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Chapter 17

Again! That dream has been infecting my brain again! I was getting a little peeved. Richard’s corpse had already grabbed me when I snarled at it. “What, am I going to join you as the restless dead?” I snarked.

“You’ve failed us and will pay in eternal waking!” accused the corpse.

“I failed no one!” I snarled as the decay spread across my body.

“You claim that,” continued the corpse, “but the power you’ve encountered has rendered you as a child! Our power shall show you what we mean!” That was when the light rapidly dimmed and brightened. It kind of hurt my eyes, but something about it reversed the decay on my person. The intelligent zombies of my friends, on the other hand, screamed in terror as a tall figure, about 8’5” approached them. In the rare moments of good lighting, I saw the figure turn into the Grim Reaper as western civilization imagined it, a skeleton in a black cloak brandishing a scythe. The reaper spoke.

“You have no power here, servant of evil!” it bellowed in a female voice that rolled with thunder and power. The corpses tried to get away but were turning to dust with each step Death took. “You are powerless!” she continued. “Faceless and nameless to all but those that will stop you! Go back to the prison from whence you came!” The bodies had all disappeared by the time Death approached me. Her features started changing, becoming less bony. The bottom of her cloak had gained more layers of skirts and the sleeves of the cloak had separated at the upper arm. The hood stayed on as white trim appeared at the hem, the waist, the chest area holding the dress up, and along both ends of the sleeves, which went over her hands as white flowers appeared around the circumference of the hand’s opening and at the back of her waist. Her face fleshed out, literally and became covered in white make up with black lines giving the appearance of a skull. Her eyes opened to reveal black orbs with a tiny blue dot in the center. “You and your friends need to wake up, child,” Death’s new form whispered. “You have a long day ahead of you.” She tapped my forehead. That was when I woke up. I heard chatter in the other rooms next to me. The pieces fell together. Someone is making us have a shared nightmare! The enemy, maybe? I had decided to talk to everyone about it before we departed. After my dress routine, I found everyone in the cafeteria. Bacon, eggs, and toast was the meal for the morning.

“Rough night?” I asked everyone.

“That dream was too vivid for me to even get sleep,” admitted Batman. “Others woke before and after me, giving the exact details of the dream I had.”

“The one where after your corpses accused me of failing and converting my currently annoyed form?” I asked.

“And where Death herself intervened?” supplied the Brigadier, with his helmet off. That moustache of his seems odd on his aged face. I can’t judge though.

“We must have had a forcibly shared nightmare,” I guessed. “There’s no way anyone can dream the same dream naturally and wake up at different times.”

“Someone’s trying to divide us,” observed Gandalf. “The enemy may have more elaborate means of getting past security.”

“Why would Death want to help us?” asked Wyldstyle.

“To help us find Kamen Rider Apocalypse and Vortex,” figured Tonje. “If the enemy feels it can do away with the whole concept of death, who’s to say she doesn’t have a stake in this?”

“The other horsemen may be after the enemy’s head too,” I supplied. “Besides, the Gateway Guardian said they were just really good at their jobs and are actually very nice ladies.”

“Then we just need to stabilize the portal with the last Keystone,” resolved Haitao. “Speaking of which, who’s got the Scale Keystone?”

“That would be me,” called Hongo. He lifted his left arm. “That just leaves one of the F.N.S to use the last one.”

“Once we finish breakfast,” I declared, “we meet in the Gateway room. Got it?” Everyone nodded their approval. We had all finished and cleared away the dishes. We mounted our steeds and vehicles again. “Ready?” I asked. I got confirmation from everyone.

“All systems fully operational!” reported Rusty.

“Locators online,” called the Brigadier.

“Dimensional location set to D-C-C-0-M-1-C-5,” relayed Elphaba.

“CHARGE!” I shouted. We pounded through the portal and ran through the rift. The Doctor had kept his word on us not encountering any rift loops.


In that universe, the Keystone was being surrounded by a crowd with cameras flashing, police keeping people away, and reporters trying to get a closer look. The last Keystone had a symbol shaped like a white compass in the center. Above it was a crescent shape connected with a blue dot and below it was an upside down four. The reporters were trying to get closer, some sneaking in camera shots, annoying the police. So involved were they in their work, they didn’t see a giant of a man step towards them until he let his footsteps get heavier. He wore spikey armor, a tattered cape, and a helmet with a crown on top where you only had the eyeholes to indicate where he could see. He carried a large staff with a mace affixed to the top. One of the police saw the man. “It’s not Halloween yet, is it?” he asked

“You’ll have to stay back, sir,” his partner told the stranger. “It isn’t safe here.”

“You are right,” confirmed the mystery man in a cold whisper.

“Wow,” praised the police officer, admiring the armor. “‘A’ for effort.” The mystery man then swung his staff at the crowd! The police fired on the man, but he simply raised his hand and stopped the bullets. He then directed the rounds into the crowd! He spoke in a language that sounded evil!

Shre nazg golugranu kilmi-nudu,

Ombi kuzd-durbagu gundum-ishi,

Nugu gurunkilu bard gurutu,

Ash burz-durbagu burzum-ishi,

Daghburz-ishi makha gulshu darulu.

Ash nazg durbatulûk, ash nazg gimbatul,

Ash nazg thrakatulûk, agh burzum-ishi krimpatul

Daghburz-ishi makha gulshu darulu. The crowd held their ears in pain. “Aw, is the Black Speech too hard on your ears?” mocked the man. “Here’s a translation into the language of men!”

Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,

Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,

Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,

One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne.

In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie,

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,

One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness, bind them,

In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

“Who are you?!” cried a bystander.

“I am your new master,” answered the mystery man as he held up his right hand which held a ring in the ring finger. Fiery words in an unknown script raced across the band of gold around his finger. “I am Sauron, and you are now ‘guests’ of New Mordor!” Morgoth’s successor grabbed the Keystone and held it high. “Locate help from M-1-D-D-L-3-3-A-R-T-H!” Sauron’s fortress of Barad-dûr came down from a portal in the sky. It leveled a rotating building shaped like three L’s in a triangle. As the rubble fell from the building Barad-dûr sat on, Sauron brought over his Orc forces along with Turretorg, Discornia, the Vortexons, and the Combatmen of both Shocker branches. We had appeared as the crowds ran from the enemy. A newspaper guy ran by, dropping his load, but they weren’t his main priority. Batman saw the title of the paper, The Daily Planet. It had the headline INVASION with a picture of an Orc on the front.

“This is Metropolis,” observed Batman. Then Metropolis’ blue tights wearing protector zoomed by with that slicked back hairstyle with the curl in front, the red S on the front of the suit, and the red cape and boots. He saw us below and flashed a grin. I will admit, I swooned when he did that as did Xiomara and Emily.

“It’s Superman!” called Wyldstyle. “He’ll help us!” He wanted to, I could tell, but a portal sucked him up, cutting that plan short. “Ooooooohhhh,” groaned Wyldstyle in disappointment.

“That’s right,” grumbled the Dark Knight. “Leave it to Batman. Again!” Gandalf was distracted by the sight of Sauron’s fortress in the distance.

“Barad-dûr!” he breathed.

“What is that thing, Gandalf?” asked Wyldstyle.

“The Dark Tower, where Sauron dwells,” explained the wizard as he dropped to his knees and held his hat in his hands. “If he is here, all is lost! We cannot hope to defeat him without Frodo, without the One Ring.” Batman had grappled to a roof ledge and used binoculars to get a feel of his surroundings. Energy shields with electrified webs blocked the streets of Metropolis.

“That’s why Frodo was taken,” I surmised as I noticed the Dark Tower had no fiery eye on top. “The enemy needed Sauron’s forces and figured that he would command them better if he were in complete form instead of an eye on a tower.”

“I see him!” called Batman. “And the Keystone! Let’s go!” He spoke into a mike to inform someone of the situation.

“Good idea,” affirmed Wyldstyle as she punched her hand in readiness. “I may not know who Sauron is, but he sounds like bad news!”

“We better transform,” I declared. “Enemy forces are swarming the streets, ready to fight at a moment’s notice.” We got our i.d tags out and struck our poses.

“Rider…” began Hongo.

“Henshin!” we shouted. We all transformed and started running through the streets, fighting Orcs as we approached one of those gates. The webs looked organic inside the field.

“Oracle,” requested Batman into a communicator in his suit, “identify the materials that make up the web.” He activated external speakers and mikes.

“Various proteins are in the silk,” reported a female voice, “suggesting that the web is organic like a normal spider.”

“If it’s one of the Great Spiders that plague Middle-Earth,” mused Guard, “I will be very unsurprised.”

“There are giant spiders running around,” replied Oracle. “One of them, the apparent leader, is called Shelob by Sauron’s forces.”

“The Spawn of Ungoliant is here?” yelped Gandalf.

“Why is one of their number purple?” asked Zhànshì. I looked through the gate and saw a purple tarantula.

“Why is he here?!” I moaned, guessing that the purple spider was more than meets the eye.

“Let’s find out,” resolved Guard, making the same guess. “I see something in that dark area that has the outline of a keystone transmitter. Now may be a good time to use the Scale Keystone.” Gandalf lit the area up, confirming the object.

“I see,” I guessed. “Make one of us small and the person can mess with the electronics of the gate.”

“Let me do it,” called Climb as she pointed to a vent. “I AM called Kamen Rider Climb for a reason.”

“Very well,” I agreed. “Ichigō, if you please.”

“Scale Keystone, activate!” ordered Ichigō. “Lessen scale of Climb!” Climb shrunk down and crawled into the vent. Orcs and Lex-bots arrived!

“Well, that’s just great!” snapped Batman. “Gotta get these things out of the way!” Gandalf then remembered he had Glamdring on his person.

“Ah, yes!” he exclaimed as he drew the Foe-hammer out. “This could be just the very thing that’s needed.” We then went on the assault while Climb messed with the circuitry keeping the electric part of the gate up. Soon it fizzled out, leaving only the web. The spiders on the other side soon realized what was going on and rushed to their colleagues’ aid. The purple spider saw this and started scheming. While he schemed, Climb came back out of the vent. She had to dodge a bunch of feet.

“Ichigō, a little help?!” she asked in a tiny voice.

“Normalize scale of Climb!” called Ichigō. She grew back to her normal size and joined in the fight. The enemy was surprised. She then stabbed with her stylized kinjal and stabbed a spider, right in its middle!

“Oi!” I said to the purple spider. “Predacon! Help me!”

“How do you know about the Predacons?!” the spider spluttered. “Cybertron doesn’t exist in this universe!”

“That’s not for you to know,” I exclaimed. “Now get over here!” The spider shrugged his pedipalps and pounced on the other spiders.

“Traitor!” shrieked one.

“Dismantle it!” spat a second. “It’s a machine! I felt it! Save the squishy ones for our feast!”

“The fat one should have good meat and juices!” hissed a third, referring to Touché.

“You’re just jealous that I’m loved and you’re practically starving yourselves to gain attention,” quipped Touché. “Considering those spindles you walk on, I shouldn’t be surprised you’re hungry at all.”

“The meat insults us!” shrieked a fourth.

“Get your minds off of food and fatties like her for once and kill…!” the Orc didn’t get very far as Glamdring liberated the head from the neck.

“None shall insult a lady of good repute,” he hissed. We started chopping down the enemy.

“They sting! Sting!” yelled a spider.

“Sorry, we don’t have Sting on us,” joked Battle.

“Retreat!” droned a Lex-bot. “We’re no match for them now!” The enemy forces fled from the scene. The purple spider stayed behind and cackled.

“Now,” he giggled after he finished. He then tackled me. “You seem to know a thing or two about the Predacons!”

“And Maximals, Autobots, and Decepticons,” I replied. “In my world, Cybertron and its people were nothing more than a toy line with a story behind it. You’re an agent of the Tripredacus Council, Tarantulas, am I right?”

“You seem familiar with me,” cackled the Predacon Mad Scientist, “but I don’t recall meeting any fleshlings before I landed on Earth in its prehistory. Who are you?!”

“That’s not your concern,” I answered. I then tapped my blade under his abdomen.

“I hardly think you’re in a position to make demands,” snickered Tarantulas.

“Oh, I think you underestimate me, Master Tarantulas,” I argued. I grabbed his pedipalps roughly and shook him. He managed to get out of my grip and got into an attack position. I then swapped out my i.d tag. A dual image of Tarantulas’ two heads he had in Beast Wars appeared. I chose the one with the tiny horns.

“Transmetal Tarantulas Steel!” announced my belt.

“My Transmetal mode?!” spluttered the Tripredacus agent. “How did you get it?!”

“I have my ways,” I answered cryptically as the wardrobe dissolved. The new steel had circular shoulder pads with green dots, a set of yellow spider spinnerets on the back with purple spider legs pointing up. My boots were yellow and my arms were purple with yellow claws. My helmet gained Tarantulas’ mandibles and tiny horns. “Tarantulas, terrorize,” I mocked.

“Let me show you how a Transformer does it!” hissed Tarantulas. “Tarantulas, TERRORIZE!” The front of the spider swung down with the fangs and pedipalps becoming two digited claws and swinging out on arms that had the spider legs. Legs and feet swung out from the spinnerets as the head popped out, complete with yellow visor that had machinery on the upper part of the optical array to show emotions. He cackled as he finished his transformation. “Now then, fleshling,” cackled the robot in disguise, “your pale imitation of my Transmetal mode against the real deal!”

“You’re not in your Transmetal mode,” I reminded.

“Upgrades are a valuable thing, aren’t they!” cackled the spider bot. “METALIZE!” A wave of light passed over Tarantulas as he turned into his Transmetal mode, complete with his three digited hands. “You will serve as a perfect meal after I finish playing!” My friends then swapped their i.d tags.

“Transmetal Tarantulas Steel!” announced their belts. The wardrobes dissolved to reveal my friends in their new armor.

“Get him!” I shouted. Tarantulas leaned forward and fired from the dots on his shoulder pads. Guard, I, and, surprisingly, Touché, did the same. Tarantulas jumped out of the way but didn’t look where he was landing. Arch, Kämpfer, Sengoku, and Climb fired from their versions of Tarantulas’ wheel gun and fired on him. Tarantulas came to his knees, letting me grab his neck. He was surprised at my grip. “Now,” I said, “I need all the information on Sauron’s plans.”

“I can’t tell you,” smirked Tarantulas. I then commanded one of the spider legs on my back to bury itself into his shoulder. He squawked in pain.

“The next one will be in your skull,” I threatened. “Then we can download the information into Oracle.”

“I don’t know! I don’t know!” yelped Tarantulas, deciding, wisely, not to call my bluff. “We don’t know what the endgame is! Sauron won’t risk a security breach! The only thing I know is that it involves an object that summons objects from other universes, but he keeps it with him in Barad-dûr!”

“Then we need to get there,” I resolved, making plans.

“Good luck with that!” cackled Tarantulas. “He’s surrounded the fortress on all sides!” I grinned under my helmet.

“Go into your beast/vehicle mode,” I ordered. “You’re going to help us go through those gates while carrying me.”

“Wait, that’s not…!” spluttered Tarantulas.

“I’m going to take a page out of the Predacons’ book and alter the deal,” I hissed. “Pray I don’t alter it any further.” A few of my friends got the reference. Tarantulas spluttered for a while as he considered my offer. He fired his own wheel gun at the webbing still up on the gate, allowing us passage.

“Beast mode!” he snarled. In his Transmetal mode, the front folded up to allow the feet to become the fangs of the spider mode. The rear split away to allow the arms to tuck in behind the main body and the head to sink into the body while the spider legs held him up. He then folded his spider legs up and popped out wheels in a motorcycle configuration. I then climbed aboard. “You’ll pay for this, fleshling!” threatened Tarantulas.

“Shut up and drive!” I ordered. I kept a tiny bit of doubt in my mind as we may be played for fools. We arrived at the next gate. I dismounted and Tarantulas transformed again.

“Oi!” called an Orc. “I thought you were trustworthy! What are you doing?!”

“Helping us,” I replied for Tarantulas as I took out the Tarantulas i.d tag and put my own back in. I then converted my blade into rifle mode and unleashed hell on the enemy. “Ichigō-san, now would be a good time to shrink someone!” Part of a vent was dangling off the rest. Ichigō got an idea

“Scale Keystone, activate!” announced Ichigō. “Lessen scale of Wyldstyle!” Wyldstyle shrunk. Ichigō then picked her up. “I’m going to place you under the dangling bit of vent,” he told her. “When you grow to a larger height, I need you to hold up the vent part.”

“Got it!” confirmed Wyldstyle in a tiny voice. Ichigō then put her under the vent part while we kept the enemy off their backs.

“Enlarge scale of Wyldstyle!” announced Ichigō. Wyldstyle grew to a giant height and held the vent part in place. “Who’s willing to crawl into the vent?” asked Ichigō.

“Let me do it!” I called.

“Lessen scale of Royal!” ordered Ichigō. I shrunk down and headed straight for the opening. I crawled through the place and saw some wires.

“These look important,” I mused. I converted my rifle back into sword mode and started cutting wires. The electricity started sparking everywhere. “On reflection, Megumi Hishikawa,” I yelped to myself, “this probably wasn’t your smartest plan!” I managed to get out and land on a spider’s butt. Ichigō saw the tiny hole I made to make my escape and the electric part of the gate went down.

“Normalize scale of Royal!” he called. I grew and stabbed my spider in the butt. It thrashed around before going still.

“In all honesty,” I chuckled, “how many spiders can say their friend died of a butt stab?” I didn’t get enough time for an answer as an Orc was about chop my head off! As I ducked, another Orc launched a fire arrow at us. I then got an idea. “Hey, you!” I taunted. “Your aim is so bad; a normal man could hit the bullseye before you could! And that’s when an Elf is thrown into the equation!” That got the desired result as a fire arrow set the web part of the gate on fire.

“Oops,” mumbled the Orc.

“YOU IDIOT!” roared the Orc Captain. “SAURON ORDERED US TO KEEP THE GATES UP AND YOU LET A TAUNT INFECT YOUR BRAIN!! WERE YOU DROPPED ON YOUR HEAD WHEN YOU CAME OUT OF YOUR MOTHER?!” I was surprised by that comment but dropped it as a spider nearly jumped me. We managed to gain a little ground, but a rain of Orc arrows from another wall came down on us.

“We need to tear that wall down!” called Arch.

“Allow me to handle this,” assured Gandalf. He used magic to assemble a ramp out of a ruined car. He then mounted Shadowfax to charge over the gate and make the Orcs lean over their positions. The shift in balance made the wall topple, trapping the Orcs under the rubble. “Shall we press on?” asked Gandalf.

“I must learn how to do that!” giggled Tarantulas.

“Magic is the last thing a Predacon loony like you needs!” argued Touché. “You would dissect Gandalf and then eat his remains once your experiment was done. He doesn’t even run on Energon! How much nutritional value is in blood?!”

“My dear sister,” muttered Guard, “I thought you said you hated the Transformers franchise.”

“I lied!” snapped Touché.

“My filters would have adjusted,” cackled Tarantulas. “It’s the act I like more than the nourishment!”

“You’re a sick bug!” I commented. I then heard whispering. “Shut up for a sec, you guys,” I said. I stealthily followed the noise with my team following close behind. What I saw chilled me. There, around a fire, were nine beings cloaked in black. The hoods did not display their faces.

“What are they?” whispered Hunt.

“They were great kings of Men once,” explained Gandalf. “But the nine rings that were granted to them had corrupted them, made them lust for power. Now, after their initial deaths, they serve Sauron as literal shadows of their former selves. They are the Nazgûl, Ringwraiths.”

“The Nine,” I whispered, remembering the shrieks Peter Jackson gave them. “Do they have names?”

“Only titles,” replied Gandalf. “Their Lord is the Witch-King of Angmar. His second in command is the Shadow of the East, and the others are the Dark Marshal, the Betrayer, the Shadow Lord, the Undying, the Dwimmerlaik, the Tainted, and the Knight of Umbar.”

“Let’s listen to what they have to say,” I whispered.

“Shire…” whispered East. “Baggins… The Hobbit then pointed me to Bag End, but Frodo wasn’t there. So, my hunt went to the forest near a farmer. I could smell them near a tree, and one of them got the bright idea,” he held up a bag and changed his tone to an angry one, “TO THROW A BAG OF VEGETABLES TO DISTRACT ME!”

“You think you had it bad?” whispered Dwimmerlaik. The tone was feminine, so it surprised me after Gandalf told us they were men. “Tainted, Betrayer, Undying, and I were in the hotel OPPOSITE of theirs, so our kill count was about…four murdered bed pillows!”

“And that gate keeper,” whispered Tainted, in a slight Scots accent. “Why’d he have to die?”

“Sorry,” whispered Betrayer. “The journey to Bree made me wait for my horse’s ferry. It just made me so angry!”

“…That made you angry?” whispered Tainted. “We’re bound to the fate of a piece of jewelry, we have no horses after that flood near Rivendell, we just got the sack from Sauron, and an inconvenience like not having your horse near you at all times makes you angry!”

“The sack?” asked Gandalf.

“Fired,” I explained. Gandalf didn’t understand. “Er, released from service,” I said.

“Dismissed?” yelped Gandalf, a little louder than I would have liked. “Sauron released his lieutenants from service?”

“SSHH!” I hissed.

“THEY WERE RIGHT THERE!” shrieked East. “THEY WERE STARING ME IN THE FACE!”

“Maybe we would have gotten the Ring,” whispered Betrayer, “if we didn’t look so bloody ominous!”

“I told you,” hissed Knight, “black is a very slimming color.”

“Well, even though we lost our jobs,” whispered Dwimmerlaik, “at least we look pretty!” Sarcasm was heavy in her voice.

“Enough!” snarled Witch-King. “It’s hardly our fault. Lord Vortech thought to give the Ring to Sauron. He needed control over our forces. With the Ring in his possession, Sauron believes himself invincible.”

“And you know of a weakness?” asked East.

“Don’t be absurd, Khamûl,” whispered Witch-King. “Sauron wouldn’t be stupid to reveal his weakness to anyone.” I sighed inwardly, as I had hoped I would gain intel on that.

“Absurd?” hissed East. “Absurd?! That’s it! I’ve had it up to here with you! You constantly push us around and don’t even give us thanks for it!”

“Perhaps we would have been given the reward we so richly deserve,” hissed Witch-King, “if you weren’t distracted by a bag of carrots!”

“Oh yeah?!” hissed East. “I hope you turn to ash, you pathetic excuse of a King!”

“Do you have a problem?!” hissed Witch-King.

“Yes!” responded East. “It’s 7’1” and reeks of Númenor!”

“Well, you’re an overbearing failure that gets his directions from midgets!” hissed Witch-King.

“You’re bossy,” accused East, “you’re rude, and you have no sense of hand to hand combat!”

“I don’t know why Sauron gave you your ring in the first place!” hissed Witch-King.

“That makes two of us!” hissed East. “I QUIT!” He stormed off. We decided to slip past them. I really wish we could mask our smells, because Dwimmerlaik sniffed the air.

“Hang on,” she whispered, “I smell someone! Khamûl, come back! We need you!”

“No, we don’t!” hissed Witch-King. “If he wishes to abandon us, let him do so! Khòrena, what do you smell?”

“Men, women, and the metal spider!” whispered Dwimmerlaik. “Khamûl, get over here!”

“I said, leave him!” hissed Witch-King.

“Don’t be stupid!” hissed Dwimmerlaik. “We need him to beat these guys!”

“Khòrena, put him out of your mind!” barked Witch-King. “That is an order!”

“Go drown yourself,” hissed Marshal. “Khamûl’s been carrying us more than you have. Khòrena, since you were third in command, what are your orders?”

“Never mind the humans,” whispered Dwimmerlaik, “we need Khamûl more than Angmar here!” The remaining Nazgûl split into two sides, Witch-King and the rest. Dwimmerlaik and her company mounted their horses and rode off after East, leaving Witch-King to fight us.

“TRAITORS!” shrieked Witch-King. “DECEIVERS! TWO FACED DOLTS! I’LL HAVE YOUR HEADS!” He was in such a rage that he gave the signature Nazgûl shriek. He then turned to us. “Fine,” he hissed as he grabbed a helmet that gave off an image of a crown of thorns, “I’ll deal with these creatures myself!”

“Scram!” I snapped as he looked at me. “We’ve got a mission and an undead king isn’t gonna stop us.”

“Come not between the Nazgûl and his prey!” warned the former Nazgûl leader. He swung his mace at us, nearly knocking the wind out of us. As we ducked, my face was too near his sword’s point. I spun away, making him focus on me. As he raised his weapons, the Nazgûl lord was struck across the back by Touché’s foil. He dropped his weapons as he cried out in pain. I then plunged my sword into his arm, making him clutch the wound as I pulled my blade out.

“Cease battle!” I shouted.

“Are you out of your mind?!” called Guard.

“Royal is right,” remarked Gandalf as he sheathed Glamdring. “Without Sauron to answer to, the Witch-King of Angmar is nothing more than a ghost. He cannot hope to continue without the power of the Ring or his former servants.”

“We proceed to the last gate,” I affirmed.

“No living man can hinder the Nazgûl lord,” argued Battle. “A good chunk of us are women! We need him gone!”

“No!” I said with finality in my voice. “If any of the ladies kill him now, rest assured, I will see to it that you have your membership in the Feudal Nerd Society revoked!” Harsh, I admit, but I was not about to kill a creature that needed pity more than death. Everyone considered, then sheathed their weapons. “I thought so,” I commented. We pressed on when something dark gripped us. An evil voice spoke, belonging to the Dark Lord of Mordor.

“You cannot hide,” he hissed.

“Not even trying to,” I responded. Sauron laughed and faded. We ploughed our way through and made it to the final gate. “Er, where’s the transmitter?” I gulped. “Spread out!”

“Bit of a problem,” replied Kämpfer, “a security door is closing whenever we approach it and Combatmen from inside are laughing at us.”

“On top of that,” continued Hongo, “Vortexons are near that locker inside.” The aforementioned minions were laughing and miming that they can’t open the locker. I got an idea and swapped the Tarantulas i.d tag for the Batman one.

“Batman Steel!” announced my belt. I got the armor on straight away.

“Taunt them back,” I directed. “I have a plan.” The Vortex Riders did, admittedly, childish things to taunt them, by anyone’s standards. The enemy then went into a taunt war with my friends while I slipped in and fiddled with the controls, i.e. I cut a few wires to make it spark. When it did, a Shocker Combatman tried to make the doors close. When he failed, that’s when I made myself visible. The enemy turned, then smiled nervously as they waved. I gave the Queen wave before I grabbed a Vortexon and spun around, knocking everyone out. Gandalf got in after the enemy fell and jimmied the lock on the locker. A transmitter fell out.

“That’s exactly what we need!” called Hongo.

“I saw an air vent with a dangling part above the building’s awning,” revealed Wyldstyle. “If you could accompany me up, Hongo?”

“Gladly!” cheered Ichigō. They jumped up and landed perfectly up top.

“Now THAT is impressive jumping power!” cackled Tarantulas.

“It should be,” I replied. “On top of cybernetics, he’s been blended with the DNA of a grasshopper.”

“You mean, he’s a genetically altered cyborg?” gagged Tarantulas.

“One of Shocker’s greatest successes and failures,” I mused. Tarantulas made a disgusted noise. “You were gonna dissect him and eat him, weren’t you!” I yelped.

“I WAS,” muttered Tarantulas, “but genetically altered people don’t taste well.”

“I was right! You’re SICK!” I accused.

“Flattery will get you nowhere,” countered Tarantulas.

“Scale Keystone, activate!” announced Ichigō. “Lessen scale of Wyldstyle!” Wyldstyle shrunk and went under the dangling part of the vent. “Enlarge scale of Wyldstyle!” Wyldstyle grew, holding the vent part in its place. “Lessen scale of Ichigō!” Ichigō shrunk and crawled into the vent. Sadly, enemy forces were trying to get up the awning.

“Ugh, not again!” moaned Batman. He turned up. “Hongo! You gotta deactivate the gateway!” No sooner had he asked than the electricity surrounding the web part of the gate shut off. Ichigō then leapt out and landed on Wyldstyle’s shoulder as she let the vent part drop.

“Normalize scale of Wyldstyle and Ichigō!” called Ichigō. Not a bright move as when their mass and size changed, they toppled onto each other. They disentangled themselves soon enough and joined us. Spiders then approached us.

“Tough and thick, your skins must be,” one hissed at us, “but I’ll wager that there’s good juices inside!”

“Aye, they’ll make fine feasting when they’ve hung a bit!” remarked another.

“Only a few are well fed,” observed a third as it looked at Touché. “Don’t hang ‘em too long!”

“What is it, Make Fun of Fat Women Day?” snapped Touché.

“You should be honored!” said a fourth to her. “With one of your girth, you could feed us for months!”

“Feast! Feast! Feast!” chanted the spiders. I was still in Batman Steel, so I activated my stealth functions. Batman did the same. My friends then swapped out their i.d tags for the Batman one.

“Batman Steel!” their belts announced. After the wardrobe disappeared, they activated their stealth functions.

“THE MEAT’S DISAPPEARED!” shouted the first spider.

“Easy fix,” assured the fourth spider. It turned around rapidly and started firing web balls at us. Long story short, we got webbed. “There we are! Right…”

“Where I want you!” called Tarantulas. I got web over my eyes, so I couldn’t see. All I heard were the screams and death rattles of the spiders. Once the screams died down, I heard a hissing noise. As it progressed, the web around me got brittle. I moved my head, making the web crack all around me. I got up and witnessed my friends doing the same and Tarantulas was kicking off the web on the gate. The spiders laid dead with cracked exoskeletons and puncture points.

“Er…what did…?” I asked Tarantulas.

“Crystalocution is a martial art that focuses on attacking the enemy’s fracture points,” explained Tarantulas. “Granted, it’s never been done on an organic, but I needed to test a theory. If one were to use that martial art on an organic with an exoskeleton, the results would be similar, not exact, to using in on a metal enemy. Those three Orcs over there,” he pointed to the messy remains of Orcs that I will NOT describe here because it was gory, “served as the control group. As you can see, my theory was proven correct. The results are similar, but not exactly like attacking a Cybertronian. Now, all that’s left is to find out if the results are the same for ALL organics with natural armor.” The web was cleared away. “Shall we go?” asked Tarantulas.

“Ah, good!” cheered Gandalf, welcoming the change in topic. “Onwards! Onwards!”

“Why do I get the feeling that the worst is still to come?” asked Wyldstyle. The question repeated in all of our heads as we pressed on.

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