Five Stars of Heaven: Chapter Fifteen

Fists of Fury

 

Chinatown’s best martial artists practiced on the third floor of a five-story dojo. The dojo was one of the most prestigious institutions in the city and also functioned as an upscale business, serving a variety of clients.

 

A humble janitor mopped the wooden floors in the hallway outside the main practice room. The doors at the end of the hallway opened as two students escorted their sensei and leader towards the main practice room.

 

The janitor waited until the two students past by him. Then he dropped the mop handle onto the ground in front of the sensei.

 

The sensei snapped around, his eyes glaring at the janitor.

 

The janitor, who appeared as an elderly man, wiped sweat from his forehead with a rag. “You better watch where you’re going…you might get hurt.”

 

The two students stepped forward and were about to ask the janitor to leave. But the janitor jumped, swung his legs up, and slammed kicks upside the two students’ heads to knock them unconscious.

 

“Bastard,” the sensei said as he snapped into a fighting stance. “Who do you think you are?”

 

The janitor smiled as he pulled a double-sided coin from his pocket. A skull was on one side, and a triangle on the other. He flipped the coin into the air and sprang forward.

 

The sensei blocked a front kick from the janitor and leaned forward with a powerful punch. The janitor used his palm to catch the punch, slapped the sensei’s wrist away, and grabbed the sensei’s throat.

 

The janitor twisted the sensei’s windpipe. The master gurgled blood and gasped for air before collapsing to the ground.

 

The janitor caught the coin as it fell downward. He tore off his mask and disguise. Jinn, a young, clean-cut Japanese man, smiled down at his dead opponent.

 

***

 

“Well done Jinn,” a businessman said to the assassin. The two men sat in a high-rise office in Angel Grove North. The businessman handed Jinn an envelop stuffed with money.

 

Jinn sighed and took the envelop. “This is getting too easy. I wish you’d give me a real target.”

 

A waiter walked inside and collected empty glasses. Jinn stood, placed on his sunglasses, and put the envelop onto the waiter’s tray. “Keep the change.”

 

***

 

Tommy walked along the city streets with his book bag slung over his shoulder. He was walking home from school, talking the long route through a business and commercial district.

 

Further down the road nearby, a police motorcycle pulled behind a sleek black limo and activated its sirens. The limo pulled alongside the curb. Three Asian businessmen were in the back of the limo along with their body guards.

 

Jinn, disguised as a cop, got off the motorcycle and walked over towards the driver-side door. He leaned down to the window. “Do you have any idea how fast you were going?”

 

“Idiot,” the driver said. “I was going exactly the speed limit.”

 

Jinn smiled and tilted his head. “My mistake.”

 

“That’s ri-”

 

Jinn’s left hand punctured through the door and slammed against the driver’s side, cracking his ribs, sending bones cutting through vital organs.

 

Jinn removed his hand and walked around to the passenger side of the limo. The bodyguards flung open the limo’s rear doors and unsheathed slender katana blades while charging towards Jinn on the sidewalk.

 

Tommy walked within sight distance of the limo. He wrinkled his brow as he watched Jinn attack.

 

The bodyguards swung their blades towards Jinn, but the assassin ducked under their blows. The guards spun forward while bringing their blades down low, but Jinn jumped over the swords while slamming his heels against the guards’ faces, and spinning with a reverse hook kick that slammed across both their heads before landing.

 

“Si-kuya!” Tommy shouted as he leapt through the air with a flying sidekick that slammed against Jinn.

 

Jinn leapt backward with the blow and landed back on his feet at the same time Tommy landed. The teen snapped into a fighting stance.

 

Jinn smiled at the ranger. “Impressive. What’s your name?”

 

Tommy narrowed his eyes. “What kind of question is that?” he asked. “You just attacked these people.”

 

Jinn nodded. “Ah…observant as well.”

 

Jinn held his golden coin and twirled it around in his fingers for a brief moment. He snapped the coin forward, and its edge cut across Tommy’s face. Tommy flinched and placed a hand on the wound as Jinn smiled with amusement.

 

Tommy wrinkled his brow and charged forward to attack the assassin. Jinn smiled and charged back.

 

Tommy jumped and spun forward with a reverse crescent kick that Jinn ducked under. Tommy turned back towards Jinn, and the opponents snapped round kicks towards each other that they both managed to block.

 

Tommy spun with a sweep kick that Jinn jumped above. Jinn landed as Tommy moved forward with a high-low punch combo that Jinn blocked. Jinn countered with two round kicks that Tommy blocked, then pushed forward with a front kick and punch. Tommy was forced a few steps back as he blocked the assassin’s advancing attacks.

 

Jinn slammed a cross punch across Tommy’s jaw and moved in low with a sweep kick that the teen jumped over. Tommy landed and lunged forward with a flurry of kick combinations that Jinn blocked, each kick forcing him further backward.

 

Jinn blocked a kick while spinning in towards Tommy and snapping a jump spinning heel kick that Tommy ducked and rolled beneath to gain distance from the assassin. Tommy rolled to his feet and snapped into a defensive stance.

 

“Your style is excellent,” Jinn said. “Dragon Fist, yes? With a mix of others.”

 

The limo’s engine roared and swung onto the sidewalk to make a U-turn, nearly running Tommy over. Tommy dove and rolled across the sidewalk as the limo turned and sped away. Jinn was gone when Tommy rolled back to his feet.

 

“Where the hell did that guy go?”

 

***

 

“He had to have been a Gorma,” Tommy said to Kaku. He and the other teens were gathered in the lair. “He moved faster than anyone or anything I’ve fought against.”

 

Kaku shook his head. “No…he is not.”

 

Tommy knitted his brow. “Than who was he?”

 

“His name is Jinn Matoba,” Kaku explained. “He is an assassin for hire. He has no Kiryoku.”

 

Tommy nodded. “I still have to stop him.”

 

Kaku shook his head. “No…he would kill you if you faced him again.”

 

Tommy rolled his hands into fists. “If he doesn’t have The Power…I can beat him.”

 

Kaku shook his head again. “No…he is a master of kempo. He is arguably one of the deadliest men alive. And if you were to face him…it would be un-honorable to use your Kiryoku.”

 

“But…but…” Tommy shook his head and scoffed with frustration as he looked away from his sensei.

 

***

 

A young Japanese woman named Tatsume sat at a park bench near Chinatown. She looked over the local section of the paper. The main package was about the recent murders of several key businessmen. “Jinn…” she whispered.

 

***

 

Tommy sat at Bear Lake and tossed pebbles into the water. His encounter with Jinn weighed heavily on his mind for a few reasons.

 

First, Kaku said Jinn could kill Tommy, even though the assassin had no powers. Tommy wanted to be the perfect fighter when he was younger. He wanted to be the best martial artist, finely tuned, disciplined, and strong. Being beaten by Jinn stirred up those feelings in Tommy.

 

Second and more important, Jinn represented something that chilled Tommy to the bone. Through Jinn, Tommy saw what he could have become if life had turned out differently - a killer who took joy in his work. An assassin.

 

“Tommy,” a voice said from behind him. He turned to see his four friends approach him.

 

“Hey guys,” Tommy said.

 

They crouched down next to him.

 

“Your face looks better,” Adam said.

 

Tommy rubbed his wound as he nodded.

 

“Don’t worry, Tommy,” Billy said. “If this Jinn guy shows up again…we’ll be there to help you.”

 

Tommy sighed. That was not what he wanted to hear.

 

“I got you something,” Kimberly said as she handed him a small sphere tied to a string. The sphere had a phoenix engraved in it.

 

Tommy smiled as he took the string from her.

 

“Sure,” Rocky said. “A ball on a string. That oughta cheer him up.”

 

“Rocky,” Kimberly started slapping him against the shoulders. He pulled back and started stepping backward, but she pressed forward.

 

“Mercy mercy,” Rocky said with a laugh as he tried to block her blows.

 

Tommy rose to his feet and smiled. “You two act like you’re five,” he said.

 

Rocky shrugged. “Five, seventeen…what’s the difference.”

 

Tommy and Kimberly hugged. Seconds later, explosions sparked around them. They dove for cover and rolled into crouching positions. They looked up to see a vase-shaped Gorma monster stalk towards them.

 

“Gorma!” Tommy shouted as the teens snapped into defensive stances.

 

“Rangers…” the bulky monster said as he stalked forward. His name was Tsubo Dojin, the Pot Taoist. “I’m glad I finally get to meet you…I’ve been looking forward to this.”

 

“It’s the last thing you’ll be looking forward to in a long time,” Tommy said as he and the others readied their morphing braces. “It’s morphin time!”

 

“Chakra ignite, Aura Power!” they shouted as they connected their braces. Energy shimmered around them as they transformed into their Ranger forms.

 

“Thunder Staffs!” the Rangers shouted as they twirled their red staffs into fighting stances.

 

“Let’s take care of business!” Dragon Ranger shouted as he and the others dashed forward to attack.

 

Tenma Ranger and Phoenix Ranger leapt forward through the air and swung their staffs downward. The staffs slammed against the bulky Gorma, but bounced back off without causing damage and nearly snapped the two Rangers’ wrists.

 

Lion Ranger ran in next and tried to sweep the legs out from under the Gorma, but the villain leapt over the Ranger’s leg.

 

Dragon Ranger and Kirin Ranger spun forward while swinging their staffs towards the Gorma’s head. The villain ducked underneath their staffs and stepped backward.

 

Lion Ranger moved in with a round kick that slammed against the monster but bounced right off.

 

The villain swung its stubby arm towards the Ranger, but Green Ranger knocked the limb away and swung his staff back towards the villain’s body.

 

The Gorma slapped the staff away and used his other limb to club Lion Ranger across the helmet. The Green Ranger crashed against the ground and rolled across the dirt.

 

Dragon Ranger and Kirin Ranger used their staffs to pole vault forward and slam kicks against Dojin, but their kicks bounced off the Gorma, knocking them backward.

 

Dragon Ranger used his staff to steady himself as he rose to his feet. The others gathered around him as he shook his head.

 

From a hilltop barely within sight distance, the Gorma Triumvirate watched. “This is getting ridiculous,” Shadam said. “The Rangers should have been destroyed by now.”

 

Gara nodded. “We need a real warrior.”

 

An evil grin spread across Zydos’s face. “I have an idea…”

 

“What are you talking about, Zydos?” Shadam asked.

 

The villain smiled.

 

***

 

Jinn kneeled before a gravestone while in the cemetery. He bowed while folding his hands. “Sensei…”

 

Tatsume slowly approached Jinn from behind. She knew she would find him at the cemetery, but now she was not sure what to do. “Jinn…”

 

He kept his gaze forward. “Tatsume…” Jinn stood and started to walk away.

 

But Tatsume stood in front of him to block his path as she held up a copy of the newspaper. “What is this? I saw this and I knew you had returned.” He said nothing. “You have to stop! Your kempo wasn’t supposed to be used this way.”

 

Jinn arced an eyebrow and looked at his former lover. “Really? It was my sensei, your father, who made me this way,” he said as he held up his gloved left hand.

 

“Jinn…” she said softly as she rubbed his hand. “I want you back the way you were.”

 

Jinn’s mind flashed back...

 

Jinn was sparring with his sensei on top of a cliff. The young man was being beaten as his sensei yelled taunts. “Fight you whelp!”

 

The sensei, mad with insanity, pressed forward with a flurry of kicks that knocked Jinn over the cliff. The sensei reached forward and grabbed Jinn’s left hand just in time to keep the student from plummeting towards the raging ocean shore below.

 

“I can’t pull you up…let go..” the sensei said.

 

“What…no!” Jinn shouted.

 

“Quit being a coward and let go! You are truly unworthy of my daughter.”

 

Jinn frantically tried to climb back up his sensei‘s arm. “Pull me up! Sensei! Sensei!”

 

“Fine,” the sensei said. He pulled out a knife and jammed the blade through Jinn’s left wrist, cutting his student’s hand off and watching him plummet towards the shore below.

 

Jinn pulled his hand away. “The man you knew is dead,” he said as he walked away. “And you’re lucky your father died before I returned to him…”

 

“Jinn…”

 

He stopped for a moment. “What more do you want me to say?” he asked with his back towards her. “Ever since then, I’ve made it my duty to find any other so-called master who would destroy their promising students.”

 

“Jinn!” she called again as she hugged him from his back. He stood rigid.

 

“The man you knew is dead,” he said again.

 

***

 

The teens regrouped in the lair along with Kaku.

 

“That fat monster packs a punch,” Rocky said as he nursed his injured shoulder.

 

“Sensei…” Tommy started to say.

 

“In order to defeat this Gorma…you must learn to strike quicker. More efficiently. It is the only way to stand up to one who has mastered kempo, as has this Gorma.”

 

Tommy wrinkled his brow.

 

***

 

Zydos walked through a dark, foggy forest cluttered with skulls and broken bone. “This is the perfect place…” he said.

 

He pulled a black crystal sphere from his jacket and extended it forward. An onyx pedestal grew from the sphere and connected it to the ground with a flash of dark light. A demonic symbol spread across the ground in a circular formation.

 

Zydos whispered an incantation. The crystal started to glow red.

 

***

 

A sensei sat in the garden outside his dojo within Angel Grove’s Chinatown. Jinn slowly walked towards the man’s back.

 

Four guards immediately sensed danger and stood between their master and the assassin while unsheathing samurai-style swords.

 

“Wait!” the master shouted while still sitting. “I will handle this. Watch and see what a true master is capable of.”

 

The opponents faced each other. The sensei unsheathed a katana blade. “You dare to challenge me?” the sensei said as he lowered his sword into a fighting stance.

 

Jinn silently flipped his coin into the air before pouncing forward. The sensei chopped his blade towards Jinn’s head. Jinn reached out with his left hand and grabbed the blade. The assassin twisted the sword aside while reaching forward with his right hand, grabbing the man’s throat, and twisting the master‘s windpipe.

 

The sensei dropped dead to the ground as Jinn caught his coin.

 

“Si-kuya!” Tommy suddenly leapt through the air with a flying sidekick.

 

Jinn turned and snapped a sidekick of his own, slamming his heel against the teens’ foot. Tommy somersaulted backward through the air and landed on his feet while snapping into a fighting stance.

 

“It ends here, Jinn,” Tommy said. “I don’t care who you are or what lack of powers you have…you’re evil. And I made a promise a long time ago to do everything I could to stop people like you.”

 

Jinn smiled and walked towards the teen. “I admire your honor, as well as your skill, but don’t pretend to understand me.”

 

“What is there to understand? You’re a murderer.”

 

Jinn laughed beneath his breath. “Things are not always so black and white, Tommy, my friend.”

 

Tommy narrowed his eyes. “I’m not your friend…so shut up and fight…”

 

Jinn grinned and assumed a simple fighting stance, extending his left palm heel forward. “I accept your challenge.”

 

***

 

The other four teens practiced sparring in a grassy field. Billy fought Kimberly with his Thunder Staff and Adam fought Rocky with his Thunder Staff.

 

“Keep up the pace,” Adam said.

 

The vase-shaped Gorma appeared on a nearby hill. “It’s no use!” he shouted to the four rangers.

 

***

 

Tommy and Jinn shifted fighting stances as they circled around each other, looking for weaknesses in each others’ stances and form.

 

Jinn had a smug grin on his face, which made Tommy tense with anger. It was like looking in a dark mirror for the teen.

 

“It ends here,” Tommy said quietly.

 

***

 

The four teens armed their wrist braces. “Chakra ignite!” they connected their morphers as energy shimmered around them and they transformed into their armor.

 

The Rangers leapt forward to attack.

 

“Star Blades!” Lion Ranger and Kirin Ranger shouted as they armed their ring-shaped blades. They swung the weapons hard against the monster, but the blades bounced off the villain, knocking the Rangers backward.

 

***

 

Tommy and Jinn leapt at each other with flying sidekicks, passing by each other in midair. They landed back-to-back.

 

Tommy jumped and swung a spinning hook kick towards Jinn, but at the same time, Jinn had dropped low for a sweep kick that passed underneath the ranger.

 

Tommy snapped a jump roundkick that Jinn blocked. Jinn pressed forward with a flurry of punches that the teen blocked while stepping backward. Jinn launched a right roundkick that slammed against Tommy’s block, and a left roundkick that Tommy blocked.

 

Jinn snapped a front kick that Tommy caught and pushed up, flipping Jinn over, but the assassin somersaulted backward through the air and landed on his feet. Jinn sprang forward through the air and slammed a screw kick against Tommy, knocking the ranger backward.

 

***

 

“Heaven Wind Star!” Phoenix Ranger shouted as she placed her right fist against her left palm. The phoenix eyes on her helmet flashed with energy. “Whirl-wind destruction!”

 

The Gorma tilted his head, An opening slid like an iris and sucked the energy blast inside.

 

***

 

Tommy rolled into a crouched position and looked up to see Jinn charging towards him. Tommy acted on instinct and thrust his hand forward. “Kiryoku!”

 

An invisible burst of energy slammed against Jinn and sent him flying off his feet. The villain slammed against a tree trunk before crashing to the ground.

 

Jinn narrowed his eyes as he rose to his feet. “Bastard!” he yelled. “You would dishonor me by attacking with a power I don’t have! It’s about time I let loose…Spider Fist!”

 

Jinn launched forward with a lightning-quick flurry of punches, faster than anything Tommy had seen. He managed to parry one or two of the blows, but the rest of the barrage slammed against his chest and face, battering the ranger’s body and cracking bone. Jinn slammed a final punch across Tommy’s head.

 

Tommy’s vision blurred as he crashed onto his back. He tried to get up but suddenly went limp.

 

Jinn smiled at the fallen teen and walked away.

 

***

 

Explosions sparked around the four Rangers and knocked them backward. Tsubo Dojin stalked towards them while holding a small vase beneath his left arm.

 

“Thunder Sword!” Phoenix Ranger shouted as she unsheathed her weapon and leapt towards the Gorma.

 

The monster opened his vase. The vase emitted an energy well that wrapped around Phoenix Ranger and dragged her into a small pocket dimension inside.

 

“Kimberly!” Kirin Ranger shouted.

 

***

 

Later that afternoon, Tommy, Rocky, Adam and Billy regrouped in the lair with Kaku. Tommy was still badly beaten, having only regained consciousness a few hours earlier.

 

Rocky slammed his fist into a wall. “How can we beat that guy if we can’t even hurt him!”

 

“Remember what you have all been taught,” Kaku said as he walked towards them. “It is not always a matter of power versus power. You must find alternative means to counter this Gorma’s kempo skills. Focus on your inner power.”

 

Tommy lowered his gaze. His mind flashed back to the rapid-punch attack Jinn had used against him. The young ranger had a feeling that the assassin’s attack could defeat this new Gorma.

 

Kaku walked over to Tommy. “Tommy,” Kaku said. “I know what you are thinking…do not face Jinn again.”

 

Sensei walked away. Tommy rolled his hands into fists.

 

***

 

An older master was pushed in a wheelchair out of the hospital. The man was wheeled to a limo parked by the curb. Jinn threw on a fake smile and walked towards the man with a small bouquet of flowers in hand.

 

“Sensei,” Jinn said. He bowed and handed the old man the flowers. “I am honored to finally meet you. May you have a quick recovery.”

 

Tatsume, a nurse at the hospital, stopped in her tracks on the way outside when she noticed Jinn. Her eyes opened wide with horror. “No…”

 

The old man smiled graciously and accepted the flowers. “Thank you.”

 

Jinn’s face became stern. He thrust his fingers past the flowers towards the man's throat, but the master caught Jinn’s fingers just in time. The master kicked Jinn backward and leapt from the wheelchair with an amazing display of strength.

 

The opponents corkscrewed through the air and exchanged blows before landing with their backs towards one another. Tatsume watched in shock as the old man collapsed dead to the ground.

 

***

 

Tatsume followed Jinn onto a pedestrian bridge in the park and confronted him. Jinn tried to ignore her and leaned over the bridge rail as she spoke. “What happened to you Jinn? You used to be so…full of love…”

 

He said nothing.

 

“Don’t you remember what we used to have, Jinn?”

 

Jinn did remember. He remembered holding her. Making love to her, carving their names into trees when they were children. “I remember…but those feelings left me the day I lost this hand.”

 

He started to walk away.

 

“Jinn!” she called.

 

“Go on with your life, Tatsume,” Jinn said without turning to face her.

 

***

 

Tommy, Adam, Rocky, and Billy sparred by the shore. Each was dressed in a black karate uniform. Tommy suddenly collapsed and winced in pain.

 

“Tommy!” Adam shouted as he and the others ran to their leader’s side.

 

“What’s wrong?” Rocky asked.

 

Tommy shook his head. He could not tell them. They wouldn’t understand.

 

Explosions suddenly sparked around the teens as they rolled for cover. They rose into crouched positions and looked up to see Tsubo Dojin stalk towards them.

 

The villain would have smiled if he had a mouth. “The other four Rangers…excellent.”

 

“Let Kimberly go!” Rocky shouted.

 

“Make me!” the villain shouted as a challenge to the teens.

 

Adam, Rocky, and Billy charged towards the Gorma. Tommy was still keeled over in pain.

 

“Chakra ignite!” the three teens shouted as they connected their braces. Energy shimmered around them as they morphed into their Ranger forms.

 

“Tenma Screw Kick!” the Blue Ranger leapt through the air and started to spin like a drill, aiming his heels towards the Gorma’s head.

 

“Kirin Head Crash!” Yellow Ranger shouted as he lunged forward with a flying head-but.

 

“Lion Punch!” the Green Ranger leapt forward and swung his fist towards the villain.

 

Their attacks bounced off the monster and threw them backward. The three Rangers went skidding across the ground.

 

Tommy was still on all fours, fighting off pain as he wrinkled his brow. “Guys…”

 

The monster opened its vase. Lion Ranger and Kirin Ranger managed to leap to the side, but Tenma Ranger was caught in a swirling vortex and pulled inside.

 

***

 

Zydos still stood over the crystal sphere and whispered an incantation. Whispering became shouting as he honed in on what he needed.

 

***

 

Jinn sat in his spacious apartment and removed his left glove. His artificial hand was all metal and rather squeaky. He reached up with his fake hand and ran it along a flower pedal.

 

***

 

An image of a skull appeared in the crystal sphere. Zydos smiled, his eyes opened wide. “I’ve found him,” Zydos said. “I’ve done it!” he said as he lifted up the crystal ball, and tendrils of red energy shot from its surface.

 

***

 

Tommy was in one of the lair’s side chambers. The room was dark except for rows of candles. Tommy stared into a flame and struck a punch over it. The flame flickered but did not extinguish. Tommy turned to another candle and struck over it with the same results. He snapped to another candle and struck a vertical punch.

 

The candles stayed lit.

 

“Damn,” he muttered to himself as he tried again. He suddenly winced in pain and collapsed to the ground. He took off his top, revealing a suit of tightening springs wrapped across his upper body and arms. The springs fought against his every movement, slowing him down while cutting into his skin.

 

“Kimberly…Rocky…guys…” Tommy tightened the springs and stood.

 

Kaku watched from the entrance of the room. He is trying to surpass Jinn’s skills…to save his friends…

 

***

 

Hours passed. Jinn parked in an ocean-shore parking lot and stepped out from his car. Tommy stood by the shore, his eyes glaring at the assassin. He was dressed in a black karate uniform.

 

Jinn walked towards his opponent. “How are you doing, Tommy?” Jinn asked.

 

Tommy rolled his hands into fists. “I’m ready…face me again…”

 

Jinn shook his head. “If I fight you again…I will have to kill you this time…even though I respect your spirit…and pity you…”

 

“I’m not asking for pity…” Tommy said.

 

Jinn wrinkled his brow.

 

***

 

Adam and Billy squared off with the vase-shaped Gorma. “Where is your leader?” the Gorma asked. “Or was he wise enough not to face me?”

 

Adam and Billy leapt through the air and connected their morphers. “Chakra ignite!”

 

***

 

Tommy and Jinn leapt towards each other. Their fists slammed together in midair, knuckle against knuckle, as they spun forward and each slammed kicks against each other. They landed back-to-back.

 

Jinn turned and dashed towards Tommy. The assassin snapped a high and low roundkick combo that Tommy blocked. The teen knocked Jinn’s leg away and spun forward with a reverse sidekick that slammed against Jinn’s chest.

 

Jinn was visibly impressed by the ranger’s increased speed.

 

Tommy removed the top of his uniform to reveal the set of tight springs.

 

“Fool!” Jinn called. “You’ll kill yourself.”

 

Tommy stretched his muscles until the wiring broke. The teen snapped into a fighting stance and waved Jinn forward.

 

Jinn narrowed his eyes. “Spider Fist!” Jinn shouted. The assassin launched forward with a flurry of turbo-speed punches. Tommy blocked each blow, his arms and fists a blur of motion as the sound of fist and arms slamming against each other sounded almost as rapid as machine-gun fire.

 

Tommy caught the last punch with his hand and lunged forward, slamming a cross punch against Jinn’s face. Tommy spun a reverse heel kick that slammed across Jinn’s head, forcing the assassin backward.

 

“How…” Jinn said. “Is this your magick?”

 

“No,” Tommy said. “It’s all me…”

 

The opponents charged at one another again. Tommy somersaulted forward through the air and slammed a scissor kick across the assassin’s head. The force of the blow knocked Jinn off his feet and sent him tumbling into the water before losing consciousness.

 

Tommy dragged him back to the shore before running off to help his friends.

 

***

 

The Gorma slammed Lion Ranger and Kirin Ranger to the ground. Tommy ran to the scene in the distance just as the Gorma sucked the Green and Yellow Rangers into his vase.

 

Tommy ran closer to the Gorma and narrowed his brow. “You’re going to pay!”

 

“You’re no match for my kempo!” the monster shouted.

 

The Gorma fired an optic blast that exploded around Tommy with a massive explosion, causing flames to snap out and burn the ground. When the flames cleared, Dragon Ranger stood tall.

 

Dragon Ranger charged forward towards his opponent. The Red Ranger slammed a jumpkick against the Gorma, a roundhouse kick, and a roundkick against the villain’s side. Each blow pushed the monster backward.

 

The monster swung its stubby arm towards the Ranger. Red Ranger knocked the fist away and reached forward, grabbing the Gorma by the eye. The villain winced with pain and took a step backward.

 

Dragon Ranger spun forward with a reverse sidekick that slammed against the Gorma’s chest, sending him stumbling backward.

 

Dragon Ranger placed his fist against his palm as the dragon eyes on his helmet flashed with blue energy. “Heaven Fire Star…” he shouted as red energy crackled around his body. “Dragon-Fang fist!”

 

Dragon Ranger’s fists radiated with power as he punched forward, slamming a barrage of super-speed punches that forced the villain back.

 

Red Ranger pressed forward, his final punch exploding against the Gorma with a massive burst of spark that knocked the villain from his feet.

 

The Gorma’s vase cracked as the other four Rangers appeared in bursts of energy.

 

Dragon Ranger ran over to their side. “Guys…are you alright?”

 

The Gorma pulled an enlarging bomb and threw it to the ground. The bomb exploded, and the Gorma absorbed the energy from the explosion, using it to grow giant.

 

The Rangers unsheathed their Thunder Swords and held their gems as they raised their blades into the air. “Thunderzords, arise!”

 

***

 

Jinn crawled further onto the shore. “Failed…I can’t believe I failed.”

 

Jinn looked up to see Zydos standing over him. The Gorma looked down at the assassin while holding a dark crystal ball. “It is not that you failed. The boy has just become stronger than you.”

 

Zydos leaned down towards Jinn. “But I can give you power that would rival his. But first you have to kill your weakness.”

 

Jinn looked shocked as he stared at the stranger.

 

“Jinn!” Tatsume shouted as she ran towards him.

 

A fiendish smile crossed the Gorma’s face. Zydos nodded and walked off.

 

Jinn rose to his knees as Tatsume wrapped her arms around him. Jinn’s face was stone cold, revealing no emotions. “My weakness...” he said quietly to himself. He placed his arms on her back.

 

“Jinn…” she said as she looked at him. Jinn would not meet her gaze. She gasped as Jinn’s metal hand punctured her side.

 

“Jinn…” her time with Jinn flashed before her eyes. The laughing. The joy. All of it destroyed. She collapsed and died.

 

Jinn stood up as the Zydos reappeared. “Very good,” Zydos said. “Now we can begin! You will be an unstoppable force!”

 

Zydos held up his crystal ball and whispered an incantation. The skies turned black, and red lightning struck Jinn. The assassin howled with pain as power filled his every pore. Red and black leather armor formed across his body and legs. His entire left arm covered with jagged metal.

 

***

 

“MegaThunderzord Saber!” the Rangers shouted from their cockpit. “Lightning Slash!”

 

The sword energized with crackling power and slashed through the Gorma monster. The villain collapsed as its energy overloaded and exploded with a massive eruption of flame and spark.

 

***

 

“Excellent Jinn…” Zydos said as he looked at the assassin. “Behold your new form! Welcome to the Gorma”

 

Jinn stood firmly and tightened his fists. He jumped over Zydos while kicking the Gorma in the back. Zydos toppled to the ground.

 

“Bastard!” Zydos yelled.

 

“I work for no one,” Jinn said as he slowly walked away.

 

***

 

At sunset, the teens ran to the shore but saw no sign of Jinn. Tommy saw Jinn’s coin, picked it up, and stared at it as the others stood silently over him. What did the coin mean? Jinn would not just leave it behind. Something had happened.

 

Somewhere off in the distance, Jinn was laughing.

 

To be continued…Chapter 16