A Decade and a Half

Family doesn't just mean blood. Family is a bond. Family is chain that can be unlocked and broken, but even when it's not attached from both sides; it still connected as one chain. In my heart, I believe that Mileena and I share this same family bond.

*Quan Chi's Thought Room*

"Make sure you look after Outworld while I'm gone. And remember, no matter what goes on in Outworld…" Kitana becomes silent as she slides her pendant into Mileena's pocket. "I'll come back to you." She whispered. Kitana releases her grip from Mileena and stands on the circle.

"I can see why Chan befriended the two of you." Knightwolf stated while looking at Kira and Kobra. She proceeded to step into the circle as she grabbed onto Shelia's arm.

"Make sure you two continue to protect Earthrealm. They need you two." Chan stated as he began to stand on the circle as well.

"You can't be leaving us! You can't do this to us again!" Kira shouted. She ran to Chan and grabbed his arm. Kobra looked disappointed. Mileena was intrigued by the bond Kira seemed to share with Chan. She reflected on the amount of friends he was able to accumulate over time.

"Kira." Chan stated. He smiled as Kira returned one. "You...do not belong here." He told her. Kira was heartbroken by Chan's response and looks at him angrily as Eva forces her into a portal outside of the Thought Room along with Mileena and Kobra.

"Chan!" Kira shouted. However, it was in vain as they were outside of the room. The door had disappeared due to Quan Chi no longer being alive. Suddenly, they felt a non-painful snap in their heads. Kira stared at the wall before her for a few seconds.

"Now that that's over, we need to return to the academy and inform them of what's happened." Kobra stated.

"What about the champion?" Kira asked. Mileena stared at Kitana's pendant. Kira and Kobra noticed she was still around. "Um…we're done here, aren't you gonna go back to the tournament?" Kira questioned.

"Outworld already won. There's no need for me to return." Mileena responded.

"No you haven't. Our champion hasn't fallen yet." Kobra responded.

"Hornbuckle already made a deal with Shang Tsung. The tournament ended with this mission." She confirmed.

"Knightwolf is our champion, not this…Hornbuckle." Kira confirmed. Mileena was confused and somewhat infuriated with the two. She then remembered what Frost mentioned before. Time will continue on as if we never existed during these years. But how were they able to remember Knightwolf? Did she also give them something to remember her by?

In the aftermath, Mileena returned to Outworld. She decided that she wanted to see Shao Kahn's corpse for herself. However, she was unable to as his corpse was no longer there. She decided to lock the door to the throne room and sit on his throne. She crossed her legs and leaned on the arm rest as she reflected on Kitana's words.

Tears began to fall from her face as she tried to imagine what her life would've been like if she was actually able to meet her father in person. Being on the sidelines was not the life she wanted. She knew her time would've eventually come if Kitana slipped up, but after her time with Kitana she couldn't simply betray her. Kitana was still like family to her.

Mileena eventually fell asleep in Kahn's chair. Many hours later, she finally wakes up. She finds Shang Tsung staring out of the window that overlooked Outworld. He seemed to be thinking about something. Maybe he was thinking about the Tournament. However, Mileena remembered Kitana's warning to not make her presence known to anyone in Outworld. Without Eva's magic, it's impossible for her to traverse Outworld undetected, a warning she forgot.

"H-how long have you been standing there?" Mileena questioned nervously.

"How did you escape the flesh pits?" Shang Tsung asked.

"I asked first!" Mileena shouted. Shang Tsung gave her a sharp death stare, causing her to look away disgruntled. "One of the other clones you created broke out and woke me up. Eventually the others were awakened as well, but Kitana and I took care of them." Mileena responded. Shang Tsung seemed to be trying to make sense of everything Mileena stated.

"You and Kitana?" He asked. Mileena forgot that Kitana no longer exists in the minds others.

"She was Shao Kahn's daughter. The one you wanted me to replace. Or do you not remember?" She asked.

"I remember that she failed to do as she planned." He responded. Mileena was surprised by the fact that he was still able to remember Kitana. Shang Tsung caught on to the fact that Mileena thought he forgot who she was. He then revealed the same type of pendant that she gave Mileena.

"So she planned this all along." Mileena commented.

"And it seems her plan did nothing for me as EARTHREALM STILL SUCCEEDED IN WINNING THE TOURNAMENT!" Shang Tsung shouted furiously. He proceeded to viciously punch the walls inside the throne room as his frustrations grew more and more intense. Mileena was a bit intimidated by Shang Tsung's actions. After a few more strikes to the wall, he finally begins to calm down.

"How is that possible? Didn't Hornbuckle state that Outworld would merge with Earthrealm once the mission was over?" Mileena questioned.

"He did, except after the mission was over he no longer existed, and therefore his word no longer stands. Not only that, but Knightwolf was also supposed to no longer exist, but she decided to RIG THE SPELL SO THAT SHE'D APPEAR AT THE TOURNAMENT IMMEDIATELY AFTER!" he shouted once more.

"And you lost to her?" Mileena mocked. Shang Tsung dashed before Mileena and grabbed her by the shirt. He cocked his flaming fist back as he prepared to strike her. However, he decides not to go through with it.

"It matters not." Shang Tsung responded. He tosses her off of Shao Kahn's seat, causing her to stumble across the floor. She frowned upon his actions without allowing him to see her expression. He proceeds to sit in Shao Kahn's chair. Suddenly, a shockwave traveled throughout his body and the Kamidogu charm around his neck began to glow. After a few seconds, however, it stopped glowing.

"Don't forget, Sorcerer, we both rule Outworld now. Not just you." Mileena reassured.

"You're right. Two rulers means twice as many tournaments." Shang Tsung responded. Mileena slouched on the wall as she remembered the one quality that's required for being the co-empress: responsibility.

"That's no fair. My father never hosted tournaments when he was still here." Mileena complained.

"Shao Kahn was unable to host Tournaments in realms that were allied with Edenia. Before then, he was always present, just as you and I will be." He confirmed. Mileena folds her arms while pouting.

"Fine. However, we're not gonna be the only ones hosting Tournaments. We should try sending other Outworld Leaders to the smaller realms while we focus on the big fish." Mileena responded.

"You'd trust those who we've enslaved to help us claim these realms?" Shang Tsung asked.

"Not without reward." Mileena responded. Shang Tsung disliked the idea, but still seemed intrigued by the concept.

*One Year Later…*

"A…Bounty System?" Nitara commented as she stared at the flyer in awe. Along with her were warriors such as Ko'atal, Reptile, and many more.

"They have bounties on people, Items, and even entire Realms?" Li Mei whispered.

"They want us to force our fate onto others?" Ko'atal questioned.

"Look at the rewards. Koin, Freedom, Promotions, Power, Favors…" Li Mei listed.

"…separation from Outworld?" Nitara said to herself.

"Does it state whether or not more than one party can be rewarded for the same bounty?" Reptile asked. Nitana shook her head.

"The problem is…we can only take that reward by claiming one of Edenia's allied realms. That means ten tournament wins and permission from Shang Tsung AND Mileena." Nitara confirmed.

"But that reward is only for the host, not the Champion. And after the Earthrealm tournament…" Reptile reflected on the events of the 10th Tournament and his loss to Knightwolf.

"Don't feel ashamed, Reptile. She tricked Shang Tsung as well. However, it seems that you may be able to get your revenge." Ko'atal comforted as he pointed towards Knightwolf's Bounty.

Bounty: Knightwolf

Condition: Captured Dead or Alive

Reason: Betrayal, Trespassing, Inter-Realm Conspiracy

Reward: Freedom/ Promotion (Dead) + Favor (Alive)

"Wait, there's a realm I recognize here." Nitara stated. "Arnyek."

"I've heard of them before as well…" Reptile contemplated. Kotal Kahn grabs the flyer from the bulletin and sets it ablaze using the rays from Outworld's sun. Nitara, Reptile, and Li Mei looked onto him in confusion.

"I scouted this realm a year ago by request of Shao Kahn as Reptile was busy with the tournament. From what I've seen, they do not deserve the fate we share; surely not for a monetary reward." Kotal responded.

"If we don't take the bounty, someone else will." Nitara stated. Ko'atal shook his head in disagreement.

"The only ones who know of their location are Shao Kahn and yours truly. And he disappeared once I returned."

*Two Years After…*

Tanya and Jade traverse the outer towns of Outworld in an attempt to search for the Leader of the Locust Klan, whose name was still unknown at the time.

"We've been walking for days, and still no trace of the Locust Klan's leader." Tanya stated.

"Did you really think this bounty was going to be simple?" Jade questioned. Tanya simply folded her arms. "You know why Shang Tsung asked you to personally take on this task right?"

"I know what he wants, but I won't allow him to take it that easily. Or at least, not for the amount of koin he's paying." She responded.

"I understand that your mother was once allied with them during Edenia's downfall, but do you think—"

"Hold on Jade." Tanya commanded cautiously. The two of them stopped moving and looked ahead only to see Ko'atal and the Kytinn woman named D'Vorah. The two seemed to be having a regular conversation as they walked towards Tanya and Jade. Upon meeting up with them, all four proceeded to stare each other down.

"Osh'Tekk. Kytinn." Tanya greeted. Ko'atal groaned, but D'Vorah kneeled before Tanya and Jade. Tanya smirked and kicked D'Vorah in the jaw, knocking her to the ground. Ko'atal reached down to help the Kytinn back to her feet.

"That was not necessary, Tanya!" Ko'atal fussed. Tanya simply chuckled and shook her head.

"Who cares?" she responded. "Well, apparently only you and I seeing how no one else actually cared to take on their bounty."

"We shouldn't waste time on her. We need to continue our bounty." Jade commented. Tanya flipped her hair and decided to walk past the two. Jade followed behind. Ko'atal looked onto them both in disgust while D'Vorah continued to hold her bleeding mouth.

"By the way Kytinn, you and your people might've thought everyone left you all alone because of your solitary nature, but the fact is no one in Outworld actually liked you." Tanya responded as they continued to walk away.

"I'm sorry." He whispered.

"What for?" D'Vorah asked.

"For not killing her."

"Killing her now would only be trouble for us." D'Vorah responded.

"I wasn't talking about just now." Ko'atal responded.

*Four Years After…*

"Outworld. What a disgusting place." Mileena complained while sitting on her throne. Inside the room were Sheeva, Goro, Kintaro, and the Tarkatans. They stood around the room in shame.

"Mileena…" Sheeva began.

"It's Khanum to you!" she snapped. Sheeva brushed her shout off.

"It was no way possible for us to see them coming." She continued. Mileena slammed her fist on the armrest of her chair.

"Excuses are for the dead!" Mileena shouted once more. "Shang Tsung may have been a fool. It may have been his fault that he caused his own death as well. But there was no reason for any you to defend yourselves if you're not going to avenge him."

"We're sorry, Empress." Goro responded. Mileena sighed at the response.

"It may seem like I'm being pretty harsh on you all, but the Shokan and Tarkatan are the only ones I trust. If things go south with me, I expect all of you to be by my side no matter what." Mileena commanded. Everyone in the room kneeled to her in allegiance.

"Yes your Highness!"

*8 Years Later…*

It was late in the evening and Mileena was dealing with the final resident who was scheduled to meet with her that day, an elderly female merchant.

"I can't excuse you from the Outworld tax system. Everyone must pay regardless of their age." Mileena stated.

"Even so, all I ask for is a deadline extension until my illness is taken care of." The woman pleaded.

"If you can afford a doctor, you can afford your taxes." The Ambassador responded.

"As right as my Ambassador was, I will grant you an extension of exactly 21 days. Anything beyond that and the Tarkatans will be returning to your business for anything but small talk." Mileena agreed. The woman bowed to Mileena.

"Thank you, empress Kahnum." The woman praised.

"It's good to see some people like you can get with the program. You should teach the newcomers how it's done." Mileena joked. The woman chuckled as she was escorted out of Mileena's room. With the woman out of the room, Mileena yawned.

"Alright everyone, our meetings are adjourned for the day. I'll see you all tomorrow same place, same time, same job." Mileena commanded.

However, before she is able to leave her seat, a group of red dragon mercenaries enter the room led by Mavado. Mileena is confused by their arrival, as is the Ambassador and the other council members.

"I scheduled no meeting at this time. And I certainly do not appreciate anyone invading my throne room." Mileena threated.

"My apologies, Kahnum. I have arrived to give you the bounty you've been craving over for a decade and a half." Mavado stated.

Mileena was skeptical of the Mercenary's offer. He signals one of his men to bring someone into the room. Upon their entry, Mileena smiles deviously. So much so, that her Tarkatan feature began to be even more visible than before.

"We've captured the Champion of Earthrealm, Knightwolf." Mavado confirmed. The Red Dragon drags the woman into the room and tosses her onto the ground. She picks herself up on her knees and looks up, only to see Mileena's eyes weighing heavily on her.

End of Chapter 1

Yes, Reklaim is finally here! Not much I really need to say in this authors note.

(Upcoming—It's Just Business)