Things were relatively quiet in the Lunar Palace that day. Finster was messing with something in his lab; Lord Zedd didn't much care what. Squatt and Baboo were staying out of the way, which was how he preferred them. Goldar was snoozing in one corner of the throne room, but Zedd knew he'd jump to attention at his first command to attack.
He glanced to the Earth; the Pink and White Rangers were on yet another date. He watched them for a few moments, struck by a sudden curiosity as to what these humans found so fascinating about love and romance. As he watched, anyone who had observed him would have noticed a strange softening of his harsh looks.
They look so happy together. So at peace, even knowing that I'm up here ready to destroy them at a moment's notice. I don't understand this. Not in the slightest. He stared more and more intently, unable to concentrate on anything but them. For a few hours, Lord Zedd's mind wasn't filled with plots of evil and destruction, but with peace and contentment.
He looked around his throne room, and rose suddenly. He was tired of these dank and gloomy surroundings; he found himself filled with a sudden urge for sunlight, flowers, green grass, and the sound of birds. He teleported himself to Earth, to a quiet valley on a deserted island.
"Why am I feeling like this?" he wondered aloud as he sat on a rock and watched the waves wash up on the beach. "What is wrong with me?"
Nothing, some inner voice seemed to reply. Enjoy the day. Don't be Lord Zedd. Be who you were once. Be your old self again. He knew that voice, though it had been eons since he had heard, or used it. He flickered, and in place of the skinless creature that had been there, a young teenage, handsome human male sat, dressed in casual Earth clothing. The only things the two versions of himself had in common were the staff in his hands, and his name.
I am still Zedd. But not Lord Zedd, master of evil. I am. . .Zedd Marcus, he found himself remembering a name he had not used in so many thousands of years it was laughable. The name he had been born with, the name he had discarded when he had turned to the side of evil. He shook his head, forgetting both good and evil for now. All he wanted was just some rest from it all.
He spent that entire day on that island, in his human form. He knew Goldar would sleep all day and night if no one disturbed him, and no one was likely to. The Rangers wouldn't question it if a day passed without a monster attack; he let several days go by like that at times. No one would notice his absence at all. He liked that; it gave him a freedom he hadn't really experienced or even considered in years: in thousands of years.
As night fell, Zedd found himself looking up at the moon. Full and clear it rose in the night sky, shining like only a full moon can. He could easily see the lunar palace on it, and he sighed deeply. I can never go back to being Zedd Marcus, not for real. This was a pleasant interlude, but I must return to who I am now. Lord Zedd.
He was back in the palace, seated on his throne, almost before that thought was complete. Goldar hadn't even turned over, it seemed. Zedd sighed to himself; nothing ever changed here.
The next morning, Zedd still found himself possessed by that strange spirit of peace that had overcome him the day before. He scanned the Earth ceaselessly, determining that no matter what, he would attack the Rangers today. That was what he did.
He stopped suddenly, his attention caught by something. Or rather, by someone. "Whoa!" he stared in complete and utter surprise. Goldar stared at him suddenly.
"She is beautiful!" Zedd breathed in suddenly, and it was as if he were breathing in a soul along with the words. He had seen the most beautiful of women, it had to be! She was the Rangers' age, dark hair, dark eyes, a flawless figure.
"Huh? What?" Goldar looked over at his master. "Who, master?"
"Someone down on Earth," Zedd realized something he hadn't known in his entire life, and it both frightened and exhilarated him. He was in love.
"Oh," Goldar yawned. "Want me to go kidnap them for you?"
Zedd shook his head. "No, this must be dealt with a different way." With a flicker, he changed into his human form. Goldar looked at him a trifle disapprovingly.
"That's a new look for you," he said diplomatically. Zedd was known for blasting people who interfered with his desires. Goldar didn't know why his master had so suddenly conceived a liking for this human woman, whoever she was, but he decided not to question. That was the way to a long and healthy evil life around this palace. * * *
Helen Troy glanced down at her watch and groaned inwardly. Oh, great! I'm going to be late for class! Great! She started to step up her walking, when someone stepped out quickly in front of her. For a brief second, she thought it was her boyfriend Darian, until she noticed this person was much handsomer and didn't have that perpetual arrogant sneer Darian did.
"Excuse me," he said politely. That was another difference from her boyfriend; Darian didn't have a polite bone in his body.
"May I help you?" she asked. It would put her even farther behind for getting to class; but something about him made her not care about that. He was just so attractive, and had such a nice smile.
He smiled tentatively at her. "I'm new, and a little lost."
"Oh? I know the area around here pretty well, I can probably help you," Helen told him. She knew Stone Canyon High like the back of her hand.
So far, so good, Zedd thought to himself. She is so beautiful. "I'm looking for the registration office," he told her. She gestured briefly down a pathway.
"It's over that way. Come on, I'll take you there," they started walking; luckily it was on her way. She wasn't so sure she'd have walked him there if it hadn't been.
"My name is Zedd Marcus," he was surprised to hear himself use his real name with her, but something said she wouldn't appreciate a lie. If she ever found out. . ."What's yours?"
"Helen Troy," she told him. A family legend was that they were descended from the real Helen of Troy, which was why she'd been named that, but she discounted it. It really didn't matter anyway.
Zedd smiled. "That is a beautiful name for a beautiful woman," he complimented her. Helen blushed delicately.
"Better not let my boyfriend hear you say that," she told him. "He's kind of protective of me." Actually, that's not a good way to say it. He goes insane if I even think of a guy while he's around, that's better.
"I won't," Zedd frowned a little. Once I'm through with him, he won't be doing much of anything to you!
"Good," Helen frowned and sighed. "He doesn't like other guys even looking at me!"
Zedd shook his head. "He sounds like an idiot. Beauty should be admired, not looked away from!" he smiled to her. "Maybe I'll see you around school?" After all these years, I'm going to school. But it will enable me to see Helen, and that is something I want to do a great deal of!
"Maybe," Helen glanced down at her watch again, and yelped; she was going to be late if she didn't run! Zedd noticed her surprise, and laid a quick hand on her shoulder.
"I guess I should take my leave of you, before you are late for your next class," he told her. She nodded and started away, pausing only long enough to tell him,
"It was nice meeting you!"
"Same here," he waved as she ran down the hallway and out of sight. Now to get things set up here. If I can't get into all her classes, then I don't deserve to call myself a wizard, good or evil! * * *
Helen walked along quickly; she was almost to her class. Unlike before, though, she was smiling. Her thoughts were all on Zedd. He's so handsome, and not like Darian at all!
As if her thoughts had conjured him up, Darian was beside her suddenly. "Hey, beautiful! Thinking about me?"
Helen nodded abruptly. "Of course! Who else would I be thinking about?" Anyone else, actually, and someone else in particular, now that I've met them!
Darian put an arm around her shoulders tightly and whispered in her ear, "You'd better not be thinking of anyone else." Her heart thudded so loud she was sure he could hear it.
"I wouldn't ever think of anyone but you, Darian!" she told him. She had to lie; if he found out, he'd become very violent, and he was bad enough as it was.
Darian nodded. "That's good to know," you have to keep these women in line. A little slap now and then to teach them their place. He glanced over to see the last 'little slap' he'd given Helen was just beginning to fade from a dark purple to a hideous green and yellow. "We're still on for tonight."
"Of course," she smiled at him; he was her boyfriend, that was all there was to it. She'd never have anyone else but him, and if she even thought of it, he'd kill her.
"I'll pick you up around seven," he told her. "You'd better be ready!"
Helen nodded. "I will be!" she promised. Like I have a choice! I wonder if it would be like this if I were dating Zedd?
That evening, Helen was running around her house, getting the last few things she needed done. Darian was pacing back and forth angrily in the living room; her parents were already out for the evening, leaving her alone with him. "I'm sorry, Darian," she said as she ran to join him. "I was late getting home, and I've been trying to get caught up since I got here!"
"A likely story," he snarled, slapping her hard. "Come on. We're going to be late for our movie!" he watched as she grabbed her purse. He never hit her where it would show up to the casual eye; that way no one would start asking questions that were none of their business.
Once they were through with dinner and the movie that preceded it, they walked through the park on their way home. Darian kept a sharp eye on Helen; she seemed to be off in a little world of her own that had nothing to do with him. He frowned; that was not how things were supposed to be!
"Helen, are you listening to me?" he asked harshly. The park was shadowed and dark, perfect for a little girlfriend-management.
"Yes," she nodded absently, her mind completely elsewhere. Zedd's such a nice guy. Of course, I've talked to him for less than a few minutes. He could be like Darian, for all I know? Why do I stay with him, anyway?
"What did I say?" he asked, grabbing her arm tightly. Every second that passed he increased the grip; getting her attention with pain.
"Ummm. . .I. . .um, let go, Darian, you're hurting me!" she squirmed, trying to get away. He growled low at her.
"Who were you thinking about?" he wanted to know what was going on; how dare she think of someone else!
"Darian, please, let me go!" she begged. He liked the way she wriggled in his grip; it was starting to turn his mind towards other things. But business before pleasure.
"Not until you answer me truthfully!" he declared, his arm a bar of solid steel she couldn't break. She whimpered a little, fear in her eyes.
"Zedd, his name is Zedd Marcus!" she whispered. "I met him at school; he just wanted directions, I didn't do anything but show him where the registration office is!"
With his free hand he delivered a series of stinging slaps to her, then pushed her roughly to the ground. "You'd better not do anything else, or you will pay!"
She shrank away from him, too scared to do anything else. "Please, Darian, I won't even look at him!"
Darian grinned as he drew his arm back to hit her again; he liked the way she trembled in fear of him. The very last thing he expected was for someone to grab his arm.
But it happened.
"I don't think so," Zedd told him smoothly. Darian tried to get out of this strange fool's grip, only to find it was impossible.
"Zedd," Helen whispered, scared and grateful at the same time. She didn't believe someone had actually saved her from him, that had never happened before. Whenever he started to beat on her, it had always ended up back either at her place or his, and she was usually late for school the next morning; being too bruised and tired to move.
Zedd looked at Darian, then punched him straight into a near-by lake. "Was that the idiot boyfriend, or just some jerk?" he asked as he helped Helen to her feet.
"T. . .that was my boyfriend," she stammered. He saved me. Just like a knight in shining armor!
Zedd shook his head. "I wouldn't stay with him if I were you!" he advised. You deserve so much better than him! I'd rather see you with a Power Ranger than with this abusive freak! At least the Rangers would never do that sort of thing to you!
She shrank away a little. "I don't have anyone else to go to; everyone around here is scared of him. He beat up three guys that asked me out, and that was before we were dating! There's no one at Stone Canyon who'd go out with me!"
Zedd shrugged. "Then don't go to Stone Canyon. You can always transfer to Angel Grove."
Helen's eyes widened briefly. "That place gets attacked by monsters every day!"
"Which would you rather face, a monster or Darian?" he asked quietly. You are safe from the monsters, Helen. You of all people are safe. "It shouldn't take much for your parents to arrange the transfer."
"What about you?" the question was out of her mouth before she quite realized it, and he smiled a little.
"I can arrange my own transfer," he told her. "What's important is for you to be safe," they were both relatively ignoring Darien, who was spluttering and fighting his way to the edge of the lake.
"But you just got here today!"
He smiled and told her, "Which makes it all the easier on me. Trust me, it will be no bother. Do you want to leave him?"
Helen didn't even have to think on that one, she knew the answer already. As Darian got out of the lake, she said the three words she'd wanted to since the first time he'd hit her. "We're breaking up!"
Darian snarled. "I'll find you! This relationship is far from over!"
Helen clutched protectively at Zedd's arm. "I don't ever want to see you again!" she told him. Together, she and Zedd left Darian trying to get the water out of his clothes. She hadn't felt this free in the entire three years she'd been dating him.
"I hope my parents are willing to transfer me," she said as they came up the path to her house. "They've been wanting to talk to me about something for a couple of days, but I've. . ." she stopped, remembering what and who she'd been busy with. Zedd picked up her sentence.
"You've been with Darian," he finished quietly. Helen nodded, feel a warm sense of relief to be able to think of herself as Darian's ex-girlfriend. They were about to go in, when he paused. "I'll leave you here; you should talk to your parents alone. Tell them what Darian has said and done to you, and I'm certain they'll get things begun first thing in the morning. I'll see you around school."
"Thank you, Zedd," she said softly. "For everything."
He smiled at her. "It was my pleasure, Helen." He stood and watched her until she was safely inside her house, then returned to the moon, smiling. Things were going just fine. * * *
"So, I want to transfer to Angel Grove High," Helen had been talking as fast as she could, not wanting to give her parents a chance to say anything till she had finished. She'd showed them the bruises Darian had given her, and that had floored both of her parents utterly.
"My baby," her mom hugged her tightly. "Of course we'll transfer you! We were going to do so anyway, your dad has a new job that's going to mean we're moving to Angel Grove. That's what we've been wanting to talk to you about! We weren't sure if you were going to like leaving your friends and Darian!"
Helen shivered briefly. "Mother, I couldn't be more glad to leave here!" Thanks to Darian, I don't have any friends, and I can't WAIT to leave him behind! I am so glad to be away from that psycho. . .and to have a friend like Zedd Marcus. * * *
Zedd reappeared in the throne room, and the first thing he saw was Goldar lounging in his throne. As soon as he realized Zedd was back, he was out of it and groveling in front of him. "How was your trip, my master?"
"Fine," Zedd scanned the Earth quickly, and spied a stereo system. With a wave of his wand he transformed it into a monster; the perfect distraction so the Rangers would be more concerned with his monsters than in a new young woman in school. "Take some putties and this monster and attack the Rangers," he ordered. Though it was the first attack he'd sent out in days, he didn't feel quite the same enthusiasm for it. It had been so much more fun to punch that creep Darian into the lake, defending Helen.
"So, how is your romance going, sire?" Goldar spared a few moments to try and find out what his master was up to while on Earth. Zedd looked at him for a second, considering berating him for not already being on the march.
"Slowly," he replied instead. "And carefully."
"I wish you luck, sire," Goldar decided that was a fairly safe reply. He wondered how long it would take his master to corrupt the woman to the side of evil; some turned bad faster than others it seemed. He sincerely hoped she wasn't going to be turning Zedd to the side of good.
"Thank you," Zedd had never thanked Goldar for anything in his life! "I finally found the woman of my dreams."
"When will you tell her who you are, sire?" Goldar asked, daring still more questions.
"Soon," Zedd smiled a little. He could hardly believe he was in love!
"Do you believe she will love you when she knows you have lied to her, sire?" Goldar wondered. Some women didn't like that, even evil ones. Goldar had never dated himself and wasn't quite certain what the procedures were.
Zedd shrugged. "Who said I'm lying? I have told her little about my life, and plan on keeping it that way!" I will let her know soon, though. She must know the truth.
"As you wish, sire," Goldar nodded. "I am about to send the monster and putties. Do you have any special instructions in case we run across your young lady?"
Zedd glared at him. "You are not to harm her in anyway! That is an order!"
Goldar used the same phrase yet again. "As you wish." * * *
Billy Cranston, the Blue Power Ranger, was having one of the most relaxing days of his life. That was a sharp contrast to the day before; when the Rangers had been faced with Stereohead, Putties, and Goldar all at the same time. A few well-placed shots with the ThunderMegaZord had gotten rid of the monster, though. Now, today, Zedd and company seemed to be taking the day off, and he could use the rest.
As a car, with a small van attached to it, pulled up at the house across the street, he looked up in curiosity. The house had been for sale for months, and only that morning had the "for sale" sign been taken down. An absolutely beautiful girl got out of the car, along with an older couple, and they all started pulling suitcases out of the trunk.
Better go welcome them to the neighborhood, Billy thought to himself. He headed over, smiling. "Hello," he said when he was close enough. "Can I give you a hand?"
The girl glanced over to him, smiling. "Sure. I'm Helen Troy, and these are my parents," she introduced them all.
"Billy Cranston," he returned the favor. "I live across the street from you."
"Nice to meet you," she told him as they started to unpack the car and van. Zedd had told her he would drop by later; he had some things in Angel Grove to take care of himself. This young man, Billy, was very handsome in his own way, but Helen had already decided if she ever dated again, it was going to be Zedd or no one.
Oh, you're being foolish, you only met him yesterday! She chided herself mentally. At least get to know him before making that decision! He could be just like Darian! No, don't think of him! You know you freeze up if you do!
As the unpacking continued, an unfamiliar young man walked up, calling Helen's name as he did so. She looked up, smiled, and ran over to him. "Oh, Zedd, I thought you'd never get here!" she had never been so happy to see someone in her life!"
Billy's head jerked up when he heard her use the name 'Zedd', but who she was calling that looked nothing like the monster he knew. This person was human, handsome, as far as he could tell, and Helen obviously liked him.
"Hello, Helen," his voice was low and pleasant, warm and friendly. He looked over at Billy, and for one brief second, the Blue Ranger could've sworn he saw a flash of jealousy and hatred in those eyes. "Who is your friend?"
"This is my across-the-street neighbor, Billy Cranston," Helen introduced them. "Billy, this is my friend Zedd Marcus."
The two young people shook hands. Zedd was just barely able to keep his anger from showing; Helen had moved in right across from the Blue Ranger! He had better keep away from her; Zedd wanted no Ranger-interference in his love life! He also didn't want the Rangers knowing what was going on with him until he wanted them to know.
With both Billy and Zedd to help, Helen and her family had their house set up in just a couple of hours. "Thanks, both of you," she told them, smiling. "Can I invite either of you for dinner? I know my parents won't mind, not after all your help."
Billy shook his head. "Sorry, I've got to get back home. Maybe some other time," he wasn't blind to the attraction between the two of them, and decided to let things continue without his presence as he headed back across to his house.
Helen looked over to Zedd. "Well?" she asked, smiling at him. It was all he could do to refuse her invitation; but he had important work that needed doing on the moon. "All right," she sighed a little. "Maybe next time?"
He nodded. "I wish I could stay, but I've got things that simply must be taken care of," he told her. Such as preparing another monster for the Rangers to deal with. I will not give the Blue Ranger any time to get to know her; she must not suspect me of being who I am, and he could warn her from me if he recognizes me! I will not let that happen! * * *
Helen slowly crawled into her new bed; she hadn't been this tired as far back as she could remember. It was a good kind of tiredness, coming from being away from Darian, in a new home, with new friends and even, possibly, one day, a new boyfriend. I really need to stop thinking of Zedd like that! I hardly know him! He is kind of strange, really. I mean, he'd just reached Stone Canyon that day I met him, and he abandoned it without a thought, to transfer with me to Angel Grove. I'm going to have to ask him about that. In the morning. She closed her eyes and was quickly wrapped up in the warmth of slumber and dreaming.
She wandered around her new house; everything was quiet and peaceful. There was no shred of abuse here, nothing to remind her of Darian and the fear she'd felt before coming here. What a beautiful home, what a wonderful life lay ahead of her!
A cold, dark laugh echoed throughout the house suddenly. Helen looked around, trying to find where it was coming from. It wasn't Darian; this was far more evil and viscious! "Who's there?" she called out; almost afraid to ask, for fear she'd find out.
"I am Lord Zedd, Master of all I see!" the reply came. Helen began to back away, not sure what she was backing from, just wanting to get away from the evil that very name exuded.
"What do you want here?" she asked, voice trembling. Then she remembered. "Wait, Zedd? I know a Zedd. . . Zedd Marcus."
Her heart almost stopped when something appeared in front of her. Seven feet tall, rippling with muscles, encased in a metallic exoskeleton, and with no skin, holding a tall staff with a 'Z' on it at the top, it stepped towards her. "I have come for you, Helen Troy. I want you as my queen!"
She screamed, backing away as fast as she could, trying to get away from this creature. "No!" she declared. "Get away from me!"
"Never," it shook it's head and raised the staff. "You will love me forever!" it said several strange words, and she felt as if another woman had suddenly taken her place in her body, like her in every respect but one: she loved this creature with all her heart.
"I love you, my lord Zedd," the words didn't even sound as if they came from her, dead and with no passion, no emotion involved but servitude. The creature laughed.
"Yes, you do," it said, beckoning her to come closer. She did, and to the real Helen, the Helen within, afraid and shaking, the most hideous of things happened.
"NO!" Helen shot up straight in bed, her heart pounding, fists clenched, and ready to bolt at the first sound. "No!" she glanced around, to find herself safe. She was surprised to see her parents didn't come running into the room; she'd obviously not screamed as loudly as she thought she had. A nightmare. That's all it was, just a nightmare. A bad dream. * * *
Zedd appeared, back in his evil form, and furious. He stormed into the throne room and threw himself petulantly onto his throne. Goldar looked up at him.
"What is wrong, sire?"
"That blasted Blue Ranger is hanging around Helen!" he growled. Goldar nodded.
"Why don't you simply order her to avoid him?" the winged monkey suggested. That was generally how such affairs were handled where he was from.
But this wasn't quite the case with Zedd. "Then I lose any and all chances with her!" the overlord yelled at him. Goldar flinched away, scared of Zedd's rage. His master had never acted like this before!
"Of course, sire!" Goldar decided it was time to put a call in to Master Vile, Rita Repulsa's father. Things were obviously going too well for Zedd, and Goldar had the sneaking suspicion that meant he wasn't going to be in the service of evil that much longer. "How stupid of me!" Goldar was a lot smarter than he let on to Zedd; he played the fool only to keep himself from being replaced. Zedd didn't like underlings with ambition.
"Idiot," Zedd muttered, staring out the window to Earth. I'm going to be leaving here one day very soon. And never return. I'm no longer evil. Funny, that feels so good to say. The Rangers are never going to believe me, but that's all right. If Helen loves me, or even if she doesn't, I'll still be leaving. I know what it is to love now, and I can't remain here.
Goldar interrupted his master's thoughts. "Are you going to tell her who you are, sire? Who you really are?"
"In time, in time," Zedd muttered, his thoughts all on Helen.
Goldar continued. "And what of the Blue Ranger? If he is near her, she could fall in love with him." Which might be for the best; he would return to his evil nature if she forgets him!
Zedd glared at him suddenly. "Keep the Rangers occupied!" he declared. He didn't want any of the Rangers near Helen; they'd do everything they could to keep her away from him if they suspected who he was.
"With monsters?" Goldar asked, blinking stupidly. "Lots of monsters?"
"Start small, then build up your attacks," Zedd instructed. He had no fear of leaving Goldar here when he finally left the moon; he was no match for the Rangers. They'd be able to handle him easily enough.
"What if the girl, Helen, is near a monster when it attacks?" I wonder what would he do if she mysteriously died in an attack?
"Do not attack her!" Zedd ordered, that same old evil growl in his voice. Goldar shrank away.
"We won't, sire!" Goldar promised. "I'll have the monsters and putties programmed to avoid her at all costs!" Avoiding battle and damage to one specific person, why don't we just TELL the Rangers you're in love with her? It would be more subtle!
"Good," Zedd nodded and rose from his throne. "I am going to rest, I have a big day ahead of me tomorrow." First day of classes at Angel Grove High. I wonder how much things have changed since last I was in school. It should be different, if nothing else.
Goldar glanced towards Earth, to the woman that had captured his master's heart and turned him so swiftly from evil to good. She was sitting up in bed, obviously from a nightmare from the look on her face, and was screaming. "She sure can scream loudly," he observed. Zedd stopped and turned back around.
Goldar pointed to Earth. "Looks like she had a nightmare or something," he wondered what it had been about; he rather enjoyed his nightmares.
"Oh, Helen," Zedd whispered. He gestured briefly, producing a telephone, and dialed her up. Goldar's eyes widened at that, then narrowed. Zedd was falling from evil faster than he'd suspected! * * *
Helen jumped as the phone next to her rang; her parents had arranged for the phone installation before they'd even moved in. She picked it up before it could awaken them "He. . .hello?" she asked tentatively.
"Hi," Zedd's voice came over it, sounding a bit concerned. She forced herself to keep speaking; the dream had frightened her badly.
"Oh, hello, Zedd," she replied, her voice shaking somewhat. It was only a dream, Zedd isn't that sort of creature, he's a handsome, sweet young man!
"What's wrong?" he seemed so worried about something, was it over her? Over the fear in her voice?
"I had a nightmare," she whispered, remembering how filthy she'd felt inside in the dream when that creature had put the spell on her. She'd never really believed in magic, but now she was beginning to wonder! She knew it was Lord Zedd who attacked Angel Grove, and according to all reports he looked much as she had seen in her dream. She decided that moving to Angel Grove, knowing a real Zedd now, and being still a little afraid of leaving Darian had probably just combined to make her nightmare. There was nothing to worry about, she told herself over and over again.
He asked quietly, "Want to tell me about it?" After a moment's hesitation, she spilled the entire details of it, leaving out only the name that she had heard. Zedd muttered something unintelligible in shock.
She took a deep breath. "In the dream, he said his name was Lord Zedd."
Zedd clenched his fist around the phone; he knew there was no way she could know who and what he was! How had her dream been so accurate? She kept on speaking.
"That dream. . .it was so real."
"It was only a dream," he reassured her. This is most strange. Most strange indeed.
"I know," Helen sighed. "I know you're no skinless freak!" he didn't reply to that for a few minutes and finally she asked, "Zedd? Is something wrong?"
"Just thinking," came the quick reply. She smiled a little and glanced at the clock next to the bed. When she saw what time it was, she wanted to know something.
"It's three in the morning, why'd you call?"
His reply warmed her heart. "Wanting to make sure you were okay. The first night in a new place is always the hardest."
She smiled. "That's sweet of you. You're very nice, Zedd," she sighed a little. So different from Darian.
"Thank you, my sweet Helen," he loved to compliment her in little ways like that. She smiled a little at that; he was so caring.
"I'm going to try and get some more sleep, Zedd," she told him. "Want to come over for breakfast? My parents won't mind, I'm going to be cooking and I usually make enough for a dozen anyway!"
"I would love to," he replied. Anything to spend more time near you.
She was glad; she liked to cook for people. "So, what did you think of my neighbor Billy?" she asked playfully; wondering what his reaction would be. "I was thinking of asking him over for dinner one night."
"It's up to you," Zedd said quietly after a few minutes' silence that worried her more than she wanted to admit. I don't want him near you! But I can't tell you that!
"Zedd, if I didn't know better, I'd swear that you don't like Billy!" she said wonderingly.
Zedd didn't quite answer for a moment. "I don't know," he said. "There's just something about him that makes me nervous." Like the fact he's a Power Ranger.
"He's a very nice guy," Helen smiled a bit. "Are you sure you're not jealous?"
Zedd, if he had been in human form, would've blushed. "What do I have to be jealous of him over?"
"I'm not blind, Zedd. I know you like me," she said bluntly. And I like you. "And I think you're afraid that Billy does too."
"Do you like him?" he asked. She thought for a few minutes, determining what she felt and for who.
"He's a nice guy," she said finally. "And I do like him: as a friend."
It was all Zedd could do not to clap and cheer with joy. "You get some rest. We've got a busy day ahead of us tomorrow."
She smiled. "Good night, Zedd."
"Good night, my Helen of Troy," he hung up a moment later, not hearing her giggle. She sighed and whispered one final good night to him, knowing he couldn't hear her.
"Good night, Zedd. I love you." * * *
Zedd banished the phone with the same gesture he'd used to call it up. Goldar didn't miss the worry in his eyes; a worry he'd never seen directed towards a human of any sort before. "Master?" he attempted. "When are you going to attack the Rangers again?"
Zedd looked at him for a long moment before answering. "I'm not. If you want to, that's up to you." I've had enough of it. I've found something, and someone, I care about more than I care about conquering the world. He turned away and headed for his chambers, but Goldar heard clearly the soft whisper that floated through the air. "I love you, Helen, and will give up all that I have here for you."
Had Zedd looked behind him, he would have seen an unfamiliar light of intelligence in Goldar's eyes. The golden-armored warrior turned silently and headed for the communications room. Master Vile needed to hear about this. * * *
Helen hummed to herself as she fixed breakfast that morning; except for the hideous dream she'd had, her new life in Angel Grove was going just fine. She was away from Darian, she had one new friend already in Billy, and Zedd. . .oh, Zedd. She sighed briefly; she had told herself the night before she loved him, but now, in the clear light of morning, she had no idea of what she really felt.
Is it love? Or am I just grateful because he got me away from Darian? He gave me the courage I never had to do that. I would have never done it without him. Helen thought for a few minutes on what could have happened if Zedd hadn't been there that last night. Of course, if I'd never met Zedd, I wouldn't have been thinking of him, and Darian wouldn't have gotten so mad at me.
That naturally led to the conclusion: I would still be with Darian. And I don't want that. I don't quite know WHO I want just yet. If I want anyone. But I do know I DON'T want Darian. I don't think I ever did, he wanted me. And he was perfectly willing to do whatever he had to in order to get me. There are girls that would impress. Too bad I'm not one of them.
A knock on the door brought her attention to what she was supposed to be doing, not to mention saving the eggs she was scrambling from a certain horrific death in the frying pan. She quickly turned off the heat and ran to see Billy and Zedd both standing side by side outside the door.
"Good morning," she greeted them. "Hi, Billy, I didn't expect you over this morning!"
"I'm sorry, I can leave if it's an imposition," he said quickly. Helen shook her head.
"Of course not, come on in, breakfast is on the table! I always make enough for an army! There's even more than there usually is, my parents left early and didn't have time to wait for breakfast!" she smiled warmly at Zedd as he passed by her on his way in. "I didn't have any more nightmares last night after you called."
He smiled at her; such a sweet, warm smile he had. "I'm glad," and I heard what you said once we hung up. But it is too soon yet. You aren't ready, even if you think you are.
"Nightmare?" Billy looked worriedly at her. "What sort of nightmare?"
Helen shrugged it off; the horror of the dream had faded somewhat. "Nothing much. Just a dream," she found herself telling him about it anyway, though, and if she wasn't mistaken, he had a look of sheer terror in his eyes she remembered for a long time. She considered asking him what scared him so badly about her dream, but decided not to. Maybe he had one like it; in Angel Grove, who knows what sort of weird things go on?
Billy couldn't believe his ears; she'd dreamed about Lord Zedd, and there was a guy hanging around her named Zedd? It was just too much of a coincidence for him to ignore. He got his chance to satisfy his curiosity when Helen went to get ready to leave. He cleared his throat a little and when Zedd glanced at him, asked what was on his mind.
"Um, I know this is kind of odd, but you seem familiar. Have we met?"
Zedd looked at him for a long, measuring moment. Finally, he replied, "Yes, we have, Blue Ranger."
Billy stepped even farther back, his eyes going round and wide with fright and confusion both. "No," he whispered. Zedd nodded.
"Oh, yes," he confirmed his identity. Billy seemed incoherent for a few moments, then asked, "What are you doing here?" Zedd shrugged; he was never going to believe him.
"I fell in love."
Billy didn't believe him. "You don't know what it is to love!"
"I don't?" Zedd would've agreed with him a mere week earlier. " Is it not love to want someone safe? To be willing to change for that person?"
"Does Helen know what you are? She must not; she's still associating with you!" Billy couldn't believe his eyes, his ears, or anything of this! Zedd Marcus was Lord Zedd, and he was. ..in love?
"I will tell her, once she feels safe again," Zedd promised. It was strange to be this near to Billy and not be fighting with him. It felt. . .right. That was the only way he could think of it.
Billy shook his head. "I don't trust you, Zedd. I can't believe you really love her!"
"I love her," Zedd smiled a little. "She needs time to heal right now, and I don't want to put more stress on her." That dream was stressful enough; I can't press her for information on it though; she'll want to know why I'm so curious.
Billy raised an eyebrow. "Heal from what?"
"I saved her life from her maniac ex-boyfriend," he told Billy quickly about Darian, then put a hand on the Ranger's shoulder. "Don't ruin her healing process."
"I won't tell her who you are," Billy flinched away from the contact; no matter what, this was still Zedd! The least little thing could be a spell! "But when she finds out, that could ruin her forever!"
Zedd shrugged. "By that time, I will no longer be who I was." I'm already not who I was.
"I'm going to have to tell the other Rangers," Billy reminded him. Zedd nodded; he'd expected that.
"So be it. But everything I have told you here is the truth."
Billy wasn't quite sure what to believe; something told him that for some reason, Zedd was telling the truth. He looked at Zedd for a moment. "You were jealous, weren't you?"
Zedd smiled at him, a genuine, evil-free smile. "What do I have to be jealous about? She only thinks of you as a friend." Though I might have been if she'd thought of you as more.
"Good," Bill grinned. "Because that's how I think of her."
Zedd nodded. "By the way, those monster attacks: Goldar is calling the shots on those."
The Blue Ranger raised an eyebrow. "I didn't know you trusted him that far."
Zedd chuckled. "Who said I trusted him?" The conversation came to a swift end as Helen re-entered the room, smiling at them both. Billy noticed how polite and gentle Zedd was towards her; it went a long way towards confirming what he'd said. Either that, or he was one of the greatest actors in the universe. * * *
Billy paced around the Command Center nervously, waiting for the others to arrive. Alpha watched him for a few moments before having to ask him to stop before the little droid's head fell off from the constant turning! "Sorry, Alpha!" Billy apologized as the others teleported in.
"What's up, Billy?" Tommy asked; since meeting Billy he'd never seen him look this upset or nervous over anything.
"You guys are not going to believe this!" Billy looked quickly up at Zordon; this was going to be a shock even to him, he believed!
Rocky told him, "So spill it, Billy. What's this big announcement?"
Billy took a deep breath. "Lord Zedd is dating my new neighbor: or wants to be, at least."
"Say what?" Kim's eyes went wide. "You're joking, right?"
"He's got to be; Zedd couldn't get a date if his life depended on it!" Rocky literally didn't believe his ears at this one! If it had been anyone else but Billy, he would've been falling down with laughter. Billy explained about the 'body change', and about how he'd found out what was going on. One and all, they looked up to Zordon to get their mentor's opinion on this.
RANGERS, IT IS ENTIRELY POSSIBLE THAT ZEDD TRULY HAS BEGAN TO REFORM HIS EVIL WAYS. THERE WAS A TIME, MANY THOUSANDS OF YEARS AGO, WHEN HE WAS NOT THE CREATURE HE IS NOW. THE PHYSICAL DESCRIPTON YOU GIVE OF ZEDD MARCUS MATCHES THAT OF ZEDD AS HE WAS ONCE, BEFORE ASSUMING HIS HIDEOUS APPEARANCE.
"No way," Tommy shook his head. "I don't believe it; it's got to be some trick of some kind."
"Why Helen, though?" Billy wondered. "From everything I've picked up, he's done nothing but help her. She trusts him."
The White Ranger shrugged; that baffled him too. "I'm not sure. We should keep an eye on them both, though, this could all be some massive ploy to get us to let our guard down."
Adam wasn't too sure, but he agreed that much with Tommy. "Better safe than sorry," he said. "If Zedd is trying something, he won't be able to pull it off with us around. We should warn her."
"That might not be the best idea," Aisha demurred. "If we do it as ourselves, how could we explain how we even know about any of them? Billy's the only one who's met them both, and I don't think Helen would believe that this guy who's saved her life, who's done so much to help her get her life set up here is some evil mutant overlord who lives on the moon."
RANGERS, THE WISEST COURSE OF ACTION AT THIS TIME SEEMS TO BE TO SIMPLY KEEP AN EYE ON BOTH ZEDD AND HELEN. REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THIS IS A TRICK OR NOT, ZEDD SHOULD BE MONITORED CONSTANTLY. FOR HIS SAFETY, IF HE IS SERIOUS ABOUT HIS REFORMATION, AND FOR YOURS IF HE IS NOT. BE CAUTIOUS, RANGERS. * * *
Three very cautious weeks flew by, with the Rangers watching Zedd as unobtrusively as they could, and Helen spending as much time with him as she could. He'd asked her out about a week after the move to Angel Grove, and she'd happily accepted. She'd been about ready to ask him out by that point; she'd never felt so free in all her life since they'd come here. Being with him was a way to celebrate her freedom.
"You're staring at me again, Zedd," she chuckled one afternoon as they sat under a spreading tree in the park. She'd forgotten how many times she'd caught him staring at her over the past few weeks. She liked that. She's also forgotten how many times she'd been staring at him.
She grinned; he looked so cute when he was pretending to be confused! "You stare at me all the time," she reminded him. He blushed a little.
"Well, you're beautiful," he told her. She liked the way he said that. She sighed deeply with joy as she leaned against him.
"I'm so glad I haven't had any more nightmares like that one I had my first night here," she shivered in remembrance. The nightmare was the one flaw in her life here so far, the only thing that had gone wrong. "That. . .whatever it was, scared me so much."
Zedd put a gentle hand on her own. "Hey, if it happens again, call me!" I am going to tell her who I am. What I am. What I was. And that I'm going to leave the moon forever today, to be with her, if she wants to be with me.
She smiled at him. "You're so sweet," she squeezed his hand in return. "But what I'd like to know. . .what I've been wondering. . is why that thing had your name."
A better opportunity couldn't present itself if I made it myself. He sighed a little, hoping this wouldn't ruin everything. "Because it was me."
Helen stared at him, something about the way he said it denied all doubts she might have had. "What?" she stuttered the word out and he started to explain, unable to look at her as he did so.
"I took on this form, because I fell in love with you, Helen. I'm willing to leave the life I had before to be with you."
Helen was on her feet and backing away, eyes round with horror. "You? You're that thing!?!" How could I have been such a fool?
"I was," he nodded. "Now, I am who you see. I will do no harm to you, that I promise."
Helen shook her head wildly, this was quite literally a nightmare come true, proven when he flickered briefly to his skinless form, then back into who she knew as Zedd Marcus. "How can I believe you! You lied to me!"
"I never lied," he corrected her. "This is how I once looked. I simply omitted the fact that I was really some skinless guy who lived on the moon. I always avoided the topic of my past."
Helen knew that was true; now she knew why. "In the dream," she whispered. "You put a spell on me. How can I trust that you haven't done that? What if what I feel for you is just the result of your magic?" How can I trust him? Or myself anymore?
Zedd shook his head. "It isn't. I don't know how to prove it to you, but I've never put any spells on you. I wanted you to love me freely."
"I don't know, Zedd," Helen felt tears coursing down her cheeks. "I just don't know. How can I trust you?" as she stepped away from him, she bumped into someone. "Excus. ..no!!!"
"Hello, Helen," Darian said smoothly. "It's been a while. I told you I'd find you."
"Darian!" Helen screamed, heart pounding with fear as Darian put himself between her and her ex. "Get away from me! Won't you ever leave me alone?" she paled as he pulled a gun from under his jacket and leveled it at Zedd.
"Never," he said coldly. "You're my girlfriend."
"Zedd, get out of here! He'll kill you!" she yelled, trying to at least save him. It didn't matter about what he told her, all she wanted was for him to be safe. Zedd shook his head sharply, and tried to change to his monstrous form.
A sharp pain filled his stomach suddenly as he heard the gun go off. He found himself on the ground, with Helen leaning over him. "Zedd! No!!" there was such pain, such horror in her eyes at the sight of him being hurt.
"I. . . love you," he whispered as his eyes shut. She screamed incoherently, but there was nothing he could do as Darian grabbed her firmly by one arm and started to drag her away towards a car idling near-by. Helen looked up to see Billy and a few of his friends heading towards them, and she could tell they hadn't seen Zedd yet.
"Billy!" she howled to get their attention, pointing to Zedd. "Help Zedd! He's been shot!" she hoped they'd heard her as Darian shoved her into his car and jumped into the driver's seat.
Billy looked over to where she was pointing, and growled something unintelligible under his breath. "Come on," he led the Rangers over to Zedd, who was close to unconsciousness. Billy glanced over to see the car Helen had been forced into driving off. By Zedd, Adam was already starting to apply pressure to his wound, and raised an eyebrow as Billy came closer.
"I never thought I'd have to help save the life of our enemy!" he murmured. Zedd looked up at them weakly.
"Thank you," he whispered. "But. . .save Helen." The only thing Zedd could really think of, care about, was the fact the woman he loved was in danger. Billy dropped down beside him and did his best to be comforting.
"We will," he promised. "But you need help now." Zedd shook his head as best he could.
"Find her," he whispered. "He's dangerous."
"Is that who you told me about at Helen's that day?" Billy wondered. Zedd nodded, closing his eyes softly.
Adam looked up at the others. "We'd better get him to the Command Center, and get Zordon's help. We can't take him to a hospital, he doesn't have identification for it."
"Let's go," Tommy glanced around; he hadn't seen what had happened, but it was obvious if Zedd had put himself in danger to help this person, this was no trick. No one was near enough to see them as they teleported to the Command Center, and as they did so, Tommy found himself hoping things worked out for Helen. And for Zedd, too. * * *
Darian shoved Helen against the car door, daring her to try and get out. "You little. . . ," he was too angry to use all the words he wanted to call her at the moment. Helen trembled as she looked up at him, this brought back far too many bad memories!
"Why can't you leave me alone?" she whispered. The look he gave her almost froze her where she shook.
"Cause you're my girlfriend, until I decide otherwise!" he told her sharply. What would it take to convince her of that?
She tried to reason with him. "I don't love you, Darian!"
"I'm not your girlfriend; I don't want to be your girlfriend! I don't want anything to do with you! You might have killed Zedd!" she wailed. Darian shrugged coldly.
"So?" he really didn't care. "He deserved it."
She couldn't believe her ears. "He hasn't done anything! He's the nicest guy I've ever met! I. . .," she paused for a moment as the realization swept over her. "I love him." I do. I don't care what he is or was, I still love him.
"Pity," Darian slapped her hard, knocking her head against the car door. She didn't know where he'd gotten this thing at; he was only sixteen, a year older than she was, he couldn't have bought it, and it wasn't his parents' car.
"Don't hit me!" she surprised herself with how loud she yelled. Darian's eyes flashed with rage as he struck her harder this time.
"Shut up!" he advised harshly. Helen cowered back, feeling all the old fear returning. "I can do what I want!"
"I want to go home, Darian," Helen whispered, hoping he'd listen, hoping he'd really care, just this once.
"You are." She shook her head at that.
"To my home, to Angel Grove! Far away from you!"
Darian laughed and slapped her just to hear the sound of flesh against flesh. "Never!" he told her. "We're going back to where all this started. Back to your real home: with me."
"You'll see," Darian laid a hand on her knee, and when she jerked away in response, slapped her once more. "Don't you dare move away from me!" he was gratified to see her huddle up and cry in silence the rest of the trip back to Stone Canyon. He parked in front of his house and looked at her for a moment.
He'd wanted her from the first moment he'd seen her. And what Darian Anthony wanted, he took. He'd delayed taking her for a while, but that was about to change. "You're home," he told her. He liked the fear in her eyes and voice as she looked up to see where they were.
"This isn't my home. My home's Angel Grove, with Zedd!" she whimpered. He laughed as he dragged her out of the car and pushed her towards the house.
"Not anymore! It's back here, with me! Now, move it!" he was going to have a lot of fun proving to her just where her home was, and with whom she belonged. He pulled her straight to his bedroom; he was going to get right down to business. His parents were out of the way, he had her all to himself now.
Helen screamed as she saw where he was taking her, she'd had more than enough of that while they'd been dating! Darian only laughed, then if she'd surprised herself by yelling at him in the car, she floored them both with a powerful punch to his jaw. Darian laughed, the strongest she could do was no more than a fly's weight to him; he'd spent several years working out. He slapped her again, several times, harder and harder each one. She whimpered and fought as best she could against him, to no avail.
His fun was interrupted by a harsh pounding at the door. "I wonder who that could be?" he growled. To keep Helen quiet he punched her with all his strength, knocking her across the room and into the far wall. She slid bonelessly against it, eyes sliding shut into unconsciousness. He snorted in derision to himself, then headed out to see who was making all the noise, after he'd locked her in the room. No need to risk her waking up. I haven't even begun to have my fun yet!
Standing on the front step was an almost-familiar young man. Darian frowned as he came to the door, and asked, "Can I help you?" if he's selling something, I think I'm going to kill him!
That was the last thing Darian Anthony thought for a while, as a rock-hard and very powerful fist slammed into his chin. He collapsed, hitting his head on the door. Billy, for that was who it was, entered quickly and started looking for Helen. He normally wouldn't have done what he just had, but since this filth had attempted to kill someone, abducted Helen, whom Billy considered a good friend, and who knew what else he had done to her, the young Ranger had made an exception.
"Helen?" he pounded on the locked door he found upstairs, from behind which came a faint feminine groan. "Helen! Answer me, it's Billy! Zedd needs you!"
"B. . .Billy?" he heard sounds as of someone standing and coming towards the door. "I'm here!"
"The door's locked," he told her. "There's no key, can you unlock it?"
"No," she called back. "It locks from the outside. He's probably got the key on him!"
He thought over his options; he didn't really want to go back downstairs and have to touch that disgusting creature. "Get away from the door!" he told her. When the footsteps from within told him she was away, he did one of the best tornado kicks of his life, and knocked door right off it's hinges! Woah! Better tell Jason about that one! I don't think he'll believe me, though!
"Helen!" he stepped in. "Come, we've got to get you to Zedd! He needs you!" I can't believe Zordon wanted me to bring her to the Command Center. She's not a Ranger. Maybe it has something to do with her and Zedd being in love; I don't know. He could've already told her who we are. But she hasn't said anything if she knows, so if she does, she can be trusted. If she doesn't, she's going to.
"Where is he?" she asked. He caught his breath at the sight of her, covered with bruises and bleeding from a small cut on her forehead. "Where's Zedd?"
He held out his hand. "I'll take you to him. Trust me."
Helen grabbed his hand; the only thing she wanted right now was to be with Zedd. She didn't care what he was, she loved him. A moment after she'd touched Billy's hand, there was a second of disorientation, then she was standing in a strange computer filled room. She didn't notice Billy's other friends in a small knot, the four foot tall gold and yellow robot bent over a console, or the floating head in a tube. Her eyes were only for Zedd, on an examining table and looking very pale.
She ran over to him, taking his hand as she did so. "Zedd," she whispered. "Oh, Zedd. Don't you leave me! I love you!"
Kim glanced to Tommy; she had seen the expression in Helen's eyes. She really did love Zedd, with all her heart. "I hope he's going to be all right," the Pink Ranger whispered. Tommy nodded, half to her, half to himself. This was definitely the weirdest thing that had ever happened to the Rangers.
Helen smiled with joy as Zedd's eyes began to open. "Zedd," her heart pounded. "Oh, Zedd."
"I meant it," he told her softly. He was healing practically before her eyes! "I love you."
"Zedd," she said softly. "I love you."
He looked over to the Rangers. "You no longer have to fear me," his voice was so gentle, so kind. "I have changed sides."
Tommy took a deep breath, then walked over to stand beside him. "We're glad of it, too. Welcome to our side, Zedd."
"Does this mean we don't need our powers anymore?" Billy wondered. Somehow, he doubted that. There was still Rita out there somewhere. Zedd looked a little worried about something as he sat up, with Helen's help.
"What's wrong?" Tommy wanted to know. Already he had stopped thinking of Zedd as the enemy. It was hard enough to reconcile their former foe with the gleaming red muscles and chrome outfit to this handsome, well-dressed young man who looked no older than they did.
"Rita's father, Master Vile," he told them. "Just before I left the moon the last time, I caught Goldar sending a message to him. I didn't say anything; I didn't want them to know that I knew. But Vile could be coming here, and he is far more dangerous than I was."
Helen looked around, and it suddenly sank into her that these were the Power Rangers! She knew who they were! And Billy. . .Billy was one of them! A voice sounded from above, breaking into her thoughts.
HELEN TROY, I AM ZORDON OF ELTAR, ADVISOR TO THE POWER RANGERS. I HAD BILLY BRING YOU HERE TO OUR COMMAND CENTER ONCE HE HAS RESCUED YOU FROM DARIAN. YOU AND ZEDD ARE THE ONLY PEOPLE NOW TO KNOW THE TRUE IDENTITIES OF THE POWER RANGERS. Helen stared in wide-eyed wonder at Zordon, her hand curled around Zedd's as Alpha scanned her injuries and started working to fix them as well. She didn't so much as notice the little droid, either. WE ASK THAT YOU TAKE A VOW TO KEEP THE SECRET OF THEIR IDENTITIES, WHICH WERE REVEALED TO YOU ONLY THAT ZEDD'S LIFE MIGHT BE SAVED. HE WOULD NEVER HAVE AWAKENED HAD YOU NOT ADMITTED TO HIM YOUR LOVE.
Helen looked to Zedd, then over at the Rangers. She smiled a little to herself. This had to be the strangest day of her life! She found out the guy she loved was, or had been, the most evil alien invader in the universe, she'd been kidnapped by Darian, her ex-boyfriend, rescued by Billy, her newest friend, who had turned out to be a Power Ranger, and all of his friends were Power Rangers as well. She chuckled a bit.
"I'll take the vow," she said at last. "You saved Zedd's life. I owe you secret, at the very least." As she swore to keep the Rangers' secret, Zedd's arms wrapped around her. She looked up at him, a smile curving her lips. "I love you, Zedd Marcus or Lord Zedd or whatever you want to call yourself."
He kissed her gently. "I love you, Helen Troy."
Hand in hand, they turned to face the Rangers. Helen couldn't stop smiling as she did so. Her life had changed so radically in the last three weeks. She had went from the abused girlfriend of a sadistic maniac to the loved girlfriend of a truly worthwhile young man. Guess I'll never be able to say nothing exciting happened in my life!