Group Info Group Founded 7 Years ago 701 Members
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ALL LIVES MATTER!

This is a BLM free zone. If you insist on supporting a criminal group that has been proven to be a criminal group several times, leave!

www.youtube.com/watch?v=6SwsPO…
www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8-BP1…
www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yxNzF…
www.youtube.com/watch?v=_sH0tQ…
www.youtube.com/watch?v=KW6NK9…


I have a problem with BLM, not black people in general. I have a problem with BLM because it is a criminal group that has been caught ON VIDEO several times committing criminal acts.

Group Info

I'm doing vampire themed commissions and abstract commissions for 1 point each.

I'm also designing planet adopts for 1 point each as well.
Group
Founded 7 Years ago
May 31, 2015

Location
North America

Group Focus
Regional

701 Members
551 Watchers
30,198 Pageviews

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NSFW and SFW Commissions Open! Fetishes welcome*Hi everyone!(Both Points and PayPal Welcome! I currently live in a country that uses €. Be mindful of that when chosing PayPal as a payment method)I would like to practice my drawing more and thought it would be a good challenge to myself to open up commissions! I both draw NSFW (be it gore or porn or what ever) or just normal SFW stuff and anything in between! BUT there are a few rules!!!! If you don't like these rules don't commission me.Firstly what will I draw?I'll draw anything furry or anthro related, but I can also draw humans, aliens or fantasy creatures.What I wont draw: (pay special attention here if you want some yiff or fetish pictures!)I use references for drawing, so I will NOT draw anthro/furry characters with actual animal genitalia. I'll just draw them with regular human genitals. Also I will not draw full on feral characters nor children or lolis (even if they're a 1000 year old demon or what ever)I am open to drawing fetishes, like inflation, giantesses or feet among others, but if I feel like I either can't properly fulfill your commission, or I feel personally too uncomfortable with the subject matter I reserve the right to decline the commission!Lastly, my skills in regards to drawing backgrounds or scenery aren't that great, so if you want a picture including a background, like a city or a forest or whatever the background might not look that great.Rules:-Do not get rude/agressive with me or other customers. I will block you asap.-I will show you a sketch of your commissions, at this stage and ONLY this stage you are entitled to ONE free redraw. If you STILL don't like the pose or whatever I'll charge a small fee if I have to redraw it again.-This is less of a rule, and more a warning: I still have to attend classes, do homework and study so it might take me a while until your piece is done.Payment:I can take DeviantArt Points or PayPalOne full-body will be 1000 pts ($10), half-body 500 pts ($5), head 250 pts($2.50).A detailed background, like a scenery will be 700 pts ($7), a simple background like a pattern or something abstract will be 250 pts ($2.50), a blank background or a solid color will be free.Please note I am very new to Paypal, um... if you want to pay Via Paypal please help me out a bit since I don't know what info I need to give you so you can actually send over the money...You bought a commission and want to know how things are going? Take a look here!Art Examples (More will be added when I finish more pieces!),,,,,,,
Traditional art
Wedding 10 YEARS LATER by TheLivingBluejay
*** by Alena-48
Johnny Test by TheLivingBluejay
Champi by CCMillustration
Digital art
Lemon Lollipop by VanessaWeisz2003

Mature Content

Sabrina standing stock 06 by Rembrandt2007

Mature Content

Cuddle by Rembrandt2007
Mechanimallow And Monster Gummy Bear (Read Desc) by VanessaWeisz2003
Anime, Manga, and Chibi style art
HEART OF WILDFIRE - Page 01, Chapter 01 (preview) by FallenAngelGM
I'd Rather Be Alone In my Corner by Scourgethedestron
Critter Fighters - Page 15 by CYSYS8993
Did I Become A Monster?-Crona And Ragnarock by Scourgethedestron
Adoptables
Adoptables Auction - Oni Girl and Modern Witch by FallenAngelGM
$3.00 USD Dragon Adopts | 14/16 Left by Ardent-Skies
SOLD - ADOPTABLE AUCTION 02 - Oni Girl by FallenAngelGM
SOLD - ADOPTABLE AUCTION - Elf Knight OC by FallenAngelGM
Artisans, Crafts, and Cosplay
Shego by Neville6000
Spider-Men by Neville6000
Iron Woman I by Neville6000
Marvel Assortment by Neville6000
Photography and Photomanipulations
Oscar winner Sir Sidney Poiter dies by JediSenshi
Legendary Actress Betty White Dies at 99 by JediSenshi
Deep Freeze (WAB3766) by WayneBenedet
Rock art / Art rupestre by FougereMarchant
Literature

Mature Content

Mature Content

Mature Content

Street Fighter: Masters - Chapter FiveCHAPTER FIVE---The Answer---Ken, I’m sorry it’s taken so long to write to you. I’ve been pushing myself into my training more and more these days, so I lose track of time way too easily. Master doesn’t approve of it. Something about me going overboard and not giving myself time for meditation and reflection. Then again, he’s not really approving of a lot of things. He’s been getting much stricter lately. Sometimes I think he’s holding me back just for the sake of it. It hasn’t been the same since you’ve been gone. A ton of fighters have been showing up at the dojo to challenge me after the tournament. None of them stood much of a chance. There was this one man who knew Muay Thai. Adon, I think he said his name was. Very annoying, I have to admit. Very full of himself, too. Said he was Sagat’s student, but he wasn’t much more than practice if I can sound a little cocky. Still, I guess he and all the others were good for stress release. I’ve been feeling a lot angrier nowadays, but I’m not really sure why. It’s almost like I’m turning into some other person. Maybe I’m overthinking it.Either way, I hope this letter reaches you in one piece, and I hope you’re doing well. Write back whenever you can. I’m looking forward to it, and I hope we get to see each other again some day.Ryu*** No matter how often Ken read the letter, it was always like the first time. First making sure he wasn’t mistranslating anything considering it was written entirely in kanji, then letting guilt take him over as he processed each word and how none of it was hostile. No blame laid nor even implied. Just a wish they could meet again someday, but as Ken remembered the day and the month and realized it had been six months since the letter had arrived, that wish just made him sick. His parents were thrilled to see him, even more so when they saw how much he had changed in the five years they’d been apart. Still as boisterous as ever, but not mouthing off at everyone just because he didn’t like them or starting fights with others his age. He attended his last year of high school in person and graduated with honors, now with a sea of potential university scholarships sitting before him. Endless opportunities at his fingertips that he took his time to consider. Yes, life had gone on, but as it did, neither Ken’s mother or father could deny that Ken himself didn’t seem happy. Indeed, he was as far from happy as he could be. He made no effort to make friends, he left the house and drifted throughout town at random, and when he was home, it was like he was just a ghost haunting the hallways whenever he hadn’t shut himself in his room. He didn’t dare tell anyone why, for if they’d known where he'd been, they’d already know the answer. He missed Okinawa. He missed the sun and breeze. He missed the friendly people that called the island home. He missed the dojo and his training. He missed his master...and he missed his best friend. His best and only friend that had written such a heartfelt letter, and yet six months had gone by without Ken having so much as a link of backbone to reply. He’d left it all behind in the shame of defeat...and now he couldn’t return as the shame of guilt laid before him. So he sat at the same bar he found himself in night after night, reading the letter again and again and wondering what Ryu was thinking right about now. Training alone, probably a thousand times stronger now than he’d been when he beat Ken to a bloody pulp. Ken absently sipped his soda as he thought, the bartender a good friend of the family that kept a close eye on the young Masters and made sure he stayed an arm’s length away from the alcohol. It was a good place to relax on most nights, though there was always some rowdy customer that came in looking for a fight. Ken supposed that was why he was always welcome, and he didn’t mind so long as he could stay as long as he liked. “Whole damn country’s goin’ up in smoke, ain’t it?” the bartender mused, wiping down a dirty glass as the news came on the overhead TV. “Can you believe this?” Ken spared a glance. Jesus Murphy, what wasn’t happening? Metro City was getting slammed by some punks calling themselves Mad Gear, there were all these crazy whispers about vampires and werewolves and zombies popping up and fighting each other, and now he was hearing about a viral outbreak near the Arklay Mountains? He smirked and wondered to himself if this was all because he hadn’t sucked it up and stayed in Japan. “...and in other news,” the anchorman said. “Reports of vigilante activity continue across the metropolitan area, small-time criminals repeatedly found beaten and bound in alleyways. Eyewitnesses on the scenes point to the perpetrator being a tall masked figure in black who intercepted and assaulted...” The screen cut to a grainy security recording of a man holding up a convenience store flat on his back after taking a Hadoken from a guy in a black hoodie. A not-so-trademark outfit Ken had taken to hiding in a dumpster with an open corner near Main Street. He certainly wasn’t going to take it home with him, was he? He chuckled under his breath and took another sip. It was one way to keep up his training and use the Way of the Hado for good. At the very least, it gave him something to do other than pass life by day after boring day in the same boring places with the same boring company, waiting for something...ANYTHING to change. Like perhaps noticing that girl a few seats away had been watching him for the past five minutes, her chin propped up in her hand with a curious grin on her face. He sipped his drink in silence and tried to ignore her, but that only spurred her on further, and when he glanced back to check, she was right next to him. He cocked his brow. “You need something?” he asked. “Because I don’t do autographs.” “I figured,” she answered in a bubbly but sensual tone that Ken couldn’t help but like. “Just wondering what Ken Masters is doing in a little place like this.” “What, the rich kid can’t be humble?” “No need to be mean about it. I’ve got a thing for fighters, that’s all.” “How did you—” “What, the pretty blonde girl can’t be perceptive? You were literally just smiling at that thing on the news.” He gave himself away that easily? He had the thought to slink out of sight and eventually out of the bar, but her unnaturally pretty laugh at his grimace froze him in place. “Don’t worry, I’m not gonna rat you out,” she said. “It’s a good thing you’re doing. Most cops don’t have that kind of guts, especially around here.” “Wouldn’t say that to their faces,” Ken answered, though at last managed a smile of his own. “They’re getting a lot touchier these days.” “Yeah, but they’re not World Warriors.” Ken flinched. Just thinking about the tournament made his ribs ache long after they’d fully healed, and the memory of the final fight left his heart as empty as the day he’d fought it. He’d call it post-traumatic stress, but it was more like post-humiliation guilt. “You, uh...you saw that, huh?” “Saw it?!” the girl beamed. “I skipped school to watch it! I got detention for like a week after, but it was so worth it! You were amazing...well, I was rooting for Xiang Chun-Li at first. Y’know, girl power, but man. That’s better than any movie I’ve ever seen.” He supposed that was a compliment. Either way, he remained utterly confused and fascinated with her. Chatty, but not to the point of being annoying. Deceptively insightful, and ungodly beautiful. Long legs, a slim build, luscious golden locks cascading over her shoulders bare in that cute crop top. She looked like a model fresh off her latest photoshoot, but there was a certain kind of comforting spunk in her eyes that he couldn’t quite explain. “Can I ask you something?” she asked suddenly. Ken snapped back to attention with the girl’s sudden hint of sincerity. He nodded despite having no idea what to expect, and she began, still smiling away but holding a deep curiosity she was eager to sate.“You fight well,” she said. “But what are you fighting for? Not money and fame, right? You’ve got that already.”Boy, didn’t he know...“Attention, maybe?”“I used to...” Ken admitted without a second thought. “I wasn’t exactly a star pupil when I was a kid.”“Yeah, me neither. Most other girls don’t seem to like it when their verbal punch bag can hit back for real.”He liked her more and more every second, though he could’ve done without his thoughts drifting back to a certain partner an ocean away. He hadn’t told his parents what had happened, nor had they seen it for themselves. Was he really about to dole it all out to a complete stranger?Not a complete stranger, he realized. She knew him better than he knew himself.“There’s this guy I’ve been trying to beat,” he said plainly. “We were trained by the same master, perfecting the same style. I thought about him as my equal for as long as we knew each other, but...he’s better than me. He’s always been better.”He cracked his knuckles and sighed. He couldn’t let himself get angry when the fault was his own, or so he believed. Just as well, then, that the girl managed another smile and stopped another long session of brooding that otherwise would’ve lasted the whole night. “You’re a lot humbler than I would’ve thought,” she said. “Kinda had that beaten into me over a couple years,” Ken answered. “Sounds fair. I’m Eliza.” She held out her hand, and as Ken took it more out of respect than want, he noticed the strength in her pink-tipped fingers as they gently coiled around his wrist and the softness of her palm as it settled into his. He couldn’t figure her out, but some part of him didn’t really want to.“Pleased to meet you,” he said. “But...I’d rather not talk about fighting. I’m over it.” “As over it as going out late at night and beating crooks to a pulp?” “Well...yeah, pretty much.” Eliza stifled a laugh, and Ken couldn’t help smirking right along with her. He didn’t think he was in the mood for any sort of company. He was glad fate had different plans. “So what brings you out here?” he asked. “Oh, nothing major,” she sighed. “Just tagging along with my sister and her boyfriend for Date Night. They should still be around here somewhere, but...I dunno. I stopped caring like a half hour ago. He’s kind of a real stick in the mud, if I’m honest. Air Force dude.” “As long as he’s a decent guy.” “He is. He’s just no fun, that’s all, but my sister’s head over heels for him, so whatever. Honestly, I’m a little jealous.” “Why’s that?” “Well...I’m not so lucky in the romance department. I mean, I’m a pretty blonde American girl. Most guys judge me as an easy target before they even get around to talking to me. Or I’m just that superficial bitch looking for a sugar daddy, and...ugh.” She blew some air out and sipped on her drink, then massaged her temples. She did look a little worse for wear now that she mentioned it. It gave Ken pause to wonder what made him so special. “You ever get the feeling people judge you before they even get to know you?” Eliza asked. “Like...they’ll look at the blonde hair, the good looks, the fit body, and they’ll just be like ‘Oh, this person’s definitely like this, so let’s treat them like that and then get pissy when they tell us off’. Does that make any sense?” Ken smiled. Now they understood each other. “Y’know, Eliza,” he said. “It actually does.” Then Eliza smiled...then planted her elbow on the bar and held up her open hand. An awkward moment of silence passed before Ken realized what her game was, and he couldn’t help but laugh. “I give you a compliment and you wanna arm-wrestle me?” he asked. “You’ve seen what I can do, right?” “I’m a lot tougher than I look,” Eliza giggled. “Come on, it’ll be fun. Loser buys the next round...y’know, unless you’re that sure you’re gonna get your ass handed to you.” She seemed hellbent on making it happen, and he’d learned a long time ago never to underestimate a woman. If he hadn’t, Chun-Li had certainly beaten it into him. Suddenly Ken was really happy he’d gone out that night. “Oh, it’s on now,” he said. Then he clasped Eliza’s hand with his and pushed. Her eyes narrowed mischievously as she pushed back, and good God above. She wasn’t kidding. This girl kept finding new and more creative ways to impress with each passing moment, and if Ken didn’t know any better, he’d say she was trained in an art just as mighty as Ansatsuken.Of course, he wasn’t going to give in that easily.“What’s the matter?” Eliza snickered. “You go easy on me and you’re never gonna hear the end of it.”Ken smirked, then let his aura engulf his arm. Eliza let up a little gasp of surprise as her arm suddenly veered over, though not quite enough to hit the bar. She looked at Ken with a fake look of pleading mercy, and when he didn’t fall for it, she snorted and twisted her lips into a smirk of her own.“Well, you sure know how to treat a lady.”“Believe me,” Ken countered. “I was a lot worse as oh, shit!”She suddenly summoned the power of an ox and shifted his arm over, giving him just barely enough time to stable himself and push back. There they remained for what felt like an hour, pushing and pulling and resisting with their eyes firmly locked together. Beads of sweat started to form on their brows, the veins in their muscles started to bulge out, and their fingers were so fiercely entangled they feared they’d end up breaking each other.Soon enough their energy was spent, and they let their arms relax as they slumped in their seats and panted so heavy it sounded more like they’d run a marathon. “We’ll caught a draw and each get our own,” Ken breathed. “How ‘bout that?” “Yeah...that sounds about right,” Eliza chuckled back. One round turned into quite a few more as the night went on and the two kept finding things to talk about, though Ken couldn’t count how many times the conversation circled back to him. Through no fault of his own, either; it was just how interested Eliza seemed to be, and for what it was worth, Ken didn’t mind at all. She was so easy to open up to. So easy to amaze with all his stories about Okinawa. The sights, the people, the food. He even made his first painless mention of Ryu and Gouken in a whole year, and Eliza just lit up further with every detail. “I had this sort of dream in high school,” she spoke up. “Once I graduated, I wanted to take a year off and see the whole world. Try out all the food, meet lots of new people...get swept off my feet by a suave Spaniard, y’know, that sorta thing.” “Never too late to start over,” Ken joked. “I’m eighteen, thank you very much. Wouldn’t kill ya to take me seriously.” Said despite her best efforts to stifle her pretty laugh, though she rightfully served him a playful punch on the shoulder for his insolence. “You really should, though,” Ken went on. “See the world, I mean. Maybe just kinda take it one step at a time. Pick a place you think you’ll like, meet some people, then just see where you go from there.” “Easy for you to say, isn’t it?” “Not really. I never left the States before my dad shipped me off to Japan, and...not gonna lie, I felt homesick like every other minute. But I had a friend with me. I didn’t like him at first, but after a while, we figured each other out and...we became like brothers.” He smiled as Ryu’s face slipped back into his mind, all the guilt taking a backseat to the fond memories. The small adventures they’d have on Okinawa, the jokes they pulled on each other to see if Gouken would laugh (which he did quite often, in fact), and of course to their training. Suddenly it was as though none of the beatings and failures mattered. “And then the dojo we lived in really felt like home,” he finished, looking Eliza firmly in the eyes like he was hellbent on making her believe it. “And I think once you start somewhere small and go from there, you don’t get so homesick anymore...because you see the whole world as home.” She seemed amazed, but...what was this look she was giving him? Very sweet, and also a little...seductive? Oh, God, was he blushing? “Thanks, Ken,” Eliza said. “...I’m glad I could talk to you.” “Pleasure’s all mine,” Ken answered. “...how long have I been touching your hand?” “About five minutes.” And yet she held onto his fingers as he tried to pull away, savouring the red in his face and scooting a little closer. Funny how he’d always been judged as a ladies’ man when one could fluster him so easily. Then again, he never said he didn’t like it. “Gotta say...” Eliza cooed. “I wasn’t expecting to like you this much.” “Well, I...y’know,” Ken stammered. “Not really, but I...umm.” “There’s some huge guy right behind me, isn’t there?” Some huge guy who didn’t waste any time shoving Ken to the floor with a short growl of “Outta my seat, punk.” Ken wondered for a moment if this was that Air Force dude Eliza had brought up earlier, though that moment quickly passed when he looked and saw the oversized bully before him. Tall, burly, his hair shave down to the nubs, giving off this faint reeking smell that Ken could now recognize anywhere. It was the stench of a man looking for a fight. And as the man grabbed Eliza by the arm as she tried to get up and help Ken, by God was he gonna get one. “Where you think you’re goin’, doll?” he asked. “What, you think a chump like him’s got anything on me?” “He’s sure got manners,” Eliza growled, trying and just barely failing to wriggle herself free. “Leave me alone.” “Come on. You know who you’re talkin’ to?” “No, and I don’t really give a shit, either.” The man’s face twisted into a rather intimidating snarl, and he tightened his grip further to the point where Eliza started wincing in pain. “Better cool it with that mouth of yours,” he growled. “I don’t take kindly to the feisty ones.” “Then you got your priorities mixed up, pal,” Ken said as he stood and gave his neck a good crack. “The feisty ones are always where it’s at.” The man turned his head menacingly toward Ken and glared, but if he was trying to get the blond pretty boy to back off, he’d failed the moment he started hurting Eliza. “The hell did you just say?!” he seethed. “Doesn’t matter what I said,” Ken spat back. “She said leave her alone.” “And what do I gotta listen to you for?” “Because I’m only asking nice once.” The man bared his teeth and practically tossed Eliza aside as he strode toward Ken. Eliza herself took a deep breath and rubbed her arm where she’d been grabbed, then looked at Ken with a kind of worry he’d never seen before. He’d say he was honoured, but protecting her was more than an obligation or even common courtesy. It was a prime directive. Nothing could make him back down now. Even his opponent-to-be practically spraying his face with a feral rage. “You wanna stand up to me?! You even know who I am?!” Sadly yes. He was Balrog, an up-and-coming heavyweight boxer that had a serious problem with following the rules. Every single one of his fights had ended in a brutally fast and near-deadly TKO that most of his opponents never came back from. By his tone and the look on his face, however, it would seem that his opponent that night had finally put him in his place. An Englishman...Dudley something or other, if Ken’s memory served him. Of course, none of it mattered. A year after he’d left the dojo behind, fighting remained a language with many different dialects, and Balrog’s dialect was that of a common thug. A thug good enough to last in the ring, but a thug nonetheless, and Ken had no intention of treating him as anything else. “You know, it’s kinda funny,” he said. “The last guy who acted this high and mighty to me got his car smashed in.” Then he let his smirk go devilish and pivoted his foot as Balrog ground his teeth. Just preparing himself to shift away once that first punch was thrown. He hesitated to say he already had this fight figured out, but if he was sure of anything... ...it was that he hadn’t been this hyped up for a throwdown in quite a while. “Good thing I can settle for the face this time,” he finished. “YOU’RE DEAD, YOU LITTLE PRICK!!!” And the game was afoot. Balrog swung his right arm in a hook, missing Ken’s head as he ducked and strafed. To his credit, he wasn’t nearly as slow as his burly frame could easily trick people into believing, spinning around in time to block Ken’s own flurry of blows. Then he hooked and uppercut and charged in a half-decent rhythm. Any untrained opponent likely would’ve taken every last hit and hit the ground in a bloody mess. Even as Ken blocked and strafed these strikes and more, it was only just barely.Indeed, Balrog would be a daunting opponent. A truly memorable one? Well, the only way to know...was to fight. “SHORYUKEN!!!” The punch struck Balrog in the chin as he started to hook, stumbling him but not otherwise accomplishing much until Ken followed it up with a Tatsumaki to his stomach. Then the raging bull went careening into the far wall, the average bargoers that had been intently watching up until that point now diving out of the way. Balrog recovered fast, spitting out the corner of his mouth and charging through tables and chairs as he started to see red. “Those fancy tricks ain’t gonna save you, chump!” he shouted as he launched another straight punch. And the brain-dead tactics weren’t going to save him; he ran straight into Ken’s grasp. One roll, then another, then a kick to the stomach, and Balrog was flat on his back. “I’ve seen you on TV before, y’know,” Ken drawled. “Gotta say you’re not as—” He might not have been fully rusty, but it would be negligent to say he remembered all of Gouken’s teachings. Case in point: mocking his opponent when he should have been preparing for the next heavy strike to his stomach. “Okay...” he groaned once he rolled to a stop on his side. “...that was a good punch.” And Balrog wasn’t finished, grabbing Ken by the collar and slamming their foreheads together. Once, then again until Ken was sure he was one misplaced brain cell away from a concussion. Then came a few cheap blows to the gut, Ken catching the last blow and landing a kick to free himself. Taking those few hits had more benefits than drawbacks on reflection; now he could fully assess Balrog’s style as he bobbed and weaved around the blows that came after. And frankly, he was disappointed. Balrog had the strength and speed to very easily overwhelm opponents, but the fact he was pouring out everything he had right from the start wasn’t doing him any favours. While a good fighter would try to end the fight as quickly as possible, they wouldn’t expend every last ounce of energy doing it, saving some in the event the fight couldn’t be rushed to a definite conclusion. All Balrog was accomplishing was wearing himself out before things really got hot, so there wasn’t even a need to outmuscle him. Just outlast him. Even with that aside, however, Ken continued to see one massively disappointing factor the longer the fight went on. Put simply, Balrog was not a warrior. Not even a true fighter. He was a thug, throwing himself headlong into fights and using brute strength to solve all his problems. Someone who demanded respect but deserved none of it. The kind of person, Ken recalled, that forced him to take up fighting to begin with. But that was just fine. The bigger the ego, the bigger the smile he had when he broke it. “You gonna hold still and fight like a man or what?!” Balrog shouted as he launched into another straight. “Not my fault you can’t keep up!” Ken jeered back, blocking the straight and rearing back. “HADOKEN!!!” A stumble, a flurry of punches, a kick to the jaw. They weren’t so much trading blows as taking turns launching combinations like it was some kind of video game. Ken would land a string, then Balrog, then back again. Beating each other to a rotten pulp, slamming against wood and plaster while the other bargoers looked on in awe and soon began to cheer. All for Ken, who fuelled it headlong into another chain of merciless strikes and flashed back to a simpler time when this was what he lived for. Not fighting for the sake of it, but putting jerks like Balrog in their place. No one wanted to cheer for a bully, lest of all when he fought dirty. To be fair, this wasn’t a boxing ring. The only rule was don’t get knocked down, but Ken couldn’t think of too many boxers that used headbutts as part of their repertoire, let alone as often as Balrog did. Then again, it probably had more to do with the guy’s head feeling like a big steel ball, practically fracturing Ken’s skull as he stumbled backward. “Oh, no, you ain’t gettin’ away!” Balrog shouted, stomping his foot down on Ken’s to hold him in place. Then came a brutal haymaker to the face that left Ken airborne, leaving a small crater as he hit the bar. Splinters rained into his hair, blood dripped down his face, and a small gasp for breath escaped him as he fought off the call to give it all up and pass out. What, and let this moron gawk over him? “Yeah!” said moron laughed. “See how they like ya now, pretty boy!” Perish the thought. Ken got up, brushed himself off, wiped some blood away with his thumb, and smirked his way back into his stance. With all those awed stares and the straight-up inspired look Eliza was giving him from her cover, he wagered they liked him just fine. “I can dance all night, tough guy,” he said. “Pain in my ASS!!!” Balrog growled as he lunged yet again. Ken swatted each punch away like flies, then struck back like a bee. One shot to Balrog’s face, then one to his chest. Another to the face, then to the throat. Then a roundhouse kick to the ribs that carried into a sharp Tatsumaki. Occasionally Ken would take another straight to the chest or hook to the gut, but they felt like mere love taps when he was so fired up. Even getting picked up and tossed into the wall gave him the same kind of rush as a park ride. “What do ya keep gettin’ up for?” Balrog asked. “I’m just gonna keep knockin’ you down ‘til you get it!” “Oh, I get it, alright,” Ken answered. “I get you’re just some jackass who fights for money and fame and damns the consequences later.” “Oh, yeah? Then what does that make you?” “The kind of guy that doesn’t like it when good people get pushed around by cocky losers like you. You’re not a fighter, pal. You’re a brainless thug.” Balrog’s rage flared into a rush of overhead swings, all parried save the last brutal one that landed dead-center in Ken’s chest. He could already feel a bruise coming on as the great pain spread throughout his body, but his feet remained firm. “You can break me in all you want,” Ken finished. “It won’t change anything. You’re still a dick, and I can still kick your ass.” “SHUT YOUR GODDAMN MOUTH!!!” Balrog roared as he lashed his head forward again and was rewarded with a chop to the throat. Strike after strike. Less of a fight than an all-out beatdown. All as the crowd cheered and carried on. Even the bartender was smiling despite the sheer level of disarray his perfectly respectable place was now in. Above all, though, nothing energized Ken more than when he got a second to look back at Eliza, half cheering him on and half flattered that this was for her. “I still got it,” Ken snickered in his head. Then again, it wasn’t quite all for her, was it? Knocking down punks like this was what Ken himself lived for. He didn’t need to be told or convinced. It was pure and basic instinct. Why he fought to begin with. The answer lies in the heart of battle. ...Ryu. A split second lack of concentration was all the advantage Balrog needed, landing a heavy strike to the side of Ken’s head and launching him to the floor. A sickening daze set in as Ken tried to get back to his feet, only for a sharp pain to rip through his spine. Really? A chair to the back? Was this a bar fight or the WWE? “Ken!!!” Eliza cried. And Balrog laughed like a stock villain before he hit Ken again. Eliza popped up out of her hiding spot and grabbed one of the thug’s massive fists, using the surprising amount of strength she had to hold him back if only for a little while longer. Regardless, he wasted no time in overpowering and planting her right next to Ken on the hard wooden floor. “You wanna stick up for this dweeb?” he asked. “Fine! I’ll cave your skull in, too!” And he had every intention of doing so, whether out of wounded pride or a thirst for blood. He reared the chair back up, revelling in Eliza’s fear as she tried to shake the still-stunned Ken into submission. Not one of them noticed the sound of leather boots slapping down toward them until Balrog started his downward swing and... “FLASH KICK!!!” And Balrog flew so high that he hit the ceiling and plummeted back down with the force of a meteor. It was all the time Ken needed to get back to his feet and very quickly reap his vengeance. “SHORYUREPPA!!!” As if the thuggish boxer hadn’t received enough punishment. By the time he finally hit the ground, he was covered in bruises and splinters from head to toe and lost his last shred of consciousness in seconds. Still, the flames encircling Ken’s hand burned a while longer as his sudden burst of anger remained, fading away along with the last of his energy only as the fist unclenched. He fell to his knees and likely would have dropped flat on his front had Eliza not stooped down to hold him up. “You okay?” he asked. “Really?!” Eliza sputtered. “You’re asking if I’m okay?!” Chivalry wasn’t dead. Just horribly bruised and barely able to stand without the sudden appearance of its rescuer’s arm. “On your feet, son,” said a stern and commanding voice. Son? The guy couldn’t have been much more than five or six years older than Ken, though his face was so chiseled with frown lines that one would be forgiven for thinking he was in his thirties. That and perhaps talking to civilians like they were kids was just a thing the military did; the man was decorated in a muscle-hugging uniform with the unmistakable insignia of the U.S. Air Force stitched onto the shoulders. He would’ve looked like the typical American soldier boy of the day were it not for his hair, a golden blond much like Ken’s but styled in a crew cut that spread out at the top. Really, the guy could probably land his jet on it. Couple it with the nation’s flag tattooed bright and clear on his bicep and one had quite the interesting sight to behold. Ken nonetheless took the hand and let the soldier haul him to a stand. Better to handle a rescue with grace than get his teeth kicked in twice in one night. Eliza was a touch more receptive and stepped up to the soldier totally relaxed. “Thanks, Guile,” she said. “Ken was just protecting me.” “I saw,” the solider answered, shooting a lukewarm but impressed look at Ken. “Big of you to stand up to a guy like that, Masters. But don’t go throwing yourself into danger like an idiot. You might not get so lucky next time.” Then Guile here clearly didn’t know who Ken was...or, more likely, he didn’t care. Ken supposed that was fine enough. He hadn’t the energy to tell him any different. “Just a matter of skill, then,” he managed. Guile grunted in response. He yelled out for someone to call a paramedic and get the still-unconscious Balrog out of the place then turned to the blonde woman frantically looking Eliza over for injuries. “We should leave, Julia,” he said. “Scum’s out early tonight. You too, Eliza.” Eliza’s nurse nodded and followed Guile out without a second thought, while Eliza herself just rolled her eyes and glanced back at Ken. “My sister’s man,” she sighed. “You think he’d be a little less of a worrywart when he can kick a guy to the moon, huh?” Ken smirked, but otherwise kept his mind inward as he nursed the pain steadily setting over him. Moreover, that split second image of Ryu in his mind had spiralled into a long and arduous train of thought that he couldn’t get off of. The overwhelming senses of guilt and inferiority...the reminder of just how far behind he was...it was too much. “Hey.” Ken snapped out of his self-pitying stupor and looked up into Eliza’s beautiful and grateful smile. He hesitated to say it was the cure, but something in him certainly changed as she ran her hand through his messy hair and gave the cutest wink. “You said you fight to get as strong as your friend,” she said like she already knew him inside and out. “But I think you’ve been fighting for something bigger all along. Maybe you’ve forgotten about that.” The smarting in Ken’s head passed just long enough to carry him some distance toward understanding, though Eliza suddenly pressing her lips to his cheek derailed him just as quickly. All he could be sure of was he hurt a lot less as her warmth spread into him. “Why, Ken Masters!” she chirped. “Are you blushing?” Indeed he was, and he wasn’t nearly as ashamed to grin and bear it as he thought. How could he be with such a pretty yet refreshingly different girl pressing a note into his hand and coyly shifting her feet? “Still, you sure know how to show a girl a good time,” she said. “Maybe we’ll just do dinner and a movie next time, huh?” “Yeah...” Ken answered with a smirk. “Sounds alright to me.” Eliza smiled, and Ken watched her leave with all the fascination of spying a wild animal on safari. She was so much different from every other girl that seemed to throw themselves at him. Her stride, her aura, her attitude. Every little thing complimented another, as did the hidden wisdom most guys would probably take for granted. He had the thought to follow her. Maybe walk her home. Tough as she might have been, she wasn’t a fighter, and there was no telling what other jerk might go after her in the dark of the night. “Ah, who am I kidding?” he asked himself. “I just want the company.” But just as he thought to act on it, his muscles ached and burned into a great fatigue. He sighed. Maybe some other time. As for the present, he waited another few minutes to nurse his wounds, watched an ambulance arrive to cart Balrog away, then finally got to his feet and headed for the door.“Sorry,” he said to the bartender, laying a few hundreds on the counter after a quick glance to survey all the damage. “Like wrangling a damn bull.”“Honestly, I’m just happy no one got killed,” the bartender chuckled back. “Have a good night, Ken.”He supposed he’d try. He could’ve grabbed a taxi or called a butler to come and pick him up, but the chilly night air was too much of a relief to pass up. Besides, he never found he could think much in such close quarters with some driver just there for their pay. So he walked, each step soothing an ache and each little gust cooling a bead of sweat from his brow. As his body healed, his mind raced. Reflections on his first serious fight in a year. Meeting such an amazing woman in the most random of places....thinking about the partner he abandoned.“Ryu...”And yet the shame held itself back as Eliza’s words came around once again. Fighting for something bigger...something he’d forgotten. Well, leave it to some two-bit thug with anger management issues to remind him what that something was. What Ryu had seen in him when he barely counted as a fighter at all.“I don’t want to hurt anyone. I just hate bullies.”That had been his answer. When had that changed? Why had beating Ryu become more important than their friendship? Because he wasn’t good enough, right? Sure. He could go ahead and keep lying to himself that way as long as he liked for all anyone cared...or he could see it Eliza’s way.Fighting to be better than Ryu...maybe it wasn’t worth it. Maybe he didn’t escape Ryu’s shadow by trying to outrun. Maybe all he really had to do was...take a left turn? Or maybe Balrog’s heavy blows had gone to his head. Either way, he reckoned as the mansion came into view that he had enough vigilante action for one night. He snuck around to the back door as per his custom, certain he could slip upstairs and get into bed before his parents spotted and inevitably questioned him. Rejuvenating as the walk and revelation may have been, he wasn’t much in the mood for conversation. At least not until he passed by the living room. “I see you haven’t been slacking on your training.” That voice... “Master?!” Sure enough, there sat Gouken on the couch opposite Ken’s parents, smiling underneath his thick beard with the same pride he’d shown when Ken was his student. Ken himself would have been thrilled were it not for the fact that his teacher looked in even worse shape than him, bandages adorning his chest and patches of skin black with bruises. “What happened?” Ken sputtered. “...when did you—” “Just now,” the old master said, then thumbed at a particularly nasty strike on his brow. “As for these, mere scratches courtesy of Shadoloo. Never mind that, though. How was this latest opponent?” Ken glanced at his parents, who were already scanning his wrecked body up and down with worry that was sure to give into disappointment if he said nothing. Things were different. Where he’d once scornfully keep the details to himself as if to make a statement, he now held nothing back. There were always points for honesty. “Just a bully that needed to be put in his place,” he said. “Someone that needed saving...not my best fight.” His parents eased back into their seats while Gouken gave a satisfied nod, smirking to himself as he correctly imagined this “someone” was a pretty girl to impress. He hardly minded so long as his student’s heart still burned. It would need to. “Where’s Ryu?” Ken dared to ask as he noticed the missing presence. With the moment of clarity Eliza had led him to, suddenly seeing Ryu again wasn’t such a nerve-wracking thing. Really, he welcomed it. He wondered what his old friend would think to see him using the Way of the Hado for good, and excited to hear if he’d learned anything new. And really, how could Ryu pass up the opportunity to visit America and meet new opponents? Ken’s curiosity gave way to an awkward worry as everything stayed silent, then an unsettling dread as the smile ran away from Gouken’s face. Then slowly, as if the old master was afraid... “Ryu...is why I’m here.”
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anem0ia Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2021
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