Queen of figthers

Keywords: queen of figthers
Description: Games » King of Fighters Rated: K+, English, Words: 9k+, Favs: 1, Follows: 1, Published: 7/14/2013 1 Author's Note: This story has no particular time frame, because it features dead

Games » King of Fighters Rated: K+, English, Words: 9k+, Favs: 1, Follows: 1, Published: 7/14/2013 1

Author's Note: This story has no particular time frame, because it features dead characters (like Shermie), but I guess it's after the events of KoF XI (because it features characters introduced in that game, like Elisabeth). Of course, it's AU (with that 'all the dead becoming the living again' thing and all…) It's a play on SNK Gals Fighters (I refuse to type that unnecessary apostrophe in), but this time, it's just KoF girls – no characters from other SNK games. I'm mainly writing this for my own (and hopefully somebody else's too) amusement, so, it's not meant to be serious, or have a greater purpose. Words in italics represent a character's thoughts.

Disclaimer: I don't own The King of Fighters, or any of the characters I use in this fic. And if I happen to mention some other game, or something like that, I don't own that either. Just to make sure…

It is the year of our Lord… Which one exactly? It doesn't matter. But anyway, once again the invitations to the most prestigious fighting tournament of the year find their way to the world's greatest fighters. But, this time, it's different than before. Only former female KoF contestants are invited this year. A total of 23 invitations were sent to the addresses of the following fighters: Athena Asamiya, Yuri Sakazaki, Mai Shiranui, King, Leona Heidern, Kasumi Todoh, Mature, Vice, Chizuru Kagura, Blue Mary, Shermie, Whip, Li Xiangfei, Vanessa, Hinako Shijou, Kula Diamond, May Lee, Foxy, Angel, Malin, Momoko, Bonne Jenet and Elisabeth Blanctorche. They all read the same: "You are cordially invited to this year's The Queen of Fighters Tournament. The winner will be granted a special prize. The rules of the Tournament are somewhat different from the standard rules that applied to The King of Fighters Tournaments. However, all the details will be thoroughly explained once you arrive to the Southtown Arena where the Tournament will be held. You are expected to be there exactly 7 days after you receive this invitation, at 15.30 sharp. With hopes to see you there, yours sincerely, SNKP staff."

At the appointed day, all of the invited fighters were making their way toward the Southtown Arena. Yuri, Mai and King were walking together.

"Ryo was so jealous that he wasn't invited this time.", Yuri laughed. "I guess being on the roster each time spoiled him a little. I'm so glad I'll finally get a break from him. So, guys, if there are teams of three again, do you want us to be on the same team? It'll be just like the good old days."

"Urm, I don't know, Yuri, a lot of fighters have been on our team since the 'old days', and I'm sure they'll all want to team up with us again. I mean, I don't blame them, we are the best.", Mai said haughtily. "And we need to pick the best fighter available to fill the third spot. We have to be careful who we choose, you know."

"Relax, Yuri, she was joking.", King interrupted, before Mai had a chance to say anything. I think I really wouldn't be able to stand more of their bickering. King thought tiredly. I was actually hoping I'd team up with someone less annoying this year. They both are pretty strong, but they're giving me a migraine each time I'm with them for more than an hour.

Once they got inside, instead of the main hall, they were all led to a room that kinda looked like a classroom. There were three rows of seats, and in front of them, instead of a board, there was a screen. The screen automatically turned on when the last of them took a seat.

Everyone stopped talking and focused their attention on the screen. It showed what seemed to be a boardroom with several men and women wearing formal suits sitting behind a long table. The man sitting it the center seemed to be in charge. After a short period of silence, he started talking:"Welcome, my ladies. I am the director of the SNKP and these are the SNKP's best character designers and story editors. We have invited you here to participate in a special tournament. Since SNK Gals Fighters wasn't as successful as we hoped it'd be, we decided to try with a similar concept, but this time, only with KoF characters. And we opted to abandon the trend of leaving some characters out, so we decided to invite you all. This is meant to be a friendly tournament, where you'll all get to know each other better and spend some quality time with each other."

"This is so stupid", Vice said. "I don't want to get to know any of these losers. I'm just here for the prize."

"Ladies, please.", the man on the screen interrupted. "I'd appreciate it if you'd let me finish. You'll get to talk and get to know each other as much as you want after I'm done."

"Yes, I can hear you.", the man replied. "I can also see you." A few girls looked around themselves at that statement. "There are four cameras.", he explained, noticing the commotion. "Now, to get on with what I need to tell you. As you've all, I'm sure, read in your invitations, the rules are going to be slightly different from the standard KoF rules. The most important change is that, instead of 3 person teams, you will be forming 2 person teams this time. The method of tag-team fighting will be used, just like since the beginnig of The Tales of Ash storyline."

"Ah, yes, I was just getting to that", the director said. "You will form the teams of two and whoever ends up without a team-mate will be labeled 'The Most Unpopular KoF Girl Ever' and will not appear in any of the future KoF games. At least not in the canonical ones. We can make no promises about possible SvC or NGBC editions. If they're willing to hire you, after being banished from the KoF world, which I doubt, we won't stop them."

This caused a huge tumult among the girls and none of them was listening to the director any more. They were all talking about possible team-mates. Because, no matter how cool and detached (like Leona), or how dead (like Mature, Vice, Foxy and Shermie) or how ignored (like Xiangfei) they were, none of them wanted to be excluded from the KoF tournaments forever. Even if they were canonically dead, they still had dream-matches to hope for.

"Ahem… Ladies… May I have your attention just for a little while longer, please?", the director asked. "You'll all be staying at the hotel nearby, throughout the entire tournament. Don't worry, we'll cover all the expenses. You are our guests. Once you settle who'll your team-mate be, just come to the reception desk, and you'll be handed the keys to your room. You will be informed about the time and place of your matches, as well as about your opponents in time. Now, about the prize for the winner…"

"Much like in SNK Gals Fighters", he proceeded, "where the winner was granted one wish, the team who wins all the matches and defeats the boss in the end, can request one thing from us. Each member of the winning team will be granted one request. You can ask us anything, from giving you a new haircut to determining the details of your ending in our upcoming game KoF XII. And, remember, we are much more powerful than some old talisman.", he finished with a smirk.

"I don't see the point in all this. It looks fishy to me.", Mary said. "Why would they go out of their way just to indulge one of us? Or two of us, in this case…"

"Hm, let me answer that, Ms Ryan.", the director started again. "The KoF XII will apparently not be released any time soon, so we need a game that's easy to produce, but will appeal to the audience to keep them occupied until KoF XII arrives. So, we decided to make you all an offer you won't be able to refuse.", he finished, with an evil smile.

"What an injustice! You should be ashamed of yourself.", May Lee said, obviously upset. "There's no way Eolith directors would ever do something like that to us."

"Please, Ms Lee", the director said sternly. "Do not compare us with Eolith. If you do not desire to participate in this tournament, you can just leave now, and we'll have our 'MUKoFGE' right away. Now, are there any further questions?", he asked.

"Yes", Foxy said. "You mentioned that the winners will have to win all the battles and defeat the boss. I would like to know who the boss is."

"Oh, well", he chuckled, "we aren't really supposed to tell you that, because according to the good old KoF tradition, the winning team learns the identity of the boss after the last match, but since she's already here… Why not? Ms Bernstein, would you care to join me here and introduce yourself to our contestants?"

Shortly after, Rose Bernstein could be seen approaching the table and standing next to the director's chair. "Thank you.", she said. "So, you've heard it. Whichever of you maggots manages to win all the matches will have the honor of fighting against me. Now, since there will be two of you on the team, I will be using the help of my pet panther, Gwan, so it would be a fair, two-on-two battle."

"Fighting with a panther? That is totally unfair! And the boss is Rose. Oh, come on, I'm sure even you guys could have found someone better than that. I mean, she's not even a fighter.", Yuri protested.

"Quiet, you little trash!", Rose snapped. "You have no idea whether I'm a fighter or not. And those of you who win, will have the privilege of seeing my beautiful and noble fighting style. Too bad it's going to be the last thing you'll see. For there can be only one Queen of Fighters, and that's me. The Queen has spoken.", Rose finished snootily and walked away out of their sight. The other girls could hear the door open and then slam shut in the boardroom. The director seemed a little embarrassed by all this.

"Uhm… sorry about that, ladies. Since Rugal is the usual boss in the dream-matches and other non-canonical games, we tried to convince him to appear here wearing a dress, but he just wouldn't hear about it. So, we invited his daughter, instead. We thought of it as a way to stay true to the KoF spirit. Now, we shall retire and leave you to decide your teams. Choose carefully, 'cos it just might make the difference between the victory and the defeat. Good luck, and I'll see the two of you with most luck, skill and power in this boardroom in a few days. Goodbye!" The screen went black.

The room was silent for a second. But just for a second. All the women started talking at the same time, barely listening to each other, trying to find the best possible team-mate to team up with.

Two of the women did not join the loud discussion that ensued. Instead, they were just standing in one of the corners of the room, looking with contempt at the others who were arguing. Those two were Mature and Vice. And almost as if they could read each other's mind (and there's no proof that they couldn't), they shifted their gaze from the others, and looked at each other at the same time.

They knew each other so well, that they were even finishing each other's sentences. Not much verbal communication went on between the two. They were able to convey most of the things they needed simply by exchanging glances. They looked at each other once again, and started to leave the room. However, before they reached the door, a voice spoke to them.

"Uhm… guys, wait. Could I talk to you for a while?" It was Shermie. She looked rather uncomfortable.

"Well, I was actually thinking… Maybe one of you could team up with me. instead. You know, all the fans are used to seeing the two of you together all the time. I think it would be a nice refreshment if we'd mix it up a little this time, don't you?"

"No.", Mature answered bluntly. "Besides, do you really think any of us would team up with you. after your KoF'02 winquotes against us?"

Of course you didn't. You're too stupid for that.. Vice thought. Mature heard that and chuckled. Since Shermie didn't share their telepathic power, she paused for a moment, but since she didn't see a reason for laughter, she just continued: "Yeah, anyway, as I was saying, the writers just gave me those lines, so I had to say them. You know I'd never offend you on purpose."

"And how are we supposed to know that?", Mature asked. "We've never even met you in the official storyline."

"Uh, yeah… Well, anyway, I would never do it to a fellow Hakkesshu. Now you know. So, how about it? Would you consider joining with me? I'm sure you won't regret it. The three of us had a special ending picture in '98, remember?"

"If you guys won't team up with me… I don't really have anyone else to team up with.", Shermie muttered, seeming slightly embarrassed. "I mean, I appeared only in one non-dream-match game, and I don't have much relations to other characters. I mean, I don't want to get stuck with someone I know nothing about, and who's probably boring. And I don't want to be left without a team-mate, and be banished from KoF for all eternity. So… uhm… please?"

Mature and Vice were quiet for a moment, then exchanged glances one more time. Once again, they seemed to understand each other without words.

"Oh, fine!", Shermie replied angrily. "Who needs you, anyway. You know, I'll be glad to team up with someone else, and beat the crap out of you two in the tournament. And, just for the record, I do have superior power and figure.", she finished, referring to her '02 winquote.

"Uhm… whatever.", Shermie said, moving away, unsuccessfully trying to seem unmoved. "Freak", she said under her breath.

"Let's go get those keys.", Vice said. "By the way, I've developed a new version of Deicide, you should see it. It's a killer, literally."

And with that, Mature and Vice left the room, thus forming the first team of this year's Queen of Fighters Tournament.

Kula listened to the heated conversation that was going on for a while, but since it showed no sign of stopping, she soon got tired of it and turned to Foxy.

"Uhm, I guess…", Foxy said, looking confused. "Listen, Kula, you don't have to do this just for me."

"You don't have to team up with me just because you think it's what I would want. I mean, you're young, and I suppose you'd have much more fun if you'd team up with someone your age. I actually thought that it'd be boring for you to team up with me again and that you'd be looking for someone else this time."

"What? Uhm… I guess. Whip is probably entering with Leona. I mean, they've been on the same team twice, and Whip and I have never entered together. Besides, I really want to enter with you. I mean, you've done so much for me, and the last thing I want is you to be left behind and get that Most-Unpopular-Girl title." And, let's face it, you are really not popular at all, so if I'd enter with someone else, I don't think you'd stand much chance. Kula thought, but didn't have the heart to say it out loud. "You've been so underestimated over the years. People need to get to know the real you, and they can't do that if you stop showing up."

"Well… Thanks, it's nice of you to do something like that, but, the truth is, I wouldn't mind quitting KoF for good that much. Ever since N.E.S.T.S. broke down, I've been spending a lot of time in my honey factory, and it's been developing really nicely. I even managed to find some foreign trading partners, and… yeah, I'm sure you don't wanna hear about that. And I've started doing some gardening – it's been really relaxing. It was just what I needed to get rid of all that unwanted stress in my life. I realized how much I've been missing out during all those years when N.E.S.T.S. was the sole focus of my life. And ever since I moved in with…", Foxy stopped talking there, realizing she has revealed more than she wanted.

"Uhm…" How the hell did she know that? Did Diana tell her something?. Foxy thought, unable to hide her blush. "Of course not!", she said. "Listen, let's not talk about that. The point is – you don't have to team up with me just to do me a favor, because…"

"Nonsense", Kula interrupted her. "And I'm not doing this just to do you a favor. It's what I want, really. You've been so nice to me all those years, and this is the least I can do to pay you back. And, besides, I wouldn't want to team up with anyone else. They're OK – well, most of them, I guess – but I'm not sure how much we'd have in common, and it's much harder to work as a team with someone you don't know that well – or don't know at all."

"Oh, OK then.", Foxy said. "Thank you, Kula, this really means a lot to me. I mean, not so much the fact that I won't get that stupid title, but the fact that you feel that way."

"You're right. We should get as much rest as possible, because the first matches will probably start tomorrow."

Leona just stood there, not showing any interest to take part in the discussion. She looked at Whip.

"Yeah, well… Uhm… No hard feelings, but I was actually thinking of joining with Kula. You know… share our past N.E.S.T.S. experiences, gossip about K'… you know."

Feelings? What is she talking about?. Leona thought to herself. "We should stick together in order to be able to effectively accomplish our mission.", she explained calmly.

"Mission? What mission? This is a crack tournament, Leona. We don't have a mission.", Whip protested.

"Weren't you paying attention? Before we left, Commander clearly told us that our task is to investigate this tournament, discover what evil organization is hiding behind it this time, and obstruct any of their evil plans."

"Uhm… Weren't you listening to the man that just spoke to us over that screen? There is no evil organization – the only evil organization over here is SNK, and that's the company that created us all, so we can't really do much to foil any of their plans."

"I'm surprised that you would be taken in so easily, Whip.", Leona said, obviously disappointed. "Isn't it obvious? They are just saying that to make us believe that we have no choice and that we're under their control, so none of us would try to stand up to them. But we will not allow it. We'll pretend to play their game, and then defeat them when they put their guard down."

There's no use arguing with her. Whip thought. I swear, if I have to put up with her throughout the entire tournament, I'll go insane. At least, in '99 and '00 there were Ralf and Clark, so it wasn't that bad.

"Yeah, OK, but Commander didn't say anything about entering together. We didn't know that there were going to be teams of two at that time. So, maybe", Whip desperately tried to find a way out, "it would be strategically better to enter separately, so that we could keep an eye on the others, and the possible evil plans that they might be hatching."

"I don't think so.", Leona was unfazed. "Ikari warriors have always entered together. We are stronger that way. Unless we receive explicit orders from Commander saying that we should do otherwise, I believe we should follow the standard procedure. However, if you are convinced that it would be better for our mission to separate, then I'll have to contact Commander and get his permission. We can't do something like that on our own."

Whip was about to give a sarcastic reply to that, but then she saw Kula and Foxy leaving the room together. Oh, what's the use. she thought. I should have guessed she'd be entering with Foxy. I don't suppose I could team up with anyone else. She briefly scanned the room, looking at the remaining fighters.

"OK, you don't have to call him.", she said, giving up. "I'll enter with you… I mean, we'll enter together. As a team. Happy now?"

With that said, the third team was formed, and Whip and Leona left the room, Whip looking unusually glum, and Leona, as always, without an expression at all.

Near the center of the room, where all the noise was coming from, stood Mai, Yuri, King, Mary, Malin, Xiangfei and Athena, and close to them, but without actively joining the discussion – Chizuru and Momoko. It was a difficult moment for Momoko. Most of the other women knew each other very well, and she was the new kid, who joined only one KoF tournament so far. And my chances of getting into KoF XII don't look to good, either, Momoko thought. She didn't know what to do to get their attention. She didn't really have anything to say to add to their discussion. They kept arguing and were showing no signs of stopping. Momoko was confused. She expected Athena to join with her, because she was the only female team-mate Momoko's ever had. But, as soon as the screen went black, Athena rushed to join the discussion, without paying any attention to Momoko. Momoko thought that it was high time she did something, or else that "Most-Unpopular" title would be closer than ever.

"Could I talk to you for a minute?", Momoko asked, moving a few steps back, showing that she wanted to do it in private, or, at least, away from the shouting.

"Sure.", Athena said. "But, whatever it is, you can tell me here. I want to follow this conversation, too, you know."

I guess she can multitask., Momoko thought. After all, she is the reincarnation of the Goddess of Wisdom… Or is she? Momoko cast such useless thoughts aside, and asked: "Well… Aren't you going to join with me? I mean, it's only natural, isn't it? We've been on the same team in KoF XI, and, after all, it's not like you're hanging out with these other girls much. I don't see why you have to discuss the teams with them. I mean, I thought I'd be your first choice."

Athena's sickly sweet smile grew a little wider, as she replied: "How cute. But, you see, Momoko, I'm quite popular around here. And, as you had the opportunity to see, quite powerful. So, pretty much everyone wants to team up with me. I need to consider all my options, and make the best choice, not the most convenient one. That is the strategy you use if you want to win, you know."

"OK, I get it. You don't have to act so patronizing.", Momoko replied, unsuccessfully trying to hide her annoyance. "So, who did you plan to team up with?"

"I mean, I've been listening to that conversation you were having for like… half an hour now, and no one offered to team up with you yet."

Athena smiled again, rolling her eyes. "Yeah… You see, that's because they're pretty intimidated by me. Joining with such a powerful fighter… It's not an easy task. Not many of them would be able to keep up."

Athena gave her yet another smile, this time, even more artificial than before. "Oh, that's what you think, honey. You're just not experienced enough to be able to discern such things."

"Fine", Momoko said, agitated. "Well, then, why don't you just ask them? I'm sure that if you invite them, those who want to join with you will respond, and then you'll know exactly what your options are."

"Err… Of course. I was just thinking of doing the same thing.", Athena turned around, a strand of her hair slapping Momoko across the face in the process. "So," she said out loud, trying to make herself heard over the noise, "let's cut to the chase. Who wants to join with me?!"

The others stopped talking. All eyes were on Athena now. For a few moments, no one talked, and then Malin broke the silence.

"Uhm… yeah… I mean, no… I mean, yeah… I mean, I just wanted to consider all my options. I mean…", Athena was thinking hard, trying to find a way out of the situation. "This is such a great opportunity for all of us to get to know each other better.", she said, regaining her confidence and her annoying smile. "What's the point of joining with someone you already know? Wouldn't it be much better if you'd team up with a total stranger and win the tournament with them?!"

"…No.", one of the women said. "Of course not", agreed another one. And within a few seconds, Athena got several "no"s as a response to her question.

"Oh, come on!", Athena wouldn't give up. "Where's your sense of adventure? That's exactly what this tournament is all about…"

"Yeah, OK, fine", King interrupted her. "We get what you're trying to say. Let me help you, Athena. OK, listen up, everyone", King raised her voice in order to get the attention of the women who were standing away from the crowd. "Anyone who's considering joining with Athena, please, raise your hands now!"

No hands were raised. Ten seconds passed. Then another thirty seconds. The silence was getting awkward. Then finally Momoko raised her hand, with an irritated expression. But, since she was standing behind Athena ever since Athena's hair slapped her, Athena couldn't see her.

Athena looked at King, confused, and then she realized King was looking behind her, at Momoko. She turned around. Momoko quickly put her down, as if she was embarrassed. Athena hesitated.

"Oh, for goodness' sake, just join with Momoko, Athena!", Malin exclaimed, once again being the one to break the silence, making some of the women twitch. "It's obvious she's your only choice."

For a second, Athena looked as if Malin had insulted her, but then she turned around, grabbed Momoko by the forearm, and quickly headed toward the door. "Let's go, Momoko. We need to hurry up and get ready. Who knows, the first match might be tomorrow. We can't waste our time here arguing over unimportant things. You should have had that in mind."

"But you're the one who wanted…", Momoko protested, but she didn't get the chance to finish the sentence before she was mercilessly pulled out of the room. The other women saw the door shut behind the two. Whether or not Momoko finished her sentence after she left the room, and, if she did, what was it that she said, none of the remaining contestants ever found out. And, frankly, none of them cared. As soon as Athena and Momoko left, they turned back to each other, and continued their discussion, unfazed by the scene that had briefly interrupted them.

"As I was saying", King said, a little concerned that no one was even listening to her, "I should be the one to choose first. I've suffered so much injustice from SNK, so this should be some sort of compensation. First, they leave me out of KoF'02, then they blatantly ignore me all the way throughout MI series, not to mention the lack of attention I've been getting from story editors and developers, then there's SNK Gals Fighters…"

"Oh, come on, King", Yuri interrupted her. "You still haven't got over that little '02 thing? It's high time you moved on with your life, you know. I mean, you can't just dwell on such things forever."

"It's easy for you to say!", King replied, clearly irritated. "You've never been left out of anything!" God knows I can't imagine why, King thought, but she still had enough self-control not to say it out loud. "You were even in the KoF volleyball!", King said bitterly.

"It's not true that I've never been left out of anything. I wasn't in…", Yuri had to think hard for this one. She really has been almost everywhere. "I wasn't in KoF EX: Neo Blood.", she finally said.

"Yes, you were, it's just that you were a striker, not a regular character.", King said, getting more agitated by the minute. "And besides, nobody cares about that game. You were included in all the good ones. You… and some other girls…", King looked around, but not at anyone in particular, "get all the attention and I… I mean, we always stay in your shadow. You are always the ones who end up on every roster, who have the most tribute videos on youtube, who have the most fan-boys and most hentai fics written about them. Well, I'm sick of that."

"You'd actually like more hentai fics written about you?", Yuri asked, slightly amused. King never talked about stuff like that.

"That's absolutely not the point.", King said, managing not to blush. All the frustration pent up over the years was now coming out. "The point is… I don't even know who the idiots who decide the rosters and story line details and put you everywhere are. I mean, can't they realize that the fans would probably like a little variety. And not seeing the same faces over and over again in every ing game…", King was cursing. King usually never cursed. "I mean, it's not like you're…", that's where she stopped. She realized she was going overboard.

Yuri was looking at her in disbelief. "It's not like I'm what, King? Good enough as a fighter? Pretty enough? Deserving of the attention I was getting? I didn't ask to be always included everywhere. It was their choice, so don't act like it's my fault." The room was completely silent now, and even the sarcastic ones, like Malin, felt uncomfortable (even though Malin was kinda glad that Yuri was upset, she still didn't like having to witness the scene). Tears were starting to well up in Yuri's eyes. "I can't believe you'd say something like that, King. I thought… you were… my friend."

King didn't know what to do. She didn't mean to say all those things, and she really considered Yuri to be one of her best friends, but she just lost control over herself for a moment. "Uhm… listen, Yuri…", she started, but we shall never find out what she was about to say. That's because Mai interrupted her.

"God, I can't believe you're making such a fuss over that! We're all here now and… frankly, it doesn't matter who was where and how many times!", Mai was trying to come up with something to say that'll sound good, but that wasn't really one of her fortes. "I mean, I don't even know how many games I've been in. For me, that's completely irrelevant. But what I do know is that Yuri is my best friend. She's the one that consoled me when Andy didn't let me on his team in '94, she's the one who suggested we team up with you, she's the one I got drunk with after '95 tournament and held my hair when I was vom… Ugh, never mind. The point is, I'm damned if I let her end up without a team-mate. So, come on, Yuri, we're going!", she pulled Yuri by the forearm, much like Athena did Momoko a few minutes ago.

"Oh… OK", Yuri said and before Mai dragged her out of the room, she managed to meet her eyes with King's. None of them said anything, but before Yuri and Mai left the room, King knew that everything was still OK between her and Yuri.

Oh my God, I can't believe what I've done. King thought. She never meant to lash out at Yuri like that. After all, it wasn't her fault that she was more popular than King. Hmmm, am I really jealous of her? Nonsense – she's my friend and… Well, I am who I am and I can't… and will not change. And if being popular means striking such ridiculous poses after you win a match, then I'd rather stay unpopular. She felt her conscience sting once again. She was doing it again, she was mean to Yuri and she was barely aware of it. I guess I should just talk to her when all this is over and apologize. But right now, I need to focus on finding someone to team up with. She scanned the room, contemplating about the remaining women. She just wanted someone experienced, sane and without a super-kawaii attitude.

Then, her eyes met with Blue Mary's. Why not?. King pondered. Mary's got plenty of experience and we've teamed up before, so at least I know what to expect. She was about to offer Mary to form a team, but Mary was faster.

"Seems like a good idea", King replied. OK, this is good. Now all we need to do is… King didn't get a chance to finish this thought, because Vanessa interrupted them.

"Err… Mary, I was kinda hoping that you'd team up with me. I mean, you're the only girl I've ever been on a same team with. To be frank, I prefer working with men and that's why… I'd rather not… team up with someone I don't know. Then I'd have to go through all that process of getting to know someone and… "

"I understand.", Mary said. "You miss Ramon, don't you? I know how you feel.", she continued after flinching a little. "But I have already agreed to enter with King, so I'm really sorry, but I can't just leave her high and dry."

"I apologize for intruding", a voice was heard. Mary, King and Vanessa turned to see Chizuru standing behind them. "But I was just about to ask King to join with me, so… by teaming up with Vanessa, you wouldn't be leaving her high and dry."

"Uhm… Chizuru indeed is a powerful fighter, but… Chizuru, will you be able to compete now?", King turned to her. "I mean, you don't have your mirror any more, so it will surely influence your fighting ability."

"Well, yes, but you're forgetting that this is not a canonical tournament. We don't have to adhere to the storyline."

"Oh my God, you're right. I did forget about that. Well… if that's the case…", King turned back to Mary. "I was really looking forward to teaming up with you, Mary, but… I think this is for the best. What do you think?"

"Thanks. Good luck to you guys too. But not too much luck…", King added. "I definitely plan to win this."

And so, in high spirits, the two newly formed teams left the room, leaving the remaining contestants behind.

As the four women left, the feeling of unease started spreading through the room. They were the last experienced fighters left, and neither of the remaining nine contestants had much experience with the KoF tournaments. It was only natural that those with more experience would have less trouble finding a partner. Now Kasumi, Shermie, Xiangfei, Hinako, May Lee, Angel, Malin, Jenet and Elisabeth had to face the fact that their team, no matter who they join with, is not going to be the strongest in the tournament. They realized (the more astute among them at least) that they had to do something, and do it fast.

"Well, I've had such an interesting experience with you, Malin, and I think we could just relive that all over again. Of course, Kasumi and Xiangfei are very competent fighters, as well…", Hinako chirped.

However, Malin had other plans. "I'm sorry, Hinako", she said, pushing her to the side gently as she walked past her. "I just need to discuss something with Kasumi."

"Yeah, yeah, sorry. Let's talk over here", Malin said demandingly, dragging Kasumi to a distant corner of the room where they couldn't be heard by others.

"Well…", Malin started. It almost seemed like now, that she was given an opportunity to speak, she didn't know how to begin. After a while, she decided that the simplest way was the best. "I really think we should enter this tournament together."

"I was thinking of teaming up with someone more experienced… and more polite than you.", Kasumi said sternly.

Oh God, what a whining bi…, Malin didn't finish her thought. She had to take care of the matter at hand urgently. "Look Kasumi, I'm sorry. But listen… uhm… we should really team up. You know… I mean… c'mon… We were the Anti-Kyokugenryu team. The legendary Anti-Kyokugenryu team. We have the chance to destroy that Sakazaki bitch once and for all now."

"Well, I would hardly consider our one-time cooperation to be legendary. Especially considering how it ended", Kasumi added bitterly. "Besides… Yuri is not my rival. I was on the same team with her in 2000. It's her brother that I'm after. Or at least I was… Anyway… I'm trying to put all of my hatred and negativity behind. It's unhealthy to live like that, you know?", Kasumi stated calmly.

"What are you talking about?", Malin shrieked, raising a few eyebrows among the other women. "You have always been the rival of Kyokugen. Yuri is a Kyokugen fighter, therefore, she is the enemy. Are you just going to forget what they did to your father? Forget who you are?"

"Uhm, Malin, I would appreciate it if you wouldn't act as if you know everything about me. The information you found on KoF 10th Anniversary website is hardly all there is to the story."

How does she know I read it there?. Malin wondered for a second. "Oh come on, you have to! We were such a great team! We'll be amazing this time, too."

Should I tell her?. Malin mused. Oh what the heck, it doesn't matter now. She looked around to check if anyone was looking in their direction. Of course, all the remaining women were looking at them. Some people just have no manners. Don't they know they should respect our privacy?! She leaned in towards Kasumi.

"OK, listen", she whispered. "I wasn't gonna tell you this, but if it's going to get you to join, I will." She leaned even closer. "They can't know about this, OK? Here's the thing – we were together in the Anti-Kyokugenryu team in XI. And… Anti-Kyokugenryu team is ALLRRPRP's favorite team ever. So… if we join again… the victory is ours. Admittedly, her favorite character is King, but hey, this is all about team work. Do you see why we have to team up now?"

Kasumi looked at Malin as if she was speaking English (which was a language Kasumi wasn't very good at). "No, I don't. What's that ALL… thing? Some new evil syndicate? Like N.E.S.T.S.?"

"Uhm… no, it's not a thing… it's a person, the author of this… uhm… never mind", Malin shook her head. Kasumi was completely oblivious to the situation they were in. I'll have to use another approach. she thought.

"Think about it, Kasumi", Malin insisted, "I'm your only choice. You weren't going to join with those…", Malin lowered her voice to a whisper again, "depraved women. What would your father say if he saw you in a team with someone dressed like that. ", she glanced briefly in the direction of Angel. "Xiangfei is not a good choice for you, either. Remember the fight you had before the '99 tournament? I think it's pretty safe to say she still holds a grudge against you for that."

"Most definitely.", Malin said, seeing her chance. "And… of course… Hinako is certainly out of question, too."

"She doesn't really… respect you, sweetie. On our way here, we talked, and she said she thinks your fighting style is… well, I don't dare use that word again."

"That little brat!", Kasumi seethed. "Who's she to talk? I mean, what kind of style is sumo anyway?!"

"My thoughts exactly, love. See? I'm your only option. You don't stand a chance without me. It's really that simple. Now, let's just go get those keys, shall we?"

"What? No.", Malin said hurriedly. "Come on… she's a rich spoiled brat who thinks she can judge people that are not as wealthy as her. She isn't worth your time, honey. Trust me."

"Oh, no, you'll just get upset after talking to her, and she'll deny everything, because she's such a liar. And a coward. You see, the thing is… she's afraid of you. And she envies you. Because you're so much more powerful than her. She would never admit she said something like that."

"Of course I am. I'm really sorry I had to tell you this, you know. I never wanted to get you upset. I just couldn't let you team up with such a two-faced person. It was really… for your own good."

And so, Malin and Kasumi left the room. The others weren't surprised to see them leave together. They figured Malin must have convinced Kasumi to accept her plan whatever it was. Only Hinako was surprised when she caught Kasumi glaring at her with the corner of her eye. Huh? What was that?. Hinako thought. After a while, she concluded: It must have been just my imagination.

The tournament will be similar to Ka'aS al 3alm in a groups. the team who win all the battles or gain the most points will reach the finals and fight Rose. Rugal daughter.

Inside the loud and the girls all talking. Shermie was sitting in a table in the center of the room, looks Uncomfortable and a bit sad, rest her hand under her cheek. "It not my fault if I don't have any relationship with females. I've never met any. and this tournament is very important, If I didn't find a partner now I'll not be able appearing in the future KOF titles!" A woman with white hair and black clothes, lethal legs sit in the same table in front of shermie. Shermie not giving her attention, her name is Angel. "Hola! What wrong why you're so sad?" she said it with cheerful voice. "Oh, Nothing. Umm Actually there is. I'm not able to find any partner. while almost everyone else got their choices.." Crosses her arms. "Oh me too! Kula and Foxy already teamed up togeither. Err They're so gonna regret it!" Shermie feels comfortable to Angel "By the way we have picture ending in 02 remember? " Shermie said "and both of us use Wrestling style! so why we don't join togeither Chika!?" Angel said it with hype tone voice "Definitly girl! We're so gonna kick their assess!" Shermie is now happy finding a partner who share a lot of things with her, Also Angel. the two left the room..

Jenet was a bit far from the girls. drinking soda in the one of the corners, Elisabeth wasn't active with the girls. "This is sucks! If the tournament was 3on3 we could entering together just like in 02!" Xiangfei said with food in her mouth. "That mean one of us should team up with someone else.." Hinako said. "I don't want to team up with someone I don't know, maybe she's evil!" Maylee said. "Let make a draft! So we can't have grudge against each other !" Hinako said. "Oh..kay.." Xiangfei said with mumbling. " GUM!" Maylee scared of the draft they'll making..

Hinako seems emberesmant "No Me!" Hinako start crying. "Oh don't feel bad Hinako I'm pretty sure you'll find someone cool to team up with! " Also.." When maylee started to speech a voice cut their conversation. Appearing behind the girls. a woman with a purple dress with a pirate sign in the dress and she have a long blonde hair. "I'd want to discuss something with you three If ya don't mind.." then May Lee say " What is it?" Jenet said "I can't find a team member and since you're three. one of you can team up with me! Also we've met in the Women fighters team ending in KOF XIII!" "Well here you go Hinako you didn't wiped out!" Xiangfei said "Thanks for the offering but. I don't know you that well so sorry" Hinako said. "Love listen, All your friends left you out, Unless if you want to get "The most Unpopular KOF girl character" title? Also I can team up with Elisabeth easily but I wanted someone Less serious. "

" Are you a pirate?" May Lee asked "Yeah hon, I'm. Actually My family are very wealthy but you know I always do things on my own. I'm also the leader of the Lillien Knights! " Jenet Respond. "Oh really" Xiangfei said. "Wow awesome! I'll gladly accept your offer! Both of us are rich but we aren't "princesses type" Hinako said with a happy tone. "Now that the spirit!" Jenet gigles

The four girls are left the room and take the keys. Only Elisabeth in the room alone. making her taking the title of "most unpopular KOF girl"

"The tournament rules are terrible, How can you be the most unpopular character when you don't have much relationship with other characters? At least the Ash saga is done. I can now rest."

With now all the teams have formed. the fighters went to the hotel nearby in order to get ready for the matches tomorrow. the final teams so far now are :-

Photogallery Queen of figthers:

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