It was making Rita Repulsa and Lord Zedd sick to their stomachs. The evil couple had been trying for months to gain some sort of advantage over the Power Rangers, but all the schemes they'd worked on together had failed just as miserably as the ones that they'd tried separately. Even the plan Rita had been convinced would work out the best, recreating the evil Green Ranger, had flopped.
"I don't understand it!" she squawked that Friday morning. "I corrupted the coin myself, and yet it failed! How can this be?"
Beneath his mask, Zedd rolled his eyes. How could she fail to see what was going on?? She'd done it herself! Maybe if he pointed it out to her slowly, she'd get the idea. "Rita, my festering sore, when you used the Green Candle you completely unbalanced the Green Energy, and it got even worse when Tommy let Jason hold the Power Coin, since it became mixed in with Red Energy like that. When you re-powered the Green Coin, some of that imbalance was still there. Even if the clone hadn't betrayed us, the power would have failed eventually anyway."
His wife glared at him. "So what would you do, oh, great and powerful Lord Zedd?" she taunted him. Zedd refused to be taunted however. He had thought about this ever since the clone had remained in the past, and he had an idea on just what to do.
"Simple. The wax you used was from the Gammi Tri system. The sorcerers there can undo what they've done, and re-power the Green Coin back up to full capacity: permanently."
Rita opened her mouth to say something disparaging, when the simplicity and the beauty of it hit her full force. A frosty smile touched her lips. "Perfect. But neither one of us can go there, Zordon would sense our departure. Not to mention that they all hate us there, anyway." She snorted a little at the interfering wizard. "And I don't trust any of these idiots." A wave of her hand dismissed Goldar, Finster, Squatt, and Baboo. Perhaps she could get Scorpina to do this.
Zedd chuckled. "I have something in mind already," he gazed down to Earth, his visor glowing a deep crimson red as he did so. Rita rushed over to her RepulsaScope, peering down quickly in the same direction he was.
"What are you talking about?" she growled, seeing only the Power Rangers involved in one of their endless and silly classes at Angel Grove High. This one appeared to be some sort of art class, and Rita was honest enough with herself to admit there were some pieces there that she wouldn't mind having in her own art collection.
Not that piece of trash that Kimberly made though. All the Rangers together with their arms around one another. I think I'm going to be sick. She grumbled mentally. But some of it isn't too bad.
Zedd chuckled. "See that one there?" one of the students was just pulling a small handkerchief off a statuette, and Rita actually caught her breath. Whoever that human was, she'd designed a flawless clay copy of Billy Cranston! "I saw her making it the other day, and it gave me an idea. I want Finster to make our own personal copy of Billy. Then I'll bring it to life, and it will go to Gamma Tri to restore the Green Power Coin."
Rita couldn't believe her eyes or ears. "Why would it do that?" she asked. If Zedd was going to put a spell on this clone, he would probably have the same problem that she had went through with the clone of Tommy. There was no need to go deliberately into that sort of situation all over again!!!
"Simple. This isn't a true clone, this is a copy. A representation. One carved with nothing but evil thoughts and intentions in it's making, so that it will never become in the slightest good!" Zedd turned his throne slightly to stare at Finster, who looked a little scared and confused, as he always did. "Finster, make a statue of Billy Cranston. A completely flawless one, right down to his toenails!!"
The sculptor frowned, peering down at Earth. "That won't be easy, my lord," he admitted. "Not without a model of some kind. I could make a mistake."
Zedd wasn't going to accept that. "Very well, then. I'll get you a model." He looked back to Earth and laughed mentally as he saw Billy preparing to leave school. This was going to be so much easier than he'd first thought! "Goldar, come with me. I'm going to need you for this." With a flash of light, the two of them vanished.
"Hey, Billy!" he smiled when he saw Aisha and Adam coming up, books tucked away in their lockers and the eager smiles that meant once again, school was out for the weekend. "You ready?"
"Affirmative," the Blue Ranger returned the grin as he spun the lock and prepared to head out with the others. "This is going to be one awesome weekend!"
With finals coming up in just a couple of weeks, all six of the Rangers were going to be going up to the mountains to put in some serious studying time. It was a tradition begun the year before by the original team, and it looked to be something that would be around for quite some time. Billy's uncle had already reserved the cabin for them, and they had spent half the previous night packing up.
"Hi, guys!" it was Kim, naturally, bouncing up and down like a maniac, to Billy's non-surprise. Tommy was less than six inches behind her, which also didn't surprise Billy. To find those two apart was something on the order of impossible. "Let's get moving!"
Tommy chuckled a little as the six headed towards the door; they'd already made arrangements with their parents to go up to the cabin as soon as school was over. The two cars they were taking, Tommy's white Tracker and Rocky's red one, were there, packed to the roof with everything six healthy teenagers needed for a weekend of studying. Billy glanced over to Rocky's car, then bit his lip. "Guys, could we run by my place for a minute? I think I left my portable repair kit back there, and I've got some things I want to do with the communicators this weekend."
"Sure," Rocky said amiably. "Let's go." the ever-cheerful Red Ranger bounced into the driver's seat as Billy and Adam joined him, while Tommy, Kim, and Aisha got into the other car.
While Adam and Rocky discussed the new martial arts tournament they would be going to early in the summer, Billy leaned into the backseat and devoted himself to his thoughts. He knew he'd be spending most of the weekend helping everyone out with the studies, but he didn't mind that much. There would probably be a monster attack or two, most assuredly there would be a putty attack, but it didn't matter that much. It was just another normal weekend in Angel Grove.
"Take your time," Rocky waved a hand carelessly. "We're not in a rush!"
Billy hurried inside anyway, unlocking the door and heading straight up to his room. "I know that kit's around here somewhere," he grumbled to himself, looking around. He remembered it so clearly from that morning, he'd thought about putting it in his backpack right then, but it had slipped his mind until after school. He saw a sheaf of blueprints on the table and reached for them, cursing himself for forgetting the plans he'd intended to take as well, for the upgrades to the communicators.
He jerked his hand back quickly, however, when a large and all too familiar sword blade cut down towards his hand. Billy whirled to see two figures he'd never wanted to see up close and personal, especially not in his bedroom. "Goldar! Zedd! What are you doing in here?"
Stop asking stupid questions, Cranston! Call for help!! The Blue Ranger berated himself almost as soon as the words were out of his mouth. He jerked his arm up, hand heading for the communicator button. It never got there, though. His limbs froze as if he'd been turned to stone as Zedd pointed his staff at him, the tip of it glowing a hideous shade of green.
"We aren't going to hurt you, Blue Ranger," the dark lord chuckled. "At least not now. We only want you for a few hours. Time enough for our purposes."
Billy wanted to say something, anything, but it was to no avail. He watched helplessly as Goldar stepped up, the missing tool kit firmly clutched in one paw. "I am ready, my lord," the monster growled, and the teenage genius stared as Zedd pointed his staff again, but this time at Goldar. A dark cloud flared briefly around the warrior, then cleared. Billy's jaw would have dropped, if he could move, as he stared directly into the eyes of. . .himself.
Now a perfect duplicate of Billy was standing where Goldar had been. He glanced down at himself and shuddered. "How long is this going to be for, master?" Goldar asked, even his voice had changed to be Billy's!
Zedd stepped over to the real Billy's side. "Only a short time, and it's just so the Rangers won't know we have the necessary model. Go, and remember, don't do anything to give this away. If you do. . ." he left the threat unspoken, but his eyes glowed briefly scarlet. Goldar-Billy shuddered briefly, then bowed his head, leaving quickly.
Billy's eyes, one of the few parts of him that could move, flicked over to the door as his new double walked out. He glanced back at Zedd, a question in his eyes that he hoped would be answered. It wasn't that he expected courtesy or information really from his captor: it was that he knew just how much Zedd liked to brag.
"You'll see what we're going to be doing shortly," the evil lord placed a firm hand on Billy's shoulder. "Of course, you're not going to remember any of it when we're done. But that's all the more fun for us."
Billy would have almost given his right arm to be able to talk right then, to find out just what it was that Zedd was talking about. Instead he simply watched, as a combination of blood-red and blue light washed across his field of vision, and they teleported away.
"This should do nicely for the statue, my lord," he turned around to where Zedd was standing. "You said you've got the model?"
"Oh, yes," Zedd looked behind him and motioned peremptorily to someone Finster couldn't see. When nothing came, Zedd growled, and jerked on a chain he was holding. Stumbling out of the shadows came the actual Billy Cranston, looking a trifle battered, and wearing an iron collar and chain around his neck.
Finster's eyes widened. "My lord. ..how?" in all his days he had never imagined that he would be carving the image of a Power Ranger. . .with the model of a Power Ranger in front of him.
"A simple trick, Finster," Zedd chuckled, and beneath his faceplate smiled at how Billy winced away from the sound. It had been an hour at least between the time he had spirited Billy from Earth, and this moment, and he had taken the time to unleash a little taste of the vengeance he'd been most earnestly longing for against Billy ever since his arrival on this mudball. I'll have to fix the damage before I send him back, and wipe his memory. . .but at least I will know what I have done. . .and when I want him to recall his punishment, then he will. When it will do me the most good. . .and the Rangers, the least.
Billy almost literally scuttled to Zedd's side, fear pulsating in every fiber of his being. The last sixty minutes had been an agony of pain, fear, torment, and twisted pleasure for him, with Zedd ending it all by placing the collar and leash on him. He still remembered what the evil lord had said. The words had seared into his mind, branded with dark magic, as was his shame. It had taken Zedd barely twenty minutes to literally pain him into submission. The other forty had been taken up with the dark sorcerer tormenting him for sheer pleasure it seemed. And it had given both of them pleasure, as much as Billy hated to admit it.
"Get up there," Zedd pointed to a pedestal near Finster's work bench, and Billy quickly obeyed. "Stay there and do just as Finster tells you, or else."
The sculptor was startled at just how quickly Billy had followed Zedd's orders, but said nothing as Zedd fastened the leash to the wall near the pedestal. It gave enough length for Billy to move in just about any position it was necessary, but would still keep him confined. "Thank you, Lord Zedd! I shall craft a masterpiece for you!"
"You do that," Zedd nodded. "Let me know when you're done." As he left, Billy found himself relaxing just the tiniest bit. He didn't know Finster very well, except by reputation, really, but he did believe that the bat-eared creature maker was somewhat more gentle than the other beings of evil in this place. At the very least, he wouldn't be as viscious as Zedd had been.
Finster walked around Billy for a few moments, observing carefully before he headed back to the pile of clay. Slowly, the Blue Ranger managed to get up the nerve and the ability to mumble, "W. .what are you doing?"
"Making a statue of you," Finster replied calmly. He didn't mind talking about his work, not even with the model he was using. "Rita and Zedd have some sort of use for it. I think they're going to be making a clone of you."
Billy was too startled to speak after that, and simply stood, obediently turning and posing as Finster bid him. He watched in amazement as the clay went from a shapeless muddle to a statue that he could swear actually was him. Whatever else Finster did, he was matchless as a sculptor.
Do they never be silent? He railed in the silence of his mind. It would be a while before he was able to shift himself back with the actual Billy, and Goldar could hardly wait. Fighting the Rangers was much easier than having to hang out with them!
"What do you think, Billy?" it was Rocky, glancing back behind him to see what his 'friend' thought about. . .something.
Goldar blinked rapidly, trying to think of how Billy would respond. Not an easy task, especially considering that he didn't have Billy's IQ. Finally something occurred to him. "What did you say, I was thinking about something else?"
"Do you think Aisha is going to ask you out any time soon or are you going to have to do it?" Adam repeated. Goldar felt himself flushing, the very thought of a Ranger asking him out was repugnant. Then he remembered, he was impersonating Billy! From what observations he'd made of the Rangers, Aisha and Billy weren't currently dating, but there had been a few moments when they had looked upon one another with what he felt was more than casual interest. Quickly he decided on what to say.
"I don't know; I don't really know if she thinks of me that way," it was actually the truth; Aisha didn't think of the real him in that way. But as for the real Billy, Goldar neither knew nor cared. All that mattered was getting this assignment done before the Rangers found out something was wrong.
Rocky chuckled a little. "She'd better hurry up and ask before Violet gets in there first."
"Violet?" Goldar frowned; was this something Billy would know about.
"Didn't you see her staring at you?" Rocky raised one eyebrow. "Kim thinks she likes you."
Goldar flushed even deeper, almost wishing he hadn't accepted his assignment. Surely some Putty would do better at emulating human expressions than he would! Then he concentrated. He was the High Warrior of Zedd's court, he could accomplish this task! These puny humans were nothing to fool! "I don't know, I don't know if she's really my type." he hedged a little.
"I don't know," Rocky shrugged. "Guess it'll just be a race to see who asks you out first!"
Goldar put on a smile, then leaned back, staring out again. That wasn't so hard after all.
Not far behind the three of them, an almost similar conversation was taking place. "Do you think Billy's going to ask me out?" Aisha almost whispered the words as she stared at the vehicle ahead of them. She'd wanted to ride with Billy, honestly, but in the end had decided to go with Tommy and Kim. It gave the two female Rangers time to talk about 'girl things' while Tommy was driving.
"I don't know," Kim shrugged. "The way Violet was looking at him before we left, she could ask before you do."
Aisha sighed. "I know. Maybe I can ask him out this weekend." She peered through the windshield, wondering just what was going on in the other car. She could just barely make out the outline of Billy's form through distance, and she smiled just a little. Since she had first seen him, her heart had belonged to him. Too bad I didn't get a chance to ask him to the Vice-Versa dance, she thought, remembering the dance just after she had transferred to Angel Grove. She had hoped she'd have a chance to say something to him ever since, but the few times she'd had the nerve to try, something had always interfered.
Maybe this time, it won't. There was another dance coming up at Angel Grove shortly, in just another two weeks. Perhaps she could ask him to it. . .
If only I could keep him. . .but I have other plans for that boy. Zedd consoled himself with that thought, and with knowing that once the plans were over with, he'd have all the Rangers and ex-Rangers taken care of. He'd made his plans already. Most of them would be killed, but three would live: Tommy, Billy, and Kim. Tommy would live out a very long life in his dungeons. Kim would be his first concubine, while Billy. ...ohhh, Zedd had so many plans for Billy Cranston. He couldn't even begin to imagine where they all sprang from. From day one of the forces of evil's attempt to conquer Earth, Billy the Blue Ranger had been at the forefront, using that intellect of his to destroy all their plans and schemes. And it is only fitting that an intellect like his should serve me. .. and two will be even better.
Zedd chuckled to himself, then glanced at the viewscreen again, seeing that Finster had finished the last detail of the statue. A moment later, the sculptor's voice sounded through the throne room. "I've finished, your evilness! The sculpture is complete!"
The overlord of evil entered the workroom calmly. It was important not to look too eager for certain things. He had to maintain a certain amount of dignity, after all. As he passed through the door, Billy flinched back, fear filling his eyes. Zedd paid him no heed just at that moment, however. He had other things that he wanted to deal with first.
"Let me see it." Finster moved away at Zedd's flatly stated command, and revealed a foot-tall statue of William Cranston that was flawless in every detail, right down to the clothes he was wearing. The only thing that had been left off were the bruises he had suffered from Zedd's hands. The dark lord nodded quietly. "Excellently done, Finster. It will be ready to bring to life in the proper moment."
He turned back to Billy, who appeared to be doing his level best to fade into the woodwork. "Congratulations, human. You will be returned to your friends now: who haven't even noticed that you're missing."
The Blue Ranger said nothing, only waited to find out what would happen next. Zedd looked at him for several long moments, then lifted his staff again. Billy couldn't help himself; he cowered away. He'd had one too many hideous experiences already from that weapon. A most welcome surprise was his, however, when cool white light poured out from the tip of it, enveloping him in it's soothing rays. When it faded, all the pain and injury he'd suffered were gone, replaced by smooth, flawless skin as they had been before his abduction.
"And now for the next step," Billy had only time to look up for a moment when he heard that, when black light replaced the white coming from Zedd's staff, and complete shadows surrounded him.
He collapsed where he was, and Zedd chuckled a little. "Now to bring back Goldar and put him back in his place." Slowly he traced the collar still around Billy's neck, and a cruel, twisted idea occurred to him. After all, Billy was his property now, and property should be marked by it's owner. It was just that this particular piece of property didn't, and wouldn't know that he was owned. Yet.
Zedd touched his forefinger to the collar, and where he touched, a flash of light flared forth. When it faded, Finster could still see the collar there, marked clearly with Zedd's initial just as it appeared on his master's staff. There was, however, an odd bluish glow about it. "My lord, won't that give away to the Rangers that something is wrong with him?"
Lord Zedd shook his head. "They will not be able to see it. No one can, save those who are evil and only then if I wish it. The proof will be in plain sight. . .yet none of them will know that I've placed my mark on the Blue Ranger for all time!"
But he didn't sleep. Goldar had never been able to sleep for more than a few minutes at a time since he and the rest of Rita's court had been released from the dumpster. Sleep reminded him far too much of the stasis they'd been in.
"Goldar!" Zedd's voice was low and harsh, but very welcome as he appeared in front of his servant. Billy lay in his arms, eyes closed and unmoving except for the rise and fall of his chest. Goldar's eyes widened briefly at the sight of one of Zedd's collars around Billy's neck, with a faint glow that meant it was enchanted to be invisible to normal sight.
"My lord!" Goldar leaped up and bowed quickly, keeping his voice low as well. They didn't need to have the Rangers discovering them. Zedd was blocking the Command Center sensors from detecting them, but actual sight was another matter altogether.
Zedd casually threw Billy onto the bed, then pulled the blankets around him. "He'll wake up sometime tomorrow," the evil lord muttered. "It should be fairly interesting to see just how he reacts to the clone. They're connected on quite a few levels, or will be once I bring the clone to life."
Goldar nodded, resuming his natural form with relief as Zedd stepped back. "My lord. . .the collar?"
"A plan for the future," Zedd told him. "Two are better than one, Goldar." He gazed at Billy for a moment, feeling the power of his sleeping mind. He sent a burst of power through the collar, and was pleased to see the 'Z' symbol on it flare briefly into scarlet fire. Billy's dreams would reinforce certain compulsions Zedd had lain on him, and they would repeat every night, and vanish from Billy's waking memory. The beauty of it was that this particular spell was completely undetectable by anything that Zordon was capable of using as well. Billy Cranston belonged to Zedd, and that was just the way the dark lord liked it.
As the two intruders faded away in sparks of light, Billy's eyelids fluttered, but only for the briefest of moments. Then he collapsed back into the dreams that Zedd had laid out for him.
"I'm coming, I'm coming!" a swish of skirts announced her arrival before she emerged through the doorway to Finster's lab. The dog-faced sculptor followed almost at once, carrying the statue on a small tray.
Zedd smiled darkly at the sight of it. Every time he saw it, another idea for how to use it formed in his mind. "I take it you've seen the statue then?"
"Yes, yes, I have." Rita didn't show just how impressed she was with Finster's sculpting skill. She did show something else, however. "Why didn't you let me play with that human while you had him here?"
Her husband glared at her. "We didn't have time for games! What I did wasn't just fun, it was necessary! He forms a later stage of my plan. I'll explain later." He almost regretted not having let Rita help him out a little bit, then corrected himself. Though he did love her, Rita's plans had always been more of the forceful sort, tending towards brute force to bull through everything in sight. This plan, and the subsequent things to follow, required a much more delicate touch.
I am going to need her help when it comes to bringing this thing to life. He handed her the wand that had leaned up against his throne. "We have to bring the copy to life now, and make preparations for it's upcoming trip to Gamma Tri."
Rita rolled her eyes. "Just zap it and send it! What more do we need to do?"
"Much more, motor-mouth!" Zedd snapped, losing his temper. "It has to be trained, given an identity, and ingrained with the idea that we are it's creators and masters! It's going to have some independent notions most likely, being a cast-off of the true Billy, but we can squelch those easily if we catch them early enough. Now, let's get to work!"
He raised his staff, and his wife mirrored the action, silent after his short tirade thankfully, both of them aiming at the statue. As Finster scampered out of the way, Zedd chanted slowly, noticing out of the corner of his eyes that the always-dim palace lights were lowering even further, until the only signs of light were a faint greenish-blue aura around the statue.
That's odd. We haven't even given it the Coin yet. But it seems to partake of it's abilities already. Zedd put the thoughts out of his mind as he concentrated further on what needed doing. The spell twisted out of his voice in a language unheard by any save those of evil, and with every word the aura/glow grew stronger and stronger, until it cast sharp shadows behind each of those gathered in the chamber and came near unto blinding them.
Zedd and Rita snapped out the final word in unison, a spat of brilliant power leaving each of their staffs and wrapping around the statue. For a moment it was utterly impossible to see anything in there, as a wash of something that was identifiable only as evil energy came out of the emperor and empress of evil, and blew into the statue. Silence and darkness overlaid everything.
"Wh. . .who am I?" the voice was superficially that of Billy Cranston, but there was something indefinable about it that could tell them all it wasn't the Blue Ranger. Billy's voice was shot through with the Power to their mage-senses, something that was so much a part of them they didn't even need to think about it anymore. This thing had no power, no life or energy to it, but it did sound curious, so it had emotions. What else would it have was on all their minds.
It was Zedd who recovered first, opening his eyes and waving away the thick smoke that had billowed up from nowhere when the spell was done. Standing just where the statue had been was a perfect replica of Billy, right down to the last pore, clad only in a green loincloth. "You are a clone, a copy of one of our enemies." He told it. "We made you to serve us, and you owe us your very existence."
The clone nodded briefly, looking down at itself and around at them. "Who are you? Do. . .do I have a name?"
"Not as yet." Zedd walked around the creation slowly, inspecting it. It wasn't as terrified of him as Billy was (now), but he could fix that, if necessary. Even faster than I did to Billy, since I now know his weak points instead of having to look for them. "Once you have learned a little, you are going to be going on a trip to a special place for us. I am Lord Zedd, and this is my wife, Queen Rita Repulsa. These are our servants, Goldar, Rito, Finster, Squatt, and Baboo. You are our property, made by us to serve us. You owe us everything. Never forget that."
The clone nodded, slowly reaching it's hands out and looking at them. It appeared to be quite fascinated by the very fact that it was alive, and could move around. "What is my name?"
Zedd's mask hid the smile that twisted his lips. "There is a name that I have thought of using often for my first offspring." He cut his eyes over to Rita, who suddenly seemed to find a reason to look elsewhere. "But since it appears that I am not to have a child at any near time, I will give that name to you."
"What is it?" There was a certain calm to the creature's manner that did remind the evil overlord rather eerily of himself.
"Welcome to life: Donovan. In one of the tongues of this world, and in that of my world, that means dark warrior. And that is what you are." Zedd smiled. "Donovan Zeddson."
Donovan repeated the name, tasting it almost, and smiled as well. "Excellent."
"He's always been an early riser," the White Ranger told them. "I hope he's feeling all right, he looked a little odd yesterday."
Adam had frowned. "You're right, he did." Aisha had noticed it herself; Billy had spoken in almost no 'techno-babble', and hadn't taken any special care with his scientific equipment. It wasn't that he'd banged it around or anything like that, but he hadn't carried it as if it were a child, which was the way she was used to seeing him take care of his things.
Now she was standing outside of her teammate's door, her hand partially lifted, torn between knocking and letting him rest. If he is sick, it might not be the best idea to wake him up. But he wasn't coughing or anything. Aisha bit her lip briefly, then tapped on the door. "Billy? Are you awake? It's time for breakfast."
No answer came for a few moments, then she heard a heavy sort of grunting that seemed to come from the general bed area, as far as she could tell. Something fumbled with the doorknob, and then the door itself swung open, revealing Billy behind it. Aisha caught her breath; she was almost positive she'd never seen Billy looking this bad! His hair was tangled, his eyes bloodshot, and his skin pale and sallow looking.
"Billy! Are...are you okay?"
Her friend scratched his head a little, as if he were trying to process what she'd said, then mumbled, "Yeah..I think so."
Aisha wasn't quite certain what she had just heard. It was not like Billy to say something like that! Oh, he wasn't anywhere near as 'techno-babbling' as she had been told he used to be like, but still...something about what he was saying wasn't quite striking her in the right way. "You don't look all that good. Are you sure you're feeling all right?"
"I believe so, Aisha." He stretched, looking at himself carefully. He did feel somewhat muddle-headed, but was of the mind that a hot shower and some clean clothes would change that. "It is possible I have a mild virus of some sort, though."
She nodded quietly. "Well, breakfast is ready whenever you want to have some." The Yellow Ranger watched nervously as he nodded and shut the door. Whatever was wrong with him, she hoped he would be all right.
Behind the door, Billy closed his eyes, concealing the trembling of his limbs no longer. His mind was still somewhat fuzzy, but as it slowly cleared a few memories flickered through his mind. Must be from nightmares. I haven't seen Zedd or Goldar in weeks, they've just sent their little minions down.
He took a few quick breaths, then headed for the small bathroom attached to his room. Half an hour afterwards, showered, dressed, and feeling much more like a human being than a half-dead piece of meat, he headed for the kitchen where the others were still having a very leisurely breakfast.
"Good morning!" Aisha looked very happy to see him, and the Blue Ranger held back a blush. She was more than perky, she was beautiful, smart, loving, and strong. Everything that he had ever found attractive about a girl was all found in her, and more so. At her beckoning he sat next to her and wondered just how he got so lucky.
Time itself was a rather odd word to use in that Dimension, since time behaved...differently there. Since that place had been created by Zedd eons earlier, it was totally under his control. Within it, centuries could pass in the blink of an eye, if he so chose. He had recently used it to stretch time out for himself and Billy, giving him the time he had needed to break the Ranger. Now, time was once again being stretched, to train Donovan in what he needed to know.
Outside, only a few short hours had went by. Inside, almost six months had elapsed, with Donovan learning fighting arts, how to imitate Billy in every way, as well as creating a persona of his own, to be used at Zedd's command. He had come from being a half-confused clone, to being a sleek, cold-featured warrior with nothing that even resembled a heart or soul. His will was an extension of Zedd's will, and his fighting ability soared past Goldar's amazingly.
"You have learned well," the warrior grunted. The only being who had ever come close to this level of skill was Scorpina. He wondered at times if she would ever return to them. She had abandoned Rita when Zedd arrived, preferring to go solo rather than submit to a male overlord. He had only managed to get her to pull off one job for him by dint of paying her an enormous amount of cold hard cash, as well as promising her the use of the Black Ranger if the plan succeeded. When it had fallen through, Scorpina had taken the money and fled again, and Goldar had, for the first time, felt what it was to miss someone.
Donovan smiled. It wasn't a particularly enjoyable expression, as it didn't touch his eyes. They were the cold, flat emerald-green orbs of an animal. They were the only difference between himself and Billy, who had eyes of pure crystal blue. A simple pair of mortal contact lenses would correct that during his future tasks, however. "Of course. Did you expect anything less?"
Goldar said nothing as his sword vanished in a burst of golden light. Donovan sheathed his blade, the longsword morphing down into a dagger that hung casually by his side. "Our next lesson is---" both of the warriors paused when Lord Zedd's voice echoed in both their minds.
Goldar. Donovan. Come to the throne room. It is time.
"You summoned us, my lord?" the clone asked quietly, bowing his head briefly. All of his attention was on Zedd. The rest of the universe didn't matter at all.
The dark lord nodded. "I have. Your training has gone very well, Donovan. It has not yet been a day on Earth since your creation, yet already you are a warrior of equal skill to Goldar...if not better."
"Thank you, my lord." Donovan shot a sinister glance to Goldar, who delivered one just as cold right back to him. Goldar appreciated the clone as a pupil, but would never accept him as anything other than an automaton, a made thing, no better than the countless monsters Zedd had made, and every bit as worthless.
Zedd's eyes glowed just the faintest hint of red. "And now it is time for the first thing that we made you for." He held his right hand out flatly, and Donovan saw a gleaming golden coin there. "This is the Green Power Coin. It has almost no power now, but the wax that drained it was created in the Gamma Tri galaxy. On one of the planets there you will find the wizards who created the original wax. One of them should be able to restore it. Don't take no for an answer."
Donovan nodded. "It shall be as you command, my lord Zedd. What else can I do for you?"
Ohhh, I like this clone. As humble and servile as my Billy...and far stronger. Together ...when they are together...Zedd would have licked his lips: if he had lips and if it wouldn't give away too much. "Inform the wizard that the powers are to be bonded to you once they are fully restored, and that the accompanying Zord also needs to be repowered. A matrix for an expansion of power should be laid; I intend to give the Rangers a very nasty little surprise after you've fought them for a while." He chuckled. "Oh, and this is to be incorporated into your power suit."
There was a flash of black light in Zedd's right hand, and a long, graceful sword appeared there. Donovan stared, his every cell yearning to have that blade in his hands. Zedd casually tossed it towards him, and the clone snatched it out of the air. "What is this?" he breathed, looking at the exquisite forging.
"It's something from my homeworld," Zedd said, a faint hint of longing in his voice. "It is called the Nightblade, and was forged by my great-grandfather, Dark Spectre, over a million years ago." A faint smile could, almost, be seen under his visor. "I rather enjoyed using it last month to stab him in the back and destroy him. If used to kill a living being, it will drain the power from them and infuse whoever bears it with that power."
He looked directly at Donovan, and the clone stepped back a bit, cowed by the sudden blazing fury in Lord Zedd's eyes. "You will never use it to kill anything unless I have given you specific instructions to do so! It is only to be used to battle...not to kill. If you fail me in this, I will not only strip you of the powers you are about to get, but I will unmake you. You will never have existed. Is this understood?"
Donovan quailed back, then nodded quickly. "I will not fail you, my lord. When do you wish me to leave for Gamma Tri?"
"At once." Zedd's left hand jerked up and the Coin flew outwards, landing in the clone's grasp. "And do not return without being the Green Ranger."
If I just knew what it was. She watched him unobtrusively as he organized his equipment in the portable rack he'd brought. Her eyes narrowed briefly as she decided to try a little test. "You must've been feeling really bad last night if you didn't do this then," she said mildly. Billy glanced up at her, and she felt a thrill at the way he was smiling at her.
"Yes, I was. I think I had some sort of virus or something like that. I felt a little weak when I went to get my repair kit yesterday, and I honestly don't think I remember that much about coming up here." Billy blinked a little, not really liking the gaps of the last day or so, but he doubted he could do much about it. He'd experienced the occasional feeling of weakness, but felt he was getting stronger. Whatever it is, I'm getting over it. Nothing to bother anyone about.
Aisha watched him for a few more minutes, then headed over to help out, holding the rack in place while he put the various things he needed on it. "What sort of things were you going to be doing this weekend?"
"Well, studying, of course," her friend grinned briefly at her. "And I have some upgrades I want to make on the communicators. Not to mention a few experiments." He laid out a few things he wanted to get finished, and she nodded. Billy glanced at her, noting just how he was looking at her, and how she was looking back. I wonder...Well....it wouldn't hurt..."Aisha, if you're not too busy, do you think you could help me with some of them? They really need to be done by two people."
The Yellow Ranger smiled just a little bit. "I don't know what kind of help I could be, but I'll try. I think I'd like that!"
Billy smiled back at her, putting away the last of the supplies. "When do the others want to start studying? That is what we're here for."
"I think we have another thirty minutes before they're going to want to start," Aisha checked her watch and leaned up against the wall. "I've never been on a massive study session like this before. What was it like for you guys last year?"
Her friend chuckled. "That's kind of a long story. Want to hear it?" At Aisha's eager nod, Billy leaned back and considered. "Well, we were all up here quizzing each other on everything, and we'd had one heck of a long day..." Aisha listened in awe and respect as Billy wove the spell of the tale of the Power Rangers and the Crystal of Nightmares. She really couldn't see any of them, especially Billy, cowering in fear of everything, but she didn't doubt the adventure had happened.
As Billy told it, he also found himself thinking about how much he'd been afraid. It was just a spell, he told himself. I could never be that afraid again. He was enjoying reliving the things, but for a moment, he could've sworn he saw an image of himself cowering in ultimate fear away from something or someone. What the...he tried to figure out what it was, a dream, a memory, or something else, but the image flickered away as if he'd never even seen it. Probably just a memory of those dreams I was having. Before Aisha had awakened him earlier, he had been in a morass of dreams--nightmares, really. He couldn't remember any details from them, just that they had been very powerful and very horrifying. He wasn't going to pay any attention to them, though. They were just dreams.
Unseen to him, or to Aisha, or any of them, the collar around his neck pulsed faintly, reinforcing the memory block Zedd had placed there and weaving more conditioning around the Blue Ranger's mind. There would be no escape for him from Zedd's power.
Gamma Tri. Home of wizards, enchantments, and everything spell-related one could imagine. It was said that there, if a child was born without magic, they sent it away, for spells were the only thing that mattered there. Three types of magic rules there: good, evil, and neutral. The High Council was made up of the three finest wizards of each type, and all of them remained at least at peace with one another, if nothing else.
It was there that a small ball of bluish-green light was currently heading. Donovan Zeddson was that light, and he was absolutely bored. In the short time of his existence, not a moment had passed when he was not doing something, no matter if it were training, learning, or being conditioned in his servitude. Though he wore no collar such as his original did, he was much Zedd's slave as Billy was, if not more so.
For the first time, however, Donovan had nothing to do but travel. He was finding that it was causing him to think, something he had not become used to doing. Acting was more what he wanted to do, feeling the weight of a sword in his hands slicing through the air, clashing against another blade, the contest of good versus evil. With evil winning, of course. He chuckled mentally at that. Evil would always win. That was it's nature.
Donovan was quite nearly a flawless creation of evil. The materials he had been made from were evil, carved by a being of evil, at the will of evil, brought to life by evil. The model had been good, but had submitted to evil by sheer terror, pain, and he knew not what else. Donovan had been infused with Billy's memories, enough to pass himself off as the Blue Ranger if he had to, or to complete another portion of Zedd's multi-layered scheme if that was what he had to do, but the time that Billy had spent in the Dark Dimension was closed to him. He had asked Zedd why that was, but the dark lord had simply smiled.
"There are things that I wish to keep to myself, for now. If it becomes necessary, then I will let you know what transpired between myself and my little Blue Ranger there: someday." Zedd had informed him.
I wonder what it was...the way I see him look at me on occasion, and I know I am a clone of that one. He shivered, remembering something else. While unable of casting a true spell of his own, he was sensitive to certain energies and auras, and as he had remained in the Dark Dimension for quasi-time, he had picked up the sense of very powerful fear and something else...something that sent chills down his spine. What if he wanted..that...from me?
The answer to the question was just as chilling as the question itself. Whatever Zedd wanted of him, Donovan would give. He was little more than an extension of the evil sorcerer's will, one that would never have existed without Zedd's desire. Quite literally anything Zedd wanted, Donovan would do, if it was repowering the Green Coin, destroying the Rangers, or ....anything else. I don't have to like it, though, he thought.
Time might've passed, long or short time, he didn't know. All he knew was the endless stretch of stars, galaxies, and all the rest of the panorama of the heavens. Then he noticed he was arcing down towards something: a verdant green planet. With three moons, one of red, one of black, and one of white.
He was at Gamma Tri.
"That's where you went last month?" Rita peered over her shoulder at him. She had awakened one morning the previous month to find herself alone, something that hadn't happened much since she had married Zedd. She was slowly growing used to the idea of being with him for the rest of eternity, as well as rather liking it. She had wanted only to use him to destroy the Rangers and take over his empire, but now she was almost wondering if somehow some of that love potion had gotten on her, since she was thinking kindly of her husband most of the time.
Zedd had returned late that day, looking tired, and not speaking of where he had been or what he had done. Now, with what he had told to the clone, she had an idea.
"Yes," he nodded quietly, fingering his staff. "I had been observing him for centuries. He was growing fat and lazy in his power. He actually hired Darkonda to kidnap some girl from KO-35 to raise up to be his heir!" There was thick hatred in his voice, and Rita shivered. She had thought something about the love potion had weakened his dark heart, but if it had, the weakness was there no longer. "I am, or was, his heir! When I heard about that, I went back to...discuss matters with Great Grandfather."
Zedd felt a flush of pleasure at the memory of that. He had appeared very proper and servile before the old monarch of darkness, and had even expressed pleasure at having been cut out of his proper inheritance. Zedd had been given the honorary title of 'Overlord of Evil' by Dark Spectre, and in certain parts of the galaxies that's exactly what he was. He wasn't the Supreme High Lord, or hadn't been while Spectre was still alive, but that didn't matter much. He had observed Astronema, a twelve year old girl, going through attack patterns with her trainer and guardian Ecliptor. She was fantastically skilled even then, and had looked at him without fear or anger, just pride.
She hadn't been what interested him, however. She had simply been something he would have to take care of. Zedd had hinted to Spectre that he was going to give him a gift, a vast amount of treasure from his personal vaults, as well as something special that could only be given in private. When they were in Dark Spectre's personal quarters, Zedd had indeed given him a special gift: the Nightblade, directly in the back. The power flowing into him had been delicious, filling, and absolutely intoxicating. Dark Spectre's body had lasted only a second, fading away into dust.
Ecliptor and Astronema had wondered what had happened, and Zedd had only too happily told them. Ecliptor didn't waste time even thinking about revenge. The honorably evil warrior simply formally requested to be permitted to leave with his charge unharmed, and swore to never attack or interfere in any of Zedd's plans, or to let Astronema do so either. The new Supreme Overlord of Darkness graciously had permitted them to leave, knowing he could destroy them at any time he wanted to. At last report, they had been heading to Ecliptor's home world. He would keep an eye on them, discreetly. After all, Astronema did bid fair to be a fairly worthy warrior, and if he adopted her into his family, she might become a decent heir for him, presuming his own child was unsuitable.
"Is this plan of yours really going to work, Zeddy?" Rita asked, drawing his thoughts from the past to the present. "Are we really going to have a Green Ranger that won't ever betray us?"
Zedd chuckled softly, drawing her face down to his for a kiss. "We are going to have so much more than that, my sweet noxious deathflower. We are going to have so much more."
Billy glanced over the list of things they had to cover and checked off another item. "I think that's going to be it for now. We can pick up the rest of it tomorrow."
"Thank goodness!" Tommy ran his fingers through his hair and adjusted it in it's ponytail. "I think I sprained a brain cell in there somewhere!"
Adam closed up his books and neatly stacked them. "So what do we do now? We've still got a lot of light left in the day, and things are looking fairly peaceful." They all knew that was fleeting peace, Zedd never let them be alone for more than a day at a time. But they were more than willing to take what peace was available.
"Maybe we could go shopping?" Kim teased with a glance towards Tommy. Her boyfriend rolled his eyes at her.
"There aren't any shopping malls for miles," he reminded her. Kim placed a hand over her heart in mock-fear.
"We really are in the middle of nowhere!"
Aisha chuckled a little. "All right, you two. Why don't we take a walk? Clear the cobwebs and get some fresh air?"
As her friend spoke, a plan formed almost automatically in Kim's mind. "That's a good idea." She smiled, taking Tommy's hand. "Let's go check on that lake out. You know, the one we saw deeper in the woods?"
Her boyfriend glanced over at Aisha, and saw how the pretty Yellow Ranger was shooting minor looks at Billy, who wasn't being as oblivious as he might've been just a few short months ago. Billy...and Aisha...? Well, who am I to argue over it?
"Yeah, that does look like it would be fun," he stood up, Kim's hand still in his. Rocky and Adam glanced at each other; with the conversation they'd had on the way up there, this could be Aisha going for it. The two of them quickly stood up.
"Yeah, you two lovebirds go on and be romantic," Adam grinned at Tommy and Kim. "Rocky and I need to get some sparring in."
Before anyone else could say anything else, the Red and Black Rangers were out of the room, as were the Pink and White ones. Billy and Aisha were the only ones left, and they found themselves staring at each other just the slightest bit uncomfortably.
"Well..." Billy glanced around. "It appears that we have been abandoned."
Aisha chuckled. "We could take that walk maybe? I saw something that looked like a hiking trail."
Billy considered it for a few moments. He had never really been that much of a nature person, but the thought of spending some nice quiet time with Aisha was very very attractive. He smiled quietly. "That could be fun. Let's go."
The two of them headed outside, neither one noticing the approving looks directed at them first by Rocky and Adam, who paused in their sparring to watch them leave, then by Tommy and Kim, who had turned to watch them head out. The only thing that they were noticing just then...was each other.
Aisha could hardly believe this was actually happening. She was walking with Billy, just with Billy. He looked as if he were interested in her too, and that made chills run up and down her spine. She had been worried when Kim told her of all the different girls that their blue companion had dated over the years, and even more so when she had learned of the slight attraction between Billy and her predecessor Trini. She was hoping this wasn't some sort of "transference", that it wasn't Billy taking her because he loved the Yellow Ranger and she was now the Yellow Ranger. Can't ask him that...I'll just...take what I can for now.
Billy was truly enjoying his walk with Aisha. She was beautiful, tender, kind and incredible. Most importantly, she was not Trini. The first Yellow Ranger had been one of his best friends, but that was all she was. Besides, he hadn't missed the looks that Trini herself had been giving to Rocky before she had left. The one time he'd visited Rocky's house after that, he hadn't been overly surprised to see a letter with a Swiss postmark and some very familiar handwriting on Rocky's desk.
He smiled to himself, wondering just how things were going to progress between those two when one was in Angel Grove and one was in Switzerland. Though Trini could come back to visit, or possibly Rocky could teleport over there...well, that was their problem really. He was about to say something to Aisha, when something happened.
Blackness enveloped his vision for a moment, then rolled back to display a rather beautiful looking planet. It wasn't any of the ones he knew, it was a deep, inviting green, with three moons of red, black, and white. For a moment, he heard a thought, similar to his own, yet laced with something beyond evil. I'm here. I'm on Gamma Tri.
He stared for a moment, then once again blackness rolled in, and he was back in the woods with Aisha. What in the world...Billy shook his head, trying to clear his thoughts, and as he did so, the brief image vanished from his mind completely. Aisha glanced at him.
"Are you all right?"
Before he could say yes or no, a flash of gray and gold startled him. "Having fun, Rangers?" Goldar laughed, the Putties dancing all around him. "Time to put an end to that!"
Aisha and Billy glanced at each other, then both fell into fighting stances. It was time to do their job. Again.
The capital city of the planet he had landed on was called Selomia, and according to what he knew, it was where the wax Rita had used had originally came from. Now if he could just find out which of the wizards had made it, then he would be able to get it redone.
"Excuse me, sir," he looked to see a young female standing there in a white robe. "You appear to be a new arrival on our world. Might I help you?"
Donovan raised one eyebrow; remembering his lessons. Those in black robes were evil, those in red were neutral, and those in white were good. If you saw someone dressed in something other than those colors in this system, then you could almost guarantee they were visitors. He himself was dressed in green trousers, a loose blue tank top, and sneakers; the entire outfit had been stolen from both Billy and Tommy's wardrobes when neither was aware of it. Until he was securely linked to the re-powered Green Coin, he would wear both the clothing of the Blue Ranger he mirrored and the former Green Ranger whose power he would soon be claiming for his own.
"I need to see a wizard, a specialist in enchanted wax, preferably one who worked for Rita Replusa at some point."
The girl's eyes widened; it was obvious that the name of the evil queen was still well known on this world. "You could find them in the Black-robe section, that's there," she motioned to a group of buildings that had a slightly more forbidding aspect to them. "They won't work without pay though."
Donovan smiled quietly, fingering the Nightblade by his side. "Oh, I wouldn't take a serious wager on that, my girl. I really wouldn't."
Without another word to her, he headed over to the collection of buildings. Signs hung outside each of them, in multiple languages, telling what each mage there did and their affiliation. Donovan glanced through each of them, frowning when none of them appeared to be what he was looking for.
It has been a while...perhaps the wax-worker has left...he frowned, that would truly put a crimp in Zedd's plans. He was just about to grab one of the people heading this way and that, when he spied a small sign on a building he'd almost missed. Thank darkness!! The wax-worker!
Donovan didn't bother with such niceties as knocking. He simply slammed the door open and stared at the old man stirring something in a pot over a stove. "Are you the wax-worker who made the enchanted wax for Rita Replusa, the batch that could and did drain the Green Ranger's power?"
"Hello." the old wizard said dryly. "Yes, I did. Why do you ask?"
Donovan smiled, a cold and evil sight, then held out the Green Coin. "I need you to reverse the spell. Re-power the Green Coin and the DragonZord." Quickly he laid out everything that Zedd had ordered, and grabbed the wizard by the collar. "Now, you're going to do all that...aren't you?"
"Of course," the wizard rolled his eyes. "And of course I'm not going to get paid for it, just like I never got paid for the wax. I don't know how I stay in business."
Grumbling more and more with every second, the wizard shoved Donovan away and started to gather ingredients. The clone smiled triumphantly. He had never imagined that this would be quite so easy. Zedd was going to be very pleased with him. And then he could unleash all the power of darkness and evil on the Rangers.
And he would have just a little blue help.
Goldar watched the battle with the most delicious sense of triumph. Zedd had told him to make certain the Rangers didn't have a chance to have any romance at all together; he considered himself now to be in tight control of Billy's life, and having a girlfriend wasn't anywhere on his agenda for the Blue Ranger. Thus, the interruption.
Even so, however, the warrior thought as he observed the way Billy and Aisha wove and danced and battled. He cannot keep them apart forever. They are teammates and they are friends. If my lord does not wish to tip his hand about his domination of the Blue Ranger, then what shall he do?
A faint flash of red light signaled the arrival of the dark lord, and Goldar quickly bowed to him. "Master?"
"Be silent." Zedd said frostily, and Goldar recognized the feel of a concealment spell. The Rangers, and their equipment at the Command Center, would not be noticing Zedd's presence. The sorcerer looked at Billy, his eyes glinting scarlet. "I own you, Blue Ranger, and you shall be reminded of this fact in your dreams this night. And perhaps you shall even make another visit to the Dark Dimension, to relearn who your master is."
The Z-staff glowed the faintest hint of first blue, then red, and a thin tendril of energy extended from it's tip to the collar around Billy's neck. He paused briefly, feeling the power enter him, but not sure of what was going on. Then the moment passed, and he shook his head. "I need to go to bed early," he muttered, slamming another putty in the chest and watching as it flew apart. "I feel absolutely exhausted."
Zedd smiled frostily as the rest of the Putties were quickly put away by the two fighters, then Goldar made his own exit, at his master's subtle command. Only Zedd remained, though as far as Billy and Aisha were concerned, they were now alone. The sorcerer watched carefully as they came back over to each other, and listened.
"Are you all right?" Aisha gasped, catching her breath. Billy nodded, glancing around to be certain no one else was there. His gaze caught briefly on a clearing where he'd seen Goldar, who hadn't attempted to fight them.
Is there something there? He frowned, then turned his attention back to Aisha. It was just an empty clearing, he probably had just seen a glimpse of sunlight on trees or something like that. "What about you?"
"I'm fine," his friend shook her head a little. "Wonder what that was all about?"
Billy shrugged. "Zedd having a bad skin day?"
"Is there any other kind for him?" Aisha quipped. Billy chuckled, then looked at her again.
Do I dare...and if I do...what if she says no? What if she says..yes? He bit his lip a little, then looked at her closer. "Aisha, I was sort of wondering...if you're not busy..when we get back..maybe next weekend...do you think that you...ummm...well...." he glanced around, a strange reluctance to finish the question overcoming him. What's wrong with me? I want to ask her out...but....
Zedd watched with satisfaction as Billy stammered, stuttered, and made a general fool out of himself. Perfect. Absolutely perfect. I couldn't have planned this better myself. Which I practically did.
Why does this have to take so long? he grumbled mentally, not really caring about all the magnificent sights that he was going by. The bazaar he was currently in was filled to the brim with visions of loveliness, scents the delight the nose, sounds of unutterable beauty...and he was bored with it. Loveliness just wasn't his style; he needed little clothing, Zedd took care of his feeding, and he could, or would soon, be fighting the Rangers on a regular basis. Thus, all the other fripperies he saw here meant absolutely nothing to him.
"Sir?" a dulcet voice spoke, and he looked up to see an old woman seated on a exquisitely woven rug, obviously selling knives from the various blades all around her. "Would you be interested in a special knife? Forged by the greatest smiths of the age, it is, beautiful and powerful, the essence of a warrior's skill."
He opened his mouth to tell her where to put her 'special knife', when his eye fell on it. The moment the vision sank into his brain, he stopped what was going to say and just stared at it. "Wh..what is that?"
The hilt looked like the very image of a dragon, carved of polished white wood and with emerald chips for eyes, with the tongue extended down into a sharp, deadly-looking blade. "It is called Dragon's Tooth," the saleswoman said. "Sharp enough to cut the wind, it is, or so I was told."
Donovan took a long breath, and stared at the blade. "I want this."
"Then it is yours, good sir!" she smiled toothlessly, handing him the sheath to it, made of green leather. "I know you will use it well and honorably!"
The clone chuckled darkly, and turned away after fastening the belt and sheath onto his waist. Perhaps I should thank her. He turned back to give a mocking form of gratitude, but the words died on his lip as he saw nothing but an empty space and a little dust. "What in the...."
He shook his head for a moment, then glanced at the sun. As far as he was able to judge the time, he needed to be returning to the wizard's lair. The re-powering of the Green Coin needed him in it's final stage, and he had used up all but the very last bit of time he'd had to poke around.
"Are you done yet?" he growled as he slammed into the wizard's room once again. The small gnarled being looked up grouchily.
"Yes, I have. All I need to do is seal the power to you, and it will be complete. The matrix for your future upgrade has been placed, and the Nightblade has been added into your subspace pocket, and will be available both morphed and unmorphed. The DragonZord just needs this." He held out a deep green crystal. "Place this in it's power core, and it will be back up to full strength in a matter of seconds."
Donovan nodded approvingly. "Seal the power to me. I'm ready to take it and return to my master."
The wizard smiled, and the clone wasn't very certain he liked that expression. "Very well." A gasp escaped his lips as Donovan seized him by the collar and dragged him up to stare into the clone's eyes.
"If you do anything that harms me in any way...if it doesn't kill me...you had better be prepared to spend the rest of your very short life running. Not that it will do you any good."
A muffled squeak was the only answer he got, and Donovan dropped the wizard harshly. "Now get to work. I want the power now." A very self-satisfied smirk spread across the clone's face. This was going to be fun.
It didn't occur to him to wonder how his original would take this blast of energy.
Still shrouded by his concealment spell, Zedd watched eagerly, waiting for the moment when Billy obeyed the silent promptings of the collar and broke off the conversation. His head came up suddenly when he sensed a massive surge of evil and green energy roiling up through the dark side of the morphing grid, and smiled to himself. Success!
In the clearing, Billy opened his mouth to ask Aisha just to forget about it, when a hideous blackness swept over him, utterly unlike anything he'd ever experienced, in memory or without. It wrapped itself around him, enveloping him in deep shadow, and muffling all he knew in a thick cocoon of darkness. Aisha watched, terror filling her, as her companion suddenly looked up, opened his mouth, and then toppled like a felled tree, laying on the ground at her feet, unconscious.