The Legend of Zeo: Chapter Nineteen

Sword and Madness

 

The five rangers ran through the woods at night while in their leather uniforms. They were responding to a disturbance Alpha detected in the area. The rangers arrived in the middle of the woods and came to a halt as they looked for anything suspicious.

 

“This is crazy,” Justin said. “There’s nothing here.”

 

“It’s probably a trap,” Chris said.

 

Tommy nodded in agreement. “Stay alert.”

 

Suddenly, a figure burst from the trees and dove by the rangers while knocking them aside. It was Archarina.

 

The rangers each dove for cover while connecting their Zeonizers and morphing into their armor.

 

“Not her again…” Zeoblue said as he and the others rose to their feet.

 

The Machine Prince spun like a tornado from the other side of the Rangers and slashed through them with his blade. He ended his attack and stood next to Archarina as the two Machines assumed fighting stances.

 

Before the Rangers could regroup, Archarina cocked a quintet of energy arrows and fired. The arrows exploded against the Rangers' armor as they were thrown off their feet.

 

Triana had followed the Rangers, her curiosity getting the better of her. She was crouched behind a tree and watching with concern as Gasket and Archarina split up and cut through the Rangers with their weapons.

 

A Machine monster suddenly dropped from the trees above her and slammed against the ground with a large thud, kicking up dirt and dust in every direction. The creature paid Triana little attention, merely swinging a backhand blow across her face so he could attack his true targets: The Rangers.

 

The Machine’s body was orange-brown and lightly armored. The creature was equipped with boomerangs and blasters.

 

Triana slammed against a tree and slumped to the ground. She wasn’t sure how long it took her to push up from the ground, but knew it had to be longer than it felt.

 

When she looked up, she noticed the Rangers and Machines were gone.

 

Triana ran into the empty field and looked for any sight of them. The only thing she found were Zeonizers with their straps broken, littering the ground.

 

***

 

“Ay-yi-yi…” Alpha muttered to himself as he scanned the area for any sign of the Zeo Rangers. He found nothing except for a large shield of interference cast by the Machines.

 

Triana suddenly ran into the Command Chamber, her face was pale as she cradled the ten Zeo braces in her arms. “They’re…they’re gone.”

 

“Triana,” Alpha said with concern as he waddled over to her. “What happened, Triana?”

 

She shook her head as she sat on the ground. “They were ambushed. I didn’t see the end…they were just…gone. These were all that was left…”

 

The Viewing Globe crackled with static as an image appeared. It was the Machine Prince and Archarina. Justin, Chris, Ashley, and Kat were behind them, bound in chains and hanging from the underside of a rock face.

 

“To whom it may concern…” the Prince said mockingly. “You’ll notice the ever-annoying Zeored has escaped my grasp. I am willing to negotiate for the safe return of these four, almost as good as new, as long as Zeored comes here personally to discuss terms. If any rescue attempt is made, or if he refuses, I will slit their throats.”

 

Triana’s face went pale. “I should have done something,” she said. “Should have been able to save them…”

 

***

 

Tommy ran through the wilderness outside the city while trying to reach the Command Chamber. The lightly-armored Machine monster was in close pursuit.

 

“That thing is fast…” Tommy said as he looked over his shoulder at the approaching creature.

 

Tommy found cover behind a small hill covered with short grass that rested near a shallow stream. His hope was that the Machine monster would continue forward and pass by.

 

The Machine stopped in its tracks as it activated an infrared scanning system. It spotted Tommy’s heat signature and armed a large shoulder cannon.

 

The cannon fired a pulse of crimson energy that exploded against the hill as Tommy was blasted forward into the stream. He went limp to prevent injury as he rolled through the stream.

 

Tommy rose to his feet and started running again, cursing the fact that all his Power was useless against the cold iron of the Machines and wishing he had his Zeonizers.

 

He made his way to an old concrete bridge that ran above the gravel-covered ground. He ducked behind the bridge’s support beams as he sprinted forward.

 

A boomerang flew through the air behind him and slammed against the back of his leg as he fell face first against the ground. He looked up to see Gasket, Archarina, and the Machine monster step into view.

 

Gasket slung his sword casually over his shoulder. “You are quite bad at this game, ranger.”

 

“Thanks,” Tommy said as he extended his hand and fired a short Ki burst that kicked up a cloud of gravel, distracting the Machines as he turned and sprinted away.

 

***

 

Triana ran from the Command Chamber and into the wilderness to find Tommy. She wasn’t sure why, but she was compelled to find him. She had learned long ago to trust her instincts, for they were almost mystic in nature.

 

***

 

Tommy sprinted across a caged bridge that ran above a shallow and nearly-depleted water reservoir. The Machine monster was in close pursuit as it fired an energy pulse from its shoulder cannon. The blast tore the bridge to pieces as Tommy splashed into the shallow pool below.

 

The Machine monster jumped down below near the ranger. Tommy stumbled backward, his feet slipping out from beneath him.

 

Gasket and Archarina stepped forward to the edge of the pool as they looked down at the ranger.

 

“You might as well give up,” the Machine Prince said. “We Machines don’t exactly get tired.”

 

The Machine monster armed its shoulder cannon again as it stepped forward towards Tommy.

 

“Stop!” Triana yelled as she splashed through the water, running towards Tommy’s side.

 

“Triana, get out of here,” Tommy said, but she ignored him.

 

Triana stood in front of Tommy and held out her arms, but before she could speak, the Machine monster fired.

 

A blur of golden motion landed in front of her just in time to intercept the blast. It was Zeo Gold, and he was struck hard against the chest as explosions sparked across his armor and he was tossed to the ground.

 

“Trey!” Triana shouted as she kneeled down by his side.

 

Zeo Gold slowly rose to his knees as he placed his hands on Triana’s shoulders.

 

Tommy sprang forward and tackled against the Machine monster with all his might as he turned to Zeo Gold. “Get her out of here!”

 

Zeo Gold extended his staff into the air. “Pyramidus!”

 

The giant pyramid zord appeared as Zeo Gold leapt into the air, streaking forward in a beam of golden energy along with Triana.

 

Zeo Gold placed Triana in the cockpit chair. “Stay here…”

 

He turned to go back and face the Machine monster below, but a sharp pain struck his chest as he collapsed to his knees. His armor flashed as it powered down, and Trey collapsed.

 

“Trey, get up,” Triana said as she knelt down to his side, but he wasn’t moving.

 

Triana knew that if she didn’t act, the other rangers would die. But what could she do? She was no warrior. A least not yet…

 

Her thoughts drifted to an ancient tale Trey had told her. A tale about a sword hidden within Pyramidus that made its bearer invincible.

 

Triana turned and ran towards the depths of Pyramidus to unlock the sword.

 

***

 

Triana ascended a staircase within the dark center of Pyramidus that led to a golden doorway. In the center of the doorway was a large three-dimensional emblem that resembled a demonic head with a gaping jaw and rows of fangs.

 

The sight of the door sent a chill down Triana’s spine, but she told herself to be brave.

She slowly moved towards the door.

 

“Triana, no!”

 

She turned to see Trey moving towards her, clutching his still-injured chest.

 

“Stay away from there,” Trey said.

 

Triana shook her head as she looked towards the door. “That sword can end everything, Trey…”

 

“Triana,” Trey said as he placed his hands on her shoulders. “Temmer is no ordinary sword. Cloak warned me about it. It’s origins are a mystery. It gives its bearer invincibility, but also drives them mad.”

 

Triana shook her head. “We need the sword, Trey…we’ve had too many close calls…too many brushes with death. Something must be done.”

 

She moved towards the door and reached forward.

 

“No!” Trey shouted, but he was too late.

 

The emblem’s jaw reached forward as if alive and bit down on Triana’s arm. She screamed as the door whipped open, and she was pulled inside. Trey followed as the chamber on the other side of the door began flashing with pale-blue energy.

 

The Triforians were thrown to the ground and looked up to see Temmer lying on a pedestal within the hands of a skeleton. Triana didn’t let the sight keep her away from the blade. She rose to her feet and moved towards it.

 

Triana grabbed the hilt as Trey moved forward and grabbed the weapon as well. “You can’t do it…don’t you see? The blade is calling to you. Trying to control you…”

 

Trey pulled the blade from Triana’s hand as its energy streaked into his body in jagged beams of energy. He screamed as every cell in his body ignited with power. Temmer vibrated with energy as the entire chamber started to shake.

 

***

 

Tommy was chained next to the others as a group of Cogs aimed their staffs forward at the rangers.

 

The Machine Prince and Archarina stood by as the soldiers prepared to fire.

 

“So, rangers,” the Machine Prince said. “Do you have any last words?”

 

“Just get it over with, Gasket,” Justin said. “Spare us the melodrama.”

 

The Machine Prince and Archarina laughed.

 

“Gasket,” Tommy said as he narrowed his eyes at the two Machines. “We’ve survived worse than you before. We’ll survive this too.”

 

“You mortals are a foolish breed,” the Machine Prince said. “Your hope is quite disturbing…your greatest strength as well as your greatest weakness.”

 

A sphere of crackling pale blue energy suddenly dropped from the ground while sending out bursts of lightning that exploded across the ground and sent the Machines falling backwards.

 

The sphere landed to reveal Trey and Triana. Trey was wielding Temmer as beads of sweat dripped from his brow and his pupils dilated. He tightened his grasp on the sword and moved it into a fighting position. The blade hummed as it cut through the molecules of the air around him.

 

Triana opened her eyes wide with concern as she watched her companion turn and swing the blade diagonally, emitting a volley of lightning bursts that exploded against the overhang and knocked the rangers free with a powerful shockwave.

 

Trey screamed as he swung the blade horizontally, emitting another energy volley as his face turned white and his eyes blood red. He turned towards the Machine Prince, Archarina, and the monster while narrowing his eyes.

 

He charged forward as he swung the blade in a fierce combination of blows. Temmer crackled with pale blue lightning while swinging across the trio of Machines and bashing them backward. Out of control energy bursts exploded all around as the rangers ran to Triana to cover her.

 

“What’s up with Trey?” Chris asked.

 

“The sword…” Triana said. “It’s Temmer.”

 

Trey continued to howl war cries as he slashed careless and violently through the formation of Machines.

 

“What’s it doing to him?” Kat asked.

 

Triana shook her head. “It’s driving him mad…you have to help him…”

 

“Alright,” Tommy said. “We break the sword, we save Trey…”

 

***

 

The interference in the mountains disintegrated due to Trey’s arrival, much to Alpha’s approval. He teleported in the rangers’ Zeonizers.

 

***

 

The Zeo braces flashed onto the rangers’ wrists.

 

“Alright, Alpha,” Justin said.

 

Tommy stepped forward. “Let’s take care of business, guys…”

 

“Ultra transform!” they shouted as they connected their braces and morphed into their armor.

 

The Rangers charged forward towards Trey, who was swinging the blade wildly.

 

“Trey,” Zeored shouted as he and the others moved in. “You have to get rid of that sword.”

 

The Rangers surrounded the Triforian and tried to hold him down and remove Temmer from his grasp, but Trey spun around while swinging the sword horizontally. He emitted a massive storm of lightning bolts that exploded against the Rangers’ armor and knocked them backward.

 

Trey turned back towards the Machines and charged forward, twirling Temmer in a blur of motion as his blade struck against their metal.

 

Triana watched with growing concern as her companion lost his grip with reality. Guilt stung her heart as she dropped to her knees and closed her eyes. She folded her hands in front of her as she let her thoughts drift to a higher power. She wasn’t sure what she was doing, but it felt right.

 

A tear streamed down her cheek and dropped to the ground below. The tear sunk into the ground with a flash of light as a flower bloomed and shimmered with an inner energy. The petals of the flower blew away on supernatural winds and flew towards Trey.

 

The Triforian swung his sword in another mad volley as explosions roared around him. The petals twirled around his body and flashed with light as he screamed. He twirled Temmer and lost his grip on the blade as it spun through the air. Temmer crackled with energy before shattering and dissolving into nothingness.

 

Trey’s skin returned to normal as he collapsed to the ground.

 

The Rangers and Triana ran to his side.

 

Justin looked to Chris. “What just happened, man?”

 

Chris shrugged.

 

Trey’s eyes slowly opened as Triana ran her hand across his face. “Trey…you’re alright…”

 

“What…” Trey said. “What just happened…”

 

“Bastards!” The Machine Prince shouted as he regrouped with the Machine monster and Archarina.

 

Archarina tightened her grasp on her bow. “That little prince is going to feel the sting of my arrow against his-”

 

“Can it,” Zeored said as he and the others sprang forward to attack the trio of Machines.

 

Trey slowly rose to his feet as he looked to Triana. “Stay back, Triana…”

 

“Will you be okay?”

 

He smiled and nodded as he ran his hand along the side of her face. “Thank you.”

 

Trey stepped forward to face the Machines as he readied his braces.

 

“Ultra transform!” he shouted as his body shimmered with energy and he morphed into his Ranger form.

 

The Machine monster primed its shoulder cannon and launched a wide burst that exploded against the five Rangers’ and knocked them backwards.

 

Zeo Gold shouted a war cry as he somersaulted through the air and slammed a flying sidekick against the Machine monster, knocking the mechanical creature backwards.

 

Zeo Gold regrouped with the others.

 

Zeored looked to the Triforian as he readied his Star Riser. “Good to have you back, Trey…”

 

The Machine monster bent forward, arming a cannon mounted on his back that he fired. The blast exploded around the Rangers as they dove for cover.

 

Zeo Gold rose to his knees as he readied his staff.

 

“It’s time for a Gold Rush,” he said as he activated the weapon. “Victory Flash!” He extended the staff forward and fired a volley of golden energy bursts that streaked towards his opponent.

 

The other Rangers brought their weapons together to form one cannon.

 

“Ultra Blaster, fire!” they shouted as they fired an energy pulse from the cannon.

 

The Rangers’ attacks tore through the monster as his armor exploded and he fell backwards.

 

Clank appeared right on time and swung Orbus down towards the fallen Machine. The droid latched on and activated the expansion program, causing the monster to grow giant size.

 

Zeored activated his communicator. “Warriorzords, mobilize!”

 

The five Warriorzord shot through the sky and activated their retrieval programs.

 

The Rangers leapt into their cockpits within streaks of multi-colored light. Their zords surrounded the Machine monster.

 

The Machine monster armed a pair of forearm blades and daggers that protruded from his boots. He moved through the formation of zords with great speed as he bashed against them, his blades moving in blurs of motion.

 

“He’s too fast,” Zeopink said.

 

“His armor alloy is light-weight,” Zeoyellow said.

 

“So we just need a good clean shot…” Zeored said.

 

The Machine monster fired a wide burst from its shoulder cannon that exploded around the zords.

 

“Warrior fusion!” Zeored shouted, commanding the others to bring their zords together.

 

The five zords shot into the air as they reassembled and stacked on top of one another to form the Megazord.

 

“MegaWarriorzord, online!” the Rangers shouted from within their cockpit.

 

The Machine monster launched a chained spike that crashed and attached to the Megazord’s armor. The creature slammed his boomerang against the chain, emitting an energy pulse that traveled forward and exploded against the Megazord.

 

A thundering boom split the air as Pyramidus rolled forward and blasted the Machine monster backward with a bolt of energy.

 

“Warrior blades!” Zeored shouted as the zord armed its weapons.

 

The Megazord swung its blades forward in an ‘x’ pattern and knocked the Machine monster backward.

 

“Warrior blades, energize!” Zeored shouted.

 

The Megazord’s swords combined to form a single energy blade that tripled in length. The MegaWarriorzord swung the blade downwards and cut through the Machine monster. The creature split in half as its systems overloaded and exploded.

 

***

 

The rangers crouched on top of a cliff and looked down as Trey and Triana ran together below, laughing and reveling in one another’s joy.

 

“How do you think she did it?” Ashley asked.

 

“I don’t know…” Tommy said. “There’s a lot about her I don’t understand.”

 

Kat nodded. “I don’t even think she does…”

 

To be continued…Chapter Twenty