Phantom gasped as the various henchman that were surrounding him and the Blue Centurion simply vanished without a trace. The desert valley that had once been thrown into the midst of fierce battle was once more at peace. He sank slowly to his knees. Finally it was over.
"Phantom, are you all right?" Blue asked as he limped over to his fallen fellow warrior. Phantom slowly looked up at the robotic galaxy policeman. Blue was damaged slightly from the fierce fight, but it was obvious that the policeman would survive to patrol the universe once again.
"I'll be fine, friend. Go. Find your family and make sure that they are safe." Phantom said as he leaned back against a dusty red rock.
"Are you sure? The pink ranger would hunt me down until eternity if I left you here and something happened." Blue said with a hint of humor. Phantom gave a humorless smile from underneath his helmet.
"I will be fine my friend, now go." Phantom said with a note of authority. Blue nodded and then teleported out of sight. Phantom let out a painful sigh as he ripped the power ruby from his chest. Zordon was dead. It was the only explanation.
He stared at the small jewel in detached indifference. The ruby had given him power, power that was supplied by Zordon. It was a power that had fueled his life force for three years longer than it should have. By all rights, he should have died long ago. But Zordon had needed him, and he'd willingly, and gratefully had become the Phantom ranger.
"It was so ironic." Phantom laughed to himself as he let out a small painful gasp. It felt like a rope was slowly beginning to tighten around his heart. The burning sensation was almost beginning to become too much to bear. "The Phantom ranger. A person that should have died three years ago, but was reincarnated into a ranger. I should have become a ghost, instead I became a Phantom." He gave a dry chuckle and then a harsh cough.
Slowly, he curled into a ball as his breathing became more labored. He should die, it was only right. But he had so much to live for. He had his Cassie to live for, he should have had the rest of his life to spend with her.
"I'm sorry, Cassie. I'm so sorry."
"I want to see her, just one last time." Phantom said quietly. "I know the consequences, but I have to see her one last time. Please."
"You understand that you can never come back to this place. Your entrance will forever be forbidden through these gates."
"I understand, but I still have to see her, despite the consequences."
"Then you must go, even though I wish it weren't this way."
"Me too. But sometimes, you have to follow your heart, even when it does lead you astray." He said as he turned away.
He watched her as the morning sunlight fell softly on her raven hair, and he couldn't stop the wistfulness that rose up in his chest at the sight. She was sitting on the lush Californian green grass, watching the sun rise from over the tops of the trees in the park, and he marveled at the peacefulness of the image. Her mouth was curved slightly in a small half smile as thoughts unknown to him, flitted through her mind.
Did she ever think of him? Did she ever close her eyes and picture him before her like he'd pictured her so many thousands of times? He gave a soundless sigh, and he couldn't help but think that he should be with her now. Forever.
Thoughtfully, he walked over to her, and sat down on the ground beside her. She didn't acknowledge him or even move in a way that indicated that she was aware of his presence. He understood though, she couldn't see him. It was against the rules.
He reached out a ghostly hand across the grass and placed it over hers. He had nothing from his old life to mourn. His friends were dead. His planet was a desolate landscape which clearly showed the former destruction capabilities of Dark Spectre and his minions. He had nothing here in this world to sorrow over. Nothing but her.
She had a beauty that radiated out from the inside. Even now, when there wasn't a soul in sight to compare her to, he knew that she outshined them all. She touched the hearts of everyone she met. Him especially.
She shifted slightly in the grass as a small teleportation beam landed near her. Blue appeared , and Phantom found himself smiling at the sight of his old friend. He'd obviously been repaired since the last time he'd seen him. Blue chrome shined spectacularly in the morning sun.
"They're beginning the ceremony now. We have to hurry Cassie, before they shut the gates. Because then, you won't even be able to sneak in." Blue said as he extended a hand to her. She took it, and Phantom kept a hold of her other as they disappeared in a flash of light.
Cassie sat down on the last pew of the old Eltarian church. Much of the planet had been decimated and reduced to rubble from the war, but this solitary structure had managed to escape the destruction unscathed. Now the church held many of the last residents of the planet as they came to privately mourn their departed hero.
She let out a shuddered sigh as she held back her tears. The priest was beginning the funeral mass in a language she had never heard before, so she let the words slide over her. She knew the truth now about her Phantom, but it seemed a little to late. He was gone to her forever.
The mass ended quietly, and people filed out of the church one by one, nursing their own grief. As the last guest left through the wrought iron gates, she slowly rose to her feet and moved to the front of the church. His coffin looked up at her, and she kneeled down beside it.
His face looked peaceful in death. More peaceful, she was sure, then it had ever looked in life. She reached in and clasped his hand in hers. It was cool to the touch and it emanated death. She watched, detached, as her own tears fell and landed on the pale skin. They slid slowly off the sides of his hand and off of her hand, mingling together in the satin lining of the casket.
"Why did you have to die?" She whispered softly. "I would give my life just to be with you again." She curled his hand closer to her, and bent her head over the side of the casket. Her long black hair fell lightly over his unmoving chest.
Phantom wrapped his arms around her as she held his mortal hand. He could feel the pain as it radiated from her soul, and he felt it stab him like a thousand different swords, piercing his skin. He couldn't stand to see her this way, but there was nothing he could do to take away her anguish.
He watched helplessly for a moment, as she took a small bottle out of her pocket and flipped open the lid. She shook out a couple of pills, and popped them into her mouth.
As she drifted into unconsciousness, he finally realized what she was attempting, and for the first time since he had died, he felt fear. He said a quick prayer to God, praying that he would be forgiven for breaking the rules. His arms materialized and, gently, he picked her up. In a blink of light, they teleported out of the old solitary church.
Phantom blinked as the blue ranger's room slowly became light. It took a moment before he realized that the light was emitting from him, illuminating the once dark room. Cassie failed to stir in his arms, and he looked down to see her getting paler by the moment.
TJ came awake with a start as light filled the room. At first, he was prepared to yell at DECA for having woken him up before his alarm had even had a chance to go off, but the sight before him stopped him cold.
In the center of his room, was a large glowing being. It was a man by all appearances, but his hair was flowing in a nonexistent breeze. Large wings also sprouted from his back, and were closed protectively around Cassie, who wasn't moving in his arms.
"What's wrong with her?" TJ asked immediately as he jumped out of his bed. The being didn't say a word as he walked soundlessly to the bed, and gently laid the Asian girl down on the blankets. Wordlessly, he handed TJ the bottle and then pointed to Cassie.
TJ understood instantly. He ran to the other side of his room and grabbed an emergency detoxifier, and then slid to a halt beside his bed. Quickly, he pushed the device against her neck, and there was a small hiss as the device injected a detoxifier directly into her blood. TJ turned slightly to the being in the middle of the room. "She'll be okay now." He said softly.
Phantom nodded slowly, and then let himself dematerialize. He watched, invisible, as TJ gently brushed the hair out of Cassie's face. She would okay, he finally acknowledged. TJ would care for her, and he probably would continue to for the rest of his life. Phantom felt a sense of peace at the thought. He turned and walked out of the room.
"I'm prepared to face my fate." Phantom said as he found himself once again at the gleaming gates.
"You have been granted entrance."
"But I thought I was forbidden. Forever. How can you allow me entry now? I have broken all the rules." Phantom asked.
"Forever is a long time, my child." The being chuckled. "You have proven yourself worthy of entrance. You belong here."
"Thank you." He said sincerely as he walked through the sparkling
pearl gates. He was home at last.