Mortal Kombat Fan Fiction ❯ Mortal Kombat ❯ Mortal Kombat ( Chapter 1 )
by Eric J. Juneau PROLOGUE TIME: 500 YEARS AGO
The Great Kung Lao stood before his mirror and did a final check to see if all his clothes were secured so that they would not interfere with his agility. His tan, cotton pants felt loose and a thin, worn strap of cloth was tightly strapped to his head, once thick with black hair, now smooth as a pebble along the shore.
In his reign as Grand Champion he hadn't needed to fight a single soul for 700 years. All this time he had spent was used for developing his skills in case anyone chose to challenge him. No one had ever come close to his fighting abilities in all his time on the island.
But for some reason the one named Goro had challenged him to single kombat on his own grounds. Goro, it was told, was a member of Shokan, a warrior race which were rumored to be half-human, half-dragon, living beyond the boundaries of the Earth. Lao had never heard of the race of Shokan. As the overseer of the tournament he had seen a number of unusual races compete for his title, but none of them had wanted to challenge the Grand Champion. Kung Lao continued to wonder who he was as he climbed into his hooded carriage and let his servants carry him to the courtyard.
As Lao stepped out of the vehicle he was startled by the enormous roar of the crowd of spectators sitting in the bleachers. They were a variety of people from all around the world, some friends, some enemies, all gathered here to watch what could be his greatest triumph. From the enormous intensity of the cheers it seemed like world's complement was here and Lao was never comfortable around crowds too large, but he had invited them and managed to bow to the people on both sides of the arena.
Then, from out of the shadowed section of the stands, stepped a hulking, yellow-skinned, behemoth monster of a man with beady red eyes. He stood about eight feet tall and probably weighed more than 500 pounds, all muscle. The crowds cheered for him as much his opponent.
Lao's eyes widened, but he remembered the philosophies of his training: It is not size that matters; skill, cunning, and knowledge will prevail in the final battle. As it was his duty to do as Grand Champion, Kung Lao lifted himself up and commanded:
"Let the final battle begin!"
Goro leaped forward and started by grabbing the puny human by the throat and slamming him into the ground. Lao was surprised at how fast the Shokan could move as the blood from his lip dribbled down his chin. The Great Kung Lao tried to kick high at Goro, but the monster only laughed, grabbed his leg as it came sweeping towards him, and smashed him in the face, breaking his nose. Goro's hand began to glow a bright green until he thrusted his fist out toward Lao. The glow shot forward and took the form of a fireball. It struck him in the chest and his arms flailed as he staggered back and fell. The Grand Champion summoned all his strength to lift himself up, but dropped back down like a rock from exhaustion. Goro picked up the limp form with his two powerful arms as the crowds fell silent and the sky darkened.
Lao's mind raced and spun with fear and fatigue. Staring blankly at the massive giant as he swayed dazily, he calmly reassured himself that he could have done nothing to prevent this loss. Goro's face grew stern before the crowds of people. He took Kung Lao's head in his hands and squeezed with all his might. A crunching noise was heard followed by a distinct squishing sound as Lao's skull was crushed to a bloody pulp. The crowds cheered at the gruesome victory. The new Grand Champion had been chosen for Mortal Kombat.
As the blood continued to seep out of what had once been the Great Kung Lao's head, Goro yelled a triumphant roar and raised his arms in victory.
All four of them.
It was time, Liu Kang thought.
"We'll be sad to see you go, Liu," one of the people in the group beside him said.
"I'll be okay, I believe this is the right thing to do. The Shaolin are an honorable people and they have taught me much," Liu replied, "I believe they have much to teach others. I owe this to them. If I can win Mortal Kombat for them..."
His voice trailed off. He'd made this speech to the White Lotus Society a million times before. Kang never felt they understood his need to crossover into new martial arts enlightenment.
The White Lotus Society had been his home for many years. Its members, his family. They had developed him into the fine martial artist that he now was, but Kang felt that this was the time to go beyond the White Lotus Society. In his spiritual journeys he had met a secretive group of people called the Shaolin. Through them, Kang learned about Mortal Kombat.
Mortal Kombat was a tournament, that had been in existence for thousands of years, but only held once every generation. Fighters from around the world would come together to pit themselves against one another in battles to the death. Liu Kang hated the idea of killing one's opponent to prove oneself. It only served to prove the recklessness and foolishness of the once honorable tournament which Shang Tsung had corrupted.
Shang Tsung was Mortal Kombat's current Grand Champion. Ever since he had ascended to his position he had debased the tournament to satisfy his own evil tastes. There were no death matches before his rise to power. Liu Kang was a strong man, in his body and his beliefs and Shang Tsung was one of the few individuals he truly hated and despised. The whole reason he was going to the tournament was to fulfill his vow to end Tsung's rule.
Kang turned his attention back to the members of the society grouped around him. An old man near him nodded with a smile. "Go with peace in your heart, Liu Kang, You'll always have a place in ours."
"Live long, sensei, I wish you well," Kang's long, jet black hair waved slightly in the wind.
The members of the White Lotus Society gathered by the door to say good-bye to Liu Kang. He was one of their best members and everyone felt he would win Mortal Kombat. His stealth and keen perception would be his most valuable assets. One of his greatest friends, Kung Lao, a local farmer who was a direct descendant of a charter member of the Shaolin met him at the doorway of the temple. He had on a black tunic with the White Lotus Society symbol on it covering his overalls. His face was small and calm like a leopard.
"Liu," he began, "As your friend and training partner I only have these words for you..." he leaned into Kang's ear, "Kick some butt."
Liu smiled at Lao's quirky sense of humor and bowed, Lao did the same in the same gesture of friendship.
The rest of them watched Liu Kang walk out the door with his knapsacks in his hands as he disappeared over the horizon on his way to the Shaolin temples.
When Liu finally arrived at the temple he knew to proceed to the monastery. There, he would finalize his induction into the Shaolin with the final rite of ascension. As the ninja opened the heavy obsidian doors he saw rows of people in pure white clothes that clashed with the darkness of the temple. At the back was a short, withered old man with a kind face on a pedestal with two apprentices beside him.
"Liu Kang?" he said.
Kang stepped toward the ominous Shaolin monk. He could see right into his benevolent eyes surrounded by the lines of age.
"You wish to represent us in Mortal Kombat, though you are not one of us."
"Yes, I believe you are an honorable people and should have the right to Mortal Kombat returned to you."
"If you do decide to, you must become of the Shaolin and turn your back on the White Lotus Society."
Liu Kang looked around the temple and gave it a last minute thought. It was old, but still strong and had a dusty scent in the air. This is my destiny, he thought, I've spent a lot of long weeks getting here and it would be wasteful as well as foolish to give up all he had worked for now.
"I am prepared to make that choice."
"Then kneel before me."
He dropped to one knee before the leader of the Shaolin monks to partake in the final rite of initiation.
"Esprit Tu San. San chi D'ktag. Nai'H rociv ther Hinan. D'jan," the monk said in a quiet voice while waving his hands in the air and sprinkling some powder on Kang's head.
"It is finished. You are now Shaolin."
"Yeah... Yeah... Okay... Okay... great, right, luv ya, buh-bye."
Johnny Cage, martial arts superstar known to the world, gave a final "buh-bye" acknowledgment to the driver of the limo outside and hung up the phone.
"Please reconsider, Johnny."
The short, bald man near him was starting to get annoying, but that was nothing new. Cage simply ignored the runt and stood up from his couch.
"C'mon, Johnny. I'm your agent for cryin' out loud! I've never heard of this thing and as far as I know it's not sanctioned by any Martial Arts organization I've heard of."
"No, Mike," Cage said as he crossed over to the door of his trailer, "This is something I just need to do, and I'm not going to let anyone stop me," he added as he entered the building. It wasn't really something he 'just needed to do', but he didn't want to explain it. As he walked down the hall his red-haired secretary came out of a door and began to walk with him.
"Johnny, glad I caught you," she said. "I finished making out your schedule. You're supposed to start shooting Sudden Violence II on the 17th..."
"Cancel it, cancel everything for a month. I won't be coming back 'till then."
Both Mike and the secretary stopped in astonishment and stared at Cage, wondering how the adored superstar could be so insensitive and egotistical.
"But I spent a week working around your calendar!" she yelled at him.
"Take a day off then," Johnny retorted as he exited the building.
Before he went out he put on his $250 sunglasses to protect his valuable eyes and look extra cool for his fans. As he opened the door he saw hordes of people throwing out pads and pens and flashing cameras under the canopy.
He gave them a polite wave and continued on his path to his limo up the red carpet.
"Johnny," Mike went on again, "These people are nuts. Holding a martial arts tournament on some far off island. Where's the money in that? Could you just sleep on it, please?"
"Nope," Cage replied. He entered his limo and rolled down the window.
"If I'm right," which I am, he thought, "The grosses on the movie could make us millions," he said, paraphrasing the ad he found for Mortal Kombat in his exclusive issue of Martial Arts Illustrated. "Don't worry. I'll be fine," he ended with a grin of confirmation. The limo sped off leaving Mike standing alone among the screaming fans.
Another night spent in this urine-soaked hell-hole, thought Kano as he stared out the barred windows watching the sun come up. He changed his view to the empty bunk beneath his, formerly occupied by a cellmate named Tyrone who was transferred after Kano shattered his eye socket. The inmate ran his hand over his shaved head and wondered what day of the week it was.
His ears suddenly picked up and he turned to face his door, which was sliding open. A fat prison warden in a blue uniform stood at the latch and from behind him stepped a ravishing woman with dark hair and blue eyes. She wore a black one piece dress with a floral pattern and a wide brimmed hat that slightly shaded her features. Kano was more confused than anything and felt himself drawn into those deep turquoise eyes. The woman smiled and reached into her velvet shoulder bag. Slowly, she pulled out a short metallic throwing knife.
The blueness of her eyes suddenly faded into a pale white. Kano focused back on her face to see her skin suddenly split down the middle revealing a bloody skull. Kano screamed as the skeletal woman grabbed his neck with a cold, bony hand and squeezed.
Kano opened his eyes and realized the scenery had changed. He was in a dark room leaning against the wall on the floor, knees tucked in to give warmth as he slept. A nightmare, Kano reassured himself, wiping the sweat from his brow. He took a deep breath and stood. He was in a room in a cold, musty warehouse. It was his personal quarters, but about the only thing in the room that was truly his was the wide assortment of automatic and semi-automatic guns in their individual racks. Kano decided to reorganize and sort his firearms and weapons once again. An activity which calmed him as it was not unusual for the members of the Black Dragon clan to take from their own.
The Black Dragon clan. A band of international cutthroat thieves and extortionists from all walks of life. There was no crime too petty or too big for them as long as there was something to profit from involved. Each member of this gang was a wanted criminal in several countries and unwanted in all the others.
After making sure all his weapons were in check he went to join the rest of the Black Dragons in the living room. It was only a table and a couple of chairs in what was the center of the building. He found himself walking in on an argument between two of the higher ranking members, Kabal and Cinder.
"I'm tellin' you if we hit this place we could be swimmin' in the mother lode," Cinder began.
"It's just too risky. There's supposed to be armed guards all over the freakin' island," Kabal argued.
"C'mon, this can't be that dangerous. It's all the way out there in the Indies."
"What the hell are you two talkin' about?" Kano finally said, overcome with curiosity.
Cinder, named because of his near obsessed fascination with pyrotechnics explained, "There's this tournament I heard about in the Python," he said, "that if you win there's this mountain of gold and jewels that you get."
"Whaddya have to do?"
Kabal interjected, "It's a street-fighting contest, but I heard there's this four-armed mutant that you have to beat before you get there," Kabal was once an Arabian terrorist although his attitude would make one think otherwise. He was often thought too conservative and cautious for the Black Dragon's tastes. Cinder rolled his eyes at Kabal scoffing at the rumor of the mutant. "I think we should just send one man in to minimize the risk," he continued.
After considering a while, Kano said, "I'll do it,"
"You're not serious? I was thinking more about..."
And then Cinder heard a loud thunk near him. Surprised, he looked around and saw Kano's deadly knife, an inch away from his head, embedded in the wall.
"I said, I'll do it," Kano muttered. Cinder nodded, trying to calm himself down, as Kano plucked the knife out of the wall. He sniggered to himself as he leered at the knife which glimmered like the metal plate covering the right side of his face.
Sonya found it hard to hear herself over the incredible noise in the Python. She wondered how these low-lifes worked here for a living and didn't become deaf.
"He's a guy with a metal plate in his head."
"I don't know who you're talkin' about lady. Sorry."
She grabbed the barkeeper by the lapels of his leather vest and gritted her teeth evilly. Shaking a curl of light brown hair from her blue eyes, she stared down into the man's face.
"I know he's been here. Tell me where he is now, or I'm going to have to get... angry."
"OK, OK, he's a member of the Black Dragons. They live about five miles from here, in an old warehouse, that's all I know, I swear it!"
Sonya relaxed her grip and let him slip back behind the bar as she quickly made her way to the exit of this hell-hole. She was about halfway to the exit when one of the riff-raff came up to her.
"Hey baby, how 'bout I stick the seven-inch in the computer."
In a second, he was on the floor nursing a broken jaw, victim to Sonya's devastating uppercut.
"All right, he's about ten miles away in an old warehouse," Sonya said as she jumped in the police car. Her partner, Jackson Briggs, who she called Jax, was waiting for her as he always did. Jax was an African-American who reminded Sonya of a lion with his strength and quiet ferocity. He was a Major who outranked Sonya's Lieutenant status in their U.S. Special Forces unit, but both of them chose to ignore rank to improve their efficiency as a team, which it did.
"Let's see... he could be at the old cereal factory or the brewery," he replied looking at a map.
"Brewery," Sonya said with determination. She knew what kind of rat-holes the Black Dragon liked to hide in.
The police car sped off to the Black Dragon hideout with red and blue lights blazing.
"Jax to HQ, have backup meet us at the old brewery, over," Jax said to his radio mike.
"Do we really need backup?"
"Sonya, it's taken us three years to track down the Dragons and two just to find Kano. I'm not gonna take any unnecessary risks with this one,"
"Dammit, would you quit bringing that up, I didn't know!" Sonya yelled.
Jax slightly turned his head to her. When she saw the look in his eyes she realized he wasn't talking about her accident. "I'm sorry, Jax," Sonya apologized. "I guess I'm just a little nervous."
"It's all right. I'm excited too," Jax replied as they turned into the brewery's parking lot. They parked up beside a black van with the letters S.W.A.T. on it. Men in black suits were just jumping out of the black doors as the two climbed out of the car.
"OK, I want unit one guarding the front. Two and three here. Four's going in with us," she said as she pointed out various areas around the factory.
Sonya and Jax ran around the building and up to the sides of the center door with .45 caliber pistols in their hands. Sonya turned to her partner.
"Ready?" she asked.
Jax gave an affirmative nod. "Let's get this one-eyed creep."
Sonya threw the door open.
"Freeze!" she said to the empty air. The scent of dust and beer wafted through her nose. After making sure the entire room was empty Sonya waved Jax and the collection of black-clad men behind him in. "Proceed with caution," she warned.
The cops all split up, throwing open doors and aiming at nothingness.
Jax and Sonya were looking up and down for a hatch or door. They knew Kano's pattern of choosing an inconspicuous entrance.
"I found one," Sonya exclaimed.
Jax bent down as Sonya spread the dust away with her hand, revealing a handle. With a tug she lifted the hatch while Sonya pointed her gun, ready for anybody. They saw nothing but a swinging light.
Jax called quietly to the S.W.A.T.'s as Sonya stepped down the stairs, gun poised and ready. The duo made their way down the stairs and through the sloping hallway.
"This must be a fall-out shelter," Jax whispered. Sonya silenced him with a wave of her hand as she spotted a door. Jax tip-toed to the door as Sonya stepped in front of him. She gave a quick nod and Jax pulled the door open with a mighty heave. The Black Dragon were there and looked up in surprise. Sonya rushed into the lit room of the Black Dragon clan.
"Freeze! Everybody get down on the floor and put your hands behind your back."
Everyone complied, too dumbfounded to fight back. The cops entered the room and began pulling out their handcuffs and slapping them around the wrists of the thieves.
Jax looked around, admiring their handiwork, rather stunned at the ease of their operation, while Sonya began looking at the fallen criminals.
"He's not here."
"What?" Jax said.
"Dammit, Kano's not here."
Sonya stooped over a table in the middle of the room in frustration.
Her eye caught something. On the table was a map of the South Pacific with a red circle around an area of ocean to the west of Thailand...
"This meeting of the Lin Kuei will come to order. Our sensei will now speak."
The long-robed, old man stepped up to the pedestal and spoke in a weathered voice with a definite Chinese accent.
"Lin Kuei ninjas, each of you have proven yourselves worthy of the honor of being chosen to represent us in Mortal Kombat. However, only one of you will."
He paused and looked over his pupils sitting in the many chairs before him. It was dark in the meeting room, but the Lin Kuei were a dark people. They were probably the best known clan of ninja left in the bowels of China. Their main occupation was assassinations, clear and simple. Their feats were legendary throughout the global underworld as was their somewhat supernatural reputation. The sensei looked at his students and decided.
"Shat Kin, you have been chosen," he finally said looking at one of the students, "You have shown the courage, skill, and vitality we seek to win Mortal Kombat. Go to the great hall for your Final Gift at midnight," He stepped down from the podium while a younger assistant took his place.
"The sensei has spoken. Meeting adjourned."
All the students sat up and left the meeting including Shat Kin.
Although he had been given a great honor by the Lin Kuei, he showed it neither on the inside or outside. Kin thought that the key to being a true ninja was to show no emotion, especially now that he was to be a Gifted member. Only 10 other members had achieved the honor of acquiring the Final Gift, a natural power given to a Lin Kuei ninja that reflected the receiver's heart and soul.
Midnight came upon the Lin Kuei swiftly as the members of the clan gathered in the stands of the domed great hall. The clan's auditorium seemed particularly dark and cold that night. The moon had almost reached the center of the hole in the ceiling.
Kin had been standing in his place, patiently and quietly, in the center of the hall waiting for the sensei. He was dressed in his ninja outfit of a black jumpsuit and blue lapel straps, belt, and loincloth.
Suddenly, the large metal doors in front of him burst wide and a mist poured out. The shadowy figure of the sensei stepped out of the fog.
"Kneel and clear your mind, Shat Kin. Prepare to receive your Final Gift," Shat Kin did so.
The sensei placed his hand on the ninja's scalp with his wrinkled hands and began chanting and humming. After a moment a light shot down from the moon encompassing the two. The teacher backed away slowly with his head back still chanting, Kin was still in his kneeling position.
A low rumbling in the sky became audible and a lightning bolt struck Shat Kin. He took no notice of it as if he were absorbing its tremendous power. After almost a minute the thunderbolt that would have killed a hundred ordinary men stopped. Shat Kin stood and saw the sensei holding Kin's ninja hood in his hands. Kin took it from him and pulled it over his head.
"You are ready. Now show your gift and prove that you are worthy."
Two masked ninjas vaulted out of the open door, holding wooden staffs and yelling. Shat Kin's expression remained unchanged.
When they launched forward to attack, Shat blocked their blows with his wrist gauntlets and punched away. One of the ninjas jumped out at him and the staring audience gaped as ice began to flow forth from Kin's wrists. Immediately the assassin was encased in a frozen tomb of coldness. Shat leisurely walked over to the frozen body and delivered an uppercut that shattered the ice and sent his adversary into the front row seats, his mouth filling with blood.
Kin turned his attention to the remaining assailant. He vaulted over the blue ninjas head with his bo, but his attack was stopped short when Kin conveyed a sharp kick to the center of the stick, breaking it in two. As his adversary began to fall, Kin shot up and rammed his head into his opponent's gut. The breathless ninja stooped over retching while Kin slid along the ground like he was on wheels and knocked his adversary down. As the helpless ninja began writhing on the ground Shat clamped his foot on the man's chest and grabbed his hood. With a mighty heave he ripped the ninja's head off his body and held it aloft with blood dripping from the dangling spine below the neck.
The sensei reappeared and said loud enough for the students to hear, "My son, you have proven your worth and earned your name. From now until eternity, you are no longer Shat Kin. You are now... Sub-Zero."
"My Lord, I have a request of you," Scorpion said in his strong voice.
"What is it, One Called Scorpion."
"I ask that you return me to the Earth from which I came."
"For what purpose?"
"Long I have waited in the afterlife to avenge my death. In all my time I have prepared myself to return. I feel the time is right."
Scorpion remembered his death well, even after all this time. Soon after his induction into the Lin Kuei he had been given his Final Gift, a spear was a harpoon that was thrown by it's possessor to snag his opponent, and his new name, by the Lin Kuei, he began to murder members of the clan, secretly, one by one, using his spear. No one knew he was a spy from the opposing Lin Shol clan. Until that fateful night when he saw a student walking alone across the grounds.
Hidden behind a tree, he threw his spear, but his victim ducked under it, as if he heard it coming. He turned and saw Scorpion's yellow Lin Kuei outfit that clashed with the darkness, and dealt a shattering blow to his head followed by a series of hard punches. Scorpion was too dazed to try and fight back as he punched out at the haze before his eyes. The Lin Kuei grabbed Scorpion by the neck and held him against the tree. His grip was surprisingly strong.
"So you're the one who's been murdering my clan," the student said as he tightened his grip with a quick squeeze. "Now die like the pig you are."
The Lin Kuei squeezed with all his might and Scorpion's breath slowly dwindled to a whisper until he struggled no more. His assassin released his grip and Scorpion fell to the ground and watched, blurry-eyed, as his assassin ran off to tell his sensei about his discovery while his soul was taken down to the afterlife. Scorpion felt no need to reveal this story to the omniscient Lord, so he waited for his response.
"Long have I watched you, One Called Scorpion. Many times have you proven your skill to me. You are ready to avenge your death. But be aware that your mask is a part of you now. To remove it would reveal your reincarnation. Also know, you can never go back to your family again."
Scorpion suddenly remembered his family. He realized he had not thought about them in much time. More than once, he had wondered what the effect of his mysterious disappearance had been on his wife and child. He loved them like anything and missed them terribly, but he made a decision to have another life besides them.
"Can I have a moment to think about it?"
"Go ahead, you have eternity."
Eventually, after weighing the advantages and disadvantages, Scorpion decided to accept reincarnation. His Lord was pleased to hear this.
"Remember the abilities of the risen dead which you have been given.
Use them wisely," he said upon the Lin Shol's departure.
Scorpion turned and walked away into the blinding light with a purpose.
He rematerialized in a ravaged temple. Scorpion looked around at the familiar grounds of his clan, torn apart and ransacked when the Lin Kuei's discovery of the Lin Shol's espionage gave them a reason to destroy his clan. From now until eternity, he would use his entire existence to track down his killer. He knew with only the sense of a ninja where he would find Shat Kin.
TIME: TWO WEEKS LATER
Johnny cut his Salisbury steak carefully on the vibrating tray. He paused to look out the window of the 747 and wondered how the physics of flying seemed to escape him. He dismissed the thought and popped the last slice of juicy meat into his mouth. As soon as the stewardess had taken his tray away Johnny pulled out his copy of Martial Arts Illustrated.
He opened the magazine and a piece of paper fell out. At first he thought it was one of those annoying subscription cards that always fall out of magazines, but as he was about crumple it up and throw it away he saw a Chinese dragon symbol, the same one he had seen in the ad for Mortal Kombat. Upon further scrutiny he found it to be an envelope. Cage opened it and saw a list of people and places. At the top was the title "Mortal Kombat Fighting Agenda-Johnny Cage." Johnny pondered how this list got into his magazine. Mike must have got it and put it in there before I left, he thought.
Suddenly, Cage noticed the person in the seat beside him was staring over his shoulder. Johnny turned to look at him.
"Oh, sorry, but I couldn't help noticing you were in Mortal Kombat," He was a man of Asian descent with shoulder-length hair and looked rather strong.
"You've heard of Mortal Kombat?"
"Yes, I'm in it."
"Y'know, you're the first person I've met who knows about this thing."
The Asian extended his hand, "I'm Liu Kang."
"Johnny Cage. You might recognize me from such movies as Dragon Fist I & II and Sudden Violence."
Kang shook his head, "I don't get out much. I've had to put in a lot of training for this."
"Well, I've been taught by martial arts stars from around the world."
"Indeed? My Shaolin brothers have prepared me for this day when I would put an end to Tsung's rule and restore the contest to its rightful hosts,"
Cage looked dazed for a minute and recovered in time to tactfully change the subject.
"You know, it's weird. No one I know has ever heard of this," Cage said gesturing to his tournament agenda, "What exactly is Mortal Kombat?"
"Oh, it's a centuries old fighting tournament. People come from all over the world to compete with each other to become Grand Champion, but so far no one's been able to do it. It's similar to Street Fighter II."
"Oh yeah, the one where the bunch of international fighters tour the globe and stuff. Yeah, I always liked that video game."
The two continued to talk as the sun began to set under the clouds.
It was a long journey, but they were all here. Liu Kang stepped out of the boat with Cage behind him and saw the mountains stretching to the sky looking over the trees and sand. A large crowd of people were scattered amidst the beach.
"Geez, you'd think they'd get better transportation for something as big as this," Cage said as he lifted his match luggage from the wooden boat, "So this is it, huh?" he said to no one in particular.
"Yes, this is where Mortal Kombat will take place," Kang replied.
"Doesn't look too special, OW!" Cage yelped as a passerby stepped on his foot, "Watch it, buddy! Ow, geez, there's a helluva lot of people here," he mentioned, gesturing to the huge mess of people with the hand that was not holding his foot. Kang looked somewhat concerned.
"Yes, there are more people here than I expected." Kang held a hand to his chin, with all these people here, what would be his chances of surviving.
"Welcome to the island home of Mortal Kombat. Please follow me to your quarters."
Kang couldn't place the voice, but he was sure it was among the crowd. The group of entrees started walking into the jungle, toward the center of the island. Cage and Kang followed suit.
From behind the foliage, Sonya slowly pulled her binoculars away from her eyes as the throngs of people disappeared into the dense forest. Sonya waved to the unit behind her and pointed her finger to the entrance of the tropical woodland. The troops accepted her orders and ran in formation to the jungle. Sonya was glad Jax had decided to let Sonya take this mission without him. Kano was her's to take down and her's alone after what he did to her team.
Sonya picked up her walkie-talkie and dialed it to the proper frequency. "Come in, leader. Do you read? Over."
She waited five seconds. Nothing.
"Leader, do you read? Over."
Ten seconds. Nothing.
Now Sonya was really worried. This can't happen again, she thought, this will not happen again. She placed her radio in her belt and ran after her unit with lightning speed. Sonya passed through the bushes and leaves as quickly as she could, but suddenly, five men jumped out of the leaves at her before she could go further. They wore robes of shimmering gold and black masks shaped like wolves with red eyes. Sonya saw no way out of this, but to fight.
She caught one by surprise with a sharp jump kick. Another flipped toward her, but she blocked his punch and followed up with a swift uppercut. Then out of the corner of her eye she spotted a henchman brandishing a spear. Before she knew what she was doing she dashed straight up in the air, flew over her adversary and fell straight down behind him. Almost instinctively she knocked him out with a roundhouse kick. Too surprised at what she had done, she stood frozen, giving the remaining two ninjas enough time to trap her in an arm hold.
"Er, unnh, let me go, dammit let me go."
That was all she said before her foe knocked her out with a swift neck chop.
Shang Tsung, champion of Mortal Kombat, looked up ever so slightly from his book when two guards brought the struggling form of Sonya into the room. She twisted and pulled with all her might to wrench herself free, but the guards held on too tightly.
Tsung stood up from his decorated chair and approached as he looked into Sonya's eyes.
"Yes, her soul is strong," he turned to his guards, "Leave us."
The men immediately complied and marched out of the room. Tsung turned around and walked back to his chair. Sonya felt a wave of anger come over her and in a blazing fury she rushed him. But before she could make contact she felt a force knock her to the ground several feet from where she was.
"I really wouldn't do that again. Reptile may not like it," Tsung turned his head to his left and a ninja wearing a black jumpsuit with green mask, lapels and loincloth wavered into the nothingness that was once there. Sonya looked on in amazement. "Now Miss Sonya Blade. I'd like to know what caused you to drop in on our little congregation here."
"How do you know my name?" she replied, instantly knowing it was a stupid question. If he could make people invisible, who knows what the extent of his powers was.
"Let's just say a little bird told me. Now why are you here Miss Blade?"
Sonya took a good look at Tsung. He was very old and decrepit, frail, hardly a warrior. He wore a blue kimono with gold trimmings that stretched down to his toes.
"I was tracking a criminal down to this island when your goons captured me."
"Kano?" he said knowingly.
"You... Where is he?" Sonya stepped forward with clenched fists. As quick as lightning, Reptile stepped in front of Sonya with an icy glare.
Sonya immediately stepped back as Tsung pushed Reptile aside.
"Yes, Kano is here. However, you may not leave the island with him."
"Why the hell not?"
"Well, we have a small custom here. Anybody that comes to this island must enter the tournament. They cannot leave otherwise."
"What? What about my team? Are they going to have to compete to?"
"Your team? Ah, your companions. I have decided to keep them in my custody for the time being."
"Why you..." She almost lunged for Tsung again, but stopped herself in time.
Tsung waved a hand in the air to calm her down. "There is a provision, my lady. If you win the tournament you and your team will be granted freedom."
"What about Kano?"
"Well, we'll just have to see how the tournament progresses," The two guards came back into the room. "For now, these two will show you to your quarters." Sonya turned around and looked at the two ninja guards who had reappeared beside her. The henchmen turned around and started off. Sonya turned her head and looked at Tsung with a dubious glance. Finally, she ventured out of the room and into the recesses of the hall. Tsung watched Sonya walk out of his room and turned to Reptile.
"I think that went rather well, don't you?"
Reptile nodded. "I believe it issss time to meet with the Ssssakra Mao cult before the first dinner, issss it not?" he said in his acidic voice.
"Quite right," Tsung stood up from his ornate throne and walked with a steady pace to the stairwell in a corner of the room. Reptile followed close behind his master as he traversed the stone staircase lit only by torches along the wall.
At the bottom of the steps was a cave made of stone bricks. There was a mess of other passages throughout the cave with yellow eyes shining out at them through the blackness. Tsung continued walking into the depths of the cavern until he came to a group of people at the end of the hall. They had finely tanned skin and wrinkled, hairless heads. They wore long robes of white and red.
"So good to see you all again," Tsung began.
"Tsung, you again honor us by your invitation to Mortal Kombat once again," The leader of the cult said as he bowed humbly.
"It is my pleasure. Is one of yours competing this time?"
"No, we were unable to choose a warrior from our cult. There were... complications."
"Complications?" yelled one of the monks in the back. He began swimming his way to the front so he would not have to yell. "You worthless dog, couldn't you see I'm the best fighter you've got?"
"Silence yourself," he yelled at the boastful student. "I am sorry, Shang Tsung. He does not know how to control himself."
"If I were in your position I would keep better discipline over my subjects."
"You talk big, old man," the young man began again, "But do you have the strength to back it up?"
"Now, I see the reason you could not let him enter now," Tsung calmly said to the leader of the Sakra Mao cult. The old man smirked and approached the wall beside him.
Knowing exactly what to do, he pulled on a torch sticking out and a section of the brick wall slid away revealing a small space, similar to a closet, but in this closet stood a four-armed, eight foot tall, muscle-bound man-beast with a black-haired ponytail attached to his drooped head.
Tsung waved his hand over the monster's body and the head began to lift up. Two red, beady eyes focused on his master.
"Goro, arise from your long slumber. The tournament is about to begin."
Goro stepped out of the locker and flexed his powerful arms. Tsung turned back to the Sakra Mao cult and took pleasure at the quivering expressions on their faces, including the pretentious youth.
"This is my strength, young one. Remember it in the future if you wish to challenge me again," Tsung turned back to his Mortal Kombat champion.
"I am ready, my ruler," he said.
"Welcome to the island home of Mortal Kombat."
"Didn't we hear that before?" Johnny told himself.
The large collection of warriors sat around the large dinner tables eating their favorite foods. In the back of the room was an assortment of warriors huddled over a banner that read "Test Your Might". Competitors showed off their strength here by breaking blocks of wood, stone, and other harder substances. Kang felt no need to show off his strength so he stayed at the table. Cage was very tempted to go and demonstrate his skill and might, but thought it better to stay with Kang in this creepy place.
Liu sat next to Cage. "Who's that guy in the blue robe?" Cage asked referring to the continuing speaker who sat at a platform above the dining room.
"That's Shang Tsung," Kang replied with just a touch of hate, "You see, about 500 years ago the Great Kung Lao was the Grand Champion, but another named Goro defeated him. After he received the title he relinquished it to Shang Tsung."
"Why the hell did he do that?"
"I'm not sure. Probably, Tsung knew he couldn't win against Lao by himself so he used Goro to win the title for him."
Johnny nodded and turned his attention back to Shang Tsung.
He was sitting on a very decorated chair at a height overlooking the vast dining room. He had a very gray, thin Fu Manchu-type beard and seemed rather old and feeble. Johnny could not help but wonder how this old geezer could be a champion of Mortal Kombat.
"Each of you has been chosen to be representatives in Mortal Kombat," Tsung continued, "You have been invited for your extraordinary skills, and will come to discover more as the tournament progresses.
"The tournament's structure, as simple as it is ancient, tests all aspects of a warrior, for only the most worthy may earn the title of Grand Champion. An ancient proverb declares a warrior to be his own worst enemy. Another declares his greatest ally to be the knowledge of his weaknesses. Are there any questions? Then enjoy your meals. Mortal Kombat begins tomorrow."
Tsung turned and left his post high above the dining room while Cage continued to talk with Kang.
"Y'gotta wonder what could motivate all these people to come here."
"Why'd you decide to participate?"
"Just the fortune and glory. When you're a big Hollywood star you're always one scandal away from dropping to the level of a common citizen. With my Mortal Kombat winnings I could stay in the top box office grosses until hell freezes over," he said hoping to strike a little humor in Liu.
Suddenly, a plate was set down beside Cage and a woman with light brown hair sat down in front of it.
"Have either of you two seen a man with a metal plate in his face?" she asked.
"Nope, can't say that I have," Cage replied. Kang simply shook his head.
"Dammit, nobody's seen him and you two are the last ones here."
Kang saw that Sonya was in a great deal of distress and wanted to help.
"If he's really that important to you we'll keep an eye out for him. What's your name?"
"Sonya. Sonya Blade," she seemed almost taken aback that someone wanted to help her.
"Sonya, I, we'll keep an eye out for..."
"His name is Kano."
"We'll keep an eye out for Kano for you."
Suddenly, the person next to Johnny got up and bumped Cage's head to the side with his elbow.
"Hey, watch it," Cage said to the man, but he ignored Johnny like he wasn't even there. "Jerk," he muttered to himself.
It was a good thing Cage's antagonist was out of earshot by that time, because then he would have really regretted it. For the man who had bumped Cage was really Shat Kin, alias Sub-Zero, without his ninja outfit, of course. Kin never took kindly to insults or even anyone speaking to him with the slightest hint of a threat, but the Lin Kuei quickly dismissed the incident and walked quietly back to his room.
As he opened the wooden door of the small apartment his ninja sense perked up. Someone was in the room besides him. Quickly Sub-Zero went into a fighting stance and jumped over the bed. There were only two places where someone not in immediate view could be, the closet or the bathroom. Since he could find no reason someone would be in the closet he kicked open the door to the bathroom.
He saw a short, well-built young man washing his hands in the sink, unaware of Kin's presence. Sub-Zero grabbed the man by the collar of his long, brown coat and pulled him towards his eye level. The Lin Kuei shot him one of the iciest stares he'd ever given.
"Give me one good reason why I shouldn't end your life this second."
The man was clearly shaken, but nevertheless replied, "Because I have a profitable proposition for you."
Sub-Zero was ready to kill the man with one quick swipe, but stopped himself at the mention of the word 'profit'. Kin set him down, but still held on tightly to his collar.
"Who are you?" Kin demanded.
"Let's just say I'm a wealthy man who needs something done and is willing to pay a handsome fee for it. Please could we step out of here?" Kin looked down his coat and saw a red and white robe covering his body. Sub-Zero knew immediately that he was from the Sakra Mao cult, a group of monks who were allies of Shang Tsung. Kin let go and stepped backward allowing the young man space to move into the room.
"There, that's better. Now I'm willing to pay you quite a handsome fee for this little task."
"I want you to assassinate Shang Tsung. Now before you say anything I want you to take a look at what I'm willing to pay you," he reached into his coat pocket, pulled out a leather sack and threw it at Sub-Zero. He caught it in a flash, opened it and inside saw a small pile of gold coins, rubies, diamonds, and various other precious gems and stones. "And that's only a sample," the man concluded.
Sub-Zero took a moment to think about it. To get to Tsung would be absolutely impossible without going through the tournament structure and that would mean facing some difficult opponents.
On the other hand, if he did lose any fight it wouldn't matter, he'd be dead anyway and Kin had been looking for a way to retire. The Lin Kuei were corrupt and evil, almost certain to fall soon, much like Tsung which was probably the reason this man wanted him killed. Not to mention that one of the first things he was taught in training was that any man who didn't look out for his own self-interests was a fool.
Sub-Zero looked back at the bag again and then at the man, questioning his reasons for this assassination. Why would one of Tsung's greatest allies turn against him. Apparently, a thing such as loyalty was not in many people's vocabulary, as it was deeply rooted in the Lin Kuei's. He was tempted to ask, but did not want to risk scaring him off.
"I accept your mission."
"Splendid, I will take my leave of you now. You will get the rest of your payment once you have completed my task and I wish you good luck on your quest."
Kin ignored this bit of encouragement as the little man left him with the handbag of wealth and his key to his release from this way of life.
The first bout the next morning was Johnny Cage vs. Juan Lopez, a Cuban street-fighter. Johnny took off his sunglasses and looked around. They stood at the palace gates before lofty temples and statues with Shang Tsung watching from a seat under a canopy. At his side were four of his henchmen with mask-like black hoods. More palace guards stood spread out in a circle around Cage and Lopez, designating the boundaries of the kombat zone. Johnny looked at his opponent. He was not as muscular as Cage was, but he had a look in his eye that sent shivers down his spine.
Johnny widened his legs and bent down to protect his midriff. He looked down at his black shorts and red sash encircling his waist to make sure he was looking good for this first fight. Tsung raised his feeble hand in a fist. He opened it and said in a commanding voice:
"Let Mortal Kombat Begin!"
Lopez didn't know what hit him and neither did Johnny. The movie star felt as if he had kicked so hard and so fast his own shadow strained to keep up with him. Lopez was on the ground, needless to say, and Johnny blinked in surprise at himself. He came back to reality quick enough to duck a high kick by Juan. Johnny flipped back and waited for Juan's next move. The Cuban conveyed a jump kick that was easily blocked by Cage. However, Juan followed it up with a series of high punches that took Johnny off guard and split his lip. Angry, Cage dived toward Lopez with a punch ready in his hand. He delivered it with a fury that sent Lopez to kiss the dirt.
The Cuban got up and reached behind his back for something. Johnny presumed it was a weapon although he thought those were forbidden in the tournament. Lopez took out a small mirror. Cage was confused at first, but realized it's purpose when he shined it in Cage's eyes. Johnny was blinded momentarily and rubbed his eyes as he heard the sound of breaking glass. He forced himself to open his eyes in time to see Lopez dive at him with the newly formed shards of mirror. In an instant, Cage stepped aside and grabbed the Cuban's arm, dropping the mirror shard. With his other arm Johnny smashed his elbow into Lopez's face several times and flipped him over his shoulder judo-style. Lopez was swaying drunkenly when he got up. He was clearly in no condition to defeat Johnny now.
"Finish him!" Tsung declared.
Before Johnny knew what he was doing, he ducked down and delivered a hard uppercut to Lopez's head knocking it to the ground. A glob of blood spattered on the pavement, spreading to his feet.
"Fatality," Tsung proclaimed after a pause.
The four henchmen carried Tsung's chair on their shoulders and walked to the next fight.
Johnny stood and stared, looking at the bleeding body resting on the pavement. He'd just killed his first man and he feared it wouldn't be his last. Not knowing what else to do, he put his sunglasses back on and headed back to the tower.
Liu Kang hopped around on the red carpet. He'd spent much of his time with the Shaolin perfecting his skills and moves and now was the time to test them. He'd read he would be facing Nibi Yun, an Australian aborigine who had been said to be handy with a boomerang.
He looked around the room. There was a great deal of red on the walls and carpet. A mighty chair of jade and gold sat in the middle of the room between two golden dragon statues. He heard a noise and saw Tsung enter the room from behind him with two muscular guards.
He turned around and saw Nibi Yun enter the room and walk toward him. Yun was a tall, heavy-set man with brown skin and a red loincloth. On his shoulder he wore a sash which held an assortment of boomerangs in check.
Tsung took his throne and looked at the opponents.
"Ready... Fight!" he yelled.
Yun wasted no time in pulling out his boomerang from behind him. It caught Liu off-guard and chucked him in the arm leaving a cut. He noticed that the weapon seemed to glow in the air. Pleased that his boomerang worked well, Yun pulled another one. This time Kang was ready and jumped over it. While the Australian was focused on the boomerang Kang released a fast flying kick that Nibi couldn't see. His body flew back from the force of the blow and dropped to the ground. The aborigine made a quick recovery and stood up.
Yun swung around and knocked Kang's feet from under him dropping the Shaolin to the floor. As he got up Yun tried to swipe his head with his boomerang, but Kang narrowly ducked it and landed a series of body blows ending with a low kick. The aborigine stumbled forward and landed some weak punches on Kang, but he had more than enough fighting force to flip behind Yun and hit him with a roundhouse kick that finished him off.
"Excellent," Tsung said.
The two henchmen came out of the background and carried Yun's broken body away. Liu bowed in silent contemplation, wondering what the rest of his fights had in store.
Liu Kang sat up in bed. He had been awake for an hour. He kept thinking about what the future's events had in store for him. The sleepless ninja decided to try and meditate, knowing he'd need rest for the upcoming day.
Suddenly, he heard a quick rapping at his door. Liu stood up and warily opened it.
"Have you seen the people they got here? It's a damned freak show."
"Hello, Johnny," Liu said as the action movie star barged in his room.
He knew Cage was going to tell him of his experience so he walked over to his nervously pacing friend.
"I was trying to find out where everything in my room was. The cable TV, the free mint on the pillow, the windows. So since I couldn't find a phone, I had to walk around and look for the front desk, then I see this group of guys in purple robes walking around in the halls, and then I heard this... I don't know what it was. It was like a lion roar and a sonic boom together. God, makes me wonder why I signed up for this thing in the first place."
"You just don't get it, do you? This isn't a vacation, this is Mortal Kombat. Do you know the people we're up against?" he said as he shoved the schedule of fights near him. Johnny took it and began reading with increasing alarm.
"Reptile, Sub-Zero, Scorpion? Who are these people?"
"Other fighters in the tournament," he said as he crossed to the door.
"How come none of these guys were on my list?"
"Look," Kang replied, holding the door open for Cage, "It's rather late and I'm trying to get some sleep."
"Fine, I'll go," he said with an icy stare as he left.
"He's going to have a rough time," Kang said to himself and sat down on his bed again, "We all are."
Johnny stormed off into the recesses of the hall, mad as a wet hen. He could never tell Liu what his real problem was, when he killed that man in his first fight. The guilt he felt from that was overwhelming. To actually have ceased a person's life. And that wasn't all. The strange sensation he had felt when he thought he had kicked so hard his shadow hadn't kept up, he could not shake that feeling.
As Cage opened the door to his assigned room he suddenly saw a television set at the foot of his bed on which there was now a mint on the pillow and in the far wall, a window over-looking the night sea. Cage double-checked the sign on the door thinking he was in someone else's room.
"No. 203 Johnny Cage," he read. This stuff was definitely not here before, Cage thought, what the hell is going on here?
The next day Liu Kang began his morning by walking to the Courtyard. This was a place where spectators could watch the fights. Between a wide sidewalk where the kombatants fought were two spectator stands. One was where the regular competitors in the tournament sat and on the other side sat a crowd of strange monks. Liu Kang knew them as the Sakra Mao cult, a corrupt band of ninjas who worshipped a false god. Little else from their clan was known to him, besides the fact that their presence would mean that they were friends of Tsung. Behind them sat the Grand Champion in his richly ornate throne. The fighters were to stand on a raised walkway with two of Tsung's guards in the shallow pit separating them from the crowds. Johnny Cage stepped out from among the mass of people and sat down beside Liu Kang.
"Hey, sorry I got so angry with you last night," Kang started. "It's just that this tournament..."
"Nah, it's cool. My managers tell me all the time, that I need a good kick in the butt, just before I fire them."
This time Cage's attempt at humor evoked a small smile from Kang.
"But there's got to be something going on with this island. Remember when I was complaining about-," he said, but Kang nudged him in mid-sentence.
"Hey, isn't that guy on the right Kano?"
Cage glanced at the kombatants. One was a Japanese man in shorts and the other, on the right, was a man with a crew-cut and a Karate uniform with a metal sash over his shoulder. Cage was about to answer, but he was interrupted by the sounds of the gongs behind them calling attention to Tsung.
He raised his fist and said, "Ready..." He opened it, "Fight!"
The right man was quick to pull his knife and hurled it toward his opponent. It stuck in his leg with a dull thonk. He cried out in pain, and the knife-thrower rolled in mid-air, like a cannonball, at the Japanese and smacked him on the ground. The left fighter faked getting up and tripped his adversary with a sweep. He followed it up with a high kick that hit its mark perfectly. The man in the karate uniform backed away. The Japanese performed a jump kick, but it was easily blocked by his competitor who landed an uppercut, square in the jaw. The Japanese wobbled a little getting up, but ran at Kano and surprised him with a another sharp high kick across his face, staggering him back a few feet. The man in the Karate uniform decided he had had enough of this, took out another knife and hurtled it towards his rival with deadly accuracy. The dagger struck deep in the stomach with blood beginning to pour out.
"Finish him!" Tsung declared to the victor.
"With pleasure," he said to himself.
The sky darkened around the arena as the man in the Karate uniform stuck his hand in his foe's chest and in an instant, pulled out the man's heart. The Japanese looked astonished until he fell on the ground, lifeless. His killer turned toward the audience and held the beating heart high; thick, red blood droplets running down his arm. He let out an animalistic shout which was deafened by the groans of the people.
"Fatality," Tsung declared.
Most of the audience turned away in disgust, but Kang stared at the man in recognition, noticing that on the side of the face was a gleam of metal surrounding a red eye.
"Now I'm positive that's Kano."
"I think you're right. We'd better tell Sonya when we see her."
But Sonya was busy elsewhere.
She was designated to fight at a place called the Pit against an American student of Tae Kwon Do. After an arduous trek across the island she finally arrived at a narrow, cement bridge with clouds creeping across the full moon. Sonya looked down beneath her and immediately averted her eyes from below. Under the bridge was a wide bed of spikes with an accumulation of bodies and heads impaled on them. The blood from their stabbings had stained the concrete floor where they had landed. This was truly a dark place, tainted with evil. Sonya shook away the fear like a true police officer and proceeded across the bridge. As soon as she passed under a stone arch she saw her husky rival approach. When he saw his opponent was a woman, he snickered to himself. If Sonya saw this or no she gave no indication.
They heard a disembodied voice yell, "Ready... Fight!" The man landed a sharp jump kick on Sonya for which she had no chance to defend. Then he conveyed a fierce punch that almost lost Sonya her balance. When she thought of her certain death below she steadied her position and jumped straight up, over, and down like before, a maneuver which she now called the Square Wave Flight. Sonya turned around and got in a right cross over his opponent's face. He counter-acted with two round kicks and a fierce punch which threw her back. He was not finished yet, though. Her foe got in a sequence of left and right blows before Sonya backed up out of range. She didn't look too well. The burly man stood there laughing with pride. Her left eye was beginning to swell and her left arm felt sprained.
"Heh, like a woman could beat me."
He should never have said that.
Sonya's eyes almost burned red as she cartwheeled toward him and put him in a scissors grab. She flipped him over her with her legs into the pavement like a hammer and nail. Dazed, he stood there stupidly. This gave her a chance to land a cluster of punches each of which left him more dazed than the last. Finally, she crouched and delivered her fierce uppercut. He sailed high in the air and fell past the bridge. He screamed horribly as he continued to plunge down, down, down until his broken body collided with the metal spikes. Geysers of blood rose freely from the ruptures until the body was drained of all its last remaining life. Sonya looked down at the impaled body who had gone to join his fellow victims of the Pit.
"Another day of watching these pitiful humans eliminating each other is over. After 500 years it becomes so tedious," Tsung said as he lumbered into his private dining room.
"Have they not been appeassssing you?" came Reptile's voice from the shadows.
"It is the same thing decade after decade. When I was a young man everything seemed so much more interesting. Now Mortal Kombat is nothing more than a bothersome waste of my time. It needs something new."
"What about the experiment?"
"No," Tsung said with finality, "He is still not ready yet. He needs more analysis until he will be allowed to fight."
The shadowed figure's eyes shone amidst the moonlight. "Ssssir, I may have a ssssuggestion. Are you aware of the legendssss of the ssssky elementalssss?"
Tsung breathed a sigh of relief as he finished scaling the top of the only mountain on the island. A storm swelled above him and lightning shot left and right.
"Elemental gods of the sky. I call to the warrior named Raiden," he shouted above the raging wind.
He chanted a concoction of syllables and letters. The lightning increased in frequency. The wind was so strong Tsung had to back up several feet and let the mountain shield him. The lightning grew more intense until a huge thunderbolt struck the mountain peak, breaking apart small rocks and pebbles.
A tall man in a wide, cone-shaped hat and white clothing with a wide, black belt stood before him where the lightning struck. His eyes were as white as his attire.
"What do you want, Shang Tsung?"
"I wish you to compete in Mortal Kombat."
"Why should I? Your tournament is corrupt and tainted by your evil. I have long watched you, Tsung. You are but a peasant sorcerer."
"Are you afraid to take my challenge?"
Raiden's eyes grew bright and he raised his hands to the sky. Lightning shot from his fingers.
"I FEAR NO MORTAL!"
Tsung shaded his eyes from the brightness, but did not waver. "Then prove yourself," Tsung had to shout above the wind now.
Raiden considered a moment. He knew he would have to take the form of a mortal, with all their weaknesses and frailties, as he was now, to take Tsung's challenge. But that would hardly matter. He was one of the elder gods with the power of lightning at his fingertips "I accept your invitation, Shang Tsung. But provisionally!"
"I will hear the provision."
"I must fight one of the kombatants participating in the tournament."
"Providing you last through the tournament that long, I can see to it..."
"No," Raiden grabbed Tsung by his collar and lifted him to his eye level. "I must fight him my first bout!"
Tsung stared right back at the god. "Very well, who is it you wish to challenge?"
"You have one fighter named Scorpion. He is the one I must face."
"May I inquire as to your reasons?"
Tsung quickly decided not to pursue this question, "Fine, you will fight Scorpion at the Sands tomorrow night."
Giving no response, Raiden's form became bright until you could only see the shape of his body. He disappeared from the mountain top in a clean wipe from head to toe.
The storm began to die down. Tsung stood there looking at the space Raiden occupied.
Sub-Zero sat in his room, alone, meditating, building up his concentration. Underneath his calm exterior though, deep down in the recesses of the soul, he dreaded his upcoming match. He had read he would be fighting Scorpion today. He had no idea how the Lin Kuei's old foe had come back from the dead or why, but this meeting would end it. This fight would be a keystone in his attempt to assassinate Tsung.
Scorpion sat alone in his quarters pacing back and forth. He couldn't wait to get out of the castle and into the ring of combat for today he would be fighting Sub-Zero, a member of the Lin Kuei clan. He despised every member of those ninja assassins that had cursed him to exist in this unholy form.
When night fell, both ninjas walked toward a forest clearing where they were designated to fight. Each knew it would be an intense battle. Sub-Zero approached from one side and Scorpion the other. When they met among the trees each recognized each other immediately.
"You," Scorpion muttered, "My murderer, Shat Kin is my opponent."
"Now I know how you came back, you traitor," Shat said, referring to his blank eyes which characterized the risen dead.
"Then you also know why I came back, Lin Kuei dog. Now you will die like the pig that you are Kin... or is it Sub-Zero now?"
"That's right. Now I have my Final Gift, because I retained my honor."
"Ah, but I did have honor, only to another clan."
There was a brief pause. The two never flinched when the disembodied voice yelled "Ready... Fight!"
Sub-Zero dropped to one knee and let the ice flow from his fingers. Scorpion rolled on the ground out of the ice ball's path as it struck a small tree, freezing it forever. As he glanced at the sapling he realized that he could not succumb to Sub-Zero's Gift if he was to be the victor in this death match.
This brief lapse of concentration allowed Sub-Zero's power slide to break through his defense. Scorpion flipped up and concentrated his energies. Sub-Zero saw Scorpion's shape flicker and disappear. The blue ninja quickly turned around to see the yellow ninja smash into him with a powerful jump punch, followed by a cluster of fast hits finished with a snap kick. Scorpion backed away and waited for his foe to take the offensive. Sub-Zero jumped high and lunged forward with a jump kick.
Scorpion ducked out of the way, but misjudged the distance and the kick landed with full force. Wasting no time, the Lin Kuei knocked his opponent on his back with a sweep. Scorpion almost got up, but crouched back down just in time to avoid the sailing ice that would have stopped him cold. He thrusted his hand forward toward his foe and, out from behind him, came a spear that flew at Sub-Zero. He cried out in agony as the sharp harpoon embedded itself in his shoulder. Scorpion grabbed the rope attached to the spear.
"Come here!" he yelled and pulled his assailant near him with a mighty heave. The yellow clad ninja landed a fierce uppercut that sent Sub-Zero flying.
Before the voice had said "Finish him!" Scorpion had pulled off his mask revealing a hideous skull. Sub-Zero regarded his enemy with the realization that he was finished. Scorpion leaned forward and shot an intense stream of flames from his open jaw setting the Lin Kuei ablaze. Sub-Zero screamed in agony until he was burned so badly there was nothing left, but a charred skeleton which fell to the ground.
"Fatality," the voice said.
"Fire melts ice," he said to himself. Scorpion stood there, one arm raised in triumph, relishing in his victory as he watched the remnants of his murderer turn to ashes.
Liu Kang and Johnny Cage searched through the halls of the giant castle hoping to find Sonya. It had been an hour and still, neither of them had found the woman in order to tell her of their sighting of Kano.
"Come on, Liu. It's been an hour, she's obviously not here."
"Justice waits for no man," Kang replied in his usual high-pitched tone.
"Well, what if we give justice some food. It's got to be dinnertime by now," Cage replied as he held his stomach in a gesture of starvation. Liu could feel the beginning pangs of hunger in his stomach as well.
"I am rather hungry myself," Kang commented. Cage took this as an affirmative and practically ran off into the dining room. "But afterwards we keep searching," he called after Cage as he followed behind.
"Okay," he said offhandedly, concentrating on getting his feet to move quicker. When Liu and Johnny walked into the mess hall the occupancy was significantly less than the first night. They sat down at some empty spaces and a waiter immediately served them a plate of fried chicken and shrimp soo-man, a Chinese dish. Johnny instantly dived into his favorite meal, but Liu Kang paused before eating.
"Don't you find it odd that they know our favorite foods?"
"I think we filled out some sort of questionnaire or something before we entered, didn't we?"
"I don't recall ever filling out a 'questionnaire'," Kang replied.
"Y'know, as a matter of fact this whole tournament's been fishy from the start. I was going to tell you that," he paused to swallow, "When I was fighting the other day, I kicked really hard and it felt like my shadow was lagging behind."
"Yes, I was fighting a man who was using a boomerang for a weapon and when he threw it, it seemed to glow."
"Well, whatever's happening, I'm strong enough to endure it. I have so far."
Kang was not listening, but looked up from his plate to see, out of the corner of his eye, a woman in green slip out of the room. "Look, there's Sonya!"
Cage turned around. "Where?"
"You just missed her. Come on, we've got to catch up with her."
The duo sat up from the table and walked inconspicuously out of the room to where they saw Sonya leave. They found a damp corridor with much dust and debris thrown about.
"Ick, you'd think she'd find someplace cleaner to go," Cage muttered and they started walking cautiously down the corridor.
Suddenly, Cage felt a pair of legs envelop him and drum him into the stone floor. Kang saw this and wrapped the assailant in an arm lock. Cage got up and looked at his attacker. He could barely see a head of blond hair in the dim light.
Kang let go of the struggling form. "What are you doing here?" he asked.
"I was looking for Kano. I've been doing that since I got here."
"Well, that's what we came to tell you about. We saw Kano fight this yesterday morning," Cage answered.
"You saw him? Where is he!"
"I haven't seen him since. He's probably out fighting somewhere now."
"Hold it," Liu Kang said. "You look a little pale. Have you eaten anything lately?" Sonya didn't answer. "I see, well, before you go running off you'd better sit down and have a bite."
Sonya's stomach was raging with hunger so she resisted no more.
They reentered the dining room, Kang and Cage sat at their original spots with a fresh plate of fried chicken, shrimp, and a new plate of a hamburger and French fries. The trio sat down and munched on their food.
"Sorry I got a little rough with you in the hall." She said to Johnny.
Cage felt the point of impact on his head. "You're forgiven."
"So, I never asked you your names."
"This is Liu Kang and I'm Johnny Cage. You may remember me from such films as Sudden Violence and the Dragon Fist series."
"Sorry, I don't have much free time."
Cage sighed and picked up a leg.
"How did Kano get the metal plate in his face?" Kang asked.
Sonya sighed a deep sigh. It was evident that she had told the story many times before. "It was about three years ago. We had just gotten a hot tip that the Black Dragon Organization, which Kano's a lead member of, was going to a local underground scientist to test for a shipment of cocaine's purity. I thought it wouldn't be a big job, but it was my first time as the leader of a mission and I didn't have any idea about how many people there were.
"I only took about five men in the team. When we burst into their lab we knew we were outnumbered as soon as we saw those twenty faces. We ducked behind some tables as the Dragons started shooting. As soon as the firing died down I ordered the men to rush the center of the room. As soon as we stood up Kano grabbed a test tube and hurled it at me. I dashed to one side and it exploded on another rack of test tubes.
"That started a chain reaction of chemical explosions and I must have been knocked unconscious because when the police came I was the only one of the team left alive. Any of the surviving Black Dragons must have escaped, but left Kano behind for dead. He lived through the blast, but he had to have surgery on the right part of his face. It was so badly burned off they replaced it with a metal implant and an infra-red eye.
"Because of my foolhardiness I was lowered in rank to Lieutenant."
"I'm sorry," Cage said apologetically.
"It's all right. I was still in the top U.S. Special Forces unit. But Kano escaped from prison about a year later and I've been tracking him ever since."
Nobody said a word and the three ate the rest of their meal in silence.
Scorpion practically barreled out of the underbrush onto the night-cooled sands of the beach. He never really knew why he did it, but it seemed to keep his fearful reputation up. Unfortunately, no one was on the sands to see his entrance except for the long ocean and the pale moonlight. It was dark enough so that you couldn't read, but light enough so that you could see in the distance the clouds moving off. Just the way he liked it.
Suddenly, a giant thunderbolt jammed its blue-white tendril into the ground leaving behind a man in a Chinese peasant's hat and white clothes with eyes even more colorless than his own. Violet tendrils of electricity played over his body. Scorpion pondered this new fighter. He was unlike any he had ever seen before and wondered how he had come to be in the tournament. Raiden looked at his opponent and glowered.
"You are Scorpion," he said, not quite a question, not quite a statement. Scorpion nodded once. Raiden said nothing else. Each fighter raised their arms in readiness.
"Ready..." the informal voice of Tsung said, "Fight!" Being the rigid fighter that he was, Scorpion gave a shout and hurled himself forward with a foot ready to kick. Raiden disappeared in a white light and came up behind the ninja. Scorpion turned around in time to see Raiden fly straight at him with arms outstretched. He was pushed back several yards and fell on the ground. Raiden flipped backward and readied himself as Scorpion jumped up. Unexpectedly, the Lin Shol ninja threw his arm toward the elemental and a spear flew at Raiden with blinding speed. The point stabbed in his shoulder deeply and blood ran out of the wound.
"Get over here!" the ninja yelled. He pulled the deity toward him and let loose a full-force uppercut. Raiden flew up in the air and fell with a thud. Scorpion looked down smugly at his handiwork, realizing that though this man had powers of a god, he was mortal, he could bleed. Raiden quickly stood and looked around. When he noticed that there was no Scorpion he knew that the ninja had teleported behind him. The thunder god immediately teleported himself and just as Scorpion kicked out at nothing, Raiden kicked the yellow-clad ninja fighter in the back. Upon hearing sound of cracking vertebrae Raiden gathered himself up and shot a bolt of lightning at him. Scorpion was thrown back several feet. When he tried to stand up he had trouble finding his balance and focusing his eyes. His eminent exhaustion and injuries made him realize he could no longer fight capably. The thunder god had beaten him.
"Finish him!" Tsung yelled. Raiden walked up to the swaying Lin Shol and extended an upward palm to Scorpion's face. Suddenly, a stream of electricity shot out from his hand to Scorpion's head which violently exploded in a mass of blood and bone fragments. The body fell over in a heap with blood pouring out of the wound.
Raiden stood up straight and raised his hands to the sky, absorbing the lightning with his outstretched hands, pleased with the death of Scorpion. With the mission the elder gods assigned to him finished, balancing the Earth Realm furies that were briefly unequal due to the reappearance of the dead Scorpion, Raiden could now finish out the tournament and destroy Tsung and his minions. As the body of the risen dead ninja began melting away into nothing Raiden shot up to the sky retaking the form of lightning.TIME: TWO WEEKS LATER
Kang was walking the perimeter of the castle. Every night after dinner he tried to study the interior of his housing. It was always a good idea to know one's surroundings in a fight. Both the Shaolin and the White Lotus Society taught this principle. It seemed that his only way in and out of the fortress was a large door where the fighters were led through if their assigned kombat zone was outside the castle. Kang gave a nod to the two faceless guards and they pulled open the heavy wooden doors for Kang.
The Shaolin exited the building onto a peaceful path that led to the sea. Kang stood silent for a while, taking in the tranquillity of the moment. A sudden, soft, female grunt woke him from his reverie. Kang's eyes popped open and he followed the sound to around the stone castle's walls.
When he turned the corner he saw nothing out of the ordinary, only the top of the hill which the castle rested on. Kang would have turned back if a small pebble hadn't fallen on his head at that moment. The Shaolin looked up and was surprised to see Sonya above him, climbing the wall with metal spikes around her feet and hands. She was about fifteen or so feet above the ground, huddled behind a cylindrical outcropping of the wall.
"What are you doing?" he yelled softly.
Sonya quickly turned her head to see Kang. This movement loosened her grip as well as her balance. She made a little scream as she fell and landed on her hands and knees on the soft grass a few feet away from Kang.
"Thanks a lot," she said.
"What were you doing up there?"
"The top of the castle. It's the only place I haven't been yet and that must be where Kano is," she replied as she took the wall- climbing spikes off her hands. "As soon as I get that bastard I'm taking my team and leaving this godforsaken island. This place is a death-trap."
"What makes you say that?" Kang said, well aware of what she meant, but curious as to what she had seen.
"Every fight I've seen, the loser is killed by the winner. Even my own. I think this Tsung guy is letting us murder each other off and then he'll finish the last one himself."
Kang was slightly surprised at Sonya's assumption and how close it was to the truth.
"There's this place called the Pit," she continued, "and you fight on this really narrow bridge over a huge bed of spikes. One wrong step and you're dog meat."
"Mm-hm," Kang agreed, "There's been other stuff too, I've noticed. A man was using a boomerang in one of my first fights, and it seemed to glow as it flew and Johnny said he's been noticing some things too that are supposed to be physically impossible. It's seems like there's some force on this island unlike anything else."
"I've been tracking the castle's interior and exterior and the only place I've seen out is that large door and it's never without guards. If we can't get out of here we're all going to die."
"Maybe, but at least we'll die with honor."
Sonya let forth a breath of disgust at that. "I think I'd like it better if we could get out with our lives."
A black hooded man appeared in front of them and handed Liu Kang a piece of paper.
"What is it?" Sonya asked.
"It's my new, updated tournament agenda. It says next I'm supposed to be fighting Raiden a... sky elemental."
"What does that mean?" she queried.
"I haven't the slightest idea," Kang replied.
Liu Kang strolled warily to the Warrior Shrine when night fell. It was an amazing sight. There, he saw statues of all the kombatants he knew the best: Johnny Cage, Sonya, Kano, even himself, and in the middle was a giant, hideous, four armed creature in a g-string with a Yin/Yang symbol on his belt. It stood on a pedestal labeled simply, Goro. Behind the statues was a forest of lush greenery against a black night backdrop.
Suddenly, Liu's attention was called to a buzzing sound. He turned and saw a tall man in white with a black sash standing before him. He was one of the most clothed fighters he'd seen and had bolts of electricity running over his body.
In the distance, the now familiar voice of Tsung yelled "Ready... Fight!"
Kang paused before he attacked, unsure of what to do about this new enemy. Abruptly, he noticed Raiden had disappeared. Until he felt a sharp pain in his back and dropped, victim to Raiden's teleport and kick. Kang quickly got his bearings and stood, but the man wasn't behind him. Almost instinctively, Kang turned and swept his opponent off his feet, not to be deceived twice. When the white-clad fighter stood, Kang let loose a roundhouse kick that Raiden couldn't avoid. He went down fast, but came back faster. As Liu jumped at him with a flying kick Raiden threw a surge of electricity from his fingers that caught the ninja in mid-air. He felt as if he had just stuck his wet finger in an electrical socket as the volts of power ravaged his body. Disorientation overcame Kang for a moment, but recovered in time to see Raiden flying at him like a torpedo. Liu held up his hands just in time to block Raiden's attack. The thunder god ricocheted off the ninja allowing Kang to retaliate with a quick side kick. Raiden's head struck the pavement like a rock.
Kang backed away and waited for his foe's next move. Raiden dematerialized and rematerialized behind Kang, but flipped back before the Shaolin had a chance to knock him down. Lightning shot from his hands, but Kang ducked before it's incredible force could overpower him. Kang was disgusted at the inequity of this fight. His opponent had the power to shoot lightning, rush through the air, and teleport instantaneously while Kang fought awkwardly with his mere hands and feet. Surging with anger the Shaolin stood, and in one smooth motion, extended his hands, raised his knee and a fireball was cast from his fingers and sailed into the elemental. The sphere of flame impacted on Raiden's chest with puffs of smoke coming out of the burn mark. Kang suddenly understood what was all happening here. In that action of throwing the fireball, he became a true Mortal Kombat warrior.
Raiden staggered back and glared at Kang with his eyes glowing bright. The deity flew at Kang with his body outstretched and hit him with a powerful might that sent the Shaolin reeling back into the ground. The sudden revelation had temporarily ceased his focus on the fight. Raiden picked Kang up and threw him to the other side of the arena, Kang stood and fought with a new fury, but Raiden was ready for the mortal. The god ducked under Raiden's high kick and shot a fist to his opponent's midriff, followed by a blood-spilling uppercut. Kang sat up, his power drained, and saw Raiden hovering over him, his eyes gleaming. He raised his hand ready to strike him dead.
"Finish him!" Tsung declared.
Raiden's hand visibly surged and flowed with electricity. Kang's expression was unchanged, but his mind was spinning with fear.
"Finish Him!" Tsung yelled with urgency.
Instead of complying with Tsung's orders, Raiden's hand returned to normal and his eyes went back to their regular luminosity. He dropped his hand and offered it to Kang.
The ninja looked at the hand dubiously, but finally took it and helped himself up.
"You are an honorable fighter. You do not deserve to die," Raiden shook Kang's hand symbolizing the newly formed friendship between god and mortal.
"Thank you," was all that Kang could say. Raiden looked around and leaned in close to Kang.
"If you wish to save your friend, you must go to the Pit immediately."
Before Kang could question this bit of advice the thunder god stepped back and shimmered out of existence.
Johnny Cage rambled over to his designated kombat zone in an arrogant walk. His last two fights were so easy he could have won blindfolded. And each time he had killed his opponent. He seemed to be getting used to it now, although he really hated to admit it. How could anyone get used to being a cold-blooded killer?
Finally, Cage arrived at his fighting place, the Pit. Kang had told him of Sonya's observations of this area, but nothing had prepared him for the gruesome sight below of the skewered bodies and heads. It almost made him vomit, but Cage took a deep breath and looked at the moon instead. It always seemed to be full on this island, he noted and much to his surprise, he thought he saw things moving in front of it.
"This place is making me crazy," he said to himself. Cage sighed and looked ahead to his opponent. He was a stocky man in his thirties, it looked like. He didn't have great speed, but he sure could pack a wallop. Cage smiled, thinking this would be another easy victory, and went into his wide fighting stance.
Cage wasted no time and started off with a jump kick. His foot connected in a splash of blood and his adversary was on the ground. Cage grabbed the man's shoulders and flipped him over his head with a mighty heave. Cage let him stand up and he tried to kick the movie star. Johnny easily ducked and split his legs as he delivered a hard punch right to his foe's groin. The man doubled over in pain and groaned in a high-pitched tone. The superstar let loose one of his Shadow Kicks while his assailant was still hunched over. He was sprawled onto the bridge in a moment. The man lifted himself up, but Cage leveled him with a quick stomach jab. He began spinning drunkenly like he was in a nightmare.
"Finish Him!" came Tsung's cry.
Cage centered his strength into his fist and gave his foe a hard uppercut that sent the man flying into the air. He plunged down past the bridge until his life was ended as his body was punctured by the spikes below. Cage looked down at the carcass with a smug expression.
"Flawless Victory. Fatality," Tsung said.
Just as Cage was about to depart the bridge he saw a man jump down from above and stand before him. Cage was stupefied that this person just suddenly appeared out of nowhere. He was wearing a black ninja outfit, but had on a green mask and green straps leading down to a green belt and overcloth. Only his blood-red cat eyes could be seen.
"I am Reptile," he said in an acidic voice. Only one thing was going through the ninja's mind now: Anybody who could get a flawless victory without blocking was a threat to his master.
Before Cage knew what hit him, Reptile raced straight at Cage and flung him into the Pit. Cage screamed for his life and closed his eyes. As luck would have it, he landed in an open area away from the spikes. Cage opened his eyes and looked around, relieved that he was still alive.
Reptile jumped down from the bridge and landed on his feet, a little ways from his opponent. Johnny scrambled to his feet and tried to run away.
Reptile thrusted his hand out at Cage and Scorpion's spear appeared and stabbed into the movie star's back. Cage yelped in pain as Reptile gave a mighty tug and pulled the cord attached to the harpoon. The green ninja clobbered Cage with a lightning fast uppercut. Just as his opponent was about to impact with the ground, Reptile sent out a ball of ice at Cage, freezing him in mid-air. Reptile ran at him with twice human normal speed and gave him another uppercut. Cage was feeling very much in pain right now as he saw his assailant rush him and throw him to the other side of the walkway. The martial arts superstar couldn't find the strength to get up and lay prone on the ground, waiting for the end to come.
Reptile moved over to Cage with a fearful look. He raised his hands and was suddenly thrown back against a pillar.
Liu Kang appeared where Reptile was as he finished throwing the green ninja out of Cage's range.
"Thissss issss not your businessss, human," Reptile hissed as he stood up.
"It's my business now," Kang retorted. He executed a stunning flying kick at the green clad ninja and followed it up with a fierce punch.
Reptile began to flicker and disappear. Kang turned around and barely missed his foe's teleport punch. Reptile flipped backward, but Kang threw a fireball at him, knocking the fighter out of the air and onto his back. Tsung's protector flew into a rage and rushed the Shaolin. Kang kept cool and used his attacker's momentum to hurl him into the ground.
Reptile was getting tired now, and Kang felt it was time to finish him off. He let out a battle yell and charged his opponent headfirst. Kang's fist impacted with the green ninja's stomach as he let out a rush of air.
The Shaolin used this time to get in a series of left and right blows, followed by powerful roundhouse kick that sprawled Reptile on the ground, barely conscious.
Cage was waiting eagerly for Kang to make a fatality out of him, but instead he lifted his foe up, stared straight into his half-closed eyes and said, "Tell your boss... he is mine," and with that Kang backfisted Reptile into a dream state.
Each fighter had many more spectacular battles and victories. Until one night when Tsung lounged into his private dining room. Reptile stood behind him, cloaked in the darkness.
"Hello, Reptile," Tsung began.
"Ssssir, I have been obsssserving thissss Liu Kang through the tournament. I believe he hassss the capability to win Mortal Kombat and issss a threat to your rule."
Tsung snickered a little. "Impossible. Our champion has prevailed for 500 years. I believe it's safe to say he's undefeatable."
"Nonethelesssss, I believe it would be wisssse to eliminate him before anything goessss wrong."
The emperor sighed. "Very well. What do you propose?"
"Abduct him and make him fight Goro before he hassss a chance to develop his sssskillssss further."
"Very well," he turned to the door, "Guard!"
A muscular henchman appeared and listened to Tsung's instructions. He bowed and ran off to follow his orders. The shadowed figure nodded in acceptance and his eyes glowed bright red.
Sonya had had a difficult time locating her kombat zone. She couldn't find a map or a point of reference anywhere that would lead her to it. When she finally arrived she saw a damp, murky sewer with crumbling pipes and bricks. At first she thought she had made a wrong turn, but noticed a shadowed figure several meters away from her and Shang Tsung sitting on a clean throne with four hooded ninjas at his sides, across a river of sludge.
"You!" the shadowed person said in a heavy voice. He took a few steps forward and stopped under a sewer grate. The light shining down hit him and Sonya caught a gleam of metal surrounding a red eye on his face. She looked stunned as she recognized the face of her rival.
"Kano," she said with hate dripping from her voice.
"Ready... Fight!" was all Tsung said.
"You're mine!" she said as she lunged forward.
"I don't think so, baby," Kano grinned and pulled out his knife. He hurled it at his foe, but she moved to one side and let the knife pass. Sonya jumped toward him and delivered an impressive jump kick that dropped Kano. She tripped him as he was getting up and the thug fell flat on his back. Kano slowly stood up, but just as Sonya was about to hammer him back down he conveyed a headbutt that collided with her in the gut. She staggered back and breathed heavily, trying to get some air back into her lungs. Before she knew it Kano's foot crashed into her jaw and sent her into the mire. She sat waste deep in the shallow river looking at the filth that covered her. Not to be taken the fool again, she looked for Kano and saw the tin-plated criminal lunging for her with arms outstretched ready to grab her. She swiftly rolled to the side and the cutthroat fell into the ooze head first making a dull splash.
"Come back here, you bitch," Kano yelled. Sonya climbed out of the muck with no intention of doing what the thief ordered.
"It's time to finish what I began with your face!" she yelled. Kano jumped out of the river and back onto the pavement.
All the time, Tsung watched with anticipation for the conclusion.
Each waited for the other to take the offensive. Kano's entire front was covered in green ooze while Sonya's body only had the slime on her lower half. Unexpectedly, Kano tucked and rolled in mid-air at her. She had no time to think of a defense for this new strategy so her enemy hit her with full force, knocking her down. Kano pulled out another knife and it sailed straight and true into Sonya's shoulder. She winced in pain, but made no other sound as she pulled out the knife and threw it aside. The woman refocused her eyes in the dim light just in time to see a Kano ram his fist into Sonya's gut. She reeled back, clutching her side and inhaling deeply. Kano stood with his hands on his hips laughing at Sonya's agony.
Her temper flared and she threw open her hands. A series of pink, sparkling rings flew off her arms and rammed into her rival with full force. He was more surprised then hurt, but not by much. Sonya walked toward Kano with a flaming anger. "You one-eyed, tin- headed..." She flipped and stood on her hands. Her legs wrapped around her assailant and flipped him over into the ground.
Kano rubbed the left side of his face and felt a thin trickle of blood running down his temple. His mood raged with anger and he made a sharp jump kick at Sonya. She countered it with her Square Wave Flight and hit him in the air. Kano landed back on the ground with a dull thud, half-conscious and bleeding.
"Finish Him!" Tsung yelled.
Sonya hovered over Kano ready to destroy her archenemy once and for all.
"No, please, don't kill me," Kano begged.
Sonya was astounded. The man who was the leader of the worst crime organization in the world was now in tears before her. She was disgusted at this piece of human waste, but something inside her softened as she glowered at the piteous thug.
"No!" she yelled back.
Tsung looked confused. This had never happened before.
"This criminal should be tried and convicted in a federal court of law. Not in some street fight."
Tsung considered the matter a little with his four hirelings and one ran out of the sewer.
"He will be kept in a holding cell until the end of the tournament when you may take him to a criminal court at your leisure," If you survive, he added under his breath. The henchman came back with a cloth stretcher and he and another guard drifted over to the beaten body of Kano and eased him on the stretcher. They ran off into the darkness with Kano softly moaning.
Sonya nodded and walked back to where she entered from. Just as she left Tsung turned to his left ninja.
"Take note, I may want to 'investigate' them further."
Liu Kang sat alone at the large dinner table waiting for his two friends, Sonya Blade and Johnny Cage. He had been sitting there for about an hour because of the lack of anything else to do and sat reading a novel he had found in the back of the room. Kang looked up from his book and gave a glance around the hall. The "Test Your Might" kiosk had been taken down due to the lack of participants. In fact, the entire dining room seemed as barren as a wasteland.
He heard the clearing of a throat and looked up to see the figures of Johnny and Sonya standing above him.
"Mind if we join you?" Johnny said. Liu gestured toward the seats opposite him and the two sat down.
"So, what have you been doing?" he asked.
"I went to look around the island. They have some very exotic plants here."
"You're interested in plants?" Kang asked.
"Well, it was a hobby of mine in my teens. What did-," he began to ask Sonya, but was interrupted by her.
"I fought Kano today." Sonya said. The two men looked stunned.
"I was victorious. I requested Kano be put in a cell until I can take him back with me."
"You didn't finish him? After the way you went after him that night..."
"I don't know, something inside me said killing him would be wrong."
"Hm, I woulda," Cage answered, "What are you reading?" he asked Kang.
"It's a collection of warrior legends I found over there. Some are very interesting, almost prophetic," Kang said, gesturing to the bookcase in the far wall. He noticed Sonya was looking over his head. He turned around and saw a masked ninja looking down at him.
"Please follow me," he said.
"... Please follow me." he repeated.
The henchman was either not informed of why or he did not want to disclose it.
Liu Kang stood and gave him a dubious look. He never saw the other two ninjas come up behind him and knock him unconscious. They quickly picked him up and ran off.
Johnny and Sonya stood, ready to defend their friend, but the first ninja obstructed their path.
"Hey, what the hell are you doing?" Johnny tried to find a way around the man, but he continued to block them. Sonya, had no time for this and being a woman of action, locked her foe in a scissors grab. He never had a chance to defend himself and crashed into he pavement, unconscious. They ran toward where they took Kang which Johnny, but were stopped by two faceless guards holding spears.
"Hey, let us through," Cage ordered. Sonya grabbed one of the guards by his hood and flung him across the room onto a table, collapsing it. Johnny decided to use Sonya's approach and smashed the other ninja with a powerful stomach jab. As he was bending over Cage clasped his hands and let him have it with a blow to the chin, knocking him to the ground.
"There he goes," Sonya observed, watching the two ninjas take Kang down the dim corridor. They ran after their friend with a quickening pace. However, eventually, Cage and Sonya reached a point where the hall was no longer illuminated.
"Well, what do we do now?" Cage whimpered. He was answered by a sudden lighting of a torch in the hall. They readjusted their eyes and saw five guards staring at them, all with various brands of ninja weaponry.
Kang slowly rose back to consciousness and groggily opened his eyes. He felt he was being carried somewhere by two men, and began to struggle to get free. The two henchmen noticed this and held on tighter. They finally threw him in a stone chamber with endless halls and passageways. He could see pairs of eyes shining in the background, watching his every movement.
He shook his head to clear the cobwebs and to prepare for what may come next. His attention was drawn to a pair of gleaming yellow eyes looking at him far ahead. They started moving toward him slowly and menacingly, filling Kang with fear. The light finally struck the being revealing a hideous, yellow-skinned, muscle-bound, four-armed creature with a look that reached straight into Kang's soul. He roared to himself and cracked all four sets of his knuckles in preparation.
It was Goro.
Liu Kang's mind immediately went into panic mode. How was he supposed to defeat this monster?
A voice called from the shadows "Ready..."
"No wait-," Kang protested.
Sonya jump kicked an underling holding a double-headed spear right in the chest. He staggered a little, but got his bearings in time to launch himself forward into the woman with full force. She ducked under his attack at the last second and tripped him. He flew forward into the ground.
Meanwhile, Cage tried to fend off an attacker with a pair of sais. His protective wrist gauntlets blocked the sharp weapons, until they suffered enough damage. In a surprise move, he split his legs and fiercely punched his adversary right in the family jewels. When the pain finally took effect he hunched over holding his arms between his legs and fell down writhing in immense pain.
Cage looked away from his handiwork just in time to call his attention to one of Tsung's flunkies rushing him with a long sword. He crouched and used his attackers momentum to throw him over into a wall where he impacted soundlessly. Cage relished in his triumph, but, unfortunately, never saw the ninja behind him holding a bisento, ready to decapitate him.
Kang hit hard against the back of the cave. Goro was proving to be quite a match for him. As he got up he swung his fists in the air blindly, trying to get in some sort of small victory.
Goro only stood back and laughed, until he was struck by Kang's fireball. Goro fell to the ground making a small vibration in the floor. As the yellow monster got up Kang pummeled him with a flying kick and he fell back down. Kang was about to back away, but the hulking beast grabbed his foot and tripped him.
Goro stood and picked him up like a ragdoll with two arms and used his other two to batter him like bread dough. Each punch felt like a sledgehammer pounding his chest. Finally, he managed to break free and fell to the ground out of Goro's reach. Kang realized that this could be his final match.
Cage heard a sound and turned to see Sonya smashing his attacker with a hard right swipe. His ax clanked along the ground out of his reach. The adversary got up with some ease and raised his fists in readiness.
"I got him," Cage said, motioning for Sonya to step aside. She did so and Cage leaped forward with a Shadow Kick that hit his foe squarely in the chest. He staggered back clutching his ribs in pain.
Johnny felt a heat in his hand form and tried to fling it off. Instead, he pitched his burning hand at his rival and it seemed to come off, taking the form of a green fireball. It impacted in the ninja's face and he ran off into the recesses of the hall screaming.
The only man left stood there holding a long staff with a hook at one end to trip the opponent. He demonstrated his prowess with his weapon, spinning and twirling it around his arms, attempting to intimidate the two. Cage looked mildly impressed and Sonya remained unmoved. Finally, she grew impatient of his ego and decided to finish him off. She leaned forward and blew a kiss at the masked ninja. Quickly, the kiss took the form of a small fireball and floated straight to the henchman where he suddenly ignited into a column of flame. His screams were muffled as his body was burned off, leaving a charred skeleton.
Sonya took Cage's hand and led him farther into the corridor.
Kang had been giving Goro a good fight, but still had not succeeded in turning the tables. Goro lurched toward Kang with an evil grimace. Kang threw himself forward with a flying kick, but the demonic thing grabbed the human with one bulky hand and flung him into a wall, knocking apart a skeleton hung in shackles. Kang looked astonished as Goro jumped high toward him. He scrambled to get out of the way, but it was too late as the monster landed on his body and stomped on it repeatedly. Goro jumped away and roared.
"Finish Him!" Tsung yelled.
Goro loomed over Kang enveloping him with his shadow.
Suddenly, he was knocked back by a jump kick. Sonya's jump kick. "NO!" she yelled.
Johnny Cage flipped over Liu Kang. "Why don't you pick on someone your own size," he said and launched a Shadow Kick that knocked Goro into the cold stone floor. Sonya helped Kang to his feet and Johnny backed up in line with his comrades.
Kang looked at each of his friends and gave a nod of readiness. With fierce determination, Johnny Cage launched his Green Flame, Liu Kang threw his fireball, and Sonya flung her rings. All the projectiles sailed through the air and impacted directly on Goro.
He reeled back from the force of the blow and roared in pain. Kang screamed a battle yell and launched a powerful flying kick at the Shokan's head. Goro groaned softly and his voice trailed off as he fell down in a dead heap. There was a flash of light and the body of the four-armed creature disappeared suddenly.
"NOOOOOO!" someone yelled and astonishingly Tsung leaped out of nowhere. As he landed he waved his hand at the three and Cage and Sonya were thrown to the back of Goro's lair. When they tried to get up Tsung raised his hand and steel bars came out of the ground imprisoning them.
Kang saw this and turned back to Tsung. A new strength entered into him as he saw the face of his archenemy before him. The Emperor Tsung gave a sinister grin and hollered, "Ready... FIGHT!"
Kang ducked and blocked, ready to defend against anything. Right before his eyes Tsung suddenly morphed into the form of Raiden. Kang loosened his guard for a second in disbelief, and Tsung/Raiden took that brief second to launch a bolt of lightning from his hands. Kang reeled from the blast and felt himself being kicked from behind by Raiden's transport. Kang turned around and kicked him in the head.
The Shaolin flipped over and punched him in the gut. Tsung landed a few feet away, demorphed. The old man got up and surprisingly launched a series of flaming skulls from his outstretched hands. Each one hit it's target with great speed and accuracy. Kang stumbled to the ground. Tsung walked menacingly over to the Shaolin ninja and raised his arms in readiness to put an end to him.
Suddenly, Tsung felt a sharp pain in his back. He turned around and saw Johnny Cage's hand outstretched from throwing his fireball. The sorcerer's temper burned and he waved his hand at the two. They were thrown back against the wall and shackles burst out of the stone bricks, pinning the duo's arms and legs.
Tsung turned back to kill Kang, who had found new strength in his friends. He swung around and kicked his rival's knees out from under him. Tsung fell down in a heap and struggled to get up, but got tangled in his long robe.
Quickly, the sorcerer changed himself yet again, this time into the form of Johnny Cage. From behind his cell, the real Cage looked on in immense surprise.
Now Tsung easily got up and shot a green fireball at Kang. He ducked down and it narrowly missed him. Tsung was undaunted by this and used Cage's Shadow Kick, but Kang stayed down and when the foot was right over his head Kang smacked him with a full force uppercut. Tsung morphed back to himself, but still remained on the ground. Kang stood a fair distance away, knowing his treachery. When Tsung did not get up he walked cautiously over and peered down at the still form.
Tsung suddenly morphed into a masked ninja with yellow lapels and faceguard. The being swiftly kicked Liu in the stomach and jumped up. Kang was taken aback and holding his aching side. He suddenly felt a sharp pain in his shoulder and found a spear embedded there. The Tsung/ninja pulled a rope attached to the spear and reeled Kang in. He stood there dazed from the pain and even more so when Tsung smashed him with an uppercut.
Liu Kang tried a flying kick, but the old man crouched and he missed his mark. He quickly turned around and gaped as he saw Tsung shape his body into another Liu Kang. He stared back at himself in amazement, but refocused his attention on the fireball that was headed straight towards him. He stepped aside, but the flames closely grazed his back leaving a scar. He suddenly felt a sharp blow to his head from his own flying kick.
Kang was almost completely worn down by now and it looked like Tsung still had more reserves of energy to rely on. It was as if he drew power from the spirit of his differing forms.
Tsung/Kang looked down on the weak human and in his copied voice said, "You foolish mortal. Are you so blind? Do you not see what is front of your face? Evil will always triumph because good is stupid," he said with a satisfied smile, "You are almost as weak as the 'Great' Kung Lao was." At the mention of Kung Lao the Shaolin looked up slowly as if he had just found the meaning of life. A light entered his eyes and with grim determination Liu jumped up and nailed his evil counterpart with a roundhouse kick that sprawled Tsung on the ground. He spurted up and threw a burning skull at Kang which he easily ducked. The angered ninja threw a cluster of fireballs one after another, each finding it's mark at Tsung's body. He followed it with a destructive flying kick that dazed Tsung into mindlessness.
Kang's anger burned his face and in one final blow he cartwheeled to Tsung, kicking him twice in the face, and drove his opponent home with a stunning uppercut with so much force that it propelled Tsung high, high, high into the air and landed him with a skull-crushing blow.
Suddenly the whole lair began to shake and flash brightly through each cave. Tsung suddenly stood up and began to shake and convulse as if he was losing his powers. Astonishingly, Kang saw the transparent form of Sonya slip out of Tsung's body and disappear in a fiery eruption. Then the form of Raiden came out and did the same. Then Johnny Cage, Liu Kang, Sub-Zero, Scorpion, Kano, all of those warrior's souls were escaping from Tsung's body. Finally, he saw the emperor's own form abandon his body and disappear. Shang Tsung fell to the ground and melted away into a rotting skeleton, lifeless on the floor.
"Flawless Victory," Kang said.
The bars imprisoning Cage and Sonya sank back into the floor and the shackles disappeared. The two ran over to congratulate Kang.
"Liu, Liu are you all right?" Johnny called.
"I'm... I'm fine," he replied and fell to his knees. Sonya caught him before he fell further and helped him to his feet. Johnny swung Kang's arm around his shoulder and Sonya did the same.
"Maybe I could use a little help," Liu said sheepishly.
All of a sudden, their attention was drawn to a bright light in the shape of a body. The light subsided and Raiden appeared before them with a smile on his face.
"Outstanding, Liu Kang. You have defeated Shang Tsung, achieved the title of the supreme Mortal Kombat warrior, and have won the tournament back for the Shaolin. Remember what you have learned here, all of you, so that your knowledge may better serve you in the coming events of the future."
He gave a look up and vanished as quickly as he appeared.
"Who was that guy?" Cage asked.
"That was Raiden, the god of thunder," Kang replied as they hobbled out of the cavern.
Sonya turned the key one final time and unlocked the thick wooden door.
She pulled it open, struggling against it's weight, to find Kano lying on the floor staring up at the ceiling.
"Get up," she commanded.
Kano slowly turned and sat up. He rose sluggishly and menacingly with his eyes to the floor. Sonya waited for the thug to come near her.
Suddenly, Kano sprang to life and made a mad rush for the door. Sonya remained unfazed and swung her arm out at Kano's head. It impacted directly and Kano dropped to the floor groaning.
"Pick him up and let's get out of here," she ordered the rest of the team. Two men in dirty black military outfits picked up the Black Dragon and followed Sonya out of the basement.
Sonya navigated her way through the halls and exited Tsung's castle with her team and Kano following behind. She joined Johnny Cage and Liu Kang at the foot of the extensive staircase.
"I checked everywhere around the castle. Not a trace of anyone."
"Same with us," Cage said. The group began walking toward the beach. "I just don't understand it."
"There's a lot about this place we don't understand, nor probably ever will," Kang said.
"As far as I'm concerned I'd like to keep it that way," Sonya added.
Cage continued, "Actually, I would like to know just WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED BACK THERE?"
"I'm not really sure myself, but I do know that we will never see the likes of Shang Tsung's sorcery again," Kang answered.
Cage piped up, "That guy was a sorcerer? Why the hell didn't you say so in the first place?"
"You never said you wanted to know."
"Why don't I just stay in bed on days like these," Cage sighed as he lifted back a leaf.
The emptiness of the beach stretched out before them, making them realize that they had nowhere to go.
"I hate to say this, but how the hell do we get out of here?" Sonya asked pointing out the fact that they were stuck on the island.
"I wish that Raiden guy had given us some way to get out of here," Cage said. Abruptly, he noticed a slight wind that began increasing in velocity.
"What the..." he said. Kang and Sonya noticed it too as well as a repetitious swishing noise and looked around. Out of nowhere, a rope ladder fell from the sky inches from Cage's nose. The three looked up and saw Jax leaning out the door of a helicopter.
"Need a lift?" he yelled over the noise. Sonya grabbed the rungs and started climbing.
"Jax, you're the most beautiful thing I've ever seen," she said to Jax when she made it up the ladder.
"I bet you say that to all the guys." he said and when everybody was up on the helicopter he gave the signal for the pilot to head out of there.
"You know, I bet this is going to make a great movie," Johnny Cage said as Sonya, Liu Kang, and himself gave a final look at the island before setting off into the sunset.
EPILOGUE TIME: SOON AFTER
"Please, Lord Kahn, give me another chance and I'll prove what I can do."
"TSUNG... YOUR PLEADS OF MERCY MEAN NOTHING TO ME."
"I implore you, send me back and I swear I will unbalance the Mother Realm and Outworld furies to your liking."
"YOU ARE AS PATHETIC AS YOUR PROMISES, BUT I TIRE OF YOUR ENDLESS BEGGING. I WILL GIVE YOU A SECOND CHANCE. WHAT DO YOU PROPOSE?"
"I guarantee you will not be sorry, my master."
"SPARE ME YOUR GUARANTEES, TSUNG. THIS TIME I WILL BE THERE WATCHING YOU. WE WILL NOT FAIL THIS TIME."
He leaned back on his throne and clutched his staff.
"BEGIN PREPARATIONS FOR OUR RETURN TO THE EARTH REALM AND WE'LL SHOW THESE WEAK, PATHETIC FOOLS WHAT ELSE CAN COME OF EVIL IN MORTAL KOMBAT TOO."MORE KOMBAT TO KOME...