I do not own Sailor Moon or Kamen Rider Kabuto. Those belong to their respective creators and not me. I am writing this for fun and I am not getting paid for my services. If you have a problem with the story then just don't read it.
Kamen Moon Rider
By Ten-Faced Paladin
Chapter 19: The Face Behind the Mask, Michelle's Discovery!
The rain was falling all over the Juuban district. Thunder crashed overhead as the denizens tried to get out of the falling water. The ground was already saturated with the moisture along with everything else. Inside of an alley, a normal alley cat was digging through one of the trash cans. It looked a little scraggly and thin as it tried to find something to eat for itself. The rain just helped keep other things that might dig through the trash away.
The loud cry and the sudden appearance of someone in a suit of black armor scared the stray cat, making it run with a loud screech.
Dark Kabuto leaned on a stone wall, panting slightly. He was feeling weak and he hated that feeling. His captors had been cruel to him. They would use gasses to keep him stunned so they could study his armor. They would also pit him against monsters just to see how he could fight. They would tempt him with food so he would remove his Zector. He wasn't fooled though. They wanted his Zector so they could study it and take it apart. Since he wouldn't change back, he couldn't eat so he was starving.
Hunger was only one of the things on his mind at the moment. Part of his rage was being taken away from the one person that was precious to him. Hiyori. She was the one who freed him from his prison before they ended up at the Edge of Time and Space. Even though he did not see him, he still knew that Kabuto was somehow involved.
"That dirty fake," Dark Kabuto growled. "I'll make him pay for taking me away from her!"
He punched the wall and it cracked underneath the force of the blow. He then released a suffering sigh before his Zector leaped off his belt and buzzed away. The Dark Kabuto armor vanished to reveal a man who was the spitting image of Tendou standing in the dark Rider's place. He may have looked like Tendou, but his name was Souji Kusakabe.
Souji felt tears dripping down his face as he finally lost himself in his grief. Why was his life filled with pain? His early memories were filled with pain and misery. He recalled the prison where he was chained like an animal until Hiyori found him. They both vanished to the Edge of Time and Space, but then Kabuto came. As much as Souji hated the one who wore his face, he hated him more because he was a threat to Hiyori's safety and happiness. Souji had sworn a long time ago that he would protect the sole good thing in his life…but now that he was taken away from her, he didn't know what to do.
He was lost and alone in a world that he had no true place in. However, he could feel a familiar presence within this alien world. It was the presence of the man he hated the most. He knew Kabuto was here, as well as the other Riders. His captors often talked about the Riders and if what they said was true, then Kabuto had appeared in this place.
Souji's lips curled into a cruel grin. He could imagine the look on Tendou's face as he revealed himself. However, right now, that was not the primary focus in his mind. He was starving and so he needed food.
He walked out of the alley and walked through the streets. The rain kept falling, matting his hair against his face but he paid no mind. He was in pain and hungry, and also needed warmth and clothing. However, he had no money in this world. Back in the Edge of Time and Space, he didn't need any of those commodities. Well, he didn't need money, but the Edge of Time and Space did not require the need for currency. Food was always plentiful, plus he had Hiyori. What more could he want?
He passed by a bread shop. It was closed for the night. He eyed the bread hungrily. He wanted it and he wanted it now!
Reeling back his fist, he then smashed the glass with a powerful punch. He then walked through the broken window and began to feed himself.
The very next day, while Lita was on her way to school with Yagami, they noticed a crowd surrounding a shop. There was also a police line and the local authorities were performing crowd control.
"Wonder what's going on?" Lita asked.
"Well, we could find out, but then we'd be late," Yagami spoke. "But, then again…"
The couple approached the crowd and from what they could see was that the bread shop had been broken into.
"A robbery no doubt," Yagami frowned.
"The things people would do for money," Lita sighed. "Come on, Kira-kun, let's go before we're late. I don't want to get bucket duty again."
Yagami smiled and nodded before following his girlfriend towards school.
A while after school…
There was another study session scheduled at Serena's house and everyone had come over to get some work done. Serena had set up a small table for everyone to lay their work on while they read and currently everyone was there. Amy and Raye were seated at one end of the table while Mina was at the other. Luna and Artemis were laying on Serena's pillow, bored with their day. Lita and Yagami were sitting on the bed with the brunette leaning on her boyfriend's shoulder.
"You know," Raye teased. "If you two got any sweeter together we would have to get checkups at the dentist for cavities."
"Hey, we can be as sweet as we want," Yagami laughed. "So will you if you can get Chad to fess up to you."
"You think?" Raye pondered as she turned a cute shade of pink.
"Definitely," Mina nodded. "You gotta be forward or it will never happen!"
"Has that ever worked for you before?" Amy wondered. She was thinking about the failed attempts Mina had made at relationships in the past.
"Ha! It sure has! Tsurugi hasn't turned me down!" Mina smiled brightly. "We're meant to be!"
Yagami shivered at the thought. Most likely, Tsurugi was just being polite like his upbringing had demanded of him. Yagami had seen it for himself when the scorpion Rider was out in public. He acted polite and confident…unless Tendou was around. Then he just returned to being the same competitive guy the other Riders knew him as.
"So…uh," Yagami sweatdropped as he tried to change the subject. "Did you all hear about that break-in at the bakery? Lita-chan and I saw all the commotion."
"I heard," Amy nodded. "It wasn't the only place either. Some department stores were hit and some of their merchandise was stolen too."
"Really?" asked Mina. "Like what?"
"That's the odd thing," Amy replied. "They didn't take anything valuable. Just some clothes were stolen and that was it. Come to think of it, the news said that the only things missing from the bakery were several loaves of bread."
"That's odd," Raye frowned. "Don't thieves usually take the valuable stuff for cash?"
"Yeah," Lita nodded. "Why would anyone break into places just to steal food and clothes?"
"Because they were hungry and cold?" asked Yagami. He earned strange glances from the girls. "What? Why else would they take those things and not money?"
Any further speculation was cut off when Serena came into the room holding a pie in her hands. She had a bright smile on her face as she placed it down on the table.
"Ta-da!" she smiled brightly. "A delicious apple pie ready for everyone!"
"Where did you get this pie, Serena?" asked Luna.
"I sure hope YOU didn't make it," Artemis added.
"No," Serena answered as she began to cut into the pie. "I found it in the oven. I think my mom made it for us."
"Wait," Yagami frowned. "You THINK your mom made it? You just found it in the oven? Serena, what makes you so sure that your mom did make it for us?"
"Why not?" Serena blinked innocently. "No one else can make pies here. I don't think she has plans either."
"Seems okay to me Kira-kun," Lita shrugged.
"Especially since we can eat it without fear," Raye nodded.
"It wouldn't be good to get sick while studying for the exams," Amy nodded in agreement.
Serena stiffened from her cutting and looked up. With the dark look in her eyes and the knife in her hand, she looked a little creepy, "And what is that supposed to mean?"
"Uh…never mind," Lita sweatdropped as she handed out slices of pie. "C'mon everyone. I bet it's good!"
Everyone did dig into the pie rather quickly. After a few bites, they found that it was actually very good. There were a lot of apples crammed into it, but it was very sweet and well-made. Everyone was quickly getting something good to say about the pie.
"Hey, Serena," a familiar child-like voice cried out. "Have you or the others seen that pie I left in the oven?"
Rini walked into the room and instantly froze as she saw the pastry being eaten by her friends. She was still for a moment before she began trembling, "Oh no! My pie! I worked so hard on it!"
"Ulp," Serena gulped guiltily.
"You mean…" Amy began.
"This wasn't…" Mina continued.
"Something safe to eat?" Lita finished.
"I told you, Serena," Yagami sighed in agitation. He somehow saw this coming and he still dug into the pie without a care in the world. Still, it was a very good pie.
"How do you guys plan to take responsibility for this?" Rini asked as she folded her arms. She was pretty upset about losing the pie that she had made.
"Don't worry, Rini," Raye smiled as she stood up. "In the name of Mars, I'll punish Serena for you."
The miko calmly walked to Serena's side of the table before calmly flicking Serena in the forehead. The blonde fell back and hit her head on the ground, not expecting the movement from her friend.
"Oooooh!" Rini moaned. "I wanted Masinori to have some of this too!"
"Huh?" Serena blinked as she sat up. "Who's Masinori?"
"Huh? Oh, no one," Rini blushed. She looked around frantically before looking at a clock. "Oh look at the time. I have to go."
The pink-haired child left the room so fast Yagami would have sworn she was in Clock Up speed. Of course, no one had much of an opportunity to say anything before she popped back into the room.
"Serena! I'll have you make up for this later!" she said sternly before she dashed out the door again.
All of the girls blinked at the odd statement. Normally Rini wasn't one to get excited about little things like a pie unless she was racing Serena to see who could eat it first. Yagami just sighed as he popped his last piece into his mouth.
"I hope you learned a lesson from this, Serena," he stated plainly. "Don't go taking things without permission."
Rini was skipping through the streets, on her way to an art class she'd signed up in her never ending quest to make friends. Though one of her favorite Riders was in her house right now, she had something more important to do. She was still mad at Serena for taking the pie she had made, but she was still in too much of a good mood to give the event much thought.
There was a boy in her class whom she was crushing on and he loved to make art. She thought that maybe by showing interest, he would show interest in her. It was currently the reason why she was signed up for a sculpting course.
Of course, if she'd been watching where she was going, she would've noticed someone walking her way.
"Ouch!" Rini let out as she fell after bumping into the person. "Hey!" She then looked up and blushed. "Oh, Tendou, it's you." She smiled as she stood up. "Where are you off to?"
Tendou didn't give a response and looked at her silently. The stare was making her a little nervous, though.
"Well, I'm gonna be late. It was great seeing you!" Rini waved before running past Tendou.
Whom she had bumped into, was not Tendou, rather his look-alike. Souji watched as the girl ran off towards the opposite direction. He was half tempted to follow her. She knew Kabuto!
Souji then just shook his head. Despite his hatred for Kabuto, he would never harm a young child. Putting his hands in his pockets, he walked silently into the crowd. He had better things to do at the moment. He had to find out where he was, make sure to survive, and find a safe place to call home before he went after Kabuto again.
Rini continued her path down the streets as she ran towards her art class. She didn't want to be late and miss Masinori! She was just lucky that it was such a short run away from her home. Otherwise she might have been late like Serena was most of the time. She rounded a corner and ran towards a building that was painted blue with a brick wall surrounding it.
At the front gate to the property, there was a boy leaning against the wall. He looked to be Rini's age with brown hair and brown eyes. He was wearing a pair of jeans and whit button-up shirt. Strangely enough, he was also holding a bundle of roses in his arms. He looked strangely nervous about something.
"Masinori?" Rini pondered out loud. She hadn't seen her crush look so nervous before. Was something wrong? She wasn't sure, but she really wanted to find out. Taking advantage of some garbage piled up near a pole, Rini hid behind it to see what was happening.
Neither Rini nor Masinori had to wait long before someone else began walking towards the school. Masinori gasped as he heard the person coming while Rini strained to see who it was without getting picked out.
As the person came closer, it was obvious that they were female. She was wearing a sky blue dress with a darker blue sash tied up around her waist. She looked very feminine as the sunlight made her look like a true princess. However, one of the most noticeable things about her was her shoulder-length aquamarine hair.
"Here I go," Masinori breathed. He clenched the roses in his arms. Bravely, he stepped out into the sidewalk and planted himself in front of this older woman. "Miss Kaioh!"
"Hm?" the now confirmed Michelle blinked as Masinori appeared in front of her. "Ah, hello, Masinori. Is there something you need?"
"Um," Masinori gulped. He had rehearsed this all in his head and he was sure that he had gotten what he wanted to say down, but now he just wasn't sure if he could get his mouth to work. In the end, he decided to go for broke and handed the roses out to her. "Here! For you!"
"Oh my!" Michelle gasped. She smiled gently as she picked up the bouquet from Masinori's hands. "They're lovely. Thank you."
"They…they represent my feelings," Masniori choked out. Why was this so hard? It sounded much better when he practiced.
"I see," Michelle smiled. "Thank you."
The beautiful young woman leaned down to Masinori's level and planted a light kiss on his cheek. Masinori's face lit up like a Christmas tree and he felt her tender kiss touch him. It felt really good and it was getting increasingly hard to keep thinking straight.
For her own part, Rini thought her own world was crumbling apart. Here she found a really cute guy for herself and he was crushing on a different girl. Life just wasn't fair! Still, seeing Michelle kiss him like that give rise to the young girl's anger and jealousy. As she was growling and trying not to yell, she accidentally knocked a can over, making noise.
"Hm?" Michelle looked over Masinari and saw Rini. "Ah, hello Rini."
"Ah, uh," Rini gulped. She had been busted and now she might get chewed out for it.
"We should really get going," Michelle smiled as she turned towards the building. "We don't want to be late do we?"
"R-right!" Masinori nodded as he began walking beside Michelle towards the art school. His movements were stiff since he was nervous about being so close to Michelle after confessing his feelings.
Rini just sighed and stood up, "I can't let this get me down!"
She then raced after the two towards the school. She wasn't going to lose Masinori to Michelle!
"Ooooh, why are we doing this?" Serena moaned as she walked down the road in the direction of the art school Rini had enlisted in.
After some discussion, the girls had agreed that they had to do something to repay Rini for eating the pie she had made. Still, they agreed that Serena was mostly at fault for just taking the pie without asking Kira actually had the best idea that they make a new pie for Rini to say they were sorry. They had to call Darien to get the ingredients while they prepared, but in the end, with Lita's guidance, they had a nice and warm apple pie ready for eating. Serena had been voted to deliver it while Darien and Yagami were sent to make sure that it got there before Serena's stomach took over her mind again.
Currently, the blonde in question was holding the pie while her boyfriend and her friend followed behind her towards the school. Luna had even come along for extra assurance that the pie would survive the trip.
"Because we all agreed that you have the most blame for Rini losing her pie," Yagami answered for what felt like the hundredth time.
"How was I supposed to know that it was hers?" Serena whined. "I didn't know she could make pies that good!"
"Well maybe if you took the time to be better friends rather than fight with her you'd know these things," Luna answered in a matter-of-fact tone.
"Mnnnn!" Serena groaned sadly.
"It's okay, Serena," Darien smiled, trying to sound like a good guy. "It was just an honest mistake. We can just give this pie to her and hopefully she will forgive you."
"You really think so, Darien?" Serena asked.
"Rini doesn't strike me as the vindictive type," Yagami agreed. "So long as the people responsible have the guts to apologize."
Serena didn't seem to brighten up a little before she and her traveling companions continued on their way. It was good that Serena knew the way there since her mother had forced her to go with Rini the first few times. Because Serena just wanted to get the job done, she didn't let herself get distracted and they arrived in god time.
"Not a bad looking place," Yagami observed casually as the three of them stood in front of the building.
"Yeah," Darien agreed. "It's nice Rini wants to learn about art. This place looks like it does well."
"Well, let's go in and see what the big deal is," Serena said before entering, with Darien and Yagami in tow.
Watching from afar was Tendou's Worm duplicate, the bearer of the Dark Kabuto Zector. He had changed his mind earlier and watched as the girl Rini entered the building. She knew about Kabuto so maybe if he followed her he would eventually find his most hated rival. These people were familiar with the oddly pink-haired girl, so they may know as well. This would require further investigation in his part.
Meanwhile, Eudial was pacing back and forth. Their research involving the Zectors was still underway but without the subject, research had been going much slower than they hoped. They did have enough for experiments but as of now, testing would be halted. The Professor had shifted their primary focus in search of the Talismans and right now, Eudial was looking through photos of possible targets.
Her eyes then upon a very promising target. "Hm…an artist. One of considerable skill despite his young age. Someone like this should have a very pure heart."
And maybe she could get more data on the Riders while she was at it. Two for the price of one.
"Look at all these paintings!" said Serena as she Yagami and Darien walked along the hallways. The walls were decorated with hung paintings, all painted by students at the school. While a few were sloppy, as expected of younger children, some of them were actually quite well done. "Look at this one!"
"The students here seem to be pretty talented," appraised Yagami.
"That's right," said Darien.
"I bet I can paint something just as good!" boasted Serena.
Yagami grimaced a bit. He remembered one time in art class when Serena tried to be a little bit…creative.
Serena was showing off a painting she'd made in art class. Unfortunately none of her friends knew what she'd painted. There was a myriad of colors slopped all over the canvas in masses of black, white, or red. Ami thought she could see a face, but perhaps it was just her.
"So, what do you think?" asked Serena.
"It's very…um…interesting," said Ami. 'What is it supposed to be?'
"Yeah, it's nice. I like the splashes of color here and there," said Lita. 'Did she just spill paint all over it?'
"Yeah, nice abstract art," said Yagami.
"Abstract? It's a picture of Tuxedo Mask!" said Serena.
She kept insisting it was a portrait, but her friends couldn't see it.
"Yeah, you could," Yagami lied. Yagami had painted something that day too. A picture of Lita and she'd loved it. It had been a picture of her in a green ballroom gown in a starry background inside a palace. It had taken him a week to get sketches of those images right. He had to go through women's magazines to find the right style and look up images from anime to get the palace. He even went to Michelle for pointers. Despite the obvious effort and affection he put into it, the painting itself wasn't anything incredible like what Michelle had made nor would it hang on a museum wall, but it was with Lita. He'd given it to her as a present.
"So, where is Rini anyway?" asked Serena, looking to the other classrooms where students were working on their art.
"I suppose we could check with the person who runs the school," Darien suggested, not having the foggiest as to which room to check first.
"I found her!" Luna spoke quietly, catching the trio's attention. The black cat was peeking inside of a door. The three friends looked through the crack and found that Luna was right. Inside was none other than Rini working on what looked like a clay sculpture of a grail of some kind. She seemed to be having trouble though. It wasn't too bad for someone her age, but she seemed to be putting a lot of effort into it.
"Wow, she's not bad," Yagami muttered. "Is she new at this?"
"I can't be sure," Darien answered. "She might have started back at her home. It is good though."
"It doesn't seem so great to me," Serena huffed. "I can't even tell what it is!"
"That's because you aren't paying attention," Luna huffed.
The apple pie momentarily forgotten, the three people and one cat watched as Rini interacted with a boy next to her. He was working on a clay sculpture of an angel and despite being the same age as Rini, it was infinitely more detailed and finely crafted. The boy was indeed skilled.
"This isn't turning out as well as I hoped," Rini huffed, wiping some sweat from her brow. Who knew sculpting was so hard?
"Well, I think it looks good," the boy spoke. "It's a grail of some kind, isn't it?"
"Yup!" Rini smiled, a flush on her face. "A holy grail! I saw it in a picture in my mom's room once and I always thought how cool it would be to have one of my own. Still…it isn't coming out like I pictured it."
"Ah, I see," the boy nodded, taking a lump of spare clay before adding it to the sculpture. "Well, if you do this…and this…" His hands went to work, adding much better detail to the sculpture as Rini described what she had in mind.
"Wow, he's really good," the four observers gasped as they watched the boy work. Who knew someone this young had that kind of skill?
As the two children worked, they spotted someone walking towards them holding a bucket filled with cleaned brushes. She was wearing a lovely blue dress which accented her hair so nicely.
"Michelle?" Serena blinked.
"Masinori," Michelle spoke gently as she approached the two kids. "Remember not to help out too much with Rini's project."
"O-oh, r-right," the boy, Masinori gasped with a blush on his face.
"Otherwise, keep up the good work," the older girl smiled. "I look forward to competing with you both in the future." She then left with her brushes, assumedly to work on her painting skills.
"Wow, what a wonderful person," Masinori sighed goofily as he watched Michelle leave.
'Ooooh!' Rini frowned with a clenched fist. 'Michelle, I haven't lost to you yet! I'll earn Masinori's love no matter what!"
Someone else had entered the art school as well. It was Tendou, or at least looked like Tendou. It was actually his Worm duplicate, Souji, and at the moment he was appraising the same paintings Yagami and the others had seen. Souji smiled. The paintings reminded him of his dear sister, Hiyori. Hiyori too loved to draw and she drew for him. Her drawings were fantastic and deserved to be on this wall as well.
That little pink-haired girl, Rini, knew Tendou and so Souji decided to come and see if Tendou might show up. He wouldn't harm the child, no, but Tendou and any other Riders who got in his way would be fair game. He knew who the others Riders were but didn't care to engage them lest they got in his way.
For now, he would continue to look at the paintings. They had a calming influence on him.
A door opening caught his attention and he turned slightly to see who it was. Stepping out was a young woman in a blue dress and had aquamarine hair. An odd color, but Souji was used to odd things. She was also carrying a bucket with paintbrushes in it. She walked out of the room and turned down the hall, before her eyes landed on Souji and she froze.
Michelle looked at the man who had entered the school. At first she assumed him to be Tendou…but the feeling she got…this man was anything but. A deep negativity swirled around him like a maelstrom. It…scared her. It was times like this that she desperately wished that Haruka was nearby.
Souji eyed the young woman who was staring at him. There was something about her, something special. Of course not as special as Hiyori was. Still, when he looked at her, he thought of sparkling oceans and calm rivers. Soothing to be sure, but one never knew when they were dealing with people.
Deciding to ignore her, Souji turned his attention back to the paintings. He heard the young woman give off a soft sigh of apparent relief before walking away.
"Yo, Rini!" greeted Yagami as he made his presence known. Rini jumped in surprise and then beamed when she saw one of her idols, the civilian form of Kamen Rider Hakabuto.
"Kira!" Rini exclaimed. She then saw Darien and Serena. "Oh, and Darien too." She glowered at Serena. "Oh…and you too." She still felt a little bitter about what happened earlier with the pie.
"Come on," Yagami urged the odango-haired blonde.
Sighing, Serena approached Rini and bowed her head. "I'm sorry about before and to make it up for it I've brought you a new apple pie."
"Wow," Rini blinked. "Thanks Serena."
"Rini, who are these people?" Masinori asked.
Blushing, Rini answered, "Oh, this is my older sister Serena, her boyfriend Darien and their friend Kira."
Masinori bowed and greeted, "Nice to meet you all."
"Polite kid," said Yagami.
"Yeah, nothing like Rini," agreed Serena.
"Hey!" Rini stomped on Serena's foot.
"Ow! Why you little-!" Serena was held back by Darien.
"Now, Serena, you came to make amends," he reminded.
"Right, right," the blonde sighed. Facing Rini, but not quite looking at her, she spoke "Rini made this pie for class today but it wasn't finished by the time she had to leave, so we volunteered to bring it over, so…" Serena finished by placing the pie in Rini's hands. "Enjoy. I'm sure Masinori will like some too."
"Umm," Rini blushed. She hadn't counted on being able to use her pie plan. Still, now that she had Michelle as competition, this was a blessing in disguise. "…thanks."
Eudial drove in her usual style, crazy. She swerved and let the pedal hit the floor as she raced through the streets. Really, her driving was the only thing that was aggressive about her. Of course, she had to move fast or else she might miss the target she was after.
After racing past another red light, she glanced at the iron crate in the back. A Daimon packaged by Professor Tomoe, ready to be released. Knowing her luck, that would probably be happening again.
"Something's bothering you," Haruka spoke softly.
Haruka was dressed in a loose white button up shirt with her biking pants on. She had come by to visit Michelle and just enjoy each other's company like a couple should. Things were going fine and Haruka teased her about the roses she had received from the Masinori boy. It really was a cute and heartfelt declaration of affection. Too bad Michelle was spoken for. However, when she came back, Michelle seemed almost shell-shocked. Usually Michelle had a steady hand and utmost confidence in painting. However, her hand was trembling and she had broken out in a cold sweat.
"There is," Michelle said softly. "A man was admiring the pictures out in the main hallway. Really his resemblance to Tendou was amazing."
"But it wasn't him?" Haruka blinked.
"No. Not in the least," Michelle shivered. "I just had this…feeling. It was almost like I could feel every ounce of despair he faced in his life even at the distance we were at. It was…pouring out of his eyes. I was almost afraid he was going to do something."
"Did he?" asked Haruka in concern.
"No," Michelle answered, shaking her head. "He just turned his attention back to the paintings."
"Should I go see this guy myself?" Haruka offered.
"It's okay," Michelle smiled. "I would really prefer if you stayed with me right now. You can deal with him if you crossed paths."
"I'm always here for you," Haruka sighed softly, wrapping her arms around Michelle's waist and resting her head in her lover's aquamarine hair. Only when she did that did Michelle's trembling cease and the cold sweat stop.
"How do you like the pie?" asked Rini hopefully.. Serena, Darien, Yagami and Luna decided to leave the two kids be. Although Serena wanted to play cupid (Rini could see it in her eyes) Yagami and Darien opted to let nature take its course and let Rini fly solo. She'd have to make something nice for themlater.
"It's really delicious," said Masinori, folding the napkin he used to eat the pie with. "Thank you." He smiled, making Rini blush.
"You're welcome," said Rini. Twiddling her fingers, she then asked, "So…what got you into art?"
"Why I got into art?" Masinori blinked. "Well…Hmmm…I've never thought about it before. It just seemed like something I could really enjoy myself with and it turned out I was right."
"Wow," Rini smiled dreamily.
Rini let out a scream
Serena and the others had heard the loud crash as well. This caused Yagami to narrow his eyes. Not too far away, a buzzing noise was heard and Yagami caught the Hakabuto Zector as it flew into his hand.
"Sounds like trouble," Yagami said. "Let's go!" Darien nodded as well.
"I'll call the others," said Serena.
The classroom was a mess with desks, clay, and broken glass scattered everywhere. Eudial had driven her car straight through the wall-sized windows in the classroom and parked on the polished wooden floors. Almost ignorant, the first of the Witches 5 exited her car and began looking around.
"Now where can he be?" she wondered.
Shuffling of desks caught her attention and she turned to see her target, Masinori, emerging with nothing but a few scuff marks from the impact.
"Aha!" Eudial declared. "There you are!"
"What?" Masinori gawked at the odd woman as she took a gun out of her car.
"Now, hold still!" She took aim and fired at the hapless boy, much to Rini's horror.
"Masinori!!!" Rini screamed as the shot collided with his chest, causing his heart crystal to be ejected. "No!" The boy fell unconscious as the heart crystal began floating to Eudial's awaiting hands.
"Come to mama," Eudial grinned as the crystal floated closer and closer towards her.
The heart crystal, which had been so close, was now out of her reach as Hakabuto suddenly appeared, clad in his golden armor, holding said crystal in his hand. His eyes were piercing down on Eudial who was bent over slightly to try and pluck the crystal.
"Sorry," the Rider apologized insincerely, "But this does not belong to you."
Rini shouted, "Hakabuto!" She was relieved to see one of the Big Three arrive.
"Damn you…" Eudial growled. Once again the Riders had come to hinder her work.
"Rini," Hakabuto said as he tossed the heart crystal towards the pink-haired girl. "Give it back to him."
Catching the heart crystal carefully in her hands, Rini nodded. Turning back to the enraged Eudial, Hakabuto prepared himself for a fight. The red-haired witch was really no threat on her own, all things considered. However, it was the fact that she always carried a Daimon around that did make her threatening. She was slowly getting up from where she was about to pluck the heart crystal and backing towards her car.
"So now you guys are attacking little kids?" Hakabuto frowned. "Are you that desperate for a win or what?"
"Who asked you?" Eudial frowned as she pulled out a familiar switch. Hitting the button, she cried out. "Okay! Appear my Daimon!"
Hakabuto tensed slightly as the back of Eudial's car opened, sending out a cloud of pink smoke. As the smoke cleared, a faintly visible female form stepped out. It had one blue boot and one white boot which could be the same for its hands, one blue and one white. It wore a yellow smock like the kind used by people who worked with clay. In its bi-colored hands were a long chisel and a large hammer. Its face was odd with its right side, the white one, being completely normal. However, the left side was blue with a large yellow eye, making it look like it was a piece of abstract art made by Picasso. It had green hair and a red hat to complete her ensemble.
"CHOKOKKER!" the Daimon cried out before striking a pose as if it were posing for a picture. Eudial likewise did a pose, just to accent her Daimon. To Hakabuto, it just made her look like a ditz. And blondes were supposed to be dumb?
"Yes, yes, that's very impressive," Hakabuto sighed as he took a stance. "Let's get to the kung fu fighting already!"
Rini dashed away from the impending fight to where Masinori was laying on the ground, nearly unconscious. She had to get his heart crystal back before he suffered any longer. Dashing closer, she was cut off buy two blurs before she saw who they were, "Ah! Uranus! Neptune!"
"Hello there," Neptune nodded as Uranus crossed her arms. "While the dedication and affection you're showing the young man are admirable, we still need to see that heart crystal."
"NO! You can't have it!" Rini cried, hiding the crystal from sight.
"If it doesn't have a talisman in it then we'll give it back," Uranus tried to explain patiently. "We won't hurt it and we'll even put it back in the boy. No muss, no fuss."
Rini frowned at the pair, trying to figure out if they were lying or not. Still, she doubted that they'd let her pass if she tried to get around them. Without much of a choice, she reluctantly handed the crystal up to Neptune, who too great care in handling the precious item.
"Why is it people trust you more than me?" Uranus sighed as she eyed her partner.
"A gentle smile and kind words do wonders," Neptune smiled before she eyed the crystal. After a moment, she sighed and shook her head. "This isn't a talisman either."
"Damn," Uranus groaned before she looked to Rini. "Well, a deal's a deal kid. We'll put it back without a scratch on it."
Hakabuto dodged to the side from the large hammer aimed for his head. He grimaced. This Daimon was tough but he bet that it couldn't match Clock Up speed. He reached to his belt, getting ready to go Clock Up, when Eudial took notice.
"Chokokker! Stop him from Clocking Up!" Eudial ordered.
"Huh?" Hakabuto gawked.
"CHOKOKKER!" the artistic Daimon bellowed, raising her hammer up while black electricity surged through it. "CLOCK DOWN!"
A bolt of electricity surged from the hammer and crashed into Hakabuto's chest. The gold Rider cried out in pain as he stumbled backwards. The black lightning surged through his armor and wrapped around his belt before vanishing. Grunting from the pain, Hakabuto managed to stay on his feet.
"Stop my Clock Up eh?" the teenage Rider frowned. He brought his hand down to his belt. "I don't think so! Clock Up!"
"Ah ha ha ha!" Eudial laughed wickedly, seeing that the augmentations to the Daimon genome had been effective. "This is an upgrade to all the Daimon we possess! Your greatest advantage over us is now useless! Feel the fruits of our Rider research!"
"Sure," Hakabuto frowned. Now this was a surprise. He wasn't sure how the Deathbusters did it, but they had managed to find a counter to the Clock Up system. Well, it sucked, but there was nothing he could do about it now. Taking the Daimon down was the first priority and figuring out how to stop the Clock Down attack could come later.
Souji eyed the events from inside the hallway. His instincts and the information of those five hags were correct. There were Riders here. He didn't recognize this one, but he had to have information about Kabuto. Perhaps the red Rider would appear, but Souji wasn't a patient man and his blood was beginning to boil.
Clocked Down, Hakabuto was having difficulties with the Daimon. It wasn't giving him an opening to launch a counterattack or to use his finisher system since it kept throwing chisels at him. Strangely, it discarded its smock to reveal a feminine form covered in a myriad of colors, making her look like a twisted piece of art herself.
"Gah!" Hakabuto cried as several artistic tools crashed against his armor. Damn this Daimon could throw! It was like being hit by a pitch from a major league player! Grunting, he glared at the monster opposing him. "Okay, so you wanna play? Then let's play!"
Charging forward, Hakabuto tackled against the artistic Daimon and pushed her straight through the hole in which Eudial had made in her destructive entrance. Chokokker screeched in pain as glass shards collided against her body, but the gold Rider continued. His charge didn't stop until he slammed the art Daimon into the playground equipment which had been located behind the school. Pushing off against her, Hakabuto got some space, preparing himself for another bout.
"Why you-!" Chokokker growled, preparing the last of her chisels.
Hakabuto and Chokokker looked up to see that the cavalry had arrived. Standing proudly at the top of the equipment were the local heroes, the Sailor Scouts. They were grouped together as the heroic team that they truly were. Moon, Mars, Jupiter, Venus, Mercury, Mini-Moon, and Tuxedo Mask were all in attendance as the Daimon realized that it was now officially over its head. A Rider by himself was dangerous, but now that the Scouts were here, it was going to get downright desperate.
"About time, guys," said Hakabuto, relieved to see his fellow heroes.
"Sorry we're late," Moon nodded. "However, when evil insists on tainting the pure heart that goes into beautiful pieces of art, then all of us must put a hand in defeating it. So in the name of the moon…"
"…We will punish you!" the collected girls cried, pointing down at the Daimon.
The Sailor Scouts quickly went into action as they leaped from the equipment down to the ground. All of them took a stance and prepared to face battle against another Daimon. Of course, one green-clad Scout just had to break formation and check on her beau. She ran her hands along the marks which she found on his armor, indicating that the Daimon had been rather combat oriented
"Are you okay?" she asked, looking to her boyfriend's visor for some answer, even though she knew said visor would be impossible to see through.
"I'm fine," Hakabuto answered, straightening his back. "But this thing managed to stop my Clock Up."
The girls gasped. The Riders' most advantageous ability had been stripped from Hakabuto? It didn't seem possible. Their personal danger level gauges (which were rather accurate for almost all of them save for Moon who classified anything that looked remotely scary as dangerous) put this Daimon at a higher threat level than the ones who had come before it. Still, they had a duty to defeat any and all threats which would dare try to harm innocent people and they wouldn't back down from this one.
"Enough about me though," said Hakabuto. "Let's take this thing down and then show that witch Eudial that you DON'T mess with kids!"
"Alright, let's get him!" shouted Sailor Moon. However, before they could attack…something else happened.
"HELP ME! HELP ME!" the voice of Eudial shrieked from inside the school.
The collected fighters turned to see what the commotion was, even Chokokker was curious. Looking to the school, they saw Eudial dashing out like she had seen hell itself. However, she wasn't as intact as before. Bruises were spreading across her pale skin and her clothes seemed ripped in spots as if someone was trying to catch her. Her left eye was swelling shut and blood was trailing down from the edge of her mouth. She was panting, obviously from the effort and the pain she was no doubt experiencing. Completely unheeding of the pending fight, she dashed towards Hakabuto and pressed herself against his back, trying to hide.
"Help me! He's going to kill me!" Eudial whimpered.
"Uh…Who?" asked Sailor Mars bluntly.
"HIM!" Eudial sobbed in terror as she pointed at the school. Out from the hole she had made, came out none other than…
"Tendou!" Hakabuto identified.
"Tendou?!" the group of magical girls and one magical young man gasped.
'Tendou' entered the battlefield, his face a stoic mask as he approached the group. Around his waist was his usual belt, but the Zector hadn't arrived yet. As he got closer though, his eyes landed on both Eudial and Chokokker. The fact he saw her made Eudial whimper and begin quietly sobbing in fear as she clutched Hakabuto tighter than before. With a mechanical cry, the Zector flew straight into 'Tendou's' waiting hand but Mini-Moon noticed something was indeed off and so did Hakabuto.
The Zector, instead of being red, was dark black.
"Henshin," 'Tendou' spoke as he attached the Zector to his belt.
The armor covered his entire body. Now, Sailor Moon wasn't very observant, so she cheered, "Go get her, Kabuto!"
"Moon, look at his visor," Hakabuto pointed. The leader of the Scouts blinked and then looked at Kabuto again. The remaining Scouts weren't far behind as they were curious as to why Hakabuto seemed so tense and 'Kabuto' was being so cruel. When they looked to where they were told to see, they indeed began noticing something odd. The Masked Form armor was still the same but hat they all quickly realized was that the visor of the armor was yellow instead of the blue they had come to know.
"CHOKOKKER! KILL HIM! KILL HIM! I DON'T CARE HOW!" Eudial screamed, her terror reaching new heights as the Kamen Rider came closer.
Chokkoker obediently lunged and attacked the Rider with a pair of chisels, striking at his armor but with little effect as 'Kabuto' blocked the strikes. He then sent the female monster flying backwards with a well-aimed punch straight to the face. Obviously restraint was a foreign concept to this person. The Rider then reached down to his black Kabuto Zector, pulling the horn. Electricity arched over his body as his outer Masked Form armor began to come loose. He then pulled the horn all the way.
"CAST OFF!" the Zector echoed, sending the armor flying in all directions, striking Chokokker and narrowly missing the Scouts and Hakabuto.
NOW, the Scouts, Gold Rider and Tuxedo Mask could see the difference. This was not the Kabuto they knew. Though the basic structure was similar, his armor had very striking differences. His chest armor and helmet were both black. A red circuitry pattern could be seen on the Rider's chestplate that flashed yellow as the Masked Form armor cleared from it. A black horn rose up and attached to the faceplate, causing the yellow eyes to flash as it attached.
This was not Kabuto…but his darker counterpart…Dark Kabuto.
Dark Kabuto let out a roar before charging towards Chokokker, frightening the Scouts and making Eudial sob into Hakabuto's back even more prominently. Was this woman really so terrified of this Rider? What did he do to her? Dark Kabuto began his brutal assault as he swung his fists hard at the monster, not giving it any advantage or an opening to strike back. He was vicious and cruel as he attacked the artistic Daimon, leaving various injuries on the female monster's body. He then sent it flying with a kick into the face. Chokokker rolled along the ground, spitting blood from her mouth before trying to stand, revealing the scratches, cuts, and rapidly developing bruises on her body.
She looked up to see Dark Kabuto reaching his Zector. He pressed the buttons, his gaze never leaving her.
"1, 2, 3," the Zector responded before he reset the horn to its original position.
"Rider Kick," Dark Kabuto spoke before pulling the horn.
With a roar, Dark Kabuto leapt upwards and extended one leg while tucking in the other one. His foot started to energize and then he smashed right into Chokokker, sending her flying before hitting a tree and exploding into black smoke. Out from the smoke fell a set of three chisels that rolled along the ground, which were all Chokokker truly was. From the middle of the three chisels, the familiar Daimon seed emerged and shattered, releasing the screaming phantom which withered and vanished. Dark Kabuto landed and simply stood still for a moment before he turned his gaze towards the group
The Scouts and lone Rider could all silently agree that this definitely not the same Rider they knew. Tendou was never so brutal in battle. He was powerful and steady in attacks, but not once did he overpower an opponent like this man had done. Tendou would usually wait for an attack before countering with his own moves, but this Rider was a pure attacking force. Whoever this guy was…he was not Souji Tendou.
Deciding to get to the bottom of this immediately, the gold Rider stepped forward. He didn't know if this guy was on their side, but if he wasn't then he was the only one who would be able to stand at least a fraction of a chance. "Hey, you!" Hakabuto called. Dark Kabuto stopped his approach and stared at the gold Rider.
"You," Dark Kabuto pointed at Hakabuto. "Do you know Kabuto?"
"Huh?" Hakabuto cocked an eyebrow.
"Tell me where he is," demanded Dark Kabuto. "Where is Kabuto?"
"Like I would tell you!" Hakabuto spat. After what he had seen, there was no way he was going to tell the black Rider where Tendou was! If anything this guy was a certifiable nutjob. Who knew what he would do if he knew where Tendou was?
"Then you are in my way. I will just have to remove you," Dark Kabuto slapped the switch on his belt. "Clock Up!"
"Damn! Clock Up!" commanded Hakabuto. He prayed that whatever Chokokker had done was undone by her destruction.
The two Riders vanished from the eyes of the Scouts and Tuxedo Mask. Eudial fell to her knees, shivering fiercely.
"Kira!" Jupiter shouted. However, her cry was drowned out when a tree suddenly began dropping branches which looked like they were torn off and bars on the playground began to bend as if hit with an invisible force. The Scout of Jupiter shuddered, hoping none of those impacts hit her boyfriend.
"Okay you!" Sailor Mars frowned, grabbing Eudial's arm and pulling her to her feet. "You seemed to know who that guy is! Spill!"
"Yeah!" demanded Venus. "Just who is that guy? Why does he look like Kabuto?"
"We…we don't know who he is," Eudial shuddered, her eyes staring at the battlefield where the light-speed opponents were fighting. The evidence that the brawl hadn't moved was still there as objects began moving as if struck. Normally she would have never spilled any details about the operations she was involved in. However, seeing Dark Kabuto again had firmly broken her resolve to keep her mouth shut about the subject. "We…we were doing…experiments…to try and counter the Rider technology. There was…an incident. He appeared. We kept him confined…but then he broke out…we just called him…Dark Kabuto…"
Everyone felt a chill go down their spines at the name.
In the Clock Up space, the two Riders traded blow after blow with the dark Rider easily getting the upper hand.. Dark Kabuto slammed a fist across Hakabuto's face and the rookie Rider retaliated with a punch which Dark Kabuto ducked under before planting an uppercut which made Hakabuto stumble backwards. Dark Kabuto then kicked Hakabuto backwards before dealing a series of kicks that sent Hakabuto staggering which each strike, ultimately making his see stars for a moment.
"Damn it!" Hakabuto cursed as he reached to his Zector and pressed the buttons. He didn't want to, but he couldn't hold back against this guy!
"1, 2, 3," the Zector called.
"Rider Kick!" He reset the horn and pulled it back.
Hakabuto leapt at Dark Kabuto who stood still but then Dark Kabuto leapt up and over Hakabuto, causing the New Guy to miss. "Huh?"
The Clock Up ended and both Riders reappeared in front of the collected Scouts and member of the Witches 5. Said witch whimpered and began scrambling backwards from the dark Rider. Dark Kabuto ignored the group in favor of his foe as he punched the buttons on his Zector before he pulled the horn of his own Zector. "Rider Kick."
Dark Kabuto leapt up and Hakabuto saw him coming with a drop kick. He wasn't able to avoid it in time and was struck in the helmet with explosive force. There was a shattering noise as a section of Hakabuto's helmet broke apart on the impact, revealing a part of Kira Yagami's face. Sparks and sprays of energy surged from the destroyed helmet as the impact struck. The force from the kick alone sent Hakabuto flying and tumbling along the ground before his armor abandoned him along with the Zector. Kira Yagami lay prone on the ground, unconscious, and bleeding from a head wound.
"HE'S GOING TO KILL US ALL!" Eudial shrieked, seeing her one hope of rescue fail. Making a dash for the school, she practically dove into the car before gunning the engine and crashing through the front wall. The car then drove down the hallway and crashed through the main doors before heading out onto the road. Her tires squealing were the last anyone heard of her.
Coldly, Dark Kabuto gave a snort before he slapped his palm onto the side of his belt, "Clock Up."
And he was gone.
"KIRA!" Sailor Jupiter cried, dashing over to her downed boyfriend. This was exactly like that nightmare she had a while ago. She silently begged the Kami not to let her boyfriend die. Taking a Rider Kick to the head couldn't be considered healthy in any sense of the word. "Kira, wake up!" She shook his body, trying to get a response. His head was still bleeding as she began to cry. "Kira…please wake up."
"He must have a concussion!" said Mercury, recalling what medical knowledge she had accumulated through studies and her mother's know-how. "We need to get him to a hospital!"
"I'll call an ambulance!" Venus nodded as she dashed towards the school, praying that the phone lines were still working.
Yagami was placed on a stretcher and wheeled out of the ambulance by the paramedics with a neck brace on to prevent any possible damage from getting worse along the ride. Lita was allowed onto the ambulance as well, since she was his significant other. The other girls watched solemnly as the ambulance pulled away, letting sirens blare so to get congesting traffic out of the way. The boy's life might be at stake!
"Kira…" Lita whimpered sorrowfully as she held her boyfriend's hand, hoping that he would wake up again soon.
Lita was forced to wait in the waiting room while the doctors did their examinations of the young man which was brought in. Her friends were quick to arrive and be at her side for moral support. Raye and Mina were trying to learn what was going on while Serena and Rini stayed at Lita's side, trying to comfort her in her time of need. Both Luna and Artemis longed to say something comforting, but settled for rubbing her legs to show support since they couldn't talk in public. Darien just sat in another chair close to Serena, somewhat shell shocked on his own at what had happened. It only served to remind him of the wounds he received from the Dark Generals while he was collecting the Rainbow Crystals back when his life as Tuxedo Mask began.
Surprisingly, Michelle and Haruka came rushing into the room. Michelle seemed pale and panicked while Haruka seemed like she had swallowed a lemon of some kind.
"Lita!" Michelle gasped as she dashed over to the tall brunette. "I just heard what happened! Kira took a blow to the head after that crazy woman actually drove her car into the side of the school?!"
"Uh (hic) huh," Lita nodded, remembering the cover story that the girls had told the paramedics when they arrived.
"We just left practically moments before it all began," Haruka added. Her usually confident voice seemed to gain a low undertone of some kind, not that anyone noticed. "I can't believe it. We could have gotten hit too."
Michelle simply hugged Lita, allowing the tall young woman to vent more tears into her shoulder. Haruka took a seat next to Rini, seemingly in a daze about hearing about the incident.
A doctor approached the group, recognizing Lita who'd come in with Yagami. Lita was up in a shot, clasping her hands together, her tears dripping down her face.
"Are you the patient's family?" asked the doctor as he held up a clipboard.
"I'm his girlfriend," said Lita. "Is he going to be okay?"
"He has a very severe concussion," said the doctor, shaking his head. "Also, he has various other injuries on his body." He asked, "Care to tell me what happened?"
"He got into a fight…protecting me," said Lita. "Please, can you help him?"
"We'll do all we can," said the doctor. "Trust me, the young man will be alright."
It wasn't long before Tendou (the real Tendou) to appear along with Kagami. Seeing as they were Yagami's 'relatives', they'd been called and they immediately rushed to the hospital. Kagami had panicked when he heard but Tendou was calm as always, though his eyes did show concern after hearing about what had happened to the 'New Guy'. As Tendou entered the waiting room, all of the girls did a collective flinch as they saw his face. However, they quickly relaxed when they could feel he didn't mean them any harm. Since Lita was distracted with the doctor, Raye took initiative and strode forward and pulled Tendou to another part of the room where Haruka and Michelle, much less anyone else, would not overhear.
"What happened?" Tendou asked sternly as Raye held her own gaze.
"We were attacked by another Kamen Rider," Raye answered. "And before he transformed we saw his face. He looked remarkably like you."
"What?" Tendou blinked.
"And when he transformed, his armor was exactly like yours," Raye continued. "The only difference was that the Rider Form was black."
"…oh no," Tendou gasped. If he wasn't above such things he would have paled. What he did do was lean against the wall and closed his eyes as if he had suddenly gained an immense weight on his shoulders. "Not him. Why now?"
"You know who he is?" asked Raye with a frown.
"I do," Tendou nodded gravely. "His name is Souji Kusakabe. He is Kamen Rider Dark Kabuto, the sole remaining Worm on the planet."
Raye's eyes widened in no small amount of shock.
Over with the others, Michelle watched Tendou and Raye speak, but she couldn't hear what they were saying. However, she didn't quite care at the moment. Her thoughts were concentrated on Kira and the terrible condition he was in.
After returning the crystal, she and Haruka took spots around the Daimon, keeping hidden from sight unless they were needed. They had witnessed the Clock Down attack and were curious as to what effects it would have on Riders. That was when the man who looked like Tendou appeared and transformed into that…mockery of what Kamen Rider Kabuto truly was. However, seeing him fight was terrible, but seeing what he did to Hakabuto was downright terrifying. While she and Haruka had their problems with the Riders, no one deserved a beating like the one poor Kira had received.
"It seems…my fears were confirmed," Michelle thought sadly. 'I hope this won't affect our friendship, Kira."
To be Continued…
A/N: Please don't hate me for not updating for a while. You'll make Rini cry if you flame me.