Ultimate Samurai: Chapter Five prologue

 

One night ago

 

The demon warrior Juzou sharpened his sword, Uramasa. He sat within the woods outside of Angel Grove and stared into a blazing campfire.

 

The fire danced with images. Juzou saw the Gedoushuu. The Vorlock emperor. VOLT. The Hellfire Club. The Samurai Rangers.

 

The flames lingered on the Samurai Rangers. The images showed the five teens training. He felt his sword hunger to cut through flesh and bone. To clash against steel.

 

He felt his true opponent within the ranks of these Samurai Rangers. He watched them one-by-one. Studied them.

 

His sword throbbed with eagerness. “Soon, Uramasa…” he whispered. “Soon…”

 

Chapter Five: Ultimate Samurai

Four Blades

 

Angel Grove, one year ago

 

Tanner kissed Erika deeply and pushed her against the rocks—harder than she would have liked. They made out on the beach near a campfire at night. Tanner’s friends partied nearby. They were all drunk.

 

Tanner started to slide his hand down Erika’s pants, but she pushed away. “Tanner…Tanner, stop.”

 

Tanner pressed harder against her body. She started to slap against his chest. “Tanner…Tanner, stop it!”

 

“Come on, baby…” Tanner said.

 

“‘Come on, baby’? Who talks like that?” Bradin McAllister stepped onto the beach. “Let her go, Tanner.”

 

Tanner glared at the teen. “Were you watching, you little pervert?”

 

“Bradin, get out of here,” Erika said.

 

“No, no…Stay,” Tanner said as he walked towards Bradin. He whistled for his friends. “Look, guys…It’s the little farmer from Kansas.”

 

“Arkansas, but I’m not surprised you’re lacking in basic geography skills,” Bradin said.

 

Tanner smiled mockingly at the teen. “Are you trying to be a little hero? Impress the little slut? That’s cute.”

 

Bradin narrowed his eyes. “What did you just call her?”

 

“A little slut,” Tanner said.

 

“That’s what I thought.”

 

Bradin smashed a hook punch across Tanner’s face, dropping him to the ground.

 

Two of Tanner’s friends immediately tackled Bradin to the ground. Bradin smashed a punch against a bully’s ribs, but the second bully smashed a punch against his face.

 

Tanner climbed to his feet, leaned down towards Bradin, and smashed a punch across his head.

 

***

 

Bradin stumbled across the street that night—after drinking. A lot.

 

He made his way home, towards the beach-front property his aunt owned. He moved to Angel Grove to live with his aunt several weeks ago after his parents died in a car crash.

 

Bradin collapsed onto the curb and decided to stay there. The pavement was warm and seamed a cozy-enough place to pass out, he decided.

 

A young man stepped towards him. “Bradin McAllister? You’re looking…not-so-well.”

 

“Go to hell…” he slurred.

 

“Been there,” Tommy Oliver said. “It’s not as bad as people think. I still haven’t decided if that’s a good thing.”

 

Tommy sat on the curb next to Bradin. “I heard what happened. That you tried to help that girl.”

 

“Erika…” Bradin slurred.

 

“Erika,” Tommy said. “Your surfing teacher, right?”

 

Bradin slowly pushed himself up—then nearly toppled back down. “Would you stand still…

 

“Haven’t moved, Bradin,” Tommy said.

 

“How do you know me?” Bradin asked.

 

“I’ve been recruiting for a school of mine,” Tommy said. “You caught my attention.”

 

Bradin scoffed. “Too drunk for witty retort…”

 

“I know you’re in a rough place right now,” Tommy said. “I can help you with that.”

 

Bradin let himself fall back to the curb. He sighed deeply. “Keep talking. Lull me to sleep…”

 

“You like to stand up to bullies,” Tommy said. “But you couldn’t even take on three guys at once. I can teach you how to take on 300.”

 

“Isn’t that a line from Batman Begins?” Bradin asked.

 

Tommy sighed. “It’s not…Well, it’s close, I guess. But it’s true. I run a martial arts school. I don’t train fighters. I train protectors. I teach people to stand up for themselves and the people they care about.”

 

“Martial arts? Like Kung Fu ninjas?” Bradin asked.

 

“Surprisingly accurate,” Tommy said.

 

***

 

Bradin ran across the Canal at night. The Canal was a new addition to Angel Grove North, in an area rebuilt following a monster attack years ago.

 

What part of this city hasn’t been rebuilt, he thought. He had to admit: he preferred the city to the farm where he grew up. But a part of him missed the simplicity of the rural life.

 

His mind drifted to a battle earlier in the day. Bradin had gone to the beach to surf. But an Ayakashi had attacked. The teen tried to fight the monster alone, and he failed.

 

Teddy had chided him for being too reckless. Bradin had snapped back, and Teddy practically fired him from the team as a result.

 

“The last thing we need is a hot head,” Teddy had said.

 

“No, the last thing we need is a gay leader,” Bradin had snapped back.

 

Bradin mentally kicked himself. That was low, even for him. Still, Bradin didn’t deserve to be treated like the team delinquent.

 

The teen ran faster.

 

He’d fight the Ayakashi again.

 

And this time, he wouldn’t lose.

 

He wants me to show more dedication? Bradin thought. Fine. I’ll show him…

 

***

 

Teddy, Ryan, Anna and Kirsten morphed to face off with Rokuro, the Ayakashi that had defeated Bradin the previous day. 

 

shinken-va-rokuroneriThe creature’s slimy green skin looked like it was being grasped by two orange hands with giant nails. The monster had beady blue eyes, a maw of needle-sharp teeth and two massive fists.

 

Suddenly, Bradin flipped through the air from behind the Rangers and landed to face off with the monster.

 

“This one’s all on me,” he said as he pulled out his morpher.

 

“Samurai scribe!” Bradin shouted as he wrote his symbol. “Ha!”

 

Energy wrapped around him as he morphed into his Ranger form.

 

“Blade of the Woods! Samurai Green!”

 

Nanashi charged towards the Green Ranger to attack.

 

Samurai Green returned the charge. He smashed through the line of Nanashi while parrying and slashing their swords aside. He dove beneath a sword swing, rolled back to his feet, and spun with a wide arc that slashed a Nanashi aside.

 

The other four Rangers joined the attack.

 

Samurai Red spun his Fire Disc. “Fire Disc. Blazing Strike!”

 

Fiery energy twirled around the blade. He swung his sword through a wide arc that hurled a wave of fiery energy towards the Nanashi. The energy blade slashed through their ranks with massive bursts of spark that ripped the grunts to pieces.

 

Samurai Blue spun his Water Disc. “Water Disc. Hydro Splash!”

 

Liquid energy circled around the Blue Ranger’s blade. He swung the sword through a steak of power that hurled a wave of watery energy towards the Nanashi. The energy wave slashed through the grunts with massive bursts of spark that hurled them off the street.

 

Samurai Pink spun her Air Disc. “Air Disc. Air Wave!”

 

Wind energy circled around her blade. The Pink Ranger swung her sword upward, hurling a blade of wind energy at the Nanashi. The wind power sliced through the grunts with bursts of spark.

 

Samurai Yellow spun her Earth Disc. “Earth Disc. Seismic Slash!”

 

The Yellow Ranger chopped her sword downward with a charge of seismic energy that shot towards the grunts. The energy wave blasted through the Nanashi with bursts of spark.

 

Nearby, Samurai Green charged towards Rokuro. The Green Ranger swung his blade through a series of powerful, savage strikes. But the monster swung its fists to block the blows.

 

Rokuro smashed a punch against the Green Ranger’s gut and smashed a second punch across his helmet. The blow hurled the Green Ranger off his feet.

 

Samurai Green crashed against the street and climbed quickly back to his feet. He turned to face the monster and stepped back into a defensive stance. He smirked beneath his helmet. He had a plan.

 

“Come on…” he taunted.

 

The monster smashed its fists together. “Tunneling Punch!”

 

The creature punched through the ground. Its arms extended, tunneling through the earth towards the Green Ranger.

 

Samurai Green turned and sprinted as the tunneling punches followed.

 

The stretched punches pummeled upward, showering the roadway with bursts of concrete and debris. The Green Ranger leapt over a car, which the monster punched through the air. The vehicle smashed against a nearby building and exploded.

 

Samurai Green rounded a corner, and another corner, running around an entire block. He weaved through a column of pillars at the base of a nearby skyscraper, then skid to a halt.

 

He had lost sight of the punches but felt them thundering beneath the earth.

 

A punch smashed through the ground and aimed towards Samurai Green.

 

Suddenly, Samurai Red dashed forward and swung his sword to block the punch. But a second punch lunged from the ground, slammed against Samurai Red, and bashed him against a column.

 

The shockwave hurled the Green Ranger off his feet. He crashed against the street and tumbled across the pavement.

 

The Green Ranger rolled to his feet and turned to face the Ayakashi, whose arms were stuck in the ground.

 

Rokuro tried to pull his arms free, but they were tangled around the city block.

 

“Not too bright,” Samurai Green said as he swung his sword over his shoulder.

 

The Green Ranger flipped his Forrest Disc from his buckler. He slid the disc onto his sword hilt and swung the weapon into a fighting stance. He spun the disc.

 

“Forrest Disc! Forrest Vortex!”

 

Green energy twirled around his blade like a tornado of small leaves. Samurai Green dashed forward and swung past the creature, his blade streaking through a slash of jade energy that slashed through the monster with a burst of spark.

 

***

 

The teens regrouped on the street after defeating the monster in their Megazord. Teddy walked silently past Bradin.

 

“Teddy…” Bradin started to say. He looked down and shifted uncomfortably. He didn’t have much experience with apologies. “Look…I’m sorry, alright? I didn’t mean what I said earlier. That wasn’t cool.” He cleared his throat. “Anyway…I want back on the team.”

 

Teddy stopped and looked over his shoulder. “I never told anyone they had to quit…”

 

Bradin smirked. “Fair enough.”

 

***

  

Angel Grove, one year ago

 

Ryan Phillips laid flowers on his father’s grave. He kneeled down and traced his fingers across the headstone.

 

“Hey dad,” Ryan said. “Sorry I haven’t been here in a while. I just…” He shook his head. “Anyway, they posted the cast list today. I got the part. I wanted to tell you…I think you’d be proud.”

 

His father had always supported his acting ambitions, ever since he was cast as Peter Pan in an elementary school music program. He lost his father a few years afterward.

 

Ryan heard footsteps from behind. He turned to see a young man walk towards him. The teen rose to his feet and wiped the tears from his cheeks.

 

“I’m sorry,” Tommy Oliver said. “I didn’t mean to interrupt.”

 

Ryan knitted his brow. “Do I know you?”

 

“We met once,” Tommy said. “At your father’s funeral.”

 

“Oh…” Ryan said. He shifted uncomfortably. “Did you know him?”

 

“Honestly, no,” Tommy said. “Not really. But I knew of him. That’s why I’m here.”

 

“Oh…” Ryan said. “Well…I’m almost done. Just give me a few more minutes, and I’ll be out of your way.”

 

“I’m here to see you,” Tommy said. “I thought this would be a fitting place to tell you the truth.”

 

Ryan knitted his brow and took a step back. Chills crept down his spine. “What are you talking about? Who are you?”

 

“My name’s Tommy Oliver,” he said. “I run the Hayate Way, a special school I attended when I was younger. Your father went there too.”

 

Ryan nodded. He recognized the name. His dad said he had learned martial arts there. He used those fighting skills on the job as a police officer. “Yeah, okay…” he said reluctantly. “Sorry, this is just random. And weird…”

 

“There’s really not a non-creepy way to approach someone about something like this,” Tommy said with a grin.

 

Ryan grinned back. “I think anyplace other than a cemetery would have been nice.”

 

“True,” Tommy said. “Look, Ryan…the Hayate Way isn’t just a normal martial arts school. It has its roots in Japan. As early as the Sengoku Era, the best of the Hayate Way students have become guardians and protectors known as Harrikenjaa.”

 

Ryan nodded. “Dad told me those stories.”

 

“They weren’t just stories,” Tommy said. “Your dad was a Harrikenjaa.”

 

“That’s not funny,” Ryan said.

 

“I’m not joking,” Tommy said. He lifted his hand, and a sphere of flame formed in his palm. “I’m assuming your dad told you about Ki?”

 

Ryan wasn’t scared. He opened his eyes wide with amazement. “Ki?” Ryan asked. “You mean like chi?”

 

“It’s called both,” Tommy said. “Most Harrikenjaa, like your dad, had heightened Ki. This gave them enhanced strength, agility and reflexes.”

 

“And…Fire power?” Ryan asked.

 

“That could have been possible for some of them,” Tommy said. He extinguished the flame and lowered his hand. “But they never faced anything strong enough to push their power that far.”

 

“And you did?” Ryan asked.

 

Tommy nodded. “Unfortunately. Ryan, your dad kept this part of his life a secret from you. He had to. But I wanted you to know the truth.”

 

“Why are you telling me this?” Ryan asked.

 

“I wanted you to know,” Tommy said. “I see a lot of potential in you, Ryan. If you wanted to, you could follow in your father’s footsteps.”

 

Ryan shook his head. He always wanted to protect people like his dad had, but never believed he could. “I’m not strong enough.”

 

“But you could be,” Tommy said. “You could be…”

 

***

 

An Ayakashi had poisoned parts of the city. Teddy, Bradin, Anna and Kirsten had fought against the monster, but the creature’s poison nearly killed them.

 

Ryan had been practicing with a new Symbol Disc at the time. Tommy had given Ryan the disc and told him he could unlock its power. But he struggled to do so.

 

The teen stood in the Hayate Way courtyard and spun the disc across his Spin Sword’s hilt. The disc spun but did nothing. No flashes of power. No ebbs of energy. Nothing.

 

Ryan narrowed his eyes. The disc was key to curing the monster’s poison. He had to unlock its power.

 

He spun the disc again.

 

Still nothing.

 

He closed his eyes and sighed. A part of him wanted to go back to school. They’d be having auditions for “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” soon. He wanted to pursue his ambitions and make his father proud.

 

He thought of his dad, who had served the Hayate Way as a Harrikenjaa. Who had died in the line of duty as a police officer.

 

Ryan wanted nothing more than to live a life that would make his father proud. He couldn’t fail.

 

He opened his eyes and spun the disc. “Shark Disc!”

 

The disc ebbed with blue power.

 

***

 

shinken-va-yamiororoThe Ayakashi named Kodama had armor that looked like twisted green leaves wrapped around rippled red skin. The monster carried a blade that looked like an edged palm leaf.

 

The four other rangers lay on the street nearby the monster. They had continued their attack, despite the poison that threatened to kill them. The poison weakened their bodies, but not their spirit.

 

Teddy clenched his jaw and pushed himself to his feet. He pushed past the pain and charged towards the monster.

 

The creature swung its blade at Teddy, but Teddy ducked beneath the blow and smashed a roundkick against the monster’s gut.

 

Kodama smashed the back of his fist across the ranger’s head, knocking him to the ground.

 

The creature laughed mockingly and lifted his sword to strike down Teddy. But Bradin lunged forward and bashed his shoulder against the monster, knocking the creature backward.

 

“Why didn’t you…stay back” Teddy asked between weak breaths.

 

Bradin smirked, but looked as if ready to collapse. “Couldn’t let you have all the fun…”

 

The teens regrouped, weak and battered. They felt the poison seep through their bodies.

 

“Guys!” a voice shouted form nearby.

 

They turned to see Ryan run onto the scene. He carried his Water Bow in one hand and his Shark Disc in the other.

 

Ryan placed the disc on his bow and spun the disc. “Shark Disc!”

 

The disc surged with blue energy that washed across his bow. He aimed upward and fired an arrow of blue energy, which burst into droplets of purifying power that rained down upon the city.

 

The energy droplets splashed across the teens, purging the poison from their bodies.

 

Bradin sighed with relief as the rangers regrouped. “Much better.”

 

“Nice work, Ryan,” Teddy said.

 

Ryan smiled sheepishly and shrugged. “The Shark Disc did all the work.”

 

“Don’t sell yourself short,” Anna said.

 

The teens armed their morphers.

 

“Samurai scribe!” They wrote their symbols, which glowed in midair. “Ha!”

 

They swiped their morphers through their symbols and morphed into their Ranger forms. They unsheathed their swords and shifted into fighting stances.

 

“Blade of the Flame! Samurai Red!”

 

“Blade of the Woods! Samurai Green!”

 

“Blade of the Water! Samurai Blue!”

 

“Blade of the Earth! Samurai Yellow!”

 

“Blade of the Wind! Samurai Pink!”

 

“Symbol Task Force!” Samurai Red called. Together, they shouted: “Samurai Rangers!”

 

The Rangers charged forward and attacked the monster. Their swords swung through arcs the monster parried. But some blows landed across the monster’s body, sparking on impact.

 

Samurai Blue spun his Water Disc. “Water Disc. Hydro Splash!”

 

Liquid energy circled around the Blue Ranger’s blade. He swung the sword through a steak of power that hurled a wave of watery energy towards the Ayakashi. The water blade cut through the monster with bursts of spark, forcing the creature backward.

 

Samurai Red spun his Symbol Disc. “Fire Breaker!”

 

His sword glowed with red energy and transformed into a massive zanbato blade.

 

“Here,” Samurai Blue said as he handed his Shark Disc to Samurai Red. “Use this.”

 

“We’ll do it together,” Samurai Red said.

 

The Blue Ranger and Red Ranger grabbed hold of the Fire Smasher. Samurai Blue placed the Shark Disc on the blade and spun the disc. The disc surged with energy that washed across the massive blade as they swung the weapon into position, pointing towards the monster.

 

They snapped the handle downward, holding the sword like a cannon. “Fire Smasher!” Samurai Red shouted. “Blaster Mode!”

 

The other three Rangers stood in formation alongside their teammates. Each Ranger placed their main Symbol Disc along the spine of the weapon.

 

“Shark Surge!” Samurai Red shouted. “Fire!”

 

Each Symbol Disc spun, sparking with energy as the blade shot a surge of shark-shaped power that punctured through the monster with massive bursts of spark.

 

Kodama exploded with a massive burst of flame and smoke. But the fiery smoke re-shaped, and the monster grew giant.

 

The Rangers pulled out their Origami and placed the emblems on the ground. They armed their morphers in brush mode. “Samurai-zords, rise up!”

 

They swiped their morphers over their Origami to paint their symbols, which glowed with power. The symbols splashed across the Origami, and the emblems grew giant.

 

Each emblem unfolded to form a Samurai-zord: The red-armored Lion Origami, the blue-armored Dragon Origami, the green-armored Bear Origami, the yellow-armored Ape Origami and the pink-armored Turtle Origami.

 

The Rangers dropped into their individual cockpits and stood behind their control pedestals. They slid their Spin Swords into the pedestals and gripped the handles like control rods.

 

Samurai Red swiped his morpher to write the kanji for “combine” above his control pedestal. “Origami assemble!” he shouted. “Samurai fusion!”

 

The five Samurai-zords shifted shape and combined to form a massive, samurai-styled robo. The five Rangers gathered in a central cockpit and stood behind their control pedestals.

 

“Samurai Megazord!” they shouted. “Shinkenou!”

 

Kodama blew a cloud of poisonous smoke that surrounded the Megazord, clouding the Rangers’ line of sight. The monster leapt through the smog and slashed across the Megazord’s armor, knocking the Megazord backward.

 

“Samurai Megazord Saber!” Samurai Red shouted.

 

Shinkenou unsheathed its sword and slashed across the monster. The blade sparked on impact but barely dented the monster’s armor.

 

Samurai Red looked to Samurai Blue. “Ryan…let’s see what else that new disc can do.”

 

“Right,” Ryan said. He pulled his sword free and slid the Shark Disc to the hilt.

 

Samurai Blue spun the Shark Disc. “Swordfish Origami!”

 

Samurai Green muttered. “A swordfish isn’t a shark…”

 

Tendrils of blue energy spun around the Blue Ranger’s blade. The Spin Sword and Shark Disc summoned the Swordfish Origami, which expanded in midair near the Megazord. 

 

Samurai Blue teleported into the Shark Origami cockpit. He slid his blade into the control console. “Swordfish Origami!” he shouted. “Hydro Torpedoes!”

 

The swordfish snapped through the air and fired torpedoes of hydro energy that sparked against the monster, knocking him back several steps.

 

Swordfish Origami circled around the Ayakashi and speared the creature in the back, hurling the monster forward.

 

“Swordfish Origami!” Samurai Red shouted. “Equip!”

 

The Swordfish Origami surged with energy and combined with the Megazord, forming a new helmet, back armor and double-bladed saber. Samurai Blue rejoined his teammates in the central cockpit.

 

“Samurai Megazord!” the Rangers shouted. “Kajiki Shinkenou!”

 

Kodama charged forward and swung his blade. The Samurai Megazord parried the blow and spun its double-bladed weapon, slashing across the monster with bursts of spark.

 

The monster stumbled backward.

 

Samurai Megazord leaned forward.

 

“Hydro Torpedoes!” the Rangers shouted.

 

Hydro torpedoes launched from the Megazord’s back and blasted against the monster, knocking the creature backward.

 

The Rangers pulled free their swords and spun their Symbol Discs.

 

“Samurai Megazord!” the Rangers shouted. “Swordfish Strike!”

 

The double-bladed saber glowed with blue energy. The Megazord thrust the saber forward, and the blade extended with an energy spear that punctured through the monster. The monster crashed backward, its energy overloading and exploding.

 

***

 

Angel Grove, one year ago

 

Anna Tears finished volunteering at an after-school kindergarten program. She loved working with children—partially because she wanted to spare them the pain of abandonment she had felt growing up.

 

Her mother became sick with MS and confined to a wheelchair. Her father took her mother away to care for her, leaving Anna to be raised by her grandmother.

 

She wanted nothing more than to have a family of her own. A real family. Of course, she would never admit this to anyone. She found it best to hide her emotions.

 

Anna walked from the elementary school to find a young man waiting for her.

 

“Hello, Anna,” Tommy Oliver said. 

 

Anna narrowed her eyes. “You shouldn’t sneak up on someone like that in this day and age. Especially not in this city.”

 

“I was waiting,” Tommy said. “Not sneaking.”

 

“I see…” she said. “What can I help you with?”

 

“I’ve heard about you,” Tommy said. “Rumor has it that during the Second Countdown to Destruction, you protected your classmates from a group of Hellions.”

 

“No one believes that,” she said. “I was only 14.”

 

“I believe it,” Tommy said. “You have a strong desire to help others. That instinct sparked something in you that literally blew away the Hellions.”

 

“That…” Anna shook her head. “Like I said. No one really believes that.”

 

“It happened, Anna,” Tommy said. “You have a power inside you. I run a school for people with the same potential. If you’re interested, I’ll tell you more. If you’re not, I’ll be on my way, and I’ll never bother you again.”

 

Anna hesitated. “I’m interested…”

 

***

 

shinken-va-namiayashiSamurai Red, Samurai Green and Samurai Yellow bashed through a line of Nanashi as Samurai Pink moved in towards the Ayakashi named Namiyashi.

 

The creature’s twisted body was two toned—half red and half orange. The orange half resembled a twisted tiger, and the red half resembled tendrils of a jellyfish. The monster carried a green spear. 

 

Samurai Blue moved in alongside Samurai Pink as they dashed towards the monster.

 

Namiyashi fired bursts of energy that exploded around the Rangers as they leapt through the air to attack. They landed while chopping their blades at the monster. But the monster swung his staff to block their blows.

 

Samurai Pink shifted her sword and swung the blade through a series of elegant slashes and strikes. Samurai Blue twisted his sword and attacked alongside her, his movements as fluid as his element of water.

 

Namiyashi managed to twirl his staff fast enough to block and parry their blows, which clanged against his weapon.

 

The monster opened its jaws and spat a cloud of mist that exploded against the Rangers, knocking them backward.

 

Namiyashi leaned forward. “Tora Tsunami!”

 

A wave of orange-tinted energy flowed from the right half of his body, and a wave of crimson-tinted energy flowed from the left half of his body. The energy waves combined into a single torrent of power that exploded against the two Rangers and hurled them backward.

 

They crashed against the ground and rolled into crouched fighting stances.

 

Samurai Pink looked to Samurai Blue. “We have to attack him at the same time he attacks.”

 

Samurai Blue nodded. “Sounds like a plan.”

 

Samurai Pink spun her Symbol Disc. “Wind Fan!”

 

Her sword glowed with pink energy and transformed into a fan.

 

Samurai Blue spun his Symbol Disc. “Water Arrow!”

 

His sword glowed with blue energy and transformed into a bow.

 

The monster leaned forward again. “Tora Tsunami!”

 

The monster fired a wave of crimson-tinted energy and a wave of orange-tinted energy.

 

Samurai Pink and Samurai Blue leapt forward. The Blue Ranger fired arrows of hydro energy, and the Pink Ranger fired waves of wind energy. The water arrows sparked through the orange energy wave, dissipating the attack. The Pink Ranger’s wind energy blew aside the crimson energy wave.

 

The Blue Ranger’s water arrows and Pink Ranger’s wind waves blasted through the Ayakashi with massive bursts of spark that hurled the monster backward. The creature skid across the ground as its energy overloaded and exploded with a massive burst of flame.

 

***

 

Angel Grove, one year ago

 

Tommy Oliver looked down at Belle Watson. The young girl lay in bed, sick with an illness her doctors didn’t understand. 

 

He sensed great potential in the girl. But she was trapped by her own failing body.

 

“I’m…I’m sorry to have bothered you,” Tommy said to her mother as he walked from her home.

 

The Watsons lived in the wooded country land that separated Angel Grove from Stone Canyon to the south.

 

Tommy walked across a dirt path towards the edge of the property when he heard the sound of a flute. The sound caught his attention and reminded him briefly of Shannon, the girl he had lost so many years ago. She had loved music.

 

He walked closer to the music and saw Kirsten Watson sitting on a stump while playing the flute. Tommy could sense the girl’s aura flare with every note. She was strong with The Power. Stronger than her sister. 

 

Tommy walked towards her. “Hey…”

 

Kirsten stopped playing. “Oh, I’m sorry…” she blushed. “Hi. You were here to see my sister, right?”

 

“Yeah,” Tommy said. “I didn’t realize what had happened to her. I didn’t mean to intrude.”

 

“No, you’re fine,” Kirsten said with a voice that ebbed with sincerity and pleasantness. “She doesn’t get many visitors…it was nice of you to come see her.”

 

Tommy nodded. “So the doctors have no idea what’s wrong?”

 

Kirsten shook her head. “One day she just fell asleep and never woke back up.”

 

“That’s terrible,” Tommy said.

 

“I know…” Kirsten said. “All we can do is-”

 

“Kirsten!” her father shouted from the house. “Get your ass back in here and set the table!”

 

Kirsten tucked the flute in her shirt and stood up. “Well…I guess I’d better go.”

 

“Kirsten…” Tommy started to say. “I’ll come back later when you have a minute. There’s something I want to talk to you about…” 

 

***

 

shinken-va-zuboshimeshiThe five Rangers charged at the Ayakashi named Zuboshi. The monster resembled a carved statue, with intricate patterns of gold and black. The creature looked at the Rangers with beady green eyes above a wide mouth of fanged teeth.

 

The creature leaned towards Samurai Green. The monster’s psionic power reached out to the Green Ranger’s mind and probed for insecurities. Insecurities were weaknesses the monster could exploit for its psionic attacks.

 

“A useless orphan,” the monster said.

 

A wave of psionic energy slammed against Samurai Green and hurled him backward like a cannonball. He smashed against the side of a building, which crumbled with a burst of concrete and dust.

 

The Green Ranger collapsed to the street and breathed heavily.

 

“Bradin!” Samurai Yellow ran to his side. “Bradin, are you OK?”

 

Samurai Pink shifted her sword into a defensive stance. “What was that?”

 

“This…” the monster said. The Ayakashi dashed towards Samurai Blue and leaned towards the Ranger’s faceplate.  “A disappointment to your father.”

 

A wave of psionic energy blasted against Samurai Blue and hurled him through the air.

 

The villain dashed towards Samurai Pink. The Pink Ranger swung her sword through a series of strikes the monster dodged. The creature leaned towards her faceplate.

 

“An old maid for life.”

 

A blast of psionic energy smashed against Samurai Pink and hurled her off her feet.

 

Samurai Red armed his Fire Disc. The monster dashed towards the Red Ranger and knocked his blade aside. The creature leaned close to the Ranger’s faceplate.

 

“A useless, pansy leader.”

 

The monster’s psionic attack smashed against the Red Ranger’s mind and body, blasting him off his feet.

 

Samurai Yellow charged at the monster and swung her blade through a series of powerful strikes the monster dodged.

 

The Ayakashi leaned close to the Yellow Ranger. “A klutz.”

 

The monster’s psionic attack washed harmlessly across the Ranger. She skipped forward and chopped her blade across the creature with a burst of spark.

 

The Ayakashi staggered backward. “That can’t be…”

 

The Yellow Ranger pushed forward and swung her blade through a horizontal arc the creature leapt over to avoid. The monster landed and leaned towards the Yellow Ranger’s faceplate.

 

“Idiot.”

 

Samurai Yellow slashed upward with a burst of spark across the monster’s body. The Yellow Ranger pushed forward, slashing her sword through a pattern of blows that sparked across the monster and forced him backward step-by-step. She spun forward with a horizontal swing that slashed the monster off its feet.

 

“Stupid. Foolish. Worthless. These are your insecurities. Why…”

 

Samurai Yellow slashed across the monster’s head. She’d been called names her whole life. Picked on. Abused. She survived by growing numb to the words. They were just words. They meant nothing.

 

The Yellow Ranger spun her Earth Disc. “Earth Disc. Seismic Slash!”

 

The Yellow Ranger chopped her sword downward with a charge of seismic energy that shot towards the monster. The energy wave slashed through the creature with massive bursts of spark.

 

The Ayakashi collapsed as his energy overloaded and exploded with a burst of flame.

 

***

 

The Hayate Way, days ago

 

The Vorlock had just launched their first attack on the surface.

 

Tommy called Bradin, Ryan, Anna and Kirsten into Ops. They each wore the uniforms of the Hayate Way—Bradin and Emily wore the yellow of Earth Style, Anna wore the red of Air Style and Ryan wore the blue of Water style.

 

“I don’t have a lot of time, so I’ll have to make this quick,” Tommy said.

 

Ashley tuned her computer monitors into the Anglar attack on the city.

 

Anna narrowed her eyes at the screens. “What’s going on?”

 

“These are live images,” Ashley said. “They’re called the Vorlock, and they’re attacking the city.”

 

Tommy nodded. “I need you four to become Rangers and fight them.”

 

Bradin arced an eyebrow. “You need us to what? Is this a prank?”

 

“It’s no prank,” Tommy said. “I chose each of you to come to this school for a reason. I knew you had the potential, if ever needed, to take on The Power. It’s time to live up to that potential.”

 

To be continued…Chapter 06