Feathers:- Chapter 3
POWER RANGERS :- Demon Wars
Cassie hissed as Dr Oliver pulled the feather from her side. Someone else took the other one from her leg. It hurt like hell and even her teeth ached. Whatever that monster had done to her it had been incredibly painful, but she felt better now. The whole thing felt like hell. Feeling her body, warp and change. Betraying her.
As they pulled the damned things out the changes vanished. The feathers growing out from her simply fizzled and disappeared. The painful growths pulled back, making her normal. Or as close to normal as she could get.
"What… What happened.' She coughed out, her human vocal cords freshly regenerated.
"Faith got him. You're cured."
"Cured. Right." She jumped to her feet. "Where are they?"
"Ay, ay, ay!" Alpha shouted, pointing at the Viewing Globe. The monster that had infected her was there, grown to an immense size. "The Rangers need your help."
Cassie nodded and pulled out her Morpher. "I owe this guy. Triceratops!" Beaming out of the Centre and over the hills she landed with the other three members of her team. "Guys, I'm back!"
"Cass! Good to see you out and about." Faith grinned. "You ready to rock?"
Cassie clapped her hands together and pulled out her Power Crystal. "You bet. You want to get in shape or shall I just take this monster on myself?"
Dawn grinned. She looked almost normal, happy, again. "It's morphing time! DragonZord."
"Mastodon!" Faith's black armour flashed around her.
"Sabretooth Tiger!" Sari was quickly clad in yellow. The four of them, armoured, stood in the quarry
Then Cassie, Faith and Sari threw their hands in the air. '"We need Dinozord power! Now!"
Dawn, in shining green and gold, drew her Flute. "I summon the power of the DragonZord!" She called and played her familiar tune.
They were going to have to use the DragonZord in Battle mode. This time though Cassie wasn't going to let Faith take the front seat. As the giant machines charged over the horizon she put a hand on the Dark Slayer's shoulder. "This one's mine. I owe this thing."
"I'll stay behind, down here." The Green Ranger said, not taking her eyes from Tretrax. Who snarled back down at them.
"Let's go." Sari shouted and the three of them jumped into their Zords. All too quickly they were combined and the Rangers were standing in the command. Cassie made her way to the navigation seat at the front, Sari took up Cassie's position on power regulation and Faith took weapons control.
Out of the front window the lizard, bird thing hovered there like a humming bird. She should have been afraid, this was the thing that tried to convert her. Change her into something else, something monstrous. She should have been afraid, should have been terrified.
Her village, her whole village, had been toyed with. Experimented on by a monster. The only thing different was the Goa'uld was sadistic, this thing was only instinct. That didn't matter to her. Right now the thing before her was everything she hated. Everything she feared.
She didn't feel afraid, just angry. Very very angry. She had a chance to pay back one of her tormenters and it wasn't going to slip through her fingers. Slamming her crystal into the controls they lit up, the image of a roaring Triceratops lighting up in front of her.
The massive fighting machine responded to the slightest touch, the knowledge of how to pilot the Zord at her fingertips. The demon made the first move, throwing a handful of feathers at them. Cassie used the Zord's immense staff weapon to block them, the golden shield at the front of the staff deflecting them.
Not giving it a chance to react Cassie threw the Zord at the monster. Sending it's full weight behind the blow, but it was just too fast.
Dashing to one side quickly. Cassie had the Zord swing it's weapon out, to try and catch it with a back hand. Again it dodged lightly out of the way.
Cassie wasn't going to give it half a chance, flailing wildly she just kept swinging. Hoping to hit it. "Cass! Calm down!" Faith shouted, but she wasn't listening. "Stop her, before she does something she'll regret!" The Black Ranger barked at Sari.
"Don't you dare!" Cassie shouted, lurching the Zord into the attack again. The next thing she knew someone was throwing her out of the control seat.
Tretrax skidded down the side of the quarry, the Green Ranger was watching and waiting for him. When he got close enough the former Demon General leapt, bringing his sword down from high over his head.
Much like the fighting giants she dodged nimbly out of the way, but rather than keep backing off she didn't go too far. Only side stepping the tremendous blow. Tretrax had thrown so much behind it that he couldn't change it mid-swing. Before he could recover she kicked him squarely in the head.
It was only his training and experience that kept his grip on his sword. Again she kicked, this time with the other leg. Bringing it up and around in a roundhouse blow. Still stumbling she rounded it off with a drop kick, both feet into his face.
Spitting blood and feeling one of his teeth loosen Tretrax growled. Swinging his sword to decapitate her, deftly the Ranger got her Flute in the way. Deflecting it up and away.
He was in trouble, she was much better than before. Using her speed and new skills she could have torn him apart. He had to get out of there, and fast. There was only one chance. Summoning some of his forces, those he had left he threw a portal at the City.
The Green Ranger shot him a look, "You better run, right now." She growled out, chasing after the warriors he'd sent into the city.
Summoning a portal behind him he did just that.
Faith didn't have a choice, not only did she throw Cassie out of the plots seat, she threw the Blue Ranger all the way out of the Cockpit. They were getting closer and closer to civilisation, if she was still throwing the giant war machine around like this around people…
Faith didn't even want to think about what could happen.
Looking at her weapon controls the Slayer frowned, there had to be something they could do. The whole point of the Zord was their adaptability, there were so many options something should do the job.
Sari looked over. "What are we gong to do now?" she asked.
"Give me a moment. Come on inspiration, don't fail me…" She saw the control she needed. "Oh yes! Sari, divert power to the top horn!"
"You got it." The Yellow Ranger nodded.
Faith watched the power spike and hit the command sequence. The whole machine moved, whipping its head back, around and then at the hovering demon. The horn at the top, glowing with power, flew out. Carving the air and leaving a trail behind it.
Right on time the whatever-it-was dodged. To it's right, the wrong direction. Swinging the Zord's staff wide Faith herded it back the way she wanted it to go.
It was either stupid or just didn't notice, but the horn kept going, like a boomerang. Coming all the way back around and hitting the monster in the back.
It didn't kill it, didn't have to. Just slow it down. "Full power, final strike!" Faith shouted. Sari knew exactly what to do.
The Zord pulled back, the drill spinning as an insane amount of energy gathered in it. The bird-demon-thing saw what was happening, but didn't have the time to do anything about it.
The Zord drove it's drill straight through it's chest and the whole thing exploded.
Dawn helped Zedd out of the Command Centre, taking his bag for him. Faith went out the other way, looking to have a word with Dawn's friend. She had other things to do, besides Faith wanted to be the one to mend that bridge. "Thank you, I don't know how we could have saved Cassie without your help." The Green Ranger told their guest
"You're a Ranger, you'd have found a way." The old man said. "I have faith in you, believe me There is very little a Ranger can't do."
"Sometimes I wonder, maybe another team could have this wrapped up by now." She admitted. "There has to be someone that could do this job better."
"Miss Summers, you and your friends are excellent Rangers. I don't doubt you'd be a major threat to any evil force. I even pity the demons you're fighting."
Dawn offered him a soft smile. "Thanks, still I never asked for any of this. None of us did. I's getting harder ad harder to keep going." She admitted.
Zedd frowned at her. "You will keep going, for as long as you're needed. You're a Ranger Dawn. You can do it." He said, supportingly.
"The worlds depending on me." she said, sardonically. "It's doomed."
"Don't give up just yet." Zedd told her. "Things are always darkest, well, before the dawn."
"It's not that dark yet." Dawn told him, putting his bags down. "Things could still get worse." She had the odd feeling it was going to. A'Zores was still out there, along with Tretrax and they weren't going to stop just because she was finding it hard.
"Sometimes you don't know just how far things have gone until you look back. You've done great things already, come what may I'm certain you and the others can handle it, as long as you remember your greatest strength, is that of any Ranger. Your friends and your team." He said seriously. "Still thank you, very much, for letting me help." Zedd tapped his staff, and then blew gently on the crystals. "It was a great honor, if I can be of any more help in the future just call."
"Wait!" Dawn half shouted, an idea suddenly coming to her. As bad an idea as it was she had to know. "You're a powerful, and experienced wizard, right?"
"Yes?" he answered carefully. obviously not liking the suddenness of the question.
It was too late now, she had to jump in both feet first. "What do you know about memory spells?"
Zedd pulled a face. "They're dangerous. Can have nasty, even fatal, side-effects." The former Emperor of Evil said in a grave voice. "Why do you want to know?"
Cassie sat on one of the rocks outside the Command Centre, looking out at the desert. Behind her she felt a shadow cast on her back, "I like this view." Cassie said sadly. She was still angry, still hurt.
"So do I. Makes it all feel so much more grounded. A lot more real." Faith told the fellow Ranger as she sat down next to her. "Sorry about what I did back there. I had to, you were out of control."
"You don't get it, you've not been through what I have. My people, my village, my whole world. Nirrti used them, used us as lab-rats. She infected me with a virus that mutated me, gave me these powers." Cassie gestured and a boulder broke free, bouncing down the hillside. "For centuries that, that monster toyed with my people. If that wasn't bad enough when people from earth came she killed them. She killed my village with a plague and infected me… Infected me with a bomb. She was going to use me to kill, to blow up a good part of this world."
Cassie was crying, she knew she was hysterical, but had to get Faith to understand. "She used me. Mutated me. I was helpless and she didn't even care. Me, all my people were nothing more than an experiment, a failed abandoned experiment. I hated that feeling, I swore I'd never be that helpless again. Then this monster came and did it. Did it to me. Even with all these powers."
Faith put a hand on her shoulder. "I do know what you mean. Better than you could imagine. That tick did the same to me, but that doesn't mean I was wrong. You were out of control, you didn't care who you hurt. I know how that feels, it was the same for me. I was so full of anger and rage, I thought it was the only way to feel better. But it lead to mistakes. Big ones. Ones that were impossible to come back from."
Cassie frowned at her. "Your mistake? You mean…"
"I was so full of rage, and anger, All trying to hide a fear, Like I told you I've seen it before. In the mirror." Faith was opening up, Cassie could tell. She never thought Faith would, knowing her secret she knew why but here she was. being honest. A far cry from the intense woman she knew. There was another thing that bugged her.
"When were you ever afraid?" Cassie asked
Faith laughed, "Let me tell you a story Cass; a story of a little girl, her mentor and a vampire by the name of Kakistos."
Marcus knocked on the door again. There was still no answer, but he could hear someone crying on the other side. Inside his heart wrenched at the idea of who it could be, alone in there.
Despite all his better judgement he opened it and went in. His fears were right, Dawn was there, alone, curled up on her bed. Trying to clear her eyes. "G… Go away." She muttered. Not even looking at Marcus.
"I said go AWAY!" she shrieked, curling tighter around whatever she had clutched in her hands.
If Marcus was thinking clearly, or thought about it at all, he would have left. She didn't want him, or anyone, there, but the sight of her crying destroyed any thought of caution. "No, what is it."
"Just leave me alone." She sighed, tucking whatever it was under her pillow. "Why is it whenever I want you to do something you do the opposite."
"I don't know, maybe because it's what you need."
She shook her head. 'No it's not. What I need I'll never get.' She sat up and look at him. She was a terrible state, face pale and streaked with tears. Her makeup smudged, eyes red and puffy from crying so hard. "What do you want from me Marcus."
"I want you to be happy."
"Then why did you leave me." She said, the pain in her voice cutting him to the bone.
For a moment he knew what to say. That he was a fool, that he was terrified, That he'd have sold his soul for her in a heartbeat and walking away was the most painful, stupid thing he'd ever done. But he couldn't. "Because I love you.' He told her instead. 'Because I know I never had a chance with you and you didn't really care about me. I was just there."
She looked at him, shocked. "How can you? You never even asked, what put that stupid idea in your head?"
"Dawn, look at you. Even now you're the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. You're smart, gorgeous. I'm nothing. You…"
"Shut up." She hissed with so much anger he flinched. "I'm not any of those things. Don't you get it, I came here to get away from all that. Demons, monsters and all that craziness, I just wanted it to stop. I found the most out of the way college I could, far away from any hellmouth. I just wanted a nice, quiet life."
"I can't see you ever like that."
"Because all you see is the Green Ranger, not me. Not the real me."
Marcus shook his head. "You're wrong. I do see you, I see the girl who laughed at Python and Blackadder. I see the girl that stood up to Walker and argued with him, right in front of the whole class."
"So that's who I fell in love with. You never back down, have a great sense of humour and have the courage of your convictions. That's what I admire most." He told her honestly. "When I found out you were the new Green Ranger I wasn't surprised. I couldn't think anyone but you could be."
Dawn looked at him, "So it wasn't because of my job, but who I am?"
Marcus hung his head, why was she so insistent on inventing things to hurt herself. "Dawn, it's not you. It's me…" he realised what he had just said and broke out in a grin.
She even laughed at it, for a moment, and his heart soared. "It's true, you deserve so much more…" He told her, the words almost choking him. How could he give up a girl like her?
"What, who? Chuck Squarejaw, international billionaire and scourge of the demon underworld?" She asked savagely. "How about a demon, with a tormented past and a brooding forehead? Who would you say is good enough for me?"
Marcus didn't know what to say to that and just listened. "If I am this hero you think I am, so are you. When that shapeshifter came after me you jumped into the fight. This morning you didn't run, you helped Cassie back here and without you we would never have been able to save her."
"It was the right thing to do." he said.
"That's the point!" she said victoriously. "It wasn't easy, but it was right. That's the difficult thing about being a hero. Doing the right thing."
"Can't you see, that's why I left. It was the right thing, for you."
"No. It wasn't." She told him. "That's where you're wrong. You put me on this pedestal, but if I'm a hero so are you. I'm not going to let you go, not without telling you something. You say you love me, I think, I think I love you too."
"So if you want to go, if you have to. Then do, but that won't change anything. Not now." She could do so much better. Marcus knew that, but it was out of his hands. For some reason that made him feel better.
"Nothing I can say to change your mind?"
"It's not my mind that needs changing." She told him, a phantom smile on her lips.
There was only one answer to that. Something every part of him had been shouting at him to do since he saw her. They were sat so close he could feel her soft breath and was almost lost in the mischievous twinkle in her eyes. They were thinking the same thing, they both knew it was the right time.
They were still kissing five minutes later when Cassie came in.
Elsewhere night fell, the glowing silver disk of the moon clawed it's way along it's journey. General A'Zores knelt before the alter. He had spent days carving the runes into two, four foot tall, pillars of stone. Each symbol lit up, one at a time. As the final glyph spluttered into sooty red life the temperature dropped and the wind howled.
Those that had gathered to witness, stepped back, all but A'Zores. Any show of weakness now would be his last. A number of man-sized tornados sprung into life, catching the dust at his feet. Rising higher and higher with the howl, until it suddenly stopped. The instant the dust and tiny stones fell the pillars exploded outward, showering hapless warriors with deadly molten lava.
In their place stood a shadow, black on black, even in the cold light of the full moon there was no shape. Just blackness and evil personified.
"Warlord." A'Zores said, bowing profoundly.
The shade shimmered, growing taller, as if expanding. Its voice, like the ragged wings of tortured bats tore at the very fabric of the world. "I have arrived!"
As I said last time this one was going to be a little late, and it was. Next week we'll be back to thursday updates:-
The Warlord, in person, brings a whole new level to the Demon Wars. In response the Rangers must to find a new teammate, but will they discover the new Red Ranger before A'Zores master plan destroys them and Earth's only hope?
And what twists lie in wait for them, A'Zores, the Warlord and, most importantly, the doomed Red Ranger?