Chapter 07: Ultimate Jungle Fury

Path to Strength

 

Three years ago

The Black Sash

 

Twelve-year-old Lilly circled her opponent on the sparring mat of the Black Sash dojo. Her opponent, Todd, struck fast and knocked her to the floor in less than five seconds.

 

Todd laughed at her. “You look comfortable down there. Spend a lot of time on your back?”

 

Lilly narrowed her eyes and climbed to her feet. “You’d like to think so. Jerk.”

 

After practice, Lilly changed in the bathroom, waited for the rest of the students to leave, and then tossed her uniform at Adam’s feet.

 

“I quit,” she said. “This school sucks.”

 

“It was your first day,” Adam said.

 

“Yeah? So?” Lilly said. “I don’t care. This school sucks. Todd sucks. You suck. And I don’t want to be here.”

 

“You don’t want to be here?” Adam asked. “Or you don’t like losing?”

 

Lilly hesitated, shifted uncomfortably, and deepened her scowl. “Both.”

 

“Well, I can help with the losing part, but not if you quit. You can’t get any stronger by running away.”

 

“I’m not running away, I just…I just…This place sucks.”

 

“You mentioned that,” Adam said. “That’s part of the problem. You convinced yourself this was a waste of time the second things got tough.”

 

“So?” Lilly asked defensively.

 

“So give it a chance,” Adam said. “If you train here, you’ll get faster. Stronger. You just have to believe in yourself.”

 

She scoffed. “That’s such a 90s-sitcom thing to say; how old are you?”

 

“Come on,” Adam said as he walked towards a punching bag in the rear of the room. “Let’s try something.”

 

The former ranger grabbed onto the bag. “I want you to hit this bag as fast as you can.”

 

Lilly rolled her eyes.

 

“Scared?” Adam asked.

 

“No,” Lilly said.

 

“Then let’s see you try.”

 

Lilly sighed and punched the bag. “This is stupid.”

 

“Try again,” Adam said. “This time, take all your stress and let it go with the punch. Put your heart into it. And try to like it,” Adam said. “That helps.”

 

Lilly punched the bag.

 

“Again,” Adam said.

 

She punched again, this time a little faster.

 

“That’s better,” Adam said. “Again.”

 

She punched again. And again. Each punch grew with speed. She let her anxiety and stress release with each punch, and she started to like it, that feeling of relief. She let that feeling flood through her body as she struck the bag with quick succession.

 

Adam smirked. “Still think this sucks?”

 

Lilly smiled. “Maybe.”

 

***

 

The present

 

Leaves fell from the trees in the woods. Lilly lashed out with punches and grabbed the leaves before they could touch the ground.

 

Casey walked towards her from behind. “Lilly…” he said. “You’re sure you’re going through with this alone?”

 

“Yep,” she said as she continued her training.

 

“And you’re not worried?”

 

“Nope.”

 

Lilly hated to lose. It made her feel weak, and she despised that feeling. She still remembered feeling helpless every time her stepfather hurt her or her mother. So after she finally stood up to him and fought back, she vowed to never let anyone make her feel weak again.

 

So when she lost a one-on-one fight against Rantipede, she took it personally.

 

The demon had noticed she took pride in her quickness, and challenged her to a test: The Senkenmanda. They stood on opposite sides of an iron slab and competed to strike it the most times in one minute. Lilly had struck 999 times. Rantipede had struck 1,000 times.

 

The Rangers barely escaped after the match. But not before Lilly shouted a challenge. She dared the monster to face her again at dawn, north of the Glimmering Coast.

 

“You don’t have to do this,” Casey said.

 

“Is Adam trying to stop me?” Lilly asked.

 

Casey hesitated. “No, but-”

 

“Then he probably wants me to learn something from this, yes?”

 

“I, uh…I guess,” Casey said. “But what?”

 

“No idea,” Lilly said. “But we’ll find out soon, won’t we?”

 

***

 

Dawn came. Rantipede waited on the beach in his RinRinshi form, and Lilly walked towards him.

 

The villain cracked his knuckles.

 

“So…You’ve come. I was getting tired of waiting, girl,” Rantipede taunted. “Now, morph. I want to waste you quickly!”

 

“You won’t be getting that wish,” Lilly said.

 

“Ah, strong willed,” Rantipede said. “I like it!”

 

The villain swung his arms into his transformation pose. JyuJin Jashin Hen!

 

Lilly armed her morphers. “Jungle beast! Spirit, unleash!”

 

She morphed into her Ranger form, and Rantipede shifted into his monster form. The opponents stepped into fighting stances.

 

The monster placed his right fist against his left palm. Ringi! Oku Man Suu!

 

Yellow Cheetah placed her right fist against her left palm. “Geki Waza! Da Da Dan!

 

The opponents charged at each other. They launched hyper-speed punches through blurs of motion. Knuckles smashed against knuckles with showers of sparks that ignited around them.

 

Yellow Cheetah poured her heart into every punch. She released all her anxiety, all her tension, all her frustration into every blow. She let that feeling of relief fuel her.

 

The Yellow Ranger slipped a punch past the monster’s arms. Her fist bashed Rantipede with a burst of spark that hurled him backward.

 

Rantipede crashed and tumbled across the shore.

 

“How…” he grumbled as he climbed to his feet. “How?! I should be faster!”

 

“Look at this!” a voice shouted from nearby.

 

The Senkenmanda slab crashed onto the beach between the Yellow Ranger and monster.

 

Theo and Casey walked towards their teammate.

 

“What?!” Rantipede shouted. He looked to the slab, where his rapid blows had dented the entire surface.

 

“Turn it over,” Theo said.

 

Rantipede flipped over the slab. The Yellow Rangers’ blows left dents that looked more uniform, in the outline of the monster’s body.

 

“You hit to get a full score,” Theo said. “Carelessly. But not Lilly. She pictured her opponent when she struck. She’s not just fast. She’s accurate.”

 

“And you’re sloppy,” Casey said.

 

Theo nodded. “You lost this match before it started.”

 

Casey smiled as he walked to the Yellow Ranger. “That’s what the leaf training was for, wasn’t it? Not just speed. But accuracy. You knew you’d beat him. That’s why you weren’t worried.”

 

“I didn’t know,” she said. “I believed.”

 

Rantipede slammed his fist against the ground. “This fight isn’t over!”

 

He charged at the Yellow Ranger.

 

Yellow Cheetah stepped into a defensive stance. “Geki Tonfa!” She summoned the Tonfa and connected them to form a staff. “Geki Bo!”

 

Rantipede lunged with a punch. But the Yellow Ranger used the staff to catapult over the monster and dodge the punch.

 

Yellow Cheetah landed, spun, and slashed the monster with a burst of spark. She twirled her staff and swung again. The weapon slashed the villain and sent him staggering backward.

 

Geki Waza!” she shouted. Shin Shin Dan!

 

She thrust the staff and fired a bolt of lightning that exploded against the monster’s chest with massive bursts of spark. She charged, stabbed her staff through the monster’s gut and hurled him overhead.

 

Rantipede crashed and stumbled across the ground. With the last of his strength, he used his Rinki to grow giant. The Rangers used their Jungle Pride Megazord to destroy him.

 

***

 

Six years ago

Angel Grove

 

Nine-year-old Theo sat in his crowded apartment and drew pictures of heroes. With remarkable detail, skill and technique, he sketched drawings of Rangers fighting monsters he saw on the news.

 

The apartment doors burst open, and Theo’s older brother Brett barged inside. He stumbled and grasped onto the couch to keep from falling. His clothes looked torn and tattered, and blood soaked his face.

 

Theo opened his eyes wide with shock.

 

“Just stay quiet,” Brett said. “Don’t say a damn thing, alright. Now get me-”

 

Brett winced and collapsed to the floor.

 

Theo froze with fear and panic, and tears swelled in his eyes.

 

Brett cursed beneath his breath. “I told you to stay quiet. Don’t you dare start crying.

 

“Brett!” his mother shouted as she rushed into the room. “What did- Brett! What did...You’ve been fighting again.”

 

“Just a couple losers…” Brett muttered.

 

“What have I told you,” his mother said as she helped him to his feet. “What have I told you?! You’ve got to stop fighting like this, you’re going to get yourself killed! What kind of example are you setting for your brother?”

 

Theo sniffed back his tears and wiped his eyes.

 

Brett scoffed. “I doubt you have to worry about him. He’s so damn-”

 

“Sensitive,” his mother said. “We can use some of that this family. Come on…let’s get you cleaned up.”

 

***

 

Three years ago

The Black Sash

 

Theo shifted uncomfortably outside the dojo. He stared at the building and sighed. He wanted to go in. He wanted to train. Brett told him he should, to get stronger. But he knew his mom would kill him if she found out.

 

Adam stepped outside and smiled. “In or out?”

 

“I’m…not sure,” Theo said.

 

“I can see that,” Adam said. “My name’s Adam. I run this place.”

 

“Theo,” Theo said.

 

“Nice to meet you,” Adam said. “Interested in martial arts?”

 

“Maybe…” he said. “I don’t know. My mom’s not crazy about the idea of me fighting…”

 

“It’s not about fighting,” Adam said. “It’s about developing confidence and discipline. Technique.”

 

“Technique?” Theo said.

 

Adam nodded. “They call it an ‘art’ for a reason.”

 

Theo smiled. “OK…I guess I could give it a try.”

 

***

 

Gakko attacked the Rangers with his Ringi, which allowed him to stick to walls. He refused to fight on ground level and defeated the Rangers, who struggled to bring him down.

 

Later that day, Theo strung himself to a ledge, dropped from the building, and used the rope to dash side-to-side across the wall.

 

Casey, Evan, and Lilly leaned over the ledge and watched.

 

Evan wrinkled his nose. “What are you doing?”

 

“Training…” Theo said as he dashed back and forth across the wall.

 

“On the wall?” Casey asked.

 

“If we’re going to beat Gakko, we’re going to do it on his level,” Theo said.

 

“We don’t have to fight him like that,” Casey said.

 

“Theo does,” Lilly said. “It’s not just about fighting to win. He wants to beat that Venom Fist at its own style.”

 

***

 

Hours passed.

 

Gakko stood high up, on the side of a wall, in Angel Grove South. He crossed his arms over his chest and waited.

 

Below, Red Tiger and Yellow Cheetah ran to the scene.

 

“Hey!” the Red Ranger shouted. “Get down and fight!”

 

The monster tilted his head with amusement. “You’re not very bright, are you? Now…where is your blue friend? Is he too frightened after our-”

 

“I’m right here!” Blue Jaguar swung from the top of the building, grabbed onto the ledge, and landed against the wall.

 

Gakko turned to face the Blue Ranger. “Barging into my world again, Ranger? Do you really think you can look down on me?!”

 

Gakko shot upward, and the Blue Ranger dropped. They passed each other — Gakko landed against the side of the wall, and the Blue Ranger grasped a window ledge and crouched against the wall.

 

Gakko dropped to attack.

 

Using the ledge, Blue Ranger rolled aside to dodge the attack.

 

Gakko dashed upward with a kick. But the Blue Ranger pushed upward, grabbed a ledge, then flipped down the wall. He used the ledges with each flip as he landed against the wall below the monster.

 

Gakko hissed with annoyance. “You bastard!”

 

Blue Jaguar pushed up to then next ledge, then the next, and then flipped with a kick that bashed Gakko’s face.

 

The Ranger grasped the ledge, kicked upward, and bashed past the monster.

 

Blue Ranger grasped onto a window ledge above the monster and looked down.

 

Geki Waza!” he shouted. “Mai Mai Chou!

 

Blue Jaguar dashed back and forth across the wall, kicking and punching the villain before he could defend himself.

 

The Blue Ranger landed above the villain, and then ran down the wall. He bashed the monster with ridge-hand and palm-heel strikes, bashing him down the side of the building.

 

Blue Jaguar somersaulted with a kick that bashed Gakko against the street below.

 

The Blue Ranger flipped off the villain and snapped into a fighting stance.

 

His two teammates regrouped around him.

 

“Not bad, Theo,” Yellow Cheetah said.

 

“Not bad?” Blue Jaguar said.

 

“You did good,” Red Tiger said. “That was…incredible.”

 

Thank you,” Blue Jaguar said.

 

Gakko climbed to his feet and breathed heavily with rage. “You…You dragged me to the ground?!”

 

He snapped a volley of shuriken.

 

Blue Jaguar snapped into a defensive stance. “Geki Tonfa!”

 

The weapons appeared with bursts of orange energy. Blue Jaguar twirled the tonfa and whacked the shuriken aside with bursts of spark.

 

Gakko hissed with annoyance and charged. Blue Jaguar returned the charge.

 

The opponents passed each other, as Blue Jaguar slashed the monster with a burst of spark.

 

The Blue Ranger leapt through the air and spun like a tornado. “Geki Waza! Hana Hana Dan!

 

He landed with a chop that bashed the monster’s head with a burst of spark and hurled him backward.

 

Smoke sizzling from his body, Gakko climbed to his feet. The villain laughed with twisted insanity.

 

“Fun…I’ve never felt such fun!” He swung his arms and legs through a series of movements. Ringi! Jashin Gouten Hen!

 

Gakko expanded and grew giant.

 

The Rangers placed their right fists against their left palms.

 

Geki Beasts, emerge!” They thrust their hands and fired waves of energy shaped like their animal spirits. The spirits expanded and grew giant. The Rangers leapt into the air and entered their Geki Beasts, which solidified into zords: The Geki Tiger, Geki Cheetah and Geki Jaguar.

 

Geki Beasts unite!” the Rangers shouted. “Jungle Fury Fusion!”

 

The three zords shifted shape and combined to form a Megazord.

 

“Jungle Pride Megazord!” the Rangers shouted. “Geki Touja!”

 

***

 

Camille watched from the top of a nearby building. She leaned on the railing and waited.

 

“Come on, Gakko…” she said softly, and with great impatience. “Show me your Hidden Ringi…”

 

Each of the Five Venom Fists knew a secret technique, and she believed one of these techniques could revive the Kenma. But she didn’t know which of the Venom Fists possessed this power.

 

Geki Touja twisted Gakko into an arm-lock and dropped, tearing off the arm.

 

But the arm still moved and grabbed the Megazord, nearly crushing its throat. Geki Touja staggered to its feet and tried to pull the arm free, but the hand simply tightened its grasp.

 

Gakko laughed as he watched the Megazord struggle. “That is my Hidden Ringi: Sokuseiwan!

 

The monster regenerated a new arm and rolled his shoulder, letting the limb settle into place.

 

Gakko leapt over Geki Touja and landed behind the Megazord. The villain pounced.

 

Geki Touja back-kicked the monster with a burst of spark that hurled him off his feet.

 

The severed arm went limp, and Geki Touja tossed it aside.

 

Blue Jaguar cracked his knuckles.

 

“Your attack aura was wide open,” he said. “Might want to work on that the next time you try to sneak up on someone.”

 

The Rangers placed their right fists against their left palms. “Geki Touja!” the Rangers shouted. “Geki Waza

 

The Megazord extended its arms and spun its upper body like a drill. Its fists radiated with orange-tinted Geki.

 

“…Dai Gan Gan Ken!

 

The fists pommeled the monster with massive bursts of spark that bashed him through the air. Gakko crashed against the street and skid backward.

 

Weakly, he climbed to his feet, just as his body overloaded and exploded.

 

***

 

Weeks ago

Crossworld City

 

Silver Guardian SUVs sped through the streets. They pursued a young Shaded who dashed across the rooftops: Camille. She wore a black kimono with green highlights, which matched the color of her green irises, set against solid black. Her skin and hair appeared chalk white.

 

Soldiers leaned from the SUVs and opened fire. Camille easily dodged their blasts.

 

Above, a small group of Silver Guardian Heliships flew towards the girl.

 

Camille leapt forward, turned in midair to face the ships, and thrust her hand. She fired an invisible TK pulse that tore through the Heliships with bursts of flame. They crashed through nearby buildings, which exploded with clouds of debris and shrapnel.

 

The shockwave tore across the streets and knocked over the SUVs, which crashed onto their sides and skid across the pavement.

 

Camille landed near the debris and smiled. “Such power…”

 

“Power…” she heard a voice whisper in her mind. She snapped around but saw no one. “You truly seek power?”

 

Camille narrowed her eyes. “Who’s there…?”

 

“The ones who can show you the way to power,” said another voice, this one female.

 

“Cryptic nonsense,” Camille said.

 

“No nonsense,” said the first voice. “We are the Three Kenma. And you…You are worthy to give us life. To give life to the RinJuken Akugata.”

 

“First you must find him,” said the first voice. “The one worthy to carry the name of his father. The one worthy to call himself DaiShi.”

 

“He will lead the RinJuken,” said the female Kenma. “With him as its head, and you as its heart, the RinJuken will rise from Hell, and conquer all.”

 

***

 

Days passed. Camille no longer heard the voices and tried to forget their message. But the Kenma’s words seemed to resonate in her mind.

 

She walked aimlessly and stumbled upon a battle in Angel Grove East. From the shadows, she watched the Jungle Fury Rangers battle Jarrod and Menace.

 

Jarrod moved with a ferocity that immediately captivated her attention. His speed. His power. She instantly felt a connection with him. And she knew: she recognized him as the fighter who could bring the RinJuken to life.

 

***

 

Graendal rejected Jarrod after his loss at the hands of the Jungle Fury Rangers.

 

Jarrod crawled through the dirt after his defeat. The pain of his own power tour through his soul with searing agony.

 

His skin and hair paled to chalk white. His eyes turned solid black except for his golden irises. “Useless? She would call me useless? And toss me aside?”

 

Camille watched from the shadows. Jarrod heard her stir, and snapped his head around to glare.

 

“Who are you, woman?” he growled. “Show yourself!”

 

Camille stepped from the darkness. She looked to Jarrod with great admiration.

 

“You hear them too, don’t you?” she asked. “The Kenma?”

 

Jarrod narrowed his eyes. “Have you been toying with my mind?”

 

She shook her head. “No. I just-”

 

Two Silver Guardian Heliships throttled through the air above. Two figures leapt from the ship and landed: Kamen Rider Kaixa and Kamen Rider Delta. INET tasked the two Riders with hunting Shaded like Jarrod and Camille.

 

The mysterious Riders rarely spoke.

 

The two Riders pulled out their blasters and fired.

 

Jarrod tackled Camille aside as the blasts whizzed by them. The villain crashed against the ground and thrust his hand, firing a TK burst that knocked the Riders off their feet.

 

Jarrod stood and extended his hand to Camille. “Come with me…and tell me more of what you know about these Kenma…”

 

Kaixa and Delta climbed to their feet, but before they could attack, Jarrod and Camille leapt into the distance.

 

***

 

The next day, Jarrod and Camille walked into the Blackened Mountains, which stretched across the northern border of Angel Grove. They moved to small mountaintop that seemed eerily quiet.

 

“Is this the place?” Jarrod asked.

 

Camille nodded. “Where the Gorma Palace fell, years ago.”

 

She kneeled down, and Jarrod did the same. The Kenma’s whispers taught them a simple spell. The spell a boy used to summon DaiSatan to Earth during the time of the dinosaurs. The spell a young Gorma used to tap into the power of the Mogralord during the time of the Daos Civilization.

 

They slit their palms and surrounded themselves with rings of their own blood, and then whispered the spell in a language known only in Hell.

 

They reached out with their Kiryoku and touched the power of the Kenma, hidden deep within Hades.

 

Then, their Kiryoku ignited and churned into Rinki, power born from a heart of anger and hatred. The spell released lesser demons from Hell, who entered the corpses of dead Gorma foot soldiers — Kyonshi —deep underground.

 

The demons — Rinshi — climbed to the surface, their bodies full of dust from their awakening. They shifted form, still resembling the dead Kyonshi they possessed, but with more intricate clothing.

 

Camille looked to Jarrod and smiled. “Your army. You’re no longer anyone’s lapdog…You are a king.”

 

A feral grin crossed Jarrod’s face.

 

***

 

The present

 

Jarrod kneeled on his pedestal and meditated.

 

His mind flashed back. He remembered standing in the pouring rain as a young child. He remembered his foster family dead in the woods around him. And he remembered the growl of the giant beast ahead. He couldn’t quite remember the sight of the creature. But he remembered its grumbling roar, and its powerful presence.

 

Camille waited outside the room, along with Naja. Shortly after the Rangers defeated Gakko, they defeated Stingerella and Toadai too, which left only Naja.

 

“You’re the last one left…” she said. “That means you possess the Hidden Ringi we need. The Madoku. Are you prepared to present it to DaiShi?”

 

Naja stood casually with his hands behind his back. “He is no DaiShi,” Naja said. “That boy is nothing but a footnote in the history of the RinJuken. A footnote I intend to erase.”

 

Camille narrowed her eyes. She armed a fan weapon and struck, but Naja quickly dodged. The Shaded twirled and swung her weapon, but Naja sidestepped and blocked each blow.

 

Naja grabbed her arm and twisted it into a lock. “Camille…You are more powerful than you realize. Perhaps we can defeat the boy together, and take back the RinJuken?”

 

Naja-” Camille spat.

 

“You will learn nothing by following that pretender who uses his father’s name,” Naja said. “I have met DaiShi. The real DaiShi. He will bring the RinJuken Akugata to the peak of its power, here on Earth.”

 

Camille shifted to her armored form and lashed out her tongue tendril, which stabbed through Naja with a burst of spark.

 

She retracted the tendril, and Naja staggered backward.

 

Camille crossed her arms over her chest. “This is the fate of those who forget their debt to my DaiShi.”

 

Naja lifted a hand to his chest, extended a long purple fingernail, and stabbed through his skin as he collapsed.

 

His body pulsed with dark purple energy as he pushed himself to his feet and shifted into his monster form. Rejuvenated, he stalked towards Camille.

 

The Shaded took a step back with shock. “How…?”

 

Naja launched with a flurry of punches Camille blocked. He kicked her side, then knife-hand chopped her head, knocking her back.

 

Camille crashed and rolled across the dirt.

 

Naja lowered his guard. “That was the power of my Hidden Ringi, Madoku, which you seek.”

 

The Venom Fist lifted his hands to show his long, curved nails. “My six snake nails are what you call Madoku. I used one to give myself life. The other five have the same power. Power to give life to the dead. A reverse poison…”

 

Camille climbed slowly to her feet as Naja stalked towards her.

 

The Shaded unsheathed a pair of sai blades and lunged. She swung wide, but the Venom Fist leapt backward to avoid the blow.

 

Naja jumped onto the rooftop of the dark dojo, then leapt into the distance.

 

Camille leapt onto the rooftop and followed.

 

***

 

Camille landed in the Blackened Mountains, an area of leafless black trees and dead grass. 

 

“Where are you?!” she shouted.

 

Naja pounced from behind and slashed her back with bursts of spark. She snapped around and swung her sai. But Naja swung his scimitars, parried the blows, and slashed her chest.

 

Camille staggered backward.

 

Naja crossed his blades, lunged, and stabbed her chest with massive bursts of spark that hurled her backward.

 

“Foolish woman…” Naja grumbled. “You’re just in the way…”

 

The Venom Fist swung his swords through a fighting formation. Ringi! Dai Ja Hou!

 

He formed a sphere of purple, swirling flames between his blades, and shot the blast at the Shaded.

 

The crackling bolt of power exploded against Camille with bursts of purple flame that hurled her through the air. She crashed and skid across the ground as she reverted to her human form.

 

“How does that body feel?” Naja said as he lowered his blades. “Looks like in the end, you’re no different than the meat sacks the true RinJuken possess.”

 

Naja walked towards her and stomped on her chest.

 

Camille gasped for air and grabbed his ankle. She tried to break free, but could not.

 

“Even if you beat me…you’ll never defeat DaiShi.”

 

“That boy is not the true DaiShi,” Naja said. “He is weak…and I have been studying him. When he meditates, he falls into a deep trance. That is when I will strike.”

 

Naja lifted Camille by the neck and hurled her over a nearby cliff.

 

***

 

Camille tumbled down the cliff and crashed onto the ground below. Bruised, battered, and broken, she staggered to her feet. She narrowed her eyes and shifted form, as her skin and hair became chalk white, and her eyes turned solid black except for their green irises.

 

With her demon energy, she started to heal.

 

***

 

Naja returned to his chambers within the lowest levels of the RinJuken dojo.

 

He pulled rock-hard remains from two urns, and placed the remains on a table.

 

Ringi!” he shouted. Madoku!

 

He stabbed the remains with two nails. The nails glowed with purple energy that injected into the remains. The charred stones pulsed, expanded, and took shape to form Rantipede and Gakko.

 

Gakko grasped his own body with amazement. “Naja…Did you revive us?”

 

RantipedeGakko…” Naja said as he looked upon the two Venom Fists. “I have given you new life using Madoku. In exchange…you will help me defeat the one called Jarrod.”

 

“What?!” Rantipede shouted as he snapped into a defensive stance.

 

Gakko leapt onto the wall. “That’s…That’s…”

 

“Wait,” Naja said. “Listen…”

 

***

 

Red Tiger, Blue Jaguar and Yellow Cheetah stood on the shore north of the Glimmering Coast. They armed their latest weapon, the Claw Cannon, and aimed a practice shot.

 

They poured their Geki into the cannon, which whined with power.

 

Geki Waza!” they shouted. “Geki Geki Hou!

 

The cannon fired a twirling sphere of orange energy that shot over the ocean.

 

“Nice…” Red Tiger said. “I think we’re getting better.”

 

They used the cannon to defeat Stingerella and Toadai, but struggled to use the weapon properly at the time.

 

“Eighteen seconds to charge,” Blue Jaguar said. “That’s definitely better.”

 

Suddenly, explosions sparked around the Rangers and hurled them backward. They rolled into crouched positions and looked up to see Camille standing nearby. She wore her green chameleon-like armor.

 

“Camille!” Yellow Cheetah shouted as the Rangers climbed to their feet.

 

“Rangers…” she said, her arms crossed casually over her chest. “I tend to avoid these fights, but today, I will make an exception. Your opponent is me.”

 

She leapt at the Rangers and dashed through them with a flurry of punches and kicks. They surrounded her and tried to strike back, but she kicked them aside, snapping her legs through intricate movements.

 

Red Tiger pounced at the Shaded. Camille pounced back and slashed Red Tiger aside with a burst of spark.

 

The Red Ranger climbed to his feet, and his teammates regrouped around him.

 

Camille turned to face the Rangers. Come at me with all your might…or this training will be pointless.

 

“Claw Cannon!” the Rangers shouted as they summoned their weapon. They poured their Geki into the bazooka.

 

Geki Waza!” they shouted. “Geki Geki Hou!

 

The cannon fired a twirling pulse of orange-tinted energy.

 

Camille stepped into a defensive stance and crossed her sai blades in front of her body. Quickly, she studied the spin of the incoming projectile.

 

She thrust her sai and blocked the blast, but the explosion hurled her backward.

 

The Shaded cursed beneath her breath and rose to her feet. “Again…Again!”

 

Red Tiger tilted his head. “What?”

 

“You heard the lady,” Yellow Cheetah said. “Again!”

 

Geki Waza!” they shouted. “Geki Geki Hou!

 

They fired another energy blast. Camille blocked the blast and tried to parry it aside, but the explosion knocked her into the ocean.

 

***

 

Naja walked slowly into Jarrod’s throne room. The Shaded kneeled on his pedestal with his back to the massive doors. His eyes closed, the teen meditated.

 

Gakko dangled downward from a nearby pedestal.

 

And Rantipede rolled into the shadows nearby.

 

Naja armed his scimitars.

 

***

 

Camille staggered onto the shore. Smoke sizzled from her armor, and she nearly collapsed with each step.

 

“Now…” she shouted to the Rangers. “Now! Are you even lighting your inner fire?!”

 

The Rangers armed their Claw Cannon.

 

Geki Waza!” they shouted. “Geki Geki Hou!

 

The cannon fired a twirling comet of orange energy. Camille stood her ground with her sai blades crossed in front of her. Using her sai, she caught the blast and hurled it aside. The blast exploded against the shore with massive bursts of spark and flame.

 

The Rangers lowered their Claw Cannon.

 

“She deflected it!” Blue Jaguar shouted.

 

Camille breathed deeply and collapsed onto all fours. Her aura flashed with purple energy as she reverted to her human form.

 

“I did it…” she whispered.

 

The Red Tiger tilted his head with disbelief. “Were you…training?”

 

Camille climbed slowly to her feet. Saying nothing, she vanished from sight.

 

***

 

Naja stalked towards Jarrod from behind. “Young, spoiled boy. Keep your eyes closed…just like that. I will let you die quickly.”

 

Naja, Gakko and Rantipede charged. Suddenly, an invisible blur of motion knocked them aside before they could strike.

 

The blur materialized into Camille, in her white-skinned Shaded form. She armed her sai and stood in a defensive stance behind Jarrod.

 

Naja rolled into a crouched fighting stance. “You’re alive?!”

 

“Those who defy DaiShi will die,” Camille said. “That is RinJuken.”

 

Naja climbed to his feet. “I’ll take the girl,” he said to his fellow Venom Fists. “You take care of Jarrod.”

 

Naja charged and slashed his blades at Camille. The Shaded dodged and parried his savage slashes.

 

Nearby, Rantipede and Gakko pounced at Jarrod.

 

DaiShi!” Camille shouted.

 

Jarrod’s eyes snapped open. He thrust his arms and fired purple-tinted Rinki bursts that hurled Rantipede and Gakko backward.

 

The villain snapped to his feet and twirled off his cloak. “Where is the worm who interrupted my meditation…?”

 

His gold-and-black aura flared around him. Rinki Gai Sou.

 

His black lion armor snapped around his body with a burst of energy.

 

“With the ferocity of the lion,” he said as he shifted into a fighting stance. “RinJuken, DaiShi.”

 

“You are not DaiShi!” Naja shouted. “Rantipede, kill him!”

 

Rantipede charged to attack.

 

Jarrod shifted into an offensive stance. Ringi. Resshu Kyaku.

 

He snapped an energized spin kick through a streak of energy, which slashed Gakko and Rantipede with massive bursts of spark. The blow hurled the two Venom Fists across the room. Rantipede took the brunt of the blow; his energy overloaded and exploded, blowing him to pieces.

 

Gakko scrambled to his feet and ran. 

 

Jarrod stalked towards Naja. “Did you bring the two of them together, Naja? Do you know what this means?”

 

Naja hissed with annoyance and slashed Camille’s sai blades aside. The monster dashed for the exit.

 

***

 

Gakko dashed into the city, his mind in a panic. He betrayed Jarrod. He could never return to the RinJuken Akugata.

 

The Jungle Fury Rangers dashed onto the street and blocked his path.

 

“You again?” Blue Jaguar asked.

 

“Rangers!” Gakko shouted.

 

He leapt onto the side of a nearby building and snapped a volley of shuriken.

 

The Rangers fought back with all their strength and power. They didn’t need long to defeat Gakko with their Claw Cannon.

 

***

 

Naja dashed into the Blackened Mountains. He stopped in the middle of an ash-colored clearing to get his bearings.

 

“Damn that girl…” he hissed.

 

In her armor, Camille leapt onto the scene and spat a volley of darts. The darts stabbed Naja with bursts of spark that forced him to his knees.

 

Camille landed in a fighting stance. “You can’t run away…”

 

Naja hissed and climbed to his feet. “From you? I don’t need to run.”

 

They charged and exchanged a volley of blows. They moved with quick and powerful kicks and punches, and dodged or blocked their opponents’ strikes.  

 

Naja flipped Camille onto her back. He aimed a spear-hand strike towards her head. But she kicked back, smashing her foot against his face and knocking him several steps backward.

 

Camille flipped back to her feet.

 

Naja armed his Scimitars. He chopped one blade and swung upward with the other, slashing her with bursts of spark. He spun and swung both weapons wide, slashing Camille with a burst of spark that hurled her backward.

 

Camille rolled into a crouched stance and armed her sai blades.

 

Naja charged.

 

Their weapons clashed with bursts of spark as they circled each other.

 

Naja chopped Camille’s chest and kicked her backward.

 

She lunged and speared her sai.

 

But Naja sidestepped and swung both blades upward. The swords slashed Camille with massive bursts of spark that whipped her off her feet.

 

Naja crossed his blades. Ringi! Dai Ja Hou!

 

His blades formed a twirling sphere of purple energy he hurled at the Shaded.

 

Camille quickly climbed to her feet, caught the energy bolt with her sai, and twirled the blast. She infused the villain’s energy bolt with her own power.

 

Ringi! Raku Geki Ken!

 

She hurled the energy bolt back at Naja. The blast exploded through his chest with massive bursts of spark and flame.

 

Naja crashed to the ground as smoke sizzled from his body.

 

Camille walked to the fallen villain and stepped on his back to keep him down.

 

“The Rangers’ Claw Cannon was far more powerful…” she said.

 

She lifted his hand and sliced off his remaining three nails.

 

“I’ll be taking these…your Hidden Ringi.”

 

She dropped his hand, kicked his face, and walked away.

 

Naja’s energy overloaded and exploded, blasting his body to pieces.

 

Jarrod watched from a nearby cliff. 

 

Camille faced the cliff and kneeled. She shifted back into her Shaded form.

 

DaiShi…” she said as she held out the nails. “I present to you, the Madoku. Now you can finally revive the Three Kenma.”

 

Jarrod leapt to the ground to join her. He took the nails from her hand.

 

“Well done,” he said.

 

Jarrod extended his hand and helped Camille to her feet.

 

The villain grasped the nails in his fist. “Now…my path to true strength will continue.”

 

He felt the voices of the Three Kenma stir from his silver bracelets.

 

To be continued…Chapter 08