Andrew, Mark, and Shanta continue their training. Except this time, they are training in separate alternate worlds. Will they overcome this training?
“Where am I?” Shanta asked herself looking at her surroundings. “This place looks like a desert…Wait a minute…I’m in a desert!”
The sun began to beat down on Shanta’s body. Shanta walked through the desert without a sense of direction. Her mouth began feel dry and she began to feel weary. Suddenly, the ground began to move. Shanta could see a snake-like trail coming towards her.
A giant desert worm sprang out of the sand with its huge fangs ready to devour her. The worm aimed for Shanta, but missed. Immediately, Shanta transformed. She attacked it with her Needle Storm attack. Her attack bounced off of the worm’s body and exploded in the sand. Shanta’s eyes widened, for she knew she couldn’t beat it. With super speed, she ran away from the worm in the other
direction. The worm roared and created a tidal wave of sand. Despite Shanta’s efforts, the wave caught her and carried her away.
Mark wandered through a dense forest trying to find civilization. He searched for hours and hours, but no luck.
“I’m gonna get Master Dao for this.”
Suddenly, Mark heard a growl in the bushes. He transformed and looked all around him. Mark spotted a pair of glowing yellow eyes in the bushes in front of him.
Instantly, a baby panda standing on its two legs walked out of the bushes. From the looks of it, it wasn’t in a cuddly mood.
“Man, why do I get the weird ones?”
The panda snarled and dashed towards Mark. Mark dodged and countered with his Shadow Fang attack. The blow knocked the panda backwards, crashing into a nearby tree. The tree collapsed, knocking several other trees down.
“Who da man!” exclaimed Mark smiling.
The baby panda lifted up a tree and threw it at Mark. Mark jumped into the air, preparing for an aerial attack. The panda looked up and opened its tiny mouth. Suddenly, a small ball of energy began to snowball. Soon, a huge blast came out of the panda’s mouth. Mark’s eyes widened as the blast came towards him. BAM! The blast hit Mark directly into his chest. He plummeted into several trees.
Mark rubbed his bruised head. “I’m getting my ass beat by a baby panda…and it sounds like he wants to finish the job.”
Andrew opened his eyes and sat up for a moment. He realized he was in an alley. He got up and decided to look around. Andrew found a homeless guy sleeping in a pile of trash with a newspaper over his face. Andrew crept over and stared at the front page of the newspaper.
Bronx Times?! But how did I get back? And where are Mark and Shanta?
Andrew walked out of the alley and couldn’t believe his eyes. He was definitely back home. He recognized the street he was on and knew how far he was from home. Suddenly, a cold chill went down Andrew’s spine.
Andrew reached his apartment. He noticed that the time was five o’clock on the huge wall clock near the elevators. The elevator ride seemed like eternity. He
pulled out his keys from his pocket and unlocked the door. Andrew walked in and saw Lily and William watching TV.
“Hey guys,” Andrew said.
“How was school today?” Lily asked him.
Andrew paused and answered, “It was great.”
“That’s good. I left your dinner in the fridge. Oh, and Rosa called earlier. She wanted to talk to you about something.”
The same chill came back.
“Sounds like love is in the air,” replied William smiling.
Andrew blushed. “I’ll go see her now.”
He ran up the stairs to the tenth floor and ran to her apartment door. He rang her doorbell and waited for someone to answer the door. A few seconds later, Rosa opened the door. Andrew stared at her for a moment.
“Is something wrong?” she asked looking at Andrew confused.
“No,” Andrew answered forcing a laugh while scratching the back of his head. “Lily told me you wanted to see me.”
“Yeah, I did. Can we talk outside?”
Rosa put on her shoes and they both walked to the park. The park was quiet today. Usually, kids from the apartments would play around this time. Something seemed off. Rosa led Andrew to the swings and sat down. Andrew sat down next to her.
“What did you want to talk about?” Andrew asked swinging a little.
She looked at him and answered, “About us.”
“What about us?”
Rosa paused. She stared at the ground with a sad look on her face. Andrew got off the swing and squatted next to her.
“Tell me,” he replied.
Shanta arose from the sand, coughing. She quickly got up and dusted herself off. Suddenly, she realized she was standing by the front gate of a domed city.
“At least I’ll get a bath,” said Shanta de-transforming.
As she walked pass the front gate, Shanta was amazed by the structure. Even though this city was highly advanced, it still kept a primitive way of life. The buildings were made of stone and the streets weren’t paved at all. The civilians were dressed in garments similar to what the Israelites used to wear back in the Old Testament. To her surprise, the civilians rode in hover wagons and actually had television screens posted on the taller buildings. It was like the Old Testament meets the future.
Shanta walked up to one the civilians and asked if there was a hotel anywhere in the city. The man pointed to a hotel two buildings down and told her to get some clothes, since she stuck out like a sore thumb. Shanta went to the nearest clothing shop and bought a blue garment to cover herself. She reached the hotel with a puzzled look. It was a hexagon shaped hotel with a rectangular smoke stack.
“Are you lost?” someone asked with a smirk.
Two guys, one tall and the other short, wearing raggedy blue garments walked up to her.
Shanta gave them an innocent look. “I’m okay.”
“We can get you a room here if you do us a favor,” said the tall guy grinning.
“I’m not that kind of girl,” replied Shanta and kneed the tall guy into the stomach.
The tall guy clenched his stomach with his eyes wide open. He couldn’t formulate a single word. The short guy attacked. BAM! Shanta kneed the short guy in the face, giving him a nosebleed. The tall guy got up and began throwing punches at her. Shanta dodged his attack and countered. The tall guy fell to the floor with a loud thud. The short guy was in so much pain he could barely stand up. Suddenly, she heard clapping.
“You’re stronger than you look,” he said, looking at her with a smile.
Shanta turned around to see a handsome young man the same height as Mark staring at her. He had short black hair, brown eyes, and a long face. His green garment made his mocha complexion show more.
“Who are you?” Shanta asked.
“The name’s Barzus,” he answered. “I’m an imperial guard at the palace. I saw you fight those worm creatures and I must say you’re not too shabby. We could use someone like you to help defend our city.
“Sorry, not interested in joining you. Besides, I despise people who see me as a tool and not a person. You don’t know what it’s like to be feared and misunderstood. ”
“Heh, suit yourself,” Barzus replied. “But let me tell you something: in this city, the only person we fear is the King. No one has ever stood up to him and probably never will. The number of worms has increased in the last month and yet the King does nothing for his people. He’d rather kill us all than lift a finger to help. I ask you again, will you help us?”
Shanta sighed. “Lead the way.”
Everything in the city seemed to be a mixture of the past and the future, yet poverty remained the same. Shanta’s heart ached as she looked into the eyes of the people. She could feel their fear and their sadness. Their homes were similar to run
down apartments in Bronx and the smell of death filled the air. Shanta decided to take off the garment, since it was itching, and gave it to a poor mother with her two children. The mother smiled and thanked her while the children ran up and hugged Shanta.
Then, Shanta looked at Barzus with a serious look. “Let’s get one thing straight: I’m doing this for them, not you. Got it?”
Barzus smiled. “Yeah, I got it.”
This is ridiculous, Mark thought while he was hiding in a bush. A baby panda that can fire energy blasts is chasing me. I feel so embarrassed.
Suddenly, the panda jumped out of nowhere and grabbed Mark. Mark struggled to get free from the panda’s grip. He began punching the panda in the stomach. The panda loosened his grip. Mark used his Shadow Fang attack to knock the panda into a tree. With super speed, Mark ran away from the panda. When he felt it was safe to take a breather, Mark slowed down and leaned against a tree. Mark looked up and noticed the baby panda clung to the tree.
“Aw hell na!” Mark exclaimed and tried to run away.
Suddenly, an arm grabbed him and pulled him into the bushes. Mark looked around and quickly realized he was in a small cave covered by dense vines and tall bushes. He stood quiet as he heard the baby panda pass by. Minutes later, there was silence. Mark let out a sigh of relief.
“I’m glad I got to you in time,” a voice said. “Otherwise, you’d be dead.”
“Who said that?” Mark asked in confusion.
Mark looked down and saw a small girl with long black hair and red eyes, wearing a torn blue slip. She smiled at him and led him deep into the cave, where a small fire had been made.
“You live here all by yourself?” Mark asked. “Where are your parents?”
The girl stared at the fire with a sad look. “They’re dead. I’ve been alone ever since that panda came into my village and destroyed everything. Now, he’s after me, the sole survivor.”
Mark walked up to her and patted her head. “I won’t let him hurt you.”
“But what can you do? You barely escaped death. Why sacrifice yourself for me?”
The girl began to sob. Mark held her close to him. His warmth eased her sobbing.
“All my life, I’ve been afraid to do the right thing,” he said looking at her. “I’ve watched my best friend and my cousin grow stronger while I lagged behind.
To me, I’m the weakest one of the group. But now, I have several reasons to keep fighting. And you’re one of them. By the way, what’s your name?
“Reina’s my name. What yours?”
“Mark,” Mark answered and smiled. “Go ahead and cry. I know you’ve been wanting to for a while now.”
Reina gripped Mark’s sleeves tightly and cried. Mark patted her small head as her cries echoed in the cave. Minutes later, Reina was fast asleep. Mark laid her down and headed toward the entrance, determined to end both his inward battle and his battle with the baby panda.
“I love you, Andrew,” Rosa said looking at Andrew.
Andrew was speechless.
“My love for you is real, but this place isn’t.”
“What? You are real.”
“No, I’m not. I’m just a figment of your imagination. I don’t exist. If I did, then your friends would be here too.”
“Why am I here?”
“To unleash a power that is deep within you. I don’t know much, but that’s what this dimension was created for.”
Rosa got up from the swing and began to walk off.
“Where are you going?” he asked following her.
“I have to leave,” she answered.
“Not without me,” Andrew said grabbing her shoulder.
“You can’t stay here,” replied Rosa looking at him with her hazel eyes.
“She’s right about that,” a familiar voice said.
Andrew turned around and saw the Meta Morphic Five standing behind of him.
“It’s time to kill you, Andrew,” said Sparks meta-morphing.
The others meta-morphed and then dashed toward Andrew. Quickly, Andrew transformed and attacked. It was five against one, but Andrew had to save Rosa from these goons.
Shanta, in her fox form, waited for the worms to attack. Sweat rolled down her neck as the blazing sun beamed down on her. All she could think about was taking a nice long bath and drinking a gallon of water. Suddenly, the ground shook.
Four giant worms sprang out of the sand and attacked. Shanta dodged and used her Needle Storm attack.
“Damn! How am I supposed to beat these things if my attack just bounces off of them?”
SMACK! One of the worms lashed Shanta in the back making her skid on the sand. Shanta struggled to get up. The four worms jumped into the air and prepared to devour her. She couldn’t believe her life was about end as worm food. Suddenly, a wave of energy knocked the worms down. Shanta got up and saw Barzus standing next to her. He smiled at her and dashed towards the dazed worms. Shanta quickly followed. Sand was kicked up wildly and the sounds of energy attacks and worms crying in pain filled the hot air. Both Shanta and Barzus picked up on the worms’ movements and countered. With their combined strength, all four worms were destroyed.
“We make a pretty good team, don’t we?” Barzus asked with smile. “Sure you won’t reconsider?”
“Sorry, my man’s waiting for me back at the temple,” Shanta answered. “You’re cute, but I love Ching.”
Barzus was confused for a moment, but decided to let it go. Suddenly, the ground began to shake tremendously. A sand explosion filled the air as the king worm appeared before them. It roared angrily and attacked Barzus. Barzus stood frozen in fear as the king worm quickly approached him. SMACK! Sand flew everywhere. The king worm raised its mouth from out of the sand and quickly realized its meal had disappeared. It looked to its left and saw Shanta holding Barzus. The king worm roared with anger and jumped into the sand, charging towards them. Shanta was petrified. She knew her Needle Storm attack was useless against the king worm, but she couldn’t let Barzus die either. She was confused and afraid to move. Suddenly, Barzus put up an energy shield around them, countering the king worm’s attack. The king worm fell backwards, crashing into the sand. Barzus looked at Shanta with a disappointed look.
“What happened to you?” he asked. “I need you focused on the battle. We both got people to return to. So let’s finish this.”
Suddenly, a sandy tidal wave appeared. Barzus quickly put up an energy shield, but the wave was too strong to deflect. The shield smashed into tiny pieces as the wave crashed into Barzus and Shanta. Seconds later, Shanta rose up from the sand to find Barzus still unconscious. Suddenly, the king worm appeared. It roared angrily and jumped towards Shanta. Shanta ran towards Barzus and stood in front of him. She wasn’t going to let his life end so quickly, even if it meant sacrificing her life. She began thinking about Ching, Mark, Andrew, and her family: how she would miss them. Suddenly, the gem on her bracelet glowed and formed a light blue energy shield around her. The king worm collided with the shield and flew
backwards, skidding on the sand. The shield faded. A light blue aura began to surround her.
“Bye-Bye worm,” she said as her eyes glowed a light blue color.
Shanta extended both arms, with her hands stretched out sideways and fingers curved in. Suddenly, the sand began to circle around her.
“ENERUGĪ BAKUHATSU !!!” she shouted.
A huge blast of light blue energy flew across the desert splitting the sand as it headed for the king worm. The king worm tried to escape, but the blast was too big for it to dodge. The king worm shrieked in pain as the blast hit. A few second later, the king worm was nothing more than a pile of dust.
“That…was…fun,” Shanta said breathing deeply.
“Good job,” Barzus replied as he walked towards her. “You passed your test.”
Suddenly, a door appeared in front of them. At first, Shanta thought the desert heat was getting to her, but soon realized the door led back to the temple. Shanta thanked Barzus for his help. She slowly walked towards the door and opened it.
With no place to run or hide, Mark knew he had to fight the panda, especially to protect Reina. With super speed, the panda jumped from tree to tree. Mark stood there watching the panda move. He couldn’t believe a small panda could move so fast. Mark soon got frustrated and tried to attack the panda. But every time he tried, the panda was one step ahead of him and quickly countered.
Gotta stay calm. Focus on his movements with my ears, not my eyes.
Mark closed his eyes and listened for the baby panda’s movements.
Mark split his shadow into several smaller shadows making it easier for him to hit the panda. SMACK! One of the shadows hit the panda, knocking it to the ground. Mark smiled with joy, since his plan worked. The panda got up and fired a huge energy blast at Mark. With no time to dodge, Mark extended his arms forward and blocked the blast with all his might. He could feel the blast pushing him backwards. Mark struggled to move forward as the blast got bigger and stronger.
Can’t let it end like this. I won’t let him get his paws on Reina. I won’t back down!
Suddenly, the gem on his bracelet began to glow. He sent the blast upward. Mark and the panda both watched as the blast ascended to the sky.
“Here’s something I cooked up for you,” he replied with his arms above his head and his hands crisscrossed. “It’s time to kiss your ass good-bye! KAGE BAKUHATSU !!!”
Instantly, a purplish-black colored blast flew straight towards the panda. The panda tried to grab the blast, but soon realized the blast was too much for it. It
shrieked in pain as its body was being disintegrated. Seconds later, the panda’s body disappeared without a trace. Mark gave a sigh of relief. Then, he realized something.
“Oh snap! I just spoke Japanese and I don’t know what the hell it means!”
Suddenly, a door appeared in front of him.
“I guess this is my ticket out of this place,” replied Mark as he walked towards it.
“Mark!” a voice called out to him.
Mark turned around and saw Reina running towards him.
“Thank you,” she said with a smile. “Thank you for saving me and putting an end to the terror that plagued my village. I watched most of the fight and can say you’re not weak. You have proven to me how strong you are, when you fight with your heart. Always remember that feeling.”
Mark patted Reina’s head and smiled. “I won’t forget it.”
SMACK! Andrew fell face first into the ground. He struggled to get up. Sparks kicked him in the ribs, sending Andrew flying into the air. Big C appeared above Andrew and clubbed him in his back. Rosa watched helplessly as Andrew was getting tossed around. Andrew smacked the ground hard making a huge hole in the playground. Dust kicked up into the air. The dust settled, revealing Andrew face first in the ground.
“Had enough ass-wipe?” Gyro asked with a huge grin on his face.
“I’m just…getting started,” Andrew answered slowly getting up.
He dashed toward Gyro, tackling him to the ground. Andrew jumped into the air as soon as he heard someone approach him. Andrew kicked Big C in the face. Big C went down hard. Sparks attacked. Andrew countered with a punch to Sparks’ face. Sparks flew backwards, but quickly regained his balance. Suddenly, Rampage’s gorilla body tackled Andrew to the ground. He grabbed Andrew’s foot and flung him upward. Rampage jumped into the air and bear-hugged Andrew.
“POWER DRIVE!!!” he shouted as they plummet to the ground.
BAM! Andrew’s entire upper body was buried in the ground leaving his legs dangling in the air. Rampage grabbed both of Andrew’s legs and pulled him out of the ground like a vegetable. Andrew’s whole body became numb. He couldn’t even formulate a word.
“How do you like your meta-human guys?” asked Flameboy preparing to barbecue Andrew.
“Crispy,” answered Gyro and laughed hysterically.
Flameboy raised both arms and shouted, “WAVES OF INFERNO!!!”
A stream of flames came towards Andrew. Andrew burned Rampage’s arm with his Striking Claw attack and dodged the blast. Flameboy’s attack incinerated a
tree to the ground. Andrew countered, punching Flameboy in the face. He skidded to the ground and crashed into a car.
“HAILSTORM!!!” shouted Big C.
Instantly, thousands of tiny icicles came straight towards Andrew. Andrew tried to dodge, but the icicles ended up following him. BAM! SMACK! Andrew could feel each and every icicle explode on his body. Andrew crashed to the ground hard. He slowly got up, coughing up blood. Rosa rushed over to Andrew and tried to help him up.
“Stop your attacks,” she cried to the Meta Morphic Five. “Don’t you see he has had enough?”
“Step away bitch or I’ll be forced to kill you too,” replied Big C.
“Don’t you dare call her a bitch,” Andrew replied angrily as he got up.
With the remaining strength in his body, Andrew charged forward. He began punching Big C in the stomach. Big C’s jaw sank further and further with every blow. Suddenly, his body became weightless. He could almost see the rooftop. Andrew appeared above Big C and clubbed him in the back. Big C plummeted. The ground shook and entire the playground became a scrap yard. Andrew’s body was exhausted. Each breath felt worse than the last. He wasn’t sure if he could fight them anymore. Suddenly, Andrew’s ears perked as he heard Rosa scream.
“Move and the girl dies,” replied Gyro with one arm wrapped around Rosa’s waist and the other shaped like a blaster, pointed at her head.
“Let her go Gyro,” Andrew said angrily.
“Alright,” Gyro said smiling and pushed Rosa to the ground somewhere in the middle of him and Andrew.
“Rosa, run!” Andrew cried.
“GIGA DESTROYER!!!” shouted Gyro as he fired his blaster.
Rosa ran as fast as she could towards Andrew. Her heart raced as she stretched out her hand towards him. It was too late. The blast hit and went through her. Andrew’s eyes widened as he watched Rosa fall to the ground. He ran towards Rosa and cradled her head on his lap. Blood soaked through her clothes and her body grew cold. A tear rolled down Andrew’s face and splashed onto her cheek. Rosa looked at Andrew with half-opened eyes and a small smile.
“Don’t…worry about…me,” she managed to say. “I’m…not real. Fight with both your heart and body…I know you love the real Rosa, but…you are afraid to admit it…”
That was the last thing Andrew heard from her. Rosa’s head tilted to the right and her body disappeared right before his eyes. Andrew could hear Gyro’s laughter
ringing in his ears. Andrew gnashed his teeth and clenched his fists tightly. Soon, the others began to laugh.
“You have grown stronger Andrew, but you’re still weak,” replied Sparks. “You can’t even save the one you love.”
Andrew muttered something under his breath.
“What was that?” asked Big C with one hand cupped over his ear.
Suddenly, the gem on Andrew’s bracelet glowed and a bright red aura surrounded him. Andrew rose up. The aura grew and his yellow eyes became blood red. The ground began to shake and split open. Andrew could see fear in their eyes.
“You bastards!” he cried, “You killed the only person I loved and now you’ll die!”
Andrew extended both arms with one hand pointed upward, the other pointed downward and his fingers slightly curled.
“GEKIDO BAKUHATSU!!!” he shouted at the top of his lungs.
A huge red blast of energy flew across the playground, heading straight for the Meta Morphic Five. They couldn’t dodge the blast. Big C stood in front of the blast and grabbed it with his bare hands. The blast began to push him back. Suddenly, Rampage stood behind Big C, becoming his anchor. The others did the same. Big C’s veins pulsated as he continued to hold the blast. It was a stalemate.
“You think I’m done?!” exclaimed Andrew. “Guess again!”
He added more energy to the blast. The blast grew wider, pushing them all back. Big C’s arms began to shake as the blast became cumbersome to hold. A direct hit! Soon, their bodies began to disintegrate. They cried for mercy, but Andrew was too enraged to hear it. Seconds later, the Meta Morphic Five was no more. Andrew fell to his hands and knees, breathing hard. Suddenly, the playground disappeared. Andrew quickly got up and watched as everything around him began to disappear.
What the…? Andrew asked himself and de-transformed.
“Andrew,” a voice called out to him.
“Who are you?” he asked looking around.
“Be not afraid, for I am your mother.”
“Sorry, Lily is my mother.”
Suddenly, the voice appeared in front of him. She had the same eye and hair color as Andrew and her face was small. She was the same height as Andrew, but a
little skinnier than him. She wore a white long-sleeve dress with a small pink flower in the middle.
“I know you have never seen me, but I’m your biological mother,” she said. “My name is Alice Bridgewater. And your biological father…is Jin Hidishi.”
When Andrew heard Hidishi’s name, he was pissed.
“There’s no way I’m related to Hidishi.”
“I sorry Andrew, but you are. It happened eighteen years ago in Japan. I was born in America, but moved over to Japan when I was two. My father was a rich businessman and owned a company in Japan. That’s when I met your father. I was about your age when I went out with him. I thought he loved me, but he never did. All he wanted was my body and my family’s fortune. When you were born, he left me to survive on my own. Since my family disowned me, I was not able to take
care of you. So, I put you up for adoption. I’m sorry, but if I hadn’t, you wouldn’t grow up to be the kind caring young man I wanted you to be.”
Andrew ignored her comment. He was solely focused on knowing the truth.
“How did you die?”
“Hidishi’s men found me in my apartment, took me to the beach, and killed me there. Hidishi figured I might say something to the police since I knew about his plans. Listen to me, Andrew. You must kill Hidishi before it’s too late.”
“What do you mean?”
“Let’s just say the world will be in chaos if you don’t.”
Andrew nodded. “So, how do I get out of here?”
Alice pointed to the door standing behind of Andrew. He ran towards the door and stopped. He turned around and stared at his real mother. He still couldn’t believe his eyes, yet he knew, in his heart, she was real.
“I love you, my son,” Alice said with a tear rolling down her cheek. “I’m always watching over you.”
“I…love you too…Mom,” Andrew said with a smile and went through the door.
“What’s taking Andrew so long?” Mark asked tapping his foot.
“He’ll be here,” answered Shanta staring at the sky.
Suddenly, a weird light poked through the bottom of the door. Everyone turned around and watched as Andrew came out of the door.
“What took you dawg?” asked Mark slapping fists with him.
“I had a run-in with my mom,” Andrew answered.
Both Shanta and Mark looked at him strangely.
“I’m serious, my biological mom talked to me after I finished my training,” he replied.
He stared at the ground. Mark and Shanta looked at him, expecting more details. Andrew knew it was going to be difficult to explain.
“She…told me that Hidishi is my real dad.”
“Hell na!” exclaimed Mark. “That can’t be right.”
“Are you sure?” asked Shanta.
“Positive,” Andrew answered. “She told me Hidishi’s drug-dealing plans started eighteen years ago and that we have to kill him now before he puts the world in chaos.”
“Looks like we have to leave Macu ASAP in order to kill Hidishi and rescue the girls,” replied Mark.
“You are still not done with your training,” Master Dao interrupted.
“Say what?!” Andrew exclaimed.
“You may have gained a new power, but you still don’t have full control of it. We start training tomorrow morning.”
Andrew sighed. “Yes sir…”
That night, Aiya wandered around the courtyard. She sat underneath a tree, staring at the sky. A smile spread over her face as she pictured Mark in her mind.
“I’m so glad Mark gets to stay a little longer. Maybe now I can win his heart. I’d better get back so I can make some plans.”
“I don’t think so little girl,” answered a voice with yellow eyes.
Aiya looked up into the tree and screamed. Mark heard Aiya’s scream and ran as he could. When he arrived, Aiya disappeared. He noticed Aiya’s necklace lying on the ground. Mark picked it up and realized she was kidnapped, but by whom?