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Part 18

Sonya and Johnny walked in to Jax's office, only to be met by a round of familiar faces. Sub-Zero stood by Jax and Rayden sat on the chair in front of Jax's desk. A small portal was hovering above the desk, and visible inside were the faces of Liu Kang and Kitana. Kitana, now no longer hiding her identity from anyone, no longer wore her face mask, allowing her realm to glance at her strikingly beautiful face once again. Liu was clearly happy to be by her side. After the brief reunion they got straight down to business.

"Okay, here's the situation." Jax began sitting at his desk. "In fact, Rayden I think you're better qualified to field this one."

"Okay, thankyou." Rayden stood to address his mortals. "When the elder gods rid us of Shinnok, he was sent to a realm known as Nether-realm. It is a hell dimension, were the souls of the damned are sent. It was here that he met an old enemy of Earth realm's. The sorcerer, Quan Chi. He has ruled there for many millennia. Somehow, the two have managed to find a portal to Edenia, and have taken Queen Sindel hostage, and demanding that control of the realm be turned over to Shinnok."

"Wait, how can they do that?" Sonya interrupted. "What's stopping the Elder gods from kicking his blue ass back to Nether-realm again?"

"I'm afraid the Elder gods have been captured aswell." Rayden replied, stunning the room.

"How?" Johnny asked in shock. After his death, his soul was allowed entry to the sacred victory hall of the Earth realm, where the Elder gods presided.

"With Shinnok's power it was possible. And Quan Chi is equally as dangerous. They lured them out and attacked with an army of undead souls from Nether-realm. Many gods were killed in the battle. Only one has escaped, and is willing to join us. His name is Fujin. He will join us in Edenia. "

"And I have another warrior to join aswell." Liu added. "Kai, a very skilled fighter from the White Lotus society. We met some time ago, and he has helped in training the new fighters for the tournament. He is already in Edenia, but couldn't make it here today as he is helping build the arenas for the coming tournament."

"Arenas?" Sonya asked. "We havenít fought on Arena's since the first tournament. After that, it kinda got a little less formal."

"Indeed." Rayden confirmed. "However this tournament will be returned to it's once, more orderly traditions. Shinnok favors them and has arranged for the arenas to be built all over the kingdom. This gives us a slight advantage, as we now know slightly what to expect. At least we will have the chance to prepare for upcoming battles, instead of simply fighting the first person we see."

"I have a question." Sub-Zero finally spoke. "When do we leave?"

"Right now." Rayden replied. "I will open a portal here, and we can leave."

The combatants, though a little surprised, stood and moved towards the back of the room as Rayden shut off the communicay with Edenia and prepared to open a portal. Sonya, however, remained standing there.

"Sonya, if you'd like to stand over there by the others." Rayden motioned to the three other fighters by Jax's desk.

"No." She replied flatly, staring him in the face. "I'm not going."

Everyone's faces lit up with shock. Even Johnny's. He didn't know what she was doing.

"Neither is Johnny." Sonya continued.

"Sonya you know that you must....." Rayden began.

"No Rayden. I don't want to hear it. We're not going. Not this time." She stood unwavering before the thunder god.

"Sonya..." Johnny stepped forward.

"My life," Sonya interrupted, "has just been returned to me. I finally have what I've wanted for about two and a half years, during which time my lover was brutally murdered before my eyes, I was forced to kill my twin brother, I made and lost friends like most people do meals, I watched my world be torn apart by an inter-dimensional warlord. And now that I have it back, you want me to risk it all, risk my life and the life of the man that I love, for a dimension that I don't even live in? I don't think so."

Everyone stared at her, shocked at the sudden outburst, but sympathetic to what she had gone through.

"Johnny, let's go." She said and turned for the door.

"No." He replied. She turned to look at him, her eyes slightly glazed with tears.

"Johnny please..." She begged quietly.

"Sonya," He walked towards her, "I came back from the dead, to help these people, our friends, fight for what they believe in. Their home. Now that I'm back I can't just, forget why I'm here in the first place and ignore this." He stood before her and held her arms as she looked up into his eyes, a tear running down her face.

"What about me?" She asked quietly. "I love you so much. I prayed that you would come back to me. I even prayed for my own death so we could be together." She pushed him away from her suddenly, and began to raise her voice, getting very emotional. "And I hate it! I hate that you have this power over me. I hate that I'm not strong enough to hold all this in and just fight. Five years ago that's exactly what I would have done. But now look at me. I'm a blubbering mess. When I think about losing you again, I feel like I could die. It's not fair that you can come marching back into my life and then force me to have to fight for it."

"Sonya, that's what we do. We have it in our power to protect and save an entire realm. Even our own. It would be wrong of us to ignore that just for our own happiness. It would go against everything we fought for since the first tournament, against everything that this very organization was started for. The Outworld Investigation Agency, it's what you do. It's your job. A job you love."

"That was before I had you. When we started this place I had nothing left to live for but the protection of Earth."

"And that's what we have a chance to do now."

"But I have you to live for now." She replied calming herself.

"And I you, Sonya. But...I'm going. I'm here to fight for Earth. To fight for you. And I'm going to do it. There is a chance that I might die, but if it meant keeping the world safe and protecting you then I would sell my soul to Quan Chi."

Sonya knew in her heart that he was right. She had all along, but she didn't like it. She knew she was being selfish and immature but a part of her didn't care. She managed to calm herself and allow some rational thought into her head, and knew what she had to do.

"Okay." She replied quietly. "I'll go." ************* A few moments later Sonya Blade, Johnny Cage, Rayden, Sub-Zero and Jax stepped through the portal into Edenia. It looked a lot different to what it had the last time they were there. Now where once was ruin, stood grand buildings, beautiful gardens and a sky even bluer than Earth's. It was magnificent. Liu and Kitana were waiting for them. Sonya went and hugged Kitana hello.

"What took you?" Kitana asked returning the hug. Sonya was about to answer when Rayden interrupted.

"We got held up." He smiled at Sonya. She knew that they would keep her little outburst a secret. She had been through so much it was the least they could do for her.

"I see you've redecorated." Johnny complemented Kitana on her new home.

"Actually the decorator just left." She smiled back. Kitana had spent a lot of time in Earth and was beginning to get their humor. After all the reacquainting, Kitana began to lead them to their quarters, pointing things out as they walked. There were absolutely amazing pieces of architecture everywhere, the fountain of Queen Sindel and the former King Jerrod, amazing plants and gardens. To Sonya, it was a paradise.

"I want to show you something special." Kitana said as she stopped before a door in the palace. It was a huge iron door with the dragon symbol stamped in the center. Kitana opened the door into the Warrior Shrine. Inside were statues of all the competitors who assisted in the downfall of Kahn, and the resurrection of Edenia. Kitana led Sonya over to her statue, while Johnny admired his.

"This is amazing." Sonya stared awestruck at her own face. "I can't believe you guys did this."

"We had to pay tribute to all of the warriors somehow. Now they will be remembered always."

Sonya held back tears, silently cursing herself for ever wanting to abandon this place for her own happiness. She turned to Kitana.

"I want you to know, that I will always fight for this realm and my own, for as long as I live." Sonya said solemnly.

"I know you will." Kitana smiled back. "Now come, let me show you your rooms." Kitana led them up a grand staircase to the sleeping quarters. Each had their own rooms, except Johnny and Sonya, who shared the largest suite, which overlooked the gardens.

"Where's your room?" Sonya asked Kitana.

"I am down the hall with Liu." Kitana answered and then realised what she had said. "I mean..."

"Kitana!" Sonya said dragging Kitana into the doorway for some answers. Johnny and Liu were outside, on the balcony, looking at the amazing view. "What are you saying?"

"We have begun a relationship." Kitana smiled.

"Congratulations." Sonya hugged her friend. "Since when..." Sonya began to ask but was suddenly knocked back by something. She hit the ground and looked up at her attacker. He was a mutant, like the warrior Baraka, but he was dressed differently. The mutant backhanded Kitana aswell, sending her over the hand rail of the second floor balcony of the lobby, and then slammed the door shut, locking Johnny and Liu on the other side. Sonya lept to her feet and began throwing punches at the mutant, but he was able to block every attack. Suddenly he stuck his arms up, blades jutting out. He threw a swing at Sonya but she ducked it. As she stood, she threw her left leg up and kicked him in the face, before spinning to her right twice and giving him an in to out crescent kick, knocking him to the ground. Sonya ran to the edge of the balcony and saw Kitana fighting two others in the lobby below. She was doing quite well, managing to evade their attacks and return with her own special brand of blows. Eventually she finished them off with her fans, leaving one in one of her attacker's chest, and decapitating the other. Sonya turned around and unlocked Johnny and Liu, who were pounding on the solid oak door to no avail. Liu immediately jumped over the edge and down to Kitana, while Johnny embraced Sonya.

"Are you okay? What happened?" Johnny asked quickly.

"We're fine." Sonya smiled and looked down at Kitana. "Who the hell were they?"

"Mutants. Terrorists. The last remaining warriors of Baraka's tribe. They feel that I am not a worthy leader, and wish to adopt one of their own as ruler of Edenia." Kitana explained. "That was yet another failed assassination attempt on the princess." She smiled as she and Liu walked up the stairs, back to their friends. Some guards appeared and took the bodies away, apologizing to Kitana for their absence in the fight. She merely bowed and instructed them to take the remaining warrior away for interrogation.

"I must apologize aswell." Kitana said to her friends. "I didn't mean to get you into any danger."

"Oh please, that's why we're hear." Sonya smiled and walked off with Kitana. They enjoyed a huge meal before going off to their rooms to rest for the coming days. As the next day was the first of the new tournament.