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Chapter 8

While the crowd was still in shock, Bison stood up and said, "Ryu and Sub-Zero."
Scorpion, who was walking silently to his room, stopped cold when he heard Sub-Zero's name. Though Scorpion rarely talked, or even thought, seeing or hearing of Sub-Zero brought one thought to his mind and lips. "revenge." He whispered to himself.

On the stage, Ryu and Sub-Zero were circling each other, looking for an opportunity to strike. Suddenly Ryu saw Sub-Zero's eyes narrow. That was all the sign he needed to anticipate attack. Sub-Zero tried to punch Ryu, and Ryu moved to block it. He didn't realize until it was too late that the punch was a feint. Sub-Zero snapped his arm back into place and sent a low side kick at Ryu's kneecap that toppled him. Ryu rolled as he hit the ground, and got back up into his stance. He looked for Sub-Zero, but couldn't see him anywhere. Then he felt two arms lock around his neck in a choke-submission hold.
He grabbed one of Sub-Zero's arms and pulled downwards, flipping him into the air. Sub-Zero twirled expertly and landed on his feet. As soon as he did, he launched himself back into the air, flying in an arc towards Ryu. At just the right time, when Sub-Zero was directly over him, Ryu attacked. "SHIN-RYUKEN!!" he shouted, jumping and uppercutting Sub-Zero many times in the air. Sub-Zero twirled again, and landed on his feet a little akwardly. He immediately cupped his hands together in front of his chest, and a swirling ball of ice hovered between his hands.
Scorpion, who was watching the fight, felt rage burn inside him. He remembered when Sub-Zero used this technique on him, ending his life. Ryu put his hands at his side, palms facing each other, and blue flickers of energy flitted around his body, focusing on the space between his palms. As Sub-Zero wordlessly dropped to kneel and throw the ball of ice at Ryu, Ryu threw his hands forward and shouted, "SHINKU-HADOUKEN!!" A ball of fire flew from his hands, towards the ball of ice. They collided in an immense explosion, which blinded both fighters, and sent most of the crowd running away screaming.
When Ryu's vision cleared, he saw Sub-Zero standing shakily, his outfit in shreds. Ryu looked at himself and saw that he was in no better shape. They both just stood there, looking at each other. The crowd slowly returned with murmurs and mumbles. "what was that?" "....Some kind of explosion..." "...Cool!" The fighters glared at each other wordlessly, neither willing to give in to submission. Sub-Zero wobbled, and shot a foot out to try and keep his balance. The leg buckled, and he fell, unconscious. As the crowd cheered, Ryu fell and blacked out.

As Bison stood up to announce the next fight, he was silenced by Shang Tsung, who also stood. Tsung had an evil grin on his face as he spoke. "Honored guests, I have a bit of a surprise for you tonight. The next match will be fought not only for progression in the tournament, but for dominance in commanding dimensions. You see, our two combatants are very special indeed. Goro, Prince of the Shokan, and heir to the throne of the subterranean realm of outworld is one. The other..... is Rayden." upon hearing that name, the crowd started whispering and mumbling to each other. Shang Tsung smiled.
"No doubt most of you have heard of him. But for those who have not, Rayden is, simply put, the god of thunder." There was a faint crackling heard, and everyone present had the sensation that their hair was standing on end. The torches surrounding the arena blew out, leaving everyone in total darkness. The faint crackling grew into an ominous rumbling, and what seemed to be a small cyclone appeared in the center of the ring. Lightning was flickering around the cyclone centering in the middle. Suddenly the cyclone imploded into nothing, which was soon followed by a blinding flash of light. When the crowd regained their composure and sight, the torches were again lit, the storm was gone, and there was a man standing in its place. The man, dressed all in white, except for a black v-shape which ran down from his neck to his stomach, and a yellow, cymbal shaped straw hat.
Shang Tsung and Bison rose from their sitting position silently, then sank to their knees and bowed low. Tsung said, his head still down, "Lord Rayden, you bless my humble island with your honorable presence. I wish to thank you for participating in my tournament." Rayden nodded almost imperceptibly, and Shang Tsung and Bison rose, bowed again, and sat down. Rayden folded his arms across his chest, closed his eyes and waited. A faint, slow thud was heard by all, slowly getting louder. All eyes were turned to the direction of the noise. Goro came into view.

The creature named Goro was roughly ten feet tall, and monstrous. His dark yellow skin was covered in brown spots on his legs and shoulders, and his gigantic muscular form was covered only with a loin cloth. All of those details were not noticed however. The reason being, that Goro had four arms. Two of them connected to his body normally, if slightly higher, and the other two sprouted from his sides, between his hips and his ribs. Goro had a shaved head, save for the ponytail which grew from the top of his head, held in place by a silver ring. Goro reared his head, thrust his four arms back, and let out an incredible roar.
This was acknowledged by Rayden only by a slight raise of his head, and a quick glance toward Goro. Goro growled as he stomped towards the arena. He stood there, silently watching Rayden, confused. Goro spoke in a low, rumbling voice, surprising many in the audience who thought a beast like that couldn't speak. "So, the great Rayden comes down to the Earth realm from his high pedestal to fight a simple Shokan. When this fight is over, thunder god, you will be humbled and kneeling before me. And I! I will rule both the Sub-terranian Outworld and Earth realms!" Rayden opened his eyes and spoke in a hoarse, yet powerful voice. "To the contrary, foul creature, you will be humbled, and will be put to shame before your master, Shao Khan. And in the end, you will rule nothing, not even your own soul." Goro's eyes narrowed. "You shame the great master by speaking his name from your foul tongue?! You will pay for that breach of honor with your life!"
With that, Goro rushed forward, top arms outstretched, bottom arms bent at his sides, his hands balled into fists. As he reached Rayden, he brought his top arms together against both sides of Rayden's head, and his bottom arms thrust forward into Rayden's gut. But Rayden didn't feel a thing, because he was no longer there. The false image of Rayden flickered, and disappeared. Goro let out a low growl and stood up straight. He heard a soft chuckle from behind him.
"Goro, if you plan to inherit either realm, you will have to fight better than that."
Suddenly Goro spun on his heel and leaped up into the air. He landed where Rayden was but a second before. An almost imperceptible laugh escaped from the crowd, but a slight turn of Goro's head in that direction put it to a stop immediately. Goro turned back to Rayden. "Perhaps, O great thunder deity, were you to fight fair, this might be a more honorable encounter for us both."
Rayden smirked. "Is the great and fearsome Goro admitting his own shortcomings?"
Goro narrowed his eyes. "Hardly. I was merely suggesting we have a more impressive show for our gracious hosts." Goro gestured to Bison and Tsung.
Rayden sighed. "Very well." Rayden lowered himself into a fighting stance. The corners of Goro's mouth lifted slightly. He was about to attack, and he blinked to clear the sweat from his eyes. He felt a vicious side kick land square in his solar plexus. He stumbled backwards trying to regain his breath, but before he could, Rayden launched himself into the air and connected with a flying heel kick to Goro's head. Goro reeled and fell. As he slowly and shakily raised himself to his feet, Rayden said, "That kick would have taken any humans' head off. I am impressed." Goro suddenly sprang to life and punched Rayden with all four of his arms simultaneously. Rayden reeled, but didn't fall.
Goro smirked as he said, "That blow would have crushed half the bones in any humans body. I too, am impressed." Rayden responded by throwing a dash uppercut at Goro. He simply side-stepped the attack and sent Rayden flying with a two fisted backhand. Goro rushed towards Rayden's crumpled form. His body began to glow, and he appeared again, in the same spot, only standing. If not for momentum, Goro would have stopped before Rayden got a hold of him. Rayden grabbed Goro's top set of shoulders, and rolled onto his back. As he was still rolling, he kicked both legs up into Goro's stomach. He let go of his grip on Goro and sent him soaring. He would have flown out of the ring and disqualified, but he crashed into the ceiling and fell to the floor. His eyes were closed from the pain when he got up, and he shook his head to clear it. When he opened his eyes, he knew he had lost.
Rayden had his legs wide apart, with his hands clenched in fists at his side. Blue flickers of energy were dancing all over his body, and being absorbed. Without a word or sound, it stopped. Rayden threw his whole upper body forwards, his palms facing out. A giant bolt of lighting was seen for a split second before it was absorbed by Goro's body. A charred Goro fell to his knees, then to his face. Rayden frowned and began to walk away. He was almost off the stage when Goro slowly rose, his body still smoking from the attack.
"This fight is not yet over!!" he roared. Rayden turned on his heel to face him.
"Goro, take a look at yourself. You are burned, bloodied and you can hardly stand. You have lost."
Goro snarled. "These are but scratches. And I am only singed. It will take more than that to fell the prince of the Shokan!!" Goro raced toward Rayden, but stopped in his tracks when a loud voice boomed in the main hall. "GORO!!" The voice seemed to come from every direction. Goro grimaced and said, "Who dares....!" "You question Shao Khan?!"
Goro, Bison and Shang Tsung dropped to their knees and bowed, their heads to the floor. Rayden stood motionless, his arms crossed over his chest. Shao Khan continued. "Goro, you dishonor me with your performance today. Were you not needed for pressing matters in the outworld, rest assured I would kill you myself. It seems that what is left of the populace of Outworld has rallied together, and are causing a disturbance outside the tower. I would attend to it myself, but I am presently occupied with trying to open the portal to Earth. I will return you here within a few days. There are only a few hundred thousand, and I'm sure Motaro and yourself will be able to dispatch them within that time."
With that, Goro was surrounded by a purple glow. Before disappearing, he said,
"You have been granted a few more days of your deity status, Rayden. Enjoy them."
After Goro had disappeared, Bison sat back down in his chair, and Shang Tsung said, "Well, it has been a long day, and I'm sure you are all tired and hungry. Dinner will be served here promptly at nine o' clock."


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