..........Rita is in a foul mood as she
sifts through the rubble of her casting room. She holds the Agin Tome in
her hands as her thoughts go over the last few days, --This is all Billy's
fault. I can't believe I almost let him defeat me. Arghh!-- She groans
as more stucco-like substance drops from the ceiling on her head. --I'll
never get this back together. And I'll never be done with Zedd's incessive
gloating, 'You should have listened to me, it would never work. You'll
never beat the Rangers without me.' Oh, I'll beat them alright, it's just
that your plans are ineffective, because you lack the true drive to put
them into action.-- Rita feels a new determination fill her instead of
the defeat and self-recriminations. --My vision has failed. I have no one
to blame but myself. I understand once again that setbacks happen and you
just have to work with them not against them. And when you fail...-- She
pauses her thoughts as she sees a flicker of blue from where her casting
circle was. --What?-- she digs through the rubble and pulls out several
shards of the Darken Crystal. She begins to build a pile of crystal fragments.
--How can this be? Several pieces still glow! But I destroyed the spell.
Wait, I never destroyed the Darken Crystal of the Green Ranger, he just
passed on and the power faded. Maybe since the Blue Ranger is still alive
and still has the power, he is still connected to the fragments. I must
do some tests. I must know.-- She walks out of her room, "Finster,
come here!"* * *..........While Rita is bemoaning her
fortune, Billy and Adam prepare to enter the Juice Bar. Billy and Adam
are continuing a conversation about Sting, his music, and how he says a
lot of things they have trouble saying. As they near the door Adam grins,
"I'll bet that Kat and Aisha are sitting at our table talking while
Rocky and Tommy are fighting. And when we sit down Tommy and Rocky will
..........Finster shuffles into her room,
dodging rubble. --I'll never get my lab back together, but I know My Queen
will deal with it.-- "Yes, My Queen?"
.........."Finster, I need my room cleaned,
but I have some work to do. Get the Tengas, Goldar, and some putties if
you can trust them not to destroy anything and have them clean it."
Rita smiles, "And once they're done in here you can have them work
on your lab." --Give Finster a little and he's loyal for life. Also
it'll tick Monkey-Boy off.-- "Well, Finster, what are you waiting
.........."Nothing My Queen. As you command,"
Finster replies as he hurries from the room to fulfill her command.
.......... --Now to get to my work,-- Rita
thinks as she picks up the crystal fragments and her Grimoire.
..........Billy smiles as he shakes his head,
"I don't bet, and even if I did I would be an idiot to take that one.
They always end up doing the same things. We are all of a predictable sort
.........."Yeah, I guess we are. But
is that a good thing or a bad thing?" shrugs Adam. They enter the
bar itself and see Aisha and Kat chatting over homework at a table, while
Rocky and Tommy are sparring. "Well it looks like we were both right.
They are doing the same old routine."
.........."Should we try and break it?"
asks Billy mischievously. Billy grins as they head over to the table to
see Kat and Aisha. Then Billy shivers slightly and feels goose bumps break
out over his arms. But it goes away quickly, and he shakes his head. --Must
be some of that exhaustion rearing its ugly head.--
..........Adam sees Billy pause and a slight
frown passes over Billy's face, then Billy shakes his head as if to clear
it. --What was that?--
..........They sit down as Ernie brings the
usual beverages for Billy and Adam. Adam looks at Billy's drink, "You
know, I have always wondered how you could drink that stuff."
..........Billy stares at his spinach shake,
"I just like how it tastes."
.........."But it's spinach. How can
you drink spinach?" Adam looks slightly incredulous.
.........."The same way anyone else can
drink orange juice or a cola. You just lift the glass and take a sip."
Billy grins, "I thought you had the concept of drinking down pat by
..........Adam sputters, turns slightly red,
and retorts, "You know exactly what I mean." Then Adam smiles
and laughs, especially after he sees Kat's and Aisha's shocked looks. "That
was different," Adam says and he starts laughing harder as Billy joins
in. Kat and Aisha look on in confusion.
.........."Hey guys, is this a private
party or can anyone join in?" asks Rocky, who has just finished his
workout with Tommy.
.........."Yeah, it looks like you're
having fun," adds Tommy.
..........Billy smiles again, "Yes we
are having fun, and yes, this is a private party." He watches a look
of total incomprehension pass over their faces. Adam begins to giggle slightly
in the background. "Sorry, it was a hoax. A jest?" He waits till
they begin to grin in understanding, "Have a seat."
..........Tommy and Rocky take their seats.
They join Kat and Aisha in throwing worried and confused glances Billy
and Adam's way. Tommy decides to make sure that this isn't anything about
yesterday. He clears his throat and after a slight pause speaks, "How
are you feeling, Billy?"
..........Adam sighs. -Sometimes Tommy is
just way too straight forward. He's a nice guy, but he can be a bit too
..........Billy blinks, then snickers slightly.
--I've been going on about the predictability of this group and I didn't
expect that? And I'm supposed to be the bright one.-- He smiles at the
guys, "I'm fine, I suppose. I mean everything is okay now, right?"
.........."Yeah man," replies Tommy,
who is very happy to see that Billy's going to be all right. "I was
just worried, you know?"
.........."Yes, I know," replies
Billy. "Now that we've all thoroughly depressed ourselves, why don't
we work on having some fun?"
..........A chorus of cheers, starting with
Aisha, works it's way around the table. The gang then decides to start
having some fun.
* * *..........Rita has been going over the
crystal shards for a while. --They are still connected to the Blue Ranger.
I suppose they were a receptacle for his 'goodness' before the Spell corrupted
it. When the Spell was broken, the Darkness was released. But the Crystal
was bound to Billy, so it kept an imprint of his 'goodness' or spirit or
whatever. While I can't cast the Darken Spell again, this connection could
make him vulnerable to some other spells that normally would be too unpredictable.
But what spell?-- Rita begins to flip through the tome, a vague thought
is dancing around the edges of her consciousness, but before she can really
get to reading, Finster walks in. He speaks before she can yell at him,
"I'm sorry to disturb you My Queen, but your room is repaired."
He huddles slightly as he prepares for her next outburst.
..........Rita looks at Finster. --I shouldn't
yell at him for getting results should I, negative reinforcement and all
of that.-- "Good work Finster, now you can go clean your lab."
He bows and leaves as she heads back to her quarters. She finds her room
straightened and repaired, her supplies are back where they should be,
and he has even replaced those that were broken in the rumble. --Finster
can be so considerate and thoughtful to my needs, though his monsters might
stink. He can do excellent work when he sets his mind to it.-- She turns
back to her book and begins reading, searching for the spell that she wants
to use to get her revenge on the Blue Ranger.
* * *.........."We're going to the park."
sighed Billy. Adam shrugs in sympathy. The rest of the gang just looks
at Billy confusedly.
.........."What's wrong with the park?"
.........."Nothing, but why don't we
do something different today. Why don't we..." Billy trails off as
he tries to figure out a location within Angel Grove that they don't usually
inhabit. "Why don't we go to the woods? We haven't been near there
since, wait I don't even think WE'VE been there as a group."..........
.........."Sounds good to me," pipes in Adam.
..........In fact this idea sounds good to
everyone, so they decide to take a hike in the woods. Everyone heads home
to grab lunches and drinks so this can be an all-day excursion.
* * *..........Rita pages through the tome
and stops on a series of red-inked pages. --Ah ha! Here it is! Morrick's
blunder. He was the fool who misused the Darken Spell. Not only did he
manage to hit a second person along with his target, but he caught himself
within it. A major magical backlash and a true mess. But thus was Salidus
born, a monster that feeds on the Darkness and Light within a being until
that being is consumed, making Salidus stronger. His first victim was Morrick
himself and the next was the other one caught in the spell. But Salidus
was too strong, and the forces of Light and Dark joined together to banish
him to a dimension he could not escape and even they only succeeded due
to Gral's assistance. There was something about Gral, but what? Over the
eons Salidus has weakened and I can use the Summoning Spell to free him
and make him serve me. But I don't want to risk him rampaging through the
world or turning on me. What to do?-- As if in answer the crystal shards
glow. --That's it! I can use the crystals to link him to Billy. That way
Salidus doesn't even have to set foot on earth. But I still must have Salidus
in this dimension, yet somewhere he can't get out. Hmm...I'll figure that
out, but I need Finster to make me a monster to transport the Spell, I
don't need to overdo my magic.-- "Finster!"
.........."Yes, My Queen," asks
Finster, who's feeling pretty good because his lab is back in shape, and
the last time he checked, Goldar was stuck helping clean up Zedd's quarters.
.........."Finster, I need a monster."
.........."Well My Queen, I have a few
monsters that I think you'll find appropriate," inputs Finster helpfully.
.........."Not this time, Finster,"
says Rita softly. --I don't need to tear Finster apart to get him to work.
He's quite eager to please on his own.-- "I need a monster that is
intelligent and quick, I don't need a brawler or a special attack. I just
need someone smart enough to get out of the way. Can you do it?"
..........Finster blinks in shock, "Yes,
My Queen, right away." Finster hurries from the room to begin work.
* * *..........The woods are a nice change
from the park. Everyone has their packs and their lunches and they were
hiking along. They are commenting on the scenery, when Rocky decides to
break the tedium that is threatening to overwhelm him. He drops his pack,
and leaps up to grab a branch above him. He swings up the branch and proceeds
to climb up the tree. "Hey guys, maybe you should join in. This is
..........Aisha looks up, "I don't think trees are my thing,"
she says, but she starts to grin at Rocky's antics.
..........Tommy looks up, his noble leader/role-model
tendencies warring with his desire to have some fun. He shrugs its not
as if I have to save the day right now, is it? and starts to climb up a
tree beside Rocky's. He gives a loud whoop as he feels the breeze blow
by. "Great idea Rocko," grins Tommy.
..........Kat looks up at Rocky and Tommy.
That is a bit high up, kind of like the high dive. She sighs. --But I'll
never get over my fear if I don't confront it.-- She proceeds to nimbly
climb up the nearest tree to everyone's amazement. She sees their looks
and grins back, "Don't you know cats like climbing trees?"
..........Then everyone is startled by a sudden
burst of laughter from Adam and Billy, who give each other a high five.
"I guess this is a little less predictable," grins Billy, "I
don't think I ever imagined Tommy and Kat trying out their climbing skills
on this excursion."
..........The others look on as Adam just
starts laughing harder. "Definitely...not...routine," he manages
to gasp out between laughs. He and Billy simultaneously decide not to illuminate
the others on the source of their jest.
..........Billy decides to look around a bit,
tree climbing is not his forte, but he's glad the others are having fun.
He comes to the edge of the rise to find that it ends very suddenly. --Whoa.
I'd better tell the others about this.-- He studies it for a moment. --About
15-17 feet down at about a 20 degree grade, not something I'd want try
to get down in a hurry.-- He gets ready to inform them, but decides not
to interfere with their fun. --I'll just sit here for awhile.-- He yawns
slightly as he sits on a rock. --Must still be a bit winded. That sun is
* * *..........Rita has puzzled over her dilemma.
--How to bring the monster to this dimension, yet keep him from escaping?
Where can I keep him, someplace that is impossible for him to escape from
and impossible for the Rangers to get to him. Keep the Rangers from him?--
An idea spins through Rita's head. --The Labyrinth of Light! I think I
still have control of it, after I corrupted it the forces of good just
couldn't risk anymore "accidents."-- Rita smiles maliciously.
--It was a training ground for brats like the Rangers and Ninjetti, but
after months of planning, Agin and I were able to thwart it. Traps that
normally tested the students became deadly. A misstep that sent one back
to the beginning before, could send the unwary to the end... of their lives.--
Rita laughs out loud at this. --If Salidus is trapped within the Labyrinth
he can't escape without a Ranger's help, but no Ranger can survive the
maze, and what Ranger would help Salidus? He would devour anyone who came
close. So now I can summon him there?-- Rita turns to her books and begins
forming the intricate circle of protection on floor. --Must get this right,
any flaw will allow Salidus to attack me. I DEFINITELY don't want that.--
She carefully finishes the circle and to her eye it is perfect, then she
checks it again. --I'll spend some more time going over it just to be sure,
but in the meantime...-- "Finster! Are you done with that monster
yet?" she shrieks to the air.
..........A few moments later Finster comes
huffing into the room, "Yes My Queen," he replies breathlessly,
"What are your commands?"
.........."I want you to bring the monster
to me so that I may cast a spell on him. Then I'll send the monster down
to the where the Rangers are."
.........."The monster still has a little
bit of work to go."
.........."Then finish it," replies
Rita evenly. She watches as Finster leaves. --Back to work,-- she thinks
as she begins to check the circle once more. ..........
..........The tree-bound Rangers are having
fun, but they decide to come down when they figure out that there is no
way they're getting Aisha and Adam up into the trees with them. Also, they
notice that Billy has vanished. "Adam, have you seen Billy?"
..........Adam points to a shadow under a
tree, "It looks like he's still a bit tired. I checked on him, I think
he fell asleep a few minutes ago."
..........Tommy looks thoughtful, then he
brightens. "Why don't we just sit down and eat. We can let Billy get
some rest and not leave him alone out here."
..........Tommy's suggestion is greeted by
a series of nods as the others spread out blankets or just sit on the ground
and start lunch.
* * *.......... The circle is complete, declares
Rita mentally. --If there is a flaw, I will not know it until the spell
is cast. Now to strengthen the linking between the Crystal shards.-- She
looks though the seven shards and picks the three best. --One will be given
to Salidus so he can use the link, the second will be used by my monster
to initiate the link with Billy, and I will use the last to make the actual
connection. I will have to destroy the latter two so Salidus can't use
them to backtrack the link, but it's worth it.-- Rita places the three
shards in front of her and begins casting and soon she is finished. --Now
that was easy, I hope the rest of this goes as well.-- She goes to her
cabinets and pulls out an old scrying mirror. --I'll set this to watch
the center of the Labyrinth as I cast the spell, so I'll know if I set
him loose or not.-- "Finster!" she shrieks. --I'm glad that so
much reconstruction is going on, that's probably the only reason I'm not
having to put up with Zedd's rambling right now.-- She turns as Finster
enters her room. "Finster, make sure no one disturbs me until I call
.........."But what of the monster?"
.........."Make him wait a few minutes,
what do I care?" asks Rita rhetorically.
.........."Yes, My Queen," Finster
replies as he leaves the room to guard her door. --The monster has been
told to wait, I hope he doesn't wreck my lab. But if he does Rita will
fix it,-- Finster thinks to himself.
..........Once Finster leaves the room, Rita
begins to work. --I have to cast the spell through the scrye, which is
more difficult, but it is safer as it places one more barrier between Salidus
and me.-- She turns the book to the Spell and begins the intone the summons,
"Salidus o' thief of spirits, I call thee, Come to me and ye shall
be free from thy prisone of olde. To my bidding I chain thee, to my will
you will obey..." she then begins to intone the many names of Salidus
to help tighten the Spell's power around him. In her mirror a inky shadow
begins to form...
* * *..........Rita completes the final intonation
of her Spell and waits fearfully. --Did I do it right? Is the circle strong
enough? Will Salidus get me?-- But the blackness in her mirror coalesces
into the form of Salidus. --Yes! He is trapped within the maze. Now to
speak with him.-- She turns to her mirror. "Salidus, thief of spirits,
I have freed you from your exile..."
.........."Freed. no." The voice
is cold and infinite, it holds nothing and this chills Rita slightly. "You
have just changed my residence, I still sense a power keeping me trapped
in this place. I still hunger."
.........."But I offer you a bargain,
thief. I will grant you the power to have what you need and let you stay
in this dimension, if you help me," Rita responds confidently, but
inwardly she's terrified.
.........."Sustenance. And this not-freedom.
For what?" asks the voice.
.........."Your sustenance," Rita
manages to infuse this word with a bit of loathing, yet she smiles as she
thinks of the horrid revenge she will inflict on the Blue Ranger, "you
just need to take your time. I know you probably won't want to, so I'll
regulate it a bit. I want to play with your food first." Rita snorts
and laughs her nightmarish laugh.
..........The void that is Salidus thinks
this over. In but an instant, it knows that it lacks the strength to do
otherwise. "Very well. I wait."
.........."Good. I will send you the
Crystal that will link you with your meal, but first I'll send you a snack,"
finishes Rita, who quickly matches her words by sending one of the linking
Crystals to Salidus. "I have some work to do, but you will be fed
soon." She turns and quickly exits the room, feeling Salidus' empty
gaze upon her as she leaves. She turns to Finster, "Bring me your
monster, and a couple of those rejects from yesterday. Get me that useless
Saliguana and Fighting Flea."
..........Finster rushes off and returns with
the monster, "Here are the monsters you requested, My Queen."
..........Rita doesn't even look at the monsters,
"Good work Finster, you may leave now. You monsters follow me."
She turns and walks back into the room with the beasts in tow. She looks
to the lizard and the flea, "You have failed me many times, but I
have one use for you that will not fail." The monsters shuffle a bit,
they dislike the tone of her voice, even they get the impression that something
is not right. But she is their Master and they can only watch as she waves
her wand. Saliguana and Fighting Flea vanish and reappear in the scrying
mirror with Salidus. They don't have a chance against the ravenous monster,
who drains their evil beings dry in an instant. Rita watches in horrified
fascination as Salidus begins to cackle evilly, "Bring me more. I
..........Rita shudders. --Salidus has changed,
it was so emotionless before, but now it seems full of dark emotion. What
happened? No matter, I must finish what I set out to do.-- She turns to
her newest monster which is shaking in sheer terror. "Don't worry,
I have something for you to do. If you do it well I'll have you do more,
if you fail..." She lets her words hang ominously in the air.
..........The monster trembles, "I will
do whatever you will, my queen. I will serve you to the full extent of
.........."Good. Take this crystal,"
she hands it to the monster, "You must hit the Blue Ranger and ONLY
the Blue Ranger with it. You don't have to fight the other Rangers, in
fact I order you not to. Don't do anything that would make them attack
you, just walk around take in the 'pretty' sights and wait for your chance
to get the Blue Ranger. Understand?"
.........."Yes, my Queen," the monster
holds the crystal carefully. It knows its life depends on it.
..........Rita waves her wand and the monster
vanishes. She huddles over her crystal and watches it. --I'll wait, I will
know if the monster fails or not.--
* * *..........The guys are having a nice little
picnic and are just about done with their meals. Adam has been checking
on Billy every now and then, but Billy is still dozing peacefully. --Good
one Adam, the next time one of your friends is recovering from a serious
illness, DON'T recommend
sparring as an activity.-- Adam mentally berates himself. But his self-recriminations
are cut short by the beeping of Tommy's communicator. Tommy and the others
glance around to see if anyone is around, but the way is truly clear. --This
is probably the first time we've been in a truly secluded area for talking
with Zordon in a very long time,-- Adam notes. He watches as Tommy contacts
.........."Yes, Zordon. What is it,"
asks Tommy worriedly.
.........."I have detected a monster
near your location, but its nature and motivations are unclear to me."
.........."What do you mean, Zordon?"
.........."It has not undertaken any
activities that I normally associate with Rita's monsters. It hasn't begun
destroying property in a senseless rampage, accosting innocent citizens,
or just running around in a mindless daze screaming for the Power Rangers
to challenge it. I am at a loss to understand this."
.........."Well, we'll go look into it.
.........."Go, and may the power protect
..........The others look around, but don't
have to look far as the monster walks out of the trees. The Rangers fall
into defensive positions as they take in the monster. It's pathetic. The
monster stands about as tall as Adam, though it would be taller if it wasn't
hunched over and is nearly three feet wide. It has mottled grayish-green
skin, and a shaggy mop of black coarse hair. Its arms and legs are out
of proportion for its enormous torso, its legs look stumpy and its massive
arms reach the ground. Its balanced on its gigantic hands and feet, it
looks like the only battle it's ready to fight is the one for balance.
It stares at the Rangers for a minute and hunches down a bit more, it shuffles
a bit, "Um, ah, nice, ah, day for a walk, ah, right?" says the
monster in a slightly pathetic fashion.
* * *..........After the monster's appearance,
the gang stares at each other. --What is up with this monster? It hasn't
done anything, and it would be against the rules to attack it before it
has done anything evilÉ but we all know it's going to turn on us.
What a lame rule,-- thinks Adam. --Just have to keep an eye on it and be
.......... Tommy takes his cue. "We're
the Power Rangers and if you try anything we'll have to fight you and send
you back to Rita."
..........The group again passes glances as
the monster falls to the ground shaking at the mention of Rita's name.
"I am sorry for, um, ah, inconveniencing you. Please just ignore me."
It crawls to a rock under a tree and sits for a moment. It sees the looks
of pity that crosses the Rangers' faces. --Suckers,-- thinks the beast,
--my crude form and pitiful demeanor have put you off guard. You are not
prepared for the unexpected, it has become your routine. I am closer to
the Blue One, but I'm not in position yet. I will serve my Mistress faithfully.
I don't wish to join those two foolsÉ.-- its thoughts trail off
as it shudders once more.
..........Again the Rangers pass confused
glances. Tommy looks to the monster, "Ah, Excuse us for a moment,
we need to talk in private." Tommy gestures for the other Rangers
to join him a few steps away from the monster.
.........."Oh, you're excused. Thank
you for being so considerate as to ask," replies the monster with
what the Rangers think is a smile. It gets up and begins to shuffle and
stagger around a bit. --Just a little bit closerÉ.--
..........The Rangers get ready to talk, but
Adam decides to bring up what to him is a very important point, "Guys,
how about I go wake Billy up." Before they can even answer Adam has
started walking over to Billy.
..........--Arggh! That boy is coming to separate
me from the Blue One. I must get close enough to spring without letting
them know something is up. Ah Ha!-- The monster continues its shuffling
pace and suddenly hits an exposed root and trips. If anyone had been able
to look closer, they would have seen the monster's toes curl around the
root and help push him off. "Oh, oops, clumsy me," whimpers the
monster, it curls its legs under it as it seemingly struggles to get upright
..........Adam watches suspiciously as he
goes over to Billy. "Hey Billy, wake up." He shakes Billy's shoulder.
..........Billy blinks, yawns and looks up.
"Hi Adam, I guess I must have dozed off. So much for predictability,"
he chuckles lightly. Then Billy sees the monster, "Adam, there is
a monster curled up on the ground behind you. What is going on?" asks
.........."That is Rita's latest monster,
but it hasn't done anything yet and all those damn Power Promises are making
Tommy form a committee." Adam understands the blindingly obvious.
Having a monster less than three feet away is bad karma. It is not the
time for group discussion. He keeps throwing glances at the monster.
..........Billy looks at Adam carefully, he's
still half-awake, but he hasn't heard Adam ever sound so on edge. "What
.........."Something about that guy is
not right, he is NOT all he seems. I don't like it, he seems eager about
something, and nothing he says seems to reach his eyes. They just flicker
with rage and fear every now and then. Then there is the fact that he is
one of Rita's monsters."
..........--Adam's intuition is far superior
to my own, or to that of any of the others. Should stay on guard.-- Billy
yawns again. --Need to wake up.-- "Lets go to the others."
..........Adam turns and helps Billy up, but
before they can both straighten, the monster springs, they are hit by it.
Adam falls to the side but the momentum pushes Billy and the monster over
the edge. The monster smashes his hand to Billy's chest and is greeted
by a flash of Blue. The monster then agilely pushes off Billy and grabs
a tree branch. The beast quickly swings away though the trees. Billy just
* * *..........Rita looks as her Crystal flares
a bright blue. --Contact! My monster succeeded.-- She turns to the scrying
mirror, "Salidus I have finished preparing your meal. Just use the
crystal to reach out."
..........In the scrye, Salidus reaches out
and grasps the bright blue Crystal and begins to focus. He senses his prey
and begins to close in.
* * *..........Adam leaps up and shouts, "Billy!"
as he rushes to the edge. He sees Billy lying at the bottom, moving slightly
and a flash of something. --Stupid! I shouldn't have turned my back to
it when I helped Billy up. Man, I knew something was up. I hope he's all
right. This is all my fault.-- Adam breaks off this train of thought as
Billy's hand reaches out and grabs the flash.
* * *..........Billy groans, his head hurts
and he's sore all over. He can feel something warm running through his
hair. He opens his eyes and groans again, the world is upside down. --No,
I must be upside down.-- He reaches up and touches his head and looks to
his fingers. --Blood, great, just great. Picked a great day to decide to
doze off. Well at least it wasn't predictable.-- Billy giggles slightly
and blinks. --What's that?-- A dark something is coming towards him. --Adam?--
The something gets closer and just as Billy decides that this is very bad,
it reaches towards him and he feels weak. --It's a monster! What's it doing?--
Then Billy sees the light flash off his coin and grabs it.
* * *..........Salidus has found his prey and
it is confused and injured. He's already beginning to draw from it, when
it reaches out and closes its appendage around something. Then something
stops the flow to but a trickle of what it once was. --Hmm.--
* * *..........When Billy's hand closes around
the coin the world changes. What was once bright and colorful has changed
into shades of grey. Yet somehow he knows colors that were not there before.
--What? Did I knock myself color blind? Am I having a hallucination?--
Then a brightness appears in between him and the thing, and coalesces into
the form of a wolf that squares off with the monster. --I must have really
hit my head.-- His hand keeps its tight grip on the coin.
* * *..........Adam gets down the embankment
and rushes to Billy, "Billy, you all right?" A chill runs down
his spine. He sees Billy's morpher and scoops it up on his way to Billy.
He gets closer to Billy and is more worried. --Man, that looks nasty.--
There is a gash starting right above Billy's right eye that is gushing
blood, but Billy takes no notice. --What is he staring at? Something is
definitely off here.-- Adam taps his communicator, "Zordon, bring
Billy and me to the Command Center. He's hurt and he needs some help."
..........Billy and Adam vanish in flashes
of Blue and Black light.
* * *..........Adam appears in the middle on
the Command Center with Billy, who's lying sprawled on the floor. "Alpha,
teleport Billy to the table and scan him. Adam, what happened?" asked
..........--What? You weren't watching? Just
great,-- Adam thinks. "I was waking Billy up after the monster appeared.
It didn't attack us, and then it tripped and fell. I was helping Billy
up when it suddenly leaped at us. It knocked me down and hit Billy, pushing
him off the edge. But I swear I saw a flash of something when the monster
..........By this time Alpha has finished the scan. "He's got
a nasty head wound along with a concussion, and a collection of scrapes
and bruises. I've scanned him and he is drawing more energy from the Morphing
Grid, but as far as I can tell it's not being directed towards his injuries.
Ai-yi-yi!" say Alpha worriedly.
..........Adam blinks. --I never knew our
coins could heal us. Well maybe I just never noticed, I mean after all
of those fights we should be black and blue.-- He shakes his head. "Can
you help Billy?"
.........."Yes. Alpha, get the medical
kit and tend to Billy's injuries. I am curious as to what is causing Billy
to draw so much energy. Please wait as I check out the results myself,"
says Zordon, who vanishes from his column.
..........Adam looks at the column and waits.
He steps back to lean on a console so he can see Zordon's column and Alpha
working on Billy. As far as Adam can tell he's just cleaning up the wound
and putting something on Billy's cut that looks like a big metal band-aid
with a few blinking lights attached. --Man, we sure have some weird stuff
around here.-- He keeps watching as Alpha works and gets the distinct impression
that something is wrong. "What's wrong, Alpha?"
.........."Ai yi yi, Adam. I should be
healing Billy's injury, but all I'm doing is stabilizing it. He's still
losing strength, I don't know what is happening."
..........Adam looks carefully at his injured
friend, who has begun to mumble something about "wolf" and "monster."
Something is definitely wrong here, thinks Adam. "Alpha, maybe you
should teleport the guys here."
..........Alpha quickly complies with Adam's
request and the other four Rangers materialize. They see Billy's prone
form, Zordon's empty column, and Adam's grim look. Tommy speaks first,
"Adam what happened? How is Billy? We tried to get the monster, but
by the time we got there you had vanished and so had it."
.........."The monster attacked Billy
and he's hurt pretty bad. Zordon is trying to find out what's wrong,"
says Adam, forestalling their next question.
..........As soon as Adam finishes speaking,
Zordon reappears. He looks gravely to his Rangers and speaks. "I have
gone over Alpha's scans and found an anomaly. Even though it was destroyed,
there are still traces of the Darken Spell connected with Billy. I believe
Rita has used this link to harm Billy. I have found a taint within the
link. I am familiar with the source and it worries me greatly. Rita has
allowed a being called 'Salidus' to have access to Billy's life enregies
through this link. Salidus is a type of psychic vampire." Zordon sees
the looks of worry and confusion cross the faces of his charges.
.........."Psychic vampire?" questions
Kat, who looks as confused as almost everyone else.
..........Adam shakes his head, "He's
a vampire but instead of drinking blood for food, he steals someone's life
force to feed. Now thanks to Rita he has access to Billy." The guys
look at Adam stangely, he isn't the one they expect to be explaining anything,
that's Billy's job. Adam looks carefully to Zordon, "That extra energy
Billy's drawing is being used to battle Salidus, right? But it's not enough."
Adam shakes his head in worry.
..........Zordon looks very grave and decides
to continue, "I do not know where he originates from, but eons ago
he was a serious threat to all life in the universe. In an attempt to stop
him, the forces of light and darkness joined together, but even we would
not have been enough had it not been for the appearence of Gral, a warrior,
who until this time had been a neutral enigma in the War of Light. He battled
Salidus to a standstill and we cast him into an extra-dimensional prison.
Gral vanished and our alliance broke down, the universe went on. Even Rita
was not foolish enough to allow Salidus free reign in this dimension. Once
I ascertained Salidus' involvement, I scanned for his bio-signature and
..........At this moment Billy moans slightly
and shivers. The Rangers look at their friend and feel a determination
.........."Great then lets go kick this
guy's butt and save Billy," inputs Rocky. Adam groans. --Brilliant
.........."That will not be as easy as
you think my Rangers. I do not know if you will be able to resist Salidus.
If you can acquire the Crystal that links Billy to Salidus, I should be
able to cleanse the taint. However, even that is extrememly over-simplified.
Rita has placed Salidus at the center of the Labyrinth, a place that was
once a training ground for the powers of Light. It was corrupted and became
a very dangerous place, but it is still connected to the forces of Light.
Only a Ranger or someone similary allied can enter or allow anyone else
to enter or exit the Maze. You must go through the Maze and brave its dangers.
Only then will you be able to reach Salidus. You will not be able to contact
me once you enter the Maze proper, nor will you be able to teleport. Only
once you have returned to the starting point may I teleport you back. If
you are lost in the maze I will not be able to bring you back. This is
not a quest I ask you to undertake lightly, but without it, Billy will
surely perish before the end of the day," Zordon watches his Rangers'
reactions. He already knows which way they will choose.
..........The Rangers looked pretty shocked
at Zordon's dire assessment of Billy's condition. Then their expressions
change to ones of determination. Tommy looks to the others and gauges their
expressions, then he turns to Zordon, "We'll do it."
.........."Then may the power protect
you. I will teleport you there."
..........Five Rangers vanish in swirls ot
their respective colors.
* * *..........As Zordon explains the situation
to the Rangers, two monsters are thinking. At the outskirts of the Maze
guarding the entrance is the shambling beast from earlier. He is studying
the layout of the ruins around him. After his success with the Blue One,
his Mistress was happy and sent him here to keep the Rangers from trying
to reach Salidus. --If she was so sure that those Power People wouldn't
make it through the maze, why did she send me? I think she actually expects
them to have a chance, even though she's trying hard to avoid it. But I,
her loyal Quick, will do her bidding. At least I'm on this side of the
maze, I wouldn't want to be on the inside.-- Quick climbs up the ruins
of the entrance and waits.
..........Inside the maze, in that place Quick
is glad he's not currently located, sits Salidus. He holds the Crystal
and tries again to fully reach his meal. --My prey is protected by some
type of powerful quadruped, a strong guardian, but I am still drawing from
it.-- The guardian is weakening. As Salidus thinks this he flicks a mental
claw at the beast and scores a hit. The flow of energy increases slightly.
--Hmm. My prey is linked to this guardian, while it is much stronger than
my prey, the guardian's weakness slowly chips away at my prey's fleeting
strength, and thus weakens the guardian. I will be patient.-- Salidus withdraws
some of his focus from the Crystal and sets it down. --My tasty morsel
will fall in time. All of my effort won't speed that up much. And I don't
need to expend what little energy I have acquired.-- Salidus ponders his
last meal and the one who has brought him to this not-free place. That
meal was not very filling. --Those creatures the One sent were pale. They
lacked the true essence of being, they were one-dimensional. A quick snack,
but not as tasty as the one I touch now. The One does not understand my
needs, or I think, even truly know me.-- Then Salidus shifts uncomfortably.
--My prey's strength is starting to counter-balance my snack. I dislike
this.-- He frowns and walks away from the Crystal to explore the maze and
attempt to escape his own thoughts.
* * *..........Billy was confused when the
world changed, it took him a moment to recognize his altered surroundings.
--The Command Center, Zordon must have brought me back.-- Billy turns his
head and sees the Wolf still battling the Monster. It's cold. --Watch out!--
He mentally cries to the Wolf, but he's a little late as the Monster strikes
the Wolf. Billy feels a bit of pain shoot down his side and the cold intensifies...........
* * *..........The Rangers appear in the center
of some ruins. Tattered banners hang limp in the stale, breeze less air.
Dust is thick on everything. The place looks like it was once a gleaming
white, but now it is a dingy grey-brown. They look around and see the entrance
to the Labyrinth in the distance. Tommy speaks first, "We've got to
go into the maze, but be careful."
* * *..........The Rangers have been in the
ruins for a while and they are all concious of time slipping away as they
make their way to the entrance of the Maze. Adam is getting slightly agitated.
--This is taking way too long. Couldn't Zordon have set us down any closer?
Sigh. If he could we would be closer, I think. I need to relax a bit, I'm
in a bit of a short temper today all of a sudden. Not good.-- Adam keeps
his thoughts to himself as he walks with the others who keep commenting
on how strange this place is. "Hey, one alien world in a distant galaxy
and you've seen em all," quips Rocky. Everyone groans.
..........They continue on and suddenly a
figure appears before them: a warrior of some sort. The Rangers fall into
defensive positions, but the warrior doesn't respond to their posture.
Then the warrior speaks, "Welcome Children of the Light to the Labyrinth.
Upon entering the Maze your testing will begin, be wary of the obstacles
before you, but have faith and you will succeed. You will be tested separately
and once one of you has entered the maze it will change for the others.
Once you..." The voice stops and the image flickers, "testing
will begin," it flickers once more, "have faith." It continues
to flicker and repeat its last two messages over and over.
.........."Must be broken," helpfully
adds Rocky. He stares at it a moment and suddenly reaches out and taps
at it. His hand passes through it. "Cool, it's a Rimmer wanna-be."
..........Everyone stares at Rocky. Not one
of them gets the joke or the reference to holgrams. Tommy ponders the image
for a moment, "It must be some kinda holgram, y'know, like Billy made
that one time. Probably here to give students tips for beating the Maze."
..........Rocky shakes his head. --I just
said it was a holgram, duh.-- "Well, I don't think he's going to be
giving us any help. So let's go."
..........The others begin walking towards
the entrance, but Adam is still standing staring at the hologram. --Have
faith. Isn't what that Billy and I were talking about earlier?-- He looks
towards the guys and sees their footprints in the dust like a trail to
lead him. He starts to follow them but stops, when he sees more footprints
in the dust. --Hey, those are pretty big feet.-- His thoughts pause as
he sees something else. --Handprints?-- An image of today's monster flashes
in his mind. "Guys, we're not alone!" he shouts. The others turn
to him and he sees the beast above them. "Behind you! Look up!"
They spin in time to see the monster leap down.
..........The monster bellows hoping to throw
them off guard, "I am Quick the great and powerful, I tell you to
leave this place now." --Hell, it worked for Oz.-- Quick smashes his
thick arms down and cracks the stone beneath. --Ow, but hopefully that'll
scare them off. I dislike violence so.--
..........Rocky yells, "You hurt Billy,
now you're going down!" He charges and begins trying to hit the rapidly
..........Tommy sees his friend battling the
monster and automatically joins in. Kat and Aisha follow Tommy's charge.
Adam looks on and starts to move over there, but Zordon's words echo in
his head. "He will not make it through the day." --The frontal
assault is tying us up and we don't have time for it. Billy needs us now.
I think that the best way to deal with this fight is to avoid it, but I
shouldn't....-- The warrior's words carry through the still air once more.
..........Adam nods to himself and begins
to take a route that will lead him to the outcropping Quick was on. --I
don't want to go through the fight, I'll get caught up in it like the others.
Can't afford that. I'll just go to where the monster was standing earlier
and go from there.-- He walks around and begins climbing up a tumbled wall
so he can reach the top. --Man, I hate climbing.-- He begins to walk along
the top of the wall. --Almost there,-- he thinks as he reaches the end
of the wall, but there is still a gap between him and the ledge. --I think
maybe I should reconsider this, I'll just fall and get hurt. NO! That won't
help Billy, got to get it together Adam. Can't keep worrying about "what
ifs" now.-- He braces himself and leaps.
* * *..........Salidus walks around his new
prison. --I have been here before, but when?-- He pauses as memory flits
by and he sees himself and his friends. --NO I will not think of this.--
But contrary to his wishes, memory's grip tightens and he remembers...
..........It is a bright day, he and his friends
are listening to the careful insructions of the Guide, a recorded message
that is all the questors are allowed to know before they enter the Labyrinth.
It is not the ruin it is now, the white stone shines in the bright light
and the air is warm. They are all still chatting and laughing to one another,
the testing hasn't began yet. They look to one another and wish each other
luck, this is to test them to see if they are ready to gain the Power so
they might battle Morrick the Mad, a sorcerer who is attempting to take
over their home. He looks to his friends and feels such pride, "We
are the Chosen, let us prove our worth and bring the Power to save our
home." He sees Gral talk with Shiela and give her a hug. Gral waves
to her and enters the Maze first, he follows. He finds his first challenge
and passes it. He continues and tries to find the center of the Maze...
* * *..........Adam leaps the gap and lands
squarely on the other side. --I did it!-- He manages to contain the cheer
he wants to voice. --I need to get down.-- He crouches and watches the
battle below, it has moved a little bit away from the gate. --They could
stop fighting and go in, but they won't. Not while there is a monster to
fight, even when to fight is unimportant.-- Adam shakes his head and drops
to the ground. He turns to the Maze, --Here I go,-- and runs in.
* * *..........Salidus walks along, no longer
seeing his surroundings. His memories have moved past the challenge, he
and his friends succeeded and were granted the Power. Gral was the first
through and said he had figured out the secret to the maze, and that he
had to wait a long time till the rest of them made it. But he never said
what this 'secret' was. Time moves forward and suddenly they are battling
Morrick and his demons, the battle is fierce and they are losing, but they
call on their Powers and the tide turns. They win and he is cheering with
his friends and Shiela is trying to get her sad Gral to join in. Salidus
frowns. --The calm before the storm, before....-- His thoughts take a darker
turn for he knows that this moment is fleeting. --Why?-- The guilt of many
eons washes over him as he continues his walk.
* * *..........Rita looks at her crystal. --The
link is complete and Billy's Ranger powers are slowing it enough. I don't
need to risk having this around any more.-- She smashes her wand into the
crystal and it shatters. She looks to her mirror to see her monster. --What?
It's battling the Rangers already?!-- She pauses. --The more Rangers there,
the more chances they have of completeing the Maze. Maybe I should send
something to Earth and keep them occupied.-- She turns and leaves the room,
"Goldar, get in here!"
..........A few moments later Goldar appears,
he's covered in dust and broken masonry. He looks very unhappy. "Yes,
my queen," he growls.
.........."Goldar take Rito and the Grumble
Bee, go down to Earth and cause some chaos."..........
.........."My queen, I must help repair the Palace."
.........."Get off it Goldar! Get your
tin-plated rear down to that planet and start making some noise!"
..........Goldar decides that anything is
better than listening to her or cleaning the Palace, he nods and goes to
get Rito and the Bee.
..........Rita smiles. --With the blue ranger
down, the Rangers will be at less than full strength, and all Goldar and
Rito have to do is stall untill he's finished. They can't run the Maze
if they have to save the planet.-- Rita's laughter echoes through the crumbling
* * *..........Zordon is watching the Command
Center and worrying. Alpha continues to keep watch on Billy, but Zordon
knows that there is nothing they can do. --I dislike this waiting and this
feeling of helplessness. But I must have faith in my Rangers, they have
not failed me yet and never will.-- Zordon is shaken from his ruminations
by the harsh alarm of the viewing globe. He turns his attention to it.
--No, not now.-- He sees Goldar, Rito, and the Grumble Bee rampaging through
Angel Grove. "Alpha, try and contact the Rangers. If they have not
entered the Labyrinth yet, we can try and bring them back to battle the
.........."But what about Billy?"
asks Alpha with concern in his voice as he goes to carry out Zordon's order.
His only reply is Zordon's grim look and another low moan from Billy, who
curls up into a ball on the table and shivers.
* * *..........Tommy, Kat, Rocky, and Aisha
are battling Quick and not making much progress. Quick dogdes and evades
until he can dart in and land a blow on a Ranger. Then Tommy's communicator
beeps. --Great timing,-- sighs Tommy inwardly. He continues fighting but
sees Kat fall back to recover out of the corner of his eye, "Kat,
contact Zordon," he shouts as he flicks a couple more kicks the monster's
..........Kat backs off and the fight continues.
She taps her communicator, "Zordon, this is Kat."
..........Alpha's voice comes through, "Kat
you and the Rangers must return to Earth. Rita has sent more monsters down
and they are destroying Angel Grove."
.........."Oh no, but we're battling
a monster here. It's keeping us from getting in the Labyrinth." She
pauses as something else creeps through her mind, "and I think we've
lost Adam. I don't see him anywhere and can't remember him being in the
..........Zordon's voice speaks from her communicator,
"I believe Adam has entered the Maze, he is beyond our help now. Cease
your battle with the monster. I will be able to use your comunicators as
a lock-on point to teleport you back to Earth."
.........."Yes Zordon. I'll tell the
others. Kat out."
..........She turns back to the battle, she
waits until one of the Rangers moves a bit away from the group, it's Aisha.
"Aisha, we have to go back home and stop Rita, she's attacking Angel
.........."Doesn't that woman ever stop,"
moans Aisha. "You tell Tommy and I'll tell Rocky and Adam."
.........."Um, Adam has already entered
.........."What?! Well, then I'll just
get Rocky, lets go."
..........They both make their way to the
others and after dodging a few blows, they tell Tommy and Rocky. The Rangers
pull back from the monster, who is pretty glad to have a breather, and
Tommy looks straight at him, "We will be back." The Rangers then
vanish in swirls of color. They appear in Angel Grove and are quickly drawn
into battle with Goldar, Rito, and Grumble Bee.
* * *..........Zordon watches this from the
Command Center, he wasn't all that surprised that Adam had already entered
the Maze. --He was extremely worried for Billy's well being, his friend
is in danger and he will not fail,-- he thinks of the others for a moment.
--Nor will he allow himself to be distracted. May the Power protect him.--
Zordon waits and watches.
* * *..........When Adam rushed through the
door of the Labyrinth the world changed. No longer were the walls covered
in dust, they gleamed as if they were new. --Whoa.-- He walked down the
corridor and came to a sign. --I think its a sign, it could just be some
seriously abstract art. I wish alien cultures would considerate and have
signs in English,-- he snickers at his little joke, but he stops when the
squiggles on the sign begin to rearrange themselves into the words 'Choose
YOUR path.' Adam stares blinking at the sign for a moment. --Nice trick,
I guess not everyone who came through here could read that dialect of Alien
..........Adam walks down the hallway and
it opens into a room with many exits. The part of the floor he stands on
is grey and the floor ahead of him is split into rows of colors. The light
in the room comes from a little wall nitch to the right. Its harsh shadow
falls on some of the White Row. Beside the White row is a Pink row, then
Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, another Blueish Color, and finally a
Purple. Man, these people must have had some crazy interior decorators.
I've gotta keep moving. He steps on the Green row and suddenly feels the
floor fall out from under him. "Help!" he screams to no one in
particular as he drops.
..........He springs up off the Green floor
and grabs the grey edge. He struggles to pull himself up, but eventually
gets back on safe ground. He looks down the gap left in the floor and feels
a bit sick, all he sees is a void that gives him a case of vertigo. Um,
this is dangerous. Remember that fact, Adam? He watches the Green row reappear.
Guess Green is not my color. He smiles slightly and looks down at himself.
I don't see black anywhere, which is probably what I'm looking for.
..........Adam stares at the floor, wondering
which path he should attempt. Why couldn't there be a Black row. He paces
a bit and is at a loss untll he looks at the White row. Wait, Zordon said
my power was Shadow not Black, its not like Tommy's White or Billy's Blue.
Adam walks over to where the White row is thrown into shadow. Here goes...
Adam carefully places one foot on the shadow and carefully puts his weight
on it. Absolutely nothing happens and Adam begins to carefully walk towards
the end of his path...........
* * *..........Salidus stalks along the maze
his guilt is overwhelming. How could I come to this point. I was a hero,
I fought for the good. They were my friends. He feels the battle waging
on with his meal. Soon he will falter like all the others, then who will
I go after? Salidus moans slightly, he would stop, even wants to stop,
but the hunger is to great. He must feed. It's all Morrick's fault. As
he thinks this his memories turn to the Day. He continues his walk, but
now his shoulders shake in silent sobs.
* * *..........Adam reaches the end of the
walkway and steps into the darkness at its end. Suddenly he's standing
within another corridor, blinking at the sudden change in light. He turns
to look behind him and sees only more corridor. That was weird, but I've
got to keep moving. He walks on and comes to a fork, new paths begin to
the left and right. I vaguely remember that there was a way to beat mazes,
going mostly one direction, but I can't remember which one. Maybe there
is a clue here somewhere. Adam begins to look around and spots a plaque
which forms the words 'Have Faith'. That is freaky. He peeks down each
of the corridors and sees nothing to really help except in each corridor
there is a letter inside a drawing of a key: C, D, or A. Why isn't there
a B? Something about this seems vaguely familiar but what? Adam sighs and
carefully starts down the A corridor, which thins as he moves down it.
He turns a corner and hears a slight buzz in front of him, he looks and
sees a very large blade comeing towards him. Wrong way! He flattens himself
against the wall and the blade goes harmlessly past. He takes a few deep
breaths as the blade vanishes again and begins to carefully edge his way
back down the corridor.
* * *..........Salidus remembers the battle,
it was massive, but he and friends were keeping the demons at bay. Then
he saw Morrick himself teleport into the battle and he turned to the Evil
One. Salidus was the leader, he was the strongest and he knew that anything
with Morrick would be his battle. "Leave this place Evil One or I
shall destroy you," challenged Salidus as he squared off with Morrick.
.........."No, today it is I that shall
destroy you, and you will help" cackled the dark mage. Morrick began
chanting and two of his demons leapt to his defense. He cackled more as
he lifted a glowing crystal above his head and chanted louder.
..........Salidus fought the demons and was
begining to win when Shiela joined him. They made quick work of the monsters
as Morrick's voice rose to its crescendo. As one mind they leapt at Morrick,
but he threw the crystal and it hit Salidus sqaure in the chest and bounced
back. Salidus and Shiela hit Morrick as the crystal exploded and they were
caught in its Darkenflame.
..........Salidus howls in anguish from his
seat in the maze.
* * *..........Adam made it back to the main
corridor, a little pale and trembling, but in one piece. Whoa. Almost managed
to get myself killed there, definitely not what I want to do with my day.
He chuckles slightly at his dark humor. That blade was pretty big and darn
sharp, it would have sliced me in half...Sharp! That's it, I remember where
this setup seems familiar from. I was watching TV while eating my breakfast
and kept channel surfing because nothing was on. I flipped it to cartoons
and started watching Batman, they were going up against the Riddler and
were going through a maze. This was a puzzle within their maze. The keys
were a reference to music: A has one sharp, so I run into one blade; D
has two, so I would have been ground round, if I'd gone that way first;
C has no sharps, so there should be no blades. Adam starts forward with
a silent prayer of thanks to Batman and Robin. He hears an unearthly howl
echo through the maze and shudders. He carefully begins to creep down corridor
C. Better safe than sorry.
* * *..........Salidus sighs. There is nothing
I can do, my meal is affecting me, I have no way to conrol it. If I had
I wouldn't be here, I wouldn't...
..........Salidus remembers the Darkenflame
roaring through him and the look of sheer terror on Morrick's face. He
feels an emptiness fill him and rages at Morrick as he reaches out. When
his hands close on Morrick, Salidus feels power flood through him, he assualts
a darkness that keeps
him at bay and sees a slight flicker of light within. The light, thought
Salidus as he reached out and consumed the light, now a path to the darkness
forms and he draws it in and begins to devour it.
.........."Salidus, stop," pleads
Shiela, she doesn't know what's going on but she is very frightened. Morrick
is literally withering away in Salidus' grip. She decides to try and stop
Salidus and grabs him.
..........Salidus hears something behind him,
something interferes with him. He reaches out and closes a hand around
it. Now a bright light flares around Morrick's flickering darkness. The
light is different from the dark, but the same tactic works: he reaches
the darkness within it and
uses it as a way to engulf the light. Soon the light and the darkness are
consumed and he comes back to himself and looks around. He sees Morrick's
crumpled form and then sees Shiela's still form. He reaches down and carefully
picks her up. How could I? What have I done? What am I? His thoughts are
awash with grief and horror. He sees the battle still raging, no one has
seen him yet, and he runs away.
..........Too much time, too much has happened,
I will never be that person again. I am no longer the true master of my
destiny. Salidus sighs to himself. I am ruled by my hunger. Salidus sits
down on a bench and turns his thoughts to his current prey. He sighs. My
young meal is still fighting, he is strong but he will fail as they all
do in the end. All except Gral, he was such a strongly held person. He
accepted all that he was and would let none of it slip away. That was his
weakness when we were friends, but it became his strength when we were
enemies. Unlike my other food there was no easy or ungaurded route through
his soul. He hears a sound in the distance that distracts him from his
thoughts. He turns his attention to the crystal. Hmm. He looks back and
sees it glowing faintly in the distance. He decides to get it, because
he's now slightly curious about his prey.
* * *..........In the Command Center, Billy
shivers once more. He's looking pale and dark circles line his eyes. The
scary thing is that he looks worse than he did a couple days ago when he
overtaxed his powers and got beat up by putties. In the strange colorless
other-world, he watches as the wolf begins to tire. We can't take much
more of this, but the monster seems reluctant to press its advantage. I
hope it stays that way. Billy feels the cold still creeping through him.
I can't take much more of this.
* * *..........Zordon looks at his young charge,
then to the viewing globe. Billy is weakening rapidly. The others will
not finish this battle soon enough to help Billy. Adam must succeed, there
is no other choice. As if in response, the Rangers within the globe defeat
the Flea. They then begin to regroup and press Rito and Goldar. Zordon
frowns from his column, "Alpha, any change in Billy's condition?"
..........Alpha doesn't sound too happy, he
can't even bring himself to voice his usual 'Ai yi yi,' "No Zordon,
Billy is continuing to weaken and his ability to channel the power is lessening.
I can't do anything."
.........."Don't fret Alpha, I am confident
that Adam will return in time," says Zordon quietly, but to Alpha,
who has been with Zordon for thousands of years, Zordon doesn't sound very
hopeful at all.
* * *..........Adam walks through the corridors
carefully, he hasn't seen any puzzles for a while, nor has he seen any
end to this corridor, but he still finds the intermitant sign that transforms
to 'Have Faith' before his eyes. This is weird, but I think that there
is something behind all these 'Have Faith' signs. I've been watching them
change for me as I walk along, but I've never thought about it. They seem
to respond to me, I mean they're only changing when I look at them. So
maybe this whole maze is like based on me, so like every puzzle I've seen
is based on what I know. It may be digging up stuff I don't think about,
but I have the answers. Cool. Adam smiles to himself. I can do this. He
turns from the sign to the corridor. What? This wasn't here just a minute
ago. The corridor he's in now goes into a room. He cautiously walks in,
then he hears a thud behind him and spins to see the wall behind him close.
Looks like I'm stuck in here. He looks around the room.
* * *..........Salidus stares at the crystal
cradled within his palm and focuses his attention through it. The guardian
is weaker and so is my prey. What is this creature? Before I was too hungry
to care, but now I feel much more inquisitive. Nor do I feel that destroying
it is justified. Salidus shakes his head. My meal is a strong being, it
has been through something that has strengthened its resolve to be good,
as well as deal with some of its compacity for darkness. Something familiar,
but what? Salidus ponders this and decides to ask, the guardian cannot
truly hurt him, and his prey seems like a nice fellow. He walks towards
where his prey lies, it is on sort of pedestal. Some sleeping accomodation
perhaps? He then examines the surroundings his prey is in, some sort of
metal structure, it seems very stark to Salidus' eyes.
..........His prey looks at him fearfully
and its guardian growls. He speaks out loud to it, "I am not here
to continue my feeding. I am curious as to what manner of being you are."
* * *..........Billy blinks, the monster is
asking him a question! Well it can't hurt, I suppose. As long as it stays
way over there. Maybe talking will keep it distracted. "I'm a human,
we live on Earth," Billy pauses and waits for the monsters response.
..........It ponders this. A Suranoid, but
very pale, just like I was...before. "Well human, I am Salidus. I
wish to know more about you and where you come from. Do not worry, only
through you can I have any access to your planet. Once my link with you
is cut I shall be trapped in the Maze until someone frees me."
.........."If you're so curious about
me, why are you trying to kill me?"
.........."I have no choice I must feed,"
he sounds slightly apologetic about the whole thing. "I would have
continued my feeding," Salidus watches as the 'human' shudders, "but
there is something about you that is familiar to me. You are very powerful,
are you a servant of the Light?"
..........Billy just stares at him. Servant
of the light? Does he mean Power Ranger? I can't tell him, I'm not supposed
to reveal my identity to anyone. "I'm Billy." Better than nothing....
..........Salidus sees his hesitation and
smiles, "I'll assume you are a member of the Light. I myself made
those same promises a very long time ago." Salidus takes in the shocked
feeling that flows from this 'Billy.' "I am curious about you 'Billy,'
but I see that you don't want to start talking. I've decided that I will
give you the singular honor of hearing my story. I have the time and I
haven't had anyone to speak with in millenia." He sees 'Billy' take
this in and sees some of the fear replace itself with curiosity. How fascinating,
he is far more interested in me than afraid of me right now. Well, I suppose
I should speak. Salidus begins to tell his story, "I was a young warrior
of the Light like yourself..."
* * *..........Adam stares at the room. There
are three doors leading out, one to the left, another to the right, and
one in the center. Above the center door is a sign that transforms into
the words 'Young Apprentice: the passage you seek is between the proverbial
rock and a hard place.' Adam stares at it a bit longer. I wish that made
some sense. He looks around the room and sees a design worked into the
floor. It looks kinda like a compass, but it has pictures instead of letters.
The north has a six headed lizard like creature. Hydra? No, it has human
heads, it seems familiar. The west has a winged bird creature with a human
head. Harpy, identifies Adam. South is set with a man-shaped monster with
the head of a bull. Minotaur. To the east is a blue spiral. What's that
supposed to be? Maybe something to do with water?
..........He walks around the room and as
he nears the doors the smell of salty air reaches him. An ocean? How can
that be? I don't think it matters, but it means that all those creatures
relate to water. The harpies waited on the rocks and lured ships to crash
on them, definitely not the direction I want to go. Wait if they're all
related to water, maybe the spiral is a whirlpool. What about the big monster?
He shakes his head and stares at the six-headed monster then he paces around
some more. Well, Mister Minotaur, I doubt I'll be going back in your maze,
but I suppose that's where you fit in. I'm stuck, I don't know which way
to go. I don't know which door to take, I don't understand the clues. What
the heck is the proverbial rock and a hard place? I don't have time....
..........Adam turns and walks towards the
door indicated by the whirlpool direction. He hears the sound of roaring
waves and stops at the door. It's a whirlpool, great. I'm not going this
way either. Guess that leaves door Number Two. He walks to the center door
and hears the same roaring sound that he heard before, as well as a hissing.
These all sound bad. He smiles darkly as his predicament makes itself apparent.
Yup. I'm a 'young apprentice' caught between a.... Adam's thoughts trail
off as he finishes the phrase by rote, "...Scylla and Charybdis, hypnotized
by you if I should linger..." Adam begins to laugh. I nearly got myself
killed over a Sting song, just peachy. Billy would get a kick out of this....
Adam sobers. I've got to hurry. He doesn't walk to a door, he walks to
the corner between the monster and whirlpool doors. He puts his hands to
the corner and feels for a door, he finds nothing. No, this has to be the
answer. I've failed.
..........He closes his eyes and leans his
head against the wall, or where he expected the wall to be. He stumbles
forward and opens his eyes to find that he's in a large garden. Well, it
was a garden at some point I think. I was right! As this soaks in, he sees
an image flicker to life before him, it's the warrior he saw earlier! It
faces him and speaks, "Child of Light, you have completed the Labyrinth.
Congratulations. You may rest here and leave when you are rested, the paths
will open for you." The warrior flickers, "have earned...the
test is over...lesson...Have Faith...," the warriors message winds
down, it's been far to long and the machines are in ill-repair and the
minor magics invested in this message have faded too much. It's final message
to the universe and to Adam is, "Have Faith," then it vanishes
as suddenly as it appeared.
..........Man, that was creepy. I'm done with
the maze, but I've only been through three puzzles or had three chances
to choose my direction, that was weirdly easy. Can't think about that now,
I've still got to save Billy. Adam looks around. I've got to find that
Crystal and save Billy. He doesn't see anything but he hears a voice whispering
through the air, "...a young warrior of the Light like yourself."
..........Adam listens for it and begins to
carefully and quietly sneaks towards the sound of the voice.
* * *..........Billy finds himself listening
raptly to Salidus' story. He was a Ranger of sorts, now he's this monster.
All because of a spell. Billy shudders slightly as he thinks of what a
spell almost did to him. Salidus said there was something familiar about
me, could it be the same spell? That Morrick guy, threw the cystal and
a pillar of black flame appeared.... Billy pauses for a moment and Salidus'
halts in his story, "Um, Salidus, did you ever find out anything about
..........Salidus grimaces, "I know that
it was intended to turn me evil, but that only I should have been within
the spell's effects. I 'gleaned' this from Morrick when I... dealt with
him." 'Billy' looks slightly ill at that point. "It was called...Dark
Spell, or something close. I don't fully remember, such knowledge has faded
.........."Could it have been called
the Darken Spell?"
..........Salidus blinks as it becomes apparent
that this was the name of the spell, "Yes, I believe you are right.
How do you know?"
.........."I was the subject of it a
couple days ago," Billy replies, he can't even bring himself to look
..........Salidus takes in his reaction, but
also notes that this 'Billy' is not evil. "Yet you are not evil..."
..........Billy breaks off his question by
answering it, "I was defeating the person who cast the Spell, so she
decided to break the Spell herself rather than be destroyed."
.........."The Spell can be broken? How?"
Salidus feels an emotion he hasn't felt in eons, hope. His attention focuses
only on 'Billy.' I can be free. Never to have to hunt or fight the hunger
again, is it possible?
..........Billy sees Salidus' change in demeanor.
He's under a twisted version of the same Spell, and in all this time no
one ever thought to try and break it! Maybe no one knows, Zordon himself
admitted that he didn't know much about the Darken Spell and said that
it could only be cast once in a lifetime. With people who live thousands
of years it wouldn't be cast very often so knowledge of it would just fade
to ink on some pages in a dusty tome. "There's a crystal that has
to be broken, then the spell's power will be broken."
..........Salidus looks incredulous, "Just
break a crystal? That's all! I've been trapped like this for eons because
no one thought to break a stupid rock!" Rage flows through Salidus
as he stands.
..........Billy pulls back and the wolf begins
to growl. I'm in trouble, I'm in BIG trouble.... and the chill grips him
* * *..........Adam listens to Salidus' speech
and the one-sided conversation he's having with the crystal. Well, that
must be the crystal I'm supposed to get, but how? He seems pretty intent
on it. Adam begins to carefully walk closer. He doesn't seem to be noticing
me. Then Salidus' voice fades as he begins to concentrate on the crystal
more. He's so wrapped up in the crystal that he doesn't notice me. I can
deal with this. I don't want to fight the guy, it just doesn't sound like
he's doing this to be evil, but I can't just walk up and take it. Adam
is about five feet from Salidus, when he hears Salidus roar in rage. Oh
boy. Wait. Adam carefully looks at Salidus. It's not me, he's still focused
on the crystal. The crystal flares brighter. That can't be good.
* * *..........Alpha is panicking. "Zordon,
Billy's vital signs are fading rapidly. There is nothing I can do."
..........Zordon looks grave, he has been
watching the readings slowly falter. I had hoped it would never come to
this. I had hoped that Adam would save him. I have failed them, I have
failed Billy. Quietly he speaks, "I know Alpha, but you have done
all you can."
* * *..........Adam knows a bad thing when
he sees it, Salidus and the glowing crystal definitely qualify. I've got
to act fast. Adam continues quitely stalk Salidus and is standing right
behind his right shoulder. I've only got one chance to get this right.
I can do it. I have to.
* * *..........Billy is terrified, Salidus
has gone off the deep end. The wolf is fighting tooth and claw, but he's
only slowing Salidus, not stopping him. We're losing. He watches Salidus
bat the wolf away and start to move closer. The wolf vanishes in a fine
blue mist. Gone, the power's gone. Billy feels weakness wash over him and
his blood feels like it's turned to ice water. He can only watch as Salidus
..........In the Command Center, Billy's hand
opens and the Power Coin rolls from it and falls to the floor.
* * *..........Adam looks at Salidus, closes
his eyes, and takes a deep breath. Let this work, please let this work,
rumbles through his mind like a mantra. He reaches out and snatches the
crystal from Salidus' palm and pulls back. I did it! I don't want to hang
around here. Adam begins to sprint away from Salidus.
* * *..........Salidus is enraged, all he sees
before him is his prey and its annoying gaurdian. The beast tries to battle
him and he smashes the thing away and feels its power fade. He looks at
his weakening prey and advances, when suddenly his connection to his prey
is cut off. His rage fades as he stares in confusion at his empty palm.
What? He turned and looked around. Shadow? He thinks as he sees a patch
of darkness break off from the shadows and head towards the door. Thief!
Salidus rises and charges after his crystal.
* * *..........Adam moves at a good clip and
is nearing the door when a hand clamps down on his shoulder, Adam's feet
keep pumping but his upper body is pretty well restrained and he falls
to his back. I'm in trouble. He looks up into Salidus' very unhappy face.
I'm in BIG trouble. "I doubt we could talk this over."
..........Salidus looks at the little creature.
Another 'human.' How quaint. "No. You have interrupted my meal, I
wish to continue. But I think you'll make an excellent appetizer."
With this Salidus reaches down and places his hand on Adam's chest. He
stares at Adam.
..........Adam feels Salidus place his hand
on his chest and feels a tug. I don't know what that is, but I don't like
it. Adam watches as a look of surprise passes over Salidus' face and hears
him mumble, "his weakness is his strength."
..........I don't know what that means, but
I'm not going to wait to find out. Adam smashes his hands into the sides
of Salidus' knees and rolls to his feet as Salidus tumbles. Run. Run, faster.
.......... Adam charges towards the corridor
and hears Salidus gaining. He leaps for the corridor and is through. He
hears a roar behind him, but doesn't look back. He runs through this corridor
until he is at the exit of the maze and keeps running. He's forced to stop
when Quick appears in front of him. How many times do I have to say I don't
have the time for this? Adam begins circling with Quick, I'm going to finish
this, and gets Quick in front of the maze entrance. Adam pulls out his
blade blaster and shoots the ground by Quick's feet. Quick leaps into the
air. Yes! You can't block this if you're already in the air. Adam does
a flying kick that smashes Quick through the entrance of the maze. All
he needed was my permission to go in, but I don't know what he's going
to do without me to get him back out. Tough. Adam begins to run towards
the outskirts of the maze area. He's breathing hard when he stops and tries
his communicator, "Zordon...Alpha...This is...Adam...I've got the...Crystal."
Adam vanishes in a swirl of black energy.
* * *..........Adam reappears in the Command
Center and is rushed by Alpha, "Adam give me the crystal."
..........Adam hands the crystal to Alpha
who runs over and grabs some gadgets of unknown purpose and starts to run
it though them. Adam looks around and sees Billy --He looks bad-- "Zordon,
will Billy be alright?"
.........."I am unsure, Adam. I believe
you managed to get the crystal in time. But I can make no promises at this
..........Adam heads toward the table, on
his way there his foot hits something and he looks down to find Billy's
Power Coin. He might need this. Adam picks it up and places it in Billy's
hand where it flares a bright blue for a moment before Billy's hand closes
.........."What?" cries Alpha, he
looks at his scanner, "I recorded a power surge just a moment ago,
did you do something?"
.........."Well I picked up Billy's coin
and put it in his hand," Adam says confusedly. That should NOT be
a bad thing. He watches as Alpha runs around mumbling. "Alpha, what
does that mean?"
..........Alpha runs around tapping various
buttons on his gadgets and scanning the crystal, "I'm not sure, at
one point Billy's connection with the power had weakened to near nothingness,
but now it has resurfaced, stronger than it has ever been." Alpha
runs a few more scans, "It's still not healing him. Zordon, do you
think we could use the crystal to focus more power to Billy, Oh, I don't
know," cries Alpha in exasperation.
..........Zordon thinks this over and calmly
nods from his column, "Yes Alpha, I believe you are right. Calm down.
If we use the crystal to focus the power we can heal his ebbing life-force,
but I am unsure of what permanent effect this will have on him." Zordon
checks Billy's life readings himself. He's still fading, the time for talk
and theory has past, we must act while we have the chance. "Alpha,
begin the procedure." He watches. I do not know if this will work,
but I need to be confident for Adam and Alpha's sake. He looks solemn,
yet hopeful from his column as he stares over the room.
..........I guess it's working, I mean Zordon
looks like it is. I hope Billy's alright, I got here as fast as I could,
what if I failed him, what if he...Shut up, Adam. He won't. He CAN'T. Adam
shakes his head and focuses his attention on Billy as if willing him to
get better. His concentration is so intense that he jumps when Alpha's
scanner begins a frantic beeping, "What's that?"
.........."It's some type of overload,
the crystal isn't going to hold much longer, but I can't stop it now. Billy
still needs the energy. Hopefully it will hold lond enough." Alpha
is so intent on Billy that he says as an afterthought, "Adam, it's
probably going to explode, maybe you should..."
..........Adam gets the idea quickly and drops
behind one of the consoles. Sheesh, Alpha. Great warning. This is driven
home as he hears a loud snap and sees blue energy crackle in the air above
his head. Great warning, just peachy. "Uh, Alpha? Are you still there?"
Adam catiously raises his head over the top of the console to see Alpha
getting off the floor with another scanner in his hand. Wow, that's dedication.
He watches as Alpha runs it over Billy and suddenly he starts laughing.
I don't think Billy's going to believe this one. He was greeted to the
sight of Alpha tossing his scanner in the air and jumping around for joy.
I think he's happy, just have a hint here. I've got a distinct impression
that Billy's going to be okay. He's still giggling slightly when he walks
up to Alpha, "Well, how is he?"
..........Alpha suddenly stops jumping, "He'll
be fine," Alpha sounds a bit embarrased as he says this, "I'm
not sure what effects the power surge of earlier will have, but the overload
of the crystal has done him no harm. The power has broken through whatever
barrier that was preventing it and begun to heal him. We'll have to keep
him under some observation, but well we do have a viewing globe."
.........."Yes!" and Adam jumps
in the air and begins a parody of Alpha's earlier dance.
.........."Oh you did see that, heh heh,"
says Alpha as he suddenly notices how mess the command center is and begins
to frantically clean.
.........."Sorry Alpha, I just couldn't
contain myself," grins Adam as he watches the robot continue his duities.
He turns his attention to Billy, who looks a bit pale still and still very
unconcious to Adam's untrained eye, but not like he's standing on death's
door. I did it Billy, I... He grins to himself. had faith. I'll stay around
and wait. He smiles at his sleeping friend. Sleep well.
* * *..........Rita sighs. I've failed again,
first I underestimate Billy, then Adam. This is not my week. But at least
I still have a few more crystals. I should be able to cause some chaos
with that. She smiles, but it's short-lived as her remaining crystals glow
brigher. What? Something is happening to my crystals! What! she groans.
No, I need some sleep, I don't want to deal with this any more, not today.
* * *..........Adam is standing in the Command
Center watching Billy sleep when when the others get in, Zordon hadn't
sent him to the battle because the Rangers were just wrapping up when he
had returned and Zordon was a bit too busy to care. He had watched the
viewing globe for a bit and waited. The others quickly turn their attention
to Billy. Tommy looks worriedly at Billy, "Will Billy be alright?"
.........."Yes, Tommy. Adam was able
to get the crystal in time. Billy will recover. You have all done well,
I believe you should go home and rest. There is nothing you can do here,"
.........."What about Billy?" asks
.........."I'll take him home, I need
to talk to Zordon anyway," replies Adam.
..........Tommy shrugs and looks to the others,
"Okay, we'll check by later." Tommy and the others teleport off.
* * *..........Adam looks to Zordon, he's just
finished relating his experiences in the Labyrinth. "I was wondering
about the Maze. It seemed to go by pretty quick...I mean...well, I don't
know what I mean," Adam trails off embarrassedly.
.........."The Maze, as you surmised,
is based around the one traversing it. Thus you had all the answers, once
you accepted this you had already beaten the Maze. You just had to pass
the last puzzle and prove that you accepted it. If you had not found the
answer, you would have continued to go through it until you had actually
made it through the Maze. As it was, you were sent directly to the end
of the Maze," answered Zordon.
..........Advance token to Boardwalk. Adam
grins and gets ready to speak when he sees Billy stir. He goes over to
the table where Billy's situated. "Hey Billy, how are you feeling?"
..........Billy yawns and sits up, "Tired,"
he groans and grabs his head, "and sore. Did you beat the monster?
..........Adam looks to the floor, "Sort
of," he pauses at Billy's questioning look, "I'll tell you about
it later. Now lets just get you home so you can sleep."
..........Billy yawns and nods in response.
Adam teleports with Billy and sends him to bed. I'll see Billy tommorow
and talk about it then, I could use some sleep myself. Adam thinks to himself
as he heads home.
* * *..........Adam ends up at Billy's house
at one in the afternoon. Billy wasn't up earlier, but if he's true to form
he should be up by now. Adam knocks and waits for a moment as Billy opens
the door. Billy looks a bit better though he has a big lump over his eye
and a bandage over that.
.........."Hi, Adam. And before you ask,
I fell in the woods yesterday." he shakes his head, "I have been
so accident prone as of late."
.........."Uh huh. Sleep well? You look
a lot better than yesterday."
.........."Odds are I could have been
in a car wreck and still look better than yesterday," grins Billy,
"Come in." Billy leads Adam to his lab and pulls out a couple
of stools. "Well, you said that you were going to tell me what happened
yesterday and I might as well tell you what happened yesterday, it was
.........."Um, as far as I could tell
all you did yesterday was be unconscious," jokes Adam.
..........Billy grins, "Well, I may have
done a bit of that, but to me I was sitting there with a wolf protecting
me from Salidus. The wolf..." he trails off with a far-away expression,
then shakes himself and turns his attention back to Adam. "Then Salidus
decided to tell me his life story, it gets kinda fuzzy after that. I think
there was something important, but I just can't remember what. Salidus
became extremely agitated and I watched him beat the wolf. I thought it
was over, but all of a sudden he vanished. I don't really know what happened
around that." Billy shrugs, "Now it's your turn."
.........."Okay, that is a bit surreal."
Adam collects his thoughts and relates yesterday's adventure.
.........."It looks like we both had
a close call yesterday, but we've pulled through." Billy grins mischieviously,
"Well at least it wasn't the same old routine."
..........Adam groans, "That's bad, that's
real bad, but you're sick so I'll let you get away with it. What did you
think about Salidus, he was strange."
..........Billy shrugs, "Well I am a
bit biased in my opinion, but I didn't find him that wonderful a companion
for the day. But besides that I felt kinda sorry for him."
.........."I know, after hearing him
talk, it just sounded like he wasn't that bad of a guy. Except for the
fact he was trying to kill us. I still don't know why he let me go, but
I'm very glad he did." He pauses when he sees Billy frown, "What's
.........."I have the feeling I know,
but it's unclear. Well, I suppose it should come back, if it was important,"
Billy shakes his head, "I suppose I have had one bad week. I'm glad
that it's over."
.........."Bad week, you can say that
again," grins Adam.
.........."But I won't," retorts
Billy. "Why don't we listen to some Sting and do something, I don't
even care if it's the same old routine. It would be a relaxing change."
..........Adam groans, "Remember when
I said your last joke was bad, well that was worse. Let's head to the Juice
Bar, everyone will be there," Adam pauses and smiles, "as usual."
..........Laughter is his only reply as they
leave the lab.
..........Salidus sits in the maze and