Three hours ago
Tommy and Ashley sat alone within the Command Chamber. He held her hand, and she rested her head on his shoulder. Dim, pale light reflected through the columns that surrounded them. The control panels and Viewing Globe, powered down, provided no illumination.
“I should have tried to save him,” Tommy whispered.
Tommy nodded. “He was basically possessed by an evil version of himself. From the future. I should have…done something. Instead I was so focused on…” He shook his head. “I was wrong. And Billy died because of it.”
The Command Chamber shook. Another tremor.
“We’re out of time. Again.” Tommy pushed himself to his feet. “I don’t know what to do, Ashley.”
“Find Simon,” Ashley said. “Mikhail told you that he’s the key to all this?”
“And Akuma. Death,” Tommy said. Mikhail’s words replayed in his mind, and he reached a conclusion that chilled his soul. “To stop everything that’s happening…I have to face death.”
“Bullshit.” The voice came from the shadows. Tommy looked to see his teenage son, Tyler, enter the Command Chamber. “You’re not running off to die. We can win this without losing anyone else.”
“This is my responsibility,” Tommy said. “Ever since the beginning, it’s been about me and Akuma. Death. Facing him…that’s the key to saving Simon. It’s the key to sealing the Dark One for good.”
“I…don’t know,” Tommy said. “But I have to try something.”
“I’m coming with you,” Tyler said.
“No,” Tommy said. “Stay here with Ashley. The two of you need to stay safe.”
Ashley stepped closer to her fiancé and held his hand. “Tommy, you don’t have to do this alone.”
He pulled away from her. “I do,” Tommy said. “This war we’ve been fighting…it’s gone on long enough. It’s time I ended it.”
He walked off alone.
The fabric of the multiverse stirred. The Armada, a force that traveled from parallel world to parallel world, conquering alternate timelines, planets and galaxies, made its way to its final target: Earth Prime.
Tommy walked across the battlefield. The air smelled of the iron tang of blood. He saw three bodies spread across the ground: Michael, Gao Black; Timothy, Gao Blue and Saiya, Gao White. Zen’aku had mauled them to death.
Tommy crouched to take a closer look at the damage. He placed his hand on the war-torn ground. Zen’aku may have delivered the killing blows, but Simon had released the beast.
Simon…you did this? Tommy’s former student had crossed a line. Again. Every time I think you’ve slipped away as far as you can…something worse happens.
Tommy narrowed his eyes and climbed to his feet. He set off to track his former student.
Simon felt the soul-splitting screams of everyone on Earth. All their pain, all their hopelessness, all their fear washed through him. His soul felt heavy, weighed down by the power of his empathy. Stress and sorrow tightened his chest. His heart pounded, so hard, that he felt his pulse throb in his neck.
He wanted it to stop.
The villain walked through the rubble of Angel’s Square, where the Rangers first fought one of Bandora’s monsters years ago at the turn of the new century. As a boy, Simon first met the Rangers here. In this place, he faced evil and death for the first time.
THIS IS WHERE YOU WERE BORN. AND IT IS WHERE YOU WILL DIE.
Simon ignored the Dark One’s taunt. He slit his hand and let the blood drip to the ground. The power of the First Angel Lucifer and First Demon Azmodai. The power of the Great Beast of Hell, the Mogralord. The knowledge of the Ultimate Secret.
Dark power poured from his blood and seeped into the dirt. The ground started to twirl like a whirlpool and peel back, layer after layer, ripping into the depths of the multiverse. The tear drilled into the heart of the Wheel of Time, where the Gears of Fate turned and spun the Pattern of Ages.
Akuma– Death– stepped beside Simon. And waited.
The Earth wept. Earthquakes tore through the land. Tsunamis washed away the shores. Volcanoes erupted, rivers boiled, and rain poured from black clouds that raged with thunder and lightning. Reality itself was about to buckle.
“Simon!” A voice shouted.
Simon snapped his head around, just as a blast of Ki knocked him backward.
Tommy leapt to the scene. “Simon, stop this! This isn’t you. It’s the Dark One and Akuma. They’re controlling you.”
Simon scoffed. “That would make things easier, wouldn’t it?” He shook his head. “I know this is what Akuma wants. I know this is what the Dark One wants. But you know what? I want it too.”
“You wanted to kill your old teammates? Really?”
“I did them a favor.”
“That’s right…” Simon said. “Do you want to know what I learned from the Ultimate Secret? The Final Prophecy? That the purpose of life is to die. Our pain, our suffering, it doesn’t go away until we’ve fulfilled our purpose. Death.”
“That’s insane,” Tommy said. “There’s so much more to life than-”
“We could rewrite reality a dozen times over. It would always end the same. Suffering, torment, and struggle towards the Final Prophecy. Death.”
Simon looked over his shoulder towards Akuma. “You win. You want a reality of stillness and death? I’ll bring it to you. It’s the only way to save everyone. To end their pain. And give them peace.”
Death smiled. “Very good, Simon.”
Suddenly, light flared in the skies. Tyler leapt to the scene along with Nick and Teddy. The trio landed; Tyler’s body still pulsed with fiery energy, which he had used to teleport to his father’s location.
“I told you,” Tyler said to his dad. “You’re not doing this alone.”
Tyler, Nick, and Teddy armed their morphers.
“Magical Source! Mystic Force!”
“Samurai Scribe, Ha!”
Tyler morphed into Rail Red, Nick morphed into Mystic Red, and Teddy morphed into Samurai Red.
The three Red Rangers shot at Simon to attack.
Simon shifted into his armor, unsheathed his black katana, and struck them down one-by-one. His blade blurred with energy and sparked on impact.
Mystic Red armed his staff and lunged, Simon grabbed the staff and kicked the Red Ranger upside the head, whipping his body backward.
Nearby, Tommy armed his morpher, but Akuma grabbed the ranger by the wrist. Cold pain shot through Tommy’s arm and dropped him to his knees.
“Not yet, Tommy,” Akuma said. “Watch…”
Samurai Red spun the Symbol Disc on his sword’s hilt; the blade ignited with fiery energy. The Red Ranger slashed at his former friend. Simon parried and slashed the Red Ranger to the ground.
Tommy tried to fight against Akuma, but his entire body felt numb. “Let me go, you son of a bitch.”
“Hush, now, Tommy,” Akuma said. “It will be over soon.”
Simon kneed Rail Red in the gut, slammed his sword hilt against Samurai Red’s faceplate, and slashed Mystic Red to the ground.
“Do you have any idea what you’re doing?!” Simon shouted at them as he attacked without mercy. “If you could feel what I feel, you would be helping me, not fighting me!”
Samurai Red ignored his former friend. He struck back with a flurry of sword swings and kicks that Simon blocked.
The villain hopped backward. He lifted his sword, ignited the weapon with black flame, and stabbed towards Samurai Red’s faceplate.
Rail Red pushed Samurai Red aside and parried the blow. The Red Ranger twirled his Rail Slasher, lashing out at Simon with powerful sword swings.
Simon slashed the sword from Rail Red’s hand, charged his weapon with waves of dark energy, and plunged the blade through the Red Ranger’s gut.
Tyler’s armor powered down with a flash of red light.
Simon twisted his grip.
Tyler gasped. He grabbed the blade. Narrowed his eyes. And fell.
“NO!” Tommy shouted with a wave of Ki that freed him from Akuma’s grasp. He dashed to Tyler and leaned next to his son.
Simon powered down his armor.
“Tyler!” Tommy shouted as he shook his son’s body. “Tyler, get up! Come on…Come on, buddy, get up…”
Tommy looked up at Simon and glared. “You…You did this…” He flashed with red energy and morphed into the armor of the Dragon Ranger of the Heaven Fire Star. “You…”
Simon lifted his sword. “You give war toys to kids, and then act surprised when something like this happens? You did this to him. To me. To Billy.”
Dragon Ranger charged to attack.
Simon swung his sword with an invisible TK pulse that knocked the Red Ranger off his feet and sent him skidding across the ground.
Dragon Ranger rolled to his feet. But before he could attack, the ground shook. Fissures tore through the streets, and through the fissures came X-Borgs. Dozens, and then hundreds.
“What the-” Explosions bashed Dragon Ranger and hurled him backward. He crashed through a building, and then another building, and tumbled across the street.
The impact knocked him from his armor with a flash of red light.
Tommy pushed himself to his feet. X-Borgs cluttered the landscape. Foot soldiers of the Armada, they moved from parallel world to parallel world, conquering alternate timelines and planets throughout the multiverse.
“Not now.” Tommy cursed beneath his breath. He’d heard comm-chatter about the Armada during the events of the “Band Aid” timeline, but he’d been too focused on fighting Billy. “This can’t be happening now.”
The end of reality. And a multiversal invasion force?
Tommy looked into the distance and saw Simon leap towards the rooftops.
Kim, he killed Tyler. Our son. I let him kill our son…
Tommy ignored the X-Borgs and followed his former student.
Simon stood in a war-torn tower with walls of glass that looked out upon the ruined landscape of Angel Grove– otherwise known as Demon City. He looked down to where his blood soaked the streets, creating a tear in the Pattern of Ages that stretched to the core of the Wheel of Time itself.
All he needed to do was jump. Jump, and he would end it all. A super-charged needle of power, stabbing into the wound from this height, piercing into the Wheel of Time. And breaking it.
“All I have to do is jump,” Simon whispered. “And it’s all over.”
Simon looked to see Tommy step into the hallway.
They faced each other silently, meters apart. A master and his former student. Tommy had broken from the reins of evil and pursued good– from the Evil Green Ranger to the Dragon Ranger. Simon had taken the opposite path, from Ranger and hero to…something else. Something evil.
Simon shifted his stance and narrowed his eyes, triggering a pulse of invisible energy that tore towards Tommy, shattering windows.
Tommy narrowed his eyes with a burst of Ki that shattered windows and smashed against Simon’s energy pulse; the blasts exploded.
Tommy and Simon charged through the explosion. Tommy snapped a flying spin kick that Simon ducked to dodge. They turned and bashed kicks and punches against each other, strikes powered by strength and Ki. Each blow shook the entire structure.
Tommy swung a fist charged with fiery energy– “Burn Knuckle!”– just as Simon swung a fist powered by black air– “Whirling Knuckle!”
Their fists collided with an explosion that toppled the tower. The structure tilted and collapsed into debris and ash.
Tommy and Simon leapt free; they used their power to levitate and shoot at each other as fast as bullets. Tommy summoned his sword, the Ryuseiken, with a flash of golden light. Simon summoned his sword, the Kuroryuken, with a flash of silver light.
Tommy’s blade glowed with red energy. Simon’s sword pulsed green.
Blades clashed with a flash of light.
The combatants circled around each other while in midair, floating upward, blades clanging with bursts of spark, fire and lighting.
Simon swung wide, slashing through a streak of green energy that swatted Tommy downward.
Tommy crashed into a ruined building and tumbled across the floor.
Simon shot towards him. They clashed with a shock wave of power, Simon twirling his blade and striking hard, Tommy wielding his blade through tight arcs to block and parry. Their bodies hummed with energy as they channeled The Power.
Simon knocked the sword from Tommy’s hand and slashed high. Tommy grabbed Simon by the wrist and twisted; Simon dropped the sword. Tommy kicked him upside the head, flipping him backward.
Tommy slapped his right fist against his left palm. “Ki!”
Invisible energy blasted Simon through the broken windows. Tommy shot after his opponent. They slammed against each other in midair; the impact shot them through a building, and then another, and then another. They crashed into a ruined high-rise and rolled across the floor.
The opponents climbed to their feet and attacked.
They shifted through the same fighting styles. Dragon Fist. Hakkyokuseiken. Bujinkan. Kumogakure Ryu.
Simon snapped a volley of punches that Tommy blocked. Tommy shifted his stance and snapped a ridge-hand blow that Simon blocked; the villain countered with a round-kick that bashed Tommy’s side.
Tommy staggered, and Simon took advantage of the opening. The villain lunged with a series of kicks and spin kicks that battered his former mentor.
Tommy punched the floor– “Wildfire Flare!“– which ignited with a burst of fiery energy that hurled Simon backward.
Simon flipped, landed on his feet, and struck the floor with a wave of darkness. The floor exploded and collapsed, and the entire building followed, crumbling into rubble. Tommy barely managed to leap free. He crashed and tumbled across the street. Waves of dust and debris followed.
Simon landed next to his former mentor and stomped towards his head. Tommy rolled, grabbed Simon by the ankle, and kicked upward, bashing Simon upside the head. Tommy flipped to his feet and lunged with a volley of kicks that took Simon off guard, battering the villain.
Tommy jumped backward and ignited the power of his Spirit. He felt waves of vertigo swirl through his head. He could no longer sustain the power levels of his youth. He no longer had the stamina and vigor. He needed to end this fight quickly.
“Star Fire!” Tommy hurled a comet of flame.
“Shadow Ribbons!” Simon snapped tendrils of shadow that swatted the blast away. He shifted his stance and thrust his fists. “Shadow Blades!”
Blades of black wind circled Tommy and thrashed him, hurling him off his feet. The ranger crashed, tumbled, and rolled into a crouched stance.
His chest tightened from the strain of the battle. He couldn’t keep this up.
“Dammit, Simon, stop this!”
Simon shifted into his dark armor and shot at Tommy like a bullet. The villain tackled his former mentor. They smashed through a nearby building, and Simon smashed Tommy to the floor.
Tommy rolled aside and armed his morpher.
“Chakra, ignite!” He connected his wrist bracers; energy flashed around him as he morphed into his Ranger form.
Dragon Ranger armed his Twin Dragon Swords and charged. Simon unsheathed his black katana and returned the charge. Their blades clashed with fire and shadow. Each blow thundered with power.
The Red Ranger slammed his hilt against Simon’s visor and side-kicked his chest with enough force to hurl him backward. The villain smashed through a wall and tumbled across the street outside.
Dragon Ranger shot at this opponent. He hurled bolts of fire. The flames exploded around Simon as he dashed aside. The villain triggered volleys of wind shuriken. Dragon Ranger slashed the blades from the air.
Simon jumped straight upward, several stories.
He ignited his black katana with power, black energy tinted with red.
“Getsuga Tensho!” He swung through a streak of power and fired a massive blade of energy that shot towards the Dragon Ranger. The blade of power surged with dark shadow and crackled with shades of red.
The blade smashed Dragon Ranger with an explosion that tore through the block, sending shock waves of dark energy across several city blocks. The attack ignited the skies with dark light and hurled the Red Ranger off his feet.
He crashed and tumbled; energy flashed around Tommy as his armor powered down.
Tommy collapsed to his knees. He coughed blood and felt tendrils of pain shoot through his muscles.
Simon lowered his sword and powered down his armor.
“It’s over, Tommy,” Simon said. “I’m…sorry.”
Akuma stepped behind Simon and placed a hand on his shoulder. “It is time.”
Simon nodded and walked off. He crouched and shot into the air with a flare of dark energy. He angled his descent towards the ground soaked with his blood, and he shot towards the opening like a comet.
He punctured through the tear in the Pattern and tore into the cosmic structure of the Wheel of Time itself.
Tommy looked up just as Simon vanished from sight.
Akuma looked down at him and smiled. “You see, Tommy. You could have avoided all this drama had you just listened to me all those years ago…”
Simon landed in a massive chamber that defied description. His senses did their best to interpret the sensations around him, some of which didn’t even fall within the definition of sight, smell, taste, hearing, touch or even the “sixth” sense.
The chamber domed above him, with webs of stars linked in an endless pattern. The webs turned and twirled, weaving into infinity.
A crystal hovered in the center of the chamber. The crystal rotated and hummed with pink and red energy. It appeared jagged and long, roughly seven-feet tall. Its surface reflected scenes and images from across the entire multiverse and all its dimensions.
The crystal represented the spoke of the Wheel of Time.
Simon summoned his sword, the Kuroryuken, with a flash of jade light.
He gripped the sword tightly and closed his eyes.
YOU ARE NO LONGER HUMAN. YOU ARE SOMETHING…ELSE.
Simon closed his connection to the One Power. Instead, he pulled on the energy of his birthright. The power of the First Demon and First Angel. The power of the Mogralord, the Great Beast of Hell. The power of DaiShi. These energies lived inside him, inside his Animal Spirit, and he called upon these powers.
The power to break free from Fate gave him the power to break Fate itself. To break the Spoke of the Wheel.
His Animal Spirit flared with black power, tinted with the slightest shades of amethyst. Black, organic armor wrapped around his body and formed a helmet and mask, styled after a hawk. Wings extended from his back and fell, forming a cape. And his hands and feet clawed.
His skin paled beneath his mask, and his eyes turned pure black.
YOU ARE A DEVIL OF DESTRUCTION. AN ANGEL OF REBIRTH. YOU…ARE ABADDON OF THE VOID.
“Abaddon…” he whispered his name. “…of the Void.”
Tommy climbed to his feet. He bit back his pain and channeled The Power, opening the pathways of his Spirit, igniting his Ki. He felt a second wind of energy, his last. This was it. His final fight. Ready to face Death.
“This is your last chance, Akuma,” Tommy said. “Get out of my way.”
Akuma shifted form.
A dark silver mask covered his face, with red slits for eyes. His hair became long strands of shadow that ebbed and flowed as if blown by the wind, although the air was still. A suit of armor, textured like black sinewy muscle, with accents of dark silver, covered his body. And he wore a ragged black cloak, like living shadow. A black scythe formed in his right hand.
Tommy narrowed his eyes. “So is this your true form?”
“One of many,” Akuma answered. “Are you ready to face Death, Tommy?”
Tommy summoned his sword, the Ryuseiken, with a flash of golden light. “What do you think?”
The opponents shot at one another, weapons clanging with bursts of spark and shock waves that shook the earth. Tommy twirled his sword and slashed. Akuma spun his staff and parried.
The villain thrust his hand; a shadow pulse blasted Tommy and knocked him backward. The ranger back-flipped and landed on his feet. He swung his sword through a streak of red energy, firing a fiery pulse of power. Akuma slashed through the pulse and stabbed his staff against the ground.
Explosions erupted beneath Tommy, throwing him into the air.
The ranger slapped his right fist against his left palm, forming a Ki barrier that allowed him to hover.
Akuma lifted his hand. Invisible energy wrapped around Tommy and slammed him to the ground. Tommy crashed hard and rolled to his feet. He lifted his sword. Invisible energy blasted the weapon from his hand. Another blast knocked him onto his back. Pressure forced onto his ribs, holding him down.
Tommy closed his eyes, triggering a Ki blast that knocked him free. He rolled to his knees just in time to see Akuma’s scythe spear towards his face.
Tommy, exhausted after countless hours — or days?– of fighting, didn’t manage to dodge or block the attack, his reflexes worn and dulled.
He braced for a deathblow that never came.
A figure dashed to the scene as if from nowhere and kicked the scythe away.
Tommy looked up to see Jason Scott, extending his hand. “You look like hell.”
Tommy smiled. “Appreciate that.” He took Jason’s hand and pulled himself up. “Good to see you Jase.”
“You too,” Jason said.
“Hey, you two love birds…don’t forget about us.” Rocky DeSantos walked onto the scene, along with Zack Taylor.
“Aw, let them have their moment,” Zack said.
The four young men regrouped and turned to face Akuma. Tommy rolled his hands into fists. “All your plots…all your plans…they end now.”
The villain’s scythe returned to his hand with a flash of black light. “You and your fellow Rangers have battled constantly against death. Tell me…have you ever truly won? Rocky, your father died when you were a child. Jason, you lost your sister to a violent murder. Zack, in your youth, you surrounded yourself with those who consumed death. And Tommy…you’ve lost your birth father and mother. Shannon. Kimberly. So many others. After all your battles, after all your wars, defeats, and even the so-called victories…you have never escaped Death. It is the one thing that is inevitable.”
Tommy narrowed his eyes. “I’m done listening to you.” He looked to his teammates. “Guys…it’s morphin’ time!”
They armed their morphers.
“Chakra Ignite! Aura! Power!” Energy flashed around Tommy and Rocky as they morphed into the Red and Blue Rangers.
“Shogun Transform! Ninja! Power!” Energy fanned around Jason and Zack as they morphed into the Red and Black Rangers.
The four heroes snapped into fighting stances.
“Dragon Ranger! Heaven Fire Star! Red!”
“Tenma Ranger! Heaven Gravity Star! Blue!”
Together they shouted: “Power Rangers!”
Dragon Ranger led the attack.
“Star Fire!” He hurled a comet of flame that shot towards Akuma.
Akuma swatted the flame away; the blast dispersed with a shock wave that shook the streets. Before the shock wave cleared, Ninja Red and Ninja Black shot forward with their swords.
“Hidden Style Full Moon Cut!” Ninja Red shouted, swinging his sword through a circular arc.
“Hidden Style Shooting Star!” Ninja Black shouted, swinging his sword through a quintuple slash in the form of a pentagram.
Their energized blades slashed at Akuma; the villain leapt back.
Tenma Ranger lunged.
“Tenma Flash Kick!”
The Blue Ranger launched a flurry of energized tornado kicks. Each strike forced the villain backward.
Akuma pivoted, grabbed the final kick, and swung the Blue Ranger off his feet. Ninja Black leapt into the air and caught the Blue Ranger.
Ninja Red and Dragon Ranger side-dashed. Ninja Red snapped a volley of throwing stars, and Dragon Ranger snapped his circular Star Blade. The attacks slashed Akuma with bursts of spark. But the villain barely seemed to notice the blows.
The two Red Rangers shot at Akuma with flurries of punches and kicks; the villain spun, dodged, and turned, all while twirling his scythe, evading and blocking the blows. The villain hopped backward with a wide swing, slashing the Red Rangers backward with massive bursts of spark. They crashed and tumbled.
Akuma shot towards them.
But Ninja Black moved in from behind.
“Ninpo Earth Assault!” Rocks and boulders rose from the ground and shot like cannonballs.
Tenma Ranger thrust his hand at the projectiles.
“Gravity Well!” He fired a twirling wave of blue energy that swept against the Black Ranger’s attack like a tidal wave, increasing its power.
The combined blast smashed Akuma with a shock wave that hurled the villain into the air.
Ninja Red rolled to his feet and pressed the attack.
“Ninpo Fire Assault!” He fired twirling comets of flame that shot towards Akuma.
But the villain swatted the blasts aside; the comets streaked towards the Black and Blue Rangers, blasting them backward with massive bursts of spark.
Akuma lifted his left hand. A flurry of black energy darts rained from the skies, blasting the Rangers with bursts of spark, forcing them to their knees.
Ninja Red armed his Master Morpher and called for Ninja Black to do the same. “Zack!”
“Right!” Ninja Black shouted back as he armed his Master Morpher.
“Dino! Buckler!” they shouted. The Red Ranger morphed into the Tyranno Ranger, and the Black Ranger morphed into the Mammoth Ranger.
The Red Ranger armed his Tyranno Sword and channeled his power into its blade.
“Power Wave!” He chopped downward, firing a wave of red energy that tore through the ground and shot towards Akuma.
Akuma slashed through the wave, triggering a shock wave that scattered discharges of power across the battle scene.
Mammoth Ranger armed his axe and leapt to attack. “Mammoth Breaker!”
Akuma slashed the Black Ranger from the air with a burst of spark, swatting the Ranger aside like an insect.
The Dragon Ranger armed his Twin Dragon Swords and charged to attack, twirling his blades. Weapons clashed, steel against steel. Tyranno Ranger joined, his broadsword flaring with red energy with each strike.
Akuma chopped Tyranno Ranger to the ground and slashed the Dragon Ranger aside.
Dragon Ranger armed his Master Morpher. “Dino! Buckler!”
He shifted into to his Green Dragon Ranger form.
“Jase, take my shield!” His golden shield flashed and flew from his body. Tyranno Ranger leapt off the Green Ranger’s shoulders. The shield splashed across the Red Ranger, and the Dragon Dagger formed in his left hand, the Tyranno Sword still in his right.
The sword ignited with red energy, and the dagger ignited with green power. Tyranno Ranger landed with dual slashes, striking the villain with bursts of spark, knocking him backward several steps.
The Green Ranger moved forward.
“Dragon’s Fang!” He fired a bolt of green energy that smashed Akuma with bursts of spark, knocking the scythe from his hands.
Dragon Ranger armed his Master Morpher. “Dino Thunder! Power-up!”
He morphed into the Brachio Ranger and armed his staff.
The Dino Thunder Black Ranger stabbed the earth. Flames ignited beneath Akuma, hurling him off his feet. Tyranno Ranger leapt upward and slashed the villain in midair. Brachio Ranger leapt upward and swung his weapon through a streak of dark-purple energy, striking Akuma with bursts of spark.
Akuma crashed and tumbled, but quickly rolled to his feet, his hair and cloak whipping violently around his body. He lifted his hand; his scythe returned to his grip with a flash of black light.
The villain tightened his grip.
Dozens of energy scythes appeared and spun across the battlefield. The four Rangers leapt aside to dodge, but more blades appeared, slashing the Rangers with bursts of spark, whipping them off their feet.
Akuma lifted his other hand; a flaming skull appeared in his palm. He threw the skull; it duplicated into dozens of fiery heads that exploded around the Rangers like bombs, fire and smoke whipping them through the air like rag dolls.
Smoke sizzled from the Rangers’ armor as they tried to climb to their feet. Flames and flickers of fire danced across the landscape, burnt to a crisp by the attack.
Tenma Ranger groaned. “Hey, can we take a time-out? Just a quick one.”
Akuma stalked towards his fallen opponents. “Yes, joke. Joke to hide the fear of my approach.”
The villain tightened his hand into a fist. Invisible energy wrapped around the four Rangers and lifted them into the air.
Light flashed around them as their armor powered down.
The Dark Man smiled beneath his mask. “Your own bodies weaken, day by day, failing you. Your souls grow weary. Your hearts, worn with grief. To fight against me is pointless. In the end, Death is inescapable.”
The villain tightened his invisible grip. “Farewell, Tommy.”
Simon– now Abaddon– gripped onto his sword. He shred the last of his humanity and walked towards the crystal. Although the air stayed still, his cape flowed behind him as if blown by the wind. Unnatural.
From here, he felt the pain of all reality. But the pain no longer overwhelmed him. It gave him purpose.
He had become a force of nature, a cosmic inevitability.
The Wheel of Time was the shackle of humanity.
He would break that shackle.
And bring peace.
Abaddon ignited his sword with the black flame of his soul. And he shattered the crystal.
Tommy felt reality shatter. His vision splintered, and his body felt as if it were being ripped into pieces.
NO! His mind screamed. He reached out for The Power. This can’t be the way it ends! It can’t! There has to be…something. SOMETHING! He channeled The Power with the strength of a bursting dam, opening the floodgates in his Body, Mind, and Soul, igniting his Spirit and unleashing his Animal Spirit. There has to be…
The Ranger powers. Could they survive the destruction of everything? Yes, they had to. They would be the key. The Ranger powers, they were the keys, they were the keys, they would fix everything. They…were…the…