Jump to: navigation , search

Chapter 13: Rainbow Line

Dark Duel


PROLOGUE: Reincarnate


Sailor Venus led Lauren and Hunter through the streets surrounding the Shadow Line’s Castle Terminal. Darkness flowed through the air like black fog, and color faded into the shadows.


Venus sighed. “I’m telling you, this is pointless,” she said. “There’s no one here. And with those Archfiends and Youma out there? We can’t keep moving like this.”


“What do you want us to do?” Lauren asked. “Squat somewhere and hide?”


“I…I don’t know,” Venus said. “I’m new at this.”


“You still haven’t explained who you are,” Hunter said.


“Like I said…I’m Sailor Venus,” she said.


“That still means nothing,” Lauren said.


“Long story short?” Venus said. “Some talking cat spirit told me I was the reincarnation of an ancient guardian from before time, in a place called the Moon Kingdom. Ever since then…I’ve had these powers that I channel from…I’m not sure where. Venus, I guess.”


Hunter arced an eyebrow.


Venus sighed. “I know, it sounds crazy.”


“Well…” Lauren said. “It does. But my dad descended from the First Angel. And I have a half-brother with the blood of the First Demon. So…who am I to talk?”


“Are you serious?” Venus asked.


“Unfortunately,” Lauren said.


“These guardians…” Hunter said. “Are there more of you?”


Venus nodded. “Before time, we served Queen Serenity. Now…she’s been reincarnated too. Me and the other guardians? We’re supposed to protect her. I just…I don’t know where she is, or where to find the other Sailors.”


“Sailors…” Hunter whispered with disbelief as he shook his head.


“What?” Venus asked defensively. “It’s what Artemis called us.”


“Artemis?” Lauren asked.


“He’s the…cat spirit I mentioned.” Venus said.


“Of course he is…” Hunter said.


Lauren laid a hand on his shoulder. “Hunter, you drive a bug zord. Don’t judge.”


Suddenly, buildings evaporated into black smog that surrounded them. The smog cleared, and they looked towards a tall building in the distance.


An Archfiend stood on the rooftop. She looked massive, with pale white skin and spider-like appendages growing from her back. Her eyes glowed solid yellow. And slender horns curved down from her forehead. She called herself Nicchae.



She smiled wickedly at the trio. “Did you think you could hide from us in the darkness? We are the darkness!”


“You must be another Archfiend,” Hunter said calmly as he stepped forward. “Where are Ashley and Tyler.


Nicchae reached behind her back and tossed someone onto the rooftop. Hunter and Lauren recognized the unconscious form immediately: Ashley.


The Archfiend smirked. “You ran from Highness Dagra…but you will not run from me, will you? Not as long as I have her. So come, Rangers.”


Hunter cursed beneath his breath. The darkness of the Shadow Hub blocked his ability to morph. He could still fight and use combat techniques. But he couldn’t ignite his power or call on his armor. Neither could Lauren.


But that didn’t stop them.


They dashed through the air and shot towards Nicchae.


Hunter thrust his hand. “Shadow bolt!”


Lauren thrust her palm. “Wind Scythe!”


Nicchae lifted her hand. Without a word, she mentally grasped onto the attacks and hurled them back at the rangers.


Hunter’s shadow bolt struck him in the chest. The impact knocked him from the air, and he crashed onto a rooftop that crumbled into a cloud of shadow, which wrapped around him and held him in midair.


Lauren’s wind blade slashed her arm with a splattering of blood. The impact whipped her downward, but before she crashed, strands of black wind wrapped around her body and pinned her arms against her sides.


Nicchae laughed mockingly. “Shadow and storms? You would attack me with shadow and storms? You foolish, foolish creatures. I will never fathom why the Creator favored you flesh-and-blood races.”


She lifted her hand, and the bindings tightened, nearly strangling the life from the rangers.


“Do you know the truth of the Archfiends, Rangers? We were once Heavenly Saints…until we turned to the side of the Dark One. The side of the truth,” she said. “Our power is cosmic. Yours…is nothing. You wield-”


A chain of orange light whipped her face, knocking her back several steps.


Sailor Venus landed on the rooftop and faced off with the villain. “You forgot about me, didn’t you?”


Nicchae smiled mockingly. “Well...aren’t you a pretty little guardian. That power you wield-”


Sailor Venus 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 Nicchae with bursts of spark, blasting her backward.


The impact knocked the villain’s hold on Hunter and Lauren. They crashed, and then immediately climbed to their feet and leapt onto the rooftop next to Venus.


“Keep her busy,” Hunter said to Venus as he and Lauren moved to Ashley’s side.


Hunter kneeled down next to her. “Ashley…” he whispered. “Come on, we have to go.”


Lauren shook her head. “She’s barely breathing. Something’s wrong.”


“Clearly,” Hunter said.


“No, you don’t understand…” Lauren said as she placed a hand on Ashley’s forehead. Lauren’s father descended from a line of angels who took human form, and that lineage gave her certain abilities and senses. “There’s something dark growing inside of her…and I don’t know how to stop it.”




PART ONE: Next Stop


Tyler Oliver leaned back and smiled at his hand. He made a fist, tightened it, then opened his hand and flexed his palm. He repeated the motion, again and again. Only 8-years-old, he now appeared as a teenager. He didn’t understand why. But he liked it.


“This is so sweet…” he whispered.


Not only did he appear 16, he also carried the powers of Rail Red, leader of a Ranger team identical to a Tokusatsu children’s show: Imagination Station Rainbow Troops.


He rode in a train car that looked identical to the one from the show. The boxcar doors opened, and Asa, one of his new friends and teammates, stepped inside.


New Bitmap Image (4)


A child who also appeared 16, he adjusted his black glasses, the frames matching the color of his shaggy black hair.   


“Any luck?” Asa asked.


Ahh…” Tyler hesitated. “Not really, no. My dad would know what to do…”


His teammate Kipper walked in from the other side of the train car. “But Daddy’s not here, is he?”


Tyler knitted his brow. “Shut up, jerk.”


Kip smirked. Also a child, with a body matured to 16, he acted like a bully. And Tyler didn’t care for him one bit.


Their teammate Bailey followed Kip into the train car. “Why do boys have to be so stupid?”


Her friend, Kari, snickered behind her.


Kip arced an eyebrow. “Hey,” he said defensively. “Be nice. Besides…we’re not boys. We’re men now.”


“Right,” Bailey said. “Try saying that without your voice cracking.”


Kari giggled, and then changed the subject. “Have we found out what happened to us yet?”


Asa adjusted his glasses. “We’re working on it.”


“Are we?” Kip asked. “Because it feels like all we’re doing is riding around on a toy train.”


“It’s not a toy,” Tyler said.


“Right…” Asa said. “The toy’s a lot smaller.”


Tyler rolled his eyes. “Not helping, Asa.”


The train’s speakers toned, grabbing the rangers’ attention. The vehicle’s artificial voice spoke in alarm: “NOW APPROACHING THE NEXT STATION…THE NEXT STATION HAS BEEN TAKEN OVER BY THE SHADOW LINE…”


Kip narrowed his eyes at the speakers. “You still haven’t told us what this Shadow Line wants…”




“See,” Tyler said. “We have to stop these cities and towns from turning into Shadow Hubs. Let’s focus on that.”


The train skid to a halt in the next town, Benton, Texas, and the rangers disembarked.




Tyler and the others walked through the streets of the small city. They expected a fight or something sinister. But people moved about their lives without pause.


The teens walked down a stairwell into a city plaza, where men and women moved about, traveling to and from work.  


“Looks normal here too…” Tyler said as they stepped into the plaza.


Bailey shook her head. “Can’t you see it? The people seem…darker here. The city too.”


Suddenly, a voice shouted from the rooftops. “Ladies and gentlemen!” People stopped walking. They slumped their heads with sadness and fear. “From young to old! That wonderful time has come again! Pick a partner…now…”


Citizens looked up and eyed each other. They knitted their brows as they picked their “partners” for the strange event.


Tyler narrowed his eyes with confusion. “This is weird…”


Asa looked to the rooftops and pointed. “Up there!”


The rangers looked to see a Shadow Monster, Saber Shadow, stand on a rooftop. The creature, covered head-to-toe in intricate, dull-silver metal, carried twin fencing foils with thick blades.


“It’s duel time!” he shouted as he lifted his right sword upward.


Suddenly, the men and women armed guns, knives and swords. With hesitation, they attacked their opponents. Their bullets blazed and blades slashed with splatters of blood.


The rangers stepped back with shock.


“What the…” Tyler whispered. “No!”


He ran to the side of an injured woman sprawled on the ground.


“Hey!” he shouted as his teammates gathered around him. “Are you OK?”


Kip sighed. “Shouting at her won’t help.”


Tyler glared at him. “Would you shut up.


“Um, no,” Kip said. “Would you stop whining like a-”


The woman started to ebb with darkness, as did the other injured men and women spread across the plaza.


Kari knitted her brow. “What’s happening?”


“It’s the darkness in their hearts…” Bailey said. “Just like the warning…”


One of the duelists looked at the teens and nearly dropped his gun. His eyes opened wide with panic.  


“You didn’t duel?!” The man scrambled backward. “I have nothing to do with you…Nothing!”


The monster’s voice echoed through the plaza. “Who are the cowards who didn’t duel?!”


Suddenly, Krows rushed into the plaza from every corner and stairwell. The grunts surrounded the teens and aimed their weapons.


Saber Shadow leapt into the plaza and joined the soldiers. The monster twirled his blades.


“I have no tolerance for wimps and cowards!” he shouted.


Tyler narrowed his eyes. “We don’t care what you tolerate!”


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


“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.












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


The Rail Rangers smashed through the group of Krows. The grunts fired bullets that blasted their armor with bursts of spark. But the Rangers continued their advance to push the enemy back.


Rail Red punched a grunt’s face and kicked its gut.


The Rangers didn’t remember how they got their powers, but they somehow knew how to use them, and how to fight. The Red Ranger remembered running through the halls of his home during the Shadow Line’s attack. He remembered lifting his hand with a flash of light. And the next thing he knew, he awoke in a train along with four kids from his school — all aged to their teens.


He didn’t understand it. But he knew what his dad would do in the same situation. He would fight. So the Red Ranger would fight too.


Liner Green snapped open his Liner Saber. He twirled through a butterfly pattern that hacked Krows with bursts of spark, whipping them backward.


Nearby, Liner Yellow twirled her Liner Saber to parry the blows of several soldiers. She slashed them aside and kicked them down with quick and loose movements.


Liner Blue armed his Liner Blaster and shot at the group of Krows that charged towards him. He blasted the grunts with bursts of spark, whipping them off their feet.


A Krow moved in and chopped towards the Blue Ranger. The Ranger grabbed the Krow in an arm-lock, twisted, and bashed the grunt in the head — the blow knocked the soldier to the ground.


Liner Pink slashed through a wave of Krows. Panicked, she switched her weapon to blaster mode and fired, blasting a wave of grunts to the ground.


Meanwhile, Liner Red set an orange-armored miniature train into his blaster. He snapped the train into position. “SCOPE TRAIN, NOW SHOOTING!”


The Red Ranger aimed at a group of Krows. His blaster whined with power, and his barrel glowed with red light.


He triggered a powerful energy pulse that tore through the grunts with massive bursts of spark and fire, tearing them to ash with bursts of smoke.


Rail Red jumped through the ranks of Krows and chopped towards Saber Shadow. The monster blocked — Rail Red twisted his grip and swung through a volley of slashes. The monster parried, each blow forcing him back.


“You’re not bad for a coward,” the monster taunted as he blocked a high chop.


“Who you callin’ a coward?” Rail Red swung wide, forcing the monster to hop backward.


“You didn’t duel…” Saber Shadow said as he shifted into a fighting stance.


The monster swung upward with a shockwave of fire that tore through the street and bashed Rail Red. The impact exploded with flames that hurled Rail Red off his feet; he crashed onto his chest.


Saber Shadow stalked towards his opponent. “Those who don’t duel…are cowards. And cowards will be eliminated here, in my town. That is the rule we live by.”


Rail Red climbed to his feet as his teammates gathered around him. “How were we supposed to know that? We just got here.”


Rail Green tilted his head. “What?”


Saber Shadow ignored the Green Ranger. “That’s true. You did just arrive…Let me explain…” He turned his back towards the Rangers and looked out upon the city. “This is my dueling town. The rule is, when I give the signal, no matter when, where or who, the people must duel. So…next time I give the signal…duel.”


“You got it,” Rail Red said as he placed his sword over his shoulder. “I’ll duel, all right. With you!”


“Heh.” The monster turned and walked away. “Yes…until then.”




PART TWO: We Are Here


“I had high expectations for Saber Shadow…and they paid off,” Nero said proudly as he walked through the halls of the Castle Terminal. “When forced to hurt each other, people fill their hearts with darkness deep and thick…”


He entered the main room and looked at the map projected on the wall. The map showed the city of Benton, which pulsed with darkness like splotches of black ink. The blackness reached into surrounding areas with thick tendrils.


Nero nodded with approval. “At this rate, we’ll make more Shadow Stations, and connect all the Lines! And as the Shadow Lines continue to expand…darkness will cover the world, as it once did the Moon...Then, at last, the Dark Emissary will appear.”


“I see…” Schwartz said as he watched from behind. “I will continue to build our Shadow Line army, and prepare a grand welcome.”


Schwartz walked away, passing Madame Noir and her “daughter” Gritta, a purple monstrosity created with a fusion of her magick and that of Queen Beryl herself.


Noir fitted the creature with a white dress and hood that wrapped tightly around her upper body.


“There…” Noir said. “The seams must fit just right by the time we present you to the Emissary as his bride…”


Gritta paid no attention. Instead, she watched Schwartz leave the room, as her eyes glowed with longing affection.


“Schwartz...” she whispered.


Nero waited for Schwartz to leave, and then scoffed. “‘Shadow Line army’? The Dark Emissary must be welcomed with something more elegant…”




Tyler shook his head as he looked across the city. Clouds of darkness rose from the skyline like smoke.


“This stuff is going to cover the whole city soon,” he said. “We have to stop it before that happens.”


“I love how you talk like this isn’t weird,” Kip said sarcastically. “We’re basically living in a kids’ show.”


Asa shrugged. “We are kids.”


“And that doesn’t freak you out?” Kip asked.


“We’ll find out what happened,” Tyler said. “First we have to beat that dueling monster.”


Kip shook his head. “Like that will happen. We don’t have those Rangers to help us this time. We’re alone. And I don’t see any way this doesn’t end badly.”


“I do…” Tyler said. “We’re going to beat this monster. And we’re going to go home. Home.”


“But we don’t even know-”


“It doesn’t matter,” Tyler said. “It doesn’t matter where we came from or how we got here. We’re here. We are here. Just…Just focus on that.”


Tyler walked around Kip and moved deeper into the city.




Saber Shadow stood on the rooftops. His voice echoed across the city: “Ladies and gentlemen! From young to old! That wonderful time has come again. Now…Du-”


Sparks blasted the monster and sent him staggering backward. He cursed beneath his breath and looked over the rooftop to see his attackers — Tyler and his friends. Tyler aimed a blaster that still sizzled from the barrage.


Saber Shadow tightened his grip on his blades. “Are you bastards trying to stop my duel?!” he shouted. Krows!”


Darkness rose from the ground like mist and took shape to form Krows. The grunts spread out and surrounded the rangers.


Tyler looked up to face Saber Shadow. “The only duel we need is between you and me, Saber Shadow!” He looked over his shoulder. “Guys, take care of the Krows for me. Saber Shadow’s mine.”


The teens armed their Liner Bracers.


“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.












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


The Rangers charged forward and bashed through the grunts.


Rail Red jump-kicked a Krow to the ground and punched another grunt off its feet.


“I’m going to the duel!” the Red Ranger shouted as he leapt towards the rooftops.


Rail Red landed just in time to block Saber Shadow’s slash.


Rail Green sighed as he watched. “That kid exhausts me.”


Rail Pink slashed a grunt away from her comrade. “You loooooove him.”


“What?!” Rail Green slashed and kicked a grunt aside. “Shut up, Kari.”


“Just admit it.” Rail Pink chopped a grunt to the ground. “Admit the love.”


Rail Green grumbled and slashed a grunt out of his way.


Above, Saber Shadow stepped back and twirled his blades through streaks of purple energy. He thrust his swords; the blades fired spears of shadow energy that shot towards Rail Red.


The Red Ranger twirled his Rail Slasher; the blade slackened and lashed out like a whip, which sliced the shadow spears apart.


Rail Red’s blade retracted, and he charged to attack. He hopped with a slash, but Saber Shadow parried and chopped towards the Ranger’s head.


The Red Ranger dodged and swung towards the monster’s midsection. The monster parried and slashed, and Rail Red blocked.


Saber Shadow hopped backward to gain distance. “Red Ranger…” he said. “If we’re going to fight, let’s make it an interesting duel…”


A burst of darkness tore through the sky above, spawning a Shadow Rail that streaked through the air. A black-armored train — a Kuriner — shot across the rail.


Saber Shadow leapt onto the Shadow Line train.


Rail Red twirled his sword into a defensive stance and watched. “All right…a train duel. We can do that.


He shifted his bracer. “Red Rail Liner, on track!”


A Rainbow Line twisted through the skies, and the Red Rail Liner charged across the rail.




The Red Ranger leapt onto the zord. He lifted his sword into a fighting stance as the Red Rail Liner sped towards the Kuriner.


Suddenly, the Green Rail Liner pulled alongside the red-armored zord. 



Rail Green spoke from his cockpit. “Tyler, link up with me! I’ll drive so you can focus on the fight.”


“Oh…” Rail Red said. “Thanks!”


The Green Rail Liner swerved ahead of the Red Rail Liner. They linked up on the same track and throttled alongside the black-armored Kuriner.


Rail Red and Saber Shadow faced each other on their respective trains.


The monster placed one of his blades over his shoulder. “Nice train, Ranger. Now come…Continue the duel.”


The opponents clashed blades with bursts of spark. Saber Shadow slashed; Rail Red ducked beneath the blow and swung at the monster’s midsection. But Saber Shadow parried and chopped his other blade. Rail Red sidestepped as their trains barreled down their tracks.


The opponents hopped trains while clashing blades. They hopped again, back to their own trains, blades sparking on impact.


Suddenly, the Kuriner climbed upward, and the Red Liner did the same, nearly tossing Rail Red off his feet.


The trains swerved and snapped at each other like serpents. The Red Ranger and monster clashed blades with each passing.


The Kuriner and Red Liner shot head-to-head towards each other. The machines coiled around one another, as the Red Ranger and Saber Shadow slashed and parried.


Saber Shadow swung through a streak of purple energy. His blade slashed the Red Ranger with a burst of spark, whipping him off his zord.


The Red Ranger plummeted towards the city far below.


Rail Green dove the Liner downward. Its tracks streaked beneath the Red Ranger, who fell on top of the zord.


Rail Red sighed with relief. “Nice catch.”


Saber Shadow leapt from his Kuriner, aimed his decent towards Rail Red, and chopped while landing.


Rail Red rolled aside and swung upward, slashing Saber Shadow with a burst of spark.


“No free rides!” the Red Ranger shouted as he swung a flurry of slashes the monster parried and dodged.


Saber Shadow swung wide, slashing the Ranger off the Red Liner. The Red Ranger hurled backward and grabbed the side of the zord to keep from falling.  


The monster walked towards the Ranger and stomped on his hand. “Looks like the duel is over…”


“No way!” Rail Red shouted. He pulled himself upward with a flip that kicked Saber Shadow backward.


The Red Ranger landed and speared the monster, blade sparking on impact and knocking him back several steps.


Saber Shadow raised his blades to strike.


But Rail Green dove the zord downward. The train shot into a tunnel, which snapped off the monster’s blades.


The train shot through the other end of the tunnel.


Rail Red spun forward, swung his blade through a streak of red energy, and slashed Saber Shadow with massive bursts of spark.


Saber Shadow collapsed, tumbled off the zord, and exploded into pieces.


But Saber Shadow’s remains flared with darkness. He regenerated and grew giant with a massive boom that shook the streets.


The Red Ranger lowered his sword. “Aw, man…” he said. “That really shouldn’t surprise me…”


The other three Rangers’ Rail Liners sped to the scene across tracks of light.


Ressha blue

Ressha yellow

Ressha pink


The Red Ranger dropped into his cockpit. “Alright! Let’s do this, guys!” he shouted. “Rails, assemble! Liner Fusion!”


The Rail Liners charged, shifted shape, and combined to form a massive Megazord. The Rangers joined in the central cockpit.


“Liner Megazord!” the Rangers shouted. “Rail Robo!”



Saber Shadow spread his arms at the sight of the Megazord. “Come…We duel.”


Rail Red groaned. “He’s still saying that…”


Saber Shadow armed a blaster and opened fire. Giant bullets shot towards the Megazord.


“Release fusion!” Rail Red commanded.


The Megazord spread apart, and the bullets passed harmlessly in between the zords.


Rail Red flipped a lever on his console, and the robo snapped back together with a thundering boom.


“Got him!” Rail Red shouted. “Rail Blaster! Liner Shot!”


The Megazord armed its blaster and fired lances of blue energy. The blasts tore through Saber Shadow with massive bursts of spark, ripping the monster to pieces. A secondary explosion erupted from the center of Saber Shadow and incinerated him into ash.


Rail Blue snapped his fingers. “Rail Rangers…that’s a Super Mega Win!”


Rail Green tilted his head. “Wrong show, dude.”




EPILOGUE: Ruins of the Moon


Queen Beryl, one of the Forsaken, stood on the barren landscape of the moon. She lifted her hands and spread her arms, unearthing the ancient ruins of the Crystal Palace.


Before space-time, the Crystal Palace stood as the shining capital of the Moon Kingdom and its people.  


Then Beryl destroyed it all. After joining the Dark One and forming her Dark Kingdom, she used the Shadow Line to engulf the moon in darkness and turn it into a wasteland.


Now, after countless eons, she returned to that wasteland. And the reincarnated Lords of the Dark Kingdom kneeled behind her. They went by the names of Jadeite, Nephrite, Zoisite and Kunzite.


Beryl spoke to them without turning. “My Shadow Line continues to grow on Earth, as it did here on the Moon. Have you brought me news as equally pleasing?”


Jadeite lowered his head and waved his arm. “I have, my queen…” The other lords wrinkled their noses with disgust, but Jadeite ignored them. “I have found the Princess, and the Legendary Silver Crystal.”


“Very good, Jadeite…” Queen Beryl said with a twisted smile. Her gaze drifted to Earth in the far distance. “The Earth grows darker in preparation for the Emissary. Now…we can release the Grand Army of Hell from Hades.”


Nephrite narrowed his eyes. “But Morticon-”


“Will break under the power of the Emissary and my Dark Kingdom.” She lifted her palm towards the Earth and tightened her hand into a fist. “Then the Grand Army of Hell itself will belong to me. And while the other Forsaken scramble to break the remaining Seals of the Dark One’s prison…I will have my vengeance.”


Jadeite rose and stepped closer to Beryl. “I will bring you the Princess myself.”


“Good…” Beryl said. “Make sure to keep her alive, for now. I want her to know loss as I have known. I want her to suffer the ultimate heartbreak. The ultimate betrayal. Then, and only then, will I bury her into the dust of her precious moon.”


To be continued…Chapter 14