Lord Zedd had not troubled the Power Teens since the CyberPutty fiasco a few days ago. The Rangers decided to take a break and play a friendly game of softball. They had divided up into teams of three since Tommy had not recovered from the injuries he had received from Goldar. Instead, the White Ranger read through his ancient book.
Billy pitched a ball to Aisha. The perky Yellow Ranger hit it as hard as it could. It whizzed by Tommy's head and landed in the woods nearby.
"I'll get it!" Rocky called out. He handed his glove to Tommy, who was still lost in his book, and jogged into the woods. He avoided all the poison ivy while he searched for the missing ball.
Unknown to Rocky, a pair of golden eyes watched his every move. The wiry body tensed in a thicket of brambles, his eyes locked on Rocky's throat.
"Sheesh, Aisha's got a good arm. Maybe she should try out for the softball team at school." Rocky said out loud. He didn't hear the russel of leaves as the thing in the thicket prepared to leap. Rocky didn't notice that all of the animals had fled the area.
With a throaty growl, a white wolf, with golden eyes, lunged out of the thicket and attacked the Red Ranger. Rocky raised his arm to fend off the attack. The wolf clamped down on his left arm. "What the...?" His eyes blugded when he saw the wolf. "HELP!" He screamed.
Tommy, the closest to the woods, was the first to hear Rocky's cries. He put down his book and strained his ears. He could hear the sound of a fight going on. "C'mon, guys!" Tommy stood up. "Rocko's in trouble!"
The Rangers followed their leader into the woods. They soon reached Rocky. Tommy grabbed a thick, dead branch and warily approached his friend. He raised the club and crashed it down onto the wolf's head. It fell stunned. Tommy grabbed his friend and handed him to Billy and Adam. "Get him to the doctors, now! I follow you." Tommy ordered. Normally, he didn't boss his friends around when they weren't in battle, but this time was an emergency. He waited until his friends were safe, then Tommy threw down his club and followed them. He never noticed the "leaves of three" on the branch.
Tommy scratched his hands and arms while they waited for Rocky to get out of the doctor's office. Billy looked over at his leader.
"Will you please stop that, you're making me itch!" Billy exclaimed.
"I can't." Tommy frowned. "I'm itching like crazy!"
Adam glanced at Tommy's arms. "That branch that you used on the wolf, did it have green leaves on it with three leaflets on each stem?" He asked.
"I think so, why?"
"Well, Tommy, you've got yourself a case of poison ivy. Didn't you ever hear the saying: "Leaves of three let them be or You'll need an ocean of Calamine lotion"?"
"No, I never did. Bummer." Tommy slouched in his chair. "Wait, a minute, if _I_ got poison ivy from that branch, then wolf has it too, right?"
"I guess so."
"Good, then it'll be easy to identify: a white wolf with golden eyes and poison ivy on the top of its head!" Tommy laughed. Just then Rocky came out. He was pale and had a large bandage around his left arm. "What did the doctor say, Rocko?"
"That I have to get rabies shots since that wolf could have been rabid and I got 50 stitches in my arm." He sulked.
"Wow, I'm sorry, man." Tommy put his arm around his friend. He held the door open for Rocky, who slunk out of the office before the doctors could give him anymore shots.
The next day, in school, Rocky found that he couldn't concentrate on his classes. He kept hearing a buzzing sound in his head. _Must be from those stupid shots I got._ He thought to himself. Sitting next to him, Tommy felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. He could feel an evil Power in the room and it was directed towards Rocky. Before he could say anything, Rocky stiffened in his chair like he had been hit by a bolt of energy.
"Hey, Rocko, are you OK?" Tommy whispered.
Suddenly, Rocky screamed, but it wasn't a human scream. It sounded more like an animal. He hooked his fingers into claws and snarled. Since Tommy was the closest one to him, Rocky threw himself onto his leader. His teeth snapped close to Tommy's throat. Billy and Adam were stunned by Rocky's behavior. Suddenly, Bulk pulled Rocky off Tommy. The bully's meaty hands pinned the rabid Ranger to a desk.
"I'd get help if I were you!" Bulk suggested calmly. Rocky strained against Bulk's greater mass, but he was pinned down. Or so they thought. All of a sudden, Rocky grabbed Bulk's arms and threw the hefty boy across the room. Then, he went for his original prey. Bulk shook his head to clear it, then took off his belt. He rushed Rocky and used the belt like a leash around the Red Ranger's neck. Rocky howled and screamed as he struggled to break free. Something was stopping the boy's new, superior strength from snapping the leather.
By that time, an ambulance arrived and carted the raving Ranger away. Tommy and Bulk were treated for a few minor injuries at the scene. A suspicion was forming in Tommy's mind. He approached Bulk.
"Bulk, what is that belt buckle made out of?" He asked.
"Silver, why?" Bulk handed it to him.
"_Chikushoo!_ "* Tommy swore. He pulled his old book out of his book bag. He flipped through the yellowed pages until he was midway through the thick book. He scanned the contents and swore again.
"What's wrong?" Kim asked.
"I think I know what's wrong with Rocky." Tommy whispered.
"What?" Aisha looked at him.
"Rocky was bitten by a werewolf." Tommy stated quietly. "And is now under its control."
"Don't be silly, Tommy." Billy laughed. "There's no such thing as werewolves. You've been reading too many horror novels again, haven't you?"
"I'm not joking, Billy." Tommy held up the book. "This book was written by one of the founders of Angel Grove. It was her journal and her grimoir, book of spells. It talks about a white wolf with golden eyes that went around attacking anyone who entered the woods, right where we were yesterday. And, this wolf was no ordinary werewolf. It had attacked a vampire sometime before and ingested the vampire's blood, so now it's more of a "werepire", part werewolf, part vampire. All deadly." Tommy paused.
"So, you think that the wolf that attacked Rocky yesterday is the same wolf mentioned in your book?" Adam asked.
"Yes. Unfortunately, the wolf was never captured. It's still roaming free and is now bewitching our friend." Tommy frowned.
"What can we do?" Aisha asked.
"Not too much. If I had some vervain, I could give Rocky some to protect him against farther problems from the vampire part of that thing, but the only way to stop it all together is to kill it with silver. Werewolves hate silver. That's why Rocky couldn't break Bulk's belt. The buckle was silver." Tommy explained. "We need silver weapons."
"Where can we get enough silver to make weapons?" Billy pointed out the problem.
"I think I can help you." Bulk, who had been sitting on the edge of the group, spoke up. The Rangers looked at him. "My uncle runs a silver mine. That's how I got the buckle. I can get you some, with out my uncle knowing. Here." He took the buckle off the belt and handed it to Tommy.
"Bulk, why are you doing this?" Tommy looked at the bully in a new light.
"Because it's the right thing to do." Bulk walked away. Skull took something off his jacket and dropped it into Tommy's hand before he followed his friend. Tommy looked at it. It was a silver medallion.
"Everyone, I think we should see if we can find more. Anyone have any old silver teaspoons?" Tommy requested half in jest.
The Rangers left the school and headed for their homes.
That evening, they gathered in Billy's garage with what little silver they could take and not have it be missed. Bulk and Skull arrived with a large wheel barrel full of silver from his uncle's mine.
"Are you sure your uncle's not gonna miss that?" Tommy asked.
"Yeah. We took it from an old pile that he had forgotten about. Is there anything else we can do?"
Tommy handed both bullies satchels of herbs. "I have vervain and five finger grass in these. Put one under Rocky's pillow at the hospital and you both keep one with you at all times. If you can, I want you to guard Rocky's room." He handed them a small walkie talkie. "Use this to report in every hour."
"OK." Bulk and Skull saluted and left.
"I can't believe that we're working with Bulk and Skull." Kim laughed.
Tommy turned to her. "It's not a laughing matter. We'd better get started on those weapons."
The Rangers worked all night on the special weapons needed to battle Rocky's tormentor. Alpha-5 beamed in at one point to help relieve the exhausted Rangers. By sunrise the next day six silver weapons had been made: a pistol that fired special bullets, a sword, a set of silver ninja stars and a launcher, silver daggers, a cat o' nine tails with silver tips, and silver tipped arrows. With Bulk and Skull as their coordinator and guard for Rocky, the Rangers searched all of Angel Grove's wooded areas, with out any success.
"I can't believe this!" Akiko flopped onto the ground by Rocky's bed, but didn't disturb the sleeping Ranger. After his "fit", the doctors had heavily sedated him. "Where is that thing hiding?"
"I don't know. I think that he's just biding his time until the full moon so he can force Rocky to change." Tommy answered his sister. "Billy, when is the next full moon?"
"Tonight." Billy looked up from the newspaper.
"Great. We have less than twelve hours to find and kill this thing and we don't even know where to look." Tommy ran his hand through his long hair.
"May I make a suggestion?" Skull raised his hand. Tommy nodded. They were desperate for ideas. "Well, wouldn't this werepire have to be close to the hospital when he forces Rocky to change? So, he must be hiding somewhere around the hospital."
"I never thought of that." Tommy looked sheepish. "Let's go and check the area out." He jumped up. "Skull, you check out the hospital itself. Akiko will help you. The rest of us will examine the grounds. Bulk, you stay with Rocky."
"Gotcha." Bulk moved his chair closer to Rocky's bed. Then, Tommy handed Bulk some silver chains. "What are these for?"
"Just in case Rocky has another "fit". Good luck."
Kim poked around a playground. She had her bow and arrow ready. There was nothing.
Aisha covered the parking lot. Again, zlitch.
Adam was in the parking garage. He found $50.00, but no werepire.
Akiko looked in all of the janitorial closets. All she got was a headache from all of the fumes.
Tommy explored the wooded area near the hospital. He kept an eye out for poison ivy as well as for the werepire. Suddenly, Tommy felt a familiar prickling at the back of his neck. The evil Power was near by.
Bulk had dozed off when Rocky began his unearthly howling. The heavy-set boy jerked awake. Rocky's slim body was twisting and contorting. A brown pelt covered his face and hands. Bulk watched in horror as Rocky transformed from a boy into a wolf. When Rocky snapped his fangs at Bulk, Bulk remembered the chains and looped them around Rocky's neck. Then, he dragged the Ranger into the bathroom and chained him to the shower stall. He took a deep breath and then called for the Rangers to help him.
A low growl alerted Tommy to the werepire's presence. He spun around just as the beast was about to attack. Tommy used his silver sword to deflect the attack. The wolf landed safely on the other side of the White Ranger. Tommy faced the thing that had hurt his friend. A white-hot furry burned inside his heart.
"You bastard." Tommy hissed. The wolf tensed, ready for another attack. Tommy's eyes narrowed. The wolf jumped, but Tommy was ready. He brandished his sword and with one swoop, sliced the beast's head off. Tommy watched as the body became Human again. Just for good measure, Tommy found a thick branch. He sharpened one end into a point, then plunged it deep into the heart of the beast. It died, whimpering like a lost puppy.
The other Rangers had gathered in Rocky's room. They looked at each other, not daring to hope, when Rocky's howls suddenly stopped.
"Do you think?" Kim asked.
"I hope so." Billy answered her unspoken question.
Just then, Tommy entered the Red Ranger's room. He looked tired. "It's dead." Tommy said quietly and sat down.
"So, that means that Rocky's free of this whole thing?" Akiko asked her brother.
"No. It only means that the werepire will never hurt anyone again. Unfortunately, there's only one other cure for werewolves, besides the silver bullet. The werewolf must be relieved of one of its members." Tommy grinned as all of the guys instinctively crossed their legs. "Not _that_ kind of member! A hand or foot will do."
"Hey, would someone undo these stupid chains!" They heard
Rocky yell from the bathroom. "I have to go!" The Rangers laughed
as Bulk dug around his pockets for the key. Then, they heard.
"Never mind, it's too late."