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Chapter 9

Shang Tsung's Dining chamber

If anyone were to walk into this chamber they would have fled in terror. Sitting at the huge dining table were the most evil, ruthless, and feared beings in the world. At opposite ends of the table sat M. Bison and Shang Tsung. Seated around the table were, Akuma, who was considered by any who met him and survived as the devil himself, Kano, leader of most organized (and un-organized) crime in North America, Kintaro, a creature of the same race as Goro, and Notaro. Notaro was a Centaur, and the brother of the famous and powerful Motaro. Shang Tsung spoke. "You, all of you here, gathered in my dining chamber, are, in your own respects, evil incarnate. My master, Shao Khan, has never before been this close to bridging the gap between Outworld and Earth. If we are to succeed, it is vital that any competitor with even a faint chance of victory be stamped out immediately. That is your purpose here. You are to seek out any threats, and work together to eliminate them. For those here that believe in it, honor is to be put aside, because nothing, absolutely nothing can get in our way. Are there any questions?" The room was silent. "Good. Go to your quarters and act as if nothing were out of the ordinary. Fight when called upon, attend meals. Once my master has taken over this realm, you will all be given..... how do you say? A piece of the pie." As they all shuffled out of the room, Shang Tsung stifled a smile. "Fools," he thought, " Their reward for helping my master will be the forfeit of their souls!"

Akuma walked silently back to his room. Akuma had no soul, he had given it up many years ago to the Raging Demon. In exchange, he did however gain power. For instance, the ability to read the thoughts of any mind as dark as his. If Akuma still had the ability to laugh, he would have been rolling on the floor when Shang Tsung unwittingly revealed his dark plan to Akuma's mind. But now Akuma was prepared. When Shang Tsung's master came, and took everyone's soul for his own, Akuma would be left untouched, and would surprise this Shao Khan, kill him, and seize power over Earth and Outworld!

Ryu's Room

Ryu lay down, but before he could close his eyes, Ken grabbed him by the shoulders and shook him as he said, "C'mon, Ryu! Wake up! It's dinner time!" Ryu sighed, but then remembered that dinner involved food and shot out of bed.

Ryu and Ken made their way into the main hall, which was littered with tables covered in food of every description. They sat at one and Ken sighed as Ryu began to eat like an animal. "Ryu, how can you eat like that with everything that's happening here?" "What do you mean?" "For instance the giant dragon man with four arms, or that guy made of lightning, or how about that face that appeared from nowhere? Don't you wonder what's going on?" Ryu looked at him for a moment, then returned to eating.

Half an hour later

Ryu finished his meal and walked away towards his room, hoping to catch some sleep. His hand was on the doorknob when someone flashed forward and grabbed Ryu from behind in a chokehold. It was over before it began. Ryu had kicked out his attacker's knee and elbowed him in the face, sending him crashing to the ground. Ryu was about to follow through when the man said, "Stop!" The man got up and Ryu recognized him from and earlier fight he had seen. Liu Kang. Liu held both hands out and said, "Stop! I was on my way to see you, and I thought someone was trying to get into your room! And with everything that's going on, I'm surprised they haven't already." Ryu relaxed a little, and said, "What do you want?" "We should talk inside." Liu said, gesturing to the door.

Ryu's Room

"And that's why I came to you..." Liu finished. "I knew that they would try to kill you because of your skills." Ryu looked at him for a while, as if trying to comprehend. "So, this Shao Kahn is going to cheat, and take Earth without winning the tournament?" Ryu said, looking puzzled. "Exactly." "So, what do we do?" "First, get others. Fighters of excellent skill, but also people you can trust. Then meet back here."

Half an hour later

They sat in Ryu's room, the last hope for the realm of Earth. There was, Ryu, Ken, Liu Kang, Jason, Sakura (because Ryu knew she would find out and follow them anyway),and Sub-Zero, the ice ninja that Ryu had fought earlier. Everyone was still reeling from the shock of what Liu had told them. Ken had his face in his hands, Sakura was crying into Jason's shoulder, and even Sub-Zero seemed a little nervous. "I don't think I have to tell you what happens if we fail." Liu said. "But in case you haven't figured it out, picture every ounce of life being literally sucked out of Earth. Nothing would survive. No plants or animals, the whole planet transformed into a barren wasteland. I say this not to scare you, but to stress how important this is." "But why only us?!" Sakura said between sobs. "Why can't we just get every fighter here to wipe that evil Kahn guy out?!" Sub-Zero looked up and said, "If Shang Tsung were alerted to the fact that we know of his master's plans, he would bring all of Kahn's forces down on us, killing every fighter here. After all, this whole tournament serves only as a distraction so the Gods of Earth do not learn of Kahn's plan. We must work quickly and subtly, so that no one is the wiser." Liu nodded in agreement. "So what's the plan?" Ken asked. "Shang Tsung has a small portal to Outworld in his chamber." Liu began. "He uses it for small movements of goods, troops and so on. If we can get through it, we could confront Shao Kahn in Outworld and stop him. It's a long shot, but it's our only option." "Alright," Ryu said, standing up, "let's do it."

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