Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers, they belong to the respective copyright owner. No money is being made from this piece of writing.
The Dark Prize
Minion wasn't sure if he was supposed to be shocked or angered after the Master had forced a small device into his hand. He looked around. ~Was this supposed to be Pyxis?~
He sensed that he had definitely travelled far from Earth, something the strange constellations in the night's sky confirmed. He could also tell that he had arrived on a world very similar to the planet he had been recently trying to conquer. However this place seemed to be alive with ambient magical energy and was not at all shielded from his perception by the large deposits of Iron Ore commonly found on Sol-Three. It was almost as if there were no insulators. He raised a fist and it ignited at his command, orange flames engulfing his lower arms.
He laughed, exhilarated by the raw energy flowing through the air. So much power flowing endlessly around him, it was a blissful torture, enough to drive a man to insanity if he were not already insane. He drew on the energy, greedily drawing it into his body to recharge the magical energy he had squandered in his battle with the Rangers.
Then he set forth on his journey, fuelled by the strange power he had absorbed and his thirst for revenge. He wanted to destroy the Rangers; he wanted to look at their fear filled faces before he put them out of their misery. As he passed through the strange lands he quickly understood that it was not as similar to the Earth as he had believed. Some parts were familiar although abandoned, but other parts were made up of grey spaces through which he could fly rather than run.
He continued for an unknown period of time, flying through the grey areas and walking casually through the almost normal areas of the world. Time like so many other things was different here. Seconds could be months or hours could be a heartbeat. It was impossible to say.
He sensed the power as he approached what appeared to be a large temple. The doors had been conveniently left open for him, but his sight was set upon the stone anvil at its centre, and resting with its blade buried up to the hilt in the hardened stone: the Sword of Ragnarok. The powerful jewel that had been placed just below the blade reflected light in his direction. Even though it was buried, Minion knew that it was the weapon that would bring him the power to force entire armies to their knees.
As he started to move towards the podium, he sensed the arrival of something that wasn't a part of this place. He sighed; it stood to reason that there would be a security system of some sort and therefore was only a little surprised when its response to his presence was to summon guardians. "WHO DARES INVADE THE VAULTS OF IMPHOS?" He ignored the question, choosing instead to focus on the shifting forms of the guardians. His mouth curled as he felt the light probing of his mind as the defences tried to find a convenient form to use. In the end it seemed they had settled upon something similar to Power Rangers. They teleported in front of him and then vanished in a flash of multicoloured light.
"Stand and fight!" he commanded, hoping they would respond to his challenge. He was fortunate because they did so.
They were not like the Rangers he had seen before, although his experience was very limited. For one thing they were not really Rangers, just a manifestation of the protective force using an appearance his mind could comprehend.
"This is the best they could do?" Minion laughed. He was nervous though; at present, he was not holding a weapon. Still it was important to maintain the impression that he was superior. He pointed at them and then gestured for them to attack. Before they did so his hand wrapped around the Sword of Ragnarok and with an effort he dragged the blade free of the anvil.
The effect was immediate. He could feel the raw power coursing through his body, demanding that he slaughter everything in his path. The sword needed bloodshed and in return it fed him the energy to become a killing machine.
Red was the first to attack and Minion easily blocked his sword thrust with the Sword of Ragnarok. As he spun with the blade, the Red Ranger tried again to strike him. The image of Tommy, the defiant leader of the Power Rangers flashed before his eyes and with a roar of rage, Minion became more aggressive in his fighting. The Red Ranger tried, but could not stand up to the heavier blade as Minion put his all into the fight.
He knocked Red aside just in time for Yellow to aim and fire a crossbow. The bolt struck the ground just short of Minion's foot and the villain had to sidestep to avoid the subsequent bolts. Needing time, he grabbed Red and threw the construct at its companions. As Red fell on Green, causing the larger than average Ranger to topple, Minion was able to concentrate on Yellow as the Ranger pressed the attack.
Minion went on the defensive, allowing the Ranger to dictate the pace of the battle while he nimbly avoided the crossbow bolts. Then when he was certain he was in position, he caught the Ranger's attempted kick and twisted. Before the Ranger could recover, he slapped the flat of the blade across the Ranger's chest. He was rewarded by a loud groan from the Ranger.
He stumbled forward as Pink and Blue attacked, using their bladed weapons. Their blows failed to make an impact and those that did glanced off his magical shield. Still, their distraction allowed Green to charge in using a double-sided axe.
The three pronged attack hurt, but did little damage. By the time they attacked again, he was in a position to block. He caught Pink moving in and used the blunt base of his new toy to deliver a sharp blow to the base of the construct's helmet. Green had been swinging its axe as Minion blocked the blow and then used a blast of energy to send the Ranger crashing back.
"And now you will pay the price of attacking Minion," the villain growled, pointing the sword at the Rangers before making a series of short cuts in the air.
Streams of explosive energy left the tip of his sword, blasting the Rangers. The magical lightning storm pinned them to the ground, wracking them with immense pain. As he moved the sword, the energy pushed the Rangers in the same direction, lifting them into the air. Then he unleashed a burst of flame towards them. The Rangers tried to block, but the flames were capable of devouring anything in their path.
Triumphantly Minion raised his fists in victory as the Rangers fell. Then he growled angrily as they picked themselves up. These were conceptual beings and not really Rangers. If he had hurt them with his attacks, it was likely they had suffered only minor injuries. They raised their hands and suddenly grew; developing metallic bodies that he supposed could have been mistaken for humanoid Zords.
"Two can play at that game," he warned, drawing on the energy around him to grow, the Sword of Ragnarok thrumming loudly as it too expanded. His black costume changed to form solid black armour, a black wolf mask with the horn of a unicorn covering his face. The Sword of Ragnarok had changed shape, matching the other changes. It was now a black crescent-shaped blade that he twirled expertly between his giant hands.
Despite the change in size, and he realised as he was charging towards the Rangers' giant forms, the room suddenly expanding to hold the combatants, Minion was still a deadly fighter. His sword flashed as it swept across his opponents, slicing into their metal armour.
The Rangers recovered and mounted a counter attack, transforming Pink into a glowing ball of energy that struck Minion in the chest. Even as he shook that off Yellow and Red were on the move. The winged warrior swooped in; firing energy bolts from its eyes until it reached the villain. Then as it passed overhead it closed both its wings to smack the side of his wolf's head helmet. Red followed close behind, using its own back facing sword to cut the villain across the mid section.
Minion's armour sparked and he stepped back as Green approached at full speed, lowering its head to catch the villain with its sharp horns before swiping with its axe. The Sword of Ragnarok sparked angrily as it intercepted the return blow and Minion kicked Green in the chest.
That left Blue and Pink to attack. They worked together, Blue using its tail to propel Pink into their opponent. Minion caught the incoming ball of energy and batted it back at Blue, watching gleefully as both armoured warriors fell.
"LEAVE THIS PLACE!"
The voice didn't come from his opponents, but he knew they belong to whatever entity served as guardian. He was not surprised when Green, Blue, Yellow and Pink merged to form a single unit. With Blue forming the tail, Green the main body, Yellow the wings and Pink the head, the combined into a powerful dragon that Red rode into battle.
The sudden change put Minion on the defensive once more. The dragon's flames scorched his armour, but he stood firm. As they fought, Minion found he had to avoid the dragon's mouth and Red's sword. He unleashed his own fireballs, which his opponents nimbly avoided before unleashing a jet of flame to trap him. The Sword of Ragnarok absorbed the energy and with a victorious growl he sent it shooting back to the source. Both the dragon and its rider fell, separating as it did so.
"You will have to do better than that," Minion challenged. The combat was thrilling. Every triumph no matter how small left him eager for the next fight. "Show me your true form."
Red looked up at him and seemed to nod. The games were over and it was time for the true Guardian of the Vaults of Imphos and protector to the planet Pyxis, the Sentinel Knight, to join the battle. They transformed immediately, merging to form a giant gold armoured warrior.
The fight was on again and this time Minion was outmatched. Even with the Sword of Ragnarok there was no denying the Knight's strength or his ingenuity. While Minion was concentrating on avoiding the warrior's deadly sword, the guardian blasted him with a ball of energy.
Minion fell back and as he did so, his armour returned to its previous state while he was reduced to his normal size.
"YOU SHOULD LEAVE, MINION. THIS PLACE AND ITS TREASURES ARE NOT FOR THE LIKES OF YOU. RETURN THE SWORD TO ITS PLACE AND DEPART. YOU WILL BE ALLOWED SAFE PASSAGE IF YOU VOW NEVER TO RETURN."
The words were compelling and for a moment Minion actually obeyed. But his bloodlust overcame the being's orders and he faced up to the Sentinel Knight, ready for further tricks.
"REMAIN AND YOU WILL BE PUNISHED."
A ball of silver flame shot towards the villain and Minion was forced to duck down to one knee. He fired back with one of his own shots, but the guardian whispered some words and the energy vanished. Minion shifted the Sword of Ragnarok and carved an 'x' in the air. The other warrior countered the move and an explosion rocked the chamber as they were both thrown to the ground.
A burst of yellow light ensnared Minion. The guardian used the light to throw the villain around like a rag doll, bouncing him across the ground. Minion struggled against the light, which bound his arms to his sides and made it impossible to absorb any of the impact. Finally he was able to summon enough strength to break the orb with the tip of his sword. His bonds were shattered and he was free; he quickly lashed out, drawing blood from the warrior's head as he did so.
The Sentinel Knight seemed to grow angrier. His foot stomped upon the pesky intruder and delighted as Minion barely managed to avoid the crushing blow. Minion tumbled to the side as the Guardian tried to stomp on him again. The other warrior roared, any pretence of being machines, long forgotten. He spread his fingers and several blasts shook the ground.
Minion was growing desperate. He had by now realised that in this place the Sentinel Knight was unbeatable. Even with the sword to aid him he could not destroy his opponent, who had been gifted with armour that could dampen energy attacks within the vaults. But that did not mean that he would lose. Minion was not above playing dirty and as one of Rita's monsters, honour was never a concern.
He changed tactics, summoning a thick fog to hide him from the guardian's sight. Then under cover of the thick blanket he charged the sword with as much energy as possible, waiting for the knight's head to break through the fog before he unleashed it as an explosion of light.
The guardian recoiled from the flash, blinded by Minion's power. Then Minion struck with lightning, knowing the knight would not block him this time. He was rewarded when the warrior started to lose his physical form and reverted to the magical energy from which he had been created.
His energy drained, the Sentinel Knight shifted to a simpler form of a human. It was not his true self, but he had exceeded his limits and no longer possessed the energy to maintain a physical form and his armour. Although battered he was prepared to react to whatever Minion tried next. He was aware that the villain only wanted the Sword of Ragnarok, but he had been tasked with protecting all the relics in his care, no matter how insignificant they seemed in comparison with other parts of the vault's collection appeared. His staff glowed as he started chanting, calling on the very nature of the planet to help him. He hurled an 'x' of destructive black energy towards Minion and then closed the gap between them as the villain easily deflected the blast. His staff struck three times, causing the clone to drop the Sword of Ragnarok as the guardian moved for the final blow.
Minion allowed his sword to fall to the ground, watching as it transformed into a different shape. He didn't need to be touching the weapon any longer in order to use it; such was the bond that had formed between them. The sword moved in from behind, catching the guardian unawares. The old man stumbled about, but Minion was far from done, he grabbed the sword and used it to destroy the ancient warrior's staff. Then he drove the blade into the entity's shoulder, well aware that it would not kill him; the Guardian of Imphos was a spiritual entity given form by the power of Pyxis and could not die, but it would suffer. He drove the old man's head into the ground and then after savouring the moment, blasted his skull.
With a gleeful pounce, Minion moved past the defeated guardian and exited the chamber, Sword of Ragnarok in hand. He could feel the power as it filled him, promising him things that he knew he deserved. He roared with insane laughter, picturing anyone, friend or foe, attempting to stand in his way. There was a burst of red light, and Minion was outside the temple, which was now closed to him. There was another flash as he disappeared.
The Guardian of Pyxis had been defeated. It had been centuries since the last challenger had come close to triumph and even longer since anybody had actually defeated him. Yet Minion, a mere magical construct had found a way to outwit the magical being. And to make matters worse it appeared that somebody else had taken advantage of Minion's victory to penetrate the Vaults of Imphos while the ancient defences were resetting.
"I told you before that you would regret not cooperating," the Master stated as he walked into the chamber. He had been here before and had fled in terror when the Sentinel Knight had bested him. And so he had selected Minion to deal with the bothersome protections, knowing that the clone would not hold back when doing so. The damage he had caused before leaving meant that the vault's defences were severely weakened and the contents were ready to be plundered. "Now I will take what I came for."
The vaults were capable of sensing the item that those entering desired and would shift to make it available for those they found deserving. In Minion's case it had been a simple matter of proving himself a superior warrior. But the Master sought something that would not respond to a show of strength. It was an object that wanted to be possessed and used, an object the responded to the desires of those that used it and even helped those that truly wanted the power it hid to unlock its many gifts. For that reason, for the temptation and the danger it posed, it was not removed from its storage box. But with the guardian temporarily subdued though it was merely a matter of finding it.
"STOP! YOU HAVE ALREADY BEEN ALLOWED TO LEAVE THIS PLACE ONCE ON THE CONDITION YOU NEVER RETURN. DEPART OR YOU WILL BE DESTROYED."
"My dear Guardian, you're not in a position to threaten me," the Master responded as he walked over to the fallen being and picked up the staff that repaired itself after the battle. With a ridiculously drawn out display and a small grin, he snapped the length of wood, breaking the reset cycle, shattering the illusion and revealing the endless shelves that lined the perimeter of the chamber. He zeroed in on the small box he wanted and removed it from its housing.
Long ago when they had appointed themselves as gods, the Master's people had decreed that their race would never intervene in the battle between good and evil, nor would they take sides in any war unless the battle fought was between order and chaos. The Master had long ago decided not to submit to such a petty and ridiculous ruling. He had however satisfied those in power by claiming that all he did was for his own gain and was not interfering in the war. When he reached his final goal the rules of a race forced into extinction by there own foolishness, would have no further say in the matter. His actions would have consequences and he knew one day he would have to face them. For now though he needed to move on.
End of Part