one who visits the unmarked room
is an old man near the age of ninety.
His long grey hair, and similarly grey moustache. The
gourd hanging from a string dangles as he walks. When
he knocks on the door with the gourd, the sound of
a dry thud and sloshing liquid resonates. The contents
of the gourd: booze.
"You're in there, aren't you? Show yourself, you
The door opens straightaway - but only a few centimeters
with the chain lock still fastened. The man who peaks
out from the crack is tan with silver hair, wearing
a black leather jumper, and the hand resting on the
doorknob dons a red glove.
"You...if I'm not mistaken, are called Chin Gentsai...."
"That's my name, sonny, don't wear it out. I hoped
you'd at least remember the name of someone you've
fought countless times before."
"...Excuse me. So what the hell do you want?"
Chin wordlessly taps the chain lock, indicating his
desire to be let in. K' looks down upon the geezer
from a difference in height of 20 centimeters.
"Hey, K'. How about showing a little respect towards
Maxima appears, making Chin look up another 20 centimeters
more from K''s mug. "Master Chin, I presume. Do
Maxima, reaching over K''s shoulder, undoes the chain
and ushers Chin Gentsai in.
"Hey, big guy. You need to teach your young charge
a little more manners..."
...bellows the one and only Chin, whose breath reeks
Chin scowls at "the young charge" who repeats
his question with his usual surliness. But the scowl
is lost in his overly long locks, going unperceived
by the others.
"I am but a pathetic old man with a brief future
"You don't look the part."
K' retorts quietly. Chin indeed looks as if he will
no doubt live another 200 years, but ignoring the chide
he produces a letter from his inside pocket. It's an
invitation to the King of Fighters.
"I know you love this, don't you? The KOF."
"Don't trifle with me, old man! Of all the things
Had Maxima not grabbed his shoulders, K' would have
rung Chin's neck.
"Would you do me the favor of desisting with the
teasing of my partner? He's not yet familiar with the
ways of polite society."
"I sense it this time, too. That 'evil presence.'
It exceeds that of the time when the thugs from the
Orochi and NESTS were on the rampage.
"What's that to us?"
"Hey, pipe down and listen. ...Yet, Master, if
that's the case, wouldn't it be better if you had entered
the competition the same as always and ascertained
the true nature of this evil presence without even
bothering with the likes of us?"
Chin lets out a sizable sigh.
"A keen observation. But this time that won't
fly. Because of those two...that is..."
...Kensou and Pao, who triggered the awakening of the
mysterious behemoth of a presence.
These two are now spending their days in rigorous training
at an undisclosed location to one day confront the
"We four are going to sit this out. I'm sorry,
but for now it's the ideal choice."
"Wait. Did you say we four?"
"I certainly did."
"Even that cute idol goddess?"
"Athena? Indeed. Indeed."
Maxima, employing his "Maxima-devised" software,
searches the web.
He finds information available to the general public.
The results soon appear.
"I thought so. I checked the list of KOF participants
and her name's on it!"
"What?! ...What did you say?!!!"
Chin, being the Chin he is, is this time taken completely
aback. Behind her master's back, Athena has gathered
together two other members and completed her application
to participate in KOF before he had a clue.
"What is this treachery?! Why did Athena...? Hey,
can't you tell me, big guy?"
"M-Me? Tell you...? How should I know about this?"
Maxima winces at Chin, who begins to rant with a vigor
that quickly sobers him up.
"Dagnabbit! She told me she had to do a concert,
and while she was away from me, she must have...I don't
understand her. This time our foe cannot be stopped
with some hastily assembled gaggle of girlies."
"Just smack her into submission and drag her back
with you, old man."
"You don't know Athena's true nature...She's a
kind kid, but she's stubborn, too. Once she decides
something, there's no going back. She must have concluded
that this time she's going to face the 'evil presence'
in her own way. She kept quiet because she was concerned
for me and the other two, I bet."
"Well, things being what they are, I can tell
you everything. Like why I've come to ask a favor of
Chin begins to speak grimly and solemnly.
The "presence" this time resembles that of
the Orochi but is also unique.
Not only that, the inscrutable and unknown presence
And Kusanagi and Yagami are closely related to it.
The evil presence is mighty, comparable to the strength
of the Orochi, and it is difficult to say whether even
the likes of Kusanagi and Yagami could defeat it. What's
more, these two are still feuding among themselves.
But the situation is not without hope.
If the "evil presence" cannot sense that
If the second Kusanagi, who was created by man, still
"Now I understand, Master Chin. We're nothing
more than "insurance."
"Insurance? You mean "sacrifices," don't
you? Or just "openers" for Kusanagi's main
"...You get the picture. I'm making a self-serving
"But during the tournament we just may come up
against Kusanagi, you know?"
"We'll drive off that bridge when we come to it.
What's vital is that there be mighty fighters to counter
the 'evil presence.'"
"OK. I hear you, Master Chin. We have too much
idle time on our hands these days anyway. Entering
KOF again with this guy wouldn't be so bad. Hey, you
don't mind, do you?"
"Thanks, whippersnappers. I owe you."
Chin for the first time deeply bows in gratitude.
"As you see, I am grateful."
"...Don't grovel. It's annoying."
Chin, continuing to bow, averts his gaze from K'.
"Well, it looks like we're in. Myself, K', and
along with us...?"
"Curses. What'll we do about the remaining member?
That young...you know, that child with chestnut-brown
hair. No, she won't do. She's too childish. Much younger
than Athena is, don't you know?"
"You need not worry yourself. I have the very
pro we need."
"You know, don't you, Maxima?"
"Ah, that dependable dominatrix is still around...but
I believe she is presently involved in a mission with
that squad of mercenaries, isn't she?"
"Ask me if I care! Make her a timely offer she
can't refuse. I leave the particulars up to you."
"Why do I get all the grief? Jeesh!"
Two weeks later. Whip, in debriefing as a result of
the completion of her mission, is promptly given another
"Link up with K' and Maxima. Form team. Enter
As did Chin, the leader of a band of mercenaries -
Heidern - also senses the presence lurking in the shadows
of this year's KOF and dispatches his squad.
Their struggle is just about to begin anew.