The Dragon’s Rise: Chapter Twenty

The Golden Shield

 

The media called it the Hatchasaurus, although no one could figure out why. The giant creature swung its clawed paw across the Megadinozord, scratching across its armor with a shower of sparks.

 

The Rangers had destroyed the monster twice. But it kept resurrecting.

 

“Jason,” Ptera Ranger said, “we need help…”

 

 

“Right…” Tyranno Ranger said. He knew he would have to use the Dragon power eventually, he just didn’t think it would be so soon. “I call on the Dragonzord!”

 

Tyranno Ranger raised the Dragon Dagger and played the battle melody that summoned Dragonzord from the sea. The colossal zord stomped forward to face off with the Hatchasaurus. But Bandora had other plans for the zord.

 

One of her spells streaked down from the skies in a stream of crimson energy symbols. The energy strand wrapped around Dragonzord. Dragonzord struggled to break free, but the energy strand paralyzed the zord.

 

Tyranno Ranger played a battle tune on the Dragon Dagger, but the Dragonzord could not move. The armored beast’s arms were pinned down. The zord’s legs could not find their balance. Dragonzord roared weakly as the strand overpowered him. The zord tumbled onto the ground.

 

“What’s wrong with the dragon?” Mammoth Ranger asked.

 

“I don’t know,” Tyranno Ranger answered. “Looks like we’re going to have to do this without him.”

 

The monster fired crimson energy blasts that exploded against the Megazord. Megadinozord was forced a few steps back as the Hatchasaurus slammed its body against the zord. The short spikes along the monster’s body radiated with energy and exploded against the Megazord’s armor with a shower of sparks and explosions.

 

Megadinozord Saber!” Tyranno Ranger commanded.

 

The zord armed its double-edged blade. Megadinozord swung the saber forward, but the monster swatted the sword aside and slashed its claws across the Megazord’s armor. The creature stepped forward and speared its beak against the zord’s head.

 

Tyranno Ranger narrowed his eyes beneath his visor. Zordon had told them about the monster’s core, a heart-like mystic computer than operated the entire creature. Tyranno Ranger knew he had to enter the monster and destroy its core.

 

“I’m going in, guys,” Tyranno Ranger said.

 

“Into what?” Mammoth Ranger asked, hoping his leader wasn’t actually thinking of entering the creature.

 

Tyranno Ranger didn’t answer. He leapt out of the zord’s cockpit, flipped through the air, and dove down the monster’s throat.

 

***

 

Tyranno Ranger landed inside the creature. A pale red hue permeated its body. Tyranno Ranger turned to see the giant heart, pulsing with deep power. Tentacles connected the heart to the rest of the monster.

 

The Red Ranger armed his Tyranno Sword. Tyranno Ranger dashed forward and swung the blade towards the heart. But the tentacles sprang to life and wrapped around the Ranger’s wrist. Tyranno Ranger started to struggle, but another six tentacles wrapped around him and lifted him from his feet.

 

Each tentacle tightened. Tyranno Ranger could barely breath. He instinctively lifted the Dragon Dagger and started playing, hoping the Dragonzord would be able to break him free. Hoping the zord could overcome whatever force was binding it.

 

***

Earth: The dinosaur age

 

Goldar hovered above the jungle village and extended his sword. The simian fired bursts of fiery energy that exploded through huts and barns, sending the villagers running in panic.

 

“Demon-spawn!” a voice called from below. Goldar looked to see the six rangers running towards him. They pulled out their bucklers and thrust the devices forward. “Dino Buckler!”

 

Energy shimmered around the six warriors as they transformed into their armor. Each suit of armor was identical - even the Green Ranger’s. This was a time before the golden Dragon Shield. Only their helmets were different, each resembling a different beast. The Rangers snapped into fighting stances.

 

Tyranno Ranger! Geki!”

 

“Mammoth Ranger! Goushi!”

 

Tricera Ranger, Dan!”

 

“Tiger Ranger! Boi!”

 

Ptera Ranger! Mei!”

 

“Dragon Ranger! Burai!”

 

Together, they shouted: “Kyoryu Sentai! Zyuranger!”

 

***

 

Burai was wounded. The battle with Goldar was a costly one. His arm was nearly ripped from its socket. His ribs were cracked and bruised. Geki had saved him. GekiBurai felt a strange torrent of emotions when facing Geki. There was something familiar about the Red Ranger.

 

He shook his head and dismissed the thought. It didn’t matter. Few things did.

 

A voice tugged at the back of Burai’s mind. It was the voice of his father, the Black Knight. When he was only a child, Burai had watched his father’s murder. Burai was helpless as the Yamato King slaughtered the Black Knight.

 

Burai…” his father said in the back of his mind. “You are weak. How am I to be avenged when you can not stand alone against a mere ape?”

 

Burai had no answer. He knew his powers were meant to protect and not to seek vengeance, but at the same time, he could make his father’s killer pay 10,000 fold with the strength of his Power Coin.

 

“No…” his father said. “You are weak…You are nothing but a pawn, one of six. Alone you are worthless.”

 

“No!” Burai shouted into the air.

 

His father was wrong. He had to be. Burai had trained every day of his life to be the perfect fighter. The perfect warrior. The power he now possessed was his chance to rise to an even higher level of perfection. He would be able to wipe out the entire Yamato Clan!

 

“It is what you are meant to do,” his father’s voice said. “This Bandora is of little consequence. Avenge me…”

 

Yes, Burai thought. A vision flashed before his mind’s eye. Beyond the Etofu and Sharma tribes, past the great valley of dinosaurs spanning half the island, and near the base of the Daimu volcano - he saw it. A lone weapons’ forger. A survivor of the first Great War that fractured the kingdom and left hundreds dead.

 

His name was Barza. His only companions were a pack of tamed Raptors.

 

“I must find him…” Burai said as he set out on his journey.

 

***

 

“That’s it!” Tyranno Ranger shouted. He refused to lose to a heart with tentacles. He refused to lose at all. Tommy gave him the Dragon power for a reason. It was time to use it. “Dragon Power!”

 

The golden Dragon Shield flashed onto the Ranger’s chest with a burst of green-grid light. Golden braces formed along his upper arms. Tyranno Ranger lifted the Dragon Dagger and played a powerful melody.

 

On the streets outside, the Dragonzord felt the ripple of power traveling along the melody. The zord summoned all of its strength and fed on power from Tyranno Ranger to break free from Bandora’s spell bindings.

 

The Dragonzord roared and aimed its hand missiles towards the heart of the monster. Dragonzord fired a missile salvo that ripped through the creature’s chest. The heart and Tyranno Ranger spilled out of the wound and stumbled through the air, falling onto an acre of parkland below.

 

image003Tyranno Ranger used his sword to steady himself as he rose back to his feet.

 

The heart hovered above the ground and lashed out with its tentacles, determined to kill the Ranger. Tyranno Ranger chopped the first two tentacle strikes away, but a third tentacle whipped across his chest, sparking across his armor and sending him stumbling across the ground.

 

Tyranno Ranger rolled back onto his feet and armed the Dragon Dagger. He held the Dagger forward in his right hand and the Tyranno Sword back in his left hand. Tyranno Ranger charged towards the heart. He skipped forward as his chest shield flashed with green energy. A jade-tinted hue enveloped the dagger as crimson energy surrounded the double-edged sword.

 

Tyranno Ranger swung the Dagger downward diagonally in a streak of green light, cutting through the heart. He spun forward while swinging his sword horizontally, slashing through the heart a second time. The monster’s core crackled with power before overloading and exploding.

 

***

 

Burai walked through the great valley near the Daimu volcano. He carried only his Dragon Dagger and small pouch of water. He refused to bring any other supplies. He was strong enough to make the trek alone. He had to be.

 

Burai moved through a thick wall of jungle, using his dagger to hack his way through leaves and branches. He stopped in his tracks when he heard a rustling sound come from behind. Whatever it was had two feet. It moved with stealth. It was a hunter.

 

Raptors, Burai realized. They always traveled in packs.

 

One of the reptiles pounced through the brush towards the ranger’s side. Its feet were stretched outward and its claws ready to strike. Burai spun backward, out of the way while slamming the edge of his dagger’s hilt across the raptor’s head.

 

A pair of raptors leapt towards Burai from behind. He rolled beneath them, rose to his feet, and slashed his dagger across both of the raptors’ backs. The reptiles bashed their tails against Burai, sending the ranger flying off his feet and tumbling through the brush.

 

The ranger crashed onto his back. A raptor landed on top of him.

 

***

 

Jason and Trini walked across the pathway through Valley Creek, where the Rangers had first learned that Tommy was the Dragon Ranger. Jason had his hands in his pockets and his shoulders down low.

 

Trini looked at him with concern. “So are you going to talk about it?”

 

Jason looked up at her. “It’s Tommy. Every time I have to fight with his shield…there’s just so much history with that shield. It stands for everything that’s happened to him…happened to all of us.”

 

Trini didn’t say anything. She wanted Jason to continue and knew he would fill in the silence.

 

Jason sighed. “Bandora killed his girlfriend, then turned him into a murder…he’s killed right in front of our eyes, Trini. She did that to him. Then he broke free, and his powers, his shield, became the only thing that held him together. It was his way of making up for his mistakes.”

 

He continued. “It’s just strange. That shield stands for everything Bandora has done to us. To all of us. At the same time, it stands for Tommy, and him trying to make things right. But he can’t now.”

 

“Jason,” Trini said, “it’s not your fault.”

 

“Yes it is,” Jason said. “I’m the leader. He was my responsibility.”

 

Their communicators toned.

 

***

 

The Rangers found themselves facing a twisted version of a black unicorn. The five Rangers fought DoraUnicorn - along with Goldar and Scorpina - at an industrial plant along the rim of the city.

 

Mammoth Ranger and Tricera Ranger moved in to battle Goldar. They used their Blade Blasters to attack close, swinging hard towards the golden-armored warrior from Titan. The simian parried their blows and swung his sword horizontally, the strike sparking across both Rangers’ armor on impact.

 

Tiger Ranger and Ptera Ranger faced Scorpina. Scorpina swung her boomerang-shaped blade upward in a strike that sparked across Tiger Ranger’s chest, sending the Ranger slipping backward off her feet. Ptera Ranger leapt through the air and snapped a volley of arrows. Scorpina swatted each arrow away and extended her hand, firing a golden-flame blast that exploded against Ptera Ranger’s chest.

 

DoraUnicorn leaned towards Tyranno Ranger. The creature’s horn fired a volley of energy pulses that exploded against the Red Ranger and knocked him away.

 

 ***

 

The Raptor and Burai stared at each other. Neither moved. What was the creature doing? Burai wondered.

 

Burai heard the sound of two hands clap together in the distance. The Raptor stepped off of Burai. Its brothers and sisters stepped forth from the brush and surrounded the ranger. Each made threatening hissing noises and growls.

 

Barza stepped past the Raptors and smiled at Burai. The weapon maker had flowing white robes wrapped around his body and carried a wooden staff.

 

Barza…” Burai said, now recognizing the weapon master’s tame pets. “I have come a long way to find you.”

 

Barza nodded, a look of a sorrow in his eyes. “I know. I’ve known you would come. Ever since the day your father was killed.”

 

***

 

Barza led Burai deep into a cave at the base of the volcano. Chains hung from the stone above them. Vats of melted steal lined the cave walls. The heat was intense and made it difficult for Burai to breathe. But Barza appeared unaffected.

 

“Why is it you ask for a weapon, ranger?” Barza asked.

 

Burai narrowed his eyes. “I thought you knew-”

 

“I want to hear it,” Barza interrupted.

 

“My father was killed,” Burai said. “I must avenge his death.”

 

“Go on…” Barza said.

 

Burai took a deep breath and stood firm. He had no desire to discuss his private emotions, but he knew that if he wanted the weapon, he had no choice. “I’m not powerful enough to enact vengeance alone. I may be crazy to say it, but my own father’s spirit told me so. He told me to seek you out.”

 

“What is it he would have me make?” Barza asked. “A sword to stab in the heart of his killer. An axe to grind against his skull.”

 

“Anything,” Burai said.

 

Barza set to work. He poured vats of steel, lit mystic candles, and sprinkled powder across the cave as he told Burai a story about the Great War that shattered the empire into separate tribes across the island.

 

“A young prince named Akessell desired nothing more than to be a warrior. He had been shunned his whole life.”

 

Barza poured liquid fire and a sort of melted gold into a vat in front of him.

 

Akessell was small. Weak. And his friends spared no time telling him just that. One day, Akessell attempted to prove his worth to his peers. The boy entered the ancient shrine of our peoples, determined to learn the secrets within. Secrets that would give him enough strength to be respected.”

 

Barza sprinkled dust in the vat. The liquid inside started twirling like a whirl pool. Flares of golden flame ignited from the vat.

 

“The boy etched into the ground an ancient spell he found in the texts of our people. He sat in the center of the symbol and whispered an incantation. He tried to use a spell to reach out to the spirit plane and summon an entity from another realm. His spell was weak, but powered by jealously and pity.”

 

Barza poured a crystal-clear liquid into the vat. Energy seemed to vibrate within the cave itself. Burai’s power coin started to pulse with jade energy. He summoned the spell from his buckler that transformed him into his Green Ranger armor.

 

Barza continued. “An evil spirit not far from our own realm heard the boy’s cries. That spirit found Akessell laughable, but useable. The boy got his wish. The spirit started its journey to our realm and used Akessell as it harbinger. The boy attacked every warrior who had looked down on him, everyone who had cast him a mocking grin, everyone in our realm. The empire itself crumbled under the ensuing war.”

 

The vat flared. A swirling sphere of golden energy burst forth, and the energy started to take shape.

 

“The evil spirit’s name was DaiSatan. He was pleased with the boy’s work, so he granted Akessell a painless death. DaiSatan spread across our realm with a fury. Those who feared DaiSatan, including our king, became his followers, the Ka’zuul, and the resulting civil war shattered our kingdom. The First Great War ended with the king’s death, but the madness of DaiSatan continued to spread. If not for the arrival of Zordon, we would all be long dead. All of this is because of a boy and his quest for power.”

 

The sphere of energy shot forth and splashed against Dragon Ranger. His entire body radiated with golden energy as a grid of bright glowing power appeared over his chest and wrapped across his upper arms. He screamed with pain as the power surged through him.

 

“Power comes with a price, Burai. Since the day I was born, Fate has granted me a special gift. The Sight. I can see the tapestry she is painting, down to her final brush stroke. The shield I make for you, Burai, comes with a price. The person who wears this shield will be responsible for the destruction of the entire universe. I have seen it with my own eyes. They will call him the Dragon.”

 

The energy materialized into a golden diamond-shaped shield that fit over his chest and wrapped over his shoulders. Two golden arm bands wrapped across his upper arms.

 

“That is the burden this shield places on you, and your successors. A heavy burden you will wear on your shoulders. The shield will let you enact vengeance. It will let you right all the wrongs done to you throughout your brief, meaningless existence. But the price…is dire indeed.”

 

With the shield’s power came knowledge. Burai saw the son of his father’s killer. It was Geki! Geki was the prince of the Yamato tribe! And…Burai rolled his hands into fists. Geki was his brother.

 

***

 

Burai spent the next few months fighting against his former teammates. The battle between Bandora and Zordon had intensified. Half the realm’s population had been wiped out. Zordon’s consciousness had been banned from his own body.

 

The Rangers would soon fall. Their leader, Geki, would die.

 

Burai shook his head as he stared down a wide valley of grass. The rangers were gathering. This would be their final battle. Why was Burai not pleased? He could not understand. Geki may be his brother, but blood ties were not as important as…as what?

 

Burai tightened his grip on his dagger. Why were his emotions so mixed? Revenge would finally be his. Burai howled at the top of his lungs and leapt into the valley.

 

***

 

Dragon Ranger and Tyranno Ranger clashed blades. Their swords sparked against each other. Tyranno Ranger focused on dodging and parrying blows.

 

Burai…” Tyranno Ranger said, continuing to parry Dragon Ranger’s frantic strikes. “It doesn’t have to be like this, brother. It’s not too late!”

 

Dragon Ranger pressed forward. His madness fueled his every blow and strike. He pushed forward. His thoughts and emotions were in turmoil. He had to succeed. He owed it to his father.

 

Tyranno Ranger sidestepped and slapped the Dragon Dagger away. He moved forward and slammed the end of his sword’s handle against Dragon Ranger’s chest.

 

Tyranno Ranger felt nothing but guilt for Burai. His brother. His friend. His former teammate. The pain was clearly tearing Burai apart. Driving him mad. But that was no excuse. Too many people had died. The battle had to end.

 

Tyranno Ranger struck back. He slashed his sword across Dragon Ranger’s armor. The blade sparked across the Green Ranger’s golden chest shield. Tyranno Ranger swung his sword in an ‘x’ pattern that slashed across the Green Ranger. The Red Ranger slammed a jump kick upside Dragon Ranger’s head.

 

Tyranno Ranger’s sword energized with crimson power. He swung upward diagonally, and downward vertically. Explosions ripped across Dragon Ranger’s armor as his body whipped backward.

 

Dragon Ranger’s armor flashed with jade energy and powered down. Tyranno Ranger stepped forward and held his blade towards Burai’s neck. Crimson energy flashed across his armor as Geki returned to his normal form.

 

Burai was exhausted and unable to move. Geki saw the pain in Burai’s eyes.

 

“Brother…” Geki said. He dropped his sword. “I can’t do it…I can’t kill you…”

 

Burai lunged forward and grabbed the sword. He held the blade up high and prepared to swing downward. Geki turned his back to Burai and dropped to his knees. Burai hesitated, surprised at his younger brother’s actions.

 

“Do it…” Geki said, a tear streaming down his face. He looked back at Burai. “Kill me if you must…if it will help your pain go away…”

 

Burai saw the tears. What had he done? What was he about to do? Confliction raged in his head. He could not fail his father. But he could not kill his brother. Burai screamed and thrust the blade in his own stomach.

 

“No!” Geki shouted as he caught his brother and gently lowered him to the ground. Jade energy flashed across Burai as his armor wrapped around him one last time. He did not want to die looking weak. “Why…”

 

Dragon Ranger shook his head. “It had to end. All of it…” Dragon Ranger removed the coin from his buckler and handed it to Geki. Geki transformed into the Tyranno Ranger, and the golden shield formed over his chest.

 

image005Dragon Ranger handed over his dagger. “Take my Dagger. And my zord…brother.”

 

Dragon Ranger tilted his head back and died.

 

Tyranno Ranger heard mad laughter from behind. He rose to his feet and turned to face Bandora, who stood by with her metal staff in hand. “How sad…your poor older brother…”

 

Tyranno Ranger lifted his Tyranno Sword with one hand and his Dragon Dagger with the other hand. He charged towards Bandora. His Dagger energized with jade power. His sword energized with a crimson glow.

 

Bandora extended her staff. She fired an energy pulse towards the Ranger. The pulse  exploded against Tyranno Ranger‘s helmet.

 

Geki fell backward. He knew no more.

 

***

 

DoraUnicorn fired another pulse blast that exploded against Tyranno Ranger and knocked him backward. Tyranno Ranger slammed against a factory wall and slid to the ground.

 

image007 “I’ve got to chop off that horn…” Tyranno Ranger said with frustration.

 

He reached down and called on the power of the Green Ranger. “Dragon Power!” Golden energy spread across his chest and upper arms. The Dragon Shield appeared, and Tyranno Ranger snapped into a fighting stance.

 

“You’re through!” Tyranno Ranger shouted and charged forward to attack.

 

DoraUnicorn fired pulses of crimson energy from its horn. The energy pulses splashed harmlessly over Tommy’s old shield, allowing Tyranno Ranger to close in on his target.

 

Tyranno Ranger skipped forward, his sword glowing with crimson energy and his Dragon Dagger radiating with a jade-tinted glow. He brought his sword down diagonally and slashed through the horn. He followed with a horizontal swing of his dagger that snapped the horn from the creature’s head.

 

The unicorn fell backward, its energy overloading and exploding.

 

***

 

The Gears of Fate were turning. Six years until the end.

 

To be continued…Chapter 21