Shaded Relics: Chapter 30
PART ONE: Hostages
Long tied Camille to the wall inside the RinJuken Akugata dojo. Camille struggled, but in her weakened state, couldn’t break free.
She glared at the villain. “Even if you hold me here…Jarrod won’t come.”
Long smiled. “He will. I told you, Camille. You are Jarrod’s heart.”
“He’d never show such weakness,” Camille said.
“No?” Long asked. “Doesn’t that make you happy? That the one you’ve always cared about has feelings for you?”
“I can’t trust a word you say…” Camille said.
“Well…It doesn’t matter if you believe me,” Long said.
The villain thrust his hand and fired strands of Genki that thrashed Camille. She screamed with agony as the energy burnt her soul.
“Stop!” she shouted.
Long smirked and lowered his hand. “Don’t worry. I won’t kill you right away. When Jarrod comes to save you…I want him to see you writhe with agony, and pass on from this world. When that happens, it will sever his attachment to his humanity.”
He leaned close to Camille and smiled. “And this time…the Great Beast of Destruction will be born.”
Jarrod walked through the Blackened Mountains towards the RinJuken Akugata dojo. The villain narrowed his eyes and rolled his hands into fists.
He thought of DaiShi, who slaughtered his foster family. He thought of Long, who tried to manipulate him.
The villain stopped in his tracks. Long…He wants me at the RinJuken Akugata…He wants to use me…
Jarrod hesitated. No…I will not be used again. I will not…He turned and walked back towards the city. I will not play this game anymore.
PART TWO: Fierce
Faust thrust his hands and fired bursts of bat-shaped energy. The blasts slashed Red Tiger, Blue Jaguar, White Rhino and Yellow Cheetah with bursts of spark that whipped them off their feet.
The demon laughed. “Did you really think you could stop a demon of my power with Kung-Fu?”
Yellow Cheetah groaned. “That was the general idea.”
“Do you even understand what I’m trying to accomplish?” Faust waved his arm towards the portal in the sky. “That portal will fester like an open wound, until your world and Hell become one. Then, my big brother will have the demon army he needs to greet the Dark One.”
“Your big brother?” Blue Jaguar asked.
“Azmodai, of course,” Faust said. “Haven’t you Rangers been paying attention to my wonderful story?”
On the other side of the rooftop, Rick opened fire at Violet Wolf. Bullets sparked against the Ranger’s armor, and he staggered backward, but stayed on his feet.
“Would you stop shooting me?!” he shouted at his brother.
Rick chuckled, his voice high-pitched with insanity. “No…I don’t think I will.”
He opened fire.
The Violet Wolf Ranger leapt over the blasts with a flying knee strike that bashed his brother’s head. The blow knocked Rick off his feet, and he crashed and skid across the rooftop.
“Come on, Rick,” Violet Wolf said. “You’re supposed to be the sane one. I’m the hothead.”
“‘Hothead.’ Of course,” Rick said as he climbed to his feet. “And yet you were always his favorite, weren’t you?”
Violet Wolf tilted his head. “What?”
“Father,” Rick said. “You were always his favorite.”
“You really think that?” the Ranger asked. “He gave you everything. You were perfect to him. The perfect son. Perfect student. Now quit being an ass and snap out of it.”
“Snap out of it?” Rick asked. “Yes…Yes, watch me snap!”
He fired demonic bullets that blasted Violet Wolf with bursts of spark and whipped him backward.
At the base of the building, Shura circled Kamen Rider Cross.
The exorcist shifted her grip on her sword. “Out of my way, Arthur.”
“I cannot let you, or anyone, pass,” the Rider said. “Those were my orders.”
“Your orders? Look above you, you idiot. The sky is belching out demons. I’ve got to get to that rooftop,” Shura said as she shifted into an offensive stance.
Kamen Rider Cross hesitated. But he refused to look up. He refused to acknowledge the horror he warned Ernst about when he first learned of Operation Jacob’s Ladder.
“It may be true that the Vatican has…erred,” Cross said. “However…I am a Knight of the True Cross. My soul remains loyal to the Church! Come, Shura! Test my metal!”
Shura sighed and lowered her blade. “You really are a pain in the ass.”
Kamen Rider Cross lifted his sword. “Have you become wise and decided to run away?”
“You’re the one who’s running away,” Shura said. “If you want to cut me down, then do it! I’m not wasting any more time with you.”
Kamen Rider Cross hesitated. Shura took advantage of the hesitation, ran around him, and dashed towards the building.
Rick bashed his gun against Violet Wolf’s head, knocking him off his feet. The Ranger crashed and tumbled, and the impact knocked him from his armor with a burst of violet light.
“You should be more careful, little brother,” Rick said. He tilted his head and aimed his gun. “On second thought…You should just die!”
“Rick!” Kyle shouted from the side. “If you want to break bad, then take me on!”
Enzo tugged on Kyle’s shirt. “Are you crazy? He’ll kill you.”
Rick glared at the Shaded. “Shut up!”
He opened fire with demonic bullets the teens dove to dodge.
Enzo and Kon rolled into crouched stances and clutched their medallions. Together, they chanted: “‘Symbol for donning the Spiritual Armor!’”
They summoned a golden magick circle that acted as a shield. Enzo looked over his shoulder to Kyle. “Now’s a good time to start running.”
Rick opened fire. His bullets blasted the shield, which shattered with a shockwave that knocked the Shaded off their feet.
Rick laughed at the sight. “What eyesores.” He poured power into his guns, which glowed with purple flame. “I’m going to reduce all of you to ash.”
Rick opened fire.
Suddenly, a blur of motion dashed onto the rooftop and slashed the bullets from the air. Shura shifted her blade into a fighting stance.
“All of you, run!” she shouted. “This is no place for kids.”
Rick opened fire with a volley of fiery bullets. Shura dashed across the rooftop, drawing his fire, and slashing the bullets from the air.
A bullet blasted the ground with a burst of spark that knocked her off her feet, and she skid across the rooftop.
Rick lowered his guns. “What’s wrong? Is that all the fight you have?”
R.J. shot to his feet, ignited with ShiGeki, and blasted towards Rick.
Rick caught his brother by the throat. “You? You’re still here?”
Rick punched his brother’s face.
R.J. crashed and rolled to his knees. “Rick…Come on, man, this isn’t you.”
“This is me!” Rick shouted. “This…This power!”
R.J. stood and staggered forward. “Rick…I know you can hear me in there…I know what you’re going through…Now come on…Come on!”
Within Rick’s mind, he found himself shrouded in his own darkness, suspended in pools of black shadow. Slowly, he opened his eyes, and through the blur of his own vision, saw his brother.
“Rin…Rin!” he shouted.
Rick pulled his arms free and started to climb from the shadow. But his unconscious grasped his leg and whispered into his ear.
“You can’t leave…Stay. Here, you are protected. Here, you are strong. After all…You hate Rin, don’t you? For what he did to your father. For what he became.”
“That’s…That’s not true!”
“Our little brother had no trouble doing everything we could not! Being everything we could not! Until now!” his darkest thoughts shouted.
“No!” Rick shouted as he jumped upward and started to pry himself from the shadows. “That’s not true! That’s not true!”
Rick staggered. He gasped for air, trembled, and dropped his guns. “Ri….Rin. Hel…Help me…”
“Rick!” R.J. shouted as he ran towards his brother.
Rick jumped from the shadows of his own mind, but the shadows grabbed hold and tried to pull him back into the darkest corners of his own subconscious.
He stretched out his hand and reached towards his brother, but he felt the shadows pull him back.
The shadows enveloped him once again — until he felt the grasp of his brother’s hand.
R.J. grabbed his brother by the hand and pulled him close. “Rick…”
“Rin…” Rick whispered. “I can’t…I can’t control…”
R.J. let go and punched his brother to the ground. “Yes you can. Now…I said snap out of it!”
Rick wiped the blood from his lower lip and climbed to his feet. “R.J….”
“That’s right…” R.J. said as he took a step back. “Are you…you?”
Rick nodded. “I’m…sorry.”
Suddenly, screeches sounded from the sky.
R.J. looked up and narrowed his eyes at a swarm of demons that flew towards them. The demons looked like flaming skulls, with eyes that burnt like hot coals.
“Don’t be sorry…” R.J. said. “You’re an exorcist, right? We have work to do?”
Rick nodded. He picked up his guns and opened fire, blasting the demons with bursts of spark.
Shura joined them and slashed her sword, firing a blade of wind that knocked a dozen demons off course.
The other Shaded regrouped and joined them.
Rick fired with both guns blazing. “Rin, we’ll take care of these small fries. Help the other Rangers take care of Faust.”
R.J. nodded and armed his morpher.
Faust fired whips of shadow that thrashed the Rangers off their feet. The villain laughed and energized his palms with shadow power.
“And now, it’s time to say goodbye. Count down with me! Three, two-”
“Ro Ro Shu!” Violet Wolf leapt into the fight with a flying knee strike that bashed Faust upside the head.
The blow hurled the demon across the rooftop.
The Violet Wolf Ranger landed, and the other Rangers regrouped around him.
Red Tiger placed a hand on his comrade’s shoulder. “Good to have you back in the fight.”
Violet Wolf nodded. “Let’s kick this guy’s ass, save the city and go home.”
The Rangers stepped into their fighting poses.
“With the strength of the tiger…Jungle Fury Red Ranger!”
“With the stealth of the jaguar…Jungle Fury Blue Ranger!”
“With the speed of the cheetah…Jungle Fury Yellow Ranger!”
“With the courage of the wolf! Jungle Fury, Violet Ranger!”
“With the power of the rhino! Jungle Fury, White Ranger!”
“Savage Task Force!” the Red Ranger shouted. Together they called out: “Jungle Fury Rangers!”
Faust clapped mockingly. “How wonderful. All five of you are together. That should make this easier!”
He thrust his hands and fired bursts of shadow bats.
As one, the Rangers jumped over the attack. They leapt upward and lifted their hands. “Geki Waza! Gou Gou Gou!”
Their KaGeki, Geki and ShiGeki combined into a sphere of power. They slashed downward and hurled the blast, which smashed against Faust with massive bursts of spark.
The Rangers landed; Red Tiger, Blue Jaguar and Yellow Cheetah flared with KaGeki, shot at Faust, and bashed the demon with bursts of spark that hurled him across the rooftop.
“Claw Cannon!” The three Rangers summoned their bazooka and aimed the weapon at Faust, who laughed as he crawled to his feet. “Geki Waza! Geki Geki Hou!”
Violet Wolf armed his bracer. “Geki Waza! Gon Gon Ken!”
White Rhino powered up his fist blade. “Geki Waza! Nen Nen Dan!”
Together, the five Rangers shouted: “Geki Gouitsu!”
The Claw Cannon fired a twirling sphere of KaGeki, Violet Wolf thrust his fist with a burst of ShiGeki, and White Rhino triggered darts of Geki. Their blasts combined into a single bolt of power that punctured through Faust with a massive burst of flame.
Energy discharges tore through his body, and he collapsed to his knees. Secondary explosions ripped apart his demonic flesh — yet he laughed.
“You’ll never…” He exploded into ash.
The Rangers lowered their guard, but not for long. They looked up to see the blood portal churn with dark energy and spew demons across the city.
Violet Wolf rolled his hands into fists. “We’ve got to shut that gate.”
“But how?” Blue Jaguar asked.
“My power helped open that thing…” Violet Wolf said. “Maybe it can destroy it.”
He slapped his right fist against his left palm.
“Geki Beast, emerge!” He thrust his hand and fired a wave of energy shaped like a wolf. The wolf expanded, grew giant and solidified into his zord: Geki Wolf.
Violet Wolf leapt onto his zord, and Red Tiger followed.
“We do this together,” the Red Ranger said.
The Violet Wolf Ranger nodded.
Geki Wolf charged upward, as if running across the wind towards the Hell Gate.
Swarms of demons and decay demons spotted the zord and fluttered downward to attack.
The Violet Wolf Ranger stared ahead at the black wave of death.
“Well…” he said. “Shit.”
“We’ve got this,” Red Tiger said. He armed his Booster Claw. “Geki Waza! Hou Hou Dan!”
He thrust his fist with a wave of red energy shaped like a tiger. The blast pounced and tore through the demons with massive bursts of spark and flame.
A second wave of demons flew towards Geki Wolf from the side. These demons looked like upper bodies of shadow, covered with purple cloaks, with lower bodies of smoke trails. Their eyes burned red.
Violet Wolf armed his bracer. “Geki Waza! Gon Gon Ken!”
He thrust his fist and fired bursts of ShiGeki. The blasts punctured through demons, who burst into shadow and dissipated.
Geki Wolf charged through a wave of demons. The beast clawed through creatures with bursts of spark, bit through demon swarms, and snapped its tail to swat creature through the air.
No matter how far they climbed, the Hell Gateway seemed to float farther and farther away.
The Violet Wolf Ranger cursed beneath his breath. “We’re not going to make it.”
“We can,” Red Tiger said. “Focus your power. Be one with the wolf!”
The Red Ranger slapped the top of his Claw Booster. “Geki Waza! Geki Shin Ken!”
He thrust his fist weapon and fired bursts of KaGeki. The blasts splashed across demons like fire and burnt them from the air. The Red Ranger fired another blast, then another, burning the demons from the sky.
Fiery, demonic corpses dropped from the air and crashed to the streets with bursts of smoke and flame.
The demons’ numbers intensified, blotting out the view of the Hell Gate.
Violet Wolf looked over his shoulder to Red Tiger. “Hold on.” He looked towards the demons ahead, and slapped his right fist against his left palm. “Geki Waza! Ro Ro Dan!”
Geki Wolf pounced, spun with violet energy and slashed its tail through the demon horde. The zord punctured through the demon wave and shot towards the gate above.
“There,” Violet Wolf said.
The Ranger ignited his aura, which flared with violet energy.
Suddenly, a wave of decay demons dove through the air and surged towards the Wolf Zord. But before the demons could attack, electric bolts, fiery bullets, and bolts of golden lightning blasted the creatures from the air.
Rick and the Shaded rode on top of Geki Jaguar and Geki Cheetah, along with the Blue Ranger, Yellow Ranger and White Ranger.
In his Shaded form, Rick swung his massive handguns and opened fire with volleys of demonic bullets. The bullets tore through swarms of decay demons and blasted them from the sky.
“Keep going, Rin!” Rick shouted.
The portal trembled with intense spiritual pressure. Suddenly, the Gateway burst with intense power that knocked the Geki Beasts from the air.
Violet Wolf fell from his zord and crashed through a skylight. Red Tiger crashed alongside him, and the other Rangers and Shaded fell across the city.
Slowly, the Violet Wolf Ranger climbed back to his feet. The Ranger gripped his injured arm. “We’ve got to get back up there.”
Red Tiger stood and looked up through the broken skylight. The Red Ranger shook his head.
“Something tells me we won’t have to…”
Without warning, the Hell Gate slammed shut with a ripple and disappeared.
Simon shot through currents of blood and energy as he traveled through the portal. But suddenly, the torrent lurched as the Gateway slammed shut.
The shockwave hurled Simon backward, blasting through Hell’s end of the blood portal. He arced through midair, and before he could act, the portal snapped shut with a ripple that washed across the Ninth Circle.
The ranger narrowed his eyes.
“No…” he whispered. “Get me out of here…Get me out!”
PART THREE: Angel Grove Falls
Dr. William “Billy” Cranston stood at the window of his high-rise office. He looked out upon the swarms of demons that clouded the skies, and the countless Rinshi that covered the streets.
The communicator on his desk toned, but he ignored it. The device toned again. And again. But the former ranger didn’t flinch.
A viewscreen opened within the window, and Miss Fairweather appeared. She didn’t waste time with greetings.
“Senator Raul’s trying to reach you,” she said.
“Let him try,” Cranston said.
Miss. Fairweather shook her head. “You don’t understand. It’s finally happened. Washington’s given Angel Grove a death sentence. They’re evacuating the city…and ordering a full nuclear strike.”
Cranston placed his hand against the glass and turned off the viewscreen. “Took them long enough…”
Three months later
Simon’s vision blurred slowly into focus. He pulled himself up and felt pain creak through every joint. He looked down at his right hand and rolled it into his fist. With his left hand, he felt his head, his hair shaved short.
He narrowed his eyes. “What the hell…Am I…back?”
He looked out to see two giants stomp through the streets. About half the size of typical giants, they were, naked, with faces twisted into mindless grins.
Two blurs of motion dashed across the rooftops and charged towards the giants. They leapt through the air and shot downward, slashing the backs of the creatures’ necks.
The monsters crashed, skid across the street, and exploded into bursts of bone and flesh.
The two blurs of motion landed on the rooftop next to Simon. He looked up to face Hunter and Lauren.
Hunter narrowed his eyes. “You…”
“Simon…” Lauren whispered. “How…How is this possible?”
Simon ignored the question. He tensed, and panic flooded his body. The last he remembered was tumbling back into Hell, having failed to escape. Was this a trick of some sort? Some of Lucifer’s mind games? Or Moridyn?
“What were those things?” Simon asked. “What’s…What’s happening?”
“Those were demons,” Lauren said. “They spread after the Breaking.”
“The Breaking?” Simon asked.
“You don’t know?” Lauren asked. “About three months ago, the government…they destroyed Angel Grove. But not before Demon City…broke. All the demons and creatures inside broke free. They spread everywhere. Even here.”
“Where’s here?” Simon asked.
“Seattle,” Lauren said.
Simon shook his head. “How the hell. How the hell did I…?”
Hunter crossed his arms over his chest. “You’ve asked enough questions,” he said. “You’re supposed to be dead. So what are you doing here?”
Suddenly, Simon felt a voice scream in the back of his mind. Slaughter them all and run! They are beneath you, and your strength.
The ranger screamed and staggered backward. “What the…what the hell?”
Run, foolish Ranger, said the voice. The voice of DaiShi. We have work to do.
To be continued in Year Five…
Questions will be answered: What happened to Simon, DaiShi and Evan? And what about the True Cross and Demon Tablet? Did the Rangers stop the Fourth Seal from breaking? What happened with Long, Camille and Jarrod? What about Adam? And how did Demon City “break”?