CHAPTER 0: AN ORDINARY LIFE
I think back to how it all started, before I ended up where I am now. It was a day like any other around my small village. Things were looking quite dull. The waters were the standard purple, and the morning sky nearly matched the hue.
This is not your world, this is Out World; my world. It has always been my world in one way or another. Born here, raised here, lived here, died here. Well, maybe not that last part quite yet, but I hope that when I die, it will be defending this rotten land that I call home.
In the morning I wait for the portal to open. A large metallic circle forms a purple light and first people exit from the portal into the village. Then the rest of us are allowed to enter through.
I go through each day to get to college, something that the rest of my village would not know about. They are content being farmers, herders, and of course fishermen.
Those that become fishermen either get poor, or die trying. Just like my parents. The both of them came together as fishers, bought a house boat together and saw the world. Well they saw the seas of the world, and that was the last time anyone saw them; including me.
They might still be alive, but either way, I do not care. If there is one thing that they had taught me, it is not to be a fisher. So each day I step through that purple portal, work my way through the town on the other side and attend a class of higher learning.
Sure, it is mundane, but one day through either school, I will achieve big things. Maybe not school, but maybe through my beauty, big things will just be handed to me.
Traveling through the town on the other side of the portal I get invites all the time. Little men with unibrows offer me koins to pose for them or dance at their establishments.
I always flick my long black hair and tell them, "As if!" Then they wonder, "As if what?" It happens all the time; I pass by the butcher shop to see a boy my age sweeping off the steps. He asks me on a daily basis, "Hey Li Mei! When do I get that date?"
At some point I just stopped saying no and quietly pass by him. I know that his head turns as I walk by, and I know he wants me to be his, but he is a butcher. That just means he sells the fish caught by the fishers.
While a butcher is a less dangerous job than a fisherman, we all need a little excitement. We all need a little danger, but here is the thing, ever since that day, my life has been nothing but danger and excitement.
Before that day the only excitement or danger that I had seen was in the great coliseum. Our grand emperor Shao Kahn would hold tournaments, tortures and executions there. Quite honestly, the tortures and executions do not appeal to me.
However, it was always the martial arts that would lure me into the giant stone coliseum. Warriors and peasants alike would combat one another as our mighty emperor looked presided over the battles from his thrown.
Kahn is known throughout our purple hued world as a conqueror; the apprentice that had overthrown our previous emperor. He has always draped his giant muscles in red armor meant for combat.
Covering his face has always been a white skull attached to his helmet. No one can remember ever seeing his face beneath the helmet. In fact one of the rumors in my village is that the large skull that covers Kahn's face is that of the previous emperor; a king named Onaga.
Another reason why I would attend the battles in the coliseum was to not end up in the pit of the coliseum itself. Kahn is a terrible man that any of us would die trying to kill him or die even for saying that thought out loud.
Kahn would have his four armed armies round up peasants like myself and publicly feed them to a black dragon.
They were fed to the dragon until it was finally slain by a beautiful princess named Kitana. It was announced that she was the princess of a different land that had been conquered by Kahn.
I watched her beauty as she spun around the black dragon. She would attack with her fingertips poised like claws. The dragon would lunge its long neck forward at her, and each time she would spin or twirl to avoid the dragon's mouth. Eventually she drew a blade out of her boot, and extended it to a giant metallic fan. The dragon's neck was slit by the fan and it choked to death, writhing in pain on the ground.
Her art was beautiful, perfect and distracting. Not only was the beauty of her martial art distracting, but her visual appeal was distracting to the men that she had to combat in the pit. After several victories, she was rewarded by becoming Kahn's personal assassin.
It has been more than a decade since seeing Kitana's victory over the dragon, and I have shadowed the martial arts ever since. Not only have I studied the martial arts, but I have followed her style, beauty and energy.
While I am untrained, I mirror and mimic the movements to the laughter of my friends. Many of them tell me, "Stick to standing still and looking pretty Li Mei!" Others would join in, "Keep the combat for the men!"
The arts that I study are beautiful, and beauty is for women. Of course the brutality is for the men, which is why both men and women can appreciate the martial arts.
My friends had scoffed at me, but now years later, I have shown them who I truly am. Now this is the story of how I not only saved my people, but became supreme empress of this world; my world. This is not about how I went through Kahn, it is about having to go through everyone else.