Land of the Rising Sun: Chapter Twenty

The Ice Queen

 

A man slowly ice skated across one of Tokyo’s indoor rinks. He was alone as the stadium’s speakers echoed music across the walls. He moved through a series of maneuvers, spins, and leaps.

 

The skater skid to a halt when he noticed a woman join him on the ice. She was dressed in white robes and flowed across the rink with an elegant grace and beauty. She smiled while approaching the man.

 

Before he could speak or ask who she was, the woman’s skin started to ripple. Her body covered itself with a light blue frost as a tight suit of icy armor formed around her body.

 

The man opened his eyes wide with terror as the woman opened her jaw and launched a sub-zero blast that froze him inside of an ice column.

 

A group of Dorodoro appeared and picked up the ice column, carrying it off as the ice creature led the soldiers to their next target.

 

***

 

Zack was riding his bike across the streets on his way to meet the others at Nekomaru. They were scheduled to make another patrol of the area for any signs of the Youkai.

 

The ranger rode into a residential area when he noticed a group of kids pleading with their father. Zack couldn’t understand what they were saying, but it was obvious they didn’t want their Dad to leave. He could pick up a few words they were saying such as “demon” and “cold.”

 

The man ran off, leaving his two kids behind. They looked much more worried than they should have been.

 

“Might as well check it out…” Zack said quietly to himself as he rode over to the boy and girl.

 

Zack pulled his bike over besides them. “I don’t suppose either of you speaks English?”

 

The boy nodded. “Some. My name is Nangou.”

 

Zack nodded. “Nice to meet you…I heard you say something about a monster?”

 

Nangou nodded, wrinkling his brow while searching for the right words. “Kidnappings. People who work out and run and play sports. People are kidnapped by the ice demon. In this town.”

 

“That’s why you didn’t want your Dad to go,” Zack said.

 

Nangou nodded. “Yes.”

 

Zack sighed as he looked in the direction where the father rode off. “I’ll keep an eye on him…see if I find anything.”

 

Nangou smiled. “Thank you.”

 

Zack turned and rode down a path, following the man’s trail while looking out for anything suspicious. “Well…” he said to himself, seeking to rationalize his actions. “We were going to patrol anyway…”

 

***

 

Zack followed Nangou’s father while keeping a casual distance. He noticed the streets were abnormally clear, which raised some suspicion. Other than the unusual quiet, nothing raised the ranger’s eyebrows.

 

Zack was about to give up when he heard the man scream and skid his bike to a halt. Nangou’s father started to back away, and Zack could see why.

 

The ice monster named Yukionna approached the father with a wicked grin on her face.

 

“Hold it right there, frost-lady!” Zack shouted as he ditched the bike and ran towards the monster. Before he could reach her, she blew her subzero ice breath and froze the father in a pillar of ice.

 

The creature shifted her gaze to Zack and tilted her head. “You must be one of the Rangers…what a pleasure.”

 

A group of Dorodoro appeared and surrounded the monster and ice column.

 

“You better unfreeze him,” Zack said as he snapped back into a fighting stance.

 

“That would be unwise of me,” the monster said. “If he melts, he dies. The only way to return him to normal is to kill me. Up for the challenge?”

 

Footsteps approached Zack from behind, and he turned to see Nangou and his sister running towards him. Zack cursed beneath his breath, realizing the kids had followed.

 

“Father!” Nangou shouted.

 

“Stay back,” Zack said as he extended his arm to hold the kids back. “He’ll be fine…”

 

The other rangers suddenly burst onto the scene as well.

 

“We heard there was trouble,” Jonathan said as he stood besides Zack.

 

“You might say that,” Zack said.

 

The ice monster laughed. “Your trouble is only beginning, I’m afraid. By using the energy from my captives, I can increase my powers and freeze your whole world.” The monster extended her hand. “Bring them to me…”

 

The Dorodoro charged.

 

“Let’s do it!” Jason shouted as he and the others charged forward towards the Dorodoro.

 

Trini stayed back to protect Nangou and his sister as a swarm of enemy soldiers approached. She activated her morpher and transformed into her white armor with a burst of energy.

 

Ninjawhite unsheathed her sword and started parrying blows from the oncoming Youkai. She knocked them aside and pushed forward through their line. She spun with a reverse crescent kick, slamming a Dorodoro across the head. The White Ranger turned and parried another blow and skipped forward with a vertical blow that axed against a soldier’s head.

 

Two Dorodoro grabbed hold of Jonathan from either side and started to toss him forward. Yellow energy twirled around him as he morphed and flipped forward, twisting free from the soldiers’ grasp and flipping them to the ground in the process. Ninjayellow bent down and struck both soldiers in their chests.

 

Richie pounced forward with a jump kick, slamming his heel against a soldier’s chest as he morphed into his armor. Ninjablue unsheathed his sword and turned while bringing the blade down diagonally through a soldier. The Blue Ranger turned and started parrying blows left and right before snapping out with a sidekick that slammed against a soldier’s face.

 

Zack leapt forward in a crouched posture towards a group of Dorodoro. He landed and snapped forward with a jump kick followed by a roundkick. The ranger jumped backward while morphing into his armor and unsheathing his sword. Ninjablack swung downward to parry a blow, then skipped forward with a sidekick followed by a horizontal strike. He turned to his left and cut through another soldier with a blur of motion.

 

Jason jump kicked a soldier back, then advanced with a reverse sidekick. He grabbed his morpher.

 

“Shogun transform!” he shouted as he morphed into his Ranger form.

 

Soldiers charged towards Ninjared, and he knocked them aside with a series of swings from his blade. He slammed his heel against one soldier by using a roundhouse, then turned to slash through another villain. The Ranger turned and sidekicked another Dorodoro in the face before running his blade through that soldier’s neck.

 

Ninjablue flipped a soldier over his shoulder, and that Dorodoro slammed against the ice pillar. The pillar was tipped over and began rolling downhill.

 

“After him!” Ninjared shouted as they started bashing through the soldiers to reach Nangou’s frozen father.

 

***

 

Daimamou watched from his throne room as the Rangers powered down their armor and started to search for the pillar. His viewscreen of fire shifted to the ice creature Yukionna as she started her search.

 

The Youkai Lord looked back to his Hana Ninja, each in a pale-gray ninja jumpsuit with a colored scarf around the neck.

 

“Go,” Daimamou said. “Help with the search.”

 

The Hana bowed before teleporting out.

 

***

 

The ice pillar had rolled into a junk yard of all places.

 

“Dad!” Nangou yelled as he and his sister ran towards the pillar.

 

Zack looked to Jason and Trini. “We can’t let him melt…he’ll die if we do.”

 

Richie shook his head. “We can’t leave him like that.”

 

“I know,” Zack said. “When we destroy the ice wench, he’ll return to normal.”

 

The Hana suddenly appeared, landing in crouched positions before rising to their feet, flashing feral grins at the team.

 

“Which is unlikely,” Hana Pink said.

 

“Richie,” Jason said. “You’re with me. The rest of you get frosty and his kids to safety.”

 

The Hana charged forward to attack the rangers. Jason and Richie charged forward to meet the Hana’s advance, leaving Trini, Jonathan, and Zack to protect the kids and the prisoner of ice.

 

Jason leapt forward with a flying sidekick towards Hana Green. She blocked the blow as Hana Orange moved in, swinging her saber towards Jason’s head. Jason grabbed her wrist and twisted while landing a roundkick against her side.

 

Richie leapt towards Hana Pink with a jump kick. The villain moved back while blocking the blow and spun while landing a reverse axe kick against Richie’s collar bone.

 

Hana Violet moved past the two guys and charged towards the ice prisoner. Trini stepped forward and looked over her shoulder to Zack and Jonathan. “Get them out of here!”

 

Zack and Jonathan started to carry off the ice column as Trini attacked Hana Violet. The ranger darted forward with a spinning bottom fist and sidekick against the Hana.

 

***

 

Zack and Jonathan managed to find a semi with a refrigeration unit parked nearby.

 

“Are we just going to steal it?” Jonathan asked.

 

“We don’t have much choice,” Zack said as they set the ice column down near the back of the truck. “I’ll hotwire the thing.”

 

“You know how to hotwire a semi?”

 

Zack shrugged. “I wasn’t always exactly an upstanding citizen.”

 

They opened the back of the truck and slid the column of ice inside.

 

As if from nowhere, the ice monster pounced through the air and tackled against the two rangers. Jonathan grabbed onto the monster and held her back.

 

“Go!” Jonathan shouted to Zack.

 

Zack nodded and leapt into the truck’s driver seat. It took him a minute to start the vehicle, and then he was off, leaving Jonathan and the monster behind.

 

The ice creature punched Jonathan across the face before vanishing in a cloud of snow.

 

***

 

A cloud of snow surrounded the semi, and it went swerving out of control. Zack looked through his window and narrowed his brow as the ice monster and an army of Dorodoro appeared.

 

“This is not a good day,” Zack said as the soldiers charged forward.

 

Zack flipped open his door, slamming it against a Dorodoro. The ranger leapt out of the vehicle while kicking down a pair of soldiers. The Dorodoro moved in and started swinging their blades towards the ranger.

 

Zack used his left arm to outer block a blow, then slammed a right hook across that soldier’s head while spinning forward. Zack slammed a reverse side kick against another soldier’s chest, followed with a spinning crescent kick that slammed against another soldier, then he ducked low and knocked the legs out from underneath a Dorodoro.

 

Zack slammed his feet against the fallen soldier and pushed off, jumping backward and landing on top of the semi. A group of Dorodoro jumped up to attack. Zack outer blocked a blow, then tornado kicked that soldier across the head. The ranger landed and turned to his left, snapping out a knifehand and sidekick combo that knocked a Dorodoro from the truck. Zack turned back to his right as another Dorodoro charged towards him. He snapped out with an outer crescent kick, knocking the soldier through the air.

 

Zack leapt down onto the roof of the truck’s cabin before flipping through the air and landing on the ground. He hopped back into the truck and drove off.

 

***

 

Zack made it to a construction area before two of the Hana Ninja appeared on structures above and started throwing explosives to the ground below.

 

Zack swerved through the explosions as the two Hana jumped onto the roof of the truck’s cabin. Hana Green swung into the passenger side window and Hana Orange swung through the driver window.

 

Hana Orange swung a knifehand blow at Zack, but he blocked and kicked open the door while twisting her wrist and pushing her out.

 

Hana Green leaned back on her hands while kicking out with both legs and pushing Zack outside.

 

Zack tumbled across the ground and rose to his feet as the truck started to speed off. The ranger ran as fast as he could and grabbed onto the rear of the semi. He pulled himself up and hopped onto the top of the truck. He ran down the trailer and hopped onto the cabin before swinging through the passenger side window.

 

“Tag!” Zack said as he kicked the Hana away, grabbed the wheel, and drove off.

 

***

 

Zack turned a corner in the construction area as three of the Hana leapt out in front of the semi. Zack skid the vehicle to a halt as the other Hana spread out behind the semi.

 

Zack stepped out to fight, but the Hana extended their hands and fired a cloud of sparks that exploded around Zack, sending him tumbling to the ground.

 

The Hana leapt into the semi and drove away.

 

***

 

The Hana Ninja drove to a rock quarry where the monster already set up the other pillars, each lining up to form a demonic pattern. The Hana slid the pillar of ice from the semi and lined it up among the others.

 

The ice monster stood in the center of the pillars and raised her hands towards the sky. She whispered a strange incantation and then braced herself for a surge of energy that never came.

 

“What…” she said as she shook her head and looked around. She tried again but received the same results.

 

The Hana turned their attention to the ice pillar holding Nangou’s dad. Hana Pink swung her sword against the pillar, only it sounded like hitting metal. She tried it again…

 

“Cut that out!” the pillar shouted as it dissolved into a blue-armored warrior. It was Ninjor.

 

Ninjor teleported away in a burst of blue energy and reappeared a few meters away from the site as the five rangers regrouped around him.

 

Zack smiled and crossed his arms over his chest.

 

“How?” the ice creature asked.

 

“We switched the real pillar for Ninjor before I let the Hana take the semi,” Zack said as he placed his hand on Ninjor’s shoulder. “I was sick of running.”

 

The monster glared at him. “Oh, do not worry. You can’t run this time. Attack!”

 

“Let’s go,” Zack said as he and the others readied their morphers.

 

“Shogun transform, Ninja Power!” they shouted as energy shimmered around them and they morphed into their Ranger forms.

 

“Shogun Task Force…” they shouted together. “…Ninja Rangers!”

 

The Hana glared at the Rangers.

 

Battoru Henge!” they shouted as they transformed into their tight feline armor and charged forward.

 

The Rangers and Ninjor charged forward into a swarm of Dorodoro and the Hana Rangers. They split up and attacked, their swords ripping through soldiers and clashing against steel.

 

Ninjablack parried the blows of soldiers around him and struck back with a fierce volley of blows from his own blade. The Black Ranger moved forward towards the ice Youkai while slashing aside every Dorodoro in his path. The Ranger swung his sword down low to block a blow, then slammed an outer crescent kick against that creature’s head.

 

Ninjablack knocked a final soldier aside before charging towards the monster. The Ranger leapt forward with a diagonal blow aimed high. The creature blocked the blow and twisted Ninjablack’s sword aside, following with a wide horizontal strike. Ninjablack dodged the blow and moved forward with a combination of diagonal swings that the creature blocked. She twisted the Ranger’s sword aside again, but this time Ninjablack knocked her blade away and slammed an outer crescent kick across her head.

 

The ice monster spun around and slashed Ninjablack across the chest, sending him stumbling down a rocky slope and landing in a deeper part of the quarry.

 

Ninjablack rose to his feet as the ice creature landed on his level and charged forward. He parried a pair of strikes from her and rolled underneath her third blow.

 

Ninjablack turned and swung his saber horizontally. The creature blocked the blow, and Ninjablack spun in the opposite direction with a reverse crescent kick that slammed across her head. He followed by dropping with a sweep kick, but she leapt over the blow and swung her saber down towards his head.

 

Ninjablack knocked her blade away and countered with a swing, but she vanished before the blade could connect.

 

“Oh man…” Ninjablack said as he looked around for the creature.

 

A giant transparent image of the creature’s head appeared all around the Ranger. She laughed as he swung his sword, trying to connect with something.

 

“This is nuts…” he mumbled to himself as the monster continued her laugh.

 

The image vanished as the monster herself suddenly pounced forward and grabbed Ninjablack in a choke hold. She tossed him aside like a rag doll, and the Ranger went stumbling across the ground.

 

Ninjablack rose to his feet just as the monster opened her jaw and launched a stream of snow-like particles. The particles exploded across his armor with a shower of sparks as he fell to the ground, his uniform going limp and landing against the stone as the Ranger’s body disappeared from beneath it.

 

Before the ice creature could even guess what happened, Ninjablack sprang up from the ground behind her with his sword held high. The monster turned as Ninjablack slashed his weapon across her chest. The monster stumbled backwards and rolled to her knees as the Ranger pressed on his attack.

 

Ninpo Ground Quake Attack!” he shouted while placing his hands in front of his chest. Large boulders stormed out from behind his back, crashed against the monster, and shattered into rubble upon impact.

 

Ninjablack energized his saber.

 

“Hidden style, flowing-star cut!” Ninjablack shouted as he swung his blade in a 5-point star pattern, slicing through the creature.

 

The ice monster fell backward as her body overloaded and exploded. Lightning suddenly reached down and struck her remains, causing her to reassemble and grow giant.

 

The other Rangers and Ninjor regrouped and stared up at the giant creature.

 

“Ninja armor, energize!” Ninjor shouted while activating his battle armor and growing to giant size.

 

The Rangers pulled open their scrolls.

 

Ninjazords, awaken!” they shouted as their symbols flashed from their scrolls and summoned the zords. The Rangers merged into their cockpits.

 

“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.

 

The monster’s eyes flashed blue as a blizzard blew across the quarry, raining down snow and ice as the winds howled. She extended her hands and launched shards of ice that exploded against the Megazord and Ninjor. She followed by opening her jaw and spewing a giant freeze blast that created a thick coat of ice around Ninjor and the NinjaMegazord, freezing them in place.

 

The ice creature leapt forward, bringing her sword down towards the frozen Megazord. A gold-and-orange saber suddenly blocked her blow, and a massive armored fist slammed against her, knocking her backwards. It was the ShogunMegazord.

 

ShogunMegazord glared at Ninjor and the NinjaMegazord while releasing a heat pulse. The heat melted Ninjor and the Megazord free.

 

The ice creature glared at her opponents. “Not exactly fair odds…”

 

The giant monster flipped backwards twice, producing two icy replicas of herself. The monster and her replicas charged forward towards Ninjor and the Megazords.

 

ShogunMegazord ignited its saber and swung the blade of fiery energy, shattering through one of the replicas.

 

Ninpo slash!” Ninjor shouted while energizing his blade and swinging down diagonally and then horizontally. His weapon shattered through the second replica.

 

NinjaMegazord…” the Rangers shouted. “Double knuckle crash!”

 

The Megazord’s two fists energized. The wolf fist and ape fist slammed against the Youkai with a fierce blow, smashing in the creature’s chest. The monster fell backward, her energy slowly overloading and exploding.

 

Once the monster was destroyed, the captives returned to normal.

 

***

 

Nangou hugged his father with a tight embrace along with his sister.

 

The other rangers stood by and watched, as Jason placed a hand on Zack’s shoulder. “Good work,” Jason said.

 

“Thanks,” Zack said.

 

To be continued…Chapter Twenty-One