Five Stars of Heaven: Chapter Twenty-Four

Kujaku’s Fate

 

Kujaku sat alone by a pier at the edge of the city. She was leaving America and too weak to teleport away. Dressed in civilian clothes, she was traveling by cruise ship.

 

“Kujaku!” Adam shouted as he ran towards her. He sat down next to her on the bench. “Sorry I’m late.”

 

“It’s okay,” she said. Her gaze was fixed on the ocean. “My ship is almost here…thank you for your help.”

 

Adam nodded. “I still wish you would go by plane. It would be quicker.”

 

She shook her head. “I don’t believe in flying on those mechanical beasts…if I was strong enough…I could be in Japan in the blink of an eye.”

 

“You’ll be fine,” Adam said as he squeezed her hands. “Just find those Tears.”

 

She nodded.

 

“I wish you’d let me come with you,” Adam said.

 

She shook her head. “You must stay here with your friends. They need your…” Then a feather dropped from beneath her shirt. The feather landed on the ground and turned gray. Kujaku placed her hands over her mouth to keep from wincing in pain.

 

Adam grabbed her hand with concern. “I am coming with you.”

 

***

 

Kaku was meditating, his mind riding the astral plane. He saw a vision. He saw the Tears flashing with rainbow energy. Then he saw the people of Japan keel over, crying in pain.

 

Kaku’s eyes snapped open. “Gara…what kind of black magick are you weaving?”

 

***

 

Gara was in a cave. She sat on a demonic symbol etched in the ground. She poured a dish of blood around her. “Kujaku…when you arrive seeking your rebirth, you will only find death.”

 

***

 

Adam walked with Kujaku along the rocky shores of Japan. Kujaku kneeled towards a shrine in the far off distance and offered a prayer to her god. Adam kneeled down beside her.

 

“His powers are almost as weak as mine,” she said.

 

“Why?” Adam said.

 

“Evil,” she said. “Evil is squandering his spirit.”

 

“The Gorma?” he asked.

 

Kujaku shook her head. “Something worse.”

 

Explosions suddenly sparked around them as they rolled for cover. They rolled into crouched fighting stances and looked up to see Gara floating towards them. Gara was dressed in a strange suit of dark-purple armor. Her Gorma third eye was exposed. The villain’s shaggy black hair blew in the supernatural wind.

 

“Gara,” Kujaku said as Adam stood in front of her in a fighting stance. “What have you done?”

 

Gara said nothing. She extended her hand and launched fiery bursts of purple energy towards the couple. Adam dove aside along with Kujaku as shockwaves knocked them backward.

 

Adam rolled back into a crouched position before springing forward through the air and arming his braces. “Chakra ignite!” He connected his braces and morphed into his armor.

 

Lion Ranger unsheathed his sword and swung the weapon downward towards the villain while landing. Gara disappeared in the blink of an eye, and Lion Ranger’s sword passed through thin air.

 

The villain reappeared behind the Green Ranger. Lion Ranger snapped around while swinging his sword horizontally, but Gara vanished again. She reappeared in front of Lion Ranger and grabbed him by the throat.

 

Strands of power pulsed from her hand and exploded against the Ranger with a massive burst of spark. Gara threw the Green Ranger aside. Lion Ranger crashed to the ground and skid backward.

 

Kujaku moved to Lion Ranger’s side as he rose to his feet. “What happened to her?” he asked.

 

“Adam,” she said. “Gara has increased her strength by using the most wicked of spells.”

 

The armored Gara was a doppelganger.

 

The real Gara reappeared beside them in her normal leather armor. She grinned wickedly at Kujaku and raised her fencing-type saber. “Kujaku…it is time for my revenge…finally.”

 

Kujaku unsheathed her daggers and snapped into a fighting stance. “Gara,” Kujaku said. “I grow tired of this fight.”

 

“It will be over soon with your death,” Gara said.

 

Gara extended her palm and launched spheres of blue fiery energy from her hand. The spheres exploded around and against Kujaku as she charged forward to attack. Kujaku flashed with energy as she leapt forward to attack.

 

Gara pounced forward, and the opponents clashed blades in midair while passing each other. They twisted and landed back on the ground while facing each other and raising their weapons.

 

They circled around each other while shifting fighting stances, searching for weaknesses in stance and movement. They dashed forward and clashed swords, swinging their blades through intricate arcs, parries, and strikes.

 

Meanwhile Lion Ranger and the Gara doppelganger faced off. The doppelganger launched strands of violet energy that wrapped around the Green Ranger. The energy strands exploded on impact, electrifying against Lion Ranger’s armor.

 

The doppelganger used the strands of energy to reel Lion Ranger towards her. She grabbed the Green Ranger by the neck and slammed the back of her hand across his helmet, knocking him back to the ground.

 

Lion Ranger rolled into a crouched fighting stance and unsheathed his Thunder Sword.

 

The doppelganger extended her hand and fired pulses of violet energy from her palm that exploded against Lion Ranger, sending him flying through the air as his armor forcibly demorphed. Adam crashed against the ground hard.

 

The ground suddenly started to shake. The violent tremors caused a crack to open across the ground. The crack spread beneath Adam. He tried to rise to his feet, but the quake kept him off balance.

 

The ground tore open, and Adam fell through the opening. He grabbed an outcropped and clutched on for his life.

 

***

 

Gara’s magick was poisoning the people of Japan. Her magick spread like a sickness, striking the people with a wave of vertigo.

 

Even the country’s resident ranger team made up of foreign exchange students from Angel Grove - Jason, Trini, Zack, Richie, and Jonathan- were affected by the sickness.

 

***

 

The doppelganger launched a flurry of blasts that exploded near the crevice, nearly jarring Adam loose.

 

Blurs of energy passed by overhead. The other four Rangers arrived on the scene, having been contacted by Sensei Kaku.

 

Dragon Ranger and Tenma Ranger leapt through the air and slammed flying sidekicks against the armored Gara, knocking the doppelganger backward. She stumbled off her feet and crashed to the ground as Phoenix Ranger and Kirin Ranger landed behind her.

 

The Rangers were too late to help Adam.

 

The teen’s hand slipped, and he plummeted down into the crevice.

 

***

 

Adam fell through the darkness. He tried to find something to grab hold of, but could not. He was doomed.

 

Then his body suddenly started pulsing with rainbow-like energy. The energy slowed his descent as he fell towards the foggy ground below.

 

Adam landed in a deep, underground cave of some sort. He saw a shimmering through the corner of his eye. He turned. The Tears were nearby. He saw them, egg-shaped, but with flowing feathers for a shell.

 

Adam walked forward, leaned over, and picked them up. “This is it,” he said. “The Tears…”

 

***

 

Kujaku fell to the ground and rolled backward before rising back to her knees. One of her feathers fell to the ground and turned gray. She was getting weaker.

 

Gara extended her sword and fired a saber flare that exploded against Kujaku’s chest and sent her flying backward. She went flying off a nearby cliff and landed in a field of tall grass and thorny stems.

 

Gara pounced forward and leapt down towards the field. She angled her decent towards Kujaku and swung the blade downward. Kujaku lifted her daggers and blocked the blow, blades clashing with a fierce spark.

 

“Kiryoku!” Kujaku shouted. Rainbow light exploded against Gara and knocked her away. The villain was thrown backward into thorns.

 

***

 

Green energy flashed within the crevice. Lion Ranger leapt from the opening and landed on the ground, the Tears clutched in his hand. He powered down his armor as the other rangers ran over to him.

 

“Are those…” Tommy started to ask.

 

Adam nodded. “We have to get these to Kujaku…now…”

 

***

 

Kujaku limped through the thorns. Her body was weak and breaking.

 

Nearby, Gara rose to her feet. The villain’s eyes were closed and bleeding. She had gone blind.

 

Kujaku wrinkled her brow at the sight. “Gara…your eyes…”

 

Gara flailed about with anger, not sure where to focus her rage. “It’s bad enough you scar me…now you blind me?!”

 

Gara extended her hand and haphazardly launched spheres of blue energy from her palm. The energy spheres exploded across the ground but did not hit their target. Gara collapsed to her knees.

 

***

 

Adam leaned over to pick up one of Kujaku’s feathers. “Kujaku…she’s dying…we have to find her now!”

 

Artificial wind blew through the air. The teens turned to see Sensei Kaku standing on a boulder at the base of a rocky hill.

 

“Sensei…” Tommy said as they walked towards him.

 

“Everyone…” Kaku stepped down and moved closer to his students.

 

“Sensei!” Adam said as he ran over to Kaku. “We have to find Kujaku. If we don’t get her these Tears, she’ll die.”

 

“Adam…” Kaku said. “The Tears would not heal her. She’s come too far in her illness. They would make her condition better only temporarily.”

 

“There has to be something we can do!” Adam practically yelled. “We can’t let her die!”

 

“There is nothing we can do for her, my son,” Kaku said. “But we can save the people of this country from dying by using those tears. Gara’s magick has poisoned everyone in Japan. The Tears can save them.”

 

Adam shook his head. “What about Kujaku! These Tears can save a whole country, but they can’t save her?”

 

“Adam…do not let your feelings blind you,” Kaku said. “Kujaku would understand.”

 

Adam clenched his jaw and shook his head. “No…no! I can’t let her die.” He grabbed Kaku’s cloak out of desperation. “Sensei please…” he ran over to his friends. “Guys!”

 

The rangers looked away. None of them could meet his gaze.

 

Adam knitted his brow with anger. He turned and started running towards the distance while carrying the Tears.

 

Kaku extended his hand and used an invisible telekinetic blast to knock the Tears from Adam’s hands. The Tears flew backward and landed in Kaku’s hand.

 

“Give them back!” Adam yelled as he ran towards Kaku. Adam swung his fist towards his sensei. Kaku caught the teen’s wrist and pushed Adam aside.

 

Adam rolled across the ground, rose to his feet, and leapt through the air, taking the Tears, but Kaku struck his foot up and kicked Adam in the gut. Kaku then used his Kiryoku to slam Adam against a rock wall. Adam rolled down the wall and onto the ground, the Tears leaving his hands.

 

The Tears rolled across the ground. They started glowing with rainbow-colored energy as Kujaku appeared besides them. She reached down and lifted the Tears from the ground.

 

“Kujaku,” Adam said as he rose to his feet.

 

“Adam,” she said as their eyes met.

 

She shook her head.

 

Adam’s heart sank.

 

Kujaku took a step towards Kaku. “Sensei Kaku,” she said. “I will use the tears to help the people…but first there is something I must do. Something I should have done long ago.”

 

“I admire your courage,” Kaku said.

 

Kujaku radiated with energy and streaked towards the distance.

 

“Kujaku!” Adam yelled as he ran in her direction.

 

***

 

Gara crawled across the ground, wailing with sorrow and rage. Kujaku appeared in a streak of energy and appeared besides Gara. Kujaku kneeled down towards her nemesis and oldest friend.

 

“I’ve come to help you,” Kujaku said as she held the Tears. “These Tears…these are the reason I became the warrior Kujaku. I wanted to find the Tears to heal your scars. That’s why I left you.”

 

Gara shook her head. “You did this to me.”

 

Kujaku nodded. “I’m sorry, Gara. My friend.”

 

Kujaku dripped some of the Tears onto Gara’s eyes. The villain’s eyes slowly opened, and the scar along her face vanished. Gara opened her eyes wide with surprise as she ran her fingers along the side of her face where the scar used to be. “Kujaku…”

 

Kujaku laid Gara down and left towards the shore to finish her task.

 

***

 

Kujaku stood at the rocky shore, facing the ocean. Adam and the others ran towards her from the distance. Adam was shouting her name, but she tried her best to ignore him. She had a job to do.

 

Kujaku pulled the Tears backward before tossing them forward. The Tears splashed into the ocean and dissolved. Their magick energy slowly spread across the waters and formed a ring around the entire country of Japan.

 

“Kujaku!” Adam yelled as he and the other teens ran to her.

 

Kujaku turned and looked with yearning at Adam. She whispered his name. “Adam…”

 

Her knees faltered, and she slowly fell to the ground.

 

“Kujaku!” he screamed. He ran to her side and crouched down next to her as he lifted her into his arms. “Hold on…don’t you die on me…”

 

She reached up with weak, shaking hands and ran her palm across the side of Adam’s face, using her thumb to wipe away his tears. “Thank you…for teaching me how to love again.”

 

Kujaku’s eyes closed as her final breath escaped her lips. Adam held her tight and cried. A rainbow colored light flickered across her body as Kujaku disappeared. Adam leaned over and ran his fingers along the single feather she left behind.

 

To be continued…Chapter 25