Ultimate Hurricane: Recap

 

The Dark Man Akuma used a girl name Zadie to manipulate Simon Kaden, the Red Hurricane Power Ranger.

 

Zadie convinced Simon to absorb the power of demons to gain enough strength to defeat Azmodai, the First Demon.

 

Years ago, the First Demon possessed a man named John and impregnated Simon’s birth mother Madelyn, who would become Black Queen of the Hellfire Club. Azmodai possessed five other men to have five other children with Madelyn: Zen, Samuel, Brandon, Owen and Rin “R.J” Amantini. 

 

Azmodai used his children to take physical form and set foot on the mortal plane, which broke the Third Seal to the Dark One’s prison. With the Third Seal broken, children like Simon, whose parents were possessed by demons, lost the ability to control their demon power. They gained the ability to “demon morph” into stronger forms, called Shaded. A demon morph often happened uncontrollably and caused the Shaded to go berserk.

 

This happened to Simon. And his ally, Shirogane, betrayed and killed him.

 

Later, Simon awoke in Hell. There, a Forsaken named Moridyn appeared in astral form and offered to help Simon fight free from Hell.

 

A demon attack separated Simon and Moridyn, and afterward, Simon awoke on the Gedoushuu ship, the Rokumonsen. 

 

Shaded Relics: Chapter 17

Ten Courts

 

Simon climbed to his feet within the Gedoushuu ship, Rokumonsen. He narrowed his eyes at the squid-like demon, Shitari.

 

“I recognize you…” Simon said.

 

“Do you?” Shitari asked as he poured himself another drink. “I would hope so. We Gedoushuu spent a year bringing despair to your city.”

 

“Until my friend kicked your ass,” Simon said.

 

The demon sighed at the memory. “Those days are now gone…”

 

“What do you want, squid-face?” Simon asked. “I’m not in the mood for a meet-and-greet.”

 

“The creatures of Hell know of you well. A Ranger who absorbed the power of demons,” Shitari said. “They want you. Some for your power. Some to see you suffer.”

 

Simon summoned his sword with a burst of black flame. “You have five seconds to say something worth hearing, or I gut you like a fish.”

 

“Brandon,” Shitari said. “You brother. I am afraid he is here in Hell, and being used as bait, to lure you into a trap.”

 

Simon narrowed his eyes. “By who?”

 

“The demons of the Diyu,” Shitari said.

 

“The what?”

 

“Do you Rangers know nothing?” Shitari asked. “The Diyu, a maze beneath the Nine Circles of Hell, where the souls of the damned are taken to atone for their sins. The Ten Courts. Ruled by Yama, who oversee the cycle of reincarnation, for those who believe in such Buddhist nonsense.”

 

“Never heard of it,” Shitari said.

 

“Dishonorable and uneducated,” Shitari said. “You may be a Ranger, but you are no Samurai.”

 

Simon slashed Shitari with a burst of spark that hurled him backward. The demon crashed and skid, dropping his staff, which clattered across the deck.

 

“I’m done listening to you,” Simon said. “You say my brother is in this Diyu? Fine. Take me there. Or don’t, and I’ll rip this ship apart. Your choice, puss bag.”

 

Shitari climbed to his feet and stumbled towards his staff. The demon laughed softly.

 

“No. Not a Samurai…”

 

***

 

The Rokumonsen sailed to a shore of black rock. Simon stepped onto the deck of the vessel and looked out upon the shore, which appeared to stretch until forever.

 

Clouds of fog and mist spread across the rock like a blanket.

 

The fog rose and took shape to form three cloaked figures. Their dark, intricate robes looked Chinese in design, and they wore white face paint with red and black markings. The demons’ eyes shifted color between shades of red and black.

 

The lead demon, Jiang, tilted his head when he saw Simon. “You are the Ranger they call the Soul Eater.”

 

Simon arced an eyebrow. “No one’s ever called me that. Ever.”

 

“You absorb the power of demons for your own ends,” said the second demon, Yu. “You are an abomination.”

 

Shitari waddled onto the deck. He bowed mockingly at the demons, three of the Ten Yama Kings.

 

“I have brought you the Ranger, as promised,” Shitari said.

 

Nanashi sprang onto the deck and grasped Simon before he could defend himself. The grunts kicked his legs and knocked him to his knees.

 

“But before I hand him over…” Shitari said. “I wish to change our arrangement.”

 

Jiang narrowed his eyes. “You fuck fuck traitorous filth.”

 

“Allow me to enter your Ten Courts and be reincarnated,” Shitari said.

 

The third demon, Li, scoffed. “You are Gedou. You cannot enter Hell.”

 

“Your Lord Yama could bend the rules,” Shitari said.

 

“For you? A demon of fish? A demon of the River? You are nothing to the great Lord Yama, little fuck fuck squid,” Jiang said.

 

Simon rolled his hands into fists. Black flame trickled across his knuckles, then exploded with force that hurled the Nanashi through the air.

 

He summoned his slender kata of black steel and slashed Shitari aside with a burst of spark.

 

Nanashi regrouped and charged towards the ranger. He charged through them while swinging his sword through streaks of black power, which ripped through the demons with massive bursts of spark. The creatures’ torn bodies collapsed and exploded into bursts of flame and ash.

 

Simon walked to Shitari and placed his sword against the fallen demon’s throat. “Really? You tried to trade me for a favor?”

 

“My master has fallen,” Shitari said. “The Gedoushuu have fallen. To be reincarnated-”

 

Simon kicked Shitari’s chest. “Get back into your ship and sail away.”

 

Simon turned and jumped from the ship, landing in front of the three Yama Kings.

 

He thrust his hand, tightened his fist, and grabbed Jiang in an invisible chokehold. Simon used his TK to lift the demon from the ground.

 

Rage burned through his body. Killed. Damned. And to know Brandon met the same fate? And that a demon plotted to use that against him? To manipulate him? No.

 

“Where’s Brandon?” Simon asked.

 

Jiang laughed as he hung in midair. “Foolish Ranger.”

 

Li and Yu slapped their right fists against their left palms. They summoned dozens of Yaoguai, twisted animal spirits that snarled and charges at Simon. Each lupine creature looked like a mishmash of animals, hybrids of wolves, foxes, cheetahs, lions, tigers, bulls, elephants, and even birds, bats and rodents.

 

Simon twisted his grip on his sword and leaned forward. His aura flared with black light, tinted red.

 

The ranger charged and swung his sword through streaks of power. He slashed and tore the Yaoguai to pieces with bursts of energy and smoke.

 

He chopped, swung upward, slashed left, slashed right, and twirled his blade through a butterfly pattern. Not a single beast escaped the fatal blow of his sword.

 

The ranger skid to a halt in front of Li and Yu. He wrapped them with TK energy and snapped them off their feet, so they hung in midair along with Jiang.

 

“Let’s try that again…” Simon said. “Where’s Brandon?”

 

***

 

The Yama Kings led Simon into the central courtroom of the Diyu. Ten stone pillars surrounded the massive chamber. Each pillar extended several meters into the air and carried a desk, where a Yama King sat.

 

Simon looked up and narrowed his eyes. “OK. You’ve brought me here. Now where’s Brandon?”

 

Jiang glared at the ranger. “This is no Hell of the Flaming Rooster. You will speak to us with respect.”

 

Simon arced an eyebrow. “Hell of the Flaming…What?”

 

“Your brother is in one of the Ten Courts,” Yu said. “If you do not find him in time, his spirit will be denied reincarnation and simply…cease to exist. In the most painful of ways, beyond mortal comprehension.”

 

A massive stone door opened between two of the columns.

 

“Go,” Jiang said with a twisted grin. “Find your brother, you foolish fuck fuck Ranger.”

 

Simon cursed beneath his breath.

 

He summoned his slender black-bladed kata and dashed through the entrance.

 

***

 

Simon dashed through a dark corridor. He ignored the screams and moans of the dammed that came from the shadows.

 

Suddenly, he heard a voice in his mind. He recognized the voice as Moridyn’s.

 

“You can’t save him,” Moridyn said. “I understand the importance of family, but even if you could free your brother from this place, his soul would still be damned to Hell, for eternity.”

 

“So I can escape, but he can’t? I don’t accept that.”

 

“You can escape because you absorbed the spiritual energy of countless demons before your death. Brandon did not.”

 

“I’ll get him out of here,” Simon said. “If you don’t plan on helping, get out of my head.”

 

A winged Yaoguai landed in the corridor in front of Simon, blocking his path. The creature’s body looked bird-like with wings extending from his back and forearms. But his face looked human, although solid black, like pure darkness.

 

The creature hissed and extended his arm to his side. A sword formed, with a mirror at the pommel.

 

Simon pounced to attack.

 

The Yaoguai shifted its mirror to reflect the eerie light of the Diyu.

 

The next thing Simon knew, he was on the ground with a wound slashed through his torso. He opened his eyes with shock and coughed up blood.

 

What the…

 

The ranger climbed slowly to his feet and winced with pain, his side torn open. He stepped into a weak defensive stance and glared at his opponent.

 

That mirror…he thought. It must have dazed me somehow. I can’t-

 

The demon lunged with a volley of slashes Simon leapt backward to avoid. The ranger twisted while in midair and hurled a TK bolt.

 

The pulse blasted the demon through several walls, and he skid to a halt within another corridor.

 

Simon planted his feet against the side of a wall, pushed off and shot at the demon.

 

The creature lifted its sword arm and angled its mirrored pommel.

 

Simon closed his eyes. He smashed against the demon and bashed his hilt against the demon’s mirror, which shattered into pieces.

 

The ranger smiled with satisfaction and hacked the demon to the ground.

 

Simon landed nearby. “Nice trick. But you can’t fool me twice.

 

The dark creature climbed to its feet and laughed.

 

Broken mirror shards rained down around them and reflected the light of the Diyu with blinding intensity.

 

Simon staggered backward. The next thing he knew, he lay on the ground with gashes in his chest, gut and collar bone. Black ichor seeped from the wounds.

 

He gasped and tried to move. But pain shot through his spiritual body.

 

The ranger heard the laughter of the Yama Kings echo through the corridor.

 

He tightened his grip on his sword. “No…No way in Hell it’s ending here…Like this. You bastards!”

 

Black energy surged through his body and knitted his wounds back together. He climbed to his feet as his aura flared with black light, tinted with outlines of red.

 

Without thinking, he demon morphed into his Shaded form. His skin and hair turned chalk white, and his eyes turned solid black except for his red irises.

 

The teen flashed a maddening grin. “Much better,” he said, his voice a hollow echo. “Try taunting me with your mirror now.”

 

The demon shot at the ranger with the speed of a cannonball. Simon dashed aside with a blur of motion, landed behind the creature, and chopped off its wings.  

 

He snapped around with a wide swing; the blade glowed with red-and-black light and tore through the creature. Simon laughed, lunged, and chopped the demon in half. Black ichor sprayed across the corridor.

 

The ranger grinned and looked around. Their battle had torn several holes in the wall. Through the openings, he saw several corridors branch into different directions.

 

“Well, well. A maze? I guess I’ll just have to find my way through this maze and-” He burst into laughter. “Oh, who am I kidding.

 

He charged with black energy and shot towards the center of the maze while blasting through wall after wall.

 

***

 

Simon skid to a halt in the center of a landscaped courtyard, designed with ancient Chinese architecture. The landscaping looked dead, and the ponds looked oil black.

 

Brandon sat in the center of the courtyard. He stared at his empty hands, frozen with fear.

 

Simon shifted to his normal form. “Brandon…” he whispered. “Brandon!”

 

Brandon looked up, his eyes pale. The boy shook his head. “Am I…Am I…Am I…”

 

He lowered his gaze. Then he screamed, with blood curdling agony.

 

Simon dashed towards him. But chains stabbed from the shadows and pierced through his flesh, holding him in place. The ranger struggled to break free, but more chains stabbed through his chest, legs, arms and gut.

 

He screamed and ignited his Ki with a burst of black flame. But the fire didn’t damage the chains in the slightest.

 

“Brandon!” Simon shouted.

 

“You cannot touch him, Ranger,” a voice said from the shadows. “You may have bested us in the Hell above, but here, within our courts, we are all powerful.”

 

“Jiang…” Simon cursed. “Let go of me. Or I swear, I’ll-”

 

“You’ll what?” the demon asked. “You are powerless here. I only allowed you to make it this far so you could see him. Your young brother. Damned. Doomed. Eternally.

 

“Powerless…?” Simon whispered. “Powerless?!”

 

He snapped from the chains with bursts of black flame. The ranger dashed towards his brother.

 

But more chains shot from the shadows, speared through his body, and held him in place. Simon gasped and coughed black ichor.

 

The chains lifted the ranger and suspended him in midair. Pain burned through his spiritual body.

 

Jiang laughed from the shadows. “You will never get close to him…”

 

Simon glared towards the darkness. “If you’re so powerful…why don’t you show yourself, you son-of-a bitch.”

 

“I enjoy the view from the shadows,” Jiang said. “Now…I suggest you listen closely. Because if you want to free your brother, you will do exactly as I say.”

 

“Why should I trust you.

 

“You have no choice,” Jiang said. “I have proven that, yes? There he is. Right in front of you. And you can do nothing to save him, unless I will it. So trust me or not, it would serve you well to please me.”

 

“I’ll kill you,” Simon spat.

 

“That’s not a very good start,” Jiang said. “You stupid, fuck fuck Rangers. You all think you are so invincible…”

 

Blue flames surged through the courtyard and washed over Brandon. The boy screamed with agony as the fire seared his soul.

 

“Stop it!” Simon shouted as he struggled to break from the chains.

 

“Will you listen, you foreign dog?” Jiang.”

 

“OK!” Simon shouted. “Just say it, you bastard. Say what you want!”

 

“It’s a rather simple task,” Jiang said. “Lady Freelyn rules the Circadyn Clan in the Third Circle of Hell. You will go there. And kill her.”

 

Simon knitted his brow. He recognized the name. The Power Rangers met her years ago when they journeyed into Hell to free Tommy’s brother, and Simon’s best friend, Teddy. They met her again during the Second Countdown to Destruction.

 

“Why her?” Simon asked.

 

“She is an easy target,” Jiang said. “An easy way to gain a foothold into the Nine Circles.”

  

Simon cursed beneath his breath. “Fine. Just let me-”

 

Darkness bashed Simon with an explosion of shadow.

 

***

 

Simon’s vision blurred into focus. He sat up and felt his fingers squish in the mud.

 

Moridyn stood next to him. “Welcome to the Third Circle.”

 

Simon cursed and pushed himself to his feet. “You suck as a guide.”

 

Rivers and pools of mud stretched across the landscape, dotted with hills of black ice. Ahead, a massive palace of black ice stabbed towards the skies, which swirled with black clouds.

 

Simon narrowed his eyes at the sight.

 

Moridyn noticed. “May I remind you why I am here? To help you escape this place. Not to involve ourselves in petty squabbles between demon clans.”

 

“Petty squabbles?” Simon asked. “Is that what this is?”

 

“Yes,” Moridyn said. “Demons want territory and power. Nothing more. After the demons of the Diyu use you to kill Freelyn, they will give you another target, and then another, turning you into their weapon. If you think they’ll free Brandon-”

 

“They’ll let him go,” Simon said.

 

“How can you say so with such certainty?”

 

“Because…” Simon said as he started to walk towards the palace. “I’ll make them.”

 

***

 

Simon entered the palace and walked into a massive throne room of black ice.

 

Lady Freelyn sat on her throne, along with her guard dog, the three-headed Cerebus. The Lady wore a dark gown that matched her dry, mangled hair. Specs of frost dotted her pale skin, and her eyes looked solid blue, with no irises or white.

 

She smiled at the sight of the Ranger. “Well…Out with the old, and all that. The first Red Ranger of the New Generation…”

 

“Not anymore…” Simon said as he stalked towards her. He summoned his sword with a flash of black flame.

 

Cerebus perked his heads and growled at the intruder.

 

Lady Freelyn leaned back, casually. “Have you come here to kill me? Which demon clan sent you, hmm? The Arrancar? The Cold Flame? The Diyu? Their names grow more and more ridiculous as the cycles of time pass.”

 

“The Diyu…” Simon said.

 

Freelyn sniffed a laugh. “A Hell of even lesser consequence than mine. I will tell you the same thing I told your predecessors:

 

“Do you know the types of souls that clutter my grounds? The gluttons. The over-indulgers. We are not evil. We are victims. I was-”

 

“Stop,” Simon said. “I won’t let you manipulate me.”

 

“But you will let the demons of the Diyu manipulate you?”

 

“They have my brother.”

 

“Oh, and I’m sure once I’m dead, they’ll set him free, yes? You are a fool if you believe that, Ranger. I may not have the same level of power as my demon brethren, but I do have one thing they lack: Knowledge. I understand the Pattern and all its threads. I-”

 

“I said stop!” Simon shouted as he lunged.

 

Cerebus pounced. But Simon twisted and slashed the demon. The impact hurled Cerebus across the throne room; he smashed against a wall and crashed to the floor.

 

Simon leapt towards Lady Freelyn but slammed against an invisible barrier.

 

“You have so much anger in you…” she said. “You always have. Tommy knew it, from the moment he saw you punch that tree, after those bullies picked on you so long ago. When he decided to train you. What would he think now…hmm? It’s ironic, isn’t it? Tommy walked a path from darkness to light. His student, it seems, has walked the opposite path.”

 

Simon breathed heavily. Without thinking, he shifted into his Shaded form. His lips curled into a feral grin.

 

“You think you know me, ice queen? You think you understand the path I’m on?”

 

“I think you are a pawn,” Lady Freelyn said as she leaned forward. “All your life you wanted power. Power to protect people. Power to save them. You’ve lived your young life defending a cruel world that dooms its people to an even crueler fate. How well has that worked out for you?”

 

Simon smashed through the barrier and stabbed Freelyn through the gut. Blue ichor seeped from the wound, and Simon twisted the blade.

 

“Not very well…” Simon said, mad glee in his eyes. “Not well at all.”

 

He pulled his sword free and kicked her body away. She tumbled down the steps and crashed onto the floor, where she dissipated into ash.

 

***

 

Back in his normal form, Simon returned to the Diyu and streaked towards the courtyard. He found Brandon in the center, just like before.

 

And just like before, chains snapped from the shadows, punctured through Simon, and suspended him in place.

 

“It’s done!” he shouted into the shadows. “Now let Brandon go!”

 

The Yama Kings laughed from the shadows.

 

“You must be taught a lesson,” Jiang said. “A lesson of respect….”

 

Suddenly, a vortex of power surrounded Brandon. The vortex tore away at his spiritual body, piece by piece, as he screamed.

 

“No!” Simon shouted. “What are you doing, you bastards!”

 

“This is our power…” Jiang said. “The power to deliver true death unto the soul. The power to wipe life from existence!”

 

Brandon screamed with a final wail of twisted agony. Then the vortex tore his spiritual body and soul into pieces with a final burst of dark light.

 

He vanished. From existence. Completely.

 

“Make demands of us again. Shame us again. And we will-”

 

Simon screamed with rage. He shattered his chains and shifted into his Shaded form with a burst of red-and-black energy. The shockwave tore through the courtyard, obliterating the buildings and landscaping.

 

Chains shot from the darkness. Simon dashed faster than sight, dodged each chain, and slashed them to pieces.

 

He lost Brandon. Again. Only this time, for good.

 

Maddened, he laughed. “You threaten me? You kill my brother? And you expect me to what? Roll over and die? Become your pet? How did you think this would end in any way other than you slaughtered! Slaughtered in the ruins of your Ten Courts!”

 

“No…” Jiang said, frightened. “No one can resist our chains. Our power here is absolute. We are-”

 

Simon dashed into the darkness and slashed into the demon’s gut. “Absolute?!” he shouted. “Does your power feel absolute now?!”

 

He pulled his sword free and blasted the demon into dust.

 

He heard the other Yama Kings scurry into the shadows.

 

The ranger acted without thinking. He dashed through the shadows, sword slashing, ripping through everything in its path. Ichor and debris flooded the Ten Courts with a storm of destruction.

 

Simon radiated with power that shook the Courts and collapsed its tunnels.

 

Yaoguai. Yama. Souls. He cut them all down with a bought of rage that clouded his vision with a blood-red hue.

 

With a final burst of power, the Diyu collapsed.

 

***

 

Simon breathed heavily. His blood craze ended, and his spiritual body shifted back into its normal form. He still gripped his black katana.

 

He tightened his grip on the blade and looked around.

 

He stood on the rubble, bone and ashes of the Ten Courts of Hell, completely obliterated.

 

Moridyn stood nearby, silently.

 

The ranger narrowed his eyes. He remembered the words of Lady Freelyn: You’ve lived your young life defending a cruel world that dooms its people to an even crueler fate. How well has that worked out for you?”

 

Simon looked over his shoulder to the Forsaken. “I can break loose from this place?”

 

Moridyn nodded.

 

“Good…” Simon said. “Let’s get the hell out of here.”

 

Moridyn smiled. “Of course. Follow me…”

 

To be continued…Chapter 18