Disclaimer: Neither I nor Butterfly Dreamer767 owns Power Rangers, Saban does. Only the characters, events, and places not found in Mystic Force or Samurai.

Chapter 10: A dangerous secret

Shiba House

Kyle glared at the door to the Shiba House. He did not like threats, and the ACT proctors and administrators certainly threatened Emily and Ji.

"Kyle? What's wrong," the Yellow Samurai Ranger asked.

"One moment please," the leader of the Mystics said tersely. He left the House with purpose, and the two teams glanced at each. At Emily's questioning look, Mariko merely shrugged. The teams followed the Red Ranger outside, just close enough for them to see and hear everything. Due to the location of the House, the woods obscured the proctors' sight. Kyle marched up to the proctors and administrators.

"Excuse me," he said. The people turned back to Kyle before they could reach their vehicles.

"We just saw you in that place. Who are you," one of the men asked brazenly.

"A friend of the people you just threatened," came Kyle's response. The group bristled at that.

"You see here, young man! I don't know who you think you are,"

"No, you listen," Kyle bellowed, scaring the group into stunned silence. "You threatened a young woman with anxiety issues, a known concern of psychologists and psychiatrists alike. That must not be allowed to pass."

"She interrupted the exam. We're within our rights to inform her of ramifications," a woman managed to say, regaining some of her audacity. The glare the Red Ninja sent her way shut her up again as his powerful frame lumbered over the group even from his location a few yards away.

"She was interrupted by a monster attack, and was forced to come home before she caused a scene. What would happen if word were to get out that the proctors of the exam were harassing someone with anxiety issues? I imagine your superiors would not like it. Especially if you were to get slapped with a lawsuit for harassing someone with a known medical issue."

"Are you threatening us," the tallest man asked incredulously. "We can make your life Hell, as well as hers," he spat.

"You can't do anything to me. I'm a college graduate, and working towards a Master's Degree. Let's make one thing perfectly clear," Kyle said with his eyes hard, "I don't like threats, extortion, or blackmail. And I certainly don't like bullies. So here's what will happen: You will allow Ms. Fields to retake the test, along with everyone else who was present during the fateful exam. You will also officially apologize to her for your disgraceful behavior and not so thinly veiled attempt at extorting money from her and her associates. Failure to abide by these conditions will result in you and your associates being sued for harassing someone with a medical condition. A good friend of mine is one of the best lawyers in the country, and she doesn't like bullies or extortion any more than I do. She's a pit bull when on the case. You will not prevail against her. So, what's your decision," he finished with a scowl on his face.

The proctors and administrators looked at each other with unease. They thought they could go in, threaten the girl, and get some money. They never anticipated the tables being turned on them. The man who threatened Kyle sighed tiredly.

"We will do as you say. Might as well apologize now, and get it over with," he grumbled.

"That will be a good start, but it's not good enough."

"What more do you want," the woman who demanded money from Emily screamed.

"I clearly said the apology was to be official. That means I want her to get it in writing. You see, I don't want there to be any chance you go back on your word, and come after Ms. Fields again once things quiet down. I want there to be proof you've seen the error of your ways," Kyle explained. The man's face turned red in rage.

"Fine," he spat.

"Behave," Kyle hissed as he walked dangerously close to the administrator, who saw just much more muscle Kyle had compared to him. There was something about him, a power that screamed, "Don't fuck with me!" Looking at the tall and powerful Japanese man who was glaring at the group, the man visibly deflated.

"Can we just get this over with," he sighed. He turned back to the group. "Let's go."

"Wise decision," Kyle proclaimed.

He led them back inside, and the Ranger teams, who had gone back inside when they saw Kyle handling the situation, were talking quietly amongst themselves. The teams were surprised to see the proctors again. Kyle held up a hand, quieting their unspoken questions that were sure to be released.

"These people have something to say." Kyle turned to the apparent leader of the group. "Don't you," he asked with a glare.

The man gulped as he saw the dangerous look on Kyle's face. "We're sorry for the way we treated you. You will be allowed to retake the exam, as will everyone else who was there. If you have a panic attack again, we will let you catch your breath before you finish the test." He looked to Kyle.

"Is that good enough?"

Kyle shook his head. "She is to receive this apology in writing within the next 3 business days. It is to appear on stationery from your office. You will alert her promptly of the time and place she can retake the exam. And you will never pull a stunt like this again, with anyone. We will be watching you like a hawk now. If we hear that you've done this again, there will no warning. Your office will be sued, and you will be facing public backlash. Do I make crystal clear?" The group nodded silently.

"Good. Now get out, and pray we never cross paths again," Kyle hissed. The group nodded and left with their heads low, and tails between their legs.

At the group's silently questioning look, Kyle explained. "If there's one thing I despise above all other things, it's bullies. People get a little power and suddenly think they can lord it over everyone else whenever they want. I won't be able to stop it all, but I'll be damned if I let that go without challenge."

Emily just nodded, still unable to say anything. She was trying to process what happened. One minute they were yelling at her and Ji, the next, they were actually apologizing to her, and said she could retake the exam. She still had a chance.

Kyle wasn't finished yet. "Clare, can you put up a spell protecting these grounds? We don't know how their protection systems failed, but you can't 'hack' magic."

"I've already gotten started on it. It'll take a while to have the grounds become consecrated, but not too long. I'll be done within the hour, and neither civilians nor Xandred and his forces will be able to bypass it. Only mystical beings of greater power will be able to, and even the Master would have trouble."

Kyle nodded. "Excellent. When they find out what happened, they can take measures so it doesn't happen again, and put the protection back up again."

"Hey, wait a minute," Emily exclaimed, finally being able to speak. "What took you so long to get to the battle?"

Kyle and Mariko sighed in unison. "There were five other areas being attacked, both by Morlock and Warstar. For all our numbers and power, even we're still just Human. We can only go so fast," Kyle explained, and Emily nodded. She knew there had to be a good reason it took some time for the Mystics to arrive.

Next day- Satoshi House- Main dojo

The Rangers were all in the main dojo sparring or training with their weapons at a safe distance from the others when Sensei came in.

"Kyle, you have a call from your cousin back home."

Kyle got worried for an instant, and hoped nobody saw it. Mariko and Mia did, but didn't say anything. The Pink Samurai wondered what caused that reaction.

"What was that about? And what did he mean by cousin back home," Mia asked Mariko.

"As you know, Kyle's entire clan, save for his late mother, is Fire Ninja, and they've all been training accordingly. His cousin Sasuke is the leader of our Sentai equivalent. Just as Jayden's cousin is likely the leader of your Sentai equivalent," Mariko explained. "Kyle stayed at his Uncle's place while he was still training back home in Japan. And as for his reaction," she said quietly so Mia had to struggle to hear her, "I don't know. I've never seen him like this," she finished softly.

"It had to have been bad to cause that reaction. What does he think will happen," Mia responded.

Mariko simply shrugged her shoulders, not knowing anything. It was a response quite unlike the Pink Ninja, and her Samurai counterpart knew it. Mia wondered just what it was that Kyle was so worried about.

Computer room

Kyle went into the computer room and used the main screen to view his cousin Sasuke in his Fire Ninja uniform. The look on his face was solemn, and Kyle's feeling of dread grew still.

"Kyle, I am sorry to call you about the current matter. I realize it is a touchy one in the family, and I also know how much you hate keeping the secret from your team. But sadly, the time is swiftly approaching, and they will eventually learn the truth."

Kyle sighed, running a hand through his hair. "I know, and I have been trying to get Sensei and Clare to let me tell them, but they said no. They don't want the team to become distracted, a valid reason. But I still hate keeping it from them. Especially Mariko; what will she think about all this?"

"I wish I could tell you everything will be alright. But we both know I cannot. Saki, my girlfriend and the Yellow Ranger, stumbled upon a scroll written in the language of the Ancients, and discovered it all. She wasn't trying to find out, but she still did. She didn't say anything to our team other than to myself. It's only a matter of time before your team will learn."

"I don't know what to do. I know the time is coming; I've felt in my bones recently. I'd say I have less than a few days before 'the shit hits the fan,' as the Americans say."

Sasuke's face became pallid. "At least tell them about the Great Ranger War that's approaching. Perhaps the news of that will help stem some of the anger and pain that's inevitably to follow. We've already been told that we'll have to inform the rest of the teams here in Japan about it, and also talk about it with all US based teams. So they will find out. Tell them before we're forced to."

"Can we please get off this subject? How are things between you and Saki?"

Sasuke shook his head, displeased with Kyle's attempt to direct the conversation to another topic. But when he thought of his new girlfriend, who was Haruna's cousin and the Yellow Ranger on his team, he couldn't help but give a small smile. "They're great. She's absolutely amazing. But another note, Sakura has been pestering me about telling you how you should tell her beautiful cousin how you feel."

"It's not that simple. There's so much going on lately. The Master has been increasingly savage in his attacks on Panorama and Harwood, a "Knight" without honor has been gunning for a duel with me, Xandred's still running about attacking us in addition to the Samurai team, the Warstar have started targeting us as well as the Megaforce Rangers, and to top it off, I have this damn secret hanging about me, like a Sword of Damocles! Second, I've never even had a girlfriend before, so I haven't a clue what to do or say. My entire life, I've been training in the way of the Ninja, just as you have. Top that with sorcery training, and university, and I simply never had the time for a personal life. We trained together, you and I. Remember the 14-hour days? I still have them, trying to make sure I'm the very best I can be."

"Kyle! Slow down!" Kyle took in a deep breath, and released it. "That's good. Look, I understand what you're saying; I do. I still have 14-hour days, myself. It comes with being the Red. We're held to a higher standard, even though we hold our teams to high standards, and not let them slack off, either. But that's no excuse for ignoring what your heart has been yearning for. Saki taught me that, and I've never been happier. I won't tell you it's easy, or painless. You might embarrass yourself in the process, as I did. But look at it this way: Mariko's clan has already met you before, and on more than one occasion. They all like you, and it's part of the reason her cousin has been pestering me so much. Just tell her, before it's too late. Before the chance is ripped from you."

At that moment, the alerts on both sides signaling an attack displayed, and the two Red Rangers groaned simultaneously.

"Sorry, but duty calls. I'm going to have to cut this short," Kyle said as he whipped out his Mystic Morpher.

"Same here," his cousin replied, pulling out his own Mystic Morpher. Before he was about to cut the connection, Mariko's own cousin Sakura ran up and chimed in with her opinion.

"This conversation isn't over, Kyle. I will be expecting you to contact us after the battle is over. You know it's never a good idea to anger a Pink," she finished, flashing a smile as Kyle groaned again.

"Yeah, I got it. I already knew; I saw Mar pissed off once, and I never want it directed my way."

"You learn well. Until later," Sakura said, signing off.

Little did Kyle know that Jayden had overheard the conversation. He wasn't trying to eavesdrop, but found himself rooted to his spot.

"Is that why he never said anything about Lauren? He's hiding his own secret?"

Before Kyle knew the Red Samurai was there, Jayden went back to the living room of Kyle's house to rejoin his team. Kyle ran up to his team, who had already located the battlefield.

"Downtown Harwood," Mariko said to Kyle, who nodded.

"Let's go!"

Thunder/Lightning dojo

After getting back from the battle and calling his cousin, Kyle decided to work through a kata that he learned from Sensei Omino of the Thunder Ninja Academy to help take his mind off the conversation. The head Sensei taught it to Kyle while they were both in Japan, after having learned of Kyle's Thunder abilities. It quickly became one of Kyle's favorite katas. He fell to one knee, gasping as a surge of energy coursed through him.

Kyle sighed. It had been a little over 9 months since the team came together, and he knew that things would start spiraling out of control soon. The Master's attacks had been becoming increasingly more vicious, and the Rangers were starting to struggle. On top of that, Kyle had been experiencing bursts similar to the one he just had over the past week, and knew time was running out. Part of the reason he knew not to reveal Jayden's secret was because he too had an explosive secret.

"And my own will be revealed soon," he thought dismally. "It's only a matter of time."

He hoped his team would understand. He tried convincing Sensei to let him tell the team, but both he and Clare felt the team would be unduly distracted if they were to know the truth before it was time. Kyle wasn't keen about keeping it from the team, especially Mariko. Keeping the secrets of his order was one thing-that just came with being Shinobi. But this was different, and they all knew it. With Koragg breathing down his neck, it was only a matter of time before things came to a head and the truth would be revealed.

Pushing thoughts of destiny and secrets away, Kyle decided he'd try to clear his head. Sitting down in the middle of the dojo floor, Kyle closed his eyes and began to meditate. He liked meditation almost as much as certain katas in his repertoire-he had always felt refreshed once he came out of the trance.

A few hours later, the Rangers were in the living room, resting from their battle and training. Clare decided to give them tomorrow off, as they had been working very hard, and even Kai had shown substantial improvement. They had already done enough training for the day, so Sensei didn't bother them about slacking off.

To Mariko's dismay, Kyle was still training in the Thunder dojo. She had hoped he'd take some time off, and stormed into the dojo. Pretty soon, an argument broke out about Kyle's constant training, and taking no time off. The Samurai Rangers sighed as they heard the familiar argument.

"There they go again," Emily groaned. She turned towards Jayden. "He's just as bad as you."

"Gee, thanks," the Red Samurai grumbled. "I see nothing wrong with Kyle wanting to be the best."

"There's nothing wrong with wanting to be the best. The problem is that he doesn't know balance," Haruna said. "It's like they're programmed only for training."

"Hey! I'm standing right here," Jayden protested.

"Yeah, after we had to drag you out of the Fire dojo," Emily gently reminded him. "Haruna has a good point. You need to learn when to just relax sometimes. Even the rest of the Ninjas are taking a break."

Before Jayden could retort, the two teams heard a crash. Haruna was the first to arrive, and she let out a piercing scream.

"Sensei, Clare, get in here! We need you now," the Yellow Ranger bellowed.

The two summoned didn't have to go to the Thunder dojo to know what was going on. They knew it was only a matter of time before this happened, and now Kyle's secret was about to be revealed.

Upon reaching the dojo, the two saw Kyle and Mariko lying face down, along with Red and Pink energies cascading over their bodies.

"Rangers, come into the living room. There's something you need to know, and you're not going to like it."

The two teams looked at each other and pondered Clare's words as they proceeded to the living room. They tried to move Kyle and Mariko, but the energies shocked them. They were able to roll the two onto their backs, and proceeded to the living room. Clare and Sensei were standing at the front, with Clare holding a scroll with the symbols of the Mystic Force and Kyle's clan on it. Clare unfurled the scroll and starting speaking in a language known only to the Mystics.

"Translated," Clare said for the benefit of the Samurai team, "this scroll speaks of two ancient forces of power lost to time. The scroll says, 'One fair of straw and orbs and his heart shall wield the power of the First Ones. But, the Chosen must make the ultimate sacrifice, knowing their time has come.'"

"Fair of straw and orbs? What does that mean," Mike asked.

Naomi bit her bottom lip. "Well, straw is an archaic way of describing hair, as is orbs for eyes. Fair of straw and orbs thus means light hair and eyes."

The realization hit the Water Ninja like a ton of bricks. "We already know the answer," the Water Ninja said. "It's Kyle. This prophecy is about him. It explains why Kyle has blonde hair and blue eyes; his parents only had each other as partners in life!"

"I'm afraid to ask, but what does ultimate sacrifice mean," Emily voiced. Clare and Sensei looked to each other and let out a deep, tired sigh. Clare's voice was timid, a stark contrast to her powerful diction.

"It means exactly what you think it does."

At that, the teams started voicing their shock and displeasure. Sensei raised his hand, and the teams quieted down.

"Unfortunately, it is true. Kyle has to perish in order to gain the power. I wish there's something we could do. Clare and I have spent countless hours pouring over the ancient texts, hoping to find another way, or see if we were wrong."

"But you weren't. Does Kyle know? What about Mariko," Yamato asked.

Clare nodded. "Kyle knows."

"And he never told us? We're his team! Doesn't he trust us," Yamato said nastily.

"He didn't tell you because we ordered him to not tell you. He wanted to, but we said no," Clare responded.

"So it's your fault we're just now finding out about all this," Makoto said in a huff.

"No, he should've told us anyway. We can't help each other if someone withholding secrets," Haruna said.

Seeing they were on dangerous ground, and wanting to get this over with quickly, Clare turned and pulled up several clips on a screen she produced. One was a very fierce fire, another had a hurricane raging, a third had the fiercest storm any of the Rangers had ever seen, and the last was of an EF5 tornado.

"What do you see when you look at this," the sorceress asked.

The Ninjas glowered at Clare and Sensei, then turned to the clips. "Devastation," Makoto said in a snarl.

"It's Kyle and Mariko's elements," Naomi said calmly. "The hurricane represents Thunder, Lightning, and the gale-force winds represent Mariko's Sky power. The flame in the first picture is quite obvious. And the strength of that tornado isn't something we've seen from Mariko, yet."

"Wait, there's something I don't understand. The prophecy mentioned 'his heart.' What does that mean," Emily sounded out.

Sensei and Clare were about to respond after a moment passed when Naomi spoke up, "Mariko. She's the one Kyle holds dear." Clare nodded in the affirmative.

"Meaning," Haruna asked, tapping her foot to show her impatience and dislike of the situation.

"It means that she too will gain the power of the First Ones, but she must also perish."

That proclamation brought the teams up short, and the Yellow Ninja's anger dissipated, only to be replaced by dread. "No! I won't allow it! I can't," Haruna said as tears gathered in her eyes. She turned to her teammates, whose faces held similar expressions.

"Clare, isn't there something we can do? You're always saying magic can do so many things outside the realm of understanding," Kai stated in a monotone voice.

"I've been searching, and so has my Aunt back in Briarwood. We haven't found anything to stop this. I'm sorry," she finished as she turned her head away, not able to bear the forlorn look in Haruna and Naomi's eyes.

"What the fuck are we supposed to do? Sit by and watch two of our own die! I can't accept that," Yamato said as he stormed off.

Sensei Hatari didn't stop Yamato's outburst, knowing he had the right to blow up. The remaining Rangers turned to Clare and Sensei.

"How long do they have," Haruna asked in a whisper.

"It's difficult to say. It could be a few days, or a few hours."

Haruna tried to control herself, knowing Kyle and Mariko needed her and the rest of the team.

"Is there anything else," the Yellow Ninja asked tiredly after Makoto had managed to bring the Gold Ranger back into the room.

"Everyone here, everyone,"Sensei said as he looked at both Ranger teams, "will have to become substantially more powerful than you already are. Our enemies have been growing in strength by factors."

"How will we do that," Mariko asked.

"I don't know how the Samurai can; they'd have to ask their Mentor about that. But there are some things you can do to grow more powerful. Clare?"

"You will have to venture for the highest form of the Legend Warrior powers, which are granted by the Tribunal of Magic. I must warn you: Few have obtained the Legend Warrior powers, and fewer still the Mystic Master powers, which you must now obtain."

"Mystic Master powers? What's that," Mia asked.

"It is one of the strongest forms of good magic that can be unlocked, short of being Mystic Mother, the Light, or one of the First Ones. In short, it is the power of the Ancient Mystics. Not even your parents possessed this power," Clare responded as she looked pointedly at the Mystic Force team.

"Will this give us the strength we need? You said it yourself: The Master's forces have become much stronger lately," Naomi said. She then gazed at the Samurai Rangers. "So too has Xandred's forces, so you're going to need a significant power increase, as Sensei already said."

"The Mystic Master powers will be far beyond your imagining. But, as was the case with the Ninjetti power, you'll have to prove your worthiness of the power. The Tribunal only grants the power to those who have earned it."

"So how do we find this Tribunal? How can we leave the city undefended," Makoto asked, her voice sharp.

"The Morlocks' power is stronger by factors, rather than multiples, than it was when the war began. If you have any hopes of winning this war," Clare said, her eyes sharp as her words tore into the Mystic Force team, "all of you had better realize your true power! So yes, you will go for the Mystic Master mode. Just as my Aunt Udonna is going to get my cousin Bowen to finally accept his true power as the Light."

That did for Haruna, as she became incensed.

"Really? Just like that? ? That's fine and dandy except for one minor detail. You just told us Kyle and Mariko have to die! Yet you make it sound so simple!"

Haruna was walking around Clare and Sensei, similar to a predator circling its prey. She wasn't finished yet.

"You didn't bother saying anything until now! Why? And you're no better, Sensei! You knew just as well as Clare, yet you never said anything! Neither did Kyle! But at least he has a valid reason! You said he wanted to say something, only for you to say no. Why? Didn't you trust us? Did you think we'd be so racked with grief that we'd fail to do our jobs?"

Sensei and stood by, allowing Haruna to vent her frustrations; they knew she was overcome with sorrow and anger. They couldn't blame her, or the rest of the Rangers, for feeling hurt.

The Samurai Rangers quietly left, having a lot to digest. They had no idea where they going to get the power Sensei and Clare said they'd need, or even what kind of upgrade they could get. They just hoped the Ninjas held it together, and succeed when they head off to find the Tribunal. The city needs them, and the Samurai knew Kyle and Mariko wouldn't want them to wallow in misery. It also didn't escape Jayden's notice how the team reacted to Kyle's secret.

"Is this what's in store for me? Will my team not be able to forgive me?"

What the Red Samurai didn't notice was the intelligent gaze of Emily watching him as they headed home. She knew he felt conflicted about something, even before this latest news. She wished he'd tell her, no, tell them, what was bothering him so. She also prayed for the Mystics, as they now are wounded. She also prayed the prophecy was right, and they'd be reunited with their Red and Pink Rangers. Not just for their sake, but also for the battle ahead.

AN: I am extremely sorry this chapter is so late. Life happened, and I also hit the wall hard. I am not giving up on any of my fics, so if you're reading any of the other stories, yes, I will be updating them. I'm working on my Dino Thunder story at the time of this chapter's posting, and my Ninja Storm fics will be worked on, as well.

AN 1: One personality quark that is present throughout Power Rangers is how Red Rangers are fiercely protective of those who are close to them: Friends, teammates, family, and especially love interests. The Samurai Rangers became the friends of the Mystic Force, and as such, Kyle will protect them as only a Red Ranger can, even if he's not their Red Ranger.

Also, yes, for the sake of the story, the cousins of the Mystics are the members of the Sentai team. In order to accommodate Sasuke dating the Yellow Ranger, who was initially a male in the Sentai version of Mystic Force, I simply used the first name for the Yellow Ranger in the Sentai version of RPM. As there was already a Kai in the story, I simply used a different name for Kyle's cousin, to prevent possible confusion. And the Pink Ranger isn't Houka simply because I chose to use that name for Makoto's cousin instead. I've always found the name Sakura to be quite beautiful. The Sentai team will show up in the story, so for the sake of clarity, the team is as follows:

Sasuke Satoshi-Red Ranger

Sakura Yamaguchi-Pink Ranger

Saki Ishido-Yellow Ranger

Urara Sato-Blue Ranger

Miyuki Hanaori-White Ranger

Makito Oshiro-Green Ranger

Hikaru Hayabusa-Gold Ranger

Houka Nakamura-Purple Ranger