Return Of The Great Power
Book 1 - The Return
Chapter 5: The Ninjetti 12
By: Pink-Green-White-4ever
Last Revised: June 21, 2004
Email: pink_green_white_4ever@yahoo.com
Website: A Blast From The Past

~*~

Tuesday
June 18, 2002
10:00 A.M. Angel Grove Time

The sounds of practice combat drifted through the air of the ancient ruins. The Rangers were paired off in groups of two or three. Billy, Adam and Trini were working together while Aisha and Tanya moved in a meditation Kata. Zack, Kimberly and Rocky worked together while Tommy, Kat, and Justin sparred with one another.

Dulcea had taken Zack, Trini, Billy, Rocky, Adam, Tanya, Kat and Justin aside already and trained one on one with them, showing them how to use their weapons to the best of her ability. She still had Tommy and Kimberly to work with, but knew it was better to focus on her current opponent - Jason - then to let her mind wander. "You do well with that," Dulcea complimented him as Jason used his sword to block the strike of her staff.

"Thanks," Jason told her, parrying with a strike of his own. "It reminds me a lot of my first weapon as a Ranger."

Dulcea smiled then lunged at him, watching as Jason spun out of her line of attack. "The Power Sword?" she asked softly, Jason looking at her in a mixture of shock and remembrance. He nodded, not trusting his voice to work. "They were forged by the same man, Jason."

That brought the Green Ninja up short. He stood there unmoving, sword in hand, allowing Dulcea to get the better of him with a sweep of her staff. The katana dropped with a clank while Jason's body hit the ground, hard. "Excuse me?" the Green Ninja finally managed to ask, watching on in utter shock as Dulcea smiled, offered her hand, and pulled him to his feet, all the while thinking of how much she should tell him.

"The Green Dragon Katana and the Red Power Sword were forged by Masamune, a sixteenth century Earth sword maker from Japan," Dulcea informed him. "He was one of the few non-magic beings on Earth that knew of Zordon. Masamune was commissioned to create the Power Sword when Zordon started making the first set of Ranger powers suitable to humans. The sword you hold now was one of the last he made. Had the original six powers not been lost, the Dragon Katana would have gone to whoever the Green Ranger was."

"So it was supposed to go to Tommy?" Jason asked, his voice carrying a slight bitter tone. It seemed, sometimes, that Tommy was the center of the very team; at least it seemed that way with how everyone always seemed to gather around him.

Dulcea saw the look and heard the tone of his voice. "No. It was meant for the Green Ranger, whomever it was to be. It was not preordained that you six would become Rangers; you forget the powers were created long before you were ever brought into existence." Dulcea watched Jason sigh, and allowed a grim look to mar her features. "Jason Scott, if you do not let go of that which Maligore brought forth, you will never be able to succeed in this most important fight."

Jason simply stared at Dulcea. Would he ever be able to get over the feelings Maligore's spell had unleashed all those years ago? Would he ever get over feeling like his best friend had taken everything important to him, away?

~~

11:15 A.M.
Angel Grove Time

"I still can't believe Zordon and Dulcea gave this to me," Tommy muttered as he, Kat and Justin sat together, having decided a break from practicing was in order.

"Neither can we," Justin cracked as Kat shot him a warning look.

Turning to Tommy, Kat watched the way he was mesmerized by the sword in his hands. "It's a big responsibility," she started as Tommy nodded. "We don't know exactly what its powers are, so you've got to be prepared for anything to happen."

Tommy smiled. "I'm still in shock." A cry of disbelief shook the trio from their conversation.

Rocky was lying on the ground, both his swords out of reach, with Kimberly's Tessen pressed tightly against his throat, holding him there but not hurting. "Do you yield, Rocky?" Kim growled. Rocky's eyes were wide as he stared up at one of his best friends in total shock. All five feet two inches of Kimberly stood towering over the Red Ninja, anger rolling off her in waves. The others had jumped back as the Pink Ninja had proceeded to lay into Rocky after his teasing had gone too far.

"Rocky!" Justin called, racing to his red friend's rescue.

"Justin no!" Tanya hissed as one of her hands shot out and restrained him. "He started it; Kimberly is merely putting him in his place." As much as it pained Tanya to admit it, she knew Rocky had been asking for it. Kimberly's time away from home was still a very sore subject, and Rocky had done nothing but poke and poke and poke until Kimberly's usually restrained anger had leapt out of control.

Adam and the others stood back in shock still. "Remind me to never, ever upset her," the Black Ninja muttered.

Kimberly continued to glare down at her friend. "You know I was only joking," Rocky started as Kim began to back off inch by inch. "Kim, tell me you know I was only kidding?"

Moving stealthily, Tommy made his way toward them, his hand wrapping around Kim's upper arm. Gently, he tugged her toward him. Tommy frowned when he noticed the uncharacteristic anger in her eyes. "Rocky, what did you say to piss her off?" Kat asked.

Rocky looked at the orange clad woman in helplessness as Adam and Billy pulled him to his feet. "I was teasing Kim about Florida, and all the guys she probably met." Both Trini and Aisha reached over as soon as Rocky was back on his feet and slapped him upside the head. "WHAT WAS THAT FOR?" Rocky protested the treatment he'd just received.

Meanwhile, Tommy had pulled Kimberly away from the group. "Kim, calm down," Tommy whispered as he pulled her into a semi-hug. "What's wrong?"

Kim shook her head, pushing away from him slightly. "Rocky hit a sore spot, and after I asked him to knock it off, he kept teasing," she spoke, looking past Tommy to the monolith that loomed in the distance, her mind going back over old memories.

Tommy watched her, knew that her eyes were taking in the jungle behind him. "You've never lashed out like that before. This had to be more than just Rocky teasing you." When her eyes returned his gaze, Tommy felt the bottom of his stomach drop out on him. For the first time in his entire acquaintance with Kimberly, he saw a fear in her eyes, a fear that she had never shown, even to him.

"Florida is a sore subject, one I don't want to talk about right now, and I asked him to leave it be. Next time, he won't push me when I ask him not to." Kim's words were laced with a double meaning, one that had a ball of dread forming in the White Ninja's stomach. Kimberly had never been so harsh, so unyielding. It was a feeling Tommy knew he wasn't comfortable with.

"Come, you must eat, replenish your strength, so I can tell you of the journey ahead," Dulcea spoke, beckoning the twelve to the fire.

~~

12:30 P.M.
Angel Grove Time

"Would you like to talk about it?" Dulcea asked when she approached Kimberly, who was sitting apart from the others, watching the jungle below. The Pink Ninja had separated herself from the others, claiming not to be hungry, when Dulcea had gathered them earlier.

Kim tried to ignore the worry she heard in Dulcea's voice, but couldn't. She nodded slowly, taking a deep breath when Dulcea took a seat next to her on the rock. "I can't believe I went off on one of my best friends like that," Kim slowly whispered, disbelief lacing her voice. "I've never gone off on one of them, not like that." Angry tears welled in her eyes, but the former Ranger and current Ninja blinked them back. Tears had no place in her life now; all they did was remind her of what had been and how things were now.

"I meant about this Florida that Aisha was speaking of," Dulcea spoke. Zordon had told her some of what had happened to the first six she'd met with, but he hadn't gone into great detail.

Kim nodded, choking back her emotions. "Shortly after we defeated Ivan, I was given the opportunity to train with a very famous gymnastics coach for an international competition."

"The Pan Global Games?" At Kim's nod, Dulcea continued. "Zordon spoke of it, and I've heard the others speak of it as well."

"Yeah, so I'm sure Zordon told you about my last week as a Ranger." Dulcea nodded. "When I got to Florida, I was pretty messed up. Losing my power coin, moving away from home, leaving my friends, especially Tommy, behind, had me spinning out of control. I sucked it up though, cause I knew I couldn't disgrace them, or myself, by falling apart." Dulcea watched as Kim's face became a mask of stone.

Reaching over, Dulcea laid a hand on Kim's back, rubbing in a slow motion. Kimberly was so distracted by her tale, that she didn't notice it, or the fact that the others were listening to what she was telling Dulcea. "Things pretty much calmed down, until I came home for a visit at Christmas. All I wanted to do once I was home was stay with them, to feel like I belonged again, but by then it was too late. I guess my head was so messed up, it wasn't listening to my heart." Dulcea wasn't quite sure what to make of that, but the others knew what Kim was talking about. Kat and Tommy had been particularly chummy that Christmas, as they'd been bonding since the incident with Kim, so it was only natural for Kim to think something was going on when she saw them together.

"When I got back to Florida, one of the trainers and I got close," Kim mumbled, closing her eyes as memories of a tall, dark haired young man with piercing blue eyes came to mind. "He treated me like I was a glass doll when we weren't in the gym, and when we were practicing gymnastics, he treated me like I could do anything. It was nice to have a guy notice me, especially since my boyfriend was so far away." The others watched Tommy wince at that comment before they turned their attention back to Kim.

"And so you fell?" Dulcea asked, knowing the bare minimum of the story.

"Now that I think about it, no, I didn't fall, I just thought I did," Kimberly fiercely growled, her eyes snapping open. "In the midst of my emotional breakdown, one of my roommates and I were talking, and she made a crack comment about Tommy and Kat. It set me to thinking that maybe I'd be doing him a favor, letting him go. It wasn't fair to keep him tied down with me three thousand miles away. I still hadn't decided what to do when things blew up in my face."

Dulcea watched Kimberly's emotions pour out onto her face. "We were training really late one night, on a routine I just wasn't getting, when it happened," Kim spoke, her voice quivering. "I managed to nail the landing, and in the middle of celebrating, he and I kissed each other. One thing led to another, and we started seeing each other in a capacity that when I think about now, it makes me sick. I cheated on the man that I've loved since the moment I laid eyes on him, with a piece of trash that isn't even fit to be on the bottom of that same man's shoes."

"Kimberly," Dulcea spoke, watching the raw look of Kim's face, watching as the former Ranger laid her heart open so Dulcea would understand.

Kim gulped. "I'm sure Zordon told you about the letter." Dulcea nodded. "Mike convinced me to write it, instead of calling Tommy like I was going to. I don't know why, but something kept holding me back. I originally thought I'd call to tell Tommy, tell him the truth, ask him for his forgiveness, and come home as soon as I could, but something kept stopping me. Instead, I wrote him the letter. Mike and I started seriously seeing each other shortly after. Right before the incident on Murianthias, Mike and I split. I came home for a reprieve, a break, and then all hell broke loose. I was going to tell Tommy the truth, but then I saw how happy he and Kat were. I left home again without telling him what had happened, and I've subsequently cut all of my friends out of my life because of it."

"There is more, is there not?" Dulcea questioned. Kim nodded. Before Kim could speak, a loud explosion sounded. Both women jumped to their feet when they saw a part of the jungle explode in a fireball.

"What is that?" Trini asked as the others rushed to join Dulcea and Kimberly at the edge of the plateau.

Tommy and Rocky shook their heads, while Adam and Tanya gasped. "More Quadra-fighters. They must be looking for us," Kat started just as another blast shook the plateau, this one closer to the base.

"We've got to get out of here. They'll destroy the temple if we don't!" Aisha growled as she and Billy lost their footing and hit the dirt as yet another blast rocked the ground.

"Dulcea?" Justin queried.

"You will have to face a test once you reach the monolith, passing it will be the only way you're going to be able to retrieve the power inside and get home."

Twelve sets of eyes took in the slightly panicked Master Warrior. Nodding, Tommy moved to stand between Kim and Dulcea. "It's time, let's go." With that, the twelve ninjas set out while Dulcea watched on, praying for their safe journey.

~*~

1:15 P.M.
Angel Grove Time

Unlike the first trip to the monolith, the group ran rather than walked. Overhead, Quadra-fighters flew, firing down around the twelve, but never hitting their intended targets.

As they left the base of the plateau, the explosions lessened, almost as if the Quadra-fighters had backed off. "Is it just me, or do they have really bad aim?" Zack puffed out as he, Rocky and Jason leapt over a fallen tree.

"It's just you," Rocky muttered. Zack glared at him. "Normally, they hit what they aim for."

"TOMMY!" Kat and Kim cried out in shock as an explosion in front of them rocked the group. For a few moments, the White Ninja was unseen. Kim collapsed to her knees, staring at the spot where Tommy had been, unblinking. In the span of one second, it felt like her whole world was shattering around her again.

Jason gasped when the dust from the shots settled, revealing Tommy kneeling on the ground, a luminescent pink glow surrounding him while a beautiful pink bird sat on his outstretched arm. "What the hell?" Jason muttered as the others watched Tommy finally look up at the bird on his arm.

"A crane," Tanya whispered in awe as the others watched Tommy stare at the bird, his head nodding occasionally.

"Kim, is that..." Trini started as Kimberly slowly got to her feet, her head nodding in response.

Meanwhile, Tommy and the crane that was the physical manifestation of Kimberly's Spirit Animal spoke silently. [You must trust her completely, or all is doomed.]

[I trust her with my life.]

The crane flapped its wings and bobbed its head. [Your life is one thing; you heart another. Learn to trust her, He Whose Spirit is the White Falcon, or all is doomed.] With that, the crane flapped its wings and flew toward Kimberly, landing on her outstretched arm.

Tommy stood and made his way back toward the girl who held his heart, watching as she silently spoke with her spirit animal just as he had. After a moment, the crane seemed to bow to Kimberly before disappearing in a cloud of pink power. "What just happened?" Zack asked as Kim and Tommy stared at one another.

"Kim's spirit animal just saved Tommy's life," Justin spoke as Kim took three steps forward and then flung herself into Tommy's arms, her own arms going around his waist.

"Are you ok?" she choked out as she held onto him, relief washing over her when his arms tightened around her.

Tommy chuckled - same ol'Kim - always worried about him. "Thanks to your feathered friend, yeah," he quipped as Kim pulled back to look up at him. He saw she was still scared, so he smiled a giant smile for her. "Guess I owe you one."

Kim cracked a relieved smile. "Naw, I owed you one anyway, remember?" she asked, referring to the incident in the pool. Tommy nodded, then turned to start again as the others followed suit, this time his large hand hanging on tight to Kim's smaller one.

~*~

3:00 P.M.
Angel Grove Time

The group sighed a collective sigh of relief as they passed from the desert into the cover of the Neola Jungle. Since they'd lost the Quadra-fighters, they'd slowed their pace some. "Uh oh," Trini murmured as they started walking through what seemed to be a graveyard for dinosaurs.

Adam chuckled. "Welcome back to Jurassic Park."

Rocky, Billy, Tommy, Kim and Aisha glared at him. "It wasn't funny last time, Adam," Aisha muttered. "What makes you think it would be funny this time?"

Adam shrugged. "Hey, at least we don't have to worry about the giant dinosaur chasing us. Tommy took care of him last time."

Kim winced. "You know, I said the same thing about the Tengas yesterday, and look what happened," Kim pointed out to him. Adam was about to counter with a witty comment when Kat and Aisha let out shrieks of surprise.

"Nice going, Adam!" Rocky hollered over the roar of the dinosaur that had come to life. Billy looked over at Kim, who stood next to Tommy, slightly trembling.

"RUN!" Zack called as the dinosaur, a much larger one then last time, started stalking the Ninjas.

"CRAP!" Tommy hissed as he and Billy pushed Kimberly out of the way of the large tail that came crashing down.

"JASE!" Trini cried out in disbelief as the thing started chasing her green clad friend.

Jason turned and ran toward the large tree directly behind him, running up its trunk and then flipping over the dinosaur, which simply crashed into the tree when it couldn't stop. "I take it this happened last time?" Jason fired off his question to Tommy, who he'd landed next to.

"Except last time it was Tommy saving me from that thing!" Kim growled. The dinosaur seemed to find Justin an interesting target, but the giant tail swishing back and forth was keeping the others a good distance too far away to help their young teammate. "That's it!" Kim surged to her feet, motioning for Aisha to join her.

"Ideas, girlfriend?" Aisha whispered as Kim nodded.

"When I give you the signal, let loose with your spirit animal," Kim laid out her plan as Aisha nodded. Rocky, Billy, Adam, Tommy and Kat watched the two get ready and then surged forward to make a distraction for them.

Aisha hung back and watched as Kimberly quickly climbed a tree not far from where she was. Both women could see Justin valiantly trying to kick the dinosaur away, hoping to give himself some room from where he'd been backed against a set of broken dinosaur skeletons. "NOW!" Kim called as Aisha nodded.

Before Aisha had time to react, a commotion of sounds descended upon the area, causing the dinosaur skeleton creature that was focused on Justin to turn its attention. In the bushes next to where Justin was, four sets of glowing eyes could be seen. The group of Ninjas watched on in stunned silence as a turquoise gazelle, a red ape, a purple panther and an orange tiger jumped from the bushes, each animal attacking the ancient monster.

As if it sensed it was out numbered and out gunned, the dinosaur turned and fled into the safety of the trees near where it had come from. The twelve Ninjas turned and regarded the four animals. The panther and tiger each flopped onto the ground, their heads held high as they curled their front paws under them. The ape jumped up and down for a moment, making the girls giggle at the thought of how much Rocky's spirit animal acted like him, before he too sat down, legs folded and head cocked to the side, watching them. All eyes turned to the gazelle, who bent a foreleg and gave a low bow to the group.

"How beautiful," Kat murmured as she and Tanya watched their spirit animals sit before them. Trini nodded her agreement, her gaze taking in the powerful gazelle. Rocky laughed as he and his spirit animal simply shared a nod of acknowledgement.

Gasps of surprise were heard as the four spirit animal saviors disappeared in a bright burst of energy. "Whoa!" Aisha spoke, the others nodding in agreement.

"Guys, I think we should get going before that leftover from the 'Land Before Time' comes back," Rocky seriously implored the others, who all nodded and began moving along on the path to the monolith.

~*~

6:00 P.M.
Angel Grove Time

The rest of the trek to the monolith was fairly quiet. The six who'd been to Phadoes before warned the others of what might happen at the monolith, if indeed the four rock warriors were still guarding it.

When the group of twelve reached the clearing at the base of the column of power, they noticed how eerily quiet things were. "Tommy, I don't see the four guardians," Billy pointed out as the White Ninja nodded.

Twelve sets of eyes focused on the relatively large, black frog that sat on the steps leading to the door of the monolith. "Adam, I think he's your friend," Rocky pointed out as the Black Ninja nodded and stepped forward.

[Welcome] the voice resonated in all of their heads.

"Can you help us?" Adam inquired.

The frog smiled, an act that seemed to require ever muscle in its face and looked rather strange. [You do not need help; you must simply look inside yourself to find what you seek. Are you ready to face this final challenge?]

The group of former Power Rangers nodded, a croak from the frog their only way of knowing he'd understood them. Suddenly, a blinding silver light lit the area of the monolith, bathing each Ninja in its warm glow. [Good luck, Rangers.]

~*~

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