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King of Fighters XI
Storyline of King of Fighters 11, The
"Wow, it's been a while... how have you been, Athena?" asked Sie Kensou, practicing. He had just returned from a year of training with his master, Chin Gentsai. His face was more stern, more mature. His body was stronger and more limber. In other words, he had made a massive transformation into a man of true strength. He had further refined his skills with the Psycho Power as well. He had begun the long walk on the path of the warrior, and what now remained was to get his mind in step with his body...

Though, if one must be honest, this was pretty much strictly his own opinion, and he didn't look particularly different. Even through he had grown in many ways, he was still the same old Kensou. Meanwhile, Athena had been staying at a boarding house as she trained for the next KOF. He rummaged through his bags and pulled out a small carton, stuffed with steamed meat buns.

"Meat buns...," said a small voice.

It was then that he noticed a little girl sitting demurely on the sidewalk, with a teacup in her lap. More to the point, he noticed that if he raised the carton, her gaze tracked it flawlessly. Same for if he moved it right or left. She was clad in loose-fitting clothes, and her delicate hair was tied with a pink ribbon. Her eyes were large, her features young. He figured she must be from the local grade school... sixth grade at most.

The intensity of her stare at the carton almost seemed to cut the air like a blade. Kensou looked from the carton to the girl and back again several times, then gave a long, heartfelt sigh.


***

"I'm Sie Kensou," he said, "But you can just call me Kensou."

"I'm Momoko!" the little girl replied brightly, as she attempted to eat the largest meat bun she could possibly fit into her tiny hands. On further reflection, Kensou thought maybe she was in fourth grade, tops.

"Hmmm," he said, and leaned down to her. "Momoko, are you lost?"

"No!" she said vehemently. "I just can't figure out how to get back to my house."

That's pretty much what 'lost' means, Kensou thought to himself, smirking. But that's the kind of lesson that probably would only come with age and experience.

"So where is your house?" he asked. "Can you think of anything close to it you might recognize? Any landmarks?"

She appeared to think about it for a moment, then said, "Yeah, there's a park with three big cherry trees in it."

Kensou smiled. "Oh, okay. I know exactly where that is... I'm headed that way, actually. Want me to take you there?"

"Yes, please!" she said.

The day was clear and sunny, the air fresh and brisk... a perfect day for a walk, really, and they talked as they went.

"...So anyway," Kensou was saying animatedly, "she's a big pop idol, but she's really in love with me."

Momoko only replied with a thoughtful "hmmm."

As they crested a gently-sloping hill, the sight of a well-kept little park greeted their eyes. There grew three old cherry trees... no doubt that when Spring arrived, they would be a considerable draw for sightseers.

"She's never said so, especially since her singing career took off, but I can just tell, you know?" he went on.

Momoko (perhaps showing wisdom beyond her years) gave only a noncommittal grunt.

"She's also a really good fighter... not quite as strong as me, though."

Finally the little girl spoke. "Yeah, you compete in the King of Fighters, right?"

Kensou was pleasantly surprised. "Wow, you know more than I thought," he said, and thus emboldened, he went on. "We've never been picked as likely to win the tournament, but that's due to that alcoholic and senile old man who insists on fighting with us all the time. He always held us back.

"Even though I'm considered a prodigy as a Psycho Soldier, I could only cover for his mistakes so much, you know?" he said, puffing up his chest slightly as he did so. "We also have other kids around us, not to mention the panda. You don't know them, of course, but believe me when I say they can be a real handful."

"Oh!" said Momoko, interrupting and pointing at the park. "There's Athena!"

"Huh?" said Kensou, startled out of his own speech.

"There you are, Momoko!" Athena called sternly. "Where in the world have you been?" She broke into a run toward them, and Momoko ran to meet her. When they reached each other, the little girl was swept up into a hug.

"You had me so worried!" Athena continued, then glanced over. "Oh, hi, Kensou. What's going on?"

Kensou gave her a crestfallen look. "We haven't seen each other in a year, and that's all the greeting I get?" Having been away for so long, training so hard to improve his skills, he had been hoping for a slightly more dramatic (maybe even passionate) reunion... but alas, that did not appear to be in the cards.

"So you know this girl?" he asked.

Athena looked embarrassed. "Oh, I guess I should introduce you two. This is Momoko. She's going to be competing with us in this year's KOF tournament. She came with the master's highest recommendation."

"Huh?" was all Kensou could muster in reply.

"I've already processed our entry!" the idol singer continued brightly. "Me, you and Momoko are going to be the 'Neo Psycho Soldier Team!'"

Neo? thought Kensou. What's with this 'Neo' thing? I know the Psycho Soldier team didn't enter the last tournament, but what difference does that make? The master wasn't here, and neither was Bao.

"So we're babysitting, just like with Bao, right? She's just a grade school kid. Has the master finally gone completely senile?" Kensou asked, not bothering to hide the scorn in his voice.

"I am not in grade school!" snapped Momoko.

"What, middle school then?" he replied. "I find that hard to belie--"

Momoko cut him off. "Try high school, hot shot."

Kensou stared, dumbfounded for a moment. "Hi-high school?! No way. Something as violent as KOF is no place for some grade-school looking little--"

Now Momoko was starting to get mad. "I just told you, I am not in grade school!" Once she had ceased her protest, she gave Kensou a strangely mature smile which did, in fact, make her look a little older.

She turned to Athena and got her attention.

"What is it?" Athena replied.

"You're a pop star, right?" Momoko said.

"Mm-hmm," Athena confirmed. "It's what I do for a living. Why do you ask?"

"Aaaaand is it true that you're in love with Kensou?"

Athena only chuckled. Kensou, on the other hand, choked as though he had inhaled his drink, even though he hadn't actually been drinking anything. He knew exactly what this supposedly innocent-looking little girl was about to say.

"And he's also considered a prodigy as a Psycho Soldier, right?" Momoko continued.

Athena have her a quizzical look, but said, "...Uh, maybe...."

"And your master's an alcoholic who just gets in the way?"

Athena now began to look distinctly uncomfortable. "Well, I'm not sure about that...."

"And Kaoru's really ill-tempered and can't figure out when she's not wanted?"

Now it was Athena's turn to look mad. She turned and said, "I think it's time you and I had a little chat, Kensou."

Kensou blanched and said, "Wa-wait! Athena, listen to me, it's nothing like that..."


***

And so it came to pass that Athena confirmed the Neo Psycho Soldier team for this year's tournament. It would consist of Athena Asamiya, Momoko, and the "Prodigal Psycho Soldier, Sie Kensou."


Since 2006
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