Disclaimer: The Power Rangers are the property of Saban/Disney, and I lay no claim to them. The Taelons are from the series Earth: Final Conflict. Jack Bauer and co. are from the Fox series '24'. The Rani is from the series 'Doctor Who' and is owned by the BBC. Lara Croft is the property of Eidos Interactive.
The Lost Kingdom
By: The Q-team
Somewhere above the continent of South America the Animarium flew to it's destination. A city located deep in the Amazon where its nine passengers hoped to find answers.
On board the island Lara Croft looked around taking in the sights. The vegitation seemed tropical enough, and the sight of the Sacred Animals(or Wildzords) were sights to behold. No matter how long she had had relations with Rangers, she was still in awe of the wonders of the Rangers' world.
She then sat on one of the stone chairs admiring the scenery when a cat walked up to her. "Well hello little kitty." Lara said. "I didn't think there was a pet here."
"She's no pet." Sylvia said as she looked in from the side. "She's a criminal serving out a sentence."
Lara looked at the cat and wondered what crime she had committed. "She helped with a murder, three murders to be precise."
"Murders?" Lara asked. Sylvia then explained the battle of Minion's Legacy, and the Hana Rangers role in the assassination of Zordon, the death of David Trueheart, and the corruption and death of Trini. She then explained the Hanas trial and sentencing and Lara couldn't believe it.
"They've been turned into cats for the rest of their lives?" Lara said.
"They said they had no choice." Sylvia said bitterly. "But there's always a choice."
"And what choice would they have made?" Lara asked. "One that would have seen their loved ones killed? Or you?"
"At least Trini would have been safe." Sylvia said. Lara went to Sylvia's side and said "Are you sure about that?" Sylvia looked up and wondered what she meant about that.
"From what I've heard about Kali she would have stopped at nothing to get Trini over to her side. If it wasn't this it might have been something else. Something where you might have been killed. One thing I know after years of tomb raiding is that the unsavory types can be quite persistant when it comes to getting what they want." Sylvia listened to Lara but still her feelings for Carolyn had not softened. "But the Hanas..."
"Hating Carolyn is not going to bring Zordon, Trini or David back." Lara said. "I should know. For a long time I hated my parents' killer as well, but in the end all I wound up doing was feeling sorry for him. And Carolyn here, no matter what form she's in, is probably carrying enough weight on her shoulders. And she's probably more sorry that even you know."
Sylvia sighed as she listened to Lara speak. She remembered what Iori said about how she hadn't made peace with Trini's death, and wondered if he hadn't been right in what he said. "Sounds like you've got a lot to think about." Lara said as she got up to leave.
Sylvia watched Lara walk away. Carolyn the cat left to find a place to hide, and dwell on her past sins.
On top of one of the Animarium mountains Steven looked out at the storm clouds sweeping by. Storm clouds that swept almost as fast as his memories were sweeping across his mind. Or rather the memories of Merrick Balitou.
Memories of battles against the Orgs. Memories of life in Animaria. And more importantly memories of Princess Shayla.
Those memories Steven had trouble dealing with. Shayla was an attractive woman, and he remembered Merrick had fond memories of her. But Steven had a hard time trying to separate those feelings from who he was now. It was all he could do to find an anchor to the world of the present.
"Penny for your thoughts?" a voice said from behind Steven. Steven turned startled and saw Kelly entering the clearing.
"Oh sorry. I'm just looking out at things wondering what to expect. We're almost to where the Kingdom of Animaria used to be." Steven had said. Kelly nodded seeming to understand. "Were you expecting some sort of overwhelming deja vu to come out of the blue and hit you?"
"I think it did." Steven answered. "I've just been swamped by so many memories. Memories of good times, memories of battles, it's like a life I've lived, yet haven't." Steven paused as he let out a little laugh. "Isn't it the way? I find myself getting a whole lot of emotional baggage, and it isn't mine but some ancestor of mines."
"Probably beats mine." Kelly said. "I get seduced by an Org ally and get totally messed up by it." Steven had a sad look in his eyes as he emphasized with Kelly's dilema.
"I've seen girls in the position you're in now. Some raped, some almost raped yet couldn't fight back, it's terrible for them. The sense of violation. They wonder if they'll ever be able to be with someone again."
"Do they?" Kelly asked.
"Some do." Steven said. "Some just...shut themselves out of the world. They never have the feeling of closeness or security with others again. It's sad."
"I don't want that to happen to me." Kelly said. "But I'm not sure I could have any feelings for someone again and be certain they're genuine. All my life I've wondered if guys were interested in me because of my body, my popularity, or me being a cheerleader. They've never been interested in getting to know me."
"That's not true." Steven said. "What about Jeremy, Willy and Curtis?"
"They're great guys." Kelly said. "But I see them as friends...sometimes like big brothers looking out for me. Besides we have a history of friendships in our respective families."
"At least you know your own feelings." Steven said. "Sometimes I wonder if the feelings I have are mine or Merrick's from a long time ago. I found out that the Pink Guardian and he had a relationship which led to them having a child no one knew about, and that he had feelings for Shayla."
"Do you have feelings for Shayla?" Kelly asked.
Steven thought for a moment and said "I'm not sure. I remember Merrick's feelings for her but..." Kelly then asked "But what?"
"Sometimes I think she's...not my type." Kelly let out a small laugh of her own and then asked "What is your type?"
"I guess I like girls more...down to Earth you know?" Steven said. "Someone who's smart, a good person, someone who brings out the best in people. Sadly I haven't really met her yet. Maybe someday."
Kelly thought about Steven's words and then asked "Steven do you mind if I hang out with you from time to time?"
"No problem. Although I spend more time at Willie's roadhouse than anywhere else. It's a rough crowd there." Kelly indicated that the crowd would be not problem. "I think you'll probably look out for me if I get in trouble." Steven smiled and nodded as Kelly and Steven felt a change in altitude and soon they went to the Sacred Waters to see what was up. When everyone was assembled Shayla erupted from the waters and took her human form.
"What's up princess?" Sylvia asked.
"It's the city." Shayla had said. "We're approaching Animaria."
Soon everyone: Jeremy, Willy, Sylvia, Curtis, Kelly, Eric, Steven, Lara and Shayla ran to where they could see the site of the former city of Animaria. Shayla looked out at the ruins with a mixture of joy and sadness.
Joy that after 3,000 years she had finally come home.
Despair in that the city was no longer the shining kingdom it once was, but a shadow of its former self.
From the Animarium the Red Falconzord flew down carrying everyone on board. As it made a pass over the territory a closer view of the ruins was noticed.
"This was once a proud city." Shayla said. "Now it's just crunbling dust and memories."
"Of a time long forgotten except by a few." Steven added as he took in the sights himself. This got a glance in his direction by everyone as he realized his fragmented memories of Merrick were coming to the fore again. Kelly took Steven's hand and tried to reassure him.
Once the Red Falconzord set down everyone disembarked and made their way to the main door. Lara looked at the door and wondered "Are there any traps left activated?"
"There shouldn't be." Shayla said. "Not much remained to be protected, so the defences should still be turned off."
Lara sighed a heavy sigh. Somehow this all felt too convinient to her. "Just because we're visiting this place doesn't mean it wasn't visited before. Watch yourselves." With that Shayla pressed her hand on a stone that seemed to glow white causing the door before them to open up.
Everyone walked through the main door to Animaria. As they walked Curtis's foot tripped an infrared trip wire on the ground sending a signal back to its originator.
A signal that would lead back to Arcadia, and the Rani.
Rani looked on at the blue tank that sat exclusively in her office. Her slaves had brought one up from the storage chamber and installed it close by. She hoped to be able to use it for 'personal use'. Use that involved Lara Croft if she crossed Rani's path again.
As a sensor light flashed on her desk, followed up by an image of Lara, Shayla and the Rangers on the viewscreen, Rani smiled as she felt that the time to use her blue tank would be coming soon.
The Rangers, Shayla and Lara walked through the corridors of Animaria. Steven looked around stunned by what he saw. "You okay?" Kelly asked.
"It just..." Steven started to say. "It just seems so dead now." Kelly wondered what he meant by that.
"I just feel this place was more lively once, and now. It's just a relic. A reminder of things past."
"I know." Shayla said. "I always thought Animaria would last forever. Now this kingdom is just a crumbling ruin of what it once was."
"Animaria may be gone." Jeremy said. "But its spirit and teachings remain." Just then there was the sound of barking coming closer.
Wolves appered out of nowhere ready to attack. Lara immediately drew out her pistols and fired. She hoped the sound would scare them off, but it wasn't enough. She had to draw her guns on the animals and kill them. "Was that necessary?" Shayla asked.
"Sadly yes." Lara answered. ""Just because your defences may be turned off doesn't mean that nature hadn't decided to throw in some defences of its own. And those defences aren't entirely benign. Now where do we need to go?"
"We're going to have to go to the central chamber." Shayla said.
"How do we get there?" Jeremy asked.
"I'm not sure." Shayla said. "Everything seems so...different now. Even the landmarks are either different or faded."
"So we have no certain way of knowing where we're going." Eric said.
"I wouldn't say that." Lara said as she looked down. "There are ways. Just not the obvious ones." Soon everyone looked down to see what Lara was seeing. It was a flooded passageway.
"Are you suggesting we swim through the passages?" Kelly asked. Lara got in the water and said "Yes." She then ducked under the water to explore the passeage and saw where she wanted to go. She then swam back up to the entrance she went in and saw everyone looking down.
"Okay. We have a ways to swim. I hope everyone can stick together. You all up to this?" Everyone nodded and got in. Lara led the way through the water and it was only after a few seconds that everyone felt their lungs were going to burst. Finally they came to another opening and broke the surface taking in all the oxygen they could.
Once they were out everyone rung out their t-shirts to get the water out. Shayla however didn't have to dry herself too much as she seemed to dry off quickly. After drying off briefly they came to a bridge with a door. Curis seemed ready to cross it, but Lara had other ideas as she looked up and saw a ledge for shimmying.
"We're going to have to go up." Lara said as she looked at the sheer and smooth wall. Everyone couldn't believe what she was thinking.
"We have to go up that?" Curtis said. "Are you crazy?"
"Some would think so." Lara said as she looked at the wall and found some cracks in it. She placed her fingers in the cracks and used them to climb up. "Follow my movements." Lara said as she searched for hand and footholds to climb up. Soon Jeremy climbed up followed by Eric. Then Curtis, then Willy. Sylvia was next, followed by Shayla and Kelly with Steven bringing up the rear.
When they got to the top Lara grabbed a beam and shimmied across to the other side. The other Rangers and Shayla did the same. Finally they made it to the other side and Sylvia asked "I don't get it. Why did we have to do all that?"
Lara answered by picking up a stone and tossing it on the stone bridge. The bridge soon collapsed revealing a chasm leading down to a gorge that seemed bottomless. Shayla was stunned as to what she was seeing.
"I don't get it. The traps should have been deactivated." Shayla said.
"Remember princess. The Evans's were here before us." Eric said. "They probably turned some on by mistake."
"Or Adler turned some on deliberately." Jeremy said offering another opinion. Lara had her own opinion but she would keep it to herself until she was certain. Soon they all came to a dark cavern and Lara brought out one of her flares. As she lit it writings became visible.
"Now this is interesting." Lara said looking at some ancient writings.
"What?" Curtis asked. "Is it any more interesting than the deathtraps we had to go through to get here?"
"As I said before I have no idea how those could have been activated." Shayla said. Lara had some ideas, but thought it would be best if those ideas were kept to herself for the time being. Willy however was curious as to what Lara was looking at and looked at the glyphs himself.
"Intriguing." Willy said. "Princess was there another kingdom of Animaria?"
Shayla paused before answering, not knowing what to say. "There were some practitioners of the way of the Animarium that decided to break away from the kingdom. Form their own kingdom that followed the teachings of Animus, but with a different perspective."
"What was this kingdom like?" Sylvia asked.
"It was a beautiful kingdom, which had its own ruler." Shayla explained. "Relations with the kingdoms were always civil, and if there was trouble there was no doubt that one kingdom would come to the others' aid."
"What happened to it?" Jeremy asked.
"According to these markings." Willy interrupted. "It dissapeared when it was attacked by two Duke Orgs of incredible power."
"The inhabitants of Animaria believed the kingdom had perished." Lara continued. "It's name was Anima."
"I remember that tragedy." Shayla said. "We tried to get to Anima in time, but we were too late. It was gone before we got there. Even the Orgs thought Anima was lost."
"Anima?" Steven asked. A feeling stirred within him indicating that he should have known what Anima was. That it was on the tip of his tongue.
"Enough." Eric said. "We're here for a reason. Let's find out what we need to find out and get out of here." Everyone agreed, but Jeremy shot Eric a look that didn't necessarily compliment his initiative. In fact, Jeremy couldn't help but feel Eric was undermining his command over the Primal Force.
Jeremy tried to put the thought out of his mind as Lara, Shayla and the Rangers continued to walk through the stone hallways. "Where you hiding Ranitime?" escaped from Lara's lips in a whisper as she focused on her own objective..
From a hand held viewer Rani looked on at the Primal Force making their way through the corridors trying to find the central chamber.
"I'm not hard to find Croft." Rani sneered. "You'll see me soon enough."
It was a long journey through several traps mysteriously activated. Retracting stairs, slashing blades, spears from the wall, and then finally another swim down another flooded corridor, which according to Shayla, would lead them all up to their destination.
They all broke through the surface of the pool finding themselves in a circular room. "The main chamber." Shayla said in awe as everyone looked around. However with Lara there was only one thing on her mind. "Where you hiding Ranitime?" she asked aloud. She would get her answer the next second.
"Good evening Croft." a voice said from behind them. Everyone turned to see the Rani standing behind them, along with Jindrax, Toxica, Master Org, and an army of Putrids and Ogrons. Rani held up a gun of some sort keeping Lara at bay while Ogrons grabbed hold of the Rangers and Shayla.
"We've got you now Rangers!" Jindrax said with excitement. Master Org however waved his hand trying to silence him. "Quiet. This moment is for the two ladies here."
"Thank you Master Org." Rani said in nodding as she stared at Lara. Lara looked at Rani's new body and smiled. "Never figured you for a ditz. Or did you just want to have more fun?"
"The hair was not my first choice no." Rani said. "However I will admit that my new body has provided me with advantages my old one didn't. Still I wouldn't have had to get a new body if it wasn't for you." Lara wasn't amused by Rani's attitude and went back to buisness
"You killed the Wild Force Rangers." Lara said glaring at Rani. Rani just smiled and said "Actually it was Master Org, Jindrax and Toxica but I'm happy to take the credit."
Lara and the Rangers looked on as the Putrids, Orgs and Ogrons circled around. "So what's your plan Rani? What is a family killer like you doing throwing in with some second rate monsters?"
"I wouldn't call them second rate." Rani said. "After all I have the Orgs as my ally, not to mention Xizor and Black Sun, as well as one other."
"Who would that be?" Shayla asked. Rani just smiled and said "That would be telling."
"What are you going to do to us?" Kelly then asked. Rani's smile seemed to spread wider as she looked up on the stairwell and down descended Mandilok. Jeremy, Eric, Curtis, Willy and Steven were stunned by what they saw. They would have never figured an Org to be so ravishing
"I see I have made the desired impact." Mandilok said in her soft sultry voice. She brought up her fingers to trace Jeremy's jaw as her red eyes locked with his. "This will be most satisfying."
Her fingers were brought up as her energy claws protruded from her ready to impale Jeremy and to feed off his life force. It was then that Eric brought up his feet and kicked the claws back. He then ducked down and delivered a forward roll knocking the Putrids over. Then grabbing his Quantum Defender blasted the Ogrons and Putrids holding the Primal Force down.
An all out brawl broke out and Rani thought discretion was the better part of valor, at least until she saw Shayla trying to find cover. Rani made her move towards Shalya but Lara was in her face, pistols in hand, putting herself between Rani and Shayla. "Eric, can you get her out of here?"
"On it." Eric said as he took Shayla's hand and led her up the staircase. Lara looked at Rani and said "Soon as she's safe I'm comming for you." before going up the stairs herself.
Rani just smiled and said "I can't wait." Master Org however pursued the three escapees.
The Primal Force and Steven were knocking back Putrids and Ogrons as they took their place by a door of some sort. Jindrax and Toxica looked to find a handle nearby and Jindra asked "Hmmm. I wonder what this does."
The answer came when a vortex appeared to drag the Primal Force and Steven in. They all tried to get free but couldn't. All felt the pull of the vortex, and all felt themselves being pulled in. When all six were pulled in the vortex closed.
All fighting just stopped as Jindrax and Toxica just stared in shock while the Putrids just stood there stupidly.
"So um... is this a good thing or a bad thing?" Jindrax asked Toxica who didn't have a clue if it was good or bad for the Orgs.
Lara, Eric and Shayla were far enough away from the vortex to not get pulled inside as they caught the tail end of the Rangers getting pulled in. Immediately Lara and Eric were pulling the princess to safety as the vortex pulled in the Primal Force. When it closed they had no time to wonder what happened to the others as they had to look after themselves for the time being.
"I hate running like that." Eric said. Clearly he wanted to get into a battle with the Orgs.
"Whoa Lone Ranger." Lara said. "As much as I would like to put a bullet in Ranitime's brain even I learned that discretion is the better part of valor. We need a plan to figure out how to deal with the Orgs, and how to get the others back."
Shayla then had an idea. "The knowledge vaults. They are defendable, and we may have a clue to determining where the others have gone."
"Sounds good to me." Lara said. Eric immediately got up and followed the two ladies to the knowledge vaults. They knew they had to deal with the Orgs, but they also were concerned about their lost friends.
"I just hope the Rangers are all right." Shayla said with her voice full of worry.
The first thing Jeremy tasted when he awoke was sand in his mouth. After spitting it out he snapped to awareness to see if anyone else was with him. To his relief he saw Willy and Sylvia off to the side and awakening as well.
"Ohhhh. That was quite the elevator ride." Sylvia said. Willy agreed as he said that the journey had more than its fair share of turbulence.
"Anyone see Kelly, Curtis, Steven or the others?" Jeremy asked.
"Not anywhere close." Sylvia said as she looked around. She noticed that they were on a beach of some kind as the water came to shore. It looked to be on a low tide, but Willy was distracted by something more spectacular, the sky above them.
"Prodigious." Willy said as he looked up at the sky. Sylvia and Jeremy also looked up to see what got Willy's attention and they were stunned as well.
In the skies above them hung three gigantic moons. And beyond those shone three white suns. It made for a most spectacular view as they hung amidsts a violet sky. "Wow!" Sylvia said.
"I know. It's so breathtaking." Willy said looking up as well. As he looked up he thought of his brothers and wondered if perhaps they too looked up at a similar sky as they searched for their new world.
Jeremy allowed himself a few moments to look up before snapping back into 'leader' mode. "Let's take a look around." Jeremy said. "Maybe we'll find someone who lives here." Willy and Sylvia nodded and followed their leader as they explored their strange new world.
They didn't notice the Putrid appear from behind the rock taking notice of the visitors' new arrival. After a few seconds it rushed away having something new to do.
The first thing that Steven woke up to seeing was green grass, trees of a forest instead of a jungle and a cool breeze instead of the balmy weather they had all felt in the Amazon. His federal training as well as the few memories he had recently recovered from his past life as Merrick Balitou made him snap back to attention as he started looking around for the others.
-Still can't believe that can you Steven? That you are some person back from the dead several thousand years later.- He shook his head as he realized he still wasn't totally over the shock of finding out the truth. That he was the modern day reincarnation of the warrior that had sacrificed his life to destroy Master Org long ago. It wasn't easy that was for sure. Looking down, he saw Kelly on the ground and went to her. "Kelly. Kelly, are you alright?"
"Steven..." Kelly muttered as she started to wake up. "Where... where are we?"
"That's what I would like to know," Curtis groaned as he walked over to them. "Have either of you two seen Jeremy, Sylvia, Willy or Eric?"
"They aren't here?" Kelly asked.
"I don't see them anywhere and my Link is just getting static," Curtis shook his head, "We have to find them."
"Yeah. Let's get going." Kelly said rushing up and went to go with him but soon noticed Steven wasn't moving at all.
"Yo dude what is the problem?" Curtis asked. "We have got to find the others you know!"
"We aren't alone." Steven spoke softly.
Steven was quickly proven right on his assumption as warriors in tunics and armor came out to attack them. They were all armed with swords, spears and crossbows and looked as if they meant buisness. One stepped forward, a guard captain of some kind and asked "Outsiders who do you serve?"
"I think you got us confused with another team." Curtis said. Kelly however figured that the term 'Outsider' meant a different connotation than the team Biilly had fused his Psycho Ranger replicas to years ago. Kelly stepped forward and mentioned "We serve no one. We're just strangers here."
"Lies!" one guard said and an affirmative quickly followed from others. "It's true. We don't serve anyone." Curtis added. But the strange guards didn't like how Kelly and Curtis said they didn't serve any one.
"I'm sick of this farce. They must serve our enemies and we have to kill them before they can harm anyone or take anyone as slaves." One of the eager ones said.
Curtis and Kelly felt ready to morph while Steven just pulled out his Magnum Defender. "Listen. We are not here to hurt or enslave anyone. We are looking for our friends. You can either help or leave us alone but if you try to attack us, I promise you all that you will regret it."
"Why you..." one of them started to say, ready to fire his crossbow off but then their leader called out, "Hold it!"
"Sir?" one of them asked their leader as Steven, Kelly and Curtis were just as confused by this sudden twist.
"Lower your weapons," the leader said but no one believed him until he said forcefully, "Lower your weapons now! That is an order! Can't you see that this is Merrick Balitou, one of the Six Guardians of Animaria!"
"What? Merrick Balitou?" "The Guardian of the Lunar Wolf?" "He's made it through the seal?" were the murmurings that Steven, Kelly and Curtis heard.
"Merrick... but he's not..." Kelly started to mutter but Curtis put his hands over her mouth.
"Girl what the hell you think you are doing?" Curtis whispered to her. "They were about to sack us and the only thing that stopped it was them thinking that our buddy here was Merrick."
"Curtis is right. Besides I'm more interested in how and what they know about Merrick and the Kingdom of Animaria," Steven replied.
"Okay so what do we do? Make believe you are Merrick?" Kelly asked.
"We have no idea where we are at all. I say we stick with them," Steven said, "Besides I don't think anyone who followed the laws of Animaria was evil, especially if one of them decided to stop just because of who he thinks I am." He turned back and saw the leader walk over to him.
"Please Guardian. If you would follow us." The young man said.
"Only if my friends come with me." Steven said. The man nodded and soon the three people from the modern world were following this group of people dressed in clothing much different from their own.
Kelly could only hope that this wasn't going to turn out to be a mistake.
Meanwhile Jeremy, Sylvia and Curtis were still exploring where they seemed to be having no incidents. But that was to change soon.
"It's beautiful here." Sylvia said. "I mean the plants, the sky, the beach nearby. If I brought my swim trunks I'd have loved to go for a swim."
Willy thought about saying how one didn't need trunks for swimming always, but decided against it. Instead he said "I agree. The environment seems favorable to us, not to mention pleasureable."
"Just be careful." Jeremy said. "A change in the weather could still happen. In more ways than one." Willy and Sylvia nodded when they understood what Jeremy meant when suddenly a whirlwind hurtled towards them without warning. Quickly the three Rangers found themselves caught up in the wind storm and found themselves thrown this way and that.
"What's happening?" Sylvia said. "Where did this come from?"
"Don't know. But hang tough guys!" Jeremy said as slashing blades cut at their clothes leaving them reeling until the wind stopped. By that time Jeremy, Sylvia and Willy's clothes were tattered, and the three Rangers were totally disoriented. Easy targets for three hard charging clotheslines knocking them down to the sandy ground.
The whirlwind suddenly changed into a creature of some sort. It was masculine and had a good build. His skin was primarily silver gray. Spikes of that same color came out from his shoulders. The top half of his legs were silver colored but the lower half were of a dark blue color. In his hands he wielded a scythe but looked also like it could be changed into a sword at any moment.
Looking at the creatures face, it was reminded the Rangers of the look of a vampire, He had two blood red eyes, a pair of small fangs showing from the corners of his mouth.. However it was the long, thin blue horn that came out from his forehead that told the rangers what the creature was.
"An Org," Jeremy growled.
"I am no common Org human. I am Duke Org Hades." The creature announced.
Hades looked over the three humans before and and remarked about how different they were to the humans that he knew. "Oh well there's plenty of time to get to know you better." He then summoned forth more Putrids to attack them along with himself. "What the? Putrids? Here?" Jeremy asked.
"Of course. Do you mean...Could it be?" Hades' mind was swimming with possibilities as to where the three were from. Possibilities he would explore later. "Putrids attack!"
The Rangers went on the defensive but with Hades in the fray they knew they needed more power. Immediately they called forth their Primal Links and morphed.
The battle went a whole new level which Hades was impressed with. -Rangers? Here? This will be quite the battle.- Hades then decided to pull out of the battle leaving the Putrids to fight the Rangers. Winged Falcon fought with the skill of a seasoned warrior. -Clearly he must have had an expert mentor.- Hades thought as Winged Falcon took down three Putrids with a kick to its chest, a back kick to the second and a flying kick to the back of the third Putrid's neck. -I shall enjoy fighting him if the time ever comes.-
Gentle Giraffe fought with speed and grace that made Hades take notice. He could imagine what one of his brothers would do if they had someone like her, but something in Hades said that this was a girl that wasn't to be estimated. Her fighting, and defeating four Putrids with a style of fighting reminiscent of the Mantis was proof of that. Finally he observed Armored Armadillo, and saw that he too had an inherent fighting skill, but that he also picked his targets carefully as he sized up his opponents in an intellectual manner and defeated them with the best strategy that he could.
After seeing enough Hades decided to make his move. However before the Rangers could take notice of Hades's absence Hades fired his sword at the Rangers at point blank range, even taking a few Putrids down with them causing an explosion of tremendous force.
The remaining Putrids grabbed the Rangers as they force demorphed. The three looked disorientd as Hades studied them. "Take them to the palace." he ordered. "Make sure they are unharmed, or you will join those who got caught in the crossfire." The other Putrids made sure Hades' instructions were followed to the letter.
The knowledge vaults did seem to be a defendable position as the surrounding balonies hovered over what seemed to be the only entrance to the area. Lara looked impressed by the vast library. Many books were still on shelves, and Lara was curious as to what secrets the history of Animaria held.
"Amazing." Lara said. "I could spend forever in here."
"Forever is a long time coming unless we beat back these Orgs." Eric said standing on an adjacent balcony, Quantum Defender in hand and levelled at the main entrance. "You sure this is the only way they can enter Princess?" Eric asked. Shayla nodded saying that she was positive.
Suddenly Putrids appeared out of every corner surrounding Lara, Shayla and Eric. Master Org appeared gloating. "Did you really think that you could hide from me? We scouted these ruins long before you arrived." Lara, Shayla and Eric looked around for any convienient way of escape. The Putrids seemed to cover them all.
"Only one way out now." Lara said as they saw the main door beckoning them. Eric noticed a dangling vine off to the side and grabbed it. "Now this brings back memories." he said.
"What? Were you Tarzan in a past life?" Lara asked.
"Close. I was Tarzan in a monster's movie." Eric grabbed the vine just as Lara and Shayla did and they jumped off swinging towards the vines. Eric raised his feet like they were battering rams and they burst through the old door into the hallway. Immediately they raced down just as the Putrids and Orgs were reorganizing.
"I'd say that was damn lucky you didn't hit a wall." Lara said.
"I know." Eric replied. "Once was enough for me." Eric didn't give an explanation for the line as the Orgs maintained pursuit.
Eric, Lara and Shayla decided to split up. "You take the princess and get her out. I'll stay behind and try to detain them while you get away?"
"What makes you think you can hold them off?" Eric asked. "No offence but I do have the Quantum Morpher."
"And that will be needed in case Ranitime does an end run and tries to go after her on her own." Lara said. "Besides I'm known for really getting under people's skin. Now go."
Eric led Shayla out while Lara distracted. "We'll meet up later." she said drawing her pistols and taking aim at approaching Putrids.
Eric looked back at Lara hoping that she wasn't making a mistake facing the Orgs alone. And that he wasn't making a mistake by leaving her behind.
Elsewhere, deep within the forest, Steven and the others were being taken to one of the hidden gates that took the soldiers to their home. When they arrived it was clearly a sight to behold, especially when they were on the other side.
"Oh... my... god..." Kelly gasped as she was the first one of the three to speak out of the trio. What they saw was defying of logic but it was right before their very eyes. They had gone through a secret door, down through a tunnel and had ended up in a place of paradise. "Its incredible..."
"Only its a more than just a big preserve..." Curtis muttered as he saw how green and lush everything was. Green due to the trees and vegetation remaining strong and intact. "It's like we walked into the past. Its like, these people are like our ancestors in a way."
"No... they just took a different path." Steven said. Curtis asked what he meant by that but Steven just pointed as he was still in shock as he was looking forward. Curtis looked to where Steven had been pointing as did Kelly.
What they saw was a civilization. A civilization, where they were seeing men and women communing with nature and lived off the land, their very homes made to fit with the environment. Nowhere were there any of the massive cities that filled today's Earth. There were even signs of signs of steam engines, sources of technology that would not pollute and would work with nature.
"Like I said... these aren't our ancestors," Steven breathed as he put his hands through his hair, "What we are seeing a totally different type of humanity... but where exactly are we and how did these people get here from Earth."
"How can you tell they came from Earth? Maybe we are on some other planet," Curtis suggested.
Steven looked towards one of the building structures that they were passing by, one made of stone, "The style of stone building we just passed was symbolic with the style that stone buildings in Animaria were made. The symbol was there on the left wall as well."
"Looks like what you have recovered of your past life might actually help stay alive here," Kelly mused.
"I'm just hoping that what little I do know will be enough to get us home." Steven returned.
As they continued walking, the three of them saw the families that lived within this kingdom. There were children tending to the chickens with their parents and others were playing at being warriors. There were adults that made pottery, arrows, and performed other basic duties as well. The three visitors were in awe about what they have discovered, though they did notice people staring at Steven, they even heard the whispers of some saying that he was Merrick Balitou.
"You okay?" Kelly asked.
"Yeah fine." Steven said. But Kelly could tell the 'Merrick' whispers were unsettling him.
The rangers were soon brought to a temple, much resembling the one on the Animarium, though this one was clearly larger than the one there. The man who was leading them introduced himself as Kaito, and brought them to the center of the shrine. Once there, they saw on the far left wall a painting made of Princess Shayla, Merrick and the other Guardians as well as Animus and one other woman whom they didn't know.
"Starla... Arno... Moonstone... Lancer... Jayna," Steven breathed as he looked over the painting, seeing himself--Merrick, beside both Shayla and Starla.
Kaito wanted to ask about the other guardians but thought better of it after seeing the look in the Lunar Wolf's eyes. -May Animus protect their souls in the after time.- he prayed.
"Kaito, why did you bring us here?" Kelly asked. "I mean, hope you don't think we are evil at all."
"It is not my place to judge people who are outsiders save for the Guardian." Kaito stated, "I brought you here because she must see you and decide what will be done with you."
"Who's 'she'?" Curtis asked sounding irritated, "And what do you mean by decide what will be done with us?"
Suddenly they all heard footsteps coming from a staircase. They did not have to wait long for the person that was making the footsteps to reveal themselves. It was a young woman dressed in silver robes. She had long flowing silver hair, her ears were pointed, giving her a bit of an elfish look and lastly, she wore a silver necklace, one that reminded Kelly of Princess Shayla's, only the metal for hers was gold and her gem was different. But still they recognized her as the other woman in the portrait with Shayla and the Guardians.
"Kaito. What is it that you..." the woman's voice faltered as she felt weak her in knees as she stared at Steven, "Merrick..."
Steven didn't know what to say as he let the woman approach her. However, he realized that he couldn't keep this charade up. He knew he wasn't Merrick, even if he was him reincarnated. And yet as he looked at this woman, he felt something with him that told him to trust in her.
However, he didn't have the chance to say anything as the woman bowed her head, "So he truly is dead then."
"Mistress?" Kaito asked, as he was confused as everyone else in the room just then. The woman turned to look at Steven still as she spoke, "You are not Merrick Balitou. Your aura is similar yet different from his. You are a part of him and yet you are not all of him. Might I know your true name?"
"Steven. Steven Merrickson." The Lunar Wolf said to her.
"I see. You are the reincarnation of Merrick then," the woman smiled sadly, "I bid you and your friends welcome into our home, though I am certain explanations are in order. From both of us."
"I think that would be an understatement lady," Curtis muttered though Kelly elbowed him in the ribs. She turned to word the woman and asked, "I'm Kelly Hart and this is my friend Curtis Taylor. Who are you?"
The woman looked at Kelly as she gave her reply, "I am Gaia, Protector of Anima, second colony of the Kingdom of Animaria and sister to Animus."
On another part of this strange world, the other Rangers were waking up from being unconscious but they found themselves in a dungeon of the Org Castle, and under observation. The Duke Org called Hades looked in on them and wanted to interrogate them further but someone else came in to challenge Hades' wishes.
Hades spun around to see who had told him to hold. It was a blue skinned Duke Org. He had a much fatter, rounder build than Hades. Wave designs were displayed upon his shoulder plates. His arms had dark blue wristbands with a red stripe. A large bronze disc was in the center of his body. He wore a large blue robe of his body and wore a long red cape. The Duke Org's face was blue-skinned and spiky. He had fin-like ears, a fang pointed upwards at each side of his mouth, and a tiny gold gem at the bottom of his golden horn. In his hands was a twisted golden trident with four points.
"What do you want Poseidon?" Hades growled irritated.
"Zeus found about these humans little brother," Poseidon stated, "He wants them kept alive so we can find out what they are and why they wear such clothes."
"We can't let them all go out!" Hades said. Poseidon decided "We'll just take the girl in yellow then. Zeus will interrogate her while we send the other two into the mines to work with the rest of their slaves." Hades nodded as Poseidon left to have the Rangers escorted out. But once Poseidon was out of earshot Hades growled at the stupidity of his middle sibling, cursing him and Zeus for "being stuck on this rock for 3000 years! You even gave us these stupid god names as if to appease an ego or something. Were our Org names no longer good enough brother?"
Hades continued cursing as he immediately found himself wishing for the chance to go back into the real world.
The Orgs had escorted Jeremy and Willy, bound in chains, into the mines. The two men immediately saw many humans being forced to work in terrible conditions. There was little to no light, and some looked to be even more than a little malnourished.
Jeremy and Willy were immediately thrown to the ground roughly by two Orgs while another one threw them a pair of pickaxes, "From now on, you will be mining for gold and jewels for us! Now get to work humans!" the Orgs sneered as they walked back into the exit and closed the gate.
"Damn it..." Jeremy growled, "I can't believe our rotten luck. At least two Duke Orgs we've seen, three counting the big brother we haven't, several Orgs and an army of Putrids."
"Definitely not good for us," Willy agreed, "And, judging by the three suns and three moons we saw earlier, we are definitely not on Earth any more."
"At least they didn't take our morphers." Jeremy smirked.
"I know you are our leader Jeremy, but we can't just storm the castle on our own," Willy shook his head, "Like you said they must have an army of Putrids with them..." he looked down and sighed, "And I wonder how Sylvia is right now!"
In the main hall, Poseidon had brought Sylvia to his brother. "A gift my brother." Poseidon said as he saw the throne swirl around to reveal a new Org. Sylvia had quickly gotten her first look at Zeus as he stared at her.
The Org that sat on the throne was definitely a fearsome one. His chest was armored with a blue spike from each pectoral. Several purple spikes shaped like lightning sprouted from his shoulders. His face was purple with dark blue stripes over his eyes and a tiny red gem on his forehead. The outline of his face was covered with dark blue and silver-white spikes, and a large black horn was on top of his head. His arms were brown with ragged blue wristbands. A yellow robe skirt covered his waist down to his ankles. His blue feet had three clawed toes each. On the ground leaning against the throne there was a long, spiked, black sword with a single yellow lightning design in the center of the blade.
A servant Org salivated at her, much to Sylvia's dismay and Zeus had seen it. He then bashed it aside, where it cracked the wall at impact and Zeus took her chin in his hand to study her more closely.
"Leave us," Zeus said to all the Orgs. They left but Poseidon was still there. "I was also meaning to you too brother."
"But brother..." Poseidon started to say but Zeus's words cut him off. Poseidon then left Zeus alone with Sylvia who looked at her.
"Now then my dear. You will tell me where you come from..." Zeus said with a grin that sent shivers down the girl's spine, "And so much more."
Eric and Shayla made their way out of the Animarium corridors making their way to the main entrance of the kingdom where the drawbridge was lowered. If they made it to that then they could head to Animarium. However when they got to the exitway they found Mandilok blocking the main exit to Animarium with a squad of Putrids.
Eric and Shayla turned around and saw Onihime with Ogrons as her back up. Mandilok walked forward with a smile on her face and said "There is no escape for you. Surrender the princess now!"
"Not on your life!" Eric said. Mandilok didn't seem to bothered by the answer and ordered her Putrids to advance. Onihime did the same with her Ogrons and Eric realized he needed to morph to even the odds.
"QUANTUM POWER!!!" Eric called into his Quantum Morpher. The Quantum Ranger stood ready for battle, and hoped that morphed would provide him with a better chance.
Shayla found herself wondering how Lara was doing.
Lara was using every instinct she had to survive and to get the upper hand on as many of her pursuers as she could. From using secret passageways to hidden crawlspaces, to even using makeshift handholds to scale walls and gain the upper hand against a passing Putrid or Ogron.
Lara climbed up a wall and took refuge in what seemed to be a tower balcony. Where she was gave her an excellent vantage point to keep tabs on the approaching forces trying to find Eric and Shayla. She continued to spy when she saw a sight she dared not turn away from.
Lara looked down from her vatage point and saw Rani standing on a ledge looking out at the Animaria ruins. Immediately Lara had an idea run through her mind as she looked down at her guns.
-One bullet would finish her off.- she thought. -One bullet in her brain. Just as I should have done years ago.-
Inside the mines Jeremy and Willy looked around exploring the caverns looking for a way out when two of the Orgs in charge of watching the humans started to shove them around. "Back to work humans!" the Orgs said.
"Make me!" Jeremy said cursing under his breath. The Org took that as a challenge and sneered. Immediately he delivered a strike to Jeremy which he deflected and then sent the Org spinning over. More came rushing in and Jeremy quickly fought back...but he didn't morph. He didn't think it was time.
-Let's see what else they have.- Jeremy thought as he and Willy found themselves in the middle of a battle. Jeremy held his own but when he saw Willy take a hit Jeremy got distracted allowing an Org to knock him down. Soon the two were about to get the defiance beat out of them until...
"STOP!!!" a young woman shouted as she raced out from among the slaves. She had dark hair and light complection as she looked somewhere around the ages of 17 to 18 Earth years. Immediately she stepped between Jeremy and Willy and faced the Org guards. "Leave them alone."
"Who are you to tell us what to do human?" the Org asked. The woman answered "Someone who knows these two won't be of much use to you if they are too busy to work. Or would you prefer to deal with the Duke Orgs?"
"What do the Duke Orgs have to do with them?" the Org asked.
"I know that the brothers will be angry if they are hurt too badly. Are you willing to risk their wrath?" The Orgs considered the woman's words, and even though they were still annoyed, they could hardly argue her logic and stomped off in a huff. She then took two of them in hand and tended their small injuries with the help of another person.
"Thank you." Willy said as she took care of a swollen ankle he had. "You have a left wrist that needs to be bandaged." she then told Jeremy.
"Thanks I'll get it looked at." Jeremy said. "Would you mind telling us who you are?"
"I am Princess Iriya of Anima."
"You're a PRINCESS?!" Jeremy shouted. Iriya hushed him and Jeremy obligingly covered his offending mouth with his fingers. "What are you doing here?"
Iriya went on to tell the rangers about her current state.
Meanwhile in Anima Gaia and Kaito told the others about the war with the Duke Orgs Zeus and Poseidon (Hades was just a child then though gifted). The conversation quickly went up to current events now
"Iriya was taken by Poseidon recently, and what's worse is that the triple eclipse is approaching." Gaia stated.
"The triple eclipse?" Kelly asked. "What is that?"
"Our only means of protecting the natural energy and magic of this world from being stolen by the Duke Orgs... or for anyone being able to access our world from your side as you did." Gaia explained, "You see when the war went to a draw, I had no other choice to save the people I was entrusted to protect then to prepare a spell to teleport us all away to another part of the globe, but Zeus attacked at that time and instead of another part of the globe, we were sent to another world yet the connection between our two worlds remains the same."
"So that's how the kingdom dissapeared." Kelly had said. "And how you lost all contact with Animaria." Gaia nodded and continued her story.
"Legend foretells that when all three of our moons eclipse all three suns simultaneously, on top of Howling Fire Mountain, the volcano shall erupt and the red beast shall be awakened." Kaito replied.
"A red beast?" Curtis asked.
"A giant, wild beast that was said to have accompanied our ancestors with another beast and Gaia in the time of Anima's formation on this world but has become lost to us over the last thousand years. It has been said in time of great peril, the mighty red beast can be summoned by the power of the triple eclipse."
"What is it called?" Kelly asked. Before Gaia could say anything Steven spoke, "You wouldn't believe it even if you heard it."
"What? You know what it is?" Curtis stared, "So tell us man? What's the red beast?"
"If I tell you, I am not going to hear the end of you joking about it," Steven replied.
"Why would I joke about the name of a Wild Zord?" Curtis asked flat out.
"Oh believe me, I think you definitely would once you heard it, which is why to give the Wild Zord some measure of respect, I'm not going to say a word until we see it." Steven responded.
"That may never come to be." Gaia announced, causing all three of earth humans to look at her, "You see there are three things for this ceremony that are needed in order for it to work two pendants of Animaria and one who shares the same blood as the Princess must be placed in their places at the alter on Howling Fire Mountain, or else the red beast will never awaken."
"Same blood as the Princess... you mean Princess Shayla?" Steven asked.
"This Iriya's related to the Princess by family?" Kelly asked.
"By race." Gaia answered.
"By race?" Curtis asked. "What do you mean? Isn't the princess human?"
"You may not know this but you should. The Princesses Shayla and Iriya... are the last two survivors of the world of Elysia Seven. The world where all 100 Wild Zords were born."
Gaia went into an explanation of how they first arrived on their world. "3000 years ago, we didn't find that we were alone. There were three other people. A man, a woman , and a baby girl. Iriya's parents and Iriya herself. Together they worked on making Anima a stable place in this new world, but the Orgs did not make it easy for them. Iriya's parents were killed by Zeus, leaving Iriya alone, only with me as her only lasting friend."
Kaito then spoke up saying "I must meet with Iriya tomorrow at Howling Fire Mountain, or all will be lost. And the power that lies within this world that's been made will belong to the Orgs."
"This is why Iriya was taken." Gaia said. "Without her, we are lost."
The three young heroes looked at each other and agreed to help. "We'll do what we can." Steven said.
"Excellent." Gaia said hoping their help would be enough. For if they didn't win there would be no way for them to get to their world at all.
"That's why I must leave here." Iriya said. "If not then the Orgs will never be defeated."
Jeremy thought for a moment and decided "We'll do what we can." Iriya smiled and noticed Willy looking on with worry.
"Sorry."Willy said. "I just wonder how Sylvia is doing."
To answer that question, we turn back to Zeus's throne room, where he was still talking to Sylvia, though she was not really responsive or helpful to him.
"You do realize young lady that you are not going anywhere soon," Zeus sneered as he walked around her.
"Really. And I suppose you can see the future Org?" Sylvia snapped. "I don't expect to be here long at all." -I hope not anyway.-
"You have a good sense of humor child," Zeus chuckled, "My castle is invincible. I have an army of Putrids guarding the doors and another army of Putrids along with several Orgs within to serve as perimeter guards. And even if by some fluke that the humans managed to get through all of that, which is impossible, they would have to contend with three Duke Orgs that would slaughter them in an instant."
"You really believe that?" Sylvia questioned.
"Its not belief, it's reality!" Zeus declared. "I have taken the power of the human's great protector and in these last ten years, I have virtually taken control of this world. My brothers, my minions and I have destroyed many foolish humans who dared to oppose us. I take their hopes and dreams and burn them with my lightning bolts into ash and scatter them to the four winds. Now tell me, who do you think could stand up to me, the God of Thunder incarnate?"
-This guy has got the biggest ego complex I have ever seen.- Sylvia shook her head.
"Well if you don't want to talk now with your sharp tongue, perhaps a bit of wine might loosen it," Zeus suggested, "Care to join me in a contest?"
"There's no contest without a prize," Sylvia replied, "What would my prize for winning be? Freedom?"
Zeus laughed at her, "Now this is what I am talking about! You have such a wonderful sense of humor. Imagine how you would be if you were a little merry with wine." He looked at her and held out his right hand. In the palm of it appeared necklace that reminded Sylvia of Princess Shayla's. "This will be yours if you win though I doubt it. No one has ever been able to outlast me."
"And if you win, what is your prize?" Sylvia asked.
"Your company in my chambers for one evening?" Zeus smirked, "Are you willing to play human girl?"
Quantum Ranger was using every trick in the book he could to bring the Putrids and Ogrons down. From blasts with the Quantum Defender to strikes with the Mega Battle. Despite everything Quantum Ranger was outmatched, and it was hard to protect the princess with Onihime and Mandilok getting closer. Shayla feared she might have to defend herself if she wasn't careful.
Quantum Ranger however was able to fire off a few shots sending them back and put himself between the princess and the Orgs. Their backs however were against the wall as they looked down from the bridge to see a river flowing underneath. Quantum Ranger then had an idea.
"Can you swim in that?" Quantum Ranger asked looking down at the river under the bridge. Shayla nodded that she could. "It's much like the sacred water in the Animarium."
"All right then." Quantum Ranger took Shayla's hand and the two jumped from the bridge into the river below. Onihime and Mandilok saw them jump and looked down to see if a trace of them could be found. None could.
"Search the river. Find them!" Onihime ordered. The Putrids and Ogrons began thair search. It would turn up empty.
"Are you sure?" Rani asked the aide from Arcadia she had brought with her.
"Positive." the aide answered. "There are still trace elements of the portal the Rangers escaped from at large. I would venture to assume..."
"Save your assumptions for later." Rani said. "I know what it means. It means the Rangers may yet return."
"Let us prepare for them." Toxica said with Jindrax by her side. "We'll make them suffer." Rani sighed and looked at Master Org who allowed them to head to the portal co-ordinates. Master Org wondered if Rani was all right. She nodded and said "I'm expecting a visitor. Could you please leave?" Master Org nodded and left Rani to her solitude.
Not far away Lara hid in a corner breaking out one of her 9 millimeter pistols and bringing it to bear against the Rani. From her position Lara had a clear shot to finish Rani off.
"God forgive me." Lara whispered as she took aim with her pistol and squeezed the trigger slowly getting her weapon ready to fire. "For you Christina." she whispered.
Lara aimed her weapon and fired. The bullet hit Rani square in the head knocking her back down on the floor.
Lara came out of her hiding place and made her way to where Rani's body fell. She looked down at the vacant eyes staring off into space. Eyes that seemed sightless...for a brief period of time.
For the body sat back up.
Lara pulled the trigger sending Rani back down...only for her to sit back up again.
"I wouldn't waste another shot." Rani said. "It's quite useless."
"How?" Rani asked. "You're supposed to be dead."
"Yes, bullet in the brain correct?" Rani asked. "Well as I said the person who provided me this body saw to it that death was no longer a problem for me. And as such I am quite capable of enduring anything you throw at me. So do your worst. It's quite useless."
Rani then added insult to injury as she snapped her fingers and a squad of Ogrons and Putrids led by Onihime came out from behind. The odds really out of her favor now.
There was only one thing Lara could do now...run.
And despite her distaste to do it, that was what Lara Croft had done.
Morning came quickly.
All seemed to be quiet on the front. No sign of invaders approaching. In fact Poseidon thought Hades looking out from the tower rampart to be a waste of time. "Why do you look out at the sites of battle brother? There's nothing to see there now."
"That doesn't mean there won't be." Hades said. "You know we have their precious princess." Poseidon nodded and added. "She seems taken by that Ranger in red."
"Who she's romantically involved with is not my affair." Hades said. "It's just that the time of the triple eclipse is coming. If the humans are going to move it will be now."
Poseidon shook his head in disbelief only to spot an invading army coming their way. They came in hard and fast to the point where Hades ordered "Secure the gate!" Putrids rushed to obey the command.
Kaito was the one heading the attack, the Rangers that were with him came to help him and his troops. Kaito ordered the door to be brought down and all his forces brought forth a battering ram against the door. Every Putrid there was tried to hold the door in place, but the army soon burst through and fighting broke out in the castle grounds.
Steven, Kelly and Curtis found themselves using swords against the Putrids, yet they didn't morph yet. "Wait until it's needed." Kaito ordered leaving the Rangers to fight with their own natural skills, and doing quite well. Kaito saw that the Rangers and Steven had hearts of warriors.
They started to fight their way through the castle. Hearing the sounds of battle, Iriya called on her people that now was the time. While most attack their guards, she and a select group started their run out of the mines. Jeremy and WIlly were part of this group.
Causalities started to occur on both sides, from Orgs and humans. For Steven though, death was something he had been through and knew how it can happen in battle. But for the other Rangers, this was something new to them. Not even the death of the innocents in Turtle Cove that they could not save didn't compare to this. For here there were people who wanted to fight for their freedom and the Orgs could do nothing to deter them from doing what they wanted.
So the best anyone could do was to keep fighting, and hope the casualties would be taken down to a minumum. Steven and Kelly fought together back to back while Curtis watched Kaito's back keeping Orgs and Putrids at bay.
None of them would be deterred.
Inside the Maze, Jeremy took Iriya by the lead while the others took on Poseidon who appeared to reinforce the troops in the mines. Jeremy and Iriya were almost out when Hades came out from the shadows.
"Going somewhere warrior?" the silver skinned Duke Org asked Jeremy.
"Yeah. Out of your hellhole." Jeremy said flat out.
"You mean my brothers' hellhole," Hades corrected him, "I have no particular need for what 'sparkles' Zeus and Poseidon dig up for themselves and before you even say something so stupid as to 'why don't I do anything about it' I'll tell you why. I'm an Org. Why the scarath should I care about humans? It's because of humans I have spent the last 3000 years stuck in this stinking sealed world. How I long to return to Earth and see the world around. You have any idea how bored I am of this place?"
"I am a human. Am I supposed to care about what you think?" Jeremy quipped. Hades chuckled at that statement, "Touché warrior," he drew his sword and held it out at the ready, "Shall we continue where we left off before I knocked you flat on your back?"
Jeremy nodded as he pulled out his Primal Link, "This time you are going down Hades. PRIMAL ACCESS!"
Iriya could only stare in awe of Jeremy changing into his Ranger armor. "By Animus..."
"Winged Falcon!" the Red Primal Force Ranger declared as he got in his Falcon stance and pulled out the Falcon Blade.
"We shall see if you live up to that name," Hades commented as he charged at Winged Falcon. The battle was on.
Upstairs the Anima warriors and the Rangers had broken through the gates and were heading into the main hall where Poseidon was waiting.
"Will you surrender Poseidon?" Kaito asked. Poseidon didn't answer as he got nervous and high tailed it out of there going to look for Hades.
The army of Anima continued to advance.
Meanwhile the fight between Hades and Winged Falcon was getting heated up. Both combatants were bringing out the best in one another.
"ARGH!!!" Both combatants cried as they slashed each other across the chest. Though to the Winged Falcon's surprise, Hades was not only smiling but laughing.
"This is the most fun I have had in three millennia!" Hades threw his head back in laughter, "You have any idea how alive I feel now! Do you! Nothing but boredom from staying on this damned rock but now with you, I am finding something I have been missing!"
"You are starting to get on my nerves," Winged Falcon growled as he got back into a fighting stance as did Hades though he was now being held back by Poseidon.
"What are you doing?!" Hades growled but Poseidon held him back.
"We are out of here. Those blasted humans are ruining everything baby brother," Poseidon told him.
"STOP CALLING ME THAT!" Hades roared in outrage, as he was teleported out with his brother.
"... that Org has serious family problems," Winged Falcon shook his head.
"Never mind them. We must get to the main hall. Zeus has my pendant and without it we can not repair the seal or send you home." Iriya told him.
"Then let's get moving. The others should be joining us soon since they were holding blue boy off before," Winged Falcon said. -I hope.-
When Winged Falcon and Iriya did end up getting to the main hall, they expect to find Zeus torturing Sylvia there. The only thing that they found Zeus passed out and Sylvia only slightly drunk. "Oh hi Jeremy!" Sylvia said slightly tipsy.
"Sylvia can you stand?" Jeremy asked as he demorphed. Sylvia got out of the chair and only stumbled once, but quickly got her bearings. "Good thing I played drinking games in college, and figured out how to cheat."
"What?" Jeremy asked not sure if he could believe what happened. Sylvia said "I just had to just be careful and fake how I drank, though I have to admit, it was a hard thing to do as as I feel a little dizzy. I was able to get something out of his hands though." She then showed them something she weaseled out of Zeus when he was drunk.
"My gemstone!" exclaims Iriya, pointing the pendant around Sylvia's neck.
"Wh... who is that..."
Everyone turned around to see Zeus getting up off the ground and Jeremy could only say, "Oh shit."
Needless to say Zeus wasn't exactly happy as he quickly overcame his drunkenness. He went to attack them however Kaito and Steven burst into the room from behind and knocked Zeus down and out.
"Kaito!" Iriya yelled as she jumped up and embraced the warrior and gave him a passionate kiss.
"Um... I think we should continue this elsewhere don't you?" Steven suggested.
"Of course." Iriya said as she apologetically took her pendant from Sylvia. "Wait that's mine!" Sylvia protested.
"It's hers. Trust me." Steven said as Iriya and Kaito made a run for the place they need to be, a lonely outcrop beside the ocean. The Rangers ended up going out to follow them. When Poseidon entered the chamber he immediately went to wake Zeus up. Quickly Zeus was revived him from his drunkenness and the two left to go after the Rangers. Although Zeus was irritable the whole time the chase was underway.
However, from the shadows, Hades watched on in knowing everything that he had heard. -Do what you want my brothers... but I will not take the fall this time for anything you do!-
Once outside Steven, Jeremy, Kaito, Iriya and Sylvia were reunited with Willy, Kelly and Curtis just as Poseidon and Zeus charged the gate ready to battle the army of Anima outside.
"Now you shall feel your doom!" Zeus said as he and Poseidon stood at full readiness. The Primal Force then stepped forward ready to battle. Jeremy looked back at the soldiers then at the Orgs and smiled.
"Now lets really give them a show!" Jeremy said as he brought out his Primal Link. The others had done the same.
"PRIMAL ACCESS!!!" all five Rangers shouted as they initiated their morphs. Soon the Primal Force stood ready for battle.
"Guardians of the Earth! United we roar! POWER RANGERS PRIMAL FORCE!!!"
The crowd of soldiers closest to them cheered them on as they continued to fight. First target was Poseidon as the Primal Force called forth their Jungle Blaster and took aim at Poseidon. "FIRE!" Winged Falcon ordered as a concentrated beam hit Poseidon who was then sent flying off of a cliff.
"Poseidon!" Zeus screamed as he saw his brother fall to his doom. -The Princess... I won't let her renew the seal.-
"Now it's your turn Zeus!" Winged Falcon cried.
"No. It's time for this world to become mine!" Zeus shouted and with lightning bolt flashes vanished from sight.
They wonderd where he went to and then they heard Gaia in their minds telling them where to go.
No one wasted any time getting where they needed to be.
Elsewhere, Poseidon was still alive and getting ready heal himself. "Don't worry brother. Those humans will pay for their crimes against us." Poseidon focused on his vow when some one else arrived.
"Looks like you could use a hand."
Poseidon looked up and saw who it was, "Hades... please... help your older brother..."
Hades had a smile on his lips as he said, "Of course. After all, brothers help brothers."
Meanwhile, Iriya and Kaito looked down at the altar with three stones that looked like the orbiting moons. At their center was a special place to set something. Something resembling Iriya's pendant.
"It's almost time." Iriya said as she looked at Kaito with great affection and belief. The two were ready to do what they were supposed to.
"We must however wait for the eclipse my lady." Kaito said.
"Too bad you won't have that chance." a voice from behind said.
"ZEUS!!!" Iriya gasped as the Duke Org sneered, the gem on his forehead shining just as his horn did.
"And just what do you think you are going to do?" Zeus sneered.
Kaito just spat at him, "Monster. We will win back this land that was created for us by Animus and Gaia!"
"Gaia... what use has she been to you for these last ten years." Zeus smirked as he pointed to his gem. "With her power to become her Mega form sealed here, you have been much more easier to control." He raised his hand up with it glowing in power, "So let your fabled Goddess' own power be what kills you Princess."
"Iriya!" Kaito cried as he leapt in front of her.
"Kaito!" Iriya screamed as she saw him take the blast, one that was that nearly could have killed him but saw Kaito getting up. "Kaito don't get up!"
"I have... to protect you..." Kaito muttered.
Zeus however kept on attacking, just humiliating Kaito as he tried to fight back to defend and protect Iriya. Tired of defending Kaito decided to try to get in one more shot in hopes of bringing Zeus down.
Unfortunately, it was then that he was the subject to a stabbing by Zeus's sword. "Then die like the fool you are," Zeus sneered as Kaito fell down, his pendant twining around the hilt of his dagger.
"KAITO!!!" Iriya wept in anguish.
Zeus just took a step nearer, calling Iriya "female human," the way one would say a female dog/horse/elephant/monkey/octopus with contempt for the creature.
"Now die!" Zeus screamed as he raised his sword over his head intending to take Iriya's head but suddenly Zeus was tackled down by someone. When he got up he was treated by blast in the chest at point blank range and a slash crossed his chest with Kaito's sword.
"If anyone is going to die here Org, it's going to be you," Steven growled as he held the Magnum Defender and the borrowed sword in defensive posture.
"And you think you can do that on your own little man?" Zeus mocked. Suddenly Zeus was rocked by another attack.
"Actually no," Steven smirked as the Primal Force came from behind, "Which is why I have friends. Something a Org like you could never understand."
"Friends. Who needs friends when you have power like mine!" Zeus roared.
"You're about to find out," Winged Falcon said.
The Rangers and Steven took on Zeus and drove him away from the area. The dying Kaito asked Iriya to take his pendant and save their world. "For us." he whispered as he lie dying. "For the future...."
Those were the last words he would utter before he joined those in the afterlife.
Outside the Rangers were driving back Zeus towards the end of a cliff. Zeus looked down and smiled when he turned to face the Rangers. "It's over Zeus. There's nowhere to go." Winged Falcon said.
Zeus then dove into the ocean where when he made contact with the water became a giant.
"Guys... things just got a hell of a lot worse," Winged Falcon said stating the obvious.
They were trapped in a strange world and tried to call their Wild Zords.
They didn't answer.
"They must still be on Earth." Gentle Giraffe said.
"What do we do now?" Spirited Deer asked. The answer came in the form of Zeus's foot stomping down. The Primal Force was barely able to get out of the way.
"You can die." Zeus boasted ready to stomp again.
Iriya didn't have too long to mourn the loss of her love as she saw the Primal Force in trouble. Immediately she took her pendant and Kaito's, and placed them on the spot. She then saw them become one orb within which there was a shape like a gorilla.
In the skies above the moons finally finished their process of eclipsing the suns. The power then poured down into the new orb, and suddenly, the mountain closest to them all erupted violently. As lava poured down the slopes, energy spewed out from the volcano, renewing the pact and keeping the mystical power of the world safe from the Orgs. Inside the lava however, there appeared the form of the mighty red gorilla.
Iriya identified him immediately in a saddened, hopeful whisper. "Kong."
Zeus was not impressed by Kong's approach. Kong however would leave much to impress by the time the battle was through.
Kong snatched up two huge burning trees in his great hands and began spinning them to a sort of congo beat. The beat reached into the watchers and Zeus began to move to it, amused and delighted by this new addition to his world.
Until Kong hurtled the burning brands at him and rode the lava flow down to fight. "How dare you defy me!" Zeus screamed.
Kong paid Zeus no mind as he then screeched to the sky and there was an answer. From the sky came the Wild Zords. Elephant, Wolf, Rhino, and Armadillo.
"How'd they get here?" Armored Armadillo asked.
"Must have something to do with Kong's power." Steven said. "He must be able to call Wild Zords from anywhere."
"I guess that zord is king." Raging Rhino said. There were glares from the other Rangers but Raging Rhino said "Sorry I had to say it."
"Just don't say it again." Winged Falcon said. Raging Rhino agreed.
Iriya looked back to Kaito's body and saw something glowing there. It was another crystal orb, one that Kaito was planning to give to Iriya as a gift. He had found it with in the halls of the Org Castle in one of their treasure rooms. This one glowed rose pink and she saw a Lynx within the orb.
"This is yours." Iriya said as she gave Kong's orb to Winged Falcon.
"And this is yours." Iriya said giving the Lynx over to Spirited Deer. "They belong to you now."
Winged Falcon and Spirited Deer nodded and then joined the others for battle. Immediately they raced for the control center in Kong's forehead as he then it underwent a transformation similar to the Gorilla Zord did for the Kongazord transformation, except the head was different. While the Kongazord looked like a Roman Centurion, Kong's Megazord form looked more like a knight.
The rest of the transformation then occured. Lynx and Wolf formed the left and right arms respectively while Rhino and Armadillo formed the legs and the Elephant went into sword mode.
The Ultimus Megazord was created.
"You think this little toy scares me?!" Zeus roared as he charged the Ultimus Megazord and slashed it but Ultimus blocked the strike with ease. "No... this is impossible. You are not stronger than I am!"
"Wanna bet?" Winged Falcon said as he brought the Ultimus Saber down on Zeus. The blow hit and Zeus found himslef staggaring. As the battle went on Zeus decided to bring the heat up. "Now you will fall before my power!" he said as the gem on his forehead glowed, showing the power that he had.
"Oh man. Could that be the power he took from Gaia?" Spirited Deer asked.
"I'd say yeah." Winged Falcon said as lightning came down and struck Poseidon's body. Soon however the body had moved and it looked like Poseidon was back from the dead.
"I don't believe it!" Armored Armadillo said. "He brought Poseidon back!"
"Not totally!" Zeus sneered. "He is right now less than talkative but it doesn't matter for this is just a shade of my brother, manipulated to my will until the fight is over and then I will bring him back all the way."
"A zombie? Oh gross!" Spirited Deer added.
The two brothers then wasted no time in attacking the Ultimus Megazord and with the odds being two on one it was not good. Poseidon managed to slash them from behind and then grabed them trying to keep them down for Zeus to finish them. Zeus ran toward them, determined to finish them off.
"Any ideas?" Raging Rhino asked.
"One!" Winged Falcon said. "Armadillozord!" The Armadillo was shot out and one kick was enough to hit Zeus's forehead. They were also able to knock Poseidon back and keep him down for a moment.
"Blast you!" Zeus growled as he tossed the Armadillo down after it had hit him. However as he felt his forehead he felt something different now. He felt flakes of dust. "What... NO!!!" He then realized that the Rangers target had not been for damage.
It had been to destroy his gemstone.
In Anima, Gaia felt a surge of power going through her. A power that had been taken from her for these last few years. A power that was welcome to her.
As Gaia reconnected herself to her power, she felt the entire world they were within. How nature cried out in pain from what had been inflicted upon it from the Orgs and soon she heard Iriya's screams of pain and sorrow. Gaia clenched her fists as she had always hoped for Iriya and Kaito to be joined in marriage and she herself to give the ceremony.
Now Iriya would weep for a long time until she learned to live without her love. It reminded her now of the tale of Merrick Balitou and Princess Shayla. The one that she had heard from her new young friends.
Friends that needed her help.
"Zeus... this ends now." Gaia vowed as she vanished into white light.
The battle had returned to Zeus's favor as he took stabs to the Ultimus Mega weakening it slightly. With each jab Zeus appeared to get stronger as the Rangers were being driven back.
"And now to end it." Zeus sneered as he appeared ready to fight, only for he and Poseidon to be blasted down by a white light.
"What was that?" Armored Armadillo asked from the cockpit of the Ultimus Megazord.
"Guys... check it out..." Gentle Giraffe gasped pointing to the far right.
Rushing toward them were six majestic and beautiful Wild Zords. A white swan, a cheetah, a black panther, a light brown lioness, a black stallion and its mate the white stallion.
"Check it out! The Calvary has arrived!" Raging Rhino exclaimed.
"And not a moment too soon... look!" Spirited Deer cried as she saw the two stallions changing into a pair of legs while the Cheetah and Panther were turning into a set of arms. The Lioness compacted and folded to become a body for the arms and legs to connect, its head becoming the chest that was shown. Lastly was the Swan, which became the gestalt's head, much like how the Crane Ninjazord was the head of the Ninja Megazord. The wings folded around itself while its legs went down and connected into the top of the body. Once it was in the right position, the wings flipped down, becoming 'hair' for the head as its face was now exposed. It was a decidedly feminine face, two pink eyes that shined and wore a golden tiara crown on top of her head. She put her hands forward and suddenly a silver staff appeared. One that the new Megazord took in its hands and held it out, ready to do battle with the giant Duke Orgs.
"What ... what is that?" Winged Falcon gasped from the Ultimus Cockpit.
"Gaia..." Zeus growled.
"You have harmed the people I was charged to protect for the LAST time Zeus. With these noble warriors, we shall destroy you and your brothers and then this world will know peace!"
"Gaia? That's Gaia?!" Spirited Deer gasped. "She's a Megazord!"
Gaia looked down at Steven and inviteed him into her, to be safe at the very least. "I'd be honored." Steven said as Gaia brought down her hand and lifted Steven into her cockpit. Once inside Steven felt as if he was at home in there.
It was now Gaia Megazord and Ultimus Megazord versus the two brothers. Gaia against Zeus while Ultimus took on Poseidon.
Winged Falcon didn't want to waste time fighting Poseidon again. He brought forth the punches beating back Poseidon and delivered a savage slash finishing off the Duke Org for good. Now it was time to help Gaia take on Zeus.
"This ends here now Zeus!" Winged Falcon declared as he felt something within him call out this move, "Ultimus Megazord, Magma Slash!"
The sword in Ultimus's hands glowed red and became as hot as lava itself as it then slashed twice at Zeus, cutting deep into his armor but then backed off, as the Primal Force realized that this should be finished by Gaia herself.
"You have harmed my people long enough and because of your last act you have repeated a tragedy I have only learned of but that makes it no less of a tragedy. For that... I sentence you to oblivion!" the Gaia Megazord's staff glowed white preparing to let out its attack but within it, Gaia was mentally giving a command to Steven to execute, something that couldn't be done by herself at the same time as her planned attack without someone in her cockpit.
Seeing her staff had reached its full power, she let loose her final attack, "ANIMA STORM!!!"
Within the Megazord, Steven gave out the command, "MEGA ROAR!!!"
The Gaia Megazord's staff blasted a force of pure white energy at Zeus while the Lioness head on the Megazord's chest opened up and let loose a rainbow colored stream of energy.
Both connected with the Duke Org who flew backward and when he landed there were many explosions. The Ultimus and Gaia Megazords turned away and stood in victory over Zeus.
Within Gaia's cockpit, Steven smiled as he remembered a bit of Merrick once more, of how he had felt as he had once been in Animus's cockpit. -If this is what Zord battling is really like, then I'll be hoping to get my other animal crystals real soon.-
"Thank you Rangers," Gaia said as she extended her Megazord hand to the Ultimus Megazord. "You have helped end a great evil on this world."
"Thank you for helping us Gaia," Spirited Deer said to her.
Gaia nodded but looked down and saw Iriya still crying over Kaito's body. Lowering her head, she teleported the two into her cockpit and looked to the Rangers, "It is time for us to return to Anima. We have much to do." Taking hold of the Ultimus Megazord, she used her powers to send the two Megazords and their occupants away from the area and back to Anima, knowing the battle had been won.
However, it was not the end for Zeus. He was now back to normal size and weak, though his Duke Org heart was still beating. "I will... I will get you all. I will have these people as my slaves. I will become their god."
"Spare me the stupidity. You actually do believe you are the humans mythical king of the Gods don't you." A voice sneered, "Well tell me how it feels to be dethroned brother."
Zeus turned around weakly to see Hades standing over him, "Brother... when I heal I will spank you over my knee. Where the pit were you when I..."
"Shut up you old fool. I'm sick of listening to a worthless Org like yourself. 3000 years stuck in this place and now look at yourself. Your army is destroyed and you yourself are beaten. The spell you used to take in Gaia's power can not be duplicated and was spent doing it that one time," Hades snapped.
"I am your brother still... and I order you to help me!" Zeus commanded.
"You know that's exactly what Poseidon said to me," Hades said with a gleam. A gleam that Zeus did not like. Before he could say anything, Hades tossed to his brother the severed head of Poseidon, his face in shock and fright. "Before I took his head."
"How... how could you do this to him! He was your only family!" Zeus shouted.
"Correction! Mother and father were my only family, until you killed them to take their power, hoping to impress a Duchess Org that you could have as your own and marry but then we got stuck on this rock!" Hades spat, letting all of his hate out, "I have hated you! I have hated the both of you for the last three millennia for being trapped and isolated from the real world! Well now brother, I think you should know that I have grown up rather nicely. I am going back to the world of my birth...but I am taking a part of you with me."
"What... do you mean by that?" Zeus asked him.
Hades stabbing him through the heart answered the question. "I mean I am going to take your power for myself! Just like I did with Poseidon when I killed him! Now go to hell to greet him Zeus!"
Zeus screamed out in agony as he started to fade away and explode but his energy went into Hades, who felt his own power level increasing dramatically. Once it was done, he knew now he was no longer a simple Duke Org. He had surpassed them by far, perhaps being on the level of the legendary Generals he had heard of so much long ago.
Spitting on the ground, Hades mocked his brother for the last time before vanishing into the darkness, blending in and going to follow the Rangers.
-I will be free and nothing will stop me from obtaining my freedom... NOTHING!!!- Hades vowed.
The next day marked a new beginning for the kingdom of Anima. For the Orgs that plagued it were now gone from the world forever.
Celebrations filled the streets. People rejoicing in jubilation of their hard fought freedom.
But as there was celebration, there was also mourning, as Kaito's body was being laid to rest in the sacred tomb. Kaito was buried with full military honors, and friends and comrades all paid their respects. Even the Primal Force was there to pay their respects and share their brief memories of the man they knew as Kaito. Iriya thought it was a nice gesture on their parts.
But soon it was time for the Primal Force to return to their world, and they prepared for the journey back. Jeremy wondered if perhaps the gate to their world should be left open but Gaia said 'no'. "Why?" Jeremy asked.
"With things as bad as they are with the magical power here on this island, it would be better for us to remain hidden, and to only come when it is time for the final battle." Gaia explained. Kelly wondered what she meant by 'the final battle'.
"The time when mankind and nature must become as one to vanquish Master Org, this time forever." Gaia explained. Willy said "That might be hard to do. For some reason our people took a different path than those in Anima. And I don't have an explanation as to why they would have done that."
"I fear that answer may well be lost to the winds of time." Gaia said. "But there is hope, as long as you do not give up that hope you can prevail."
"Sounds like something the Wild Force would say." Sylvia said. Gaia couldn't help but say "Perhaps. But if humans of your world believe that then perhaps there is hope."
Sylvia then went over to Iriya and hugged her goodbye. "We'll remember and honor Kaito's sacrifice. He will not be forgotten." All the Primal Force and Steven stood behind her repeating that vow. Iriya cried happy that they would remember Kaito that way and hugged each one good bye, especially Jeremy.
"We will meet again." Iriya said as she kissed him on the cheek. Jeremy smiled as he brought out the crystal for Kong, and Kelly came forward to bring the crystal for the Lynx Zord, but Iriya refused.
"Now that Gaia has returned and that the Orgs are vanquished, her own form as well as our own army are enough to protect themselves here." Gaia agreed with Iriya and said that "You are more in need of the two Wild Zords than we are since the Orgs have taken many of the previous guardian's Wild Zords and are collecting their own still." The Primal Force and Steven thanked her but Gaia still had one more thing to give.
"A gift to you." she said to Steven as she brought forth a long item wrapped in a cloth sheath. "It was to have been given to Merrick but there was never a chance to give it to him when Zeus attacked." Steven took the item and opened the cloth revealling the most beautiful sword he had ever seen.
"It's the Wolfsbane Saber," Gaia had said. "It possesses some magical properties which you might find useful even when you regain your own powers." Steven accepted the gift and promised to tell the Princess about what they have seen, as did the other Rangers.
"And now it is time for you to leave." Gaia said as she reopened the portal, connecting them back to Earth only a few moments after they left. Curtis then spoke and said "You realize that Jindrax and Toxica will still be there."
"No problem. I think I have an idea." Jeremy said as the Primal Force and Steven walked through the gate. However after they have, Iriya shivered as Gaia closed the gate.
"Iriya? What is it?" Gaia asked.
"I felt... something cold... it passed right by me..." Her eyes went wide as she realized it, "And I felt it enter the portal!"
Gaia turned her eyes toward the closed gate. She could not reopen it now for sometime as that had been her plan. To keep the Orgs out but keep themselves in. But if what Iriya had said was true then there would be something dark coming with them for the ride.
-But what? All of the regular Orgs were killed as were Zeus, Poseidon and...- Her eyes went wide as she realized they had all made one of the greatest oversights of all.
Where was Hades?
Back at the temple ruins, Jindrax and Toxica were still on the hunt. "Come out Rangers. Come out come out wherever you are!" Jindrax said.
"Like that tune is going to work." Toxica said. They were about ready go back to Master Org when suddenly the gate opened again and Steven comes out first.
"Ah ha! We've got one!" Jindrax said as he and Toxica charged towards him, only to be cut off by a giant sword that appeared before them.
"What the?!" Jindrax gasped as he looked up and saw... it.
"By the Nexus... what is that!" Toxica gaped.
"Meet the Ultimus Megazord," Steven said with a smirk on his face. "I would suggest running now."
Needless to say without any dispensable Orgs with them, the two Duke Orgs were rather reluctant to take on the Ultimus as they decided to run for the hills.
"We've got to find the others and head back." Steven said.
"Let's check the main temple." Winged Falcon said. Just as he said it the sound of gunfire was heard and Lara was rounding the corner.
"What kept you?" Lara asked. Spirited Deer answered with "Had to take care of some buisness."
"Well more's coming. You'd better split, and take the Megazord with you. Chances are good the've got some disposable monsters coming this way as well." Raging Rhino looked up and saw Mandilok, Onihime, Rani and Master Org pursuing with a squad of Orgs. It was a safe bet that Master Org saw the Ultimus Megazord and he would stop at nothing to possess it. "Do you know what happened to Eric and the princess?" Gentle Giraffe asked.
"They've already made it back to Animarium. Now get out of here." Lara said. "Things are going to get hot quick. The sooner you leave the better."
"But Lara..." Spirited Deer said. Lara wouldn't take no for an answer.
"GO!!!" she shouted. "If Rani gets your crystals it's over. You guys need to be free to fight her. Go back to Animarium and plot your next move. I'll follow when I can."
Regrettably Steven and the Primal Force left Lara behind. Lara stayed and rearmed her pistols hoping if things went bad her 'insurance policy' would kick in. She crouched and waited for her adversaries to come forth. She saw Rani and Onihime walking forward with a squad of Putrids and Ogrons with them. Master Org and Mandilok stood off to the side.
"Well now Croft. You ready to surrender?" Lara aimed her pistol at Rani looking ready to pull the trigger. Rani smirked as she said "You know that won't do a bit of good."
"No but it does my ego a whole bit of wonder." Lara said as she then felt a kick come up from behind which she dodged. Onihime tried to get in a clear shot, but Lara evaded. It looked as if Lara and Onihime would fight but then Rani brought forth a tranquilizer gun and fired it at Lara from behind. Lara felt behind and pulled out the dart that hit her neck and saw Rani's smiling face.
"One good shot deserves another." Rani said as blackness overcame Lara and she slumped to the floor.
At Onihime's feet Lara lay unconscious. The Org Princess stood triumphant over her defeated adversary as Rani walked up to her side.
"Now isn't this ironic?" she said looking down at Lara. "My greatest experiment to date brings down my most hated adversary." Onihime said nothing but she did wonder about Ranitime's choice of words.
What was her 'greatest experiment'? Did Ranitime do something to her during her 'examination'? She did remember feeling better than she ever did. More alive.
Yes perhaps that was it. Rani simply enhanced her abilities, and did such a fantastic job she considered it her greatest work.
Yes that had to be it.
Onihime would ask her father what Rani meant when the time was right. Right now she saw Lara Croft being hoisted up by Ogrons like a trophy heading to a portable Interdimensional portal that would take them back to Arcadia. Rani followed smiling.
Onihime could swear that when Rani smiled she had chills.
Sure enough Eric and Shayla were at the Animarium waiting for the Primal Force. Shayla asked "Where's Lara?"
"She stayed behind." Jeremy said as he and the others demorphed. "Master Org was bringing forth a squad."
"Chances are she's probably captured by now." Eric said as he brought forth his binoculars and he saw Rani and Onihime carrying Lara back to Animaria where the portal to Arcadia was waiting. He also saw Master Org and Mandilok heading their way.
"We have to go. Master Org's heading this way and he's bringing friends." Eric said. Reluctantly everyone got onto the floating island, and it floated away into the sky. Master Org and Mandilok looked up cursing the Rangers' escape.
After Kong and the Lynx were welcomed aboard the Animarium the Rangers all went about their buisness. Jeremy, Willy, Shayla and Sylvia were trying to come up with a plan to free Lara from Arcadia, and not having much success. Curtis was off on his own, and Eric was training. Steven went back to the clearing where this time Kelly was waiting. "I thought this was my brooding spot." Steven said sarcastically.
"Maybe it just has an appeal to scarred souls." Kelly said. "I was just thinking about things here, about what happened in Amina."
"You mean Kaito and Ariya?" Steven asked.
"And how their chance for happiness was ripped away from them." Kelly said. "Kind of like Merrick's and Shalya's." Steven couldn't help but nod. "Do you think we'll see them again?"
"Who knows?" Kelly asked. "I know Jeremy was kind of taken with her. Maybe...things will work out in ways we never imagined." It wasn't for a few moments that Kelly found Steven sitting next to her, and she didn't feel terribly uneasy like she thought.
"Kelly. I don't want to make you feel uncomfortable but....would you...like to..."
"I'd love to." Kelly said. "This adventure made me realize that I need to put what happened to me behind me. And hopefully you can put the ghost of Merrick to rest and live for yourself again." Steven smiled as he took Kelly's hand, and they both went down the path back to the Sacred Waters.
Meanwhile, Jindrax and Toxica had stopped running and then had leaned up against two trees.
"Jindrax... can you tell me where the hell those Rangers got two new Wildzords and a Megazord in the span of thirty minutes ?!" Toxica screamed, still in disbelief over what had just happened.
"Um... possibly a mail order catalog or something that we didn't know about?" Jindrax suggested.
"Argh! That isn't helping!" Toxica snapped. "If we go back to Nexus without any explanation of what had happened to the Rangers and how they got their new weaponry then we are in trouble."
"I know where the Rangers have been." A voice said from behind them startling them, "And I would be more than willing to help out fellow Duke Orgs, for you see not only do I have a score to settle with the Winged Falcon, I also want to enjoy living in this world."
Jindrax and Toxica got up slowly and looked at the being that was before them. This was definitely an Org, a Duke Org and an extremely powerful one. "Who are you?"
The Duke Org simply smirked. "You may call me... Hades."
In her office the Rani smiled.
Smiled as she looked on at her newest prize.
The prize being none other than Lara Croft floating suspended in a blue tank. One that was in the Rani's own office. Like Kristen and the Wild Force Rangers Lara hung naked with only a support harness covering her.
She had ordered a tank placed in her office to be used for 'personal matters'. And with all the pain Lara had caused Rani, Lara Croft was considered a personal matter.
"You have no idea how long I have waited for this Croft." the Rani sneered as she looked in at the helpless Tomb Raider. "Ever since you set foot in my academy to get your cousin back you have sought to do nothing else but humiliate me at every turn. What compelled you to interfere in my matters? Were you trying to be some white knight trying to smite down the evil monster that was me? I swear you're worse than the Doctor.
"But at least the Doctor was a worthy adversary, due to him being a Time Lord. But to be beaten by a primitive such as yourself and left for dead. That is just humiliating." Rani glared at Lara as she circled the tank taking everything in.
"I have tried to figure out what to do with you. Oh sure I could turn you into an Org, but that would mean keeping you alive. And as much as you want me dead I want you dead even more." Rani seethed as she said the line. "Another option I had was to keep you on ice and have you be the next Lunar Wolf when Kendall disintigrated. And I would make sure your life was painful as your body tore itself apart."
Rani went to her desk and sat in her chair. "But do you know what I like you just where you are. You are right where I want you." Her hand then touched a control as she smiled and said with a predatory grin "I'm going to enjoy this...immensely."
Rani then pressed the button on her desk sending a surge of energy into Lara's tank and form. The energy totally enveloped her causing her molecules to break down and scatter throughout the tank. All traces of Lara Croft had dissapeared from the blue tank. No sign of her remained.
Rani then sat in her desk smiling. Then she broke out into a hysterical laughter.