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Twin Tigers I: Legacy of the Tiger

Thunder King

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Bankok Thailand

Somchai Benjawan was dead. The news came to Mali suddenly, and she stared numbly as her father gave her the news. The kindly old man, her great uncle. Last surviving son of the great Black Tiger, was gone. He had passed away in his sleep, apparently from a heart attack.

She cried for a few minutes, regretting that she would never get another chance to talk to the wonderful, grandfatherly figure. When her father asked her if she wanted to go to the funeral, her answer was a definite yes.

They flew out on a Friday morning, earliest flight they could. The funeral was a somber affair, with only family and close friends, by the end of the day, they were exhausted. They traveled to the home of one Thammaraja Benjawan, one of Somchai's sons.

They ate a large dinner, and Mali loved the taste of homemade Thai food. Before long, though, the adults sat down and began having a lengthy conversation, and Mali was left bored with her younger cousins.

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“Boring adult stuff, huh?†Said a voice, who then smiled. “Tarrin Benjawan, nice to meet you.†He gave a polite nod and smiled. Tarrin was a handsome boy, dressed in a dapper suit, with a chiseled face and neat hair. His was not the superficially charming one that Anuman, her cousin had flashed her. This was a polite, warm smile. She liked him already. He looked very familiar, too, much like her father, but it was more than that, something that she couldn't put her finger on.

“Mali Benjawan. I think I'm you're cousin...†She said.

“Yes, Somchai was my grandfather.â€

“I, I'm sorry for your loss.†She said.

“Thank you. Grandfather spoke well of you, you know. I was away while you were here last, and when we returned he mentioned your family had visited.â€

She nodded and tried not to cry, though it was clear the man had made an impression on her.

“So what's it like in America?†He asked, sitting down. He was clearly very curious, even fascinated with the subject.

"Everything and nothing you've ever heard about.†She said with a laugh.

“Are Americans as rude as they say?†He asked.

“Americans are...different, yes. It seems rude to everyone else, but it's different. I have many American friends. Though I was raised in America, so I really can't compare the two. Sometimes I don't know where the Thai in me ends and the American begins.†She laughed.

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“America seems like a nice place.†He said. “There are people who think America is backwards, arrogant, rude, but I don't think that. They're different. Grandfather made sure I learned that different isn't bad.†He said.

“You were close?†She asked.

“Yes, very, Anuman and I usually traded the job of helping him around the house. That was before he got involved in opium and got himself arrested.†Tarrin practically spat that name out, his attitude was so venomous. “I am sorry, but you fought him, yes?†he asked. There was curiosity in his words, not judgment.

“...Yes, I did.†She admitted, with obvious trepidation. She knew the attitude a lot of people in Thailand had about women, especially women who fought. Muay Thai was often a man's sport, and women were heavily discouraged. Not as bad as it had once been, but still.

“Ah, heard you gave him a run for his money. Taught that arrogant ass a lesson.†It suddenly became very clear to Mali that Tarrin hadn't liked him, even before his activities came to light. “You'll find no fans of Anuman here. Great Grandfather did so much to help stop the opium industry, and what does he do? Goes into the opium business.â€

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She nodded. Anuman had been extradited to Thailand after their fight. His knee was completely destroyed, so that he would be able to walk, but not fight. He was currently facing a life sentence in a Thai prison. While he had been involved in the opium trade in the States, he had engaged in extortion, robbery, bribery, assault and other myriad crimes in Thailand. The negotiations were quick, the US surrendered him.

“How did he get arrested, anyhow?†She asked, curious.

“Apparently he angered one of the American super heroes, who tracked him down and beat him up. Destroyed his knee, too. He'll never be able to disrespect the art of Muay Thai by attacking an innocent again.†She was glad that no one had blamed her for what she did. She actually felt bad that she'd crippled the man, but not for long. She remembered that her father had to walk with a cane for months, and forgave herself.

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Rather than stay in a hotel, the family insisted on putting them up this time. They had felt mildly insulted that their hospitality had not been used, but Annan explained that Mali had never stayed in such a luxurious hotel before, and that he wanted the excuse to spoil his daughter a bit. They forgave him, amused at this.

The Benjawan family were apparently wealthy even in Thailand, and Thammaraja's home did not compare unfavorably to the hotel they had stayed at last time. Later that night, Mali was given her own bedroom.

Later that night, she lay in bed, her mind filled with conflicting feelings. She was still upset over Somchai's death, of course, but she felt more comfortable in this home than she had in a long time. It was evident that none of her relatives judged her for her American behavior, and she didn't feel out of place.

It was then, however, that she heard the revving of an engine, a motorcycle engine. Being a fan of motorcycles herself, she resolved to go see who owned it. But, she realized, she didn't want to wake anyone up, so she reached over and popped the window off gently before climbing out and replacing it. A few moments later, she was on the ground, dressed in the same clothes she had been wearing earlier that day.

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She walked around the house and spotted the bike, and it's rider. It was Tarrin, dressed in all black. He killed the engine and turned around.


“Tarrin? Wh-what's going on?â€

He chuckled. “Well, um, I'm going out for a ride...â€

“In all black?†she raised an eyebrow. “Isn't that, I don't know, incredibly unsafe?â€

“Would you believe it's a new sport?â€

“No, not really.†She then saw it, a mask. It looked similar to the one she wore, only all black. It also looked like the one she saw in pictures. Pictures of Black Tiger, her great grandfather. “You...â€

“Yes, I'm the Black Tiger.†he said, admitting. His vocal tone changed, subtly. As if he was discarding a disguise that, until then, he'd been wearing.

“I can see that.†It was then that she realized who he looked so much like. He looked very much like a young Anuman Benjawan, her great grandfather. She got chills as she realized that beneath the friendly, outgoing exterior was the intensity she possessed herself. The selfsame fire that drove her forward and upward, that drove her to put the mask on for the first time.

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“So, please don't tell anyone?†He asked, pleading. “I mean, as far as my family knows, this is just a motorcycle I built as part of a hobby.â€

“Well, I...I have something to confess then.†She took a deep breath. “I was the one that beat Anuman in America. I was the one who broke his knee, and I was the one who ended his drug ring. I did that because I operate in America under the name of Crimson Tiger.â€

The grin that broke out on Tarrin's face told her all she needed to know. “I knew it! Anuman fights you, then a few weeks later ends up in America. Then he gets beaten by a superhero while there. Your father interrupts the fight here, and then gets injured fighting Anuman.â€

She lowered her head in embarrassment, of course he'd been able to deduce that. Anyone could deduce that sort of thing if presented with that evidence.

“Though I have another question for you, Mali.†He said. “Did you bring your costume?â€

She nodded, numbly. “Yes, I had to sort of smuggle it, I'm sure you understand. Couldn't bring the chakram I usually throw in costume though. Couldn't have gotten them through customs.†She said with a laugh.

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“Now, you could go back to bed, Mali. Climb back up the side of the house, pop the window back off, and go back to bed. Or, you can go get dressed, come back down, and go on patrol with me.â€

There was no choice, no choice at all. She dashed back up the side of the house, grabbed the small bag she stole her costume away in, and practically leaped out the window.

When she got back into the garage, Tarrin pointed at a wall. “Hidden compartment, the hook with the green screwdriver.†She walked over and tugged gently on the screwdriver. The wall slid open, revealing a room, filled with equipment. Weapons, costumes, masks, tools. She changed quickly and left her spare clothing in the bag, closing the wall behind her.

He was already standing there, mask on, ready to go. “Do you know how to ride a bike?â€

“I have a black and red one back home.†She said with a grin.

“Great, you can take my other bike†He said.

“Other bike?†She asked, watching Tarrin cross the room, walking over to a tarp. He pulled the tarp back and revealed another motorcycle, identical to the first. She grinned, it wasn't the Tigercycle, but it was still a damn nice bike.

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She started the engine and felt it purr beneath her. It was a beautiful machine, lovingly and carefully crafted for this exact purpose. She revved the engine and it roared to life. This, this would be fun. It was a warm night, with a clear sky. Bangkok stretched before them, hundreds of thousands of lights sparkling off in the distance. This was a rare opportunity, a rare chance to walk the same streets her great grandfather had many years ago. She may never get it again, so she did what she usually did; dove in feet first.

He reached over and handed her a small radio. “Inside your mask, lets me talk to you while we're on our bikes†He said. She nodded and placed the mouthpiece under her mask. Tarrin, no, Black Tiger, walked over to his motorcycle and swung his leg over it, he looked back and motioned his head to pull up next to him. Crimson Tiger and Black Tiger, mounted on twin motorcycles, gazed out into the city.

“Let's go hit some bad people in the face.†He said, taking off, and she followed after.


Continued in >Twin Tigers II: Shadow Over Bangkok

Edited by Thunder King
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