Hiori and Torahiko subdue the Dark and the Storm respectively.
While the two are weary, Shenbu pierces through the battlefield and Earth must unite with a new friend.
Shared Resolution! The Shirei & Earth Alliance
The last thing Princess Hiori had saw before closing her eyes was a Shenbu battleship. Her body wretched with pain from every hit SolAka received from the ship's cannons. Then, she slipped into unconsciousness. After she did, a dream occurred; unidentifiable silhouettes in different postures, such as two people leaning against each other and someone bowing before a man with a long beard, flash before her.
"Stand up." An echoing, low voice filled with regality spoke out.
"What?" Hiori looked side to side to find the source of the voice. There was no face to be found, and the voice reached her from all sides.
"Your flame of justice has yet to extinguish. Don't let the fate of the Earth fall into the Emperor's hands. Wake up."
"W-who are you?" Hiori asked with perplexity in her tone. She could only tell that whoever was out there sounded like a man.
Before an answer was given, the dream's atmosphere was swallowed with light. Hiori heard a few final words,
"I have faith in you."
The princess groaned as life began to reenter her body. Her eyes slowly parted, and her first view was an assembly of unfamiliar faces surrounding her. The upper half of her body jolted up and she let out a surprised shriek that caused the group of people to scamper backwards. Hiori was lying in a bed; she froze for a few seconds, groaned again, and then grabbed her head. It rattled with a migraine, which hindered her senses. The people around her quietly watched until—
"'cuse us! 'cuse us!" A voice of a young man was heard.
Another voice of military authority, in contrast to the other, replied,
"Warrant officer Hoshizawa, please keep it down. She has just awakened."
"Warrant officer? I am in a military base?" Hiori thought; recognizing one of the voices, Hiori turned her head and saw all but one person make way for a group of four men and one woman.
"Well done." The person with the authoritative voice said as the five approached him. One of the five, a smiling kid with unkempt black hair, was in the lead with his arms across his chest.
"Wish we got here sooner Colonel Asahikawa. I wanted a chance against that giant black block! But now it's totaled." The young man said in disappointment. He and the other four were unlike the others in terms of uniform. Now that her senses were balanced, Hiori clearly saw that she was around members of the Self-Defense Force, but the five that had arrived wore tight body suits of different colors.
"Somehow, this looks familiar," she thought, biting down on her lower lip nervously.
"Hi! You must be that Princess in the big bird mecha." The energetic young man, who wore a red bodysuit, was the most upfront about meeting Hiori. He wasted no time running past everyone to get to the side of her bed.
"Hoshizawa! I said she has just awakened." Asahikawa placed his hand on the red suit kid's shoulder and lightly pushed him away.
Hiori looked up at the man with the familiar voice, "Asahikawa, now I remember, you're the one who—"
"Yes," He replied before Hiori finished, "I'm the one who told you to fight. You saved my unit and I thank you."
"Lieutenant Colonel, yes I remember. Where am I?" Hiori asked groggily.
"You are at the Hoshizawa HQ in Minato, Tokyo." The officer merely answered.
"Hoshizawa..." Hiori frowned, and then asked the Lt Col., "Are you going to question me?"
"Now does not seem to be the time for that because you seem exhausted. You were passed out for hours after your battle." He said, "It seems that Earth is going to face a powerful enemy and we like to figure out a way to face it. From what we can tell, you're on our side."
"Yes, it does make sense to communicate with you." Hiori said.
"We'd like to make this comfortable for you as possible." Asahikawa begged calmly.
Hiori pushed her fingers against her head, closed her eyes, and regressed to her thoughts.
"Even though I'm supposed to be a queen, I still feel like I lack leadership. Master, what should I do? Mother, what would you have done?"
The princess would hold her tongue for a while. General Yami might've retreated, but the invasion was just beginning. Hearing the word "questioning", Hiori predicted a drawn out process. She imagined herself in a room with an inquisitor who craved to extract all of the answers from her pertaining to the situation. Everyone at Hoshizawa HQ, all strangers, would want to know who she was and where she came from, what was SolAka, how to defeat Yang, etc. There was also the chance of her words being picked up by the news media and spread globally.
The people of Earth would want to protect themselves by all means, but Hiori felt negative, and didn't have the nerve to tell them that they were useless against Yang. Saying such would make it look like she was assured of their defeat if they took a single step towards counterign the Emperor's extraterrestrial military. But at the same time, she didn't want to say that they should back down and let her and the rest of the Shirei refugees fight on their own. She couldn't tell them to stay and let their precious planet be attacked.
Hiori believed that there was the strong spirit of perseverance within Earth.
Back in America, in the deserts of San Bernadino, the Taiyoko crew met up with the crew of the Hoshizawa American Branch HQ. They were greeted without hostility; inside a briefing room, Toriko Nechimoku and others were having an open discussion with logistics specialists and staff members.
A fist slammed down onto a table.
"Old woman! We can't just tell them about BaoShiro!" Torahiko contended, who had his white tiger mecha rolled into a maintenance facility.
"You're not the tactical genius here, Torahiko. You may have caused Indra to flee, but the fight here on Earth has still just begun. Also, our options are still limited."
"Damn this!" The future Byakkyo king rose from his seat and stormed out.
Toriko shook his head and looked over to a blonde haired man with glasses, "I apologize. Forgive his hard-headedness, Mr. Glass. We had really difficult times with Emperor Yang before his arrival here on Earth."
"I can understand his concern. You said that you guys work with the military on your home planet. Normally, this wouldn't be acceptable, but I think we can extend hands here since this is very serious. As for the Ulysses Cannon, it should be repaired in a matter of days." Said Ian Glass, the President of the American Branch. One conversation between America and Shirei's rebel team, mainly Glass and Nechimoku respectively, would lead towards a significant alliance.
Meanwhile, as diplomacy happened, Torahiko headed for the hangar where BaoShiro was stored.
"How do we know that the Earth men won't use our knowledge for the wrong things? What can they do for us? If BaoShiro got damaged, they probably wouldn't be able to fix it." He grumbled. Perhaps there was too much individually, and mistrust, from Torahiko. To him, talking meant working things out easier during serious situations. Talking was mostly associated to various things: surrendering, ceasefire, armistice, treaty, exchanges.
"This is their planet. We revealed ourselves and we shouldn't make another enemy. I think it's good to explain who we are and what we know. Perhaps it's true that they'll struggle against Yang, but after being here long enough, I feel that they'll have a chance. Even if taking on the Generals' super mecha will just be both Shirei and Hoshizawa's responsibility." Toriko had said.
Torahiko disliked feeling desperate and in contrast to Hiori, although they both contained strong wills, Torahiko reacted angrily. He moved on pure one-hundred percent certitude, not by a probability, that he'd win, and he wanted everyone around him to think like that.
The Byakkyo prince entered through the wide door of the hangar and halted. His beloved BaoShiro was meters ahead of him, but he did not approach hastily. Someone was already there looking up the tiger mecha. Hiko faced the person's backside; it wasn't a member of the HQ crew, but someone with long white hair.
The prince held his mouth open for countless seconds before whispering,
"Ginshiro..." Closing his mouth, his sharp teeth clinched together.
In Japan, there was a gathering in a conference room.
"Emperor Yang is the leader of the Deva Dynasty, which rules the planet Shenbu."
No one could avert their attention from the presence of Hiori Soratoga, especially the five in the colored bodysuits. The one in the red suit probably never blinked his eyes.
Hiori looked exactly like how she was addressed – a princess, regal and beautiful. Aside from Western-like (or maybe anime character like) physical characteristics, she looked very human. She had the thin figure, delicate voice, and soft countenance of a young woman. In addition, having green eyes and long red hair, it was like the season of Spring was in her features. Her clothes were probably the most peculiar. It could be best described as a red mess dress. She wore a hip-length jacket with a tall collar and gold facings running down each long sleeve. Small emeralds, cut like octagons, form over the front like buttons. She wore both a pair of trousers and a skirt, the latter with a split on both the front and the back to form flowing tails. Over her waist was a wide gold sash, and over her hands were red leather gauntlets with guards. She also wore long diamond-shaped shin guards, and sandals. Lastly, a white scarf edged with black red, green, yellow stripes was wrapped around her neck.
"Yang orchestrated this invasion because of his dying planet. Intelligence described it like a flower: withering away like it lacked days of water, as if a gardener was incredibly negligent. It's drying up and no one knows why."
"Probably something in the atmosphere. Radioactivity." One of the men in the "Color Suit Five" said. He wore a blue bodysuit and had long jet black hair. He was taller than the red suit kid, who was standing close by with his arms folded.
"Me, don't think too hard on it Daigo. We always hear about the End of the World; Shenbu probably won't get better at all." Red Suit said. Hiori took a quick break in any other explanations to acknowledge the guy in the red suit. Her inquisitiveness was getting the best of her and she couldn't help but wonder over something too silly for her to ignore.
"Um, sir?" She called to the Red Suit guy.
"What?" He answered.
"Are you like...Nijiranger (from the Japanese word for rainbow, 虹, niji)?" Hiori asked with sincerity. Even though she looked serious about her question, or maybe rather naive, she hid a smile.
"W-w-w-what?" The kid's face twined and even the Princess had a finger pointed at her in derision. Hiori blinked her eyes at the irate facial impression, her mouth curving. The smile partially emerged.
"No! We're not Super Sentai! I'm not Niji Red! Everybody! Introduction!"
At Red's command, the five quickly formed a row in front of Hiori. They began from left to right, starting with the blue suit man with the long black hair.
"I am Grand Blue, my name is Daigo Shinyama (新山 大語). Nice to meet you." He said, saluting.
Next to Daigo was a large bald man flexing his muscles. He wore a yellow suit, "I like to think I'm Gold, but I'm wearing yellow. Heiji Horukawa (堀川 平二), the strongarm!"
The guy in red was next, but he was skipped. Hiori looked to the right of him, and there was at the shortest of the five. He was a teenager in a green suit.
"Spring Green! Ken Nakamura (中村 剣) ! I'm Heiji's junior!" He said, bending his body back into a flip.
Right next to Ken was the only female of the team, who wore pink. She was a young lady with curled brown hair and pink lips.
"I am Keiko Sakakihara (榊原 恵子) . It is nice to meet you, " She spoke with gentleness and bowed. Then finally, Red Suit spoke, raising a fist in the air.
"Annnnnd I am the courageous Grand leader in red, Kazuya Hoshizawa (普仕沢 和也)! And together, we are—"
Next, they spoke in unison,
"Hoshizawa Grand V (five)!"
"We saved you!" Kazuya said.
Hiori was speechless. She couldn't help but think, "Comic book team..." All five clearly fit the typical specifications of an action robot comic or a super sentai show: The hot-blooded leader, the cool-headed rival, the big guy, the goofy and innocent youth, and the only female member (the heroine).
Despite the Five's silly execution of acquainting, it wouldn't take long for the alien princess to get over her shock.
"So you're them," She said, giving out a few nods. In truth, the Grand Five were well known in Japan. They were the current generation of pilots for the Hoshizawa Association's mechs. Kazuya broke from the line and walked up to Hiori with a smile.
"By the sounds of it, you seemed to know plenty about Japan Princess. How come?" He asked.
"Well uh—" Hiori started slow, her thoughts still twisted over on what to reveal, but Kazuya easily had a conjecture. His idea was indicated by the raising of his finger.
"I know! You were sent here as a baby." He said, "You were from Mars or maybe one of the Outer Planets. Your family died, and you and SolAka were sent here years ago in secret. When you grew up, you became SolAka's pilot and began to fight evil."
There was a sigh behind Kazuya and Hiori.
"She is not a comic book character." Daigo interrupted in his cool voice.
Kazuya turned his head and gave his blue suit partner a scowl, "Stop ruining my fun Shinyama! And it's not like it's entirely impossible."
When Kazuya looked back at Hiori, his facial expression changed from annoyed to one filled with concern. Hiori's head was sloped, and she looked melancholy.
"Hey hey, what's wrong?" Kazuya asked.
Hiori's voice held an undertone of sorrow as she answered, "Many terrible things happened on Shirei before I left it."
Daigo, Ken, Heiji, and Keiko moved in closer, then Hiori continued, "I have a family but they're war casualties. My father, and many of my tribe, was enslaved. My mother, who was like a queen regent, perished. During a battle, she was wounded and taken away. "
She paused, her eyes squeezing close, as did her hands, "Taken away after protecting me from..."
Under suspense, the Grand Five leaned in closer with their heads. Hiori, without noticing them, continued,
"The one who piloted the black mecha who attacked here earlier today. The General of Darkness, Yami. I was—"
"That damned pilot of the black block!" Again, the princess was interrupted. The yell caused Hiori's body to jump, her eyelids flying open. She raised her head to see a disgruntled looking Kazuya. The other four had backed away.
The Grand Red leader lifted a fist into the air once again, "I'm burning up now. Princess, we the Grand Five will do whatever it takes to help you win!"
Hiori placed a hand onto her forehead and gave out a soft smile, "Goodness. No matter what, I'll be around someone who's loud and passionate. He's like Torahiko, but a bit nicer."
She thought, before saying openly, "Thank you." The Grand Five formed back into a row again and nodded their heads, which was easily returned by Hiori's own nod.
"Grand Five, I have a couple of requests. I'd like to know where SolAka is, plus—"
"New World-wide Transmission!" Before Hiori could finish her sentence, she was cut off again, but by a wholly different voice. Everyone turned to the room exit, seeing a man in uniform rush in, "Airspace of China! It's the Emperor!"
"What?" Kazuya exclaimed. The Grand Five scrambled past the man and were out the door. Hiori fell slightly behind but also rushed with urgency. She could only wonder over one thing, and that was what her loathed nemesis had planned.
Everyone arrived in a big lit room that seemed to be a Master Control center. Inside, a wide TV screen (simply called the MS or Main Screen) surrounded by smaller ones was fit into a wall, and pervading the area were control panels and tables lined with flat monitors and keyboards. Many people, including Hiori and the Grand Five stood in front of the MS. Upon it was the familiar face of Emperor Yang.
"Guh! I've seen his mug enough this morning!" Kazuya complained, but everyone else was silent with the strong intent to listen. It was like the Emperor's placid brown eyes, filled with pomposity, pierced through the TV and compelled everyone to open their ears.
"Dear Earth, how did like the performance of my Four Divine Generals?" He began, smug as usual, "You have proven as per expectations. My armada has descended on the country of China, where one of my Generals has taken a base after defeating its forces. That is where I will stay to set up the next of my plans. However, there seems to be some interference."
Hearing that, Hiori grimaced at the Emperor. Yang continued,
"I wasn't expecting for the escapees from Shirei to appear. This was quite a surprise. So, this whole time, you were hiding on Earth. Shame on you; do you think that that you stand a chance against me now? My ambition to save my planet is stronger than your feelings of retribution, but who can stop you? You are welcome to try and battle."
"Who does that guy think he is?" Jeered Kazuya.
"That guy is a tyrant. He'll do anything to rule our world." Daigo said.
"He's treating us like we're inferior. We don't live in a world of aristocracy. " said Heiji, who is immediately followed up by a simple word by Ken.
"Yeah! He's puffing his chest out!" Said the junior in the green suit.
Yang continued, "No matter. At this point on, global conquest comes closer. You are welcome to come to China and face me, but be warned, drastic consequences will happen. I do not wish to destroy anyone or anything that would prove useful to my planet's survival, but meddling will not be allowed. What I find crucial to survival is the capture of the global Hoshizawa bases and their hi-tech resources, and the completion of the Akirakamon. That is my goal. With my monarch in place here, on a new fresh planet, the safety of Earth and Shenbu will be assured."
Keiko looked uneasy, her hands clasped together as she looked up at the main screen, "Princess Soratoga said that his planet looks terrible so now he wants to plant his rule elsewhere." She said.
Having words on her own, Hiori began in a low tone, "I wish—" then, she raised her voice.
"I wish you could hear me!" Next, she had a finger pointing at Yang's face upon the screen. The Grand Five and everyone else glanced over to her, seeing a change in her soft countenance. In comparison to before, she looked completely irate.
"You low-life! How dare you talk like you can predict the future? I won't let you take this planet and use it as you please!" She declared.
Emperor Yang was sitting comfortably in his chair. Through the bridge's front windows, which were built to provide a one-hundred degree view and equipped with CVS (clear view screen) fans, he saw his remaining battleships, destroyers, and carriers. R&D Director Hsienlong Yan and Operations Officer Hao Lin stood next to Yang quietly.
"So, the heirs of the Yuutsukasa and Soratoga families fled to Earth. I knew that the Taiyoko ship escaped Shenbu, and with it taking two of the SUJ units that ravaged some of our forces." The Emperor said, rubbing his chin.
A smile formed, then he disclosed a wonder that he had,"They didn't have much choice I suppose. This will give the Generals a second chance to destroy them, but what I like to know is, are the pilots of the SUJ units skillful?"
"My Lord?" Both Director Yan and Officer Hao called.
Setting his elbow onto his chair's armrest , Yang leaned his cheek into his hand,
"I only know of the previous SolAka pilot, who the former queen of the Ho-ou tribe. Oh how troublesome she was, that Tobuhime. The success of weapon technology has to do with how it's built and how it's handled. However, in this case with the SUJ units, applied with Soul Gems, 'skill' has to do with not just military experience but perhaps something to do with the pilot's feelings as well. That's what we were told after taking Kamiyon." The Emperor said calmly.
"The engineering crew at Kamiyon officially calls it 'névmakite', but it's commonly called the 'Soul Beast Gem' since it primarily powers the SUJ units. It has been said that touching stones effects your mood or your nervous system. Stones exist everywhere and can maintain or be touched by various kinds of elements such as carbon, gas, and the sun's heat. The funny thing is that it's not necessary to burn the Soul gem; in fact, it is very difficult to burn. They also have a very high skeleton. Not much is understood about it." Hao exclaimed.
"Raw, unlimited power of high density it seems." Yang said, "Poor Tobuhime. She wouldn't have died if she cooperated and told us more about SolAka. It is an amazing machine."
"The gem is a real exotic mineral." Hao remarked with a smile.
"Which is why I want to test it further." Director Yan declared.
"Hseinlong, later I want you to show me this device that you've created," Yang's order was followed up with a question, "also, are you sure that it can perform the task given?"
"Yes my Lord. Its energy level should be high enough. General Yami said that the Yamikyo was impaled and it exploded internally. Most likely its fundamental circuits are damaged beyond repair. We have data for its main frame," Yan replied with a nod of his head.
Hours have passed since Yang's last message. It was past midnight and the Taiyoko has yet to return to Japan. She was told that the attack in America was thwarted, but Hiori remained worried over the safety of her Master, Torahiko, and the rest of the rebel crew. That also included the fighter pilots in space. In addition, there were also her elementary school students. Had Yami continued on with her attack, Tokyo would've sustained more damage. Hiori couldn't leave Hoshizawa HQ and she most likely couldn't return to being a teacher now that Yang was on Earth. If Japan was attacked again, how would she be able to balance between fighting and teaching?
In the HQ's hangar, the Princess silently watched as a maintenance crew work on SolAka and five other vehicles. No one took a break to acknowledge her; she was in a pensive mood over her burdens.
"HEY!" A familiar voice called from behind Hiori. Turning, she saw Kazuya walk up to her.
"You're up late, what's up?" Asked the Grand Five leader.
"I—oof!" Hiori parted her mouth to speak, but her words were caught in her throat as she felt a slap against her back,
"Aw, don't you worry! SolAka will be fine," Kazuya reassured, "she just need some sanding and putty! A-OK! The only problem I see is the replacement of the missiles."
Hiori responded with a simple smile, which was enough to make Kazuya laugh. Whether it was day or night, it was like his enthusiasm would never drop.
"Aka's quite tough! It had holes from being impaled, but just dents from other attacks. This is a real Super Robot, invisible to standard weapons! Just like how we science freaks often envisioned it. I'd like to see this mecha in action much more in the future." He said.
"Kazuya?" Hiori called softly.
"Huh?" The Grand V leader merely replied.
"I thank you for your help. At first, I didn't want you to fight. After seeing the Self Defense Force being beaten, I felt like Earth was too powerless. And, I'm sorry for that." The Princess confessed, her voice filled with regret. Her eyes turned up to SolAka and her smile went away. Her hands rose up to her face; she was further showing how much the commitments that she loaded onto her heart was affecting her.
Kazuya quietly listened as she continued,
"I hate seeing people suffer. Perhaps my sense of responsibility is too strong and I centered it all upon myself. Even now, I still feel like fleeing my planet was shameful. I knew that my safety, Torahiko's, and the SUJ units was important, and I predicted that I would return to Shirei to fight back; but as days, weeks, months passed on Earth, I grew impatient. It was like I wasn't equal, I was too valuable to fall into enemy hands, and I wasn't allowed to bear the pain with everyone else...just like mother. I asked myself, 'would everyone forgive me' and 'would there be anything left for me', if I returned to Shirei? People were being enslaved against their will and I hated it, but still I held onto faith."
"That's alright Princess! All alright! Don't frustrate yourself. I think talking about the past lowers your mood." Kazuya said without dejection. Hiori looked at him as he spoke, blinking her eyes. Did he even listen?
The red suit leader was beaming widely, and he gave Hiori a thumbs up,
"That tough hold you have on faith, keep it! Since you are a noble, not only should you believe in yourself, but also in your comrades. The people! Since we're friends now, that means you should believe in us too! We're going to beat that Yang guy and save both planets! No tyrant is going to take us out easily." He said with confidence.
Hiori eyed Hoshizawa again and her smile returned, "Thank you, I feel better. Now, I can look nowhere else but forward." She said.
"Yeah, sometimes it's good to just spill your guts out. Young people are like that because we get confused so easily. I thought that crap would leave me after passing eighteen years of age, but here I am at unwise and crazy twenty-three," Kazuya joked.
Suddenly there was a loud crash and a rumble. The lights within the hangar abruptly shut off, and in its place the alarms blared. Words of bewilderment could be heard from the maintenance crew. Before long, the auxiliary power kicked in and revived the lights.
Kazuya raised his hands high and said, "I'm not lying..." Hiori looked at him, confused.
"Mr. Hoshizawa! SNAKE!" A woman shrieked,
The attention of both Hiori and Kazuya were easily captured by the panicking voice. They look to see a Western-looking blonde woman in a lab coat rushing towards them—in high-heeled shoes.
"Oh, hello Miss Mari," Kazuya greeted casually.
"It's a snake!" She said again.
"Snake?" Kazuya repeated, "Like a pet? I don't have a snake. Or are you saying that someone snuck into our base?"
Arms, head, the woman probably shook everything above her waist, and it was enough to indicate how urgent the situation was, "NO NO doofus! A snake! It's attacking the base!" The Western woman said. Hiori and Kazuya raised their eyebrows, which pushed Mari to further clarify herself, after a few breathes that is,
"According to camera footage, a giant flying snake is attacking HQ. It just ripped through Hangar C. The black mecha that we picked up for examination just exploded and now the snake is causing destruction!" She said.
"Wait a minute! Yamikyo has been destroyed?" Hiori said, her eyes widening with surprise.
Yes, the snake attacked it." Mari said.
It was like with an aim; a giant snake came out of nowhere and attacked, provoking the World's only anti-paranormal force so that a destined battle could commence. Naturally The Grand Five with Hiori would deploy to put down the threat, but they would soon realize that it had the raging appetite to face SolAka...
And that it was no pushover.
The snake was struck by the same claws that even defeated the Black Iron Giant Yamikyo, but its scales closed over the wounds.
What was the flying snake and what was its purpose?
A deep combination of friends would be the key to winning.
(Next chapter is an enriched, more defined battle, plus combination [or gattai] scene with Grand V.)