Rita Repulsa, Rito Revolto, and Master Vile all stared out the window of Vile's SpaceSkull as it drew nearer to Earth and Earth's moon. Rita's eyes widened briefly as she saw the ruins of the palace, and she gritted her teeth. "Zedd," she whispered.
"He never said what he was coming back for, did he?" her father probed. Rita nodded.
"Never. I have an idea, though," Rita growled lightly to herself. "Probably that brat of his."
Vile shrugged. "Perhaps. Where is that fool Goldar? Was he still here?"
"I think he went with Zedd," Rita said, glancing down at the moon. "He might have been," she saw something moving below her. "There he is. He's alive."
Vile sighed briefly; he'd hoped to get rid of both Zedd and Goldar this time. "I suppose we should pick him up. HE might know how this happened!"
"All right," Rita teleported him into the SpaceSkull, and Vile glared at him nastily.
"What happened there, monkey-boy?" he growled. Goldar shrank back in fear from the great lord of evil, then reported what had went on.
"That Power-brat's sister and that blasted Spirit of Earth destroyed the castle! Something about her being written about in some prophecy!"
To say Vile was annoyed was an understatement. "So the prophecy came true. And Zedd was in the castle when it collapsed?"
Goldar nodded. "Yes, she killed Zedd and his son Eric."
"Good," Vile whispered just loud enough for Rita to hear. "I never liked either of them!" _From what I heard from Zedd, I wouldn't have liked his son one little bit! They're too much alike!_
"Father!" Rita snapped. "That was my husband!"
"I know, I know!" Vile returned. "And there will be revenge; Zedd was a powerful force of evil. And powerful forces of evil deserve to be avenged."
Rita couldn't believe one part of Goldar's story. "I can't believe it was Azure Robinson who killed them!"
"Yes," Vile nodded. "It is quite amazing. Wasn't she the one whom Eric was obsessed with for a number of years?" _Zedd certainly bragged enough about his son and his son's obsession. I think I'd know the brat on sight!_
Rita nodded. "And she was quite literally terrified of him too!"
"Perhaps we can use that," Vile mused, an evil plan entering his mind. "If she is so scared of him, she should see him: everywhere. And at all times."
"Oh, I like that idea!"
"And only she shall see him!" Vile laughed. "She shall be driven to insanity!"
Rita laughed, then turned to Goldar, wanting the answer to a question. "Goldar? What was Zedd coming back here for?"
"He wanted to clear up some unfinished business with the Amber Ranger, something that went back fifty thousand years."
"What kind of unfinished business?" Vile demanded. Goldar shrank away again, barely managing to stutter out, "Something like when he was on Kalakan, she was there too. Seemed she traveled back in time. ..and he sorta. ..fell in love with her."
"He what?" Rita screeched
"He said she led him on!" Goldar tried to defend his master even in death. Vile laughed.
"Are you serious?" at Goldar's nod, Vile looked to Rita. "It appears your husband was no quite honest with you, my dear daughter!"
Rita growled, "She came onto him and she will pay also!"
"And what sort of plans do you have for her?" Vile wanted to know if his daughter was living down to the expectation he had for her.
"That I do not know," Rita wanted to think about this; it required the utmost thought.
Vile nodded. "Revenge for all that has been done will come in due course!"
Rita laughed wickedly. "That it shall! Shall we start with Azure?"
"Yes!" Vile nodded. "Time for her to be driven insane!"
Rita and her evil family's cold laughter echoed in the Space Skull for
a very long time.
Once again, Azure, Adam, and Aura were gathered in the park, enjoying yet another beautiful Angel Grove day. Azure held Katia gently, feeding her, and smiled a little. "She sure eats a lot!"
Aura nodded; the Amber Ranger had never looked happier than she had since her friends had healed her mind three weeks earlier. "Almost as much as Rocky!"
Azure glanced to her husband. "You didn't tell me you two were related!"
"We're not!" Adam chuckled. "He just baby-sat her while you were in the hospital; it must've rubbed off!"
Azure groaned sarcastically. "Great! Three months and she's already picked up bad habits from him!"
"I hope it doesn't rub off on mine!" Aura glanced at her own three children, the twins playing happily with each other, and her own smallest daughter in her arms.
"It shouldn't," Azure smiled a little. The past three weeks had been purest bliss for them all. From the moment Aura's eyes had opened, things had only gotten better and better. Zedd and Eric were gone forever, Galan had long since been disposed of, and Zordon was keeping an eye out in case Rita returned.
"I hope not," Aura grinned. "I don't think we could afford three appetites like that!"
Azure opened her mouth to speak, when a sudden bout of dizziness hit her. "Ohh," she whispered as it passed. _That was strange._
"Azure?" Aura asked, a worried lilt to her voice. "Are you all right?"
Azure handed Katia to her husband, and rubbed her temples lightly. "I'm okay," she glanced over to Aura, and her eyes widened in shock. "No. . ."
Aura frowned. "Azure, are you sure you're okay?"
Adam was as worried as Aura was. "You don't look okay."
Azure kept staring, shaking a little. "It can't be," she half-whispered. "Adam, I want to go home!"
"What can't be?" Aura wanted to know. _Something's going on here. Something is most definitely not right!_
"Sure," Adam was a little confused as he helped Azure to her feet. She slipped a little as she stood, grabbing onto the tree to stop herself from falling.
"This isn't happening," she muttered to herself. _I'm not seeing Eric behind Aura, staring at me. I can't be; he's dead, I killed him myself!_
Adam looked at her, concerned. "Maybe I should take you to a doctor."
"A doctor won't be able to help me!" Azure snapped. Surprised, Adam stepped back, looking almost as frightened as she was, but for different reasons.
"Azure, what's wrong with you?" Aura wanted to know. She was getting extremely worried about her sister.
Azure closed her eyes briefly, then opened them again. "I'm sorry," her eyes flew behind him and widened as she saw Eric standing there again. "Can't you see him?" she pointed, hand trembling.
Adam glanced to where she was pointing. "See what?" _There's nothing there!_
"He's standing right there!" Azure almost shrieked as she pointed. "Why can't you see him?" she was close to tears in frustration!
"Who is it, Azure?" Adam asked. The fear in her eyes was familiar. . .too familiar. With an almost audible snap, he realized where he'd seen that before. "Eric. You're seeing Eric, aren't you?"
Her nod was all they needed. "Eric's dead, Azure, you can't be seeing him!" Aura told her. Azure looked at her sister.
"But I am!"
"There's no way, Azure," her husband shook his head. Something unbelievably strange was going on here!
Azure stared at them both. "You don't believe me!" breaking down into tears, she ran away from them both as fast as she could. Aura, gray eyes clouded, looked to Adam.
"What's wrong with her, Adam?"
Her friend and brother-in-law shook his head. "I wish I knew. I'm going to go talk to her. You going to be okay?"
Billy's voice floated from over Aura's shoulder. "She'd better be."
Aura smiled a little as she turned to her husband, nodding briefly to Adam as she did so. As Adam ran off to find Azure, Aura sighed. "I really hope she's going to be all right."
"She will," Billy reassured her. He didn't quite know what
was going on, but Azure had come through everything life had thrown her
so far. She would deal with whatever this was.
As Adam entered their apartment, he heard Azure crying heartbrokenly from their bedroom. Softly from the doorway, he said, "Azure, I'm sorry."
"He's haunting me now," she whispered, eyes closed. She had never looked so vulnerable in all her life.
Adam tried to be reasonable. "If it is him, he's just a ghost. He can't hurt you. All he can do is frighten you, and only if you let him."
"Are you sure?" Azure asked. She opened her eyes as she turned to him, and screamed as Eric met her gaze. Adam glanced to where she was looking, and frowned a little as he saw nothing.
"You're seeing him again?" Azure stared and nodded briefly. "Where is he?" Azure pointed to a chair next to the desk on the far side of the room, and Adam quickly moved to stand in between her and that chair. Her eyes softened a bit, then she sighed.
"He's moved," she closed her eyes.
Adam sighed a little. "Azure, he's only a vision, he's not real, and he can't hurt you anymore."
"I know," Azure nodded. "But it's eerie being watched. Even by a vision."
Adam took her hands carefully. "Let him stare all he wants to! That's all he can do anymore!"
Azure looked at him, tears in her eyes. "I don't want him to, Adam!" Adam kissed her gently.
"Azure, it'll be all right," he reassured her. "I won't let him, dead or alive, hurt you ever again."
"I hope so," Azure whispered, trembling. "Oh, I hope
Vile's disgusting laughter spread throughout the SpaceSkull. "Oh, this is going perfectly already!" he crowed in triumph.
"But she keeps closing her eyes!" Rita said petulantly. Her eyes widened suddenly, and Rito would have sworn he saw a little light bulb coming on over her head. "What if she always sees him, even when she has her eyes closed?"
"Excellent!" Vile approved of that. "And what of the Amber Ranger? Have you any ideas on how to deal with her as yet?"
Rita thought that over for a moment. "What about sending down a monster? One that she has to fight alone!"
"How so?" Vile shrugged. "She'll just call those other pathetic Rangers to help her!"
Rita smiled evilly. "The one that I'm thinking of is Blocker. You know, the one that blocks communication just by the fact it exists."
"Perfect!" Vile was so proud of his evil daughter! "She will fight and die alone! When will you send him?"
Rita glanced towards Earth and smiled. "What about now? Have her fight him for a bit, then call him back, then send him again," she laughed. "Torture the poor thing!"
"Oh, yes! You are so good at torture, Rita! You take after me!"
"Thank you, Father!" Rita smiled, and summoned Blocker. Soon,
both the Amber Ranger and her sister would be punished for what they had
done to her husband!
Billy and Aura lay side by side on the hill in the park, enjoying this time of peace. Billy glanced at his watch suddenly, and groaned. "Man, I promised Tommy I'd meet him for that tuxedo fitting!" Tommy and Kim had postponed their wedding once Zedd and Eric had returned, now the happy event was to be the following spring. They believed by then things would have calmed down enough for them to be married in peace.
"You go on," Aura told him. "I'll be okay here." _I need to learn to be on my own again, anyway._
Billy kissed her gently. "If you need anything, call, promise?"
"You know I will," she returned the kiss gently. She hadn't really been alone since she'd awakened from the endless loop, and she was beginning to be just a little tired of the constant attention from her friends. Before things could get going any farther, Billy stepped away.
"See you at home!" he wandered off down the hill, every bit as happy as his wife. She watched as he left, sighing happily.
"I'm so happy," she murmured to herself. "And so glad to be free of that loop." _I relived everything so many times. So very many times. . ._
"Hello, Amber Ranger!" a monster was in front of her! Aura growled, leaped to her feet, and reached for her communicator, no way was she going to face this thing on her own. The monster laughed evilly. "It won't work! This is between you and me!"
Aura snarled, "Who are you, who sent you, and what do you want?" she was morphed a moment later, grateful that no one was near enough to see this. The monster charged her; she barely managed to get out of the way in time.
"I am Blocker, and I have been sent by someone you should fear! I want you, in conjunction with Zedd's death!"
Aura just managed not to tremble when she heard Zedd's name. She forced memories away of what had happened in his palace, and took a deep breath, controlling her emotions perfectly.
"Did you kill him?"
Aura shook her head, calling her Ax to her in the same moment. "No, but I wanted to!" she charged, only to have it deflected by the monster.
"Then maybe I should go after your sister! The one who did!"
Aura snarled and swung her Ax. "Leave her alone!" the monster laughed and dodged once again.
"My, aren't you overprotective! You should be worried about yourself at the moment!" the monster charged, almost knocking her down if she hadn't managed to get out of the way in time.
_Time for the obligatory Power Ranger Snappy Comeback to Monster Threat._ "Me, worried? Over a walking trashcan like you? Oh, you've got to be kidding!"
"You should be!" Blocker blasted her before she could react with a powerful stun ray. As she tried to get her bearings again, the monster laughed at her. "Remember this, and this only: you will die! But not today! All in good time, Amber Ranger. . .all in good time!"
As the creature vanished, Aura demorphed, shaking, and out of breath. She dropped to her knees, barely able to keep herself from trembling into a fit. Her head jerked up as Rocky and Kat ran up next to her. "Aura, are you all right?" Kat asked. "What happened?"
"Monster," she breathed. "Couldn't call you guys, it was blocking my transmission."
Rocky groaned, "Great. Just when we thought we were in for a break, this has to happen!"
"I know," Aura sighed, telling them what the monster had told her. The only thing she left out was what it had said about Azure. That was something she would have to deal with on her own. Rocky sighed.
"Let's get the others to the Command Center. They're going to want to hear about this," he suggested. Aura nodded, concealing the worry in her eyes as she did so.
_The very last thing I wanted was to have to deal with someone wanting
my life again. Wanting to hurt any of my family and friends. I wish people
would just leave Earth alone. Then again, if they did, I'd be out of a
job. Oh, well. I think I could learn to like unemployment. Guess I won't
find out anytime soon what it's like._
The whole team was assembled in the Command Center moments after Kat and Rocky had found Aura. "What's up, Rocky?" Tommy asked as they got there. Billy's quick eye noticed Aura was trembling, and went over to her, wondering what was wrong. She caught him in a harsh hug, then looked at them all.
"I got jumped by a monster in the park after you left, Billy," she told them. Everyone looked upset; they knew how Aura hated being alone, the fact she'd deliberately put herself like that was a shock in itself, but to be attacked. . .and a monster, who was it this time?
"Why didn't you call?" Billy wanted to know. _I should never have left her. I should've been there for her._
"Are you okay?" Azure muttered. She'd only come because she wanted to know if her vision of Eric continued even in the Command Center, which usually was proof against just about anything. She kept staring at the ground, not wanting really to look around and check things out.
Aura took a deep breath. "I tried to call, but the thing was blocking my communicator somehow, and I'm okay, Azure." her sister nodded, and Billy headed for the computers, wanting to scan to see what was going on here.
"Who and what is attacking us now?" he wondered. Aura told them again what the monster had told her, but once more she left out how it had threatened to go after Azure. That was personal; if it so much as looked at her sister, she was going to take it down, on her own, with an army, it didn't matter how, just as long as the thing was gone.
Azure glanced up, wanting to look at Aura and see if she was telling the truth about how she was, but her eyes were met instead by the viscious face of Eric. "No!" she whispered, blood draining from her face.
"What is it?" Aura noticed the terror in her sister's eyes. Adam stepped over to her, putting an arm around her.
"Is it him again?"
Azure nodded as she closed her eyes, but a moment later an ear-splitting scream broke the silence of the Command Center. _I'm here with you, Azure, and you will never escape from me. I will haunt you forever! You killed me, and I do not like being killed! You will pay for it: with your life and your sanity!_
Tommy wanted some explanations. "What is going on here?" he asked, from anyone who could answer him. Adam explained what he knew of the situation as Azure sank to the floor crying. Aura went over to her, holding her as best she could, wanting to protect her from everything the world had to throw at her.
"Why can't he leave me alone? He's dead, and I can't get away from him!"
Aura looked up at the others, stormclouds in those gray eyes. "Rita. It has to be Rita. She's the only one who could or would do something like this to Azure."
"If it is, she's not going to get away with this," Tommy swore. He wasn't going to see Azure hurt anymore than she already had been. People were going to leave his friends alone!
Aura looked down at Azure as her sister whispered, "Help me," Azure had never looked so scared or so helpless. Aura wrapped a protective arm around her sister, her heart breaking with the pain she knew Azure was feeling.
"I'll do what I can," she swore. _This will be ended._
"He's in my head," Azure told them. "I can hear him."
Zordon was the object of Aura's regard next. "Is there anything you can do to help her, Zordon?"
ALPHA, RUN A SCAN ON HER. Zordon ordered. CHECKING FOR SPELLS, POTIONS, ANYTHING THAT IS ABNORMAL. He loved Azure every bit as much as he did the Rangers; she had been through just as much as they had over the last few years. A few minutes later, Alpha stood up, the results in hand.
"Ay-yi-yi, this can't be!" he moaned. "She is under a spell, one used by Master Vile!"
MASTER VILE IS RITA REPULSA AND RITO REVOLTO'S FATHER. HE IS ONE OF THE MOST EVIL BEINGS IN THE GALAXY, AND ALSO THE MOST POWERFUL OF THEM. Zordon explained; the Rangers remembered how Rita and Zedd had went to him when they'd first abandoned Earth. Now that Zedd was gone, Rita had obviously come running back with 'Dad' in tow.
"Wonderful," Aura shivered a little. The last thing any of them needed or wanted in their lives was someone like this. Azure's trembling continued, as if it would never stop.
"Get him out of my head, please!" Azure begged. "Get him out of there!"
Aura sighed. "How can the spell be broken?"
"I am not sure I know how to break it, Rangers," Alpha told them. "But I will keep on trying! There must be a way!"
Azure whispered, "Aura? Adam?" both of them wrapped arms around her, encasing her in a warm cocoon of love and caring. "We're going to help you, Azure," Adam told her.
"I can't get him out of my head," Azure shivered. "He keeps saying things," she managed to calm her breathing before she started to hyperventilate. Things were bad enough without that.
Adam kissed her. "I love you, Azure," he told her. "Remember that and keeping hearing that instead of what he's telling you!"
She shook her head. "I can't! I want to, but he won't leave me alone!" Azure was going to look at Adam, but pulled back as she saw Eric approaching, with something indistinct in his hand.
_I used this on you once, would you like me to use it again?_
Azure didn't hear Aura's soft whisper of her name, all she heard was the hideous threat of the man she had once thought she loved. Over and over again he repeated that, no matter how many times she said no, as he drew closer to her.
"Azure, calm down!" Aura tried to get through to her. "Whatever it is, Eric is dead, and can't hurt you! All he can do is scare you!" Aura got up and put herself between the image and Azure, figuring out it's location from where Azure stared so incessantly. Aura hugged her with all her might. "Azure, he can't hurt you!"
"I'm scared," Azure whispered. Aura took a long look into her sister's eyes.
"If you're scared," she said softly. "Then you're doing just what he always wanted you to. Be afraid of him, let him have that power over you," Azure leaned against Aura, crying into her shoulder, taking strength from the comfort being with her sister provided. "It's okay, Azure. I'll always be here for you."
Adam knelt beside her. "As will I be also!"
Azure looked at her husband, love overcoming the fear in her heart. "Why do you stay with a neurotic mess like me, Adam?" she wondered. He kissed her with all his love.
"Because I love you," they held each other tightly. "Come n, you need some rest. Let's go home."
Azure nodded. "If I can rest!"
As the young couple teleported home, Aura turned to Zordon. "Let's
get to work finding a cure; there has to be one, something to reverse that
spell. I'm not going to let my sister go throughout her life seeing and
hearing that nightmare given life!"
"It's weird being here, and seeing him everywhere I turn," Azure said as she looked around their apartment. Eric's evil face followed her no matter where she turned. It was all she could do not to scream in fear constantly. Adam's presence had a lot to do with that.
"He's not really there. It's just a ghost, or an illusion or something."
Azure sighed. "But I can hear him. I see him. I close my eyes, and he's there. I'm almost scared to go to sleep tonight," _I don't want to dream about him. I most definitely do NOT want to dream about him!_
"Azure, you married a Power Ranger, your sister is an alien, and you're freaked by a ghost," Adam put an arm around her. "It is a little funny, you know."
She smiled smally. "Just a little."
"The point is, he's dead," Adam told her lovingly. "He can't hurt you, but he can make you hurt yourself. Don't let him."
She nodded. "I know. But somehow, something feels wrong," she headed for the bedroom, intending on taking a shower. She'd had an extremely rough day.
"Want something to eat?" Adam called from the kitchen. His culinary skills hadn't improved one little bit, but he still tried.
"No, I'm not hungry," she replied as she came into the room. Her eyes widened as she saw a very familiar blade on her side of the bed, leaning up against the pillow. "Adam!" she screamed. He was there a moment later, and she turned to him. "It was on our bed. If he's dead, how did this get here? This is the knife. . .," she placed one hand on her stomach, remembering the pain as the weapon had sliced through her.
"Azure," he came over to her. "Zordon said Master Vile put that spell on you so that you keep seeing him. He must've done this."
Azure wasn't hearing that, though. "What if he's not dead? What if he's still alive somehow?"
"Azure, he's not!" Adam tried to reassure her. "He's not!"
She glared at him. "How do you know for sure?" when Adam didn't answer her, she nodded as she grabbed for her communicator. "I thought so!"
"Azure, dead or alive, you can't let him rule your life like this!" he tried to reason with her some.
She shook her head. "I need to know!" she was gone a moment later. Adam snarled under his breath a curse at Eric, dead or alive, for hurting her like this. A communicator button later, and all the Rangers were in the apartment with him.
"What is it?" Tommy asked. Adam looked at him, fear in his eyes.
"She found the knife Eric stabbed her with on the bed," he quickly explained what had happened and what she had told him before she had teleported off. Tommy could see the worry in his friend's eyes, and it scared him.
"Let's get to the Command Center," Tommy glanced at them all.
"We have to find her."
"Goldar, you actually did something right for a change! That idea to put the knife onto her bed, was brilliant!" Rita laughed heartily. Goldar bowed low before her.
"Thank you, my queen!"
Rita chuckled. "She actually thinks that he is still alive!" Rita had never had so much fun with any evil plot, ever!"
"With any luck, she'll kill herself!" Vile hoped so would, that would be one less person of good in the universe, and the end of the person who had killed Zedd and Eric.
Rita nodded with evil delight. "We can hope she does, and doesn't
pull through this time!" she looked down to see Azure teleport out.
"And I have the perfect way to get her to do it, too!"
Adam paced back and forth in the Command Center, while Aura did her best to help Billy scan, rather than pace herself. Adam sighed as he glanced towards the Viewing Globe. "Hasn't she been through enough this year?"
Rocky nodded. "Yes, but apparently our enemies don't think so!"
"Well, they'd better leave her alone from now on! I'm getting seriously ticked at people messing with my sister!"
Adam snarled, "You're not the only one. I definitely don't want Katia growing up without her!"
"She won't, Adam," Aura promised him. "We'll find Azure."
Adam sighed as he started to pace again. "Where did she go?" he murmured to himself. "Where is she?"
Aura sighed a little. "I'm going to go look for her. Personally I'd feel better doing that than just standing here messing with the computers."
"Maybe we all should," Tommy suggested. "Billy, why don't you keep searching here?"
Billy nodded. "As soon as I find out anything, I'll let you all know."
"Good!" Tommy smiled a little. "Let's go find her, guys!"
Azure sat by the lake, her arms wrapped around her knees, humming as she rocked back and forth, the knife still in her hand. _I see you found my present._
"Go away. Leave me in peace," she hissed to him.
_No way. I can never leave the person who killed me in peace._
"All I did was fulfill a stupid prophecy!" Azure reminded the image of her long-hated foe.
_You still killed me. And I will have my revenge for that._
Azure shrugged. "You're dead."
_And you will be soon as well._
Azure backed away as best she could still sitting. "Wha. . .what makes you think that?" she wondered.
_Because I am going to be with you until the day you DO die! I will not leave you, waking or sleeping, until the end of your life! You will never escape me! NEVER!_
Azure looked at him coldly. "Then I guess I'd better get used to seeing you, cause I am not going to put my family through what you put me through," she threw the knife far out into the lake. "They've been through enough."
_I'm here to stay!_ Eric laughed, the sound echoing in her ears. Azure buried her face in her hands, until a well-known and well-loved voice came to her ears.
She looked up to see Adam there. She got to her feet as he came over to her. "Azure, are you all right?"
She sighed a little. "I don't know. He's still with me. And I. . the knife. . .I sort of. . ."
"You what?" Adam was a little nervous over that, that blade her extremely bad memories for them all.
Azure smiled as she pointed to the lake. "I threw it out there. I'm not going to let him ruin my life or yours. He did enough of that while he was alive."
"Good," Adam hugged her gently. "Come on, let's get back home."
Azure nodded. "Let's go. I want to get on with my life. Even with Eric in it."
They shared one more kiss by the lake, before turning back to their
Aura ran through the park, hoping to find Azure somewhere, anywhere. She was very worried over her sister; this was upsetting Azure almost as much or more as Eric being around had! She halted in her tracks as Blocker appeared in front of her! Oh, great!
"Hello, Ranger!" it laughed at her mockingly. Aura growled under her breath, she didn't want to deal with this thing!
"Oh, not you again!" she snapped. "I've got real problems, I don't have time for you!"
The monster laughed as it approached her. "You won't have that problem much longer!"
"Yeah, right!" Aura blinked in surprise as the creature sort of. . .split. . .two Blockers were now standing side by side, coming towards her!
"By now," they spoke in unison. "She's gotten a little gift, and hopefully used it on herself!"
Aura took another step back; this was getting to be extremely dangerous! She could take it alone, she knew, but it was creating reinforcements! She morphed quickly, knowing she'd need the extra power. "If she has, whoever sent it to her is toast!" she promised. I will keep my oath.
It split again, now there were four of them! "You have no chance against the one who did!"
"Great! Idiots in stereo!" Aura mocked as she charged one of them. Two more appeared, making six!
"Try surround sound!" they all laughed together as they circled her. Aura spat an oath, then got down to the serious business of battle. One hit her from behind, almost knocking her down. She flipped backwards, kicking it away, then called up her Ax and started running through the Blockers like the Grim Reaper. That seemed to work well, until four more showed up, for a grand total of ten!
"Let's see how you deal with this!" they all told her. Aura refused to back down, she was going to win this fight! But she already knew it wasn't going to be an easy one.
"This isn't good," she muttered as she watched them circle her. "And that's even worse!"
"Hello again, Amber Ranger!" Goldar boasted as he appeared to join the Blocker circle. Aura groaned.
"Oh, great, ten mirror images and an idiot!"
Goldar laughed as he charged her. "I bet you wish I was in the castle when it collapsed, don't you?"
"Even if it didn't kill you, it would've improved your looks!" she told him as they fought. With eleven of them against her, Aura was fighting a losing battle. _I wish the others would show up! But this thing blocks communications just by existing, and they're probably still looking for Azure and the cure! I've got to win this!_
All her hopes of winning died when five of them grabbed her in a grip she couldn't break no matter how hard she tried. One of them tore her morpher off her belt, causing her to demorph. The other four started to punch the living daylights out of her. Goldar smiled a little as he watched. Rita and Vile had decided to get rid of the Amber Ranger in person, and he had been given the honor of capturing her: and dealing out as much pain as he could in the process.
"Take her!" he ordered, once he'd left the sign his masters had ordered. A little something to throw the Rangers off track, and give them more time to deal with the pest Aura Cranston had made of herself. As the Blockers left, Aura held between them, Goldar kicked her morpher to one side. "She'll never need that again," he grinned to himself as he teleported away.
It was a wonderful day for evil.
Instead of going home, Adam and Azure teleported to the Command Center at a beep from his communicator. As they arrived, Azure glanced around at the others. They didn't say it, but they were all grateful she'd stopped screaming her head off.
RANGERS, WE HAVE FOUND THE PLANT THAT WILL BREAK THE SPELL ON AZURE. Adam looked up, a large smile on his face.
YES. IT IS THE GLITTER ROSE, WHICH GROWS ON A PLANET FAR FROM EARTH. IT IS THE RAREST ROSE IN THE UNIVERSE, AND BLOOMS BUT ONCE EVERY THOUSAND YEARS. IT MUST BE CUT BY A WARRIOR FOR GOOD: BY A POWER RANGER, OR IT LOSES ALL VIRTUE.
Azure smiled; glad to know there was a way for her to be free of the sight of Eric. She glanced around, and frowned. "Where's Aura?"
Billy sighed. "We haven't heard from her, and she didn't answer her communicator."
"Find her, please," Azure urged. "I want to tell her what's going on."
Billy started to scan; he was sort of worried already. He went absolutely white when the scan results came in, though. "I. . .I can't find her on Earth."
"What?" Azure asked, not believing this was happening again.
"She's not on Earth," Billy repeated. "At least not showing up on my scans."
Azure took a deep breath, trying to be logical. "Where is she. . .or was she. . .last?"
Billy read off the location co ordinate, then rechecked his results. "There are also traces of Goldar around where she was."
"This isn't happening," Azure whispered to herself. "This just isn't happening."
Billy hadn't looked this upset in a while. "Let's go see what we can find there."
Azure nodded. "Let's go!" it only took a second to arrive there, and Billy looked around as they materialized.
"This is the last place her co ordinates registered," he said. _Where are you, Aura?_
Azure glanced around, wondering if she'd ever get that rest she and Adam had tried to get earlier. Exhausted, she leaned against a tree. What she felt under her hand startled her. She turned to see it more clearly, and her eyes widened in shock. _NO!_
Billy looked over at her. "What is it?" he and Adam joined her, the others slowly converging to see if she'd found something. Indeed she had: a stylized "Z" carved into the wood of the tree.
Someone's signature. Someone very specific. Billy paled so much he looked like a corpse. Azure whispered the name, the name they all feared.
Rita smiled nastily as Aura was dragged in. "Welcome, Amber Ranger! I'd like you to meet Master Vile: my father!"
Aura ignored them both, reaching inside of herself in an attempt to contact the Spirit of Earth. Vile laughed hideously. "I'm afraid that won't work!" he knew the signs well, he'd seen it before in other Amber Rangers. "You're not on Earth!" _And the fact Blocker blocks EVERYTHING doesn't hurt either!_
"The Rangers will get me out of here!" Aura growled. "And you won't like it when they do!"
Vile gloated, "The Rangers are weaklings compared to me! Galan and Zedd put together are weaker than I am!"
"Have you ever faced the full fury of the Guardian of the Earth?" _Of course since I can't contact the Spirit, I can't become the Guardian, but they don't need to know that._
"What a pathetic threat!" Vile snapped. Rita nodded her agreement. Aura actually yawned.
"I've heard worse insults coming from my children."
Rita smiled at her. "How about this one: you are never seeing your sister again!"
"You'd better not have harmed her!" Aura managed to conceal her flinching; she hated the thought of Azure hurt!
Rita shook her head. "I did no such thing! Eric did it all!"
"Maybe you should have said good-bye to your sister before you left!" Rita needled her.
Aura leveled a serious gaze at them both. "I'm going to kill you both for this."
"In your dreams!"
"A good many of my dreams of come true, Rita, and so will this one!" Aura retorted. Rita seized her hair, jerked her head back, and looked deep into Aura's gray eyes.
"That is what you think. It won't, trust me!"
Aura yawned, deliberately. "I've heard that before. So how long till I get rescued, ooops, how long till you kill me?" _Might as well tease them some!_
"How can they rescue you?" Rita mocked. "They can't even find you!"
"Sooner or later, they always do!" Aura grinned. She had faith in her friends and family. She knew they would come through for her. In the meantime, she could get in some good insults. "Go ahead, do you worst to me, I can take it. I've been kissed by your skinless husband, Rita, I can take anything you can dish out!"
Rita had never looked angrier in her life! "How dare you kiss him!"
"I didn't say I liked it," Aura drawled. "Actually, I wanted to go wash my lips off afterwards!" _Not to mention a week-long soak to scrub off every other body part he touched!_
Rita screeched, "You will pay for his death!"
"Do you take checks?"
"You will pay with both your sanity and your life, just like your sister!" Rita promised with all the hatred in her.
"And you will pay for anything and everything you've done to her!"
Vile waved his hand absently. "Whatever, child!"
"We're ready, Zordon!" Aisha, Rocky, and Kat were about to teleport to the Glitter Rose. Azure looked at them with gratitude in her eyes.
"Thank you," she told them. Zordon gave them their final instructions.
THE GLITTER ROSE WILL BLOOM IN PRECISELY TWO HOURS, AT THE MOMENT OF NOON ON THAT WORLD. BE CAREFUL.
Rocky nodded. "We will," he glanced at the others. We'll see you later!" Alpha punched a few buttons, and the three of them vanished in multi-colored lights.
Azure sighed. "Hurry back, guys," as Adam wrapped an arm around her.
"They'll be back soon, and you'll be okay," he reassured her. Azure smiled a little.
"Not if anything happens to Aura," she murmured. Tommy sighed a little.
"What's worrying me is the 'Z' sign," he murmured. Adam nodded; they were all worried over that. "I don't think it's Zedd, not really."
"Rita must want us to think it is," Azure leaned against Adam. "Just like with the knife," she yawned a little.
Adam sighed a bit. "We'll find her, though."
"Why is she doing this to Aura?" Azure wondered. "I mean, if she wants revenge for Zedd's death, Aura didn't have anything to do with that!" _I did, though._
Billy paused in his search for a moment. "Maybe not. But Zedd did want Aura to be his queen," he managed to control his nausea at that thought.
"Jealousy?" Tommy wasn't sure quite what to think of this. Adam shrugged.
"It must be," he noticed Azure's eyes were starting to close. She jerked them open, forcing herself to stay away. "You can go to sleep, Azure."
She shook her head. "No."
"You need to sleep!" he wanted her to rest, she needed it so badly. She shook her head again with her usual stubbornness.
"I'm fine," she told him, her eyes on Billy as he kept looking. Azure knew he wanted to pace and be upset, but he also knew that wasn't going to help find Aura. "Any luck?"
"Nothing," he sighed. "Nothing at all."
"This place is beautiful!" Kat breathed as she looked around the flora-filled environment. Rocky nodded.
"It's magnificent is more like it!"
Aisha couldn't believe her eyes. "Words fail to describe this place!" As far as the eye could see there was nothing but plants, plants everywhere, under a flawless cerulean sky. Aisha glanced at the map Zordon had provided them. "I think the rose is supposed to be this way."
As they crossed a river, Aisha glanced up. "Guys, isn't that what we're looking for?" on the far side of the river, on a small hill, grew a bush. Leaves greener than jade covered it, as did small blue berries. At the very top of the bush was a single rose of purest white, with a soft shimmer about it.
"Woah," Rocky breathed. "It's beautiful!" there were only seconds left until it bloomed, it seemed.
"We've got to wait until it blooms, or else, we won't be able to help Azure!"
Rocky jumped up beside it, taking out his Power Sword. "I'll be ready." a moment later, the Glitter Rose bloomed, and Rocky sliced through the stem gently. Kat smiled.
"Let's go home."
They were back in the Command Center a brief second later. Azure stared almost mindlessly into the distance, presumably where Eric was standing there. Rocky proclaimed, "We're back!"
"You got it!" Adam smiled as they appeared. Alpha quickly took the rose and started working on the cure.
"Congratulations, guys!" Billy said as Alpha delivered the remedy to Azure. She drank it down quickly, and paused for a moment. A second later, Adam had to catch her as she passed out from exhaustion.
"I'll take her home," he said. "She needs the sleep."
Aisha smiled a little. "Hopefully Aura will be here when she wakes up!"
Billy nodded as Adam and Azure teleported home. "Yeah, hopefully."
_I hope with all my heart she is! Where are you?_
"They found the Glitter Rose?" Rita screamed. "How?"
Vile hissed in frustration. "I don't know! That fool Zordon must have had something to do with it!"
"There must be another way to get rid of that one!" Rita insisted. _She can't be immortal or invulnerable!_
Aura, chained to a near-by wall, laughed. "You guys will never beat my sister or the Rangers!"
"Who says it was your sister we are trying to get rid of?" Rita protested. Aura smiled; she knew the ways of evil.
"Because she's the only one that's had a spell put on her," Aura reminded them. "One of yours, Disgusting, or whatever your name is!"
Vile laughed. "But I know how to destroy her!" he glanced to Earth; to Azure and Adam arriving at their apartment. "And he is the key."
"Look, Disgusting, you touch her or anyone else I love, and I won't rest until I've torn you into teeny, tiny shreds!"
Vile laughed. "The name is Vile, and I don't think you can do anything chained up against a wall!"
"Maybe not now," Aura admitted. "But soon."
He nodded. "Soon she will be destroyed!!!"