Five Stars of Heaven: Chapter Six

Kujaku

 

A television showed a scene of devastation. A Gorma attack had damaged an area of Angel Grove East. A three-story building was demolished and spilled onto the streets. News reporter Lyn Holtkamp was among the debris with a microphone in hand.

 

“I’m at the 1700 block of Madison Avenue, and things are chaotic,” she said. The 1700s were known for high-class neighborhood businesses. “Just hours ago, another attack on the region was made by the so-called Power Rangers. This is the largest death toll to date due to the fact that many citizens were unable to make it to the shelters in time.

 

“With me now, is a survivor of the attack. Sir, can you explain to us what you saw happen?”

 

An older man shook his head. “It was terrible. I was sitting at my shop across the street…and all of a sudden the windows just…broke in and I was thrown out of my chair. At first I thought it was a bomb or something…but it was worse.”

 

Lynn spoke with another survivor. It was a lady in tears. “I can’t find my baby…”

 

***

 

Adam shut off the television in his father’s living room. He could not stand watching news reports of his Ranger battles. His younger brother Franklin looked over to Adam with a wrinkled brow. “What did ya do that for?”

 

“He’s probably as sick of hearing about these Rangers as his father,” Adam’s dad said from the kitchen table.

 

Adam sighed with frustration. He was not in the mood for another skirmish with his father. The teen decided to just get out of the house for a while.

 

***

 

Adam sat on the edge of a cliff that looked out onto Eagle Lake. He was in a meditative position with his eyes closed, something Kaku had taught all the rangers. He took a deep breath and tried to concentrate, but his mind was still fixed on the news report. It was the first time a Gorma attack had resulted in massive casualties and death.

 

All those people, he thought to himself. Gone…dead. Why couldn’t we save them?

 

Suddenly, in his mind’s eye, he was surrounded by a strange fog, and through the fog flew a mystical peacock. It was the most beautiful and mysterious animal Adam had ever seen.

 

A rainbow of colors shot from the peacock and enveloped Adam. Then his eyes snapped open and the vision stopped. What was that all about?

 

***

 

Night had fallen over California. A young lady walked through the streets of Angel Grove East and stopped to admire herself in a mirror. The mirror’s surface suddenly rippled as a large tongue reached out and snatched her. The tongue sucked the girl into the mirror.

 

***

 

The five teens gathered in the lair the next day. They waited for Kaku to return while talking amongst themselves.

 

“A mirror that snatches up chicks?” Rocky said with disbelief. “No way.”

 

“Way,” Billy said. “I saw it on the news.”

 

Rocky rolled his eyes. “Because everything you see on TV is real,” he said sarcastically.

 

“I’m telling you, Rocky,” Billy said, “that Lynn Holtkamp reporter said this thing is swallowing up girls.”

 

Tommy crossed his arms over his chest. “The Gorma could be behind this. It’s no more crazy than soul stealers and killer dolls.”

 

The rear door to the lair slid open as Kaku stepped in. “Tommy is right,” the Sensei said as he took a seat on his short platform. “The Gorma are behind this. That mirror…is a Gorma creature called Kagami Keshoshi,  meaning Master Mirror. When women stop to gaze at their reflection in the mirror, Kagami Keshoshi absorbs them and uses their energy to strengthen himself.”

 

“Pervert,” Rocky said.

 

“6,000 years ago,” Kaku continued. “Kagami Keshoshi fought against the chosen warrior of the Peacock Buddha, Kujaku.”

 

This grabbed Adam’s attention, reminding him of the vision from the cliff.

 

“Kujaku was a skilled warrior who fought alongside the Dai Tribe against the Gorma,” Kaku explained. “Her grace and agility equaled her strength and courage.”

 

Adam smiled to himself. The warrior woman seemed impressive to him.

 

“After her last battle with Kagami Keshoshi, she disappeared. Rumors said that Kagami Keshoshi absorbed her and she still lives inside him.”

 

***

 

The sun was setting across the horizon of Angel Grove East, casting a golden-red hue across the towering skyscrapers. A young man wearing a suit was walking home from work with a suitcase in hand after an exhausting day.

 

He stopped by a tall silver mirror leaning against a wall. He looked at his reflection and fixed his disheveled hair. The mirror started to ripple like a pebble in a pond. A tongue lashed around the man and dragged him inside of the mirror.

 

The mirror shuttered. The glass spat the man out, and he went stumbling across the pavement. The mirror shifted shape and assumed its true form, a Gorma monster. The creature’s body was made mostly of crystal shards. A large shining mirror took up most of the center of the monster’s body. The typical Gorma third eye was above the mirror. He was Kagami Keshoshi, but the media would call him Shard.

 

The man rushed to his feet and screamed.

 

“What kind of century is it when a man stops to look at himself in the mirror?” the Gorma asked as the young man screamed and ran away.

 

The Gorma Triumvirate blinked to the scene and stepped towards the Gorma monster. “What do you think you are doing?” Shadam asked.

 

Shard shook his head. “This stupid man…”

 

“We need all the energy possible!” Zydos shouted. “You’ll have to absorb men too.”

 

Shard sighed with frustration. What kind of twisted world was he in?

 

***

 

The rangers split up in the city to look for the Gorma’s latest threat. They focused on the area where the disappearances were reported. Adam was on top of a tall building that looked out upon the bustling city streets of Angel Grove East.

 

The teen spotted a glimmer of reflection come from below. A mirror had sucked in a woman from the streets. Adam sprinted towards the roof exit.

 

***

 

On the street below, the mirror finished consuming a girl. Passersby who saw the act ran with panic, vacating the streets.

 

Adam ran to the scene just as the ripples in the mirror settled. The teen executed a flying sidekick that slammed against the mirror. His kick bounced off the mirror, and Adam flipped backward, landing on his feet.

 

The mirror lashed out with its tongue. The tongue wrapped around the teen and started to tighten. He managed to connect his wrist braces. “Aura Power!” Green energy shimmered around him as he morphed into his armor.

 

Lion Ranger’s arms were pinned to his side by the tongue. Lion Ranger grabbed his Thunder Blaster and tilted the weapon towards the monster.

 

image002 “Thunder Blaster!” he shouted, firing bursts of green energy that exploded against the mirror with a shower of sparks.

 

The mirror fell from the wall and reverted into its monster form. The Gorma tumbled forward before rising to his feet.

 

Shard stepped back towards a fence of brick and iron and leapt over it, flipping through the air and landing on a plaza area below. Lion Ranger followed, leaping over the fence and landing on the plaza as citizens ran in panic. The plaza was paved with slick concrete bricks. Trees, bushes, and grass surrounded the edge of the concrete.

 

The Gorma snapped into a fighting stance. “I am the Gorma Kagami Keshoshi!”

 

Lion Ranger snapped into his own fighting stance. “Lion Ranger! Heaven Illusion Star, Green!”

 

The opponents charged at one another. Lion Ranger launched a flying spinning heel kick towards the Gorma’s head. Shard ducked under the blow as Lion Ranger landed at the Gorma’s side.

 

The Green Ranger slammed a round kick against the Gorma and followed with a backfist strike. Shard knocked the Ranger’s arm away and slammed the back of his fist across Lion Ranger’s helmet twice. The Gorma pressed forward with two punches beneath the Ranger’s ribs, knocking the Ranger backward.

 

The Green Ranger tumbled backward across the ground and rolled back into a crouched position. Lion Ranger sprang back through the air to attack.

 

“Light Flash!” Shard shouted as a bolt of light shot from his chest and exploded against Lion Ranger’s armor with a burst of spark, knocking the Ranger from the air. The Green Ranger crashed to the ground.

 

“Light Flash Storm!” Shard shouted. Lights flashed from the Gorma like strobe lights. The light exploded all across the Ranger, blasting him backward, sending him skidding across the ground.

 

The other Rangers arrived on the scene as if from nowhere.

 

“Tenma Screw Kick!”

 

“Kirin Crash!”

 

Tenma Ranger leapt forward with a flying screw kick as Kirin Ranger jumped forward with a flying head-but. The attacks slammed against Shard and knocked the Gorma off balance.

 

Phoenix Ranger leapt forward and extended her hand. “Cyclone!” A pink-energy cyclone surrounded Shard and knocked the Gorma over, sending him tumbling across the ground.

 

Shard rose back to his feet as Dragon Ranger thrust his hand towards the villain. “Fire Stream!” The stream of flame exploded against Shard with a burst of spark that knocked him off his feet.

 

The five Rangers regrouped as Shard stumbled back to his feet. “We’ll meet again…Lion Ranger…”

 

The villain blinked out of the plaza.

 

Lion Ranger narrowed his eyes behind his visor. He had noticed a faint glow as the Gorma teleported away. A faint rainbow-colored aura. “Kujaku…?” he said quietly.

 

The other four Rangers heard him and stepped towards Lion Ranger. Tenma Ranger tilted his head. “Are you alright?”

 

Lion Ranger nodded. “Did you guys see that?” he asked. “A rainbow.”

 

Tenma Ranger shook his head. “Maybe you got it harder than you thought.”

 

***

 

Hours later, Shard was back in the city streets and launching a massive attack. Bursts of light shot from his mirror and blasted through city buildings, pulverizing concrete and shattering windows.

 

The villain crossed over a pedestrian bridge and continued the assault, blasting at every object and person in sight.

 

***

 

Adam had always possessed an over-active imagination, he reminded himself. But something about the rainbow light seemed real. He sensed a presence in that light. It was the same feeling that overwhelmed him when Sensei spoke of Kujaku.

 

The teen sat on his cliff in a meditative pose. He closed his eyes and took deep breaths to try and clear his mind. But thoughts of Kujaku lingered. Come on Kujaku…where are you?

 

Adam snapped his eyes open as he heard a peacock fly by. The bird was real. It was not a vision. Adam rose to his feet and knitted his brow with confusion as he looked up to the bird.

 

The peacock spread its wing and showered down rainbow light. Adam instinctively covered his face with his arms as the light enveloped him. The light pulsed with a brilliant glow, and Adam vanished.

 

The ranger was sent tumbling down a tunnel of rainbow energy. He somehow knew the destination. And the intent. I’m coming Kujaku…Adam thought to himself.

 

***

 

Shard laughed and prepared to launch his next attack as Kyonshi gathered around him. The grunts were anxious to eliminate any leftovers.

 

Before the villain could strike, a rainbow pulse of energy flashed and hurled Adam forward. The ranger slammed a flying sidekick against Shard that knocked the Gorma backward, sending him tumbling across the ground.

 

Adam landed and snapped into a fighting stance, his left palm held forward.

 

Kyonshi gathered around Shard and helped the villain to his feet. “You again…”

 

“I’m taking you out, Gorma,” Adam said firmly as he readied his wrist braces. “Chakra ignite! Aura Power!” Green energy shimmered around him as he morphed into his Ranger form.

 

“Kyonshi!” Shard shouted. The grunts charged forward with staffs and sabers in their hands.

 

“Lion Staff!” Lion Ranger armed his weapon and charged forward towards the oncoming wave of soldiers.

 

The Green Ranger spun forward and bashed the end of his staff across a grunt’s head. Continuing the spin, he moved low and cracked the legs out from underneath a second soldier.

 

Lion Ranger twirled the staff back into a defensive stance as Kyonshi surrounded him and pounced forward at once. He swung his staff to the left and then right, the ends of his staff spearing against two soldiers’ faces.

 

A Kyonshi swung his blade towards the Green Ranger’s head. Lion Ranger turned and knocked the saber aside while slamming a reverse crescent kick across the grunt’s head.

 

“Fang Attack!” Lion Ranger shouted as lines of jade-tinted energy etched across his staff. He swung his staff in a blur of green motion, batting aside soldiers, crushing their bones and smashing their skulls.

 

Shard armed a broadsword and sprinted towards Lion Ranger.

 

Lion Ranger swung his staff high and low towards Shard, but the Gorma parried both strikes. Shard twisted his wrist and swung his sword towards the Ranger’s head. Lion Ranger twisted the center of his staff to block the blow. Lion Ranger and Shard pushed their weapons against each other.

 

The Green Ranger knocked the broadsword away and spun away from the villain. Lion Ranger stepped back into a fighting stance and faced the Gorma.

 

The two dashed sideways while keeping their bodies facing each other. The opponents kept dashing, each waiting for the perfect time to strike.

 

The opponents sprang towards each other and clashed against each other. Their weapons clashed as they passed each other in midair.

 

The opponents landed back-to-back. They turned towards each other, and Shard struck first.

 

“Light Flash Storm!” the Gorma shouted. Bright pulses of light flashed across Lion Ranger and exploded against his armor with a violent burst of sparks. The Ranger shot backward and skid across the ground. He rolled back into a crouched position and looked up to see the Gorma charging forward.

 

Lion Ranger rose to his feet and placed his right fist against his left palm. The lion eyes on his helmet flashed with pale-green light. “Heaven Illusion Star! Mist Concealment Destruction!”

 

Lion Ranger extended his hand and fired a cloud of mist. The mist enveloped Shard, surrounding him with darkness and gray fog. “Where am I?” The Gorma lost sight of the Ranger. His eye darted back and forth.

 

“Light Flash!” Shard shouted. The villain launched a burst of light into the mist.

 

The light blast reflected back from inside the mist and exploded against the monster.

 

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you!” Lion Ranger shouted as he leapt through the mist with a mirror in his hands. The other four Rangers also stepped forward from the mist. They each carried their own mirror and surrounded the villain.

 

“Light Flash!” the Gorma shouted again. The blast reflected from a Ranger’s mirror and exploded against the villain.

 

Shard readied his sword and attempted a new attack. “Split Attack!” The Rangers’ vision split, and they suddenly saw five different copies of Shard that started spinning.

 

Each image of Shard swung its blade forward, slashing across the Rangers’ armor, blades sparking upon impact.

 

Adam… Lion Ranger heard a voice say in his mind. Shard continued chopping his blade across the Rangers’ armor.

 

Kujaku… Lion Ranger thought as the blade slashed against his armor. …Is that you?

 

Look for the sign, Adam… the voice said. I will show you who to fight.

 

Lion Ranger watched closely as the different images of Shard circled around. The Green Ranger noticed that one of the images emitted a strange rainbow glow. “That’s the one…” he said as he narrowed his eyes beneath his visor.

 

“Thunder Staff Blade!” Lion Ranger shouted. He armed his staff as green lightning energized at its tip. A two-pronged blade materialized on the end of the staff.

 

Lion Ranger hurled the staff forward. The staff speared against the Gorma’s chest, shattering his mirror. The illusion dissipated as Shard went stumbling across the ground.

 

The villain slowly rose to his feet and pulled out a spherical enlargement grenade. He pulled the round pin off and tossed the grenade against the ground. The bomb exploded, and Shard absorbed the energy from the explosion, using it to grow giant.

 

The Rangers unsheathed their Thunder Swords and lifted the blades into the air while holding their Thunder Gems. “Thunderzords, arise!”

 

The five Thunderzords appeared and charged over the landscape. Red Dragon and Phoenix flew through the air as the Kirin, Tenma, and Lion charged forward from the ground.

 

The Rangers used their Thunder Blasters like grappling guns and reeled themselves into their zords’ cockpits.

 

Dragon Ranger placed his hand over the crystal control sphere in front of him. “Red Dragon, rise up!”

 

Tendrils of crimson energy danced across the zord’s armor as the Red Dragon changed shape. The massive zord reconfigured into its warrior mode and landed on the ground to face off with Shard.

 

Dragon Ranger’s Thunder Gem began to glow with deep red power. The Red Ranger called upon that power as he shouted. “Thunder Star Fusion!”

 

Lightning struck each of the zords as they radiated with energy. The zords started to change shape and reconfigure as they merged with Red Dragon. Tenma and Kirin formed armor around the Dragon’s legs as the Phoenix wrapped around its waist. The Lion formed a chest plate and wrapped around the zord’s upper arms as a gold-and-black helmet slid into place.

 

The Rangers joined in the central cockpit. “MegaThunderzord!” they shouted together. “Dairenou!”

 

“Light Flash!” Shard launched a volley of light blasts that exploded against the MegaThunderzord with bursts of spark.

 

The MegaThunderzord stepped forward through the explosions and unsheathed its curved saber. MegaThunderzord slashed downward in an x-shaped pattern, its blade sparking upon impact.

 

Shard crashed backward and stumbled across the ground. The Gorma slowly pulled himself back up to his feet.

 

“MegaThunderzord Saber!” the Rangers shouted together. “Lightning Slash!”

 

The Megazord’s blade crackled with yellow energy as Dairenou raised the sword. Dairenou swung downward with a powerful chop that tore through Shard’s body, ripping him apart and shattering his mirror. The Gorma fell backward, its energy overloading and exploding with a rolling ball of flame.

 

***

 

On the shores of the Eagle Lake, the women that Shard had captured materialized onto the ground. They slowly rose to their knees and feet as they regained consciousness. Their bodies were weak, but they would survive.

 

The rangers demorphed and ran to the shore to help the injured to their feet. Adam searched frantically, his eyes passing over each of the girls. He was certain he would have seen Kujaku. “She has to be here…”

 

A burst of rainbow-colored light flashed nearby. When the light faded, a young beautiful woman appeared. The female warrior wore a slim bodysuit of red and blue, covered with pieces of golden armor. A fan of blue-tinted metal feathers extended on the left side of her back like a peacock.

 

“You…” Adam said softly as he gazed at her.

 

“I am Kujaku,” she said in a stern voice. “After 6,000 years, I am ready to fight again.”

 

“Was that you I felt?” Adam asked. “You who was calling me?”

 

She smiled and nodded at him. “We are connected through our Kiryoku,” she said. “I’ve been waiting for 6,000 years for someone like you...”

 

***

 

Kujaku and Adam walked through one of Angel Grove East’s flower gardens. The other teens kept their distance and watched while standing partially behind a nearby tree.

 

Kujaku leaned down and smelled the fragrance of a nearby flower. A flock of pigeons were on the ground nearby. Kujaku let them feed from her hand, smiling at the elegance of the life around her.

 

Adam watched her and smiled in wonderment.

 

Rocky tried to suppress a snicker. “Looks like our little Lion Ranger is head over heels.”

 

Kimberly elbowed him in the ribs. “Shh.”

 

“Kujaku,” Adam said as he sat in a crouched position beside her. “How did you get trapped inside that thing?”

 

Kujaku’s gaze became distant, but Adam noticed fire in her eyes. She stood and looked away from the teen as she thought back to that day, 6,000 years ago. “I was fighting against the Gorma,” she said. “I managed to injure Gara and chase her down. She finally fell after running for a long while. She was too weak to continue further.

 

“When I saw her…I pitied her. She could barely breathe or move. I leaned down next to her and tried to help with her injuries. She stopped me and asked me why I was helping her when I should be fighting her. I told her I had no wish to see her personally harmed. I just wanted the war to end.

 

“Gara actually apologized for the pain and destruction that she had caused. She asked for some water, and I moved to a nearby pond to retrieve some. I looked at my reflection in the pond. I had no way of knowing it was Shard in disguise. That Gorma creature sucked me inside. Gara had been faking. I fell into her trap.”

 

Adam placed a hand on her shoulder to console her. “I’m sorry…”

 

A strong wind suddenly blew through the garden area. The pigeons flocked away. Adam and Kujaku snapped to attention. Kujaku in particular felt a very familiar and evil presence.

 

Kujaku grabbed one of her razor-sharp feathers and hurled it at a tree. Gara materialized right next to the feather. The Gorma laughed mockingly at the sight of her old foe.

 

“Gara!” Kujaku shouted as she snapped three feather blades at the Gorma.

 

Gara extended her hand and used her power to make a wall of dashing energy blades. Kujaku’s feather darts exploded against the wall of energy blades. Kujaku rolled to the side and snapped another volley of darts that Gara used her energy wall to deflect. The resulting explosions scattered a group of animals in the area.

 

Adam ran to Kujaku and tried to stop her. Her attacks were sloppy, not what Adam expected, and scaring the wildlife. “Stop!” he pleaded.

 

Kujaku pushed Adam aside hard, her eyes sharper than her daggers as she glared at Gara. “You don’t know what it’s like to be trapped for 6,000 years, Adam…”

 

Gara blinked away.

 

“Gara!” Kujaku shouted as she sprang forward and leapt through the air. Fiery energy, shaped like a bird, surrounded her body as she streaked through the skies in pursuit of her foe.

 

“Kujaku!” Adam called after her.

 

The other rangers ran over to Adam’s side. “Are you okay?” Tommy asked.

 

Adam shook his head. “No.”

 

***

 

Valley Park in Angel Grove East was a low field of grass surrounded by rolling, grassy hills. Trees dotted the landscape in certain locations. People were enjoying the warm weather while picnicking or flying kites.

 

No one noticed a strange creature walk by. His body was made of rotting plant vines. He watched everyone through a single eye on his head. He was Sakura Shishaku, Baron Sakura.

 

Sakura grinned, exposing razor-sharp teeth between vine-like lips. “Perfect…” he hissed as he closed his eyes. The villain released a cloud of spores into the air from various pores on his body.

 

Civilians unknowingly inhaled the spores. The spores released chemicals inside of their hosts’ bodies that quickly caused maddening rage. People throughout the park started attacking each other brutally for no reason. The spores were feeding off the people’s animal instincts.

 

Sakura smiled as he watched the carnage.

 

***

 

Adam walked aimlessly down the streets of Angel Grove. He tried to get Kujaku off his mind, but failed. Adam sighed, his shoulders hunched over. He could not get the exotic warrior out of his mind. His wrist communicator started beeping. “This is Adam,” he answered after he ducked down an alley.

 

“Adam, this is Billy. Get downtown right away. Things are going crazy.”

 

Adam nodded. “I’m on my way.”

 

***

 

The five teens arrived at the downtown streets of Angel Grove East. People were trying to kill each other at random. They tossed newspaper bins at each other. They swung their fists. Some people had pocket knives. Others used bats or umbrellas to club each other. The rangers moved in and tried to stop anyone from getting hurt.

 

Rocky tried to calm a man tackling an older woman, but after he saved the lady, she started beating him with her cane. “Maybe its something in the water…”

 

Tommy pulled a 10-year-old boy off of an older man. “I’ll bet you anything it’s the Gorma.”

 

“Either that or they canceled Friends,” Rocky said as he was hit across the face.

 

Kujaku watched the carnage from a nearby rooftop. She caught a small floating petal in her hand. She recognized the petal as a spore from the Gorma called Sakura. She wrinkled her brow and watched the madness spread below.

 

Kujaku pulled out a small, light feather and tossed it towards the crowd below. The feather struck a man in the chest, causing him to pass out from a wave of pain.

 

Adam looked up and saw Kujaku toss another feather downward. “What are you doing?” he shouted up to her.

 

“They are under Sakura’s influence,” Kujaku answered.

 

Kujaku tossed another feather towards an attacking man below. Adam leapt in front of the feather’s path and took the hit in his upper right chest. He winced in pain and pulled the feather from his body before running towards the building that Kujaku stood on.

 

Adam ran up the winding fire escape while nursing his injured arm. The pain of the feather dart had spread down that limb. The teen arrived at the roof and moved over to Kujaku. “What are you doing?” he asked. “Enough people have been hurt already…”

 

She ignored Adam and looked back towards the edge of the roof.

 

“Kujaku, you have to stop,” he said as he walked towards her.

 

“Get away from me,” Kujaku said as she pulled out her two daggers.

 

“Please…” Adam said, but Kujaku shook her head.

 

“You can’t understand, Adam,” she said. “You haven’t been through what I have.” Kujaku vanished, leaving Adam standing alone.

 

***

 

The teens gathered in the lair as Kimberly helped them dress their wounds. They were cut and bruised from the mad crowd.

 

“It’s a mad house out there,” Rocky said. “And Kujaku wasn’t helping things…no offense, Adam.”

 

Adam nodded but said nothing. His gaze was distant. Although he barely knew Kujaku, he knew she was a good person. But to see her hurt innocent people…

 

Kaku stood from his platform with his arms crossed behind his back. “In the past, Kujaku was the kindest and gentlest of all people. But after being trapped for 6,000 years, I believe that is no longer the case.”

 

“Well,” Tommy said, “We need to find this Sakura guy and stop him before even more people get hurt.”

 

The rangers left the lair through the main wooden door, but Kaku stopped Adam on the way out. “Adam,” he said. “No matter what your personal feelings for Kujaku are, you must be prepared to stop her if necessary. She can not be allowed to injure anyone else.”

 

Adam nodded but said nothing.

 

***

 

Sakura walked around the park laughing while people around him went berserk, smashing their fists against each other. The Gorma reveled in causing chaos.

 

Kujaku appeared nearby and unsheathed her daggers from her back. Sakura licked his lips at the sight of her. “Kujaku…it’s been a long time.”

 

“Where’s Gara?” Kujaku asked.

 

“I’m here, Kujaku,” Gara said as she stepped forward from behind a tree. Her fencing-type saber was in hand. “Now where were we?”

 

The opponents raised their weapons and started circling around each other. They eyed each others’ stances, looking for weaknesses in defense postures.

 

Gara dug her heel into the ground and rushed forward. Kujaku returned the charge. Gara chopped her blade down towards Kujaku, but Kujaku used a backhand swing with her left dagger to slap the sword aside while stabbing her right dagger forward.

 

Gara spun and brought her blade around to block the blow. Their weapons clashed against each other as the opponents pushed forward, grinding their blades together as they glared at each other.

 

Kujaku kicked Gara away and leapt backward, gaining distance from the Gorma. Gara extended her hand and fired a crackling sphere of dark-purple energy that shot towards Kujaku. Kujaku rolled for cover as the sphere exploded around her with a burst of flame and spark.

 

Kujaku rolled up into a crouched position and extended her dagger towards a nearby bench. “Ki!” she shouted, firing an invisible telekinetic blast that shot the bench towards Gara.

 

Gara shattered the bench, splintering and shattering wood with her sword. The Gorma opened her jaw and spat spheres of flame.

 

Kujaku used her Ki as a shield, and the flames exploded around her with a near-blinding burst of sparks.

 

Kujaku closed her eyes as energy flooded her body. “Meteorite Wing!” she shouted as fiery energy surrounded her body. She transformed into a bird of flame that hovered above Gara and spread its wings, raining down a volley of energy blasts that exploded around the Gorma and tossed her backward.

 

Kujaku returned to her human form and landed on the ground. Gara rose to her feet and raised her saber in a defense posture. The two opponents started circling around each other again.

 

The five teens arrived at the park in time to see Gara and Kujaku move around each other. An aura of power hung in the air around the combatants.

 

The opponents extended their hands and fired streams of purple and red energy. The streams exploded against each other with a massive shockwave that sent Gara and Kujaku tumbling across the ground.

 

Sakura started stalking towards the teens from behind and laughed. The rangers turned and snapped into fighting stances as the Gorma spoke. “So, do you like my handy work, Rangers?”

 

The rangers readied their Aura Morphers as Tommy narrowed his eyes. “Let’s show him our appreciation, guys…”

 

“Chakra ignite!” they shouted together. “Aura Power!” they connected their braces as shells of energy shimmered around them. The shells of light splintered off as the Rangers morphed into their armor.

 

“Thunder Staff blades!” they shouted as they armed their red staffs. A unique blade appeared on the end of each staff with flashes of light.

 

The five Rangers leapt forward and swung their staff blades down in unison. Sakura hunched over as the staffs sparked against his back, knocking him backward and sending him tumbling across the ground.

 

The Gorma rolled back to his feet and opened several pores in his body. “Rabid Pollen!” Bursts of pollen streaked forward and surrounded the Rangers, exploding against their armor with a volley of sparks.

 

An army of Kyonshi appeared at the villain’s side and charged forward to attack with swords and staffs. The Rangers split up and attacked the Kyonshi, crashing against the soldiers with a series of swift blows and cracks from their staffs.

 

Lion Ranger swept the legs out from under a grunt, and the soldier crashed to the ground. The Green Ranger whirled his staff and chopped it down against the soldier, crushing the grunt’s chest.

 

Lion Ranger hopped over the fallen soldier and charged towards Sakura. The Green Ranger swung his staff blade towards the Gorma’s head.

 

Sakura grabbed the staff and kicked the Ranger away while keeping the staff in hand. The Gorma lunged forward and slashed the Thunder Staff across Lion Ranger’s chest, the two-pronged blade sparking on impact.

 

The blows knocked Lion Ranger backward and sent him stumbling across the grass. He rolled to his feet and looked up as Sakura charged towards him. Lion Ranger placed his right fist against his left palm and closed his eyes beneath his helmet.

 

Sakura started swinging and stabbing the staff at Lion Ranger, but the Green Ranger used his Kiryoku to effortlessly dodge each attack while keeping his back straight and hands in place.

 

Lion Ranger snapped his eyes open beneath his visor. He unsheathed his sword and slashed the blade across Sakura with a single movement, blade sparking on impact as Lion Ranger dashed past the Gorma.

 

The Green Ranger turned and swung his blade downward in an x-shaped pattern, slashing across the villain.

 

Lion Ranger took a step back and extended his hand. “Ki!” He fired an invisible telekinetic blast that exploded against Sakura. The attack blasted Sakura backward, losing his grip on the staff. The staff flew through the air, and Lion Ranger caught it.

 

Lion Ranger pounced forward and slashed his Thunder Sword upward, and his Thunder Staff downward. The two diagonal blasts sparked against the Gorma, knocking him backward.

 

The Rangers regrouped as Sakura rose to his feet and pulled out an enlargement bomb. The villain unpinned the bomb and tossed it to the ground. The bomb exploded, and Sakura absorbed the energy from the explosion to grow giant.

 

The Rangers raised their Thunder Swords into the air while holding their Thunder Gems. “Thunderzords, arise!”

 

The five Thunderzords appeared in the distance. The red-armored Dragon and Phoenix swooped through the air while the Lion, Tenma, and Kirin charged forward. The Rangers used their blasters like grapplers and reeled into their zords’ cockpits.

 

Dragon Ranger placed his hand over the crystal control sphere in front of him. “Red Dragon, rise up!”

 

Tendrils of crimson energy danced across the zord’s armor as the Red Dragon changed shape. The massive zord reconfigured into its warrior mode and landed on the ground to face off with Sakura.

 

Dragon Ranger’s Thunder Gem began to glow with deep red power. The Red Ranger called upon that power as he shouted: “Thunder Star Fusion!”

 

Lightning struck each of the zords as they radiated with energy. The zords started to change shape and reconfigure as they merged with Red Dragon. Tenma and Kirin formed armor around the Dragon’s legs as the Phoenix wrapped around its waist. The Lion formed a chest plate and wrapped around the zord’s upper arms as a gold and black helmet slid into place.

 

The Ranger’s joined in the central cockpit. “MegaThunderzord!” they shouted together. “Dairenou!”

 

“Rabid Spores!” Sakura shouted. The villain fired a burst of pollen that exploded against the zord’s armor with a volley of sparks.

 

The MegaThunderzord kept walking forward as spores exploded across its armor.

 

“MegaThunderzord Saber!” the Rangers shouted as Dairenou readied his sword. “Lightning Slash!”

 

Dairenou’s blade energized as it cut through Sakura, causing the Gorma to fall backward and explode. Dairenou returned his sword to its holster. With Sakura dead, the spores went dormant across the city.

 

***

 

The next day, Adam sat on the cliff at Eagle Lake. He held one of Kujaku’s feathers in his hand.

 

Kujaku…he thought to himself. Why can’t you be the gentle person you once were?

 

Adam… he heard her voice say in his mind. Adam stood up and looked around him, but Kujaku was nowhere to be seen.

 

To be continued…Chapter 07