Ultimate Hurricane: Chapter Thirty-three prologue
Angel Grove, 1985 AD
Azmodai spent his entire existence planning to free the Dark One from his prison. But his plans never gained traction. They couldn’t, and he knew that. The Wheel of Time didn’t will the Dark One’s release.
Then it happened.
The villain stood on the balcony of a skyscraper and glanced at the night sky. Shooting stars burned across the darkness. And the stars carried messages. Messages from the Dark One.
The Dragon was born. And this Dragon could break free from the strings of fate. His birth alone weakened the Pattern of reality, and therefore the Dark One’s prison, allowing him to communicate through the shooting stars.
The villain smiled. The Dragon would break the Wheel of Time, and then reality would weaken enough for Azmodai to finally break the Seals to the Dark One’s prison.
“Finally…” he whispered. “Let the End Game begin.”
Angel Grove, two days ago
Azmodai waited roughly 28 years for the Dragon to break the Wheel of Time during the Mogralord War, what the media called the Second Countdown to Destruction. Then he started gathering the seeds he planted and plotting his war.
He broke the First Seal nearly a year ago. And now…nothing. He released the Forsaken, but none appeared to him. He brought the Dark One closer to freedom, but the Dark One didn’t speak to him.
Further, his enemies gathered within the pits of Hell itself. They knew he planned to break the Seals and free the Dark One, and they wanted to stop him, either because they wanted the Dark One’s favor for themselves, or because they didn’t wish to disturb the power they claimed within Hell’s circles.
Azmodai needed his army complete. Now.
Zen stepped into the dimly lit room behind Azmodai, who faced a window. Oddly, the window’s blinds were shut.
Zen didn’t bother asking. “You called?”
“Yes…” Azmodai said without turning to face his son. “Your mother is magnificent, but often foolish. She’s put Zero in charge of finding one of your brothers. The one holed up in a monastery protected by exorcists.”
Zen arced an eyebrow. “Exorcists?”
“Not a threat to you or the Hellfire Knights by any means, but they can certainly slow down my army of demon-possessed,” Azmodai said. “I’ve lost patience for further delays.”
“You want me to help him?” Zen asked, ever obedient.
“I want you to keep him from making a mess of things,” Azmodai said.
“I can do that,” Zen said.
“I know you can…” Azmodai said. Such a simple-minded boy.
“What about Brandon?” Zen asked.
“You wish to take him with you?” Azmodai asked. “I didn’t expect you two to bond so quickly.”
“He’s a good kid,” Zen said.
“Very well,” Azmodai said. “But don’t let anything happen to him. Your older brother’s merry little band of adventurers will likely be on its way there. And your younger brother Samuel already is.”
“Maybe I can talk to them…”
“No,” Azmodai said. “The time for talking is over. These little games of ours have carried on long enough. It’s time to wrap things up. Even if it means I have to go there myself…”
Chapter 33: Ultimate Hurricane
The Thunder Knight
Father Amantini rushed across the plaza in front of the cathedral. R.J. followed as his father shouted orders.
“Lock all the gates!” the priest called out. “And fill the sewers with holy water! We can’t let them come from below.”
They rushed into the main chapel. R.J noticed several priests open hidden compartments near the pulpit. The priests pulled out guns, vials of holy water and swords.
R.J. knitted his brow. “Seriously? You keep guns here?”
“The bullets are marked with special runes,” Father Amantini said. “I’ll explain everything to you later…but first we need to keep you safe.”
The priest led R.J. to the confession booth and opened a secret passage that led beneath the chapel.
“You’ll be safe down there,” Father Amantini said. “No matter what happens, no matter what you hear, stay down there until I come for you.”
“What are you-”
“Go, Rin,” Father Amantini said. “I’ve dedicated my life to protecting you…I can’t let them take you now.”
R.J. cursed beneath his breath and walked down the stairwell. Father Amantini closed the door to seal him inside.
Zero smirked as he listed to Rex.
“Good boy…” he said as he patted Rex on the head.
Rex flinched and nearly struck Zero, but he stopped himself. The demon growled with annoyance.
Zero smiled mockingly. “That’s right…I’d think twice about trying to hit me. Now come on…Now that we know who the Fourth Born is, we can stop all this waiting.”
Zero leapt to the street, and Rex followed.
Several dozen men and women, all of them with solid-black eyes, started moving towards the cathedral.
Zero walked straight to the gate and grabbed the bars. Tendrils of power lashed out and struck him. The wards and runes of the cathedral tried to electrocute the teen.
But he merely smiled.
The teen tore the gate loose with bursts of spark.
Rex and the other demons charged towards the cathedral. Zero smirked and unsheathed his swords.
Shirogane charged across the rooftops.
The hunter leapt through the air and chopped his sword through a streak of blue energy while landing in the cathedral courtyard. His sword struck the ground with a shockwave of blue light that knocked several demons backward.
He nearly passed out from the strain but managed to stay on his feet. He still felt weakened from his fight against the massive demon-possessed neighborhood. He didn’t have much energy to expend.
Need to use what I have wisely…he thought to himself.
Shirogane slashed his blade through a demon and kicked a second demon to the ground.
Nearby, Eiji and Zadie ran side-by-side towards the cathedral courtyard. But several demons blocked the street in front of them.
Zadie glanced at Eiji as they charged. “How much juice you have left?”
“Not much,” Eiji said as he swung his staff into a fighting position. “You care?”
“Only out of self-interest.”
They slammed against the demons.
Eiji swung his staff low. The weapon knocked the legs out from a demon, and he chopped his staff against the fallen grunt’s chest.
Zadie slashed through a demon’s throat. His wound, eyes, and mouth sizzled with light as the demon burnt from the man, who collapsed lifelessly to the ground.
A trio of priests scrambled into the courtyard. They clutched rosemary beads and whispered an incantation in Latin.
Zero looked at the priests with amusement. He narrowed his eyes and fired a telekinetic pulse that knocked the priests off their feet. They slammed against a wall and crashed to the ground.
“Zero!” a voice shouted from behind. Zero turned to see Samuel walk onto the scene. He wore his white jacket and carried his sword low. “Leave these people alone!”
Zero smirked. “What’s the matter, Sammy? Do you feel their fear? Is it a bit too much for you?”
“I won’t let you take another step towards that cathedral,” Samuel said.
Zero stepped closer to the cathedral and gasped mockingly. “Oh no. Now I’ve done it…”
Samuel charged to attack.
Zero swung his swords through a ring of energy that flashed with silver light and summoned his armor.
Samuel swung his sword through a ring of energy that washed over him with golden light and summoned his armor.
Garo and Zero dashed at each other as fast as bullets. They past and slashed each other with bursts of spark, and then turned and snapped into fighting stances.
Zero slashed. But Garo parried and chopped his sword. Zero blocked the blow with a burst of spark.
Garo pushed his blade against Zero’s swords and forced him backward several feet.
Zero knocked the Golden Knight’s sword aside and leapt through the air. Garo jumped to follow.
While in midair, Garo and Zero twisted around one another and clashed. Their swords sparked and clanged against armor.
Garo spun and slashed. His blow sparked against Zero and shot him to the ground. The Silver Knight smashed against the concrete.
Garo landed nearby and traced his hand across his blade, igniting its green flame. He swung his sword and fired a blade of jade energy that shot towards the Silver Knight.
Zero leapt to avoid the blow and swung his sword, firing blades of blue energy.
Garo jumped just as the blades of energy exploded beneath him.
The two Hellfire Knights landed and shifted into fighting stances.
Zero twirled his swords through streaks of blue energy as he charged at Garo. He clashed both blades against Garo’s sword with bursts of spark.
The Silver Knight combined his swords into a bladed staff and chopped, knocking Garo to his knees.
Zero dove forward, spun, and swung upward with a slash that hurled Garo through the air.
Garo slammed against a building and crashed to the ground.
The Silver Knight leapt through the air and aimed his descent towards Garo. But Garo side-kicked Zero with a burst of spark that hurled him backward.
While still hurling through the air, Zero threw his blade at Garo. Garo threw his blade, and the swords clashed against each other.
Zero twisted and landed just in time to block a kick from Garo. The Silver Knight swung a punch Garo blocked, and then round-kicked Garo’s side. Each of their blows sparked with green flame.
The Silver Knight bashed an uppercut upside Garo’s head, and then grabbed the Golden Knight by the neck.
Garo knocked Zero’s arms away and punched him in the chest, knocking him off his feet.
The Silver Knight rolled into a crouched position and pounced. He spin-kicked Garo’s head, hook punched him in the head, and reverse punched him in the faceplate.
Zero swung another hook punch. But Garo blocked and bashed two punches against Zero’s head. The Golden Knight bashed his heel against Zero’s chest, knocking him back several steps.
The Knights snapped round-kicks, and their legs smashed ankle-to-ankle.
Zero punched Garo’s head. And Garo upper-cut punched Zero’s gut.
Their swords dropped from the air, and they caught the blades. Zero swung a flurry of strikes Garo parried.
Zero chopped both blades. Garo blocked with a burst of spark and slid past the Silver Knight.
The Golden Knight snapped around and slashed his blade through a wide arc that sparked against Zero.
Garo twisted his grip and stabbed his sword. The blade pierced Zero’s side with a burst of spark and splatter of blood.
Zero growled with pain and slashed Garo’s knee with a burst of spark, dropping Garo to his knees. The Silver Knight round-kicked Garo’s chest, spun, and slashed the Golden Knight with bursts of spark that knocked him from his armor.
Zero lifted his blades to strike. But his armor started to glow and burn. The villain staggered backward as the fire of his armor scorched his soul.
Samuel pushed himself to his feet and lifted his sword. “Hurts, doesn’t it?”
Zero collapsed to his knees as his armor powered down with a flash of silver light.
Samuel bashed his pommel against Zero’s head, knocking him unconscious.
Dozens of demons poured through the chapel entrance. Several priests took cover behind the pews and opened fire with rune-carved bullets. The bullets blasted through the demons, whipping their bodies backward.
Father Amantini armed a scattershot rifle and fired a spread of bullets that blasted through several demons.
The possessed men and women lifted pews and hurled them at the priests. The priests dove for cover as the pews crashed and splintered.
Two priests armed swords and charged. But a group of demons leapt on top of the exorcists and tackled them to the ground.
Father Amantini backed up to the pulpit and opened fire at the approaching wave of evil. Near the pulpit, a trio of priests grasped rosemary beads and whispered chants in Latin.
A demon hurled a pew, and it smashed the trio to the ground.
Rex walked into the chapel with his hands in his pockets. The demon-possessed bully smiled wickedly as he watched Father Amantini and the priests hurl vials of holy water.
The vials shattered and splattered water against several demons. The holy water singed their skin and sent them staggering backward.
Rex didn’t break his stride. “Father Amantini…Where’s the boy?”
Father Amantini armed another chamber and fired.
Rex lifted a pew as a shield. The bullets splintered the bench to pieces but left the demon unharmed.
Suddenly, Simon dropped through the ceiling and landed in the middle of the chapel.
A few of the demons started to scatter backward. They knew Simon’s reputation too well.
Simon thrust his hand towards the demons and latched onto them with his Ki. He used his power to rip the demons from the men and women. Clouds of smoke snaked from their bodies, arced through the air, and twirled around Simon. The teen absorbed the demon smoke through his palm.
Rex laughed with insanity. “The First Born’s here too!”
The bully hunched and charged at Simon while snarling.
Simon kicked the demon upside the head and punched his gut. The teen spun with a reverse sidekick to the demon’s chest, knocking the bully several steps backward.
Father Amantini cocked his rifle and fired. The bullets blasted Rex off his feet.
The priest tossed his gun aside and whispered an incantation in Latin. Three other priests climbed to their feet nearby, and they joined Father Amantini in the exorcism.
Rex dropped to his knees, leaned back his head and howled as the demon erupted from his mouth through a column of smoke.
The bully’s body collapsed.
Simon started to lower his guard. But Father Amantini lifted his gun from the ground and aimed at Simon.
Simon knitted his brow. “I just saved you.”
“What are you?” the priest asked.
“I’m a…” Simon didn’t quite know how to answer that.
Suddenly, bursts of black flame erupted from one of the priests, who dropped to his knees and screamed. The second priest burst into black flames, and then the third.
Father Amantini swung his gun around while searching for a target. “What in heaven’s name…”
Black flame erupted from the priest. He howled with pain, and then the scream turned into a laugh.
“Oh, I’ve forgotten how enjoyable this is…” the priest said with a voice Simon recognized. Azmodai. “Hello, son.”
Simon charged at Father Amantini. He swiped his hand across his morpher and activated his armor with a burst of black wind.
The Black Ranger unsheathed his sword and stabbed Father Amantini through the gut.
The priest laughed and bashed the back of his fist across Hurricane Black’s head, whipping him across the chapel. The Black Ranger smashed against a wall and crashed to the floor.
“Predictable,” Azmodai said through the priest. “But I didn’t come to fight you. I came to welcome your brother into our family.”
Hurricane Black slapped his right fist against his left palm. He summoned a ring of flame that surrounded the priest.
“Wind scythe jutsu!” the Black Ranger shouted.
The circle of flames spun and twirled into a tornado that whipped the priest into the air. Waves of wind blew towards him like blades, and the blades slashed through his body like a rag doll, splattering blood and ichor onto the floor and walls. The winds cut through flesh and muscle and sliced bone.
Azmodai leapt from the body with a burst of black flame and vanished.
The winds died, and Father Amantini dropped lifelessly to the ground, just as R.J. burst open the door in the hidden chamber.
Eiji swung his staff towards a demon’s head. But the man collapsed to his knees, and the staff passed overhead. The demon tilted his head back and screamed, leaving the body through a streak of black smoke.
Across the plaza and nearby street, every demon collapsed and left its host, snaking through the air and slithering through the skies to escape.
Eiji lowered his staff and glanced across the street. “Did we just win…? Because I’m not really sure what that would feel like.”
R.J. glared at Hurricane Black.
Simon powered down his armor. “It’s not what it looks like…”
R.J. snarled and charged at the ranger. Simon sidestepped and grabbed the younger teen in an arm lock.
“Listen, that wasn’t-”
R.J. smacked the back of his head against Simon’s face, knocking him back a step. The younger teen kneed Simon in the gut and swung an elbow blow.
Simon grabbed R.J.’s elbow and flipped him to the ground. “Calm d-”
R.J. flared with a burst of violet Ki that hurled Simon off his feet.
The younger teen started to charge at his brother, but a voice called from behind.
“R.J…” Rick called as he stepped into the chapel.
“Rick…” R.J said. He almost burst into tears at the sight of his brother, but anger buried his grief. “Dad…the others, they’re…”
“I know,” Rick said. “Come on, let’s get out of here.”
“We can’t just leave,” R.J. said. “We have to-”
“R.J., come on,” Rick said firmly.
R.J. cursed beneath his breath and followed his adopted brother. He didn’t notice Rick’s eyes flicker black for the briefest of moments.
Simon climbed to his feet in the ruined chapel. He cursed beneath his breath at the sight of the dead priests scattered about the war-torn floor.
Eiji and Zadie burst into the room, followed by Shirogane. They stopped at the entrance when they noticed the carnage.
“Okay…” Eiji said. “Maybe we didn’t win.”
“No…” Simon said. “We didn’t.”
Rick led R.J. through the back alleys away from the Southern Cross neighborhood. They entered a park dotted with dying trees and rusted playground equipment.
R.J. stopped running. His face flushed red with anger. “Are we going to talk about what the hell happened back there? Our dad! They killed our dad!”
“Get it together,” Rick said as he grabbed R.J.’s wrist.
R.J. narrowed his eyes and knocked his brother to the ground. “You don’t touch me. Not like that…You know that.”
Rick laughed and climbed to his feet. “You’re such a brat.” He slapped R.J.’s face, knocking him to the ground. “A little brat!”
R.J. knitted his brow. He looked up just as his adopted brother’s eyes turned solid black.
“You…” R.J. said. “You’re not Rick.”
“Yes and no,” Rick said. “You don’t catch on very quickly, do you?”
Rick lifted his hand to strike again. But he gasped and staggered. An invisible force clutched his throat and pushed him to his knees.
R.J. stood and looked to see a 14-year-old boy step from the shadows.
The young teen, Brandon, clenched his fist and tightened his invisible grip on Rick.
“You haven’t been in that body for too long…” Brandon said to the demon. “Probably not more than 30 minutes. Have you?”
The demon tried to answer, but the sounds came out as rasps.
Brandon tightened his fist. The sight of Rick striking R.J. reminded the boy of his abusive father. He narrowed his eyes at the demon.
“Leave…” he said.
Rick’s head tilted back, and the demon erupted like a column of smoke from his throat. The smoke snaked through the air and slithered away.
Brandon smirked with satisfaction.
R.J. scrambled towards his brother. “Rick…dammit, get up.”
“He’s fine,” Brandon said. “Just unconscious.”
“Who are you…?” R.J. asked.
“Family,” a voice said from behind.
R.J. turned to see Zen step from the shadows. He narrowed his eyes at the knight. “You…this all started when you showed up.”
“I am not your enemy,” Zen said.
“The hell you’re not,” R.J. said.
“We’re brothers,” Zen said. “Half-brothers. The three of us…”
“Tell me what happened,” R.J. demanded.
“I’ll tell you everything.” Zen said. “First, we have to go…”
“R.J.!” a voice shouted from nearby. Simon, Samuel, Eiji, Zadie, Shirogane, and Ryan ran to the park. “Don’t listen to him!”
R.J. glared at the ranger. “You…you killed my father…”
Simon and his comrades kept their distance. “That’s not how it happened,” Simon said. “He was possessed.”
“So you killed him?!” R.J. shouted.
“R.J., I’ll explain everything, just-”
R.J. screamed with rage and started to pounce, but Zen held him back.
“Don’t,” Zen said. “You’re not strong enough to take them on. Not yet, at least. I can change that.”
“How?” R.J. asked.
Zen looked to Brandon. “Brother?”
Brandon knitted his brow with determination and nodded. He unsheathed his sword and swung the blade through a ring above his head. The ring glowed with blue light.
“Baron.” He swung his sword down. The ring washed over him to activate the armor of Baron the Thunder Knight. His armor looked wolf-like and blue, and he carried a curved broadsword.
“That’s how,” he said. “Like I said, we’re brothers. Come with me…become the Storm Knight.”
“Storm Knight?” R.J. asked.
He watched Baron charge at Simon and the others. Simon — the one who killed Father Amantini.
“You’ll tell me everything?” R.J. asked.
“Everything…” Zen said.
R.J.’s heart pounded in his chest. Anger and grief flooded his veins. He wanted answers. He wanted revenge. He didn’t trust any of the strangers around him. But he trusted Simon least of all. His three choices: go with Zen, go with Simon, or go off alone.
Only one path promised vengeance.
“Fine…” R.J. said. “Let’s go. But bring my brother.”
“He’s not really your-”
“Bring him,” R.J. demanded.
Zen nodded. He lifted Rick over his shoulder and led R.J. from the park.
Baron swung his sword wide. Simon hopped backward to avoid the strike. “Brandon, stop!” Simon shouted. “What did they do to you?”
The Hellfire Knight slashed at Samuel, who dove and rolled aside. Baron lifted his blade to strike again. “They changed me from a crying little kid…into this!”
He chopped his blade through a streak of blue energy that smashed against the ground with a shockwave that hurled Simon and the others off their feet.
Ryan grumbled beneath his breath as he stood. “Hate to break it to you, Red. But the other one’s getting away with R.J.”
“Go after him,” Simon said as he armed his morpher. “Seeing me will just make it worse. I’ll stay here and-”
Baron kicked Simon in the gut, hurling him backward. Simon smashed against a tree and crashed to the ground.
Eiji grabbed Zadie and dove aside just in time to miss a swing of Baron’s blade. They hit the ground and tumbled across the dirt.
Samuel swung his blade through a ring of energy and powered up his Soul Metal Armor. Green flames ignited from his armor joints like thrusters as he shot towards the Thunder Knight.
The Golden Knight and Thunder Knight clashed swords with a shockwave that shook the earth.
Ryan started to run after Zen and R.J. But a flurry of arrows shot from the trees and cut him off. The rider stopped in his tracks and looked to see the Sky Bow Knight drop from the treetops.
“You again…” Ryan said as he flipped open his Faiz Caller.
The Sky Bow Knight shot the caller from the rider’s hand with a burst of spark.
Ryan cursed and dove aside to avoid a volley of arrows.
Nearby, Shirogane charged his sword with pale-blue energy and dashed towards the Sky Bow Knight.
The Knight fired a volley of arrows. But Shirogane slashed the arrows away, leapt through the air, and aimed his descent towards the Sky Bow Knight.
The hunter chopped his blade. The Knight lifted her bow and blocked the strike with a burst of spark. Shirogane pressed his sword down hard against the bow.
The Sky Bow Knight twisted the blade aside, turned, and kicked Shirogane backward.
Meanwhile, Baron slashed upward with a burst of spark that hurled Garo backward. The Golden Knight splintered through a nearby tree and crashed across the ground while tearing up dirt.
Suddenly, a cyclone of black wind surrounded Baron and lifted him from the ground. The Hellfire Knight growled with frustration and slashed at the wind, each strike useless.
Hurricane Black stepped near the base of the cyclone.
“Brandon…” he called out. “You’re better than this.”
“No…” Baron said. “I’m better like this!”
The Hellfire Knight fired a pulse of telekinetic energy that tore the cyclone apart and hurled Hurricane Black off his feet.
The Thunder Knight landed in a crouched position, just as his armor started to sizzle. The armor pulsed with blue heat that scorched the Knight’s soul.
Baron growled with rage and staggered to his feet. Blue flames licked across his armor and ignited the ground around him.
He powered down his armor and collapsed to all fours.
Nearby, Hurricane Black climbed to his feet. When he looked up, he saw no sign of Brandon other than the blue flames the knight left behind.
“What did they do to you…” the Black Ranger whispered.
“It’s the Soul Metal Armor…” Samuel said as he walked towards his brother from behind. “There’s a reason only Azmodai’s Children can wear it. It burns the soul when you have it on too long. And if you manage to make it past that part? It drives you mad with the spirits of extinct werewolves.”
Simon blinked. “That seems…needlessly complicated,” he said. “You okay?”
Samuel nodded. “I’m fine…”
The brothers shifted awkwardly. They didn’t get a chance to speak at the chapel because of the commotion. Now that they had the chance, it felt awkward. Samuel felt waves of anger and hate pour from Simon. Hatred towards Azmodai, but the type of hate that corrupted, combined with the energies of dozens upon dozens of demons. Along with hate, he felt lust for more power, jealousy, greed, a complete lack of care for his wellbeing…
Samuel knitted his brow. “Did you…” He shook his head. “Did you eat the Seven Deadly Sins?”
“I didn’t-” Simon started to say. He sighed. “I don’t eat them.”
“You ate the Seven Deadly Sins!” Samuel shouted as he took a step back. “What’s wrong with you?”
“Boys…” Zadie said as she walked towards them from nearby the blue flames. Eiji walked at her side. “Your timing sucks.”
Ryan and Shirogane joined them, after watching the Sky Bow Knight leap into the trees and vanish.
Simon looked to his brother. “Zadie’s right. Besides…we both want the same thing.”
“No, I want to get through this with my soul intact,” Samuel said. “I want to fight to save this world from itself. You just want to kill demons.”
They heard Silver Guardian sirens in the distance.
Zadie took Simon by the hand. “We should go.”
“Where?” Simon asked. “We still don’t know where Azmodai’s holed up. We missed our chance.”
“He’ll go back to the Hellfire mansion eventually,” Samuel said. “First he wants to finish building his army. That means he’ll want to find our youngest brother.”
Eiji scoffed. “There’s one more left?”
Simon nodded. “So we find him, and hold him…then we wait for Azmodai to come to us.”
Samuel lowered his head. He felt ashamed of his brother. “I’ll assume you meant to say we’ll save him,” Samuel said. “I’ll assume you meant that…”
Azmodai left his host body behind when he went to the cathedral. The body sat in a chair within a high-rise hotel suite owned by the Hellfire Club.
The host burst with black flames as Azmodai returned. He blinked his solid black eyes until they returned to their human appearance, and then straightened his collar.
He stood and started to walk towards the door, but an invisible force stopped him. He knitted his brow with concern and looked down. He stood within a Devil’s Trap etched on the floor.
He heard laughter come from behind him and turned to face a man dressed in a dark suit. He wore his black hair slicked back, and appeared no older than his early 30s.
“Do you know how long I had to wait for you to leave behind that body you hold so dear?” the man asked.
Azmodai narrowed his eyes. “I am the First Demon. If you honestly believe a Devil’s Trap can hold me for long, you’re sadly-”
“And I am one of the Forsaken,” the man said. “You may call me Moridyn.”
To be continued…Chapter 34