Chapter 51: Hurricane

Hell Scorn: Plummet

 

The Hellfire mansion trembled. The Black Queen stood at the window of the dining room and looked out upon the battle in the yard. The Samurai and Hurricane Rangers battled ZECT and the Demunio, demons loyal to Lilith.

 

She heard footsteps approach from behind. She didn’t need to turn to see who entered. “A mutiny, Elias?  I would have thought such a thing beneath you.”

 

“It’s not too late, Madelyn,” Elias Kaine said. “You can come back with me to England. Leave all this behind. Every pawn, rook, bishop and knight loyal to you is dead.”

 

“You saw to that…” Madelyn said.

 

“I had no choice,” Kaine said. “You made the same mistake as our predecessors. They tried to tame the Phoenix…You tried to tame the demons. And the Dark One himself…”

 

“Azmodai can bring stability to the world,” the Black Queen said. “It’s the only way to end the corruption choking our way of life.”

 

Kaine raised a gun to the Black Queen’s back. “You’re insane, Madelyn.”

 

“Are you going to shoot me, Elias?” she asked. “Do you feel nothing for me anymore?”

 

“Think of what you’ve done,” Kaine said. “To yourself. To the people around you. Your children…”

 

Madelyn narrowed her eyes and snapped around with a burst of wind, which knocked the gun from the Black King’s hand.

 

“I love my children more than life,” Madelyn said.

 

“You love their power,” Kaine said. “You used them as tools. As a means to an end. And one of them died for it.”

 

The Black Queen thrust her hand and fired a wave of invisible energy that blasted Kaine against the wall. She intensified her power and held him there.

 

“You want the Hellfire Club back so badly?” Madelyn asked. “You want to go back to England with your head down, and pretend like all is right with the world? Then by all means, Elias. The Inner Circle is yours. Take it and leave.”

 

“I’ve already taken it, Madelyn,” Kaine said. “And we’ll gladly leave this wretched city behind to rot.”

 

“But what will you do, Elias, when the rot festers?” she asked. “When it spreads and strangles everything you know and love?”

 

Kaine shook his head. “I should have killed you a long time ago.”

 

Madelyn released her grasp, and Kaine dropped to the floor.

 

The Black Queen opened a veil of shadow and stepped through, vanishing from sight.

 

***

 

Azmodai’s portal flashed into the sky miles above Angel Grove South. The massive ring immediately began a plummet, as Simon and Azmodai stood on the structure.

 

The demon swung his axe. But Simon dodged and slashed the villain with a burst of spark. The blow knocked the villain off the ring, and he began a freefall — but he fired a burst of flame from his armor and landed against the ring.

 

The impact tossed the ring into the spin.

 

The two opponents leapt back and forth at each other, clashing swords and bouncing off the ring as it spun out of control and plummeted towards the city below.

 

Simon and Azmodai smashed against each other as the ring spun around them. The ranger stabbed his sword through Azmodai’s armor, which exploded with a burst of black shadow.

 

The blow hurled Azmodai backward, and he crashed against the ring as it spun. He held onto the portal and planted his feet against the ring, crouching.

 

The demon shifted into his human guise, identical to his former host.

 

Simon landed on the other side of the ring as it plummeted towards the city below, closing in on the massive skyscrapers that stabbed into the sky.

 

“Well played, son…” Azmodai said. “You’ve weakened me. But at this rate…we’ll both die.”

 

Simon charged his fist with twirling wind.

 

“Whirling Knuckle!”

 

He shot at Azmodai and swung a punch. Azmodai leapt beneath the punch and jumped to the other side of the ring.

 

Simon landed, pushed off, and shot towards the demon.

 

The ring plummeted and crashed along the side of a skyscraper, falling downward and ripping the building to pieces with shards of debris and glass.

 

Simon and Azmodai stood on the ring as it tore through the building; they charged at each other and exchanged a fierce volley of punches and kicks. Each blow ignited with shadow fire.

 

Azmodai stepped backward and powered his armor back up with a flash of black light. He chopped the ring in half, and its pieces spun out of control.

 

One half of the ring shot through several buildings and exploded in the street with a massive burst of flame. The other half shot through the industrial district and crashed in a park near the entrance to the Silver Hills suburb.

 

Azmodai landed in the street with a massive boom that shook the ground. Simon crashed nearby with a burst of flame that incinerated the nearby trees.

 

The demon stalked towards his fallen son. “The demon filth you absorbed may have weakened me…may have allowed you to resist my power…but I am the First Demon. I am power incarnate. And I will rule this world, with your brothers as the spearhead of my army.”

 

Simon said nothing. But Azmodai saw him move through the smoke.

 

“What’s the matter, dear Simon? Nothing to-”

 

“Simon’s not here right now, father…” Simon stepped from the smoke. He looked different, with pale-white skin and white hair. The whites of his eyes turned black, with red irises. He smiled with a maddening grin. “Perhaps you’d like to speak with me instead?”

 

Azmodai shifted into a defensive stance. “What…?”

 

“It’s funny…” Simon said as he looked to his hand, which carried his black sword. “Now that you’ve broken the Third Seal…it looks like you’ve awakened some interesting side effects in the children of demons. Children like me…You’ve given us the ability to draw on our true nature.”

 

“So…Your demonic energies-”

 

Simon dashed forward faster than sight and slashed Azmodai with a burst of spark that drove him to his knees. The ranger dashed back and forth, slashing his father’s knees, arms, chest and back.

 

Simon laughed and leapt upward, angling his descent towards his father. The ranger swung his sword and fired a red-tinted blade of black energy.

 

The blade exploded against Azmodai with a massive shockwave that tore through the park and shattered the windows of surrounding buildings.

 

Simon laughed with insanity and shot towards his father with the speed and strength of a cannonball.

 

They crashed against each other and hurled towards Silver Hills.

 

***

 

Hurricane Red slashed Zen with a burst of spark and kicked him backward.

 

Zero spun towards her and twirled both blades. But she leapt over the villain, landed against the wall, and pushed off. She shot past the Knights while slashing them with bursts of spark.

 

The Red Ranger looked to Garo, Shirogane, Zadie and Eiji. “Get Owen out of here…”

 

“You can’t do this alone,” Garo said.

 

Zero lunged at the Red Ranger and swung upward, slashing her with a burst of spark that hurled her across the room.

 

The Silver Knight charged to attack.

 

But Garo bashed against the Knight and hurled him across the room.

 

Zadie, Eiji, and Shirogane took Owen and ran.

 

***

 

The shadow barrier dropped from the Hellfire mansion, and the pillar of energy faded.

 

But the battle continued.

 

Kamen Rider Kaixa slashed his blade at Samurai Red. But the Red Ranger blocked the blow and swung wide, slashing the Rider with a burst of spark.

 

Kamen Rider Delta fired at the Red Ranger. But he dove aside to avoid the blasts.

 

Samurai Blue dropped next to Kamen Rider Delta while chopping his armor with a burst of spark.

 

Nearby, Kamen Rider TheBee blocked Kamen Rider Faiz from reaching the mansion. Faiz swung a volley of punches that bashed the Rider several steps backward.

 

But TheBee spun with a reverse sidekick that bashed the Rider’s faceplate.

 

Navy Thunder leapt upward towards the winged Demunio. He stabbed his staff through the creature and ignited the weapon with lightning.

 

The lightning exploded through the creature and ripped it apart with a massive explosion.

 

The Navy Thunder Ranger flipped backward through the air and landed on the ground.

 

The other Power Rangers scattered and clashed with the lesser of Lilith’s demons.

 

Suddenly, Azmodai and Simon crashed into the yard with a thundering boom and shockwave, which hurled the combatants through the air.

 

Azmodai climbed to his feet and swung his axe into a defensive position. Simon shot at the demon and slashed him with bursts of spark, forcing him backward.

 

The demon turned and swung his axe wide. But Simon ducked beneath the swing, and then shot up while slashing the demon with a burst of spark. The blow whipped Azmodai off his feet, and he crashed against the ground and skid backward.

 

Simon laughed as he stalked towards the fallen demon. “Dear old dad…how pathetic.”

 

The remaining Demunio charged at Simon through blurs of shadow. Simon snapped around and hacked them from their air with bursts of spark. Their bodies tore to pieces and dissipated into ash.

 

ZECT Troopers opened fire at the ranger. But he leapt into the air to avoid the bullets.

 

The ranger angled his decent towards the troopers and landed with a swiping slash that gutted them, dropping them to the ground.

 

Kamen Rider TheBee charged with a jumping roundkick towards Simon’s head. Simon slashed the leg aside with a burst of spark and bashed his pummel against the Rider’s faceplate.

 

Kamen Rider Kaixa and Kamen Rider Delta closed in from behind. But Simon turned and swung his sword wide; the blade fired a wave of red-tinted shadow that tore through the Riders with bursts of spark.

 

Secondary explosions ripped through their bodies as they exploded into clouds of fire, metal and flesh.

 

Faiz opened his eyes wide with horror beneath his helmet. “You son of a…”

 

Simon laughed as he lowered his sword. “Well…I can’t say they didn’t have that coming.”

 

Nearby, Zero and Zen blasted from the mansion. They crashed and skid across the yard, kicking up dirt.

 

Garo, Eiji, Shirogane, Zadie and Hurricane Red leapt from the mansion and landed in the yard. The Red Ranger set Owen aside.

 

Eiji narrowed his eyes when he spotted Simon. “What the hell happened?”

 

“Father here broke the Third Seal,” Simon said. “Now demon spawn like us can harness our inner evil…like demon morphing.”

 

Garo shifted his blade. “Simon…this isn’t you. You’ve become everything you’ve ever fought against.”

 

“And what’s that?” Simon asked. “Strong? You’re the one who wanted to start everything over, Sammy. To give the world a fresh start, free of pain and suffering. Now I have the power to make that happen…”

 

He thrust a hand and fired a TK burst that knocked Garo and the hunters off their feet.

 

Hurricane Red leapt over the blast and angled her decent towards the ranger.

 

Simon narrowed his eyes at the Red Ranger. “I believe you’re in my suit.”

 

Simon leapt through the air and dashed past her with a slash that sparked on impact. The blow knocked her from the air, and she crashed against the ground.

 

Simon landed near the Red Ranger and aimed his sword at her. “I don’t think that outfit fits you very well…”

 

Hurricane Red used her sword for balance and climbed to her feet. “Simon…” she said. “I don’t know you…but I’ve heard a lot about you. Whatever darkness you have inside of you now, you have light too. You have-”

 

Simon laughed and lifted his sword into a fighting stance. “Do you even hear yourself right now?

 

He dashed past her with a slash that sparked on impact. He shot towards her again and swung upward; the slash sparked on impact and whipped her backward.   

 

Garo shot at the ranger.

 

Simon stood his ground and slashed at the Golden Knight. Their swords locked, and Garo pressed forward with a growl.

 

“Give me back my brother…” Garo demanded.

 

“That pathetic weakling?” Simon asked. “He couldn’t save the Anamarium. He couldn’t save the city from the Second Countdown. He couldn’t save Brandon. What good is he?”

 

Simon knocked Garo’s sword aside and kicked him backward.

 

The remaining ZECT Troopers regrouped and opened fire at Simon.

 

Simon shot into the air to avoid the bullets. The ranger hurled a bolt of shadow fire that incinerated the last of the troopers.

 

He landed and held his sword casually over his shoulder. “Well now, this has been fun. I can’t seem to-”

 

Samurai Red tackled Simon aside and slashed towards his sword arm. Simon parried and slashed the Ranger aside with a burst of spark.

 

“Ah, Teddy,” Simon said. “Still playing dress up as the Red Samurai Ranger?”

 

Shirogane charged towards Simon from behind, and Eiji moved in from the side.

 

Simon laughed. “My old friends, all here.”

 

He spun and fired a ring of shadow that lashed out and blasted his opponents off their feet.

 

Simon raised his sword to attack. But a telepathic cry stabbed through his mind.

 

“Stop it!” Owen shouted as he cried.

 

The boy fired a TK burst that knocked his brother off his feet.

 

Simon acted on instinct. He swung wide and fired a blast of red-tinted shadow. The blast slashed through Owen’s midsection, killing him. The boy’s eyes opened wide with a silent cry, and he collapsed with a final psychic scream of death.

 

Simon opened his eyes wide with horror and dropped his sword. “No…No, you…No…No!”

 

The ranger dropped to his knees and collapsed to all fours. He felt the pain of his brother’s death wash over him. His skin and hair returned to their normal hue, and his mind cleared.

 

“Owen…” he whispered as he rolled his hands into fists. He shook with rage and felt his blood boil. “Owen!”

 

He stood and shook with rage. “Azmodai! This is all your-”

 

But the demon was gone. Simon saw no sign of Azmodai, or his remaining Hellfire Knights: Zero and Zen. They retreated during the skirmish.

 

Garo dropped his blade. His armor powered down with a flash of golden light, and he fell to his knees. “Owen…” he whispered. “This can’t be happening…Not again…”

 

He felt the pain of his brother’s death wash over him. And he wept.

 

The Samurai Rangers and Hurricane Rangers surrounded Simon and kept their weapons aimed forward.

 

“Simon…” Hurricane Blue said. “What have you done?”

 

The teen shook his head and looked down at his hands. “I didn’t…I didn’t mean…”

 

A sword plunged through Simon’s gut from behind. The ranger opened his eyes wide with horror and grasped the blade.

 

The attacker twisted the weapon, pulled the sword free, and kicked Simon to the ground.

 

Simon collapsed onto his back as blood seeped from his wound. He couldn’t see who inflicted the fatal blow. But he felt shock and panic surround him. Waves of sorrow, grief and anger ebbed throughout the yard.

 

The emotions battered Simon’s dwindling will.

 

His vision dimmed.

 

His breathing became shallow.

 

He felt Samuel’s grief and outrage ignite like a beacon.

 

And he felt his brother’s shame mix with his own.

 

He failed. He walked down the dark path, and for what? To confront Azmodai. To lose. To let Brandon die. To let Owen die. To abandon his friends and teammates, for nothing.

 

What would Maya think when she learned his fate? What would Tommy?

 

A memory flashed through his mind.

 

Nine-year-old Simon walked home from school through a park within Angel Grove North. Two other kids walked with him.

 

“My dad said the Rangers are fake,” said one of the kids, Brad.

 

“Yeah,” said another boy, Keagan. “Mine said they’re really a bunch of terrorists. “

 

“No,” Simon said. He wrinkled his brow at his classmates. “They’re heroes.”

 

Brad and Keagan exchanged looks and laughed.

 

“What do you know, preacher’s boy?” Brad said.

 

“Yeah,” Keagan said. “Get lost, twirp.”

 

Brad shoved Simon aside. Simon stumbled over his feet and collapsed onto the ground. Brad and Keagan laughed as they walked off.

 

“Hey!” Simon shouted after them. His eyes narrowed. He pulled himself to his feet, turned, and slammed his fist against a tree. “I hate them!”

 

“Hate is a pretty strong word.” Tommy stepped out from nearby and walked towards Simon while staring in the direction where Brad and Keagan left. “Those guys give you trouble?”

 

Simon nodded. His brow was still wrinkled with anger. “They’re bullies.”

 

“You’re better than them, you know,” Tommy said. “For not pushing back.”

 

“I don’t push them back because I’m a wimp.” He sat down on the ground and hung his head low. Tommy sat next to him.

 

“I used to be like you,” Tommy said.

 

“A wimp?” Simon asked.

 

Tommy shrugged. “That’s what I thought at least.”

 

“So you went from being a wimp to being the strongest Ranger?”

 

Tommy blushed. “I’m not the strongest.”

 

“Sure you are,” Simon said.

 

“Well…it’s not about how strong you are, anyway. It’s all about your inner spirit. And martial arts helped me to hone my inner spirit, my chi. It gave me a lot of confidence. I can teach you if you want.”

 

“Really?” Simon asked as his face lit up.

 

Tommy nodded. “Yeah.”

 

“Cool!”

 

Simon’s heart slowed.

 

His breathing stopped.

 

He heard the sounds of swords clashing.

 

Anger.

 

Rage.

 

Grief.

 

An endless cycle he couldn’t stop.

 

A tear streamed down his cheek. He just wanted to end the madness. Bring peace and justice.

 

Simon heard an explosion tear through the yard. His body numbed. He lost all focus.

 

He felt the pain of others.

 

He felt the anger of others.

 

And then he felt no more. Simon, the heir to the Heaven Fire Star, the first Red Ranger of the New Generation, died.

 

To be continued…Chapter 52