Takeda dug his elbows into the dirt as he crawled through the the tall grass. As silent as a snake stalking its prey he maneuvered deeper into the grassy field. He came to a halt upon entering an especially over grown patch of grass. He put his chin to the dirt and listened to his environment. He couldn't hear much considering there wasn't that much to hear to begin with. He could hear the occasional scrapping of the grass rubbing together and the chipper of the insects singing to each other. As if on cue a large grasshopper flung itself onto Takeda's arm. He turned his attention to it and threw it an annoyed glare as if the grasshopper would understand his annoyance. Takeda shook his arm slightly to try and discourage the insect from staying any longer. If it had been any other time Takeda would not mind the little intrusion of personal space, but Takeda needed to concentrate. He brought his mouth to his arm and blew a gust of air causing the grasshopper to flee from its perch. Stupid bug...Takeda thought to himself. Still it could have been worse. If a scorpion had found its way up his arm there would have been much more commotion than a little shake of the arm and Takeda couldn't afford making noise; he wanted to stay hidden for as long as he could. He wondered how long he could stay where he was, could it go into the night? It was already close to dusk so he believed his chances to be pretty high. The thought made him smile, he would finally have bragging rights. He only needed to wait for that call of defeat then he would emerge victorious. He was jarred from his fantasy by a small voice yelling 'Ahha!' and pouncing on him.
"Oof!" Takeda grunted as he felt his face collide with the dirt.
"Haha! I found you Takeda!" The same voice chirped.
Takeda groaned and forced his way up so he was standing. He met the gray eyes of a petite girl with shoulder length hair the same color as his except pinned in it was a blue flower. She beaming smile at him. Takeda couldn't believe it, his twin sister, Mali, had found him.
He brushed himself off before giving a brooding frown, "How'd you find me?"
"You weren't very quiet." Mali replied still grinning.
"What! I was extra quiet this time! There's no way you could-except if..."
Mali grinning expression turned into surprise as Takeda spoke.
"You did! That's cheating Mail!" Takeda accused.
"No I didn't!" Mali exclaimed defending herself.
"Oh yeah! Then how'd you find me out here out of all the other places?" Takeda questioned crossing his arms.
"Easy! I was being very watchful and say a grasshopper jump out of that large patch of grass so I went to investigate." She claimed sticking her nose in the air.
"W-Well I let you find me because ya know I felt bad." Takeda grumbled.
"Face it Takeda you just stink at hide and seek." Mali laughed.
Takeda just turned his head away annoyed.
"Ah come on, you're just mad because this is the one thing I'm better at than you." Mali spoke putting her hands on her hips.
"But I'm the older brother! I'm supposed to be so I can be able to protect you." He grumbled stubbornly.
"Pff...Now you're just trying to make me feel bad." Mali said putting her hands on her hips.
"No I"m not I'm just saying what if we need to stay hidden and I-"
"Then I can protect you!" Mali said grinning.
Takeda turned his head away feeling color rising in his cheeks.
Mali laughed slightly and intertwined her arm with his. "I've got your back just like you got mine!" She stated reassuringly. "How about tomorrow I teach you some of my hide and seek tricks!" She offered with a smile.
"You mean cheats?" He joked.
"Pff, you're so stubborn Takeda. Would a game of tag cheer you up? You're really good at that game!"
"It could..." He shifted his eyes, "But...only if you are it first!" He gave her a friendly shove and dashed away from her.
"Hey!" She called after him before chasing him.
Takeda whipped past the tall grass quickly. "Come on Mali! You're getting slow!" She shouted turning his head back slightly.
Mali fumed and increased her pace. She could see herself getting closer to Takeda. She jumped towards him trying to tackle him but that ended with her face colliding with the ground.
"Ouch!" She cried.
Takeda stopped and turned around and upon seeing Mali sitting on the ground holding her nose he rushed to her side.
"Are you okay?" He questioned with concern filling his voice as he knelt besides her.
Mali rubbed her nose before smiling up at her brother. "Yeah! Just got some dirt up there."
"Let me see." Takeda more demanded than requested. He took her chin in his hand and examined her face careful not to hurt her. "Alright looks good."
"Told you..." Mali mumbled.
Takeda chuckled, "How am I supposed to believe you have my back?"
"Because I can fall over who ever tries anything!" Mali laughed.
"You keep telling yourself that." He said offering her a hand to which she gladly took.
"Takeda! Mali!" A woman's voice called in the distance. The twins both turned their attention to the direction to where the voice came from.
They could see an outline of a woman with dark hair wearing a light blue top and a long black skirt waving them down.
Takeda and Mali were quick to respond. They ran hastily towards the woman almost staggering into her.
She looked at them with her dark eyes, "There you two are. Oh my goodness you two are filthy-nevermind come on, time to come home." Her voice was of easiness but Mali could detect some shakiness lingering in her tone. Mali narrowed her eyes slightly and stared at the women.
"Mom, why are you scared? Who's coming?" Mali questioned carefully. Takeda, hearing Mali's words, looked to their mother concerned.
Her mother sharply turned her gaze towards Mali, "What?" She whispered before clearing her throat, "I'm not scared Mali. Just tired."
Their mother grabbed both Mali and Takeda by the hand and began guiding them home, "Come now, let's get you two home."
Their way back to their cozy home was a silent one. Mali could feel the sweat on her mother's palm when they walked back. She grew scared herself and it only worsened when they got back home and her mother ordered her to bathe then imminently go to bed. She had obeyed her mother's wished but Mali found herself laying on her side wide awake. She could barely hear the mumbling voices coming from the kitchen down the hall. Mali sat up a bit and looked to her brother's bed and wondered if he to was still awake.
"Takeda..." She whispered. No response.
"Psssst Takeda." She tried again. Still nothing.
"Takeda...!" She said louder but still he remained silent and unmoving.
A defeated sigh escaped her lips and she removed the covers so she could hop out of bed. She tip toed towards the door and opened it slowly. Stepping out she moved towards the source of the voices. One of the voices was definitely her mother's but others she couldn't put her finger on exactly who it was. She saw the kitchen light from behind the corner and quietly approached. She carefully peered around the corner and saw her mother sitting at the table with her hand on her forehead. Across from her was their neighbor Sukhon. Mali found this strange seeing as she had never really spoken to Sukhon, but she supposes it could be possible her and her mother where friends.
"Sukhon, This is what needs to be done. For the sake of-"
"Suchin what if this isn't true?"
"It is Sukhon. I need to get them out."
Sukhon opened her mouth to reply but stopped upon setting her eyes on Mali. Mali gasped and slouched her shoulders in shame.
Her mother turned and met Mali's eye. "Mali? What are you doing out of bed?"
"I-I'm sorry just...I-I'm..." Mali struggled to form words. Suchin went to comfort her shaking child.
"It's okay Mali, everything is going to be okay." Suchin took Mali by her small hand and brought her back to her room.
Suchin tucked her daughter into bed, "Mali i'm sorry for worrying you but I need you to go to sleep." She paused.
"...Can you stay with me until I fall asleep?" Mali asked quietly.
"Of course." Suchin replied with a soft smile.
Mali smiled in return and turned on her side closing her eyes. She was still confused and scared but those feelings were nothing compared to the comfort her mother was giving her by gently stroking her hair.
Mali's lip quivered as her mother fared her brother goodbye.
"It won't be long. This is just something I have to do okay?" Suchin said attempting to comfort the sobbing Mali.
Takeda put a hand on Mali's shoulder and looked away from their mother.
"Takeda..." She handed him a piece of paper, "You'll go to this address, okay?"
He didn't say anything just held his hand out to accept the small paper.
Suchin embraced her children tightly to which they desperately returned. "I love you both very much."
Mali could sense many things and it all hurt she was so confused and didn't want to leave to go to another mother slowly let them go and brought them to the driveway where their cab waited for them.
"You are both very strong and are capable of so many things. I'm so proud of you both." Suchin cried as she gave them one last hug. Mali did not like those words. They gave her the impression she was never going to see her mother again and that scared her.
A sense of overwhelming dread crept into bones which made her ache. She wanted to jump out of the cab and run back to her mother. Be safe in her arms and be reassured that everything truly is okay. But Mali knew nothing was okay. She could sense the worry and doom in her mother, Takeda was never able to but Mali could always sense. But Mali didn't want to tell Takeda what she sensed she didn't want to make him scared or sad. Takeda wrapped his arm around the crying Mali and held her tight. It gave her little comfort despite the fact of still having her brother, she still felt alone.
The drive had taken longer than Mali initially thought it would take. Takeda and herself were very tired but they clung onto consciousness.
Mali held onto her bag tightly as she was practically pushed into the foreign home she was to be staying in for the time being.
"Hey don't push her!" Takeda yelled at the cab driver her defense.
"Takeda it's okay. I'm moving too slow..." Mali squeaked grabbing Takeda's hand.
Takeda growled but stepped down staying close to Mali.
A man stepped out of the house with a friendly smile and greeted them, "Welcome Takeda and Mali." Mali peered up from the ground to look at the man his dark eyes were welcoming and his smile was sincere; still Mali was hesitant and moved her gaze back to the ground.
He approached them steadily, "You must be Takeda, my aren't you quite the little man." He man laughed, but Takeda shot him a glare and looked away from him. He turned towards Mali, "And you must Mali. What a beautiful flower in your hair. I have some of the same growing in my garden out back. You can take a look at them if you want." He offered kindly.
"T-Thank you khun..." She thanked him formally.
"You two look exhausted. Come let me show you to your rooms." He offered turning and holding the door open. Takeda held Mali's hand as they entered the house. Mali trusted Takeda to guide her to where they were going as she didn't want to take her gaze off the floor.
"If you two need anything just let me know. Don't be afraid to ask for anything." He spoke softly before leaving Takeda and Mali to themselves.
Mali sat on the small bed with her hands in her lap and the silence screamed in her ears which made her feel sick.
"It's going to be okay Mali." Takeda sat next to her. Mali knew his smile was forced. Takeda would always do that in situations like these. He'd comfort her and act strong for her despite his own feelings. However, Mali knew every time what he was feeling, but no matter what he always stayed strong for her. He always made her feel better, but completely ignored how he was feeling. Mali quickly embraced Takeda in a hug and held him tight.
"It's okay Takeda. We're both going to be okay." She stammered. She soon felt Takeda return her hug which made her feel happy.
She gained her composer and felt bravery in her. If she wanted comfort Takeda she couldn't sound so scared and vulnerable.
"We're gonna make it out together, okay? No matter what!" She told him confidently. She pulled away and gave him a big smile. "You look dead Takeda you need sleep."
"Gee thanks! I could say the same for you." Takeda smiled.
"If you did, you'd be right. So we both should get some sleep okay?" She knew Takeda had planned on staying up to keep an eye out, but she wanted him to relax, goodness knows he needed it. "And don't let me catch you staying up or anything!"
"Alright I promise." Takeda sighed.
She narrowed her eyes at him, "You better!"
"I will! I will!" He raised his hands in defense.
"Good!" She smiled. "Now let's get some good rest!"
Mali woke suddenly with a small gasp escaping her lips. She felt warm, uncomfortably warm. She kicked off her blankets but that did not easy her temperature. She detested feeling warm at night, it was so much easier for her to fall asleep to cool air. There was little she could do to mend her temperature as the room she was in had no windows to let a breeze in, which she found strange. She signed frustratingly and slid off her oven like bed. She needed some water, that would sure cool her down. She silently left the room and began to tip toe down the hall. She now wished she would have paid attention to where she and Takeda would be staying because she was all turned around. She studied the wooded walls, they were decorated in strange paintings and ordained in many variations of red and blue. Mali did seem to notice the surprising lack of windows. We're they afraid of sunlight? Or maybe sunlight would damage the numerous paintings on the wall. She stopped walking once she noticed the figure of a man down the hall way.
"Ah, excuse me khun? I know you said not be afraid to ask you anything but um could you possibly help me find where I could get a glass of water?" She asked softly. She heard a strange gurgling like sound which caused her to cock her head to the side. "K-Khun?" She called out.
The man who turned around which caused Mali to gasp. The man standing what not the khun who had lead her into the house, but an entirely different person. The person had their hand wrapped around the khun's neck which was contorted in an unnatural fashion. She couldn't see the person's face as he was completely covered from head to toe in some sort of black suit but with two round glowing red eyes staring at her. Panic set in and Mali found it hard to breath.
The unidentified man turned to her dropping the khun's body to floor which hit with an unnerving thud. Mali could feel the shivers run down her body, she felt cold which would have pleased her if the circumstances had been different. Her body shook with fear and she couldn't breathe.
"Well well, there's one." The stranger said in a low and gruff voice that made Mali's skin crawl. "Come here girl, let's go find your brother." He said eerily while approaching her.
She instinctively took a step back but her body refused to move after one step. It felt as if death itself had gripped her legs preventing their movement.
The stranger's large hand wrapped around her wrist pulling her off the ground. She screeched as her entire body weight was being held up by her small arm.
"Such a small girl," He began, "I could kill you right now, rip you in half." He threatened darkly with amusement dripping in his voice.
Mali stared up at the dark man with terror in her gray eyes.
"I expected more from the daughter of a-" Wam. Mali felt some sort of liquid splash onto her face and the grip on her arm suddenly became lose and she fell to the ground. She heard a loud thud and saw the stranger's body laying on the hard floor with a large unnatural gash to his shoulder down to his abdomen. Mali's eyes widen and she scooted herself back until she hit a wall. She stared at the strangers now mangled body as the blood pooled out and around him. She shook and whimpered, but the sound of a footstep jarred her attention upwards. She saw another man, but this man wore a dark blue suit with red accents around the knees, arms and torso. He held a long bloody sword in his hand and his face formed in a stern frown. She could see his dark black hair was combed neatly. The strangest feature about this new stranger was that his eyes were covered by a long red sash that wrapped and tied around the back of his head.
Hope you who read this enjoyed. This chapter was merely to set the stage for the story, get a feel for some of the characters. Scorpion will be appearing in the next chapter rest assured. This was a dialogue heavy chapter and this story is meant to be more 'kind hearted' type of writing. I have plans for including all kinds of Mortal Kombat characters some making more appearances than others and having larger roles but it all depends. Again thank you so much for reading. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions please let me know and feel free to review!