"Look at her, training like that pretending she's still a pure-minded warrior…it's such a disgrace…"

"A doctor from the city came a couple of days ago: he said she had a condition that makes it so that she can't help herself…"

"But that doesn't mean she has to give in to that disease like a cheap whore. She brings shame to our village and her father."

Areva didn't pretend not to hear the middle-aged couple whisper about her as they watched her chop at the tree with devastating right-legged kicks, but she could not deny such less-than-flattering gossip. She had become a cheap whore, and nothing she did would change that fact.

To those outside of her home village, Areva was a twenty-year-old Muay Thai prodigy as beautiful as she was skilled, with a deep tan, long black hair, and impressive bust to compliment her toned figure made possible from years of rigid martial arts training. She periodically traveled to the city to enter martial arts tournaments, usually leaving them with the top prize to support her modest village.

To those within the village, however, she was the daughter of the village chief who was diagnosed with nymphomania: a psychological condition that gives the patient an unusual desire for sexual activity that was made apparent when news spread of her having numerous sensual escapades with some of the village men, and even a couple of city-dwelling folk: it was extremely fortunate that no pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases came as a result from such behavior. Even though this condition was not extremely uncommon on the world stage, it was enough to label her a harlot by her people when originally they had considered her the jewel of their land.

Even now I can feel my body trembling, and not just from the impact of this tree, Areva thought grimly before quickly jumping away from the tree to prepare for a less-practical technique. My unclean body is matched only by my even filthier mind: they have every right to shun me.

Her left elbow glowing with her ki, Areva swiped at the air with the elbow and let loose a wave of energy that cut into the tree six feet away. This technique, considered the trademark move of her village, was proof of her prowess, but mastering the move only made her feel worse. All it meant was that she was simply a very talented outcast.

Taking a deep breath, Areva turned away from the tree and looked up into the sky. Muay Thai had a reputation as being the "sport of kings," so she couldn't help but wonder what her ancestors thought of her when they looked down upon her from the heavens. A woman practicing the traditional style was uncommon enough, and her battle attire of a zip-up black tanktop with black and pink boxer shorts accompanying her blue-and-purple arm tassels even more so: was her unfortunate mental disposition the breaking point from being unconventional to downright sacrilegious?

"Areva," a familiar male voice broke Areva's train of though, causing to turn in the direction of the voice. "Come inside, there's someone I would like you to meet."

Areva obeyed her father, but wasn't sure what to expect once she had entered their hut: she had spent the past four nights outside in a sleeping bag she purchased in the city because her father refused to allow her into their home. It seemed out-of-character for someone as stern as he was to simply let her back in with open arms. Tossing aside her doubts, Areva entered her home and sat down in front of her father.

As she did so, however, she noticed that they were not alone.

"So this is your daughter," the stranger only glanced at Areva via peripheral vision, rather than grace her with his full attention. "She does seem like she practices vigorously…"

Areva, on the other hand, turned her head fully and took note of the stranger: he was dressed in a pair of blue jeans and a black t-shirt, with ruffled dark brown hair and a pair of glasses sitting in front of his face--a face which was decisively not Thai. Areva felt a shiver go down her spine when she found herself lost in the man's calm features: she did admit he was quite handsome, but she didn't need that reaction caused by her nymphomania to tell her that. He's definitely an outsider…Japanese, from the looks of it. What business does he have here?

"Areva, this is Keiichi Kobashi," the village chief broke the brief-but-tense moment, causing her daughter to snap to attention which in turn caused Keiichi to raise an eyebrow in curiosity. "He witnessed one of your battles in the city, and was very impressed with your technique, so much that he found our village and requested that he learn its training secrets so that he can improve his own art."

"But father, it took me years to master our art: how long does he expect to be here?"

"As long as it takes, miss Areva," Keiichi allowed himself the slightest smirk upon hearing her unspoken objection. The smirk faded, however, as lifted his head to meet the village chief's gaze. "Sir, if it is not too much trouble, I would like to begin training as soon as possible."

"I won't be the one teaching you, at least not immediately," the chief replied, finally breaking Keiichi's aura of calm and forcing him to lift his head up in surprise. "My daughter Areva is the most skilled fighter in our village: she would be more than capable to teach you the ways of our culture. In fact, how about the two of you stand up?"

Obeying him, both Areva and Keiichi left their kneeling positions and stood up. The hut wasn't too awfully spacious: there weren't many things they could do except leave, shake hands, or…

"Areva, Keiichi…tae chieng!"

Instantly recognizing the command, the couple's left legs shot out into the air with precision and cohesion, their legs angling high so that their feet were level with their faces. Doing this kick correctly was impressive enough, but the two martial artists managed to allow their legs to remain angled as if they were posing for someone.

Rotating her head and looking at Keiichi's form, she noticed the hardened expression in his face. What a fearsome glare, Areva thought as she took note of the outsider's cold grimace. That's not a look of a fighter, but of a killer…

The present…

A ringing bell from a nearby bicycle broke Areva out of her daydream and allowed her to once again focus of waiting for her boat to arrive. It was easy to reminisce about kinder, simpler times, but she couldn't afford to do such a thing with her mission in front of her.

Areva should have taken more note of Keiichi's fearsome glare that day, because in the weeks that followed, she let her guard down, and was ready to confess her love to him before she found her village burned to the ground after coming back from another tournament in the city, and her father's last words telling her Keiichi was the one responsible.

Now she stood at the docks of Ayutthaya, where she was waiting for a boat to take her to the capital city of Bangkok so that she could begin her search for the man who had betrayed her.

I don't know why he did what he did, but I promise that I'll find out, Areva gripped her father's burned mongkon in her hand tightly before placing it back in her bag. Once I do that, I'll make sure he pays for his sin!

Even though Areva wasn't entirely comfortable about leaving the precious few survivors of the village to themselves, she felt that it was her duty as the village's new leader and as a warrior to seek out Keiichi. While she had no real clues as to his whereabouts, she figured Japan would be an ideal place to start, and to get there she had to take a boat down the river to Bangkok, where the airport was located.

Turning around upon hearing a shout, Areva looked behind her to see two strong-built men pushing around a considerably smaller and older Thai gentleman. This sort of bullying happened all the time in the city, and was one of the reasons Areva only ventured outside her village for tournament business and gathering supplies. Before she jumped to save the gentleman, however, she waited and listened to the conversation that was transpiring between them.

"Hey, mate, we tried asking nice, but the organization we represent has been really persistent about wanting to sell our goods in your shop, and we won't take no for an answer," the Caucasian man with slicked-back brown hair shoved the old man off his feet while his partner, a bald man with a deep tan, watched on with expressionless eyes. "So here's your last chance, before me friend and I get rough: will you add our modest product to your catalog?"

"I told you, I refuse to sell your drugs," the elder man spat back, trying to fight off the trembling sensation that had overcome him.

"Well then, that's really a shame," the brown-haired man smiled, looking as if he had hoped the old man would refuse his offer. "I guess we'll have to use force then, won't we?" As he raised his fist back to deliver a punishing blow, the man heard the familiar noise of grunts and blows landing behind him. Turning around, he saw his silent friend lying on the ground in a pool of his own blood, with Areva standing above him.

Forgetting about his "client" for the time being, the man glared at Areva and pointed an accusing finger at her. "What do you think you're doing, love? Are you lookin' for an ass-beating?"

"Just because you are a guest in land doesn't mean that you have to act like an imbecile," Areva retorted before assuming her fighting stance. "Leave that man alone or I'll do the same to you that I did your fri-"

Areva's ultimatum was cut short by a shiver that had interrupted everything she was doing. Her nymphomania was beginning to bother her again, and her opponent took the opportunity to slam her into the ground with his massive hand before turning his grip into a stranglehold. "What's the matter, love: quakin' in your boots? Don't make arguments you can't back up I alw-AIIII!"

Shooting her leg up with blinding speed, Areva kicked the man in the stomach and forced him to relinquish his hold on her. Letting her unstable condition add fuel to her attack, Areva pressed on her assault with quick snapping kicks to her foe's shin. After the sixth kick, the man fell down on the leg that was being assaulted, and allowed Areva to bash his face in with a powerful thrusting knee as he kneeled down.

Quickly scrambling back on his feet (though grunting when the pain in his attacked leg returned), the man blocked a quick elbow with his hand and tried to grab the arm for a counter-attack, but Areva pulled it back quickly and took advantage of her opponent's miscue and collided her opposite elbow with his head.

Grabbing onto her opponent's shoulders while crouching down, Areva rubbed her body against the man's before rocketing back up and launching him into the air with her right knee glowing with her bright-blue ki. Jumping into the air with her opponent, she drove both knees into the thug and they both came falling down onto the docks, with Areva on top of her foe.

Areva moaned as she struggled to regain control of herself: the trauma of seeing her village in ashes had given her nymphomania an almost sadistic edge. Keiichi had once told her that sexual desire and violent intent used the same chemical in the brain, and she certainly believed him now. Pressing her forehead against the bloodied man she was sitting on top of, Areva took out a photo from her jeans pocket and slowly put it next to his right eye. In a voice that resembled a seductive whisper, she said to her hapless sparring partner, "Have you seen this man?"Quickly glancing to the side, the man fumbled with his words: half-terrified of what she was going to do to him if he gave her the wrong answer, and half-wondering just what it was she was going to do to him if that was the case. "Y-yeah I know the bloke…h-he is the one I've been answerin' to the past couple of days."

Such an answer was enough to knock Areva out of whatever pleasure high she was feeling and her tone changed into a louder, more forceful one. "Do you know where he is now!?"

"Y-yeah…he took a plane to Sydney this morning because he had business to take care of there: if you took a boat down the river to Bangkok and used their airport, you should still be able to run into him by the time you get there," the man took note of the complete change in complexion from his attacker and broke out in a cold sweat accordingly. "P-please let me go! I promise me friend and I won't bother your town again!"

"Make sure that you don't," she spat back as she jumped off the man and kicked him away. Before she had even left her hometown, she had already found a clue to her former lover's whereabouts. The sooner I find him, the better, she thought as she turned to the boat that was approaching the dock. I don't have enough money to look for him very long and expect to have enough to come back home.

"Hey mate, it's best that stay away from here for the time being," Areva turned around to hear her former opponent say that to his accomplice that was just beginning to regain consciousness. "That lady is a total loony!"

He's right about that, Areva looked at her bloodstained hands while the two men stumbled away from the docks. That sensation that came over me wasn't like my normal breakdowns: it was something twisted and evil. It's given me a mental edge in combat, but I'm not sure if that's a good thing…

Meanwhile, almost 2000 miles away…

Keiichi placed the plane phone back into its slot on the seat in front of him and let out a deep sigh. One of his subordinates had ran into trouble trying to persuade a key figure on the Thai market to carry one of their "alternative medical solutions," and that meant his own superiors wouldn't be too pleased. He himself could care less what happened with their product, as there were many other locations across the globe the organization could set up shop, but a failure was a failure, and he would have to answer for it.

However, the crimes that have been bothering me lately are the ones that my superiors actually approve of, Keiichi looked out his window into the legions of clouds just beneath the aircraft. I've killed many people in my relatively brief time on earth, but none of those deaths have made me feel as disgusted with myself as those that I added to the tally two days ago.

For the past six weeks, Keiichi himself had positioned himself in a Thai village several miles away from Bangkok with the intention of obtaining a certain type of vegetation grown only in that area of Thailand. Disguising himself as a martial artist seeking to learn the traditional Muay Thai fighting style, he attempted to earn the trust of the villagers so that he may obtain their crops for his own use: something he succeeded in doing, perhaps all too well.

While my technique is a furious raging fire, my heart has always been cold as ice, as well it should be…so why did I become so attached to that place?

The reason, he told himself, was that he allowed himself the ultimate hiccup in the life of a criminal deviant: he fell in love.

His usual sparring partner during his time in the village, a young woman named Areva, had grown incredibly close to him in a short period of time. Being the last surviving member of an exterminated criminal family, Keiichi had denied himself any real female contact for the purpose of one day taking his revenge against the one who slew them: his adopted father and the head of their organization, Lance Levesque. By allowing himself to develop a relationship with Areva, he gave the organization a weakness for them to exploit so that he would be degraded from simply being their henchman to their puppet: a weakness that they took advantage of when they ordered Keiichi to set the village ablaze and take the crops. Unable to forget his quest for power and vengeance, Keiichi complied and burned the village to the ground while a group of underlings ransacked the village.

At least Areva wasn't there at the time: I don't think even I would have been able to carry out that order if she were involved. But that's why it's best that I get the hell out of here: I'll never see her again, and that's definitely for the better. As Keiichi told himself that, he looked at his left arm to see the blue-and-purple tassel still tied around the sleeve of his black button-up shirt. He still wasn't able to sever his ties completely, as he carried that tassel with him wherever he went, as a reminder of those peaceful six weeks and how vulnerable he truly is.

Of course, Keiichi had no intention of letting his superiors get away with ruining the only happiness he had in his life since the death of the Kobashi clan fifteen years ago: he intended to speed up his plans for a coup, and for Levesque to die at his hands. Once he had done that, he would become the head of the organization and acquire the power and influence that was always truly his.

For now, however, I will continue to act as his trophy and his agent, Keiichi mused while he looked away from the window and reached for his bag. I'll drown this guilt in an ocean of chaos, once I get to Sydney to do my business. Pulling out a laptop computer and a DVD box, Keiichi switched the computer on and opened the CD tray on the side. The DVD was that of his favorite motion picture, Mothra. Putting the DVD into his computer, Keiichi allowed himself the slightest of smiles as the logo of Toho Ltd flashed across his computer screen.

The film Mothra was a giant monster movie focusing on a gargantuan butterfly-like creature of the same name: she was a benevolent goddess who rose up to destroy Tokyo when her two priestesses (ironically, exceptionally small women) were taken from her island and exploited by a Japanese businessman who intended to use them as his own personal money-making devices. While considered dated in an age where huge budgets and spectacular special effects were valued over using the imagination, Keiichi never grew tired of watching Mothra tear through his homeland in an effort to reclaim what is hers: in fact, he had her likeness tattooed onto his chest.

This also happened to be the favorite film of his late mother, before the organization decided to do away with the Kobashi clan. Whenever Keiichi felt his ambitions waver, he watched the film over again to remind him of what had been stolen from him, and the glorious havoc that would be wreaked upon those that did them harm when the opportunity finally presented itself.

Unfortunately, his dearest Areva was still in his mind, and not even Mothra was letting him forget about her. How troublesome, he mumbled as he finally advanced past the opening credits, but such is the path to victory…