Adam hits the ground with a thud, but deftly rolls up to his feet. Where ever he is, it is dark. So dark, he can barely see his hand in front of his face. He surveys the surroundings as best he can. Though he has no idea where he is going, Adam begins walking.
"OW!" Adam says after tripping over a root and colliding with a tree.
"Forget it," he thinks. "I'm not going to be able to find Alex tonight. I'll have to wait until first light."
Adam feels his way down the base of the offending tree and has a seat. He waits silently.
A rustling of leaves, interrupts Adam's dozing.
"It's only the wind," he says aloud, trying to convince himself.
The rustling begins again.
"In this strange world, I wonder where I fit into the food chain?"
Adam quickly stands up and begins blindly climbing the tree. After several minutes of climbing, he finds a larger branch.
"Hope any Jaffa predators are short."
As the first rays of dawn arrive, Adam feels a slight nuzzling at his shoulder.
"Alex?..." he says sleepily, lost somewhere between dreamland and reality.
He turns his head and slowly opens his eyes.
The forest echoes with two startled cries. Adam scrambles closer to the base of the tree and a cat-sized, green creature scurries to the end of the limb.
"What in the hell...," Adam exclaims.
The creature looks at Adam, probably thinking the same thing. It begins to scratch itself and soon forgets all about Adam.
Adam inspects the odd creature a little closer. It looks sort of like an iguana with wings.
"Sabra! Sabra!" a childish voice echoes through the forest.
Adam scrambles to pull some foilage in front of himself.
"Sabra! Sabra! Sabra, you naughty little dragon, where did you fly off to now?" the child scolds.
"Dragon?!?" Adam thinks, making eye contact with the beast.
The dragon begins to make a noise--a kind of loud hooting-purring-clicking noise. Adam begins to panic. The dragon was going to lead its owner right to their hiding spot.
"Shoo, shoo," Adam begins flapping at the dragon.
The dragon tilts its head from side-to-side, but remains firmly planted. It makes the noise again.
"Sabra! I can hear you. Come down here," the child commands.
"Go to your keeper, Sabra," Adam whispers softly.
The dragon doesn't budge. Adam decides to give the obstinant little creature a shove. He slides down the limb, stretching his arm out to push when...
The dragon decides to leave. It spreads its membraneous wings and gently glides down the canopy.
Adam is awestruck and leans over to watch Sabra's flight. Then he loses his balance. He over corrects to keep from falling over forwards and instead falls over backwards. Adam scrambles to find something to stop his rapid decent.
He hits the ground with a thud. Adam looks up to see what appears to be a 5-year-old girl peeking at him from behind a large tree. Sabra sits perched on her shoulder.
"Damn dragon," Adam mutters under his breath. He sits up slowly and says, "Hi there."
The little girl giggles and disappears behind the tree. Adam groans and stands up. He brushes the remainders of the tree off of himself. The girl peeks out from around the tree again. Adam could swear that he saw the dragon stick its tongue out at him.
"I'm Adam. What's your name?"
The child disappears again with a giggle.
"I like your dragon. He sure is beautiful."
"SHE," a voice says. Its owner comes into view again. "She, Sabra is a girl dragon."
"I'm sorry. SHE is beautiful."
"I like her. She's my best friend,...Adam," the girl adds, trying out the unfamiliar name. "My name is Galena."
"Very nice to meet you, Galena," Adam says, coming down on one knee so that they are on the same eye level. "Galena, have you seen a strange girl around here recently? She's about this tall, has beautiful, long, black hair, and porcelin white skin."
Galena picks her memory. Adam is hopeful.
"She had on hiking boots and a purple shirt," Adam adds.
Galena continues to think.
"She likes purple?" Galena asks.
"Yes! It's her favorite color. You've seen her then?"
"No, but purple is my favorite color too."
Adam slaps his hand to his forehead. This kid was too cruel.
"Nona would know," Galena offers. "She knows everything."
Galena strokes Sabra as the dragon snuggles up to the girl's cheek.
"Can you take me to Nona?" Adam asks.
The pair head off into the forest. They walk for what seems like hours. Galena gives Adam the grand tour. Galena proudly shows him where her father likes to hunt, her favorite climbing tree, where Sabra hatched, and the haunted cave. Then she plops down in front of a too familiar looking tree.
"I'm tired," Galena whines.
"Me too," Adam says, taking a seat next to her.
Adam's stomach growls and Galena bursts into a fit of giggles.
"Let's go to Nona's house for some lunch," Galena suggests.
"I thought that was where we were just going?"
"Oh, that's right. I forgot."
Adam makes a frustrated noise.
"Here, you carry Sabra," Galena says, scooping up the dragon and handing it to Adam.
Adam fumbles around with the dragon.
"Ow, ow, ow, OW! Watch the claws!" Adam says as Sabra crawls up his chest to sit on his shoulder.
* * * *
Only five minutes later, the trio come across a small stone cottage. Adam reluctantly follows Galena in the door.
"NONA! NONA!" Galena yells.
A woman comes out from the back room. Adam begins to think that he has stepped into the early 19th century. The woman appears to be in her mid- to late twenties. She wears a long, plain, cotton-type gray dress with simple white gloves. Her firey red hair is done in ringlets.
"Galena!" the woman exclaims when she sees Adam, yanking Galena behind her voluminous skirts.
"What do you want?" The woman glares at Adam, never taking her hand off of Galena.
"Mama, he's looking for his friend."
"I'm sorry," Adam says, placing his hands up in front of himself. He realizes that he probably does look threatening. "Galena's right, though. I am trying to find someone."
"Nona probably knows," Galena says, breaking her mother's grip and running towards the back.
Soon Galena returns with a woman who could easily be pushing one hundred. The old woman hobbles into the room, leaning heavily on her walking stick. She hobbles up to Adam. She stops and squints at him up and down.
"Hmm," she says, scratching her chin.
Nona and Sabra stare at each other intently for several moments. Sabra hops from Adam's shoulder to Nona's walking stick. Sabra makes the eerie sound again.
"I see," Nona says.
"Excuse me?" Adam says.
"Alexandra is here in Jaffa."
"Where?!?!" Adam's heart leaps. "Wait a minute, how did you know her name?"
"Sabra told me," Nona replies as if everyone conversed with dragons on a daily basis. "Sabra has a bad habit of following Petra to the castle. You're a nosy little beast, aren't you?"
Nona feeds Sabra a small morsel from her pocket.
"Sabra said that a strange woman, dressed like a boy, arrived in the castle yesterday," Nona continues.
"Is she okay?" Adam asks.
Nona looks at Sabra again.
"Sabra doesn't know. After the stranger arrived at Malachite's castle, she saw a large fish in his pond. She was hungry, sorry."
"Can you tell me how to get to this castle?"
"Yes, but first, you must eat. Sabra says your stomach is very noisy."
"I don't want to be a bother...," Adam says politely though he is ravenous.
"Adam, come play 'Disks and Spikes' with me while Mama makes lunch." Galena grabs his hand and draws him to the fire place.
* * * * * * *
Adam still hasn't figured out the silly game by the time lunch is served. He is glad for the reprieve.
As they eat their simple meal of fish and stewed vegetables, Adam begins to tell them his story. For some reason, he trusts these people.
"I'm sorry, Power whats?" Petra says.
"Power Rangers," Adam says. "Our home, Earth, is constantly under attack by the Machine Empire. We were chosen as the Earth's protectors."
"How very odd."
"Alexandra is a Power Ranger too," Adam says and then adds shyly, "She is very special to me. That's why I have to find her. While we are gone, the Earth is left unprotected against the Machine Empire. I...."
"Sabra!" Petra interrupts.
The dragon looks up with a mouthful of fish, which she has just stolen off Adam's plate. Galena giggles.
"C'mon, Sabra. Let's go play 'Disks and Spikes,'" Galena says, scooping Sabra off the table and carrying her to the fire place.
"Machines that have a life of their own," Petra puzzles aloud. "Sounds like a fairytail almost."
Galena's yelling causes the others to glance over at the fire place.
"Give me that, Sabra!" Galena yells.
Sabra chirps again.
"Mama, Sabra's chewing on my favorite disk!"
Galena lunges for the dragon. Sabra becomes airborne to escape. She flies to Nona.
Adam notices that the disk looks familiar. Out of its casing....
"That's Alex's Power Coin!" Adam says in surprise.
He is estatic, then becomes grave. Finding the coin meant that Alex couldn't morph to protect herself.
"Give me that," Adam says, grabbing onto the coin.
Sabra thinks they are playing and growls like a dog. She doesn't let loose.
"Sabra," Nona says firmly.
Sabra obediently releases the coin and flies off to her bed in a snit. Adam examines the coin. Except for a few dragon-teeth marks, the coin looks okay. Adam wipes the dragon spit off the coin and places it in the breast pocket of his gi.
"After lunch we will go to Malachite's castle," Nona says.
"Goodie! An adventure!" Galena squeals from the fire place.
"You, young lady, will go to your Auntie's house until your father comes home," Petra says sternly.
"Aw, Mama," Galena pouts.
"Petra has been summoned to Malachite's castle to sing for his wedding banquet tomorrow evening," Nona explains.
"I have to be there early to find out what his highness wishes me to sing," Petra says.
"We will accompany Petra and see if we can locate your friend," Nona says.
"I have to find the other Rangers too," Adam says, the task becoming daunting already. "Even if I find Alex, we can't leave without the other Rangers. Plus, we don't even know how to get home. I hope that Trini will be able to reopen the portal soon."
"We will succeed. First you must change, you will not be able to blend in at the castle with those clothes on."
"You may borrow some of my husband's clothes, Adam," Petra offers.
"And definitely one of Lars' larger hats. You are a handsome young man, but your exotic looks will make it hard for you to blend into Jaffian society." Nona groans as she gets to her feet and adds, "We've never seen one of tan skin and almond-shaped eyes. Ladies especialy will notice."
Adam flushes at the compliment as Petra leaves to retrieve the clothes.