Chapter 26: Ultimate Samurai

Knight of the Vorlock

 

Tommy narrowed his eyes as he watched Ashley’s monitor. The images showed Ryan — now Unas — attacking the Samurai Rangers without mercy. Tommy gripped the back of Ashley’s chair so tight his knuckles turned white.

 

“This isn’t happening…” Tommy said.

 

“I know what you’re thinking…” Ashley said.

 

“I lost Simon. I lost Hunter. I won’t lose another one,” he said. “Not again.”

 

His mind drifted back to his time as Bandora’s Evil Green Ranger. Zordon and the Power Rangers never gave up on him. They saved him, supported him, and led him back to the light.

 

Why is it I can never do the same for anyone else…?

 

***

 

Unas thrust his swords and fired a wave of energy that exploded against the Rangers and hurled them off their feet. The Rangers crashed and skid across the ground.

 

Lal and Vaelel stood nearby, and Lal laughed as she watched Unas stalk towards the Rangers.

 

“Fitting,” she said. “Now you’ll come to understand the feeling of betrayal, as I did, when you manipulated my brother.”

 

Samurai Gold climbed into a crouched stance. “She sure does like to hold onto grudges…”

 

Unas held his blades in a squared stance as he charged towards the Rangers.

 

Suddenly, a wall of earth erupted from the ground and smashed against Unas, knocking him back.

 

The Rangers looked to see two hooded children crouching in the shadows with their palms against the ground. Just as quickly as they appeared, they vanished into the darkness.

 

Samurai Red knitted his brow beneath his helmet. “Did you just see that?”

 

Samurai Yellow nodded. “Who were they?”

 

“Let’s find out,” Samurai Red said.

 

***

 

The Rangers chased the hooded children into an alleyway. The kids reached a dead end and nearly panicked.

 

Teddy powered down his armor and approached carefully. “We’re not going to hurt you…” he said. “We just want some answers.”

 

The girl grabbed the boy by the arm. “Don’t trust him…”

 

Teddy looked over his shoulders. “Guys…power down.”

 

The other teens powered down their armor as well. Teddy looked back to the kids. “See? It’s OK…Like I said, we just want some answers.”

 

The two children hesitated, and Teddy noticed their features for the first time. They were the White Skin children.

 

“He was supposed to help us!” the boy shouted.

 

“Who?” Teddy asked.

 

“The Lizzardogler,” the girl said. “We prayed to him. We’ve been praying ever since that night…”

 

Teddy knitted his brow with confusion. “Are you Vorlock?”

 

She spat at the name. “The Vorlock brought the Gedoushuu!” she shouted. “They invaded our tunnels! They killed almost all of us.”

 

The boy nodded. “We’ve been praying ever since. We thought…” he shook his head, his words practically whimpers. “We thought he would help us.”

 

“He did…” the girl said. “But in a different way. Our prayers woke up that monster, but they gave us powers too. We can move the earth!”

 

They heard laughter from above and looked to see Lal, Vaelel and Unas. Lal glared mockingly at the children.

 

“So two of you survived? Clever brats,” she said. She looked to Vaelel. “Kill them.”

 

“No!” Teddy shouted.

 

Vaelel leapt to the ground and snapped a volley of throwing stars. Teddy tackled the children aside as the blades struck the nearby wall.

 

Bradin and Anthony bashed a volley of kicks and punches against the ninja, knocking her several steps backward.

 

Teddy helped the two White Skin children to their feet. “Come on, we’re getting you out of here.”

 

***

 

The rangers fled through the alleyways along with the children, who followed out of fear. A group of Anglars pursued the teens. And a second group of Anglars suddenly dropped into the alleyway to block their path.

 

Teddy armed his morpher, and the other rangers did the same.

 

“Samurai scribe! Ha!” Energy wrapped around them as they morphed into their armor.

 

The Rangers plowed through the Anglars and out of the alleyway, leading into a run-down car lot. 

 

Samurai Red unsheathed his sword and slashed past three grunts with bursts of spark. He looked to the two White Skins.

 

“You need to run…”

 

The children turned and fled from the battle, which spread across the lot.

 

Samurai Yellow and Samurai Pink twirled their blades at Vaelel. But the Vorlock parried their strikes and struck back with daggers that sparked on impact.

 

Samurai Green and Samurai Gold leapt through the air towards Armorg. But the monster punched them aside. The two Rangers crashed against the pavement and tumbled aside.

 

Samurai Red ran to regroup with his two teammates, and Samurai Pink and Samurai Yellow ran to his side.

 

Unas stepped out from the Anglars and swung his blades, hurling waves of energy that sparked against the Rangers and whipped them off their feet.

 

Lal, Vaelel, Armorg and the Anglars regrouped around their newest soldier.

 

The Rangers climbed to their feet. The Red Ranger clutched his injured shoulder and looked to Unas.

 

“Ryan…you’ve got to stop!” he shouted. “You’re better than this!”

 

Samurai Green placed a hand on his leader’s shoulder. “We can’t keep holding back. We need to fight like-”

 

Samurai Red shrugged off the Green Ranger’s hand. “That’s still Ryan. Even when he was blind, he tried to save us. We have to do the same for him.”

 

Lal laughed mockingly. “Touching…You surface dwellers are weak.”

 

She extended her hand, signaling Armorg to attack. The monster stomped towards the Rangers and growled.  

 

The Red Ranger armed his Spin Sword and Symbol Disc.

 

“Attack with me…” he said.

 

The Rangers armed and spun their Symbol Discs. Their elemental energy circled around their weapons.

 

“Element surge!” They pounced to attack.

 

One-by-one, they dashed past the monster and slashed their swords. Their blades streaked with power that ripped through the monster with bursts of spark. Each strike ebbed with the individual Ranger’s color and elemental energy.

 

The Rangers skid to a halt behind the Vorlock monster. The monster collapsed as secondary explosions tore through its body and skin. A final explosion burst from the core of the monster and scattered the creature into pieces.

 

Samurai Gold sheathed his weapon. “I don’t understand why we can’t just open with that move.”

 

When the smoke from the monster cleared, the rest of the Vorlock were gone.

 

***

 

Teddy and the others regrouped with Tommy and Ashley in Ops.

 

“We have to find a way to save him,” Teddy said. “And don’t tell me we can’t. Not like with…” Teddy shook his head as he thought of Bryce. “Just don’t tell me we can’t.”

 

“We can and we will,” Tommy said. “This isn’t something he did to himself willingly. It’s that armor. We have to find a way to break its hold on him.”

 

“Couldn’t we just take it off him?” Kirsten asked.

 

Anna shook her head. “He’s too fast.”

 

“I think we’re missing something here,” Anthony said. “Why Ryan? Why target him?”

 

Ashley tuned back to her monitor. “We’ve been looking into that…and we think it has something to do with that pyramid Kiros trapped him in.”

 

Tommy nodded. “Kiros was trying to summon the same creature those Vorlock kids prayed for,” he said. “When Kiros trapped Ryan in that pyramid to summon the creature, it’s almost like the summoning spell and prayers intersected, with Ryan right at the center. That may have actually ignited the power of the prayers themselves. Maybe that’s why those two Vorlock kids can channel now.”

 

“Since Ryan was right at the center,” Ashley said. “We think the prayers and summoning spell left some sort of imprint. That’s why the Armor of Unas was drawn to him.”

 

“So how do we remove the imprint?” Teddy asked.

 

“By removing the armor,” Tommy said.

 

Bradin sighed. “Which leaves us right back where we started.

 

The alarms blared from Ashley’s computer terminal. The main screen showed an image of Unas, Lal and Vaelel standing in the wilderness outside the city.

 

“Looks like a challenge…” Anthony said.

 

“You guys go,” Tommy said. “Ashley and I will stay here and do what we can.”

 

***

 

Teddy and his teammates ran to the wilderness outside the city and faced off with the three Vorlock.

 

Lal smiled wickedly at the rangers. “I wasn’t sure if you would come.”

 

Teddy ignored Lal and looked to Unas. “I know you can hear me in there, Ryan…We’re going to save you.”

 

Unas unsheathed his swords. “I don’t need to be saved.”

 

He swung the swords and hurled energy blades that shot towards the teens.

 

The teens morphed into their armor just as the blasts exploded around them with massive bursts of spark.

 

Unas charged and slashed past the Rangers one by one, his blades hacking and sparking against their armor. He moved with the fluidity and grace of Ryan, and the brutality of the Vorlock.

 

The Rangers defended themselves but felt reluctant to fight with full force. Samurai Red especially held back. He couldn’t stop thinking about his final fight with Juzou, and how he couldn’t let the same thing happen with Ryan.

 

***

 

The Rangers didn’t notice the White Skin boy watch from a dirt hill patched with dry grass. He hid in the grass and watched Unas slash through the Rangers.

 

“Why…” the boy whispered. “You were supposed to help us…”

 

His sister walked up behind him and placed a hand on his shoulder. “Seto….”

 

“Ise…” Seto said.

 

She kneeled down next to him. “I don’t think our stories were real. The legends were wrong…”

 

“Don’t say that!” he said as he bolted to his feet.

 

Seto ran away from his sister and into a nearby cave, where he had lit a campfire. His sister followed him.

 

The boy walked to the flames and kneeled. “Will you pray with me? He’ll hear…I know he will. And he’ll help us. Just like he helped us by giving us powers…”

 

Ise reluctantly kneeled next to her brother. Two years older, she understood the severity of their situation. Even if they did reach Unas and break him from the Vorlock spell, they were the last of their people. The last of the White Skins.

 

They lowered their heads and started their chant.

 

***

 

Unas swung his swords and fired blades of energy that blasted the Rangers with bursts of spark. The impact whipped them from their feet.

 

The Vorlock Knight shifted into a fighting stance and waited for the Rangers to rise. Lal and Vaelel joined at his side.

 

45But before they could attack, the ground shook. A massive crevice cracked through the earth with bursts of spark and flame, releasing a Vorlock monster that leapt through the air and landed near Unas.

 

Lal smiled at the sight of the creature. “Gaimz…a beast to protect our Vorlock Knight.”

 

Unas and Gaimz charged side-by-side. 

 

Unas slashed the legs out from beneath Samurai Green and Samurai Pink.

 

Gaimz smashed the back of its fist across Samurai Gold’s head, knocking him aside.

 

The Red Ranger and Yellow Ranger hopped at the monster and chopped their blades. But the monster turned its back on the Rangers; their swords slashed harmlessly against the monster’s armored back with bursts of spark.

 

The creature turned and thrust its palms, firing boney darts that sparked against their armor and whipped them off their feet.

 

Samurai Red and Samurai Yellow tumbled across the dirt before rising to their feet. Their teammates regrouped around them, and they stepped into defensive stances.

 

The monster fired another volley of darts, and Unas fired another pair of energy blades. The combined attacks exploded against the Rangers and hurled them through the air with enough force to knock them from their armor.

 

The teens crashed against the ground and skid across the dirt. They rolled to a stop near the cave where the White Skin children chanted. They heard the voices of Seto and Ise and ran into the cave.

 

Teddy narrowed his eyes at the sight of the chanting children. “Stop it!”

 

Teddy dashed to the kids as Bradin and Anthony moved to the flame and kicked dirt to put the fire out. Teddy leaned down and placed his hands on the boy’s shoulder.

 

“You have to stop,” he said. “Your prayers have power now. First you summoned Unas. Now there’s another monster out there…”

 

“We wouldn’t do that…” Seto said.

 

“We were praying to Unas,” Ise said. “We were trying to turn him into a hero like he’s supposed to be.”

 

“I understand,” Teddy said. “But the more you pray, the more good things happen for the Vorlock.”

 

Anthony nodded. “Your chanting’s dangerous.”

 

From behind, Unas and Gaimz rushed into the cave. The monster opened its jaw and spat a torrent of flame that exploded around the cavern as the rangers dove aside.

 

Kirsten rolled into a crouched position and flipped her morpher to brush mode. She painted the kanji for “explode” in midair and swiped her morpher through the symbol. The symbol splashed against the ground and exploded with a burst of rock and dirt.

 

The explosion gave the rangers cover to run from the cave.

 

***

 

The rangers led the White Skins out of the cave and down the nearest hill. They moved to a nearby creek, where Unas and Gaimz caught up with them. 

 

Unas leapt off the shoulders of the monster and angled his descent towards the rangers. The teens dove for cover and shoved the White Skins aside to protect them.

 

Unas landed, thrust his hand towards the teens, and fired strands of energy webbing from his palm. The energy webs wrapped around the teens and White Skins like nets and pinned them to the ground.

 

***

 

The Vorlock tied the captured rangers and White Skins to posts in the wilderness.

 

Lal smiled at the sight. “It’s time for your execution…” She looked to Unas, who lifted his blades. “And how fitting that your former teammate act as the executioner.”

 

Unas stalked towards the captured Rangers and White Skins.

 

“Let the kids go, Lal!” Teddy shouted.

 

“So noble,” Lal said. “But I would prefer you meet your death in silence.”

 

The White Skin child Ise looked to Teddy. “I wish I would have known about you and the Samurai Rangers sooner. Maybe you could have helped us…”

 

“Maybe…” Teddy said. “One thing we can do is help you now. Pray…”

 

“But you said-”

 

“It’s okay,” Teddy said. “Reach out to him like you tried to do before.” He looked to his teammates. “We’ll use our Ki to do the same.”

 

“We can’t reach our morphers,” Kirsten said.

 

“You don’t need them,” Teddy said. “No symbols this time. Just reach for your own power…”

 

Unas closed in as the White Skins closed their eyes and started chanting. The rangers closed their eyes, reached for their Ki, and extended that power towards Unas.

 

Unas moved inches away from Teddy and lifted his sword. But the chanting started pounding in his brain like a drum, heightened by the rangers’ power. He staggered backward.

 

Lal knitted her brow with concern. “Unas, what are you doing? Finish them!”

 

Teddy knitted his brow with concentration. “Ryan…You’re Ryan…fight this.”

 

“No!” Lal shouted as she ran towards Unas.

 

But Unas suddenly flared with a massive burst of blue light that sent a fiery shockwave across the landscape. The shockwave hurled the Vorlock off their feet and knocked the rangers and White Skins free from their bindings.

 

Teddy and the others climbed to their feet and helped the White Skins stand.

 

They looked ahead to see Ryan, free from the Armor of Unas, rise.

 

Ryan knitted his brow with confusion and rubbed his forehead. His eyes ached. The power of Unas restored his sight, and he wasn’t used to the adjustment. “What…what happened.”

 

“Ryan?” Teddy asked as they walked towards him.

 

Ryan nodded. Memories of Unas slowly surfaced in his mind. “What did I do…I can’t believe…what did I do…?”

 

Teddy rushed to Ryan and hugged him. “You didn’t do anything…” he said. “It wasn’t you…this is you. You’re back, and that’s all that matters.”

 

Ryan closed his eyes and hugged Teddy back.

 

“Um, guys,” Bradin said. “The bad guys are still here.”

 

Lal glared at the teens from the distance. “Anglars!”

 

The grunts leapt through the air to attack.

 

The teens armed their morphers.

 

“Samurai scribe! Ha!” Energy wrapped around them as they morphed into their Ranger forms and snapped 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!”

 

“Blade of the Light! Samurai Gold!”

 

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

 

The Rangers and Anglars smashed against one another.

 

Samurai Blue kicked the legs out from a soldier and slashed another grunt upward with a burst of spark. He turned and twirled his blade through streaks of blue energy that hacked a pair of grunts to the ground.

 

Samurai Pink and Samurai Yellow moved nearby. They slashed through Anglars, cracking their bones and slicing their leathery flesh with bursts of spark.

 

Samurai Gold held his blade in a reverse grip and dashed through a group of Anglars while slashing them back, blade twisting and hacking with bursts of spark.

 

Samurai Green spun and slashed through several Anglars. He swung his blade through a series of strikes that hacked the grunts back.

 

Gaimz pounced at Samurai Red and grabbed the Ranger in a chokehold. The monster hurled the Ranger through the air, and he crashed against the ground while tumbling across the dirt.

 

The Red Ranger rolled into a crouched position and stood while arming the black box: the Samurai Seal.

 

Samurai Red opened the Samurai Seal. He attached the black Super Disc to the inside of the black box, then flipped the device shut. He thrust the box forward and ignited its power.

 

“Super Samurai mode!”

 

The black box flared with golden power that formed a robe-like suit of armor that wrapped around Samurai Red. The white robe glistened with gold trimming and the symbol of the Samurai Rangers on the left chest.

 

Samurai Red pulled the Super Disc from the black box, slid the disc over his sword handle, and attached the black box to the hilt.

 

The Red Ranger held his sword forward and charged.

 

Samurai Red spun past the creature while slashing it with a burst of spark. The Red Ranger turned and slashed downward twice in an x-shaped pattern, knocking the monster several steps back.

 

Samurai Red pulled the Fire Disc from his belt buckler and slid the disc into the black box. “Fire Disc!” he shouted. “Surging Flame!”

 

Fiery energy circled around the Red Ranger’s blade as he charged to attack.

 

Samurai Red gripped his saber with both hands and slashed. His blade tore through the monster with massive bursts of spark. Gaimz stumbled backward as secondary explosions tore through his body. The creature collapsed as his energy overloaded and exploded with a final burst of flame.

 

Samurai Red lowered his blade as his teammates regrouped around him. They looked for any sign of the other Vorlock, but they were gone, as were the White Skins.

 

***

 

Kiros watched the Rangers’ battle from a high hilltop.

 

“I’m not sure what you hoped would happen…” he said to Serrator.

 

Serrator stood with his arms folded across his chest and his fan in hand.

 

“This certainly isn’t the outcome I desired…” Serrator said. “But with you here…the Red Ranger won’t have his happy ending for long.”

 

“When will I get what’s promised?”

 

“Soon,” Serrator said. “I have need of you, and Juzou. When that need has passed, I will return Juzou to you as he once was. As your precious Prince Brai.”

 

To be continued…Chapter 27