Over four thousand years ago, when man was already old, but their spirits still young and lustrous, an age of darkness had overcome the world. For in their naivety, humanity had looked to the Gods to guide them: And the only creature that had heard them was far, far from a God. He was a devil. The devil. Huáng zhī wáng, The Phoenix King… Lord of all Demons, and unrelenting tyrant. For although humans had toiled for centuries, their souls stilled burned bright with spiritual energies… and it was upon this that The Phoenix King fed. The world was bound in irons, and from his throne in Zhangzhung, he had set about harnessing the raw energy of every human being, and every animal, that called the mortal plane its home. He worked them by day, and by night, in gelid dark and unrelenting daylight, using destruction by labour to bring their spirits to their peak strength, and then break them. And unable to oppose such a powerful foe, humanity toiled. It looked as though The Phoenix King might even rule forever. Until he came. His name is lost to history, but his title is not: He was The Qi Master, the first and most powerful. An ancient Bon monk, who had- from the moment The Phoenix King had first reared his ugly head, until the day it was severed from his neck- laid in waiting, meditating deep within what would one day be The Kunlun Tibetan mountains. But he was no ordinary man. For in his studies he had tapped into the fundamental laws of the universe, and the essence of life itself: The ebbing and flowing power of the life force, Qi. And with it, he descended upon the demon king like the storm: And after a lengthy battle, defeated him. But alas, even he could not truly kill The Demon King. For he was a power more astronomical than any mere monk could ever hope to overcome. So instead he severed his head from his body, and sealed both away beneath a layer of unerring, hoary stone: His body became Chomolungma, Mount Everest, and his head, the Himalayas. In doing this, The Qi Master bound himself eternally to the beast: His Qi became The Phoenix King’s prison, and The Qi Master was destined to join him in an endless struggle when the ever turning wheel of life and death finally claimed him. But until that day came, he had much to teach. The Master would, with his Bon disciples, construct a mighty temple of a mysterious sapphire stone upon the seal that would forever bind The Phoenix King, so that- even once the centuries had past- it would always be protected. It was hidden among the newly formed Himalaya mountains, invisible to all but the Bon monks who lived there. But soon, The Master’s followers became many, and that temple became a monastery, that monastery a village, and that village a city. And he imparted unto each citizen of said city the knowledge of Qi, and how to wield it, so that- should The Phoenix King ever return- their mightiest warriors might once again battle him back. This would eventually become the martial art Qi de Yìshù, “The Art of Qi”, and the city would become… Shambhala. But soon, The Master died, and slowly his students, and their art, faded into obscurity… And for a thousand years, humans grew and forgot. The Legend of The Qi Master became a myth, a theistic story told by Bonists for didactic purposes. But then native Tibetans began to move higher into the mountains, bringing with them teachings that seemed abstracted from the ancient ways of The Bon. By the second millennium of peace brought about by The Phoenix King’s imprisonment, the Bon faith had been almost totally absorbed by a new wave of enlightenment: The Buddhists. The battle between Qi and The Demon King was one of many stories they adopted, adjusted: And in time, the legend of the spiritual city of Shambhala, along with it. But Shambhala would remain lost for two thousand years more… but the same could not be said of the secrets it held. Fearing that the Art of Qi would die with them, the Bon monks who’d made their homes there ventured out into Tibet, to teach their art to likeminded folk before their religion truly died. But the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. They found that Buddhists were equally fascinated by their art, and Bonists who were recruited later shared it with them, betraying the oath of secrecy they'd held for two thousand years. Foreigners who visited the land- explorers, or invaders like the Turks and Chinese- would sometimes learn of it, too. And slowly but surely, their two-millennium secret was out. Qi is the life essence of all things, the previously intangible energy which flows through all like water, and- in the right hands- can be a potent weapon. When controlled by somebody who- through genetics, luck and spiritual practice- has a high enough amount, it presents the ability to achieve fantastic superhuman feats: To fly as though almost weightless, to move at unfathomable speeds and punch as though they were made of granite. And- if they had truly embraced the martial artist’s style of Qi- perhaps do even more. Men have been known to turn their whole bodies to stone, and other people’s to ice. Some have even been known to cause great storms with their own breath… but only in legend. Another two thousand years have passed, and now Qi users no longer belong to a sect of monks dedicated to skulduggery. If you are blessed with the Qi to use the Qi de Yìshù, then you are considered a star in the making. With the eventual rise in Qi users in the Western World came the rise of the entertainment industry, too: Because whenever humans discover a talent, their immediate response is to decide who is best at it. Television shows and live arena matches have been broadcast around the world, showing Qi users duking it out to prove their mettle… but nowhere is it fiercer than the God Fighter Tournament. In the year 2035, Dutch Qi users on a pilgrimage to Tibet, where the Qi de Yìshù was founded, stumbled across an amazing find: The crippled remains of the lost city of Shambhala, desolate and abandoned… and inside it, texts on the legend of The Phoenix King. Obviously, they showed this place the deepest respects, restoring it to the best of their abilities, in the absence of the strange blue stone it’d been forged from. … but then a Chinese entrepreneur caught wind of their discovery, and immediately the People’s Republic of China asserted a right of ownership over the territory. Since then, the city has been surrounded, engulfed by a modern monstrosity of architecture: An Olympic city all in its own, which draws Qi users from around the planet. Battle City – Host of the God Fighter tournament, the most intense and conclusive assessment of strength in the world. Here, the planet’s finest Qi users duked it out for supremacy, to win the title of God Fighter – Master of Qi, and the strongest there is. However, there is one small problem: The last three winners all met untimely fates, and in 2040, the tournaments closed down. For ten long years, Qi Fighters were forced to test their strength in smaller venues, dreaming of the glory days… Well the year is now 2051, and Battle City has just reopened her doors. Are you prepared to take part in the God Fighter Tournament? Do you have what it takes to prove you’re the best? And if you win, can you manage to keep your head?