Chapter 14: Ultimate Mystics

The Gate’s Key

 

PROLOGUE: All Hail

 

Moridyn leaned back in his silver chair. He stared at the other chairs arranged in a ring on the rooftop, and waited.

 

But no one came.

 

His fellow Forsaken no longer answered his call. They hadn’t since the fall of Angel Grove and breaking of the Fourth Seal. Each Forsaken focused on his or her own ambitions to gain favor in the eyes of their master, the Dark One.

 

Moridyn took a sip of wine and sighed at the empty seats.

 

“Very well…” he said to himself as he stood and straightened his jacket.

 

Suddenly, a line of silver light split through the air. The line turned to form a glass-like portal, and his fellow Forsaken, Beryl, stepped through it.

 

“Beryl…” Moridyn said. He hadn’t seen her since the First Seal broke and freed the Forsaken from their prison. “This is most unexpected.”

 

“Moridyn…” Beryl said with a smile. “What a sad sight. Here, on your rooftop, all alone…”

 

“Sad?” Moridyn asked. “You were the only one of us to turn to the Dark One for a reason as pitiful as sorrow.”

 

Beryl narrowed her eyes. “You speak of ancient history. I prefer to focus on the present. An odd concept…this ‘time.’ You see, my Shadow Line is already spreading darkness across the entire world. Soon, the Emissary himself will come, and the next Seals will break, all by my design. Your relevance, it seems, has ended.”

 

“Not quite, my dear sister,” Moridyn said, thinking of Simon. “I have my pieces in play. And I know the secret of the Fifth Seal.”

 

“As do I…” Beryl said. “N’Ma…”

 

Moridyn nodded. “A force older than the Wheel of Time. Perhaps together-”

 

Beryl waved her hand dismissively. “Do not seek to manipulate me, Moridyn. I am unlike you. I am a Queen.”

 

“Of a ruined kingdom.”

 

“A Dark Kingdom,” Beryl said. “One that will rise to its former power and glory.”

 

“Yes, of course…” Moridyn said doubtingly. “All for the sake of your longing heart.”

 

Queen Beryl glared with eyes like daggers. “Enough,” she hissed. “I came here to warn you, plain and simple: This is my time, brother. I have found the Key to the Gate. The Silver Crystal. I am about to unleash furies unlike any this realm has ever known. N’Ma. When the time is right, you may serve me. Until then, stay out of my way.”

 

Moridyn smiled with a mocking bow. “I look forward to the day I enter into your service, my sister.”

 

Let her enjoy herself, for a time…he thought. He knew he would gain the Dark One’s favor and take the title Nae’blis, highest of the Forsaken and all the races. Then…Beryl’s petty Dark Kingdom will become as barren as the Moon.

 

***

 

PART ONE: Memories Lost

 

Morticon stomped across his throne room. He stared down at the crimson, mirror-like portal in the floor, which ebbed with dark power.

 

The demon placed his fist over his chest and kneeled.

 

“N’Ma…” He spoke to N’Ma as if it were an entity, instead of something far greater, and more terrifying. “We have found the Key to the Gate. Even now, Necrolai moves towards its location. She is…a great predator. She will not fail you.”

 

The portal shook with waves of impatience and anger.

 

***

 

The Mystic Rangers left Briarwood weeks ago to evade the Silver Guardians. They stopped in Indianapolis, traveled to Columbus, Ohio, and made their way through Pittsburgh. 

 

They didn’t want to stay in one spot too long — that could draw the attention of Morticon and his armies. So they kept moving, knowing their magick could take them back to Root Core when needed.

 

Nick sighed as he walked down the cluttered streets of Mystic Falls, Virginia — Chip wanted to stop there because of the name. Every instinct in his body screamed at him to return to Briarwood. But he didn’t know why.

 

The teen rubbed his forehead, wishing he could remember his mysterious past, lost to amnesia. He knew he somehow came from the same alternate future as Udonna, but he didn’t know how or why.

 

katherine-mcnamara-1411232374Lost in thought, he bumped into a blonde girl, lost his balance, and crashed onto the sidewalk.

 

The girl covered her mouth with her hands. “Oh my gosh! I am so sorry…Are you OK?”

 

“Yeah, it was just a little trip,” Nick said with a bashful smile as he climbed to his feet. “That’s what I get for daydreaming…”

 

Their eyes locked, and Serena blushed at the sight of him. “You’re…Wow…”

 

Nick tilted his head. “I’m ‘wow’?”

 

“No, I mean you look wow. No! I mean you’re, oh…” She giggled to cover her embarrassment. “I mean…Hi.”

 

“Hi,” Nick said with a smile. “I’m Nick.”

 

“Serena,” she said with an awkward smile, introducing herself. “That’s…That’s me.”

 

“Serena,” Nick said with a smile. “Nice name.”

 

Serena blushed even brighter. “Oh, it’s alright, I guess. It’s better than Bun Head.”

 

Nick smiled and knitted his brow. “Better than…what?”

 

“Oh, I used to wear my hair up in these…” she smiled and shook her head. “Never mind, it’s not important, just a silly nickname. Oh, Nick! Nickname! I bet you used to get that a lot.”

 

“Actually, no…” Nick said. “At least I don’t think so. I can’t really remember…”

 

“I know the feeling,” Serena said, still beaming with a bashful, innocent smile.

 

“What do you mean?” Nick asked.

 

“Oh, nothing,” Serena said. “Anyway-”

 

Suddenly, sparks tore through the streets and hurled the teens off their feet. They crashed and skid across the sidewalk.

 

Men and women screamed and ran with panic.

 

Nick rolled into a crouched position and looked ahead. He saw Necrolai stalk towards him with her hand outstretched.

 

Nick looked over his shoulder at Serena. “Run.”

 

Serena opened her eyes wide with horror at the sight of Necrolai. “I…I so should have slept in…”

 

“Serena, go,” Nick said.

 

Necrolai fired a volley of shadow bursts from her palm.

 

Nick grabbed Serena and dove for cover, just as the blasts ignited with bursts of spark.

 

The teens rolled to cover behind a parked car, and Nick helped Serena to her feet.

 

“Please run,” he said.

 

“I’m trying!” Serena said defensively.

 

“No, you were staring,” Nick said.

 

“It’s a vampire. Who wouldn’t stare?”

 

Nick shrugged. “Normal people?”

 

“Hey!” she said defensively and slapped his shoulder.

 

“No, no, I didn’t mean that as a bad-”

 

Necrolai swatted the car aside, grabbed Nick by the neck, and hurled him across the street. The villain looked at Serena and stalked towards her. 

 

“There you are…” Necrolai said.

 

Serena staggered backward and fell. “Um, are you lost? Angel Grove is to the west. At least it was. Go take a look, maybe?”

 

Necrolai reached towards Serena’s face.

 

From the other side of the street, Nick hurled a Ki blast that bashed Necrolai off her feet. She smashed against a building and crashed to the sidewalk.

 

“Nick!” a voice shouted from down the road. Nick looked to see his teammates — Xander, Chip, Madison and Vida — run towards him.  

 

Necrolai climbed to her feet and glared at the rangers as they grouped up. “Is this town the hole where you’ve been hiding, Rangers?”

 

“We don’t hide,” Nick said as he and the others flipped open their morphers.

 

“Heavenly Saints, grant us the power of magick! Magical Source, Mystic Force!” The Heavenly Saints’ auras wrapped around them as they morphed into their armor.

 

Necrolai slid into a defensive stance. “Why are you annoying pests always in my way?”

 

She spat darts of shadow energy that exploded around the Rangers with bursts of spark. The Rangers charged through the sparks and attacked.

 

They launched volleys of punches and kicks. But one-by-one, Necrolai blocked, kicked, and swatted them aside with bursts of spark.

 

Mystic Red launched a jumping crescent kick at the villain. Necrolai ducked and clawed the Ranger with bursts of spark, whipping him backward.

 

The Red Ranger crashed and tumbled across the ground.

 

Necrolai looked over her shoulder and spotted Serena peaking from behind a parked car. “You…” Necrolai hissed. “No more running…”

 

The villain charged to attack. But Mystic Red leapt to his feet and blocked her path. “Why are you after that girl?!”

 

“Because that girl is the Key to the Gateway!” Necrolai shouted.

 

Mystic Red tilted his head. “The what…?”

 

“Don’t play dumb, Ranger,” Necrolai said. “You knew. That’s why you protected her!”

 

She snapped her wings and shot into the air. “I don’t have time for this!” she shouted as she dove towards Serena. “Come to me, girl! Give me the Silver Crystal!”

 

“The what?!” Serena shouted as she scrambled backward. “I don’t even-”

 

Mystic Red pounced and slashed Necrolai from the air with a burst of spark. The villain crashed through a nearby storefront that shattered and splintered into pieces.

 

Slowly, Necrolai climbed from the debris. The villain glared at Serena. “Now that I’ve found you…I will not lose you. You will be mine as soon as your guard is down…”

 

Necrolai snapped her wings, shot into the air, and fled from the scene.

 

***

 

The teens powered down their armor after the fight, worrying less about their identities now that they found themselves on the run.

 

Across the street, Serena sat on the curb with her knees pulled up to her chest. She looked shocked with disbelief.

 

Nick sighed at the sight of her. “You guys go. I need to talk to Serena and find out what she knows about this Gate Key.”

 

“Do you even know that girl?” Xander asked.

 

Nick shook his head. “No…which is why I need to talk to her…

 

He walked over to Serena and sat next to her on the curb. They stayed quiet for a moment, as Nick shifted uncomfortably.

 

“So…” Nick said to break the silence. “I’m sorry you got caught up in this.”

 

Serena nodded. “Yeah, well…” She hesitated, and slipped back into silence for a moment. “So you’re a Ranger, huh? That’s…nice?”

 

“I suppose,” Nick said.

 

“And…that thing that attacked us?”

 

“Necrolai...”

 

“Oh…” Serena said. “OK. Necrolai. Right…”

 

“She called you the Key to the Gateway, and said something about a Silver Crystal. Do you know what she meant?”

 

Serena shook her head. “I don’t even know my real name.”

 

Nick knitted his brow. “What do you mean?”

 

“My life, before these last few months…I don’t really remember anything,” she said.

 

Nick’s eyes opened wide with excitement. “Really? Me either!”

 

“Seriously?” she asked.

 

Nick nodded. “Total amnesia.”

 

“Me too!” Serena said with a smile. “Why are we smiling?”

 

“I don’t know…” Nick said. “Maybe this means something. Like we’re…connected somehow.”

 

Serena blushed. “Um…Maybe, yeah.”

 

“So…” Nick said with a sigh. “Now what?”

 

“You’re the Ranger. You tell me,” Serena said.

 

“We should probably go,” Nick said. “We can’t stay here after a fight like that…”

 

“Oh…” Serena said.

 

“I mean go together,” Nick said. “We can…I don’t know…walk or something. See if we can help you remember anything about this Key.”

 

“OK. Great!” Serena said with renewed spirit that Nick recognized from before the attack. “I know this great place downtown. Come on! You’re buying, by the way.”

 

“Me?”

 

“That’s right, Ranger Boy,” Serena said. “Come on!”

 

***

 

Morticon hurled Necrolai across the throne room. She crashed against a wall and smashed to the floor.

 

Slowly, she climbed onto all fours. “If those damn magicians hadn’t interfered…”

 

“No excuses,” Morticon said as he lifted Necrolai by the neck. “We finally found the Key. We finally found the Silver Crystal. But you wasted our time!”

 

Morticon ignited tendrils of electricity that thrashed Necrolai with massive bursts of spark.

 

Necrolai writhed with agony. “Forgive me, Lord Morticon!”

 

Morticon tossed her aside. She crashed, tumbled across the ground, and split into her dual form with a burst of shadow.

 

Morticon aimed his sword at the women. “Find the Key to the Gateway! If you make me wait any longer, I will feed you to the Hades Beasts!”

 

***

 

Nick and Serena walked through downtown Mystic Falls. Nick finished telling her everything, from the moment he got his powers, to their retreat from Briarwood.

 

“That’s terrible…” Serena said.

 

Nick nodded. “It is…I know I wasn’t in Briarwood for long…but it felt like home. The only home I’ve known.”

 

Serena nodded. “I feel the same way about Mystic Falls…I think.”

 

Nick armed an eyebrow. “You think?”

 

“Hey, I just got attacked by a vampire. I’m not exactly feeling welcome here. Some sympathy, please?” Serena said defensively.

 

“OK, OK. I get it,” Nick said as they continued their walk. “So…Did you come here from somewhere else, or is this the last place you remember?”

 

“It’s the last place I remember…sort of,” Serena said. “It’s kind of a long story. Well…not long, really, but…awkward. For me, at least.”

 

“What?” Nick asked.

 

Serena shook her head. “Oh nothing. Just before I woke up here…I had this dream…I was wearing this white dress, and there was this man…he was in all black, but…radiant. I can’t explain it. I reached out to him, and he reached out to me, but even with all that reaching, we couldn’t get to each other. Then…Then I woke up here.”

 

“Huh,” Nick said. “I wonder if it was really a dream…or a memory…”

 

“That’s what I’d like to know,” Serena said.

 

Suddenly, a chill crept down Nick’s spine. He staggered and narrowed his eyes. What the hell was that…? It felt like someone just walked over my grave…

 

***

 

WolKaiser stood within the depths of Hell. A magick circle formed on the ground beneath him, and its runes pulsed with dark-purple energy. The energy rose through strands of mist that wrapped around the evil zord.

 

“Clad in deep darkness…” he whispered with a deep, rumbling voice. “I will increase my Black Magick, even further…Just a bit more…Just a bit more...”

 

The villain sensed a strange spiritual pressure nearby. He stepped from his zord and dropped through a magick circle that shrunk him to normal size. Koragg landed on the ground with his shield in hand.

 

“Necrolai…” he whispered.

 

“Koragg…” she said as she stepped from the shadows. She spoke with great reluctance. “Please…Help me.”

 

“So…You’ve lost track of the Key to the Gateway?”

 

“That’s right…” Necrolai said. “Her spiritual pressure has completely vanished…”

 

“That girl…she is probably being hidden by the Magicians of the Five Colors…”

 

Necrolai scoffed. “Girl…You and I know she is no girl…”

 

***

 

Xander, Chip, Madison and Vida regrouped with Nick and Serena at an outdoor café in Mystic Falls.

 

Chip smirked as he dug in his pocket. “Boy, will you be glad to see us.”

 

“That’s doubtful,” Nick said jokingly.

 

“We talked to Kuro after you told us about Serena’s amnesia,” Xander said. “Our favorite magical talking cat came up with a plan.”

 

Chip pulled a yellow pill from his pocket and slapped it on the table. “And this is it. Like it? I made it myself.”

 

“What is it, Chip?” Nick asked.

 

“A magick pill,” Chip said. “It should cure Serena’s amnesia.”

 

Nick shook his head. “But nothing worked with my memory loss.”

 

Chip shrugged. “Kuro said Serena’s different…so it’s worth a try.”

 

Serena lifted the pill cautiously. “What if…What if I don’t want to remember?”

 

Vida leaned forward. “You have to remember…Whatever this gate is…Kuro thinks it’s the gateway to Hades.”

 

“And that’s supposed to make me want to remember?” Serena asked.

 

“Well…” Chip said. “Kind of, yeah. It means something about you can help us stop the Hades Beasts. That’s a pretty big deal!”

 

Serena sighed. “Can’t we just forget about this monster business for a while? I just met you guys! Let’s socialize!”

 

“Socialize?” Madison asked. “Serena…We have a responsibility…”

 

“No, you have a responsibility,” Serena said. “I have…algebra homework. And other normal teenage things!”

 

Serena stood and bolted from the table.

 

Vida shook her head. “Drama much?”

 

Nick sighed. “I’ll go after her,” he said as he started to follow Serena. “You guys stay here.”

 

***

 

PART TWO: In the Name of the Moon

 

Uuzara Ugarao!” Koragg thrust his shield and fired a wave of purple mist that swirled around Necrolai.

 

The mist filled her body with power as she staggered backward. “What…What have you done?” Her claws extended, and her skin tinted darker. “What is this power…It burns!”

 

“I cast a spell to draw forth your latent abilities,” Koragg said. “Your five senses, and your body, have all increased in strength.”

 

Necrolai snapped her wings and shot upward. She twirled and flew through the air as she grinned with fiendish delight. “How…How wonderful…!”

 

Koragg looked towards her. “No matter what the Magicians of the Five Colors do to obstruct you…they are inexperienced. They will surely leave an opening. Do not miss that chance.”

 

Necrolai landed behind the Wolf Knight. “Koragg…I owe you. Especially after everything I’ve…”

 

“I do this in service of the Dark One,” Koragg said. “Your debt is to him alone. Now go…and serve.”

 

***

 

Serena sat on a curb and wiped tears from her face. She tried her best to giggle and act normal when Nick sat next to her.

 

“I can be such a crybaby sometimes, gosh,” she said with her best smile. “I swear I’m not always this emotional. It must be the moon or something.”

 

“It’s daytime, Serena,” Nick said.

 

“Right…Well, that explains it,” she said.

 

“Look,” Nick said as he slid closer to her. “You don’t have to take the pill if you don’t want to. Trust me…I know the thought of the truth can be scary. All of a sudden…realizing everything about your past…who knows what you’ll find.”

 

“Right?” Serena said in agreement.

 

“Take all the time you need,” Nick said. “You can take the pill when you’re ready. And if that never happens, we’ll find some other way to learn about this Silver Crystal and Gateway Key.”

 

Serena wiped her last tear and smiled at him. “You really mean that?”

 

“I do,” Nick said. “There’s something about you…that doesn’t quite fit. But it still feels right.”

 

“Yeah, I don’t know what that means,” Serena said.

 

“I’m not sure I do either.” Nick said as he stood and extended his hand. “Come on…Let’s get back to my friends.”

 

***

 

Nai and Mare returned to their lair after receiving Koragg’s power-up. They readied mystical weapons infused with their new dark power.

 

Nai armed a black crossbow. “The Dark Heavy Bow Gun of Juusatsu…”

 

Mare armed a black gatling cannon. “The Exploding Turret Gun of Destruction…”

 

Nai smirked. “Impressive, Mare…”

 

“Impressive,” Mare echoed.

 

“This time, we’ll tear those magicians to pieces.”

 

“To pieces…”

 

***

 

Nick and Serena walked back towards the outdoor café where the others waited.

 

Nick narrowed his eyes when he sensed a strange, all-too familiar spiritual pressure loom close.

 

“Get down!” Nick grabbed Serena and dove for cover.

 

They landed just as an arrow struck the ground behind them, exploding with massive bursts of spark.

 

Nick climbed to his feet and turned to face Nai and Mare. He stood in front of Serena to protect her as his teammates regrouped around him.

 

Nai aimed her crossbow. “Hand over that girl.”

 

“That girl…” Mare echoed as she aimed her gatling cannon.

 

“That’s not going to happen,” Nick said.

 

“Good,” Nai said. “We’ll do this the hard way…”

 

“The hard way,” Mare echoed.

 

Mare opened fire with rapid rounds of demonic bullets.

 

The teens quickly armed their morphers. “Mystic Force!”

 

They morphed, just as bullets struck their armor with bursts of spark.

 

Mare fired another volley. Bullets exploded around the Rangers as Mystic Red draped his cape around Serena to protect her.

 

The Ranger set her aside and unsheathed his staff.

 

Giruma Magiiro!” He thrust his staff downward with a burst of red energy.

 

A wall sprouted from the street and blocked Mystic Red and Serena from the next volley of Mare’s weapon.

 

The villain swung wide and blasted the other four Rangers with bursts of spark that whipped them backward.

 

Mystic Red lowered his staff, as well as the wall. He looked over his shoulder at Serena. “Run.”

 

She nodded and ran towards the nearest building, where she hid behind a column.

 

Mystic Red leapt through the air to attack Nai and Mare. The villain fired her crossbow and blasted the Red Ranger with a burst of spark that knocked him to the ground.

 

Serena gasped as she watched. She clasped her hands together — and realized she still held Chip’s memory capsule. When did she pick it up, again? She didn’t remember. But she felt the need to take the pill, to remember the truth about her past, and help her new friends.

 

But…how am I supposed to help them against something like…like that! She thought to herself.

 

And strangely, a voice that sounded identical to hers, only older and more mature, answered. You have more power and courage than you realize, Usagi. You’ve just forgotten…

 

Usagi…” she whispered the name that sounded more familiar than her own

 

She closed her eyes tight, wrinkled her brow, and swallowed the pill before she changed her mind.

 

Suddenly, images poured through her memory, images of a place before time, a massive Crystal Palace on the Moon, where people called her queen. Usagi. Queen Serenity. A Celestial — something more than human: A Heavenly Saint in mortal form.

 

“The Heavenly Saint…” she whispered. “Of the Moon…”

 

***

 

Mystic Red climbed to his feet as his teammates regrouped around him.

 

Mystic Yellow armed his staff. “Magi Staff Bow Gun!”

 

He aimed at Nai and Mare, who joined hands and merged into Necrolai.

 

The villain smiled wickedly. “Give it your best shot…”

 

“Yellow Thunder!” Mystic Yellow triggered a massive bolt of crackling yellow energy. 

 

Necrolai spread her arms wide and welcomed the attack. The blast punctured her chest and spread through her body with tendrils of power. She absorbed the energy and tightened her grip on her weapons.

 

“I have evolved,” Necrolai taunted. “Did you think your insignificant attacks would work on me?”

 

She fired volleys of energy with her crossbow and cannon. The attacks exploded against the Rangers with massive bursts of spark that whipped them backward.

 

Slowly, Mystic Red climbed to his feet. Smoke sizzled from his armor, and he gripped tightly onto his sword.

 

“I’m not letting you touch Serena, Necrolai…You think you’ve evolved? Let’s see!”

 

The Red Ranger extended his blade and charged. Necrolai fired her blaster and crossbow. But Mystic Red slashed through the blasts and continued his advanced.

 

He somersaulted forward, rose to his feet and kicked the crossbow from Necrolai’s hand. The Red Ranger lunged and punched Necrolai to the ground.

 

The villain rolled onto her back and fired her cannon. Blasts exploded against Mystic Red’s chest with bursts of spark that hurled him through the air.

 

Necrolai climbed to her feet and lifted her cannon over her shoulder. “Go to sleep, little Rangers.”

 

The villain turned and stalked towards Serena. “The time has finally come…to obliterate the Key to the Gateway…”

 

Necrolai aimed her cannon and fired. “Disappear!”

 

Rapid bolts of energy shot towards Serena. She stepped back, extended her hand, and explosions burst around her with showers of spark and smoke that shrouded her from view.

 

“Serena!” Mystic Red shouted.

 

Her voice shouted from the smoke: “Moon! Prism! Power! Make up!”

 

Pale yellow light ignited from the smoke and splashed across the street. Energy wrapped around Serena, with strands of yellow and pink. A tiara formed on her forehead, with the crescent-shaped symbol of the moon at its center.  White gloves wrapped around her hands and arms, up to her elbows. And dark-pink boots wrapped around her feet and legs, up to her knees. A flowing dress of white and dark-pink wrapped around her body, with a short skirt. At the center of her chest, she wore a golden broach, engraved with the symbol of the moon.

 

Necrolai stepped back with shock. “What…What is this!”

 

“I…am the Serene Moon Elemental! Heavenly Saint of the Moon! Lunagel!”

 

Lunagel…?”

 

“And now…in the name of the Moon…I’ll punish you!”

 

***

 

The N’Ma portal pulsed with crimson energy that shook the Great City of Hell. Tendrils of power lashed from the portal, like thrashing beams of anger.

 

Morticon stepped backward with fear. “N’Ma…?”

 

***

 

Koragg stood in the depths of Hell. He grasped his shield and shifted in a meditative posture.

 

Then he felt Hell shake. “What is this…?”

 

***

 

Mystic Red opened his eyes wide beneath his helmet. The other Rangers did the same, and Mystic Yellow smiled. “It’s…Sailor Moon!”

 

“What?” Mystic Pink asked.

 

“It’s what everyone will end up calling her…” Mystic Yellow said. “And…I have no idea how I know that…Sweet!”

 

Necrolai cursed beneath her breath. The villain aimed her weapons at the Heavenly Saint and fired bullets of shadow energy.

 

Sailor Moon summoned a baton with a burst of light; she thrust the weapon forward. “Moon Halation!”

 

The baton fired a wave of light that blasted through the bullets and splashed across Necrolai; the impact sent the villain skidding backward.

 

The Heavenly Saint placed her hand over her headband, which flashed with lunar light. The tiara slid off her head and shifted into a crescent-shaped blade of energy.

 

“Moon Tiara Action!” She thrust her hand, and the tiara shot forward.

 

The blade punctured through Necrolai’s gut with massive bursts of spark, knocking her to her knees as secondary explosions ripped through her body. She nearly split in two but managed to hold her single form. 

 

Mystic Red rolled his hands into fists. “Now’s our chance, guys. Come on…”

 

The Rangers leapt through the air and angled their decent towards Necrolai.

 

“Mystic Surge!” Mystic Red shouted.

 

The Rangers pulsed with energy and bashed flying sidekicks against Necrolai. The impact hurled the villain off her feet with massive bursts of spark.

 

She crashed and skid across the street.

 

Slowly, Necrolai climbed to her feet. Secondary explosions tore across her body. “How…How can this happen?!”

 

The villain hissed with pain, leapt upward and flew into the distance.

 

Sailor Moon lowered her baton and watched the villain fly away. On instinct, she reached up and touched the broach on her chest.

 

“You’ll never have it…” she whispered. “Ever…”

 

***

 

Nick and the others powered down their armor and regrouped around Serena.

 

Nick shook his head with disbelief. “So you’re…a Heavenly Saint?”

 

“Looks like that way…” she said with her familiar smile. “A reincarnation…of Lunagel: Queen Serenity.”

 

Chip knitted his brow. “How many names do you have?”

 

Suddenly, thunder and lightning scorched the skies. Dark clouds blotted out the sun, and four bursts of shadow landed on the rooftops around them. The shadows took shape to form four young men, each wearing a gray uniform trimmed with a different color, and gray gloves.  

 

http://www.ryuranger.com/RANGERBOARD/DarkKingdom.bmp

 

They called themselves the Four Heavenly Kings: Jadeite, Nephrite, Zoisite and Kunzite.

 

Jadeite crossed his arms over his chest and smiled mockingly. “Lunagel…it’s been too long.”

 

“What are you doing here, Jadeite?” Serena asked. “You’re supposed to be…”

 

“Dead?” Jadeite asked. “You’re not the only one who’s been reincarnated into this Wheel of Time nonsense.”

 

Nick rolled his hands into fists and looked up to face the villains. “Who are you?”

 

“We are the lords of Queen Beryl’s Dark Kingdom,” Jadeite said.

 

Nephrite stepped forward. “We are more powerful than ever, Usagi…as is our queen, and her fellow Forsaken. The Dark One will rise…and you cannot stop it.”

 

Jadeite extended his hand and smiled mockingly. “You will make the appropriate arrangements…and hand over the Silver Crystal. You have 24 hours.”

 

The villains vanished into pillars of shadow.

 

Nick looked to Sailor Moon. “Serena…” he said. “What’s going on?”

 

“I’ll tell you everything,” she said softly. “It all started before time…before space…”

 

To be continued…Chapter 15