Saints of the Askani: Prologue

Face the Real World

 

PART ONE: Riders

 

Demon City broke three months ago. Its creatures spread across the western states, but most people lived oblivious to this fact — until the demons sprouted in their neighborhoods.  

 

For three months, cities suffered sporadic, random attacks.

 

The latest outbreak happened in Stone Canyon. A group of Worms attacked a city plaza and struck everything that moved. They ripped through cars, hurled people across the street, and slashed everyone who tried to run.

 

Nearby, a teen walked onto the scene. He stopped when he noticed the carnage.

 

The teen, Skyler, sighed and adjusted his hat. I left ZECT to get away from this bullshit. Looks like it followed me…

 

The teen lifted his hand and caught his zector. He snapped the device onto a small blaster shaped like a dragonfly.

 

“Awaken…” The zector echoed the command: “AWAKEN.”

 

Bulky armor clamped around his body as he assumed his Masked Form.

 

drake

 

“Cast off.” He flipped the switch on his zector: “CAST OFF.”

 

His armor snapped free and shot off, revealing his slender Rider form: Kamen Rider Drake. 

 

“CHANGE DRAGONFLY”

 

drake222

 

The Rider armed his blaster and opened fire. Blasts tore through Worms with bursts of spark that knocked them backward. 

 

Several Worms scrambled to their feet, regrouped, and rushed at Drake.

 

The Rider sighed. Reluctantly, he charged to attack.

 

***

 

Xanathor stood on top of his black palace. He looked out upon the landscape of Demon City, which now encompassed all of Angel Grove — nuked, scorched, and rotted. His forces could now spread from the city and cover new ground. New territory.

 

Still, he waited. He waited for the breaking of the Fifth Seal.

 

***

 

Zayden stood outside an apartment building in Crossworld City. He wanted Cassie and Ava to move further east, away from the danger of Angel Grove’s destruction. But Cassie refused. She wanted to live close to her parents, to give Ava some sense of familiarity. So she rented an apartment at the expense of FEMA.

 

She made sure to give Zayden a room of his own, which he rarely used. He kept himself too busy standing guard.

 

Demons. The Forsaken. They could strike anytime, anywhere. And Zayden wanted to make sure he stayed prepared.

 

The artificial teen looked out upon the busy street and saw Ken approach on his cycle. Ken pulled to a stop at the curb, took off his helmet, and hopped off his bike.

 

“Zayden…” Ken said as he walked towards his friend.

 

“Ken,” Zayden said, his voice calm and cold.

 

Ken arced an eyebrow. “Have you been standing here all day?”

 

Zayden nodded.

 

Ken sighed. “You can’t keep doing this. I know you think you’re helping…but you’re actually making things worse. Cassie and Ava won’t be able to relax or feel at home if you keep acting so…tense.”

 

“This isn’t our home,” Zayden said. “Our home was destroyed.”

 

“I…” Ken started to say. “I know. This is hard on all of us. But Benjamin and Nicolas are out there trying to track down the Forsaken. Whatever’s happening…it’s connected to them.”

 

Aginor…” Zayden practically hissed the name of the Forsaken that kidnapped him months ago. 

 

“Right,” Ken said. “We’ll track him down. We’ll stop him. But you standing outside like this? Isn’t helping. Megan’s here with Bobby. She’s our eyes and ears. You…You should be there for Cassie. And Ava. Try to give them some sense of normal…”

 

“There is no normal…” Zayden said. “Not anymore.”

 

***

 

Kouishiro sat in a Los Angeles hospital room. He held Maya by the hand and listened to the mechanical beeps of the machines that kept her alive. She fell into a deep coma after a skirmish with the Phantom Demons. During the battle, the Forsaken named Lanfear trapped Austin — Kamen Rider Wizard — in Maya’s subconscious.

 

Her condition worsened every day.

 

Agent Kaoru Ichijo walked into the room. An old friend of Kouishiro and Maya’s, he helped get them settled into Los Angeles after the evacuation of Angel Grove.

 

“How is she?” asked Ichijo, an agent of Section 31.

 

“The same,” Kouishiro said. “I don’t suppose you came just to check on her…”

 

“No…,” Ichijo said as he moved to the window. “There was a Phantom Demon attack a few blocks from here.”

 

“Again?” Kouishiro said.

 

Ichijo nodded. “Leo and Kane took care of it. I wonder if they’re being drawn to Maya somehow. Or the Riders…”

 

Kouishiro shook his head. “I don’t know. This is still so…”

 

“Surreal?” Ichijo asked.

 

Kouishiro nodded. “I spent my whole life traveling. I never settled down until I met Maya. Angel Grove…was our first real home.”

 

“It’s gone now…” Ichijo said.

 

“I know that…” He touched the cracked Inner World Ring on Maya’s hand. “I have to find a way to reach her…I just have to.”

 

“I know,” Ichijo said. “I’ll do what I can to learn more about these…Forsaken.”

 

“No…” Kouishiro said. “Just try to find Tommy. I’m starting to think he’s the only one who can help her.”

 

***

 

PART TWO: The Fury

 

“We have to find Tommy,” Adam said as he walked into Miki’s San Francisco Hotel room.

 

She arced an eyebrow. “I haven’t seen you in three months, and that’s the first thing you say to me?”

 

“It’s…complicated,” Adam said.

 

The government evacuated Angel Grove before Miki could find Adam. When the bombs dropped and destroyed the city, she feared the worse. But Adam finally called her three days ago.

 

“Adam…” Miki said. “What happened? To you…the Rangers…the city. I need answers.”

 

Adam sighed and took a seat.

 

“The Rangers…” Adam started to say.

 

“They didn’t make it,” Miki said. “Did they?”

 

“They made it,” Adam said. “They stopped Faust…but they didn’t close the blood portal.”

 

“Does that mean…did the Fourth Seal break?” Miki asked.

 

“Yes,” Adam said. “But I don’t think it was because of the portal…”

 

***

 

Three months ago…

 

Casey and the rangers regrouped on the skyscraper after the demon portal closed. They didn’t know what caused the portal to slam shut, but they had other concerns. The streets still swarmed with Rinshi.

 

They blamed Long for the attack, and decided to face the Forsaken head-on. R.J., Dom, Theo and Lilly decided to head to the RinJuken Akugata dojo. But Casey wanted to find Jarrod first. The ranger believed they needed Jarrod on their side to stand up to Long and defeat him.

 

So the team split up.

 

***

 

R.J., Dom, Theo and Lilly ran up a stone stairway that led to the RinJuken Akugata Dojo. The purple sky cast a violet hue across the entire landscape.

 

They stopped when they noticed the massive dojo up ahead.

 

“This is it…” Lilly said.

 

R.J. nodded. “Feel that spiritual pressure? That’s a lot of Rinki…”

 

“So how do we get in?” Theo asked.

 

“I’m thinking: The front,” Dom said.

 

R.J. cracked his knuckles. “Then let’s get attacking.”

 

The four rangers charged up the stairway. Ahead, a group of Rinshi dropped onto the steps. But the rangers didn’t break their advance.

 

They smashed through the grunts with punches, kicks, palm-heel strikes and elbow blows. The rangers fought with fluidity and ease, bashed through the last of the soldiers and dashed into the RinJuken courtyard.

 

There, the GenJuken monster Sanyo waited outside the dojo.

 

Hmph,” Sanyo grunted dismissively. “I’m surprised you made it this far, fledgling GekiJuken users.”

 

 The teens snapped into fighting stances. Dom looked over his shoulder to Lilly and Theo.

 

“Leave this freak to us. You guys go ahead…” he said.

 

Dom and R.J. charged, morphed into their armor, and pounced at the monster. White Rhino chopped a knife-hand strike, and Violet Wolf swung his knee, but Sanyo blocked both blows.

 

Theo and Lilly ran past Sanyo and headed towards the dojo.

 

***

 

Casey ran towards Jarrod in the Blackened Mountains.

 

“Jarrod!” he shouted.

 

Jarrod stopped but didn’t turn to face the ranger. Instead, he lowered his head. And waited.

 

***

 

Theo and Lilly barged into the dojo. They saw Camille chained on the dais, and Long stood on a balcony.

 

The villain smiled. “I didn’t think you Rangers would come…”

 

Camille knitted her brow at the teens. “Why…?”

 

“We’re here to save you,” Theo said.

 

“Well…sort of,” Lilly said. “We’re here to stop Long.”

 

The Forsaken smirked. “You children are in over your heads. I am immortal…Do you really want to play with me that badly!”

 

Long thrust his hand and fired a flare of Genki.

 

“Spirit unleash!” the Rangers morphed just as the blast splashed over them with bursts of spark.

 

They leapt through the blasts, shifted into Jungle Master Mode, and thrust their Claw Boosters at Long.

 

But Long pounced with a double-punch that bashed them backward. They crashed and tumbled across the floor.

 

Long landed and shifted into his monster form.

 

***

 

Jarrod collapsed to his knees. He lowered his head and looked at his hands.

 

“Have you come to mock me?” he asked.

 

Casey stepped closer to the Shaded. “No…” he said. “I didn’t come to mock you. I know…I know you’re afraid. But you can’t let that rule you. Long has Camille, and we have to stop him.”

 

Jarrod scoffed. “‘We?’ I told you, Ranger. I am not a hero.”

 

“I’m not talking about being a hero,” Casey said. “I’m talking about saving someone you care about. You care about her…don’t you?”

 

Jarrod knitted his brow. “She was my…subordinate. Nothing more.”

 

“Don’t lie to yourself,” Casey said. “Get angry. He manipulated you. Tried to use you. Are you going to let him get away with that?”

 

“Stop talking,” Jarrod said. “You can’t begin to understand how I feel. I dedicated my whole life to becoming stronger. That’s exactly what DaiShi wanted. What Long wanted. I was a cog in their machine. Nothing more. I will never let that happen again.”

 

“Then break the machine,” Casey said. “You can stop Long without giving him what he wants.”

 

Slowly, Jarrod climbed to his feet and started walking away.

 

“Leave me alone, Ranger. You and I-”

 

Casey charged, grabbed Jarrod by the shoulder, whipped him around and punched him to the ground.

 

The ranger leaned over the villain and lifted him by the shirt.

 

“Snap out of it, Jarrod!” Casey shouted. “This isn’t you! You’re a fighter!”

 

Jarrod knocked Casey away and rolled to his feet. The villain pounced and punched Casey’s gut. The blow knocked the wind from the ranger, and he collapsed to his knees.

 

Casey smirked and looked up at Jarrod. “That’s better…You finally got angry. Did you hit me because Long wanted you to? Or DaiShi? No…That was you. Your feelings belong to you. Not DaiShi. Not Long. So…How do you feel, Jarrod? What do you want to do?”

 

The Shaded rolled his hands into fists.

 

***

 

Sanyo fired a bolt of Genki that burst with flames. The shockwave hurled White Rhino and Violet Wolf through the air.

 

Inside the dojo, Long dashed through blurs of motion that flared with Genki. He slashed Yellow Cheetah and Blue Jaguar with massive bursts of spark that whipped them off their feet.

 

The impact knocked them from their armor with bursts of light.

 

Long skid to a halt and laughed. He thrust his hand with strands of Genki that thrashed the rangers backward. They crashed and rolled into crouched stances.

 

Theo grabbed a pillar and pulled himself up. “We can’t lose here…”

 

“I wasn’t planning on it,” Lilly said as she leaned on a pillar and climbed to her feet.

 

Long thrust his hand with a strand of Genki that strapped the rangers to the column. The energy solidified into a golden band that held the teens in place.

 

“You two should stay there…and observe,” Long said. “Watch as the Fourth Seal breaks…and the next Great Beast destroys the world.”

 

Long lifted his hand and walked towards Camille. “Now, my dear. Shall we continue?”

 

Camille squirmed and tried to break free.

 

Long laughed at the sight. “Don’t worry…the pain will soon overwhelm your fear.”

 

Suddenly, the doors burst open as Casey and Jarrod leapt into the dojo. With flying punches, they bashed Long with bursts of Ki that knocked him several steps backward. The teens advanced with side-kicks that hurled the Forsaken off his feet.

 

Long smashed against the wall and crashed to the ground.

 

Casey ran to his teammates. “Guys! Are you OK?”

 

Lilly nodded. “I’d be better if I could freaking move.”

 

Casey grabbed their bindings and snapped them free.

 

Nearby, Jarrod pulled Camille free, and she fell into his arms.

 

“Jarrod…” she whispered. “You came for me…Why?”

 

“Do I really need to tell you?” Jarrod asked. He pulled her close and held her tight.

 

Mocking laughter echoed through the dojo. “How sweet.”

 

Long leapt into the center of the room. “The melodrama ends here, Jarrod. Come with me…to the other side that no mortal can experience.”

 

“I’m not your puppet,” Jarrod said as he stalked towards Long. Casey, Theo and Lilly regrouped around him. “I’m going to kill you, Long. Right here.”

 

“You are already the GenJyuOu,” Long said. “Your only destiny…is to become the Great Beast of Destruction.”

 

“No…” Jarrod said. “I will overcome that. With my power. My will. My strength!”

 

He spread his arms, flared with Genki, and transformed into his armor. His power intensified and poured from his body, lighting the room.

 

Camille took a step back. “Jarrod…what are you-” Then, she realized his plan. “I’ll join you.”

 

She spread her arms, flared with Genki, and transformed into her armor. Her Genki ignited like fire and burnt from her body.

 

Combined, their power shattered with a flare of golden light. When the light faded, Jarrod and Camille stood in their RinJuken armor as their auras ebbed with Rinki.  

 

Jarrod rolled his armored hands into fists. “This is my strength.”

 

Long cursed beneath his breath and fled from the dojo.

 

***

 

Outside, Sanyo grabbed White Rhino and Violet Wolf with invisible strands of energy and smashed them to the ground.

 

Long somersaulted through the air and landed next to the general.

 

“Sanyo…” Long said. “Change of plans. Obliterate them all…and we’ll raise a new Great Beast of Destruction.”

 

Suddenly, Jarrod and Camille leapt into the courtyard with flying side-kicks. They bashed Sanyo off his feet and hurled him through the air.

 

Red Tiger, Yellow Cheetah and Blue Jaguar followed. They ran to White Rhino and Violet Wolf and helped them to their feet.

 

“Thanks…” White Rhino said. “Now if you could stop spinning…that would be great.”

 

“We’re not spinning, Dom,” Red Tiger said.

 

“Oh good,” White Rhino said. “Concussions are fun.”

 

The Rangers and RinJuken stood alongside each other and faced Long and Sanyo.

 

“Sanyo…” Red Tiger said. “We won’t let you break the Fourth Seal. We won’t!”

 

The seven warriors snapped into fighting stances.

 

“With the ferocity of the lion…RinJuken, Kurojishi.”

 

“With the furtiveness of the chameleon…RinJuken, Camille.”

 

“With the strength of the tiger…Jungle Fury Red Ranger!”

 

“With the stealth of the jaguar…Jungle Fury Blue Ranger!”

 

“With the speed of the cheetah…Jungle Fury Yellow Ranger!”

 

“With the courage of the wolf! Jungle Fury, Violet Ranger!”

 

“With the power of the rhino! Jungle Fury, White Ranger!”

 

The five Rangers slid into their poses. “Savage Task Force!” Red Tiger shouted. Together, they called out: “Jungle Fury Rangers!”

 

They flared with Geki and ShiGeki, as Jarrod and Camille ignited with Rinki.

 

Red Tiger stood tall. “We’re taking you down, Long!”

 

Blue Jaguar nodded. “Lilly, Dom, R.J. and I will hold off Sanyo.”

 

“You, Jarrod and Camille take Long,” Yellow Cheetah said.

 

The Yellow Ranger and Blue Ranger armed their Claw Boosters. “Jungle Master Mode!”

 

They powered up, flared with KaGeki and shot at Sanyo. The Rangers bashed the monster backward; White Rhino and Violet Wolf leapt forward for a follow-up attack.

 

Red Tiger armed his Claw Booster. “Jungle Master Mode!”

 

He flared with KaGeki and powered up. Red Tiger, Jarrod and Camille leapt through the air and angled their decent at Long.

 

White Rhino, Violet Wolf, Yellow Cheetah and Blue Jaguar surrounded Sanyo with flurries of punches and kicks. The general twisted and turned as he blocked and parried their blows.

 

Violet Wolf swung his knee, and White Rhino chopped his fist weapon. The general blocked the blows and punched the Rangers with bursts of spark, knocking them backward.

 

Yellow Cheetah and Blue Jaguar moved in from behind. Sanyo turned, blocked their blows, and punched them aside.

 

The two Rangers crashed and tumbled across the ground.

 

Violet Wolf and White Rhino stood side-by-side.

 

Violet Wolf armed his bracer. “Rin Rin Ken!”

 

White Rhino armed his fist weapon. “Chou Nen Nen Dan!”

 

Violet Wolf swung his fist with a pulse of ShiGeki, and White Rhino chopped his fist with a burst of Geki. The blasts combined and shot at Sanyo.

 

The general caught the blasts. “PanJyuRyoku Kurai!”

 

He injected his Genki into the blast and hurled it at the Rangers. The blast slammed against them with massive bursts of spark that knocked them off their feet. 

 

Nearby, Long swatted Red Tiger with a burst of spark that whipped him off his feet.

 

Jarrod pounced with a flying punch Long caught. The Forsaken tightened his grip and punched Jarrod’s gut repeatedly. Each blow sparked on impact.

 

“You will regret giving up my Genki!” Long shouted.

 

He punched the Shaded with a burst of spark that hurled him backward.

 

Meanwhile, Sanyo flared with power. GenGi. GraviTon!”

 

He slapped the ground with a shockwave that smashed the Rangers. The attack intensified gravity and pressed the Rangers hard.

 

Sanyo laughed. “How does it feel to weigh so heavily, that you cannot move?”

 

The villain raised his hands. “Now…more!”

 

His fists pulsed with Genki, but before he could strike, his aura died down. The general staggered.

 

“I…cannot move…” he grunted.

 

Camille blurred into focus behind the Rangers. “That is my Hidden Ringi. MukouShou! I’ve stopped the flow of Ki in your body…”

 

Sanyo collapsed to his knees.

 

Nearby, an explosion hurled Red Tiger and Jarrod through the air. They crashed to the ground, rolled into crouched stances, and climbed slowly to their feet. They shifted into defensive stances.

 

Long lifted his hands. “This is the end.”

 

He thrust his palms with flares of Genki that washed across the warriors. The flares erupted into torrents that shot them upward.

 

The waves of power thrashed Red Tiger and Jarrod in midair.

 

Jarrod thought of the demon, DaiShi, who slaughtered his foster family. Casey thought of the demon who killed his mother, and the bullies who picked on him every day of his life.

 

Red Tiger and Jarrod flared with power that scattered the Genki torrent. They landed and snapped into offensive stances.

 

Red Tiger flared with KaGeki, Jarrod flared with Rinki, and they shot at Long with all their power.

 

Nearby, Violet Wolf energized his fist with ShiGeki.

 

Shou Shou Ken!” He upper-cut punched Sanyo with a burst of spark that hurled him upward.

 

White Rhino jumped off the Violet Wolf Ranger’s shoulders and leapt into the air.

 

“Rhino Blade! Sen Sen Dan!”

 

He slashed through streaks of Geki that blasted through Sanyo with bursts of spark. The attack knocked the general from the air, and he crashed to the ground.

 

White Rhino landed next to Violet Wolf. Yellow Cheetah and Blue Jaguar jumped off their teammates’ shoulders and angled their decent towards Sanyo.

 

“Claw Boosters, strike!” They slashed through streaks of energy, tearing through Sanyo with bursts of spark that knocked him off his feet.

 

The four Rangers regrouped and laced their arms. Camille leapt onto their arms, and they boosted her towards Sanyo.

 

Ringi! Karen Toppa!” She dashed at Sanyo like a drill that punctured through his body.

 

Secondary explosions tore through Sanyo as he collapsed and burst into flames and ash.

 

Meanwhile, Red Tiger and Jarrod launched flurries of punches and kicks Long blocked; but each blow knocked him further and further backward.

 

Red Tiger and Jarrod parried past the Forsaken’s defenses and punched his chest with massive bursts of spark. The blow hurled him backward; Long crashed and tumbled across the dirt.

 

Slowly, Long climbed to his feet. “What is this power…?”

 

“Juken!” Red Tiger and Jarrod shouted.

 

Jarrod snapped into a fighting pose. “Gou Yuu Kou Ha!”

 

Red Tiger twirled his arms through a fighting pose. “Hou Hou Dan!”

 

They thrust their fists and fired waves of energy shaped like a red tiger and black-and-gold lion. The energy beasts pounced and slashed Long with massive bursts of spark that hurled him into the air.

 

Red Tiger and Jarrod leapt through blurs of motion to attack. They dashed back and forth past the Forsaken, slashing and punching the villain with bursts of spark.

 

Red Tiger and Jarrod landed as Long plummeted downward.

 

“Claw Cannon!” Red Tiger armed the cannon and aimed upward. “Geki Geki Hou!”

 

Jarrod charged his fist with Rinki. “Gou Yuu Kou Da!”

 

They fired bursts of KaGeki and Rinki that combined, pulsed with power, and splashed across Long with massive bursts of spark and flame. When the flame cleared, Long was gone.

 

“Yes…” Red Tiger said. He placed a hand on Jarrod’s shoulder. “We did it!”

 

Jarrod shrugged off his hand.

 

“Casey!” Blue Jaguar shouted as he, the other Rangers, and Camille regrouped with Red Tiger and Jarrod.

 

Suddenly, the skies turned black, and the clouds churned with Genki. Bolts of lightning thrashed the ground, and Long stepped from the shadows. Still in his monster form, he tilted his head with amusement.

 

“It’s been fun…but you haven’t seemed to grasp the power of the Forsaken…”

 

His body expanded and grew giant, and he shifted into a monstrous form, like a multi-headed dragon. He opened his jaws and fired flames of Genki. The flames blasted the warriors with massive bursts of spark that hurled them off their feet.

 

They crashed and skid across the ground, and the impact knocked them from their armor.

 

When the Rangers awoke, Long was gone.

 

***

 

“Wait…I thought you said the Fourth Seal broke?” Miki asked.

 

“It did,” Adam said. “But not because of Jarrod.”

 

“Then what?” Miki asked.

 

Adam shook his head. “I don’t know…but I know who does.”

 

***

 

Three months ago

 

Rinshi and demons swarmed through the streets of Angel Grove.

 

From above, a group of demons dove and bashed against Adam in midair. They shot downward and smashed against the street with a shockwave.

 

The impact knocked the air from Adam’s lungs, and he could barely catch his breath.

 

The demons lifted their claws to slash at the fallen hero.

 

But a blade of fire slashed through the creatures before they could attack.

 

Slowly, Adam crawled to his feet and looked up to face his rescuer: Tommy.

 

“Tommy…” Adam said. “You’re back?”

 

“Just passing through,” Tommy said as he helped Adam up. “I wasn’t ready for something like this. I’m still not…Where’s your team?”

 

“They’re trying to stop the blood portal,” Adam said. “What about the Hurricane and Samurai?”

 

“Still scattered,” Tommy said. He cursed beneath his breath and shook his head. “We can’t lose the city like this.”

 

Suddenly, another wave of demons swarmed towards them. Tommy slashed his sword through a wave of fire, and Adam thrust his fist with a pulse of pale-green light. 

 

“Got a plan?” Adam asked as he kicked a demon upside the head.

 

“Not a plan exactly,” Tommy said as he round-house kicked a demon. “More like a desperate move.”

 

“How desperate?” Adam asked as he punched a demon in the face.

 

“Desperate enough,” Tommy said as he slashed a demon to the ground. “Cover me.”

 

Tommy leapt onto a nearby rooftop. A wave of Rinshi hopped towards him. But he cut them down with a single swipe of his sword.

 

The former ranger pulled five stone totems from his pockets. He placed the stones in a circle around him. Each stone had the mark of an element: Earth, Air, Wind, Water, Fire.

 

Tommy closed his eyes and stabbed his sword in the center of the circle. His sword flashed with red light, as did the totems, and Tommy’s mind shot onto the Astral Plane.

 

***

 

Tommy’s astral projection shot through the planes of reality. He stopped in a realm of clouds and misty light, the same place he spoke to the Heavenly Saint Mikhail.

 

Tommy waited. But the Saint did not appear.

 

Even on the Astral Plane, through his connection with his body, Tommy felt death and destruction spread across Angel Grove. He didn’t have time to waste.

 

“Mikhail!” Tommy shouted. “Show yourself.”

 

No one answered. And the lights around him dimmed. Tommy felt a powerful force start to push him back towards his body.

 

“No…” Tommy said. “Dammit, Mikhail, I’m not ready for this! You told me you loved humanity. You loved our world. Well it’s about to fall apart, and I can’t stop it!”

 

The force pushed Tommy downward, and downward, each push a lurch that nearly snapped Tommy back into his body.

 

“You have the power to stop this!” Tommy shouted. “You and the other Saints! You can grant us your power! You can-”

 

A thundering boom shook the realm. The faintest outline of Osiris appeared. And he stomped Tommy downward.

 

***

 

Tommy snapped back into his body with a burst of power that hurled him from the rooftop. He crashed and skid across the street.

 

“Tommy!” Adam shouted as he ran towards his friend. A wave of Rinshi blocked him, but Adam smashed through the grunts.

 

Tommy leaned on his sword and climbed to his feet. He looked up to see the blood portal in the distance — it continued to pour countless demons into the air and onto the ground.

 

Further in the distance, four columns of shadow energy surrounded the city.

 

“Too much…” Tommy whispered. “It’s just too much…”

 

Waves of demons swarmed towards him.

 

The ranger narrowed his eyes and twirled his blade into a fighting stance. His Kiryoku ignited with red light, and he shot through the demons with a wave of power. He hacked and slashed through the creatures, but the burst of power struck Tommy with a wave of fatigue.

 

The former ranger crashed to the street and dropped his sword.

 

Rinshi surrounded him.

 

Tommy snapped to his feet and bashed through the grunts with flurries of punches and kicks. Through the corner of his eye, he noticed Adam fight a second wave of Rinshi.

 

“Adam!” Tommy shouted. “Head towards the pillar to the north. I’ll take the one to the south.”

 

Adam nodded and kicked a Rinshi to the ground.

 

They both knew they couldn’t stop the ceremony in time to save the city. But they refused to give up.

 

Tommy kicked and punched through grunts as he pushed through the streets. He wished for a pair of morphers. For his teammates. Rocky. Kimberly. Even Billy. Jason. Zack. Richie. Trini. Jonathan. Kou. Simon…Simon…

 

The ranger slashed a demon’s throat and kicked a grunt to the ground.

 

“Dammit, Mikhail! I know you’re watching! You’re always watching! So help us! Help us, now!”

 

Suddenly, the blood portal vanished with a massive pulse of blinding light that spread across the entire city. The shockwave hurled Tommy and Adam off their feet. They crashed against buildings and smashed to the streets, losing consciousness.

 

***

 

Adam’s vision blurred slowly into focus. He pushed himself to his feet and saw Tommy do the same nearby.

 

“Tommy…” Adam said.

 

“Adam…”

 

“What was that?”

 

Tommy shook his head and looked to the distance. “I don’t know. But the portal’s closed. And the shadow pillars are gone.”

 

“…Who’s Mikhail?” Adam asked.

 

Tommy opened his mouth to answer, but hesitated. He shook his head. “No one,” he said. “Like I said…it was just a desperate move.”

 

Even without the blood portal or shadow columns, demons still swarmed across the skies and throughout the city.

 

“Go to your team,” Tommy said. “I’m going to check out the sites of those shadow pillars. See if I can find some answers…”

 

“What aren’t you telling me?” Adam asked.

 

“A lot of things, Adam,” Tommy said. “But I’ll fill you in. Go…”

 

Tommy and Adam split up and went their separate ways.

 

***

 

Adam regrouped with his team after their defeat at the hands of Long. He listened to them finish their story, about how when they woke up, Jarrod and Camille ran off to rebuild the RinJuken in their own image.

 

“We’ll have to worry about them later,” Adam said. “Right now-”

 

That’s when Demon City burst.

 

Crimson skies and black clouds exploded over the city with waves of thundering lightning. The lightning tore through skyscrapers and buildings with massive bursts of flame and smoke.

 

From the heart of Demon City, demons and creatures poured outward and spread across all of Angel Grove. They came in all shapes and sizes. Possessed men and women, armored giants, dark knights, lupine creatures, winged monsters and four-legged beasts.

 

The eruption of demons came just as the National Guard began the evacuation of the city.

 

***

 

A group of winged demons landed on a caravan bound for Stone Canyon. Bursts of dolphin-shaped energy blasts tore through the demons and hurled them backward.

 

Kamen Rider Beast landed on the caravan and slashed through the creatures with bursts of spark.

 

***

 

North, demons chased a group of civilians who fled into the woods. Dark robes covered the creatures, who slashed scythes and swords of black steel.

 

Suddenly, bursts of energy tore through the demons, and a wave of energy slashed through them with bursts of spark. Kamen Rider Blade and Kamen Rider Chalice ran to the scene and slammed through the remaining demons.

 

***

 

Near the heart of Demon City, Tendou and Dylan faced the largest swarm of Worms ever. The creatures charged towards trucks and trailers that carried civilians from shelters.

 

Tendou armed his zector and spoke a command that sounded almost casual. “Awaken.”

 

Dylan armed his zector. “Awaken!”

 

They snapped their zectors onto their belts: “AWAKEN.”

 

They transformed into their bulky armor. “Cast off.” They snapped off that armor: “CAST OFF.”

 

“CHANGE BEETLE.”

 

“CHANGE STAG BEETLE.”

 

They slapped their belts. “Clock up.” Their belts echoed the command: “CLOCK UP.”

 

They dashed through blurs of motion and bashed down the Worms before they could attack the civilians.

 

***

 

The Bio-Beast Rangers covered a group of civilians who rushed into the Tor Carrier to flee the city.

 

Red Falcon hummed as he slashed through a wave of creatures and demons.

 

***

 

The DECA Rangers guarded a bridge that led from the city. They armed their blasters and opened fire at a wave of demons that approached a caravan of civilians.

 

Their bullets blasted through the demons with bursts of spark that whipped them backward.

 

Above, winged demons slashed through the bridge’s support beams. Another wave of demons spat torrents of flame that exploded on the bridge. With a massive lurch, the bridge snapped loose and collapsed behind the Rangers.

 

***

 

Hours passed as the carnage spread, and the evacuation winded to an end.

 

The Jet-zords flew through the skies and blasted demons from the air with massive bursts of spark and flame.

 

Through their viewports, they noticed a squadron of fighters enter the skies.

 

“The Air Force?” Aero White asked. “What are they-

 

That’s when the bombs dropped, turning Angel Grove into a nuclear wasteland. But at its heart, Demon City, now unleashed, still stood.

 

***

 

Miki sat on her bed and crossed her arms over her chest. “What happened to Tommy?”

 

“I don’t know,” Adam said. “But I regrouped with the Rangers after the evacuation. Rick too. He’s taking the kids to the Rome branch of the True Cross, where they’ll be safe now that Faust’s gone.”

 

“What about the Rangers?” Miki asked.

 

“They’ll stay with me,” Adam said. “With…us. Jarrod and Camille are still out there, trying to rebuild the RinJuken for themselves. And with Long still on the loose…Even without Tommy, we have to put a stop to this.”

 

***

 

Do you feel it, Simon? DaiShi asked from within Simon’s mind. That itch in your brain, that you want to scratch so badly?

 

“Shut up,” Simon whispered as he leapt from rooftop to rooftop.

 

Don‘t you want to learn how you escaped from Hell? And what happened to you as you fought through Circle after Circle to escape?

 

Simon barely remembered his time in Hell. But the thought of Hell filled him with anger, guilt, sorrow, and despair, a range of emotions that nearly crushed his soul. He didn’t remember the events, but the feelings stuck with him.

 

Don’t you see, Simon? This is exactly what the Dark Man wanted. What he did with Kou, dragging him from Hell, pairing him with the energy of a demon…he wanted to do with you. You would have been under his control, as Kou was in the beginning. But he never had a chance to free you, did he?

 

Simon landed on a rooftop and skid to a halt. “What?”

 

He wanted you to die, so he could bring you back as me. The next Great Beast of Hell. That Great Beast is now you, Simon.

 

To be continued…Chapter 01

 

Recap

 

Seven Seals:

1)      The Forsaken’s prison, broken by Azmodai.

2)      The first human to become a true immortal. Kamen Rider Blade became an immortal when his King Form pushed him past the limits of his own humanity.

3)      The First Demon, in physical form, set foot on the mortal plane for the first time. This caused three aftereffects.

a.       Demons gained the ability to burst through the people they possessed and take physical form.

b.      The children of demon-possessed men and women gained the ability to “demon morph” into stronger forms (Shaded).

c.       The planet’s ley lines —lines of magick energy — unraveled and blanketed the whole planet, turning the entire Earth into a supernatural beacon.

4)      Unknown, but broken. This caused one known aftereffect:

a.      Demon City “burst” loose, no longer confined to the center of Angel Grove. Its demons spread across the western states.

5)      Unknown.

6)      Unknown.

7)      Unknown.