A tall red gate to the demon realm materialized in the clouds above Tokyo. The doors slowly opened inward, and a tall armored figured stepped through them, stopping just past the threshold. The doors shut sonorously behind him and vanished from sight.
Completely covered in armor from head to foot, the demon resembled a scuba diver with a squished white-metal mask covering his face. The rest of his armor was a mix of black and dark blue, and he carried a tall pikestaff in his right hand.
He looked down at his feet and waved his weapon to move aside the clouds blocking his view. A gap appeared and the demon looked down onto Tokyo. He could feel the movement of so many human souls as if they were right before his eyes. While a part of him salivated to be unleashed out in the human realm after so long, the wiser part of him reined in his desire and turned to the task at hand.
He probed around the city, stretching out his senses as far as he could. Arago said that he would able to sense the Yoroi Senshi by the demon lord's own aura, saturated in the armors they wore. With luck, they would still be together, and so would, like a bullseye, provide an easier target to spot.
He did not find them in the city and could not suppress a sigh of disappointment. If they were there, it would have been an excuse to go down, wreak some havoc and gather what souls he could find before returning to the demon realm with his prizes.
As he considered which direction to take first, he felt a slight pull and dove down after it to the edge of the city. It was not very strong, but he could sense two human souls laced with Arago's power, retreating from the city in that direction.
Beneath his helmet, he smiled.
"That was nice!" Shin sighed as he leaned back in his seat while Seiji drove them back to the house. "Even if it was short, and just a supply trip, it was nice to get out of the house for a bit!"
"You've spent more time talking about the house than you have enjoying the errand run," Seiji replied as he focused on the road ahead. "On the way up you kept commenting about how nice it was to get away, and in town you nearly shouted about it, and now here—"
"Well I'm trying to get all my thoughts out while I can!" Shin interrupted. "Contrary to how some people act, I don't keep everything in and sulk when I have the opportunity to vent. It's like being drowned in that place. Touma's the only one with anything to do. Shu does nothing but exercise, watch the cooking channels, and glare at you if you try to interrupt him for anything but food, and Ryo, well… he's still recovering."
They were both silent as they contemplated that touchy problem.
"Well," Seiji replied, "The problem now is that we have to get used to being around each other without a life or death scenario hanging over our heads. It's easy to band together under the heat of battle, especially when you've got nowhere else to run. Now we have to learn about each other in peacetime. We have to get used to who we are as people, not soldiers."
"And with much more of this, we'll find out that we're even less like soldiers than we appear. We'll all start leaving."
Seiji smiled sadly, "Well maybe—" He slammed on the brakes, making Shin gasp as the seatbelts squished tight against his body while the inertia of the car pushed them forward. They sped to a halt – mostly alone on the road, thankfully, although an annoyed driver swerved around them about thirty seconds later, opened a window, and shouted back insults as they went off into the distance. The smell of burnt rubber filled the air and Shin glanced in surprise over at his companion as Seiji quickly unlocked his seat belt, opened the door, and jumped out of the car. Shin mimicked the action and ran over to stand by him. "Seiji, what-?"
"I felt them. Youja. Someone is watching us."
"What?" Shin looked around, searching. After a moment, he cursed. Looking with my physical eyes isn't always helpful. So he shut his eyes and listened. It was harder to sense anything when he was out and away from water, and he definitely wasn't even close to being Seiji's equal – no one on the team was – but he could still at least somewhat sense demonic aura if he looked. For a moment there was nothing, and then he felt a slight presence, like murky dark lakewater, coming from the direction Seiji had been staring. Shin opened his eyes and frowned, "So we didn't get them all after all. Should we suit up?"
"Yeah. Whoever they are, they can't be up to any good. And if they're after us, we want to give them a decent fight, eh?" Seiji reached into his pocket and crushed his armor crystal in his hand, as Shin did the same. A brief flash of green and blue light covered the area, and then they were both in their sub-yoroi.
"Let's get away from the car," Seiji said. "We don't need to go blowing up our own car, or catching any other drivers on the road in a fight." He leapt up onto the cliff forming a wall for the road, with Shin close behind, both of them searching for their new enemy. Once they were at the top of the cliff, they moved further away from the road and then crouched down in a clump of bushes, waiting.
To Seiji, the demonic presence was like a crackling in his mind, marring the sky and energies of the earth in the air, and bumping painfully against his senses as he moved. Now the crackling grew, and he pressed his lips together as he tried to focus more on the energy. Where is it coming from?
Saranbo looked around curiously. He was able to feel the presence of two armors before, but now he barely sensed one. Odd. He materialized fully for a better look around the area, inspecting the odd contraption they were near moments before. He saw no one there.
When Seiji spotted the demon, he grabbed Shin's shoulder and pointed. Shin looked in that direction and froze. Its aura saturated the air and it smelled heavily of dead fish. Even as Shin prepared for the fight, he felt a wave of disappointment fill his mind. We were right… it's not over, yet. He glanced at Seiji and realized that the other youth shared the sentiment, despite what he'd said the previous evening. Seiji's gaze hardened, though, and Shin felt his own resolve firm up as well.
We don't have time to mourn for a brief vacation. Now is the time to fight!
"Come out little senshi! Come out and face me!"
Shin and Seiji quietly summoned their armors. The air around them glowed briefly as the energy gathered around them, then formed into the Korin and Suiko armors. Shin signaled for Seiji to stay hidden, and the other senshi nodded in understanding and remained crouched as Shin crawled over the slope away from him. When he was a ways away, Shin stood up and called out, "Who are you? What do you want?"
Saranbo turned to look at the light blue senshi and raised his weapon in a sort of mock salute. "Ahh… so there you are. Where is your friend hiding?"
Shin kept his expression focused and annoyed. This enemy had either been spying on them or could sense them. He didn't look like the typical Youja and certainly wasn't any of the Demon Mashou, unless they'd had a drastic armor change. And bad as they were, they never stank of dead fish.
Seiji frowned at the stranger. This newcomer's aura was a far more oppressive darkness than the Youja and more on par with the Mashou. Even stronger, perhaps. It wasn't as bad as Arago, but Seiji would not underestimate him. The blonde senshi kept his hand on his sword hilt, ready to leap out and attack to help Shin at any moment.
"Who are you?" Shin repeated. "What do you want?"
The stranger chuckled, "Quite a bit of bluster, huh? I am Sarenbo, little senshi. And I want the white armor - the Shiroi Kikotei - that struck down Arago."
What is it with these people and armors? Seiji thought. Nothing but power-hungry monsters. Don't they have anything better to do?
"It's not here," Shin replied. "And I wouldn't give it to you even if it was."
Sarenbo studied him for a moment. "Do you honestly think me a fool? To accept the word of a mere human? You senshi have the armor, and I want it!" Sarenbo turned his head and looked around, "Or perhaps your friend has it."
Seiji leapt into the air seconds before the area where he'd been hiding was struck by a spout of boiling water. Shin threw a Cho Ryu Ha at Sarenbo while his attention was elsewhere, but it struck only air as the demon dodged. Seiji unsheathed his sword and struck out at the demon, who moved faster than Seiji had and struck the senshi in the back with his spear.
Seiji cried out and fell to the ground. The blow had winded him.
Shin aimed and fired a torrent of freezing water at Sarenbo. Instead of dodging, the demon sent an attack back at Shin through the senshi's own water torrent. Shin cried out as he felt his hands and chest begin to burn. He leapt away, barely holding onto his yari.
Seiji got up and moved to attack again, but Sarenbo, ending his own attack, turned and threw a bolt of energy at him, catching him in the air. The electricity made Seiji cry out in pain.
Shin tried to stand, still recovering from Sarenbo's attack. Before he could even try to form another attack, Sarenbo threw the same energy-based attack at him, and Shin felt only pain.
Sarenbo felt the auras that were no longer mostly hidden from him shine once more in his mind. Neither was strong enough to be the white armor, even combined. "Hmph. Waste of my time." He vanished.
Without his presence, the attack collapsed and Seiji and Shin fell, free, to the ground. Their armors deactivated, and they simply lay for a bit, panting in pain.
Seiji finally got up and dragged himself to Shin, who was sweating profusely and had a pink face. "Shin, are you okay? Can you move?"
Shin turned his head to look at Seiji blearily, then pushed himself up a little. "Yeah, but I feel like I was used as someone's punching bag."
"We need to regroup with the others so we can take this guy down if he comes back. He found us – he might have already found them."
"Or he could be watching us. He could have found us by dumb luck, and now he's just waiting for us to lead him to the others."
Seiji deactivated his sub-yoroi and pulled out his cellphone, dialing the house. While he waited for a pick-up, he said, quietly to Shin, who sat up next to him, "Don't mention… Black Hair, okay?"
Wondering if the attack had fried more than his energy stores, Shin asked, hesitantly, "What? Why would I? What's the significance of-?"
"He doesn't know which of us has the armor. If we don't tell him – it can stay that way."
"Hello?" Shu's voice made Seiji smile. They aren't being attacked at the house. Yet, at least. I hope demons can't track cellphone signals…
"Shu, get Touma! We've been attacked by another demon and we need to form a plan of attack. He wants the Shiroi Kikotei."
"Shu, we might not have a lot of time! We don't know where he went! He just beat us up and vanished!"
The line went silent for a moment, and then Seiji heard Shu running along the wooden floors in the house. "Touma! The guys got attacked!"
"Here!" There was a lot of clattering as the phone changed hands, was dropped, picked up, and Touma stuck it on speaker, "Hello?"
"Touma! Can you go somewhere where it's just you and Shu?"
"Just do it."
Silence for a moment, and then there was the sound of more footsteps, the sound of an opening and then closing door, and then Touma said, "All right, what happened?"
"Shin and I were attacked by a demon named Sarenbo. He just showed up out of nowhere and took us out like we were nothing. He said he wanted the white armor. And you were right – he called it the Shiroi Kikotei."
"Good news and bad then. Sarenbo's not the name of any of the demons we know the names of," Touma said. "Could he be another of Arago's soldiers?"
"I don't know. He just attacked us and trapped us in this electric orb thing after he spoke about the armor. I think he knows that Shin and I don't have it, and now he's waiting to find you." Seiji looked around as he spoke, reaching out with his senses for a hint of Sarenbo. Where is… there! "He's still here, waiting for us to lead him back to you."
"We'll come find you! We can take him out together!"
"You don't understand. He completely wiped the floor with us! He was faster than me and stronger than Shin." He lowered his voice. "If he takes you out and realizes that you don't have it…"
"…He'll go after Ryo."
Touma was silent for a while, and then he said, "Then we'll just make sure we finish him off. The four of us should be strong enough to handle one enemy."
"I'm not so sure about that. We're all still recovering. We got past Arago out of sheer luck most of the time, and now we're fighting even worse enemies than the Mashou ever were. And we can't have all of us around because someone is still out of commission."
"Well, what other choice do we have? Wait for him to kill you in order to drag us out? Wait for him to find us anyway? Even if we wanted to, we can't just hand him the Shiroi Kikotei. I still have no idea how we summoned it in the first place, and that's assuming it can be done outside of the special circumstances presented during our battle with Arago. And even if we knew how, we can't just give a demon a weapon of that magnitude! You saw what they did when Arago didn't even know we had something like that. If they had the Shiroi Kikotei, our world is gone."
"And then there's the fact that it would probably kill Ryo in the state he's in if he summoned it again," Touma replied. "Or any of us if one of us got to wear it this time around, especially if it picks you or Shin, from the sound of things."
"I know …" Seiji looked at Shin, who returned his hard gaze. "All right. Meet us here. Just you, though. There's no need to wake up people who could really use a rest and don't need an excuse to get themselves killed. We can take care of this." He looked at Shin, "We have to."
"All right, where are you?"
"Ryo, you have lessons to take care of today. Are you going to sleep through it all?"
When he opened his eyes to stare at the ceiling of the now-very-familiar room, Ryo wondered why exactly his mother had appeared to him. It was an odd break from the storm of memories and emotions from the battle with Arago that had been plaguing him. Seeing that she wasn't there to greet him almost made things worse. He missed her.
He sat up and looked around in the afternoon light. Byakuen growled and Ryo reached out a hand to pet the tiger.
When his stomach growled, Ryo laughed, before adding, " I guess I should go get some food." He got up and walked slowly to the door with Byakuen's help, the tiger acting as a mock crutch/bannister for him to hold.
"Hello?" No reply came to his call, so he listened for a bit. He couldn't hear anyone. He turned and walked down the stairs. He wasn't familiar with the place, so he might as well start exploring, at least a little. After his search for the bathroom earlier, he knew that there wasn't much else to explore on the second floor, anyway, and the kitchen probably wasn't up there. Once downstairs he found a living room, dining room, and kitchen, all empty. "Guys?" He called, moving to the front door and opening it to look out. He couldn't see anyone out there, either.
He shut his eyes and searched for them with his mind. He could feel Byakuen beside him, but he couldn't sense any of the others. "I guess they're all out…" He glanced at the landline but he had no idea what the others' cellphone numbers were. When Arago had first struck, technology had been disabled all over the city. The senshi had not exchanged numbers while fighting Arago, and if they had after they defeated Arago for good, Ryo had not been awake for it.
I really don't like this. I don't like being babysat, but I don't think it's really practical or normal to leave someone who's... sick on their own. Plus, where would they go? It's not like any of us are really fit to do anything yet.
He shook his head and looked down at Byakuen, "It's doesn't really matter, does it? I'm in no shape to ride a bike or run around looking for them. And even if I could, then what? I'd probably just fall over and they'd have to carry me back. A great deal of use I'd be."
So instead he moved into the kitchen and started trying to find something to eat.
He couldn't ignore the distant buzzing in his mind, like he should remember something. But it didn't feel like a demon or some other threat, so he did his best to focus elsewhere.
Touma and Shu, both wearing their sub-yorois, raced towards where Seiji and Shin said they were waiting. They were making good progress as they ran – faster than they could have done on bikes.
"You know we're probably walking into a trap," Touma commented as he watched the path ahead, trying not to smile too much at the feel of the wind in his hair as they leapt forward.
"Yeah, well, then at least we'll have someone to fight," Shu replied, "I was getting antsy. Besides, who can handle the four of us, together?"
"The Mashou and Arago seemed to have an easy time of it," Touma commented drily, "or just a bunch of Youja."
"Well… that was before! We're a lot… stronger now and we… uh…"
"I guess you're right," Touma replied, "We're at least a little stronger than we were. It's hard to tell with the recovery and all, but… I do feel a little stronger than I used to. It's like-like I'm more in tune with my armor or something. Then again, we are doing this, aren't we?" He gestured down to the ground they covered as they moved along.
Shu smiled, "Yeah… now that you mention it." He looked at the ground curiously, "It's not that so much as… I can feel the earth beneath us. The layers, the weight, the strength. Like it's a part of my body. Things weren't like that before."
"It could be related to the Shiroi Kikotei," Touma said, "or what happened with Arago… We'll have to talk about it later, and see how much our powers have changed. Right now, we need to focus on defeating this new demon. Hope he doesn't just pop out of thin air any time soon. I'd hate to be running to rescue friends and then get caught and need rescuing ourselves."
"Which means that's probably exactly what he'll do," Shu replied, "Hopefully he's looking in another direction than the one we're coming from." He grinned and then gasped, "Touma, get off the road!"
Touma turned and leapt up to the top of a cliff, stumbling over some brush, followed by Shu, who whacked his comrade on the shoulder as he landed beside him.
"Kus-!" Touma gagged as Shu grabbed him and pushed him down against the ground. An explosion sounded behind them, and shards of concrete and dirt clods flew through the air. The pair shut their eyes against the dust.
Shu sat back up and crawled to the edge of the cliff, summoning his armor. Touma rubbed his side and looked around. He saw a rising pillar of smoke from where they'd been. He stared, shocked, before fumbling his way up to a standing position. He paused for a moment to look around again, then deactivated his sub-yoroi, grabbed his phone and called Seiji.
"He's here!" Shu called out. "He spotted us! Come out you asshole!"
Sarenbo materialized mid-air before the pair and Touma, staring in shock, fumbled with his first response to Seiji's question, then shouted, "He's here! We're a little ways up the road from you! Gotta go!" He stuffed his phone in his pocket and summoned his armor.
"Ahh, more senshi. Do you have the Shiroi Kikotei?"
Shu raised his sansetsukon and growled, "Maybe we do, maybe we don't. You're not getting it in any case!"
"Hmph. Humans are too much trouble." Sarenbo threw a bolt of electricity at Shu, who deflected it back at the demon. Sarenbo easily dodged with a laugh.
"Ahh, you're a little stronger than your friends. That's pleasant."
"Haah!" Shu jumped and swung his sansetsukon at Sarenbo, who dodged aside. And so basically leapt into a side-hit by one of Touma's arrows. The demon was knocked out of the air.
"Darn it, Touma, I had him!"
Touma nocked another arrow and replied, "Sure you did."
Sarenbo pushed himself out of the indent he'd made in the ground, aimed, and fired another bolt of electricity back in the direction of the two senshi. Shu, already running for him, dodged aside. Touma had leapt into the sky earlier as the demon moved, aiming down at Sarenbo. He let loose another arrow, only this time Sarenbo was ready. He dodged the shot, aimed and fired off a column of water at Touma, who simply moved aside, grinning, "You're kidding! Trying to get me while I'm up here!" He fired another shot, and Sarenbo leapt into the air to dodge.
And then Shu landed a blow straight at the demon's head, knocking him into the ground.
"I don't get it," Shu commented, swinging his weapon in preparation for a final attack, "This guy took out Seiji and Shin? What, were they asleep?"
"Don't let your guard down!"
"I know, I know! One dead demon coming up." He started to run towards where Sarenbo had fallen, and so wasn't ready when a ball of lightning fell from the sky and surrounded him completely. A wave of pain went through him and he cried out.
"Shu!" Touma looked up and dodged another blast from Sarenbo, who had vanished and reappeared much higher up in the air. Touma aimed and fired up at him, but Sarenbo simply fired back a wave of boiling water, which went through Touma's attack and surrounded the senshi in another orb of energy.
The ceramic cup of water Ryo was lifting to his lips fell out of his hand and shattered on the floor, splattering his feet with hot tea. He put his arm out and leaned against the wall to try and deal with the wave of dizziness. He had a brief vision of Touma and Shu screaming inside glowing bubbles of crackling energy. "Ugh… the guys… where are… they're in pain. Why... why can I…?"
Byakuen growled and nuzzled his left leg, making Ryo look down at him. "Yeah, I… I don't know Byakuen. I…" He looked to the door. "I've gotta find them. I just… I have to help." The thought crossed his mind that he didn't even have any shoes on and he'd probably just kill himself or someone else trying to be brave.
The dizziness colored with the auras of the others went through his head again and he groaned. "Gotta go. Gotta find them…" He moved towards the door.
Byakuen growled again and pushed him away.
Ryo looked down at the tiger and frowned, "Byakuen, I have to go. The guys, they… they're hurt. I don't get how I know, I don't know… I don't know that I can help… the armor might-it might take over again, and I don't know what it'll do, then. But I have to go. I have to." Do I just want to go because there might be a fight? Is that what I want?
But he wasn't sensing an enemy. He was just feeling the others. He could feel their pain, and it made him queasy and angry. Angry at whatever was hurting them. Maybe that was just another excuse for the monster in his chest– nobility in the face of greed. But it was the answer he needed: an excuse to leave.
"I have to go. I don't know what's out there. I don't know what I have to do, but I need to go help them.
Byakuen made a mewling sound, but Ryo pushed his way past and out the door.
"Hmph, you don't have the armor either." Sarenbo snorted. "I've fought four of you now. There should be five. I wonder where the fifth is hiding."
"Dammit we're too late!" Seiji ran forward, wincing as he moved. Shin followed close behind, moving even slower than him.
"So you survived," Sarenbo aimed down at them, "Perhaps now you'll tell me where the Shiroi Kikotei is."
"Never!" Seiji aimed and slashed down with a Rai Ko Zan at Sarenbo. Unfortunately, the demon dodged and trapped Seiji, who didn't move fast enough, in another ball of electrical energy, which slammed backward into Shin, trapping the other senshi as well.
"This could have gone easier on you all if you gave me what I wanted. Tell me where the white armor is!"
None of them replied. They focused on escape, struggling and trying to keep enough focus to summon an attack to destroy the traps or attack their captor. But the constant pain from the spell made any real focus impossible.
"Tell me where the last member of your little party is! I wager the armor is with him. If you do so, I will kill you all quickly. If not…" He increased the power output, making them all cry out in pain once more.
Ryo clenched Byakuen's fur as the cat ran down the road. He had his sub-yoroi on. He was very concerned that if he put on the Rekka armor, it would significantly decrease the time he would have to be valuable. Sure, he needed to be ready, but he didn't need to use up his energy just sitting on Byakuen's back. Even this was hard, what with the increasing dizziness as they got closer to the others. His heart raced as he contemplated going back into another battle.
None of the others were home. He didn't have any numbers to call. He hadn't found any notes. There were no signs of an attack at the building or along their route.
A demon should create more destruction… and if one of the others used one of their armor's attacks, there should be more destruction. That's all the armors are, really. Weapons of chaos. If I can find that, I'll find them.
He caught sight of the skid marks on the road and looked around for a car. Sure, it might be something completely unrelated, but with the luck the Yoroi Senshi had…
It's not like I could even recognize a car I've never seen if I saw it. I guess if they're just nearby… They feel close.
Byakuen slid to a halt as they came upon a large crater in the road. Ryo stared in shock, and Byakuen had to start moving again, circumventing the crater to move past it, for him to get back on track. "I guess that means we're probably close." He looked around and felt for his friends again, looking, of course, further along the road. He frowned as he heard voices, and tried to listen harder. "Byakuen, I have a feeling they're that way." He pointed, and the tiger sped off.
"You know that you're all going to die if you keep this up," Sarenbo said, looking over the senshi floating in the air, crying out in pain. "I'm amazed you've all even managed to remain conscious for so long. The armors are truly items of incredible value." He looked over them again, measuring. Even now, all together, they weren't enough to equal the power that had defeated Arago. There was something missing… "Tell me where the armor is, you fools, or die by inches!"
Sarenbo turned to look down at Ryo, who now wore the Rekka armor, having summoned it as he neared the scene. He stood with Byakuen on the road and looked up at the demon and the orbs of energy floating beside him.
Ryo took in the sight of the others trapped in the energy orbs. Now that he was so close, the dizziness was slightly starting to blur his vision a bit. He tried to stand as still as possible to maintain some appearance of strength. I hope I don't collapse any time soon... The sight of the demon floating in the air before the others… Some sort of black and white frog armor monster… Memories of the battle with Arago returned. All the others captured and Ryo, injured and unable to help them...
A spike of anger made him unsheathe his swords.
Huh? Ryo looked around. Who said that?
The urgency was eerie and Ryo did not like having a creepy voice in his head encouraging him to fight and kill something. He tried to ignore it and demanded, "Let them go!" Oh yeah, that'll stop him.
"So, the last of the senshi!" Sarenbo replied, moving closer. "You must have the Shiroi Kikotei. Give it to me!"
Ryo took a step back. "What?"
Sarenbo vanished and reappeared a bare foot in front of him. He continued, "I grow weary of this game. Where is the white armor?"
"I-I don't-!" Ryo tried to jump out the way, but Sarenbo slashed down at him with a powerful blow the red senshi barely managed to block, which still knocked him back into the dirt.
"Your friends are dying, senshi," Sarenbo raised his pike to point at Ryo, "as you will die. Give me the white armor if you value any of your lives!" As the demon started to move forward, Byakuen roared and leapt, knocking the demon back with a blow to his shoulder. With a snarl, Byakuen forced the demon even further back from Ryo. Sarenbo eyed the tiger darkly. "Stupid beast! You think that you can stop me?" The demon leapt backward and attacked with another burst of boiling water. Byakuen dodged aside, snatching Ryo with him as he leapt by grabbing the boy's left arm in his jaws.
Ryo looked over at the others. He didn't know how long they'd been trapped like that or how much more they could take.
Now that, he didn't have to argue with! He pulled his arm out of Byakuen's grasp as the tiger stopped, aimed and shot a burst of flame at Sarenbo, hoping to just kill him and end the trap spell.
Sarenbo dodged and struck back at the senshi with another blast of boiling water, drenching him and knocking him away from Byakuen and into the nearby cliff-face. Ryo cried out and stumbled to his knees. Only then did he start to feel the acid. It burned through his armor and pushed the dizziness back through whatever force was pushing him on to fight, making him feel even more tired. Combining that with his only partially recovered body… Byakuen moved protectively in front of him, snarling again at Sarenbo.
Sarenbo moved closer and laughed. "Is that all? You didn't even last a fraction of the time the others did. How pathetic." He pointed his pike down at Ryo's head and continued, "You clearly don't have the armor either. Such a weakling could never have something so powerful. Your aura, too, is far too weak for what I search for. Die!"
Ryo could feel the power build-up in the demon's weapon and urged his body to move. To fight back, even though he felt so weak… I can't let Arago win. Can't let-
Just as Sarenbo's attack flew at Ryo, a white light exploded before the demon, knocking him back.
"What the-what was that?" The demon stammered as he flew higher into the air.
Fire… Ryo could feel the flames wrapping around his body, forming the white armor from his battle with Arago. It's the one from before. The Shiroi Kikotei! He cringed as pain filled him. It burns! He floated in the air for a few moments after the armor's full formation, trying to move through the pain. It was a thousand times worse than even falling into the volcano had been.
The smoke and light cleared and Sarenbo was able to get a full look at the senshi standing before him.
"There it is… the armor that defeated Arago." Sarenbo could feel the heat coming off of it as if he stood beside an enormous brazier. "Such an aura of power…" He raised his weapon and pointed at the senshi again, "It must be mine!"
Ryo looked at Sarenbo. The demon no longer appeared powerful and threatening, but puny and weak, like the Youja. Canon fodder.
He hurt the others and keeps them trapped…
I must destroy him!
He raised his swords and focused on Sarenbo, crying out "Rage… of… Inferno!" A great lance of red-white flame struck out at the demon, completely incinerating him where he stood before he could even send off another attack. The energy spheres vanished, and the other senshi fell to the ground.
Ryo could feel the burst of fire as it blazed beyond the spot where Sarenbo died, burning towards the sky and lighting up the entire area.
Ryo waited until the attack faded away, but saw nothing left. He reached out to find other demons, perhaps underlings Sarenbo had hidden for emergencies. But there was nothing. He couldn't feel the demon at all – he was most definitely dead.
The pushing voice in his head was powerful, but common sense won through. He's gone. There isn't any one else to battle… All Ryo could feel were the weak auras of the other senshi. As his mind reached for them, it broke through that strange presence's hold, and he saw the other senshi lying on the ground in pain. My friends! They're hurt!
Byakuen approached Ryo, who turned to look at the tiger. The burning aura around his body dimmed, and the rush of adrenaline from the attack faded. He felt how heavy his limbs were.
"Bya—" He fell forward and lay on the ground, his face in the dirt. The Shiroi Kikotei vanished, and he wore his pajamas again. Burns marked his shoulders and his arms where the acid had gotten to him. His feet were covered in dirt and cuts. He didn't move.
Hidden by the clouds, Sarenbo watched the dissipation of the attack that had destroyed his shadow. "Extraordinary," He exclaimed. "I truly must make that armor mine!"
A/N: In case this is a bit confusing, I just want to put this here: I know the original anime was created in the 80s. For the sake of plot bunnies, the story has been moved up to the present. I'm sure we'll see more on that later.