishida family, as it provides for the families of all high-ranking personnel killed in the line of duty. However, the Ishida family has no surviving sons, and Mantarou Ishida's mother is past childbearing age. It looks as though the House Ishida will end with her.
         As for the Kimura family...
         When I was recruiting interview subjects, I learned that Masahiro Kimura had not set foot outside his home in days. So, I arranged to meet him there. Mariko, his visibly pregnant wife, greeted me at the threshold.
         "Please," she pleaded, in virtual silence - I never would have thought anyone could speak more softly than him, until I heard her. "Do not be cruel to my husband. I beg you."
         I apologized for my intrusion, and asked to see him.
         He was inside a back room. The curtains were drawn and the lights were out. I could scarcely see him in the darkness, sitting in a simple hardwood chair. He was dressed in the black, formal uniform of Mishima syndicate security. I've never seen him wear anything else.
         "I thought you didn't have to be Jin's bodyguard anymore," I said, keeping the tone of my voice very low.
         Kimura made no answer. He just remained seated, head down, back hunched, crossed arms resting on his knees.
         "Kimura?"
         "Why am I here?" he whispered.
         "Uh, what do you mean?"
         "I... I never asked for this. I never asked for... mercy..."
         Kimura shuddered. "Mishima-sama would have destroyed me. The young master should have destroyed me, in Mishima-sama's place. B-but... the young master... he w-wouldn't even punish me...
         "I...
         "Everything I said on... on the witness stand... to the grand jury... all my testimony about the syndicate's corruption... I didn't say it to help myself. I didn't say it for legal immunity. I said it b-because the young master w-wanted me to tell them the truth...
         "Why am I here?
         "Why haven't I been imprisoned, or killed?
         "Why...?"
         "Maybe," I suggested, "Jin thinks you've been punished enough. Maybe he knows that Mariko and your child need you now. I know he's not the only one who... who would feel that way."
         Kimura did not answer.
         "Uh, it's my job to create a record of the Toshin Crisis. I was wondering if you're willing to, um, be interviewed for the project?"
         "And what," Kimura breathed, "would you 'interview' me about? What could I tell you, that you could not learn from any of the others?"
         "Well..."
         Kimura looked up, his dull brown eyes turned to deadened coals in the darkness.
         "Do you need to hear how I murdered my own cousin? How I... cut his wrists... and watched him bleed..."
         Kimura's hands shook from horror and self-loathing. He clenched them, in an ill-fated attempt to reduce the tremors.
         "It took half an hour for Mantarou to die... and here I am. Alive. Free. R-rewarded. The y-young master has ordered me not to take my own life...!"
         I decided that it would be better not to interview Kimura, after all.
         Lee and Jin have done their best to take care of Kimura and his family, both financially and personally. They visited Kimura regularly during the first few weeks after the Toshin Crisis. Eventually, at the suggestion of Kimura's psychiatrist, Jin agreed to let Kimura return to work part-time. Kimura still has the official rank of chief bodyguard, but he's no longer permitted to carry weapons or engage in hazardous duty.
         Kimura is currently Lee's secretary, at least during the morning hours. I'm given to understand that Kimura is actually very efficient at his new job. The only problem is that various telephone callers sometimes have difficulty hearing what he says; however, an extra-powerful microphone built into his transmitter helps compensate for that.


         Now, for some briefer summaries of other survivors' status.
         You can watch King the Second wrestle on prime-time television; just tune in to the latest 'Ultimate Bone-Breaking Rumble,' or similar event. The charity that King sponsors - The Church of the Virgin Mary's Mercy - is no longer directly under the Mishima syndicate's control, although the syndicate remains one of their most notable patrons.
         Jane (she requested that I not use her last name) is working for the syndicate now, as a research and development engineer. She is particularly happy because Gun Jack, her robot friend that a satellite once destroyed, has finally regained its 'human soul.' She doesn't know if it was the battle against the Toshin that rebooted Gun Jack's lost personality programming, or something from Lei Wulong's dying gift. However, both Jane and Jin Kazama agree that Gun Jack should be one of a kind. The syndicate will never again attempt to mass-produce android killing machines. Or any other type of killing machines.
         Gun Jack's original creator, Doctor Boskonovitch, has rejected all offers to work for the Mishima syndicate. Though Jin was able to cure the doctor's terminal disease, Jin could not help Jessica Boskonovitch, the doctor's deceased young daughter. Still refusing to accept the death of his child, Boskonovitch retreated to a suburban laboratory, where his friend Yoshimitsu brought him a sample of the Toshin's blood. Now, I'm not completely certain what their experiment did; all I know is that Mishima syndicate Tekkenshu had to be called in force, to stop the rampage of a 'gigantic white rat.' Yoshimitsu and Boskonovitch escaped by a whisker, if you'll pardon the pun. Their current whereabouts are unknown, perhaps because they would be sued shirtless if they ever set foot in Japan again. That giant rat caused a lot of property damage, before its oversized heart gave out.
         Doctor Abel is also keeping a low profile. He's not in jail, though, because he had secretly taped numerous incriminating conversations between Heihachi Mishima and many nefarious associates. In return for these tapes, Abel was given a suspended sentence for his crimes. It may sound unfair, but I'm given to understand that Abel was Mishima-sama's slave, laboring for him on pain of death. On the bright side, I did enjoy watching Bryan Fury literally turn Abel upside down, in order to shake loose a couple extra tapes that Abel had concealed on his person.
         Eddy Gordo, the son of a wealthy murdered businessman, has returned to his mansion in Brazil. He is waiting for the Mishima syndicate's investigative task force to learn who killed his father, and framed him for the crime. No leads have been turned up yet.
         I don't know if the Mokujins count as 'survivors.' It's questionable whether these sorcerously animated male-female pair of wooden training dummies were alive to begin with, but Xiaoyu seems to think that they were. In any case, the Mokujins have vanished from the Mishima syndicate. I would suspect that someone took them when Heihachi Mishima reduced the syndicate headquarters to a skeleton staff, but Jin has decided against reporting the Mokujins as stolen property. Jin claims that the syndicate has far more important matters to worry about, which is probably true. Meanwhile, Xiaoyu believes that the Mokujins left on their own. She speculates that, like Heaven's Dagger, the Mokujins will return only when they are most needed. The way Xiao-chan speaks of the Mokujins, you'd think that they've set up housekeeping in the middle of some distant wilderness, raising a pair of wooden children.
         Forest Law went home to his family in America. He's currently an assistant instructor at the martial arts dojo of his father, Marshall Law. Forest recognized me, when I contacted him by syndicate vid-phone.
         "Mitsurugi," he addressed. "You're a warrior, aren't you?"
         "Me?"
         "Paul told me about you. You... you have the skills of an ancient fighting master in your blood, don't you?"
         Only when I clear my mind, and let Hwoarang's legacy take over. "Umm... well, sort of. Yes."
         "Then, could you please tell me - is this what being a warrior really means? Being surrounded by pain, and bloodshed? Having your friends die around you?"
         I tried to clear my mind.
         "It has the potential to be more than that," I said. Or perhaps it was what Hwoarang would have said; I can never really be sure. "A true warrior must discover his potential through his purpose. Yet pain and bloodshed are inevitable, as is the risk of losing your friends. The only way to protect yourself is not to have friends - a cure that is worse than the disease."
         Forest closed his eyes. "I... I was the one who wanted to fight for Lei Wulong. Paul came only because I wanted to go. Paul... he died to save me.
         "If...
         "If this is what it means to be a warrior, then I don't want any part of it. I will teach my students martial arts for self-defense. But I don't want to be a warrior. I will never teach anyone to be a warrior!
         "I'm sorry... Paul..."


         And then, there are those who did not survive the Toshin Crisis.
         Jin and Julia are sojourning to the Yakushima wilderness next weekend, to pay their respects to the memory of Jun Kazama.
         Xiaoyu is visiting the Temple of Light during the Mishima high school's spring break, in order to pray at Wang Jinrey's grave.
         Lee and Jin personally oversaw Mantarou Ishida's funeral. I attended too, and tried my best to help Kimura through it. Also, I could have sworn that I glimpsed Taki among the mourners.
         Paul Phoenix's blood relatives refused to claim his body. It was the Law family who laid him to rest, and who honor his name, out of gratitude for saving one of their own.
         The Church of the Virgin Mary's Mercy interred Armor King in consecrated ground. At King the Second's behest, they declared a day of mourning among all their faithful.
         Tiger Jackson has no known living kindred. Eddy Gordo elected to take care of Jackson's funeral arrangements, due to a brief friendship he had shared with Jackson.
         By the time the Toshin Crisis was over, Hwoarang's ashes had been scattered and lost. Jin had Hwoarang's gang clothes incinerated and interred, in the vampyre's place. Meanwhile, either Bryan Fury or Lee Chaolan persuaded Doctor Abel to reveal where Mishima-sama had hidden his stockpile of Hwoarang's vampyre blood. Lee used his Power to destroy the entire stash.
         Abel also disclosed the location of Mishima-sama's journal. My own journal - the old one, the one that Mishima-sama had promised he would keep safe - was right next to it. I decided to use excerpts from both journals in this record, though some of my own entries have been edited for the sake of privacy.
         Professor Yabuki told Julia of Detective Lei Wulong's Omega Classification records, and she told me in turn. To retrieve these files, I had to make a special trip to Hong Kong. My heartfelt gratitude must go to Lei Wulong's former partner, Tracy Wong, who helped me get past countless bureaucratic obstacles and acquire those records. She had skimmed through them herself, and noticed that they were addressed to Jin; therefore, she agreed that Jin should decide what to do with them. That is how the viewpoint of Lei Wulong, Super Police, also became part of this record.
         Incidentally, Lei Wulong's police prefecture in Hong Kong has raised a great marble statue in his likeness. The statue's inscription reads, 'In memory of all who serve and protect.'
         Heihachi Mishima also has a statue in his likeness, made of solid gold. Jin had it added to the courtyard of the Mishima syndicate high school. Mishima-sama's statue has no inscription. It's just... well, I think it's just the sort of memorial that Jin knows his grandfather would want.


         Fourth, and last, I felt that the people who have kindly provided the vast majority of this record deserved a final say, in their own words.
         So, here it is.





Epilogue: Life Goes On


AUDIO TRANSCRIPT: Office of Vice-President Lee Chaolan
March 2, 2018
6:02 p.m.


BRYAN FURY: What are you doing here?

HEISHIRO MITSURUGI: Well, you insisted that I not come to your office, so really-

F: Aren't you done with your stupid project yet? Get the hell out of here. I don't have any more time for the likes of you!

M: Wait, I'm not looking for another interview. I just want to know if you have any last words.

F: Are you threatening me?

M: No, no - for the project. Is there any final message you'd like to tell everyone?

F: Fuck you.

M: I mean, besides that.

F: Don't get cute on me.

M: Aren't you going to say anything? At all?

F: What part of 'get the hell out' don't you understand?

M: Okay, okay.

door creak

M: (mumbled) I bet Lei Wulong would have something to say.

F: Stop. Right. There.

M: Yes?

F: You really want this? Bad enough to take a beating?

M: Yes. I do.

F: Then here's my message.
         I particularly mean this to anyone out there who idolizes Lei Wulong, or wants to be like him, or God forbid even patterns their insipid lives after him.
         Wake up.
         Your life is your life, not a carbon copy of someone else's. Don't try to make yourself into someone else, especially not Lei Wulong. Be you. Be glad that you can be you. Take pride in what you do for its own merit, not compared to anyone else, and ESPECIALLY not compared to Lei Wulong. Don't let your idiotic, starry-eyed hero worship fuck up your life!

M: You mean, like how your envy of Lei Wulong corrupted you?

F: That does it. I'm going to hit you, now.

TAKI: Bryan, are you ready to leave?

M: Taki?

F: Just a second. I have to pound this wimp.

T: I'll do it.

M: When did you come back from your travel- aah! OW!

T: Let's go, before dinner gets cold.

F: You still insist on driving?

T: I know the way to my mother's home. You don't.

F: Right, right.


WonderLand Amusement Park
March 2, 2018
6:32 p.m.


LING XIAOYU: Whaddaya mean, 'final message'? You say it like we're never gonna talk ever again and you don't mean that, do you?

M: No, of course not-

L: And how'd you get that awful black eye? Did Anna do that to you, did she?

M: No, no - hey. How is it that you just assume a woman beat me up?

L: It's true, isn't it?

M: Hmph.

L: Why do you wanna 'final message,' anyway?

M: Isn't there something you'd like to tell everyone who reads the record of the Toshin Crisis?

L: Ummm...

M: Some last words of wisdom to share with the whole world?

L: ...mmm...

M: Anything at all?

L: ...mmm... I know! I've got it! I know what I wanna tell everyone!

M: Yes?

L: COME TO MY AMUSEMENT PARK! Come on, come on, anytime! We're open in Tokyo six nights a week and it's really fun the rides are cool the food is the best and the games have great prizes you can't win anywhere else in the whoooole world! Come and I'll be happy to play with you in WonderLand!

M: That's it? That's your message?

L: What's wrong with it?

M: It's advertising.

L: Okay, okay, then how about this?
         Hey, everyone! If you can't come all the way to WonderLand, then be sure you at least go to some amusement park, sometime in your life! Make sure you do something that's fun. I love having fun!
         Sometimes I feel sad because of the bad things that happened. I'm so sorry Uncle Wang is gone, and I really miss Lei and Heihachi just like Jin does, but that doesn't mean any of us should stop having fun forever. If you can't have any fun in your life then it's not fair and not right, everyone deserves the chance to be happy. Make sure you go out and have fun!
         There. Better?

M: Much.


Shakti Spices Restaurant
March 2, 2018
7:15 p.m.


ANNA WILLIAMS: Heishiro darling, are you sure your eye is all right? I could get some ice.

M: I'm fine, Anna.

W: Oh.

pause

W: This is our last dinner together, isn't it?

M: I would assume so. Your flight leaves tomorrow, doesn't it?

W: Yes. I need to check on my father's estate, and start brushing up for when I return to college this fall...

M: I'm sure you'll excel in all your courses.

W: Heishiro... I...

M: I just wanted to ask if you had any final message, for everyone who reads the record of the Toshin Crisis. That's why I have-

W: ...I don't have to leave.

M: -the tape recorder running.

W: I can stay here. I can stay with you.

M: Uh - you did hear me, didn't you? It's running right now.

W: I don't care. I don't care what your tape records, or what you put in your project. Heishiro, are you sure you don't want me to stay?

M: Anna, if you stay in Japan, it should be because you want to. Not because of how any other person feels, whether it's me, your sister, or anyone else.

W: But, do you want me to stay? Heishiro...?

M: I want you to do what's best for yourself.

W: Heishiro, that's a cliché.

M: Anna, stay or go. I really don't have a preference.

W: You're lying. I can tell.

M: (muttered) Am I really that bad at it?

W: Yes.

M: Damn.

W: Would you rather that I stay, or rather that I leave?

M: I am not going to tell you.

W: Why not?

M: Are you sure you want me to answer that? In full honesty?

W: Yes.

M: All right.
         For the last six years of your life, you have defined your existence in terms of your abusive sister - whether you were at war with her, or trying to save her soul. The two of you have been caught in a cycle of violence and obsession, for as long as you've known each other. Your sister is still trapped, and will remain so until she decides that she wants to free herself. But you understand the nature of your trap, and how to break free. Your soul has grown stronger; the Toshin itself has said so.
         Now, you have the opportunity to shape your life based on what's right for you, instead of what your sister has done to you. You're finally ready to rise above the destructive relationship you've had with your sister.
         I am not going to fall in the trap of taking her place.

W: (muttered) At least it's not one of your incomprehensible stories, this time.

M: Anna?

W: Heishiro, you... you asked me for a final message. Here it is.
         Love is the most priceless thing in the Universe.
         If you are blessed with it, then nurture it, cherish it, and do not take it for granted. Do not squander it for anything. Not even for the best of intentions.
         Not even...

M: Anna?

W: I... I'm sorry. I think I have to run out on you, this time. That makes us even, doesn't it?

M: At least let me call a taxi for you.

W: No thank you, darling. I'm fine. Goodbye.


Office of Vice-President Lee Chaolan
March 3, 2018
4:45 p.m.


LEE CHAOLAN: How did you get that black eye?

M: Occupational hazard.

L: Indeed.

M: Anyway, uh, thank you for making time in your schedule.

L: It is no trouble, but I thought you were finished gathering interviews?

M: I just wanted to ask if you had a final message. To everyone who reads the record of the Toshin Crisis.

L: A final message...

M: Yes.

L: ...to everyone?

M: Do you need time to think about it?

L: I... no. No, I do not. All I ask is that you reprint my message faithfully within your record, word for word.

M: Of course. What is your message?

L: I wish to apologize.
         I apologize to all who suffered at my hands, before and during the Great Invasion. To all who suffered from the monsters with whom I collaborated. To all the families of my victims.
         And to...
         To the souls of my natural parents, wherever they may be.
         Mother. Father. I am sorry for the shame I brought, to the life you gave me. I will not dishonor this second life. This do I swear.


Mishima Syndicate Headquarters - Front Gates
March 3, 2018
5:20 p.m.


JULIA CHANG: A 'final message'?

JIN KAZAMA: What happened to your eye?

M: I'd rather not discuss it, if you don't mind.

C: Either Bryan or Taki must have slugged him; no one else would have the nerve. It was probably Taki. Bryan doesn't like to upset Lee.

M: Hey!

K: Hold still. I'll have that healed in a second.

pause

M: Thank you, young mas- I mean, Jin.

K: You're welcome.

C: Mitsu, can you tell us what you need for this 'final message' quickly? The opera starts in forty minutes.

K: Better yet, why don't you come with us in the limousine? We can talk during the ride.

M: Uh, no. No thank you.

K: Why not?

M: I said no.

K: Are you all right? You look a little pale.

C: Jin, I told you he has a phobia.

K: Oh, yes. I remember when you suggested that.

M: Excuse me-

C: Is it because the last time you got in a limousine, you were taken to become a bloodslave?

M: Do you have a final message to everyone who reads this record, or don't you!?

C: Uhh...

M: Well?

K: Hey. Calm down. We can try this again later, if you like. Far away from the limousine.

M: (muttered) I do not have a phobia. I just get flashbacks, sometimes.

K: Completely understandable.

C: Well, here's my final message to everyone. For the record.
         Remember to think things through.
         Every day, I see it. People rushing in blindly, or overextending themselves, or even doing things to hurt themselves, all because they can't look at what's going on around them with a logical eye. Always, always remember to think things through - think of your safety, of the people around you, and of the consequences your decisions will have.
         That's all.

M: Okay. Jin, do you have a final message?

K: Hmmm... yes. Yes, I do.
         Remember to listen to your heart.
         Pay close attention to the yearnings of your soul. Don't dismiss your feelings out of hand; understand them, accept them, and take them into account when you make the choices that will determine your life.
         Always, always remember to listen to your heart.

C: Jin... not that I'm criticizing, but isn't that a complete contradiction to what I just said?

K: Do you think so?

C: Well...

K: Where did you learn to sing?

C: Huh?

K: Please bear with me. I will explain.

C: Um, okay.

K: Where did you learn to sing? I've been meaning to ask you for the longest time. I know how because my mother taught me; did your grandmother teach you?

C: Uh, no. It was high school choir.

K: Really?

C: I was never that good.

K: But why did you study singing at all? That's not a very 'logical' class to take, is it?

C: Actually, there are some mathematics involved. Particularly where rhythm is concerned.

K: I know. Still, singing is as much a matter of emotion, heart, and soul as it is technical skills and ear training. Yet you, who values reason so highly, also chose to cultivate the artistic passion of your beautiful singing voice.

C: (embarrassedly) Oh, Jin, stop it.

K: I heard you sing, when we faced the Toshin. I remember.

C: Really, the only reason why I took choir was so I could have a social life. All my friends were taking it.

K: (softly) And in such Life as we are thankful to have, isn't it possible to find room for compromise, even between diverse contradictions?

C: When you put it that way...

K: Oh, and Heishiro - what final message do you have?

M: Me?

K: Don't you have a final message, too?

M: Umm...

K: Just something to think about. We have to get going, now.

C: See you later!


Private Study of Heishiro Mitsurugi
March 3, 2018
5:45 p.m.


M: Yes. I do have a final message, to everyone who reads this record. Here it is.
         Fulfill your dream.
         Take control of your life, and make it into what you want it to be.
         Life is too precious to do anything less.


End of Chapter 32: Legacy of the Phoenix


END OF PART VI: ABSOLUTION