Chapter Fourteen: Things Left to Learn
Note: I do not own Power Rangers Jungle Fury or Ninja Storm, nor do I make money from writing this. I’m just amusing myself.
Crossover: Ninja Storm/Jungle Fury/Mystic Force/Dino Thunder
Timeline: About two weeks after Chapter Thirteen
Prompt: note left on the fridge (fc_smorgasboard)
Dustin Brooks sighed and his eyes flickered to obnoxiously hot pink sticky note he found affixed to his forehead when he woke up. In the neatest handwriting he’d ever seen was scrawled ‘Gone fishin’. And by that I mean, gone to Pai Zhua. I’ll be home later! Love Gabby’. He sighed, it was going to weird not having her there but he had to let her go to learn at Pai Zhua. He heard a fist make contact with his door.
“Dustin! Get out of bed you lazy ass! Class begins in 15 minutes!” Jake hollered through the door, a grin appeared on his lips. He knew exactly what he’d do with his free time.
Torture his Lieutenant…
Gabby sighed in frustration; Jarrod was simply looking at her sympathetically. She thought this was going to be a cake walk considering how easily she picked up her Ninja skills, but she was wrong. She couldn’t just sit and mediate, she had to move, getting up, she began to pace. Jarrod watched her stride, which started strong than faltered quickly. She grabbed on to the back of her thigh and bit her lip. He could hear her squeak in pain, he crossed to her and picked her up so she wouldn’t have hold up her own body weight.
“I take that’s from the accident?” Jarrod asked, “I know your fatigue comes and goes as well as your memory but I hadn’t realized your leg was damaged,” Gabby nodded.
“There’s muscle damage. They tell me to go slow on it and rest, but I can’t. I was a dancer ALL my life until I went to the Wind Ninja Academy, I can’t stay still. I’m extremely active. They told me I’m lucky to even be able to walk without the aid of a cane,” she told him, sighing, clutching her seized leg until the pain ebbed. She slowly slid out of Jarrod’s arms and frowned at him. “And I feel like I’m useless here! I’m no good at this stuff!”
“Gabby, you’re too hard on yourself, it takes time,” he told her gently and rubbed her arm. “All spirits are different, some are stronger than others. Not just in power but in force and you can’t always control or change it,” he said.
“Like you? Your Lion?” she asked, he sighed.
“Yeah. He’s…overwhelming at time…with your doe, you have a naturally gentle spirit within you. Having something like the Lion or the Wolf or Tiger, the bigger beasts affect everything about you. Sometimes your tastes, your mood, your perception of the world around you. It takes years to even learn a bit of control, pushing yourself too hard will only make it worse,” he told her.
“But, I just want to get back…I still have to finish my training at the Wind Ninja School!” she told him and he smirked.
“Back to your boyfriend,” he teased gently and it made her smile, considering how he hardly joked, “As far as I see things, you’re never done learning. There’s always something left to learn. And rushing through Pai Zhua can’t be done.”
“Can I go to the kitchen?” she asked, abruptly, his eyebrows shot up his forehead.
“Sure, why?” he asked, she didn’t seem hungry, her stomach wasn’t growling and she didn’t seem lightheaded.
“I need to bake.”
“O…k?” he asked, unsure of what to make of that statement and she headed off without another word. Instead of following her, he went to the only phone Pai Zhua had and dialed.
“Jungle Karma Pizza! This is Lily, how may I help you?” came a bubbly voice over the phone.
“Hi Lily, this is Jarrod.”
“Oh hey! You ok? What’s up?”
“I have a question, if Gabby storms off to go bake, that is not a good sign is it?” he heard Lily sigh.
“No. What did you do?”
“Hey! Who said it was my fault? I told her that you cannot rush being a Pai Zhua, she wants to learn how to summon her spirit and leave. She’s too preoccupied at the moment to even want to concentrate to try to contact her doe,” he said, he heard Lily move the phone to her other shoulder and he could hear the kitchen in full swing as if he was standing right there. She seemed to be chopping something.
“Given she was told she’s lucky to even still have the use of her leg, she’s got a lot on her mind. Trust me, if I was told that, I don’t know what I’d do and I don’t dance anymore. She’ll get used to it in time but just be patient with her. She works well with praise and encouragement, but be honest too, she does respond when she’s told directly,” Lily offered.
“Thanks Lily, I appreciate your advice and insight. I’ll let you go,” he said, he heard her shrill cry as she almost dropped her phone.
“Thanks! Let me know how it goes!” she said sounding faraway, he laughed.
“Of course, bye,” he said and after he heard her cheerful goodbye, he headed off to find Gabby.
The scent of chocolate chip cookies overwhelmed his sense and he almost drooled and that usually never happened unless fresh meat was involved. Gabby seemed to be a very quick baker, she already had one batch already almost finished baking. She seemed calmer now, completely focused on her task at hand.
“Cookies are almost done,” she said, not looking up, he shook his head.
“Alright. But we do need to focus on your training once you calm down,” he told her, she nodded.
“I know, I was being stupid, I’m sorry. I’m just…” he watched her pause and her eyes glazed over.
“Gabby?” he asked, and then she tilted over and went crashing to the ground. His first thought was her leg gave out but then he realized he could faintly hear something and it was growing stronger.
After a few moments it became silent again and the timer dinged. Figuring she’d be angry if her cookies burned, he fished them out of the oven, and then knelt at her side. She was blinking hard and then rubbed her leg, a frown gracing her lips.
“Sorry about that,” she said, as if it was nothing.
“Gabby! What was that? At first I thought your leg gave out, and then I thought it was a seizure then I heard something…” she looked up at him and slowly climbed to her feet.
“What you faintly heard is what we call “The Earth Song”, those tuned to the Earth hear it on a regular basis,” she said, as Casey burst into the kitchen.
“Guys! We just had 10 kids collapse and now everyone’s freaking out! What just happened?” He asked, Gabby smiled sadly at him.
“I guess, its reaching you guys now too,” she said, she took the cooling cookies off the sheet and onto a plate. “Can I talk to the kids?” she asked, Casey nodded.
“Please? I have no idea what happened and all of them are freaking out and it’s a mess right now,” he said, Jarrod trailed after them as they headed to Casey’s training area.
The kids were huddled in a group; Camille was circling them slowly, looking concerned. She hated crying children so Jarrod knew she was trying not to bail. The kids immediately perked up as soon as they saw the plate Gabby was carrying, it almost made Jarrod laugh. Sugar would always cheer up children.
“Can we?” one asked, looking to Casey, he looked to Gabby who nodded.
“Of course! I made these to share, be careful! They are still hot,” she said, one of the kids giggled.
“That’s when they are the best!”
“My name is Gabby, and I have a question for you guys. Who heard music just now?” she asked, a six raised their hands, “Ok, who heard screams,” there were four hands that shot up. “Was it scary?” she asked, she knew it scared her but she had no idea how others felt when they heard it.
“I was, it was so loud!” one said.
“I wasn’t! I’m not afraid of anything!” another boasted.
“The singing was sad.”
“I know, I felt that way too,” she told them, the kids peered at her curiously.
“You hear it too?” one asked, she nodded.
“I do, as well as some other friends of mine,” she told them, hoping they’d feel less scared if they knew there were others in the same boat.
“What is it, Miss Gabby?” A small girl asked and she smiled at the title.
“We’ve learned it’s the Earth Song,” She said, “The Earth is trying to tell us something. It starts as a song and changes to a scream. I know it’s scary but it’s a warning,” she told them.
“A warning? For what?” one asked, she never had this many children’s attention just by speaking to them.
“Something is coming. The Earth needs our help. She’s reaching out to us. She wants to save us and for us to help her. She wants those of us who hear her, to tell our friends, our families so that we may help protect the world from what’s coming,” she didn’t want to say ‘war’, they were scared enough and until they knew more details of what war was coming, it was useless to stir things up now.
“Is that why we’re here?” one asked.
“When I first heard it, I didn’t have an animal spirit, so I began to train with the Wind Ninja’s until my spirit developed. All of you are here because Pai Zhua is the place to learn how to summon, control and work with your spirit animal. We will learn how to protect ourselves here,” she said, Jarrod smiled to himself, wondering if the pep talk was also being aimed at herself.
“You have…a doe! Right?!” one asked and she laughed.
“Yes, I do! How did you know?” the child had to be no less than 8, so that intrigued her.
“I’m really good at readin’ animal spirits! I remember a lot of things too! I could tell how you move that you had a doe! My Mom has a doe spirit! You move like her!”
“What’s your spirit animal?” she asked, the boy puffed up his chest in pride.
“Elephant! There was once a great Master here who was an Elephant and there hasn’t been one since! I’m lucky!” he beamed, she smiled at him.
“That man was my Uncle. And I can already tell he would have liked you!”
“Yay! Miss Gabby, can we have more cookies?!” The boy asked and she laughed and looked to Casey.
“After we’re done with our lesson, before you go. Miss Gabby has her own lesson to attend,” Casey told them and was greeted by a chorus of whines.
“So Miss Gabby, should we be afraid when we hear the song? Or the screams?” one child asked as she got up, with Jarrod’s help.
“I know it’s not fun to hear and it gets loud, but it’s nothing to be afraid. Remember, the Earth is calling, that’s all. Given her size, she’s pretty noisy,” Gabby said and watched as some of the kids eased.
“I’ll always remember!” the boy with the Elephant chirped and she smiled, “I always do!”
“Good. Ok guys, good luck with your lesson,” she said and Jarrod lead her off towards another section of Pai Zhua, which was a massive garden.
“That was a good thing you did with the kids,” he said, she nodded.
“It’s pretty intense to hear, I just couldn’t stand to see them so afraid,” she told him, “and it was pretty cathartic for me too.”
“I could tell. Which is why I brought you here. This is our Garden; your Uncle put this in place before he left. Now that the Elders that were here are long gone, we can now pay homage to your Uncle as we’ve been wanting too. I figure this place could bring you peace and will help you concentrate better.”
“Aw! Thank you,” she said and he took the plate from her and motioned for her to sit.
She dropped down to the ground and he was mildly surprised she didn’t even bother to dust off the excess dirt she got on herself. He assumed training as an Earth Ninja would do that to you.
“This is one of the exercises that Dom began to use, given his stubborn spirit and given your trouble so far, I think this may work,” he told her, she blinked up at him. “Close your eyes and picture a forest,” her eyes fluttered close and she inhaled deeply. “Walk through your surroundings and listen, listen for your doe, hear her? Find her. Speak to her,” Gabby stilled and a short while later, she began to glow a soft pink, the color often associated with her.
He didn’t have to go through those steps to speak to his Lion or to channel it. He was always under his skin, always waiting to rise. Now instead of taking over and control him, the Lion waited, biding its time in peaceful respect. If it wanted to sure up in defense, it would first announce it. Jarrod didn’t mind because it wasn’t an often occurrence and he was beginning to trust the Lion again. The damage from Dai Shi had seemingly tamed it. He felt something on his arm and looked down. A small light emanated from his skin and he saw the mark of the claw appear.
Apparently musing on the past has made you accept I am a Master? Jarrod said to the Lion and he felt it smile.
You deserve it, Cub. It’s been a long road, for both of us…It told him and he looked to Gabby and his brief bliss shattered as he watched her slowly sink into the ground. She was still meditating but she with each slow, deep breath she was sinking into the Earth. He reached down and snagged her shoulder, dragging her back up.
“Gabby!” he yelped and her eyes snapped open.
“Whoops! Sorry!” she said, shooting him a guilty look.
“What was that?” he asked, she continued to look guilty but she also had a light blush to her cheeks.
“I don’t know, I’ve only dreamt of something like that... I get calm and then I guess the Earth was to embrace me, literally,” she said, “Apparently it’s similar to a move Dustin can do; only it’s more precise. I haven’t learned it yet. Only his power shoots him deep enough into the Earth that he can tunnel.”
“That’s ok. As long as you’re ok, I’m ok. If anything happened to you, Master Swoop will kill me,” he said and she laughed.
“Well he didn’t kill Dustin when I had a couple near misses in my training there so I think you’re in luck,” she said, Jarrod sighed.
“Did anything I tell you help? I couldn’t tell since you decided to sink into the ground,” she smiled.
“It did help, thank you. I think I can try to summon her now. Do I have to say that catch phrase?” she asked, Jarrod laughed.
“Yeah, its helps with the process, it’s how they know we want them to come out in full force,” he told her and she stood.
“Jungle Beast! Spirit Unleashed!”
One more to go T_T
I have no idea how I'm gonna cope with that...