Her Protector 07
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Chapter Seven

Two mornings later…

Princess Kitana walked down the quiet halls of the castle. She made her way to the back door, which lead her to her mother’s beautiful garden. Some would have thought she was heading there to do her usual strolling, but just by the mask she wore over the bottom half of her face indicated that she was going out to do her martial arts training.

Just behind the garden was a small dojo where the guards and the royals themselves would train themselves. Kitana preferred her practices just after dawn. Normally, the guards trained themselves between the late morning to just before midnight. Kitana figured that the guards don’t believe that it was best to train early in the morning since it prepared not only your body, but your mind for the incoming day.

Tonight was the masquerade party. Kitana prepared her dress and dainty mask, which was hanging on a hanger which hung on to the front part of her closet door. Sometime in the afternoon, the cosmetologists would come in to do her hair and make-up. Kitana didn’t mind about the make-up part…it was the hair part she was not looking forward to. Her mother always hired the same cosmetologists she considered ‘the best.’ Kitana, however, didn’t agree on the hair part. Last time, they had pulled her hair back so tightly she had thought all of her hair would be pulled out when she took the bands out.

Kitana’s knee-high boots clicked against the stone walkway as she walked through the path which would lead her to the dojo. She wore a purple swimsuit-like attire which gleamed in the sunlight. The seam was opened on each side of her waist secured by black laces crossed over one another and the straps wrapped around her upper arms exposing every inch of her shoulder. A black belt was also secured around her waist by a gold buckle and matching wristbands and a choker around her neck. Her hair was tied back in gold bands leave one small strand on the side of her face. This attire was one of Kitana’s favorites, which was a surprise to most since she mostly wore blue. But it was one that was most comfortable in fighting in.

Soon, she reached the dojo. Since the walls from the inside and out were made of sheets, you could easily see a shadow from the outside if there was someone training inside. When she was close enough, she was about to see a shadow training inside, much to her dismay.

Kitana had two options now; wait until the person inside was finished, or train in the garden, which she only did once in a blue mood. She was about to do so, but then her curiosity got the best of her. Her mind began to wonder who was there training in the dojo this early in the morning. She knew her mother would train after breakfast, Jade was far from a morning person, and Rain was on duty in the front of the castle. She figured it was one of the guards. So, she walked herself closer to the entrance. The sliding wooden door was partially opened. Kitana took a couple of steps and took a peak inside.

She was completely surprised when she saw that the person who was training in the room was not a guard…it was Kenshi! Kitana bit her lip. She knew he still had to stay in bed for another few days before he can even walk down the hallway. She wanted to protest, but then she found herself watching his Katas training.

Kenshi moved himself around in a very slow, rhythmic pace in full concentration. Not one sound, low or loud, could distract him now. He wore the same attire Kitana had found him in when he was barely alive. Behind him was his sword in it’s scabbard.

The meditation went on for some time before he straightened himself up. He stood there for another moment before he said, “You can come in now Princess.”

Kitana stood there a bit stunned for a moment before stepping inside. She smirked, “Aren’t you supposed to be in bed?”

Kenshi smirked a little. “I do need my training. Can’t go a day without it.”

“Me either. Actually, I haven’t trained a day since the day I found you.”

Kenshi then slowly unsheathed her sword. “So you do train. What style?”

Kitana smirked, realizing his intention the moment he took out his katana. She kneeled down a bit to reach for her two weapons, where were sheathed by two small scabbards where were buckled around her boots. She took them out and opened up what one would have thought were ordinary blue Chinese fans. But these fans were far from ordinary. In each fold, when opened up, sharp blades stuck out at the ends. The entire fans themselves were made out of steal, allowing the Princess to take on an enemy with any type of weapon, even ones like Kenshi’s.

“I trained in both Eagle Claw and Ba Gua,” Kitana answered. “Ever since I could remember. How about you?”

The two began to slowly circle around each other preparing themselves for their very first sparring session together. After a brief moment, Kenshi finally replied, “Tai Chi and San Shou. I also know some Judo from a friend in Special Forces.”

After the answer, both of them ran towards each other and swung their weapons. Both of their weapons collided with one another. From there, they went back and forth, their weapons colliding each time, either of them without missing.

At one point, they stopped, both weapons leaning against one another. Kitana looked at Kenshi’s face, his red blindfold covering his eyes. ‘My, he’s so handsome up close,’ she thought. Then, she realized what she was thinking about and quickly shook the thoughts out of her head before rearing back. The began their spar again, both of them either playing offense or defense.

This went on for another minute before they stopped, their weapons leaning into one another again. Kenshi spoke this time. “You’re good. You must’ve been taught by the best.”

Kitana sighed to herself. Of course, he didn’t know about her past. Perhaps he will one day. Her answer; “You could say that. I assume you too have been trained by the best.”

The spar began again. This time, Kenshi managed to knock one of Kitana’s fans out of her hands. This stunned her for a second before she regained her composure. Now wasn’t the time to hesitate even if this was only a sparring session, especially when weapons were involved.

Kitana used her remaining blade to block his movements. When she was just about to block, but then to her surprised, Kenshi raised his free hand and made a small spin. This happened so fast for Kitana and she did not realize what just happened until she found herself leaning back against the front of him, his blade a half of foot from her neck. His free arm was wrapped around her locking in her arms, giving her less of a chance to free herself.

Kenshi then whispered in her ear. “My father trained me since I was young. He was one of the best swordsmen of all of Japan.”

To hear him whisper in her ear sent a chill up the Princess’ spine. She was sure he was able to sense her curiosity for him at this point. For a moment, she stayed in her spot, enjoying that moment wrapped around him. She was surprised to feel her heart skip a beat then.

Perhaps she was now really beginning to develop feelings for him. She signed to herself again. How could she fall for something like him? Eventually he would leave the castle to return to where he belonged.

She quickly shook the thoughts out of her head and managed to get out of his grip. She kept her hand on his arm and, without thinking, twisted herself behind him and flipped him. He landed hard on the ground and as he did, he let out a painful hiss and let go of his sword. Apparently, his now fully-healed wound still hurt him.

Kitana, now realizing what she had just done, dropped her fan blade and quickly bended to him. “Oh my goodness! I’m so sorry, are you okay!”

Kenshi let out another hiss again before catching his breath. “Yeah I’m…owe, that was painful.”

“I’m so sorry!” Kitana said again frantically. “I wasn’t thinking at all! Maybe we shouldn’t have sparred at all! Here, let’s get you back to bed.”

She was about to help him up, but Kenshi lifted his arm blocking her from helping him up. He slowly got himself up and picked up his sword, putting it back in his scabbard. “It’s all right Princess, I’ll be all right. Besides, I started the spar. Do not blame yourself for any of this.”

Kitana sighed with a bit of relief just by the face that he forgave her. “Please,” she said. “Call me Kitana.”

Kenshi slightly turned his head to her and smirked a bit. Kitana picked up her fans and put them back in her own scabbard when Jade came in. “There you are Kitana. I was…” then she noticed Kenshi. “Well, hello there.”

Kenshi replied with her with a single nod.

“Good morning Jade,” Kitana said. “I am assuming breakfast is ready.”

Jade smiled at her best friend. “Yes, it is indeed. I will meet you down at the quarters.” Then she left.

Kitana looked over at Kenshi again. “Would you like to join us for breakfast?”

Kenshi rubbed his stomach a bit from the bit of pain that was still there. “I will, but I don’t think I’ll be eating much.”

“That is fine.”

They both slowly made their way out of the dojo to head inside for breakfast.

-

The sun had set for the night, but that didn’t mean the day was over. All the royals, riches, and politicians of Edenia gathered at the castle tonight dressed in gowns and tuxedos, each wearing their own unique masks. Tonight was a celebration. They weren’t just celebrating the final fall of Shao Kahn, the now former deceased Emperor of Outworld. They were also, most importantly, celebrating Edenia’s freedom.

Kitana entered the party with Jade. They looked around at the large crowd as the orchestra played entertaining the guests.

“Wow,” said Jade. “Everyone is here!”

“I know,” replied Kitana with a smile. “According to Mother, everyone has been looking forward to this evening.”

Kitana began to look around more, her face covered in her blue masked filled with small matching colored feathers and sparkling diamonds. Her evening gown was of a pastel blue held up by spaghetti straps, her entire back bare. The bottom of her dress was spread a bit considering there were about three layers of fabric. Just like many of her clothing, it gleamed in the light. Her hair, not done tightly this time, was up in a single high bun held by Chinese chopsticks.

Jade wore a simple forest green evening gown which was only one lair of fabric. It wrapped around her body enough to reveal her shape. Her matching mask had feathers around the edges. Both ends were shaped like a bird’s wings. Her hair was done the same way as Kitana’s.

“Ah!” cried Jade. “There’s the concession stands. I’m so thirsty.”

Kitana heard Jade and turned to her. “Go ahead, I’ll meet you over there.”

“Awe, okay.” Jade made her way to the table full of drinks.

Kitana began looking around again. There was a certain someone she was looking for.

Just before the cosmetologists came over, Kitana had asked Kenshi to come to the masquerade. It took a while to convince him to go. He wasn’t sure about it since he knew he wasn’t going to know anyone at the masquerade. Finally, he decided to go, especially since he’s never been to a party before. Sindel had already provided him with a tuxedo and a mask.

I wonder if he even came,’ she thought feeling a bit disappointed.

It was then that there was a small sound of a glass being hit by an object. Since it was a big party, it took a while for everyone to get settled and quiet. Sindel had made the noise. She stood halfway up the steps so that the entire party could see her.

Sindel smiled at everyone. “Thank you all for coming to this wonderful masquerade tonight. I glad to see all the familiar and new faces here. As many of you know, the Emperor of Outworld, Shao Kahn, has be demised. For many years, he has made attempts to take over our home world. Even though he had managed to do so at one time, we have prevailed and freed ourselves from his grasp. Now that he has fallen, our would of Edenia is officially free. We never again have to worry about the rumors we hear. We never again have to worry about the Outworld army invading our world. Never again will we ever have to worry.” The Queen of Edenia raised her glass filled with red wine. “To freedom!”

Everyone with cups in their hands raised them as well. All cried at once, “To freedom!”

Afterwards, everyone resumed to what they were doing and the music began playing again.

Kitana was just about to head to the concession stand when he spotted Kenshi just entering the party. He wore the black tuxedo that was given to him. On his face, he wore a red mask, the ‘eyes’ covered by black fabric. Kitana smiled. It was a simple attire, and it suited him well.

It was then that she thought back on the spar. Just before he placed her in that hold, he had done something to her when he spun his arm around a bit. It had happened so fast, she didn’t realize what happened. In fact, she didn’t even think about it once in the aftermath.

As she thought of this, Kenshi had sensed her and walked over to her. “There you are Kitana,” he said. “Sorry I’m late.”

Kitana left her thoughts behind and looked over at the swordsman. His dark hair was done much neater than it was before. She smirked, “That’s quite all right Kenshi.”

“It is good so far? The party?”

Kitana shrugged. “It’s all right, I haven’t been here that long.”

Then, the thoughts of the sparring session from this morning came back to her. “Can I ask you something?”

“Sure.”

“That thing you did before when we sparred…before you got me in that hold…what exactly did you do?”

Kenshi tried to withhold his smirk. “Oh, you don’t know…I’m also a telekinetic.”

Kitana’s mouth dropped opened a bit. “You cheated! Your lucky that wasn’t a real fight or I’ll…I’ll…”

She didn’t even finish her statement as Kenshi chuckled. “Well Kitana, I can’t let my powers go to waste either.”

Kitana smiled. “Well next time you do that, I’ll perform my infamous fan lift move.”

“Fan lift?”

“You’ll know soon enough.”

They spent most of the evening together drinking wine and discussing their childhood. They had even talked to Ambassador Zietek and both his daughters Tanya and Heather. As Kitana and Heather talked about the celebration, Kenshi keen senses heightened. He began to detect something within Tanya, but he couldn’t tell what it was. He didn’t have time to figure it out when Queen Sindel came over to him.

“Kenshi, I’m so glad you came,” Sindel said. “I hope that you are enjoying yourself.”

Kenshi nodded once to her. “I’m indeed enjoying this party your highness. I didn’t think I would be comfortable here, but your daughter has shown great hospitality.”

“Lovely,” replied Sindel. Then, a couple of more guests came up to her, ending the conversation.

After the chat with Heather, Kitana and Kenshi made their way to the outer edge. It took a while since so many wanted to talk to the Princess of Edenia. Kitana, being polite, briefly talked to each guest who came to her. Finally, they made it to a spot where they would be less noticed.

“So,” said Kitana. “Are you enjoying yourself?”

“Very much,” Kenshi replied. “I apologize if I seem to be following you around.”

“Actually, I don’t mind at all. Besides, everyone would look at you and think you are my bodyguard, my protector. Trust me, it’s a very good thing in their eyes.”

“I guess that’s good then,” he said with a smirk.

It was then that Rain came over to her dressed in his tuxedo and black mask. Kitana was surprised to see him here. “Rain! Wow, I didn’t think you would be here.”

“Your mother asked me to take the day off to come here tonight,” Rain said. “Are you enjoying yourself Princess.”

“Yes indeed Rain. How about yourself?”

“Well, it was all right…but I think it’s gotten better now.” Then, Rain put his hand out. “Would you care for a dance with me Princess?”

Kitana smirked at Rain. She didn’t get the chance to dance at all tonight, something she liked to do once in a while. She turned to Kenshi, but before she spoke, he said, “I’ll be fine Kitana. I need to get a drink anyways.”

“Okay,” Kitana replied. She took Rain’s hand and the two walked over to the dance floor. Rain wrapped his arms around her slim body. He brought himself closer to her and placed his cheek next to her‘s. Kitana rested her arms on his shoulders.

The two were silent for a bit Then, Rain spoke, “I’m glad this is all over with Outworld. I have waited for this day for quite sometime.”

“Me too,” Kitana answered. “Our home is free now.” She then shifted her brown eyes to Kenshi, who was just making his way to the concession stand to get a drink.

They danced a bit more before Rain whispered to her; “You’re beautiful tonight Princess.”

Kitana swallowed a bit as she heard then. She was only about to say, “Thank you.” Her eyes kept gazing at the blind swordsman.

Rain spoke again. “Princess Kitana…I wonder…is now the right time to offer my proposal?”

Kitana’s eyes widened a bit, but even if Rain saw this, it would have gone unnoticed. She had almost forgotten about this.

When she didn’t speak right away, Rain moved his head to see her. “Kitana…I love you…I promise to protect you, always, if you let me.”

Kitana looked into Rain’s eyes. She saw that he was telling the truth…but she could see, deep down, his inner rage which he has held inside of him for so long.

But then, he would always be there. He would never leave her.

“Yes,” Kitana said. “I accept.”

A small smile spread across Rain’s face. Then, to a bit of her surprised, he brushed his lips against her lightly and briefly before placing his cheek on hers again, holding her closer to him than before.

Kitana felt safe in Rain’s arms. But even if he did love her…even if he would always be there, she couldn’t help but to keep her gaze at the swordsman by the concession stand…

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