I'm am sorry that this chapter is really late. I have had a really bad couple of weeks, the worst being a kid from my old high school committing suicide. I had known him for a long time, and his sister and I were pretty good friends. It was just hard to know that he will never be able to grow up and become a whole person, to live out his dreams. You never think it can happen to someone so close to home, until it does. It makes you cherish everyone around you, because you never know when they wont be able to be with you anymore.
I dedicate this chapter to him, even though it really doesn't have anything to do with what happened to him. There are a lot of people who really miss him, and I hope that his family can pick up the pieces and go on with their lives. I also hope that his friends will realize that there was nothing any of them could have done, and it is no ones fault. Words are very powerful, but they are just words. We will never really know what led him to do it, but it was his own choosing. Wherever you are kid, my prayers are with you. For Andy.
Zordon looked down upon his remaining rangers, and could tell that they were beginning to lose all hope. They were getting little, if any sleep, fear gripping their every thought.
"I can't stand this!" Tommy finally broke the silence, making everyone jump. "I just wish whatever it is would make its move!"
"You want it to attack," Kimberly asked quietly, her eyes looking towards the floor.
"I want it to fight us to our faces!" anger swelled inside of him, making him turn and punch the wall. Pain exploded, but he did not let it show. He didn't even seem to notice the blood trickling from two of his knuckles, and no one dared to point it out.
"If something works, don't fix it." Billy added flatly, making Tommy snort in disgust. "I'm just saying that if this thing knows that he can get us this way, then he is going to keep doing it!"
"Billy's right." Tommy was about to protest until Kimberly gave him her look, head tilted and mouth turned in a small frown, "Tommy, there is no need to fly off the handle. We have to stick together, as a team, if we are going to help Adam and Rocky."
"I know that," he sighed heavily. "Man, if I could just get my hands on him for one minute! I would make him pay for what he did!"
"It can't be that easy," Aisha spoke, and all eyes fell on her. She hadn't said a word since they had found out about Rocky, and Tommy suddenly felt ashamed.
"I didn't mean that..."
"No Tommy!" Aisha stood and walked over to him, and Kimberly held her breath. "Rocky and Adam are lying in the hospital, in a coma, and you think you can just waltz in and do what they couldn't?"
"I never said that!" Tommy gasped as she pushed him back, making Billy step in between them.
"Wake up Tommy!" she cried, the tears flowing freely down her face now. "You want this to be another one of Zedd and Rita's monsters, but it isn't! You can't understand why it is so hard to beat, because you can't face that fact!"
"You're right!" Tommy turned away from them. "Are you happy now! I have no idea how to defeat this thing, and I am more scared than I have ever been in my entire life! Happy?"
"Oh Tommy," Aisha went to stand next to him, all of her own anger gone. "We are all scared. I am so scared that I will never see Rocky or Adam again. That they will remain there forever, just the shell of the amazing people we knew."
Aisha could see the tears falling from their leaders face as he turned to her and gathered her in a hug. Kimberly and Billy joined them, and they remained that way for a long time, locked in love and friendship.
"We will get them back!" Tommy vowed, pulling away from Aisha just enough to look at her face. "We will get them back together!"
"Zordon, I have picked up a message from..."
"Rangers of Earth," the voice came tot hem before Alpha could finish, and they all turned towards the viewing globe as it came into focus.
"Dulcea!" Billy cried as they saw her smiling face.
"I have sensed great trouble surrounding all of you, and I have been contacted through my visions. It would be wise for all you to teleport to Phados, where I can further explain."
Dulcea was one of the Rangers most trusted allies, but Tommy still found himself looking to Zordon. Through everything, he had been the ones the Rangers could always turn to.
"I cannot help you with this." It was the hardest thing he had ever told them, and they all knew it. "Dulcea possesses powers that even I do not know the extent of. She can help."
Tommy nodded, and looked to his team for support.
"We're with you Tommy," Kimberly took his hand.
"Together," Aisha added.
"Good luck Rangers," Alpha handed Tommy and Aisha both a pack. "There is water and some food in these. We will set you down where we did last time."
"Why not right on Dulcea's Plateau?" Aisha shouldered the pack.
"There is an energy field, we cannot teleport through," Zordon looked down upon them again. "Do not worry, the power will protect you."
With that, the Rangers were teleported away, back to Phados. This time, however, they would not be fighting to regain a lost power, but to fight an unknown foe. Zordon had never felt to helpless in his entire life.
They set down on the same rocks, but this time they knew exactly where they were headed.
"It's strange," Kimberly laughed a little. "I keep looking over my shoulder for Tenga's."
"What I wouldn't give for a few Tengas to beat on right now!" Tommy got a small shove from behind for his comment.
"Don't say that!" Kimberly's eyes were sparkling, so they all knew she was joking. There was little conversation after that, as they wanted to reach Dulcea by night fall. The sun was just beginning to set as they reached their destination. Tommy and Kimberly started up the spiral stone steps, but Billy stopped right before the first step.
"Are you okay?" Aisha noticed for the first time how pale he was, and sat him down. "What's wrong?"
"It's just my arm," he winced as the sling slipped off and fell to the ground.
"How long has it been loose?" Aisha picked it up and held it for a minute.
"Ever since we teleported." She gently lifted his arm to place his arm back into the sling. Then she brought the strap around his back and over the left shoulder.
"You should have told us, we don't want you to do any more damage to it."
"I know that Tommy feels responsible, and I didn't want that to be on his mind." she finished tying it, and then sat down herself. Pulling the pack off, she pulled out a water bottle and handed it to him.
"Thanks," he accepted it gratefully, taking a few gulps before returning it to her. She tipped her head back to drink, closing her eyes, and Billy found himself staring at her, silhouetted by the setting sun. He quickly stood as she brought the bottle back down and opened her eyes.
"The others will be worried." he added quickly as she shoved the bottle back into the pack. They started up the long flight of steps, and soon stood beside Tommy and Kimberly. It was just as they remembered it, a fire blazing in the center.
"Welcome!" Dulcea stepped from the shadows, a pulling back the hood that covered her head. "it is good to see you."
"Likewise," Billy was the first to step forward, the others following hesitantly.
"I just wish it was under better circumstances." she motioned for them to sit, and they all took a spot next to the fire. The sun was just setting behind the mountains, and a chill filled the air. Kimberly shivered a little, and Tommy pulled the overshirt he was wearing off and placed it around her shoulders. She smiled gratefully, slipping her arms into the sleeves and pulling cloth around her protectively.
"Kimberly?" Dulcea came close to her, and kneeled. "may I see the wound?"
Kimberly gingerly removed the bandage that covered it, "How did you know?"
Dulcea placed her hand directly above Kim's leg, not quite touching it. Tommy was appalled to see that Kimberly's leg did not look any better.
"Your animal spirits tell me much," Dulcea stood, and went to the fire. "how much do you know?"
"Very little," Tommy watched as Dulcea removed a small bag from her belt and removed a hand full of its contents. "we were hoping you could tell us more."
"Tommy, I hope that you have not come here thinking that I have all the answers" Dulcea did not take her eyes from the fire.
"No, but you have to know more than we do," Aisha spoke for him, and Dulcea smiled. In one quick motion, she threw the handful of dust she held into the fire, and the teens had to shield their eyes as the light intensified for a moment.
"My meditation these past few days has been troubled, your spirit guides showing me glimpses of the events you endured." as she spoke, the fire sprang up, and a single ball of flame the size of a tennis ball spun around her, so close that they were sure it was going to burn her. "I have also been visited by spirits,"
"Kimberly," the voice brought that horrible night back to Kimberly's mind.
"Who are you?" she stood as the fireball came to her, encircling her a few times before hovering midair in front of her face. It was the same voice from her dream.
"I am one that he has claimed," it danced a little in front of her. "one of the many,"
"Who is he?" Tommy asked, and the fireball encircled him a few times too before returning to Dulcea.
"I cannot say, for that would mean certain doom for us all. He has chosen."
"Chosen?" Kimberly took a step forward.
"For years, he has searched in vain for the one. A pure heart, soul, and mind. He has found that in all he has consumed, but always he must search again."
"I don't understand," Aisha put her head in her hands, and the fireball went to her.
"The one he chooses must give themselves unselfishly to him." the voice sounded distant now. "Many have offered themselves, wishing to make the ultimate sacrifice so that the others may go free, but they lacked what he needed."
"What is that?" Kimberly had to shield her eyes again as the light of the fire grew again.
"When they opened their eyes again, everything was back to normal. Dulcea stood in front of them, but none of them could speak.
"Tonight you will rest," they all stood and followed her towards the back of the plateau. They were amazed at how big it actually was, having had little time to explore the last time they were here.
"No offense Dulcea," Tommy looked at the symbol on one of the doors, the same one that decorated his ninjetti suit during battle. "but I don't think any of us will be able to sleep tonight."
"I know that you are all scared, but you are safe here. As long as you remain on the plateau, no harm can come to you."
Reluctantly, they entered the chambers assigned to them. Tommy sat down on the bed, and realized just how tired he was. He was grateful that the bed was soft, and the blankets were warm, and for the first time in days, he fell fast asleep.
Billy was also asleep within moments of lying down, and it wasn't until the early morning hours that he heard a rustling at his door.
"Billy?" the soft scared voice of Aisha came to his ears, and he blinked a couple of times to make sure he was seeing right. She was standing just inside, her eyes wide with fear or exhaustion, and Billy could not tell which.
"What's wrong?" he sat up, and she slowly made her way to the bed, her shoes echoing slightly on the stone. She sat at the edge of the bed, and again he couldn't help but stare.
"I can't sleep." she whispered, her head hung down.
"You've been awake all this time?" he pulled the covers down, and she crawled in next to him. She laid her head down as he propped himself up on his good elbow.
"I've been thinking about Adam and Rocky,"
"What about them?"
"What if we can't save them?" her lip trembled, and she sat back up, like it was bad for her to even contemplate sleeping.
"We have to think positively," he put his arms around her, and she melted into them. "We will get them back Aisha, I promise."
"You shouldn't make promises you might not be able to keep." she looked at him with her big brown eyes, and he couldn't resist the impulse any longer. Putting his hands on her face, he drew her in and kissed her gently. Her arms went around him, and he could feel her nails digging in slightly. When he pulled away, he looked back into her eyes. He was surprised. Surprised that he had never seen how beautiful she was before.
"I intend on keeping this one," they laid back down, and before Billy knew it, Aisha was fast asleep. He kissed her forehead gently before nodding off to sleep again, holding Aisha protectively in his arms.
The sun was just starting to peek out when Billy was wrenched from his peaceful slumber. He could hear the wailing of a wolf, so close that he expected to open his eyes and see one standing next to his bed. Aisha was wide away also, and Billy concluded that she was probably awoken in the same manner.
"What was that?" he asked as she scrambled from the bed to stand before the opening.
"Our animal spirits are trying to warn us!" with that, she took off across the plateau, and it took all of Billy's energy to follow her. He shot past Tommy and Kimberly who were emerging themselves and followed Aisha to the steps.
"Can't you hear them?" she cried, and was about to start down when Billy grabbed her arm.
"Yes I can, but you heard was Dulcea said!" Billy was amazed at how strong she was, breaking his grip and dashing down the stairs. "We can't leave the plateau!"
"Aisha!" Billy heard Kimberly cry as he followed her blindly down the darkened steps, the sun still not high enough to give them proper light. He reached the bottom just in time to see her take the last step from the safety of the plateau. Almost immediately, hands from the shadows shot out to grab her, and she screamed in terror.
"No!" he started forward, but felt himself being held. Tommy stood behind him, and for a second, Billy felt the most hatred towards Tommy than he had ever felt in his entire life. "Let me go!"
"Billy!" Aisha screamed in pain as a figure emerged. He grabbed her roughly by the wrists, his long claws running from her elbow to the back of her wrist.
"Pathetic!" she struggled against him, and he let go of one of her wrists to grab her chin. She started going limp as he looked deep into her eyes. With her free hand, she reached out for the others, and it took the combined efforts of both Tommy and Kimberly to keep Billy from reaching out to grab it.
"Let her go!" he cried.
"Come and get her!" the sun started coming over the tops of the trees, making the shadow like creature hiss. Billy, Tommy, and Kimberly could only watch as Aisha's body fell to the ground, her arm still reaching towards them. The sun finally broke above the trees, and sun was splashed along the rocks. All the shadows were gone, and with them, any remaining hope that the blue ranger had.
Again, I am sorry that this chapter is so late. I hope to get
another one sent in before the next update, but the way things are now, I
don't know. Please send me any comments, I love hearing them, and in light
of what happened, it might cheer me up a little. Cricker@Rocketmail.com, and
remember, that if life seems so bad that you think there is no other way, please
talk to someone. E-Mail me! I am glad to talk. If anything is to come from my
friends tragedy, maybe it is that I can help someone else. Smile~