Chapter 3: Here Comes the Money!

A few days had passed since Marina's arrest and Akiko's rebranding of the agency, but the four had pretty much fallen into a listless monotony. That was until the radio came on.

"It's 1 pm right now! Coming on is the healing princess of Futo, Sonozaki Wakana! Broadcasting once again at 130%!" Wakana spoke over the radio. "For the next hour, I'll be giving you all a beautiful time! But for now, enjoy this wonderful song!" A smooth jazz piece soon played over the radio.

As Shotaro enjoyed another swig of coffee, he began another monologue. "What a lifeless afternoon. It makes the life-and-death battle we had but a few days seem like a mere dream." When he put down the coffee, he stood up in his chair in shock as he heard the barking of a small poodle.

"Shhh! Easy, Danny boy!" Ben said as he began scratching behind Danny's ears.

"Okay, okay, okay, Shotaro-kun, get going!" Akiko commanded as she shoved him off his chair, making him fly into a nearby wall. "If it's really as listless as you say it is, then return Danny to his owner!"

"Oi, lay off, Akiko!" Shotaro complained as Ben held Danny in his arms. "Why does a hard-boiled detective like me...spend every day looking for lost pets?!"

"Because you seem to forget who helped raise business around here!" Akiko retorted as she slammed the desk, waggling her finger. "Chief's instructions!"

Recalling the sign outside his agency, Shotaro huffed. "I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I don't acknowledge that sign outside!"

"Hey, ease up, Shotaro! She's not completely wrong about the business increase since you started taking," Ben said diplomatically as he continued scratching Danny. "Besides, pets are like family to most people, and they're grateful for what you do."

"Oi! Who's side are you on?!" Shotaro remarked in shock as he heard Ben's two cents.

"You got a problem with someone being a better worker than you?" Akiko suggested as she grabbed his tie.

"All three of you, be quiet!" Philip commanded as he finally spoke up while slamming the desk, everyone looking to see him fixated on the radio. "I'm trying to concentrate on Sonozaki Wakana's radio show!" Turning up the knob, the trio got more of an idea of what they were in for.

"Today...our first corner is..." Wakana announced dramatically. "Futo Mystery Tour!"

"Hai...Sensei," all three replied obediently.

"I'm asking all of you to tell me about the urban legends you hear about our little city!" Wakana said with joy in her voice.

"So, uh, who's this Wakana?" Ben asked innocently.

"Yeah, who's Wakana?" Akiko concurred.

Hearing this, Shotaro pulled out a magazine, prominently showing off Wakana to the trio, where he threw it at Akiko. Ben had a look as well. Musing on Philip's interests, he said, "Who knew he had such interests in talented people?"

"The first story comes from 'Radio K K-san!" Wakana continued. "'Wakana-hime, please hear this. It really exists! The legendary casino, Million Colosseo!'"

"Million Colosseo?" The trio of males all asked simultaneously.

"A friend of a friend of my brother went all the way from nothing to hitting the jackpot," Wakana continued to read out. "From what I heard, he was eventually able to completely buy out a major corporation! He went to the Million Colloseo and won! I swear that I'm telling the truth!"

"Wow...better make sure Kevin doesn't drag us there," Ben muttered under his breath.

"That's what their postcard tells me," Wakana concluded. "So that rumor's returned again? Seems like a lot of them have been popping up. I certainly know that I'd like to go to the heavenly casino someday! Don't you guys want to come? Has anyone else gone there?"

"How intriguing," Philip mused.

"Sounds more like a wild fantasy," Shotaro denied. "Who'd be silly enough to believe a rumor like that?"

"Even if it did, I'm going to guess that something other than money gets traded, because there's no way you go from zero to owning a big company in a single night," Ben agreed.

As if on cue, the bell rang, and Shotaro quickly turned off the radio, much to Philip's complaints. "Come in!" Philip walked away dejected as Ben walked over to Shotaro's side. As the door opened, the two were greeted by a fairly elderly couple.

"Ummm...are you the famous detective Narumi-san?" The man asked Shotaro.

"I'm Narumi!" Akiko ran forth in excitement.

"Sorry, but they're talking about your dad, not you," Ben explained, making Akiko turn away and slump.

"Please!" The woman begged as she and her husband bowed. "We need you to investigate our daughter!"

"Our daughter..." The man repeated, his voice fringed in desperation. "Our Yūko...has gone to the Million Colosseo!" Ben, Akiko, and Shotaro all gasped, as Philip turned around in interest.


"Izumi Yūko," Shotaro said out loud as he, Ben, and Akiko tracked a young woman with black hair and a striped dress entering a jewelry store. "Our request was to investigate her affairs." Popping a piece of manjū, apparently some desert made with rice powder and buckwheat and filled with red bean past, from a box, he quickly shoved it over to Akiko, who pouted before passing it to Ben, only for her to get a look that asked "Why me?", but just kept holding it as Akiko took a pastry of her own. Shotaro's cellphone rang and the half-boiled detective answered. "Hello?"

"I've finished the look-up," Philip announced as he shut his book. "Izumi Confectionaries is said to be the originator of a famous Futo product: Kazhana Manjū. Izumi Yūko is employed there as a mascot girl, and she's always been a helping hand in the shop."

"I see," Shotaro acknowledged as he closed his phone after looking at another picture of their target. "So they're afraid that their daughter's going to become a gambling addict?"

"I'm sorry!" A businessman, most likely the owner pleaded as he prostrated before Yūko. "I deeply apologize, Yūko-san!"

"You think apologizing will help you?" Yūko haughtily retorted before she slapped the man, making Ben wince. "Is this what you call a first class store? There's nothing here I want to buy! If this is all you've got, then I'm going to some other store!"

"Well, she's certainly got a massive stick up her butt," Ben felt himself wince at how she treated the poor owner.

"Yeah! What the heck is wrong with her?!" Akiko agreed. "Who does she think she is?!"

Akiko was about to run up to confront before Shotaro quickly blocked her. "Oi!"

As the three stayed out of site, they saw Yūko huffing like a spoiled child. "How infuriating! Maybe I should go there again and get some winnings to clear my head."

That got the trio's attention, and Shotaro spoke what was on all their minds. "I can't believe it. Million Colosseo really does exist!" The trio continued to follow Yūko, with Shotaro and Ben having to pull Akiko back to the wall when their target turned around. To compensate, Akiko had pulled out a pair of binoculars to get a better look. "Akiko? You'd better head back while Ben and I track her."

"What?!" Akiko asked in shock. "WHY?"

Shotaro turned around to face the two other members of the agency apart from Philip, dramatically tipping his hat. "A pro-detective has his own techniques when it comes to trailing targets. You'll get in the way, so bug off."

"Bad idea, Shotaro," Ben grumbled as he face-palmed.

Indeed, Akiko did not take it well, quickly grabbing Shotaro as he tried to tail Yūko. "You're really pissing me off! I'm the chief, so why do you keep disrespecting me?" While the two were engaged in their argument and Ben tried to break the two up, he quickly realized something.

"Guys? Where'd Yūko go?"

"Eh?" Akiko suddenly noticed as she let go of Shotaro. "She's gone!"

Shotaro, having been released from his grip, quickly ran to the intersection, seeing that Yūko had indeed disappeared. "Huh?! What? How? Why?"

"I have so many questions!" Ben finished Shotaro's train of thought. Akiko, on the other hand, didn't much care, pulling out her slipper and clocking her father's apprentice on the head

BONK!

"Some pro you are! How'd she get away from so easily?" Akiko demanded to know. "As your chief, I demand that you take responsibility!"

Ben was about to point out that Shotaro couldn't follow Yūko when his boss was putting him in a chokehold before seeing that Shotaro was smirking. "Hold it right there. A real pro-detective doesn't make blunders." Shotaro had pulled out his cellphone, making a call.


A few minutes later, the three were standing outside a house surrounded by yellow tape, the familiar face of Watcherman waving towards them. "Hey! Over here!"

"Sorry to keep you waiting!" Shotaro replied as he tipped his hat, only for him to be pushed aside as Watcherman turned to Ben and Akiko, the latter in particular.

"Oh, hello there! Yes, hi! I'm Watcherman!" The informant eagerly introduced himself, getting a bit close for comfort. "Ah. But that's just my name online! Oh, you're just so cute, Akiko-chan!" That put a smile on the new chief's face. "Sho-chan's told me so much about you!"

"He he! Thanks!" Akiko happily replied, rubbing the back of her head.

"And you're his new intern!" Watcherman said as he turned his attention to Ben. "How's it been learning under Sho-chan? And what brought you to our beautiful city?"

"It's...been an interesting experience," Ben answered, having been put on the spot. "And as for what brought me here...let's just say a little bird told me about this place."

"Taking on Shotaro's lessons already, eh? Becoming a 'hard-boiled' detective, eh?" Watcherman smirked as he pulled out his cellphone. "But I'm sure I'll find that bird soon. Might I take a picture of the two of you for my blog?" Akiko eagerly acquiesced, moving to Watcherman's left while Ben, more hesitatingly, moved to his left, both shooting peace gestures.

"Oi, Info-Dealer, take this seriously!" Shotaro quickly pulled Watcherman's cellphone hand down, causing him to take a picture of his face.

"What a fine looking man," Watcherman noted before making a sad face. "Sho-chan..." Akiko and Ben took on looks of sympathy in response to the man's disappointment.

Sighing, Shotaro put his arm on Watcherman's shoulder before getting back to work. "So anyway, I've heard that you found someone who's returned from the heavenly casino, yes?"

"Not quite," Watcherman gave a knowing smirk, walking to a post with "For auction" written in katakana on a paper sign. "I don't think you could consider it heavenly." Pulling up the sign to reveal "Murasame" underneath, mad laughter could be heard from within.


Ben felt like he'd stepped into a house of ghosts when he was in the building. Everything on it had been stamped in signs of seizure, and the man, Goro Murasame, was a disheveled wreck, with unironed clothes, a loosened tie, and a face flushed from alcohol, which also permeated the entire room. "That's right, friends! I'm amazed you listened to my entire story!" Ben and Akiko were tiptoeing around the messy pile of instant meals that were strewn across the floor. "I was powerful! I was wealthy! My winning streak was miraculous at that gilded casino! The roulette wheel gave me so much yen to spend!" He broke down laughing again, making Akiko whimper as she shivered in fear, leading Ben to rub her shoulders both for her and himself, the American having developed goosebumps hearing how far the man had fallen.

The two couldn't even bear to look at the man when Shotaro walked towards him and asked, "Okay. So it seems that the legendary casino does exist. Do you know where it is?"

"Eh?" The drunkard asked before breaking down yet again, slurping down another glass of whiskey.


"The witness's name is Murasame Goro," Shotaro explained to Philip.

"Could you get any more key words?" Philip asked.

"Nah. The man's answers are erratic and all over the place," Shotaro explained as he and Akiko stayed outside, asking Ben to stay behind just in case something happened. "But here's what we do know. He lost, his family abandoned him, he was then let go from his job, and lost his home."

"Family..." Philip answered wistfully, as if it'd been something long since lost to him. "My...family..." Soon, the line had gone dead, and no sound came forth.

"Philip?" Shotaro asked, Akiko standing up in turn. "Hey, Philip?"


"Okay, I think you've had enough," Ben noted as he pulled another glass of alcohol from Goro.

"Kid, don't worry about me," Goro drunkenly laughed. "I'll win next time! I'm definitely winning next time!" A shadow overcame the two of them, leading Goro to scream in terror. The shadow came from a middle-aged man with black hair curled to the sides like a powdered wig, his black suit covering a golden shirt, and his fingers covered in expensive rings, made of gold and littered in diamonds. "Kaga-san! Please wait!" Goro quickly took on a dogeza position. "I'll get you the money, I swear! So please! Give me a little more time!"

"Seems the gambler's fallacy took you over, Goro. But I've been waiting for your payment for 3 days at this point, and you apparently had the money to sway some kid to try keeping you straight." Kaga calmly replied. "You bet everything and enjoyed the game." Kaga then began to slap the poor man senseless, knocking off his glasses in the process. Ben felt his hands ball into fists, angry at the smug energy radiating from the casino owner. "And then...you lost!" At this, he slammed his foot down on Goro's glasses, leaving them completely bent out of shape. "Kid, let me give you a lesson about this world. One you really don't want to forget." Kaga said to Ben as he turned towards him with a smile, pulling a gold-colored Gaia Memory with four coins shaped in a capital M. "You've got to have..."

MONEY!

Once he activated the Gaia Memory, he jammed it into the a port-like tattoo on the back of his neck, and as images of coins rose from his body, he transformed into a new Dopant. His body was completely made of gold, each hand having three fingers, and his body was quite heavyset, considering the prominent beer belly on him. His face was made of nothing more than a golden sphere, and his helmet was shaped like an ostentatious crown. Across his chest and crown were numerous small, circular holes, and his right hand was what looked like a coin with a USB head on it. "Now Goro. Be a good sport about your loss and let me collect my payment...in full." At this, he jammed the coin into Goro's forehead, leaving the loser to scream in pain as what seemed like golden energy flowed into the coin. As energy began to flow into him, Goro collapsed, and the Dopant's beer belly grew bigger, each hole now covered with a piece of gold. "And now to deal with you, kid. Can't have you gettin' in my way now, can I?" At this, he had the coins glow brightly before sending a wave of coins into the teenager and knocking him to the ground.

At that moment, Akiko and Shotaro had run in, alerted by Goro's screams. The former had noticed the scene before her and screamed. "What's that?!" Her eyes darted towards Ben and widened further. "Ben-kun! Are you alright?"

"Gah...I'm fine, just a bit sore," Ben replied as he shook his head.

"Oh, good grief..." The Dopant grumbled as he ran off

"Akiko, take care of Murasame-san and Ben while I track our Dopant!" Shotaro quickly ordered.

"Eh...okay!" Akiko hesitantly agreed as she ran to Goro while the "hard-boiled" detective ran after the Dopant.

"I'll be okay, Akiko. You keep an eye on Goro and tell us if he improves," Ben assured Akiko.

"Alright, but be safe!" Akiko nodded in acknowledgement, remembering what Ben could do. Ben got up and brushed some dirt from his jacket before taking off

"Hey, stop!" Shotaro ordered. Pulling out the DoubleDriver, he readied to transform. "Philip! It's a Dopant!" Attaching the DoubleDriver, he expected to transform, only for nothing to happen. "Philip? Oi, Philip!"


When the two saw the Money Dopant simply loitering like it was waiting for the bus, they decided to go guns blazing and the two tackled the Dopant. The Dopant turned around, only to be met with a tackle from Shotaro, and while he grappled with the detective, Ben came from behind and grabbed him.

"The two men from the house?!" The Dopant realized.

"Philip?!" Shotaro called as he was tossed aside. "Philip!" Ben continued holding on, but the Dopant simply leaned forward before tossing Ben off of him. As the American rolled away, he was relieved to see that Shotaro had the Joker Memory ready in his right hand.

JOKER!

"You've got a Gaia Memory, too?" The Money Dopant asked, tilting his head in confusion.

Shotaro readied to transform again, holding the Joker Memory to the right. "HENSHIN!" The Joker Memory got inserted into the DoubleDriver as the Cyclone Memory appeared as well. Crossing his arms, he pushed the slots in opposite directions, making the buckle vaguely resemble a W yet again.

CYCLONE! JOKER!

In Shotaro's Place stood Kamen Rider Double once again, and the Money Dopant quickly turned heel and ran, not willing to fight.

"Going so soon?" Ben asked as he activated the Ultimatrix before finding the form he wanted. In a flash of emerald light stood a humanoid mollusk. Most of his shell plating was red, but there were black patches on his shoulders and legs, his mouth was grey, and there were grey spikes coming from behind his legs and on his forearms. A single spike also lay on each foot, and in each hand lay a porthole. On his chest was the Ultimatrix Symbol.

"WATER HAZARD!" The mollusk declared in a deep voice.

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Codon Stream Entry: Water Hazard

Species: Orishan

Home World: Kiusana

Hailing from the Andromeda Galaxy, Orishans are some of the most important life forms on their home planet Kiusana. This is due to Kiusana being 60% desert, and the arid climate makes potable water a rarity. Orishans, however, are able to unleash streams of water, and can suck up ambient water vapor into their portholes and quickly condense it into pure, liquid water. Their ability to manipulate water is not simply limited to spraying it. They can create water tornadoes, tentacles to grab objects, whips, and more; they are limited only by their creativity. Alongside that, they can manipulate the temperature of their water, letting them make it scalding hot or freezing cold. As such, Orishans are given a lot of respect, treated as part-shaman and part-rock star.

¦l¦l¦l¦l¦l¦l¦l¦l¦l¦l¦l¦l¦l¦l¦l¦l¦l¦l¦l¦l¦l¦l¦l¦l¦l¦l¦

As the two caught up to the Money Dopant and fought him, they found every hit that landed made the sound of clanking, as if their opponent was a walking bag of money. When they tackled him to the ground, said literal money bag could only ask in shock as he kicked them off, "Who are you guys?!"

"I am Double!" Double declared, swiping across his crest. "The two-colored handkerchief that'll wipe the tears of this city!"

"And I'm not anything special. Just someone not willing to stand by while people are in trouble from jerks like you!" Water Hazard declared as he cracked his knuckles.

"How droll," The Money Dopant waved off their boasts. "I've got no interest in penniless idiots like you two." With that and a backhanded goodbye, he skipped away like a school kid half of Ben's age.

"Oi! Who're you calling an idiot, asshole?!" Double declared angrily. With that, he performed a leaping kick and clocked the Dopant on the head. Water Hazard followed up by quickly spraying jets of water from the portholes on his hands into the Dopant, sending him flying to the floor. As the Dopant got up, Double continued his assault, punching and kicking while Water Hazard rushed forward, also beginning his own bevy of punches. "Now. Let's really turn up the heat!" Pulling out the Heat Memory, he readied for more.

HEAT! JOKER!

At once, the red and black HeatJoker combination stood before the Dopant, who quickly realized the situation and ran. Just as Double was about to lay a flying, flaming kick, he was suddenly struck by a burst of blue energy.

"DOUBLE!" Water Hazard cried in concern before trying to go after the Dopant himself, only to suffer a similar fate when their assailant also attacked him. "What the?" Turning behind him to a nearby roof, he swore he saw a blue and orange figure for a second, but nothing was there any more.

"You saw it too, didn't you?" Double noted. Struck dumb by the fact that there was a new player in the game, Water Hazard silently nodded. Both of them saw, however, that their target had sauntered off while they'd been attacked. With that, the two returned to normal, Double pulling the Joker memory from the DoubleDriver and Water Hazard hitting the Ultimatrix symbol on his chest.

"Yeah," Ben said, his words now found. "Who was that, another Dopant?"

"Most likely," Shotaro answered.

"Losing our main lead on Million Coloseo like that? You blundered, Shotaro..." Philip scolded.

"What are you saying? We would've gotten him if you hadn't hesitated while we were transforming," Shotaro countered.

"He's right. I think there was a good 5 seconds or so when he was waiting on you," Ben agreed.

"Paused? For 5 seconds? What are you two saying?" Philip asked, genuinely confused. Shotaro sighed, seeing this was going nowhere. Taking off the DoubleDriver, he let out a small whistle as he and Ben walked off.


Watching the detective and American, Kirihiko turned back to normal, looking to his suitcase of Gaia Memories.

"Joker? Heat? Cyclone?" Kirihiko mused. "Those aren't Memories I can ever recall seeing. And that form...I've seen the known reports of Tennyson's transformations that father wrote about." He recalled stories of a strange giant tick being killed by an oversized pillbug with a similar symbol to those of Tennyson's transformations, and rumors of a mutative substance being released that turned others into unruly monsters while blotting out the sun's light. "But I don't ever recall seeing that one." His musings were interrupted by the clanging of coins, and he began his return to "salesman" mode when he heard the approaching Dopant.

"Yo!" The Money Dopant greeted. "Thanks for that! You saved my hide from those two!"

As he shut the suitcase, Kirihiko smiled. "Don't worry about that. Consider it an after-sales service." Hearing the Dopant chuckle, he continued. "It was a rather pricey one you bought, after all. Please continue enjoying it!"


Back at the Sonozaki mansion, Saeko listened to her fiancé's questions, checking on the jewelry for their wedding as well as her wedding dress. "A Dopant with mismatched left and right sides?"

"Yes," Kirihiko confirmed. "Just who is he?"

"And you mentioned about a form of Tennyson that was able to spray water and take a blast from...that?" Saeko wondered.

"Correct," Kirihiko looked through not only a guidebook on Gaia Memories, but notes that his future father-in-law had taken on Tennyson. Sketches of aliens were everywhere, and considering Ben Tennyson had become a great boon to their Gaia Memory operations even after less than a year, it made sense to try to catalogue them. Forms resembling vegetation morphed to humanoid shapes, others having more crystalline composition, more resembling mutations of Earth's animals, and others that were completely inhuman by any strech of the word. However, that form he'd struck was nowhere to be seen.

"Enough," Saeko firmly turned to her employees.

"Hai," They said as they bowed.

"Kirihiko-san," Saeko explained as she walked to her fiancé, currently enjoying tea. "The secrets of Gaia Memory are limitless. As many words and ideas exist, there are that many Gaia Memories. Even with all our experiences, we've probably only seen about a drop in the ocean in how powerful they could be. So you don't need to worry about rushing to learn everything so soon." Putting a finger to his lips, she smiled. "But it'll be alright in the end. You'll surely be the one in command of the darkness within this city. And as for Tennyson, we'll find out all he can do. Every transformation will be understood."

Hearing that, Kirihiko smiled. "In that case, please teach me as well as you can." The two were about to kiss when Wakana walked into their room.

"Oh...oops!" Wakana said 'innocently'. "Was I interrupting something?"

Smiling, Kirihiko turned to his future sister-in-law. "Oh, Wakana-chan! I heard your radio show today! You were wonderful!"

Wakana clicked her lips when she heard that. "Worthless brown-noser." With that, she turned heel and walked out, slamming the door on her way out. Kirihiko simply sighed before smiling, letting her insult wash over him.


"What is wrong with her?!" Ben grumbled as he held his hands to his head as he saw what unfolded before him. "Does that Dopant infect people with gold fever?"

"Sorry, Ben, but no. It's the mind of a hot streak winner: consumed by promises of easy riches in spite of overwhelming odds" Shotaro sadly noted.

"Stop it, Yūko! Please!" Yūko's father begged as his daughter took their savings.

"Oh, be quiet, you old fools!" Yūko sharply retorted as she pushed her father to the side into his wife, making Ben growl ever more. "Don't you worry about it. I'll come back with this times a hundred!"

"Oh no, you don't!" Akiko finally stepped in, having had enough of the scene playing before her. Grabbing the checkbook from Yūko's hand, she ordered "You stop that right now!"

"And just who are you to stop me?" Yūko demanded to know.

"Concerned citizens, at far as you need to know," Ben explained as he followed Akiko's example. Shotaro could only facepalm at his friends' antics.

"And what does that have to do with you?" Yūko retorted.

"Really?! You think people are going to be idle when you're acting like a self-entitled brat to your parents?!" Ben argued, his temper rising.

"Brat?! How dare you!" Yūko snapped as she pushed him to the floor, Akiko gasping in surprise as she helped the American to his feet.

"Ben! Akiko!" Shotaro began stepping in. "You're not supposed to be in contact with the one we're investigating, let alone riling them up!"

"You guys are detectives?!" Yūko asked in disbelief.

"Oh my god, Shotaro. I'm guessing them the target knowing you're a detective is another rule..." Ben muttered as he held his face in his hands, Akiko rubbing his back like an older sister would to her brother.

"You had me followed?!" Yūko angrily demanded to know as she kicked the chairs, making her parents flinch in fear. "That's bullshit!"

"Ma'am, please listen," Shotaro spoke at last. "Million Coloseo is..."

"A casino run by monsters, right? I knew that," Yūko interrupted. "There's no place quite as thrilling as that place. The rush of winning there is completely unmatched!"

"Money or family," Akiko interrupted, a rarely felt flavor of anger in her voice. "What's more important?"

"Money, obviously, you idiots!" Yūko answered with no hesitation. "What fun can you have in a home without any money?"

"That's wrong," Akiko softly said in response before she charged towards Yūko, slipper in hand, a rare look of anger on her face. "Now I'm definitely going to stop you!"

"You're infuriating, you know that?" Yūko simply said as she brushed Akiko off before storming off. "I'll bet none of you dimwitted detectives know the directions to the place at all!"

"Hey, wait up!" Akiko demanded, before Shotaro had an epiphany.

"So that's it then!" He mused. "The directions. The secret is in the directions!"

"Someone mind filling me in on what's going on?" Ben asked, not in the know.


At the Wind Wave radio station, Ben and Shotaro had gotten in contact with a worker for some particularly scrumptious information.

"Let's see here...ah!" The radio worker said as he found the papers he was looking for. "Kogarashi-zaka...Shijou-doori...and...Jūmonji-kousaten." Each time a name was called out, Shotaro briefly parroted before he wrote it in his notepad.

"Pardon me," Ben only needed to hear that familiar voice before he knew things could get heated. Indeed, Officer Makura had walked in before he took note of the "hardboiled" detective. "Oi, detective! What are you doing here?!"

"Oh, if it isn't Namakura-san!" Shotaro joked, with Ben recalling how 'Namakura' could also mean 'stupid'. "What're you doing here? Oh, I get it!" Shotaro continued as he lightly punched Makura's chest. "You're ditching work to come here, aren't you?"

"Don't call me Namakura! I'm Makura!" Makura protested as he grabbed Shotaro's arm.

"Hey, hey, hey, take it easy!" Jinno rebuked his subordinate before taking Shotaro's notebook.

Quickly telling the worker to wait for a minute, Shotaro quickly ran to Jinno, Ben close behind, before saying, "Wait! Jinno-san! Jinno-san!"

"Save it, I know. Well done, Shotaro!" Jinno complimented. "You're looking into the names of the places Wakana mentioned on her Mystery Tour, aren't you? But your real target is the rumored Million Coloseo."

"Yeah, we are," Ben answered. "Our clients' daughter caught a bad case of gold fever, and we're trying to stop her."

"Ah, I know you!" Jinno smiled as he turned to Ben. "You're that American hero, Ben 10, aren't you?"

"I...uhh," Ben didn't have much of a response to that.

"Don't worry. I'm not gonna tell anyone unless you want me to," Jinno assured the teenager as he pat his back, making Ben sigh in relief. The last thing he wanted was a crowd of people coming to get autographs while on business.

Clearing his throat, Shotaro got the duo's attention. "Seems the police are interested in Million Coloseo as well." That was confirmed when Makura tried to get a look over their shoulders at their notebook.

"You know," Jinno began, before giving a knowing smirk. "I'd not be happy with other detective's getting in the police's way. But I'll overlook this, so give the information as usual."

"Yeah. Of course!" Shotaro smiled as he prepared to share what he knew.

"Good morning!" A melodic voice rang out, and all eyes soon turned to an approaching Wakana. Makura, Jinno, and Shotaro all looked in rapt attention, while Ben had a more ordinary look, but couldn't help but blush when she saw how cute Wakana looked.

"It's Princess Wakana!" Jinno almost shouted, his eyes gone wide. As he got up to run towards, he quickly shoved through Ben and Shotaro, and then shoving a happy looking Makura into a wall.

"Oh, my lovely princess..." Jinno gushed before taking on a more serious face, even putting his backscratcher like a piece of jewelry. "I am a humble detective at the Futo Police Department. My name is Jinno-" It was then Shotaro paid him in full for his earlier rudeness, shoving him into a wall. Not that Jinno minded, since his lips landed on those of Wakana's on a nearby poster. Making a dopey smile, he fell unconscious.

"Yo, Futo City Angel!" Shotaro poetically began. "If something happens to you, you can't rely on the police." Pullin out a business card, he continued. "Contact this man of steel. The hard-boiled detective Hidari Shotaro."

"Oh, my! How interesting! Take this signed photo as appreciation!" Wakana giggled. Shotaro smiled and began to joyfully laugh at this, with Ben stepping up to Wakana as the 'hard-boiled' detective skipped out like a schoolboy who had his first kiss.

"Konichiwa, Wakana-san," Ben more humbly bowed as he heard Shotaro yell 'Alright!'. "My name is Tennyson Ben, and I'm visiting from America." Continuing to remain polite, he continued, "It's...truly an honor to be in your presence. I've enjoyed my time in your lovely city under Shotaro's tutelage, and I hope to continue having a good time." Smiling, he held his hand out.

Seeing this, Wakana returned the smile and took his hand. "Of course, Ben-kun! I'm so happy to see that you're enjoying my city as well, and I hope you continue to enjoy it!"

"Thank you so much," Ben smiled gratefully. Before heading out, he waved a goodbye "Hopefully we'll meet again soon."

"Yes! I'd like that too!" Wakana replied. When he exited, Ben finally let out the nervous breath he'd been holding since he spoke to her, storing his photo in his jacket pocket.

"Why am I getting such a bad feeling about her?" Ben didn't deny that she was cute, but something about her made him feel like it was only a mask he'd spoken to.


Wakana clicked her tongue as she tore up Shotaro's business card and threw it in the waste bin. She would've washed her hands, but Ben didn't deserve that...yet.

"That detective's just an incredibly interesting fool," Wakana snorted dismissively, before a happier expression spread on her face. "But I can't deny it...Ben 10 is quite the cutie, and such a polite young man. I'd certainly not mind him over that brown-nosing salesman of a brother-in-law. We'd be a real celebrity couple, then! Princess Wakana and Ben 10!" Her gushing complete, she took on a grumpier expression "I'm surprised that Ben chooses that fool to be his teacher. What's so good about him compared to us Sonozakis?"


"How mysterious..." Philip sighed dreamily as he looked at the photo he'd been given from Shotaro, the detective having gotten two of them. Shotaro, on the other hand, was sitting next to Akiko on the couch, while Ben continued looking at his own photo nervously. "Why does she shine so?"

"You got a nice souvenier," Akiko happily said as she sipped from a cup of coffee.

"Yeah," Shotaro automatically replied as he held his picture of Wakana, sighing in a lovestruck manner before kissing it. "Thank you, my angel!"

"You got one for yourself?" Akiko rhetorically asked as she snatched the photo from him.

"What. Hey! Give it back!" Shotaro demanded.

"No way!" Akiko denied. "Eh...she's only kind of cute, and something about her seems...fake."

"Honestly, I'm kind of on Akiko's side, here. " Ben answered, Shotaro and Philip looking at him like he'd shot a puppy and then beat its corpse.

"WHAT?!" Shotaro screamed in shock as he ran to Ben, grabbing him by the jacket. "How dare you denigrate Princess Wakana?"

"That's not it! I'm not saying she's ugly!" Ben pointed out, which at least seemed to settle Shotaro. "It's just that...," Ben sighed. "Never mind. It's not...the easiest thing to talk about."

"Oh...you don't have to say anything if you don't want to..." Shotaro assured Ben as he let go of his jacket.

"It's fine...you at least should know where I'm coming from," Ben began. "My hero when I was a kid was Carl Nesmith, Captain Nemesis. He was my hero, my idol. I always looked up to him, even when I began my own hero career with the Omnitrix."

"Captain Nemesis...I think I recall there being something about a brief team up with him and another Kamen Rider," Shotaro recalled.

Hearing this, Philip did a quick look up and found his answer. "Ah, yes. He helped Kamen Rider Agito against the creatures led by the Overlord for a brief amount of time."

"...huh. Guess that explains that," Ben muttered before continuing. "So you can imagine that when we encountered bandits trying to take off with actress Jennifer Nocturne, how much of an honor it was to fight alongside him. He then suggested that we have some friendly competitions, challenges of speed, strength, that kind of thing. But you know what happened? He turned it to hire the bandits that attacked Jennifer just so he could be a better star." Akiko, Shotaro, and Philip all gasped in shock at that.

"Then he decided to go after not just Jennifer, but my girlfriend Julie. He told me I could only save one of them and the answer was obvious..." Ben's eyes began to well with tears, as he continued recollect the moment his pedestal broke. "It had to be Julie, who'd stuck with me through thick and thin, against the Highbreed, and tolerated me at my worst behavior. But then he just kept ranting about he was supposed to be the hero, and that he'd been doing it for longer than me!"

Ben's voice was raised as tears of pain and fury began to stream. "He didn't care how many people got hurt as long as he made himself the hero! And the worst part? Will Harangue, a reporter, said that my threat to the world made him go bad, and that he was a good, honest hero! I do everything I can for the planet, put my life on the line since I got the Omnitrix, and nearly get killed so many times, and there are still those who say I'm no different than the things I fight against!"

For a few minutes, Shotaro, Philip, and Akiko remained still, stupefied by why Ben felt uncertain around Wakana. Shotaro got up, a look of fury on his face. "That...bastard!" His knuckles were clenched so tightly that they were turning white. "How dare he treat the lives of others so causally? Like simple props to make his role on the world stage shine brighter than everyone else? If I ever meet Nesmith, remind me to give him several punches as HeatJoker!"

"Don't you forget about that reporter!" Akiko pointed out, holding her slipper. "He's getting the deluxe treatment from me! No one makes my employees feel bad but me!"

"...I pity those two should we ever need to come to your town, Ben," Philip noted.

Ben smiled, hearing that at least the Narumi Detective Agency would be in his corner. "Thanks guys. But I think it's time we get to that idea you were having, Shotaro."

Philip heard that, and finally got back to work. "Ben's right. Let's do that look up." Taking up the look up posture, he glowed white again.

"Oh...please do," Akiko, Shotaro, and Ben said simultaneously.

Once Philip had entered the library, his queries began anew. "What we need to understand is how people are getting into Million Coloseo."

"Correct," Shotaro confirmed. "Our basic keywords are 'Futo', 'gamble', and 'Coloseo'. I'm going to be adding a bunch of locations from the submissions,"

"Go ahead,"

"The first is 'Kogarashi-zaka', then 'Shijou-doori', followed by 'Jūmonji-kousaten', and finally, "Chūou-kaido."

After a few minutes, Philip smiled. "Bingo!" On the board, he wrote 'bus route'. "What a compelling result!"

"Oh yeah!" Akiko recalled. "There was one when she vanished the first time, now that you mention it!"

"Right!" Ben followed up her train of thought. "I didn't think about it because I thought she'd still be on foot!"

Using a nearby map of Futo's streets, Philip began to draw out a path. "As it pretends to be an ordianry bus, this 'dark bus' transports its knowing victims to the Million Coloseo! Only those who are actively aiming for the casino will know its stops, route, and schedule. I don't know where it's going, but I know for certain it has to be right here!" Philp circling a particular intersection.

"That's amazing!" Akiko gushed. "Philip-kun's in tip top shape!"

"I hope so," Shotaro muttered.

Philip turned to him in confusion. "Is there something you'd like to say?"

"Nah," Shotaro dismissed, patting the boy on his shoulder. "I just worry about your condition."

"Well as you can see," Philip assured his partner. "I'm without problems!"

"You sure about that?" Ben asked. "You didn't respond for a while after the whole 'abandoned by the f-word' thing."

"F-word?" Philip asked in further puzzlement.

"Never mind," Ben answered, seeing this wouldn't go anywhere.

"Okay!" Akiko happily said as she picked up her sweater. "Ben-kun! Shotaro-kun! Let's get going!"

"Hold on there, middle schooler!" Shotaro shot down that idea as he laughed. "Dopants aren't in your league. At least Ben has some fighting ability on his own. Best you be quiet and stay here." Finishing this, he poked her forehead before leaving.

Screaming in frustration, Akiko fumed. "I'm so pissed! Who does he think the chief is?"

"Give it time, Akiko," Ben tried to calm her down. "He'll come around eventually."

"But that's not something Yūko's parents have!" Akiko countered. "We can't let her spend the last of their money like that, or let her go the way of Goro!"

Ben didn't deny that, but he still felt the need to point out, "But what can you do? No offense, chief, but you aren't that experienced, or have a way to protect yourself. Sorry to do this, but I need to help Shotaro. I'll be seeing you around, Akiko." With that, he left the hangar.

Whuile Ben meant well, it didn't have the intended effect. "It's not fair! How come they get the good toys and go out while I'm stuck here?" That was when her eyes turned to the Bat Shot camera, smiling as she got an idea.


Looking at his watch while waiting on the Hardboilder, Shotaro waited for the bus to arrive. "Any minute now..." Hearing the honk of a bus, the familar face of Yūko turned up, and a white bus, seemingly like any other, pulled up to let her in. "Unscheduled bus stop. That's the one!" Revving up the motorcycle, he began to track the criminal casino carrier. When the driver noticed him, he stepped on the gas to make the bus speed up. However, the ran into a car that began doing involuntary doughnuts. Shotaro was quick to leap over the car, but was soon trailed himself, though a look at it reassured him that he was among friends. It was something like a blue-scaled semi-armored velociraptor. He had black orbs on his feet, a black tail with five blue stripes, and bulky claws on his 3 fingers. He wore a black cone-like helmet with a protective visor that was slid over his face, resembling an X. Completing the ensemble was a black bodysuit and turtleneck-like shirt with a green stripe on the center, the Ultimatrix symbol on the center of his chest.

"Thought you could do with a hand!" The creature asked in a rather high-pitched voice. "Was I too slow?"

"No," Shotaro smiled. "Your timing couldn't be better. So what do you call this guy?"

"He's one of my originals. Shotaro, say hello to XLR8!"

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Codon Stream Entry: XLR8

Species: Kineceleran

Home World: Kinet

Kinet is a world of perpetual lightning storms, and a day on Kinet lasts only a few Earth hours. As such, many organisms, including the Velociraptor-like Kinecelerans, have adapted high speed. As a rite of passage, Kinecelerans, already quite speedy, find special pearls that they attach to their feet, and these pearls let them run at 500 miles per hour and run across water with no issue. They also have prehensile tails, sharp claws, and a retractable visor adapted to help prevent dust and eye irritants from entering their eyes during long periods of running.

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"Well. Fitting for how fast you are like this!" Shotaro chuckled at the English pun in there. XLR8, accelerate. "Now, we've got a bus to catch!"

"That we have!" XLR8 agreed. The bus driver, in the meanwhile, had his eyes wide. His job description definitely didn't include dinosaurs with super speed. Deciding the human tail would be easier, he worked to trap him like a roach in a motel against the road's crash barriers. Indeed, Shotaro only barely managed to jump off before the crushing force made the Hardboilder peel out. Only to be greeted by the face of Akiko in the window. "AKIKO?!"

"Wait, what?!" XLR8 asked, shocked himself. Jumping onto the crash barrier, he ran on it like it was a flat surface, and while Akiko was briefly surprised, she gave a peace sign. "Akiko? What the heck are you doing?"

Hearing this, the chief simply pulled her eyelid pull and stuck out her tongue. "Why you!" Shotaro grunted as he struggled to stay up top.

"Well, well, well," A familiar voice chuckled. "What's this now? Do we have an uninvited guest?" The golden mug of the Money Dopant stood up top.

"You punk!" Shotaro declared before he pulled out a yellow wristwatch and inserted a yellow Gaia Memory with a spider on it.

SPIDER!

At this, the wristwatch unfurled into a mechanical spider, one that shot forward as a cable was attached to its bottom like silk from a spineret. It tackled the Dopant while attaching to the other side of the bus, helping Shotaro climb up.

"Well, that gives me an idea," XLR8 said as he turned into another alien. This time, Ben was a blue-furred monkey with arachnid features. He had four green eyes and four arms with three fingers each, alongside a tail with two stripes near the tip. The Omnitrix lay on his dark blue chest.

"Spidermonkey!" the creature declared in a rather high-pitched voice. Quickly webbing the Money Dopant's head with his tail, he used him as a tether to leap to the roof and stand in front of Shotaro, ooking all the while.

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Codon Stream Entry: Spidermonkey

Species: Arachnichimp

Home World: Aranhascimmia

Aranhascimmia is a world that can be described as a jungle gone wild. Trees that make the Empire State Building look like small huts cover the surface. On the ground, a wide variety of life forms inhabit the bottom, and these are ravenous predators were adapted to the near pitch darkness that result from the coverage of the trees. As a result, the Arachnichimp race adapted to life in the trees. Their environment ordained for a heavy need for agility, and their hands have evolved pads similar to those of geckos, allowing them to stick to surfaces easily. Their prehensile tails allow them to unleash webs strong as steel and incredibly sticky, making them useful either to blind predators or catch food more easily, whether it be fruit far from grasp or the rather large insects of their homeworld.

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"Philip!" Shotaro declared as he attached the DoubleDriver. Pulling out the Joker Memory, it was activated once again.

JOKER!

Holding it to the right again, Shotaro called out, "Henshin!" With the Cyclone Memory appearing in the left slot and him inserting it into the right, the DoubleDriver was ready. Crossing his arms, he pushed the two Gaia Memories apart and formed the trademark W shape.

CYCLONE! JOKER!

At once, CycloneJoker and Spidermonkey stood before the Money Dopant, both ready to give him a nasty pounding.

"Tonight, the Million Coloseo closes!" Double declared as he pointed to the Money Dopant.

"Yeah, and you're done snaring suckers in your nasty web!" Spidermonkey concurred.

"What was that?!" With that, the Money Dopant charged ahead, the sound of coins rattling continuing to ring out. Whereas CycloneJoker preferred a more consistent barrage of kicks, Spidermonkey went for brief barrages of punches, helped by the fact he had four arms instead of just two. The three continued fighting as the bus continued moving, neither side willing to let up. "You really think you can stop me? A two toned freak and some grotesque monkey?"

"Considering you're a pudgy piggy bank, you're not really in a position to be judging us, buddy!" Spidermonkey joked. That got the Money Dopant roiled up, and he roared, aiming to knock him off, only for the Arachnichimp to run across the sides of the bus and then leap off, going for a web-based grapple tackle that sent the Dopant rolling across the roof. Soon, Double grabbed the Dopant and sent him crashing to the ground, both rolling while Spidermonkey leapt off and landed with the grace of a jumping spider. The brawl continued anew, with Double continuing to weave and jump kick every chance he got. After one particularly nasty kick, Spidermonkey took the chance to tightly web up one of his arms to the ground.

"Something like this won't stop me!" The Dopant declared as he fired crisp bills at the webbing, shearing it to pieces and freeing himself. At this, he made his coins glow again before sending a wave of coins at the both of them. While Spidermonkey could dodge the attacks, the bigger Double had a harder time, something the Dopant definitely noticed.

"For attacks like that, how's about we try this one for size?" Pulling out the Metal Memory, Double readied to transform, only to be met with another blast of coins from the Dopant. Weakened, but still undeterred, Shotaro pulled through and activated the Memory.

METAL!

Quickly taking out the Joker Memory, he inserted the Metal Memory in its place before activating the DoubleDriver and shifting it to the "W" position once again.

CYCLONE! METAL!

Just like with HeatMetal, Double's left side was a metallic grey, and he was armed with a quarterstaff once again. However, with each swing this time, tornadoes formed, and when the Money Dopant sent a barrage of coins Double's way, the cyclones that formed were enough protection to make them non-issues.

"Heat? Joker? Metal? Cyclone?" The Dopant could only wonder. "Just how many Memories do you have?"

"Huh. Let's see," Double played along as he held his staff, looking at his fingers as he counted. "One, two, three...eh, who cares?" With that, Double and Spidermonkey went on the attack again, and each hit from Arachnichimp fist or metal quarterstaff caused more and more ringing and clanging, sparks also starting to fly. Soon, Double got a very good hit in and left the Dopant in a prone position, holding him at staffpoint. Just to prevent any further problems, Spidermonkey also webbed his legs to the ground. "It's over. Stay down and give up the Gaia Memory."

"You meddlesome brats! Why I oughta..." The Dopant began before stopping himself. "He he he he he!"

"What's this? Your way of hiding your fear?" Spidermonkey wondered.

"No. But it may surprise you to know that you can't defeat me!"

"Can't defeat you? Buddy, you are literally held at staff-point and stuck with webs! In what way does that not count as a defeat?" That was before the Dopant sent more crisp bills out to shred the webs before calmly getting up.

"You may have noticed that my skin is full of coins," The Dopant began, opening up each shiny gold cover and showing several coins. Holding a hand out, he caught one that fell out of the one on his stomach, holding it up for them to see. "If you were to defeat me, all of these would crumble to dust. Surely you understand what I'm getting at, don't you?" It was when the two got a closer look that their stomachs clenched. Inscribed on the coin was a familiar name: Goro Murasame.

"Wait. Mursame Goro? That...that can't be!" Double gasped.

"These aren't any coins, my friend," The Money Dopant cooly said as he held up the coin, slowly walking around. "These are life coins, and each of them holds the life energy of one of my customers."

"Then...that means..." Spidermonkey gulped, having a really good idea what Million Coloseo's catch was.

"At my casino, Million Coloseo, there's a way for you to keep playing even if you run out of money." The Money Dopant continued. "You play with your life at stake! Those who've played even a single time will want to keep playing, even if it means giving up everything!" The Money Dopant laughed as if the whole business was a massive joke, making Spidermonkey and Double both growl. "Work...their homes...even their precious families!" At this, the Dopant laughed uproariously.

"You're despicable," Spidermonkey snarled.

"You greedy son of a bitch! That's deplorable!" Shotaro declared as he pointed to the cackling Dopant.

"Home...family..." Philip suddenly said, as if in a trance. Suddenly, Double's right eye began to spark and flicker. With a cry, Double dropped the staff and clutched his right eye. While both Spidermonkey and the Dopant both looked at the latest Kamen Rider in confusion, their responses were different.

"Double? Are you okay?" The Arachnichimp inquired in concern.

"Philip?" Shotaro asked. "Oi! Philip!"

Seeing that his enemy was incapacitated, the Money Dopant seized his chance to change the tide of battle. "Don't tell me you care about such sad little suckers!" With this, the Dopant began punching the incapacitated detective, and while he attempted to block the attacks, half his body being paralyzed didn't given him much change to defend himself, and soon, the Money Dopant was the one throwing the punches. While Spidermonkey attempted to take care of him with more punches, the Money Dopant soon sent a flurry of coins that blasted Spidermonkey into a nearby building, making him collapse and fall unconscious. With that, the Ultimatrix powered down, turning him back into Ben. "That kid again? Guess this guy's not the only one able to transform."

"Ben!" Shotaro cried in concern. "Philip! Oi, Philip! What's wrong?" However, there wasn't much else he could do when the Dopant sent a barrage of coins at him that caused an explosion, leaving the two heroes down for the count.

"Now I've paid the both of you for the beatings you gave me...in full!" With that, the Money Dopant sauntered away cackling to himself, aiming for his home base of Million Coloseo.


The trip to Million Coloseo hadn't so strange for such a well regarded urban legend. When they entered a tunnel, they suddenly stopped, only for a hidden elevator to reveal itself. Every guest and employee was now wearing something to conceal themselves: face masks for the workers, and theater masks for the customers. All manner of gambling games were strewn around the place: slot machines, card tables, roulette wheels, and pool tables were everywhere, and games like blackjack and poker were being played.

Taking off her mask, Akiko muttered to herself, "So this is Million Coloseo..."


Authors Note:

Yeah. Sorry if you thought this would cause major changes, but the main events here mostly revolve around the addition of Kirihiko to the Sonozakis and more of the relationship development between the main heroes, and apart from that, there was more of a discussion on how to deal with the threat of both Ben 10 and Double. Plus, I decided to add my own addition of the Sonozakis studying Ben when they saw how much of a boon he was to their plans of spreading Gaia Memories, but it only goes up to the AF aliens, so the Andromeda 5 (Water Hazard, Terraspin, NRG, Armodrillo, and Ampfibian) plus any others from that series aren't known to them, and several of the original aliens are also unknowns: those they do know of from that series are Way Big, Diamondhead, Cannonbolt, Four Arms, Heatblast, and Upchuck.

Plus, I did decide to give more of a connection between the Kamen Rider and Ben 10 series, so here, Captain Nemesis did help Kamen Rider Agito against the Overlord, and that was where he got the name Overlord when he went rogue.


Next Time: Betting All or Nothing

With Akiko infiltrating the Million Coloseo and the Money Dopant still being a greedy beast, Shotaro and Ben must find it on their own, playing risky games of cards and roulette to take back everything he's stolen from the innocent. As this happens, Kirihiko finally becomes one with his new in-laws, cementing his place and increasing the family's power.