Serena was resting up after her training with Kasamune. She still couldn't believe the power she felt when she finally managed to harness it. It was unlike anything she had known before. Now, she finally felt like she had proven her worth. She had tried a few more times after the first, just to make sure she had it down, but now she truly felt like she was ready for Dekker. For the first time in a long time, she felt like she had actually accomplished something.
Brenda came into the room, offering her some cocoa. Serena accepted it gratefully, with a little smile. She still felt completely drained, but now she was no longer fighting the power, it was having less of a toll on her.
"Is there any word from the others?" Serena asked her. She didn't know what had happened; they hadn't yet gotten any word from the others. So far, all they knew was that the massive energy geysers had disappeared. It wasn't hard to miss the fact that half a dozen energy geysers that reached up to cloud level had simply disappeared. The news only reported that the energy geysers had dissipated and that emergency services were working hard to clear the streets and find casualties.
Just then, the door opened, and the others came in. They were all clearly exhausted, and were carrying a few more injuries than before, but they seemed to be in good spirits. Mike in particular seemed elated. Brenda turned to the kitchen.
"Terry, get the first aid kit." She called through. "Alright, things went well?"
"I think we'll let the latest wielder of the Shogun Mode tell you that." Jayden answered, slapping Mike on the back hard. The Green Ranger looked to the others, but particularly to Serena. He put his arm around Emily and brought her over to him.
"Serrator's gone." He told her. Serena dropped her mug of cocoa, hearing this. She could hardly believe what she was hearing. Serrator had been in her nightmares for months. He had been the one to take Stephen from her. Now, he was finally out of her life for good.
"Are you serious?" She asked them. "He's not sealed or..."
"Mike finished him off himself. We all saw him explode." Emily told her as she released Mike and took her sister's hands, looking into her eyes sincerely. "He's gone Serena. He'll never be able to harm anyone ever again."
Serena fell back onto the couch, looking to the floor. She had always dreamed of this day, the day she would know that Stephen had been avenged, and that Serrator was finally made to pay for everyone he had hurt.
"Well, I did get a little help." Mike reminded her. "I would never have been able to do it without you guys, and Shogun Mode was pretty awesome."
"Not to mention Dekker." Antonio added. Serena looked up, hearing this.
"Dekker?" She asked. "What did he have to do with anything?"
"Well..." Mia started to say, trying to think of how to explain what they had all seen and heard. "I don't know the full story, but the sword Serrator had was a fake. At least, according to Dekker it was. He took Serrator down the first time."
"Wait, so...Dekker turned on him?" Serena asked them. Antonio nodded.
"Serrator stabbed everyone in the back. He betrayed and messed with everyone." Antonio stated. "I guess we can't be too surprised that it came back to bite him."
"Even Dayu was there to watch." Kevin pitched in. "I doubt anyone was too sorry to see him destroyed."
"I...I can't believe it." Serena gasped. "He's...he's really gone?"
"Unless he's found a way to come back from exploding, he's now a permanent resident of The Dark Zone."
"I just...he's really gone!" Serena murmured. She got up, and made her way over to Mike, throwing her arms around him tightly. Mike looked more than a little awkward at first. Although Serena had accepted him being in Emily's life, there was always a little distance between them. She was always quick to remind him that he was still the one trying to take her sister away from her. He eventually, awkwardly returned the gesture, holding Serena as she kissed him on the cheek, before holding him closely.
"Thank you." She whispered to him. "I...I don't know how I'll be able to repay you."
"Um...maybe back off on the big sister stuff a little?" He suggested. She parted from him a little way, and nodded as she wiped away some tears.
"I think I can manage that." She agreed.
"We have managed to deliver a huge blow to the Nighlock this day." Ji told them, holding Brenda in his arms. "With Serrator gone, and Xandred still in the Sanzu, the Nighlock are greatly weakened."
"But Dekker's still out there." Jayden reminded them. "Not to mention I'd never underestimate Octoroo."
"He is a tricky one." Kevin stated. "And what do you think Dekker meant by..."
"Kevin!" Emily called out. Unfortunately, it was too late. Serena just sighed and looked to her sister.
"What?" She asked. "What is it? What did he say?"
"When he destroyed Serrator the first time, he said to tell you, 'you're welcome'." Emily said with a sigh. "He also said to remind you that you owe him."
"So, he thinks he did me a favour?" Serena asked, realising where this was going. Dekker had made Terry promise that he would get to duel the Blessed Warrior if he survived his duel with Jayden. Now, he was considering his destruction of Serrator as being something Serena needed to repay. Now, he felt she owed him.
"Look, we can worry about Dekker when he turns up again. He always did operate on his own timetable." Kevin suggested as he went to the phone. "In the meantime, I doubt anyone's in a mood to cook. How does everyone feel about...?"
"We can have anything as long as they deliver calzones." Brenda rushed out. The others all looked to her, only for her to stroke her stomach. "What? You wouldn't want to deny the baby would you?"
"I love how you use that trump card so effectively." Ji said with a smile, kissing his wife softly. "Figure out what you want, and then make the call. I can't think of much better excuse to celebrate."
With that, Kevin got a pad, and started to take down everyone's order as they all huddled around the menu. As they did, Terry came over to Serena's side.
"So, he's finally gone." Terry whispered. "What are you going to do now?"
"The only thing I can I guess." She murmured. "I guess now I have to prepare for Dekker. I just have one thing to do first, and I'd appreciate it if you would help."
She got up and looked to the others.
"Terry and I are going out for the night." She announced. "Don't bother ordering anything for us; we'll get something while we're out."
"Where are you going?" Jayden asked.
"There's just something I need to do." Serena told them. "We'll be back by morning."
As they left, Emily just had a smug grin on her face. Mia just groaned.
"You're really not going to let me forget that are you?" Mia asked her.
"Nope." She answered honestly. "Not a chance."
Over at Central High School, Mal was doing some exercises for his knee as the kids checked up on the news. Eventually, Mrs Kaplan came into the basement, accompanied by a couple of police officers.
"Alright kids, the authorities have arrived, and they've informed me that the crisis has passed." She told them, almost being bowled over as a huge roar went up from the kids, who had now spent over 24 hours in the school basement. "Now, I know you're all eager to get home, but make sure you listen to the officers and follow any and all instructions they give you. I'll start calling your parents to let you know that you're coming home."
The kids got up, and started to file for the door. Melanie helped Mal to his foot, with some help from the coach.
Vicky made her way over to Spike, taking a few deep breaths to steady herself. Now the danger had passed, she knew that there was no more room for excuses. She had made the promise to herself that if they got out of the crisis, she would not chicken out anymore. Now, she had run out of excuses. She had made it through, and now she was going to have to make her move.
"Well, that was all pretty scary." She commented, coming over to him.
"It really was." Spike agreed. "At least it got us closer to the weekend. We only have Friday left."
"Yeah, that is a stroke of luck." She said, struggling to keep her thoughts straight. She started to shift a little more awkwardly. "Say, are you doing anything at the weekend?"
"Um...no, I don't think so." He commented with a shrug. "I guess I'm probably going to..."
"Maybe we could go see a movie?" She suggested. Spike looked thoughtful for a moment.
"You know, I think there are some good films on." He agreed. "I'll just go and ask the others..."
"Actually, I...um." She stammered, interrupting him. She could feel herself turning pink, and suddenly felt very warm. She shifted a little closer. "I actually meant, you know, just the two of us."
"Just..." Spike whispered, his mouth hanging open in surprise. He looked around, before looking back to her. "You mean, like a date?"
Vicky just stood, staring at him. She just couldn't say anything else. The words just wouldn't come out. She just nodded in response. She felt her heart stopping as she waited to see what he would say. Eventually, he just smiled at her.
"That would be great." Spike answered, looking more than a little stunned by the whole thing. "Yeah, of course, that would be great fun."
"Well...great!" Vicky answered quickly. "So...um...we can talk and figure out the details tomorrow?"
"I guess so." Spike stated. "Um...I should probably go and help Mal get his crutches back to go home."
"Yeah, you do that." Vicky told him. Spike stumbled a little, tripping over his own feet as he walked backwards away from her, before turning around. He couldn't believe that had actually happened. She had actually asked him out! Turning back to his friends, he took over from Melanie under Mal's left arm to help him under the stairs. Mal noticed the large, goofy smile on Spike's face.
"Hey, what gives?" Mal asked him. "We get to go home, you didn't win the lottery."
"No." Spike replied, imagining the weekend ahead. "It's even better than that."
Terry and Serena were driving down a road out of town. Terry had no idea where they were going; he just followed Serena's directions as best as he could.
He could see that an incredible weight had been lifted from her. Serrator was gone, Mike had repaid him in kind for every harm he had ever visited upon them, upon everyone for centuries.
"Pull up over here." She told him. Terry did as he was instructed, pulling off the road, and stopping a little way from the road. Serena got out of the SUV, looking to him. "Would you mind...you know...giving me a moment?"
"Take all the time you need." He told her, getting back in. Serena walked a little way, bending down to pick up a flower, and heading for a distinctive tree, with a split bark, and took a deep breath, before approaching it.
She had never told anyone what she did with Stephen's ashes. All anyone knew was that she had spread them while she was at her parents' farm. One day, she had taken one of the horses and ridden out to this spot. It was roughly half way between the farm and the Shiba House. She had picked this spot because it was distinctive, and she knew she would be able to find it again. She knelt down, laying the flower at the foot of the tree.
"Well, we got him." Serena began, speaking to Stephen's final resting place. "I'm sorry it took so long, but I promised he'd pay, and now he has."
She waited, almost hoping for an answer, even though she knew it would never come. She wiped her eyes as she tried to continue.
"I finally figured out your power disk." She told him. "Compassion, I guess I haven't felt too much of that lately. It's not like I've been particularly empathetic to others since...well...you know."
She stayed for a moment, trying to compose herself.
"Mike, he really came through." She stated a she looked to the flowers she had left for him. "Emily really got a good one there. I know I've given him a hard time, but he's really shown me what he's made of. I know Emily's going to be fine with him."
She then took another deep breath; she got back to her feet.
"I should probably be getting back now." Serena said as she tried to straighten herself out. "No doubt Terry thinks I've completely lost it, talking to a tree. He's...he's definitely interesting. I think you'd really have liked him."
She took one last look at the flowers, before turning and walking away. She didn't say goodbye, she had done that before. That wasn't what this visit was about. This visit was to let Stephen know that he could rest in peace, that his death had been avenged. Getting back to the SUV, she got in, sitting back in the seat silently for a moment. Terry just looked at her.
"Stephen?" He asked her. She just nodded wordlessly. Terry knew she would need a moment, so he didn't start up the engine right away.
"At least you don't think I was talking to a tree." She commented. "By now, I doubt you're in any doubt I'm kind of messed up."
"We're all a little messed up." Terry assured her. She reached across, taking his hand in hers and looked to him, and leaned across, kissing him softly on the cheek.
"Thank you for this." She said gratefully. "I really appreciate everything you've done."
"You're welcome." He told her, reaching for his seatbelt. Serena did likewise, fastening herself in as Terry started up the engine, preparing to take her back. Serrator was gone, but there was still more to be done. The war wasn't over yet.
Back in the Netherworld, however, Octoroo returned to the Junk alone. He was in an awkward position now, knowing that he didn't have it in him to take down the Rangers alone, but he couldn't help smiling, knowing that his plan had gone off without a hitch. Serrator was now gone, and the Netherworld was safe.
He now only had one concern on his mind. With Master Xandred gone, all he could do was hope that he could keep the Rangers lulled into a false sense of security. With Xandred still incapacitated, if the Rangers concentrated on the sealing symbol, it was possible that he and all the other Nighlock would be sealed away forever, without anyone having a chance to stop them. With Xandred gone, this was now the perfect time for the Rangers to end the war before anyone could bring enough power to bear to defeat them.
However, Octoroo knew something the others didn't. Something he had figured out some time ago. He already had his plan in motion. Alone on the ship, with the exception of the Furry Worts, he doubted Dayu would be back. She was too busy following Dekker around, trying to help him break his curse. It was pathetic, but at least it would keep her out of his way.
"Well, Dayu, you don't know how helpful you've been." He chuckled. "Keeping an eye on you has been far more educational than you will ever know."
He looked out over the Sanzu, and felt the power of knowing that at present, he alone ruled everything.
"Soon, I'll be able to end the threat of the Samurai once and for all." He exclaimed. "The Red Ranger may think he's been so clever, but I already know the secret he has hidden behind all this time. Now, it will be that very secret that hands me victory, and Xandred's eternal gratitude. Enjoy yourselves for now Rangers, while you still can."
A/N: Well, the end of this story. There will be more soon, covering Halloween, and maybe a little down time for the Rangers while we wait for the new episodes to air.
I apologise to anyone who has been spoiled, I genuinely didn't WANT to do it, but I felt that making everyone wait for two weeks to resolve the cliff-hanger was just too evil. I did post warnings, and hope that they helped those that wanted to wait on the episode.
I won't be spoiling any further episodes, and hope that those that did read this story enjoyed it.