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Chapter Five

The bright glowing sun’s rays beamed down on the land of wildflowers, cherry trees, stoned walkways and four-foot walled stones meant to be fences, and two small ponds filled with countless bright green lily pads. It was a breath-taking view, a place where one would not want to leave for quite a while.

Princess Kitana walked over to one of the stone benches in the garden, her black and blue high-heeled boots clicking against the walkway. She placed herself on the bench, let out a soft sigh, and gazed at the view around her.

Thoughts once again played in her mind. It had been a little over a week since the last nightmare she had after falling asleep in the guest room, where the stranger was recovering from his wounds. Though his condition has been stabled, he has not awaken yet. The doctor had said it could be weeks before he would regain consciousness.

The guards had journeyed all through Edenia in finding the stranger’s family, even after the guess that he was most likely from another realm due to his clothing. There had been no luck in that and even if they did find a family with a missing loved one, the description did not fit with the man’s.

Other than that, not much has gone on in the castle. Kitana had spent most of her time mending to her hobbies of her continued training in the martial arts, knitting, having tea time with Sindel and Jade, and at one point, golfing, a sport Edenia had adapted from Earthrealm. She had also visited the man every night before bed.

She was deep in her thoughts when she heard footsteps coming towards her. The sounds of a soldier’s boots clicking against the walkway told Kitana that a guard was coming. She began to stand up when the guard came to her view after passing a cherry tree. It was someone Kitana had not seen around in a week.

“General Rain,” Kitana said a bit surprised.

“Princess,” Rain said bowing to her. “I was told that you were in the garden.”

Kitana nodded. “Yes, I, eh, was just about to leave.”

“Well…I was hoping we could talk while I am off duty.”

Kitana gave it a thought for a second. “All right.” She sat back down on the bench. Rain walked over and sat down next to her, leaving half a foot between them.

“You’ve been quite busy this past week,” Kitana began after a moment of silence.

“Yes, very busy,” Rain answered. “Though we have not heard much about the Outworld rumor, we have been on high alert and have been working twice as much to keep Edenia well protected.”

“That’s comforting to hear General.”

“Please Princess…I allow you to call me by my real name.”

Kitana stayed silent for another moment before speaking again. “I’m sorry I haven’t come to you.”

“I know. I have been quite busy.”

“You came to me for the answer, have you?”

Rain nodded.

Kitana didn’t speak right away. She had not given it any thought as to whether or not she should accept Rain’s proposal. Her mother and her best friend had approved it, but is it really what she wants?

The Princess got herself up, then turned her body to the General. “I’m…just not sure about it. We are both very busy people, mine for my royal duty, you for the army.”

Rain quickly stood up and faced Kitana. “We can make this work. Once the rumors settle down, we will have plenty of time to be together. I promise you that.”

“Don’t make promises unless you know you truly can. Who knows what can happen in the future.”

“I’m sure none of the rumors are true, even with that Tarkatan who attacked us last week.”

Kitana sighed. “Let’s be a little more realistic Gene--Rain. We should take as much precautions as possible whether the rumors are true or not. We can’t just shrug it off and then have them attack when we least expect it.”

Another silence fell between them for a second before Rain spoke again. “So then, are you rejecting my proposal?”

Kitana stayed quiet for a moment before answering. “Not entirely. Let us see if the rumors settle down first.”

Rain sighed and slowly looked around the garden. When he gazed back at her again, she saw his brows slightly arched down a bit. “Then again,” he said a bit harshly. “You have been visiting that man every night since he came here.”

Kitana because stunned suddenly. “What are you talking about? Are you saying that you think I am in love with him? I’m only concerned since I’m the one who found him. Wouldn’t you be if you found a person who’s life was hanging on the line.”

“I never said you were in love with him,” Rain answered. Then he sighed. “I’m sorry…it’s just that it occurred to me that you’ve seen him more than I.”

Kitana sighed and forced herself to smirk. “I am sure once the rumors die down, we will spend more time together Rain. Maybe the proposal just came at the wrong time than you thought.”

“Maybe,” Rain agreed. “Then I do hope that this will end soon.”

“Me too.”

It was then that they both heard footsteps coming over to them, but this time it was quickly. Both of them turned to the noise and saw a guard running over to them.

“What is it?” asked Rain right away.

The guard looked at Kitana while trying to catch his breath. “I have come with a message from your mother.”

“My mother?” Kitana asked surprised. “Did something happen?”

The guard caught his breath again. “She said to come to you right away so I ran. I’m here to inform you that the man you found last week has regained consciousness.”

Kitana was surprised and delighted at the same time about the news. She had thought it would be much longer to hear this news, not this soon.

“That’s is wonderful to hear!”

“Yes,” the guard continued. “We have told him that he was at the Edenian royal castle and has requested the presence of the royal family. Your mother is already up there.”

“I’ll head up there right away.” Kitana turned to Rain. “I will talk to you soon Rain.” Then, she began to head back into the castle. Rain watched her head to the entrance and went in. Once she was inside, he muttered to himself;

“I know Princess…I already can see it happening…you will end up falling for him.

When Kitana got inside the castle, she began to run up to the guest room. She wanted to do so once she began to leave the garden, but with Rain there, she decided to walk so that she didn’t show him that she was excited about the stranger’s awakening. She passed some of the servants who were cleaning the castle. Some looked at her with curiosity as she passed.

Though the run up to the guest hall was only two minutes, it felt like forever to her. She was finally going to be able to learn more about who this man was, to finally have the answer to the questions which have been lingering in her mind for days since she found him.

She reached the guest hall and stopped herself from running, remembering the two guards who were guarding the door to his room. She briskly walked over to the door. The guards bowed to her before letting her in.

Kitana went inside. The first thing she saw was Queen Sindel sitting on the armchair with a big bowl of hot water next to her on the nightstand. Kitana walked closer and finally got the glimpse of the now-awakened man. He was still lying down in the position that he was in for the past week, but his eyes were opened. When she looked at his eyes, she was surprised to see that they were all white, just like her mother’s.

‘Perhaps he too was once tainted like my mother,’ she thought.

Sindel turned and found her daughter standing by her. “Kitana, you’ve come.”

Kitana walked closer to them. The stranger slowly reached his hand out to her. Then, he spoke his first words to her.

“You are the Princess, am I correct?”

Kitana smirked as she heard the sound of his voice, which was deep and brisk, though they hinted that he was still groggy from his deep sleep. She reached her hand to him and they shook hands. “Yes, but you may call me Kitana.”

After shaking hands, Kitana sat down on the edge of the bed by his legs. She then looked over at her mother. “What does he know so far?”

“Just our names and that we are the royals of the castle,” Sindel replied with a smirk. “Oh yes, and that you were the one who saved his life.”

“Yes,” the man spoke again. “I meant to thank you for that Kitana.”

“It was a pleasure,” Kitana said.

Sindel took a cloth that was in the bowl and placed it over the man’s forehead. “Many of us in this castle have been very curious about you. We know you haven’t been awake that long, but…”

“You want to know more about me?” the man asked.

“Well, yes, but that is up to you. You don’t have to speak about it now.”

The stranger nodded. “I don’t mind.”

He began to sit himself up, but Kitana stopped him. “Don’t, you still need to recover.”

“It’s fine, this isn’t the first time I’ve received wounds like these.” He sat himself up a little. As he did, the two women took his pillows and lifted them up a bit to give him better comfort in his new position. As soon as he settled, he began to tell his story;

“I’m with the Outerworld Investigation Agency in Earthrealm. I’m there as a free agent temporally settling down after my many years of traveling as a swordsman. While with the OIA, a human-like beast had invaded the agency. He escaped through a portal and I went after him. Of course, that is how I got here. In the woods, I battled him, but he took me down and left me for dead. Last thing I remember was hearing footsteps.”

“That must’ve been mine,” Kitana said. “You’ve must’ve lost consciousness just as I found you.”

“I suspected you were from Earth,” Sindel said as she removed the cloth from her head and dipped it into the bowl again to let it soak. “We suggest that you stay another week to let you completely recover. After, you may stay as long as you like.”

The man nodded. “Thank you.”

Kitana looked over at him again. “Funny. Do you know a Sonya Blade?”

The man’s face produced a stunned look. “Yes, she was the one who recruited me. How do you know her?”

“We met in a tournament years ago. Guess it’s not just a small world, it’s a small universe.”

The man barely smirked. “I guess so.”

“Now,” Kitana continued. “It seems that all of the questions lingering in our minds have finally been answered except one…what is your name?”

The man rubbed his head a little before responding. “It’s Kenshi.”

Kenshi rubbed his head more. “My blindfold, where is it?”

“Blindfold?” asked Sindel confused.

“I think I know what he’s talking about,” said Kitana as she got up. She went to the nightstand on the other side of the bed and picked up the red fabric that had been sitting there for days. She handed it over to Kenshi. “Here you go.”

Kenshi took the fabric into his hands and unfolded it. Then, he placed it over his face and around the rest of his head before tying a knot behind it. The mother and daughter watched. It was at that moment that they realized where it was placed. It wasn’t just around his forehead. It was around his eyes!

No wonder he called it a blindfold.

“You…you are blind aren’t you?” Sindel asked quietly.

Kenshi nodded. “For years now.” He slowly slid his body back to where his spine would be flat again. “I’m feeling drowsy. I need some rest.”

Sindel got up. “We’ll leave you now. Come my daughter. Supper should be served soon.” She looked at Kenshi. “If you need anything, my guards are just outside the door. They will be out there until you are able to get out of bed.”

“Thank you again,” Kenshi answered.

The women began to leave. As they did, Kitana looked over at Kenshi one more time. She had thought that she would leave the room with answers, but now she left the room with more questions than ever.

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