Yakumo Kato's life was not exactly what you'd call a normal one. Born as the grandson of a famous warrior known as the Last Ninja, who had supposedly been alive from the Sengoku era to today, Yakumo had spent a lot of his childhood in England, to the point he had been nicknamed "Cloud", the rough translation of his name. After spending several years learning actual magic at a secret school, he had returned to the Land of the Rising Sun when called upon by his grandfather to defeat their family's ancient enemy, the Kibaoni Clan, who had turned themselves into Yokai 444 years prior. But roughly a year after they had defeated the clan's lord, Gengetsu Kibaoni, while Yakumo had decided to devote himself to becoming the Last Magical Ninja, he received a letter in the post. What was strange was that there was only two words on the return address. "No grazie". Yakumo knew who it was from, but he had no idea how it was possible. At least until he opened the envelope.
"Yo." A holographic image of Yakumo's late grandfather, Yoshitaka, appeared in front of him. "I realise that I might have lost the Finshing Shuriken before sending this letter, along with the 5 copies I have sent to your fellow students. But I digress. If you 6 are receiving his letter, then it can only mean 1 thing. Three Eastern Yokai, Manananggal, Tikbalang and Black Dwende, who allied with the Kibaoni clan hundreds of years ago have revived in the modern day, like they did. They will try to fulfill the promise they made years ago and revive Gengetsu Kibaoni for a new campaign of terror. Which is why I am entrusting this task to all of you. You must find these Eastern Yokai and defeat them before they can revive Gengetsu. Restore love and peace to the world." The hologram then smiled and gave a thumbs up. "Good luck." And with that, the message ended.
And so, Yakumo had boarded a plane to return to Japan, having agreed to meet with Taka, Nagi, Fuuka, Kasumi and Kinji at the airport. "So, we'll investigate the leads you've found, Kasumi-nee.", Yakumo said over the phone. "Alright, with the experiences we've been through, it'll be easy." As he hung up, he saw his hands were glowing gold. As was the rest of him. "What?" But then he vanished completely, leaving no trace of his presence beyond a clipped seatbelt.
"Subject Two has been acquired.", the mysterious figure noted from his control room. A little less predictable in behavioural patterns than the first. A more complex test will be required." He then operated the dials. "The ninja was aiming to do battle with the Eastern Yokai. Perhaps we should allow that variable into the game."
Elsewhere, Yakumo came to, seeing several people running in the direction he was facing. He pulled himself up and turned around to see a group of familiar blue armoured figures. "Jukkarage!", Yakumo exclaimed. He reached for his Ninja Ichibantou and NinShuriken. But he didn't find them in his pocket at all. "Looks like whoever brought me here is not making things easy." But that didn't stop him from leaping in and fighting off the attacking enemy grunts. And fortunately, whoever had deprived him of his Ninninger equipment hadn't done likewise with his wand, allowing him to use his magic. "Reena ni Uyoginni!" Wit a puff of smoke, all of the Jukkarage had been turned into soft vinyl figures.
"Hahaha!" Yakumo turned around to see a demonic looking woman approaching. Her face was slightly decayed, with a permanent scream with visible fangs and hair covering part of her face. She was wearing a tattered kimono, with a set of bat-like wings sticking out of her back, with pointed fingers prominently featured. When it came to her waist, her outfit was cut off, replaced with a set of armoured trousers and boots. Yakumo could guess that it was a Yokai. "So, an Igasaki-Style Ninja sees fit to challenge me with magical powers? Is this what this generation has come to?"
"I think you'll find I'm more than up to the task.", Yakumo stated as he threw himself in there, pulling his wand back and throwing it forward. "Magical Ninpo: Rigi Ryukige! He swung the wand like a sword, creating a wave of water that flew at his enemy.
But the wave was blocked by a second arrival, whose top half was armour resembling that of the creature's lower half, while it's lower half was the bottom of a kimono, that matched the Yokai's top half. "Hah. You clearly don't know anything about me, the great Manananggal! We have the unique ability to separate our body at the waist during battle. I've improved upon that by creating a homunculus armour to increase my proficiency against my opponents." The top half Manananggal ran forward and delivered a scratch to Yakumo's face, before punching him backwards. Then the top half Homunculus ran forward to deliver a kick that knocked Yakumo to the ground. "While I'd love to kill you now, I have a flock to return to." Both halves then turned around, with the homunculus halves dispersing as Manananggal's two halves rejoined together and Yakumo blanked out.
In a dark room, Manananggal met up with a woman dressed in a feudal style kimono, who appeared to be wearing an Onna-kei mask from Noh theatre. "So, you managed to give one of those wretched Igasaki ninjas a good beating.", the woman noted. "I can see why His Lordship put such faith in you."
"I live to serve our Kibaoni clan.", Manananggal nodded. "Though I am confused. He didn't seem to be taking me at all seriously. He simply ran right in to attack, rather than transforming or using his Ninpo."
"That can change soon enough." This voice was that of a cloaked figure, who entered the room from another doorway. "The next time, I can assure you that AoNinger will be at his full power when you defeat him."
"I want to know why we have to deal with him at all.", the woman demanded. "Why did you get rid of all of those Ninja brats except for him?"
"I have my reasons.", the nodded man said as he turned and walked out, tapping Manananggal on her back. "Excuse me." With that said, he vanished, seemingly into thin air.
"What the hell is with that guy?", Manananggal snarled. "Now then, My Lady. If you'll excuse me…" She then turned around and departed.
Back in the streets, Yakumo was pulling himself along. He had asked where he was and learned that he was in Kyoto. He had also checked his pocket and found that both his Goton NinShuriken and his phone were there, though none of his comrades were able to take his calls. He had eventually run out of charge and decide he needed to stop somewhere he could recharge it. The first place he came across was a kindergarten, run by a 30-something woman dressed in a black and white patterned kimono. "Excuse me, do you mind if I use this place to recharge my phone?", he asked.
"Not at all.", the woman nodded. Yakumo noted that not only had this woman spoken in English, but she seemed to have an accent. "Now, how about you come in." The woman gestured for Yakumo to follow her inside, which he did. "I'm Natsume Himiko. I recently opened up around here and I've been getting a lot of business recently."
"Oh really.", Yakumo nodded. "I imagine the parents would want to keep their children out of the line of fire from attacks by that monster." This was simply Yakumo voicing his suspicions, allowing him to discern how long that Manananggal had been attacking for.
"Oh that thing's been showing up for a week now.", Himiko explained. "It mostly goes after adults, but they're paranoid enough to send heir children here for their safety. This place used to be a fort from the Sengoku Era, so it's very well guarded." She led Yakumo into the classroom, where practically all the kids seemed to be sitting and reading. "Everyone, we have a visitor passing by for the day. Please make him feel welcome."
"Hello, Mister.", seemingly all the kids said in unison. Yakumo noted that none of them were showing any emotion in their voice. Then Yakumo took note of one girl, who was playing with a toy dragon, who was a lot slower to greet him with "Hello, Mister.", but a lot warmer in her delivery.
Yakumo decided to go over to this girl. "Hi, what's your name?"
"Eri.", the girl nodded. "Eri Makino. Mister, you have to help. The others here have become strange."
But Himiko came over and pulled Yakumo up. "Eri-chan just joined us today, as her parents appeared in the middle of the Manananggal attacks. Now then, Yakumo-san, shall we go?"
"Yes.", Yakumo nodded. But as he walked into the room Himiko was walking towards, he realised that something might just be off. But he decided not to voice his suspicions yet. He couldn't act upon them.
While waiting for his phone to fully charge, Yakumo noted that the back room he had been placed inside had been fitted with a television. When he turned it on, the report was showing a a creature resembling a Cerberus rampaging nearby. "Another Yokai?"
"…This is the scene over at the park, where a mysterious creature has appeared attacking others with its claws. No wait, I'm seeing a person coming close to that creature. He's not saying anything, but he's putting a belt on, he's putting something on the belt - Oh my, that man's transformed into some kind of armoured warrior."
Yakumo could sense by looking at him that the man who had transformed might have some answers to this whole mess. So he took his phone and charger and did a smoke out, vanishing from the room.
And that brought him to where he was now, having been spotted by the man. "You're lucky that this was just a training sword.", he commented. "If I wanted to kill you, I'd have tried to locate my real one."
"So, you wanted to find me.", the other man asked. "What for?"
"Perhaps this should make things clearer.", Yakumo decided as he pulled out his wand. "Yūkyō Rigatanomo!" Blue beams fired out of both mens' eyes into the other, giving both a glimpse of the life memories for both of them. "So… Kaito, right? You also got here recently, I assume from a different world, just like me."
"And you're Yakumo.", Kaito growled. "So, you're a magician and a ninja. Quite the unusual combination. And I imagine quite a strong one as well."
"Normally.", Yakumo nodded, as he took out his Goton NinShuriken. "But right now, my Henge NinShuriken and Ninja Ichibantou are missing, like your 'Sengoku Driver' and 'Lockseed' were when you arrived here…"
"So you thought you'd bring me onboard.", Kaito surmised. "Though I will admit, these parents allowing their children to be given to the hands of a stranger in the face of danger… that kind of cowardice sickens me." He took out his Lockseed and twirled it around his finger. "I'll lend you aid this once. But after that, you'll be on your own finding your way home."
"I don't care about going home.", Yakumo informed him. "Right now, I want to find that Manananggal and put her back in her place." A glow appeared in front of him, which cleared to reveal his Ninja Ichibantou, with his NinShuriken lying next to it, along with the Kakuranger and Hurricaneger Shurikens. "Looks like whoever is holding onto our equipment is being a lot more generous with me than he was with you."
"I know, it's annoying.", Kaito snarled. "Let's just deal with this Yokai."
And so, before the stroke of 2 o'clock, the two had returned to the kindergarten, where they looked in through a window to see Himiko addressing the children. "Now then, it's time for all of you to take a nap, right kids?" She said with a smile.
"Yes.", all of them except for Eri said with exact synchronisation. All of them then fell asleep, except for Eri.
"No!", Eri cried defiantly. "Sensei's not right. This whole place isn't right. I'm not doing it."
"What a shame.", Himiko said solemnly as she stood up and clicked her fingers. The other children's eyes opened, only now they were glowing red. They then stood up, their skin turning brown, their noses and mouths growing in size, their hair turning white and their bodies increasing in size to be more akin to the build of an elementary school kid, causing their clothes to rip. "You'll be fresh food for my army of Tiyanaks."
As the Tiyanak army approached Eri, Yakumo and Kaito leapt through the window, landing on the ground in front of her and knocking them back. "Get out of here.", Kaito stated to Eri, who nodded and ran off.
Yakumo took out his Ninja Ichibantou and pointed it at "Himiko". "So, you show your true colours at last. Now how about you show your real face, Manananggal?"
"Himiko" laughed as she did exactly that, assuming the form of the complete Manananggal. "I knew you'd cotton on to me eventually, Blue Igasaki Ninja. What gave me away?"
"First, you opened your business at the same time you began your attacks, no doubt due to a small timetable.", Yakumo explained. "Next was the fact that you just so happened to have set yourself up in an old fortress, which meant you could advertise as a safe location. And finally, and most importantly, you called me 'Yakumo', when I never told you my name."
"And yet, you continued to take advantage of my hospitality.", Manananggal pointed out. "Why?"
"An Englishman never turns down another's hospitality.", was Yakumo's reply. He waited for the usual reply whenever he called himself an Englishman. But since it didn't come, he decided to impersonate Nagi himself. "But Yakkun isn't English."
"What are you doing?", Kaito said with annoyance before turning to Manananggal. "If you think your plan will succeed, then you're mistaken. I can't tolerate someone taking advantage of other people's weaknesses for their own gain." He then took out his Lockseed. "Now, you'll have to deal with both of us." Banana!
Manananggal laughed. "Even if you can defeat me, you can't stop my plan." She clicked her fingers. "Ngayon, aking hukbo no Tiyanak. Atakehin ang mga matatanda!" The Tiyanaks growled and leapt out the window. "My army will gather blood from the adults of this city, which I will then use along with their bodies in a ritual to revive Lord Gengetsu."
"That will not be easy for you.", Yakumo stated, as he took out his NinShuriken, clicking it into place. AoNinger Shuriken! "The two of us will defeat you now."
Manananggal laughed, detaching from the bottom half of her body, as both halves of Homunculus appeared on the respective halves. Both heroes responded by placing their items on their respective transformation devices. Lock On!/The Henge! The two the initiated their transformations. "Henshin!/Shuriken Henge!" Yakumo set his NinShuriken spinning, while Kaito pressed down the knife on his Driver.
Come On! Banana Arms! Knight of Spear!
The two now stood transformed in front of Manananggal and Homunculus. Yakumo did a flip and a pose. "The Roaring Cloud, AoNinger!"
Kaito looked at him confused, before doing his own pose with his Bana Spear. "Armoured Rider Baron!"
Manananggal was shocked. "There are two of you?" But then she composed herself. "Let's see how you handle these then. Jukkarage!" The demonic soldiers of the Kibaoni Army appeared, running into battle.
But Yakumo was prepared for this. He took out the Kakuranger Shuriken and inserted it onto his Ichibantou. "Shin Joukyuu Shuriken Ninpo: Bunshin no Jutsu," Kakuranger! Then he inserted the Hurricaneger Shuriken "Hurricane no Jutsu," Hurricaneger! And finally, he reinserted his personal Shuriken, pressing the Henge button and spinning it "Henge no Jutsu: Triple Mix!" Two copies of Yakumo split off, transforming into Ninja Sentai Kakuranger's Ninja Blue and Ninpuu Sentai Hurricaneger's KuwagaRaiger. The clones dealt with the army, while the two regular heroes brought the fight with the two Manananggal halves out into the courtyard.
Kaito faced the Homunculus, who used Manananggal's legs to deliver a flurry of kicks that he struggled to block. "Those legs… they're the main resource in that thing's fighting style.", Kaito realised. So when Homunculus leapt in for another kick, Kaito swung his Bana Spear, hitting the waist and knocking the two halves apart. "Yakumo! Aim for the waist!"
"Got it.", Yakumo noted, as he clashed swords with Manananggal. He then attached his Goton NinShuriken. Shuchi no Jutsu! "Shuriken Ninpo: Shuchi no Jutsu!" Don Don-Ja! A wave of dirt shot out of the ground at Manananggal, blinding her. Yakumo then removed the Shuriken to change the setting before reinserting it. Kaen no Jutsu! "Shuriken Ninpo: Chou Kaen Abare Giri!" Mera Mera-Ja! Yakumo transformed the blade of his Ichibantou into a pillar of fire, which he swung into Manananggal, knocking her top half off Homunculus' legs. "Well, that was easy."
The two halves of Manananggal and Homunculus came together with their original halves. "Damn you!", Manananggal hissed, before pointing to Homunculus. "Homunculus, get them!" Homunculus hobbled forward, it's arms outstretched towards the two.
Kaito pressed down on the knife on his Driver three times. Come On! Banana Sparking! He then stabbed the Bana Spear into the ground, creating multiple banana-shaped projections which hit his opponent several times from below. Yakumo then pressed a different button on his Ichibantou. The Waza! Shuriken Ninpo Ougi: Nin-Ryu-Zan!", he stated as he spun his Shuriken and dashed forward. Ao-ja, Ninja! Ninja Issen! Yakumo then spun around like a tornado, cutting into Homunculus, and causing it to explode into several fragments.
Manananggal growled at this. "If you're not going to back down, then I'll just have to fight you myself." As she readied her sword, Kaito heard a very familiar clicking sound.
As the Yokai ran forward, this was followed by a series of beeps that rapidly increased in their frequency. "Get down!" He yelled as he pushed Yakumo to the floor, as an explosion consumed Manananggal.
As Kaito pulled himself up, he bumped himself against a blue coloured barrier. "Tetano Suhatkuba!", Yakumo stated. "I managed to cast that spell just before Manananggal blew herself up."
"I don't think she did do it herself.", Kaito thought. He was sure he had heard the sound of a Lockseed being opened before the countdown began. He had read of an incident concerning explosive Lockseeds while perusing Ryoma Sengoku's files at Yggdrasil. But it couldn't be.
From afar, the same female figure that had been speaking with Manananggal earlier was now fuming. "Ah, drat. Not only did that blue ninja brat defeat Manananggal, but he's got a friend in red armour now. That guy told me this would be an assured victory."
"Did you say 'red armour'?" The figure turned around to see a newcomer, the same one that had observed Kaito earlier. "Where is he? I have a score to settle with him."
The woman had an idea. "If I lead you to him… do you think you could get rid of a pest I've been struggling with? He's been colluding with your enemy."
"Ha!", the newcomer nodded. "I'll take down every opponent I can find on this planet. And then I'll crush everything they stand for once I've defeated them!"
"I like your style.", the woman commented as she grabbed his arm. "Now, shall we go?"
Later, at the city border, Yakumo was already preparing to leave. "If Manananggal was here, then it's likely that the other Eastern Yokai will be here.", he explained to Kaito. "While I thwarted one plan and returned all the converted children to normal, I can't just sit around and hope the others will appear here."
"That's logical.", Kaito nodded. "But on the other hand, the two of us were obviously brought here from our own worlds for a reason. And I doubt that whoever bought us here would stop at two of us. It's likely that others will be appearing here soon enough. And I want to see what else I can discern from them."
"Either way, one of us will find something.", Yakumo responded. "In case you're right, I'll give you my number." He handed Kaito a piece of paper. "In case you discover something. For now, I'll make my way to the Tōkaidō Shinkansen in Osaka City and make for Tokyo. Any monster attacks are likely to occur there more than anywhere else."
"I see.", Kaito sighed as he took the paper and walked off. "We'll be seeing each other soon."
As Kaito walked off, he was watched by the same cloaked figure that had appeared before. "The second phase of the experiment has proved conclusive.", he nodded, before turning to a armoured figure wearing a tunic, resembling a fox. "Now then, phase three shall begin shortly."
"Yes.", his associate nodded. She had a contralto voice. "And this time, I'll add my own personal touch to the proceedings."