- (58.81KB, 650x487, purpleland.jpg)
If you were any earlier, you might have walked in on a pretty heated conversation. Seems like things are okay now. You step into the room. Rika's back is facing you while she's hunched over a display with a garbled image.
"Delta, did it work?" Rika speaks up, hardly aware of your presence. "Can she still--"
A distorted voice breaks through, "Sorry, not gonna work this time."
The display begins to clear up, showing a fuzzy image of a blonde wearing what looks like a sailor's cap. You can hear a groan of frustration from Rika.
"Please reconsider, Rika," the girl says grimly. "You've forced the professor to deploy the cyborgs, and you know how unstable they are. I thought it fair to warn you, at least. See you soon!"
The girl in the sailor cap ends her broadcast on a jarringly friendly note. Rika turns around and is visibly surprised at finding you there. She collapses on a nearby chair, leaning back so she can stare at the ceiling with a hand rubbing her forehead.
"How much of that did you hear?" She asks.
"Uhh, a little before she made her threat," you scratch the back of your head, "You know that girl? Is she a—"
"—An old friend. Long story; rather not go into it." Rika finishes for you as she sits up and takes her eyes off the ceiling.
"…You know what I am." You start, breaking the pause in the conversation, "Aren't you suspicious of me?"
"There are a few similarities, but other than that you look like nothing I've helped make. You wouldn't be standing here if I knew you were one of theirs." She says matter-of-factly. "Anyway, you look like you're functioning properly again. Need something?"
"Just a way out of this…uh…'Makai' place," you answer. "You sound like you're in some trouble though. Are you gonna be okay?" You can't help but feel some concern.
"Probably," Rika shrugs looking more tired than worried. "I've gotten away from them before, but that stupid ship of theirs always leads them right behind me."
"You're still ahead of them though, so you still have a chance." You make an attempt to cheer her up.
"Nice try," Rika gives you a pitying smile and shakes her head. "Anyway! You want out of here, right? I'm assuming back to Gensokyo."
"Yeah." You think for a moment as a horrible thought comes to mind, "I'm…not stuck here, am I?"
"Oh, no, no," she assures you, getting up from her seat and making her way to the door. "I mean, sure, Makai's got some weird rules with its borders, but you're not trapped here. Come on, follow me." She beckons to you as she heads out the door.
You follow her down the hall as she continues talking.
"There's one guaranteed way out, and that's the ruler of Makai itself." She turns into a dark room, flicking the lights on.
"So where do I find this person?"
"She's in her fortress; huge crystal structure. You can't miss it and it shouldn't be that far from here," Rika makes her way to a darker part of the room, pulling along a familiar shape into view. "Not when you're riding this anyway."
No doubt about it, it's your bike! A few alterations aside, it's looking much better than it did back at the Ancient City. The new gas tank in particular catches your eye.
"That's an odd shape for a tank." You point at the black, spherical object right embedded in front of the seat. "This doesn't use some kind of special fuel, does it?"
"Nothing you have to worry about refueling." Rika answers rather proudly, "It can sustain itself!"
Right at that moment, you feel a very familiar prickly sensation invade your brain.
《A relief to see you well again, RIDER.》
"Oh, yeah, there's that too." She says, noticing the twitch your face makes.
An eye opens on the black sphere, looking directly at you.
"Sigma?" You stare at the fixed eyeball on your bike.
"Kappa, actually." Rika corrects you. "At least, that's what it was before I integrated this into your bike. After that it just kept asking where you were and if you were okay. I think your motorcycle was already taking a life of its own."
"Whoa, hold on!" You speak up. "My uncle used to tell me stories of the tsukumogami. It should take, like, a century or something for objects to come to life, right? I've only had this bike for few years."
"Well, the air here in Makai enhances magic as well as accelerate magical processes significantly. The miasma must have gotten your bike started and installing one of my self-aware evil eyes gave it something to merge with, making things go even faster."
《Evil Eye Kappa, at your service. Vehicle is fully repaired and can function as before.》
You scratch your head, "Why do you call these things 'Evil Eye' anyway? This isn't going to actually kill me, is it?"
"Ah, that's just a name." She chuckles. "Come on, I thought it sounded cool! Admit it, 'Evil Eye Sigma' has a certain ring to it."
"You've been by yourself for too long, lady."
So apparently you have a thinking motorcycle now. You could have ended up with much worse, so you count yourself lucky for now.
"You'll have to get going." Rika suggests. "I'm gonna have to ditch this place myself."
"You sure you don't need my help? Last chance!" You tease her.
"Thanks, but I have a battalion of tanks. A dinky little motorcycle isn't gonna help me much." She snipes back with a smirk.
"Good point." You raise your hands in a playful gesture of defeat. "I still owe you though."
"We'll worry about that if we see each other again." Rika bids you goodbye as she turns to leave the room, shutting the door behind her.
《RIDER, miasma will be thick outside of this facility. Recommending transformation to mitigate harmful long-term effects before opening the exit.》
Heeding Kappa's warning, you assume your Masked Rider form. You feel as light as ever, though you can tell adjustments have been made. It's almost like you just put on a new pair of comfortable pants.
Ready to go, Kappa gets the garage doors to open remotely, revealing the very purple and dark red world of Makai shrouded in a thick fog. For a place said to be full of demons, it has a strange otherworldly beauty to it, but now is hardly the time for sightseeing. Just as Rika said, a massive crystal structure looms in the distance. You kick the pedal and head on your way.
Aside from causing a few stray fairies to panic as you pass them with blinding speed, you make your way to Pandemonium with little trouble. You're finally forced to stop when you find a crystal gate blocking your path to the inside fortress itself.
Dismounting your bike, you walk up to the gate to get a closer look. Pushing or pulling it doesn't make it budge at all.
"Great. The one time I need a way out and nobody is home!" You complain out loud as you fold you arms.
[ ] Punch the gate down.
[ ] Check the back for another way in.
[ ] Yell, just in case someone is home.