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The Quest for Power Part 5 – Trial of Worth
While three weeks had passed for Ninjor, Saurian and Thalian’s trainees, for David and Aisha it had been much longer. While their friends trained in areas that altered the flow of time, on Phaedos the ancient ruins that extended for miles had been enchanted to distort time while they were inside its influence. Therefore they had more time to train and in Dulcea’s opinion they needed every moment of it. Dulcea had drilled them constantly, forcing them to reach beyond their limits before she allowed them to embrace the Power.
“You have both trained hard over the last few weeks,” Dulcea told them. “You have covered many of the subjects that you need to know, but time has run out. If you spend any longer in this place without the protection of the Power, you will be unable to leave. So before I can teach you further you must prove yourself worthy of the powers. Then we can join the others on Juruyella.
You will be teleported to the Maze of Shilratha. From there your task is to reach the center. When both of your trials are completed, you will be teleported to your final task.”
The landscape around them changed. Aisha was teleported to one end of the maze while David was sent to the other end.
David ran off along his path, following the markers.
David ran along lightly, it would be a long run so he was pacing himself. He jumped a couple of hurdles and dodged a patch in the path he thought might have had a pit under a thin covering of branches and dirt. The path was by no means smooth; he jumped fallen logs and had to be careful of branches and roots. Finally he came to the first real obstacle, the bank of a lake. There was a light purple kayak on the bank with a paddle and life vest. David put on the vest, grabbed the paddle and jumped into the kayak. He knew how to paddle from a short group of lessons. The one time his father had taken him overseas they had gone kayaking. The experience was one of David’s favourite memories. As he paddled, he wondered how large the maze could be if it had room for a river?
David reached the far side and dragged the kayak up a bit onto the land. He had had to battle with the current and pass many logs, but he’d made it over. He took off the vest and ran off again along the path. Suddenly a gigantic spider leaped at him from its hiding spot beside the path. David dove and rolled under it, without thinking he picked up a fallen branch. David gripped it in his right hand, found his inner calm, becoming one with the weapon as Dulcea had taught him. Then he attacked, the branch jamming into the spider’s open mouth and down its throat. He didn’t need to do more as the spider was suddenly more concerned with the obstruction in its throat than catching the human. David backed away from the thing and began running again, dropping the branch as he ran.
David had only run for a bit when he saw something odd ahead; he ran up and stopped. A plant lay in the path, and David had to dodge as it reached its tentacles towards him. Instead of panicking though he looked deep inside, summoning the fire as Dulcea had taught him. Fire erupted around him and David ran on as the plant cringed back quickly, leaving a wide path clear.
Eventually David reached another body of water. He’d had to scale one wall of the maze only to find that the ravine on the far side was an illusion. He had crossed a raging river by using stepping stones hidden under the surface, fought and beaten a number of natural predators. Now it appeared that he had to sail across. David jumped in the boat, fixed a hole in the bottom, and angled the sail so that it caught the wind and set off on the next part of his quest.
Everything was going fine until a long tentacle shot out of the water beside the boat. David reacted by burning it quickly. He’d been expecting something, but not this. The kraken slapped at him with another tentacle, David picked up one of the oars he had found and shoved it under the water, hard into the beast. The tentacle didn’t even flinch away; he tried again, same result. Another tentacle rose from the water, soon followed by what looked like the kraken’s dark brown back. The entire beast turned until one huge grey and black-eye looked up at David.
“Hello there, I mean you no harm.”
It blinked once and stirred its tentacles.
“Please, let me pass,” David said hoping it would let him alone. He wasn’t sure if the Power’s ability to translate other languages extended to animals.
The kraken rolled again, now the other eye peered at him. Then David noticed a great slash near the eye, and what looked like a spear in it. David understood instantly what the kraken wanted. He pulled on the weapon and waited while the spear rose out of the cut and dropped down into the water. The cut healed quickly and the gash was replaced with a pinkish scar. The kraken shifted again and slowly a tentacle curled around the boat. David held on tight as he and the sailboat were raised high above the water and lifted across the lake where they were set down again on the shore.
“Thanks!” David called and the tip of a tentacle waved idly and David waved back before hurrying on.
It was dark; the high hedges formed a canopy blocking out most of the sun. The trail was narrow and rough, just when he was beginning to wonder if he’d missed the next obstacle David saw a small clearing up ahead. He sprinted towards it but didn’t enter, he cautiously looked around and a glimmer of gold to his left caught his eye. Looking closely David could make out the form of a horse in the trees, no, horses didn’t grow that big; it could only be a unicorn. Smiling grimly David ran into the sunlight, keeping to the left side of the clearing. Just as he reached the center, the unicorn leaped out from hiding with a shrill neigh. A jet of light shot from its horn, David ducked and the blast knocked over the tree behind him. The unicorn turned and kicked, flicking out its tail of flames. A hoof struck out, David dived and rolled, and coming to his feet he saw the unicorn rear, screaming angrily it tilted its head down and dove at him, intending to spear him on its horn. David dodged again and jumped away from its flying mane of golden fire. The unicorn pivoted with amazing speed and kicked with both hind legs, turning its neck and an angle to shoot another jet of power at him. David dodged the kick and ran, the unicorn in close pursuit. He remembered a place not far way where there was a patch of quick sand. As he approached, he leapt into the air and watched, as the unicorn kept moving.
The ground beneath its hooves turned gave way and in moments the unicorn was up to its neck in the stuff. David stopped it from going farther under but left it in the quicksand. He let the unicorn thrash itself to exhaustion. David waited calmly, catching his breath, knowing that it would take a long time to tire it. Surprisingly though before the unicorn reached the point of desperation, it started to float out of the sand, using its horn. Finally it was standing again, panting, exhausted from fighting the quicksand. David waited, knowing there was no point in running now he had tricked it once. Finally it lifted its head a bit, looked at him for a moment, and then charged.
David waited until it was a few feet away then he brought up his right hand, palm forward. The unicorn stopped in a shower of dried leaves, dirt, and hot breath and sank the tip of its horn deep into his hand his hand. David gasped in pain but forced himself to stay still. For what seemed like hours but really just minutes David waited, scarcely daring to breathe, time seemed to stand still. How long they stood like that David didn’t know, but suddenly the unicorn stepped back and lifted its head to look him right in the eye. As the horn slid out of his palm the cut healed, leaving only a tiny scar so small David couldn’t see what it really looked like in his palm. All he could see was a small white dot, no bigger then the tip of a quill.
“I won’t hurt you, I just want to pass.” David said softly, now that he really got a good look at it he could see that it was a very young unicorn, though it was very large for its age. It couldn’t have been long away from its mother. The fact that it was alone probably meant it was a stallion, chased away from its herd by a stronger, older, stallion. David continued to murmur encouraging things to it as he walked forward and petted it lightly on the shoulder. He could feel the unicorn tense under his hand, ready to kill him in a second. David gave it a last rub and walked on, he knew if he ran it might chase him and it could run a lot faster then he. He left the clearing and walked on through the woods, suddenly he heard hoof beats and the unicorn trotted up beside him. David sped up a bit, so did the unicorn, he reached out and rested a hand on its shoulder and broke into a run. They ran along the dark path for nearly twenty minutes, sliding down steep slopes and jumping logs and wading across small streams. David slowed as he saw another area where the maze grew wider. Only no light penetrated this one so he couldn’t really see what might be lurking about. The unicorn stopped and moved off the trail, hiding itself in the bushes, stamping about nervously. David looked around carefully, if the unicorn was nervous it meant something bad was here.
Peering through the underbrush David saw a large cave, the path led right in. He nervously walked in. Instantly three wolves came around behind him. David could tell that there were more, the rest were hiding in the shadows, not approaching him in the light because he could see them. He knelt at the end of the pool of light, right where it met the shadows and waited. David let his eyes adjust and saw a small pup, no doubt the youngest in the cave, its mother licking it as the pup whined and yelped. David looked around, besides the pup and its mother there were nine adult wolves and four other pups. David waited; slowly the mother rose and approached him, and sat a few feet in front of him. The pup ran around her and sat just in front of her on her front paws. Copying its mother. A large light grey wolf rose from its position lying in the back. It came up to David sniffed his hand when David held it out. The other adults slowly came forward to do the same, tails slowly began to wag, and David reached out and stroked the large grey. This was the pack leader and he wanted to be friendly to him. The pups ran forwards and jumped about their elders’ feet, yipping at David.
For the first time David appreciated the lessons his father had given him. He felt an affinity with the wolves just as he had with the unicorn, but it was not as equals. In some ways he admired them but there was an overwhelming sense that they were looking to him to make the first move as troops waited for their commander to give an order. David finally stood and walked towards the back of the cave, four of the wolves followed, the leader, the pup he’d noticed, its mother and another, a small black wolf, well, as small as an adult wolf got. Certainly a bit bigger than any normal wolf.
David got up and made his way through the cave, following a trail of small red flags that glowed. He had to squeeze through small spaces and get across a river all the while the wolves followed him. But they stopped once they entered the chamber that the river ran through, and they refused to go farther. David glanced at the river, it was about twenty feet wide, and the water looked black, obscuring the bottom so that David had no idea how deep it was. He found a long pole, ten feet long, and leaning out over the river, dipped it in. The whole thing went under.
David jerked back as he felt the pole shake and jump in his grip, as if something had grabbed it. He tossed in a leaf that was swept away in seconds. The current on the surface was about ten-mph, to fast for him to swim, and probably faster deeper down. David looked up and down the river, edging back nervously. Some creature in there had ripped off the bottom foot of his pole. No bang from an underwater rock left tooth marks and could have splintered the wood like that.
“What do I do? What’s in there?” He asked the wolves, kneeling beside them. The black wolf lay down and dragged itself along the floor on its belly. Then it stood and came back. David thought hard, what animal dragged itself with its front paws? He looked hard at the track in the mud the wolf had made. Then it hit him, a snake; a large water snake could make a track like that. The wolf had been imitating a water snake as best it knew how. He examined the pole and found that near the bite mark the wood looked like it had been sprinkled with acid, it was greenish and flimsy, pitted in places.
David’s mind jumped at the thought of a snake that contained a poison, which could damage wood, his stomach churned with fear and cold dread. He thanked the wolves, and they turned back the way they had come. The pup stopped to lick his hand before following its mother. Leaving David to deal with this dilemma on his own.
Finally David stood and examined the surrounding area. Dulcea would not have given him an impossible task, just a difficult one. The water was deep and fast flowing so he could not make progress through it. And vaulting over to the far side was not an answer since the snake seemed to have an appetite for anything that moved beneath the surface. He looked at the maze itself. If he followed the bank far enough he would find the edge of the maze, but that would take time. Then he looked up and realised that the bushes that had made up the walls of the maze still existed above him. There the branches intertwined to create a canopy, but would not hold his weight if he tried to use it to cross. The branches did give him an idea though. He could tie them together to form a bridge, using an axe crafted from a stone he found near the water.
With part of the obstacle conquered he made his way across the tree, the axe grasped firmly in his hand. He stopped halfway across when he noticed a movement just beneath the surface. He braced himself as the snake emerged from the water, his axe already swinging towards the creature’s head. Then as the head was sliced off he started to run again, not looking back until he was clear of the obstacle.
Thirty minutes, one wooden sword fight with a faceless figure and an archery contest with the same figure, a walk across a bridge made with one rope for his feet and one for each hand, a climb down a tree, for the cliff face was made of smooth ice and parachute drop off another cliff to land in a field, and David finally saw the end of the test. The red flags abruptly ended not too far ahead. Then a misted figure appeared ten feet ahead and solidified into one of creatures David had seen during his time as Mondo’s captive. David reacted without thinking, confident that he could triumph after all he had been through. He summoned all his inner strength and forced it into a single punch. It was not until the figure collapsed that he realised he had not used his fist, only his mind.
David glanced around; a red line ran cross the ground, he’d emerged at a right angle to where he’d started, along the edge of the maze. He turned and looked at the maze, realising that it was not just a hedgerow, as he had first believed. The walls had been made from different materials, even stone. He ran towards the line and the maze vanished behind him while he waited for Aisha.
The towering hedges cast black shadows across the path, and, whether because they were so tall and thick or because they had been enchanted, the sound of the surrounding area was silenced the moment she entered the maze. She tried jumping up to look over the tops of the hedges, but when she did so they simply grew taller and beyond her reach.
After about fifty yards, she reached a fork. “Here goes,” Aisha said, and she took the left one.
Aisha sped up. Her chosen path seemed completely deserted. She turned right, and hurried on until she reached a sword in a stone. She reached out and pulled it from the rock before moving on. She kept looking behind her. The old feeling that she was being watched was upon her. The maze was growing darker with every passing minute as the sky overhead deepened to navy. She reached a second fork.
“Let’s see,” she whispered to herself. She pulled a coin from her pocket and then flipped it. The coin landed heads up meaning that she had to take the left path since somehow she knew the center was to the Northwest. She took the left fork but intended to go right again as soon as possible.
The path ahead was empty too, and when Aisha reached a right turn and took it, she again found her way unblocked. Aisha didn’t know why, but the lack of obstacles was unnerving her. Surely she should have met something by now? It felt as though the maze were luring her into a false sense of security. Then she heard movement right behind her. She turned but there was nothing there, a thick hedge had grown in her path, blocking her retreat. She shook his head and dived out of sight, along another path.
She hurried off again. Then, as she turned a corner, she saw … a figure gliding toward her. Twelve feet tall, its face hidden by its hood, its rotting, scabbed hands outstretched, it advanced, sensing its way blindly toward her. Aisha could hear its rattling breath; she felt clammy coldness stealing over her, but knew what she had to do….
She couldn’t run so instead she turned to fight, holding her sword at the ready. The creature was making her feel depressed as it moved closer, but she was too stubborn and summoned the happiest thought she could. The sword glowed as she advanced towards the creature, her happiness unbearable for a dark creature.
There was a loud crack, and the figure exploded in a wisp of smoke. Aisha wished the happy feeling could have stayed, she could have used the confidence…but she moved on, quickly and quietly as possible, listening hard, her sword ready to strike.
Left … right… left again . . . Twice she found herself facing dead ends. She somehow knew that she was going too far east. She turned back, took a right turn, and saw an odd golden mist floating ahead of her.
Aisha approached it cautiously, pointing the sword at it. This looked like some kind of enchantment. She wondered whether it was dangerous. What would happen if she walked through the mist? Was it worth chancing it, or should she double back?
There was silence. She stared all around her. She took a deep breath and ran through the enchanted mist.
The world turned upside down. Aisha was hanging from the ground, with her hair on end. It felt as though her feet were glued to the grass, which had now become the ceiling. Below her the dark, star-spangled heavens stretched endlessly. ~When did it become night? How long have I been here?~ She felt as though if she tried to move one of her feet, she would fall away from the earth completely.
~Think,~ she told herself, as all the blood rushed to her head, ~think. . .~ But not one of the skills she had practised had been designed to combat a sudden reversal of ground and sky. Did she dare move her foot? She could hear the blood pounding in her ears. She had two choices – try and move, or stay, and get rescued and disqualified from the task.
She shut her eyes, so she wouldn’t be able to see the view of endless space below her, and pulled her right foot as hard as she could away from the grassy ceiling. Immediately, the world righted itself. Aisha fell forward onto her knees onto the wonderfully solid ground. She felt temporarily limp with shock. She took a deep, steadying breath, then got up again and hurried forward, looking back over her shoulder as she ran away from the golden mist, which twinkled innocently at her in the moonlight.
She paused at a junction of two paths and looked around for some sign of the finish . . The end was somewhere close by, and then she would find her powers and become a Ranger once more. Then she would help the others ensure that Minion paid for his crimes.
She met nothing for ten minutes, but kept running into dead ends. Twice she took the same wrong turning. Finally, she found a new route and started to jog along it, the moonlight waving, making her shadow flicker and distort on the hedge walls. Then she rounded another corner and found herself facing another beast. It was enormous. Ten feet long, it looked more like a giant scorpion than anything. Its long sting was curled over its back. Its thick armour glinted in the light from Aisha’s sword, which she pointed at it.
The blade hit the beast’s armour and rebounded; Aisha ducked just in time, but could smell burning hair; the acidic blade had singed the top of her head. The beast issued a blast of fire from its end and flew forward toward her.
Aisha yelled. The sword hit the beast’s armour again and ricocheted off; Aisha staggered back a few paces and fell over.
She tried again. The creature was inches from her when it froze – she had managed to strike it on its fleshy, shell-less underside. Panting, Aisha pushed herself away from it and ran, hard, in the opposite direction – the damage was not permanent and it would take too long to kill it. She expected it to would be regaining the use of its legs at any moment.
She took a left path and hit a dead end, a right, and hit another; forcing herself to stop, heart hammering, she concentrated on the center again, picturing it in her mind’s eye, backtracked, and chose a path that would take her Northwest.
She had been hurrying along the new path for a few minutes, when she heard something in the path running parallel to her own that made her stop dead. She waited and then moved on, continuing to use her mind to pinpoint the center, making sure she was moving in the right direction. It was just a matter of time now. Her desire to reach the end was now burning stronger than ever, but she could hardly believe what she’d had to face to get this far. Aisha sped up. Every so often she hit more dead ends, but the increasing darkness made her feel sure she was getting near the heart of the maze. Then, as she strode down a long, straight path, she saw movement once again, and the moonlight hit an extraordinary creature.
It was a sphinx. It had the body of an overlarge lion: great clawed paws and a long yellowish tail ending in a brown tuft. Its head, however, was that of a woman. She turned her long, almond-shaped eyes upon Aisha as she approached. She raised her sword, hesitating. She was not crouching as if to spring, but pacing from side to side of the path, blocking his progress. Then she spoke, in a deep, hoarse voice.
“You are very near your goal. The quickest way is past me.”
“So … so will you move, please?” said Aisha, knowing what the answer was going to be.
“No,” she said, continuing to pace. “Not unless you can answer my riddle. Answer on your first guess – I let you pass. Answer wrongly – I attack. Remain silent – I will let you walk away from me unscathed.”
Aisha’s stomach slipped several notches. It was Billy who was good at this sort of thing, not her. She weighed her chances. If the riddle was too hard, she could keep silent, get away from the sphinx unharmed, and try and find an alternative route to the center.
“Okay,” she said. “Can I hear the riddle?”
The sphinx sat upon her hind legs, in the very middle of the path, and recited:
“In my life I bring light and warmth;
yet in death I take both.
What am I?”
“A star,” said Aisha, pacing up and down.
The sphinx smiled broadly. She got up, stretched her front legs, and then moved aside for her to pass.
“Thanks!” said Aisha, and, amazed at her own brilliance, she dashed forward.
She had to be close now, she had to be. … Her mind was telling her she was bang on course; as long as she didn’t meet anything too horrible, she might have a chance. . . .
Aisha broke into a run. She had a choice of paths up ahead. “Where?” she whispered again, wondering why she couldn’t see the end anymore. She dashed up the path to the left and saw light ahead.
At the end was a statue, gleaming on a plinth a hundred yards away. Suddenly a dark figure hurtled out onto the path in front of her.
She was shocked when it attacked her and dropped her sword. She blocked the many punches he threw at her, finally shifting her weight so that he flew passed. She turned and saw something immense over a hedge to his left, moving quickly along a path that intersected with his own; it was moving so fast her opponent couldn’t move in time – “Look out!” Aisha bellowed. “On your left!”
Her attacker looked around just in time to hurl himself past the thing and avoid colliding with it, but in his haste, he tripped. Aisha saw his weapon fly out of his hand as a gigantic spider stepped into the path and began to bear down upon him. She was tempted to leave him to his fate, but somewhere deep inside she knew that was not the right thing to do.
“Hey!” she yelled; the sword hit the spider’s gigantic, hairy black body, but for all the good it did, she might as well have thrown a stone at it; the spider jerked, scuttled around, and ran at Aisha instead.
She tried again and again, but it was no use – the spider was either so large, or so magical, that the weapons were doing no more than aggravating it. Aisha had one horrifying glimpse of eight shining black eyes and razor-sharp pincers before it was upon her.
She was lifted into the air in its front legs; struggling madly, she tried to kick it; his leg connected with the pincers and next moment she was in excruciating pain. She could hear her former attacker yelling something too and realised that he was egging the creature on. She regretted helping him, but knew in her heart she would do it again if needs be; she was not the sort of person to abandon someone to that fate. She raised her sword as the spider opened its pincers once more and sliced across its face.
It worked – the pain she caused made the spider drop her, but that meant that Aisha fell twelve feet onto her already injured leg, which crumpled beneath her. Without pausing to think, she aimed high at the spider’s underbelly, as she had done with the beast, and threw her sword over arm. She had no doubt that her weapon would kill the beast, even if it left her defenceless. The spider keeled over sideways, flattening a nearby hedge, and strewing the path with a tangle of hairy legs.
She waited for the attacker to return. She was too hurt to fight and had lost her only weapon. But no attack came since the spider had crushed her other attacker when it collapsed. He was alive but helpless. Soon both he and the spider vanished and revealed the finish.
She stood, just barely and staggered towards the statue. As she touched it her wounds were healed and she was dragged back to the start of the maze where David was waiting.
“What do we do now?” Aisha asked after they had both rested.
“How about leaving this place while you still can?” a voice asked.
They turned and David’s mouth dropped at the sight of a bikini-clad female holding a long staff. She twirled the stick dangerously, her eyes never leaving the would-be Rangers.
“We’re here on a quest,” Aisha explained, unsure who they were talking to, but under the impression that this was a good planet.
“I do not care about your quests,” the woman snapped, her accent faintly familiar. “Leave now before it is too late, this is your final warning.”
“We’re the Power Rangers, sort of,” David tried.
The woman’s response was to attack them, catching both teenagers off guard. Her foot landed in David’s chest, knocking him to the ground while she fought Aisha. As such Aisha was forced on the defence against an aggressive opponent, who seemed intent upon hurting her. The woman’s staff hooked the back of Aisha’s knee and took her down to the ground. Aisha looked up to find the tip of the staff heading towards her throat.
David stayed down while Aisha kept their opponent busy, as he caught his breath he studied their fighting techniques and waited for the right time to attack again. When it appeared Aisha was in danger though he threw himself into action, grabbing the staff as he flipped over and attempted to wrestle it from her grasp. Aisha rolled aside as he kicked the center of the staff and broke it in half. But instead of dropping the weapons, she used both halves to batter the two Rangers.
“I’ll distract her,” David suggested.
Aisha nodded and started to circle around their opponent while David caused the distraction, in this case the distraction was getting beaten by a pair of sticks. When she was in position Aisha, jumped on the woman’s back, locked her legs around the woman’s knees and her arms around her chest. The woman tried to throw her, by Aisha’s grip was firm. The distraction allowed David to lunge forward with a speed he had not shown before. He gripped both sticks and twisted, throwing their opponent to the ground.
They both hesitated, trying to reason with their attacker rather than continue fighting. Each time she attacked they tried to restrain her without causing injury. They sensed she was not evil and they had no intention of taking a life without good cause. She took advantage, disarming David and then knocking both Rangers to the ground. They moaned from the impact and tried to negotiate again.
“I have seen enough,” the woman said. “You pass.”
At once a sense of calm passed over the two Rangers as they were transported back to their starting point. The woman was transported with them and while they didn’t know when her features changed, she now looked like the Dulcea they knew.
“Well-done Rangers,” she said. “I believe you have earned the name.”
David and Aisha nodded, but waited for their former attacker to finish.
“You have both shown the fighting skills and intellect needed to become a Ranger. Neither of you could best me, yet you did not yield, nor did you attempt to kill. You have both shown the characteristics needed to protect their planet and were you not Rangers, I would take you as my apprentices.”
“So you’re not a Grid Master then?” Aisha asked.
It had been confusing that while Dulcea mentioned the Power many times, she rarely related it to being a Ranger.
“I am a follower of the Power, the Master Warrior of Phaedos and protector of the Great Power,” she answered. “By
the standards of today I would not be considered a Grid Master, but by those of
more enlightened times, yes I would have held the title of Morphin Master. I am more than qualified to train you to become Rangers. That is why you were not expected to win our battle. The test was only to see if you would surrender or attempt a killing blow. You showed great character and will make excellent Rangers.”
Later that day Dulcea, David and Aisha gathered inside the ruins of the sacred grounds. Dulcea smiled as she regarded her young students. Both had come a long way in a short time and she knew the hardest part of their journey lay ahead of them in the future.
“You have both taken the tests required to decide your worthiness for the Ranger powers and you have both passed. As the Master Warrior, I grant you the powers of the White and Purple Rangers.”
She turned to the fire and poured a bag of golden dust into the flames. In the heat David could see a golden ball form, surrounded by creatures resembling the Wing Raptor, Tiger and Falcon.
“David Trueheart, you have proven yourself as part of a team and as an individual. You have shown honour and determination, but have never taken a life where you could avoid it. You showed intelligence by figuring out your options before moving and then striking with a decisive blow. You have faced danger head on where many might have waited for assistance and shown the determination to overcome such obstacles. Finally you showed that you were willing to sacrifice yourself for your teammates, knowing that to do so would ensure a victory. The Winged Raptor, Tiger and Falcon will serve you well. Reach into the flames and seize your destiny.”
David reached forward quickly; remembering what he had learnt and grabbed the ball. The fire did not burn or cause any inconvenience. As he pulled the ball out, he opened his palm and looked at the images engraved upon it. The Falcon, Tiger and Winged Raptor were pictured, along with the image of his face.
Next Dulcea turned her attention to Aisha. “Aisha Campbell, although you have not faced the same tests, the maze you braved was an equal challenge. You have shown yourself capable of logic and reasoning. In your tests you did not fear or question your instincts as they guided you to your destination. In the final combat you showed great determination and teamwork. In your time as a Ranger on Earth you have shown yourself to be a team player, capable of acting and thinking as necessary. I grant you the powers of the Purple Ranger.”
Once again Dulcea poured the contents of a small bag into the fire. The flames licked around the dust, melting it into a new form. As the flames danced Aisha could see the Stegosaurus, Medusa and Chameleon.
“Reach forward and accept your destiny,” Dulcea prompted.
Aisha reached into the flames and pulled out her ball. Opening her palm, she could make out the images of the Stegosaurus, Medusa and Chameleon, with her face on the reverse side.
“Now it is time to accept your powers and make the metamorphosis. It’s Morphin Time!”
“White Ranger Power!” David called.
“Purple Ranger Power!” Aisha called.
Having never been a full Morphin Ranger, David was surprised by the flow of energy through his bodies. Aisha had experienced the rush before, but this felt stronger. Whether it was the time, she had spent without the Power that added the boost or whether it was because she was finally in her correct colour she would never know.
“It has been my honour to train you, Rangers,” Dulcea continued, “but it is time to move to the next stage of your training. We will travel to Juruyella to reunite you with your friends. Then the eight of you will begin the last quest: for the Great Power.”
Thanking Dulcea for her help the two newest Rangers join their teacher as they left Phaedos.
End of Part
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