A/N: I am so sorry I haven't updated this story in awhile. I have been busy writing my first Young Adult novel, which I hope to someday get published! Yay! I posted the first chapter on here titled Take Me Home and on my Wattpad under the same name-my username there is also bodysurfer27. Please check out some of my other stories on there as well. Now onto a super long awaited chapter I know you all have been waiting for. Enjoy.
Jayden stared longingly at his blonde teammate, wanting to know what she was going to say.
"It doesn't matter." She rushed out before footsteps made their way down the hall. The pink power ranger poked her head around the corner and into the dojo.
"I've made dinner for everyone. Come on." Her footsteps retreated as quickly as they came and Mia was out of sight. Standing up with a sigh, Emily outstretched her hand towards her leader, her troubled hazel eyes unable to mask her various emotions.
"Thank you." His grateful voice seemed too eager, then again any physical contact she gave him he took with what could be described as extremely enthusiastic. She said nothing in return; she simply him upright. She retracted her hand quickly to let him go. But not before something strange caught his eye. Her yellow cardigan sleeve revealed a scar in the shape of an uppercase letter S on the inside of her wrist. The scar itself wasn't very big, roughly the length of a jumbo pink eraser. He averted his gaze to her eyes before she noticed he saw. But it troubled him. How did she get it, and why did it look so familiar? She turned on her heel and took a few steps.
"Are you coming?" Her soft voice asked. Jayden swallowed before speaking.
"Yes." He brushed by her and led her out of the Dojo, his mind clouded with thoughts. Mike and Kevin were already seated by the time the two made it to the seating room portion of the kitchen. In front of them were bowls of some unknown substance Mia created.
"Please, take a seat." Mia's warming smile encouraged her two incoming comrades. Emily sat down across from Mike, Jayden pulling out her chair for her. He took his seat at the head of the table, Emily on his left and Mike on his right. Mia set a bowl in front of Jayden and it was impossible for him to identify what he was about to consume.
"Thank you. It looks lovely." Emily's soft voice immediately responded, giving Mia a small smile in return. The three male rangers stared at each other, wide-eyed. The creation had to be inedible. There was no way a bowl full of a purple liquid could be consumed by a human, right? At least a dane, normal human...right?
"You're welcome." The pink ranger's smile instantly was reflected in her eyes at the genuine compliment.
"What is it?" Jayden asked politely, knowing team bonding was essential for saving the world as a collective unit.
"Cauliflower and sweet potato soup. My grandmother used to make it when I was growing up." Mia picked up her spoon and dipped it into her liquid purple concoction. "Don't you like it?" Her eyes shifted to Mike, then Kevin, and finally her leader, resting on each of them for a few seconds and a curious expression on her face.
"It's great, Mia. I really like it." Emily spoke up, staring at the men in the corner of her eye. Catching the hint first, the blue ranger picked up his spoon and tried it. As soon as the soup hit his taste buds, Kevin wanted to spit it out but he couldn't hurt a girl's feelings. Especially if said girl was supposed to help him save the world. Quickly swallowing it, he faked a smile.
"It's delicious, Mia." He shot Jayden a sideways glance, subtly shaking his head at his leader. Jayden smiled softly in return along with a simple head nod, showing he respected the blue ranger's kindness towards his team.
"Thanks Kevin!" Her cheerful tone is what made up Mike's and Jayden's minds to try the soup. They forced themselves to finish the spoonful of soup. "Do you guys like it?"
"It's good Mia. I like it." Jayden forced himself to say.
"Yeah, very good." The green ranger muttered.
"I'm so glad you like it." Silently the rest of the team agreed: pizza in the common room tomorrow night. Quietly, the rangers finished their soup, acting like they were enjoying it though hardly eating it. Once Mia was finished and she left to take some to Mentor Ji in his study, the remaining rangers dumped the rest of their soup down the kitchen sink.
"I'll order pizza. Meet in the spare room in twenty minutes." Jayden mumbled while the four of them were disposing of Mia's less than edible cooking. "And don't tell Mia."
"Thank you Red Ranger." Mike pretended to take his hat off and proceed to tip it towards his leader as a sign of appreciation as he dug into the first box of pizza. Emily did not join, so it was only the three men of the team.
"But we can't let her know we're doing this. It'll crush her feelings." Jayden somewhat scolded gently, taking a slice of pizza out of the box.
"Where's Emily?" Kevin asked, looking around the room.
"Mia wanted to paint her nails." Mike said with a shudder. "Poor Em. She's too cute for Mia to dress up. Speaking of, she is a ridiculously good fighter."
"She definitely is one of the strongest samurai on this team." Kevin did compliment. "But her fighting style is unknown. I don't understand how she is able to hold her own against you yet still manage to fight unconventionally. It just doesn't make sense." He concluded, standing firmly by his belief that samurais must obey the rules, henceforth the rulebook.
"Kev, dude. Not every samurai is as dedicated to the handbook as you are. I think she's pretty badass being able to fight against Jayden. I think she could take you down easily dude."
"Mia could fight against me, but you can't Mike." Sensing the beginning of an argument, Jayden tried to shut it down.
"You all are very talented samurai in your own ways. Kevin, you're traditional. Mia's more casual. Emily is unconventional, and Mike, you're very relaxed when you fight." Jayden spoke up.
"You know, just because you're the leader doesn't mean you don't play favorites. I see the way you act around Em. Like she's going to mysteriously disappear." Mike chuckled, taking another slice of pizza. "That chick is hot, but she's weird. I have to agree with Kevin. She fights weird."
"You all have your own fighting styles. Maybe she was taught to fight differently." Jayden stood up, wiping his grease covered fingers on his training pants. "Anyway, we should all get some sleep soon. The Nighlock will be back tomorrow." And with that said, Jayden left the spare bedroom. His silent footsteps padded down the hall, his curious gaze landing on Emily's slightly cracked open door. He used his samurai training to take a look inside the room. She was wearing a thin yellow cotton t-shirt and old plaid pajama bottoms, sitting with her back to the door and her legs folded under her. The ape zord crawled around her, seeming to hold a conversation with her.
"Tomorrow is a new day, right Monkey?" The little yellow ape responded with a noise as it continued walking around her in a circle. "We just have to remain positive, keep our positivity levels up, right Monkey?" Again, the zord responded back to her. "And we are going to bond with the other zords tomorrow, right Monkey?" Her teasing tone had the ape going bananas, fast little noises in all different pitches echoing in the room as the little yellow ape paced in front of her. She laughed quietly, then patted the zord on the top of its head. "Alright, let's pray to Serena and mom and get some sleep." The little ape made its way beside her and both of their heads bowed down. "Mom, Serena, please protect us and the team. Please don't let father catch us or try to pull us apart. The team needs us. Please send down your protection for tomorrow. We need your help to be strong. We love you. Emy and-" The ape zord chirped. "Monkey." Their heads raised and she held out her hand. The ape crawled onto her palm and she stood up. "Time for bed." She turned toward the dresser and opened the top drawer. She let the ape zord crawl out of her hand. "Maybe tomorrow you can sleep with the others." The yellow ape growled and she smiled softly. "Please? For me?" It made noises, grumbling then it nodded and its shoulders slumped in defeat. She kissed the top of its head and turned toward the door. Her eyes flickered over to it, sensing a person's presence , but Jayden had already moved so she couldn't see him. She shut the door and Jayden softly released the breath he had been holding, his mind swirling with thoughts. He was even more confused than before. Who was Serena?
The next morning Jayden and Emily were already sparring outside when Mia and Kevin entered the training area. They stopped on the top step to watch their teammates fight. Jayden threw a punch which Emily ducked under and she swiped his legs out from under him. He somehow managed to grab her hair and flip her over, but she twisted so she landed on top of him, her legs on each side of his chest pinning his back to the ground. He moved his hands to her hips to throw her off of him. She landed beside him and he rolled over so he was straddling her with his legs holding hers down, pinning her arms above her head. Their heavy breathing was in sync and their eyes met.
"I win." His victorious voice carried over to the blue and pink rangers.
"You win." She nodded in agreement. They didn't move for a few seconds, until the GAP sensor began going off inside the Shiba House. He instantly got off of her and helped her up, following Kevin and Mia back inside. He hit the button on the coffee table, a holographic mini map of Panorama City appearing before their eyes.
"Where's Mike?" His authoritative voice rang out.
"I don't know. I haven't seen him since last night." Jayden only nodded, having an idea based on the recollection of their conversation the night before.
"We better go then."
"You've got to be kidding me! He's fighting it alone." Mia shrieked from inside her pink helmet, outraged that Mike was trying to defeat a Nighlock on his own. The monster was green, and his arms were striped with red.
"You mean he's getting his ass kicked." Kevin muttered beside her. "We've got to help him." Kevin sighed out in his blue helmet, watching as Mike was tangled in the monster's extremely long grasp. "This is embarrassing to the samurai name." They all watched on as the green ranger continued to get beat up by abnormally long arms extending from the disgusting taunting Nighlock. Mia cringed as Mike was thrown back into a set of white round patio tables. He took his time getting back up, gripping his shoulder while holding his spin sword.
"So, what are we going to do?" Emily turned her head up to look at Jayden, unable to see his expression which was under his red helmet.
"Well..." Suddenly Mike was thrown back again, this time landing on the floor and demorphing, gripping his shoulder in pain. "I guess we can help him." Mia took off, quickly trying to hit the Nighlock with her spin sword. His long arms were avoiding her hits and turning them into misses, frustrating her. Kevin was right behind her with his bow, aiming at the arms. Each shot he took with his bow turned into a miss as well. Emily threw her personalized weapon, grazing the Nighlock's chest, but not enough to severely injure him.
"I'm drying out. You guys are no fun." The Nighlock abruptly slipped through a portal in a crack of the sidewalk.
"What the hell were you thinking?!" Mia shouted at Mike through her pink helmet, her hands on her hips as she stalked towards him. "Sneaking off, fighting Nighlock by yourself-" He rotated his shoulder, annoyance clear on his face.
"Relax. It's not like anyone got hurt-"
"You could've. Or your friends. Mike, you disrespected the samurai name-" Kevin interjected.
"Enough. All of you." Jayden's voice commanded. "Fight it out back at the house." He shook his helmet covered head. Emily was silent beside him, her tense posture indicating she was hyperaware of her surroundings. Suddenly she raised her morpher and drew a symbol, portaling them to the steps of the Shiba house. "Thanks Em." She nodded, walking through the gate, not even bothering to demorph out of her ranger suit. He watched her walk inside before turning back to their bickering teammates. "Mia, enough. You're not his mother. Kevin, you are not his father. Both of you should not be lecturing Mike. He knows what he did was wrong and I trust he won't make the same mistake again." His tone finalized the argument. "Now all of you get inside. We need to plan on how we're going to defeat this Nighlock." Mia stalked inside, Kevin right beside her as they both continued to mumble under their breath about their current situation.
"Thanks for sticking up for me dude." Mike's relief could be seen in his hazel eyes, pain still lacing his voice.
"What you did was stupid. You endangered several people, and alerted not one of your teammates you were leaving the Dojo. Do not, ever, disobey my orders like that again." Hurt flashed across the green ranger's face.
"I just wanted to prove I can be a strong samurai." Jayden exhaled sharply, his previous idea now a true fact.
"Strong samurais know when they need help, Michael. If you want to prove you belong on this team and will obey my orders, you need to help your team devise a plan to defeat this Nighlock." Mike nodded eagerly, Jayden's stern voice loud and clear for him to hear. Jayden walked away, taking off his helmet once in the safety of the common room. Emily was sitting on her stool with her helmet leaning against the bottom bar, the ape zord softly speaking in her ear as she whispered things back to it. Kevin and Mia were busy in the kitchen, the blue samurai helping Mia begin dinner preparations. Mike shut the door behind him, making a beeline for the infirmary, Ji already notified and there waiting to receive him. Jayden sat down on his own stool, staring at the map on the table. How were they supposed to beat a Nighlock if they couldn't fight together as a team?