Disclaimer: I do not own, nor am I in any way associated with, Power Rangers.
Balloons and Destiny
Philip smiled whenever one of the children called him by name. It was a combination of the way they couldn't quite say it correctly and how good it felt to be just plain Philip. Despite the hardship of the war past and the war to come he could take comfort in no longer being revered as "the Oracle."
He traveled the city closest to the Mystic Realm, giving balloons to children. Balloons, he always said, were like dreams and children needed as many as they could get. Some balloons he sold, to children in the more upscale district, and some he gave away, simply to see the smiles on their tiny faces. Of course, selling balloons didn't pay well enough to survive in the human world, so Philip used his rather singular abilities to bet on horse races, easily multiplying his meager balloon profits.
"It's Philip!" a familiar voice called as he neared the playground. He chuckled, imagining a young, ginger haired boy racing across the grass, a bright red cape trailing behind him.
"Chip," Philip said, turning with a yellow balloon already in his hand. The only difference between Chip's actual appearance and Philip's imagining was that today Chip's cape was red and yellow polka dots.
"You'll never guess what happened! The Rocks and I went into the forest and Vida played a nasty trick on Maddie and made her cry."
"Cry?" Philip echoed with a frown. "Did you defend her?"
"Of course!" Chip cried indignantly then deflated somewhat. "Well, I tried, but she wouldn't let me. Thanks for the balloon!" With that Chip ran off into the crowd of children, proudly proclaiming the yellow balloon as his new sidekick, Loony.
When the others saw that Philip was there they gathered around, eager for balloons of their own. He gladly handed them out, catching hints of children's futures as he looked at them. A first kiss, a graduation ceremony, a lost wedding ring -- the images flew past him. Soon the children dispersed, eagerly running with their new balloons, and Philip walked up to the jungle gym. Vida was standing on the monkey bars, having fun scaring some of her more fearful friends.
"Vida," he said sternly.
"Philip!" she said and dropped down between the bars, making his heart stop. She landed in a crouch on the sand and swiftly dusted off her hands to take her balloon. He held it out of her reach.
"What did you do to Madison?"
"Oh!" she wailed stomping her foot. "It was just a joke!"
Philip knelt down to look her in the eye. "Madison is a sensitive soul. You know better than to tease her."
"I didn't hurt her."
"You don't know that. Didn't you cry at the ballet last month when Odette died, while Madison didn't cry at all?"
Vida looked at her shoes.
"See? What hurts you doesn't always hurt her."
Vida sighed. "I'll apologize."
Philip stopped her by pressing the balloon's string into her hands. "Let me go talk to her first."
Vida looked up at the balloon while he walked away. "Why do you always give me pink?"
He chuckled. She'd get over her hatred of the color … eventually. He walked away from the jungle gym until he was sure that no children were near. He closed his eyes and opened his hand. An eye appeared in the center of his palm and he looked into the past. He could see the children exploring the woods. He would have to talk to them about that later, it was dangerous for them to be in the woods so soon. If any dark creatures found them and discovered who they were … He didn't want to think on it further and resumed his focus. There was Vida, digging a frog out of the mud and dropping it down Madison's dress. The poor creature, terrified for its life, clung to the girl instead of dropping right through to the ground. Madison screamed, pushing Chip away and dancing in place while Vida laughed. Eventually the frog fell and Madison ran away in terror. Philip paled. The others had run after her, thinking she returned to the jungle gym, but he could see her getting lost, running deeper into the forest until his second-sight failed him and he lost track of her.
Philip ran. He hadn't set foot in the forest since the final battle all those years ago, preferring to bolster the human rumors that it was cursed in order to keep civilians safe, but he remembered his home very well. He quickly followed the path he'd seen Madison taking, praying that she was safe. If anything happened to Madison he wasn't sure what would happen to the Mystic Force. He yelled her name, feeling his voice growing hoarse.
"Quiet!" someone snapped from within the bushes.
Philip started and quickly transformed back into his more magical form, it wouldn't do for anyone to see two humans running through these woods. "Who are you?" he asked, carefully keeping the quiver of fear out of his voice.
A grotesque face lunged forward from amidst the leaves.
"A troblin," Philip said dryly.
"Yes!" the troblin said happily, leaping from the bush. "I'm Phineas! Oh!" He held a finger to his lips. "Shh! We have to keep quiet. She's sleeping."
"She?" Philip asked. "A young human girl? Long black hair in pigtails, wearing a lot of blue?"
"Oh, yeah," Phineas said. "She was running through the woods, terrified. I tried to help her but -- she fainted."
Philip smiled. "Can you tell me where she is?"
"Oh sure, she's -- wait, why do you want to know?"
"I'm not going to hurt her," Philip soothed, "I just want to make sure she makes it home safely. I'm the Oracle," he added for good measure.
"Well, I suppose that means you're one of the good guys. She's right over here." Phineas led the way back through the bushes, and Philip was pleased to see Madison lying peacefully on a bed of leaves, her head supported by a fallen tree branch. He lifted her carefully into his arms, musing at how light the future hero was.
"I'd better get her back to the human world before her parents discover she's gone."
Phineas nodded, keeping sad eyes on the sleeping girl.
"You know," Philip said as he turned away, "you may have helped to save the world today."
"Oh yes. Her destiny has already been written -- to a point. It is important that she and the others be kept safe."
Philip turned back and smiled. "Four others, five in all. They are our only hope."
Phineas' eyes fell to Madison in awe.
"Thank you, Phineas."
Philip returned Madison to the playground without any trouble, using only a small burst of magic to awaken her. She blinked sleepily for a moment before smiling up at him.
"I had the strangest dream," she said excitedly, "I was in the woods and there were all these scary frogs and this weird looking man and --" Her eyes fell to the ground and he wondered if she'd seen something more fantastic than a troblin on her adventure.
"And what, dear?"
"Nothing. Thanks, Philip!" She hurried away to join Chip and Vida.
He watched Vida get up and apologize before the three ran off to play. He hoped they enjoyed this time of peace because all too soon they would be saving the world.
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