“I’m very disappointed in you, Lex and Hiro,” rumbled Vortech as he dangled Hiro and Lex Luthor in front of him.
“It’s not my fault!” protested Lex. “You should have warned me Batman and his cronies would be there!”
“I did!” argued Hiro. “You were the one who underestimated them!”
“Batman? Again?!” snapped Vortech as he released the two of them. “Well, if mice are scurrying through my property, then I’d better put down some traps!”
“You do that,” replied Hiro as he picked himself up. He then took out the spheres of Turretorg and Discornia. “In the meantime, I’m going to regenerate these two. They were about to explode back there.” He headed to a terminal with many spheres and inserted the two in his hands into empty slots. Holograms of the monsters appeared in red and showed a status bar.
“Well, I can see Vortech’s no Shocker leader,” called a voice that made Hiro grin. He turned to see Igura. “Such a sloppy man, he can’t even keep the enemy straight,” she muttered.
“He pays well,” explained Hiro, “but he’s no true ruler. He intends to make one perfect universe at the expense of others but doesn’t understand that a multiverse needs to exist to keep ideas fresh, reality stable, and feelings to flourish.” He then remembered something. “Speaking of feelings,” he continued, “do you remember our days in Shocker?”
“Ah, yes,” remembered Igura, “you were one of Shocker’s top scouts. Discovering your belt was what inspired Shocker to make a cyborg super soldier for their needs.”
“Remember when I said that you were the only light in that dark organization?” asked Hiro.
“That was when we were young,” sighed Igura, “when I was young. Now, I am old, and far past my prime. There is someone better for you.”
“Not true,” argued Hiro, “my feelings for you have not changed. I’m going to ask you something, and I want your honest answer. ‘No’ is fine with me.” He got down on one knee and opened a ring box to reveal a ring with an eagle decoration. “Igura, will you spend the rest of your life with me as my wife?” Igura gasped.
“Is this a joke?” she asked as her eyes went misty.
“I never joke about this,” replied Hiro.
“It was a joke when you married Megumi’s mom,” noticed Igura.
“She could never fill the void in my heart that came when I was taken from our home,” answered Hiro. “Well?” He was then taken into Igura’s embrace.
“YES!” she cheered. “I would love to be your wife!” She released Hiro to allow him to slip the ring on her finger. “Of course,” mused Igura as she looked at the ring, “we need to wait for these events to end.”
“Then we need to end them quickly,” chuckled Hiro as he leaned in for a kiss, which was reciprocated. They heard a “Tch!” from behind them and turned to see Ambassador Hell watching them.
“This is exactly what makes humans weak,” he hissed. “You’ve fallen far, Igura. You forget that without me, you would have no power!”
“You forget that a world cannot be conquered unless you control the money,” argued Igura.
“Quite honestly,” mused Hiro, “if I stayed back home, I would have joined Shocker Nova.”
“That would be a very poor move,” countered Ambassador Hell. “Besides, without me, we wouldn’t have any Foundation Elements.”
“I noticed that you haven’t done anything,” said Hiro.
“He’s needed to command his troops,” replied Vortech as he approached them. “A general hardly enters the battlefield and risk getting killed. It would put his troops in disarray!”
“Oh yeah?” commented Hiro. “And you would know? A general that hangs back is a coward in my eyes! He that never fights wouldn’t know how to throw a punch!”
“I can fight!” argued Ambassador Hell.
“Yeah, poorly!” countered Igura.
“Ambassador Hell could probably locate the next Foundation Element without help!” boasted Vortech.
“I could do better!” argued Igura.
“You wouldn’t even last five seconds in another dimension before you start worrying about dirt on your coat!” snapped Ambassador Hell.
“Would you two care to make a wager on the outcome?” asked Hiro.
“I wouldn’t want to bet against your fiancée,” assured Vortech with heavy sarcasm.
“Well, if you two are afraid,” taunted Igura. Ambassador Hell’s claw clamped on Igura’s neck.
“I’m afraid of nothing!” he snarled.
“Prove it!” gasped Igura.
“Ambassador Hell, release her! We’re taking up their wager!” ordered Vortech. Ambassador Hell dropped Igura. “Name your stakes,” requested Vortech. After he made sure Igura was okay, Hiro laid out the wager.
“Once the next Foundation Element is located,” he explained, “we will split into two Shocker branches-only teams. Ambassador Hell will lead Shocker and Igura, Shocker Nova. Whoever finds the Foundation Element and returns here with it is the winner. The loser must prepare the winner’s meal.”
“Done!” agreed Ambassador Hell.
While that was going on, we returned to Vorton and got out of our vehicles. Emily led Hiroki to the med-bay while Batman turned to Gandalf. “That staff’s important, somehow,” guessed Batman.
“We should put it somewhere secure,” suggested Hongo.
“Agreed,” I replied. Gandalf decided to put it away. He leaned it up against a wall. It fell over. He tried again, same results. He was about to try once more when a green hand grabbed it. The owner of the hand, Elphaba, was nose to nose with Gandalf.
“There’s a vault on the same level as the brig,” she snapped. “You can put it there!” She shoved the staff back into Gandalf’s hands. Gandalf recovered as Batman held up the new Keystone.
“This is the Elemental Phase Keystone,” called the mysterious voice. “Also known as the Keystone with the fanciest name.”
“Can’t we just say Elemental Keystone?” I asked.
+SAYING ELEMENTAL KEYSTONE DOES ACTIVATE ITS POWERS+ replied my belt. +GATEWAY 60% STABILIZED. BATTLE ARENA ONLINE+
“Battle arena?” I quizzed.
+DIFFERENT TYPES OF COMPETITIONS WITH FIELDS FROM ACROSS THE DIMENSIONS WILL DETERMINE WINNERS+ said my belt. +IT ALSO HAS A HOLOGRAPHIC BATTLE SIMULATION WITH FAMOUS BATTLES FROM ACROSS THE MULTIVERSE IN ITS DATABANKS+
“Now that sounds awesome!” cheered Sheela.
“We’ll test it out once this mess is over,” I declared. Emily came back to us. “How’s Hiroki?” I asked.
“He’s recovering at a faster rate than most humans do,” reported Emily. “Just a good night’s sleep and he should be all right for tomorrow.”
“Good,” I replied. “I need him ready for the coming fight.”
“Do you think that we’ll be fighting Hiro tomorrow?” asked Gandalf.
“We’ve caused major embarrassment for him by taking the staff and the Elemental Keystone,” I answered. “I think a fight with him is very likely.”
“In the meantime,” requested Elphaba, “could someone technically minded help me? The gateway is making a rattling noise.”
“I’ll check it out,” answered Lukas.
“Let me help,” offered Batman. That’s when the portal opened again. I really didn’t want these people to come through. Why? I had visited their dimension once and loathed it! The people that came out were Bart Simpson, Krusty the Clown, and Homer Simpson, in that order.
“Eat my shorts, you two!” Bart taunted to Homer and Krusty.
“You’re gonna pay for dousing my new business opportunity!” snarled Krusty, in reference to his new flame grilled burgers.
“Why, you little!” shouted Homer. He managed to catch Bart and started strangling him. While that was going on, I decided to get some new i.d tags. How I got them, in fairness, wasn’t gentle, but since I hate their show, I wasn’t gonna lose sleep over what I planned to do. I kicked Homer in the teeth, punched Bart in the face, and threw them into Krusty. Since I already had the Krusty i.d tag, I had now gotten the Homer and Bart ones.
“Now then,” I snarled, “out you go!” I threw them one by one into the portal back to their world and shut it off. “Well,” I remarked, “that was entertaining.”
“Who were those people?!” asked Oren.
“No one you would want in your shop, I can assure you,” replied Emmanuel. While we were in the Vortex, Oren had revealed his past about being a former para-trooper in France, hence why he can speak fluent French, and his training and current job as the head chef and owner of the pastry shop, Charmant II. He never revealed what happened to the original Charmant after the events of Kamen Rider Gaim. It didn’t matter, for at that moment, a portal opened for him. “I guess this is Au revoir for now, Monsieur Oren Pierre Alfonzo,” remarked Emmanuel.
“If you ever visit Zawame, my home town,” invited Oren, “be sure to stop by Charmant II. Au revoir, mes amis!” He then gasped as if he remembered something. “I found this bag on the front steps of Charmant II before that portal united me with you.” He gave us the bag. I opened it to see studs!
+TOTAL STUDS IN BAG ARE 95,000+ said my belt. +CURRENT CUMULATIVE STUD TOTAL IS 380,000+
“Merci!” I called to Oren. He bowed and then jumped through the portal. “Well,” I said, “who’s up for dinner?” A collective stomach growl came from everyone. “I thought so. Let’s eat.” We headed down to the cafeteria and had our meals. Emily had brought a meal to Hiroki so he could get something in his belly. After a shower, we all went to bed, with Hiroki staying in the med-bay so Emily, with her quarters next door, could check on him.
Death had arrived at the tournament arena we were at and met with someone training a regiment under their command. The armor the leader wore disguised their gender as it gave the appearance of a muscular warrior with an angry face for the helmet design. Death dismounted her horse and approached the armored person. The person turned and took off the helmet to reveal a woman’s face with a scar across her right eye going to her left cheek. “I have come for your aid, War,” whispered Death, “in troubled times. The Vortexons are abroad. Darkness that our sisters, Light and Dark, cannot control is approaching! The Tarlaxians under Vortech’s control are alive and well!”
“Is that all the news you have for me then?” grunted War as she went to improve the stance of one of her soldiers.
“Is that not enough?!” whispered Death. “Vortech is moving again!”
“We can deal with Vortech ourselves, Death,” grunted War. “You and me. One way or another, we’ll have true power as Gods.”
“What talk is this?!” whispered Death. ‘What are you saying, War?!”
“It’s time for us to choose,” grunted War. “A new age is coming to the dimensions. A new power is rising. Nothing that anyone can do will avail against it. Vortech’s enemies are utterly doomed, but his allies…well…I see no downside to a universe of his design. Ultimately, it will lead to eternal…me!”
“Are you saying that we should join with Vortech?!” whispered Death.
“Does that displease you?” grunted War. Her tone became more dangerous. “Where’s the Foundation Saber?! Why does Lacey say she no longer has it?! That blade was crafted by my hands! Have you taken it? Would you rather…”
“General War, forgive the interruption,” called one of War’s commanders, “but our intelligence network has discovered something that might be of interest.” He handed a device over to War.
“What is this?” grunted War.
“After careful study, we’ve determined it to be one of the logs of Vortech’s minions, specifically, Hiro Adachi,” replied the commander
“From the Kamen Rider world?” whispered Death.
“Yes, my lady,” confirmed the commander. “The contents have been unlocked and examined to be sure that it wasn’t doctored. You may want to take a listen before declaring the thing you personify on Death.” War took the log and pressed the play button.
“Rogue’s log, multiverse date: 37th day of the 2019th year of the 9th multiversal age (February 6th, 2019); I have managed to discover that a weapon known as the Foundation Saber is needed to stabilize the elements. I have tried to tell Vortech this, but he’s so convinced that someone may use it to kill him. He’s right though, but he’s not sure where it is. I have revisited the world of the Simpsons to get information from Lacey.” Death gasped. “She said that War had crafted it as one of the few weapons that can harm her.” War arched an eyebrow. “When I told Vortech of this, he said that there is a far cleaner way to defeat War and her associates and bend them to his rule, the Rifle of Tarlax. Since we have enslaved and brainwashed some Tarlaxians, convincing them they are advanced Vortexons, I will ask them where the rifle is. Once we have all four horsemen, Vortech will use the rifle to implant a controller into their skulls since Shocker and Shocker Nova’s methods of brainwashing will prove fruitless. Both branches are working on a solution right now. End log.” War was trembling in anger.
“His allies?” whispered Death. “Vortech claims none. There is a third choice. Stay in the enemy’s council and learn of their plans.”
“Skulk around and pass information like a rat?” grunted War. “No. I see no honor in staying another second as Vortech’s ally.” She turned to her troops. “Ladies and Gentlemen, we march for battle! Prepare for the red rain! Sharpen your blades! Load your guns! We march for glory and victory!” The troops cheered in readiness.
“Not yet!” whispered Death. “We still need to keep the Foundation Saber away from Vortech! There is a weapon that you crafted. Five to be precise.” War turned sharply on Death.
“Are you out of your mind?” she snarled. “Our own transformation belts are bad enough, but the Apocalypse Driver?! We don’t even have a rider that can carry the name Apocalypse. There is a mutant named that, but that dimension is already in turmoil and is beyond even Vortech’s reach!”
“But we DO have a rider that can carry the mantle of Apocalypse,” whispered Death. “Perhaps, you know of whom I speak. An old friend of ours. A goth girl with lacey clothes and a black flower in her hair with a skull in the center.”
“Not Lacey!” grunted War. “She can’t handle such a task. Her humanity would get in the way!”
“Just give her a chance!” insisted Death. War grunted. “She’s proven that she can put aside humanity when duty comes first! She’s a skilled commander! She’s the proper age!” War rolled her eyes.
“Ma’am,” questioned the commander, “what choice do we have? Besides, Lacey is an old friend. She may prove to be a perfect candidate for Apocalypse.” War considered.
“There’s still Pestilence and Famine to convince,” she finally grunted.
“Then we must convince them together,” whispered Death.
“Sadly, War will not join you,” remarked a voice. Everyone turned to see Hiro standing in the seats above. He chuckled as he jumped down to the arena. “Vortech’s not gonna like the fact that you betrayed him, War.”
“I don’t like the fact that you’ve proven yourself to be a rat,” grunted War.
“Hiro, this does not need to devolve into a fight,” whispered Death.
“War started it,” argued Hiro as he loaded his i.d tag. “Henshin!”
“You’re not the only one with a belt like that,” grunted War. “Soldiers, the Bellum Driver, if you please.” A soldier opened a box with a belt inside. It had a black strap with a grey sphere and a sword above it. War put the belt on. “Named after my Latin name,” explained War, “it is a new weapon that will spell your defeat! Henshin!” She slid the sword into the sphere.
“War!” rumbled the belt. Armor appeared, giving the appearance of an angry, orange soldier with pointed canines.
“Kamen Rider War!” roared War. “I shall bring battle to your doorstep!”
“I’m getting in on this too!” whispered Death as she pulled out a black belt with bones going horizontally across and an upside-down skull with the mouth open. Death put the belt on. “Henshin!” she whispered. She turned the skull right-side up, which closed the jaw automatically. The sapphires that made up the eyes started glowing.
“Death!” rumbled the belt. Her armor had a black and white skeletal motif with a cowl and scythe blades on the forearms.
“Kamen Rider Death!” announced Death. “You cannot delay your appointment with me!”
“We’ll see!” declared Rogue. “Kamen Rider Rogue! Stand and deliver!” The two charged at each other. War’s soldiers cheered War and Death on, giving them strength.