Ultimate Gao Rangers: Chapter Eleven

Fall of a Monarch

 

“COPY!!” The insane Org with a copy-machine motif created a holographic-energy clone of each Ranger. Each copied Ranger was identical to the original, only with Org horns protruding from the helmets.

 

Gao Red and the other Rangers snapped into animal-like fighting stances as they faced their holographic clones.

 

“That’s not exactly fair,” Gao Blue said.

 

“Alright guys,” Gao Red said. “It’s time to take care of business…”

 

The Rangers charged forward towards their clones.

 

***

 

Shuten’ watched the battle through a view screen of fire. The Org monster would fail, Shuten’ realized. The creatures always failed, even with Gao King injured.

 

The villain tightened his grip on his double-edged silver and crimson axe. Perhaps it was time he took a more active role.

 

***

 

Gao Red pounced against his clone, slashing his claws across the creature with a burst of spark.

 

Meanwhile, Gao Black slammed his axe through his clone’s head, while Gao Blue speared his dagger through his clone’s faceplate. 

 

Gao White smashed her baton across her clone’s helmet, as Gao Yellow used his Eagle Sword to slit open his clone’s throat.

 

The clones crashed against the ground and disintegrated as the Rangers rushed forward to face off with Copy Org.

 

Gao Red armed his Lion Fang. “Let’s bring ‘em together!”

 

The Rangers combined their weapons into a single long sword.

 

“Gao Blade!” they shouted as the blade energized with fiery golden power.

 

See ya!” Gao Red shouted to the creature.

 

They chopped the energized blade downward. The golden blade extended while chopping through the Org, tearing its body apart, ripping through rotted flesh, armor and bone. The monster fell backward, its energy overloading and exploding, producing a shockwave that decimated the monster into nothing more than a boiling puddle of slime.

 

***

 

Toxica was about to step out of the Nexus to make the monster grow when Shuten’ stopped her. “Don’t even bother…I have a new plan.”

 

***

 

Simon and Ryan were spending time together. Outside of Gao Rock. It was weird, Simon thought.

 

They wore jogging pants and hooded sweatshirts while standing on a path that cut through a wooded park.

 

“We’ll go around the memorial statue and head east,” Ryan said. 

 

“East?” Simon asked. “Why not cut across the creek and go west. The scenery’s a lot better.”

 

“I didn’t ask,” Ryan said. “And I don’t jog for the scenery.”

 

Ryan started off down the asphalt path. Simon sighed, took in a deep breath, and followed.

 

***

 

Tetomu paced back and forth inside Gao Rock. The Soul Bird egg sat next to the Sacred Pool, and Tetomu was anxious for it to hatch. The Bird’s power could heal GaoLion and revive Gao King. 

 

The egg slowly started to crack. Tetomu’s eyes opened wide with excitement as a baby bird peaked its head out.

 

“Rangers…” she said. “The Soul Bird egg has hatched!”

 

***

 

The five ranger regrouped inside Gao Rock and surrounded the Soul Bird. The small, chubby bird was covered with light blue feathers and a white belly. A crystal was on the chick’s forehead.

 

“This is the Soul Bird…” Tetomu said.

 

“Huh…” Timothy said. “Doesn’t do much, does it?”

 

“he still needs to mature,” Tetomu said.

 

Simon arced an eyebrow at her. “You mean we have to wait for him to grow?”

 

The Sacred Pool suddenly bubbled from Org turbulence. The Highness Duke himself was attacking the city.

 

***

 

Shuten’ stalked across the city streets and swung his axe. The weapon emitted a crimson energy blade that spun through the air before exploding through the side of a building. Debris crashed against the ground as citizens ran for their lives.

 

The Highness Duke swung his axe again. Another spinning energy blade tore through a building and exploded, blasting debris through the air.

 

Simon and the other rangers ran onto the scene.

 

“Ready for a rematch?” Simon shouted as he and the others flipped open their morphers. 

 

Shuten’ waved them forward with his axe. “Come, Rangers. Morph into your burial shrouds.”

 

“Wild Access! Ha!” Energy shimmered around them as their armor wrapped around their bodies and their visors snapped into place. They morphed into their Ranger forms and snapped into animal-like fighting stances.

 

“Guardians of the Earth” Gao Red called, “United we roar! Wild Task Force!”

 

“Gao Ranger!” they shouted together.

 

Gao Red sprang through the air like a lion to attack. Shuten’ used his axe to slash the Red Ranger from the air. The axe sparked on impact and whipped the Red Ranger backward. 

 

Gao Red crashed against his back as the other rangers regrouped around him.

 

Waiting for Gao Red to rise to his feet, Shuten’ extended his palm and fired a crimson energy pulse that exploded against the Rangers’ armor with bursts of spark, knocking them off their feet.

 

“You humans are weak,” Shuten’ said. “You and this planet both.”

 

Gao Red rolled his hands into fists as the Rangers regrouped around him.

 

“Let’s shut this Org up,” Gao Red said. “Weapons.”

 

The Rangers armed their weapons and moved forward to attack.

 

“Lion Fang!” Gao Red shouted as he fang weapons energized with deep-red power. “Blazing Fire!”

 

He slashed the weapons downward with a streak of red energy that exploded against Shuten’ with a burst of spark.

 

“Eagle Sword!” Gao Yellow shouted as his sword energized with golden power. “Nobel Slash!”

 

Gao Yellow swung his weapon downward in a tilted-x pattern. The blade streaked with golden energy as it slashed across the Highness Duke, sparking against his body on impact.

 

“Shark Cutters!” Gao Blue shouted as his weapons pulsed with blue power. “Surging chopper!”

 

He swung his blades horizontally, each weapon streaking with blue energy while slashing across Shuten’ and sparking on impact.

 

“Bison Axe!” Gao Black shouted. His axe throbbed with deep-purple energy. “Iron Breaker!”

 

Gao Black chopped his axe downward through a streak of purple energy that slashed across Shuten’ with a burst of spark.

 

“Tiger Baton!” Gao White shouted as her baton weapon pulsed with pink energy. “Cross Strike!”

 

Gao White swung her weapon down in a cross pattern that thrashed across the villain, sparking on impact.

 

Shuten’ stumbled back a few steps. The Highness Duke was nearly overwhelmed by the Rangers’ attacks. His injuries erupted with explosions of smoke and flame. Dark-red slime seeped from his wounds as explosions burst open several of eyes on his skin.

 

Keeping his balance, Shuten’ actually started to laugh. “It’s a wonder you’ve survived this long, if that is the best you can do.”

 

Shuten’ merely peeled off the pieces of rotted flesh from his wounds.  

 

“Sick,” Gao Blue said as he shook his head.

 

“Let’s bring ‘em together,” Gao Red said. They combined their weapons to form a single, long sword. 

 

“Gao Blade!” they shouted as the blade energized with fiery golden power.

 

See ya!” Gao Red shouted to the creature.

 

They chopped the energized blade downward. The golden blade extended while swinging down towards the Highness Duke’s body.

 

But Shuten’ used his axe to slap the golden energy blade aside. The villain swung his axe back towards the Rangers and fired a blast of crimson-lightning strands that exploded against the Rangers, sparks thrashing across their armor and whipping their bodies backward.

 

“I should have done this from the beginning,” Shuten said as he stalked towards the fallen Rangers.

 

The Rangers slowly rose to their knees, smoke still rising from their armor.

 

Toxica and Jindrax stepped onto the scene from behind the Rangers. An Org monster stood between them. The creature’s boxy body and armor had a freezer motif to it. 

 

Jindrax laughed and swung his sword over his shoulder. “Now that’s a sight I’ve been waiting to see for a long time.”

 

The Rangers rose to their feet and turned to face the Duke Orgs and monster.

 

Gao Red looked back to the Highness Duke. “What’s the matter Shuten’? Needed backup?”

 

“Hardly,” Shuten’ said. “It’s just more enjoyable this way. Freezer Org!”

 

The Org fired a blast of sub-zero mist that the Rangers dove away from to avoid. They rolled to their knees and looked up to see Jindrax, Toxica, and Freezer Org charge forward to attack. The Rangers armed their weapons and returned the charge.

 

Gao White swung her baton towards the duke’s head. Toxica blocked the blow and twisted the baton aside while pressing forward. The villain swung the tip of her staff down in an x-shaped pattern that sparked across the White Ranger’s chest.

 

Toxica dashed past Gao White with a horizontal blow that sparked across her armor. The villain turned and speared her weapon against Gao White’s chest, knocking the White Ranger off her feet and sending her tumbling across the ground.

 

The duke fired strands of purple energy with her staff that wrapped around Gao White and lifted her off the ground. Toxica used the energy strands to whip Gao White backward and smash her against the wall.

 

The White Ranger slid down the wall and crashed against the ground below as Toxica dashed forward.

 

Toxica swung her staff down towards Gao White’s head. Gao White grabbed the staff and twisted in downward.

 

“Foolish, girl,” Toxica said with an evil gleam in her eye. “I’ll make you regret calling me a ‘grandma.’”

 

“You still haven’t let that go?” Gao White said.

 

Toxica pulled her staff free and slashed Gao White across the chest. The blow sparked on impact and whipped the White Ranger’s body backward.

 

Nearby, Gao Yellow and Jindrax wrestled against each other. Theirs blades were pressed together and they grabbed each others’ wrists. They pulled and twisted against each other, each trying to gain the upper hand.

 

They smashed through a chain-link fence, and Jindrax pushed the Yellow Ranger against a pile of crates.

 

Jindrax pulled his weapon free and slammed the Ranger off his feet. Gao Yellow crashed backward and tumbled across the ground.

 

Gao Yellow rolled onto his feet just in time to block a pair of blows from Jindrax. The opponents blades clanged against each other as they started to circle around each other.

 

Jindrax slapped Gao Yellow’s blade aside and slashed him across the chest with a powerful diagonal strike that sparked on impact. The villain slashed again with a backhand swing that sparked against the Ranger’s armor.

 

Gao Yellow stepped back and swung his sword towards the villain, but Jindrax parried the blow and slashed across the Yellow Ranger’s chest with a x-shaped strike.

 

The two opponents swung their blades at each other. Steel clanged against steel as they pressed their swords together and leaned towards each other.

 

“Haven’t you learn by now?” Jindrax asked. “No one is a better swordsman than me.”

 

“I beg to differ,” Gao Yellow said.

 

The opponents pulled free from each other and swung down. They both scored a hit against each others. Slashes sparked across their bodies and knocked them backward.

 

Gao Yellow stumbled across the ground before rising into a crouched position. The Yellow Ranger armed his wings and sprang forward through the air. He glided downward and grabbed Jindrax, lifting the villain from his feet and dragging him through the air. Gao Yellow landed against the side of a wall and bashed Jindrax’s head against the building.

 

Nearby, Gao Red sprang through the air and swung his dagger down towards Freezer Org. The Org backhand slapped the dagger away and clawed the Red Ranger across the chest with a massive burst of sparks.

 

The blow whipped Gao Red’s body backward and sent him tumbling into the dock entrance of a warehouse, where the others Gao Blue and Gao Black regrouped around him.

 

Gao Black helped the Red Ranger to his feet. “You okay?”

 

“Just peachy,” Gao Red said.

 

Freezer Org opened its maw and fired a cloud of sub-zero gas that surrounded their bodies, forming frost and ice across their helmets, visors and armor. The three Ranger collapsed to the ground, and Freezer Org ended his sub-zero attack.

 

The villain stalked towards the unmoving Rangers. “Not even you can withstand the cold, rangers…”

 

The creature pressed its foot down on Gao Red’s chest. Without warning, Gao Red grabbed the creature’s leg as Gao Black and Gao Blue sprang to their feet with their weapons.

 

The Blue Ranger and Black Ranger dashed past opposite sides of the villain while slashing across his armor, blades sparking on impact.

 

“Ha!” they shouted as they turned and slashed across the villain again, their weapons continuously chopping and cutting against the villain with a flurry of savage strikes.

 

Gao Red tightened his grip on the villain’s ankle and pulled hard, crashing the Org of his feet and sending him tumbling across the ground.

 

Gao Red sprang forward as the Org rose to his feet. The Red Ranger separated his weapon so that a Lion Fang was over each hand.

 

“Ha!“ The Red Ranger pressed forward with a flurry of punches, each bashing against Freezer Org with massive bursts of sparks. The blows chipped away at the villain’s armor and drew puss-coated black ichor from the wounds.

 

Gao Red stepped back and slashed both clouds against the villain. The Lion Fangs tore across the villain’s armor with a massive burst of spark that sent him flying backward.

 

“Gaoling cannon!” The Lion fang shifted shape and transformed into a short rifle weapon with the golden head of the rifle engraved at its end. The weapon’s barrels were wrapped around the lion’s mane.

 

Gao Red triggered the weapon, firing rapid blasts of green energy darts that exploded against Freezer Org with bursts of spark. The blasts punctured through armor, spraying black ichor upon impact. 

 

“Final mode!” Gao Red said as he stepped forward and aimed his weapon for another strike. The mouth of the lion opened to form a larger barrel. “Gao!”

 

Gao Red fired a roaring pulse of golden, crimson energy that rolled forward while tearing through Freezer Org. The blast caused a massive explosion that ripped the Org apart, vaporizing its armor and incinerating its rotted flesh. 

 

“Freezer Org!” Shuten’ shouted as Toxica and Jindrax regrouped with him. He looked to Toxica. “Release your seeds.”

 

Toxica extended the end of her staff downward as it slid open like an iris, shooting out a dozen black seeds. Toxica started to scream a chant as the seeds rooted in the ooze remains. “Oniah-sha-shee! Kua-ta-to!”

 

Thick vines shot up from the ooze, extending as high as a skyscraper. The vines started to mesh together while twisting and thrashing back and forth. The vines formed a giant-sized version of a reborn Freezer Org.

 

The giant Org looked down towards the Ranger sand fired a massive sub-zero cloud. The Rangers dove aside and took cover before rolling back to their feet.

 

The Rangers unsheathed their Gao Daggers and extended the blades into the sky. “Wildzords, descend!”

 

The daggers’ enchanted melody reached the sky island and summoned the Power Animals. Gaorilla, GaoBear, GaoPolar, GaoBison, and GaoEagle descended on a bridge of light and charged into battle.

 

“Gaorilla!” Gao Red shouted as energy pumped through his veins. “Do it!”

 

Gaorilla grabbed a hold of the villain’s crotch with one hand and shoulder with the other, lifting the villain off the streets. The green-armored Power Animal hurled the monster through the air. Freezer Org crashed against the ground and slid backward, tearing across the street’s pavement.

 

Gaorilla armed curved energy blades between his fingers, each blade appearing almost like a banana. Gaorilla tossed the energy blades forward, and each exploded against Freezer Org with massive bursts of spark that forced the villain backward.

 

Gaorilla roared and pounded its chest like its namesake.

 

“GaoBear!” Gao Yellow shouted. “GaoPolar!”

 

The bears leapt through the air towards Freezer Org. The bears melded into a rolling energy wheel of fiery power that shot towards the monster and crashed against its armor with a massive burst of spark.

 

“GaoBison!” Gao Black shouted.

 

The mighty bison charged forward and rammed his horns against Freezer Org, knocking the monster backward.

 

The Rangers stood in a circle and thrust their daggers towards the center. Gao Red looked up while making a claw with his left hand over the right side of his chest. “Wildzords! Assemble!”

 

Gaorilla leapt through the air and streaked forward through a tunnel of energy. The green-armored zord shifted shape and formed a muscular chest that GaoBear and GaoPolar attached too. GaoBison formed the legs and waist, and GaoEagle wrapped around the bison head as if a belt buckle. An armored helmet flipped up from the body as the transformation completed.

 

The Rangers entered their cockpit and placed their daggers into slots on the stations in front of them. “MegaKongazord!” they shouted. “GaoMuscle!”

 

Freezer Org fired a sub-zero cloud that GaoMuscle sidestepped away from. The Org decided to use more conventional means of attack as it charged forward.

 

“Double Knuckle!” they shouted. “Vital Slash!”

 

The zord energized its bear knuckle and swung a punch that streaked forward with fiery energy. The strike sparked against the monster on impact. GaoMuscle energized his polar knuckle and swung a punch that streaked icy energy. The strike sparked against the monster on impact.  

 

The villain stumbled backward as tendrils of energy thrashed across his armor, cracking it open and ripping open wounds of black puss and ichor. Chunks of the villain’s body exploded, spraying dark slime and pieces of rotted flesh onto the streets below.

 

But Freezer Org managed to throw himself against GaoMuscle and grab tightly onto the zord. The monster released a cloud of sub-zero energy as his body overloaded and exploded.

 

GaoMuscle crashed against the ground and slid backward. Ice covered the zord’s armor. 

 

“Perfect….” Shuten’ said from below. Everything had gone as planned.

 

Even the inside of the Rangers’ cockpits were frozen. Ice covered their gems and daggers.

 

“This doesn’t look good,” Gao Blue said as he inspected his frozen crystal.

 

Their armor flashed and powered down. As they were forced from the Megazord and dropped onto the streets below. They slowly rose to their feet.

 

“Our morphers are frozen,” Michael said as he inspected his G-Phone.

 

The axe of Shuten’ suddenly cut through the air and landed at the rangers’ feet. The blast produced an energy shockwave that sent them flying off their feet. The teens slammed hard against the ground and skid backward.

 

“Rangers…” Shuten’ said as he and the two dukes stalked towards the fallen team. “Your access lines are frozen. You are powerless…”

 

Simon clenched his jaw and pulled himself back to his feet. Rolling his hands into fists, he glared at the Highness Duke. “We’re far from powerless, horn head.”  

 

The rangers charged forward, shouting a war cry as the power of their Wildzords pumped through their bodies, strengthening every muscle.

 

Shuten’ extended his palm and fired an energy pulse that exploded around the rangers as they dove for cover.

 

Simon and Ryan rolled to their knees just as Shuten’ extended his arms like tendrils and grabbed the two rangers’ by their throats. They gasped for air while trying to pry the Org’s hands away.

 

Shuten’ slowly reeled both rangers in and held them close, squeezing just tight enough to cause them pain, but not tight enough to kill them - yet. The Org enjoyed watching the young humans suffer.

 

“Foolish humans,” Shuten’ said. “Without your Wildzords, you are nothing.”

 

Shuten’ tossed the two rangers aside like rag dolls. They hit the ground hard, slamming against their ribs.

 

Nearby, Saiya grabbed onto Toxica’s staff to block the weapon. Toxica used her staff to lift Saiya from the ground and fling her through the air.

 

Meanwhile, Jindrax leapt past Michael and Timothy while bashing the ends of his daggers across their heads. He leapt back towards them with his daggers aimed downward, but the two ranger grabbed Jindrax by the wrists and flipped him through the air.

 

Shuten’ slammed the back of his fist across Ryan and Simon’s heads. The rangers went flying backward and crashed back-first onto the ground.

 

The Highness Duke fired a spinning energy blade that exploded around Ryan and Simon, knocking them backward.

 

Their jackets protected them from some of the shockwave’s impact, but their bodies were still battered and bruised. Both rangers had cracked ribs and throbbing pain across their bodies. Ryan suffered a dislocated shoulder.

 

Simon clenched his jaw as he slowly rose to his feet. He had to convince his body not to pass out from the pain. His vision blurred as he narrowed his eyes at Shuten’. The Highness Duke stalked forward and slammed an uppercut against the young ranger’s stomach.

 

The ranger’s breath was knocked away as he crashed to the ground. He winced as he hit the ground, but kept himself from screaming.

 

Was this how it was going to end? Was he going to die only months into realizing a childhood dream? A dream he never could have fully comprehended?

 

Shuten’ kicked Simon across the ground and moved closer to the teen.

 

Ryan charged towards Shuten’ and leapt onto the Org’s back. The Highness Duke sent charged of yellow electric energy that zapped against Ryan, causing him to scream as the force of the blasts hurled him backward.

 

Electric burn marks covered Ryan’s exposed skin as he hit the ground hard and skid backward.

 

Saiya, Michael, and Timothy were all knocked off their feet by Jindrax and Toxica. The villains had struck the rangers into a little pile.

 

Shuten laughed mockingly as he walked towards the fallen rangers. He stopped near Michael and Simon.

 

“Hmmm…” Shuten’ said thoughtfully. “Which is first? The shark or bison?”

 

“Leave him alone…” Michael managed to say.

 

Shuten’ kicked Michael upside the head.

 

Timothy shouted and used the last of his strength to spring towards the Highness Duke. Shuten’s merely grasped Timothy by the neck and tossed him down. The fallen Org placed a foot on the fallen ranger’s chest. “You’re so easy to defeat now that you can’t transform…it’s almost not a challenge, so you’ll forgive me if I have to make this last.”

 

Shuten’s removed his foot and kicked Timothy aside. The ranger skid backward and bumped against Michael. Their frozen animal gems rolled free from their pockets and across the ground.

 

Jindrax’s eyes gleamed as he picked up the black gem, while Toxica picked up the giraffe and shark gems.

 

Ryan slowly rose to all fours as Shuten stalked towards him. The teen rolled his hand into a fist. “get away from me, you-”

 

Shuten’ smacked the back of his hand across the ranger’s chest. The Highness Duke bent down and removed the eagle and bear gems from the ranger’s pocket. “Thank you…”

 

Shuten’ looked to Saiya and tilted his head with amusement. “And now the little girl. I may keep you for other pleasures after I kill my friends.”

 

Saiya shook her head. “I’ll kill myself before I ever let that happen.”

 

Shuten merely shrugged. “Whichever way you prefer.”

 

The villain kicked her in the gut before reaching down and taking her gems.

 

***

 

Tetomu could barely watch through the sacred Pool. She had to do something to help the rangers, but what?

 

The infant Soul Bird suddenly started flapping its wings, half of its body still in the shell. The bird called a slight whistling noise, trying to get Tetomu’s attention.

 

Tetomu tilted her head and walked over to the bird, lifting it by its shell. “What is it?”

 

The Soul Bird started whistling louder, its eyes glowing with determination. Tetomu could sense the bird’s feelings.

 

“I see…” she said. “You want to help them, don’t you?”

 

***

 

Shuten’ reached down and lifted Simon by the neck. “And last is you, Gao Red…”

 

Shuten’ tossed him backward and sent him skidding across the ground.

 

Despite his near-crippling pain, Simon pulled himself to his feet and rolled his hands into fists. “We’re not done yet…”

 

“You are,” Shuten’ said.

 

The Org’s horn fired crimson energy tentacles that wrapped around Simon and snapped him off his feet. The tentacles slammed him against the ground and bashed him against a nearby building before tossing him aside.

 

Simon crashed against the streets. His animal crystal rolled from his pocket. The Org bent down and lifted the crystal. “Ah…the mighty lion. Without him, you are nothing but an annoying human.”

 

Jindrax and Toxica tossed the other four rangers onto the ground near Simon. Shuten’ held his axe forward as Toxica and Jindrax lifted their weapons.

 

“This is where you die,” Shuten’ said.

 

The villains swung their weapons down towards the unprotected rangers. 

 

But a strange noise cut through the air before their weapons could connect. The sound was like a whistling pipe that caused the Org extreme pain, causing the villains to drop their weapons and scream in agony.

 

The rangers looked up with quizzical expressions on their face. The noise did not hurt them at all. In fact, they found it almost soothing.

 

Tetomu stood on a small rooftop nearby while holding the Soul Bird forward. The gem on the Soul Bird’s head flashed with energy, creating the high-pitched noise. 

 

Saiya’s eyes opened wide with relief. “Tetomu!”

 

“Rangers,” Tetomu called to them. “This is the Soul Bird’s power…”

 

The stolen animal crystals were torn from the Org and shot through the air. Each crystal radiated with energy as it orbited around the Soul Bird. The Soul Bird’s warmth thawed the crystals, zords and morphers.

 

The rangers morphers toned as they came back online.

 

Simon smiled and flipped his morpher open as he rose to his feet, the Soul Bird’s song having reinvigorated the rangers. “Alright guys…let’s take care of business…”

 

The other rangers flipped open their morphers as well.

 

“Wild Access! Ha!” Energy shimmered around them as their armor wrapped around their bodies and their visors snapped into place. They morphed into their Ranger forms and snapped into animal-like fighting stances.

 

“Blazing Lion! Gao Red!”

 

“Noble Eagle! Gao Yellow!”

 

“Surging Shark! Gao Blue!”

 

“Iron Bison!” Gao Black!”

 

“Belle Tiger! Gao White!”

 

“Guardians of the Earth” Gao Red called, “United we roar! Wild Task Force!”

 

“Gao Ranger!” they shouted together.

 

Gao Yellow snapped open his wings and flew through the air. He swooped down and grabbed Jindrax by the neck, lifting him from the ground and dragging him through the air.

 

The Yellow Ranger slammed Jindrax against a wall and flew back, slamming the villain against a second wall before tossing Jindrax aside.

 

Jindrax crashed hard against the street. As the villain rose to his feet, he saw Gao Blue surging forward.

 

The Blue Ranger clawed the Org repeatedly, golden nails sparking across the villain’s white mask. With a powerfully swing, Gao Blue slashed both pairs of claws across the Duke Org’s face.

 

Gao Yellow landed and charged forward towards Jindrax with his Eagle Sword in hand.

 

“Eagle Sword!” Gao Yellow shouted as his sword energized with golden power. “Noble Slash!”

 

Gao Yellow swung his weapon downward in a tilted-x pattern. The blade streaked with golden energy as it slashed across the duke, sparking against his body on impact.

 

“Shark Cutters!” Gao Blue shouted as his weapons pulsed with blue power. “Surging chopper!”

 

He swung his blades horizontally, each weapon streaking with blue energy while slashing across Jindrax and sparking on impact.

 

Nearby, Gao Black and Gao White leapt towards Toxica. The two rangers slashed their claws down while landing. The golden nails sparked on impact and whipped the duke’s body backward.

 

Toxica crashed onto her back as the two Rangers leaned down and grabbed her by the shoulder. On all fours, Gao Black and Gao White dashed forward while pushing Toxica along, dragging her across the ground. They slammed her head against a wall and rolled aside.

 

Meanwhile Gao Red charged towards the Highness Duke. The Red Ranger had his Lion Fang wrapped around his left hand and carried his dagger in his right hand. The blood of the lion pumped through his veins like a blazing fire, energizing every cell in his body.

 

“Kiah!” Gao Red spun forward and slashed both weapons across the Highness Duke with a burst of spark. He turned back towards the villain and slashed Fang and Dagger across the Highness Duke’s chest, sparks ripping apart rotted flesh and muscle.

 

“Ha!” Gao Red hopped forward and chopped both weapons down while landing, striking the villain with a powerful blow that sparked on impact and sent Shuten’ stumbling backward.

 

The opponents started circling around each other as Gao Red tightened his grip on his dagger.

 

“This is what happens when you gloat too early, Shuten’!” Gao Red charged forward to attack. “Ha!”

 

***

 

The Master Org statue rumbled within the Nexus as putrid steam leaked from its mouth.

 

The jaw trembled and spat out a twirling torrent of crimson energy that struck a nearby statue. Cracks formed along the statue and leaked with black puss as the rock started to twist and take shape.

 

***

 

The Red Ranger and Org dashed past each other while swinging their weapons downward. Gao Red used his Lion Fang to parry the blow while slashing his Dagger across the villain’s chest with a burst of spark.

 

The opponents turned back to face each other as Shuten’s swung his axe towards Gao Red’s head. Gao Red used his Lion Fang to catch the axe blade and twist the weapon downward.

 

“Ha!” Gao Red slammed the handle of his Dagger against the Org’s hand with a burst of spark. The villain’s hand went limp and he dropped the axe to the ground.

 

“Kiya!” Gao Red swung his Lion Fang forward in a punch that slammed through the Highness Duke with a burst of spark, puncturing through his body with a massive eruption of puss-covered ichor and slime.

 

Shuten’ growled with pain but reached forward and grabbed Gao Red in a strong chokehold, nearly breaking his neck and forcing him downward.

 

“Gaoling Cannon!” The Lion Fang shifted shape and transformed into a short rifle weapon.

 

Gao Red triggered the weapon, firing rapid blasts of green energy darts that exploded against Shuten’s at point blank range, sending explosions and sparks tearing across his body while forcing him back step by step.

 

“Final mode!” Gao Red said as he stepped forward and aimed his weapon for another strike. The mouth of the lion opened to form a larger barrel. “Gao!”

 

Gao Red fired a roaring pulse of golden, crimson energy that rolled forward while tearing through Shuten’. The blast tore apart half of the villain’s body apart with a massive crimson explosion. Ichor and puss dripped from the gaping wounds.

 

“Master Shuten’!” Toxica shouted from afar as she ran over to the fallen villain.

 

Half destroyed, Shuten’ grabbed Toxica’s staff and pushed her aside. Shuten’ narrowed his bubbling main at the Red ranger. “And now…let me show you a Highness Duke’s Power…”

 

Shuten’ speared the weapon through his own chest with a burst of spark. His body suddenly expanded and grew giant as tendrils of black vines knitted his half-torn body back together.

 

Shuten’ fired jagged pulses of crimson energy from his horn that tore across the streets below with massive bursts of flame and smoke, sending debris flying everywhere.

 

The Rangers regrouped and ducked for cover as rubble crashed around them.

 

“Let’s get to our zords,” Gao Red said as they ran towards their fallen Megazord.

 

The Rangers entered their cockpit and placed their daggers into slots on the stations in front of them. “MegaKongazord!” they shouted. “GaoMuscle!”

 

GaoMuscle pounded its chest like an ape before stomping towards the giant Highness Org.

 

The Megazord thrust its bear arms forward in a flurry of mighty punches, each sparking against Shuten’ upon impact. Energy pumped through the bear arms, fueling every blow with a powerful burst of energy.

 

Shuten’ suddenly grabbed one of the bear fists. “This will not go nearly as well as you expected.”

 

The Highness Duke massive strands of crimson energy from his horn. The energy blasts wrapped around GaoMuscle and thrashed across his armor with bursts of spark and flame. The attack knocked GaoMuscle off his feet and sent him crashed hard against the ground.

 

The crash knocked the Rangers out of their cockpit and onto the streets.

 

Gao Black shook his head as he slowly rose to his feet. “GaoMuscle is still too injured from the freeze.”

 

Nearby, the Soul Bird whined again, its cry splitting through the air. The Soul Bird pulsed with golden energy as it expanded its wings. The Soul Bird shot forward in a comet of bright light, streaking past the Highness Duke while slashing across his body, sparking on impact.

 

Soul Bird shot upward and shifted shape, forming an armored bird large enough to fit each Ranger on its side.

 

“Rangers,” Tetomu said. “The Soul Bird can form the heart of your zords and increase their strength.”

 

Gao Red looked up to the Soul Bird. “Let’s hop on, guys…”

 

The Rangers leapt into the air and landed on five slots that formed along the Soul Bird’s armor. “Soul Drive!” Gao Red shouted. “GaoMuscle!”

 

The Soul Bird phased through the MegaKongazord’s back and took its place in the zord’s cockpit. They placed their Daggers into the Soul Bird’s control slots and hovered their hands over pairs of black, organic-looking orbs.

 

Shuten opened fired with crimson energy tendrils that exploded around GaoMuscle as the massive zord stomped forward.

 

GaoMuscle grabbed Shuten’ by the horn and lifted the villain off his feet. The Megazord hurled the Highness Duke through the air and sent him crashing against the ground.

 

***

 

The statue in the Org Nexus bubbling and growing. Parts of the slime hardened and shattered as arms burst forth. The black slime shifted colors, turning into a pale green.

 

Jade energy of pure lust pulsed into the statue.

 

***

 

Shuten’ slowly rose to his feet and laughed mockingly at the Rangers. “You can do nothing, nothing, to defeat me.”

 

The Soul Bird cried as its eyes lit up. Gao Red placed his hand over the lion symbol on his chest as he felt the Soul Bird’s emotions wash over him. His mind drifted upward to the sky island, where GaoLion, GaoShark, and GaoTiger roared with fury.

 

GaoLion was healed and ready for battle.

 

Gao Red’s eyes opened wide beneath his helmet. “Guys, we can form Gao King again!”

 

The Rangers lifted their Gao Daggers and extended the blades upward. “Wildzords, descend!”

 

The blades emitted an enchanting melody. The tone reached up to the sky island Anamarium and caught the ears of the Power Animals. A bridge of multi-colored light extended down from the island and towards the Earth. The Power Animals roared as they charged down the bridge and into battle.

 

GaoLion pounced forward and clawed against the Highness Duke, ripping against his rotting flesh and knocking him backward.

 

Gao Red made a claw with his left hand over the right side of his chest. “Wildzords! Assemble!”

 

The Soul Bird pulled out of GaoMuscle and arced through the air. The MegaKongazord disassembled. 

 

The five Wildzords charged forward as fiery energy surrounded them. GaoBison morphed into a waist and set of legs. GaoTiger and GaoShark formed the arms and attached to GaoLion, which served as the chest. GaoEagle attached to the lion and allowed the zord to hover over the ground as it zoomed forward.

 

 The combined zord rose up and back-flipped through the air as the formation completed.

 

“Soul Drive!” Gao Red shouted. “Gao King!”

 

The Soul Bird phased through the Gao King’s back and took its place in the zord’s cockpit. They placed their Daggers into the Soul Bird’s control slots and hovered their hands over pairs of black, organic-looking orbs.

 

“MegaWildzord!” the Rangers shouted from their cockpit. “Gao King!”

 

The MegaWildzord snapped into a fighting stance as Shuten’ charged forward to attack.

 

“Soul-Charge, Roaring Fury!” Gao Red shouted.

 

The end of the Soul Bird opened and formed a spinning turbine that shot a blast of golden energy out of  the lion’s mouth. Each of the animals’ mouths opened and fired a pulse of energy. The energy beams combined and exploded through the Org, ripping the Highness Duke to shreds and vaporizing him.

 

***

 

The rangers walked across the war-torn streets after their battle. Their clothes were still tattered. Dry blood was cached on their skins. Their muscles and joints ached with every step. But they did not care. Shuten’ was gone.

 

“We did it!” Timothy shouted as he slapped Michael on the shoulder. “We were awesome. Right, Black?”

 

Michael nodded. “In the end…”

 

Simon was quiet, and his gaze was distant. Saiya walked over towards him. “Red…you’re quiet…”

 

Simon nodded. “Something’s wrong,” he said as a chill crept down his spine. “Shuten’ is gone…but someone else has taken his place.”

 

The other rangers stopped in their when they heard. Ryan narrowed his eyes. “What are you talking about?”

 

Explosions blasted around the rangers and knocked them backward. The rangers rolled to their knees and looked up. What they saw shocked them.

 

Bubbling, crimson slime was starting to take shape and harden, resembling the shape of the Highness Duke they just defeated. The slime thrashed as the villain’s arms protruded. An axe formed in the Org’s hand, which was dripping with black puss and ichor.

 

“The Org are immortal!” Shuten’ shouted.

 

But strands of green energy suddenly wrapped around the slime. Explosions sparked across Shuten’ with massive bursts of spark, tearing him to shreds. Shuten’ vaporized in slimy steam that dispersed with a final puff of smoke.

 

When the smoke cleared, the ranger noticed a powerful Org standing on the streets. His body was green and laced with gold. He wore a golden ring around a massive horn extending from his back. His body waved backward like two giant ears, each with rings of gold.

 

As odd as he was shaped, he looked like an intricately sculpted piece of art. His name was Ura, and he was the new Highness Duke Org. The villain’s hand still crackled with jade-tinted energy from the fatal blow he had delivered to his predecessor. 

 

The rangers snapped into fighting stances.

 

“Good night, Shuten’,” Ura said in a strange, high-pitched voice. His insanity was evident. The villain looked towards the rangers. “I am the Highness Duke, Ura.”

 

The villain teleported away with a burst of green light.

 

 

Ryan knitted his brow. “That’s it?”

 

They kept their guard up, thinking that Ura was playing a trick on them, expecting an attack at any second. But no attack came. 

 

Ura’s insane laughter echoed across the rooftops.

 

Simon sighed with frustration. “Great…”

 

To be continued…Chapter 12