Chapter 07: Ultimate Mystics
A Silver Guardian Heliship flew over the Midwest. A bounty hunter sat in the drop bay. He dressed in ragged leather, wore a wide brimmed hat, and carried a massive sniper rifle. A toothpick in his mouth, he grunted as he loaded his weapon.
“Those goddamn witches still on the run?” he asked the pilot.
The pilot nodded nervously. He feared the odd bounty hunter, named Nash. The Guardians contracted with bounty hunters like Nash to hunt Shaded, witches and demon-possessed men. Nash racked up the highest kill count, and lost his hand in the process. INET replaced the limb with a cybernetic prosthetic that whined like a rusty machine with each move.
Nash flicked his toothpick with his tongue and loaded bullets filled with Orbo, green liquid made with the blood of Shaded. The liquid worked effectively to neutralize witches and other supernatural individuals.
“What they need is a couple of these up their asses,” he said as he chambered a round. “That’ll slow ‘em down. Make ‘em play nice and quiet-like...”
The pilot shook his head and muttered quietly. “Whatever you say…”
Nash arced an eyebrow. “What was that?”
“No- Nothing,” the pilot stammered.
“Damn right nothing,” Nash said as he adjusted his rifle’s scope. “Just do your goddamn job. And get me to those witches.”
The pilot nodded and glanced at his map, provided by STN, a new world-wide group that organized and dispatched bounty hunters, not just to INET, but to governments and businesses plagued with supernatural problems. The map tracked strange sightings associated with the supernatural: Weather patterns, cow deaths, Sean Hannity, etc.
“Looks like they’re headed towards Briarwood, Indiana,” the pilot said. “I’ll set us down there.”
Nash grunted. “You do that…”
One day later
Madison walked down the sidewalk of her small neighborhood in Briarwood. Her thoughts kept drifting to Nick. He appealed to her because of his courage and resolve, as well as the sense of mystery that surrounded him.
Lost in daydreams, she barely noticed light fog creep across the street. Her vision blurred, and she stumbled with vertigo.
“What…” she whispered as she grasped her head.
“Did you think you could hide from us, Madison?” a woman’s voice called from behind.
Madison turned to face her attackers. The teen could barely see them: Three witches. The ranger reached for her morpher, but fumbled and dropped it.
“Who are you…?” she asked as she took a step back.
Something about the attack seemed familiar. And that familiarity filled Madison with dread.
One of the three witches, Devra, stepped closer. “You don’t recognize me?” she asked. “That Witch of the Askani must have used some sort of mind spell. Here, child. Let me help you remember…”
Devra touched Madison’s cheek. The witch’s hand glowed with warmth that reached into Madison’s subconscious and tugged.
Madison screamed and staggered backward. Memories burst from a dam in her mind. She remembered growing up in New Orleans — not Briarwood — and being kidnapped by witches who wanted to use her as part of a ceremony.
Udonna saved her.
“It’s all…” Madison said. “It’s all a lie…”
Devra stepped closer. “Come, child. We’ll explain everything. And you’ll help us rebuild our coven…”
“No…Get away!” Madison thrust her hand with a burst of TK energy that hurled the witches off their feet.
She turned and ran towards Root Core.
Nick, Xander, Chip and Vida joined Madison in Root Core.
Madison placed her arms over her chest as if cold, while she paced across the floor.
“It can’t be true…” she said. “Can it? All my memories past these last few months…fake?”
Vida shook her head. “Not just your memories. All of ours. I remember giving Ricky Weaver a black eye when he called you names in grade school. If your memories are fake…ours are too.”
Xander nodded. “Except for Nick.”
Madison looked towards Kuro. “Would Udonna really do something like this?”
Kuro hopped onto the Viewing Globe. “Well…It is possible. But it’s also possible these witches are trying to manipulate you!”
Madison shook her head. “But the memories they unlocked…they seem so real. More real than…” She shook her head. “How can we know for sure?”
“Well, for that, we’re in luck!” Kuro said. “The Magician of the Blue was a Diviner! She could look into the past, present, and future. You should be able to channel that power…to learn the truth about your past!”
“OK,” Nick said, happy to have a plan. “How does it work?”
Kuro looked towards Madison. “Use your morpher as your wand, and look into the Viewing Globe.”
“OK…” Madison said. She stepped towards the Viewing Globe, flipped open her morpher, and waved it like a wand.
The morpher glowed with blue energy, and images started to twirl within the Globe.
Madison shook her head. “I have no idea what I’m doing…”
“Don’t worry!” Kuro said. “Your powers will guide you…”
Madison closed her eyes and channeled her energy. Images flashed through the Viewing Globe, and into her mind’s eye…
New Orleans, months ago
Madison walked through the French Quarter and noticed a boy named Timothy. A young musician, he waved and smiled at her. Madison blushed and smiled back.
Suddenly, a hand grabbed her by the wrist and tugged forward. “What are you doing?” a shrill voice asked. The voice belonged to her mother, Sophia. “I told you to stay inside. You can’t go out. You can never go out. School. Home. That’s it. Stupid girl…”
“But mom…” Madison protested. “I just wanted to-”
“No!” her mother shouted. “You don’t…You don’t understand. Just come on. Just stop talking and come on.”
Sophia tossed Madison into her room and bolted the door shut. Madison climbed into bed, curled into a ball, and cried. For the past six months, she watched her mother slip deeper and deeper into fearful insanity. And Madison didn’t understand why.
Hours passed, and night neared. Madison heard voices in the hall.
“No!” Sophia shouted. “I won’t let you take her! I won’t-”
Madison heard a snap — the sound of her mom’s neck break.
An invisible blast of energy burst down the door, and the witch Bastianna stepped into the room.
Bastianna smiled. “There you are…We’ve been looking for you…”
Bastianna gathered with eight other witches in Lafayette Cemetery. They stood in front of a massive mausoleum, which held Madison.
Madison struggled against the ropes that pinned her to the pedestal.
“Why are you doing this…?” she said. “Let me go!”
Bastianna traced her finger across the teen’s cheek. “Poor little girl. So much power…and you don’t even know.”
“You have the power of Lilith in your veins,” said a second witch, Sabine. “When you die, that power will seep into the ground, and strengthen the spirits of our ancestors. Our power.”
“Lilith?” Madison shook her head. “You’re crazy…”
“You should know your heritage, child,” Bastianna said. “Some Hebrew legends call Lilith the first wife of Adam. But in truth, she was the first daughter of Adam and Eve. A child, who never reached adulthood. She loved nature, loved the Earth, so much so, that God became jealous. He struck her down and damned her to Hell.
“But she loved the Earth so greatly, that her spirit still reached it. Breaths of her soul entered others, and they became her children. These children had others, and others, and they carried down her bloodline, her life force, generation after generation. You are one of these decedents. A Child of Lilith.”
Madison shook her head. “You’re…insane.”
Sabine sighed. “You stupid girl. What’s insane is that an army of darkness invaded our city, our home, and people like you never even noticed.”
Fear gripped Madison’s throat as the witches started their ceremony. Her mind clouded with terror and pain as they chanted and slit her wrist.
Strangers raced into the cemetery to rescue her. But the witches summoned the spirits of their ancestors, and together, they warded off the attack.
Then she came: Udonna.
A flurry of ice shards shot through the air. The shards slashed the witches and whipped them off their feet. Their concentration broken, the spirits of their ancestors vanished.
Udonna extended a wooden staff, and the tip pulsed with white energy. An invisible blast hurled the evil witches away from the mausoleum.
Her staff pulsed again, and Madison’s bindings snapped free.
Udonna walked to Madison and helped her sit up. “You’re OK…It’s safe.”
“Is it…Is it over?” Madison asked.
“For this story, yes,” Udonna said. “But yours has only just begun.”
Udonna cracked her staff against the ground, sparking a flurry of ice shards. The shards circled around them as they vanished in a burst of white light.
Madison paced back and forth in an attic. Alone, she waited for her rescuer: Udonna.
The Witch of the Askani walked into the attic. “Madison…” she said gently. “I’m sorry to have left you here. But I’m afraid I had little choice.”
“What’s going on?” Madison pleaded.
Udonna placed her hand on Madison’s cheek. “I’m so sorry, Madison…I will explain everything in time. But for now…you must forget this ever happened. And stay someplace safe…”
Her hand glowed with white energy, and that brightness flared through Madison’s mind.
Madison’s vision blurred into focus. She found herself standing in the Rock Porium along with Xander, Vida and Chip. She felt as if she knew them her entire life. And she believed this lie.
A strange feeling nagged at the back of her mind, but she ignored it.
Xander rubbed his head and sat down. “Hey guys…I’m going to take a bit of a break.”
Madison smiled. That was so something Xander would say. “Again?”
“Afraid you won’t get much done without your fearless leader?” Xander asked with a smirk. “Don’t worry. I’ll supervise.”
Madison opened her eyes. Her face paled.
“It’s true…” she whispered. “Udonna…put us here. We were never friends. We never grew up here. She…She lied to us.”
Nick knitted his brow. “So what do these witches want with you now?”
Madison shook her head. “They want my power…” Her eyes narrowed. “Didn’t you hear what I said? These witches…they weren’t the ones who did this to me. To us. Our past together…is a lie. Our friendship…is a lie.”
Vida placed a hand on Madison’s shoulder. “Maddie…”
Madison shrugged her off. “No. You didn’t see what I did, Vida. You didn’t have your false memories ripped away and replaced with…nightmares.” She sighed with frustration. “You don’t know me, Vida. And I don’t know you.”
Suddenly, the Viewing Globe twirled with shadows.
Kuro hopped onto the sphere. “Look…The witches will have to wait,” the cat spirit said. “Trouble in the woods!”
Xander shook his head. “Remind me why anyone would go there? Ever?”
The Globe showed clouds of darkness but struggled to zero in on the specific threat.
“Excellent…” Chip said with a smile. “I mean…terrible. But excellent. We’ll have to go scouting!”
Nick nodded. “Let’s go.” He, Xander, Chip and Vida started to leave Root Core. But Madison didn’t move. “Maddie, come on.”
Madison said nothing. She stared at the Viewing Globe, her eyes glazed with disbelief.
“Maddie…” Nick said again.
Xander took Nick by the arm. “Nick, come on. Leave her be. We’ve got work to do.”
Nick cursed beneath his breath. He, Xander, Chip and Vida ran from Root Core, leaving Madison alone.
Mystic Red, Mystic Green, Mystic Yellow and Mystic Pink leapt off their Mystic Racers and landed in the woods. They immediately noticed the stench of death and decay. Each tree looked twisted, bare and dead.
Mystic Green looked around. “Whatever it is should be around here somewhere.”
“Look!” Mystic Pink shouted.
The Rangers gathered around her and looked out upon a clearing. They saw dozens of men and women turned into stone.
“Are those…people?” Mystic Yellow asked.
Mystic Red shook his head. “No way…”
They heard laughter from above. The Rangers looked to see Nai and Mare sitting in the treetops.
“You two again!” Mystic Red shouted.
“Why are you so surprised?” Nai asked.
“Why surprised?” Mare echoed.
“Of course they’re human,” Nai said.
“Human…” Mare said.
“This is the feeding ground of Hades Cockatrice,” Nai said. “He gathers the humans he turns into stone…and eats them.”
Mystic Red rolled his hands into fists. “He what…?”
They heard hissing from the side, and they looked to see Hades Cockatrice step onto the scene.
Mystic Red unsheathed his staff. “Magi Sword!”
He shifted his weapon to blade mode and charged to attack. He hopped and slashed the monster with bursts of spark. But the blows barely fazed the creature.
The Red Ranger twisted and chopped, slashing up and down, but the creature barely noticed.
Hades Cockatrice grabbed Mystic Red by the helmet and hurled him aside. The Red Ranger crashed and tumbled across the ground.
Mystic Red rolled into a crouched stance, and the others regrouped around him. Mystic Green and Mystic Yellow unsheathed their staffs.
“Magi Staff Bow Gun!”
The Yellow Ranger leapt through the air and triggered darts of energy. The blasts exploded against the monster with bursts of spark but didn’t knock him back a single step.
Mystic Green leapt forward and swung his axe. He chopped the monster’s collar bone with a burst of spark; but the creature didn’t budge.
Cockatrice pecked the Ranger’s chest with a burst of spark that whipped him off his feet.
Mystic Yellow snapped a round-kick the monster blocked. Cockatrice swung the back of his claw, slashing the Ranger with a burst of spark that knocked him backward.
Mystic Pink hopped with a jump-kick. But Cockatrice blocked and grabbed her throat.
“V!” Mystic Yellow shouted as he ran to help his friend.
The Yellow Ranger leapt onto the monster’s arm. But Cockatrice knocked him aside while hurling the Pink Ranger off her feet.
Mystic Yellow and Mystic Pink crashed, tumbled, and rolled to a stop next to their teammates.
Mystic Red lifted his sword into a defensive stance. “Our attacks aren’t working…”
Cockatrice thrust his claws and fired darts of crimson energy. The blasts smashed the Rangers with bursts of spark that whipped them off their feet.
Nai and Mare laughed as they floated onto the ground.
“Greenhorn magicians like yourselves are no match for this Hades Beast…” Nai said.
“No match,” Mare echoed.
Cockatrice leaned back and fired a beam of violet energy.
Suddenly, Madison ran to the scene and shoved Mystic Red aside. “Nick, look out!”
The blast struck Madison in the back. The energy washed across her body and turned her into stone.
“Maddie!” Mystic Red shouted. “No!”
Nai and Mare laughed, and the sound filled Mystic Red with rage. He rolled his hands into fists and started to charge. But Mystic Green held him back.
“We’ve got to fall back!” Mystic Green shouted.
Mystic Yellow grasped his staff. “Lightning strike!” He lifted the weapon. “Gigiru!”
Yellow lighting struck the ground with bursts of flame and smoke. The attack gave the Rangers cover as they grabbed Maddie, leapt onto their Mystic Speeders, and fled the scene.
Nick, Xander, Chip, and Vida brought Madison back to Root Core. Nick knitted his brow at the sight of his friend turned to stone.
“Why did she do that?” Nick asked.
“She saw you in the Viewing Globe and rushed to help!” Kuro said.
“But you heard what she said,” Nick said. “She said we’re not her friends. Not really. She told us…” He shook his head. “You heard what she told us.”
“But that’s Maddie,” Vida said. “It doesn’t matter if she knows someone or not. She’ll risk her life to help them. Look…I don’t care if our memories are some witch’s spell. She’s our friend. And we’re hers.”
Nick rolled his hands into fists. “How do we change her back?”
“I…” Kuro started to say. “I don’t know.”
“How can you not know?” Nick asked. “You’re supposed to be our guide.”
“I’m trying,” Kuro said as he circled the Viewing Globe.
Chip poked Madison’s stone skin. “Is she even still…alive?”
“She is,” Vida said without question. “She has to be.”
Xander nodded. “Maybe those crazy witches can help her.”
“No!” Kuro said as he hopped onto the Viewing Globe. “We can’t trust them. They tried to kill Madison before. They might do it again!”
“But we could trust Udonna?” Xander asked. “She played with our minds.”
“To keep you safe,” Kuro said. The cat spirit lowered his head. “Besides…There might…There might be a way.”
“What?” Nick asked.
“The Magician of the Red was an alchemist!” Kuro said. “You channel his power…you may be able to turn Madison from stone.”
Nick didn’t hesitate. He flipped open his morpher and aimed the wand at Madison. “Giruma Magiiro!”
His wand glowed with red energy. But nothing happened.
He tried again. “Giruma Magiiro!”
Still, nothing happened.
“Nick…” Kuro said. “Flagel was a Heavenly Saint. As powerful as you are…you’re still mortal.”
Nick ignored him. “Giruma Magiiro!”
Suddenly, the Viewing Globe twirled with images. They showed Hades Cockatrice stalk through the city.
“He’s back!” Kuro shouted.
“Come on…” Xander said.
He, Chip and Vida left Root Core, leaving Nick to try saving Madison.
Hades Beast Cockatrice stomped through a city plaza. People screamed and ran to escape. But the monster’s energy beams turned them into stone.
The monster tilted his head to fire another energy volley. But Mystic Green leapt to the scene with a flying sidekick that knocked the Hades Beast several steps backward.
He landed in a crouched stance, and Mystic Pink and Mystic Yellow landed alongside him.
Mystic Yellow armed his staff. “Magi Staff Bow Gun!”
He fired darts of yellow energy that shot towards the monster. But suddenly, Nai and Mare appeared. They opened an umbrella they used as a shield to block the blasts.
Nai lowered the umbrella. “You came again…” she said. “Don’t interfere.”
“Don’t interfere,” Mare echoed.
“Yeah, well…Shut up!” Mystic Yellow shouted. “Man, I have to work on my one-liners.”
Nai smiled wickedly. “I’m pretty fed up with them, Mare.”
“Fed up,” Mare said.
“Shall we do it?” Nai asked.
The girls joined hands, pulsed with dark energy, and meshed into a single entity: Necrolai.
She fired shadow blasts that smashed the Rangers with bursts of spark, whipping them backward.
Devra and the two witches stalked through the woods towards Root Core.
“I can sense her power…close,” Devra said. “But it’s tainted. Something has happened to her…”
Nick waved his wand repeatedly. “Giruma Magiiro!”
The wand glowed with red power but did nothing. The ranger dropped to his knees with fatigue.
“It isn’t working…” he said.
Kuro hopped onto the floor next to Nick. “Nick, if you try to use magick beyond your power, you’ll exhaust your physical strength!”
“I don’t care…” Nick said as he climbed to his feet. “She sacrificed herself to save me. So now…I have to save her. She’s my friend.”
“Well…” Kuro said. “There may be another way. If you can defeat Hades Cockatrice, his spells might wear off.”
Nick arced an eyebrow. “You’re just telling me this now?”
“Hey!” Kuro said. “I’m new at this. Anyway…I’m not sure how we can beat him. But Madison…She knew. Before she ran off to help you, she found a way to stop Hades Cockatrice.”
“Did she say how?” Nick asked.
“She ran off!” Kuro said. “She wanted to save you…”
Nick sighed and looked at Madison. “Maddie…Why didn’t you say something…?” He looked at her closely, and noticed a stone compact in her hand. “A compact? Why would she…?”
Suddenly, the Viewing Globe twirled with images. It showed the three witches walk dangerously close to Root Core.
Kuro hopped onto the Globe’s table. “It’s them! They’ve found us somehow…”
“They’re after Maddie,” Nick said.
He tightened his grip on his morpher and dashed outside.
Devra and her two witches walked through the woods near Root Core.
“She’s close…” Devra said. “In a place shrouded by magick…Hidden.”
“Hey!” a voice shouted from the woods. The witches looked to see Nick dash to the scene. “Get out of these woods. Now!”
Devra smiled and tilted her head. “My, my…aren’t you a powerful one. I can feel your spiritual pressure…But there’s something…off about you. Isn’t there?”
Nick snapped open his morpher.
Devra thrust her hand; invisible energy blasted the morpher from Nick’s grasp. She thrust her other hand and blasted Nick off his feet.
Nick slammed against a tree and crashed to the ground. The witches lifted their hands and fired gusts of wind, but Nick dove aside to dodge the attack.
Devra laughed at him. “Such power…and you don’t even use it.”
Nick rolled his hands into fists and pounced.
Devra waved her hand, swatting him aside with a wave of invisible energy. She struck him again. And again. Laughing with each blow.
Nick crashed and tumbled. Slowly, he climbed to his feet and glared at the witches. He thought of Maddie, and rolled his right hand into a fist. He had to save her. He couldn’t let these witches hurt her. He couldn’t let her stay in stone. He couldn’t let her down.
His spiritual pressure intensified, shaking the earth and nearly knocking the witches from their feet.
Devra opened her eyes wide with horror. “What are you?”
He didn’t know. He simply knew he needed to save his friend. And he felt strange energy stir within him.
His eyes flared with fiery power, and the sound of the phoenix echoed through the skies.
Mystic Green snapped a round-kick Necrolai blocked. She side-kicked the Green Ranger aside and turned to face the Yellow Ranger. She dodged his punch, side-kicked Mystic Pink, and round-kicked Mystic Yellow.
Nick barged into Root Core.
Kuro hopped onto the Viewing Globe. “Nick? What happened?”
“I…I don’t know,” Nick said. “But we have to save Maddie. And I have a plan…I think.”
Necrolai extended her wings, twirled like a tornado and slashed the Rangers aside with bursts of spark. The impact whipped them backward, and they tumbled across the street.
Necrolai laughed and looked towards Hades Cockatrice. “Now, Hades Cockatrice…Turn them all to stone.”
“Back away from them!” a voice shouted. The Rangers looked to see Nick, who brought the stone Madison along with him. He set her aside. “Don’t worry Maddie. This will work…”
The teen flipped open his morpher. “Heavenly Saints! Grant me the power of magick! Magical Source! Mystic Force!”
He morphed into his armor and snapped his cape. “Mystic Red!”
The Red Ranger armed his Magi Sword and leapt through the air. He landed with a chop that sparked the monster’s armor.
Hades Cockatrice slashed his claws left and right, but the Ranger blocked and dodged each blow.
Mystic Red chopped his sword. Hades Cockatrice grabbed the blade and slashed upward, striking the Ranger with a burst of spark that hurled him through the air.
Mystic Red crashed and tumbled across the street. Slowly, he grabbed his sword and climbed to his feet.
“I’m not done yet…” he said. “Come get me, you stupid chicken. Try turning me to stone. Come on!”
Hades Cockatrice fired an energy beam that stabbed towards the Red Ranger.
Mystic Red aimed his staff at the ground. “Giruma, Magiro!”
His staff flared with red light; a mirror sprouted from the street and reflected the blast, which splashed across the monster. The attack turned him to stone.
Mystic Red twirled his sword. “Magi Magika!”
Flame ignited around his body, and he shot towards Hades Cockatrice like a phoenix. He blasted through the monster, which smashed into pieces.
The Red Ranger landed, and the others regrouped around him.
“Not bad, Red,” Mystic Pink said.
“It was Maddie’s idea,” Mystic Red said. “She found out how to beat that thing. That’s why she brought that compact when she came to help us.”
Energy flashed around Madison as she returned to normal and dropped to her knees.
Mystic Red ran towards her. “Madison!” He powered down his armor and kneeled next to her. “Maddie…I’m sorry.”
Madison shook her head. “I’m the one who’s sorry. I overreacted. I let the fact that…” She shook her head. “Just because we’re not all friends doesn’t mean we can’t help each other.”
“Not friends?” Nick asked. “Do you really think that? Maddie…Forget about the past. Focus on the now. Everything we’ve faced. Everything we’re up against. That’s real. That bond we have…that’s real. I didn’t even know you until a few weeks ago. But you’re my friend. And the rest of us? Fake memories or not…we are friends. More than that…we’re teammates.”
He pulled her into a hug. “Just don’t do something stupid like this again…”
Madison smiled and hugged him back. “Nick…”
Xander sighed. “Well this is touching…but we’re probably going to have to face a giant monster any second now.”
Madison’s morpher chimed, and she opened it. “A new spell code…”
Suddenly, Koragg’s chanting echoed through the air. “Douza Uzara…Ooza Uru Ugaru!”
A magick circle formed beneath the remains of the monster’s rubble. The remains pulsed with violet energy, reformed and grew giant.
Nick and Madison flipped open their morphers. “Heavenly Saints! Grant us the power of magick! Magical Source! Mystic Force!”
They morphed into their armor and snapped their capes.
The five Rangers flipped open their morphers and raised them towards the skies. “Mahou Dai Henshin! Maagi Magi Magika!”
They grew giant and morphed into Majin.
Mystic Phoenix stepped into a defensive stance. “Let’s try that new spell…”
The Majin slapped their right fists against their left palms. “Mystic Fusion! Maagi Giruma Magi Jinga!”
A golden circle of magical energy circled above the Majin as they changed shape and combined into a single Megazord.
The Mystic Rangers joined in a cockpit that resembled a chess board, with consoles that resembled chess pieces. Regardless of their fake memories, their fake pasts, they felt connected. United. As one.
“Mystic Megazord!” they shouted. “Magi King!”
Hades Cockatrice fired bursts of energy that shot towards the Megazord. The Megazord folded its wings across its chest like a shield, which blocked the blasts with bursts of spark.
The monster charged, slashed Magi King with bursts of spark, and stabbed its beak against the Megazord.
The Rangers lifted their staffs. “Gii Magi Gigiru!” The Megazord summoned its blade with a burst of golden light. “Magi Calibur!”
The Megazord swung upward, slashing the monster with a burst of spark that whipped him backward.
Magi King spun and swung his sword, emitting a circle of white light. Dozens of swords rose from the light and aimed towards the monster.
“Phantom Illusion!” the Rangers shouted.
The Megazord thrust its saber; the swords shot through Hades Cockatrice and pinned him in place.
“Magi Calibur!” the Rangers shouted. “Mystic Slash!”
Magi King swung his blade through a circle, forming a ring of magical energy. The Megazord swung through the ring; Magi Calibur flashed with energy and slashed through Hades Cockatrice with massive bursts of spark.
“Checkmate!” the Rangers shouted.
Secondary explosions tore through Hades Cockatrice. The monster collapsed and burst into ash.
The teen returned to Root Core after they defeated the Hades Beast.
With the threat over, they tried to process what they learned from Madison.
Confused, Chip grasped his head. “So we think we’ve known each other since we were kids…but we didn’t really meet until a few months ago. When Udonna put us here. With fake memories…Does that mean I didn’t really fail my math final last year?”
“Who knows,” Vida said. “Maddie…can you use your power to give us our real memories back?”
Maddie shook her head. “I already tried. The spell worked for myself…but not others. I can’t help with Nick’s amnesia either. Maybe...Maybe that’s for the best. I almost wish I didn’t remember. Those witches…”
“Yeah,” Xander said. “What happened to them, anyway?”
Nick shifted uncomfortably. “I took care of them.”
“Took care of them?” Madison asked. “How?”
“I just did.”
“Nick…” Madison started to say.
“Just let it go, Maddie,” Nick said with pain in his eyes. “I took care of it. You’re safe…”
Nash kneeled in the woods and touched the scorched earth. Burnt trees and leaves surrounded him, along with the blackened skeletons of Devra and her fellow witches.
“Well, well…” Nash said. “Something fun happened here…It looks like there’s more than witches in this little city. Damn shame I didn’t get to kill them myself…Guess I’ll have to settle for whoever did this…”
His two Silver Guardian escorts surveyed the landscape. One of them opened a comm-line to the INET Defensive Initiative HQ.
“We’re going to need a meta-level response unit,” he said. “Briarwood’s turned into a meta-level hotbed…”
To be continued…Chapter 08
Section 31: A secret government intelligence agency. They investigate and target supernatural and meta-level anomalies.
Hunters: Not an official organization. A generic term for individuals, pairs and groups who hunt supernatural forces such as demon-possessed men and witches. Most possess no powers. Some have the ability to channel or use magick talisman.
Knights of the True Cross/True Cross Academy: The Vatican organized exorcists into a formal group called the Knights of the True Cross, with several bases across the globe. The bases also served as academies to train new exorcists, including young Shaded not yet corrupted by their power.
· Kamen Rider Cross: Arthur Angel. INET gave the Knights of the True Cross the Kamen Rider Cross Gear as a sign of good faith.
Night Troops: An organization of misfits with supernatural abilities. Their numbers included half-demons, magick users and Shaded. Based in Japan, they operate worldwide.
STN (Solomon Executive Organization): Organized bounty hunters who specialize in hunting witches and Shaded. They lend their services to INET, as well as governments and corporations.
Hellsing: (Still unseen). An organization that targets supernatural threats in England. Formed by a network of Protestant Churches that didn’t want the Knights of the True Cross to operate on their soil. Most Hellsing operatives possessed no powers.