Authors Note: Well, I thought up this idea randomly while watching MK9's cutscenes and decided to see what it would look like in motion; this is the result. Everyone belongs to their respectful owners.

Edited as of 6/13/2012

Shao Kahn paced his grandiose red throne room fuming. Shang Tsung, his form betraying his ancient age and his torn robes his defeat, placed before the emperor restrained by the Tarkatan representative Baraka and Ermac, a warrior created by Shao Kahn. Princess Kitara stood behind him both her fans closed in her hands. The Centaurian champion Motaro and the Shokan champion Sheeva flanked Kahn's throne with the skulls of the conquered at its base. The only skull above Kahn was the skull of the Dragon King Onaga whom Kahn usurped to take leadership of Outworld. It was a reminder to all who was in charge.

"Damn you Shang Tsung, damn Raiden, and damn the Elder Gods and their laws!" Shao Kahn shouted firmly doing his best to restrain his anger.

"My lord," Shang Tsung said desperately knowing he stood upon the brink of death after falling from his master's graces, "if I may-"

"Silence failure!" Shao Kahn spat at the sorcerer, "You assured me Earthrealm was mine! For the first time I have failed to take that which I want."

Kahn sat upon his stone throne. The warlord rested his head on his hand, "What was it you told me Tsung? 'Earthrealm shall be your easiest conquest.' I ought to rip your jaw from you skull, but it is not worth my effort. Kill him."

Shang Tsung gasped as Kitana spread her bladed fans, "But what if we used a way around the law my lord!"

"Hold," Shao Kahn said waving his hand. Kitana retracted her fans disappointed.

Kahn folded his hands then bowed his head, "Do not mock me Tsung. I may be mighty now, but I have not yet ascended to the level necessary to challenge all of the Elder Gods at once."

"I never jest my lord." Shang Tsung said relieved, "I have consulted with the Netherrealm necromancer Quan Chi, and we have devised a means to comply with the Elder God's rules while bending them in our favor."

Kahn's curiosity got the better of him so he waved his hand, "Release him so he may explain."

Baraka and Ermac released Tsung. The Sorcerer rose dusting off his shoulders then bowing to one knee, "My Emperor, as you know the Elder Gods designed Mortal Kombat specifically to slow Outworld's… annexation of other realms with the system of 10 tournaments held every century of which all must be won consecutively for a claim to a Realm. However, consultations with Quan Chi have brought us to believe that we could challenge Earthrealm to one decisive tournament held in Outworld. If they refuse as they likely shall considering they have… set us back, we can invade their realm to force them to accept."

"Fool!" Kahn shouted slamming his fist onto the armrest of his throne shattering it, "Are you proclaiming me ignorant that the rules of Mortal Kombat were presented to prevent me from invading realms at will?"

Shang Tsung nodded keeping calm, "That they are master. However, the Elder Gods only forbid the merging of realms without complying to the rules of Mortal Kombat. If Outworld were to invade yet not merge with Earthrealm the Elder Gods can take no action lest they violate the laws to which they are bound."

Shao Kahn reflected on this proposal for only a short time because the desire to crush a new realm and harvest its souls was burning within him, "Proceed to collect other representatives. Although, I doubt it will be necessary to use all of them. Ten should be a sufficient amount to ensure our victory in a tournament against any Earthrealm has to offer."

Shao Kahn then got up and turned his back to Tsung to face Motaro and Sheeva both of which bowed respectfully. The Emperor's eyes narrowed, "You two shall represent your respective nations. Contribute to Outworld's triumph and I will favor the people of those triumphant."

Both Centaur and Shokan ended their bow and looked towards each other with a snarl. Shao Kahn then turned back around to face the others in his throne room, "Kitana, you shall not compete in case I need you to eliminate promising Earthrealm warriors alongside Jade."

Kitana bowed, "As you will, father."

Kahn then looked to Baraka, "Baraka you and your kind are the essence of brutality which pleases me. However, I need assurance that Outworld will not fail and there are others that will make more worthy contenders than you. On the other hand I do see use for you and your people's specialties. Be prepared for anything."

Baraka's maw showed displeasure, but the Tarakatan bowed knowing Shao Kahn would not hesitate to call upon the Tarkatans if their blades needed to pierce his foes' hearts. Kahn next pointed to Ermac, "I have created you and if you do not demonstrate that in Kombat, I will destroy you."

Ermac flexed releasing a green aura of the multitude of souls he contained, "We are ready Master."

Shang Tsung nodded, "I know exactly the other warriors that will ensure victory. Although my lord, if you will me to compete in this tournament I need major revitalization."

Kahn waved his hand, "You will compete to redeem yourself. You have my permission to use the soul pits enough to reach your peak."

Shang Tsung could not help but smirk as he bowed, "I am most grateful for your judgment my lord."

Kahn narrowed his eyes, "Do not get used to it. If I ever receive a whisper of future failures I will personally oversee your extensive torture before I tear you asunder."

Shang Tsung rose from his bow, "Master, with the tournament in Outworld victory is yours."

Shuichi Minamino awoke at the crack of dawn with a stretch and a smile at the new day of summer vacation. He got out of his bed still wearing his pajamas his long red hair a tangled mess, put on his house slippers, and went into the kitchen to cook breakfast for both him and his mother. Shiori came into the kitchen a few minutes later wearing matching pajamas, her hair equally a mess as she rubbed the sleep out of her eyes.

"Good morning mother," Shuichi said brightly.

"Mornin' Shuichi dear" Shiori said as she went outside for the morning paper. By the time she came back, breakfast was waiting with a cup of coffee on the table. She sat at the table reading her paper and sipping her coffee while Shuichi joined her.

"Any news worth mentioning this fine Saterday?" He asked her.

"Well, the LDP holds on to a slim coalition majority in upper house elections. That and, there is a rather funny cartoon of the U.S. President vomiting on the Prime Minister's lap." His mother replied giggling. He joined her in laughter.

"What's on the schedule today?" Shiori asked absentmindedly.

"Nothing special in mind," Shuichi replied, "Water the garden, read a book, and then if I have time I might go out for a bit."

"I wish I can reach that level of excitement for one day." His mother remarked playfully.

"What? But in your line of work mother?" Shuichi said with mock surprise.

"Touché.Well, I guess I'll go get ready to save the world." She said rising to go through her morning routine.

"Have fun mother. See you when you get back." Shuichi smiled.

There was a knock at the door. Shuichi answered it surprised to see Botan on the other side, "Ah, Botan. What brings you here?"

Botan rubbed her left arm with her right hand appearing distraught, "There's… a problem. Koenma is getting everyone together."

Kurama sighed bowing his head, "Permit me to pack a few things and I'll be ready."

Botan nodded solemnly knowing she shattered the kitsune's inner peace. Although, Koenma said they'd need everyone.

That afternoon Kuwabara and his sat at the table covered in textbooks and study guides in his already messy room . He barely survived his encounter with the Four Kings and nearly dying made him reevaluate how he was leading his life.

Kuwabara slammed his hand down on the table, "I'm tired of being considered a complete idiot. I'm going to study extra hard and pass those damn classes next semester!"

Shizuru came in smoking a fresh cigarette as she carried a tray of sodas and bags of chips for each of them, "Your snacks princess."

"That's Doctor Professor Princess to you!" Kuwabara shot back to his apathetic sister. Shizuru threw the tray at him knocking him to the ground before she stormed out of the room, "Get your own damn drinks next time."

Kuwabara cleaned himself off furiously but held off against revenge for now fearing worse backlash from he heard Shizuru shout up again he thought he was going to have a heart attack, "Hey Kuwabaka! Botan's here for you."

Kuwabara left his room going to the front door where Botan stood with Kurama. Kuwabara rested his face in his palm, "We're going back to Demon World aren't we?"

Botan still was extremely distressed so Kurama intervened on her behalf, "Not quite."

As twilight fell over Tokyo, a frog and a pig demon stood deep in a back ally cackling from behind a dumpster. A human teen named Ayame was forced onto on her knees by the pig with her hands tightly tied behind her back with ropes. She shouted to no avil against the cloth gag the covered her mouth and her nose. She watched in horror as the frog tossed her cellphone up and down.

"We can't have this human trinket ruin our fun again can we Gorou?" The frog demon said licking his lips as he stared into the terrified human's eyes.

The pig demon Gorou bent down face to face with his captive. He rubbed his fat fingers on the captive woman's cheek. Her eyes closed as she whimpered shaking her head in terror and disbelief. Gorou chuckled in response, "Yes Katashi. Now, were to start-"

The pig suddenly let go of her falling away from the woman headless. She squealed in terror closing her eyes before hearing the other demon fall with a thud. When she opened her eyes she saw no one. Strangely, her bonds were also cut free. She stared at her otherworldly captors for a moment until they both burst into flame! She gasped hastily picking up her phone and running away as fast as her legs could carry her.

Hiei stood on the roof top overlooking the human he just saved as he wiped the foul blood off his katana. The fire demon let out an exacerbated sigh before went along his way deciding now would be a good time to steal some food. Hiei ran and jumped from rooftop to rooftop stopping when he saw a flash of red out of the corner of his eye. He hit the brakes crouching with his sword drawn. Hiei eased up when he saw it was only Kurama standing on an adjacent rooftop.

"Kurama, I'm surprised to see you here." Hiei said sheathing his blade as he stood up straight.

Kurama sighed putting his hands in his pockets, "I do feel sorry for how I worded my intent Hiei last we met. Me and you just have different… ambitions with what life we are given."

Hiei crossed his arms with a sneer, "That's putting it lightly. While I watch over these pathetic beings because I have nothing better to do, you play pretend."

Kurama raised one hand in defense, "I do not condemn what you have been doing since we last saw each other after helping Yusuke, but I condone why you are doing it."

Hiei scowled, "And why is that? I must have figured you wrong Kurama when I assumed you cared for this world over your own."

Kurama rolled his eyes, "Let's not go at it again Hiei, "I'm just saying you acting like this is the realm of yokai where there are no rules. You know what humans are here and that they don't like demons whom they do not control."

"I can kill all who challenge me," Hiei retorted trying his hardest to restrain his anger.

At that Kurama smiled, "Well, if that is truly the case I have a proposition for you from Koenma that would be a pleasant alternative for you compared to moping around in self pity."

Yusuke Urameshi panted as he shaped his fingers into a gun aimed at the target in front of him, but try as he might he could not get the tip of his pointer finger to glow. The room was pitch from the only light source being a candle Genkai carried.

Genkai stood beside him and sighed, "Maybe one of these days you'll learn to control your spirit energy more efficiently instead of me having to keep shouting at you about it."

"I like your shouting though." Yusuke replied between breaths as he lowered his aching arm.

Genkai crossed her arms, "Apparently so. I wonder how much you'll like your opponent ripping out your spine because you are complacent in running out of energy halfway through the fight."

Yusuke let out pained laughter, "You're kidding old hag! You can't rip out someone's spine."

Genkai smiled and traced Yusuke's spine until she reached near his neck, "Right about here… All it would take is a firm blow and I could rip out your spine while you still lived. Learned it when you weren't even conceived."

"How old are you again?" Yusuke asked incredulous. Genkai replied with a kick to his shin sending Yusuke to the floor grasping his shin in pain.

"How many more times must I tell you not to ask a woman her age?" The old master said with a soft smile.

There was a knock at the door and Genkai opened it revealing Botan and Kuwabara. Kuwabara looked to Yusuke on the ground and chuckled, "Yusuke's cries of pain led us to you."

Genkai gave Kuwabara a low kick to his ankle tripping him up and he falls onto his back. Botan giggled, "Miss Genkai, we need them both intact for a tournament."

Genkai scoffed, "Fighting tournament? These two? They couldn't beat girl scouts selling cookies."

Kuwabara got up furious, "Hey! That was a low blow! Both of them!"

Genkai shrugged, "Well, maybe I underestimate you two. You've both fared well against skilled and powerful opponents, except for you Yusuke. You have a bit of luck and stupidity that sees you through."

Yusuke managed to stand with a smirk, "I'd rather be lucky than good."

Genkai shrugged, "I guess that has to count for something. Since your training is incomplete I am coming with you."

Yusuke groans, "Damn it..."

Johnny Cage hung up his cellphone, and then threw it across his penthouse breaking through the window before sending it to the streets below. The bathrobed actor reached to his nearby mini-fridge and took out a bottle of Jack Daniels and a shot glass. He threw the shot glass to the floor and just took the whole bottle with him to the couch in the middle of the room.

The lavish white apartment felt cold around him. The actor glanced over to his usual beacon of confidence, his trophy case. It was full of the multiple awards he has won since his first karate tournament when he was five. Johnny kept it around to remind him of how far he has come to be where he is with only sheer determination and his mother's support. The most recent addition, the medal the White Lotus Society and Raiden bestowed upon him, appeared dull in the lighting of the room.

Cage chugged the bottle until it became too much. He feared that this day would come in his career, but it dragging him down after being on top of his game proved unbearable. He replayed the conversation in his head.

"Sorry Johnny," His agent told him over the phone, "But movies like yers aren't bringin' in those big bucks they did in the last decade accordin' to the number crunchers. I know we said not to talk about Ninja Mime again… but that flick nearly bankrupted the suits that funded it. I've done all I can but the studio slashed all yer contracts and basically blacklisted ya for the time being. I'm sorry John-"

As far as he was concerned, nothing went right for Johnny since he left the island. He has not seen or heard anything from his fellow survivors of Mortal Kombat in a week to cheer him up. Hell, the actor even managed to knock that Goro thing off a cliff when it came after Sonya and him. Goro was the first thing that Johnny has ever consciously killed, and it was rather exhilarating in the moment.

For once, Johnny returned home a true hero only to find everything that his agent said was true. No producers were willing to cast him; word was his toy line was taking a hit. Martial Artists like Johnny just were not popular anymore with America.

Johnny took another swig from the bottle, "Things have just gotta turn around sometime. I'll just have to search for a way to carry me on. There's other things I'm good at besides kicking ass."

There was a flash of light and a clap of thunder outside making Johnny jump to his feet ready to fight. However, he recognized that as well as the white robed straw-hat figure that entered through the balcony door.

"Johnny Cage," Raiden said regally, "Earthrealm needs you once more to represent it in a Mortal Kombat Tournament."

Johnny Cage was incredulous, "But wait hold up Ray-man. You're telling me that everything we just did was for nothing?"

Raiden held up his hand, "No Johnny Cage. I have no time to explain now, but will you take up the call to defend your Realm?"

Johnny backed away letting the news sink in. He turned back to Raiden, "I'll get some pants, and my shades."

Sonya sat in the interrogation room handcuffed too long for her tastes. To make matters worse, her leg was handcuffed to a chair bolted to the floor. The dim light above her framed her scowl, "Look, just let me debrief to Major Jackson Briggs."

"You don't give the commands around here Lieutenant." A distorted voice replied from behind what Sonya knew was a one way screen.

Sonya knew getting beyond impatient, "Look pal, why don't you show yourself so I can kick your ass."

"I'm afraid I have orders from the General, Miss. Blade. An appointed official will arrive soon to hear your debrief on how you not only lost Kano but your entire squad in radio silence. All requests from you are to be denied." The voice shot back. Suddenly, the door opened and a man wearing a black suit walked in adjusting his tie. He was tall, clean shaven, and had well groomed black hair. Sonya surmised he was younger than she was and likely F.B.I.

"I knew it would come to this." Sonya lamented bowing her head.

The government agent smiled as he sat down placing a briefcase on the table between them, "Now, now Miss. Blade come to what? I just want to know what happened."

The man opened the briefcase and pulled out a cigarette and lighter, "Cigarette?"

"No." Sonya spat back.

The man placed away the lighter and hung the cigarette between his fingers, "Testy aren't we. Guilty conscious?"

"No!" Sonya shouted standing up slamming her fists on the table, "I would never harm any of my men. They were taken as POWs and are now KIA."

The agent cocked his head, "Really now? And did the Black Dragons do this?"

Sonya nodded, "Yes."

The agent took a map from his briefcase, "Explain to me Miss. Blade…"

He pointed to a circle on the map, "We have a recording of your last radio transmission. The bearings are here. There is a problem, there are not only no Black or Red Dragon influence in that latitude or Longitude there is nothing of anything there but salt water and fish."

"Why would I announce where I was if I was going to kill my own men?" Sonya shot back aggressively.

The agent shrugged, "We have more extreme cases on file."

The agent's demeanor returned to a relaxed slouch, "Remember, I'm not accusing you of killing your men, Uncle Sam is. I'm here to find out if it is a valid accusation. If it happens to be so then I can only promise more serious punishments than a dishonorable discharge."

Sonya sat back down and looked away from the suited man, "You wouldn't believe me even if I told you."

"Well you know what they say about hell and good intentions Miss Blade." The agent said before closing his briefcase and rising , "All I can say is you are not going out of my sight comprende?"

"Comprendo you condescending bastard." Sonya replied through gritted teeth.

The agent adjusted his tie, "Miss Blade you are guilty until proven innocent, and I can see why you became a soldier instead of a lawyer."

The agent left the room with Sonya staring at his back every step of the way until he closed the door, "You have no idea what you are doing."

Suddenly, Raiden teleported into the room in his usual conspicuous fashion whispered into her ear, "I apologize."

Just before Raiden teleported out of the room the agent dove at him managing to touch Raiden just as he teleports leaving the interrogation room empty.

Within the large Chinese office-building apartment, Kuai Liang placed the blue mask that belonged to Bi-Han, his deceased brother, over his face securely then looked into the mirror in front of him. The mask was a little loose on him, but he felt a great warmth emanating from inside.

A grey haired, grey-eyed Nordic man entered the room wearing a Lin Kuei gi identical to Kuai's execpt it was grey instead of blue. Tomas gasped when Kuai turned around bearing a striking resemblance to his friend and Kuai's brother, codenamed Sub-Zero.

"Luai..." Tomas said hesitantly, "I know you are taking your brother's death hard..."

Luai clenched his fists chilling the air, "Hard? I will shatter the one responsible into a million pieces."

Tomas raised his hands defensively, "Luai, calm down. I want revenge too. However, things are dangerous right now. Cyrax told me that Sektor is going to make his move soon, and if we are to act tonight we'll need you."

The new Sub-Zero turned around to the mirror again and placed his hands on the wall, "Smoke I am to kill the candidate for Minister of Thailand. The will of the Grandmaster must be upheld."

Smoke placed his hand on Sub-Zero's shoulder, "The grandmaster has not decreed that we not come to his aid if there is a plot against his life. As much as we were brought up believing that it was punishable by death to challenge the will of the Grandmaster, we also swore an oath to defend him against all enemies. Despite the fact he is his son, it appears Sektor desires his father's position hereditarily and not risk another to be appointed Grandmaster."

Sub-Zero walked away from the mirror, "Why not just tell the Grandmaster?"

"Would you believe your brother was going to kill you if I told you?" Smoke posed rhetorically.

Sub-Zero shook his head then leaned against the wall, "No."

Smoke nodded, "Tonight, we strike to save the Lin Kuei."

Suddenly, there was a bright flash and clap of thunder in the middle of the room leaving Raiden standing there. Both Lin Kuei prepared for battle, but Sub-Zero relented when he recognized the Thunder God.

"You!" the cyromancer declared furiously, "You are the one who led my brother to his death!"

Smoke kept up his guard. However, Raiden merely sighed displaying only submission, "I did not lead to your brother's death though it haunts me as if I had. I trusted your brother to accomplish near Herculean tasks and he succeeded. However, the cost at which he did I only found out when it was too late."

Sub-Zero clenched his fist, "How could you not save him? Are you not an Eldar God?"

Raiden bowed his head, "I attempted to save him. I tried to appease his killer, but I cannot influence free will nor did I see through my blindness of ensuring Earthrealm's victory. Only after I failed to save Sub-Zero do I release the web of deceit surrounding the whole affair. Greater powers are at work here beyond petty revenge."

Sub-Zero stormed over to Raiden and grasped the thunder god's neck, "My revenge is petty?"

Raiden teleported out of his grasp his visage now devoid of sympathy, "In the face of the destruction of Earthrealm all else is petty is it not?"

Sub-Zero was caught in the question. Smoke remained tense although not in an aggressive stance, "I doubt you came to a building of assassins for sympathy."

Raiden recomposed himself, "Yes and no. I need you two to represent Earthrealm in Mortal Kombat. The rewards will be great if we win. Failure will result as the end of Earthrealm as we know it. As for how this relates to you, participating will give you a chance to confront your brother's killer for good or for ill."

Sub Zero's interest was piqued, "I will compete to bring justice to my family."

Sub-Zero glanced to Smoke, "You will have to save the Lin Kuei without me."

Smoke released a disappointed sigh, "I will inform Cyrax that both the newly christened Sub-Zero and myself are bound for the latest Mortal Kombat Tournament in order to avenge a comrade."

Surprise crossed Sub-Zero's eyes, "Smoke, are you certain? The Lin Kuei-"

"Have survived for over a millennia and shall persevere as long as one desires the death of another." Smoke replied pulling his own mask out of his gi's belt and placing it on, "Raiden, we only ask for a moment to collect our uniforms so we may more properly represent our clan."

Raiden bowed, "I do not condone the Lin Kuei, but I do not refuse help nor ignore it. I will grant you each one reasonable request once Earthrealm wins the Tournament."

The two Lin Kuei warriors bowed courteously but not sincerely as like the other legions of Lin Kuei they only give humble bows before the Grandmaster. Sub-zero rose from the bow first, "We will win the tournament and make it back in time to foil Sektor's plans. Most importantly I will have my revenge."

Smoke rose from his bow and nodded, "I shall inform Cyrax that our preemptive strike is off and that he should go into hiding for the time being. He will be displeased. Although, I for one will not stand idly by as my friend goes to fight of the future of Earthrealm while I squabble over what is relatively meaningless in the face of the Apocalypse. Besides, I have a request upon victory that is close to my heart that I must know."

Sub-Zero nodded, "Once my revenge is complete, as do I. One that has eluded me my entire life."

"It is settled then. Go as if on your assignments but meet me in the outskirts of the city." Raiden decreed before teleporting out of the room.

The Shaolin monk Liu Kang stood opposite the White Lotus Warrior Kung Lao inside a dirt arena within a garden of the Himalayan White Lotus Temple. Kung Lao took off his trademark blade rimmed hat and stuck it into the ground. The Mortal Kombat champion and his rival respectfully bowed before taking their fighting stances, Jeet Kune Do and Wing Chun mixed with Fujian White Crane respectively.

"First blow to the torso wins." Kung Lao asked.

Liu Kang nodded, "You're on."

Liu Kang shuffled his feet and let out battle cries reminiscent of Bruce Lee. Kung Lao remained as steadfast as a turtle. Liu Kang made his move against his opponent surging forward and letting loose a barrage of strikes at Kung Lao who managed to deflect or block each attack. Kung Lao thrust out his right palm, but Liu Kang deflected it with his left elbow before kicking Kung Lao in the chest. The Shaolin stumbled back recomposing himself just in time to parry three further blows from Liu Kang.

Both warriors stepped back panting. Liu Kang smiled, "You're defense is as solid as ever."

"And you still hit pretty hard," Kung Lao replied rubbing his chest to soothe the pain.

Liu Kang dropped his guard, "How about we go get some noodles before the kitchen runs out?"

Kung Lao lowered his guard as well, "Not if I eat them all first!"

Kung Lao made a break for the door with Liu Kang laughing as he pursued. Suddenly, Raiden appeared between them and the door.

"Lord Raiden!" The monks cried in unison then dropped to the ground in a bow.

"Rise noble warriors." The Elder God said respectfully. They did so both confused.

"What brings you here Raiden?" Liu Kang said confused.

Raiden's face fell solemn, "Your time has come again Liu Kang. Earthrealm needs its champion once more."

"But I defeated Shang Tsung and won Mortal Kombat. Outworld cannot challenge for another five hundred years." Liu Kang replied confusion deepened.

Raiden sighed, "I will explain momentarily. Come with me to Earthrealm's section of the Heavens so I may explain to both you and the other warriors of Earthrealm."

Shang Tsung teleported to the Wastes of Outworld now appearing half the age of his previous decrepit body and now wore clothing more suitable for combat compared to the more lavish robes he wore in the throne room. Shang Tsung scowled deciding against teleporting further because he wanted every ounce of his power in case he needed to be more coercive to his target. The ancient sorcerer turned and took up his snake-like fighting stance when he heard a soft pat behind him, but recomposed himself when Reptile became visible.

"Massster. Ssshe isss ahead." Reptile reported. Tsung fell the breeze from wings flapping behind him, and he discreetly turned around crossing his arms when he saw the vampiress Nitara land. The bat-winged woman held a bloody torso in one hand and had the other on their hip as she eyed the sorcerer and his bodyguard, "Shang Tsung, your guard dog interrupted my dinner. I hope there is good reason I should not kill you both."

Reptile started towards the vampires but Tsung held up his hand as he laughed heartily, "Nitara, this is why I favor you over the savage Shokan or the shortsighted Centaurs. You have intellect. And I would not be so quick to judge Reptile because he and you are quite alike."

Nitara dropped her dinner then crossed her arms indignantly, "Oh, and how is that?"

"A sense of loneliness, desire for revenge against Shao Kahn, nearly a century of seeking a means to achieve this end." The sorcerer counted off dipping a different hand on each point, "Hopefully, when presented your only opportunity to strike down the good Emperor you'd take it."

Nitara raised a brow, "And you are to present an opportunity to me?"

Tsung folded his fingers and started to circle the vampiress who eyed him with utmost suspicion, "A Mortal Kombat tournament will be held in Outworld in one day's time at Kahn's Fortress. Help me usurp Shao Kahn when the time is right and I will reward you generously."

Nitara rubbed her chin in thought, and finally decided, "I will fight on your behalf only if you restore my realm and my race to its former glory."

Tsung stroked his fu-manchu then extended his hand, "We have an accord."

Both parasitic beings shook hands. Tsung left Nitara with Reptile following him, "Massster, what of the project Shao Kahn assigned you?"

Tsung grinned, "Coming along perfectly. Now, let us venture to the Netherrealm to pay Quan Chi a visit."

Tsung and Reptile both teleported into the Netherrealm into Quan Chi's tower that jutted out from Shinnok's gigantic palace built from the rocks of the Netherrealm and covered in the bones of the damned.

When Tsung reappeared with Reptile they stood in Quan Chi's cauldron room where Quan Chi was mixing potions. Upon the Outworlders' appearance, three figures stepped between them and the pale necromancer working on a potion. The first figure was Sareena, one of Quan Chi's collection of lust demons, stood there with a provocative pose. However, Shang Tsung knew of the deceptive demon thus was not fooled. The second figure intrigued Shang Tsung by how it blended with the shadows perfectly with only a faint outline to indicate otherwise. The third figure Shang Tsung was sure he could never forget. The wraith in skeletal yellow garb had his hands on both of the swords on his back.

Reptile prepared for a fight with two wraiths and the lust demon, but Tsung crossed his arms, "Netherrealm hospitality at its finest."

Quan Chi faced his Outworld guests, "I told them no interruptions. Fortunately, my tasks are nearly complete."

Tsung bowed mockingly, "By all means Necromancer, proceed."

Quan Chi did just that with his demoness and wraiths standing down but still keeping eyes on the Outworlders.

"Your plan demanded much from me I must say but considering how much you have pushed me to the brink of my skills we are all the more likely to succeed." Quan Chi reported.

Shang Tsung stroked his beard, "Excellent. We shall see how this tournament affects our favor. I have planned so that no matter which realm is the victor we shall be atop the pinnacle of power."

Quan Chi poured a new potion into the cauldron, "Does Shao Kahn suspect?"

Tsung waved his hand dismissively, "The 'almighty' Konquerer truly trusts no one whom is not himself or one of his creations. For example, his latest commission from me is a replacement for Kitana. Mighty as he is, Kahn has no propensity for the manipulation of flesh."

"Nor necromancy thankfully." Quan Chi noted as he swirled the brew with his magic, "I shall bring Sareena as my personal escort while Scorpion and Noob Saibot participate in the Tournament."

Tsung turned to leave but stopped remembering one last thing, "And what of the emissaries from the Chaosrealm?"

"They accepted the invitation surprisingly enough." Quan Chi answered.

"Indeed. I do believe we have what we need then for beyond the tournament regardless of the outcome. When Shao Kahn's forces are at their weakest we shall finish him. The fool is too proud to refuse personal combat." Shang Tsung replied as he opened a portal; then he and Reptile departed.