Street Tales


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3. Worrying Minako

 

Two cars parked on one of Route C4's 'gallery' area (the place in which people stop to take pictures on the mountains) a Mazda Cosmo Type S and a Nissan Pulsar GTiR. Next to these was a little shop selling hot food. The race between the Z33 and the GC8 had already just passed by moments ago.

"That was Notorious Angel's Z33." said the Cosmo driver. "I dunno who the other one is."

The other guy, looked rather young, probably in his early 20's, had spikey hair, and dressed in a brown sweater and jeans, along with shit runners. He was the driver of Dreadnaught Racing's Pulsar GTiR. And the other guy seemed to be just as young, wore a blue working shirt and black pants, and expensive looking black shoes. He was a bald man, who stood next to his Mazda Cosmo with pride, and drove for Dreadnaught Racing. This was Hokuto (Pulsar) and Raide (Cosmo).

Hokuto grinned, "You think N-Angel lost?"
"It's possible." answered Raide, "But I don't think it matters. The one that was an 'apprentice' driver. It's nothing to us."
"Hmm... I see. I heard N-Angel's in the process of brandishing a new leader, I assume?"
"Yes... Maya's little sister. She's grown... and Maya's been toughening up on her lately." returned Raide.
"Yeah... her sis has really grown! Minako, wasn't it? She gets more beautiful everytime I see her..."
"Umm... well I meant about what I said earlier is that she's grown in her driving... no... 'racing' skill." Raide lit himself a cigarette.

Moments later, a car came cruising down their way. It was a Lexus Soarer... with a sticker above the rear over fender, 'Dreadnaught Racing'.

It parked right next to the other cars, the dark green Pulsar, and the grey Cosmo. A young woman came out of the silver soarer.

"The Z33 lost." she called out to the two guys.
"Oh wha...?" Hokuto said in surprise.

On the other hand, Raide stood there silently, with his smokes, not surprised at what he just heard.

"Well...?" asked the woman.
"It doesn't matter. It was driven by an 'apprentice'..." said Raide.

He killed his smoke and sat in his car.

Vrrrmm...

The grey Cosmo back out, then moved its way out of there and accelerated along Route C4 and disappeared into the night...

It was past midnight, Minako loyally sat with Fu for countless hours as fatigue and her patience never stopped her from looking after her friend. The hospital dorm was dimly lit, Fu was still awake, but was motionless on the bed. The room was rather medium-sized, but enough only for one bed. There was a television set near the corner, and sliding doors leading to a balcony. Minako reached for the phone and began to dial.

"Hello?" she spoke.
A female voice responded, "Hey, how are things? Getting tired now huh… Okay, I'll come pick you up," said Maya.
"So what happened? How'd it go?" asked Minako.
"Oh it was shit, it was so shit, we lost! I don't wanna explain it any further, it was stupid."
"Ok… Take it easy."
"Alright, I'll be there in half an hour, bye hun."
"See ya."

Minako hung up, turning to Fu and chuckled a bit, "They lost.," she said.
"Really?" muttered Fu, trying to sit up, but ended up hurting his shoulder again. "Who was the opponent?"
"Oh, I forgot to ask…" admitted Minako. "Anyways, she'll come pick me up soon. You gonna be okay?"
"Yeah, don't worry." Fu shut one eye, "By the way, can I ask you one last favour?"

Fu took his keys and tossed it over to Minako. "Can you please take care of it for me?"
"No problem. Just let me know when you want it, I'll take it back to the carpark. It'll be safe at my place." Minako guaranteed.
"Thanks…" Fu gave a light smile. He felt as if his head was about to implode. Left arm felt as if it was being torn out of his shoulder.

Damn… I guess I won't be driving for a while…

After about half an hour and a little bit more, a woman slowly came into the dorm. It was Maya, looking rather frustrated and rattled at the same time.

"Hey all…" she whimpered, "Man, racing is only for people with a pair…"
Minako laughed at her softly, "How come you didn't drive?"
"Silly girl, you know why. I'm retired, remember? Are you injured from the accident as well?"
She poked her tongue out teasingly.

Maya walked over to Fu slowly. She softly placed her palm on his head. "How you doin' kid? Lil' Mina takin' care of you? Well she better be. Anywayz, get well soon, hun."

"I'll be fine. Thanks," murmured Fu, "By the way, who exactly did you lose to tonight?"
"Oh man, you wouldn't believe it…!" Maya fake-stomped her heels in supposed anger. "Remember that guy that pulled a knife on you at the café?"

"You … can't be serious. Him?" Fu didn't believe it for a second.
"Yeah, him. He owns an Impreza. He calls himself the 'Lancer Killer', and he's coming after you."
"Me?" Fu thought it was a joke. "What's he got on me?"
"Gee, I wonder," blabbered Minako, "After you humiliated him at the café…"
"He's very eager to whoop your ass, Fu." Maya clenched her fist, "If I wasn't retired, I'd smoke him."
"Fine, I'll race him then." Fu told it straight out like it is.
"Are you crazy? Look at yourself." Minako pointed towards Fu and his bandages. "You won't even be able to open the doors to your car."

"I'll manage… somehow. I'll avenge your team, Maya, don't worry, I'm sure I'll be alright when I get outta here." Fu suggested. "I won't run away from this guy. From what I've been hearing, I can't stand him already."

"Oh my God, Fu, you need to rest! Don't be a fool, even if the doctor says you can leave in a few days, you'll still need recovery. And what if something happens to you during the race, and you injure yourself? I'll have to…" Minako squirmed.

"Don't concern yourself 'bout me, Mina," said Fu bluntly. "We're not like that anymore."
"She's just worried about you, Fu," Maya butted in, "She's like a mum, haha."
"I guess… if its about racing, nothing can stop you," whimpered Minako.

Why won't he listen to me?

After a fierce evening at Route C4, the galleries cleared up, Kumiko and the others went ahead separately. Her feet were getting sore from her heelers and she started to get a bit colder. Her hair started blowing into her face and her dress started gradually lifting up from the wind. She walked over to her car, along with E and W to their respective cars – an Impreza S202 and an Efini RX-7 A Spec.
Kumiko's thin gown-like dress shook through the wind and her earrings flopped on her cheeks, as she quickly opened her car's door and sat. The wind grew stronger, almost making her struggle to get her door shut. Keys into ignition

Vrrr…

Her GTO backed out carefully, the rest of the remaining crowd waved to her, as she started to accelerate slowly. She drove off along Route C4, on her way to get home.
Moments later, some car lights appeared on her mirrors. It drew closer and closer. Kumiko kept her speed at a minimum, while the car came closer.
There was a slight vacuum cleaner-like sound coming from the car behind. It was clear, this car had the intent to overtake her… permanently.

What is it? An FD?

But it was no FD behind Kumiko's GTO. Pretty soon, it became clearer to her what she was dealing with.

A grey Eunos Cosmo. That must be Raide.

Kumiko fell into the temptation. She sped up her GTO slightly in the attempt to play along with the tailing Cosmo.

"Let's dance," Raide called out, speeding up his car.

The roads became narrower, but still two-lanes. The noise of the hissing valves echoed across the sidelines.

"Persistent, aren't you?" Kumiko turned up the heat, as she applied more throttle.

The Cosmo kept up with the GTO, but the gap occasionally became wider, and closer, wider then closer again. It wasn't too clear what Kumiko was trying to do. But these were not her racing moves.
Her feet started to hurt a bit more.

The cars were going about 140-150kph, they both pressured on the last sections of Route C4. In a few moments, Kumiko noticed something ahead…
Some traffic could be seen, but that did not stop her. It was rather hard to see. It didn't take long until the two cars drew closer ahead. There was a Toyota Camry cruising ahead, Kumiko got ready to overtake.
She switched to the right lane quickly, little did he notice, there was another vehicle coming the opposite direction. It was a truck.

Kumiko's instincts got the best of the moment, and quickly passed through the Camry as the truck drew closer. It was near-miss, and Kumiko escaped between the two vehicles, as Raide did not have enough time to react, as it was too late and the Camry was in the way. By the time the truck drove past him, the 3000GT had already disappeared into the horizon…

Two cars sped off from the hospital, a MINE's tuned Impreza WRX (driven by Maya) and Fu's Lancer Evolution V GSR (driven by Minako). Both drivers were rather tired, so neither of them did any fancy sideways action or any other extremely unsafe car movement. Once again, Minako was lost in thought. But that did not affect her driving concentration any further than her fatigue.

So worried… why? I thought I was… over it.

Slow-paced, dramatic music played in the car – Come Back, by Koda Kumi.
Minako drove on. Deep down, she didn't want Fu to race against that Ohjay guy. She didn't want him to race at all.

I can't… stop him from reaching for his dreams

The Lancer followed the Impreza, the foglights glowed a mean red and lit up the mood. On the way home from the hospital, Minako reminisced by herself about her childhood which she has long missed.
Before street racing, before they could even touch a steering wheel, it was only Fu Huo and Minako.
They were the best of friends since early grade school. Back then, they pretty much did everything together, help each other out on every step. They got in trouble together, they cheated off each other's test papers, they knick knocked houses and threw eggs at them together, had water fights at each other's backyards, won, lost, celebrated, laughed and cried together. The only thing that stood in between them was Fu's lust for speed and passion for racing. Minako never understood this side of him.

The music continued… 'I wanna come back for you…'

Minako began to wonder… what was her passion? What did she lust for? She couldn't come up with an answer to her questions at this time. The only thing she felt was that she had to race if she wanted to get closer to Fu Huo.

I guess we've…grown up.

After a while, the two ladies reached their house. Both fierce-looking four wheel drives stood in the garage, as Maya and Minako went to their rooms.

I think I'll have a shower

Minako headed to the bathroom. Her feet walked on the cold tiles, and made her way toward the sink. She stared at herself in the mirror for a while. She heard Maya walk past the her door and called out to her, "Good night, Mina."
Minako replied the same thing, then began to undress herself. She unbuttoned her shirt, noticing a few marks on it and stains…
Stains of blood.

This was Fu's blood…

Not only could she smell the bloody smell, but she also noticed a whiff of Fu Huo's cologne faintly on her shirt. She chucked it in the laundry, along with her blouse, which also had a share of stains.
Minako didn't really feel comfortable looking at blood. Especially since it was Fu's blood. It wasn't because she felt afraid of blood. It was a sign to her that her friend had been hurt.
Minako tossed the rest of her lingerie and stepped into the shower.

The next day was more or less similar as to previously… well at least at Koda's. Few cars were parked outside – Maya's MINE's Impreza, and Ohjay's Impreza among other cars, like Tarago's, Jazz's, but no Evo V. As usual, Koda's would have placed last on being the quietest place in town. People smoked outside, others sat in their cars with their sound systems, while inside, people played cards, billiards, or came to get drunk. Maya held a wet plate in her hand, while wiping it dry with a clean cloth. She yawned in boredom, but was also tired from the previous night. It was quiet clear that she wasn't in the mood to take shit from anybody. Minako was also helping around, serving people with drinks and cleaning around.

Moments later, Ohjay made his way to the bar stools, along with his chest out head high cockiness walk. Maya ignored him and continued to remove and place things out of the dishwasher.

"Hey," called out Ohjay, tapping his glass, winked at Minako, then called for Maya.
"What do you want?" Maya responded and sighed.
"Well… serve me."
"I beg your pardon…?" Maya gave out a frown.
"How'd you like last night huh? Bet you didn't see it comin'."
"Good for you." Maya shrugged, "I'm busy now."

Ohjay grinned. The little pervert watched her working from behind, while playing with the straw on his glass. Meanwhile, Minako started with the sweeping work. Ohjay smiled and into his head, struck an idea. He took his key-chain out and 'accidentally' dropped them on the floor, and slid them a bit infront of Minako.

"Hey… um, excuse me… can you pick that up for me?" Ohjay asked.

Minako knew exactly what he was trying to do. Such an ancient trick. Instead of bending over to reach for it, Minako fully squatted all the way down to the floor and picked up Ohjay's key chain.

Aw, not like that…!

"Uh… thanks." Ohjay took his keys back. A short moment later, he 'dropped them again'.

But this time, Minako pretended not to see the keys and kept on sweeping the floor, along with Ohjay's keys into the dustpan.

"H-Hey!" Ohjay rushed to grab the dustpan and took his keys from there
"Sorry about that." Minako rolled her eyes. Maya chuckled.

Ohjay changed the subject, "So… where's that punk and his Lancer?" he demanded. "I'll do the same thing I did to your Z33!"
"Fu Huo's gonna come for you, Ohjay, just you wait," intimidated Maya. "When he comes back from his holiday, you'll just be a dot in his Lancer's rear view."

"No!" argued Minako, overhearing their conversation, "You're not gonna race him. I'm telling you, you're not gonna race him. He's in the hospital at the moment and he's in bad shape. He's in no condition to race you."
"Haha, what happened to the fool? Did he get bashed?" insulted Ohjay. Minako became angry. She really didn't want Fu Huo to risk his health again. But at the same time, she didn't want him to look as helpless to Ohjay.
"Shut up! Shut the hell up!" yelled Minako.

Down near the edge of the city, were this particular set of buildings, rather medium sized, and looking fairly new. There was a big parking lot, and an couple of office buildings, and a warehouse. Behind all these, was a medium-sized racing circuit, which appears to be closed off away from the public. A lot of surrounding trees covered anybody's view of seeing it, and across from there was a lake.
There also seemed to be a few security set up along the entrances to this area. The whole place seemed like a small mini-enterprise.

One of the buildings was in some shape or form of a 'research department'. Or at least that's what the set up looked like. On one of the floors was a development area which was on a low level area.. There were many apparatus, as well as some car parts that were taken apart. It seemed more like a laboratory.
There was a group of people, who stood and watched some kind of experiment going on. It was a car simulator with many wires and screens, and the chamber was very well simulated to replicate real car characteristics.

Sitting inside the simulation chamber, was a young Japanese woman, who looked like she was in her early 20s. The woman's name was Kumiko Fukada…
Inside the simulator, Kumiko wore an odd looking helmet system, with wires hanging down from it. The visor was opaque and closed down…
The group of people watching her examined her racing data from the screen.
There were E and W, and two other men. One was a chubby-looking young man, who wore a black shirt and a pair of denim shorts. He had very short hair and was a little tall. The other was another young man, a skinny man, and was a little shorter. He looked like the youngest of the four men there. He was a Vietnamese boy, with short black spiked hair. These were N and S. The group watched on, looking at Kumiko's test.

She sat in there, the helmet seemed to be feeding data directly to her head. Her driving seemed a lot aggressive, but insanely fast and careless. But all in all, was so precise, that it was beyond her normal driving. Data was displayed and fed directly to Kumiko.

WIND DIRECTION: NNW

Kumiko started to break a sweat. She looked like she was being pushed harder and harder. Her foot work on the pedals were very precise and accurate, her feet releasing, and pressing at rapid movement.

A.S.M: 10
T.C.S: L5

She turned the wheel slightly towards the left, then made an aggressive hard right and accelerated sharply.

DRIFT ANGLE: 23 degrees
TYRE GRIP: 55

Kumiko double clutched like a possessed child, shifted insanely, her footwork not slowing down. She started to breathe heavily into the helmet.

BOOST: 1.0
FUEL: 78
DAMAGE: 0
TRAFFIC SENSOR: ON

Kumiko started to get a bad headache. The machine, or rather, the helmet was pushing her hard and never seemed to let up. She started to breathe more heavily by the second.

"She's about to break…!" said N.
"Oh my God, is she crazy?" returned S, his eyes became wider in shock.

In a short moment, Kumiko gave out a loud moan. She lost grip of the steering wheel as her feet missed the pedal. In desperation, she unlocked the helmet and quickly ripped it off her ahead and dropped the helmet like a pack of eggs. She was struggling to catch her breath as she lay helplessly on the simulator, holding her head in fatigue an anxiety. She coughed heavily, her eyes were tightly shut.

SYSTEM KYOKO: OFF

"She couldn't handle it," commented E, as the others rushed to help Kumiko. "She didn't last as long… Only X lasted outstandingly longer. Only X…"

Laying on a soft and comfy pillow was a nice feeling, as well as being under some warm blankets, Fu Huo opened his eyes, as a nurse walked in the dorm and brought him some food, then left.
Sunshine spread itself across the room, the birds chirped in blend with light vehicle noises and blowing trees outside. He was extremely bored, though he couldn't stop thinking about Ohjay and his car.

I…hate him. I know I shouldn't be making first impression judgments… but… I hate him.

Fu Huo felt his face, or rather, the bandages on his head. His left arm was on a sling and he didn't feel any more helpless.

Its quite rare that I feel this eager to beat somebody. I really wanna race him. I wanna destroy him… In front of everybody. I don't care if I break another bone, I'm gonna play him and his car.

He rolled over to the side, opposite his bandaged parts. He stared out the window, resting his cheeks on his pillow.

Man, I need a CD player in here.

Fu just wanted to sit in his car and listen to some music. He wanted to feel the bass. Hard. But at the same time, he also longed to hear Minako's singing. He always pretends not to like it, and teasingly says that she sucks at it and can't dance, but truly, he gets really entertained. Fu thought about a lot of stuff, during his stay at the hospital. He thought long and hard about quitting hustling and doing odd jobs to get money. He wanted to throw it all away and try to become legit.

But after a long and hauling while, Fu began to become impatient. Moment by moment, he was longing for power. Longing for victory. Longing for triumph. Longing for… speed

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