Ultimate Hurricane: Chapter Three prologue

 

Angel Grove, three days ago

 

The demon hunter named Eiji Takaoka leaned down and pressed his palm against the street. He closed his eyes and reached out with his senses.

 

No older than 17, the boy searched for a particular brand of demon: The Ashu, a demon tribe that had killed his father. He hunted all sorts of evil spirits and demons. But he pursued the Ashu most of all.

 

The demon hunter couldn’t sense any Ashu nearby, but he sensed something strange. A small gathering of powerful demons. Too powerful to ignore.

 

He knitted his brow with concern and dashed away to investigate.

 

Chapter Three: Ultimate Hurricane

Saga of the Blood

 

Simon shuffled in his hotel bed. He couldn’t sleep, despite his exhaustion. His mind drifted to the Sabbath and his fight against Azmodai. He wanted nothing more than to kill the demon.

 

He shifted under his blankets. He couldn’t help feeling such strong hatred for Azmodai. The demon had possessed his birth father. The Black Queen of the Hellfire Club had forced the memory into his mind. He couldn’t stop thinking about what had happened.

 

Madelyn smiled down at her infant son’s crib. She reached down and traced a finger along baby Simon’s cheek.

 

“The potential is there…” she whispered. “But I was hoping for more.”

 

Her mate, John, wrapped his arms around her from behind. He had short, sandy-blonde hair and neatly-trimmed beard stubble across his squared jaw. “There are ways to ignite that potential,” he whispered. “Blood Magick.”

 

Madelyn smiled wickedly. “You are full of surprises, my dear.”

 

John smiled and kissed her neck, and for a moment, his eyes looked solid-black. “I’ve only begun to show you my tricks.”

 

John moved to the side of the crib and rolled back his sleeve. The infant cried, terrified at the sight of his father. The man whispered an incantation in a language known only in the depths of Hell, pulled a dagger from his belt, and slashed across his forearm.

 

The man’s blood dripped onto Simon, into the infant’s mouth.

 

John staggered, grabbed his head, and nearly collapsed. “Someone is fussy today…”

 

“Is it John?” Madelyn asked.

 

The man nodded. “The Blood Magick weakened me. But I’ll be able to…”

 

John screamed and dropped to his knees, and from his mouth, a column of black smoke erupted and shot into the air. The man’s body convulsed as if vomiting until the smoke cleared. He collapsed onto all fours and breathed heavily, his body sweating.

 

“What…what did you do…?” He looked up, eyes wide and maddening. “What did you do?!”

 

Madelyn laughed wickedly. “John…it’s so nice to speak with you again. It’s been over a year, hasn’t it?”

 

“I…” he said. “I remember everything. You…you!”

 

“Yes. Me, me,” Madelyn said with much amusement. “You made a lovely host for my friend Azmodai. And we have such a lovely child as a result.”

 

“Azmodai…” John whispered hoarsely. “A…demon…”

 

“Of course,” Madelyn said. “One who has visited me since childhood. But only recently did I become strong enough to help him take possession of others. You were his first host, and you performed so well.”

 

She turned back towards the crib and lifted Simon from his sheets. “Thank you for this gift…”

 

John tried to call out, but his body collapsed, slipping into unconsciousness.

 

The Black Queen used Azmodai to give birth to five other children. Simon knew one of them: Samuel, who could become the Golden Knight called Garo. He didn’t know the other four.

 

They were tainted. All of them. Children of Azmodai, the First Demon, son of the Dark One.

 

Simon closed his eyes tightly and rubbed his eyelids. He’d spent a year wanting to learn the truth about his birth parents. Now he wished he could forget that truth. That secret had ruined his life.

 

Zadie opened the hotel door and walked into the room. She flopped onto Simon’s bed so hard that the mattress bounced. She leaned her chin on her hands and smiled at the teen.

 

“You naked under those covers?” she asked with a smile.

 

Simon groaned and rolled aside. “It’s 3 a.m.”

 

Don’t be a lame-ass,” she said. “You’re young and virile. Act like it.”

 

“Please leave me alone,” he said as he buried his face in his pillow. “You’re so loud…”

 

“Well, I am a moaner.”

 

“Ugh.” He rolled over to look at her. “What did you find?”

 

“Our first target,” she said. “He’s pretty low as far as lower demons go. It’ll be good practice.”

 

Zadie planned to help Simon track demons and sap their life energy, giving him the power to fight against Azmodai.

 

“I don’t need practice,” Simon said. “The sooner we get this done, the—what are you doing?”

 

Zadie was shuffling under the covers and cuddling next to him before he could stop her. “I’m not paying for my own room.”

 

“But you can’t-”

 

“Whoa…” Zadie said. “Someone’s awake.”

 

Simon blushed and rolled his back to her. “It’s involuntary, I can assure you.”

 

“Just keep telling yourself that, blondie,” Zadie said.

 

Simon sighed and closed his eyes. Oddly, he found it easy to drift off to sleep.

 

***

 

Rachel had been sleeping in bed when she heard something stir outside her window. Her mind had panicked, immediately thinking the worst, until she noticed the stained-glass reflection coming from outside.

 

Kiva had come to her.

 

***

 

Rachel sat with Kiva in the crypt the Kamen Rider called home. The being of stained glass listened to Rachel talk about her adventures in Japan and England, as well as the Sabbath.

 

“I’m glad you returned home safely,” Kiva said.

 

“Me too,” Rachel said. “I wish you hadn’t disappeared. We could have used your help.”

 

“I’m sorry,” Kiva said. “I thought it best to keep my distance.”

 

“No need to apologize.”

 

“But there is,” he said. “Rachel, I don’t belong here. I was foolish to think I could blend in with this world. I was foolish to think you could actually care for me. A freak, with stained-glass skin.”

 

“I think it makes you look beautiful,” she said.

 

Kiva smiled. “Then why…”

 

“It’s Blake,” Rachel said. “I’m with him. I…I love him. It has nothing to do with you, or whether you belong. You’re a friend. And we want you here.”

 

“Even after Demon City?” Kiva asked. “Even after I left Kou behind?”

 

“Friends forgive,” Rachel said. “Besides, you were just trying to keep us safe.”

 

“That is true,” Kiva said. “So…with you and Blake. That means...you and I…can never be more?”

 

Rachel nodded. “I’m sorry, Kiva.”

 

She laid her palm on his hand. But he pulled away. “No need to apologize…” he stood and walked towards the crypt’s exit. “I must be going.”

 

***

 

Simon followed Zadie towards a bar called the Terminal the next night.

 

The bar was in Angel Grove’s Crown Point neighborhood, one of the many run-down and broken sections of the city. The Terminal sat at the corner of a strip mall mostly vacated, with the exception of a jail bondsman and adult pornography shop. The rest of the storefronts were boarded and abandoned.

 

“This seems like the kind of place you’d want to go, that’s for sure,” Simon said.

 

“See,” Zadie said with a smile. “You’re getting to know me already.”

 

“Unfortunately,” Simon said.

 

They walked into the dimly-lit bar and took a seat at a rear booth. The bar reeked of stale beer and urine. Only a handful of people sat inside.

 

“Are you sure this is the right place?” Simon asked.

 

“Don’t doubt me, pretty boy,” she said. “I’ve been hunting since I was a kid. I know how to track a low-level demon. He’ll be here…”

 

“Who is he?” Simon said.

 

“Lars,” Zadie said.

 

Simon arced an eyebrow. “Lars?”

 

“I know, right?” Zadie said. “You can’t make this shit up. I think he was a lawyer before a demon hopped up his ass. Demons have a thing for lawyers. Cliché, but true.”

 

The bar doors opened, and a suited man walked inside. His suit was wrinkled and dirtied, and his briefcase was worn. He wore glasses over his wrinkled face, and his brown hair was tinted with shades of gray. He walked up to the bar and took a seat.

 

“That’s him,” Zadie said. “Man, his soul’s going to taste rank. I don’t envy you.”

 

“That’s disgusting,” Simon said.

 

“You’re the one who’s going to be doing it.”

 

“Stop,” Simon said. “God, you’re annoying.”

 

“You love me,” she said. “And your love will lift me free from the darkness of my soul, right?” She laughed. “No, no, I’m kidding.”

 

A waitress walked up to their table. She wore a tight skirt and low-cut blouse. “Can I get you two something?”

 

“Time and Xanex,” Zadie said. “How about-”

 

The waitress grabbed Zadie by the hair and slammed her head against the table.

 

“Hey!” Simon shot to his feet.

 

The waitress smashed the back of her fist across the teen’s head. The blow hurled him backward, and he crashed against a wall.

 

Dazed, Zadie grabbed the waitress by the arm and slammed a roundkick against her gut. But the waitress twisted free, grabbed Zadie by the arm, and tossed her across the bar.

 

Zadie crashed against the wall and landed next to Simon.

 

The two teens climbed to their feet.

 

No one in the bar seemed disturbed. They all walked slowly towards the ranger and hunter, and their eyes turned solid-black—they were possessed by demons.

 

Zadie started to recognize them. Along with Lars and the slutty waitress, there was the fat bartender, the punk dressed in gold chains, the dumb-looking juicehead, the dirty man who looked half asleep, the teen with an arrogant smile and the man with the cold-as-ice glare.

 

She had never seen them in human form, but knew who they were. Every demon hunter did.

 

“Shit,” Zadie said. “We’re fucked. Not literally…thanks to you. But figuratively.”

 

There’s only eight of them,” Simon said.

 

“These aren’t just any demons…except for Lars, he’s a bag of crap. I’m talking about the others,” she said. “They’re the Seven Deadly Sins.”

 

Simon rolled his hands into fists. “…Son of a bitch.”

 

***

 

Kiva walked onto a high-rise building and looked towards the skies. He was ready to go home, no matter how much he hated it there. At least there, in the Blood Dimension, he had a purpose. He belonged.

 

He stepped back into his transformation pose as a bat-like buckler formed from his waist.

 

Kivvatto! His body rippled and transformed into his suit of armor.

 

He looked upward and felt the fabric of time and space. His body felt attuned to the strands of reality in this dimension, and he pulled on those strands, opening a portal into the Blood Dimension.

 

“Goodbye…Rachel…” he whispered.

 

The portal snapped open, shaped like a crimson bat with wide wings, contained in a circle.

 

Kiva looked up at the portal and hesitated. Was he being too rash? No, he thought. He had to go home. The human world filled him with too much pain and sorrow.

 

Kamen Rider Kiva crouched down to leap upward towards the portal. But the portal surged with a violent flash of energy that nearly knocked the Rider off his feet. 

 

Three creatures dropped from the portal and landed on the rooftop.

 

New Bitmap ImageThe creatures were monsters with bodies that looked like stained glass: a spider monster colored with shades of yellow, green and purple. A moth-like creature with shades of yellow and orange. And a beetle-like monster colored with shades of red. 

 

Another figure dropped to the ground in front of the monsters. He looked human, with skin of stained glass colored various shades of blue. 

 

He looked up with icy-blue eyes and smiled. “Thank you for that…brother…”

 

Kiva took a step back with shock. “Saga? How…”

 

“You killed our father,” Saga said. “Did you really think I was going to let that go? You’re as foolish as these…what are they called? Oh, yes…mortals…”

 

Dozens of monsters dropped from the portal, landed on the rooftop, and leapt to the streets.

 

“No!” Kiva shouted. “What are you-

 

Saga extended his palm. An invisible burst of energy sparked against Kiva and whipped him off his feet.

 

“I knew you’d open a portal eventually,” Saga said. “I’ve been waiting, with my army of Fangaira.”

 

“You’ve always been mad.”

 

“And you’ve always been weak,” Saga said. He looked to his creatures. “Take him alive. I need his power.”

 

The three monsters lunged forward to attack.

 

Kiva returned the charge, tackled against Fang Spider, and hurled the monster backward. He looked to his left and bashed a sidekick against Fang Beetle, then turned to his right and bashed a roundkick against Fang Moth. 

 

Saga watched with approval. “You’ve improved. Where was that vigor when we fought against the Basshaa in the Fringe Dimensions?”

 

Fang Moth armed a stained-glass sword and swung towards the Rider. Kiva dodged. But the creature swung the blade upward with a strike that sparked across Kiva’s armor, knocking him back a step.

 

The creature speared its sword towards Kiva’s gut. The blade sparked against the Rider’s waist—but the Rider’s bat-like buckler had caught the blade in its mouth. Kiva knocked the blade aside and stepped forward with a flurry of punches that knocked the monster back a step with each blow.

 

Fang Spider thwipped a webline from its jaws. The web of stained glass wrapped around Kiva’s neck and whipped him backward.

 

Kamen Rider Kiva crashed back-first against the rooftop.

 

Fang Beetle leapt upward and dropped onto Kiva while smashing its knee against the Rider’s chest.

 

***

 

Saitan, the Demon of Wrath with the ice-cold glare, barred the doors. “Hello, Zadie,” he said. “I’ve heard a lot about you…”

 

Simon armed his morpher, but Zadie lowered his arm.

 

“Don’t use your crutch,” she said.

 

Saitan tilted his head with amusement. “My, my…a Power Ranger. I didn’t think you bothered with the likes of us.”

 

“We don’t,” Simon said.

 

Saitan chuckled. “Yes, of course not.”

 

The fat bartender licked his lips. He smiled wickedly, his solid-black eyes wide with hunger. He was Belzebub, the Demon of Gluttony. “Can I eat them now?”

 

“I get his morpher,” said the Demon of Greed named Mammon, the punk with the gold chains.

 

The waitress, the Demon of Lust named Asmodanna, sat on Lars’s lap and traced her fingers through his hair. “You’ve done well, bringing her here…” she purred. “Very well.”

 

Simon glanced at Zadie. “If you’ve been doing this for so long, how could you not tell this was a trap?

 

“I’m sorry the demons I fight don’t look like they’re wearing rubber suits,” she said. 

 

Saitan chuckled. “You got that tongue of yours from your father.”

 

Zadie narrowed her eyes. “Don’t go there.”

 

“Have I hit a sore-

 

Zadie charged forward.

 

“Zadie, no!” Simon shouted.

 

Saitan’s eyes flared red. An invisible energy blast slammed against Zadie and hurled her against the wall.

 

Mammon charged at the fallen girl, but Simon rushed to her defense.

 

“Whirling Knuckle!” He charged his fist with wind energy and swung a punch towards the demon.

 

Tendrils of shadow suddenly wrapped around the teen’s arm, snaked across his body and pushed him upward. The shadows smashed the ranger against the ceiling.

 

The tendrils released, and Simon crashed onto the floor. He looked up to face the arrogant teenager, the Demon of Pride named Lucypher. The shadowy tendrils recoiled back into the shadow the boy cast across the floor.

 

Lucypher swung a kick towards the fallen ranger’s head. But Simon caught the demon’s leg and kicked the villain off his feet. The Demon of Pride crashed against the floor.

 

Nearby, Mammon swung a punch towards Zadie’s face. Zadie sidestepped and blocked the punch while bashing a roundkick against the demon’s chest. Her kick smashed against what felt like solid rock.

 

She winced and snapped a roundkick towards Mammon’s head. The kick smashed against the back of his skull—which felt like striking iron.

 

“Tough skin,” Zadie said as she stepped back and unsheathed her dagger. “You must have one hell of a dermatologist.”

 

Mammon’s eyes brightened at the sight of the dagger. He wanted it. He clawed towards the demon hunter.

 

Zadie blocked the blow, stepped closer, and stabbed her blade through the demon’s shoulder. She pulled the dagger free and kicked Mammon backward, knocking the demon to the floor.

 

Mammon hissed with annoyance and grasped his wound, which crackled with tendrils of crimson sparks. “That wasn’t very nice. Ancient demon-killing knife of the Turks?”

 

“Kurds,” Zadie said. “Close enough.”

 

Mammon smiled and climbed back to his feet. The sparks of crimson energy knitted his wound back together, completely repairing the injury.

 

“A demon hunter tried to use one of those against me once,” Mammon said. “I claimed his skull as part of my collection.”

 

“How are you not dead?” Zadie asked.

 

“Did you really think that toothpick would be strong enough to kill demons as powerful as the Seven Deadly Sins?”

 

“It might not kill you,” Zadie said. “But I bet it hurts.”

 

She hurled the dagger at the demon. The blade plunged through his face, whipping his body backward as he screamed.

 

Meanwhile, Simon pressed his attack towards Saitan. The ranger snapped a volley of punches and kicks the Demon of Wrath easily blocked.

 

Saitan blocked a kick, sidestepped and bashed a bashed a punch against the ranger’s gut. The blow hurled the teen off his feet.

 

Simon crashed through a bar table that splintered to pieces. He landed near the feet of the muscular demon who looked half asleep.

 

The Demon of Sloth, Belphegor, sighed with annoyance. “Such a pain…” he muttered with a deep, slurred voice.

 

The demon slowly leaned forward and grabbed Simon by the neck. Simon smashed punches and kicks against the demon, but the villain practically yawned.

 

“Ugh…” the demon muttered. “Annoying…”

 

Belphegor hurled Simon aside. The teen smashed through the liquor shelves, shattering bottles and glass. 

 

The dumb-looking juicehead, the Demon of Envy named Levytan, walked towards the fallen ranger.

 

“You think you’re so tough, don’t you, Ranger?” the demon asked as he lifted Simon by the neck. “So special, with your pretty little powers. Where are your powers now, punk?”

 

Simon narrowed his eyes. “Careful what you ask for, asshat.” He placed his left hand against his right fist. “Ki!”

 

The ranger fired an invisible burst of Kiryoku that hurled the demon off his feet.

 

The Demon of Envy smashed through the bar door, which splintered to pieces, and crashed onto the streets outside.

 

Simon leapt onto the bar, pushed off, and smashed a flying hook kick across Saitan’s head. The blow knocked the demon back a step.

 

Zadie pulled her dagger from Mammon’s face—crimson sparks knitted the wound back together slowly and painfully—and moved to Simon’s side.

 

She turned towards the demons and hurled a handful of small vials. The vials shattered against their bodies, splashing holy water that steamed against their skin.

 

The holy water barely burned the demons, but distracted them long enough for Simon and Zadie to run through the broken bar door.

 

***

 

Kiva’s vision blurred slowly back into focus. He looked to see Saga standing next to the three Fangaira monsters. They were still on the same rooftop where the portal had appeared.

 

The Rider tried to move, but his hands and legs were tied to a post. His stained-glass form was dimmer than usual, drained by the opening of the portal and following fight.

 

“You fought well,” Saga said. “You fell quickly, but lasted longer than I expected.”

 

“Release me,” Kiva demanded.

 

“No,” Saga said. “No, I want you here.”

 

“How did you even know I’d be opening a portal?”

 

“We’re connected,” Saga said. “I’ve been watching you and these mortal friends of yours. The ones who helped you kill father.”

 

“He’s not dead, Saga,” Kiva said. “He teleported away. I assumed he returned home.”

 

“Deceit? Such a mortal quality,” Saga said. “A useless, cowardly quality. Say what you will about our people. We may be what humans call ‘bloodthirsty’, but at least we’re honest.”

 

“Release me, Saga,” Kiva demanded again.

 

“No, Kiva,” Saga said. “That name should have been mine. You squandered the title. You took it and fled. All for this mudball you know little to nothing about.”

 

“I know the people here are worth saving.”

 

“Are they? Saving by whom? You? You’ve caused more destruction than the creatures of this rock are capable of comprehending. And I mean that very literally. You and I have slaughtered dimensions. Entire dimensions.”

 

“I didn’t know any better. I didn’t know any other way,” Kiva said. “Then I came here. This place...it has changed me.”

 

Saga tilted his head back and laughed. “That’s quite the claim, brother.”

 

The villain turned his back to the Rider and looked out upon the city. “Now…pay close attention. I have a show planned for you.”

 

Saga lifted his hand to chest level and twisted his palm upward. Shades of blue energy danced across his hand and between his fingertips. Tendrils of blue energy shot upward and crashed back down like lightning, striking the three Fangaira monsters.

 

The energy blasts hurled the monsters off the rooftop. They expanded with thundering booms, growing giant and landing on the streets, which trembled on impact.   

 

Saga smiled at his creations, then looked back to his brother. “Destruction follows you everywhere. Even here.”

 

***

 

The Demon of Envy named Levytan blocked Simon and Zadie in the street.

 

Simon lunged at the demon with a flying sidekick that smashed the villain’s chest. The teen landed and spun forward with a reverse sidekick that bashed the demon backward.

 

Mammon charged towards the two teens from behind. The villain snarled with anger. “You bitch!” He shouted. “Your skull is mine!”

 

Zadie stepped back into a defensive stance.

 

Mammon lunged at Zadie and clawed towards her face. Zadie sidestepped and spun closer to Mammon, stabbing the Demon of Greed in the gut. She pulled her blade free and smashed a sidekick against the demon’s face.

 

The other demons stepped out onto the street and stalked towards Simon and Zadie—except for Lars. The lesser demon grabbed his briefcase and fled from the scene.

 

Zadie scoffed. “Useless…”

 

Simon armed his morpher.

 

Zadie grabbed his wrist. “Stop trying to do that.”

 

“Are you crazy?” he asked.

 

“We established that, pretty boy,” she said.

 

The Demon of Pride, Lucypher, smiled arrogantly. His shadow extended into tendrils that shot from the ground and speared towards the two teens.

 

Suddenly, they heard the clang of metal rings come from nearby. Hoi! Joso! Ketsu!

 

A blue wall of energy thrust from the ground in front of the teens and blocked the shadow tendrils.

 

A teenage boy landed on the street behind the barrier. He wore a dark jacket and carried a khakkhara, a Japanese monk staff. He twirled the staff into a defensive position. The stranger looked no older than 15, with medium-length black hair. The rings of his eyes seamed to glow red from certain angles.

 

“Zadie,” he said. “Haven’t seen you in a while. Still as hot as ever.”

 

“Eiji, still looking lame in that jacket,” Zadie said.

 

He aimed his fist towards the ground and pointed his index and middle fingers. Joso! A ring of blue energy formed around the three teens. Eiji thrust his arm upward. Ketsu!

 

A cylinder of blue energy shot upward, carrying the teens off the streets. The column of power extended to the rooftops, and the teens leapt from the barrier to escape.

 

***

 

Simon, Zadie and Eiji moved several blocks before coming to a stop on a rooftop.

 

Eiji leaned casually against his staff and looked at Zadie with a smug grin on his face. “You’re welcome, by the way.”

 

Simon looked to Zadie. “Who is this?”

 

“A demon hunter,” Zadie asked. “One of the Japanese versions. They think they’re fancy, with their monk staffs and stupid straw hats.”

 

“Never worn the hat,” Eiji corrected.

 

“He’s not Japanese,” Simon said.

 

“Smart stray you picked up,” Eiji said.

 

“He’s hot, and you know it,” Zadie said.

 

“This is true,” Eiji said.

 

Simon’s face turned red. “Are all demon hunters insane?”

 

“We can’t all be pictures of mental health like your Ranger friends,” Zadie said.

 

Eiji arced an eyebrow. “This guy’s a Ranger?”

 

“Stop,” Simon said. “What just happened back there?”

 

“Those were the Seven Deadly Sins,” Eiji said.

 

“So I’ve heard,” Simon said. He looked to Zadie and did his best to ignore Eiji. “But why were they after us?”

 

“They were after me,” Zadie said. “They were surprised you were there.”

 

“OK, so why were they after you?” Simon asked.

 

Eiji cleared his throat. “OK, I have some information on that, so I’m going to go ahead and interrupt. The demons in this city have grown some balls during the past few weeks. They’re killing demon hunters.”

 

“You demon hunters…” Simon said. “What are you, exactly?”

 

“Hunters of demons,” Zadie said. “We’ve been over this.”

 

“You know what I mean,” Simon said.

 

“What, you mean, like, are we some kind of mystical order of warrior angels, or demon-empowered slayers, or spandex-wearing super heroes like you and your friends?” Zadie asked. “We’re people. That’s all. Some of us have powers. Others have fancy guns and knives. Some have nothing but their bare hands—they’re my favorite. We’re people who know about the ghosts and ghouls of the world and do something about it. Too complicated for you?”

 

Simon lifted his hands. “Ok, ok. God, I was just asking.”

 

“Well, you two are starting to bore me,” Eiji said as he swung his staff over his shoulder. “I’m sure I’ll be seeing you around.”

 

Eiji moved towards the rooftop to leap away.

 

“Wait…” Simon started to say.

 

Eiji leapt from the rooftop, leaving Simon and Zadie alone.

 

“He’s a weird one,” Zadie said.

 

Simon turned and knitted his brow. “Seriously? You’re calling someone weird?”

 

“Come on, pretty boy,” Zadie said. “Lars can’t have gone far. We can still track him down.”

 

“What about those seven demons?” Simon asked.

 

“You’re not strong enough to take them on yet,” Zadie said. “But you will be. Now shut up and follow me.”

 

***

 

Kiva watched helplessly as the giant Fangaira monsters stomped through the city.

 

Saga smiled wickedly. “I wonder how many will die? At what point does the loss of human life become significant? Dozens? Hundreds? Thousands?”

 

“The loss of even one life is significant,” Kiva said.

 

“Really?” Saga asked. “No, I think not. You forget, I’ve been watching this world. Death happens every day. Humans seam to measure tragedy in numbers. The loss of one life is insignificant, but when hundreds die, the world mourns. What’s the magic number, I wonder?”

 

Kiva narrowed his eyes. “You do not know these people, brother.”

 

“I know all I need to,” Saga said.

 

Kiva called on all his fading strength. He wouldn’t let his brother destroy this world. He wouldn’t be responsible for any more deaths. His body flashed with brilliant light, and he snapped free from his bindings.

 

The Rider landed on the rooftop and stepped back into his transformation pose.

 

Kivvatto! His body rippled and transformed into his suit of armor.

 

joah_as_kamen_rider_saga_by_roxasthehedgehog12-d34wlgxSaga stepped backward. He narrowed his eyes and placed his hand over a buckler that rippled from his waist. 

 

Sagarac! A shell of thick glass coated his body. The shell shattered, revealing Saga in his Rider form.

 

Kamen Rider Saga armed a thin, red baton and charged towards his brother to attack.

 

Saga swung his baton through a series of quick, powerful strikes that Kiva dodged and sidestepped.

 

Kamen Rider Kiva stepped back with each dodge and watched his brother carefully, looking for weaknesses. 

 

Saga swung wide, and Kiva dove beneath the swing. He rolled across the roof and rose to his feet, turning to face his brother.

 

Saga moved faster than Kiva expected.

 

The evil Rider slashed across his brother’s armor with a series of quick slashes, and then bashed a sidekick against Kiva’s chest. The kick knocked the Rider from his feet, and he tumbled across the roof. 

 

Kamen Rider Kiva rose to his feet and stepped back into a defensive stance.

 

Saga swung his weapon, and the baton extended like a whip that wrapped around Kiva’s neck. The evil Rider used the whip to swing Kiva from his feet and hurl him from the roof.

 

Kiva plummeted through the air and crashed against the rooftop of a shorter building.

 

Saga leapt through the air and aimed his descent towards his fallen brother.

 

***

 

Navy Thunder, Hurricane Yellow and Hurricane Blue landed on a rooftop nearby. They looked up at the three towering monsters as the creatures separated to attack the city.

 

“See, this is why I hate your stalker,” Navy Thunder said.

 

“Stop calling him that,” Hurricane Blue said. “It’s not his fault.”

 

“Well…” Hurricane Yellow said. “It kind of is.”

 

“Thank you,” Navy Thunder said. He looked to Hurricane Blue. “See, even Justin understands.”

 

Hurricane Blue sighed. “Seriously, we need another girl on this team.”

 

“What we need is an actual team,” Hurricane Yellow said.

 

“We’ve got this,” Navy Thunder said. “Three zords, three monsters. It’s simple math.”

 

“Since when are you so confident” Hurricane Blue asked.

 

“It’s not confidence,” Navy Thunder said. “I’m just hoping a distraction will make us forget how much our lives suck right now.”

 

“That’s the Blake we all know and love,” Hurricane Yellow said.

 

“Dude, don’t ever say you love me,” Navy Thunder said.

 

“Boys, stop it,” Hurricane Blue said. “We have a job to do. Let’s call the zords.”

 

Hurricane Blue and Hurricane Yellow raised their morphers to their mouth pieces. “Storm-zords, arise!”

 

Navy Thunder raised his morpher to his mouth piece. “Navy Beetlezord, arise!”

 

Hurricane Lion, Hurricane Dolphin and Navy Beetlezord swooped down from the skies. The three Rangers leapt into the air and landed in their cockpits.

 

“I’ll take the…” Navy Thunder hesitated. “Is that supposed to be a spider?”

 

The Navy Beetlezord charged towards the Fang Spider.

 

“Claw lightning!” Navy Thunder shouted.

 

The Beetlezord fired a bolt of lightning that exploded against Fang Spider with bursts of spark. The blast knocked the monster back a step, but the creature kept its balance.

 

Fang Spider thwipped a webline that wrapped around the Navy Beetlezord. The creature used the stained-glass webbing to swing the zord aside. The Beetlezord crashed through several buildings with massive explosions. Fang Spider released the web, sending the Beetlezord flying out of control.

 

Hurricane Lion pounced through the air towards Fang Spider.

 

But Fang Moth shot off the ground and slashed the zord from the air with a burst of spark. Hurricane Lion crashed onto a building that exploded with bursts of flame, smoke and debris.

 

Hurricane Dolphin flew through the air nearby.

 

The Blue Ranger activated her weapon systems. “Dolphin Tidal Blast!”

 

Hurricane Dolphin fired a torrent of water energy that surged towards Fang Moth and Fang Spider. Fang Beetle lunged in front of the blast and used its back shell as a shield. The blast exploded against the shell with bursts of spark that tore through neighboring buildings, but left the Fangaira unharmed.

 

Hurricane Lion pounced at the monsters while they were distracted. The zord dove through the enemy formation and clawed the monsters with bursts of spark. Keeping its momentum, the zord shot forward, landed, and swung around to face the three monsters.

 

Hurricane Yellow activated his weapon systems. “Lion Seismic Storm!”

 

The lion roared, creating a seismic blast that tore across the ground. The monsters braced themselves. The blast exploded against the creatures with bursts of spark, and they skid backward, heels plowing up pavement as they stood their ground.

 

Navy Thunder cursed beneath his breath. “This is just typical.”

 

“Actually, I’m pretty sure this hasn’t happened to us before,” Hurricane Yellow said.

 

“Boys,” Hurricane Blue chided. “We have to regroup and split them up.”

 

“Yes, I’m sure it’s just that simple,” Navy Thunder said. “They’re gentle cattle, waiting to be herded.”

 

The three zords charged forward.

 

***

 

The giant battle rumbled the streets, nearly knocking Saga off his feet.

 

Kiva took advantage of the situation. He dashed to his feet and bashed his brother with a flurry of punches. Each punch slammed against Saga’s chest, knocking the Rider back a step.

 

Kamen Rider Kiva spun forward with a reverse sidekick that bashed against Saga, knocking the evil Rider backward.

 

Saga energized his baton with crackling charges of ruby-tinted power. He swung the energy whip, which sparked across Kiva and hurled him off his feet.

 

Kiva crashed against the rooftop and rolled backward.

 

“I’m surprised you’re not running,” Saga said. “If these mortals have taught you anything, it’s weakness.”

 

“It is not weakness to value life,” Kiva said as he climbed back to his feet.

 

“These creatures are hardly alive,” Saga said. “They’ve barely evolved. I’ll kill all of them and make you watch. I’ll especially enjoy taking the life of the one you call Rachel.”

 

Kiva rolled his hands into fists.

 

“Yes…” Saga said. “You’ve developed primitive emptions for this girl. Emotions are cancer. A devouring plague. I will-”

 

Kiva pounced to his feet and bashed a hook punch across Saga’s head.

 

“You are not my brother,” Kiva said.

 

The Rider spun forward with a reverse hook kick that bashed across Saga’s helmet. “You have no concept of family.”

 

He smashed an uppercut against the evil Rider’s gut.

 

“Friends.”

 

He smashed the back of his left fist across the Rider’s head and followed through with a right hook punch.

 

“Relationships.”

 

He smashed a front kick against the evil Rider’s chest. The kick bashed Saga backward. 

 

“You’re the one who has barely evolved.”

 

Kiva unclipped a red gem from his belt and placed it in the mouth of his bat-like buckler. The buckler shouted: “Waik Awp!

 

Kamen Rider Kiva crouched low as the bat detached from his belt and circled around him. He swung his right leg through a crescent pattern, and the bat circled around the armor of his leg and snapped its chains, making the armor release like the wings of a bat.

 

Kiva leapt high into the air and turned upside down, suspended by the wings of his leg, as he faced Kamen Rider Saga. Kiva felt power burn through his veins as he flipped forward with a flying sidekick that shot towards the evil Rider.

 

The kick energized with crimson power and bashed against Saga with a burst of spark, hurling him off his feet and sending him flying through the air.

 

Saga crashed against the side of a nearby building and tumbled downward to the ground. The evil Rider crashed against the street, which cracked upon impact, showering the area with clouds of dust and concrete.

 

Kamen Rider Kiva leapt through the air and landed on the street near his brother.

 

Saga climbed slowly back to his feet, but nearly stumbled off balance.

 

Kiva charged forward to attack.

 

***

 

Sonic booms suddenly sounded from the skies.

 

The three Rangers looked through their cockpits to see the five Jet-zords fly onto the scene. 

 

“I never thought I’d be glad to see them,” Hurricane Yellow said.

 

“I’m not glad,” Navy Thunder said. “There’s no gladness here.”

 

The Jet-zords flew in formation and circled around the scene of the battle.

 

“Jet-zords assemble!” Red Hawk shouted. “Aero fusion!”

 

The Jet-zords rolled and shot upward. Energy surged around the zords as they united to form a robo, which landed on the streets. “Jet-Force Megazord!” the Aero Rangers shouted. “Jet Icarus!”

 

The three monsters scrambled to attack.

 

“Wing Knuckle!” Aero Red shouted.

 

The Jet-Force Megazord shot its right fist like a cannonball. The fist exploded against the monsters, taking them off guard.

 

The Power Rangers used the distraction to their advantage.

 

“Attack together!” Hurricane Blue shouted.

 

“Claw lightning!” Navy Thunder shouted.

 

“Lion Seismic Storm!” Hurricane Yellow shouted.

 

“Dolphin Tidal Blast!” Hurricane Blue shouted.

 

A wave of ripping earth surged along with a torrent of hydro energy and a flash of lightning. The elemental attack crashed against the three monsters with massive bursts of spark, hurling them off their feet.

 

Fang Spider crashed through several buildings and skid to a halt, ripping up pavement.

 

The monster climbed slowly back to its feet, and Jet Icarus stomped towards the wounded creature.

 

“Jet-Force Megazord Saber!” Aero Red shouted.

 

Jet Icarus held its blade forward and charged towards Fang Spider. The monster thwipped a webline of stained glass at the Megazord, but the robo chopped through the webbing with a burst of spark.

 

“Jet-Force Megazord Saber!” the Aero Rangers shouted. “Aero Slash!”

 

The Megazord energized its saber and swung horizontally through a streak of power, which slashed through the monster with bursts of spark. The creature shattered with bursts of flame, scattering glass across the city block.

 

Fang Beetle moved in behind the Megazord and extended its hand. The creature’s palm flashed red, and energy bursts exploded against Jet Icarus. The Megazord stumbled but managed to stay on its feet.

 

The Red Jet-Force Ranger called for their second robo. “Jet Garuda!”

 

The zord swooped through the skies with the speed of lightning.

 

“Jet Garuda! Rise up!” Jet Garuda blasted forward and shifted shape, transforming into its warrior mode.

 

The zord landed on the streets and stepped back into a fighting stance.

 

“Jet-zords assemble!” the Aero Rangers shouted. “Garuda Fusion!”

 

Jet Icarus and Jet Garuda pulsed with power. The two zords disassembled and reformed, with Jet Garuda acting as a suit of armor and arm augmentations for the Megazord.

 

“Jet-Garuda Megazord!” the Rangers shouted. “Hyper Icarus!”

 

Fang Beetle fired bursts of energy that exploded against the Megazord with bursts of spark. Hyper Icarus stomped forward as explosions tore against the Megazord’s armor.

 

“Hyper Beam!” Red Hawk shouted.

 

The V-shaped insignia on the Megazord’s helmet fired a beam of red-orange energy that sparked against fang Beetle. The burst of energy forced the creature several steps backward as secondary explosions tore across its body.

 

Fang Beetle collapsed to its knees, and its body shattered with a burst of flame, scattering shards of glass into the air. The glass shards slashed through nearby buildings like shrapnel.

 

Fang Moth pounced at the Megazord and slashed across the robo with bursts of spark, forcing Hyper Icarus backward.

 

The robo grabbed hold of the sword, shattered the blade, and smashed a punch against the monster. The blow sent the creature stumbling backward.

 

“Hyper Blaster!”

 

The Megazord’s chest insignia fired a wave of energy that splashed against Fang Moth. The blast tore through the creature’s armor and ripped apart its body, which incinerated in a burst of sparks and flame.

 

***

 

Kiva snapped a kick upside Saga’s head. The villain’s body flipped backward and crashed onto the street.

 

“Your creatures are destroyed,” Kiva said. “Go home, brother, and end this senseless violence.”

 

“You dare speak to me that way?” Saga asked as he climbed to his feet. “I am King of the Waste Dimensions! Slayer of the Basshaa! Fist of the-”

 

Explosions sparked against Saga, whipping him back off his feet.

 

Kiva looked over his shoulder to see the three Power Rangers land on the street.

 

Saga narrowed his stained-glass eyes beneath his helmet. “You dare hide behind your friends?”

 

“You ambushed me with three of your creatures,” Kiva said. “This was never a fair fight.”

 

“No…no, I suppose not,” Saga said as he climbed back to his feet. “Know this, brother…I will destroy this planet of yours just to spite you. You’ve killed three of my Fangaira, but plenty more have crossed into this dimension. You won’t be able to stop them all.”

 

“I’ll try,” Kiva said.

 

“Of course you will,” Saga said. “And this place will become nothing more than another Waste Dimension in the process.”

 

The villain stepped back and teleported away with shades of blue-tinted light.

 

Kiva stumbled and collapsed as his armor powered down.

 

“Kiva!” Hurricane Blue shouted as she ran to his side.

 

He breathed heavily. His stained-glass skin looked dull, with barely any color. Rachel powered down her armor. “Kiva…you’re hurt.”

 

“I need…rest,” he said. “My energy…”

 

Blake and Justin powered down their armor and moved to the fallen Rider’s side.

 

“Come on,” Blake said reluctantly. “Let’s help him up. We’ve got to get the hell out of here.”

 

Blake and Justin helped Kiva to his feet. 

 

“Thank…” Kiva breathed heavily. “Thank you.”

 

“Yeah, it’s best not to talk,” Blake said. “I still don’t like you.”

 

The five Jet-Force Rangers suddenly swooped down from the sky and surrounded the teens.

 

“Great,” Blake cursed. “We can’t even-”

 

“Aero Rifles!” Jet Force fired beams of energy that exploded around the rangers and Kiva, hurling them off their feet.

 

The teens and Kiva crashed against the street and skid backward.

 

“Wing Gauntlet!” Aero Red shouted.

 

He thrust his gauntlet forward and fired a net that wrapped around Kiva and the teens.

 

Blake placed his right fist against his left palm. “Lightning Flash!”

 

A burst of lightning flashed strong enough to burn the net free and daze the Jet Force Rangers. When the light faded, the Hurricane Power Rangers and Kiva were gone.

 

Aero Red breathed heavily and lowered his gauntlet.

 

Black Condor tilted his head. “Not bad. It didn’t work…but still…I didn’t think you had it in you.”

 

“If we didn’t hit them hard and fast, they would have morphed,” Red Hawk said. “We couldn’t let that happen.”

 

The Red Ranger looked across the war-torn streets. “Look what they caused…” He shook his head. “We should have taken them down a long time ago.”

 

***

 

The demon named Lars ran through the alleyways. He wanted to run as far from the demon hunters and ranger as possible. He wasn’t thrilled about the idea of ever seeing the Seven Deadly Sins again either.

 

Suddenly, Zadie stepped into the alleyway and blocked the demon’s path.  

 

“Hey, Lars,” Zadie said.

 

Lars opened his eyes wide with panic. The demon turned and dashed towards the other end of the alley. But Simon stepped from the shadows and blocked the villain’s path.

 

“Lars,” Simon said.

 

The demon took a step back. He blinked, and his eyes turned solid black. Simon felt the demon’s fear and terror. That fear quickly turned into anger. Lars snarled and lunged towards Simon.

 

Simon extended his hand and grabbed the demon with invisible strands of Kiryoku. Lars hissed and thrashed uncontrollably as he tried to break free. Simon felt the demon’s panic and desperation swell.

 

“Do it,” Zadie said from behind the demon. “Just like I told you…”

 

Simon hesitated. He felt the demon’s fear, as well as the buried fear of the man the demon possessed. The man’s raw emotions reminded Simon why he had to fight. He had to stop Azmodai, before the demon ruined even more lives.

 

The ranger spread his palm wide and whispered an incantation in Latin. “Exorcizamus te, omnis immundus spiritus…”

 

The demon’s body convulsed. He thrashed harder, struggling against the invisible bonds that held him in place. Simon used his Ki to lift the villain from the street.

 

Omnis satanica potestas, omnis incursion infernalis adversarii, omnis legio, omnis congregatio et secta diabolica!

 

The demon tilted back his head and screamed. A column of black smoke erupted from his throat and snaked into the air.

 

Simon released his grasp on the man and used his Kiryoku to grasp onto the black smoke—the demon. He strangled the smoke with his energy and tightened the demon into a sphere of surging, shadowy energy. The energy pulsed like smoke trying to burst from a bubble.

 

The ranger felt the demon’s panic intensify.

 

Simon looked deep within his soul and touched a dark power he barely knew, and knew all-too-well at the same time. The power of a demon coursed through his veins. He called upon that power.

 

The tainted energy flooded his body. He felt invigorated and disgusted, like being bathed in warm, grimy water.

 

He let the demonic energy pour into his Life Force.

 

Simon’s aura pulsed with the faintest hint of black flame as he tightened his fist.

 

The demon imploded with a burst of shadow energy that flared with dark light. 

 

Simon attracted that energy like a magnet. Tendrils of dark power twirled through the alleyway like a storm and circled around the teen. The storm of energy howled like a tornado with powerful gusts of black wind.

 

The ranger used his power to drain the storm of its energy. Tendrils of black power struck the teen like lightning and washed through his body. He felt the demonic energy graft onto his soul and violate his Life Force.

 

Simon screamed, and the black wind surged into his eyes and mouth with a final flash of dark light.

 

The storm died.

 

Simon collapsed to his knees.

 

He vomited onto the pavement.

 

Zadie stepped closer towards him and smiled. “I told you he’d taste rank.”

 

Simon wiped his mouth and breathed heavily. “That’s not funny…”

 

“It is a little bit,” Zadie said. “How do you feel?”

 

Simon climbed slowly back to his feet. “I feel…” He looked down to his right hand, and rolled the hand into a tight fist. “I feel good. Real good…”

 

To be continued…Chapter 04