Mortal Kombat: Redemption

"It was karma, really, when Shao Kahn invaded Edenia. I admit my participation in these events…" She paused, looking back at Jade. "I influenced him to take interest. To punish Sindel for the horrible crime she and her husband committed. By the time he did so, she'd just given birth to your 'friend', Kitana. You were named slave to the family throne long before you could even walk, which is why you remained at Kitana's side your entire life…but with my influence, you were allowed to live."

The story just got…very twisted to her now. Her mother influenced Shao Kahn to invade Edenia as revenge? Now she wanted to use her in the same way to destroy the timeline she currently resided in? It…did not seem right.

"My influence still lingers in Shao Kahn today. When he was defeated…I was weakened. Thus your connection to me resulted in you being here…in limbo." She motioned to the gateway leading to the post-Armageddon world. "You have the freedom to travel through time, as long as our link remains, my child."

"If you influence Shao Kahn…" She spoke softly, "How can I trust you? I cannot allow him to exist in any timeline. Allow me to destroy him this final time…, allow me to mend the timeline and destroy the former so that we can exist in a better world. Please."

Edenia thought for a moment. This…could work. "Defeat Shao Kahn and absorb my essence into yourself. Prevent the rise of Onaga, and the power to prevent Armageddon at Kahn's ambition will be yours. Are you…certain this is what you want?"

Something still felt strange about all of this. Was Kahn's ambition not her's as well? She couldn't connect the dots immediately. Perhaps if she defeated Shao Kahn, it would all be clear…maybe she could find out the truth about Sindel. She could not truly hate the Queen, even with this news, until proven true. Even so…she did not know if this was truly what she wanted…

( End Side-Event )

Returning to the tournament grounds, Kuai Liang watched as the sun began to set. The temperature was cooling down, but the tournament was still heating up as they entered round two. "Ladies and gentlemen! Our first match of the second round is about to begin! But first! I will announce all those who have advanced!" He stood from his seat to project his voice further. "The participants in round two are as follows. "Kai, Fukushu, Xue Fang, Mileena, Nido, Kia, Jataaka, and Nimbus Terrafaux!"

The crowd applauded for all those advancing as they lined up side-by-side. Tomas took over from here, announcing the first bout in the second round. "The first fight will be held between Fukushu and the Kickboxing champion Nimbus Terrafaux!"

Nimbus was a very promising up and coming star in film, replacing the likes of Johnny Cage on television, but was most known for his stellar Kickboxing career. The dark skinned male was clad in all black gi, with a thick handlebar mustache and low-cut hair. His taped feet were stained in blood from when he literately kicked the teeth out of his opponent last round. He climbed into the ring, doing a bit of fancy foot work as he prepared to fight. "At least you got all your bandages ready, lady!"

Fukushu said not a word as she climbed into the ring. She was perfectly calm. She bowed respectfully to Nimbus instead.

"…Fight!" Tomas called for the match to begin!

Nimbus started things off with a quick swing of his foot down low to Fukushu's side. However, she burst into a mist of red and appeared in front of him. She sent a punch directly above his groin to double him over. She yanked her fist back while he began to stand again and punched him hard right in his jaw. A coupled of shattered teeth left the man's mouth, staining his mustache in some stray, flailing blood. As he hit the ground, she lifted her heel up and sent it right down at the dead center of his chest, possibly cracking some ribs from how loudly he called out in pain.

Fukushu lifted her foot again and stood by for Nimbus to stand…which he could not do.

"…Fukushu wins! Flawless victory!" Impressed by the display of ability, even Kuai Liang had to applaud the woman's strength.

She bowed to the Lin Kuei grandmaster, and made her way back beside the ring while Nimbus was carried off to be tended to.

"The next bout is about to begin!" Tomas announced once the ring was clear. "Nido will face off against Kai!"

Nido took a deep breath as he entered the ring again. He was one step closer to winning this thing, but he saw how impressive Kai was in his first round match. This would be a tough one to crack. "…Alright. Let's get to it, man…"

Side Event #18:The Deadliest Alliance

"So, you are telling me he is finally ready to strike?" Denise spoke as she stood over her crystal ball, peering into it deeply.

"Yes…" The deep voice of Quan Chi was heard right across from her. He had only one arm now…due to his run-in with Scorpion months ago. His power took a great hit at the loss of his limb, so much that he required the assistance of Denise to replenish his lost energy. "Shao Kahn has been waiting for the right moment. It seems a higher power or voice directed him to do so…" The sorcerer was curious at times with Kahn's specific timing, but he pushed it out of his thoughts immediately. "Earthrealm will be invaded once Sindel's ward is broken. Can you assist me?"

"It depends," Denise looked up from her ball. "Are Reiko, Rain, and the others broken enough to go through with our plans?"

The pale man laughed softly. "Without Kano involved, we found a suitable replacement, Sheeva. Once the invasion is complete, they will attack and weaken Kahn so that we may strike finally. The Brotherhood will be in power after this is done…"

Denise wasn't entirely sold on the plot of killing Kahn yet. "Sindel is a valuable asset. Kahn may kill my husband if it means making her better." She knew all too well how Kahn thought. "My assistant gave up those men to aid us, so you owe me a favor." Her assistant was Tanya, who clearly sold out Reiko and Rain's plans to possibly save her own skin. "The favor I desire should be a simple task once I enhance you."

"Name it." Quan Chi was desperate for power, but he was also a man of some form of honor. He would repay his debt to Denise for fully joining the Brotherhood's efforts with her husband.

"I want a clone made of my husband. Discard the Mileena replication and assist my husband in making one for himself. One Shao Kahn can kill in his place…" She floated her hands along the top of the crystal ball a bit more. "I will hold you to your word if you agree. If anything happens to my husband, you will be seeing Scorpion again…in the blackest pits of hell. Do you understand me?" The growing aggression in her tone signified that she was quite serious about her husband's well-being. It was almost scary to hear, but despite her bickering, there was love there.

"…Yes. Of course." He knew Denise could do it if she so desired. He did not want to see any part of Scorpion…but he still had Noob Saibot as a failsafe if his connection with Shang Tsung and Denise went sour.

"Good." She smiled and placed her hands down on her desk. "I will loan you the energy of five hundred souls. This should suffice for your loss for a few years." She motioned her hand to her right, drawing forth green energy into the palm of her hand. There was a loud, ghostly howl following the collection of power from her personal soul well. She held it in her palm and examined it. "Tell Shao Kahn of my Soulnado innovation. Once the invasion begins, see to it that one is created. It will assist in the merging of realms one thousand times greater than anything he has." She moved her hand forward, throwing the ball of green into Quan Chi's chest. The energy surged over him for several seconds, electrocuting him as his energy restored, and even surpassed his prior prime state.

Now he had the strength needed to revive Sindel. Now the invasion could begin. "…I will begin assisting with the doppelganger as soon as I return, Madame." He stood up and bowed in respect to her great power. "Good day…"

"That is not all." Denise stood as well. "Tanya?" She called, and immediately, her assistant rushed into the room, hugging a large book to her chest.

"Yes?" She stood at attention and awaited the orders from her master.

"You will accompany Quan Chi to revive Sindel." Denise glanced to her, then back to Quan Chi. "Make sure everything goes correctly. Am I understood?"

"Yes, master."

( End Side Event )
The battle between Kai and Nido had drawn gasps of excitement from the watchers. The acrobatic ability of the demon hunter proved a match for Kai's extreme technique. The fists and fireballs flew all across the ring, with several near misses for the last few minutes. This was already the longest bout in the tournament thus far. The two men got in close, swinging their fists and missing one another just by a hair with every swing. Nido swept low and Kai jumped and swung high, both missing their targets. Nido swung high with his foot and missed the backward arching Kai.

The monk flipped backward and thrust his foot out to meet perfectly with Nido's own, creating a loud impact between the two as a result. As they pulled back, Kai shot a fireball into the ground that shot up beneath Nido. With quick reflexes, Nido arched backward and tucked his legs in, barely avoiding the second fireball that came from the sky. When he landed on his feet, he was standing on the edge of the ring, almost taking a spill to the outside. Kai jumped in at him, missing a flying kick, and he too stood on the ledge.

The two men fought while remaining balanced on the side of the ring's border, with Nido tracking backwards to Kai's advance. Each fist was blocked with perfect technique, and each counter was met with another counter. Nido managed to roll aside and get back centered in the ring, and Kai dove after him, now standing on his hands. He spun about, with intentions of battering Nido with his rapidly moving feet, but it was not to be! Nido dropped low, sending both his feet toward Kai's face while he stood on his hands.

The graceful monk pushed up off of his hands and narrowly avoided the incoming feet while he landed on his own. With Nido on his back beneath him, Kai went to punch him in the center of his chest, but met only the flesh of his blocking forearms. The other man shot his foot up and cracked Kai right on the top of his head. Dazed, the monk stumbled back just long enough for Nido to spring to his feet.

Once solidly standing, Nido turned to swipe his foot beneath Kai's chin as he flipped backward. The powerful arc of the kick sent Kai up and back down to the ground. Nido stood over him, catching his breath as he awaited him to stand. The ten count was initiated, and Kai failed to respond.

"Nido wins!" Sub-Zero announced much to the pleasure of the crowd.

Having picked up yet another win, Nido reached down to assist Kai up. It was a very hard fought contest between the two, and he just wanted to show respect for the monk's great ability.

Kitana was impressed by this. She was seeing Nido in a different light – she never saw him fight like this before. Kai was Liu Kang's most recent student, and for him to be able to keep up without his weapon was truly a feat.

When the ring cleared, it was time for the next bout.

"Next! We have Jataaka facing off with Xue Fang!"

Confident, Xue Fang climbed into the ring, facing down the dark skinned woman with the white tribal paint on her face. "They couldn't find anyone stronger?" Xue taunted, already knowing that her strategy would be.

Jataaka did not seem impressed with the overconfidence of the girl. She created a ball of shadow in her palm, and crushed it immediately after. "I'll have fun shutting you up…"


When Smoke commanded the fight to begin, Jataaka landed a rush of punches right across Xue's face, backing her up. She created a black ball in her palm and went to swing it for her opponent's face, but it was maneuvered under. Xue instead swept Jataaka's feet from beneath her. Winding her hands back as soon as the woman hit the ground, Xue began to freeze her from the legs up, stopping just above her shoulders. She kept her pinned to the ground with the ice, cackling the entire time.

Once Xue let up, she stepped back and folded her arms. "Start the ten count!" She commanded. Technically…Jaataka was down on the ground, and was not able to get to her feet. The count began, and much to the demon's dislike, she was counted out of the contest before she even began to crack the layers of ice binding her down.

"You little !" Jataaka cursed her after the ten count was completed.

"Xue Fang wins!" Sub-Zero announced. While he did not like how she handled the match, he did admire her technique in eliminating the opponent to conserve her energy for the later rounds.

Pleased with her victory, the woman stomped on the sheet of ice to crack it enough for Jaataka's escape. "It was fun. Maybe the semifinals will be more entertaining?" She taunted the woman again as she joined the others at ringside.

Krad palmed his face…as the fate of his lover and himself rested solely on Kia. He wasn't entirely certain she could even handle Mileena after what he went through.

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

Hearing her name made her heart jump, but she regained her focus. The crowd applauded as she hopped into action and landed solidly on her feet. Her yellow gaze went to Kuai Liang as her opponent was announced.

"Her opponent will be…" He paused, "The Mistress of the Shadow Claw style! Kia!"

Mileena's vision slowly moved ahead of herself to view her opponent. She noted Kia's appearance; she seemed in her late twenties or early thirties…in human years, she had eyes the color of rust and hair as dark as the paint on her lips. She possessed tribal-like markings on her face, which appeared to be spike shaped designs that led just above her nostrils. She was beautiful…and hardly seemed to be a fighter.

When Kia entered the ring, she discarded her bladed boomerang at ringside. "Well, I've heard a lot about you, Mileena." She spoke with a slight giggle, "Let's try to make this look good while I win?"

She was arrogant, was she? Mileena just grit her teeth behind her mask before she spoke. "Do not be so sure of yourself…" She could smell the Netherrealm on Kia's body. Hopefully this demon wouldn't be too much to handle. "Hmhm…but we can still play."

"The battle begins! Fight!" Kuai Liang shouted out as the contest began.

Mileena prepared herself, but was shocked by how quickly Kia closed the space between the two of them. She appeared right out of Mileena's shadow from behind and wrapped her arms around her waist. Mileena felt herself being whipped into the air from behind, and quickly threw her legs over her head so that she could face the ring as she sailed over. From beneath her, Kia jolted from her shadow and drove her fists into her stomach at rocket-like speeds. A mix of saliva and blood flung against the inside of Mileena's veil as she came crashing down to the ground.

Kia landed shortly after she did, and rested on her stomach. She placed her fist beneath her chin and kicked both her feet up. "Oh…, you're not as quick as Kitana, I see?" She shook her head. "Oh Mileena, this just won't do!"

Mileena growled as she pushed back up to her feet. This shadowy woman wanted to play mind games with her, but she was better than that. Mileena pushed up on her hands and swung her feet toward Kia's face, only to find the woman was no longer there. Kia once again caught Mileena off her game as she appeared at her side this time, as her shadow was being projected that way from the lighting. Mileena staggered back when her vision suddenly was jerked away. Kia kept the pressure on her and swung a vast array of open palms toward Mileena.
With her enhanced senses, Mileena was able to swat away the majority of these before a palm struck her in the stomach. She lurched forward and right into a clawed hand grabbing at her mask. Was she going to try to expose her face? Mileena reacted quickly, knocking Kia's hand away and off of her mask. She threw a punch toward Kia's face and a knee aimed for her stomach simultaneously. While Kia avoided the punch, she was staggered back by the knee. Mileena spun about and arched her foot high to swipe across Kia's jaw. She watched as the woman whipped away from her and spun to a painful crash on the ring's floor. "Ooh, don't be mad. You're just a little too slow for Mileena…hee hee…"

The teasing Mileena gave probably got to Kia, but she could not tell. Instead of focusing on her next targets, Mileena kept note of where her shadow was being cast. Just behind her left side. She inched forward slowly as Kia got up. She rushed in and faked an incoming punch to the rising woman. Kia vanished just as Mileena expected, but as the woman sprung from her shadow, Mileena disappeared as well.

"What?" Kia's swiping claw hit nothing but air, but the back of her head met Mileena's foot with enough force to send her stumbling and falling to her knees. She tried to sit up, but felt a sudden weight on her back when Mileena sat there and crossed her legs.

"Hmm, you're starting to bore me!" The half-Tarkaten cackled before rolling off of Kia's back. When she tried to stand up on her knees, Mileena viciously swung about and caught her across the jaw with her arcing heel. The impact nearly snapped Kia's neck and resulted in her spinning right back to the ground. "I'm sorry…did that hurt?"

The ten count began…and once it reached its conclusion, Krad exhaled. His lover was as good as dead. Rebekka would never see the light of day again. Angered, he punched the ground. All that was left was their final failsafe.

Sareena felt Krad's pain…just by being near him. She held her heart, searching the crowd with her eyes. Krad's need to be with Rebekka enhanced her need to seek out Bi Han. She knew he was in the section behind them…somewhere.

"Mileena wins!" Sub-Zero proudly announced. "The Semifinals will begin shortly! Advancing are Fukushu! Mileena! Nido! And Xue Fang! We will take a thirty minute rest, and proceed!

With everyone starting to depart from the arena area, Mileena remained in the ring. She turned her gaze up toward Kuai Liang…she had thirty minutes, didn't she? Maybe she could spend it with him…?
Chapter 11: A Moment to Rest

Side Event #19: Demons and Wraiths
( Over one year ago)

Within the confines of the FBI's Special Unit HQ in an undisclosed location, a meeting was ensuing. Within a dimly lit interrogation room several suited men surrounded a table with a couple of New York's Special Riot Control officers on hand. Sitting at the table itself was a dark skinned young man who was currently in handcuffs. Due to recent events, it seemed that only the officers were in denial about what happened.

"Demons? What the hell are you crazy?"

"That's enough, Stryker." A suit clad man spoke up. "When Kano went off the grid, a lot of weird things started happening. That attack in Brooklyn was just one of many we can expect. They got their message out at the cost of some fine agents…this kid's the only reason some of us have our necks, and why we were able to keep people quiet." The man started to pace around the table and place his hand on the young man's shoulders.

Stryker was positive it was the gas attack that caused the illusion of actual demons. He knew very well those creatures couldn't have existed. "This kid saved Kabal and I back there, but you will have to forgive me for not buying into the Black Dragon having control over monsters." He gave the boy a glance, then returned his sights to the agent. "What did they even want?"

"They wanted to send a message. An invitation." The agent continued on. "The United States has known about these…invitations over the ages. It's something called the 'Mortal Kombat tournament'…"

Kurtis could hardly believe his ears. It sounded all too much like something out of a comic book to him. He looked to Kabal for a moment to see if he was feeling just as uneasy about this as he was. When he saw the feeling was mutual, he faced the agent and his associates again. "Look, if you're going to blow smoke up my ass, don't drag me all the way out here for it."

"They were trying to get the attention of the OIA; Outer World Investigation Agency." Nido spoke finally, rattling his shackles as he sat up straight. "I heard the creatures discuss it while I was creeping around town. They were sending someone a message from this Kano guy I keep hearing about."

The agent confirmed this. "From what we've gathered, Sonya Blade's been directly invited by Kano himself for the upcoming tournament. We have the when and where, but we can't help but feel it's a trap. We're going to need you to make sure she doesn't hear about this tournament, Stryker."

Kurt remained silent for a few seconds. He leaned forward and placed his hands on the surface of the table. "They killed thirty civilians to invite Sonya to a tournament? Look, if you want this riot to be hush-hush, I can do that. I know it was just the gas affecting us." He did, however, give them the benefit of the doubt. "But…, if what you're saying is true that Kano's gonna be somewhere…we'll need someone to take him in."

"We've got that covered." The agent removed his hand from Nido's shoulder and began pacing around the other side to Stryker and Kabal. "We're sending this kid. He's from a long line of slayers. He specializes in these…where were they from?"

"The Netherrealm." Nido answered, "The Oni and Wraith creatures were from the first and second ring. Really nothing to be too scared of in my line of business. The attack was poorly planned…some of the Wraith spirits were from that area…something familiar from the past for them is their greatest weakness."

Kabal finally threw his own voice into the mix. "Netherrealm, tournaments, 'Oni'? Yeah, I think even if we told Sonya, she wouldn't buy it." He tapped Stryker's shoulder. "So, we letting this kid go? No point in holding him."

Kurt took his time making the call. "Yeah, if this guy's working with the feds, we've got no reason to hold him. You guys letting him go or what, 'cause I'm getting a bit tired of this nonsense…" Stryker pulled the key to the cuffs out of his pocket to hand to the agents. His whole reason for arresting Nido was due to his refusal to put his weapon down, but since these agents backed him so hard, he didn't want to deal with the paperwork.

Once the agents set Nido free, the lead of the group assisted him to his feet. "We could use someone who has been blessed by Odin in such a cut throat tournament…"

When the shackles were removed, Nido stood up while gripping at his wrists. "If this ever happens again," He spoke directly to Stryker. "Aim for clavicle area. It's more effective for the first and second ringers." His little token of advice probably wouldn't be taken seriously, but he felt that if these guys were to ever get mixed up in another outbreak of demons, at least they'd be better informed. "I'm gonna need my Gungnir back, by the way." He said, turning his sights to the agents…

( End Side Event)

With the rest period allowed, many of the warriors were going about their own business. Xue Fang was conversing with the students of Sub-Zero's reformed Lin Kuei, Nido seemed to be locked in conversation with Kitana, and Mileena was making her way through the crowd to meet with Sub-Zero. All was right, but the patience of Fukushu was thinning out. The red wrapped woman moved off to the side of the arena and crouched down by the stairway of the seating area. She looked around to be sure she wasn't being watched, and knocked on the side of the stone twice. She lowered her head and placed her fist to her forehead as if going into a prayer.

From the side of the stairs, a young boy no older than six years of age poked his head out. He was concealed in black garbs and feasting upon a small pouch of berries.

"Ichirou," Fukushu spoke with a warm smile behind her bandages. "You are behaving and staying out of sight, correct?"

The young boy nodded, hiding a bit more beneath the steps. "Yes, mother. I am on my best behavior! You are doing well…you will win this, I know."

She shut her eyes, taking in her child's words. "I can only hope. Still, getting close to the Lin Kuei to avenge our pain is the goal. I do not think I will win…, there are some with ill will here around us…" She opened her eyes again, glancing toward the gathered demon women, who all were previously eliminated. "I will make my strike and we will leave."

"Must you, mother? Having the help of the Lin Kuei…"

She interrupted her son with anger in her voice. "Ichirou Hasashi, the Lin Kuei ended our lives once. They must answer for their unjust crimes against us!" She kept her voice low, but her son could feel the force of her words and her locked intentions. "I will come for you on my escape. Be prepared. We will be one step closer to finding your father…"

Ichirou dared not defy his mother. He simply took in her instructions and cowered back beneath the steps.

Seeing the fear in his eyes of discipline, Fukushu pulled the front of her mask down to show her face to her son. She was still Nao beneath the enigmatic persona she created. "You are doing a great job, my son. Having you rooting for me motivates me…, I am sorry for yelling…" Another glance over her shoulder…and she moved in closer to embrace her son in the shadows. She cradled the back of his head and shut her eyes. The last thing she wanted was to have him so afraid of her that he never blossomed as the warrior he was meant to be. She, as a mother, couldn't take the pain of seeing him afraid again…and be helpless to protect him…or for him to protect himself. "Now hide. This should take only but a moment…"

Her son remained silent. He simply obeyed as a good son would; as Hanzo's son would. It reminded her so much of him in his youth. She remembered the days the two of them would train together before they even hit their teen years.

She remembered the very day her clan and the Shirai Ryu merged to create a network of better resources. Despite the two of them being children of each leader, they both were forbidden from ever joining their ranks. Hanzo's rebellion inspired her, and once he became a full member of the Shirai Ryu's elite ranks, she vowed to never leave his side. That same vow held true with their son…despite leaving him to hide, she would never let him be taken from her. She pulled her bandages back up around her face and came to stand. The nightmares of the raid of their village played in her mind each time she saw any Lin Kuei. The murders, decapitations, the ravaging of the women…including herself. She could only play 'nice' for so long.
A single kunai was tucked against her sleeve as she walked. She moved through the spectators and headed to the back of the small arena. Her only intention was to find Sub-Zero and kill him before anyone would notice…or before someone else got the chance to. However…she saw up ahead that Sub-Zero was currently in audience with Mileena. The grey clad man…'Smoke' was departing to leave them to their privacy. The woman, Xue Fang was lingering in the area as well. Her plan of assault had to be stealthy rather than direct. She just lingered in the hall, pretending to read a few of the scrolls reciting the rules of the tournament, as well as the match-up brackets. It seemed she would be facing Xue Fang next round…if she remained for it.

"I saw that," Fukushu overheard Sub-Zero speaking to Mileena. "You are quick on your feet. That's a great quality. How long have you been training?"

As excited as she was, Mileena managed to hold still. Her fists were on her sides and her smile was bright behind her mask…as if it could get any brighter! "For about ten thousand years!" It hit her that Kuai Liang wasn't as ancient as she was. "Uh!...Y-years are different on Edenia and Outworld! M-Mileena is sure her age and experience does not mean she has more to learn…!"

Kuai Liang chuckled at her words. "Relax, Mileena. Even masters do not know everything. Even I have much more to learn. If you become my pupil, I promise to teach you all I know, if you promise to teach me as well." His words were of pure nature. He bowed his head respectfully before her as his words met their end.

Oh the thoughts that swam through Mileena's mind; oh the things she wanted to 'teach' him would make a succubus blush. She shook the thought out of her head and returned the bow. "Of course! We will be a great uh…benefit to one another…" There was still that looming dinner. She wanted to get to that. "So! What were your dinner ideas…?"

"Well, a mutual friend gave me a bit of advice. How does…spaghetti sound?"

Mileena's eyes and cheeks lit up. It had to be Kitana that told him…, but when! Either way, the very mention of spaghetti had her stomach rumbling… "Perfect! Though I wish my sister did not spoil the guessing game for our first date! This means I must ask your friend a secret about you…"

Kuai was amused. He reached up to place his hand on her shoulder. "I will do you one better. I will tell you something I enjoy. I'm very big," Mileena's mind raced before he could even finish his sentence. "On reading, as boring as that sounds. I also have a near absurd obsession with…pancakes of all things."

Reading? They had that in common! "Mileena loves to read!" She dare not mention her favorite fairy tale…in fear that she would sound stupid compared to his possible love of things like novels. "What's your…"

She was interrupted by the presence of Xue Fang. "Master Sub-Zero." She bowed respectfully. "I apologize if I'm interrupting…but some of the Lin Kuei have brought something to my attention."

Sub-Zero allowed this, due to the fact he'd become so intrigued with Xue's ability. Her arrogance was another matter, however. "Yes?"

Xue gave Mileena a glance, then faced Kuai again. "I was asking them about the prior Mortal Kombat tournaments. I am a follower of Liu Kang's career as a fighter. I was told that…your elder brother was…murdered. I am sorry to hear this…" She bowed once again.

"It is fine, Xue Fang." He had many feelings still lingering about his brother's death. He would find Scorpion and avenge him…and whoever he had as an accomplice in his killing. "He was a great warrior, despite his flaws."

Xue almost began to smirk as shes stood upright. "I heard word that his killer interrupted his match with the one known as Scorpion," She did not look at Mileena, but she could tell the woman's eyes were on her. "Also that her…'friend' had to convince your clan that she had no part in it. Convinced as in…forced them under threat of pain." With a slight motion to her side ,she concluded. "I believe it was you. Correct, Mileena?"

Now Kuai Liang's eyes went to her. This information was held from him…, but why? Was it true?

Mileena paniced, shaking her hands before herself. "No! That is not true! Mileena did not kill him! She tried to protect him! And Jade…Jade…she just told them if it was I who did the killing, that they too would be dead!"

"So, are you stating you are superior to the Lin Kuei? Perhaps…trying to get close enough to snag the Dragon Medallion?"

"What?" This woman was going too far. She was gaining Mileena's hatred at a rapid rate. "You listen! Mileena wishes only good things for Sub-Zero! His power is his and his alone! Quan Chi is the one behind this all…he tricked Scorpion into thinking the Lin Kuei killed his family! Scorpion did notkill him! He spared him against Quan Chi's wishes!"

Kuai Liang thought about this in silence as the women bickered. He remembered Quan Chi sending Bi Han on a quest…and he remembered the report that Scorpion was killed, but he never knew why. Hearing now that Scropion spared his brother made things…feel a bit off. Which one of them spoke the truth?

Hearing Mileena's words made Fukushu tuck her kunai away. Sub-Zero was not the one to harm. This…Quan Chi…she heard of him before. He hired Scorpion to retrieve the Map of Elements from the Order of Light's Shaolin Temple. She recalled those dark eyes stalking her body, giving her the most sickening feeling.

"Well if it wasn't you, why did you interfere in his battle? What motivation did you have for that? He is…wasa complete stranger…" Xue Fang continued to pry away at Mileena's nerves…

Before the half-Tarkatan could explode with anger, Kuai Liang ended it. "Stop." He stepped between the two of them. "Save your aggressions for the tournament. I will conduct my own investigation on this topic on my own time. I do not wish to hear mention of my brother or his death from either of you. Am I understood?" His tone was more business-like, as if he were already their teacher.

Both women bowed lightly toward the Grandmaster, but spoke not a word. With his mood as bad as it was now, any words would have been cut down anyway. Mileena could sense this. When Sub-Zero left the two of them…Mileena's yellow eyes stared over to Xue Fang. She was grinning from ear to ear, satisfied with enraging Mileena.

Xue Fang laughed as she began to speak. "Good luck with your match!" She knew exactly what she was doing. She saw Mileena fight earlier, and she knew that her emotions would get the better of her. If she could make her upset enough, she would be too blind to defend herself properly. It was all…strategy. She walked away after making brief eye contact with Fukushu on her way back out toward the ring. Without being provoked, she bumped shoulders with the woman, maintaining her arrogant grin.