It felt as if Kirika was drowning. The water was thick. It was as if the polar caps were melting on top of her. The torrent of liquid pushed her down, down into a truly eldritch area. Well, it didn't look so eldritch at first; but quickly, it morphed into something that could only come out of her mind.
There was naught but a dark cave with numerous holes strategically placed within it; as she walked further into the cave, she realized; it was a place where life sparkled; a place that where life had faded.
It was not only her own inner world as the existence of "Kirika Hotsuin", it was her own inner world as "Varian".
The reason why she could access such diabolic-inspired powers was because, when she found the GingaOh Driver as a child, the sealed Primordial Demon known as Varian merged with her, being freed from the belt and engraving it upon her soul; essentially making them one and the same.
Or perhaps, it was something deeper than that; she wasn't sure.
The atmosphere seemed perfectly serene- serene being the word here. The wind blowed; though it made no sound. The water rippled; yet again, nada. It was a world of silence- hm. A world of silence?
Kirika could see a ripple in the air around, like shockwaves of energy vibrating out from the cave's core. The surroundings crumbled like sand. The red drained from the rocks, the blue faded from the sky as it was set aflame.
Life became a void.
As if out of nowhere, a mass of dark matter in the shape of almost a semi-sphere, with the darkness flaring out at their back like tendrils and a mouth with teeth and a red eye with a black iris in it right in the middle of its mouth manifested in front of her.
There were no doubts here; this was the Primordial Demon that spawned the Everlasting Twilit Shadow Demon: One-Legged Star, Gehaburn and the Unending Solar Shining Demon: Thousand Armed Moon, Elysdeon—the Planet-Eating Beast: Varian.
"THAT'S IT," The demon's echoing voice snarled, "YOU HATE THIS WORLD. YOU HATE EVERYTHING. THAT IS WHY YOU HAVE ALWAYS BEEN ABLE TO HARNESS MY POWER."
"Nah," Kirika brushed the beast off. "I'm done with you. I'm done with all this crap."
"WHERE WILL YOU GO?"
Varian absolutely lost his composure; snarling like the beast he was; "PREPOSTEROUS. AFTER ALL YOU'VE DONE; YOU'RE JUST NOW GOING TO TURN BACK ON THE PATH I'VE PROVIDED YOU!?"
Kirika simply replied to the ranting demon, "...That man's hand reached out to me. Even though...I've done all this, he's offered me a second chance. And I'm going to continue to seek it even from now."
"WHAT WILL YOU LIVE FOR WITHOUT HATRED?"
Kirika realized now; even though she was a being of darkness—that didn't mean that she had to be 'evil'. Even though she'd suffered so much, even though it made her hate the world—
"Everyone can change. From now on...I'm going to discard my past. I'm going to live for my future."
An immense green light spread through the darkness as Kirika spoke those words. It started to reduce the black aura belonging to the Planet-Eating Beast Varian, slowly but surely at first, before increasing at a rapid pace. The power of the demon's hatred was also burnt away by an intense emerald light.
"I REFUSE TO ACCEPT THIS."
Varian launched himself at Kirika furiously, his mouth agape as if he were attempting to consume her and take over her body.
Kirika simply smirked confidently; it was the first time since she confessed her problems to Deen Lhant that she'd shown that familiar expression. "Some things never change."
She could see it; the green light was illuminating her inner world and driving the demon away.
Of course; shadows were created by light—not the darkness of despair. That emerald shine...it was her power all along; the gentle shadows. It wasn't the power of the Planet-Eating Beast Varian; it was the strength of Kirika Hotsuin.
Kirika Hotsuin withdrew her chainsword as Varian charged forward, thrusting the blade into Varian's forehead with all of her might. Her eyes shone a mighty crimson, as a scarlet aura began to radiate from her body—this was her fighting spirit, overpowering the eldritch horror from ages past.
Numerous cracks began to form upon Varian's "body"—slowly, but surely, Kirika's willpower was absorbing the fiend, leading the corrupter to become the corrupted; if not worse.
"This is the end of the road for you, you big ugly bastard!" Kirika revved her GingaOh Driver; the triad of crystals of which were shifting colours between silver and golden—for Kirika and Varian respectively. "Drive on."
Dual voices resounded from the belt—as if it were experiencing an error of sorts.
A swirling torrent of silver and gold energies raced out from Kirika and Varian' figures; crashing into each other. The two streams of light, like surging waves with simply the purpose of destruction, attempted to swallow one another.
Light filled the space and annihilated everything in the surrounding area; reducing the eerie atmosphere of Kirika's inner world to dust.
The space filled with gold and silver seemed as though it was declaring the end of the world.
The light that had only swelled began to calm, and disappeared like specks of dust, scattering to the wind as an armoured being returned to the real world.
Imagine a butterfly spreading its wings. Such a mark had been carved into the ground. It was the trace of an explosion, so enormous it could be seen even from far up in the sky.
The armoured being was a golden and raven textured elegant gold Übermensch; dressed in the holy robes of a black sage showcasing its divinity, with a jagged, black wings—while so pure, there was something just off about it. The golden helmet's cold, azure eyes stared straight at Gemini, motionless.
"Kirika...!" Deen himself had finally caught up to the two—since he'd already passed the five minute time limit, he couldn't become Zero to stop whatever was happening. All he could do was watch on in worry.
The Gemini Symbiote looked unimpressed, almost not understanding how this sort of thing worked; "I'm disappointed that I expected more of you. I knew you'd succumb to Varian—"
The sound of metal slowly dislodging itself resounded resolutely.
"You're as brain-dead as ever." A familiar, mocking tone answered from the Super Galaxy King armour. "Listen up. Let me show you how a true transformation is done."
Various parts of the Super Galaxy King armour were cast off from the body, arms, legs, and helmet; the blacks and golden colours vanished in an instant, scattering in all directions in a burst of silver light.
The Super Galaxy King armour had been reduced to ashes; allowing the true form of the GingaOh Driver's Soul Armour to rise like the immortal firebird.
A glistening silver armour stood before Gemini; shining illustriously. The appearance of the armour was akin to that of a falcon; some parts of its body, such as the interior part of its armour and its hands, we coloured violet. It had red in its crest and other parts of the body, as well as some green crystals. The armour's claws were yellow it had three pairs of wings extending from its back, as well as a tail. Wings extended from its back; and it had a tri-pronged scarlet head-crest.
Familiar purple eyes gazed at Gemini. "Varian's gone."
"...The hell are you talking about?!" Gemini's tone became more panicked as she manifested numerous crimson spheres—morphing them into an innumerable amount of scarlet bullets; showering down towards the figure like raindrops.
"Isn't it obvious?" The figure sneered as they simply walked towards Gemini without bothering to evade; the red blasts scattered off of the silver armour as if they were simply sand being thrown. "I destroyed the damn bastard. His power is now mine. This is my triumphant return!" Kirika's distinctive laugh resounded throughout the area.
That was an absolute truth; Kirika Hotsuin's willpower was far greater than the Planet-Eating Beast's.
Gemini, underneath her helmet, bit her lip in frustration. "...There's no way I'll lose to somebody like you again!" Scarlet pellets rained down even further—
"Really now?" —Kirika snapped her fingers, manifesting a silver whip-sword. With a single swing of the blade, the sheer aura radiating from the sword dissipating Gemini's "power"; Kirika's wings began to shine emerald as she shot forth like a silver shooting star streaking through the night sky, closing the distance between the two instantly.
Gemini hissed at her; while she formed a red barrier of magical power to defend herself as Kirika swung her Arms Weapon towards her. Upon contact, the chain-sword began to emit a scarlet energy—her fighting spirit.
Kirika's sword broke all of her opponent's defense barriers with ease; she shouted, "It's useless!" Before Gemini could muster a proper reaction, Kirika's fist shot upwards like a rocket ascending to the skies, slamming into her jaw.
The sheer force of the blow shattered the Soul Metal that composed Gemini's Soul Armour's helmet.
"From here on, the path is only a one-way road!"
"Guh..!" Gemini's body bent unnaturally as she was sent careening into the air; her face distorted unnaturally in intense pain—she couldn't react to such speed and power.
Kirika revved the lever on her Driver Belt thrice—
—and an emerald energy charged within her fists as she shot into the skies, hovering above her opponent for the briefest of moments.
"Just put your tail between your legs and get your ass back where you came from!"
Kirika attached her whip-sword to the elbow of her silver gauntlet; causing the length of the blade to triplicate. Emerald energy gathered and condensed—flames spewed from her wings as she sped towards her opponent to deal the final blow like a meteor crashing to the earth.
Kirika's blade tore through Gemini's body as if it were wet rice paper; cleaving her clean in half with enough kinetic force displayed by the strike to cause Gemini to explode—at that point, it was clear who was superior.
Of course, Varian connection or not, there was one thing clear—Kirika would always be somebody who fought for her beliefs.
Kirika slowly began to walk away, disengaging her transformation in a burst of silver light. She was once more filled with determination; a resolve to continue on fighting.
Only now, she wasn't fighting to take her anger out on the world.
Deen began to approach her; silently congratulating her, placing his wounded hand upon her shoulder in a friendly manner. "Kirika, do you see what you did there?"
"...Keep your hands off me." Kirika snarled at him; though unlike before, it seemed to display slight irritation rather than full-on murderous rage.
"...Is that really how you say thanks to somebody who saved your life?" Deen sighed; after a few touching moments between the two, she'd seemingly snapped back to her usual passive-aggressive self.
"Saved my life?" Kirika retorted; "Don't think I owe you one." A rather smug smirk formed as she curled her lips."You just wanted to hold my hand, didn't you? That's why you saved me, you creep."
Deen was taken aback by this statement- he snapped back, "This isn't a joke, y-you know! Everyone has a second chance—you, too." He stomped his foot on the ground, grumbling, "So this was nothing?"
"Ohohohohoho," Kirika let out a cacophonic laughter; "You really are too stone-faced."
"Tch," Deen still couldn't really understand her; even though she'd supposedly changed, she still acted the same on the surface. "So, what will you do now?"
"Well, aren't you going to arrest me? I am a criminal, after all."
"..." Up until now, he'd forgotten that well, he was a cop. "...That doesn't matter right now. If there's somebody who needs my help, then I can't refuse their hand." That was the code he used to live by as a kid- the code of a superhero. "So it's just this once. But even so," Deen let out a sigh of relief. "Maybe if you clean up your act—"
"I have no interest in being a villain, and I don't think that I can become a good person. I'm at a halfway point where I'm not even sure which path I should walk down… but I guess even there, I can still interfere in someone's life and help bring things to a positive conclusion." Kirika smiled honestly at Deen; a far cry from her usual crazy expressions. "...You were a big help, Deen." Beginning to walk off, she took one last look back at the man who saved her.
Deen reached out to her; attempting to get her to stop—though Kirika simply offhandedly waved back at him.
No doubt about it, he thought that even if he did attempt to arrest her, she'd probably do the same thing.
After all of this time together, he'd come to realize why Tsuruko wasn't still trying to fight her—
—it was because she was just an angry kid in an adult's body, making a ruckus in the neighbourhood.
With that, Deen simply smiled at her. Even though she wasn't completely sane, he knew that she tended to be a woman of her word.
Maybe the next time they saw each other, she'd be a superhero?
Cancer looked on from afar, eyes wide in shock at what he had just witnessed.
Gemini's belt dropped from the sky in front of him.
His right fist curled itself as he held the Driver within his pincer...