Kamen Rider Black: Chapter Three

The Trap is Sprung

 

Akizuki Kyoko wiped down a small table at the Capital Café and Bar where she worked. She couldn’t help thinking about her brother Saske in the meantime. Four months had passed since her brother went missing, around the same time her father mysteriously died.

 

Life’s been rough, she thought as she moved to another table. She tried to stay optimistic and sometimes even succeeded. But the weight of her loss was often too overbearing. If Saske would just come back…

 

The cafe’s phone rang, and the manager answered from behind a nearby counter. “Kyoko,” he called to her. “It’s for you.”

 

“Hikaru?” He had been avoiding her ever since Saske had disappeared, but she didn’t know why, although she had her suspicions. She picked up the phone. “Hello?” A doctor spoke to her from the other end of the phone. What he told her made her heart jump. “What?”

 

She hung up the phone and started to run towards the door.

 

“Where are you going?” Her boss called after her.

 

“It’s Saske!” she answered. “He’s still alive!”

 

***

 

Kyoko dashed into the hospital as fast as she could. She ran straight past the front desk without checking in and headed towards the elevators. Her heart pounded in her chest. She could not believe it. Her brother was alive. Alive!

 

She rode the elevator up to the second floor and sprinted out as soon as the doors opened. She ran down the hall and swung open a patient’s room. She stopped in her tracks when she saw him.

 

Saske sat up on the hospital bed with his gaze cold and empty. He looked weaker than she remembered, like someone had sucked the life out of him.

 

She sat down next to her brother and wrapped her arms around him. “Saske…what happened to you.”

 

Saske gently placed a hand on Kyoko’s arm. But his grip suddenly tightened. He laughed, a cold and unfamiliar sound.

 

Kyoko tried to pull away, but Saske would not let go of her arm. “Saske, what…”

 

“I’m afraid there’s been a bit of a misunderstanding,” he said. His skin and clothes shed like snake’s skin to reveal his true form. It was the High Priest Baraom.

 

***

 

Hikaru could not believe the voicemail he received from Kyoko: That Saske was alive and well. Even if he did break free from the Gorgom…who knows what state of mind he’s in. Who knows what they’ve done to him.

 

The teen increased his throttle. He couldn’t help but feel responsible for anything bad that might have happened to Saske. I should have saved him when I had the chance.

 

His heightened senses heard Kyoko’s scream when he rode closer to the hospital. He swerved down an alley and cut across the street to reach her sooner. It must have been a trap! But why would they want Kyoko…unless it’s to get to me. I’ll never forgive myself if they harm her.

 

Hikaru rode to a docking area behind the hospital and skid to a halt when he saw Baraom hovering with Kyoko in his arms. She had fallen unconscious. The teenager hopped off his bike and pulled off his helmet.

 

“Gorgom!” he shouted.

 

The High Priest turned and laughed when he saw Hikaru. “Minami Hikaru…no, Kamen Rider Black…”

 

“Let her go!” Hikaru said. “She’s of no use to you!”

 

“On the contrary,” Baraom said. “By using her life energy we can awaken the Century King, Shadow Moon. She shares a unique biological connection with him.”

 

Shadow Moon? Hikaru thought. Saske…he is still alive. “Let them both go! Or I swear, I will hunt you down and-”

 

“Save your threats, Kamen Rider Black,” Baraom said. “Your brother’s mind has been…rewired. He will hardly be the same man you remember. And he will not want to be released. He will awake a Gorgom. Had he not been injured in the explosion that freed you, Shadow Moon would have awakened months ago.”

 

“I’ll find a way to save him!”

 

“More than likely you will die trying, Kamen Rider Black,” Baraom said. He hovered upward while carrying Kyoko.

 

“Get back here!”

 

Hikaru crouched to pounce through the air towards the High Priest. But a bat mutant suddenly swooped down from over a rooftop and slammed against Hikaru, knocking him backward and sending him tumbling across the pavement.

 

Hikaru rolled to his feet and snapped into his transformation pose. “Black Sun!” The power from the King Stone erupted inside of him and filled his body with energy. He felt invigorated. He felt repulsive. Hikaru changed into his mutant form as his black armor wrapped around his body. He snapped into a fighting stance. “Kamen Rider Black!”

 

Black Sun leapt upward, but the bat mutant swooped over and knocked him from the air. Kamen Rider crashed against the ground and somersaulted into a crouched stance.

 

“Battle Hopper!” Kamen Rider called for his motorcycle, which he shared a mental bond with.

 

The motorcycle sped onto the scene, and Kamen Rider hopped on. He did not have time for a prolonged battle. He had to find Kyoko before the Gorgom drained the life out of her.

 

Kamen Rider popped a wheelie and hopped his bike through the air. He passed the bat mutant while reaching out and snapping a kick against its body. The mutant flew out of control and crashed against the side of a building before crumbling to the street.

 

Battle Hopper’s tires hit the pavement and throttled away.   

 

***

 

Kyoko’s body hung from a group of organic wires and technological circuits within the Gorgom lair. The three High Priests gathered around her and watched as tubes siphoned her blood.

 

High Priest Darom nodded approvingly. “Excellent work, Baraom. Now we can begin the process of using her life energy to awaken Shadow Moon.”

 

Saske hovered in a transparent cocoon nearby. Organic wiring connected the cocoon to Kyoko. Her life energy and blood siphoned through tubing and injected into Saske’s mutated form.  

 

“What a pretty girl,” Brugenia said from the shadows. The High Priests turned to see the villain clinging against the side of organic stone web work. “That is Shadow Moon’s sister?”

 

The High Priestess Bishium glared at Brugenia. “This doesn’t concern you, worm.”

 

A hideous smile crossed his face. “Oh, it does. You see…I will be the next Creation King. I didn’t let the Syndicate turn me into a mutant-cyborg freak to become a lackey!”

 

Brugenia pounced at the High Priests and kicked them away. The villain landed in a crouched position beneath Kyoko and snapped out a pair of bone spikes from his elbows. He used the spikes to cut Kyoko free from the organic wires and tubes.

 

Kyoko fell into his arms.

 

Brugenia flashed a feral grin at the High Priests while they climbed back to their feet. “I’ll be taking her, if you don’t mind…and I’ll be taking her if you do.” The villain’s laugh echoed throughout the dark lair. “Try not to miss me too much while I’m gone!”

 

Brugenia draped Kyoko over his shoulder and leapt into the shadows. 

 

***

 

Kamen Rider Black sped through the streets and used his senses to try and find any sign, any sound of Kyoko. But nearly an hour had passed and he was losing hope.

 

What good are these heightened senses if I can't find Kyoko. He tightened his grip on his throttle. He had to do something. He had to find her. He had failed to save Saske, and he couldn't fail to save her too.

 

She's all I have left...and I've been avoiding her. His guilt intensified, and he used it to heighten his resolve. I will find her. I will make this right.

 

Suddenly, he felt an intrusion in his mind, like sand paper over the brain. And he heard a voice he recognized as Brugenia. "Minami Hikaru...I have a pretty little thing I believe belongs to you." In his mind's eye, Kamen Rider saw Brugenia standing in a rock quarry with Kyoko tied to a post.

 

"Come play, Black Sun. Come play with Brugenia."

 

***

 

Kamen Rider sped towards the rock quarry as fast as Battle Hopper could take him. Black Sun could sense that, somehow, even his sentient bike shared his urgency. The bond between the Rider and machine seemed to grow on a daily basis.

 

Black Sun skid his motorcycle to a halt and looked up to the top of the quarry, where Brugenia crouched at the foot of the pole holding Kyoko. The girl was unconscious.  The villain's demonic tongue was hanging from his gaping mouth, which was open wide with a smile.

 

Kamen Rider dismounted and glared up at the villain. "Let her go. Now."

 

"Of course," Brugenia said. "After you tear open your gut, rip out the King Stone, and give it to me. It's a fair trade."

 

Black Sun silently cursed. If only it were that simple. The offer was slightly tempting. An end to his torment. An end to his guilt and the taint inside of him that gave him his powers. Kyoko would be freed. But he knew, that without Kamen Rider, the Gorgom Syndicate would be free to wreak havoc upon the country. And more people, like his brother, like his father, like him, would suffer.

 

Brugenia sighed and shook his head. "I was hoping for a nemesis a little more chatty. Where's the banter, Black Sun?"

 

"Banter is for cowards," Kamen Rider said.

 

Brugenia's smile widened. "That's better."

 

The villain pounced downward towards the bottom of the rock quarry to attack.

 

To be continued...Chapter 04