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Chapter 20 – Azazel

Hwoarang looked over his shoulder, carefully surveying the area within the small dojo where he and Asuka Kazama remained. She had regained consciousness after their match, making him the victor. He squatted down beside her.

"How much do you know about Jin?" he asked.

She glanced to him, wondering if he could mean the devil, the creature they couldn't speak of at the banquet. "I know…Xiaoyu said something about cursed blood and…"

He nodded for a moment. "And…"

"You know something, don't you?" Asuka asked.

"I saw it, Asuka."

She paused, knowing what he meant. "Me too," she admitted with a bowed head. She never told a soul or even Melissa after learning Jin sent her.

Shocked with wide eyes, Hwoarang asked, "Did he hurt you?"

At last, Asuka relayed the whole event to someone, perhaps the only person who could grasp just what she was dealing with in her devil cousin. Hwoarang too finally explained aloud, more fully, what happened in both the previous tournament and Jin's unexpected recent visit, noting how the word "shadow" occurred to him as well, even if not spoken aloud in their exchange.

"But rid of him?" Asuka asked incredulously. She paused and stared off in the distance. "How? I mean even if that's true…a war…"

"Yeah," Hwoarang agreed. "If Jin Kazama really is in there, that's how he sees himself. I can't imagine the devil doesn't have a plan of his own though…"

The Kazama girl said nothing in response and fell into a contemplative silence.

[…]

Kazuya Mishima smirked. "I'm going to enjoy this."

"Well, if it isn't the man that likes play with big dolls," Melissa noted.

"You have a big mouth for something so small."

"Do I? As I recall, ‘doll' was your word. I am merely pointing out that its intended insulting nature can be attributed to your resources as well."

The elder Mishima glowered, and the two soon commenced their battle. Melissa proved flighty and evasive, like a rocket-powered butterfly. In the end, she was still no match for him. Fallen to the floor, Kazuya ripped her head from the body, but the expression on her face looked up at him with a sly smile. "Oops." It exploded, throwing him back, and another head grew in its place on her body. The rockets on her back propelled her to a distance away from him. "You win, Mister Kazuya, proving yourself worthy of your reputation. But I still have other work to do. Until next time." She left the area. He scowled at her, knowing he could chase her down in devil form but determining the effort would be wasted on a mere toy. He would send Anna and Bruce after her at the right time.

[…]

Eventually, the tournament reached its inevitable state where the Mishimas gathered across the globe for the final stages. As Heihachi Mishima reached a desert village, he took note of the angry earth, bubbling with small fountains of magma in the vicinity. He faced his awaiting son, Kazuya. They sneered at each other for several seconds, burning with hatred, yet both knowing all too well…

"That boy…" Heihachi began "…should be dealt with first."

Neither would dare say it aloud, the fact that Jin Kazama defeated them both in succession, even before his powers fully awakened.

Kazuya nodded quietly in agreement. "I know where to find him. I can sense him. His power resonates with this place."

A woman came running up to the scene only to find an outstretched arm block her path, obscured by the wall of a nearby building. It was the blonde woman often seen in Jin's company, Nina Williams. Zafina grabbed the arm only to find Nina pulling her in, holding her tight. The two Mishimas neared, and Heihachi eyed them both. "A trap, is it?" he asked aloud, meaning her indirect aid to their purpose.

"How about you boys just go sort it out yourselves?" she told him. "That's what you want, after all."

By the time Zafina broke free, the Mishima men had moved on, and it became evident she would need to defeat Nina before she could go after them.

Heihachi and Kazuya found the temple soon enough, and their target with his back to them both, facing the door. Jin felt Devil stir with excitement and turned around. He looked from Kazuya to Heihachi and smirked arrogantly. They intended to fight him simultaneously…but...

Kazuya took several paces forward, almost hypnotized as Heihachi stayed some distance back, sensing…something. "What is the meaning of this?" he asked, nodding toward the door.

"Homecoming," Jin said softly, the smirk cleared from his face. "This close, he can finally hear it."

"Azazel," Kazuya said plainly with a deeper voice than usual.

"It? What's that?"

"You'll see." Jin turned to his father. "Ready?" They both touched their palms to two circles on the door, on the left and the other on the right. It opened before them.

"An interesting power dwells here," Heihachi noted.

Neither of his descendants replied. The two devil hosts walked several paces ahead, the eldest Mishima following with several feet to distance himself from them, to be on his guard.  Finally, they found the being Jin long sought all these months: the one who awakened his chaos. Small crystals levitated in the air around Azazel with larger ones impaled through his body, chains ensnaring him in place.

"Release me!" Azazel ordered

Both father and son transformed at once in synch with each other. The demons flew surrounding the large monster, clawing or shooting lasers to break the binding crystals and chains.

"So, this was Jin's plan all along, and Kazuya agreed in an instant," Heihachi thought to himself. What came next though…?

At last, the crystals and chains were cleared. Azazel squatted and roared.

"You have done well, puppets," he said, his voice carrying through thoughts all present could hear.

Kazuya glanced to Heihachi. "Now!" He started his barrage of attacks on Devil Jin, forcing his son to descend near the eldest Mishima. His grandfather immediately took advantage of the offer and attacked as well. Jin was on the defensive, attacked by two, with Azazel roaring his disapproval, realizing his so-called puppets had different intentions past his release.

Devil Jin began his fight back against his gathered enemies, hissing with fury. He grabbed Heihachi Mishima's bald head and threw him in Devil Kazuya's elevated direction, aiming a laser blast to shove them both into Azazel's large body. After both men fell to the ground, he rushed to strike the large demon. On impact, Azazel skidded back a few feet, and the other Mishimas rose to attack Jin yet again. Kazuya used an uppercut to force him in Heihachi's direction, who then leapt to kick him in Azazel's direction, who then fired a laser as well. The battle continued in much this manner until the initial sequence repeated.

At last, the body fell back, and Devil Jin looked perfectly serene as a sleeping, fallen angel. An out of breath Heihachi and Devil Kazuya relaxed their muscles for the moment. They would deal with other monster Jin awakened soon enough. "You can't win," Kazuya told the unconscious body.

But then…

The ground shook violently, causing him and Heihachi to tumble forward while Azazel stood firm.

"The end begins, puppets," the monstrous creature declared.

"What the-?" began to escape Heihachi's lips.

Jin's devil body levitated, straightening itself upright. Purple electricity sparked amidst an enclosing white light.

"The child of destiny and darkness finally reveals his true form," Azazel's words rang. Perhaps Jin would behave this time.

"True form?" asked Kazuya. "What are you talking about?!"

"Your methods led you down a different path, ignoring the calling needed for what the boy now has. You’ll see for yourself soon enough."

Dust cleared to show Jin's new transformed state. The skin had become dark like charcoal with fur running along the backs of his arms and torso. Bare clawed hands rested at his sides, exposed after his arm guards broke. The chains were gone too. The new power allowed his body to land with grace and ease. This time, he did not scream or howl or grimace. His face was a cold stare of observance straight into Azazel's chest.
We are again all over the place this chapter. The full view of the chapter image can be found here: Landing.
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