Author's Note: There is a point of confusion I want to clear up, although this is mostly in line with MKX and the continuity it set up there are definitely some AU differences if the previous chapters didn't make that clear enough then this one certainly will. Obviously Edenia was still with Outworld during the game but here it got separated. More details will be revealed later in the story itself. With that out of the way, let's continue on to the story.
Within the depths of the Netherrealm, a storm was brewing. Noob marched confidently through the Hellish landscape with Sub-Zero in tow.
"Where are you taking me?!" Kuai demanded to know. Noob did not bother to respond. "I asked where are you taking me?!" the younger Sub-Zero reiterated. Noob threw his brother on the ground, "You have no right to ask where you heading…not here. This is my realm."
Sub-Zero corrected his former brother, "Wrong. This realm belongs to the current rulers, not you." Noob stomped his foot on Kuai's chest, "Ignorant fool, the current rulers are incompetent. The Brotherhood of Shadow shall rise to remove them from their throne…making me the rightful ruler of this realm." Sub-Zero tried to speak out, but Noob's foot was slowly forcing the air out of his lungs. He could not get the words out, no matter how hard he might try.
Noob finally released his grip on the poor cryomancer, picking him back up. They walked a bit longer until they reached a gothic cathedral located within the Netherrealm's wastelands. Noob slammed the door open before tossing his brother up on the altar. Kuai looked around nervously as men dressed in black robes hovered out from the shadows. Noob's assault earlier tuckered the Lin-Kuei out so try as he might he was not able to escape their grasp.
One of the robed men announced something to Noob, "We have found the remains of the Oni known as Drahmin just as you asked. What is it you wish to do with them?" Noob's hand pointed to the table on the right, "Place the bones there." The robed demon figure obliged, arranging the bones on the table. Noob grabbed a mask from another robed figure.
This was an odd looking mask indeed. It had many colors on it but most notable were the colors turquoise, white, and gold. The face on the mask was ogre-like with dark black eyes and sharp teeth painted onto it. Firstly Noob raised it above the remains of the Oni while declaring, "Let the Face of Kun-Lo give life to you once more!" Secondly he placed the mask on Drahmin's skull, hoping for something to happen. His expectations were met since the bones started to shake. A green aura surrounded them, followed by strands of flesh wrapping around the once barren bones. Third and lastly the entire Brotherhood started bellowing ancient incantations that seemingly rushed the process. This had a consequence however as rotted flesh started wrapping around the Face of Kun-Lo, leaving it embedded in Drahmin's face.
Sub-Zero watched the entire resurrection in abject shock. Noob turned to his brother, "I hope you are enjoying what you are seeing, brother. It is not too different to what we shall be doing to you soon." Kuai had enough of being pushed around by the Brotherhood so he froze his two captors, shattering them to pieces. Noob ordered his men to give chase, which they obeyed without question.
Kuai ran out the door, confused as to where to go. He was entirely unfamiliar with the landscape of the Netherrealm so he impulsively just ran. Where did he run? He didn't care as long as it was away from Noob's insane cult. He then got an idea, he use his ice clone ability to create a duplicate of himself in the direction he was previously running. He then took a new direction elsewhere.
The Brotherhood finally caught up with the ice clone, one tried to haul it away but was frozen. The other cultists looked to each other with confusion. One of them commanded, "Search the entire Netherrealm! He must not escape!"
The manhunt for Sub-Zero continued on in the Netherrealm but in Edenia things seemed calm. Shao Kahn's satisfaction for claiming the now meaningless throne still ran strong. What pleased him even more was finding a rusty old warhammer lying upon the ground next to the throne it must've been left there from a previous conquest. He snatched it right up.
Just as he felt the weight of that hammer, he was reminded of his old Wrath Hammer. The Wrath Hammer was a mighty weapon that was feared by all who may've been unfortunate enough to come into contact with its power. Shao Kahn did not have long to reminisce on the battles of old as Ermac walked into the throne room, "Lord Kahn, We believe we know where a resistance force against your cause is. They can be found in the Edenian Bog to the south of here."
Kahn was absolutely delighted by this news, "Excellent…excellent. I shall go in alone and crush what little hope this resistance may have." Ermac questioned this course of action, "Are you sure you do not wish for Jade and us to come with you?" Shao Kahn shook his head, "I fear if Jade finds out too much she may realize who she really is. Keep an eye on her…like I said, I shall go in alone." Ermac kneeled before his leader, "As you wish, our lord."
Shao Kahn marched down the hallowed halls of the old Edenian palace, remembering the day he sieged the palace. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining, the sky was blue, and not a cloud was in the sky. Not to mention Shao Kahn's soldiers were seemingly dwindling. How could he ever pull in a victory?
The answer was by unleashing his greatest weapon, himself. This was Shao Kahn in his prime, a primal warrior when need be but also a brilliant tactician. The Edenian guards kept their position in front of the pristine palace, waiting for Shao Kahn's army. What they got instead was just one foe rushing into the battlefield, that foe was Shao Kahn. They shot arrows but he deflected them with his war hammer, they used cannons but he avoided each and every attempt to hit him, they attempted using fireballs but again he avoided them. He was like a freight train, fast on his feet but also strong on impact. At this point, they charged into battle only to be met with a face full of the Wrath Hammer. They went in by the dozen but he absolutely devastated each and every single one of them.
When he was finished, the area just around the palace's tall gates were no longer a lush green grassy color but instead they were crimson bloodied red. The walls were covered in the red handprints of soldiers who tried to escape Shao Kahn's wrath but they were unable to. Not a single one survived the onslaught he had unleashed that day.
He then broke down the gate's door with his hammer, shattering it to nothing but wooden planks. He marched victoriously down the pathway to the palace, with nobody able to stop him it was a nice break until he reached the throne room. There he saw King Jerrod and Sindel sitting in their respective thrones. Sindel was even holding her and Jerrod's newborn child in her arm lovingly.
"Am I intruding upon something?" Shao Kahn asked sarcastically. Jerrod gazed into Shao Kahn's glowing red eyes, "Please have mercy, Shao Kahn…my child has just been born."
Shao Kahn chortled, "You know the rules, Jerrod…your realm lost to Outworld! Therefore it belongs to me now." Jerrod stood up from his throne, instinctively moving in front of his family, "I will not allow you to slay them." Kahn shook his head, "I'm afraid that I won't be slaying them, they shall be coming with me instead." Jerrod yelled, "No!" as he tackled Shao Kahn but Shao Kahn deflected him with the weapon he held in his hands.
Jerrod, now blood covered, hit the ground with a crunch. He looked up to his wife and child demanding them to run. Shao Kahn didn't even care, "They will be found later on. Why must you put off the inevitable?" Jerrod shook his head, "You will one day be defeated Shao Kahn…your own hubris will be your downfall."
Shao Kahn lifted his hammer into the air, directly above Jerrod's head. "Hah! Even if that happens you will still be dead, Jerrod." The emperor boasted. His hammer finally struck down on Jerrod's head, reducing it to nothing more than just a splatter on the floor. He took Jerrod's throne with psychotic glee, realizing he can finally merge Edenia with Outworld with nobody in his way. It was only a matter of time before he was able to find Sindel and her child. When he did, the realms were finally merged. Shao Kahn had proven himself not only as absolutely victorious but also as a major threat to all other realms that exist.
The Emperor finally snapped out of the past and back into the present. When he continued on his way to the bog. He left the palace, trekking down the once beautiful landscape. The ground was covered with craters, burn marks, broken arrows, shattered glass, and just general debris. It would be tragic to see it reduced to this if it were anybody else but to Shao Kahn it was rather cathartic.
It would take until night time for the Champion of the Elder Gods to finally arrive at the bog. It was almost completely different from the rest of Edenia and remained nearly unchanged from when he last saw it. There was more than just barren land here since it was filled to the brim with plants both large and small. It would be the perfect hiding place for guerilla forces looking to remain hidden.
Shao Kahn looked around the bog not noticing a single other person. He called out whatever may be there, "Whoever is there I demand that you show yourself! Perhaps if you do I shall grant you mercy."
Nobody responded. He stomped his foot on the ground, once again demanding that they show themselves. A vine was tossed out around his arm, wrapping tightly around him. Another one came out, wrapping itself on his other arm. Shao Kahn pulled on the vines, drawing out two men painted in green camo. The vines proceeded to snap before smashed them both with the warhammer he carried.
Other guerilla warriors popped out of the bushes that surrounded him, firing arrows at the former Emperor. Many missed but some actually did impale him. These did little however as he simply yanked them out with little hesitance.
More of the greenclad warriors popped out, charging into the battle with whatever makeshift weapons they had. Shao Kahn responded in kind by throwing magical glowing green spears right into their stomachs then consuming their souls en masse. The soldiers retreated deeper into the bog, hoping to escape with their lives.
Shao Kahn the Konquerer would not give them that satisfaction it was not in his nature. So he charged deeper into the swamp to find whoever may've been leading this force. Perhaps a deal could be reached…or perhaps he'd have to take them by force.
Each step he took could be felt throughout the rest of the bog, scrambling the retreating forces even further back. They could not go much further back however as Shao Kahn reached the center of the bog soon enough.
The center of it all was a decently sized body of water filled to the brim with murky green waters. The darkness of the bog was all the more noticeable in the center as it was covered with so much trees and various other plant life that it ended up blocking out the sky. Shao Kahn would almost be lost in the darkness if he had not spotted a flame in the distance.
He made his way towards the distant flame before feeling water beneath his feet. He stopped, noticing the flame must've been in the middle of the swamp's lake. He was ready to start swimming until a hand rose out from beneath the water, grabbing his ankle.
He smashed the hand with his warhammer, making it retreat. Then from the trees he saw fiery arrows heading straight towards him. "So they're trying to ambush me," he thought, "how pathetic, needing to retreat to the shadows." He avoided the lit up arrows easily, hitting the trees with the hammer. This knocked several trees over, sending the guerilla warriors down with them.
More of them popped out trying to flank the Champion of the Elder Gods. He looked at the circle of soldiers that had formed around him, "Now this…this is a battle worthy of Shao Kahn! Give me your worst, for I shall retaliate by bringing you death!"
As Shao Kahn's battle got fiercer, things remained peaceful at the ruins of the Edenian palace. Ermac was pacing around the decrepit halls with Jade, keeping watch over her. They remained silent, not having much to talk about.
That was until Jade turned to him, "I never caught your name, stranger. Who are you?" Ermac answered, "We are Ermac." Her head tilted curiously, "We?"
"Yes," he responded, "This body is a vessel for thousands of souls…each one having control." She rubbed her chin, "How odd, so are you each of these souls taking form or are you your own man?" He thought about this more than once and each time he never got an answer. He just stared at her silently with no response.
"Bad question…" she noted, before changing the subject, "Anyway, what is your relation to that Shao Kahn?" He finally broke out of his confused staring, "Oh right, right…Shao Kahn. He is the one who created us we owe our lives to him. He allowed us to live." She seemed almost baffled by that statement, "I do not trust him I only followed him so that he may lead me to my past."
"You should trust him." Ermac suggested, almost not believing his own words. She looked down to the ground, "Something…something tells me I shouldn't. I keep seeing these visions of what I assume are my past but…I don't get it." The soul composed fighter placed his hand upon her shoulder, "We…we are sure it will all make sense soon."
They were about to continue their conversation until they heard a noise coming from the palace's first floor. Both of them ran down the stairs, noticing someone walking in through the entrance. Ermac recognized the intruder, "Rain!"
Rain looked at Ermac, "I've been looking for you, Ermac. All of Kotal Kahn's men are enemies of mine." Ermac shook his head, "We do not work for Kotal anymore." The purple clad prince's eyes squinted, "That so? Is it because of Jade over there? I didn't think the love bug could bite you of all people."
Ermac crossed his arms, "It's because the real Emperor of Outworld is back." Rain's squinted eyes went wide at the mention of the real Emperor, "Surely…you do not mean Shao Kahn." Ermac confirmed his fears, "It is indeed Shao Kahn."
Jade asked Ermac who he was talking to, "Who…who is this man?" Rain was offended by her not knowing him, "What?! You don't remember me? I am Rain, rightful prince of Edenia! I am here to take this realm for my own." Jade shrugged, "I don't remember anything but you do not seem like you are worthy of this throne I will not let you take it."
"I didn't give you an option, lady." Rain threatened. Ermac stood in front of her, "She is right, you are undeserving of this throne." Rain took a combat stance as he stared them both down, "Who are you to judge who is or isn't deserving of this throne? You are not gods like I am. If you do not stand down, I will take it by force."
Ermac went straight in, throwing a punch at the pompous prince. Rain bent over backwards, avoiding Ermac's fist. After that, he shot of a stream of water at Ermac's feet causing him to slip over. Jade went in next, managing to kick Rain right in the nose. Rain stumbled back but still stood up.
"This is a losing battle!" he boasted arrogantly as his fist rammed into Jade's stomach. She was taken aback by this, giving him time to shoot water out of his fist. This blast sent her straight through the decaying wall. Ermac levitated Rain into the air then threw him back down. The crunching of Rain's bones could be heard across the room. He pulled himself back up, lifting Ermac into the air with a water bubble, "You maybe many, but what are many souls to a god?"
Jade slowly lifted herself from the ground, finding a stick next to her. She picked the stick up before batting it right into Rain's next, "For some reason…that felt really right." This attack made Rain drop the soul laden combatant. Not only that, but it also sent him to the ground temporarily. It did not take long for him to use a pillar of water to get back up however.
He looked at the dark skinned woman with a smirk, "You're strong, perhaps you'd like you join me as my queen?" She smirked back beneath her mask, "I'm sorry but you're not my type." The prince laughed at that, "You've got some sass but can you back your words up?" Ermac used his telekinesis to shove Rain into the wall, "Enough! We tire of your games!"
Rain struggled in his grasp to little avail. He couldn't even speak as Ermac was slowly choking him out. Jade ran over to Ermac, "Let him go! Show some mercy!" Ermac turned to her, "Why should we? Shao Kahn taught us to have no mercy on those that attack."
She could not give a reason but Ermac finally relented, letting the traitorous Edenian free from his grip. Rain went down with a thud, it was clear he was still alive but he was out of the fight. Jade warmly smiled, "Thank you, Ermac."
"We still do not know why we let go." Ermac mumbled, "But you're welcome we suppose. Now what are we to do with him?" Jade shrugged, "I'm unsure, I think you'd be better in making this decision." Ermac wondered what they should until he got an idea, "We must wait until Shao Kahn comes back. Only he may decide."
Shao Kahn wouldn't be back at the palace for a while, as he was quickly annihilating the Edenian forces with ease. Eventually they finally relented as one begged, "Please stop! We retreat!" Shao Kahn finally obliged, "Have you finally come to your senses? Good, good. I wish to see your leader." The cowering soldier kneeled before the self-proclaimed Emperor of Edenia, "Yes of course, we are sure she wishes to see you as well."
He motioned to other warriors in the trees. The followed his commands, using pulleys to pull out a bridge from the lake's waters. When the bridge was pulled out, torches lit up allowing Shao Kahn to cross it. He marched triumphantly over the bridge to a platform floating in the middle of the lake. Atop the platform was a humble little hut that was made of sticks and twigs. He busted down the door, demanding to see the leader.
Sitting in the only seat of the hut was a woman dressed in yellow with skin darker than even Jade's. Shao Kahn recognized her, "Tanya…you lead these warriors?"
She looked at the Emperor with contempt, "Shao Kahn, I had heard the rumors from my soldiers. I didn't believe it until I heard you tear through most of them."
"Are you impressed?" Shao Kahn asked with a sense of arrogance in his voice. Her face remained as a scowl, "Please, your savagery will get you nowhere." He laughed at that comment, "Really now? It got me this far, what's to stop it from taking me further?" She snapped her fingers, signaling for guards to drop in through the huts windows. The guards surrounded the warlord but just one simple glare from his burning red eyes was enough for them to back down.
"What are you doing?!" she questioned. One of the guards answered, "We have no chance! He's destroyed more than half of our army in just one night!" Shao Kahn crossed his arms, "So you pledge your servitude to me?" The guards kneeled, "Yes, Lord Kahn."
"Why you lily-livered cowards…I'll have your heads for this." Another guard spoke up, "This might be a bad time but we have also received news that Rain has been capture by Kahn's men." Shao Kahn took this time to brag, "You doubted my ways but here we are, your finest man has been captured and your army surrendered. What say you, Edenian?"
Tanya's eyes directed themselves to her former soldiers then to Shao Kahn himself. She decided that her life was more important than what pride she may gain from dying at Shao Kahn's hands, "Alright! I give in! But do not expect me to beg for my life!"
The Emperor demanded her to beg while raising his hammer, "Beg for your life if you wish to keep it!" She turned her head away, refusing. He was about to strike her until something stopped him. That something was the Elder Gods themselves, providing divine intervention for once. No matter how hard he might try, Shao Kahn could not finish her. He thought, "Why do you hold me back, Elder Gods?! If she does not beg for life, how can I trust her?!"
They gave no answer, so Kahn decided to finally give in, "Fine. I shall spare you yet, Tanya. But if I ever find you conspiring against me, then I shall finish what I started here." She showed her gratitude, "You have made a wise decision…Lord Kahn."
He victoriously raised his hammer in the air while once again laughing, "I am now one step closer to conquering this realm once again! Tanya, have your men start reconstructing the Edenian Palace right away! I want a fortress worthy of my glorious visage…"
She begrudgingly got on her knees for her new master, "As you wish. Guards! You heard him, get to that palace! Start fixing it as soon as possible!" The guards obliged, vanishing in clouds of smoke.
Kahn finally had a loyal, albeit small, army at his side once again and soon he would have a grand palace to go with it. This was indeed a large step of gaining a foothold in Edenia. As unlikely as it seemed Shao Kahn just might be the one to reunite Edenia after it had been at war with itself for years…