Our destination was a bright, sunny place with a yellow road leading to a green city. It seemed familiar, but I couldn’t place my finger on it. “We are NOT in Gotham anymore,” muttered Batman.
“I would have had a more pleasant journey on the back of that Balrog,” commented Gandalf as he checked Shadowfax’s hooves since he landed hoof first on the road. Hongo took a deep breath and smiled.
“The air reminds me of the countryside I would sometimes pass,” he sighed in peace. “What’s disagreeable about this place?”
“It’s so…colorful!” hissed Batman as he tensed up.
“Yes,” mused Gandalf as a peacock strutted by, “it is rather pleasant.” The peacock gave a squawk of approval. Wyldstyle was looking at her scanner.
“I can’t see MetalBeard,” she sighed.
“Well, something’s close,” replied Emmanuel. “You’re still tracking that signal.”
“This way,” called Batman. He was about to go off the path when Gandalf stopped him.
“I believe the correct course of action is to follow the yellow brick road,” he commented.
“Why does that sound so familiar?” asked Emily. “In any case, it may lead to a missing gateway piece.”
“Ah ah ah!” called a voice that made me snarl. “That’s not for you!”
“Hiro!” I hissed. The tiny sliver of hope I had that I was wrong vanished when I saw him.
“Interesting that we should find ourselves here,” mused Hiro.
“Whatever business you have does not concern this dimension!” I hissed. “Leave at once!”
“Actually, it does,” countered Hiro. “My client had detected an energy signature that he recognized in this dimension. Considering he’s paying me for my jobs, I’m not leaving.”
“And suppose someone gets in your way?” asked Mikhail. Hiro started laughing.
“Who’s going to get in my way? You?” he asked. “Don’t be stupid. Megumi may be the strongest out of you lot, but she couldn’t withstand my assault!”
“You cheated!” snarled Richard.
“I didn’t see any wrestling ring ropes back home,” replied Hiro.
“Back home?” I quizzed. “You mean Hongo-san’s home dimension?”
“And my native dimension,” elaborated Hiro. “I’ve had the Rogue Driver for some time.”
“It’s how that organization got the idea for a transformation belt,” supplied the Rogue Driver. “What was its name…er…Seeker? Soaker? …er…”
“Shocker?!” shouted Hongo.
“That’s it!” confirmed the Rogue Driver.
+INTERFERENCE WITH A DIMENSION’S NATURAL FLOW IS A CLASS 5 OFFENSE+ announced my belt.
“Considering that the Queen ain’t here to enforce it anymore,” countered the Rogue Driver, “I see no reason why I should care.” Hiro then shot a carriage at the side of the road, blocking the path.
“Catch you later!” called Hiro as he jumped over the carriage.
“COME BACK HERE, YOU COWARD!” No sooner had I shouted that, I heard Hiro hit the other side of the carriage.
“WHAT’S THE…BIG…IDEA!” he shouted in a voice that was rapidly getting slower.
“Apologies,” rasped a voice that didn’t mean the apology, “but I’ve been plucked from my universe and dumped here in this absurd wonderland. On top of that, you…landed on…my…head! …That’s a…declaration of…war…” I then heard two thuds.
“It…can’t be!” I stammered, a grin forming on my face as I recognized the voice.
“We’ll need to find a way past this roadblock,” rasped Batman. “Let’s look around.”
“The carriage seems to stretch past both sides,” Gandalf pointed out.
“There is the old brute force method,” mused Richard.
“I think I see a hook for the grapple gun,” I called. “Batman, mind helping me attach it to the carriage? It looks like a two-person job.”
“Sure,” affirmed Batman. It was indeed a two-person job as Batman held the hook into place while I attached it to the fabric of the carriage. Once it was attached, I struck my henshin pose.
“HENSHIN!” I announced and activated my suit. Then I swapped my i.d tag with the Batman one. The wardrobe closed on me.
“Batman Steel!” called my belt. Once that was done, the wardrobe dissolved as I had donned the cowl. Batman and I then fired our grapple guns and pulled until the carriage split apart. It revealed Hiro lying on a bed of poppies with Prince Vegeta of Dragonball Z fame! I squeed, then zipped the lip as it might wake the Saiyan Prince. Not a single person in the poppies stirred.
“Okay,” gulped Wyldstyle, “so I’m guessing those are NOT normal poppies. Do we have anything that will help us cross safely?”
“Driver,” I quizzed my belt as I switched to my default i.d tag and allowed the wardrobe to don the “royal steel”, as it was called, on my body-suit, “do our rider forms have a means of breathing?”
+AFFIRMATIVE+ confirmed my belt. +ALL SUITS HAVE A REBREATHER IN THE HELMETS+ +YOU CAN EVEN BREATHE IN THE VACUUM OF SPACE+
“My helmet also lets me breath in air that’s not suitable for normal humans,” replied Hongo, “and the horses for the Vortex Riders are machines, so they don’t need to worry, but that leaves Gandalf-san and his horse, Batman-san, and Wyldstyle-san.”
“Actually,” countered Wyldstyle, “with the parts from the carriage, I can upgrade my bike to help the horse.” Shadowfax seemed to agree wholeheartedly with that idea.
“You can ride with me, Gandalf,” offered Batman as he entered the Batmobile. Gandalf then boarded the vehicle while Wyldstyle upgraded the bike to allow Shadowfax to ride, the rest of the Vortex Riders transformed. We all got on our respective steeds, Shadowfax entered the new bike, Batman activated the Batmobile and we all moved around the sleeping Prince Vegeta and Hiro. We soon got away from the deadly poppy field. Gandalf and Batman got out of the Batmobile.
“I think this contraption,” mused the gray wizard as he patted the Batmobile, “could almost give Shadowfax a run for his money.” Shadowfax heard that and snorted in offense. Then, we heard something ahead of us.
“Is that…singing?” asked Wyldstyle. The lyrics sounded familiar. Emily’s eyes went wide in delight when she heard it.
“We’re off to see the Wizard, the wonderful Wizard of Oz!
We hear he is a whiz of a wiz, if ever a wiz there was!
If ever, or whether a wiz there was, the Wizard of Oz is one,
Because, because, because, because, because, because,
Because of the wonderful things he does!”
“IT’S OZ!” shouted Emily. “WE’RE IN THE MERRY OLD LAND OF OZ!”
“And everyone can give me the idiot prize!” I berated myself. Emily had played The Wizard of Oz until she scratched the DVD back at the abandoned factory, which I lovingly christened Castle Nerd-Skull.
“Then Dorothy and her friends must be singing their way to the Emerald City!” guessed Richard.
“It’s not just singing,” mused Gandalf, “it’s a singing scarecrow, amongst other oddities.”
“The Scarecrow!” snarled Batman. “I knew it! This is all a hallucination!” He charged towards Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion.
“I think he’s going crazy,” observed Wyldstyle.
“‘Going’, my dear?” asked Gandalf. “He’s wearing a bat costume.”
“You guys don’t understand,” explained Xiomara, “there’s a member of Batman’s Rogues Gallery called the Scarecrow that uses gas to commit his crimes. The gas targets your phobia and makes you suffer hallucinations based around that phobia.”
“So, if I breathed the fear gas, I’d start seeing spiders crawling all over me and freak out?” asked Mikhail.
“Exactly!” confirmed Xiomara.
“But the Scarecrow from Oz really is a scarecrow!” yelped Emily.
“He’s having the same kind of misunderstanding I had!” realized Hongo.
“After him!” I called. I say that a lot, don’t I? Batman was moving from hiding place to hiding place very quickly until he stopped in front of Dorothy’s gang.
“You’re coming with me, Scarecrow!” he hissed!
“Another one to join us on our journey!” cheered Dorothy. “And what are you missing?”
“A sense of humor,” replied Batman. “Hand him over!”
“But why ever would we do that?” asked Dorothy.
“Because he’s a heartless villain!” explained Batman, losing patience.
“No,” countered the Tin Man, “I’m heartless. He’s brainless.”
“Batman!” called Xiomara as we caught up. “That’s not a person making it move! It’s just straw!”
“What?” yelped Batman. “Then how is he moving?”
“I don’t know,” replied Xiomara, “but that’s not Dr. Jonathan Crane! That’s a real scarecrow!”
“Am I still a villain, though?” asked the Scarecrow.
“I s-s-see something s-s-scary!” stammered the Cowardly Lion as he pointed to the portal behind them.
“What? Is it Toto again?” asked the Tin Man in a callous tone. Wait, what?!
“Oh my!” cried Dorothy. “You ARE heartless!” That’s when they started getting sucked into the portal. “Oh no! Not another tornado!” The portal then closed once they were inside. A faint bit of laughter could be heard.
“What on Middle-Earth is going on?!” yelped Gandalf.
“Yeah, who was that laughing?” asked Wyldstyle.
“I don’t…know!” hissed Batman, his patience for this whole mess at an end.
“Emily,” asked Richard, “was the Tin Man always a jerk before he got a heart?”
“No, he was still kind before he met the wizard,” replied Emily.
“Look!” called Wyldstyle as she pointed down the yellow brick road. “Is that one of the missing pieces from the gateway?” It was a purple oval with a symbol of three circles in an upside-down triangle pattern. The points started from cyan, to yellow, to magenta with arrows pointing in the direction I had described.
“Yes,” confirmed Batman. “Let’s grab it and get out of this place!”
“What about Vegeta?” I asked.
“Who?” quizzed Batman.
“The man with the pointy hair asleep with Hiro in the poppies back there!” I explained.
“Do we need him?” asked Batman.
“No, but I do,” said a voice. We all turned to see a cat-like humanoid with purple skin, no fur, and Egyptianesque clothing. His tail flicked lazily. “I see someone reactivated the gateway,” observed the creature. I trembled a bit but held it in check.
“Er, can someone explain who he is and why he knows the guy in the poppies?” asked Emmanuel.
“That’s Lord Beerus,” I gulped, “God of Destruction in the Dragon Ball franchise.”
“And I am honored to meet you!” called Emmanuel, getting the scope of the guy. He knelt down in front of Beerus.
“Oh, please, get up!” hissed Beerus. “I can’t stand groveling.” I wanted to argue the point as various episodes had him act indifferent to groveling, even slightly enjoying it, but who argues with a god of destruction? “In any case, I’m taking Vegeta back with me. He’s got training to do and gallivanting across the multiverse is the last thing he needs.”
“A tournament’s coming up?” I asked.
“As a matter of fact, yes,” confirmed Beerus. He headed over to the poppies “In any case, I’ll just take Vegeta here and be on my way.”
“Er, Lord Beerus!” I called as he entered the poppies. Oddly enough, he wasn’t affected as he picked up Vegeta.
“You were about to say something?” asked Beerus as he slung Vegeta over his shoulder.
“Er…never mind,” I murmured. Beerus shrugged and turned to leave before he tripped over Hiro. He then angrily kicked him out of the poppies and disappeared. I wish he hadn’t done that, but them’s the breaks. He then left in his own manner as Hiro woke up.
“Oooogh,” he groaned. “What hit me?” He looked around to see that we were strategically walking away from him. Unknown to us, he followed.
“We’re almost there!” called Gandalf as the gateway piece came closer with each step we took. “Goodness, this has been remarkably easy, hasn’t it?”
“Oh, you just had to jinx it, didn’t you?!” hissed Batman.
“I can’t believe a wizard would ever say that!” cried Lukas. That was when we heard an evil cackle.
“And the Wicked Witch of the West decides to buzz us!” hissed Emily. The Wicked Witch was indeed flying overhead on her broom, green skin, black clothing, hat and flying monkeys completing her look.
“Now that the meddling do-gooder is gone, all of Oz is mine!” cackled the Witch. “So long, Dorothy! So long!” One of the monkeys ooked, tapped her on the shoulder, and pointed at the gateway piece. The Witch got a look at the thing. “What’s that? Something magical?” A grin as wicked as her attitude appeared on her face. “It looks so pretty! It feels so powerful!” She turned to the flying monkeys. “They can’t have it!” she ordered. The monkeys got into formation and dived with her in front.
“It would appear we’re not the only ones interested in the gateway pieces,” observed Gandalf.
“GRAB IT!” I shouted as I mounted my horse. The rest of us got on our horses/vehicles and charged at the gateway piece.
“No!” called Hiro from behind us. “No, it’s mine!” He summoned a demonic looking motorcycle and sped off after us.
“Get away from my property!” ordered the Witch. “…Whatever it is!” Some monkeys almost scalped us with a sweeping dive!
“We’ve got monkey dive-bombers!” warned Batman. “…Can’t believe I just said that.”
“Ugh,” groaned Wyldstyle. “This place makes Cloud Cuckoo Land look normal!” Hiro then used a mechanism in his bike’s seat and launched himself at the Witch, knocking her off the broom. I sped towards the gateway piece and leaned to grab it when Hiro shot my rear and knocked me off my horse! The Witch then threw Hiro into me and ran for the piece while I grabbed Hiro by the legs and used him as a club to knock her away.
“So,” said the Witch as she summoned an ugly looking green fireball, “you won’t take a warning, eh? I’ll take care of you now!” She then cackled wildly as she trapped us all in a ring of green flames. I then heard a yelp as a man in casual clothes run out of the flames slapping his rear to put it out. I was too busy fighting the Witch and Hiro to give the man much thought. I then got out the i.d tag and struck a pose.
“HENSHIN!” I announced. I then leapt through the blue circle and became Kamen Rider Royal. “Kamen Rider Royal!” I said. “Evil will ultimately bow to me!”
“We’ll see about that!” countered the Witch. She got back on her broomstick and took to the air to cast more ugly green fireballs!
“That broomstick of hers,” observed Wyldstyle, “it’s defying gravity somehow!”
“Thank you, Captain Obvious!” called Irina. The man that had his rear on fire had put it out and grinned.
“Magic against magic,” he chuckled. “This should be fun.” He then put a ring on his right middle finger with a hand design on it and held it in front of his belt buckle with a hand design like the ring.
“Driver on, please!” announced a voice. That’s when everybody payed attention to the man as a silver belt with a black hand with gold trim appeared around his waist. He then flipped some switches on both sides of the belt, making the hand move from the right to the left. The belt started singing, of all things. “Shabadoobie, touch to henshin! Shabadoobie, touch to henshin!” The man put a ring on his left middle finger. It had a smooth cut, round ruby in the center with some sort visor on top that was connected to a hinge.
“Henshin!” announced the man as he flipped the visor on the ring over the ruby, giving it eyes. He then held the ring over the belt.
“Flame, please!” called the belt. A red runic circle appeared on the man’s left side and passed through him. “Hi! Hi! Hi, hi, HI!” (Pronounced “he”, not “high”) He ended up in a black suit with a black trench coat, silver shoulder pads, square cut rubies running down the front of the coat, a red interior of the coat, and a silver helmet with a ruby on the face with the ring’s visor design on the face. I had only seen one Kamen Rider series from start to finish, and that’s the rider!
“Saa, showtime da!” (Now, it’s showtime!) announced the rider.
“Kamen Rider Wizard!” I cheered. The Witch blinked, then an evil grin crossed he face again.
“Your outfit just gave me an idea!” she said. “A spell to halt the progress ahead! To freeze, to bind my foes in red!” She cackled again. A slew of red chains wrapped around us all! Kamen Rider Wizard slowly moved his arms to get his hands on the belt’s levers and swapped the hand to the right again. The belt started singing again!
“Lupachi magic, touch to go! Lupachi magic, touch to go!” He then moved his hand to a ring strap which were silver with an orange gem in the center. They each had a design on the top. The one Wizard grabbed had a dragon poking its head and wing out of a portal. He replaced the hand ring on his hand with the new ring and scanned it on his belt, the WizarDriver. “Connect, please!” said the belt as a small red runic circle appeared near his hand. He put his hand in and grabbed some sort of intricate silver gun with a left hand making a fist on the end of it. He pulled the trigger and shot the broom the Witch was on. She fell off and it broke her concentration, thus making the chains disappear.
“You bothersome little worm! I’ll get you for that!” she shouted. She then started swinging her broom around like a weapon. I got an idea and touched Wizard’s shoulder. My belt then got the Wizard i.d tag. I then stole a ring with a shovel design.
“Hey!” protested Wizard.
“Borrowing!” I replied. I swapped my i.d tag with the Wizard one.
+IDENTIFICATION TAG HAS MULTIPLE FORMS+ said my belt. +SELECT FORM+ Four circles appeared in front of me with the different form rings for Wizard. I picked the one with the square citrine. The wardrobe closed around me. “Wizard Land Steel!” said my belt. It then said “Land, please! Dododo Dododon, Don Dododon!” in the WizarDriver’s voice. This form takes the trench coat of wizard with whatever gems it’s studded with, in this case, citrine. I couldn’t resist.
“Saa, showtime da!” I announced.
“First my ring, then my land style, now my words!” cried Wizard.
“Like I said, I’m borrowing them,” I countered. I then mimed flipping the levers on the WizarDriver and heard the familiar chant of “Lupachi magic, touch to go!” I then scanned the ring I swiped from Wizard over my driver. From the words of “Dig, please!” I’d say it was a dig ring. Several yellow runic circles appeared. The parts of the ground they were hovering over disappeared in dust, leaving holes once they vanished. Some of us tumbled into the holes, the Witch included. She poked her head out to address her troops.
“What are you flying fools waiting for?!” she screeched. “Attack! Attack!” The monkeys started throwing rocks at us. One of the rocks knocked the Witch’s hat off! “Watch it!” she screeched as she jammed it back on her head and dived into the hole.
“Just when I thought today couldn’t get any MORE strange!” rasped Batman. He dove into a hole to get away from the monkeys. The rest that didn’t fall in the holes I made originally followed suit. I heard a bunch of people say “Henshin!” with only one “Rider…HENSHIN!” over them. I met with Kamen Rider Arch, Emmanuel in the tunnels connecting the holes.
“Thoughts, your highness?” he asked.
“It’s probably going to turn into a whack-a-mole game,” I guessed “10 points on whacking your enemies, minus 20 on hitting the Witch.”
“This whole fight is making me see red!” protested Arch.
“Stay in the red mist, that’s just fine!” called the Witch. “Your thoughts, your moves, your actions are MINE!” Red chains appeared around us again. From what I saw overhead, Kamen Rider Kämpfer, Lukas, was lifted out of the hole. Her mistake, his gain, as he leveled his updated crossbow at her hat and fired! The crossbow bolt knocked the hat off, making lose concentration again. She screamed in frustration. “I’ll teach pesky little troublemakers like you to get in my way!” she snarled. At that point we all got out. Rogue was about to fire when I sucker punched him, leaving Wizard open to fire his WizarSwordGun. He didn’t leave it in gun mode and instead unfolded it into sword mode.
“I have it!” called Ichigō. He had the gateway piece in his hands. In retrospect, he shouldn’t have said that.
“A spell to halt the progress ahead! To freeze, to bind my foe in red!” This time, the chains wrapped around only Ichigō. Rogue charged to get the gateway piece, only to get tackled by the monkeys.
“GET OFF ME, YOU OVERSIZED WINGED MACAQUES!” he shouted.
“Tufted Capuchins, actually,” countered a voice. Rogue turned to see a monkey’s fist deck him. Meanwhile, more of the now named Winged Capuchins had gotten their hands on Ichigō and got the gateway piece back on the ground from all the movement. Arch had let an arrow fly towards the Witch, making her dodge and retreat to the air.
“I’ll get you, my pretty,” she swore, “and your giant dog, too!” She was referring to the Dark Knight.
“I’m a bat…man!” he replied.
“Seize the shiny and fly! Fly back to the castle!” ordered the Witch to her troops. “And what did I tell you about speaking?!” One of the monkeys rolled his eyes and started scratching his pits.
“Ook, ook,” he muttered. He then charged towards the gateway piece.
“Nuh-uh!” protested Wyldstyle as she ran towards the piece. “No you don’t!” She leapt up to grab it. Too little, too late. The monkey already grabbed it. She fell face first on the road. As the monkey started flying to rejoin the witch, she started taunting us.
“You’ll have to be faster than that, my fine lady!” she boasted. “Without my sister’s ruby slippers, you’re no match for me! Away, my pretties! Away!” The whole troop flew off towards the west, where her castle was. The flames had died and Rogue was mad.
“THIS IS YOUR FAULT!” he roared at me. “IF YOU HADN’T INTERFERED, THIS WOULDN’T HAVE HAPPENED!”
“I hold no responsibility over this,” I countered.
“Bah!” snapped Rogue as he cancelled the transformation. He then boarded his bike. “When next we meet, you won’t survive!” he swore to me. His bike then summoned a portal as he sped through. I then turned to Wizard.
“How did you get here?” I asked.
“I’ll explain on the way,” he replied as he used the connect ring again to summon his motorcycle. He then dehenshined into Haruto Soma. “For now, that piece may be my only way home and I need to get home now. Phantoms are invading again and I need to stop them.”
“Then help us and we can get you home,” I offered.
“After her!” called Batman as he boarded the Batmobile.
“Hey, that’s my line!” I shouted as I mounted my horse. We all got on our vehicles, dehenshined, and sped off into the west.