Chapter 2: Immortality
Liu blinked. "God of Thunder? Me?"
Argus nodded. "Yes. Lord Rayden holds you in high regards. Fujin has already decided to become an Elder God in Rayden's absence. Rayden is a capable fighter, but in his attempt to destroy Onaga with his essence, he has become corrupt. You, on the other hand, will stand for what is right and defend the weak, not kill them for weaknesses we all posess. So, Liu Kang...what is your answer?"
Liu thought about it long and hard. "Okay. I accept."
Argus smiled. "Lord Rayden was right about you," he said. In a thunderclap, Rayden's staff appeared in his hand. "Take Rayden's staff, and immortality and the powers of the god of thunder will be yours."
Liu reached out for it, but relented. "What will become of Rayden?" he asked.
"He will be stripped of his title, but will retain his immortality and powers, albeit on a weaker scale," Argus replied. "He feels that he must atone for his actions."
Thankful that his mentor would be spared, Liu took the staff in his hands. Electricity arched through his body as he felt Rayden's power surged through him, causing him to fall to his knees, still gripping the staff in his hands.
Kitana rushed to his side, but Liu raised one hand, stopping her. "I'm okay, Kitana," he said, looking at her, his eyes glowing an electric blue before returning back to normal. "I'm okay."
Kitana placed one hand on her husband's shoulder. "How does it feel?" she asked.
Liu exhaled sharply. "What a rush."
Argus cleared his throat. "Princess Kitana..."
Kitana turned and looked at the Edenian God.
"I've known your father very well," Argus said softly. "Jerrod was a good man, and an able ruler. He would have been proud of you and your mother. I've watched you fight, how you move like the wind, silent and swift. As of this moment," he began, as a small gale of wind materialized in his hands, "you are now the Edenian Goddess of Wind."
He flung the gale at Kitana, which nailed her squarely in the chest, and send her into the air. Almost by reflex, the Edenian fighter, now a goddess, flipped out of the 'attack' and levitated several inches in the air, before landing on her feet, a look of amazement in her face.
Argus turned to the exotic-skinned Jade. A second staff, similar to Jade's own weapon materialized in his hand. "Jade, you are Kitana's longtime friend since the days under Shao Kahn. In effect, you two could be nothing more than sisters. You are the opposite of Kitana, fighting with the ferocity of a wildfire."
He tossed her the staff. Jade caught it effortlessly. Upon catching it, the staff caught on fire, yet it didn't burn Jade's hands, although she felt the power within surge through her. "You are now the Edenian Goddess of Fire."
Argus' attention turned to Subzero and Sareena. "Subzero, the last of the cryomancers. You are indeed the master of the element of cold and ice, yet unlike your older brother, you value human life. You should feel honored in becoming the first God of Ice." He looked at Sareena. "Your companion will also master the powers of cold as the new Goddess of Ice."
Scorpion was next. "Hanzo Hasashi, of the Shirai Ryu clan. The Elder Gods have granted your life back, but that will not be enough to maintian the balance. Your ninja clan, as well as your family - which had been wrongfully slaughtered by Quan Chi - will be resurrected, with you as Grandmaster. Your vengeance is that of the fires of Hell itself. Therefore, you are now the new God of Fire for Earthrealm."
In an instant, Scorpion bowed to Argus. "Thank you, Lord Argus," he said, his voice choking with emotion. "I--my clan are in your debt."
"Johnny Cage," Argus said, turning to the movie star. "You may have an ego, but you flow like the water that is needed to sustain life in the realms. You won't hesitate to fight for the forces of good, but your ego leaves something to be desired. As of this moment, you are now the God of Water."
In an instant, Johnny became transparent. Skin, clothes, everything. Johnny realised what was happening, sputtering out, "What the??" before he regained solid form. He then cracked a grin. "Cool."
"Major Sonya Blade," Argus continued, "You have a stong and driving sense of justice and honor, so this should be fitting to your personality. Like the Lin Kuei ninja and his companion, this is also a first. You are now the Goddess of Order."
"I will not fail, sir," Sonya replied.
Argus turned to Kung Lao. "I have something that would most interest you, descendant of the Great Kung Lao. The remaining energies from Blaze's essence has formed a new realm from the remains of countless realms that Shao Kahn had destroyed in his years of war and conquest. This realm will house refugees from all realms who seek to live in peace. If you choose so, you will be the new God of Wind and protectorate for this realm."
Kung Lao was shocked. "Me? The protector of this new realm? I...I would be honored to do so."
Finally, Argus turned to Jax. "Colonel Briggs. You are indeed the strongest in the world, but you need not mere bionics to prove it. You can move the earth itself with your bare hands. As of this moment, you are the new God of Earth."
"Wait a moment," Kitana interrupted. "We need to get back to the pyramid."
"No need to rush," Argus replied. "In this temple, time goes as fast or as slow as I want it to go. For every hour you spend here, one second will pass back in Edenia. All of you need to learn how to harness your powers before you go back, otherwise, all is lost."
Over the course of several hours (which counted as only a few seconds back in Edenia), the new gods and goddesses studied and learned their powers. Kitana learned to create her trademark fans out of the wind itself. Subzero was giving Sareena (now dressed in a black-and-blue-trimmed version of her fighting uniform she wore that day at the pyramid, but no mask) pointers on how to use her newfound Kori powers. Sareena was delighted when she materialized a pair of Kama, her old weapons from her days under Quan Chi, out of ice, as well as her newest weapons, the Demon Fangs.
Jade and Scorpion were sparring, the yellow-clad ninja using his sword, while Jade had her staff. Both of the aforementioned weapons were on fire as they sparred. Jax had learned how to make his skin hard like rock (yet maintaining his human form). Sonya discovered that she now had superhuman strength and agility, while Johnny made his body and clothes completely liquid, but at the same time, can still attack like normal. He also learned how to use water as a projectile, honing it to the point that whoever gets hit would be the same as being caught in a flash flood.
Kung Lao and Liu Kang were watching their friends get used to their powers. Kung Lao was floating, cross-legged, on a gust of wind, while Liu was creating sparks of electricity on his index and middle fingers.
"Not bad for a descendant of Kung Lao and a former Shaolin Monk, don't you think?" Kung Lao quipped.
Liu nodded. "And I thought dying was something I didn't expect. Now I'm the new God of Thunder and you're the God of Wind for some new realm. So what did Argus told you anything else about this realm?"
Kung Lao thought about it for a moment. "Well, it's mostly mountainous and tropical forests in the north and in the south are a bunch of volcanic islands," he explained. "From what Argus told me, it is something like Edenia." He looked at his longtime friend and rival. "Lord Rayden would be proud of you. You are the Mortal Kombat champion, after all."
"Thanks," Liu replied. "Good luck with guarding your new realm,"
Kung Lao nodded. "I'm gonna need it."
After several hours of training, Argus decided that it was time for them to go. "May the Elder Gods watch over all of you," he said.
In a split second, the new gods and goddesses for Earth and Edenia found themselves back at the pyramid, either flat on their backs or facedown. What Argus have said was completely true: mere seconds have passed since Blaze had exploded.