The TW Network
King of Fighters Fighters
Fighter ID:
July 18
Huge PRG
Fighting Style(s)
Supernatural Power
Best sport
Fishing (in river)
Unknown (maybe China)
Blood Type
Unknown (not examined)
Favorite Food(s)
Hot milk (without sugar)
Consumer games, network games
Personal Treasure(s)
B-Games, hardware for home use

King of Fighters '99, The
Neo Geo
Psycho Soldier Team
King of Fighters 2000, The
Neo Geo
Member of Psycho Soldier Team
King of Fighters 2001, The
Neo Geo
King of Fighters EX, The
Game Boy Advance
Psycho Soldier Team member.
King of Fighters EX2, The / King of Fighters Extreme (N-Gage port)
Game Boy Advance
Psycho Soldiers Team member.
King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match, The
Playstation 2
Member of the Psycho Soldiers Team.

King of Fighters II
King of Fighters '99
FATHER: "Please, I beg you. Just save the life of this child."
Deep in the mountains, somewhere in China. A father pleads before his fellow villagers, desperately trying to keep his composure upon learning the bad news concerning his wife's fate and his newborn son.
VILLAGER 1: "I'm sorry...We're in a bad way ourselves."
VILLAGER 2: "As the village elder said, this day your child was born on is a cursed day that occurs only once every 200 years. He will certainly bring misfortune in the future. So we can't turn a blind eye to this."
VILLAGER 3: "Here, here. I empathize with your continuing misfortune.... Please take your time bidding farewell to your son and wife today."
Upon speaking their piece, the few villagers leave the ill-fated household. That night, the family vanishes from the mountain village....
[283 days before the tournament for Chin Gentsai]
CHIN: "Hmm, I understand your tale. I will take care of this child. There is another in my custody who possesses the same powers as this child. These children can only be understood by others of their own ilk and spending time among people of similar gifts may do him some good."
HEAD PRIEST: "You lighten me of a heavy load allowing me to leave this child in your care."
CHIN: "But I'm honestly quite surprised to learn of still others who are able to use psychic powers. Were there any portents of this?"
HEAD PRIEST: "No, it happened all of a sudden a few days ago. Until then he was no different than any other child.... I had no idea when his father entrusted me with this child's care that he possessed such abilities...."
CHIN: "This sudden display of ability is what worries me though.... So, have you spoken about his family with the child?"
HEAD PRIEST: "No, I haven't, but it looks like he knows."
CHIN: "Really...? Well, I'll look after him with the intention of furthering his abilities, but I'll leave any decisions about the future up to the boy."
[280 days before the tournament for Sie Kensou]
"I thought I'd always have it."
"World peace, extrasensory powers, training with Athena."
"My training is for that coming day...when one appears to threaten peace...It is then my training will pay off."
"And life will begin in the service of peace...."
" long as peace training with Athena...."
"This my sole source of happiness...."
"I thought I'd always have it"
KENSOU: "Super Sphere!"
KENSOU: "That's bizarre...I'm really off my game today!"
ATHENA: "Are you OK? Are you coming down with something?"
KENSOU: "No, I don't think so... Ha, ha, I'm OK. A-OK! I'll be all right after a good night's sleep."

Since then...since Athena asked, "Are you coming down with something?"...I realized it then....
"...My psychic's gone...."
"I thought I'd always have it."
"There are a lot more guys who are stronger than me."
"We're not training just to become stronger."
"You're right, because we have this power..."
"If I'm not a psycho soldier...If I don't have my psychic power...."
"There's no reason for stay here...any longer."
"I thought I'd always have it."
"I've a mere human being...."
"Could it affect me...this the end?"
"I thought I'd always have it."
KENSOU: "How long will I be able to stay here?"
[156 days before the tournament for Bao]
BAO: "Kensou! I-I can fire a Psycho Ball now! Hey, look! Look!"
As he assumes his stance a short distance from Kensou, he unleashes his Psycho Ball attack.
KENSOU: "Wow, impressive! If I don't stay on the ball, you just may become tougher than me."
BAO: "Heh, heh, heh. Xie xie. Now show me your stuff. I want to see your psychic power. I hope you get better soon."
KENSOU: "When I get my power back, I'll show you anytime you want. I'll show you a huge Psycho Ball the size of...."
BAO: "Yeah, for sure. For sure. Promise me!"
KENSOU: (Yeah, IF I regain my power...that is.)
[71 days before the tournament for Athena Asamiya]
MANAGER: "What's wrong, Athena? You look a little down...hope it's not stage fright."
ATHENA: "No, that's not it...I'm sorry. I'm just worried about a friend of mine...."
ATHENA: "I know he's in a bad state, but there is nothing I can do for him."
MANAGER: "Oh, really... But you have to forget about that now and get in that peppy Athena mood of yours. If you don''ll let down your fans."
ATHENA: "...Yes! You're right. I'm sorry to make you worried too."
MANAGER: "No problem! Hey, you're on! You're fans await you!"

Waaah! Yeaaaaaah! Woo-hooooh!
ATHENA: "Hey, everybody!! Hello!!"
ATHENA: "Thank you for coming tonight!! I'm happy so many of you could make it!! (...Huh?)"
She cocks her head to the side when she sees a familiar face in the audience.
ATHENA: (Chang? Why would he be at my concert? Not only that, what's he doing here in Japan? And I don't see Kim...or Choi either. Has something happened? ...Naw, it can't be him.)
Yaaah! Waaaaah! Kyaaaah!
ATHENA: "Thanks everyone, now for my first song, ÔBanged-up Blue Moon'!"
ATHENA: "Stop! Please, no more! Don't go and break my heart..."

[64 days before the tournament for the Psycho Soldier Team]
CHIN: "They say that the King of Fighters is going to be held again this year. I think we'll have to enter again. Since we need a team of four this time around, I'll be joining you three, if you all don't mind?"
ATHENA, BAO: "All right!"
KENSOU: "Ha, ha, ha. This four-member rule has saved my butt. If it weren't for that, I'd be sitting on the sidelines for sure. Ha, ha, ha."
CHIN: "...So, this may be a little tough on you, Bao, since you've only been with us a short time, but I this is one way to see how you are coming along with your training."
BAO: "OK, sir. I'll do my best!"
ATHENA: "We're behind you, Bao!"
CHIN: "And there's one more thing..."
Chin looks over to Kensou.
KENSOU: "Huh, what's up, Master? Oh, Master, what's with the stink eye? Ha, ha, ha, I'm OK. I'll make sure I won't hold you guys back. I haven't just been going through the motions with my training here. Even if I can't use my psychic powers, I still can show you easily I can win."
CHIN: "That's not it, Kensou."
KENSOU: "........"
CHIN: "I'm hoping you'll find some way to regain your powers through this tournament. So whether you win or lose is of secondary importance."
ATHENA: "Yeah, you may just recover them while you're in the middle of battle. If one battle's not enough, then it'll be the second or third, and we'll do our darndest to increase your chances. So give it your best shot and concentrate on regaining your psychic powers."
KENSOU: "Athena...Thank you. I'll do my best...and then some."
Chin Gentsai
Has imparted some or all of their fighting prowess upon another.
King of Fighters '00
--CHINA. A boy lies bedridden in a room of Chin's house.
Kaoru sits beside him, watching over the sick child. Athena enters the room.

ATHENA: "So how's he doing, Kaoru? How is our little Bao?"
KAORU: "Ah, well right now, there's no real change. But it looks like the fever has broken a bit."

Kaoru begins to change the compress on the boy's forehead. In that interval, Athena places her hand over Bao's forehead.

ATHENA: "Is that so? Great.... I'm sorry, Kaoru, to ask you to attend to Bao like this...."
The expression on Athena's face lightens a little after she makes sure Bao's fever has fallen, but her face then reflects her concern toward Kaoru.
KAORU: "Ah, no, don't worry about me. More importantly, though, Bao hasn't regained consciousness...."
Since the end of last year's tournament, Bao has been bedridden, stricken for several months with a high fever whose origins are unknown.
"Origins unknown"...This is how the doctor put it, but Chin knows a better reason for this affliction.
A few months ago.
After the doctor returns, stumped by the case, Chin begins to address his three charges, speaking as if he has come to a profound realization.

CHIN: "...Naturally the doctor would not understand the cause behind this."
ATHENA: "Does the doctor know something?"
CHIN: "Well, it's no more than mere speculation, begin an explanation we'll have to consider Kensou's condition."
KENSOU: "Are you talking about my powers?"

Chin nods toward Kensou, who today seems unusually quick on the uptake.

CHIN: "That's right. Just when was it that your powers gradually began to fail you?"
KENSOU: "It all began last year."
CHIN: "Specifically?"

Athena answers for the obfuscating Kensou.

ATHENA: "...Ever since Bao came to live with us."

Chin continues, nodding at Athena's observation.

CHIN: "Indubitably. Ever since he was brought to us, I sensed that he had the ability to use psychic powers, but something was astonishing about the growth of his powers since he came to live with us."
ATHENA: "Without doubt his powers are equal to us, perhaps they even exceed ours."
CHIN: "I had thought that surely his powers were just blooming, but since he came here, there was that matter with Kensou."
KENSOU: "Huh? So you mean...Bao siphoned away my powers?"
CHIN: "Well, that's roughly what I'm saying. But I don't know why you're the only one he's affected."
ATHENA: "Is that the cause for Bao's current affliction?"
CHIN: "Athena, Kensou, do you recall anything that happened recently?"

The memory of everyone barely escaping NESTS's base is the first thing to appear in Athena and Kensou's mind's eye.

ATHENA: "Well...I heard about it afterward, mind you, but all I remember is the roof of NESTS's base collapsing...."
KENSOU: "Me too. All I remember is me jumping out of there without realizing what was going on around me...."
CHIN: "Kaoru and I only saw it, but Kensou was releasing a staggering power while he carried Athena out to safety then."
KENSOU: "But I was almost completely drained of my power at that time, too...."

Kensou responds to his Master with a puzzled expression.

CHIN: "You must have summoned your latent powers sleeping within you to save Athena. Seeing that Bao fell ill subsequently around that time, the power from Bao must have temporarily fed back to you, and with that synergetic effect you were able to summon that power."
ATHENA: "So with the feedback from Bao.... Yeah, but, I see, that awesome power at that time...No, it can't be!"
CHIN: "That's it exactly. Right now, all of Bao's psychic powers have been sucked from him and the effect of that has resulted in his current affliction."
KAORU: "It was right after Kensou collapsed. Bao came to be afflicted with that high fever."

All of the gathered people cast their gaze to Bao.

CHIN: "Even someone like Kensou who had been tempering his mind and body with his daily training didn't wake up for three days after using that power. And when Bao, whose body is still not fully developed, absorbed that power, he must have reached a point of sensory overload."
KENSOU: "So you mean that I'm actually drained of all my psychic powers?"
Everyone turns their gaze toward Chin. Chin sighs deeply and answers.
CHIN: "Unfortunately, that possibility is quite likely. But you did surprise me; I never thought you had such latent power within you...."
KENSOU: "How terrible. Even the doctor.... But I'm not much of a happy camper now."
CHIN: "Well, even though it was just once, your power did temporarily return, so there must be a chance that your power could return permanently. Kensou, try not being so negative and see how things play out."
KENSOU: "Yeah, I guess your right...."

Athena gazes at Kensou, whose reply is neither one of resignation or satisfaction.

Chin and Kensou clear the room, leaving Athena, Kaoru and Bao in the room. While watching over the unconscious Bao, Athena strikes up a conversation.

ATHENA: "Ah, yes, that reminds me, Kaoru. Did you know there's another KOF this year?"
KAORU: "Uh, yeah. Or so it seems."
ATHENA: "And we decided to enter KOF."
KAORU: "But you'll need four members this year, won't you?"

Kaoru asks with a surprised look on her face.

ATHENA: "Yes, that's right."
KAORU: "So have you found the fourth member yet?"
ATHENA: "No, it seems that Chin plans to enter Bao."
KAORU: "What? He hasn't opened his eyes for months since the last one!"

An expression of both surprise and worry comes over Kaoru's face. While Athena sports a similar expression, Athena replies to Kaoru's question.

ATHENA: "Uh, that's right...but the Master said that Bao's fever looks like it's gradually breaking and he should awaken with his powers intact by the time of the tournament."
KAORU: "But, that...sounds so rash."
ATHENA: "Yeah, I thought so too...."
KAORU: "If you think so, then why...?"

Athena continues with a troubled expression on her face.

ATHENA: "The Master says it's a rather drastic method of treatment, but even if he's stabilized, it's no different than the dangerous condition he's in now. KOF would be the perfect chance for him to release the psychic power that overwhelms him. It seems that the Master has thought things out."
KAORU: "Really...? And then there's Kensou, too."

It took a while, but Athena's tense expression relaxes upon hearing Kaoru's reply of acknowledgement.

ATHENA: "...Yeah...uh, I'm sorry. Things will change someday, though."
Athena stands up and tries to take Kaoru's place. Kaoru stops her.
KAORU: "No, I'll stay here a little longer...I sure hope Bao awakens for the tournament, don't you...?"
Kaoru turns her gaze to Bao and she continues her watch over him.

ATHENA: "Yeah."

Responding only to her question, Athena, along with Kaoru, continues to gaze gently at Bao.
King of Fighters '01
Here is the location of an ancient temple, secluded among steep mountains. It has already begun to grow dark, and the characteristic silhouettes of China's mountain ranges become distinctly visible.
"Ooh, Kensou. I can't shoot a Psycho Ball!"
"It's okay, Bao. You'll get out of your slump in no time."
Picking up a snatch of mountain plants with his chopsticks, Bao still looks as if he's about to cry. Kensou goes out of his way to cheer up Bao, who has been down in the dumps for quite a while.
"But, Kensou, you still can't shoot a Super Sphere, can you...?"
"Uh, d-do you have to rub salt in the wounds, Bao? Well, at any rate, all we have between us is training! Right?! Bao?!"
"...Uh...yeah, I I'll keep on trying!"
"That's right, that's right! That's the old pepper!"
Although Kensou says this with a smile on his face, deep down in his heart, there is anything but peace of mind."
Kensou's psychic power still forsakes him...As if to keep his mind off this, Kensou stuffs his face with food.
"Athena! Another helping, please!"
"Huh?! Kensou, that's you're third bowl of rice already. Something the matter?"
Athena, who's in charge of tonight's meal, looks worried.
"I'm okay. I've got a lead-lined stomach, you know."
Chin, who had been watching the turn of events beforehand, speaks:
"If his power won't come back, he needs to get his stamina in other ways."
"Yeah, that sounds reasonable, Master."
"Yah, ha, ha, Master, Athena. You are both so off the mark."

Athena and Chin continue their conversation long into the night, even after Kensou and Bao have fallen asleep.
"Master. What do you think...about Kensou and Bao's predicament...?"
"Hmm. How can I put this...?"
Chin thinks this out while sipping on his tea.
At that time...when Kensou and Bao made contact, it appeared that their psychic power had risen up to the heavens. Given that, I thought both of them would achieve balance with their psychic powers and return to normal, but....
...In reality, Bao became unable to shoot a Psycho Ball and Kensou's powers have not shown the slightest sign of returning to normal....
But the energy that coursed through Bao's body was absorbed by Kensou, wasn't it? And if that's the case, then, why doesn't Kensou's power return to normal?'s all a mystery, it is....
After a while, Chin offers his conclusion to Athena.
"Hey, Athena...I've thought about it and I don't have an answer. I guess it's enough that they're healthy."
"...Yeah...I guess so. If both of them are healthy, I can't ask for anything more."
After reaching this conclusion, the two give each other a smile.

Morning comes with the cheep, cheep, cheeping of the tunes of the songbirds. Bao and Kensou are in the midst of their early morning training.
"Ninety-nine...100...Wah! I'm beat."
"That's the spirit, Kensou! You've accomplished today's quota for push-ups."
"Huff, puff...of course I did...No way training like this is going to poop me out...I'm in tip-top condition!"
Or so Kensou protests, but deep down he's beyond wiped out.
"Well, then, show me a Super Sphere, will you?!"
"What?! Right now?!"
"But you said when you're in tip-top condition you said you'd be able to do it, didn't you?"
"Yeah, I guess I did...All right, then! I'm pumped now! Time to serve one up!!!"
Undaunted, Kensou leaps to his feet and assumes the position.
"Hah! Super Sphere!"
Kensou's fists grow hot. OH! MAYBE THIS IS IT!
As he concentrates all his might, his fists begin to grow hotter and hotter, and after a while a sphere of light appears.
"Awesome! Way to go, Kensou!!!"
As if encouraged by Bao's voice, the lump of light begins to enlarge steadily.
What?! The moment he thinks, "Was the Super Sphere really this big before?!" the wad of energy leaves his hands and takes off at a good clip.
Along with the thundering roar, the ball of energy released by Kensou knocks down a tree standing in front of them.
"Wah-ooh! I rule! ...Uh-oh...."
"Kesou! Kensou!"
Kensou's eyes roll back into his head as he falls to the ground in a bundle....
"Whoa...Who'd of thought Kensou was capable of that...."
Athena nurses over a sleeping Kensou. Next to her stands Chin, who has heard about this morning's training session from Bao. After training to exhaustion, Kensou summoned up his Super Sphere. Perhaps Kensou's power may be stifled by his subconscious? And maybe that's where Bao's power resides as well....
"OK, I've reached my decision. I was wavering for a while, but we're going to enter this year's KOF tournament."
"What, Master? But Kensou's laid up in bed and Bao's power still hasn't returned..."
"That is exactly why we're entering the tournament. If we enter the tournament, it may bring about some change like the previous one, and we may get better results than we'd get continuing along at this rate."
"...Yeah, I guess so. If we enter the tournament, we should find some answers."
"I hope I get my psychic power back. And the same goes for Kensou, of course!"
"You said it. I get the feeling something may happen this time around, but this tournament rarely goes off without a hitch, you know."
"That's it! Kensou, Bao, and Athena too, this may all work out for our benefit."
Beside the sleeping Kensou, all come to a new resolve.
King of Fighters '03
It is early in the afternoon of a weekday and empty seats are prominent in this first-class car of the bullet train.
Athena Asamiya is sitting in a window seat, heading for her next concert venue in Fukuoka. Her manager has been directed to meet up with her at Hakodate. Now, she travels alone.
The train slows and comes to a leisurely stop.
"Kyoto. This stop is Kyoto."
The announcement echoes over the platform.
When the door opens, a familiar face is smiling in Athena's direction.
"Long time no see, Athena."
The attractive blonde is dressed in the sprucely designed uniform of a girl's high school. She is Hinako Shijo, one-fourth Russian and the daughter of a model upper-class family.
"So, Hinako, how have you been? Forgive me for calling you here."
"Oh, it's no bother - as luck would have it our family has villas in Kyoto and Kobe."
Without giving second thought to her blatantly bourgeois remark, Hinako shoves the backpack she had strapped to her shoulders onto the luggage rack above.
The luggage rack squeals ominously. The backpack is loaded with weights of ten kilograms or more. Judging by the groan of the rack, Hinako's lugging more weight than usual.

Appearance, bearing, word and deed - all are what the dreamy-eyed Hinako is about, but because her dream is starting a sumo team at her girl's school, one cannot resist feeling that this young lady comes from a different cookie cutter.

In the meantime, Hinako has plopped down in the seat next to Athena. The first thing she says,
"Please accept my condolences."
A closer look reveals that Hinako conscientiously wears a symbol of mourning on her uniform. Athena, who is obligated in her line of work as a pop idol to remain unfazed by most things, finds herself flustered by this current situation.
The flustered Athena hesitantly takes the condolence gift Hinako extends to her.
"Master Chin did pass away, didn't he? Just how old was he anyway?"
"U-uh, no, the Master is still fit as a fiddle, in a manner of speaking."
"Athena, I know being in denial is part of the grieving process, but if you don't accept reality..."
"Uh, I don't know what impression you're under, but the Master is in the pink. He still drinks a gallon of alcohol a day, naps, trains Kensou, and watches after Pao."
"Oh, really? I am so sorry. I just assumed the reason for you asking me to join you in KOF had to be because the Master had died and you needed an extra team member."
"No, that's not it at all. Anyway, let me return this to you."
Athena meekly tries to return Hinako's condolence gift.
"Ah, please keep it. You can always hang on to it until you need it again."
(Until I need it again...?)
There is no malice to Hinako's statement. Athena understands this, but....
"Wow. So Kensou isn't entering the tournament this time either...?
"As a matter of fact, he isn't. He's got a lot of other stuff on his plate..."
Athena casts her eyes downward. Yes, this time things are different.
"Then who will be our other member? I rather think that Chang Koehan would be a most excellent choice."
"I-I'm not too sure about him."
"Ah, you're probably right. He can't really manage a sumo wrestler's butterfly coiffure, can he?"
"U-uh, you do have a point there. Do you have anyone else in mind?"
"Hmm. I can't come up with anyone who's suited for sumo, though..."
"That's okay. That's okay. It doesn't have to be a sumo wrestler type."
Athena can't bring herself to say she'd prefer someone other than a sumo-type.
Of course Athena too has considered prospective teammates, but....
"Hey, you're Athena Asamiya, aren't you?"
"Huh? Oh, you want an autograph, right? Just a second. My pen...."
"No, that's not it. You're entering KOF, aren't you?"
Athena and Hinako both blink and do a double take at their new acquaintance.
She's a rather spunky-looking teenager, a bit shorter than Hinako. Her face and manner seem feline. She sports a miniskirt, blazer and bunched up socks - in short, she's a typical Japanese high school student.
"Yes, I'll be in it, does that concern you?"
"Your team's short a member, isn't it?"
The girl helps herself to the seat next to Hinako.
"Uh, I suppose it may be."
"Hmm. I guess our organization's info is sometimes useful after all."
"I beg your pardon?"
"Oh, nothing. By the way, have you considered me for your team?"
"J-Just like that? Who are you anyway?"
"Oh, I'm sorry. Allow me to introduce myself. The name's 'Malin.'"
"So you're name is Malin, is it? I'm Hinako Shijo. That's an unusual name you have there; your family name's "Ma" and your given name is "Lin," I gather. What Chinese character do you use for "Ma?" Maybe the character for magic? Or is it the "ma" for "manuke" - you know, the word that means "bonehead"?
"U-Uh, don't let her offend you. Hinako didn't mean anything bad by that. Words just flow out of her like...well, no need to get yucky here."
"No, the name's just one word, 'Malin.' Works on its own, don't you think? So, are you going to put me on your team, or not? I'm getting off at Osaka, so you got to decide quick."
And as if on cue, the announcement is heard throughout the train: "Shin-Osaka. We will soon be stopping at Shin-Osaka."
The time for decision instantly arrives, but there is no need to mull over an answer.
"We appreciate the offer, but no."
"What? Why? Tell me, why?"
"The KOF tournament is the peak of fighting competitions. Though I do say so myself, Hinako and I are exceptional fighters. I appreciate the sentiment, but..."

"You doubt my abilities?"
"Doubt? I don't even know your abilities. We've just met!"
"...Shoot. Okay, you don't need to hit me with a hammer. I'm out of here!"
The train slides to a stop at the platform of Shin-Osaka Station.
Malin bolts up with a bang as if she has kicked her seat and abruptly exits.

"Uh, Athena, are you sure you made the right decision?"
"Yeah. I had no choice. This isn't some high school athletic event."
Appearing out of nowhere, Malin is now outside, rapping on the bullet train's window.
In her hands (?), she holds two ribbons of different colors that flutter in the breeze.
"??...Hey, those are...!!"
In a panic, Athena and Hinako run their hands through their hair.
One of the ribbons that tied Hinako's long blonde hair and the ribbon used to gather Athena's hair together to conceal her identity are gone.
(When did she...?)
Athena springs from her seat. She looks as if she intends to catch up with Malin.
At the same time, however, the bullet train has pulled out from the platform.
The train begins to accelerate.
The form of Malin smiling ear to ear and waving her trophies in the air slowly recedes.
"Oh, stupid could I have been?"
Hinako consoles Athena who is slumped down in her seat.
"Cheer up. We can still find another team member."
"But...Huh? Hinako, under your ribbon!"
A small scrap of paper is secured under Hinako's remaining ribbon.
Athena quickly removes the paper and checks its contents.
"If you change your mind, give me a call. Malin. 090-XXXX-XXXX."

After reading the note, Hinako and Athena press their faces to the glass of the train as if to look for Malin.
The sight from the window, however, is no longer that of the platform but the buildings and streets of Osaka's north side.
Nevertheless, the two feel as if they can catch sight of Malin in the landscape streaming by, and they continue peering out the window for some time thereafter.
King of Fighters '03
The one who visits the unmarked room is an old man near the age of ninety.
His long grey hair, and similarly grey moustache. The gourd hanging from a string dangles as he walks. When he knocks on the door with the gourd, the sound of a dry thud and sloshing liquid resonates. The contents of the gourd: booze.
"You're in there, aren't you? Show yourself, you whippersnappers."
The door opens straightaway - but only a few centimeters with the chain lock still fastened. The man who peaks out from the crack is tan with silver hair, wearing a black leather jumper, and the hand resting on the doorknob dons a red glove.
"You...if I'm not mistaken, are called Chin Gentsai...."
"That's my name, sonny, don't wear it out. I hoped you'd at least remember the name of someone you've fought countless times before."
"...Excuse me. So what the hell do you want?"
Chin wordlessly taps the chain lock, indicating his desire to be let in. K' looks down upon the geezer from a difference in height of 20 centimeters.
"Hey, K'. How about showing a little respect towards your elders?
Maxima appears, making Chin look up another 20 centimeters more from K''s mug. "Master Chin, I presume. Do come in."
Maxima, reaching over K''s shoulder, undoes the chain and ushers Chin Gentsai in.
"Hey, big guy. You need to teach your young charge a little more manners..."
...bellows the one and only Chin, whose breath reeks of alcohol.
Chin scowls at "the young charge" who repeats his question with his usual surliness. But the scowl is lost in his overly long locks, going unperceived by the others.
"I am but a pathetic old man with a brief future before him."
"You don't look the part."
K' retorts quietly. Chin indeed looks as if he will no doubt live another 200 years, but ignoring the chide he produces a letter from his inside pocket. It's an invitation to the King of Fighters.
"I know you love this, don't you? The KOF."
"Don't trifle with me, old man! Of all the things I loathe...."
Had Maxima not grabbed his shoulders, K' would have rung Chin's neck.
"Would you do me the favor of desisting with the teasing of my partner? He's not yet familiar with the ways of polite society."
"I sense it this time, too. That 'evil presence.' It exceeds that of the time when the thugs from the Orochi and NESTS were on the rampage.
"What's that to us?"
"Hey, pipe down and listen. ...Yet, Master, if that's the case, wouldn't it be better if you had entered the competition the same as always and ascertained the true nature of this evil presence without even bothering with the likes of us?"
Chin lets out a sizable sigh.
"A keen observation. But this time that won't fly. Because of those two...that is..."
...Kensou and Pao, who triggered the awakening of the mysterious behemoth of a presence.
These two are now spending their days in rigorous training at an undisclosed location to one day confront the presence.
"We four are going to sit this out. I'm sorry, but for now it's the ideal choice."
"Wait. Did you say we four?"
"I certainly did."
"Even that cute idol goddess?"
"Athena? Indeed. Indeed."
Maxima, employing his "Maxima-devised" software, searches the web.
He finds information available to the general public. The results soon appear.
"I thought so. I checked the list of KOF participants and her name's on it!"
"What?! ...What did you say?!!!"
Chin, being the Chin he is, is this time taken completely aback. Behind her master's back, Athena has gathered together two other members and completed her application to participate in KOF before he had a clue.
"What is this treachery?! Why did Athena...? Hey, can't you tell me, big guy?"
"M-Me? Tell you...? How should I know about this?"
Maxima winces at Chin, who begins to rant with a vigor that quickly sobers him up.

"Dagnabbit! She told me she had to do a concert, and while she was away from me, she must have...I don't understand her. This time our foe cannot be stopped with some hastily assembled gaggle of girlies."
"Just smack her into submission and drag her back with you, old man."
"You don't know Athena's true nature...She's a kind kid, but she's stubborn, too. Once she decides something, there's no going back. She must have concluded that this time she's going to face the 'evil presence' in her own way. She kept quiet because she was concerned for me and the other two, I bet."
"Well, things being what they are, I can tell you everything. Like why I've come to ask a favor of 'you two.'"
Chin begins to speak grimly and solemnly.
The "presence" this time resembles that of the Orochi but is also unique.
Not only that, the inscrutable and unknown presence is surging.
And Kusanagi and Yagami are closely related to it.
The evil presence is mighty, comparable to the strength of the Orochi, and it is difficult to say whether even the likes of Kusanagi and Yagami could defeat it. What's more, these two are still feuding among themselves.

But the situation is not without hope.
If the "evil presence" cannot sense that other being...
If the second Kusanagi, who was created by man, still exists....

"Now I understand, Master Chin. We're nothing more than "insurance."
"Insurance? You mean "sacrifices," don't you? Or just "openers" for Kusanagi's main act.
"...You get the picture. I'm making a self-serving request."
"But during the tournament we just may come up against Kusanagi, you know?"
"We'll drive off that bridge when we come to it. What's vital is that there be mighty fighters to counter the 'evil presence.'"
"OK. I hear you, Master Chin. We have too much idle time on our hands these days anyway. Entering KOF again with this guy wouldn't be so bad. Hey, you don't mind, do you?"
"Hmph. Whatever."
"Thanks, whippersnappers. I owe you."
Chin for the first time deeply bows in gratitude.
"As you see, I am grateful."
"...Don't grovel. It's annoying."
Chin, continuing to bow, averts his gaze from K'.
"Well, it looks like we're in. Myself, K', and along with us...?"
"Curses. What'll we do about the remaining member? That know, that child with chestnut-brown hair. No, she won't do. She's too childish. Much younger than Athena is, don't you know?"
"You need not worry yourself. I have the very pro we need."
"You know, don't you, Maxima?"
"Ah, that dependable dominatrix is still around...but I believe she is presently involved in a mission with that squad of mercenaries, isn't she?"
"Ask me if I care! Make her a timely offer she can't refuse. I leave the particulars up to you."
"Why do I get all the grief? Jeesh!"

Two weeks later. Whip, in debriefing as a result of the completion of her mission, is promptly given another assignment.
"Link up with K' and Maxima. Form team. Enter KOF."
As did Chin, the leader of a band of mercenaries - Heidern - also senses the presence lurking in the shadows of this year's KOF and dispatches his squad.

Their struggle is just about to begin anew.