“So, what do you think?” asked Optimus as he finished giving Arsha and Megumi a tour of his base. They were at the Command Center.
“I’m impressed,” praised Megumi. “I could only imagine so much on Richard and Sonic’s descriptions alone.”
“I must say, it reminds me of home, somewhat,” sighed Arsha happily.
“Pst! Hey!” hissed a voice in a falsetto.
“Who was that?” asked Megumi.
“Over here!” urged the voice. The source was from behind the couch. They looked behind to see Mickey!
“Mickey! What are you doing here?!” yelped Megumi.
“Megumi, we need to talk!” whispered Mickey.
“Mr. Mouse,” interjected Optimus, “why shouldn’t we toss you to the cops after the stunt you pulled?”
“Because most everybody knows me!” replied Mickey. “Megumi, especially, knows I wouldn’t do this unless I had a good reason!”
“How fortunate that I know you as well, Mickey Mouse!” growled War’s voice. War, in her Rider form, approached the group with someone familiar floating behind her. It was a flying box with no legs, a single purple eye, an antenna, and arms with pincers on each side!
“X-PO?!” yelped Megumi. “What are you doing here?! You’re supposed to be in prison!”
“And ‘hello’ to you too,” replied the former Gateway Operator, the Experimental Portal Operator, X-PO. “To answer your question, War bailed me out on the condition that I would serve her.”
“I needed his computational abilities,” continued War, “to find either Caan or one of his allies. It looks like we came up with the latter. Good work, X-PO.” She drew her sword and leveled it at Mickey.
“War, we’ve got this!” hissed Megumi.
“No, I’VE got this,” countered War. She then gave her attention to Mickey. “Mickey Mouse, you’re coming with me and you can explain to the whole class why…” A portal opened beneath Mickey and got him out of there. “X-PO! TRACE IT!” shouted War.
“They’re continually scrambling the endpoint!” replied X-PO.
“Clever squid!” snarled War. “Oh well, we’ll find him another time. Get us home.”
“War, what is all this about?!” snapped Megumi.
“That’s not important,” dismissed War.
“Yes, it is!” snarled Megumi.
“This does NOT concern you three!” urged War. “Just concentrate on the 3V2R!”
“You’re in my base,” hissed Optimus, “so I say it DOES concern us.”
“We won’t be in your base for long,” answered X-PO.
“Teletraan! Lock them here!” ordered Optimus.
“HEY! GET OUT OF MY HEAD!” shouted X-PO as he turned to the main monitor.
“Not while there are questions unanswered!” snapped Teletraan as his avatar blew a raspberry. “He can’t access his portal-making abilities! They’re stuck here!”
“Good work!” praised Optimus.
“Release your hold on X-PO’s portal functions!” roared War.
“I’m sorry, War,” replied Teletraan in a HAL-9000 impression, “I’m afraid I can’t do that.”
“I have no intention of staying here a second longer,” snarled War, “and risking letting Mickey slip away!”
“You’re not leaving until we get answers!” insisted Megumi as she equipped her Vortex Driver. “I don’t want to fight you, but I WILL beat the information out of you if I have to!” She grabbed her i.d. tag and inserted it into the belt. “Henshin!” she called. She spun the wheel and became Kamen Rider Royal.
“You never beat me when we were training!” declared War as she drew her sword.
“I was shackled by the idea of a fair fight!” hissed Royal as she took out her Ascendant.
“Then let’s see you fight unfairly,” challenged War as she charged at Royal. Royal pressed the button on her Ascendant as she dodged the attack.
“Ascendancy!” it announced. She then inserted it into the Vortex Driver and folded it down onto the wheel. “All set!” it called. She pressed the button again and the wheels spun, changing her armor from blue to silver with gold trim. “Full Ascendance!” finished the Ascendant. Royal was now Kamen Rider Royal: Ascendant Base. She summoned her sword and blocked War’s next swing. She then kicked War’s knee, causing her to hold onto it.
“X-PO!” snarled War.
“Keep your sabatons on!” snapped X-PO. “I’ll get us out of here! This oversized Nintendo Switch isn’t all that sophisticated!”
“Oversized Switch?!” shouted Teletraan. “I’ll Switch you!”
“This is getting out of hand!” hissed Royal. “Hey, Optimus! I’m borrowing your power!”
“Go ahead!” replied Optimus. Royal touched Optimus and retrieved his i.d. tag. It came out gold instead of blue.
“Huh, so this is when we get gold i.d. tags,” mused Royal as she remembered her adventures with Godzilla and her 70-year-old self. She then inserted the i.d. tag into the chamber on the front of the Ascendant.
“Ascendance: Optimus Prime!” called the Ascendant. Then, it happened! From the feet up, Optimus turned into red mist!
“HEY! HEY! HEY!” protested Optimus as he fully changed into mist. The red mist then formed hard armor evoking Optimus’ helmet, flight jets, shoulders, hands, and feet! They attached themselves to Royal and her eyes flashed electric blue, then the usual baby blue.
“…That’s new,” mused Royal.
“Well, I got my limbs back,” sighed Optimus’ voice as he folded his arms…at least, he thought they were his arms.
“Er, Prime,” gulped Royal, “why did you fold my arms?”
“What are you talking about?” asked Optimus, “they’re MY arms. …Why do I feel squishy?”
“Did I just gain some extra machinery?” asked Royal.
“Er, guys,” gulped Arsha as she pointed to Royal, shaking a bit in fear at what happened to the Kamen Rider.
“Impossible,” breathed War. The eyes on Royal’s helmet alternated between baby blue and electric blue. They showed confusion, then they guessed, then panic set in.
“…GATTAI SHIMASHITA!” (loosest translation, We’ve combined!) shouted Royal in both Optimus and Megumi’s voices. Optimus’ voice then took over as the eyes turned electric blue.
“This is so weird!” he wailed. “Let me out!”
“This never happened before!” yelped Royal in Megumi’s voice as the eyes went to baby blue. “Usually, the Ascendant projects a clone body and it turns into mist and unites with me, not the actual person!”
“Wait, when you tested this thing out,” asked Optimus as he took over, “was the person the i.d. tag was based off of in the same room as you?”
“…No, but I see your theory,” mused Megumi as she took over.
“There’s rift control again!” cheered X-PO. “…And I lost it again.”
“I’m not THAT unsophisticated, Toaster!” snapped Teletraan.
“Okay, that’s it!” snarled War. “Ending this now!” Her sword was raised.
“Uh oh!” yelped Royal in Megumi’s voice. The sword came down and Royal managed to summon Optimus axes to block them! Both were surprised, then a wicked looked entered Royal’s eyes. “Prime,” Megumi called, “do you mind taking over? I want to see how you use these things.” The eyes then turned electric blue.
“Delighted,” answered Optimus. Royal then shoved War back and went on the offensive. War was taken aback that Royal was so skilled with dual wielding axes, so she changed her tactics accordingly. She grabbed one arm on an upswing and held the other at bay with her sword, leaving the chest open for her to drive her knee into it. Royal dropped the floor and saw War’s foot prepare for a kick, then she combined the axes into their staff mode and tripped War up. War was floored and Royal got up, raising the axe above her head. War then converted her blade into a hand-held cannon and fired. The shot knocked Royal off her feet and allowed War to get back up. Royal then summoned Optimus’ gun and fired. War wasn’t even fazed as she stormed up to Royal. Royal then got out a human-sized Cyber Key and flicked it into the air before she fired energy from her hand into the Cyber Key. “CYBER KEY POWER!” invoked Royal in Optimus’ voice. The Cyber Key inserted itself into the back of the gun and rotated, allowing the barrel to split, and let the axe split into two again before inserting themselves into the barrel. The new weapons configuration was a Spark Drinker Axe and Royal swung it so hard that it flung War into the wall. When War got back on her feet, Royal was the same way.
“We better end this quickly,” remarked Megumi as she briefly took over, “War’s highly adaptive. She’s learned your fighting capabilities.”
“Any options?” asked Optimus as he resumed control.
“HEY! ROYAL! TAG IN!” called Arsha. Royal looked back, then nodded. She dashed towards Arsha and got her i.d. tag, golden like Optimus, and swapped out i.d. tags. The Optimus armor turned into mist and reformed into Optimus in normal robot mode. Royal then inserted Arsha’s i.d. tag into the Ascendant.
“Ascendance: Arsha Royana!” called the Ascendant. Arsha turned into pink mist and the mist formed pink pauldrons, nine tails, and a rose helmet piece on the back. Royal then allowed Arsha to take over and the fight turned magical. Royal was firing magic blast after magic blast at War, who had to resort to blocking with her blade.
“It looks like she’s weak enough,” remarked Arsha’s voice as the eyes turned pink.
“Now’s our chance!” declared Megumi’s voice. Megumi took over and pressed the Ascendant’s button again. The wheel turned on the Vortex Driver.
“Final Attack!” called the belt.
“RIDER ROYAL ARSHA ASCENDANT KICK!” shouted Royal in both Arsha and Megumi’s voices. She leapt into the air and extended her foot. Transparent versions of Royal in her base form and Arsha in her armor flanked the corporeal Royal and followed her in Rider Kicking War. War hit the wall again and fell to the floor, her transformation being cancelled. Royal then picked War up and brought her to her face.
“Well?” asked Royal in Arsha’s voice. “Are you going to talk?”
“…I knew Mickey would try to contact you lot,” replied War. “Needless to say, I’m keeping tabs on everyone.”
“Is it gonna turn out,” quizzed Royal in Megumi’s voice, “that you tapped my phone?!”
“Caan may have used some sort of mind-control garbage on Mickey to get him to work to his ends,” continued War. “He might have done the same to you guys. I’m keeping tabs! This is bigger than you or me, guys; this is the fate of the multiverse here!” Royal released War, then removed Arsha’s i.d. tag so Arsha could return to a corporeal state, then took out the Ascendant, then removed her own i.d. tag from the Vortex Driver and returned to being Megumi.
“You get out of here!” she snarled.
“Teletraan, release your hold on X-PO’s portal generation functions,” ordered Optimus.
“Sir, you can’t…!” protested Teletraan.
“That’s an order,” insisted Optimus. Teletraan sighed. X-PO then perked up.
“Portal generation functions restored,” he reported. “Let’s get out of here!”
“Capital idea,” agreed War as a portal opened.
“War,” called Megumi, “when we return to Vorton, we’re ALL going to have a long conversation about this!”
“Until then,” dismissed War, “farewell.” She and X-PO entered the portal and it closed behind them. For a few minutes, no one said a word. As they sat, Teletraan got something.
“Vorton’s calling,” he reported.
“On screen,” directed Optimus. Emily appeared on screen.
“Sorry to disturb you all,” she began, “but Amavorte wants to talk to Megumi after the Advancement Ceremony for the Second Round.” Megumi sighed.
“Now what?” she groaned.
The Advancement Ceremony for the Second Round was in full swing. This time, there were eight floats dedicated to the winners. They were Buncho, Queen Phury, Elizabeth, Bolt Boy, Optimus, Mr. Drendar, Megumi, and Arsha. Blancalmarem and Nemengra were commenting again, accompanied by Julia Caesar and Ultragingana. “I am Blancalmarem, the white princess of Chizara and the life leader,” began Blancalmarem.
“I am Nemengra, the black princess of Chizara and the death leader,” finished Nemengra.
“And we’re accompanied by Julia Caesar and Ultragingana as we witness the Advancement Ceremony for the Second Round!” continued Blancalmarem.
“And what a round that was!” cheered Nemengra. “Some of the bouts really said something about the character of some of the fighters. I’m sure Ultragingana could tell us stories about her quarterfinal bout in the 300,029th 3V2R.”
“I’d rather NOT remember,” muttered Ultragingana. “I still have bad dreams about it!”
“It looks like the floats have made it to their designated parking areas,” observed Julia. “The winners are coming down and receiving their torches from the Princesses!”
“There they go, lining up, ready to light the Closing Torch!” cheered Blancalmarem.
“And there it goes!” cheered Nemengra as the Torch blazed high. “Perfect! And there’s Rosadera, ready to make her speech!”
“Friends,” began Rosadera, “this has been an excellent second round. The spirit of good sportsmanship is well represented by the competitors, even with those we might not consider so…civil.” Optimus rolled his optics, thinking that what Rosadera said was an understatement considering Ms. Furella. “However,” continued Rosadera, “such people can only be pitied. They’re missing out on the good stuff. So,” her face adopted a mock saddened expression, “we must burden ourselves by enjoying such good things without them.” The crowd chuckled at the joke. Rosadera dropped it and returned to her speech. “We can only expect more spectacular bouts in the future, so let’s move ever onward! We shall take a week-long break relative to your universe’s time scale once again, so plan well and rest up!” The winners stepped off the platform and prepared to go when someone whistled. A woman in a yellow green outfit came up to Megumi and Rosadera.
“Ah, Amavorte, yes?” quizzed Megumi.
“Amavorte?” muttered Rosadera. “What can I do for you?”
“I need to speak with Megumi,” explained the woman, Amavorte, the yellow-green princess of Chizara and the earth leader. “In private, preferably.”
“…And you were expecting her?” Rosadera asked Megumi.
“I was,” confirmed Megumi.
“Very well,” muttered Rosadera, “just let me know when you’re finished talking to her so I can send you home.”
“You guys go on ahead,” Megumi assured Optimus and Arsha. “I’ll see you on Vorton.”
“I hope you can get answers,” gulped Optimus.
“See you later,” bid Arsha. Megumi’s fellow winners then vanished in pink light with Rosadera. Megumi and Amavorte teleported to Amavorte’s private castle in yellow-green light.
“What did you want to talk about?” asked Megumi.
“Can you explain why War is trying to access our satellites?” inquired Amavorte.
“What?!” yelped Megumi.
“Your reaction just said everything,” remarked Amavorte, “you’re as surprised as I was to hear that.”
“I was inundated with how much you Chizarans value privacy before my first bout,” muttered Megumi. “I presume War was when she competed?”
“She was,” confirmed Amavorte. “We fear that there are those that would use our brand of power and immortality for ill deeds if they learned our secrets.”
“But she’s the anthropomorphic personification of war,” remarked Megumi. “I doubt she needs your kind of power. Unless…uh oh.”
“You have a theory?” asked Amavorte.
“Do you mind taking me to the Grand Castle?” requested Megumi. “I need to ask the Princesses something.”
“Very well,” replied Amavorte. Yellow-green light then took them to the library of the Grand Castle, where the Princesses usually hang out. As it happened, all five were there.
“Megumi?” yelped Azuliterii. “What brings you here?”
“Does it have something to do with War trying to access our satellites?” asked Moradelia.
“I’m afraid so,” confirmed Megumi. “I’m calling for a mandatory meeting for all my friends the day after tomorrow on Vorton. Could you five and Amavorte attend? I think War has a more nastier deed in mind for the satellites than spying on you all.”