Disclaimer: I do NOT own Mortal Kombat or anything related to it.

"Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you."
— Friedrich Nietzsche



It was an emotion Kotal Kahn was all too familiar with. From the anger at his father's surrender to Shao Kahn, his father's murder at Goro's hands, D'Vorah's betrayal, and currently to his defeat at the hands of the devil Raiden.

His blood boiled at the sheer humiliation and despair he felt as he dropped to his knees, panting heavily and unable to get up. Had he truly managed to survive so many dangerous battles in the past to protect Outworld, only to fall now?

You are blind to the consequences of your actions.

His father's words rang through his ears, filling him with self-loathing and a sense of pure failure on his part to protect Outworld. Coughing up blood, Kotal raised his head and watched his armies be defeated by their foes. A heavily wounded Reptile was pinned to the ground by a Shirai Ryu warrior who would have finished him right then and there if not for Erron Black's bullets striking him in the chest, stomach, and forehead. Black started to reload his guns when a kunai attached to a metal chain impaled his shoulder from behind and he was yanked backwards.

"Get over here!" Hanzo Hasashi yelled, pulling the gunslinger toward him. Black had no time to react as the former revenant's fist connected with the back of his head, followed by a kick that sent the mercenary rolling across the ground.

Reptile rushed to his emperor's aid, or tried to anyway. The fact that the Zaterran was wounded did not help him stay on his feet when Raiden electrocuted him without mercy. Ferra/Torr attempted to charge at the Thunder God, but were similarly dealt with. Ermac fought harder than the others and was beaten harder than them as well.

For the first time in a long time, Kotal Kahn felt fear fill his heart. Attempts to stand were met with Raiden electrocuting him into submission. Mileena would have laughed if she saw her foe now, beaten to a bloody pulp and unable to protect his realm. So would Tanya and Rain, the former desperate to get what she viewed as a free Edenia while the latter cared only for becoming Outworld's new ruler himself.

Anger burned within him once more, forcing him to rise yet he fell to the ground before Raiden could consider electrocuting him again.

"You were a fool to invade Earthrealm, Kotal Kahn." The devil Raiden spoke, his tone contemptuous and sadistic."Now you will pay the price for your foolishness and arrogance. From this day forth, Outworld is under my dominion."

Kotal did not respond. He could barely move, let alone speak. His body screamed with pain every time he tried to move. Raiden watched him groan in agony, lips twisting into a smirk at the sight of his enemy so helpless and defeated.

Surrender was the emperor's only option, or was it? Raiden had defeated him, but how could he merge Outworld with Earthrealm, assuming that was his eventual intention, without victory in Mortal Kombat?

"No," Kotal gasped, clutching his arm as he forced himself to stand up and make eye contact with the Thunder God.

Raiden raised an eyebrow."You are either remarkably brave or remarkably foolish to continue fighting me in your condition." He scowled."Give up, Kotal Kahn. Outworld is mine."

"Over my dead body!" Kotal growled, ignoring the blood he coughed up as well as the rapid beating of his heart."So long as I breathe, Outworld will never be yours!"

In desperation, he looked up at the sky and cried out to the heavens."Elder Gods, please, I beg of you, do not let this devil take Outworld! Not without first giving us a chance to defend ourselves as you did with Earthrealm. Please...aid me."

Silence followed for what like an eternity, everyone waiting to find out if the Elder Gods heard Kotal's pleas for help. Just when it seemed that all hope was lost, a bright light shone from the heavens around the Osh-Tekk and Thunder God, making it clear what the Elder Gods' decision was.

"So be it." Raiden nodded at Hanzo, who released Black from his grip and ordered his fellow Shirai Ryu warriors to cease their attack.

Raiden's belligerent red eyes glared at Kotal. The Osh-Tekk glared back, refusing to let the devil frighten him. A moment of silence followed before Raiden spoke.

"Prepare yourself, Kotal Kahn. Choose your warriors wisely, for you will soon face my challengers in Mortal Kombat."

In a flash of light, Raiden and the Shirai Ryu were gone, leaving their enemies alone for the time being. Black, Ermac, Ferra/Torr, and Reptile were able to get back up after a few minutes. Black and Ermac went to Kotal's side and helped their emperor remain on his feet despite their own injuries, receiving a grunt of appreciation in response.

"What now, big bossy?" Ferra asked, patting Torr on the head to comfort him. The large creature made a noise of approval at the affectionate gesture.

Kotal closed his eyes and sighed."Now we must prepare for the tournament." He looked over his allies, all of whom were as beaten and bloody as him. But they were also as eager for revenge as he was.

Ferra cackled while Torr roared in agreement. Black picked up one of his revolvers and spun its cylinder with a look of irritation beneath his mask, muttering that he wasn't getting paid enough to deal with this kind of situation.

"We will destroy Raiden for what he has done!" Reptile hissed. Ermac did not hesitate to agree with a curt nod.

Kotal Kahn's eyes narrowed."That we will."

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Next up: Chapter 1:Sareena