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Ultimate Power Rangers: Reloaded

 

Power Rangers: Chapter Eight 35

The Deadly Dance

 

A group of security officers loaded bushels of money into an armored truck. The truck was parked along a curb of a financial district near Little Tokyo in Angel Grove.

 

One of the security guards suddenly started convulsing and dropped two bags of money. The guard dropped to his knee and let out a massive grunt as if he’d been punched in the stomach. The other three guards leaned down next to him and were about to ask if he was alright. But the fallen guard snapped his eye open, pulled out his baton, and smashed all three guards across the head with a single blow.

 

The guard grabbed three sacks of money and ran off, a glimmer of insanity in his eye.

________________________________________________________________________

 

“Come on, Tommy,” Rocky pleaded. The two rangers were walking along the city streets, having met up after a half day at both their schools. “Just a couple bucks.”

 

Tommy shook his head. “No, Rocky. I can’t. Why do you need money so bad all of a sudden any way?”

 

“Because…” Rocky said as he continued to beg. “Mary hasn’t been talking to me lately. I pissed her off, and I want to buy her something so she’ll forgive me.”

 

Tommy smiled and shook his head. “I can’t Rocky. I’m not made of money.”

 

“Please?” Rocky asked again.

 

Then, a 50-dollar bill floated out of the sky and landed next to Tommy’s foot. Rocky spotted it instantly. “Sweet!” Rocky said as he dove for the money, knocking Tommy over in the process.

 

“Rocky…” Tommy was about to scold his friend when he saw a security officer on a pedestrian bridge above. The guard was tossing large handfuls of money from a large sack towards the crowd below. 

 

“What the hell?” Tommy said.

 

People scurried across the streets and scooped up any money they could get there hands on. Rocky didn‘t hesitate to join them.

 

Police Officers rushed to the streets to get the crowd under control. Two of them stood behind Rocky and told him to put all the money down. “Oh, come on,” Rocky said, but it didn’t come out so clearly being that his mouth was full of money.

 

Tommy looked up at the pedestrian bridge and noticed the strange security guard run off. The teen looked back to hi friend. “Rocky, let’s go.”

 

Rocky sighed and pulled himself to his feet. “Alright…” He and Tommy ran to catch the security guard.

________________________________________________________________________

 

The security guard ducked through a plaza lined with walkways. He still had a bag of money under his left arm, but he did not plan to keep the bag for long. The villain skid to a halt as Tommy leapt out in front of them.

 

“Hold it right there,” Tommy said.

 

The guard turned to run the other way as Rocky stepped forward, blocking the guard’s path. “Not so fast, punk…”

 

The guard’s body shook. Red veins popped across his face. His dry hair became white and long.

 

“Gorma!” Tommy shouted as he and Rocky snapped into fighting stances. 

 

“Kabuki!” The Gorma shouted, identifying himself as he assumed a loose defense stance of his own.

 

Rocky ran over and regrouped next to Tommy. The Gorma charged at them while shouting a strange war cry. “Ka! Ka! Ka!” The Gorma launched a flying kick that the two rangers ducked and rolled under.

 

Rocky rolled to his feet and snapped a roundkick against the villain’s side. The villain was forced back a few steps but slammed the back of his fist across Rocky’s face, hurling the teen backward. 

 

Tommy roundhouse kicked the Gorma across the face, following with a round kick against the head, but Kabuki chopped a knifehand against the back of Tommy’s neck. The Gorma picked Tommy up by the shirt and tossed him to the ground next to Rocky.

 

The two rangers stood and readied their Aura Morphers. “Kiryoku transform…Aura, Power!” They transformed into their armor and leapt through the air, passing over the Gorma while kicking him in the back.

 

The Rangers landed as Kabuki toppled forward onto the ground. Dragon Ranger and Tenma Ranger turned to face Kabuki as the Gorma pulled himself to his feet. The Rangers snapped into fighting stances.

 

The opponents charged at one another.

 

Tenma Ranger spun forward with a flying crescent kick that Kabuki ducked under. Dragon Ranger snapped a roundkick at Kabuki’s head, but the Gorma blocked the blow and turned back to Tenma Ranger while slamming a sidekick against the Blue Ranger’s faceplate.

 

Dragon Ranger swung a knifehand chop but the villain blocked the blow and slammed two backfist strikes against the Ranger’s faceplate. Kabuki spun forward with a sidekick that slammed against Dragon Ranger’s chest and knocked him off his feet. The Red Ranger went smashing through a statue, pulverizing the sculpture upon impact.

 

Tenma Ranger snapped a jump kick that Kabuki blocked. The Blue Ranger spun low with a leg sweep that Kabuki hopped over. The Gorma kicked Tenma Ranger upside the head while he was still low. The Blue Ranger went flying backward and crashing through a bench, splintering wood as he landed.

 

Dragon Ranger ran over and helped his friends to his feet. “I don’t think I like this guy,” the Red Ranger said.

 

Tenma Ranger nodded. “Something tells me the feeling is mutual.”

 

Kabuki charged at the two Rangers as Dragon Ranger extended his hands. “Fire Stream!”

 

A stream of flame blasted against Kabuki and hurled him through the air, sending him crashing and tumbling across the ground. 

 

Kabuki slowly rose to his feet as Tenma Ranger leapt through the air. “Tenma Screw Kick!” his feet slammed into the Gorma, knocking the villain backward.

 

Dragon Ranger and Tenma Ranger regrouped and unsheathed their Thunder Swords. They started forward, but had only taken a step when a ring blade twirled through the air past them. The Rangers barely managed to flip back out of the blade’s path.

 

The ring blade arced around and returned to the hand of its owner, an elderly Chinese man. He cracked his neck and smiled at the Rangers. He was smoking a small pipe and stroking his white beard. “Be careful who you fight, Rangers,” he said as he again cracked his neck. 

 

“What?” Dragon Ranger said. He and Tenma Ranger were taken off guard by the sight of the old man.

 

The man tossed his pipe against Tenma Ranger’s chest. “Hey!“ Tenma Ranger shouted as he took a step back and swatted the pipe away.

 

The Rangers ran towards the old man, but he ducked from view and vanished. They turned towards the security guard, but he was unconscious on the ground. He appeared like a normal human.

 

Dragon Ranger shook his head. “What was that about?”

________________________________________________________________________

 

The five rangers gathered at the lair. Kaku had yet to arrive. Tommy and Rocky were finishing the tale about their recent battle. “And then this weird old gut showed up,” Rocky said. “He kept twitching his neck and he was smoking this damn pipe.” 

 

“Maybe we should ask Sensei about this,” Billy said.

 

Adam nodded. “He should be back soon.”

 

Kimberly thought for a moment. The way Tommy and Rocky described the strange man seemed familiar. “Did you say he kept twitching his neck?”

 

Tommy nodded. “Yeah.”

 

Kimberly shook her head. “It couldn’t be…” she turned and left the lair as Tommy and Rocky looked at each other with confusion.

 

“Let’s go,” Tommy said as they followed Kimberly out.

________________________________________________________________________

 

The rangers followed Kimberly into her second-floor apartment. Her mother was not home of course, but shuffling noises were coming from a back room.

 

The teens moved towards the apartment’s utility room and saw an old Chinese man wearing an apron and doing laundry. He looked up from the washing machine and smiled at Kimberly. “Ah, welcome home, Kimberly,” he said as he cracked his neck. 

 

Tommy and Rocky pointed in recognition. “That’s him!” they said.

 

“Uncle…” Kimberly asked the man, “what have you been doing?”

 

“Laundry,” he replied as he held up a pink-lace braw that belonged to Kimberly. “What should I do with this?”

 

“Uncle!” Kimberly’s face turned slightly red as she grabbed her braw and put it back in the basket.

 

Kim’s uncle left the living room and walked towards the kitchen. Tommy and Rocky pulled Kimberly aside so the old man would not hear. “That’s your uncle?” Tommy asked.

 

Kimberly nodded. “My mom’s uncle. Not by blood…he’s more of a family friend. He’s staying with us for a few weeks.”

 

“Why?” Rocky asked, and Tommy slapped him upside the head.

 

Kimberly had known her ‘uncle’ her whole life. He was a friend to Kimberly’s grandparents. It was her uncle that sparked her interest in martial arts and gymnastics. Kimberly was attracted to the grace and beauty of both.

 

They heard Kim’s uncle scream as he opened a closet and a pile of boxes fell on him, toppling him to the floor. The teens moved over and helped him to his feet as Kimberly placed her hand over her face with embarrassment and shook her head.

 

“So,” Tommy said to Kim’s uncle, “what were you doing at the plaza earlier today?”

 

Kimberly’s uncle merely smiled and cracked his neck while patting Tommy on the back. Kaku suddenly stepped into the apartment, taking the rangers by surprise. “Kimberly’s uncle, Gohun, was my teacher.”

 

Gohun smiled. “Ah, Kaku! Good to see you again.” Gohun extended his hand and Kaku shook it. “You don’t look a day older than 5,000.”

 

Kaku smiled, something the rangers had never seen before.

 

Gohun walked into the kitchen as Kaku followed. The teens exchanged surprised looks and followed Kaku and Gohun into the kitchen.

 

“This Ranger thing keeps on getting weirder,” Rocky said.

 

“Your uncle was Kaku’s…” Tommy started to ask Kim.

 

She shrugged. “This is all news to me.”

 

Gohun sat at the kitchen table as Kaku talked to his students. “Gohun is the man that helped Zordon and I design your Aura Morphers and armor.”

 

“Him?” Rocky asked, not even trying to hide his disbelief.

 

Gohun smiled and nodded proudly as he stroked his beard.

 

“But why did you attack us?” Rocky asked as he stepped closer to Gohun.

 

Gohun’s face became serious. He stood and lightly pushed Tommy and Rocky. “Because you two could have killed that innocent man.”

 

Tommy shook his head. “He was a Gorma.”

 

Gohun shook his head. “No. He was Kabuki.”

 

Rocky shook his head. “You lost me.”

 

Kaku stepped in. “Kabuki is a Gorma who is capable of taking over the bodies of others. He can absorb their talents and their will.”

 

Rocky turned to Tommy. “So that security guard…”

Tommy nodded. “He was possessed by this Kabuki guy.”

 

Kaku nodded, as did Gohun who sat back down at the table.

________________________________________________________________________

 

Tommy, Rocky, Adam, and Billy walked along a sidewalk that led away from Kimberly’s apartment. “So…” Rocky said as he shook his head. “That weird guy is Kim’s uncle.”

 

“And Kaku’s old teacher,” Billy said.

 

“This is strange,” Adam said.

 

Tommy nodded. “Tell me about it.”

________________________________________________________________________

 

Gohun sliced a block of cheese with his ring blade while in Kimberly’s kitchen. Kimberly walked up beside him, taking notice of the blade. “What is that?”

 

Gohun held up the ring blade. “This is a Star Blade. Weapon against evil, and master cheese cutter.”

 

Kimberly smiled and shook her head. Her uncle had always made her laugh. But Gohun was becoming more unhinged as he aged, it seemed.

________________________________________________________________________

 

In an outdoor stage in Angel Grove, Kabuki was in his natural form, prancing around and prowling, performing a Kabuki dance he took his name from. He was long and pale and his body was lined in red streaks. He had the traditional Gorma third eye on his forehead.

 

The Gorma Triumvirate then appeared in the rows of seats and descended a few steps while staring at Kabuki for a moment. Zydos smiled and started clapping. He stopped after catching the glare that Shadam gave him.

 

“Kabuki!” Shadam shouted.

 

“Ahhhh…” Kabuki said as he turned towards the three Gorma. “Shadam.”

 

“Do you have her?” Shadam asked.

 

Kabuki nodded. “Yes, but I want to have some fun with Gohun and the Rangers before I hand her over.”

 

Shadam smiled to himself. “Perhaps you’re not as worthless as I thought.”

________________________________________________________________________

 

Kabuki stalked under the cover of bushes in Angel Grove as he happened upon a road construction site down town. The Gorma spotted a worker drilling a hole into the ground and decided the driller would be a perfect target.

 

Kabuki stalked towards the construction side. Kabuki grabbed the drill worker from behind and entered the worker’s body. The worker’s face broke out with red veins as his hair grew pale white and long.

 

The Kabuki-controlled worker started screaming and waving his drill back and forth across everyone and everything in his path as he broke forward into a mad dash. People ran in panic as the Gorma moved to the street. Cars skid to a halt as the drill slammed against the vehicles.

 

A loan police officer was on patrol in the area. Tommy leapt from the drill worker and dove into the police officer’s body.

 

“Freeze!” Kabuki shouted and began shooting at innocent people and blowing out the tires of cars.

________________________________________________________________________

 

Tommy and Rocky arrived nearby to investigate the disturbance. They spotted a man riding a bicycle over the sidewalks and ramming into people. The man had red veins and long white hair.

 

“Name that Gorma,” Rocky said.

 

Tommy nodded. “Let’s go.”

 

Kabuki rode the bike down a wide stairwell, knocking people aside. The other three rangers arrived and stood at the base of the stairwell and blocked the bike’s path. Kabuki swerved around them.

 

Tommy and Rocky leapt forward and tackled Kabuki from the bike. The bike tipped over and the rider tumbled across the ground, knocking Kabuki out of his host. The Gorma monster stumbled to his feet and ran off while shouting at the rangers. “Come and get me!”

 

“Stop!” Tommy shouted as he and the others ran after Kabuki.

 

They followed the villain to a plaza dotted with concrete benches and bushes. The five rangers lost sight of the Gorma within the plaza.

 

“He has to still be nearby,” Billy said.

 

“Split up and find him,” Tommy ordered as they split up.

________________________________________________________________________

 

Nearby, a squad of police cars pulled up in front of a bank. The cars’ sirens caught Tommy and Rocky’s attention. The two teens moved towards the crime scene and ducked behind the cars to watch.

 

“Who robs banks anymore?” Rocky asked.

 

“Must be our Kabuki friend,” Tommy said.

 

“Let’s see if we can sneak in from behind!” Rocky said excitedly as he grabbed Tommy by the arm and they ran off.

 

In the back of the building, they heard a manhole cover being twisted. The two teens hid behind a car as the manhole cover slid open.

 

“Betcha that’s him,” Rocky said.

 

“Shhh…” Tommy said.

 

A bag dropped onto the street from the hole. A man in sunglasses crawled out of the manhole and climbed to his feet.

 

“Hey!” Rocky shouted as he ran after the man.

 

“Rocky!” Tommy yelled as he ran after his over-eager teammate. 

 

A man pulled a gun and started shooting at the two rangers. The teens rolled for cover. The bank robber sprinted away from the crime scene, and the rangers sprang forward in pursuit. The other three rangers spotted the pursuit and followed.

 

The man entered a building and started running up a stairwell. The rangers regrouped and approached the steps. The robber reached back and fired another round of shots that rang around the rangers as they dove aside.

 

The suspect continued up the steps and the rangers followed.

 

The bank robber ran onto the roof of the towering building, and the rangers were at his heels. “Hold it right there!” Tommy shouted.

 

The man blasted at the teens with his gun as the rangers dove across the roof. “I wish he’d stop doing that,” Rocky said as he and the others rolled into crouched positions.

 

The robber started to shake as his hair grew long and white. Red veins burst across his face. “Kabuki!” the Gorma shouted and stood in a fighting pose. He pulled out an iron nunchuk.   

 

“We have to be careful not to harm the host,” Billy said as the teens snapped into fighting stances.

 

Kabuki charged towards the rangers and swung his nuchuku in a swirl of motion. The rangers split up and dodged the weapon as it swung in a pattern of arcs.  

 

Billy snapped a roundkick towards the Gorma’s head. Kabuki blocked the blow and slammed his weapon across the ranger’s head. Billy was knocked backward and crashed onto his back.

 

Adam and Rocky moved in from both sides of the villain and snapped kicks towards the Gorma’s head. Kabuki blocked the and twirled his weapon in a figure-eight pattern that bashed across the two rangers’ heads.

 

The rangers regrouped as the Gorma pulled out another gun and pulled the trigger.

 

“Aura power!” Tommy and the other Rangers shouted as they morphed into their armor just as a wave of bullets struck them.

 

“Thunder Sword!” Tenma Ranger shouted as he unsheathed his saber.

 

“Wait,” Dragon Ranger said as he held his hand in front of Tenma Ranger. “We can’t hurt him like this. He’s inside an innocent person.”

 

“But Tommy…” Tenma Ranger said.

 

“No.” Dragon Ranger shook his head. “We have to get Kabuki to reveal his true form.”

 

Dragon Ranger leapt forward at Kabuki. The Gorma bashed his weapon across the Ranger’s chest armor, knocking him backward and sending him stumbling across the roof.

 

“Thunder Staffs!” Lion, Kirin, and Phoenix Rangers shouted as they armed their red staffs. They speared the staffs towards the Gorma.

 

Kabuki leapt upward to avoid the staffs and slammed kicks against each of the Rangers’ faceplates.

 

The Gorma landed back on his feet as Tenma Ranger moved in an attacked. Blue Ranger leapt forward and spun a reverse crescent kick that Kabuki ducked under. Tenma Ranger followed with a roundkick that Kabuki blocked before slamming his weapon across the Ranger’s chest.

 

The Rangers regrouped as Kabuki aimed his gun at them.

 

“Thunder Blaster!” Dragon Ranger shouted as he pulled his sidearm and fired pulses of crimson energy that blasted the gun from the Gorma’s hand.

 

“Cyclone!” Phoenix Ranger shouted as she extended her hand and produced a cyclone of pink energy that hurled the Gorma backwards.

 

Kabuki came close to the edge of the building. The Rangers jumped over by him. “Get out of that body, Gorma!” Dragon Ranger shouted.

 

“Don’t make us do this the hard way,” Tenma Ranger said.

 

Kabuki smiled. “I’d stay back if I were you, Rangers. Otherwise…” Kabuki latched onto a pole and hung partially off of the building. “…I’ll kill this body.”

 

“Wait!” Lion Ranger shouted as he and the others stood in alarm.

 

A blur of motion passed by overhead. Kimberly’s uncle Gohun landed on the ledge of the building near Kabuki. Gohun walked towards the villain. “Uncle…” Phoenix Ranger said in caution as Gohun looked over the building and spoke with Kabuki.

 

“That’s a long drop, Gorma,” Gohun said with a smile. “Are you that insane and cowardly?”

 

“What?!” Kabuki shouted.

 

Gohun leapt forward and slammed a flying kick against Kabuki. The Gorma stumbled backward as Gohun grabbed him by the neck and twisted him around towards the building edge. Gohun kicked the villain upside the head and grabbed on to his neck again, pushing him up against the building’s edge.

 

“Wait!” Dragon Ranger shouted.

 

But it was too late. Gohun pushed Kabuki over the ledge. The villain flailed his arms and legs as he plummeted towards the street below. The body crashed hard onto the streets below, bones breaking and muscles ripping upon impact.

 

The teens demorphed and ran down to street level. They ran over to the fallen man as police sirens sounded down the streets. Tommy leaned down to feel his pulse. There was no heart beat. “No…” Tommy whispered.

 

Gohun joined the rangers and glared at the fallen man. “Kabuki made it out in time. I’ll find him.”

 

Rocky grabbed Gohun’s arm before he could run off. “Wait,” he said. “You killed this man.”

 

Gohun shook his head and released himself from Rocky. “You don’t understand!” he yelled as he ran off.

 

The rangers looked down at the body as police cars and ambulances showed up at the scene. Kimberly placed her hand over her mouth in shock at what her uncle had done as Tommy draped his arm over her shoulder.

 

An officer examined the body as another one questioned the teens. “What happened here?”

 

“He…fell,” Rocky said.

 

The officer examining the body shook his head. “I don’t think it was the fall that killed him.”

 

He pulled back the jacket to show three piercing wounds in the chest of the body. “And from the looks of it this guy’s been dead for a long time.”

 

The teens breathed sighs of relief, although they were still saddened by the persons death, they were relived that Kimberly’s uncle was not a killer.

________________________________________________________________________

 

The teens returned to the lair after being questioned by the police. Kaku and Gohun were there. Tommy stepped towards Kimberly’s uncle. “You knew, didn’t you?” Tommy asked.  

 

Gohun smiled and nodded. “Of course. Usually Kabuki doesn’t kill his hosts, but not in this case.”

 

“Why didn’t you say anything?” Kimberly asked.

 

Gohun shrugged. “Kabuki had to be stopped. There was no time. Besides, he has captured my fiancé.”

 

“Fiancé?” Kimberly asked.

 

“Yes,” Gohun said as he pulled out a picture of a young-looking brunette. “Maria.”

 

“How old is she?” Kimberly asked her uncle.

 

Gohun smiled. “20.”

 

“20?!” the rangers said.

 

Gohun smiled and kissed the picture. Then he showed the picture to the teens.

 

“Wow…” Rocky said with a smile.

 

“Put your tongue back in your mouth, pal,” Tommy said.

________________________________________________________________________

 

Kabuki kneeled before the Gorma Triumvirate in his natural form. They were in an old warehouse within the city. Shadam narrowed his eyes at the Gorma. “Where is she?”

 

Kabuki laughed. “You’ll find this amusing, Shadam. I seemed to have misplaced her.”

 

“What?!” Zydos said in outrage as he extended his hand and fired a red energy bolt that exploded into Kabuki. “How could you!” Zydos shouted as he prepared to blast Kabuki again.

 

“Wait,” Shadam said as he extended his hand in front of Zydos. “We can’t kill him yet. He will find her.” Shadam glared at Kabuki. “Isn’t that right.”

 

Kabuki began nodding furiously. “Yes…yes…”

 

The Triumvirate teleported away as Kabuki breathed a sigh of relief. The villain opened up his mouth and released a cloud of energetic gas that materialized into the girl. It was Maria.

 

Kabuki placed his finger beneath her chin. “You are lucky. Shadam and the others want me to hand you over to them, but I didn’t.”

 

Maria shook her head and ran over to the exit. It was locked. She turned to Kabuki and placed her hand on the Tiger Saber she wore on her belt. “Should I be thankful?” she asked sarcastically.

 

“Eh,” Kabuki said. “Probably not. You’re going to die anyway, but not until I use you. Use you to teach me how to properly enter a female host. Then I can overtake anyone, male or female.”

 

Maria shook her head. “You’re an idiot.”

 

Kabuki smiled. “We’ll see.”

________________________________________________________________________

 

Kimberly sat with her uncle by a secluded pond in the city. He smiled at his niece. “So, Kimberly,” her uncle asked. “How has life been treating you?”

 

Kimberly threw on a weak smile and shrugged. “It’s been throwing me upside down ever since this whole Ranger thing.”

 

Gohun nodded. “It’s difficult work, but it has its side benefits.” He smiled as he twitched his neck.

 

“What do you mean?” Kimberly asked.

 

“You love him, don’t you? It’s so cute.”

 

“Tommy?” Kimberly asked as her face blushed. “we’re getting there…”

 

Gohun smiled and nodded. “Right, right. Now,” he said changing the subject. “I have something for you.” He pulled out the metal ring from earlier and handed it to Kim.

 

“A Star Blade?” she asked. “How do I…”

 

“I’ll teach you,” Gohun said as he pulled out his own Star Blade. The two stood across from each other, each holding a Star Blade, as Gohun nodded. “Go,” he said.

 

Kimberly held the Star Blade in a ready position, then hurled the weapon at her uncle. The blade boomeranged around him and returned to Kimberly’s hand. She hurled the blade towards Gohun again, and he knocked the ring away with his Star Blade. Kimberly leapt through the air, grabbed the blade, and threw it back towards her uncle as it boomeranged around him and returned to her hand while she landed on the ground.

 

The two smiled at each other.

 

Then suddenly, a black spear flew through the air and fell to the ground next to them. They turned to see Kabuki in his true form, laughing as he ran away. Gohun unfolded a piece of paper that was on the spear. He read the paper as he wrinkled his brow. “Maria…”

 

Gohun ran off.

 

“Uncle!” Kimberly shouted. “Wait!”

________________________________________________________________________

 

Tommy and Rocky were running through the streets of Angel Grove. Kaku had told them Kabuki was back on the loose and they immediately responded. On a large television screen overlooking the entire square, Lyn Holtkamp was having another one of her broadcasts. She was speaking of a samurai, karate expert, and boxing expert that had been kidnapped.

 

Rocky and Tommy turned to each other after watching the broadcast. “You don’t think Kabuki…” Rocky said.

 

Tommy nodded. “It would make sense. When he takes control of a host, he uses their abilities.”

 

Rocky sighed. “This keeps getting better and better.”

________________________________________________________________________

 

Gohun entered the warehouse that Kabuki instructed him to. The vast building was empty and dark. What little light bled in from the outside was consumed by shadows. Gohun moved through the darkness.

 

“Maria!” he called for his fiancé.

 

Maria was trapped in a cage nearby. She heard his calls but could not see him. She cried back. “Gohun! Help me!”

 

Gohun turned a corner and sprang towards her direction. But a wall of fire suddenly blocked his path.

 

Gohun backflipped away from the flame. He landed and looked up as a pro boxer charged towards him. The boxer smashed a hook punch across Gohun’s head. Gohun rolled with the punch and moved backward as red veins sprouted along the boxer’s face. White hair grew from his head.

 

The villain snapped into a squared-off fighting stance. “I’m the Kabuki boxer! Reigning champion and king of the ring.”  

 

Gohun shook his head and assumed a fighting stance. “You’re an idiot.”

 

Kabuki swung a left hook punch towards Gohun. Gohun ducked under the blow and rose while slamming a knifehand strike against the Gorma’s face. The villain was stunned, but snapped a jab punch. Gohun blocked the punch, knocked the villain’s arm away, and backfisted Kabuki across the face with a powerful swing from his arm.

 

Gohun kicked the legs out from the boxer. The boxer started to fall backward, and for the split second that he hung in midair before the fall, Gohun slammed two punches against the villain’s chest. The boxer shot backward and crashed to the ground while stumbling across the pavement.

 

Kabuki was ripped from the fallen boxer’s body. The Gorma monster rolled to his feet and started running towards the shadows. “Come and get me old man!”  

 

Gohun smiled. “Old? Don’t worry. I’ve still got some spunk left in me….wait!” he yelled as he chased after Kabuki.

 

“Gotta hurry, gotta hurry…” Kabuki muttered beneath his breath as he moved deeper into the warehouse. He moved to where he had the karate master tied up and dove into the captive’s body.

 

Gohun entered the room as the karate master snapped into a fighting stance, red veins growing along his face and white hair extending from his head. “Let’s go old man!” Kabuki shouted as he leapt through the air, aiming a flying sidekick towards Gohun’s chest. 

 

Gohun grabbed Kabuki’s leg, swung the villain overhead, and crashed him against the ground. The Gorma bashed against the pavement as Kabuki was torn from the host.

 

“That’s getting annoying,” Kabuki said as he ran off.

 

Kabuki ran around a corner. Gohun stayed at the villain’s heels while in pursuit.

 

Gohun turned the corner as a sword swung towards his neck. He ducked underneath the sword and rose to see his opponent. Kabuki had taken control of the samurai.

 

Kabuki pounced forward and swung his blade through a blur of motion. Gohun fluidly dodged each blow, waiting for the right moment to strike back.

 

Gohun grabbed Kabuki’s wrist and twisted, making the villain drop his sword. Gohun released the wrist and spun forward with a reverse sidekick that slammed him backward. Kabuki was torn from his host and tumbled backward before rising into a crouched position.

 

Kabuki assumed a fighting stance. “You know…I’m really getting sick of you.”

 

Kabuki leapt behind a pile of crates. Seconds later, a machine creature with white, wiry hair smashed forward through the crates. Kabuki had managed to take control of and possess several mechanical devices.

 

“How…?” Gohun asked as he stepped back into a fighting stance. 

 

“What do you think of me now?” Kabuki asked as he stomped forward towards his opponent. Not used to his new body, he tripped over his feet and crashed to the ground.

 

“Do you really want to know?” Gohun asked.

 

Kabuki climbed to his feet and fired a crimson optic blast with his right reflector eye. The blast exploded in front of Gohun and knocked him into the next room. He tumbled across the ground and rolled back into a crouched position.

 

“Gohun!” Maria shouted.

 

He looked to his left and opened his eyes wide. Maria was in the cage. He ran towards her, but a ring of fire surrounded the ground around the cage. 

 

Kabuki stomped forward and fired another optic blast. Gohun zigzagged past the blast while charging forward. He leapt forward with a sidekick that bounced off the villain’s chest with no damage. Gohun used the leverage to flip backward and land on his feet.

 

His aim still not perfected, Kabuki fired another optic blast that exploded on the ground next to Gohun and sent him tumbling backward before crashing to the ground.

 

Kabuki stomped towards Gohun while laughing. “And now to finish this,” Kabuki said as he lifted his foot and prepared to crush Gohun.

 

A Star Blade suddenly whirled through the air and struck Kabuki across the chest, sparking on impact and knocking the villain backward. The blade boomeranged back into Kimberly’s hand as she stood in the entrance of the warehouse along with her four friends.

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A black limo pulled up outside of the warehouse. The Gorma Triumverite was inside the limo. “They’re inside,” Shadam said to the others.

 

Gara opened her suitcase. Inside the suitcase was a small monitor screen. On the screen, they could see Maria being held with the Tiger Saber on her belt.

 

“Byakoushieken…” Shadam growled.

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Back inside the warehouse, Kimberly hurled her Star Blade around the cage Maria was held in. The blade energized as it circled around the cage and put out the flames. The Blade cut open the cage and Maria was released.

 

“Gohun!” she shouted as she ran to her fiancé.

 

“Maria!” The two embraced as the rangers stood by.

 

“Ya know,” Rocky said, “if this wasn’t so disgusting it might be cute.”

 

Tommy slapped Rocky upside the head.

 

Kabuki suddenly rose from the ground, still in his machine configuration. “Bastards!” he shouted as the rangers snapped into fighting stances. The villain fired a massive optic blast that exploded across the ground with a shockwave that smashed against the five rangers and sent them tumbling outside the warehouse.

 

The rangers rose to their feet as Kabuki stomped towards them. The teens readied their Aura Morphers. “Kiryoku transform, Aura Power!” they shouted as energy shimmered around them and they morphed into their Ranger forms. The five Rangers snapped into fighting stances. 

 

“Dragon Ranger! Heaven Fire Star, Red!”

 

“Tenma Ranger! Heaven Gravity Star, Blue!”

 

“Lion Ranger! Heaven Illusion Star, Green!”

 

“Kirin Ranger! Heaven Time Star, Yellow!”

 

“Phoenix Ranger! Heaven Wind Star Pink!”

 

Dragon Ranger lifted his hand. “Power of the stars, brought down!” Together, they shouted. “Five Star Task Force…Power Rangers!”

 

Phoenix Ranger spun her Star Blade in her right hand as she charged towards the Gorma. “It’s over!”

 

The Pink Ranger leapt through the air and landed while slashing downward across the monster with her Star Blade. The weapon sparked upon impact, thrashing across the creature. Phoenix Ranger spun past Kabuki with a horizontal swing that cut across the villain’s body with another burst of spark. 

 

Kabuki was knocked back as Phoenix Ranger pressed forward. “Star Blade!” she shouted as she energized her blade with pink energy. She swung her blade around in a wide circular pattern, creating a swirling ring of energy. “Lightning Strike!”

 

Phoenix Ranger swung through the energy ring with a streak of power. Her weapon thrashed across the monster, the blade’s energy exploding on impact with a massive burst of spark that sent Kabuki crashing backward and rolling across the ground.

 

The Rangers regrouped around Phoenix Ranger, impressed with her attack.

 

Kabuki slowly rose to his feet, the machinery of his body squeaking. The host’s energy overloaded and exploded with a sphere of flame that shot Kabuki’s true monster form outward. Pale body steaming, Kabuki rolled tumbled across the ground. 

 

The Rangers heard Maria scream nearby. They ran towards her. Maria was corned against a warehouse wall as Gohun stood in front of her for protection. The Gorma Triumvirate slowly stalked towards her.

 

Shadam extended his hand. “Hand Byakou over,” he commanded the young woman.

 

“Over my dead body,” Gohun said as he held his arm out to protect his fiancé.

 

“Stop!” Dragon Ranger shouted as he and the others jumped in behind the Gorma. The Rangers lifted their hands into the air and gathered cyan spheres of energy.

 

“Kiryoku Bomber!” they shouted as hurled the energy spheres forward. The five spheres combined into a rolling blast of golden energy that shot towards the three villains.

 

“Run!” Gohun said as he led his future wife away.

 

The Gorma Triumvirate extended their joined hands. The Kiryoku blast slammed against their hands as it energy crackled around, causing explosions to tear through the warehouse wall and ground. The three Gorma absorbed some of the blast’s power, allowing their skin to become covered in an energy sheath of metallic armor.

 

The Gorma snapped the blast back at the Rangers. The golden energy sphere exploded against their chest armor with a massive burst of spark and knocked them backward.

 

The Triumvirate slowly stalked towards the Rangers. Shadam tilted his head. “So, Rangers, you will finally face us.”

 

Dragon Ranger rose to his feet. “You better believe it, chrome top!”

 

The Red Ranger unsheathed his Thunder Sword and Star Cutter. The dragon eyes on his helmet pulsed with energy as walls of flame surrounded him. “Heaven Fire Star! Lightning Flames of Destruction!”

 

Dragon Ranger crossed and extended his blades, firing a stream of flame that crackled with blue lightning. Shadam extended his hand and gathered the energy from the flame. He whipped the crackling energy and snapped it back towards the Ranger. The whip slashed across his chest with a burst of spark, sending the Ranger shooting backward and crashing through a warehouse wall.

 

Tenma and Phoenix Rangers assembled their Thunder Blasters and faced off with Gara. “Thunder Blasters!” they shouted as they fired lances of pink and blue energy at the female Gorma.

 

Gara hovered to the air to dodge the blasts. She extended her hand and launched two energy snakes that slithered forward and exploded against the two Rangers’ armor, knocking them backward.

 

Zydos picked up a giant iron support beam and swung the beam at Kirin Ranger and Lion Rangers. The two Ranger ducked under the beam, but Zydos swung the make-shift weapon bashed around and bashed its metal against the Rangers, batting them backward.

 

The five Rangers regrouped as the three Gorma continued to stalk forward. Kabuki streaked down from the air behind the Rangers and thrashed his claws across their armor. The villain flipped and stood behind the three Gorma for protection, letting his masters do the rest of the work.

 

“Rangers!” Gohun shouted from behind a pile of crates. “Use your Star Blades together!”

 

Dragon Ranger nodded. “It’s time to take care of business, guys.”

 

The Rangers each extended their own Star Blade. “Star Blade!” they shouted as the ringed weapons pulsed with cyan-tinted power. “Assault!”

 

The blades shot past the three Gorma with streaks of light and exploded into Kabuki, knocking him backward as explosions tore the villain apart.

 

The shockwave blasted the Gorma Triumvirate backward. The villains regrouped on their feet and teleported away.

 

Broken and torn, Kabuki used the last of his strength to slam an enlargement bomb onto the ground. The bomb exploded, and Kabuki absorbed the energy from the explosion to grow giant.  

 

The Rangers unsheathed their Thunder Swords and lifted the blades into the air while holding 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!”

 

Kabuki lashed out and wrapped his long black tongue around the MegaThunderzord. The tongue started squeezing and crushing the zord’s armor.

 

“MegaThunderzord Saber!” Dragon Ranger shouted. MegaThunderzord unsheathed its curved blade and slashed through the tongue. Kabuki crashed backward, his torn tongue still hanging from his mouth.

 

Kabuki rose to his feet as Phoenix Ranger shouted “Wind Storm!”

 

Dairenou’s blade energized with pink and yellow power. The MegaThunderzord swung its saber forward, emitting a pink energy cyclone that exploded against Kabuki, tearing into his body and knocking the Gorma backward.

 

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

 

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

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Gohun and his wife gathered at a shrine in Angel Grove's China Town. They stood around a rock in the shrine as they smiled and held the Tiger Saber. “It will be safe here,” Maria said.

 

Gohun nodded and held up the saber as it crackled with white energy. He thrust the saber through the stone. Gohun nodded. “Only he can pull it from this stone now.”

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“What,” Kimberly asked Kaku within their lair. “My uncle left? He didn’t even say goodbye.”

 

Kaku smiled. “He is a mysterious person Kimberly. We will see him again.”

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Byakou sat in the stone, waiting for the one to claim him.

 

To be continued…Chapter Nine