The forest rose around him and the moon was large in the night sky. He was thirsty and smelled water in the air. He moved forward through the woods and the lake appeared before him. He was almost to the water when he heard/scented a rabbit. He began to follow it, bounding through the woods, leaping smaller bushes and going around those he couldn't jump, but it escaped down a hole in the end. He did not mind, he hadn't been all that hungry anyway, he just felt like chasing it. He walked back towards the water, reveling in the smell and sound of the night, the life that pulsed through the forest around it, and how he felt apart of it. He neared the lake and began to drink when he noticed his reflection in the lake. He saw a giant grey wolf with slight light highlights and thoughtful eyes staring back at him. _Grey? Everything is grey, but that isn't right...I hadn't thought of it..._
Billy woke up in Angel Grove Park by the lake as dawn began to light the sky. Not again. He stood up and looked at himself, his clothes were a mess covered with dirt and severely torn in some places. _At least I had the sense to wear something old tonight._ Billy groaned inwardly. _This is just too weird, first the dreams and now I'm sleep walking. I haven't woke up in my bed for the last three days and this is getting old. It's just a matter of time till someone notices. What's happening to me? Maybe it's some strange effect of the morpher._ As he thought this he reached behind him and pulled out his morpher and popped the coin. The gold wolf flashed in the light and he felt the power within it. _Maybe I should ask... No, I don't want to deal with it. They'll freak and make a big fuss and might not want to be around me. "Oh Billy's just going a bit nuts." I can see everyone running for the hills. What to do?_ He sighs and starts to walk home. _Gotta get ready for school and grab some breakfast._
Billy got dressed and went to school, and except for a few scrapes there was no indication that he had spent the night out in Angle Grove Park. This has got to stop. He headed to his locker and grabbed his books, but he didn't feel as comfortable here as usual. School was always the place where he could be at ease, where he could be a bit of himself. Today he was just a bit on edge, the walls seemed a bit too massive and the rooms and halls too cramped. He was walking towards Mrs. Applebee's room, when he suddenly knew Adam was behind him. He spun around and was greeted by the sight of Adam jumping. "Whoa, Billy. What are you trying to do give me a heart attack?"
Billy shrugged, "Well you were the one sneaking up behind me. Anyway I bet the only reason you were so startled was that you're used to sneaking up on everyone else. It's your habit. How are you doing?"
"I'm fine, a little freaked, but fine. And I don't sneak up on people, they just don't notice me till after I get there," grinned Adam. Adam looked searchingly at Billy, "Billy, you look a little freaked. What's up?"
"Nothing," quickly answered Billy. He sighed. _Adam would be the best one to talk to. He can keep a secret and anyways he doesn't deserve to be ignored. He's also intuitive, maybe that will shed some light on my dilemma._ "Actually I haven't been sleeping that great. In fact I've been having the strangest dreams." He shrugged again, "It's probably nothing."
Adam was getting ready to ask Billy to clarify, when Rocky came up. "Hey guys, have you heard?" Billy and Adam wait expectantly for Rocky to continue. "I guess not. Some jogger in the park saw a wolf last night." Rocky pauses as he sees Billy pale slightly, "But don't worry, I mean there are no wolves around here, right?" adds Rocky misinterpeting Billy's discomfort. He leans closer, "I mean the wolf is your animal, right?"
Billy twitches slightly and forces a sickly grin, "Yes it is." Billy turns and heads straight into the class and takes his seat. Rocky watches Billy leave and looks to Adam, "I wonder what's up with him?" Adam's only reply is a thoughtful look Billy's way.
Billy made it through his classes, it was a struggle, his attention kept wandering. All throught he day he could feel Adam watching him. _Well now I've peaked his curiosity. He's going to keep at this till I cave and tell him._
The bell rang and Billy nearly sprinted from the room, earning puzzled glances from Rocky, Aisha, Kat, and Tommy. Adam just calmly rose from his seat and walked after him. Billy quickly deposited his books in his locker. _No real homework, nothing I don't already know. I'm glad, I don't feel up to a real puzzle right now. This place is just too cramped._ Billy grabbed his pack and walked out of school. He was getting ready to head home when a breeze whispered across his back and he turned his head slightly to feel it better. _Nice day, maybe I'll go to the park for a bit. ...Adam? He's good. Well the others aren't here so..._ "Hi Adam," he says as he turns around.
Adam blinks. _How is he doing that?_ "That's the second time you've done that today. What're you, psychic?"
"Not the last time I checked, I just heard you behind me...," Billy pauses. No I didn't, how did I know? "Well actually I don't know how I knew you were there, but I knew." Billy shook his head again.
"Well, you were going to talk to me earlier then Rocky showed up and talked about the wolf..." Adam watched Billy pale, "in the park. Something about that is scaring you isn't it Billy?"
Billy takes a deep breath, "I told you I've been having strange dreams, right? Well I've..." Billy looks around, "been sleepwalking as well." Adam waits expectantly for Billy to continue. "Well, I can see by your expression that I have not fully explained the import of this event. The content of my dreams has been most...fascinating and if it wasn't for the fact that I was suffering from sleepwalking I would find them quite enjoyable."
"What are you dreaming about?" asks Adam.
"I have...," Billy gathers his wits for a moment and the next part comes out in a rush, "been dreaming of being a wolf and I keep waking up in Angel Grove Park." He watches Adam carefully. _He's going to think I'm crazy, but what else am I to do?_
_Wolf dreams? Sleepwalking? This is what is freaking him out...but Billy isn't one to jump to conclusions, there must be something more to this that Billy may not be noticing on a concious level. And Rocky did say that wolves didn't live near Angel Grove. Maybe I should talk to Zordon, but why isn't Billy? No, I should wait till I get something a bit more definite before I talk to Zordon._ "Why haven't you talked to Zordon?"
"I am unsure as to what is the cause of this, what if it's a side-effect if being a Ranger. Maybe it means that I'm not...," Billy trails off and looks to the ground.
"You think it might mean you're no longer supposed to be a Ranger," Adam replied quietly. He shook his head, "I don't think so, but what if it's a spell of Rita or Zedd's? Maybe we should go talk to Zordon, it can't hurt." Adam watches Billy's frown deepen. "How about I spend the night at your house? I'd invite you to mine, but it's a bit crowded. That way if something happens I'll be there and that way we can make sure of whatever is happening before we go see Zordon."
"Okay, that sounds like a most well-thought plan," Billy replies and then he smiles. "Why don't you get your stuff and meet me at the library. I want to do some research on something."
"Sure, I'll see you in a little bit." Adam walks off towards his house.
Billy searched the stacks at the library, he had been using the computer to search for information on wolves and had found a few books on the subject. As he read he became surer of the fact that wolves were not natives to the Angel Grove habitat, at least in this day and age. But besides that he came up with nothing of interest, except that when he was doing a subject search on wolves he came up with 'werewolves.' _Werewolves? Billy you need more sleep. Sigh. But I suppose I must explore any avenue of reasoning if I am to understand my dilemma._
Billy looks up the first few books on his subject, he looks through many: werewolfry is a curse, a gift of the devil, caused by the bite of another werewolf or werewolves are repulsed by silver, roses, wolvesbane. Or that a werewolf who isn't killed with silver or whatever becomes a vampire. Folklore and hearsay, the only thing they seem to be constant are is that werewolves change on the full moon and that silver harms them. _But I think that I must take even these 'facts' with a grain of salt._ He heads into the stacks and finds a red book labled "Werewolf the Apocalypse," it's a game of sorts, but he sees that they have a couple of these books so he grabs this one. _Can't hurt._
As he reads this one he gets a different picture of the werewolf, a noble protector caught between the world and his bestial nature. _Well this is the nicest thing I've read so far, but it's also just a game and no real help. It has made me feel better though, so I suppose it was of some use. Adam?_ He turns around and waves to Adam who has just entered the room.
_How is Billy doing that? I just walked into the room and he knew I was here._ Adam hears the door open behind him and feels a slight breeze on his neck. "Hi Billy. Find what you're looking for?"
"No, but I do hope there is some logical explanation for this, the illogical ones don't look that good." Billy gestures to the books stacked on the table.
Adam looks at Billy's Wolf-fest and shrugs. _Well I don't think I need to go through that, Billy's a better researcher than me any day of the week._ "Well, what do you want to do? We can drop my stuff at your house and do something for a while."
"How about we go to the park or maybe the woods? It's a nice day and I'd hate to miss it."
"Sounds fine to me," replies Adam. They grab their respective bags and head to Billy's house.
A while later, Billy and Adam are walking through the park. It's pretty empty except for the occasional jogger. Billy blinks for a minute, "Adam, have you ever noticed how dead the park is when we're here? I mean it's excellent for when we are assaulted by tengas, because no one is here to notice their fixation with us, but this is a nice park, why doesn't anyone use it?"
"I don't know, but you do have a point. If today was par for the course we'd be attacked by tengas right about now." Billy and Adam both look around for the expected tenga assault, but the unexpected happens... absoslutely nothing. Adam and Billy both turn sheepish grins to one another and Adam speaks, "Well that is normally what happens."
"I concur, you'll note that I was preparing for an imminent assault as well."
Adam gives Billy a strange look, "Billy has your vocabulary improved drastically since yesterday or am I missing something?"
An embarrassed smile flashes across Billy's face, "I've always had an excellent vocabulary, it is just that I've had to tone it down so everyone wouldn't look at me like I was mentally unbalanced. Still, sometimes when I'm working on something or I'm a bit rattled I tend to fall back into a fuller vocal mode. I suppose that I'm still unsettled by the days events. At least you can understand me, at one point Trini was the only person in the group who could keep up with my verbal antics."
"You lowered your vocabulary, because your friends couldn't understand you. That's pretty bad."
"What's worse is that if I was having this conversation with Tommy it would have derailed around 'I concur,'" Billy sighs and his face takes on a mischeivious cast, "Well, enough of this. Race you to woods." Billy matches action to words and sprints towards the edge of the woods. Adam shakes his head and takes off after him.
Billy and Adam ran through the woods for a bit, then it changed to mainly Billy running through the woods and Adam walking. _Whew! Where is all of that energy coming from? I know Billy runs a bit faster than me, but normally he tires out first. He's not slowing._ Adam pauses as Billy makes another pass by him to see if he wants to restart the race, "No thanks Billy. I need to catch my breath." Billy nods and takes off again at a breakneck pace.
_He's getting faster. Is he trying out to be the next Flash?_ Adam smiles to himself and watches Billy go tearing through the woods once more. _I never thought Billy was the outdoors type._ Adam waits a few more minutes and follows after Billy. _We're going to have to head home or to the Juice Bar soon. I don't know about Billy, but I need to eat._ He looks around for Billy, but doesn't see him. "Billy, want to get something to eat?" shouts Adam.
"Sure," replies a voice right behind him. Adam spins to see Billy standing about three feet behind him.
_How the heck did he do that and how long was he there?_ "What're you trying to do, give me a heart attack?" Adam tries to get his breathing back to a normal pace. "Don't answer that, you just startled me. Want to go to the Juice Bar and get something to eat?"
Billy stares at Adam intently, he'd been following Adam for the last couple of minutes and Adam hadn't noticed. All in all running in the woods had left him feeling pretty good, it was great to feel the wind in his face and smell the breeze. When he saw Adam looking for him, he decided to follow him. _That was fun, but I should be careful not to startle Adam. I don't think he can take much more today. Anyway food does sound pretty good._ "Let's go to the Juice Bar and I'll be a good little boy and try not to startle you anymore. You're nerves are getting pretty shot at your advanced age."
Billy grins and snickers a bit as Adam playfully punches him. "Uh huh. Yeah. At my advanced age," Adam shakes his head and smiles back. "Have fun out there?...Hey what were you doing behind me anyway?"
"I just thought it would be interesting how long I could keep my presense concealed. I did not expect to be able to sneak up on you as well as I did," Billy shrugs, "It was pretty fun though."
Adam just raises an eyebrow as he stares at Billy. _Whatever. But maybe I will need to see Zordon today, this is a bit strange even for Billy. It seemed more like he was stalking me than following me, there was something in his eyes...._ Adam pauses, "I'll meet you at the Juice Bar, I've gotta do something first."
Billy shrugs and grins, "I'll try to save you some food." He turns and lopes off towards the park. Adam watches Billy leave and taps his communicator, he vanishes in a flash of black.
Zedd watches Adam teleport away, he'd been watching the Rangers today to kill the time while Rita was away on something or another, he couldn't remember what. He'd seen Billy's strange reactions today and was himself curious, but when Billy went to the library and began reading on wolves and them werewolfery, he was fascinated. _Billy is dreaming of wolves? Sleep walking? How can I use this to my adavantage. Blue Ranger is studying wolves and werewolves in particular. How strange._ Zedd slumps onto his throne deep in thought, but is startled when he hears a squeak from below. He jumps up and turns to find a toy mouse on his throne. _Geesh. After Rita lost her Kat to the Rangers, Baboo keeps playing with the cat toys and leaving them all over the palace. I am truly fed up with it._ Zedd hurls the mouse across the room where it hits the wall with another squeak. Zedd turns to roar for Baboo, when inspiration hits him. _Her Kat? Hmmm...._
Adam stood before Zordon in the Command Center. "Adam why have you come here?" asks Zordon in his booming voice.
Adam shuffles a bit, "I was with Billy and I'm just kinda worried about him. You said to keep an eye on him after that Salidus thing, there might be side effects or whatever. He's acting a bit weird."
"What exactly do you mean Adam?"
"Well, he told me this morning that he'd been having these dreams about being a wolf and that he's been waking up in the park. Then we went to the woods today and he ran off for a bit, when I went to look for him I found him, right behind me. I felt kinda like he was stalking me, you know? Could it be some spell of Rita or Zedd's? Or more of _that_ spell?" Please not more of the Darken Spell. We beat it one way and it comes back another. Adam finishes and thinks about something else Billy was saying. "Could it be related to Billy being a Ranger?"
"I do not believe so, but there are some things that I still do not know about your new Ranger powers, the only one who would know is Ninjor. Also he would know if this was a detrimental effect caused by the surge of earlier. But first I will check to see if it is a spell, but I haven't sensed any activity from the palace for a couple of weeks now. Normally when Zedd or Rita launch a new plot their activity level jumps drastically. I will contact you after I finish the scans."
"Okay, I've got to go, I'm supposed to meet Billy at the Juice Bar," Adam taps his communicator and vanishes once more.
Billy makes it to the Juice Bar in a short time, he's moving at a good ground-eating rate. He's still feeling pretty energized from his jaunt in the woods. _Nothing like some fresh air to make one feel better._ Billy grins to himself as he enters the Juice Bar. He sees Tommy and Rocky sparring. _Don't those guys ever do anything but spar?_ He heads to the counter to make an order. He ends up with a couple sandwiches and a juice. He takes a seat and watches the usual bustle of the Juice Center with a new fascination as he eats his meal. Tommy and Rocky wind down and come over to where Billy is seated. "Hi Billy. What are you doing?" asks Rocky cheerfully.
"Eating," replies Billy.
Tommy and Rocky just blink a bit, "Oh...uh, what happened today at school, you just ran out after class?" asks Rocky hesitantly.
"I had to be somewhere else," answered Billy. _Very true, but only part of the truth. Am I supposed to say that all of a sudden I was struck by a bit of claustrophobia? Or that all of this wolf stuff is getting on my nerves? No, I don't think so._
"Well, okay," smiles Tommy. _Something's up with Billy, but I guess he'll tell us about if it's important._ "Billy want to spar? Your testing for red is coming up soon and I want to make sure your're ready."
Billy shrugs. _Something to kill the time. And I do want to get my red belt, that will be an accomplishment._ "Sure, I need to kill some time before Adam gets here anyway."
Billy goes down by the mat and takes off his shoes. Rocky takes a spectator seat at the table. "Need some time to stretch out?" asks Tommy.
"No thanks, I've already had a little workout today," smiles Billy. Tommy and Billy begin to circle, Billy lets Tommy take the offensive. _I know he's a better fighter, but I can move better. All I have to do is wait and I'll get an opening. I hope._
The match goes on Tommy's assaults are met by Billy's blocks or evaded. Billy retaliates, but is kept back by Tommy's dazzling martial arts skill. As the match passes back and forth between the combatants, Adam walks in. He sees that Billy is a busy and goes to the table to watch. Just as he sits down Tommy lands a spinning-side that connects solidly and sends Billy to the floor. Tommy looks down, "Good job. Okay? Want to continue?" he looks at Billy expectantly as Billy nods curtly and rises to his feet. The match resumes.
Billy was angry, when Tommy hit him it hurt. He felt a wave of rage pass through him as he rose to his feet.He launched a few assaults that Tommy defeated, but he kept on Tommy. _He'll throw it soon._ Billy backs Tommy towards the corner then seemingly falters. Tommy uses this reprieve to launch a spinning-round that Billy takes across his left arm and blocks with his right. Billy slips his left arm under Tommy's leg and his right comes over Tommy's shoulder, he scoops Tommy off the floor. He manages to calm down enough not to smash Tommy over his knee, but does drop him. _What am I thinking? I was getting very nasty there._ The rage that moved him through this fight lessens to a slow simmer. _I need some air._ Billy just walks straight out of the Juice Bar.
Tommy groans, but waits till Billy leaves to get up. When he had fought Billy that last time, there was something in Billy's eyes that didn't seem like the familar friend of the past few years. Something primal. Rage. _For a minute it looked like he didn't even recognize me._
Tommy shakes his head as he stands. "Tommy, are you all right?" asks Adam.
"Yeah, Billy thudded you," helpfully inserts Rocky.
"I'll be fine. Billy really suprised me, definitely not a martial arts tactic, but very effective. I'm just glad he didn't throw me down any harder. Ow," finishes Tommy.
"Well it wasn't like he wanted to hurt you or anything," inputs Rocky.
"No of course not," but to himself Tommy doesn't sound that sure. The conversation is interrupted by the beeping of Adam's communicator. Adam finds a secluded spot and taps his communicator under Tommy and Rocky's watchful stares. "Yes Zordon."
"I ran the scan and found no evidence of any spell. I then contacted Ninjor, he would like to speak with you, but he would not say about what. Please come to the Command Center immediately," finishes Zordon. Adam looks at Tommy and Rocky who are staring at him in confusion, "I'll explain later." With that Adam teleports away. Rocky just looks to Tommy and shrugs, while Tommy begins to put two and two together.
Adam arrives in the Command Center once more today. "I'm here," he decides to state the obvious than come up with anything creative to say.
"Yes Adam, please turn your attention to the viewing globe," speaks Zordon.
Adam complies to see Ninjor's visage, "Hi Ninjor."
"Hello Adam. Zordon had informed me of Billy's dilemma and I have an idea of what is happening. Originally when Zordon recieved the first power coins they took on the power of the dinosaurs. They were not originally made with the dinosaur in mind, Zordon needed the mightiest creatures he knew of on this planet and those were the dinosaurs. So were they the dinosaurs. When the brute force of the ancient past proved too slow and stagnant, he harnessed the power of belief and the dynamic of the mythic past of this planet to recreate the zords and alter your coins. When these old powers were useless to him, he sent you to me and I granted you powers based on the now and on yourselves. These spirit animals I linked you to, were always there, but you would not have been so aware of them without my power. Now that you are, some of you are far more in tune with the spirit within than others," Ninjor pauses a moment in his speech when he sees the question on Adam's face. "Yes, Adam?"
Adam looks thoughtful and a bit nervous, "So, um, you're saying that Zordon's belief altered the coins, then our belief altered the coins. Our belief has an effect on the coins, right?" Adam recieves a nod from Ninjor. "So, if like, Billy's connection with his spirit animal is strengthening then maybe he's unconciously altering himself. I think..." Adam frowns, "but is this a bad thing? How do we stop it? Should we?" Adam trails off as he awaits a reply from Ninjor.
"I do not know Adam, this is all I can tell you. Something has happened that has strengthened Billy's connection to the power and his animal spirit, it is something new to me. Except that no matter what you percieve is happening, Billy is still Billy," Ninjor nods and breaks the connection.
Adam stands there for a minute and tries to digest this and figure out Ninjor's riddles. _I don't think it can be too bad, if it was he'd have told me what to do._ Adam is so deep in thought that he doesn't tell Zordon good bye as he teleports away.
Billy stalks throught the woods once more, trying to calm down. His rage of earlier has been replaced with a nervous energy that keeps him in constant motion. He kept moving and feeling the constant presence of something. Another breeze blows by. _Nice day, not too stagnant._ He smells some water. _Must be nearing the lake._ He listens, but all he can hear are a few birds, some small animals, and the rustle of the trees. _This place is so quiet. As Adam said this would be the perfect time for a tenga attack._ Billy grinned to himself, but felt it fade as he heard someone behind him. He turned. _That's...._ was his last thought before darkness claimed him.
Zedd was deep in thought, his first instinct was to call Goldar and send down tengas. _But why? What would that gain me? They'll only screw up, if I want something done right maybe I should follow Rita's lead..._ Zedd growls slightly... _and do it myself. That's it, I'll do it myself._ Zedd looked to the earth and to his prey. _Now is the perfect time._ Zedd waves his staff and teleports to the woods. He appears and sees his prey and before he can fully react, Zedd waves his wand and Billy collapses to the ground.
_This was simple. Now to cast my spell, let's just steal a little bit of earth lore for this, I suppose Finster's late night movie watching will come in handy._ Zedd chortles slightly as he speaks, "Even a man who is pure of heart and says his prayers at night, will become a wolf when the wolfsbane blooms and the moon is full and bright." Zedd waves his wand over Billy's inert form and when he finishes that he waves his wand once more. _You will serve me! But for now go among your friends and remember nothing of this._ Zedd waves his wand and vanishes.
Billy groans when he opens his eyes. _Ow! What happened?_ He stands up and looks around. _Something happened, but what?_ He shakes his head to clear it and looks around. _Oh no! It's evening, I'm supposed to meet Adam at my house._ Billy runs off towards the Juice Bar. _He won't go to my house without me._ Billy isn't too suprised that he when he gets to the Juice Bar that Adam's there. "Hi, sorry I'm late, I just lost track of time..."
"Out in the woods," finishes Adam.
"How did you know?"
"You've got leaves in your hair," calmly replies Adam, he breaks into a grin. "Well we'd better get to your house if we're going."
"Sure." They both walk from the Juice Bar.
They ate some dinner, Billy helped Adam with homework, and watched a movie. After the movie it was time to get ready for bed, Mr. Cranston had already wished them a good night an hour ago, and they decided to follow his example. Billy laid out his sleeping bag, "You get the bed, you are the guest," Billy's tone said that was final.
Adam shrugged, "If I must, oh, the hardships I must endure." Then he broke into giggles as Billy swatted him with a pillow.
"Yeah right," Billy pauses as he yawns, "I think I need some sleep." Billy yawns again and curls up, "G'night," he mumbles sleepily. He falls asleep a few instants after his head hits the pillow.
_Well, he looks tired. I guess I'll follow his example._ Adam pulls up the covers and tries to sleep. A little later he gets up and goes to the restroom. When he returns Billy is standing before the window. "Billy?" The bright moonlight illuminates the room as he moves closer. He gets no response as Billy reaches out and opens the window. "Whoa, what are you doing?" He reaches towards Billy who quickly climbs out the window and runs into the night. _What the...?_ Adam grabs his shoes and a jacket and climbs out, he follows Billy's retreating form.
Zedd was happy, Rita wasn't here, Goldar wasn't blustering, he wasn't watching his monster get defeated, and his plan was working. _My spell is intact. Billy is out...on the prowl._ Zedd laughed his evil laugh. _And Adam is out all alone. Maybe I should rectify that situation._ Zedd laughed more as he waved his wand. _Let the hunt begin._
Adam moved slowly through the park. _Billy's heading for the woods again._ He'd lost sight of Billy a few minutes ago, but he kept getting glimpses of blue every now and then. _He keeps circling back, he knows I'm here and he's following me. But I can't really turn back, he might need me._ Adam nears the edge of the woods. He's pretty nervous as he carefully edges into the woods and he keeps jumping at sounds. _Whoa, I've got to relax, I've...._ Adam's thoughts are interrupted as he hears a growl behind him. He spins to see two glowing cobalt orbs peering out of a familiar face, "Billy?"
Billy doesn't respond as he slowly stalks toward his prey, except for another low growl. Adam pales and grabs for his communicator. _What?_ He thinks frantically as his hand closes on nothing. _I LEFT IT AT BILLY'S!_ Adam turns and runs. _Tommy's house is closest. Gotta hope Billy will let me get there._
Billy stares after the retreating form of his packmate/prey? He shakes his head to try and quiet the warring thoughts. The blue glow in his eyes brightens and begins to swirl with a violet. He feels strange, but that passes as a new strength flows through his limbs. He takes a breath and smells his prey, hears its footsteps echo through the quiet woods. He begins to move slowly after it, his stride loping silently over the forest floor.
Zedd watches carefully as Billy watches Adam. _He's trying to overcome the spell. I need something that will allow me alter its connection with him. That's it._ He leaves the room and goes to Rita's quarters and looks around till he finds a box with glowing blue crytals within it. He takes one and chortles. _I doubt she'll notice if I take just one._ He walks back to the throne room and takes his seat. He stares intently into the blue crystal. _Maybe my wolf needs some fangs._ Zedd roars maniacally as he waves his wand and a red glow alters the crystal's color to a violet.
Adam runs full tilt, he's fast but he knows that of late Billy's endurance has been growing and that he can't be sure of evading him for long. _At least he's not on my tail, I didn't hear him behind me._ His dash takes him from the woods into the park proper. _At least I'm outta there, Billy had too much of an advantage with all of that cover. Just a bit..._ Adam pumps his legs harder as he hears a semi-human howl in the woods, not that far behind and gaining. _Gotta get to Tommy's! I'm in so much trouble, I'm in big trouble. Just another couple blocks..._
The hunter smiles ferally, his prey's trail is moving in one direction and he can smell him in the wind. He stops following and howls, then starts loping in another direction.
Adam is moving quickly, but he knows he can't keep up this pace for much longer. He's starting to gasp slightly and his chest is begining to hurt. The breakneck pace he's moving at is taking its toll, but he sees the end of the park ahead. _Almost there, a little bit more._ He's exiting the park when the bush beside him explodes. He raises his hands defensively and feels pain shoot through his arm, but adrenaline spurs him to new speeds as races into the brightly lit streets of Angel Grove. He hears the howl again in the distance and it's far enough away that he risks a glance back. The tone of the howl is different, it's somewhat despairing. What he sees chills him. _I don't thinkthis is what Ninjor meant._ Billy is illuminated by the streetlights at the edge of the park. Billy seems much bigger, his hair definitely hangs down to his shoulders, and his eyes reflect the light back at Adam, but before Adam can tell more, he turns and vanishes back into the park.
_This is so wrong, got to get to Tommy's._ He moves down the street and sees Tommy's house up ahead. He goes up to the door and knocks.
He gets lucky and Tommy answers, "Adam? What're you doing here at this hour?" Tommy looks at Adam vaguely for a moment and yells into the house, "I've got it, it's Adam." He then turns back to Adam to find him leaning against the door frame. "You all right, man?" asks Tommy worriedly.
Adam blinks at Tommy, his second wind has just worn off and he's feeling a bit weak and dizzy. "I don't think so," he blinks at Tommy as his arm begins to really throb. He tries to lift it, but is rewarded by some pain, "My arm, he slashed me, I think," disbelief echoes through his voice as Adam's conversation becomes lost in a mumble, "I need to sit down." He sits down heavily on the porch.
Tommy is frightened, Adam looks very pale. He reaches to Adam's arm and is rewarded by a wimper. Tommy can't contain his gasp, four deep slashes cross Adam's right arm above the elbow, and he it pretty sure that he sees some bone within them. "Don't worry man," Tommy turns and yells into his house, "Dad, Adam's hurt. He needs an ambulance." Tommy pulls off his night shirt and places it over Adam's injury. _Apply pressure. Who slashed him, who's "he"?_ Tommy shakes his head and waits for the ambulance. _That can wait._
A while later Tommy is sitting in the hallway at the hospital. He's wearing a jacket and thinking over what he knows. _At least Adam will be okay, it looked worse than it was, but he did lose some blood. He won't be out of here for a couple days at least. His parents weren't too happy..._ but Billy's dad was worse. He was very worried about Billy, Billy hadn't been at his house like he was supposed to... maybe something had happended to Billy. No one was really sure, Adam was supposed to be spending the night with Billy. _How did he end up at my house? Need to know more._ Tommy stands up and leaves the hospital, he heads out to the parking lot and finds a secluded space and uses his communicator to teleport to the Command Center.
Zedd was slightly unhappy. _He let him get away! Arrghh! He fought the spell._ Zedd calms slightly. _At least he did injure Adam, but I'd better cement my hold before Zordon finds out and ruins my game._ Zedd looks to earth and waves his wand. _Come to me...come my wolf!_ He sends more power through the crystal and pushes it farther. He watches as the crystal turns more violet and smiles. _This is too easy, maybe I should get some of these crystals myself._ He waves his wand once more and the glow of teleportation glows in front of him and a shape starts to form.
Tommy appeared in the Command Center and didn't waste any time with pleasantries, "Zordon, what did Adam talk to you about earlier? I need to know, he's been hurt and Billy's vanished. It has something to do with Billy doesn't it?"
"Tommy, please wait," booms Zordon's voice. "Alpha, scan for Billy."
"Right away Zordon," the automaton replies as he begins to push various buttions. A few moments later he speaks up once more, "Ai yi yi Zordon. I can't find Billy anywhere, but I did find some residue from Zedd's magic. It was in the woods by the park in Angel Grove."
"Alpha, scan for his bio-spatial signature, we shall find him wherever he may be," calmly replies Zordon. "Tommy, what has happened to Adam?"
_Shouldn't you know? You're the one with the viewing globe._ Tommy sighs, "He came to my house and he was bleeding badly, something had slashed his arm pretty bad," Tommy winces in memory, "He was supposed to be spending the night atBilly's. Billy's gone and Adam somehow got hurt." Tommy shakes his head as another thought crashes through his skull... 'He slashed me.' _Adam sounded pretty damn shocked, but I doubt he's be that shocked if one of Zedd's monsters, well maybe he would be, I mean they've never really hurt us before. That's probably it, it couldn't be that..._ But a memory of the rage in Billy's eyes earlier comes back to him. _No..._ "Maybe one of Zedd's monsters snuck down and attacked them." _But that doesn't explain why they were out of the house in the middle of the night. Why would they do that? How could he do that? It was claws or something and last time I checked Billy doesn't have any of those._
"Tommy, I would have noted the appearance of a monster, but I have not. Earlier Adam came to talk to me about Billy acting strangely, we contacted Ninjor and he said it might be an after-effect of the power surge after Billy's confrontation with Salidus. I do not know if this is connected or not, I will keep you informed. It will take a while for the scan for Billy to be complete. You should return home and rest."
Tommy shrugs and teleports out, but to the hospital, not his home.
Zedd looks on in glee as the form of a hulking dire wolf appears before him. _Perfect! My spell is working._ Its eyes glow a cobalt violet as it growls at the sudden change of envornment and condition. Zedd smiles under his mask. _A finished spell, all I have to make sure is that those other Rangers don't break it. But first, Tommy is getting mighty suspicious, I might as well confirm his suspicions._ Zedd chortles wickedly as he turns to his pet. "My wolf, you will hunt the White Ranger and you will not let him escape. Go now and let the hunt begin!" He waves his wand and the dire wolf vanishes.
Tommy walks down the brightly lit hospital corridors. _At least I blend in,_ is his errant thought as he walks down the gleaming white corridors to reach Adam's room. Adam's parents are there talking to his dad, they're quietly engrossed in their conversation and he decides that he should not disturb them. He sneaks by them and into Adam's room, he sees Adam sleeping peacefully, a few IV's in his left arm and his right under heavy bandages. Tommy takes a seat and watches Adam sleep for bit. _I hope you're all right, Adam._ He shakes his head and a look of irrational guilt crosses his face. _I should have done...something._ He sighs as it becomes obvious that he didn't have a thing to do with it, only the aftermath. _What about Billy? I need to find him. I'd better go and check on my own, at least I can do something constructive._ He rises and walks out of Adam's room, both parents turn and watch him exit the room. He smiles sheepishly and informs his dad that he's going to go out and look for Billy. "I don't know about that, Tommy. I mean Adam's hurt and Billy's missing, what do you think you can do?"
"I can look for Billy, I'll be careful. You know I can take care of myself, I was a 4th degree black belt the last time I checked, you know?" he smiles mischieviously to sound a bit less arrogant.
His father stares at him thoughtfully and sighs, "I suppose I must, you'll be miserable all night and day. I know you can take care of yourself, but you're not going out alone. Get a couple of your friends, they might need to know what happened anyway."
Tommy nods. _I'm glad he'll let me, guess I should go to Rocky's, if I have him I should be okay. I'll let Aisha and Kat know tommorow, why stress them out tonight._ "I'll go to Rocky's and get him, okay?" He waits expectantly until his father nods. He gives him a hug, "Thanks dad," and walks out of the hospital. He walks out into the night and feels a cool breeze. _Nice night. Wish I had a different reason to be out in it._ He walks past the main illumination of the hospital's lighting and feels the hairs on his arms stand up. _What's that?_ He spins around trying to find the source of his discomfort. _Is something following me? Is it what got Adam?_ He moves towards a streetlight. _Maybe that'll keep it back._ He hears a wolf howl... _Whoa, wait a sec. There are no wolves in Angel Grove. If there are no wolves in Angel Grove and if I'm hearing a wolf howl that means it's not a wolf, a real one at least. But it isn't a dog..._ He remembers that tape Rocky had given Billy as a gag for his birthday, "Wolf Song" or something like that, it was just a tape of wolves howling in the wind. Billy had taken to playing it in the lab, because it got on Rocky's nerves and Billy found it relaxing. So Tommy knew what a wolf sounded like, he'd had to sit through a couple hours of it when Billy was helping him with Alebra a couple weeks ago. _Could it be Zedd's new monster? I don't know, but I'm not waiting around to find out. He scans the area around him and doesn't see anyone or anything. Adios. He taps his communicator and vanishes in a flash of white.
"Zordon, something was following me outside the hospital. I think it was whatever got Adam and Billy," Tommy explains the situation without preamble, "I decided to teleport here. I need to get Rocky." He reaches down and turns on his communicator. After a few moments he gets a response.
_Yawn._ "Yuh wha?" mumble's Rocky's sleepy voice through the communicator.
"Rocko, man, I need you at the Command Center, now. It's important."
Another yawn comes over the communicator followed by a groan. "Gimme a second and I'll be there."
Tommy paces for a few minutes as he waits for Rocky. He suddenly turns to Zordon. "Have you found Billy yet?"
"No, Tommy. I believe something is interfering with the scan. If what followed you is a monster of Zedd's it might be the key to finding Billy. I do not know more."
Tommy begins to pace about the Command Center once more. He's interrupted when Rocky teleports in. He's wearing a pair of workout pants, some unlaced sneakers, a red t-shirt and a serious case of bed hair. "What is it Tommy?"
Tommy turns to Rocky, "I need your help. Adam was attacked by something, he's in the hospital and," he rushes through the next part before Rocky can speak, "they say he should be fine. I know he was supposed to be at Billy's but he ended up at my house. Billy's missing and we need to find him and whatever attacked Adam." Tommy looks carefully at Rocky and gages his expression. _I don't think Rocko is all that happy. I'm glad I'm not whatever messed with Adam and Billy._ Then a crooked grin crossed Tommy's face. _I suppose my expression isn't that much better._
Rocky quietly fumed, he was an easy-going guy, but if you messed with his friends you were in trouble. _Something hurt Adam. Well it's not going to get away with that._ "What's the plan Tommy?"
"I don't know, maybe we should go to Billy's and look around. Then maybe we should walk to my house, maybe that'll give us some clues." Tommy decides that some plan is better than no plan. _Billy or Adam are the ones who are good at solving mysteries, not me. If you can confront is head on, I'm cool, but if you have to try and figure it out, I'm not that great._ Tommy shakes his head and sighs. "Let's go."
He and Rocky teleport from the Command Center and appear at Billy's house. They start to look around, but see Billy's dad and decide to hang back, he's just going to be a bit too freaked to be of any help. "Well, maybe we should just start walking towards my house," suggests Tommy, "We're not going to be able to look around here." Rocky nods and they begin walking. After a while they near the enterance to the park. Tommy glances around and sees the remains of one of the bushes strewn across the walk. _Man, I hate vandals. We don't have very many but those we get just make such a mess._ He sighs and walks to the broken bush. _Well, it doesn't look that bad._ He picks up a few broken pieces and stops. _What? Blood? Could this be where Adam got hurt?_ Tommy carefully moves some more leaves away and hears Rocky moan slightly behind him. "What's up Rocko?"
Rocky looks a bit green, "I really hate the sight of blood, I'm just not that fond of gushy things," he says embarrassedly. "There's an awful lot of blood..."
"I know, I guess this might be where Adam got hurt." He moves a few more leaves and picks up a branch to find a sneaker print at the edge of the puddle. It lasts for a couple steps towards the woods. "I think maybe we should try the woods, but lets go to my house and get some flashlights first, okay?"
"Sure." They walk to Tommy's house and as they walk Tommy finds a few drops of blood here and there. _Whatever was following Adam must've stopped._ He looks at the trail of blood and notes how it really begins to weave. _Adam must've been hurting and not moving straight, so was probably going slow. Also that footprint went into the woods, it would make sense. Man I hate not being able to know what's really going on!_ He followed the trail to where it went up his porch. _This makes me so mad. He's hurt and there's not a thing I can do about it except play clean up._ "Wait here, Rocky. I'll grab some flashlights." Tommy vanishes into the house leaving Rocky outside.
_I kinda wish he'd let me in, I don't like being here with all this blood._ He shakes his head. _Sheesh Rocky, what a brave Ranger you are! I mean a little blood and I'm about ready to call it quits and Tommy's just plowing towards the answers. I gotta get it together so I can help. We have to get whatever got Adam and find Billy. What if he's hurt out there and is counting on us._
Rocky's shaken from his thoughts as Tommy comes out with some flashlights. "Well, let's get moving," speaks Tommy.
They start to follow their path back to the park and then head towards the woods. After a bit of walking around and waving their flashlights trying to find something, Rocky speaks, "Uh, what're we looking for, again?"
"Billy, whatever got Adam, or at least a clue," sighed Tommy. _Rocky's a great guy, but he has a very short attention span._
Rocky shrugs and walks a little farther away his flashlight leading the way. Whoa! "Tommy look at this!" He shines his flashlight on the remains of a blue shirt with a few dark stains on it.
Tommy moves up and carefully pokes one of the stains. _Why do I already know what this is?_ His fingers come away wet with blood. "Blood," he states quietly. _Man, this is Billy's shirt. It's torn up and covered with blood, he must be hurt._ Tommy shakes his head as another thought tries to make itself known. _No, Billy's my friend and I know he wouldn't do anything like this... on his own._ Tommy's thoughts go back and he knows Billy can be a bit nasty, like when he was under one of Rita's spells, but this degree of violence doesn't seem to fit. _Can't assume, but maybe I should keep an open mind._ Tommy sighs, _he doesn't like suspecting his best friend, because...well he is his best friend._
Tommy turns to Rocky, "Good job, Rocko. We've got a clue, but we've got to find Billy. Let's keep looking." Tommy stands and starts searching with his light once more. He sees a flash and looks at it. _Billy's communicator and morpher, great, just great. But what monster of Zedd's would take Billy and leave his stuff?_ Tommy puts them in his pocket and goes back to his search.
_More blood? On Billy's shirt? I do not like where this is going, no one messes with my friends._ Rocky may not be the most focused of people, but he values his friends greatly. In this way he's a bit like Tommy, if a friend needs him, he'll be there. They differ in that Tommy is the shining hero off to save the day, while Rocky just gets mad and very down to business. _When we find this guy I'm going to...well he's going to regret messing with Billy and Adam._ Rocky picks up the torn shirt and shoves it in his pocket, though a lot of it is still hanging out he doesn't care. Rocky waves his flashlight around, but at this point he's so agitated that he isn't really making any progress.
Tommy sees Rocky's flashlight waving around. _He's not going to find anything like that,_ he sighs, but decides not to inform Rocky. _He'll cool off in a couple minutes, he just tends to... surge every now and then._ Tommy looks around and on instinct starts walking away from where he found the shirt, going a bit deeper into the woods. Tommy ponders the situation. _He may not have gone directly this way, maybe if I fan out from the shirt and kinda go back and forth I'll find something, better than nothing._ He starts walking along looking for something and about twenty feet away he finds it, but it isn't a clue. _Uh oh._ He shouts "Rocky," and looks for an escape route on general principle.
The wolf looks at his prey, he is not impressed. It thrashes through the woods making noise and no attempt to hide its presence. He was stalking it but when he caught it's scent he was confused. _Alpha?/Prey?_ He sees and smells the other one it was with. _Packmate?_ but it just isn't clear. Like the other... and the wolf actually feels something, but doesn't exactly know what it is anymore. He watches his packmate for a moment, but he doesn't feel the tug from without to hunt this one. He watches as his prey _Alpha?_ moves away from the other and begins to move deeper into his territory. He silently moves forward, but pauses as the scent of his prey becomes more apparent, he pauses in confusion two instincts war against each other: those of the wolf and those imposed by Zedd's spell. Then a light shines upon him.
Tommy stares at the giant wolf before him. It's not moving. He slowly backs up and hears Rocky crashing through the woods towards him. _He'll be here soon._ He braces himself to get out of the way, but it regards him with glowing eyes that swirl with cobalt and violet. It's not moving. He carefully backs up a bit. _Maybe I should try something before Rocky gets here, but just in case._ Tommy slowly slides his hand back to his morpher and grabs it. _Just in case..._
He hears Rocky's approach. _Now or never, man this is so stupid._ "Uh, Billy? It's me Tommy, uh, I, oh man..." Tommy fades off not exactly sure what to say.
The wolf stares at him, those sounds were familiar. _Billy, Tommy?_ Then they connected with a couple of concepts that ran around his head. _I/Billy Tommy/Alpha._ He tries to sit, but feels the pull of the other's command overtake him once more. He springs at his prey.
Tommy watched the wolf-thing carefully it seemed to react to what he was saying. _But how do I know what a wolf reacting should look like?_ Then the violet swirling in its eyes intensified. _Uh oh, trouble._ He starts to throw himself out of the way just as the wolf springs towards him. It gets him out of the way, but the wolf reacts faster and instantly turns and bites him. _Ow! He's got my arm, what..._ Tommy remembers something from school or Billy or something, he isn't all too sure right now and doesn't really care. He pushes his arm back into the wolves mouth and closes his other hand over it's nose. _Try breathing now, wolfy._
The wolf notes its difficulty, the jacket is helping bulk up Tommy's arm, and tries to pull back, but something strong grabs it. It panics and slashes with its claws on the one below it and tries to release its bite. The one removes his arms and yells, the noise frightens the wolf in its current state and it thrashes once more but something new glows around it and it vanishes.