The Dragon’s Rise: Chapter Two

Seeking Answers

 

Jason walked with Maya and Simon towards a small apartment building a few miles southwest of Angel’s Square. It was a rundown part of the city, so Jason was thankful it was still daytime. He’d had enough trouble already.

 

 “Why didn’t the others come?” Simon asked.

 

 “They wanted to stay behind in case Bandora tried to pull anything again,” Jason said.

 

 “Who?” Simon asked.

 

 Jason shrugged. “We’re not sure who she is, to tell you the truth. We don’t even know anything about our powers…except how to use them.”

 

 “I’m certain my grandfather can help you,” Maya said. “I remember him telling me legends when I was a girl, similar to what you just went through.”

 

 Jason nodded. “That’s what I’m counting on. We appreciate your help.”

 

They entered the apartment building and passed through the empty lobby towards an old elevator. I hope this isn’t a wild goose chase, Jason thought to himself as the elevator doors closed.

 

***

 

Bandora had made her home inside a dark palace of stone spires on the moon. She preferred the moon’s barren landscape to the planet below, which was choked with abundant life.

 

The palace was a massive, bloated stone column surrounded by four shorter pillars. A strand of stone linked each pillar with the main spire. A fan of black diamond shards covered the front entrance to the palace, and weaving staircases and platforms wrapped around the outside of the main structure. A hovering orb of twisting, purple shadow energy floated just above the palace’s main spire.  

 

Inside, Bandora stared down at her four Dark Warlords, who kneeled at her feet, while Goldar, Scorpina, and Gurail stood behind her.

 

Goldar was a simian/wolf warrior from a planet called Titan. His golden armor was similar to that of his mate, Scorpina. Her beauty matched her deadliness.

 

Gurail’s face was hidden behind his blood-red mask. His dark suit of samurai-style armor was covered in a brown robe laced with yellow highlights.

 

Bandora wore black robes laced with dark-purple and carried a dark-metal staff. A horned skull was carved on top of the staff. She wore a silver headpiece carved from the same type of metal. 

 

 “I am sorry, my empress.” Dragon Ranger kept his head bowed low. “I didn’t feel it would be wise to engage the Rangers at that time.”

 

Bandora struck him in the back of the neck with the end of her staff, causing him to collapse.

 

“It was the perfect time! They’re still inexperienced with their powers! You could have killed them with your bare hands!”

 

 Dragon Ranger kneeled silently. He hated letting Goldar see him liked this. He hated the Titan warrior more than he did the Rangers…he just wasn’t sure exactly why.

 

“Take your warlords and go back to Earth,” Bandora commanded. “Those Rangers are the only things standing in my way. I want them wiped out.”

 

Dragon Ranger nodded. “Yes, empress.”

 

Goldar glared down at Dragon Ranger with eyes of fire. Dragon Ranger glared back at the Titan while speaking to Bandora. “It will be done…”

 

***

 

“I don’t know why we have to wait here,” Zack said. “We’re just wasting our time.” Zack was by far the most hyper of the group. Always on the move, he always had to do something to keep himself busy.

 

He and the other rangers sat at Hulman Park, a few blocks away from the apartment complex Jason was visiting. The park had a long field of flowers, shaped in a rectangular pattern, surrounded by brick pathways. An iron-webbed sculpture of the Earth was at the center of the field. The park was wedged between towering city buildings.

 

“Jason wanted us to wait,” Kimberly said. “So…we’ll wait.”

 

“What is it with you two anyway?” Zack asked.

 

Kimberly rolled her eyes. “It’s nothing like what you’re thinking.”

 

 “Bull,” Zack said. “I’ve seen the way he looks at you. And he’s always pretty protective of you.”

 

Kimberly shook her head. “He told me he thinks of me like a sister.”

 

“Nah…” Zack said. “We haven’t even known each other that long.”

 

Kimberly shrugged. “I don’t mind.”

 

Zack smiled mischievously. “I’m sure you don’t.”

 

Billy sighed and adjusted his glasses while he watched Kimberly talk and smile with Zack. It was obvious the two of them had started flirting. She’s so…beautiful…

 

Trini paced back and forth behind Billy. “What’s taking Jason so long?” She hoped nothing had happened to him.

 

The winds suddenly howled, kicked up dirt, and blew people off their feet. The wind storm knocked the globe sculpture off its base and sent it smashing through a nearby building’s windows.

 

The four rangers gathered together. A bolt of green lightning struck the ground nearby and exploded with massive bursts of spark that sent people scattering away for cover.

 

Dragon Ranger shimmered into view and stalked towards the teens.

 

Zack snapped into a fighting stance. “You again!”

 

image002“Dragon’s Fang!” Dragon Ranger formed a green energy sphere between his hands and hurled it at the rangers. The teens dove aside to miss the blast, but the shockwave of its explosion hurled them across the walkway.

 

Dragon Ranger narrowed his eyes beneath his helmet. It’s finally time for me to pay them back for what they’ve done…or is it what they didn’t do? He shook his head to clear his mind. He didn’t have time to think things through; he only had time to fight.

 

“We can’t fight him like this,” Trini said. “We have to transform.”

 

The four rose to their feet and armed their transformation devises. “Dino Buckler!” Energy shimmered around them as they transformed into their armor.

 

The four Rangers charged towards Dragon Ranger, who held his sword at the ready.

 

“You’re finished!” Dragon Ranger charged to meet their attack.

 

***

 

Maya led Jason and Simon towards her grandfather’s apartment on the top floor of the building. Her grandfather’s name was Professor Koji.

 

“So is this the place?” Jason stepped up to the wooden door.

 

Maya nodded. “Yes. My grandfather should be inside.”

 

“This way,” Simon grabbed Jason by the hand and led him inside.

 

***

 

No one noticed several shadows slither towards Professor Koji’s apartment building. The shadows moved as if alive and inched towards the top floor.

 

***

 

Professor Koji’s small apartment had several suits of samurai armor on display in glass cases. The professor sat at his desk at the far end of the room. He was hunched over his laptop computer and barely paid his visitors any notice.

 

“Grandpa,” Maya said. “You’ll never believe what happened.”

 

Professor Koji stood and slowly looked towards Maya. “Maya…” His gaze shifted to Jason. “So…this is a Ranger…”

 

Maya nodded. “Yes…how did you know? I didn’t-”

 

Professor Koji grabbed her by the neck. “Do you take me for a fool, Maya?”

 

“Ah…stop,” Maya struggled to break free from her grandfather’s grasp, but he seemed to have an unusual amount of strength.

 

 “No,” Simon pulled at Professor Koji‘s sleeve. “Stop it! You’re hurting her!”

 

Professor Koji slapped the back of his hand across Simon’s face, knocking the child to the ground.

 

“Hey!” Jason dashed towards Maya’s grandfather.

 

Professor Koji pushed Maya aside, pulled a knife from his belt, and swung the blade at Jason. The ranger dodged the weapon and stepped around Professor Koji to stand in front of Maya and Simon to protect them.

 

Koji’s eyes slowly lit with a crimson glow.

 

Maya knitted her brow with confusion. “Grandpa?”

 

 “I don’t think that’s your grandpa talking,” Jason said.

 

The suits of armor suddenly came to life and stood within the display cases.

 

“Down!” Jason shouted as the suits of armor shattered through the glass and attacked.

 

Jason fought back against the armor creatures to keep them away from Maya and Simon. But while Jason was distracted, Professor Koji stalked towards his granddaughter with a crooked grin on his face.   

 

***

 

Dragon Ranger used his sword to slash through the Rangers one-by-one.

 

The Green Ranger knocked Mammoth Ranger’s axe away with a  wide arc and swung his blade back around, slashing the Black Ranger across the chest with a burst of spark.

 

The Blue Ranger tried to sneak up from behind Dragon Ranger. But the Green Ranger turned with a spinning heel kick that smashed across Tricera Ranger’s helmet.

 

Ptera Ranger and Tiger Ranger armed their Blade Blasters in short-sword mode and charged to attack their opponent.

 

Ptera Ranger lunged forward and stabbed her blade towards Dragon Ranger’s chest. Dragon Ranger stepped aside and slapped his sword down on her blade. The Pink Ranger, having put too much power into her thrust, went tumbling forward. Then the Green Ranger immediately slammed a jump kick against Tiger Ranger’s faceplate.

 

The Rangers fell back and regrouped. 

 

“Where’s Jason when you need him,” Ptera Ranger said.

 

“Your leader is having trouble of his own.” Dragon Ranger laughed and stalked towards the four Rangers. This is perfect…they are no match for me, just as I thought…

 

“Mammoth Breaker!” Mammoth Ranger lifted his axe and swung the weapon against the ground. “Power Crusher!”

 

The axe created a shockwave that ripped across the ground and tore towards the Green Ranger. But Dragon Ranger leapt over the blast, flipped through the air, and slashed his sword twice across Mammoth Ranger’s chest. 

 

Dragon Ranger dashed past Mammoth Ranger while slashing across the black armor, then he turned and slashed his saber down across the Ranger‘s back, blade sparking on impact and knocking the Ranger off his feet.

 

“Zack!” Ptera Ranger shouted as she and the others ran to his side.

 

Tiger Ranger looked to Tricera Ranger. “Let’s hit him together.”

 

“Right,” Tricera Ranger said.

 

The two Rangers charged towards Dragon Ranger.

 

“Blade Blasters up!” Tiger Ranger shouted as they switched their Blade Blasters to short-sword mode.

 

Dragon Ranger energized his sword with green energy. He swung the blade with a blur of jade-colored light that slashed across the two Rangers. The slash exploded against their armor and knocked them backward.

 

Ptera Ranger leapt forward with a jump kick, but Dragon Ranger blocked the blow, slammed the end of his hilt against the Pink Ranger’s faceplate, and smashed a sidekick against her chest.

 

***

 

Jason jumpkicked the last armor to the ground. He turned to see Professor Koji holding Maya with a knife to her throat. Simon was trying to pry the two apart.

 

Professor Koji glared at Jason. “Don’t make another move.”

 

Jason pulled a knife from the back of his belt and leapt towards Professor Koji while swinging the blade towards his face.

 

“Don’t kill him!” Maya shouted.

 

The knife stopped a centimeter away from Professor Koji’s face, but not before the evil spirit inhabiting his body fled with fear. Professor Koji dropped to the ground.

 

“Grandpa!” Simon kneeled down at the old man’s side. Although they were not related by blood, Professor Koji was the closet thing to a grandfather Simon ever had. 

 

“Don’t…” Professor Koji whispered in a weak, raspy voice. “Don’t…be sad…my little hawk…”

 

Maya kneeled down next to Simon and held him close while she cried.

 

“It’s begun,” Professor Koji said. “The Rangers…you must…help them find their way.”

 

Professor Koji slowly reached up and used his desk for balance to climb off the floor. 

 

“Grandpa don’t,” Maya said. “Save your strength.”

 

“Let’s get him to a hospital,” Jason said.

 

“No.” Professor Koji sat in front of his laptop. “There isn’t time…” He pulled up a data file on his computer. “This will lead you to the answers you seek…” He grabbed Jason by the shirt. “Protect my granddaughter.”

 

Professor Koji exhaled a final, raspy breathe and collapsed in his chair.

 

“No!” Maya shouted. She and Simon hugged their fallen grandfather and cried. 

 

Tyranno Ranger!” Jason heard someone yell from outside the window. The teenager ran to the window and looked to see one of the Dark Warlords, Secmet, staring at him from a rooftop across the street.

 

Jason looked back at Maya and Simon. “I’ll be right back.”

 

Jason leapt through the window, used his strength to arc through the air, and landed in front of the warlord. “Are you behind this?”

 

“Indeed,” the warlord said.

 

Jason armed his transformation devise. “Dino Buckler!” He changed into his Ranger form and snapped into a fighting stance. “Tyranno Ranger, Red!”

 

The warlord unsheathed his two swords. “I am Secmet…Warlord of Venom.”

 

Tyranno Sword!“ Tyranno Ranger summoned his sword and charged to attack.

 

“Snake Bite Strike!” Venom fired a red energy wave that exploded against the Red Ranger and knocked him onto his back.

 

Tyranno Ranger climbed to his feet just as Venom dashed forward to attack. The villain moved at blinding speed and repeatedly stabbed the Ranger against the chest, each blow sparking on impact and forcing the Ranger several steps backward. Tyranno Ranger crashed against the rooftop. 

 

The Red Ranger used his sword for balance while trying to pull himself back up.

 

Venom stalked towards the fallen Ranger. “You’re weaker than I thought. It’s not like me to overestimate an enemy…”

 

“Who you callin’ weak?” Tyranno Ranger rose to his feet. “Power Wave!”

 

Tyranno Ranger swung his sword through a horizontal arc that fired a crimson energy wave. The wave exploded against Venom and tore through his armor with massive bursts of spark that ripped apart his body.

 

***

 

Bandora wrinkled her brow with anger while watching the battle from her palace balcony. The balcony was enchanted to allow her to see the Earth’s surface.

 

She pulled a small card from her sleeve and started to whisper an incantation. The card was etched with various demonic symbols that started to pulse with dark power. She threw the card from her balcony, and it streaked towards the Earth in a comet of white-hot light.

 

***

 

The card struck Venom’s fallen form and infused his body with energy. The Dark Warlord rose to his feet and leapt from the rooftop while growing giant-sized.

 

“Not again…” Tyranno Ranger looked up at the giant warlord.

 

***

 

Dragon Ranger turned away from the injured Rangers and looked towards the distance as Venom stomped through the streets. “Looks like Secmet is keeping your friend busy…”

 

“Jason…” Ptera Ranger said.

 

“We have to help him,” Tiger Ranger said.

 

Dragon Ranger laughed. “You’ll have to go through me first.”

 

“If you say so!” Mammoth Ranger and the others charged towards their opponent.

 

Dragon Ranger hook kicked Mammoth Ranger across the helmet and cut into the other three Rangers swiftly. His blade was a blur of motion as it sparked against Ptera, Tricera, and Tiger Rangers’ armor, knocking the three Rangers backward as quickly as they had tried to attack.

 

***

 

“Tyrannosaurus Dinozord arise!” Tyranno Ranger shouted.

 

The red-armored beast stomped through the streets towards Secmet as Tyranno Ranger leapt into the cockpit.

 

Tyrannosaurus bashed its tail against Secmet, the blow sparking against the warlord’s armor. The zord stepped closer and bashed its head against the villain, knocking the warlord back a step. Tyranno roared and charged forward to attack again.

 

But Secmet did not give the zord a chance. He swung his blades through a series of diagonal strikes, each sparking across the zord’s armor, forcing Tyranno back, until their fight moved back two city blocks.

 

Tyranno snapped its jaw around the warlord’s arm to stop the attack. The zord tightened its jaw, snapping the warlord’s armor as he winced in pain. Secmet took a step back as Tyranno lashed out with its tail, bashing across the warlord’s armor.

 

Secmet went tumbling across the streets. He rose to his knees, clenching his injured arm, and took a step backward. “We’ll meet again, Ranger…” Secmet shimmered from sight.

 

 “We’ll be waiting,” Tyranno Ranger said.

 

***

 

Dragon Ranger chopped Tiger Ranger to the ground with a powerful strike from his sword. The Yellow Ranger went rolling back to her injured teammates.

 

“Haven’t you fools learned?” Dragon Ranger said. “You’re no match for me!”

 

Blasts suddenly exploded against Dragon Ranger’s chest with bursts of spark. It was Tyranno Ranger with his Blade Blaster.

 

“You think you’re so tough?” Tyranno Ranger shouted. “Take me on!”

 

 “With pleasure!” Dragon Ranger threw his sword, and the blade struck the Red Ranger in the chest with a burst of spark.

 

The two opponents charged at each other and traded fierce volleys of kicks and punches.

 

Dragon Ranger snapped a roundkick at Tyranno Ranger’s head, but the Red Ranger blocked the blow.

 

The Green Ranger blocked a punch from Tyranno Ranger and snapped a knifehand strike towards the Red Ranger’s throat. Tyranno Ranger blocked the blow, turned, and snapped a sidekick towards Dragon Ranger’s faceplate.

 

Dragon Ranger moved in low and swung his left hand for a knifehand strike against the Red Ranger’s side. He pressed forward, slamming a right knifehand against the Red Ranger’s other side, and slamming a third knifehand strike against the Ranger’s neck. Dragon Ranger jump kicked Tyranno Ranger upside the helmet, knocking the Red Ranger backward.

 

Tyranno Ranger landed hard against his back.  

 

Dragon Ranger picked up his sword and held it to Tyranno Ranger’s throat.

 

“Go ahead,” Tyranno Ranger said. “I’m not afraid.”

 

“You’ve been weakened from your fight with Secmet…” Dragon Ranger lowered his sword. “When I defeat you…I want you to be in your prime.”

 

Dragon Ranger turned and walked away. The Rangers looked at each other in stunned silence. They were surprised the evil Ranger had spared them.

 

Then Dragon Ranger turned to face the Rangers. “But let me leave you with a little gift…Dragon’s Fang!”

 

Dragon Ranger fired a crackling sphere of jade-tinted arcane energy that exploded against the Rangers with massive bursts of spark that sent them flying off their feet and crashing against the ground.

 

***

 

The rangers gathered in Professor Koji’s apartment while Maya tended to their wounds.

 

 “I thought our armor was supposed to protect us?” Zack asked while Maya wrapped a bandage around his arm. “A hell of a job it’s done so far.”

 

“We’re not invulnerable,” Billy said.

 

“We should be,” Zack said.

 

Trini sighed. “I don’t think it’s safe to stay here too much longer. Bandora might expect to find us all here.”

 

 “We won’t stay for long.” Maya walked over to her grandpa‘s computer. She ran her fingers across the keyboard and pulled up a .jpeg file. The file showed a map of the mountains northeast of Angel Grove.

 

“What is that?” Kimberly asked.

 

“A map my grandfather gave me before he…”

 

Jason placed a hand on her shoulder. “I’m sorry.”

 

She nodded, not wanting anymore sympathy.

 

“Where does it lead?” Simon asked.

 

“Only one way to find out,” Jason said.

 

To be continued…Chapter Three