Shadows of Evil: Chapter Four

The Shadow Falls

 

Tommy was meditating by Bear Lake when his mind was pulled onto the Astral Plane. He was surrounded by nothing but white light. “It’s you again,” Tommy said.

 

“You always were a bright one, Tommy.” It was the Dark Man.

 

“What do you want…I’m not in the mood.

 

“I want to help you, Tommy.”

 

“Somehow I doubt that.”

 

“Understandable…you are still upset by what you saw in Zedd’s palace.”

 

Tommy nodded. “Rightly so.”

 

“Zordon was right when he told you everyone has a dark side, but what he didn’t tell you is how strong yours is…I would show you your entire family’s track record if I had time, but you need only look to your father. No one expected his powers to grow as fast as they did, and no one expected him to give into the temptation of his powers at such a young age. He was only a few years older than you.

 

“You are even more powerful already, and you’ve barely tapped your potential. Zordon knew this. That is why he didn’t choose you to be on his original team. That is why Kaku did not choose you to be the Dragon Ranger.”

 

“He did choose me.”

 

“No, the Red Dragon made the choice for him.”

 

Tommy’s mind flashed back…

 

The tentacle hissed and streaked towards Tommy. Tommy started running away from the tentacle. He had to regroup and find a way to get Simon back. Tommy fled from the park and ran across a busy street. The tentacle was still at his heels.

 

Tommy ducked into an alley and ran through the back streets. He made it to the rear of a used-car lot and stood with his back to a wall. He listened, but could not hear the tentacle slithering after him. “Well that was something you don’t see everyday,” he said. “…at least not anymore.”

 

A voice started singing. Tommy turned to see a young Japanese boy standing on a car while playing with a yo-yo. Tommy wrinkled his brow at the boy. Two dark tentacles suddenly sprang from beneath the car. A tentacle wrapped around Tommy and lifted him in the air, squeezing his chest and making it hard for him to breath.

 

A large shadow cast over them from above. Tommy looked up, and his breath caught in his throat. A large red-armored Chinese dragon swooped down from the sky and opened its maw. A lance of flame poured out and exploded around the boy and the car lot.

 

Tommy dropped to the ground, bashing his head against the pavement and losing consciousness. The dragon scooped Tommy up with its claws and flew back into the sky.

 

Tommy shook his head. “Why are you telling me this.

 

“It’s necessary, because a time will come when you will have to make a choice…”

 

“Zordon told me already.”

 

“But what he didn’t tell you is that it will be a choice of life or death…”

 

Tommy’s eyes snapped open as he returned to the real world.

 

***

 

Levina sat deep in her personal chambers as her hands waved over a crystal ball. “Zedd wants to attack Tommy’s heart?” she smiled wickedly. “Let me show him how it’s done.”

 

***

 

Tommy was walking back to his house with Kimberly. They were talking and laughing, trying to escape the pain they had gone through recently. Then the laughing stopped. Tommy saw his house engulfed in flames.

 

“No…” he ran towards the house and tried to go in, but firefighters stopped him.

 

“No way,” a fireman said.

 

“Let me through!” Tommy yelled.

 

He heard firemen talking about how the flames could not be extinguished, no matter how hard they tried, and he knew it had to be Zedd’s work. His parents would have both been at work still, but his brother and sister would have been inside.

 

“I said let me through!” he tossed the fireman aside and dashed towards the house. He jumped through the flames as he shouted “Aura Power!” and transformed into his armor. “Teddy! Chelsea!”

 

He shouted for his siblings as he searched frantically around the burning building.

 

An invisible telekinetic burst suddenly hurled him through a pillar.

 

A shadowy figure stepped from the flames. His armor was exactly like Dragon Ranger’s, only black and silver instead of red and gold.

 

“What…” Dragon Ranger said.

 

“Kind of like looking in a dark mirror, isn’t it?” the Ranger said.

 

“Who are you?”

 

“A messenger,” he said. “I am the Shadow Ranger, created from the darkest regions of your mind.”

 

Dragon Ranger manipulated the flames and wrapped them around Shadow Ranger. “I don’t have time for mind games, now where are my brother and sister?!”

 

A dark portal opened beneath the two Rangers as they disappeared.

 

The fire suddenly died.

 

“Tommy…” Kimberly said.

 

***

 

Rocky had been dating Jenn Mitchell for only a few days, so their relationship had not really progressed that far. Small talk, making out; that was pretty much all they ever did.

 

Since it was so early in their relationship, Rocky was surprised when she wanted to meet his family. Maybe if he didn't have seven siblings, he wouldn't have minded as much.

 

Don't count on any private time, Rocko, he had told himself.

 

Surprisingly enough, after an interesting dinnertime, Rocky found himself alone with Jenn in his living room. They were sitting with their arms around each other while watching a rather dull movie. Rocky had lost interest after the first few seconds, but had quickly found something else interesting to watch. Jenn. God, she's beautiful, he said to himself as he not-so-smoothly took her chin and pulled her in closer for a kiss. Rocky might have been sweet at heart, but he lacked tact.

 

Just as their lips were about to touch, Rocky's communicator went off. “Damn it!” Rocky rose from the couch. What the hell am I going to tell Jenn?

 

Jenn grew concerned at her boyfriend's behavior. “What's wrong, Rocky?”

 

O boy, O boy, O boy, O boy O boy... “Umm...I set my watch to remind me...to meet Billy in the library. He's going to help me study. I completely forgot. I have to go.”

 

Rocky moved towards his front door, and Jenn started to follow him. “I'll come with you.”

 

“No! Umm...Billy gets nervous around girls. Umm...Have my Mom take you home. Bye!”

 

Rocky left Jenn in his house and ran outside. Have my Mom take you home? Oye! If I'm going to be a superhero, I've got to work on my lines. He activated his communicator when he was out of view. “This is Rocky.”

 

“Ay yi yi yi yi!” It was obviously Alpha. “Rocky, teleport to the Command Chamber. It's urgent!”

 

“Alright, alright. Have you gotten in touch with the others?”

 

“They will meet you here.”

 

“Okay. Rocky out.” Rocky looked back towards his house and sighed. Jenn's going to kill me. With that final thought, he teleported to the Command Chamber.

 

***

 

Dragon Ranger rose to his feet within a dark cavern. He looked up to see Levina standing in front of him.

 

“You!” he shouted as he fired his Thunder Blaster at the witch, but she effortlessly projected an energy shield that deflected the blasts.

 

“I wouldn’t do that again if I were you…“ Levina stepped aside, revealing Teddy and Chelsea hanging from the cave ceiling by an energy rope wrapped around their arms. They were struggling to break free.

 

Shadow Ranger stood near them alongside a group of Wraiths. Wraiths were solid-black creatures with red collars around their necks and crimson eyes on featureless faces. They were demon soldiers from the underworld summoned by Levina’s power.

 

“Let them go!” Dragon Ranger shouted.

 

“On one condition,” Levina said.

 

“I don’t want to hear it, now let them go!”

 

“Join me,” Levina said. “Together we can destroy Zedd.”

 

“What?”

 

“I served under him blindly before, and look where it got me,” Levina said. “Imprisoned in limbo by your mentor Zordon.”

 

Dragon Ranger shook his head. “I don’t care. I’ll take care of Zedd on my own. Besides…it looks like you’ve cooked up a little mock Ranger of your own.”

 

“My Shadow Ranger?” she laughed. “Impressive, isn’t he? I created him from an impressive amount of dark thoughts I stole from you while imprisoned in Zedd’s chamber.”

 

“That’s great, now let them go, or I will tear him and you apart!”

 

“Temper, temper, Tommy,” Levina said.

 

“Tommy?!” Chelsea and Teddy said.

 

Dragon Ranger rolled his hands up into fists.

 

“You better decide quickly, Dragon Ranger,” Levina said. She pulled a crystal ball out from her tattered rags and waved her wrinkled-green hand over the sphere. The crystal ball projected a viewscreen of fire that hung in the air.

 

The viewscreen showed an image of a monster stalking through the city streets. The creature was a demon summoned by Levina. The creature had four short wings of black blades extending from its back. Its scarred body was covered with dark gray armor that appeared to be burnt into the villain’s skin. The demon wore a grated helmet that concealed his face. Various spikes protruded from his body. It was called a Varzockithon.

 

“Your friends alone won’t be able to defeat the demon I summoned,” Levina said.

 

Dragon Ranger wrinkled his brow beneath his helmet.

 

***

 

The teens were in the Command Chamber. Alpha and Billy were trying to find Tommy. They were not having much luck. “It’s no use,” Billy said. “I can’t find him anywhere.”

 

“You have to keep trying, Billy,” Kimberly said. “Please….”

 

Billy nodded and returned to work.

 

Rocky placed a hand on Kimberly’s shoulder. “It will be okay, Kim…we’ll get him back.”

 

The Command Chamber’s alarms blared and flashed crimson light. The teens turned to the Viewing Globe. Through the globe, they saw Levina’s demon monster stalking through the streets with an army of Wraiths.

 

“Rangers,” Zordon said. “Levina has summoned a demon from the Shadow World.”

 

“What are those black things with the monster?” Rocky asked.

 

“Those are Wraiths, footsoldiers from the Shadow World,” Zordon said.

 

“We have to stop them,” Adam said.

 

“What about Tommy?” Kimberly asked.

 

“Alpha and I will continue the search, Kimberly,” Zordon said. “You and the others must go.”

 

***

 

Zedd glared at the Earth from his balcony. “Levina thinks she can destroy the Rangers without me…ha! Finster!”

 

The troll waddled into the room. “Yes, Lord Zedd.”

 

“Send a monster to Earth at once…any one will do.”

 

“Yes, your excellency,” Finster said as he backed out of the room.

 

“The Rangers will die by my hands alone,” Zedd grumbled.

 

***

 

The demon was blasting random people in the plaza when the four teens showed up. The rangers snapped into fighting stances as the plaza cleared of civilians.

 

“Demon!” Adam shouted.

 

The demon turned to face the four rangers. He hissed a growl from behind his helmet and armed a staff. The staff was tipped on both ends with a broad, double-edged, jagged blade. The blades vibrated with power.

 

“Oh great,” Rocky said sarcastically.

 

The villain swung his staff and emitted an energy pulse that streaked towards the rangers. The blast exploded with a burst of spark and flame, and the rangers jumped through that explosion while morphing into their Ranger forms for protection.

 

“Thunder Staffs!” The Rangers armed their red staffs and stepped back into fighting positions.

 

The monster held out his arms as the Wraiths charged towards the Rangers. Destroooooooy.”

 

The Wraiths charged forward and attacked. Tenma Ranger spun past a soldier while slamming the end of staff against the back of a soldier’s head. He continued the spin and slammed a tornado kick across a second grunt’s face.

 

Lion Ranger, Phoenix Ranger, and Kirin Ranger stayed in formation and pushed through the soldiers, their staffs snapping against the Wraiths and smashing their bodies. The three Rangers moved as one, their reflexes and skills honed by more than a year of fighting together.

 

Tenma Ranger leapt over the rest of the Wraiths and brought his staff down towards the demon. The demon high blocked the blow as Tenma Ranger quickly twirled around and brought his staff around horizontally. Varzockithon blocked that blow too, and his energized, bladed staff sliced across the Ranger’s armor twice, sparking on impact and knocking the Blue Ranger backward.

 

Varzockithon blocked one of Kirin Ranger’s blows and struck him. The villain snapped around and slashed his blade down across Phoenix Ranger’s chest, knocking her backward.

 

Lion Ranger moved in with his staff held back. Varzockithon thrust his arm forward and grabbed Lion Ranger by the throat. The villain slammed his knee against Lion Ranger’s side and tossed the Green Ranger aside.

 

Lion Ranger crashed to the ground and skid backward as the other three Rangers regrouped around him. Varzockithon swung his staff horizontally, emitting an energy wave that streaked forward and exploded against the four Rangers with bursts of spark.

 

***

 

The alarms in the Command Chamber started to blare. Alpha turned to the Viewing Globe. “Ayi-yi-yi Zordon! Lord Zedd has sent down another monster!”

 

The creature was a dark-gray wolf monster. The villain wore white armor across his legs, chest, and arms. A gray helmet covered his head, and a white scarf was wrapped around his neck.

 

“Contact Jason and the Ninja Rangers at once, Alpha,” Zordon said.

 

***

 

The armored gray wolf named Garmu stomped through the streets. The monster carried two double-edged, broad daggers.

 

Jason and his team ran to the street and faced off with the monster. Jason snapped into a fighting stance. “Alright ugly, knock it off!”

 

The monster twirled his blades into a fighting stance. “Make me…” the monster growled.

 

“With pleasure!” Zack shouted as he and the others armed their Doron Changers.

 

“Shogun transform…Ninja Power!” the teens activated their morphers. Energy shimmered around them as they morphed into their Ranger forms.

 

The Ninja Rangers unsheathed their swords and leapt towards the monster to attack. The monster hurled his daggers forward like helicopter blades. The blades slashed the Rangers out of midair with bursts of spark.

 

***

 

Levina continued to show Dragon Ranger images of the two Ranger teams battling two separate monsters. His comrades were not faring well.

 

“They won’t last long…” the witch said.

 

Dragon Ranger glared at the witch. “I have a better idea, Levina…I’ll fight your Shadow Ranger. If I win, you let my brother and sister go. If I lose…I join you…and you let my brother and sister go.”

 

“No deal,” Levina said.

 

Dragon Ranger looked at his shadowy counterpart. “You going to let her think for you?”

 

“Silence!” Levina said.

 

“I see she speaks for you too, huh,” Dragon Ranger said.

 

Shadow Ranger glared silently at Dragon Ranger.

 

Dragon Ranger laughed. “I find it hard to believe you were created from the darkest regions of my mind. You’re nothing but a lap dog.”

 

Shadow Ranger rolled his hands into fists.

 

“Nice try, Dragon Ranger,” Levina said. “Your attempt to-”

 

Shadow Ranger knocked Levina away, grabbed the two siblings, and jumped from the cave to a rocky area below a cliff. Dragon Ranger followed.

 

“I’m no one’s lap dog,” Shadow Ranger said as he tossed Teddy and Chelsea aside. “We fight.”

 

“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Dragon Ranger said.

 

The two Rangers charged at each other. Dragon Ranger launched a flying sidekick that Shadow Ranger blocked, but the Red Ranger spun while still in midair and slammed his heel across the villain’s helmet. Dragon Ranger landed and swung the back of his fist towards the Shadow Ranger’s faceplate.

 

Shadow Ranger blocked and slammed a sidekick against Dragon Ranger’s side. The Black Ranger brought the same leg up in a hook kick that slammed across Dragon Ranger’s helmet.

 

Dragon Ranger spun with the blow and slammed a reverse sidekick against the Black Ranger’s chest before bringing the same leg up for a hook kick across the helmet.

 

Levina appeared on the battlefield and extended her wrinkled hand towards the two Rangers. Invisible energy exploded against their armor with bursts of spark that knocked them backward. “Shadow Ranger…you will obey me…I am your creator.”

 

“I obey no one…” Shadow Ranger said. Black energy lighting crackled between his palms. “Shadow Strike!”

 

Shadow Ranger thrust his hands forward and fired a burst of energy lightning towards the witch. Black lightning exploded against Levina and knocked her backward. The witch tumbled away, smoke rising from her tattered rags.

 

Shadow Ranger turned back towards Dragon Ranger. “Now…Where were we?”

 

Shadow Ranger pounced forward with a jump kick, which Dragon Ranger blocked while spinning past the villain and slamming an elbow against the back of the Black Ranger’s neck.

 

***

 

Varzockithon fired a crimson optic blast that exploded against Lion Ranger’s armor and knocked him from the air. The Green Ranger crashed against the ground and rolled over to his other teammates.

 

“We need a better strategy,” Kirin Ranger said.

 

“Let me just pull one out of my-” Tenma Ranger was cut off as another optic blast exploded against their armor with a burst of spark.

 

***

 

The wolf monster slashed his blades downward across Ninjablue’s armor and kicked the Blue Ranger away. “You’re all pathetic,” the monster said.

 

Ninjared hopped forward and chopped his blade towards the wolf’s collarbone. The wolf monster knocked the Red Ranger’s sword away and slashed the Ranger across the chest, blade sparking against armor.

 

“The Power Rangers would have put up more of a fight,” the monster said.

 

“We’re just getting started!” Ninjablack shouted as he and Ninjayellow charged forward towards the monster with their swords held outward.

 

The wolf monster snarled and waved the Ninja Rangers forward tauntingly.

 

***

 

Finster waddled through the dark stone corridors of Zedd’s palace. Often times, the stone halls made Finster miss his banishment in limbo. The troll passed by Trakeena, who was leaning against a dark corner with her arms crossed over her chest.

 

“Zedd won’t be too happy if another one of your monsters fails,” Trakeena said.

 

“There’s nothing I can do about it,” Finster said.

 

“But there is,” Trakeena said with a wicked grin. “We can both get out of this place.”

 

Finster shook his head. “What are you talking about?”

 

“Zedd is a fool,” Trakeena said. “We both know it. It’s not your monsters that fail…it’s his tactics. Together, you and I could crush the Rangers…then not even Zedd would dare to touch us.”

 

Finster had no interest in destroying the Rangers, but he did want the war to end.

 

Before he reached a decision, Trakeena started to leave. “Think about it,” she said. “I’ll be waiting.”

 

***

 

“Nova Force!” Dragon Ranger shot a fiery energy sphere forward.

 

“Shadow Strike!” Shadow Ranger fired a burst of shadow energy. The two blasts intercepted each other and exploded, creating a massive shockwave that knocked the two Rangers backward.

 

“Tommy!” Chelsea and Teddy yelled.

 

“Will you two get out of here!” Dragon Ranger shouted.

 

Shadow Ranger faced the Red Ranger’s siblings and prepared a blast of black lightning between his palm.

 

“Oh no you don’t!” Dragon Ranger shouted as he tackled the evil Ranger.

 

Shadow Ranger kicked Dragon Ranger off of him. “Come on, Tommy…I know you can do better…”

 

“You asked for it…” Dragon Ranger said as he formed a sphere of red-hot energy between his palms. “Nova Force!”

 

Shadow Ranger dodged the blast and leapt over to Dragon Ranger’s siblings. The villain grabbed Chelsea by the throat.

 

“Get off my sister!” Teddy shouted, but the evil Ranger kicked the boy away.

 

“You bore me,” Shadow Ranger said.

 

Ki!” Dragon Ranger shouted as he thrust his hand forward.

 

An invisible energy blast knocked the Shadow Ranger away from Chelsea. The blast cracked the villain’s armor and visor, causing the Shadow Ranger pain as he teleported away.

 

Dragon Ranger ran to his siblings. “Guys, are you okay?”

 

“Tommy, what the hell is going on?” Chelsea said.

 

Dragon Ranger sighed. “It’s a long story…but there’s no time now…” The Red Ranger unsheathed his Thunder Sword and raised the blade towards the sky while grasping his Thunder Gem. “Ryuseiou!”

 

The Red Dragon appeared and swooped down towards them from the skies.

 

Teddy opened his eyes wide with amazement. “What is that?”

 

“Our ride,” Dragon Ranger said.

 

***

 

“Ninpo Shard Attack!” Ninjawhite hovered backward as a cloud of energy diamonds floated in front of her. The shards shot forward like a diamond storm. But each shard ricocheted harmlessly off of the monster’s armor.

 

The villain snarled at the White Ranger. “You will be the first to die by my blade!”

 

The wolf sprang forward and leapt past Ninjawhite while slashing her across the chest, blades sparking on impact.

 

“No!” Ninjayellow shouted as he leapt forward and slammed a flying sidekick against the monster, knocking the wolf backward and away from the White Ranger.

 

The wolf monster energized his broad daggers. He slashed the blades upward in an ‘x’ pattern that sparked against the Yellow Ranger’s chest with a burst of spark. The villain chopped his blades against Ninjayellow’s head. The blades cracked the helmet with a burst of spark.

 

Energy discharges crackled around the Yellow Ranger’s armor. Jonathan collapsed as his armor vanished with a flash of light. The teen collapsed face first against the ground.

 

“Jonathan!” Ninjablack shouted.

 

“No!” Ninjawhite yelled as she ran to his side.

 

“Trini…” he said weakly. Blood was dripping down his forehead.

 

“Hold on,” she said. “We’ve got to get you to the Command Chamber.”

 

“Have to tell…” Jonathan said as he shivered. “I love you…” His eyes closed, and he slipped from consciousness.

 

The wolf laughed mockingly. “You Rangers die too easily.”

 

Ninjawhite rolled her hands into fists. She looked up at the monster and glared as she unsheathed her sword. Ninjawhite charged forward and attacked, slashing the monster with a series of strikes that sparked on impact. She pressed forward, letting her anger fuel her as she continued to hack and swing at the villain.

 

***

 

Varzockithon extended his hand and fired tendrils of energy from his fingertips. The tendrils wrapped around the four Power Rangers and sent surges of energy exploding against their armor with bursts of spark.

 

“Nova Force!” Dragon Ranger’s energy sphere shot forth as if from nowhere and exploded against the monster, knocking the villain backward.

 

Dragon Ranger ran over to his friends.

 

“Tommy,” Phoenix Ranger said as she hugged him.

 

“How touching,” the villain said as he fired optic blasts at the Rangers. Dragon Ranger used his twin swords to deflect the blasts.

 

The Rangers regrouped. “Kiryoku Bazooka!”

 

The bazooka materialized above the Rangers as they stood in formation. The bazooka slowly lowered. Lion Ranger, Tenma Ranger, Kirin Ranger, and Phoenix Ranger stood on the sides of the weapon. They inserted their Star Cutters into the bazooka’s casing to hold the weapon steady.

 

Phoenix Ranger loaded each of the Rangers’ gems into the cannon. The bazooka whined with energy as the Rangers aimed forward.

 

“Kiryoku Bazooka,” Dragon Ranger said. “Fire!” the bazooka nearly blasted itself out of the Rangers’ hands as it fired a massive discharge of energy. The energy blast streaked forward, a comet of power. The blast exploded against the villain with a blinding explosion.

 

The villain’s remains started to expand and reshape, growing giant in a matter of seconds.

 

The Rangers raised their Thunder Swords towards the skies while grasping their Thunder Gems. “Thunderzords arise!”

 

The five armored beasts streaked down from the skies in beams of light. They took shape, resembling giant animals covered in armor. The Kirin and Lion landed on the ground and charged forward. Red Dragon, the Phoenix, and winged Tenma flew through the air above.

 

The Rangers energized and leapt into their cockpits, embedded within the zords’ armor. Dragon Ranger placed his hand over his zord’s control sphere. “Thunder-star fusion!”

 

The five zords pulsed with energy and combined. The Kirin and Tenma formed the arms, the dragon formed the body, with the Red Dragon head on the Megazord’s chest. The Lion formed the lower body and legs, and the Phoenix attached to the back of the Megazord as its wings extended outward and grew razor sharp. Red armor flashed and covered most of the zord.

 

The Rangers joined in the cockpit. “MegaThunderzord! ChoiDairenou!”

 

The MegaThunderzord spread its wings and hovered above the ground. Varzockithon charged forward, his staff raised in a fighting posture.

 

“Thunder Whip!” the Rangers shouted. The MegaThunderzord armed a segmented, razor whip that formed from the Red Dragon’s tail. MegaThunderzord swung the whip downward, slashing the villain’s staff in half.

 

“Let‘s finish this…” Dragon Ranger said. “Thunder Whip! Lightning Slash!” The Thunder Whip flashed with yellow energy. MegaThunderzord swung the whip downward diagonally. The energized whip slashed through the monster, cutting the creature in half.

 

The monster tumbled backward, its energy overloading and exploding. The villain’s body was vaporized from the explosion.

 

***

 

The wolf hurled a pair of energy blades that exploded against the four Ninja Rangers standing around Jonathan, knocking them backward with bursts of spark. The villain snarled with delight and stalked towards his prey.

 

Five streaks of light passed overhead. The Power Rangers leapt to the scene and landed between the Ninja Rangers and monster.

 

“Let’s take care of business,” Dragon Ranger said.

 

One by one, the Power Rangers leapt forward and slashed their swords across the wolf monster’s armor. The villain was taken aback by the Rangers’ speed and strength. The creature could not mount a successful defense against the blades, which continued to slash across his armor and spark upon impact.

 

The Rangers stood in formation and armed their Star Blades. They held the ring-shaped weapons forward towards the monster.

 

“Star Blade, Assault!” The blades energized with cyan-tinted power and shot forward in streaks of light that pierced through the monster, causing a violent explosion that vaporized the villain. 

 

***

 

After the defeat of the monster, Finster joined Trakeena in a cave outside of Angel Grove. “I knew you’d come here,” Trakeena said. “Now…let’s start our plan.”

 

Finster nodded.

 

“Soon even Zedd will fear us…once we use this,” she held out a black jagged stone.

 

“Is that what I think it is?” Finster asked.

 

“Oh yes,” Trakeena said. “The Onyx Stone.”

 

***

 

Zedd wrapped his hand tightly around his staff. “So…now Trakeena and Finster have left me too…Vex!”

 

The silent assassin appeared in a blur of motion.

 

“Find Levina, Trakeena, and Finster and bring me their heads.”

 

Vex nodded and disappeared in a blur of motion.

 

***

 

Jonathan was lying on a bio bed within the Command Chamber. He was still unconscious, but Billy managed to repair the near-fatal head damage.

 

“He’ll be okay,” Billy said. “It will just take a while for him to regain consciousness. If not for The Power’s accelerated healing…things would be much worse. ”

 

“Rangers,” Alpha called from the main panel. “I’ve finished the analysis of the Shadow Ranger.”

 

“What have you got?” Tommy asked.

 

“He is a being of pure evil energy created from the Shadow World,” Zordon said.

 

“Levina said she used me to create him,” Tommy said.

 

“I am afraid that is correct,” Zordon said. “She used a template based on your darkest fears and emotions to create this Ranger.”

 

“How?”

 

“She must have scanned your mind while you were a captive in Zedd’s palace.”

 

“Now he’s gone rogue,” Adam said.

 

Rocky sighed. “So we have Zedd, Levina, and now this Shadow guy.”

 

“Yes, and Trakeena and Finster have also left Zedd’s service,” Zordon said.

 

Tommy sighed and shook head. “This just keeps getting better and better.”

 

“But Zordon,” Billy asked. “How will Zedd fight without Finster? I thought he created Zedd’s monsters?”

 

“Zedd has means of his own,” Zordon said. “Powerful means.”

 

***

 

Tommy knocked on the front door of Simon‘s home. Simon answered. “There you are…come on…Teddy and Chelsea have been waiting for you.”

 

“How are they?” Tommy asked.

 

“They were pretty freaked out, but I’ve been talking to them,” Simon said.

 

“Thanks,” Tommy said.

 

Simon’s family had become good friends with Tommy’s over the past couple years. They had a large house and had volunteered to let the Olivers stay with them as a result of the fire.

 

Tommy walked into Simon’s room. Teddy and Chelsea were sitting on the bed.

 

“Tommy, why didn’t you tell us?” Chelsea asked.

 

Tommy shook his head. “I couldn’t tell anyone…please tell me you didn’t tell Mom and Dad.”

 

Teddy shook his head. “They wouldn’t have believed us anyway.”

 

Tommy grinned. “Yeah. I’m glad you two are all right. I’m sorry you got mixed up in this. Sorry about our house.”

 

“Tommy, don’t be sorry. You saved us,” Chelsea said.

 

Tommy nodded. He knew it was all his fault, but didn’t feel like pressing the matter. Tommy stood. “Well, I need to take off.”

 

He hesitated before leaving. “I’m glad you two are alright,” he said again as he walked out.

 

***

 

Tommy walked into Kimberly’s apartment and was shocked. The lights were dimmed, and there were candles lit on the center table. There was slow music playing.

 

“Hey,” Kimberly said.

 

Tommy smiled. “What’s all this?”

 

Kimberly shrugged. “I thought we could use a break.”

 

The two hugged and started to dance.

 

To be continued…Chapter 05