Kamen Rider Ryuuki 13 Rider Special

(corrections are still being made to dialogue)

A heart beats, faltering, exhausted. A terrified face peering down. He lies, limp and so fragile looking. "Ren," Shinji breathes out, agonized. He shakily puts his hands under Ren's head and body, pulling the practically lifeless form up to him. "You..." he chokes. And Ren opens his eyes. "Kido," he says, sounding vaguely surprised. And then Shinji sees Ren is holding his card deck, up to him. "Fight, please. Take mine...." Shinji runs his fingers up Ren's bare arm to take the deck, but these words are the other man's last. His body is dead weight in Shinji's arms. "Ren..." Shinji gasps out. Tears roll, huge and unheeded, from his eyes. "Ren!" And now he uses the deck, transforming into the Knight Survive armor. He rides in on the Dark Raider, into a place where white sheets hang sheltering over a construction of mirrors. "If I destroy that mirror, the Mirror World will close. The fighting will end... but is that really the right thing to do?" But what should I do, he wonders. Only the dead body left behind could have answered that. "Should I finish it all, or continue to fight in Ren's place?"

Darkness. A man standing, images reflected. Dark, wide-lipped. Shiro Kanzaki. And he speaks to us. "This is another Ryuuki story. It is a story of the beginning. There are two ways this story can end. Shinji Kido will take Ren Akiyama's place and keep fighting." Knight Survive, surrounded by the other riders. "Or he'll stop the fighting...." Odin approaching in the mirror. The card deck held out. Shinji cringing on the street to the puzzlement of passerbys determined to mind their own business. "Which is for you to decide. Every single one of you has an influence on this tale." He holds two Advent cards in his hands, then flings them out for us to see the other side. Selection one is a Contract card, written in blue a phone number 0180-0000-11, call for him to continue the fight. The other is a Seal card, written in red the phone number 0180-0000-22, call so he can stop fighting. And the beginning credits roll, slightly modified from the normal series, with constant scenes from the upcoming show and the cards shown a lot. But before anyone gets excited, we only had until 40 minutes into the broadcast to vote.

I hate commercials. Thank heavens for fast-forward. Ore Journal, and a very upset Reiko scolding Shimada because the computers are still down. Shimada drinks from a bottle of milk and looks wry. Daisuke, the editor, is wisely staying out of it. Frustrated, Reiko goes to her computer, loaded with little post-it notes, and hits it angrily. "Ouch!" protests Shimada. Reiko hits it twice more before the little "ouch"es catch her ear, and she looks around at Shimada, who is facing away from her. Startled, she tries tickling the machine. Shimada starts giggling and wriggles until Reiko stops. Daisuke comes over quickly and he starts opening the side panel of the computer. Shimada starts taking her jacket off, a blush on her cheeks. He's got the panel halfway open when Reiko pushes it shut almost on his fingers. Shimada's jacket returns to its rightful place. Reiko and Daisuke gawk at Shimada. She gets up and comes over, almost sniffling. "You... you have no love for computers. In fact you have no love at all! That's why you don't have a boyfriend!" Reiko starts to steam and offers to fight but Daisuke is quick to put his hands between them to stop things from getting out of hand. "Stop it, both of you! Especially you, Reiko! You get angry so easily these days!" Reiko rolls her eyes in exasperation and snaps, "What else can you expect?! Seven people, one after another, have disappeared this month already!" She waves a postit note at them with the information on it. "It's almost as though they've vanished into thin air!!" "Yes, I understand that. When I think about these cases, I feel awful, too!" Shinji, who's been sleeping under the table ever since he got thrown out of his apartment for failing to pay the rent.... He is muttering contentedly in his sleep, "One more gyudon, please. With no green onions." His mutterings outrage Daisuke, who comes over and picks up the fairly large alarm clock by Shinji's head. He says sweetly, "Here's your no-green onion order!" Shinji starts to wake up, half-pokes his head out from under the table, sleepily rubbing his face against the clock thinking it's a bowl of gyudon, when the alarm goes off. The startle effect is great, sending Shinji bolting up only to hit his poor head rather hard on the under-edge of the table. Daisuke shuts off the alarm and snaps, "Wake up! WAKE UP!" he finally shouts, while Shinji writhes a bit in pain. While Daisuke scolds in some fury that Shinji should be out already gathering information, Shimada defiantly chugalugs her milk before a rather amazed Reiko's eyes. Daisuke is snapping, "Just how long are you going to be sleeping here?!" Shinji apologizes profusely, heading out of the office probably to freshen up.

International Stadium Yokohama. Shinji walks along. Why is he here? He's here because this is the last place some people who vanished were seen. He stops, leaning against a mirrored surface, and drinks from his water bottle. "It seems so normal." When he leaves that place, a strange, sharp sound whispers in the air. Hearing it, he stops and turns around, puzzled. Only to see in his reflection a hank of white silken strands wrapped around his neck. He starts to pull at it in surprise. Then he realizes the cord goes off, into the mirror, whose surface has started to ripple. And suddenly he is yanked inside. He screams as he flies through crystallized surfaces.

And soon he lands, hard and badly, head cracking against the pavement. "What in - " he starts, trying to straighten up. "What is going on?" for he gets to his feet and looks around at a world that seems just the same. Except for the slight squalling noise the monster pursuing him makes as it strikes and sends him tumbling. And the signs nearby that now can be seen are their mirror reflections. What pursues him is a strange being, metallic and yet organic. Bulbous eyes bigger than the head, long golden fangs, white armor. Mispider. And it comes to collect its dinner, wiping slobber from its long jaws. But then a body hurtles out of nowhere, clad in red armor it impacts on the Mispider and knocks it away. Shinji, near paralyzed with fear asks, "Are... are you a human being or...?" And the tall man turns to face him. It is Kamen Rider Ryuuki. Though terrified, Shinji tries to follow the battle when suddenly beyond them is a terrible, bright light. White and shining. Mirrored surface. Then a paper falls, a paper with a drawing upon it. Onto the mirrored surface, and now a new monster is released, created from that paper. The Respider, honeycombed in white and black, golden. Ryuuki turns and notes its presence, while Shinji gasps in horror. Respider joins the attack on Ryuuki. And this is very dangerous. The two creatures tag-team him cruelly.

A motorcycle, two people riding. The driver wears a closed, black helmet that says Shoei. His passenger is a wide-eyed young woman who suddenly smacks at his shoulder, calling him to stop. "Ren!" For they can see clearly in a round mirror the battle going between Ryuuki and the two monsters. He puts in a card. "Strike Vent," announces his visor and Dragredder comes to happily curl around him for attack. Its fires destroy the Mispider and knock Respider back badly. And then Ryuuki slowly topples over and lands like a rock on his back. Shinji races to him. "Hey! Get back up, hey!" he cries, shaking the man. But then he hears a strange sound, feels a terrible tingling sensation. He stares at his fingers, which are starting to lose cohesion. And then the belt on the armored man he holds flashes. Now the man is unarmored, lying there in a dark blue t-shirt, light gray slacks, a sweatband on his wrist. He looks so very normal, but it's clear he's in bad shape. Shinji helps him sit up as he tries to explain. "Once you've been caught in the mirror world, you can't return... unless you become a Rider." The man's lips are white, eyes black against too pale skin. "Rider?" Shinji repeats in confusion. The man lifts his head and gazes at the boy. Then he grabs Shinji's shoulder in a shaking grip. "You..." he lifts a card deck and starts to push it into Shinji's hands, "use this." Respider is getting back to its feet. The man turns his head slightly, but Shinji gets to his feet, card deck gripped tight and then the belt wafts into existence around his waist. He is still disintegrating, and the man at his feet tells him urgently to put the deck into the belt. And when he does, the Ryuuki armor encases him. The man looks feverishly up at him. "Use the card. FIGHT!" For Respider approaches. Panting, Shinji pulls a card from the deck and secures it in his visor. "Sword Vent," the visor announces, and a blade fall from a flash of light near the ceiling into Shinji's uncertain hands. It's a darned good thing Respider is already badly injured, or Shinji would have been dead. One more hit with the blade is all it takes, and Respider goes up in flames. Trembling, knees about to buckle, Shinji turns to see the man who'd instructed him is starting to come apart. With a panicked cry, he runs to the disintegrating body. With the last of his strength the dying man tells him "You'll live, but now you'll have to fight the other Riders," and passes a white sheet of paper into Shinji's hands. And then he points. Points to the distant sculpture of mirrors. And his body finally finishes the process. He is gone.

The new Kamen Rider Ryuuki tumbles from the mirror into the real world. His armor vanishes leaving Shinji panting and as terrified as before. He still holds the card deck, and the white paper for dear life. That paper proves to be a list of names and addresses. Bewildered, Shinji stares at it. Then a voice says sternly, "Hey!" Shinji turns uncertainly to find two people approaching under the bright sun. A girl in light clothing is in front. The slender man behind her is dressed in darks and says firmly, "Give that card deck to us." Shinji backs up uncertainly. "What are you talking about? Who are you?" The man touches the woman's shoulder in warning and outpaces her to confront the uncertain, defensive Shinji. "Just do as I say, or do you want to be beaten?" "You're a creep! Who are you?!" Well, he is Ren Akiyama, "Give me the deck. You weren't meant to be a Rider." "You're one, then. Please, tell me what this is about!" When Shinji grabs his shoulders, seeking more information, Ren shoves him away. But the girl cuts in firmly, "You're better off not knowing. Give us the card deck, and you return to your everyday life." Shinji meets her eyes in confusion. "I can't just do that. People are dying!" Ren answers coolly, "You mean Sakakibara? He was doomed sooner or later, anyway. There's no way to close the Mirror World. Those who become Riders have to keep fighting to be the last one standing, so they can win their wish. If you can't fight, you die." Shinji defensively says "Don't talk like that! You think it's wrong to try to help people?! I think I want to take Sakakibara's place!" Annoyed, Ren snaps, "Don't say such a stupid thing," and snatches for the card deck and they start tussling over it. The paper slips away and falls to the ground. Curious, Ren picks it up but Shinji is swift to snatch it back, glaring. "Gimme that!" Ren is startled, looking very surprised. Then he lifts his gaze and studies the new boy. "What's your name?" "Shinji Kido." Ren considers him a moment, then says with a faint hint of gentleness, "You'd better remember this. You're on that list. If you become one of the Riders, you'll be my enemy." With that parting comment, he leaves. Startled by his abruptness, the girl says his name sharply as he passes her. Then she gives Shinji a brief, dark gaze and goes after him. Shinji watches them go, then looks down at the list. The first name is Takeshi Asakura.

The prison complex is large and pristine white from the outside. Shinji follows a guard through the halls, past gates. He leads him to a cell, and Shinji stares at the man inside in terror. The guard gives him five minutes, and leaves him alone there. The man inside is bound in a white straightjacket. A mask is over his mouth to keep him from biting. Long, black, thick cords from the corner of the cell hold him still, others bind his ankles, waist, chest. He hangs there, sunlight turning his light-dyed hair golden and deceptively soft. He opens his eyes, lifts them that shine with madness and fury. "Who are you?" he asks hoarsely through the mask. Though half-paralyzed, Shinji pulls out his deck and holds it up. Eyebrows shoot up and the menace lifts, Asakura regards him with curiosity. "A Rider, eh? Are you prepared to die?" He continues with feral threat, "People who become Riders are my meat." He jerks forward in his bonds, but they are tight and the movement is restricted. "And I'm always so very hungry." He regards Shinji with blazing interest, "If I defeat you, I'll be satisfied for a little while...." Shinji shivers and asks, "Why are you telling me this?" But before further explanation can be garnered, another voice cuts in. "Enough, enough." Arrival of a tall, handsome man in exquisitely cut suit. Shuichi Kitaoka. "It's a waste of time trying to talk with him like he's a normal person." He sets down his briefcase and his eyes light upon the deck in Shinji's hand. "Oh, another Rider. So, did you come here to fight Takeshi Asakura?" As Shinji doesn't answer, only continues to stare haplessly, he continues. "But he's finished already. Aren't you?" and he leans, glorying in his freedom, on the bars of the cell. "You made a hell of a blunder. You escaped from jail, but got yourself arrested again." Asakura practically hisses. But Kitaoka has his deck, and pulls it out to wave mockingly at him. "I took this from your possessions." Oh, he is cruel. "And no one else can use it," he adds, laughingly. But Asakura's eyes leave him, to focus beyond with interest and a sort of shining hope. Kitaoka, puzzled, leans closer to the bars. And then there is that strange sound that heralds a mirror breach. Kitaoka's eyes travel to the one mistake made. The surface of Shinji's cycle helmet has a reflection, "Look out!" cries Kitaoka, slapping the helmet out of Shinji's hands. But it lands in a pool of light and out of the curving reflective surface comes Venosnaker. It snaps the bonds holding Asakura, its tail slashes Kitaoka's hand in passing, and he cries out, dropping Asakura's deck. Shinji sees it and reaches for it, but another hand gets it first. For Venosnaker has released Asakura from his bonds. And Shinji finds himself straightening up to look into the blazing eyes, meet the bare skin of the man, see the terrible burn scar on his shoulder. Shinji, so young, is not prepared when Asakura strikes as fast as his snake, grabbing him and pinning him viciously against the bars. "You've also made a hell of a blunder!" he says smugly, then grips his deck in his teeth and pulls Shinji's water-bottle off his belt. Yanking it open, he drops it and stamps on it to speed the outpouring of water on the floor of the cell. He releases Shinji and holds out the deck to his reflection. And now he is encased in his armor, stretching contentedly he turns towards the two standing paralyzed against the wall on the other side of the gate. And Oja kicks the gate hard, breaching it. The alarms go off wildly, officers race down the halls in response.

Police cars race through the night, sirens wailing. But on the other side of the river stand Kitaoka and Shinji. "Well, that was no good," comments Kitaoka. And he walks away, Shinji trails after him, asking for more information. "I don't understand what's going on yet. Why do the Riders fight each other?" "Because the Rider who wins gets whatever he wishes for. So we fight." Flabbergasted, Shinji trails in his wake. "But that's terrible! I mean, sacrificing other people just for yourself?!" The argument doesn't faze Kitaoka, who continues walking. "Yes, yes. That's a lovely speech. I could care less what another Rider thinks." As he turns a corner, a car pulls up beside him. "Sensei," the driver greets him. In some surprise, Kitaoka identifies Goro, who is a superb man-Friday, somehow always there for his boss. So our lawyer bids Shinji farewell, "Later. Keep on trying." Off he goes. Shinji stares after him in confusion until his gaze falls straight into someone else's. The lovely girl who'd been there with Ren Akiyama. "You..!" he exclaims in surprise.

"I'll do what Mr. Sakakibara wanted," Shinji tells her. She regards him thoughtfully. "Sakakibara wanted to end it all. He believed there was a core mirror that produces the monsters in the Mirror World." Shinji takes an uncertain breath, "A mirror that produces the monsters..." for he remembers seeing a strange, shining mirror. He mutters, "I think that was it...." And Yui starts to tell him, "If that mirror is destroyed, the Mirror World will -- " Ren's voice interrupts. "You've said too much. That guy couldn't possibly do it." She turns, startled, to look at him. He calmly comes up to them. The monsters will protect that mirror. That was, after all, how Sakakibara got himself killed. "I can do it! But it's probably too hard to do by myself! There must be a good man among the Riders, and if we get together and help each other, we can do it!" "If you're planning to look for allies amongst the Riders, you might as well forget it. You don't know why Riders exist." "I don't know, right. And I don't want to know!" protests Shinji.

In the car, driving, and Goro glances over at his boss. Kitaoka is drooping, rubbing at his aching head. "Sensei," Goro says with concern, stopping the car. "Are you all right?" It takes a moment, but Kitaoka lifts his head. "Yes, I'm fine." He straightens back up, but he is not quite fine. "I still have time. I won't die. Ever."

There is a man standing, someone pushing pins into his suit. "Please make another notched lapel the same color as the cloth." This is a man who has butlers, and personal tailors. He lives in a huge house. Richer than sin, I suppose. He drinks coffee, comes out past a line of hired help before he bids them farewell for the day. Leaves the house with its perfectly manicured lawn. Rides in an elegant, black limosine.... Which is soon trailed by Shinji on his little bike. The man starts to read his newspaper, when his guard sitting across from him notices that the guy behind them is trying to get their attention. "There's someone following us," he speaks into the microphone on his jacket. "A strange bike." Shinji is screaming at the car, when another vehicle comes up perilously close behind him. It is the extra bodyguards. Frantic, Shinji hauls out his deck and waves it in the air, trying to get the attention of the Rider in the car. A rather interesting expression crosses the face of Itsuro Takamizawa, Mr. Richer than sin. "Pardon. Stop the car, just for a little while."

In the building owned by the Takamizawa Group, Shinji is fighting hand and foot while two bodyguards pin him in a chair. They finally leave him there, across from Mr. Takamizawa, who has a microphone in front of him. From all the way across this immense room, as the curtains close to cut off any reflections, "We can talk here, it's safe. You can say anything, the sound won't carry out of this room." Shinji can't stand this huge distance, and stands wanting to come over and talk. The moment he does, the bodyguards come back in the room. Shinji sheepishly waves apologies at them and sits back down. They vanish again. The interaction amuses Mr. Takamizawa, who chuckles. "Am I to understand you wish to ally with me?" Shinji tries to get through to the amused man. Not accustomed to having a sensitive microphone in front of his face, he keeps causing feedback as he tries to explain. "Yes, yes, let's fight together! I want to end that nightmarish Mirror World, stop the Riders fighting!" The listening man utters a snort of laughter and drops his gaze before saying wryly, "Then there's no need for me to put on an act for you." Suddenly everything changes. Body-language, tone, way of speaking. "Look, little boy, only the strongest men win in this world. What's wrong with seeking power?" Shinji stutters uncertainly, "But.. but you're already head of the proud Takamizawa Group!" Takamizawa laughs and gets up with the microphone. "It's no more than a fart! The fight with the Riders will never stop." And he approaches threateningly, his voice amplified until he's in the wide-eyed Shinji's face with the facts. "Society is just like the Riders' battle! To live you walk over the backs of everyone else. You get it? Everyone's a Rider." But Shinji doesn't agree with him, shaky and frightened. "You may think so but --" which only annoys him. "Shut up! That's enough!" He kicks the chair away, and the bodyguards come in and throw Shinji out. "Garbage," snorts Takamizawa as they drag the protesting boy past him.

Ren Akiyama goes to Miyuki Tezuka, the sanest of the riders. "He's going to destroy the Mirror World?" Tezuka asks for clarification. Ren confirms it. "The strange new kid is going to do it. He's trying to form an alliance of Riders. But I think it'll be all right, but just in case..." Tesuka gives him a quiet, steady look. "You want me to agree to protect the Mirror World with you." His gaze flickers down, then up and firmly he says, "I won't." Ren is sartled at that. "I became a Rider for the same reason you did." Shinji has, in fact, arrived looking for Tezuka. He can hear them talking. It is about Eri, who lies in the hospital, in a coma ever since she was attacked by Darkwing in that first day... before Ren contracted the monster to himself. "To save Eri, to give her a new life." He continues grimly, "But I don't know, anymore. I loved her a long time ago, just like you love her now." His voice shakes and gaze flickers, "But can I really kill another person to save her?" Shinji is poking his head over Ren's motorcycle, listening desperately. "So what are you going to do?" Ren demands. "Let her die?" Before Tezuka can answer more than one word, "That's -- " there is a noise and they turn. Clumsy Shinji has knocked Ren's helmet off the cycle, and is quickly picking it up. He freezes when they look at him. Then he puts the helmet back and apologizes. "I didn't mean to overhear. But you didn't become a Rider for your own sake." Ren is telling him off. "This has nothing to do with you. Go away." When Shinji turns away miserably, there is the sheer sound of a mirror break. They look around and suddenly Tezuka and Ren race off. Shinji shakes himself and pursues. Screaming in the park draws them. There is a lady, her neck anchored by a monster's tether. Her frightened dog cannot run as she holds its leash. The monster is closing on her. Tezuka and Ren attack it, and Shinji leaps by to free the woman and tell her to run as fast as possible away. She goes with her yelping dog. He turns to see the other two men with their decks out and catches up quickly. As one, the two men call for change into their armor. Shinji lags behind but moves clumsily into action. He is still staring uncertainly at his arm when they race into the Mirror World, and has to hurry after them.

Takamizawa is also changing into armor, attracted by the breach. He is Kamen Rider Verde, rich vibrant green of a chameleon. The battle is engaged, they are up against Mispider and Respider again (Hmm). Unfortunately Verde arrives, and his first target is Raia. The others are still tangled with the spiders and cannot help, while Verde drags him off saying, "It's well and good to destroy the monsters, but don't forget other Riders are your enemy." Out he pulls a card, into his hip visor. "Clear Vent," it announces. And Raia has to deal with an enemy that keeps vanishing and reappearing. Verde gets him a few good ones, then hides behind a wall, amused, while Raia searches for him. He has a Copy Vent card, and now he uses it. But what he copies is Kamen Rider Knight, assuming his appearance and going after Raia again. Raia is about to put in a card when he sees who he thinks is his friend approaching. "Ren," he says in relief. And the man answers "Tezuka," (in a voice clearly NOT Ren's) then launches himself at Raia. The terrible blade stabs deep and true... Raia falls, stunned and injured badly. But Verde has dropped the disguise and pulls out his Final Vent card. And his companion monster, Viogreeza, appears above them. It spits out its long tongue. As Raia staggers to his feet, Verde leaps high, the tongue bending down to meet him. And then spins down on the power of that tongue to snatch up Raia, spin him madly and hit the ground with his head first. And he laughs as Raia balances there for a moment, then falls flat. Knight and Ryuuki make it around the corner to find him lying there. "Tezuka!" screams Ren, and runs to his friend's side. Raia lifts a feeble hand to him, while Verde walks away, still laughing. But Raia's hand falls before Knight can take it. They speak each other's names, but finally Tezuka, Kamen Rider Raia, dies. *sniffle*

The two have left the Mirror World, and Shinji races in Ren's wake. Shinji cannot understand it. Ren seems so indifferent and after his friend just died! "That's what a Rider's battle is," he says over his shoulder. Then he stops and meets his eyes. "I'll tell you this only once. Don't run away." He marches on, but Shinji manages to get in front of him, forcing him to stop. "But weren't you two friends?" Ren rinses his hand in the fountain they are next to, while the wild-eyed boy tries to wring some human reaction from him. "What's with you? Is this what you want? Your friend died!" But Ren counters, "Anyone who becomes a Rider is the enemy. And now there's one enemy less." Ren shoves past him. But Shinji is determined now, more than ever, to stop the fighting. "You suck! I'm going to stop this battling!" he shouts after the departing man. He slaps his hand angrily in the water and says in a voice so tight it shakes, "No matter what, I'm going to stop it all."

And so he goes to a young, rich man who is contentedly playing video games. "Oh, I heard about you from Takamizawa. There's a little blue-assed boy who's become a Rider." Boy, these rich scum sure stick together. Sadly, things decend to insults quickly. For both rich men have concluded that Shinji is just a foolish child. "Kid? You're younger than me!" Playing the game while talking to Shinji, multi-tasking with the best of them, Jun Shibaura says "You really shouldn't get so mad when you're such a low level. The Riders' battle is just another game." "Do you really mean that?!" His opponent in this game does not have the luxury of the genius rich-boy and is defeated, growls helplessly while the young girls surrounding Jun's station sing his praises. "Yup. In the end I win." "Tell you what. You beat me at this game, and I'll listen to you." "Huhn?" Shinji logically replies. Wanting to strangle the boy, it soon becomes evident the big issue is cash. Shinji doesn't have any (and no wonder, he hasn't been to work since this began, I think). So Jun loans him some, deliberately dropping it all over the floor. "Who are you calling a kid," grumbles Shinji, climbing past him to collect it. Jun takes advantage of his upturned butt and kicks him in it. This puts his crowd in giggles, but Jun has a sort of dry amusement about it. He takes off with the collection of girls, leaving Shinji humiliated. "Why is he such an idiot?" snarls Shinji helplessly.

Brightly lit office building. Brilliant morning. Daisuke, editor of Ore Journal, comes in through the door yawning, "Good Mor--" and is hit in the head by a soccerball. Shinji is atop the work tables, scoring points. He is screaming "Goooooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaaaalllllllllllll!" and Reiko is totally flummoxed by his behaviour. She is probably wondering if he's lost his maind. Daisuke, now sporting a huge red mark on his forehead, makes his way past the netting Shinji'd put up. "Shinji. Just what is it you're up to?" he asks wearily. Shinji bounds off the table to explain, "Have you seen Bekkam's fantastic shot?!" and gets yelled at, understandably. Daisuke's voice is even shrill, he's so angry. "No kidding! I asked you what you're up to?!" Then Shinji explains to the poor man with the aching head, "I can't believe in anyone anymore." Stunned, Daisuke stares at him. "HUH?" is the understandable response. Reiko touches his shoulder to ask tentatively, "Why are you acting like a soccer player?" and backs up several steps from the fierce look on his face. "When I was a child, I wanted to be a soccer player. If I could return to my childhood, maybe I would be able to believe in people again." He's trying to get his confidence back. What he saying gets puzzled and interested looks from Shimada, who decides that what he's saying is fantastic and makes complete sense. "That's so TRUE, Shinji! You're wonderful!" This upsets Daisuke, though, who probably finds himself wondering if his rather eccentric staff is really worth it. "Don't encourage him!" When Shinji snatches up the ball to throw again, Daisuke and Reiko wrestle it away from him, trying to calm his frenetic movements. "S-s-s-s-stop it, Shinji! You're just tired!" He tells Shimada to call an ambulance. She is reaching for the phone when it rings. She answers, and the phone is for him. "Shinji, it's for you." From a police detective. Both Daisuke and Reiko are totally bewildered, and let the struggling boy loose. They're sure Shinji's done something terrible, and it brings tears to Daisuke's eyes. "We're too late!" He uses his handkerchief to blot his tears.

A cafe next to a green lake. Lots and lots of reflecting surfaces. Boy oh boy. And there is a man waiting, while Shinji arrives and looks for him, not knowing who he is. Shinji passes him by. The man seems to consider just letting him go, but then finally approaches him. They sit at a table. "I've heard about you," Masashi Sudou says. "You're the one who wants to stop the fighting." He is tidy and calm, a ghostly quiet to his voice. Shinji has about given up, and grumbles and complains mostly to himself, "Yeah, I know, you're just going to tell me how stupid I am. I don't care that you're all laughing at me -- " until the man says he's interested, looking amused. "I want to help you. If you want me to." "If you want me t - " Shinji turns to gape at him. "REALLY?!"

A bright day, Atori Tea House. Ren is cleaning the tables. The door opens and someone in slacks steps in. Ren looks up. "You?" It is Kitaoka, come to talk to him. "Darjeeling Second Flash," he orders. As he goes to sit he says coolly, "It's a more elegant taste." He sits down. "Just what are you thinking?" Ren asks mockingly. "I know you aren't really here just for tea." "Oh, I came to talk about that Shinji Kido." He lets his gaze wander the store as he says, "He's up to something. We may have to join forces...." Ren stares blankly at him. Then someone else walks in. No, two others. Itsuro Takamizawa and Jun Shibaura. Itsuro says coolly, "There's no doubt anymore, he's dangerous. So... it's better to destroy him while he's still new." "I don't need you." Ren goes at Takamizawa, the pain of losing Tezuka there despite his efforts to quell it. "Get out of here!" Takamizawa mocks him, "I guess you're still angry about Tezuka's death." He circles Ren. "That's pretty stupid. Even if he's your old friend, anyone who becomes a Rider is your enemy. You're a contradiction." Jun laughs. But Takamizawa wonders aloud if Ren isn't of the same mind as Shinji Kido, both very young and foolish. "No, I'm -" Ren starts to protest. Geez, they're all ganging up on him. Kitaoka demands his clear statement. "I'm going to what? Join us? Or not join us?" He wanders past Ren as if it doesn't matter to him.

And Shinji is still at the cafe with Masashi Sudou, thinking he's got through to someone at last. "I believe that among riders there must be someone sane. Anyway," cuts off to order another drink "If we destroy that core Mirror the Mirror World will be closed. But it's too difficult for one person! Would you like something to eat? I'll buy." As he speaks, he is distracted by all sorts of things (like a long legged girl passing by) He stops to order large puddings for them. Then a high Mirror breach calls. Sudou is on his feet and running towards the sound before Shinji quite catches up. Sudou pauses to snatch up the check. They reach a windowed building together and summon their belts and armor as one. The monster is the Sorospider, green and deadly bladed. Ryuuki and Scissors face it together. And Ryuuki hauls out a card wreathed in flames. The Survive card. His body is a vortex of fire, and he transforms into his higher form. Sorospider has managed to knock Scissors viciously, and turns in surprise at its opponent. Scissors stops and stares, too. And Ryuuki calls for Shoot Vent. Dragranzer flies in, sweet powerful form to curl around his new Rider. The Sorospider takes one more look and makes a run for it. But it is too late. The blast destroys it utterly. Ryuuki powers down to normal and is bouncing with glee, when Scissors taps him on the shoulder. We will never know if this is in congratulations or a prelude to challenge, for they come under attack. Verde, Gai, Zolda and Knight have arrived. "Why are you getting in my way?" he protests. Verde is almost amused. "That's what we've been saying." Gai steps forward. "Yeah, stay out of our way. This is a funnest game in the world." And it is Gai who leaps to attack first, while Ryuuki dives under the strike. Zolda hits next and he stumbles to Knight, who kicks him back into Verde's arms. "Stop it! I don't want to fight you!" But then Scissors proves to be after him, too, "Why you too?" and he is quite totally in shock. "Don't think I'm evil, but I was never your friend, not even from the beginning." Scissors pins him, a somewhat mad sound to his voice. "You have no idea what it's like to be a Rider. This is what we do. We're aiming for the top." He calls Gai to finish Ryuuki off. "Okay!" Rescue comes from a most unexpected quarter. Oja bashes Scissors away, to be identified by the other with visible terror. "Asakura!" Gazing around in delight he asks, "What's going on? Let me in on this fight!" Scissors is no match for the hardened fighter, even if they are equally insane. Ryuuki tries to run, and can't make it though the gauntlet of the others. But Oja says with amusement, "We don't need police in the Mirror World," and calls in Final Vent, and destroys Scissors. He gets shot in the back by Zolda, but is not impressed. "You're next," he says. Zolda replies, "I'll send you back to jail. If not that, then to Hell." Laughing as he's being shot, Oja draws Zolda off. Gai and Verde are about to finish off Ryuuki, when someone says wait. It is Verde. And he has decided that Knight should kill Ryuuki. "Kill him with your own hands. You can do that easily, if you're really a Rider." And Knight agrees, but his voice is pained. "Certainly." Ryuuki tries to roll away, but he is too weak and injured. "You won't, really?!" "Don't hate me," he says coldly. And when Knight pierces down for the killing strike, he would be dead if Ren could carry through. Everything grinds to a halt, for Knight has not yet killed another human being. "You," whispers Ryuuki. Verde, behind asks, "What's the matter? You can't do it?" Gai agrees, "Really? He can't? He sure LOOKS like a Rider." The two rich men are cold and cruel in their condemnation of Knight for his weakness. "I knew you couldn't. You're out, too." And Verde finally attacks, knocking Knight past a recovering Ryuuki. But now it is two on two, and they will perhaps regret this. "You know what happens to a Rider who shows weakness. You make us a tasty snack." When Verde leaps to attack, Ryuuki moves to defend. But they've been in the mirror world too long. "We're out of time," Verde says. He and Gai flee together, amused.

Shinji pursues Ren on his motorcycle. "Wait, Aikiyama! Hey, Ren!!" He cannot know, we cannot know, what is really happening inside Ren's head, but I think the shell-shock from Tezuka's death has gone, and he is in raw pain, now. He loses control of his motorcycle and falls, the cycle sliding and he rolling painfully with a cry. Shinji stops and leaps off his cycle to come try and help. He rolls Ren onto his back and when the other man removes his helmet, the tears are plain to see. "Why? Why are you helping me? If I don't fight the other Riders, my life has no meaning!" he cries hysterically. Shinji can only try his best to help. "What are you talking about? Youve got it backwards! You're fantastic! I've come to respect you!" But a laugh from above draws their attention. Perversely, Asakura is watching over them. "The weak are eaten by the strong!" he calls down. "You get it now?" Shinji has at least learned danger when he sees it. "Ren, come on, we gotta go, hurry!" and drags him up and away.

Morning breaks, a pigeon coos. Two men are on the run. They hide, they flee. Shinji drags the broken hearted Ren when he has to. "They won't be able to keep following us." "It doesn't matter. Don't worry about me." "Stop talking like that! We're friends." And they have to stick together. "Friends?" Ren asks in wonder and confusion. "Sure, we fought when we first met, but you are really a friend. It's so stupid, the Riders having to fight each other. You and I can stop it together. We can finish it all." "I can't. I'm fighting because there's someone I need to save. The only way to do it is to win the Rider's war." "Oh. I understand how you feel - " A falling can and they look up. Jun has found them, and Shinji pulls Ren away with them only to find they've come across Kitaoka. They hide, while the laughing others gather. "How far do you think you can run?" Takamizawa is there. "Once you've become a Rider, you can't run away." Ren decides to change into armor. He will fight, he will win, though Shinji wants him to stop. "Don't do it! That's what they want you to do!" "Lemme go! I will fight. I will overcome my weakness." And the other three who'd come transfer into their armor. And so Shinji goes in to help. They are in for a battle. There is also Oja, attacking madly. Impaler and Tiger arrive, and Femme. "So you are also really Riders?" she asks them. Everyone is after Ryuuki and Knight. Boy. They brace themselve, and the last two come. Odin and the black Ryuuga, chuckling cruelly. Two against eight, for the dead are lost. And Odin throws a blast that knocks them down. But beyond them Shinji sees the mirror that drives all of this.

"If I destroy that, everything will be finished!" he screams. Impaler dashes at him, Oja right behind with Verde on his tail. Knight is surrounded by Gai, Femme, Ryuuga and Odin. Ryuuki helps fight through them. "We'll get you first," says Verde, and calls for Final Vent, heads at Ryuuki but Knight takes the shot "Move it!" Shinji screams his name, but Ren isn't dead yet. He calls in his own Final Vent, and destroys Verde. But then his armor shatters and he falls. And Shinji cannot get to him through the others. He can want to, though. And Odin approaches, laughing, and takes his card deck. Destroys it. Shinji's armor vanishes. And a monster arrives to take on the other riders. The green Sorospider is back, and Respider, and I'm certain Mispider is around, too.

Shinji, armorless, defenseless, gets to his feet. Ignored by the combatants, he goes to Ren, whose breathing is ragged and pained. "Oh Ren," and he weeps. "It's so stupid, dying to save me." "We're friends, like you said," whispers Ren, and then offers him the card deck, asks him to fight. "Take my place. For Eri, please." "Ren!" And Shinji weeps great, helpess tears. His cries attract the attention of Gai, who finds his weeping annoying and comes to finish him off. But before he can get to the helpless man, a cord of webbing twines about his neck. On the ceiling above is the enormous Death Spider. The others see it and part in terror. It drops down at Gai, has him. It pulls him in as he struggles, and eats him right up. The others still fight, but Femme is beginning to tire. Ryuuga is protecting her. Shinji gets to his feet, but is knocked aside by hard fists. Oja, Tiger, Zolda, Impaler and Odin are after him. They stalk amusedly at him, but then he tries to dive. Far off lies Ren's corpse (they're special, don't disintegrate when they die. Ah, the joys of being the heroes!). Shinji is thrown against a pillar. They are toying with him. But now he hauls out Knight's deck, and transforms into battle armor, to their somewhat surprise. He hauls out the Survive Card, transfers, brings out his Final Vent and hurtles. Past the others, at the mirror he's been told will solve all this. "If I destroy that mirror, the Mirror World will close. The fighting will end... but is that really the right thing to do?" He destroys the spider as it tries to stop im, and says to them that he will fight in Ren's place. They stalk towards him, past the helpless corpse, and surround him. "Ren, you didn't know the answer either. You were fighting to find it out. Well I'll fight, too. To find the answer you were looking for." Everyone pulls out their Final Vent. He is at their center, and that is a deadly place to be. And he chooses a direction and races into battle towards a rather jumpy Tiger.

However it ends, we will never know, though I'm sure he's doomed. Shiro Kanzaki "It was you who decided how this story would end. Whether it is good, or bad, that is for another Ryuuki story to tell." And he throws an Advent Card towards us.