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Chapter Forty-Two

 

Cave, The Next Morning

The Thunder God Raiden and the Soul Psychic Rose woke up just before the sun rose. As they got ready for the day, silence fell between them. Normally, it was because of yet another argument they had the night before. However, this time, it was of a different matter.

After what happened with Alex, Raiden and Rose had a discussion once everything was settled. They planned to tell this exact discussion with everyone in the cave first thing in the morning.

The two waited until a couple of hours after sunrise to wake everyone up (with the exception of Alex of course) and they were told to get themselves dressed and gather at the campfire because they had something important to discuss.

The cave seemed to have fallen as silent as a grave once everyone got the word. To almost everyone, this was nearly a mirror image of the morning they were told of Ibuki’s death. Some didn’t hold their breaths, not wanting to jump to conclusions just yet.

Soon, they were gathered around the lit campfire. Most wore warm clothing or had a blanket around them since the air in Outworld was quite chilly that morning.

When everyone was settled, Raiden spoke. “Let me assure you, first off, that no one has passed on, thank the Heavens. However, an incident did take place late last night.”

Rose took over from there. “Two days ago after losing her match, Alex went missing. We’re not sure what happened between then and late last night, but Raiden and I will be investigating this today.”

“Is she all right?” asked McCoy who sat at the end of the front row of the group.

“She’ll be fine,” Raiden replied. “She has some scars that will be with her for the remainder of her life, but that’s only the worse of it physically. How she’ll be emotionally when she wakes up…” he trailed off for a moment, but then spoke again almost quickly. “Had it not been for Kenshi, who ventured out during the day yesterday, Alex would’ve possibly been…” once again he trailed off.

Rose continued from there again. “Once we cared for her, Raiden and I had a discussion. Due to this situation…and I honestly wish this was done after we lost Ibuki…no one here is to leave this area without at least one person with you from now on. I know you are strong warriors, each and every one of you, but it’s for the best.”

Some grunted a bit once they were told of the new rule. Despite that, even they understood that it was indeed for the best.

Soon, the meeting ended. Almost immediately, Julia stood up and paced herself back into the cave. Ken saw this and was curious as to why she was in a rush. He got himself up and began following her to her room. When he got there, he pulled the closed curtain aside.

“Julia?” he asked aloud.

Julia quickly turned around and saw her friend there. She sighed as though she was in a bit of relief. “Oh, it’s you,” she said.

Ken raised an eyebrow. “Hmm, normally I get a hello…you have your match today, right?”

Julia’s face seemed to fill with a bit determination as a reply to the question. “Yeah, it’s taking place this afternoon…unfortunately, the last twenty-four hours haven’t been so great. I’m having a…problem…if you even call it that.”

As she spoke, Ken noted that she seemed more irritated by whatever problem she was having. Between that and the fact that she had a match, he decided that it was best not to ask about it.

“Well,” he began to say. “Whatever happens Julia, I wish you the best of luck.”

Julia nodded. “Thanks Ken. You’ve been a good friend since day one.”

“Don’t mention it.”

A sly smirk came over her face suddenly. “And for today’s match…with everything that has been going on the last day, I have the perfect outfit to wear for my match.”

She unzipped the duffle bag she had on her bed before taking out a few pieces of fabric and laid it out on the bed. Once he got a good look, Ken’s dark eyes widened in surprise.

“You really going to wear that?” he asked. “Nothing wrong with it or anything…it just doesn’t seem like you.”

The smirk on Julia’s face widened. “Let’s just say that I was saving this for a perfect moment.”


Indoor Arena

“Matrik!” the Shadow Priest called out a few minutes after the last match ended.

Matrik silently stepped into the ring and headed towards the middle. It had been two hours since the meeting in the cave. The matches for the day in the Indoor Arena began an hour ago and four matches had already taken place.

As a matter of fact, today was the last day of Round Four of the tournament. At this point, each day was significantly getting shorter, obviously with less and less fighters participating in the tournament now. One could only imagine how that would be during the next four rounds.

Soon, Matrik reached the middle of the ring. A few seconds later, her opponent’s name was announced…

“Sektor!”

Matrik was nearly surprised upon hearing her former master’s name. She watched as he got himself into the ring and walked towards her before stopping a few feet from her. Both of them stood still as they stared at each other. The viewers around them fell silent, unsure of how this was going to be since it would seem that two cyborgs rarely faced each other in The Blood Tournament.

Soon, they slowly got themselves in their fighting stances…

“Begin!” the Shadow Priest called out.

For another moment, they stood still in their stances. Thoughts ran through Matrik’s mind. She remembered everything from her first assignment to this moment, but nothing more, much to her dismay.

To think that Sektor may be the only key to my past,’ she thought.

It was then that a compartment in Sektor’s chest opened up and he leaned back a bit as a single missile shot out. In retaliation, Matrik quickly placed a hand out and the compartment in her hand opened up, releasing five small orbs. The orbs ended up connecting to the missile throwing it off coursing and exploding a few feet away from them.

Upon the explosion, Matrik and Sektor quickly ran over to each and began exchanging blows. They fought like this for some time and seemed quite even. Eventually, Matrik managed to connect a double palm strike at Sektor’s chest, forcing him to stumble back a few feet.

Before Matrik could perform another move however, Sektor suddenly sank into floor. Matrik quickly turned around and jumped back just as Sektor reappeared out of the floor as a handful of green electronic-like materials followed him, falling to the floor before slowly vanishing.

From there, the two continued exchanging more punches and kicks while trying to block at the same time. Eventually, Sektor managed to break from Matrik’s blocking and landed two elbow strikes before following up with a knee to the abdomen. Even for a cyborg, this caused Matrik to keel over a bit.

As Matrik recovered from the attack, Sektor attempted a kick to her face. However, Matrik saw the move coming in time and grabbed his ankle with both of her hands. She then managed to throw it sideways, causing Sektor to spin a full circle. When he completed the circle, Matrik performed two side kicks and followed it up with another palm strike.

After being forced to rear back, Sektor shot out a hand and a long line of flames shot out. Matrik saw the flames coming in time and she did a cartwheel to the left to avoid being hit with the flames.

When the flames dispersed, Sektor once again ran over to Matrik, who was ready for him. Once he was close enough, Matrik lifted her leg up and attempted to kick him. A saw quickly came out from the bottom of her foot making a buzzing sound as it did. Sektor stopped in his tracks and bent back to avoid the blade. When it was clear, he leaned forward and from there they continued with their fight.

They exchanged more moves for a bit before Sektor noticed that they were close to the edge of the ring. It was his opportunity to win the match. He continued to fight Matrik until he saw an opening. He lifted up a leg and kicked forward. The kick connected and Matrik was sent flying out of the ring and landing a few feet away on the ground.

Sektor didn’t even hear the Shadow Priest make the announcement of him winning the match as he stepped out of the ring and walked over towards Matrik. Most would stop someone from continuing to attack after the match was over. However, since Sektor was a cyborg, no one dared to go near him. When he reached Matrik, he quickly grabbed her by the throat and lifted her up so that her face was at his eye level. She held on to his wrist with her hands, but didn’t struggle to get out of the grip.

“Is this all you have to offer?” he asked bitterly. “Pathetic! You were a better soldier when you were under my control!”

With that, Sektor dropped Matrik and she landed on the ground with a thud before slowly rolling to her side in defeat. Then, the red cyborg walked passed the viewers and left the arena.


Cave

Most of the inhabitants of the cave were off to the tournament or whatever else they were doing once lunchtime rolled around. This gave the opportunity for Raiden and Rose to begin their investigation on what happened to Alex. Quietly, they approached her room, the velvet curtains closed completely. Raiden reached for the end and pulled it a couple of feet back.

“After you,” he said to Rose. Rose eyed him for a moment, noting his once-in-a-while politeness. However, now wasn’t the time to think about it. She walked passed the God of Thunder and proceeded into the room with Raiden following her close being.

Rose looked at the bed first, where Alex laid sleeping with two heavy blankets covering her from the neck down. She then slightly shifted her eyes to the left, a bit surprised to see that Kenshi was sitting in a chair next to the bed. He was leaning back in his chair, both of his hands resting on his lap. With the blindfold over his eyes, Rose wasn’t able to tell whether or not he was sleeping.

“Kenshi?” asked Raiden.

Kenshi’s head seemed to shake a bit before turning his head towards the two. “Hi,” he replied.

Rose pulled out an extra chair and placed it in front of the swordsman before sitting down. “I hope you don’t mind, but we want to discuss with you what happened yesterday and last night.”

“That’s fine,” he said as he straightened himself out in his chair.

“There is one question that’s be plaguing me and Colonel Guile after I was told about this,” said Raiden. “Why did you leave here without consulting us?”

“I’m used to doing things on my own,” the swordsman replied. “I don’t even remember exactly when I left and was a bit surprised when I found out how late it was upon my return.”

Rose sighed. “Just promise that you won’t do something like this again. It was enough that we were worrying about Alex and then we had to worry about you too, though we had the feeling you left to rescue her and we thank you for that.”

Raiden proceeded with the next question. “Now for the main question…what happened?”

From there, Kenshi described everything that happened, from finding Alex’s gun (still in the forest), to his encounter with a mysterious woman, to reaching the dungeon and killing the guard, to his encounter with the monster Berserk, to getting Alex out of the dungeon. There were a couple of details he left out, including Ermac since he felt that they were not necessary to mention.

“The dungeon is located North underneath a fortress,” Kenshi continued after finishing his story. “I’m not sure exactly how far it is…more than two hours from here I think.”

Raiden thought through this for a moment. He remembered the fortress that Shao Kahn once stayed at, the one where Guy fought Berserk back in Round Two of the tournament. That fortress was located East of the cave and was about a forty-five minute walk.

“I think we’re on to something,” Raiden said. He looked at Rose. “We know about the fortress East from here, but this on is North and much farther from the tournament grounds. This fortress may have the answers we been looking for. It’s possible that we may have found Shao Kahn’s whereabouts.”

“And that dungeon may be why so many fighters went missing,” Rose mentioned. She then looked down at Alex. “No one has returned but her…”

“Thank you for all the information you’ve given us,” Raiden said to Kenshi.

Kenshi nodded in reply right before letting out a yawn. Rose looked at him. “Did you get any sleep last night?”

The swordsman shook his head. “As a matter of fact, I’ve been sitting here all night.”

A small smirk came over Rose’s face. “That’s kind of you, but there’s no need. You need your rest more than anything right now. After all, you had yourself a very long day yesterday. In the meantime, I’ll watch over her.”

Without saying anything, Kenshi got himself up. He turned his head again, this time towards Alex. He was like this for a moment before turning around and leaving the room.

Rose waited for a moment before looking at Raiden. “As a matter of fact, why don’t you leave too and get yourself something to eat.”

Raiden shrugged a bit. “Well if you insist. What for anyway?”

“We don’t need two people in here. The room’s already cramped just like every other room in this cave…unlike the main palace-”

“Don’t tell me you haven’t gotten over that yet,” Raiden said. He then sighed. “Enough of this, I’ll take my leave.” He then turned on his heel and left the room.

Good, now I can proceed with my own plan,’ Rose thought to herself. She sat in the chair Kenshi sat in previously. She leaned herself forward and reached her right hand gently towards Alex. She placed two fingers on the side of her neck to check her pulse, which was steady.

Rose then spoke softly. “It’s been a long time since I’ve done this procedure, ever since the days of Bison’s reign with Shadowlaw. You obviously went through unspeakable torture, one that will plague your mind forever. Though you sleep peacefully now, I can sense your inner pain and I cannot imagine what will become of you when you awaken. You have done no wrong and do not deserve this. In addition, we have a mission and it seems that we have new information concerning it. Therefore, I will purge your mind from this plague. When you awake, the last thing you will remember is the aftermath of your last match.”

With that, Rose placed a hand over Alex’s forehead and began to cleanse her mind from what happened to her during the last two days.


Courtyard

Mika looked on as the match in front of her continued on. Though it seemed to be a good match, she didn’t really pay much attention to it. The last twenty-four hours plagued her mind. She admitted the fact that she had always been a curious person. Perhaps to Julia Chang, she was much too curious for her taste.

What have I ever done to her?’ she asked herself.

“Earth to Mika,” she suddenly heard a voice say. Mika blinked a couple of times before turning her head to Sakura.

“Um, what?” Mika said without thinking.

Sakura laughed a bit. “You were spacing out there for a minute,” she said.

“Yeah, I think your eyes almost crossed for a second there,” mentioned Cassandra.

“I thought the same thing!” called out Maki.

Asuka patted her friend’s shoulder. “So what has been bugging you?” she asked.

Mika sighed a bit. “It’s nothing. And besides, I shouldn’t be talking about it before my match. Perhaps afterwards I will.”

“Well all right,” said Maki. “Well whatever is bothering you, try not to think about it.”

“I’ll try,” Mika said. She then looked at Asuka. “Hey, did I give you a congrats on your win?”

Asuka smiled. “Yes you did…three days ago.”

The five of them continued with their chat, easing Mika a bit from what happened yesterday. Soon the match that was going on ended and the two fighters cleared out of the ring (since the losing opponent was knocked out). Once that happened, Shang Tsung announced that the next match would begin and soon announced the first of the two fighters.

“Rainbow Mika!”

Sakura turned to her friend. “Good luck!” she said.

“Same here,” the other three girls said at the same time.

Mika managed to smile a bit. “Thanks,” she said before stepping into the ring. Soon she reached the middle of the ring and began stretching herself out. After a few more seconds, her opponent’s name was announced.

“Julia Chang!”

Mika suddenly froze upon hearing that name. ‘Of all opponents, why did it have to be her…

Soon, Julia stepped into the ring. Mika expected her to wear her traditional Native American-like outfit she saw her wear a couple of times in her matches. However, she was very surprised upon seeing Julia’s outfit. She wore her normal pigtails with different colored bands. The outfit itself consisted of a dark green vest, brown gloves, a light green band with a pocket over her right thigh, match green boots over white socks, and green shorts that looked like…wrestling shorts.

With determination on her face, Julia paced herself over to Mika. Normally, one would stop a few feet from their opponent, but when Julia stopped walking, the two found themselves nose to nose. Since both of them were the same height, they had no problem eyeing each other. The gesture caused the viewers to whisper in curiosity.

In the audience, Ryu, Ken, Wagner, and Cammy happened to be watching the match. Once they saw the match-up, Ryu brought a hand to his forehead. “Just great…”

Ken lightly punched his best friend’s arm. “Don’t worry Ryu…I bet the girl you want more wins.”

Ryu eyed Ken causing him to laugh a bit. Wagner jumped into the conversation then. “And besides, this may end up being a good cat fight.”

“Scott!” Cammy called out folding her arms.

Wagner raised a hand. “Gee Cam I was only kidding.”

Back in the ring, Julia and Mika continued to eye each other, even after Shang Tsung called for the match to begin. Tension rose between the two before Julia spoke. “Don’t get too confident just because you’re fighting me.”

Mika narrowed her eyes more. “At least I’m not trying to be an arrogant bitch.”

In response, Julia lifted a hand as though she was about to slap her. However, she brought her hand to the side of Mika’s face and quickly tore off the blue mask she had around her eyes, the fabric slipping off immediately and falling to the ground. In the audience, Mika’s friends gasped in surprise.

Mika stood still for a moment and no one was sure what was going to happen next. Then, the blonde woman lifted both of her hands, grabbed on to the V part of Julia’s vest and tore the front completely, a loud rip being heard and Julia’s white bra was revealed. Julia gasped in surprised as did most of the viewers who saw what just happened.

“That does it!” Julia cried out as she jumped forward and tacked Mika to the ground. From there, the two girls fought viciously, punching at each other and rolling around as one tried to dominate the other.

Wagner couldn’t help but laugh as the fight continued on. Then an idea came to him. He took out a dollar from his pocket and turned to the viewers behind him. “I have a dollar! Who wants to make bets?”

Cammy gasped and tried to grab the dollar away from Wagner, but it was too late as the men around them began taking out their own money and began handing them over to Wagner.

“Your hopeless,” Cammy sighed giving up.

The fight continued between Mika and Julia. Eventually, Julia was able to get Mika on her stomach before getting on top of her, locking one leg with her own, then grabbed her face with her hands before pulling her back. Mika struggled to get out of the grip, trying to rip Julia’s hands off with her own. Soon, Julia felt satisfied and rolled off of Mika.

Before Julia could completely stand up, Mika lifted up a leg and managed to knee Julia right in the back. The blow caused Julia to fall on her hands in pain, giving Mika a chance to get herself back on her feet. Once she did, Mika lifted her foot and kicked Julia in the side, causing her to fall completely to the ground.

“How do you like that now?” Mika screamed out.

Julia growled and rolled back away from Mika. Despite the pain, Julia managed to get herself back up before running over to Mika again. As she did, Julia jumped up, using both feet and attempted to kick Mika, but the blonde woman jumped back before she was hit. When Julia landed back on the ground, Mika tackled her to the ground once again. When she got the chance, Mika placed her in a sharpshooter, trapping Julia’s legs with her arms. Julia now found herself at the bad end of a submission move and struggled to get out of it.

Soon, Mika let her go. Julia rolled forward and got herself back on her feet, though she stumbled a bit due to her weakened legs.

Mike stood up as well and looked at Julia. “Don’t fall down just get.”

“No, but you’re about to!” Julia ran forward quickly and managed to slam her body into Mika’s abdomen, knocking her down to the ground once again with a thud with Julia going down with her. Before Julia could get herself back up, Mika managed to grab her and throw her down on her stomach. She then grabbed on to the edge of her shorts and began pulling up on it as hard as she could, causing Julia to scream out in surprise.

“How do you like that?” Mika screamed out.

“That’s cheap!” Julia screamed out as she lifted her leg back to try to kick Mika. Eventually, Mika let her go and stood up. She then ran to the rope, jumped on it before pushing herself forward, doing a moonsault in the process and landed right on top of Julia, who cried out upon impact. The viewers were impressed with the move and applauded afterwards.

Mika got up and waited for a minute as Julia struggled to get herself up. Once she was up, Mika ran over to her, but was met with a knee to the stomach, causing her to keel over in pain. Julia then got herself behind Mika, wrapped her arms around her waist, then performed a German Suplex. Mika screamed out in pain upon impact.

Julia stood herself up and waited for Mika to recover from the move. Mika slowly stood herself up before turning herself to Julia. With a loud scream, she jumped after Julia and they fought a bit more, pulling at each other’s pigtails at one point as well. Soon, Mika was able to get the upper hand and landed some punches and kicks before rearing back to perform a favorite move of hers.

Flying Peach!” she called out as she jumped forward and flew backwards. She managed to land the move on Julia, causing her to stumble back right out of the ring.

Julia was still standing when she went out of the ring. She waited for Mika to be announced as the winner of the match and once that happened, Julia jumped right back in the ring.

“You may have won, but I’m not done with you!” she screamed out. However, before she could reach Mika, Ken, Cammy, and all of Mika’s friends jumped in the ring and managed to grab the both of the before anything worse happened.

“Break it up you two,” Ken told them. “The match is over!”

“I agree that this isn’t over!” Mika called out to Julia before her friends pulled her out of the ring with Ken and Cammy doing the same with Julia.

Once the ring was cleared out, Wagner couldn’t help but yell out, “That was the best fight EVER!” Most of the men in the audience screamed out “YEAH!” in reply followed by loud cheering.

Throughout the whole time, Ryu had his hand over his face in embarrassment. Only he knew why Julia and Mika fought the way they did in their match and he didn’t like it one bit. ‘Why can’t we all just get along?’ he thought with a sigh.


Shao Kahn’s Fortress

Sitting at his throne, Shao Kahn was a bit in disarray. Everything was quiet in the fortress, with nearly everyone out at the tournament or working on their assignments so it gave him time to think through what happened last night.

For one thing, the Emperor wasn’t even sure how the woman who was a ‘sacrifice’ for Berserk escaped the dungeon to begin with. The guards who survived Ermac’s attacks mentioned that she was already long gone by the time they got there.

What Shao Kahn did know, however, that, according to the same guards, that Ermac freed the other prisoner, Paul Phoenix, and both of them managed to escape the dungeon as well.

That was another thing he couldn’t understand. Ermac was guaranteed to be a trusted ally and never to betray his master. That was the point of creating him after all. Since Shang Tsung had helped with creating Ermac, as long as Shang Tsung had full power, Ermac was under their control. Something obviously went wrong if he was able to betray them the way he did.

Just yesterday, Ermac was one of the best. Now he was nothing but a traitor and he would pay dearly for it.

A plan came to him at that moment. He just had to give a certain someone an assignment for that plan to go through.

Shao Kahn stood up and left his throne room. He walked down to a chamber area of the fortress, which was one level below the throne room. He opened the door to one room and walked in.

Sitting on a throne was Ogre. Silently, he turned his head to Shao Kahn and his red eyes seemed to glow upon seeing the Emperor.

Shao Kahn walked over to the throne and stopped a few feet away. The Chishio No Me medallion was hidden in his large hand and slightly behind him so that Ogre didn’t see the object, using it so that he could keep the beast in his control.

“You have done well,” the Emperor mentioned to him. “Your only assignment has been to spy on those in the tournament. You have proven yourself a very worthy ally and for this, I will be giving you an assignment which may satisfy you.”

The glow in Ogre’s eyes seemed to dim down upon hearing this. When this stopped completely, Shao Kahn continued. “Your assignment…to hunt down and eliminate Ermac and Paul Phoenix.”

Ogre’s only reply was a single nod.

To Chapter Forty-Three

iceangelmkx

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