Author's Notes: In this timeline, T:APRM does not happen. This is the eighth story in my Ranger of Light series. If you haven't read the other seven, you might want to, or you'll be lost. :) If you like this, please let me know. This series has kind of become my little baby, and of course, my muse thinks so as well. :) I'd like to thank all the people on the message board who have helped me out by answering numerous questions. And a special thanks to all of those who have been keeping up with this series, and sticking with me through this. This is for you guys, and you know who you are. :) And a very Special thanks to K. Kat for baring the brunt of beta reading this monster for me. :)
"What are we doing way out here?" Ahzza asked, gazing around at the rocks, sagebrush and Joshua trees, many of which peppered the desert landscape around them.
"Billy has a better place for us to hide. A place where only he, Zordon and Alpha know of."
"Um, maybe you're receiving some mixed up information. Does it look like there is some place to hide out here?" Ahzza questioned, spreading her arms wide to indicate everything around them.
"No, I don't. But we have to trust him."
"Oh, all right." Ahzza gave in, following Billy...Zarian into the desert.
It was still very confusing, trying to remember that it was Billy's body, and that Zarian was inside. Especially when she was looking at him, seeing Billy and hearing Zarian's voice come out of him. She wondered, for a moment, how Billy was doing.
Quickly, she picked up her pace to catch up with Zarian. "Is Billy okay?"
"He's feeling stronger, though he's still confused. I'm giving him some of my life force, so that he can heal faster. So, he's doing a lot better."
"David saw me in the hospital, and saw you...Billy, walk out of the hospital room."
"What did you tell him?" Zarian didn't look at her, and she was glad, she was already nervous about what she had told David, to begin with.
"I just told him that I had to protect Billy from Sedra, and myself as well. That we'd both be alright." She had wanted to tell Zarian the truth, that she had told David who she was, but she couldn't bring herself to do it.
"Does he know about who you both are?"
"I-I think he has some suspicions, but... I didn't tell him anything." Oh, how she hated doing it. The last thing she wanted, was for Zarian to be angry with her. She knew that David wouldn't tell anyone, she trusted him more than anyone. And the way he had looked at her in the hospital, she couldn't have lied to him even if she had wanted to.
"Good. The less they know, the better. Sedra will basically leave them alone if she's pretty certain that they don't have any information to give her."
"That's what I told him. And that he should just trust me... us."
"We're here," Zarian stated, looking down at the ground.
Ahzza looked around, and saw nothing more than there had been when they started out. "Okay, I give. Where's here?" She asked, as she continued to look around. Had she missed something? An extra large cactus or something? She watched as Zarian moved to a nearby stone. Upon hearing a loud click!, the stone at his feet began to rise up from the ground. Ahzza stared in surprise when she saw that the stone was suspended on some type of pedestal. When it finally came to a stop, about chest high, Zarian pulled open the top of the stone to expose a small computer screen and number pad.
"What is that?" She asked, interested.
"It's the way into what Billy calls 'the Construction Core'." That answer just created a whole new list of questions that began to race through her mind. But, no matter how badly Ahzza wanted to ask them, she knew that now was not the time.
Carefully she watched in confused curiosity, as Zarian leaned over the device. A small, red light shot up into his eyes. Ahzza gasped in surprise, but when Zarian didn't try to move away, or seem surprised, she relaxed. Zarian remained bent over the device for several moments before the light disappeared and a small electronic voice was heard.
"Retinal scan complete. Authorizing entry for Cranston, William J. 927-48-3301. Please place thumb to screen... "
Ahzza watched as Zarian placed his thumb to the screen, the same red light coming back on and moving below his thumb. Once more the voice came on. "Access granted. Press button for teleportation." When Zarian didn't press the button, Ahzza moved forward.
"What's wrong?" She asked, nervously.
"Billy says, that for you to enter the Construction Core, you must have clearance."
"What? Well, how do I get clearance?" Ahzza wondered. She glanced nervously around the area. They'd been out in the open far too long. Sedra and Locan would find them soon.
"Come and stand over here." Ahzza did as she was instructed, standing before the same device that Zarian had been bent over just moments ago.
"Lean forward, and hold perfectly still," taking a deep breath, Ahzza did as she was told, looking down at her own reflection in the dark screen. "Look directly at the screen, and don't move your eyes."
"Okay." Ahzza could hear movement next to her, and she had to fight to keep from looking.
"This should only take a few seconds."
A bright flash of red light shot up into her eyes. Trying as best she could to hold still, she fought to keep her eyes open against the torture of the bright light. Then, suddenly, the light was gone.
"Okay, you can stand up now." Ahzza leaned back, stepping away, while Zarian kept tapping away at the key pad. "I need a set of numbers that I can use for a code."
"Um... 392-97-7841." She watched as Zarian typed them into the device.
"Okay. Now, you need to put those numbers in again." Zarian stepped back to allow Ahzza access to the key pad. "As soon as you put the numbers in, press your thumb to the screen. When it's finished scanning, press the red button, then we can enter."
Ahzza moved quickly to the device, repeating the numbers over and over in her head.
"3... 9... 2... 9... 7... 7... 8... 4... " An explosion shook the ground, knocking Ahzza off of her feet. Ducking her head she waited for the rain of dirt and rocks to subside. Risking a glance, Ahzza gazed around for Zarian, only to find him getting to his feet next to her. "What's going on?" She asked, struggling to her own feet.
"We've got unwanted guests," Zarian said, venom lacing every word.
"That hurts my feelings," Came a deep voice from the receding dust. Ahzza recognized the voice, a voice she had hoped to never hear again. But, her fear became two-fold when the large, dark figure of Locan emerged from the dust. "After all we've been through, human."
"Ahzza, get behind me and finish the procedure," Zarian yelled, moving between her and Locan. Ahzza leapt to the device, reaching out her hand to enter the last number, but another hand; from out of nowhere, grabbed her's before she could press the button. Gazing up, she came face to face with an enraged Sedra.
"Hello... friend." Sedra spat.
"Christie was my friend, but that also makes her my enemy, because she is you." Ahzza growled back.
"I can respect that. Now we have the 'Light' and the 'Wolf'."
"What? You're wrong. I may be the 'Light'..."
"Enough! Your lies won't work on me," Sedra growled. With a twist of her wrist, a flame appeared in her hand. When it disappeared seconds later, Sedra held a familiar blue notebook in her hand; Ahzza's journal.
"Wh-how?" Ahzza pulled away from Sedra's grip, tossing her backpack down on the ground. Behind her she could hear Locan's taunts, though he didn't come any closer to them.
Quickly, Ahzza dug through the contents of her park. "It won't do you any good, it's not in there," Sedra announced.
"How did you get it?" Ahzza demanded.
"Locan. He found it on the floor of the cave where you were hiding for the past two months." Ahzza couldn't say anything. It was all her fault. "Everything I needed to know, is written on these pages. I guess... I should thank you for it, but I do have a reputation to uphold."
Sedra reached out for Ahzza once more, but this time the surprise was on her as a bolt of electricity shot out from Ahzza's uplifted hand, wrapping around her, holding Sedra fast.
As Ahzza rose up to finish the procedure, a roar from behind her notified her of Locan's attack. Spinning, she saw Zarian raise his hands up in front of him, both arms together. At the motion, the dirt and rocks at his feet began to shake, then suddenly they lifted from the ground, rising up in a column, stopping Locan in his surprised steps.
In one quick motion Zarian spread his arms out wide, turning in a 360 degree circle. The column of dirt and rocks spread out into a wall that surrounded them.
"Now," Zarian yelled above the crashing sound of the dirt. Ahzza spun around and pressed the last number into the key pad.
"1!" Slamming her thumb down on the screen, she watched as the same light washed over her thumb, as it had with Zarian. The electronic voice was barely a whisper above the noise.
"Clearance for Trueheart, Ahzza 392-97-7841, approved. Access granted. Press button for teleportation."
Ahzza turned to look at Zarian, who still held out his arms. Through the wall she could barely hear the roars of rage from Locan, or the threats from and enraged Sedra.
"Do it! Now," Zarian commanded. Ahzza turned her gaze back to the panel. Looking at the red button, she hesitated, then as if her hand had a mind of it's own, it pressed the button.
Sedra felt the dirt circulating through the air, stinging her skin and whipping her hair around her. The bolts of electricity that had held her vanished as soon as the wall of dirt and rock appeared, leaving her weak and drained. She watched as Locan tried to penetrate the wall, slicing at it in rage with his sword. When the attempts failed he began to circle the wall, trying to find a weak spot. As he disappeared from her view she tried to get to her feet, but a sudden stabbing pain wrapped itself around her abdomen. Dropping to her knees she drug in a deep breath, feeling the pain tighten around her. She gasped, fighting back the scream that tore at her throat. Then, as suddenly as it came, it was gone.
Locan emerged from around the column of dirt to find Sedra kneeling. Quickly he raced to her side; his prey, wrapped inside of the column's safety, forgotten.
"My Queen! What is wrong?" Locan yelled over the noise, as he knelt beside her.
"It's the 'DarkChylde'. It's nearly time," Sedra smiled up at him, an evil glint in her eye. Carefully, he helped her to her feet, as a sudden rumbling began to shake the ground.
Locan looked up at the wall to see it plummeting to the ground. Quickly, he grabbed Sedra, pulling her into his huge embrace, sheltering her with his body, as he ducked over her to cover her as completely as he could.
He had just bowed his head, as the ground shook violently, threatening to knock him off of his feet. A billowing cloud of dirt, dust and rocks washed over them like a tidal wave. Then all was silent. Cautiously, Locan gazed up.
A remaining cloud of dust began to drift away, revealing a huge mound of rock and dirt. Slowly, Locan stood, holding Sedra steady, as he looked around them. Her gasp of pain brought his attention back to her.
"Where... are... they?" She demanded from between clenched teeth, her brow furrowed in pain.
"Gone," Locan stated the obvious.
"No! How can that be?" Sedra sagged against him, her breath steady once more.
"It doesn't matter, now. The power will be ours soon. The 'DarkChylde' is the only being who will be able to take the power away from them, or destroy it."
"I wanted that power!"
"It will be yours soon enough, my Queen."
"I suppose you are right. We must get back to the castle, it's nearly time," Sedra stated, her voice weary.
"Yes, my Queen." In a flash of flames, the desert outside of Angel Grove was silent once more. Any sign of anyone having been there... gone, as the wind gently shifted the new mound of dirt.
Ahzza landed hard, the air rushing from her lungs and her head throbbing. Struggling through a haze, she tried to look around as she gasped for air. A small cloud of dust had been teleported along with them, and even now it was beginning to settle around her. A voice, sounding a long way away, came to her as she felt hands and arms helping her to her feet.
Finally, her lungs allowed the air back in and she began to cough.
"Are you alright?" Came Zarian's voice, but it was Billy who was standing there, looking down at her. It took her a few confused minutes to get her barings, and remember that Billy's body was running on Zarian's life force.
"Oh, fine. I always welcome pain. How do you think I am?" Ahzza bit out.
"Sarcasm's there, I'd say you are fine." Ahzza glared at Zarian, only because she didn't have enough air in her to laugh.
"Where are we?" She asked, trying to penetrate the darkness surrounding the area of light they were standing in.
Zarian moved into the darkness, his voice echoing around them. Ahzza listened to the echo and knew that, wherever they were, it was massive.
"Billy says that it's called the 'Construction Core'. Says this is where he stayed while working on the Turbo vehicles for the Rangers."
"Construction Core, huh?" The words alone brought images of junk yards into her mind. Piles and piles of old rusty and worn cars. Scraps of metal everywhere, tangles of wire hanging from the useless bodies, and most of all grease and dirt. Ahzza grimaced at the thought, sniffing the air for the unwelcome smells.
A loud thump!, filled the room, as the lights suddenly came on, bathing the room in a soft, comfortable glow. Gazing around, Ahzza was amazed to find that the Core actually resembled the Power Chamber in many ways. Several doors lead from the room, and it was through one of these doors that Zarian was disappearing.
"Wait," Ahzza called out. Even though she wanted desperately to check everything out; her curiosity pricked, she ran after Zarian, ducking down the dark corridor behind him. At first she couldn't see anyone, the light here much dimmer. A slight movement ahead caught her eye, "Zarian. Where are you going?" Ahzza called after him, as she followed him down the dark hallway.
"I need to get Billy to the med-bed. The sooner I can get him there, the sooner he'll be able to heal," Zarian's reply drifted back to her.
Ahzza quickly caught up with him as he entered a large room at the end. As soon as they stepped into the room, the lights came on. Around them were positioned four different med-beds; a group of computers along the left side of each one. Other than that, the room was bare.
She continued to gaze around at the curious beds as Zarian moved to the closest one. Wanting to know what was going on, Ahzza moved to his side. From her vantage point she watched him press a series of buttons on a control panel that arched over the bed. Slowly, lights began to flicker to life on the control panel, as well as lights within the bed, itself. She watched as Zarian pressed a small lever, then begin to lift the arching control panel up. As soon as it clicked into it's upright position, Zarian slid up onto the bed and lay back. Reaching up, he pulled on the panel. Releasing it, it moved back into place, making an arch over Billy's, now bared, chest.
For a time Billy's body grew still. As panic started to fill her there was a flicker, like that of heat wave, over Billy's body, then it was gone. Zarian materializing next to her. She continued to watch the still form, seeming somehow paler now that Zarian's life force wasn't within him.
"Will he be alright?" Ahzza asked. Zarian's life force had restored some of Billy's color, but he still looked haggard.
"He will be, after he's spent a day or so on the bed. But, as for his mental recovery... "
"Mental?" Ahzza turned Zarian to face her. "What do you mean? What did they do to him up there?" She demanded.
"I think it would be best that Billy tell you, when and if he can. All I can say is that it's going to be hard for Billy to adjust, as we'll both have to have some patience and understanding."
"That makes me feel a bit better," Ahzza sighed, looking down at a sleeping Billy.
"I'm sorry. That's all I can offer." Zarian turned back to the med-bed's control panel. As soon as he'd tapped in the code for Billy's bio-rhythms a voice could be heard.
"Scan shows that Cranston, William J., has a bio-rythumn 40% below normal. Estimated time of recovery will be... two days." As soon as the voice stopped, the lights on the med-bed began to fluctuate, and a web of light stretched out over him, wrapping him in it's healing powers.
"Now what?" Ahzza wondered aloud.
"We keep an eye on him and the situation, and hope that we can join the two halves of the power soon."
Zarian turned to leave the room, his footsteps silent in the corridor. Alone with Billy, Ahzza moved to his side and gazed down at him.
"They'll all pay for this, I swear."
After the confrontation with Sedra at the hospital, the Rangers left, heading a safe distance from town so that they could teleport to the Power Chamber and inform Zordon of all that had transpired.
Kim had settled on riding with Tommy, Adam and David, in David's Jeep, while Jason caught a ride with Kat, Rocky and Tanya in Kat's car.
As they headed out of town, Kim's attentions were distracted by her thoughts about Billy. Would nothing in their lives ever be normal again? After having been a Ranger once, were they always destined to be targeted by the forces of evil? They'd tried for two months to get Billy back, just to have him ripped away from them again. Then a horrifying thought came to her then...
"How can you all be so calm about Billy being in the hands of a stranger? If anything, he should have gone back to the Power Chamber with us, so that we could help him recover," Kim stated from the back seat, raising her voice to be heard over the sound of the wind and traffic.
Tommy turned in his seat, the seat belt digging into his shoulder. He looked at Kim, seeing a completely different person than the one he remembered. Her feelings for Billy were not only evident in her words and actions, but in the tears she'd been shedding for the last two months. Why hadn't he seen it before?
"I know you're worried about him, Kim. We all are. But, you have to trust us. He'll be alright. Ahzza isn't a stranger, she's my and David's adopted sister. If we can't trust her... and I'm assuming her friend Josh is with her as well; then who can we trust?" Tommy asked, a thought coming to him. He'd have to talk to Zordon about finding out more about this... Josh White guy.
"I'm not saying Ahzza is untrustworthy, it's just... "
"Just what?" David wanted to know. Ahzza, since she had been with him and Sam, had never given them a reason to believe that she would lie or deceive them.
"It's just that... well, Christie; Billy's friend, ended up being Sedra, as you said David. What if Ahzza really wasn't... Ahzza? Or Josh wasn't really, Josh?" It made sense to them all, terrifying sense. Tommy looked questioningly at David, who returned his uncertain look.
"Th-that's impossible. If Ahzza was really Sedra in disguise, then why was Sedra trashing Billy's hospital room when we found her?" David questioned.
"True. If Sedra had Billy she wouldn't have been there, let alone be asking us where he was. We're just going to have to have a little blind faith on this one. Trust that Billy is in good hands. We've got other things we need to worry about right now. Like how long we have, to get prepared, before we have to face the 'DarkChylde'. I doubt the Powers of Light are going to show up anytime soon, to help out," Tommy sighed in frustration, at his own words.
David kept his eyes on the road ahead of them. He hated knowing things that he couldn't tell the others, especially something this important, but he had promised.
The conversation died away leaving them in silence, the sounds of the wind, tires on the road, and traffic filling the air around them. That's why they didn't really pay much attention to Adam's voiced observation, at first.
"Looks like there's a really big dust devil in the desert outside of Angel Grove."
"What?" Tommy asked, a moment later.
"Dust devil. Over there." Adam pointed to the desert outside of town.
'That one's huge. I've never seen one that big before," stated David, as he tried to crane his neck around to see the dust devil, as well as keep his eyes on the road.
"Neither have I. Pull over," Kim commanded, feeling a deep sense of dread come over her all of a sudden.
Kat, from inside her car, watched as David and his group pulled off to the side of the highway. Puzzled, she slowly pulled off behind them, waiting for the traffic to pass so that she could climb out of the car, safely.
"Maybe he's having car trouble," Rocky wondered, as he got out of the car on the passenger side, followed immediately by Jason.
As soon as David brought his Jeep to a stop, Kim slipped out of her seat belt, stood up on the seat to try to get a better view of the 'dust devil'.
"What's wrong?" Came Rocky's voice from next to Tommy. Tommy looked around to see Rocky and Jason standing next to him. A quick glance out the rearview mirror, showed him that Kat and Tanya were making their way to the Jeep as well.
"Kim asked us to pull over. She seems to think that something isn't quite right with that huge dust devil," Adam said, pointing in the direction Kim was looking.
All eyes turned to look at the huge dust devil. The dust that it was made up of was thick, making it appear very dark. Suddenly Kat spoke up from where she stood at the back of the Jeep.
"It isn't a tornado, because there are no clouds, but that is, definitely, no dust devil, and it's not a sand storm either."
"What is it then?" Jason questioned.
"I'm not sure. If it was a dust devil, the sand and debris would be swirling in a spiral, but it just seems to be moving in an up and down motion."
"Maybe you're wrong, and it is a sand storm," David hoped.
"It's not possible. It's not moving, and has anyone else noticed... there's no breeze?" Everyone grew quiet, and gazed at the wall of sand.
"Sedra's up to something. Let's get over there, quick," Tommy commanded, immediately contacting Zordon.
"WHAT IS WRONG, TOMMY?" Questioned Zordon from Tommy's communicator.
"There is a wall of sand in the desert, outside of town. We think that Sedra may be up to something. We're on our way to check it out. Do you and Alpha have any idea what it might be?"
"OUR SCANS INDICATE THAT SEDRA IS, INDEED, THERE. BUT IT'S NOT HER POWERS THAT ARE CAUSING IT; AND OUR SCANS CANNOT PICK UP AND LOCK ONTO THOSE THAT ARE BEING USED."
"Thanks, Zordon. We'll keep you posted."
"GOOD LUCK, RANGERS. MAY THE POWER PROTECT YOU."
Tommy looked up at the wall of sand just in time to see it collapse, sending a rolling wave of dust across the desert. "Step on it. Zordon said that Sedra was definitely there," Tommy said, looking back at the worried Kim.
No sooner had Sedra and Locan appeared in the castle, then she dropped to her knees. The pain wrapping around her body, excruciating. Sedra had always been one who loved to cause pain and suffering, never one to fall victim to it.
Growling, she let Locan help her to her feet. As she began to talk, the largest of the pains shot through her body, ripping a scream from her blood-red lips. Finally, the pain subsided enough for her to growl out a few words, "He's going to die, for doing this to me!"
"My Queen. You wanted him to do this to you," Locan stated, picking her up in his arms, gently.
"Just shut-up and take me to my quarters." Locan nodded, carrying her down the corridor to her room.
The dust was still swirling around, in the light breeze that was blowing in the openness of the desert, as eight figures arrived at the location where the wall of sand appeared to have been.
As they walked further from the vehicles, they came upon several Joshua trees that were half buried by a fresh mound of sand and rocks.
"There's no one here," Tommy reported to Zordon.
"APPEARANCES CAN SOMETIMES BE DECEIVING. BE ON GUARD, RANGERS."
"What do you think Sedra was up to?" Tanya wondered, scaling the mound.
"I don't know. Zordon said that the wall of sand wasn't created using her magic," Tommy responded.
"You don't think there might be someone else who's vying for the powers, do you?" Rocky questioned. The idea was always a possibility, where evil was concerned. They'd learned well from past experiences.
"I don't know Rocky. I just don't know," Tommy admitted, looking cautiously around.
Ahzza came to stand beside Zarian, who stood in the center of the Construction Core's vast room. Slowly he gazed around at all of the computers and consoles that lined the walls, as well as the large screen above the main console.
"So, this is where Billy created the Rangers' Turbo vehicles. This boy is quite extraordinary. His destiny is greater than he ever imagined it would be." Zarian stood in awe of Billy's intellect.
"How is the merging of the Powers suppose to happen? I mean, how does it work?" Ahzza wondered, knowing they had little time in which to bring them together, and she had to admit, she was a little scared of how the process might work.
"There are words that must be spoken. Then, one of you will loose your powers. It will then converge within the other, manifesting itself into one being."
"It... it won't hurt, will it?" It sounded painful to her, and she felt a great deal more fear about it.
Zarian turned to face her, a man who had begun to seem like a father to her. He smiled and looked down into her worried face. With a gentle hand on her shoulder, he comforted her worries. "No. It won't hurt." Ahzza sighed in relief. Questioningly, she looked up at him.
"After all that Billy has been through, will he be able to do this?"
"He'll have to be."
Ahzza's thoughts began to dwell on her life before Sam Trueheart, and all the reasons she had not to trust anyone, ever again. How long and hard it was for her to trust anyone again. Would it be the same for Billy? She hoped that it wouldn't be like that for him. She had been so much younger then. Billy was older, and had time to learn who he could and couldn't trust. They couldn't afford for Billy not to be able to trust them.
Sighing deeply, Ahzza began to look over the consoles in the main room, trying as best she could to get her mind on something else.
Darkness surrounded him, wrapping him in it's cold embrace. Every now and then, as he traveled trough the dark, there would be quick flashes of light. Lightening? He'd wait for the answering call of thunder that never seemed to come. Where was he, and why was he alone? He tried to call out to someone, anyone, but his own voice was the only one that answered back, sounding more lonely than when he'd first called out.
Feeling cold all over, his body beginning to shake, he reached around him to pull his shirt or jacket closer, only to find that he was completely naked. Suddenly, like a train, the memories suddenly came roaring back to him, flashing through his mind; freezing the blood in his veins.
A battle that ended with his imprisonment. Pain, pain wrapping all around him, numbing his back, his mind. Whispered words of temptation. A small feeling of safety. Then there was a voice, words of love spoken in the heat of passion.
In a sudden burst of light, Billy saw a face before him, smiling. As he reached out to touch it, the face seemed to distort, metamorphosing. When the image became solid once more, Billy pulled back, deep fear gripping his heart.
He'd been betrayed! He tried to move away form the image, to escape into the surrounding darkness. But he couldn't move. The image began to take full shape. No longer was it just a bodiless head, but her whole form. As he stood frozen to his spot, and vulnerable in his naked state; Sedra stalked him, circling like a vulture around it's prey. Then suddenly she stopped, Coming to stand before him, she placing her cold hands on his bare skin, moving them slowly, seductively over his body.
"It's time. Our child is being born as we speak. Come Billy, rule with me at my side. Be her father," Sedra whispered seductively.
"Never," Billy spat out venomously, as his body shuddered.
"We are linked, you and I. Always in your dreams, in your thoughts; I'll be here. You can join me willingly, or... " Striking out, Sedra pulled her sharp nailed fingers across the hard plains of his chest, laughing at his wince of pain. "You now bare my mark. You are mine, and mine alone. No one but I, will posses you. You'll come to me... soon." Immediately Sedra's image disappeared as Billy cried out in despair.
Sedra threw her head back, releasing a scream of pain. Locan watched on, restlessly pacing the room. Sedra lay propped up on the bed, her body writhing in agony, as the 'DarkChylde' struggled to enter the world and it's destiny. Sedra had grown quite pale, her white hair tangled and damp from the sweat that poured from her creased brow. Locan had offered to help her but she'd only glared at him. A glare that told him that if he didn't keep his distance, he'd be dead. So that left him to watch over her from a distance. He watched helplessly as her swollen abdomen seemed to ripple with the life inside of her.
When Sedra's eyes closed and she grew still, Locan began to worry that the product of the mating between her and the human had killed her. That she'd bring forth the 'DarkChylde' at the cost of her own life. But as he neared her, he could see the slight rise and fall of her chest, and small movements of her lips, as she seemed to be talking to someone whom only she could see.
As he watched, she remained like that for several more minutes before her eyes flew open and a piercing scream filled the air. Arching her body up from the cushion of her bed, Sedra twisted her pain wracked body, doubling over. From between her firm thighs she withdrew the screaming, squirming mass of pink flesh that was to be the 'DarkChylde'. Evil laughter, like none that he had ever heard before, came from Sedra in that moment, as she wrapped her arms around the squirming, screaming infant.
Without warning, a deafening roar, rippling through space, rocked the castle. Dust and stones rained down from their aged places in the ceilings and walls. Accompanying the roar was a bright flash of light. Locan watched on, as Sedra climbed unsteadily from her bed, her body still weak from the birth. Slowly, she made her way toward the balcony. A supernatural breeze seemed to come from nowhere, whipping the long strands of her white hair all around her, like arms embracing a lover.
From her lips came words that Locan had never heard before. Curiously he watched, mesmerized by her actions. From out of nowhere, a bolt of lightening appeared, arching over the balcony's edge, wrapping around Sedra and the infant. Locan rushed forward, determined to protect Sedra and the child at any cost, even if that cost was his own life. As he drew nearer, the bolt of lightening leapt forth, knocking him back against the wall. The force pushing all of the air out of his body with a thunderous roar.
Then, as suddenly as the bolt had appeared, it disappeared, leaving Sedra and the baby, in a silent heap, on the stone floor of the balcony. Still fighting for air, Locan raced to Sedra's side; both she and the baby unnervingly quiet and still. Carefully he lifted them both up in his arms, noticing for the first time, the barely visible signs of breathing causing her chest to rise and fall. As he moved them back to the bed, he caught a small glimpse of movement from the baby, as well. Laying them gently on the bed, he dared to breath her name, "Queen Sedra... "
Slowly, Sedra's eyes fluttered open, a smile curving her lips. "The Darkness has embraced her, Locan. She is indeed the 'DarkChylde'. I shall name her... Anathema." Carefully, Sedra pulled the newly squirming child against her. The Powers of Light, within her grasp.
The teens had given up in the search for the cause of the wall of dirt. They were completely alone in the desert. There was no one else there, anywhere.
"What would anyone want way out here in the middle of nowhere?" Jason wondered, as he kicked at a large stone.
"Who knows what reasoning Sedra has for doing the things she's been doing," Adam replied, uninterested.
Tommy did a quick look around before contacting Zordon, "We're teleporting in, Zordon," Tommy announced, looking at the worried looks on his friend's faces.
"VERY WELL, RANGERS. WE AWAIT YOUR ARRIVAL," Came Zordon's even voice.
Tommy had just enough time to nod to the others, and prepare to teleport when, without warning, all hell seemed to break loose. All around them the ground began to shake. Taken off guard, the Rangers toppled to the shifting ground, like dominoes. Earthquakes were not unheard of around the area, and the Rangers decided it would be safer to wait it out.
That was, until a savage wind started to roar, threatening to blow them miles away from Angel Grove. Quickly they grabbed onto anything heavy that they could find. Instantly the sky began to grow dark; that's when they realized that it was no earthquake that they were dealing with. As they tried to get to their feet, the sky became as black as pitch, throwing them into a darkness like nothing they had ever seen before. A deep thunderous rumble, filled the air, making any talking almost impossible.
Kim tried to find her way toward Jason, remembering where he had been before it had turned dark. Groping around, she bumped into someone. Immediately she wrapped her arms around them for support. The hard muscle beneath her hands told her that it was one of the guys, which one she wasn't sure.
"What's happening?" She cried over the noise. The strain burning her throat.
"I don't know!" Came the reply, which she could barely hear.
"Yeah!" Kim held onto him more tightly, feeling his own arms grip her strongly around her shoulders.
"Where is everyone else?" Kim called to him, her screaming voice coming out as nothing more than a whisper among the turbulent wind.
"I don't know where they are! You're standing right here with me, and I can barely even hear you! We need to teleport out of here! I'm going to try to contact Zordon; hang on tight," Rocky instructed her as he released his grip on her to bring his communicator as close to his mouth as possible. "Zordon! Alpha! Come in!" When there was no response, Rocky pulled the communicator away from his ear, and called once more into it, his voice filled with desperation.
When he felt Kim's grip on him slip, he quickly reached out, wrapping an arm around her to hold her tight. Suddenly; slightly more than a whisper, came the static filled voice of Zordon from his communicator, "HANG ON, RANGERS. WE WILL HAVE YOU OUT OF THERE SOON!"
"Please hurry," Screamed Kim, terror evident in her voice. Before she had time to wonder how long they'd have to wait, she felt the familiar tingle of teleportation as they disappeared from the middle of the chaos.
Ahzza and Zarian raced down the corridor to the medical room where they had heard loud screaming coming from. As they neared the door the whole place began to shake, throwing Ahzza into Zarian. Together they crashed to the hard, stone floor, trying desperately to get to their feet. The lights around them began to flicker on and off, the screams continuing.
"A fine time to have an earthquake," Ahzza declared in annoyance. When she saw the seriousness in Zarian's face she knew that it was no ordinary earthquake. Before she could question him about it, she could hear the sounds of weapons being fired behind the door of the medical room where Billy was.
"There was no way that Sedra could have gotten in here! Was there?" she found herself questioning silently, as she looked at Zarian who was already struggling to his feet and the door.
"What's going on, Zarian? This isn't a normal earthquake, is it?"
"No!" Arriving at the door, Zarian tried to push it open, all the while trying to keep his feet under him. But the door wouldn't budge.
"Then what is it?" Ahzza demanded, as she joined him at his side. She had a pretty good idea, which could mean only one thing... and she was hoping that she was wrong.
"The 'DarkChylde' has been born," Zarian finally answered. She wasn't wrong. Closing her eyes, Ahzza tried to fight down the sudden despair that she felt; to dig deep down inside of herself for the few remaining threads of strength that she had left.
"Will the Powers of Light be able to defeat it?" Ahzza asked, helping Zarian as he tried to open the door. From behind it came the muffled sounds of words, and more weapon fire.
"It's possible, but we have to merge the Powers first," Zarian said, as he put his shoulder to the door one last time.
As suddenly as it had all started, it stopped. Ahzza and Zarian stood in the corridor, quietly gazing at each other. From beside them, the door swung slowly open. Cautiously they stepped into the room.
The room was trashed. There were burns on the walls from blaster fire; but all was quiet. A new fear gripped Ahzza in that moment. Where was Billy? Did Sedra find some way to get in and take him again?
Without a second thought, Ahzza rushed further into the room, looking everywhere she could think of for him. A sudden blast and accompanying explosion beside her caused her to drop to her knees behind one of the overturned med-beds. A quick glance at the door showed her that Zarian had taken refuge behind the door's edge.
"Are you all right?" Zarian called.
"Yeah. Where did that come from?" Ahzza tried to still her rapidly beating heart.
"The far side of the room, but I can't see anything."
"Billy! It's me, Ahzza. Are you all right?" She had to know who was in the room firing at them, and if Billy was okay. "Billy? Answer me!"
"Leave me alone! Go away," Billy shouted from his hiding place; Sedra's voice continuing to mocking him from inside of his head.
"I'll never leave you alone. We are linked, you and I. I'll always be with you. You'll never be free of me."
Ahzza looked once again at the entrance, and Zarian. Quietly she mouthed, "Is Billy in here alone?" She watched as Zarian looked cautiously around. Nodding his answer, Ahzza turned back.
Taking a deep breath, Ahzza stood up from behind the shielding med-bed. She felt so scared and nervous, that her legs had begun to shake uncontrollably, threatening to give out from under her. At the sound of Billy's warning, she would have nearly fell if it hadn't have been for her grip on the med-bed's edge.
"You won't trick me a second time. I'm wise to you now. You can pretend to be anyone you want, but I know... " Ahzza watched Billy rise from his hiding place between the far console and the wall. She couldn't help the gasp that escaped her when she saw the wildness in his eyes, the blood on the front of his shirt and the blaster pointed right at her. "Where had the blood come from?" she wondered, silently, for a brief moment.
"Billy, put the blaster down. I promise I won't hurt you. I'm your friend... Ahzza Trueheart. Remember me?" She watched the blaster waver in his hand, a look of confusion washing over him, but before she could let out the breath she had been holding, the wild look returned and the blaster was once again pointed steadily at her.
"I won't fall for it again, Sedra. The game is over! You showed me your true self in the hospital. You had me believing that you were my friend. That I was risking my life, sanity and very soul, to protect and save you. But you weren't Christie at all; if she had ever really existed. So if you take one more step toward me, I won't hesitate to pull the trigger."
A sound from behind her caused her to turn slowly. Out of the corner of her eye she saw Zarian slowly moving into the room behind her. Carefully, making sure that neither of them made any sudden movements, she shook her head, "No, Zarian. We have to make him trust us," she whispered. Zarian nodded, and retreated back out the door.
"Who are you talking to? Locan, if that's you out there, then face me! You weren't afraid of me when I was unarmed. Face me you bastard," Billy yelled.
"Billy, it's not Locan, it's a friend... " What was the name she'd given Zarian when everyone had met him that day, two months ago? "Josh White. Remember him?" Slowly Ahzza made her way toward him, inch by agonizing inch, "After the battle, he and I came with you and your friends to the Power Chamber. Everyone showed us around. Zordon made us promise to never reveal you and your friend's true identities," she saw Billy start to waver. It was working. She had to keep giving him information that only she would know.
Billy tried to keep from trembling as he kept the blaster aimed at who he thought he saw as Sedra. But something was wrong. The image standing before him seemed to waver back and forth from one person to another. But the voice remained that of Ahzza's. She was telling him things that only Ahzza would know. Oh, God! How he wanted to believe her words. To know that he was finally safe and that the pain, humiliation and deceit, was finally over. But, he couldn't take any chance.
"Please, Billy. Remember it. Um... you came to the reservation, before we all started classes at AGU. My adopted brothers, David and Tommy, brought you to speak to Sam Trueheart... about some dreams that you were having. That's where I first met you," Ahzza continued.
Pictures flashed in his mind, of a time that seemed ages ago. Could he trust her? Did he dare?
"Come on, Billy. Let me help you." Ahzza was just an arms length away from him, now. If she made a wrong move, or he decided that she was lying to him, she was dead. When the blaster began to lower, Ahzza sighed letting the tension that held her shoulders stiff, slip away. With relief on her face, she turned to glance quickly at Zarian. When he pointed behind her and surprise filled his eyes, Ahzza turned back to face Billy just in time to see him close the distance between them in one, quick move and place the barrel of the blaster to her forehead.
"How easily your lies come out. Do you really think I'd fall for it?"
With the cold biting steel of the blaster pressed painfully to her head, Ahzza could feel herself blanking out. What could she tell him to make him believe her? She felt sick, and the pain of thinking made things seem worse. She was terrified. She'd never been this scared before. If she let him see how scared she was, she would be dead.
Holding back her trembling and tears, she looked deep into Billy's pale, hazel eyes. "You were chosen, by Zordon, as one out of five teen to be the first team of Power Rangers. You were the Blue Ranger, who's guide was the Triceratops. Almost two years later you found yourself on the planet Phaedos. There you received a new spirit guide, the Wolf. You remained a Ranger until the team was ready to receive their Zeo powers. You gave yours up to Tanya." It had to work.
Billy continued to hold the blaster to her head, his hand starting to tremble, finger on the trigger. Ahzza could feel a trail of sweat run between her shoulder blades and down her back. When Billy cried out, Ahzza saw his finger twitch on the trigger. Squeezing her eyes, she gave herself over to the death that was sure to come. It had all been for nothing. All of it: the battle, the fear...
The blast never came. Ahzza slowly opened her eyes; the barrel of the blaster gone from her forehead. When she glanced around, she found that Billy had backed away from her and was leaning against the wall, eyes down cast, and blaster aimed at the floor; his hands were shaking.
Carefully, she moved to Billy's side, bending slightly to take the blaster from his slack fingers. At first his hand tightened around it. Gently Ahzza placed her hand on his arm, trying the best she could to reassure him and keep herself from breaking down.
"Sedra can't get to you here. We won't let her." Billy finally released the blaster. Carefully she placed it on the console behind her. Well out of Billy's reach.
"She... she's inside of my head. She'll never let me go." Billy looked up at Ahzza. Pain, fear and defeat filled his weary eyes. Had Sedra truly broken him? Could they bring the powers together with him like this, or were they all doomed?
Ahzza shook her head, holding back the tears that welled up behind her eyes. "We'll find a way, Billy. I promise." Ahzza watched as his eyes closed, his body sliding slowly to the floor. Beside them Zarian reappeared, his hand placed carefully over Billy's eyes.
"He'll sleep, without any dreams, for now. He knows we won't hurt him. The first step has been taken." Ahzza just looked at the silently slumbering, Billy. She never noticed when Zarian moved away from them. Finally unable to hold back her tears any longer, she wrapped her arms around Billy, embracing him in a hug that she promised she would never let go of. Letting all of her emotions bubble to the surface, she began to cry. Months worth of frustrations and fears running in rivers down her cheeks.
Silently, Zarian watched them from the entrance of the medical room. It was only the beginning of the slow battle that was yet to come. Quietly, he turned on his heel and made his way down the corridor, leaving the two alone.
The group of Rangers materialized in the center of the Power Chamber just as the structure became still once more. Kim looked around, from her place in Rocky's arms, for the others. Tommy was laying on his back just a few feet away, David standing next to him. Kim was surprised with how close they had been to them, and yet they had been unable to hear them or see them. Quickly she located the others. Adam and Kat were huddled together in a kneeling position, a few more feet away, and a few feet from them, Jason was getting to his feet, brushing the dust from his clothes. When she spotted Tanya, she began to worry.
Tanya was kneeling on the floor, head down against her knees with her arms wrapped tightly over her head. When Tanya finally unwound herself, Kim let out a sigh of relief. Everyone was accounted for, and they were all safe and unharmed.
Getting to his feet, Tommy moved to stand before Zordon, "What was all of that, Zordon? What's going on?" The other's joined him. They wanted some answers just as much as Tommy did.
"OUR DARKEST DAYS ARE UPON US, RANGERS. THE 'DARKCHYLDE' HAS BEEN BORN," Zordon stated, and for the first time, the fear was quite evident in his voice. Hearing that fear, their fear, stated so intensely in their mentor's voice, they knew that they were truly doomed unless the Powers of Light were brought together, and soon.
"Is there anything we can do, Zordon?" Tanya asked, trying to find a spark of hope in the encroaching darkness.
"PREPARE... AND PRAY." Those three words scared them more than if he'd just told them that there was no hope at all.
"Zordon, Billy left the hospital just before all of this happened. Can you locate him?" Kim asked, apparently being the first one to pull her senses together.
"I'll get right on it, Zordon," Alpha stated, as he shuffled away to a nearby console.
"WHAT HAPPENED?" Zordon asked.
David stepped up beside Tommy. "My adopted sister, Ahzza, was at the hospital. She said that they were there to get Billy. She said that Sedra would be after him, and that they needed to protect him. Shortly after she told me this, Billy walked out of the hospital room as if nothing had happened to him, and checked himself out of the hospital as AMA."
"AMA. AGAINST MEDICAL ADVISE. WAS THERE ANYTHING ELSE?" Zordon questioned.
"It was Billy who walked out of the room, but it wasn't Billy's voice when he spoke. Ahzza told me that I needed to trust her, and when the time was right she would tell me everything."
As everything grew suddenly quiet, the call of Alpha's voice caused everyone to jump. "Oh aye, yi, yi! I can't find Billy anywhere."
"No! This can't be happening. Not again. Damn you, David! How could you just let him walk away?" Kim accused, beating a fist against his chest.
"RANGERS, CONTROL YOURSELVES! WE NEED TO STICK TOGETHER, NOW, MORE THAN EVER." Kim tried to wipe away the tears from her eyes.
"I-I'm sorry, David."
"I understand, Kim. It's alright."
"What about this guy, this... Josh White, who was always with Ahzza?" Tommy queried. "Can you look up any information there might be that can tell us about him?"
"I WILL LOOK INTO MY DATA BASE," Zordon said, as he grew quiet.
Before them, on the viewing screen, images began to flash by randomly. At first slowly, then rapidly. After a few moments the screen became blank. Slowly, like two pin points of light, images began to fill the screen. The first one, that of a large, white man with thinning black hair and a beard. He seemed to be nearly fifty years old. The second was that of a small child, no more than ten years of age.
"THESE ARE THE ONLY JOSH WHITES IN THE PUBLIC FILES."
The Rangers continued to gaze upon the unfamiliar images, a deep seeded fear beginning to rise up within them. Sedra had fooled Ahzza as she had fooled Billy, and now he was in the evil Queen's clutches once more.
"Is it possible that Locan took another form, like Sedra had done?" Kat questioned.
"IT IS POSSIBLE , BUT NOT LIKELY. YOU MUST REMEMBER THAT THIS... JOSH WHITE WAS HERE, INSIDE THE POWER CHAMBER WITH ALL OF US. IF IT HAD INDEED BEEN LOCAN, THEN HE WOULD HAVE SHOWN US HIS TRUE SELF THEN, WHEN OUR GUARD WAS DOWN. ALPHA, BEGIN A SEARCH OF THE UNIVERSAL FILES." Up, on the screen, a picture of Josh standing beside Adam in the Power Chamber, appeared. Beside it, images began to flash once more.
Minutes turned into hours, as they awaited the identification of the man they knew only as 'Josh'.
"I remember something," Adam stated. "He seemed unusually interested in Billy's uniform. But that's not the weird part. He also asked if Billy had any shape shifting abilities."
"I found him," Alpha's electronic voice cut in, "You won't believe this."
Beside the picture of Josh in the Power Chamber, there appeared another picture of him. In this picture his hair down and he was dressed in deep green robes. Gasps from the Rangers filled the room.
"Wh-who is he?" Kim stuttered.
"Rangers, I would like to introduce you to Lord Zarian. Guardian of the planet... Earth, and protector of the Powers of Light."
Billy sat alone in his room in the Construction Core. It had been two weeks since his confrontation with Sedra, in his dreams, the same dream that had left him with a pentagram scratched deeply into his chest; her mark. And two weeks since his face off with Ahzza, the latter still causing him some guilt. He couldn't believe how close he had come to killing her, all because of his fears. Fears that had begun to become extinguished by Ahzza's patience and Zarian's wisdom and kindness.
He had been surprised; to say the least, by the identity of Ahzza's friend Josh. That he was actually the Guardian of the Earth, as Dulcea was Guardian and Master Warrior or Phaedos. Because of this, Zarian was able to help him better understand everything that had happened, and would happen.
But, in the long run, nothing that Zarian had said, or the comfort that Ahzza offered, could ease the disgust he felt for letting Sedra trick him into planting his seed within her womb. How could he completely trust anyone again? The greatest reason he had for the little trust he had in Zarian, was the spell Zarian was able to cast over him to keep the dreams at bay. Though Sedra's voice could still be heard, mocking him, it was quieted to a point where he was able to ignore it for the most part.
But the most surprising thing to him, was the Powers of Light. He had known that Ahzza held the 'Light' powers, but he had no idea that he held the powers of the 'Wolf'. How he had worn that emblem proudly into battle, after receiving it on Phaedos, never realizing that it came with a greater destiny.
At first, when he'd been told, he denied what Ahzza and Zarian were trying to tell him. That he could actually change his very being into other forms. Shape shifting. His first attempt at it had failed miserably, which made him doubt their words even more. All to the delighted laughter of the two.
Ahzza had explained to him how her powers had first made themselves manifest to her. That they had come at a time when she was thinking of them, but not concentrating on them. When she'd learned how to focus on the power, instead of making it happen, then she was able to use them at will.
For hours that day, Billy had tried to focus on the power within him. That blue flame, burning deep down inside his very soul. Then, when he'd decided they were crazy, and had given up, that's when it had happened.
He'd been thinking about the powers that had been stripped from him, by Goldar, and the feeling of loss when the Wolf was no longer with him. Suddenly, his vision shifted. His body tingled and seemed to move of it's own accord. When he looked around he saw Ahzza and Zarian gazing down at him in stunned surprise.
Looking down on him?
Billy took a frantic look at himself. He was no longer human. Dark gray hair covered his body, and where there should have been hands, there were paws. He couldn't help it. His scientific mind told him that it wasn't possible, and he began to panic. Once again, the world seemed to shift, and when he looked up, Ahzza was standing over him.
"I'm still a wolf," Billy cried to himself.
"Are you alright, Billy?" Ahzza asked, as she placed her hand on his arm, to help him up. When he took her hand, his human hand was back. He quickly leapt to his feet and pulled away from her. He looked up to see both Ahzza and Zarian smiling at him.
"This is impossible," he cried, the fear still gripping him.
"Nothing is impossible, Wolf. Do no see things as they are, as you know them to be. Look inside of yourself, at the boundless possibilities. Once there, tell yourself that you are the one that makes it possible, and things will begin to happen.
"A man on the street can tell you that something is wrong or impossible. If you put your faith in that man, instead of yourself, then he is right and you are wrong. But, if you overlook his ignorance, and believe in yourself, his words and beliefs become false. The truth... is inside of you," Zarian said, pointing his finger at Billy's chest.
It was all more than he could comprehend all at once. Backing away, Billy left them, shutting himself up in his room for two days. And in those two days, Zarian's words slowly began to make sense. If you believed in yourself and your abilities, then nothing was impossible. And in those same two days, he began to put that theory to work. He was able to make his body, and other objects, change at will. It was glorious. He was doing things, that to the scientific world, were impossible. It was exhilarating.
Billy was watching his hand reform back into it's human shape, when a knock sounded at the door. He wasn't sure that he wanted company just then, but the urgency in the voice that followed made him get to his feet and open the door.
"What's wrong?" Billy asked, as Ahzza rushed into his room, panic evident in her eyes.
Billy closed his eyes. The words no longer held the same meaning for him, as they had so many months ago. Now when he heard them, he was faced with his own weakness', and the fact that she, the 'DarkChylde', was his own flesh and blood.
"I can't, Ahzza. I just can't. You and Zarian have done everything you can to help me rebuild my trust, but that's a bit more trust than I can offer."
"Billy, if you don't do this, then you'll let her destroy everything and everyone you have ever loved or cared for. And all of it will be on your shoulders," Ahzza warned him.
Since he'd been fully healed, they had been trying to convince him to go through the ritual of merging the two powers into one. The process seemed so simple, the way Zarian had described it, but just as he had decided he would, then a deeply hidden fear would grip him. Look what had happened the last time he had given his trust so blindly.
"Then I'll have to live with it. You'll never understand what it's like to be unable to trust anyone," Billy blurted out. He was surprised a moment later when he was slapped, firmly, across the face.
"You selfish bastard! You are the one who doesn't understand! Let me tell you a little something about trust. After hearing what I've been through, there shouldn't be any reason, what so ever, not to trust us. I'm tired of coddling you, Billy. Zarian and I can't continue to be your backbone anymore." Ahzza turned away from him, as if she was going to leave, then turned back to face him.
"I-I don't know that I have ever, truly had someone I could trust, until David and Sam. When I was a little girl, the people that I should have been able to trust, were the ones whom I should never have trusted in the first place.
"My mother was a prostitute who, when she wasn't living on the streets, was living with her various pimps. She was making all the money, and they were spending it. Sure, for a time, she would protect me from them, but eventually that changed, too. When I was twelve years old, her pimp figured that I was old enough to start working for a living. I thought my mother would stick up for me, but she never did. I was scared, but I was even more scared of what he would do to me if I refused. I had seen what he'd done to my mother on numerous occasions when she tried to stand up to him.
"Later that year I became pregnant. I tried to hide the fact, but my mother recognized the signs, and told her pimp. I thought she'd be on my side and help me, but she only agreed when he told her that he had a friend who could perform an abortion. After all, a pregnant prostitute couldn't bring in any money.
"I was in pain for weeks after the procedure. A pain that seemed to be getting worse, instead of better, as the days went by. A lady, who lived in the apartments next door, had been inquiring into my health on several occasions. Until that day I had been able to pacify her with lies, telling her that I just had the flu. It took no time at all for her to decide that something really bad was wrong with me. She basically forced me into her car and took me to the hospital. There, in the Emergency room, the doctors found that the abortion I'd had, had hurt me pretty badly, and I was suffering from a serious infection. The only thing they could do was perform a surgery that would keep me from every bearing children of my own. At the time, I thought it was for the best. I didn't want to end up like my mother and any children I'd have, to end up like me.
"During my recovery, the Department of Family Services was called, and I was put into the state of California's custody. My mother, and the pimp, were put in jail, and as far as I know or care, they're still there.
"When I was well enough to leave the hospital, I was put into a foster home. The Trueheart home. By that time Sam had already adopted David. David and I hit it off right at the beginning. It was no problem to trust someone who was younger than me. He was no threat. But, it took a lot longer for me to trust Sam, though he never gave me any reason not to trust him. I tried to run away a few times, in those first years, but I was always caught and brought back. Each time, I always expected Sam to tell DFS that he wouldn't take me back. I guess I was pushing the boundaries, to see if I really could trust him. And each time he took me back with open arms, and a smile on his face, telling me that he was glad to see that I was alright, and that that, was all that mattered.
"Finally, I began to trust Sam, and we found our little niche together, with David's help. Two years later, shortly after my fourteenth birthday, Sam adopted me. I've been Ahzza Trueheart ever since, and I've never looked back. It has taken me many years to become the woman you see standing before you. A lot of hurdles to cross to be able to trust people. And yes, I didn't trust you at first, but it was quicker and easier this time to trust someone else. I came to realize that not everyone is out to hurt me. And you have to start realizing that as well.
"We are your friends, Billy. We would never do anything to hurt you. If that was the case, we would have left you in the hospital, where Sedra could easily have gotten you back, but we didn't. Friends don't desert friends." Ahzza wiped a small tear from her eye as she stood, trying to be strong, before a silent Billy.
She approached him, looking him in the eye, "Do you want to tell me, now, that you don't trust anyone, and I wouldn't know what it's like?" The pain of the memories coming back to haunt her.
Billy was amazed at her strength. He'd seen her when she was afraid, and he knew she could be strong as well. But he never imagined that she would have this much strength. And he felt ashamed in the face of it.
What had he become? A simpering coward? How had he let Sedra bring him to this level? He'd been a Power Ranger, for crying out loud! He was stronger than this. He couldn't let Sedra win. Not like this.
"Me, too." Ahzza gave him a small smile.
"I've let Sedra break me, and I can't let her continue to control me anymore."
"Will you help us to try and stop the 'DarkChylde'?" Ahzza looked at Billy, her hope becoming renewed. But when Billy just looked down at his feet, the hope quickly disappeared. She'd spilled her heart out, telling him things that only David and Sam knew. It was all for nothing. "Okay. Never mind." Drained by it all, she turned to leave.
"I have a bone to pick with Sedra and Locan," Came Billy's strong voice. Ahzza looked at him to find a strong determination burning in his eyes, "Let's get this over with, and put an end to Sedra and her plans," Billy stated, as he came to stand at her side. He held his hand out to her, "Friends?"
Ahzza stood staring at the proffered hand, amazed at what he was saying. It had really worked! Smiling up into his face, she wrapped her arms around him, squeezing him tightly. Reluctantly letting him go, she stood back, looking into his shocked face.
"Friends." She smiled.
"Let's do it." Billy smiled, and followed her from his room.
Sedra watched as the last Ranger teleported away from the battle. Before her, Angel Grove lay in partial ruin, and the Rangers were nearly beaten. She smiled with pride as she moved to stand at the lone warrior's side.
"You've made me proud, this day," Sedra purred, looking at the destruction around her. Bodies lay partially buried amongst the rubble. The dark warrior didn't move or speak. Only a slight breeze shifted the midnight black cape around her shoulder, like the caress of a lover. Her long raven hair, brushed gently at her back. Slowly, the young woman, appearing to be the age of twenty, turned to face Sedra. Armor of metallic black metal covered her pale shoulders, holding the cape in place. The same material encased her breasts and hips. A fine, black mesh skirt hung down in the front and back, to her knees. From her knees down, the same black metal armor encased her long legs. In her hand, she held a long silver sword, it's hilt made up of two kneeling skeletons who were wrapped in a lovers embrace.
Her pale, nearly white skin, made the black orbs of her eyes seem even darker, if that was possible.
Finally the warrior spoke, her voice emotionless and cold. "The battle is not yet finished, Mother. The Rangers still live."
"We have all the time in the world to bring them to their knees," Sedra said with certainty. It had been two weeks since Anathema's birth, and there was still no sign of the Powers of Light. She'd kept in constant touch with Billy, through his dreams, tempting him to join them, but he was as stubborn as he had ever been in her castle.
"Don't be so sure, Mother. You take too much for granted." Anathema walked away from her with a grace of a dark angel. Slowly she turned to face her mother once more, as she slid her sword into it's scabbard. "What of my Father? Any success in turning him, yet?"
"No. Not yet. But it won't be long." Sedra smiled.
"If he's not turned soon, then he will have to die with the others," Anathema said without emotion, before disappearing in a spiral of black.
Sedra stood quietly amongst the ruins, gazing down at the few who were unlucky enough to not escape the 'DarkChylde's' wrath.
What was wrong with her? She'd never hesitated in killing someone, anyone, lovers included, and they had been many. Why did she seem to second think the possibility of killing Billy?
With a growl of self loathing, Sedra joined her daughter in a flash of flames.
Tommy carefully limped forward, gazing up at Zordon's worried face. He carried his scorched helmet in the crook of his arm. Around him, the other members of the team sat nursing their injuries. Alpha moved from one to the other, administering any medical attention needed, with help from Kim.
"How is Rocky?"
"HIS INJURIES ARE EXTENSIVE, BUT HE WILL LIVE." Tommy sighed at Zordon's words. He was amazed that any of them had made it out alive. He remembered, vividly, that they had teleported into the middle of the battle. They had not yet become solid, before the 'DarkChylde', along with Locan, was upon them. They had fought as hard as they could, but not nearly well enough. They were unprepared for this battle. They'd never had an enemy who could move from one place to another at the speed of light, leaving death and destruction in her path. They never had a chance. Even the Turbo Mega Zord was no match against them. The damages to the Zords were extensive, and without Billy...
An image of Billy, as the Blue Ranger, is what occupied Tommy's mind, as he watched a blue clad Rocky, in blind rage, go one on one with the 'DarkChylde'. And in the moment it took him to shake off the image and react, it was too late. Rocky lay at her feet, broken and bleeding.
He was still shocked that she had allowed any of them to escape alive.
"There was nothing we could do to stop her. It was like she was impervious to our weapons; invincible."
"SHE IS ALMOST INVINCIBLE, TOMMY," Zordon stated, with a heavy heart. Zordon had never felt such defeat, ever. He knew the prophecies, and had hoped, beyond all hope, that the 'DarkChylde' would never come to be. He was foolish in hoping it so.
"Then it's over?" Tommy relented. He'd never known such despair in his life. Not even as the Green Ranger. Tommy slipped to his knees on the floor, the helmet slipping from his arm to land, spinning, on the floor next to him.
"It can't end like this! Not like this," Jason said, coming into the room.
He'd been watching over Rocky, and had just returned to the room when Tommy had spoken the very words he had thought to never hear spoken by any Ranger.
"There has got to be some other way. Something more that we can do. Something we haven't thought of, yet," Jason insisted.
"WE COULD CALL ON THE AQUITIAN RANGERS, DEX FROM EDENOI, OR EVEN TREY, FROM TRIFORIA. BUT I'M AFRAID THAT THEY WOULD HAVE NO MORE EFFECT ON THEM THAN YOU ALL HAVE. AND IF THEY WERE TO BE KILLED, THEN WHO WOULD PROTECT THEIR HOME WORLDS FROM SEDRA AND THE 'DARKCHYLDE'? THE ONE HOPE THAT WE DO HAVE, IS THAT THE 'POWERS OF LIGHT' COME TOGETHER... AND SOON." All eyes were downcast at Zordon's disparaging words. How were they to continue? On a hope that the 'Powers of Light' could save them all? A prophecy that may never be realized?
"Billy, where are you?" Kim whispered in despair, as she gazed around at her broken friends. Did he even know what was going on? How close they all were to loosing everything they'd spend years trying to protect? Kim moved silently away, not wanting the others to see her tears.
Billy stepped into the Construction Core's main control room, Ahzza coming in behind him. Zarian stood at a console, his hand reaching out to turn off the large viewing screen, but not before the two of them caught a glimpse of devastation. Billy tried to control himself, and not to act irrationally. As soon as the screen became dark, Zarian turned to face them. The look on his face told Billy that something had happened, and it wasn't good. He shifted nervously, awaiting Zarian's words.
"The 'DarkChylde', who has reached her full maturity, has just won her first victory over your friends."
"The Rangers, they're... "
"Alive, amazingly enough. But barely. I'm surprised that she let them live, actually. There must be something she's planning, or waiting for," Zarian stated to the duo.
Ahzza looked up at Billy. There was a distant look in his eyes. Pleadingly, she gazed at Zarian.
"Billy, are you alright?" Zarian's voice seemed far away, the words barely discernible. A different voice, from inside of his head, began to grow louder.
"Will you be responsible for killing your own flesh and blood, 'Wolf'? Yes. I know who, or what you are. Unfortunately, too late for me to take the powers from you. Join me, and you will be allowed to rule this planet. Those whom you would have mercy on, will remain."
"No. I can't let it be like that. She must be destroyed," Billy said bravely, determination threading his words.
"Then you will fall, along with your friends!"
Ahzza looked to Zarian for answers. Who had Billy been talking to? When Zarian indicated that it might be Sedra's voice in his head, she panicked and moved around to face him. They'd tried so hard to help Billy ignore her voice, since there seemed to be no way for them to help rid him of it. They couldn't allow that voice to confuse and tempt him; not now.
"Billy! Don't listen to her. Remember, she always lies to you. No matter what you agree to, it won't benefit her to let our friends live." Ahzza grasped the front of his shirt, shaking him as best she could. She watched as Billy's eyes closed. She stopped shaking him but kept his shirt firmly clutched in her hands. She thought about slapping him again. "Billy?" Panic washed over her. She prepared to start shaking him again, when she felt that shocking tingle she always got when their skin touched. She looked down to see his hands grasping hers. Looking back up at him, she saw him gazing down at her, a long forgotten smile on his lips. "Can you do this?" She asked, afraid to hope that he'd say yes.
"I can." Gone, were all the things that had been haunting him. The dark rings around his eyes seeming to fade away at his words. "What do we have to do?" Billy asked, looking at Zarian, Ahzza moving to his side.
Zarian smiled in return, but soon let it fade as the urgency of the situation took over.
The main control room of the Construction Core was dark and silent. At it's center, in a wash of luminescent light, stood three figures. Two male, and one female.
Billy and Ahzza stood facing each other an arms length apart. Zarian stood at the edge of the light beside them.
"When the forces tell you, begin to recite the words as I have instructed you to say them," Zarian began. At their nods of understanding, he stepped back out of the light. Slowly, he began a chant, it flowed from him circling the room and enfolding them. As the chant grew louder, it seemed as if there were dozens of other chanters, hidden within the vale of darkness, chanting in unison with Zarian. As much as they wanted to look around, they couldn't. Their eyes were focused on each other, wondering what the other was thinking and feeling at that very moment. But, only the words they'd been instructed to speak could be spoken, and they knew it.
Soon, the chant became one continuous sound with no beginning or end. They were surprised to see thin tendrils of sparkling light extend from the darkness from all directions, and move gracefully toward them. As the tendrils reached half way into the light, they began to rise up, swirling around the two forms in the center. A supernatural breeze caressed them.
Billy looked at Ahzza. Could she feel it calling to her? The voices wrapped within the chant, telling them to call out, to become one. When he saw her smile, he knew that she did. Gazing up at the ceiling of sparkling light above them, Ahzza began to speak the words Zarian had instructed her to say.
"I am the bearer of truth and light." As she spoke, she felt a singing throughout her body. As if every nerve was standing at attention. From beyond her own thoughts and feelings, she could hear Billy, as he began his part of the ritual.
"I stand for truth and for righteousness."
"I am only one, but my light can be seen by many. I do not know if my light leads the way for others," Ahzza continued her turn.
Around them, the vortex of swirling light seemed to circle faster, the light becoming brighter. Then Billy continued.
"Or helps someone see the uncertain path ahead. So, I must not falter."
"In letting my light shine, I shine for good."
"And it is through the light of this that all shall find their way."
"For this reason, I must let my light be... seen!" As Billy and Ahzza finished the last line together, the vortex of light washed over them, bathing them in it's light. Feeling the force push them, Billy and Ahzza reached out to each other, clasping hands. At the contact, a bolt of lightening shot forth to join with the vortex of light.
Billy watched; a bit saddened, as a blue aura pulsed around him, then slowly left him to join the vortex, as well. A distant sad howl, joining it. Billy was filled with a sudden emptiness. The Wolf had been a part of him his whole life, and he never even knew it... until now.
Ahzza, on the other side, was experiencing the same emotions. The sadness and emptiness, as a dark yellow aura parted from her, flashing sparks, to join with the other parts of the vortex.
They both remained where they stood, hands clasped, as the Construction Core became suddenly quiet. The swirling vortex was high above their heads now, as they looked on in wonder. Which of them would the power choose? Both each hoped that it was him or her, as much as they feared it would be. The Power, so unbelievable, so strong, to be wielded. Who could be strong enough to wield such might?
They continued to watch the swirling light. Then, suddenly, it seemed to rush down on them like a waterfall of light, engulfing them both. Zarian rushed forward from the darkness. Something was wrong! It wasn't suppose to happen like this, and there was nothing he could do. He watched, helpless, as a ball of light began to form, encompassing both figures, until Zarian could see nothing beyond it's own radiance. So bright was the ball of light, that he had to shield his eyes from it. Then, as it reached it's greatest size, a column of light shot forth from it, washing through the Construction Core like a wall of light.
The Rangers had taken refuge in the Power Chamber ever since their run in with the 'DarkChylde', to protect their families. This is where they found themselves when the ground began to shake once more. Terrified, they gathered together before Zordon. Their eyes up cast in fear.
"What's happening, Zordon?" Kim's voice trembled with fear.
"I DO NOT KNOW, RANGERS," came Zordon's uncertain words. Quickly, each Ranger and non-Ranger took their places at their assigned stations, checking scanners and printouts.
Then, unexpectedly, a thought came to them. Could it be? As suddenly as the thought came to them, a wall of bright light entered the Power Chamber, washing over everything it touched. Each Ranger stood in fear of it, eyes shielded from it's brightness, as they all tried to escape it's grip. But there was no way to escape the wall of light as it moved quickly over each retreating figure.
Rocky, laying on the med-bed, barely conscious, watched the light approach. He closed his eyes, his shattered thoughts wondering, "Is this the end?" But as the wall passed over, around and through him, he suddenly felt stronger, and a sense of hope filled him. As the wall left him, he smiled. They could do it, they could keep fighting. The only defeat came from themselves.
The group all gathered together in the control room when the wall of light had gone and the ground had stopped shaking. Looking at a digital reading, they found that only a few seconds had passed, instead of the long minutes as they had thought.
Zordon brought up an image of the Earth, on the viewing screen. The wall of light seemed to began at the Pacific edge of California, and run from North to South Poles; sweeping over the globe, engulfing everything.
"Zordon, what's going on? What was that?" Tommy asked. Did he dare to hope that it was what he was thinking it was?
"RANGERS, THERE IS RENEWED HOPE. THE 'POWERS OF LIGHT' HAVE BE UNITED." Cheers went up from the group of wounded Rangers.
Rocky smiled silently from the doorway where he stood, as he clutched his mending wounds. "Hope," he whispered, watching his teammates; current and former, passing around hugs. Carefully, so as not to be noticed, he turned back to the medical quarters and the med-bed.
Anathema jumped away from the bright flash of light, hiding her eyes. From somewhere in the castle she could hear Locan's growls of rage, as well as Sedra's expletives of anger. It could mean only one thing. With no emotion showing in her countenance, she moved from the room with determination in finding Sedra. There were things that needed to be done, and now.
She found Sedra standing on the balcony of the throne room. The place her mother seemed to spend most of her time. She was even now, looking down at the Earth, shaking her head.
"This can't be happening, it can't!"
"Oh, but it has happened, hasn't it, Mother?" Sedra turned startled eyes on her daughter. Anathema stood in the center of the room, arms crossed, no emotion showing in her black eyes. "I don't know why you care for that human... my father, so much. He's no good to us now. He must die with the others."
What had she done? All of her life she had been the one to be feared; the most evil. But her own daughter was becoming even more heartless than herself. Sedra had no qualms about destroying Earth, or it's inhabitants, even Anathema herself, if it came to pass. But for reasons that evaded her, she couldn't will herself to destroy Billy.
"Don't be too hasty, my Daughter. He still may be of some use to us. I have some control over him, and with the right... temptations, I could very well bring him over." Sedra swaggered over to stand face to face with her daughter.
"You'd better be able to pull something off, fast, or I will not hesitate in separating his head from his body. Now, I must take my leave. I have things to do, and Rangers to kill." Turning, Anathema walked away from Sedra, and out of the throne room.
The ball of light seemed to pulsate for a time; and as seconds that seemed more like minutes passed, the wall of light returned, having gone full circle, to meet once more in the middle. As the two sides came together, there was a bright flash of light. Shielding his eyes from the flash, Zarian continued to watch the ball of light. Slowly it began to withdraw. In amazement, Zarian watched as two extended arms appeared from inside the shrinking ball. As the ball continued to retreat, more and more of the arms appeared, covered in a dark blue armor. Carefully, Zarian looked for another form. The one he was looking at was definitely male, as the forearms became visible. But the figure was alone in the ball of light! Where was Ahzza?
Suddenly, in a flash, the remainder of the ball disappeared leaving a lone figure standing in it's place. A warrior the likes Zarian had never seen, stood in silence. In many ways it resembled one of the Rangers. The armor, the helmet... but this being was different. What had the powers done?
Zarian moved slowly around the motionless figure. The armor was a deep Indigo blue, and it covered the well muscled body from head to toe. The legs, from the knees down, were encased in white boots with a deep blue trim, like curving zigzags. The gauntlets on the arms were the same as the boots. Across the chest was an eight point star in a deep, warm yellow. The star wrapped six of it's points around his arms and torso, the seventh pointing toward his head, and the eighth at his feet. In the center of the star, in the middle of his chest, was a gold medallion about the size of his hand. Embossed on the medallion was a crescent moon and a howling wolf's head.
The figure continued to stand quietly, almost as if it was allowing Zarian's perusal. Only the helmeted head moved slightly, keeping it's visor focused on Zarian's movements.
Zarian finally stopped before the armored warrior, gazing up at the helmet. It was the same Indigo blue as the armor. The visor was of the same eight point star, it's two middle points wrapping around the sides of the helmet to end in points at the back. The star was black, bordered in gold.
It was amazing, this being standing before him. But his concerns returned to the two people this being had replaced.
"Where are Ahzza and Billy?" Zarian questioned, hoping that the being would answer him.
"They are fine. They are safe." The voice was deep and sounded like more than one voice speaking at once.
"Who are you?"
"I am the 'Power of Light' made manifest." Zarian smiled. The Earth had a new master warrior.
"It is good to see you, my friend. Earth has a gift for you." Zarian stepped back, as the warrior watched. Zarian held his hands out before him, palms down. A white glow began to emanate from them, traveling down to touch the floor. There the light sat, for a few brief moments, before rising back up to his hands once more. As the light rose, an object began to emerge from the floor.
The warrior watched from his place in the glowing light, surprised to find that the object was actually a sword. The hilt was made up of silver vines twisted together, and gleamed in the soft light as the blade emerged completely from the stone floor. Reverently, Zarian reached out, taking the sword in his hands. Gradually he approached the warrior, sword cradled in the uplifted palms of his hands.
"The Sword of the Elements now belongs to you." The warrior carefully lifted the sword from Zarian's raised hands. Like a true master, the warrior wielded it, watching the light glint from it's sharp edge. Without warning, the warrior grew still. Not even his breathing moved him.
Zarian was startled by the warriors next words, "I must go. The 'DarkChylde' is near." Zarian nodded and stepped back. The warrior crossed his arms over his chest, disappearing in a flash of dark, blue light.
"May the Power protect you," Zarian spoke silently, as the warrior disappeared from the Construction Core.
Anathema arrived among the ruins, of the East side of Angel Grove, in a spiral of black. Immediately she began to call the 'Powers of Light' to come forth. "I saw the sign. I know you're here. Show yourself, so that I can destroy you and take your powers for myself!" Locan stood at her side, gazing around. "I promise to make your demise short... and as painful as possible." She wouldn't even lower herself to gaze around, uncertainly. She remained rooted where she stood, her eyes cast in the direction she knew the 'Powers of Light' would emerge from.
"We have unwanted company," Locan stated from beside her. She had no choice but to turn away from the direction she had been looking. Four columns of light coalesced amongst the debris; solidifying into the forms of the Power Rangers.
"Power Rangers, not satisfied with the beating I gave you already? Where's your little blue counterpart? He won't feel like he's being cut out of the game, will he?"
"And miss out on kicking your sorry ass? I wouldn't miss it for the world," came Rocky's voice, as he entered the area from behind a demolished building.
All of the Rangers turned surprised eyes on their blue friend. Rocky wasn't well enough to fight, and they knew it. Why had Zordon allowed him to come? Well, as long as the 'DarkChylde' didn't find out how weak he was, they would do all they had to, to stay between the two.
"There is one thing you still haven't learned about the Power Rangers, and we're here to teach you what that is."
Anathema stepped closer to Tommy, his words appearing to have little effect on her.
"What could you possibly teach me? Nothing. But there is something I'd like to teach you, Red Ranger, and your little blue friend as well. That's how to die slowly and painfully." With that she withdrew her sword.
"You're wrong about one thing," Kat called out.
"Yeah! Power Rangers never give up," Tanya yelled, launching herself at her adversary.
The rest of the Rangers took her lead, and joined in the fight. They'd always been told to never escalate a battle, but Zordon had told them that rule no long applied. Not in this battle. They couldn't allow the 'DarkChylde' to gain the upper hand. They had to do all they could to win this fight.
To Anathema, fighting the Rangers took about as much effort as swatting at dead flies. She would have been bored, if it wasn't for the fact that she wanted to play with them a bit. To break them slowly, to make their suffering long and painful.
Her dark blade sliced through the air, armor and flesh, as the battle raged on. She had left the Yellow and Green Rangers laying on the ground; blood tinting their armor red. The Blue Ranger was taken down in no time by Locan. The boy, even now, was trying uselessly to get to his feet while Locan battled the ever worthy Red Ranger. Anathema turned her eyes back to her latest victim, whom she now held clutched in her hands.
Kat struggled in vain against the hand that held her, squeezing the very air from her. Every time she tried to grab the 'DarkChylde's' arms to twist from her grasp, the 'DarkChylde' would bat her hands away, like a mother smacking a reaching child's hands. Her ears were ringing, lungs burning, as the black eyes stared at her. Black eyes, like two round pieces of flint, mirroring no emotion. There was nothing but darkness behind the orbs. Deep, within the wells of her mind, she wondered if the 'Powers of Light' would help them? They'd all seen the sign, had felt the hope. Where was the wielder of the powers?
Kat felt her eyes growing heavy, the sounds around her growing dim. She wanted to fight, but she also wanted to give up, and it was this part of her that was winning the battle. She was too weak to fight anymore. There was no hope.
Anathema watched the light slowly start to fade from the Pink Ranger's eyes, as her arms fell limply to her sides. As a smile started to curve her lips, a massive explosion rocked the ground, it's repercussions knocking her off of her feet, and the Pink Ranger from her grasp.
Screeching in rage, she leapt back to her feet, sword in hand. She gazed all around her at the smoke that billowed around the battle site. Where had it come from? Who had been responsible? She gazed at Locan who was ready to battle their unseen foe, sword at the ready. Around them, the beaten and wounded Rangers tried desperately to move away.
Anathema struggled to hear even the slightest of sounds, but the silence was deafening. She watched as a column of smoke moved toward her, stopping just feet from her. Clutching her sword tightly, she prepared to fight.
The column swirled slowly for a few moments before becoming still. Ever so slightly, the smoke began to take form, becoming human in it's appearance. Arms, legs... a head. The form taking shape seemed hazy, but as a breeze blew the smoke from around them it also blew the remaining smoke from the figure, leaving a darkly armored warrior standing before them.
"Another Power Ranger? Do you honestly think that you can do any better than your friends have done?" Anathema raised her sword, tauntingly.
"I'm not a Power Ranger. Let's just say... I'm your worse nightmare," the deep voice said, as he brought forth his own sword. Her eyes grew wide with recognition. The Sword of Elements. A smile came to her lips. She'd enjoy taking apart this one, as well. Like a bolt of lightening, she attacked the armored warrior, slashing with her sword. But, instead of the sounds of pain she was expecting to hear, she was greeted with the loud clash of metal against metal. Then, another blast sent her falling back.
Locan, taking the offensive, charged at the new foe. But before he could get within ten feet of the warrior, he was knocked back by a ball of fire released from the warrior's outstretched hand.
"I'll deal with you later. I've a score to settle," came the deep, two toned voice of the warrior.
Regaining her feet, Anathema slashed through the air with her sword. A series of lightening bolts shot forth toward the warrior. With a wave his hand, he sent the bolts ricocheting back toward her.
As Anathema righted herself once more, she stood poised, and ready to fight. But the warrior only bent to pick up a hand full of wilted grass. Confused by his actions, she only stood and watched as he closed his hand tightly around the greenery. For a split second a blue light pulsed over his clutched hand, then disappeared. It came and went so fast that she thought her eyes were playing tricks on her.
The warrior could feel the soft vegetation change and become hard in his hand. Slowly he opened his fist, allowing all those around him to see. No longer was there green, wilted grass in his palm, but a fist sized stone. Casually he began to toss it into the air to catch it in his hand once more, then toss it again to repeat the process.
Anathema's eyes filled with recognition and anger. Behind her, Locan could hear her whispered words.
"The Power of Light!"
"Are you sure?" Locan questioned.
"Of course I'm sure, you bafoon. There is only one power that can change the composition of material without the use of spells."
Locan looked back at the warrior, who continued to toss the stone casually from one hand to another.
"I don't think you know who you're dealing with," Anathema stated, moving threateningly closer, her sword in hand. "I'm the one being that can take your precious powers from you, and destroy you."
"Oh, I know perfectly well who you are."
"Good, then prepare to die!" Before Anathema could take more than a few steps toward him, the warrior hurled the rock toward her, skipping it across the ground. With each skip the stone began to grow hotter, leaving scorched ground wherever it touched; until the stone was finally nothing more than a ball of flame.
"Today just isn't your day," the warrior declared, as the stone came to a stop at Anathema's feet; flames rising up. She stood looking down at the stone, an evil laugh emanating from her lips.
"As weak as you are."
"As you well know, looks can be... deceiving." In one swift movement, the warrior sliced the air horizontally before him with his open hand. In that same instant the stone exploded, knocking everyone back.
The Rangers watched from where they were crouched, eyes shielded from the blast, the 'DarkChylde's' words ringing in their ears. 'I'm the one being that can take your precious powers from you and destroy you.'
"Tommy. Didn't Zordon say that the 'Powers of Light' could only be taken or destroyed by the 'DarkChylde'?" Kat quizzed.
"Yeah, he did."
"Well, think about what she just said to him. She told him that she was the only being who could take his powers from him and destroy him. He has to be the 'Powers of Light'," Kat declared.
"Y... you're right. But, Zordon never said anything about the holder of the powers being a Ranger," Rocky stated, looking at the lone warrior.
"She doesn't look like she could take the power from anyone, to me right now," Tanya said, as she watched the 'DarkChylde' rise up from the ground once more.
"Maybe not, but she'll be good and pissed off, and she'll be back," Tommy stated, as a flash of light appeared between the 'DarkChylde' and the mysterious warrior, heralding the arrival of Queen Sedra.
Sedra gazed back at her enraged daughter and Locan, who seemed more surprised than angered. Anathema seemed ready to approach, but stopped at Sedra's upraised hand. Turning, she moved toward the dark warrior. He didn't move either toward or away from her, but just stood statue still, like he was waiting for her to approach. When she was no more than five feet away from him, she stopped, her arms folded over her chest.
"I must say, I like the new look. But, it won't save you from her. Maybe what I have to offer you, will. If you join with me, you can keep your powers, as well as your life."
"You're wasting your breath," the warrior growled in his unusual voice.
"Am I? I know who you are, and I know how to break you."
As soon as the words left her lips, the warrior crossed the distance between them, gripping her around the throat. Behind her he could see Anathema and Locan rushing forward. Quickly, he raised his hand, a blast of air knocking the two of them back.
"You can't even begin to guess who I am, and how to defeat me. You aren't even close, bitch. But, I know you though." Sedra pulled away from the warrior and his hissed words. For a few moments she stood before him, a mixture of rage and confusion on her face.
"This isn't the last you've seen of us," Sedra declared as she prepared to leave.
"Why don't you get some new lines. The ones you're using are getting kind of old." In a furious rage she disappeared in her customary flames, Anathema and Locan following close behind her.
As soon as he was alone he turned his eyes on the team of Rangers who were limping slowly toward him.
"Are you alright?" He asked, as they drew closer.
"We'll be fine. Thanks for your help." Tommy offered his hand and watched as the warrior took it. "How about you?"
"Will we be seeing you around?" Adam asked from the back of the group.
"As long as the 'DarkChylde' and Sedra are around, I'll be here."
"Thanks. Um... is there a name that you go by?" Rocky inquired.
"For now, you may call me... friend."
Kat moved to the front of the group, her gaze taking him in, "You hold the 'Powers of Light', don't you?"
"I do." He watched the relief wash over them all.
"I didn't know that the bearer of the Powers would be a Ranger." Kat smiled.
"There are a lot of unexpected things going on."
Rocky moved forward, a smile on his lips, "I guess that would make you the... Ranger of Light, wouldn't it?" The others laughed.
"Yeah, I guess it would," the warrior agreed. "I must be going. I will see you again, Rangers." Crossing his arms, the warrior disappeared in a flash of blue light, leaving the team of Rangers alone amongst the ruins.
"Let's get back to the Power Chamber. We've got a lot to talk to Zordon about," Tommy said, as they all teleported away.
Zarian watched the warrior appear in the center of the control room, his lips set into a grim line. I had been far too easy to defeat the 'DarkChylde'. It wouldn't be so easy the next time. Next time he wouldn't have the advantage of surprise.
The warrior stood silently for a bit, before a simple movement of his arms started the large, yellow star; wrapped around his torso, to glow. Zarian watched in silent amazement, as the glow from the star began to shroud the warrior in it's brilliance, blinding him from Zarian's gaze.
As the light faded, Zarian turned back to face the warrior, only to find two separate individuals standing; stunned, in his place.
"Ahzza... Billy?" Cautiously, he approached them as they faced each other; confused expressions on their faces. "Wh-what happened?" Zarian asked, coming to stand beside them. He thought that they hadn't heard him until Billy blinked a few times and turned to look at him.
"It... was the most amazing thing I have ever experienced in my life." Zarian heard Ahzza breath, as her gaze remained fixed on Billy.
"Billy, can you explain to me what happened?" Billy turned to stand before Zarian, gazing past him at something only he could see. Slowly, he began to explain what had happened to them.
"The 'Powers of Light'... they were confused. They needed only one being to reside in, to become manifest. But neither of us, alone, was strong enough for them. Doing what it could, it brought both Ahzza and myself together as one whole being. But, as we came together, the three of us; there was suddenly something else. A power that the 'Light' hadn't been expecting. We could hear the powers conferring with each other... "
"The other power, it was the Ranger powers that had remained within you, when you had decided not to remain a Power Ranger." Zarian assumed.
"Correct. Ahzza and I were now one being; one body, but separate minds. She was scared, as was I, but my fear quickly took a back seat to my curiosity. We could still hear the Powers, they were talking to us, telling us not to be afraid.
"The Powers had come to an agreement for our mutual existence. For the time that the 'Powers of Light' would be needed, Ahzza and I would join together as one being, that way we would be strong enough to hold the Powers.
"The remnants of the Morphin Powers agreed to give us extra powers and protection by creating a warrior, a Power Ranger, if you will."
"So that's why you were easily able to fight the 'DarkChylde'?"
"How do you come together, when the Powers are needed? You can guarantee that Sedra, Locan and the 'DarkChylde' won't be put off for long."
"Ahzza and I need only to be touching, and call upon the Powers, as they have showed us to do."
"What about, Ahzza? Is she alright?" Zarian looked at the young woman, who still stood transfixed.
Billy looked at Zarian, smiling. Something he hadn't seen the young genius do much of for a long time.
"She's fine. It's one thing to become a Ranger, but combine that with having to share one body, and it becomes quiet overwhelming." Billy reached out to gently shake Ahzza. Blinking, she looked at Billy and Zarian.
"That was better than a Roller Coaster ride. What a rush!" Ahzza gazed at the two men, who started laughing. "What?"
"Yep. And just as mysterious as the Gold Ranger was," Tommy told Zordon. "But, there was something strange about him. When he talked, it seemed like there were several voices speaking the same words, at the same time.
"VERY INTERESTING," Zordon said.
"But, he's on our side, and the most important thing is, he wields the 'Powers of Light'," Adam stated to the assembled group.
"I just wonder who he is?" Kim wondered aloud.
"Like Trey, I'm sure that he will tell us, when he's ready," Jason added.
David Trueheart stood to the side of the room, lost in his thoughts, Ahzza's words coming back to him from that day in the hospital two weeks ago. Could it be? He wondered to himself.
Special Note: The poem that I used in the story above( with some words
changed or left out, to fit the story), came from my mother. I'm not sure where
it came from, but I thought it fit; with a few changes, into the story. Also,
the name of the DarkChylde; Anathema, means: abomination. Thanks for