Land of the Rising Sun: Chapter Twenty-Three

Spirit Summon

 

Trini rose to her feet and wiped the tears from her face with the back of her hand. She twisted the dagger in her right hand and looked at Hakumenrou. Looked at her father. His body encased in stone. She thought of the death and destruction he’d cause. Thought of Yuuriko.

 

She held the dagger at the ready, knowing she had no choice. Knowing the Youkai had to be stopped, no matter what the cost.

 

***

 

Darabotchi extended her blade at the Rangers and fired another crimson energy pulse. The pulse exploded against their armor and threw them backward, causing them to forcibly de-morph.

 

The monster slowly stalked towards the rangers with her sword pointed forward. “It’s over rangers…stay down and die.”

 

Darabotchi continued her advance as the rangers struggled to rise to their feet.

 

Two K-9s suddenly pounced through the air and slammed against the monster, forcing her backward. The dogs’ young keeper, Ryouske, ran across the shore towards the rangers.

 

“Rangers!” Ryouske shouted. “Stand your ground and fight!”

 

Jonathan narrowed his eyes at the monster and Hana as he rose to his feet. “Little guy’s persuasive…”

 

The Hana charged towards the rangers with their swords held high, ready to strike finishing blows. The Hana slammed against the rangers, and the teens struggled against them.

 

Jonathan grabbed a Hana’s wrist and twisted while slamming his shoulder against the ninja. Zack used his hands to block a strike from a Hana and stepped forward, slamming his elbow against the ninja. Richie grabbed hold of a Hana’s wrist and stepped forward while slamming his knee against her gut.

 

Jason ducked underneath a Hana’s sword and kicked her in the side. He slammed his foot against the ninja and pushed off before sprinting towards the cave to stop Trini.

 

***

 

Trini closed her eyes tightly and raised the dagger. Jason sprang into the cave and spotted her standing over her stone-encased father.

 

“Trini, no!” Jason shouted as he lunged towards her.

 

Jason grabbed a hold of her wrists, but she frantically struggled to break free, consumed by her own grief. “Let me go, Jason! I have to do this!”

 

“No,” Jason said. “Come on, Trini, snap out of it.”

 

She pulled and twisted and eventually broke free from Jason’s grasp. She stumbled backward and fell in the process while dropping the knife to the ground.

 

Trini buried her hands in her face and started to cry. “Jason…what am I doing?”

 

“Trini,” Jason said softly. “It will be okay. We’ll find a way to get your dad back.”

 

Trini rose to her feet and quickly moved forward, hugging her arms around Jason and sobbing while resting her head in his chest.

 

The cave suddenly started t rumble as the earth beneath them shook.

 

***

 

Darabotchi was giant sized outside the cave, stomping against the ground and glaring down at the rangers below.

 

***

 

Hakumenrou’s eyes snapped open as he rose to his feet, his body still rigid.

 

“Father,” Trini said as the cave walls started to collapse around them.

 

“Come on,” Jason said as he took Trini by the arm and led her down the cavern’s entrance. They struggled to remain on their feet as the walls started crumbling around them. They made it outside just as the cave’s entrance collapsed.

 

Jason and Trini started to run forward to join the others when a line of explosions suddenly sparked in front of them. The smoke cleared, and Hakumenrou was standing with his blade in hand.

 

“No…” Trini said as she shook her head.

 

Jason looked to her. “Go to the others. I’ll hold him off…”

 

Jason charged forward before Trini could stop him. The ranger leapt forward with a flying sidekick that slammed against Hakumenrou’s chest. Hakumenrou staggered back slightly before swinging a backfist blow that knocked Jason aside like a rag doll.

 

“Father stop!” Trini shouted as she ran towards Hakumenrou.

 

Hakumenrou swung his blade towards Trini, but she grabbed hold of his wrist to block the blow and hold him steady. “You have to…have to stop…”

 

“Trini!” Jason shouted as he dashed forward to help.

 

Hakumenrou turned his head and fired a pulse of optic bursts that exploded across the ground, tossing Jason backwards.

 

***

 

Darabotchi glared down at the other four rangers and fired a crimson optic blast. The blast exploded around the rangers, kicking up debris and tossing them backwards.

 

***

 

Trini moved backward as Hakumenrou stalked towards her with his saber pointed outward to strike. Her father backed her dangerously close to the edge of a cliff

 

“Stop…” Trini tried to plead again while standing her ground, a fatal drop only a few feet away. “You have to stop this!”

 

Two K-9’s suddenly leapt forward from behind Hakumenrou, one radiating with red energy and the other crimson. The dogs transformed into Tarou and Jirou, the two wolf ninjas who were formerly human companions of Trini’s father.

 

The wolf soldiers slammed against Hakumenrou, holding back his arms and struggling to keep him away from Trini.

 

Tarou looked to Trini. “Go!” he growled.

 

Trini was about to object when the wolves lost their footing and crashed against Hakumenrou. The three went stumbling forward and fell off the cliff, plummeting towards the ground far below.

 

Trini leaned over the cliff, looking down at them in horror. “No!”

 

The other rangers ran to her side, each torn and injured with cuts and bruises.

 

“Trini...” Jason said as he placed a hand on her shoulder. She shrugged him off.

 

The ground started to rumble again as the giant Darabotchi stomped in the distance. The rangers rose and looked up to face the giant creature.

 

“We have to shut her down…” Jason 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 armor.

 

“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.

 

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.

 

ShogunMegazord appeared with a flash of light and stood in a fighting stance. Ninjor suddenly swooped down from the skies while riding upon a cloud.

 

“Rangers!” he shouted in an almost melodious voice. “I’m here!”

 

The blue-armored warrior leapt down from the skies and unsheathed his sword while stepping back into a fighting stance between the two Megazords.

 

Darabotchi glared at the Rangers while tightening her grip on her jagged sword. “You are at a disadvantage, despite your numbers…”

 

The monster extended her hand towards the skies as the black cloud of grief expanded. Crimson lightning shot from the skies and slammed against Darabotchi, dancing across her body and infusing her with energy.

 

Darabotchi shrieked while holding her sword high and dashing towards her opponents. Ninjor led the charge and dashed forward, swinging his blade horizontally towards her head. Darabotchi parried the blow and slammed her sword across Ninjor’s armor, a small explosion sparking upon impact.

 

Darabotchi turned to her right and swung her jagged blade towards the ShogunMegazord. ShogunMegazord parried the blow, but Darabotchi slammed a front kick against the Megazord, her heal sparking against the zord’s armor.

 

NinjaMegazord moved in and landed a punch against the creature. She stepped backward to soften the blow’s impact and slashed her saber across the NinjaMegazord’s armor.

 

ShogunMegazord stepped forward and slammed a punch against Darabotchi. An explosion ripped across her chest as she was thrown backward and went tumbling across the ground.

 

Darabotchi rose to her feet and summoned another volley of lightning bolts, energy flowing across every cell in her body. Her laughter filled the dark skies as she gained even more strength.

 

The creature leapt forward and slammed a flying double punch against the two Megazords, forcing them back. She armed her blade again as Ninjor charged forward to attack her.

 

The two opponents spun forward while swinging their swords horizontally, striking each other while passing one another. Darabotchi turned and swung her blade down towards Ninjor’s head, but the warrior blocked her blow and pushed her backward.

 

Ninjor swung his saber in an upward diagonal blow that sparked against Darabotchi and sent her crashing backward. The creature rose to her feet as the ShogunMegazord ignited its saber and swung horizontally, slashing across the monster.

 

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

 

The falcon wings energized the Megazord’s two fists. The wolf fist and ape fist slammed against Darabotchi with a fierce blow. Darabotchi went tumbling backwards out of control.

 

Her body was about to explode when lightning from above crashed into her again, stabilizing her and making her even stronger. The creature’s voice shrieked as her body ripened with power and strength.

 

Daimamou’s skull palace hovered in the sky nearby. The Youkai lord stood at the open jaws of the palace, looking down on the battle below.

 

“As long as there is grief,” Daimamou said. “As long as there is anger. Rage, hatred…nothing can stop us.”

 

The Youkai lord grinned, revealing a mouth of fangs as he watched his younger sister grow stronger. “The Rangers’ end is now…”

 

Darabotchi extended her saber and launched a torrent of crimson energy that exploded against Ninjor and the Megazords, sending them crashing backward as sparks danced across their armor.

 

The zords slammed hard against the ground as the Rangers struggled to keep upright within their cockpits.

 

Ninjablue clutched onto the control console in front of him as he lifted himself from the floor of the cockpit. “Jason…” he said weakly.

 

Ninjablack struggled to rise to his feet. “We have to do something…”

 

“And soon,” Ninjayellow added.

 

A ghostly image appeared over the rooftops, forming a transparent representation of the Sanshinshou statues.

 

“Rangers…” Sanshinshou said in a booming chorus of voices. “Look no further than the world before you for your answers.”

 

“Huh?” Ninjayellow said.

 

“The Youkai,” Sanshinshou explained, “they use grief and despair to fuel their strength. Fight their darkness with light…”

 

“Light…” Ninjared started to say.

 

The Rangers realized what Sanshinshou was saying. Hope would fight against despair. Light would fight against the dark.

 

The White Falcon’s eyes flashed as the zord took to the air. Ninjor, ShogunMegazord, and NinjaMegazord rose to their feet and snapped into fighting stances.

 

Rays of light broke through the dark clouds. The clouds quickly dissipated, and Darabotchi shielded her eyes from the sudden sunlight. “What…?” she said with disbelief.

 

The two Megazords charged in and slammed their fists against Darabotchi, knocking the monster backward. The creature rose to her feet and glared at the Megazords. “You can’t win, Ninja Rangers…”

 

“We just did,” Ninjared answered.

 

Darabotchi narrowed her eyes and shook her head. “You will die, Rangers…and so will your little blue-boy.”

 

“Blue boy?!” Ninjor said as he pushed past the two Megazords to face off with Darabotchi. “You’ll regret that! Ninja armor energize!”

 

Energy exploded within Ninjor’s visor as he activated his red samurai-type armor.

 

Ninjor lunged forward, spearing his blade against the creature’s chest and knocking her backward.

 

The White Falcon’s reflection appeared in the ShogunMegazord’s eye. ShogunMegazord turned and combined with the falcon, its wings extending forward through the Megazord’s chest.

 

ShogunMegazord fired a volley of pulse blasts from the falcon’s wing tips that exploded against Darabotchi.

 

“NinjaMegazord,” the Rangers shouted from their cockpits. “Double knuckle strike!”

 

The Megazord energized its fists and slammed a double punch against the creature.

 

Darabotchi fell backward, and her energy started to overload.

 

“Daimamou!” she called out as she fell backward and exploded.

 

***

 

The rangers powered down their armor and ran through the bottom of the cavern, looking for any sign of where Hakumenrou and the two wolf warriors fell.

 

Young Ryouske ran over towards the rangers.

 

“Over here!” the boy shouted, his face surprising full of worry.

 

“No…” Trini said quietly as they ran towards the boy. If Ryouske looked worried, she knew something had to be wrong.

 

The teens turned a corner and saw the two wolf warriors, lying on their backs, breathing shallowly. Hakumenrou was lying nearby, his body still encased with rigid stone.

 

Trini leaned down next to the wolf soldiers, tears rolling down her cheeks, even though she didn’t know them. They had been her father’s partners, and that was all that mattered.

 

“Trini…” one of the wolves said weakly.

 

Trini nodded as she placed her palm on that wolf’s hand.

 

“Your father…” one of the wolfs said. “Do not think he abandoned you….do not think he betrayed you…he just wanted…wanted this world to be safe…for his precious girl…”

 

Jason stepped forward and placed a hand on Trini’s shoulder for comfort, as did Jonathan.

 

The two wolves started to crawl back towards Hakumenrou, their bodies trembling and their breathing becoming even more shallow. The warriors struggled to reach out, and with their last breaths, they placed their hands onto Hakumenrou.

 

The two warriors radiated with energy briefly before fizzling and fading away like particles of dust. The particles suddenly exploded with a brilliant display of light, shining energy down upon Hakumenrou. The stone around Trini’s father started to dissolve once the light made contact.

 

Hakumenrou’s form returned to normal as he blinked his eyes and slowly rose to his feet, his legs wobbly.

 

Trini shook her head in disbelief as a storm of emotion washed over her. “Father...is it really you…?”

 

He nodded and looked upon Trini as if for the first time. “Trini…I’m so sorry…”

 

“Dad!” she shouted as she erupted into tears. She charged forward and hugged her father tight as he wrapped his arms around her too. “Dad…”

 

Their reunion was cut short as a high-pitched whine cut through the air. The rangers and Hakumenrou looked up to see Daimamou’s skull palace hover towards them.

 

The Youkai Lord was standing in the jaw of the skull, looking down upon the rangers with amusement while holding his scepter.

 

“Well,” Daimamou said sarcastically in his deep rumbling voice. “Isn’t this precious?”

 

Jason glared up at Daimamou. “You’ve caused enough pain, Youkai…come down and fight!”

 

Daimamou extended his scepter and fired a jagged bolt of crimson energy that exploded around the rangers and Hakumenrou, sending them crashing backward.

 

“Be careful what you wish for,” Daimamou said with a laugh while watching the rangers rise to their feet. “This is the end, rangers…a pity you won’t be alive to see it come to fruition…”

 

The skull palace ignited with dark energy and swooped down towards the rangers at frightening speed.

 

“Not good!” Zack said as he and the others started to run for cover.

 

“Get down!” Jason shouted as the skull palace crashed around them, and a deafening explosion rocked the cavern, sending debris flying everywhere.

 

The flames and smoke slowly dissipated, revealing piles upon piles of rubble. Rocks started to slowly move as the rangers pulled themselves from the rubble. Their clothes were worn and tattered, soaked with blood. Cuts and bruises covered their bodies, and internal damage was just as bad.

 

Jason clutched his chest, knowing he had at least two or three broken ribs. The others gasped for air as they pulled themselves free too. Trini helped her father up, and Ryouske appeared uninjured.

 

“Is everyone okay?” Jason asked.

 

He got a few half-hearted mumbles in response.

 

“I feel like I just got hit by a train,” Zack said.

 

“The irony is that Daimamou’s fortress is actually bigger,” Jonathan said.

 

A black blur of motion suddenly slammed against Hakumenrou and the rangers, knocking them backward. The blur arced towards a pile of rubble and materialized to form Daimamou. The Youkai lord laughed while tightening his grip on his scepter and looking down upon the rangers.

 

“You are even too foolish to know when to die,” Daimamou said.

 

Trini glared at the villain while pulling out her morpher. “We could say the same about you…”

 

“Shogun transform!” the rangers shouted as they morphed into their Ranger forms.

 

Daimamou simply laughed, watching as the Rangers pulled their swords from behind their backs and somersaulted forward through the air. The Rangers shouted war cries as they swung their blades towards Daimamou’s head, surrounding him from all sides.

 

“STOP!” a chorus of voices shouted from above.

 

The Rangers landed, still holding their blades ready but not striking, while looking over their shoulders. The image of the Three God Generals appeared in the distance, looking down at the battle below.

 

“You must not strike him down…” Sanshinshou said.

 

“What?!” Ninjayellow said.

 

Daimamou laughed tauntingly. “You heard your precious zords…”

 

“It’s a trick,” Ninjablue said as he readied his blade.

 

“No,” Sanshinshou said. “It is not…”

 

“Ha,” Daimamou said. “While you sort through this inner quarrel, I have business to attend to in the city. You see…I am the master of spreading despair.”

 

Daimamou vanished in a puff of black smoke.

 

“No!” Ninjawhite shouted.

 

“We have to stop him,” Ninjared said.

 

“Wait..” Sanshinshou said.

 

Golden beams of energy stabbed forth from the Generals’ eyes and washed over the Rangers, powering down there armor.

 

“Hey,” Zack said. “What’s the big idea?”

 

“You will not transform,” Sanshinshou said. “Not until you learn why you fight. Daimamou must be taken back. Back to the tomb. Only there can he be destroyed…”

 

“Sanshinshou…” Trini said as she narrowed her eyes at the three generals. “What’s going on? We need our powers…We have to stop Daimamou. He has to pay…he has to pay now…”

 

“You will not transform,” Sanshinshou again said. “Not until you learn why you fight.” The vision of the Three God Generals vanished.

 

***

 

Less than an hour later, the five rangers were rushing through the city streets, desperately searching for any sign of the Youkai Lord, Daimamou.

 

They stopped in the middle of a shoulder-packed crowd as Jonathan shook his head.

 

“That puss bucket could be anywhere,” he said.

 

A ghostly image of Daimamou appeared within the crowd, but only the rangers could see the image. He flashed them a mocking grin and started floating backward. “Nice of you to join me…”

 

Jason narrowed his eyes at the villain. “After him!”

 

The rangers broke in a sprint, shoving their way through the crowd while chasing down Daimamou’s ghostly image. The Youkai Lord slid to the center of an open plaza and suddenly split into three.

 

“Try to stop me if you can…” Daimamou said as his image split off into three different directions.

 

“What is he up to?” Zack asked.

 

“It doesn’t matter,” Jason said. “We split up and stop him.”

 

Jason ran off with Trini towards the Daimamou floating off to the right, and Richie went in alone as Jonathan paired up with Zack.

 

Jason and Trini left the plaza and entered a small business district, losing sight of Daimamou in the process.

 

“This is crazy, Trini,” Jason said as they frantically searched. “What is he up to?”

 

Trini shook her head. “He’s just trying to get under our skin…and it’s working.”

 

They heard a woman scream from behind them and immediately snapped to attention, turning to see a middle-age woman plummet from an upper walkway. A ghostly image of Daimamou was standing behind her.

 

Jason sprang forward instantly, flipping through the air and grabbing onto the woman, and landing back against the pavement with her in his arms.

 

Trini ran to Jason’s side, and Daimamou looked down upon them while laughing.

 

“Predictable, to say the least,” Daimamou said.

 

“Quit playing and fight!” Jason shouted.

 

Daimamou extended his hand and fired a pulse blast of crimson energy. The blast exploded around the two rangers, and when the smoke cleared, Daimamou was gone.

 

***

 

Richie ran along a patio to where Daimamou was hovering above the top of a staircase, dangerously close to a baby in its buggy.

 

Daimamou extended his hand and launched a telekinetic pulse, sending the baby carriage rolling down the stairs.

 

Richie sprang forward and leapt through the air, flipping down to the staircase and stopping the buggy from falling. The baby’s mom ran over to the buggy while screaming and took the infant immediately into her arms.

 

Daimamou extended his hand and fired a crimson pulse blast that exploded near Richie and knocked him backward, sending him stumbling down the stairs.

 

***

 

Zack and Jonathan ran along a city street, following the Daimamou hovering in between buildings, laughing mockingly at the two teens.

 

“Get down here!” Zack shouted.

 

Daimamou extended his hand and fired a crimson energy blast that exploded against a nearby building, sending debris scattering across the ground.

 

***

 

Daimamou joined back into one at the plaza while the five rangers regrouped.

 

“Enough is enough!” Jason said as he and the others snapped back into fighting stances.

 

Daimamou tauntingly waved them forward. “Come, little rangers…”

 

The five rangers pounced forward and threw themselves at Daimamou, but the Youkai lord knocked them each back one-by-one. Daimamou fired a crimson energy blast at the rangers to scatter them before they could regroup. The blast’s shockwave knocked them backward.

 

The rangers slowly rose to their feet as Daimamou laughed.

 

“We have to transform,” Jonathan said.

 

“We can’t,” Trini said.

 

Daimamou extended his hand and lashed out with five energy leashes. The leashes wrapped around the rangers’ throats and pulled them from their feet. The Youkai Lord used the energy leashes to twirl the rangers around, swinging them out of control and bashing them against buildings and the ground.

 

Daimamou released his grasp on the rangers, and they tumbled across the ground.

 

Richie rose to his feet and pulled out his morpher.

 

“STOP,” Sanshinshou’s voice said as an image of the Three God Generals appeared. “You will not transform…not until you learn why you fight.”

 

Daimamou fired a blast of crimson lightning that exploded around the rangers and sent them tumbling backward.

 

Jason slowly pulled himself to his feet. “Why we fight…”

 

“That’s it…” Trini said as she stood besides Jason. “We’ve been trying to strike him down out of anger.”

 

“And?” Jonathan said.

 

“That will only make him stronger,” Trini said.

 

“Then what do we do?” Zack asked.

 

It finally dawned on Jason. He reached out and pulled his morpher free from his belt. “We remember why we’re fighting…not for revenge…but to protect these people.”

 

The others did the same as their power coins began to glow with golden energy.

 

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

 

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

 

Daimamou twirled his scepter, summoning the five Hana Ninja with a burst of energy. They appeared dressed in their gray ninja outfits. The five Hana unsheathed their swords and charged towards the Rangers.

 

The Ninja Rangers leapt over the Hana before their blades could connect. The Rangers landed behind the Hana and rolled forward across the ground before rising and leaping towards Daimamou. The five Rangers tackled against Daimamou and held on to the Youkai Lord, despite his struggling.

 

The Sanshinshou looked down upon the Rangers and launched beams of golden energy. The energy beams surrounded the Rangers, Hana, and Daimamou, before teleporting them away to a secluded area in the wilderness. The area was just outside the temple where Jason and Zack had accidentally freed the Youkai almost a year ago.

 

“All right guys,” Ninjared said as he and the others released their grasp on Daimamou and unsheathed their swords. “It’s now or never…”

 

The Hana Ninja charged forward to attack the five Rangers, but beams of golden energy from Sanshinshou struck them still. The energy beams penetrated the Hana, causing them to scream as their molecules disassembled and reverted back to their normal forms: five cats.

 

“Huh,” Ninjayellow said as he looked down at the cats. “That’s something you don’t see everyday…”

 

Daimamou extended his hand and fired a pulse of black lightning that slammed against the five Rangers, exploding against their armor and sending them skidding backwards across the ground.

 

Ninjawhite rolled backward and pulled out her side arm. “Shogun Blaster!” she shouted while firing lances of golden energy at the Youkai Lord.

 

Daimamou held his palm and absorbed each energy blast before firing a crimson optic blast that exploded against Ninjawhite’s chest.

 

Ninjablack and Ninjayellow leapt towards the Youkai lord’s side while throwing a volley of ninja stars. The stars exploded against the villain’s chest upon impact, distracting Daimamou while Ninjared moved in.

 

“Hidden-style full moon cut!” Ninjared shouted as his blade energized and swung down towards Daimamou’s head.

 

Daimamou used his scepter to block the blow and slammed a punch against the Ranger’s chest, knocking him backward. Ninjablue moved in with a flying sidekick, but Daimamou slashed his scepter across the Ranger’s chest.

 

Ninjawhite slowly rose to her feet as her father’s voice spoke into her mind. “Trini…you cannot beat Daimamou with force.”

 

“So I noticed, dad,” Ninjawhite said. “Suggestions?”

 

“The ground you stand on is ripe with the power of our ancestors…summon that power…” he said.

 

Ninjawhite felt a thrumming come from her hand. She pulled out her morpher, and saw the power coin within pulsing with deep golden energy. Its glow started to spread across the woods surrounding them, distracting Daimamou.

 

“What…” Daimamou said while tightening his grip on his scepter. “What is the meaning of this…

 

“My Doron Changer,” Ninjared said as he held his morphing device. “It’s glowing…”

 

“Mine too,” Ninjablack said.

 

“Yeah,” Ninjayellow said.

 

Ninjablue’s morpher was also casting dancing light across the woods. The sparkles of light formed various images of ghostly ninja, including the Kakuranger of old.

 

Ninjawhite narrowed her eyes beneath her helmet as she looked forward at Daimamou.

 

“Spirit summon!” she shouted as she extended her morpher. Her power coin fired a beam of golden energy that slammed against Daimamou and washed over him.

 

“Spirit summon!” Ninjared shouted while extending his morpher and firing another beam of light that struck Daimamou, causing the Youkai Lord to scream. The light burned the Youkai’s skin.

 

“Spirit summon!” Ninjablack shouted. A beam of light shot from his morpher and washed over Daimamou as the ground started to violently shake, and winds started to howl across the land.

 

“Spirit summon!” Ninjayellow shouted while extending his morpher and firing a beam of light. The light washed over Daimamou as thunder started to scorch the skies above.

 

“Spirit summon!” Ninjablue shouted. A beam of light shot from his morpher and washed over Daimamou, penetrating the creature’s body.

 

Daimamou screamed as cracks opened along his body and light consumed him, ripping him apart. The Youkai lord opened his mouth as a torrent of light leapt from his jaws and eyes. With one final scream, Daimamou exploded as a pillar of light carried his remains into the air.

 

The Rangers gathered together and looked up to where Daimamou’s remains had carried into the sky. They stood silently as the light in the woods slowly started to fade.

 

“It is done,” the voice of Sanshinshou said.

 

The Rangers looked behind them and saw the ghostly image of the Sanshinshou standing along a transparent image of Ninjor’s giant form.

 

“Rangers,” Ninjor said. “You’ve done well…”

 

“The time has come,” Sanshinshou said, “for us to finally return to The Power.”

 

Ninjor nodded. “Use your powers well in the future…”

 

“You will still have access to our avatars,” Sanshinshou said. “The ninja and shogun zords. Use them wisely.”

 

“Farewell my friends…” Ninjor said before he and the Sanshinshou vanished into the light.

 

The Rangers stood silently, staring at where the images had faded.

 

“So…” Ninjayellow said, breaking the silence. “The Hana were cats? Cats?!”

 

One by one, the Rangers started laughing. Their struggle was over. They had won.

 

***

 

Trini and the others walked to Nekomaru, where Trini’s father and Ryouske stood.

 

Trini ran into her father’s embrace, and the two started laughing.

 

“It’s over…” he said. “It’s finally over…”

 

The End

The saga continues in Book Five: Ancient Awakenings