The Dragon’s Rise: Chapter Eight

Feeling Blue

 

Bandora’s latest monster was an amphibious creature covered in blue slime. The monster had one eye and a single horn on its head. Simon had been at the Command Chamber when the monster appeared. He had dubbed the creature “Goo Fish.”

 

The monster had appeared on the rocky shores of Angel Grove, an obvious invite to the Rangers since no one walked those shores. Bandora wanted the Rangers to fight on ground of her choosing. She knew the Rangers would strike before the monster could enter the city.

 

A group of rock soldiers split the Rangers up with a barrage of attacks so the Goo Fish could attack the team one-by-one. The monster’s first target was Tricera Ranger.

 

Tricera Ranger snapped into a fighting stance as the Goo Fish stalked forward. The creature armed a dirt-gold colored staff and aimed it at the Blue Ranger.

 

Tricera Ranger watched the monster’s movements closely, not wanting to rush into a fight.

 

Goo Fish suddenly spat a stream of acid that exploded against Tricera Ranger and knocked him backward. The Blue Ranger rolled across the ground, rose to a crouched fighting stance, and aimed his Blade Blaster in short-sword mode.

 

Tricera Ranger pounced at the monster and slashed his blade across its chest with a burst of spark. The blow knocked Goo Fish onto the rocky shore.

 

The other Rangers regrouped around Tricera Ranger. Tyranno Ranger aimed his sword at the fallen monster. “When are you freaks going to learn…you never win. Ever.”

 

***

 

Bandora wrinkled her brow as she watched the battle from her balcony on the moon. She saw the Rangers assemble their Power Blaster and destroy her creation.

 

“So...it seems the Rangers have grown bored with my little pets…” A cold smile spread across her face. “Very well.”

 

***

 

Bandora whispered an incantation and moved her hands across a hovering crystal ball. She channeled the shadow energies of the One Power and threaded that magick around the surface of the crystal ball.

 

Four cards circled around her, and each card pulsed with white-hot power.

 

Gurail and Kyra kept a safe distance while watching Bandora. Scorpina also watched from the shadows nearby.

 

Kyra looked mystified by the display. “What’s she doing?”

 

Gurail kept his eyes on Bandora and whispered to his lover. “She’s summoning the Four Horsemen of DaiSatan.”

 

Bandora finished her incantation with a hideous shriek and thrust her hand towards Earth. The four cards streaked from Bandora’s balcony to the world below.  

 

***

 

Billy and Kimberly walked through the outdoor Greenwood Mall in Angel Grove Central. They moved through one of the mall’s plaza areas, which wrapped around an artificial pool of water. The pool was surrounded by a ring of brick that meshed with the concrete walkway. Trees were planted in a ring around the walkway, in front of various shops and restaurants.  

 

They both carried paper shopping bags, filled mostly with Kimberly’s purchases. Billy was dressed in a blue-button shirt and kaki pants instead of his overalls. He wasn’t wearing his glasses either.

 

“I’m not sure what to think of this new look, Kimberly,” Billy said.

 

“What’s wrong with it?” Kimberly asked. “I think you look handsome...in that cute little-brother way.”

 

Billy blushed. “It’s just that my mother always used to tell me not to be somebody I’m not.”

 

“Billy,” Kimberly said. “It’s fine that you’re into science. I think it’s great…it’s just…you use it as a shield. It’s like you hide yourself with it. I’m sure your mom will love this look. It suits you.”

 

Billy sighed. “My mother died when I was a boy.”

 

“Oh, Billy,” Kimberly said. “I’m sorry. I didn’t know.”

 

“It’s okay,” Billy said.

 

“How did she…?”

 

“Cancer,” Billy said. “That’s when I started my whole science kick. I want to find a cure someday.”

 

Kimberly smiled. “That would make her proud.”

 

Billy nodded.

 

“You know what else would make her proud?” Kimberly asked.

 

“What?”

 

“If you would come out of your shell.” She playful nudged against his shoulder.

 

Billy wrinkled his brow.

 

“I’m not trying to be mean...it’s just that…you don’t need to hide yourself anymore. You have friends now that care about you. We’ll help you through whatever you’re going through,” Kimberly said.

 

Billy nodded. “Thank you. I’ve never really had friends…ever.”

 

Kimberly smiled. “I know the feeling.”

 

“You?” Billy asked with surprise. Kimberly seemed like the kind of girl every guy wanted to be with and every girl wanted to be. She was perfect, and god help him, he was falling more and more in love with her.

 

“That’s a whole other story,” Kimberly said.

 

***

 

Billy entered his garage lab in the suburbs of Angel Grove Central to find his 9-year-old student Steven “Blake” Lee waiting. The lab was cluttered with electrical equipment, laptops, computer parts, and casings.

 

Billy was involved with a program that tutored elementary school children in the Center Grove school district. Blake was his most promising student, and Billy had even been teaching him martial arts.

 

The boy sat with his shoulders and head hung low. Billy could tell that Blake held in a lot of sorrow and pent-up anger. The boy looked up as Billy walked in. “Hey.”

 

“Blake. How was school?”

 

“Alright I guess,” Blake said. “Too easy.”

 

Billy smiled. “Have you talked to your dad about maybe getting you into a harder class?”

 

Blake sighed. “He won’t listen. And now that mom’s not around anymore…”

 

Blake’s parents had divorced several years ago. He stayed with his father while his older brother Elliot “Hunter” lived with their mother in Angel Grove East.

 

Billy nodded. He empathized with the child. He was a budding genius with only one parent. Bored with the typical challenges of school. “I’ll see if there’s anything I can do.”

 

“Thanks,” Blake said.

 

***

 

Simon and Maya were at the Sugar Grove Shopping District at the heart of Angel Grove North. A pedestrian road of brick cut down the center of the district and separated paved walkways landscaped with trees in front of storefronts. The median of the pedestrian street was lined with bulbous lamps. Towering skyscrapers surrounded the district.

 

Simon was snacking on a pretzel when he noticed a store window out of the corner of his eye. A line of cutting-edge skateboards was inside.

 

“Maya!” Simon ran over to the window. “Check it out!”

 

Maya smiled and shook her head. She was amazed at how Simon took so much joy in simple things, despite the world they’d been thrown into. A world of monsters and Rangers.

 

“Oh no,” she said. “We don’t have the money.”

 

“Please.” Simon grasped her arm and gave her his best puppy-dog eyes. “The red one is sooo cool! It even has a hawk on it!”

 

Maya sighed at his last remark. Their grandfather had often referred to Simon as a little hawk, even right before he died at the hands of Bandora’s creatures.

 

Maya was about to give in when four streaks of light shot down from the skies. The clouds above blackened. The lights took humanoid form and spread across the city streets.

 

“Simon move!” Maya pushed her younger brother aside and ducked for cover.

 

A series of explosions ripped through the streets. Fiery blasts of destruction sent clouds of rubble flying in every direction. Cars overturned and went crashing through buildings. Maya and Simon ducked for cover in a nearby alley.

 

“What are those things?” Simon asked as the creatures moved across the skies.

 

One of the villains had black, metallic wings on his back. His skin was pale white and his eyes blood red. Blonde hair parted down the center of his head. He held a double-edged sword with a white gem at the hilt. Black leathery armor covered his body. He was Death.

 

The second villain wore black plate armor over burnt and boiled skin that was tinted orange. He had streaks of white hair staggered across its bald head. His fists radiated with kinetic energy. Streams of fire slithered across his body. He was War.

 

A third villain was a frail, black skeleton warrior with dirt-gold armor. The villain carried a pair of jagged blades. He was Famine.

 

The final attacker was a female with purple skin, covered with open sores and wounds. Dark red hair wrapped around her body. She was Pestilence.

 

Maya opened her laptop computer and shuffled through various files for information. She always carried her laptop case with her. “According to the information grandfather left me…they’re the Four Horsemen of DaiSatan.”

 

“The Rangers will take care of them,” Simon said. His hands rolled into fists as he narrowed his eyes at the villains.

 

Maya nodded. “They will.”

 

***

 

Billy decided to run another series of tests on his Dino Buckler while he waited for Blake to finish an online class assignment.

 

“This is so complex,” Billy whispered to himself. “And yet simple…our armor is apparently all energy, fueled by this One Power Zordon told us about. The Power is almost like a grid that can morph matter and energy. A Morphing Grid.”

 

Billy’s communicator toned. He rose from the table, shut off the nearby computer screens, and placed his buckler back in his pocket. “Blake,” Billy said. “I have to go. If you need anything, my Dad is inside.”

 

Blake tilted his head. He had never seen Billy act so anxious. “You okay?”

 

Billy sighed. He was never good at lying. “Yes. I just need to take care of something.”

 

***

 

“The Four Horsemen?!” Dragon Ranger said to himself. “Has Bandora gone crazy?!”

 

He watched through the crystal ball in his private chambers as the four horsemen attacked the city. “They’re impossible to control. After they wipe out the Rangers, they’ll come after us.“ Dragon Ranger rolled his hands into fists. “I can’t let that happen.”

 

***

 

Death snapped a volley of wing darts that exploded through nearby windows and shattered glass, which rained down on the helpless people below. The villain swooped downward, plucked a woman from the streets, and flew upward with her in tow. He reached rooftop level and dropped her back down towards the streets. She splattered on the pavement below.

 

War hurled concussion blasts through building fronts and parked cars. Explosions tore across the streets and hurled fiery debris in every direction. He snarled, lifted a parked car, and hurled it against a nearby building. The car exploded on impact.

 

Famine and Pestilence preyed upon the weak and injured who tried to run from the scene. Pestilence exhaled a cloud of germs that swarmed around the civilians and ate away at their skin. A mere touch from Famine caused people to shrivel up into skin and bone.

 

The Power Rangers arrived in the midst of the carnage. Tyranno Ranger switched his Blade Blaster to short-sword mode. “Let’s take them down and out!”

 

The Rangers charged to attack. But War fired a massive concussion blast that exploded against their armor with bursts of spark that knocked them off their feet. Then Death swooped down and fired a volley of energy darts that the Rangers barely managed to roll away from.

 

Pestilence leaned towards the fallen Tyranno Ranger, and just as the villain was about to grab the Red Ranger’s helmet, Dragon Ranger appeared, kicked the hand away and kicked the monster away.

 

“Why…” Tyranno Ranger started to ask. A mortal enemy had just saved his life.

 

“Shut up, Ranger,” Dragon Ranger said. “These horsemen are just as big as a threat to me as they are to you.”

 

Dragon Ranger charged at Pestilence and Famine with a flurry of punches and kicks to keep them away from the Rangers so they could regroup.

 

Tyranno Ranger armed his sword. “Well, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but let’s help him out!”

 

War fired a pair of concussion blasts that Tyranno Ranger and Mammoth Ranger dove away from. They rolled into crouched fighting positions and pulled out their sidearms.

 

“Blade Blasters!” Tyranno Ranger shouted. “Fire!” They fired lances of red energy that exploded against War with a burst of spark.

 

Nearby, Ptera Ranger and Tiger Ranger leapt through the air towards Pestilence.   

 

Ptera Ranger snapped off a trio of arrows, and Tiger Ranger hurled her daggers. The weapons slashed across the villain‘s chest with bursts of spark.

 

Meanwhile, Tricera Ranger armed his lance and swung the weapon back into a fighting stance as Famine stalked forward. The creature extended its hand and fired a cloud of spores that surrounded the Ranger and exploded against his armor.

 

Tricera Ranger fell to his knees, and Famine darted forward to finish the Blue Ranger off. Tricera Ranger armed his Blade Blaster in short-sword mode, spun forward, and jammed the blade through Famine’s chest. The creature slipped backward, fell to the ground, and exploded.

 

It was Tricera Ranger’s first solo kill.

 

Mammoth Ranger chopped his axe against War, cracking the villain’s chest open. Tyranno Ranger energized his blade with crimson power and swung downward. His blade tore through the opening with a massive burst of spark that sent War crashing against the ground, his energy overloading and exploding. 

 

“Arrow Shockwave!” Ptera Ranger charged an arrow with power and fired. The arrow tore through Pestilence and exploded with a force that shook the ground.

 

Dragon Ranger was left to deal with Death.

 

Dragon Ranger leapt through the air to sidekick Death, but the winged villain swooped out of the way and struck Green Ranger in the back with a volley of energy darts that sparked on impact. Dragon Ranger collapsed to the ground.

 

The Green Ranger struggled to rise to his knees as Death swooped towards him.

 

“Dragon’s Fang!” Dragon Ranger fired a bolt of power that crackled with jade energy. The blast exploded through Death with a burst of flame that tore the creature apart.

 

The Power Rangers regrouped and stood behind Dragon Ranger. They weren’t sure whether to attack or extend their gratitude. Tyranno Ranger made the first move. “Thank you.”

 

Dragon Ranger shook his head and glared at the team. “You won’t be thanking me next time we meet. I’ll have you begging for your own death.”

 

The Green Ranger shimmered away.

 

Maya and Simon stepped out from behind a pile of rubble after witnessing the battle. Simon wrinkled his nose. “Weird.”

 

***

 

Bandora lashed out with dark-purple lightning she used to slam Dragon Ranger against a wall in her palace. The Green Ranger screamed with pain.

 

“Next time you betray me…you will die,” Bandora said.

 

“Yes…Empress,” Dragon Ranger said. He crashed against the floor after Bandora released her grasp and walked away.

 

Goldar laughed, stepped towards the Green Ranger, kicked him in the chest, and walked away. Dragon Ranger rolled his hands into fists. I’ll show them…I’ll show them all…

 

To be continued…Chapter 09