Chapter 20: Ultimate Jungle Fury

Rhino Steel

 

Adam handed Dominic a dagger, snapped shut. Dom arced an eyebrow and took the weapon.

 

“What is it?” Dom asked.

 

“The key to your zord,” Adam explained. “The only zord actually built for this team. The others use zords born from their auras.”

 

Dominic tried to open the dagger. But it wouldn’t budge.

 

“What’s the deal with this thing?” Dom asked.

 

“You’re trying too hard,” Adam said.

 

“‘Don’t think, just feel,’” Dom said mockingly. “Right.”

 

“Adam!” Miki said as she burst into the dojo. “The Southern Cross.”

 

“I know,” Adam said. “The Rangers are on their way.”

 

Miki shook her head. “They’re too late…”

 

***

 

R.J. ran towards the burning rubble of the Southern Cross Cathedral. But Casey, Theo and Lilly held him back.

 

“R.J., don’t!” Lilly shouted.

 

“Rick’s in there!” R.J. shouted. “Let me go, or-”

 

The teen heard laughter from behind. They turned around and looked up to face Kata, standing on a building.

 

The Kenma crossed his arms over his chest.

 

“Kata!” Casey shouted.

 

Theo narrowed his eyes. “It was you…You did this, didn’t you?”

 

“Where are the kids?” Lilly asked.

 

Kata laughed softly. “Do you really want to know?”

 

The demon kicked a boulder, which rolled down the building and landed at its base.

 

Casey knitted his brow. “It’s a rock. So…”

 

Then he noticed. The rock looked as if carved with the faces of Evan and the other Shaded.

 

“No…” Casey whispered. “No!”

 

“Kyle…” Theo whispered. “Enzo…Rika…Evan…”

 

“Rick…” R.J. said when he noticed his brother’s face. The teen rolled his hands into fists and glared at Kata. “You son-of-a bitch.”

 

“Come on,” Casey said as they ran towards the boulder.

 

Kata pounced and bashed them away, knocking them backward. The demon landed and crossed his arms over his chest.

 

“You fools are too late,” Kata said. “They’ve all been defeated by Lord Maku, and encased in stone.”

 

The villain traced his fingers across the boulder. “This Doukokugan will squeeze the life from the children. When Lord Maku bathes in their Life Force, he will become invincible.”

 

“No…” Casey said as he rolled his hands into fists. “Let them go! Now!”

 

The teen charged and swung a punch. Kata dodged and punched Casey’s chest, bashing him off his feet. The ranger crashed and skid across the street.

 

“You wish to fight RinJuken’s strongest Kenma?” Kata asked. “Foolish youth…”

 

Casey punched the ground and climbed to his feet. The other rangers regrouped around him.

 

“Guys…” Casey said as they armed their morphers. “Let’s go.”

 

“Jungle Beast! Spirit, unleash!” Energy wrapped around them as they morphed into their armor.

 

“So you do wish to fight…” Kata said.  “Very well. But know this: Our battle will prove once and for all whether RinJuken or GekiJuken truly dominates.”

 

***

 

Rageku stood on the other side of the burnt monastery.

 

“All burnt up…” she whispered. “The secrets to exorcising we Kenma…gone. What a beautiful sight.”

 

“Hey!” Dom shouted as he ran to the scene. “Rag…Ragu…Jellyfish Lady!”

 

“Ah,” Rageku said as she turned to face him. “The newest Ranger. Why are you here?”

 

Dom arced an eyebrow. “Really? You’re a monster. I’m a Ranger. Figure it out.”

 

He summoned his Rhino Morpher with a burst of orange energy.

 

“Jungle Beast! Spirit, unleash!” His aura wrapped around him as he morphed into his Ranger form.

 

The Rhino Ranger used his morpher like a fist weapon and charged.

 

Rageku swung a flurry of staff strikes. But the Rhino Ranger dodged and parried as he circled her.

 

The White Rhino chopped his Rhino Blade, but Rageku blocked. He spun backward and chopped towards her midsection. But she blocked and snapped her staff towards the Ranger’s head.

 

White Rhino blocked and twisted her staff into a locked position.

 

Rageku laughed. “You’re so fiery…It amuses me…”

 

She pulled her staff free and speared White Rhino with a burst of spark that hurled him backward.

 

The White Rhino Ranger crashed and tumbled across the ground.

 

Rageku shifted her staff into a fighting stance. “It’s time to crush the bug…”

 

“Oh shut up,” White Rhino said pounced through the air.

 

He landed with a flurry of chops Rageku blocked. Each chop sparked against her staff as the Ranger pressed forward.

 

The White Rhino Ranger spun with a wide slash Rageku blocked, then he speared his blade towards her chest.

 

***

 

Red Tiger launched a jump-kick Kata dodged. Yellow Cheetah snapped a back-fist strike he blocked. And Violet Wolf lunged with his knee.

 

The villain blocked the knee and punched Violet Wolf with a burst of spark that knocked him backward.

 

Blue Jaguar moved in with a volley of punches and back-fist strikes. Kata blocked, dodged, and slashed the Blue Ranger off his feet.

 

Blue Jaguar crashed, rolled across the ground, and rose next to his teammates.

 

Red Tiger, Yellow Cheetah and Blue Jaguar armed their Claw Boosters.

 

“Claw Boosters!” They snapped the devices open. “Jungle Master Mode!”

 

Their KaGeki flared as they morphed into their powered-up armor.

 

“Claw Cannon!” Red Tiger shouted as the core three Rangers armed their Claw Cannon. They poured their KaGeki into the cannon, which whined with power. KaGeki!”

 

Violet Wolf armed his bracer. ShiGeki!”

 

The cannon fired an orange burst of KaGeki, and the Wolf Ranger’s bracer fired a violet bolt of ShiGeki.

 

Geki Goritsu!” they shouted.

 

The attacks combined into a single bolt of power that blasted Kata with massive bursts of spark and flame.

 

But Kata floated harmlessly from the flames, as his body glowed with Rinki.

 

“You foolish children should listen to the wise,” he said.

 

Kata fired beams of Rinki that blasted the Rangers with bursts of spark and whipped them off their feet.

 

The Kenma floated back to the ground. “The weak should obey the strong. That is the order of things. That is the way of nature.”

 

Violet Wolf climbed to his feet. “That…is bullshit!”

 

He and the other Rangers pounced to attack. They lunged with kicks and punches. But Kata quickly dodged and blocked their blows.

 

“You lash out without thinking,” he said as he blocked a flurry of punches from Yellow Cheetah, and dodged a knee blow from Violet Wolf. “Your GekiJuken is a fighting style for children.”

 

Kata slashed Blue Jaguar with a burst of spark that whipped him backward. The villain slashed Yellow Cheetah, slashed Red Tiger, and grabbed Violet Wolf’s throat.

 

The Violet Wolf Ranger struggled to break free. “RinJuken makes others suffer…just to make themselves stronger. How is that right?!”

 

Kata smashed his palm against Violet Wolf’s chest; the blow sparked and hurled him backward.

 

“R.J.!” Red Tiger shouted as he scrambled to his feet.

 

The Red Ranger slashed his Claw Booster through a series of blows the Kenma blocked and dodged. Red Tiger kicked high. But Kata blocked and kicked the legs out from under the Ranger.

 

Red Tiger collapsed, and Kata stomped the Ranger’s back with a burst of spark.

 

“It is mortals like you, who do not know your place, that cause chaos in this world!” Kata shouted. 

 

He kicked the fallen Ranger with a burst of spark that hurled him backward.

 

“Casey!” Blue Jaguar shouted as the Rangers regrouped around their leader.

 

Kata thrust his palm. “Now…I will eradicate you.” He swung his arms through fighting movements. Ringi! GenShiKou!

 

He snapped his arms and fired a wave of feathers.

 

The feathers blew past the Rangers like a cloud of mist. And when the mist cleared, they found themselves in a pocket dimension. Or perhaps an illusion. Fog covered the ground. And feathers fluttered from the air.

 

Kata laughed from the unseen distance.

 

Suddenly, the Kenma appeared behind Red Tiger. The Ranger turned and slashed the villain with a burst of spark. Kata crashed and rolled aside, and his body shimmered — revealing Blue Jaguar.

 

“Theo!” Red Tiger shouted. “What…”

 

Kata lunged from the mist and grabbed Red Tiger in a chokehold. “You can’t tell the difference between friend or foe…”

 

Blue Jaguar stood and pounced at Kata. He swung his Claw Booster through a volley of blows the Kenma blocked.

 

Kata released Red Tiger to block Blue Jaguar’s attacks.

 

As one, the Red Ranger and Blue Ranger snapped round-kicks and back-hand strikes. Kata struggled to block the combined attacks.

 

Red Tiger and Blue Jaguar smashed their fist weapons against Kata’s chest with bursts of spark. His body shimmered — revealing Violet Wolf.

 

“R.J.?” Blue Jaguar said.

 

Kata grabbed Violet Wolf from behind. The Violet Wolf Ranger elbowed Kata, turned, and kneed the villain’s gut.

 

Kata slashed towards Violet Wolf. But the Wolf Ranger blocked and twisted his arm into a lock.

 

The Kenma’s body shimmered — revealing Yellow Cheetah.

 

“Lilly?” Violet Wolf said.

 

“R.J?” Yellow Cheetah said. “Why?”

 

Kata appeared between the four Rangers and slashed them with bursts of spark that whipped them off their feet. 

 

Yellow Cheetah shook her head. “What’s going on…?”

 

“It’s some kind of illusion technique,” Blue Jaguar said as the Rangers climbed to their feet.

 

“That’s right…” Kata said as he stepped from the mist. “This is my Ringi. GenShiRou. You are trapped in my world of illusion, and you will be destroyed…”

 

“No!” Red Tiger shouted.

 

The Red Ranger and Violet Ranger started to charge forward, but the Blue Ranger and Yellow Ranger held them back.

 

“Wait,” Blue Jaguar said. “If we rush in, we’ll just start hitting each other again.”

 

“But if you don’t fight…” Kata said as he split into dozens of copies that surrounded the Rangers. “You will die.”

 

The duplicates sprang forward and flew past the Rangers from all directions. The Rangers tried to defend themselves, but the attacks came from everywhere and slashed their armor with bursts of spark.

 

***

 

White Rhino chopped Rageku’s staff with a burst of spark, snapped a roundhouse kick she dodged, and slashed towards her body.

 

Rageku parried and stabbed towards the Ranger’s faceplate. But he hopped backward to avoid the strike.

 

White Rhino poured his Geki into his fist weapon.

 

Geki Waza! Nen Nen Dan Midare Uchi!

 

He fired darts of energy towards Rageku. Her body turned into jelly, and the blasts splashed through her body.

 

The White Ranger triggered another volley of blasts. The darts stabbed through Rageku with a final burst of water that scattered her body into droplets. 

 

“Yes,” White Rhino said as he lowered his weapon. “Now that’s what I-”

 

Rageku reformed and slashed White Rhino with a burst of spark that whipped him to the ground.

 

The White Ranger rolled to his feet, just as Rageku slid into jelly form. She wrapped her gelatinous body around his legs and body, and grasped his chest from behind.

 

She laughed softly. “Your GekiJuken is nothing to my RinJuken. I am overflowing…”

 

She snapped away with bursts of spark that thrashed White Rhino’s armor and forced him to the ground.

 

Rageku reformed into her solid state and laughed at the fallen Ranger.

 

Slowly, White Rhino climbed to his feet.

 

“I’m not done…not yet,” White Rhino said. “I promised Adam I’d-”

 

Rageku lunged and slashed the White Ranger off his feet.

 

She thrust her staff with an energy pulse that exploded around the Ranger with massive bursts of spark.

 

White Rhino rolled his hands into fists. He struggled to move, but tried to climb to his feet.

 

Rageku laughed mockingly. “How mysterious. The little bug can still move…”

 

“I’m a rhino, you stupid bitch.”

 

“What was that?” Rageku said.

 

“Don’t think,” White Rhino whispered to himself as he climbed to his feet. “Just feel it…”

 

***

 

The last of the Kata clones flew past the Rangers with bursts of spark that sent them staggering.

 

The real Kata thrust his hands and fired feathers that slashed their armor with bursts of spark. The attack whipped them off their feet, and they crashed to the ground.

 

Kata crossed his arms over his chest. “Still haven’t given up?” Dozens of duplicates stepped out from behind him. “How pitiful it must be, to be so foolish.”

 

The Rangers climbed slowly to their feet.

 

“I won’t lose…” Red Tiger whispered. “I’ll save Evan…and the others…”

 

He thought of Adam, his sensei and mentor. What would Adam do?

 

Then he remembered one of Adam’s first lessons:

 

“Don’t think. Just feel it,” Adam said.  

 

“Don’t think. Just feel. What does that mean?” Theo had asked.

 

“Thinking isn’t everything,” Adam answered. “Sometimes you need to just let go. Give into your instincts.”

 

“Don’t think…” Casey said. “Feel it…”

 

“Feel it…” Red Tiger whispered. “Don’t think. Just feel it…”

 

He stood tall as the duplicates surrounded him.

 

***

 

“Don’t think…” White Rhino whispered. “Just feel it…”

 

***

 

The Red Ranger closed his eyes and reached out with his Ki. He felt the duplicates around him, like shadows. His powers drifted from shadow to shadow until he found the source: The real Kata.

 

Red Tiger snapped open his eyes. “There!”

 

The Red Ranger pounced and clawed through a streak of orange energy that slashed Kata with massive bursts of spark.

 

The blow sent Kata staggering backward, and his pocket dimension collapsed with a burst of white light.

 

The Kenma grasped his injured chest. “What…What happened to my GenShiRou?!

 

“I didn’t try to figure out which one of you was real,” Red Tiger said. “I used my instincts. My Ki. That’s not something you can fool!”

 

***

 

White Rhino poured Geki into his fist weapon, which snapped into blade mode.

 

“I feel it…” he said as he lifted his Rhino Blade into a fighting stance. “And you’re about to feel this!”

 

***

 

Kata shook his fist at the Rangers. “You meddling children. I will teach you…the ultimate lesson!”

 

The villain thrust his arms, flared with Rinki, and grew giant. He twirled a staff into a fighting stance.

 

Red Tiger, Blue Jaguar and Yellow Cheetah regrouped.

 

Geki Beasts, emerge!” They thrust their hands and fired auras shaped like their latest animal spirits, which solidified into zords: Geki Gorilla, Geki Gazelle, and Geki Penguin.

 

The Rangers leapt into their cockpits. “Geki Beasts unite!” they shouted. “Jungle Master Fusion!”

 

The zords combined to form the newest Megazord. “Jungle Master Megazord!” the Rangers shouted. “Geki Fire!”

 

geki-gb-gekifire

 

Below, Violet Wolf thrust his hands. “Geki Wolf, emerge!”

 

He fired an aura shaped like a wolf, which solidified into Geki Wolf. The Violet Wolf Ranger leapt into his cockpit.

 

Geki Beasts, assemble!” he shouted.

 

Geki Wolf projected copies of Geki Tiger and Geki Jaguar. The three Geki Beasts combined into a Megazord.

 

prjf-zd-wolfpride

 

“Wolf Pride Megazord!” Violet Wolf shouted. “Geki Touja Wolf!”

 

***

 

White Rhino slashed Rageku with a burst of spark. She swung her staff. But he ducked and speared her gut with a burst of spark.

 

White Rhino spun forward, aimed his fist weapon, and blasted Rageku with bursts of spark that sent her staggering backward.

 

The White Ranger lifted his blade, which pulsed with Geki.

 

“Rhino Blade!” he shouted. “Ei Ei Tou!  

 

He swung upward through a streak of orange energy that slashed towards Rageku. The blast tore through the dirt and ripped through the Kenma with massive bursts of spark. The impact hurled her backward.

 

White Rhino lowered his weapon and breathed deeply.

 

Suddenly, a dagger flashed through the air and landed in the White Ranger’s hand.

 

“This is it…” he said. “My zord!”

 

He thrust the dagger upward. “Rhino Steel Zord! Arise!”

 

His aura flared with power and summoned the Rhino Steel Zord.

 

geki-gb-saidain

 

“Sick…” White Rhino said.

 

He leapt onto his zord and thrust his dagger forward.

 

***

 

Geki Fire and Geki Touja Wolf charged at Kata. The Jungle Master Megazord snapped a kick Kata blocked, and the Wolf Pride Megazord swung a punch the Kenma blocked.

 

The Megazords pressed forward with punches and kicks. But Kata twirled his staff and blocked the blows.

 

The villain stepped back, slashed Geki Fire with a burst of spark, and slashed Geki Touja Wolf. The strikes sent the Megazords staggering backward.

 

Kata used his staff to pole-vault onto their shoulders. He stood on the Megazords, swung down, and slashed them with bursts of spark that tore across their armor.

 

Kata leapt from the Megazords and landed behind them.

 

Violet Wolf rolled his hands into fists. “You bastard…” He slapped his right fist against his left palm. Dai Rou Rou Kyaku!

 

The wolf leg snapped a kick that fired a twirling blade of violet energy.

 

The other Rangers armed their Claw Boosters. “Gan Gan Nakkuru Otoshi!

 

Geki Fire’s fists ignited with fiery power and swung towards Kata.

 

The Kenma swatted the energy blade aside and blocked the fists with bursts of spark.

 

Kata swung his staff through a wave of purple power that slashed the Megazords with massive bursts of spark. The impact knocked the zords into their separate pieces and hurled the Rangers to the ground.

 

Their armor powered down with flashes of light.

 

Kata looked down upon his fallen foes. “Did you think those attacks would work on a Kenma?”

 

R.J. cursed beneath his breath and pushed himself to his feet. “He’s strong…too damn strong.”

 

The others climbed to their feet. They looked up just as Kata aimed his staff to strike.

 

Suddenly, the ground shook from approaching stomps. 

 

The Rhino Steel Zord, SaiDain, charged onto the scene. White Rhino rode on top of the beast.

 

The Ranger thrust his dagger. “Ha!”

 

The zord thrust its horn and stabbed Kata aside with a burst of spark.

 

The White Rhino Ranger looked down to his teammates. “Hey guys! Meet SaiDain. He’s pretty much the greatest zord, like, ever.”

 

He thrust his dagger and twisted. “Juken KyoJin!

 

The zord pulsed with energy, shifted shape, and assumed a humanoid form armed with a sword and shield. The White Ranger dropped into his cockpit.

 

“Rhino Battlezord!” White Rhino shouted. SaiDaiou!”

 

geki-gb-saidaioh

 

Kata lunged and chopped his staff. SaiDaiou blocked with its shield and chopped Kata with a massive burst of spark.

 

In his cockpit, White Rhino slashed his dagger through a flurry of strikes. SaiDaiou mirrored the movements and struck Kata with bursts of spark that forced the Kenma backward.

 

Kata twirled his staff and slashed. But the Battlezord’s shield blocked the blow with a burst of spark.

 

The Kenma stepped back and spun his staff. Ringi! ZouODan!

 

Kata thrust his staff and fired darts of energy that stabbed SaiDaiou with bursts of spark.

 

The Battlezord snapped its faceplate shut, held its shield forward, and stomped through the explosions.

 

SaiDaiou lowered its shield and snapped open its faceplate when the last explosions cleared.

 

White Rhino gripped his control dagger. “You’re about to be pretty dead. Geki Waza! SaiDai Bakuren!

 

The Battlezord swung upward with an energy wave that tore through the ground and smashed Kata with massive bursts of spark.

 

Geki Waza!” White Rhino shouted. Dai Dai Saidai Giri!

 

The Battlezord slashed through streaks of golden energy that tore through Kata with bursts of spark. The Kenma staggered as secondary explosions ripped through his body.

 

“My death…” Kata rasped. “Is merely the beginning. Maku…will kill you all!”

 

The Kenma collapsed to his knees and exploded into a cloud of fire and ash.

 

SaiDaiou!” White Rhino shouted. “For the win!”

 

***

 

Jarrod and Camille watched from the shadows. Jarrod knitted his brow.

 

“It can’t be…” he said. “SaiDaiou’s power rivals the Kenma’s?”

 

“Jarrod…” Camille whispered. “What now?”

 

Jarrod said nothing. He cursed beneath his breath and stormed off. Camille followed.

 

Neither noticed Long watch from the distance.

 

***

 

The five teens regrouped near the stone that contained Rick and the young Shaded.

 

“They’re still trapped…” Theo said.

 

“It’s Maku,” Lilly said. “This has to be one of his techniques.”

 

Casey nodded. “We have to take him down. It’s the only way…”

 

Dom nodded. “We have SaiDaiou now, right? No way we can lose.”

 

Casey walked to the stone and placed his hand on the surface. The teen nodded. He wouldn’t let Rick and the others down. He’d save them all.

 

***

 

Rageku staggered into a hidden cave, where Maku waited. “Maku!” she shouted. “I have come to report…”

 

“Kata is dead…” he said as he stood. “Hmph.”

 

The villain lifted his bowl, filled partially with the Life Force of Rick and the Shaded.

 

“I will still crush them all!” the Kenma shouted.

 

Maku drank from the bowl until it emptied, then tossed it aside. The bowl shattered on the ground.

 

Maku screamed as his body flared with DoRinki.

 

 To be continued…Chapter 21