Land of the Rising Sun: Chapter Two

A Police Matter

 

The five teens kneeled behind a corner in downtown Tokyo. They were across the street from the police station where Richie had fallen captive. A dark presence seemed to hover around the station, making the rangers’ hairs stand up on end.

 

A sleek black car pulled up to the station. The door opened, and a man in a black suit stepped out and moved towards the station entrance. It was the officer who had held Richie in the cage. “That’s him,” Richie said.

 

Jonathan squinted. The teen’s vision was less than perfect. “He seems normal enough.”

 

“For being possessed at least,” Zack said.

 

Richie watched the officer enter the station. “I wonder how many Youkai are inside?”

 

“Only one way to find out,” Jason said.

 

Trini nodded. “Let’s come back at night. We’ll be harder to spot that way.”

 

“Sounds like a plan,” Jason agreed. “Zack, you’ll go in with Richie. The rest of us will stand by in case you run into trouble.”

 

***

 

Night fell across the city. Zack and Richie were in their ninja uniforms as they leapt across the rooftops towards the police station. The rangers reached the station in minutes.

 

Richie and Zack set grappling hooks against the ledge of the roof. They used ropes tied to the grappling hooks to start scaling down the building side. They entered the station through an unlocked window and landed in a dark, empty hallway.

 

“You think there’d be more people up here,” Zack said as his eyes scanned the shadows.

 

Richie nodded as they started moving down the hall. “Yeah…”

 

Dorodoro dropped from the shadows and pounced towards the two rangers. Zack and Richie unsheathed their sword as the grunts attacked.

 

Richie spinning heel kicked a Dorodoro aside. The teen brought his blade down diagonally through a second soldier’s chest. He slammed the end of his blade’s handle against that soldier’s face to knock the grunt backward.

 

Zack used his sword to slap a jagged blade aside and arced his saber back around to slash across the soldier’s throat with a burst of spark. Zack pushed forward with a jump kick upside a soldier’s head.

 

Bullets suddenly shot down the hall as Zack and Richie dove for cover. The Youkai officer stalked towards them with his gun held forward. His name was Azukiarai. An evil grin spread across his face as he watched the rangers roll back into crouched positions. “Well, well…what have we here?”

 

“Just visiting,” Zack said as he tightened his grip on his sword.

 

***

 

Jason, Trini, and Jonathan had not heard from Zack or Richie in too long. And the station seemed too quiet. The three rangers, dressed in their ninja uniforms, entered the police station. They found no sign of their two teammates or anyone.

 

“Great,” Trini said sarcastically. “They’re not here.”

 

“Where could they have gone?” Jonathan asked.

 

Jason shook his head. “I don’t know…but this is definitely not good.”

 

Trini moved closer to the center of the hall. She bent over to a small piece of paper lying on the floor. “Over here!” she called to the others as she picked up the paper.

 

Jason looked at the paper. It was written in Japanese. “I can’t read Japanese.”

 

“Let me see,” Jonathan said as he took the paper. He spoke fluent Japanese and could read the language too. Jonathan came from a rich family background. Much to his constant distaste, his parents had constantly bombarded him with highly-paid tutors and teachers. His parents were obsessed with molding him into a well-educated successor who could compete in the global market. But he preferred playing video games.

 

“It says Zack and Richie are at that Youkai bar from before,” Jonathan said. “We’re supposed to be there at dawn if we want to see them again.”

 

“It’s a trap,” Trini said.

 

Jason nodded. “Yeah…but we don’t have much of a choice.”

 

***

 

A Dorodoro crashed through the bar door, wood splintering in every direction. Jason, Trini, and Jonathan burst into the bar room. The three rangers were in their ninja uniforms. Azukiarai and several dozen Dorodoro were inside. Richie and Zack were tied with their arms wrapped around two pillars.

 

Trini snapped down a small smoke bomb. The rangers moved towards their teammates and untied them.

 

Zack’s hand immediately wrapped around Trini’s throat. He roundkicked the ranger in the side and tossed her backward. Trini crashed through a table.

 

Richie spinning heel kicked Jason across the face and cross punched Jonathan in the face.

 

Richie and Zack started to blur. They were really two Dorodoro with a disguise spell making them appear as the teens.

 

“They were imposters,” Jonathan said with frustration as he started fighting several Dorodoro that surrounded him. He used his sword to deflect the grunts’ blades and started slashing across their bodies, trying to knock them down as fast as they came.

 

Trini stayed behind the battle, closed her eyes, and focused. She reached out with her mind, sensing Zack and Richie nearby. Her eyes snapped open, and she leapt across a group of Dorodoro while kicking them in the back.

 

Trini somersaulted through the air and landed behind the bar. Richie and Zack were tied up and gagged behind the bar counter. She removed their bindings.

 

“Thanks Trini” Zack said as he rose to his feet.

 

The three teens leapt over the bar.

 

Azukiarai growled with anger. He transformed into his monster Youkai form. His body was green and blue with leather segments running along his side and back. He had a long, reptilian tail extending from his tailbone. The creature’s head was mushroom shaped, but jagged. He had no eyes or features on his face except for a mouth full of razor-sharp teeth.

 

The rangers readied their morphers. “Shogun transform! Ninja Power!” Energy twirled around them as they morphed into their Ranger forms.

 

“Kill!” the Youkai monster shouted, signaling the Dorodoro to attack.

 

The Rangers unsheathed their swords in unison.

 

A Dorodoro hopped towards Ninjayellow while swinging his blade downward. Ninjayellow knocked the saber aside and stepped forward with a reverse sidekick that slammed against the soldier’s chest. The Dorodoro went crashing onto a nearby table.

 

A soldier tried to sneak up behind the Yellow Ranger. Ninjayellow turned while swinging his blade in a horizontal arc, cutting the grunt down.

 

Ninjablack used his leg to flip a chair at three Dorodoro. The chair crashed against the soldiers, knocking them backward as Ninjablack flipped onto the bar counter.

 

Another group of soldiers charged towards the Black Ranger. He snapped a volley of throwing stars that exploded against the grunts, knocking them from their feet.

 

The Youkai monster armed a curved, slender blade and charged towards Ninjared to attack.

 

Ninjared placed his hands in front of his chest in a ninja pose as fiery energy started to circle around him. “Ninpo Fire Attack!” Four comets of fiery energy circled around Ninjared and streaked towards the Youkai monster.

 

The streaks of fire slammed against the Youkai, exploding against the monster and bashing him through the wall. The monster tumbled into an alley. The five Rangers leapt through the hole in the wall and surrounded the monster in the alley.

 

Azukiarai held his slender saber forward and charged towards Ninjablue and Ninjablack. The two Rangers unsheathed their swords and spun forward, passing underneath the monster’s strike while slashing Azukiarai across the chest, their sabers sparking on impact as they past the monster.

 

The Youkai snapped around, slashing his blade across the Blue and Black Rangers’ armor.

 

Ninjayellow leapt towards the monster while chopping his blade downward. Azukiarai used his sword to slash Ninjayellow from the air.

 

Ninjawhite and Ninjared rolled into crouching positions and armed their blasters. “Shogun Blasters!” they shouted, firing lances of golden energy that exploded against the Youkai.

 

The monster extended his hand towards the air. Lightning scorched the skies as a dark cloud hovered above. Bolts of lightning crashed downward against the Youkai, energizing the monster and expanding his every cell. Azukiarai grew giant.

 

The five Rangers pulled out their scrolls.

 

“Shogunzords awaken!” they shouted together while holding their scrolls forward. The spells etched on the scrolls summoned their zords.

 

“Red Ape!” A giant red-armored shogun warrior rose to its feet behind the Red Ranger. Ninjared hovered backward and merged into the zord’s chest with a flash of light. Ranger and zord became one. Red Ape snapped into a fighting stance.

 

Ninjablue spun around and pulled the scroll to his chest. The scroll vanished with a pulse of blue light. “Blue Wolf!”

 

A giant blue-armored shogun warrior rose to its feet behind the Blue Ranger. Ninjablue hovered backward and merged into the zord’s chest with a flash of light. Ranger and zord became one. Blue Wolf snapped into a fighting stance.

 

Ninjablack spun and pulled the scroll to his chest. The scroll vanished with a pulse of black and purple light. “Black Frog!”

 

A giant black-armored shogun warrior rose to its feet behind the Black Ranger. Ninjablack hovered backward and merged into the zord’s chest with a flash of light. Ranger and zord became one. Black Frog snapped into a fighting stance.

 

Ninjawhite spun around, her scroll vanishing with a pulse of white light. “White Crane!”

 

A giant white-armored shogun warrior rose to its feet behind the White Ranger. Ninjawhite hovered backward and merged into the zord’s chest with a flash of light. Ranger and zord became one. White Crane snapped into a fighting stance.

 

Ninjayellow spun around, his scroll vanishing with a pulse of yellow light. “Yellow Bear!”

 

A giant yellow-armored shogun warrior rose to its feet behind the Yellow Ranger. Ninjayellow hovered backward and merged into the zord’s chest with a flash of light. Ranger and zord became one. Yellow Bear snapped into a fighting stance.

 

“Shogunzord Fusion!” Red Ape shouted. The five zords charged forward. Each zord flashed with energy and started to reconfigure, shifting shape as armor components slid and merged with other zords. The merger continued with a blinding flash of golden light. Their zords had formed Muteki Shogun.

 

“ShogunMegazord!” The Rangers shouted as one.

 

Azukiarai swung his blade down towards the massive zord. ShogunMegazord grabbed the blade and twisted the weapon aside. The Megazord stepped forward and slammed his fist against the monster’s chest. The Youkai was smashed backward and went tumbling across the ground.

 

ShogunMegazord pressed forward. The zord slammed two backfist blows that smashed against the monster, sparking on impact. The zord swung his fist around, slamming on top of the monster’s head.

 

The Youkai fell backward again. The monster rose to the ground as ShogunMegazord armed its curved, golden blade.

 

“ShogunMegazord Saber!” the Rangers shouted as the blade pulsed with flame. “Ignite!”

 

The Megazord swung its weapon in a streak of flame that ripped through the Youkai, tearing its body open. The monster fell backward as its energy overloaded and exploded. The creature’s remains turned to fiery ash before blowing away in the wind.

 

***

 

The rangers gathered outside of Nekomaru.

 

Richie was off on a bench while polishing a katana he carried with him. The rangers weren’t sure what the story was behind the blade. When they asked, Richie only shrugged and answered just as the rangers expected of the shy teen. “It’s just a sword,” he would say.

 

Jason and Trini were at a nearby patio table, reviewing a map of the surrounding area. They were trying to figure out how to track down the other Youkai and stop them from stirring up trouble.

 

Jonathan leaned against Nekomaru with his arms crossed. Zack was leaning against the yellow van too.

 

“I don’t know, Zack…” Jonathan said as he shook his head. His eyes were glued to Trini as she studied the map with Jason. “There’s just something about her. I didn’t notice until she saved us from that bar.”

 

“Really?” Zack asked. “Trini?”

 

Jonathan nodded, his eyes still fixed on her.

 

“Well,” Zack said. “It’s kind of messed up, if you ask me.”

 

Jonathan wrinkled his brow. “Why’s that?”

 

“Because,” Zack said. “She’s the knight in shining white armor. And she rescued you.”

 

Jonathan smiled and rolled his eyes. “Shut up, Zack.”

 

***

 

Trini had her eyes on someone else. She occasionally glanced up and looked at Richie while the teen polished his sword.

 

Jason caught on after a few moments. He smiled at his friend. “I don’t suppose it’s the sword you’re impressed with?”

 

Trini’s face turned slightly red. “It’s the one who’s holding it.”

 

To be continued…Chapter 03