Rita and Zedd entered the fueling station, both still fuming over their recent defeat by the Power Rangers. It hadn't really been the Rangers, but one of their own clones, who had turned against them. Zedd had hardly spoken since they left Earth, preferring to fume in silence.
The station's restaurant was populated by various scum from all over the galaxy. Rita saw a couple of Cogs from the Machine Empire in a corner, arguing in monotonous tones over who was going to pay for the oil they'd consumed, and just to one side were three of General Havoc's Chromites, watching as their master casually tormented a cobra for fun.
"Well, well, well, if it isn't Rita and Zedd!" the voice was low, chilling, and almost exotic. It came from a tall, well-built humanoid, with short-cropped dark hair and cold green eyes.
"Of course it's us," Rita snapped. "What do you want, Galan?"
Galan chuckled softly as he glanced from one of them to the other. Noticing Zedd's bad mood, he asked, "What's eating him?"
"A clone we made of one of our enemies turned on us," Rita sighed in disgust. Galan shook his head.
"Another one of Finster's creations? He never has been good at clones, has he?"
Rita growled, "He's not good at anything!" If Finster wasn't so slavishly loyal, she would have fired him eons ago. Loyalty like his was hard to come by, though.
"Blasted Amber Ranger," Zedd mumbled to himself. There was something going on inside his head, something he was trying to remember, something that teased his mind, just out of the corner of awareness. Something to do with Aura. The Amber Ranger. What is it?
"Did you just say. . .Amber Ranger?" Galan's voice, already low, went even lower. Galan had another name by which he went: the Amber Ranger Hunter.
Rita groaned; she hated even the mention of the Amber Ranger! "Yes, he did! The latest one's a real pain, too!"
"How did the Amber Rangers survive?" Galan asked. "I thought Kalakan was destroyed!"
"The Spirit of Earth accepted the new one's oath," Zedd spat the words out. Galan ground his teeth in fury; he had dedicated his very existence to stamping out the Alanatrius line. Zedd considered it a mere hobby; to Galan, it was the reason he lived.
"Damn," he muttered. "This time I will destroy the Amber Ranger! Where did you say the newest one is?"
"Earth," Zedd told him. "Feel free, go ahead, make a fool of yourself!" it was obvious Zedd was still in a bad mood, and the fact he seemed to have a blank spot in his memory made it even worse.
"I have destroyed plenty of Amber Rangers in my time!" Galan reminded him. Indeed, he alone had killed more than twenty of the chosen warriors, and he knew their strengths and weakness like none other in the universe. "More than can be said about you! All you did was kill Neras: by shooting him in the back!" It was a point of honor with Galan that all the Amber Rangers he had killed had been in face to face combat.
"At least he's dead," Zedd retorted. As he spoke the words, the strange blank spot faded, and he remembered. Aura! It was her! All those years ago on Kalakan, that was her: the current Amber Ranger, who I spent the most delicious month of my life torturing! The Spirit of Earth must have sent her back in time! I remember her now! Why couldn't I before? He laughed suddenly, remembering how passionate she had been under his love potion's sway. Until she remembered that blasted Billy! He was surprised to discover he still cared for her, and smiled to himself. I swore once to have her, and I will. But in good time. I want to plan this one, carefully. Oh, so very carefully. But Galan could be a problem. Ah, I know how to deal with him.
"What is it?" the Amber Ranger Hunter asked. Zedd covered it quickly, giving one of his best evil grins.
"Nothing, just a good memory!" Galan looked at him, frowning.
"Rita, your husband has gone insane!" he observed. Rita glared equally at the two men.
"You noticed," she said dryly. Zedd chuckled a little more, time to set things in motion.
"If you want to go after the Amber Ranger, be my guest!" he snarled. I only wish I could be there to see her grind you into powder!
"I will," Galan stood up. "And as I have those before this one, I will destroy the Amber Ranger!"
Rita snorted in contempt; while Zedd merely said. "Let us know if you do!" So I can destroy you personally if you actually DO defeat her!
"I will," Galan promised. "By the way, I have a new chief warrior."
Zedd raised what would have been an eyebrow if he still had them. "Really?"
"Who was stup. . .lucky enough to get the job?" Rita wondered. Galan was one of the few servants of evil she actually respected, though she would never admit it out loud.
"A former employee of yours," he told them. "Scorpina."
Rita laughed; Scorpina had left the Lunar Palace shortly after Zedd's arrival, returning only briefly for one special mission for him. The evil sorceress had always wondered what had happened to her after that. "Talk about losers!"
"She's a better fighter than Goldar," Galan stated flatly. Zedd and Rita weren't going to argue much there, of course. Goldar had lost too many fights for them to say anything!
"True," Zedd agreed. "Goldar kept being beaten by the latest Amber Ranger!" And that's been going on longer than you could imagine!
"He could be beaten by a guppy!" Galan declared. Rita agreed, then Galan started for the door. "We shall see who is victorious. Now I must take my leave of you. My traveling companion and I are off to Earth!"
"Good luck," Zedd wished him. "And good riddance!"
"You haven't changed," Galan chuckled. "Not since you lost your skin!"
"At least I still have my brain, unlike some people I know!" Zedd reminded him. Galan glanced back just before he left.
"Stop insulting your brother-in-law."
As the waitress came to take their order, Zedd found himself in the best mood he'd been in for over fifty thousand years. He would return to Earth, to claim what and who he'd wanted for so very long. But only when he deemed the time was right. Only when he was ready.
And when Aura wasn't.
Scorpina was practicing her battle maneuvers against some of Galan's lizard-like Zalic warriors when her master entered the training rink. At his gesture, the Zalics fell back, and he came over to her. "Scorpina, how would you like to go back to Earth?"
"What for?" she asked, banishing her stinger-like sword. She'd enjoyed herself since coming to work for him; the Zalics were actually worthy fighters, unlike Zedd and Rita's Tengas.
"An old nemesis of mine has resurfaced, after some fifty thousand years. I want the line stopped," he growled. It was the greatest of insults to him that the Amber Ranger had returned.
"The Amber Ranger," he told her. "I will destroy them this time! Completely!"
Scorpina remembered a message she'd received from Goldar a few months earlier, about the latest Power Ranger on Earth. "When do we leave?"
"When the ship is refueled and refitted," Galan told her. "And I have a very special surprise in mind for this Amber Ranger."
"Oh?" she smiled. "A nasty surprise, I hope?"
"The very nastiest," he chuckled. "This will destroy the line of the Amber Rangers forever!"
Scorpina laughed. "Excellent!"
Galan turned away, returning to his quarters. He smiled to himself.
The Amber Ranger will die. In the most hideous of agonies.
A year later, Earth
Aura lay on her stomach in the park, her feet up in the air, looking for all the world as if she were twelve instead of twenty. A short distance away, Adam and Billy were sparring. They were expecting Azure to join them in a few minutes, once she'd gotten back from the post office.
"It's nice to have a day to ourselves," she said, smiling. "I love the twins, but they are a handful!"
Billy and Adam finished their sparring match and sat next to Aura as Azure came running up. "Hey, guys!" she said as she kissed Adam. Aura chuckled to herself.
"They still act like newlyweds," she grinned as she wrapped an arm around Billy. "But then again, so do we!"
Azure smiled at her sister as she sat next to Adam. "This is a perfect day."
The older girl agreed. "The most perfect day we've had in a long time!"
Ever since I got back and Rita and Zedd left, we've had nothing but peace. Peace. What a wonderful word. Aura couldn't help but take a deep, cleansing breath. Things had finally started to go smoothly in their lives. Azure cleared her throat and held up a letter suddenly.
"I got the part!" she announced. They all sat up, Azure had been auditioning for a musical to be held in the Angel Grove Theater in a few months. She hadn't really expected to get it, even though Aura and Adam had both encouraged her to try for it.
Aura laughed and smiled. "Great!"
"Really?" Adam looked every bit as happy as Azure was as he hugged her intensely. Azure smiled. "Which means, I'm going to be spending a lot of time at rehearsals."
Adam frowned a little. "Less time with me?" he pouted, smiling a trifle to let Azure know he was teasing.
"Adam, you knew this when I auditioned for the part!"
"I know," he giggled. "I was just teasing you!" Azure leaned over and kissed him as Aura sighed dramatically.
"Those two. .. they're almost as sickeningly in love as we are!" she laughed as Billy held her tightly against his strong chest.
"Sometimes, they're worse!" he told her. Aura leaned against him, a smile on her lips.
"Nothing can spoil this perfect moment," she sighed happily. "Nothing at all."
"Rrrangerrrssss," the hissing voice startled Aura, Adam, and Billy all to their feet. They looked around to see a dozen lizard-like creatures not far away, hissing and spitting at them.
"What are those?" Aura was at once on the alert, ready to morph and fight at a moment's notice. Some part of her mind realized Azure was there, therefore Azure was in danger. "Azure, get out of here, now!"
Azure rolled her eyes and hit her communicator, teleporting to the Command Center. Adam frowned a little, muttering to himself, "What was that all about?"
"Dunno, but those things look like trouble," Aura kept a careful eye on the creatures. "That's why I wanted her out of here!!"
"Time to die!" one of the creatures hissed. Aura looked at them; they looked like nothing she'd ever seen before in her life!
"What are you things?" she wondered. Billy was also examining them with his usual careful eye.
"They look like humanoid lizards," he observed. Adam had a horrible thought.
"You don't think Zedd is back, do you?" he wondered aloud. Aura managed to conceal her horror at that question.
"Who knows," she shrugged. "Let's kick some lizard!"
One of the things lurched closer towards them. "Rrrrangerrrrsss musssst die! Amberrrr Rrrrangerrrrr musssst be dessstrrrroyed!"
Aura's eyes widened. "Did. . .did he say what I think he said?"
Adam had heard it too, and confirmed it, while Billy swore viscously. Aura was very annoyed, to say the least! "What is it with evil aliens and wanting to get rid of me?"
"Think we should call in the others?" Adam wondered. Aura shook her head.
"Let's see how good these things are first!" Adam nodded and the three of them headed into the fight, hoping they wouldn't have to call on their powers for it. That assumption was wrong, however, when the lizard-creatures defeated them: soundly. Aura managed to get to her feet. "I think we need to call the others.. . or morph," was her comment.
Billy nodded, as he was thrown into a tree. "How about both?" Aura nodded. "Sounds good to me!" she morphed a moment later, as Adam called for the rest of the team, then he and Billy both morphed. For instincts and a good many skills not used in nearly a year, all three of them were in good shape.
"Thanks for getting Azure out here," Adam told Aura as they prepared for the second round of battle.
"Hey, she's my sister, it's my job!" the Amber Ranger smiled to herself. She'd just been glad Azure had taken her advice and left. What happened next startled all three of them, however. The lizard-things were staring at Aura! Not at the others: just at her.
"Herrrrr? Sssshe'ssss the Amberrrr Rrrangerrrr?" one of them stared in what could only be described as awe.
"What, you didn't know?" Aura stared back, in confusion on her part. The creature shook it's head.
"So it's not Zedd," Adam wasn't sure to be relieved or not by this. "Who is it?"
Aura growled, "Whoever it is, they're gonna find out this Amber Ranger is more than they can handle!"
A moment later, the rest of the team showed up, already morphed and ready for action. "Azure's got the kids at the Command Center," Rocky reported. Aura nodded.
"Thanks, Rocky. These guys are after me and frankly, I'm sick of it!"
The Red Ranger grinned under his helmet. "Then let's smash them!" No one bothered one of his friends!
Aura cracked her knuckles loudly. "Let's do it!" No one interrupts my peace and gets away with it!
The battle that ensued after that was long, drawn-out, and painful to
both sides, but in the end, the Power Rangers had won: barely. The lizard-things
vanished, with one of them hissing a promise to return to Aura, whose only
reply was, "Promises, promises."
As the Zalic warriors reappeared on Galan's ship, he raised an eyebrow in question. "Well?" he seriously doubted they'd destroyed the Amber Ranger; those of that blood were simply too well trained for that.
"Maaaasssteeer," the Zalic leader hissed. "We met the Ammmmmbeerrr Rannnngeerrrr."
Galan resisted the impulse to snarl at them; that was what he'd sent them for! "Well?" he repeated. His Zalics were smarter than Putties or Tengas; but they still had their limits.
"Sheeee fights well," he reported. Scorpina chuckled; she remembered what Goldar had told her in his letters.
"I could have told you that!" the scorpion-warrior couldn't help but be amused at these creatures. Galan looked at her, frowning.
"Why didn't you tell me the current Amber Ranger is a woman?"
Scorpina's eyes widened a trifle. "I thought you knew!"
"Well, I didn't," Galan's jaw tightened; Rita and Zedd hadn't informed him of that fact.
"Does it matter?" Scorpina hoped he didn't have something against killing females. Her hope was fulfilled when he shook his head.
"No, it's just very rare that the Amber Ranger is female," he told her. In thirty-five generations, only ten of them had been female. They had been just as worthy opponents as their male counterparts had been, indeed some had been even better. He relished those kills.
"She can die, just like any other Amber Ranger!" Scorpina wanted confirmation on his determination to kill the latest Amber Ranger.
"Yes, she can," Galan nodded sharply. "How long til we reach Rita and Zedd's former palace?"
Scorpina glanced over the ship's instruments. "An hour."
Her master started out of the bridge. "Let me know when we get
there. I'll be in my quarters; I must prepare for the Amber Ranger's destruction!"
It has taken me a year, but at last the spell that will be this Amber
Ranger's downfall is ready! Male or female, young or old, she will perish!
And the Alantrius line will end forever!
When the Rangers teleported into the Command Center, Azure was still there, with Alexander in her arms and a worried expression on her face. As Aura demorphed, it was plain to see she was not in the slightest of good moods. "That was not fun! Not the least little bit of fun! What I want to know is, why do these bad guys always want to kill me?"
That was not fun! I've had fun ... that was not it!
"Zordon, what were those things?" Adam asked as the rest of the team demorphed. He went over to Azure, putting an arm around her. He knew of all of them, she was the one who would be taking this the absolute worst. She'd never liked the danger they'd been in due to their position as Rangers, but had dealt with it. This new threat, after almost a full year of peace, was going to be hard on her.
THEY ARE ZALICS, Zordon told them. THE PERSONAL WARRIORS OF GALAN THE HUNTER.
Billy frowned. "Why would this Galan guy want Aura dead?"
HE HAS KILLED TEN AMBER RANGERS IN HIS TIME. HE HATES THE AMBER RANGER LINE, AND WILL DO WHATEVER HE HAS TO IN ORDER TO DESTROY IT.
Azure was staring at Aura, mouth closed and eyes troubled. Aura glanced over at her. "Azure, is everything all right?"
"Yeah, I'm just a little worried about you," she said softly. Zordon had told her of Galan while they'd waited for the Rangers to return, and she had a sixth sense this guy was going to be serious trouble for her sister.
"Hey, if I can survive Billy's cooking, I can survive anything!" a smile teased at the corners of Aura's mouth. Billy protested, only to have Aura remind him, "Billy, when you cooked breakfast last week, it got up and ran out the door!" That should teach him not to do his experiments in the kitchen, too! As Billy blushed in embarrassment, Aura smiled, enjoying his discomfort. "Didn't think I'd tell anyone that, did you?!"
That was a definite tension-breaker as everyone chuckled over Billy's kitchen ineptitude. Azure glanced at her watch suddenly. "Man, I've got to get going! I have a meeting with the producer!" she handed Alexander to his father, then teleported out a moment later. As she did so, Aura looked up at Zordon.
"Zordon, this guy, Galan, what does he have against my family?"
MANY THOUSANDS OF YEARS AGO, WHEN GALAN WAS JUST A TEENAGER, HIS FATHER DAREK ATTACKED KALAKAN. A BLACKSMITH FROM ONE VILLAGE FOUGHT BRAVELY AND WELL AGAINST HIM, AND IN RETURN FOR HIS SERVICE, THE SPIRIT OF KALAKAN OFFERED TO LANDROS ALANATRIUS THE POWERS OF THE FIRST AMBER RANGER. HE BECAME YOUR ANCESTOR, AURA, AND IN HIS FIRST BATTLE AGAINST DAREK AS THE AMBER RANGER, LANDROS KILLED HIM. GALAN WAS VERY CLOSE TO HIS FATHER, AND TOOK IT UPON HIMSELF TO MAKE SURE THAT THERE WOULD BE NO MORE AMBER RANGERS.
Aura looked at her son, held in Billy's arms. No more Amber Rangers. If he lays a hand on my son, he'll taste my Ax just as harshly as his father did! "This isn't good," was all she said out loud, though.
UNTIL GALAN IS DEALT WITH, WE WILL KEEP A TIGHT SENSOR LOCK ON BOTH YOU AND YOUR CHILDREN.
"Thanks, Zordon," Aura nodded. "This guy sounds like trouble."
Billy looked down at the cheery face of Alexander in his arms. "I don't think I could stand losing my son, or my wife," he said, looking from Alex to Aura. "Again," he whispered, remembering with utter clarity that hideous time when Aura had been Zedd's captive. She came over to him and laid a gentle kiss on his cheek.
"I'm not going anywhere, Billy, and neither are the children," she reassured him. Never again.
"I know," Billy smiled at her, and returned her kiss. I
love her so much. Galan, whoever, whatever, wherever you are, you can't
take her away from me. You won't. By all that's holy, I swear that!
Rocky, Kat, and Aura took the twins to the park after Zordon dismissed them from the Command Center; nothing could be done until Galan made another move. Billy was working with Alpha at the Command Center, setting up the sensor locks on Aura and the twins, and had told them he'd join them once they were properly fixed up.
Aura leaned against a tree, watching Rocky give Alexander a piggy back ride up and down the park. She closed her eyes, hoping that when she opened them, it would all be a bad dream, and no one would be trying to kill her or her children. Kat sighed; noticing Aura was upset. The two of them had grown close over the past year, almost as close as Aura and Azure were.
"Kat, did you ever have the feeling people wanted to kill you constantly?"
The Australian girl nodded. "Just Rita and Zedd, though. Mostly Rita." Aura knew all the stories of the Power Rangers; Billy had told her everything that had happened before she joined the team.
"Not a good feeling, is it?" Aura mused. She already knew the answer to that, even before Kat shook her head to agree. It was never a good feeling to know people wanted you dead.
"Rrrrranngerrrsss," a hissing voice declared. Aura, Kat, and Rocky all looked up to see a small clump of Zalics, Scorpina, and a man none of them recognized standing on a small hill not too far away.
"Oh, not these things again!" Aura sighed; a year of peace, now two attacks within an hour of each other!
"These are them?" the man asked, raising an eyebrow as he directed the question towards the Zalics. One of them nodded and Scorpina raised her scorpion-stinger, pointing at Aura. "That's the Amber Ranger, my lord Galan!"
Aura's eyes flashed with anger. "Oh, great, point me out to the guy that wants to kill me!"
Galan let out a small chuckle. "This should be easy," he looked to see just which one of them Scorpina was pointing at. . .and stared. His eyes widened, his jaw literally dropped.
Oh, no. This is not happening to me again. It was bad enough with Zedd in Kalakan's past; I can't take this again! If this is some sort of cosmic joke, I don't find it very funny! Aura hit her communicator, she knew they were going to need help on this, and she wanted Billy very near her if this Galan had on his mind what he seemed to. "Guys, trouble in the park!"
"We're on our way!" Adam's voice responded, then a moment later, all the other Rangers were there. "Fast enough?" the Black Ranger asked, a small smile on his lips.
Aura couldn't help but giggle and nod in response. She noticed Galan was still staring at her, that same expression in his eyes, and it annoyed her.
"Would you stop staring at me!" she snapped, more upset by his staring now than by the fact he wanted to kill her! Someone seeking her death she could handle, there was nothing to that. But this. . .if it was what she wanted it not to be, that was going to cause some serious problems.
Galan looked over at Scorpina. "It's your call," he told her. She was his chief servant; he wanted to see how she reacted in something like this. Adam noticed who stood next to him and rolled his eyes in disgust.
"Great," he still remembered the first, last, and only time he'd ever met Scorpina, and he did not like her in the slightest.
Scorpina hadn't missed the way Galan had stared at Aura and roared her orders to the Zalics. "Kill them!"
"It's morphin' time!" Tommy ordered, and the battle was joined. Galan and Scorpina watched from the hill, and Galan's eyes never left Aura for a second. Even as the Rangers pushed the Zalics back up the hill and sent them running, he watched her.
"Next time, Rangers," he smiled at Aura, an expression filled not with the desire to kill: but the desire to possess. A moment later, he and his troops had vanished. Aura shivered, heart pounding.
"Oh, man. Please don't let him be thinking what I think he is!" she moaned. Billy demorphed and nodded.
"He'd better not be!"
As Aura demorphed, she leaned against Billy, shaking a little. "What is it about me that makes them all like that?" she wanted to know. She had the sudden sinking suspicion this was going to be a lot worse than what Zedd had been like: a lot worse.
Billy put this arm around her and smiled a quirky little smile. "You have to ask me that?" I'm in love with her, the most wonderful woman in the cosmos, and she has to ask me that?
Aura smiled and kissed him gently. "I guess not."
Galan and Scorpina entered what had been Zedd and Rita's palace. Galan glanced around the throne room and shook his head in disgust. "What a dump!" he declared. There was dust and decay everywhere; it was absolutely disgusting.
"He liked it like this," Scorpina shrugged. She didn't care much what the place looked like; her goals were simple: destroy the Rangers. Galan snapped his fingers and the entire place was redecorated in what was known on Earth as the "Renaissance style".
"Much better," he nodded approvingly as he took his place on the now much more comfortable throne. Scorpina shrugged again.
"I like it," it was best to be agreeable with her master. "So, how shall we destroy the Amber Ranger, sire?"
"By destroying her friends," Galan was somewhat reluctant as he said that. When he'd seen the Amber Ranger, it had stirred up something in him he'd never thought he could feel. He had believed for thousands of years that his capacity to love had died when his father did. "I don't know," he sighed a little.
"Sire?" Scorpina frowned; she didn't like the way this was going in the slightest! "Is something wrong?"
Galan glanced down at the Earth. "I am not sure, Scorpina. But I think I'm falling for the Amber Ranger."
"What?" Scorpina did not believe her ears! Galan stared at her evilly.
"You heard me!"
"Bu-but I thought you hated her entire family! An hour ago, you were plotting to kill her!"
Galan nodded. "I know, I can't figure it out!"
"Sire, her ancestor killed your father, remember?" Scorpina tried to get his mind back on the real reason they'd come to Earth in the first place, the only reason they'd come to Earth.
"I know," Galan nodded. "That is why I'm so confused. Part of me wants her as my bride, the other wants her dead!" I've never felt like this before. This is so strange. Could my love be my enemy? My enemy my love?
"I just want her dead," Scorpina muttered. She had never told Galan, she would never tell him, but she found him quite attractive. This attraction of his to the Amber Ranger threatened not only her just beginning campaign to get him to fall in love with her, but their entire purpose for coming to this hideous world of Earth! She watched as Galan set up the crystal he used for watching Earth, then tried again. "She wouldn't hesitate to kill you, sire."
Galan watched as a pair of Zalics brought in a box, then opened it once they'd put it down. From within he pulled out a walking stick carved from a crooked tree and leaned it against the wall where he could see it. "I do miss you, Father," he said softly. He looked over at Scorpina and nodded. "I know."
"So just kill her and you won't have to worry about it anymore," Scorpina preferred the simple methods to deal with problems. Galan turned towards his crystal and tuned it into the Rangers, watching as they continued their outing in the park.
"Maybe we should destroy the Rangers," he mused. "That would make her easier to destroy," I must keep my mind on business; it's not love, just a reaction to her beauty. Lust is so much easier to deal with. "She'd be an emotional mess then."
"Yes, sire," Scorpina nodded. "Which one first?"
Galan watched as the Amber Ranger, Aura, kissed one of the other Rangers. There was real love in the way they looked at each other. "Him," his voice was thick with jealousy.
Scorpina nodded. "The Blue Ranger shall fall first, then." And that will be a pure pleasure.
"That he shall," Galan nodded agreement. "Attack him when he is alone, apart from the others, and do not fail to destroy him!"
"I will not fail you, sire!"
"You had better not," he warned her. "If you do: you will regret it."
The words were mild, but the look in his eyes promised far worse punishments
than anything Zedd or Rita had ever threatened anyone with. Scorpina felt,
for the first time in her long life, true fear.
Two nervous days passed, with all the Rangers keeping an eye out for Galan, Scorpina, or anything that even resembled a Zalic. Neither Aura nor the twins were left alone for a second; not wanting to risk whatever Galan might have in mind.
During one walk in the park, Aura glanced over at her sister, who was yawning rather hugely. "What's wrong, honey?" Adam asked, also noticing how tired she was. "Is it just the rehearsals?" Azure was hard at work learning the songs and practicing for the show. She nodded and smiled a little to reassure her family, not wanting them to worry about her.
Aura sighed a little. "I hope we don't ever hear from Galan again," the way he'd been looking at her had haunted her thoughts for the past two days. Azure nodded as she leaned against Adam.
"You're not the only one," she murmured. Adam encircled her with one arm and kissed her lightly on the top of the head.
"I love you, Azure," he whispered. "You know that, don't you?"
Azure smiled and nodded, then kissed him in her own turn. Despite the peacefulness of the park, Aura and Billy couldn't get their minds away from Galan. This was the first time in their almost two years of marriage anyone had even looked at either of them that way. Aura shivered in memory yet again.
"I did not like the way he was looking at me, not in the slightest," she said half-aloud, half to herself. Billy nodded.
"I just want to wring his neck if he looks at you like that, or in any way ever again!"
Aura leaned against him, smiling. "My overprotective husband," she chuckled a little. She glanced at her watch suddenly. "I've got to get back to the house! It's time for the twins' dinner! If I let Rocky feed them, he'll stuff them til they burst!"
"I'll be there soon!" Billy promised. Aura waved and ran off down to their house, secure in the knowledge of the Command Center's permanent lock on her and her children.
Billy watched her go, smiling. All cheer vanished, however, when Scorpina and a troop of Zalics appeared just a few feet away from them. "Hello, Rangers!" she waved a mocking salute to Adam as she did so. Adam swore, then turned to Azure quickly.
"Get to the Command Center," he told her; not even really having to. Old instincts died hard, and she was out of there a moment later. Adam turned his attention back to the fighting; knowing his wife was safe improved his battle prowess dramatically. "It's morphin' time!" he declared. Seconds later, the full team stood there, teleporting in from all over Angel Grove. It was obvious Aura was not in a good mood over this, either.
"If my kids go hungry because of you, Scorpina, you're going to pay!" she snapped. No one interrupted her kids' feeding time!
"I wouldn't be so worried about those brats! It's him you should be concerned for!" Scorpina launched her attack on Billy directly. After two days of no luck finding him alone, Galan had simply told her to take the first available opportunity to get him out of the way.
The Rangers were doing all within their power to fight off the Zalics, but it was obvious Billy was getting the brunt of the battle. Five Zalics and Scorpina had him surrounded, and were doing all they could to beat him into the ground. Adam raced over there, kicking Zalics to both sides as he came to his friend's rescue. "I don't think so," he snarled, helping Billy to his feet.
"Thanks for the help, Adam," Billy nodded as he called out for his Power Lance and started to seriously battle with Scorpina, along with Adam's help.
"No problem," the Black Ranger assured him. "No problem at all!"
Scorpina was shoved back, along with the Zalics, and as Aura headed over to join her husband and friend, murder evident in the way she held her Ax, Scorpina showed uncommonly good sense and teleported away, taking the lizard warriors with her. As the Rangers demorphed, Aura looked at Billy with fear in her eyes.
"She went after you, personally," the Amber Ranger said softly. She didn't like people who made attempts on her husband's life.
"I know," Billy knew Aura's temper better than anyone in the world. "But she didn't get me."
Aura draped an arm around him, smiling. "Come on, you're going
to help me feed the twins. I don't think either of us should let the other
one out of their sight," she kissed him on the tip of his nose. "Then
again, I love looking at you anyway!"
Scorpina returned to Galan's palace, fuming at the defeat she'd been handed yet again by the Power Rangers. This was getting absolutely embarrassing! She was the greatest warrior in the universe, she couldn't possibly be losing to a batch of humans, could she?
Galan didn't even noticed her return. He was staring into his crystal ball, a distant look in his eyes. Scorpina came over to him, half-growling. "Sire, we lost again!" Galan made a noncommittal noise, it was plain he was paying no attention to her. "Sire?"
"I love her," Galan whispered. Scorpina literally felt her cold heart plummet.
"What?" she hoped she'd heard wrong. She just couldn't have heard that; it wasn't possible!
"I love her," Galan had watched Aura for two straight days, and he hadn't come to this lightly. He had despised the Amber Ranger line for over fifty thousand years, and now, after so long, his heart had been captured by the latest, and most beautiful, member. Scorpina screamed in denial, this simply wasn't happening! Galan nodded, not quite as reluctantly as he had before.
He leaned back against his throne, his mind filled with images of the dark-haired warrior he had come to destroy: and now found he couldn't. "I am not sure. But I love her, and she will be my wife!"
"But she's married!" Scorpina didn't much care for the bonds of matrimony herself, but that might at least draw him off the trail. Galan sat up sharply.
"She. . .she's married," Scorpina told him. "To the Blue Ranger!"
Her master frowned. "It seems there is more to this than what Rita and Zedd told me."
Scorpina jumped on this; there had to be some way to kill this strange infatuation! "They've even got two kids!"
Galan raised an eyebrow. "So they have another one in training. Hmmmmm. . . this is too perfect. Get her away from her husband, with her firstborn, and all will be perfect!" Perhaps destruction wouldn't be nearly as much fun as. . .corruption.
"What do you have planned, sire?" Scorpina asked, refusing to let jealousy enter her voice. He wouldn't know how she felt, no matter what.
"I want her as my bride," Galan said determinedly. "One way or another, I will have her."
Scorpina sighed; at least if she supported him, he might notice her again later. And perhaps. . . "Perhaps if I simply go and kidnap her, sire?"
Galan nodded. "Do so. First her, then her child," he commanded, turning back to the crystal to watch Aura. He found a strange pleasure in watching her do the smallest of things.
Scorpina smiled to herself. With her here, she'll be easier for me
to destroy. Once she's out of the way, I can EASILY draw Galan into my
arms! Look out, Amber Ranger. . .death is coming for you!
The twins were finally fed and put to bed before Aura and Billy had the chance to talk again. He smiled as he looked lovingly at his wife. "This sure has been a bizarre time for us, hasn't it?" he asked gently. Aura nodded as she stretched.
"We are definitely not the average couple!" she giggled. Let's see, I'm from Kalakan, Billy's from Earth, and the twins have blood of both. We're both Power Rangers, and Alex is going to be one when he grows up! Yeah, that qualifies as "unusual"!
Billy smiled as he stroked her midnight mass of hair. "That we're not. Then again," he chuckled lightly. "No couple with even one of them would be normal," his eyes flicked towards the twins' bedroom. Aura was about to say something when Billy's lips caressed her neck, and all thoughts of speech vanished from her mind.
"Hello, Rangers!" Scorpina's voice shattered the romance of the moment. Aura pulled away from Billy, anger coursing through her veins at the interruption.
"Don't you know when you're not wanted?" she snapped. How DARE she interfere with my private time with Billy!
"No way," Scorpina laughed; catching them like this was an unexpected and quite intriguing bonus. She grabbed Aura by the shoulder harshly. "You're coming with me!"
Aura had a quick and dirty reaction to that little piece of news. "Let go of me!" she slammed Scorpina in the stomach with every ounce of strength she had. The scorpion warrioress stepped back, then pulled out her stinger sword. She was ready and willing to do battle to the death right there.
"Billy, protect the twins," Aura snapped. "I can handle her!"
Billy nodded and headed for the twins' room. He knew Aura's battle capabilities, and trusted her to handle herself well. His only advice before he left was, "Be careful of her stinger!"
Aura glared at her enemy; this was getting personal! "All right, Scorpina, you messed with Billy at the park. You were going to kill him. No one. . . but no one ... hurts my husband!" A second later, she had morphed. The Amber Ranger and Scorpina circled each other warily; both respected the other's combat ability, and neither was going to jump into something without being prepared.
Scorpina, however, wasn't above cheating, and she wasn't all that interested in a fair fight, despite her readiness for it. She lashed out with a bolt of energy from her blade, and caught Aura squarely in the chest with it. Normally Aura would have been able to deflect it with her Ax, but her reflexes were slowed the merest trifle by a year of peace. She reeled, her head spinning with disorientation. She barely noticed as Scorpina grabbed her harshly.
"We go!" the evil golden warrior crowed triumphantly. She glanced over as Billy teleported in, and screamed his wife's name. Scorpina laughed hideously, then vanished with Aura held tightly in her grip.
"NO!" Billy screamed. "NO! Aura!"
Billy was holding Alexander as the other Rangers and Azure entered, pacing up and down the Command Center. Adam asked quietly, "What is it?"
"Scorpina. . .Scorpina came down and took Aura," Billy whispered. They could all tell he was close to tears as he spoke.
Azure muttered, "Damn," under her breath as Billy broke into tears. After a full year, a year of peace, someone had stolen his wife from him again, and who knew what Galan would have in mind?
"Why can't they just leave us alone?" he whispered brokenly. Azure made her way over to him and put a comforting arm around her brother-in-law.
"I wish I knew," she told him. "I wish I knew.""
Billy looked up at Zordon. "We have to get her back. Zordon, what would Galan do to her?"
I AM UNCERTAIN, BILLY. GALAN HAS ALWAYS BEEN SPORADIC. HE COULD DO ANTHING.
Billy leaned against a console, shivering. "I saw how he looked at her before." Almost with love, with passion at least. With desire.
Azure sighed deeply. "Let's just hope she's okay," she hoped. She knew Aura's inner strength was incredible; it had to be, to have survived everything that had happened to her. Tommy nodded.
"Aura's been through a lot, she can handle this guy," he reminded Billy, and Adam agreed with him. Billy sighed and looked over at them both.
"But we've all been out of practice for a year," Billy reminded him. Tommy nodded.
"But some things are inborn. Aura comes from a very long line of warriors. I have faith in her."
Azure nodded. "So do I," all the other Rangers agreed; of them all, Aura had suffered the most the past nearly three years. It had given her a strength beyond any of theirs.
"Cheer up, Billy," Tommy tried to help him. "She's been worse. We all have. It'll be okay."
Billy sighed as he started to search for Aura yet again. "I wish
I could cheer up," he murmured. But how can I when my wife is with
the enemy of her entire family? How can I when Galan has Aura?
Scorpina appeared back in the palace, and casually dumped Aura on the floor as she did so. "I got her, sire!"
Galan smiled at Scorpina, then glanced at Aura, still in her Amber Ranger uniform. Oh, that will never do. "Good. Now to stunt her morphing ability."
Scorpina raised an eyebrow; she'd never heard of this before! "How?" she noticed Aura was beginning to regain her senses and hoped she wouldn't have to knock her out again. She had the feeling Galan wouldn't like that much.
"Like this," Galan pulled out his sword and pointed it at the slowly reviving Aura. This was the spell he'd planned for a year, that he'd saved his magical energy and strength for. A few harsh words later, and Aura, no longer the Amber Ranger, lay on the floor. Scorpina smiled; this could be useful!
Aura's eyes flashed open as her costume faded away. She was on her feet a second later. "What's going on here?" she looked around; this place looked roughly familiar. If it had been darker and more forbidding, she would have thought it was Rita and Zedd's palace.
"Welcome to my palace," Galan came closer to her. "Well, I took it over from Rita and Zedd, since they abandoned it."
It is their place. I must admit, it looks better. Then again, anything would have been an improvement. "I've been here before, I didn't like it then, and I hate it now!" she grabbed for her communicator. "I'm going home!" her heart sank completely to her knees as she realized the teleportation wasn't working.
"What is it?" Galan's smile was full of two things: evil and desire. He was almost knocked over by the force of her bellow.
"Let me out of here! And stop looking at me like that!"
Galan shook his head. "I'm sorry," Actually I'm not. "But you are staying forever!"
Aura raced at him, intending on choking him into letting her go, but he tripped her up, moving almost as fast as she had been. She looked up at him, heart thudding with fear. "Why are you doing this?"
"I love you," he told her. "True, at first, I wanted you dead, but when I saw you, I fell in love."
I think I'm going to be sick. "I don't love you! I love Billy, and I'm getting out of here!" Maybe if I morph, I can teleport; at least to the Heart of Earth. I don't have to use my communicator to do that.
Galan couldn't help but laugh as she scrambled to her feet and tried to morph: and failed. "You see, my dear, I put a block on your morphing abilities. You can't even get in touch with the Spirit of whatever."
No! He's lying, he has to be! He can't do that! Aura closed her eyes, reaching out to where the Spirit had always been, that warm and loving place within her heart. There was nothing there; it was worse than before she'd bonded to the Spirit of Earth, that had been an emptiness once the Spirit of Kalakan was gone. This. . .this was nothingness, as if it had never been. She went absolutely white as she collapsed to the floor. "No. . .no. . .," she whispered. This was a living nightmare.
"Oh, but yes," Galan laughed. "Zalics! Take her to her quarters and guard her!"
The lizard warriors dragged Aura down the corridors to the room Galan had set aside for her. The young woman was in such shock over the loss of her powers, she didn't so much as lift a finger to protest. Scorpina chuckled softly.
"That was easier than I thought it would be!"
"Too easy," Galan had recognized the look of utter devastation in Aura's eyes; he had seen it before, in other Amber Rangers. She would belong to him.
"Now what, sire?" Scorpina wondered. Galan looked towards Earth again.
"The child," he nodded sharply. Once they're both here, I can begin it's corruption, and that in turn will turn Aura's heart towards me.
"They keep the brats in the Command Center, sire, and I can't get in there!"
Galan shrugged. "They can't stay there forever. Which is the oldest, the boy or the girl?"
"The boy," Scorpina reported. Galan nodded to himself and to her.
"Now we come up with a way to get them," he murmured. He glanced
down the hallway where Aura had vanished in the company of the Zalics.
Now she is mine.
The Rangers were involved in an activity that was all too familiar to them all: scanning for one of their own. Billy glanced over to Adam and quietly asked, "Any luck?" Adam shook his head and Billy sighed. "Where is he keeping her?"
"I wish I knew," Adam shifted the scans to the moon, just on the off chance Galan had settled there. Billy glanced over at the twins, playing with some of Alpha's spare parts in a corner.
"I'd better take the twins home. They need some sleep," he was heading over to them when Adam's triumphant shout cracked the air, waking up the half-dozing Azure.
"I found her!"
"What?" Billy turned around, eyes dancing with joy.
Adam continued, "I found her! She's in Rita and Zedd's palace!" Adam was just as confused as the others by the location.
"What in the world is she doing there?"
GALAN MAY HAVE CHOSEN TO SETTLE THERE FOR NOW, Zordon suggested. Adam nodded, and flipped a few more switches.
"I'm bringing it up on the Viewing Globe now," he told them. Everyone gathered around to look, and absolute astonishment filled the Command Center at what they saw.
"That can't be the same place!" Tommy stared; the throne room was no longer the dark, shadow filled place it had been, instead it was light, airy, and actually looked pleasant. It was obvious that while being just as evil as they were, Galan didn't share their decorating taste.
Billy ran to the computers and started doing deeper level scans, muttering, "Where's Aura?" under his breath as he did so. Adam joined him at the consoles, adding what information he already had.
"Somewhere in there," he told the Blue Ranger. "I can't get a precise lock on her. He's got that place locked up tighter than Rita and Zedd ever did."
"We've got to get her out of there," Billy put everything he had into getting a lock on Aura; he absolutely would not leave her in Galan's clutches! He could not, he would not think of what the Amber Ranger Hunter was doing to her, if he did, he wouldn't be able to help her. He shoved the way Galan had looked at his wife out of his mind; remembering that only made him too angry to focus on his work. He had to get Aura free. He'd done it once; he could and would do it again.
Adam glanced over at Billy, who hadn't had any rest in almost a full twenty-four hours. Azure was even worse off; she was barely conscious as she struggled to her feet. Those rehearsals were taking a lot out of her. "You two need rest," he told them. "Alpha and I will work on this; we'll contact you when we find a way to get her out of there."
Billy paused and looked at his friends. I've got to find her. But
if I don't rest, I could miss something that would free her. I won't fail
her like that. "You'd better," was all he said out loud as
he went to pick up the twins. He and Azure teleported out together, both
heading for their respective homes. Adam sighed as he went back to the
computers, Tommy coming over to help him. They both knew time was running
Billy quietly put Alaina down for bed next to her brother, and smiled a little as he watched his sleeping children. "Sleep well, kids. Mommy will be home soon."
In only a few minutes he was sound asleep in his own bed. His hand clutched spasmodically at Aura's side of the bed a few times, but other than that, he slept like one dead.
He didn't even notice when Scorpina appeared quietly in the twins' room. She reached out greedily for Alexander, only to hiss in fury when both of them vanished into sparkles of white light, and Adam arrived, already morphed.
"What? Now you're into kidnapping defenseless children?" he snapped. He was glad he'd thought to check the lock on the twins and Billy before starting another series of scans for Aura.
"This is none of your concern, Black Ranger!"
Adam nodded. "Oh, but it is. They are my niece and nephew."
"So?" Scorpina had her sword in her hands. "My master wants that boy!"
Adam fell into a fighting stance. "Well, you're not going to get him . . . ever!"
Billy stumbled into the room, awakened by the noise. "Where are the twins?" he asked, staring as he saw Scorpina standing there. She launched at attack at Adam just as Billy entered.
"They're at the Command Center," Adam replied. Scorpina snarled at them when she heard this.
"You can't protect them forever!"
Adam laughed. "Want to bet?"
Scorpina grinned. "What my master wants, he gets," she favored Billy with a hideous glare. "He wanted your wife, and he has her!" No matter how much I wish she were dead!
"Not for much longer!" Billy promised. Scorpina stopped suddenly, and laughed.
"It's been nice fighting, but I've got to go!" she grinned nastily. "My master has a wedding to prepare for!"
Billy tensed up as Scorpina vanished. Adam put a hand on his shoulder
to comfort him. "You go back to bed. I'm going back to the Command
Center; I'll have her home in no time!"
"You called me back, sire? Why?" Scorpina asked as she appeared back in Galan's palace. He was quite disappointed in her, she could tell.
"You failed," Galan told her. "I sent you to get the twins, not to fight the Rangers!"
"Zordon must have been watching out for them!" she snarled out a few choice insults to the Power Rangers' mentor, until Galan stopped her.
"That can wait," he told her. "Now, for my bride to be!" he chuckled a little at the thought of what would soon be happening.
"Has she even moved since she was taken to her room?"
Galan shook his head. "Not an inch." I'm worried about her; she's so still.
Scorpina shrugged. "Not that it really matters." It'll be that much easier for me to get rid of her when I'm ready to.
Galan frowned. "What do you have against her?"
What do I have against her? Since the moment you saw her you haven't even LOOKED at me except to give me some order that has to deal with some way to get HER!! "She's a Ranger!"
"Not right now," Galan smiled. "She can't even morph!"
"When is the. . .wedding?" she pronounced the last word with extreme distaste, which Galan seemed either not to notice or not to care about.
"Soon. . .very soon," he chuckled to himself as he said it. "I'm going to go pay a call on her now. Occupy yourself somehow."
Galan went to Aura's room, unlocking the door with a touch of his finger and entered to see Aura sitting on the bed. "Do you like your room?"
"Leave me alone," she whispered, her voice shaking. Ever since she'd been thrown most unceremoniously into this room, she'd been doing her best to get in touch with the Spirit of Earth, to no avail. She had never felt so alone or so powerless in her entire life.
"Why don't you change and join me for dinner?" he offered. Aura glared at him; he'd kidnapped her, deprived her somehow of her powers, who knew what else he was trying to do or was planning to do and he was inviting her to dinner?
"Go to hell," was her only reply. Galan scowled fiercely.
"You must eat," he told her sternly. "Either you come willingly or I will use force."
Aura shook her head. "I will never do what you want! I want to go home!"
He frowned. He had hoped he wouldn't have to do this, but she was being difficult. He cast a spell that enabled him to control her body, though not her mind. "You will come with me!"
Aura found herself on her feet, though she hadn't wanted to stand. "Huh? What's going on?"
Galan smiled at her. "I now control your movements; since you wouldn't come willingly, I told you I would make you."
No. This isn't happening. If he can control my body. ..he. ..he could. . . Galan beckoned her to follow him and she did helplessly. He paused for a moment suddenly. "I think first, you should be dressed for the occasion."
He snapped his fingers and a glorious black gown appeared over one arm. Another gesture brought a screen into existence, and he threw the dress at her. "Change into that, behind the screen," he ordered. Helpless to disobey, she did, but she could and did call him every name she could think of as she did so.
"It won't help," he told her as she came back into view. He caught his breath at her remarkable beauty and nodded to himself; she was truly fit to be his queen. "You will do as I say. Now, come along!"
Aura found herself weeping, as memories of the month of torment she'd spent in this place came back. Now, just like then, she was helpless to stop her captor from doing anything he wanted to do to her. And what Galan wanted was far too terrible to think over. He came over to her and with surprising tenderness wiped away her tear.
"Do not cry," he told her gently. "I'll never hurt you. You're safe here."
Somehow, Aura didn't believe a word of it.
Rocky was holding Alexander as everyone watched Billy and Adam work. Billy had refused to sleep, coming to the Command Center to join once more in the search for his wife. "Any luck, Adam?" the Red Ranger asked. Adam glanced over the results, and smiled.
"I think I've got it!" Billy glanced over at him, glad he'd taken the time to teach Adam how to deal with the Command Center computers. He was taking to them very well, just as well as Billy himself had. "We can get her out of there!"
"What are we waiting for?" Billy asked, coming over to the console. He scanned quickly, and found they'd be able to teleport her out; apparently Galan hadn't thought of them removing her from his grip. The Blue Ranger smiled; that was going to cost him!
"I got a lock on her," Adam smiled. "Teleporting now."
"Enjoying your meal?" Galan asked as they dined. He'd had to command Aura to eat and drink; she would have sat there like a stone if he didn't. It was going to be rather amusing to get her to fall in love with him, and with his controlling spell on her, he could have a great deal of fun with her before then. He was eagerly anticipating the 'dessert' he'd planned for after dinner.
"I'd enjoy it more if I wasn't here!" Aura snapped at him. He considered ordering her to speak only civilly to him, but decided that would take too much effort.
"You will enjoy your life here more and more each day," he promised her. She glared at him, and he chuckled at her hate-filled eyes.
"No, I won't! I can't enjoy anything if I'm not with the man I love!"
He laughed. "But you will love me. If not today, then one day." Perhaps sooner than you think, my dear one!
Aura snapped back, "Never!" No sooner had the word left her mouth, she shimmered and vanished. Galan stared.
"NO!" he rose from his chair and glared at the empty seat
Aura had occupied only moments before. "How dare they! This will be
avenged! I will have her back!"
"She's coming," Adam reported a moment later. Just at that second, Aura appeared on the Command Center floor. Billy's jaw dropped as he saw the gown she was wearing; quite different from the jeans and shirt she'd had on when Scorpina had kidnapped her. He went over to help her up, noticing a strange distance in her eyes. Adam cleared his throat.
"Aura, I hate to ask, but where did you get that dress?"
"Galan," she whispered. The Rangers all looked at each other; there had been something in her voice they had never heard before: total despair. Billy held her close to him.
"You're home, you're safe," he whispered. Alpha shuffled over to them.
"Billy, may I make sure she's all right?" the robot asked. Aura shook her head.
"I'm not all right," she told him. "I already know that," she was shaking in Billy's arms. "He put two spells on me."
Billy's eyes widened. "What?"
"I can't morph," she told them, as tears fell faster and faster. "And. . .and. . . I. . ."
Alpha scanned her quickly and fed the results into the computer. "I can remove the control spell," he reported a few minutes later. "That requires a simple potion I can mix up right here in the Command Center. But the blocking is going to take some time to remove."
"Do it, please, Alpha," Billy told him. Before he somehow makes her do something to hurt herself or one of us. I won't let him do that.
"I can't even feel the Spirit of Earth anymore," Aura told them. There was a horror evident that none of them could really understand. "I feel so alone. . ."
Billy held her as Alpha handed her the potion that destroyed Galan's controlling spell on her. "We're here for you. If not in person, then in spirit."
Aura looked at him. "Billy," she said through her tears. "I've only been alone like this once. Even before I knew what I was. The Spirit of Kalakan was a part of me, then, but before the Spirit of Earth took over, there was that six month gap. I nearly died then. I was so alone: and I thought I never would be again. . .until now!"
Billy held her as she cried herself into his shoulder, more hurt and broken by this than anything Rita and Zedd had ever done to her. "We'll find a way to break that block!"
Alpha told them, "I don't know if I can. Galan's magic is very powerful, and he's used this spell before. It takes a lot of magical energy to perform, and if we can break it, then he won't be able to cast it again, at least not for at least a year. It takes that long to build up the power to do it again."
"We'll do everything we can," Billy assured his wife. "Let's get you home."
Aura nodded. "I need to get out of this thing!" she stared down at the dress; she wanted nothing more than to be in normal clothes again.
"Okay," Billy helped her to her feet. A gentle voice stopped their travel plans, though.
"Aura?" who turned to see the Spirit of Earth standing behind her. Aura's tear-filled eyes widened to see the Spirit there. She threw herself into her arms, her tears exploding as they never had before.
"I can't feel you anymore! We're not linked! I'm not the Amber Ranger!" I can't keep up my oath. . .can't do anything. . .
The Spirit held her just as warmly as Billy had. "You will be again soon," she promised. "I will make sure of it."
"I feel so alone. .. I am alone!" Aura whispered. "I hate this. Why did he do this to me?"
"I wish I could tell you," the Spirit lifted Aura's head and looked deep into her eyes. "But I will do everything in my power to unblock this."
"Please," Aura begged. "I can't live like this!" An Amber Ranger was never meant to be alone! We were born to be part of our worlds!
"You must," the Spirit told her. "For you own sake and the sake of your children."
Aura sighed, slowly forcing herself to rebuild the courage that enabled her to survive all she had. "I don't really have a choice, do I?"
"Go home and sleep," the ethereal one advised. "We are still one, my child, and nothing Galan does can change that. I love you, Aura."
"If you want, I'll watch the twins," Rocky suggested. Aura nodded.
"Please do," she said. "And thank you."
"No problem, I love watching them!" he smiled as he went over to start playing with them. Billy picked Aura up in his arms and smiled at her.
"Let's go," he said, kissing her on the lips. A moment later, he teleported out, just as the Spirit faded away, returning to the Heart of Earth. Tommy sighed as the Rangers were left alone in the Command Center. He knew what it was like to be torn away from your powers.
"I hope we can find a way to break that block," he said softly. Adam nodded, his face drawn and pale.
"So do I," he agreed. The Rangers looked quietly at each other. Things had just taken a definite turn for the worst.