Land of the Rising Sun: Chapter Fifteen
A small blue-and-golden object throttled through space towards Earth. The object, a round vase, charged with mystical, fiery energy as it broke through the planet’s atmosphere and shot towards the surface.
Hakumenrou ran through the forest as Daimamou spoke to him through a telepathic link. “I sense his presence,” the Youkai lord said. “Ninjor is returning…find the vase. Do not let him be released.”
Hakumenrou recognized the name. He realized what Ninjor could do if he joined the Rangers. He continued on through the woods and spotted a bright comet cut through the skies above. This was the vase Daimamou spoke of.
Hakumenrou reached back and pulled an arrow from his pouch. He cocked the arrow and pulled backward on the weapon while whispering a guidance spell. The arrow radiated with golden energy as it tore through the skies.
The arrow found its mark. The Rangers’ van, Nekomaru, was speeding across a rural road in a wooded area. The arrow struck the van in the rear bumper. It whined in pain and screeched to a halt.
Jonathan wasn’t wearing his seatbelt and slammed his head against the wheel. “Ow!” he said while rubbing his head. “Son of a…”
“Smooth man,” Zack said while patting his friend on the shoulder.
The rangers left the van and walked to the front of Nekomaru.
Trini looked over the road to see if the van had run over anything. “What was wrong?”
Nekomaru simply purred his distress.
Richie walked around to the back of the van and noticed an arrow sticking from its bumper. He removed the arrow and noticed a roll of paper with writing scribbled on it. “Back here,” he called to the others.
The other rangers walked to the back of Nekomaru.
“What is it?” Jason asked.
“A note,” Richie said as he handed Jason and Trini the paper.
“Ninjor?” Jason said as he shook his head, reading the note.
Trini nodded. “Whatever he is…he seems important. It says he’s at the docks.”
“Sounds like a trap,” Zack said.
Jason nodded. “Of course.”
“Right,” Jonathan said. “We’ll be checking it out anyway, huh?”
Trini smiled. “Of course.”
The skull fortress of Daimamou hovered over Japan, concealed in a dark patch of clouds. Hakumenrou returned to the fortress and kneeled in front of his master’s throne.
“The vase?” Daimamou asked.
Hakumenrou shook his head. “My aim was not true. Ninjor may have cast a deflection spell to block my arrow.”
Daimamou wrinkled his gold-and-purple brow. “Unlikely…the vase contains his power. Although…it is possible he’s somehow counteracted its effects. He was, after all, the original student of the three great God Generals. He must not be allowed to join his former masters and the Rangers.”
Hakumenrou nodded while keeping his head held low. “I will not fail you again.”
“See that you don’t.”
A young Japanese boy and girl were playing along an old set of docks when they heard a strange screaming noise call for help. They looked around, confused as to where the voice was coming from since they were alone.
<Do you hear that?> the young boy asked the girl in Japanese.
She nodded, continuing to scan the dock until something caught her eye. It was the blue-and-golden vase bobbing up and down in the water next to a pier.
<Over there,> she said, wrinkling her brow with curiosity as she ran to the side of the pier. She bent over and picked up the intricate vase, which was definitely the source of the voice. She brought the vase towards a nearby set of steps and sat down while shaking the vase.
<Careful, careful!> a voice in the vase called out. <What are you trying to do, make me sea sick?>
The boy’s eyes opened wide with awe. <It’s a genie.>
<I am no such thing!> the voiced shouted. <I am Ninjor!>
The girl looked down the vase’s narrow neck to see a small man whose body was encased in blue-and-gold armor. He had a dark black visor that covered his face.
<Nin what?> the girl asked, staring down the vase with one eye.
<Ninjor,> he replied. <Student of the Sanshinshou: Muteki Shogun, Kakure Shogun, and Tsubasamaru. Master of The Power.>
<Master?> the boy asked. <If you’re a Master…how are you stuck?>
<Well, it all started when-> Ninjor stopped, sighed, and shook his head. <Look, it’s a long story. If you could just kindly open this thing up and let me out…>
The girl tried to pull open the hatch on the vase, but it could not be moved. The boy added his strength to no success. He tilted the vase down to his level so he could look down its opening. <It’s stuck.>
Ninjor hung his head in defeat. <Oh…> he said with frustration. <I’ll never be out of here…>
The vase suddenly started to shake as Ninjor struggled to stay on his feet. <Didn’t I tell you to stop the shaking?>
But the girl and boy didn’t answer. They were too busy running from the recently appeared Dorodoro.
The Youkai soldiers chased the boy and girl towards a plaza nearby the dock area. They ran towards a wide staircase leading up to street level when the boy tripped and fell.
“Ayase!” the girl shouted to her younger brother as she knelt down to help him up.
The boy, Ayase, had skid and bruised his knee badly. To make matters worse, the Dorodoro were fast approaching. They opened their eyes wide in horror, frozen with fear as the Youkai soldiers moved in with jagged blades.
Floor spikes suddenly spread across the ground along the soldiers’ path. Dorodoro whined in pain as they stepped on the spurs, injuring their feet.
The five rangers flipped through the air and regrouped with Ayase and his sister at the base of the stair case.
Jason snapped into a fighting stance as he and the others faced the soldiers. “Crawl back to your hole.”
The Dorodoro slowly started to back away. Their mission to retrieve the vase having failed, they teleported out in a burst of cyan-tinted light.
Jonathan asked in Japanese if the girl was alright. She told him she was fine, but expressed concern for her brother’s knee. She also told them briefly about the small ninja man they’d found in the vase.
Jonathan turned his head to tell Jason and Trini what the child had said, when suddenly, a nearby skyscraper exploded, and debris started to plummet towards them.
“Look out!” Jason shouted as they started to dive for cover.
The debris blinked out of existence before it could strike them. They looked up to see the skyscraper intact, with not a dent or scratch.
Zack shook his head. “What the hell is-”
Before he could finish, a transparent bullet train suddenly shot by them, seemingly passing through them. A burst of fire suddenly erupted on the top of the staircase. The rangers and kids turned to see a purple-robed bat creature standing with his arms crossed.
“Who are you?” Richie asked.
“I am Vampirus,” the Youkai said. “Master of illusion…I’ve come to collect Ninjor.”
Trini laid her hand on the girl’s shoulder and motioned her to move back. “Stay behind us…”
The rangers pulled out their morphers.
“Shogun transform, Ninja Power!” they shouted as energy shimmered around them and they morphed into their Ranger forms.
Ayase opened his eyes wide with amazement. “Ninjaranger!”
Even Ninjor was shocked to hear the Rangers. “Ninjaranger?! Thank the Maker…”
Vampirus tilted his head while staring at the team. “Armor can not protect you from my power.”
The creature extended his hand, and the young girl holding the vase disappeared in a flash of dark light, only to reappear besides Vampirus. The Youkai wrapped his arm around the screaming girl as she struggled to break free.
“Mikoja!” Ayase called for her.
Ninjared pointed at the Youkai. “Let her go now, Youkai.”
“Hush,” Vampirus said while extending his hand again. The five Rangers and Ayase disappeared in a flash of dark light.
They reappeared in the middle of a busy city intersection as dozens of pedestrians walked by, not paying them any notice.
Ninjayellow shook his head. “I have a really bad feeling about this…”
The Rangers suddenly heard a group of men in black suits with high-powered assault weapons rushing through the crowd towards them.
“Yep,” Ninjayellow said. “Bad feeling.”
Ninjawhite placed her arms on the boy’s shoulders as she and the others started running. “We must be trapped in an illusion.”
The Rangers rushed past the crowd and turned down an alley, leading towards what appeared to be a construction area. Another group of suited men blocked their path with weapons aimed forward.
“Other way,” Ninjared said as the men opened fire.
Sparks exploded across the Rangers’ armor from the impact as they protected Ayase from the blasts. They turned and ran towards a wooden door that seemed to be hovering in the center of the alley. They jumped through, bullets still exploding against them.
The Rangers and Ayase fell onto a rocky shore after passing through the door. They slowly rose to their feet and made sure Ayase was all right before looking around. Ninjablack was the first to notice their rather unusual problem.
“Uh, guys,” Ninjablack said as he pointed off towards the distance. Five teenagers sat on the rocks near the shore, and they were identical to the rangers, only they looked much more grim.
The doppelgangers stood and rushed forward with blinding speed while holding samurai swords. The Rangers could barely defend themselves fast enough.
The Jason duplicate swung his blade diagonally across Ninjared’s chest, then charged forward with a horizontal strike.
Jonathan spun forward with a horizontal blow that sparked across Ninjayellow’s chest.
Trini swung her saber in an upward diagonal strike, knocking Ninjawhite backwards.
Richie arced his saber through a wide horizontal blow that slashed across Ninjablue’s armor.
Zack swung a horizontal blow that knocked Ninjablack backwards.
The duplicates didn’t press on their attack. Instead they turned and ran away while vanishing into thin air.
The Rangers heard the familiar scream of Mikoja and immediately turned around to see the girl being held by Vampirus. “Having fun yet?” Vampirus asked.
The villain extended his hand forward and launched a fiery energy pulse that exploded against the Rangers’ armor.
Vampirus ripped the vase from the girl’s hand and tossed her aside.
“No!” Mikoja shouted as she grabbed the vase. “Give it back! It’s not yours!”
Ninjor was rattled around inside the vase as the two struggled for control.
“Enough is enough!” he shouted as he looked up the bottle neck. He placed his hands together and launched a small stream of flame that erupted from the bottle and struck Vampirus in the face.
Vampirus dropped the vase, and Ninjawhite rolled across the ground and picked it up.
Vampirus took a step back as the illusion vanished. They were back at the stairwell. Vampirus stood at the top of the stairwell with Mikoja, and the Rangers stood at its base along with Ayase and the vase.
“Damn you,” Vampirus cursed as he rubbed his injured face and tightened his grasp on the girl. “You will turn Ninjor over to me or the girl will die.”
“Mikoja!” Ayase shouted as Vampirus vanished with the girl.
Ayase sat on the steps with his head hung low while cradling the vase within his arms. Trini walked over to him and placed her hand on his shoulder.
“We’ll get her back,” Trini said. “I promise.”
“What about Ninjor?” Richie asked.
“By the way…” Jonathan said. “What exactly is Ninjor?”
“All you had to do was ask,” Ninjor said from within the vase.
“The Three God Generals recruited me to be their avatar and fight against the Youkai,” Ninjor explained. “They showed me The Power. Taught me their Ninpo. I quickly rose to the rank of Master. I fought Daimamou and his vile creatures for years, until the Youkai lord sacrificed half his strength to imprison me. After my defeat, the ninja dispatcher Sandaya was contacted by an off-world sage known as Zordon. Zordon taught Sandaya how to channel the power of the Three God Generals into a strike force, the first Ninjaranger.”
Jason, Trini, and Zack’s eyebrows raised at the mention of their former mentor’s name.
Before they could inquire further, Ayase tilted the vase down to his level of sight. “You have to help,” he pleaded. “You can fight. Fight to get her back.”
“I’m powerless here,” Ninjor said. “Apparently it takes someone special to break this vase…”
A small golden mallet attached to the vase started to shimmer. A golden aura surrounded Trini at the same time. The others looked to her.
“Subtle,” Jonathan said sarcastically.
Jason nodded. “Give it a shot…”
Trini reached out and managed to pull the mallet free. A smile spread across her face. “It worked.”
“Break it open,” Zack said.
Trini swung the small hammer towards the vase, but Ninjor shouted before it connected. “Wait!” he pleaded. “No harm must fall to Mikoja…I believe I have a plan…”
Nekomaru pulled up to the rock quarry and came to a halt. The rangers left the van with Ninjor’s vase, leaving Ayase inside. The rangers spread out slightly, looking for some sign of the Youkai.
“We’re here!” Jason shouted. “Come out!”
A hovering wooden door appeared in the middle of the quarry. It opened, and a swarm of energy tentacles shot out and wrapped around the rangers. Ayase watched helplessly as the five teens were pulled inside. The door slammed shut and disappeared.
The rangers rematerialized standing in the front row of an empty and dark movie theater. They looked up to the screen to see an image of Vampirus accompanied by a group of Dorodoro. The soldiers were holding on to a terrified Mikoja.
“Nice of you to join me,” Vampirus said through the screen. “Kindly set Ninjor down and step away…”
Trini slowly stepped forward and set the vase down on the front row of seats. Vampirus reached forward, his arms extending through the screen, and brought the vase back towards him while cackling with hideous laughter.
The rangers quickly reached for their morphers. “Shogun transform!” they shouted as their armor shimmered to life. They leapt forward in a blur of energy and shattered through the forward movie screen. The blast knocked the Rangers and villains out of the illusion.
The villains were disoriented by the sudden shift back to reality, and the Rangers were quick to take advantage of this.
“Shogun Blasters!” they shouted while firing lances of golden energy that exploded against the villains. Ninjor’s vase was tossed free from the monster’s grasp, and Mikoja broke lose from the Dorodoro.
The Rangers unsheathed their swords and charged forward towards the oncoming group of Dorodoro. The two groups clashed swords and slammed against each other.
Ayase ran to the girl’s side and helped her to her feet. Ninjared covered the two kids by slashing against a group of Dorodoro with his blade.
“Mikoja,” Ayase said affectionately while taking her hand and running back towards Nekomaru.
A small group of Dorodoro broke off to follow the two kids, but Ninjablack was quick to leap to their aide. He struck down a soldier with a vertical strike across its back. He turned with an upward diagonal blow that slashed across another Dorodoro.
Ninjablue ducked low and held his saber high to block a soldier’s jagged sword strike. He knocked the blade away while spinning and slashing horizontally through the soldier.
Ninjayellow parried a blow and spun a reverse crescent kick that slammed across the soldier’s face.
Ninjawhite knocked a soldier back with her blade and somersaulted underneath a strike, rolling across the ground to Ninjor’s vase. The Ranger picked up the vase and turned just in time to see Vampirus charging forward with a fencing-type saber.
Ninjawhite ducked under the villain’s first strike, but the monster’s second blow sparked across her chest and knocked her backward. Vampirus lifted his sword high to slam the blade against the Ranger’s helmet.
An arrow suddenly shot out from no where and exploded against Vampirus, causing the monster to stumble backward. Ninjawhite opened her eyes wide with shock beneath her helmet as she turned to see who had saved her. It was Hakumenrou.
“Father…” Ninjawhite said quietly as she rose to her feet. By the time the other Rangers regrouped around her, Hakumenrou had already stepped away.
Vampirus regained his balance and glared at the Rangers. “Bastards…”
Vampirus summoned lightning from the sky and used its energy to grow giant.
The Rangers each took a step back, and Ninjor started to shout to Ninjawhite from his vase. “Trini!” Ninjor shouted. “Now is the time. Set me free…”
Ninjawhite placed the vase on the ground and removed the small golden hammer. She pulled back and swung hard, shattering the vase and releasing a bright burst of blue energy that quickly grew to giant size.
“I am Ninjor!” Ninjor shouted.
The warrior began to stretch his joints and muscles while breathing a sigh of relief. “Been a while…it sure feels good…”
Vampirus fell back into a fighting stance. “You should have stayed in your vase…”
“And missed this wonderful chance to visit?” Ninjor said as he snapped into a fighting stance.
Vampirus charged forward and swung his claws at the blue-armored warrior. Ninjor vanished in a puff of smoke and reappeared lying on the ground behind the creature.
“Missed me,” Ninjor said tauntingly.
Vampirus turned to strike at Ninjor again. He vanished in another puff of smoke.
Vampirus turned, expecting Ninjor to appear behind him. The blue-armored warrior instead appeared swooping down from the sky while riding on a cloud.
“Over here!” Ninjor shouted while unsheathing his sword.
Ninjor swarmed past Vampirus and slashed the monster horizontally across the chest. He flew farther back and turned for a second pass. Vampirus was ready this time.
The monster extended his hand and launched a burst of energy. A bright flash of light enveloped Ninjor, and he dropped to the ground. He slowly rose to his feet and found himself surrounded by a dark crimson illusion. Fire suddenly erupted around him and exploded against his armor. The blasts intensified, and Ninjor fell face-forward onto the ground.
Vampirus laughed as he watched Ninjor try to rise. “Get up, blue boy…die with some dignity…”
“Blue boy…?!” Ninjor said as his anger started to rise. “Blue boy…?!”
Ninjor rose to the ground as fire erupted within his visor. “It’s on now, Vampirus…ninja armor energize!”
Ninjor’s armor exploded with energy as it snapped into a samurai-type configuration with a red helmet and chest slip across the chest plate. Ninjor attached his sword to his holster to form a bladed-staff weapon.
Ninjor dashed forward, parried a blow from Vampirus, and dashed forward with a horizontal strike that slashed across the monster’s chest.
Ninjor turned while swinging down a diagonal blow that sparked across the monster and followed with another horizontal strike. The warrior thrust his weapon forward and speared the blade against the monster’s face.
The illusion vanished as Vampirus went tumbling across the ground.
The Rangers looked up to see Vampirus rise to his feet.
“Let’s help him out, guys,” Ninjared said as he and the others readied their scrolls.
“Ninjazords, awaken!” the Rangers shouted as powerful lightning shot across the skies.
“Ninja Ape!” Ninjared shouted. The symbol on his scroll glowed and projected behind the Ranger before forming the mighty ape zord. Ninjared levitated backwards and merged into his zord’s cockpit.
“Ninja Frog!” Ninjablack shouted. The symbol on his scroll glowed and projected behind the Ranger before forming the frog zord. Ninjablack levitated backwards and merged into his zord’s cockpit.
“Ninja Crane!” Ninjawhite shouted. The symbol on her scroll glowed and projected behind the Ranger before forming the crane zord. Ninjawhite levitated backwards and merged into her zord’s cockpit.
“Ninja Wolf!” Ninjablue shouted. The symbol on his scroll glowed and projected behind the Ranger before forming the wolf zord. Ninjablue levitated backwards and merged into his zord’s cockpit.
“Ninja Bear!” Ninjayellow shouted. The symbol on his scroll glowed and projected behind the Ranger before forming the bear zord. Ninjayellow levitated backwards and merged into his zord’s cockpit.
“Ninja fusion…Kakure Shogun!” the Rangers shouted as their zords leapt into the air and started to reform. The Ninjazords combined into one giant warrior and landed on the ground below.
“NinjaMegazord…Kakure Shogun!” the Rangers shouted from their cockpits.
Ninjor looked up to the Megazord. “Nice of you to finally show up…”
White Falcon flew through the skies, its reflection shining in the Megazord’s red eyes.
“Falconzord, combine!” the Rangers shouted. The NinjaMegazord leapt up as the falcon connected onto its back.
Ninjor turned to face the monster and built up a sphere of crimson energy between his hands.
“Ninpo bomber!” he shouted as he hurled the blast forward. It exploded against the monster’s chest as the NinjaMegazord swooped down to attack.
“NinjaMegazord…” the Rangers shouted. “Double knuckle strike!”
The falcon wings energized the Megazord’s two fists. The wolf fist and ape fist slammed against Vampirus with a fierce blow, smashing in the creature’s chest. Vampirus fell backward, his energy slowly overloading and exploding.
Through the smoke of the defeated creature, Daimamou’s face appeared as a semi-transparent vision.
“Daimamou,” Ninjor said as he stepped back into a defensive stance.
“Ninjor…” Daimamou said. “I do not know how you’ve returned to this realm. I do not know how you’ve survived all these years. What I do know…is that your fate will be the same as the Rangers. Your fate is death.”
Daimamou’s face vanished.
To be continued…Chapter Sixteen