Land of the Rising Sun: Chapter Thirteen

The Search

 

PART ONE: THE MESSENGER

 

Jason drove a motorbike down a rocky path outside the city. He sighed as he looked around the vacant woods surrounding him. “I hope the others are having better luck.”

 

About a mile away, a small rocky hill was layered with flowers as rabbits skipped across the grass. The scroll Jason was searching for was on top of the hill. A coin similar to Jason’s in design was on top of the scroll, and it flashed while shooting a red ray onto a nearby butterfly.

 

The butterfly was transformed into a teenage Japanese girl. She looked over herself and smiled. “So this is what it feels like?” she laughed.

 

She leapt from a cliff and shimmered with golden energy as she soared through the skies.

 

She passed over a few fields before spotting Jason driving on his bike. Jason looked up as the skies became dark and red lightning crashed around him. He screamed as he was tossed from the bike.

 

Jason rose to his feet and stared into the skies as Juniya’s face appeared. The villain’s face looked down at the ranger. “Jason…you and your friends are wasting your time.”

 

“You sound a little worried,” Jason said. “Afraid we’ll kick your butt after we find the scrolls?”

 

“You’ll never find them,” Juniya said as he laughed. Juniya’s face transformed into its skeleton form and blasted the ground near Jason with eye beams. Jason was thrown backward and tumbled down a nearby quarry.

 

***

 

Jason regained consciousness near a creek, and the girl born from the butterfly was dressing his wounds. “Wha…who…”

 

“Hi,” she said with a smile. “I’m Mei.”

 

“How did you find me?” Jason asked as he tried to sit up. He gasped in pain.

 

“Oh, hold on,” Mei said with concern. She placed her hand over the wound on Jason’s chest and it healed with a flash of golden light. She smiled. “There. All better.”

 

Jason grinned.

 

***

 

Jason drove his bike down a road surrounded by trees as Mei sat behind him. “Turn here,” she said as Jason did so. “Isn’t it beautiful? I love seeing things this way.”

 

Jason chuckled. “Yeah, I guess it is pretty nice.”

 

“Here’s our stop!” Mei said with excitement as Jason pulled up to a small children’s park.

 

“Here?” Jason asked. “This is your stop? Why here?”

 

“To have fun,” she said as she pulled Jason by the hand. He couldn’t resist.

 

***

 

The two teens rode a boat across a pond, walked along a few rows of games, and shared ice cream. Mei was clearly enjoying herself more than Jason, but he allowed himself to admire the girl’s zest for life.

 

“What the hell am I doing here?” Jason asked himself quietly as Mei caught up with him. The two walked up a set of stairs towards the main building at the park.

 

“Mei, I’m still grateful you saved me, but I really have to get going. I have something I have to find,” Jason said.

 

“Why?” Mei said. She looked hurt. “Did I do something wrong?”

 

“No,” Jason said. “Not at all, it’s just that…”

 

“Jason,” Mei said. “I don’t have much time. The magic that brought me to life won’t last for much longer.”

 

Jason wrinkled his brow. “What are you talking about?”

 

Mei stared walking near a stream as Jason followed. She told him how she was born from a butterfly by Ninpo and that the spell wouldn’t last forever. “I want to enjoy this life while I can,” Mei said. “Don’t you?”

 

That’s when Jason admitted it to himself. This girl’s personality, her joy, reminded him of his sister Janet. Janet had died in a gang attack before Jason became a Ranger. Jason sighed. “Yeah. I…”

 

image003They were interrupted as streams of ribbons whipped around them. Jason stood in front of Mei to protect her. A Youkai appeared and rode towards them on a motorcycle. The creature’s body was feline-like and appeared to be covered with solid white ribbons. He fired eye blasts that tossed Jason and Mei to the ground.

 

“You didn’t think Juniya would leave you alone, did you?” the Youkai asked. His name was Ittanmomen.

 

The monster leapt from his bike and landed on a playground’s slide on the other side of the teens. Jason snapped into a fighting stance as the monster snapped his fingers. Explosions sparked around them as Dorodoro appeared.

 

image004“Shogun transform!” Jason shouted as he transformed into his armor and unsheathed his sword. “Get to safety.”

 

He knocked a soldier’s blade away and hacked into the grunt. He rolled underneath another soldier’s blade and rose back to his feet. He dueled with two more soldiers briefly before striking them down.

 

Mei grabbed a soldier by the wrist and flipped it over. Two daggers appeared in her hands as she charged through the soldiers and cut into them with all the skills of a well-trained warrior.

 

Ninjared leapt up to the playground bridge where Ittanmomen was and struck the creature with his sword. The Youkai countered by backfisting the Ranger and knocking him off of the bridge.

 

Ninjared landed on the ground as Mei ran to his side. The monster stood in front of them and fired two ribbons at them. They were lifted from their feet and thrown through the air. They were bashed on the ground a few times before being released.

 

Mei looked and saw a rabbit nearby. “No,” she said. “He’ll get hurt…”

 

She ran over to protect the rabbit, and the monster blasted her backward with exploding energy pulses.

 

“No!” Ninjared shouted as he ran over to her.

 

***

 

Jason carried Mei to a nearby barn and placed her on a pile of hay. She was in pain, and her breathing was shallow. “You’re going to be okay,” Jason said.

 

Mei smiled and touched his face. “Thank you,” she said weakly.

 

Dorodoro entered the barn.

 

“Damn,” Jason said as he carried Mei away.

 

***

 

Jason carried Mei to a field and laid her down.

 

“I’ll stay here,” she said weakly.

 

Jason shook his head. “They’ll find you. I have to…”

 

She touched his face again. “You worry too much…I will be at peace. I’ve had fun…thank you.”

 

Jason shook his head. “Don’t talk like that. You’re going to be fine.”

 

She smiled and shook her head. Then she pointed to a distant rocky hill. “The scroll you seek is there. I am its messenger.”

 

“Thank you,” Jason said.

 

“No, thank you Jason,” Mei said with a weak smile. “It was fun.”

 

Jason hugged her. Mei’s eyes slowly closed as her head went limp against Jason’s arm. “Mei!” he shouted. Her body dissolved.

 

Jason rolled his hand with anger and punched the ground. He ran off towards the scroll. He moved as fast as he could and made his way towards the grassy hill that the scroll sat on top of.

 

A group of Dorodoro blocked his path, but he did not slow down. He slammed through the soldiers with a flurry of punches and kicks while moving forward. He slammed a sidekick against a villain and spun forward while slamming the back of his fist against a villain’s head.

 

Jason slammed an outer crescent kick across a soldier’s face. Two villains lunged forward and slammed kicks against the teen’s chest.

 

Jason tumbled back down the hill and rolled into a crouched position. He looked up as Ittanmomen stalked forward with another wave of Dorodoro. Jason wrinkled his brow with anger and rolled his hands into fists while rising too his feet.

 

The Dorodoro charged at him, but he blocked their blows and bashed them away with his fists. Jason fought his way through the soldiers and made his way to the foot of the rocky hill. He spotted the scroll. “Yes,” he said as he ran up to it.

 

Before he could reach the scroll, explosions sparked around him and he fell to the ground. Jason turned to see the monster facing him.

 

Ittanmomen snarled. “Get ready to join your little girlfriend!”

 

The monster laughed while summoning lightning from above. The lightning energized the creature and caused him to grow giant. Ittanmomen activated arm-mounted cannons created by the Youkai scientist. The cannons opened fire with streams of flame that scorched the woods below. The fields burned as Jason wrinkled his brow with anger.

 

“Stop it, Youkai!” Jason shouted.

 

The monster fired a jet of flame that exploded near Jason, creating a massive shockwave that slammed against Jason and sent the teen flying backward. Jason crashed against rock while landing next to the scroll.

 

Jason rose to his feet while arming his morpher. “Shogun transform, Ninja Power!” Energy swirled around him as he morphed into his Ranger form.

 

image007Ninjared extended the scroll forward. He opened the scroll, revealing a kanji symbol that represented an ape. “Ninjazord awaken…Ninja Ape!”

 

The kanji symbol flashed and melted backward before vanishing with a flash of light. An armored warrior slowly rose from the earth. The beast resembled a humanoid ape and was armed with two cross-shaped blades across the back.

 

Ninjared hovered backward and entered the zord’s cockpit, embedded within Ninja Ape’s armor.

 

image009A large symbol identical to his coin was on the wall behind Ninjared. Several transparent crystals rose in front of the Red Ranger within the dark cockpit. Ninjared extended his hand over the crystals.

 

Ninja Ape unsheathed its two blades. Zord and monster circled around each other while switching fighting stances. The monster pounced forward to attack. Ninja Ape swung both blades outward, slashing across the monster as explosions sparked on impact.

 

In the skies above, White Falcon’s cry cut through the air as the white-armored bird flew downward.

 

Ninjared smiled beneath his helmet. “The White Falcon. Alright!”

 

White Falcon’s wings extended forward and fired energy pulses that exploded against the Youkai.

 

Ninja Ape combined his daggers into a single bladed staff. Ninja Ape leapt forward and angled his descent towards the Youkai. “Shinobi Strike!”

 

The zord’s blades energized. Ninja Ape landed while slashing the blade downward in a streak of power that exploded through the monster. Ninja Ape dashed forward and swung the blade horizontally in a streak of energy.

 

The Youkai exploded with a burst of flame and spark before turning to ash and vaporizing in the wind.

 

***

 

PART TWO: FATHER’S HOUSE

 

Trini jogged through the woods. She was lost. Again. She pulled out her map and looked over it. She used the map to get her bearings back on track. “I’m almost there…”

 

Trini started walking again as mist drifted across the ground of the woods. A spiky fish-type Youkai monster rose from the mist along with a handful of Dorodoro. “Ninjawhite…my, you look lovely today.”

 

Trini armed her morpher. “Shogun transform!” Energy swirled around her as she morphed into her Ranger armor.

 

The soldiers threw spears that stuck in the ground around the White Ranger. The spears emitted strands of electric energy that exploded against Ninjawhite while sparking across her armor.

 

Ninjawhite crashed against the ground and tumbled backward. She rolled into a crouched fighting stance and unsheathed her sword. The White Ranger sprang forward to attack.

 

She leapt towards the monster and struck downward with her sword, but the villains all vanished and reappeared on the ground while hiding behind twirling umbrellas.

 

Ninjawhite struck at the umbrellas, but each one vanished before she could connect her blow. Then an umbrella zoomed past her and struck her across the chest.

 

The umbrella appeared before her and started to twirl as Ninjawhite launched her throwing stars at it. The stars bounced off the umbrella, and then, it split into smaller umbrellas being held by the soldiers. The Youkai monster named Kasabake stepped out from behind the soldiers and aimed a gun at Ninjawhite. He fired as explosions sparked against Ninjawhite’s armor. She fell to the ground as her armor powered down.

 

Trini rose to her feet and started to run.

 

***

 

Trini ducked behind a tree near a dirt road. A sleek limousine pulled up on the road. Sandaya stepped out from the back of the limo. He smiled. “Hello again, Trini.”

 

Sandaya? What are you doing in a limo?” she shook her head. “A limo?”

 

“Yes,” Sandaya said nonchalantly. “Come with me, please.”

 

Trini shook her head and got inside. “A limo?”

 

***

 

The limo pulled up to an old mansion that Trini recognized well. It was her old home as a child, before her father died and before Sandaya took her to America to be raised by her adopted family.

 

Sandaya,” Trini said. “Why are we here?”

 

“I thought you’d like to revisit home,” Sandaya said as he and Trini entered the house.

 

Trini was ambushed by house servants that cleaned her up, put her in fresh clothes, and put a meal on the table for her. Trini left the table, frustrated by the experience. She walked around the large house while calling for Sandaya.

 

Trini stopped near the back entrance as a young Japanese boy stood as still as a statue, staring at her. He had two K-9’s at his side.

 

“Who are you?” she asked. The boy said nothing.

 

Sandaya walked in on them. “He is a friend of the family. Come with me, Trini.”

 

Trini followed Sandaya into a rear room. The boy and his dogs watched her every step of the way.

 

***

 

Trini kneeled in front of a memorial picture of her father as Sandaya sat in a cross-legged position to her side. “Your father would be proud…of the warrior you’ve become,” Sandaya said.

 

Trini shook her head. “I couldn’t even take that Youkai on by myself,” she said with anger. “I’ve never defeated a Youkai or monster on my own. I need the others.”

 

“You are the soul of the team, Trini,” Sandaya said. “You are its leader.”

 

Trini shook her head. “Jason…”

 

“No,” Sandaya said. “He may be the leader in the field, but it was you that brought this team together, you who motivate them. You are stronger than you realize, Trini.”

 

“I need the others,” Trini said.

 

Sandaya nodded. “Very well.” He pulled out a small rectangular box and opened it. Inside were four wind-up dolls of the other Ninja Rangers in their armor.

 

“Is this supposed to be a joke?” Trini asked.

 

“No,” Sandaya said. “Ninpo!” he shouted as he tossed the dolls in the air.

 

In a nearby creek, Trini’s scroll flashed a beam of energy that extended across fields and into the house, striking the four dolls. When the energy dissipated, the Ninja Ranger dolls assumed human form. They each had a wind-up mechanism on their neck.

 

“You’re full of surprises today, aren’t you?” Trini asked.

 

Sandaya nodded. “These dolls are animated by Ninja magick. They will aide you in finding your scroll.”

 

***

 

Trini pulled a sleek car into the woods were she had seen the Youkai. She pulled the car to a stop and stepped out. The Ninja Dolls piled out of the car and started walking in different directions, their movements stiff and rigid.

 

“No,” Trini said with annoyance as she grabbed Yellow Doll. “This way.” She pointed deeper into the forest. “We have to go this way.”

 

The Dolls formed a line behind her and squeaked as they walked. After a few seconds, she stepped out of the way as they walked by her, their movements resembling the robot dance.

 

She shook her head and followed.

 

***

 

Trini and the Dolls came to a halt as Kasabake appeared with a group of Dorodoro. “I see you’ve come back for more…and you brought some friends…how cute,” the Youkai taunted.

 

“Cute isn’t exactly the word I had in mind for them,” Trini said as she armed her morpher. “Shogun transform!” Energy shimmered around her as she morphed into her armor.

 

Before Ninjawhite could attack, the Dolls snapped to action. The Ninja Dolls unsheathed their swords and pounced forward to attack, their movements becoming more fluid and agile. They slashed against the soldiers.

 

Although effective, their moves were chaotic and lacked strategy.

 

“You stupid dolls,” Ninjawhite said. “You’re acting like a bunch of chickens with your heads cut off.”

 

The monster shouted as it leapt towards Ninjawhite with its umbrella-like blade ready to strike. Red Doll jumped through the air and pushed her away. Red Doll was slashed across the back and collapsed to the ground.

 

The other four Dolls grabbed hold of Ninjawhite and started to drag her to safety, despite her kicking protests.

 

***

 

The five regrouped and left the woods. They made their way to the foot of a mountain, where there was no way to pass but up. Ninjawhite and the Dolls turned to face the Youkai monster.

 

No where left to run or hide,” the Youkai said.

 

Blue Doll and Black Doll tossed grappling hooks to the top of the mountain and handed the rope to Ninjawhite and Red Doll. Yellow Doll ran over to the soldiers and attacked them one by one with his sword.

 

“Hey!” Ninjawhite shouted to Yellow Doll. “Climb with us!”

 

Yellow Doll continued to hack into the Dorodoro with his blade.

 

“He listens about as well as the real Jonathan,” Ninjawhite said as she and the other three dolls climbed up to the top of the cliff.

 

The Youkai monster moved in and swiped Yellow Doll across the chest twice with his sword. Yellow Doll counterstriked with his blade, but the monster blocked the blow and struck Yellow Doll horizontally, ripping through the Doll‘s chest with a burst of spark.

 

A group of soldiers threw their umbrella-like blades to the ground around Yellow Doll. The blades electrified and sent pulses of energy crashing against the Doll. Yellow Doll exploded with a massive burst of flame.

 

“No!” Ninjawhite shouted from above. The other Dolls grabbed her and they ran off.

 

An avalanche brought heavy boulders down towards them. Blue Doll pushed Ninjawhite out of the way and half of his body was crushed by falling boulders. Ninjawhite scooped him up in her arms.

 

Kasabake then jumped towards them with his blade ready to strike, but Black Doll jumped in the way of the blow and was cut in half.

 

Red Doll grabbed Ninjawhite, and the two ran. “Let me go, I can run myself,” Ninjawhite said as she pried his hand off of her.

 

The Ranger made her way to a cliff, and looking downward, she saw the waterfall where her scroll was. Patches of trees dotted the landscape below.

 

Ninpo!” she shouted as she extended her hand. The scroll emerged from the water and sprang upward before hovering in front of Ninjawhite.

 

An umbrella spear suddenly zoomed towards her, but Red Doll jumped in the way and took the spear through his chest. The spear exploded while inside the Doll. The explosion tossed Trini to the ground as her armor powered down. She tossed throwing stars at the soldiers that threw the spears. The stars exploded against the grunts and kept them away.

 

Trini scooped Red Doll in her arms as he stopped moving. “No…not you too…”

 

Trini stood as she looked around, screaming in no particular direction. “What was the point of this, Sandaya? What was the point of bringing these things to life just to be destroyed?”

 

The Youkai monster stalked towards the ranger. “So, all alone once again, Ranger.”

 

Trini stepped backward and tripped, falling backward into the water fall.

 

Hmph,” the monster said as he walked towards the hovering scroll. “That was almost too easy.”

 

As the monster walked towards the scroll, two K-9s leapt onto the scene. One bit the monster as the other grabbed the scroll with his jaws.

 

***

 

Trini swam to the shore. She looked up to see the strange boy from her father’s home. His two dogs were beside him. One of the dogs walked forward and dropped the scroll to the ground. The dogs turned and ran back into the woods along with their young master.

 

The Youkai monster leapt down to face Trini.

 

Trini narrowed her eyes at the villain and stood. She was not about to lose. Not when the scroll was so close. The others needed her. She armed her morpher. “Shogun transform!” Energy swirled around her as she morphed into her armor.

 

Ninjawhite unsheathed her blade. “Hidden-style ku cut!” she shouted. The blade energized with white power as it slashed through the creature with streaks of energy.

 

The monster fell backward and exploded, but not before summoning a burst of lightning from above that allowed it to grow giant.

 

“Shogun Blaster!” Ninjawhite fired lances of golden energy at the monster, distracting him while she readied her new scroll.

 

Ninjawhite extended the scroll forward. She opened the scroll, revealing a kanji symbol that represented the crane. “Ninjazord awaken…Ninja Crane!”

 

The kanji symbol flashed and melted backward before vanishing with a flash of light. An armored crane slowly rose from the earth. Ninjawhite hovered backward and entered the zord’s cockpit, embedded within Ninja Crane’s armor.

 

image011A large symbol identical to her coin was on the wall behind Ninjawhite. Several transparent crystals rose in front of the White Ranger within the dark cockpit. Ninjawhite extended her hand over the crystals.

 

Ninja Crane swooped forward towards the Youkai monster. “Ninja Crane, attack!” Ninjawhite shouted.

 

The Crane opened fire with lances of white energy that exploded against the monster with bursts of spark, knocking the Youkai off his feet.

 

The villain slowly rose to his feet and looked up to see the mighty ShogunMegazord arise in the distance. Meanwhile, the White Falcon’s cry cut through the air above as the majestic bird flew downward.

 

ShogunMegazord rose to its feet out of its own will power. The armored giant turned and faced the falcon in the distance. White Falcon could see its own reflection in the Megazord’s red eyes as it flew forward.

 

The falcon extended its wings forward. ShogunMegazord separated his arms. The wings folded across the Megazord’s chest and pointed outward as the arms snapped back into place.

 

ShogunMegazord turned to face the Youkai monster. Lances of energy fired from the zord’s wingtips. Each lance of crimson destruction ripped through the monster with massive explosions, vaporizing the Youkai into nothingness with a final explosion of fire and energy.

 

Trini stared off into the distance from the woods, looking towards the direction of her father’s house.

 

***

 

PART THREE: THE CROW’S TOUCH

 

Nekomaru drove down a mountain road surrounded by trees as Zack sat behind the wheel. Jonathan was sitting in the back of the van, eating from a picnic basket and looking at their portion of the map.

 

“I think you took a wrong turn,” Jonathan said.

 

“Well, I think you’re wrong,” Zack said.

 

“Fair enough,” Jonathan said as he took a bite of his apple.

 

The van started to shake as it hit several bumps in the road.

 

“Man, I knew I shouldn’t have let you drive,” Jonathan said as items fell on him from shelves above.

 

“Don’t even get me started on your track record, pal,” Zack said.

 

The van came to a halt as Jonathan moved to the passenger seat. “Well that was fun.”

 

“Fun wasn’t exactly the word that came to mind,” Zack said.

 

They looked out the window to see a man dressed like a punk holding a guitar.

 

Juniya,” Zack said as he wrinkled his brow. The two rangers left the car and ran towards the prince.

 

“Ninja Power!” They shouted as they transformed into their armor. The Rangers unsheathed their swords and leapt at their opponent, bringing their blades down vertically.

 

Juniya blocked their blows with his guitar and knocked them to the ground. Juniya stood in a fighting stance as Dorodoro lined up behind him. “You two clowns don’t have your friends to help you this time.”

 

Lightning then scorched the skies as the clouds turned black. A hideous laughter came from above. Juniya grinned, recognizing the voice. “That laughter….the crow of death has come, Rangers,” Juniya said.

 

“We’re shaking,” Ninjayellow said.

 

“Bring him on,” Ninjablack said.

 

Lightning struck the ground as the crow Youkai appeared. His face was scaly and his eyes blood red. Most of his body was covered in black feather armor. He wore a medallion on his right arm. His name was Nue.

 

Juniya laughed. “Now, Ninjaranger, prepare…”

 

The monster turned and blasted a Dorodoro. “I do not recognize your authority, prince,” he said with venom in his voice. “Leave me be. I answer only to Daimamou.”

 

Juniya wrinkled his brow and teleported away with the soldiers.

 

The monster fired feather darts from his head that exploded against the Rangers’ armor. The two Rangers screamed as they were thrown backward and their armor powered down. They started to pluck the feather darts from their chests as the monster stalked towards them.

 

The emblem on the monster flashed, causing the feathers to flash as energy pulsed into the two teens. Their skin started to break out into webbed black rashes.

 

“What the hell?” Zack said.

 

“The touch of my feathers is venom,” the monster said.

 

The two teens rose from the ground and started to run away from the creature. They lost him eventually and took a moment to rest near a waterfall. They lied in pain on the ground.

 

Jonathan shook his head. “These things don’t feel so good.”

 

Zack shook his head. “Nope. Don’t look so good either.”

 

“They better not scar after they go away,” Jonathan said. “Trini would never give me a chance.”

 

They groaned in pain as the rashes flashed and spread across their legs. They rose to their feet to get some water from the waterfall, but the Youkai monster appeared and blocked their path.

 

“What did you do to us?” Zack asked.

 

“As the rash moves across your body, you will be driven insane. Then you will die,” the monster said.

 

“Oh, simple explanation,” Jonathan said

 

The monster laughed as he vanished.

 

“So what’s the plan?” Jonathan asked.

 

“We find our scrolls and kick that crow guy’s ass,” Zack said.

 

***

 

The two rangers ran to the edge of the woods and looked out onto a plaza on the outskirts of the city. According to their maps, their scrolls were underneath the plaza.

 

“We can’t exactly go out there looking like lepers,” Jonathan said.

 

Zack shrugged. “We can’t exactly whip up disguises out of thin air either.”

 

“We’ll just run for it,” Jonathan said. “Let’s go.”

 

He ran out into the plaza. “Wait!” Zack yelled. He shook his head and followed.

 

Jonathan leaned down and tried to pry open a manhole cover as people stopped and stared. Some pointed and laughed.

 

“Jonathan, come on this is crazy,” Zack said as he grabbed his friend by the shoulder.

 

“Don’t touch me!” Jonathan yelled as he backfisted Zack.

 

Zack wiped blood from his lip and looked at his friend while wrinkling his brow. The two teens charged at each other and started exchanged blows, their common sense having been dulled by the crow’s touch.

 

Explosions sparked around them as citizens ran in panic. The two teens stood in defensive stances as the Youkai monster appeared and walked towards them. Juniya watched from steps nearby with Dorodoro sitting around him.

 

“Aren’t you two dead yet?” Nue asked as he stalked towards the two teens.

 

The two teens shouted with rage as they ran towards the creature. The Youkai used telekinetic force to lift the two teens up and toss them around in the air before crashing them back to the ground.

 

The Youkai grabbed the two teens with energy leashes and dragged them into his grasp. He held onto them with chokeholds, then bashed their heads together before tossing them backward.

 

“How is it that you two became Rangers? So weak…” the Youkai said.

 

“We’re just getting started!” Zack shouted as he and Jonathan ran towards the monster with a flurry of kicks and punches.

 

Juniya and the Dorodoro sat and watched with growing interest as the two teens were beaten badly by the monster’s fists.

 

The two teens rolled across the ground and hurled throwing stars at the monster as the Dorodoro cheered them on. The monster knocked each star away. The teens then tossed ground spikes that the monster stepped on as he fell. The Dorodoro cheered.

 

The teens ran towards the Youkai, but he extended his hand and blasted them with a tk pulse. The teens fell to the ground, unmoving.

 

The Dorodoro looked to each other with concern and then teleported near the teens. They scooped up water and poured it on the two rangers’ scars. The scars absorbed the water, which somehow gave them additional stamina.

 

The two teens rose to their feet and assumed fighting stances as they screamed out towards Nue with anger. They leapt through the air and flying sidekicked the monster. The villain slammed into a wall, and the medal on his side shattered, causing the teens to return to normal.

 

“Much better,” Zack said as he ran his hand across his face.

 

“Never thought I’d be thankful for the mudmuds,” Jonathan said.

 

The Youkai monster rose to his feet and blasted the Dorodoro with his feathers. The soldiers disintegrated. The monster then extended his hands and grew to giant size.

 

The ground shook as the ShogunMegazord arose by its own will to face off with the Youkai monster. Juniya wrinkled his brow at the sight of the Megazord and teleported away.

 

“Looks like our backup’s arrived,” Zack said.

 

The Youkai monster armed a curved blade and dashed towards the Megazord. The Youkai swung horizontally, but the Megazord blocked the blow with its saber and backfisted the monster twice, knocking him backward onto the ground.

 

The Youkai monster rose back to his feet and fired an energy lasso that wrapped around the ShogunMegazord. The lasso transformed into a snake. The snake squeezed tightly around the Megazord’s armor and sent electric pulses into the zord. Sparks thrashed across the Megazord’s armor.

 

The Youkai moved in and started hacking at the Megazord with his sword. He then fired eye beams that crashed against the Megazord’s armor.

 

“We have to do something,” Jonathan said as the two rangers watched the Megazord get thrashed.

 

Electric energy danced across the Megazord as it vanished in a flash of red energy.

 

“What the hell happened?” Zack asked.

 

The monster looked down at the two teens and laughed. The two rangers pulled out their morphers. “Shogun transform!” Energy whirled around them as they morphed into their Ranger forms.

 

The monster reached down and flicked the two Rangers off of their feet and through the air. The Youkai then fired eye beams that tore the ground out from underneath the Rangers and sent them flying backward.

 

They landed and rolled across the ground, and then, their scrolls shot out from underneath the plaza. The two Rangers caught their scrolls.

 

“Those scrolls can not help you now,” the monster said.

 

“They sure can’t hurt…us at least,” Ninjablack said.

 

Ninjablack extended the scroll forward. He opened the scroll, revealing a kanji symbol that represented the frog. “Ninjazord awaken…Ninja Frog!”

 

image013The kanji symbol flashed and melted backward before vanishing with a flash of light. An armored frog slowly rose from the earth. Ninjablack hovered backward and entered the zord’s cockpit, embedded within Ninja Frog’s armor.

 

A large symbol identical to his coin was on the wall behind Ninjablack. Several transparent crystals rose in front of the Black Ranger within the dark cockpit. Ninjablack extended his hand over the crystals.

 

Ninjayellow extended the scroll forward. He opened the scroll, revealing a kanji symbol that represented the bear. “Ninjazord awaken…Ninja Bear!”

 

The kanji symbol flashed and melted backward before vanishing with a flash of light. An armored bear rose from the earth. Ninjayellow hovered backward and entered the zord’s cockpit, embedded within Ninja Bear’s armor.

 

image015A large symbol identical to his coin was on the wall behind Ninjayellow. Several transparent crystals rose in front of the Yellow Ranger within the dark cockpit. Ninjayellow extended his hand over the crystals.

 

The Black Frog fired a streak of flame that crashed into the monster. The Bear then blasted the Youkai with eye beams. The Bear then stomped on the ground, creating a shockwave that opened a large crack in the ground.

 

The monster fell through the crack just before it slammed shut. But the Rangers’ battle with this Youkai monster was far from over.

 

***

 

PART FOUR: BITTERSWEET REVENGE

 

Richie wiped sweat from his brow as he walked through the mountain and looked at his map. Almost there…

 

He started to move across a wooden bridge when he saw two skinny Youkai creatures and Dorodoro harassing a group of kids. The Youkai were lesser monsters. One of them was a Cyclops, and the other had the head of a wolf.

 

Youkai!” Richie shouted as he looked down at them. “Leave them alone!”

 

“Help!” the kids shouted.

 

“Let’s go!” Richie shouted as he transformed into his black and blue ninja outfit, unsheathed his sword, and jumped down below. He started to duel, chop, and kick his way through soldiers as he moved towards the two monsters that were holding the kids.

 

He knocked the sword away from the last Dorodoro and spin kicked the soldier across the face. Then he threw throwing stars at the two monsters, knocking them away from the kids.

 

Richie moved in front of children and stood in a defensive stance as the Youkai regrouped and charged towards him.

 

Floor spikes were thrown that the Youkai stepped on, causing them to fall. Jason then jumped on the scene, dressed in his red and black ninja outfit. He landed next to Richie. “Long time no see,” Jason said.

 

The wolf Youkai extended his hand and fired a tk burst at the teens. Small explosions sparked around them as the children vanished. They reappeared in the arms of the Youkai as the villains teleported away.

 

Richie placed his head down low to the ground and listened for movement. “This way,” he said as he stood, and the two rangers started running towards the distance.

 

***

 

The two rangers ran to a small empty area that resembled the old wild west from America. The landscape was part of an old, abandoned theme park. Jason and Richie split up and searched a few abandoned buildings before they heard the children scream. Jason and Richie rejoined as they barged into a saloon-styled building and saw the children tied to a wooden pillar with the Youkai monsters and Dorodoro around them.

 

Ninjaranger!” the wolf Youkai shouted.

 

“We’re taking this place out of business,” Jason shouted as he armed his morpher. “Shogun transform!” He transformed into his armor and ran towards his opponents.

 

Before Richie could join Jason, a foot slammed into his face, and he went crashing to the ground. Richie looked up to his attacker and dropped his jaw in shock. “Sensei?”

 

The Japanese man, dressed in a black karate uniform, simply stared at Richie.

 

The teen shook his head. “What are you-” The sensei launched at Richie with an inner crescent kick, followed by a spin kick to the face. He then moved in and round kicked Richie in the gut several times before backfisting him across the face. The sensei then punched Richie in the chest, causing the teen to fall backward to the ground.

 

“Richie!” Ninjared called as he used his sword to bat soldiers away from the children.

 

Richie rose to his knees as a swarm of Youkai exited the building, blocking the sensei from Richie’s view. When the villains cleared, Richie’s sensei was gone.

 

***

 

Jason led the children back across the bridge in the mountains and then joined Richie, who was standing on a cliff, staring off into the distance.

 

“So who was that guy?” Jason asked.

 

“My old sensei, Guli,” Richie said.

 

“What is he doing in Japan?” Jason asked. “And why would he attack you?”

 

Richie shook his head. “I don’t know. I’ve known him since I was a kid. He taught me everything.” Richie shook his head again. “I don’t know.”

 

Richie started to run off.

 

“Hey,” Jason called as he ran after his friend. “Hold up.”

 

“Jason!” a voice yelled from a cliff above. It was Sandaya.

 

Sandaya,” Jason said.

 

“Let him go,” Sandaya said. “The quest for his scroll is to be a personal one indeed.”

 

“How so?” Jason asked. “What does his sensei have to do with all of this?”

 

“You will see,” Sandaya said.

 

***

 

Richie walked along the mountain path and stopped for a moment to look at a small necklace he held in his hand. It was a small stone held by a thin string.

 

“Sensei,” he said quietly. His sensei had given him the stone necklace less than a year ago, just before he left for Japan. His sensei had seemed heartbroken at the time, and Richie was never sure why.

 

Richie eventually made his way back to the wild-west motif area. “Sensei!” he called out. “Where are you?”

 

Guli stepped out from one of the doors and stared at him. “Richie…the day has come.”

 

Richie shook his head as he started to walk towards his sensei.

 

 “Keep away!” Guli shouted. He wrinkled his brow and stretched his arms as energy swirled around him. He transformed into a light suit of armor. His metal chest plate had the symbol of the crow Youkai Nue, and he wore a metal headband. His bare arms were covered in leather straps, and he wore yellow and black striped pants.

 

Richie wrinkled his brow with confusion.

 

“I am the warrior of the Youkai Nue,” Guli said.

 

“Sensei,” Richie said as he shook his head. “You can’t be…”

 

“Face me,” Guli said as he assumed a fighting stance. Richie shook his head, but Guli charged in. He leapt over Richie while kicking him in the back of the head. Guli then flipped around and brought a knifehand down towards the teen’s collar bone. Richie blocked the blow, but Guli kicked him in the stomach, forcing Richie a few steps back.

 

“Why are you doing this sensei?” Richie said with a mixture of sorrow and rage.

 

Guli launched at Richie with a jump kick and followed through with several kicking combos. Richie blocked each blow while backing up a set of stairs. Guli then grabbed Richie by the throat and tossed him to the ground. The teen rose to his knees just in time to get kicked in the face.

 

Guli punched Richie in the stomach three times before sidekicking the teen through a wooden rail and onto the ground.

 

Richie tried to rise from the ground as he looked at his sensei with confusion. Guli had been like a father to him after his real father was murdered. Richie’s mind flashed back to the event that changed his life forever.

 

Seven-year-old Richie ran from his house with a big smile on his face as he approached his father’s cop car. “Dad! Dad!” he shouted, not caring that it was dark and raining. He had just finished his first day of martial arts classes and wanted to brag.

 

His Dad got out of the car and waved. “Richie. You’re going to get soaked, son.”

 

Richie stopped in his tracks as he witnessed what happened next. Three claws attached to someone's wrist swiped down the back of his father’s head. Richie opened his eyes wide in horror as his father’s body slumped lifelessly to the ground.

 

“Daddy!” Richie ran to his dad and tried to shake him awake. “Dad! Daddy get up! Dad! Dad!”

 

***

 

Richie kneeled at his father’s grave as his sensei Guli placed a hand on his shoulder. “I’m sorry, my boy. Truly sorry this had to happen.”

 

Richie sniffed back his tears as he sat quietly.

 

“I can still teach you, Richie. Then someday…you can avenge your father’s death.”

 

Young Richie wrinkled his brow.

 

“Sensei…” Richie said as he tried to rise to his knees. “Why are you doing this?”

 

“Is this how I’ve taught you to fight?” Guli asked. “By whimpering?”

 

Guli extended his hand and fired a purple energy lasso around Richie. He used the lasso to pull the teen around, slam him against walls, and toss him to the ground. Richie rose to his knees as Guli launched an energy sphere that slammed into the teen’s chest and hurled him to the ground.

 

Guli walked towards Richie with his hands rolled into fists. Then suddenly, Jason sprang out from one of the buildings and hurled throwing stars at Guli. Jason then flying sidekicked the sensei, knocking him off his feet. Guli tucked and rolled to land on his feet as Jason helped Richie up.

 

“Jason, this is my fight,” Richie said.

 

Guli laughed at Jason. “You have no idea how easy it would be for me to kill you.”

 

“Shut up, ugly,” Jason said. “You make me sick. Selling your soul to the Youkai…Shogun transform!” Energy whirled around him as he morphed into his armor.

 

Ninjared dashed towards his opponent and began swinging with his blade. Guli dodged and blocked each blow before grabbing the sword, pulling out his sai, and swiping the Red Ranger across the chest several times. His last blow struck the Ranger in the neck, but Ninjared shouted “Ninpo!” as he split in two.

 

The two Ninjareds jumped and flipped around Guli to confuse him. They then leapt towards Guli while bringing their daggers down vertically. Guli used his sai to block both swords and fired an energy pulse that knocked Ninjared backward. The fake Ninjared vanished as Jason was knocked out of his armor.

 

“Jason!” Richie shouted as Guli placed his foot on Jason’s back.

 

Guli twisted his left hand as a three-bladed claw appeared on his wrist. It was a blade Richie recognized all to well.

 

Richie shook his head. “No…it can’t be…no.”

 

“I killed him, Richie. I killed him.”

 

“No!” Richie shouted in denial.

 

Guli dashed towards the teen while holding his claw in a fighting position. Guli brought his blade down towards Richie’s head, but the teen high blocked the blow and followed by elbowing Guli in the gut. Richie then sidekicked his sensei, forcing him back.

 

“You,” Richie said as he shook his head. “All this time…and it was you…”

 

“Now,” Guli said. “Now you will fight!”

 

The two screamed as they charged towards each other. Richie flying spin kicked his former sensei, but the villain ducked under the kick. Richie followed by trying to sweep his legs, but Guli jumped over the blow. When Guli landed, Richie launched a combo of punches that slammed into Guli’s chest, then he sidekicked the villain, and Guli went flying backwards.

 

Richie then tossed his grappling hook towards Guli, and the blade hooked to his armor. Richie used his rope to twirl his sensei around against boxes and barrels. He then tugged hard, knocking Guli off his feet and reeling him inward. Richie lifted his foot and kicked Guli while in midair.

 

“You,” Richie hissed as he tugged at the rope, bringing Guli to his knees. “I can’t believe it was you.”

 

Guli snarled his teeth and used his claw to snap the rope. Then he extended his claws forward and fired purple energy lightning that slammed Richie backward and onto the ground.

 

Richie struggled to rise to his feet as Guli walked towards him. “I’ve taught you better than this, boy.”

 

“Shut up!” Richie shouted as he rose and dashed towards Guli, but his sensei kicked him upside the jaw. He was tossed backward, and his back slammed onto a barrel, breaking it.

 

“You’ve been waiting for this your whole life. The news that your father’s murderer was in Japan was what brought you here in the first place. And this…this is how you behave?” Guli said as he stalked towards Richie.

 

Richie rose to his feet with a grim look of determination on his face. Guli and Richie began circling around each other, then they moved in and began exchanges fierce volleys of punches and kicks.

 

They leapt through the air towards each other and both were struck down. They started to square off again as Richie’s mind flashed back to his father’s murder. The teen screamed as he charged towards his former sensei yet again.

 

Guli fired purple energy pulses that exploded around Richie, but the ranger kept running towards his opponent. He flying sidekicked Guli in the chest, and while still in midair, backflipped and kicked him with both feet, sending Guli crashing to the ground. His claw fell to the pavement as Richie rolled over, grabbed the claw, and placed it on his left hand.

 

Richie hopped forward and clawed Guli diagonally across the chest, dashed forward while striking him horizontally, and turned to spin kick him across the jaw. Richie uppercut Guli with the claw, causing his former sensei to fall to his knees once again.

 

Richie screamed as he brought the blade down for a finishing blow towards Guli’s face. He stopped inches from his former sensei’s nose and hesitated. He broke down into tears as he took off the claw. “Sensei…” he said.

 

Energy shimmered around Guli as his armor powered down.

 

“Thank you…” Guli said. “For saving me…”

 

Richie shook his head, not understanding what Guli meant.

 

“Years ago, before I even knew you, I was in a car accident and my daughter was nearly killed,” Guli said between gasping breaths. “The Youkai with the mark of the crow said he would save my daughter if I became his warrior. I had to agree. He had me…kill your father. When I saw you run to him, crying…the act grieved me. So I trained you. Trained you to defeat me, as you’ve done. To stop me from killing again.”

 

“Sensei…” Richie said as he sniffed back his tears. Guli’s body began to break down and shimmer away. “Sensei!”

 

Jason stepped out from behind a building and walked closer to Richie. The ground then started to shake and split open as the crow Youkai Jonathan and Zack had fought leapt out and landed on the ground, back in human size.

 

“He was as weak now as he was then,” Nue said.

 

Jason and Richie snapped into fighting stances.

 

“He wasn’t weak,” Richie said. “And you’ll pay for what you turned him into.”

 

“Let’s do it, Richie,” Jason said.

 

“Shogun transform, Ninja Power!” they shouted as they transformed into their armor.

 

Lightning struck the monster as he grew to giant size. Ninjablue unsheathed his sword and leapt towards the creature, but he fired red eye blasts that struck Ninjablue back to the ground.

 

Ninjared ran to his teammate’s side, and they readied their sidearms, aiming towards the Youkai’s head. “Shogun Blasters!” They fired lances of golden energy at the giant monster.

 

A bolt of energy struck Ninjablue’s scroll which was hidden nearby, and the scroll floated into the Blue Ranger’s hand.

 

Ninjablue extended the scroll forward. He opened the scroll, revealing a kanji symbol that represented the wolf. “Ninjazord awaken…Ninja Wolf!”

 

The kanji symbol flashed and melted backward before vanishing with a flash of light. An armored wolf rose from the earth. Ninjablue hovered backward and entered the zord’s cockpit, embedded within Ninja Wolf’s armor.

 

image017A large symbol identical to his coin was on the wall behind Ninjablue. Several transparent crystals rose in front of the Blue Ranger within the dark cockpit. Ninjablue extended his hand over the crystals.

 

“Ninja Wolf, attack!” The wolf flipped through the air and slashed the Youkai across the chest with its blade tail.

 

“All right, Richie!” Ninjared shouted from below. The Red Ranger turned when he heard a honking from behind him. It was Nekomaru.

 

“Jason!” Zack shouted as he, Jonathan, and Trini ran towards him and transformed into their armor.

 

The Rangers extended their scrolls forward and opened them. “Ninjazords awaken!”

 

“Ninja Ape!”

 

“Ninja Frog!”

 

“Ninja Crane!”

 

“Ninja Bear!”

 

The kanji symbols on their scrolls melted backward and floated into the air. The symbols flashed with light as the Ninjazords appeared. The Rangers hovered backward through the air and entered their cockpits, embedded within the zords’ armor.

 

The five Ninjazords dashed towards their opponent.

 

Shinobi Strike!” Ninjared shouted as his zord’s two blades combined, energized, and sliced across the Youkai’s chest.

 

The White Falcon then appeared in the skies and blasted the creature with force bursts from its wingtips. The Falcon’s blasts combined with energy pulses from the White Crane, Yellow Bear, and Blue Wolf. The combined energy exploded against the crow Youkai, ripping the villain apart with a massive burst of spark and flame.

 

***

 

The five teens gathered on a grassy hill below where Richie had made a memorial wooden cross to his sensei. Richie kneeled at the memorial and placed flowers on it. “Sensei…”

 

***

 

The teens ran through the streets of Tokyo and stared up at the skull island. They held their new scrolls tightly in their grasp.

 

“This is it, guys,” Jason said.

 

“It’s time we take the fight to them,” Trini said.

 

Juniya’s gunna pay,” Zack said.

 

“Big time,” Jonathan said.

 

“They’ll all pay,” Richie said.

 

To be continued…Chapter Fourteen