I do not own Kamen Rider Blade or any of it's connected characters nor do I own Sailor Moon. I am only writing this for fun and not for any measure of profit. I hope you all enjoy this.
Kamen Rider Chalice: Crystal City Chronicles
By Ten-Faced Paladin
Turn 11: Poison Tide
It'd been several days since the Kyle and Amethyst's disastrous date and after some consoling and from Topazu and Esmeraude, which included watching a chick flick while sharing ice cream, the violet-haired girl seemed to be back to her cheery self. However, looks could be deceiving. She was still upset about the fact that she and Kyle would probably never get a chance to have a relationship due to his responsibilities as Kamen Rider Chalice. Maybe after all the Undead were sealed away, but that would just take too long!
Amethyst stopped at an overpass and sighed deeply as she leaned against the railing, looking down at the people below. She saw couples together, in love, and she envied them. She also envied Topazu and Esmeraude for finding love. Why couldn't she have that? She was nice, wasn't she? She was attractive, wasn't she? She was someone boys wanted to spend time with, wasn't she?
'It's not fair,' she thought gloomily to herself. 'Why is it all my friends can find love but not me?'
Her thoughts were interrupted by the song of a canary and she turned her attention to a man who was standing next to her. She'd been so deep in thought that she had not realized his presence. He was dressed in blue with a bandanna around his head and carrying a birdcage with a canary inside. His eyes were soft and kind. "What seems to be troubling you, young one?"
"Just…regrets," Amethyst shrugged. "You probably don't want to hear."
"I wouldn't have asked if I didn't want an answer," the man replied. "Please, sharing your troubles helps to soothe them."
Amethyst frowned and fiddled her fingers, "Well…I guess sharing might help," she sighed and continued, "You see, there's this boy that I like and I really want to get to know."
"A positive pursuit," the man smiled. "I assume that something has been hindering your quest?"
"Try a few things," Amethyst sighed. "He doesn't really seem to notice that I'm interested. His focus is more on a duty that's been put on him. The one time I actually had a chance, that duty popped up again and our date was ruined. It seems like whenever I try to get his attention, something always happens."
"So, he is focused on duty while you are focused on romance and both ideas clash," the man concluded. "Troubling indeed."
"All my friends are in relationships and I feel like the odd one out," sighed Aamethyst. "When he first showed up I thought maybe I would have a chance to know what it was really like, but…I don't know if I'll ever get that chance."
"Fret not, young one," the man said comfortingly. "And never lose hope. Only those who fall into despair fail at their goals."
"I'm still hoping," she told him. "Part of me wants to keep trying but another part wants me to just move on to find another guy, but…"
"But…?" he prompted.
"There's no other guy like him," Amethyst finished. She elaborated, "He's brave, smart, and really cute, not to mention dependable and reliable. I admire all that about him and I just want him to admire me too."
"So, are you just going to give up after the first hurdle?" the man asked.
"No way," Amethyst shook her head. "I'm just not sure what to do." She closed her eyes and listened to the canary's song. Just hearing it helped soothe some of her troubles. The man merely smiled as he saw a measure of peace reach Amethyst's face.
"Something as complicated as love is not often achieved so simply," The man advised. "Definitely not as easily as the Love Ministry claims it is, otherwise everyone below us would be in relationships."
"Yeah, but I always thought it was a good place to start," Amethyst sighed. "Maybe I was wrong."
"A place to start is always good," the man nodded. "But each person's path is hardly the same."
Amethyst pondered on that statement. That was definitely true. Safir and Topazu didn't fall in love nearly as quickly or the same way that Demand and Esmeraude had. In fact, the way they had gotten together was nothing alike.
"You're right," she nodded. "So what if my relationship isn't developing like my friends' did? If I keep working at it, it can still happen."
"Exactly," the man nodded. "Be patient, and walk through your own path and you will reach your goals.
Amethyst nodded with a bright smile, "Thank-you. I don't think I caught your name though."
"Shima," the man smiled.
Crystal Tokyo University
Kyle grunted as he left his classes, once again his head feeling like he was being subjected to his brain being stuffed with all sorts of things he wouldn't otherwise be able to remember without intense studying. He was half convinced that it held subliminal messages of some kind to make him more obedient to the crown. Maybe part of the reason it made his head hurt so much was because his Undead biology, what of it he had in his human form anyway, was managing to fight it. He was no expert so it was really hard to say.
"I should just blow off the rest of the day," he muttered, his aching head affecting his temper.
Reaching the bottom of the stairs, he headed in the direction of his next class. Another gym class filled with boring exercises and then the stress of dealing with the showers and no nudity taboos between genders. Now that was going to be fun.
Walking towards his destination, he noticed a few students reading over The Radical. It was the issue which revealed that Sailor Saturn had broken the queen's laws and struck two Undead with physical violence rather than shooting with magic. Judging from Amethyst's website, it was stirring up some controversy among the citizens. On one hand, one of the Senshi was taking her duties to the people seriously, but on the other hand that same Senshi had broken the laws she had sworn to uphold.
The Radical was making numerous runs through the student body, stirring up opinions and ideas like students their age should have been developing. Of course, just as many students were admonishing those who read the Radical periodical, mainly citing it as propaganda supporting radical elements who sought to disrupt the peace and stability of the city.
Finding the gymnasium, he was just about to reach for the door when his head throbbed and his vision became blurry with the sight of an Undead going active. Her hunched over as he was force-fed images of insect legs, red, black, steel and was that…a poolside bar?
Crystal Caribbean Resort
The climate controlled resort that was so popular among the citizens was usually one of the places where you would find a large amount of people enjoying the warm temperatures and sparkling blue waters. It would be a place to have fun, relax, and forget your troubles for at least a day if not longer depending on how much cash and spare time you had.
Today, this seemed like a normal day for the visitors. The men, women, and children were enjoying what the resort had to offer be it slides, swimming pools, beverages, or whatever they desired. It appeared that all was well as far as the vacationers were concerned.
Lying on a poolside chair and relaxing with his hands behind his head and a straw hat over his face was a man with a large build, wearing a Hawaiian shirt and Bermuda shorts with flip flops. He looked like a guy who came to the resort for the intention of lounging about and to laze about while enjoying himself at the same time. This man was Daichi, aka the Jack of Clubs: Elephant Undead. While one of the physically strongest of the Undead, by nature he was quite lazy. He would fight when provoked, but if it was a choice between relaxing or fighting, he'd choose the latter.
"Say whatever you want about these people, but they sure know how to relax," he said with a stretch. He snapped his fingers and a waiter arrived. "Another tropical fruit punch, with a little umbrella in the glass, please."
The waiter promptly obeyed and went off to retrieve the order letting Daichi continue to relax. Where most Undead scorned Crystal Tokyo because of how the people had become so much like obedient sheep and the monarchy seeming more like naïve schoolchildren than actual rulers, Daichi considered it a positive in humans' favor as he had never managed to be so relaxed with anything he had done before, even during his last release in which he bided his time until he decided he could defeat the other Riders. Of course, he was defeated when Blade managed to pull something unexpected out of his hat and defeat him. He didn't begrudge the last Blade for that. Daichi had fought an opponent and didn't account for anything unexpected and paid the price.
Now, another Battle Fight had begun in such a strange place. The people were rather bland and seemed content to do whatever the ruling body told them to do. Said ruling body seemed to prefer living in a child's fairy tale, believing that everything can be smiles and roses so long as you got rid of the stuff that made people bad like weapons, competition, and even dark thoughts. Well, for a guy like him who'd rather not entertain fighting until he had to, that was just fine. It was no skin off his nose.
"So much relaxing to do, so little time to do it," he chuckled to himself.
Screaming sounded off in the distance, which was normal since some of the children and young couples liked to play with each other in splash fights and such. The disguised Elephant Undead merely ignored it as he let the tension leak away from his muscles. Closing his eyes to see if he could catch a nap, his mind suddenly jolted as a grainy image f the resort appeared before his eyes. Screams erupted from all around, this time in fear rather than in amusement. Sighing as the vision left his sights, he grabbed the hat which covered his face and lifted it up to see what was going on.
People were running amok, screaming for help and practically trampling over one another to get away. The people in the pool were thrashing, trying to swim to the edge and climb their way out in efforts to get to safety. It was every man for himself it seemed, everyone pushing everyone else out of the way so they could get someplace safe. Numerous couples even split up to leave their other halves behind in their own bids for safety.
'So much for that Love Ministry' Daichi idly thought to himself as he looked across the pool to see the source of the mayhem.
The source was an Undead, obviously to Daichi. It was smashing sun chairs out of its way as it chased after several humans while it went. Behind it was several corpses whose wounds were spilling blood into the pool, turning the blue water into a sickening red. Others were not so lucky as they were groaning in agony, lying on the ground with strange splotches appearing on their skin.
The Undead itself had black skin for the most part with metal bands around it's shins, ankles, and its right arm. The right thigh had black leather with studs on it, while the left thigh had some red stripes marking it. It's chest section was red with numerous black insect legs sticking out of the edges, making it look like they were holding the flesh of the chest open in a way. It's left arm was striped red and black with red insect legs rising from its shoulder blade. More black legs rose from it's right shoulder, but also a centipede head with sharp red pinchers made an appearance. It's head was black with little features save for sunken eyes, spikes sticking from its scalp, a strip of studded steel running down the centre of its face, and a pair of red mandibles where the mouth would have been expected to be.
"Category 10: Centipede Undead," Daichi sighed. "Dammit…why did you have to come to here of all places?"
"Halt! In the name of the Queen!"
Daichi couldn't help but roll his eyes as he witnessed a pair of Crystal Guards approach the Centipede Undead, capturing its attention from the civilians it had been targeting. The pair had been guarding the entrance to the resort, likely to simply intimidate people into behaving since on the outside with their armor and weapons they seemed tough. Unfortunately, like with the rest of the Crystal Guard they relied more on looking tough than actually being tough.
The pair were trembling violently as the Centipede Undead snarled at them. Daichi figured that they wanted nothing more than to run away alongside the civilians but their conditioning from their oh-so-beloved queen prevented them from doing that.
"S-Surrender yourself peacefully o-or…w-we'll be forced to use r-r-radical measures to subdue you!" one of the two guards stuttered.
On the average unruly citizen, that may have been enough. On an Undead though, it was more of a declaration of battle. Snarling, the Centipede Undead flexed its claws and leaped at the pair of soldiers. Daichi was treated to the men's screams and wails for protection from the queen as the first soldier was tackled to the ground before the Centipede Undead began clawing away at him, spreading blood on the ground. The second soldier, rather than help his comrade, dropped his weapon and began running away with screams of terror. The Centipede Undead growled, looking up from its victim before it inhaled and shot a glob of neon blue fluid from the back of its throat. The soldier looked back to see if the monster was chasing him and took the blow to the face, screaming in pain before collapsing onto the ground.
"That had to hurt," Daichi chuckled.
The two men finished, but woefully disappointing just the same, the Centipede Undead snarled and continued on it's warpath. As it approached Daichi's side of the pool though, it took notice of the man seemingly unconcerned with its rampage. Growing angry, it snarled at him and began to approach with deadly intent.
"Baring your fangs at me eh?" Daichi sighed. Shaking his head, he sat up on his beach chair to gaze at the enemy Undead in resignation. "I really don't like to fight. Not when I don't have to anyway."
The Centipede Undead snarled and began to approach.
"But it seems you don't care or don't understand that you're in over your head," Shaking his head, Daichi sighed yet again. "Oh well. Still, I guess there's something to be said for keeping one's blood running hot." Daichi's entire form rippled before he stood up and revealed his true form to the Centipede Undead.
The Elephant Undead stood tall, his black armor gleaming in the sunlight. His arms and legs were a dull green color, but were rippling with powerful muscles. The majority of his legs were covered in black leather armor with a studded kilt at his waist. His torso armor was covered in strips of iron and strangely enough, in the centre was an iron circle with an eye in the middle of the Elephant Undead's chest. His left shoulder had a black metal elephant skull mounted on it while the right one had a trunk rising out of it that ran down his back to his legs and was covered with a bladed tip. His arms were left bare, but his right wrist was mounted with a gauntlet that had chains hanging from it with spiked balls on the end of it. Finally his face was covered in a black mask with metal studs on it that slightly resembled an elephant's, but it also had chains hanging from the sides to simulate hair.
"Now," the Elephant Undead spoke, summoning a war hammer as his personal weapon. "Will you show me your measure as an Undead?"
The Centipede Undead made a choking noise and took a step back, obviously intimidated by the Jack of Clubs' appearance. While the numbered Undead were more primal than the Royal Class Undead, they did have some measure of sentience. It knew that the Elephant Undead severely outclassed it. It may have been only one rank below its opponent, but that one level was a horrendous gap in power that was better off not explored.
"Oh? Are you not going to attack?" asked the Elephant Undead. "Or do you wish for me to take the lead?"
The Centipede Undead made another choking noise, looking like that it was truly preparing to run away as fast as it possibly could. The choice however, was abruptly taken away with the noise of engines racing through the air. Both Undead turned towards the source and saw a pair of motorcycles with young men riding them racing towards them. Both skidded to a halt, leaving black marks in the ground as they did so. Removing their helmets, they revealed themselves to be young men with either red or white hair.
Demand and Rubeus had both gotten the call from Kyle concerning an Undead attack at a resort. They were the only ones who could make it since they had the transportation and couldn't wait for their fellow Rider to catch up with them. After a quick call to Amethyst who used the Internet to track any disturbances, she pointed them in the right direction towards to Crystal Caribbean Resort where reports of monster attacks were spilling out like crazy.
"Looks like we got two this time," said Demand, dismounting his bike.
"Yeah, but it looks like they're fighting each other," added Rubeus, looking at the pair of Undead who seemed to be squaring off against one another instead of them.
"Doesn't matter to me," said Demand as he took out his Rider System. "Remember, we have to seal them before things get worse."
"Right," the redhead agreed, pulling out his Category Ace.
Both young men strapped the buckles to their waists before slotting their respective Ace inside of it. As one, they gripped the handles on the buckles them and pulled them with a simultaneous cry of "Henshin!"
Both belts unleashed blue rectangular fields which the young men dashed through, transforming them into the Kamen Riders Blade and Garren. Drawing their weapons, they charged towards the pair of Undead.
The Centipede Undead took notice and hisses, preparing for a fight. It saw the Riders as the easier opponents to take down compared to a Category Jack Undead like the Elephant Undead. The Category Jack in question merely turned his gaze to the pair and if it could in that form, would have quirked an eyebrow.
"Is this...deja vu I wonder?" he pondered. The last time he was free, he had first fought the Riders at an amusement park if he recalled properly. Shrugging his shoulders, he turned to face Blade with his hammer resting over his shoulder.
Garren fired recklessly at the Centipede Undead who didn't seem afraid of being shot as it likewise charged back at the red Rider. Being unable to die likely helped with that confidence. The pair collided as Garren attempted a shoulder charge when the Undead got too close for the gun to be effective. The Category 10 hissed and slugged Garren across the face, compromising his balance before unleashed more punches and kicks to knock him away.
"Ow!" the red Rider growled, shaking his head. Frowing behind his mask, he glared at the Undead. "Fine! If you wanna play rough then let's go!" Opening his Rouzer, he plucked out two cards before he slashed them through his weapon.
Scope Bat increased Garren's accuracy while Bullet Armadillo added more damage to his shots. Combined, the two cards gave Garren devastating accuracy and the ability to deal more damage. Taking aim, Garren squeezed the trigger and shot the Centipede Undead directly in the chest. The bullet pierced the Undead who screamed as green blood splashed along the floor. "Gotcha!"
Meanwhile, Blade was having trouble with the Elephant Undead whose tough hide prevented his sword from doing anything except rip off a few sparks, but not doing any visible damage. Whenever he tried to launch a more serious blow at a better target say the Undead's neck or joints the kaijin would simply dodge, showing unusual speed for a life form of its size. If anything, the beast seemed downright bored...and said as such, "Is this all you new Riders can do?"
Blade blinked under his helmet and stated, "Wait...you can talk!?"
"And you can state the obvious," deadpanned the Elephant Undead.
Blade began to sweat under his helmet. Besides the Category Aces, the only other Undead that could speak human language were the Royals. This was one of them. Was it a King, Queen or Jack?
"You're nervous," the Undead noticed, slowly approaching Blade who by reflex took a step back. "You're not used to fighting Undead at my level are you? If that's the case then I am simply too much for you at your current level of strength. Why don't you help your friend with the small fry and leave me in peace until you feel like you can put up a fight, hm?"
"I won't run away!" Blade shouted, running towards his opponent with his weapon held high.
The Elephant Undead sighed and shook his head. Letting blade approach he pulled back his free hand before he shoved Blade back with immense force and the blow knocked the air right out of his lungs. "You know, I didn't come here to fight. All I wanted was to take relax and enjoy my day in peace and quiet. Is that too much to ask?" the Elephant Undead asked in an annoyed tone.
Blade grit his teeth and struggled to stand up.
Meanwhile, Kyle was running towards the source of the disturbance. He'd called Rubeus and Demand and the two had responded quickly. Still, if what Kyle's senses were telling him were true, they were going to need him. After his first vision ended, a brief second one started up which looked like the same place, only with another Undead. Which one he couldn't be sure. Unlike his friends though, Kyle didn't have a bike so he had to rely on going on foot.
He turned a corner and almost ran into someone. Reeling backwards, he fell on his rear. "Damn..." He looked and saw a hand offering to help him up. Accepting the hand, he was pulled up to his feet. "Thanks..." His voice froze in his throat as he saw who he was saying thanks to. "Shima...?"
"Hello to you too, Young Chalice," Shima, aka the Tarantula Undead smiled at him. Kyle relaxed, honestly unable to do otherwise in the presence of the man. Unlike most of the Undead, Shima was the kindest and most gentle. A pacifist at heart who preferred to live in peace with the humans and not slaughter them like the rest of his kind. It seemed that his traits ran true in this world and not just on a television screen.
"Sorry," Kyle apologized as he took a step back from Shima. "I have to go somewhere."
"You mean you have to fight," Shima assumed.
"Yeah, pretty much," said Kyle.
"Why can't you let this city's protectors do it?" Shima questioned.
"We are this city's protectors! If you're talking about the Queen and her Sailor Senshi, they're more interested in keeping up their image than actually getting their hands dirty!" Kyle argued in a rage.
"So, you think your way is the right way," Shima concluded.
"It's the only way to prevent more loss of life," said Kyle. "That's what we're trying to make people see. If we want to protect and save lives, we'll have to fight! They're so worried about how violence makes them look that they're letting more violence occur! And don't get me started on the people! They won't lend a hand to help each other! If being peaceful means being ignorant, I'm glad I'm doing something!"
Kyle didn't know why he was telling Shima all this. Was it the rage that he'd kept locked inside at seeing so much of what he considered a staple of human behaviour missing from the people? Was it Shima's calming nature that allowed it to come fore, allowing him to voice it to a source that wouldn't judge him? Regardless, Kyle couldn't waste anymore time.
Shima was silent for a moment, seemingly contemplating Kyle's answer as he looked into the distance littered with more white and crystal. Finally, he spoke, "This place needs to change,"
"I thought you'd prefer peace," Kyle commented. It wasn't quite the answer he was expecting from a peaceful person like Shima.
"Not like this," Shima shook his head. "With free will taken, it is simply blind acceptance. There is no spark of life, desire to live, explore, invent, or create. Only the will of one woman allows anything to happen here. This is the most terrible form of oppression. This is not peace, but a prison."
"Glad you agree," Kyle smiled. "Now, if you don't mind, I gotta go before my friends get in over their heads."
Shima nodded and stepped aside, gesturing to the path ahead, "Then go Young Chalice. I hope we speak again someday."
"I do too," Kyle nodded before he started running again.
Garren and the Centipede Undead hit the water of the red/blue pool, striking at one another in the midst of their brawl. The Centipede Undead was swift, allowing it to dodge Garren's shots before it tackled him. Garren attempted to wrestle back, the resulting fighting sending them both falling into the pool.
"PFFT! EW!" Garren gagged, coming up for air. He struggled to get away from the murky red side of the pool. "This suit better be waterproof!"
The Centipede Undead had no such hang ups about what was or wasn't in the water and began sloshing through it to reach for Garren once again.
"Oh, no you don't!" Garren took aim and fired at the Centipede Undead as he came closer. All he had to do was cause enough damage to subdue it then seal it.
Meanwhile, with Blade and the Elephant Undead, the Rider's slashes weren't doing any damage against the Elephant Undead's tough hide and armor. The Undead, however, became fed up and caught Blade's sword before tossing him away.
"You know what? This is boring," scoffed the Elephant Undead as he shouldered his war hammer. "I'm going to find someplace peaceful and take a nap." He yawned and walked away from the scene. Blade got up and looked around to see that the Elephant Undead had withdrawn. He punched the floor and growled in frustration. Garren was sent flying out of the pool and landed next to him. The Centipede Undead had just tossed him out. Splashing from the pool announced the Undead's emergence, the bloody water dripping from it's hide.
"Problems?" Blade asked.
"I got him on the ropes," Garren retorted as he picked himself up. "Where's the big guy?"
"He got away," said Blade.
"Oh, you sent him running?" Garren asked.
"...Not exactly..." Blade was ashamed to admit that the Elephant Undead had only withdrawn because Blade just wasn't worth his time.
"Come on, let's finish this together," said Garren as he took out two cards from his Rouzer: Drop Whale and Fire Fly. Blade nodded as he fanned out his card holder and picked out Kick Locust and Thunder Deer.
They activated the cards, slashing them through.
"Drop! Fire! Burning Smash!"
"Kick! Thunder! Lightning Blast!"
The images of the cards came out and were absorbed into the Rider's chest. The two leapt into the air with Blade performing a flying side kick with his extended foot arching with electricity while Garren performed a drop kick with flames encasing his feet.
The Centipede Undead was climbing out of the pool when it was struck by Garren's Burning Smash before being sent flying back into the pool by Blade's Lightning Blast. The Undead fell into the water with a large splash and the electricity coursing through its body caused it to explode, an eruption of water following. When the smoke cleared, the Undead was floating faceup on the surface of the water.
"Come on, let's seal it," said Garren as he took out a proper blank. Suddenly, several colorful feathers dropped down and landed around them, sticking into the floor. "Huh?" The feathers exploded and surrounded the Riders in smoke, blinding them. Once the smoke cleared, they saw that the Centipede Undead was gone.
"Huh!? Where did it go!?" shouted Garren.
"Good question," Blade frowned, looking in all directions. How could a twisted monster like an Undead just disappear so damn quickly? Their eyes were off of the thing for a minute and now it was gone!
"Hey! Guys!" a new voice shouted. Blade and Garren turned to see the familiar face of Kyle approaching. He was sweating and out of breath, obviously had been busting his ass to get there.
"You're late," Garren commented. "You missed everything."
Kyle groaned, dropping to his knees, "Jeez...I need a bike." Panting, he shook his head. "Tell me you at least got the Undead."
"Afraid we didn't," Blade shook his head. "There were two. One left and someone took the other one away. All we saw was some feathers fall from the sky before they exploded and the Undead was gone."
Kyle groaned even louder than before, "Jeez!"
"Yeah," Garren agreed. "Now before we can whine about it can we get out of here? The Crystal Guard is due to show up sometime and you know who's going to be showing up with them!"
"Right, right," Kyle nodded, standing up. "I'm going to hitch a ride with one of you guys though. I don't care how it looks. I'm not running the distance again."
"You can ride with me," Blade offered. "You look like you're about to die."
Daichi was sleeping on a bench not far from the resort with his hat covering his face. The people of the city looked at the man with disdain but didn't do anything about it and decided just to ignore him. However, someone decided to approach him.
"So," began the mysterious stranger, "It's been a long time, hasn't it, Elephant?"
Daichi replied, taking his hat off slightly before frowning in annoyance, "Oh, it's you. I thought I sensed your presence. What do you want?"
The stranger replied, "Oh, just wanted to see an old friend. I mean, this isn't the Battle Fight anymore, is it?"
"Whatever you want, I'm not interested," said Daichi. "Go bug someone else, four eyes."
"Very well. I only wanted to say hello," said the stranger. Turning to leave, he glanced back at Daichi, "Oh, fair warning. I wouldn't try drinking the water anytime soon."
"I'll make a note of it," Daichi yawned, settling back onto his bench. "Good luck with your schemes. We all know how your last one turned out."
The man stiffened at the insinuation, "Tachibana exceeded my calculations but these new Riders are mere children, and untrained. History will not repeat itself."
"Here's hoping," Daichi shrugged, leaving the stranger to walk away.
Kyle had a reason to be concerned. A highly dangerous Undead was still at large. WhenDemand and Rubeus had told him who they had fought, he recognized the descriptions to be of the Centipede and Elephant Undeads. He told them that the Elephant Undead wasn't exactly a threat and preferred to just lounge about instead of fighting unless provoked or he had a good estimate of the person that he is supposed to fight. It was the Centipede Undead which was his main concern. Its venom was potent.
Someone had grabbed the Centipede Undead while distracting both Kyle's friends. It had to be one of the Royal Undead and since they had mentioned feathers, there were two suspects; the Eagle and Peacock Undeads. He ruled out the Eagle Undead since he was an honorable fighter. That just left the Peacock Undead as the prime suspect and Kyle did not feel good knowing this. He would need to tell his friends what they could expect. The Peacock Undead was a schemer and if he had the Centipede Undead, then he must need the 10 of Hearts for something. Whatever it was, it couldn't be anything good.
"Really, do tell us again how you completely missed the fight again?" Esmeraude grinned.
The group of students were meeting at one of their spots in the university cafeteria. The noise was so loud no one would overhear them unless they specifically wanted to. They were at the moment discussing what may end up happening with the latest Undead attack since it seemed like someone had interfered.
"Esmeraude, it's not that funny," Kyle frowned. "Can we focus on the fact that the Peacock Undead decided to make a move?"
"Yes," Safir agreed. "Just what kind of opponent can we expect from him?"
"A crafty one," Kyle replied, poking at his food. "The guy always has a plan going on. If he's grabbed the Centipede Undead then he has a use for him and it's not going to be good for us."
"But what would he want that Undead for?" asked Topazu curiously.
"The Centipede Undead has the ability to excrete a very potent venom that can cause any number of symptoms and curing it is next to impossible without the anti-venom that can only be synthesized with a sample of its undiluted venom," Kyle explained. "Anyone with a poison that potent could use it for a lot of purposes, lethal and destructive purposes."
"Well, how are we gonna find this Peacock guy?" Demand asked.
"It won't be easy," said Kyle. "He'll only come out when he has to and right now isn't that time. But as a Royal Undead he's powerful. When the time comes we'll need to work together, all four Riders."
"Four?" They only had three active Riders so far.
"That means finding and sealed the Spider Undead when we get the chance," Kyle finished. "Until then we need to keep our eyes and ears open for any strange activity that might lead us to him or the Centipede Undead."
The gravity of the situation was really getting to them. Esmeraude decided to shift the mood towards something more positive, "So, what are we gonna put in the next issue of the Radical?"
"We should probably write up about the Centipede Undead and its abilities," Amethyst suggested. "If it's going to be running around then people need to be warned about it."
"Yes," Kyle agreed. Even if would disturb the peace Neo Queen Serenity and her Senshi so wanted to maintain, the people needed to know about a threat within their midst. They couldn't just pretend everything was alright and let the Royal Guards and Senshi deal with everything. The people needed to be a little more proactive in their safety and show some initiative, something they seemed to be lacking.
"Okay," Rubeus nodded. "Before we do that though, we need to get Kyle his own bike so he doesn't miss out on the party next time."
Kyle rolled his eyes, "You aren't going to let that go are you?"
"Not for a while," the redhead grinned.
Hotaru and Usa were enjoying some time off in the princess' room, attempting to amuse themselves. Hotaru was still on guard duty with Usa as her punishment for breaking the laws while fighting the Undead, but it didn't really mean much of a punishment when you were ordered to spend time with your best friend. Frankly it looked more like Hotaru's outburst was being treated like a childish act of rebellion than some kind of capital offense.
Normally the pair would be enjoying themselves with something girls their age went for, but the news reports were coming in on the attack at the resort. Many people were dead and more were suffering from a bad poisoning and weren't expected to survive much longer even if the best doctors in the city were working on the case. Even Sailor Mercury didn't know what to do.
Ever since the Undead had emerged, the death count in Crystal Tokyo had increased dramatically. People were scared of course, but they all seemed perfectly happy to sit back and let the royalty do the work on rescuing them. When one has super powers, that was the expected course of action but what happens when your regular superheroines can't seem to get the job done?
The Riders could fight the Undead and win, all of the Senshi had seen that much when their own magic seemed to be failing spectacularly. The problem was that their methods went directly against the doctrine which the queen had established, breaking pretty much all of her laws concerning physical violence. As a result, the Senshi were just as determined to take down the Riders as they were the Undead. They actually viewed the Riders as dangerous a threat to the city as the Undead were even though the Riders clearly wished to protect to the people. The Senshi were just far too set in their ways and believed in their own power to almost the point of denial, refusing to believe that other methods of protecting the people existed when they were doing it their way for so long.
It would be so much better if both the Senshi and Riders could work together, but with one side set in their ways and another side going against the rules, it didn't seem like that was possible.
Usa was all for obeying the rules and such things, but if there was anything she learned from her time in the past with the Senshi during her days as Chibi-Moon then there were times that rules should be broken. Protecting people and saving lives were way more important than following the rules. Who cared if you looked like a brute or a radical when you fought a monster bent on killing people so long as the people were protected? Apparently the majority of the Senshi thought it was important to be graceful with their magic and not with their fists. Frankly the princess wondered if the Radical was right and the elder Senshi were more worried about their public image than their duties these days.
If Usa was in charge, she would change things, prioritize the safety of the people instead of preserving the clean image of the Senshi and Crystal Tokyo. If they saved people, even if it meant dirtying their hands, wouldn't that make the people see them as heroes? Sure violence wasn't exactly what she would call productive for society but it was better than simply striking poses and letting the monsters run amok. At least when the Senshi of the past posed it distracted the monsters. The Undead just didn't seem to care.
But how could Usa get her parents and Senshi to see reason?
"Gah!" the pinkette cried, scratching her head. "This is making my head hurt!"
"Trying to solve a problem Usa-chan?" asked Hotaru.
"I'm just trying to figure out how we can start getting the Riders and the other Senshi to start working together," Usa huffed. "We both want to stop the Undead don't we? Why do the others keep considering the Riders their enemies too?"
"I don't know," Hotaru sighed, catching on her friend's train of thought. "I never really held it against anyone who wasn't happy in Crystal Tokyo even if we are, but the others treat it like some kind of insult or crime when someone complains or breaks one of the rules."
"Well, after all that stuff with Galaxia and the Big Freeze after that I guess we'd be pretty determined to have some peace," Usa shrugged. "I know I did but..."
"Peace doesn't last forever," Hotaru nodded. "There's always something that tries to spoil it." When Hotaru had learnt that Haruka had tried to force the Riders to give up their cards, she had become upset. If the Riders didn't have their cards, how were they supposed to beat the Undead? It seemed like the Riders were the only ones who could beat the Undead but the Senshi wanted the people to see them as heroes and now some violent group of 'radicals' that seemed dedicated towards undermining them, the royalty, and the rules they had set.
Despite how much the Senshi tried to tell themselves otherwise, all was not well in Crystal Tokyo.
Thanks to the efforts of the Radical, people were receiving the unfiltered truth of the recent monster attacks. Some of the city's residents were questioning the effectiveness of the Senshi it seemed. Ever since these creatures called Undead had emerged, the Senshi had failed each and every time to subdue them and the Riders appeared more successful. One of them even managed to protect the royal family during the parade, defeating the monster while the Senshi's magic couldn't even put a dent on its armor. The Riders had even saved the royal family when the Stag Beetle Undead had attacked the palace. What made that incident especially painful was the supposed report that the Senshi were hiding the truth behind several attacks and their queen who always promoted peace and fairness tried to convert the Riders without their consent and with their backs turned.
The latest issue of the Radical was ready for distribution and the new reports were being put on their website online. Reports describing the Centipede Undead and its abilities were written up and ready to be read by the masses. So long as the delivery spots weren't disturbed and the Crystal Guard didn't haul it away on sight then the people were going to be receiving the warnings they needed to protect themselves.
The latest issue did reach the attention of the Senshi and the queen. She called a meeting and ordered the Senshi to assemble to discuss on their next course of action regarding the situation. All of her advisors were in attendance, ready to lend their opinions and ideas, but two particular faces were noticeably absent. Normally, her advisors Luna and Artemis would be present. However, the two Moon Cats were currently...unavailable.
Well, unavailable was understating were actually relieved from duty for the time being. Neo Queen Serenity felt that their service to the crown during her years as a Senshi had left the pair jaded and thus they deserved to retire. Of course the pair hadn't felt that it was right for them to simply leave their duties but Neo Queen Serenity felt that until they were ready to fully embrace Crystal Tokyo rather than look at all the radical aspects which likely would never happen then the pair did not need to try and taint the views of the royalty with their paranoia and radical ideas.
Maybe they could attribute the glaring flaws in Crystal Tokyo as their fault. All they did since they met Usagi and the girls was show how grand the Silver Millennium was and after they saw Crystal Tokyo could become the grandest and most beautiful kingdom in existence, they harped her about it non-stop, trying to mould her into the perfect queen they knew Queen Serenity of the Silver Millennium to be. They never truly trained her to become a leader or a queen but seemed to expect her to simply grow into the role because she had the Ginzuishou to guide her. However, what they didn't take into account was that after fighting against the forces of evil for so long, Usagi decided that she no longer wanted herself or her friends to fight and decided to wipe out everything negative in the kingdom once she took the throne so no one would have to fight ever again.
But now these Undead and Riders were threatening the very thing the queen had built and that was something she could not allow. Radical ideas were dangerous and needed to be stomped down. Their kingdom was perfect and she would not allow anything or anyone to tell or show her otherwise.
"And why should we care about a radical piece of trash?" asked Haruka, throwing the Radical to the table, looking like she wanted to wash her hands.
"Because it's describing the latest attack of these youma and a list of abilities one of them has," Ami explained. "While I too find the piece to be unsavory we can't ignore an opportunity to find out any weaknesses to these creatures."
"Says here it can make poison that has various effects," Makoto grimaced, taking in the sight of the Centipede Undead. "It warns people to not touch it but an anti-venom can be derived from it if there's a sample to be had. It even describes what the liquid form of the venom looks like."
"Bet it's just propaganda and lies to make the people panic and embrace radical ideas," Haruka scowled.
"The deaths are real though," said Ami. "I visited the hospital. The latest batch of patients are suffering from some kind of poison I've never seen before and dying. We can't ignore the fact that people, our people, are dying."
"Then if even for a chance of finding this cure, we must hunt down this creature before the Riders seal it," Michiru commented. "Then those people would be doomed."
"Your Majesty?" Haruka looked up at Neo Queen Serenity, hoping her wisdom could guide them.
Neo Queen Serenity sighed, her eyes dark with regret. She did not wish to believe that the radicals were right about anything, but she could not ignore a threat to her people no matter how great or small, "Find this youma and detain it. We are going to need that venom so Ami-chan can make the antidote the people need to recover."
"And the Riders?" Minako asked. "What do we do about them?"
"For the sake of the people, they cannot be allowed to seal this monster until we have it. Detain them, arrest them, do whatever it takes," the blonde queen answered. "The Riders cannot be allowed to succeed."
"So, the plan is to find the Centipede Undead, cut off a piece of it with a venom sample, then seal it," Kyle concluded. It was a basic plan, but it was a good one. Heck, he even knew a good spot to cut already, having seen the first Chalice do it in the television series.
"OK, but how are we going to find it?" Esmeraude asked. "Are we just going to wait until it strikes."
"At this point it seems like the only course of action we got, unless we have some kind of Undead Locating Device," said Amethyst.
"Well, maybe we can whip one up if we can figure out how the Undead move," suggested Safir.
Kyle nodded, but didn't really have much hope of anyone developing one without an in-depth study on an Undead. The Riders in the canon Blade series had a computer program which was capable of tracking Undead when they started attacking. He wasn't exactly sure how the system worked so he had no idea how to recreate it even if he was someone who was able to make computer programs. It likely involved sensors in the city which relayed the information of the Undead attacking. Still, it was worth a shot to maybe develop some kind of tracking system that alerted them of any sign of trouble which might be Undead related. His only question was how to go about it. For now, all they could rely on was Kyle's sixth sense which allowed him to sense when an Undead was actively attacking people.
"Well, in the meantime we've got a dealership to go to," Rubeus shrugged. "Maybe we can go and get Kyle a bike before another Undead shows up and has him running to the fight and missing it altogether."
"Okay, it was sort of funny the first time but it's getting old now," Kyle frowned. They kept teasing him for being late and it was getting annoying.
"Not to me!" the redhead laughed.
Kyle merely rolled his eyes. He may as well get used to the ribbing since Rubeus had a habit of milking whatever he found funny for all it was worth. With Esmeraude egging him on as well Kyle knew that it would probably be doomsday before he heard the end of this.
"So, know any good dealerships that has a bike up to my specifications?" asked Kyle.
"There's Tenoh Motors," said Rubeus. "It's the best and only dealership in the entire city."
Kyle froze at the name, fearing the connotations, "Tenoh...as in Haruka Tenoh?"
"Yep," Demand nodded. "She's the one person to go to when it comes to transportation. Cars, motorcycles, just about everything transportation is handled by her and the Transportation Ministry. The best of the best comes from her."
"This has bad idea written all over it," Kyle frowned. Getting near any of the Senshi was just asking for a potential disaster. He still remembered the time that they had ended up in the same restaurant with Makoto, Rei, and Minako and almost risked their identities as Riders to fight the Rhino Undead. "Well, so long as we don't run into Haruka herself or any of the other Senshi at the dealership then we can just go in and get out with a new bike."
"Then shall we be off?" asked Safir. "The dealership closes at six."
"Right," said Kyle. "Hey, don't I need some kind of license or something?"
"Not since before the Big Freeze," Demand replied. "One receives quick training when they buy their first vehicle like in the classrooms. You seem to have natural talent though if how you drove it as a Rider is any indication so you may not need it."
"Wow," Kyle blinked. It made getting a ride much easier. Well, it made sense since with how people learned in the classroom then they probably didn't need licensing since people knew the information was directly implanted into people's minds. He couldn't really complain since it meant that he could get the ride he needed as a Kamen Rider and this seemed to be the way to do it. "Okay, let's go and get this over with. I don't want to give Haruka a chance to bust us as being Riders."
"Oh, just relax," said Rubeus. "Nothing is gonna go wrong."
"And now something is sure to go wrong," Kyle remarked. "You just jinxed us man."
"Oh, quit your bitching so we and get you your bike," huffed Rubeus.
Tenoh Motors was what Kyle expected in terms of designs as it was clean and immaculate like the rest of Crystal Tokyo. Of course, what set it apart from other businesses was its showroom which had bikes and automobiles lined up on display. Different models were put in display, showing people exactly what they were going to be purchasing. The bikes also had their stats on display in front of them with all the necessary and basic information...and price.
"Whoa," said Kyle as he checked all the prices. He also admired the bikes. They were mostly sports bikes but there were also scooters as well. "You weren't kidding about this place."
"Yeah, we got our own rides here before we customized them," said Rubeus. "So, what exactly are you looking for?"
"Light, fast, and something good for off road travel," said Kyle. The Undead were likely to pop up just about anywhere. A ride would have to be capable of getting anywhere. Even if by transforming the bike into the Shadow Chaser made it better through augmentation, he decided to err on the side of caution and get a good bike to act as a base.
A female dealer came up them, wearing a suit, and grinned, "Welcome, gentlemen. How may I assist you?"
"My friend here is looking for a motorbike," said Safir.
"Well you've come to the right place. Tenoh Motors offers you a wide range of vehicles. Do you have any specifications? Price range? Model?" she asked.
"Well," Kyle began. "I was looking for something fast, but maneuverable. I also want to have it able to handle a number of terrains. Do you have anything like that?"
"Certainly!" the saleswoman nodded. Gesturing the group to follow, she brought them to a display of what looked like a pure white street bike that was streamlined and of course white to match everything else in Crystal Tokyo with the mechanics being covered by the stylish body. "This is the CT 0807 Comet. It's just come out of development and is released to the public for sale. Not many people have had a chance to buy it yet because it's so new. We're actually holding a special offer for all of the people after it. The first twenty buyers receive a warranty good for two years on any repairs that it may need during that time."
"Wow," Kyle couldn't help but admire.
"It's the fastest model of motorcycle Tenoh Industries has developed to date," the saleswoman continued. "The control is top notch too, easily able to handle the top speeds around any number of corners. The suspension is also capable of handling any number of bumps of jostles. I would say that this is perfect for your needs."
"Cool. I might just trade mine in." Rubeus admired.
"Ditto," Demand agreed.
"Seems that this is just what we're looking for," Safir nodded before looking to the saleswoman. "We'll take it."
"Hey, guys, isn't this supposed to be my decision?" asked Kyle. He turned to the saleswoman and asked, "Could I possibly get a chance to give it a test drive first?"
"All our vehicles have been properly tested, but the customer is always right. I'll need to ask my manager for permission first," she said.
"That would be swell," said Kyle.
A half hour later, the group was brought to a test track that was located near the dealership. The Comet was waiting for them as was the saleswoman and her manager. Both were smiling as they presented the machine for Kyle's inspection.
"Enjoy yourself," the saleswoman smiled. "I know you will be most pleased." She handed him the keys for the ignition.
"I hope so," said Kyle as he put on his helmet and mounted the bike. He grasped the key before putting it into the ignition. He twisted it to start the ignition and he kicked up the kick stand before revving up the engine. The bike vibrated and the engine growled like a wild beast preparing to pounce and Kyle could almost feel like this bike was made for him. As a Rider, he had foreknowledge of riding. The skills he learned from his transformation into Chalice helping adapt him to the situation. Gripping the handlebars tight, he gave the engine another rev before shooting down the track.
"Damn, that's fast!" exclaimed Rubeus.
"We better stand on the side," advised Safir. "For safety."
"Yeah, we don't want Kyle to accidentally run us over," agreed Demand.
The group relocated to the sides so they could watch in safety. Kyle's control over the machine was very good, both in part thanks to his skill over the machine and the precise control the machine allotted itself. Kyle himself though he was riding on a smooth wave that barely needed any guidance at all to move where he wanted. He barely had driven the thing and he was already sold on it. After only five laps around the track before returning to the beginning of the track.
"Oh yes," Kyle grinned. "I'm sold. We'll take it."
"Splendid!" the saleswoman smiled. "I just knew you'll be satisfied with your purchase. Shall we go do the paperwork?"
"I'll go since it's a gift for my friend," Safir volunteered.
It wasn't a difficult process. Safir just needed to read the contract, the forms, and fill in the important details before the bike could be properly purchased. While bought under Safir's name, it was Kyle's by ownership. It kind of blew Kyle's mind at how his friends were so loaded, but considering they were the descendants of the Black Moon Family of Nemesis, they likely had some cash to their names. With how those members dressed and sported gems to create Droids they likely cashed in their reserves after they mellowed out. He kind of felt bad having them buy him the thing, but his friends had a way of rationalizing it to make him feel better about it.
"Alright, I guess I can officially be known as a Rider now, huh?" Kyle smiled.
"Now all three of us have rides," Rubeus grinned. "Now you'll never be late to the battle again."
"Seriously, please stop," Kyle groaned. "That joke got old really fast."
Rubeus just chuckled as the group wheeled the Comet to the street. Kyle was looking forward to driving the thing back to the dorms so he could show it off and brag to the girls about it. Well, they likely wouldn't care but he couldn't brag to the guys since they were already there when he got it and he had to brag to someone!
Mounting the machine and reaching for the keys, Kyle froze when he was assaulted by the sudden rush that an active Undead gave off. His vision turned grainy as he saw images of pipes, pressure valves, and the sounds of rushing water assaulted his ears, nearly covering the sounds of the Undead's growling as it hid itself in the shadows of the pipe systems.
"Kyle!" Demand cried, grabbing his friend's shoulder, ending the vision.
"Guh!" Kyle gasped, coming back to himself. Shaking his head, he looked to his friends, "Undead. It's in a place where there's lot's of pipes and valves. There's water, lots of it. Is there anyplace like that?"
"Pipes and water?" frowned Rubeus.
"That doesn't sound familiar," Demand shook his head.
Safir pondered for a moment, but then he began to pale, "The water treatment facility!" All eyes snapped to Safir when he said the words, premonitions of doom following his their gazes. Biting his lip, Safir spoke, "Crystal Tokyo's water supply comes from the ice created by the Big Freeze being melted and pumped into the water systems of the city. Massive chunks of ice are shipped inside and melted down into tanks and then treated before entering the city. It's likely the only place in the entire city where one can find pipes and water together unless one goes into the sewer. Did the vision look like a sewer."
Kyle immediately shook his head, "No...the pipes looked clean and pristine, not like the kind of place I would have attributed to a sewer."
"So it's in the treatment facility," Saffir nodded. He looked to Demand and Rubeus, "I'll go with Kyle to show him the way. You two get your bikes and I'll send directions to you while we're on the way!"
"Right!" the two nodded, running in the direction of the campus. The dealership was in walking distance, but the facility was located on the edge of the city and far away from where anyone would see it and the not-so-pretty operation that went on inside of it. After all, in Crystal Tokyo if it wasn't visually pleasing then it shouldn't be seen.
Safir jumped onto the machine behind Kyle, allowing his friend to hit the ignition and bring the bike to life with a loud roar. Gunning the accelerator, the pair were off like a shot down the street.
Ami was holed up in her room furiously scanning through the data streams of her Mercury Computer scanning for any kind of signal for the monster responsible for the poisoning of so many people at the resort. So far the remaining victims that hadn't died from it managed to hold on for the time being but they likely wouldn't be able to last much longer without a cure. So Ami was on the prowl, searching every energy signature she knew to try and find the monster as well as monitoring communication, media, and other streams for any mentions of the monster.
Tapping a few commands, she was suddenly alerted to an intruder inside the water treatment facility. Frowning, she brought up the alert which included security cameras. It had taken forever to convince the queen that it was important since the facility was the only source of clean water the city had and they didn't quite have the resources to build a new one yet.
The camera feeds came up and immediately Ami felt her face pale. Smashing through one of the doors to the facility was one of the monsters that plagued their loving city. From the image of the monster, it was the same one that had attacked the resort earlier. Apparently it had recovered from the battle with the Riders earlier in the day.
Ami didn't hesitate as she pulled out her compact communicator from her pocket and began to alert all of her friends.
They had to capture this monster before it was too late!
Crystal Tokyo Water Treatment Facility
With directions from Safir, Kyle drove up to the very fringes of Crystal Tokyo where the source of the city's fresh water came from. As far as the eye could see, only barren crystal wasteland was visible. He couldn't call it frozen since that would imply snow but the ice was so pristine it looked like glass rather than frozen water. Kyle also noticed that there didn't seem to be any other facilities which were made for reclaiming water or expanding the city. There was just the water treatment facility and it was being covered up by more crystal.
"Doesn't the city even try to expand itself?" asked Kyle, dismounting his machine.
"Serenity doesn't even bother," Safir shook his head. "Nevermind the bodies of those who died in the Big Freeze who deserve to be put to rest, trying to reclaim some more land for the city and expand the plant life that remained, what resources might still be usable, the city's grown enough so she doesn't think it's all that important to go looking in the ice."
"Because that's not how it works in fairytales," Kyle frowned. "God, she is such a little kid. Queen Serenity would be rolling in her grave if she could see this crap." How the hell had she managed to keep the city collapsing on itself by pulling all this naive crap? Oh, the people didn't know any better and the other Senshi probably did a lot of it for her. They always seemed to be way more talented than her beyond friendship speeches and magic.
"Incompetence aside, don't you have an Undead to hunt?" asked Safir, gesturing to the building.
"Yeah," Kyle nodded, slightly worried since he wasn't seeing any chaos from the building that an Undead attack would signal. willing the Chalice Buckle to his waist, he withdrew the Ace of Hearts before slashing it through, "Henshin."
The static energy field enveloped Kyle and donned him in the armor of Kamen Rider Chalice. Breathing softly, the Rider approached the facility, reaching for one of the doors that were barely visible thanks to the white colouring that matched the crystal covering. Neo Serenity really didn't want people to know where the less than artistic buildings were unless she had to.
Opening the door, Chalice slipped inside, seeing a building filled with pipes and hissing noises. Closing the door behind him allowed those sounds to amplify, making him feel like he was trapped in another world. Nothing was the bright and sunny Crystal Tokyo and only a few lights were producing illumination, casting shadows all over the place.
Could there be a more ominous place to work?
chalice began ducking around the pipes, looking for doorways or some stairs to take him to other parts of the facility. There were no people around so that either meant that the place was mostly automated or the people were dead and the bodies were stashed elsewhere. The lack of blood made the latter theory not as plausible, but with the Undead it was possible.
Passing through the room, he finally found the exit behind a steel door. Fortunately, it wasn't locked. Opening it, he passed through into a much larger room. He stepped onto a walkway which was suspended in the air high above the ground. Glancing to the right, he saw what looked like a giant funnel sticking into a massive steel tank, splashes of water coming out from the bottom of said funnel. Above it and suspended by what looked like a ring of floating ice which was big enough to match a two storey house. It was dwarfed by the room, but it was still big to him. Lowering fro the ceiling were what looked like giant blow dryers, fanning the iceberg with their warmth and sending a steady stream of water down the icy surface to drizzle into the funnel. Behind the melting chunk were more icebergs following the same process with more funnels leading into tanks behind them, melting at a rapid rate.
"At least industry isn't completely dead," Chalice muttered to himself.
He continued on, looking for any sign of the Undead hiding in the building. With how silent the surroundings were, he feared he could be dealing with one of the Undead with stealth abilities like the Gel Jellyfish or the Thief Chameleon. Journeying over the catwalk and ignoring the chill of being near the ice he continued his search. Finding a set of stairs, he travelled down to the bottom floor next to the giant tanks of water. Checking his surroundings, he saw more doors leading to other parts of the facility. Slipping through, Chalice entered another set of chambers that he noticed the pipes from the tanks were slipping through the walls. Coming into the room, he spotted the pipes from the tank behind him entering a machine, likely used to purify the water and get any toxins out of it and make it safe for use.
Following the pipes, Chalice found another exit and entered what looked like a reservoir, a catwalk circling around a giant tank of water with pipes funneling water inside of it, causing the level to slowly rise. Walking across the catwalk, he still didn't see any people around, wondering if possibly the place was fully automated since Serenity didn't want any of her people working the 'unappealing' jobs in her city.
Walking past a set of pipes, Chalice looked out to the rest of the catwalk before he froze. At the opposite end, looking over the reservoir next to a control panel was the missing Centipede Undead. Rather than prowling like an Undead normally would by attacking anything that moved, it was looking down into the water and actually spewing a stream of neon blue fluid out of it's mouth into the water, turning it a cloudy blue.
'It's poisoning the water!' Chalice's eyes widened. Summoning the Chalice Arrow, he took aim and drew back his arm before firing a bolt through the air. The bolt's aim was true, striking the Undead in the side and knocking the monster aside in a shower of sparks and green blood. The beast snarled and scrambled back up to its feet, turning to snarl at Chalice. The mantis Rider charged, the two combatants' crashing into one another. Chalice pivoted on the spot and pushed the Centipede Undead away before kicking it in the abdomen, knocking it into a wall. He quickly ran to the edge of the catwalk to see the extent of the poison, already seeing the neon blue cloud in the water spreading to a sizable amount. Despite how much the cloud was spreading, the density of the cloud wasn't getting any thinner.
"It's not diluting," Chalice frowned. In such a large body of water you'd expect any kind of liquid to dilute to a certain degree but the Centipede Undead's venom wasn't following that pattern. If the water was allowed to enter the city, there was no telling how many people would be poisoned!
"Gotta stop it!" Chalice muttered. Looking to the console nearby, he ran over to it and began looking over the buttons. His eyes landed on a bright red button which was surrounded by a yellow and black barrier. Chalice reached to press the button, hoping that it would be what he needed to drain the water. Before he could actually touch the button though, the Centipede Undead leaped at the Rider's back, knocking the both of them to the ground in a heap once again.
Chalice grunted and punched at the Undead's side, making it grunt. A few more punches managed to loosen its grip and allowing Chalice to roll the Undead off of him and kick it away. Getting to his feet, Chalice grabbed his bow and ran for the console once again, but the Undead was determined. It produced a chain and threw it at Chalice, wrapping it around his torso before a sharp tug threw Chalice through the air and sending him crashing into the far wall, landing on the catwalk.
"Guh!" Chalice grunted. Shaking in his bonds, he managed to loosen the chains before the Centipede Undead could throw him for another loop. Unfortunately, he had dropped his weapon when he had been snagged so he couldn't rouze any cards. It seemed that he was going to have to do it the only fashioned way instead.
"Hope you enjoyed your reprieve the last time," Chalice growled clenching his fists. "Because it's not going to happen again!" Bellowing out a battle cry, he charged down the walkway for the Centipede Undead once again.
Twin blurs came down between Chalice and the Centipede Undead, revealing them to be the forms of Sailor Mars and Sailor Mercury, back to back as one of each stared down both Undead and Rider. More sounds of movement from above announced Venus and Jupiter as they landed on the railing of the walkway above.
"Foul villains who threaten the clean water of our people," Mars frowned.
"Prepare to face justice for tampering with humanity's well-being!" Mercury finished.
"For we the protectors of this city will not stand for it!" added Venus.
"Now face your punishments!" agreed Jupiter.
"Oh spare me," Chalice sighed. Looking to Mercury, he decided to try and fix one situation before dealing with the Undead, "Listen, that Undead has poisoned the water here! You have to purge the water before it gets sent to the city and poisons everyone!"
"What?-!" Mercury gasped, her eyes widening in shock. She turned her back to Chalice to view the water reservoir below, easily taking notice of the cloudy water that was still spreading. Gasping again, she looked to her friend, "Mars!"
"Right!" Mars agreed. Glaring at the Undead, she pressed her fingers together, "Fire Soul!" The fireball soared from her fingers and crashed into the Centipede Undead, making cinders flew from it's chest from the impact and it stumbled back, but as expected in seemed to recoil from the fire itself rather than in any actual damage.
"You girls want the sample to make an antidote, right?" Chalice questioned. "The venom gland is in that centipede head on its body. Cut it off and you have enough of a sample to cure everyone that's been poisoned."
"That's all I need to hear!" Jupiter frowned. Bringing her hands together, she formed a disc of electricity, "Sparkling Wide Thunder!" Rearing back her arm, she threw the concentrated thunder at the Centipede Undead. The beast witnessed the attack coming and dodged around it, spitting two globs of venom at the pair of Senshi forcing Venus and Jupiter to leap aside before they got infected with the venom as well.
"We don't have time for this!" Chalice growled. Charging ahead, he actually leaped over Mars and Mercury before charging at the Undead, scooping up his Chalice Arrow as he went. Crossing the distance, he slashed the Undead across the chest and grabbed hold of its shoulder to knee it in the gut. The Undead went staggering back from the blow.
Chalice removed his Rouzer and connected it to his Chalice Arrow before taking a card from the card holder mounted on his belt. He slashed it through.
Vines shot of the Chalice Arrow and bound the Centipede Undead. The Rider gave a pull and yanked the Undead clear off of its feet and smashed it into another section of the wall, making it spew blood from its mouth before it dropped back onto the catwalk.
"Hey!" Jupiter cried out. "Careful! We need that venom sample!"
"Instead of arguing with how I do things in your fairytale world, why don't you all do something useful and purge the water here?" Chalice snapped back. "I don't want to have to hear about how you all let people get poisoned because you were too busy gawking over how I fight!"
It was a rude thing to say for sure, but after having to deal with the majority of the Senshi whining at him about how violent he was or simply posturing while he and the other Riders were risking their lives Chalice just didn't have the patience to deal with them in the middle of a fight.
Mars looked ready to lose her temper once again, but Mercury pushed past her and ran up to the console. She immediately produced her Mercury Computer and plugged it into the system. because she didn't know how to use the console, she had to have the computer give her a readout on it's functions so to tell her how to purge the water. Typing in a few commands, she found the routine she was looking for.
"Here!" she called, slapping the large red button Chalice had eyed earlier. Several alarms began blaring as red warning lights began to light up the area. below them, several holes in the bottom of the tank opened and the water began to be drained out of the room, taking the cloudy poisoned water with it. The sounds of sucking water overpowered all other noise as Chalice and the Centipede Undead continued to fight.
"Hyah!" Chalice bellowed, slashing the Undead and making it stumble backwards. "Hold still!"
Chalice bit back a curse as he dodged three attacks that came from behind, feeling the heat from the Crescent Beam scorch his shoulder before the Undead took the brunt of it. Once again, it stumbled back with some singed armour and slight burns but it otherwise it didn't seem too bothered by the assaults. It was pissed off, but otherwise unhurt. Once again it seemed the Senshi still expected to be winning because of who they were rather than actually wanting to win like they did in the past.
"Watch it!" Chalice snapped. "You want to get the sample or blow us both up?"
"You're a radical element," Mars sniffed. "Bringing you in along with that creature is just a bonus!"
"Whatever," Chalice shook his head. He charged for the Undead once again. This time he added a card to complement his next attack, slashing it through the Rouzer in mid-charge.
Absorbing the power of the card, he drew his hand back and performed a karate chop aimed at the centipede head mounted on the Undead's body. The chunk of its body was broken off and the Undead shrieked in pain as a piece of it was forcefully removed. Chalice caught the venom gland in his hand and smiled. "Gotcha."
The Centipede Undead snarled, blood dripping from its appendage before it charged at Chalice once again. Chalice, now needing no reason to hold back, quickly stopped holding back. Grabbing the railings of the walkway, he lifted himself up and kicked the Undead in the face with both feet. A soft krack noise could be heard as the Undead was launched off it's feet from the force. The Centipede Undead fell backwards, tumbling down a set of stairs which led down to a lower level before it crashed to the concrete floor at the bottom.
"Is it beaten?" asked Jupiter.
"Not yet," Chalice muttered. "Catch," he tossed the centipede head to the Senshi of Jupiter, making her squawk in disgust as she juggled the item, trying not to touch too much of it. Chalice moved to the top of the metal stairs, seeing the Centipede Undead beginning to recover from its tumble. Drawing another pair of cards, he slashed them through his Rouzer.
"Tornado! Drill! Spinning Attack!"
Chalice leaped from the top of the stairs, moving into a kick position before he began spinning at high speeds in the middle of a tornado. Gravity took care of the rest as the Rider came down, smashing directly into the Undead's chest. The beast gave out a screech of pain before it's power failed an exploded, leaving a ring of fire around it. Chalice ended the attack, standing with one foot on top of the Undead's chest. A soft snap brought Chalice's eyes to the belt buckle, showing a number 10 and heart symbols to symbolize it's defeat.
"This time for sure," Chalice muttered, drawing a Proper Blank before dropping it onto the Undead's chest. The entire creature turned green, it's body losing substance under Chalice's foot before being drawn into the card. A flash completed the process before it flew up into Chalice's hand, revealing a metal centipede with inter-changeable body sections, Shuffle Centipede.
The sounds of boots on metal from above turned Chalice's attention to the stairs, revealing the Senshi. Jupiter still had the piece of the Centipede Undead in her hands, fortunately with the cut end pointed up so none of the fluids were dripping out onto the ground. Chalice looked away from the four former heroines and saw that the reservoir was empty and beginning to fill up with clean water again. It made him heave a sigh of relief, knowing that the poison had been purged from the pipeworks.
"Well, time for me to go," said Chalice as he prepared to run away. With the Centipede Undead sealed, he had no reason to stay and he wanted to get far from the Senshi before they tried to capture him again. They wouldn't stand a chance of capturing him but they couldn't waste their time with him. Making an antidote from the Centipede Undead's venom took priority. He would be alive and well tomorrow, the victim of the Centipede Undead's venom likely wouldn't.
Giving a swift salute to the Senshi, he dashed for the door, barrelling through it before they could try and make any kind of protest. Oddly enough, he didn't hear any of their voices.
The aftermath of the attack was felt by the city. Water had to be rationed for a little while as the reservoir had to refill after the purging of the last source. Fortunately, the bad news was overshadowed by the good news that a cure to the venom of the Centipede Undead was found with the pure sample that was provided by the Senshi. All of the victims who managed to survive the Centipede Undead's initial assault were on the road to recovery once they were provided with the anti-venom. They were all expected to make a full recovery from their illnesses.
Inside the cafeteria of their school, the Riders and allies were looking over the reports on the local newspaper.
"Funny how they never mention Chalice being the one to get that sample and beat the Undead," Esmeraude frowned.
"Ah, who cares?" Kyle shrugged. "We'll just publish my account of it in the next issue," Kyle's face then took on a grin as he glanced at Demand and Rubeus. "Maybe the Senshi would have had to admit we were involved if there was more than one Rider though."
"Oh shut up," Rubeus growled. "It's not our fault Safir's directions were crap and we got lost."
"My instructions were very precise I'll have you know," Safir smirked.
"You were the one who insisted to lead and then got lost and didn't want to ask him for the directions again since you deleted the message 'for the sake of secrecy'," Demand grinned. "And then I had to come find you since you were so far ahead of me."
Rubeus began muttering darkly under his breath, not looking at any of his very amused friends. Kyle just continued to laugh as he glanced at the paper. Part of him was still worried about what the Centipede Undead had been doing in the facility. It wasn't like one of the lower Undead to just simply decide to go poison a city. Their style was to pretty much fight and kill anything that moved. There was no way the Centipede Undead would just up and decide to poison the city's water supply. That took more planning that a lower Undead had the ability to commit to.
A Royal Class Undead though was easily capable of planning a move. Both Rubeus and Demand had said that something had rescued the Centipede Undead at the resort and the blue feathers were a giveaway. Isaka the Peacock Undead had likely ordered the Centipede Undead to do what it did, but what was the point? The Isaka he knew was cunning and always had a plan. The last time he was out he had the Leangle System built so he could have the 'Ultimate Rider' to win him the Battle Fight without lifting a finger. If he was behind the Centipede Undead's attack, then what was the point? Was it just out of maliciousness or was it something more?
Inside a darkened room, there was only one figure in black staring at a computer screen. Playing across the screen was security footage from the water treatment facility. All through the video it showed the Centipede Undead sneaking inside, killing whoever it came across before stashing the bodies, and then reaching the reservoir before beginning to pump its potent venom into it. After that Chalice appeared before the Senshi and the Undead was soon defeated and sealed.
The man didn't really mind that the Centipede had been defeated. He had served his purpose. The man now had what he wanted, something to truly panic the people of the city and something to make his claim for.
"Now, off to see the queen," he smirked.
A gust of wind blew in from an open window, kicking up blue feathers to swirl around the room before floating back down to the floor.
To Be Continued...
A/N: I know, I know, it's been awhile but instead of flaming me for it can we all be nice and just enjoy an update?