The story so far: Pete Robinson was just another self-sufficient, lackadaisical otaku until one day, a red comet fell from the sky which turned out to be the super-powered paragon of justice and all-around busybody, the Crimson Ranger. Pete is conned by the dying Crimson Ranger into taking the Red One Changer and taking on the mantle of the Crimson Ranger. Fortunately, Pete is not completely alone as he fumbles his way through the new role forced upon him. The spirit of the original Crimson Ranger returns to help him as a twin-tailed 13 year-old Japanese schoolgirl named Giselle Orchardwither with an annoyingly cute voice and who only exists in Pete’s head. Whether she is for real or a mere figment of Pete’s imagination is irrelevant since Pete is the only one who can perceive her.
Having finally come to terms with the fact that Miss Vanity had knocked him unconscious when he finally had the upper hand against Wrath, Pete Robinson awakens from his slumber to find Wrath and Miss Vanity arguing over how to take the Red One Changer from him. Stuff happened and somehow, Pete, the Crimson Ranger found himself once again face to face with Wrath – this time, in a fair fight with Miss Vanity having left the scene. This time, Pete is handily defeated by Wrath who shows him the huge gap in power between the two of them. Wrath takes the Red One Changer leaving a relatively uninjured but dejected Pete Robinson behind to wallow in despair. Baphomet, who had finally recovered consciousness urges him to snap out of it and offers to take Pete under his wing to show him how a superhero without superpowers fights and perhaps a way to regain the Red One Changer and save the world before it’s too late.
Pete Robinson: Pete is the epitome of average. The only notable thing about his character is that he is a video game and anime otaku and he loves to spend his meager salary importing weird things from Japan. Despite his hobbies, Pete is the type of person who does not hold strong beliefs and would rather go with the flow and avoid conflict if possible. Pete works as an employee at Games R’ Go.
Sheryl Harrison: A good friend of Pete who works as a manager at the hobby shop that Pete hangs out in. She has a very nerdy appearance and wears dark-rimmed glasses and has frizzy hair that looks quite reminiscent of overcooked spaghetti. Sheryl can be a bit of a control freak and likes to keep her shop nice and tidy. Lately, she has taken an interest in a comic book known as “The Adventures of Black Trojan”
Primela Rosenkreuz: Pete’s co-worker who serves as the secretary of Games R’ Go. A young woman with a model-like appearance that matches her trans-atlantic accent when she speaks. Most people wonder why she sticks to such a mundane job when she could easily be mistaken for a fashion model or actress. She seems to be on good terms with Pete.
Giselle Orchardwither: The original Crimson Ranger who currently only exists in Pete’s head. She takes the form of a 13 year-old twin-tailed Japanese schoolgirl with a snarky personality. Possesses supreme mastery of the pwnage powers of the Crimson Ranger.
Miss Vanity: A beautiful super-powered vigilante who wields an elegant broadsword. She seems to value fashion and beauty above all else, even going as far as to avoid a battle if it might result in a broken nail. She has
since revealed her secret identity to Pete Robinson – a secret that only the two of them may ever know.
Baphomet: A self-proclaimed protector of animal rights who is a master of stealth. He wears a horned goat’s mask and appears to be a master of mixed martial arts – even going so far as to defeat an opponent who has been tainted with the light of RAGE using a triangle choke.
Wrath: The interstellar warlord and conqueror of worlds and ultimate ragequitter who is currently targeting Earth. Possesses an army of one-hit kill underlings who serve no useful purpose other than target practice for heroes of justice. He can also use the light of RAGE in order to invoke a human being’s pent-up anger and use this potential in order to transform them into a super-powered monster of the week. Upon defeat, a person who has fallen into RAGE transforms back into human form unharmed.
Episode 10: This Is My Justice!
“Whoa! Whoa! Wait a minute… why are we here again? I thought you were supposed to be teaching me how to be a superhero without superpowers and all that. What are we doing hanging out inside a 100-yen shop?”
“While we’re on the subject, Pete, why don’t people notice that he’s still wearing that weird horned goat’s mask?” Said an annoyingly cute voice from inside Pete’s head.
“Patience, Crimson Ranger. If you’re going to follow in my footsteps… then we need the right tools.” Baphomet replied in his usual, deep, throaty voice.
After purchasing several items from the 100-yen shop, Baphomet led Pete into the entrance of the forest near the park. After around 30 minutes of walking, the duo finally arrived at their destination.
It was a grassy cliff that was overlooking the city. Pete gazed in awe at the magnificent view of his own city before him. He held out his hands at the cityscape as if he were trying to grasp the entire scope of what he had been trying to protect all along. It had not been very long ago when he had just been another ordinary individual in this huge city. Just another faceless drone destined to live out his insignificant existence drowning in a sea of indifference among other faceless drones. Those days seemed so far away now.
“Tell me, Crimson Ranger… what do you fight for?”
Baphomet held out a ridiculously sad-looking red hero mask made out of cloth that he’d bought from the 100-yen shop earlier.
“… could you not ask me that so solemnly while holding that pathetic looking mask out at me?”
Baphomet cringed and shuddered in place.
“DON’T RUIN THE MOOD!”
“Gah! Ok, ok… fine. You wanna ask me what I fight for? Seriously? Like, I have no idea. I mean, I’ve only been the Crimson Ranger for a short time and I’ve never really had the time to philosophically reflect on my role if that’s what you’re asking. It’s pretty hard to find time for that when I keep finding myself in one desperate fight after another.”
“Hey, hey… now you’re making me look like the bad guy here for forcing you to take my place.” Giselle Orchardwither said from within Pete’s head.
Ignoring the voice, Pete continued, “To put it simply, I’d say that I fight because I need to.”
“Ah yes, fighting out of necessity is a good thing, Crimson Ranger… a very good thing indeed… now put this mask on, chop! Chop!”
Pete Robinson felt a shiver down his spine from having heard such a line said in a deep, throaty voice by a person wearing a horned goat’s mask, but he reluctantly did as instructed.
“Now… fight me!” Baphomet immediately took up a battle stance.
“Hey, wait! I can’t fight without transforming!”
“Too bad! You can’t transform without your fancy necklace thing can you? Well, Wrath has it and I doubt he’s planning to give it back to you… so if you wanna get it back, boy! You’re going to have to follow my lead… now, prepare!”
Pete felt a sharp numbing pain on his chest which caused him to fall to his knees. In a fraction of a second, Baphomet had closed the gap between them and landed a sharp elbow strike to Pete’s solar plexus.
“… pathetic.” Remarked an annoyingly cute voice from inside Pete’s head.
Pete quickly snatched the mask off his head and began coughing violently.
“Gah! Cough! Cough! What are you trying to do? Kill me? I told you I can’t fight without transforming.”
“Hmph! You’re going to need to learn then… and fast. We don’t have time for a fancy training montage that compresses several weeks worth of martial arts training into one insert song… how long do you think before Wrath figures out how to use that fancy reality warping device for his own purposes?”
“The Red One Changer only responds to its true owner… so with the level of technology that Wrath possesses, it might take anywhere between 3 days to a week to crack it… don’t quote me on that though.” Giselle Orchardwither informed Pete.
“We have about a week. Nothing more.”
“Ok, but you still can’t fight, Crimson Ranger. I do not understand it. You fight very well when you are transformed… does the suit grant you enhanced fighting skills?”
“Yeah, that’s probably the best explanation for it. I’ve had some ‘training’ with that suit on.”
“Can you explain exactly what happens when you ‘transform?’”
“Well, it’s something like my body feels 100% lighter and I’m able to move freely and instinctively know how to attack and defend myself. It’s a bit like a strength/speed enhancing exoskeleton, I suppose.”
“Actually, Pete. Transforming doesn’t magically grant you any kind of martial arts skills… you were doing everything on your own, so I actually assumed that you already knew how to fight.” Giselle Orchardwither added.
“Eh… what? That’s the first I’ve heard of this, Giselle.”
“Ahem… not to interrupt your little conversation with the,” Baphomet made the sign for two quotation marks with his hands, “little voices inside your head, Crimson Ranger, but I think I’ve figured out a bit how the suit works… and how I can teach you to at least draw upon 5% of the power that you wield in your transformed state.”
“Um… and you figured that much out from my vague descriptions? You must be some kind of genius detective.”
“Yes, that’s part of my character’s archetype.”
Baphomet held his index finger up as if to lecture Pete.
“Allow me to explain: basically, your transformed state primarily enhances your current physical and mental abilities to superhuman levels. This is why your body apparently feels ‘lighter’ in this state and would also account for how you are able to effortlessly dodge bullet-fast attacks all at once – as long as you are able to perceive them… fortunately, your basic perception is also heavily enhanced by the suit… of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg and the suit apparently has several other abilities, but there’s no need to discuss those for now.
Let’s get to your basic fighting abilities. From what I’ve seen in our fight, you are wholly unmotivated when it comes to a normal fight, but your movement was not entirely inexperienced. Despite my vastly superior knowledge of martial arts, you managed to partially evade the blow and then stiffen up your muscles at the last moment at the point of contact before rolling with the strike in order to minimize the damage.
Since the suit does not seem to grant you enhanced knowledge of martial arts and you’ve been doing quite well despite this lack of knowledge so far, all that we need to do in order to teach you how to fight in your normal form is to use a stronger incentive to make you fight more seriously and awaken your true fighting potential.
Do you understand, Crimson Ranger?”
Pete thought for a while before replying.
“Yeah… basically, my suit makes me faster, stronger and have hax reaction time without teaching me how to fight… but that’s ok since I apparently already know how to fight, but it’s just that I don’t feel like it… so you’re going to use some kind of incentive to motivate me to fight.”
Baphomet nodded in approval. He then quickly pulled out a huge butcher’s knife from among the items he’d bought at the 100-yen shop earlier.
“Pete… I think you’d better learn how to fight and fast… I have a bad feeling about this.”
Sweat dripped profusely from Pete Robinson’s forehead.
“Thanks for stating the obvious, Giselle… except, I don’t think ‘learning how to fight’ works that way.’”
“Here I come, Crimson Ranger!”
Pete’s eyes widened in terror, his feet rooted to the ground. Every fiber of his being told him to run away before he got stabbed, but his body did not obey him and his feet remained planted firmly on the ground.
Time seemed to stand still and to Pete Robinson, it seemed as if he was watching his own murder take place from outside of his body – helplessly looking on as the knife-wielding masked vigilante called Baphomet closed the gap and prepared to land the mortal deathblow.
And then just like that, Pete felt himself snap back into reality. His body felt light and a million different thoughts coursed through his mind in that instant.
Moments before his knife could connect, a red haze obscured Baphomet’s vision and he felt his knife miss its mark. Before he could recover, Pete had already connected with a left hook to the side of his face. The punch snapped his head back, but being an experienced fighter, he quickly recovered his footing and began flailing the knife in front of him in a calculated figure eight. At this point however, Pete had already taken a step back to avoid getting cut.
Baphomet smiled from underneath his mask.
“Good job using the cloth mask to conceal your attack. Now you’re learning…”
Without warning, he lunged at Pete with his entire body aiming his knife for an opening near the side of his victim’s body, but before his knife could even reach its intended target, Pete had already stepped to the side. Having learned from his failed attack the last time, Baphomet made sure to use a more compact stabbing motion this time and was able to recover within milliseconds for another attack.
“Your neck is wide open!”
But again, Pete had managed to somehow step back and avoid the slash with almost superhuman reaction time at the last moment. Still, Baphomet was relentless and he continued to press on and attack. This time, he aimed for Pete’s chest – but his target completely vanished from sight.
Baphomet turned to his right side just in time to see that Pete had aimed two of his fingers at the eyeholes of Baphomet’s mask.
“It’s my win, Baphomet.”
“Pete, that was amazing! I never knew you could fight so well without the Crimson Ranger’s powers!” Giselle Orchardwither praised Pete in an annoyingly cute voice from inside his head.
Acknowledging Pete’s victory, Baphomet threw his knife to the ground.
“Good job, Crimson Ranger. That’s exactly what I wanted you to realize. That desperate fighting style wherein you deliberately leave obvious holes in your defense in order to lure your opponent into attacking one specific point of your body is a natural, instinctive fighting ability that only a few unique individuals such as yourself possess.”
Pete heaved a sigh of relief.
Staring at the red cloth mask in his hand that Baphomet had given him earlier, Pete finally remembered the decision that he had made not so long ago.
Donning the mask, he turned to Baphomet.
“I think… I’ve finally realized why I fight now.”
“Hmm… didn’t you say that you fight out of necessity?”
“No… I used to think that I did… for the longest time, actually. But now I realize that to do so would only be blaming her for my actions.”
“It’s this annoyingly cute voice inside my head who looks like a 13 year-old twin-tailed Japanese schoolgirl and who has a rather snarky personality… it’s a long story.”
“Ehe… never mind then.”
“Anyway, now I realize that I’m fighting… because she asked for my help that day…”
“Yeah, that’s basically it, I think. You see, when someone asks for my help, I just can’t ignore them… this is my justice.”
To be continued… See you in the next episode!
Next Episode Preview: Things are really heating up! Giselle Orchardwither learns that her character was based on a tsundere loli who consistently ranks third in the popularity poll for a comic book wherein she is supposed to be the main character! Sheryl Harrison pre-orders Project Diva f 2nd for the PS Vita even though she doesn’t own the system. Meanwhile, Pete learns that orphanages are publicly funded! Also watch out as Wrath uses his reality-altering powers to unleash the zombie apocalypse on humanity. Unfortunately, doomsday the zombies are quickly decimated by overprepared doomsday preppers! More over-the-top super fighting action in the next emotionally intense episode of Paragon of Justice: Crimson Ranger!
Fictionpress link: http://www.fictionpress.com/s/3028741/1/Paragon-of-Justice-Crimson-Ranger