The Dragon’s Rise: Chapter Twenty-three
Zordon kept Tommy in reserve while the other five Rangers battled DoraRhino. The Rangers seemed to gain the upper hand within minutes of the battle. But then things took a turn for the worse. The monster emitted a swirling energy vortex that imprisoned the five Rangers in a pocket dimension.
Tommy ran to the park to save his friends. He pulled out his morpher and snapped the device open. “Dino Buckler!”
Jade energy flashed around him as he morphed into the green-armored Dragon Ranger. He stopped in his tracks as he saw the rhino monster. “Bring my friends back,” Dragon Ranger said firmly. “Now.”
The rhino had other plans. It charged forward and aimed its horn at the Ranger’s chest. Dragon Ranger sidestepped and slammed a roundkick against the monster’s back.
The rhino whipped its head around and tried to thrust its horn into Dragon Ranger. The Green Ranger grabbed the monster by the horn and slammed a volley of knee strikes against its chest.
Dragon Ranger took a step away from the monster and slammed a jump kick upside the creature’s head.. The rhino stumbled backward. Dragon Ranger pushed forward with a reverse sidekick that slammed against the monster, knocking it backward. The creature stumbled across the ground.
A streak of dark light shot down from the skies. One of Bandora’s cards struck the fallen monster. The creature grew to giant size.
“Dragonzord!” Dragon Ranger unsheathed his dagger and played a powerful battle melody that echoed over the city and across the ocean. The Dragonzord emerged, entered the city, and charged towards Bandora’s monster.
Dragon Ranger played a melody that commanded his zord to open fire with a volley of missiles. Missiles shot from Dragonzord’s fingertips and blasted against the rhino with a series of sparks. Dragon Ranger played his dagger again. A powerful sound signaled the Dragonzord to lash out with its tail. The tail whipped out, slammed against the rhino, and knocked the creature backward.
Gurail and Kyra were in their chambers within Bandora’s palace. Gurail was watching his crystal ball, while Kyra strung her energy harp to make an enchanting sound of sorrow that spread across the inner halls of the palace.
Gurail narrowed his brow as he watched the crystal ball. For once, even the songs of Kyra could not sooth him. He watched the Dragonzord land another blow against the rhino. Shortly afterward, Dragon Ranger tricked the monster into spitting its cloud of mist.
Dragon Ranger rolled out of the way and energized his dagger before tossing the blade through the mist and down the monster’s throat. The attack broke through the pocket dimension and freed the other Rangers. Gurail watched as the Rangers’ zords defeated DoraRhino.
“This has gone on long enough…” Gurail grumbled, restraining himself from smashing the crystal ball with rage.
Kyra sat silently and strung her harp.
Later that week, Tommy and Kimberly walked hand-and-hand through the city streets. Kimberly seemed convinced she could turn Tommy into a shopping fanatic. Tommy was not too sure.
“You’ve lived here your whole life and you’ve never been to Honey Creek?” Kimberly asked with disbelief.
Honey Creek Blvd. was a street of rather expensive shopping centers housed in skyscrapers. Window displays and signs displayed store names Tommy had never even heard of and few people could pronounce. Window displays showed bizarre fashions he was sure the United States was not ready for - and not just because few Americans could pronounce the names. Book stores and art stores were amidst some of the buildings in crescent-shaped outcroppings.
“The city is five-times bigger than Los Angeles,” Tommy said. “I haven’t been to every corner.”
“Not yet,” Kimberly said. She playfully tugged him along by the wrist and moved towards the nearest shop.
Jason was walking home from his dojo. He took a short cut that wrapped around a mountainous path at the edge of the city.
A puff of dark light exploded on the path before him. Jason instinctively stepped back and snapped into a fighting stance. One of Bandora’s creatures rose from the ground. The villain was a brown-skinned lizard with a crimson chest and white mane of hair flowing down his head and back.
“So much for a short cut.” Jason reached for his morpher.
Tommy was waiting outside a dressing room for Kimberly when their communicators toned.
Tyranno Ranger swung his sword towards DoraLizator’s neck. The creature used its forearm to block the blow and slammed a backfist across Tyranno Ranger’s helmet.
Tyranno Ranger stumbled backward, his body wary. He had hit the lizard creature hard. But the monster did not seem to feel pain. It just kept coming. DoraLizator slammed a pair of uppercut punches against Tyranno Ranger’s gut.
Tyranno Ranger swung his sword upward, the blade sparking across the monster’s chest, but the lizard did not even flinch. The monster kicked the legs out from underneath the Red Ranger while slamming a fist against his chest. The Ranger went tumbling backward across the ground.
Arrows streaked through the air and exploded against the lizard, distracting the monster as Dragon Ranger and Ptera Ranger arrived. Tricera Ranger, Mammoth Ranger, and Tiger Ranger were at their heels.
A group of rock soldiers appeared. The gray grunts charged forward and slammed against the Rangers. Dragon Ranger moved past the soldiers and ran to Tyranno Ranger’s side.
Dragon Ranger helped his friend to his feet. Tyranno Ranger leaned on Dragon Ranger for support. The lizard creature growled as it stalked towards the two Rangers.
“Stay back, Jason,” Dragon Ranger said. “I’ll take care of this clown.”
“No way,” Tyranno Ranger said. “He’s too strong. Your powers won’t last. We’ve got to…” he groaned as a sharp pain shot down his spine.
“You’re hurt, Jason,” Dragon Ranger said. He turned and glared at the lizard. He was not about to become the team’s liability. “I’ll take care of it.”
Dragon Ranger charged forward. Tyranno Ranger reached out, pleading with his friend to stop. “Tommy!”
Dragon Ranger leapt forward with a spinning heel kick that the lizard ducked under. The monster straightened its back as Dragon Ranger snapped a round kick against its side. The monster did not seem to notice. The lizard slammed its knee against Dragon Ranger’s gut and cross punched the Ranger in the faceplate.
DoraLizator reached down and lifted a large boulder from the ground. The villain slammed the stone against Dragon Ranger’s head. The stone crumbled on impact, forcing Dragon Ranger to the ground. Dragon Ranger started to rise to his knees when the monster kicked him upside the head.
Dragon Ranger tried to ignore the pain. He shot to his feet and slammed a knifehand blow against the monster’s neck. He followed with a reverse sidekick that slammed against the lizard’s chest. The monster swatted Dragon Ranger’s leg away and double punched the Ranger backward.
The other Rangers regrouped around Dragon Ranger as he stumbled to his feet. Mammoth Ranger placed a hand on his shoulder. “Take it easy, man…your powers.”
Dragon Ranger shrugged off Mammoth Ranger’s hand. “I’m fine, Zack,” he said a lot harsher than he meant to. He did not want to be babied by the team. As long as he had his powers, he planned on using them.
A streak of dark light shot down from the sky and made the lizard creature grow.
“Idiot witch!” Scorpina spat. She watched the lizard monster grow through the crystal ball in her chambers. “That creature could have killed all six Rangers. Now their zords will do the fighting for them.”
She kept watching. The Rangers formed the MegaDragonzord. The lizard seemed to stay on the offensive. Then the zord armed its drill. The battle was over before it began. “Idiot witch…”
Tommy stood in the Command Chamber. He felt like he was on the defensive. The rangers and Alpha surrounded him as Zordon looked down on him.
Jason crossed his arms over his chest. “You could have been hurt, Tommy. You have to be careful.”
Tommy shook his head. “Jason, I saved your butt. I just did what I had to do. I know the risk with my powers. I don’t need all of you to baby-sit me. My powers may be temporary, but they’re still my powers. I can still use them, and I’m still going to. End of story.”
“But Tommy,” Kimberly said, “you could die…”
“We could all die,” Tommy snapped. He shook his head and walked away.
Four days passed. Tommy walked through the grassy hills and trees of Greenfield Park on the outskirts of Angel Grove North. Jason caught up with him. The two teens had not spoken since the battle with the DoraLizator.
“Hey Tommy, wait up,” Jason called to him.
Tommy kept walking and looked back over his shoulder at Jason. “I don’t need to be checked up on, Jase. I’m fine.”
Jason shook his head with frustration. “Man, what is your problem.”
Tommy turned and snapped at Jason. “Just leave me alone. There are only so many ways to say it. I. Am. Fine.”
Tommy was in denial. He was really frustrated with himself. He did not want to lose his powers again. He did not want to stand by helpless as Shannon’s killers walked free. And he had to prove himself. He had to make up for the damage he had caused while a warlord. Losing his powers was not an option.
Jason was frustrated at himself. He was the Rangers’ leader. If anything happened to Tommy, to anyone on the team, it would be his fault. They were his responsibility.
The two rangers were being watched. A shark fin protruded from the ground nearby and tore through dirt while ripping towards the teens. Jason and Tommy noticed the fin and leapt to opposite sides as the blade passed between them.
A hammer-head-shark creature burst from the ground at frightening speed.
The two rangers readied their morphers. “Dino Buckler!”
Energy shimmered around them as they transformed into their armor. Just as they finished morphing, the shark creature lunged towards them and extended its fists. Dragon Ranger and Tyranno Ranger raised their fists to attack the creature, but the shark was too fast. The monster dove past them, its fists slamming against the Rangers’ chests, sparking on impact and whipping the two Rangers backward.
DoraShark speared back into the ground as it finished its dive.
“We have to reach high ground,” Tyranno Ranger said. He started moving towards the hills. “We’ll be able to spot him easier.”
“No,” Dragon Ranger said. He started running in the opposite direction. “We should stay low, hit him when he emerges.”
Tyranno Ranger watched Dragon Ranger run off. Their paths divided. He whispered quietly. “Snap out of it, man,” he said to Dragon Ranger. And to himself.
Dragon Ranger came to a stop in the middle of an open field. He had lost track of the shark creature. He shook his head with frustration and kept his eyes the ground.
Dragon Ranger muttered beneath his breath. “This was a good idea in theory…”
The fin speared up behind him and ripped forward, knocking the feet out from underneath him. The Green Ranger stumbled to the ground as the monster burst forth from beneath the surface. The shark armed a boomerang-shaped blade.
Dragon Ranger pounced forward with a jump kick. The shark sidestepped and swung his blade towards the Ranger’s neck. The blade slammed against Dragon Ranger’s collar bone as the Ranger grabbed the weapon, trying to keep it from pushing down further.
Dragon Ranger pushed against the blade, but the shark slipped the saber through the Ranger’s hands. The blade slashed down across Dragon Ranger’s chest with a burst of spark.
Dragon Ranger stumbled backward but stayed on his feet. He unsheathed his dagger and swung the blade horizontally. “Dragon’s Claw!“ A jade wave of energy cut towards the shark, but the monster rolled beneath the energy wave.
DoraShark pounced forward, swinging its blade upward and slashing across the Ranger’s chest. Dragon Ranger was knocked backward and went tumbling across the ground.
Green Ranger felt a slight wave of vertigo wash over him. The Dragon’s Claw attack had destabilized his powers. He felt his energy weakening. Subtle charges of jade energy danced across his armor like static.
Tyranno Ranger was on a hill nearby and spotted the shark. The Red Ranger armed his Tyranno Sword and leapt down towards the monster, swinging his blade like an axe towards the creature’s head.
The shark parried the blow and slashed Tyranno Ranger from the air. Tyranno Ranger slammed against the ground and tumbled near Dragon Ranger.
Tyranno Ranger looked to Dragon Ranger as the two rose to their knees. “This guy is going to make mince meat out of us if we don’t start working together.”
“Right,” Dragon Ranger said as the monster slid back into the ground and its fin started tearing towards them. “Let’s combine both plans.”
Tyranno Ranger nodded. “You hit him high, I’ll go in low.”
The monster lunged from the ground and dove towards the Rangers. Dragon Ranger jumped onto Tyranno Ranger’s shoulders and pushed off, somersaulting through the air towards the creature. Tyranno Ranger swung his sword upward towards the monster. The monster parried the blow.
“Dragon’s Claw!” Dragon Ranger swung his blade, which fired a jade energy blast that exploded against DoraShark and knocked the monster backward.
Tyranno Ranger dashed forward, his sword sparking through the monster on impact. He turned back towards the monster as his sword vibrated with crimson energy. “Power Blade!”
A red energy wave erupted and tore through the monster with an explosive burst of energy that shook the earth beneath their feet. The creature’s energy overloaded and exploded, its body torn to shreds.
Tommy sat on a bio bed in the Command Chamber as Alpha scanned him with a small device. The battle with DoraShark had taken more energy out of the ranger than he cared to admit.
Tommy looked to Alpha and Zordon. “Well…what’s the verdict?”
Alpha tilted his head. “Your powers are stable for now. But you lost a lot of energy in your last fight.”
“Tommy,” Zordon said. “I know you wish to help your friends, and I admire your decision. However, conserving your energy will let you fight alongside the Rangers for a longer period of time. Avoid energy projection attacks such as your Dragon’s Claw and Dragon’s Fang.”
The alarms blared before Tommy could answer. He looked to the Viewing Globe.
“Alpha,” Zordon said. “Alert the other Rangers. Kyra and Gurail are attacking opposite sides of the city.”
Gurail wrapped his chain around a car and whipped the vehicle from the city street. The driver screamed as the car smashed through the window of a nearby department store. Pedestrians ran in panic as shattered glass rained down on them.
A taxi tried to swerve around Gurail. He lifted his foot and stomped on the front edge of the taxi. His stomp flipped the taxi, and the vehicle went spinning through the air before crashing to the ground and exploding with a burst of flame.
“Come out, Rangers!” Gurail shouted as he spotted his next target.
Kyra did not attack with the fury of Gurail. She struck a small city park area with deadly efficiency and grace. She hovered above the ground, skyscrapers visible over the line of trees behind her.
“Star Light Scream!” she shouted as she spun her twin sai blades. Light-tinted crimson blasts exploded through the park like lightning as citizens ran in panic. Fire erupted across the ground, and trees caught on fire.
She kept twirling her blades, a calm expression on her face as she launched another wave of crimson power that tore through the park ground below.
Tyranno Ranger, Mammoth Ranger, and Tiger Ranger ran to the city streets of Angel Grove North to battle Gurail. They snapped into fighting stances while arming their weapons.
Tyranno Ranger aimed his sword at the villain. “We’ve had enough of you, Gurail!”
Gurail glared at them and fired crimson optic blasts that exploded around the three Rangers as they rolled for cover. Tyranno Ranger and Mammoth Ranger rose to their knees and pounced towards the villain.
Mammoth Ranger chopped his axe towards Gurail’s neck. Gurail used his forearm to block the blow. Mammoth Ranger landed and spun into a crouching position while slashing his axe across Gurail’s chest armor with a burst of spark.
Tyranno Ranger slashed his sword across the villain’s chest. Gurail used his chain blade to whip the two Rangers out of his way. Tiger Ranger hurled her daggers at the villain. The daggers speared against his chest armor and knocked him backward.
Dragon Ranger, Tricera Ranger, and Ptera Ranger arrived at White Oak Square in Angel Grove South. Kyra stood waiting for them in the burning park. She looked at the Rangers with the same blank stare she frequently wore.
“Kyra,” Dragon Ranger said as he snapped into a fighting stance. “This is the last warning you’re going to get from me…knock it off!”
Dragon Ranger had mixed feelings towards Kyra. Her music had been the only thing keeping him sane when he was a warlord for Bandora. She helped him find peace in the middle of that hell.
Kyra ignored Dragon Ranger’s warnings and spun her blades. “Star Light Scream!” she shouted as streaks of crimson energy crackled across the air. The crimson energy blasts exploded around the Rangers as they rolled for cover.
Dragon Ranger rose to his feet and pounced towards Kyra with a jump kick. She blocked the blow and spun forward, twirling her sabers in a graceful display to try and cut down the Ranger. Dragon Ranger unsheathed his dagger and parried her strikes as she advanced.
Dragon Ranger twisted his dagger and disarmed her right hand. He spun with a reverse hook kick that knocked her second blade away. Kyra freed a hidden dagger from her sleeve and slashed across Dragon Ranger’s chest.
Dragon Ranger clenched his jaw with frustration. His dagger vibrated with green energy as he swung the weapon towards Kyra. “Dragon’s Claw!”
His dagger fired an energy wave that exploded against Kyra. The energy wave cracked her medallion as she fell back to the ground. The medallion fell from her armor and shattered.
Dragon Ranger collapsed to the ground, his legs too weak to stand. Zordon had warned him: his body no longer took kindly to energy-projection attacks. Dragon Ranger looked up at Kyra as her medallion started to crumble and dissolve. Then it happened. It was like his vision blurred back into focus.
A spell that had masked Kyra lifted, and Dragon Ranger saw her true face. “Shannon…?” He rose to his feet. He shook his head and stumbled backward. “No way! No…this is a trick.”
Kyra rubbed the back of her head, injured from the fall. She looked at Dragon Ranger and tilted her head, a confused look on her face as memories started to return to her. “Tommy…? I remember now. You…” she suddenly looked panicked. She rose to her feet. “Gurail…where’s Gurail?”
Dragon Ranger stood still. It was not fear in her voice when she said Gurail’s name. It was affection. Concern. “Gurail?! Are you serious! What the hell is going on!”
She looked to him, her eyes wide with confusion. “Tommy, calm down. And take that armor off. It scares me.”
Tricera Ranger stepped forward. “Don’t trust her Tommy…”
Was it possible? Tommy thought to himself. He powered down his armor. He slowly took a few steps forward. Shannon nearly broke down at the site of him. A tear streamed down her cheek. She was confused. Afraid. What had happened to her?
“Is it really you?” Tommy asked as he wiped her tear away and ran his fingers through her hair.
Ptera Ranger turned her head, unable to watch.
“Is it really you?” he asked again.
She nodded. “I…I think so. What happened, Tommy?”
Where could he start. “I thought…I thought you were dead.”
She shook her head. “I thought…I remember falling under that rubble…next thing I knew, I was Kyra. It was like my whole past life had never existed.”
She put her hands over her head, unable to hold back anymore tears. She buried her head in Tommy’s chest, and he wrapped his arms around her, a tear running down his face. “I know exactly how you feel. We’ll get through this. The important thing is you’re alive.” He kissed her forehead. “Dear God, you’re alive…”
Goldar wrinkled his brow as he watched Tommy and Shannon through his viewing crystal. He still remembered the attack. The day the Dragon Ranger was born. Born because Goldar seemed to have killed the Ranger’s love.
“Time to finish the job…” he snarled.
Tiger Ranger slammed a kick upside Gurail’s head. He struck back with a powerful swing of his blade that slashed across the Yellow Ranger’s armor with a shower of sparks.
Then he heard it. He wasn’t sure how, but he could hear Kyra. She was confused. Afraid. Something had happened to her. He knocked Mammoth Ranger out of his way and started to run towards his love.
Tommy and Shannon stood silently in each other’s embrace. They did not want to let go. Ever. All they had been through. The confusion. The death. The fear. The sorrow.
An explosion suddenly shook the ground. Mammoth Ranger and Tiger Ranger were blasted through trees and skid to the ground besides Tricera Ranger and Ptera Ranger. Tyranno Ranger flipped through the air and landed next to them. Gurail was at his heels.
“Kyra!” he shouted as he ran towards her.
She looked up and pulled away from Tommy. Something inside of her still cared for Gurail, villain or not. “Gurail!” she called to him.
Gurail stopped in his tracks as he saw her face. She looked different. For the first time, the other Rangers noticed her face as well. Gurail shook his head. What did this mean. “What’s happened?”
She shook her head, trying to keep from panicking. “I-”
Goldar suddenly shimmered into the air and used his wings to swoop towards the battlefield. “This is the last time!”
Tyranno Ranger armed his sword. “Hit him, guys!”
Tyranno Ranger leapt forward and slashed his blade upward across Goldar’s armor. The strike knocked the simian from the air, but he flipped backward, landed on his feet, and charged to attack. He let his rage fuel him.
Goldar slashed Tyranno Ranger aside, parried a blow from Mammoth Ranger, and slammed an elbow against the Black Ranger’s faceplate.
Tommy pulled out his morpher. “Dino Buckler!” Jade-colored energy swirled around him as he morphed into his Ranger form.
Goldar swung his blade in an x-shaped pattern to knock Tiger Ranger and Tricera Ranger away, sparks exploding against their armor on impact. Ptera Ranger snapped off three arrows, but Goldar slapped each one aside and slashed his sword across Ptera Ranger to knock her aside.
Dragon Ranger unsheathed his dagger. “Let’s get this over with, goldilocks.”
Goldar knocked Dragon Ranger away and darted past him. “It’s not you I’m after this time, Ranger!”
Goldar lunged towards Shannon. She screamed as his blade inched closer to her chest.
“No!” Gurail shouted as he pounced forward and tackled her out of the way. Goldar’s blade speared through Gurail’s chest. Goldar pushed the blade farther into the villain and snarled with delight. Gurail may not have been his target, but he made a pleasant kill none the less.
“You’ve had this coming…” Goldar grumbled.
Gurail narrowed his eyes and stood defiantly, although he could feel his life slipping away. “Back away, dog breath…”
Gurail pushed Goldar with all of his might. The simian was thrown backward and went stumbling across the ground. Gurail collapsed, his own weight too heavy.
“Gurail!” Kyra shouted as she ran to his side. She draped a hand over his wound and used her other hand to help Gurail remove his red faceplate.
Kyra helped Gurail take off his helmet. The man had surprisingly young, sharp features and auburn hair. She ran her hand along his pale skin. Gurail had protected her in the palace. He had given her comfort. Support. Love. She new that inside, hidden deep within armor and darkness, was a good man. A good man who did not deserve to die for her.
“Kyra,” he whispered. It was getting harder to breathe. “Thank you…for showing me love.”
Gurail’s eyes drifted away as his life left his body. Gurail went limp, and Kyra knew he was gone.
Goldar rose back to his feet and charged towards Kyra. “Now it’s your turn!” he grabbed her by the arm and whipped her around, holding her back to his chest while he pressed his sword to her neck.
She screamed, and Dragon Ranger froze with rage and terror.
The years ahead for Tommy bore many challenges, villains such as Zedd, the Machines, Sauron, and countless others. But no matter who his opponent, no matter what the cause, the memory of the next few moments would be burned in his mind forever.
“Don’t you dare, Goldar!” Dragon Ranger shouted.
“This time I’ll do it right,” Goldar snarled. “This time I want you to remember that her death is all your fault!”
He slit her throat.
“No!!!” Dragon Ranger rushed forward.
Goldar stepped back and shimmered away. Kyra continued to drop. Dragon Ranger caught her before she hit the ground. “Shannon…”
He shook his head, cradling her body as he rocked back and forth. “Not again….” He looked up into the sky and shouted at the top of his lungs. “Not agaaaaain!”
To be continued…Chapter 24