Land of the Rising Sun: Chapter Eight

Ninjablue’s Rival

 

Richie walked alone through a park in Tokyo with his hands in his pockets. The other rangers were in classes, but Richie needed to take a break. Walking through the park helped him clear his head.

 

His trip to Japan was not what he expected it to be. He was no closer to finding his father’s killer, he missed home terribly, and monsters were everywhere he turned.

 

A young boy snuck up behind Richie and stole his wallet from his back pocket before running off.

 

“Hey...matei!” he yelled as he ran after the boy. Richie chased the child off the main path and lost track of him among the trees.

 

Richie stopped in his tracks when he heard someone whistle at him. He turned to see a woman dressed in a tight red gown. She looked at him and smiled. “Ninjablue…”

 

The woman’s body contorted and transformed into a bulky witch-type monster with a switch-blade-type device for a right arm.

Richie snapped into a fighting stance. “Youkai…”

 

“Not just any Youkai,” said the monster, named Amikiri. “Your predecessor cut off my arm.”

 

“Pity he didn’t cut off both,” Richie said.

 

The Youkai charged towards Richie. The teen readied his morpher and leapt forward through the air. “Shogun transform!” he shouted as energy twirled around him and he morphed into his Ranger form.

 

Ninjablue landed while swinging his sword down towards the monster’s head. Amikiri parried the blow and slashed her right arm across the Ranger’s chest, daggers and knives sparking on impact as they slashed across their target.

 

Ninjablue fell to the ground and rolled back into a crouched position. He sprang forward and swung his sword horizontally towards the monster’s body. The Youkai parried the blow and swung her blade arm around with a powerful swipe that sparked against the Blue Ranger’s armor and knocked him backward.

 

The Blue Ranger crashed onto his back as the Youkai sprang forward. Amikiri swung her weapon arm down towards the fallen Ranger.

 

Ninjablue braced himself for a finishing blow that never came. Two sabers stretched out as if from nowhere and blocked the monster’s strike. It was Ninjared and Ninjablack. The Red Ranger and Black Ranger knocked the monster’s sword arm aside and slammed  sidekicks against the Youkai, knocking the monster backward and sending her tumbling across the ground.

 

Ninjared helped Ninjablue to his feet as the five Rangers regrouped.

 

Amikiri slowly climbed back to her feet. She glared at the Blue Ranger through red beady eyes. “We’ll meet again…Ninjablue.”

 

The Youkai teleported away.

 

“What was that all about?” Ninjayellow asked.

 

Ninjablue stayed silent.

 

***

 

The teens walked through the city streets. They were behind schedule to meet the rest of their class in a nearby museum. Richie was lagging back behind the group, so Trini stepped back to talk to him.

 

“That Youkai seemed to have it in for you,” Trini said.

 

Richie nodded. “Apparently the first Blue Ranger cut off its arm. Now it wants revenge. It’s…weird.”

 

Richie still had a hard time grasping his role in the fight against the Youkai. He had a hard time believing he was a decedent of something greater than he ever thought existed.

 

“I know what you mean,” Trini said. “When I got my first Power Coin, the spirit of the original Tiger Ranger appeared to me, telling me it was my destiny to carry on. I had a hard time accepting it for a while. For that first year, I hardly said two words.”

 

Richie smiled. “That’s hard to imagine.”

 

Trini playfully shoved him.

 

A couple steps ahead of Trini and Richie, Jonathan rolled his eyes. “Yes, Richie is so funny,” Jonathan said sarcastically to Zack while keeping his voice down. “That’s the first joke I’ve heard him make.”

 

Zack shrugged. “I think Trini likes quiet guys. She always hung out with Billy on the original team. He was even more shy.”

 

“Quiet guys,” Jonathan said. “Now you tell me…”

 

In the distance, Richie spotted a boy leaving the park and crossing a city street. “Hey…that’s the kid that stole my wallet!”

 

Richie ran after the boy. The other teens followed as they ran across the street and moved along a city walkway. The boy immediately spotted his pursuers and broke into a sprint. The young thief ducked into a series of alleys but made a wrong turn. He was cornered.

 

The rangers caught up with the boy.

 

Juniya’s skeletal face suddenly appeared in its ghostly form in the skies above. Tendrils of crimson energy lashed down and teleported the boy away. Juniya’s laughter filled the alleyways as the image vanished. A ransom note blew through the air and landed at Richie’s feet.

 

***

 

Richie entered an old warehouse in an industrial district. He slid open a wooden door and stepped inside. The note had led him to the warehouse and instructed him to go alone. He knew it was a trap.

 

Richie spotted the young thief tied to a pole near the center of the massive warehouse floor. The ranger moved over and untied the boy. “Are you okay?”

 

The young boy nodded.

 

“Ninjablue!” a voice called from above. Richie looked up to see Amikiri in her human form glaring downward. “Prepare for the end.”

 

Amikiri leapt downward and snapped a flying sidekick towards Richie while landing. Richie stepped backward while blocking the kick with both arms.

 

Amikiri landed and pounced forward with a high roundkick that Richie blocked and a reverse sidekick that Richie sidestepped away from.

 

Richie spun forward with a reverse hook kick that the Youkai ducked under. She rose back to full height and thrust the heel of her palm towards the ranger’s face. Richie grabbed her arm and slammed a sidekick against the villain’s chest, knocking her backward.

 

The woman’s skin rippled and contorted as she transformed into her monster form. The Youkai extended her hand and fired an invisible telekinetic pulse that sent Richie crashing through the warehouse wall and flying through the air.

 

Richie flipped forward while in midair and landed a foot against a neighboring building. He bounced off the building and leapt back towards Amikiri while arming his morpher. “Shogun transform!” he shouted as energy whirled around him and he morphed into his Blue Ranger form.

 

Ninjablue unsheathed his sword and angled his decent towards Amikiri, who stood outside between the two warehouse buildings. Amikiri armed her massive weapons hand and swatted the Blue Ranger from the air, several blades and daggers sparking upon impact.

 

Ninjablue crashed to the ground and rolled back into a crouched fighting stance as Amikiri charged towards him. The Blue Ranger sprang forward. The opponents became streaks of motion that dashed across the warehouse rooftops while clashing in midair.

 

Ninjablue tried fervently to land a blow with his sword, but the monster parried each strike.

 

They streaked towards the wooded wilderness surrounding the industry, and Amikiri bashed her weapon arm onto the Blue Ranger’s back. Ninjablue shot downward and slammed against the ground below, kicking up dirt and rubble on impact.

 

***

 

The other rangers met the boy inside the warehouse. Jonathan and the young thief spoke with each other in Japanese. The child waved his hands as he frantically described the battle.

 

Jonathan turned to the others. “Richie’s in trouble.”

 

***

 

“Ninpo!” Ninjablue shouted as he used his power to run across a pond.

 

Amikiri was at his heels. She extended her hand and launched comets of energy that exploded around Ninjablue, splashing water and knocking the Blue Ranger off his feet. Ninjablue lost his focus and fell into the pond.

 

Ninjablue rolled onto the shore just as an energy pulse exploded against his chest and sent him flying backward. The Blue Ranger landed at the edge of a rock quarry and started to tumble downward into the quarry itself.

 

Amikiri slowly stalked towards the Ranger while holding her blade arm outward. “Finally…my revenge.”

 

A volley of throwing stars suddenly exploded against the villain and knocked her backward. Jason and the other teens arrived on the scene and helped Ninjablue to his feet. “You okay?” Jason asked.

 

Ninjablue nodded. “Yeah…”

 

Jason and the others glared at the monster and armed their morphers. “Let’s do it.”

 

“Shogun transform! Ninja Power!” Energy swirled around them as they transformed into their Ranger armor. They each snapped into fighting stances.

 

“Ninjared!”

 

“Ninjablack!”

 

“Ninjablue!”

 

“Ninjayellow!”

 

“Ninjawhite!”

 

Together, they shouted. “Shogun Task Force, Ninja Rangers!”

 

“Dorodoro!” Amikiri shouted. A group of the blue-skinned grunts appeared and charged towards the Rangers to attack.

 

The Rangers split up and fought back while unsheathing their swords.

 

Ninjawhite chopped her blade down through a grunt’s head as several soldiers surrounded her. She turned to her right and slashed her blade through another grunt’s chest. A third Dorodoro swung its jagged saber towards the White Ranger. Ninjawhite swung upward to parry the blow and slashed her blade back down across the grunt’s body.

 

Ninjared slammed a spinning heel kick across a soldier’s head before spinning forward and slashing a second soldier across the gut.

 

Ninjayellow and Ninjablack armed their Shinobi Knuckles and bashed through a group of Dorodoro with a flurry of punches, each punch sparking on impact.

 

Ninjablue armed his sword and dagger and stood in a square defensive stance while facing off with Amikiri. Ever since his father’s murder, the Ranger had trained to fight. He had trained to win, so he could one day find and defeat the man who killed his father. Ninjablue called upon that training. He would not allow Amikiri to beat him. Nothing would stand in the way of finding his father’s killer.

 

They charged towards one another. Amikiri had her weapon arm held back, ready to strike.

 

The Youkai swung her weapon arm towards the Blue Ranger’s head. Ninjablue dropped backward, falling beneath the weapon arm while slicing his blades outward in an x-shaped pattern. His blades slashed across the monster, sparking on impact.

 

The attack forced Amikiri backward a few steps while Ninjablue flipped back to his feet. Ninjablue’s sword radiated with Cyan energy. “Hidden Style Square Formation Cut!”

 

He swung his saber in a square pattern, each swing streaking with blue energy. The blow slashed across the monster with a flurry of sparks and explosions that knocked her off her feet.

 

The Rangers regrouped.

 

“Good work,” Ninjared said to the Blue Ranger.

 

Amikiri rose back to her feet and summoned lightning from above. The lightning blast energized her and caused her to grow giant.

 

“Shogunzords awaken!” the Rangers 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.

 

“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.

 

“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.

 

“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.

 

“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. The merger continued with a blinding flash of golden light. Their zords had formed Muteki Shogun.

 

“ShogunMegazord!” The Rangers shouted as one.

 

Amikiri ran forward and slashed her weapon arm across the zord, her blades sparking on impact. ShogunMegazord grabbed the weapon arm with its right hand, twisted, and slammed its massive left fist against the villain. The blow sparked on impact and knocked the Youkai backward, sending the monster tumbling across the ground.

 

Amikiri slowly stumbled back to her feet.

 

“ShogunMegazord Saber, ignite!” the Rangers shouted as the Megazord armed its slender golden blade.

 

The blade pulsed with fiery energy. ShogunMegazord swung the weapon down with a streak of flame. The glowing saber tore through the Youkai. Amikiri fell backward, her energy overloading and exploding. The creature’s fiery ashes turned to dust and faded in the wind.

 

***

 

The teens met the young thief back at the warehouse district. They were surprised the boy had actually stayed. The thief handed Richie his wallet.

 

“Thanks,” Richie said.

 

The boy smiled and ran off as the teens returned to their van.

 

To be continued…Chapter 09