Chapter 04: Rainbow Line

Imagination

 

PART ONE: Nightmares and Dreams

 

“Whoa…? How’d I wake up here?” Right asked as he sat up and rubbed his head. He found himself in an empty train, with white seats and clear windows.

 

He stood and looked outside, and his breath caught in his throat: The train traveled on a rainbow rail through midair.

 

“Whoa…” he whispered. “How is this possible?”

 

The doors opened, and the conductor stepped into the train car. He wore a blue shirt under a white vest, and carried a monkey puppet on his right hand.

 

“It’s possible…” he said with a wide smile. “Through the power of yourIMAAAAGINAAAAIIITIIIIIOOOON!”

 

Right tilted his head. “Imagination?”

 

“IMAAAAAAGIIIIINAAAAAATIIIIIIOOOOOON!”

 

Ashley turned off the TV. “OK, kiddo. It’s a school night. Time for bed.”

 

“But it just started,” said 8-year-old Tyler Oliver. He sat cross-legged on the floor, within a secret room.

 

“You’ve seen that episode six times,” Ashley said.

 

“Seven,” Tyler said with a smirk. “Maybe you should go to school tomorrow. You forgot how to count!”

 

Ashley smiled, leaned down, and tapped his nose. “Don’t get sassy. Besides…I think you’re getting a little too old for Imagination Station Rainbow Troops.”

 

Tyler’s smile dropped into a frown. “It…it makes me think of dad...”

 

Guilt clenched Ashley’s throat. She sat next to him and placed an arm around his shoulder. They hadn’t seen or heard from Tommy in more than three months.

 

“I know…” Ashley said. “I miss him too. But…he’ll be back.”

 

Tyler looked up at her with brown, puppy-dog eyes. “Promise?”

 

Ashley nodded. “Promise…”

 

“Good…” he said as he leaned his head against her chest. “Now can I please finish this episode?”

 

Ashley sighed with defeat. “OK, kiddo. Just this one…”

 

***

 

Shadows covered the skies above the secret town where Ashley and Tyler hid. The darkness churned, poured downward, and flowed through the streets and alleyways.

 

Queen Beryl watched from the rooftops. A Forsaken, the pale woman wore a purple dress that matched the color of her violet eye shadow. Her long, red hair flowed down her back. 

 

She smiled at the sight of the black smog that seeped into every home and business. She felt the darkness corrupt the magick of the very planet itself. That magick formerly flowed through networks of power called ley lines, but the ley lines unraveled after the breaking of the Second and Third Seals.

 

Beryl sought to reconnect the ley lines as Shadow Lines, conduits of darkness. Once connected, the Shadow Lines would cover the entire planet in darkness. She sought an eternal night, fit for the rise of the Dark One’s Emissary. 

 

She targeted this town specifically, personally, because it held a special child: Tyler Oliver, Child of the Phoenix, instrumental in breaking the First Seal. Her fellow Forsaken cared nothing of the boy, but she understood the threat he posed. He carried the spark of life within him, and that spark of Cosmic Power could turn into a deadly weapon if used against the forces of darkness.

 

So Beryl hunted him. And she held back her first attack until she found him.

 

“Madame Noir...” she whispered. “Bring me the boy.”

 

***

 

Tyler ran through dark hallways. His heart pounded in his chest as terror filled his lungs. Despite growing up in danger, surviving several kidnappings and traveling into Demon City, he felt crippling fear.

 

“Ashley! Ashley!” he shouted. But she did not answer.

 

He heard laughter come from behind; chills crept down his back, and his every breath fogged with cold. The voice moved closer.

 

“Come here, little boy,” Madame Noir whispered with a breath that chilled his neck.

 

Tyler screamed and stumbled forward. “Get away!”

 

Madame Noir laughed and stepped closer. “I can smell your fear, Little Phoenix. It ebbs with the darkness of anxiety.”

 

Ahead, dozens of footsteps scurried into the hallway, blocking Tyler's path. Called Krows, they dressed in black jackets with white undergarments, and wore black rimmed hats. They carried small axes that could shift into weapons resembling tommy guns.  

 

Kuros

 

A Krow kicked Tyler's chest. The blow knocked him onto his back, and he skid across the floor.

 

“I said get away!” Tyler shouted as he lifted his hand with a burst of light.

 

***

 

Hunter and Lauren stalked through the smoke-covered streets of the secret city. After their abrupt encounter with Simon, they wanted to warn Tommy about the ranger’s resurrection and erratic behavior. Lauren tried to talk to Simon and find out what happened, but he snapped, lashed out and fled without warning, just as quickly as he appeared.

 

So Hunter and Lauren sought Tommy; he needed to know what happened.

 

Tommy never told the Rangers where he hid himself, Ashley and Tyler. But he allowed them emergency passage to the location through their Power Medals. Two Medals, without the slightest hint of coercion, could access the secret city. The process required each Ranger to silently chant their own part of a complex spell, linked to their specific power type. Any two parts of the verse could work, and no Ranger knew more than their part.

 

After Hunter and Lauren used the spell, they immediately found themselves in streets consumed by darkness.

 

They passed empty roads and buildings, void of anything except deep black mist that permeated the fabric of reality itself.

 

Lauren shook her head with disbelief. “I don’t get it...Didn’t the spell work?”

 

Hunter nodded. “It worked. Something happened here...”

 

“Obviously,” she said. “But what?”

 

Hunter shook his head. “I don’t know,” he said. “We need to find Tommy and Ashley.”

 

Suddenly, they heard wailing come from around a corner. Without a word, they dashed around the corner and found a woman crawling on the ground. She screamed as she scratched the pavement, tearing her fingertips raw with blood.

 

Lauren kneeled next to her. “Hey...” she whispered. “Hey, you’re going to be OK. Help’s here...”

 

“Help?” the woman screeched as she pulled away. Her body ebbed with darkness. “No one can help us here. Our nightmares...They're real. All real.”

 

“Your nightmares?” Lauren asked.

 

“What...?” the woman asked. She leaned up and grabbed Lauren by the shirt. “You don’t believe me?! Look into my eyes...Look! Have you ever seen...Have you ever seen anyone so...so afraid?! I’m trapped...I feel like I’m trapped...buried alive. I know I’m not...But what you know, and what you feel...are two different things. I feel...Trapped.”

 

The woman’s skin peeled away into darkness, and she vanished into smoke.

 

Lauren stared with disbelief. “Hunter…” she whispered. “What could do something like this…?”

 

Suddenly, black wind hurled Lauren off her feet. She smashed against a wall and crashed to the ground, knocking the air from her lungs. Slowly, she climbed to her feet. When she looked up, she saw Simon stalk towards her. He looked solid black, with midnight eyes and black wings like the devil.

 

He snarled with delight. “Hello, Lauren...” he hissed. “I'm so glad you’ve come. Now...I can make you just! Like! Me!”

 

Hunter slashed through Simon, who dissipated into smoke.

 

“That wasn’t real,” Hunter said as he shifted his grip on his sword.

 

“How did you...?” Lauren started to ask as she climbed to her feet. “How did you know?”

 

“What that woman said,” Hunter said. “About her nightmares coming true...”

 

Puffs of smoke erupted around them, and each formed a twisted version of Simon. They glared at Lauren with eyes as black as pure darkness.

 

The ranger shifted into a defensive stance. “Why is this just affecting me?”

 

Hunter shook his head. “I've already faced my demons,” he said. “Two or three times, actually.”

 

The illusions surged to attack.

 

Lauren and Hunter armed their morphers. “Ninjetti Change!”

 

 

Nothing happened.

 

Hunter slapped his right fist against his left palm and summoned a Ki barrier. Dozens of illusions bashed against the barrier and burst into smoke upon impact.

 

Lauren grasped her bracer. “Our morphers…”

 

The ground heaved as if alive and hurled the rangers through the air. They flew through a building that vanished with a burst of mist, crashed onto a sidewalk and skid onto the road.

 

Quickly, they rolled into crouched stances.

 

They heard laughter come from down the street. The smoke parted, and an old man floated through the air. He looked pale and wrinkled, with solid white eyes, black robes, and a long white beard that flowed down his chest.

 

“Hello, children…” he whispered with a hollow voice. “Welcome to my world of nightmares.”

 

Hunter hurled a bolt of shadow energy. But the stranger swatted the blast aside.

 

“You think you can assault me with the power of shadow? I am a servant of true shadow. True darkness. The black void of humanity. I…am Dagra, servant of Queen Beryl, Infernal High Priest of the Archfiend, and ruler of the Youma.”

 

Lauren narrowed her eyes. “Fancy title,” she said. “Feel free to choke on it.”

 

Dagra laughed softly, an eerie sound that echoed through the dark street. “You don’t seem to understand the plight of your situation. This town is corrupted by darkness deeper than the mortal world has ever seen. And in that darkness, the Youma thrive…”

 

Dagra shifted shape, twisted into a monstrosity, and burst from his robes. In his Youma form, four tentacles spread from his back like wings, and he carried two blades of bone. His beard turned red and flowed down his body. A skull mask with two horns covered the right side of his face, with an eyepiece that glowed red. Demonic black robes wrapped around his lower body, a black chest piece snapped over his pale chest, and dark fabric wrapped around his forearms.  

 

dagradai

 

The Youma snarled. “Do you see now…?”

 

His tentacles snapped him into the air, where he hovered and swung his swords. Explosions of dark energy erupted around Hunter and Lauren as they dashed and dove for cover.

 

Dagra laughed as they scurried. “You cannot escape the shadow of the Dark Kingdom!”

 

Lauren leapt aside and placed her right fist against her left palm.

 

“Wind Scythe!” She thrust her palm with blades of air that slashed towards Dagra.

 

The Youma cut the blades aside and slashed wide, hurling a wave of darkness. The wave exploded through the street with massive bursts of flame that hurled Hunter and Lauren backward.

 

Dagra laughed. “Do you see now?” he asked again. “Do you?! Do you understand?!”

 

“Not really, no!” Lauren shouted as she climbed to her feet. “We don’t, so shut up! And tell us what happened here!”

 

“He can’t do both, Lauren…” Hunter whispered.

 

Lauren glared at him and arced an eyebrow.

 

Hunter stepped back.

 

Darkness gathered around Dagra as he laughed. “You Rangers may have defeated your share of warlords, witches, space pirates and demons…but now you face a power older than time itself. You will all suffer as-”

 

A chain of orange light snapped through the air and whipped Dagra backward. The monster grumbled with annoyance and started to lift his swords. But chains of power wrapped around him and pinned his arms to his sides. 

 

“What is this cursed light…” he growled.

 

A figure landed on the street between the rangers and Infernal Priest. Wearing a black tank top and black jeans, she still looked radiant, with ebony skin, hair as black as night, and bright brown eyes.

 

She placed her hands together and spread them apart, summoning another chain, linked with beads of orange energy.

 

“Venus Chain!” She twirled the chain and snapped it, firing a pulse of bright-orange energy. The bolt splashed against Dagra with bursts of spark, blasting him backward.

 

She twirled the chain into a defensive stance and looked over her shoulder to Hunter and Lauren.

 

“Run.”

 

***

 

PART TWO: Rainbow Line

 

Queen Beryl made the secret city home of the Castle Terminal, railway station of her Dark Kingdom’s Shadow Line. Multiple Shadow Lines connected the station to various towns corrupted by darkness. These towns —Shadow Towns — formed the hubs of her dark railway. As she collected darkness from these Dark Stations, her railway expanded.

 

Beryl walked through the castle, floored with black-and-white tiles. The architecture looked like something out of the Victorian Era.

 

She smiled as she looked at a wall map, which showed shadows ebb over several towns, linked with lines of darkness.

 

“Soon...” she whispered. “We will consume more towns, more cities, by harnessing the energy of human hearts driven to rage, sadness, jealousy, regret...”

 

Madame Noir approached Beryl from behind.

 

RST-Madame_Noir

 

The villain bowed, ever so slightly. “My Bag Shadow has nearly completed his first Dark Station. He uses the screams and terror of kidnapped children, to harness their darkness. This station...will be the perfect place for the child, who grows bored and restless.”

 

A voice scoffed from the shadows. The villain Baron Nero stepped into view.

 

Nero

 

“It’s too soon to create a Dark Station for mere child’s play. We must expand the reach of the Shadow Line, so we can great the Dark One’s Emissary.”

 

“The child’s interest is in the best interest of the court,” Noir said. “The young one is to be a...gift, to the Emissary.”

 

Nero shook his head and looked to his queen. “Lady Beryl...”

 

She waved her hand dismissively. “Focus on gathering the darkness. I don’t care about your reasons. Just get your job done.”

 

She turned towards her charges, but looked into the distance. “There is another light I must extinguish. A...special light, from long ago, which requires my attention. I expect you to carry out my work while I am gone.”

 

Noir and Nero bowed their heads.

 

“Of course, my queen,” Nero said. 

 

Beryl teleported away with a burst of amethyst flame.

 

***

 

Bag Shadow’s Dark Station gained the attention of two Rangers: Blake and Rachel. They heard about the strange disturbances in the town of Terre Haute, Indiana, and decided to investigate.

 

Blake shook his head as he walked away from a neighborhood door. “It’s the same thing everywhere. Kids scream. Kids go missing. Parents see nothing. Plus…it smells like rotten milk. Who would live here?”

 

“We’re from Angel Grove,” Rachel said.

 

“Point taken.”

 

They walked down the street, eerily quiet and cast with a gray hue from the clouds above.

 

Blake sighed. “This whole place gives me the creeps. What are we thinking? Demons? Witches? Justin Bieber?”

 

Rachel rolled her eyes. “I’m sure it’s Justin Bieber.”

 

“Glad we’re on the same page,” Blake said.

 

Suddenly, in the distance, they heard a deep train whistle. And children screamed from the same direction.

 

Blake rolled his hands into fists. “‘Monster Trains’ was my next guess. I swear.”

 

“Let’s go,” Rachel said as they ran towards the commotion.

 

***

 

Blake and Rachel ran to see Bag Shadow and Krows load kidnapped children onto a Shadow Line train, called a Kuriner.

 

Bag_Shadow

 

“They’re new,” Blake said.

 

“Hey!” Rachel shouted at the villains. “Let those kids go!”

 

Bag Shadow scoffed. “Do you expect me to listen?”

 

“No,” Blake said. “But it’s polite to ask.”

 

They armed their morphers. “Ninjetti change! Ha!”

 

Energy twirled around them as they morphed into their Ranger forms.

 

Navy Thunder unsheathed his staff and dashed past the Krows with a single swipe, slashing them down.

 

Hurricane Blue leapt through the air and thrust her palm. “Water darts!”

 

She hurled darts of hydro energy that tore through Krows with bursts of spark and whipped them backward.

 

The two Rangers landed near the train, but before they could enter, the Kuriner fired up its engines and sped down the rail line.

 

The two Rangers dashed through blurs of motion, leapt through the air and landed on the train. The vehicle throttled down the railway fast enough to nearly knock the Rangers off balance. But they stood their ground.

 

“This is fun,” Navy Thunder said as he stabbed the train for balance.

 

“Let’s break through the sides,” Hurricane Blue said.

 

But before they could move, a group of Krows hopped onto the train and fired their blasters. Bullets sparked against the Rangers and nearly knocked them from the vehicle.

 

Navy Thunder cursed beneath his breath. “New plan.”

 

He twisted his staff with a burst of lightning that tore through the train with bursts of spark. Damaged, the Kuriner lurched, hurling the Krows from the vehicle.

 

But instead of grinding to a halt, the Kuriner shot upward on a Shadow Line that extended into the sky.

 

“OK, this was unexpected,” Navy Thunder said.

 

Suddenly, another railway shot through the air. This railway glowed with the colors of the rainbow. A multi-colored train shot over the railway and arced towards the Kuriner.

 

Navy Thunder tilted his head. “It’s…a giant toy train.” He looked over his shoulder to Hurricane Blue. “It’s a giant toy train.”

 

The Kuriner blasted the train with bursts of shadow. But the train blasted back with bursts of light. The two vehicles twirled around each other in midair, exchanging blasts that sparked on impact.

 

The multi-colored liner fired a final volley that blasted the Kuriner off its tracks. The Kuriner crashed and skid across the ground, kicking up dust and smoke.

 

Navy Thunder and Hurricane Blue leapt clear and landed nearby.

 

The rainbow tracks swept across the ground, and the multi-colored train charged across the lines. The vehicle whistled as its engines slowed to a stop.

 

Meanwhile, Bag Shadow and a group of Krows scrambled from the damaged Kuriner.

 

Bag Shadow glared at the multi-colored train. “What kind of joke is this…?”

 

The doors slid open on the lead, red-armored train: “RAIL RANGERS, DEPARTING. RAIL RANGERS, DEPARTING.”

 

Five young teens hurried from the exit and stood to face off with the Shadow Line forces. They looked excited, with eyes full of wonder and imagination.

 

The teen in red smiled and rolled his shoulder. “It’s time to taste the rainbow.”

 

The teen in green arced his eyebrow. “Taste the- What?”

 

The teen in red sighed. “Never mind,” he said. “Try this: It’s time to take care of business!”

 

The teens armed their bracers, each equipped with a miniature model of a train.

 

“Express charge!” they shouted as they thrust their fists while triggering their bracers.

 

Their trains snapped free, pulsed with energy, and wrapped around them as they morphed into their armor. They looked identical to the heroes from the television show Imagination Station Rainbow Troops.

 

“RAIL RANGER ONE, RED. RAIL RANGER ONE, RED.”

 

“RAIL RANGER TWO, BLUE. RAIL RANGER TWO, BLUE.”

 

“RAIL RANGER THREE, YELLOW. RAIL RANGER THREE, YELLOW.”

 

“RAIL RANGER FOUR, GREEN. RAIL RANGER FOUR, GREEN.”

 

“RAIL RANGER FIVE, PINK. RAIL RANGER FIVE, PINK.”

 

“Liner Task Force!” Rail Red shouted. Together, they called out: “Rail Rangers!”

 

Navy Thunder shook his head. “Rail-” He sighed. “They look like the love child of Rainbow Bright and Thomas the Tank Engine.”

 

Rail Red pointed at Bag Shadow. “Alright guys, full speed ahead!”

 

The Rail Rangers charged to attack and plowed through the Krows with punches and kicks.

 

A Krow chopped its axe at Rail Blue. The Blue Ranger caught the grunt’s wrist, twisted its arm behind its back, and elbowed the back of its neck, knocking the grunt to the ground.

 

“Home Trigger!” Rail Blue shouted as he armed his personal weapon.

 

He triggered a field of energy that slammed against Krows and pinned them in place. The Blue Ranger dropped and rolled while opening fire, triggering blue energy darts that tore through the grunts with bursts of spark. 

 

The Yellow Ranger armed her personal weapon. “Signal Hammer!”

 

She smashed the ground with a shockwave that sent Krows staggering backward. Her signal flashed red; eruptions tore through the ground, ripping the Krows apart.

 

The Green Ranger armed his personal weapon. “Tunnel Axe!”

 

He slashed through streaks of green energy that ripped through Krows left and right. The heavy weapon bashed through their bones and chopped through their bodies.

 

The Pink Ranger armed her fist weapon. “Rail Claw!”

 

She slashed through Krows with bursts of spark, knocking them back before they could attack.

 

Rail Red armed his sword. “Rail Slasher!”

 

He slashed his sword, which whipped off a rail-shaped binding. The binding wrapped around a group of Krows and pinned them in place.

 

Rail Red dashed past the Krows with a slash that streaked through red energy; the blade ripped the grunts apart with massive bursts of spark and flame.

 

The Red Ranger continued his advance and hacked through grunts with bursts of spark. He twisted and chopped his blade as he maneuvered next to Rail Blue.

 

“Hey Asa,” Rail Red said. “Can I be Blue?”

 

“Huh?” Rail Blue asked.

 

“Here.” Rail Red grabbed Rail Blue’s bracer and pulled out its train. Rail Ranger One pulled out his own train and slid it into Rail Ranger Two’s bracer.

 

“Will this really work?” Rail Ranger Two asked.

 

Their bracers spoke: “TRANSFER: RAIL RANGER ONE TO BLUE, RAIL RANGER TWO TO RED.”

 

Rail Ranger One switched to blue, and Rail Ranger Two switched to red.

 

“Yes,” Rail Ranger One whispered as he armed his blue blaster.

 

Rail Green saw and tilted his head. “Hey…that looks sick…”

 

A Krow nearly slashed Rail Pink. So Rail Green pushed her down and chopped the grunt with a burst of spark.

 

“Kari, let’s try it,” Rail Green said.

 

They exchanged trains and armed their bracers: “TRANSFER: RAIL RANGER FOUR TO PINK, RAIL RANGER FIVE TO GREEN.”

 

“Nice…” Rail Ranger Four said as he armed his Rail Claw. “This feels so light!”

 

He charged through the Krows and hacked them aside with bursts of spark.

 

Rail Ranger Five struggled to lift the Tunnel Axe from the ground.

 

“Oh, come on…” she said. “This is so heavy…”

 

A group of Krows surrounded her and nearly attacked. Rail Ranger Five gripped her axe, lowered her head, and closed her eyes.

 

“I’m strong,” she whispered. “I’m strong, I’m strong, I’m strong…” She snapped open her eyes. “Super strong!”

 

She lifted the axe and swung through a streak of green energy, tearing through the Krows with bursts of spark.

 

Hurricane Blue and Navy Thunder stayed back and watched.

 

The Navy Thunder Ranger shook his head. “I feel so high right now. Are we tripping? I feel like we’re tripping.”

 

Rail Ranger One moved to Rail Ranger Four.

 

“This one’s next,” he said as he grabbed his teammate’s wrist.

 

They switched trains: “TRANSFER: RAIL RANGER ONE TO PINK, RAIL RANGER FOUR TO BLUE.”

 

Rail Ranger One slashed through a group of Krows and kicked a grunt in the chest.

 

Rail Yellow smashed a grunt to the ground. She looked to her teammates. “Hey, stop playing around, guys!”

 

Rail Ranger One leapt to her side while chopping down a Krow. “It’s OK,” he said. “Watch.”

 

He grabbed her wrist, they switched trains, and they triggered their bracers: 

 

“TRANSFER: RAIL RANGER ONE TO YELLOW, RAIL RANGER THREE TO PINK.”

 

The five Rangers split up and bashed and slashed through the last of the grunts.

 

Rail Ranger Two shook his head. “…but who’s who?”

 

Bag Shadow stepped forward. “Cursed Rangers…quit with your games.”

 

Rail Ranger One hurled a crow at Bag Shadow; the grunt smashed the monster and knocked him over.

 

The Ranger shifted colors, to green, and armed his Tunnel Axe. He stretched the weapon over his shoulders and faced Bag Shadow.

 

“This is your last stop!” he shouted. 

 

Bag Shadow climbed to his feet.

 

Rail Ranger One twirled his axe and charged to attack. Bag Shadow slashed, but the Ranger leapt over the attack and landed behind the monster.

 

Rail Ranger One chopped his axe through an x-shaped pattern that slashed the monster with bursts of spark.

 

Bag Shadow jumped to escape.  Rail Ranger One jumped and chopped the monster from the air. Bag Shadow crashed and tumbled across the ground.

 

The five Rangers regrouped and transferred back to their proper colors.

 

“Alright, guys,” Rail Red said. “Let’s bring ‘em together!”

 

They combined their weapons to form a bazooka. “Liner Cannon!” they shouted. “Fire!”

 

They fired a burst of twirling, multi-colored light that punctured through Bag Shadow with bursts of spark. The monster collapsed; secondary explosions ripped through his body as he burst into pieces.

 

“Yes…” Rail Red whispered as he pulled his sword free and twirled the blade.

 

Nearby, Navy Thunder laid his staff over his shoulder and walked towards the Rail Rangers.

 

“So…” he said. “Are you guys serious?”

 

Hurricane Blue laid a hand on his shoulder. “What he means to say is…who are you?”

 

“The Rail Rangers,” Rail Red said as he stepped forward.

 

“Yeah, we got that part,” Navy Thunder said. “But who are you?”

 

Their train engine whistled as it powered up. The Red Rail Ranger leaned his sword casually over his shoulder.

 

“That’s our ride,” he said. “See you at the next stop!”

 

The Rail Rangers boarded their train, and the vehicle sped into the distance.

 

Navy Thunder shook his head. “What just happened…?”

 

“I have no idea…” Hurricane Blue said.

 

***

 

PART THREE: Ducking from Shadows

 

The strange girl led Hunter and Lauren into an abandoned building, which vanished into a cloud of mist. They ducked into another building, and then another, until they finally reached the inside of a stable structure.

 

Lauran leaned on her knees and breathed heavily to catch her breath.

 

“Thanks…” she said to their rescuer.

 

Hunter didn’t waste time with such pleasantries. “Who are you. And what’s going on here.”

 

“I’m Mina,” she said. “Sailor Venus.”

 

Lauren shook her head. “I don’t know what that means.”

 

“I’m just finding out, myself,” she said. “The basics? Monsters like that are called Youma. They’re part of the Dark Kingdom. They all report to Dagra, and he reports to Queen Beryl.”

 

“Who’s Queen Beryl?” Hunter asked.

 

“A Forsaken,” Mina said. “She wants to spread darkness across the whole world. And monsters like the Youma? They thrive on that darkness. It gives them their power. Once the darkness becomes strong enough…”

 

She paused and looked around. “This happens. Entire towns fall into these shadowy pocket dimensions.”

 

“We’re looking for two people who would have been here when this happened,” Lauren said. “A young woman, and a small boy, around 8.”

 

Mina shook her head. “I haven’t been here too long myself. Haven’t seen anyone except you two. But now that I am here…? I’m trapped.”

 

Hunter knitted his brow. “What do you mean by ‘trapped,’ exactly?”

 

“Once you’re trapped in a Shadow Town like this…a Dark Station…you can’t get out.”

 

To be continued…Chapter 05

 

Who are the active bad guys at this point?

 

Azmodai: The First Demon.

·         Hellfire Knights. Teens that were Soul Metal armor, forged by The Power and spirits of extinct werewolves.

·         Demunio. Formerly demon soldiers under the control of Lilith, now under the control of Azmodai.

·         Werewolves. Thought extinct, Azmodai located a pack stuck in their wolf forms, freed them, and drafted them into his army.

·         Demon-possessed henchmen. Random businessmen, criminals, politicians and gang members possessed by standard demons. 

 

The Dark Man: Akuma.

·         Marauders: Akuma’s hand-picked soldiers, most with secret pasts.

·         The Hand: Mystical ninja assassins. The Dark Man manipulated his way into gaining control of the Hand after Hunter, who served as their leader for a time, turned back to the side of good.

·         RinJuken Akugata remnants. Akuma brought the demon DaiShi into the dead body of Simon Kaden, in hopes to control Simon, and the RinJuken. But Simon came back from the bad. Afterward, Akuma took leadership of the RinJuken remnants.

 

The Forsaken

·         Moridyn: He wanted to guide Simon from Hell, because he knew doing so would break the Fourth Seal of the Dark One’s prison.

·         Graendal: She bent all the gangs and criminals of Angel Grove under her control.

o   Demon-possessed gangs

·         Mesaana: Doesn’t appear to have much motivation of her own. Mostly associated with Graendal.

·         Long: Founder of the First Fist, GenkiJuken. Leads a small army of GenkiJuken monsters.

o   GenkiJuken

·         Lanfear: She can travel the worlds of dreams and the subconscious. She trapped Kamen Rider Wizard in the unconscious mind of Maya Koji, who remains in a coma, to remove the Rider as a threat.

·         Beryl and the Dark Kingdom: The last Forsaken to show herself. Queen of the Dark Kingdom, and the Dark Kingdom’s rail line, the Shadow Line. She plans to use the Shadow Line to spread darkness and welcome the Dark One’s Emissary. 

o   Four Heavenly Kings: Beryl’s main generals.

o   Archfiends: Few powerful creatures who serve Beryl.

§  Dagra: Infernal Priest of the Archfiends.

§  Youma: Monsters and creatures who serve Dagra, and therefore, Beryl. They thrive in darkness.

o   Shadow Line: The main railway of the Dark Kingdom, used for spreading darkness across the world. Led by a different set of generals and armies of Shadow Beasts and

·         Rahvin/White Mage

o   Phantom Beasts

·         Aginor

o   Vorlorcs

o   Neo-Undead

o   White Jokers

·         Ishar/Serrator

 

The Grand Army of Hell

·         Morticon

·         Necrolai

·         Koragg

·         Hades Beasts

·         Zompacs

 

Xanathor

·         Death Knights

·         Worms

 

The Questers

·         Gai

·         Rei

 

Dark Shadow

·         Gekkou

·         Shizuka

·         Yami no Yaiba