Shadows of Evil: Chapter Eleven

Rocky's Loss

 

Zedd had been monitoring the Rangers carefully for six months, struggling to find a strategy that could beat them. He stood on his balcony while staring down at the Earth.

 

Draklith approached Zedd. “My lord, it has been far too long since I have been allowed to fight.”

 

“That’s because you are a failure as a warrior,” Zedd said. “Now leave me.”

 

“I…” Draklith decided not to speak and walked away. If I were to kill a Ranger, Zedd would reward me handsomely…but which one? The spiked warrior thought to himself. Then it hit him. Tenma Ranger had barged into Zedd’s castle and fought him. He was weak…surely if I separate him from the others, I can best him in battle.

 

***

 

“You went to another planet again?” Simon asked Tommy as they walked through Angel Grove‘s Little Tokyo. “Take me with you next time.”

 

Tommy had not seen Simon in a while and was practically forced to fill the boy in on the Rangers’ latest battles. “It wasn’t exactly a picnic, Simon…we almost got eaten by old dinosaur bones.”

 

“Cool!” Simon said.

 

Tommy tossled Simon’s hair. “You have a lot to learn, kid.”

 

They approached an open-fielded area at the edge of a patch of trees. A building of ancient-Japanese design sat in the middle of the field. Students gathered in the courtyard in front of the building and sparred,. Each student wore various, loose-fitting uniforms.

 

“This is it,” Tommy said. “The Hayate Way school. This is where I learned the Hakkyokuseiken style. They also teach Koppouken and Shiranui.”

 

“Those are Rocky and Kimberly’s styles, right?” Simon asked.

 

Tommy nodded. “They were both taught by people who passed through this school.”

 

“It’s a small world,” Simon said.

 

“No kidding,” Tommy said. “I was the only Ranger who ever actually attended here, though. Rocky’s sensei actually opened his own dojo.”

 

“Cool,” Simon said.

 

An old Japanese man in a black kimono approached Tommy and Simon. He walked with the aide of a staff. His white hair was pulled back in a bow.

 

“Sensei Mugensai,” Tommy said as he bowed. Simon followed suit.

 

“Tommy…it is good to see you again…how long has it been?” Mugensai asked.

 

“Almost three years,” Tommy said.

 

The man nodded. “Is this the boy you told me of?”

 

Tommy nodded. “Yeah. His name’s Simon. I’ve been training him for a while in the Hakkyokuseiken, and he expressed interest in attended here.”

 

“Hmm.” Mugensai nodded and looked at Simon. “Attending the Hayate Way school is an honor, not a privilege.”

 

Simon nodded. “Yes sir.”

 

The sensei nodded. “Show me what you have learned,” he said as he assumed a fighting stance.

 

Simon gulped. “Tommy taught me never to attack unless I knew I was going to win.”

 

The man laughed. “Welcome to the Hayate Way school, Simon.”

 

***

 

Later in the day, Tommy drove to the youth shelter to pick up Kimberly. She had started volunteering at the shelter a few weeks earlier. He met her outside of the shelter as they hugged.

 

“How’s it been going?” Tommy asked her as they walked back to his car.

 

“Good,” she said with a smile. “Volunteering here was a good idea.”

 

“These kids are lucky to have you,” Tommy said.

 

“Thanks…I miss him.” She said, thinking of Kou.

 

“I know, hun,” Tommy said as he squeezed her hand affectionately.

 

***

 

Rocky and Karen walked hand-in-hand through the park. They moved across an asphalt path surrounded by bushes. The parkland trail cut through one of the busiest parts of Angel Grove West.

 

“A magnet monster?” she asked.

 

“It was the funniest thing…” Rocky said. “Of course, this was right before the Gorma got serious.”

 

“Wow,” she shook her head. “You’ve been through some strange things.”

 

“Tell me about it,” Rocky said.

 

A flash of crimson light suddenly appeared in the middle of the park. People screamed and ran in panic as Draklith appeared. He aimed his sword forward. “Tenma Ranger!”

 

“Karen, run!” Rocky yelled.

 

She nodded and ran off. Rocky snapped into a fighting stance. “What do you want, Draklith?”

 

“You…and the girl…” Draklith twisted his sword. Rocky and Karen vanished in streaks of light. The villain laughed.

 

***

 

“I think you bring me bad luck,” Karen said as she rose from the ground. They were in what looked like a rock quarry. Various pillars and archways surrounded the area.

 

Rocky smiled. “How flattering.”

 

Draklith appeared at the scene and stalked towards his captives. “Tenma Ranger…tonight you die.”

 

“Oh please,” Rocky said. “Do you have any idea how many times I’ve heard that…well actually, I’ve never heard it quite like that, but that’s besides the point.”

 

“Do you always joke around at times like this?” Karen asked.

 

He shrugged. “It’s what I do.”

 

“Zedd will reward me handsomely if I bring him your head,” Draklith said.

 

“Give it your best shot,” Rocky said as he readied his Aura braces. “Aura Power!” Rocky’s armor shimmered around him with a flash of blue light.

 

“Stay back, Karen,” Tenma Ranger said before charging forward.

 

The Blue Ranger swung a flying-spinning heel kick that Draklith ducked under. Tenma Ranger landed and slammed a roundkick against the villain’s head.

 

***

 

“They were kidnapped again?” Adam asked as he and the other rangers gathered in the Command Chamber.

 

“This is getting ridiculous,” Tommy said. “Alpha?”

 

“I’m having trouble locating him, Rangers,” Alpha said. He and Billy were hunched over one of the Command Chamber’s main consoles.

 

Adam looked to Tommy. “How long do you think until Zedd, Levina, or Trakeena try to take advantage of this?”

 

“To soon, Adam,” Tommy said. “Too soon.”

 

***

 

The Shadow Ranger stood on the rooftops of Angel Grove. “It’s time to bring this to an end…” he said as he hopped to the streets below and started bringing carnage to the city.

 

***

 

The alarms in the Command Chamber started to blare. An image of the Shadow Ranger appeared on the Viewing Globe. The Black Ranger was blasting through the city streets with pulses of black lightning and dark flame.

 

“Not him again,” Kimberly said.

 

“You guys stay here,” Tommy said. “It’s me he’s after.”

 

“Be careful,” Kimberly said.

 

“You too,” he said as he teleported out.

 

***

 

Draklith slashed Tenma Ranger backward with a blow from his broadsword. Before the Blue Ranger could launch a counter attack, Draklith fired crimson optic blasts that crashed against Tenma Ranger’s armor, sparking on impact, and sending the Ranger skidding across the ground.

 

“Time to take it up a notch,” Tenma Ranger said as he rose to his feet. “Armor up!” Blue energy flashed around Tenma Ranger as he summoned his Armor of the Hardrock. The armor appeared as an enhanced, sharper version of his Ranger armor.

 

“That armor won’t save you!” Draklith said as he extended his sword and blasted Hardrock with a burst of cyan-tinted lightning. The lightning exploded across the Blue Ranger with a burst of spark and knocked him backward.

 

Draklith stalked forward and lifted Hardrock by the neck. “Do you know why I chose you to destroy, Tenma Ranger?”

 

“My charming personality,” he answered as he struggled to break free.

 

“Because you are the weakest of the Rangers…the most filled with fear,” he said.

 

“But I’m also the best looking.”

 

“Your wit can not hide your cowardice from me, Ranger!” Draklith tossed Hardrock aside. The Blue Ranger crashed against the ground hard and skid backward. His armor flashed and powered down to its standard Ranger form.

 

“Rocky!” Karen yelled as she ran to his side.

 

“Karen, stay back,” he said. But it was too late.

 

Draklith extended his sword and fired blasts of lightning that exploded around Karen and the Blue Ranger. One of the blasts pierced through Karen. She screamed with pain and collapsed to the ground, smoke rising from her body.

 

“NO!!!” Tenma Ranger shouted as he ran to her side. He leaned down next to her and removed his helmet. He looked into her eyes and held tightly onto her hand.

 

Her eyes were slowly starting to close as her breathing became shallow.

 

“Karen…stay with me…come on,” he pleaded.

 

Her lips parted as she tried to whisper. “Why…”she said softly as her body went limp.

 

“Karen…God damn-it, no!”

 

Draklith laughed. “Your displays of emotion are pathetic.”

 

Rocky wrinkled his brow as he stared at Draklith. “You bastard…”

 

The Ranger rose back to his feet and placed his helmet on. He shimmered with blue light as he morphed back into his Hardrock armor. “You’ll pay for what you did to her!”

 

Hardrock armed his segmented staff and started spinning the weapon like a propeller. The staff pulsed with crackling blue energy. “Iron! Rock! Crusher!”

 

Hardrock used all of his strength to slam the staff against the ground. The weapon produced a blinding shockwave of energy that tore through the ground, a storm of raging energy that pulverized dirt and rock while kicking up a storm of debris. The shockwave exploded beneath Draklith’s feet and sent the villain hurling through the air.

 

Draklith crashed against the ground and skid backward.

 

The villain slowly rose to his knees as Hardrock moved in for the kill.

 

***

 

“I grow tired of this conflict between us,” Shadow Ranger said as he and Dragon Ranger circled around each other on the vacant city street. “It’s pointless…good versus evil…no side can win.”

 

“I agree,” Dragon Ranger said.

 

“Then you understand why I’m about to kill you? It’s the only way I can be at peace.” He armed his sword.

 

“You’re on a roll today,” Dragon Ranger said as he readied his sword. “You represent everything I hate about myself.”

 

The two Rangers charged at each other.

 

***

 

Draklith knocked Hardrock’s staff away and slashed his sword across the Ranger’s armor.

 

Hardrock spun with the blow and launched a tornado kick towards Draklith’s head, but the villain grabbed his ankle and slammed the Ranger against the ground repeatedly before tossing him aside.

 

Hardrock landed next to Karen’s fallen form. He struggled to rise, but his body was too exhausted. His breathing became shallow, and his vision started to blur.

 

***

 

“I’ve got it, Billy!” Alpha shouted.

 

“Where?” Billy asked.

 

“A pocket dimension in the park,” Alpha said. “You should be able to teleport in.”

 

“Be careful, Rangers,” Zordon said. “I sense a great disturbance in this pocket dimension.”

 

“Meaning what?” Kimberly asked.

 

“Meaning something bad’s happened,” Adam said. “Let’s go.”

 

***

 

The three Rangers blasted into the pocket dimension just as Draklith was about to deliver a death blow to Rocky.

 

“Thunder Blasters!” the three Rangers yelled as they blasted Draklith away from their friend.

 

“Fools,” Draklith said. “My work here is done.”

 

The villain teleported away as the three Rangers demorphed near Rocky.

 

“His breathing is shallow,” Billy said as he leaned over Rocky.

 

“What about Karen?” Kimberly asked.

 

Billy shook his head.

 

***

 

“Nova Force!” Dragon Ranger shouted as his blast slammed against Shadow Ranger’s faceplate. Shadow Ranger covered his injury as he stepped backward and teleported away.

 

“Tommy,” Alpha said through the Red Ranger’s communicator. “Lord Zedd has sent a monster to the Angel Grove Power Plant.”

 

“I’m on my way,” he said as he teleported out.

 

***

 

The four Rangers arrived at the plant.

 

“Where’s Rocky?” Dragon Ranger asked.

 

Phoenix Ranger shook his head. “It looks bad.”

 

The monster named Tri Lion, a three-headed, four-armed lion creature, blasted the Rangers with three streams of electric breath. The blasts exploded against their armor with bursts of spark.

 

The Rangers recovered and charged towards the beast, but they were all knocked back one-by-one. Lion Ranger and Phoenix Ranger rolled to their feet off to the side of the monster.

 

“Tempest Wind!” Phoenix Ranger shouted, summoning a powerful wind.

 

“Shining Fury!” Lion Ranger shouted while firing off a sphere of light.

 

Dragon Ranger and Kirin Ranger moved in with their Star Blades. “Lightning Strike!”

 

The monster was taken aback by their combined attacks but managed to hold his ground. Tri Lion energized his claws and slashed through the Rangers’ armor with bursts of spark, cutting into their flesh.

 

“Shit,” Dragon Ranger said as he looked at his bleeding chest. “Time to take it up a notch…to arms!”

 

They transformed into their enhanced armor with bursts of light.

 

“That armor won’t protect you,” the monster said. “Not from my wrath.”

 

“Be careful, guys,” Wildfire said as they charged towards the monster again. “We can’t damage the power plant.”

 

“Then allow me!” the monster shouted as he launched blasts of electricity into the plant.

 

***

 

“Karen,” Rocky mumbled as he slowly woke up.

 

“Rocky,” Alpha said. “You must lie down. Your injuries.”

 

Rocky pushed Alpha aside and stared at Karen’s lifeless form.

 

“I am sorry, Rocky,” Zordon said. “Loss is…”

 

“Can it,” Rocky snapped. He stared at the viewing globe and watched the monster attack his friends. He rolled his hands into fists. “Zedd is going to pay. Aura Power!”

 

***

 

The monster had the Rangers trapped in four streams of electric energy. The villain used the energy streams to toss the four Rangers around and slam them against the ground, walkways, and walls.

 

Hardrock arrived on the scene with a flash of blue energy and charged towards the creature while twirling his staff. “Iron Rock Crusher!”

 

Hardrock slammed the staff against the ground. A shockwave tore through the ground towards the monster and exploded beneath the villain’s feet, blasting the monster back as explosions and sparks ripped across its body.

 

Hardrock moved in, separating his staff into three sections, and twirling the two ends as he beat them against the monster relentlessly.

 

The monster recovered by ducking under Hardrock’s blows and slamming an uppercut against his gut. Hardrock winced with pain and fell backward.

 

“Rocky, get back to the Command Chamber,” Wildfire said. “You’re too hurt.”

 

“I don’t care,” Hardrock said as he stumbled back to his feet.

 

The monster grabbed Wildfire by the throat with an electric string and hurled the Ranger towards a nearby building, sending him smashing through a concrete wall.

 

“Tommy!” Strata shouted. Their armors all began to glow.

 

The monster walked up to Wildfire and lifted him by the throat with one hand while pounding his fists against the Ranger. “You are not nearly as strong as I have been led to believe.”

 

“Our armor,” Chronos said as the armors continued to pulse. “The armor of Wildfire is trying to assemble the Inferno.”

 

“Not again…” Wildfire said. The Inferno was a draining and maddening experience he did not care to repeat.

 

The monster smashed its fists across Wildfire’s helmet before turning, blasting the other Rangers with streams of energy that exploded against their armor with bursts of spark.

 

“No!” Wildfire shouted as his armor started to glow with blinding light. Energy streaked from the other four Rangers and splashed across Wildfire, enveloping him with power. “Armor of Inferno!”

 

The energy shell around the Ranger burned off. His armor was more edged, colored white with gold trimming. Inferno armed his twin sabers. The sabers pulsed with white-hot energy. “Rage of Inferno!”

 

Inferno swung the blades downward and fired a rolling torrent of white-hot energy that streamed towards the monster and splashed across the villain’s body, consuming the lion creature with a massive wave of flame. The villain’s body was torn apart and torn to ash.

 

A blast from Zedd changed that. The monster was resurrected by Zedd and turned into a mindless giant.

 

The Rangers’ armor flashed back to their normal Ranger forms. Dragon Ranger collapsed to his knees from the attack. The others gathered around him and helped Dragon Ranger and Tenma Ranger to their feet.

 

The monster stomped his foot as the Rangers rolled out of the way.

 

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 Megazord snapped its wings and shot through the air towards its opponent.

 

The lion monster fired three streams of electric energy that exploded against the MegaThunderzord. The Megazord crashed against the ground and skid backward. The Megazord rolled backward onto its feet and armed the Thunder Whip.

 

The Megazord flew forward and slashed the whip across the monster with an x-shaped pattern. The monster pounced forward and grabbed the Megazord while sending energy pulses through his claws. Sparks thrashed the Megazord as the creature intensified his attack.

 

“Billy,” Dragon Ranger said. “Is there anyway we can channel his energy right back at him?”

 

Kirin Ranger shook his head. “No…the properties of his energy attacks are too sporadic.”

 

“Rangers,” Zordon said over their communicators. “The power of your armor should give the Megazord the ability to morph into a new form.”

 

“Let’s do it,” Dragon Ranger said without question.

 

The Rangers each readied their Thunder Gems. “MegaThunderzord, armor up!”

 

The Megazord broke free from the monster’s grasp and shot upward. MegaThunderzord was encased with a shell of blue energy that pulsed brightly. The energy shell shattered as a suit of gold-trimmed, silver armor covered the Megazord. The MegaThunderzord grew an extra pair of wings from its back as a large double-edged silver sword appeared in the zord’s hands.

 

“MegaThunderzord, Paladin mode!” The Rangers shouted.

 

The Paladin snapped its wings and shot down towards the monster, swooping in to attack.

 

The monster fired an electric pulse stream. Paladin flew through the stream, the energy bouncing harmlessly off the Megazord’s armor.

 

“Star Saber, Divine Justice!” The Saber energized and swung horizontally through the monster, tearing the creature in half as it exploded.

 

***

 

Rocky sat alone outside the Command Chamber. His knees were pulled up to his chest, his arms wrapped around his legs. Tommy walked up besides him.

 

“I don’t want sympathy,” Rocky said.

 

Tommy nodded. He took a seat next to Rocky, placing an arm around his friend‘s shoulder. “I know...”

 

Rocky couldn’t stop his tears any longer.

 

To be continued…Chapter 12