Legal Disclaimer: Saban. What more needs saying?

Mystery of Love
by: Cynthia

She was beautiful. Beyond beautiful. There were no words to describe just how lovely she was. His heart thudded in his rib cage whenever he looked at her. But she had no idea of how he felt about her. And she never would; he would not tell her.

He wasn't afraid, of course. How could he be, he who had fought a thousand wars and a thousand battles and knew more of combat than could ever be said? He was not afraid.

He was petrified.

What would she do if I told her how I felt? He watched her out of the corner of his eye whenever he felt she wouldn't be looking. With every glance she grew more lovely, until it made him want to scream that he didn't have the courage to say what was in his heart. But he was not used to this sort of thing. He wasn't used to being honest and open about his emotions; the few times he had tried, he had been stomped on, rather badly.

Perhaps it would help if he had someone to talk to, but he didn't. None of the others would understand. It wasn't anything in their experience either. At least not as far as he knew. And there was no one else to go to. He certainly couldn't ask his enemies for advice! Not only were they as clueless as he in matters of love, from what he had observed, but they would probably run him through at first sight regardless.

With a sigh, he simply settled into his post and continued to observe matters. This was not the most convenient of tasks, to be with the one he loved every day and not be able to say anything, but at least he was able to see her, and who knew? The chance might come when he could actually say something to her.

He sighed briefly and quietly. It wasn't easy being evil at times. If he were good, maybe then he would be used to things like honesty, love, passion. But though he understood honor down to the core of his bones, the concept of just opening his mouth and telling Trakeena how he felt was so alien to him, he didn't know what to do.

"Villamax!" the voice was that of his queen, and he came to attention sharply, looking to the throne where she held court at. "Take a pod of Stingwingers to Terra Venture and stir up some trouble." Trakeena commanded. "If you can capture the Red Ranger, bring him back here unharmed. I've come up with some new torture ideas I want to try out on him."

He bowed low, saluting her with the flat of his blade. "I hear and obey, my queen." As elegantly as he could, somewhere in the back of his mind hoping that his prompt obedience, and hopeful delivery of her sworn enemy would win him at least a few points with her, he left the throne room and headed for the Stingwinger training area. Perhaps I should try and find her some leftover Piranatrons or Quantrons, he thought to himself. Just because she is a beautiful insectoid doesn't mean her foottroops have to be so...disgusting.

Villamax smiled to himself at how Trakeena would react with such pleasure at the gift of a double dozen of metallic warriors, sleek and deadly and completely mindless save for her mind. Perhaps it would be that which would give him the opening and the courage to speak his heart. And perhaps the forces of good and evil shall declare a multi-universal peace and the Red Ranger and Trakeena will become as brother and sister. Both are far more likely than me opening my mouth to her.

With a flicker of his sword and power, he had selected a dozen of the best available insect fighters and teleported to the colony. He was going to make a special point of capturing Leo if he could today; he was just as eager to see the leader of the Galaxy Rangers suffering under Trakeena's whip as she herself was, if not more so. His murder of Scorpius had brought tears to his queen's lovely eyes, and that was something he would never permit. There would be vengeance. Lasting vengeance.

* * *
Trakeena sighed mentally as she felt Villamax's presence leaving the Scorpion Stinger. It wasn't easy on her, being queen. She had escaped having to be turned into an insect with the cocoon, but at the price of her father's life. If I had stayed...if I had went into the cocoon and submitted to that, would he still be alive? Would I have been able to prevent his murder by the Red Ranger?

She shook her head briefly, banishing the thought. It didn't matter. If she had went into it, she would have given up something far more precious than her mortal beauty: her self-respect and the chance to meet Villamax. That was something she wouldn't have given up for the entire cosmos. He is so handsome...not like a typical insect at all. She shuddered at the thought of some of the members of her species.

They were all hatched from eggs, into humanoid forms of spectacular beauty and handsomeness, as true humans termed such things. At a certain point in their lives, they went into cocoons spun by their parents, and metamorphosed. Most become mere Stingwingers; some of the troops she'd sent against the Rangers had been her own brothers and sisters. Not that she cared; they were mere rivals for her throne after all. One in a thousand of her kind transformed into powerful insect mages like her father, and she knew that when...if...she ever entered it herself, she would become even more powerful than he had been.

Villamax doesn't have to worry about that. He's handsome enough as he is. He wouldn't need to change. Unlike most of her kind, Trakeena had never found insects to be very attractive in any way. She was what could be termed a throwback, or an offshoot, attracted to humanoid and human types. Though she despised the Power Rangers with every inch of her soul, she would be the first to admit they were also very gorgeous specimens of their races. Not as much as Villamax.

She frowned; what was wrong with her? Every thought she'd had lately had been centered around her trainer. It didn't feel right to be thinking of him that way, but at the same time, she couldn't say it felt wrong either. It was...different. Strange. An emotion she had felt for her father, but not with the respect, though there was plenty of that mixed in there too. No fear. I was afraid of Father sometimes, and I hated him for trying to keep me a child. But with Villamax....he helped me to grow up. He taught me how to be strong, and how to fight. He showed me the real me, deep inside.

Something made her flick a hand, calling up an image of her warrior chief. She wanted to see what he was doing and if he was any closer to capturing the Red Ranger. Not that it matters, as long as he comes back safely, the thought whispered in her mind. She clenched her fists, doing her best to banish it. Those were not the thoughts of the great warrior queen she was! Those were the thoughts of someone weak, someone foolish, someone ....someone who dared to risk her heart.

They were the thoughts of someone in love.

Trakeena shivered, then focused herself. I must not think about him. Not like that. She lifted her head slightly to see what was going on at the battlefield. Villamax was battling the Red Ranger one on one; the Stingwingers had the rest of the Rangers tied up and away from things. Excellent. She smiled at the thought of the more exotic tortures she had in mind for Leo once he was her prisoner again. I wonder if any of those could be turned to amusement with Villamax.

She frowned at once, this had to stop! She had to stop thinking about him! If she didn't, she had no idea what was going to happen! I must face him about this. It's the only way. If I say nothing, I won't be able to think of anything but him. If I say something...who knows what could happen. At the thought of uttering the words that were hovering just out of her mental grip, her stomach jumped and she felt just the slightest bit nauseous.

I'll do it when he comes back. With or without the Red Ranger.

She took a long breath and focused. I'll tell Villamax I'm in love with him.

* * *
Villamax appeared in the throne room, the Stingwingers vanishing back to their quarters. He trembled just a little; Trakeena was seated on her throne, looking directly at him with a strange look in her eyes. Perhaps she's angry I didn't come back with the Red Ranger?

He hurried to explain things, "I had the Red Ranger at my mercy, my queen, but the Magna Defender showed up to save him just in the nick of time! The Stingwingers had been routed by the other Rangers, and I had no other backup."

"That's quite all right, Villamax," she said quietly, firmly. "We can always try again later."

Her trainer nodded, wondering what was going through her mind. If I ruined my chances...he said nothing aloud, despite the fear running throughout him. "If that is all, my queen, I have personal matters to attend to." He was already turning away when her quiet voice stopped him.

"Villamax, I have never said this to anyone else in all my years," she rose from her throne. "And I had no idea I would ever say it to you when I first met you. But I cannot seem to stop thinking about you. No matter what I try to think, it always comes back to you. You are the first thing on my mind when I wake up, and the last thing that goes through my thoughts when I sleep."

He looked as if he were about to speak, but she stopped him. "I love you, Villamax. I don't know how you feel about me, but this is how I feel of you. I feel as if I would even give up my vengeance against the Red Ranger if it would make you happy!" she finished it in a rush, and stared him right in the eyes, not wanting to miss a single moment of his reaction.

Villamax caught a breath, then slowly, began to smile. "Don't do that, my queen. Your capacity for vengeance, your unending hatred, all those just make you even more breathtaking than you are already. I would never have fallen in love with you were you anything but what you are: the proud, bold, magnificent Queen of Evil."

The two of them stood staring at one another for a moment, neither perfectly certain of what they had just said. Trakeena said softly, "You fell in love with me?"

"From the moment I saw you," he told her. "I have loved you since then, and with each day it only grows stronger. I love you, Trakeena. I will always love you."

She smiled quietly, then held her hand out to him. He took it, as she had expected, and made as if to kiss it as he always had. Instead, she pulled him closer to her, and softly, tenderly, placed the first true kiss of love of her life, or his, on his lips.