Sage and incents filled the air as all the monks gathered at the Wu Shi Academy. It had been a while since they had a warriors funeral, and never before did they have one funeral for nine warriors. The caskets were laid out at the front for all to see and pay tribute. Monks began to chant their prayers as Raiden went up to place the mementos on each coffin. He carried a 9mm glock pistol in memory of the fallen hero Kurtis Stryker. He then placed hook swords on the next coffin to honor the valiant efforts of Kabal. A radio and dog tags was laid out to honor Major Jackson Briggs. He continued in this fashion for the rest of the heroes, smoke's mask was next, followed by a tomahawk for Nightwolf, a jade shroud for Jade, and a blue bladed fan for Kitana. At the last two Raiden choked up, he placed the hat down on the casket as tears began to pour down his face. Finally he placed Liu Kang's headband on the last casket and he broke down. He fell to one knee and let the tears flow down his face. Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade helped him to his feet, and the funeral continued. Silence filled the air as prayers were said for the fighters. Raiden began to speak,
"The warriors before you today fought a valiant effort and we will honor their memory. They died fighting to protect Earthrealm and their sacrifice will not remain in vain. We will strengthen our defenses and we will train many heroes. Today we will honor the dead, but tomorrow we begin rebuilding. I will not allow Earthrealm to be tormented as it has in these past days. I will go see our friends in the East; we must all be on the same page if we are to protect Earthrealm." He hung his head and walked away from the crowd. He then looked back and Johnny and Sonya, "We must speak when I return; I have an important task for you both." With that he was off in a flash of thunder and lightning.
"I don't know if I trust him anymore, those visions he was having could have easily been delusions. You saw what he did to Liu Kang. Raiden is unstable and I won't be here when he comes back. I suggest you do the same Cage."
Sonya stormed off before Johnny could say anything. He looked around and the monks were parting ways back to their rooms to mourn the losses of the heroes. For once in his life Johnny felt at a loss for words. He took off his shades and dabbed at the tears in his eyes. He wanted to believe Raiden was still okay, but Sonya did have a point, Raiden was a bit off his rocker lately. He didn't know if Earthrealm could stave off another invasion at this time they were too weak. He walked over to the caskets and bowed his head.
"Hey Kung Fu twins, really wish you were here right now, you'd know what to do. I'm pretty sure Raiden is going to want me to help him train a new batch of warriors, but I don't think I'm teacher material. Sparring partner maybe, but teaching was your guy's forte. I don't know, anywho I have to go do something it was good talking to you guys." Johnny then rushed off to the rooms.
He got into the room in time to see Sonya packing up her stuff into a suitcase and leaving. He stopped her at the doorway. "Hey pretty thing where are you headed?"
"Out of my way Cage."
"I'm only trying to make conversation."
"Well then don't; now get out of my way."
"Look toots, I'm just as shaken up about what happened as you are, but that doesn't mean you should go storming off. We need to stay here and regroup, figure out what we will do next."
"I know what I'm doing next and it doesn't involve me taking orders from that lunatic. Now get the fuck out of my way before I kick your ass Cage."
"Feisty! Ok seriously though, I'm pretty sure Raiden is going to want us to train a new batch of heroes and I need you, I trust you. Look I agree Raiden's been a bit off recently maybe he's not all there, but we need to be here to make sure he gets better, the guy's broken up about what happened and he did stop Shao Khan in the end."
"Don't try being the reasonable one Cage, your ego is too big to allow you to do that. Raiden only stopped him after the Elder Gods stepped in. He's washed out Johnny the sooner you see that the better. I'm flattered that you trust me, but I just can't be around this anymore, I've lost so much. So many people, I just need to get away." Tears began to well up in Sonya's eyes and she tried to bat them away,
"You liked him didn't you?" Johnny asked moving in to try and comfort Sonya. He puts his arms around her and for a second she began to nuzzle herself into him, but as quickly as it happened she pushed him off.
"Don't you ever touch me Cage. I said I was going and that's final! Now for the last God Damn time get the hell out of my way."
Johnny refused to move and Sonya attacked him. He parried her attacks and dodged all the punches she threw at him. She began to throw jabs and hooks but Cage was able to block them all. She pressured him and moved him back a bit but he continued to block everything she threw at him. "Attack me you Coward!"
She pushed harder and harder but he blocked every kick and punch she threw at him. Then she saw her opportunity. She feigned a body shot and hit him in the face with a right hook. She then kneed him in the gut and gave him a left handed uppercut. He staggered back a bit but he did not fall. Then she unloaded on him punching his ribs, and kicking his face. No matter what she did he wouldn't fall or falter. He'd keep pushing her back. She started to get really mad so she threw two punches to his face. He grabbed her left, so she tried hooking him in the face with her right, but he caught that as well. He then smiled, "I love this! It's like we're doing the Kung Fu Tango." She had had enough of his cocky attitude. She was tired of his constant advances on her. She was tired of the fact that he would not budge. She was tired of him, tired of all this. She let her anger explode into a flip kick sending him flying back a few feet. She took her bags and looked back. His jaw was dislocated and he was putting it back in place. "Don't follow me or the next time you'll be picking that jaw up off the floor. She then got on her motorcycle and drove off angrily.
Raiden arrived at the Eastern temple and immediatley felt how barren and alone the place seemed. He walked over and talked to the Elder Monk. He learned that many of the monks had died fighting off the hordes during the Outworld invasion. The only monks that remained were too old to fight, meaning that there were no warriors that Raiden could train. He thanked the monks and then moved on to the sanctuary to the Wind God. He walked into the temple and looked around to see if he was there. Then he heard a swooshing sound and he knew that Fujin had arrived.
"Who dares enter my temple?" Fujin boomed as he materialized from the air. He looked around and recognized the intruder instantly. "Raiden my friend, what brings you to these parts? How are you?"
"Have you not heard what happened Fujin?"
"I heard whisperings, but they would not tell me too much. The Gods are very tight-lipped, after your incident with Shinnok the Gods of Earth are not looked on in favor. All that I gathered was that we were in danger, but that you had it under control. I was told not to interfere.I was not even allowed access to my temples. What happened? I can sense that there had been a great loss."
"You have no idea what happened?"
"As I said I heard only whisperings. Then I heard talk that Shao Kahn was stopped and you succeeded. Again my friend, I was forbidden to return to Earthrealm until the problem was the fall of the other Guardians and the subsequent loss of the Amulet, I am not well respected in the Heavens. Please tell me what happened?" Raiden began to feel a choking feeling caught in his throat, and the guilt began to rear its head back into his mind. He took a deep breath and began.
"Fujin, I almost failed Earthrealm again. It was not as bad as the last time, but it was on the verge of becoming so. I had started getting visions of the future, visions I had to prevent. I believe that I sent myself these visions in order to stop Shao Kahn. Either way the visions became a burden, and because of me many warriors died. The last descendants of The Great Kung Lao are no more. The Princess of Edenia and her advisor are dead. So many had died in our efforts to stop the madness."
"Liu Kang and Kung Lao are dead?! By the Elder Gods this is a loss most tragic. Tell me everything that happened, from the beginning." Raiden told him everything that happened leaving out no details. "This is most unfortunate, but I agree we must begin to regroup and strengthen ourselves. At this current state we will not be able to survive any other attacks. What did you have in mind?"
"I propose that we find more warriors and train them harder than ever. These people must understand the burden they will be taking on and they must be willing to accept it."
"I have one man in mind, but his whereabouts are unknown. Last I saw him, he was traveling alone trying to find meaning to his life. He is trained by the best this world has to offer, but he may be hard to track. His name is Kai, I believe you have met him once before."
"Yes I remember him a young warrior, around the same age as Kung Lao. He was so humble, but so determined. I remember noting that he would be a great warrior someday. Good let us find him. He will be a great asset in the future of Earthrealm. One more thing Fujin. As I told you, I am beginning to wonder if I have exhausted my time as protector of Earthrealm. When the time comes I want you to take the reins."
"If it must come to that then I will gladly do you the honor of becoming Earthrealm's new Protector. However, I have faith in you my friend, I believe you are the better choice. I still firmly confide that you will not let us down. You saved the realm once before, you can do it again."
"If you will join me I must make a stop before we go off in search of Kai." The two Gods then teleported themselves back to the Wu Shi Academy.
Johnny was pacing back and forth deciding what it was he was going to tell Raiden when he arrived. "Hey thunder-dude…no not that. Hmmmm… Raiden Sonya has fled… no not that either. What the hell do I tell him?"
"Tell who what?" Fujin asked as he and Raiden materialized in front of Johnny Cage.
"Uh Raiden, who's the gramps?"
"Johnny Cage this is Fujin, the Wind God, you will greet him with the utmost respect."
"You got it Thunder-Dude. How's it going Wind-Gramps I'm Johnny Cage."
"Yes I've heard of you Mr. Cage."
"Oh you guys get Citizen Cage up there on Cloud Nine? Rumors are I'm being considered for an Oscar."
"Just as arrogant and thick-headed as you said Raiden."
"Yes, anyway where is Sonya Blade? I must speak to you both." Johnny began to feel extremely uncomfortable. He told Raiden about Sonya leaving and the fight they had. He left out the part about her calling him a lunatic. He waited and Raiden just sighed. "I was afraid this would happen. She no longer trusts me, I don't blame her. It's a shame she left so soon, I will go after her." Johnny tried to argue but Raiden quieted him down.
"I will go find Sonya Blade, in the meantime you will stay here Johnny Cage. Rest because your training will begin tomorrow. The Elder Gods willing, you will train with one of the best teachers to ever live." Raiden then looked over at Fujin and they shared a secret agreement. Fujin then evaporated into the wind. Johnny tried to ask Raiden what it was that he wanted, but he was once again silenced. "All in due time Johnny Cage you must be patient." With that he was off to go find Sonya. Johnny didn't know why but he just could not shake this feeling that something bad brewing. The moment he shook hands with Fujin, he was jolted with a feeling of dread. It wasn't the Wind God that was a problem, but there was something old and dark watching them. He didn't know how he knew, but he just had this feeling that someone was in the shadows watching him. He looked around to make sure no one was there and he went to go shower, his mind reeling at what possible threats could arise.
Sonya drove her motorcycle as far away from the Academy as she could. She looked out in the Horizon and let her thoughts flow over. She thought of all she fought for and the price that it came with it. She knew what she was getting into but why was she allowing it to bother her so much? She had always been so calm and collected. She was always strong, but now she felt helpless. She didn't know what it was but there was a nagging in the back of her mind. A cynical voice whispering in her ear, telling her that it wasn't over. Raiden may have prevented the Armageddon he was supposed to, but she couldn't help agreeing with what Liu Kang had said, he had damned them. She knew Johnny felt the same but why did that idiot stay. Sonya just began to feel frustrated with everything. There was something eating at her, and she was sure that some Outworld demons were still lurking around. She began to ponder what she was going to do, when she saw lightning flash in front of her. She skittered to a stop and Raiden materialized in front of her. She got off her motorcycle and walked over to confront him. "What do you want?"
"Sonya Blade, I understand your pain. Were I in your situation, I would not trust me either. That being said, you have to understand what I did was not easy, the lives of the deceased weigh heavy on my soul as well."
"You know nothing!" She then rushed him and tried assaulting him with a barrage of attacks. He teleported behind her and began to talk. "I am going to tell you a story of my last failure."
"I don't want to hear your stories!" She then rushed him again, and he teleported once more, but she had anticipated this. She did a roundhouse kick but Raiden caught her leg. She then flipped her way out of it and began shooting him with the aser blasters from her watch. The blows stunned him for a bit then she began to unload a flurry of upwards kicks. She was a few feet in the air and still kicking him. She then landed on her feet and shot at him as he was coming down. Raiden teleported behind her and jolted her with enough electricity to keep her temporarily paralyzed for a few minutes. He then began to talk.
"I know you don't trust me after what happened, but I want to tell you a story about the time I first started off as Protector of Earthrealm. I was a young God, and a bit over my head. There was an Elder God named Shinnok who had turned on his brothers and sisters. He wanted more power so he tried to invade the Heavens and was sent to the Nether realm. He became ruler and shaped it to the Netherrealm we know today. He was upset though, and he wanted revenge on the Elder Gods. He hatched a plan to invade the Heavens and wage war on the Gods. He mounted his attack and nearly succeeded. He did not want to stop there however, he wanted to invade and control all the realms, so he started with Earthrealm. As I said I was a young God and not fully ready for what was about to come. He attacked without mercy and Earthrealm was nearly destroyed. The survivors of the thriving race at the time were forced to find refuge on a different realm. I had not trusted myself to get the job done and it almost cost me. I did not trust the Elder Gods could get it done either, and because of me an entire race was brought to near extinction. The realm I was supposed to protect was almost destroyed. I never forgave myself for that, but I promised to always put my faith in the Elder Gods, because I was weak. I trusted them and they were able to help. I had a little faith and it helped. Now I know you're hurting about the loss of Mayor Jackson Briggs, and I know what he meant to you. I also know that the disappearance of your father still troubles you greatly, but know this. You are a great warrior and I need you to help me protect Earthrealm. Also if it makes you feel better, I have chosen a successor to replace me as Earthrealm's Protector. I feel that Liu Kang was right. When the time comes I will step down. I just wanted to let you know that we need you." He then left and Sonya was freed from her temporary paralysis. She was confused as to why Raiden told her the story but she felt a bit at ease. She was not going to let her anger cloud her logic. Earthrealm did need to be rebuilt and warriors needed to be trained. She still didn't trust the Thunder God, but she decided it would be better to stay close, so she can keep an eye on him. Before she could help, though, she was going to blow off some steam. She drove into city, set to kill the remaining Outworld demons.