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Chapter Forty-Seven

Cave

All was quiet in the cave when Rose woke up the next morning. While everyone else was sleeping, she decided to take the opportunity to make herself some tea in the lounge area. Whenever she made tea, a drink that was already relaxing to her, she liked it when all was quiet and peaceful.

She took the time to make the tea before sitting down at the small table with the mug in the hands. She managed to take a few sips before she saw the curtain to the room open. Raiden walked into the room and it only took him a second to notice that Rose was in the room.

“Good morning Rose,” Raiden said to her.

Rose nodded. “Good morning.”

Sighing a bit, Raiden walked to the table and sat at the chair in front of her. “I don’t know if you know, but we had a situation last night-”

“Xianghua,” Rose finished for him.

Raiden nodded. “Of course…you’re psychic so I figured you’d know.”

Rose smirked. “Actually I didn’t find out on my own. Kilik and Hwang reported Xianghua’s absence to me when Maxi and Mina went out to look for her.”

“Seems that they got to you first,” Raiden replied. “Anyway, they were able to get her back here safely and she was treated for her cuts and bruises. Although she’ll be traumatized for a while, she’ll be fine none the less.”

“I’m just glad to hear that nothing worse happened,” Rose said. “Do they have the name of the man who attacked her? Kilik and Hwang had not confirmed that with me last night.”

“All I know is that his name is Vega, a tall blond man who has a thing with giving beautiful girls roses.”

Rose’s eyes widened immediately. “Vega Fabio De Cerna?”

Raiden eyed her. “You know him?”

Rose took a quick sip of her tea before placing the cup down on the table. “He once worked for the organization Shadowlaw. They were a criminal organization, mainly known for smuggling drugs and weapons around the world. However, not many knew that they were much more than that. They had so much technology, thanks to their scientists. Their leader was Bison. He called himself a dictator and had plans to rule Earthrealm. He even planned numerous times to kidnap fighters to make them either join them or die. Sometimes, he would brainwash them entirely so that they would submit to his services.”

“If I had known about this, I would’ve helped,” Raiden mentioned. “However, the Elder Gods had me concerned with other issues.”

Rose nodded. “Not everything can be detected by even the most powerful of people.” She sighed a little. “The most disturbing of them all was his doll program. He kidnapped girls from around the world just for them to submit to his deeds, sending them out on missions and…other things.”

Rose took another sip of her tea before continuing. “Thankfully, most of them have been freed…including one of our chosen ones, Cammy White.”

Raiden looked at her in a bit of surprise. “She was one of them?”

“Yes,” Rose replied. “She has no memory of before and during that time. The only thing she knows is that her body was meant to exist for Bison soul if ever his current body was destroyed. However, she had escaped, thanks to me, before that could happened.”

A more surprising look came over Raiden’s face. “You saved Cammy?”

Rose nodded. “It’s a long story, but I had used my soul power to purge her alter ego, ‘Killer Bee,’ as she was known then. It’s been five years since. I still want to keep that a secret so keep it between you and I.”

Raiden nodded. “Will do. There is one thing I want to know. You mentioned that only most have been freed. Are you saying that there are still some girls being under control?”

“Until yesterday, I wasn’t so sure,” Rose answered. “I had tried detecting their souls during my tarot readings, but I could never pinpoint them. However, at my match yesterday, the young woman I fought, Viper…she had the same energy as the other dolls when they were being controlled. I tried to do a reading last night, but to no avail, but I’m going to keep trying. I’m hoping to find her physically so that I can try to figure out more about her and perhaps free her the way I did for Cammy.”

“Let’s hope for the best then,” Raiden said. “So what has happened to Bison and Shadowlaw?”

“All we know is that it collapsed completely. We know that Bison is dead, but even to me, no one is sure who killed him.” She sighed deeply. ‘And I’m quite surprised that I didn’t die that day…considering that the good energy he once had has since formed into me…

Yes, it was an important piece of information, but Rose decided not to tell Raiden about it. Perhaps one day she will.

Raiden smiled as a thought came to him. “You know…it’s a good thing Bison and Shao Kahn didn’t form an alliance.”

A smile came over Rose’s face as well, deciding to make light out of the conversation. “Well, I bet they would’ve gotten along much better than us.”

Raiden looked at her with surprise. “I see that you’re growing on me.”

“Don’t get your hopes up or I may throw another mug at you,” Rose laughed.

Raiden raised an eyebrow with humor. “Which reminds me. Everyone has finally noticed that the mugs are shorthanded. I got a few complaints for the last couple of days.”

Rose placed a hand over her mouth, her eyes gleaming with playful innocence. “Now I didn’t throw that many mugs, did I?”

That’s when they heard the curtain open. Raiden and Rose turned in that direction and saw Cody and Yun just walking into the room, but had stopped in their tracks upon seeing their leaders.

“Oh crap,” Cody said with a sigh. “We better get out of here before they start throwing more mugs at each other.”

“Or what remains of them,” Yun replied as the two of them quickly left the room.

Once they left, Raiden and Rose looked at each other with blank expressions. Silence was in the air for a few seconds before Rose spoke. “Well well, I guess we’re not good enough for anyone these days.”

Raiden laughed a little. “Well, if it wasn’t for you starting our arguments, then the chosen ones wouldn’t get scared around us.”

A serious look came over Rose’s face. “What do you mean I’ve been starting the fights?”

Raiden noted the new look on her face and sighed. “Let’s face it Rose…you always have something to bring up to me.”

Rose placed her hands on her hips. “That’s because half the time, you act irresponsible.”

“How many times do I have to explain myself about that. I’m a God for God’s sake!”

“Yeah yeah and I’m psycho and…damn it Raiden, look what you made me do!”

Raiden chuckled a little. “But I’m afraid it’s true my dear.”

“Don’t call me dear!”

“I can call you whatever I want! Damn it woman, you have caused me nothing but stress since I met you!”

“Me causing stress? At least my hair hasn’t turned white! HA! I’ve been saving that one for a week!”

“Oh yeah,” Raiden began to retaliate. “At least I’m not sexually frustrated! HA! I’ve been saving that one loooong before I even met you!”

In anger, Rose picked up her cup, which was now three quarters empty. “YOU BASTARD!”

“Here we go again,” Raiden said as he teleported away just as Rose threw the mug at him, sending it crashing to the floor…again.

“When will he learn?” Rose growled in frustrated as she stomped out of the lounge room.


Cave, Two Hours Later

“Well the good news is that Xianghua was able to rest overnight,” said Maxi as he and Hwang walked through the hall of the cave. In Hwang’s hand was a mug filled with hot chocolate (it was the only mug he found. It was dirty so Hwang was forced to take the time to clean it up).

“That’s good to know,” Hwang replied. “She definitely deserves plenty of rest after last night.”

“Tell me about it.”

Soon, the two of them reached Xianghua’s room and opened the curtain. Kilik and Mina were already in the room, sitting on either side of her bed. Xianghua herself was sitting up in her bed wearing a heavy sweater that was provided for her. Despite the bandage over the left side of her face, she seemed to look better than last night.

“Hey you,” Maxi said to her as and Hwang walked further into the room.

“We hope you like hot chocolate,” Hwang said as he handed her the cup.

Xianghua smirked a little as she took the cup in her hands. “Yes, I do love hot chocolate. Thank you very much.” She then took a quick sip before looking up at her friends. “You guys are too good for me.” She sighed a little before continuing. “I still curse at myself for leaving the cave grounds alone. Raiden and Rose sure do have a good reason for us to not venture off the cave grounds by ourselves.”

“I’m sure you’re not the only one,” Kilik said. “I admit, I’ve done it a couple of times myself.”

Mina wagged a finger at Kilik. “Someone’s been a bad boy.”

“You’ve done it once or twice too,” Hwang reminded her.

Mina spat her tongue at him. “So what? It was only to get food in the main palace for crying out loud.”

“Even so,” Xianghua said to her. “Look what happened to me. If it weren’t for you guys, I could’ve been either raped or possibly killed.”

Kilik placed an arm around her. “You know we’re here for you.”

Xianghua smiled a little. “Thanks.”

Kilik then sighed a bit. “Actually, I’m about to continue with breaking the rules. I’m going to go to the palace to find Jade. I sort of left her behind after I rescued the new guy Paul and I still feel bad about it.”

“I’m sure she’ll forgive you,” Maxi assured him. “I mean, it was about a man’s life after all.”

“That’s true,” Kilik replied as he stood up. “I’ll be back in a few hours.”

“Be safe,” Xianghua said to him.

Kilik turned to her and managed to smile. “I will,” he replied before leaving.

“Ah nothing like breaking rules,” said Mina. “Raiden and Rose are so going to kill us.”

“If Rose doesn’t kill Raiden first,” Hwang said. “Come on Mina, we’re already behind our training time.”

“Rats,” Mina muttered. She then turned to Xianghua and gave her a hug. “I’ll be back as soon as I can.”

Xianghua returned the hug. “At least you’ll be with Hwang so at least that makes me feel better.”

“I’m sure Kilik will be fine,” Mina assured her. She then stood up and took her leave with Hwang.

Once everyone left, Maxi walked over to Xianghua and sat next to her on the bed. Xianghua looked up at him. “Thank you again Maxi. I wish I could repay you and Mina for rescuing me.”

Maxi wrapped an arm around her. “There’s no need to repay me. Knowing that you’re okay is enough for me. You’re like a little sister to me. I’d be crushed if anything happened to you.”

“Yeah,” Xianghua only said. “Say, I hope you don’t mind, but I’m going to try to get some more rest.”

“All right, you do that,” Maxi said getting himself up. “I’ll be around the cave all day so I’ll be sure to check up on you again in a little while.” He then stepped out of the room and closed the curtain behind him.

Xianghua slowly placed the mug given to her down on the floor behind lying back on the ground. ‘Everything is so hopeless right now,’ she thought sadly. ‘It’s not just what happened to me last night. It’s also the fact that the two guys I want have no interest in taking our relationship further. One is out chasing another girl and the other only sees me as a little sister…

She closed her eyes then, wanting to get more sleep. As she did, Xianghua decided that, from this day forward, that she was going to stop chasing guys and let them come to her. Especially after last night, it was for the best.


Nearby

Paul Phoenix looked through a mirror that was given to him by one of the girls in the cave a while ago. After waking up this morning, he felt that it was time to groom himself. Only needing tons of gel and a razor, he was back to the way he looked only a few weeks ago. His full beard was finally shaven off and his long dirty blonde hair was back to standing over his head.

“Now that I finally got that done,” Paul said to himself. “It’s time to get me some breakfast.”

He placed the mirror down on the bed in the room that he was assigned to last night by Raiden. He then stood up before leaving the room, closing the curtain behind him. Just as he turned around, he ended up bumping into someone, both of them letting out an ‘oof’ upon impact.

Paul pulled back a bit as did the man who bumped into him as well. Immediately, Paul noticed that the middle-aged man had the same hairstyle that he did, only it was a lighter colored blonde and more shorter with the enders spreading outward a bit.

The stranger spoke then. “You must be the new guy Paul Phoenix. I’m Colonel Guile.” He then placed a hand out.

Paul grabbed the man’s hand and they shook. “Good to meet you Colonel.” After pulling his hand back, he ran his finger through his hair on the side of his head. “Do you like my hair?”

Guile looked up at Paul’s hair, nothing that they had similar taste, before shrugging a bit. “Um, it’s nice I guess. Well it was good meeting you.”

“Same here,” Paul said. As Guile passed him, Paul raised an arm, happy that his old hair style was back in business. ‘Yeah! I still got it!’ He then walked down the hall towards the lounge to get breakfast.

Meanwhile, Guile managed to walk a few more feet through the hall going the opposite direction before stopping in front of one of the rooms. “Sonya, are you in there?” he called out.

“Just a minute Guile,” Sonya called out from behind the curtain. “I’m just getting my jacket out, then I’ll be right out.”

Guile sighed a little before looking at his wristwatch. ‘Hmm, ten o’clock in the morning already,’ he thought.

A few more seconds passed before the curtain opened and Sonya stepped out. “Hey Guile. What can I do for you today?”

Guile sighed again. “This is your first time venturing out of your room for the day isn’t it?”

“I didn’t sleep in that late did I?” Sonya asked.

“No, that’s not the problem,” Guile replied.

Sonya let her head tilt back a bit with a sigh. “Oh no, not another problem.”

“A minor one I’m hoping,” Guile said. “I’m finally getting the paperwork done and there’s just one thing I need from Agent Walker. However, I can’t seem to find her this morning.”

Sonya’s head immediately tilted back to it’s normal position. “You can’t find Alex?”

Guile shook his head. “At this point, I believe that she’s down at the palace for breakfast.”

Sonya quickly pointed an index finger upward as though she just came up with an idea. “Hold on just a sec!” She then jogged passed Guile and headed down the hall. Guile followed Sonya, who finally stopped a few rooms down. She quickly pulled the curtain to the room. Upon peering into the room, Sonya sighed as she realized that no one was there.

Damn, I was hoping she could’ve snuck in there overnight and had fallen asleep next to him,’ Sonya thought laughing in her mind.

Guile caught up to her at that point. “Nice try, but I already checked to see if Kenshi was in there. I’m sure that the both of them went to breakfast.”

“I better hope so,” Sonya replied feeling a bit worried.

“Well hope no more,” a female voice said behind her. Sonya and Guile turned their heads and saw Alex and Kenshi behind them. They both immediately noted the fact that they were both carrying blankets in their arms and the fact that both of their hairs were wet.

“Oh good you’re here,” Guile said calmly.

“Hold on just a sec,” Sonya cut in. “At this point, I can guess that the two of you were gone for quite a while. Where were you?”

Both of them didn’t answer immediately. Alex’s eyes shifted back and forth a couple of times before answering. “Eh…it’s funny really. I couldn’t sleep last night so we both went out for a walk-”

“With blankets?”

“Well it was cold you know!” Alex protested. “Anyway, we ended up falling asleep in the forest overnight. As you can tell from our wet hair, we just got out of the springs.”

“It’s true,” Kenshi added.

Sonya shifted her eyes then. Immediately, she noticed the small smirk that developed on the swordsman’s face. She tried not to smile mischievously over that.

You two so did A LOT more than that last night!’ she thought.

“Well the important thing is that you two are safe,” Guile said. “Did you eat yet?”

“Not yet,” Alex replied. “We were about to head down to the main palace in a little bit.”

“How about I make us something in the lounge,” Guile offered her. “I’m finally finishing those paperwork and the only thing I need from you is information about a mission you had when you were stationed in China.”

Alex looked at him a bit surprised. “Wow…I thought you had that down already.”

“I should train anyway,” Kenshi mentioned. “I have a match to prepare for tonight.”

“Ooh,” Sonya said. “What arena?”

“Underground lair, seven o’clock.”

“That’s what some call the night battles,” Guile said. “Heard they’re quite popular. I’ll definitely be there.”

Kenshi then took his leave, but not before brushing his hand over Alex’s shoulder a couple of times, causing a smirk to appear on her face.

Sonya waited until Kenshi was far away before a devilish grin came over her face. “You’re blushing.”

Alex eyed her. “Be quiet,” she said as she began following Guile to the lounge room. “And no, I’m not giving details.”

“Oh rats,” Sonya sighed as she snapped her fingers. “Oh well, I tried. But I’ll know soon enough!”

Alex then spat her tongue at her, with Sonya quickly doing the same. They then laughed a bit before Alex headed down to the lounge.


Cave Grounds, Three Hours Later

After having some lunch, Julia decided to take a moment to set up the campfire outside. There was already a collection of twigs and firewood from inside the cave so she was grateful that she didn’t have to venture off the cave grounds at all, especially since not a lot of people were around at the moment.

Well at least I can relax here by myself,’ she thought as she sat back to watch the fire grow a bit after getting the twigs to light up.

Just as she took a deep sigh in relaxation, she saw someone from the corner of her eyes. Julia shifted her heard and smirked a bit upon seeing Ryu coming over towards her. Ryu was looking another direction for a moment, but upon turning his head, he noticed Julia sitting by the campfire. Since he hadn’t really seen her around the last couple of days, he decided to go over to her.

“Hey Julia,” he said as he sat next to her.

Julia smiled. “Hey Ryu. Did you get back from lunch?”

“I did,” Ryu replied.

Julia then raised an eyebrow. “You weren’t alone were you?”

“No, not at all,” Ryu replied. “I was with Ken, Chun-Li, Lei, Cammy, Lita, and McCoy at lunch. The six of them just went off to the hot springs. I was already there this morning so I decided to come back here.”

“Ah okay. Well as long as you weren’t by yourself it’s good. So, how was the food?”

“The same as usual,” Ryu replied. “They just served some sandwiches and pasta salads. Well, that’s just what I can remember.”

“Well with all that food, I’m not surprised,” Julia said.

Ryu nodded. “Yeah. So, um…how have you and Mika been since what everyone calls…the ‘infamous match?’”

Julia sighed a bit. “And that is why I’ve been keeping to myself lately. Oh well…but any who, the funny thing is that ever since that day, we haven’t spoken to each other since. Whenever we saw each other, we just go our own way and pretend the other doesn’t exist. It’s really the best we can do.”

“I see,” Ryu said. “Well to be honest, I wish that the both of you can leave it behind and start over.”

“Maybe some day,” Julia said. She then decided to change the subject as an idea came to her. “Say, um…later this evening, do you want to get off these grounds and go do something? I kind of need a break from being here, but with the rule and stuff, I do want someone to come.”

For a moment, Ryu debated in his mind whether or not to go. However, the decision only took a few seconds for him to make, once he realized that Julia just needed a friend and he happened to be the one she chose.

“Sure,” Ryu finally said. “But just to let you know, I have to do some training since I have a match tomorrow.”

“Really?” Julia said. “Where and when?”

“Courtyard. I’m scheduled to be there at two o’clock in the afternoon.” Ryu then looked up towards the sky. “Hard to believe that the last day of Round Five is tomorrow.”

Julia smirked. “Already? The later rounds are definitely going by fast. Well in that case, since I lost, may I join you in your training?”

“You sure you’re up to the challenge?” Ryu said, smirking more.

Julia smiled. “I’m sure I’ll be fine.”

Unknown to them, Mika happened to walk by the area, waiting for her friends to come out of the cave so that they could all go to lunch together. As she did, she noticed Ryu and Julia talking to each other by the lit campfire. Immediately, thoughts of everything that happened with her and the both of them came to her, from the moment she met Ryu on the ship to Outworld to her infamous match with Julia.

We were so childish throughout this whole thing,’ Mika thought about her and Julia. ‘I may have won the battle…but it now seems that she has won the war…

From there, as she walked away, Mika made a decision. She decided to accept the fact that between both her and Julia, Ryu liked Julia more, considering that he seemed to talk to her more than he talked to Mika.

To Mika, it was time to leave her and Julia’s bitter rivalry behind and move on.


Nearby On The Cave Grounds

“That was a fun spar,” said Yang as he and his brother Yun began heading back towards the cave after spending an hour training in the forest.

“Indeed it was,” replied Yun as he adjusted the blue and yellow cap on his head. “Say, let‘s head to lunch at the palace before all the fresh goes.”

“Not a bad idea,” Yang agreed.

Damn I wish I had my skateboard or else I could’ve been there in five minutes,’ Yun thought to himself. He then looked at his brother. “Say…how have you and Maki been these days?”

Yang nodded. “We’re doing pretty good. As a matter of fact, we’ve been discussing over what will happen once we return to Earth, considering the fact that I live in China and she lives in Japan.”

Yun’s eyes widened a bit. “You’re not going to move to Japan and leave me, Yin, and Grandpa behind are you?”

Yang smiled. “Actually, we decided that she’ll move in with us. However, it may be a few months before she could do so since she wants to complete her training before becoming a full Bushin ninja. In the meantime, we’ll be visiting each other once a month for a week.”

“You sure you can afford it?”

“We’ll be fine, we make enough money to support our trips.” Yang then sighed a bit, deciding to change the subject. “Damn…since this morning I’ve been feeling a bit uneasy.”

Yun raised an eyebrow. “Maki didn’t mention having a family did she?”

“No no, not even,” Yang replied. “Actually, I’ve been getting a bit of a bad feeling, but it’s probably over nothing.”

“Do you know why?” Yun asked curiously.

“Sort of,” Yang answered. “I had a dream last night…it was night time and I happened to make my way up on the rooftop above our apartment and the old restaurant. I saw two shadows fighting and there were so many bright lights that I couldn’t really tell what happened. All I know was that in the end, the two of them seemed to talk for a moment before one of them jumped away. A few moments later, the other shadow collapsed and I remember figuring out that this one had died.” He then sighed after telling his dream. “I don’t know why it’s bothering me.”

“I’m sure it’s nothing,” Yun assured him. “Maybe you’re just homesick. After all, you were on the rooftop in your dreams.”

Yang shrugged. “Yeah, maybe.” He then looked at Yun while smiling. “Say, I just had a thought…whatever happened to that girl Anna you were seeing.”

Yun smiled as he fixed his cap again. “Still have my crush on her. We’ve only seen each other twice since my ‘big night’ with her.”

Yang sighed. “I see you didn’t heed to Nina’s warning.”

“Nah,” Yun chuckled. “Honestly, I think it was all out of jealousy. I don’t why she got so worked up.”

“Apparently they know each other somehow,” Yang reminded him. “Just be careful, just incase she’s right.”

“Yeah yeah,” Yun said. His smile grew wider. “You know what…it’s been a week since I last visited her. Maybe I’ll swing by her room tonight. Mind escorting me?”

Yang sighed. “Maybe,” he only replied not liking the idea. However, if it will make his brother happy, then so be it.


Two Walking Hours Away

“Seems like not too much activity is going on at the moment,” said Nina as she looked through some binoculars.

Raven, also looking through a pair of binoculars, nodded. “Agreed,” he said.

Removing the objects from their faces, they sank down lower behind the large boulder they were hiding behind. Since late this morning, the two of them ventured off for the assignment Raiden and Rose had given them…check up on activities at this particular fortress, where a supposed anonymous tip gave them the clue that this was where the Emperor Shao Kahn was hiding. They had arrived in the area only an hour ago and are now underway with their work.

Nina looked up at the sky, noting the fact that the sun was beginning to set for the day. “So what’s the plan?” she asked.

“Eight o’clock, we go in,” Raven suggested. “Rose had mentioned that Shao Kahn watches the matches that take place in the Underground Lair.”

Nina looked at him with a bit of surprise. “My last match before my loss was at that lair. I saw no sign of him.”

“Hidden balcony,” Raven mentioned. “Rose happened to see it while scouting for new recruits a few nights ago. The matches there usually take place between three to four hours starting at seven o’clock depending on the length of all the matches.”

Nina raised an eyebrow. “So then why are we going in at eight o’clock?”

“By then everything should be calm,” Raven replied. “And it will be much easier for us to go in. We’ll have to limit ourselves to two hours once we go inside.”

“I see,” Nina said. “All right, we’ll go for that plan.”

Then silence fell between the two, neither one of them not having anything else to say. Neither one of them were ever really social people mainly because they considered themselves workaholics.

However, after five minutes, Raven decided to start a conversation. “So…what kind of clients have you worked for in the past?”

Nina looked at him for a moment, seeing that he wasn’t looking at her when he spoke. However, she didn’t really mind as she looked ahead as well. “To be quite honest, I don’t really remember. I’ve been doing this…business for two years and dealt with numerous clients. Pretty much they were secret organizations and mafias.”

“I see,” Raven said.

Silence lingered again, but only for a few seconds this time as a question came to Nina. “Why do they call you Raven?”

Still keeping the same expression and tone, Raven replied. “It’s because some call me ‘The Dark Talon of Death.’ I don’t remember where the title came from, but it obviously developed after some time.” He then looked at her. “Besides…if I told you my real name, I’d have to kill you.”

A smirk came over Nina’s face. It was something she normally said, but now it was the other way around. For once in her life, she felt amused.

Maybe if we keep this up for the next few hours, this may end up being interesting,’ she thought.


Underground Lair

A match going as Sonya entered the lair. “Big crowd tonight,” she said aloud.

Guile, who stood next to her, nodded in agreement. “Let’s try to get as close as we can to the front.” He then turned behind him to face Alex and Kenshi. “Let’s head in.”

The four of them began walking into the arena then. As they did, Kenshi was able to sense the other people that were there in the arena thanks to his keen senses which he developed after he went blind. For a moment, he wasn’t able to recognize anyone in the room…that was until he recognized one that was all too familiar to him.

His long-time enemy Shang Tsung was in the room!

So,’ he thought to himself. ‘I’m guess you host your matches here as well.

Since the tournament began, Kenshi knew that Shang Tsung hosted the matches at the Courtyard and the swordsman has yet to fight there. He knew about the underground lair which he heard that the hosts vary…the sorcerer just happened to be hosting tonight. Even now, Kenshi was trying to control his anger as he thought about what the sorcerer had done to him and his ancestors all those years ago.

He then realized something. If the information he was given was indeed correct, Shang Tsung was definitely working for Shao Kahn. He happened to be the one to find out the Emperor’s possible location…when he had found Alex in the dungeon below days ago.

Kenshi didn’t want to believe it, but it may be possible that Shang Tsung knew of her.

Quickly, he stopped in his tracks, reaching his hand to Alex’s shoulder and stopped her from walking as well. She turned her head to him a bit confused. “What’s up?” she asked.

“Listen, I need you to do me a favor,” he replied. “I can’t explain it right now, so I want you to go along with it. I want you to keep yourself hidden from the host of the tournament. Stay behind me until I go up, then go behind someone else, I don’t care who…just don’t let him see you. And no matter what happens to me in the ring, don’t go near me. Wait until Guile, Sonya, and I get out of the arena.”

Briefly, Alex looked over at the ring and saw that Shang Tsung was the host of the matches tonight. In her mind, she was sort of starting to get a connection. When they first met Ermac, he had wanted Kenshi to take care of him in which Kenshi said that he’d be honored to slay him. Now came this…

Alex was beginning to believe that Kenshi may had some sort of past with the sorcerer, but she wasn’t about to jump to conclusions just yet, incase she was wrong.

“I won’t ask any questions for now,” she said. “But eventually I’ll want to know what’s going on.”

Kenshi nodded. “When the right time comes, you’ll know.” He then briefly kissed her forehead before heading to where Guile and Sonya were with Alex following him less than a foot away, pulling her sweater‘s hood over her head as a precaution.

Soon the match that was going on ended and the two fighters cleared out. Once that was done, Shang Tsung stood up from his throne to set up the next match.

“Asuka Kazama!” he called out.

Upon hearing her name being called, Asuka jumped into the ring as her friends cheered on for her. She got herself to the middle of the ring, ready to fight.

However, unknown to her, she was about to receive a big surprise.

A smirk came over Shang Tsung’s face as he announced her opponent. “Sheeva!”

That was the moment when everyone heard a rhythmic rumble beneath their feet. The viewers looked around, trying to figure out where it was coming from. Soon, they spotted a tall female figure sporting four arms coming from one of the side doors. The entire arena fell silent almost immediately. As she walked forward, those in her path quickly moved away afraid of what may happen if they indeed get in her way.

In the ring, Asuka’s dark eyes widened in fear, feeling suddenly frozen where she stood. ‘What gave them the idea of putting me in a match with her!’ she thought feeling frightened.

Soon, Sheeva was in the ring, stopping in her tracks once she was a yard away from Asuka. A smirk came over Sheeva’s black lips upon seeing her opponent. ‘Seems that Shao Kahn wants me to have an easy match for my first round,’ she thought feeling a bit delighted. ‘I just hope that it’ll be more challenging after this.

Despite her fears, Asuka mustered up whatever bravery she had left, getting herself into a fighting stance.

Sheeva grinned as she stretched her four arms out. “I guess you’re ready for me to crush you little girl.”

Though she had a blank expression, Asuka was able to hear herself swallow hard.

“Begin!” Shang Tsung called out.

Asuka clutched her fists. She then took a deep breath before running over to where Sheeva stood. When she was a couple of feet away, she jumped forward to perform a flying kick. She managed to land the blow, but it only made Sheeva stagger a bit. Asuka then tried landing a few punches on her, but it only brought the same results.

Damn it!’ she cried out in her mind. ‘What will it take to take her down?

When the chance came, Sheeva grabbed on to Asuka with her two lower arms before lifting her up to her face level. Now the fear was written over Asuka’s face.

Using her upper hands, Sheeva placed one hand under her chin, then used her other hand to wag her finger. “Tsk tsk tsk…nice try…but this match has long been over.”

She then smacked Asuka across the face four times. Then, she swung her in two full circles before letting go, sending Asuka flying out of the ring…and ironically crashing into her friends Mika, Maki, Sakura, and Cassandra. All five of them let out loud ‘oofs’ before crashing into the floor.

“Winner: Sheeva!” Shang Tsung announced.

Instead of normal clapping, loud boos were heard. To the viewers, not only did the match end too quickly, but they believed that Sheeva used a cheap tactic to win. Sheeva then let out a loud roar, shutting everyone up before taking her leave, returning through the side door she came out of.

“Well that match sucked…poor Asuka,” said Alex while standing behind Kenshi. She had ended up watching the match by peeking over his shoulder with her blue eyes. After the statement, she shifted her eyes to him. “If you face her in the next round, you better win.”

“That is if I even win this match,” Kenshi reminded her.

“…I knew that.”

Afterwards, two more matches passed within twenty minutes. Once the fighters from the second match cleared out, Shang Tsung called out the first of two fights for the next match.

“Kenshi!”

Alex briefly touched his back. “Good luck,” she said to him before taking one giant step to her left so that she was now behind Guile.

Both Sonya and Guile also wished him luck. He nodded once to all three of them before silently passing through the three rows of viewers who stood in front of him.

Shang Tsung watched as the man he encountered years ago step into the ring. Kenshi wasted no time as he walked over to the sorcerer’s throne, stopping a few feet away. Despite Kenshi being blind, the two of them seemed to have a stare down for a moment.

A smirk then came over the sorcerer’s face. “I see that you’ve made it quite far in the tournament. Very impressive.”

Kenshi ignored his words. “You just remember this…when this tournament is over, this score will be settled.”

“Strong words, swordsman. Just be patient until then…you just may have your wish then. Right now, you have a match to attend to.”

Shang Tsung then called out for Kenshi’s opponent. “Havik!”

The Chaosrealm native Havik jumped into the ring then, eager to fight. Kenshi turned into the direction where his opponent was.

Havik stretched his left hand out, cracks being heard from his bones. He noted the fact that his opponent wore a red blindfold over his eyes, obviously having no sight.

“Well blind one,” Havik said to Kenshi. “I look forward to our match.”

Kenshi ignored him as he got into a fighting stance. Before Havik got into a stance, Shang Tsung had called for the match to begin.

You better win this one Havik,’ Shang Tsung thought. ‘Or I’ll have your head!

Havik was just beginning to run over to Kenshi, who placed his hands on either side of his head, surrounding himself with a light blue aura. Using his telekinesis, he quickly maneuvered himself towards Havik as though he was actually teleporting. Once he was close enough, he quickly performed a roundhouse, forcing Havik to stumble sideways.

Once he regained balanced, Havik spread his arms out, his hands clenched. He twisted his torso quickly. His fists managed to connect Kenshi was forced to stumble back, nearly losing his balance.

Havik straightened himself out before running over to Kenshi. The two of them then exchanged some punches and kicks for a minute, both of them seem quite even. Then, Kenshi managed to grab a hold of his fist and the both of them found themselves trying to push the other back.

“You’re quite good blind one,” Havik said. “But, that doesn’t mean that you’ll win. If it will interest you, however, I did kill a man last night.”

Not caring, Kenshi managed to get the upper hand and pushed him back a bit. As Havik staggered, Kenshi punched the air twice, his hands surrounded in a blue aura. Even from a far distance, Havik felt the impact on his face. Kenshi then kicked the air, Havik feeling a hard force in his stomach that forced him to the floor.

Havik then rolled back before getting himself back on his feet. “Clever…but can you see this?”

Havik then bent his knees backwards. He then shot his arms out as a blue projectile came out of him. Kenshi was able to sense the low flying projectile coming towards him and he was able to avoid being hit by jumping over it.

Once his feet were back on the ground, Kenshi waited until Havik straightened himself back up. He then ran over to him and the two exchanged various moves again. During that, Kenshi was able to land a few punches on Havik before grabbing a hold of his neck. Using his telekinesis, he sent a bit of a surge through his opponent and Havik suddenly felt paralyzed before he felt a sheer pain in his neck. Once the tele-surge was complete, Kenshi tossed Havik aside.

After landing on the ground, Havik rubbed his neck. “That was cool,” he said before slowly standing himself up. He then quickly slid himself towards Kenshi and performed a kick to his stomach, sending him staggering back again.

Quickly after, Kenshi reached behind his back and drew his katana out. Havik was just about to take out his morning star, which was still stained with Adon’s blood, but then Kenshi suddenly let his sword quickly float towards Havik. Using hand motions, Kenshi quickly maneuver the sword, the speed forcing Havik to dodge from it. When he noticed that the blade cut small holes into the fabric of his clothes, he started running around the ring trying to avoid the sword.

Havik wasn’t sure how long he was running away from the sword, but eventually he found himself close to Kenshi and he was able to deliver a hard punch to his face, the force causing Kenshi to lose his focus and the sword dropped to the ground.

That’s it,’ Havik thought to himself. ‘I’m done with this one.’ He then looked around where he stood, even looking at the viewers in the front row. Then, he spotted one with a Hollister around his waist…and saw a certain shiny toy.

Quickly, Havik ran over to the man and quickly grabbed the gun from him.

“Hey!” the man called out. “That’s not even-”

To shut him up, Havik punched the man in the face, sending him to the floor. Kenshi was just standing himself up a few feet from him when Havik turned around and aimed the gun at him.

“May Chaos reign forever!” he called out before pulling the trigger.

Those who knew Havik had a gun by that point held their breath. However, a click! was heard instead of a bang! Havik continued pressing on the trigger, but then realized that the gun had no bullets in it at all.

“I tried to tell you there was no bullets in that!” the owner of the gun called out.

Havik looked up at Kenshi then, who stood there emotionless. Then, a very anger Shang Tsung stood up from his throne behind him.

“Havik you idiot!” Shang Tsung yelled. “No firearms are allowed in the tournament!” He then spoke louder for everyone to hear. “Due to the use of firearms, bullets or no bullets, Havik has been disqualified from the tournament. Therefore, I grant Kenshi permission to move on to Round Six.”

Much to my dismay,’ the sorcerer finished off in his head.

The Cleric of Chaos shrugged after the announcement. “Oh well,” he said. Then unexpectedly, he chucked the gun forward, which ended up smacking Kenshi in the nose. He had not expected Havik to do that either and didn’t have time to counter, having no choice but to fall back to the ground.

“Ha!” Havik called out laughing. “Bet you didn’t see that one coming!” He then turned around to leave the arena, stretching his arms out (making his bones crack again) in the process. “I never cared about this tournament anyway, so it’s not a total loss.”

Once he was out of the ring, Guile and Sonya jumped in to check on Kenshi. Under his wishes, Alex stayed where she was, hiding herself behind another tall person. For a moment, she was scared out of her wits having bitten her lower lip once she saw Havik with the gun…but she’d rather Kenshi came out of the match with a broken nose than dead.

Meanwhile, Guile and Sonya reached Kenshi, who was just sitting himself up. “Are you okay?” Sonya asked him.

Kenshi managed to get himself up despite his nose bleeding. “Yeah, I’m fine,” he said.

Guile sighed a bit. “What a night…come on, let’s get back to the cave and take care of that.”

Kenshi nodded in agreement. Soon, the three of them made their way of the ring.

To Chapter Forty-Eight

iceangelmkx

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