Shadows of Evil: Chapter Twelve

Levina Falls

 

Levina watched Rocky through her crystal ball. The teen was sitting in his room alone. He tossed back a few more drinks to hide his pain. A wrinkled grin creased across the witch’s face. “Excellent,” the witch said to herself. “Tenma Ranger is broken.”

 

The witch lowered her crystal ball. “If I eliminate him, the Rangers won’t be able to form that cursed Inferno armor,” she said. “How nice…but this will require subtlety. Something that fool Zedd knows nothing about.”

 

***

 

A day passed.

 

“Star Saber, Divine Justice!” the Rangers shouted.

 

The MegaThunderzord in Paladin mode shot through the air towards the latest of Zedd’s monsters: a skeleton version of a mammoth creature. The Megazord’s saber energized with gold-and-silver power and slashed through the monster.

 

The creature crashed backward and exploded with a massive cloud of flame.

 

***

 

The armored Rangers teleported back to the Command Chamber. All except Rocky. The four Rangers powered down their armor.

 

Kimberly sighed when she noticed Rocky was gone. “I’m really worried about him. All he does is sit at home.”

 

“I’ve tried talking to him,” Tommy said as he shook his head.

 

“Rangers,” Zordon said. “You must give Rocky time to heal. He knows you are there for him and will come to you when he is ready.”

 

***

 

Rocky lied on his bed. He stared up at the ceiling. It was past 2 a.m. but he could not sleep. He had failed Karen. She was gone because of him. And what had she tried to tell him? ‘Why’ what?

 

“Rocky…” a voice whispered from the shadows.

 

Rocky jolted up in his bed. “Karen...?”

 

“Help me…” the voice whispered again.

 

Rocky leapt out of bed and turned on his light. “Karen…”

 

He looked to his window. The voice had come from outside.

 

Rocky quietly left his room and moved towards the backdoor of his house. The home was within a densely-packed subdivision within the city. He went outside and moved into his backyard.

 

A figure suddenly fell from the bushes nearby. It was Karen. Rocky’s eyes opened wide with shock as he ran to her side. “Karen!” he said as he hugged her. “Are you all right?”

 

Karen shook her head. “Levina…she’s…”

 

“What?” Rocky asked. “What is it? I thought you were…”

 

She shook her head. Karen’s eyes were open wide with fear. “Help me, Rocky.”

 

“What is it?” Rocky asked.

 

Karen vanished from his arms with the blink of an eye. “Karen!”

 

He heard a cackling voice come from behind him. Rocky shot to his feet and snapped around while arming his morphers. “Aura Power!” He morphed into his Ranger form with a flash of blue light.

 

Tenma Ranger faced Levina, who was hovering in midair while staring down at the Blue Ranger.

 

“What have you done with Karen?” Tenma Ranger shouted as he snapped into a fighting stance.

 

“If you want to know, you’ll have to come with me, little unicorn,” Levina said. The witch summoned an army of Wraiths that surrounded Tenma Ranger.

 

“If you hurt her, I’ll…”

 

“Now, now,” Levina said. “Just come with me, Ranger.”

 

Tenma Ranger teleported away with Levina and the Wraiths.

 

***

 

Tommy was watching his younger brother Teddy spar with Simon at Bear Lake. The two preteens exchanged kicks and punches. Tommy watched for their strengths and weakness so he could help them improve later.

 

His communicator toned. Simon and Teddy stopped sparring while Tommy answered the call. “This is Tommy, go ahead.”

 

“Tommy,” Alpha said. “Levina is attacking Kennedy Plaza!”

 

“I’m on my way,” Tommy said.

 

“Be careful, man,” Simon said.

 

Tommy nodded. “You two stay out of trouble,” he said before teleporting away.

 

***

 

Levina was hovering above Kennedy Plaza, a surface of concrete and stone that sat in the middle of a ring-shaped street, with streets branching off in an ‘x’ pattern. The four teens ran towards the plaza as fast as they could.

 

Tommy activated his communicator when he noticed Rocky had not yet arrived. “Zordon, where’s Rocky?”

 

“Alpha and I are unable to locate him,” Zordon said.

 

Levina cackled. “Missing someone?”

 

“Where’s Rocky, witch?” Tommy shouted.

 

“He’s a little preoccupied, Rangers,” Levina said, a gleam of evil shining in her yellow eyes. “But rest assured, he came to me out of his own free will.”

 

“What?!” Adam asked.

 

Levina laughed. “You Rangers are so easy to toy with. And to think, I once warned Zedd of your ‘unstoppable power.’” She laughed again. “Wraiths!”

 

An army of the black-clad demons flashed into existence with pulses of black light and charged forward to attack the Rangers.

 

“It’s morphin time!” Tommy shouted.

 

“Chakra ignite, Aura Power!” Energy shimmered around them as they morphed into their standard Ranger forms.

 

The four Power Rangers slammed past the Wraiths with precision and strength that came only with experience. They had fought against groups of grunts countless times, whether rock soldiers, Kyonshi, Wraiths, or Golems.

 

After finishing off the soldiers, the Rangers moved closer to Levina, who was still hovering in midair. The witch extended her hand and fired blasts of black electricity that exploded against their armor with bursts of spark. The Rangers slammed against the ground and skid backward before rolling back to their feet.

 

“Let’s bring her down to our level, guys!” Dragon Ranger shouted.

 

The four Rangers surrounded the witch and launched their attacks at her.

 

“Hand of Fate!” Lion Ranger shouted. He thrust his fist forward and fired a stream of pale-green light. The witch used her staff to reflect the blast.

 

“Celestial Arrow!” Phoenix Ranger shouted as she formed a bow and arrow of energy and fired at the witch, but Levina dodged that blast while in midair.

 

“Time Crisis!” Kirin Ranger shouted as Levina erected a forcefield to protect herself from the jagged energy pulse.

 

As soon as she dropped her guard, Dragon Ranger hit her hard with his “Magna Blast!”

 

Levina was blasted to the ground by the wave of fire lances fired by Dragon Ranger.

 

The four Rangers charged at her as she rose to her feet. She fired a flurry of fireballs that the Rangers jumped over while arming their weapons.

 

She fired another electric blast that slid the Rangers backward across the ground.

 

***

 

Karen wet a rag and wiped it across Rocky’s forehead as the teen returned to consciousness. “Karen…where are we?”

 

“A pocket dimension…fitting, huh?” she said.

 

Rocky grinned as the two hugged. “I thought I had lost you.”

 

“You did, but Levina…brought me back,” Karen said.

 

“How?” Rocky asked.

 

She shook her head. “I don’t know…but my life force is connected to this pocket dimension now. If I leave it for too long…”

 

“We’ll talk to Zordon,” Rocky said. “He’ll figure something out.”

 

She shook her head.

 

***

 

Ayi-yi-yi!” Alpha said. “I’ve located Rocky!”

 

“Where?” Zordon asked.

 

“He’s in a pocket dimension outside of Angel Grove…however…this pocket dimension isn’t being protected by any barriers.”

 

“Activate the Viewing Globe,” Zordon said.

 

An image of Rocky and Karen appeared.

 

“It’s Karen!” Alpha said. “But how?”

 

“I am uncertain,” Zordon said. “Put me through to Rocky.”

 

***

 

The four Rangers regrouped and used their Kiryoku to fend off another of Levina’s fireball flurries.

 

“Perhaps you Rangers are stronger than I gave you credit for. Let’s see how strong you are against the master warriors of the Shadow Clan!”

 

Levina whispered a spell as energy crackled through the air. Four portals opened on the ground in front of her. Dark, solid-black figures arose from the portals. The figures started to take shape. Black, leathery armor wrapped around their bodies. Each suit of armor was lined with traces of a different color: crimson, silver, green, and a darker black.

 

“Behold, the Dark Riders!”

 

“This doesn’t look good,” Kirin Ranger said.

 

“We’ve seen worse,” Lion Ranger said.

 

“Trust me, Rangers,” Black Rider said. “You have never seen the likes of us.”

 

“Let’s take care of business guys!” Dragon Ranger shouted. The four Rangers rushed forward into battle.

 

Black Rider armed a jagged blade and swung the weapon towards Dragon Ranger’s head. Dragon Ranger armed his Thunder Sword and started parrying a flurry of strikes and blows. The Black Rider struck with cold, deadly precision. “I am the master swordsman of my realm,” Black Rider said. “You are no match for me.”

 

“I’m just getting started,” Dragon Ranger said as he sliced the Rider twice across the chest.

 

Black Rider energized his sword and struck back at the Red Ranger. Dragon Ranger fell to the ground. Black Rider leapt through the air and held his sword downwards as he prepared to crash down on the Ranger.

 

“Rising Star!” Dragon Ranger shouted as he flipped upward with an energized kick across the Rider’s face.

 

Meanwhile, Lion Ranger used his Lion Staff to duel with Crimson Rider.

 

“Lion Ranger,” Crimson Rider said as he grabbed the Ranger by the throat and head bunted him. “I have heard of you. They say you are the warrior of light…it appears my darkness is too much for you.”

 

“Guess again,” Lion Ranger said. “Shining Fury!”

 

Crimson Rider was knocked backwards by the sphere of light energy.

 

Nearby, Phoenix Ranger was battling Silver Rider with a flurry of knifehand blows and kicks.

 

“You females are the worst of the mortals,” Silver Rider said.

 

“I really doubt you’re an expert on humanity…Tempest Wind!” The Rider was knocked back by the powerful gust of destructive wind.

 

Behind the Pink Ranger, Kirin Ranger blasted Green Rider, but the villain ran through the blasts and drop kicked the Ranger. Kirin Ranger flipped back up and kicked the Rider, following with a “Chrono Shock!”

 

The Rider was knocked back by a distortion shockwave.

 

Levina wrinkled her brow as she stared at the battle. “They’re even more powerful than I thought.”

 

“They’re nothing compared to me,” Shadow Ranger said as he teleported to the scene with a flash of black energy.

 

Levina turned while in midair to see Shadow Ranger standing on a rooftop.

 

“You,” she hissed. “What are you…”

 

“Silence!” Shadow Ranger shouted. “You brought me into this hell-hole of existence. It’s time you learned the price of your actions. Black Flame!”

 

Shadow Ranger thrust his hands forward and blasted a torrent of rolling black flame that smashed Levina from the air, sending the witch crashing against the ground.

 

“Him…” Dragon Ranger said. He narrowed his eyes beneath his helmet, glaring at the Black Ranger.

 

The other Rangers regrouped around him and looked up at Levina and the Shadow Ranger. The Riders regrouped behind the Rangers.

 

“We’re not through with you yet, Rangers,” Black Rider cursed.

 

The Rangers snapped around. “You will be soon,” Dragon Ranger said as he and the others readied their Thunder Gems. “Armor up!”

 

Energy shimmered around the Rangers as they activated their power armor.

 

“Flare up now!” Wildfire swung his blades and launched a white-hot energy flare.

 

“Lightning Bolt Strike!” Halo fired a pale-green stream of light from his sword’s blade.

 

“Arrow Shockwave!” Strata shouted as she fired an energized arrow.

 

“Wave Smasher!” Chronos fired an energy distortion wave with his trident.

 

The blasts combined into a single, golden energy stream that exploded against the Dark Riders, burning through their armor, incinerating their bodies, and causing the villains to explode into bursts of flame. Their ashes scattered into the wind.

 

Meanwhile, Shadow Ranger pounced towards Levina. “Shadow Ribbons, strike!”

 

Shadow Ranger energized ribbons of black power that snapped around Levina, lashing her backward. The witch tried to defend herself, but Shadow Ranger struck again.

 

“Shadow Flares!” the Black Ranger launched flares of black flame that exploded against Levina’s tattered rags and knocked the hag onto the ground.

 

The witch looked up to see the ashes of the Dark Riders blow off towards the wind. The witch extended her hand and gathered the ashes, wrapping them around her body with artificial wind as she absorbed the energy of the fallen Riders.

 

Levina cackled with insane laughter as she used the energy to transform into a monstrous, goblin-like form. Her hands had sickly-yellow claws. Her face contorted as spikes grew from her hair, her height increased by two feet, and short tendrils grew from her back and her legs.

 

“Great,” Wildfire said sarcastically.

 

Levina extended her hand and fired a jagged-black energy burst that exploded against the Power Rangers and Shadow Ranger, smashing them backward. They crashed against the ground and skid backward as their armor powered down to standard Ranger form.

 

“What as she done to herself?” Phoenix Ranger asked as the five Rangers rose back to their feet.

 

“She absorbed the Dark Riders’ energy,” Kirin Ranger said. “She used it to transform into…that.”

 

“Astute observation,” Shadow Ranger said cynically. “Why don’t you shut up and fight!”

 

A sphere of energy circled around Levina and expanded with explosive force. The blast tore apart the plaza while exploding against the Rangers with a massive burst of sparks.

 

***

 

“Rocky,” Zordon said. “The other Rangers are being attacked by Levina. She has assumed a new deadly form, and the five of you can only defeat her together.”

 

Rocky looked at Karen.

 

”Don’t leave me here,” she said as she clutched his arm and strapped off his communicator. “Please Rocky.”

 

“Karen,” Rocky said as he placed his hand on her face. “I can’t just stay here forever. Neither can you. We have to…we have to figure out a way to get you away from here.”

 

“Oh Rocky,” Karen said a she pulled him in close to kiss him. She sprouted fangs and tried to bite his neck.

 

“What the…Ki!” he pushed her back with an invisible pulse of energy.

 

“Karen….what did she do to you?” Rocky asked.

 

“I am no longer Karen. I am a creature of the night, a warrior of darkness. I am Azrael,” she said.

 

A cloak of dark energy twirled around her as she transformed into a suit of dark, leather armor. She armed a pair of long knives.

 

Rocky picked up his communicator. “No…” he cursed as he shook his head and teleported out.

 

***

 

The teens were forcibly demorphed and hurled across the street by an energy shockwave of dark power. The Shadow Ranger laid with them.

 

Rocky ran over to his friends as they rose back to their feet.

 

“Rocky,” Billy said. “You okay?”

 

He shook his head. “No…but let's stop this witch once and for all!”

 

“It’s morphing time!” Tommy shouted.

 

“Chakra ignite, Aura Power!” Energy shimmered around them as they connected their braces and morphed into their armor. They snapped into fighting stances.

 

“Dragon Ranger, Heaven Fire Star, Red!”

 

“Lion Ranger, Heaven Illusion Star, Green!”

 

“Tenma Ranger, Heaven Gravity Star, Blue!”

 

“Kirin Ranger, Heaven Time Star, Yellow!”

 

“Phoenix Ranger, Heaven Wind Star, Pink!”

 

“Power of the stars, brought down…” Dragon Ranger called. Together, the five Rangers shouted: “Heaven Star Task Force…Power Rangers!”

 

“Shadow Ranger!” the Black Ranger shouted as he snapped into a fighting stance of his own.

 

“Even the six of you are no match for my power now!” Levina shouted.

 

“Terre Force!” Tenma Ranger hurled a massive sphere of gravity energy at the witch, but Levina dodged the blast. Tenma Ranger pressed forward. “Gravity Well!”

 

The Blue Ranger fired a twirling vortex of cyan energy that shot towards Levina. The witch erected an invisible energy barrier that the blast splashed harmlessly around.

 

When she dropped the shield, Dragon Ranger and Lion Ranger were practically in her face.

 

“Hand of Fate!”

 

“Burn Knuckle!”

 

Their energized punches slammed against the witch with a massive explosion, pushing her back.

 

Kirin Ranger and Phoenix Ranger leapt through the air to attack, but Levina fired optic blasts that exploded against their armor and knocked them back to the ground.

 

Levina whispered another spell as she radiated with power. Barbed-wire vines erupted from the ground and started wrapping around the Rangers.

 

“Shadow Ribbons Strike!” the Black Ranger shouted, but for every vine he destroyed, two more took its place.

 

Each Ranger was caught in a vine, which threatened to slowly crush them.

 

“Armor up!” Dragon Ranger shouted. Energy shimmered around them as they transformed into their power armor. Energy from their transformation cut them free from the vines as they landed on the ground below.

 

“Flare up, now!” Wildfire shouted as he swung his blades, producing a flare that exploded across Levina with a massive burst of rolling flame. Levina walked through the fires of the explosion and laughed. “I am unstoppable.”

 

“Use your Inferno armor, fool,” Shadow Ranger said.

 

“No,” Wildfire said. “There’s got to be an easier-”

 

Levina dropped a globe of dark energy that expanded like an explosion, sparking across the Rangers’ armor and sending them crashing backward into walls. Wildfire crashed back against the ground as debris fell around him.

 

The Rangers’ armor started to flash.

 

Wildfire felt like his blood was about to boil. And he liked it. “Armor of Inferno!”

 

His armor started to glow with blinding light. Energy streaked from the other four Rangers and splashed across Wildfire, enveloping him with power. The energy shell around the Ranger burned off. His armor was now more edged, colored white with gold-trimming.

 

“It’s time for you to die, Levina.“ 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 witch and splashed across her body, consuming Levina with a massive wave of flame. Her body was torn apart and torn to ash.

 

The Rangers’ armor powered down to standard Ranger form. Dragon Ranger collapsed onto his knees. The Rangers regrouped around him.

 

“Are you okay?” Phoenix Ranger asked.

 

Dragon Ranger nodded.

 

The next thing they knew, a giant foot stomped down. It was Levina in giant size. Dragon Ranger pulled himself to his feet.

 

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.

 

“Kirin Flares!” the Rangers shouted.

 

The Megazord fired flares of distortion energy that struck harmlessly against the witch. Levina swatted the last flare away and extended her palm, firing a streak of black lightning that exploded against the Megazord with a massive burst of sparks and flame.

 

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 Megazord’s hands.

 

“MegaThunderzord, Paladin mode!” The Rangers shouted.

 

The Paladin snapped its wings and shot down towards the monster, swooping in to attack. Levina created a swirling cloud of dark mist that exploded around the Megazord, knocking the armored giant from the air.

 

“She’s too strong,” Phoenix Ranger said.

 

“We’re stronger,” Dragon Ranger said.

 

MegaThunderzord armed its blade.

 

“Star Saber, Divine Justice!” The Saber energized and swung horizontally towards Levina, but she fired crimson optic blasts that exploded against the Megazord’s armor before the saber could connect.

 

Shadow Ranger watched the battle from the rooftops. “There has to be something I can do…something to make that witch pay.”

 

Shadow Ranger was suddenly enveloped in a field of light. “You again…”

 

“You want to destroy Levina,” Dark Man stated more than asked.

 

“Of course I do…she’s cursed me.”

 

“Then use your zord.”

 

“What?”

 

“You are connected to The Power, the very power that allowed the Rangers to birth their Thunderzords.”

 

“How…”

 

“Call on your zord.”

 

Shadow Ranger returned to reality. He looked towards Levina and rolled his hands into fists. He shut off his vision and placed his palm against his fist. The dragon eyes on his helmet flashed with blue energy. Lightning struck the ground around him as a black Thunder Gem appeared floating in front of his faceplate.

 

Shadow Ranger grasped the Thunder Gem as it started to pulse with dark energy. He looked to the skies. “Shadow Dragon! Arise!”

 

A massive black dragon swooped down from the skies. This dragon did not resemble the Chinese Dragon like the Red Ranger’s zord. The Shadow Dragon appeared as a massive dragon ripped from the pages of medieval fantasy. Dark plates of armor covered the beasts ripping muscles like scales. Golden claws extended from the creature’s hands and legs. Its jagged teeth were dull gold, and its eyes were blood red. Massive wings extended from the zord’s back.

 

Shadow Ranger energized and leapt onto the head of his zord. The zord snapped its tail and shot down towards Levina. “Wing Blade!”

 

A blade of black energy shot from the zord’s wings. The energy blade exploded against Levina with a massive burst of spark that knocked her back.

 

Shadow Ranger hopped into his zord’s cockpit and placed his hand over the crystal control sphere. “Black Dragon! Flames of Perdition!”

 

The zord opened its jaw and spat a massive torrent of black flame. The flame splashed across Levina with a massive explosion that shook the city streets

 

“Shadow Dragon, rise up!”

 

The dragon assumed a humanoid warrior mode. The dragon head formed on the chest and wings extended from the zord’s back. “This is our final battle, Levina. Face the fury of my wrath…Crisis Wave!”

 

The dragon jaw opened and fired a massive wave of black energy. The energy wave rippled towards Levina and exploded against her, ripping her body apart while incinerating her into nothingness.

 

Shadow Dragon reverted back to its dragon form and flew off into the skies.

 

Lightning crashed to the rooftop behind the MegaThunderzord. The MegaThunderzord turned to the rooftop. Azrael stood in her black, leather armor.

 

“Is that Karen?” Lion Ranger asked.

 

Tenma Ranger remained silent.

 

“You may have defeated Levina, Rangers. How unfortunate you couldn’t stop her before releasing me. I am Azrael.”

 

The four Dark Riders appeared resurrected behind her.

 

“The Dark Riders,” Dragon Ranger said. “How?”

 

“My power is connected to them,” Azrael said. “You can kill my Riders a thousand times, and each time, I will be able to breathe new and stronger life into them. For now however, I will let you rest. I want to fight you when you are at your full potential. Farewell Rangers…bye Rocky.”

 

She teleported away.

 

***

 

“I refuse to believe that…that…thing is Karen!” Rocky shouted to Zordon.

 

“You are correct, Rocky,” Zordon said. “Levina repaired Karen’s body and used it as a shell to host her vampire demon, Azrael.”

 

Rocky slammed his fist into a console.

 

“Rocky, this is just the reaction Levina was expecting to get from you,” Zordon said. “You must remain focused. Azrael is no different from any other of Levina’s demon warriors.”

 

“Except she just happens to be living in my dead girlfriend’s body,” Rocky said.

 

“The body is nothing more than a shell, Rocky,” Zordon said. “Karen’s soul, the true Karen, is resting peacefully in the afterlife.”

 

“Zordon, I…” he shook his head and teleported out.

 

To be continued…Chapter 13