"Hey, is the pizza here yet, Billy?" was not quite the usual battle cry used by the six teenagers who sprawled all over Billy Cranston's living room. But it suited their mood, which for once wasn't warfare, but relaxation.
"Not yet, Aisha," the Blue Ranger told her. "It'll be about another twenty minutes, I believe."
Friday night had rolled around again, and all six Rangers were having a sleepover at Billy's house, since his parents were away for the weekend. Aisha and Kat were absorbed in the latest editions of a couple of fashion magazines, Tommy and Adam were sparring playfully in a corner, and Rocky was--
"Rocky!" at Billy's surprised voice, the Red Ranger jerked his head out of the photo album he'd been perusing.
"Oh, I knew I shouldn't have went poking around in your stuff!" Rocky moaned. "I'm sorry, Billy, I'll put it back."
"It's all right," Billy grinned. "Let me see what you've got there."
Billy sat beside Rocky and joined him in looking at the photos. Rocky recognized some of the people in the photos as the former Rangers, Jason, Zack, Trini, and Kim. As he turned the pages, the pictures showed younger and younger versions of them all, and of Billy himself.
"Who's this?" Kat had wandered over and now peered over Rocky's shoulder. The picture she was looking at was of two little girls, no more than ten at the most, playing with a ten-year-old Billy.
Billy smiled gently. "Aura and Azure Robinson. They lived next door to me until Aura and I were about ten. Then their family moved to New York, and I haven't seen them since."
He turned to another page in the photo album, to show a group photo. Zack, Trini, Jason, Kim, Billy, Aura, and Azure all stood together around a birthday cake. Aura was closest to it, blowing out the candles. "That was Aura's tenth birthday. The seven of us were all close friends. It's a fairly safe bet if Aura had been with us that day were chosen as Rangers, she would've been picked too. She has a great heart, and always liked helping people."
"Did you two keep in touch?" Adam wondered. Billy nodded, and went to his room for a minute. When he came back, he held two pictures, one framed, the other loose.
"This is Azure now," he passed around the unframed photo. When it reached Adam, his mouth literally dropped open.
"Woah!! She's beautiful! I wish I could meet her," the Black Ranger stared at the photo.
"What's that picture, Billy?" Tommy looked over at Billy, who was looking at the one he still held onto. Billy looked up at them.
"This is Aura," he told them, turning the picture around. It showed a teenage girl, with long dark hair, clear gray eyes, and a gentle, caring expression on her face. The Rangers expected him to pass that one around as well, but he kept holding it, and in fact turned it back so he could look at it.
"Was she your girlfriend, Billy?" Rocky couldn't help teasing him. Billy shook his head.
"We were ten the last time we saw each other," Billy sighed. "I really miss her."
Just then, their communicators beeped. "Oh, man," Tommy groaned. "Doesn't Zedd know when to quit?"
The Power Rangers went into action. * * *
On the other side of the country, at that same moment, Aura and Azure Robinson headed home, having no idea they were the subject of an old friend's thoughts. Aura hummed happily as they walked along.
"What are you humming?" Azure asked.
"Nothing much," Aura grinned. "Just humming. I'm happy, that's all."
"Got another A on a test?" Azure wondered.
"Not just that," Aura pulled an envelope out of her purse. "Got this from Billy the other day."
Azure snatched it away, but didn't take the letter out. "How is the Billmeister?"
"Fine, as always," Azure giggled at the dreamy sound to Aura's voice.
"Man, I wish I could find a friend like him!" Azure smiled.
"Maybe you will, someday," Aura hoped. "He sent a picture of himself and his friends. Want to see it?"
"The whole old gang?"
"Nah, everyone else has moved. He's got some cool new friends, though," Aura showed her the picture.
"Where'd Kim go? I know the others went to Switzerland," Azure's eyes landed on one Korean-looking guy. "Woah, he's cute!"
"She moved to Florida; she's training for the Pan-Globals," Aura told her. "I got a letter from her myself the other day; meant to mention it to you."
"So who's the guy all in black?" Azure was still staring at the picture as they walked up to their apartment home. Aura checked out the letter.
"Adam Park. Billy says he studies kung-fu," Aura opened the apartment door onto complete chaos. Their mom stopped and looked at them.
"Girls, get your things together as fast as you can. We're moving."
"What? Where to?"
Aura's gray eyes widened. "Really?"
"Yes!" Azure crowed in triumph. "Home sweet home!"
Aura beat Azure to their shared room by less than a second. "I'm going to see Billy again!"
"Are we going to live in a house this time, or another apartment?" Azure asked with distaste.
"We're getting our old house back," their mom told them.
"Yes!" Aura cheered. Azure started to pack hurriedly. "Man, I hope I get Mrs. Applebee for homeroom!"
"Oh, Azure, I'm going to see him again!" Aura giggled happily. "I hope I get whoever Billy has for homeroom!"
Azure pulled her suitcase out of the closet. "Good-bye, subway! Hello, clean air!"
Aura's movements were almost too fast to see as she packed. "I'm gonna see Billy!"
"We understand that, Aura!" Azure giggled. Aura snatched up a recent picture she had of Billy next to her bed and kissed it heartily.
"Oh, Azure, I love him so much. But he still thinks of us as just friends."
Azure continued to pack. "Maybe he does. Maybe he doesn't."
"I dunno," Aura shrugged. "We'll find out when we get home."
"Our old bedrooms!"
"Right next door to Billy!" Azure rolled her eyes at her sister's single-mindedness.
"You heard Mom and Dad. We've got to get packed fast!"
Aura started packing again. "OK, OK!" Suddenly she stopped and sat, holding her head, her face creased with pain. Azure looked at her, concerned. "Another one?"
Aura nodded. "I hate these headaches."
"You rest. I'll pack up some of your stuff," Azure started to put Aura's things into her bags. Aura got to her feet and headed out the door.
"I'm going to go lay down in the darkroom; I hope mom and dad haven't packed it up yet," Aura sighed. Her headaches sometimes became so bad, she had a special small, darkened room where she could wait one of them out. As she started out the door, their mom poked her head in.
"We're catching a flight first thing tomorrow, Angel Grove High already knows you're on the way." she looked at her oldest daughter. "Aura? Another headache?"
Aura nodded. "Is my darkroom still there?"
Her mother nodded. "We're going to wait til last to pack that up if you're having another headache."
"Thanks," Aura made her way to the room and sat down on the small cot there. She had another picture of Billy in here, and looked at it, smiling softly.
"Angel Grove," she sighed in joy. "I'm coming home, Billy." * * *
The next morning dawned clear and beautiful in Angel Grove, but in Lord Zedd and Rita Repulsa's Lunar Palace, it was as dark and gloomy as ever. Zedd looked out over the Earth. "What a perfect morning to destroy the Rangers!"
"Every morning is perfect for that!" Rita proclaimed. A moment later, she muttered, "But we never seem to do that!"
"I have a perfect idea! We shall steal the spirits from them, with the Spirit Killer!"
"The Spirit Killer!" Rita echoed. "You're a genius, Zeddy!
"It's perfect!" Zedd bellowed. "Arise, Spirit Killer, and rip their souls from them!"
Spirit Killer, a four-armed demonic like being, appeared in the throne room and bowed low. "Yes, Lord Zedd!"
"Go!" Zedd ordered. Spirit Killer vanished. "This plan cannot fail!" * * *
Adam threw Billy over his shoulder one more time. As he got back to his feet, Adam held up his hand to indicate the practice was over. "Great workout!"
Billy nodded. "Except you're losing concentration again!" Billy sighed and shrugged.
"I can't help it. I can't stop thinking about Aura today. I don't know why."
Adam shrugged in his own turn. "Who knows? Come on, let's go meet up with the others in the park."
Billy nodded, and just as they were out of sight of the Youth Center, where they'd been sparring, a monster leaped out of thin air at them. "Rangers!" It hissed. "I am Spirit Killer, come to destroy your souls!"
"Oh, great!" Adam groaned.
"Don't the bad guys ever take a weekend off?" Billy wondered as he jumped out of the way.
"Never!" Spirit Killer roared, charging towards them.
Adam leaped out of the way and yelled into his communicator, "Guys, we need help!" He looked over at Billy. "It's morphin' time!"
"Blue Ranger Power!"
"Black Ranger Power!"
The battle began, with the other Rangers showing up only moments later, already morphed and ready for combat. As Rocky ran into the fight, he wondered, "Man, don't Rita and Zedd ever just sit around on the weekends watching old movies or something?"
"Guess not!" Aisha replied as she charged the creature with Kat by her side. The monster grabbed Kat and began to squeeze her with two of it's four arms.
"Kat!" Tommy ran to help the Pink Ranger, only to be thrown to one side along with her. Kat rolled to her feet and called out, "Power Bow!" Her arrow didn't even make it to the Spirit Killer, though, as the creature snapped it in half in midair.
"Sorry, Pink Ranger, no luck at target practice today!"
As Spirit Killer leaped towards Kat, Billy interfered, his Power Lance already in his hands. "Hey!" He thrust at the creature. "Leave my friends alone!"
Spirit Killer growled and knocked the Lance to one side. "I guess you want to die then!" It grabbed him in all four arms and began to squeeze. "Time to die, Blue Ranger!"
Billy screamed in pain as his ribs began to crack under the tremendous pressure the Spirit Killer exerted. He heard Adam calling his name, and out of the corner of his eye saw the other Rangers fighting Tengas that had appeared. There was no one to help him. . .
"Not today, creature of evil!" hands landed on his shoulders and jerked him away from Spirit Killer, breaking the creature's grip. The voice was toneless, almost lifeless, and it was the sweetest thing Billy had ever heard in his life, since the owner had just saved that life.
"What the heck!" it was Rocky. Billy looked up to see a light brown helmeted head looking back at him.
"Another Ranger?" he whispered weakly. He didn't recognize this Ranger. A light brown uniform covered whoever it was, with a shield like Tommy's covering the chest. Where Tommy's shield sported the emblem of the falcon, this Ranger's shield was blank, however. The Ranger nodded.
"Remain apart from this fight, Billy. You are too weak."
Billy nodded; wondering vaguely how this strange Ranger knew who he was. "You'll get no argument from me!" he leaned against a tree, keeping an eye out for any more trouble.
The new Ranger turned to the others. "This creature must be defeated!" Tommy nodded.
"I don't know who you are, but let's do it!" The Rangers, with their new ally, turned to Spirit Killer almost as one. The creature, realizing it was both outnumbered and outclassed, vanished, saying, "Another time, Rangers! When your new friend is not here to help you!"
Tommy glanced at the new arrival. "Thank you, whoever you are."
"I am the Amber Ranger," the mystery warrior replied. "and I will help whenever I am needed. Farewell, Rangers," The Ranger dissolved into amber mist, which blew away into nothingness moments later.
"Man!" Tommy exclaimed in surprise and awe. He then joined the others over at Billy, who was making his way to his feet.
Adam asked, "You okay?"
Billy nodded weakly. "Who was that?"
"Amber Ranger," Tommy said. "I think that was the name given to us."
"They came in and out of mist," Kat supplied. "Weird. I've never heard of an Amber Ranger before. Have you guys?"
One and all, heads were shaken in denial. "Come on," Adam helped Billy to stand. "Let's get you to the Command Center; maybe Zordon had some answers for us!"
"I hope so," Billy sighed. "And I hope that monster never comes back!" * * *
"You have failed me, Spirit Killer!" Zedd roared as the monster cowered before him.
"It wasn't my fault, Lord Zedd, the Amber Ranger stopped me!"
"Amber Ranger? That isn't possible!" Zedd actually got louder as his rage grew.
"Why's that? And who is the Amber Ranger. I've never heard of them before," Rita wondered.
"Fifty thousand years ago, more or less," Zedd explained, "the Amber Ranger fought against me on one of my earliest attempts to take over a world. He failed miserably, I might add, and I took over his planet. His last words, before I blasted him into dust, were that he would come back again, somehow. Typical goody-two-shoes talk. I haven't heard of an Amber Ranger, until now, since then."
Rita growled, "Obviously you screwed up somewhere, Zedd, because the Amber Ranger's still around!"
"I did not screw up!" Zedd raged, the room flaring red around him.
Rita retorted, "That Amber Ranger is proof something went wrong!"
"But what?" Zedd stared angrily at the Earth.
"That's what we'll find out." * * *
Adam eased Billy onto the couch Alpha had materialized in the Command Center. "Zordon," he asked, "Who was that Amber Ranger?"
WHY DO YOU ASK, ADAM?
"Whoever it was, just saved Billy's life!"
THAT IS NOT POSSIBLE. THE AMBER RANGER LINE IS EXTINCT. THE LAST OF THEM DIED FIFTY THOUSAND YEARS AGO.
"Sure looked good for a dead Ranger!" Tommy stated.
THE AMBER RANGER LINE DEFENDED THE PLANET KALAKAN FOR MANY THOUSANDS OF YEARS. THE LAST OF THEM, NERAS, PERISHED AS HE DROVE LORD ZEDD AWAY FROM KALAKAN. HIS WIFE, SELANIA, DIED BEFORE HER CHILD, THE HEIR TO THE AMBER POWERS, WAS BORN.
"Couldn't someone else have taken the powers?" Aisha wondered.
NO, AISHA. UNLIKE YOUR POWERS, WHICH CAN BE PASSED TO WHOMSOEVER NEEDS THEM, THE AMBER POWERS MUST BE PASSED FROM ONE GENERATION TO THE NEXT. ONLY THE LINE OF ALANTRIUS, NERAS' FAMILY LINE, COULD EVER HOLD THE AMBER RANGER POWERS. NERAS' LINE BECAME EXTINCT WHEN HE DIED.
"Well, who or what did we see out there today?" Adam wondered. "That wasn't some ghost who saved Billy!"
He glanced over at Billy, who was being tended by Alpha. The Blue Ranger looked a little better, but not much.
I DO NOT KNOW, RANGERS. BUT WE MUST FIND OUT IF WE CAN.
Tommy nodded. "Before Rita and Zedd find out who Amber Ranger is." * * * Azure glanced around the lunchroom. Her first day back in the Angel Grove school system, and already things were off to a rough start. She hadn't recognized anyone; though she knew she had to have been to elementary school with some of these people. She'd managed to get Mrs. Applebee for homeroom, though, and the kindly teacher had remembered her well.
"Man," she muttered under her breath. She spotted an empty seat, next to a group of five young people, three boys and two girls. They looked a trifle familiar; she wondered if maybe she'd known them before moving away; seven years could make a lot of difference in how a person looked. She wandered casually over. "Um, is anyone sitting here?"
A blonde, dressed in a pink blouse and jeans, glanced up as she spoke. "No, go ahead."
"Thanks," Azure sat down and looked around; that nagging familiarity just wouldn't leave her alone.
The guy she'd sat next looked at her. "Hi," he nodded. He was probably Korean, dressed in black, and extremely handsome. One of the others glanced at her.
"You're new here, aren't you?" he asked.
"Kind of," Azure hoped to make some friends at least; even if she didn't already know these people from years earlier.
"Hey," the guy she sat next was looking at her. "You look a little familiar."
"I could say the same about you," Azure said, staring at him. The boy looked back at her, his brow furrowed. Suddenly, his face cleared.
"Adam?" her memory supplied the name to go with the face suddenly. The other boy, dressed in white, looked at them both.
"You two know each other?" he asked. The second boy, who wore a red shirt and jeans, looked shocked.
"Not really," Adam shook his head. "You remember, guys, Billy showed us her picture Friday night at his house."
The second girl nodded. "I remember: Azure Robinson, right?"
Azure nodded. "My sister showed me a picture of you guys the other day."
"Your sister," Adam thought quickly. "Aura?"
"Yeah," Azure nodded. "I think she's got English this period."
"Woah," Adam grinned. "Billy's going to be glad to see her."
Azure frowned a little. "I'm amazed he hasn't seen her yet. We moved back next door to him."
The first girl nodded. "Well, he's been a little under the weather."
Azure raised an eyebrow in shock. "Billy? Sick? That's a first."
Adam glanced at the others. "Yeah, we weren't sure if he should come to school today or not."
The first girl smiled at her. "By the way, I'm Kat Hilliard."
"Tommy Oliver," the boy in white.
"Rocky DeSantos," the red-clad young man told his name.
"Aisha Campbell," the other girl.
"Adam Park," Adam formally introduced himself.
"Azure Robinson," Azure smiled at them all. "So, what's new in Angel Grove?"
Adam shrugged. "Nothing much. Just the occasional monster attack."
"Great," Azure grinned a little. "Place hardly changes, but when it does, it does it in a big way."
Rocky smiled. "You don't have to worry, Azure. The Power Rangers take care of the monsters!"
Azure giggled. "I won't worry!"
"So, you lived in New York?" that was from Adam.
"Yes, barely," Azure sighed; it was better than she'd ever thought to get away from that city.
"What was it like there?"
"Smelly, noisy, full of activity. I guess you could say it was okay," Azure sighed in relief as something else occurred to her. "Just thankful I don't have to take the subway to school anymore!"
Adam grinned. "Sounds like you're glad to be back.
"I am!" Azure declared. "Anyone know any place to that teaches karate around here?"
Tommy nodded. "I teach at the Youth Center; so does Adam."
Adam flushed a trifle. "Yeah; maybe we could get together later today and spar; see how much you know."
Kat leaned over to Aisha and whispered in her ear, "Looks like Adam's lovestruck!
Aisha nodded, whispering back, "Cupid strikes again!" * * *
"Hey, Billy!" Adam waved to his friend as they met on the way home. "What's up?"
"Not much," the teenage genius replied. "What about you?"
"Man, you won't believe what happened at lunch today!"
"What is it?"
Adam was about to tell of meeting Azure, when out of nowhere appeared the Spirit Killer, along with a group of Tengas. "Man! Not now! It's morphin' time!" Luckily no one was around for this. "Black Ranger Power!"
"Blue Ranger Power!"
The two Rangers were forced to deal with both monster and Tengas, and the fight was not going well for either of them. Both Adam and Billy managed to avoid the Spirit Killer's grip, however, and were most relieved to have the other Rangers appear after only a few minutes in the fight.
However, that was where the Rangers' luck at avoiding the monster ended, as Kat was seized by the evil creature. "Let. . me. .. go. . .," the Pink Ranger cried, her voice growing weaker with each word.
Tommy tried to fight his way to Kat, only to be blocked by three Tengas. He screamed her name, then stopped as he noticed a familiar amber mist forming directly behind the monster. Amber Ranger solidified, and in that same moment, pulled Kat away from Spirit Killer, kicking the creature in the stomach and away from the Rangers.
"Amber Ranger!" Adam called out. "Good timing, again!"
"I am always here when I am needed, Adam!" the strange Ranger replied. Adam was puzzled as to how the Ranger knew his true name, but didn't have time to consider it, as four Tengas leaped on him at once. The Amber Ranger pulled out a large, wicked-looking axe, and called out, "Come, Rangers, join in the fun of battle!"
"Fun?" Rocky exchanged helmeted glances with Tommy. "I think we need to have a talk with A.R. later!"
"A.R.?" Tommy asked as he threw another Tenga into a tree.
"Amber Ranger, A.R., whatever!" the Red Ranger grinned a little.
"Power Ax!" Adam called his weapon after dealing with the Tengas and leaped towards the Spirit Killer, which was already doing battle with Amber Ranger. The Tengas had fled by now, and as the monster faced against seven armed and angry Rangers, it backed away.
"I will win in the end, Power Rangers!" it declared before vanishing. "And I will be back!"
"And we will be ready, Spirit Killer!" Amber Ranger declared. The warrior turned to the other Rangers, and raised the axe in salute. "Once again, an honor to fight by your sides, Rangers!"
"The same goes for us, A.R.," Tommy returned the salute with Saba. Amber Ranger dissolved once again into amber mist. Kat sighed.
"That is one strange Ranger," she mused.
"You can say that again!" Adam shook his head. * * *
Zedd once more was roaring in outrage. "Why is it I get all the nincompoops working for me!?!?!"
Rito laughed harshly. "Hey, that's no way to talk about Goldie!!"
"Oh, I think I'm getting one of Rita's headaches!" Zedd complained. Rita shook her head in disgust.
"Zedd, what are you going to do about that Amber Ranger?"
"I am not sure yet!" Zedd gazed angrily at the Earth; he had been sure he'd destroyed the Ranger of Kalakan thousands of years before; how had they survived? Was this even them?
"Well, it had better be good! Whoever they are, they're getting on my nerves!"
And you're getting on mine! Zedd moaned to himself. Rito chuckled in his normal annoying style.
"Hey, may be we could try to find out who the Amber Ranger is!"
Zedd threw up his hands in disgust; was this the quality of help he got these days?! "Gee, why didn't I think of that?" * * *
"Come on!" Adam urged Billy on to the Youth Center; he hoped to see Azure there. He hadn't had the chance yet to tell Billy about his meeting with her.
Billy's thoughts were distant. "I wonder who the Amber Ranger is," he muttered as he walked with Adam.
"I'm sure they'll reveal it to us, when the time is right. Although it is kind of nerve-racking not knowing if A.R. is a guy or a girl!"
"Yeah," Billy's thoughts turned from the Amber Ranger to Aura as they entered the Youth Center, dreaming over his old friend. Adam recognized the look in his eyes and sighed a little.
"Here we go again!" If just thinking about Aura did this; Adam wondered if he wanted to see what would happen when they met.
The two Rangers sat with the others at their accustomed table; no one noticed Adam keeping a casual watch on the door. A few minutes later, his vigil was rewarded when Azure and another teenager entered. Adam recognized her from the picture as Aura.
The older girl sat at the counter, and Adam noticed both the casual glance she gave their group, and the flush that stained her cheeks when she looked at Billy. Azure headed for the changing room, waving at Adam as she did so.
Kat leaned over to Adam. "Isn't that Azure?"
Adam nodded. Billy, who'd had his back towards the two girls who'd been his childhood friends, asked, "Who?" He'd only heard them saying something: not what had been said. Kat poked at him.
Billy glanced over his shoulder, and the look on his face as he recognized the girl sitting at the counter was completely and utterly priceless.
"Aura!" he breathed. Adam saw Aura's lips quirk almost in a smile, as she tried to pretend she hadn't heard him.
"Go talk to her!" Adam urged. Billy stared; then got up and walked carefully over to her.
"Um, Aura?" Billy stared at her; he couldn't help it. "Is that you?"
Aura carefully sipped her drink, then looked him in the eyes. "It's been seven years, Billy, but you still know me."
"I'd know you almost anywhere!" Billy smiled. "When did you get back into town?"
"Saturday," Aura couldn't seem to stop smiling. Billy winced a little.
"Oh, that must have been the day I was totally out of it. So, where are you guys staying, or was it you who bought the house next door?"
Aura nodded. "Yeah, we're next door again. Azure told me she'd met your friends at lunch today."
"Really?" Azure came out just then in workout clothes. "I wonder why they didn't mention it."
"I tried to," Adam said. "When we were interrupted earlier."
"Oh, okay," Billy smiled, turning back to Aura. Azure came over to Adam.
"Ready?" the younger sister asked. Adam already wore his workout clothes. He nodded, and the two of them went down to the workout area, sparring.
Aura couldn't seem to get her eyes off Billy as she drank in a sight she'd longed for every day of the past seven years. Billy turned his attention back to her. "We've got a lot to catch up on."
Aura nodded, her flush deepening a bit as she met his eyes. "Yeah." Billy motioned her to join him back with the others. As she did so, Kat noticed something around Aura's neck.
"Oh, that's weird," she tried to get a closer look. "Can I see it?"
Aura leaned over, holding out a carved silver medallion with a stone set into the center of it. "I've always had it; as far back as I can remember."
"It's cool!" Tommy looked at it. Aisha touched the stone gently. "What's that?"
"An amber," they all glanced at each other at that; thinking of the Amber Ranger. As one the same thought flashed through their minds: Is Aura the Amber Ranger?
Tommy asked casually, "When did you say you got into town, Aura?"
"Saturday morning," Aura stretched a little. "I'm still a little jet-lagged; we packed late into Friday night." A shadow crossed her eyes at the memory of the blinding headache that had overtaken her that night; she'd had another one on the plane on the way to Angel Grove.
More glances were exchanged, this time more of relief than anything else.
"I'm hungry!" Rocky declared suddenly. Kat laughed.
"You're always hungry, Rocky!"
"I'm a growing boy!" Rocky laughed. "Need my food!"
Aisha hit Rocky in the stomach. "Yeah, you're growing! Around there!" Everyone got a good laugh out of that. Aura glanced at her watch, and stood up a moment later.
"Azure!" she called to her sister. "We've got to go, Mom and Dad are expecting us home for dinner!"
Azure, startled by her sister's call, let Adam trip her up. "Oh, man!" she complained.
"You OK?" Adam asked.
"Yeah," she nodded. "But I'll be better if you get off me!"
Adam smiled and got to his feet. Aura sighed at the look she could clearly see in Azure's eyes. "The girl's got another crush!"
"Another?" Aisha raised an eyebrow.
"It doesn't happen often, but when it does, it's big!" Aura grinned.
Azure heard what was going on. "Hey, what's she blabbing about me this time?"
"Nothing but the truth" Aura teased.
"Let's get going!" Azure grinned. "Don't want the folks to get ticked at us."
Aura nodded. "Right!" She glanced casually at Billy as Adam asked, "Want some company?" with a gentle smile at Azure.
"I'd love some," was Azure's reply. Adam poked Billy in the back unobtrusively, whispering, "Come on, come with us!"
"Mind if I join you also?" Billy asked. "I need to head that way anyway!"
"Sure, come along if you must," Aura teased. Azure whispered in her sister's ear, "Flirt!"
"Learned it from you!" Aura teased back.
"Let's go!" Aura said aloud, cutting off an argument before it could get started. Together, the four of them headed for home. * * *
"It's so good to be back amongst living plants!" Azure proclaimed as they walked along.
"You like the woods, huh?" Adam asked.
Aura leaned over to Billy. "Sounds like a match made in heaven between them already!"
Ignoring her sister, Azure kept on. "I love them! I'm into the environment! And I love to camp!"
Adam smiled. "Well, there are some nice camping grounds around here, maybe we could go camping together sometime!"
"I'd like that," Azure replied. Aura shook her head, smiling, then turned to Billy.
"I'm glad to be home, Billy."
"I'm glad you're back," he smiled. "I've missed you."
Aura returned the grin. "I missed you, too," More than you'll ever know. * * *
"Oh, this is sickening!" Zedd spied on the Rangers and their friends, as usual. "They're enjoying themselves; this must stop at once! Spirit Killer, attack!" * * *
They were almost home, when suddenly Zedd's monster appeared before them. Azure's scream nearly deafened Rangers and monster alike, while Aura's reaction was totally unexpected. She grabbed two rocks and threw them both at the monster.
Adam grabbed Billy quickly and whispered, "Man, what are we going to do?"
"Get them out of here, then get rid of this thing!" Billy replied. He yelled to Aura, "Aura, Azure, run, now!"
Aura stepped off a couple of paces, then stopped. "What about you two?"
"We'll hold it off, don't worry, we'll be fine!" Adam cried out. "Now, go!"
"Let's go, Azure!" Aura grabbed her sister and started to pull her away. Azure glanced over her shoulder and called out to Adam, "Be careful!"
As they ran, Azure heard Aura muttering, "If that thing hurts Billy. . ."
"I'm sure they can handle themselves!" Azure tried to reassure her sister. Suddenly Aura tripped, and Azure saw her face creased with a familiar pain. "Aura?"
Aura spoke from between clenched teeth. "Headache. . .bad one."
"Come on, let's get you home!" * * *
"Doesn't this thing ever give up?" Billy muttered as he was thrown back by the Spirit Killer once again.
"This guy is getting on my nerves!" Adam complained as he nearly was grabbed by the four-armed creature. Only Tommy and the others arriving saved him that time.
"Him again?" the White Ranger asked needlessly. A moment later, the Spirit Killer had Tommy wrapped up in all four his arms.
"Let's see how you do without your leader, Rangers!"
Tommy screamed as the monster increased his grip. "No. . .can't. . .let. ..this. . .idiot. .. win. . .," darkness began to gather on the edge of his vision.
"Not this time, nor ever, Spirit Killer!" It was, once more the Amber Ranger, who pulled Tommy away from the monster and delivered a powerful kick to it at the same time. Tommy collapsed under a near-by tree, while Rocky, Power sword in hand, snapped, "Let's toast this creep!"
Amber Ranger's Axe appeared in their hand. "Ah, the joy of battling evil with good allies!"
"Power Blaster!" the Rangers united their weapons and aimed it at Spirit Killer, who didn't wait around long enough to have it fired at him, returning to the moon in a flash of light.
"Man," Adam shook his head as he went over to Tommy. Rocky glanced at Amber Ranger, who followed them over to the White Ranger. "Thanks, again," the Red Ranger told their strange friend.
Amber Ranger knelt by Tommy, touching his forehead with gloved fingertips. "He has been hurt worst of all those whom the Spirit Killer has attacked." Tommy's breathing had grown extremely shallow.
"We've got to get him to the Command Center, but I'm afraid that he's too weak to teleport," Adam was worried; none of them had ever been this badly hurt before.
"I can help him," Amber Ranger reached out, and the Axe appeared in their hand. "Or rather, the Axe of Kalakan can."
"Like this," Amber Ranger touched the hilt of the Axe to Tommy's forehead. "Axe of my Ancestors, heal this warrior!"
As the words were spoken, the Axe glowed suddenly. Tommy moved, and his breathing strengthened. At the same moment, Amber Ranger fell back, the Axe vanishing.
"Are you all right?" Billy asked, suddenly worried for their mystery ally.
"Yes," Amber Ranger replied, that toneless voice weak and fading. "But I mus. . ." the Ranger dissolved away into the amber mist.
"Now where did they go?" Billy wondered before turning his attention back to Tommy.
"He's breathing," Adam reported. "Let's teleport him back to the Command Center." He glanced over to where Amber Ranger had vanished from. "Wherever it is they go, I hope A.R.'s all right."
"Same here!" that was echoed by Kat and all the Rangers. * * *
Tommy, like all the Rangers, was a fast healer, thanks to his powers, but this was still going to take time. "What happened?" he asked weakly.
"I'll give you three guesses, and the first two don't count," Adam said dryly.
"Spirit Killer," Tommy conjectured. "And A.R. saved us again."
Billy nodded. "Yeah. It hurt you extremely badly."
Tommy nodded. "I can feel it."
"A.R. saved your life, I think," Aisha mused. Alpha was running scans over Tommy, then the little droid gave his diagnosis.
"You may want to call in sick tomorrow; you'll need your rest."
Tommy nodded. "I'm exhausted!" He looked at the others. "Did you find out anything more about A.R.?"
Billy nodded. "That Axe of theirs can heal, but the energy must come from A.R., since they nearly passed out after helping you."
Tommy's eyes widened. "Woah. ...we've said it: that is one strange Ranger!"
RANGERS, GO HOME AND REST. ZEDD WILL NOT HESITATE TO USE SPIRIT KILLER AGAIN. The Rangers nodded in agreement to each other.
"We need to finish off that thing; I'm tired of it showing up!!!" was Rocky's comment.
Adam agreed. "Me, too. It would've gotten Azure and Aura if we hadn't gotten them out of there!"
Billy actually slapped his head. "We need to go see if they are OK. If Rita and Zedd know we like them, no telling what kind of trouble they could cause for us!"
Adam nodded. "Let's go!" * * *
Azure closed the door to Aura's room softly; she was sleeping soundly. She sighed; Aura's headaches worried the whole family, but no one ever really mentioned it out loud.
A knock came from the front door; she quickly ran down before the sound woke up Aura. Billy and Adam were outside, looking none the worst for wear from having faced off with that monster.
Azure smiled and whispered, "Hey!"
Billy nodded and said, his voice a normal tone, "We came to see if you guys got home all right."
Adam smiled. "Hi, Azure!"
Azure raised a finger to her lips. "Shhh. Aura is having one of her headaches."
Billy frowned. "Headaches?"
Azure stepped outside and shut the door, then sat on the porch swing. Adam, after exchanging glances with Billy, sat next to her. "She never told you?" Azure raised an eyebrow in query.
"Never," Billy looked up at the room he knew was Aura's; she'd kept very little from him in all their years as friends.
"She stared getting them a couple of years ago."
"Is she all right?" Billy wondered.
"Yeah, the most they last is a couple of hours or so," Azure told him.
"Has she tried to get help?" Adam wondered.
Azure nodded. "The doctors can't explain it; they've done all kinds of tests; but can't figure anything out. Don't let her know I told you; she doesn't like to talk about them."
Billy nodded. "I wonder why she didn't tell me, though."
"Probably didn't want to worry you," Azure suggested. Billy nodded again.
"I guess not," Billy glanced up again at the window, and hoped with all his heart Aura would be all right. * * *
Zedd watched what was happening on Earth with extreme and evil interest. "So," he considered. "The Black and Blue Rangers are in love with those two sisters. This could work to our advantage!"
Rita looked sick. "I hate love!" she groaned.
"I know," Zedd nodded his agreement. "Well, we'll see how those two deal with their little girlfriends being attacked and destroyed by our Spirit Killer!"
Rita's wicked laughter echoed throughout the lunar palace. "The Rangers will learn they can't protect anyone: not even those they love the most!"
"And the world will be ours to destroy!" * * *
The next afternoon, as Aura and Azure headed home from school, Azure kept a careful eye on her sister. "How's your head?" she asked.
"No different from when you asked me that about a minute ago," Aura replied, sighing a little. "It's just a headache, Azure! I'm not dying or anything!"
Azure didn't know whether to agree with her sister right then or strangle her for not taking the headaches as seriously as they might have to be taken. She settled for a different complaint. "Man, I could go for some chocolate right about now!"
"You and your sweet tooth," Aura giggled, glad of the chance to change the subject. Azure's hyperness wasn't contagious, at least she was thankful for that much.
"Man, I need to burn off some energy!" Azure started jumping around, doing flips and kicks. One of those flips landed her right in front of a four-armed monstrosity both of them remembered from the day before.
"How about a few rounds with me, girls!" Spirit Killer reached for Azure, who dodged out of the way quickly.
"I thought the Rangers took care of that thing yesterday!" Azure jumped to one side as the monster tried to grab her again.
"Guess not!" Aura threw her bookbag at the monster. Azure flipped over to where her sister was. "Let's get out of here!" was the only thing Azure had time to say before the creature grabbed her firmly.
"No way, little girl!" it hissed. Aura leaped at the monster, beating and kicking with all her strength.
"Leave my sister alone!" she roared, though it was nearly drowned out by the high-pitched scream Azure let loose at the same moment. Apparently someone was listening to them both, for moments later, the Power Rangers were there. The White Ranger pointed at the monster, his sword in his hand. "I think you can leave these two alone now! The Power Rangers are here!"
"I was having a great time, White Ranger, until you interrupted it!" Azure fell to the ground, got up to her feet in the same moment, and proceeded to set a land-speed record for getting out of the way of an imminent battle.
Aura, however, was still there, throwing rocks at the creature. Few people had seen this fiercely protective side of her nature. Once her temper was roused, it wasn't easy to settle back down; and this creature had just pushed all her buttons on the wrong day.
"Miss!" Black Ranger landed next to her. "You might want to get out of here; this is not a safe place."
It suddenly sank into Aura's brain just what she was doing, and a moment later, had surpassed her sister's speed-record for leaving a battle-site. As she passed out of sight of the battle, she sank to her knees in sudden pain as another blinding headache tore into her skull. * * *
"Oh, man, we really need some help on this!" Kat groaned as once more she was thrown to the side by Spirit Killer. "Where's Amber Ranger when we need him, her, whatever!"
"Should the Rangers need help from me, they have only to call for me, Katherine!" Amber Ranger was there.
"Just in time," Adam looked away from his fight, and that nearly proved a fatal mistake, as the monster seized him. "Ahhh!!!" he screamed as it began to squeeze the very life from him.
"As I have said before, your evil shall never prevail so long as a single Ranger stands against you!" Amber Ranger's Axe bit into the monster's shoulder, forcing it to drop the Black Ranger.
"This will be the last time I fight you Rangers, for you shall all perish!" Spirit Killer declared as lightning came from the skies to make it grow.
"This is where we take over, A.R.," Tommy declared. "We'll take care of this thing."
Amber Ranger stood to the side as the others called their Zords, uniting into the NinjaMegaFalconZord. But even this didn't seem to faze the now fifty-feet-tall monster. "I told you that you will perish!" Spirit Killer gloated as it stood over them, ready to deliver the final blow.
"Never!" this came from Amber Ranger. Rangers and monster alike looked around for the strange warrior, only to see a magnificent amber-colored EagleZord coming down out of the sky, talons outstretched. Missiles and lasers shot towards the Spirit Killer, and had the effect on the monster that every weapon the MegaFalconZord had tried didn't.
"How come their weapons can pierce it, when we didn't even make a dent!" Rocky complained.
"Running scans now," Billy was just as curious as Rocky. Moments later, as the Spirit Killer and EagleZord fought, with the Zord raking the monster with talons and laser fire alike, he had his answer. "Oh, man!"
"What is it, Billy?" Tommy asked as he righted them.
"Guys, A.R.'s weaponry is on the average about four times more powerful than ours, and has a power source I can't identify!"
"My weapons are charged from the Heart of Kalakan and the oath that all Amber Rangers have upheld to defend it," Amber Ranger could obviously hear them. "So long as that oath is kept and Kalakan exists, I exist. Now, let us join together in wiping this monstrosity from the face of the clean Earth!"
The seven Rangers fired at once, and with the beating it had already taken from A.R.'s Zord, Spirit Killer stood no chance whatsoever. It exploded in a magnificent display of lights, sound, and color.
"The creature has been destroyed!" Amber Ranger's voice, even in victory, was as neutral as it had always been. "It has truly been an honor to fight with you, Power Rangers."
"You-you're not leaving, are you, A.R.?" Rocky was amazed to find his voice shaking.
"Only for the moment, Red Ranger," A.R. replied. "But should you need me again: know that I will be here."
"Thank you, Amber Ranger," Tommy said formally. "It is an honor to know you."
"I am honored as well, Tommy."
"How do you know who we are, Amber Ranger?" Billy had to know.
"I do not know, anymore than I know who I am," the toneless voice somehow managed to sound a trifle sad. "Farewell, Rangers."
In that moment, Amber Ranger and their EagleZord dissolved back into amber mist. The Rangers exchanged almost sad glances. "We've got a new friend," Tommy said.
"A new ally," Billy added.
"Someone who just might need our help as much as we need theirs," Rocky continued. "If they don't even know who they are."
"Well, we do know this: we've got help in this war now," Kat sighed, then grinned. "And that's going to make Rita and Zedd hopping mad!" * * *
"NO!" Zedd exploded. "They destroyed my Spirit Killer!"
Rita moaned, "I'm getting a headache!" She stared at Zedd for a moment. "This is all your fault, Zedd, if you hadn't taken care of the Amber Ranger all those years ago on Kalakan, we wouldn't have to deal with them now!"
"I did take care of Neras!" Zedd roared. "I don't know who the Amber Ranger we face now is, but this I swear: that Amber Ranger will bow before me or die!"
He reconsidered. "Perhaps even both."
"How ya gonna do that, Ed?" Rito stared stupidly at them both.
"That's Zedd!" the Emperor of Evil roared.
"Oh, stop the screaming, Zedd," Rita snapped suddenly. She left the throne room and returned a moment later, with a box in her hands. She opened it to display the contents, and smiled coldly. "This is how we can do it, Zedd. With these: the Amber Ranger will be ours."
Evil laughter echoed in the Lunar Palace as Zedd looked inside the box. "Now all that remains is to discover the Amber Ranger's true identity."