Making sure she was breathing with a corset on, a woman had dressed herself up as a vampire woman, complete with black and red dress, a blood-red rose in her hair, and pale make-up with fake fangs. “Perfect!” she declared as she looked herself in the mirror.
“Not going fuzzy this time?” asked her husband as he came in, dressed like a zombie.
“No, not this time,” replied the woman. “…What do you think, Richard? Should I wear a flower in my hair more often?”
“That’s up to you, sweetie,” answered her husband, Richard Saunders. “You look beautiful no matter what you wear.”
“You’re sweet,” sighed the woman, Megumi Hishikawa, happily. When they finished, a woman of African descent with pink hair, eyes, and dress appeared in pink light.
“Spooky,” praised the pink woman, the Chizaran Princess of Peace, Rosadera.
“That’s what I was going for,” chuckled Megumi. “Is everything ready?”
“All set!” answered Rosadera.
“Good luck!” wished Richard as Megumi and Rosadera vanished in pink light. He then turned on the t.v. to see Megumi on a set of railway tracks during the night. Rosadera was accompanied by her fellow Princesses, Azuliterii, Moradelia, Rojenthi, and Verdutha. Opposite of Megumi was a steam engine, an old Furness Railway K2 “Larger Seagull”. However, this engine had a difference from its compatriots, it had a face! The engine was blue with red stripes and had a number 2 on the tender. The lamp in front of the engine’s funnel was modeled after a jack-o-lantern. The Chizaran Princesses began.
“I am Rojenthi, the Red Princess of Chizara, and the war-time leader.”
“I am Azuliterii, the Blue Princess of Chizara, and the technological leader.”
“I am Rosadera, the Pink Princess of Chizara, and the peace-time leader.”
“I am Verdutha, the Green Princess of Chizara, and the environmental leader.”
“And I am Moradelia, the Purple Princess of Chizara, and the history leader.”
“This is it, ladies and gentlemen!” cheered Rojenthi. “The final round of the 591,009thVerse Vs. Verse Rumble Royale! With this round, we’ll determine who controls First Place prize, the Time Amethyst!”
“Representing her home of 8-3-Y-0-N-D-C-1-T-Y,” Azuliterii introduced, “we have Megumi Hishikawa! Representing T-H-0-M-4-5-4-N-D-F-R-1-3-N-D-5, we have Edward the Blue Engine with home-turf advantage!”
“The final outcome shall be determined,” continued Rosadera, “by whoever can tell the scariest story!”
“Megumi and Edward,” explained Verdutha, “must each tell the scariest story they can come up with. Whoever manages to frighten us more is the winner!”
“Each contestant,” Moradelia went on, “is limited to one story and neither of them are allowed do-overs.”
“Edward the Blue Engine, are you ready?” called Rosadera.
“An engine of the North Western Railway is ALWAYS ready!” declared Edward.
“Megumi Hishikawa, are you ready?” asked Rosadera. Megumi chuckled.
“Been ready since I first fought Vortech!” she answered.
“Then all that’s left,” declared Rosadera, “is to determine who shall tell their story first! With this round, we shall determine who will take home the Time Amethyst! Tell your stories with honor, tell them with pride, and, most importantly, tell them well! Who shall call?”
“Ladies first,” offered Edward kindly.
“As you wish,” replied Megumi. “Heads!” Rosadera flipped a coin and checked it.
“…Hard luck, Megumi,” she answered. “Edward, you may begin.”
“My pleasure,” answered Edward. He drew in a breath, then began. “The year was 1861, the rails belonged to the Metropolitan Railway in London. The famous engineer, Sir John Fowler, was a great man in many ways. Indeed, any engine that has crossed his famous Forth Bridge knows of his work. However, his greatest folly was a locomotive he built for the Metropolitan Railway.
“He had designed the engine to work in the tunnels without producing smoke. Any engine driver who is at the controls of a steam engine would occasionally get a cough while going through a tunnel, but there were engines that needed to go underground, spending their working lives in the tunnels. Some drivers simply coughed the entire journey. Sir Fowler ordered a locomotive built to his unique design.
“Unfortunately, the engine was a poor steamer. On its first test run, it failed miserably just outside Hanwell Station of the Great Western Railway. Its second test later that year was no better, failing to live up to expectations.
“Fowler was angry! The engine had failed him! He ordered it to be sheeted up and left where no one could find it. He then went on to order the tests to be covered up and he had denied that the engine ever existed.
“Before the engine was hidden, Fowler had some of its parts sold for scrap, mainly boiler fittings. Once he had regained some of his financial loss, he banished the poor engine to a disused tunnel on the Underground System. Down in its tunnel, the engine grew angry. It wasn’t his fault that he had failed! It was the work of his designer! He plotted his revenge!
“A few years later, some workmen were down in the tunnels, removing the rails to the engine’s final resting place. They bricked up the line, not knowing what lay inside. As they turned to leave, an all-mighty crash was heard, and they turned to see the bricked-up tunnel disappear in dust and rocks. The shaft of the tunnel had collapsed, and the engine was lost beneath a ton of rubble. They had sealed the shaft off and, for a while, nothing happened.
“Then, one night, an alarm went out on the Underground System! A runaway engine had been seen thundering down the tunnel towards Edgeware Road! Men went down into the tunnels and lifted some rails to derail the engine! …It never came.
“This happened night after night for a few weeks until men started muttering about the ghostly specter being one of Sir Fowler’s designs. Try as he might, he couldn’t keep it secret any longer. Some photographs of the engine were released to the public.
“The sightings of the ghost train stopped for a while, and it was only with Fowler’s death that the engine was forgotten about. …But, on the 50th anniversary of the engine’s failed run to Hanwell, it was seen again, and on every anniversary since!
“The engine, now and forever called Fowler’s Ghost, haunts the Underground Tunnels to this day, but it does more than that! It haunts the valleys and haunts the stations! It haunts the goods yards and the sidings! It shrieks across bridges and thunders through the cuttings! It comes to take old engines away, to sheet them up and remove them forever from this world!” Edward paused impressively, watching the nervous reaction of the Chizaran Princesses and Megumi.
“That’s…that’s just…wow!” breathed Verdutha as Moradelia hugged her tight.
“I must say, I was truly terrified,” mumbled Rojenthi as she held onto Azuliterii’s arm.
“Edward, that story was VERY impressive!” praised Rosadera. “However, this contest is not yet over. Megumi, whenever you’re ready, it’s your turn.”
“I don’t know if my story will be AS scary as Edward’s,” muttered Megumi, “but I’m not giving up now.” She cleared her throat and began. “In Japan’s Kyoho period, 1716 to 1736, there was a rule called Sankin-kōtai. During this time, the feudal lords, called the daimyos, were required to alternate living in their own homes and in Edo for a year, to strengthen the rule of the Tokugawa Shogunate’s central power over Japan. One particular samurai, Hotsumi Kanji, a minor prefect from Kitakuni Province, was making such a journey.
“He stopped by an inn along the way to rest for the night and heard the most beautiful singing voice coming through his room’s walls. It was coming from a Goze, a blind woman who would earn money by singing and playing an instrument, a shamisen being the most commonly used instrument.
“Hotsumi thought that such a beautiful voice could only come from a beautiful woman, so he let his lust take over. He had learned which room the Goze was staying in and hid himself there during the night. Once the Goze returned, he sprang from the shadows and seized her, ravishing her throughout the night. Oddly, the Goze was not repulsed by such an act. If anything, she enjoyed herself being dominated in such a manner.
“The next morning, the two had woken up. Hotsumi then got a good look at her face and gasped in horror. The Goze’s face was unspeakably ugly! Joy crossed the Goze’s face, thinking she had found love! Oh, if only that were true. But Hotsumi didn’t pronounce her face to be ugly out loud, no. Instead he concocted a plan to get rid of her…permanently!
“He took the Goze with him on his way to Edo and they went on a mountain road, a convenient mountain road. Along the way, Hotsumi pushed the ugly Goze off the road and into a ravine down the mountain, the impact snapping her neck and killing her instantly! When he was satisfied that the deed was done, Hotsumi continued on his way to Edo as if nothing had happened.
“A year later, it was time for another journey to Edo and Hotsumi had completely forgotten the incident. This time, he stopped at a small mountain temple, graciously accepting the monks’ aid and offer for rest. As he slept, he heard a beautiful voice coming through his window. He opened it and a crazed, blind woman jumped into the room! The woman’s milky eyes bored into him as if she could see him!
“‘Who are you?!’ demanded Hotsumi. ‘How dare you attack me!’
“‘I intend to do worse, Hotsumi!’ hissed the woman. Hotsumi was taken aback when he heard his name. The woman then stepped into the moonlight to reveal her features. Hotsumi almost shrieked in terror! It was the Goze he had killed! Her ghost had returned! ‘Have you already forgotten last Autumn?!’ demanded the Goze’s ghost. ‘You played with me, and then tossed me away when you were finished! I have no eyes, but I see you now!’
“The ghost grabbed Hotsumi by the ankles and tore him from his bed! He tried to get away, but the strength of a man is nothing compared to the strength of the rage-fueled dead! She dragged him to the temple’s graveyard and stopped before an open grave. She gave a wicked smile, then pulled him into her embrace, the pair of them falling into the grave! The pull was so strong, it moved the earth over the grave, suffocating him and killing him!
“The monks at the temple heard the commotion and ran to the graveyard to investigate. They dug as fast as they could, but it was too late. They found Hotsumi’s dead body with the skeleton of a woman wrapped around it. By fate or by bad luck, Hotsumi stayed at the very temple the Goze was buried at after the monks had discovered her corpse in the ravine.” Megumi drew in a breath as she finished her tale. The Chizaran Princesses were all hugging each other tightly and Edward’s jaw was near his buffer beam.
“That’s…” he stammered, “that’s…er…that’s…quite a chilling tale!”
“Indeed!” whispered Moradelia. “Quite a frightening warning!”
“I have to say, both stories were scary!” gulped Rosadera. “However, only one of you is going home with the Time Amethyst. We shall discuss who shall take it.” The Chizarans vanished, leaving Edward and Megumi alone. The silence was a little awkward for the pair of them.
“…So…” muttered Megumi, “…did you see any ghosts lately?”
“None of the scary types,” remarked Edward. “The only time there was a ‘ghost’ on Sodor was because of Percy playing a trick.”
“How so?” asked Megumi.
“…Well, Thomas doesn’t like it when the story’s told,” mused Edward, “but, then again, he’s been bragging how he never gets scared as of late, so having someone else to call him out on that will do him good. You see, it all started when Thomas, Percy, and Toby…”
After a few minutes of deliberation, the Chizarans returned to see Edward finishing his less-scary story. “‘Anyone would think,’ chuckled Toby, ‘that our Thomas had just seen a ghost!’” Megumi was giggling when the story finished.
“I can’t believe Thomas fell for that!” laughed Megumi. Rosadera cleared her throat, grabbing their attention. The Chizaran Princesses then turned to the camera.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” she announced, “we have our winner! The one that told the scariest story, the new owner of the Time Amethyst, the winner of this round, the champion of the 591,009th Verse Vs. Verse Rumble Royale…is Megumi Hishikawa, Kamen Rider Royal and the champion of 8-3-Y-0-N-D-C-1-T-Y!” The cheers were loud and long! “Congratulations, Megumi Hishikawa! You have earned the Time Amethyst! Tell me, do you intend to use it or is it too powerful for anyone to use?”
“…You know, I think I WILL be using it at some point in the future,” remarked Megumi. “I did see my future self during some points in my life and I distinctly remember purple portals being involved.”
“There are multiple ways to open portals of that nature,” replied Moradelia. “Heck, for all we know, I could have sent you to your past.”
“…You can do that?”
“Hello? Chizaran? Mastery of space and time is part of our gig.”
“Oh, yeah, I keep forgetting that.”
The Closing Ceremony took place on Halloween, with all the Chizaran Princesses and princesses decked out in costumes. Megumi, Edward, and the Third Place Winner, a version of Ben 10’s cousin, Gwen, with her own Omnitrix, stood in front of the Princesses. Gwen dressed as a classic witch, given her Anodite heritage. “Ladies and gentlemen,” began Rosadera, “we thank you all for joining us for this particular 3V2R! These three combatants,” she gestured towards Megumi, Edward, and Gwen, “have proven to be the toughest of this tournament’s contenders. Now, they shall claim their rewards.” Moradelia approached Gwen and handed her a metal glove colored like her Omnitrix.
“Gwen Tennyson,” she announced, “Third Place prize is the Omegatrix rig. This will evolve your Ultimates to their projected final evolution before they go extinct.”
“Using this thing as a last resort then,” muttered Gwen as she put the glove in her purse. Verdutha then placed a lamp on Edward’s buffer beam.
“Edward,” she pronounced, “Second Place prize is the Lamp of the Lady, generously donated to us by Lady of the Magic Railroad. This lamp can show hidden paths, find lost engines, and grant incredibly good luck to the user for a full month.”
“I know of an engine who could use a lot of good luck after this month,” mused Edward.
The engine he was talking about was a green tank engine with a saddle-tank and the number 6 on his bunker. Somehow, the poor engine, Percy, had ended up in a tree after his train of trucks had pushed him down a hill! He rested in the tree with bent buffer beams, a cracked funnel, snapped side-rods, and a hole in his bunker. His crew had jumped clear before he ended up in the tree. His best friend, Thomas, a blue E2 tank engine with the number 1 on his side tanks, was trying to figure out how Percy could stay up in the tree while the rescue crew used the Breakdown Train to secure Percy. “How did this…?!” spluttered Thomas.
“I don’t know, and I don’t care!” hissed Percy. “All I want to do is get down!”
“I’m…kind of in the same boat as Thomas,” muttered Megumi after Edward explained what happened to Percy. Rosadera then handed Megumi an amethyst length of her pinky.
“Megumi Hishikawa,” she proclaimed, “as promised, you are the master of the Time Amethyst. Use it however you see fit but guard that thing jealously.”
“I know where to keep it until the time is right,” promised Megumi. The winners then thrust their prizes into the air in a sign of victory.
“With all that,” declared Rosadera to the audience, “it’s time for the Closing Parade! If the winners will follow us, we’ll all go to the Winner’s Float!” Edward offered them a ride and they graciously accepted. The Chizaran Princesses simply made themselves a coach while Megumi and Gwen entered Edward’s cab. Once he was coupled to the coach, Edward whistled twice and puffed to the float garage, a few miles away. It had recently been modified to let living engines into it and onto the float. Once Edward slowly puffed onto the float, everyone stepped out of his cab or coach. In fact, the coach vanished once the Chizaran Princesses stepped out. The float then moved through the streets of Chizara as the Chizaran Spectrum Marching Band led the way. The parade was definitely Halloween-themed as various Chizarans came out in costumes and spooky decorations lined the buildings and streetlights. Like the last time Megumi fought in the 3V2R, the parade was a good two hours before it arrived at the closing torch. Because he had no hands, Edward’s fireman accepted the torch on his behalf as Gwen and Megumi took theirs. They then threw their torches into the Closing Torch and it leapt high into the air, flashing in all the colors of the Chizaran rulers. “Ladies and gentlemen from all realities,” began Rosadera, “we cannot thank you enough for supporting past, present, and future tournaments. We thank you all for tuning in to this rare occasion when all Halloweens line up so perfectly! As we all return home, we urge you all to stay safe and have fun! Happy Halloween!” The cameras then turned back to Blancalmarem and Nemengra.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we thank you all for joining us this Halloween!” began Blancalmarem.
“We enjoyed seeing all the costumes of the viewers and contestants!” continued Nemengra.
“Thanks to your support, this tournament was a success! We hope to see you tune in to more tournaments! I am Blancalmarem, the white princess of Chizara and the life leader!”
“I am Nemengra, the black princess of Chizara and the death leader!”
“And we thank you for joining us for the 591,009th Verse Vs. Verse Rumble Royale!” the two princesses finished together.
Megumi returned home, bringing Verdutha dressed as Wonder Woman with her. “You sure you want to do this?” asked Megumi.
“Are you kidding?!” replied Verdutha. “Your home’s a place where adults can trick-or-treat, and no one bats an eye?! Chizara doesn’t have that! I want in!”
“Verdutha?” asked Richard as he and Lisa dressed as Lilly Munster came up to them.
“Madam Verdutha, what are you doing here?” quizzed Lisa.
“Megumi told me that the people here trick-or-treat at all ages!” answered Verdutha. “I came here for advice on a route. I’m long overdue for free candy!”
“I see…” muttered Richard.
“She’s not joining us,” assured Megumi. “We’re still going on our own route.”
“I’d advise staying away from Anders Street,” called Lisa. “The one guy that hands out stuff’s a dentist. He’s giving out floss!”
“…Weirdo!” muttered Richard. Verdutha checked her tiara, then left the house in one direction while Lisa took another direction and Richard and Megumi went another way, all of them carrying bags for candy!