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Mortal Kombat: Spectre In The Flame

by: @Onion Man Chive


A lone figure rested on his knees in deep meditation in a small wooden room. The room was lit with candle light and incense scented the air. The man wore the garments of the Shirai Ryu, a Japanese Ninja clan known for their skills in Ninjutsu. A thick, yellow over mantle rested on his shoulders and ended in loin cloth with a black belt tied around his waist. This covered a black body suit that concealed his chest, legs, neck, and head. He wore only a pair of yellow clothed wrist guards on his arms and a gold plated mask that covered the lower half of his face, leaving his eyes and the bridge of his nose visible.

He had fallen into a trance of meditation two hours ago in an attempt to clear his mind of any fears he had. He was assigned to take part in one final mission before he would be aloud to retire from his clan and devote all his energy to his wife and son. A mysterious sorcerer by the name Quan Chi had requested the services of the Shirai Ryu to retrieve a stolen map somewhere in the China. The headmaster of the Shirai Ryu, Takeda, immediately enlisted his finest ninja Hanzo Hasashi, code named Scorpion, for the task.

The man suddenly woke from his trance. Horror struck at the heart of him as he broke from his meditation. In his trance he saw visions of suffering, torture, and death. He saw fire surrounding him along with soulless creatures snarling at him. He could see his wife and child being slaughtered slowly by the demons that materialized from the fires. But what haunted him more so was the sight of a specter, garbed in the yellow garments of the Shirai Ryu with a flaming skull atop its shoulders, reaching out towards him. These visions filled him with guilt, for his hands were stained with the blood of many. He never killed in cold blood or without reason, but he never desired to take the life of another. He knew not of the specter that reached out to him, but he speculated that it was some kind of reminder that he may suffer the eternal damnation of the Netherealm once his time is done on earth.

He shook off his thoughts and reached for his weapon of choice that lay untouched on a small pillow in front of him. It was his Kunai attached to a fifteen foot rope. His "Spear" was ideal for quick kills that required stealth and was also a formidable throwing weapon the exceeded the power and accuracy of a Shuriken. He held the weapon's hilt with a firm grip as he thought of his upcoming assignment. He had bid farewell to his wife and son prior to his meditation, promising a safe return. He then stood from the floor and equipped his Spear in a patch on his belt.

The man standing there was an honorable assassin of the Shirai Ryu. A caring father and a loving husband. A deadly warrior skilled in martial arts and stealth. The man standing there was Hanzo Hasashi, code named Scorpion.

Chapter 1: The Death Of Hanzo Hasashi

Hanzo made his way to the Shaolin Temple and drew out his Spear. He swung the rope it was attached to a few times before throwing it high in the air. The rope wrapped around a large gargoyle statue at the roof of the temple and Hanzo used the rope to pull himself up. He climbed swiftly with his muscular arms and remained unseen due to the night time sky. As he reached the top of the temple, he slid open a window and swung himself inside. Once he landed on his feat, he loosened the grip of the rope attached to the statue and collected his weapon. He then ventured on through the temple, hiding in the shadows and remaining unseen to the Shaolin monks that prayed and guarded the rooms.

Hanzo's stealth served him well as he journeyed chamber after chamber without alerting the monks. In the times his stealth failed, he quickly knocked out his enemies with hand chops to the back of their necks. As he made his way to the lower levels of the temple, he noticed that someone had already been there. Dead monks polluted the wooded floors of the temple. Hanzo kept his wits about him as he continued his pursuit for the map. More and more bodies became present the farther he went, some brutally beaten to the point of death. To Hanzo's added horror, some of the bodies appeared to be, for lack of a better word, frozen in place. Hanzo studied the frozen bodies and gathered that someone he knew did this; an assassin with a trade mark of freezing his victims before he kills them. If his suspicion was correct, it would mean that a member of the Lin Kuei was in the temple. He proceeded with caution, hoping that his suspicion was false or that the Lin Kuei had already left. Though the Lin Kuei was a hated rival of the Shirai Ryu, he didn't want any blood spilled on his account.

After a long search of the temple, Hanzo reached the chamber that contained the map he was looking for. The round chamber was massive, scaling fifty feet in diameter with green and brown marble floors and walls and pillars for support. The map rested on a small display platform in the middle of the chamber. As Hanzo walked towards the display, his footsteps were halted as he heard the door behind him slide open. Hanzo, unable to find a suitable hiding spot, simply turned around to face the approaching figure. The door opened to reveal a man clad in a blue and black ninja suit, identical to Hanzo's with the exception of the color. The approaching ninja stopped dead in his tracks at the sight of Hanzo. The two warriors glared at each other as Hanzo recognized his enemy. It was Sub-Zero, Hanzo's personal rival and the Lin Kuei's finest assassin.

"You," said Hanzo.

The blue warrior narrowed his eyes at Hanzo and said, "That map is mine. I was hired to retrieve it."

"As was I, Lin Kuei warrior. Leave this place and your life will be spared."

"Your bold words will not stop me, Scorpion. I will be dead before I fail a mission on account of one of the Shirai Ryu's ninjas. Lay on your attack, or get out of my way."

"You have been given your warning, Sub-Zero. I do not wish your death but I will kill you if you don't leave this temple."

Sub-Zero made no verbal response as he stood in his fighter's stance; his left foot forward with his left fist resting beside it while his right hand rose up next to his chest. Hanzo slid his left foot forward and clenched his fists, placing his left fist next to his left leg and raising his right above his shoulder and next to his ear. After the two stared each other down for a moment, Sub-Zero made the first move and ran towards Hanzo.

Hanzo blocked three punches thrown at his face and chest and landed an elbow strike on Sub-Zero's left shoulder. He then continued his counter by spinning his body and landing a well placed back fist on the Lin Kuei's chin. Sub-Zero managed to regain his composure with a kick to Hanzo's head. Hanzo ducked the kick but was caught of guard when Sub-Zero swung his leg back, connecting his heel with Hanzo's face. The blow caused Hanzo to stagger back a few steps as Sub-Zero stepped towards his enemy. Hanzo regained his footing and blocked a hand chop intended for his throat. Hanzo then grabbed Sub-Zero's wrist and twisted it, nearly dislocating the joint. Sub-Zero cringed and pulled his hand towards him to bring Hanzo closer. The Lin Kuei then thrusted his head forward and head butted Hanzo. The blow sent Hanzo to his knees but did not knock him out by any means. He countered by spreading his legs and performed a scissor kick which caused the Lin Kuei warrior to fall on his side. Hanzo then got up to his feet and paced back a few steps as Sub-Zero sprung up to his feet as well.

Hanzo stood his ground as Sub-Zero charged at him again. Sub-Zero threw several punches and hand chops at Hanzo, all of which were blocked or dodged by Hanzo's quick movements. Sub-Zero then tried a spinning leg sweep. Hanzo jumped over the swooping leg and performed a powerful roundhouse as Sub-Zero stood back up. The blow connected with Sub-Zero's left cheek and spun his body as he fell to the floor. Hanzo allowed Sub-Zero to spring himself up to his feet and awaited his enemy's next move.

Sub-Zero stood his ground as Hanzo waited for him. To Hanzo's horror, Sub-Zero's arms began to change in appearance. From his finger tips to his biceps, his arms turned to ice. His powers charged, he again stood in his fighter's stance and waited. Hanzo narrowed his eyes and ran towards Sub-Zero, overcoming his fear. Sub-Zero surprised his enemy by sliding his way towards Hanzo with his right leg extended forward, leaving behind a trail of ice. The move caused Hanzo to loose his footing and was sent flying into the air over Sub-Zero's head. Hanzo landed hard on his back upon the ice trail. The ice made it difficult for him to get to his feet as he slipped numerous times before Sub-Zero slid his way towards Hanzo again, this time bringing his shoulder out to connect with Hanzo's chest. The blow sent him back several feet back until he hit the wall behind him. Hanzo fell to his knees and tried to recover from the attack. The shoulder thrust nearly knocked the wind out of him. As he tried to catch his breath, he grabbed his Spear from his belt and kept it hidden as he slowly rose to his feet.

Sub-Zero allowed Hanzo to get up and waited for the next move. Hanzo threw his weapon at Sub-Zero with what strength he had left. Sub-Zero then performed a back flip which in turn produced a frozen likeness of himself. The Spear shattered the ice clone and fell to the ground. Sub-Zero then charged his energy in his arms and launched an ice blast at Hanzo. The ice blast hit Hanzo and froze him in place. Sub-Zero wasted no time as he ran towards Hanzo and performed a leaping side kick at Hanzo's chest. The blow shattered the ice that covered Hanzo and sent him against the wall once again. Hanzo, defeated in battle, fell to his knees and then to his chest. Sub-Zero then approached the defeated warrior and grabbed his throat, lifting him to his knees again.

Hanzo grabbed Sub-Zero's over mantle and choked on his own blood as he said, "Wait…. I…. have…. a son…. waiting for me…let me….. go…"

Sub-Zero made no verbal response. He tightened his grip on Hanzo's neck and showed no emotion in his cold eyes. Hanzo knew that his time was done. He knew that Sub-Zero would kill him right then and there. His final thoughts were not of his wife or child, nor his clan. He only had one feeling in his mind and in his heart; revenge. He expressed his rage in his eyes as Sub-Zero silenced him once in for all with a quick tug, removing Hanzo's head and spine from his shoulders. Sub-Zero threw the severed head to the ground and took the map from its resting place. He would not realize that the murder of Hanzo Hasashi would be his undoing.

Hanzo's body fell for what seemed like an eternity through a massive wormhole of fire. The flames that surrounded him burned his flesh and his hair while the old Shirai Ryu ninja suit he wore burned to ash. The burning Hanzo suffered then caused his muscles to grow quite immensely, making his physique stronger in appearance. As his body suddenly became engulfed by fire, the color of his eyes disappeared making his eyes glow white. As the fires finally left him, a new ninja outfit covered his skin that suited his recreation. The top of his head was covered by a black hood that attached to a thick, yellow, metal mask over his mouth and nose. His chest, shoulders and back were covered with a black and yellow over mantle with armored shoulder plates and a wide black belt tided at the middle of the over mantle. The belt carried a round medallion with a skull emblem embedded on the surface. His arms only carried armored wrist guards with sharp spikes along the surface. His black leggings were thick and carried armored shin guards with the same skull emblem as his belt.

It was then that the man, Hanzo Hasashi, had perished forever. The tortured soul falling into the pits of the dreaded Netherealm was a Hellspawn Spectre. The Spectre, born of fire and torment, known as Scorpion.

Chapter 2: The Prison Of Souls

Scorpion woke up lying on his back in a small cell of some kind. His glowing white eyes scrolled the area and found nothing but black walls, offset by two brown metal gates exposing the red earth outside of the cell. He stood up to his feat and approached the gate in front of him and touched the rusted bars. As his fingertips came into contact with the metal, a deadly electric surge passed throughout his body and sent him flying back to the opposite gate behind him. As his back hit the gate, another electric surge passed through him and sent him face first to the hard floor. He slowly lifted himself up to his knees and placed his hands on his head, suffering from the surge that pained him. He heard the snickering laughter of a devilish guard outside his cell. The guard stood tall with metal plating covering its deformed, olive green physique and a bone covered helmet a top its oddly shaped dome. Scorpion snarled at the guard as he stood to his feat.

"Beekoo shabooda," growled the guard as it walked away from the cell.

Scorpion approached the gate once more to take a look at the world outside his cell. He saw red skies and rocky surfaces that extended forever with the occasional lava pit breaking its reach. The heat that radiated from outside was enough to make a man sweat like a farm animal, and the air reeked of sulfur and brim stone. The only signs of life Scorpion saw were scattered demonic creatures, running about the rocky surface in search for fresh meat along with the many guards like the one he saw earlier. Seeing no way of escape, Scorpion went to the middle of the cell and sat down with his legs crossed, his eyes open and wary of his surroundings.

As he waited, he tried to remember how he got there in the first place, but he couldn't. He had no memories of his previous life. No knowledge of his clan, not even the peaceful memories of his wife and child. He didn't even know who he was. He closed his eyes as he fell into a trance of deep thought. Suddenly, Scorpion opened his eyes as a flash of Sub-Zero entered his mind. The flash startled him and caused him to quicken his breathing. More images polluted his sights. Flashes of Sub-Zero fighting someone garbed in a yellow over mantle. The yellow ninja in his flashes caught his attention as he looked at his own clothing. He was clad in a similar fashion and came to the conclusion that he was the yellow ninja in his vision of the past. As his visions continued, he saw that Sub-Zero gained the upper hand in the fight. Using his ice powers to be claimed the victor, Sub-Zero removed the yellow ninja's head without any sign of honor or respect.

The next set of visions took place at Scorpion's home in Japan. He saw images of his wife cooking and his son playing some child's game. These images soothed Scorpion until the frantic flashes showed him something horrid and disturbing. He saw flashes of his wife and child, mutilated and strung up by the walls. Their eyes were ripped out of their sockets and their faces covered in blood and yellow puss. Fingers were missing from their hands and shoved into their mouths. Numerous punctures, made by large blades, covered the skin of their bodies and their dismembered legs were scattered about the floor.

Scorpion stood to his feet and held his head with his hands, trying desperately to remove the visions that haunted him, but more flashes appeared. This time he saw members of his clan, the Shirai Ryu, being slaughtered like animals by hundreds of devilish-looking savages, armed with rusty blades. The devils would slice off their limbs and sink their teeth into their victim's flesh, violently chewing their way to the bone.

Scorpion grunted and sighed profoundly at these images as he paced along about the cell. He pounded on the walls with his fists and shook his head frantically. The flashes in his head began to quicken until at last he saw the clan's entire hide-out burn to the ground, with Sub-Zero's back turned on the chaos.

Scorpion shouted to the ceiling as loud as he could as the visions haltered. He fell to his hands and knees as he gasped for air. After a moment's pause, he regained himself and felt only one thing: Vengeance. He wanted to find Sub-Zero and punish him for what he had done to not only him, but every last remnant of his being. He vowed that the lives of his family and clan would be avenged. His soul would not rest until Sub-Zero was dead and his soul rotted in the pits of the Netherealm for all eternity.

Suddenly, the gate to Scorpion's cell was opened by three guards. Scorpion's rage was ever present in his glowing eyes. One of the guards spoke in an unknown tongue and pointed at Scorpion. The guard's order given, one of the other guards approached Scorpion and grabbed his over mantle. Scorpion responded by breaking the wrist that grabbed him and landed a punch so powerful that his fist punctured the guard's face. Green blood oozed from its eyes as the guard fell to the ground.

Scorpion made no sudden movements as the other two guards, although taken aback, smirked at the Hellspawn. The head guard spoke its native talk to the other and both charged at Scorpion. The Hellspawn took a step back to dodge an oncoming thrust from a large blade. Scorpion then spun his body around while extending his left leg out, performing a roundhouse kick to the guard's face. The unlucky demon fell to the ground as the other guard managed to impale the ninja's chest with its dagger. Scorpion shouted out in agony, but no blood spewed from the wound. Scorpion grabbed the guard with one hand and the dagger with the other. While suffering numerous punches to his face, Scorpion slowly removed the large knife from his chest and thrust it into the throat of his enemy. The guard backed away a few paces while grasping its new wound, gargling as its green blood squirted from its neck.

As the last guard recovered to its feet, several more demon guards appeared outside the cell in response to the commotion. They surrounded the deadly Hellspawn and sprung their attack. Scorpion held off the guards with much skill, but was eventually overwhelmed by their numbers. Though he was not fatigued with exhaustion, there were too many for him to hold off. As they piled on top of him, they pounded their fists and feat furiously and stuck him with their blades. Forcing him into submission, they carried him out of the cell and took him through the corridors of the cell complex inside.

Scorpion was not finished, however. He continued to fight his way out of the guards' grasp by kicking his feat and throwing several punches whenever his hands were free during his struggle. After what seemed like an eternity of struggling, the guards brought him to a large chamber deep inside the complex. The room was massive but without decoration. No chairs, beds, or tables were present. The only thing that interrupted the emptiness of the chamber was a pile of lit candles on the other side.

The guards threw Scorpion into the large chamber and remained at the entrance. Scorpion, angered beyond any extent, sprung to his feet and charged the group of demon guards. Scorpion was unable to escape the chamber as the guards kept him away. They sliced his flesh with their weapons until a stream of fire wrapped around him and pulled him away from the guards. The flame slammed Scorpion to the floor and released him as it traveled back to the candles. Scorpion stood up and brought his sights to the live fire as it moved. The flame grew in size and shaped itself into what resembled a demonic face. And then the flame spoke in a low and deep voice that rumbled the gargantuan chamber.

"Scorpion," spoke the face of fire. "Welcome to the Netherealm."

Scorpion said nothing and stared into the eyes of the fire.

"You are here because of your thirst for revenge. You seek to find the one who murdered you and massacred every remnant of your being. You know of whom I speak."

Scorpion clenched his fists tightly at the thought of Sub-Zero. "I want him," shouted the Spectre.

"All in due course," said the flame. "But first, you must realize what power you have. You have been reborn a Hellspawn Spectre of the Netherealm. With your new powers and your overwhelming thirst for revenge, you have limitless potential."

Scorpion narrowed his eyes at the flame and said, "What powers do you speak of?"

The fire smirked and traveled to the floor in front of Scorpion. The fire then took the shape of a Kunai blade and materialized the weapon. Its task done, the fire returned above the candles and took the shape of a face once more.

"Take your weapon and see for yourself," said the fire.

Scorpion grabbed the hilt of his weapon and gazed upon its steel. The flame spoke the language of the guards and ordered them to attack Scorpion. The demonic guards slowly surrounded the Spectre and snarled at him. Scorpion held his weapon in his right hand and stood in his defensive stance, waiting for the guards to lay on their attack. He was in a calm state, but his resolve was strong. After a long pause, one of the guards ran towards Scorpion with its blade extended outward.

Scorpion dodged the attack and impaled the guard's forehead. After he quickly removed the Kunai three more guards attacked from the rear. Scorpion spun around and performed a roundhouse kick that connect with the cheeks of all three with suck force that their lower halves of their faces flew elsewhere. Another guard attacked from his left with a small ax. Scorpion parried with his weapon and elbowed the guard in the stomach, followed by a head butt to the face. Four more attacked from all angles. Scorpion slit the throat of the one approaching from the right and landed a spinning back kick to the one approaching from behind. The remaining two attacked simultaneously and stuck their blades in Scorpion's chest and back.

Scorpion shouted out to the pain he felt, but he did not let that stop his rampage. He severed the head of his fore attacker with the blade he removed from his chest and spun around to gut the aft guard. The horizontal slice nearly chopped the guard in half as the blade stopped midway. Scorpion then removed the blade from his back and threw it at another guard approaching from his right. The blade whistled and impaled the unlucky guard's chest. Another guard latched on to Scorpion from behind with its claws dug into his shoulder and neck. Scorpion stabbed the guard in the eye and threw it over his head to the ground. Once the guard hit the floor, Scorpion smashed its face inward with his fist and quickly stood to his feat.

As Scorpion regained his footing, five guards attacked him head on. Scorpion tackled one of them while extending his arm outward, the Kunai cutting the stomach of one of the guards to his right. Scorpion and his attacker fell to the floor as the remaining three turned and charged. Scorpion then slit his victim's throat and then turned around to meet the other three. The Spectre somersaulted over the heads of the three guards and performed a foot sweep, tripping two of the guards. Scorpion wasted no time in stabbing the fallen guards with his Kunai and then stood to his feat.

The last remaining guard turned around and saw Scorpion nearly twenty feet away from it. Scorpion gripped the hilt of his weapon tightly and threw it at the guard, its blade puncturing the demon's chest. What Scorpion did not expect to see was a rope, materialized by fire, attached to the edge of the hilt as he threw it. He gripped the rope and gave it a small tug to test it. The rope pulled the guard a step closer. Convinced, Scorpion tugged at the rope hard and sent the guard flying towards him.

"COME HERE," shouted Scorpion as the guard flew closer to him. When the guard came within range, Scorpion gripped at the guard's neck, removed the Kunai and landed a powerful uppercut that sent the guard flying high in the air. Scorpion turned around to the remaining guards at the entrance.

Though there still plenty in reserve, the remaining guards refused to engage. Luckily for them, the fire behind Scorpion traveled to him and wrapped itself around his body, levitating him in the air. The burning he felt was unbearable. He twisted and turned as he shouted in agony, but it was no use. The fire grew in size and engulfed him.

"Well done," spoke the fire as it tortured the Spectre. "That was but a small glimpse of the powers you posses. In time, they will be familiar to you like the hilt of your Spear."

Scorpion was then taken back to his cell by the fire that pained him. The bars closed behind him as he was smashed into the floor. The fire then released its hold over Scorpion and quickly disappeared, leaving the Spectre alone in the dark to recover from his agony.

Chapter 3: An Unexpected Visitor

Scorpion spent weeks as a captive in the Prison of Souls. The only time he was released from his cell was when a horde of demonic guards rushed him and beat him senselessly as they carried him to the massive chamber to learn more about his powers. Scorpion learned quickly through torment, but still had much to learn.

Scorpion learned through torment. In each test the living fire that taught him would give him something to learn and if he failed to learn it right away, he would be strapped to a table and gutted with a giant hook. Though he could not bleed, the pain he felt was unbearable. His wounds would heal as quickly as they were given to him, and therefore he would be cut multiple times for long periods of time. He did not sleep, for his torment would not allow it. He was condemned to the Netherealm because of his thirst for revenge, and his punishment was to learn through suffering. His torture was his elixir. It made him strong and deadly. His pain gave him power unlike he ever imagined in his prior lifetime, and learned how to use it.

Scorpion sat in the middle of his cell, meditation as his wounds healed from his recent lesson. He had once again failed to learn a new power, and suffered greatly for it. Despite his agony, he only had one thing on his mind: Sub-Zero. He wanted nothing more than to make the Lin Kuei warrior suffer as he had suffered. He wanted to show him that unjust murder does not go unseen.

Suddenly, a bright light flashed and lit up the entire cell for a split second. As the light diminished, a figure fell from whence the light came. The figure fell to his knees with his back turned to the Spectre in the shadows. As the figure rose to his feet, Scorpion's eyes widened as he made out the figure's attire. It was a man clad in a blue over mantle over a black body suit, with blue shin pads and wrist guards. It was none other than Scorpion's murderer, Sub-Zero.

Scorpion stood up from the floor as the Lin Kuei warrior monitored what was outside the gate. Scorpion knew not of Sub-Zero's reason for joining him in his cell, but he didn't care. His enemy was right in front of him. This was his chance to have his vengeance. His priorities set, he emerged from the shadows and spoke to his visitor.

"Don't bother worrying about escape," hissed Scorpion.

Sub-Zero turned around and saw the yellow figure before him. "Who are you," he demanded.

"I am a dead man, a tortured soul sentenced to suffer in the pits of the Netherealm," said Scorpion, his head bobbing in different directions at random moments. "I take the form of a condemned soul, but somehow you've managed to retain your mortality, which would mean you are vulnerable to death."

Sub-Zero frowned at Scorpion as he stared into the Spectre's glowing eyes. "You didn't answer my question," said Sub-Zero.

Scorpion narrowed his eyes at him and said, "I am a Hellspawn Spectre of this most unholy realm. I am the avenger of the massacred remnants of the Shirai Ryu. I am Scorpion! You killed me in cold blood!"

Fear struck the heart of Sub-Zero. He remembered all too well of the life he took at the Shaolin Temple of China. "I had no choice," said the frightened Lin Kuei.

"You could have let me live, murderer!"

"Then I would have been the dead one!"

"But my family and clan would still be alive!"

Sub-Zero narrowed his eyes in confusion to the Spectre's last comment. "What?"

"It wasn't enough for you to kill me, you had to mutilate and destroy every last remnant of my being, along with my wife and child!"

"You are mistaken, Spectre," shouted Sub-Zero with outrage in his tone. "I had no part of it! I may have killed you but I am not responsible for their deaths!"

Scorpion clenched his fists and said, "Words will not save you, Lin Kuei warrior!"

Without another word spoken, Scorpion lunged at Sub-Zero and grabbed his blue over mantle. The angered Spectre then threw Sub-Zero to the ground and began to kick repeatedly at the Lin Kuei's face and chest. Sub-Zero blocked as many blows as he could until he landed a kick to Scorpion's back, relieving him of the undead menace so that he could spring himself up to his feet. Scorpion recovered from the blow and charged at Sub-Zero again, this time leaping in the air and extending his leg outward. Sub-Zero ducked under the jump kick and delivered a spinning roundhouse kick to Scorpion's face. The blow sent Scorpion back a few paces but easily shook off the blow.

Sub-Zero made the next move by performing a sliding shoulder thrust. The attack left behind a trail of ice as his shoulder impacted Scorpion's chest. The blow did not work as planned, however, as Scorpion absorbed the oncoming attack and responded with an elbow strike to Sub-Zero's ribs followed by another elbow to his face. The Lin Kuei staggered a few steps as Scorpion performed a powerful side kick to his enemy's gut. Scorpion continued his attack by throwing a right hook but was stopped dead in his tracks by a well placed ice blast from Sub-Zero's icy arms. Sub-Zero then landed a jump kick on Scorpion's chest which in turn freed the Spectre from the ice and sent him flying back against the wall behind him.

Scorpion got up as Sub-Zero charged his arms for another ice blast. Scorpion awaited the Lin Kuei's attack as he stood his ground. Sub-Zero released his ice blast but to his dismay, Scorpion was unaffected by it. Before the ice blast hit him, Scorpion gestured his arms upward and a wall of fire protected him from being hit. Sub-Zero kept his wits about him as he slid himself forward quickly with his foot extended. He connected the foot sweep and sent Scorpion flying over his head. Once Scorpion landed he quickly got up to his feet and reached for his Spear. This was a difficult task, for the ground he stood on was very slick due to the ice trail left behind Sub-Zero's sliding foot sweep. As Scorpion slipped and slid about the floor, Sub-Zero wasted no time in performing another sliding shoulder thrust, one that caused Scorpion to fall against the electric bars of his cell. While Scorpion was unable to escape the clutches of the electric surges, Sub-Zero lobbed an ice blast on the opposite cell gate. With the bars turned to ice, he quickly shattered them with his fists and escaped the cell, leaving Scorpion behind.

The commotion grabbed the attention of several guards in the area. Dozens of them ran into Scorpion's cell and ambushed him as he escaped the electric surges. His mind set on revenge, he tried to fight his way through the horde of guards so that he could catch up with his enemy.

"NO," shouted Scorpion as he fought the horde. "HE'S MINE! I WILL NOT BE REFUSED MY REVENGE!"

It was no use. There were too many demonic guards holding him back, pounding him with their fists and stabbing him with their blades. They brought him to the chamber where he had learned his new abilities and threw him to the floor. His body was then engulfed in the flame that arose from the candles, burning him and causing him great amounts of pain.

"HOW DARE YOU TRY TO ESCAPE," spoke the voice of the fire. "I give you power and you would disgrace me by your futile attempt to flee?"

"HE WAS THERE," shouted Scorpion through his cries of agony. "MY KILLER WAS IN MY CELL AND FLED ME! AAAAAAAGH!"

The fire released Scorpion and formed its facial form. "Impossible. How has he retained his mortality?"

Scorpion kept his head down on the floor and held his stomach. "I don't know, but he was there. Your guards cost me my vengeance! I will have my revenge if I have to travel every inch of this realm as well as his! I will have it if I have to kill every last member of the Lin Kuei to do it! I will have it if I have to free myself from the clutches of your damned prison!"

The flaming face smirked at Scorpion. "If you want your enemy to suffer then you must remain here. I will teach you what you need to defeat the Lin Kuei. With my guidance you will have the power to make him suffer as you have suffered."

Scorpion slowly rose to his feet and faced the fire. "What guarantee would you give me?"

"I will train you to be the Hellspawn you were destined to be and I will reward you with everlasting existence upon your success. If you are patient, I will send you to him when the time is right and when you have learned everything you need. Upon your victory, your soul will exist forever as the deadly Hellspawn Spectre."

Scorpion considered his creator's proposal. By doing this his soul would last forever. He took a moment to think about the proposition and then made his decision.

"Teach me what you will," said Scorpion. "I will learn from you."

"Excellent," said the fire. "But know this, Scorpion. I will not let my teachings go to waste. If you fail in your quest for revenge, I will vanquish your soul and you will be nothing more than a broken memory. Is that understood?"

Scorpion nodded without hesitation and said, "I will not fail!"

Scorpion's resolve was strengthened a thousand fold that moment. He spent the next two years learning the ways of the Hellspawn through his everlasting torment. He learned quick and well as he suffered. Though he spent only two years in the Netherealm, it felt like two decades. Time did not exist in the same manner as the other realms, for it was vastly slower. There would be no rest for Scorpion in his quest for revenge. He would suffer greatly and learn well the ways of the Spectre.

Chapter 4: The Lost Sea

Sub-Zero approached a large wooden boat on a rainy night at the mysterious Lost Sea located in middle China. His attire hadn't changed much in two years. He still donned his black body suit under his dark blue over mantle, but a black stripe went down the center of each strap and loin cloth and chain-mailed armor was worn over the abdomen of his body suit under the over mantle. His appearance looked to be more ceremonial than usual, but his Lin Kuei garments were more than fitting for battle.

He joined dozens of warriors up the plank to the boat that would lead them to a tournament known as Mortal Kombat. He had been invited by the tournament's Grandmaster, Shang Tsung, to compete among the several fighter's from around the world. Unknown to the Grandmaster, Sub-Zero was also hired to assassinate Tsung by one of his high profit enemies. As he boarded the boat, he felt a chill down his spine at the thought of his past adventures. One thought in particular seemed to get to him more and more, but he shook it off as he took his first step into the boat with the other fighters.

As the last of the fighters got on board, a dark figure from the shadows quickly boarded the boat unseen and unheard.

Sub-Zero found a quiet spot on the boat to sit his back against as he took a look at the many combatants. Most were low level fighters with a misplaced perception over their skill, bragging about a future victory as they spar with poor from. But soft, there were a few that caught the Lin Kuei's eye. He saw a man in a tuxedo with short brown hair and a pair of sunglasses on despite the fact that the sky was dark and full of storm clouds. His style was flashy and full of maneuvers that would be considered unnecessary, but one false move would cost the receiver a great deal of pain. Standing close by was a blonde headed woman in an American military camouflaged uniform. Her katas were simple but effective. Then there was a man that seemingly tried to keep as far a distance from the military woman as possible. He had the look of a criminal with what appeared to be a mechanical device of some sort over his right eye. Sub-Zero didn't get a chance to see the man's skill as a fighter, but he had the cold look of deception in his good eye. Finally, meditating in his own space, there was a Chinese monk with long, jet black hair.

Finding the inability to relax himself, Sub-Zero decided to go inside the boat's cabin for some space. Once inside, he found that the cabin had just enough room for him to practice his katas. He began his form techniques slowly and moved about the cabin. Unbeknownst to him, the dark figure, hidden in the shadows, watched closely at the Lin Kuei's movements. Sub-Zero kept his movements thorough and quick. He had no room for error in this tournament of which he would have to play along with until the right moment to strike was at hand.

Finally, as the Lin Kuei's back was turned from the silent spectator, the figure emerged from the shadows and approached Sub-Zero.

"Lin Kuei," hissed the figure.

Sub-Zero quickly turned around to attack the spy but was overcome by the figure's hand grabbing him by the throat and lifting him in the air with the same hand. As Sub-Zero choked and gasped for air, his eyes widened as he saw that his attacker was indeed the Hellspawn Spectre that haunted his dreams for two long years, Scorpion.

"You," choked Sub-Zero.

Scorpion tightened his grip and said, "We meet again, Lin Kuei warrior! You killed me exactly two years ago to this day, but my demons have allowed me to avenge my death! I could kill at this very moment, but I am not a murderer! We will meet at the tournament, and then, Lin Kuei, you will pay with your life!"

Sub-Zero starred into the colorless dead eyes of his stalker one last moment before he released him and disappeared quickly into the shadows. Sub-Zero gasped for air and remained on the floor that Scorpion dropped him. There was no mistaking who attacked him. It was Scorpion, Hellspawn Spectre returned from the dead to exact his revenge. All Sub-Zero could do was wait for his attacker to emerge from the shadows once more to put an end to this struggle. He got up from the floor and walked outside, hoping that Scorpion would hold true to his word.

Chapter 5: The Tournament

The fighters walked along the beaches of Shang Tsung's island. Some walked quickly with anticipation, some took their time calmly, and some hesitated with fear. Sub-Zero was one of the few who paced with anticipation. He wanted to enter into the tournament quickly so that he could plan out his assassination on Shang Tsung. Scorpion, however, walked with determination but in a steady pace. He blended in perfectly with the crowd around him, keeping to himself and speaking to no one.

After what seemed like a life time of hiking the beaches and mountains, the fighters made their way to the Palace of Mortal Kombat. It was a large structure with many secrets inside. The front doors were three times the size of a man and opened to the main hall for the fighters to gather. Many tables covered the ground, all sporting well cooked meat dishes with fruit, vegetables, and grails with tasty beverages.

Sub-Zero found a seat farthest away from the entrance and spoke to no one at his table. His eyes wandered about the massive room in search of Scorpion, but the Spectre was nowhere in sight. He took off his metal blue mask and began to eat the food served to him but kept his sights open.

Scorpion was one of the last to enter the palace. He stayed away from the diner tables being that his body, although it took a physical form, had no need for food consumption. He rested his back against a wall near the entrance doors and waited.

The fighters ate their food and conversed amongst themselves about different topics until a gong was heard in the distant. They stopped their chattering and saw Shang Tsung stand in front of his throne with two soldiers standing beside him. Tsung was an elderly man with a long, white beard as well as hair. He wore a purple robe that reached the ground he stood on.

"Welcome," said Tsung to the fighters. "You have been chosen to compete in Mortal Kombat. Your skills have been recognized to represent the Realm of Earth in a tournament held each generation. Some of you might even have the distinct honor, and pleasure, to face Prince Goro, our reigning champion. Mortal men and women fighting together and against each other in the greatest tournament of your generation. Treasure these moments… as if they were your last."

Sub-Zero frowned at the old man's last statement. He felt very uncomfortable in this so called tournament. Perhaps this mission will take more time than he had thought.

The fighters went back to their meals and discussions as Tsung sat down on his throne. The tournament would not begin until morning the next day. One of the fighters kept a cautious eye on Tsung as he ate. The monk, Liu Kang, had entered the tournament to represent the Temple of Light in honor of his fallen brothers of the Shaolin Temple. Being a member of the White Lotus Society and having been trained by Bo' Rai Cho of Outworld, he had great skill as a fighter as well as great respect for life.

The man sporting the sunglasses and tuxedo was the American movie-star, Johnny Cage, whom sat next to and quickly befriended Liu Kang. His reasons for entering the tournament were mainly to regain recognition as a martial arts expert in his movies. Though his intensions were full of greed, he was nonetheless an honorable man with great skill in martial arts.

Joining them was Sonja Blade, a Lieutenant in the American Special Forces. She had quite an impressionable attitude but was a good natured woman. She usually kept to herself and neglect help from others, belittling them for getting in her way. Her sights were on a criminal sitting at a table not far from hers. The thug, Kano, was an Australian leader of the crime syndicate, the Black Dragon. The metal plate over his right eye emitted a red light where his eye would be located. Sonya Blade gave chase to Kano but was captured by Shang Tsung's men. Sonya was forced to compete in the tournament as well as show restraint on Kano until they face each other in the tournament, otherwise Tsung would destroy the men who followed Sonya.

Scorpion continued to keep to himself as he observed the fighters at their tables. During his observation, however, he quickly sensed the presence of an unknown creature. As a Hellspawn, his sense were heightened in many ways. As such, he could gather that the mysterious stalker was shaped like a man.

"I can feel your presence," whispered Scorpion as his back remained against the wall. "Come out from the shadows or I'll pull you out myself."

"Well well," spoke the invisible stalker. "It ssssssseems that you and I have ssssssssomething in common. We are both not of thissssssssss realm."

Scorpion slowly turned around to see a figure appear out of thin air. It was Reptile, an Outworld native with incredible stealth abilities. Reptile was a Saurian, a member of a long dead reptilian race. He was garbed in a black body suit underneath a green over mantle. His head and lower face was covered by the body suit and a decorated metal mask. Not much of his skin was visible, but what was seen was that he had scales rather than smooth skin.

"Tell me," snarled Reptile. "What name do you go by, ssssssstranger?"

"My name is not your business," hissed Scorpion. "Now be gone."

"Oh, touchy aren't we? No matter. A word of advice; behave yourself on this island. I am not to compete in this tournament, but I can be just as rude if you draw unwanted attention to yourself. You'll find that out when I take away your life-"

Scorpion grabbed Reptile by the throat and looked the Saurian dead in his yellow eyes. "I haven't a life to give!"

Reptile quickly knocked Scorpion's hand away and disappeared into thin air. Scorpion's sense told him that Reptile had quickly left the main hall. Scorpion once again leaned his back against the wall and returned his gaze upon the fighters, of whom were oblivious to the commotion that took place near the entrance.

The next morning, the fighters gathered around the fighting grounds of the Courtyard, one of the island's many battle areas. Tsung sat on his throne behind where the fighters were permitted to sit. The tournament would begin with Liu Kang. He and his opponent Fow Jung, another Chinese man with black hair, stepped up to the arena and bowed to each other. Jung then bowed to Shang Tsung, but Kang did not join him. The two stepped away from each other and awaited to begin. "FIGHT!" shouted Tsung.

It was Jung who attacked first, throwing punches at Kang's chest. Kang blocked and countered with quick jabs and then paced back a few steps. Jung tried again, this time with a kick combo that started at Kang's thighs. Kang blocked with his feet and countered with a powerful right hook, one that knocked Jung down to his knees as Kang once again paced back.

The fight continued like this for a good three minutes, Kang always able to block and counter flawlessly and Jung unable to inflect any damage to his opponent. Kang's strikes were as incredibly fast as they were powerful and quickly wore Jung's stamina down as the fight continued. Jung's attacks were getting sloppy and were quickly overcome with counters before they could even be thrown. Jung made one last attempt with a right hook, but Kang ducked and countered with an elbow strike, followed by a three hit kicking combo. The combo did not, however knock Jung out. Kang paced back once more and prepared himself for his finishing maneuver. Jung bobbed his head from side to side as Kang performed a cartwheel flip, hitting Jung's face with his feet and then finishing the job with a bone cracking uppercut.

As Jung fell to the ground, Tsung clapped his hands and shouted, "Liu Kang wins! Flawless victory!"

The fighters applauded Liu Kang for his extraordinary skill. Kang bowed to Jung and left the arena without a word spoken. The next match would involve Kano and a young American kickboxer with long brown hair named Wilkerson. The two combatants entered the arena and bowed to Tsung. When they faced each other, Kano spat in Wilkerson's face instead of bowing to him. Wilkerson wiped off his face as the fighters shouted their disapproval, with the exception of Tsung who smirked at Kano's disrespectful gesture.

"BEGIN!" shouted Tsung.

Kano ran towards Wilkerson and threw punch after punch at him, each one blocked or dodged by the talented kickboxer. Wilkerson found an opening for a face jab and took it. To his dismay, the metal plate Wilkerson punched damaged his hand and left him open for Kano's punishment. Kano grabbed Wilkerson by the back of his head and punched his gut several times before lifting him by the throat and choking him violently. Wilkerson freed himself from Kano's grasp by kicking Kano's chest. Once freed, Wilkerson threw a few jabs at Kano's chest followed by a spinning back kick, knocking Kano down.

Wilkerson stepped towards Kano as the criminal got up to his feet. The American attacked with a jump kick, one that Kano dodged with a side step. As Wilkerson landed, Kano kicked his back hard enough to make him stagger. Before the kickboxer could turn around, Kano reached into his boot and threw a large knife at his lower back. The blade punctured and sent Wilkerson to his knees, screaming over the pain he felt in his back as blood oozed out of the wound. Kano walked up to Wilkerson and removed the knife, causing the blood to spray out rather than ooze. Kano then grabbed Wilkerson's shirt and punched him over and over again. The fighters watching were disgusted and demanded a stop be put to this butchery.

Shang Tsung stood from his seat and shouted, "Kano! Finish him!"

Kano reframed from punching Wilkerson and rose his victim to his feet. He winked at the kickboxer with his good eye before thrusting his fist into Wilkerson's chest. The pain was so unbearable that Wilkerson was unable to make a sound. He simply stood there with his eyes wide open as blood dripped from his mouth. Kano quickly pulled his hand out of Wilkerson's chest and pulled out what the unlucky kickboxer's heart, presenting it to Shang Tsung as Wilkerson's body went limp and fell to the ground. Though there were no cheers from the fighters, Tsung clapped his hands to applaud Kano's ruthless fighting technique.

"Kano wins!" shouted Tsung. "Fatality!"

As Kano began to step out of the arena, he caught a glance at Sonja Blade glaring at him with rage. He responded by chuckling at her and throwing the removed heart at her face. Sonja, enraged beyond belief, tried to push her way through the crowd and attack Kano but was overcome by the strong arms of Liu Kang and Johnny Cage.

As the day progressed, Scorpion began to watch from an elevated position in the distance to keep himself unseen. As luck would have it, the first match he witnessed involved a muscular Russian by the name Mishkin and the Lin Kuei assassin, Sub-Zero. Scorpion watched as Mishkin saluted Sub-Zero and to Tsung. Sub-Zero bowed to Tsung and to the Russian as well. They stared each other down and waited for the Grandmaster's signal. "FIGHT!"

Mishkin was the first to attack by charging Sub-Zero. As Mishkin threw himself at the Lin Kuei warrior, Sub-Zero side stepped and dodged the tackle, causing Mishkin to tumble down face first. Sub-Zero approached the Russian wrestler and kicked at his kidneys, preventing him from getting up. The Lin Kuei then grabbed Mishkin by his hair and lifted him to his feet. To the masked warrior's dismay, Mishkin grabbed Sub-Zero with a head lock and tried to put him to sleep. Sub-Zero placed his hands on the arms that choked him and charged his Fa Jing. Suddenly, Mishkin shouted in pain as he felt his arms freezing to the point of numbness. He let go of Sub-Zero's neck and stepped away holding his left arm.

Sub-Zero quickly caught his breath and executed his sliding shoulder thrust. The impact of the attack sent the Russian behemoth to his knees and was followed by a flurry of punches from Sub-Zero's frozen hands. Mishkin, despite taking damage from Sub-Zero's punches, got to his feet and managed to lift the Lin Kuei over his head and throw him to the ground on a far side of the arena. As Sub-Zero sprung himself to his feet, Mishkin ran towards his opponent with a war cry. Sub-Zero responded by performing his foot slide maneuver, sweeping the Russian over his head. The Russian landed hard on the icy trail and struggled to get up. The Lin Kuei made the next move by throwing three kicks to the face of Mishkin and finishing the combo with an ice blast. The frozen wrestler could do nothing as Sub-Zero paced back and then performed a jump kick at the chest of the frozen victim. The kick shattered the ice that covered the Russian and sent him to the ground once more. While the wrestler lacked the strength to get up on his own, Sub-Zero lifted the bulky Russian by the throat and raised him to his knees.

"FINISH HIM!" shouted Tsung.

Sub-Zero glanced at Tsung before tightening his grip. In a quick motion, Sub-Zero removed Mishkin's head from his shoulders with the spinal cord dangling from the bottom of the neck and presented it to Tsung and the crowd of fighters. As Sub-Zero held the severed head high, Scorpion watched in utter rage as he saw the fatal move that ended his life two years ago. He wanted to run down the hill he stood on and attack Sub-Zero head on, but it wasn't the right time. There he stayed and watched the Lin Kuei have his moment of so called glory.

"Sub-Zero wins," shouted Tsung, obviously impressed with the Lin Kuei's skill. "Fatality."

There were no applause for Sub-Zero's victory. Those that respected him smirked, those who hated him frowned and glared, those who feared him covered their mouths in astonishment, and those who pitied him looked away. Sub-Zero threw the head on the ground next to its body and left the arena. It was the final match of the day, and there had already been five deaths. The true colors were beginning to stand out for some of the combatants, and it made them very weary of their surroundings.

Scorpion's first match would happen the following morning at dawn. His opponent was a Japanese mob boss wanted for several murders. The mob boss, Wushi Kamakura, was dressed in black leggings and over mantle and was armed with a katana, of which he gave to one of his hench men. Scorpion bowed to his opponent and waited for the first move. "FIGHT!" shouted Tsung.

Kamakura ran towards Scorpion in a blind rage, shouting a war cry as he performed a jump kick. Scorpion silenced the Japanese mob boss by catching him mid-air and throwing him to the ground like a sack of potatoes. Kamakura sprung up to his feet and threw punch after punch at Scorpion, hitting nothing but air as Scorpion dodged each attack. Finally, Kamakura landed a punch on Scorpion's gut and began a punching combo. Scorpion deliberately stood there, receiving each punch and appearing to be unaffected. The combo was put to an abrupt halt when Scorpion grabbed Kamakura's wrist and twisted it, causing the mob boss to scream in agony as his wrist bent the wrong way.

Scorpion kicked Kamakura's side and then spun his body with a spinning foot sweep. Once Kamakura landed on the ground, Scorpion continued kicking at him repeatedly with haste. Kamakura futility tried to block the kicks, but was quickly overcome by the flurry of feet thrown at him. Suddenly, Scorpion knelt to the ground and grabbed Kamakura's over mantle, bringing the mob boss's face close to his. Horror struck the heart of Kamakura as he stared into the dead eyes of his opponent.

"Yield," shouted Scorpion.

At first, Kamakura was too frightened to respond, but Scorpion gave him some incentive with a head butt, one of which broke his nose.

"I yield!" cried Kamakura as blood oozed from his nose. Scorpion let go of his defeated victim and bowed to Tsung.

"Scorpion wins!" said Tsung as Scorpion began to leave the arena.

Kamakura stood up from his feet and caught the glares of the men that worked for him. They saw him as weak. Kamakura responded to their insolent expression by grabbing his katana and charging Scorpion with the blade unsheathed. Scorpion turned around in an attempt to stop Kamakura but was impaled by the mob boss's blade. For the first time since his death, Scorpion bled from his punctured shoulder. The Hellspawn was hurt but not finished by any means. He looked Kamakura dead in his eyes as he slowly forced the mob boss to pull the blade out of his shoulder. Scorpion then reached for his own weapon, his Kunai, while still holding on to Kamakura. With two swift movements, Scorpion slit Kamakura's throat and then severed his torso from his legs.

Kamakura's upper half fell on top of his legs with his entrails hanging out. The fighters gasped at the savagery they had just witnessed. Some of them even vomited at the gruesome site, including Kamakura's hench men. Sub-Zero kept his sights on his enemy while Shang Tsung smirked. Scorpion glared at Sub-Zero for a moment before leaving the arena.

Sub-Zero was not in the least bit comfortable with his situation. Not only was he under pressure trying to plan out his assassination of the island's Grandmaster, but he had a savage lunatic stalking him. He saw what short work Scorpion made of the dead mob boss, even after being impaled by the long blade. If he was going to get out of this alive he needed to keep his wits about him. Though his situation with Scorpion was a serious one, his main focus was Tsung. The quicker he could kill the Grandmaster, the quicker he could go home. He continued to fight in the tournament, killing his defeated victims and keeping a watchful eye out for the undead Spectre.

Chapter 6: Redemption

The battle raged, and in the end there were only six fighters left in the tournament: Liu Kang, Johnny Cage, Sonja Blade, Kano, Sub-Zero and Scorpion. Before any of them had a chance to fighter each other, however, Liu Kang made a surprise challenge to Goro, the Shokan prince of Outworld and reigning champion of Mortal Kombat, to end the bloodshed of the tournament. Goro accepted and did battle with Liu Kang, a battle that emerged Kang the victor. Outraged, the Grandmaster of the tournament, Shang Tsung, challenged Kang in an attempt to reclaim the tournament for Outworld. To add to the suspense, Tsung ordered the execution of the remaining combatants while he fought Kang.

The remaining fighters survived the ambush with the aid of Earth Realm's God of Thunder, Raiden. With Kang the victor in his fight against Tsung, the Grandmaster countered by destroying the island with the fighters remaining there. Raiden gathered the combatants, minus Scorpion who seemingly disappeared during the ambush, to the entrance of the palace.

"Shang Tsung is destroying the island," said Raiden. "Come, warriors of Earth Realm! We must make for the Wu Shi Academy!"

With that, the five warriors followed Raiden. Sub-Zero was the last to follow, hesitating to leave as he looked behind him to see if his stalker was near. With no sign of Scorpion, Sub-Zero ran towards the exit. Suddenly, a fist collided with Sub-Zero's chin at high speed, causing him to stagger a few paces back.

Sub-Zero quickly recovered from the blow and looked behind him to see his attacker. It was Scorpion, blocking the exit of Sub-Zero's escape. Even through the loud rumbling of the island falling apart, Sub-Zero could hear Scorpion's raspy death breath. It was time to end this struggle.

"This ends now," shouted Sub-Zero, showing no fear in his posture. "No longer will you stalk me like a scavenger! I will send you back to the Netherealm where your retched soul belongs!"

"Yes, Sub-Zero," hissed Scorpion. "I will return to the Netherealm. But I will not go alone! You will pay for the pain you've caused me! I have known greater torment than you could possibly fathom! Now, your time has come! My vengeance will be my redemption, and you, Lin Kuei, will suffer as I have suffered!"

There were no more words from either warrior. Sub-Zero cracked his knuckles as Scorpion patiently stood his ground, both fighters ignoring the tumbling of the palace. Finally, both combatants charged each other and the battle began.

Scorpion made the first move by performing a forward somersault and landing a drop kick at Sub-Zero's chest, sending the Lin Kuei warrior several feet back. As Sub-Zero landed on his back, Scorpion charged at the Lin Kuei and leapt high in the air. Sub-Zero noticed the Spectre and rolled out of the way as Scorpion landed his knee where Sub-Zero's head was. Sub-Zero then got up and began his attack, throwing kick after kick at his enemy. Scorpion blocked each attack as he stood to his feet and began to throw a few punches at Sub-Zero's face and chest. Sub-Zero could only block the first three punches and was overcome with a punching combo, one that sent him staggering back a few paces once it was finished with a right hook.

Sub-Zero recovered reached into his blue over mantle. As Scorpion ran towards his enemy, his pursuit was stopped by five shuriken thrown at him, puncturing his chest. Sub-Zero then charged at Scorpion with a powerful jump kick to his chest. The blow knocked the Spectre to his back but did not stop him. Scorpion sprung to his feet and looked at Sub-Zero with hatred in his eyes as he pulled each shuriken from his chest and crushed them with his fists. Sub-Zero responded to Scorpion's taunt by charging his Fa Jing and covering his own arms in ice.

Scorpion welcomed his enemy's power as he gestured his enemy to come forward. Sub-Zero answered his call with a sliding shoulder thrust. Scorpion performed a sliding technique of his own by sliding his feet backwards, leaving behind a trail of fire in the process. Sub-Zero's shoulder thrust made no contact with his enemy. His unfortunate luck became even more present when Scorpion performed his sliding technique again, this time towards the Lin Kuei, and performed a back flip once Sub-Zero was in range. The blow of Scorpion's flaming feet sent the unlucky Lin Kuei high in the air with him unable to recover before he landed hard on his back.

As the battle continued, a dozen of Tsung's masked guards, all armed with either bladed spears or Chinese broad swords, entered the room, as if to flee the destruction of the palace. Once they caught sight of the two warriors, they split up into two groups and attacked them, separating them from each other.

Scorpion dealt with the masked guards with little difficulty, making each strike count and dodging most of the weapons. Any time his defense failed, he absorbed the pain he felt from the impaled blade and delivered his own punishment with his Kunai.

Sub-Zero, as well, had little trouble with the masked guards. His freezing abilities proved too much for his victims as he shattered their frozen bodies. His final opponent was a guard armed with a bladed spear. The guard tried to stab Sub-Zero with the blade, the Lin Kuei warrior dodged and grabbed the weapon from the guard's hands. Sub-Zero then hit the guard's back with the blunt side of the weapon and then dropped it. He punctured the guard's back with his own hand and grasped the spinal cord, the wound spraying with blood with Sub-Zero's hand deep inside. With a strong tug, Sub-Zero ripped out the guard's spine and skull and held it high in the air, the bloody spine twitching a bit as it was held up there. Suddenly, Scorpion ran towards Sub-Zero once again, apparently finished with the unwise guards as well. Sub-Zero noticed Scorpion's pursuit and put it to a gruesome halt as he used his bony mass as a weapon. The spine and skull shattered everywhere from the impact of Scorpion's chest and the Hellspawn Spectre was sent tumbling to the ground.

Scorpion got up to his feet and wiped the debris of brain and bones off his over mantle. He then ran towards Sub-Zero and began a kicking combo, connecting three kicks to Sub-Zero's chest and face. Scorpion then attempted a right hook but was overcome by a well placed uppercut followed by an ice blast. With Scorpion frozen in place, he was unable to defend against Sub-Zero's powerful shoulder thrust. The blow sent his back against a nearby pillar, keeping him from falling down to the ground. Sub-Zero took this opportunity to charge his Fa Jing into a more powerful ice blast so that he could finish the Spectre once and for all. Scorpion slowly raised his arms up as Sub-Zero continued to charge his power. This seemingly useless gesture was followed by a sudden raising inferno that engulfed the Lin Kuei warrior.

Sub-Zero screamed at the burning he felt from the sudden fire and weakened him. As the fires diminished from his body, Scorpion grabbed Sub-Zero's over mantle with one hand and threw punch after punch at Sub-Zero's face with the other. Sub-Zero eventually blocked one of the punches and forced Scorpion's face to the Lin Kuei's knee three times. Scorpion staggered a few steps as Sub-Zero ran towards him and performed another jump kick. To Sub-Zero's dismay, the kick collided with nothing but air, for Scorpion literally vanished in time before getting hit. Once Sub-Zero landed, he turned around to see Scorpion flying through the air with haste with his fist extended. Unable to react in time, Scorpion landed his Teleporting Punch and sent the Lin Kuei to his knees.

Scorpion slowly approached Sub-Zero and grabbed the Lin Kuei's throat. Sub-Zero responded by grabbing the hand that choked him and charged his Fa Jing, forcing the Hellspawn to let go over the pain he felt in his freezing wrist. Sub-Zero then landed a hard punch on Scorpion's face, followed by a roundhouse kick. Scorpion fell to his knees, but managed to tackle the Lin Kuei to the ground. With Scorpion mounted on top of Sub-Zero, it was very difficult for him to block the Spectre's punches. Sub-Zero did, however, manage to relieve himself of the menace by kicking Scorpion's back. Scorpion rolled over Sub-Zero and quickly turned around to see Sub-Zero get up and run towards him. Scorpion responded by using Sub-Zero's momentum against him and performing a rolling throw maneuver.

Sub-Zero landed hard on his back several feet away from Scorpion. As Sub-Zero slowly got up to his feet, Scorpion reached for his weapon, feeling the steel in his hand. Sub-Zero turned around and stared into the distant eyes of his enemy. The cold stare ended as Sub-Zero ran towards Scorpion again. Scorpion quickly threw his Spear at Sub-Zero as the flaming rope materialized from the back of it. The blade whistled its way towards Sub-Zero until the blade impaled his chest, halting the Lin Kuei's pursuit. The pain he felt forbade him from screaming, for the blade had punctured his heart.

"GET OVER HERE!" shouted Scorpion as he pulled at the rope with all his might, bringing the Lin Kuei closer to him at high speed. Once Sub-Zero was within reach, Scorpion grabbed his enemy's throat, removed the spear and landed a powerful uppercut. The blow sent him nearly twenty feet in the air before he landed his back on a piece of rubble.

Scorpion slowly walked towards the defeated Lin Kuei as the palace began to break apart. Sections of the roof had fallen to the ground around them from the many earthquakes. Sub-Zero lay there on the rubble holding his mortal wound as the blood oozed. He struggled to breathe as blood spewed out of his mouth, staining his metal mask.

"No… no…." whispered Sub-Zero through his choking.

"No? You dare beg for mercy from me," hissed Scorpion as he approached Sub-Zero. "You will receive no such gesture of pity! You've taken everything from me. My life, my clan, my family! Now your demons are calling for you!"

Scorpion gripped the edge of his mask and pulled. His mask and hood were removed to reveal, not a man's face, but instead a man's skull. Sub-Zero's eyes widened in horror as the eye sockets shined with fire.

"The Netherealm awaits us both," said Scorpion, his voice echoing in Sub-Zero's head. "Look into these eyes and embrace the fires of your destroyer!"

Scorpion's bony jaw opened and fire grew inside his mouth. Sub-Zero desperately tried to get up, but it was no use. The pain in his chest kept him from evading his enemy.



A seemingly endless stream of fire shot out from Scorpion's mouth and engulfed Sub-Zero's body. Sub-Zero screamed in agony as the fires slowly melted his Lin Kuei garments and his flesh. The stream of fire did not stop until every bit of skin and muscle was melted and noting remained but his bones.

Scorpion halted the stream of fire and looked at the remains of his dead enemy. His vengeance was finally complete. He extended his arms outward and laughed over his victory. His laughter echoed throughout what remained of the palace.


Scorpion's body then burst into flames and vanished as the palace crumbled to the ground. His task finally done, his soul was sent to the fifth plane of the Netherealm, where he would exist, as promised, as an everlasting Hellspawn Spectre.

Chapter 7: Portal To The Second Tournament

A year passed since the tournament of Mortal Kombat. Scorpion's vengeance was finally complete, or so it seemed. When he returned to the Netherealm, he was no longer held captive in the Prison of Souls. He was free to wander the fields of the Netherealm as he saw fit. Though he was no longer a prisoner, he still suffered. He would be attacked by mindless zombies and numerous Oni, demons of the retched realm that took many different shapes and forms. He would fight against his attackers with all the power he had and would emerge victorious at battle's end.

After a long time, Scorpion accepted his fate. He became accustomed to delivering punishment to any that would stand in his way, viciously vanquishing his enemies in horrid forms of brutality and mutilation. But something else troubled him. He would have reoccurring visions of his family and clan being tortured in the same form as he saw them the first time he had his visions. Though it pained him to see his wife and child in that manner, it strengthened him and made him more powerful. He had these visions daily, and it drove him mad. He cut through the Oni in such rage that the creatures themselves grew frightened of his wrath.

One day, Scorpion gave pursuit to a small group of sash quash Oni and wound up in a large cave. He lost track of the demonic creatures as he ventured further into the rocky complex. The cave was massive and full of danger. Lave pits surrounded the visible trail for Scorpion to walk on and large pillars stood above the lava pits, each covered with hundreds of skeletons strung up on the rocky surface.

As Scorpion explored the cave, his visions began to haunt him again. He saw flashes of his clan and family, tortured and mutilated. The images in his head caused him to fall to his knees and hold the sides of his face with his hands, screaming at the agony he felt in his head. The last image was of his old nemesis, Sub-Zero, running through the mists a vast forest. That final image halted his suffering and allowed him to collect himself enough to journey farther into the rocky labyrinth.

After an hour of searching, Scorpion found himself in a chamber of some kind. The walls were still composed of rock but pits of tar replaced the heat of the lava in the other regions of the cave. At the end of the chamber, a large glass mirror that seemed to be alive with wavy movement stood erect against the rocky wall behind it. Scorpion slowly approached the water like glass and studied it. It was the first time he had seen a reflection of himself in years. He tilted his head to the side slightly like a curious dog as he looked at himself. Suddenly, the images that Scorpion suffered became present in the mirror. He saw his reoccurring flashes in the wavy glass in front of him and was somehow unable to look away. After the flashes of his mutilated family and clan disappeared, he once again saw Sub-Zero in the vast forest. The sight of his old enemy angered him immensely. He was outraged that an image of Sub-Zero was shown to him and he wanted to destroy the mirror. His rage intensified and drove him to shout out his war cry and run towards the mirror, leaping in the air and extending his foot out. Just when the jump kick was about to collide with the glass, Scorpion was instead pulled into the mirror and passed through like water, disappearing from the caves.

Meanwhile, in a gargantuan palace elsewhere in the Netherealm, a pale-skinned sorcerer, garbed in black garments, stood in front of a window overlooking the distant fields of the retched realm. Standing next to him was another pale-skinned being with an oddly decorated amulet on his chest. Both men stood there smiling with victory. "He has passed through your portal," said the sorcerer in black with an evil chuckle.

"Scorpion's need for revenge will serve us well," responded the other. "Soon, the last remnant of Sub-Zero's bloodline will be diminished."

"You are certain, Lord Shinnok, that the Spectre will succeed?"

"His resolve will be strengthened everyday he sees Sub-Zero alive, Quan Chi. But regardless, either by Scorpion's hand or by our wraith, Noob Saibot, Sub-Zero will die."

The two turned around to see a pitch black figure strung up in chains. The chains sent surges of energy into the black skin of the victim, giving it life. The figure shook violently and opened its glowing blue eyes. It was Noob Saibot, Wraith of the Netherealm and soon to be leader of Quan Chi's Brothers of the Shadow.

Scorpion materialized out of thin air and landed on his side in the mists of a dark and humid forest. The air was stale and the mists humid. The thick trees were what made this desolate place so frightening to weak minded people that dared to venture through. The trees appeared to have living faces that moved and even moaned. Scorpion quickly got the impression that he was no longer in the Netherealm. He was in the Living Forests of Outworld, a long dead realm ruled by the Emperor Shao Kahn. Scorpion ventured through the forest and quickly sensed the presence of another. He followed his senses as quickly as possible and soon enough saw a man clad in a blue over mantle. Scorpion remembered his vision of Sub-Zero and presumed that this man in the distance was his enemy, resurrected somehow. He kept himself hidden in the shadows as he did the last time he was on the hunt.

Sub-Zero met up with a group of people from Earth Realm, who were all waiting to sign up for a tournament of some kind. Apparently, Shao Kahn was holding a tournament in Outworld to pit the warriors of Earth Realm against his own warriors of Outworld. Scorpion took notice to the fighters and quickly recognized three of them. He saw Liu Kang, clad in the same fashion as in the last tournament, except he also wore a red head band underneath his long, jet black hair. Next to him was the American movie star, Johnny Cage, wearing a pair of black and blue combat pants and his usual sunglasses.

The third was who Scorpion presumed to be Sub-Zero. He was outfitted in the same fashion as before when he was alive. Scorpion's rage grew as he kept himself hidden. He wanted to charge his enemy and send him back to the Netherealm where belongs, but this was not the time. He defeated the Lin Kuei warrior in a fair fight, he could do it again. He restrained himself and studied the remaining fighters.

Standing next to the current Champion of Mortal Kombat was Kang's good friend and fellow Shaolin Monk, Kung Lao. He wore a large black hat with razor sharp edges, and the rest of his attire consisted of a black vest and blue leggings. Standing next to Cage was an African-American soldier named Major Jackson Briggs, also known as Jax. Jax was a Major in the American Special Forces unit and was there to find his partner, Sonja Blade.

Representing the Earth Realm warriors was the God of Thunder himself, Raiden. He stood tall with his godly white robes and his lightning staff. The fighters enlisted themselves to compete in the tournament and followed a ghostly figure in dark purple robes out of the Living Forest. Scorpion followed close by and kept his sights on Sub-Zero, stalking his prey while he prepared himself for his attack.

Chapter 8: Unexpected Discovery

Scorpion was the last fighter to enlist himself in the Outworld tournament. He kept himself hidden from the other combatants so that he could stalk his prey without interruption. His objective was Sub-Zero. Without the Lin Kuei's death, his vengeance would not be complete and his soul would not rest until it was so.

Scorpion was the first to fight in the tournament. He was escorted to the Wastelands of Outworld, an area that was to be used in the tournament, by a Shadow Priest. Once there, Scorpion saw that his opponent was none other than Reptile, the Saurian spy he met on Shang Tsung's island. He was clad in the same attire as before when Scorpion met him for the first time. When Reptile finally caught a glimpse of the ninja Spectre, an evil grin escaped his scaly lips as the two fighters approached each other.

The Shadow Priest remained there to record the outcome of the fight for Shao Kahn. Scorpion gave Reptile no gesture of respect and stood in his fighter's stance. Reptile tilted his head and smirked at Scorpion.

"Well well, if it issssssn't the myssssteriousssss ninja I met on the island," said Reptile. "You left quite an impression back then, but you will not be sssssssso lucky in your asssssualt on me thissssss time."

Scorpion responded by charging Reptile head on, wasting no time in his attack. He leapt high in the air and extended his leg outward but hit nothing as Reptile literally disappeared from sight. Scorpion landed on his feet and looked for the Saurian in all directions. Though Reptile was no where to be found, Scorpion felt something collide with his face followed by another impact on his gut. Scorpion threw a wild punch in the direction of where he presumed the sneaky Saurian was, but he failed to connect his fist with his face.

Scorpion stood his ground and closed his eyes, opening his senses to try and find his invisible attacker. After a moment of slight meditation, he caught a glimpse of Reptile behind him. Scorpion immediately grabbed his Kunai and threw it in that direction. To Reptile's dismay, the Spear punctured his shoulder, and he finally materialized out of thin air.

"COME HERE!" shouted Scorpion as he pulled Reptile towards him. Scorpion removed his weapon from Reptile's shoulder and performed a powerful roundhouse on Reptile's face. The blow sent Reptile spinning in the air until he landed on his back.

Reptile quickly sprung to his feet and hissed at Scorpion. The ninja Spectre stood his ground and waited for Reptile to make his next move. Reptile then lobbed a green energy ball at Scorpion, one that the Spectre dodged with a back hand spring. Unfortunately for Scorpion, he was hit by another energy ball and was sent towards Reptile by some unknown force. Scorpion landed on his back in front of Reptile and was overcome by a flurry of punches from the scaly fists of the Saurian.

Scorpion stopped Reptile's assault by grabbing both of his fists and launching Reptile high in the air with his feet. Scorpion then sprung to his feet and turned around to see Reptile quickly get up to charge the Spectre. Reptile fought like a snake, attacking Scorpion with blindingly fast jabs and elbow strikes. Scorpion blocked each punch and countered with a three hit punching combo, ending with a massive right hook to Reptile's face. Reptile staggered a few steps and was then sent back to the ground by a charging side kick to his side.

Reptile got back up and spat at Scorpion with what could only be described as acid, as the green liquid burned Scorpion's chest. Reptile took Scorpion's distraction to his advantage by performing a leaping drop kick. To the Saurian's dismay, Scorpion caught Reptile's legs and threw him to the ground. Reptile struggled to get up but was unable to get to his feet as Scorpion kicked Reptile relentlessly. Seeing that Reptile was unable to continue, Scorpion halted his flurry of kicks and walked away from Reptile. The repulsive Saurian was not the one Scorpion wanted to kill, so he spared Reptile's life and left the Wastelands with the Shadow Priest, leaving Reptile there to lick his wounds and shame himself with defeat.

Shortly after Scorpion's match, Sub-Zero was scheduled to face Mileena, the twin sister of Princess Kitana, the Emperor's adopted daughter. Though they were twins, Kitana and Mileena wore different cloths from each other and were usually separated, with Kitana ever watchful of Mileena. Kitana wore blue, puffy sleeves on her arms and shoulders with white, floral trim. She also wore a black, one piece corset with lace trimming. Her legs covered with high heeled boots that reached to the middle of her thighs and had the same design as her sleeves. She had long, black hair that reached down to her shoulders and she wore it down with a blue head band and a blue mask was worn over her nose and mouth. Unlike most of the combatants she was armed with two weapons; her two razor fans to be exact. She was Shao Kahn's greatest assassin, and she was in fact an Edenian. Mileena, however, was clad in a different attire. Instead of a mask, she wore a loose, pink veil and she wore her hair up in a pony tail. Her attire consisted of a pink halter top with a wide cut down the middle, revealing a tantalizing hint of her breasts and belly. She wore black spandex and purple boots that reached just above her knees. She, like her 'sister' was also armed with two hand held weapons; a pair of sai.

Scorpion, as he had done in the first tournament, watched from a distance as Mileena and Sub-Zero approached the arena of the Armory, a massive chamber with scattered weapons filling the racks all around. They bowed to each other and stood in their comfortable fighter's stance.

Mileena ran towards Sub-Zero with both of her sai in hand. Sub-Zero responded to her charge by releasing an ice blast to the floor. The ice puddle caused Mileena to loose her footing and slip. Sub-Zero then performed a sliding foot sweep and grabbed her sai from her hands, freezing them and throwing them to the ground. As the sai shattered, Mileena twisted her body and performed a scissor kick, bringing the Lin Kuei to the ground with her. She retrieved a third sai and tried to stab Sub-Zero in the chest but was stopped when the Lin Kuei grabbed her wrist, forbidding her to thrust her weapon into him. He then charged his Fa Jing and began to freeze the wrist he held, causing her to shriek at the pain and drop her last sai. Sub-Zero used his feet to shove her off and sent her tumbling elsewhere.

Enraged, she sprung up to her feet and lunged at Sub-Zero. As the Lin Kuei got up, she brought her knees to her chest and began to roll her way towards her opponent at high speed. Unable to react in time, Sub-Zero tripped over Mileena and landed on his side. Mileena then retrieved her last sai and threw it at Sub-Zero. As the weapon whistled its way towards him, Sub-Zero concentrated on the weapon and caught it inches away from his chest. He then thrust the blade into the marble floor and tugged it to the left, breaking the blade and making the weapon useless in battle.

"You will pay for that," spat Mileena as she ran towards him again. Sub-Zero got up and lobbed an ice blast at her. Suddenly, Mileena literally sank to the ground and disappeared from sight, only to reappear above him and catch him off guard with a jump kick to his face. Sub-Zero fell to the floor once more as Mileena landed on her feet. Sub-Zero got up and waited for his enemy to attack.

Scorpion watched from a distance and kept his sights on Sub-Zero. There was something strange about the Lin Kuei. He had not thrown a single punch at Mileena and fought defensively for the most part. The Lin Kuei warrior that Scorpion knew was a purely offensive fighter and a cold blooded killer. It almost seemed as if this was someone else.

"Your thoughts do not betray you," spoke a heavy voice behind Scorpion. The Hellspawn Spectre quickly turned around with his Kunai drawn to see the mighty Thunder God himself, Lord Raiden. Convinced that the seven foot tall God was not there to fight, Scorpion put away his weapon and returned his gaze to the fight.

"My thoughts are not your business," hissed Scorpion. "Go and leave me in peace."

"What peace does a tortured soul ever have, Scorpion? I know why you have entered the tournament. You seek to destroy the man who killed you. Your quest for revenge, however, has misguided you."

"How would you figure that," said Scorpion. "He is right over there as clear as daylight."

"Once again you let your thirst for vengeance control your thoughts. The man you so blindly stalk is not the man who took your life and made you into what you are now. He is Sub-Zero, the brother of the Lin Kuei warrior you destroyed."

Scorpion stared at Raiden in disbelief. "Sub-Zero has a brother," he asked after a long pause.

"Sub-Zero had a brother, yes. His death was on your hands at the end of the first tournament. Now that the eldest of his generation has perished, the man you see before you has taken the family name to honor his dead relatives. Now you must ask yourself, Scorpion, if you truly think it is right to destroy him as you did his brother."

Scorpion looked back at the two combatants. He was in a great state of confusion. "How do I know you aren't trying to save one of your warriors from Earth Realm?"

"Practice faith, Scorpion." With that, a bolt of lightning struck down and Raiden suddenly vanished from sight. Scorpion continued to watch Sub-Zero fight Mileena.

"I have not the luxury of faith."

Meanwhile, Sub-Zero continued to fight defensively against Mileena as he blocked and only countered with foot sweeps and throws, wearing Mileena down and causing her to get clumsy. Her attacks were wild and poorly executed while Sub-Zero's occasional attacks were well performed and effective, now that he had worn her down and studied her purely offensive fighting style. After another throwing counter from Sub-Zero, Mileena sprung up to her feet and snarled at her opponent.

"You coward," spat Mileena. "Enough of this defensive charade! Do you hold back your attack because I am a woman? Well perhaps this will even things up!" Mileena removed her veil to reveal a hideous discovery. She had an atrocious set of nail-like teeth, much like the Tarkatan Baraka. Sub-Zero squinted his eyes in disgust at the horrid sight.

"Now fight me," shouted Mileena as she ran towards him once more.

Sub-Zero stood his ground and said, "If you insist."

Once she was within range, Sub-Zero threw a strong right hook at her grotesque facial features, causing a few of her sharp teeth to fall out of her mouth. With that, Sub-Zero began his offensive maneuvers by performing a sliding shoulder thrust followed by an ice blast that froze her in place as she staggered back from the impact. Sub-Zero then performed a jump kick, which shattered the ice that covered Mileena and sent her tumbling to the ground. Before she had a chance to get up, Sub-Zero grabbed her hair and lifted her to her feet. He then executed a deadly combo starting with a right hook, followed by a left kick to her face to keep her from falling and then a spinning roundhouse. Mileena fell to the ground once more, unable to get up to her feet. Sub-Zero confirmed her inability to fight by freezing her hands and feet to the ground. Mileena, with what strength she had left, struggled to free herself from the ice, but it was no use.

"Go on," said Mileena once she finally lay still. "Kill me quickly!"

Sub-Zero simply turned away and said, "You're not the one I came for." With that, Sub-Zero left the Armory with the Shadow Priest, leaving Mileena behind.

Sub-Zero's mercy shocked Scorpion in a way that surpassed his surprise when Raiden told him who Sub-Zero really was. Scorpion was ready to take the Thunder God's word to be false, but now he had just seen something that his killer never expressed when he was alive: mercy. It was then that Scorpion realized that Raiden spoke the truth. This younger Sub-Zero was not Scorpion's killer. The Hellspawn Spectre remained in the Armory for a time, pondering his future actions for when he faces Sub-Zero in the tournament. Would he continue his curse on the Lin Kuei, or would he spare this man's life in the end? Only time would tell of this difficult decision.

Chapter 9: The Vow

Sub-Zero stood alone in the Wastelands of Outworld and practiced his katas. His mind was on one thing and one thing only: Revenge. Though his purpose in this tournament was to finish what his older brother could not; to assassinate Shang Tsung, he also had a score to settle with Scorpion now that he knew about the Hellspawn's presence. Before he died, Sub-Zero's brother told him about his journeys in the Netherealm and about he met Scorpion there. The deceased Lin Kuei's tale was over exaggerated of course, speaking about Scorpion as if he were a deranged lunatic with an endless killing spree. When Sub-Zero received word that his brother had perished at the hands of the Hellspawn Spectre, he vowed to destroy Scorpion in honor of his dead brother, not knowing that it was his brother's own doing.

Sub-Zero's katas were interrupted by a Shadow Priest approaching him from behind. The dark figure told him that his match with Scorpion would take place at an arena known only as the Pit. Sub-Zero nodded and followed the Shadow Priest back to the Emperor's palace. Once there, they went to the highest levels of the palace and found the Pit. It was a wide, rectangular arena, of which was three hundred feet above ground level, with concrete floors and a small bridge that served as an entrance and an exit. As for the ground below, nothing more than a desolate rocky surface for any unlucky fighter to fall upon.

There was no sign of Scorpion anywhere. Sub-Zero cautiously walked about the arena, waiting for the Ninja Spectre to arrive, but he did not show himself on the bridge. He waited for about ten minutes before he started to approach the bridge. Suddenly, Scorpion finally appeared on the other side of the narrow bridge and began to cross it. Sub-Zero, eager to deal out punishment to Scorpion for his crimes, paced back to the middle of the arena and stood in his comfortable stance, a fighter's stance that mimicked that of his brother's with his left fist at his side and his right hand in front of his chest.

Scorpion crossed the bridge and halted his approach. Sub-Zero charged his Fa Jing and readied his frozen arms. Scorpion simply stood there with his eyes lowered to the ground. Sub-Zero, seemingly impatient with Scorpion's lack of attack, released an ice blast at Scorpion. The Ninja Spectre responded by vanishing out of sight before the ice blast hit him. Sub-Zero immediately began to search the arena, with no trace of Scorpion anywhere.

"Show yourself you coward," shouted Sub-Zero, angered by Scorpion's apparent cowardice. Suddenly, Scorpion appeared directly behind him and grabbed his neck into a head lock. Sub-Zero grabbed the arm that choked him and began to freeze it with his Fa Jing. Scorpion kept a firm grip as he reached for his Kunai with his free hand. Sub-Zero heard the steel of the weapon cry as it was unsheathed. He focused on freeing himself from Scorpion before the Spectre had a chance to impale him with the blade. Scorpion refused to let go of the Lin Kuei and tightened his grip, causing Sub-Zero to lose his strength as his Fa Jing slowly diminished. Accepting defeat, Sub-Zero waited for Scorpion to thrust his weapon in his back. A coward's move, Sub-Zero thought.

Suddenly, Scorpion loosened his grip and forced the Lin Kuei to turn around. Without time enough to react, Sub-Zero suffered a vertical slice over his right eye from Scorpion's Kunai. The attack did not cut Sub-Zero's flesh, but instead burned him. The burn quickly scared Sub-Zero's face without any real damage to his right eye. Sub-Zero quickly paced back and cautiously waited for Scorpion to continue his attack, but no movement came from the Spectre. Sub-Zero suspected another trap, so he ran towards Scorpion with a jump kick. Scorpion rolled under the attack and made no counter.

Sub-Zero, infuriated with Scorpion's methods, ran towards him again and began a punching combo. Scorpion blocked each move and only countered with a light shove, sending Sub-Zero back a few paces. Sub-Zero performed a sliding shoulder thrust but collided with nothing as Scorpion side stepped away. Enraged beyond belief, Sub-Zero ran towards Scorpion and threw punch after punch at Scorpion, hitting nothing but air as Scorpion dodged each strike until he again shoved Sub-Zero away.

Sub-Zero regained his footing and glared at Scorpion while the Spectre simply stood there before him. Unable to see the angle in Scorpion's lack of attack, he decided to talk it out of him.

"You dishonorable coward," shouted Sub-Zero. "Why do you neglect the fight? I have waited a year for this moment, and you will not deny me my right to avenge my brother! Now fight me!"

Scorpion lowered his head and quietly said, "No."

Sub-Zero narrowed his eyes in disbelief and said, "Where is the mindless lunatic that killed my brother? He told me about you before he entered the tournament, about how you were a savage of a man! A mindless, rotting soul of the Netherealm unworthy of honor!"

Scorpion brought his gaze back to Sub-Zero. "Your brother killed me in cold blood two years before the tournament. In doing so, he took everything from me. He took the life of a loving father, the life of a caring husband, and the life of an honorable fighter of the Shirai Ryu. I returned from the Netherealm to avenge my life, but in doing so I took a life away from you. You are not like your brother. You are innocent and merciful, traits I did not see in your brother. I have taken away your family, and I refuse to have innocent blood on my hands."

Sub-Zero stood there, flabbergasted at the terrible truth that was revealed to him. He knew it to be true because he had witnessed unjust murder from his brother on several occasions. He could not give a verbal response to Scorpion, for the shocking truth was too much to bear.

"I have marked you with a symbol of my vow. You will not suffer my curse as long as you live. Fear me no longer and live well, Lin Kuei warrior." Scorpion bowed to Sub-Zero and turned around, facing the edge of the Pit.

"What are you doing," asked Sub-Zero as Scorpion slowly approached the edge. Scorpion made no response and brought his feet to the edge, looking down on the rocky surface three hundred feet below.


The Hellspawn Spectre made no response and began to lean forward.

"NNNOOOOOOOO!" shouted Sub-Zero as he ran towards Scorpion, but it was too late. Scorpion fell without any screams. Sub-Zero fell to his knees and touched his scar. His interpretation about Scorpion proved to be false. He was not the soulless creature his dead brother spoke of. Sub-Zero remained there with his shame as Scorpion's physical form fell.

Scorpion let his body go limp as he fell at high speed. As his body twisted and turned in the air, Scorpion closed his eyes and let his mind relax, giving him the opportunity to feel something he hadn't felt since before he took his last breath as a living person. He felt relief. He believed that his recent actions were justified. He knew that he would return to the Netherealm once his physical form hit the rocky surface below, so he gave in to his blissful redemption until he finally hit the ground. His eternal existence as a Hellspawn Spectre would be his just punishment for the life he took from Sub-Zero. He returned to the Netherealm, only to one day rise from the fiery pits once again.

Chapter 10: War of the Realms

Months passed after the second tournament. Scorpion looked to the red skies of the Netherealm to see hundreds of Outworld soldiers, clad in Samurai armor and armed with curved swords and battle axes, fall from the grey clouds. As the soldiers landed, they attacked the demons and Oni mercilessly while scaling the fields in search of something, or someone. Scorpion stood in front of his cave and waited for any unwise fool to disrupt the sanctity of his layer.

When a small group of soldiers finally did reach the entrance of his cave, Scorpion stood there patiently with his Kunai in hand. Before he had a chance to defend himself, however, he fell to his knees as a great pain filled his head, feeling as if something were trying to chew its way out of his skull. As that happened, the world around him began to change. The ground rumbled and cracked while the skies changed colors rapidly. The soldiers took this distraction to their advantage and attacked Scorpion with their weapons. As they thrust their blades into the Spectre's flesh, Scorpion gathered what strength he had and defended himself against the soldiers, absorbing the pain from his head as well as the punishment from the weapons.

Scorpion's attack did not last, however. His body suddenly began to levitate in the air out of reach for the soldiers weapons. As his body floated in a violent shaking motion, the agony in his head grew to an unbearable level. Scorpion flew through the air in all directions, colliding with numerous boulders in the process. Soon enough, Scorpion's uncontrolled levitation sent him falling towards a lava pit located in the fields of the Netherealm. Before he hit the lava pit, however, the pain in his head diminished and his soul disappeared from sight when a bolt of lightning hit his body.

The electric surge took Scorpion out of the Netherealm and sent him into a giant wormhole in space. His limp body traveled at blinding speed, passing by thousands of stars and planets until at last a flash of light triggered the end of the wormhole and sent Scorpion to a grassy surface of an unknown region. The impact of his landing kept Scorpion from moving more than his head until he finally lost consciousness.

An hour later, Scorpion woke up from his slumber and breathed air through his lungs, something he had not the ability in the Netherealm. He stood up and studied his surroundings carefully. The air he breathed was stale and reminded him of his time in Outworld. The environment, however, was not unlike that of Earth Realm with modern automobiles and concrete roads. The tall sky scrapers were partially intact with chunks of metal missing from the outer surface. In the distance, Scorpion heard the death cries of men along with gun fire from fully automatic weapons. It was then that Scorpion realized he was in what remained of New York City. Scorpion's gaze upon the city was interrupted by the sounds of marching feet behind him. He turned around and saw a group of twelve Outworld soldiers. Their leading commander wore similar armor but also wore a helmet with a skull design. The skull represented his status as one of Shao Kahn's loyal servants and he was only armed with a katana. Once the commander caught sight of the Hellspawn Spectre, he halted his soldiers and unsheathed his sword, pointing it at Scorpion.

"It's one of Raiden's chosen warriors," shouted the commander. "KILL HIM!"

Scorpion tilted his head and stared down the commander as his soldiers charged the Spectre. Scorpion reached for his Kunai and braced for the attack. The soldiers quickly surrounded Scorpion and shouted at him, trying to intimidate the ninja. Scorpion simply stood there in his fighter's stance until two of the soldiers from his left side attacked with their long spears. Scorpion leaped high in the air, performing a twisting side flip with his right arm extended, and used his Kunai to sever the soldiers' heads in his spinning attack. The heads fell off their bodies as Scorpion landed on his feet and grabbed an oncoming spear before it had a chance to impale his chest. He pulled the weapon towards him, sending the unlucky soldier's chest to the edge of his Kunai. Scorpion then removed his weapon and threw it at no one in particular, the flaming rope emerging from the hilt of the Kunai. He then swung the rope over his head and killed three more soldiers as the Kunai slit their throats.

Suddenly, one soldier sliced the back of Scorpion with his battle ax. Scorpion let out a grunt and swung the rope towards the menace behind him. The rope wrapped itself around the lower torso of the soldier with the blade puncturing his flesh. Scorpion tugged at the rope with such strength that it spun the soldier around five times before his body fell to the floor, severed in half.

The remaining four soldiers charged Scorpion at once while the commander stood his ground watching Scorpion's wrath. Scorpion flexed his muscles as he raised his arms upward. The gesture triggered a wall of fire rising at the feet of the soldiers, burning them instantly. Scorpion then threw his Kunai at one of the soldiers, impaling his face. Scorpion pulled at the rope and removed the head of the soldier. With the Kunai in his grasp, he pulled the severed head from the blade and threw the bloody mass at another soldier, knocking him out instantly. As the other two soldiers fell to their knees, suffering from the flames that engulfed them, Scorpion walked towards them and knocked them down with the back of his fists while looking straight at the commander.

The commander swung his sword in different directions to intimidate Scorpion. The Hellspawn Spectre gestured the commander to lay on his attack with his hand and stood in his stance. The commander gave out a war cry and charged Scorpion with his katana over his head. When the commander came within range, Scorpion parried three vertical slices with his Kunai and then grabbed the wrist of the commander, twisting it in an awkward angle. Scorpion let go of the broken wrist after he delivered a powerful right hook at the jaw of the commander. The injured soldier fell to his knees and dropped his katana, screaming at the pain in his wrist. Scorpion finally silenced the commander's cries by slitting his throat with his Kunai and kicked his chest. The commander fell on his back and held on to the wound as the blood oozed out of his neck, causing him to gargle until he was no more.

Scorpion sheathed his weapon and continued to walk the streets until he heard the sound of clapping behind him. He quickly turned around and saw an unusual character before him. The man was clad in a red over mantle and thick leggings. His head, with the exception of his green glowing eyes, were covered with black cloth wrappings.

"By the smell of you, we can quickly assume you are not of this realm," spoke the mysterious warrior.

Scorpion narrowed his eyes and said, "And who might you be?"

"We are Ermac. A legion of captured souls from Shao Kahn's Outworld wars. We are Shao Kahn's loyal generals, and we are here in Earth Realm to destroy Raiden's warriors."

"If you value your life, you will walk away and bother me no more."

Ermac laughed and said, "Why would we attack you, Scorpion?"

Scorpion reached for his Kunai and said, "How did you know my name, demon?"

"Shao Kahn spoke of you during your time in the tournament in Outworld. You made Reptile look like a mere peasant. Indeed you are a formidable warrior. We would assume that you are wandering why you are even here."

"And I suppose you are here to tell me?"

"We am here to offer you into Lord Shao Kahn's services, but alas you do have the right to know why you are here in Earth Realm. Lord Kahn has just recently made enemies with Lord Shinnok of the Netherealm. Kahn's invasion failed but many souls were trapped in our lord's chambers. You, however, are not under the control of Shinnok. Therefore, your soul must have been freed from the fiery pits. Lord Kahn told us that we should be on the look out for you. Apparently, he sees you as a potential ally."

Scorpion relaxed his posture. "I care not about your Outworld ruler. It is not my concern."

"On the contrary, Spectre. It will be your concern once Lord Kahn has taken control of this realm. Those who oppose Shao Kahn pay with their lives, and we would hate to think that one of the Netherealm's finest warriors was hunted down like a wild animal and slaughtered."

"Your bold words do not intimidate me, demon. I am not afraid of your lord or his armies. If you are so intent on bringing me to Kahn, then you will have to take me by force."

Ermac lowered his head in disappointment. "We are truly sorry you feel that way."

Suddenly, dozens of Outworld soldiers ambushed Scorpion from behind. Scorpion suffered many blows from the fists of the soldiers before he began to cut them down one by one with his Kunai. Scorpion gained the upper hand in battle until an unknown force lifted him off the ground. Scorpion struggled to free himself from the invisible grasp, but it proved to be pointless. He caught a glimpse of Ermac with his hand reached out in the direction of the levitating Spectre. Convinced about Ermac's telekinetic ability, Scorpion threw his Kunai at him. To Scorpion's dismay, Ermac caught the weapon with his telekinesis and directed it to puncture Scorpion's shoulder. Blood began to ooze from Scorpion's wound as Ermac used his ability to slam Scorpion to the ground numerous times until the Hellspawn Spectre struggled no more. Scorpion landed hard on his back, unable to move beyond pulling out his weapon from his shoulder. Finally, Ermac stood above Scorpion and pointed his hand at the Spectre.

"Our Lord Shao Kahn will decide your fate." The last thing Scorpion saw before he blacked out was a green flash of light from Ermac's hand.

Chapter 11: Decisions

Scorpion woke up in a small, rocky cell with metal bars keeping him contained. He stood to his feet and reached for his Kunai, but found nothing. He approached the cell door and looked around. The only sign of visible life was a man, clad in a purple over mantle, sitting on a chair behind a table, one that provided a resting place for Scorpion's Kunai. Scorpion banged on the cell door with his fists and got the attention of the man sitting down.

"Save your strength," said the man as he walked towards Scorpion's cell.

"Release me," hissed Scorpion.

"I'm afraid I can't do that. Lord Kahn would not like to see a potential ally slip past his fingers. You will remain here until told otherwise."

Scorpion glared at the man with rage in his white eyes. He hated being trapped in a cell. It reminded him of his time spent in the Prison of Souls. He began to pound on the metal bars with his fists, ignoring the blood spilling from his knuckles. The man simply stood there with an evil smirk, obviously amused by Scorpion's primal behavior. Scorpion continued to pound on the bars, shouting out his rage.

Suddenly, the bars fell to the floor after a charging side kick from Scorpion. The man's smirk faded as he stood in a defensive fighter's stance. Scorpion slowly walked over the bars and looked the man dead in the eyes. Scorpion's glare haunted the man, as if he were staring into the eyes of a blood thirsty demon. The man, through some unknown magic, threw at Scorpion what appeared a ball of water at high speed. Scorpion let the water hit him and continued to stare at his enemy, unaffected by the water blast. The man then performed a jump kick but was thrown to the floor by Scorpion's strong hands. The man tried to get to his feet, but Scorpion simply grabbed the man's shoulder with such force that his collar bone shattered. As the man cried out in agony, Scorpion threw the man to a wall, rendering the man unconscious from the impact of the wall.

Scorpion grabbed his Kunai and left the chambers with haste. He ran through the long corridors until he entered what appeared to be a throne room. The room was massive and contained skull designed chandlers on the ceilings and a heavily decorated gargantuan throne. There appeared to be no one inside as Scorpion ventured into the room. Scorpion's steps were halted when he heard the footsteps of what he could only conclude to be hooves of a horse. Amidst the shadows of another room was a massive creature who had the torso of a man, the legs of a ram, the tail of a dragon and the horns of a mountain goat. The creature's breathing was heavy and gave out a purring sound. Standing nearly eight feet tall, the creature pointed its giant hand at Scorpion.

"You have done well to escape the prison cell," spoke the creature. "It seems that Rain was far too careless of your abilities."

Scorpion narrowed his eyes at the behemoth and said, "I have had far too much excitement for one day. Stay out of my way if you value your life."

The beast chuckled and smirked at Scorpion. "Your boldness never ceases to amaze those who have been keeping an eye on you, Scorpion."

At first Scorpion was ready to demand the beast to tell him how he knew his name, but concluded that obviously Shao Kahn has told many of his minions about him. Kahn must have been rather desperate to take such drastic measures in finding Scorpion. "I have nothing to say to your Outworld ruler, beast."

"Regardless, the Emperor will keep you here until he has spoken to you. After that, it will be up to you to decide whether you come out of this alive."

"And I suppose you are to keep me detained until that time arrives."

"If you force me, I will detain you, Scorpion. You maybe a powerful Hellspawn, but not even you can overcome the wrath of Motaro, leader of the Centaurians!"

Scorpion stood in his fighter's stance and said, "Then lay on your attack, Motaro!" With that Scorpion charged the beast with his Kunai in hand.

Motaro leaped high in the air with his four powerful legs towards Scorpion. The Spectre rolled out of the Centaurian's landing and performed a spinning roundhouse on his face. Motaro flinched but responded with a strong back fist, one that sent Scorpion tumbling into a large pillar. Scorpion shook off the blow and sprung up to his feet. Motaro pointed his long tail at Scorpion and charged energy at the tip. Scorpion rolled out of the way of an energy blast from the beast's tail and threw his Kunai once he recovered his footing. The blade punctured Motaro's chest as Scorpion gripped the rope. Seeing that the beast was too large in size to pull towards him, he instead pulled himself towards Motaro with his feet extended towards the Centaurian. Scorpion landed his feet Motaro's chest and removed his blade as he leapt away.

Motaro roared at Scorpion as he held his new wound. Enraged, the mighty beast charged Scorpion at high speed with his head lowered to ram his head into Scorpion. The Hellspawn Spectre performed a cartwheel flip out of the way but was unable to land on his feet as Motaro used his long tail to wrap around Scorpion's legs. Holding the Hellspawn Spectre upside down, Motaro used this advantage and kicked Scorpion's chest with his incredibly strong hind legs, sending Scorpion several feet in the air. To Motaro's surprise, Scorpion was able to shake off the attack that would shatter a man's ribs into a thousand pieces by disappearing from sight before his back hit the floor. Motaro was then unable to dodge Scorpion's flying fist as the Spectre appeared behind the beast. The blow caused Motaro to stagger as Scorpion landed on his feet behind the Centaurian. As Motaro turned around to face the Spectre, Scorpion was already right in front of him at point range, throwing numerous punches and kicks at the beast in a blind frenzy.

Motaro finally found an opening in Scorpion's assault when he grabbed Scorpion's over mantle and lifted him up from the ground. Scorpion freed himself from the beast's grasp by digging his Kunai into the arm of Motaro. The Centaurian dropped Scorpion and backed away a few paces as blood began to ooze from the wound. Scorpion stood his ground and stared down Motaro as the beast growled at the Spectre. Scorpion gestured his fingers at Motaro, encouraging him to come forth. Motaro roared at Scorpion and started to gallop towards the warrior.

"Enough," shouted a deep voice in the distance. Motaro halted his charge and turned his sights where he heard the voice. Emerging from the shadows behind the large throne was none other than the Emperor of Outworld himself, Shao Kahn. Scorpion turned his gaze to the giant immortal for the first time and saw a seven foot tall man clad in red, spiked shoulder plates and shin guards. His gauntlets were similar in appearance to his armor and his skull decorated helmet alone would strike fear into the hearts of any that dared to oppose him. Motaro immediately bowed to his master to show his loyalty. Scorpion simply stared at the Emperor.

"You are indeed a powerful fighter, Scorpion," said Shao Kahn with an evil smirk. Kahn then turned his sights to Motaro and said, "Well done, Motaro. You have kept the Spectre detained. Report back to your post and tell your men to ready for the ambush."

Motaro again bowed his head and left the throne room, but not without giving Scorpion an evil glare. Shao Kahn sat in his throne and clapped his hands in applause for Scorpion's skill. Scorpion gave no verbal response.

"Welcome to my palace, Scorpion. Do you know who I am?"

"You are Outworld's Emperor, Shao Kahn," said Scorpion. "A man I have no reason to speak to."

Shao Kahn kept his smirk and shook his head. "Now, now, is that any way to treat the one who freed you from the Netherealm's grasp?"

Scorpion narrowed his eyes and said, "Don't insult my intelligence, Kahn. My freedom was never your intent."

Kahn chuckled and said, "I wouldn't dream to insult your intelligence, Scorpion. I am merely asking you to consider my offer."

"I have no interest in your war."

"Oh but you will, Scorpion. What alternative is there? Even if you could escape the palace you will not survive the invasion. Those who oppose me will be destroyed. My extermination squads will hunt you down like an animal until you are dead. However, I can give you purpose. Join me and destroy what's left of Raiden's chosen warriors. I shall award you with the rank of General, leading my troops to victory once and for all!"

Scorpion turned his back on the Emperor. "There is no peace you can grant me in doing so."

"What possible peace could you ever hope to achieve, Spectre? You are an undead Hellspawn, fit to rot in the pits of the Netherealm. Your blood thirsty nature earns you the punishment of such a title. I, however, can grant you peace from the Netherealm. You will never suffer the demons of Hell if you serve me."

Scorpion turned around again to face Kahn. "I would remain one of your pets, unable to live a mortal life. I would rather die than to serve a ruthless tyrant just so he could use my abilities!"

Kahn's amusement in Scorpion's rebel behavior caused him to laugh. "A mortal life? Why give up such talent just so you could live a meaningless life and die? You have extraordinary power, Scorpion. Embrace it! I can help you perfect your abilities. All that I ask is for you to respond when I have need of you. Men will tremble and quiver with fear at your name. Such power is not obtained so easily."

"I told you once, my lord. I have no interest in your war, or your offer for that matter. We are finished with this discussion."

Shao Kahn pounded his arm rest and stood from his throne. "YOU HAVE NO CHOICE! You will serve me or you will die! I will send you back to that forsaken realm forever! You can not win, Scorpion. You will destroy Raiden's forces or you will perish from this realm forever!"

"Raiden's forces are not my concern. If you think you can send me back, do it! You may be the ruler of Outworld, but you do not intimidate me. I will not be used as one of your pets, Kahn! You have no power over me!"

Kahn laughed once again at Scorpion's bold words. "You are indeed brave, Spectre. It is a pity you must share the same fate as the Earth Realm warriors. With my victory complete, I think I will place your head on my trophy collection next to Sub-Zero's. Two ninjas side by side, suffering the same fate. How deliciously tragic."

Scorpion's eyes widened at Kahn's referral to Sub-Zero. Apparently to Scorpion, Sub-Zero was in fact one of Raiden's chosen warriors. Kahn had made the mistake in revealing his plans for the Lin Kuei, for Scorpion now had a reason to stand against the tyrant. Scorpion tightened his grip on his Kunai and approached Kahn while the Emperor's back was turned.

"You will not harm Sub-Zero!"

Scorpion lunged at Kahn and dug his Kunai through the Emperor's shoulder plate, puncturing his flesh. Shao Kahn reached behind him and grasped Scorpion's over mantle, using his superior strength to throw Scorpion over his head. What the Emperor didn't expect was the flaming rope attached to the Kunai, allowing Scorpion to pull himself back towards Kahn. Scorpion landed both feet on Kahn's chest, causing Kahn to stagger back a few steps. Scorpion removed the Kunai from Kahn's shoulder and leapt away from the Emperor.

Blood began to ooze from under Kahn's shoulder plate. Kahn looked at his wound with a smirk and pointed at Scorpion.

"Is that your best?"

Scorpion charged Kahn but was over come by a sliding shoulder thrust. The blow sent Scorpion to his back and afforded Kahn the advantage as he leapt towards Scorpion. The Spectre rolled out of the way of Kahn's descending knee and performed a twisting scissor kick, causing Kahn to Join Scorpion on the floor. Scorpion sprung up to his feet but was sent up in the air again by a powerful uppercut. Kahn laughed at Scorpion as the Spectre landed hard on the ground.

"You are nothing!"

Scorpion got up on his feet and charged Kahn once again. Kahn threw a hard right hook but hit nothing but air as Scorpion disappeared from sight. Kahn tried to balance himself before he completely lost his footing but was forced to the ground by Scorpion's Teleport Punch. Scorpion kicked Kahn repeatedly as Kahn slowly rose to his feet. Scorpion's kicking frenzy was halted when Kahn threw another right hook. Scorpion ducked under the punch and threw a right hook of his own, followed by a left hook and a right uppercut.

Kahn staggered back three paces and stared into the glowing eyes of Scorpion. "That was pathetic!"

Kahn's hands began to shine a green aura as a large war hammer materialized into his hands. Scorpion tilted his head back and forth, popping his neck, and waited for Kahn to make his move. Kahn charged at Scorpion and swung his hammer horizontally. Scorpion ducked under the attack and countered with a spinning roundhouse kick to Kahn's jaw. Kahn tried a vertical swing but hit nothing as Scorpion side stepped out of the way and received a well placed right hook. Kahn continued to swing his hammer in every direction but could not collide it with Scorpion's body.

Finally, Kahn managed to grab Scorpion's throat and lifted him off the ground. He then through the Hellspawn Spectre upwards and swung his hammer, hitting Scorpion's chest before he could hit the floor. Scorpion was sent several feet in the air and collided with another pillar. Scorpion tried to get up but was over come by a green energy bolt from Kahn's hand. The bolt of energy felt like it punctured his skin and the pain caused him the inability to move. Kahn launched five more bolts at Scorpion, causing the Spectre to shout out from the agony he felt in his chest and stomach.

Kahn laughed triumphantly at the defeated Spectre and dropped his hammer. "Such a waste. Time to die, Scorpion."

Scorpion, with what energy he had left, summoned the flames of Hell by gesturing his hands upward. While Kahn suffered the rising flames, Scorpion quickly stood up. Realizing that the more time he spent in the throne room with Kahn, the longer it would take for him to aid Sub-Zero. Forgetting the urge to defeat Kahn, Scorpion ran towards a large glass window and dove through the glass.

Kahn, no longer engulfed in the flames, searched for Scorpion in the throne room. Suddenly, a shadow priest appeared from the shadows behind the throne and approached the Outworld Emperor.

"He has escaped, my lord," whispered the Shadow Priest.

"It makes no difference," said Kahn with a slight smirk. "He will die along with all the rest of Earth Realm's warriors. Victory will be at hand. Go and fetch me Kitana from the prison cells and summon Sindel. A family reunion is in order before I destroy Princess Kitana."

The Shadow Priest bowed its head and left the throne room. Kahn sat down on his throne and waited for events to come.

Chapter 12: A Hero's Sacrifice

Scorpion fell for what seemed like an eternity out of the window of Shao Kahn's throne room. He was in a state of determination, unable to accept defeat. He had a mission, and he could not return to the Netherealm just yet. As he fell, he reached for his Kunai and waited for the right moment. Though the tower of Kahn was massive in size, he was picking up speed in his fall. With about fifty feet left until he hit the ground below, Scorpion threw his weapon at a far away gargoyle to the left of him. The blade punctured the rocky statue and allowed Scorpion to use the flaming rope to swing his body away from the ground.

AS his body slowed its swinging pace, Scorpion looked below him to measure his distance from the ground. Convinced that his powerful legs could withstand a thirty foot drop, he charged heat into the rope and caused the Kunai to heat up, eventually melting the rocky statue. Once the Kunai was released from the gargoyle, Scorpion fell to the ground, landing his feet on the rocky surface and causing the ground to crack. He caught his Kunai in the air and quietly began to search the outside of the palace, keeping out of sight from the soldiers scattered about the area.

Sub-Zero sat on a stray log alone one night. He was clad in his blue over mantle but wore no black body suit. He wore thick black leggings and no mask or hood rested on his head. His face was exposed for everyone to see. His lack of full Lin Kuei garments were a sign of his rebellion against his former clan. He and his long time friend, Smoke, left the clan when knowledge of cybernetics was being used on the warriors, namely Cyrax and Sektor. To Sub-Zero's dismay, Smoke was captured and brought back to the Lin Kuei where he would join the fates of Cyrax and Sektor. When Kahn invaded Earth Realm, the souls of the Lin Kuei were stolen. The three cyborgs, however, retained their forms and continued their pursuit on Sub-Zero. Smoke was the first to catch up with Sub-Zero, but the former Lin Kuei convinced Smoke that he was still human. Smoke aided Sub-Zero in the defeat of Cyrax and Sektor, but was captured by Kahn's extermination squads along with Sektor. Cyrax was reprogrammed and sent to destroy Kahn's forces.

Though the loss of his friend was tragic, Sub-Zero's thoughts were not of Smoke. His finger began to caress the scar over his right eye. His experience with Scorpion, as well as what happen with the Lin Kuei, had given him a different outlook on the way he had been living his life. He was an assassin for a greedy and blood lustful clan. He had idolized a cold blooded killer, his older brother. Though he still mourned his brother's death, the pain he felt in looking up to a man without morals was near unbearable.

Sub-Zero's thoughts were interrupted by the footsteps of the Shaolin monk, Liu Kang.

"Sub-Zero, it's time," spoke the monk.

Sub-Zero nodded and stood to his feet. He followed Kang to the camp where what remained of Earth Realm's chosen warriors waited to make their last stand against Kahn. Among them were Sonja Blade, Jax, Kung Lao, a New York police officer named Kurtis Stryker, Black Dragon clansman Kabal, and Jade of the dead realm Edenia. Jade's purpose with Earth Realm's warriors was to help Kang save Princess Kitana from Kahn's prison, as well as aiding them in Kahn's destruction. The group discussed their plans about the strike on Kahn's place and agreed in principle. Kang and Jade were chosen to invade the palace head on while the remaining members would distract the armies waiting for Kahn's orders at the palace.

It was Sub-Zero who interjected his place in the attack. He offered to help Kang and Jade free Kitana. With much debate, Kang and Jade finally agreed and the warriors headed for their destination.

Hours went by. The group had successfully navigated the plains of Outworld and reached the palace grounds of Shao Kahn. Kang, Jade and Sub-Zero waited for the rest of the group to grab the attention of the apparent cavalry of Kahn's forces. The group attacked a few of the leading officers and headed towards the Living Forest with the armies following them close by. The strategy was to lure them into the Living Forest and remain hidden in the shadows, keeping the army there in search of the warriors. With the success diversion in progress, Kang and his partners headed for the massive staircase leading to the palace doors. To their dismay, more of Kahn's troops began approaching from behind. Kang, Jade and Sub-Zero made a run for it to the doors but were halted by the presence of another in front of them. There, blocking the path to the doors was Scorpion himself.

Kang stood in his fighter's stance and waited for Scorpion to make his move. Sub-Zero was unable to move. The last person he ever thought to see here was Scorpion. Jade's sights remained on the approaching army behind them. Finally, Scorpion broke the suspense by straining as he raised his arms upwards. The gesture triggered a gargantuan wall of fire that blocked the path of the approaching soldiers, burning dozens of them in the process.

Kang and Sub-Zero glanced at the horrifying inferno below and then gazed into the white glowing eyes of their savior. Scorpion kept his sights on the army below while Kang managed to let a smile of gratitude escape his lips.

"Go and finish this," shouted Scorpion. "I will hold them off as long as I can! GO!"

The three did as instructed and headed for the palace doors. Kang placed his hand on Scorpion and wished him luck as well as his thanks. Sub-Zero hesitated before entering the palace. He wanted to say something to Scorpion but could not find the words. His thoughts were interrupted by Kang, shouting at him to enter the palace. He made one final glimpse at Scorpion and then entered the palace.

Scorpion removed his mask and threw it elsewhere, exposing his skull. He took a deep breath and then gazed upon the army below. Finally, Scorpion walked down the long and wide stairway towards the inferno with his Kunai in hand. As he walked, his skull shined with a live fire. As the fires burning the soldiers finally diminished, Scorpion lunged at the soldiers and began his attack.

If one had to guess, Scorpion was attacking anywhere from fifty to seventy armed soldiers. He hacked away at the first three with his Kunai, slitting their throats and dislocating their jaw bones with well placed punches. Another group of three attacked Scorpion simultaneously from his left. He threw his Kunai at a soldier on his right side and punctured the heart of him. He then used the rope to swing the wounded soldier into the three approaching from his left, knocking them out instantly. Once he recovered his weapon, Scorpion suffered a deadly slice from a battle ax behind him. Scorpion spun around and nearly knocked the unwise soldier's head off with his fist.

Scorpion blocked a blow from a spear and used it to cut at the guts of seven soldiers, disemboweling them in the process. He threw the long weapon into the chest of another and set another group of soldiers on fire with his fiery breath. Another soldier approached from behind and dug his ax into the right shoulder of Scorpion. The Hellspawn Spectre performed a back kick on the menace behind him and removed the ax from his shoulder. Blood began to spray out of his wound as he threw the ax at another soldier's face. Scorpion then threw his Kunai at a soldier approaching dead ahead. The blade punctured the man's stomach and was disemboweled with a quick tug of Scorpion's strong arms. The bloody mass caused a few of the soldiers to slip and loose their footing as Scorpion continued the slaughter.

Scorpion's chest was impaled by the sword of an approaching soldier. Scorpion responded by performing his flaming back flip move and landed back on the stairway. He removed the sword from his chest and used it to remove the heads of three soldiers with one swift slice. Arrows began to fall from the sky and whistled their way into the torso of Scorpion. The Spectre kept them in him for the time being, for he still had plenty more killing to do. He gestured for another wall of fire to engulf a dozen soldiers and leapt high in the air. He landed his feet on the shoulders of one soldier, crushing him into a thinner form. Scorpion then breathed fire on a few more soldiers before removing one of the arrows in his chest. He threw the arrow into the eye of one soldier and then threw his Kunai once again into the chest of another. He then swung the dead soldier's body around numerous times, hitting many soldiers until the body flung itself off the Kunai. Scorpion felt the impact of a war hammer on his knee, which caused him to fell to his good knee. He summoned another wall of fire on the menace from behind and snapped his knee back into place before running for the soldiers in front of him. He lunged at another soldier and drove his Kunai into the unlucky fellow's chest. Scorpion then used the victim's body as a shield, protecting him from an oncoming ax. Scorpion tossed the body elsewhere and performed a jump kick on the one who swung his ax.

Scorpion caught the fist of another soldier and dislocated it with a twist of his wrist. He landed a hard right hook on the soldier and drove his Kunai into the temple of another. Scorpion's onslaught was interrupted when a soldier drove his spear through Scorpion's gut. Scorpion then suffered a punch from another soldier, followed by a horizontal slice of a katana from another. Scorpion tried to recover, but was over come by another slice from an ax as well as the numerous punches and kicks from the soldiers. Scorpion refused to fall to his knees, blocking whatever attacks he could while sustaining heavy damage from the soldiers' blades. Finally, Scorpion was knocked down by a war hammer to his chest. He fell on his back and did everything he could to evade and block the blows and cuts from the soldiers, but it was no use. There were too many for even Scorpion to handle.

The flame on Scorpion's exposed skull began to diminish, and he received more punishment from the soldiers as they thrust their blades into the his flesh and broke his bones with their war hammers. Scorpion's sight began to darken, fading away from the horrifying scene of his brutality. Before he slipped away, however, a massive explosion erupted from the top of the tower. Green energy traveled the skies as thousands of souls headed for the heavens. The soldiers made the mistake of stopping their rampage on Scorpion to gaze upon the destruction. Scorpion, with what little strength he had left, set himself on fire and shouted his final war cry before his body burst and engulfed the surrounding soldiers.

Scorpion's sacrifice was not in vain. During his attack on the soldiers, Jade and Sub-Zero were successful in rescuing Kitana and the once thought dead Queen Sindel of Edenia. As for Shao Kahn, he was destroyed at the hands of Liu Kang. The remains of Kahn's forces retreated into exile and Earth Realm was restored, as well as the realm of Edenia.

As for Scorpion, his soul was sent back to the fifth plane of the Netherealm. There he would remain, only to rise from the fiery pits once again.

Chapter 13: Sorcerer's Bargain

Scorpion meditated in the caves of his layer in the fifth plane of the Netherealm. The caves were his solitude in the retched realm, and no creature ever dared to venture inside. Though the demons and Oni of the Netherealm lacked much intelligence, they were smart enough to realize what dwelled inside the caves. It was Scorpion's Layer by right, and none would take away his solitude.

Scorpion's thoughts during his meditation were of prior events. It had been a month since he sacrificed his physical form at the palace of Shao Kahn. Once the soldiers were finished with the Ninja Spectre, his soul returned to the fifth plane of the Netherealm accordingly. It was the first time Scorpion had ever been so bold in protecting the life of another.

Suddenly, a faint whisper called out Scorpion's name from behind, interrupting his meditation. He stood to his feet and turned around in search of the intruder. The voice repeated his name numerous times and it seemed to be coming from an area of the cave Scorpion hadn't ventured in since the second Mortal Kombat tournament. He slowly walked along the path leading to the great mirror with his Kunai drawn.

Once he finally arrived at the mirror, he could see a living figure in the mirror's reflection. The man had pale skin and wore black garments with metal spikes on his shoulders. The man smirked at Scorpion and took a step closer.

"Greetings, Scorpion," spoke the man in the mirror.

Scorpion narrowed his eyes and said, "Speak your business or remove your presence from these caves."

The pale skinned man laughed and said, "Your boldness never ceases to amaze me, Spectre. Allow me to introduce myself. I am Quan Chi, a sorcerer of the Netherealm and leading general of Lord Shinnok's armies. I seek an audience with you. Step into the portal before you so that we may speak."

Scorpion shook his head. "I am not interested in whatever you wish to say. You have violated the sanctity of my layer. Now leave before I destroy this portal."

Quan Chi laughed once more. "You are quite powerful, Scorpion, but you have not the skill to perform such a task. This portal is the only portal in the fifth plane accessible to the lost souls of the Netherealm. Why destroy it even if you could?"

Scorpion turned his back and started walking away. "Our time has diminished."

"I know who massacred your clan Scorpion. I can give him to you."

The Spectre quickly turned around. Quan Chi's evil smirk remained ever present.

"How do you know about my clan?"

"Oh, I know a great deal about the realm of Earth. I saw who lead the attack on the Shirai Ryu. It was Sub-Zero, the younger brother of the man you killed in the Mortal Kombat tournament."

Scorpion didn't want to believe the sorcerer. "You lie!"

"Step into the portal and see for yourself. I will show you what happened."

Scorpion wanted to believe that this was just a hoax to lure him into a trap, but at the same time he could not resist the urge to make his vengeance complete once and for all. His mind made up, he sheathed his Kunai and stepped through the mirror.

Scorpion found himself inside a fortress of some kind. Quan Chi sat in a chair not far from the portal Scorpion entered and kept his sights on Scorpion.

"Welcome to the fortress of Lord Shinnok."

Scorpion stood very still as he stared into the evil eyes of Quan Chi. There was something strange about the fortress he was in. He could not pinpoint what the disturbance was, but he nonetheless remained very cautious.

"You spoke of my clan's destruction. Show me," demanded Scorpion.

Quan Chi leapt from his throne and placed his hand on Scorpion's face. Scorpion, unable to react in time, was forced to see horrid flashes of his clan being massacred by numerous demonic creatures. These visions were not unlike the flashes he received the in the Prison of Souls the day of his birth. Ninjas were cut down by the blades of the demons and houses were set aflame. Even the women and children were slaughtered like animals by the demons. To add to Scorpion's horror, he saw Sub-Zero personally dispose of Hanzo Hasashi's wife and son. In Scorpion's visions, Sub-Zero even went so far as to rape the wife before he strung up the two helpless victims and slowly mutilated them, ripping off their eyes and fingers and disemboweling them with a rusty blade. With every bit of strength he had, Scorpion managed to shove Quan Chi away and freed himself of the flashes that haunted him.

Scorpion fell to his knees and kept his head low. Smoke began to rise from Scorpion's body as he screamed at the top of his lungs. While Scorpion's sights were on the ground, Quan Chi gazed over Scorpion with a smile.

"Now you know the truth, Scorpion. Join Lord Shinnok's forces and I will grant you the opportunity to finish what you started. I will give you the chance to avenge your clan, but I will also grant you something not even you can refuse." Quan Chi knelt down to Scorpion's level and brought his face next to Scorpion's ear. "Life."

Scorpion turned his gaze to Quan Chi. The sorcerer stood to his feet and sat back down in his throne.

"Think of it, Scorpion. No longer would you return to the Netherealm a cursed Hellspawn. Lord Shinnok has the power to grant that to you, but he will not give it to you so easily. You must prove your worth."

Scorpion stood to his feet. "What must I do?"

"Swear your services to Lord Shinnok and myself. You will be given your own army of loyal followers to serve our needs. Once we feel your services are no longer needed, we will point you in the direction of Sub-Zero and your soul will be freed from the Netherealm after you kill him."

Scorpion thought for a moment about his choices. His mind made up he kneeled to Quan Chi and lowered his head.

"I pledge my services to you, and Lord Shinnok. I am yours to command."

Quan Chi laughed and said, "Good, very good. Your first task as one of my leading generals will be to invade the realm of Edenia. You will be assisted by General Reiko. Your mission will be to take control of the Edenian Palace and capture Queen Sindel, as well as Princess Kitana. Once they have been contained, remain there and await my summons."

Scorpion closed his eyes with guilt. He knew that he would be forced to do something of this evil nature. Swallowing his guilt, he took a deep breath and said, "As you wish."

"Excellent. Rise General Scorpion and meet General Reiko in the armory. My mistress, Tanya, will escort you."

As Scorpion stood to his feet, a dark skinned woman with long black hair and yellow garments gestured for Scorpion to follow her. Scorpion and Tanya left the room while Quan Chi remained in his seat, laughing at his most recent accomplishment.

Chapter 14: Invasion

The realm of Edenia was a peaceful realm, enticed with lush vegetation and Greek-like structures. Being that the realm had only been recently restored to its original form, its defenses were weak. Princess Kitana had plans to strengthen Edenia's forces by forming a truce between the two Outworld races, the Shokans and the Centaurians.

Such a truce would have to wait, for an Edenian refugee sought an audience with the Royal Edenian Family. According to the refugee, Tanya, her father was once an ambassador of the Edenian people during Shao Kahn's rule over Outworld. Tanya came to Edenia on behalf of her father to bring in refugees from the realm of Chaos. Queen Sindel agreed to take in the refugees and to give them sanctuary.

Kitana sat in her seat next to her mother's throne. The throne room was massive and contained a portal used to travel the realms. Tanya stood in front of the portal and awaited the order to open the doorway to the realms. Queen Sindel gave Tanya permission and Tanya activated the giant device. Moments later, several men clad in black cloaks and hoods entered the throne room through the portal. To Kitana's horror, one of the men removed the hood from his head, revealing the pale face of Quan Chi.

Kitana immediately stood from her seat and shouted at Tanya. "What have you done?"

Tanya smirked at Kitana and said, "I'm truly sorry, my Lady. But I'm afraid business is business. Quan Chi and Lord Shinnok will decide your fate now."

Two more hooded figures revealed themselves to the Royal Edenian Family. It was Scorpion and General Reiko, clad in a maroon over mantle and spiked shoulder plates and wrist guards. He had jet black hair that matched in color of his tattoos over his eyes.

Kitana stared into the dead eyes of Scorpion astounded. "Scorpion," shouted Kitana. "Liu Kang told me what you did for the warriors of Earth Realm. Why do you betray us now?"

Scorpion could not look at Kitana. Guilt and disgust filled his undead soul. "I have no choice," was all he said before he gestured his men to attack. The hooded figures removed their cloaks and attacked the royal guards and attendants. General Reiko pursued Queen Sindel along with Quan Chi. Reiko was a silent fighter, but also a ruthless killer. He hacked away at any that stood in his path with his spiked club.

Scorpion's purpose in this invasion was to capture Princess Kitana. As Kitana ran towards Sindel to come to her aid, Scorpion leapt in front of her and stood in her path. She stopped dead in her tracks and drew out her two Razor Fans. Scorpion slowly drew out his Kunai and waited for Kitana to strike.

Kitana spent much of her years training to be Shao Kahn's greatest assassin, and being that she was over ten thousand years old she had learned much. Her movements involved the whole of her body, making her strikes much more effective. She quickly swung her fans at Scorpion in horizontal slices, but she was not fast enough to get through Scorpion's defenses. Scorpion parried her slices with his Kunai and countered with a roundhouse kick. To the Spectre's surprise, Kitana managed to duck under the kick and counter with a spinning foot sweep. She wasted no time in thrusting her fans into the chest of Scorpion before he had a chance to get up.

Blood oozed from the wounds, but Scorpion was able to shove Kitana off of him and spring to his feet. Kitana performed a back hand spring and stood in the fighter's stance of the martial art known as Ba Gua. Scorpion removed the fans from his chest and threw them elsewhere. Kitana charged Scorpion and leapt in the air, performing a move she called the Pretty Kick in which she alternated her legs with multiple mid air kicks. Scorpion sustained the damage from the kicks and staggered back a few steps as she landed on her feet. As Kitana ran towards the Spectre once more, Scorpion responded with his flaming back flip maneuver and connected his feet with Kitana's chin, knocking her down. Scorpion walked towards the princess but was overcome by a surprise foot sweep. With Scorpion on the ground once more, Kitana sprung to her feet and performed handsprings towards her fans and retrieved them.

Scorpion stood from the ground and charged Kitana head on. Suddenly, he was lifted in the air by sonic waves generated from Kitana's spinning fans. Kitana then performed one of her own trademark moves, in which she leapt high in the air and flew towards Scorpion with her fist extended outward. The punch connected with Scorpion's chest and sent him several feet back. Kitana finished the combo by throwing one of her fans at Scorpion before he landed on his back. The fan was thrown in a spinning motion and sliced Scorpion's chest numerous times before he finally landed hard on his back.

To Kitana's surprise, Scorpion quickly recovered from the attack and sprung himself up to his feet once more. Kitana charged at Scorpion with her fan drawn. Scorpion stopped her pursuit with a leg kick, followed by a spinning foot sweep. Though the sweep connected with her ankle, Kitana managed to recover from the attack by performing a cartwheel flip. She then executed a kicking combo that started from his legs to his chest and ended with his face. Scorpion blocked the final kick and performed a powerful right hook, one that Kitana wisely ducked under rather than trying to block it. She then sliced at Scorpion's shoulder with her fan and continued the combo with an uppercut to the Spectre's chin, followed by an elbow strike to the chest and a knee strike to the face. She ended the combo with a well placed spinning roundhouse kick and sent Scorpion spinning in the air.

Before Scorpion landed on the ground, he suddenly disappeared from sight. Kitana tried to focus on helping her mother, Sindel, but was overcome by the flying fist of Scorpion. The blow sent her to her knees but she quickly recovered to her feet. She tried to once again run towards her mother, who was being attacked by Reiko and Quan Chi, but Kitana was stopped by a wall of fire. She stopped in time to keep from getting burned from the flames, but she was sent to her knees once more by a kick to the back of her leg. Scorpion then grabbed her wrist and placed it on her back as he used his other arm to wrap it around her neck.

Kitana struggled to free herself from Scorpion's grasp, but it was no use. The Hellspawn Spectre's strength was too much for the Edenian Princess. She reached for her mother with her free hand and shouted her name, horrified by the sight of Sindel pounded unconscious by Reiko and Quan Chi while the Edenian guards were slaughtered by Tarkatan reinforcements.

"Forgive me, princess," whispered Scorpion as he reached for his Kunai. He then struck the back of Kitana's head with the hilt of his weapon, knocking her out instantly. Once her body went limp, he gently placed her on the floor and stood over her, making sure that none of her guards would try to rescue her.

Minutes later, the battle was over. Shinnok's forces were successful in claiming the Edenian palace as well as the Royal Family's capture. Princess Kitana and Queen Sindel were placed in the prison cells of the palace along with Kitana's good friend, Jade. With the palace under Shinnok's control, the fallen Elder God and Quan Chi gathered their generals to the throne room.

Scorpion took notice to the other generals, most of which he knew from his past experiences in the tournaments. Reptile was among them, along with Baraka of the Tarkatan Horde. Mileena, Kitana's twin 'sister' stood next to Tanya while Reiko stood next to someone Scorpion had never met, a Netherealm Wraith by the name of Noob Saibot. For some reason, Scorpion kept a lot of his attention on the Wraith. He could not find the reason why, but he felt as if he had known Noob Saibot before. He kept his suspicions to himself for the moment as Quan Chi spoke to the generals.

"You have done well, my generals," said Quan Chi. "With the realm of Edenia in our grasp, we will have the resources need to conquer any other realm that dares challenges us. Report to your posts and await Lord Shinnok's summons."

The generals followed their instructions accordingly. Scorpion, however, was hesitant in leaving. He was filled with shame over the actions he took. Though his vengeance was the essence of his being, he once again became the very thing he was set out to destroy. He was responsible for the deaths of many innocent people in Edenia. Scorpion left the throne room with his guilt ridden thoughts as Shinnok sat on the throne of Queen Sindel while Quan Chi took the throne of Kitana, pleased with their dishonorable campaign.

Chapter 15: Difficult Choices

Scorpion sat on the edge of the rooftops of the Edenian Palace with his legs hanging off the edge. He was lost in his thoughts about what transpired here three days ago. He was involved in the invasion of the Royal Edenian Family and was responsible for the deaths of numerous innocent lives. He killed them to get to the Princess, but that did not make Scorpion feel any better. They were defending their leaders with their lives in vain. He felt ashamed to be involved in such a dishonorable power struggle.

His thoughts suddenly changed with the gruesome flashes of mutilation he received from Quan Chi. He could not shut out the horrifying images of his clan being slaughtered or of his family suffering the gruesome torment from Sub-Zero, the man Scorpion swore not to harm. As the images continued to haunt the Spectre, he placed his hands on the sides of his face, holding it tightly as his breathing quickened.

Behind the tormented Spectre approached Mileena. She saw Scorpion suffering from what looked to be a massive headache. None of the generals ever dared speak to the tortured Hellspawn, that is unless it was under the orders of Quan Chi himself. In a way, with the exception of Noob Saibot, they all feared him. They have all seen first hand what he was capable of, and none ever engaged into any conflict with him.

"Scorpion," called out Mileena as she stopped her approach about ten feet away from Scorpion.

The Hellspawn Spectre, freed from his flashes of the past, quickly stood to his feet and turned around with his Kunai drawn. Mileena grew very cautious of Scorpion, as could be said through her eyes. Scorpion came to his senses and relaxed his posture.

"Quan Chi demands a meeting with you immediately. I am to escort you to the palace armory."

Scorpion made no verbal response and followed Mileena to the armory, where Quan Chi waited for the two. Inside the armory, numerous Tarkatan troops rearranged the weapons and guarded the entrance. Baraka was among them, overseeing production. Once Scorpion and Mileena made their way inside, they approached the powerful sorcerer. Mileena bowed to Quan Chi, but Scorpion gave him no such sign of respect. The pale sorcerer ignored Scorpion's lack of loyalty and proceeded with the meeting.

"Ah, my avenger generals," said Quan Chi. "I see that you, Mileena, have shown great restraint on your pursuit of the now contained Princess Kitana. Very good."

"I am at my Lord's service," said Mileena. "I do not strike until told to do so."

Quan Chi chuckled at her response. "A trait every valuable general has. Very good indeed."

Scorpion halted the meaningless conversation by asking, "What's the occasion of this meeting? I have my vengeance to seek out."

"Ah yes, the ever famous Hellspawn Spectre. Tell me, Scorpion, how are you indisposed on account of your successful invasion?"

Scorpion's agitation grew with each passing second he conversed with Quan Chi. "Sick at the stomach."

"Would you rather have this discussion later? If necessary I can have Mileena record this conversation for you to hear at another time."

"Tough it out, Scorpion, like me," Mileena carefully suggested. "You aren't the only one of us who suffers from the thirst for vengeance."

Scorpion wanted to snap Mileena's neck for her feeble remark. She knew nothing of vengeance and he knew it. Swallowing his pride, he simply said to Quan Chi, "The occasion, if you please."

"The war comes to such an hour that I would have us reach the next step of our strategy. I am aware that Raiden and his Earth Realm warriors have no knowledge of the recent invasion, which in turn gives us an advantage in this struggle. With the capture of Princess Kitana, we might be able to lure the Earth Realm warriors here in Edenia where Raiden has no dominion. Our main concern will be to destroy Liu Kang, and Princess Kitana would be our best asset in luring him here."

"Is there any part of your useless rambling that involves my orders on the matter," asked Scorpion with an ill-favored tone.

"Lord Shinnok and myself are planning an ambush on the Earth Realm monk, of which involves your participation. Is that straight out enough for you?"

"Then tell me what tasks you would give me. Further more, what's my peace for doing so?"

"Scorpion," said Mileena, trying to avoid confrontation between the two.

"Shut up," warned Scorpion.

"Though your boldness is admirable, Scorpion, you are in no position to demand such results from your services. I know very well your neutral state of mind, of which leads you to feel less than comfortable in the situation you find yourself in. But regardless, the only thing that concerns you in these times is that you will benefit from your services to Lord Shinnok."

"Meaning what, you phony bastard," said Scorpion as he clenched his fists. "Who do I kill, what's my pay? Those are to be the terms and benefits of my services?"

"It is highly unreasonable for you to make things that simple, Scorpion," said Mileena. "Especially for someone in your position."

"Keep your retched tongue behind your Tarkatan teeth, Mileena," shouted Scorpion. "Quan Chi made a deal with me simple enough, and I expect results! Now be silent, or I shall bring more deformities to your already 'pretty' face!"

That last remark struck a nerve in Mileena. She drew out her sai and pointed them at Scorpion as she approached him.

"Sheath those blades of yours at once, Mileena," demanded Quan Chi, of which she did as instructed and backed away from Scorpion. "There's a good girl. Do not forget your place in this war, for if you do I will send you back to the Hell from which I found you."

Mileena bowed her head at Quan Chi to remove further conflict. Quan Chi then turned his sights back to Scorpion.

"As for you, Spectre, you will receive your orders once Lord Shinnok and I have agreed in principle."

"Orders," began Scorpion, "are the only principles I am allowed to live by. But I will not wait an eternity for those orders. I have my own affairs outside of this war and I will tend to them. You have two days to give me my orders for the ambush. After that, I will take my leave from this war and seek out my vengeance alone. So unless you supply me with orders before that time expires, then you and I have had our last word, sorcerer."

With that, Scorpion left the armory. Any other soldier or general would have faced certain death for such traitorous behavior, but Quan Chi had other plans for the tormented Spectre. He watched Scorpion leave the room with an evil smirk on his lips, looking towards the future and Scorpion's fate.

Scorpion navigated the palace of Edenia and eventually made his way to the prison chamber by mistake. Once inside, the Tarkatan guard took immediate notice to Scorpion's presence and stood from his seat. "Are you supposed to be-" the guard's words were cut off by a hard right hook from Scorpion, one that knocked the guard out.

Afterwards, Scorpion simply stood over the limp Tarkatan and stared at nothing in particular with his head facing the floor. The prison chamber had many rooms, this being the first to venture to when entering the chamber. Scorpion's reason for being in there was unknown even to Scorpion himself. His mind was in a state of anger as well as shame. He wanted no part in this mindless struggle, but he could not leave just yet. If there was a chance for Scorpion to retain his mortal form, he needed to take advantage of it.

"Scorpion," whispered a female's voice from one of the cells.

Scorpion turned around to see a dark figure behind the bars of one of the cells. He walked towards the cell and finally made out the figure. It was Princess Kitana, the only prisoner in this room of the prison chamber. When Scorpion finally got a good look at the captive, he turned his head away. She wore no mask over her face, revealing her near perfect beautiful features.

Kitana finally spoke, breaking the awkward silence with her angelic Edenian accent.

"When I heard about what you did for Liu Kang and the others at Shao Kahn's palace, I found it hard to believe that one warrior would be so bold as to hold off an entire garrison of soldiers in order to give the warriors of Earth more time to destroy the Emperor. I refused to believe it until I saw the dead bodies myself as we left the palace. You were celebrated as a hero after the end of the war. But now you have turned the tables on us. Why?"

Scorpion kept his sights away from the Princess. "My business with Quan Chi is outside of this war."

"And yet you invade my mother's palace and slaughter my people?"

Scorpion's shame brought him to turn completely around, facing opposite from her. "Unwanted terms to my service. I must obey him. He alone holds the keys to my mortality."

Kitana rested her hands on the bars in front of her. "But at what cost, Scorpion? Do you really think that your soul will find peace once your services have expired with that sorcerer? You may be free from the Netherealm, but as your guilt burns in you now, so shall it be when you retain your mortality. Your actions on Kahn's palace alone make you worthy of nobility. Don't stray away from that."

Scorpion gave no response to her. He lowered his head as the guilt in him intensified. Though his back was turned, Kitana could sense Scorpion's torment. She pitied him. She knew all too well about the guilt of wrong doings, for she was responsible for the deaths of hundreds, if not thousands, during her time spent serving as Shao Kahn's assassin, thinking she was doing her apparent father's bidding. That alone kept her from hating the Hellspawn Spectre for invading her people.

After a long moment of silence, Kitana finally spoke. "Whatever you choose in the future, Scorpion, I wish you well. Though I wish you would have come to your noble senses when Quan Chi made whatever offer with you, I still respect you as a great warrior. Good luck, Scorpion, on all your journeys."

Scorpion finally turned around to face the Princess. He stepped towards the cell and stared into her beautiful eyes.

"I was once told that you have escaped prison cells like this one in the past. For your sake, I hope you still have your skills in check. Your fans should be located in one of the weapons shelves behind the table here. Once you escape, leave this place and warn your friends as fast as you can. Quan Chi is planning an ambush on the Shaolin monk, Liu Kang. I can not say when or where, all I can tell you is you are the intended bait."

Kitana let out a slight smile. Perhaps there was still hope in the Spectre after all. Scorpion turned towards the door of the cell and headed that way. Before he opened the door, however, he halted his steps.

"Last word, my Lady. If you fail to warn your friends in time, don't bother asking me to come to your aid. I am to be involve in the ambush, and I will kill the monk if the opportunity presents itself to me. I still have my own battles to fight, and I have not the time to get involved in this war anymore than I need to be to insure my freedom. Good-bye, Princess Kitana."

With that, Scorpion left the cell room as the guard slowly began to wake up. Kitana waited patiently for the guard to approach her cell. Her resolve was strengthened a thousand fold. She rested her hands on the bars and waited for the right time to strike.

Chapter 16: Ambush

A day passed since Scorpion's last meeting with Quan Chi. Since that time, word spread about Kitana's escape from her cell. In Earth Realm, Liu Kang had heard of Kitana's capture and was instructed by Lord Raiden to rally up the warriors of Earth Realm and prepare for battle in Edenia. With Liu Kang on his way to come to Kitana's aid, Quan Chi and Shinnok made haste in their plans, but to Kitana's dismay, her escape was the key to the sorcerer's plans. And so it was that Quan Chi sent his leading generals; Reptile, Baraka, Reiko, Noob Saibot, Mileena, and Scorpion, to follow Kitana and trap her in an unknown Edenian cave.

The mission was simple: Halt Kitana's pursuit and contain her in the caves and wait for Tanya to bring Liu Kang to them. Once Liu was inside, the generals ambush him and do not stop their attack until the monk perished. Unknown to the generals, Quan Chi was already there to witness Earth Realm's greatest warrior fall to his demise.

"Follow me, Liu Kang," said Tanya. "Kitana is waiting for you." Kang followed Tanya through the caves in a running pursuit. "What about the others," asked Liu.

"Raiden has something special planned for them," was all Tanya responded.

Tanya began to quicken her pace, leaving Liu behind to catch up. Finally, Liu found himself in a large chamber lit with torches hanging from the walls with no sign of Tanya. Liu looked around for her in the large chamber but found no trace of her.

"Tanya," shouted Liu. "What's going on? Where are you?"

Liu turned around at the sound of a woman's laughter behind him. He saw Tanya there, laughing hysterically with an evil grin.

"You are pathetically predictable, Liu Kang. I don't know what Kitana saw in you. Can't you comprehend that I have lead you into a trap?"

"What," said Liu as he turned around to see Quan Chi and Shinnok materialize with Kitana's hands and legs tied together. Shinnok levitated in the air while Quan Chi stood next to Kitana with an evil smirk.

"Welcome, Shaolin monk," said Quan Chi as he grabbed Kitana's long black hair.

"Let her go, sorcerer," demanded Liu as he clenched his fists.

"Liu, get out of here," pleaded Kitana as she struggled to free herself from Quan Chi's grasp. "Save yourself!"

Liu stood in his near unbeatable fighter's stance and stared into the cold eyes of Quan Chi. "I'm not leaving you here, Kitana!"

Quan Chi chuckled and let go of Kitana's hair. "How touching."

Quan Chi clapped his hands twice. Slowly emerging from the darkness were the evil sorcerer's generals. They surrounded him and waited for the order to attack. Liu caught a glimpse of Scorpion and was astounded to see him there. He kept his guard up nonetheless as Reptile and Baraka began hissing at him. Mileena laughed at Kitana as the Edenian Princess pleaded for Liu to leave.

"ATTACK," shouted Quan Chi.

Baraka was the first to attack, extending his arm blades and lunging at Kang head on. Liu bent his body backwards and performed a back flip, dodging the blades and connecting his feet with the Tarkatan's chin. Reptile and Mileena made the next move as Kang landed on his feet. Reptile spat acid at Liu while Mileena drew out her sai. Liu ducked under the acid spit and lobbed a fiery projectile at Mileena before she had a chance to charge him. The fire ball knocked Mileena to the ground and forced her to drop her weapons.

Reptile and Reiko attacked from opposite sides, Reiko performing a jump kick while Reptile lunged at Kang's midsection with his fist. Liu rolled out of the way of the attackers but suffered a powerful uppercut from Scorpion. The blow sent Liu staggering back a few paces and Scorpion walked towards the Shaolin monk. Once Liu regained his footing, he blocked three punches from Scorpion and countered with a well placed roundhouse kick, followed by a back hand strike to the chin of Reiko. Reptile approached Liu from behind and sliced at the monk's back with his sharp claws.

Before Liu had time to react, Noob Saibot made his first attack by leaping high into the air and disappearing from sight, only to reappear again from the ground to grab Liu and slam him into the rocky surface. Noob Saibot quickly mounted the monk and pounded away at his face with his black fists at blinding speeds. Liu halted the Wraith's assault by launching a fire ball at the chest of Noob Saibot. The flaming projectile sent Noob Saibot high into the air and allowed Liu to spring up to his feet, only to receive a hard right hook from the fist of Reiko.

Liu responded with a right hook of his own to Reiko's chin. As Reiko began to fall to the ground, Liu placed a strong kick on the silent warrior's face, sending Reiko flying in the air. Reptile charged at Liu head on with his claws ready to deal out punishment. Kang responded by running towards him and launching his body through the air with both of his feet upfront, rapidly kicking Reptile's face and chest in a bicycle-like motion. The final kick sent Reptile crashing into the rocky wall behind him while Liu performed a back flip and landed safely on his feet. To the monk's dismay, he would not see a flying sai coming at him from the hand of Mileena.

The blade punctured Kang's arm and went straight through with the edge sticking out of his bicep. This kept him from evading another sai thrown at his thigh. Kang fell to his knees and removed both weapons, shouting out at the pain he felt as blood began to ooze out of the wounds. Mileena curled herself into a ball and rolled her way towards Liu at high speed, causing the monk to fall on his back. In a twisting motion, Liu sprang up to his good leg and managed to block a punch from Scorpion. Liu countered with a knee strike on Scorpion's chest and backed away until he suffered the arm blade of Baraka digging into the back of his shoulder. Kang performed a powerful back kick to relieve himself of the menace behind him and brought the Tarkatan to his back with a roundhouse kick.

Suddenly, Scorpion materialized from Kang's left and flew through the air with his fist extended outward. The punch sent Kang to his knee, only to be brought back to his feet again by a surprise uppercut from Reptile. Baraka approached from behind as Kang staggered, waiting to impale the weakened monk with his arm blade. To Baraka's dismay, Liu bent his body back with his fists extended towards the Tarkatan's midsection and his left foot out for balance. The blow of the fists sent Baraka crashing through a wall, allowing Kang to regain his footing.

Liu danced his feet back and forth as Scorpion and Reiko approached from the front. Scorpion attacked first with his flaming back flip maneuver. Kang performed a back handspring and countered Scorpion's move with a cartwheel flip, connecting his feet with Scorpion's head, followed by a powerful uppercut to the chin of the Spectre. Instead of charging Kang head on, Reiko threw three shuriken at the chest of Kang. Liu dodged the sharp projectiles but left himself open to a devastating flip kick from the mysterious warrior. The kick did not cause Kang to fall to the ground, but it did cause him to stagger and suffer a right hook from the fist of Mileena. The deformed clone then removed her mask and pounced on Kang's back, sinking her sharp teeth into his shoulder.

Kang grasped at Mileena's long hair and flung her over his head, sending her tumbling into Baraka. Liu was once again caught off guard by one of Reptile's Force Balls from behind. As Liu was sent flying through the air, Noob Saibot launched a ghostly projectile at the monk, one of which wrapped itself around Kang's body and forbid any movement from the monk's chest to his feet. Kang's limp body fell to the ground as Noob Saibot slowly approached the vulnerable warrior. Suddenly, Kang's arms became engulfed by fire as he somehow managed to spring himself to his feet. Kang then launched two fire balls at Noob Saibot, both of which connected with the Wraith's chest and sent him flying across the chamber until he landed on Reptile.

Liu performed a charging side kick to the midsection of Reiko. The silent fighter flew through the air from the impact of the kick and rammed into a rocky wall. Approaching from Kang's left were Baraka and Mileena. Kang halted their pursuit by lobbing a powerful fire ball at Mileena and then running towards Baraka. He then leapt in the air and launched himself towards Baraka, performing his ever famous Flying Kick. With the Tarkatan general down, all that remained was Scorpion.

To Liu's misfortune, Scorpion threw his Kunai into the collar bone of the monk, causing the mighty warrior's adrenalin to diminish. Scorpion then grasped at the rope attached to his weapon and pulled Liu Kang towards him. Once Kang was within range, Scorpion caught Liu by his neck and held him above the ground. The Hellspawn Spectre removed the Kunai and landed three hard punches on the gut of Kang, followed by a head butt to the monk's face. Scorpion then set Liu down on his feet and let go of his neck. Liu fell to his knees and suffered a massive left hook before he finally went down for good.

Shinnok laughed with victory while Quan Chi let go of Kitana's long hair to clap his hands, applauding Scorpion's success in Liu Kang's defeat. Liu Kang, with what little strength he had, desperately tried to crawl towards Kitana. Blood from his wounds stained the rocky surface as he crawled. Kitana's eyes were flooded with tears as she watched. She was devastated to see Liu in this state, especially with the inability to come to his aid. She laid on her side, struggling to be free of the wire cabling wrapped around her wrists and ankles. Scorpion halted Liu's crawling by grabbing the hair above his red head band and lifting him up to his knees.

"Very good, Spectre," said Quan Chi. "Now finish him."

Liu reached for Kitana with his wounded arm. "I'm…. I'm sorry… Kitana… I… I failed you…"

Kitana cried for her beloved warrior. "Liu no! I can't lose you!"

Scorpion witness the sadness that pained Kitana. He alternated between looking at Liu Kang and Kitana, releasing what he had done. The sadness that filled Kitana's eyes with tears, as well as Liu's devotion to defend her, was proof enough to see that they cared for each other. Scorpion was about to take the life of someone who loved him. He knew all too well of the pain felt over the loss of his wife and child, and he could not put himself to destroy this man's life.

"FINISH HIM," demanded Quan Chi.

With his Kunai in hand, all he had to do was slit Liu's throat. Doing so would grant him the right to once again live a mortal life, as well as seek out and complete his vengeance once and for all. But at what cost? He would have to take away something that another values above all other things. The love between Kitana and Liu Kang was more than Scorpion could bare. He was not willing to let someone else suffer the pain he already had. His mind made up, he let go of Liu Kang's hair and prepared to throw his Kunai at Quan Chi.

Suddenly, a flash of light illuminated the chamber as an unknown force sent Scorpion flying across the cave. All the other generals tumbled to the ground as Quan Chi and Shinnok shielded their eyes from the light. Bolts of lightning emerged from the brightness and the God of Thunder, Raiden, materialized over the weakened body of Liu Kang. Raiden stood tall with his staff in hand as he lifted Liu onto his godly shoulder.

"YOU," shouted Shinnok.

"Enjoy your victory while it lasts, Shinnok," said Raiden. "You will pay for your crimes against the Elder Gods, as well as the lives of millions of innocents!"

With that, another bolt of lightning emerged as Raiden disappeared from sight with Liu Kang. Scorpion stood up from the ground as Quan Chi cursed at Raiden. Suddenly, a giant skeleton hand emerged from the ground and grasped Scorpion's body. Quan Chi and Shinnok approached the trapped Spectre with rage in their eyes.

"INFIDEL," shouted Shinnok.

"You insolent whelp," spat Quan Chi. "I offer you resurrection and you repay me with hesitation? You should be strung up like a pig! Your incompetence will cost you your life!"

Unbeknownst to Shinnok and Quan Chi, Scorpion still had his Kunai in hand. "I haven't a life to give!"

Scorpion managed to cut through the bony mass and teleported from Quan Chi's sight. Scorpion reappeared next to Kitana and lifted her onto his shoulder. Quan Chi launched a horrifying projectile that took the shape of a green skull from his hands. Scorpion teleported just in time to evade the awful projectile, leaving the skull to literally chomp its way though the rock in its path.

"He is gone," said Shinnok. "He will bring the warriors of Earth Realm their beloved Edenian Princess and join them in the fight against us. Time is running out and we must act quickly."

Quan Chi folded his arms and said, "I do not think Scorpion will take the Princess to the warriors of Earth Realm. Most likely he will leave her somewhere close by and go elsewhere. The chance he took in saving Kitana's life is an unexpected form of behavior in Scorpion, but he nonetheless has other plans to tend to."

"You think he will still seek out Sub-Zero?"

"I would bet my life on it. What I showed him would shatter the mind of a mere mortal. He will find Sub-Zero and crush him. I will find the Spectre and send him back to the Netherealm once his task is done."

"Very well, Quan Chi. Do not return without the head of Sub-Zero in your grasp, for if you fail me again, you will die for your useless faith in your own creation."

"Understood, my Lord Shinnok."

Quan Chi left the chamber in search for the Spectre while Shinnok disciplined the generals for their failure. The fallen Elder God spared their lives, but not without punishment.

Chapter 17: Final Quest For Revenge

Scorpion teleported to the top of the mountain where the ambush of Liu Kang took place. Kitana remained on the Spectre's shoulder with her hands and feet tied together. Scorpion studied the area to make sure it was safe. Satisfied, he gently placed Kitana on the rocky surface and cut the wire cable with his Kunai.

Once Kitana was free, she wiped away the tears in her eyes and gazed upon Scorpion as the Spectre looked towards the far away horizon. She stood up on her feet and approached Scorpion.

"Why, Scorpion," questioned Kitana. "Why risk your life for two people you hardly know? Quan Chi and Shinnok will be looking for you. They will hunt you down until you are sent to the Netherealm."

Scorpion kept his sights away from her. "I know all too well the pains of losing someone I hold dear to me. I will not let such a tragedy happen to another if I have the power to stop it. I have redeemed myself of the crimes against your people, but now I have other business to attend to. Can you find your way from here?"

Kitana looked around for a moment before saying, "I suppose. I have a knack for finding my own way."

"Then leave me now. I still have a score to settle and I must do it alone."

Kitana nodded and turned away. Before she started walking, however, she turned around once more to face Scorpion. "For what it's worth, Scorpion, I thank you for your bravery. I wish you luck on all your journeys."

With that, Kitana walked away. Scorpion's resolve was strengthened a thousand fold. He now had the ability to search his clan's murderer on his own terms. He put aside his hopes for being resurrected as a mortal and gave pursuit to Sub-Zero, knowing that his soul would never rest until the Lin Kuei was dead.

Sub-Zero separated himself from the group unintentionally and found himself in a massive underground chamber. The layer was built of rock and reminded him of a sewer. With only torches to light the many rooms, he journeyed through the chamber slowly and cautiously, awaiting any creature that dared attacked him. Sub-Zero searched the area for hours with nothing in sight, with the exceptional skeleton resting against the walls. No signs of life were present, not even behind the metal bars of what appeared to be prison cells. He began to unleash minor ice blasts on the walls so that he could find his way around. Unknown to the Lin Kuei, someone was following his marks of ice.

Sub-Zero found himself in the largest room of the chamber. It was composed of the same structure as the rest of the underground layer, built with rock and metal bars with five torches hanging from the walls. There were four exits in the room. Finding no need to search the place any further, Sub-Zero chose the exit from which he came so that he could follow his ice marks out of the chamber.

Suddenly, a lone figure came out of the darkness in front of Sub-Zero, blocking the way out. Sub-Zero immediately stood in his fighter's stance and waited for the figure to come closer. Finally, Sub-Zero was able to make out who was approaching him.

"Scorpion," said Sub-Zero as he relaxed his posture. "What are you doing here?"

The Spectre gave no response. He simply halted his pace and stared into the eyes of Sub-Zero. The Lin Kuei couldn't help but noticed that Scorpion's Kunai was in hand and the Spectre's grip was tight.

"Why are you armed, Scorpion?"

Scorpion started to bob his head in different directions. "It is time for you to account for your crimes, murderer."

Sub-Zero narrowed his eyes. "What crimes do you speak of, Scorpion. I have committed no crimes against you."

Scorpion snarled at the confused Lin Kuei. "Like your brother before you, you depend on petty words to save your retched hide. Your brother paid with his life for taking my own, and now you will pay with your own for my clan's massacre!"

Sub-Zero was astounded by Scorpion's accusations. "I was involved in no such massacre! What has that sorcerer told you?"

"Words will not save you, coward!"

Sub-Zero stood in his fighter's stance and charged his Fa Jing, covering his forearms with ice. "I am not a coward, Scorpion! If it's a fight you seek then lay on your attack, but I tell you now your accusations are false!"

Scorpion lunged at Sub-Zero with his Kunai drawn. Sub-Zero responded with an ice blast but hit nothing as Scorpion vanished from sight. Scorpion reappeared from Sub-Zero's left and flew through the air until his fist collided with Sub-Zero's face. The blow caused the Lin Kuei to flinch and brought him to his knees. Sub-Zero blocked two kicks from Scorpion and countered with an elbow strike to the Spectre's gut, followed by a spinning back fist. Sub-Zero ended the combo with a vertical chop followed by a side kick. Scorpion staggered back a few paces and snarled at his enemy. Sub-Zero gestured with his hand for Scorpion to come closer.

Scorpion charged at Sub-Zero and performed a jump kick, one of which the Lin Kuei ducked under. Scorpion quickly turned around with a spinning roundhouse, of which collided with Sub-Zero's shoulder. Sub-Zero staggered back and responded with an ice blast before Scorpion could land a right cross punch. Sub-Zero shattered the ice that covered the Spectre with a jump kick and sent Scorpion tumbling to the ground.

Scorpion sprung himself up with a back handspring and performed his flaming back flip. The blow sent Sub-Zero flying through the air, but the Lin Kuei was able to perform a back flip and land on his feet. Sub-Zero performed a sliding shoulder thrust, but Scorpion managed to side flip out of the way. Sub-Zero failed to block a right hook from Scorpion but managed to block a left uppercut and countered with a back fist. Scorpion responded with another right hook followed by a kick to the side. Scorpion then landed three alternating punches to Sub-Zero's face and sent the Lin Kuei to the ground.

The final punch crushed Sub-Zero's mask and broke his nose. Sub-Zero removed his damaged mask and spat the blood that slipped into his mouth. He sprung up to his feet and performed his sliding sweep maneuver, leaving behind a trail of ice on the rocky surface. Scorpion countered with a spinning foot sweep and collided with Sub-Zero's extended foot, knocking the Lin Kuei to the ground. Scorpion grabbed Sub-Zero's throat and lifted him above the ground. Sub-Zero grabbed Scorpion's arm and charged his ice powers. Scorpion shouted at the freezing pain he felt in his arm but tightened his grip nonetheless.

With little air left in his lungs, Sub-Zero made one final attempt to free himself from Scorpion's grasp. He swung his legs upward and wrapped them around Scorpion's neck. When Scorpion's grip loosened, Sub-Zero let his body drop down and used his legs to fling Scorpion into the air.

Sub-Zero landed on his knees and held on to his throat as he gasped for air. Scorpion's body flipped around until he landed his chest on the rocky surface. Scorpion slowly stood from the ground and faced Sub-Zero. The weakened Lin Kuei slowly stood up and waited for Scorpion to make the next move.

Scorpion charged at Sub-Zero and performed a jump kick. Sub-Zero performed a back flip and left behind a frozen likeness of himself. Scorpion shattered the ice clone and suffered a strong right hook from Sub-Zero, followed by a knee strike to the gut. Sub-Zero continued the combo with an elbow strike to Scorpion's chest, followed by a head butt to the face and ending with a side kick to the chest.

Scorpion fell to the ground, giving Sub-Zero the chance to charge a deadly ice blast. Scorpion sprung himself to his feet as Sub-Zero launched the powerful ice blast. The projectile was halted as Scorpion summoned a thick, flaming wall from the ground. As the ice blast melted from the flames, Scorpion gestured his arms upward once more and summoned his Hell Fire to burn Sub-Zero. The flames engulfed the Lin Kuei and caused him to fall to the ground and roll about the rocky surface, trying desperately to extinguish the flames as he screamed at the burning agony he suffered.

Scorpion drew out his Kunai and waited for the right time to strike. Sub-Zero finally relieved himself from the flames and slowly rose up to his knees. Scorpion threw his weapon at Sub-Zero, the blade whistling its way towards the Lin Kuei until it punctured his abdomen. Sub-Zero gave out only a gasp as the blade impaled him. Scorpion pulled the rope attached to the weapon and brought the weakened warrior towards him.

Scorpion caught Sub-Zero by his throat and removed the blade. The Spectre planted a massive uppercut on the chin of Sub-Zero, of which sent the Lin Kuei fifteen feet into the air. Sub-Zero landed hard on his back, unable to move from the pain he felt in his gut. Scorpion slowly approached the defeated warrior and stood over him.

"The time has come for you to receive your just punishment, murderer. You, like your brother before you, are the source of my everlasting misery. And now, by defeating you Sub-Zero, I have avenged the massacre of my family and clan. With your death, my soul can finally rest."

Scorpion grasped at the edge of his mask, preparing to kill Sub-Zero in the same fashion as his older brother. Sub-Zero slowly turned to his side while holding on to the wound in his gut, facing away from Scorpion. The Spectre removed his hand from his mask and kicked Sub-Zero's chest, forcing him to face his death.

"Don't you dare turn your back to me! I will look into your eyes as you burn to ash!"

Despite the pain he was in, Sub-Zero began to chuckle quietly. Such behavior enraged Scorpion and drove the Spectre to grab Sub-Zero's blue over mantle.

"You disgrace the memory of my dead relatives! Be silent!"

Sub-Zero's laughter diminished as he gave Scorpion a look of sincerity. "Your soul will never rest, Scorpion," choked Sub-Zero as blood oozed out of his mouth. "The Lin Kuei, my brother, may have been responsible for your murder, but your family's true killer still remains free."

Scorpion punched Sub-Zero in the face and let go of the over mantle. The Spectre turned away from Sub-Zero as the Lin Kuei lifted his head up to look at Scorpion.

"I know nothing of your past," began Sub-Zero. "But my death will turn you into the very thing you despise: A murderer. You saw mercy in me in the Outworld tournament, Scorpion. Do not let Quan Chi's deception cloud your instincts. That sorcerer has turned you into something you are not, but it's not too late to keep your honor intact…"

Sub-Zero fainted from the blood loss. Scorpion turned around to face the unconscious Lin Kuei. He did not know whether or not Sub-Zero spoke the truth, but part of what he said was right. Quan Chi did lure Scorpion into doing things he would never do. The confusion in Scorpion kept him from finishing Sub-Zero.

"But if you are not the killer, then who is?"

"I am the one you seek," spoke a voice behind Scorpion.

The Hellspawn Spectre quickly turned around to see none other than Quan Chi standing there with his evil smirk.

"Quan Chi?"

"Yes, Scorpion. I am the one responsible for your clan's murder. Upon your failure at the Shaolin Temple before your birth as a Hellspawn, I upheld my promise to the Lin Kuei to destroy every last remnant of the Shirai Ryu. I was also the one who personally disposed of your wife and child, serving my own needs while dealing with your wife."

Scorpion's blood boiled with rage. "You… made me FIGHT HIM?"

Quan Chi laughed at Scorpion's outrage. "Do not act so surprised, my beloved creation. It was I who guided you to the knowledge of your power. With your thirst for vengeance and your resolve strengthened through torment, I was able to use your talents to my advantage. To defeat my nemesis, Sub-Zero, I needed the power of a Spectre. You have done my bidding well, Scorpion, but now I must return you to the Netherealm."

Quan Chi extended his hand towards Scorpion and began chanting the words of a spell. Scorpion fell to his knees as a white light engulfed his body. He felt his arms go numb as the spell took its toll. Scorpion glanced over to Sub-Zero, who woke up from his unconscious state. Sub-Zero crawl his way towards Quan Chi and unleashed a minor ice blast with what little energy he had left in him. The blast did no damage to the sorcerer but provided Scorpion the opportunity to charge Quan Chi head on.

"NEVER," shouted Scorpion as he lunged towards Quan Chi and grabbed the pale sorcerer's shoulders.

Upon contact, the light that illuminated Scorpion spread throughout Quan Chi's body. Both vanished in the blink of an eye, leaving Sub-Zero alone in his weakened state. Suddenly, a harsh gust of wind blew in the massive chamber and materialized the mighty God of Wind Fujin. The mighty God stood tall with long white hair and was garbed in purple and green clothing. Fujin lifted the weakened Lin Kuei and healed his wounds as they flew through the air out of the chamber.

Scorpion and Quan Chi fell through a flaming worm hole at high speed. Scorpion kept a firm grip on the sorcerer and threw punch after punch. Though Quan Chi fought back and gained the upper hand in the falling duel, he could not escape Scorpion's grasp. The two fought furiously as they fell for what seemed like an eternity.

At last, they fell through the end of the wormhole and landed on the red, rocky surface below them. The two tumbled over each other, causing Scorpion to let go of the sorcerer. Once Quan Chi's tumbling came to a halt, he slowly stood to his feet and studied the area around him. The unbearably high temperatures caused the sorcerer to sweat, and the scent of sulfur and brimstone caused his nostrils to cringe.

Scorpion slowly began to rise up to his feet with his back turned to the sorcerer. Quan Chi watched as Scorpion turned around with rage in the Spectre's glowing white eyes. Quan Chi unleashed a grotesque flying skull towards Scorpion. The green projectile bounced off of Scorpion's chest and appeared to have done no damage to the Spectre.

"No," said Quan Chi in disbelief. The projectile was supposed to rip Scorpion's entire torso to pieces. It was then the sorcerer realized where he was. He was trapped in the Fifth Plane of the Netherealm, a place where the sorcerer's powers would weaken and a Spectre's abilities would grow in strength.

Scorpion removed his mask to reveal a man's skull. The eye sockets shined with fire as Scorpion stared into the horrified eyes of Quan Chi.

"Welcome, sorcerer," spoke Scorpion. "Welcome to my domain!"

"NNNOOOOOOOOOOO," shouted Quan Chi.

Scorpion silenced the sorcerer's cries by throwing his Kunai. The blade whistled its way towards Quan Chi until it punctured his chest.


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