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Disclaimer: T'aint mine: the characters and basic plot from the games belong to Ed Boon and Midway as well as New Line Cinema and all those folks who worked to make the most excellent movie Mortal Kombat. The only thing I own is what the characters do­because who else would come up with this whacky stuff, hmmm?

Mortal Kombat II
Chapter Two: Torched

"What the hell just happened?" Sam Blade roared, hugging his wife to him protectively as he glared at Johnny. "Where did my little princess go?"

Johnny felt like yelling, too, but refrained as Liu and Kitana ran toward him. Losing his cool and rushing into things had lead to trouble in the past­and he wasn't going to chance making things worse for Sonya by doing anything stupid.

"Kitana," he said, addressing the Outworld heiress. "What can you tell us about those goons who just stole my wife?"

Kitana gave Sonya's mother what she hoped to be a reassuring smile before she answered. "Kintaro was Goro's second and his cousin. When you defeated Goro he became leader of the Shokan army and honor bound to seek vengeance against you."

"Nice of someone to warn me about that..." Johnny frowned. "Well, that explains one, what about the other...the female?"

Kitana wrinkled her nose. "That was Sheeva, Goro's concubine. Kintaro also inherited her upon Goro's death."

"No wonder he's pissed." Johnny half joked in an attempt to keep himself calm.

General Blade pushed past Kitana and Liu and stood toe-to-toe with Johnny. "That doesn't explain what just happened to my little girl."

Johnny looked wearily at his new father-in-law and Jax. "It's what Sonya has been trying to tell you for the past three months-what you refused to listen to." He jerked his head toward the back of the church. "Those were Outworlders, like the ones we fought to keep the Earth safe from Shao Kahn." He looked pointedly at Jax, "Not the result of some drug-induced hallucination from trying to fit in at a Hollywood party."

"Kitana," Liu said, eying an anxious Jax. "I thought that by winning the Tournament they couldn't enter the realm without getting through Rayden first."

Kitana hung her head. "It is obvious that the Emperor has found a way to enter the realm, even without the aid of his sorcerer." She looked back up, her shoulders straightened. "I must return to Outworld and challenge Kahn, quickly before he becomes more powerful. I have followers who will help me overthrow him. We have been biding our time but we mustn't wait any longer."

Liu watched Kitana, concern on his face.

"I must do this Liu Kang. You have your destiny and I have mine." She turned to Johnny. "Do not worry, we will find Sonya and free her. I promise you." She walked toward the back of the church and turned once again to face them. As a portal formed behind her, she smiled at her companions, "Take care my friends." and then she was consumed by the writhing mass of energy.

* * *

Liu stepped off the small skiff onto the dock leading to the Shaolin Temple of Light in China. Followed by Major Briggs and Johnny, he proceeded toward the temple.

Johnny glanced behind him at Sonya's former boss, shaking his head slightly in dismay. Nothing Sonya said in three months could convince Jax to take the Outworld threat seriously. Now nothing Johnny said could keep the man from joining the Tournament to save Sonya.

Loyalty was one thing, but there was something to Jax's determination that unnerved Johnny. Sonya had never mentioned any romantic entanglements with her superior, but that didn't stop the feeling that Jax was after his wife.

"Do you smell something?" Jax asked suddenly, bring Johnny's thoughts back to China.

Johnny scrunched his nose as wasps of smoke rose from behind the stone walls where the Temple stood.

Recognizing the acrid smell of burning flesh, Liu ran toward the outer gates. The ornate fence that stood more as decoration than protection was warped beyond recognition and Liu's stomach clenched at memories of his brother's death at the hands of Shang Tsung only a year before.

"Grandfather!" he yelled, hoping against hope that his sole family member was still alive.

"Kang, look." Jax said, pointing off in the distance. A lone silhouette stood where once a hundred children had practiced Shaolin traditions. The figure knelt at the graves he had just finished digging, praying for their souls.

Sensing their approach he jumped into a fighting stance. His eyes were wild, like a frightened animal, until he recognized Liu and Johnny. "Honored Ones," he said, bowing in respect. "Outworlders attacked after you left and burned the Temple of Light. They killed the children along with the wise men. They fought with no honor."

Liu recognized him as Kung Lao, son of a wise man. "Were you here when they attacked?" Liu asked, slightly suspicious of how he'd survived.

"I was on the main land inquiring to the delay of our food supplies. When I returned last night, there was a messenger from Baraka declaring this a challenge to fight in a new Tournament." Lao looked mournfully at the smoldering ruins. "I believe we are honor bound to accept..."

A voice rolled around them like thunder. "Indeed you are."

"Rayden," Johnny said, recognizing the Earth protector's voice before actually seeing him.

The god of thunder materialized before them and gazed sadly at the temple. "This is not all that Shao Kahn has planned, I can feel it. Not even the death of the Sorcerer has weakened his resolve to take this realm, it has only strengthened him with anger. I don't know what he hopes to accomplish with this pseudo-Tournament, but there is a greater evil at work here."

"If what you say is true," Jax offered, "Then this is all a pretty elaborate trap just to off you guys."

Johnny glared at Jax. "Of course it's a trap." He looked at Rayden. "But I have to accept Kintaro's challenge. I've waited all my life for Sonya and there's no way I'm going to let some pompous immortal take her away."

Rayden spoke, forewarning in his voice. "The Emperor has left us no choice. The Outworld Tournament begins in two days. There will be no between realm; the Tournament will be held in the outskirts of Outworld where I can interfere least. You will have only each other to depend on." He looked at Johnny and Jax. "I mean that, you two. Behave."

With that, he disappeared.

* * *

Oh, who I wouldn't kill for some aspirin, Sonya thought as she slowly regained consciousness. She looked up at her shackled hands and frowned as she tested their strength. This may be close, but not quite how I'd planned to spend my honeymoon.

As Sonya mulled over her current condition, the two creatures who'd kidnapped her and ruined her wedding day entered the dungeon. The female listened intently to what Kintaro was saying. She then looked at Sonya and sneered. "You want to waste my talents on watching some human weakling while you go and avenge our great leader's death?"

"Silence, Sheeva." Kintaro said. "I expect for you to do as you are told. This human is our bait and must be watched in case our prey shows up early."

"As you wish, Kintaro." Sheeva said, bowing her head slightly.

"Hey, ugly," Sonya called out, putting as much defiance as she could muster into the insult while chained to a wall in a dank dungeon with two creatures easily twice her size. "Yeah, you, the bug guy. That's right. Would you care to tell me why over here all chained up while you talk about me over there?"

Kintaro pushed Sheeva aside and strode to stand in front of Sonya. "One year ago, Johnny Cage took unfair advantage of Prince Goro and defeated him in mortal kombat. Now, I, Kintaro, will exact vengeance against him."

Looking bored with his tirade, Sonya asked, "And kidnapping me improves your miserable existence how?"

"Impudent wench." Sheeva bellowed. "He is Kintaro and you will not speak to him as though you were his equal."

"Believe me, it would take quite a bit of digging to get down to your level."

Snarling, Sheeva lunged at Sonya only to be flung back by Kintaro. Looking at Sonya, Kintaro managed almost believable sincerity in his voice. "I warn you not to agitate Sheeva. She is more than willing to destroy you and would have done so during the Tournament last year if not for Shang Tsung's prejudices." He swept a cursory glance down and back up her body. "Not that I understood his feelings."

"I'll wipe the floor with your four-armed bed-warmer." Sonya glared at Sheeva. "Any time, any place."