Kamen Rider Kuuga: Chapter Two
From the journal of Maya Koji
Cairo, Egypt 2002AD
My grandfather’s research helped me learn all about the Grongi Tribe. That’s what the monsters called themselves.
Five-thousand years ago, the Grongi and Linto tribes lived side-by-side in peace. Both tribes worshiped nature, but the Grongi’s worship turned perverse. Their Shaman practiced dark magic that twisted their tribe members into monsters.
The Linto used an ancient artifact from the stars, the Stone of Kings, to turn one of its members into a warrior to fight against the Grongi. The warrior’s name was Riki, but in battle, his enemies called him Kuuga.
The battle between the Grongi and Kuuga nearly wiped out both tribes. Those who survived died out within years following the conflict.
Kuuga defeated many Grongi, but couldn’t stop them all. So, he sealed the remaining Grongi in a tomb beneath the earth. Kuuga willingly placed himself in the tomb as the seal to the Grongi’s prison.
Unearthing the tomb broke the seal and released the Grongi.
We weren’t sure what they wanted, or if they even had a plan. Regardless, they spread carnage throughout the city, murdering innocents. Their attacks weren’t grand like Bandora’s; they were isolated killings. Single murders.
Kouishiro didn’t want the responsibility of fighting them. He wasn’t a violent person; I had once seen him trip and fall on purpose, just to avoid stepping on a bug.
Still, he accepted the burden. He didn’t want to see anyone suffer. He would joke that he wanted to “protect their smiles”.
Kouishiro had seen his share of loss but never let that turn him bitter. His mother died of cancer when he was young, and his father died in a military accident shortly afterward.
He was the first person I met when I came to Cairo. I would have been lost without him. I still would be.
He had a resolve unmatched by any. Not even the Rangers.
The Rangers had each other. Their strengths and weaknesses complimented one another. But Kouishiro stood alone. Every time. Every battle.
Kamen Rider Kuuga stood in the center of a high-rise parking garage. Four stairwells extended upward to the very top of the building. On one of the stairwells stood the Grongi monster Maya would later identify as Zu-Baduu-Ba. The creature had leathery skin and bug-like antenna on its head.
Zu-Baduu-Ba leapt from the stairwell and slammed a flying kick against Kuuga, knocking the Rider onto the ground. The creature stomped at Kuuga, but the Rider rolled aside. The creature pressed forward, slamming kicks against the fallen Rider’s gut.
Kuuga snapped a sweep kick towards the creature’s legs, but the monster leap several stories upward as the kick passed beneath him.
Kamen Rider Kuuga rolled to his feet and looked up, to where the monster leapt back and forth between the stairwells, moving with incredible speed.
The creature leapt downward and swung a knife-hand chop towards Kuuga’s head. Kuuga blocked the blow and spun forward with a reverse hook kick the creature blocked.
Zu-Baduu-Ba slammed its knee against Kuuga’s back, knocking the Rider to his knees. The creature swung a punch towards the Rider’s head, but the Rider dodged the punch and grabbed the creature by the arm.
The creature pulled its arm free and swung a kick that Kuuga ducked to avoid.
Kamen Rider Kuuga rose to his feet, and the creature leapt upward.
Kuuga leapt upward after the monster, but his jump couldn’t reach as high as the creature’s. Kuuga grabbed hold of railing to keep from falling, and the creature’s leap carried him several stories higher.
Zu-Baduu-Ba leapt from stairwell to stairwell, hopping out of sight.
Kuuga pulled himself up by the railing, but the creature suddenly dropped in front of him and slammed a palm strike against his faceplate. The blow knocked Kuuga from the railing, and the Rider plummeted towards the ground below.
Kamen Rider Kuuga slammed against the ground hard. He slowly pushed himself to his feet, his body aching from the fall.
“This is ridiculous…” he said as he looked up. He saw Zu-Baduu-Ba look downward and laugh mockingly.
Kuuga had fought a few Grongi, but none were as fast as Zu-Baduu-Ba. A part of Kuuga wanted to give up, go home, and be with Maya. But he knew he couldn’t. Every man killed means a fatherless child…
Kuuga ran up the stairwell, towards the creature waiting on the roof.
The creature leapt onto the stairwell with a dropkick that knocked the Rider backward. Kuuga dropped off his feet, and the creature smashed its foot against the Rider’s chest, pinning Kuuga against the railing.
The creature hopped up with his free leg and slammed his foot against the Rider’s knee. He hopped again, then stomped his foot on the Rider’s leg.
Zu-Baduu-Ba lifted the Rider by the neck and hurled him over the stairwell. Kuuga plummeted downward and crashed chest-first onto the pavement below.
Pain shot through Kuuga’s body like burning needles.
He started to push himself to his feet, but the creature leapt downward and bashed a dropkick against Kuuga, knocking him aside.
Kuuga wanted to stay down. He hated fighting. And with each fight, he felt the twisted power in his gut stir stronger. The Stone of Kings may have been a power used to fight against evil, but Kuuga sensed the stone itself was somehow evil. Tainted.
As the Rider sank deeper into despair, the power within his body raged like ice-hot fire, pouring through his veins. Kuuga reluctantly drank in that power.
Kuuga shot upward with great speed as his armor shifted. He leapt past the building’s rooftop, arced downward, and landed nearby the creature.
The Rider’s armor had turned blue; he had transformed into his Dragon Mode.
Kuuga felt lighter. Faster. He didn’t feel as strong, but he felt far more agile.
Zu-Baduu-Ba lunged at Kuuga with a punch. Kuuga sidestepped and parried the blow, and the creature snapped back with a spinning kick that Kuuga ducked to avoid.
Kuuga rose back to full height and bashed a trio of punches against the creature’s chest, knocking the monster back a step with each strike.
The creature leapt upward with a flying kick aimed towards Kuuga’s head, but the Rider leapt upward to avoid the blow and somersaulted over the monster.
Kuuga landed on the roof behind Zu-Baduu-Ba.
The creature slowly turned to face Kuuga, and the Rider stepped back into a fighting stance.
Kamen Rider Kuuga shifted his stance and he and the creature started to circle around one another.
Kuuga pounced forward with a jumpkick the monster dodged with a dash. Kamen Rider lunged at the creature with a flurry of punches that bashed against the monster’s chest. The punches knocked the creature back several steps but barely injured him.
The creature sidestepped, and Kuuga bashed a sidekick against the creature’s chest, but the monster merely swatted the Rider’s leg aside.
Zu-Baduu-Ba laughed mockingly at the Rider and leapt to a neighboring rooftop. Kuuga leapt after the creature, and they leapt from rooftop to rooftop before landing on top of another building.
The creature lunged at Kuuga with a flurry of punches the Rider dodges and parried.
Zu-Baduu-Ba leapt upward, arcing through the air and landing on top of an even higher building. Kuuga shot after the creature to follow.
Kamen Rider Kuuga landed on the rooftop. The creature lunged at Kuuga with a jumpkick that missed the Rider as he dove and rolled aside.
Kuuga rose to full height and blocked one of the creature’s punches. The Rider stepped forward and pommeled the creature’s chest with rapid punches.
The creature bashed its palm against Kuuga’s faceplate and slammed a back-hand strike across the Rider’s head, knocking him backward. The creature pressed forward and swatted across Kuuga’s head, nearly knocking him to the ground.
Kuuga swung a punch Zu-Baduu-Ba caught, and the creature used its grip to twist the Rider’s arm behind his back in an arm lock.
The creature hurled Kuuga off his feet, and the Rider tumbled through the air before landing on the roof of a smaller building.
Kuuga started to push himself to his feet, but collapsed, unable to keep his balance.
Zu-Baduu-Ba leapt downward and landed on the rooftop with a stomp against the Rider’s chest. The creature pushed its foot against Kuuga, pinning him down.
Kuuga grabbed the creature by the ankle and snapped a kick against its waist. The blow knocked the creature backward, and Kamen Rider Kuuga pushed himself to his knees.
Zu-Baduu-Ba lunged forward with a kick upside the Rider’s head, whipping his body backward. Kuuga fell back-first, and the creature pressed its foot against the fallen Rider’s neck.
Kuuga smashed a punch against the side of the creature’s knee and rolled aside. Zu-Baduu-Ba lifted the Rider by the neck, held him upward, and hurled him over the side of the building.
Kamen Rider Kuuga tumbled downward and crashed onto the street below, near the building’s main entrance, flanked with two thick columns of concrete. Zu-Baduu-Ba leapt onto the street and lifted the Rider by the neck.
Nearby, three police cars sped to the scene and skid to a halt.
Agent Ichijo stepped out from the main car and stood behind the door, aiming his weapon at the monster and Rider. The other officers did the same.
“Hold your fire!” he called to them. “Don’t shoot until you have a clean shot.”
Zu-Baduu-Ba lifted Kuuga by the neck and slammed his back against a pillar.
Ichijo tried to take aim, but Kuuga was in the way. He didn’t want to risk shooting the Rider. Unfortunately, his fellow officers didn’t have the same reservations.
They opened fire, bullets striking harmlessly against the Rider and Grongi.
Annoyed, the creature turned, glared at the officers, and leapt away.
Ichijo helped track the monster to a domed theater in the city. The agent relayed the coordinates to Kouishiro, who followed the creature.
Kouishiro transformed and unintentionally shifted into his blue-armored form. Blue again…that’s the last thing I-
Zu-Baduu-Ba smashed a kick against Kuuga, knocking the Rider onto his back. The creature stomped against Kuuga’s chest, but Kuuga snapped a kick that knocked the creature aside.
Zu-Baduu-Ba leapt backward and landed on top of the stairs.
Kuuga lunged upward towards the creature, who dashed aside and hopped to the other side of the plaza. Kamen Rider Kuuga leapt across the plaza and landed in front of the monster.
Kuuga snapped forward with a sweep kick. The creature leapt over the kick and shot into the air, landing on top of the domed building, and leaping to the street on the other side. Kamen Rider Kuuga followed, leaping to the other side of the building while aiming a kick towards the villain.
Zu-Baduu-Ba sidestepped and swung a kick towards the Rider, but the Rider ducked beneath the kick and swung his leg towards the creature’s ankles. Zu-Baduu-Ba hopped above the kick and smashed a kick against the Rider’s chest, knocking him aside.
Kuuga rolled towards the monster, landed in a crouched stance, and kicked the creature in the gut.
Zu-Baduu-Ba stumbled backward and leapt to a nearby walkway, and Kuuga jumped after the creature. The opponents landed on the walkway and faced off with one another.
Kuuga pounced at Zu-Baduu-Ba with a flurry of kicks the creature sidestepped while blocking. The Rider leaned forward with a rapid-fire series of punches against the creature’s chest, but the monster merely swatted the Rider aside, sending him stumbling against the walkway’s railing.
Zu-Baduu-Ba pounced at Kuuga and swung a punch the Rider ducked beneath. The creature slammed a kick against the Rider’s chest. The blow knocked the Rider off his feet and sent him tumbling across the walkway.
Kuuga rose to his feet, and the monster lunged forward with a jumpkick upside the Rider’s head. The blow whipped the Rider backward, and he crashed against the railing. Kuuga slumped downward but grabbed hold of the railing to keep from falling completely.
Zu-Baduu-Ba lifted the Rider by the neck and pushed him back-first against the railing, bending his body backward.
Nearby, a small scooter sped onto the scene. Maya pulled the vehicle to a halt.
“Kouishiro!” she shouted. “I’d deciphered information on your armored form!”
Kuuga struggled against the Grongi. “That’s wonderful, but is now really the time?”
“Yes!” Maya answered. “You’re in your Dragon Form! Grab hold of something long, and it will transform into a weapon!”
Zu-Baduu-Ba threw the Rider aside. Kuuga rolled into a crouched stance and looked to the handrail. He pounced to his feet and kicked away a piece of the rail, which flipped through the air and landed in the Rider’s hands.
Kuuga twirled the pole, which transformed into a blue staff trimmed with gold.
Kamen Rider Kuuga lunged forward, speared the staff against the creature’s chest, and kicked the monster in the gut. The creature stumbled backward, and Kuuga pressed forward with a staff-chop against the monster’s collarbone. Kamen Rider Kuuga twirled the staff and swung again.
The creature parried the staff and smashed a kick against Kuuga, knocking the Rider back a step. Zu-Baduu-Ba pounced at Kuuga and grabbed the Rider in a chokehold. Kuuga used his staff to knock the creature’s arm away, and then bashed the end of his staff against the monster’s gut.
Zu-Baduu-Ba staggered backward, and Kuuga slammed the ends of his staff back and forth across the creature’s head. Kamen Rider Kuuga twirled his weapon back and smashed the staff against the creature’s side. He used the leverage to hurl the creature off the walkway and onto the plaza below.
Kuuga leapt downward and swung his staff towards the creature, but the monster rolled aside to dodge the blow.
Kamen Rider Kuuga snapped his staff against the monster’s legs, knocking the creature to its knees, and then bashed his staff against the back of the creature’s neck. Kuuga snapped a kick upside the creature’s head, whipping its body backward.
Zu-Baduu-Ba tumbled across the plaza and rose to his feet, stumbling while trying to keep his balance.
Kuuga leapt through air, twirled his staff, and landed while spearing the weapon through the creature with a burst of spark. Kuuga pulled the weapon free and spun forward with a reverse sidekick that bashed against the monster, knocking him backward.
The creature crashed back-first onto the pavement and skid across the cement as his body overloaded and exploded with a burst of flame.
From the journal of Maya Koji
Cairo, Egypt 2002AD
We were lucky to have Ichijo on our side. The local authorities were no fans of Kuuga. They called him “Unidentified Lifeform No. 4”. They thought he was the same as the Grongi. Ichijo knew better.
The agent helped Kouishiro track down the Grongi through patterns in their killings. Every Grongi showed a pattern of its own. Like a serial killer. But stranger. The more we observed the Grongi, the more we learned their killings were some kind of game.
Beneath a walkway on the side of a building under construction, the wasp monster Me-Badjisu-Ba stalked towards a fallen woman, who scurried backward in terror. The creature armed a stinger blaster on its wrist and aimed towards the woman.
A bullet suddenly blasted the monster’s arm aside.
The creature turned to see Ichijo standing in firing position from behind the door of his car.
A motorcycle skid to a halt behind the car, and Kouishiro stepped off the vehicle.
The teenager charged at the creature and called upon the twisted power in his gut. “Kuuga! Awaken!”
His armor flowed around him as he transformed into Kamen Rider Kuuga.
Kuuga lunged forward with a flying punch that bashed the creature backward. The Kamen Rider hopped at the creature and swung a punch towards its head, but the creature sidestepped and parried the blow.
Kuuga spun with a reverse sidekick that smashed against the creature’s gut. The Rider leaned forward and bashed a series of punches against the creature’s chest.
The creature bashed its knee against Kuuga, knocking the Rider aside.
Kuuga snapped a kick at the creature, but the monster sidestepped, and Kuuga’s kick shattered through the nearby railing.
Me-Badjisu-Ba grabbed hold of the Rider from behind and bashed his head against the railing. Kuuga smashed his elbow against the creature’s gut and snapped a back-kick against the creature’s chest.
Kuuga spun around and slammed his elbow against the back of the creature’s neck. The creature stumbled forward, and Kuuga smashed a reverse sidekick against the monster’s back. The blow hurled the monster off his feet, and he crashed against a nearby wall, which cracked upon impact.
The creature rose to its feet and dashed out from beneath the walkway. Me-Badjisu-Ba leapt into the open air and flew towards the skies.
Kuuga’s armor rippled, shifting into Dragon Form, as he leapt upward to follow the monster.
Kuuga jumped several stories and landed on the upper floor of a building under construction. He stepped back into a defensive stance, having lost sight of the monster. He heard the creature buzz but couldn’t see the monster.
The buzzing intensified. The bee creature landed near the Rider and bashed a punch across his helmet, knocking him backward. Kuuga tumbled across the concrete and rolled into a crouched position.
Kamen Rider Kuuga rose to his feet and shifted stances, searching the bee creature for any weaknesses.
Kuuga pounced forward with a jumpkick the creature dodged. The creature swung a back-fist towards Kuuga, but Kuuga ducked beneath the blow and leaned towards the monster. The Rider swung a flurry of punches that bashed against the creature’s chest, knocking the monster back a step with each blow.
Me-Badjisu-Ba sidestepped and bashed a punch against Kuuga’s faceplate. Kuuga stumbled backward but quickly ducked into a sweep kick. The monster leapt above the kick and shot into the air, flying out of sight.
Kuuga rose to his feet and stepped back into a defensive stance. He listened for the creature’s buzzing, but the buzzing never came. Instead, the creature swooped downward and bashed a palm-heel strike against the Rider’s chest. The blow hurled Kuuga backward and knocked him over the railing. He fell downward and grabbed hold of the railing several stories below to keep from falling further.
His armor rippled and turned green. “What…?”
Sounds flooded his hearing, overwhelming his senses. He could hear the sounds of tires screeching across pavement, babies crying, sirens wailing and horns honking. He heard men and women speak to one another, some arguing, others laughing. The sounds blasted the Rider like loudspeakers, driving pain through his head, which felt like it was being squeezed in a vice.
Kuuga’s grip slackened, and he fell downward, crashing onto the street below. He stumbled to his feet and gripped the sides of his head, staggering as noises drilled into his ears.
The bee creature flew downward and aimed its knee towards the Rider’s head.
Kuuga dashed aside, still gripping his head as pain overwhelmed him. The bee creature tilted its head and watched the Rider struggle.
Kamen Rider Kuuga collapsed onto all fours, his senses overwhelming him.
The wasp creature tilted its head as if listening to someone speak, then leapt into the air and flew off.
Kouishiro joined Maya on a deserted beach later that day.
“When I said I wanted to take you to the beach, these weren’t the circumstances I had in mind,” Kouishiro said.
Maya rolled her eyes. “Cute. Now get serous…we have to master your Pegasus Form.”
Kouishiro nodded. “I know, I know. It was like sensory overload.”
“That’s exactly what it was,” Maya said. “The texts say just as Dragon Form enhanced Kuuga’s agility, Pegasus Form enhanced Kuuga’s senses. It’s just what you’ll need to stop the wasp creature.”
She took his hands. “Now…close your eyes.”
He took a deep breath and closed his eyes.
“Hear me,” she said. “Listen to my voice. Now hear the waves on the shore. The birds in the sky. Listen to it all. Now…now focus on my voice, and only my voice…”
They practiced focusing techniques for about 30 minutes, and then Ichijo ran onto the scene.
“Kouishiro!” he shouted. “It’s here.”
Ichijo slightly cocked his head. “You’re seriously asking that? The wasp creature…”
Kouishiro narrowed his eyes and summoned his belt. “Get down behind me. Both of you…”
He shifted into his transformation pose. “Kuuga! Awaken!”
He transformed into his armor, then shifted the armor to green-colored Pegasus Form.
“Use this.” Ichijo tossed his gun towards the Rider.
The Rider caught the gun, which transformed into a green-and-gold trimmed bowgun.
Kuuga focuses his heightened senses. He heard the wind blow grains of sand across the beach. He heard the air stir, far above. Then he focused for one sound, and one sound alone.
From out of sight, the bee creature fired a stinger dart towards Kuuga’s head. Kuuga caught the dart, turned, and aimed his bowgun towards the air. He fired a single bolt of energy that shot upward and punctured through the bee creature’s body with a burst of spark.
The blow whipped the bee creature form the air, and the monster fell downward as its body overloaded and exploded with a burst of flames.
From the journal of Maya Koji
Cairo, Egypt 2002AD
The more Kouishiro fought, the more somber he became.
He didn’t joke as much as he used to. He grew up quickly, showing more maturity than I ever thought possible. My only worry was that he would retreat too deeply inside of himself.
He was a person of such emotion and energy. And it pained me to watch him wall up his heart.
Kuuga grasped onto Me-Giiga-Gi from behind and slammed punches against the creature’s side and back. The creature stood still, unmoving, and unfazed by the Rider’s attack.
The creature laughed, grabbed hold of the Rider’s arm, and walked backward. The creature plowed Kuuga through a pile of crates and slammed him back-first against a nearby post.
Kuuga crumpled to the ground, and the creature lifted the Rider by the neck.
The creature slammed an uppercut against Kuuga’s gut, and the impact hurled the Rider backward.
Kamen Rider Kuuga crashed into a pile of boxes that splintered and shattered beneath his weight. He’d never been hit so hard before.
The creature spat a blotch of ink that exploded around Kuuga with bursts of flame, tossing him into the air. The Rider crashed against the floor and tumbled sideways.
Kamen Rider Kuuga rolled to his feet. And when he looked up, the creature was gone.
“I couldn’t stop him…” Kouishiro said as he paced back and forth across Ichijo’s office floor.
“You’re going to ruin my carpet,” Ichijo said.
“You think this is funny?” Kouishiro asked.
“No, I think you need to relax,” Ichijo said. “You’ve been beating yourself up for weeks, and you haven’t made a dumb joke in days.”
“Maybe I don’t feel like joking anymore,” Kouishiro said. “This power inside of me…it’s dark.”
“Do you follow the news?” Ichijo asked.
“I’m an archeologist, I follow the past,” Kouishiro said.
“You’re not an actual archeologist, you’re a tag along, but that’s beside the point,” Ichijo said. “Do you remember last year, those attacks in Japan?”
“Who doesn’t?” Ichijo asked.
“Section 31 heavily investigated that incident,” Ichijo said. “The hero of Tokyo, Kamen Rider Black…we believe his powers came from the Gorgom. That he was actually one of them, but went rogue.”
“Fascinating story, but how is this relevant?” Kouishiro asked.
“You’re like him,” Ichijo said. “A Kamen Rider.”
“I don’t remember Kamen Rider Black turning bright blue or green.”
“No, but your powers seem similar,” Ichijo said. “And my worry is those powers carry the same darkness as Kamen Rider Black’s.”
“Kamen Rider saved Japan,” Kouishiro said.
“But at what cost?”
Their conversation cut short when Me-Giiga-Gi renewed his attack on the city. The monster stomped through the streets and spat blots of ink that exploded through cars and trucks. The attack was high-profile for the Grongi, who preferred isolated murders.
Kouishiro sped onto the scene on his motorcycle, black with red trimming.
Kouishiro crashed his bike against the creature, hurling the monster backward. The teen skid his bike to a halt, stepped off of the vehicle, and called forth his belt. He stood in his transformation pose and shouted: “Kuuga! Awaken!”
His body rippled as he transformed into his armor.
Me-Giiga-Gi spat a blotch of ink that exploded around the Rider with massive bursts of flame.
When the flame cleared, Kuuga stood in a new form: gray with purple trims and purple eyes.
Kuuga pulled a baton from his motorcycle handle, and the baton shifted, transforming into a thick broadsword.
Kamen Rider Kuuga held the blade downward and slowly stalked towards the monster.
Me-Giiga-Gi spat blotches of ink that exploded harmlessly around the Rider with bursts of spark and flame. The Rider moved forward, step-by-step, his balance unwavering.
The creature spat a final blotch of ink, and Kuuga thrust his hand forward. The ink exploded against his palm with a burst of flame.
“Impossible…” the creature grumbled.
Kamen Rider Kuuga lunged forward and plunged his blade through the monster. He twisted his sword, and the creature howled, its energy overloading and exploding.
Kuuga lowered his sword, and the tainted power within his body swelled.
To be continued…Chapter 03