|Soul of a Samurai
Author: HypnoticMelody PM
-SEQUEL to Heart of a Samurai- The Samurai life isn't an easy one with all of the rules, never ending training, Nighlok attacks, and falling in love. With the threat of the Nighlok King, Serrator, the pressure to save the world has doubled. People need to remember that they are also just teenagers who were sucked into the super hero world one day and have never looked back since.Rated: Fiction T - English - Friendship/Romance - Chapters: 40 - Words: 257,922 - Reviews: 490 - Favs: 43 - Follows: 46 - Updated: 06-14-13 - Published: 07-08-12 - id: 8299729
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
.:Chapter Ten – Trading Places:.
"And there's nothing else about the Nighlok that stood out to you?" Melody asked Emily, letting out a sigh of annoyance. The Nighlok hadn't returned to the city that night, and while Mike, Emily, Melody, and Mentor all tried to find out how to reverse their friends faster than destroying the Nighlok. She set the book she held in her hands, down, and reached for the piece of toast that was next to her. "What he looked like? His name? Anything?"
"Sorry," Emily said with a frown, reaching for her cup of juice. "It all happened so fast and I was worried—"
"All I know is that he switched everybody's spirits into the object their body takes the shape of," Mike interrupted, setting his cup of juice down onto the table with a loud clack. "I was up all night trying to think of what to do, but I came up with nothing."
"You?" Melody deadpanned, arching an eyebrow. "You were thinking?" She gave Mike a small smile to show that she was joking, but the serious look didn't leave his face. "What's on your mind, dude?"
"Nothing, it's just…with both Jayden and Kevin down, I should step up as the leader," Mike replied, turning to face her. Emily and Mentor exchanged glances. "You know I'm right and who else is going to do it?"
Emily cleared her throat. "Well, Mel is—"
"Mel is benched, so it doesn't matter," Melody reminded her. "Mike's right. We, you, need a leader. I can still train and everything until I can fight again but right now, he's the best we've got."
"I know I'm always cracking jokes and everything, but I can do this." Mike said to Emily. "We'll get our friends back, don't worry." I hope.
"That's not what I'm worried about," Emily quietly replied, shifting her attention to the cereal bowl in front of her. She took a few bites before pushing the bowl away from her. "Mel, you said you needed my help this morning?"
"Yeah," Melody replied with a nod. "I can only go through books so fast."
"No problem," Emily replied, getting up to put her dishes in the sink. "I'll go check on everyone; make sure they're ok."
"I'm going to change, and then I'll be training outside," Mike said, leaving some of his breakfast untouched as well.
"I've never seen Mike so responsible before," Melody commented once her friend was out of ear shot.
"Neither have I," Mentor replied, staring at the spot Mike had just left, "He's come a long way since he joined the team. I knew it was only a matter of time until we saw his maturity start to shine through."
"I wouldn't say he's that mature," Emily said, appearing in the doorway. She jerked her thumb over her shoulder, trying hard not to smile. "You need to see what he did." She then trained her eyes on Melody. "And I assume you helped him?"
Melody just shrugged, grabbing the book off the table to follow the two of them into the common room. Mentor stopped short when he saw what was in front of him. Kevin was wearing a pink, frilly tutu, with a tiara, and Jayden had a Santa hat on his head, and a mustache and beard combo which looked like it was drawn on with white-out.
"Now, what I'm trying to figure out, is why only Kevin and Jayden?" Emily asked turning towards Melody, who was trying to look innocent by flipping through the pages of the book in her hands.
"Do you know how hard it is to be punny with a fan and a fish?" she asked, glancing up from the book, giving Mentor a sheepish grin when she spotted the annoyed look on his face. "Because it was funny, and they both need to learn how to lighten up." She then let out a sigh turning towards Emily. "Not only that, but Mike saw how worried you were getting and was trying to get you to smile."
"It is pretty funny," Emily said, finally allowing herself to smile, and let out a short giggle at the sight in front of her. "You think we'll ever find out what we need about that Nighlok?"
"It's hard to say," Mentor replied with a frown. "I've never seen this Nighlok before. It's possible a previous Samurai team has fought them, but I haven't recognized a handful of the past ones you've fought."
"So, there's a chance that they could not be in the archives?" Melody asked, turning towards him. "What do we do, then?"
"Keep searching," Mentor said with a heavy sigh. "We'll figure something out."
"The Nighlok won't stay in the Netherworld for too long," Emily replied, brushing her hair behind her ears. "We'll have to think of something soon or he'll start destroying all the objects the people have turned into. It'll be a matter of time before he searches or the Rangers."
"Even if he does come here, which is highly unlikely, we have the spells set up around the Shiba House to ward off the Nighlok," Mentor replied, clasping his hands behind his back. "Plus, I've sent Jaeger out to patrol the area, just in case."
"Hopefully, he doesn't get distracted by the stray cat," Melody added, speaking more to herself than to Emily and Mentor. "It's been around for a while; I don't think it's eaten in the past few days."
"I've tried symbol power last night," Mentor continued as if Melody didn't say anything, "and even that won't switch them back."
Melody's eyes suddenly lit up. "Switch," she repeated. "That's it! Mentor, what's the Japanese word or 'switch' or 'alter' or 'to change' something like that? And do you think you could draw the symbol for me?"
"You have an idea on how to figure out what the Nighlok is?" Emily asked as Mentor hurried out of the room to get some paper.
"I have a hunch, but keep your fingers crossed," Melody replied with a nod, motioning for the Yellow Ranger to follow her out of the room. They went into Mentor's office, where they found him quickly jotting down what she had asked him for. "I'm going to need your help as well. I've searched in the first two books, but I need your help looking through the others."
"What if we don't find anything?" Emily asked with a frown.
"You two are just going to have to do the best you can, then," Mentor replied, handing Melody the sheet of paper. Melody glanced at it, mouthing the word to herself a few times before tracing the kanji with her finger tip. "You and Mike are great Samurai; you'll think of something."
"You don't think Mike can do it?" Melody asked as she started pulling books off of Mentor's shelves. Emily did the same, shaking her head.
"No, I believe in him," she reassured the two of them, "and I know he can do it too. It's just; he gets really hard on himself when he has a lot of pressure on him and—"
"If it's one thing I've learned from my friends in times like this, it's to not dwell on the negative," Melody interrupted her. "If you believe Mike can do it, then he can do it. It'll be hard, no doubt, but—" she trailed off when her hand hit the air."We're missing a book."
"But, we always keep the books in here," Emily said with a frown. A few seconds passed and a look of realization crossed her face. "Maybe Kevin had it last. He always borrows books from the archives for 'light' reading." She disappeared from the room for a few moments as Melody continued to pull books off the shelves, tucking them under her chin as she tried to hold them all.
"So, what's your plan?" Mentor asked, motioning to take some of the books from her.
"Find every entry with this word, or the kanji, by it in each of these books," Melody explained, passing some books to him. "I don't know what the Nighlok looks like, but Emily does. Once she sees it, she'll be able to point it out to us."
"Good idea," Mentor replied with a nod.
Moments later, Emily slowly came back into the room, a frown on her face, holding a book in her hand. "Found it," she said quietly.
"Find the book or find the Nighlok?" Melody asked, dropping the books in her arms to the floor, hurrying over to her. "I'll clean this up later, Mentor."
"Both," Emily replied. "Guys…we missed Kevin's birthday. It was in October, before mine."
"No offense Emily, but I don't really see how that's important right now," Melody said as she gently pulled the book from the Yellow Ranger's hands. She flipped the page open to the spot where Emily had her thumb. "Switchbeast?"
"Let me see it," Mentor Ji replied, offering his hand to take the book from her.
"I know it's not important right now, but…it's kind of sad, I mean, everyone should celebrate their birthday," Emily said, sliding her hands into her jeans pockets. "I guess I just never knew how seriously Kevin took his training." And how I really need to step up with mine. Serena would be so far ahead of me at this point. I can't let her down. "So I was thinking, once everything goes back to normal and calms down a little, we could throw him a party. I mean, it'd be way late but I was thinking we could go to the local gym and have a pool party."
"That's actually a great idea, Em," Melody said with a grin. "Summer's coming up, so he must be missing swimming a lot right now, especially because he had to miss his shot at the Olympics to come here."
"And like I said to Jayden before, it's good to have balance in your life," Mentor said as he skimmed the pages of the book. "He deserves to blow off some steam every now and then. I know that Samurai training is important to him; but I can't help but wonder if he's starting to forget that he was someone before being a Samurai."
"Ji, what does the book say?" Melody asked, rubbing at her forehead. "If we don't get Kevin back into his body he, for sure, will forget who he was before becoming a Samurai."
"Switchbeast is a cat-like Nighlok," Mentor Ji read aloud as he started to pace around the room, "Able to fire orbs from his mouth, in an attack called Switchblast, Switchbeast possesses the power to switch people's souls with anything but he chooses to switch them with inanimate objects." Mentor stopped pacing and frowned as he read the last sentence. "Once the humans are switched into inanimate objects, Switchbeast destroys the objects, thus destroying the human body."
"Which would allow the Sanzu River water to rise because everybody would be…dead," Melody finished in a quiet voice.
"That's sick," Emily groaned, putting a hand to her stomach. "Now, it's really important that we defeat that Nighlok." She let out a breath of air and brushed her hair behind her ears. "Looks like all Mike and I can do is train as hard as we can to have a shot against the Nighlok."
"You have Jaeger too, don't forget," Melody reminded her as she started to put the books back on the shelves.
"I'll go tell Mike what we found out," Emily offered before turning and leaving the room.
"This must be hard for you," Ji commented as soon as Emily was out of ear shot.
"Yeah, no kidding," Melody said with a small laugh, juggling an armful of books, "But, I deserve it and I take full responsibility for my actions." She was silent for a moment before turning back towards Mentor. "I know I can't leave the house or anything, but I think I know a way to help while I'm here; besides looking up Nighlok in the archive. It'd help everybody else with their training, too."
"I'm listening," Mentor Ji replied, raising his eyebrows.
Emily paused in the back doorway of the Shiba House, watching as Mike trained. He hadn't been practicing for long, but he had worked up a good sweat while he was out there. She had never seen him work so hard before. When they were normally training both she and Mike had fun with what they were doing, making little games and bets out of the activities. Jayden wasn't too happy about it at first, thinking they were just distracting each other, but he quickly found that they had improved greatly and worked well with each other.
Mike gave her a good fight and a good work-out, never going easy on her like everyone else sometimes did as they were worried they were going too fast or her, or was worried they were going to hurt her. Mike was the only one that truly understood the skill she had and the skill that she needed to have to be a great Samurai. There was something about him that made it so easy for her to tell him about Serena. She knew she could trust him.
"It's been a long time since I've seen you practicing by yourself," she commented, stepping out in the backyard. Mike stumbled for a moment when he suddenly heard her voice, but caught his balance, turning around to face her, giving a half shrug. "You're really into this."
"It's also been a while since I've tried taking on a Nighlok by myself," Mike agreed, lowering his shinai as he made his way over to the bench. Emily beat him to it, grabbing the green towel off the bench as he sat down. She dabbed at a few spots on his face before handing him the towel. "Thanks, Em." He reached for his water bottle and squirted a long stream into his mouth, swallowing. "Besides, it's easy to defeat a Nighlok, but trying to convince it to do what we want?" He let out a low whistle. "Next to impossible."
"We've found the Nighlok in the archives," Emily said, moving to sit beside him, "his name is Switchbeast."
"Fitting name," Mike said with a snort.
Emily silently nodded, peering at the Green Ranger for a moment. She was surprised to see him so serious; he was always the goofball, cracking jokes even in dire situations. She often wondered if it helped him cope with things that were too hard, but never asked. She knew that both Kevin and Mike worked hard to beat, or even be like Jayden, but she knew that Mike didn't want to be a leader; he just wanted to be as skilled as the Red Ranger. Mike was always too quick to irritation at somebody else falling behind, or getting things wrong, or asking too many questions to even think about being a leader, but at the same time, he was always kicking himself for doing the exact same thing he hated other people doing.
"We have to train hard," Mike said, filling the silence between them. He draped his towel over his neck, letting it sit there for a moment before running it over his hair. "We have to get our friends back. I'm not making the same mistake I did last time I fought a Nighlok alone."
"I remember when you fought that long-armed Nighlok," Emily spoke up, allowing a smile to come to her face. "You did great." And she meant it. She was impressed with how he had handled the situation. She saw firsthand how tough it was to see his friends get hurt, and to know they were that close but couldn't associate with them. That must be how Mel feels. How would I feel if I knew Serena was around? Would I leave too?
Mike gave a quick smile of thanks before shaking his head, setting his jaw. "I did lousy," he replied, removing the towel from his head, balling it up between his hands. "I would've had my ass handed to me if Jayden didn't have my back."
"We all had your back, Mike," Emily replied, clicking her tongue, "that's what friends do for each other. Jayden did help you, but you were the real star that day. Remember? You were the one that figured out how to beat him." She then gently punched him on the arm. "Besides, you won't be by yourself. You have me; and you always will. We'll figure this out."
Mike let out a groan of frustration. "Jayden would have figured this out by now," he growled, "Or Kevin, or Mia, or…"
"Last time I checked you weren't Jayden," Emily said, placing a hand on his shoulder, giving it a gentle squeeze, "or Kevin, or Mia. You're you; you're Mike."
"It's just…" Mike trailed off, pressing his lips together. He let out a breath of air, turning to face her. "What happened to the others, I can't let that happen to you, Em. I'd hate myself if anything happened."
"Mia did say you went pretty postal when I had my spirit taken from the Nighlok," Emily commented, glancing down at her lap before looking back up at him.
"It's like I said; you're the heart of the team, Em," Mike explained, "I couldn't do anything then to help you, but I know I can protect you now. I don't want to see you hurt, not again."
A smile tugged at Emily's lips as she clasped her hands in her lap. She glanced down towards the ground before looking up at Mike again, locking eyes with him. "Nothing's going to happen to me," she replied, her smile getting wider. "We'll beat this Nighlok together."
"Right," Mike replied in a low voice, shifting in his seat to angle his body towards her. "Together." He leaned towards her…and then Jayden's words popped into his head: "Most importantly, there are to be no romantic entanglements between Rangers." Mike paused, his eyes widening slightly and jumped to his feet.
"Right," he said, turning to face her, "I should, um, get back to training."
"Oh, uh, yeah," Emily replied with a nod, getting to her feet, trying to mask her frown. What did you think was going to happen? Why are you frowning? She cleared her throat. "One thing though; I saw what you did to Kevin." She giggled when Mike instantly started to chuckle. "When he gets back into his body, you know he's going to kill you, right?"
"But what a way to go out, huh?" Mike asked with a grin, "Death by laughter." He shook his head as his laughter died down.
Emily chuckled as she went back into the Shiba House. Her smile quickly turned into a frown as her face twisted at the horrible smell that invaded her nose. "Ugh," she groaned, pinching her nostrils shut. "Mentor, what's that smell?" There was the sound of footsteps and Mentor Ji and Melody walked into the room, searching for Emily, wondering what she was talking about. It didn't take them too long to figure it out.
"It's worse than Mike's socks," Melody commented, sticking out her tongue, waving her hand in the air in front of her nose.
"I have a hunch," Mentor commented, making his way out of the room. He came back a moment later carrying the plate of fish, nodding as the two girls let out louder shrieks of disgust as the smell got worse. "We forgot to put Antonio in the fridge over night. He must be spoiling; I'll put him in the refrigerator."
Before he could take two steps, the Gap Sensor went off, causing everyone to jump and Mentor to nearly drop the plate in his hands. He handed the plate to Melody, who hurried into the kitchen, setting the plate down onto the island before she joined Mentor and Emily in the living room, hovering over the oak table and the map of the city.
"Nighlok's finally shown his face again," Emily reported, staring at the spot for a moment, memorizing where it was before heading towards the back door. "I'll get Mike."
"No need," Mike said as he rushed in, breathing heavily "Besides, I've got an idea. Let's go, Em."
"Wait," Mentor said, stopping the two Rangers in their tracks. He reached into the folds of his robes and pulled out the Black Box. "Before you go, I want you to have this."
"The Black Box?" Mike asked, losing the look of determination and adopting fear and confusion onto his face. He reached out with a shaky hand, grasping the talisman. "I'm not sure I can handle this."
"You can do it, Mike," Mentor Ji replied quietly. "I know you can. We all do."
"Show 'em how Super Green rolls, dude," Melody said, holding up a fist to bump his with it. "You said you had a plan? Let's see how it works out with a little extra power."
"Alright, but it's pretty risky and a little bit crazy," Mike said with a shake of his head, looking towards Emily, silently wondering if she'd go along with it.
"Sounds like a Mike plan," Emily said in a sing-song voice. "What is it?"
"Hold on," Melody said, putting up a hand to stop Mike as he opened his mouth to explain. He jogged to the back door, pushing the sliding door open and let out a shrill whistle. Moments later, Jaeger arrived in the backyard, his wings folding against his back as he instantly transformed from his lion form back into a human, a look of worry on his face. "We've got trouble; and Mike's got a plan."
"Trouble and Mike go hand in hand," Jaeger commented, following Melody into the house. "I'm all ears."
"Ok, Mel, I'm going to need to borrow your soccer ball," Mike announced, turning towards the Purple Ranger. Melody gave him an odd look. "I told you it was crazy."
"Ahhh, they're playing my favorite song!" Switchbeast laughed as the screams from the citizens of Panorama City reached his ears. His laughter turned into a growl when he heard rapid footsteps behind him shortly followed by a loud, "So, you like music, do you?" Switchbeast spun around on his heel to face Mike and Emily as the two Rangers glared down at him from the top of a set of stairs.
"Then let's dance," Mike said, his hands curling into fists. The two Rangers quickly morphed, drawing their Spin Swords as they flipped in the air, swinging it down towards Switchbeast, who blocked the attack with his double ended spear. Switchbeast swung his arm back, throwing the two Rangers behind him.
"Thought you could catch me off guard, huh?" he asked, stabbing Mike in the middle of the chest with one of his tentacles. He laughed when Mike let out a loud scream of pain. "Let's switch you with something nice and easy to smash, Greenie." Switchbeast shot out his second tentacle, but before he could switch Mike with an inanimate object, Emily grabbed onto the tentacle, turned and raced towards him, stabbing himself in the chest, causing the Nighlok and the Ranger to switch bodies.
"What the hell?" Switchbeast, now in Mike's body, asked as he looked at his hands. "What did you guys do to me?"
"Alright, my plan worked," Mike cheered, turning to slap Emily a high five. "Ok, Mr. Nighlok, now that you've had a taste of your own medicine, how about you tell us how to switch everyone back?" The Nighlok in the Green Ranger's body just laughed, shaking his head.
"Tell us the secret, or you're going to get it," Emily threatened, pointing the tip of her blade at him.
"In case you've forgotten, I'm in his body now," Switchbeast growled, pointing at his own body. "As much damage as you inflict on this body, if we switch back, your boyfriend here is going to feel it."
Emily gasped, lowering her arm, turning towards Mike. The Nighlok beside her was barely moving. "I hadn't thought of that," Mike muttered, shaking his head. He then pointed a menacing finger at his own body. "I don't care! I'm getting everybody back."
"That's very noble of you, but I think I can get you to change your mind," Switchbeast said, turning his blade towards the Green Ranger's neck. "Back off, or Greenie gets it. I'll be taking my own life, but that's one Ranger down and enough tears to flood this planet."
"Oh? You don't like my body?" Mike asked as Emily flipped open her Samuraizer. "Then we'll put you somewhere else."
"Now, Mel," Emily cried into the phone like device.
"You've got it."
A portal opened up above Emily's head and out dropped a metallic purple soccer ball. Emily caught it in her hands and Mike jabbed Switchbeast in the chest with one of his tentacles, pressing the second one to the soccer ball. In front of his eyes, Mike's body folded over, curling in on itself to make a ball. He then let out a shrill whistle and Jaeger appeared at her side. Emily handed the ball over to him.
"I wonder how hard I can kick this ball," he commented, tilting his head to the side before dropping the ball towards his feet. Bringing his leg back, he gave the soccer ball a hard kick. It bounced off a concrete wall with a loud smack ricocheting back towards them. He stomped down hard on the top of the ball with his foot to stop it from moving and heard the Nighlok let out a groan of pain.
Emily bent down to pick up the ball, rolling it around in her hands. "You know, there's something wrong with this ball. It feels kind of mushy." She pressed on the ball as hard as she could with her hands, squeezing and squeezing…until Mike told her that they had made their point, and switched the Nighlok back into Mike's body.
The Nighlok stood up and wobbled around, rubbing at his chest, "Ugh, that was cruel!" He then wrapped an arm around his chest, doubling over. "I think you broke a rib!"
"Serves you right, you monster!" Emily shouted.
"Now, tell us how to switch everyone back or we'll really make your life miserable," Jaeger threatened. The Nighlok didn't reply, but continued to groan, holding his stomach. "Fine. Night Shade." A black/purple mist suddenly enveloped Mike's body. The Nighlok dropped to his knees, groaning and screaming, holding his head. "Tell us how to change everyone back."
Emily looked over at Jaeger in shocked. She had never seen him cause someone so much pain. A shiver went down her spine when she heard the Nighlok scream again. Jaeger looked so mad, like he really wanted to hurt him, like he was torturing him. His upper lip curled, revealing a row of sharp canines, and his eyes were narrowed into a harsh glare, his eyes looking almost black instead of its normal green color. She wanted to get Jaeger to stop, but knew this was the best way for the Nighlok to give in. She was just really worried about how Mike would feel once he got back into his own body.
"Alright, alright," the Nighlok choked out and Jaeger dropped his arm, the mist instantly disappearing. He got to his feet, gripping Mike's Spin Sword. "Hold completely still." He then suddenly charged, striking the Nighlok's body across the chest. Mike dropped to his knees, groaning in pain as a bright yellow orb slipped out of the gash in his chest, floating up into the air; where it split into smaller orbs, streaking across the sky. "Satisfied?"
"Ugh, yeah," Mike groaned, suddenly feeling blinding pain hit his body. His stomach rocked and his head throbbed. But, he swallowed thickly, focusing on the gloved hand that waved in his face. "I'm alright, Em. Really." He grinned behind his helmet. "It worked Em. It really worked."
"I knew you could do it," Emily said with a nod. Jaeger clapped Mike hard on the shoulder and Mike's knees nearly buckled. "Now, let him have it." She and Jaeger charged forward to attack the Nighlok, giving Mike time to transform.
"You got it," Mike replied, conjuring the Black Box. "Super Samurai Mode!" As soon as he transformed, Mike felt the power running through his body. He no longer felt any pain; he felt like he could do anything. "Damn, this is sick!" He attached the Black Box to his Spin Sword and gripped the weapon tightly in his hand. "Watch out guys; Super Forest Vortex!"
Mike struck the Nighlok, watching it blow to pieces in front of him. He barely broke a sweat and let out a low whistle of satisfaction as he glanced down at the Black Box that was attached to his sword. He felt a hit to his shoulder and turned towards Emily, giving her a hug.
"That was really super," she cried, practically bouncing on her toes. "Simply amazing, Mike."
"Don't celebrate too soon, guys," Jaeger said with a frown on his face. Emily looked over at her and saw that he now looked calm, and his eyes were their normal color. There was a loud whooshing sound and Switchbeast grew in front of their eyes. "Call it, Mike. We're right behind you."
"Super Samurai Combination," Mike called out, raising his Spin Sword to the sky to call for all of the zords to combine into the Claw Armor Megazord. It was like everything was coming as second nature to him; he knew exactly what he had to do. Once he transformed into his Super Mega Mode, he truly felt like he was making all of the right moves and was doing well as the leader.
"Let's get straight to the point and take him down," Mike said as they charged the Claw Armor Megazord forward. "I'm not in any mood for more games." Once they got close enough, the two of them removed the Mega Blade from its podium and flipped it open. To add more power to the final strike, Mike did what both Jayden and Kevin did before him and attached the Black Box to his Mega Blade.
"Double Katana Strike!" the two shouted, slicing the air in front of them with their Mega Blades. The Megazord did the same movement striking Switchbeast once…twice, defeating the Nighlok for good.
As soon as the fight was over, Mike felt his energy drain from his body and he dropped to his knees, the dull pain returning to his head. He had always wanted to use the Black Box, but he had no idea just how weak you got after using all the power. He barely had any energy left, but was able to turn towards Emily, breathing heavily.
"We did it…together," he breathed, "just like you said. Just the two of us."
"Three," Emily corrected him with a shake of her head. "You can't exclude Jaeger. But, we did do it." There was a pause and she said, "Let's never do that again."
"Agreed," Mike said with a nod. "Samurai Rangers—"
"Victory is ours," Emily finished for him.
Back at the Shiba House, Antonio let out a loud scream as he regained control of his body again. A chill went down his spine and his eyes were wide, un-focusing. There was the sound of rapid footsteps and Jayden, Kevin, Mia, and Melody all hovered over him, shouting over each other, trying to get him to calm down.
But, Antonio kept screaming and screaming. He jumped to his feet and ran out of the living room and into the kitchen. His eyes fell onto an orange cat that sat on the island, licking at the dead fish that sat on the plate and Antonio promptly fainted.
"What's going on?" Jayden asked, dropping to the ground beside his friend, shaking him, trying to keep him awake.
"Oh no!" Melody cried, reaching for the cat, lifting it off the table. "In my rush to hear Mike's plan when the Gap Sensor went off, I must've left the back door open."
"So…this cat just tried to eat him?" Mia asked, a hand flying to cover her mouth. "Poor Antonio."
"You mean, poor cat," Melody said, reaching towards the fish that was still lying around. The orange cat purred as Melody held the fish in front of its nose. "It's all skin and bones. I don't think it's eaten in a while."
"I think Antonio is more important than him," Kevin replied, moving to kneel beside Jayden. But the pink tutu suddenly stopped him. Mia started to laugh when Kevin realized he still had it on around his waist. He shuddered, tearing the thing off. "I wouldn't be laughing, Santa."
Jayden stopped in mid-laugh, using one hand to touch his face, the other reaching to pull the hat off his head as he hurried out the room. "Mel."
"Antonio," Mia said lightly slapping her friend's cheek. "Antonio, wake up."
Antonio's eyes fluttered and he groaned, moving to rub the back of his head. "What happened?" he asked, squinting up at Mia and Kevin. "Why does my head hurt?"
"You must've hit it when you fainted," Mia explained, moving her fingers along the back of his head. Antonio winced and Mia frowned. "You've got a pretty big bump. I'll go get you some ice."
"Ice," Antonio repeated, blinking a few times, "Ice is nice."
"Congratulations are in order for when Mike and Emily get back," Mentor announced, striding into the room, shortly followed by Jayden who was scrubbing at his face with a red wash cloth. "We should all celebrate with a barbecue."
"Can someone else do the cooking this time?" Antonio asked as Mia hurried over to his side, pressing a bag filled with ice to the back of his head. "I'm not really up for it." He then started to stretch his arms, frowning. "Man, I'm all stiff."
"I'd be glad to," Mentor offered with a smile. "You've all been through a lot these past couple of days."
A few hours later, everyone was sitting in the backyard, eating freshly grilled hamburgers and crispy French fries. Mike and Emily told everybody the story of how they defeated the Nighlok and Kevin shook his head, looking impressed.
"Switching bodies with the Nighlok?" he asked in disbelief. "I don't think I would've ever thought about that. Good call, Mike."
"Hey, a Ranger's got to do, what a Ranger's got to do," Mike said with a shrug, reaching for his glass of Hawaiian Punch. "It wasn't like I wanted to, and it was way creepy." He slowly lowered himself down onto the bench. "Besides, he did more damage to my body than I could've ever imagined."
"Maybe we should take you to the doctor," Mia suggested, a worried look crossing her face. "You said that Nighlok thinks that you broke a rib."
"I'm fine, Mia, really," Mike reassured her with a smile. "It just looks bad. Would've been worse if Emily wasn't there to help me out."
"I can't believe you guys took on a Nighlok by yourselves," Mia said, looking back and forth between the Green and Yellow Rangers. "Just the two of you." She gave Emily a knowing look. Emily briefly glanced at Mia, giving her a confused look before shaking her head.
"No, it was mostly Mike," she replied. "It was all his idea. I just went along with it."
"No way, we were a team," Mike replied quietly.
"Well, if it wasn't for you, I'd still be a gnome," Jayden said as he moved to sit down at the head of the table. "Mel, pass the ketchup?" Melody, who hadn't said a word for a while glared at Jayden before using one hand to pass him the ketchup bottle. Her other hand was sitting across her face. She was having a hard time trying to move her hamburger past her hand to eat, all the while trying to hide her face. "Something wrong?"
"Shut up," Melody instantly snapped in reply.
"Yeah, chica, what's up?" Antonio asked from where he sat across from her. "You've been quiet for a while; which is really not like you."
Melody glared at Jayden again before dropping her hand, revealing a black mustache drawn on her face, curling up around her cheeks. She rolled her eyes as the Rangers burst out laughing. "It's not funny," she said with a pout before turning towards Jayden. "At least yours came off. I've scrubbed my face for ten minutes and nothing." Jayden was laughing to hard too answer. "It's not funny."
"Not as funny as this anyway," Mike said, flipping open his Samuraizer to show everybody his background picture of Kevin in a ballerina pose in his tutu. Kevin looked around, silently wondering what everyone was laughing at. He nearly choked on the bit of hamburger that sat in his mouth when he gasped. "So, you're not even mad about this?"
"You took pictures?" Kevin asked in shock before his features were set into a scowl. He reached for the phone but Mike pulled it away, jumping up from the table. "Give it to me, Mike."
"Dance for it, Ballet Boy," Mike taunted, staring to exaggerate ballerina moves. He danced away from Kevin's next lunge for the phone before taking off across the yard. His whole body ached, but he was laughing too hard to notice.
A/N: A lot of you were asking if I was going to have Melody switch with something in this chapter. But, since she's on probation and couldn't leave the house, and since the Nighlok can't get to the Shiba House because of the protective symbols around the property, that was impossible of me to do. BUT, I may later on write a one-shot where she does get switched. Don't know if I will, yet.
One of the Guys II will be updated at the earliest, Monday.