Street Tales


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2. 'Enter Route C4'

 

Blood starting coming down Fu's forehead. It seems that he might have hit his head as he landed on his shoulder after the fall. He helplessly lay on the ground, next to his car, seemingly 'half-conscious'. Without a sign of any other car, Minako did not wait for anybody to come help. She immediately grabbed her phone out of her bag and dialed the emergency number. She sat Fu up against his car, wiping the blood off his face.

"Talk to me Fu, how are you feeling?" asked Minako, trying not to panic.
Fu replied with only a grunt. His face showed no expression, but it was clear to Minako that he was experiencing some pain.

"Don't worry, an ambulance should be here soon. Just hang in there," told Minako.

She moved Fu closer to her and leaned on the Evo's rim, holding Fu in her arms.

"This was because of me…" she quietly blamed herself. "Its always because of me…" she repeated. "Every time things screw up… its always been because of me…"

Fu could hear her, but was unable to say a word, nor open his eyes. He felt Minako's warmth. He didn't have much of a choice either.

"You were right about everything. Everything you said back then. You were right about it all. And… you made the right decision… even though I'd never want to admit that. You were right," Minako continued on. Soft tears began to run down her cheeks.

Fu's eyes were wide shut. He remained motionless. Minako went on, regardless of whether Fu was listening to her or not. Another little stream of blood slowly moved down from his forehead.

"Oh my…" she wiped his face once more.

After 15 long minutes, the ambulance arrived straight to the scene. Minako tried to help Fu to his feet as he grunted in pain. She and the paramedics lifted him to the stretcher, while asked details of what had just taken place.

A medium-sized, metallic garage door slowly opened with the sting of cold air shooting inside. The VR-4 slowed rolled in, with only its neons lighting up the dark and damp garage. In a moment, the neons came off, engine died, and the garage doors slowly came closing down.

Kumiko stepped out of her car, pulling out the keys and her handbag. She walked all the way right to her apartment, making sure to close her car doors without her dress getting caught up within it.
Her phone beeped as she stepped through her front door. Kumiko received an SMS, and began to read it, which said:

'Race starts at quarter past eleven. 'Lancer Killer' Vs N-Angel's Z33 at Route C4. Go n' check it out. Laters. –Shireishou E'

Kumiko made her way to her refrigerator and grabbed a can of beer. She sat lazily on her couch and removed her heels, and tossed them away. She reached for the landline on the side, and started to dial a number.

"Hello, its me, Ku," Kumiko spoke over the phone.

But the person who answered was not who she was expecting. The female voice spoke to her in a rather worried tone. Kumiko wasn't very pleased. At first, she thought it was some sort of joke. But then hearing the sirens and blabbering in the background, it was clear that the situation over there was more serious than expected.

"What happened? How is he doing now? Oh my, I hope things are gonna be alright," worried Kumiko.

The look on her face did not seem pleasant. She hesitantly hung up the phone and hoped for the best. Moments later, Kumiko received another SMS:

'Omg, Kumi, u hear wat happen? I guess ur comin alone 2nite huh. Dw, its gonna b aite, 2nite will be fun at the race newaiz. Catch. –Shireishou W'

Kumiko sat there for quite a while. She eventually finished her beer, crushed the can, and tossed it in the trash. She couldn't stop thinking. A weird feeling sang down her gut. She was worried.
Kumiko was never good at situations like this. Her pessimistic side can dominate sometimes and cause her worrying to rise at extreme levels. But what was she so worried about?
She struggled not to think about it and concentrated on tonight's race instead. After a while, she got up and made her way to the bathroom. She was lost in thought, as she slowly began to undress herself.
Button by button, she closed her eyes, thinking. Where will I be when you accomplish your goals? Where will I been when you've acquired all your heart's desires? Where will I be when you finally stand at the peak of your dreams?
Off came her lingerie, and Kumiko sunk herself in her warm bath tub. Bubbles covered her body, and up to her chest, her arms and shoulders sticking out and reached for one of her car magazines.

Kumiko wasn't really paying much attention to the magazine in her hand, rather, reminisced on her own in her thoughts.
Her GTO blazing through the race track at night, engine roaring, valves hissing and tyres screeching across the lane. Following closely behind was a white vehicle, tailing her car, following her exact lines through the race track. The car behind was black and white, the ever-shining Honda badge glowed through the night as the two cars tore the limits, transcending all basic possibilities and raced on into the night.

The NSX Type R followed Kumiko closely behind. The two cars twin-drifted almost out of every sharp curve on the track, both had insane cornering speed and velocity. These were happy moments for Kumiko. She remembers her racing apprentice since she first saw him join the team. Watching him closely, teaching him the basic and advanced of almost everything she knew. In an instant, she knew that one day, he would leave her behind in the dust, her time as master would soon fall as the sun sets. But Kumiko did not mind this. It was a dream for her that she longed to see happen. The cycle of the apprentice surpassing the master, and using everything that she has taught to reign in success. She imagined the pride and feeling of been able to watch and guide the one who was most important to you and make the most impact to that person. It was priceless to Kumiko, which was her mentorship.

"He's getting better and better," she quietly murmured to herself. "You've probably gone much faster that all I'm doing is holding you back…"

It was around 11PM, Route C4, around 45 minutes away from the the D1 mountain pass. It was a much different location, as the angle of height isn't as severe as D1, but the roads are a little narrower, but still has two lanes. C4 is a technical course and not for the light at heart, only extremely skilled drivers have at least a chance at surviving this breath-taking road with blind turns and hairpin curves waiting to torment the most naive of drivers. At the same time, many legends have been made in this very route, the very reason it was known as C4 was of a legendary racing team that has long passed, which engraved their records as the most victories and a flawless undefeated record of the same name - C4.

The galleries were packed, many of the audience were either from foreign racing teams, and any other form of person that involved him or herself with cars and racing. It was definately an event of those over age.
Kumiko arrived late. Though her car as heralded by the fully packed galleries, even though she wasn't going to race tonight. They are very familiar and accustomed to seeing her GTO fly past every now and then.

Kumiko stepped out of her car, dressed in a cream-coloured dress and heels. In an instant, she was already drawing a crowd. Parked next to her VR-4 was an FD3S and an Impreza S202, both with the same team sticker - Zui Hou R.

The race was about to start. The cars were already at the starting point, and the driver's making their final preparations.

Ohjay was busy showing off and bragging his car, a 4 door Impreza WRX Type RA. It was not a bad ride at all, though the ride is a bit showy, even has a sound system installed. Much like Fu's Lancer, but more hardcore on the vinyl stickers and decals.

On the other side, the female 350Z driver was stood next to her car, along with Maya.
"Don't worry, I'll be your navigator tonight. This is your first time down C4, right? Well, you outta experience it out here some time. This is where the big boys come to play." said Maya, coaching the female 350Z driver from team N-Angel.

"Ooh, by the way, this guy's the legendary 'Lancer Killer', oh my, I think he might eat us alive!" said Maya sarcasticly, trying to teasingly scare off her driver.

Meanwhile, a bystander approached Kumiko, as if she were some sort of VIP, she was asked to do the countdown for the race.

"Oh? Me? Sure, its fine." she replied.

She stepped outta the crowd, and everyone saw her in between the two cars. The crowd cheered. Kumiko blew a kiss to the crowd, then began to start the countdown.

After the 5 second countdown, the cars were off.
The Subaru quickly sped away with its dominate take-off, while the Z33 tailed behind.

"Don't think I'm gonna take it easy on y'all just 'coz you're chicks!" said Ohjay.

The roar of his car's EJ20 was soon muffled by Ohjay's fast-paced music coming from the subwoofers. He payed no attention to his mirror and just drove as fast as he could.

First hairpin...
The GC8 maintained grip and exited the corner at insane speeds, while the Z33 oversteered a bit and almost spun. The gap was getting wider.

"That Subaru is fast!" said the 350Z driver.
"Hmm... I reckon that thing's got around 350 horsepower. But that shouldn't be an issue to you, just keep driving. Follow his line, don't break for a second and keep the pressure on... Quick! Hard left! Into hairpin right! Keep it smooth!" instructed Maya. "You're car's VQ35DE pulls out around 280-ish in horsepower. It's basically the stock N/A engine. But the real disadvantage is within the drivetrain. You already knew that, didnt you? The odds are basically against you. But hopefully, there will be a way to make this guy crack."

The 350Z sent itself flying through the turns, even though only gaining a glimpse of the WRX's tail lights. The growl of the boxer spirit howled along leaving a mean impression to the galleries it passes.
The STi was very fast out of the corner at such a level that it's exit speed almost can never be matched by the 350Z's drivetrain setting. Maya's driver would have to plan something out. She started to sweat in frustration.

"Keep your cool, and don't panic. Drive smoothly, and lay off the sideways action for the time being. We don't wanna lose our grip without even getting to catch up to our little friend now, do we?" Maya said in a rather blunt tone. "I'm rather familiar with the Impreza's turbo setting. Of course, since I drive an Impreza myself. It's common knowledge, naturally aspirated engines provide more response, compared to turbo-tuned, but our opponent seems to be coping very well. He's sorta getting the hang of that car already."

Expanding the gap even further, Ohjay began to be a bit laid back. He arrogantly changed his driving maneuvers to drifting stunts. He tried feint drifting through the next turn, but failed due to lack of practice and understeered through the turn instead, causing him to have to slow down a lot and lose speed in order to grip through the turn.

Ohjay didn't care about his rear mirror for a second, nor could he hear any engine noise coming from behind his car. Little did he notice the 350Z taking advantage of his little mis-stunt and gained on the STi. As they lessened the gap a little, Maya noticed within Ohjay's car, the sound system. "I could hear it all the way here!" she complained, "Hey, wait a sec... those subs must've been preeeetty expensive, wouldn't it? And those rims...! I bet he's put on some weight!"

Notorious Angel's 350Z had moderate weight reduction mods and lightweight parts installed. All unnecessary items were removed and rationed away from this car.
"Keep at it! I bet his heavy body is giving him the shits when cornering!" Maya cheered.

Lying in the hospital bed, Fu awoke, and opened his eyes. His head was still hurting him pretty badly, and his shoulder really killed him.
He tried to sit up, with much struggle. He turned to his left, and saw Minako, sitting down on a chair, her head leaning on the hospital bed, fast asleep.

"Mina..." Fu said softly. "Mina..." still grunting in pain, he gently brushed her hair with his fingers and felt her warm cheeks.

"Hm?" she quietly awoke.
"Hey..." said Fu.
"How are you feeling?" asked Minako.
"Awful. Just... awful."
"Oh dear... I'm so sorry, Fu. Seriously. I should've been more careful... I guess, I still burden you even as friends..."
"That's enough. You don't need to say those things."
"The doctor said, you'll have to spend quite some time here. At least a week. If you're lucky, just a few days. You need plenty of rest, and you've lost quite some blood."
"Thanks Mina. I'll be fine. You take care of yourself now, I appreciate you staying with me."
"I'm totally fine... I'll stay here with you."
"Thanks."
"By the way, here are the keys to your car."
"How are you getting home?"
"Maya will gimme a lift home, dont worry, I'll give her a call, she's busy right now, so I'll stay here for a bit longer."
"That's okay..."

Fu was quite tired, maybe too tired to continue with conversation, so he decided to shut his eyes, and lay down quietly.

Out of the hairpin, the WRX accelerated viciously, followed by the 350Z as it slid sideways to meet the other car's path. The female driver of the 350Z began to sweat in a struggle not to panic. "Use left foot braking," suggested Maya. "I have no time to explain, just do it!"

The next tight hairpin, the WRX lessened a fair bit of speed before the turn, while the 350Z prepared itself for a sideways attack. "Watch it! We wanna pass his car, not hit it!" called out Maya.
Ohjay did not have time to overpower his opponent, as there was another tight left turn straight afterwards. His technique slows him down before the turns, but then fully accelerates right out of it, maximizing his speed on exit. Maya's driver of the 350Z had a different strategy. This one uses late-braking, gaining itself some distance to close the gap on the opponent, but loses a fair bit of speed on exit.

Being a low-speed technical course, Ohjay was unable to use the full power of his Impreza. He found that his car seemed to understeer quite a bit, and many times hesitant to drifting. Maya noticed Ohjay's style, giving her partner quite the advantage of knowing Route C4 through experience. She knew every twist and turn, and everything else the horrifying course can throw at you.

"Next up, is a hard blind turn to the right. If my hunch is correct, our friend right here ain't never done this track before. Trust me on this, take the inside on this next turn. Push it hard until you score, babe. Hit it!" Maya coached on. "The road up ahead will eventually get wider. You'll have space, so just have a bit of courage and take it. He won't see it coming!"

The 350Z pushed on, right behind the WRX. They two chicks drew awfully closer to Ohjay, not noticing as he didn't pay attention to his mirror, nor did he hear any engine sound due to his loud sound system. The turn came up, Ohjay slammed the brakes with his right foot and shifted down. Little did he notice, the car behind went through the opening as Ohjay took the wider line on the road. The 350Z lost a bit of traction, tyres screeching, and dived into the turn. "You're crazy! If you don't slow down, you'll…!" panicked Ohjay. The 350Z slid through the inside, taking advantage of the WRX's lost speed and the wideness of the turn, Ohjay was stuck on the outside, just parallel to the apex, as he tried to speed up. But it was too late, the 350Z drifted at a higher speed than Ohjay's car and overtook him, nearly hitting his front right end.

"Great! Nice job. Now just keep your cool for now, and easy on the tyres! There are a set of sharp turns ahead, you gotta lose him there, so you can cruise through the straightaways at the end. You don't want him chomping you with the power he's got," claimed Maya. Though she still believes they have a chance of losing, as her rationality comes into play. They are racing two wheels against four. Moments later, she could feel the tyres slightly losing its grip.

Just a little bit more…

On the other hand, Ohjay didn't let anything phase him. He kept on the throttle, and decided to follow the 350Z, taking into account the turning speeds and cornering positions. Ohjay was not very good about those things, but he felt that he could be able to examine the next section if he let the other car go first. But he also felt he needed to do something quick.

Back at the Route C4 entry point, the galleries moved in, but Kumiko was approached by two men. One of them was a Caucasian man, short hair, and dressed in denim. The other was a Chinaman, wearing a blue sweater, jeans, and a pair of glasses.

"Glad to see you could make it." Kumiko approached the Asian man and shook his hand, "E."
"Eey! Wassup Kumi!" the other guy smiled enthusiasticly and shook Kumiko's hand.
"And W! How y'all been?" smiled Kumiko.
"Hmm… How are things, Master Ku? I've heard what happened to your apprentice," said the guy called 'E'. The man called 'W' added, "Don't worry about him. I bet ya anything that he'll just show up outta nowhere one day and rip everyone into pieces with his driving skill! Have some faith Kumi."

"I sure hope so… I'm really worried." Kumiko stood sulking, "Oh by the way, how do you think this race will turn out?"
"It's rather hard to predict," the man called E rubbed his chin in thought, "Well all know what that Subaru is capable of. Plus, I've never seen him race here before. Chances are, its his first time at Route C4." E paused. He crossed his arms and turned to face the others. "Maya is with the other driver. She knows this track well, and right now, she's navigating."

"I see where you're coming from, E." agreed Kumiko. "And plus, the size of the WRX's rims, and all the extras that have probably been installed, such as the amps, the speakers, everything… It is likely that this car would be weighed down in some way."
"Yes," nodded E. "And N-Angel's Z33's power-to-weight ratio considering all the miscellaneous removed, plus the aerodynamics… I'd say N-Angel might actually score tonight, if they are lucky enough to play their cards right."

The other guy, W, stood next to his FD, chatting with other friends, overhearing Kumiko and E's conversation, he jokingly threatened to his friends about ditching his sound system to get faster.

"I don't think Maya would send to participate in this race if she knew she didn't have a chance," continued Kumiko. "But then again, she was also a bit of a gambler."

And indeed, Maya was a gambler. Ever since she was 17, she started playing poker with her friends using very small money, until she grew up and eventually played the big stuff. Considering her luck, she used her winnings to work on her car, and support her sister. Although her methods and views may be way off the track to Kumiko's, they were still inseparable as they were best friends. They started racing together both as partners and rivals. After countless races, it was never decided who was the better of the two. They considered themselves as equals, before Maya retired due to alternative responsibilities. During the time, Kumiko was the only one who ever beat Maya, and vice versa.

Maya Koda was 22, and closely resembles her younger sister, Minako Koda. She had long, pale blonde hair, slightly taller, and shares the same pretty face as her sister does, as well as the figure. Her appearance is similar to Minako in clothing, during the day – the usual plain casual look. Though during the evening, especially during race nights, Maya and Kumiko share the same freaky obsession of wearing flashy party dresses and expensive shoes, etc.

The third checkpoint of Route C4 was the most frustrating, most challenging section, before the cruise phase on the fourth section containing more wider turning roads and straightaways. Ohjay kept on the pressure from behind his FR opponent.

"How can I let that happen?" he complained to himself, while recovering from the shock of being overtaken.

He put on a bit more throttle, while Maya's driver concentrated on the blind turns that came up as she tried to conserve tyre grip.

"He won't stay off my back!" complained the 350Z driver, gripping the steering wheel a bit harder.
"Don't look at your mirror! Try to press on ahead, go faster! We have to lose him in this section, or we're finished! Just a little bit more!" aided Maya.

Corner after corner, Ohjay slowed down his pace drastically comparing to the previous sections. The 350Z cruised its way through the tight runs. The route started to reveal a slight downward angle. Maya's driver quickly glanced through her rear mirror. The tyrannical Impreza appeared sliding sideways coming out of the corner they just took. She pressed on the throttle a little harder, under much pressure. But that took time away for her to notice what was in store for her up ahead.

Nearing the fourth section of Route C4, was an extremely tight downhill corkscrew turn. "Oh damn, I'm a shit navigator! I forgot about this!" Maya was in shock. She hoped for the best and depended on her partner to work things out. "Slow down! Don't attempt to do any drifting crap in this corkscrew turn or you'll spin out!"

The 350Z gave up much speed, turned lightly making sure there wasn't too much oversteer. Maya's driver then braked hard, and turned in the opposite direction of the previous corner and attempted to tackle the next one, completing the corkscrew. The ladies felt a bit of shock and thump as the car slightly lifted off the ground previously when it turned into the steep downhill corkscrew turn.

Ohjay did not seem to like the situation either. But as he kept in his head for a while, he needed to pull out something. Without much thought, he attempted something different to what the girls had just done. He punched the throttle, and mindlessly shot down the corkscrew forwards, flinging itself in the air, almost skipping the entire corkscrew.

"Ohhhhhhh shiiiieeeeet!" Ohjay yelled in both panic and excitement.

The WRX landed hard at the end of the turn, his rear wheels slamming on the dirt on the side of the road. Ohjay steered his car skillfully enough, and regained back his grip, and exited out of the turn, instantly closing the gap from his opponent's car.

"Not bad," as Maya commented. That was a move that Route C4 veterans are always prone to attempt. That guy did it on his first try .

"Oh my God! He actually…!" Maya's driver drove in shock from what she saw in her rear view mirror, as the mighty Impreza landed and launched right back on like a dragon.

The fourth section of Route C4 was upon them. The 350Z recovered and throttled it forward, as the WRX held its ground right behind its opponent. This was the high speed section of C4. Clearly, Ohjay saw this as a bit of a relief, and took advantage of the widening roads, accelerated through the turns.

"This final section of C4 is consisted of mild straightaways and turns. You're just gonna have to push your luck, because if that car overtakes you, we'd have no chance of a counter-attack," coached Maya.

The WRX kept up with the 350Z on every turn, match all its speed on exit. Eventually, the sheer power of the STI brought the two cars side by side as the path grew less narrow. Little by little, the WRX was gaining inches and inches ahead.

"Oh… no." said Maya's driver.
"You got one chance left, the last hairpin, you gotta choose the line, the WRX will slow down heaps before this corner, pin him to the wall! Don't give him room to push any further!" Maya demanded.

"I… I can't do it!" the driver claimed in despair, as the car was nearing the turn.
"What?" Maya's face turned sour.

The 350Z and its driver had just lost the plot at this time, the WRX slowed down, its full body right ahead of the opponent.
"What do you mean you can't do it?" Maya felt as if she wanted to strangle her partner.
"I'm so sorry, I couldn't…" whimpered the driver.

 

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