The Story of Ran'ningu
I was standing on the rooftop of an apartment complex, looking down at the fiery scene of blown up police cars on 8th avenue, wearing a dark jacket and a black hoodie. Behind me was Master Acas, standing with a much heavier jacket filled with what I saw were a few knives, rope, and smoke bombs.
Who wouldn’t be excited to be where I was, a living Batman on the prowl for a villain that we must stop for the good of the town….. Or maybe every Martial Artist lived like Batman…. in fact there might be a real Batman out there in the city if people like Naruto and Altair could be real….
I don’t know what childish intention burst in me, but I had to ask it out loud.
“Is Batman a real Martial Artist like Goku?” I asked.
I didn’t even had time to react to the hammer strike that Master Acas delivered to my head, and the hit was really hard and heavy. I buckled onto my hands after receiving that shocking impact, and burned with a passion to lash out an insult for what I believed to be a life breaking move.
But….I did ask a stupid question, in the middle of a recon training, and so I had to admit that I deserved that hit.
Master Acas stared at the explosion on 8th Ave, until a fire truck had at last come to put out the flames.
“What Martial style did this?” I asked, fervently rubbing the back of my head, as well as setting up a guard in case I get hit for a stupid question.
However, I received a pleasant grin rather than a punch this time around.
“Now you are asking a smart question,” Master Acas replied.
I let out a breath of relief, while slipping in a proud grin; I had to get something right sooner or later, and I was glad it was tonight.
“Why don’t you tell me what you think,” Master Acas said, “and tell me what you perceive of this thief.”
At his command I look back down to the street, back to the bustling of officers and firefighters trying to get some state of control back to this Avenue, but my thoughts were not on the activities below, but rather on what we heard on the scanner. The reports described someone who was fast, capable of skipping two-three blocks in a blink of an eye. Along with that, this person was either strong enough to punch a police car and make it explode, or was able to manifest a Ki blast that was strong enough to blow up a car.
The speed of the thief made me think it was the same Martial Style as Master Acas, and even the strength of the Ki blast was similar to my master as well. However, something did not seem to match up, a heavy difference that makes this thief and master appear to be vastly different.
“Have you come up with anything an observation.” Master Acas said.
“Honestly,” I said, “something about this person is very confusing, so I can’t come up with anything.”
I felt a smack on the back of my head, and I had to flail around until I got my balance back.
“You’re looking for a conclusion,” he said, “an answer to this situation, but that was not what I ask of you. I said observe, pinpoint facts. You need details in order to help come up with a solution. Do not try to unravel a dark mystery without some light.”
He had a good point, and the fact that I was stuck on this problem made what he said all the more right. So I just told him what I thought.
“This suspect has revealed two things.” I started, “that this person is extremely fast, and is capable of projecting out their Ki as a concussive blast. The first conclusion that I had in mind was that the suspect is trained in the same marital style as you.”
“.....But…..” he said.
“What I am stuck on is the mentality of this person.” I admitted.
“Could you elaborate why the suspects mentality is making your conclusion difficult?”
“It would make sense as a thief to choose decisions that would help him be undetected,” I continued, “which means that he would choose stealth options that would help him not be seen.’
‘And yet, he decided to attack a cop car, which is a rash decision that made him detectable for a moment. Why would a thief choose to attack rather than continue to run?”
I look over to Master Acas. I had hope that he would have an answer, but he was not even there. As I look around, I notice a jacket rushing off to the next building, teleporting from one rooftop to the next. It looked amazing, how Master Acas can appear in one place, and in an instant disappears to another place, with the only appearance of his last position being the wave of his jacket.
He looked awesome during his run
But, the fact that he ditch me hurt a lot.
Master Acas was rushing towards Palm street, which had been a half an hour walk for me in the past. He was moving faster and farther from me, and I couldn’t decide what to do next. I had no idea what to do next….
….Of course. I should use my Ki. If Ki can make me stronger, it can make me faster, just like how Master Acas and the suspect were using their Ki to travel around.
I stood over the side of the building, looking down the staggering height of what I guessed was at least 30 stories above the ground. As I try to relax my mind to find my Ki, a hundred thoughts raged up and against me. I had the fear of falling that caused me to sweat. The fear of failing made me stood still. The fear of being unable to catch up with Master Acas made my breath heave faster. The fear of failing tonight and being unable to help out at all made my heart hurt within my chest….
But those thoughts were wrestling other feelings of wanting to push forward. I need the training, I have to learn this anyway. What is the point of being here if I can’t try. The only way to learn anything at all will be to try.
Amazing how the mind can be so chaotic when you want to concentrate.
Well, what more can I do but to try and see if I will live. Despite all my fears and bad luck that has lead thus far, I have to admit that somehow I was able to do amazing things when I am close to dying. So, I’ll just take a deep breathe.
Before I could change my mind, I rushed the ledge of the building and jumped as far as I could, jumping to the cold air without a target. I was floating in the nothingness of my leap, expecting only two outcomes; either I will die or I will use Ki.
I was a cocktail of emotions as my chest swirled with exhilaration and fear. My head was screaming of how foolish I was, and I should have been afraid of the fall that will kill me. My heart, though, was distracted by the rush of the wind against my face. This must be what people call a rush, because it was more than just the feeling of the wind “rushing” against me. I felt my blood rushing through me, the exhilaration of the event rushing through my vein. My nerves were running in every direction, out of control.
I don’t know why it feels so good to be so close to death. I don’t know why it should feel so good, but it does, and in the midst of my euphoric downfall, I felt the Ki rise up within.
I grabbed on with no hesitation, and pushed my feet against the air, propelling towards the roof of the next building.
The landing was terrible. I slammed into the roof and skidded across the loose rocks and dirt, getting scrapped from head to toe. However, I was too full of Ki and adrenaline to lie in the rocks with my pain. I wanted to keep moving, and to keep feeling good.
I still felt the Ki locked in my legs. Quickly I found my stance again and began to race across the roof to jump over to the next one.
Ki is amazing once you train in it. It is great when you hear stories of other heroes achieving super powers through Ki, but it is another level of amazing when you apply yourself actually do feats of legend.
The feeling of Ki can only be described as empowering, feeling invincible. Running with the feeling of Ki, unexplainable. No roller coaster ride or free running tricks could come close to the feeling of running with Ki. The world was becoming a blur, streams of light that blazed passed from another time. The air was a greater rush than the fall that I just had.
And when I jump, I don’t just float. I fly.
I ran across the roof effortlessly, in record time, and launch back into the air. This time I went up rather than down, giving me time to find the next roof to land on. It felt like time had slowed down while I was in the air….which gave me the thought to flip around. What not? If Ki can make me jump higher, maybe it can allow me to do some back flips.
Before I landed on the roof I made a simply front flip, landed on my feet and judo roll into a running position again. It was quick, but it was pulled off smooth, and it felt really good.
A few blocks down I could see Master Acas stopping on a roof, so I rushed to catch up with him.
This time, after I jumped off the roof, I corkscrewed through the air like bullet, and grabbed the escape ladder of the next building. I pulled myself over the ladder and flipped on the roof. No time to stop, so I kept racing and flipping again through the sky.
I was moving like a different person, someone else. How can someone describe being completely different? That morning I was studying books, but now I was back flipping over rooftops at break neck speed.
How can you describe feeling like you are someone else now?
Master Acas was only one more rooftop away, so I picked up my pace and launch myself into the air. I shot up with a triple backflip, then I vertical my body and corkscrew in a three-dimensional torque. However, when I landed, I nearly overshot the building, and had barely landed with the base of my heel on top of the ledge. A spotlight caught me as I was trying to recenter my balance, and despite my best attempts of catching myself, I could feel that I was slipping off the building.
A wicked yank pulled me back on to the roof and tossed me towards the center of the roof, and as I expected I had a knock on my forehead. He didn’t need to lecture me, since I realize that was a pretty dumb move.
Although, he did shock me when he said, “Your landing was awful.”
I got back up and join him, but he was already moving, saying “Those police probably saw you,” and teleported to the next building. I wanted to rush after him, but waited until the spotlights passed. Maybe they did see me, because there were a lot of spotlights covering over the roof now. I waited….what else could I do…..waited. Normally I’m used to waiting, but I had a weird sensation of unease and impatient while I watch the spotlights to pass. As I was waiting, I could pick up the sound of someone…..no, many people coming up the staircase. The spotlights were not passing, and possibly a squad of police were coming up the stair. What to do…..what to do…..
I heard them approach the door, so I chose to drive my Ki into my legs and rushed behind the door, lept over the ledge and cling to the edge. From above, I could hear the police opening the door and start to look around. I could hear some of their radio static claiming that they saw the suspect on the roof. Well, that just added to my guilt, my overshot jump made the police think that I was the suspect. They saw me and thought I was the suspect, not leaving anything to suspicion. They were smart and observant, which means they will check everywhere including the ledge that I was hanging off of.
Sure enough, the sound of footsteps were coming closer. My best choice was to jump down to the bottom window and press myself against the glass.
I let go of the ledge and press myself against the window on the lower floor. Streams of light from flashlights lit up the ledge that I had just been hanging on to. The officers must have not seen me, as the light streams kept looking around, not once focusing on the spot where I was. I kept everything still. I held my breath, I clench my fist, I steady my feet.
At last the lights pulled back. I counted to sixty, waiting to see if they will come back for a double take. When the seconds at last passed, I press my Ki into my legs and launch over to the next building. I grabbed on to the next window ledge and climbed up as fast as I could. Once I got on the roof, I turn back in time to see all the cops going down the stairwells. I let out a breathe of relief, and went off to catch up with Master Acas.
I found him on the next building over, looking out to an empty high rise building under construction. I came up to him and looked out to where he was staring. I was not sure if I was using Ki, but somehow I was able to see that there was a shadowy figure on the 45th floor of the high rise, actively trying to gather up and check on whatever gear the person had on them.
“The ability to choose what course must be taken is a common mentality of a few particular martial arts.” Master Acas began to say, “Techniques are not the only factors that define a style. Mentality is also a trait of an art, so it was quite good that you picked up on that.”
I felt myself swell up with pride at his comment.
“This fellow does not follow my studied style,” he continued, “for Baguazhang has the mentality to consider all options, with gentleness and evasion as the prefered choice among others. This suspect has the mentality of making the best choice in a split second, although sometimes that choice might not be the best, yet whatever is done must be done with maximum efficiency.’
‘There are quite a few styles that carry this trait. Silat, Kutow, Muay Boran. However, normally those are styles that are closed to the general public. This suspect, whoever he may be, must be trained in Krav Maga.”
“I heard of that style,” I said, “Israeli special forces, right?”
“That’s right,” He said, “It can be extremely brutal since it is focus on the most direct and efficient tactic. If crushing your opponents nuts is the best options, then that would be the move a Krav Maga practitioner would chose. Because of this brutality, the art trains the practitioner to be willing to make a quick decision and to act upon it without any hesitation.’
‘It could be very possible that this the police had caught up with the thief, and in that brief moment he decided that the best option to return to being undetected was to attack the cop car. A thief under stress might have been caught as they would have been stuck on only stealth options, that could have been not available at the time. But to a Krav Maga practitioner, any option, including attacking the police, is a valid option if it is a means to an end.”
“Crazy,” I said.
“And terrifying,” Master Acas added, “so the best strategy would be for us to both attack him, as he might chose the most deadliest choice, and it would be good to watch each other’s back when he does.”
Master Acas vanish without a trace. I assumed he was trying to find an area in the building that had the best tactful advantage. Sometimes his movements are so unfair.
I needed to time to catch my breath again, as I had sprinted with Ki over a distance of a few miles, including some evasive climbing exercises.
Once I felt more comfortable, I found my Ki and used it to let me jump to the 35th floor of the building.
I landed with an easy judo roll, and stayed crouch to the ground, keeping as quiet as I could. I looked around for the stairwell, and found it near the middle of the room. I crept towards the stairs, knowing very well that I was probably too far down for the suspect to hear me, but there was a part of me that still wanted to be cautious. If a person can use Ki to move faster, why not also use it to improve their senses. So I stayed on the hunch of my legs as I crept closer to the stairs, straining my ears for any hint of movement from above, straining my body to be as quiet as they can be.
A quake began to shake the whole building, followed by a blast of smoke that snaked its way from the stairwell and began filling up the floor. The dirt and smoke covered over my face, blocking everything. It filled up my mouth, my nose, and stung my eyes.
As I try to cover my face from the dust cloud, A blast from the stairwell lifted me up and tossed me towards a pillar by the corner of the floor. My back smashed through the pillar, sending me off the building.
Falling again, falling through life-threatening nothingness again. But this time, there was no panic. My mind focused again. Time slowed down again, for reason that I could not explain. But I can say this, I felt happy again being in a fight. As I slowly began to fall again, my smile came back bigger.
The Ki rushed up faster than before, and I held on with all my might. This time, I kept the Ki in my hands and reach out to grab the building. I used the Ki to strengthen my fingers as I grabbed on in order to stop my fall. There were showers of rock raining to the ground below me as my hands teared through the wall, breaking it apart as the speed of my fall kept tearing towards the ground. My hands should have ripped off, but when they were coated in Ki they became sturdy tools of iron.
At last I came to a stop, but I couldn’t catch my breath yet. I climbed back up to the floor, my fingers piercing through the wall as I scramble back up. As I reached back up to the floor, I pushed hard against the building and rush through the smoke again. I could have been rushing into a trap again, a trap that I could not see, and yet I felt like this was the best choice. I needed to get away from the ledge, and this time I had my hands up to guard….to catch.
I heard a crunch of gravel to my left, so I lifted up my hands and gather my Ki. I grabbed up everything that I had and launch my Ki to my general left, blasting away everything. The smoke cloud and any loose rocks on the floor was sent over the edge of the ledge, clearing out the floor and making it clear again.
There was someone near my left, and she had her hands up in a cross guard in order to withstand my Ki Blast. A girl, dressed in a tight fitting hoodie, black gloves and what look like a utility belt. Her hood was blown off, and I was able to clearly see her face which was framed by short bands of red hair.
At another time, another place, I would have thought she was cute. Even now, I was surprised by appearance, and equally surprised that our suspected thief was a girl. Maybe she sensed that I was probably taking too much time looking her over, because she came rushing at me quickly, with a sprint that look like it was covered in Ki.
“She might be Krav Maga,” I remember my master saying, “They will take any action that they believe is needed.”
She heaved a hard left hook, which I was somehow able to catch. I tried to push her arm down in a Judo Yuwari throw, but then her leg quickly rushed up to kick my nuts. My left hand quickly rushed down to block and I back away.
Krav Maga. They are willing to take any actions that may be needed.
She rushed me again, this time throwing a straight right punch. I blocked the punch, but she quickly grabbed my arm and pulled it down, and reach out to my face. I blocked again, but she pulled my arm down as well. Now both hands were locked down. Without hesitation, she began to headbutt my face.
The first smack was intense. I thought for sure that she knocked my nose right off, but I was still able to breath, so maybe I was ok. The second, made it feel worse. While she was holding my hands, I couldn’t get away. She kept pulling my arms closer to her, and gave a swift headbutt every time she pulled me close.
But when she was about to hit me one more time, I shifted my head and placed my chin on her shoulder. I don’t know how I did that, so I accepted that it was out of luck. If my head was there, she wouldn’t be able to reach me. But I could reach her.
I charged up Ki in my legs and began to kick her shin. She let out a gasp of air, shocked by my tactic and the force of my kick. She let go of my arms in order to back away, and I followed her in order to give another kick. She dodged my kick by moving her leg up, and then planted her foot on my ankle, trapping me again. She stepped harder, trying to break my foot, and raised up her hand to punch me again. I blocked once more, but I was ready this time.
I grabbed her arm, the same that she grabbed my, and pulled her close to me again, pushing my chin back on her shoulder. With my free hand I began to wail on her abdomen, making sure that it strike was covered in Ki.
She gasped out everytime I hit her, but she did not double over. Somehow, she was taking every shot that I threw at her. I don’t know if she was using Ki to cushion every shot, a body technique that was dodging it somehow, or maybe she could not feel pain anymore. What I did know, at the moment, was that she was fine taking the hits and tiring me out. And unfortunately, I was getting really tired.
My next hit did not have the same force as before, so she blocked my punch and turned it away, torquing my body out of balance, which made my trapped foot more in danger. She twisted her foot as I was being turned away, and I felt the cracking of my ankle.
I fell to the ground screaming. For some strange reason, I could not hear what I sound like. My mouth was wide open, and my lungs were screaming, and yet I couldn’t hear myself. I couldn’t hear, but it didn’t surprise me why I couldn’t hear my voice. At that moment, the scream of my pain was louder the scream of my own voice. I hit the ground, but I couldn’t feel the landing. All that occupied my mind was my ankle. Was it shattered? Maybe just cracked? I could not tell at all. It was only pain, pain that was greater than when I first fought Master Acas.
My mind saw things slow down again, wildly focused as if it was hoping that by thinking and concentrating hard enough, the pain would go away. All it did was make the view of her lifted leg aiming at my neck move in a slow pace that filled my heart with terror.
A black shadow appeared before my eyes, and I could hear what sounded like a Ki blast shot into a gut. Then it disappeared just as fast as it appeared. I lifted up my head as much as I could, and I could see my master darting all around her, a blink that moved everywhere.
I tried to roll onto my hands, to lift myself up, but the pain in my foot was too intense. Every move I made, no matter what body part it was, filled my head with a flood of agony. But I had to try, I needed to help out in some way.
And yet, the more I watch my master teleporting everywhere, giving hundreds of punches and disappearing before she can react, the more I wonder how could I even try to help out. It was hard to describe his movements, his style. It looked untouchable, unbeatable. Why would he need me? I was as good as out of this fight, so why should I bother trying to get up?
“It might be good to watch each other’s back.”
That was what he said. This master, who I see as undefeated, said that he needed me here. Forget this pain!
I held on to my Ki and pressed into my foot, and the pain slowly began to subside. Was it healing, or was I becoming numb to it, I couldn’t tell. I didn’t care, as long as I can get up.I pushed more Ki, enough to drown the pain, and I was able to stand back up, heaving and tired, but standing.
As I did, the world began to look different. Everything around me began to slow down, and was in a clarity that I had never experienced before. I could see every detail, every dust that was being disturbed by our steps. I saw the outline of her face in greater clarity. I could almost follow Master Acas’s movement.
Maybe this wa a case of overdosing on Ki, but I now felt great.
It was a blink of an instant, but I know that I saw Master Acas smiling when I got back to my feet.
Master Acas teleported behind the thief and pushed her towards me. Her movements were slow to my senses, and I knew exactly what to do. I prepared a Ki punch and drove it hard into her stomach. This time, I felt her body double over…...she felt that one.
But she knew how to deal with pain, how to move and fight despite getting hit. As she was collapsing her stomach, her hands reach out and grabbed onto my neck. She pulled me in and kneed me hard into my own stomach. As I was kneeling forward, she brought her knee back up to bashed in my face again.
This time I saw that coming.
I drove all my Ki into my legs again and did a backflip to dodge the second knee attack, which caused both of my legs to kick her in the chin. She went flying as I straighten myself up. The kick might have been too flashy, but it got the job done.
Master Acas grabbed her in mid air and slammed her down into the floor. I followed up and pinned her head and arms down so that she could not move at all. The thief tried to struggle with all her might, but even with Ki it would be impossible to shake off two martial artist who were both pushing down with all of their might. Still, she tried her best to shake us off.
As she was struggling, I notice the details of her veins along her neck, and the way that they were pulsing through with anxiety and stress. There was something about them that reminds me of something, a feeling of a target I was studying at one point of time.
I decided to go with the feeling. With a quick shoulder check, I struck my elbow into her neck. At once she stop moving.
For a moment I panicked. She was not moving at all, so I thought I had just killed her.
Master Acas was as surprised as me. I placed his hand on her neck to check for a pulse, and showed a sigh of relief. He looked back at me and chuckled for a bit.
“I don’t know if you were extremely lucky,” he said, “but you just missed the kill point along her Jugular. Instead you pushed just enough pressure to knock her out.”
I let out a sigh of relief myself and try to get up. But as I let my Ki fade, the pain rushed back into me. I buckled and collapsed as my broken ankle gave way under me. I nearly forgot about that ankle. I braced myself, but Master Acas caught me before I fell.
“You did well tonight,” he said, “Somehow you exceeded far beyond what I thought you could do tonight. Well done.”
He carried the thief across his left shoulder, no doubt so that he could question her. Then he took my left arm and place me on his right shoulder. I begin to feel him carrying the two of us on his mighty Ki, and it felt dreadful.
But somehow, those proud statements that he said helped made the trip feel alright.