Galaxy Rangers: Chapter Ten

The Black Knight

 

The creature’s face resembled a starfish, draped down over his body like a beard. His skin was light purple, matching the color of his slim white and violet robes. He carried a round blade in his right hand. The ring blade was covered with spikes around its edges.

 

The monster, Kugutsu, was in a dark cave north of Stone Canyon. Mechanical gears turned within the cave. The gears were the center of the creature’s plot. They manufactured human-like machines, animated with magick. The machines had spread across the city, programmed to explode when the massive gears clanked into position.

 

The resulting explosion and chaos would free the Lights of Orion, Kugutsu had told his captain, although he had no proof to support his theory. In fact, the creature just liked to make things explode.

 

One of the Yattatoo that was outside guarding the cave’s entrance went tumbling inside, skidding across the stone as its body went limp. Kugutsu took a step back as the soldier landed at his feet. The monster looked up to see Galaxy Red enter the cave.

 

Galaxy Red snapped into a lion-like fighting stance as he held his Seijuukin. “Balban! Call off your mechanical drones! No one’s dying today…”

 

“No one besides you, Gingaman,” the villain said. The creature armed his ring blade and dashed forward to attack.

 

The two opponents ran sideways while facing each other, leaving the cave, ready to strike. Young Ryuuta sat by and watched from behind a rock’s shadows. He had Galaxy Red’s  Kiba Dagger in hand.

 

The other four Rangers were battling Budo in the city. Ryuuta had volunteered to help infiltrate the monster’s lair and destroy the machine. Ryouma had almost turned him down, until he saw the fiery look of determination in the young one’s eye.

 

Ryuuta had been the first to find the walking mechanical bombs. Yattatoo nearly killed him when he tried to escape and warn the rangers. His clothes were torn and tattered. Cuts and bruises covered his skin.

 

Ryuuta moved forward and entered the mouth of the cave,. The gears within turned, cranking towards destruction. Ryuuta tightened his grip on the dagger. He shouted at the top of his lungs to scare away his own fear as he swung the blade into the gears. Explosions sparked as the mechanism jammed.

 

Meanwhile, Galaxy Red spun forward and swung his saber horizontally. The star creature ducked under the blow and swung his ring weapon towards the Ranger’s chest. Galaxy Red slapped the weapon away and arched his blade towards the monster’s face.

 

The creature managed to maneuver backward and swing his ring weapon to deflect the blow. He held his ring tightly against the Ranger's sword as the two opponents pushed against each other.

 

Explosions in the nearby cave distracted the monster. He turned his head to look back towards his lair. “What has happened?”

 

He moved back, brought his blade around, and slashed the ring across Galaxy Red’s chest. Explosions sparked across his armor as he fell backward.

 

The star monster turned and dashed towards his cave. He could tell from the sounds that someone was inside. Someone was destroying his equipment!

 

Galaxy Red used his saber for balance as he rose to his feet. He pounced forward, flipping through the air and twisting his body as he landed in front of the creature’s path and struck an animal-like defensive stance.

 

“You’re not getting through!” Galaxy Red shouted.

 

The creature energized his ring with deep-blue energy and tossed it forward. The ring exploded against Galaxy Red with a force that ripped across the mountainside. Explosions tore across his armor as his body was thrown backward.

 

Galaxy Red fell back towards the ground and crashed on rock and soil. He looked up in time to see the starfish monster charge forward with another gear blade in his hand.

 

The monster swung the blade downward. Galaxy Red used his ankles to clasp onto the monster’s wrist, stopping the blade from striking. He twisted to the right to disarm the monster and snapped his legs back around in a kick that pushed the creature backward.

 

Galaxy Red flipped back to his feet and energized his Seijuukin. Fiery streams of red energy entered the saber’s coin as a crimson glow traveled along the blade.

 

“Mane of Flame!” he shouted as he swung his energized blade downward.

 

The fiery slash exploded against the star creature. Energy ripped across the monster’s body as he fell backwards and exploded.

 

***

 

Ryouma powered down his armor and ran into the cave. Ryuuta was still chopping away at the machinery with the Kiba Dagger. Each strike was met with a cloud of sparks.

 

Ryuuta stopped hacking when he heard Ryouma walk into the cave. The boy turned and smiled at the ranger as he stepped inside. “Ryouma!”

 

“Looks like you’ve been busy,” Ryouma said with pride as he stepped forward. Pain suddenly shot down his back and he collapsed to the ground. He was injured before even meeting Kugutsu. The battle with the starfish creature had only made things worse. 

 

“Ryouma!” Ryuuta ran to his older friend’s side. “What did that thing do to you?”

 

Screeching metal sounded from deep in the cave. Ryouma and Ryuuta looked to see dozens of mechanical humans walking towards them, each primed to explode.

 

Ryuuta, get out of here,” Ryouma said.

 

“No way,” Ryuuta said. “You’re hurt! I can help you!”

 

Ryuuta, go!” Ryouma shouted as he pushed the boy aside and charged towards the walking bombs.

 

“Ryouma!” Ryuuta called from the ground, tears running down his cheeks. He was afraid, but not for himself. He was afraid for his friend.

 

Ryouma launched at the mechanical humans, trying to keep them back and away from Ryuuta. He snapped a jump kick against a bomb’s face, then moved forward with a flurry of punches and kicks.

 

Time seemed to slow as Ryuuta watched. Each movement of Ryouma’s was etching into the boy’s memory. Then the mechanics exploded, and Ryuuta’s fell into darkness.

 

***

 

The other four rangers arrived at the mouth of the cave to see Ryuuta sprawled across the ground. The sight of the unconscious boy hurt them more than any physical blow could.

 

Ryuuta!” Saya shouted as she and the others ran to his side.

 

Hikaru raised his head and looked around, searching for a sign from their leader. “Where’s Ryouma?”

 

Ryuuta coughed as he sat up. Gouki clasped his hand tightly on the boy’s shoulder as he tried to keep himself from crying. Gouki’s emotions were as strong as his brute strength.

 

They heard footsteps coming from the cave. A dark figure walked from the smoke. His armor was black. He had edged horns sprouting from his helmet. A slick black cape flowed behind his back. Ryouma was draped over his shoulder.

 

The stranger stepped out of the cave as the rangers gathered around. The black knight lowered Ryouma onto the stone ground.

 

Gouki leaned down towards Ryouma. “Ryouma…hang in there.”

 

The black knight turned and started walking away, his cape flowing across body, rippling with strength.

 

“Wait,” Hayate said as he turned towards the stranger. “Who are you?”

 

The black knight looked over his right shoulder towards the rangers. He spoke with a low, stern voice. KuroKishi. Bull Black.”

 

Hayate wrinkled his brow, trying to remember where he had heard the name. KuroKishi? Bull Black?”

 

KuroKishi bent his knees and sprang upward into the air. He arced forward and landed on a small mountain’s cliff in the distance. He stood boldly on the cliff as his cape flapped in the wind.

 

***

 

The rangers and Ryuuta returned to the ranch and gathered in Moku’s chamber. Ryouma lied back on a wooden bed as Saya draped a damp cloth across his forehead. Ryuuta stood by Ryouma’s side, holding onto the teen’s arm.

 

“Ryouma…” Ryuuta said. “Wake up, Ryouma…”

 

Boku hovered above the rangers, relieved that Ryouma hadn’t been killed in the blast. “He’s lucky to be alive, Boku.”

 

“You are right,” Moku said. “The explosion should have been beyond fatal for someone not protected in armor. Thankfully, Ryouma was saved.”

 

Hayate turned towards the wise tree. “Moku…who is this KuroKishi? His name sounds familiar, but I can’t place it.”

 

KuroKishi has been called many things,” Moku said. “Bull Black. Magna Defender. Black Knight. Legends say he is an ancient warrior from thousands of years ago. He travels where needed.”

 

Ryuuta’s face lit up. “He came to save Ryouma. Didn’t he?”

 

“We don’t know that,” Hikaru said. The ranger was skeptical. “He could be here for any reason. Or he could be some kind of Balban trick.”

 

Gouki shook his head. “But he saved Ryouma.”

 

Hikaru rolled his eyes. “Gouki, you’re too trusting.”

 

Gouki narrowed his eyes and rose to his feet. “What did you-

 

“Guys,” Hayate said. “Not now.”

 

Ryouma started to stir, his breathing quickening. “Brother…brother…”

 

Saya leaned down, hearing Ryouma’s faint words. His brother…what does Hyuuga have to do with this?

 

***

 

Bukarates waddled across the deck of Capt. Zaihabu’s ship. The short troll moved towards Budo, who was kneeling down while looking at his scroll.

 

“Your creature failed,” Bukarates said. “We’re still nowhere close to finding the Lights.”

 

Budo kept his gaze fixed on his scroll. He answered with a calm patience. “Finding the Lights is my concern. Not yours. It will be done.”

 

Budo slid his sword into its holster. One of his soldiers, a bulky villain who wore white robes covered in intricate, red and blue armor over his chest and arms, stepped forward from behind Budo. The villain named Samuron kneeled. The color of his face matched the color and styling of his armor.

 

“The Lights,” Budo instructed his warrior. The general handed Samuron a scroll. “This scroll will lead you. The humans already have found the stone that holds the Lights. The stone is the key.”

 

***

 

Ryouma sat up on the wooden slab within the lair. He drank from a bowl of water as the others stood around him. “…I barely remember what happened. But when he was carrying me from that cave…it felt…familiar.”

 

“Familiar how?” Gouki asked.

 

“This sounds crazy…” Ryouma said. “But I think KuroKishi…I think he was my brother.”

 

Saya opened her eyes wide. “Hyuuga?” It was no secret that she had a crush on Ryouma’s older brother.

 

Hayate arced an eyebrow skeptically. “Ryouma…how could that be possible?”

 

Ryouma took another sip of water. “I don’t know…I just know what I felt.”

 

Moku’s eyes suddenly snapped open. He sensed KuroKishi.

 

***

 

A small group of scientists drove a Starr Industries minivan across a bridge, which spanned a stone canyon that gave the city its name. They had unearthed an interesting find: an oblong-shaped stone that radiated with an immense amount of power.

 

The driver’s breath caught in his throat when he saw a black-caped figure step in front of the van up ahead. The driver skid the van to a halt. The passengers were frozen with fear.

 

KuroKishi extended his hand towards the van and slowly walked forward. It was then that the scientists realized KuroKishi was after the stone.

 

The scientists scrambled from the front of the van and moved towards the rear van door. They opened the doors and started to pull a large metal briefcase from beneath a pile of crates.

 

KuroKishi moved behind the van. One of the scientists foolishly clutched onto the metal briefcase that held the stone. The black knight grabbed the scientist by the collar and lifted him to his feet.

 

“Stop!” a voice shouted from down the bridge.

 

KuroKishi turned to see Ryouma and the others dash forward. The teens snapped into fighting stances. Hayate narrowed his eyes. “What are you doing to these people?”

 

KuroKishi tossed the scientist aside and grabbed the briefcase. “That is none of your concern.”

 

“It is now!” Hikaru shouted.

 

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 Blue sprang through the air to attack. KuroKishi grabbed the Blue Ranger by the throat and tossed him backward. Galaxy Blue tumbled across the ground to his friends’ feet before rising.

 

KuroKishi set the briefcase aside and looked to the Rangers. He extended his hand forward in a simple fighting stance. “You should not have interfered…”

 

Seijuukin!” Galaxy Red shouted as the Rangers unsheathed their swords.

 

The Galaxy Rangers and KuroKishi slowly started to circle around each other. The Galaxy Rangers shifted stances while watching their opponent closely for weaknesses in his defense. They saw none.

 

***

 

The Rangers and KuroKishi did not notice a pair of yellow eyes watching them from below. Samuron grinned as he watched the Rangers and KuroKishi circle around each other.

 

“Those idiots are doing all the work for me…” he said quietly to himself, evil pleasure dripping off of every word.

 

The villain summoned a group of Yattatoo and moved towards the bridge to claim his prize: The Lights of Orion.

 

***

 

The scientists grabbed the case and scrambled away from the van as fast as they could, running for their lives. Samuron and a group of Yattatoo appeared and blocked the groups’ path.

 

Samuron extended his hand and stalked towards the scientists. “Give me the case, and I will kill you quickly.”

 

KuroKishi looked over his shoulder to see the orange-clad soldiers tear the case from the scientists’ hands.

 

Galaxy Yellow pounced forward to attack the Black Knight while he was distracted. KuroKishi sidestepped and slammed a punch against the Yellow Ranger’s gut, knocking him away.

 

Galaxy Blue, Galaxy Green, and Galaxy Pink charged towards the monster and Yattatoo to protect the scientists. The villain opened his jaw and fired a stream of crimson particle energy that exploded against the three Rangers’ armor and knocked them to the ground.

 

The group of Balban fled rapidly from the bridge. 

 

KuroKishi started to charge forward towards the Balban, but Galaxy Red blocked the Knight’s path. The Red Ranger tightened his grip on his Seijuukin. “I’m not letting you leave here until you explain. Why were you trying to hurt these people?”

 

KuroKishi said nothing. The Black Knight pounced forward to bash the Ranger out of his way. Galaxy Red thrust his saber forward, but KuroKishi used his arm to pin the weapon against his side, and he thrust his other arm forward to grab the Ranger in a choke hold. 

 

KuroKishi slammed his knee and against the Ranger’s side and hurled him through the air. Galaxy Red crashed onto his back and tumbled backward.

 

The Black Knight glared down at the Ranger. “Stay out of my way. This is your last warning.”

 

KuroKishi leapt through the air, vanishing from sight as he chased after the Balban.

 

***

 

The Balban fled to a rural area beneath the same bridge, only miles away. Samuron slammed his massive hammer against the egg-shaped rock repeatedly. But the rock would not even crack, even though the villain’s hammer strikes shook the earth itself.

 

“Crack!” he shouted, slamming against the stone again. “Lights of Orion! Come out!”

 

He slammed his hammer against the stone, and his weapon snapped in half from the impact. Samuron opened his eyes wide with shock. Nothing could withstand the strike of his hammer! What sort of cursed rock was this

 

Hmph,” the villain scoffed. It seemed he would have to be creative to crack the rock. Luckily, he had the perfect plan. 

 

***

 

The rangers gathered in front of Moku.

 

“The Balban think they have discovered a powerful energy source through the strange stone,” Moku explained.

 

“Have they?” Hayate asked.

 

“I am uncertain,” Moku said.

 

Hikaru sighed with frustration. He hated unanswered questions. “Well KuroKishi sure thought he was onto something powerful too…”

 

Ryouma sighed with frustration and walked away from Moku’s chamber. Saya followed him.

 

***

 

Ryouma sat on the fence at the ranch. Saya sat next to him. She looked at him sympathetically.

 

He sighed and started talking. “I know my brother is alive…I’ve heard his voice. And the feeling I had when I heard his voice…it was the same feeling as when KuroKishi carried me from that cave.”

 

“I believe you,” Saya said as she placed her hand on his knee.

 

Ryouma shook his head. “No you don’t…but thanks…”

 

Their braces chimed. It was Moku. “Ryouma! Balban!”

 

***

 

Samuron and a group of Yattatoo stood outside the mountains northwest of Stone Canyon city. He was waiting for the Rangers. He did not have to wait too long.

 

The rangers ran to the scene from the woods. They stopped in their tracks and faced the Balban.

 

Samuron armed a bladed staff weapon. “Are you always so slow?”

 

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.

 

Columns of elemental energy circled 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.

 

“Break!” Galaxy Red shouted as the Rangers pounced forward to attack.

 

Galaxy Green leapt through the air with the grace of a mighty bird and swung his legs outward. He bashed his heels against a soldier’s chest and pushed off, flipping backward and crashing his heels against two more of the orange-clad grunts.

 

Galaxy Blue hurled a soldier to the ground and dropped while slamming an elbow against the grunt’s body, smashing its chest.

 

A Yattatoo moved towards Galaxy Blue while the Blue Ranger was still on the ground. The grunt swung his blade downward.

 

Galaxy Blue snapped out his leg and knocked the saber aside. He rolled across the ground while knocking the legs out from the soldier. The Blue Ranger slammed his elbow against the fallen grunt’s neck, crushing the soldier’s throat.

 

Galaxy Yellow pushed a fallen Yattatoo across the ground while shouting “Ya-tatatatatatatata!”

 

Galaxy Pink pushed a second fallen Yattatoo straight forward towards the Yellow Ranger. The two Rangers slammed the Yattatoo against each other and rolled aside.

 

Galaxy Red sprang through the air like a lion and swung his blade down towards Samuron. Samuron used his bladed staff to block the blow. Galaxy Red pressed his Seijuukin against the pirate’s weapon while leaning forward.

 

Samuron opened his jaw and fired a wide particle beam that exploded against Galaxy Red at near-point-blank range and knocked him backward. The particle stream intensified, skidding the Red Ranger backward across the ground.

 

Galaxy Red slowly rose to his feet as the others gathered around him.

 

The Rangers threw their acorns to the ground. Explosions of light and 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 Rangers positioned the weapons over their shoulders like bazookas and aimed the Launchers forward. “Fire!”

 

Five spheres of energy blasted from the cannons and combined while streaking towards the villain in a blast of rolling, golden light.

 

Samuron thrust the stone forward, hoping the Rangers’ blast would crack it open. The blast reflected off the stone and shot back at the Rangers, exploding against their armor and knocking them backward.

 

Samuron looked at the smoking stone in his hand. There was not a crack on the stone. “You have to be kidding me!!”

 

The Rangers slowly climbed to their feet. Samuron glared at the team and armed his bladed staff again. He dashed forward, slashing the Rangers across their armor one-by-one. Explosions sparked across the Rangers’ chests before they could defend themselves, knocking each of them backward.

 

The villain stalked towards the fallen Rangers. Samuron stepped onto the Red Ranger’s head and pressed down hard. “Gingared…if I get rid of you…we may not even need the damn Lights.”

 

Samuron pointed the blade of his staff down towards Galaxy Red’s head.

 

A dagger suddenly cut through the air as if from nowhere and sparked against Samuron’s hand, knocking the staff away.

 

“What the!” Samuron stepped backward while clutching his injured hand. He looked towards the rocky horizon and saw KuroKishi slowly walk onto the scene. The Black Knight’s cape flowed around his tall, strong figure.

 

KuroKishi stood and extended his hand towards the villain. “Hand over the Lights.”

 

Samuron scoffed. “These Lights belong to the Balban. Feel free to try and take them. Yattatoo!”

 

The orange-clad soldiers charged forward to attack.

 

KuroKishi stood firm as the Yattatoo swarmed towards him. He slowly unsheathed his saber, holding the weapon upside-down. He started walking through the group of approaching grunts.

 

The Black Knight swung his blade twice to slash open the first three Yattatoo. KuroKishi never broke his pace as he kept moving forward, parrying the grunts' curved saber strikes with his own blade. Steel rang against steel as the Black Knight knocked their weapons aside and slashed open their bodies, his blade sparking on impact.

 

The Rangers watched in amazement as KuroKishi slashed his way past the soldiers.

 

Only three Yattatoo remained. One of the grunts swung its blade towards KuroKishi. The Black Knight high blocked the blow and pushed the soldier’s saber down before slashing upward through the grunt’s chest with a burst of spark.

 

KuroKishi spun past the last two soldiers while whirling his blade in a butterfly pattern. Sparks ripped across the soldiers' bodies as they crashed to the ground.

 

KuroKishi continued forward towards the villain. “I’m not going to repeat myself…the Lights. Hand them to me now.”

 

Samuron aimed his bladed staff forward. “I have something better in mind for you.” The villain rushed forward to attack. 

 

KuroKishi had his right hand on his saber’s handle and his left hand stretched forward in a fighting stance. Samuron swung the bladed staff down towards the Black Knight’s head.

 

KuroKishi blocked the blow against his left forearm. He unsheathed his saber, holding the blade upside down as he dashed past the villain and slashed across the monster's side with a burst of spark. KuroKishi turned back to face Samuron and swung his blade in an ’x’ pattern, each strike sparking through armor.

 

KuroKishi jumped and kicked off the villain while somersaulting backward. The Black Knight energized his saber with deep blue and black energy and swung downward while landing. His attack ripped diagonally through the villain’s body.

 

KuroKishi sheathed his saber, and Samuron fell backward, explosions tearing across his body.

 

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!”

 

Samuron charged forward and slashed his staff across Gingaiou, forcing the GalaxyMegazord backward.

 

GalaxyMegazord slammed the back of his fist across the monster. The giant tumbled backward.

 

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

 

The saber radiated with white energy. Gingaiou swung his energized saber downward diagonally, upward diagonally, downward vertically, and horizontally…the blows slashing through Samuron.

 

Samuron collapsed backward, his energy overloading and exploding as his body was ripped apart.

 

***

 

The Galaxy Rangers landed on the ground below. They looked for KuroKishi but could not spot him.

 

Then they noticed the Black Knight standing on a rocky hill in the distance. His arms were crossed over his chest, and his cape was snapping in the wind.

 

To be continued...Chapter 11