From a distance she could see a cloud of mist approaching her, and yet, she did not turn away from it. Cassandra silently welcomes the mist, and it soon engulfs her. After a few moments the cloud disappeared and five different pathways appear in front of her. Without any hesitation, she chooses the path farthest to the left and follows the trail. She walked for a good ten minutes before it turns right abruptly, The trail intersects with another trail and the two trails join together to form one trail. She quickly turns onto the main trail as if she knows the whole forest inside and out. She walks idly long the path, enjoying the beautiful scenery around her. Along this path, the leaves were green and lush as opposed to the red, orange, and brown leaves of Autumn. The massive trees on the side of the trail towers above Cassandra's head, forming giant archways over her head. Sunlight pours through the canopy as if lighting the way for Cassandra. After walking for twenty minutes, the trail comes to a stop. In front of her, stands a magnificent White Siberian Tiger. The tiger cocks his head sideways studying Cassandra curiously.
_My child, you have finally arrived._ speaks a soft calm voice in Cassandra head.
_Who are you? _ asks Cassandra telepathically.
_I am Serena, your animal spirit. I am a part of you as you are a part of me. The time has finally come for us to unite as one._ replies Serena gently, her voice flowing smoothly through Cassandra's mind.
_Is this a quest? _ questions Cassandra.
_Yes, Cassandra through this quest, you can discover the full potential of the Emerald Crystal. The power that you use now is only the beginning of something much more powerful. You are the Elected One Cassandra. If you pass the quest, the power of the universe will within your hands. Right now, you have already been granted the power of telepathy, and telekinesis. These powers will be with you for the rest of eternity. They are for yours to keep. Learn to use these powers well, Cassandra. They will aid you in ways more than you might expect._ explains Serena.
_When will the quest start? _ inquires Cassandra.
_The quest will start the next time we meet._ Serena responds before the scenery around her starts to melt together. _Remember, the next time we meet._ a voice echoes softly.
Cassandra suddenly shoots up from her bed. Her eyes snap into focus, and she suddenly realizes that she was in her bedroom. Her eyes set upon her alarm clock, the bright green letters of 1:12 A.M. cut clearly through the darkness. Next to her alarm clock are her communicator and the Emerald Crystal. She finally decides to pay Zordon a visit. She needs know what is happening to her. She climbs out of her bed and quickly changes into a pair of overalls. She grabs her communicator and the crystal, and teleports to the Command Center.
* * *
"Ay-yi-yi! Someone is in the Command Center." cries Alpha 5 in alarm.
"Shhh. It's okay Alpha. It only me, Cassandra." calms Cassandra.
"WHAT BRINGS YOU HERE AT THIS HOUR CASSANDRA?" asks Zordon in concern.
_ To make a long story short, I have been sleeping well._ Cassandra told Zordon telepathically. A look of surprise flashes across Zordon's usual calm expression.
"Cassandra, do you still remember what I told you about the side effects that might come with the power?" asks Zordon. She nods her head.
"I believe that your bond with the Emerald Crystal had reach a certain point that will allow you to gain a whole new universe of powers." says Zordon.
"You mean the Emerald Crystal is actually conscious? And it made up the whole quest thingy, and bond-with-my-animal-spirit thing?" asks Cassandra skeptically.
"I am afraid so. If you pass the quest, the Emerald Crystal will unleash a whole new world of power. As I have noticed, you already posses the power of telepathy. Perhaps you even posess the power of telekinesis" says Zordon. Cassandra nods her head.
"Can you tell me some of the history behind the Emerald Crystal?" Cassandra requests.
"EONS AGO, AN ANCIENT WIZARD BY THE NAME OF TÉHELM BELIEVED THAT A SINGLE FORCE SHOULD STAND UP AGAINST THE FORCES OF EVIL AND DESTROY IT FOR GOOD. HE NEVER REALIZED THE DELICATE BALANCE BETWEEN GOOD AND EVIL. AFTER A FEW CENTURIES, THE ASSEMBLY OF THE EMERALD CRYSTAL WAS COMPLETE. HE GAVE THE POWER TO A YOUNG PRINCE IN A FAR DISTANT UNIVERSE. THE TWO FORCES CLASHED AND NEITHER OF THEM BACKED DOWN, SO THE WAR RAGED ON FOR MANY GENERATIONS. WHEN THE HOLDER OF THE CRYSTAL BECAME OLD, HE OR SHE WILL CHOOSE ANOTHER YOUNG WARRIOR TO TAKE THE PLACE OF THE EMERALD RANGER. DURING ONE BATTLE, THE EMERALD CRYSTAL WAS SOMEHOW CAPTURED BY THE FORCES OF EVIL, AND WAS USED TO WRECK HAVOC IN THEIR GALAXY. SOMEHOW, THEY MANAGED TO RETRIEVE THE CRYSTAL BACK TO ITS RIGHTFUL OWNER. MANY LIVES WERE LOST DURING THE MISSION TO RETRIEVE THE CRYSTAL. THE WIZARD THEN REALIZED THAT SUCH GREAT POWER SHOULD NOT BE TAKEN LIGHTLY. HE WEAVED A PROTECTION SPELL ON THE CRYSTAL, AND SENT IT TO EARTH. BY THAT TIME, THE ONLY LIVING THINGS ON EARTH WERE THE PRIMITIVE SINGLED CELLED ORGANISMS. HE NEVER EXPECTED THAT SENTIENT SPECIES WOULD EVOLVE FROM THIS PLANET. YOUR ANCESTORS MUST HAVE FOUND THE CRYSTAL, AND HAVE PASSED IT DOWN THROUGH THE GENERATIONS." explains Zordon.
"What's the protection spell about?" asks Cassandra curiously.
"THE SPELL PREVENTS EVIL FROM USING THE CRYSTAL TO THEIR ADVANTAGE, AND ONLY ITS TRUE OWNER CAN USE THE CRYSTAL TO ITS FULLEST POTENTIAL." replies Zordon.
"Wow." says Cassandra, letting what Zordon had said sink in.
"CASSANDRA, IT'S THREE O'CLOCK, I RECOMMEND THAT YOU GO HOME AND TRY TO GET SOME REST." recommends Zordon.
"I guess I should. Good thing tomorrow is not a school day, or I would have major problems on staying awake." remarks Cassandra before teleporting back to her room.
Zordon, watching intently from his time warp smiles to himself.
* * *
The telephone next to Cassandra's bedside lamp suddenly rings. She automatically reaches over to get the phone, but instead of getting the phone, she promptly rolls off of her bed.
"Ugh." groans Cassandra trying to get herself untangled from the sheets. She picks up the phone before its fourth ring.
"Hello?" she asks sleepily.
"Hi Cassandra." greets Adam form the other end.
"Adam, why in the world are you calling so early for?" asks Cassandra before Adam can say anything else.
"Early? Cassandra, look at the clock. Its already ten forty-five!" says Adam.
"Oops, sorry about that. It's just that I'm not ready to get up yet." apologizes Cassandra, after glancing at her alarm clock.
"Not a morning person huh?" says Adam, chuckling to himself.
"Nope, definitely not. So, what's up?" asks Cassandra.
"Well, we are going to the beach, and we were just wondering if you would like to come with us." says Adam.
"Sure, what time?" Cassandra questions.
"We are going this afternoon around two o'clock. We'll meet at the beach." he answers.
"Do I need to bring anything?"
"Uh, bring your swimming gears, we're going scuba diving. Other than that, you should bring your self, a beach towel, and other accessories that you would like to bring with you. We are having a volley ball match later too." says Adam.
"Okay, I'll be there. See ya later. Bye!"says Cassandra before hanging up.
* * *
"All right, Tommy, Adam and I are going scuba diving and the rest of you guys are staying here to set up the stuff right?" asks Cassandra.
"Affirmative." replies Billy.
"Are you sure you won't need any help?" Cassandra asks.
"Yes mother, I am quite sure we can handle this. Why don't you guys go and have some fun swimming? My good buddies here are all very capable." responds Aisha indicating Billy, Kat and Rocky.
"Alrighty then, lets get the show on the road." says Rocky, rubbing his hands together.
* * *
_ Wow, this place is amazing! _ thinks Cassandra, as she dives deeper into the water. A school of fish passes by. She cranes her head up a bit, and sees a big distorted sun through the water. Adam gently taps Cassandra's shoulder, motioning her to follow him, but before she could respond the gesture, she feels the world swirl around her. Her vision becomes distorted, until all she could see are the ghostly dark outline of Adam.
_ What's happening to me? _ Cassandra asks herself frantically, trying to fight the blackness that is trying to overwhelm her. She tries to move her limbs but couldn't. It felt like someone had cut the wire that connects her limbs to her body. Slowly she feels her consciousness slip away and there is nothing that she could do about it. The last thing that she saw was Adam, grabbing a hold of her arm, dragging her toward the surface.
* * *
Dropping, dropping, dropping. Cassandra opens her eyes, and realizes that the ground is only a few hundred feet away. She tries to scream but no sound came out of her mouth. Beneath her, she sees a thick forest stretching as far as her eyes can see. When she reached the canopy, her dropping starts to slow down. A few seconds later, she lands gently, feet first onto the forest floor. Cassandra looks around the forest. She suddenly hears foot steps behind her, and she turns around abruptly. What she saw was Serena.
_ Is the quest starting? _ asks Cassandra.
_ Yes, the quest starts now._ answers Serena. A shower of green mist envelopes Cassandra. When the mist thins out, she sees two different pathways in front of her.
_ They are two different pathways. The one to the left is into the possible future, and the other is into your forgotten past_._ says Serena.
_ How do you know that I don't remember my childhood times? _ asks Cassandra, obviously surprised.
_ You forgot Cassandra, I am a part of you, as you are a part of me. I feel your emotions and your pain. I know how you feel and I know just about everything that you know._ says Serena.
_ Which path should I take first? _ asks Cassandra.
_ Just pick one. Each of them is a different quest. You will not go through both of them, the one you choose will be the quest you take. _ Serena replies calmly. Her big yellow eyes showed warmth and understanding. Cassandra looked into those eyes and drew strength from it.
_ Will you be with me through the quest?_ Cassandra asks.
_ I will guide you through the quest, but the rest you must do on your own._ Serena replies gently. Cassandra took a long glance at Serena, and followed the path to the right quietly.
The pathway twisted and turned into the forest. Everything got darker and darker when she got closer and closer to the heart of the forest. When she got the heart of the forest, a huge golden gate appeared in front of her. Behind the gate, she saw what might be Angel Grove, about a decade ago. She walks a little closer, and notices a lock about the size of her palm locking the gate together. Cassandra reaches out and touches the lock, and suddenly the lock and the chains disappear into thin air. She quickly withdrew her hand.
_ Okay, this is definitely not normal. _ says Cassandra to herself. She took another step forward. When she was about a foot away from the gate, the gate gently opened by itself. She took an involuntary step backward. When the gate is opened all the way, Cassandra took a few cautious steps forward. Once she walked past the threshold, she felt herself being pulled into some kind of invisible vortex.
"Whoooaaaa!" cries Cassandra she was sucked completely into the vortex. It was like a huge slide with coverings that blocked out all the light. She fell through the darkness for a few moments and suddenly landed with a thud.
"Ugh." Cassandra groans as she slowly picks herself up. She looks around her surroundings and realized that it is the same place that she saw outside of the gate.
_ Cassandra._ whispers a voice. Cassandra turns around and sees Serena moving towards her. Serena's tiger body moved with liquid grace.
_ This is Angel Grove when you were four years old. You were born here, not Kentucky. You will not be able to have any contact with anyone. You can see them and hear them, but to them, it is as if you never existed._ Serena says.
"What am I suppose to do?" asks Cassandra aloud.
_ All you have to do is to rediscover you past and understand it._ Serena replies.
"Is that all?" Cassandra asks.
_ Yes it is, but to you it might not be an easy task. In order to be a full fledged Emerald Ranger, you must understand yourself first before you are able to do anything else. Beware, some things are not as easy as it may seem. Always keep that in mind. _ Serena replies.
"How many parts are there to this quest?" Cassandra questions.
_ There is only one. You must understand why some things happen. I will guide you to a right start._ says Serena, as she swiftly disappeared into thin air.
"Wait! What am I suppose to do?" Cassandra asks frantically.
_ Always remember, everything happens for a reason. Remember that._ says Serena as her voice slowly fades into nothingness. Soon Cassandra was alone.
* * *
Cassandra slowly made her way the park. She didn't know why, but she just knew there would be something important there. As she approached the play ground, she sees a woman in her mid thirties playing with little girl about four years old on the swing. The girl had light brown colored hair and the women have bronze colored hair, dressed in casual wear.
"Mommy, mommy, push harder. I want to fly!" squeals the child as she laughed with delight.
"Cassandra honey, this is as high as I am going to let you go. You might get hurt." the women replies.
Watching from a distance, Cassandra gasped. _ Oh my gosh! That's me!_ she thinks to herself in amazement. Her hand flew up to her mouth. She blinks a few times, thinking that it might be an illusion. _ That's my mother? The mother that I never remembered? _ Cassandra wonders.
"Honey, we have to go home." says young Cassandra's mother after a few more moments of pushing.
"But mommy, I don't wanna go." whines young Cassandra.
"Cassie, Daddy will be worried. Besides, we need to get home for dinner." says Cassandra's Mom.
"Okey." says young Cassandra reluctantly jumping off of the swing. Young Cassandra's mother took her daughter's hand and headed for the parking lot where they parked their car.
Cassandra follows them as they headed for the parking lot. She watched as they went into the car and drove off. Suddenly her surrounding melted together, shifted, and changed into the side of a road. She felt like watching everything from a movie theater. She then spots Mrs. Jensen's car. Her surroundings followed the car. "Cool." says Cassandra to no one in particular.
A flash of blue from the corner of her eye catches her attention. Young Cassandra's mom hasn't noticed the blue mini van speeding up to the intersection of the next stop light. But from Cassandra's angle, she knew that the van is going way too fast in order for it to stop at the red light. She did a quick little logic calculation, and suddenly realized that if both of the cars continue travel at the same constant speed, they are going to collide.
"NNNNOOOOO!" cries Cassandra in anguish, as she watches the vehicles collide helplessly. The blue van hits the driver side of the car with a very loud crash. Cassandra closed her eyes for a moment in grief. When she opened them again, she sees the paramedics lifting her mother's lifeless body soaked with blood onto the stretcher. Time seems to pass quickly for Cassandra. She watched as the emergency crew pried the car door ajar, and slowly got young Cassandra out of the car. Young Cassandra sustained some major injuries, she could tell by the way young Cassandra's left arm is hanging that she broke her arm. Young Cassandra clings onto the paramedics for dear life. Tears slide down Cassandra's cheeks unnoticed. _ Why did this have to happen? _ Cassandra asks herself.
"Why?? What did she do to get hit by that car?" asks Cassandra in frustration, tears now streaming freely down her face. A voice suddenly echoes in her head. _ Remember, everything happens for a reason. Just wait and watch Cassandra, don't let the anger blind you._
"But why? What did she do to deserve that? Huh? What did she do? Tell me!" cries Cassandra.
_ Cassandra, you have to understand, this is all a part of the quest._ Serena's calm voice replies.
Cassandra's tears subsided a bit, but she is still sobbing. She nodded her head slowly continues to watch. The scene shifted and changed again, this time they are in emergency room. Young Cassandra's mother lie as still as death on the medical bed. The doctors and nurses surround the bed, tending on different sections of her wound. There were tubes everywhere. An IV sat close to the bed dripping precious blood into the woman's body. Cassandra feels the tears flood her eyes again, but she held them back. The heart monitor beeped slowly. From the readings, Cassandra could tell that her heart beat is weak. The doctors were mumbling things that she doesn't understand, but she was sure of one thing that the doctors said, "surgery". That singles word sends shivers down her spine. _ They are going to operate surgery on her._ Cassandra tells herself bitterly. Cassandra watched from the corner as the doctors and the nurses wheeled the woman into surgery room. The door to the surgery room was closed. Cassandra's surroundings change once more. This time she is in the surgery room, and her 'mother' is conscious although barely. Before they could start the surgery and administer the sedatives, she waked up.
"Cassandra," she whispers, "someone please get me my daughter."
"Ma'am, you need medical help. We need to start as soon as possible." says the doctor, still confused by how the women had woke up.
"Doctor, please. I don't have much time left, please get me my daughter." she pleaded weakly.
"But ma'am-" the doctor began, but was interrupted before he could finish.
"Doctor please, I beg you." she pleads.
"Oh, alright. Steve, why don't you get the little girl." says the doctor, gesturing to one of his assistants.
"Thank you doctor, you don't know how much that means to me." says young Cassandra's Mom. A few minutes later, Steve walked back with young Cassandra cradled in his arms. Cassandra notices a small cast on young Cassandra left arm.
"Mommy!" squeals young Cassandra, as Steve lowered her to her mother's arms. Her mother held her tightly, a single bead of tear, streamed down the mother's face.
"Honey, mommy won't be going home with you. But when you get home, tell daddy that the time has come for you to take on the family heritage. Daddy, will give you a green crystal, and you must keep it for all times, no matter what happens. You won't be able to remember any of this until the time is right. When that time comes, your childhood memory will come flooding back to you. Can you do that for me sweetie?" the woman's voice cracked at the end, and tears streamed freely down her face.
"Okay," replies young Cassandra nodding her head, "I love you mommy."
"I love you too honey, remember that. I will always be there for you no matter where I am." young Cassandra's mom replies, sniffing in between words. Reluctantly, she hands young Cassandra back to Steve, who took her back to her hospital room. She lays back against the pillow.
"May the Power protect you my young warrior. Let you enemies tremble with fear." were her last words before she closed her eyes, never to open them again.
Watching from the shadows, Cassandra feels like her legs have turned to jelly. Thousands of different thoughts swam through her head all at once. _ Now it makes sense why Dad never answered me when I asked him about my Mom. I guess he can't bear to open those painful wounds. But why did she have to die? Why? She even knew that she is going to die like this, it seems. Where did it go wrong? Why did it have to be her?_ questions filled her mind, and she has no answers to give. Suddenly another thought struck her like lighting. _ She knew? Would that mean that Dad knows that I am a ranger? Mom, knew that I will be a ranger. But would that mean Dad know that I am a ranger?_ She made a mental note about talking to Dad about it later.
Scenes flashes in front of her. She caught vague glimpses of the things that happened afterwards. But one scene lingered longer than some of the others. Cassandra watched as her dad walked up the attic and came back out with the Emerald Crystal and handed it to young Cassandra. Times seem to freeze as the picture focused on the crystal. The crystal reflected the sun's light with a soft glare. It was then that Cassandra realized that it was her destiny to become the Emerald Ranger. Her mother knew her time is up, so she passed the power to Cassandra.
It was cold cruel fate, and there is nothing Cassandra can do about it. She will just have to accept her responsibility as the Emerald Ranger and let fate guide her through life. Realizing that, she felt the pain slip away.
_ You have completed the quest, Cassandra. _ came Serena's soft gentle voice. _You have understood your destiny._ The surrounding around Cassandra melted together and she felt that same weird tug of the vortex.
_Here we go again. _ Cassandra thinks to herself. "Whoooaaaa!" she cries as the vortex sucks her in. She lands with a very audible thud.
"Ugh." groans Cassandra as she picks herself up. She is back in the forest. Serena is only a few feet away from her. Serena's big golden eyes gazed at her intently.
"So, the quest is over." Cassandra asks aloud.
_Yes, you have done well. We are now as one. Our spirits are bonded together like water and the essence of life._
"What will happen from here on?" asks Cassandra.
"You have earned the Emerald Tiger Ninja Zord. Just call upon it at the time of need and it will serve you well. Also remember that our spirits are bonded together for all of eternity." Serena replies. "Now, I must send you back to your world."
With that, the surroundings slowly began to fade. The trees and the sky seem to run together like some painter had swirled all the colors together. Her surroundings began to darken until she can see nothing in front of her. Cassandra felt like she is walking through a dark tunnel, where no light can pass through. Slowly, she began to hear voices from a far distance. The voices continued to get stronger with each passing moment. The pitch blackness starts to turn brighter and brighter. Suddenly, she felt like she had awakened from a dream. Cassandra slowly opens her eyes and looks around her bright surrounding. She slowly sits up and realizes that she had one major headache going.
"Un." Cassandra groans as she rubs her temples gingerly.
"Oh, you're awake!" exclaims Adam suddenly. Cassandra looks around her surrounding and notices that she is in the Command Center's recovery room.
"Where-" Cassandra pretends to ask, but was cut off before she could finish.
"There is no need to pretend. Zordon told us about you being a ranger." says Adam.
"Not so loud now, my head isn't feeling all that perky right now." says Cassandra.
"Headache huh? Here take this." says Rocky as he walks into the room, handing Cassandra two little white pill and a glass of water.
"Oh goody, aspirin. Thanks. " says Cassandra jokingly as she swallowed the pills.
Upon the news, the rest of the gang poured into the room. A few moments later, Alpha shuffles into the room saying another round of "Ay-yi-yi"'s.
"What happened Cassandra? We were pretty worried about you. Adam was about to loose his mind before Zordon contacted us." says Aisha giving Adam a wink. Adam blushes slightly. Cassandra smiles at Adam and proceeds to tell her quest in great detail, but skipping the worst parts. After all, she still isn't ready to tell them everything that had happened during her forgotten childhood.
* * *
"So did you talk to your dad about it?" asks Kat The following day. They were having the picnic that they never got a chance to have the day before.
"Yeah and he had absolutely no idea what I was talking. I ask him about the crystal, he end up telling me that it is my mom's family heirloom and there is nothing really special about it except that it has been passed down through many generations." Cassandra replies taking a bite out of a sandwich.
"It must have been very complex to keep that big a secret concealed." states Billy.
"I guess. Now I just have to hope that I do as good as a job as my mom did." says Cassandra.
"Don't worry, if we can keep our identities a secret, you'll probably be able to." assures Tommy.
"Lets just hope. Well any ways, lets change the subject. Lets talk about something else. Maybe you guys can tell me a little more about yourselves." announces Cassandra.
Soon the group was listening intently as they introduced themselves in great detail. _Looks like I am an official member of the Power Rangers team._ thinks Cassandra as she listens to Adam talk about himself. Unknown to them, this is only the beginning of a wonderful adventure that was to come.