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Rangers in Retrograde: Mystic Force

By Nikolai Crumb

Fantasy / Action

Broken Spell Part 1

A short time ago, there was a dimension filled with wonderful magic. But then, darkness came into power, and the great battle began. An army of the undead, led by a powerful warrior, swarmed over the land, setting their sights on the human realm and beyond. All seemed hopeless when a small legion of brave and true wizards came forth. Against insurmountable odds, they battled heroically. They drove the evil back from the edge of the human world.
And then, two brave wizards cast a spell rising the Gates of the Underworld the forces of evil had come from and that sent the armies back into the Underworld. But great victory comes at great cost. The one who rise the gates, the Gatekeeper, lost her life in the deed while the other who pushed the forces back beyond the gate was lost, defending the gateway to prevent even one dark soul from escaping as it was sent back to the Underworld, and evil disappeared from the surface world.
The human world never knew of the great battle, or the sacrifices that were made to save them from destruction. Even to this day, they live in peace, totally unaware of what is about to awaken, or of just how significant the small town of Briarwood truly is…
On the highway overlooking Briarwood a young man rides up on a motorcycle, Nick Russel, stopping to look over the city he muses, "So… that must be Briarwood…" before continuing on down the road and into town.
Situated in the heart of the town we find the Rock-Porium, a music store with a most eclectic crew to manage and own it. Madison Rocca swims about the place behind a camera recording each of the crew in their elements. Vida, her sister working the turntables to create custom music for the customers is her first stop.
"Go Vida!" she laughs, "Sounds great sis!"
Before turning to Chip Thorn who is making random sword thrusts as he acts out some part from a Renaissance fair or fairy tale, his jacket tied around his neck as a cape, "Woah! Put the sword down Chip, we're at peace!" Madison laughs as she zoom in on Chip's antics.
"Even in times of peace a Knight must keep his skills sharp! Away!" Chip says dramatically as he dances away to fight invisible monsters.
Flashing a charming smile and a toned muscle Xander Bly winks at Madison just as a customer, a slightly heavyset young man enters, Xander quickly making his way over, "Hello, names Xander, what can I get you?"
The customer pauses, taking a glance at the door, "Just picking up a CD for my brother before we hit the road again."
Xander flashes his smile warmly as he leads the customer deeper into the store, "Names Xander Bly, come on I'm sure we can find something."
"Nikolai Blecker," the customer responds as the side office opens and their boss, Toby, emerges wearing goggles, a snorkel, and flippers.
Blecker suppresses a chuckle as the four employees stop what their doing and head over to their boss, Xander offering a quick, "One moment." before heading Toby's way. "Hey! Nice snorkel boss."
Xander reaches for the snorkel, but Toby slaps his hand away. Vida steps up next to Madison, laying a hand on her sister's shoulder, "Weren't you taking the day off today?"
Toby begins to respond, but has to yank his snorkel and goggles off to do so. "Yes, as a matter of fact, I was at the beach, snorkeling with the little fishies. And one swam right up to my mask! And he looked at me with these big fish eyes, and he said 'Are your employees cleaning the store like they said they would do?'" Smushing his face up, simulating a fish's mouth during the last line, which sends his workers into snickers and giggles, as well as the waiting costumer. "Now I have to go back to the water, back to the reef, find the fish, and say–no!"
Toby walks to his office, all four teens following as Blecker chuckles, "Seems like a fun place to work."
"Why don't you relax boss? Take a breather! I'll gather the troops; assign them things to do. Like sweep the floor, stock the merchandise, put out the trash, etcetera etcetera," Xander promises.
"Oh, you–you mean, do the jobs I pay you for. Guys!" Toby mocks jokingly before vanishing into his office.
"Alright, you heard the man, snap to it. Chip, grab a broom, Madison, deal with the stock, Vida, throw out the trash. *claps hands* Snap, snap!" Xander orders with sudden firmness as he heads over to Blecker, "Now about that CD you wanted."
Chip and Madison wander off to do their respective duties, as Xander helps Blecker find something of interest the entire place suddenly shakes violently.
"Earthquake!" Chip exclaims panicky as Xander helps Blecker to the safety of a door frame. "It's the end of the world!"
"Everybody take cover!" Vida exclaims.
Chip holds his hands up like an enthusiastic preacher of the apocalypse before shouting, "Just kidding."
"NOT funny," Blecker says looking a bit pale as he makes his way to the door, quickly paying for his purchase, "I hope my bro's ok in the car."
"Chip!" Madison admonishes before running up and grabbing him around the waist, pulling him backwards, supposedly towards safety.
Toby stands in the doorframe to his office, "Don't panic, don't panic! Remember the safety procedures!" quickly trying to read from a little pink piece of paper while staggering back and forth.
Vida is peering out from under a table, while Xander quick to help Blecker find the door, skating helmet sideways on his head.
"Get under a desk!" Toby exclaims as he dives back into his office, presumably under a desk.
Just outside town Nick exclaims, "Whoa!" as his motorcycle fights to stay on the road. He loses, and the motorcycle drives off onto the grass, sliding sideways. Nick crawls off and raises the visor of his helmet, looking out.
Deep in the forest The Xenotome unlocks and opens itself.
"Oh no. The darkness has been unleashed," a Mysterious Voice intones ominously.
Back in the Rock-Porium, Madison and Chip peer out from their hiding place.
"Is it over?"
"I'm alive!"
Both stand up and walk out from around the counter.
"Oh, great. The store's messier than before."
Vida emerges from her own hiding place as Xander reenters. All four survey the store.
"That Blecker kid and his brother OK?"
Xander nods as Vida surveys the damage.
"You'd have thought that wouldn't be possible." she muses on the mess.
"Well, the good news is, the worst is over."
A purple, glowing ball shoots out from the Gates of the Underworld, going above ground and landing with a gigantic explosion. Something stands up from the ground. Evil laughter is heard.
"After all these years, I'm free," Koragg gloats.
A new page in the Xenotome reveals itself, showing a symbol of some sort, "There is a crack in the gate," the mysterious voice muses dangerously. A shadowy figure is seen reading from the book, illuminated for a second by lightning. "The darkness has returned."
Madison is videotaping all of her friends. Chip is lounging and eating pizza, while Xander skates up to a bike and jumps over it. Madison's face appears in the viewscreen, "After narrowly escaping death, the human species copes with it in very different ways."
Xander flips his skateboard over and pops it up into his hands, winking at the camera, "Some use physical activity. Some listen to music." Vida is sitting in the back of her truck, listening to music on her headphones and reading a magazine. Vida sees her sister filming, and waves.
"And, some eat. Tell me, Chip Thorn, what type of pizza are you eating?" her camera pans over to Chip, who is eating a very weird pizza. He takes a very large bite, and can barely be understood around it.
"Chicken, pepperoni, cheese, and chocolate marshmallows."
The camera pans back to Madison's face in disgust, "Eww… a fine example of the non-human species."
Just then a old voice call out, "Somebody please help me."
Xander, Vida, Madison, and Chip all stop what their doing and turn to the old man, along with several random townsfolk.
"Please. Someone. Anyone. I need help." he pleads again to the crowd, "It's my brother. We were walking just up the road, and some creature grabbed him. I fear the worst. It's just out of town; the creature took him into the woods."
The crowd looks at each other, shaking their heads in denial until...
"Can you imagine that, V? Him asking for someone to go into the woods." Xander talks softly into Vida's ear.
She does not respond.
"V?"
"Won't somebody please help me?"
"I will." three voices rise among the crowd.
The crowd parting to reveal Nick, Blecker, and his older brother. Nick kneeling by his motorcycle, apparently tinkering with it while the Blecker's are standing by a rent a car, the younger leaning on a wood stick with a dear-hide wrap for the handle, a native American design.
"I could use a break." Nick adds.
"Thank you." the old man says thankfully.
Nick stands up as the Bleckers gather around near him Nick slipping on his leather jacket as the Old Man totters over to him. Xander steps up, still wearing his skating pads."Hey, I'm a–I'm Xander. You're new around here, aren'tcha? Probably not aware of all the facts. And there's just one: you go into those woods, you don't come out."
"Heard about it. But the guy needs help. No one else in this city seems to care." Nick starts, him and the Old Man starting to turn away.
"Oh I'm sure we can handle anything with of us, what kind of jerk just abandons someone in need asking for help," the older Blecker comments as Vida steps forward.
"Make that four!" Nick turns back, looking at her with surprise. Vida looks around at the rest of the crowd. "Not everyone in this city's a coward."
Nick smiles subtly, as Chip steps forward, his demeanor one of excitement, "I'll go too! I've always wanted to go on a dangerous quest." Chip's smile fades into a frown, and he turns to Vida. "This is a dangerous quest, right?"
"Perilous."
Chip's smile returns full force, "Sweet!"
Nick adding, "Well, let's go."
Vida walks off after Nick, and Chip follows, joined by the Bleckers. The entire crowd disperses. Xander looking at Madison in astonishment. "Don't look at me! I'm the sister with the common sense."
Both watch as their friends walk off the Old Man.
Atop a building Necrolai stands menacingly, laughing evilly, then flys away. Quickly finding a tunnel and deep, deep underground, past hundreds of foot soldiers, landing in front of a throne with a distant figure atop it.
"Report, Necrolai." The figure demands irritably, hundreds of foot soldiers jittering above the throne.
"I have seen the human world. It is all that we imagined, and let it be destroyed!"
"Destroyed, it will be."
Necrolai clasps her hands together in glee, while Morticon strokes his sword. "Let me be the one!"
"In due time, hag. We must not make the same mistakes!" The gear part of Morticon's head is pumping wildly. "We must be clever. Ruthless. This time, we will be victorious!"
Morticon slams the point of his sword into the ground, using it to level himself to a standing position. He begins strutting around the throne room. "Listen, my undead warriors! You have lived only in nightmares. But no longer! Where is Koragg? Send him forth to all who live in the light! To destroy!"
Morticon raises his sword into the air, dramatically. Koragg walks up in the shadows.
"Careful, Morticon. You are only a servant of the Master."
Back on the surface the five approach the edge of the woods, a sign reads "Danger: Keep Out."
The Old Man, Nick, Vida, the Bleckers and Chip file in a line past it. The old man whispering softly "and then there were five."
Raising his voice to audible levels he looks over the others, "You sure you're willing to enter? The woods are a very scary place."
Nick stares suspiciously at the Old Man, "You ask a lot of questions for someone whose brother is in danger."
"Everyone's in danger," he says cryptically.
Chip is still excited, "Everyone's in danger? Yeah!"
The younger Blecker eyes the old man suspiciously, "That doesn't sound suspicious at all," he says sarcastically.
His older brother chuckles.

A horn honks, and everyone turns around to face the noise. It is Xander and Madison, driving Vida's truck. Vida is very annoyed, "Xander! I told you if you ever took my car I'd rearrange your limbs."
Xander hops out of the truck, not even bothering with the door. He brushes imaginary dust off of the hood, "You're going into the woods and never returning. As if you're even gunna see it again."
"He's got a point," Chip jokes.
"You're my sister. Where you go, I go."
The Old Man, standing a ways off, watches; "And so, there is seven...quite unprecedented."
The teens are wandering single file through the forest, followed by the Old Man.
"Ugh, its creepy out here." Madison comments.
"You got that right." Xander adds.
The teens keep walking, but the Old Man stops, and falls back. The teens do not notice. The Old Man disappears. Madison noticing a odd tingle as they pass through a invisible barrier. "Huh? What was that? I felt something weird."
"Wait! Where's the old man?" Nick muses.
"Ten seconds in the woods and we're already lost. Alright!" Chip exclaims excitedly!
"We can't be lost," The younger Blecker comments, "Just stop, and back up a little."
"We could split up into group the Old Man can't have gotten far," the older Blecker advises.
Chip looks excitedly, "This is like Scooby Doo! I wonder who will run into the monster first when we split up! Hey either of you guys named Fred or Shaggy?"
"Nick Russel."
"Nikolai Blecker"
"Chris Blecker"
The 3 rattle off, N Blecker joking, "Besides none of us have a talking Great Dane or Scobby Snacks."
"Ruby Ruby Roooooooo!" Chip jokes.
"The group laugh before Xander breaks in, "I think it would be best if we stuck together."
Shortly...
We pick up again in the middle of a rant, complete with hand gestures, from Chip, " –trolls, goblins, and elves live in the woods, too. I've also heard that a witch lives here. She's hideous, with green skin and a black tongue with yellow drool that slowly drips from the corner of her mouth when she speaks."
"You've been reading too many fairy tales, friend." Nick jokes, the teens appear to have been walking a long time. Nick stops them, and they fan out facing of him, appearing scared. "Guys. There's no such thing as witches."
Nick notices that they aren't paying attention to his entreaty, and looks at their scared faces. "Okay, so now you're playing with me." his voice rising to a mocking falsetto, "Ooo! Someone's behind me! I'm so scared. Boo!"
"There is someone behind you!" Vida warns.
Nick turns around. There is a very dark, cloaked figure standing almost directly behind him. He screams and jumps backwards. The figure holds its arms out and advances.
"Anybody wanna run?"
"Already tried, but my feet won't move."
Hidiacs, the foot soldiers of the Underworld jump out of nowhere, making noises.
"She brought friends!"
Hidiacs surround the group of teens, leaving the cloaked figure alone.
"Watch out!"
The cloaked figure pulls a glowing, snowflake-topped wand out from behind it. A woman's voice cries out as she spins, trailing light. "Mysto Aerotan!"
Seven brooms fly out of nowhere, and pick up the teens in various ways, causing them to flail wildly hundreds of feet in the air. Meanwhile, the Hidiacs rush the cloaked figure, who uses her wand to blow them up.
N Blecker comments as they fly off, "Okay I believe in magic now!"
"Yeah!" Chip exclaims excitedly.
Everyone else shouting, "Whoaaaaa!"
The brooms are flying the teens closer to a gigantic tree deep in the forest. Chip and N. Blecker enjoying the flight. The teens are dumped on their faces on the ground, while the brooms fly away. The group stands up, brushing off the dirt from their landing.
"Okay. So, new guy. Now you know why no one goes into these woods," Xander grouses.
The teens advancing on the 3 out of town visitors.
"What is this place?" Vida's completely ignores their little testosterone fight, and is instead wondering where the brooms have dropped them off. There appears to be a cave, directly behind them.
"I call it: Rootcore," The shadowy figure is standing right behind Nick, once again.
"Quick, in here!" Chip offers as The group of teens backs into the cave, the cave is revealed to be what looks like a stone dragon's mouth. The mouth lowers as the teens back further in, locking them in.
Having passed through some unseen doorway the seven emerge into a strange room full of computer monitors melded with twisted roots and trees, the Cloaked Figure appearing before them suddenly, "I thought it best you were brought here."
Lost and confused, Xander raises his hand in greeting, trying to act charming, "Hi, I'm Xander. It's a really nice place you got here, its–its really…" he pauses to knock on nearby table, "…woody."
The cloaked figure raises her wand in a flash of sparkles, and the brooms appear in five color-coded stations along the wall, the last 2 resting against a wall.
The cloaked figure dramatically throws off her cloak revealing to be an older woman, with long red hair, dressed in white. "I am the sorceress Udonna. Welcome to my home."
She opens her arms in the universal gesture of welcome, and the group of teens looks around the room a touch more relaxed.
"Wow… this is awesome!" Chip exclaims.
"Right up you ally Nikky," the older Blecker says prodding his younger brother with a elbow.
N. Russel looks confused at the older Blecker before noting the younger one chuckle, "Well of course."
The room is more then computers and wood but is also decorated with illuminated stain glass and lots of shadows, Udonna continues "When the seven of you went to the forest, you stepped into a magical dimension."
Chip is excited, like a kid in a candy store, "A parallel dimension outside of Briarwood? Do we live in a great city or what?!"
N Blecker smirks, "Gothem's better but I never saw Batman."
"Everyone knows Batman's just a comic," Vida counters, "Like the Power Rangers, it's not real."
C Blecker interrupts, "Um you guys do realize the Power Rangers were on TV, heck a team of them publicly defended Mariner Bay."
"Cool that proves Batman is real!" Chip exclaims, "Like the Ninja Turtles!"
Both Nicks face palm.
A weird noise is heard, and suddenly Udonna is on the other side of the group of teens. She advances on them. This time, they do not back up, "A few years ago, there was a great battle in our world. Dark magic conquered our realm, and was about to enter your dimension, when we finally defeated them, and sent them back to the underworld. But at a great cost." Udonna is looking away in sadness, then comes back to herself and whirls around. "The gate was sealed with a powerful spell. However, during the recent earthquake, a crack appeared in the gate, and evil has slipped through."
Xander raises his hand, a finger pointing to the ceiling as if he is in class, and trying to get his teacher's attention, "Remember me? Xander? Look, I'm just wondering: what does that have to do with us?"
"It could mean the end for both our worlds."
"Please." Nick (Russel) laughs, "None of us are buying this fairy tale."
Udonna has turned around and walked up the stairs, but she turns to face the teens again as Nick talks, "This is not a fairy tale. What I tell you is what happened."
Nick scoffs, "Guys..."
"We just fought undead things and flew on brooms, I'll believe anything the magic witch lady says." N. Blecker comments, Chip high fives him.
 "All right!"
Vida adds a bit of rationality, "Hey! Let's hear what she has to say. We can always leave after that."
Udonna is standing in front of a giant book on a pedestal, her arms stretched out around it, "The Xenotome. The Book of the Unknown. In it, is everything we do not know."
"Xena...tome?" Chip comments, "I loved that show."
N. Blecker chuckles.
The teens walk up the stairs cautiously, approaching the book. As they get closer, a new inscription appears in the book, "What kind of language is that? I've never seen it before."
"It is the language of the ancients. You will soon learn it. It says, that when evil rises again, five mystical warriors from the human realm will step forward. You are those warriors. You… are the POWER RANGERS."
The expressions on the various teens' faces ranges from enthusiasm to outright skepticism.
"Nice!" Chip exclaims.
Xander raises his hand again, "Uh, excuse me. There must be some mistake. How are we gonna defeat pure evil? Our high school hasn't even won a football game in like, six years."
Udonna ignores the comment, and holds out a set of wands, five wands, "These are your magic wands. Never go anywhere without them."
"Wait," C. Blecker injects, "There's only five of those, and you just said Five POWER RANGERS, there are seven of us."
Udonna pauses in thought, "Yes, clearly there is more going on then predicted, the evil must have found a edge, or perhaps two of you are meant for something different later on. The wands will decide who will be their masters."
As she hands each teen a wand, the colored part glows: yellow for Chip; Green for Xander; Blue for Madison; Red for Nick (Russel), who takes his reluctantly, and Pink for both Nick (Blecker) and Vida. Chris Blecker has no reaction to any of them. Just as she finishes, another woman runs into the room frantically.
"Udonna! Oh! Hello. Nice to meet you," Clare pauses, flustered enough by the unexpected presences to lose her urgent train of thought. Xander raises his hand in a hesitant greeting. "Uh, excuse me. Udonna!"
Clare leans over and whispers frantically in Udonna's ear. Udonna has an immediate reaction.
"You must stay here until I return. Do not go into the woods by yourselves." Udonna raises her hand, snapping her fingers, and disappearing in a flash of white light. Clare begins imitating her.
"I wish I could do that; I practice and I practice, but, tch, nothing!"
The teens are watching Clare warily, kind of shocked.
"Oh, um, hello, again. Um, I'm Clare, sorceress in training here at Rootcore," Clare is very helpful, perky, and completely scaring Nick.
He throws his hands up, "Okay. That's it. I'm out of here." Nick (Russel) tries to walk away, but ends up walking into Clare, who has put herself in his path.
"No! You can't go."
"No?"
"Udonna said you had to stay here until she returned."
"We all better go," Madison adds.
"Maybe we should vote on it, I mean come on guys last time we ventured out into the woods monsters attacked us, it's how we wound up here!" N. Blecker argues.
The group pause a moment, Nick R. looking impatient, "Well I'm going, who else is with me."
"And where exactly are you going?" C. Blecker asks.
"Back to town, what else."
"Oh got somewhere you need to be? Didn't you come in on a motorcycle, my brother and I have far more pressing matters, we have to get to San Angeles, our dogs were ever taken up there ahead of us, their waiting for us, but we're waiting, we can spare a few hours, especially if the fate of the world is somehow up to us, right Nicky." he says glancing over at his brother.
"Stop calling me that, KIM." the younger Blecker injects. "Just call me Blecker, everyone else does."
C. Blecker chuckles, "Makes you sound like your our dad, Mr. Blecker."
"Not Mr. Blecker, just Blecker!" N. Blecker counters.
"Sure," his brother says dropping the subject, before turning back to Nick R. "So you really in that big a hurry Nick?"
Nick R. huffs and crosses his arms, dropping himself into a near chair, "Fine, witch lady's got fifteen minutes."
The others take his lead and find seats, N. Blecker rubbing his legs as he sits, looking sheepishly at the others, "Bad knees."
"Oh, Oh I know! I can fix that!" Clare says gesturing wildly as everyone cautiously watches her as she shouts some strange words.
N. Blecker is enveloped in light, and falls out of the chair, as he tries to sit back up he finds the bones in his legs have turned to jelly and can't support any weight. All four local teens and Nick R. jump backwards in shock, while Blecker's brother helps sit his brother back in the chair.
"Oh boy, is Udonna gonna be mad at me."
"C'mon," Nick R. protests, "You really want to stick around with miss magical misfire over there?"
Xander injects, "You really going to leave Blecker after that, we need to at least wait for Udonna to return to fix him."
"Thanks Xander." Blecker adds.
Nick throws up his arms and takes a seat, glaring at Clare, "Fine! But you, I want you at least 20 feet away from any of us at all times!"
Clare nods and backs away, "S-Sorry."
N. Blecker shrugs, "Mistakes happen."
"She melted your bones!" Nick objects.
N. Blecker chuckles, "Meh, it's magic, I was asking for it."
Nick R. huffs.
Udonna looks around see burning ruins of a village populated by faeries, goblins, and elves. The Elf Leader comes out of nowhere, interrupting Udonna's reflections, "It is her! It is you! The protector is here. Hail, the Mystic Force."
Several villagers adding, "Hail!"
All the villagers walk up, and kneel before Udonna, she smiles warmly just as a giant ogre growls from behind the trees and charges, waving its arms. The villagers flee in panic. Udonna pulls out her wand, and stands in an aggressive stance. "Magical Source, Mystic Force!"
In a flurry of light and magic she is transformed into...
"Flurry of snow! White Mystic Ranger."
Udonna jumps up into the air, to the height of the ogre, "Fire!"
The blast has no affect upon the ogre, who tries to smash Udonna with his fist. Udonna flips backwards out of the way. The Hidiacs, meanwhile, sneak up on her as she lands, she turns quickly and freezes them with a blast of her wand, shattering them with one blow before turning back to the ogre.
"Snow Staff!" she exclaims freezing the ogre, then poses as the ogre explodes, "You're iced." Udonna then powers down, "Power down."
It is a bit premature as Koragg pops out of a dark seal on the ground. Udonna watching him carefully.
"You may have defeated my Hidiacs, but you'll not defeat me. Wolf Attack!"
There is a gigantic explosion, sending Udonna flying, she glares at Koragg from the ground.
"It is the end for you."
Continue Reading Next Chapter
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