A.N. Okay, so I'm going to borrow a little bit of the 'Shaolin Monks' story for this chapter, and before anyone flies off the handle, it won't include the stupid parts like them killing off Jade. Anyway, here it is.
Cringing, Kitana slowly laid herself back onto her bed, her left arm cradled to her throbbing side. Dawn had just broken over the horizon, and she had somehow managed to sneak back onto the fortress grounds without being seen. She was not trying to hide from the Emperor: She knew that would be completely futile, for he used his sorcerers to keep eyes on all areas of his stronghold, but she did not want to be seen by other soldiers and servants in her current state. If there was one thing Kitana hated, it was gossip, and she knew all of Kahn's enforcers were likely buzzing about with conversation about her now. The last thing she needed was to be seen battered and bruised, and if anyone dared to make a comment about any of it she just might have to break a neck... which would not be of much help to her situation.
Suddenly the door to her quarters was pushed open, and Kitana rolled her eyes at the sight of her uninvited guest.
"Goodness sister, you think you could be a bit more inviting." came Mileena's childlike, mock-pouting voice.
"What the hell do you want?" Kitana sneered. Mileena giggled, leaning nonchalantly against the door frame.
"Father knows you've returned. He wants to see you now. Non-negotiable."
This news made Kitana's heart jump. The Emperor wanted to see her the morning after giving her a brutal thrashing, after which she ran to, what she suspected now to be, her 'not so secret' ally: This was going to be bad. Reluctantly, Kitana sat up and swung her legs over the side of the mattress, standing up and limping to the door. She shoved past Mileena and led the way to her step-father's throne room, her stomach flipping several times over with every step.
Eventually the large chamber, complete with several banners adorning Kahn's insignia and many pillars etched with similar skull patterning, came into view. Kitana was a bit surprised to find Jade already waiting there, and the way the staff-wielder's namesake eyes gazed heavilly at her above her mask made her nervousness all the worse. Warily, she strode slowly before the elevated throne where her step-father sat, kneeling before him in the customary fashion.
"Well, you have caused me quite a bit of trouble these past few days..." Kahn said, his voice too casual. Kitana remained silent, and her body trembled: He should be livid, yelling and roaring at her in rage and lunging to beat her again. If Kahn was calm in this type of situation, then something horrid was likely to follow.
Slowly, the Emperor rose from his seat of authority, walking nonchallantly down the few steps until he towered above her. Kitana kept her eyes lowered to the marble tiles beneath her, her heart speeding.
"No need to worry child. You have already been punished for your incompetence." Kahn said, still calm: The fan-wielder felt a surge of indignation at his words, but she fought it down. "And I may believe that... my chosen course of action regarding what happened yesterday may have been a mistake."
"A... a mistake Father?" Kitana asked, finally lifting quizzical, but still wary eyes up to his.
"Indeed. Causing injury to you was not the proper punishment. As maladroit as your failure in the tournament was yesterday, causing you harm will not make you anymore useful to me. Quite the opposite."
Suddenly Kahn shot her with a beam of energy that made her flinch: But instead of the searing pain and the death that followed she was sure she would recieve, she found her body feeling envigored. She could feel broken ribs being mended, and the lacerations upon her skin seaming shut. When the Emperor stopped, it was as though she had never recieved his wrath at all. Kitana stood up, inspecting herself closely; so sure that she would find something horribly wrong. But there was nothing out of place, no new addition to her form... and that only unnerved her further.
"No, what I had done to you the night before was indeed the wrong way to handle things." Kahn suddenly spoke. This time... his voice was low and deathly. She swallowed. "No... in order to prevent this from happening again, I will have to be more... in control of you."
Suddenly Jade and Mileena suddenly stepped on either side of Kitana and grasped her arms, restraining her. Instantly the adopted princess felt a surge of panic fill her.
"Jade? Mileena... w-what are you doing? Let go!" she said frantically, writhing about and trying to free her limbs. Mileena seemed to be relishing this moment, while regret shone clearly in Jade's eyes.
"Please forgive me... but you gave him no choice." the green clad woman whispered. Kahn stepped within mere inches of his step-daughter, leaning down so that his crimson eyes pierced into her own.
"Since you will not remain faithful to me of your own volition, I will force you." he hissed.
His large hand suddenly clapped over her face, and her mind went completely blank.
Liu Kang let out a frustrated sigh, leaning back on his haunches and his legs straightening from their crossed possition. He was in the small clearing in the nearby forest attempting to meditate, in the same location where he and Kitana met in secret, but his frazzled thoughts ruined his concentration. It had been over twelve hours since he awoke and saw her note of thanks lying on his pillow, and he had heard nothing of her since. That, and the fact that the tournament had yet to proceed, even though it was now well past noon and the storm had long cleared, only added to his anxiety. Something was terribly wrong; he knew it.
"Can't concentrate?" a voice suddenly said in Mandarin. With a bit of a start, Liu looked up and saw his oldest friend and comrade, Kung Lao, approaching him.
"How did you find me out here?" the Champion asked in the same tongue.
"Raiden." the second monk succintly replied. "He knows you have been coming to this place, and who you have been meeting with."
"Not surprising." Liu chuckled. "But... then why hasn't he tried to stop me?"
A sudden crackle of lightenting struck beside the two Shaolin, and said Thundergod's form appeared when it dissapated.
"Because I know that she is not the enemy." Raiden stated. "I have known of Princess Kitana's plight, as well as that of her kingdom since their occurance. 'Tis truly a shame... what the Emperor had done to her."
"You knew all this time?" Liu said.
"Indeed. I have heard many tales of Kahn's conquests, and had wanted to stop him... but his triumph in Edenia is out of my jurisdiction." Raiden paused, his face growing even more stern than normal. "But I have come to warn you of another insidious plot the Emperor has planned. He has placed Kitana under a holding spell and is sending her and her comrades to kill you."
"What? Where is she now?"
"She is awaiting you in the tower of the Monastery. Be ware Liu Kang; she has no control of herself as she is now, and the two warriors are accompanying her are not sympatheic to us."
"Then I'll go with him." Kung spoke up. "I have a feeling you'll need all the help you can get." Liu merely nodded his ascent.
"What about the others?" Liu asked.
"Johnny Cage and Jax set off to find Sonya, and Sub Zero was being persued..." Raiden ended cryptically. "No matter. The two of you are a force to be reconned with. I will transport you to the tower, but as you know, I cannot aid you in the fight."
"We understand Master." Liu said, he and Kung bowing slightly.
A moment later they flashed to the top of the tower: An open, seemingly dilapidated rooftop with clouds swirling rapidly about them. To Liu, it appeared as though they were in the center of a rotating twister. A portal suddenly appeared on the edge of the platform, and three feminine silhouettes emerged. The foremost one walked in a sort of rigid stagger; and as Liu thinned his eyes to make her out, his stomach dropped. Kitana strolled before the green and magenta-clad warriors, her eyes completely listless and expressionless. All three kunoichi had their weapons drawn, and Liu and Kung immediately took their defensive stances.
"Elders, what did he do to her?" Liu muttered under his breath.
Kitana opened her blades and immediately lunged for him, and he just barely managed to dodge the attack. While he quickly found his hands full with the enchanted princess, Kung Lao was ambushed by Jade and Mileena. They came at him in a furor of attacks; the swinging of sai and the swipping and poking of a staff all came in the midst of rapid punches and kicks. The nimble Shaolin monk was able to evade their attacks, if nothing else, but did not have much room to make one of his own. Kung had to think, and fast.
Meanwhile, Liu found himself once again unwilling to fight his adversary. Kitana's attack were clearly not her own. Her movements were lurching and unorthodox, as if her body was being pulled by the strings of a mad puppeteer; and given the situation, they indeed were.
"Kitana! Kitana please, you have to fight this!" Liu pleaded, dodging and blocking the woman's mad swinging. "I don't want to hurt you!"
Kitana's mind was completely blank; locked away tightly by the magic placed upon her. Liu's pleading fell upon deaf ears, and she continued to brandish attacks with senseless fury. Her moves were so disorienting that the poor monk could not find an opening in her defenses if he wanted to.
Liu eventually became distracted by his inner conflict enough to let his spellbound adversary trip him with a sweep kick. With a grunt, he landed hard on his back, the wind knocked promply from his lungs. Immediately Kitana closed her fan and poised it to strike downwards into his skull, but he quickly gathered himself and lurched back onto his feet. He continued to backflip until he was perched on top of a broken pillar, well out of her immediate reach. He panted in exhaustion, sweat filming his brow.
What do i do? Liu thought somewhat frantically. Suddenly his mind flashed back to their match the day before.
'You have to fight me...' Kitana's stern voice echoed in his mind. 'Fight me, I can take it...'
Was it merely a coincidence that he thought of those particular words now? Either way, Liu decided to strengthen his resolve by them. He had to fight. He had to pass this obstacle in order to defend his home, and to perhaps help Kitana save hers when it was all over. He had to keep going. More than just his well-being were at steak.
His resolve had strengthened just soon enough. Kitana's dull eyes gazed up to him, and immediately she began her approach. With surprising athleticism, she ran and lept up almost onto the pillar: Liu quickly rose to meet her, leaping out and connecting a stiff kick to her chest. Kitana fell back onto the ground, both her fans falling out of her reach, while Liu landed gracefully meters before her. He quickly formulated a plan: If he could merely knock her unconscious, he could then assist Kung Lao with the other two women. Hopefully when they were defeated, he could bring Kitana to Raiden for help breaking the spell.
Slowly, Kitana pulled herself up from the ground, eyeing him blankly as she momentarily swayed on her feet. Liu took his stance and braced himself for her assault. She came for him, attacking him with several quick strikes and jabs. He blocked and parried her strikes, attempting to create an opportunity to strike. He just needed one clear strike to her gut...
The opportunity came quickly. Kitana attempted to strike with a punch from her left fist, then tried to follow up with her right: Liu caught both of her hands firmly in his, and then landed his foot right into her abdomen. The entranced kunoichi gaged briefly before her eyes rolled back and she began to sink. The monk caught her quickly, lowering her gently onto the ground. He gazed at her troubledly for a moment, sweeping back a stray tendril of hair that fell into her face.
"I'm sorry about this." Liu murmured, and then rose to assist Kung Lao. To his surprise, his fellow monk had already incapacitated both his foes; both of them lying unconscious upon the ground. He looked back at Liu and smirked.
"Don't worry, didn't need you." he joked. Liu chuckled, rubbing the back of his neck.
"Sorry, I got a little caught up." he said. He then turned his gaze back to Kitana. "We should get her to Raiden. Maybe he can help."
Kung shrugged. "Lead the way."
Back in the cabin, Liu and Kung watched silently as the Thunder God held his hands above Kitana's prone form, electrical energy flowing from them into her. On the sidelines with them were Jax, Johnny and Sonya; all returned safely from their rescue mission. After a brief moment Raiden finished, slowly rising to his feet.
"I have purged her of the magic that Kahn used to control her, but it will be quite a while before she regains herself." he informed. "And too, Kahn will be aware that his hold of her has been sevored."
"This has to end." came Liu's voice, semi-rhetorically. "This can't go on. I have to put an end to all of this before he strikes another of us."
"Be reasonable, Liu Kang." Raiden told him. "Charging recklessly into battle will have dire results."
"Then I will challenge him." Liu replied with absolute surety. "I will face the Emperor head-on, and I will end this false tournament."
"I agree with Liu." Jax spoke up. "I think we just need to stop all of this, point-blank, before it gets outta hand."
"Me too." Sonya said. Kung nodded his own agreement.
"Aw hell, like my vote counts..." Johnny grumbled.
"Then it is settled." Liu declared. "Let's put a stop to all of this."
Raiden sighed. "Very well. If this is the decision you all wish to make, than I will not stop you. I only ask that you use the utmost caution, and fight wisely." He paused, turning his glowing eyes to the still unconscious Kitana. "I will stay and watch over the Princess until she awakens, and we will join you thereafter."
"Very well." Liu replied. He bowed slightly. "Thank you Master."
"May the Elder Gods watch over you." and with that, Raiden teleported them all to the Emperor's coliseum. He then turned his gaze once again to the unconscious woman lying in Liu's bed.
"Let us hope his feelings for you give him the necessary strength."
Hot dayumn... another long update. So sorry readers, but life gets complicated at times, and unfortunately other things take precedence over my writing (which I hate) But I've got some vacation time, so hopefully I can get further into this story, and maybe start posting another too.
On another note, I absolutely abhor this chapter, and I don't use words like abhor often. I'm not good at writing action scenes... No, let me rephrase: I'm not good at writing 'fighting' scenes. I can write scenes with... other types of 'action' (*wiggles eyebrows*) pretty well, but I'll leave those for another story. I hope this chapter isn't too clunky for you all to read.
Thank you for you patience folks, and if any of you left me hopefully I can pull you back.