Five Stars of Heaven: Chapter Thirteen

The Heat of Passion

 

Adam sat on a cliff looking out towards Eagle Lake. He had tried to meditate but could not focus. His mind kept drifting towards Kujaku, the exotic warrior who’s mere presence had captivated him.

 

Adam held one of her feathers in hand. “Kujaku…where are you?”

 

***

 

Kujaku stood on a skyscraper rooftop in the city. Her eyes were closed as she reached out with her power and tried to sense the Gorma. One of her armored feathers suddenly fell to the ground and turned gray.

 

Kujaku leaned down and picked up the feather while running her fingers along its edges. “It’s happening sooner than I expected…” she shook her head. “It’s too soon. I can’t die until the Gorma are defeated.”

 

***

 

Gara snapped her eyes open while on the other side of the city. She sensed her nemesis. “Kujaku…”

 

***

 

A Gorma monster rode on horseback through Greenwood Park in Angel Grove Central. The villain appeared to have an old furnace in his gut. The rest of his body was covered in red robes with blue and white trimming. A white veil covered a face that looked like living fire.

 

The Gorma used its hand to pull back the veil and spit a massive torrent of flame. The flame blast spread through the park and ignited trees and grass along its wake. People screamed and ran in panic as smoke clouded the air around them.

 

***

 

“Kagero Zukin. He was known as the fire demon,” Kaku said as he paced back and forth in front of the teens in the lair. “If he’s not stopped, he’ll turn everything into ashes. You know what to do.”

 

***

 

Kagero Zukin, meaning Heatwave Hood, rode into the wilderness outside the city. Before he could ignite the brush, the five rangers leapt to the scene. Tommy slammed a flying sidekick against the Gorma, knocking the creature from its horse.

 

The Gorma tumbled across the ground before slowly rising to its feet. The fire Gorma armed a jagged sword. “You will burn beneath my blade.”

 

“I’ve heard that line one too many times!” Tommy shouted as he and the others snapped into fighting stances.

 

“Fire Blade!” the monster shouted. He extended his sword and launched a pulse of fiery energy.

 

The rangers rolled away from the pulse as it exploded against the ground. The teens rolled back onto their feet.

 

“That’s the one hit you’re going to get,” Rocky said as he and the others armed their morphers.

 

“Chakra ignite, Aura Power!” they shouted. They connected their morphers as energy shimmered around them. The energy shells shattered as they morphed into their Ranger forms.

 

The Rangers energized and leapt towards the creature in streaks of light.

 

Phoenix Ranger jumped forward and extended her hand. “Cyclone!” she shouted, summoning a pink energy cyclone that whirled around the Gorma, exploding against the creature and knocking him backward.

 

“Star Blades!” Tenma Ranger shouted as he leapt forward to attack while holding a ring-shaped blade in each hand.

 

The fire Gorma extended his hand and shot a fire sphere that exploded against the Blue Ranger’s chest with a burst of spark that knocked the Ranger from the air. Tenma Ranger crashed to the ground and rolled backward into a crouched position. “That was uncalled for.”

 

The Rangers regrouped as Tenma Ranger rose to his feet.

 

Gara stepped onto a hill nearby and extended her hand. A violet energy blast streaked from her palm and exploded against the Rangers’ armor.

 

“Gara!” Tenma Ranger shouted. He placed his palm against his fist as the Pegasus eyes on his helmet flashed with blue light. “Heaven Gravity Star! Gravity Inversing Destruction!”

 

The Blue Ranger fired a jagged-blue energy blast that wrapped around Gara. Tenma Ranger used his power to lift her into the air. He lowered his arm to bash Gara against the ground, then lifted her back up.

 

The Blue Ranger armed his Thunder Sword. He was going to leap through the air and cut her down but never had the chance.

 

An unseen force exploded around the Rangers with bursts of sparks, knocking them backward.

 

Tenma Ranger lost his concentration, and Gara collapsed to the ground. Heatwave Hood ran to his master’s side and helped her to her feet. “Gara…”

 

image005The Rangers regrouped and looked up to face their attacker. It was Kujaku standing on a small hill of dirt.

 

“Kujaku!” Lion Ranger shouted up to her.

 

“What do you think you’re doing?!” Tenma Ranger shouted.

 

“The Gorma are mine to defeat,” Kujaku said. “They stole my life from me…and now…I will end theirs. Not even you can get in my way.”

 

“Why you..” Tenma Ranger stared to run towards Kujaku, but Lion Ranger held him back.

 

“Don’t, Rocky,” Lion Ranger said as he held the Blue Ranger back by the shoulder.

 

“Let me go, Adam!” Tenma Ranger shouted.

 

Kujaku armed her daggers and glared past the Rangers towards Gara. “Now Gara…where did we leave off?”

 

Gara looked to the fire Gorma. “Do it.”

 

“Fire Blade!” the monster said as he slammed his sword into the ground. The earth began to shake as pillars of flame surrounded the Rangers. The Gorma and Kujaku were gone when the flames cleared.

 

***

 

“I can’t believe they got away,” Tommy said as he paced back and forth in the lair. “We had them that time.”

 

“It’s all the peacock wench’s fault,” Rocky said as he kicked a wall. “Feathers for brains.”

 

“Rocky,” Adam said as he walked over to teammate. “Guys…we have to understand…Kujaku was locked up for thousands of years. She doesn’t need us to turn against her.”

 

“It would seem she turned against us,” Billy said.

 

Rocky nodded. “If she really wanted to stop the Gorma, she’d be working with us. Not out on some kind of personal vendetta.”

 

Rocky and the other rangers walked off, leaving Adam alone with Kaku. Adam sighed and hung his head low.

 

“Adam,” Kaku said. “I believe that if there still is kindness in her heart, you will be able to get through to her. You two have a bond I cannot deny.”

 

Adam nodded. “Thanks Sensei…”

 

***

 

Kujaku and Gara circled around each other in a grassy field. Gara held her fencing saber forward while Kujaku clutched onto her twin daggers.

 

“Gara,” Kujaku said. “I will end your evil here and now.”

 

“You made me this way,” Gara said.

 

Kujaku knitted her brow.

 

“Don’t you remember?” Gara ran her finger along the scar on her face. The villain extended her hand and fired a violet energy pulse from her palm that streaked towards Kujaku.

 

Kujaku flipped backward as the blast exploded on the ground in front of her.

 

Gara tele-skipped forward. Kujaku swung her daggers to hack through the villain, but Gara disappeared and reappeared behind Kujaku. Kujaku turned while swinging her blades again, but Gara disappeared and reappeared. Kujaku turned, and her daggers clashed against Gara’s saber.

 

Kujaku used one dagger to slap the saber away and swung her other dagger towards Gara’s throat. Gara twisted her sword around to block the blow and slammed a round kick against Kujaku’s side.

 

Kujaku rolled across the ground and rose to her knees. Gara extended her hand and fired an energy lasso that wrapped around the warrior. Gara sent an energy surge through the lasso that exploded against Kujaku with a shower of sparks that knocked her backward.

 

Kujaku slowly climbed back to her feet as the fire Gorma appeared behind her.

 

“Fire Blade!“ The Gorma monster extended his sword into the ground. The blade ignited pillars of flame that surrounded Kujaku and knocked her backward.

 

Gara watched in amazement as one of Kujaku’s feathers fell and turned gray. “So Kujaku…your time is coming to an end.”

 

Suddenly, Lion Ranger jumped through the air and slammed a flying sidekick against Gara. The Green Ranger landed and ran to Kujaku’s side. He helped the warrior to her feet.

 

“Adam…”

 

“Kujaku…are you alright?”

 

Heatwave Hood opened the furnace in his stomach. The furnace emitted an energy vortex that sucked Lion Ranger and Kujaku inside.

 

***

 

Adam and Kujaku awoke in a pocket dimension of fire and brimstone within the Gorma monster. Sweat dripped from their brows as the intense heat burned around them.

 

Adam slowly moved to Kujaku and helped her up. “Kujaku…you’re going to be okay. Now let’s find a way out of here.”

 

Kujaku shook her head. “It’s pointless. Even if I’m freed, I’m dying anyway.”

 

Adam shook his head and placed a hand on her shoulder. “No…don’t talk like that.”

 

“There’s nothing you can do,” she said. “I’m over 6,000 years old and not as strong in The Power as Kaku. Time is catching up with me.”

 

Adam breathed heavily. “Still…even if that’s true…we can’t give up…not without a fight…”

 

She shook her head. “It‘s fate.”

 

Adam got frustrated and punched the ground.

 

Kujaku placed her hand around Adam‘s fist. “Adam…let nature take its course…”

 

He shook his head. “I don’t believe in fate. We have the power to shape our own destinies. I’m not going to just sit here and let the Gorma beat us.”

 

Adam rose to his feet and moved towards the wall. He narrowed his eyes. “Heaven Illusion Star, Green!” He started slamming punches against the walls in a slow rhythm. Each punch scraped his knuckles, but he kept pounding, battering away the wall bit by bit.

 

***

 

The other four rangers regrouped in the lair. Kaku was sitting in a meditative pose with his eyes closed.

 

“We can’t find Adam anywhere,” Billy said.

 

“Damn,” Rocky said as he struck the wall. “He probably ran out with bird lady.”

 

“No,” Kaku said as he snapped his eyes open. “They are both being held by the fire demon.”

 

***

 

Gara walked up besides the fire Gorma. She smiled at the monster with approval. “Well done.”

 

“Yes…” the fire Gorma said. “They’re all locked up nice and tight.”

 

Gara unsheathed her sword. She could not risk Adam and Kujaku escaping. They had to be killed while inside the Gorma. Gara prepared to strike the monster down.

 

Suddenly Dragon Ranger leapt through the air and extended his hand. “Fire Stream!” He fired a stream of flame that exploded against the two villains and knocked them backward.

 

Dragon Ranger landed and regrouped with the other three Rangers as Gara and the fire Gorma rose back to their feet.

 

The Rangers charged forward to attack. The fire Gorma returned the charge and swung his sword towards the Pink Ranger’s head. Phoenix Ranger ducked and rolled underneath the blow.

 

Dragon Ranger leapt downward while swinging his Thunder Staff towards the villain’s head. The monster parried the blow. Dragon Ranger landed and spun around, swinging his staff towards the monster’s legs, but the Gorma jumped over the staff.

 

The fire Gorma swung his sword horizontally towards Dragon Ranger’s head. Dragon Ranger held his staff vertically to block the blow and twisted his wrists to move the sword down. Dragon Ranger knocked the sword away and swung the end of his staff towards the Gorma’s head.

 

Heatwave Hood caught the staff in his right hand and used his left hand to swing his sword forward and slash across Dragon Ranger’s chest, the sword sparking on impact. The Gorma swung his sword back towards the Ranger’s head.

 

The Red Ranger used his staff to block the blow and spun forward with a reverse sidekick against the villain’s chest.

 

Tenma Ranger and Kirin Ranger used their staffs to pole vault forward and slam kicks against the fire Gorma. Phoenix Ranger armed her spear and crashed the tip of the weapon against the Gorma, knocking him backward.

 

The four Rangers regrouped as the fire Gorma limped over to Gara.

 

“Show them,” Gara said to the fire Gorma.

 

The fire Gorma emitted a projection of flame. Through the flame projection, the Rangers saw Adam and Kujaku inside the pocket dimension. Adam was still punching the wall as Kujaku sat nearby.

 

“If you kill him,” Gara said. “Kujaku and Lion Ranger will die as well.”

 

The Rangers shifted stances. What were they supposed to do?

 

“Fire blade!” the fire Gorma shouted. He extended his sword and launched a massive pulse of flame that exploded against the Rangers’ armor with a massive burst of spark, knocking them backward.

 

***

 

The pocket dimension started to grow unstable and knocked Adam onto the ground. The dimension was going to collapse, crushing its prisoners, Adam understood. He had to break free.

 

“Kujaku, come on,” Adam practically shouted to her. “My friends are out there!”

 

Kujaku said nothing. Her gaze was fixed to the ground.

 

“What happened to you…” Adam said more than asked.

 

Adam rose and turned back towards the wall. He started punching, each punch causing a small crack or knocking off small pieces of stone dust.

 

“Adam…” Kujaku whispered when she saw the fierce determination in his eyes. Determination born not from the fires of revenge, but from the need to protect his friends.

 

***

 

Pillars of fire exploded from the ground and slammed against the Rangers with a shower of sparks and flame. The team crashed against the ground as their armor demorphed.

 

The fire Gorma charged forward to finish off the defenseless teens.

 

***

 

Spatters of blood lined the wall where Adam continued to punch. He ignored the pain and poured all his strength out with every strike. Finally he managed to knock a large chunk out from the wall, and red light bled through.

 

***

 

The fire Gorma stopped in his tracks and gasped in pain as he placed his hand over the urn in his gut. The rangers slowly rose to their feet and realized what was happening.

“Adam…” Tommy said.

 

Billy nodded. “He must be attacking the monster from the inside.”

 

***

 

Adam collapsed with fatigue. The heat was making it too hard to breath. He felt dehydrated. He could not will his aching muscles to move.

 

Kujaku moved over to him and placed her hand across the side of his face. “Adam…” she whispered. “Feel my strength…” Kujaku closed her eyes and summoned her power. Rainbow-tinted energy flowed from her body and into Adam’s.

 

She slowly ran her finger across his cheek. Adam reached up and placed his hand over hers as her energy flowed over him in an intimate way. He tilted his head and kissed her palm.

 

Energy surged through Adam as he slowly rose to his feet and turned back towards the wall. He launched a flurry of punches that bashed away at the opening he had already created. Each blow demolished part of the wall upon impact.

 

***

 

Explosions sparked across the urn, nearly knocking the Gorma from his feet.

 

“They’re escaping!” Gara said as she leapt through the air with her sword. She landed while spearing the weapon through the urn, causing a massive explosion that tore half the Gorma’s body apart.

 

But she was too late. Two streaks of energy escaped from the monster at the last second and materialized on the ground. It was Adam and Kujaku.

 

“Adam!” the teens regrouped around their friend and helped him and Kujaku up to their feet.

 

The fire Gorma pulled an enlarging bomb and tossed the sphere to the ground. The bomb exploded with a massive burst of fiery energy. The monster absorbed the explosion’s energy and used it to grow giant.

 

“Guys…” Tommy said as he and the others armed their wrist braces. “It’s morphin time!”

 

“Chakra ignite, Aura Power!” They connected their braces as energy shimmered around them and they morphed into their Ranger armor.

 

The Rangers unsheathed their Thunder Swords and readied their Thunder Gems. “Thunderzords arise!”

 

The five Thunderzords appeared. 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 the Gorma.

 

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

 

“MegaThunderzord,” Lion Ranger called. “Mist-concealment attack!”

 

The zord fired a cloud of mist that surrounded the monster. The zord projected an illusion of a rushing train that charged through the Gorma with a massive explosion.

 

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

 

Dairenou’s blade energized and chopped through the fire Gorma. The villain’s broken body fell backward, his energy overloading and exploding as his remains were consumed by flame.

 

***

 

The teens regrouped with Kujaku on a grassy field below. Adam took a step forward towards her. She smiled up at him.

 

“Thank you Adam,” she said. “You’ve made me care again…”

 

The others blushed for Adam, and Rocky slugged him in the shoulder playfully.

 

Kujaku flashed with energy and turned towards the skies. She flew off towards the distance with a streak of light.

 

“Kujaku…” Adam whispered.

 

“Adam,” Rocky said as he placed a hand on his friend’s shoulder. “Something tells me you’ll see her again.”

 

To be continued…Chapter 14