Ultimate Hurricane: Recap

 

The road so far

 

A group called the Snakeroot Clan plotted to turn the Ikkazuchi Way back to greatness. They manipulated Hunter, who took control of the Ikkazuchi, and then the Hand.

 

As part of the Hand, Hunter participated in a ceremony called the Sabbath, which unleashed creatures called Phantom Demons into Angel Grove. A Phantom Demon nearly burst from Hunter’s soul, but he suppressed the demon with his willpower. However, the hidden Phantom Demon still tainted the ranger and influenced his emotions and thoughts.

 

Hunter planned to use the Hand to rid the world of evil. First, he wanted control of the Phantom Demons to bolster his army. But the Phantom Demons followed one of their own, a monster called Wiseman.

 

Wiseman’s motives remained a mystery. But he used the Phantom Demons to drive people known as Gates to despair, giving birth to more Phantoms.

 

Meanwhile, a group of immortals called the Forsaken plotted to release the Dark One from his prison by breaking the Seven Seals. Tommy and the Power Rangers learned the Forsaken likely embedded themselves into various groups of villains, and the Rangers suspected the Hand most of all.

 

Now

 

Chapter 46: Hurricane

Second Sabbath: Phantom War

 

Hunter built himself a fortress in Angel Grove East and no one noticed. A Japanese temple sat on a skyscraper purchased by the Hand’s financers. Prison cells rested in dungeons beneath the streets, spanning an entire city block.

 

The Hand owned several skyscrapers around the perimeter of the block. Ikkazuchi and Hand ninja patrolled the perimeter day and night.

 

Hunter stood on his skyscraper and crossed his arms over his chest. He looked out upon the city — his city — and waited.

 

http://marvellegends.net/MarvelLegends/HMLTP02/HandNinja04.jpgA trio of red-clad Chunin leapt to the rooftop behind Hunter and tossed their prisoner at the ranger’s feet. Their prisoner: Angel Grove Mayor Hamilton Hill.

 

“Hello, Mr. Mayor,” Hunter said without turning around.

 

“You…you have no idea what you’ve done,” Hill said. He climbed to his feet and scowled at the ranger.

 

“What I’ve done is clean up this city of yours,” Hunter said. “Something you could never accomplish…even with two terms in office.”

 

Hill knitted his brow with disbelief. “Clean up the…Are you insane?”

 

“Maybe…” Hunter said. “But that doesn’t change the fact I have nearly every gangster and corrupt politician locked up beneath the streets. Where they belong.”

 

Hunter turned to face the mayor. “Would you like to join them?”

 

Hill narrowed his eyes. “Go to hell.”

 

“No thank you,” Hunter said. “You, on the other hand. You have quite the track record. Bribery. Extortion. Murder. How much blood do you have on your hands, Mr. Mayor? How many died so you could claw your way into office.”

 

“Do you really think I would kill to be mayor of this city?” Hill asked.

 

“Power is power,” Hunter said. “And you’d kill to keep the little you have.”

 

“I’ve dedicated the last five years of my life to keep Washington from condemning this city and shutting it down completely, you little punk,” Hill said.

 

“And I’m sure that has nothing to do with the crime families keeping your pockets lined,” Hunter said. “Word is a reporter discovered that little nest egg you’ve been keeping...and you pushed her in front of a subway to keep her quiet.”

 

Hill narrowed his eyes. “She jumped in front of that train. There was a full investigation-”

 

“By detectives you paid off,” Hunter said. He stepped closer to the mayor and leaned in close, keeping his voice low and threatening. “I didn’t bring you up here to debate, Mr. Mayor. I came here to tell you one thing. This city is mine now.”

 

Hunter nodded to the Chunin. “Take him to the Crimson Cells.”

 

“No…no!” the mayor shouted as the Chunin dragged him away. “I’ll kill you for this, you punk! I swear to god, I’ll kill you!”

 

Hunter turned towards the skyline. He had succeeded in dominating the city’s underworld. He rooted out the corrupt police and politicians. Now he needed control of the Phantom Demons, so he could turn his attention back to the meta-level enemies and demons that gripped the city in a chokehold. 

 

***

 

Four hooded figures met in the darkened woods outside Angel Grove. Their faces hidden in shadow, these cloaked men and women had manipulated Hunter into taking control of the Ikkazuchi, and then the Hand. Further, they manipulated him into taking part of the Sabbath and giving birth to the Phantom Demons.

 

They called themselves the Snakeroot Clan, a group that stayed hidden within the ranks of the Ikkazuchi and plotted to bring that order back to greatness.

 

One of the figures lowered his head with disappointment.

 

“The Crimson Thunder Ranger needs another push…” he said. “He still clings to his humanity.”

 

“He’s so close to falling over the edge,” one of them said.

 

“So we push him off. I grow tired of waiting…how long must we play this game?”

 

“Until it’s won,” said the leader. His eyes flickered black for the briefest of moments. “I believe in him. I believe he’ll win his war. And I believe he’ll gain control of the Phantom Demons. But if you want to give him another push? Then fine, let’s give him another push. There are those in the Hand loyal to us, and us directly. The Five Nails. Send them out. Target the Crimson Thunder Ranger’s brother and former comrades…Have them killed without mercy. Then nothing will hold the Crimson Ranger back from plunging into the abyss of his own darkness.”

 

***

 

For weeks, the Hurricane team spent their time trying to find the Forsaken. They needed to learn more about the evil immortals’ plans, and stop them from breaking the Seals of the Dark One’s prison.

 

The Rangers believed they might find at least one of the villains hidden among the ranks of the Hand, under the control of their former comrade, Hunter.

 

Tommy reported an increase in Hand activity, which just happened to correspond with an increase in Phantom Demon activity. He couldn’t dismiss the coincidence, so he sent the Power Rangers to investigate.

 

Blake, Rachel, Justin and Kou crouched on a rooftop and stared towards a skyscraper in the distance.

 

Blake crossed his arms over his chest. “This is ridiculous,” he said. “We barely find a trace of these ninja guys all year, now they’re popping up faster than…”

 

Justin arced an eyebrow. “Faster than what?”

 

Blake shook his head. “I don’t know. Stop talking.”

 

Kou smirked. “Are you losing your touch?”

 

“My touch?” Blake asked. “No, I’m not losing my touch, okay? Maybe I’m just tired from hopping around the rooftops every night like a…you know…a rabbit…or something hoppy.”

 

Kou snickered. “You’re so losing your touch.”

 

“Go back to being depressed and broody,” Blake said.

 

Rachel laid a hand on his shoulder. “Guys, this isn’t just another mission,” she said. “This is Hunter we’re talking about. This may be our chance to save him.”

 

“Yeah, and after we save him? I’m going to kill him,” Blake said.

 

Kou glanced at Blake. “What’s scary is I don’t know you well enough to tell if you’re joking.”

 

“Yes, I’m joking, okay?” Blake said. “Can we just keep our eyes out for the men in ninja pajamas?”

 

200px-Profile_footThey didn’t need to wait long to notice a group of black-and-gray clad Genin hop across the rooftops towards the skyscraper in the distance.

 

“There…” Rachel said. “Right on schedule.”

 

“Let’s go say hi,” Blake said.

 

The four rangers dashed from the rooftops and followed the Genin.

 

***

 

The Genin leapt across the rooftops. Ninja of little skill, they possessed low-level, basic ninpo abilities, such as enhanced speed and agility.

 

The rangers crashed against them, smashing them into an alleyway.

 

Justin bashed a ninja to the ground, leapt to his feet, and tornado kicked a grunt’s head.

 

Rachel flipped backward while kicking a ninja upside the head.

 

Kou jumpkicked a soldier down.

 

And Blake reverse sidekicked a ninja in the face, whipping him backward. The teen lifted the fallen grunt by the collar and pulled off his mask.

 

“I’ll be your interrogator for this evening,” Blake said as he smashed the grunt against the wall and pinned him there. “What are you and your cosplay friends up to? And no stabbing yourself in the chest until after you answer.”

 

The grunt glared at Blake.

 

Suddenly, a wave of sandy wind blasted the rangers off their feet and hurled them out of the alleyway. They crashed onto the street and skid backward.

 

A Hand ninja dropped into the alleyway and stared at his opponents. He wore a light brown ninja uniform, and underneath, mummy-like bandages covered his body and arms. Similar bandages wrapped around his forehead, above golden brown eyes.

 

The Hand called him Satetsu, the Sand Ninja.

 

The rangers climbed to their feet.

 

“Can we go one day without getting tossed from an alley?” Blake asked.

 

Satetsu thrust his hands at the teens. “Sand darts!”

 

Waves of sand hardened and formed darts that shot at the rangers.

 

Justin stomped on the street. “Ground wall!”

 

A small wall of stone thrust upward and blocked the darts.

 

“Stone barrage!” Justin punched and kicked the wall, hurling boulders and stone like cannonballs that shot at the Sand Ninja.

 

The villain formed a wave of sand that deflected the boulders. 

 

Blake and Rachel leapt at the villain from the sides. They hurled invisible Kiryoku blasts.

 

But the villain leapt backward, and the blasts exploded against the street.

 

Blake noticed the ninja held a bladeless sword, which trickled with sand. The villain seemed to swing the weapon to control the waves and weaves of the sand. 

 

“It’s his sword handle,” Blake said. “Take it out.”

 

Kou dashed at the villain. He held his fist back, and his hand charged with sonic energy.

 

“Sonic boom!”

 

He thrust his fist, which fired a sonic boom that hurled the Sand Ninja off his feet. The villain smashed against a wall and crashed to the ground, dropping his sword.

 

Waves of sand retracted and formed the blade of the weapon, which shifted to metal.

 

Satetsu cursed beneath his breath and rolled to his feet. He dove for the weapon.

 

But Kou kicked it aside. “Dropped your sword.”

 

Satetsu glared at the ranger and climbed to his feet. “Do you know who I am? I am one of the Five Nails of the Hand.”

 

Kou wrinkled his nose. “Sounds pretty lame…”

 

The Sand Ninja snarled and pounced. But Kou punched him to the ground.

 

***

 

The rangers regrouped in Ops with Tommy and Ashley. Ashley activated a map on her monitor to show the city block under the direct control of the Hand.

 

“He’s built himself a fortress,” Tommy said.

 

Blake shook his head. “How could something like this happen without us knowing about it?”

 

“It’s been a busy year,” Tommy said.

 

“So now what?” Rachel asked.

 

“The Hand aren’t that tough,” Justin said. “We could storm the place.”

 

“How about we come up with an actual plan,” Blake said. “One that doesn’t involve rushing in and getting our asses kicked.”

 

Kou smirked. “But you guys do that so well.”

 

“Seriously, brood,” Blake said.

 

“We need to know more about what he’s planning,” Tommy said as he studied the map. “Find out what he’s up to. That means we need to get someone on the inside.”

 

“How?” Rachel asked.

 

“We know the Hand and Ikkazuchi have captured criminals,” Ashley said. “It looks like they’re taken to this underground prison.”

 

Tommy nodded. “So someone needs to get captured.”

 

Justin knitted his brow. “I liked my plan better.”

 

“Both are equally bad,” Blake said. “Captured?”

 

“To stay low, and get as much information as possible,” Tommy said. “We need to be smart about this.”

 

“I don’t think getting captured qualifies as smart,” Blake said.

 

“Besides,” Rachel said. “They know us. And the Samurai team too…Who would we send?”

 

This is why we need friends,” Kou said.

 

“I have a thought…especially since this is connected to the Phantom Demons somehow,” Tommy said. “Ashley, reach out to Maya.”

 

***

 

Ryu, New CostumeAn army of twisted Jonin leapt across the street and dashed towards a group of Ghouls, grunts of the Phantom Demons. The Jonin bashed against the Ghouls with slashes and kicks that hurled them through the air.

 

The Ghouls scrambled and regrouped to fight back. They swung their arms like clubs and batted the Jonin aside, stabbing them with bursts of spark and bashing their heads.

 

Nearby, Austin and Leo ran to the scene.

 

“Ah,” Leo said. “A ninja/demon fight. This looks fun.”

 

“No more fun than the first one we stopped...or the second,” Austin said.

 

Leo rolled his hands into fists. “Looks like it’s lunchtime.”

 

Austin sighed. “I wish you’d stop saying that.”

 

“You love it,” Leo said.

 

Austin slid his Wizard ring onto his left hand. He summoned his buckler. “DRIVER ON.”

 

“Awaken.” He placed his left hand over his buckler, which pulsed with energy. He extended his left arm to his side and summoned a red magic circle. “FLAME; AWAKEN”

 

The red circle slid across his body and turned him into Kamen Rider Wizard.

 

Leo pulled back his shirt and armed his buckler, which spoke: “DRIVER ON.”

 

He slid his lion ring onto his left hand. Stepping back, he snapped into his transformation pose. “Awaken!”

 

He thrust his ring against his driver and turned, snapping the buckler open. “OPEN — LION; AWAKEN.”

 

The buckler emitted a circular field of golden energy, with magical runes, that slid across Leo and activated his armor. He transformed into Kamen Rider Beast. 

 

Beast armed his Beast Saber, and Wizard armed his Wizard Saber — they charged to attack.

 

Kamen Rider Wizard dodged through the Ghouls while twirling his blade, slashing them down with bursts of spark.

 

Kamen Rider Beast chopped and hacked relentlessly, his blade slashing through grunts and hurling them backward.

 

Beast kicked a grunt and slashed him upside the chest with a burst of spark. He spun with a roundhouse kick that bashed a Ghoul to the ground.

 

Wizard twirled his blade through a butterfly pattern, tearing through Ghouls with bursts of spark.

 

They lost themselves in the fight, until the last Ghoul fell and exploded.

 

Kamen Rider Beast’s buckler emitted circles of magical energy above the street. The rings absorbed the explosions and shot back into the buckler, energizing the Rider.

 

The Jonin had held back — they leapt into the distance after the last Phantom Demons fell.

 

Austin and Leo powered down their armor. They stared towards the rooftops where the Jonin vanished.

 

“What do you think they want…?” Austin asked.

 

“I don’t know…skin?” Leo joked.

 

Austin’s cellphone rang, and he pulled it out of his pocket to answer. “Hello…?” He listened to Maya on the other end of the call. His brow furrowed more and more with each word. “Okay…okay…yeah, we’ll be right there.”

 

He turned off the phone and slid it back into his pocket.

 

Leo arced an eyebrow. “Telemarketer?”

 

“Maya,” Austin said. “She has a job for us. She wants us to meet her at some school called the Hayate Way…”

 

***

 

A magical barrier protected Wiseman’s liar from detection spells and sensors. He stood within a dark room, walled with nothing but thin white curtains.

 

KRWi-WisemanThe Phantom Demon looked mostly white, with swooping gray highlights and a purple sphere embedded in the center of his chest. A similar purple design swept upward from his faceplate. Sharp pauldrons angled outward from his shoulders.

 

Medusa approached Wiseman from behind one of the curtains.

 

“The Hand continue to hunt us…” she said.

 

“Have you found the hole where they hide?” Wiseman asked, his voice deep and powerful.

 

Medusa shook her head. “Not yet…”

 

A voice giggled from the shadows. “No? Well that’s disappointing, Lisa.”

 

Medusa narrowed her eyes. “Gremlin…”

 

Gremlin stepped from the shadows. He walked casually with his hands in his pockets. He pulled out one hand with a mocking, exaggerated wave. “Hel-lo!”

 

Medusa shifted into her monster form. “You aren’t welcome here.”

 

She pounced at Gremlin with a punch. But Gremlin shifted into his monster form and caught the punch.

 

“Uh, uh, uh...” Gremlin said as he pushed the punch aside. “Play nice, Lisa…or I won’t tell you where your newest friends are hiding.”

 

Medusa shifted back into her human form, and Gremlin did the same.

 

The villain smiled, his eyes wide with insanity. “That’s better.”

 

“You know where to find the Hand?” Medusa asked.

 

Gremlin giggled and shrugged. “Maybe…”

 

Wiseman stepped in before Medusa could attack again. “Gremlin…take care of them. Do this. For me.”

 

Gremlin leaned down with an exaggerated bow. “Your will be done, Highest Phantom Demon Lord Wiseman.”

 

***

 

Maya, Austin and Leo joined Tommy, Ashley and the rangers in Ops.

 

Blake arced an eyebrow. “Kamen Rider Wizard? And Beast? Seriously?”

 

“Dude, you dress like a beetle,” Leo said.

 

“Guys, get along,” Tommy said. “Maya’s been helping Austin and Leo fight the Phantom Demons this past year…They’ve done good work.”

 

“More importantly,” Ashley said. “Hunter doesn’t know them.”

 

“We’ve actually run into the Hand recently,” Maya said. “For some reason, they keep attacking the Phantoms...”

 

“We need to find out why,” Tommy said. “I know you’ve run into Jonin, but that doesn’t mean Hunter knows who you are. We need to give this plan a shot.”

 

“We will,” Maya said. “But I don’t think we should focus on just the Hand.”

 

“What do you mean?” Rachel asked.

 

“The Hand and Phantom Demons are at war with each other,” Maya said. “While you guys focus on the Hand, we should focus on the Phantoms. Try to find out their game plan.”

 

“Okay then,” Tommy said. “Leo, you get into the Hand’s prison. Austin, you work with Maya and Kouishiro to track down the Phantom’s leader.”

 

“Wiseman,” Austin said with a nod. “I’ll do it.”

 

Blake knitted his brow. “So we just sit here and wait while the Riders do all the work?”

 

“No…” Tommy said. “You’re standing by in case Leo runs into trouble and we need you to get him out.”

 

“I appreciate the confidence…” Leo muttered.

 

“How is that not sitting and waiting, exactly?” Blake asked.

 

“Blake, I know you’re anxious to fix this. Hunter’s your brother. I get it,” Tommy said. “But we have to do this smart.”

 

“Sure. Okay, fine,” Blake said defensively as he backed away. “I’ll just hang in the dojo with the Samurai kids. Help them paint with their little brushes or something.”

 

He turned and stormed out of Ops.

 

“Blake…” Rachel called out as she followed him.

 

Kou shifted uncomfortably. “Awkward…”

 

“Kou!” Byakko chided from the ranger’s pocket. “Don’t make things worse!”

 

Leo took a step back. “Did something just talk from his pants?”

 

***

 

Blake stood on the rooftop of the Hayate Way and crossed his arms over his chest. He stared in the direction of the city.

 

Rachel stepped onto the rooftop to join him. “You okay?”

 

“No I’m not okay,” Blake said. “He can’t expect us to sit here. We know where Hunter’s at, so we should go get him back, no questions asked.”

 

“We will get him back…” Rachel said as she laid a hand on his shoulder.

 

“I’m sick of waiting…It’s been a year. What if he drops off the map again?” Blake said.

 

“We need to give this plan a chance,” Rachel said. “There’s more at stake here them just Hunter. What if the Forsaken are behind this? We can’t go up against one of them alone.”

 

“The samurai did, and they did fine,” Blake said. “Sure, they had to use the most ridiculously stacked Megazord in history to do it, but still.”

 

“You said it yourself, Blake,” Rachel said. “We can’t just storm the place.”

 

Blake shook his head. “No…but what if we tried something different.”

 

“Like what?” Rachel asked.

 

Blake turned to face her. “Knocking…”

 

***

 

Leo walked through the streets at night. He twirled a bat in his hand and whistled casually. The rider stopped when he noticed a row of cars parked along the street.

 

“Okay…” Leo said. “I sure hope you people have insurance.”

 

The rider took the bat and started bashing out the windshields of the parked cars. A few passersby shouted at him while he swung.

 

It’s okay, it’s okay,” Leo said between swings. “I’m not an actual vandal. Just luring out some ninja. Nothing to see here.”

 

“My car!” a voice shouted from the other end of the street. A rather large man charged towards Leo. “You asshole, get away from my car!”

 

Leo sighed. “Oh crap.”

 

The man lunged at Leo, but he dodged.

 

“Look, I know this looks bad,” Leo said as he dodged again. “But I’m only doing this to get caught by some ninja.” He dodged again. “So don’t think of your car as getting vandalized. Think of it as serving a-”

 

The man swung a punch Leo dodged.

 

“Whoa you’re fast,” Leo said. “Do you work out?”

 

Suddenly, a small group of Genin dropped to the street. The man screamed and ran, as did a few stragglers nearby.

 

Leo dropped his bat and put up his hands. “Okay. You’ve got me. Take me to your leader.”

 

***

 

Blake, Kou, Justin and Rachel walked down the street towards the Hand’s city block. They saw no pedestrians. No traffic. The city sat still and quiet this close to the Hand’s fortress.

 

Justin shook his head. “This feels a lot like storming in…which you mocked, if I remember correctly.”

 

“I mock most things,” Blake said. “And this isn’t storming in. We’re knocking.”

 

“And how is that smarter than storming in?” Justin asked.

 

“It is more polite,” Kou said.

 

“We’re just going to try to talk,” Rachel said. “To reason with him.”

 

“We have to get to him first,” Justin said.

 

“Hence the knocking,” Blake said.

 

They moved closer to the base of two buildings and saw shadows flutter on the rooftops above.

 

“Okay, this is close enough,” Blake said. He looked upward and shouted. “Hunter! Hey, Hunter! When you said you wanted a place of your own, I didn’t think you meant an entire city block!”

 

“So by ‘knocking’ you meant ‘screaming,’” Kou said.

 

Suddenly, a group of Chunin dropped to the street and surrounded the rangers.

 

“We’re not here to fight…although you are kind of asking for it,” Blake said. “We just want to talk to Hunter.”

 

The ninja shifted stances, grasping their swords and bo-staffs.

 

“They’re not exactly chatty,” Kou said.

 

Slowly, the ninja stepped aside, making room for a woman to walk towards them. The woman wore a white kimono trimmed with blue, and white makeup, with blue lipstick and eye shadow. She called herself Yukionna.

 

The rangers recognized her from their battle with the Hand in Japan.

 

“You’re a long way from home,” Blake said.

 

Yukionna smiled coldly. “My master will see you now…”

 

***

 

Yukionna led the rangers towards the Hand skyscraper. They walked across a vacant plaza, bordered with multi-level walkways and patios. Several water fountains and flower gardens dotted the area — although each flower looked dead.

 

“Remind me never to hire Hunter’s landscaper,” Justin said.

 

Yukionna ignored him. “Tell me…why have you come here?”

 

“To see Hunter,” Blake said. “I kind of thought we already established that.”

 

“Why would you speak with him?” she asked. “He’s already lost. And soon…he will sink even deeper into the abyss of his own soul.”

 

Kou knitted his brow. “You’re leading us into an ambush. Aren’t you?”

 

“To fall into the abyss, the master must sever all ties…” Yukionna said.

 

“Yep,” Justin said. “It’s an ambush.”

 

Suddenly, four figures dropped into the plaza. The rangers recognized the Sand Ninja Satetsu, along with three other ninja.

 

A woman wore a dark pink hood and robes, trimmed with black. She carried a slender blade with a back hilt. She called herself Zakura.

 

A man wore a black kimono trimmed with white. He looked pale, with red eyes and white hair. He carried a simple katana and called himself Ichinose.

 

The largest ninja called himself Jai. He wore a standard ninja vest and slacks over his stocky frame. Black goggles covered his tan face. He carried a broad katana.

 

Yukionna unsheathed her pale blue sword. “We are the Five Nails of the Hand. And you are about to be scratched.”

 

Kou snickered.

 

Rachel arced an eyebrow at him.

 

“Sorry,” Kou said as he smiled sheepishly. “Couldn’t help it.”

 

The Five Nails sprang to attack.

 

The rangers dove aside and scattered.

 

Jai charged towards Kou. The villain used both hands to carry his thick blade. Chakram, release!”

 

The blade glowed with energy and transformed, shifting into two thick chakram blades the ninja wielded like fist weapons.

 

Jai swung a volley of punches Kou dodged.

 

The teen leapt backward to gain distance. But Jai hurled his blades through the air.

 

Kou twisted in midair to dodge the blades. But they circled around and shot back towards him.

 

The teen landed and glared at the spinning blades. “Not fair…”

 

“Jump, Kou!” Byakko shouted from his pocket.

 

Kou shot upward, and the blades passed beneath him.

 

Jai slapped his right fist against his left palm. Chakram, scattershot!”

 

The blades glowed and split into a dozen duplicates that snapped towards Kou. The teen landed and unsheathed his sword while facing the blades.

 

“What are you doing, Kou?!” Byakko asked. “You can’t-”

 

Kou leapt at the spinning blades. He slashed them aside with bursts of spark. But the impact hurled him through the air, and he crashed against the plaza.

 

Nearby, Zakura and Ichinose moved in towards Blake. The ranger narrowed his eyes and shifted into a defensive stance.

 

Zakura slashed towards his midsection. But he jumped backward, and then dodged a sword swing from Ichinose.

 

The ranger unsheathed his sword and parried their blows as they circled around him.

 

Zakura skid backward and lifted her sword horizontally. “Scatter, Senbonzakura.”

 

The blade pulsed with pink energy and shattered into pieces, like glowing cherry blossoms. The energy petals swirled through the air and shot towards Blake.

 

The ranger leapt backward and twisted in midair as the petals shot past him. The fragments blasted the plaza with massive bursts of spark. 

 

Blake landed as dozens of petals exploded around him, hurling him backward. The ranger crashed and skid across the plaza.

 

Slowly, he climbed to his feet.

 

Ichinose armed his sword. “Flash and burst, Nijigasumi.”

 

His blade glowed with white light. He swung the weapon in a circle, emitting a wave of blinding light that washed across Blake. Ichinose chopped, hurling a wave of shadow blades that cut through the light.

 

Blake dove aside as the shadow blades exploded around him, blasting him across the plaza. The ranger smashed against a wall and crashed to the ground.

 

“Blake!” Rachel shouted.

 

She started to run to him. But Yukionna blocked her path.

 

The villain swung her blue sword. “Ice dragon!”

 

The sword fired a wave of ice that formed a serpentine dragon. The dragon surged towards Rachel and snapped its massive jaws.

 

Rachel slapped her right fist against her left palm. “Water darts!”

 

She thrust her hand and fired a wave of hydro darts that shattered the ice dragon to pieces. The pieces fell to the ground, melted, and formed puddles that rushed towards Rachel.

 

The puddles flowed beneath her feet and reached up her legs, solidifying into ice. The ranger stumbled and collapsed.

 

Yukionna leapt through the air and angled her decent towards her opponent.

 

Nearby, Satetsu faced off with Justin. The villain extended his sword to his side; the blade turned into sand and blasted to pieces. The sand twirled like a vortex and rushed towards Justin.

 

Justin stomped. “Ground wall!”

 

A small wall of stone thrust upward and blocked the sand wave. But the wave ripped the wall apart, absorbed its particles, and slammed against the ranger.

 

Satetsu tightened his fist. “Sand coffin!”

 

The sand wave wrapped around the ranger, tightened and hardened, and smashed him to the ground.

 

***

 

A group of Genin threw Leo into a cell within the Hand’s underground prison. The ninja closed the cell door and walked off, leaving Leo alone.

 

“Thanks for the ride, guys,” Leo said as he straightened his shirt. “I feel like we had a great chat.”

 

Suddenly, the Genin flailed through the passageway and skid across the ground. Leo knitted his brow.

 

“I didn’t even get a chance to-”

 

Screams sounded from other end of the prison. Leo tried to look but couldn’t see far because of the jail bars.

 

He cursed beneath his breath. “I never knew a plan could go bad this fast…”

 

He heard swords clang and flesh tear.

 

SprigganIn the other end of the prison, the Spriggan Phantom chopped and hacked through Genin and Chunin.

 

The ninja regrouped and snapped volleys of throwing stars. But the monster easily blocked the blades with his shield. 

 

Spriggan Phantom lowered his shield and swung his blade wide, slashing through flesh and bone, and splattering blood across the prison.

 

The Spriggan Phantom had infiltrated the Hand the same as Leo. Gremlin instructed the Phantom to assume human form and let himself get captured. As soon as the ninja brought the demon to the Crimson Cells, the Phantom assumed his monster form and attacked.

 

The Phantom Demon stalked through the corridor and hacked ninja left and right. Several prisoners screamed, and others simply cowered in their cells.

 

Spriggan Phantom moved within sight of Leo’s cell.

 

Leo lifted his shirt and armed his Beast Driver. “Looks like someone ordered room service…”

 

To be continued…Chapter 47