The Dragon’s Rise: Chapter Fourteen

Redemption

 

The remaining three Dark Warlords - Secmet, Dayus, and Kayl - kneeled before Bandora in her palace. The three villains were eager to return to Earth and strike. They were each eager to claim their place at Bandora’s side now that Dragon Ranger had left them.

 

“You summoned us, mistress,” Secmet of Venom said.

 

“Yes…” Bandora said. “I want you to go down to Earth and find the Dragon Ranger.”

 

“Empress,” Kayl said with caution in his voice. “Even if you can turn him again, he might still betray you sometime in the future.”

 

Bandora laughed. “You misunderstand me. I don’t want you to bring him to me…I want you to bring me his head.”

 

The warlords smiled.

 

***

 

Tommy breezed through a kata at Bear Lake in Angel Grove North. The lake was surrounded by stone paths, trees and bushes, nestled in between two bustling city blocks of gleaming white skyscrapers.

 

Kimberly watched from nearby, not sure what to say when she approached him. Tommy stopped in his tracks when he spotted her.

 

“Hi…” She failed to hide her awkwardness and slowly walked towards him. “Ummm…I’m sorry to just sneak up on you like this.”

 

Tommy nodded, his eyes narrowed. “You don’t have to worry. I’m not her slave anymore.”

 

“I know,” she said as she walked over to him. “That’s why we’re worried. We want to help you.”

 

He shook his head. “I’ve spent the last several months trying to kill you. I won’t blame you if you hate me…”

 

Tommy turned and started to walk away.

 

“Tommy,” Kimberly said as she caught up with him and touched his shoulder. He turned around to face her as she spoke. “Please…you look like you could use a friend.”

 

He shook his head. “You don’t know anything about me. Why would you want to be my friend?”

 

Kimberly shrugged. “We just do…you’re a Ranger. We look out for each other.”

 

“I don’t want any part of this anymore,” Tommy said sternly.

 

“Okay then. Still. Let us help. We know it must be hard,” Kimberly said. She could see the pain on Tommy’s face.

 

“You don’t know!” Tommy snapped.

 

Kimberly took a step back, surprised at his outburst.

 

“I’m sorry,” Tommy said as he lowered his gaze. “I didn’t mean to yell…”

 

She nodded.

 

“Look,” he said. “You want to know what I’m going through? During Bandora’s first attack, I watched the love of my life die at Goldar’s hands. I wanted to avenge her so bad, but instead, I was actually fighting alongside the people that killed her. Alongside them, Kimberly. And in the process, I’ve hurt so many people…killed innocents. I don’t deserve your trust. I don’t deserve your friendship, and I don’t deserve to fight with you.”

 

He turned and walked away. Kimberly stared in shock as he left.

 

***

 

Tommy stood on a cliff as tears rolled down his eyes. “So this is what it’s come to…”

 

“Dragon Ranger!” a voice shouted from behind him. Tommy turned to see the three Dark Warlords facing him.

 

“You’ve picked a bad time,” Tommy said as he rolled his hands into fists. “I’ll kill myself before I go back with you.”

 

Venom laughed. “Bandora doesn’t want you back. She wants you dead!”

 

“Web of Deception!” Dayus swung his prongs, which thwipped a web that wrapped around Tommy. Dayus swung Tommy backward, sending the ranger hurling through the air. He crashed behind the Dark Warlords.

 

The Warlords charged towards Tommy as the teen rose from the ground and slid out of the web. Tommy readied his transformation device.

 

“Dino Buckler!” Tommy shouted as he snapped the device open. Energy shimmered around him as he transformed into his Ranger form.

 

“If I’m going down I’m taking you with me!” Dragon Ranger shouted as he armed his Dragon Dagger and charged to attack the three warlords.

 

Dragon Ranger flying sidekicked Venom in the chest. He snapped his foot around and hook kicked Kayl across the head.

 

Dayus shot his spears towards the Green Ranger. The blades crashed against Dragon Ranger, sparking against his armor and forcing him back. Dayus and Venom moved in with their swords, dashing forward, and slashing Dragon Ranger across his golden chest shield.

 

“Snake bite strike!” Venom shouted as he whipped a crimson energy leash forward. The leash exploded against the ground with a violent blast that Dragon Ranger leapt over.

 

Venom and Dragon Ranger dashed sideways while facing each other.

 

“You’ve always been weak,” Venom said as he readied his swords to attack.

 

“You’ve always been annoying!” Dragon Ranger shouted back. The two opponents pushed off the ground and leapt through the air towards each other. Dragon Ranger slid his dagger beneath Venom’s armor and punctured through his heart.

 

Venom’s lifeless body collapsed to the ground as Dragon Ranger landed on his feet nearby. The Green Ranger turned to face the other two warlords. “Who’s next?”

 

Both warlords rushed towards Dragon Ranger with their weapons held at the ready.

 

***

 

Kimberly and the other four rangers sat at Ernie’s outdoor café near Angel’s Square. The cafe was along a wide city street of eateries and restaurants that stemmed from the hub of Angel Grove North.

 

“Well?” Jason asked Kimberly.

 

She shook her head, still shaken up by her encounter with Tommy.

 

Zack sighed. “Well…we can do fine without him, you know.”

 

“It’s not about that, Zack,” Jason said. “We need to be there for him. Tommy’s a part of this whole mess, whether he likes it or not.”

 

The rangers’ communicators toned. The teens rose from their seats and found a corner out of view from anyone nearby. Jason activated his communicator. “We read you Zordon…”

 

“Rangers,” Zordon said, “Tommy is battling the remaining warlords on his own. It would be wise for you to assist him.”

 

Jason nodded. “We’re on our way.”

 

***

 

Dragon Ranger spinning hook kicked Dayus across the head, causing the villain’s helmet to fly off. The warlord fell dead to the ground. Only Kayl was left.

 

Dragon Ranger and Kayl clashed blades. Kayl moved forward with a series of vicious swings and strikes. Dragon Ranger parried each blow, keeping the warlord at bay. Dragon Ranger moved to his right and slashed the warlord’s sword from his hand. Dragon Ranger knocked the feet out from underneath Kayl.

 

The warlord collapsed to the ground.

 

Dragon Ranger leaned down and held his dagger to Kayl’s throat.

 

Kayl glared at the Ranger. “Finish me…”

 

The other Rangers arrived at the outskirts of the battle scene, but they kept their distance.

 

“No,” Dragon Ranger said as he shook his head. “I want you to give a message to Bandora…tell her I’m not going to rest until she’s stopped. I’m not going through with this anymore. I’m not letting her hurt anyone else like she’s done to me, like she’s made me do to others. I’m a Ranger now…and I’ll be nothing but trouble for her.”

 

Dragon Ranger turned and walked away. He didn’t see Kayl grab his sword and rush to attack from behind.

 

“Tommy!” Ptera Ranger shouted as Kayl rushed towards the Green Ranger.

 

Dragon Ranger turned and shouted “Dragon’s Fang!” He thrust his hands forward and launched a crackling sphere of green energy that blasted through Kayl’s chest. The warlord, bulk of his chest blasted away, fell dead to the ground.

 

The Rangers ran to Dragon Ranger’s side. Tyranno Ranger looked at Dragon Ranger. Words were not necessary. Tyranno Ranger extended his hand. Dragon Ranger took it.

 

***

 

Bandora wrinkled her brow as she watched Dragon Ranger join with the others. She pulled out one of her cards, whispered an incantation, and threw the card towards Earth.

 

***

 

DoraSkeleton shimmered to the scene. The six Rangers snapped into fighting stances, and the monster armed a double-edged sword.

 

“Let’s get him, guys!” Tyranno Ranger shouted.

 

The Rangers leapt through the air in pairs. Ptera Ranger snapped off a pair of arrows, and Tiger Ranger tossed one of her daggers. The weapons speared against the monster with bursts of spark that forced him back a step. Mammoth Ranger and Tricera Ranger slashed their weapons across the villain’s body. Dragon Ranger and Tyranno Ranger somersaulted through the air and chopped their blades across DoraSkeleton while landing. Their blades sparked on impact and knocked the monster off its feet.

 

One of Bandora’s cards suddenly cut through the atmosphere and struck the creature. Energy crackled around the monster as it grew to giant size.

 

The five Rangers raised their hands into the air and shouted: “Dinozords arise!”

 

The Dinozords rushed onto the scene, and the Rangers leapt into their cockpits, embedded within the zords’ armor.

 

Dragonzord!” Dragon Ranger shouted as he held his Dagger to his mouthpiece. He played a powerful tone that summoned his mighty zord. Dragonzord stomped forward and charged towards DoraSkeleton.

 

“Rangers,” Zordon said through their communicators. “The Mammoth, Triceratops, and Sabertooth Tiger can now form with the Dragonzord to become the MegaDragonzord.”

 

“Alright,” Tyranno Ranger called from his cockpit. Dragonzord fusion!”

 

The Mammoth, Triceratops, Sabertooth Tiger, and Dragonzord ran side-by-side as energy crackled around them. The zords started to reconfigure and merge. Dragonzord reshaped to form the body of the giant Megazord, and the other three zords formed around the mighty dragon.

 

The five Rangers joined in the main cockpit as MegaDragonzord snapped into a fighting stance and armed its drill-tail spear.

 

DoraSkeleton pounced forward and swung its blade towards the Megazord.  MegaDragonzord used its spear to parry the blow, stepped forward, and slamming a pair of backfist blows against the creature.

 

“Let’s finish him!” Tyranno Ranger shouted. “Mega Spear Crash!”

 

The spear crackled with energy and started to spin. MegaDragonzord thrust the drill forward, piercing through the creature. The monster’s body tumbled backward, its energy overloading and exploding.

 

The MegaDragonzord stood triumphantly as Dragon Ranger stared up at his new teammates.

 

***

 

Tommy stood alone in front of Zordon and Alpha.

 

“I am glad you have decided to join us, Tommy,” Zordon said.

 

Tommy nodded as he traced his fingers across the new communicator on his wrist. “Yeah, well...I don’t feel like I was given much choice.”

 

Zordon nodded. “I know what you’re going through, Tommy. Not only did I loose my love as a result of this war, but I lost my entire family as well.”

 

“But you…”

 

“And I also used to be on the side of evil, only not under a spell, but out of ignorance.”

 

A tear streamed down Tommy’s cheek. “How did you…does the pain...”

 

“It does not,” Zordon said. “But from this moment on, if you live every moment on, each life you save will bring you one step closer to healing. With every battle you win, you will be filled with a greater sense of purpose. It is a difficult destiny The Power has chosen to give us, Tommy. With that power, comes great responsibility. But remember, your teammates are going through similar circumstances and will always be there to help you. As will I.”

 

Tommy nodded. “Thanks Zordon.”

 

“Welcome home, Tommy,” Alpha said.

 

For the first time in a long time, Tommy smiled.

 

To be continued…Chapter 15