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Ultimate Power Rangers: Reloaded

 

Power Rangers: Chapter Eleven 38

Deception

 

A pair of Capatros dragged a black chariot out from the fog at night. The chariot’s wooden wheels squeaked as they rolled across an asphalt trail surrounded by trees. Akomaru sat in the chariot alone. He blew on his new whistle, the equivalent of tipping his fingers with impatience against the side of the chariot.

 

Shadam stepped onto the path and stood in front of the chariot with his arms crossed.  

 

“Shadam…” Akomaru wrinkled his brow as he glared at his father.

 

“How much longer are you going to keep the Kiba Ranger’s identity to yourself? He’s to be destroyed.”

 

Akomaru did not have time for his father‘s games. He would not give his father the pleasure. “Father…the source of the Gorma’s power is-”

 

“Hate,” Shadam said, cutting off Akomaru. “That’s obvious.”

 

“Yes,” Akomaru said. “That’s how I became who I am today. My hatred for you and the mother who abandoned me.”

 

“So what?” Shadam said, quickly losing patience.

 

“I will get the Kiba Ranger to feel that hatred too. In that way, Gorma blood will flow through him. The hidden power will then come out.”

 

The chariot continued on, leaving Shadam behind. Shadam glared in the boy’s direction. I should have killed the boy when I had the chance…

________________________________________________________________________

 

“Kou!” Kimberly shouted as she set the breakfast table. “You’re going to be late for school…Kou..” she climbed up to the attic and shook him to wake him. But he would not move. “Kou…”

 

His alarm went off and he hopped out of bed. Kou jetted down the ladder while looking up at her. “Better hurry, sister. You’ll be late for school.” He laughed and ran towards the table. Kimberly smiled as she sighed and shook her head.

________________________________________________________________________

 

Kou rode on his skateboard as fast as possible towards school. For the first time in a long time, he was actually happy, so he wasn’t worried about being late.

 

Kou snuck into the back of the classroom quietly. He saw a cute new Chinese girl at the front of the class. She was being introduced by the teacher. “And we would like to welcome our new student…”

 

Someone pulled a chair out from Kou as he went to sit down. The boy yelped as he fell on his tailbone. His classmates laughed as the girl smiled at him. Kou blushed and smiled back at her with his cheesiest grin.

________________________________________________________________________

 

Billy’s car was parked at the curb in front of Kou’s elementary school. Rocky was in the passenger seat, hunched against the door with the window. “This sure takes long enough,” Rocky said.

 

“We’re doing it to help Kim,” Billy said.

 

Rocky raised an eyebrow. “You have a thing for her don’t you?”

 

Billy blushed. “That’s ridiculous,” he said. “Besides…she’s with Tommy.”

 

Rocky nodded and grinned. “Riiiight.” Through the corner of his eye, Rocky saw Kou hurrying from school with his skateboard and book bag in hand. “There’s Kou.”

 

Kou dropped his board and rode past the car while tossing his book bag inside the teen’s car. “Hey guys. Can’t go. Got a date. Thanks.”

 

“Did he just say date?” Rocky asked as Kou rode off.

________________________________________________________________________

 

Kou skated through a wooded park, taking a short cut on his way to his date. He skid to a stop when he noticed a light fog drift in from the trees. Akomaru stepped forward from the fog along with the two Kanjo sisters in their monster forms.

 

“I came to greet you, Kou,” Akomaru said.

 

Kou took a few steps back. “Greet me?”

 

The sisters fired pulses of energy that exploded against the ground in front of Kou, knocking the boy off his feet.

 

Akomaru smiled mockingly at the young ranger while stalking forward. “Transform…”

 

Kou shook his head as he backed up across the ground. “You’re crazy.”

 

“Maybe…” Akomaru said. “Now transform…transform or you’ll die.”

 

Kou moved backwards as Byakou whispered to him from the young Ranger’s jacket. “Kou, he’s trying to prove you’re the Kiba Ranger. Don’t transform carelessly.”

 

“Easy for you to say,” Kou mumbled.

 

“Kou!” Rocky and Billy ran towards Kou, entering the park from the edge of the woods.

 

“Them…” Akomaru grumbled. “Capatros!”

 

Capatros appeared and rushed towards the two teens. Kou took advantage of Akomaru’s distraction to run for cover.

 

“Kiryoku Transform!” Rocky and Billy connected their braces as energy shimmered around them and they morphed into their armor.

Tenma Ranger armed his twin nunchuku. He bashed the weapons across a soldier’s head and reached back. Two soldiers tried to sneak up behind the Blue Ranger. Tenma Ranger reached back, slamming his weapons against the soldiers’ faces, knocking the black grunts backward.

 

Kirin Ranger tossed his roped blade forward. The blade speared into a grunt’s throat. The Yellow Ranger pulled the soldier off his feet, sending the grunt collapsing onto its back while snapping his body forward. Kirin Ranger drop elbowed the soldier, bashing in its ribs on impact.

 

Kou scurried away as Byakou peeked his head out from the boy’s jacket. “Kou…behind the bush.” He ducked behind the bush. “Stick me in the ground. They know my voice as the Kiba Ranger. I’ll distract them while you transform.”

 

Kou nodded and stuck Byakou in the ground. As Kou came out from the bush, the two Gorma sisters and Akomaru ambushed him, causing Kou to fall against his tailbone. Akomaru smiled mockingly. “What are you going to do now? You have no choice,” Akomaru said as he walked towards Kou.

 

Kou shuffled backward on the ground.

 

“Kou!” Tenma Ranger shouted as he and Kirin Ranger continued to battle Capatros.

 

“Gorma!” Byakou shouted from within the woods. “I’m over here!”

Akomaru knitted his brow with confusion. “This way!” he shouted as he and the two sisters ran towards the voice.

 

Kou ducked for cover and readied his wrist brace and golden key. “Kiryoku transform, Kiba Power!” Energy flashed around Kou and surged through every cell in his body, causing him to mature as he morphed into his Ranger form.

 

Kiba Ranger sprang through the air and launched into a somersault before landing near Byakou. The White Ranger pulled his saber from the ground and snapped into a fighting stance as he faced off with Akomaru and the two Gorma monsters.

 

“Kiba Ranger,” Akomaru cursed.

 

“You’ll never learn, will you boy,” Byakou said.

 

Kiba Ranger leapt through the air with his saber held high and angled his descent towards Akomaru.

 

Necklace Kanjo unsheathed her sword and stood in front of her young master. The White Ranger’s sword clashed against her own. The opponents pressed their weapons against each other as they turned, each trying to gain the advantage.

 

Kiba Ranger twisted his wrist and slapped the Gorma’s sword away. The White Ranger brought his blade back down diagonally, thrashing across the monster’s body with a burst of spark.

 

Kiba Ranger pressed forward and speared his saber towards the Gorma’s head. Earring Kanjo grabbed the blade between her hands, twisted the weapon aside, and slammed a backfist strike against the Ranger’s helmet. 

 

Kiba Ranger stumbled backward and fell to the ground. It must have been the fall that reminded him. “Ah!” he practically shouted, kicking himself for forgetting. “My date…”

 

Kiba Ranger turned and ran from the scene.

 

A sly grin crossed Akomaru’s face. He and the Gorma sisters stepped backward and teleported away, blurring out of vision. The Capatros vanished in the midst of fighting against the two Rangers.

 

“Short, but fun,” Tenma Ranger said.

 

The other three teens ran to the scene. “Are you guys okay?” Tommy asked.

 

“Yes,” Kirin Ranger said.

 

“What happened?” Tommy asked.

 

“Well, Kou… “ Tenma Ranger looked around, noticing that the boy was gone. “Uh..where’d he go?” Tenma Ranger said.

________________________________________________________________________

 

The girl, Miko, sat at a bench at a carnival in the city. Carousels and rides lined the concrete path her bench was on. She looked down at her watch to check the time.

 

“Hey!” Kou yelled as he waved and ran towards her. “Sorry I’m late.”

 

“You’re not late,” she said. “You’re right on time.”

 

Kou smiled sheepishly and breathed a sigh of relief. “Well how about that.”

 

Miko reached out and placed her hand over Kou’s hand. Kou smiled, his face turned slightly red. Miko rose from the bench and moved towards the nearest carousel while leading Kou by the hand.

 

They rode on the carousel. Kou and Miko shared one of the horses while they joked about their teacher. They bought ice-cream cones, and shared a few laughs when Kou got ice cream on his nose, before heading on the nearest roller coaster.

 

The tilt-a-whirl, a merry go round and a haunted house. They tried it all and lost track of time. Kou and Miko sat on one of the carnival benches as the sun started to set. They both licked another set of ice-cream cones.

 

Kou looked to the setting sun in the distance. I better go soon…Kimberly’s probably worried.”

 

“Who?”

 

“Kimberly,” Kou said. “She lets me live with her.”

Miko tilted her head. “What about your mom?”

 

Kou immediately felt a lump in his throat at the thought…

 

A young Kou, no older than five, sat on the floor of a strange shrine at night. He was crying as his mother held tight onto his arm. “Let go, momma!” he shouted, unable to understand what was happening.

 

Kou’s mother’s face was damp with tears, pained by her own grief. Pained by what she had to put her son through. She finished heating an iron stamp with the symbol of the tiger. “I’m sorry, Kou…I must do this…”

 

Kou was still crying, trying desperately to take his arm away.

 

She burned the tiger clamp onto his arm as he screamed. “Kou!” she shouted, dropping the clamp aside and reaching forward, embrace her son as they both cried.

 

“Kou?” Miko said, snapping Kou out of the flashback.

 

“Oh…sorry…” Kou said, shaking his head. “My mom left when I was younger.”

 

Miko lowered her gaze. “Sometimes I wish my mom would leave…” she whispered.

 

Kou knitted his brow. It was typical for kids to disagree with their parents, or so he’d heard, but something in the girl’s voice betrayed more than mother-daughter squabbles. 

________________________________________________________________________

 

Kou walked Miko home through a subdivision of lean apartment buildings crammed next to each other. The subdivision was just inside of China Town. They walked hand-in-hand.

 

“So did you have fun?” Kou asked.

 

She smiled at him. “Yeah…”

 

Miko’s mother walked from the apartment building. The woman looked like she was in a hurry as she dug through her purse for a cell phone. Miko moved over to her and placed a hand on her arm. “Mom! I want you to meet Kou.”

 

The woman slapped Miko’s hand away and kept moving. “There’s no time. Go tuck yourself in. It’s getting late.”

 

Kou narrowed his eyes at the woman as she walked away.

________________________________________________________________________

 

“You went on a date?” Tommy asked Kou in disbelief. The teens were outside Kimberly’s apartment, after searching the city for Kou all evening.

 

“You should have said something,” Adam said.

 

“Sorry,” Kou said quietly before turning and walking away.

 

“Kou…what’s wrong?” Kimberly asked.

 

Kou ignored them and kept walking. He moved to a small set of playground equipment behind the apartments and climbed up. He sat on top of the playground and stared ahead aimlessly.

 

Rocky followed Kou and climbed up the slide before sitting back-to-back with Kou.

 

“Nice night.” Rocky said.

 

“Hmph.”

 

“They were only upset because they were worried about you,” Rocky said. “We care about you.”

 

“I don’t see why,” Kou said. “My own mother didn’t even.”

 

Rocky shook his head. “Maybe she had a good reason for leaving.”

 

“Doubt it,” Kou said.

 

“It’ll all work out,” Rocky said. “Wherever your mom is…she loves you. All moms love their kids.”

 

Kou shook his head.

________________________________________________________________________

 

Kou decided to stop at Miko’s house the next day before school. Seeing the way her mother treated her unnerved Kou. The boy skateboarded in front of her apartment and pulled to a stop. He could Miko and the woman inside.

 

Miko was arguing with her mother. The woman was clearly losing patience. The woman grabbed Miko by the arm and pinched her skin hard. Kou heard Miko scream from outside.

________________________________________________________________________

 

Kou avoided Miko until after school. Afterwards, they walked to a pond in a park nearby so they could talk. Kou admitted what he saw. Miko tried to explain the uncomfortable subject as she stared out at the pond waters.

 

“She’s always been like that…it’s my fault though,” Miko said.

 

Rocky watched from a distance. He had gone to Kou’s school to pick him up, and followed the boy when he snuck from the back of the school building with Miko.

 

“No it’s not,” Kou said. “You need to tell someone.”

 

“Like who?” the girl asked.

 

A pale tentacle suddenly lashed out from the woods and wrapped around Miko’s ankles. The tendril snapped her off her feet and started dragging her away as she screamed.

 

“Miko!” Kou yelled as he ran after her.

 

In her monster form, Necklace Kanjo grabbed hold of Miko as Kou ran forward. The boy’s muscles tightened. “Let her go, Gorma!”

 

The sister laughed. “Now why would I want to do that?”

 

“Rocky,” Kou said, his eyes lit up as he grabbed hold of Rocky‘s arm.

 

The Gorma laughed again. “I’d like to see you try and start something.”

 

“You got it,” Rocky yelled as he ran towards the Gorma. The Gorma extended her hand and fired a golden energy ring that wrapped around Rocky, binding his arms down against his body.

 

The Gorma grabbed Miko and ran further into the wooded park. Kou ran after them, calling Miko’s name.   

 

“Kou don’t!” Rocky shouted. He started to run afterward, despite his bound upper body.

 

Ring Kanjo leapt down from above and landed in front of Rocky. She grabbed him by the throat and hurled him backward. The teen went tumbling across the ground.

 

The other Rangers leapt to the scene. “Fire Stream!” Dragon Ranger shouted as he jumped through the air and blasted the monster. Dragon Ranger landed as he and the others gathered around Rocky.

 

“Star Cutter!” Lion Ranger used his short saber to cut Rocky loose.

 

“Rocky,” Dragon Ranger said. “It’s morphin time.”

 

Rocky nodded and armed his morphers. “Kiryoku transform…Aura power!”

 

The Rangers snapped into fighting stances together as they faced off with Ring Kanjo. “Power of the stars, brought down…Five Star Task Force, Power Rangers!”

 

The Gorma snapped a staff into a fighting position. “My sister’s death will be avenged,” the monster said.

 

“We’ll see,” Dragon Ranger said. The Rangers energized and leapt forward to attack.

 

“Thunder Swords!” Dragon Ranger and Phoenix Ranger angled their descent towards the Gorma and swung their blade towards the villain’s head while landing.

 

The Gorma held her staff horizontally to block their blows and knocked their weapons aside. The villain lunged towards Kirin Ranger next and grabbed the Yellow Ranger by the throat. Ring Kanjo hurled Kirin Ranger off his feet and sent him slamming against Lion Ranger.

 

Tenma Ranger surprised the Gorma from the side with a screw kick that slammed against her body. Ring Kanjo slammed to the ground and tumbled backward. The villain slowly rose to her feet and held her staff in a mid-body level fighting stance. 

 

“Thunder Staff!” Blue Ranger twirled the red staff into a fighting position. 

 

The opponents stood face-to-face as they dashed sideways, each waiting for the other to make the first move.

 

Tenma Ranger sprang forward first, and the Gorma followed.  Their staffs clashed in midair as they flipped past each other and landed on the ground.

 

The Gorma dashed towards Tenma Ranger, spinning forward and bashing the end of her staff across the Ranger’s helmet. Blue Ranger spun with the blow and snapped a tornado kick that bashed across the villain, knocking her backward.

 

The Gorma moved in low and swung the end of her staff upward, bashing Tenma Ranger against the gut and knocking him backward, sending him flying backward through the air. The Blue Ranger twisted through the air and slammed his feet against a tree, got a solid footing, and pushed off.

 

Tenma Ranger sprang forward and used his staff to pole vault forward and slam a kick against the Gorma. The villain went stumbling backward as Tenma ranger landed and pushed forward.

 

“Thunder Blaster!” he shouted, firing lances of blue energy that exploded against the villain before she could strike back.

 

“It’s been real,” Tenma Ranger said as he continued forward. “Tenma Flash Kick!” The Blue Ranger launched forward, spinning a flurry of energized flash kicks that slammed across the villain with streaks of blue.

 

The kick bashed the Gorma backward, sending her tumbling across the ground as slid backward, tearing up grass and dirt

 

The Rangers regrouped around Tenma ranger. “Good job, Rocky,” Dragon Ranger said.

 

The injured Gorma rose to her feet. “Bastards…” she hissed while taking a step backward and vanishing away, blurring out of sight.

 

Tenma Ranger looked around. “Kou…”

 

“What?” Phoenix Ranger asked.

 

“He followed that other sister freak,” Tenma Ranger said as he ran off.

________________________________________________________________________

 

Kou stopped running and collapsed to his knees at the base of a grassy hill. He was out of breath, and the Gorma that took Miko was nowhere in sight.

 

Akomaru stood on top of the hill and looked down towards Kou’s back. A glimmer of evil delight sparkled in his dark eyes. “Let the anger well up inside you…Then not even the tiger brand will be able to keep the evil in you locked up.” 

 

Kou rolled his hands into fists. His jaws clenched, his eyes narrowed, Kou climbed to his feet.

________________________________________________________________________

 

Kou and the other rangers regrouped at the park where Miko was kidnapped. “We should go find her mother,” Tommy said. “Make up some kind of cover story.”

 

Kou shook his head. “It won’t work. She doesn’t care. I tried telling her and she pushed me away.”

 

“That’s parenting,” Rocky said sarcastically.

 

“It’s not funny!” Kou shouted.

 

“I…I know,” Rocky said.

 

Kou snarled in frustration and ran off. “This is all my fault!”

 

“Kou!” Kimberly called after him, but she let him go.

 

Kaku stepped out of the shadows as Kou ran by. The sensei knew the young boy’s identity. Perhaps the time had come to confront him.

________________________________________________________________________

 

A dusty red hue covered part of the mountain range outside the city. Metallic Gorma spheres hovered in the air, surrounding an upside down pyramid-shaped temple of stone. The symbol of a Gorma third eye was etched on each side of the temple.

 

Two columns of marble lined the blood-red carpet path within the main temple chambers. The carpet led to a platform with a large dull-golden symbol.

 

The Shogun and Akomaru stood side-by-side as they faced the Gorma Triumvirate, standing on opposite sides of the symbol. Shadam’s arms were crossed over his chest. “This is a waste of time.”  

 

“Oh, Shadam,” the Shogun said. “Your impatience will get you killed someday.”

 

Shadam glared at the Shogun, the muscles in his body tightening as he clenched his jaw, barely keeping himself from reaching out and choking the Shogun to death.

 

“We will go before the Emperor,” the Shogun said. “And I will request that Akomaru become field commander of his forces…instead of you…”

 

The Shogun turned towards the front of the symbol. “Emperor,” The Shogun said as he got down on his knees. “We await you!”

 

A smaller metal sphere arced down towards the carpet and stopped in front of the symbol. The sphere flashed with dark light, materializing into a man dressed in solid black. He stood in front of the symbol. He wore a dark-brown wooden mask that covered the top half of his face.

 

The man extended a tray that held two wooden masks. Shadam and the Shogun placed the masks on. Shadam kneeled as well. The floor beneath them slightly trembled. Two flat-topped columns rose, extending Shadam and the Shogun several stories upward.

 

Both platforms came to a stop. A hovering platform was suspending in front of them, slightly higher. The emperor sat on the pillar. White robes flowed across his body. His face was painted white, and he wore a white headpiece that exposed the third eye at the center of his head. He held a small windmill that spun slowly in his right hand.

 

Shadam and the Shogun rose to their feet. “Emperor,” Shadam said. “I…”

 

The emperor threw his windmill. It attached to the Shogun’s chest. “You…speak…” the emperor said. His voice was high-pitched and echoed with insanity.

 

Shogun inclined his head. “I am honored.”

 

The emperor laughed with amusement. He waved his hand flippantly, signaling the Shogun to speak.

 

“Akomaru should command your forces,” the Shogun said. “It was he who knew the secret of the Kiba Ranger…”

 

“Who has now joined with the Rangers…” Shadam was quick to point out.

 

“Silence, Shadam,” the emperor said.

 

The Shogun took a step forward on the small pedestal. “If we could have had an army at our command, Byakoushieken could have belonged to us.”

 

The emperor looked to Shadam, indicating it was now his turn to speak. “Shadam.”

 

Shadam pulled out a crystal sphere. “What’s done is done. Kiba Ranger is one of them now…but I can ensure we don’t make the same mistake with another opportunity.” The ball projected pictures of the Thunderzords. “Ryuseiou, Sei Tenma, Sei Shishi, Sei Houhou, Sei Kirin…they are a constant pain in our sides...but there is another…Won Tiger. If we find it first, we can either use it against the Rangers, or simply destroy it to keep it out of their hands.”

 

The emperor rose and the pillar floated closer to the Shogun and Shadam. The emperor removed the windmill from the Shogun and pinned it on Shadam. The emperor smiled, a glimmer of insanity in his eye.

 

The emperor laughed with madness as he leaned backward. “Now go…”

________________________________________________________________________

 

Kou stood on a wooded pier that looked out from the other side of the pond. He leaned against the wooden railing, placing his chin on his arms. Kaku stepped up besides the boy. “What troubles you, Kiba Ranger?”

 

“Huh?” Kou asked as he took a step back in shock. “How did you…?”

 

“Don’t worry,” Kaku said. “I won’t tell the others.”

“Ahhh…” Byakou peeked his head out from Kou‘s jacket and looked up at the sensei.. “Kaku…”

 

“Byakoushieken,” Kaku said. “It’s good to see you again.”

 

“You too, old man, but I wish it could have been under better circumstances,” the saber said. “I have a bad feeling…”

 

“…me too…”

 

“…Won Tiger…”

 

Kaku nodded. “…we must get to it first…”

Kou shook his head. “What?”

________________________________________________________________________

 

The triumvirate toasted to their victory at a shrine in Chinatown. A small needle suddenly shot through the air and cut Shadam across the face, drawing a thin line of red blood. He looked up to see Akomaru approaching with the two Gorma sisters in their human forms.

 

“Don’t count me out yet, Shadam,” Akomaru said. “Kiba Ranger will be mine…the Gorma will be mine…and you will be dead.”

 

Shadam’s body tightened with rage. His fist clenched, shattering his glass.

________________________________________________________________________

 

Kou stood in front of Miko’s empty apartment building. That poor girl, Kou thought to himself. She had such a hard life, and now Kou had made things worse. He only hoped she was still alive. She had to be. Or the Gorma would pay. “Miko…”

 

A mailman on a bicycle rode past Kou. He handed the boy a letter before riding off. “This is for you…”

 

Kou opened the letter. “It’s from Akomaru…” he wrinkled his brow as he read. “Miko…” 

________________________________________________________________________

 

Kou ran through the city to the industrial park, north of the docks that sat along the shore of Angel Grove. He hopped a chain link fence and moved towards the warehouse that was half open.

 

He moved into the warehouse and saw Kou tied to a post inside. “Miko!” he shouted as he ran to her.

 

“Kou!” she shouted back as Kou leaned down and untied her.

 

Kou grabbed her hand and helped her to her feet as they dashed towards the warehouse exit and moved towards the pier, where Kou hoped there would be people.

 

They made it to the pier and found Miko’s mother standing near the railing, a stern look on her face. “Mom!” Miko shouted as she ran towards her mother. 

 

The mother grabbed Miko’s wrist. “This is the last time,” she said. “Where have you been?”

 

“I…”

 

“No more excuses…we’ll see how well you do on your own,” she pushed her own daughter to the ground and started walking away.

 

“Mom!” Miko pleaded, tears down her face.

 

Kou clenched his jaw as he thought back to his own mother.

 

A young Kou, no older than five, sat on the floor of a strange shrine at night. He was crying as his mother held tight onto his arm. “Let go, momma!” he shouted, unable to understand what was happening.

 

Kou’s mother’s face was damp with tears, pained by her own grief. Pained by what she had to put her son through. She finished heating an iron stamp with the symbol of the tiger. “I’m sorry, Kou…I must do this…”

 

Kou was still crying, trying desperately to take his arm away.

 

She burned the tiger clamp onto his arm as he screamed. “Kou!” she shouted, dropping the clamp aside and reaching forward, embrace her son as they both cried.

 

Kou placed his hand on the railing and tightened his grip, his knuckles turning white as he looked out to the ocean. “Mother…” he said in a voice thick with sorrow and anger. The tiger brand on his arm flashed with lines of blue energy.

 

Then the light enveloped him and expanded. “It wasn’t her fault…” he said. He looked out into the sea. He saw his mother back away screaming out his name in pain. Then he remembered his younger happy years spent with her. She would take him shopping, out for ice cream, walk, laugh. She radiated with warmth.

 

“Mother…mother!” he shouted as he started to cry, not understanding the overwhelming feelings that were washing over him.

 

“Kou!” the teens called as they walked onto the scene, dragging Miko‘s mother against her will.

 

The mom stepped on Rocky’s foot as he screamed. “Mother of…”

 

The mother dashed away from the pier to gain space from the rangers as her body twisted and she transformed into Necklace Kanjo. “So we meet again.”

 

“Alright guys…it’s morphin time!” Tommy shouted as the rangers readied their morphers. “Kiryoku transform…Aura Power!” Energy shimmered around them as they morphed into their Ranger forms. 

 

They shouted together. “Power of the Stars brought down…Five Star Task Force…Power Rangers!”

 

The Rangers and the monster rushed at each other while Kou grabbed Miko by the arm and led her away running back towards the industrial park. “Let’s go.”

 

The two kids ducked beneath a crate when they thought they were far enough away. Kou peeked over the side of the crate to see if any Gorma were following. “That Gorma must have been impersonating your mom,” Kou said.

 

Miko laughed as she stood.

 

Kou knitted his brow with confusion. “Miko?”

 

Her body shimmered as her shroud dropped, revealing Akomaru.

 

Kou shot to his feet ad his muscles tightened. “Akomaru…where’s Miko?”

 

“Idiot,” Akomaru said. “It was me all along…by the way…you have such soft hands.”

 

Kou glared at Akomaru and lunged forward, slamming a hook punch across the young Gorma’s face. Akomaru crashed to the ground. Kou leaned over him and lifted the villain by his shirt while slamming another punch across his face. Kou kept his fists wailing, blood soaking his knuckles as he released his anger.

 

Ring Kanjo stepped forward as if from nowhere and grabbed Kou by the wrist before the ranger could hit Akomaru again. “I wouldn’t do that.”

 

The monster dragged Kou off his feet and slammed the back of her fist across his head, knocking him backward and sending him stumbling across he concrete ground.   

 

“Run, master…” Ring Kanjo said as she stood in front of Akomaru. The young Gorma fled as the monster glared at Kou. “Kou…” she said. “You are a fool. We had you going all along.”

 

Kou clenched his jaw as he readied his wrist morpher and key. “Kiryoku transform, Kiba Power!” He inserted the key into his morpher as energy flashed across his body. His muscles matured and bones grew as he morphed into his Ranger form.

 

Kiba Ranger and Ring Kanjo charged at each other. The White Ranger leapt over the Gorma while kicking her in the back. Kiba Ranger turned and slashed his blade across the villain’s back while landing back on the ground. Kiba Ranger followed with a pair of diagonal strikes that exploded across the villain’s body.

 

The White Ranger speared his saber against the Gorma, knocking her backward and sending her stumbling across the ground.

 

Kiba Ranger turned and sprang through the air, flipping back and landing in front of Akomaru. Akomaru skid to a halt as Kiba Ranger aimed a weapon at the boy. “Those short little legs of yours can’t take you away fast enough.”

 

Kiba Ranger rushed towards Akomaru and swung his saber towards the boy’s head. Akomaru ducked under the blow, causing the White Ranger to lunge too far forward. Akomaru maneuvered around and grabbed the Ranger in a tight chokehold.

 

“Akomaru!” the monster shouted as she ran towards them.

 

“Stop!” Shadam shouted after teleporting to the scene. He extended his hand and launched spheres of blue fiery energy that exploded against Kiba Ranger, Akomaru, and the monster with a burst of sparks.

 

Ring Kanjo rose to her feet and helped Akomaru up as they both took a step backward. “You’ll pay, Shadam,” Akomaru cursed as he and the Kanjo sister teleported away, blurring out of view.

 

Shadam launched another wave of blue spheres that exploded around Kiba Ranger as he rolled aside. The White Ranger rolled to her feet and sprang forward, leaping through the air and landing on the roof of a warehouse. He snapped into a fighting stance.

 

Shadam shot a fireball that exploded against the warehouse, tearing it apart with a massive explosion as Kiba Ranger leapt forward, letting the shockwave carry him forward. The White Ranger flipped through the air and landed on the ground below.

 

Byakou radiated with golden energy as the White Ranger raised the saber. Byakou shouted, speaking for the Ranger. “Heaving Roaring Star, Sound Bite!”

 

A sonic shockwave ripped forward, tearing through ground and buildings and blasting against Shadam, knocking the Gorma backward.

 

“Damn you Kiba Ranger!” Shadam shouted as he teleported out.

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Necklace Kanjo crashed to the ground and rolled backward, rising to her feet as she held a sword in a fighting stance. The Rangers moved forward and armed their ring-shaped weapons.

 

“Star Blades,” Dragon Ranger called. “Star Blade Assault!”

 

The blades shot forward with streaks of energy that exploded through the monster, tearing her body apart with an ripping barrage of sparks. The Gorma managed to pull an enlarging bomb and slam the grenade against the ground. She absorbed the energy from the explosion and used it to expand and grow giant.

 

The Rangers unsheathed their Thunder Swords and readied their Thunder Gems. “Thunderzords arise!”  

 

The five Thunderzords appeared, charging over the landscape after appearing from the sky. Red Dragon and Phoenix flew through the air as the Kirin, Tenma, and Lion charged forward from the ground.

 

The Rangers used their Thunder Blasters like grappling guns and reeled themselves into their zords’ cockpits. 

 

Dragon Ranger placed his hand over the crystal control sphere in front of him. “Red Dragon, rise up!”

 

Tendrils of crimson energy danced across the zord’s armor as the Red Dragon changed shape. The massive zord reconfigured into its warrior mode and landed on the ground to face off with the Gorma.

 

Dragon Ranger’s Thunder Gem began to glow with deep red power. The Red Ranger called upon that power as he called out. “Thunder Star Fusion!”

 

Lightning struck each of the zords as they radiated with energy. The zords started to change shape and reconfigure as they merged with Red Dragon. Tenma and Kirin formed armor around the Dragon’s waist as the Phoenix wrapped around its chest. The Lion formed a chest plate and wrapped around the zord’s upper arms as a gold and black helmet slid into place.

 

The Ranger’s joined in the central cockpit. “MegaThunderzord!” they shouted together. “Dairenou!”

 

“MegaThunderzord Saber,” The Rangers shouted. “Lightning Slash!”

 

Dairenou’s blade energized and chopped through Necklace Kanjo. The villain’s broken body fell backward, her energy overloading and exploding as her remains were consumed by flame.

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Kou stood back on the pier, leaning against the railing as he stared out across the ocean. The rangers gathered around him, but said nothing. Rocky placed his arm over the boy’s shoulder. Kou broke out into tears and reached around to hug Rocky.

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In a far off mountain range, red lightning crashed against the ground and split open the earth.

 

To be continued…Chapter Twelve