Kamen Rider Black: Chapter Six
For the Sake of the Sea
High Priest Baraom glared ahead at the abandoned warehouses. The death of Priestess Bishium wouldn’t stop flashing through his mind. Each time the memory flared, his anger swelled. With each flash, his hatred for Kamen Rider Black intensified. Shadow Moon may have delivered the killing stroke, but Black Sun bared all the blame. Kamen Rider Black, alone, was responsible for Bishium’s death. And Baraom would kill him for it.
Baraom dashed ahead in blurs of motion. His claws tore through walls with bursts of spark and ripped apart beams of iron as if made of rice paper. He landed in the midst of the resulting rubble as clouds of dust and smoke rose around him. He heard the sound of footsteps from behind but didn’t need to turn. He knew the identity of his visitor.
“Why the need to watch me, Darom?” Baraom asked. “Surely you have something better to do?”
“I’ve come to learn your intensions,” Darom said as he walked closer to his fellow High Priest. “You’ve been missing for days. We’re supposed to be working together.”
“My intensions?” Baraom growled like the beast he had become. “My intensions are clear. My intensions are to extinguish the Black Sun.”
Kyoko spoke to Hikaru as she wiped down the counter at the Capital Café. Hikaru heard her words but couldn’t listen. The mere sound of her voice entranced him. Maybe he was growing to love her. He didn’t know. He only knew she was becoming his anchor.
The Gorgom Syndicate had robbed Hikaru of his life and sanity. Ever since he allowed himself to share that dark secret with Kyoko, he found himself feeling, sometimes, almost normal again.
“Hikaru?” Kyoko asked. “Are you even listening to me?”
He cracked a slight smile. “Of course. Every word.”
The lights suddenly dimmed, and the windows of the café shattered. Kyoko screamed, and Hikaru lunged to protect her. Swarms of locusts buzzed into the café.
Hikaru had no time to react. The buzzing drowned his thoughts, and his consciousness slipped into the dark.
Hikaru awoke within total blackness. Pulling himself to his feet, he looked to see the glimmer of an armored figure in the distance. The figure was his brother, Shadow Moon. He tried to call out to his brother but could not; an unseen force clenched his throat and forced his head upward.
Above, an image appeared in the form of a blazing, shimmering eclipse.
“My children,” the vortex called with a deep, rumbling voice that drilled into the minds of Hikaru and his brother. “Black Sun. Shadow Moon. Each more powerful than I could have imagined.”
“Who are you?!” Hikaru shouted.
Shadow Moon had no trouble recognizing the entity. “Sousei-Ou!”
“You hear me for the first time, my children,” the Creation King said. “My time is soon coming to an end. Soon, very soon, the two of you must fight until only one is left alive. Only one may become the next Creation King.”
“No!” Hikaru shouted. “I’m not your pawn!”
“You are nothing but my pawn!” the force of the Creation King’s voice drove Hikaru to his knees as he clenched his jaw with pain. “My glorious game piece. Now battle! Battle!”
Hikaru’s eyes snapped open. He lunged to his feet in the Capital Café and snapped into a fighting stance. His eyes darted madly across the room. He saw no signs of broken glass. No locusts.
“Where?” he shouted. “Where are the locusts?”
He finally noticed Kyoko was tugging at his arm to calm him down. “Hikaru…Hikaru! There are no locusts. You were sitting, and just passed out. What’s wrong?”
Hikaru slowly lowered his guard. Was Kyoko right? Was the vision of Sousei-Ou just a dream?
No, he thought to himself. He knew better. Not just a dream…a message.
High Priest Baraom slowly walked into the darkened lair of the Gorgom Syndicate, where Darom waited.
“I knew you would return,” Darom said.
Baraom growled like the beast he had become. “I didn’t come back to collaborate. My intentions remain the same.” He noticed that his fellow High Priest was staring towards a wall in the darkness. Baraom looked, and he saw a black-and-white painting of a gleaming city. “What is this?”
“Bishium managed to finish this before her death,” Darom said. “This was her vision. The vision for all Gorgom. A future for us, the evolved, while mankind is left to rot in the sea.”
“The sea?” Baraom asked.
Darom smiled. “Bishium’s idea. Collapse their shorelines, and some of their greatest cities plunge into the ocean.”
Baraom noticed a slight movement to his right. He snapped around and glared into the shadows. “Who’s there?”
No one answered, but the High Priest saw a blur flee into the darkness. His heightened eyesight recognized the creature. Kujira Kaijin?
The High Priests had no time to go after the Whale Mutant for questioning.
The lair slowly rumbled, and Shadow Moon descended from a set of stairs shaped as if made of black coral. The two High Priests immediately dropped to their knees.
“Lord Shadow Moon…” Darom whispered the name.
Shadow Moon stopped halfway down the stairway to look down upon his subjects. “The time to defeat Kamen Rider Black has finally arrived.”
“Lord Shadow Moon,” Baraom said as he rose to his feet, but kept his gaze lowered. “Please leave this job to me. I must be the one to avenge Bishium. The pain of her death rages inside of me. Let me channel that rage into power to strike down Black Sun.”
Shadow Moon tilted his head thoughtfully and said nothing. Baraom knew better than to press the issue. Instead he stood silently and waited.
“Very well,” Shadow Moon said. “You may attack Black Sun. I give you permission to go to your death.”
Baraom growled. “I will not fail.”
“You will,” Shadow Moon said. “But I will allow it.” He waved his hand dismissively. “Leave, and die well.”
Kujira Kaijin stood on the shoreline and watched the waves crash against the rocks. The Whale Mutant couldn’t stop thinking about the High Priests plotting to destroy the shorelines. The damage to the oceans would be catastrophic. So many creatures in the sea would die. Since his transformation into Kujira Kaijin, the Whale Mutant had called the sea his home.
The mutant was so lost in thought that he didn’t hear the High Priest Baraom walk up from behind.
“What are you doing here, Whale Creature?” the High Priest asked.
The Whale Mutant turned, then took a step back. “High Priest…” his voice shook with fear. “High Priest Baraom.”
“I need your help, creature,” the High Priest said. “You will help me…won’t you?”
The High Priest’s voice made it obvious that the Whale Mutant had no choice.
Hikaru rode his motorcycle down a wooded path to try clearing his mind. He didn’t want to fight his brother. But he knew his final battle was coming. He knew, soon, he would have no choice but to face Shadow Moon.
He’s not my brother, Hikaru told himself. Not anymore.
Hikaru heard screaming from the forest ahead. He immediately pulled his bike to a stop, just in time to see people fleeing from the woods. He ran towards the disturbance and saw the source of their fear. The Whale Mutant, Kujira Kaijin, chased after them.
Hikaru leapt through the air and slammed against Kujira Kaijin with a flying tackle. The opponents crashed against the ground and rolled apart before climbing back to their feet. Hikaru wasn’t about to give the creature time to regain its balance- the hero lunged at the mutant with a jumpkick, but the whale creature caught Hikaru’s leg and flipped him backward.
The hero fell to the ground and rolled backward, turning his attention to the children huddled nearby. He crouched in a defensive stance and shouted to the kids. “Run! Go, now!”
His shouts spurred the children to hurry and run as they screamed, some looking over their shoulders, others frantically looking for the nearest cover.
Hikaru turned back and leapt at the whale mutant with a flying sidekick, but the creature managed to catch the hero’s leg again. Kujira Kaijin flipped the hero backward, and Hikaru slammed hard against the dirt. He rolled to the side and jumped forward with a high roundkick the creature blocked, followed by a knifehand chop that slammed harmlessly against the creature’s hide. The whale mutant slammed the back of his finned fist across Hikaru’s head, and the blow knocked the hero off his feet.
Hikaru slammed against a tree and toppled to the ground. Slowly, he climbed back to his feet and reached down towards the tainted power twirling in his gut. He stood in a stance he was forced to use far too often, and he reached for that twisted energy he both desired and loathed.
“Black Sun!” Energy flashed around Hikaru as he transformed into his mutated, armored form.
The hero leapt into the air, somersaulted over the whale mutant, and landed on higher ground behind the creature. He turned to face his opponent and snapped into his fighting stance. “Kamen Rider…Black!”
Kamen Rider leapt downward and slammed a flying punch against the creature’s face. The whale mutant grabbed Black Sun’s arm, but the impact knocked the creature off its feet, and the two opponents tumbled down the hill.
They rolled to a stop at the base of the hill and climbed to their feet, once again hurling their bodies at one another.
Black Sun grasped onto the whale mutant with a headlock, but the creature managed to twist free and flip Kamen Rider onto his back. Kujira Kaijin aimed a tackle downward, but Black Sun rolled away, and the creature slammed against the dirt.
Kujira Kaijin quickly recovered and swung a finned fist towards Black Sun, but the Rider grabbed onto the creature’s arm, stepped closer and grasped the creature’s head, and used his leverage to hurl the mutant through the air.
Kamen Rider leapt through the air to attack, but a blur of motion dashed past his chest with a burst of spark that knocked him to the ground.
Black Sun rolled into a crouched fighting stance and looked for the unseen second attacker. The whale mutant took advantage of the distraction to lean forward and fire a cloud of smoke from the blowhole on his head. The smoke blew towards Black Sun, and the Rider somersaulted backward through the air to avoid the noxious cloud.
When he landed, he nearly stumbled and looked down to see bubbling foam on his feet and ankles. “What is this?” The whale’s smoke had damaged the Rider’s bio armor. I can barely move…
The blur of motion dashed past Black Sun with a burst of spark across his chest, and then again from behind with a burst of spark across his back that forced him to his knees.
Black Sun stepped back into a crouched fighting stance, and then rose to full height while looking around for the second attacker. No good…he’s too fast…
The blur dashed forward, and Kamen Rider barely managed to dodge. The blur missed and slashed through a tree trunk that shattered with a burst of splinters and wood. The blur dashed past the Rider and missed again, instead slashing through a second tree trunk that practically exploded into splinters.
Twisted laughter echoed across the forest as the Rider stepped back into a tight defensive stance.
“What’s wrong, Kamen Rider Black?” the voice asked. “Is this the limit of your power?”
Kamen Rider Black recognized the voice. “Baraom!”
The High Priest laughed as he stepped out from behind the trees. “You fell into my trap, Kamen Rider Black. I used the whale creature to lure you into the open. Now…now I will avenge the High Priestess Bishium.”
Baraom pounced forward and leapt through the air, as did Black Sun. The opponents passed each other while Baraom slashed the Rider across the chest with a burst of spark. The blow knocked Black Sun from the air, and he crashed into a shallow pond that splashed around him.
Kamen Rider climbed back to his feet just in time to see Baraom leap into the air. Black Sun pounced forward, but the villain slammed a flying punch against Kamen Rider that knocked him backward, back into the pond.
Baraom charged at the Rider while skimming across the water, and Black Sun lunged forward to attack. The Rider somersaulted through the air, landed on the villain’s shoulder, and kicked off to leap forward. Kamen Rider Black somersaulted through the air and landed on a high hill while turning back to face the villain.
The High Priest hurled strands of energy that exploded around Kamen Rider with bursts of spark that sent him tumbling down the hill and crashing onto the ground. Smoke sizzled from the Rider’s armor as he rose to his feet to face Baraom. The Rider didn’t have time to notice the whale mutant sneak up from the side and blow another cloud of smoke.
Kamen Rider dove aside and somersaulted across the ground, but the gases had once again made contact with his legs and feet, which started to bubble with white foam. Black Sun rolled to his feet and staggered, his legs weakened. If this goes on any longer, I’m dead…
“What’s wrong, Kamen Rider Black?” Baraom taunted. The villain looked down, as if gazing through the earth. “Are you watching this, Bishium? I’ve defeated Black Sun!” He looked back to the Rider. “Now…I will split open your belly and rip out the King Stone. Whale Creature! Hold him!”
The whale mutant lunged at Kamen Rider Black. The Rider tried to dive aside to evade, but his legs wobbled with weakness, and he nearly collapsed. The creature tackled against Black Sun and knocked him onto the ground back first. Kujira Kaijin leaned down and pinned Black Sun in place. The Rider tried to resist, but the whale creature bashed its head across Black Sun’s helmet.
“Yes…” Baraom said as he watched. “Stay there…right there. Perfect…”
The High Priest grabbed onto two short bones protruding from his body, and the bones grew, elongating into stakes, which the mutant ripped free from his flesh.
Baraom leapt through the air and aimed his descent towards the fallen Rider. And he landed while plunging his stakes through the Whale Mutant’s back with bursts of spark.
Kujira Kaijin howled with pain. “High Priest?!” he asked with shock. “Why?”
“You would plot against us, because of your precious ocean,” Baraom said. “Don’t think I don’t know that. I will let you die with Black Sun. Both of you can go straight to Hell.”
The High Priest plunged his weapons deeper into Kujira Kaijin, and the stakes tore through the creature’s chest.
The whale mutant used all his strength to lunge back and knock the high priest away.
Baraom fell to the ground but quickly rolled to his feet. Kujira Kaijin gave the villain no time to attack. The whale mutant leaned forward and blew a cloud of smoke that surged around Baraom. The smoke knocked Baraom back a step as white foam sizzled across his body.
The high priest growled and whipped energy strands that exploded against the whale mutant with massive bursts of spark that hurled the creature through the air.
Kamen Rider Black took full advantage of the distraction and leapt through the air with a flying sidekick that bashed against Baraom and sent him staggering backward. The foam spread across the high priest as if eating him alive, his flesh sizzling and falling to the ground in clumps.
Black Sun placed his fists together above his belt. “King Stone Flash!”
His buckler flashed with blinding rays of light that disoriented the already weakened Baraom, who could barely stand.
Kamen Rider Black leapt from the ground, somersaulted through the air, and aimed a punch towards the villain. “Rider Punch!”
The Rider’s punch glowed with crimson energy and slammed against the high priest with a burst of spark that knocked him backward. The villain staggered but managed to stay on his feet.
Black Sun leapt forward again with a flying kick. “Rider Kick!”
His kick glowed with crimson light and smashed against the high priest with a burst of spark that sent the villain hurling backward. Baraom crashed across the dirt and skid backward as secondary explosions tore through his body.
Baraom skid to a halt and slowly stumbled to his feet, his body slumped over and his head lowered. “I’ve failed…but Black Sun will still die.” The high priest looked up and glared defiantly at Kamen Rider Black. “Lord Shadow Moon will destroy you!”
Baraom clutched his chest, and his body exploded with a massive burst of flame and smoke.
Kujira Kaijin slowly regained consciousness. His vision blurred back into focus, and he saw Hikaru staring down at him. The whale creature staggered to his feet in panic. The stakes still protruded through his body and sent waves of pain through his every cell.
Hikaru did not attack. “Is it true?”
The whale creature clutched the wounds on his chest and nearly passed out once again. “Is…is what true?”
“You would have betrayed the Gorgom?”
The creature looked out to the distance. “They would have destroyed my home. My sea…that can’t be allowed to happen.”
“It won’t be.” Hikaru walked over to the whale creature and grabbed onto the stakes. “This is going to hurt.”
He pulled the stakes free, and the whale creature collapsed to his knees with pain.
Hikaru draped the creature’s arm over his shoulder and helped the mutant to his feet. “Come on…we’re getting you home.”
Shadow Moon once again found himself within the darkness of the astral plane. The Creation King shimmered above like a dark, twirling vortex.
“Shadow Moon…” his voice rubbed across Shadow Moon’s mind like sandpaper. “You are a fool. I command you to battle, and you play more games.”
“Silence!” the Creation King shouted. “My time is coming to the end. I am dying. Soon. Before that can happen, you must defeat Black Sun and take his King Stone. You must. You must!”
Hikaru helped the whale creature walk back towards the rocky shore line.
“Rider…” he said weakly. “I’m counting on you...”
“I’ll stop the Gorgom,” Hikaru said. “It’s my only purpose.”
Kujira Kaijin walked off, stumbling with his own weakened strength towards the waves of home.
The streets of Tokyo quaked. Lightning suddenly scorched the skies, and a bolt of energy crashed against the ground with a massive explosion. From the smoke of the explosion stepped Shadow Moon.
Shadow Moon looked out upon the chaos and lifted his hand. “Listen! All of you! From this point on, this world will bend to Shadow Moon’s will! This city will never again see the light of day!”
A dome of black energy slowly spread across the sky, casting a shadow across the entire city.
Hikaru rode his motorcycle through the wilderness towards Tokyo. He narrowed his eyes with anger once the Tokyo skyline came into view. A shadowy dome surrounded the entire city.
He opened his throttle to full and leaned forward to maximize his speed. It’s time…it’s finally time to end…
To be continued…Chapter 07