Mortal Kombat: Redemption

JSteele

New member
Chapter 5: Come Home, Jade

"Jackson Briggs, you will restrain yourself." Raiden was quite calm, even though two of Earthrealms warriors just beat one another down right before his eyes. Johnny Cage was alive and well, but defeated. Even so, the thunder god could not find it to concern himself too much in the scuffle. Something else had his senses going haywire. While Jax started to explain himself, Raiden's hand came up to silence him. "…Someone is here." He narrowed his eyes, glancing toward the high ceiling of the armory.

Not afraid, Jax clinched his fists, ready to get more of his frustrations out. "Yeah? Well maybe they need their –…"

Dropping from the ceiling, Jade landed on a knee, and just as quickly came to stand. "The armory is off limits," She said, smiling behind her mask. "However, for a few words with Raiden, I am willing to allow you to pass."

Cage stood, rubbing the side of his aching neck. "How about a few words with me hot stuff?" Johnny held a toothy grin. "With my resources and that bod of yours? Sheesh, you really need to come to LA with me."

"Cage, shut it." Jax spoke sternly, "You gonna let us pass just to talk to Raiden? Why don't you tell us where my partner is instead?"

"Yeah, she's hard to miss. Blonde hair, nice smile, kinda has the girls out." Cage made motions toward his chest when he spoke of the 'girls', alternating each hand up and down to simulate 'jiggling'. "Seems to be the trend in this r-…"

"Enough." Raiden stepped before the two of them, standing to face Jade himself. He started to speak, but was cut off by sudden pain rushing to his skull. Grunting, his fingertips pressed into the side of his head to try to process the pain. He saw visions of Jade from the life before. He saw her fighting along their side over the years…and within seconds, all the information he could recover on her identity just came to him. "You are Jade, guardian of Kitana…, and assassin of Shao Kahn. What is it that you must discuss with me?"

Jade was more than amused by the banter, but there was so much that needed to be resolved right this moment. From what Mileena told them from the previous tournament, Raiden had knowledge of the future. The slight changes around them were still alarming, and having additional assistance would not be a bad idea. "Yes, I am. Lord Raiden, you have visions of the future, yes?"

Raiden had to be careful, but from what he could foresee, she was an ally. "Yes. It is a gift from my future self. It is very difficult for me to explain."

"I too share this ability, Raiden." She took slow steps forward, stopping a few feet away from the trio. "I am from the plane in which your future-self existed. I am certain of this." She could see the confusion in the expression of the god, so she proceeded to explain. "Correct me if I am incorrect, but when all the Kombatants engage in war at the Pyramid of Argus, you engage in final Kombat with Shao Kahn. Despite your best efforts, you are defeated and killed."

The changing of his expression was all the confirmation she needed. He looked surprised, interested in hearing more, and better yet how.

Jade's sight went to Johnny Cage, who suffered an austere fate, much like Jax. It put things into perspective a lot more than she initially thought. To have her future allies standing right before her alive and well. To physically feel their auras, and knowing that the avoidance of their deaths could depend on the choices she made or helped change was starting to weigh down on her. Jade never was one to pop under pressure, though she never felt the pressure as intense as this. She hesitated, trying to find her words. The voices returned, whispering the word 'lies' into her ears. The disorientation was apparent in the constant searching her eyes did along the three men's faces before her. She shook her head to try to rid herself of the voices. "…Forgive me." She said softly, "But as I was saying. There was…, something you said before you were killed, Lord Raiden. I am having trouble remembering…"

He knew the phrase all too well. "…He must win." He reached for his medallion, removing it from his garbs to examine it. There were cracks on its surface, and Jade could tell by the way he examined it that those cracks were not good news. "I am not sure what it means. Liu Kang was victorious, and yet the future remains unchanged. Have you any idea what must be done? Perhaps you've better insight?"

"Perfect insight, Lord Raiden." Her memory of the future was unaffected by the time travel, so providing information was very easy. "Liu Kang wins the first of four tournaments, but after –…"

"Whoa, what? Four?" Cage stepped in, "I thought these things were every five ba-jillion years or something?"

With a glance to Cage, Raiden answered. "It is a surprise to my ears as well. Four tournaments…" Then to Jade, he questioned further. "How is it that four tournaments can occur in a single mortal lifetime?"

It was a complicated set of answers on how each occurred, but Jade tried her best. "When Liu Kang defeats Shao Kahn this tournament, Queen Sindel will be resurrected, allowing Shao Kahn to invade the Earth. He will succeed in destroying all life, except those you must choose to protect, Raiden."

"Whoa, what?" Jax was next to chip into the conversation. "Queen Sindel? Invade the Earth? What the hell are you talkin' about? Sounds a lot more like war than some damn tournament."

To Jax, she gave a nod of her head. "It is war from here on out. A war which will end in the death of all." Armageddon—the ultimate end she wanted to help prevent.

"If Liu Kang defeats Shao Kahn in this tournament and its successor…," Raiden was extremely drawn into Jade's story, he moved along toward the large vat of molten rock. "What of this fourth tournament?"

The tournament in which her hatred of Tanya came full circle was one she could never forget. "Shinnok rises back to power. Shao Kahn is no longer in power, but the Earth is in far greater jeopardy. After it, Liu Kang is killed by the alliance of Quan Chi and Shang Tsung. Once this happens…, all hope is lost to prevent Armageddon."

"…Shinnok...?" It all was starting to make sense to Raiden. He was indeed Liu Kang. He had to survive until all threats were eliminated. The arrival of Shinnok was one he was not fond of…, but their Champion would deal with him when the time came. "We will discuss more of this later, Jade. This is all too much to speak of at once." He turned toward her once more. "Can you tell us where Sonya Blade is being held?"

"Yes," She moved aside, motioning her arm toward the door far behind them deeply within the armory. "Beyond that door lays the deadpool. I believe Sonya is being held captive by Sheeva. Be careful."

Cage rubbed his chin over. "Deadpool? I got that role offered to me before. Heh."

"You ever shut up?" Jax sighed, stepping to Jade. "Appreciated, Jade. You coming with?"

"No," She declined, "I've much work to do to assist Kitana and Mileena. They too share the future visions." She had a little more to cover, so she faced Raiden once more. "It is highly important we last until the third tournament. Kitana's wishes."

Unsure on how to handle this responsibility, Raiden paused. Finally, he simply gave a bow of his head toward Jade. It registered just then…Mileena. The visions rushed to Raiden's mind. He saw Mileena following Kitana, and finally confronting her. Mileena was killed…, but resurrected within the netherrealm to service…Shinnok? Yes—Jade's predictions were true. Perhaps she hadn't known or seen this? "Jade…, there is something you should know about Mileena."

"She is fine, Lord Raiden. We will speak again later."

As Jade left the Earthrealmers to their business, she ventured back into the main halls of the fortress. She still had time before Nido would arrive in the Living Forrest. There were a few things she had left on her personal agenda. She wanted to check in on Mileena eventually…, but she had growing concerns on just what was going on to make Kahn act so differently. While sneaking in on Shao Kahn was asking for trouble, listening in on subordinates was much easier.

Jade moved in the shadows, unnoticed by the various guards and slave laborers moving from hall to hall, room to room. She scaled stone pillars swiftly, and vanished into the darkness above the torchlights. The gargoyles and statues of horrid creatures were her means of hiding. She leapt with ease from place to place, clearing great spaces and crouching to watch her surroundings.

Nothing was out of the ordinary…yet. Things started to look up when she noticed her…soon to be nemesis Tanya moving particularly quickly through the halls. She had that book with her, and it was the same one Denise carried when she interrupted the tournament. Maybe Jade could get a closer look? Maybe Tanya was heading to some important matters? The only way to find out was to pursuit her.

Like a spider in the night, Jade moved carefully, never letting her eyes off the yellow clad target below. She saw her general route…, it seemed she was heading out to the maze of gardens along the far side of the fortress. Jade could not continue simply leaping high above to keep a good eye on her, now was the time to put in some leg work. She abandoned her shadowy post, and slipped herself onto the second floor as discreetly as she could. She moved with the flow of many of the workers, pretending to have a direct interest in going their route. After parting ways on a curving hallway, Jade moved over toward the skywalk that went across the gardens. It was usually abandoned this time of the night.
 

JSteele

New member
Without glass in the windows, it was fairly simple for Jade to crawl out and climb up onto the top of the skywalk. Staying low, she moved toward the fortress outer walls, leaping onto one of the overhanging gargoyle statues, remaining in the dark. Right on cue, Tanya was seen emerging out into the gardens…, but many were already there. Laughter, choking, and conversation was abundant down below. She adjusted her position to take a look.

There were drinks all around. Kano, Rain, Baraka, and Reiko were already there.

"Hah!" Kano choked, pounding his chest to try and find his breath. The deep guttural sounds were nearly as if he were going to vomit up a lung any moment now. "So I says to 'em, I says…" He paused, placing his hand up on Reiko's shoulder. "Shang Tsung? Well, what the bloody hell did he sing ya twit? Get it? Tsung and sung? Hah!"

"Now that…, is comedy!" Rain pointed toward Kano, holding his goblet in hand. "Why isn't this man performing at any events?"

"Because, it's as humorous as child birth." Reiko's gruff voice bellowed out. "At last Tanya arrives. This madness, it was moments away from consuming me."

"Forgive my tardiness. Madame Denise had many errands for me." She seemed timid, approaching the group of warriors with the book clutched to her body. "We all know why we are meeting here, so we must make this quick. Noob Saibot has failed to complete as planned."

"…What do you mean 'failed'?" Baraka, who had been seated on the floor came to a stand. "Another plan, failed? Woman, you tell the sorcerers that my patience is now gone."

"Baraka, at ease." Reiko held an arm out as to bar him from advancing. "We are of the elite warriors, we needn't not act like savages now. Save the energy." As Reiko was a high ranking officer of equal power to Baraka…, and even Rain…there was visibly a respect among the three. "Why did Noob Saibot fail?"

"Well," Tanya was getting nervous now. Her voice was shaking a little from seeing the ferocious gaze Baraka was giving her. "Since he did not die in the netherrealm, Quan Chi is unable to achieve total control of him. Somehow, Noob Saibot has maintained a lot of his free will and memory. Even so…, he is thrice as powerful as we originally projected."

"Now that's soundin' good to me, sweets." Kano draped his arm about Rain's shoulders, taking another chug of his drink. "So now we ain't gotta worry 'bout the Pale Horseman sendin' em on our ass, aye?"

"I suppose, however he requests that some of you retrieve Noob Saibot for him. With Skarlet tailing him, it will be hard. Find Saibot, and bring him to the place."

Rain took a sip of his drink. "…Well I suppose there's no gain without work." His eyes went toward his colleagues. "We'll go get Noob Saibot. I suppose I can take some time from fixing up that mangled creature for a bit?"

"Oi, no can't do mate." Kano released Rain, stepping away from the group, but turning to face them as he backtracked. "Forgot, got a shipment of artillery comin'. Gotta head out to the forests to meet good ol' Tsung-Song. Enjoy shadow chasin', Raviv, Reiko, and 'course Baraka!" He chugged the last of his drink, slamming the goblet down to the stone walkway as he made his exit back within the fortress.

"…I would like nothing more than to tear his heart out." Baraka grumbled, "I will not go with you, either. There has been a change of plans. We will take the king once the pawns have fallen." The Tarkatan's words seemed to be in code – and from what Jade could see, Rain and Reiko both seemed obedient to his demands.

"Very well, General. The board is still being set, so the game is delayed." Reiko bowed his head. "This meeting is dismissed on General Baraka's word."

With a simple motion of his head, the remaining meeting forces began going their own ways without another word. Jade knew something was cooking here. She had to get to the evil forests, though. Well...near them. She remembered Nido being near the Soul Chambers just outside the forest when they watched Mileena and Kuai Liang battle.

Side Event #14: The Evil Forest, Cyber Smoke avoided

Kitana remained hidden within the evil forests, waiting for Smoke. She was sure to steer clear of Shang Tsung and Kano's…weapons testing for certain. While the carnivorous trees groaned about her, and the heavy stench of death thickened with every breath, Kitana managed to stay calm. She was all focus, and such distractions would go on ignored until her task was complete.

She watched Smoke enter the thick of the forest…trailing him along the way. He had a confrontation with the Kano and the sorcerer, but Kitana did not jump in. She was confident these events went on in Smoke's favor. She needed to get closer…, and keep an eye out for any other warriors. She did remember never seeing his human form again after this time period…so something was going to happen. She moved around the parameter slowly; each step in perfect sync with her silent breathing. Her long years training as an assassin made her as light on her feet as mosquito, and it served her well.

There was a slight obstacle…, an overturned tree. She noticed a cyborg was now battling Smoke; this had to have been Sektor. Kitana had to move quickly! As she scaled over it, she noticed a noose hanging above her from another branch. It was…much too small for a neck, and sway as if it had weight. She began to pass under it as she crossed the broken tree – but ran into something solid, that she couldn't see at all. "What-?" Kitana staggered back. The light bent before her eyes, framing a translucent figure of a female. She grasped her fan quickly to defend herself if needed.

The figure seemed lifeless…, but after a moment, it started to squirm to find freedom. "…Help…me." The voice wheezed, as the figure once again ceased to move. It seemed she was tied at both of her feet.

Unsure on if she should assist or not…Kitana clutched her fan firmly in her grasp. She swung high, slicing through the rope easily.

As the figure fell, she righted herself and landed on her knees. She wore faded gray garments on her body, though her features remained hollow. It was as if Kitana were speaking to an invisible woman. "…Who are you?" She spoke, still brandishing her weapon in case this act of kindness became a fatal flaw.

There was silence for several moments. As she crouched, flesh began to form over the hollow lines of her body. She replicated Kitana's features instantly, but maintained her wild hair that rushed back behind her shoulders. "…Thank you."

"You did not answer my -…" Kitana heard a loud cry of agony from Smoke, and her eyes shot over toward him. He was surrounded by metallic beings, seeming to be getting electrocuted! As her sights returned to the woman…she was gone. Rather than dwelling on her location, Kitana sprang into action. She tossed out each of her fans, letting them cycle in opposing directions. Each fan lopped off the heads of the cyber entities, and rounded about to return to her waiting hands. Once they fell, she jumped in to make herself known. "I am a friend, do not worry." She assured him, "I am Princess Kitana."

"Princess Kitana? Daughter of Shao Kahn?" Smoke faced her, pointing an accusing finger. "Why is it I should trust the likes of you so easily? Why—"

"Shao Kahn is not my father." Kitana spoke with authority, "I am acting under my own will, and I have protected you from a grim fate. I can understand your curiosity on why, but I assure you that my intentions are pure."

"She speaks the truth." The words of the Thunder God drew their attention. He approached the two in the company of Johnny Cage, having parted ways with Briggs and Blade just moments prior.

Smoke immediately bowed before Raiden to show his repsects. "Lord Raiden." He lowered his head. "I thank you for your help, Princess Kitana. Forgive me for my ungratefulness. I am called Smoke" He started to rise, taking a step back to take in the sight of the three about him. "Why is it you come to Outworld, Lord Raiden? Why is it that you assist me, Princess Kitana?"

"How about this question, is there a 'happy' forest nearby? With smiling faces and branches that hug you?" He pointed off to the side, "Cause I see a guy's torso about twenty feet from here, and I'm not exactly digging this little camping session near it."

"Silence, Johnny Cage. We will be fine." Annoyance just barely showed its head in his tone. "We are here to participate in a tournament to save Earthrealm. Kitana has very similar aspirations, "He looked to her when mentioned, then returned his focus to Smoke. "Join us, Smoke."

"Forgive me," Smoke declined, "But if Sektor was searching for me, he is hunting Sub-Zero as well."

"…Sub-Zero?" Cage was…confused. "Call me crazy with a 'K' but…" He motioned over his shoulder with his thumb. "But didn't we see him die?"

Smoke continued, "The grandmaster intends to turn every Lin Kuei into a cyborg. My friend is in danger…"

"He will be at the tournament, this I know." Kitana assured Smoke, placing her hand on his shoulder. "The coliseum is the best bet, as all of the warriors will meet there when the tournament proceeds."

Raiden's gaze found Kitana's own. "Princess Kitana, your guardian has informed me of our shared gift. She has informed me of Liu Kang's victories and Shinnok's rise. I have every intention of assisting you, but I question if allowing this to go to a third and fourth tournament—"

"There will not be a fouth." Kitana narrowed her eyes, while a little peeved Jade told Raiden before she had a chance, she still went on. "I will see to it that all things are taken care of to prevent such. If allowed, I fear all of my efforts to prevent the end are in vain."

"Armageddon, yes…" Raiden lowered his head, "We will regroup with you at the Colliseum. Uphold your façade as long as you must. We will fetch Liu Kang and Kung Lao for this battle…"

( Side Event Over )
 

JSteele

New member
"You know, it usually helps when I don't let the other guy kick my ass." Nido boasted, standing over the fallen Tarkatan Raizar. "Phew, now where'd that Sub-Zero guy go?" He pulled his weapon from the ground, slinging it over his shoulder. As he took a glance around, he started to walk away from the unconscious creature…and judging from the block of ice not far off, Sub-Zero dealt with the other, Kaizar.

"Hm…, well I guess it's to the coliseum I go! Now…, where the hell is that map?" Nido reached at his pocket, drawing up his cloth map he snatched previously from the Tarkatan brothers, taking a look. The handwriting was horrible, but he could tell enough to know which way was north, and what paths led to what drawings. "So…, this way to the tournament? Well, that was easy. What's the worst that can happen?" He folded the map up, pocketing it once more. He went along the path. It had to have been twenty minutes later that he found a still-breathing man lying on the ground along the path."Eh?" He looked human enough…, even if his purple clothes were a bit odd.

As Nido examined the area. He could see a smoking crater not too far off…, and another injured man's body nearby, with several bodies of Tarkata as well. "Hey…, what happened here-?"

"Do not touch him!" Jade's voice was heard as she dropped down from the branches high above. She recognized Rain's body, and just up the road, Reiko. "They are servants of Shao Kahn…, but whatever did this surely is not on the side of Earthrealm either…" She had no idea what could possibly do this…, was it Noob Saibot? Was this what he was able todo when he had more control?

"Yeah, just smells like bad news." He sniffed the air, keeping a firm hold on the handle of his weapon. "Smells like demons were here. Pretty high classed, at that…" He started to move up the pathway, even if Jade wished him not to do such. He crouched over it, gritting his teeth. "…Not good."

"Nido we are leaving now." Jade grasped his shoulder, "Whatever isn't good we can discuss later." She gave his shoulder a squeeze, as to urge him to follow her words. She did not speak in anger, but a softness that would further express her concerns for his safety. This event was delving into the unknown.

"…Probably for the best. Usually when a demon breaches into a realm…they leave a ring behind to show where they're from." He started to stand, looking about cautiously. "…Seems our friend is from the very last ring of hell…and that means he's not one to trifle with." He was already on the move with Jade, getting as far away from the –

"Nido!" Jade shouted out as a shadow dropped down in front of him. She sprang into action, batting it away with her staff. The shadow vanished instantly, and appeared just as soon behind her. She felt a harsh blow to her spine—and then saw the shadowy figure appear before her with another kick to her face! Shouting in pain, Jade fell toward the floor, only to meet the rising fist of the same creature rising from the ground! Soaring upward, she fell square on her shoulders!

"What the hell?" Nido drew his Spear forward to defend himself. He moved to Jade's side, but much to his misfortune, was captured in a sleeper hold by the shadow!

A slightly more defined figure appeared before him. Noob Saibot's white eyes glaring holes through Nido's very soul. "…You are not powerful enough. I demand an opponent worth killing!"

"You are fast," Jade said standing, "But even with your tricks, you still are too slow for me. Perhaps you should run along before I fetch my flashlight?" Jade's body took on a green glow, accessing her spiritual energy much more than she had ever before. She would need it, even if it would more than likely take its toll on her later.

"The light abandoned all realms the moment I returned…" Noob Saibot said, facing Jade for combat! "Perhaps you will be worthy when – "

"Edenia…is a lie. Come home, Jade. Come home."

The voices came ringing in her head. Everything started to break apart before her very eyes. Everyone was gone, the forest, Nido, Noob Saibot, all of them. Jade was now in this…mystical realm of surrealism.

"…Where…" She spoke softly…walking toward the ledge of the provided space. As she stepped, the world around her began to construct itself. It made a bridge of land masses for her, leading her toward the brightest of the lights. A floating woman's silhouette was there. Jade held her hand up to shield her eyes from the bright light… "…Who are you?" She spoke up…getting a glimpse of the woman's face. She seemed to be shimmering like diamonds from every inch of her exposed skin, clad lightly in armor.

"Edenia does not belong to Shao Kahn. Edenia does not belong to Sindel nor Jerrod. Edenia has deceived you since your birth." The woman's every word echoing throughout this realm. "Edenia was meant to be –"

The vision faded rapidly. Everything came crashing back together. Every piece of the puzzle fitting, all colors restored. Jade felt fatigued and hurt. She found herself at a knee, catching her breath.

"Jade! You okay? That was…amazing. How did you move that fast?" Nido came to her side, placing his hand at her back. "You took on that guy like he was nothing!"

She did what?She was just getting ready to fight less than a few moments ago, wasn't she? "What do you mean? What happened? Where is..," She glanced about – they were much closer to the Soul Chambers than she remembered last. "…How did we get here?"

"You…brought the fight here, remember? Fighting really fast…, dodging crap…" His brows lowered in confusion. She forgot already? "Anyway, Peter Pan's shadow shouldn't bother us for a while. He hit the road after you kicked his buddy's ass."

Jade started to stand. She felt a pain in her side. She had bruises…, she was fighting, but had no memory of it? Was her body acting independently? "…Nido." She faced him, "I must rest. I will get you to the coliseum, but we will have to part ways for a brief while. I… am not feeling like myself."

Nido understood, she didn't look too well; a little more on the sickly side, to be honest. "I was hoping for a lovely outing around flesh eating trees but…" He smiled, "Your health's more important to me. Lead the way, super Brown Sugar."

"I would like to think that is the only time you will add 'Super' to my nic name…"
 

JSteele

New member
Chapter 6: Ice, Fire, and Darkness

The sounds of screaming echoed the halls of Kahn's fortress. The sun had long since risen, but many went through the last portion of the night without rest. Mileena had been up, making an absolute mess of her room. She brought her dresser down, she tore her bed apart, she cast away parts of her seating arrangement from the window, and finally caved in the door to her closet. When she wasn't destroying her room, she was pounding the pavement with her fist, cursing and screaming at the ceiling. In a fit of rage, Mileena collapsed to her knees. Her bloodied knuckles caused her fingers to twitch as they bleed out over her legs.

Her eyes bloodshot and leaking with tears that smeared what mascara she did wear. Her veil was down around her neck…, though in her enraged fit didn't allow her to come to the realization. She looked up…and just barely could she see herself in her untouched vanity table. She looked horrible with those red, tear filled eyes. So helpless, so weak.

She moved closer, crawling up onto the seat. Short cut strands of atramentous hair fell into her line of sight. As her chin lifted, each hand flicked her hair out of the way so that she could see her face. The sharp rows of teeth were visible. Her horrid wide mouth gave her the grin worthy of a deranged court fool. She was no Tarkatan, she was no Edenian, she was not even worthy of the Oni scum inhabiting the low lands. This was the reason she had such bad luck – it was all her own doing. It was because she was the outcast, the ugly one that only fit when she pretended to be something more appealing to the eyes of others.

The anger intensified as her mind rushed on. She felt Kuai Liang would never love her in this timeline. Perhaps he was simply scared because he pretended so long while she was 'Kitana'. Perhaps the feeling was less than she was making of it. If so, her only choice in life was an abusive, angry, deceptive, and crazed individual in Baraka?

She drew her Sai upward from the side of the table, drawing it right up to the side of her head. Her eyes narrowed down as her breathing deepened. Her heart began to palpitate with the thought of ending herself to save further pain. She was too stupid to live any further, she felt. Her actions went against Kitana's warnings, and now here she was; alone as she would always be and just as dead inside as she was in the Netherrealm years ago.

Her eyes squeezed shut as she applied a little pressure to the weapon, feeling the blunt end of the Saki against her skull. She felt that with her strength, she could drive it through her own skull with ease. To die would be a better fate, wouldn't it? She wouldn't have to worry about fate intervening in her hopes and dreams. She wouldn't have to worry about rejection due to her looks, or letting her sister and Jade down. That emotion, that raw emotion of hers went from negative…to positive as soon as her eyes opened. She looked at herself again. She remembered once upon a time, she was the most fierce and feared person in the Mortal Kombat tournaments. She was unpredictable, vicious and vile. A little exposure to love and she forgot who she was? Who was she to follow rules like a simple pet?

She grit her teeth, lowering the weapon down. Her veil was lifted back up and over her lower face. She knew she had to use what she had to make things work in her favor. Unlike Kitana and Jade, Mileena was more than willing to play ball with the enemies and slit their throats as soon as she had what she wanted.

However, she would not need to plot on such very long, as things started to shift as soon as she got a knock on her chambers door.

"Go away!" Mileena yelled out, grabbing a bottle of perfume from the vanity and tossing it to its demise against the surface of the door.

Her attempts to scare off the visitors failed, as the door was opened anyway. Through them were two very unexpected guests…

"Shao Kahn requests you at his side for the viewing of the tournament. Get dressed." Baraka said, while paying more attention to the trashed room than her. He couldn't look at her just yet, in fear he'd do something he would later regret.

Shao Kahn wanted her present at the tournament? Perhaps this would give her a good chance to end him? Maybe even a chance to see Kuai Liang if she was lucky? She said nothing to Baraka, and instead stared at herself in the mirror.

"And clean this room! Shao Kahn has not raised swine!" He turned to leave, letting only Sheeva remain to watch over her. "We will escort you to the Coliseum once you are dressed. Do not keep Shoa Kahn waiting!"

She wouldn't keep him waiting that was for certain. Her yellow eyes shifted over toward Sheeva once Baraka shut the door. "Mileena can dress herself." She came to a stand, fingers arching toward her palm as she stepped about the trashed room. "Mileena wonders what she should wear…hmm…"

"Had you not dishonored yourself, you wouldn't have been removed from the tournament." Sheeva stated sternly, "Waste little time considering what to wear, and more putting it on. You can only regain your honor by obeying."

"Honor? Hmhm… Mileena's never heard that word." She chuckled, opening her closet up to examine. She took a double take at Sheeva however. She was bruised along her jaw, and her eyes seemed to be ready to shut at any moment. She could tell the Shokan had seen better days. "…Do you need to rest?"
 

JSteele

New member
"No."

"Are you sure? You look—"

"No."

"Bah!" She went back to sorting through her attire. She had a few dresses, most in which were more skimpy than what she usually wore to combat. She didn't see a reason not to put one of them on…,but she just wanted it to be the right color. Not too purple, not too pink. She needed something with sleeves so she could conceal her Sais without summoning them. She changed clothing fairly quickly, now having the sleeves she required, but having enough room to move about freely in combat situations.

Her thoughts were interrupted by the sound of light snoring near the door. She glanced back to the Shokan…, who was now visibly asleep while standing.

"Sheeva?"

"….."

"Sheeva…?"

"…"

"You dishonor yourself!"

Sheeva's eyes shot open, straightening her posture. "I was meditating!" She said in her defense, only to realize no other was in the room with them. Mileena's laughter showed proof of this. "…Very humorous. Now, let us get serious about things."

"Serious?" Mileena turned from her closet. "Mileena can be serious. Deathly serious…" As if she'd intentions of doing the Shokan extreme harm, she lowered her tone as well as her eyelids.

"Good, child. Now come." Sheeva stepped forward, examining Mileena over. "…This will not do."

"…What?"

"Your makeup rivals that of a rodent's hindquarters."

"What?" Mileena growled, clutching at her Sai's handles beneath her sleeves.

"Come. Allow me." She led Mileena back to her vanity table, opening the drawers with her lower arm, and guiding her to a seat with the others. "Let's clean up this runny makeup and apply a fresh amount." Sheeva started to clean the makeup from Mileena's face, much to her dislike.

"Ngggh!" She struggled, whining as she went about cleaning her face up! "Stop it! Mileena can do it herself!"
 

JSteele

New member
"I will not allow you to dishonor yourself with less than fitting application of makeup." Sheeva did her best to keep Mileena still, even having to apply a bit of her strength to her shoulders. "Now is not the time to be a baby. It is okay to accept assistance from an elder."

Kitana was the only one who helped with makeup. She felt…awkward taking assistance from a Shokan. "Grr... Sheeva…!"

"Miss Sheeva, please." She began to sort out the various tools for makeup application on the table, getting a good look at Mileena in the mirror. "Now, this will not take long. Smile, it will make things go by faster."

"It is…difficult for Mileena not to smile." She narrowed her eyes at her reflection, but kept her mask up over her features.

"That is the attitude! Now! Let's begin!"

Side Event #15: Chinese Ninja Warrior

After the dismemberment of Jax at the might of Ermac, Sub-Zero was charged with fending off the powerful warrior while Sonya tended to her fallen comrade. The green energy consumed his form as he was lifted and thrown to the ground unforgivingly. Despite this impact, Kuai Liang sprung back to his feet, prepared to fight further. As Ermac wound his hands up to throw a projectile of his soul energy toward him, Kuai Liang charged it and slid beneath it coming toward the vulnerable Ermac.

Despite the sudden movement, Ermac managed to levitate just above Sub-Zero as he came inward. With his enemy overhead, the slide came to a sudden end. He stood prepared to guard himself from the incoming feet of the legion of souls. The foot's impact on his forearm was like a wall of bricks falling upon his limb. It took the feeling right out of his gingers and sent him back a few steps. Ermac proceeded on, but Sub-Zero kept his eyes on him. The slightest movement gave away his next move, as told from the masters of the Lin Kuei temple.

He waited for the sudden motion of a shoulder and he foresaw the incoming punch. He weaved aside it, as well as the next set to follow. Like a skilled boxer, Kuai Liang threw a left jab right at his jaw to break up his failure of a combination attack.

Flustered, Ermac went for a low sweep which was avoided by a lifting of the foot, then a thrusting of it right into his back. As the legion of warriors tumbled forward, Sub-Zero threw ice about the floor between them, then used it as a base to begin building a tall wall of ice between Ermac and himself, keeping Sonya and Jax on his end. Once it was solidified, he saw Ermac rising high above it, beginning to dive bomb down toward him!

Avoiding contact was no easy task, but with quick thinking, Kuai Liang dove backward, leaving behind a frozen statue of himself. Upon touching, the statue shattered but left Ermac frozen in mid-air with the remains of the statue. Moving his palms together, he began to gather a great amount of his energy to deeply freeze Ermac there. He eventually created quite the sizable block of ice to hold him contained for at least a few minutes. Victory was his. "I remain whole…for now."

"Sonya Blade to command! Do you read? Damnit…come on!" Frustrated, Sonya still attempted to use her communicator while keeping her hand along Jax's head affectionately, to some extent.

"…You've stopped the bleeding." Kuai Liang said, examining the damaged Jax. He had seen worse in battle…but at least the man was alive. Driven by the desire to catch up with Shang Tsung and Quan Chi and demand the identity of his brother's killer, he could not bother himself long enough to assist Jax and Sonya personally.

"Yeah, but he needs a medic ASAP." She frowned, "…He's not conscious, but alive—…" She noticed Sub-Zero starting to walk away from them. "Where are you going? I need your help here!"

"I must get to the coliseum . There's a portal south of here. A young man from Earthrealm followed me through it, and I doubt it has gone anywhere since." He proceeded forward along the bridge slowly.

"…Motherf…" She bit her tongue… "That portal better be…close…!" She grunted, doing her best to pull Jax up. Once he was up, Sonya pulled him up onto her shoulder, trying to carry his body weight as best she could.

It hadn't taken but a few minutes before she was nearly out of the Soul Chambers. When she arrived near the exit of the location, there were two just now reaching the area; Jade and Nido.

"Whoa-whoa-whoa…! What the hell happened to him?" Nido said, slowing down his rush toward the entrance of the Soul Chambers.

Jade too ended her trek forth, examining the severely wounded Jax mounted on Sonya's shoulder. "…By the gods…" She whispered to herself, stepping closer to Sonya, but reluctant to touch her or Jax.

"That freak who speaks in the first person ripped his arms off." She explained. "Sub-Zero froze him solid, but it's only a matter of time before he or that weird… cyborg comes back. We have to move out to the portal to get the hell out of here."

At first Jade thought she was speaking of Mileena…but her speaking patterns were more third person than anything…and she obviously wasn't a 'he'…and would more or less pounce Sub-Zero than attack him. "You are leaving? Earthrealm needs you here, Sonya! Johnny –…" She paused, feeling a severe pain surge through her skull. She held her forehead to tend to the pain.

"…Jade? Are you alright?" Nido said, placing a hand at her shoulder.

"…I'm fine."

Sonya couldn't stand by idly much longer, she started to walk. "Johnny can take care of himself. My partner is depending on me to save his life like he saved mine. I'm not going to let him down." She looked between the two of them. "Sub-Zero is heading for the coliseum. If you're not going to…," She adjusted Jax on her shoulder. "Help me take him back to Earth, this conversation is over."

"…I'll help Sonya with him. I know exactly where the portal is." Nido volunteered. "You go ahead to the coliseum, I'll catch up."

With a nod of her head, Jade gave Nido and Sonya a stare. "Be safe." Were the kunoichi's parting words before she took off in a run on the opposing section of the bridge.

( End Side Event )
 

JSteele

New member
"Denise! Did I not request my garments to be properly ironed once I returned?" Shang Tsung said as soon as he stepped through the doors of his private quarters. The lights were off…just barely peeking inside was the light of halls cut across the darkness. Shang Tsung's lips curled into a grin, rubbing his hands together. "…Oh…after seventy years, you are in a romantic mood? Well, as I have suggested my sweet…this will be very rejuvenating for us both…" Shang Tsung shut the door behind him, starting to undo the front buttons of his vest. He walked through the darkness, knowing the layout of their home within the fortress very well.

He passed the crystal ball…, the messy desk of books…, he rounded toward the bathroom, but could see it was empty. Perhaps she was hiding in the bedroom? He removed his vest, taking a deep breath to suck his stomach in and stick out his toned chest to make it seem as if he'd gained a little more muscle since his last hit of souls. He was not going to mess up this opportunity. "Come out, come out where ever you are…" He said slowly approaching the bedroom. The door was just slightly ajar…she must have been inside. "We have plenty of time before the tournament…but I would suggest you cancel any plans you have for the day…"

As he opened the door, he continued to speak. "Where are you, my bride…?"

Fwoosh!

"OVER HERE!" A commanding voice roared out after a sharp pain entered Shang Tsung's chest!

"Wh-!" The sorcerer was taken by surprise, yanked through the darkness and into the room! Once he reached the spectre, Shang Tsung found himself on the painful end of a fist right beneath his chin! He went flying toward the ceiling, and down through the antique table within the bedroom.

Scorpion approached him after holstering his spear. He grabbed Shang Tsung by the hair, dragging him back toward the bedside area. He grabbed his second victim – the beaten sorceress Denise, by her throat. "Where is Quan Chi?" He shouted down to Shang Tsung, lifting Denise above the ground. A gateway to the netherealm rapidly opening beneath her feet. "Answer me, sorcerer!"

Realizing his wife was in danger, Shang Tsung cracked immediately. "Scorpion! Wait! I can bring him to you!"

"Do it NOW or this worthless woman dies!" He threatened, lowering her heel clad feet over the burning portal.

As Denise started to come to, she realized what was happening fairly quickly. She even heard Scorpion refer to her as a 'worthless woman'. "-! Shang…! Are you going to let him say th-?" She tried to speak through being choked!

"Silence!" Scorpion barked back.

Denise kicked at the spectre, putting up a fight in the very least! "My husband will not let you – do anything!"

"Denise…, now is not the time…!" Bleeding from his wound in the chest, Shang Tsung put his hand over it, starting to get up to his feet. "Just wait, I'll retrieve Quan Chi!" Where was Denise's spellbook? Surely by now he could summon Noob Saibot! It had to be somewhere on the floor…

On cue, a green gateway opened within the room. Quan Chi had sensed this danger as soon as Shang Tsung found himself struck down. With a motion of his hand, Quan Chi attempted his means of controlling Scorpion. "This ends now. Close the gate." He commanded…but alas, his magic wasn't working. He waved his hand a few more times…but Scorpion only seemed to grow angrier! "…Now wait…!"

Scorpion cast Denise across the room and proceeded to Quan Chi. Both hands gripping his throat as he drove him into the wall. Hard punches came to his face, breaking skin and bone, leaving heavy splatters of blood leaving his mouth and staining his pale flesh in the darkness. He cast him to the ground, sending a shin up to his ribs with such force that the bones cracked in webbing like patterns upon initial impact. The second kick did even worse damage as Quan Chi left the ground briefly. He tried to lift his hand to cast some sort of magic, but his arm was grasped by Scorpion. "This is from my family!" He shouted as the spear was drawn up and driven through the point of Quan Chi's elbow. As he screamed out in pain, Scorpion dug into that arm until he was able to saw it right off of Quan Chi's body at the elbow.

Shang Tsung had gotten the lights and the spell book, immediately shouting the commands to summon the demon of darkness himself, Noob Saibot. Just as the dark entity was arising from the shadows of the room, Scorpion created another gateway to hell itself…

Noob touched down on the ground…but his eyes caught sight of Quan Chi…the sound of his horrific screams bringing back memories of years past. He had just defeated Quan Chi in the netherrealm…there was…there was a woman. A woman who's image was distorted to his very mind. Her hair…dark…with a streak of white? He felt a sudden thump in his chest. Clutching it in confusion, Noob Saibot was lost in this wonderment of sensation. However…it ended when the power of the magic that brought him to life gripped his mind. He had to act. "Hanzo…" He remembered him extremely clearly.

Scorpion was prepared to toss Quan Chi into the flaming gate…but the voice of Bi Han stopped him dead in his tracks. "…Bi Han?" He saw that he wasn't as he once was…and being dead himself, he could sense Bi Han was no longer among the living. What had they done to him? It was clear, however…he wanted a fight. Dropping Quan Chi, Scorpion threw his spear! "Get -!"

The spear went through the shadowy figure, and immediately Bi Han was in his face. A sudden knee to the chin followed with an instantaneous elbow to the spine left Scorpion stunned. In a single second, ten strikes landed on his body, and he hadn't been able to begin to pull his spear back. His stomach, his ribs, his spine, and even his groin were victim of these lightning fast and impactful strikes. Noob Saibot grasped him, sending his skull right against his, internally fracturing the tough bones of the burning spectre.

"Finish him!" Shang Tsung commanded…and at those very words, Noob Saibot gathered that chain…wrapping it around Scorpion's neck…and jamming the spear right into his heart. The spray of blood splattered across Noob, but he hadn't stopped. He drew his foot back, kicking Scorpion as hard as he could to send him flying through that gate to the Netherrealm. As soon as he passed through it…the gate closed.

Quan Chi still lay writhing in pain in a pool of his own blood. His face rearranged by Scorpion's brutal assault…but he was still alive. Noob Saibot stood there…and glanced back toward Shang Tsung. "Who is the woman in my visions? The woman with hair of black and white..! Tell me where I can find her!"

"You mean Sareena?" Denise spoke up, rubbing her neck. She saw a potential spin here…obviously Saibot could easily kill them all if he wasn't…directed properly. "Shao Kahn knows. We must crush Earthrealm for her to be found…"

Shang Tsung was very in tune with his wife's plots…and stood, still holding his wound. "Yes…, if you can assist us further by defeating Earthrealm warriors, we can find out just where Sareena is…"

"…Then it is done." Noob said simply. "…Get this sorcerer some help. He is of no use to me dead." With his fist over his chest, Noob Saibot vanished completely from sight….

By now, Quan Chi's groaning and pained exclamations had ended with his passing out from the pain. Before Denise or Shang Tsung even began to help him…Densite spoke up, noticing just what Shang Tsung was wearing. "…Why is your shirt off?"
 

JSteele

New member
( Later, at the Coliseum )

The stage was set. The fighters were gathered, and the battles had begun. Liu Kang, Kung Lao, Smoke, Johnny Cage, Goro, Kano, and others were all in attendance. At the emperor's side, his daughter Mileena stood along with Sheeva. Kitana had currently been the first up in the series of battles against a highly skilled Shaolin warrior. Each attack she fended off only reminded her of Liu Kang. She found herself holding back, not having any intention of murdering the man.

Feeling the angering eyes of her 'father' on her…Kitana began to make her comeback in the fight. Ultimately, she overpowered him and sent him to the ground. On instinct she drew her fan and held it above her head, threatening to cleave into the man. She could only see Liu Kang in his eyes…she couldn't bring herself to do it. Despite the calls of the crowd, and even the man's own plea for death due to his failure, she would not do it.

"Kitana!" Shao Kahn called out.

She closed her fan. "I show you mercy." She turned to leave the man there…though the loud crackle of Shao Kahn's energy filled the air with the approving cheers of the crowd. She had no need to glance back…she knew the man had been killed at the hands of Kahn regardless of Kitana's call of mercy. She froze, her eyes widening as the dying screams of the man entered her ears. Would that be the fate of Liu Kang had she acted out of line? Killed in the most cowardly fashion?

"Kitana!" Kahn shouted, "You will join me!" He motioned his head toward the side, signaling for his daughter to stand on the other side of the throne.

She obeyed…coming to stand on the opposing side as her sister.

Mileena glanced over at her, seeing the troubled gaze in her sister's eyes. She hadn't known what was wrong…, but she did not see the big deal in the loss of a life they had no connection to. At least with her current somewhat angry mood. Her eyes glanced over the lined up warriors…when suddenly they stopped. She took a double take as she spotted Kuai Liang approaching. Her heart fluttered, her stomach went into knots, her knees felt weak upon his sight. "Kuai Liang…" She spoke softly.

"Shao Kahn! I demand the whereabouts of Shang Tsung and Quan Chi! I demand that they bring forth the identity of my brother's killer!" He pointed two fingers toward the Emperor. "You will bring them before me…"

Sheeva stepped forth. "Foolish piece of excrement!" She growled, "No one makes demands of the emperor!"

Shao Kahn lifted his hand to silence Sheeva. "Had I known where the two fools have been, I would break their legs for being late. I will give you a challenger until they arrive. Should you survive…, perhaps you will get the information you seek." Among the challengers, he leaned over to Sheeva, speaking a whisper. "…Fetch Skarlet." Clearing his throat, he sat up straight again. "Baraka. Face our Lin Kuei challenger…"

Seeing Baraka step forward, Mileena's fingers clutched into her palm. The last she saw these two in the same place…Kuai Liang was killed. The battle was set to begin…and deep down, Mileena was hoping Kuai Liang would pass whatever test came his way. As Sheeva began to depart, Mileena's worry only increased. Depsite the fact she saw Jade arrive…and Kitana was at her side…something in her gut told her that this would not end as smoothly as it once did in the past….
 

JSteele

New member
Chapter 7: The Fall of Kahn

"I will end you, Lin Kuei…" Baraka promised, clinching up his fists and extending his razor tipped blades from his forearms. Baraka's senses were all active for this battle. He could smell Sub-Zero's initial fear of the blades, he could see the subtle movements of his body while he took stance against him. There was no way Baraka would lose this battle before Shao Kahn's eyes again.

"An unlikely event." Kuai Liang narrowed his eyes on Baraka. "I will find my brother's killer, and they will die…" He vowed, clinching his own fists while ice ran up along his knuckles, rapidly coating over his forearms and biceps in means of defense. Yet and still, his frosted arms remained flexible as he took forth to Baraka.

The two clashed furiously. Sub-Zero's technique was proving formidable to Baraka's own. Neither man was able to land a single strike. Constantly, Baraka would swing for vital areas of Sub-Zero's body, only to be met with only air. In kind, Sub-Zero's strikes were met with the blunt backs of his blades to parry them. Eventually, Baraka sunk those blades in once he saw the flexibility he needed to battle Sub-Zero. He stepped in closer, having his feet between Sub-Zero's. He attempted to raise his knee to the groin, though Kuai Liang bent his leg to block the rising limb with his shin. In response, Kuai Liang fired his forehead forth to collide with Baraka's own skull.

Staggered, the Tarkatan made space between he and Sub-Zero. When the Lin Kuei tried to close in for further strikes, Baraka brought his foot up to kick him directly in his chest to back him up. The backs of his knuckles met Sub-Zero's jaw, followed up with a direct strike of his knuckles across his face. As the ninja staggered, he swung up toward Baraka's jaw, only to be met by an open palm. The dangerous tactician twisted the fist and arm downward, dropping his heavy forearm across Sub-Zero's chest with enough force to make his heart skip a beat.

As Sub-Zero hit the ground, Mileena gasped, holding her hands to her face.

"The contest a bit too thrilling for you, child?" Kahn said, glancing over toward Mileena. Something was very strange about her, indeed.

Kitana moved near Mileena's side, placing a hand on her shoulder as the battle between Sub-Zero and Baraka proceeded. She gave Mileena's shoulder a squeeze, whispering. "It will be alright…"

Sub-Zero had not been allowed to rise. Constantly, Baraka would kick the ninja while he was down, right in the ribs. As Sub-Zero managed to block one of those incoming feet and shove Baraka away, the angered Tarkatan kicked the dirt along the Coliseum floors right into his eyes. "Hah!"

"Do not fight as a coward, Baraka!" Mileena's voice broke, shrugging her shoulder away from Kitana. Her fists were curled tightly, not having a care for what any would say of her behavior.

"Mileena..!" Kitana pulled her back. She wanted to keep up the façade of loyalty to Kahn best she could, but Mileena's emotions…especially for Kuai Liang were not her's to control.

All eyes went to Mileena for that moment. Most importantly…Baraka's. The confusion that displayed on his face went through a range of emotions. Surprise…,confusion, realization…and then anger. His blood boiled as if he'd just caught the scent of a rival male Tarkatan. His eyes lowered, searching the dusty ground for several moments as Sub-Zero recovered. This male was one Mileena had feelings for? Each blade burst from his forearms. He turned to face his opponent. "You!" He barked, swinging his blade overhead with intentions of simply cleaving the Lin Kuei down the middle.

Sub-Zero did his best to avoid contact…and failed to do so in a small way. Rather than being split down the middle, his sudden movement only allowed him to suffer a long cut along one side of his face, spewing with crimson vitality along his face.

As he fell to the ground, Baraka drew his arms back with plans to drive those blades through his hear and lung with each. While they came downward, a shrill cry was heard.

"No!" Mileena sprung from her position, tackling Baraka down to the ground and away from Sub-Zero. "No!" She continued on while raining her fists down over his face repeatedly. Pulling back bloodied knuckles with each strike.

"Traitor! Guards!" Kahn directed, "Kitana, kill her! Your emperor demands it!"

The crowd went into a frenzy, some booing, others cheering on the chaos ensuing below. Several guards started to rush to the battle with their blades and spears drawn.

In Mileena's blinded rage, she hadn't a care for any of them as they closed in to kill her. Kitana herself had yet to budge at Kahn's command…and Mileena's fate seemed to be sealed.

That was until a sudden blur of green rushed across her vision, pulling her from Baraka's body. In the same motion, three of the approaching guards were struck across their faces with a blinding purple light. Rapidly spinning her staff, Jade stood with one hand on her staff, the other at Mileena's arm. The guards backed up a bit, surrounding the two women, the beaten Tarkatan, and bleeding Lin Kuei.

"Getting into trouble, I see…" Jade commented as she released Mileena's arm. "There is no purpose for us to further hide I would say." She darted her sights to Mileena who stood at her side. "Hm?"

"Mileena…would say…" Both Sai were drawn from her sleeves. "Jade is correct!" She growled, hunching down as she faced the opposing section of guards Jade faced.

"What are you waiting for? Kill them!" Kahn commanded the guards, then faced his so-called loyal daughter Kitana. "And you as well, or I shall kill you!"

The guards bypassed Kuai Liang and Baraka, and closed in on Mileena and Jade. Each woman remaining close to one another while the blades came forth. Mileena was blocking high with each Sai and striking furiously against the guards vulnerable points. Their necks, eyes, and unarmored arms and lower abdomens became subject of punctures and jabs from her rapid moving Sai.

Jade on the other hand was successfully blocking any means of attack with a windmill motion of her staff. Sweeping low, several were knocked off of their feet and disposed of via being trampled by their own men.

Eathrealm and Outworld warriors alike stood in marvel of the chaos that ensued. Johnny Cage in particular was breath taken by the sudden excitement that surged up. "…Hey guys?" Cage said, "Always wanted to do this…" He cleared his throat…speeding aside with a Shadow Kick to the jaw of Kano, successfully taking him down among the other Outworlders. "…MORTAL KOMBAT!" He shouted at the top of his lungs, diving in to begin assisting Mileena and Jade, along with the other Earthrealm Warriors while Raiden waited far from the battle.

Among the Outworlders were Kano and several members of the Tarkatan horde. The massive brawl only grew larger as Kahn commanded more and more of his finest men to join into it!

Still in intense combat, Jade managed to behead a group of soldiers with her bladearang, catching it on the rebound skillfully. After doing so, a Tarkatan warrior sprung over the falling bodies and pounced Jade down. Each hand wrapped around her neck with enough force to make her eyes bulge.

"Jade!" Mileena sensed Jade was in trouble! She turned to save her, but was met with a hairy arm wrapped around her throat. "Augh?"

"Oi, you smell good, dove!" Kano chuckled, flicking a butterfly knife in his left hand. "Let's go aside and have some fun, aye?"

While this chaos ensued, Kitana faced Kahn."I will do what I must." She could have attacked him with her bladed tessen. She could have been irresponsible and took care of him first. Even though Earth warriors were assisting her sister and Jade, she would not risk losing them in this scuffle. She jumped into combat with the others. She landed directly on top of the Tarkatan choking Jade, and with a swift motion, snapped his neck in a full one-hundred-eighty degree snap. Tossing the body off Jade, Kitana grasped the fallen Bladarang and tossed it toward Kano who tried to drag Mileena off. The blade swung true, dipping and diving over others directly to the only eye Kano had left. The slice darted across his cheek bone and tore into the surface of his eye with a swift sawing motion.

"Oi! My bloody eye…!" Kano shouted, loosening his grip around Mileena's neck.

As she pulled free, her Sais drove down into his knees simultaneously, splattering blood against her hands. Once she yanked back, her foot flew directly to his crotch. As he bellowed in pain, Mileena narrowly avoided a flying Liu Kang who kicked a much larger guard clear from her path with a great war cry. Mileena moved once she had a clear shot to her sister and Jade, joining their side in fending off the mass amount of soldiers at Kahn's employ.

"Sheeva! Skarlet! Kill them all!" Kahn was growing annoyed at his throne.

As ordered prior, Sheeva returned with Skarlet in her shackles, as well as Kintaro. Once they were broken…the entire mood of battle shifted. The Shokan cracked her knuckles, starting ahead. "Mileena, Princess Kitana, Jade. I am sorry. Had you not dishonored yourself I would not have to - …"

A blast of cold overcame the two Shokanfrom the crowd. Within seconds, Sheeva and Kintaro were a large block of ice simply sitting outside of the combat zone. With Skarlet on quick approach, Sub-Zero stepped outside of the crowd to face her.

 

JSteele

New member
With the blood running from his face, Skarlet simply glared at it, forcing the upper portion of the wound to rip apart slightly wider and drop more blood onto the ground. Screaming in pain, Sub-Zero was unable to focus on the approaching woman. She drew her blade and stabbed herself in the stomach, instantly collapsing into a puddle of blood, and reappearing from the small amount of blood dropped in the dirt from Sub-Zero's wound. She drove her first beneath his chin, knocking him clear from his feet and back within the crowd.

"Kuai Liang?" Mileena saw him take flight, and with the thinning opposition, Skarlet became a quick target. Smoke was the first to approach her after Sub-Zero was stricken, he was sliced across the chest twice, the second knocking him up and over. She was quick, and moved with an agility not even matched by the Kunoichi among the kombatants. Smoke was grasped by the ankle as he came down, swung like a bat into the other Kombatants with a simple toss. She had her sights set on Kitana, Jade, and Mileena.

Knives were thrown in every direction, barely missing even Liu Kang who tried to approach Skarlet. Down the line she went, Johnny Cage was done away with by a kick to the crotch, and hard chop behind the head. Kung Lao was met with a high block, and a slice of her dagger right across his abdomen, and a stab into his thigh. While he called out in pain. Liu Kang was the next to break his attention fully from the thinning forces of Kahn. Before he could get any fight going with Skarlet, a green ball of energy struck him in his chest from Kahn's throne.

"Hahaha…" Amused, the Emporor continued to watch Skarlet's rampage to the three women.

"Skarlet…" Jade said under her breath, rotating her staff. A set of knives flew through the air to Jade, and each became caught up in the cyclone of her staff. Once Skarlet closed in, the quick red clad woman easily began to overpower Jade, landing hard strikes to her face with her open hand, humiliating the guardian of Kitana. Even as Jade accelerated, she was still just barely able to meet Skarlet blow for blow.

Kitana joined in next, and even her strikes were met and countered by Skarlet. Kitana was soon met with pain as a sharp blade ripped across her upper thigh. "Augh!"

Mileena jumped in next, pouncing Skarlet from behind, stabbing her across the chest and breast violently, trying to find her heart with each blow. Despite the calls of pain, Skarlet burst into a bubble of blood, splashing over the three women. Mileena fell to the ground on her feet, and suddenly Skarlet was on her back, jabbing Mileena in the shoulders with her daggers. Mileena screamed in pain, until those daggers were ripped out of her flesh. As she fell forward, the wounds began to shut, but the pain was still very present.

Jade was met with a sudden knee below her chin, and an overhead strike over the back of her cranium. Turning, Skarlet sent a fist beneath Kitana's jaw, a short series of quick jabs, and finally a roundhouse kick to throw her clean off of her feet. Turning to face Kahn among the dying chaos, she took a bow…one that would prove fatal.

"Heads up!" Jade called as her foot thrust toward Skarlet's face with a speed rivaled by a bolt of lightning. Skarlet was sent straight into the air, and with Jade's trained eye, she followed her path. Her staff was revived and stuck into the ground. Skarlet came crashing down over the staff, having it drive through her back and out of her torso in a grand spray of blood. Jade went to grasp her by the head…but Skarlet dissolved into blood once more.

Beneath Kitana, four tendrils of blood shot up, lifting her off of the ground and just high enough above everyone else for Skarlet to reappear with her dagger held tightly in hand. As she prepared to swing, an unseen force brought her to a pause. Skarlet struggled, glancing toward her arm as a transparent figure started to become clear to her with the bending lights.

"No…" The invisible entity simply spoke, drawing Skarlet's arm down right into her own stomach. As the blood powered assassin fell into a puddle of blood, Khameleon made herself known. Her attire bending the light around her to give her a red hue, commanding the blood to drop the princess safely. "Go!" Khameleon pointed Kitana off toward Shao Kahn.

"…Right…!" Kitana got to her feet, though the front of her attire was stained with Skarlet's blood. The crowd of Tarkata continued to pour in, but Kitana charged through the crowd with her tessen drawn. Liu Kang had already made his way to the throne, currently challenging Khan to Kombat away from the others. Kitana knew this outcome..., but she could not risk it, especially with the pending freedom of the frozen Shokan.

Kitana jumped in only after Liu Kang fell prey to a rather cheap charge of Kahn's shoulder into Liu Kang's chest. "Shao Kahn!" She called out, tossing her Tessen to Kahn's back. As the blood sprayed across the ground, Shao Kahn roared and turned his attention to his traitorous daughter.

"You…" Kahn held his hammer tightly in hand. "I knew I should have never allowed Sindel to persuade me of your worth!" He swung high overhead, but Kitana avoided contact by rolling aside. His swift daughter however was no match for the upward swing of the hammer, cracking her just beneath the jaw and sending her skyward.

"Kahn!" Mileena's voice rang out, pouncing onto the emperor's back. Her teeth sunk into his neck and shoulder, ripping away at the flesh in order to protect Kitana.​
 

JSteele

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Howling in pain, Kahn's large hand reached up, getting a hand full of Mileena's hair and whipping her over his shoulder and to the ground. "You little abomination! You will die for your betrayal!" He lifted the hammer, and swung it downward, only to collide with the transparent hands of Khameleon.

The light bended around her body…emulating the rust color of Kahn's own armor. Within seconds, she began to overpower even Kahn's god-like strength, pushing the hammer up and away from the downed Kunoichi."For endless years you have gone without punishment. My people and all others have suffered because of your tyranny! No longer!" Khameleon shouted, struggling against Kahn's strength.

"Foolish Saurian…! You will die as the rest of your pathetic race!" He strained his muscles, but he could not gain any advantage of Khameleon. She had completely mimicked his strength! He resorted to cheap tactics, drawing his foot up to knock the Saurian far away from him. Enough time was bought however for Liu Kang, Kitana, and Mileena to begin recovery. "Now, you will all bow for eternity-…!"

Through his stomach, a bright burning purple light appeared. Jade drove her staff clean through his flesh and held it there to let the reality of his vulnerability sink in. "It is over! Liu Kang, finish him!" Jade used her strength to whip Kahn off of her staff and toward Liu Kang.

As the monk jumped to his feet, he held his fist up, igniting it with his spiritual flame. The burning fist of the Shaolin went right through Kahn's chest and out of his back. The strike was heard around the entire arena. The crowd fell silent, the Tarkata and remaining guardians ended their battle against the Earth warriors. Blood was shed, every warrior held cuts and bruises to remember this day by. The light of the gods shined brightly above as Kang removed his fist from Kahn's chest.

The Tarkata stood down…gathering Baraka's unconscious body and carrying him off from the coliseum. The remaining guardians of Kahn tended to his body in their last mean of service in their failure.

The battle was over. "The Elder Gods have spoken…" Raiden said, watching the display of lights. Earth realm is free of Shao Kahn…forever."

"…Yeah, and it only took three chicks, an invisible chick, and Bruce Lee to do it." Johnny Cage said, coming to stand from the ground. "Augh…those were five hundred dollar sunglasses, asshole." He muttered, kicking the head of a now dead Tarkatan.

"…Shao Kahn is dead. Still…I have yet to find my brother's killer…" Kuai Liang punched the ground, bringing himself to a full stand. "…Tomas, are you fairing well, my friend?" Sub-Zero said to the approaching friend of his.

"Yes. It is nothing I have not been through before." He stopped a few feet ahead of his bleeding comrade. "You need to have that looked at. Your brothers assassin can be sought another day. Your health is of greater importance."

"Yes…, but with the traitorous Lin Kuei after us, returning to Earthrealm may be foolish." Kuai Liang glanced about, spotting the woman which had saved him from a possible early demise at Baraka's hands. Her veil was down…her facial features resembling that of one of the Tarkata sprawled on the ground. What drove her to protect him in such a way? "Excuse me, Tomas." He parted with his comrade, approaching Mileena, Kitana, and Jade who stood off to the side from the celebration occurring around Liu Kang.

"Excuse me, Miss." Sub-Zero reached out, grasping Mileena's shoulder lightly. When she turned, her look was truly more horrifying up close than it was from afar. Though her fear displayed in her yellow eyes. She was nervous, he could tell. She was unlike the other Tarkata…as she seemed to be untainted by rage. "I thank you for earlier. Though my wound…brings me great pain…it would be much worse without your help."

If she were able to, Mileena would have kissed him right then and there. Instead, she nervously poked her fingers together looking up to the Lin Kuei warrior. Jade pushed her forward lightly, and Mileena stuttered in her attempt to speak. "M-M-Mileena is…h-h-happy to help."

"Mileena." Kuai Liang smiled behind his mask. He placed his fist over his heart, taking a slight bow. "I am Kuai Liang. I am in debt to you. Your companions have assisted in a great victory." Examining the other two women with his only opened eye, he recognized but one. "Princess Kitana. It is also an honor."

"Likewise, Sub-Zero." She kept things professional, "This is my guardian, Jade. And my newest friend is among us…somewhere."

"Khameleon." Appearing to have lightly bronzed human flesh, the disguised Saurian stood alongside Kitana.

The scent of Khameleon was extremely similar to Reptile's. Mileena's eyes shot right over to her. To think…Reptile was out somewhere in the world…and here was a female of his race right next to her.

As the others conversed, Raiden took this time to consult his amulet. He expected the cracks to heal…and one by one, they did indeed. Once the amulet was complete, several cracks began to return, slightly more severe than before. "What…? How can this – "

There was a sudden explosion of green light from the group of guards that carried the heavy body of Shao Kahn. The ground shook, the frozen Shokan were broken free, but toppled over, many people were shaken from their feet and onto the ground. Once the explosion of energy ended…Mileena found herself near Jade. Unlike the others, Jade remained…motionless on the ground.

"Jade?...Jade are you okay?" Mileena hovered over her fallen friend. "Jade? Sister! Check her pulse!" Panicked, Mileena continued to call Jade's name…but in the woman's ears, the voices were getting further, and further away.​

( Meanwhile )​

Jade appeared within the mysterious realm. She sat up with a sudden gasp for air. The cold rocks beneath her body inspired her to get to her feet quickly. She was within a very long tunnel…voices whispering her name came from every direction…even writing with her name in various languages burned against the walls of the cavern. She started down the tunnel…toward the bright light at it's end. "Hello?" She called out. "Mileena? Kitana?" She got no response. The ground beneath her feet trembled and broke apart, creating a great gap in the tunnel. Plateaus of rock bridged the gap, but the endless drop below them made the feat of traveling those gaps all the more dangerous.

Jade jumped from rock to rock…each responding to her weight differently. Some sunk down slowly, others not at all. Rocks broke apart, stretching the path further and further away from her as the voices started screaming her name among the low whispers.​
 

JSteele

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By the time she reached the end of the tunnel…the light dimmed down just enough to reveal the shimmering woman before her again.

"I know you have questions…" The woman's regal voice echoed all around Jade. The mysterious woman watched as Jade stood petrified before her. "I will answer all questions for as long as this link between us lasts…"

"..You told me Edenia is a lie. What is this you speak?" Her brows furrowed, as she took a step forward along the floating platform she currently stood on. "Why is it I am often brought here?"

"Do you truly believe that Jerrod, Sindel, and Kitana are the true rulers of Edenia, Jade? Have you truly been so ignorant in both of your lives?" An amused chuckle left her lips. "Sindel and Jerrod only came into power after your father and I were murdered in cold blood. Our Edenia was taken from us…and blanket of deception has overcome the realm. You were born ignorant to your true heritage…and made a slave among the Edenians to look after the child of those who murdered your own…"

"This is not true." Jade defended, "My parents died in the Mortal Kombat tournament, not by King Jerrod or Queen Sindel!"

"Did they now? What purpose does your mother have lying when I am the only among us who is truly dead?" Jade's mother's arms crossed over her armored chest… "You are a slave, Jade. A puppet to the Edenian throne. Edenia is rightfully yours. The realms are rightfully yours! Do not allow Kitana and her mutilated sibling to tell you any less…"

"No…, you are not my mother!" She pointed toward the shimmering woman, and despite the resemblance…she had to deny it. She could not believe this! "What is this trickery?"

"Since my death I have seen all. I have seen through the eyes of many warriors…but I have only lived because of you, my child…" She turned, tossing her hand back to open up a portal. It was the scene of Armageddon. The great pyramid's apex was shown…with the corpse of Raiden surrounded by the smoking corpses of Mileena, Kitana, and Jade. "The time you have entered will come into chaos. If you do not take back Edenia for your own…Kitana's feeble leadership will lead to the rebirth of Onaga."

While Jade watched closer the ghost of Liu Kang sat in mourning near Kitana's body. His ghostly hand coming over her forehead, caressing it in hopes her death hadn't been true. Though meanwhile in the distance, a storm was approaching. Led by that of the fallen Elder God, Shinnok. "Let me have your body, my child. I will send you to your real time…and you can undo the damage of Armageddon and truly stop Shinnok…" Her hand drew away to open another gateway. "Or you can return to your new home as a slave until the new Armageddon occurs…the choice is yours."

Jade clinched her fist. Shinnok still lived in the former time…? His threat was also still imminent in the new time she lived within. If she could defeat Shinnok in the former…all could be revived from what her…'mother' made it sound like. Though at the same time, she could prevent all of those deaths by remaining where she was. The choice…was very much so difficult for her to make…but…

"I have made my decision…"

( Bonus Ending )

The warriors of Earth cleared the coliseum…but six figured stood among the remains. Shang Tsung and his wife Denise, the now one-armed Quan Chi, Tanya, and the two cyborgs known as Cyrax and Sektor. They seemed to be…discussing something among one another.

"Very well," Shang Tsung chuckled. "As the emperor regenerates with the help of my colleague, I will continue to play the fool. Once the invasion begins, Earthrealm will be yours to assimilate at will."

"And Shao Kahn?" Sektor asked, "How is it he will be taken out of the picture?"

"Easy," Tanya interrupted him. "I've been meeting with some of my colleagues; Rain, Reiko, Baraka…, and Kano here…" She motioned to the injured man lying on the floor. "They plan to overthrow Kahn when he least expects it. Their combined force should be enough, and if not, we shall intervene."

"I would suggest we make it more than enough." Sektor's glowing eyes focused in on Tanya. "I understand Bi Han is now in your service. Good. Since you've one of our own, we will be taking a few of yours for assimilation. The Tarkata seem more capable than we originally thought. Our targets Smoke and Tundra are marked for termination only now…"

"Feel free to take the Tarkatans." Denise rolled her eyes, "And for goodness sake, take Kano with you. A man of his personality is close enough to a machine."

"I can still bloody hear you!" Kano called from the ground.

"Shut the hell up." Denise kicked Kano in the side as hard as she could. "You are lucky I don't slay you where you lay!"

"Desnie, enough." Shang held his arm out.

She pushed it aside. "Do not embarrass me in front of our guests! You have done enough with your attempt at being sexual just hours ago!"

"…I do believe this is far too much information." Cyrax spoke, but double checked with Sektor who agreed with a motion of his helmet.

"Hah! Old Shang tryin' to get a last minute shag in, was he?"

"Silence!" Shang Tsung this time kicked at Kano, grunting after doing so. "Take Kano. Do your worst to him and be sure he is geared for elimination of Kahn. Take the Tarkatan remains…and do destroy those…useless Shokan!"

"…Understood." Sektor and Cyrax both took a bow…

"Hey hey! I didn't agree to becomin' a robot—Ow!"

Denise jumped on his back, starting to stomp Kano's head! "Shut! The! Hell! Up!" – At least until Shang Tsung pulled her off!​
 

JSteele

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Chapter 8: A New Beginning

It has been five months since Shao Kahn was last seen. Though this is…significantly longer than I predicted; the peace we've enjoyed since his defeat is highly accepted. Perhaps we've fixed things with this second chance. However it happened, I am eternally thankful. There is however a few things that have not been fixed. There are loose ends that I haven't gotten rid of in hopes that things will play out further. Quan Chi has not summoned my mother, I have not issued any orders to get rid of Kahn's remaining forces in Outworld, and I have focused solely on my time here ruling the reborn Edenia as its Princess.

Mileena couldn't be happier. Even if the nobles look down on it, she is still my blood, my essence. She is as much of Edenian royalty as I. Khameleon has worked as part of our new military. She seems very happy to be part of our efforts to defend ourselves and maintain peace. Sub-Zero and Smoke remained on Edenia for several months, but have come and gone to Earthrealm with the help of Lord Raiden. Today is the day he is to hold a dual realm tournament to recruit the new Lin Kuei students. Mileena is truly excited about this.

Liu Kang and I have gotten close again. I say 'again' as if he's aware there was anything between us prior…, but I'm just glad we've become established. However, his loyalty remains to Earthrealm. That has yet to change. I've been strongly considering…things. So that we could finally be together, have the happy ending I've always wanted. Though I can't leave here now. I…would feel horrible leaving Mileena all alone…, and leaving Jade in the state she's in. She has not woken up since that day. Mr. Nido has remained here with us for her hopeful recovery, but even he seems to be losing hope.

My thoughts are all unfocused – I'm sorry for that. Here I am, apologizing to myself for my own words. I'll end things here…and press on with my day. The tournament is set to begin shortly.

Sincerely,

Kitana.


Kitana stood from her desk and placed her feathered pin off to the side. As she stood up, the cool breeze blowing through the silky curtains of her balcony gathered her attention. It was quite the season on Edenia – the year-long warm season had only just begun. She moved slowly across her spacious room, hearing the echo of her heeled boots against the marble floors. The faint sound of activity outside of her castle coming to hear ears the closer she got to the lightly moving curtains. She stepped onto the balcony's stone floors, immediately meeting the bright glare of the sun sitting just feet over the rolling hills. Kitana tried to shield her eyes, but as soon as she reached the railing all had become clear.

She placed her hand on the stone rails and viewed her lands. Miles and miles of her people working, playing, and socializing down several stories below. She smiled seeing them all at peace…returning to a life that they had not known for ages. The rebuilding process was slow physically, but emotionally Kitana had repaired her entire realm. Another breeze rolled in and blew her flowing strands back. As the thick strands danced with the wind momentarily, Kitana took in a deep breath of the fresh air. It was time to visit the combat grounds.

She stepped out of her room and immediately was greeted by her door-side guards.

"Good day, Princess Kitana!" Raizar said, standing up straight immediately. "You're looking beautiful today!"

His words drew a growl from his brother Kaizar, whom punched his armored shoulder once Kitana passed. "Idiot! That'd mean she wasn't beautiful before! You've got to talk to women right!"

The princess sighed, waving her hand dismissively. "No need for words. Keep sharp eyes." She proceeded down the wide hallway, being greeted by all of her royal subjects as she went along. She was much more polite to them – due to their lack of annoying her as much as Kaizar and Raizar.

"Brother…," Raizor muttered from behind his helmet. "…Do you think she likes us?"

"Of course!" Kaizor nodded reassuring his brother. "That is why we have such jobs!"

Raizor wasn't so sure…" Well…we were only promoted because the other two got sick…"

"…Sh..shut up!" Kaizor kicked his brother's shin as hard as he could, making him grasp at it, hopping on a single leg at Kitana's door.

Having left the fools completely down the hall, Kitana headed downstairs. Her first stop was to that of the medical wing of the castle. Jade had her own room to herself, where she was being taken care of by a small set of workers at all hours, in case any progress in her waking up. She was allowed access as soon as the guards near the door saw her, as expected. Upon entering the room, Kitana felt her mood sink to the pits of Edenia. It was hard…seeing Jade laying there…and only the slow rise and fall of her chest as proof of her life. Even harder seeing that Nido was kneeling near her bed, holding onto her hand in silent prayer.

Kitana stood by repsectfully waiting for Nido to stand up before she said anything. She noticed the man was dressed for combat…his spear was strapped at his back, and his light amount of armor differed from his usual casual Earth attire. "Are you returning to Earthrealm, Nido?"

The man shook his head. "I'm gonna get in on this tournament." He looked over his shoulder while he started to angle himself to look at Kitana behind him. "I've got a lot of frustrations to get out of my system. Figure if I manage to win and become a Lin Kuei apprentice, I can improve my skills. Maybe get in good with some sages…help Jade out, somehow."

She placed her hands in front of herself and dipped her chin toward her neck. "I see." She looked to Jade for a brief while, then back to Nido. "I wish you the best of luck. I just want you to know Jade is in good hands. You don't have to do this for her. She would want you to enjoy your life…, to be sure your family is safe. I'm sure they're worried."

"With all due respect, princess." He paused a moment. "There's nothin' you can say to make me wanna do otherwise. My instincts are telling me this is the right thing to do. I can't just sit back and wait for someone else to help her." He turned his visions to the unconscious woman and stroked the coarse beard forming along his jawline. "Sounds crazy, right? I just can't shake it. It feels like I've known her for a lifetime. I barely know her…, but…" He struggled to define just what it was he was feeling. It was the way she looked at him, the way she spoke to him, the way he felt around her. It wasn't even the feeling of a crush – it was much stronger. It was like someone else's feelings were overtaking him – or déjà vu. "I…just know this is what my gut's telling me to do. I've got to at least try."

The princess understood him completely. She wasn't very into being idle when there was something she could do many times. Though she didn't see just how it could improve Jade's chances of being awakened even if he did win. It must have been a desperate heart trying to find some reasoning not to feel so bleak. "You have a good heart, Nido. I look forward to seeing you compete." She took a step closer to Jade. The machines helping support her beeped on occasion to show her vital statics were still balanced. "Stay strong. We all are doing our best to stay positive." She reached out to touch Jade's forehead, smoothing her hand over her skin. It brought a small smile to her face, to feel the warmth of her life still lingering there. "How are you doing today, Jade?" She spoke softly, knowing that her friend couldn't respond to her. "Oh? Well…, try being in my shoes. I've got to come down here every day and do your makeup. I simply cannot have you look anything less than splendid." She giggled to herself softly. It even made Nido smile a little. "I'm still here for you, alright? I don't have much news for you today, butthat tournament is today. I really should go get ready to watch the festivities. I will return later with full details of each match." She leaned down and placed a kiss on top of Jade's head. "…I miss you, my friend. Please, return to us." It was how she ended each of their visits since the day she'd collapsed.

Kitana stood up again, turning toward the door. "I will see you at the arena, Nido." She gave a nod to him as she passed and returned to the hall outside.
 

JSteele

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Side Event #16: Rivals

Time was closing in. The fighters were getting assembled. Tensions were high among them all – except for Mileena. She was more excited to see Kuai Liang once again. Today was her big break, afterall! If she won this tournament, she could secure a spot as Kuai Liang's new apprentice! She could be around him all day! He could take her to Earthrealm! Perhaps they could even be together! Oh it was too much for her heart to take! All while preparing for the coming fights, Mileena was giggling up a storm.

The tournament had very strict rules for combat to ensure everyone survived. It was a different type of fighting…, but Mileena was sure she could 'play' with many of those involved. None of the ones she'd seen gathered looked half as skilled as Sub-Zero nor herself. That was…until two women arrived. One woman was wrapped up head to toe in black wrapping. She wore a red mask over her lower face, and the wraps only left her eyes exposed. Her slim figure was draped in a large red hooded kimono, concealing her arms down near her fingertips. Her mystique kept Mileena's attention. Due to the condition of what bandages were visible, it seemed she'd been in combat prior to her arrival. Her eyes were dark and experienced with pain. Perhaps she was one for Mileena to worry about?

The other arrived not long after. She immediately felt this woman's presence as a threat. She had pale, cold skin. Her hair was spiked backward and frozen over…, and her facial mask expelling light amounts of mist with every breath she took. Was she like Kuai Liang? Was she alreadya Lin Kuei? Whoever this young woman was, she, much like the other, seemed to be more focused on the competition than socializing like many of the Edenians and Earthlings gathered. Against her better instincts, Mileena decided it was best to get to know these women a little bit. "Hello." Mileena said as she moved toward the women as they were getting their number drawn for their entry order. "Mileena was wondering when more skilled warriors would arrive. She is glad you showed yourselves. Though you are not familiar."

"Xue Fang," The frosty woman said. "A pleasure." She seemed entirely too busy to deal with much idle chat. She turned away from Mileena immediately and looked ahead of herself. The large square ring was awaiting them. From their spot on the ground, she could see all the spectators beginning to file in.

The other woman spoke softly, almost in a whisper. "Fukushu…" Her attention strayed from Mileena just moments before Sub-Zero stepped across the ring to stand at its center. Her eyes locked in on his form, fist clinching up beneath her oversized sleeve.

Mileena could sense the moment of hostility…, but perhaps it was just Fukushu's way of threatening her fellow competitors. "…Mileena wishes the both of you the best of luck." She stepped back, having gathered all she needed to know for now. Sub-Zero's presence made butterflies flutter through her stomach…, but she had to remove herself for now to focus. There was at least twenty minutes before the tournament began… more than enough time to prepare herself.
 

JSteele

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Chapter 9: The Tournament; Round 1

"Ladies and Gentlemen!" Kuai Liang spoke as he stood in the center of the rather large square platform of a ring. "I welcome you to the Lin Kuei's first ever induction tournament! Of all the years the Lin Kuei have existed, this is the first time our clan has lived a peaceful existence. Many of you must be aware of what the former clan has become…the now false Lin Kuei called the Tekunin." The now fully cybernetic clan of former Lin Kuei warriors was completely obedient to Sektor now. Kuai Liang had been at war with these robotic assassins for several months, and he knew he needed the biggest and best warriors among his ranks to take them down…hence, this recruitment tournament. "Their ways are not what true Lin Kuei should live by. We are not petty assassins. We are not thieves. We are men and women who aim to protect and preserve the ancient teachings that were lost and corrupted so long ago. We…are the Lin Kuei!"

Sub-Zero's words were given applause by the members of the Lin Kuei he and Tomas managed to rescue from assimilation. The Edenians and various warriors also joined in on the applause to the current Grand Master.

"Now, allow me to explain the rules of this tournament." He was sure some of them were expecting a gore-fest much like Mortal Kombat, but they would be sadly mistaken. "The only way to win is by knock out, submission, or being knocked out of the ring with both feet touching the floor," He explained further, "Death, stabbing, and amputating are not allowed. If you must use a weapon, it must not be able to cause any serious injuries. The moment this is done, you will be disqualified as a potential member of our clan. A warrior must know how to battle without his or her weapons at their disposal." This put a damper on many warriors fighting style, but that was the point of it all. Some of those most affected were probably Mileena and Nido, but if they were serious about this he knew they would adapt. "The first match will begin shortly. Princess Kitana has prepared a ceremony of dance and song to be performed by some of Edenia's most talented dancers and musicians. Enjoy."

With the applause of the crowd, Sub-Zero began to exit the stage. He was going to consult with Tomas about the participants briefly, but he did have intentions to meet with Mileena before the fighting began.

Speaking of the half-Tarkatan woman, she was warming up in the area set aside for the competitors to get themselves ready for their fights. Several warriors were scattered about to get themselves centered. For her own peaceful ritual, Mileena did a series of stretches with her arms and legs. Just as she stood up from doing an entire warm-up of her strong legs, she suddenly felt the presence of another. The sudden light impact on the ground near her was the crouching Khamaleon coming to pay her a visit. She was not alone, either.

"Mileena," Kitana spoke up to her sister. The expression on her face showed just how proud she was with her clone's progress. The fact she was driven enough to participate without her Sais amazed her. Her pursuit for Sub-Zero was…admirable. "I wanted to come by to personally wish you luck. Are you at all nervous?"

The pale, scaly Khameleon stood up and shook her head. "There is no trepidation that I can sense from her. I have confidence in her of myriad levels."

Even with the presence of her sister and newest friend, Mileena's confidence was a little thrown off. Out of the three of them she was the only one wearing a mask. She refused to go without it until she had the courage to show Kuai Liang her true face. Her moment of silence was broken by a giggle. "Kitana, Khameleon, Mileena is glad you came to say such." She bowed her head lightly.
 

JSteele

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"Sister," Kitana made contact by placing her hand on her shoulder. "I know how much this means to you. I will be cheering for you the entire way! Just remember; when this is all over with, please send me post cards from Earthrealm, okay?" She shared light laughter with her twin.

Even as Mileena laughed, her confidence was fading more. She was getting nervous about it. What if Kuai Liang only wished for her to be an apprentice and nothing more? Surely if he were interested, he would have been courting her by now. What if she didn't win? Then what? Kuai Liang would return to Earth and she may never see him again. "Mileena will do so…!"

"I want you to be careful." Khameleon picked up on Mileena's emotions. She felt the need to get her focused with her task at hand rather than her goal. "I had the opportunity to see your opponent. His name is Krad; he seems to be dead-set on securing this apprentice ship. He has not let Sub-Zero out of his sights since he arrived."

Mileena picked up on Khameleon's tone. She must have known a little more than what she let on. Even so, Mileena simply took this into mind. She knew now that she could not lose. If this person was an assassin, he would not get close enough to Kuai Liang to harm a single hair on his head. "Mileena will defeat him. There is none who will get in her way…"

"That is what I want to hear!" The princess grinned while she stepped back. She heard a set of footsteps heading their way. "Khameleon, come. Mileena has another visitor." She glanced over her shoulder and moved beyond her sister. "Good luck!"

When the women walked around her she had a clear view of Kuai Liang heading her way. Her heart stopped for that moment and started to kick back to life when he was near her. Petrified, the woman nervously poked her fingers into one another. "K-Kuai Liang? An honor you would come see me. M-Mileena…I mean…I…am very excited for…um…" She was glad her mask covered the majority of her now red cheeks.

"Mileena," His deep tone was like sparks in the air to Mileena's ears. It made goose bumps form on the back of her neck. "You do not have to force proper speech. It always seems to make you nervous." The young man grasped his left wrist behind his back while he observed her. "I wanted to talk to you, actually. We haven't had much of a chance to do so since the previous tournament."

"W-well…um…" She looked around herself to be sure Kitana or Khameleon wasn't watching her to tease her any kind of way. When she made eye contact with Kuai again she took a deep breath. "Yes. We have not had much of a chance. What did you want to talk about?"

Despite what Mileena may have thought, he was very aware of her facial features. Still he did not feel repulsed by it. He just could not truly say that until he actually found the appropriate time to do so. It would be very awkward to ask her to remove her mask out of nowhere. "I just wanted to say that I plan on remaining in this realm a few more days before I return to Earth. Win or lose, I wanted to invite you to dinner with me."

Dinner? Was he insane? That would mean he'd see her teeth! Her manner of eating wasn't exactly pretty… "Dinner…? Well…um…" Even so, he desired to have dinner with her. Were they going to be alone? Were others going to come? Not to mention she felt extremely silly about entering the tournament now that he directly wished to eat with her. The mixed emotions of fear and excitement overflowed within her. She could hardly decide! "N-no…Mileena can't…" She decided it was too dangerous. She would be so embarrassed if he ran off after seeing her eat…

"…Oh…" It wasn't the answer he expected. In fact it was …very disappointing. Maybe he read her wrong. Maybe she just wished to learn from him? "…Well…, I will leave you to your training, Mileena. " He motioned his fist over his heart, getting ready to bow before her.

"Wait…!" In a panic, she spoke up. She went against her fear and spoke very quickly. "Mileena-will-go-if-you-make-a-promise…!"

Startled, Kuai's eyes widened just that instance. "…Miss Mileena. I am not sure I understood all of that."

Her fidgeting fingers continued to tap into one another. She wished she had her teddy bear with her. It helped calm her down when she got anxious. "If…you promise not to laugh at Mileena…or run away." She lowered her head timidly. She couldn't keep eye contact with him as she said that. It probably sounded childish to him. Even with being ten thousand years old like her sister, her experience and mindset in romantic pursuits were similar to a young teenaged Earth girl.

Sub-Zero could not help but find Mileena's reaction adorable. He would never do such a thing to her. He often felt the same way when he tried to speak with girls in his youth. More often than not, women fled to Bi-Han, leaving him off to the side as 'option B'. Even if it was never spoken, he knew Mileena's struggle. She was living in her elder's shadow much like he was for his entire life. He cared for his brother still, even with such a history. To this day, no new leads on his brother's killer had been made.

Sub-Zero took hold of Mileena's hands softly. His thumbs brushed over her knuckles while he kept his eyes on her. This urged her to look up to him, and slowly erase the world about them. "I promise." His words were simple, but they were impactful enough to begin to soothe Mileena's fidgeting nerves. "I must go now. Good luck, Mileena."

She was left speechless. Her yellow eyes softened up as a fuzzy and fluttery feeling overcame her. When Sub-Zero walked away, she was left holding either side of her cheeks. She giggled at the thought of holding his hand…, hugging him, laughing with him, and even making love to him. Her mind was rushing in every direction, but she had to snap back to reality. "Uh..!" By now Kuai Liang was well on his way to his seat near the ring.

"Leena," A voice came from behind her. When the woman turned, she met eyes with Nido while he approached her. He was without his weapon for once. Since his Spear or Naginata would maim someone easily. "Got a second?"

"Sure." She was getting a lot of visitors, but he was a potential opponent in this tournament. She would make time even if she didn't have it. "What is it?"

Nido seemed uneasy. He grasped Mileena's arm and walked her off to the side a bit. "…We've got some hostile company." He spoke low, "…Some Netherealmers entered this tournament. I don't know if you can pick it up…but there are definitely some sixth and seventh rings here." He was sure that made no sense to the woman, so he quickly explained. "Pretty much people from the sixth and seventh levels of the Netherrealm. Deep in its pits."

Netherrealmers? What were they doing here? This was supposed to be held peacefully between Earthrealm and Edenia! "Mileena must report this!" Just as she started to turn away, Nido pulled her back.

"No, don't do that." He kept his tone hushed. "We give them away now, and we may cost everyone. If they're in this tournament, then they're the best warriors they've got. We beat them, then we've got the advantage when they all are eliminated."

"How many of them are there?"

"Three in the tournament…but I can smell a fourth somewhere in the area." He released her arm. He motioned his head toward the ring. "…Right on the other side."

Mileena took a quick glance. She saw three women standing beside one another. There were two pale women, and one darker skinned woman with ivory hair. Each of them had tribal designs either painted or tattooed on their faces. Mileena's nostrils couldn't pick up on any odd scent…it was good Nido knew how to sniff them out.

"I've got their names. Kia, Jataaka, and Sareena. Delt with their kind before." He exhaled while recalling not-so-fond encounters with demonic beings disguised as humans back home. "Eliminate them, and we should have an advantage if any sneak attack occurs. Got it?"

"Got it." Mileena confirmed with him. She turned to face the stage head on, glaring toward the women way across the ring. They did not see her, not yet at least, but she didn't care. "Prepare yourself for your match. Good luck, Nido."

"Right back at you, Leena." The hunter stepped around her and found his own personal space to prepare himself.

Within a few minutes, Kuai Liang called out from his seat to settle the spectators. "Warriors!" His tone echoed through the arena. "Our first battle is about to begin! I call forth the bandaged warrior, Fukushu! She will be facing the Shaolin enigma, Hornbuckle!"
 

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"Waah!" A loud war cry was heard while the green clad Shaolin warrior threw his coat off of his body. The crowd applauded the man as he jumped into the ring. The tattooed monk was clad in traditional robes, fully respecting the monks who raised him. "The Shaolin will be victorious yet again!" He vowed loudly, all before his opponent appeared out of thin air.

Fukushu landed silently across from him in a flutter of red ribbons of smoke. She bowed respectfully to Hornbuckle, not uttering a single word. The monk returned the gesture, but quickly took stance.

"…Fight!" Sub-Zero commanded. Immediately the crowd began to cheer loudly for the match in progress!

Hornbuckle roared loudly. A spiral of flames ripped forward from his mouth, reaching heights of eight feet in diameter. The powerful blast was meant to knock the woman back, but the monk would find he hit nothing but the air. Fukushu's smoke could be smelled behind him. When the monk turned, he swung his fist backward toward her, but was met with a blocking forearm.

Fuku's right hand straightened and swung right against his sternum harshly. The impact caused fracturing along the strong build of the bone that began to slowly extend to the base of his ribcage. While Hornbuckle staggered back, Fukushu unleashed a flurry of direct punches toward the center of his chest. Her elbows remained tucked in behind her fist to make each blow that much more devastating. She worked hard on his sternum, doing more internal damage to him. However once the rapid-fire blows ended, she stepped back and shot her foot directly into the center of his face. The impact broke his nose immediately and applied enough force to send the monk flying out of bounds and onto the waiting grass. He was writhing in pain, but he would survive.

it was a shock to the crowd…, but even so, they cheered the mysterious woman on!

"Fukushu wins!" Sub-Zero stood, applauding along with the others. "Flawless victory!"

The bandaged woman turned toward Sub-Zero and took a light bow. Once she stood, she left the ring. Along her way, her shoulders brushed against Xue Fang's quite hard. The women made eye contact briefly, but it was forgotten when Fukushu proceeded to her own private area to sit.

"Our next match will begin! Xue Fang!" Sub-Zero announced once the crowd silenced itself. "Her opponent will be the goliath known only as Tremor!"

The ring shook as the ground just outside of the ring broke apart. Two large hands emerged to pull up the mountain of muscle which was Tremor. Dirt and sand fell off of his massive body as he emerged. He was dressed similar to the typical ninja, though he wore the colors of an Earthy, dark orange and deep blue. What clan he belonged to was unknown, but his impressive stature of seven feet did not seem ideal for a ninja. He climbed right onto the stage, making the ground shake beneath his great weight. He roared out with his arms in the air.

"…The bigger they are…" Xue Fang said to herself as she climbed into the ring slowly. "The more impressive I look taking them apart." Her confidence had not fractured an inch with such a massive foe to take on.

"Fight!" Sub-Zero gave the call, and the match was to begin.

Xue Fang started the fight off by charging Tremor head on. Her ice laced fists struck him at his core hard. Each of her calculated strikes were meant to stagger the towering man, but they did little more than make dull thuds against his stone-like muscles. Realizing she was gaining no ground, she looked up at the dark eyes of her opponent.

"You've already lost!" His resounding roar was complete with a sudden uppercut beneath Xue's chin. The girl went flying across the ring and landed harshly on her shoulders with her legs up over her head. Tremor extended his hand, commanding grains of sand to rise up beneath the girl. Hardened tendrils grasped around her waist, and began to mercilessly bash her around the ground. Each of her pained screams made the crowd cringe with 'ooh's collectively being said. Finally, she was thrown toward Tremor, who in turn smashed her to the ground with his massive arm swinging against her torso.

Off to the side, through all of the astonished reactions of the crowd, and pained screams of Xue, the dark skinned woman Jataaka approached one of the shinobi awaiting a chance to battle. The man was simply watching Sub-Zero rather than the battle at hand that everyone else was reacting to. "You are fixated on your mission. Good." She spoke as she stood next to him. "Remember what it is you must do, or we all suffer."

"I remember," Krad spoke, still not letting his eyes leave Sub-Zero. "Sub-Zero will be taken as Shao Kahn and Sektor demand. Is the fail-safe in place?"

Jataaka glanced toward the crowd seemingly in no particular direction. "He is here. Be sure he does not have to be utilized. Once Sindel is awakened and Sub-Zero is in our custody, our bond to Kahn, the sorcerers, and Sektor will be broken. Do not fail."

"With these many back up plans, we won't." Krad finally glanced her way, but then returned his vision to Sub-Zero.

Back in the ring, Xue Fang was still taking quite the beating. She hit the ground hard, lucky enough to not be bleeding too badly. She was near the corner of the ring on her hands and knees. Across from her, the large man was running right for her like some sort of wild Bull. With her hands planted on the ground, she spread frosty energy out over the ground to slicken it. Immediately, Tremor lost his balance and slipped and fell hard onto his back. With this being her chance to strike, Xue began to cover her fists in layers of ice. She allowed Tremor to sit up, but immediately she swung for his jaw. The repeated hard strikes sent his head jolting from one side to the other. She began to double up on her strikes until the ice over each fist shattered against his face. When he fell back, Xue sprung into the air and came down with both knees onto his stomach.

When she jumped off of him she took the time to catch her breath. "Get up!"

Tremor shook off the pain and started to roll over onto his side. "You think that's going to take me out, little girl?" Tremor punched the ring, making the entire surface quake at his might. Once he met a full stand, he cracked his knuckles. "You have no chance!"

"Your mother has no chance!" Xue snapped back .

"What?" Tremor's eyes widened. He wasn't sure if that insult he should take seriously, but he reacted without much thought. "Your mother has not a chance! Uh…"

The rather corny quip was used to her advantage. She moved in right against Tremor while he made his childish retort. Her hands against his torso were filled with Kori energy, quickly coating Tremor in ice. She tilted him backward with all of her strength and placed het foot against his torso. As he slammed to the ground, Xue stood on top of Tremor as he slid toward the edge of the ring quickly. She jumped right off of him to allow him to crash on the outside with the ice shattering off his frame. He was still intact, but out of bounds! "I usually do not resort to such, but you left me with no choice." Xue held her abdomen and raised her fist in victory.

"Xue Fang wins!" Kuai Liang was impressed. She had manipulation over the cold…interesting. While Tremor stood in anger, he still respected the tournament enough to leave Xue Fang to her victory. "We will take a brief break and precede the tournament! The next bout will involve the Nido, slayer of demons and Sareena, the swift assassin!"

With that, the crowd cheered on for the next bout starting in a few minutes. All were excited for it, all but Sareena herself. The woman's eyes were fixated on Sub-Zero…but she seemed…confused. Something was off about him. He seemed…so familiar to her but at the same time he was not. These memories were suddenly coming to her in this realm. She wasn't sure if it was trickery or otherwise, but for the first time ages, she could think clearly. She reached at the side of her head. She felt a cold sweat roll down her head. She saw Sub-Zero's face in her thoughts. She felt the burning of energy burst through her spine. She saw Shinnok's face, Quan Chi's face, as well as her friends Jakaata and Kia. "…Bi-Han…?" Her heart swelled with emotion. She gasped, though it went unheard over the roar of the crowd. Something woke up inside of her…she just wasn't sure…just what this feeling was….
 

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Chapter 10: The Tournament Continues

After the crowd settled from Xue Fang's victory over tremor, Kuai Liang spoke out loudly. "Warriors! Our next battle is about to begin! I call forth Sareena!"

The demoness snapped out of her trance when her name was called. The light applause of the crowd threw her off, but she immediately recalled that she was in a tournament. She exhaled and moved forward to climb into the ring. Her knives were drawn from her belt and her sleeves to leave at ringside. No weapons were allowed in this contest…and victory was her main objective for the sake of Quan Chi. "Ready." She said once she stood on her end of the ring.

"She will face Earthrealm's demon slayer…Nido!" Kuai Liang motioned his hand to the other end of the ring, where the dark skinned young man was leaving his spear behind. The crowd applauded lightly as he hopped up into the ring and landed in a crouch. As he stood up, he dusted his hands off and brought his fists up in front of himself with each pointing toward Sareena. "A second ringer, huh?" He spoke under his breath. "Let's do this."

Once Kuai Liang saw each warrior was prepared, he began the match. "Fight!"

Sareena narrowed her eyes on the man and stepped closer to him carefully. He knew she was a demon, it seemed…, but he did not go out of his way to expose her. Perhaps he was more than just a human? She couldn't tell. She could feel Bi Han's eyes on her…, but where was he? Her distraction cost her, as she found a sudden flurry of attacks centered on her abdomen. She cried out as she stumbled back, but it gave her enough distance to swing her leg up and arc over toward Nido's head. However, Sareena was rewarded with only hitting the wind with her swing. Once she was facing forward again, her chin was met with a sudden rising knee that sent her up and back down harshly on her shoulders.

Like a cat, she jolted up onto the tips of her fingers and her boots, facing Nido who stood at the ready. The fierce focus in his eyes told her so much. She could feel his emotion…she fed off of it. Her adrenaline began to enhance, mimicking her opponent's ferocity. When he approached her, she adjusted her stance to match his. His incoming fists were telegraphed quickly and she ended his assault with a headbutt. The impact left her dizzy, but it staggered Nido enough for her to continue her assault.

Sareena rushed forward and drove her foot into his stomach. A rapid succession of kicks shook his face from right to left until she ended it with a powerful extension of her leg. He started to stagger back toward the edge of the ring, and Sareena was determined to eliminate him! She charged him like a wild bull, but was met with a very harsh foot beneath her chin. The sudden slice of boot sent her skyward. She arched into a crescent and landed right on unforgiving ground.

She pushed herself up just in time to swat aside the man's incoming fist, and have her own punch attempt met with another pair of knuckles. As they both pulled their aching knuckles back, this physical contact gave her a deeper glimpse to Nido's motivation. Someone he loved, much like her. It became easier for her to feed her adrenaline when she thought of Bi Han…he was here, somewhere. With their fists stinging, Sareena noticed the footwork of the demon hunter, who was aiming for her shins. She moved aside, but kept at close range attempting to return such low attacks. The two constantly missed until they met knees harshly and backed up from one another to recover from the stinging.

The demoness charged forward and jumped toward Nido with her fist drawn back. She had every intention of striking him across the face, but her knuckles loosened up suddenly. A hard strike across her chest knocked all of the air from her lungs. All she saw was his leg swiping through the air, and his knee landing harshly at the center of her solar plexus. She hit the ground hard at the mercy of his leg, and lay there coughing for air. She held her stomach, searching the crowd in a haze. She saw a dark hooded figure among the spectators, with eyes as white as the moon. She could see so much in those eyes from a distance…they felt so familiar.

Due to Sareena not making it to her feet in time, the bout was declared in Nido's favor. "Nido wins! Sareena is incapable of continuing!"

Disappointed the bout didn't go on longer, Nido rubbed his forehead. "…They don't usually go down so easy." He said to himself. Even with the applause of the crowd, he felt he didn't get to show everything he could do. He bowed lightly before Kuai Liang as some of the tournament workers helped Sareena to her feet and back on the sidelines to tend to her if need be.

With Sareena's loss, Krad felt a weight fall upon his shoulders. Perhaps these fighters were tougher than he hoped? Rebekka…, his dear lover would probably never forgive him once he captured Sub-Zero, but if he did not, then the only time he would ever see her again was in the afterlife…if she was not consumed by Shang Tsung. Whoever he had to go through, he was prepared.

"Our next bout! The shinobi known as Krad!" Tomas Vrbada called out as he motioned his hand to the ninja. "Against Princess Mileena of Edenia!" Equal applause was given to the two warriors, showing respect for the coming clash.

Both Mileena and Krad hesitated, but ended up leaping into the ring in unison.

"Well! ...You look fun." Mileena giggled, tossing her Sais over to ringside. She could defeat this man without using any weapons, she was certain.

Krad had a slew of weapons to get rid of; shurikens, knives, his katana, and clawed gloves. Krad didn't say a word to her, his focus was on his lover maintaining her life.

"Fight!" Tomas announced, and the crowd began to cheer for the opening blows.

Mileena rushed forward first with a high arching roundhouse kick swiping through the air and through Krad's neck. Had she killed him? No. It felt like air when her leg passed through! The image faded, and three more images appeared around her. Shocked, Mileena put her guard up and weaved around the incoming fists and feet that rapidly rained toward her from the three images of the ninja. When she struck one in the jaw with her palm, its head flew off and released a black smoke from the severed neck on both ends. The smoke began filling up around Mileena's ankles, so she paid it no mind for now.

She managed to separate the remaining two images with a double kick to both of their chests. She sniffed out the actual flesh and bone Krad very quickly afterward, and rushed the clone. Her hands grabbed it by the head and ripped it right off of its shoulders with ease. She pitched the smoking skull right to the center of Krad's chest, knocking him off of his feet and into the growing cloud of smoke around them.

The smoke's purpose became apparent after that, however. Intentional or not, Mileena could not sniff him out in the smoke as It approached her thighs. The smoke quickly lifted up over her head and completely hid the two of them away from the sights of the crowd. Mileena coughed…and was suddenly assaulted by a barrage of fists on all sides of her. She couldn't move much, due to the fact everywhere she turned there was another fist meeting her face or body! She was being knocked around like a pinball!

Hearing her sister's cries of pain within the smoke cloud, and the uncertainty of the crowd watching…Kitana decided to act…discreetly. While no one watched her…Kitana began to quickly flutter her war fans and project a quick, powerful gust of wind to aid her sister.

The sudden blowing of wind broke up the smoke, and revealed a ring full of Krads beating up on the defenseless Mileena. She was being held by her arms from behind, but she managed to use her feet to kick off most of her attackers. ..even if it meant kicking them in the groin. She swung her head backward to crush the nose of the clone holding her and to force it to release her. As another came her way, she side-stepped it and pushed it into the other. The two fell out of the ring in a very clumsy fashion.

Even though they were not Krad, Kuai Liang spoke up. "Mileena wins!"

She did not stop, though. She walked through the sea of ninja, breaking their limbs as their arms and legs came forward. She was enraged, concentrating on all the things Shao Kahn taught her, Kitana, and Jade as children. Grasp, twist, strike, break; she knew the exact points to hit to dislocate or completely shatter limbs as if they were twigs. Each of the clones fell and were kicked aside to stumble out of bounds. The actual Krad remained clear of Mileena as she reduced his army of ninja to an army of two. As the final clone fell to an uppercut from the half-Tarkatan woman, Krad held his fists up to defend himself against the enraged beast.
 

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He swung high for her face, but nothing was there. The next thing he saw was the bottom of her boot coming from above him. The impact made him black out, and sent him over the edge of the ring to fall in a painful manner on the back of his shoulders. The clones all disappeared, leaving only the real Krad out of bounds.

"…Mileena…wins!" Kuai repeated. He was impressed with the fact Mileena continued on so violently, but still within the rules. The clones had to be cleared out of the way, and that was her only method to do so.

With Krad's hopes to protect his lover crushed…when he awoke…he refused to move. Even as the tournament workers carried him a safe distance from the ring, he had nothing left to live for. It was up to the two demons…but he had very little faith in them.

Side Event #17:My Decision

After the fight with Krad, Mileena took some time to check her teeth and her injuries to be sure she could continue on. She had to take time to regenerate regardless, but what better way to do such than in the company of Kitana and Khameleon? The three women walked the castle halls as the other contests raged on outside. Until the second round, Mileena was not needed immediately.

Mileena held a small teddy bear in her hands that she fetched from her room prior to entering the hall with the other women. They were going to pay Jade a very quick visit. "Mileena knows what you did, Kitana. Mileena did not need the help but…, thank you."

Kitana placed her hand on her sister's shoulders with a smile. "It is no problem at all. I feared he would have tried to kill you while no one could see you…I had to act." She knew Mileena could handle herself, but Kitana's intuition could tell when someone had ill intentions toward those she cared for.

"He could have. The danger isn't over." Khameleon could feel something on the horizon, but what it was she wasn't exactly sure of just yet. She opened Jade's door for the two to allow them inside. It wasn't very surprising that Nido was already there at her bedside…but it was surprising at how he got there before they did. "We come with gifts." Khameleon motioned to Mileena's bear.

"Oh, hey guys." Nido waved toward them. The sight of the bear made him chuckle a little. "You sewed that one yourself, Mileena? Getting better!"

"Th…thank you." Blush formed across her cheeks. Since Kitana taught her how to do it, she took it up as a very serious hobby. She had a small collection growing already, but this bear by far was her finest work yet. She was still very shy about her work, even so. "Hopefully…sh…she will like it when she wakes up…"

"She will, sister." Kitana stepped over and watched Jade's resting form. "I know she will."

( Meanwhile, in Jade's 'world' )

"I have made my decision…" Jade paused, swallowing her saliva. "I want to know the entire truth. I want to know everything about my past…about my parents. I will return to Kitana and Mileena, and I will check these claims to be sure they are accurate. If you are proven right…"

The woman completed Jade's thought. "If I am right, you will allow me to awaken in your current time. I will end that dimension and leave only one true timeline. Here…you will slay Shinnok and reign as the new champion of Mortal Kombat. With Taven as an Elder God, there is no tournament that could ever threaten the realms again..." She paused and descended slowly to Jade. "You will seal all darkness in the very pyramid your body lays upon…you will bring the peace I once gave the realms…"

Allow her to end the dimension? Jade was not certain about this. "What…?" She moved forward a step. "Do you mean if I allow you to enter this timeline, you will…kill Kitana and Mileena?" Uncertainty filled her eyes…but what if she was right? What if she was being carried along this whole time as a slave? Still…it was hard growing up with someone for ten thousand years and not becoming very close friends.

"They do not belong in this time. Allow them to rest in peace, Jade." She touched the woman's cheek. "It will spare you the heartache of having to kill them yourself once you discover the truth."

"…No!" She pulled herself away from the hand. Her loyalty was with Kitana and Mileena…and Nido as well. She couldn't allow them to be murdered and exist without them for the rest of her life.

The sudden moving away came as a surprise to the woman, but she still maintained her smile. "I am the rightful ruler of Edenia. I am Queen Edenia…the founder of the realm after the One Being was destroyed. Across the lands…Sindel and Jerrod had just gotten married. However…their greed to rule all of Edenia had led to a very sudden battle between my place as the original ruler of the realms, and their place as merely a branch of my power…" She trailed off to the right, recalling the events as if they just happened. "Sindel and Jerrod's forces stormed my castle and murdered your father. Then they murdered me and took the throne for their own. However due to my essence being so powerful, my spirit lingered on…."

Jade could not believe this at all. Even so… the records of any rulers prior to Jerrod and Sindel were…mysteriously missing from the Edenian libraries. Then again, Shao Kahn did do a good job of burning many books.
 
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