Galaxy Rangers: Chapter Nine

The Samurai Strikes

 

Four ancient Japanese monks in blue and white robes walked through the Stone Canyon streets. They played wooden flutes while walking in single file. And their wooden-basket-type helmets covered their heads, with a series of slits to give them site. Their sounds echoed softly across the city.

 

***

 

Budo stood on the stone head of Daitanix while twirling his metal sword through the air. His plans were falling into motion. Sanbashu was out of his way. His warrior was already patrolling the streets. He alone would have the honor of killing the Galaxy Rangers. He alone would be the greatest general.

 

On the ship’s deck inside, the Egyptian-styled gypsy Iresia and Viking-like general Batbos stood before Capt. Zaihabu. They were laughing at Sanbashu’s demise and ready to continue the war.

 

“That fool Sanbashu had it coming,” Iresia said.

 

Batbos laughed, a deep rumbling sound. “That idiot’s scream when he fell from that cliff…ha!” He turned to Zaihabu. “Captain…let me take the war to the Gingaman. My army will crush them like-”

 

“Captain,” Iresia said as she shoved Batbos aside. “This mindless brute will bring you the same results as that psychotic Sanbashu. My spells can-”

 

The sharp sound of metal sliding into its holster caused Iresia to pause. The Balban turned to see Budo standing at the deck’s entrance with his samurai-type sword in hand. “I already have a plan in place.”

 

Hmph,” Batbos said. “Get in line, blue-face freak.”

 

“There is no line,” Budo said while walking forward towards the captain. “Captain…I can bring you The Lights of Orion. With them, you can revive Daitanix.”

 

Batbos grumbled beneath his breath. “Idiot…”

 

Scantly-clad Sherinda crossed her arms in front of her chest and leaned back, standing by her captain. “The Lights do not exist. Sanbashu found that out the hard way…did you forget so quickly?”

 

Budo stood firm. “The fool Sanbashu was closer to finding the Lights than he thought. My warrior is in the city. He will uncover the Lights. Destroy Gingaman. Then we will be unopposed.”

 

Zaihabu was skeptical. “Very well…but if you fail…your fate will be worse than that of Sanbashu.”

 

Budo bowed down, keeping his back stiff. “I will not fail.”

 

***

 

The five rangers gathered in front of Moku as the small acorn-like Boku hovered behind them. The teens were discussing their recent run in with Sanbashu, the general’s demise, and obsession with the mysterious Lights of Orion.

 

“These Lights…” Hayate said as he paced back and forth. Ryouma was staying back, and his eyes looked distant as Hayate spoke. “Sanbashu seemed to think they were strong enough to revive Daitanix.”

 

Hikaru nodded. “With enough to spare afterward for wiping us out.”

 

Saya shook her head. “I don’t know guys. He seemed…insane. And remember, the box was empty.”

 

Gouki nodded in agreement. “And…this is the same general who tried gathering gasoline to revive Daitanix.”

 

“Sure he wasn’t bright,” Hikaru agreed. “But that doesn’t mean these Lights don’t exist.”

 

Hayate turned to Ryouma. “Ryouma, what are your thoughts?” Ryouma stayed silent, his mind elsewhere. “Ryouma?”

 

Ryouma shook his head free from his daze. “Sorry…”

 

Saya laid a hand on his shoulder. “Ryouma…what is it?”

 

Ryouma sighed, keeping his head hung low. “It’s Hyuuga. I know that lion monster wasn’t him…but seeing Hyuuga’s face again…I wanted so much to believe he was still alive. And what if he is? What if he survived the fall?”

 

“Ryouma,” Moku said firmly, but with compassion. “Hyuuga is gone. He died sacrificing his life to save you and your friends. Honor his memory, Ryouma, by fighting as he would. Sanbashu is now dead, but another general will take his place. You must be ready. Do not let doubt cloud your mind.”

 

Ryouma nodded and put on a brave face to hide his pain. “I’ll be fine Moku. Whichever Balban comes next…we’ll be ready.” He looked to his teammates. “I’m heading on patrol. See you guys out there.”

 

Ryouma turned and left the main chamber. Hikaru narrowed his brow and glared at Moku. “Moku…that was his brother. He deserves to have a little hope.”

 

“Not it if clouds his mind,” Moku said.

 

“Bah,” Hikaru said, waving his hand at Moku in a dismissive manner and walking away. Saya walked after Hikaru to make sure he was alright and try to calm him. Hayate and Gouki followed afterward.

 

***

 

Ryouma walked across a boardwalk that looked down upon the shore. A city plaza area was behind him as he paced, alone with his thoughts. His mind was fixed on his brother.

 

Damn you, Balban, he thought to himself. You made me think he was still alive. Then you made me think he was a traitor.

 

Hyuuga had to be alive, Ryouma believed. He had heard his brother’s voice while battling against Sanbashu, only he didn’t tell the others. Ryouma knew it could have been a hallucination, he just didn’t want to believe that. He wanted to believe his brother was alive. Ryouma wanted to believe that Hyuuga could be freed.

 

The sound of wooden flutes suddenly echoed in the air. Ryouma moved down a set of wide concrete stairs towards the plaza. He saw the line of ancient monks walk by in a single-file line. Their flutes produced an eerie sound that danced across the air.

 

Ryouma wrinkled his brow. “This place keeps getting more and more strange.”

 

The ancients kept walking. White powder steamed from their flutes and floated through the air like steam. The fog spread in direct correlation to their playing.

 

***

 

Saya and Hikaru sat at the ranch picnic table. Hikaru was slumped over, his brow wrinkled. He ate in swift bites. He stopped just short of actually pouting or throwing a temper tantrum. Gouki brought another plate to the table as Hayate stood by. Boku floated towards the table and tucked a napkin into his leaf-like collar.

 

“Hikaru,” Saya said. “Just calm down. Your face is still red.”

 

Hikaru shook his head, tearing another bite from his roll. “I still can’t believe Moku. I mean…Ryouma lost his brother. His brother. Why can’t we let him hold on to a little hope? And, what was with the ‘clouded-mind’ guilt-trip comment?”

 

“Hikaru,” Gouki said while setting down a bowl. “I don’t think Moku really did anything wrong.”

 

Hayate nodded. “He actually had a point.”

 

Hikaru rolled his eyes and took another bite.

 

***

 

Budo sat in a meditative posture in his private quarters. He rolled a small scroll across the wooden floor in front of him. The names of his warriors were written in ancient Balban text.

 

Sherinda barged into the general’s room, her short cape flowing across her nearly-bare body. “There’s no time for praying, fool. You promised the Lights! And you haven’t even sent a warrior to the main land!”

 

Budo lifted a piece of the scroll. “Subtlety…Teksa is in the city. His mist, and his sound, will smother the Lights out from the depths of the earth.”

 

Sherinda wrinkled her brow. “Smother?”

 

Budo nodded. “Kill the ground. Poison the soil. Then the Lights will arise.”

 

***

 

The ancients walked through the city. Trees lined concrete walkways. Parks and grassland stretched across the landscape. Mist from the ancients’ flutes spread across the land. The mist covered the trees with strange cobwebs as the ancients walked by.

 

***

 

Gouki, Hayate, Saya, and Hikaru cleaned up the picnic table as Boku hovered by. The acorn’s hands weren’t sturdy enough to lift plates or bowls.

 

From the corner of her eyes, Saya saw someone approach. It was Ryouma.

 

“Guys!” he said as he ran over to them. “Something strange is going on in the city. I just can’t put my finger on what…these robed ancient-types and their flutes…there’s something weird about them.”

 

Hikaru wrinkled his brow with confusion. “Ryouma, I have no idea what you just said.”

 

Their braces’ chimed. It was Moku. “Everyone, I must speak with you. At once.”

 

“Right on cue,” Hikaru said as they hurried towards Moku.

 

***

 

The rangers stood in shock as they entered Moku’s lair. Moku was covered with cobwebs, stretching across the floor and walls. His eyes were half shut and blood shot. He looked ill.

 

“Moku,” Ryouma said as he and the others walked closer. “What is that stuff?”

 

“I do not know exactly,” he said weakly, barely able to keep his eyes open. “Its created from mist. Mist that is killing the earth and everything growing from the soil. The Balban are somehow behind this…this, I fear, is their latest plot.”

 

“How?” Hayate asked. “How are they doing this to you?”

 

Hikaru nodded. “If they were using one of their monsters, we would have known by now…so how?”

 

“I do not know,” Moku said, his eyes closing. “They are using a far more subtle approach than before. They are either using disguise or hiding in the shadows.”

 

Ryouma opened his eyes wide with realization, remembering the ancients. “It’s them. I know it!”

 

***

 

The ancients walked through a park that meshed with the city. They moved across a concrete path and played their flutes. Mist continued to spread, covering the land in cobwebs. Beneath the earth, the Lights started to stir.

 

***

 

Moku snapped open his eyes. “I sense them. The Balban…they are on the move.”

 

“What are they doing?” Saya asked.

 

Moku struggled to reply. He was weak as the webs suffocated him. “They are trying to summon the Lights of Orion. Ryouma…you and the others…must stop them.”

 

“But what about you,” Ryouma said as he stepped forward. “We can’t just leave you like this.”

 

“Go,” Moku said. “I will be fine.”

 

***

 

The ancients were walking near the concrete memorial entrance of a park within the city. Their flutes continued to spray mist across the streets.

 

“Ha!” Ryouma shouted as he and the others ran to the scene. They stood in fighting stances as the ancients turned to face their opponents. “Undo the mess you made…or we’ll make a mess of you.”

 

The lead ancient tilted his head slightly up. “You children do not know the power you are dealing with.”

 

Hikaru stepped forward, his hands rolled into fists. “Same goes for you, Balban…show your true face!”

 

The ancient slowly waved his flute. His garments tore and shed off his body like snake skin. The Balban warrior Teksa stood in his place. The other ancients were revealed as Yattatoo, and more of the orange grunts scurried to the battlefield and stood behind Teksa.

 

“Is this better, Gingaman?” Teksa said as he slowly walked forward. “You’re not playing with Sanbashu and his mindless thugs anymore…I am a warrior. I…am Teksa.”

 

Ryouma stepped forward and readied his brace. “Allow us to introduce ourselves too…”

 

Ryouma brought his hands down in front of his body. “Galaxy transform!” he turned the dial on his brace to the red line. “Ha!” he shouted while slapping the brace’s activation panel.

 

Energy shimmered around the teens as they morphed into their Ranger forms. They snapped into their animal-like fighting stances.

 

“Galaxy Red! Ryouma!”

 

“Galaxy Green! Hayate!”

 

“Galaxy Blue! Gouki!”

 

“Galaxy Yellow! Hikaru!”

 

“Galaxy Pink! Saya!”

 

Galaxy Red slowly moved his hand through a horizontal arc while shouting. “The sword of legend cuts through the galaxy…” he stabbed his hand forward. “Star Beast Task Force…”

 

“Galaxy Rangers!” they shouted in unison.

 

Teksa extended his short saber. “Kill them.”

 

The Yattatoo charged forward at the Balban’s command. They armed their curved blades and prepared to strike at the Rangers.

 

Galaxy Green cart-wheeled and twisted forward, bringing his heels down against a soldier’s collar bone. He grabbed onto that soldier, pulled it to the ground, and slammed his heel against its chest. Galaxy Green rose to a crouched position and swept the legs out from underneath a second Yattatoo. Galaxy Green slammed his elbow against the fallen soldier’s throat, crushing its wind pipe.

 

Galaxy Blue leapt forward and grabbed onto a soldier’s neck. He arced through the air with the Yattatoo in hand and slammed the creature’s head against a concrete wall. The impact smashed the soldier’s head. Galaxy Blue tossed the soldier’s body away.

 

Galaxy Pink flipped a soldier to the ground. She straddled the Yattatoo, leaned forward, and clawed across its face with a series of lightning-quick thrashes that sparked on impact.

 

Galaxy Yellow somersaulted backward in midair while slamming his hands against a pair of soldiers’ necks. He landed, flipped both soldiers to the ground, and drop elbowed the soldiers against their chests.

 

Galaxy Red and Teksa charged at one another. The Ranger tightened his grip on his sword and attacked. He spun forward, swinging his blade horizontally, but Teksa ducked underneath the blow. Galaxy Red turned just in time to parry a couple of strikes from the Balban. Their swords clashed against one another in a dance of razor-edge steel.

 

Teksa pressed his blade against the Seijuukin and held the weapon downward for a brief moment. The villain suddenly unsheathed a small dagger, pounced forward, and slashed Galaxy Red across the chest with a horizontal blow. Teksa turned and struck again, swinging a pair of diagonal strikes that sparked against Galaxy Red’s armor. The Ranger was knocked backward and went rolling across the ground.

 

Teksa turned and faced the fallen Ranger. He re-sheathed his blade. “It’s a wonder you have lasted this long against the Balban, Gingared.”

 

The other Rangers, after dispatching the Yattatoo, gathered around Galaxy Red and helped him to his feet. They armed their Kiba Daggers and prepared to deliver the final blow.

 

“Kiba Daggers, Star Formation…fire!” they shouted as an energy pulse streaked towards Teksa. Teksa energized his blade and slashed downward, dissipating the Rangers’ blast before it could explode.

 

Teksa stepped back into a fighting stance. “Your techniques are flawed…I will show you a real attack.”

 

The villain’s image split into seven different parts and charged forward, slashing at the Rangers with a blur of motion, lightning-quick strikes sparking and exploding against their armor. They tried to defend themselves, but it looked like Teksa was everywhere.

 

***

 

Moku could barely keep his eyes open. He watched Boku pace back and forth through the air. The nervous acorn was watching Moku with growing concern.

 

Boku…” Moku said. “You must…give the Rangers…new weapons…”

 

He closed his eyes. Energy flowed through his branches.

 

Boku opened his eyes wide. “What are you doing, Boku? You’ll die!”

 

An energy explosion shocked through the cavern. Boku went flying against a wall and slammed into it. He slid onto the ground. Boku looked up, noticing five acorns fall to the soil.

 

***

 

Teksa slashed Galaxy Red across the chest. The Ranger fell onto his back. Teksa leaned down and held his blade near the Ranger’s neck.

 

Before Teksa could strike, the ground slightly rumbled. A burst of light shot from the ground and started arcing through the air. Teksa’s gaze immediately drifted to the light. They were the Lights of Orion, a bright globe of sparkling power. Teksa stepped off of the Ranger and ran after the Lights as the Yattatoo followed.

 

The Rangers ran after them.

 

Teksa and the Yattatoo stood underneath the Lights, but glow vanished with a blur of motion.

 

“Impossible,” Teksa said.

 

The Rangers ran to the patio and snapped into fighting stances.

 

“We’re not through yet, Balban,” Galaxy Red said.

 

Teksa unsheathed his blade and aimed it at the team. “I can remedy that.”

 

“Everyone!” Boku shouted as he suddenly floated to the scene. He carried a small pouch carrying the five acorns Moku had created.

 

Galaxy Red took the pouch. “What are these?”

 

“Weapons, Boku,” Boku said. The little acorn narrowed his eyes. “Moku used the last of his strength to make them.”

 

Galaxy Red narrowed his eyes beneath his helmet. Moku…

 

Galaxy Red and the others extended the acorns forward. The sight was too ridiculous for Teksa to even laugh.

 

“Guys,” Galaxy Red said. “Let’s go!”

 

They threw the acorns to the ground. Explosions of light and bright, golden columns of energy extended up from the ground from where the acorns struck. The columns of light materialized and formed five cylinder-shaped weapons of steel. Each had a handle that the Rangers grabbed onto.

 

“Quasar Launchers!” Galaxy Red shouted. The weapons extended into staff mode. The cylinder split onto opposite sides of the staff, acting as thick, metal pads.

 

The Rangers rushed forward towards the Yattatoo.

 

Galaxy Blue slammed the end of his weapon against a soldier’s gut. He used the staff’s leverage to lift the soldier and toss him backwards like a rag doll.

 

Galaxy Green spun his staff while spinning forward and bashed the weapon horizontally across a soldier’s temple. He followed by bringing the other end down vertically, crushing the top of the soldier’s head.

 

Galaxy Yellow swung his weapon through an upward diagonal blow. The staff knocked a soldier upside the head. He followed with a horizontal swing that bashed against the soldier’s temple.

 

Galaxy Red pounced forward towards Teksa. The Ranger slammed the end of his weapon against the villain’s chest. Teksa went flying backwards, slammed against a wall, and slid to the ground.

 

The monster rose to his feet and unsheathed his dagger. His image split and charged forward, each vision slashing at the Ranger. Galaxy Red placed the staff across his shoulders and started spinning, blocking most of the blows, then he slammed the end of his weapon against Teksa. The villain stumbled backward.

 

Galaxy Red stepped forward and started spinning the staff. Fiery energy covered the ground around them. Flames twirled around the staff with each spin.

 

“Mane of flame!” Galaxy Red shouted, thrusting the flaming weapon forward and smashing it against Teksa.

 

The five Rangers regrouped as Teksa rose to his feet. Teksa extended his hand and fired an invisible telekinetic blast that exploded against the Rangers’ armor.

 

Galaxy Red rolled onto his stomach and extended his Kiba Claw in blaster mode. “Kiba Shot!”

 

A blast of red energy exploded against Teksa. The Rangers rose to their feet and switched their weapons to launcher mode.

 

“Quasar Launchers!” they shouted. “Fire!”

 

Five energy spheres shot forward, combined, and exploded against Teksa with an explosive force that shook the park area. The injured villain used the last of his strength to rise to his knees and sip from his vile of Balban essence. The liquid started a chain reaction, causing the monster to grow.

 

“Star Beasts, arise!” The Rangers shouted, calling for their companions.

 

The Rangers leapt onto their Star Beasts as the five creatures stomped into battle.

 

“Zord transform!” Galaxy Red shouted while holding his Kiba Dagger into the air. Energy struck the daggers and flowed across the five beasts. The Star Beasts transformed into mystical suits of armor as the Rangers dropped down into their cockpits.

 

Seijuu fusion!” Galaxy Red commanded. “Gingaiou!”

 

The zords rushed forward, their bodies shifting and changing as the five combined into one armored warrior. A golden hilted, double-edged sword appeared in the warrior’s hand.

 

“GalaxyMegazord!” Galaxy Red shouted once the fusion was complete. “Gingaiou!”

 

The two giant opponents charged at each other while holding their weapons forward. They passed each other, swung, and struck one another with sparks exploding on impact.

 

“GalaxyMegazord Saber…” Galaxy Red commanded. “Blazing slash!”

 

The saber radiated with white energy as the monster continued its advance. Gingaiou swung its energized saber downward diagonally, upward diagonally, downward vertically, and horizontally…the blows slashing against Teksa.

 

Gingalcon!” Galaxy Red shouted as the GalaxyMegazord armed its blaster, which was part of the Condor Galactazord. “Howling blast!”

 

The condor shrieked and fired a pulse blast that exploded through the creature’s chest, ripping the monster apart as he fell backward and exploded.

 

***

 

The cobwebs disappeared after the monster’s destruction. Moku opened his eyes back up in time to see Ryouma and the others walk in.

 

“Moku!” Boku shouted as he floated over to the tree.

 

“Everyone,” Moku said, his voice still weak but regaining strength.

 

“Moku,” Hayate said as he stepped forward. “Thank you…for the Quasar Launchers.”

 

“Yeah,” Hikaru added. “You, uh…you kinda scared us.”

 

“A-hem,” Boku cleared his throat, keeping his back towards the rangers while fishing for compliments. “Are you forgetting someone?”

 

Saya laughed. “And thank you, Boku.”

 

“That’s right!” he said, a smile on his face.

 

To be continued...Chapter 10