Disclaimer: Mortal Kombat belongs to Midway.
Nihil wasn't a being saddled with compassion. The life of an Outworld leader, even a small-time criminal, demanded a cruelty that matched the corruption of Outworld. Nihil made a comfortable lifestyle. His operations were small enough not to drawn notice from anyone really important, but large enough to give him connections throughout the evil realm and a large amount of gold.
However, Nihil was finally ready to expand. The central tenet of stability in Outworld was a powerful leader. However, as it was, the apparent deaths of Shao Kahn, the Deadly Alliance, and the routing of Onaga's Tarkatan hordes had left the realm in even greater despair than it had already been. In the six months afterward, every low class thug and aspiring warlord sought to capitalize on the power vacuum. Nihil was no different. Sitting in the back of an Outworld tavern, he plotted to ascend in rank and power, making allies with whoever he could, and consolidating his power base.
"Do you really think that you could become Emperor?" Nihil's bodyguard, a mutant by the name of Tiamat asked. Nihil quit the letter he was writing and looked to his employee with a frown. He is, at best, barely worth the money I pay him Nihil thought to himself angrily. Drunk half the time, always questioning my orders.
"Tiamat…" The man addressed, glaring at his green-scaled warrior. "How deluded do you think I am? I know I can't rise from someone barely in control of a single backwoods town to the highest position in the realm. But can't a man dream of gaining at least some more power in the chaos around us?"
"Noted." the mutant replied. His master's disdain was returned. Scratching the back of his horned head, Tiamat recounted the annoyances that being associated with Nihil brought forward. Should've worked for Kahn... Tiamat thought. His warriors got paid better, received a free room, and didn't have to deal with small time gang leaders with delusions of grandeur. Unless they were sent to kill them…At this, Tiamat grinned inwardly.
They were startled from their mutual loathing by a loud crash in the center of the tavern. For no explainable reason, an unoccupied table in the center of the room collapsed as if something had fallen onto it. The local peasantry and a few members of Nihil's gang that hadn't passed out into their drinks glared at the sight. Outworlders were, by nature, very superstitious. A simple unexplained incident like that could mean anything from a poorly constructed table, to an insane geomancer beginning to destroy the establishment.
One fairly drunk gangster staggered over to the ruined table, sifting through the ruined boards. Slurring through his intoxication he managed to moan out "Ish noshing. Jesh' a broggen table."
Suddenly, before he could stumble back to his seat, he jerked forward. Whatever had stuck him seemed to explode through his chest, leaving a long, thin hole, like that of a broadsword wound. Most of the conscious patrons panicked and flead as the unfortunate man was lifted into the air, parallel to the ground.
Nihil, Tiamat, the barmaid serving them, and the few thugs that hadn't run away looked on at this grim vision, disbelieving in what they were seeing. The dying man's blood spilled from his wound. Instead of falling to the ground, the crimson liquid collected on the surface of a solid object. First, the hilt guard and handle of a sword. Then the arm holding the sword. Then a body.
"Invisibility?" Nihil responded, astonished. He watched as whatever the bloody outline really was threw it's arms forward, sending the victim off the thick, curved blade which it had impaled him with, and slamming him onto the floor. "What are you?" Nihil demanded, trying to sound intimidating. Secretly, he feared. Invisibility… I've heard that some of Kahn's best warriors dabbled in magicks like that…
In a flash of fire, the creature revealed itself. Roughly the size of a man, it was, like Tiamat, covered in green scales. However, it was a much more primal monstrosity, with fierce yellow eyes blazing behind a set of enlongated jaws. Between it's sharp teeth, a red forked tongue flicked in and out. A long tail, ending with a yellow rattle, slowly moved from side to side. Tiamat, the tallest one of the remaining bar patrons, could see a row of long, metallic spikes running down his head. The mutant guessed that the spines continued running all along the creature's back. In the center of the creature's torso, a single eye stood, occasionally panning across the room, a horrific sentry on the surface of a horrific monster.
But the most disturbing part of the creature was its garb. Clad mostly in black, with a pair of black and green sashes running from either of his shoulders to his waist, his outfit was definitely one of an assassin. The sashes were, upon closer inspection, part of the same fabric, which went below his waist in the form of a loincloth. Though definitely lightly armored, he was wearing metal shin, knee, and elbow guards. His bare feet ended with three clawed toes. A green cloth was wrapped around his waist as a belt, with a golden crest serving as a buckle. Some of the symbols on his uniform…Nihil thought, gazing at etching on the creature's belt. They belong to Shao Kahn's army. But Kahn is dead. And why is one of his warriors after me?
"Are you Nihil?" The creature demanded, glaring at the criminal. Nihil shrunk behind his table.
"Wh-why are you here?"
"I want answersssssss…" The creature replied swinging his curved sword through the air in a threatening motion.
The few guards that were left stepped in between the reptilian creature and his prey, hoping to intimidate him with a small show of force.
The creature, called 'Reptile' by those who couldn't pronounce his real name, growled. He had been patiently tracking his real quarry down for months, avoiding causing a stir, trying to keep others from noticing him. His long suppressed rage needed an outlet. The unfortunate guards would be it.
Reptile leapt forward, slamming into the closest guard. The others backed off, for a second, then rush towards him, short swords and daggers drawn. Reptile sidestepped a thrust from one, slamming the pommel of his Kirehashi into the side of the man's head. As he fell to the side, another guard charged. Reptile stabbed with his blade, letting go of it as the man fell to the ground.
The guard Reptile had pounced upon struggled to stand up, managing to get to his knees before Reptile grabbed the sides of his head and twisted violently, snapping his neck. The other guards backed away. Reptile leaned back for a second before violently shoving his head forward. Muscles in his throat contracted, an a yellow-green glob of saliva shot towards the farthest guard.
Upon being struck in the eyes with the spit, a uniquely disturbing sizzling sound, accompanied by the man's screams filled the bar. The other guards' attention turned towards their distressed comrade. Enough of an opening for Reptile to rush forward, breaking bones and crushing windpipes. Seconds later, all of the guards, save the victim of the acid spit, were lying on the wooden floor of the tavern, in various states of mortal injury.
The remaining guard staggered towards Nihil, Tiamat, and the barmaid. Blinded and in terrible pain, he tripped and fell. Looking at the man's face as he futilely crawled to his master, the barmaid screamed. Acid had burned and eaten away the man's face, leaving blackened and missing flesh around his eyes. Two empty sockets looked unknowingly at the table.
Reptile nonchalantly walked over the man, raised his right foot, and brought it down as had as he could. A sickening crunch signified the breaking of the man's skull. Leaving a trail of bloody footprints, Reptile approached Nihil's table, menacingly breathing heavily as he did. Secretly he was disappointed. Normally, when he felt angry or upset, sparring and combat calmed his disposition. Whether it was the ease of his victory, or the sheer malice he felt, defeating such lowly adversaries was of no consequence to him.
"Nihil…" Reptile repeated, his tone more sinister than ever.
"T-Tiamat, k-kill him!" Nihil stammered, looking alternatively between his bodyguard and his tormentor.
"Heh. Do I look stupid to ya? I got a better idea. I'll let this mean ol' monster chew yer face off. That awright with you, lizard?". Nihil's jaw dropped as his bodyguard abandoned him.
Reptile's glance shifted from Nihil, to the terrified barmaid, to the mutant. "Fine. Leave ussssss."
"Glad to hear it." The mutant said with a grin, wrapping his arm around the waist of the traumatized barmaid.
"Wait! What're you doing!" The terrified girl shrieked, glancing at Tiamat.
"Aw, come on darlin'. You don't wanna see this." The mutant said with a grin that revealed all of his ignoble intentions. As the barmaid struggled in vain against Tiamat's strong arm. Laughing, Tiamat hoisted the girl over one shoulder and started to swagger towards the exit.
"Please! Let me go!"
Reptile half turned to the pair as they slowly went towards the door, then back to Nihil. Quick as lightening, Reptile debated himself mentally.
She is of no consequence to me…
She is just a girl. Probably hasn't even left her parents yet…
I am an assassin. What's one little post-adolescent, pre adult-girl on my conscience?
That bodyguard is a monster…
So am I…
I want to fight…
I'm heading directly for the cause of my misery once I'm done here...
I haven't eaten in a week. The bodyguard probably tastes good…
So does the girl…
She's just a girl…
I've killed plenty of children before…
Maybe that's why my life is so terrible. I did get banished to the Netherrealm…
And one barmaid in a backwater town is going to balance out all the bad karma?
Wouldn't hurt to find out…
His mind made up, Reptile glared daggers at Nihil. Probably won't run. Too scared. Even if he does, tracking him down wouldn't be as difficult as it was in the first place. Turning back to Tiamat and his captive, Reptile muttered "Change in plans." as he broke into a run.
Tiamat turned and saw the creature rush at him. "Sorry 'bout this darlin'. It'll jes' take a sec." The mutant said as he unceremoniously dumped the bar maid on the ground and raised his fists. Reptile slammed into him like a wild animal, knocking them both through the doorway of the tavern and onto the ground.
The two combatants scrambled to their feet, circling each other. Tiamat was a fierce warrior, but was only experienced in fighting the local rabble, nothing like the creature he now faced. Undaunted, he threw a punch at his opponent. Reptile blocked it with his right forearm, then he followed it up by driving his elbow into Tiamat's chest. Quickly, Reptile swung his wrist up, driving the back of his fist into Tiamat's face.
The mutant staggered backwards, coming to his senses just in time to see the bottom of a clawed foot flying towards his face. Tiamat landed roughly on the ground, trying to shake off the dizziness he felt. As he rolled over onto his stomach and began to pick himself up, he glared as his opponent.
Reptile stood in place, arms crossed barely focusing on his opponent. He did everything he could to give off an air of boredom with the fight, trying to anger Tiamat. C'mon. Don't just let me kill you. Give me something I can hit!
It worked. The apparent indifference Reptile displayed caused Tiamat's blood to boil. Screaming in rage, the mutant charged at his opponent. Reptile blocked and dodged his opponent's mad swings, feeling his heart rate beginning to increase. Yeah. That's it.
Tiamat's fury grew with each failed attempt to strike his opponent. The mutant had few, if any, virtues, and patience wasn't one of them. As his hatred grew more intense, he pushed himself farther, throwing faster and fiercer punches than before.
Reptile began to back up against his foe's onslaught, his wrists starting to hurt from blocking so many attacks. Deciding to mount an offensive, Reptile ducked a mad right hook from his opponent, before nailing Tiamat's lower jaw with an uppercut.
The mutant was taken off of his feet by the strength of Reptile's attack, landing roughly on the ground. As he got up on one knee, Reptile launched a flurry of punches aimed at Tiamat's head and torso.
Reptile was not a being that was accustomed to being surprised. In his millennia of existence, serving as a servant of Shao Kahn, he had killed thousands, maybe more. He had an unholy knowledge of how much of a beating a creature could take before being disabled.
So when, after he landed a punch that he was certain (by the disturbing crunching noise) broke Tiamat's jaw, Reptile was surprised when Tiamat's hand shot out, grabbing his wrist.
He was even more surprised when the bodyguard, moving surprisingly quickly given the damage he sustained, drove his knee into Reptile's stomach. As his opponent was doubled over, Tiamat twisted the arm he had grabbed, positioned his elbow above the creature's shoulder blade, and dropped to the ground. A sickening click accompanied the dislocation of Reptile's shoulder.
A howl of mixed pain and rage emanated from Reptile's mouth. Getting to his feet, he tried extricating his arm from Tiamat's grasp, to no avail. Attempting to grin sadistically through his broken jaw, Tiamat yanked Reptile's right arm. Another anguished howl came from the creature.
Whipping around Tiamat hefted Reptile over his head. With a running start, Tiamat threw his opponent against the side of the tavern. The cheap, weathered wood of the establishment gave, and Reptile landed inside. Nihil managed to grin. Finally, that lazy fool is good for something, he thought as Tiamat entered through the hole Reptile had made. Looking around the room for something to kill his opponent with, he spied the curious sword the creature had been using, still buried in the chest of the hapless guard.
Slowly getting to his feet, Reptile saw his adversary pluck his kirehashi blade out of the corpse. Trying to shut out the pain in his arm, Reptile raged against himself. Damn it. Stupid. That's what you are. This guy's poorly trained. Shouldn't have lasted a minute against you. But you got careless. Wanted to play with your food.
Closing his other hand into a fist, Reptile resolved to end the fight as soon as he could. Gonna need both hands to get my sword back. Reptile's race did have regenerative properties that allowed him to heal much faster than the mammals that surrounded him could, but they still worked too slowly. It would take more time than he had for his arm to return to its normal position on its own.
Breathing in deeply, he clamped his left hand over his right shoulder, and pushed, shoving his arm back into its socket. Dropping to one knee, Reptile let loose another feral cry. The pain was enormous. Trying to stave off unconsciousness, Reptile began to think of his hatred, of the things that consumed his dreams, and ruined his life. Shang Tsung, my mentor, and the murderer of my master. Quan Chi, Tsung's accomplice and partner. Kitana, the master's traitorous offspring. I could've, should've killed her years ago. Onaga, the being that stole my body and attempted to take master's place. That earthrealm machine… and her…Nitara. She deceived me. Led me away from master, let them kill him. Drove me insane, lied to make me follow her. Allied with the machine she told me to destroy... and led me to that accursed shrine in the lava. None of this would've happened if she hadn't deceived me. No, I'm to blame, too. I allowed her to use me.
Focusing on his hatred and rage lessened the pain he felt. Coming to his senses, Reptile saw Tiamat charge towards him. Ducking an attempt to decapitate him, Reptile began dodging again, waiting for his opponent to make that one mistake he could always count on bad warriors to make.
As Tiamat raised both arms, and the sword, above his head to cleave his opponent in two with a fierce and powerful slash, Reptile's hands shot out, grabbing the bodyguard's wrists. Knew he'd eventually spend too much time winding up a swing.
Reptile would've grinned had his facial features allowed it. As Tiamat struggled to extricate his arms, Reptile dug his sharp claws into his foe's wrists as deeply as he could. Against his will, Tiamat dropped the blade. As fast as he could, Reptile let go of his opponent's arms, drawing both his hands back and striking Tiamat in the center of his chest with both palms, sending him flying backwards. The disturbing sound of ribs cracking was music to Reptile's ears.
Tiamat returned to a sitting position to see Reptile walking towards him. Common sense had finally overridden his rage, and he began to turn and run. Reptile, wanting to ensure Tiamat wouldn't tell anyone of his tale, took a slight step back. Suddenly, he lunged forward, tucking his legs and arms into a fetal position and rolling into a ball. He easily caught up with Tiamat, the sharp spines on his back cutting into his foe's legs.
After the collision, Reptile got up to his feet, glaring at his opponent. Tiamat's legs were sliced open and bleeding. He barely managed to get into a sitting position, coughing up blood in the process. Grabbing the two horns on Tiamat's head, Reptile dragged him to a half-standing position.
Reptile quickly whipped his arms downward, at the same time raising his left knee. Tiamat's forehead collided with the limb, and the dazed mutant staggered back, leaning against the wall. Reptile stretched out his arms and roared, before pouncing onto his opponent.
Once on a somewhat standing position on the bodyguard, Reptile reared his head back, and… stopped. Seeing the traumatized barmaid staring at him, Reptile held back. "Child. Leave ussssssss…"
The girl immediately rushed towards the door, taking steps to avoid coming into proximity to Reptile and Tiamat. Once at the doorframe, she stared at her bizarre savior, letting a barely audible "Thank you…" pass her lips.
Reptile glared at her.
Ooh, so warm and fuzzy. Don't I feel so much better for helping her. The crueler, more practical part of his brain thought. Trying to play it off as coolly as possible, Reptile replied "I'm hungry, the bodyguard'ssssssssss a bigger meal than you or Nihil. It's just practicality."
Either the barmaid wasn't paying attention, or she could see through Reptile's lie easily. "Whatever. Thank you." She said before rushing out into the empty streets.
Reptile's attention returned to the bodyguard he was standing on. Tracing a line down the center of his face with his claw, Reptile asked "Where were we? Oh yesssssss…". Again Reptile reared back, this time thrusting his head forward, closing his jaws on Tiamat's throat. Tearing, ripping, rending. Within a minute, Tiamat's head, neck, and upper torso were skeletonized as Reptile continued to feast.
His meal was cut short when he remembered his true purpose. Turning back to Nihil's table, he was happy to learn that his prediction was true. Nihil was staring blankly at the scene before him, at the monster covered in the blood of his bodyguard, frozen by fear. Reptile sauntered over to the table, glaring at his objective.
"Puh-please! I-I'll give y-you any i-information you want! Name it!"
"Where issss sssshe?"
"W-who?" The gangster said, sliding back further towards the wall, as if it would magically allow him passage through.
"Vampire. Female. Wore a red coat, red cloth in her hair. Otherwissssse eckssssstremely revealing clothing. I assume she was attractive by your standardsssss, mammal. Named Nitara."
"I-I dunno anything about a female vampire…"
That was promptly when Reptile backhanded him across his face. "I know ssssshe wasssss here. I've been patiently looking for her for six monthsssss. Are you insssssinuating that I've been wasssssting my time?". With that, Reptile let a little bit of his saliva drip on the table. The cheap wood was wearing away in no time.
"Sh-she c-came here a f-few months ago, looking for information about Kahn's army."
"What sssssssort of information?"
"Ab-about some warrior of Kahn's. Sh-she said one of her people could see the future or something. About how that warrior would help her people be free, or somethin' crazy like that. I just told her to as around the wasteland. A few koins, and some a' them crazy hermits can tell you everything."
"And you never saw her again?"
"Naw, she came back a little later. I didn't see her. My guards said she wanted to thank me for my help, and that her home was finally free. Gave us plenty a' money."
Damn it! That's what she used me and that machine for. She figured out how to separate her realm from Outworld. Great. Now I have to find a gods-damned portal. Reptile let out a sigh as he turned away.
"S-so I'm off the hook, right? I told ya something that will help ya, right?"
Reptile looked at him out of the corner of his eye. "Yessss. You told me where I can find one of the onessss ressssponsible for Ssshao Kahn'ssssss death…"
"Great. I was always loyal to his majesty." Nihil lied, trying to get Reptile to leave.
"… but you told her ssssssomething that led her to me. Which meanssssss, that you are ssssssomewhat ressssssponsible for my massster's death…" Reptile said, turning towards him again…
As he exited the bar and wiped the fresh blood off his kirehashi, Reptile began to turn invisible again. Finding out everything he could about Nitara six months after she left Outworld was a difficult. But now he knew where she was, and finding a portal would be comparatively easy. Soon. Soon I won't have to sate my rage fighting drunks and fools. Soon I will find her. And I will eat her deceitful heart in front of her eyes. Had Reptile left a few minutes later, perhaps he would've noticed one of the patrons that fled the bar was just then returning. Had Reptile not been preoccupied with Nihil when he first arrived, perhaps he would've recognized the man.
The man appeared old, ancient by even an Outworlder's perception. His red and gold attire concealed by a drab hooded cloak, he himself was somewhat surprised that he escaped notice. Reptile must be slipping in his rage… the man thought to himself with a grin. Lowering the hood from his head, revealing his long grey beard and hair, he surveyed the scene of carnage in the bar. Curious that he decided to spare that girl. Perhaps he's getting soft. But even now, he serves me just as good as any other. The man grinned at the corpses around him. For he could sense that their souls had not moved on to their final rest, still swirling about their bodies. Reptile had saved him a great deal of effort in killing them all. Grinning at the slaughter, the old man began a feast of his own.
Raising his hands above his head, he called the dead souls to him. They resisted, the struggled, but they were in vain. Not only was the man experienced in that unholy ritual, now he was desperate to complete it. He had lost much in the past few months, and now, he had to work quickly to regain what he could.
He grinned as the fluid green apparitions gathered towards him, pulled in by his hellish power. As he consumed the souls, the man began to assimilate their knowledge. Smiling, he was pleasantly surprised by a piece of information the pitiful gang leader had. So, this vampire was guided by someone with the gift of foresight? Excellent…
In all the realms, people who could truly see the future were rare. The man had sought to consume one for a long time, hoping to attain their powers. Now he knew where to find one. Reptile's heading there to combat this 'Nitara'. A perfect distraction. Yes, truly that fool serves me well…
And the man left, replacing his hood. He couldn't be noticed. For he was Shang Tsung, a traitor, murderer, dictator, sinner, pariah. And he had work to do…
Author's Notes: I'm unsure if I will continue this. Typically, whenever I write a fic based entirely on my own ideas (not a novelization), it is (in my estimation) fine for the first couple of chapters, then it usually gets derailed somewhere around chapter 4. So, unless I can condense the fic into 3 chapters or less, it will suck like a hurricane. Just needed a break from the humor.
Anyways, review please.