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THE KING OF FIGHTERS 2003
KOF2001
TEAM STORY
HERO TEAM FATAL FURY TEAM ART OF FIGHTING TEAM KOREA TEAM
IKARI TEAM OUTLOW TEAM WOMEN FIGHTERS TEAM BENIMARU TEAM
HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS TEAM K' TEAM 3 SACRED TREASURES TEAM

WOMEN FIGHTERS TEAM STORY

 "Mai, King, sorry to have kept you waiting. So let's have some fun."
 A baseball field on the outskirts of Southtown.
 Although the baseball season has already ended, the double "A" league is playing a tournament to appeal to the local baseball fanatics.
 The one who has asked Mai Shiranui and King here is none other than Mary Ryan. She's a female agent who's known for her considerable talent in the field.
 "Both of you have no objections to a dog and some suds, do you? The hot dogs here are legendary."
 "You sure are all worked up today, Mary."
 "So what's with those clothes? Are you planning to play catch in the stands or something?"
 King and Mai are mutually impressed. Looking around the stadium, it's questionable whether there are even a thousand or so fans in attendance. So it's close to a miracle that a hot dog stand is open for business.
 And Mary is no slacker either, decked out in her usual leather jacket, baseball cap, and even a broken-in glove in her left hand.
 "Oh, this thing? It's to snag those home runs. Hey, some hot dogs over here please."
 There are no seats in the outfield of the ballpark but a well groomed lawn instead. The fans sit her on sheets laid out to their liking. Among them are some who have removed their shirts, enjoying a bronzing session along with the ballgame. It's well into autumn, but today is a paragon of an Indian summer day.
 Mai loses no time sinking her teeth into her hot dog.
 "Wow, this is really good - just the right amount of onions."
 "I told you so. These are the perfect accompaniment to a tall glass of beer."
 "By the way, Mary, although I do know my pool, baseball's all Greek to me."
 "Don't worry about it. It's fun enough just watching the players throw, hit, and run the bases."
 "Hmm, I guess so. How many points do you get for a homerun?"
 "Uh..."
 "All I know is battledore and shuttlecock, myself, so, come on, teach us the rules. How many points for an out?"
 "Uh...Oh, don't sweat the details now. Watch and learn"

 The batter smacks a fly ball, high and deep.
 The white sphere shoots into the serenely blue Southtown sky, but the centerfielder snags it with barely a move. It's the third out and the sides change. King tries to strike up another conversation once the play comes to a halt.
 "By the way, Mary."
 "That was an out. You don't get points for that."
 "That's not what I was trying to say..."
 "We're surrounded."
 Mai seems to be aware of the situation too. There aren't too many of them.
 But some clearly well-conditioned individuals around the stairs to the seats, in the shadows of the billboards, and behind the light posts have them encircled and are gradually closing in.
 "Five, no I'd say six. Mai?"
 "At least in the immediate area I'd say so. There may be more waiting in the wings."
 "I'm sorry, looks like I got caught with my pants down here."
 With that remark, Mary shoves the last bite of her hot dog into her mouth, washes it down with a swig of beer, and then licks the ketchup off her fingers.
 The eyes of the three remain on the action on the field.
 "They don't seem too anxious to use guns. I say we let them move closer into range, sound good to you?"
 "It's your call, Mary."
 With the previous change-up the match completes the top of the third and the visiting team is now looking at a man on first with no outs. The clean-up batter is at the plate.
 Crack!
 Along with the short bang of the dry bat smacking the ball, Mai backhands the nose of the man who has approached her from behind. She takes his right hand and it no more than a couple of seconds she twists it up behind him.
 In a flash King swings her feet along the ground to trip up the feet of another man coming to the aid of Mai's assailant. The man falls flat on his back onto the grass. King's heel then lands in a flowing motion down on his unguarded solar plexus.
 The baseball meanwhile bounces into left center and the runner makes a beeline towards home.
 The small crowd erupts in cheers and applause for the runner.
 "Tish."
 Still another man witnesses the unfavorable series of events unfolding before his eyes and tut-tuts his accomplices in spite of himself, then glances backward.
 "What are you doing? Malin!"
 "You're busted!"
 The moment he lets his guard down, Mary seizes his arms.
 It's a brief and speedy action that appears as if she shook her arms up and down just a few times. And with that, there is a disagreeably dull snap accompanying the dislocation of his shoulder.
 The final brawl is drowned out by the cheers for the batter just making the slide into third base. The home (visiting?) team has just taken the lead with a three-base hit. A flashy display appears on the scoreboard and the screaming color commentary of the announcer from a radio of one of the fans echoes in the area. No one appears to be aware of the action taking place in the stands.

 "I suppose this is a warning for me. They're telling me to go home. But Blue Mary doesn't give in to threats."
 "Damn, no one told me something like this would happen. So it wasn't just him?"
 "You're not very up on your intel for someone in your line of work. Just try pulling something like this with my pals here. You'll have to answer to me, Mai Shiranui!"
 "And your friendly neighborhood bouncer, who wishes to remain anonymous."
 "?! ...Y-you're those fighter chicks from KOF, aren't you? Tch, I'm out of here!"
 In spite of the shape of their bodies, the men retreat in a right quick and orderly fashion.

 "My precious hot dog is ruined!"
 Unlike Mary who managed to gulp hers down in the knick of time, King and Mai's superlative sausages rest on the lawn, splotches of ketchup and mustard color the grass.
 The three are not at all fazed by their predicament, nor are they in the least afraid or jittery. They are seasoned fighters, pros who have survived scuffles more severe than this.
 "I'll go get us some new ones."
 Mai gets up and makes her way to the singular stand that served them before.
 "I'll take two hot dogs (Hmm, Mary could probably use one more too). No, make that three."
 "Hey, you were just here, weren't you? You don't need to pay."
 "Huh? But why?"
 "It's already been covered. Here you go, three hot dogs."
 "Covered? By who?"
 "What? Don't you know her? She's a petite, cute little thing. Her name was, uh, yeah...it was Maria, or Mario...no, something like Marie, maybe? Nah, I think it was Mariko?"
 "Do you mean, 'Malin?'"
 "Yeah, yeah. That's it! It was 'Malin.' She left me a message for you, too."

 Mary and King immediately sense that things aren't right with Mai.
 "What's up, Mai?"
 "It looks like someone already knows of our plans to enter this year's KOF."
 "So what's the big deal, we're in it every year? Was she scrounging for an autograph or something?"
 "No, just the opposite. She sprang for our hot dogs."
 "What's all that about!"
 "And she left us a message. It reads, 'This competition looks like it's going to be a blast, so you'll be seeing more of me later. Your pal, Malin.'"
 "Malin? ...Didn't that bunch of thugs mention that name?"
 "Oh, whatever. We'll find out all the details once the tourney starts. Look, another hit!"
 The dull roar of the crowd emanates from the baseball stadium on the town's outskirts.
 And the sun has begun its westward descent.

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