Author's Note: Hey! Would you believe it's been a week already? Here is the next chapter in the Little Samurai series. I hope you enjoy it.

Author's Note Two: This episode was fun to watch - but murder to get started. I must have started it several thousand times; I hope you enjoy what I finally managed to create.

Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended in the making of this series. I simply own my OCs and anything that is not recognizable from the show. Power Rangers belongs to Saban.

Shout Outs: Big thank you too: xToriBradleyx for adding this story and/or me to their alerts. Appreciate it mates.

Warning: Be nice. Constructive Criticism is welcome. Flamers are not. To me haters are nothing more than jealous little people that wish they were as good as others; jealousy is not a good trait for anyone. If you hate, do remember that you are only adding to my reviews, your words will not hurt me.

Quick message: Any fans of my Lightning Sisters saga. I apologize in advance if there is no update tomorrow. I have timed assignment from University that is out tomorrow and due in on Friday; it will probably take up most of my free time over the next two days. If that is the case then you can expect a double update sometime this week. Possibly one update Friday, along with the Hannah Bradley series, and the second update on Sunday.


Title: The Little Samurai

Summary: A Samurai's life was dangerous; he knew that better than anyone. But with his best friend thrown into the mix, Jayden will do everything he can to protect her.


"Where are you?"

"At home."

"How fast would it take you to get into town?"

"Why?"

"There is something you need to see..."

Ava frowned into the phone. "Can't it wait?" she asked. "I'm in the middle of training."

"Stay away from it, you idiot! We don't know what it is!"

"Chill out, Luke, we're only having fun!"

"Luke, who are you with?"

"Tyson and the others," Luke answered. "Av, there is some freaky red water leaking out of one of the storm drains. I think it is Sanzu river water! Ty just tossed a rock into it, and it's completely burnt."

Ava's eyes widened. That did sound like Sanzu River water. "OK," she nodded. "I'll check it out. Could you, by any chance, tell me exactly where you are?"

She dropped her training sword and hurried into the Shiba house, she bypassed the kitchen, where her friends were finishing breakfast, past the dojo, where Jayden and Kevin were sparring, and into the living room where her father was rearranging the bookshelves. Placing her hand on the coffee table, Ava brought up the map and, with Luke's help, quickly pin-pointed the location of the Sanzu pool.

"Yeah, I'm looking at it right now," she confirmed.

"Looking at what?" Mike asked, as he led the others into the room.

Ava glanced up at him for a brief second, before looking back at the map. "Thanks, Luke," she nodded. "I'll call you! Bye!" she hung up and turned to her father. "Luke found a pool of Sanzu River water outside the park!"

"What?" Kevin asked, almost immediately.

"Does that mean the Sanzu River is rising?" Emily asked, slightly alarmed.

Jayden inspected the map, just in case Luke had gotten it wrong, but the spot that Ava had magnified as the location Luke had given her was flashing red. He couldn't deny that the delivery boy had in fact found a pool of Sanzu water.

"I don't believe this," Mike said, running his fingers through his hair. "How can this be happening?"

"Master Xandred must be getting stronger," Ji sighed.

"So what do we do?" Mia asked. "We've beaten the Nighlok every single time! But the Sanzu River is still seeping into our world, what would have happened if Luke hadn't found it? Or what if he had found it, but he didn't know Ava? We would have been none the wiser!"

Ava stared at the map, while Antonio, who had taken up permanent residence at the Shiba house with the other Samurai rangers, stared at Ava. "I guess having an outside boyfriend really does help," he said, winking at the White ranger, who smiled faintly, but refused to make eye contact with any of them, especially Jayden.

"We can't think about winning or losing," said Jayden, trying to ignore the two of them. Antonio knew how he felt about Luke, yet the Gold ranger tried to make the delivery boy feel welcome whenever he was around; Jayden knew he was trying to be nice for Ava's sake, but what about his? Antonio knew, very well, how he felt about Ava. "We have to believe in ourselves and keep fighting!"

"Jayden's right," Kevin agreed. "We can't just give up!"

Ji, who had broken away from the group and left the room, finally returned, carrying a leather bound book in his hands,. "I'm glad to hear that," he said. "Because I may have found something that could help us." He flipped to the right page of the book, and then dropped it onto the table for the others to see.

"The Black Box?" Jayden asked, looking up. "Ji, we can't!"

"What is it?" Mia asked.

"It's a magical talisman," Ji explained, "created by the very first Red Samurai Ranger. It is said that it can unite the symbol powers of all Samurai rangers into one."

"OK, cool," Mike gasped. "So let's fire it up!"

"It's not that simple," said Ava. "The Red Ranger never finished it!"

"Many have tried," Ji nodded. "But none of them have the skill or power to complete it."

The Rangers sighed in defeat. They had just been presented with a chance of fighting back, even more against the Nighlok, only for it to be ripped away before they could even grasp onto it firmly.

"What about Antonio?" Emily suggested, pointing at the Gold ranger. "I mean, you are a Whiz-tech, aren't you?"

"Well, I -" Antonio stuttered, embarrassed. "Not everything is as simple as programming a morpher now, is it?"

"Couldn't you at least give it a go?" Mike asked, hopefully.

"I could," Antonio nodded.

"But you don't have mastery of Symbol power like we do," Kevin pointed out. "You know how much it drains us every time we use it."

Antonio stared, affronted. "You don't think I can do it, do you?" he asked, slightly defensive.

"Antonio, we have every faith that you, out of all of us, would be able to master the Black Box," Ava nodded. "But Kevin's right, without mastery of symbol power, even trying to transfer a few of our symbol powers into the box could destroy you!"

"Ava, none of us what to see Antonio get hurt," Emily persisted.

"But if he's willing," Mike agreed, patting the Gold ranger on the shoulder. "Then I expected you of all people to give him a shot!"

"I just don't want to lose him!" Ava argued. "Not again!"

Antonio sighed and stepped closer to his friend. "You won't lose me again," he promised, drawing her into a hug. "At least not until Xandred's locked away for good!"

Ava sighed and melted into his embrace. "It's not up to me," she said. "I can argue with all day and night if I wanted, but the final decision resides with Jayden," she pointed at the Red ranger, who had been silent up to this point.

He, just like Ava, was hesitant to let Antonio take on this task, he still regretted the decision, at times, of allowing him to become a part of the team, but he knew that was no longer his choice to make, but this? This was a different thing all together.

"Are you sure you want to do this?" Jayden asked, finally looking up at his friend.

"The ultimate hack job," he grinned. "Bring it on!"

Jayden nodded, defeated. "Then OK," he agreed.

"First, we must retrieve the Black Box," Ji said.

"Where is it?"

Ji glanced at Ava, who grinned in response.

"The Tengen Gate!" she stated.

~*Little Samurai*~

"What's going on?" Mia asked as she and Antonio entered the kitchen later that evening to find Jayden, Ava and Mentor sitting around the breakfast table.

Mentor reached into his kimono and pulled out four plane tickets. He handed one to each of the rangers.

"I have chosen you four to go to the Tengen Gate and retrieve the Black Box," Mentor explained.

"Where is the Tengen Gate?" Antonio asked.

"Japan," Ava answered, scooping up Cheetah and cuddling her close.

"Why us?" Mia asked. "Why not send all of us?"

"I am sending just the four of you, because I cannot leave the Paranoma city unprotected," Mentor answered. "Kevin will act as leader in your absence, Jayden," he nodded at the Red ranger.

"When do we leave?" Jayden asked.

"First thing in the morning," Mentor told them. "I've packed all essentials in your bags, you'll find them in your rooms, but I have also left room if you wish to pack a few more personal items for the journey, and no, Cheetah does not pass as a personal item."

"You're no fun!" Ava pouted, kissing the feline's head.

~*Little Samurai*~

Purrrrrr...

Ava froze as she set her backpack on her lap.

Jayden, who sat beside her, paused and turned in her direction. "Did you just purr?" he asked.

"Yeah," the White ranger nodded, anxiously.

"Why?"

"Why not?"

"You're weird!"

Ava grinned. "Nope. I'm cute!" she said, turning her attention away from him and out of the window. They had yet to take off, and she could still see the airport from where she was seated, and the runway ahead. It had been many years since she had been on a plane to Japan.

"Can't argue with you there," she heard Jayden agree, and tried to suppress the light smile that graced her face.

"I can't wait to see Daisuke," Ava said turning away from the window and facing Jayden. She curled her legs up under her and hugged her backpack close to her chest.

Jayden eyed it, warily. "Ava, let me put that overhead for you," he offered, reaching for the drawstrings.

"No, it's OK," Ava said, clutching the bag closer. "It has Mike's games in it!"

Purrrrrr...

"I think it has a little more than games in it," Jayden accused.

"Why would you say that?"

"Because you didn't just purr," Jayden pointed out. "You smuggled Cheetah out, didn't you?"

Upon hearing her name, Cheetah squeezed her head through the small hole at the top of the pack, and mewed at Jayden.

"Ava!" the Red ranger scolded. "What do you have to say?"

"Guilty has charged?"

Jayden narrowed his eyes at her. "Why did you bring her?" he asked, lowering his voice to above a whisper. If the flight attendants heard or saw that they had an animal on board then they'd be kicked off for sure.

"I couldn't leave her behind," Ava whined. "I know Daddy and Emily would have taken care of her, but I - I couldn't leave her! I'm sorry!"

Jayden sighed as Ava lowered her gaze from his and down at the cat that was between them. "I know you are," he nodded, brushing a curl behind her ear. "Just keep her out of sight. The last thing we need is an emergency landing! Alright?"

"You're not going to tell Daddy, are you?"

"There is not much he can do while we're half way around the world,"

Ava smiled, sheepishly, and rested her head against his shoulder. "Thanks, Jayden," she said, closing her eyes and waiting for the plane to take off. Right now, if anyone asked, she'd just say that Cheetah was a stuffed animal that she had packed because she feared flying.

~*Little Samurai*~

Several hours later, Jayden was shaking Ava awake.

"Ava, c'mon," said Jayden.

"Mhmm, five more minutes!"

"No, we've landed. Time to get off."

Blinking groggily, Ava, like a small child, rubbed her knuckles into her eyes, and covered her mouth as she yawned. She glanced out of the window and saw that it was still light. "I hope we don't have to walk," she muttered, grabbing her backpack, she quickly checked inside to see that Cheetah had curled up on top of her clothes and fallen asleep.

"We'll summon the horses," Jayden promised, putting his hand on the bottom of her spine and allowing her to leave the plane first. Antonio and Mia, who were waiting for them in the airport, smiled as Ava finally emerged.

"Good afternoon, sunshine," Antonio chirped,

"You are way to chipper," Ava scolded. "And I hate you!"

"What happened?" Mia asked.

"I woke her up," Jayden answered. "C'mon, let's get out of here and then see where we need to go."

The others nodded and followed him outside.

"So, where do we have to go?" Antonio asked.

"I don't know," Jayden answered with a shrug. He was fourteen when he last time he had visited the Tengen Gate, and only then it was to pick Ava up. She had, after all, spent five years out here with the Guardians; Ji had thought she would learn more about the history of the Samurai rangers from them, than from reading about them in the ancient scrolls back home.

Needless to say those five years had been some of the toughest at the Shiba house.

"What do you mean you don't know?" Mia asked. "Didn't Mentor pack a map?"

"The Tengen Gate is about a twelve and a half hours walk from our current position," Ava answered.

"12 and half hours?" Antonio repeated. "We wouldn't get there until this time tomorrow!"

Ava nodded. "But that's on foot," she pointed out. "On horseback it would take us about 3 quarters of an hour!"

"Then I vote horseback," Mia said, promptly.

"Me too," Antonio agreed.

"Me three," Ava smiled tiredly.

Jayden sighed. "Fine. We'll pair up, Antonio, you and Mia," he said, tracing the symbol in the air. A stunning brown horse appeared in front of the four rangers, and allowed Antonio and Mia to clamber up onto its back; while Jayden traced another symbol and conjured up Snowdrop, a horse that Ava had named many years ago, after she had finally mastered how to conjure a snow white horse.

"Why am I always with you?" Ava asked, allowing him to help her onto the back of Snowdrop.

"Because I don't trust you with anyone else," Jayden answered, pulling himself up in front of her.

Mia leaned over Antonio's shoulder, and whispered, "More like he doesn't trust anyone else with her," in his ear.

The Gold ranger nodded in agreement.

"I heard that," Jayden said, as he steered the horse past them.

~*Little Samurai*~

Meanwhile, in Paranoma city, Emily had noticed the disappearance of the Ginger feline that usually pranced around the house.

"Has anyone seen Cheetah?" she asked stepping into the dojo where Mike and Kevin were training.

"No," Mike said, shaking his head. "Have you checked Ava's room?"

Emily nodded.

"Your room?"

"Yes,"

"Under the beds?"

"Yes..."

"The closets?"

"Yes!"

"The -"

"Mike!" Kevin snapped. "By the looks of it, Emily has checked everywhere!"

"She couldn't have just disappeared!" Mike argued. "Unless - oh boy, you don't think?"

Kevin and Emily exchanged looks.

"She wouldn't," Kevin said, shaking his head, "Mentor was specific when he said that she couldn't take her! Ava wouldn't go against her father's orders."

"It's not like she hasn't before," Emily pointed out. "Remember when she left the house with you, Mike?"

Mike nodded. "Yeah, and she wasn't supposed to leave the house either, I just convinced her that she'd be OK."

"We should double check," Kevin suggested. "Just to be sure; Mike, you've got the kitchen; Em, you check the bedrooms, thoroughly; I'll check outside! Meet back here in half an hour, if we haven't found Cheetah by then, we'll tell Mentor, and call Jayden."

Emily nodded and hurried back in the direction of the bedrooms.

"Do you think Jayden already knows?" Mike asked.

"I think it's a possibility," Kevin nodded. "But let's check, just in case."

Mike nodded. "OK," he said, disappearing across the hall and into the kitchen.

~*Little Samurai*~

Soon the horses stopped in the middle of a forest clearing. Just beyond the clearing the four rangers noticed a large wooden gate with the Shiba family crest on it, it stood just in front of a familiar temple. A smile broke out on Ava's face as she dismounted and hurried forward.

"C'mon," she said waving to the others to hurry up.

"This is the Tengen Gate?" Antonio asked. "It's just a big wood thing..."

"The Tengen Gate is an important part of Ranger history, Antonio," Ava reminded him. She bowed before passing under the gate and into the courtyard. She stopped in front of a stone monument, giving the others enough time to catch up with her.

"This commemorates where the first Samurai Rangers battled the Nighlok army," Jayden said, as he stopped behind Ava, reading from over her shoulder.

"They say the Sanzu River flooded the entire city," Ava said as she turned to her friends.

"What happened?" Antonio asked, being a self-made Samurai meant that he didn't know every single detail about the Samurai history, but he was eager to learn as much as he could.

"The Rangers defeated them," Jayden answered him. "They never gave up, and they took their training seriously."

"We should have convinced Daddy to let the other's come," Ava smiled. "Mike and Kevin could learn a lot from being here."

"How so?" Mia asked.

"Because, according to legend, the Green ranger was a bit of a prankster," said a new voice. The four rangers turned to see an elderly man approaching them. He smiled as he spotted Ava, bowed his head once, and opened his arms in greeting. "Ah, my dear sweet, Avalon!" he smiled.

Ava smiled, bowed in respect, and then run into his arms, hugging him tightly. "Daisuke," she whispered. "I've missed you!"

Jayden, Antonio and Mia exchanged smiles.

"But yes, the Green ranger drove the Blue ranger crazy."

"It would seem some things haven't changed between generations," Mia smiled.

Antonio and Jayden chuckled in agreement.

"But they were still the best of friends," the elderly man smiled. He placed a hand on his chest. "I am Daisuke, the elder guardian."

Once again the Rangers bowed in respect, as Daisuke gestured to the entrance of his home.

"Your mentor advised us that you would be coming," he said. "Please, make yourselves at home. Hansuke, my eldest grandson, will show you to your rooms. You must be tired after such a long flight."

"Well, I was," Ava nodded as Cheetah stuck her head out of the gaping hole in her human's backpack. "But now Jayden's woken me up, I feel wide awake! Cheetah says hi, by the way," she added as the feline pawed at her ponytail.

Daisuke spotted the feline and smiled.

While Ava, Mia and Antonio followed Hansuke into the house, Jayden remained outside and turned back to the monument.

"A penny for your thoughts, Jayden," Daisuke said when he saw that the Red Ranger was lost in deep thought.

Jayden turned back to the elder guardian. "It's nothing," he said.

"I take it you haven't told them your secret, have you?"

"They are my friends, Daisuke; I don't like lying to them, but..."

Daisuke places a hand on Jayden's shoulder. "I'm sorry, Jayden, but it is your responsibility to be the Red ranger."

"I know," Jayden nodded.

~*Little Samurai*~

"Did you ever study this when you were here?" Mia asked. She and Ava were standing in front of a mural.

Ava nodded. "Yes. It's an old folk tale," she explained. "Daisuke used to tell it to me every night. It was one of my favourite stories here... the Samurai story is my all-time favourite, but this comes it at a close second."

Mia smiled. "Can you remember it?" she asked.

"A young woman made a deal with the Nighlok King to save the life of her beloved," she explained, tracing the form of the woman gently with her fingers. "But the King tricked her and turned them both into Nighlok."

"That sure sounds like something a Nighlok would do," Antonio said as he joined them.

"Yeah," Ava agreed. "The King took away the man's memory, cursing him to wander the earth alone forever."

"It's strange," Mia frowned. "It's like I've met this woman before!"

"You have," Ava said. "It's Dayu!"

"How can you be so sure?"

"Before my Mum died," said Ava, "she used to tell me the story of a female Nighlok who seemed to have a vendetta against her; Mum didn't understand why she had been personally targeted, but, being the smart woman that she was, dug deeper into the Samurai history and found this story. She never told me this story, but she did formulate the information she had found into a story."

"Why?"

"Because she knew Ava would remember it," Jayden said as he and Daisuke finally joined them.

Ava smiled sheepishly. "I tend to remember stories more than actual facts," she agreed. "My mum knew that in story format I would remember everything she told me about Dayu."

"Did she ever find out about the man?" Mia asked.

"If she did," Ava shrugged, "she never told me."

~*Little Samurai*~

It was morning at the Shiba house.

"What do you think Mentor meant when he said he'd be back?" Emily asked. "You don't think he's gone after Ava, do you?"

"To Japan?" Mike asked. "No way. I mean, he'd take us with him if he did, right?"

"I don't know," Kevin answered. "He did say he chose us to stay behind to protect the city. Taking us to Japan, a day after the others have flown out there, would defeat the purpose, wouldn't it?"

Emily nodded. "But that doesn't stop him from flying out there, does it?"

"Relax, Em," Mike said reaching across the table and squeezing her hand. "I'm sure Mentor has a back-up plan for something like this. I mean, he can't leave us home alone now, can he?"

"Well, he could leave me and Emily," Kevin nodded. "But you're a different story! Why couldn't he have sent you instead of Mia?"

Mike shrugged. "You'd have to ask him," he said spooning the last of his cereal into his mouth.

"I respect his decision either way," Kevin said, quickly. "It would have just been an easier decision to follow Ava had Mia been here instead; Mentor would trust that the house would be here in one piece had he intended to leave in the end."

The front door opened and Ji returned - but he wasn't alone.

"Rangers," he said stepping through into the kitchen, "this is Damien, Evelyn's older brother, and Ava's uncle. Damien, these are Rangers: Blue, Yellow and Green, also known as Kevin, Emily and Mike!" he pointed at each ranger in turn.

Damien nodded. "Yes, I remember their parents," he said. "Evelyn was adamant about them being the best team for generations; but I have speculations having watched your team battle against the Nighlok."

"You're Evelyn's older brother?" Kevin frowned. "Wouldn't that have made you the White ranger?"

"Yes, it would have," Damien nodded. "But the ranger destiny was always kept within the female line of my family; the males had another job."

"Another job?" Mike asked, curiously.

"Now is not the time," Damien said. "But you'll find out the truth one day!"

Mike, Emily and Kevin exchanged looks.

"OK," Emily nodded, but she couldn't help but wonder what all this had to do with Ava. She understood that Damien was Ava's uncle, but how did that help with tracking her across to Japan from here?

"Damien has agreed to follow Ava and the others to Japan," Ji explained, seeing the confused looks on the rangers' faces. "I'm not doing this simply because Ava has smuggled Cheetah out of the house, I should have done this from the beginning, while I have every faith in the others, if they are to run into trouble, which you seven are famous for, they will need all the help they can get."

Suddenly the gap sensor blared.

"Speaking of trouble," Mike muttered dropping his spoon into his empty bowl and following Kevin and Emily for the door. He grunted, however, as he slammed into the back of Kevin, after the Blue ranger had stopped dead in his tracks as not to bowl over the person on the otherside of the door.

It was Luke.

~*Little Samurai*~

"Ow!"

"Rough night?"

"Cheetah nicked my pillow!"

Jayden chuckled as Ava knelt beside him. He had awoken early, which was no big surprise, and decided to wander around the garden for a bit; he had been hoping to get a better sense of the place. He had no idea how long they would be staying, hopefully it wasn't too long because they still had responsibilities in Paranoma city, despite the city being in safe hands.

"Can you help me?" Ava asked, pointing to her neck. "It really hurts."

Jayden smirked, nodded, and put his hands on her shoulders, pushing his thumbs against the knot that had formed beneath her skin. "Wow, what did Cheetah do to you?" he asked, as he worked the knots out of her body.

"I'm not sharing a bed with her tonight," Ava grumbled. "Mia can have her!"

"Maybe we won't be here tonight," Jayden pointed out.

"But we only just got here!"

"We're only here for the Black Box, Ava," Jayden reminded her. "This isn't a social call or a vacation. Maybe we'll visit once Xandred's gone."

Ava sighed, but nodded. "OK," she agreed, looking up as Antonio and Mia wandered into the room. Jayden dropped his hands from her shoulder and neck at the arrival of the two others, and greeted them both as they knelt opposite him.

"Enjoy your sleep?" he asked.

"I've had better," Antonio said, stretching.

"I miss my bed," Mia moaned.

Ava smiled. "If we're here tonight," she said, rolling her shoulders, "you've got a bedmate!"

"Oh?"

"Cheetah," Ava said as the feline wandered into the room, purring as she brushed up against Ava, and then lay on the floor in front of her human. "She can pinch your pillow! My neck hurts!" she winced as her neck muscles snapped and clicked back into place. "You are a nightmare!" she added, scratching the cat behind the ears.

Soon Daisuke joined them, closing the small circle, and placing a wooden box in the centre of the circle.

"The Black Box," he told them, opening the box and revealing a small device, "the most powerful Samurai weapon ever conceived. Few even know of its existence."

"Thank you, Daisuke," Jayden said, as he pulled the device from the box to inspect it. "I shall protect it with my life."

"And he means that literally," Ava vouched.

Daisuke smiled fondly at the youngest Ranger.

One of the servants came into the room, carrying a tray of cups and a teapot. He set it down on the table behind Daisuke and poured the tea into cups for the Rangers and the elder guardian. He bowed in respect of those in the room before hurrying off.

Daisuke turned to Antonio as soon as the servant had left. "I hope you can program it," he said, "with each passing day the Nighlok presence grows stronger. I fear that soon, even this sacred place will be corrupted by their evil."

Behind them, unnoticed by the rangers, a portal opened beneath the floorboards beside the table with the tea had been placed, a hand slithered out of the gaping red crack, hovered over the five cups, before withdrawing as green wisps of smoke settled within the drinks.

"I will try my very hardest," Antonio nodded.

"Yeah," Ava nodded. "And he means that literally too!"

Daisuke smiled once again before taking the tray of tea from the table and placing it on the floor for the rangers. "Now, let us drink tea together," he said, as Jayden passed him a cup, he nodded his thanks, allowing the others to take one for themselves. "To honour the ancient Rangers, and for good fortune in battle."

The rangers raised their cups.

Ava's senses tingled causing her to frown and lower her cup.

"My dear sweet, Avalon," Daisuke said, noticing her distraction. "What is it?"

"Something's... not quite right," Ava murmured. "Something's happened... something's wrong!"

"Wrong?" Antonio asked. "Like what?"

"I don't know," Ava whined. "I just... feel... something feels off. I can't explain it, one minute everything was fine, now it feels like something has shifted!"

"You always were stronger here," Daisuke nodded, confusing Ava further. "Avalon, we always taught you to trust your instincts. What are your instincts telling you?"

Ava paused and considered her surroundings for a second time. Maybe she had just been sensing things? Was there any real need to worry her friends? And what did Daisuke mean when he had said she had always been stronger at the Tengen Gate? Stronger in what way?

"My instincts are telling me that something's not right," Ava said, straightening up and wandering from the room.

~*Little Samurai*~

Following the all too familiar path from room to room, Ava was not surprised when she reached the pebbled courtyard of the house. Hansuke was outside, he was talking with another guardian; they stopped when Ava approached them.

"Don't stop on my account," she smiled.

"Avalon," Hansuke said, returning her smile. "How long has it been?"

"Six years,"

Hansuke nodded. "You've grown well in the last six years," he commented. "Grandfather always did say you would be a gem."

Ava giggled.

"How have you been?"

"I've had better years," Ava nodded. "I won't burden you with my stories. Hansuke, have you noticed anything suspicious in the last few minutes?"

"Few minutes?"

Ava nodded.

"No, why?"

The White ranger sighed. "Because I can sense a change," she explained. "Your grandfather said I always was stronger here..."

"He's telling the truth," Hansuke nodded. "Your powers always did seem to excel here."

"My powers?" Ava frowned. "You mean my symbol power?"

"No, Avalon," Hansuke said shaking his head. "Your guardian powers."

Ava blinked in confusion. "Guardian?" she repeated. "Me? You've confused me with someone else, Hansuke, I'm no guardian. I'm a Ranger, yes, but a guardian? No way!"

"Your father has not told you," Hansuke nodded; disturbed that he had told her valuable information. It was obvious that if her father had not told her yet then did he did not deem her ready to know. "Avalon, I am so sorry, but I must -" he cut off as he turned away, catching sight of a horde of Moogers and Nighlok in the garden beyond the one they were standing in. "I think I have found your problem, Avalon!"

Ava gasped as she too spotted the Nighlok. "We must warn the others!" she said, grabbing his arm and tugging him back towards the house.

~*Little Samurai*~

Ava winced as Hansuke pulled her back through the house, his grip on her wrist was growing tighter and tighter by the passing second and she was sure that he was going to leave a bruise if he didn't let up.

"Hansuke, you're hurting me!"

"Sorry!" he apologized, loosening his grip slightly. He pulled aside a sliding door and rushed inside. Mia and Antonio were around Jayden, who was lying on the floor, clutching his chest and throat.

"What happened?" Ava asked darting towards her best friend.

"The drink... it's poisoned..." Jayden managed to say through the pain.

"Did you find out -?" Antonio started.

"There are Nighlok in the garden!" Ava said, cutting across him.

"But we can't leave Jayden," Mia protested.

"Don't worry about me," said Jayden. "Hurry..."

Ava looked up at Mia. "Go, I'll catch up!" she nodded.

Mia nodded and took off after Antonio. She knew that with only two of them they were going to be outnumbered 100 to 2, but hopefully they could deal with the Moogers and team-up against the Nighlok, just long enough for Ava to catch up with them.

~*Little Samurai*~

"I knew Daddy should have sent us all!" Ava said as Daisuke ordered his grandson to quickly bring the antidote methods. Hansuke nodded and left the room.

"You should go... help the... others!" Jayden said through the pain.

Ava grabbed his hand. "I am not leaving until I know that you're OK!" she said, as Cheetah, who had hissed and slinked under the table the second Jayden had taken the poisoned tea, brushed against the Red ranger, her tail smoothing across his flushed face. "Now stop fussing! You're pushing the poison further through your body!"

Hansuke soon returned with the desired items his grandfather had requested. Daisuke then ordered him away, the last thing he needed was for him to be hurt.

"Seriously?" Daisuke, Ava and Jayden turned to the sound of a squeaky high-pitched voice shouting from the otherside of the room. They looked up and recognized the squid-faced Octoroo standing in the doorway. "You're going to fight my black magic potion with dried mushrooms?"

Knowing that Octoroo's presence was anything but good news, Ava jumped to her feet to defend Jayden. She knew that her friend would probably scold her for such an act later, but at the current moment he wasn't in any position to defend himself, and with Mia and Antonio gone, she was the only chance had.

Unfortunately, she didn't get far as a surge of energy from Octoroo's staff sent her crashing through the wall behind her. She narrowly missed the table in the second room, and rolled onto her stomach the second she had landed. Short of breath, and in slight pain, Ava looked around as Daisuke put himself between her, Jayden and Octoroo.

"Foolish Nighlok!" he shouted. "You're forces were defeated here once before and they shall be again!"

"Ooh, ah, ooh, you want a piece of me too?" Octoroo laughed.

"Wait!" Jayden said, his protective nature shining through again. He knew Ava had meant well when she had wanted to protect him, but ever since they had been kids, he had felt he need to protect her, he never wanted her to have to protect him. "It's me that you want, let the Guardians go!"

"Fine by me," Octoroo agreed. "I just need one thing from you. You're going to show me the symbol you Red rangers use to seal away Master Xandred."

~*Little Samurai*~

Antonio groaned as he and Mia hit the ground. It had been a while since they had left the Tengen Gate and entered the Bamboo forest, the Moogers had been a piece of cake to deal with, not that it was any surprise, but the Nighlok, Arachnitor, was another problem all together; it also help that they were five ranger short.

"Mia, are you OK?" the Gold ranger asked as he scrambled to his feet and knelt beside the Pink ranger.

"We can't beat him!" Mia complained.

"We have too," Antonio said, determinedly. "Jayden's in trouble and I have the feeling that Ava is too! She would have joined us already if she weren't!"

Taking Antonio's hand, Mia scrambled back to her feet as the Nighlok unleashed his silk, wrapping it around them and hoisting them into the air.

"Let us go!" Mia shouted.

"If you insist," Arachnitor said, electrocuting them with a surge of energy, blasting them free.

"I don't know how much more I can take," Mia said, her breathing ragged. "Why didn't Mentor send us all?"

Antonio shook his head. He couldn't give up. His friends were in trouble. "Maybe he thought we wouldn't run into so much trouble," he suggested. "He should have thought of it though, we are famous for getting into trouble."

"We wouldn't be Rangers if we weren't," Mia said.

"You sound like Ava," Antonio chuckled.

Mia smiled, despite the situation. "She must be rubbing off on me!" she nodded.

"Is that a good thing or a bad thing?"

"I don't know," Mia shrugged. "In a situation like this... I think it's both!"

"Time for the big finish!" Arachnitor snarled crossing his pincers and slashing at the two rangers. They were hurled backwards through the air, demorphing as the last of their energy evaded their bodies, and they crash landed side-by-side on the hard forest floor.

Antonio felt Mia go still beside him, and knew she had passed out from the lack of energy and the beating they had just taken. He couldn't blame her, he could feel his body slowly shutting down, and knew that before long he too would sink into the oblivion that was threatening to overpower him.

This can't be happening... he thought as, through heavy eye-lids, he watched Arachnitor walk towards them, a slight bounce in his step. His victory was at hand.

Suddenly, a deep eerie voice echoed around the forest, startling not only the Gold ranger, but Arachnitor too.

"Arachnitor!"

"No," Arachnitor gasped turning in a full circle. "It can't be!"

"Enough of your treachery!"

A portal burst to life in one of the trees just beside the Nighlok, and next second Arachnitor was pulled through the blazing red gap and out of the human world.

Antonio sighed in relief, before his tired, bruised and aching body caved to the oblivion that surrounded him. His head was fuzzy, and he hurt all over, but at least he knew that a pain free world existed just beyond the darkness.

~*Little Samurai*~

Allowing Hansuke to pull her to her feet, Ava stumbled outside after Jayden and Octoroo. From the verandas, which run around the entire house, she could see the squid-face taunt the Red ranger in the outer garden of the temple.

"It's a simple question, Red Ranger," Octoroo was saying. "Just show me the sealing symbol, I'll give you the antidote, and it will save us both a lot of grief!"

"Never!" Jayden said, still fighting against the poison that riddled his insides. Unknown to either him or Octoroo, Dekker stood near-by watching the whole ordeal.

"Huh, that's how you want to play it?" Octoroo scoffed.

"Why won't you Nighlok take no for an answer?" Ava yelled running out into the outer garden. "GO, GO SAMURAI!" she yelled tracing her symbol in the air and running through it. "Spin sword!"

"You again!" Octoroo yelled as he raised his staff and blocked the blade. "Can't you see this is a private conversation?"

"Ava...?" Jayden breathed before losing consciousness.

"You honestly didn't think that I was going to stand back and let you take my friend, did you?" Ava asked raising her sword and blocking Octoroo's staff. "Now give me the antidote!"

"Or what?"

Ava groaned inwardly. "Don't test my patience, Nighlok!" she snapped. "My head is fuzzy, my neck hurts, and you are really starting to test my patience."

"What could you possibly do?" Octoroo laughed. "You're just the ditzy Little Samurai! You're no threat to me!"

"You'd think you, of all people, wouldn't judge a book by its cover," Ava said. "You should know, Octoroo that dynamite comes in small packages!"

Octoroo laughed as he blasted Ava with smoke from his staff. The White ranger coughed as she was blasted backwards across the gravel, before rolling back to her feet. "Oh, that's worse than Mike after training!" she coughed, before slimy tentacles wrapped around her body and hoisted her into the air. "Put me down!" she yelled.

But Octoroo did not comply with her request.

"Pingu!" Ava yelled.

With a squeak the mini black and white metallic penguin swooped through the air and bashed into Octoroo, causing him to drop Ava and swat the Foldingzord out of the air. It sparked as transformed back into its immobile state and hit the ground.

"No!" Ava moaned. "That's it! Playtime's over!"

"Oh, really?" Octoroo asked, tossing three balls at the two rangers. "Batter up!"

"Ice Naginata!

The staff-like weapon appeared in Ava's hands. She swung it through the air, deflecting the balls, and locking her staff with Octoroo's. While they battled, Ava failed to notice Dekker approach Jayden, despite her senses going haywire, the White ranger was too preoccupied to take in her surroundings, if only she had known that she'd pay the consequences for it later.

"Hey, Little Samurai,"

"Huh?" Ava frowned, looking up. "Dekker, what are you doing here?"

"Relax," Dekker reassured her, shifting into his Nighlok form. "I'll take care of the Red ranger from here!"

"What? No!" Ava yelled. "Stay away from my friend!" she pushed Octoroo away and rushed at Dekker, who had already hoisted Jayden over his shoulder.

"Do not try and stop me!" Dekker snarled, swinging his sword at Ava. The blade caught her into the stomach and knocked her clean off of her feet. She hit the ground, just short of the inner garden, and demorphed on impact. "Foolish girl!" he hissed, before disappearing through a crack.

Octoroo slammed his staff into the ground. "Dekker spoils everything," he pouted, "I'm out of here!"

He opened a crack between the Netherworld and the human world, and disappeared through it.

"Jayden..." Ava whispered as she lost consciousness.


Copyrighted ©

A/N: See you next week.

Chapter written by xXxKaraBeckerCutterxXx

Chapter updated Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 04:28am