The Wider World Part III:- Nightmares Chapter Two
POWER RANGERS :- Demon Wars
The Wider World Part III:- Nightmares
Dawn punched the tree, hard. It hurt like hell, but she didn't care and punched again, this time with her left. It was stupidly early in the morning. She hadn't got any sleep with the fight running though her mind, keeping her awake.
She spent almost an hour lying there, counting a flocks of sheep as she saw where everything went wrong. She'd blocked when she should have ducked, struck when she should have blocked. All the time thinking that now she knew how Buffy felt after she lost a fight.
To make things worse it wasn't just two new demons she had to worry about. Something else was going on. That totem they had summoned was needed for something and she had no idea what. As soon as they'd gotten to the campus she'd rummaged through the handful of books she had stolen from Giles and the websites she'd bookmarked. There was nothing, not even a whisper about demonic totems or what they were for.
On top of all that there was Cassie and her family. One problem too many.
Finally giving up on sleeping all together Dawn had crept out of bed, got dressed in a pair of sweat pants and a halter top before slipping outside. Hoping a quick run would tire her out. Half way through her jog she took a detour though a crappy scrap of grass and just wanted to scream. The tree was there and rather than wake everyone up she decided to just pound on it. Until she could think straight and work something out.
Then there was Cassie. It didn't change how she thought about her roommate, but it changed how she saw the universe. Sure there'd been the Queller demon and she was comfortable with the ideas of demons existing on Earth, but it would take time for her to adjust.
Everything was slipping out of control. Things were happening that she couldn't even begin to understand and everyone was turning to her for help. She just wanted to throw her Morpher in the corner, curl up under the bed and wait for the nightmares to stop. She couldn't though.
At first Dawn thought it was greed that stopped her. That, for the first time, she was the important one. Not because she was a victim, but the hero. For the first time she could fight back, she wasn't some screaming child wanting her mother to hold her tight and tell her everything was alright.
Then she thought it was because she needed that power. She needed that control, the things in her life that slipped from her grasp. Friends, family, even her town. She'd lost them all. With that power she could keep hold of something, anything. Even the smallest thing would have been enough.
Now she knew the truth, at least what was the truth for now. She was going to lose and that was her responsibility. To die so others don't have to. If she wasn't a Ranger, if her friends weren't the thin line saving this planet others would step in. Cassie's family or Buffy it wouldn't matter. They'd lose, just like they had on Sari's world and who knew how many others. She was here to die so others could live.
Jumping up she did a spin kick, hitting a branch so hard it cracked. "Glad I'm not that tree." Dawn spun, it was Cassie. Sitting at the edge of the little garden on a park bench. "I couldn't sleep either, was wondering what took you. What it do?"
"The Tree, it's not some terrifying new villain you thought you'd tackle alone. Is it?"
Dawn laughed, it was a pathetic joke, but she didn't care. "Just blowing off some steam. What are we going to do?"
"You're asking me. You're the one with all the answers."
Dawn felt defeated. "I wish I did. I don't have time to deal with half the things going on."
"Uncle Daniel?" her room mate asked carefully.
"Won the worst time ever award." Dawn shook her head. "I can't think about that now, it's A'Zores and his boxing freak that we need to focus on." she growled. "Everything was going smoothly, too smoothly, then this new guy came. We don't know what he's up to, where he's going. We don't know anything!" Dawn spin kicked the tree again.
Cassie shrugged "We know they can kick our butts."
"That doesn't help." Dawn gave up on the punished plant and sat next to her friend. "We need to be the ones kicking their butt. What do you think?"
"You're the super-evolved alien." Dawn teased, but instantly regretted it. "Sorry."
Cassie didn't answer quickly, just looked into the badly lit grass. "You know them all don't you. Our secrets I mean. Everyone knows mine now, but you know Faith's secret as well as mine and your own. You should tell me."
Dawn looked at her friend long and hard. The truth was Cassie was one of the first real friends she'd made on her own. It was sad, but just about everyone she knew in Sunnydale were given to her by the monks. She'd been put into their life just like she had with Buffy. Maybe not as deeply, but it was the same. Cassie was different and it wasn't just the Ranger stuff. She could talk to her and understand each other better than most other people.
Still, as good a friend and ally she'd become there were some things too private. "Cassie, my secret, it's too big and if you knew it, you wouldn't see me for who I am. Just that."
Cassie blinked. "So I can admit to being from another planet and you're cool with that but your secret…" She frowned. "You're not a demon are you?"
Dawn laughed at that thought, "No, I'm not a demon." If she didn't head her friend off she'd spend the rest of the morning guessing. Probably would anyway, but this way Dawn wouldn't have to answer. "Tell you what, come on. I'm not going to be able to sleep tonight anyway."
"What are we doing?"
Dawn rolled off the bench and flipped up. Coming into a classic guard and waving Cassie on. "Let's get some practice, before anyone else gets up and sees us."
A'Zores completed the third ritual as the totem arose from the muddy, stagnant little puddle in the ground. Dirty, vile, water slid off it , as if it was made of grease. Smirking he turned to Nukeasle, the kick-boxer wasn't paying attention.
"Oh what's wrong." the General sighed. His minion was fingering the fresh cut on his chest and moping around, grumbling like a school boy that had lost a bet.
"Where are they?" he grumbled, peering into the gloomy darkness. "I want my rematch."
"Rematch? Oh yes of course." A'Zores shook his head. The dense fool had missed the point, not that it was a problem. He wasn't chosen for his mind. "You feel cheated that I didn't let you finish them off."
"I never lost a fight in my life!" he shouted, as if it was a personal insult.
"I think it was more a draw myself." He told the walking mass of muscle, but A'Zores could see that it didn't matter to the fighter. "You did not lose my friend, they were no match for you and would have beaten them easily, but where's the fun in that?"
"I wanted to hear their skulls crack!"
"I prefer the sound of a soul shattering." A'Zores muttered to himself. "Any bungler can win the occasional victory my friend. Tretrax is the perfect example of that. The true victory is assured long before the first blow is struck. That is the glory of my plan. Nothing will happen that I have not predicted."
"Wanna bet?" A burst of black energy exploded against the totem, harmlessly. A'Zores allowed himself a grin, their timing was perfect. The grin faltered when he turned to where the blast came from.
There was only one Ranger, the black one, holding an oversized cannon. "You know, you clowns just got in the way of my beauty sleep."
"Where are the others!" he shouted, casting around, incase they were planning a surprise attack.
"Sorry, just me." the Ranger growled, "And I'm not interested in you." she turned her attention on Nukeasle and hissing "You owe me a re-match."
The kick-boxer grinned manically. "Well then, come on." Putting up his fists Nukeasle strode up and began the fight.
A'Zores took a few steps back and watched, he might be on a tight schedule but there was always time for some entertainment. Rather than get into another boxing match the Black Ranger played to her strengths of mixed martial arts. Kicking and punching as she tried to get around Nukeasle's guard.
It meant that his minion was forced to keep blocking. He might have been strong, but he was nowhere near fast enough to keep up with the Ranger. This was their real power, speed and adaptability. That meant he had to keep them guessing, off balance. Tricky but doable. That is if he kept his wits about him.
Just like the Black Ranger Nukeasle didn't have any patience and eventually got tired of hiding behind a block. Trying to sweep a blow to one side he lent in and jabbed, but the Ranger was too fast. Taking the blow on her shoulder she ducked under his guard and got in a couple of punches to his guts.
A'Zores minion grunted with each impact, trying to pull back but she didn't let him. Eventually the Black Ranger resorted to an impressive uppercut to his jaw. Staggering back Nukeasle hissed, still she didn't let up. Jumping forward she jabbed with her left, throwing everything into it including her weight.
Nukeasle was almost knocked off his feet. When he found his balance he came back spitting blood and half a tooth. "You broke my tooth!" he slurred, looking more angry than hurt. His answering blow came from nowhere and had no skill behind it. Just raw rage.
With a single swipe he smashed the Black Ranger, breaking her helmets visor and sending her flying. She landed like a puppet after it's strings had been cut, bouncing limply before coming to a skidding stop. Nukeasle roared in incandescent rage.
A'Zores briefly weighed his options, let Nukeasle kill the Black Ranger. That would either completely demoralise the others, weakening the whole, or drive them to revenge. Impressive as an outright kill would be he couldn't risk the latter. However, the savage beating and tale of how she was able to hurt the lumbering minion might be useful next time they met. All in all letting her live was a better option. "Leave her!" he barked
Nukeasle turned and gaped, "She hurt me… No one hurts me!"
Knowing that, this time, reasoning with him alone wouldn't work A'Zores directed a lighting bolt through his sword stick, detonating between the two fighters. "And she will pay for it, but only when I say. Now leave her, we have to complete the final ritual and we don't have anymore time for games."
Nukeasle screamed at him. As he did the Converted General could easily see the broken, bloody, gap where the now missing tooth had been. Unmoved by the scream he slowly swung the point of his stick at the minion. "Have you forgotten your place, my friend?" he let a cold edge creep into his voice.
It took a lot of effort not to glance at his audience, impressively the Black Ranger was already clawing herself back to her feet. "We only have two more totems before the seal is complete and we'll need all our strength for the final part." Fighting down a smirk he could see, out of the corner of his eye, she had herd exactly what he wanted her too. It was almost too easy, but it still needed one more touch to become pure artistry.
As if only just noticing she was still alive he jumped back, flicking the sword stick around and blasting her with a restrained bolt. Blasting the Ranger off her feet, but nothing more. With that he left, secure in the knowledge that the final part of his plan was just around the next corner.
Cassie popped a shoulder as she got back into the dorm room. "I see why Tretrax hates you." She admitted to Dawn. "You're sneaky."
"Just don't do what your enemy expects you to." Her roommate shrugged, "Basic rule of combat, keep them guessing. You're not to bad yourself though."
"Really?" Cassie asked, a little surprised at the compliment. She hadn't even come close to hitting her friend more than a handful of times.
"Sure, you're great at counter punches." Dawn insisted. "Every time I got a hit in you got one back. A good one too, you made them count."
"If I had a staff I could really show you something." She laughed back. "Teal'c, well his people the Jaffa, have used them for like ten thousand years. He gave me a few pointers, mom didn't like it much but I always found it kinda fun."
Dawn smiled. "Sounds cool, I always liked swords myself."
Blinking Cassie tried to figure that one out. "But you ended up with the Flute, didn't the Red Ranger have a Sword?"
"Yep," Dawn shrugged. "But I like my Flute, it's got a sharp edge and it's not so unwieldily that I'd need a lot of room to swing."
"Thought about that a lot have you?" Cassie teased.
"Not really, I was underground this one time, back home. Sunnydale was full of underground tunnels and the like. Well my sister and me were down there when a load of golems came out. All we had was a pair of swords and we couldn't get a good swing for all the coffins."
Cassie just stared at Dawn, after a moment she added, "We were in a cemetery at the time."
"Oh no I guessed that." Cassie told her. "But whats a golem?"
"A golem?" Dawn seemed shocked that she didn't know. "Its an elemental in the shape of a man. It's like a magic foot solder, witches use them. You know the four elements; Earth, Wind, Fire and Water?" Cassie nodded carefully. "Well if you know what you're doing it's easy to make a puppet out of any one of them."
Cassie was amazed, demons and monsters were one thing, they could be explained by other dimensions, but magic. That was something else ."So would happen if some one mixed those four things."
"Life." Dawn shrugged. "Well that's the idea." It was then their watches beeped.
Dawn's was muffled by her draw and Cassie's on the near by desk. The pair of them jumped for their respective communicators but Cassie got to her's first. "What's going on?"
"Oh thank Primus!" The half familiar voice of Sari gasped out. "I tried to call all of you, only Faith answered! I didn't know what to do!"
"What happened?" Dawn asked, trying to calm the latest Ranger down.
She took a few deep breaths, which for a robot was so strange Cassie tried her best to ignore them. "I was in the Command Centre when all the alarms went off. When I told Faith it was A'Zores and his friend she told me to stay here and that she was handling it."
"She what?" Dawn screeched. "Why didn't you help her."
"She told me not to, said someone had to try and get you." Sari sounded scared. "She just beamed back. Dawn, she's in a bad way and I don't know what to do?"
It only took a moment for the pair of them to grab their Morphers. "We're on our way." Cassie told their new teammate before they beamed out
End Chapter Two