Battle to the Death
written by Mindy

20 years ago...

"And, with all that being expressed, you now know the reasons why you should bow before me, as your ultimate master!"

Several people were forced to stand in front of Scorpius. For the past few hours, he had boasted as being the ultimate monarch of the Lost Galaxy. Most of the people were not paying attention. One woman had fallen asleep during his speech, leaning against a man who had turned his head away from Scorpius. But all of the people before him had their eyes closed.

Another of the men suddenly stood up. Judging by the way he was standing, one would say that he was the leader of this group of people, and he was.

"Listen, Scorpius," the man shouted, waking up the sleeping woman. "We will never bow to you as any master! For no matter how the wind howls, the mountain cannot bow to it!"

Scorpius chuckled. "Then, you will kneel in pieces." Furio prepared to strike the standing man with his sword.

At the last possible moment, a sound broke the momentary silence, like someone was spinning a thin piece a rope very rapidly. Scorpius turned to see what the object was. That was a terrible mistake for him, because an arrow with a red pouch at the tip struck him right between the eyes the moment he did.

At the touch, a red powder-like gas was released. This red gas caused great irritation in Scorpius' eyes. He gave a loud scream as he wildly scratched his eyes, not knowing that it would make it worse.

After a few minutes, the red gas disappeared and Scorpius' eyes recovered. He turned to where the arrow came from. There stood someone wearing something similar to a Chinese armor made in the Chang Dynasty. A black cloth covered the face of the person from the nose below, making it difficult to tell if it was male or female.

Instantly, Furio ran to the figure. Much to the surprise of everyone, the person didn't move. It didn't even blink. More surprised than anyone else, Furio stopped right in front of the person. He began to wonder if this person was merely an illusion or something of the sort. Thinking that this was the case, he turned around.

But when he did, the person removed a dagger from the left side of the belt, twirled around rapidly, and slashed Furio several times on his back. He fell on the floor when the person was done.

The person knelt close to the unconscious Furio. In a strict, feminine voice, she said, "Never turn your back to your opponent." She stood up again, lightly stepped over Furio and walked into the throne room.

Scorpius looked at the woman. "Congratulations," he said flatly. "You are the first one to defeat my second-in-command like that. But you won't win so easy."

"You think that was easy," the woman asked in sarcasm. "I don't think so."

"Who are you? You fight gallantly," he said.

"Don't think that a compliment is going to soften my heart."

Scorpius chuckled. "You are very clever. I admire that." Then, he motioned to the people forced before Scorpius. "Are these your friends? If so, you will have to battle my monster in order to save them."

The woman smiled underneath her mask. "Very well."

She formed her stance. Scorpius grabbed his sword and advanced. The woman moved in with a roundhouse kick. Scorpius blocked, then lashed out with his sword. The woman ducked, moved to the back, and punched Scorpius in the hip forcefully. Then she gave him a powerful side kick at the same hip.

Scorpius turned to face his opponent again and gave a very loud hiss at her. She raced at Scorpius with a punch, but he grabbed her wrist. So the woman tried a leg sweep. She was successful. Unfortunately, it caused Scorpius to fall on top of the woman!

Seeing his opportunity, Scorpius pushed himself against the woman. But after a while, Scorpius jumped back. He felt something hot against his chest. When he saw the woman standing, her hands were beginning the process of turning from the bright orange color it was to the original tan.

"Clever," Scorpius thought. "But not good enough!" He advanced again. But this time, the woman crouched down at the moment he jumped. He crashed onto the floor. Standing up again, the woman fired a purple laser blast from all five fingers on her right hand, damaging Scorpius greatly.

Gasping for breath, Scorpius stood up again. He stared at his opponent. "How is it that you are so young and yet you are victorious? I don't believe you have answered my question: who are you?"

"My name is Karen McCon, the Universal Magic Princess." The Stingwingers gasped in fear. They began to back away.

But Scorpius looked at her keenly. He wasn't exactly sure if she was or not. But he also knew that it had to be her, or she wouldn't have been victorious. "I thought that I would never see the Universal Magic Princess. But now that I know that she even exists, my curiosity is satisfied."

The woman stood there. She had complete doubts about it. Instead of responding to what he said, she ran out of the room, followed by her friends.

"Stop them," Scorpius commanded. One of the Stingwingers grabbed Karen by the shoulders. She raised her hand, and a blue light took form of a sword. She swung the sword at the Stingwinger, and it flew backwards, taking the armor with him.

At that moment, Karen and her friends disappeared.

* * *

Present day...

Ruth stared at the picture of her mother.

She sort of gave a smile, but inside, she was troubled. She had two problems. First, her mother was the best person she ever knew. It has been very difficult to go on without her, and it always will be. Second, she was unsure about the lessons of the Magic. How can she set a good example of the Universal Magic Princess to her daughters?

As she was thinking about all this, Carlos entered. He smiled at her, but she gave no indication that she knew that he was there.

"Ruth," he said. "I think you should come out now. You've been in here all morning!"

No reply and she kept her head down.

"Ruth, you can't hide in here forever."

Still no reply or movement.

"Ruth, talk to me. What's wrong?"

She sighed as she looked up. Carlos now saw that there were silent tears in her eyes, rolling down her cheeks. Carlos sat down and wiped her tears away. "Ruth, take a deep breath and tell me what's wrong."

She nodded, took her deep breath, and said, "I'm not exactly sure if I can say this without you becoming misunderstood, but I'll try. I'm not the girl who I was, and I'm not my mother. I know who I am not, but I need to know who I am."

"What do you mean?"

"I was to be a part of a long line of magicians who work for the side of good. So far, I'm doing an excellent job. But a part of me knows that there is something missing inside of me. Mother would have expected me to teach the twins about the lessons of the Magic, but I don't know if I'll be a good or bad example for them to follow."

"Is that why you're hiding in here? Because you can't seem to know who you really are?"

Ruth nodded. "That's right."

"C'mon. You look like you could use a break." He gently took her hand. She smiled and stood up. He escorted her outside.

* * *

Carlos and Ruth arrived on a planet. They look at their surroundings and found at the planet where Remorse Lake was located. They were at the foot of a hill. Colored areas indicated flowers around and about. There was a lake several yards away from where they were standing. Ruth smiled broadly, forgetting how distress had her only a few minutes ago.

She looked at Carlos. He was looking at her. "Last one to the hill top is a rotten egg," she whispered.

"Okay," he agreed.

Suddenly, Ruth turned around and gasped. "Carlos, what's that?" Carlos looked in the direction she was looking and saw ... absolutely nothing. A moment later, he heard Ruth shout, "Made you look!"

Realizing he had been tricked, he ran after, shouting, "Hey! Not fair!" The couple giggled when they arrived at the hill top. "Are you having fun yet," Carlos asked.

Ruth nodded. "I am such a genius!"

Carlos was surprised. "Hey, genius; it was MY idea to come out here!"

Ruth grinned. "Right, but I'm the one that's supposed to have the fun."

"Me, too!"

"Oh yeah," Ruth asked.

"Yeah," he shouted. Playfully, Carlos ran to her and did a spinning heel kick. Ruth easily ducked down to avoid the kick and then pushed her hands against Carlos' shoulders. They both fell, with Ruth on top of him. Carlos tried to get up, but Ruth wouldn't allow it.

Ruth giggled. "I pinned you!"

"Hey," Carlos protested. "Let me up!" Ruth got off and walked away in triumph. But Carlos jumped for Ruth's shoulders. They rolled down the hill and towards the lake, laughing all the way. Surprisingly, when they arrived at the bottom, Ruth was on top of him again.

"I pinned you again!"

"Ruth, aren't you becoming a little presumptuous?"

Ruth was confused. "Presumptuous?"

"Conceited, disdainful, etc."

Ruth giggled. "No, I'm just being playful." Ruth got up and looked at her reflection in the lake. Her white rose was a little off balance, so she removed it and placed it back in her hair the proper way.

Not recognizing the place as Remorse Lake, she began to play with the water by running her fingers across its surface. Suddenly she stopped, startled by something in the water. She raised her hand out of the water, showing a large fish. Its mouth caught the index finger as it would on a hook.

Ruth giggled. "Even fish like to get my attention, huh?" She gently squeezed the sides of the fish, making it remove it's jaws from the finger. Then, she quietly placed it back in the water.

She looked at her reflection again, but was confused. When the ripples of the fish struck the reflection, it seemed to change for reasons unknown.

Even though it was her reflection, it was not exactly what she looked like. In the reflection, the eyes were brown. Also, her hair was shorter in the reflection.

She thought about this reflection and found that it was her mother's reflection, not her own. But how and why did this reflection show instead of Ruth's own?

"Are you all right," Carlos asked, interrupting her thoughts.

For a while, Ruth said nothing. Then, she looked at the reflection again. Since the ripples were gone, the reflection was back to normal: green eyes and long hair. Ruth giggled. "Yeah; I thought I saw something unusual in the water. But I'm fine. Thanks."

Suddenly, they heard battle shouts, coming from the other side of the hill. Ruth and Carlos ran up. They crouched so as not to be seen. There was Leo, morphed and practicing with his weapon, the Red Quasar Saber.

"Oh," Ruth sighed. "It's only Leo. For a while, I thought he might have been in battle."

They continued to watch their new friend practicing. Leo successfully did some fancy sword skills and martial arts combinations. Then, he stopped for a minute. He remembered his brother telling him to take hold of the saber he pulled out. And when he did, his brother fell down into the ravine.

Returning focus, Leo continued to practice. He quickly raised his hand, accidentally letting his Saber fly into the air. Ruth gave a small gasp when she saw that. Slowly and quietly, Leo walked to his Saber and picked it up. "Sorry, Mike," Leo said to himself. "Let's face it; I'll never be as good as you."

Suddenly, Ruth stood up and ran down the hill towards Leo. Confused, Carlos followed. "Leo," Ruth called.

At first, Leo was startled. Then, he recognized them as some of his friends. "Hi, umm ... What were your names again?"

Ruth giggled. "I'm Ruth, a.k.a. Magic Spice, and he's Carlos."

"Okay, I sometimes get you guys mixed up. I'll try not to."

"I thought I heard you shouting, and I thought that you were engaged in battle," Ruth said.

"No," Leo said. "I'm fine." Then, he looked at his Quasar Saber. "But I do have my doubts."

"Why," Carlos asked.

"Actually, I don't think this Saber was meant for me," Leo sighed. "You see, after I got this Quasar Saber from my brother, Mike, I made a promise to myself to do everything in my power to be the Red Ranger he would have been proud of. Some Ranger I am so far; I can't even keep a hold of my own weapon."

"Leo," Ruth said assuringly. "Practicing and learning how to use a sword takes time. It took me several months before I got used to it."

Carlos turned to Ruth in surprise. "I didn't know you could use a sword."

"Oh, yeah," she responded. "You name any weapon, I can be able to use it. Spears, crossbows, daggers, pistols, axes, slings, swords. You name it, I can do it."

Leo thought for a minute. Then, he knew he could stump Ruth with a big question. "Hmm. Can you use a Quasar Saber?"

Ruth almost spoke, but realized what he meant. She grinned at her new found friend. "Oh, c'mon, Leo. Even you would know that only Galactic Rangers could control a Quasar Saber, much less use it."

"I got you there," Leo teased.

Suddenly, Ruth's Spice Ring began to flash and make beeping noises. She opened her ring, turning on communications. "Magic Spice, here. Go ahead."

Jenny's voice was at the other side. "Furio got into the Terra Venture. We need you here on the double!"

"We're on our way. Ruth out." Ruth tapped her ring, teleporting her back to the ship.

Carlos and Leo stayed behind for a while. "She is simply incredible, isn't she, Leo," Carlos asked.

"Yeah," Leo said, looking at his friend. "Skilled, beautiful, smart, cheerful...a perfect Spice Club member. You know, having her alive kind of puts her at a disadvantage, doesn't it?"

"When you compare her to Spice Club, yes it does. But when you compare her to Space Rangers, no way!" Carlos' communicator gave its bleep. "Carlos here."

"What are you waiting for," Jenny shouted.

The two boys both gave soft giggles, and they teleported out.

* * *

The Galaxy Rangers arrived at the streets of Terra Venture, quickly followed by Jenny, Spinal, Earl, and C. C. Furio was causing a riot everywhere with his Stingwingers.

"Furio," Leo shouted.

At the sound of his name, Furio turned around and chuckled. "We've been expecting you."

C. C. looked around. Even though the Stingwingers greatly outnumbered them, she said, "Fighting all of these things off shouldn't be too hard."

"Then how about fighting off this many," a voice behind them asked. The heroes spun around to see Ecliptor, with just as many Quantrons behind him as there are Stingwingers.

*This is going to take some time,* Jenny thought to herself.

As the hour wore on, that present battle between good and evil continued. Eventually, all the Power Rangers and most of the Spices were captured. The only amount of Spices that remained were two: Ruth and Fulgore.

Ruth sat down in one of the chairs on the bridge. "But we have to figure out some way to get to the others!"

"Ruth, if we go down there and fight them off, it would be suicide," Fulgore debated. "We are not demon-possessed like the rest of the Spice Club. We are with impossible odds here, and you are suggesting that we face them!"

"I didn't say anything about facing them! All I said is that we have to find a way to outsmart them."

"Yeah, sure," Fulgore mumbled, pretending to be optimistic. "How?"

Ruth leaned back and sighed. "Well, we can't go down there, or we'll be captured, too. And we can't use communications. But, we have to reach them one way or another, and the only way to do that is to..." Then, realizing something, she gave a huge grin.

"What," Fulgore asked. "What is it?"

"Either they are going to come to us, or we are going to go to them."

"But what about Terra Venture?"

"Don't worry; I got that under control. Observe the monitor, if you please."

Confused, Fulgore turned to look at the monitor. Ruth had wordlessly cast a spell designed for a purpose like this. When the monitor was turned on, Fulgore saw the Stingwingers and the Quantrons fight off ... them!

"What," he shouted. "But how..."

"I have created illusions that are exactly like us. It may look like that we're doing it to those pea-brains, but they are actually doing it to themselves. Magic Spice and Laser Spice that are presented on the screen are all their own imagination, which I am controlling."

"I don't completely understand. If we're here, how can we be there?"

"The only reason why you don't understand is because illusions are so simple, they're deceiving. Now, the illusions will be able to hold them off long enough for us to get to the Scorpion Stinger."

"Wait a second, how are we going to get there? We can't get near that ship without them seeing us."

"Precisely, so we have to make them not able to see us."

Then, Fulgore realized what she meant. "Oh, but isn't that being a little sneaky."

Ruth stood up and walked straight to him. "We are members of the Spice Club, Fulgore; we're supposed to be sneaky." She gave another grin and winked. She walked to the jump tube room. Reluctantly, Fulgore followed her.

Ruth's plan had worked. The illusions were able to hold off their enemies just until Ruth and Fulgore got on board the Scorpion Stinger. Ruth cloaked herself and Fulgore only to the eyes of evil. If anyone on their side turned in their direction, then they would see them.

Ruth experimented her invisibility. "Stay here a while, Fulgore," she whispered. "Well, here goes everything."

She ran out into the center of a hallway, where several Stingwingers were working. Even though she was careful not to make a sound or touch anything, she flapped her arms wildly and made stupid faces. Fulgore, who was watching her, succeeded in keeping his laugh in. The Stingwingers did not notice her.

Ruth returned to Fulgore. "Nope, they can't see us," she said. "Let's go." Together, they ran to a darker part of the fortress. There was a hallway marked, "Museum of Scorpius." The entrance into the hall was blocked by several long, flat plates of steel.

"I think this is the perfect place to hide until we locate the others," Fulgore said.

He looked to the side of a nearby wall. He saw flat pieces of steel poking out of the wall, to create a 3-D look on the wall. Fulgore climbed up on the pieces and went through the top, which was not covered by the steel plates.

Ruth, on the other hand, found a space in between two steel plates just large enough for her to jump through. She timed her jump and position precisely, and arrived at the other side before Fulgore did.

They ran further into the hall. Once they turned the first corner, Ruth uncloaked them. They continued on. Soon, they arrived in a large room. Cobwebs were all over the ceiling. Large trophy cases were along the walls. This was definitely abandoned and forgotten.

"So, what's the plan," Fulgore asked.

Unsure, Ruth said, "Umm..."

"You don't have a plan?"

"Hey, Fulgore; I'm making this up as I go!" The moment she said, "go," she had turned to a large trophy case. This particular one had caught Ruth's attention, because inside was a Chinese armor made in the Chang Dynasty.

Nearby the trophy case was a small podium. On the podium top, there were three buttons. One was larger than the other two, which were the same size. Almost knowing what to do, Ruth pushed the large button. For a moment, static was heard through a speaker. Then, it adjusted and a female voice spoke.

"This is the armor of Karen McCon, the Universal Magic Princess from 1970 to 1990, Earth years. She was on a space mission with several on her friends when she accidentally entered into the Lost Galaxy. Their ship crashed and all aboard were put in a coma for three weeks.

"After reviving, the Stingwingers attacked and brought them before Scorpius, the ultimate monarch of the Lost Galaxy, except for Karen. Taking this armor with her, she went after them. When she found them, she attacked Scorpius and brought him his first real defeat.

"After the victory, Karen and her friends attempted to escape, but the Stingwingers went after them. One, who had grabbed onto Karen's shoulders, accidentally ripped off the armor as he fell backwards. After that, Karen and her friends disappeared and were never seen again."

Ruth thought for a while. Then, she turned to Fulgore. "All this was destined to happen."

"What do you mean, Ruth?"

"Don't you see the pattern? I'll describe some events that occurred to my mother, and you compare them to the events that we had recently. Space mission, ship crashed, coma for 3 weeks, captured by Stingwingers, brought before Scorpius; don't you see the pattern?"

Fulgore thought for a minute. "You're right."

After a few minutes, he and Ruth were able to pry open the trophy case. Ruth stepped in and placed on the armor. She tucked her hair inside the armor's shirt, and placed the rest of her head in a hood. Then, she covered her face with a thick piece of black cloth. None of her friends would be able to recognize her.

Fulgore looked around the armor. "There are no weapons here," he said.

Ruth turned to him sharply. "Of course, there are weapons. They're just in another dimension, called up by my Magic. All kinds of weapons: swords, daggers, bows and arrows, and many more. And I remember Mother telling me that when she went into the museum, she found a passageway to the throne room."

As she dug into her memory of figuring out where the passageway was, Ruth leaned against the back wall of the trophy case. Surprisingly, it started to descend at her weight. Ruth got up and spun around, noticing that the wall came back up. "Fulgore, help me push this thing down."

Fulgore climbed into the trophy case and they both pushed. In a few moments, the passageway was clearly seen as a dark tunnel. As they started to go, they heard the buzz of Stingwingers. "They must have figured out we're here," Fulgore whispered.

"Quickly," Ruth responded. She dove right into the tunnel and began crawling, with Fulgore reluctantly following. Ruth was following a red line along the wall, a marking her mother made when she was traveling through the same tunnel.

During their crawl in the tunnel, Ruth had told him that they must do their best not to make a sound. The Stingwingers could easily follow, and if the tunnel was large enough for Fulgore to crawl, then it's large enough for the Stingwingers.

After the warning, most of the crawl was uneventful. Suddenly, Fulgore's ponytail got caught in a small screw. Fulgore forgot to inform Ruth of his dilemma, so Ruth continued on, not realizing that she was leaving Fulgore behind.

When he was finally able to get his ponytail loose, Ruth was far ahead of him. He went a fast pace to try to catch up, but soon, he came to a fork in the tunnel. Not knowing about the red line, he had no idea which way to go. He began to call Ruth.

The Stingwingers that were in the tunnel followed Fulgore's voice, until they finally reached him. They tackled with him, knowing that there wasn't enough room for him to fight them off. They took him out of the tunnel and brought him to Scorpius.

The others turned to an entrance when three Stingwingers brought Fulgore in. They bound him with a glowing piece of yellow rope, binding him in a forcefield with the Cryptkeeper, Maya, Carlos, and C. C. Fulgore was right next to Carlos and began to whisper in his ear, as Scorpius continued with his long speech.

"Ruth is somewhere around the ship, finding her way here," Fulgore whispered.

"By herself," Carlos asked quietly.

"I'm sorry. I lost her when my ponytail got stuck along the way."

"And, with all that being expressed, you now know the reasons why you should bow before me, as your ultimate master!"

Carlos informed Fulgore that for the past few hours, Scorpius had boasted as being the ultimate monarch of the Lost Galaxy. Fulgore noticed that most of the Spice Club were not paying attention. Jenny had turned her head away from Scorpius. Spinal was sleeping, leaning against Damon's shoulder.

Leo suddenly turned to Scorpius. "Listen, Scorpius," he shouted, waking Spinal up. "We will never bow to you!"

"Why am I not surprised," Elgar asked.

Astronema slowly turned to him, displaying a frown. "Because you are a stupid cone-head."

Suddenly, a sound interrupted them, like someone was spinning a thin piece a rope very rapidly. Scorpius turned to see what was happening. That was a terrible mistake for him, because an arrow with a red pouch at the tip struck him right between the eyes the moment he did.

At the touch, a red powder-like gas was released. This red gas caused great irritation in Scorpius' eyes. He gave a loud scream as he wildly scratched his eyes, making the pain even worse.

After a few minutes, the red gas disappeared and Scorpius' eyes recovered. He turned to where the arrow came from. There stood Ruth, wearing Chinese armor and the black cloth covering her face from the nose below. Of course, with the cloth over her face, no one (except for Fulgore) knew that this was Ruth.

Instantly, Furio ran to her. Much to the surprise of everyone, she didn't move. She didn't even blink. More surprised than anyone else, Furio stopped right in front of her. He began to wonder if she was merely an illusion or something of the sort. Thinking twice about this, he turned around.

Ruth removed a dagger from the left side of the belt at the moment Furio faced the person again. She kicked Furio on the side fiercely, making him turn around again. She twirled around rapidly and slashed Furio several times on his back. He fell on the floor when she was done.

She knelt close to the unconscious Furio. Saying nothing, she stood up again, lightly stepped over Furio, and walked into the throne room.

Scorpius looked at her keenly. *Where have I seen this one before,* he thought to himself. He searched deep into his memory, tracing all the way back to sometime twenty years ago, when he suddenly remembered his first real defeat.

"Karen," he asked in shock. He stood up immediately.

Everyone else, except Fulgore and the Stingwingers, looked at Scorpius in confusion. Fulgore knew that it was really Ruth. The Stingwingers remembered the event that occurred twenty years ago. Just like before, they began to back away from her.

In the feminine voice Scorpius remembered, Ruth said, "The river that symbolized Karen's life flows no more. Yet, the river that symbolizes the life of her daughter, Esther, flows with a strong current."

At first, Scorpius was confused. Then, his frown turned to an understanding smile. "Esther! Your mother spoke of having a daughter to pass the Magic of the Universe to. I never thought that I would actually meet you, though, your Magical Highness." He addressed her in sarcasm, knowing that she was now the Universal Magic Princess.

"In fact, Scorpius, we have met before," Ruth said, removing the cloth from her face and the hood from her head.

Scorpius gasped. "Magic Spice!" Ruth smiled. Scorpius knew that he would have to fight her, but remembering what had happened to him before, he thought twice about it.

"You know, Magic Princess, in an ordinary situation, you would have to fight me in order to save your friends. But I haven't fought just one person for so long, with the exception of Tonfa Spice, that I'm just not used to it. So, you will have to battle my monster instead."

Ruth smiled as she placed on her mask again. "Very well, but I don't see why that should make a difference."

Scorpius turned on the monitors and displayed a grassy meadow. In a few seconds, Ruth had teleported down to the meadow. At first, she just looked around. Then, looking skyward, she said, "Okay, Scorpius! I haven't got all day, and I know that you don't, either!"

Scorpius chuckled. He pressed a button, and a roar was heard. Ruth turned sharply to face her opponent. It was an 80-meter tall black skeleton, with what looked like black ooze as his cloak. It's eyes, glowing in a similar way to Spinal's, were a fierce yellowish-brown color.

A red glow was partially seen through the black ooze, indicating that there could be fire inside his body, near his abdomen. This theory was proven true, when he gave another roar and a flame several meters long came out.

Ruth bit her lip. She thought carefully about this situation. This creature was too powerful to attack it in the normal procedure, so she knew that she had to use the Magic. Thinking very carefully, she ran through the lessons her mother gave her, one by one.

"Rule #1: Never overestimate nor underestimate your opponent ... Rule #8: Split second decisions could result in long-term victories ... Rule #15: A hero is only as good as her weapon ... Rule #22: Always keep your cool ... Rule #29: The Magic shall never diminish, even if you have been..."

Then, an idea struck her. Planning her attack carefully yet quickly, she rubbed her hands together. "Ooh, I'm going to love this." She turned around and shouted, "Galaxy Glider, hang ten!"

The white glider took a little while longer than usual to locate Ruth, but it eventually came. Barely waiting for it to stop, Ruth jumped onto her glider and zoomed upward. She carefully approached her opponent.

Knowing that he could destroy Ruth in only a matter of seconds, he laughed at the thought that she had the guts to face him. Taking all the courage she had, Ruth guided her glider right into the monster's mouth, at the moment he stopped laughing and closed his mouth! Moments later, a gulp was heard and everyone saw a lump going down the throat!

"Ruth," Carlos shouted. He started to run forward, but was stopped by the forcefield.

"Oh, no," Jenny whispered.

"Eww," said the Cryptkeeper.

Abhorred and disgusted, Kendrix and Hanim turned their heads away. Ashley looked to one side to see Ruth's twin daughters crying in each other's shoulders. The glow in Spinal's eyes grew dimmer. Andros wrapped his hand around his throat, imagining how Ruth must have felt.

The monster laughed again. But suddenly, his laughing was interrupted. As everyone else continued watching, they noticed that the monster felt a great deal of pain in his throat. The red glow in the abdomen grew softer, as did the eyes.

The monster began to cough severely. Unable to get rid of whatever was bothering him, attempted to use his fire breath to get rid of it. He failed. Suffocating quickly, it finally fell down and died.

Scorpius lowered his head and thought. *I was afraid to fight her,* he thought to himself. *I should have faced that fear and fought her. Instead, I have acted like a coward!*

Turning off the monitors, Scorpius stood up. He gave a heavy sigh, then pressed another button. This button released the forcefield surrounding the Rangers and the Spices. Then, he turned to his Stingwingers.

"Stingwingers," he commanded. "Escort our prisoners to freedom. I have no reason to keep them here."

"With all due respect, Scorpius..." Astronema started, giving a bow.

"I shall not accept any respect at this time," Scorpius interrupted in a shout. "I commanded the Stingwingers to escort them out!"

"We're not babies. We can leave by ourselves," Jenny boldly said. She turned away and stormed out, followed quickly by the other Spices. The Rangers took some time before leaving, and Fulgore had to lead Carlos out.

He was staring at the blank screens, hoping to find some indication that Ruth might have survived.

As evening (by "Earth-time") came, everyone was silent. Everyone was unable to get the thoughts of Ruth's tragedy out of their heads. No one had anything to say. No one had any other thoughts.

On the bridge, the Space Rangers; along with Jenny, Fulgore, and Spinal; thought about the great things that they had been through with her. The Galaxy Rangers thought about how they knew that life without Ruth, even though they barely knew her, would be somewhat empty.

Fulgore was the first to break the ship's dead silence that existed for hours on end. "I shouldn't have let her go to Scorpius."

Kendrix turned to Fulgore. "It's not your fault; she wanted to go."

"But she was my responsibility," Fulgore responded. "I had a responsibility to protect her. I should have let her known that going after you was a bad idea. I should have stopped her from the very start."

"She wanted to save us," T. J. pointed out. "That was more than reason why to go after us. I know that we all will miss her."

Ashley said softly, "And there is one person who will miss her more than anyone else." She and the others looked at Carlos, who was not paying attention to what any of them were saying. Agreeing with Ashley, the others nodded.

Unable to bear the pain anymore, Carlos stormed out of the bridge and went into his quarters. He sat on the bed and wept bitterly. Why in the world did she end her life to save the existence of the others? Most of them were already dead, so why did she bother?

Carlos shook his head. "She's gone," he said, half sobbing. "And I'll never see her again." He placed his head in his hands and wept again. He was so distracted that he didn't notice some movement in his quarters. Someone was approaching Carlos!

Carlos felt someone grab his shoulders. Before he got the chance to wipe his eyes in order to see who it was, the person shoved him to the floor! Carlos was only able to turn, back to the floor, when the person landed on top of him! He began screaming.

"Cool it, Carlos," a familiar female voice shouted. "There's nothing to be afraid of! I only pinned you like I did this afternoon!"

The moment she said that, Carlos stopped screaming. Using his sleeve, Carlos wiped his eyes to get a clear view. And there, leaning over him, was the face of his loving wife!

"Ruth," he practically screamed. He reached out his arms and embraced her. She did the same. "Ruth! You're alive!"

"Well, of course, I am. Don't be ridiculous. What am I supposed to be, dead?"

Carlos laughed. Then, the doors opened.

"Carlos," Spinal called. "Deca told us you were screaming. Why?"

At that moment, Ruth got up and turned around. Spinal, not believing what he saw, became so frightened that he also screamed! Ruth, frightened by his screaming, also began screaming. While she was, she approached Spinal and silenced him. "Spinal, why are we screaming?"

"You're alive?"

"Yeah; am I not supposed to be?"

Hearing the screams, the other Rangers, along with Jenny and Fulgore, came in to investigate. "What is ... Ruth," Jenny screamed. She ran and embraced her.

Ruth pushed Jenny back. "I don't get it. Why is everybody excited and afraid that I'm alive?"

"But Ruth, how in the world..." Jenny started.

"Mother!" Ruth turned to the doorway. There were Rachel and Robyn, very happy.

"My children," she said, kneeling down and opening her arms. The twins ran straight to her and embraced her. They hugged her tightly. "At least my children are safe."

Jenny got straight back to her question. "Ruth, how in the world did you survive?"

Ruth got up and stared at her friend. "Jenny, haven't you ever heard of a delightful little invention called teleportation?"

Andros looked at Ruth. "But we saw you! You went in the mouth and was swallowed whole!"

Ruth smiled. "You might have seen me go in, but I teleported out the moment I did, from there straight to the ship. I told Alpha and Deca not to tell you this when you guys got back. I knew that Scorpius would let you go after both I and his monster would be gone."

"So, what was it that the monster swallowed," Kai asked.

"Glad that you asked, Kai. I had created a very broad sword when I got in there. I made sure that it was down his throat before he had the chance to swallow me. So, not only did I create the illusion that I was swallowed whole, I also destroyed the monster at the same time."

"The pain he had," Jenny realized. "So it was the sword you created that caused it."

"Oh, but isn't that being a little sneaky, Ruth," Fulgore asked.

Ruth walked to the door, then turned to the cyborg. "Like I told you before, Fulgore; I'm a member of the Spice Club. Therefore, I'm supposed to be sneaky." She winked at him before leaving her quarters, knowing that she would scare everyone else out of their wits.

So Ruth finally found out who she really was. She is a friend and ally to the Spice Club. She is a Universal Magic Princess and is mother to the future Princess(es). And, most important of all, she now knew that she will even put her own life at risk to save the others, because that is what the Universal Magic Princess should do.

The End