Shadows of Evil: Chapter Five
Kujaku was floating away. Being torn away. Pulled into darkness. Ripped from the light. “Adam!” she shouted as the darkness consumed her. “Adam!”
Adam screamed as he awoke in a cold sweat. “Kujaku…” He wiped the hair from his forehead and tried to calm down. His heart was still pounding in his chest. The dream had seemed so real.
Adam’s door creaked open, and Adam’s younger brother Franklin peeked his head in. “Adam, what’s wrong?” he asked as he rubbed his tired eyes.
Adam shook his head. “It was just a bad dream…go back to bed, little brother.”
Franklin sighed. “This was your fourth bad dream in a row…what’s wrong.”
Adam shook his head. “I don’t know, Franklin…but it’s nothing you need to worry about. Now go to bed or you won’t be able to get up for school.”
Franklin rolled his eyes. “Like that would be a loss.”
Adam smiled as his little brother went off to bed. The teen sighed and laid back down. “Kujaku…what are you trying to tell me?”
Rocky knocked on Jenn’s door. A monster had attacked again last night, and he had to ditch her in the middle of a movie. Again. And even if the monster hadn’t attacked, Rocky was too tired from a battle the previous night to enjoy himself.
The door opened, and Jenn’s friend Karen Combs stood in the doorway. She had shoulder-length brown hair with blonde highlights. Her eyes were bright green. Rocky scoffed at the sight of her. They never got along, even before Rocky started dating Jenn.
“You?” Rocky asked. “Where’s Jenn?”
“She’s inside ignoring you…can’t you get a clue, Rock head? She doesn’t want to see you anymore.”
“If I could just explain it to her…” Rocky started to say.
“Explain what? How you left for an alleged drink refill and decided not to come back? Huh? I’d like to see you try to explain that.”
“Jeez, someone forgot to take their prozac this morning,” Rocky snapped back.
“Your wit doesn’t amuse me,” Karen said.
“Flattery will get you nowhere,” Rocky said. “Now as much as I enjoy arguing with you like a 2-year-old, I’d like to see Jenn.”
“Too bad,” she slammed the door.
“Well that actually went better than expected,” Rocky said as he walked off.
Tommy and young Simon were at Bear Lake. Tommy was teaching Simon another kata, a particular complex series of kicks and punches they had practiced for weeks.
They did not notice Shadow Ranger watching. The Black Ranger was fittingly standing in the shadows. Is my only purpose in life to destroy you, Dragon Ranger?
The villain disappeared in a blur of motion.
A chill crept down Tommy’s back. He narrowed his eyes and looked to where the Shadow Ranger had stood.
“Is everything okay, Tommy?” Simon asked.
Tommy shook his head. “No…it felt like I was being watched.”
Tommy nodded. “It could be…I better get you home just in case.”
Zedd watched the Earth from his balcony. The warlord hardly left the balcony these days. He was determined. Determined to kill every Ranger on the planet. Draklith walked towards his master from behind.
“My Lord, now that the troll has left you…how will you conquer the Earth with no army?” Draklith asked.
Zedd blasted Draklith with an energy pulse. “You dare question my powers? Years before I even met Finster, I led an army of unstoppable creatures from the planet Hergon. They are a race of wolfmen. With a simple spell, I can render them into mindless killing machines! The Ranger’s won’t stand a chance!”
Draklith rose to his feet. “My apologizes, Lord Zedd.”
“Yes,” Zedd said as he lifted his staff. He opened a swirling gateway nearby. A group of wolfmen came out of the portal snarling.
Zedd laughed. “Excellent…with my new army…the world will be mine for the taking!”
Tommy and Simon were walking through the woods when a group of Golems suddenly surrounded them.
“Simon, run!” Tommy yelled as he snapped into a fighting stance.
Simon’s path was blocked by a group of Golems. “No can do.”
Golems pounced towards Tommy and Simon. Simon stood his ground. The boy spun forward with a reverse sidekick that slammed against a Golem’s chest. The impact shot pain down Simon’s leg, but he ignored it.
Meanwhile Tommy spin kicked two Golems out of his way as he tried to fight his way towards Simon. “Be careful…they’re quick. Just when you finish one off, three or four more pop up behind you.”
“Gotcha,” Simon said as he jump kicked a soldier in front of him, then snapped the same leg around to hook kick a soldier behind him.
Tommy actually took a moment to look and be impressed. His communicator sounded, and he answered.
“I’m a little busy right now,” Tommy said as he slammed the back of his fist across a villain‘s head.
“Tommy,” Alpha said through the communicator. “Lord Zedd has sent his army of wolfmen to Greenwood Park.”
“Be there in a sec,” Tommy said as he kicked away another Golem.
One of the Golems slammed a kick against the boy’s gut. Simon winced with pain and crashed to the ground. Tommy jumped over to protect Simon and slammed a spinning hook kick across a villain’s head.
“They’re too strong,” Simon said.
The other Rangers arrived at the park to face off with Zedd’s wolfmen. The creatures snarled, thick drool dripping from their jaws.
“Niiiice doggies,” Tenma Ranger said.
“Thunder Staffs,” Lion Ranger shouted as he armed his staff.
“Be careful guys,” Kirin Ranger warned. “Zordon said their claws and fangs can cut through our armor.”
Shadow Ranger dropped from the air and smashed against the Golems with a flurry of punches and kicks, forcing the soldiers away from Simon. Shadow Ranger looked to Simon. “Boy, run.”
Simon looked to Tommy. Tommy nodded.
Simon ran from the scene as Tommy and Shadow Ranger kicked down the last two Golems. Shadow Ranger turned towards Tommy and snapped into a fighting stance.
Tommy stepped back into a fighting stance. “I don’t have time for this, Shadow,” Tommy said. “I have to help my friends.”
“So noble…you make me sick…Shadow Strike!” The villain fired a jagged burst of black lightning.
“Aura Power!” Dragon Ranger leapt through the blast as explosions sparked around him.
Finster waddled towards Trakeena within their cave outside of Stone Canyon. “Trakeena, Zedd has already sent down a monster.”
Trakeena scoffed. “Uh. Even when we don’t work for him he manages to screw up. Well...we’ll just have to give the Rangers something bigger to worry about.”
“I have just the thing,” Finster said.
Levina twirled her hands over the crystal ball within her cave. “Hm, it seems like the Rangers are occupied.” She cackled. “This may work out better than I thought.”
In her crystal ball, a rainbow of colors was slowly becoming consumed by flames.
Lion Ranger collapsed to his knees as pain shot through his body. “Kujaku!”
A wolfman charged at Lion Ranger while he was down.
“Whoa, Adam!” Tenma Ranger shouted as he and Phoenix Ranger knocked a wolfman out of the way before it could pounce on the Green Ranger. “Now's not the time to relive past memories.”
Lion Ranger rose to his feet. “I have to help her…she’s in danger.” He teleported away.
“Adam!” the other Rangers shouted as the wolfmen continued to circle around them.
“What’s gotten into him…Kujaku’s dead!” Tenma Ranger shouted.
“I don’t know,” Kirin Ranger shouted, “but we’ll be dead too if we don’t stop these things.”
Lion Ranger teleported to where he had first seen Kujaku…
On the shores of the Eagle Lake, the women that Shard had captured materialized onto the ground. They slowly rose to their knees and feet as they regained consciousness. Their bodies were weak, but they would survive.
The rangers demorphed and ran to the shore to help the injured to their feet. Adam searched frantically, his eyes passing over each of the girls. He was certain he would have seen Kujaku. “She has to be here…”
A burst of rainbow-colored light flashed nearby. When the light faded, a young beautiful woman appeared. The female warrior wore a slim bodysuit of red and blue, covered with pieces of golden armor. A fan of blue-tinted metal feathers extended on the left side of her back like a peacock.
“You…” Adam said softly as he gazed up at her.
“I am Kujaku,” she said in a stern voice. “After 6,000 years, I am ready to fight again.”
“Was that you I felt?” Adam asked. “You who was calling me?”
She smiled and nodded at him. “We are connected through our Kiryoku,” she said. “I’ve been waiting 6,000 years for someone like you...”
“Kujaku!” he called.
The Green Ranger heard laughter come from behind. Lion Ranger turned to see Levina standing on a cliff. The witch looked down at Lion Ranger while holding a crystal ball. “How sweet,” Levina said. “Such concern over your lost love.”
Lion Ranger armed his staff and twirled the weapon behind his back. “Levina…”
“Nice to meet you, little Green Ranger,” the witch said as she continued to hover. “I have something for you.”
The villain held out her crystal ball. The crystal ball displayed an image of swirling rainbow colors being consumed by flames.
“What is it?” Lion Ranger asked.
“It is a gateway to the afterlife,” Levina said. “The image you’re seeing is Kujaku’s soul being pulled into hell. A little trick of mine.”
“How can I believe you?” Lion Ranger asked.
“You know I’m telling the truth,” Levina said.
He did. He could feel it. Kujaku was in danger. “Let her go,” Lion Ranger said.
Levina extended the crystal ball. “Enter the afterlife…try to free her if you wish…it’s the only way.”
“I don’t trust you.”
“Of course not,” Levina said. “It doesn’t matter. Your heart is your weakness. You will try to save her, even though you’ll be guaranteeing your own death.”
Lion Ranger rolled his hands into fists. He charged towards the crystal and teleported inside of it.
Dragon Ranger’s battle with Shadow Ranger had moved into the city streets as civilians ran and screamed in panic.
Dragon Ranger slammed a reverse sidekick against Shadow Ranger’s chest. The Black Ranger flew backward and smashed through the side of a parked car across the street, shattering windows and denting steel.
“This is pointless,” Dragon Ranger said.
“I have no choice but to destroy you!” Shadow Ranger said as he climbed back to his feet.
“Because I’m the embodiment of your dark side, Einstein! You’ve been fighting against me your whole life! Shadow Strike!” Shadow Ranger fired a massive, jagged energy stream of black lightning.
The blast exploded against Dragon Ranger with a burst of spark and created a massive shockwave that made the entire wall of a building collapse. The wall fell towards a young couple injured on the ground.
“No!” Dragon Ranger shouted as he ran over to them. He caught the wall by his back, but it still threatened to crush him and the young couple. “Go!”
They were too injured to run.
Shadow Ranger suddenly sprinted forward and scooped the couple to safety.
Dragon Ranger tossed the rubble aside and looked at the dark Shadow Ranger. They stared at each other silently, both unsure as to what had happened.
“Thank you,” Dragon Ranger said.
“I…” Shadow Ranger hesitated. “I’ll return to crush you another day.”
Dragon Ranger watched the villain vanish with a burst of dark light. The Red Ranger shook his head. “Why did he do it?” Dragon Ranger asked himself.
Shadow Ranger looked down at his counterpart from a nearby building. He stared down at his hands. Why did he save the human couple? Dragon Ranger had been exposed. Vulnerable. “Why did I do it?”
But Shadow Ranger knew the answer. His mind flashed back to a memory that was not his own…
It was 2001. Tommy and his girlfriend Shannon were walking through the city streets. They were laughing together, hand in hand. The skies above them suddenly turned black.
A flash of fiery light appeared in the center of the street. Goldar and an army of rock soldiers materialized. The villains started tearing through the streets and slashing at anything that moved.
“Run!” Tommy yelled.
Goldar started using his sword to fire blasts of fiery energy. One of the energy blasts streaked straight towards Shannon.
“No!” Tommy shouted as he pushed her out of the way. The blast struck a nearby building, sending rubble tumbling to the ground. The shockwave tossed Tommy and Shannon backward as the rubble collapsed onto Shannon’s body, battering her onto the ground and crushing her body.
“Shannon?” Tommy pleaded as he crawled over to her body. She wasn’t moving. She wasn’t breathing. “Oh God no…get up…please get up…don’t you die on me…”
“Run for your lives, humans!” Goldar shouted with blood-thirsty delight.
Tommy glared at Goldar, rolling his hands into fists. The teen shouted at the top of his lungs as he charged forward towards the villain.
Goldar snarled his teeth at the human, more out of humor than anger. “You dare to resist me, human?”
Tommy jumped forward to attack.
Shadow Ranger winced with pain and shook his head. “What’s wrong with me?”
Dragon Ranger arrived at the scene and helped the other Rangers battle the wolfmen. The four Rangers armed their Thunder Staffs and worked as one, rounding up the wolfmen and bashing against them.
Dragon Ranger chopped his staff down against the last soldier’s collar bone, snapping the bone and forcing the grunt to the ground. The Rangers regrouped.
“Where’s Adam?” Dragon Ranger asked.
“Good question,” Kirin Ranger said.
“He was saying something about Kujaku and then took off,” Phoenix Ranger said.
“That’s weird,” Dragon Ranger said.
Their communicators went off. Dragon Ranger answered the call. “What is it, Zordon?”
“Rangers…Finster has created a monster that is rampaging through the southern part of town,” Zordon said. “It is the Monster Ogre, a creature of incredible power. All five of you will be needed to combat this threat.”
“Great,” Dragon Ranger said sarcastically.
“Out of the frying pan and into the fire,” Tenma Ranger said.
Adam slowly opened his eyes. He found himself surrounded by a dark mist while standing on a hill.
“Kujaku!” Adam shouted.
“She’s been taken,” a voice said from the shadows. A figure clad in black leather stepped forward. It was Gara.
“You!” Adam shouted as he snapped into a fighting stance. “How…is this the afterlife?”
“Yes and no,” Gara said as she walked past the teen. “It’s too complicated to explain right now, but Kujaku needs our help.”
“Our help?” Adam asked. “Why should I trust you? You and your Gorma killed thousands, and almost killed me and my friends.”
“You forget what I owe Kujaku, Adam…it was by her prayers that I entered heaven…she saved me from damnation, and I owe her my life for it…she has forgiven me, Adam, and you should too.”
Adam stood silently. He slowly lowered his guard.
“Time is of the essence,” Gara said.
Adam nodded. “What do we do?”
Gara waved her hand. A deep chasm opened at the foot of the hill. Nine rings of energy swirled within the chasm. One of the rings grew larger, and the chasm became a pit of flame.
Adam stared down into the pit. “Is that…”
“Hell,” Gara said. “The Shadow World. Hades. Yes. The Kingdom of Hell is divided into nine circles. Each circle is divided into Clans. The Saima, the Dimocians, and many others. Levina draws her powers from the Shadow Clan.”
“How does that help us save Kujaku?” Adam asked.
“Each clan has its own gatekeeper. The gatekeepers keep the souls of the damned contained in the Shadow World. If we are to save Kujaku, we must defeat the gatekeeper of the Shadow Clan…Mordarak.”
“So…where are we now?” Adam asked.
“An in-between place,” Gara said.
“And Kujaku is down there?” Adam asked as he nodded towards the pit below.
Gara nodded. “Yes. Levina opened this conduit between heaven and hell and pulled Kujaku through it.”
Adam shook his head and rolled his hands into fists.
“Transform and follow me,” Gara said. She leapt down towards the pit of fire below.
Adam armed his bracers and leapt down after her. “Chakra ignite!” He transformed into his armor with a flash of pale-green light as he streaked towards the pits of Hell below.
Dragon Ranger, Tenma Ranger, Kirin Ranger, and Phoenix Ranger ran to a city plaza and faced off with Trakeena. She was standing with a smug grin on her face and her staff in hand.
“Hey bug brain!” Tenma Ranger shouted.
“Alright Trakeena,” Dragon Ranger said. “Where’s this monster of yours hiding?”
“I have a few friends for you to play with first,” Trakeena said. “Golems!”
An army of Golems appeared. The Golems’ rugged bodies were covered with fiery yellow veins instead of red veins.
“They look different,” Phoenix Ranger said.
The Golems thrust their hands forward and shot spheres of flame towards the Rangers. The Rangers dove for cover as explosions sparked around them.
“I’d say they are different,” Kirin Ranger said.
The Rangers armed their weapons and bashed against the Fire Golems.
Tenma Ranger used his nunchuku to bat aside a fire blast as he charged forward. The Blue Ranger launched a flying crescent kick that smashed across a grunt’s head.
Dragon Ranger armed his Twin Dragon Swords and slashed his way through a group of the soldiers.
The ground suddenly started to shake.
The giant-sized Monster Ogre stomped through the streets. It had the lower body and legs of a mammoth, a reptilian body with long, bat-like wings, and the head of an ogre. The monster started to slam through the city.
“Oh, he looks fun,” Tenma Ranger said sarcastically.
“Like a barrel of laughs,” Dragon Ranger said as he kicked a Golem away.
“Let’s call on our zords,” Kirin Ranger said.
“Right,” Dragon Ranger said.
“Easier said than done,” Trakeena said. She pulled out a jagged onyx stone that pulsed with energy.
The four Rangers screamed in pain and collapsed to the ground. Their armor started to fluctuate and flicker as sharp pain tore at their bodies.
“What is that thing?” Tenma Ranger asked.
“It’s interfering with our powers,” Kirin Ranger said.
Lion Ranger and Gara tumbled through a fiery corridor and landed on burnt gravel, surrounded by walls of flames. They looked up to see a creature of dark-red fire covered in a light suit of silver armor. The creature glared at them. “Those who intrude in the realm of the Shadow Clan will be met with the most tormenting soul death in the afterlife.”
Lion Ranger wasn’t sure what soul death was, but he knew he didn’t like it. “Where’s Kujaku?” Lion Ranger asked as he armed his Thunder Staff.
“The damned have no names,” the fire demon said.
Lion Ranger sprang forward towards the creature and held his staff high to attack.
“Adam, wait!” Gara shouted.
The demon launched a massive sphere of flame that exploded against Lion Ranger and knocked him back onto the burnt gravel. Gara moved to his side.
“You can’t fight this gatekeeper with physical force,” Gara said.
Gara extended her hand and fired lances of purple-tinted energy towards the creature. The energy lances exploded harmlessly against the demon.
The gatekeeper laughed. “You two are nothing compared to me.”
The demon slammed his fist against the ground, creating a massive shockwave that tore the ground apart. The ground crumbled beneath Lion Ranger and Gara’s feet. They plummeted towards the fire below.
“There has to be something we can do, Zordon,” Jason said. “If what you said about that stone is true, if it’s severing their connection with The Power…they’ll be killed.”
“Jason,” Zordon explained, “you and the rest of your team must remain calm. If you attempt to approach the stone, it will have the same detrimental effects on you as the others.”
“But Zordon, we can’t let them die,” Trini said.
“You must have faith in your friends,” Zordon said.
Adam was falling. His mind was surrounded by a dark cloud. He heard someone call to him in a melodious voice. “Adam…”
“Kujaku…” he whispered.
“You must hold on,” she said to him. “Together, we can leave this place.”
“Take my hand…Feel my strength…”
Warm light circled around Adam. He reached up as hard as he could. A rainbow-colored flash of energy penetrated the cloud with a burst of light.
The light faded as Kujaku, Adam, and Gara appeared before the Gatekeeper.
“Let’s rumble,” Adam said as he snapped into a fighting stance.
“We can not fight him by conventional means,” Kujaku said.
The demon launched a flurry of fire spheres that the trio dove away from while rolling across the ground.
“Then what do you suggest?” Gara asked.
“Concentrate and follow me,” Kujaku said.
Kujaku closed her eyes as rainbow light circled around her. She leapt forward, becoming a streak of energy that pierced into the gatekeeper, causing the demon to howl with pain.
Adam and Gara looked at each other with a moment of disbelief, then leapt forward towards the demon. Adam flashed with pale-green light and Gara emanated with a violet hue as they entered the creature.
Adam was surrounded by a deep darkness that threatened to consume him. It threatened to consume his very being. “Kujaku…what’s happening?!”
“The darkness of the gatekeeper is threatening to consume you…fight against it.”
“Your powers, Adam, are the powers of the Light…they will defeat the darkness.”
Adam focused on the energy inside of him and released a flash of pale-green light. The light blast slowly incinerated the monster from the inside out, causing the creature to explode with a flash of green power.
Adam opened his eyes and found himself in the mist, the conduit between Heaven and Hell. Kujaku and Gara were already starting to fade away as they floated upward. “Kujaku, wait!” Adam called to her.
“I’m sorry, Adam…I cannot. Thank you for saving me…Not even death will stop my love for you…”
“Kujaku!” Adam shouted.
Adam was ripped from the afterlife and landed on the cliff where he started, crashing hard against his back. He rubbed the back of his head as he rose to his feet. His communicator sounded. “This is Adam…”
“Ayi-yi-yi! Adam! Where have you been? We’ve been worried sick.”
“Sorry, Alpha…I had to…” he shook his head. “It’s a long story.”
“Teleport to the Command Chamber…the others are in trouble.”
“On my way, Alpha,” Adam said.
Adam arrived to see the others in the Viewing Globe.
“I won’t just sit here, Zordon. I won’t,” Adam said.
“Hey man, calm down,” Zack said.
“You calm down,” Adam said. “I’m going to help my friends.”
Adam teleported out.
Lion Ranger ran towards the Onyx stone as fast as he could. He collapsed to the ground before he got very far.
Trakeena could not resist laughing at the Green Ranger. “That wasn’t very bright of you, Ranger…not that I’m surprised.”
“Now that Adam’s here…I have an idea,” Kirin Ranger said.
“I’m all ears,” Dragon Ranger said.
Before Kirin Ranger could speak, a blur of motion ripped the stone from Trakeena’s hands and crashed it to the ground. It was the Shadow Ranger. The villain turned towards Trakeena and thrust his hands forward.
“Shadow Strike!” Jagged bursts of black lightning shot forth. Trakeena teleported out before the blast hit her.
“You,” Dragon Ranger said as he slowly rose to his feet.
“You will die by my hands, and my hands alone, Tommy,” Shadow Ranger said as he disappeared.
“Man, that was weird,” Tenma Ranger said.
Dragon Ranger nodded. “Yeah, but we have a monster to take care of.”
Still weak, the Rangers unsheathed their Thunder Swords and raised the blades into the air 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.
The Monster Ogre snapped its wings and shot forward. The monster tackled against the MegaThunderzord and crashed the zord against the ground. They skid backward, tearing up the streets.
The MegaThunderzord rolled backward while kicking against the monster. The kick knocked the monster off the zord. Monster Ogre crashed through a building before slamming against the street.
The MegaThunderzord snapped its wings and rose back to its feet.
“Thunder Whip!” the Rangers shouted. The MegaThunderzord armed a segmented, razor whip that formed from the Red Dragon’s tail. “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.
Tommy walked near the wreckage of their latest battle. He surveyed the damage, his mind focused on the casualties, as Jason walked up behind him.
“Hey bro,” Jason said.
“Jase,” Tommy said.
“Feeling any better?”
Tommy shrugged. “I guess. Apparently that Onyx Stone acts as a block from the One Power…it was separating our link with The Power.” He allowed himself to grin. “Rocky referred to it as our own personal kryptonite.”
Jason chuckled too.
They were silent for a moment.
Tommy sighed. “We’ve been doing this for more than two years…you think it would get easier.”
Jason nodded. “I’d be more worried if it was.”
“What do you mean?”
“If we stop feeling the loss of the people that die…we stop being human.”
Tommy nodded. “Good point.”
“And we have to remember…everything we do is worth it. People did die here today…but more would have if not for you and your team.”
Tommy nodded. “Yeah…what do you say we get out of here?”
Jason nodded. “Let’s head to the pool hall…I’m in the mood for a few quick games.”
“Best two out of three?”
Jason grinned. “Winner gets a Power Coin.”
Adam was standing on a cliff looking out below while holding Kujaku’s feather in his hand. He closed his eyes and sighed, releasing the feather, and letting it blow across the wind.
To be continued…Chapter 06