Ultimate Origins: Chapter Twelve

Undead: Infestation

 

Demon City rotted in the heart of Angel Grove. Young Kou did his best to ignore the ebb of evil that swelled from the place as he walked through the abandoned Reconstruction Zone. Businessmen and city officials had once thought to rebuild Demon City from the outside in. That was before they realized creatures of pure evil still roamed the streets and sewer tunnels. Luckily, the creatures of Demon City were confined within its borders. Mostly.

 

Kou had heard stories of creatures roaming free from the boundaries of Demon City and attacking the surrounding communities of Angel Grove. The stories had peaked Kou’s interest enough for him to travel to the Reconstruction Zone, a ring of half-gutted buildings surrounding Demon City. Something about the dark place attracted Kou, most likely because of the dark energies of Karas still inside him. That and the fact that he used to be dead.

                                                                                         

Kou stepped over a pile of debris on the fifth story of what used to be a parking garage. From there he could see the dark clouds swirling around Demon City. From there, he could feel the evil of the land.

 

“Hey kid!” a voice shouted from behind. Kou turned to see a construction worker, dressed in a bright-orange vest and yellow construction hat. “You shouldn’t be here; this ain’t a playground.”

 

Kou narrowed his eyes at the man. “You shouldn’t be here either. This place is supposed to be abandoned.”

                                                                                                   

“Come on,” the man said as he walked closer to Kou. “You’re getting out of here.”

 

Kou took a step back. “I wouldn’t touch me if I were you.”

 

kabuto-vi-wormsThe man lunged forward and gripped Kou by the shirt. Kou grabbed the man’s arm and flipped him to the ground, but the stranger snapped up his leg and kicked the teen in the gut. Kou staggered backward, and the stranger flipped to his feet. The man’s body rippled. His clothes tore open, his muscles bulged and his skin melted, as if he were molting. The man mutated into a green, slimy insectoid with a thick back shell and red claws extending from his fingertips. His eye sockets were hollow, with green tendrils draped downward. He was called a Worm.   

 

Two more of the Worms dropped down from the shadows as if from nowhere and stalked towards the newest ranger.

                                

“Walking alone to Demon City,” Kou muttered as he reached behind his back for his morpher. “Great idea. No wonder I got myself killed once.” 

 

He pulled his morpher free. "Shurikenja ball!"

 

Bringing the sphere to chest level, he shouted. "Tenku! Ninjetti Change!" He thrust the sphere forward. "Ha!" Green energy twirled around him like a cyclone as he morphed into the green and golden armor of the late Shurikenger. He snapped into a fighting stance. "Midori no Kodan! Tenkuninja, Hariken Green, Sanjo!"

 

Hurricane Green spun forward and smashed a reverse sidekick against a Worm, knocking the creature backward. The other two Worms leapt at him from the sides and grabbed him by the arms, while another five creatures dropped from the shadows and charged forward to attack.

 

The Green Ranger twisted free from the Worms and smashed a jumpkick upside the head of one of his attackers. But the creatures quickly regrouped and tackled the Green Ranger downward with enough force to smash through the floor and tumble down onto the level below. The Green Ranger slammed back-first, hard, against the floor, as the Worms tried to lift him and hold him still. They seemed more interested in taking hold of him than fighting him.

 

The Green Ranger unsheathed his sword and swung a butterfly pattern that slashed across the creatures with bursts of spark.

 

The sound of tires screeching against pavement distracted him. He heard car doors open and slam shut, followed by boots rushing across the pavement. Suddenly, men dressed in black jumpsuits with black-armor vests poured into the parking garage. They wore black helmets with bug-like visors and carried heavy machine guns. They wore Silver Guardian insignias on their upper arms, and the word ZECT was written on their belt bucklers. If the Silver Guardians were like a police force, ZECT was like their SWAT team, newly-created to deal with threats that leaked from Demon City.

 

“Containment Formation Gamma Three!” the leader shouted as the squad spread out, surrounded the area, and took firing positions. “This is what we’ve trained for, so let’s make it good! Open Fire!”

 

The soldiers opened fire with armor-piercing rounds that exploded across the creatures with showers of sparks. But the bullets had little effect, other than ticking the Worms off. The creatures fanned out and charged at the soldiers. Worms tackled ZECT Troopers and slashed claws across their armor, knocking them down and tearing through them like paper.

 

Several soldiers snapped blades from their guns and returned the charge, slashing across Worms with bursts of spark that simply made the creatures angrier.

 

Hurricane Green didn’t understand who the troopers were, or who the Worms were, but he knew the black-clad strangers were far outmatched, and he had to save them.

 

The Green Ranger stepped back and held his sword in a ready stance. He energized the weapon with sonic power that made the blade hum. “Sonic Charge!”

 

Hurricane Green dashed forward, spinning and moving through the Worms while swinging his blade and hacking across the insects with bursts of spark that knocked them backward, away from the ZECT troopers. Each sword swing hummed and pulsed with power while slicing across the Worms’ slimy bodies.

 

The Green Ranger turned while using one hand to hold his sword back. He swung his other hand forward. “Ki!”

 

An invisible wave of telekinetic energy splashed against the Worms and knocked them off their feet, sending them skidding across the floor.

 

The Green Ranger had little time for a follow-up attack; bullets suddenly sparked against his armor, taking him off guard and knocking him back a step. The ZECT troopers were firing at him. “Hey! Are you crazy! I just saved your worthless butts! I’m a good guy!”

 

“You’re an unauthorized Ranger!” the ZECT leader shouted.

 

“I don’t even know what that means!”

 

“It means we have orders to arrest any of you on sight; now drop to your knees!”

 

“You’d like that, wouldn’t you?”

 

“Fire!”

 

The troopers fired again. Bullets sparked against the Green Ranger’s armor. Hurricane Green turned and leapt from the parking garage, angling his decent towards the broken streets below.

 

***

 

Simon, Justin, Rachel, and Blake gathered around the computer terminal at Ops. Tommy and Ashley were away at Crossworld City University, so the teens had the control rooms to themselves.

 

“What’s taking him so long?” Justin asked.

 

Simon placed a hand on his friend’s shoulder. “He’ll come through. Talking to his father’s still difficult. It might be taking longer than he thought.”

 

Blake rubbed his brow with thought. “So let me get this straight. We’ve asked Max to talk to his father, to get information about Justin’s father, so he can help find Simon’s father. Do all Rangers have Daddy issues?”

 

Rachel rolled her eyes. “No, Blake.” She paused for a moment. “Actually, yes. Yes they do.”

 

The monitor blinked to life, and the image of Max, the former Red Lightspeed Ranger appeared. “Sorry, that took longer than expected.”

 

“It’s okay,” Simon said.

 

“It’s really not,” Justin said, but Simon ignored him. 

 

“What did you find out?” Simon asked.

 

“Justin’s father is on assignment in Japan,” Max said.

 

“Assignment? For who?” Justin asked.

 

“My father wouldn’t say,” Max said. “But I’m sending you some data that should help with your search.”

 

“Thanks, Max,” Simon said.

 

“You’re welcome,” Max said. “You guys be careful. From what I hear, Dr. Cranston is really losing his tolerance for your team.”

 

“We appreciate the warning, but we’ll be fine,” Simon said.

 

“Yeah,” Justin agreed. “We’re not worried about Jet Force.”

 

“Or the DECA Rangers,” Blake said.

 

Justin nodded. Then he hesitated. “Or the Silver Guardians,” he said with less assurance.

 

Blake’s confidence drained. “Or Kamen Rider Blade.”

 

“Or Kamen Rider Garren…damn, how many heroes does he have? He has like a gazillion and we have five.”

 

“Six, and I’m flattered you remembered,” a voice came from the doorway.

 

The team looked to see Kou step through. Max said his final goodbye before ending his transmission, and the rangers turned to see their newest teammate.

 

“Sorry, Kou,” Justin said. “I’ve never been great at math.”

 

“Somehow that doesn’t surprise me,” Kou said. “Where’s Tommy?”

 

“He’s at school with Ashley,” Simon said. “What’s up?”

 

Kou knitted his brow with disbelief. “School?”

 

“They haven’t exactly had a lot of time to finish college with all the Ranger business they’ve been through,” Simon said.

 

Rachel seemed to be the only one who noticed the newest ranger was in distress. “What’s wrong?” she asked.

 

“I was attacked outside of Demon City,” Kou explained. “First by these green…bug monsters. Then by these guys I didn’t recognize. Their belt buckles had the word ‘ZECT’ written on them.”

 

The alarms in Ops blared before the rangers could ask questions. The main computer monitor tuned into a scene on the streets of Angel Grove West, just outside the abandoned Reconstruction Zone. About a dozen Worms swarmed across the city streets and tipped over cars as citizens screamed and tried to run. Most didn’t make it- they were smashed by cars or slashed by Worms.

 

Blake recognized the energy patterns displayed on one of the smaller monitors. “Those things look like they came from Demon City.”

 

“No way,” Justin said. “They shouldn’t have been able to get out.”

 

“Yet out they are,” Simon said. “Let’s call Hunter and get going.”

 

***

 

The six rangers ran across the streets of Angel Grove West towards the site of the destruction. Small fires burnt from the wreckage of cars scattered across the roads and sidewalks. The Worms continued their rampage, spreading further in every direction. 

 

The teens armed their morphers. “Ninjetti Change! Ha!”

 

Energy twirled around them as they morphed into their armor.

 

“Justin,” Hurricane Red said. “I go high, you go low.”

 

“You got it, Red,” Hurricane Yellow said. 

 

“Air Style! Air Gallop Jutsu!” Hurricane Red unsheathed his saber and dashed forward across the air, his feet never touching the ground. He swung his blade left and right while charging through the Worms, his blade sparking across their bodies.

 

“Earth Style! Tunneling Jutsu!” Hurricane Yellow drilled beneath the ground and streaked towards the Worms while kicking up dust and debris in his wake. He tore through the group with a shockwave that sent the creatures flailing through the air.

 

Navy Thunder and Hurricane Blue closed in from the sides.

 

“Lightning Bolt!”

 

“Hydro Blast!”

 

The Navy Thunder Ranger hurled a bolt of navy-tinted lightning that exploded through several Worms. And the Blue Ranger fired a burst of twirling water that knocked the creatures of their feet and sent them skidding across the street.

 

Crimson Thunder unsheathed his staff and charged at the remaining Worms, slashing and hacking across their bodies with bursts of spark before they could attack.

 

Hurricane Green was about to join him but stayed back. Something wasn’t right. The dark energy of Karas inside him stirred, prodded by his surroundings. The chaos in the area was no random pattern, he somehow realized.

 

untat11Before he could warn the others, a trio of worms rippled, their green skin steaming and melting off their bodies as if molting. The creatures transformed into monstrous figures. They were nearly identical except for their colors; one was colored yellow and black, the second was colored white and black, and the third was colored blue and red. They looked spider-like, with mandibles and tendrils growing from their limbs, and a trio of extra eyes on each of their foreheads.

 

The yellow Spider Worm thwipped a thick web line from its mandibles, and the webbing wrapped around the Green Ranger’s throat. Hurricane Green slashed through the webbing as the other two spider creatures charged towards him to attack.

 

The other five Rangers intercepted the monsters.

 

Hurricane Red bashed a jumpkick upside the yellow Spider Worm’s head, and Hurricane Yellow followed with a tornado kick that knocked the creature several steps backward.

 

Hurricane Blue bashed an elbow against the red Spider Worm’s gut, and Navy Thunder moved forward and slashed his staff across the creature with a burst of spark.

 

Crimson Thunder snapped a roundkick against the white Spider Worm’s chest and slashed his staff upward across the creature with a burst of spark.

 

Hurricane Green felt the sense of dread amplify around them. He looked at his surroundings and noticed the pattern of the carnage, of every toppled car and scattered corpse.

 

“We have to get out of here!” the Green Ranger shouted. “Now!”

 

“No way,” the Red Ranger said. “We’ve almost got them-“

 

“Would you shut up and listen!” Hurricane Green shouted. “This is a trap!”

 

The destruction points across the street started to glow with deep-red power and connect, forming a demonic pattern across the area where the Rangers stood. The circular pattern glowed with an intense, buzzing noise and shot upward with a column of crimson light that enveloped the Rangers whole.

 

***

 

The Rangers’ vision blurred slowly into focus as they pushed themselves to their feet. They barely needed to glance at their surroundings to know they were in Demon City; they had come to recognize the eerie, chilly feel of the dark place. The six Rangers were in what used to be a city plaza, surrounded by the skeletal remains of skyscrapers and storefronts.

 

They looked up to see a stairway of black ice curve upward to a throne of dark iron. On the throne sat a figure covered in dull-gray, insectiod armor, with skulls sculpted on the forearms, elbows, knees, and shoulders. His helmet had an open faceplate that covered his face with darkness, except for the glowing slits of blue that were his eyes. A small skull was sculpted on his forehead.

 

“Welcome, Rangers,” the being said with a chilly, echoing voice. “It is so good to see you again.”

 

“Again?” Hurricane Red asked. “Who…” He stopped when he recognized the armor. “No way. Cenathos?”

 

“Yes and no,” the being said as he rose from his throne. “I am Xanathor. I was once Cenathos, the fusion of Centhrax and the avatar of death, Xanatos. I was once Lothor, the pathetic little weakling who lead the Jakanja. Now I am all three.”

 

“It must be crowded in that bug brain of yours,” Hurricane Yellow said.

 

“Surprisingly, no.” Xanathor walked slowly down the steps. “This is as I was meant to be.” 

 

Navy Thunder tightened his grip on his staff. “Can we kill him now, please?”

 

Xanathor extended his hand, and an invisible strand of energy wrapped around Navy Thunder’s neck and lifted him several meters from the ground. The Navy Thunder Ranger struggled to break free and grasped helplessly around his neck for strands of energy he could not touch.

 

“Blake!” Crimson Thunder Ranger crouched and pounced towards the villain. “Shadow Style! Shadow Clone Jutsu!”

 

Five shadowy clones split from the Crimson Thunder Ranger and surged towards the villain in blurs of motion. The black, crimson-tinted shades dashed back and forth around Xanathor while punching and kicking the villain with bursts of spark.

 

Crimson Thunder unsheathed his staff and angled his decent towards the villain, but Xanathor hurled a bolt of blue fire that sparked against the Ranger and knocked him from the air.

 

“Stop!” Hurricane Green shouted as he stepped forward. “You brought us here. You brought me here. I’m the one you want, aren’t I?”

 

The villain’s low laugh rumbled the ruined streets beneath them. He lowered his hand, and the Navy Thunder Ranger dropped to the ground. “Yes. Yes, you are. You are a unique creature, Kou of the Heaven Roaring Star. Only half alive, even before your death and resurrection. The child of a non-man, a puppet formed with twisted magick. I sensed you the moment you returned from beyond the grave. I don’t even believe your creator understands how much power you now wield.”

 

Hurricane Red stepped forward. “You’re not taking Kou.”

 

“I won’t need to,” the villain said. “He will stay here. Willingly. The dark energy of this place calls out to the boy. Doesn’t it, Kou?”

 

Hurricane Green couldn’t help but nod. “It does. But you’re a crazier psychopath than you look if you think I’m actually going to stay here.”

 

“You belong here more than you do out there,” Xanathor said. “The world has moved on without you.”

 

Navy Thunder slowly rose to his feet and rubbed his neck. “Seriously, can we please kill him now?”

 

Dozens of Worms slowly fanned out into the plaza area.

 

“You have met my children,” Xanathor said. “The Worms. Their true power hidden in shells that allow them to leave the boundaries of this place. Careful, exhausting magicks. Once outside, most are free to molt and reveal their true selves. A…pathetic way to leave the confines of this maddening place, but for now, it will have to do. You can change that, though, Kou. I believe that your power, along with mine, will allow us to release the binds of Demon City so that the creatures here can roam free across the world.”

 

Hurricane Green tilted his head. “You are crazy. Why would I want that?”

 

“Because the power of Karas is the power of death. You crave destruction as long as you wield that power,” Xanathor said.

 

Hurricane Green unsheathed his sword. “I crave my sword through your face!”

 

The Green Ranger charged forward to attack, but the Worms quickly spread out to block his path.

 

Hurricane Red unsheathed his sword. “Take them out.”

 

The six Rangers spread out and slammed against the Worms, slashing them with bursts of spark and smashing them with kicks.

 

The Green Ranger pressed forward and somersaulted through the air, passing over a trio of Worms, and landing at the feet of the throne’s stairway. He pounced forward and swung his sword at Xanathor, but the villain used his arm to block the blow and slammed a fist against the Green Ranger’s faceplate. Hurricane Green staggered backward, and the villain used his palm to blast the Ranger with a bolt of blue fire that knocked him off his feet and sent him skidding across the ground.

 

“Unleash Karas,” the villain taunted. “The power of death.”

 

Hurricane Green slashed his sword towards Xanathor, but the villain sidestepped and grabbed the Ranger by the wrist. Freezing energy ebbed from the villain’s palm and washed across the Green Ranger with an icy cold that forced him to his knees.

 

“Much better,” Xanathor said. “You, in your natural state. Subservient. Obedient to me. As it was always meant to be.”

 

Hurricane Green tried to speak a witty retort, but the cold kept his jaw clenched.

 

“Come,” Xanathor said. “We go to the heart of this place, and to your destiny. The destiny of Karas.”

 

A blue, icy portal opened behind Xanathor, and the villain stepped backward through the portal while dragging the Green Ranger along. The portal snapped shut with a pulse of dark-blue light, leaving the five Rangers in the plaza along with the Worms.

 

“No!” Hurricane Red shouted as he bashed a roundkick against a Worm’s head.

 

Navy Thunder slashed his staff across a Worm with a burst of spark that knocked the creature backward. “Why do all the bad guys just happen to have teleporting powers?” He bashed a jumpkick upside the head of an approaching grunt. “Anyone else ever wonder that, or is it just me?”

 

“Blake, this is serious,” Hurricane Blue said as she hurled a bolt of twirling water that buzzed through a Worm like a saw.

 

“I know. I am serious.” Navy Thunder snapped a kick upside a Worm’s head. “How fair is it that every freak we fight can step back and vanish before we kick his ass?”

 

***

 

Xanathor had made a new home within the spire-shaped palace in the heart of Demon City. Partly destroyed, the palace of onyx stoned had served as the Mogralord’s fortress during the second Countdown to Destruction.

                                      

The fortress’s hollowed-out throne room still ebbed with evil. Torches of blue fire lined the walls. And creatures of demonic energy floated across the floor of rock. The creatures looked like Worms, only these Worms lacked physical bodies. They were creatures of blue-tinted shadow.

 

In the center of the room was a pit that seemed bottomless. Within the pit, crimson and blue energy twirled like a cyclone that plunged downward into a black abyss.

 

A blue portal flared to life within the throne room, and Xanathor stepped through while dragging Hurricane Green.

 

The portal snapped shut, and Xanathor tossed the Green Ranger onto the floor.

 

“This is the moment that will change your non-life, Green Ranger,” Xanathor said. His voice echoed within the chamber. “Gaze into the pit.”

 

The Green Ranger lunged to his feet and snapped a jumpkick towards the villain. But Xanathor grabbed the kick and knocked the Ranger’s leg from beneath him. The Green Ranger crashed against the ground, and Xanathor bent downward, grabbing the Ranger by the head and forcing him to look into the pit.

 

“I said gaze, Karas. Gaze into the power that twists and churns beneath us. A power that is literally older than time.”

 

Hurricane Green struggled to break free, but he couldn’t help looking into the pit. The vortex caught his attention and grabbed hold tightly, relentlessly. He did his best to struggle against the feeling.

 

“Let go!” the Green Ranger shouted.

 

“Hush, Karas,” Xanathor said. “Hush…and gaze…”

 

Terror clenched the Green Ranger’s throat. Not his own fear, but fear forced upon him from the vortex. “What….what is this?!” He shouted. “Let me go!”

 

“This is the true heart of the place you call Demon City,” Xanathor said. “A scar in reality. A scar that runs deep, so deep, that it reaches into the prison of the Dark One himself. His hatred seeps into your world, but it is not enough for him to break free. Not yet. You can change that.”

 

Hurricane Green felt his terror intensify. And with the terror came hatred, as pure as he had ever felt. He could feel this Dark One reaching out from his prison.

 

“Do you know what greatness lies through this rift? Do you know the story of the Dark One?” Xanathor asked. “Before time, the Life Giver created seven cosmic beings to forge the universe. One of these beings took the name Mephisto, the Dark One, and betrayed the Life Giver. The Life Giver imprisoned the Dark One in the core of a world called Hades, which was banished into a dimension of its own, which your people now call Hell. A place that should seem all-too familiar to you.”

 

“No!” Kou shouted. “I wasn’t there! I wasn’t!”

 

“Then where were you, Karas?” Xanathor asked. “Do you even remember?”

 

He didn’t. Hurricane Green remembered his death. He remembered Zedd’s staff plunging through his chest. Then he remembered Karas. There was nothing in between.

 

“What if I told you… Xanathor whispered with an icy-cold tone. “That you were not really Kou at all? That Kou died, and his soul descended into the Heavenly Realms. Kou was born from a human woman and a non-man, a figure of clay given tremendous power and life. The part of Kou that was human, his soul, left his body after death and descended into Heaven. The part of him that was non-life, that essence, descended into Hell. That essence was you. Kou is resting peacefully with his brother and mother. He has the happiness and rest he deserves. You are nothing but his shadow… a powerful shadow, brought back to the world by the power that fixes your gaze. The power of the Dark One himself.”

 

“It’s not true!” Hurricane Green shouted.

 

“It is,” Xanathor hissed. “You are a creature of evil. Darkness made flesh. You are Karas.”

 

***

 

Hurricane Red bashed a sidekick against a Worm’s chest, turned, and snapped a hook kick across a second creature’s head.

 

“We have to regroup and find Kou,” he called to his teammates.

 

“Sure.” Hurricane Yellow smashed a tornado kick across a Worm’s head. “We’ll get right on that. Just let me ask these kind creatures to stop attacking us first.”

 

Hurricane Blue and Navy Thunder stood back to back as Worms surrounded them. Hurricane Blue snapped a crescent kick across a Worm’s head and slashed her sword upward across the creature’s body with a burst of spark. Navy Thunder smashed a kick against a Worm’s gut and chopped his staff across the creature’s chest.

 

“How are we doing? Lightning Bolt!” Navy Thunder hurled a bolt of lightning that exploded through a trio of Worms.

 

“We’ve been better. Hydro Blast!” Hurricane Blue thrust her palm forward and launched a bolt of watery energy that ripped through a Worm with bursts of spark.

 

“I was counting on you for some optimism.” He slashed upward through a Worm’s chest.

 

“Since when do you care about optimism?” She slammed an axe kick against a Worm’s shoulder.

 

 “Good point.” Navy Thunder bashed his palm against a Worm’s face.

 

Sparks suddenly tore across the pavement, knocking the five Rangers and Worms to the ground. The Rangers crashed hard as smoke sizzled from the blasts.

 

“The master is done with you,” a voice hissed from the shadows. “You may die now.”

 

kabuto-vi-lanpyriswormThe Rangers slowly climbed to their feet, regrouped, and looked to see their attacker. The monster was covered in green insectoid armor, with plates of black armor across its sides, arms and legs. In place of its right hand were black tendrils wrapped around a green organic sphere the size of a basketball. The creature was called the Lampyris Worm.

 

The monster thrust its sphere hand towards the Rangers. Its tendrils opened, and the sphere shot forward with a pulse of energy. The sphere exploded against the Rangers with a storm of sparks that sent them flying off their feet.

 

The Rangers smashed against the ground and skid across the pavement as the monster stalked forward to follow up its attack.

 

Crimson Thunder was the first to his feet. He snapped his staff into its X-shaped pattern and hurled the weapon towards the monster. The staff spun like a propeller the creature merely swatted aside. Lampyris Worm extended his palm and fired bursts of jade energy that sparked against the Crimson Ranger’s chest and whipped him off his feet.

 

“Stop!” a voice shouted from above. The Rangers looked up to see Kamen Rider Kiva standing on the torn remains of a gutted building.

 

Navy Thunder couldn’t help but feel slightly relieved, and annoyed, at the sight of the armored warrior. “I never thought I’d be glad to see your stalker, Rach.”

 

“He’s not my stalker,” Hurricane Blue said. “He’s our friend.”

 

Kamen Rider Kiva somersaulted through the air, flipped towards Lampyris Worm, and slammed a flying sidekick against the monster. The kick bashed the creature backward, but it stood its ground. Kiva landed and immediately snapped a roundkick against the creature’s side and slammed a backfist across its head. He spun forward with a reverse sidekick that knocked the creature onto the ground. 

 

Hurricane Red climbed to his feet. “Rangers, form up on me.”

 

The five Rangers regrouped and prepared to launch their newly-learned group attack—an attack inspired by the chi-wielding Heaven Star Task Force Power Rangers.

 

The Rangers raised their hands into the air, and spheres of energy formed between their palms. Each energy sphere glowed with the animal symbol of its holder.

 

The Rangers lowered their energy spheres to chest level. “Bomber…set,” Hurricane Red called out. He held back the energy sphere, which pulsed with power. “Kiryoku…”

 

“Bomber!” the five Rangers shouted as they hurled their energy spheres at the monster. The spheres combined into a single, golden energy blast that shot forward and punctured through the monster with a massive burst of energy. The blast tore the creature apart with sparks and explosions that shook the streets.

 

“OK,” Hurricane Red said to his teammates. “Let’s find Kou and get out of here.”

 

“I’m not going to argue with that,” Hurricane Yellow said. “Especially the ‘get-out-of-here’ part.”

 

Kamen Rider Kiva looked to where Xanathor had teleported away with Hurricane Green. “The veil of reality is still thin here, where the villain took your friend. I can pierce the veil and take you to Hurricane Green.”

 

“Wait, how are you even here?” Navy Thunder asked.

 

“Do you want to interrogate me, or do you want to find your friend?” Kiva asked.

 

“Blake,” Hurricane Blue laid a hand on the Navy Thunder Ranger’s shoulder. “Not now.”

 

Kiva looked to Hurricane Blue and spoke softly. “I followed you here only to help.”

 

“Then take us to Kou,” Hurricane Blue said.

 

Kamen Rider Kiva nodded and turned back towards the spot where Hurricane Green had vanished. “The portals and teleportation beams these villains use weaken the fabric of your reality. The effect is temporary, but enough for me to re-open any portal or bridge.”

 

The Kamen Rider lifted his hand, and his palm pulsed with multi-colored energy, like light dancing through stained glass. The light burst forth and pealed back a portal similar to the one Xanathor had used.

 

“I supposed we’re just going to hop in there without a plan, aren’t we?” Hurricane Yellow asked.

 

“That’s right,” Hurricane Red said. “You would think I had learned better by now.”

 

The Red Ranger leapt through the portal, and the others followed.

 

To be continued…Chapter 13