Three Years Later: Meixiu Guo

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Three Years Later
Meixiu Guo/ White Tiger
The darkness was as welcoming as any former friends. Calling out to me, urging me to embrace its abysmal comfort. And comfort was a luxury I had long since forgotten. There were three thugs guarding the warehouse. One was armed with a shotgun, sawed-off only effective at close range, easy takedown. The other two were unarmed but close, each posted on opposite sides of the door. I leapt from the building I was perched atop of and dug my claws into the side of the warehouse and swung myself on top of it, my cape floating down flawlessly behind me. I clutched my left side momentarily as I felt my rib rattle around. A reminder to never let my guard down I had received earlier this week. But injured or not I wasn’t going to give in I had a mission to fulfill that lives depended on. First the gentleman with the shotgun. I slipped my hand into my cape and removed one of my specialized tiger claws. A steel spike with a built in stun gun which on impact with the weapon would activate sending a shock of up to 8 miliamps, enough to incapacitate my opponent. I flung my weapon into the unfortunate thug’s barrel which turned his only source of protection into an electricity infused deathtrap, minus the death of course. Before his comrades could respond to his cries of pain I had already let myself drop from the building knees first into the even less fortunate guards shoulder, cracking ones collar bone and dislocating the others shoulder. Though the latter was merely in pain and the other in shock I had to smash his head into the concrete potentially fracturing his skull. Being a part of such a deplorable situation I didn’t worry much about brain damage, the fool gave up using his mind a long time ago. I stood and turned to meet the face of another armed guard who was exiting the warehouse to check on his friends. Unfortunate for him. I leapt up and gripped onto the door frame as I flung myself forward and booted the thug through the door flowing through the attack I kept my feet planted onto his chest and stomped him into the ground, making my grand entrance in a truly dynamic way. Dynamic and foolish. I immediately noticed I was surrounded by about fifty guards, most of them armed and each of them thoroughly confused by my presence. I scanned the room quickly and realized the shipping container I had been trailing was here. The twelve windows placed throughout the structure were too far away for a quick escape. I calculated my odds of victory and I won’t lie they were slim indeed. Foolish. How could I have been so foolish? I’d reprimand myself for my carelessness later currently my hands were going to be full with about fifty dishes of defeat I was to be serving that evening. The guards began aiming and brandishing their weapons at me as I let my arms hang at my sides. “Well well well, look at what we have here” a malevolent voice said from behind one of the groups of thugs. I looked to my left as the sea of guards parted to reveal the ponytailed mastermind behind the operation. I had been following him ever since I began my mission in Guangxi. I lost his trail in Canada where his operation decided to split up their cargo. I followed the larger shipment here to Detroit, all the way to Detroit “The one and only White Tiger or do you prefer Bai Hu. Or maybe I’ll just call you kitty cat” the vile voiced man said. He had a long dark ponytail tied with a black hair tie. He was a large man standing about six foot eight dressed up in a fine indigo suit with a black shirt and matching indigo tie. His name was Orin Gavel and to put things plainly he was scum. “I’m surprised you were dumb enough to fall into this little ambush I had planned. Scratch that I’m surprised you were dumb enough to enter through the front door!” the villain cackled. “Now how is this gonna work? Are you gonna try to somehow overcome my armed guards and myself only to fail resulting in your death. Or are you gonna play nicely and turn yourself over to me kitty cat?” Orin said as he held up his hand, ready to give his men the signal to attack. I had grown tired of his speech anyway; though I was truly hoping he would reveal some further insight into his plan or at least the location of the second half of the cargo. “N? ji?ng sh?qù” I said as my claws extended through my gloves. Unbreakable and painted white my claws were a gift from the heavens, as I was the vessel of the spirit of the White Tiger of the West, Bai Hu. “’You will lose’ huh? What a naughty kitty, boys ice her” the long haired leader said to his henchmen who all chuckled as they cocked their guns. I realized my next movement may be my last and even after all of my calculations, after all of the scenarios that had run through my mind, the one that played out was definitely the least expected. The lights of the establishment went out and on instinct I hurled myself into the air and fired the twin grappling spikes in my wrist launcher into the ceiling to avoid the eruption of gunfire below me. “Hey hey cut it out with that shootin you moron!” the boss yelled as he gripped the back of one of his men and flung him into a group of his dimwitted collaborators. The sound of flesh and bone being battered and broken beneath me sounded off before the lights flashed back on. In the center of lay three of the fifty men each of them unarmed and incapacitated. “Now what happened here?” Orin said playfully as he made his way over to the downed men. “I did” a heavily African accented voice said from all around the now off guard henchmen. “What’s with all these foreign types trying to mess up my business?” the ponytailed man yelled as he ripped a rifle away from his bodyguard and fired it all around the warehouse causing the rest of his men to duck down in panic, while two unfortunate thugs ended up with bullets in their chests, killing one and seriously injuring the other in a ghastly display. Now was my chance. I dropped down from the ceiling and slipped my hand into the black and white tiger striped pouch on my back, pulling out a liquid nitrogen pellet. On contact it would explode releasing the icy substance. Anything caught in the blast radius of about 5 meters would be encased in ice instantly. I flung my pint sized marvel of technology into a group of five men, encasing three of the gangsters’ legs and torsos in ice while the other two suffered ice encased legs. With fluidity that came to me as second nature my left hand had slipped itself into my cape and pulled from it two of my titanium tipped Tiger Claws which I sent flying into the barrels of two of my foes weapons ripping them to pieces as I landed on all fours on the ground below. Overhead a man’s silhouette leapt over me and crashed into a group of more henchmen, dispatching them with an amount of speed and martial prowess that matched my own. “It is good to see you after so long” the figure said as he flung one of the unconscious men into another group of the bumbling hired guns. The man turned so that I could see his face and smiled at me. He was wearing a form fitting black super suit with a full cowl and boots. It was possibly mesh like my own, or some kind of fiber weave. “Mamba” I said quietly as I rose to my feet. His cowl was tight around his head only revealing his chin and mouth with a white scale design stretching down his throat all the way to his knees similar in design to the black mamba snake that his powers were derived from. With large black boots, and black hand wraps that didn’t cover his knuckles, the sight of my former teammate filled me with a sense of confidence I had almost lost in the mayhem. The disorganized gangsters became alerted to our presence and opened fire on us once again. Mamba and myself leapt into the air simultaneously and kicked off of one another’s feet catapulting us into our enemies. I crashed into one of the men feet first, sliding across the floor on his broken body while slashing at the weapons and limbs of my opponents with my claws, cutting iron and tearing flesh before leaping off of my human surfboard and knocking out two more guards with skull crushing kicks. Twenty-one out of fifty so far and with my friend Mamba watching my back I was certain we’d have Orin to ourselves soon. I caught myself smiling as I ducked a henchmen being thrown across the room spinning off of my knees and tripping two more before rolling on top of them both and striking their necks with paralyzing force. I met Mamba three years ago when I was fifteen, right before the Immortalization. I had been contacted by the United States government, president Bryson to be specific, a name that still haunts me. He requested I journey to America to be a part of his attempt at a Superhuman Police Force. I consider my first day in America my wakeup call. The long haired and jubilant Bai Hu I used to be’s accolades included stopping purse snatchers, and breaking up a couple of gang fights. My first day in America I remember getting off of my plane surrounded by so many different people. I didn’t know how to speak English at this point in my life though my ability to read it was second to no one. Fear wasn’t something I felt much of but I assure you I was terrified of having any conversations before I met with President Bryson. Unfortunately something worse than me speaking in terribly broken English happened that day. The terminal was flooded with smoke as an explosion ripped apart the building. Screaming in terror the people ran from the glass and debris lashing out around them. I leapt away from the blast but not quick enough as I felt myself being thrown backwards. I landed sloppily and stood as I watched a man trudge through the smoke, adorned in a high tech battlesuit with spherical grenades attached to his arms and waist. His outfit was grey and the protective goggles he was wearing had dark red lenses. “Damn right you fat cats and losers Bombastic is here and I’m ready to blow you all away” the madman boasted as one of his grenades slid down his arm and into his hand. He tossed it right at me yelling something offensive I can’t remember due to the fact that I sprung away in terror. I fumbled in the bag I had brought with me and slipped my white and blue mask upon my face before tearing off my dress slacks and button up shirt, revealing my blue white and golden outfit. I didn’t care too much for stealth back then though I admit I do miss the old colors. “What the hell?” the man known as Bombastic asked before slinging another one of his explosives at me. “Yúch?n!” I began to say before clamping my hand over my mouth and leaping over the explosive. “Hey speak English you damn chink I gotta know if you’re insulting me or not!” the ignorant man yelled before tossing two of his weapons at me. I caught one of the weapons and tossed it towards him however in my moment of overconfidence I forgot the second grenade as it landed behind me. A man slid across the floor and grabbed the grenade before tossing it back at the explosive villain much like myself. He was an African male about seventeen years of age with short black hair. He was wearing a pair of black sunglasses with a bright green baggy t-shirt and baggy black pants. “Be careful!” he yelled as he stood up. The explosives did their job as they sent the man flying backwards. “You pieces of s***!” the vulgar villain yelled as he removed a pair of grenades from his belt. “What is your name?” the African male asked me as he cracked his knuckles loudly. I winced at the sound before muttering my name. “Guo Meixiu” I gasped as I realized that I had just revealed my secret identity to some random stranger. “A pleasure to meet you. I am Ghedi Kamau.” He said with a smile before raising his fists. I realized he intended to fight alongside me. This complete stranger who only knew my name was ready to face extreme danger. The villain gave me little time to think as he threw more of his explosive weaponry my way. Ghedi ducked the weapons as I leapt over them and together we rushed the villain called Bombastic. Before he could draw another weapon I landed a fierce kick to his ribs as my ally struck him with a mighty uppercut felling the villain. As the villain fell to the ground Ghedi and I exchanged equal stares of respect stares we would rarely have time to exchange in the battles to come. I learned he was a freedom fighter from Somalia whose abilities came from the legends of the mamba snake. He took on the identity of Mamba and using his abilities he fought alongside me in Bryson’s Superhuman group. We were both put into the double C class group. Second Class Superhumans, degrading I know but after that night three years ago ratings have meant nothing. We’ve always had a chemistry as teammates given our martial arts backgrounds. Though our styles were different in so many ways we were the perfect combination of finesse and ferocity on the battlefield. Two traits that helped us defeat the rest of Orin’s men in spectacular fashion. Orin stood alone among the beaten and broken group of gangsters the bulked out leader sighing and rubbing his temples. “You two are real pains in the ass yknow that?” he said nonchalantly as he began to remove his coat. “Surrender Orin, I will not allow you to continue these shipments!” I yelled to the dark haired man as I pointed to the shipping containers located near the back of the warehouse. Orin tossed his jacket aside and ripped off his tie before walking towards us. “There’s big money in this! And I’m not letting some half-pint chink, and a stupid n***** stop me from raking in the cash. Not again anyway” the man grinned as his muscles bulged out of his shirt. Again. That word, the implication. “You, you were there three years ago weren’t you?” I asked the ponytailed thug who cackled at the question. “Yeah, I used to go by Bombastic back then. You guys actually helped me that day learned that no matter how much high tech s*** I got it’d never match up to years of training, and intense hatred!” Orin yelled as he dashed at us with freakish speed swinging and mighty fist at Ghedi and I. The oaf’s fist was humongous as I ducked underneath noticing veins trailing up and down his hands and forearms. Ghedi, Mamba dodged the large fist and evaded the second our bulked out enemy swung at him with trained fists. “I bet yer wonderin how I got this way” Orin said with a toothy grin, his vile voice like poison to my ears. “My friend and I can assure you the only thing we’re wondering about you is how your defeat shall play out” Mamba said confidently as he struck the overconfident villain. Orin shook off the hard hook to his jaw and swung a similar one to his much quicker opponent. I latched onto Orin’s outstretched arm with my claws and with mystical strength I broke his hulked out arm with a sickening crack as I slammed it across my hardened shoulder. He growled in pain before grabbing my cape with his left hand and brought me back into a vicious knee, rattling my insides and nearly striking my spine with bone crushing force. Ghedi’s eyes flared up as he struck Orin’s arm with a quick punch. The punch itself had little force behind it but judging from the reaction of the superheavyweight villain Ghedi’s hidden ability had just struck. Located in between his knuckles, linked to his salivary glands are three needle-like “fangs” that can inject a venom much like the mamba snake for which he is named. Unlike the snake he could control the intensity of the neurotoxin and the proteins and enzymes inside the solution. A very strange adaptation to his powers however Ghedi was special. Orin grunted in pain as his arm fell limp at his side, the neurotoxins halting all response in his arm. “Damn you! What the hell is th-“ the pained gangster tried to say before Mamba struck him with a flurry of venom infused strikes, paralyzing the vulgar leader of an already felled organization. Ghedi’s fangs retracted back into his fist as he turned to me with a stern expression. I was ready to answer any questions he might have regarding my involvement here and my desertion of Immortalized. Though I was ready to answer it did not mean I wanted to. “So this is what you do in your spare time? Busting up gang operations?” Ghedi asked with a voice full of discontent. Ghedi’s accent was still strong and his English skills much better than my own. He prided himself on his heritage and his newfound American citizenship. I walked over to the auburn container mentioned earlier and placed my hand on the heavy duty lock. “You helped save the entire world, from a group of Superhuman terrorists, and abandoned your allies, your friends, to spend three years taking down gangsters?” Ghedi said with words of venom as the African hero approached me. I had heard enough as I sliced open the lock with prejudice and tore open the container door. “Unlike you and that ticking time bomb of a faction I remembered why I started wearing this mask, and using my powers” I spat as I stepped into the container reaching out to the persons inside. I emerged from the container with three young girls of Chinese decent, each of them terrified and shaking. “And that was to protect the weak” I said as I comforted the young girls with a reassuring smile. Ghedi’s face swerved into an expression of shame as the realization of his fault hit him like a brick wall. “Mei…I’m sorry I didn’t-“ Ghedi started before I cut him off. “I know you didn’t know, I made sure you didn’t know” the sentence left my mouth with a mixture of hatred and pain as memories flooded my mind. I removed a communication device from the pouch on my back and pressed the emergency signal. “The police should be here soon” I said to my dark skinned companion who had made his way over to the girls and knelt in front of one of them and offered them a reassuring smile. “Promise me that we will speak after this” Ghedi said as he rose and stared down at me, his intense dark eyes giving me little room to refuse. Over the years I had missed Ghedi’s company and though I parted ways with the team on bad terms Ghedi and I were always close. I didn’t wish to lose our relationship so I agreed to his demand. “After the reports have been filed and the girls are safe, I promise we can talk” ~

My father had always taken care of me since my mother’s passing. Being from the renowned Guo family I was born into the upper class of Chinese society and my whole life I have never been without money. When I discovered my powers all those years ago my father tried his best to protect me from the horrors of this world that Superhumans faced. However being the strong and impulsive young girl that I was I could not sit by idly and watch as my country and this world fell into chaos. At first my father hated that fact that I wanted to throw myself at danger like some suicidal daredevil seeking thrills but over time he realized my destiny was to protect the weak. He agreed to fund my heroic escapades and to help me design my superhero costume and weaponry. Alongside my weapons and costume my father also supplied me with many different outposts including apartments and condos already tailored to my needs. My current dwelling could be considered quite lavish with a clean hardwood floor and gourmet kitchen. I didn’t have the time to use the entirety of the house due my current mission but having company over was definitely a comfort no condo could do by itself. Ghedi and I entered the lavish apartment quite unconventionally as we scaled the side of the building and slipped in through my remote controlled window, a security measure for the paranoid and careful, something I was a little bit both of. As we entered my lodging I removed my white and black mask as I walked past a large mirror overlooking the dining room. I stopped for a moment to evaluate my current condition. My outfit had suffered a tear in the abdominal area from a botched knife attack by a thug early today, other than that nothing else blemished my skin tight black outfit. The design was simple, in the center of my chest lay my current logo, the face of a white tiger with intense white eyes, on my sides trailing downwards was a set of white and black stripes while my boots were a simply black with white trim. My cape was long and nearly touched my feet. The end was torn and ragged in design with a black and white tiger pattern. I removed my black and white gloves and ran my fingers through my bowl cut styled hair before checking on my nails in all of their white and mystical glory. I heard Ghedi chuckle behind me as he removed his mask revealing the rest of his truly African features. He had a strong chin with a slightly big nose. His eyes were fierce and dark brown in color. I had told him before and as modest as he is for not agreeing he is really attractive. “What’s so funny?” I asked as I unlatched my cape and removed my pouch from my lower back, wrapping them together and holding them against my side. “I’ve known you for a long time and you’ve never been one to show vanity.” He was right; I had no idea as to why the look of my nails was one of my top concerns. I shook the thought from my head and set my accessories on my dining room table. “And what about you Ghedi? I thought you were all about business and here you are making small talk.” I said playfully. Ghedi nodded and wagged a finger at me “Always quick on the rebuttal, unfortunately you weren’t that quick a few minutes ago.” Ghedi mocked as he clutched his back with a smirk. I would not accept this mockery, this belittling of my abilities. “I could list alphabetically all of the injuries I have suffered over the past week that hindered my performance tonight. That would be more than enough to render your mockery null and void however.” I ranted defiantly as I ripped his mask out of his hand and flung it behind me. “Showing you my martial superiority in my injured state would be oh so much more emasculating for you.” My challenge had been proposed and Ghedi happily accepted as he raised his fists. I made the first move with a furious display of high kicks and sweeps, each of my moves dodged almost effortlessly by the African hero. His response to my onslaught was to duck down and swing at me with a fierce right hook that, without my superhuman speed would have beheaded me as I dropped down to my knees and pulled my opponents legs out from under him. Like poetry he landed on his back hard however he rolled through and sprung at me, wrapping his arms around me in a python like grip. I headbutted Ghedi, right in his nose a dirty tactic I learned from the leader of Immortalized Marcus Edwards. As he winced in pain I slipped my arms through his grasp and pushed off of his shoulders, sliding out of my coiled opponent’s grip and regaining my footing. We engaged once again trading punches and kicks bobbing and weaving, ducking and dodging in a display that would make our masters proud. It was strange facing and opponent that could match me move for move and blow for blow. Our fight seemed to drag on for hours though all of it lasted for probably thirty minutes. It didn’t seem much like a fight either. Facing my closest friend in unarmed combat, matching one another almost dancing with each other, it was the most fun I had had in years. We stood across one another panting as the sweat rolled down our foreheads, Ghedi’s face a mask of pain and determination and yet there was more behind it. I swiped at my ally with sinister intent as his fist came hurdling towards me with unrelenting force. Our arms locked as they swung into each other, jerking our bodies together. I stopped my hand from reaching Ghedi’s neck as my claws grazed his neck. I looked at Ghedi’s fist the instant before it struck me and watched his fangs retract. We stared at each other for what seemed like forever realizing that our fight was over. A draw. I had never had a draw with anyone before. Ghedi took his fist away from my throat and let it hang by his side. He dropped his guard Ghedi never dropped his guard I thought to myself as I felt my arms lower as well. This wasn’t like me, like us. Or maybe it was I couldn’t think, my body felt numb as I stood before him, the only other person on this planet that matched me, word for word, blow for blow. Heart and heart. Idiot. That exactly what I was acting like. An idiot. Ghedi saw the anguish on my face as I felt the my emotions run rampant inside my body, confusion consuming me. “Mei” I heard Ghedi say as I closed my eyes trying to make sense of everything happening. If what I thought was happening was really happening then I hadn’t planned for this. I opened my eyes to see Ghedi’s figure in front of me dwarfing me. Standing at five foot four I was always overshadowed by the six foot three fighter in height only mind you. I looked up at hm as he looked upon me with soft eyes. “I’m glad I got to see you again Mei. All of these years and you haven’t lost a step” he said with a sincere smile as he placed a hand upon my shoulder. I could feel his hand shake slightly as he laid it upon me. He was scared. I was scared. I didn’t believe in perfection. It was my duty as a martial artist to pick out imperfections and capitalize upon them or correct my own, but even after all my corrections I still lost something in the change. However this, what Ghedi and I had I must confess thought it was perfect. When we spoke, we dealt with each other with the utmost respect, when he smiled I smiled, and I was disgruntled he was disgruntled. We were in sync. Perfectly in sync. “Ghedi, I promised that we could talk, now what is it you wanted to discuss” I said as I placed my hand upon his. His hand was callous and warm, it was to be expected from years of training. I looked into his eyes sensing his nervousness as he swallowed, looking for the words. “I only have one thing to say” Ghedi said as his second hand made its way to my other shoulder. I felt anchored to this earth by his grasp, like I belonged here and nowhere else in the world. “And that is?” I asked tentatively as I caught myself smiling. “This” Ghedi said hastily as he pressed his lips onto mine. The world felt still for the first time in forever. I had very little time for pleasure in my line of work, but Ghedi one of the few great constants in my life found a new way to make our time together all that much more important to me. I giggled. I hadn’t giggled since I was a child as I pulled away and smiled at him. “This discussion we’re having doesn’t give me much room to respond.” I teased as I placed my hand upon his face. “You could always let your actions do the talking” he said with a grin as he pulled me close. “I like the sound of that” I said before kissing him back passionately. As I said before I didn’t believe in perfection, but if I had to choose a moment in my life where perfection seemed within my grasp it would be tonight.~





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