The first, most immediate sensation was color.
He was being swallowed by every kind of color in existence.
After that was every other sensation. Sound. Scent. Touch. Visceral sensation — no, everything. Everything was engulfing him.
Everything, a mixture of everything, enveloping him into chaos and beating around him like a storm.
The same state, recurring eternally — and yet all still in a single moment.
The infinite colors eventually condensed into shapes. What had once been an explosion of color had now become a myriad of different scenes.
Taking all of it in, he understood what the flood of sensations was. He had come to understand everything.
Everything before his eyes — everything he could feel was “the world”. Every space and every time was unfolding in front of him.
He was engulfed in delight and ecstasy. Now, at this very moment, he was near omniscience. Having lost his vessel of flesh, his spirit was now soaring, and he had surpassed humanity.
The colors exploded yet again. Another violent rush of sensations. And then, silence.
When his consciousness formed together again, a field of battle was before him.
Fighters, like warriors, fighting on the field. All were wearing familiar devices on their waists.
Sengoku Drivers. A system developed by a certain young genius. The reason for him being in this position. The warriors there must have been the Armored Riders from the original project.
But there were more as well. There were others engaged in combat, wearing masks and armors. On their waists were devices that resembled Sengoku Drivers, but seemed to use different systems unfamiliar to him.
“The World of Bujin — or would that be the best way to call it?”
Hearing a sudden voice out of nowhere, he turned back in shock. At some point, a strange man had appeared there.
“When possibilities converge, you occasionally see a world like this come forth. You could say it’s like a fleeting illusion.”
The man spoke casually, as if they were already acquainted. But now that he had transcended humanity, he could sense a strange presence from the man.
This man was not human. No, this man was not even a living being to begin with. It was a supernatural presence, or a concept. A god, or a devil, or something else.
“…What are you?”
“Well, there’s no point in asking me for a name. The only thing I can say is that I’m me, and nothing else. If we have to force one…I was once called ‘the serpent’.”
For a moment, the man seemed to appear to be a snake…or something along those lines. A serpent of paradise, one that misled humans and offered them fruits.
But even that perception would not be correct, either. This man’s true form was something beyond the reach of human understanding. It would probably be impossible for any human to truly understand. Even for him, who had transcended humanity, it would probably still be impossible.
“But I’m not the one who matters here. It doesn’t matter who I am. The important part is…you’re here in front of me right now, Kugai Kudou.”
“How do you know my name…”
He — Kugai — had asked a question, but the man did not answer it. Instead, he pointed at Kugai’s waist.
“The power of Helheim, the power you used in the initial Sengoku Driver experiment…you call them Lockseeds, correct? Ryouma Sengoku attempted to use them to simulate the Golden Fruit. As a result, you lost your life as a human being, and now your existence has reached that of a higher plane, like that of the ‘Woman of the Beginning’. Fascinating, isn’t it? For the time being, as far as humanity is concerned, you’ve become much like Kougane.”
Kugai had absolutely no idea what this man was saying at all. But he did realize one thing: this man, the one calling himself a “serpent”, was attempting to guide him towards something.
“You now have power equal to that of an Overlord. How will you use that power?”
“If you intend to see evolution through to its end, I will guide you towards its potential. Come, accept this: the power of Bujin and Genesis.”
The man raised his hand, offering a device that seemed to be an expansion for the Sengoku Driver, and a lock that resembled the blood-colored orange.
Seeing the extended hand — the serpent’s temptation — he, Kugai Kudou, would…
“…That’s right. I’ll always be watching over all of you.”
And the serpent laughed.