Match 8:
By: Forrest Freund

On the shores of Birth Island, a tragedy of nature has taken place. A pod of sperm whales has beached itself. As the behemoths lay dead and dying, the charnel stench seeps into the water and air, drawing in thousands of scavenging sea birds. It also draws the attention of something deep under the water. His sense of smell titillated by the odor of decaying flesh, Gezora begins to swim towards the scent. Reaching the beach, Gezora crawls out of the water and lumbers towards the mass of dying whale meat. Thousands of sea birds scatter as the massive cuttlefish begins to pull chunks of whale meat off the dying animals and begins to feed.

Meanwhile, deep in the interior of Birth Island, the scent of dying whales reaches the nostrils of another creature. Rousing from his slumber on a outcropping of rocks, Baragon's nostrils twitch in anticipation, as he smells the feast of whale meat. Slowly standing up, Baragon shakes himself lazily and begins to lumber towards the scent.

When Baragon climbs over the crest of the hill that leads to the enticing scent, he notices that he is not the only creature who has followed the smell. Driven by instinctual ferocity and hunger, Baragon screeches a challenge at the creature feeding on the dead whales and begins to charge the other beast.

Gezora, startled by the sudden noise, turns to see what made it. Noticing the other creature charging towards him, he turns and also begins to charge, determined to protect his meal from the newcomer.

Once he's within range, Baragon, using his powerful leg muscles, leaps into the air. Gezora is stunned as Baragon lands on him, driving his claws and teeth into his flesh. Gezora recovers quickly however, and wraps his tendrils around Baragon. Exerting his strength, Gezora begins to constrict Baragon onto his freezing body.

Baragon screams out in pain as the numbing cold of his foe's touch begins to slowly leach the life giving heat from his own body. Baragon tries to struggle free, but the strength of his foe, along with the numbing cold make it impossible. Gezora begins to tighten his arms around Baragon, making it harder for him to breath and drawing more heat from his body. Baragon, realizing how much trouble he's in, opens his mouth and fires his volcanic flame blast. The searing heat strikes Gezora, causing his flesh to blister and crack. Reflexively, Gezora releases Baragon as he rubs the burnt patch of flesh in an attempt to make the pain stop. Landing on the ground as his foe drops him, Baragon takes the opportunity to leap away.

Now that he has some distance, Baragon turns to face his enemy, who has stopped slapping the burnt patch of flesh and turned his attention back on him. Crouching low to the ground, Baragon hisses ferociously as Gezora turns to face him. Gezora croaks at Baragon and begins to move towards him, his tendrils lashing.

Baragon, not wanting to get caught in his foes tendrils again, rapidly begins to tunnel underground. Gezora reaches Baragon only seconds after he has completely disappeared underground.

Gezora, believing that he has driven Baragon away, turns back to the dieing whales and lumbers back towards them. As he reaches them, be resumes feeding. However, because he is consumed with feeding, he fails to notice the small furrow in the ground that begins to slowly move towards him. Ever so carefully, Baragon begins to tunnel towards Gezora, making sure to move slowly enough not to betray his presence to his foe. Suddenly, Baragon's head emerges from under the sand and he fires his heat ray at Gezora. Gezora, fully focus on eating, does not notice Baragon's return and is struck completely by surprise as the heat beam chars another patch of his flesh.

Gezora groans in pain and turns towards the source of the pain, but Baragon has already retreated underground again. Gezora begins to wander about, his massive eyes looking about for the creature that hurt him. Baragon, sensing Gezora pass over him, waits till his foe is some distance away, pokes his head through the sand again and shoots Gezora with his heat ray again.

Gezora turns just in time to see Baragon's head duck under the sand. Somewhere in his brain, Gezora makes the connection to the pain he's been suffering and his foe's head dropping below the sand. Gezora begins to lumber towards the water, apparently in retreat. Once under the surface of the water, Gezora covers himself with sand, concealing his massive bulk. Now concealed, he waits.

Baragon, having sensed Gezora slip into the water, emerges from the safety of the underground and surveys the beach. Gezora is nowhere to be seen, and the feast of whale meat is his for the taking. Waddling over to the whale carcasses, he picks up a large one in his fore-claws and begins to gnaw on it.

Gezora, seeing Baragon distracted by the whales, launches his arms from the water. Baragon is caught by surprise as Gezora's arms wrap around his legs and tail. Pleased by his ambush, Gezora begins to pull on Baragon, trying to drag him into the water, where he will have the advantage.

Baragon tries to twist over his own body to reach the arms slowly dragging him into the water. When that doesn't work, he rolls onto his back and curls his body up. Now within reach of the arms grabbing him, Baragon begins to savagely bite and claw at them. Below the water, Gezora winces in pain, releasing his grip on Baragon and withdrawing his arms into the water.

Baragon quickly rolls back onto his feet and begins to bombard the water with heat rays, trying to drive his enemy into the open. Gezora, shielded by the water, begins to swim away from the location where Baragon is firing, instead moving to flank his right side.

After a little while, Baragon stops firing heat beams at the water, and looks around to see if Gezora has emerged elsewhere. Convinced that he has driven his foe away, Baragon turns back towards his meal. Gezora suddenly rushes out of the water towards Baragon. Caught off guard, Baragon barely manages to turn to face his enemy before Gezora has wrapped his arms around him and pulled him into his freezing grip.

Baragon, driven berserk from the icy pain of Gezora's touch, begins to ferociously bite and claw at his foe. This time, Gezora refuses to let go, and instead begins to slither back to the water. Baragon, realizing that if Gezora manages to get him underwater, he'll drown, begins to thrash about more furiously than before.

As Gezora almost reaches the edge of the water, Baragon notices a patch of charred flesh from one of his earlier heat rays. Taking a desperate gamble, he trusts his horn into the blistered tissue. Throwing his head back with all of his might, Baragon tears the hardened flesh free, revealing a hole to the internal organs of his foe. Gezora, shrieking in pain, constricts down tighter on Baragon.

Baragon's vision begins to swim as his body is leached of its heat. Hearing the sound of water below his enemy, he realizes that time is almost up. Opening his mouth, Baragon sticks his head into the hole he tore into Gezora's flesh, and fires one last heat beam.

Inside Gezora, there is a hideous burst of steam, the sickening sound of rupturing organs, and the scream of the giant cuttlefish as he is cooked from the inside by his foe's attack. As a stream of liquefied viscera burst from Gezora's siphon, the massive cephalopod's grip slackens on his foe and he collapses into the water.

Baragon slowly pulls his head free of his deceased foe, shaking his face rapidly side to side, blood and bits of organ splattering everywhere. Backing off of Gezora, Baragon grabs his fallen enemy's arms in his mouth and slowly begins to drag him onto the beach. Once he has pulled Gezora's carcass from the water, he begins to tear great chunks of the cooked flesh off and consume them.

Several hours later, after feasting on most of his foe's body and several of the dead whales, Baragon curls up on the warm sand and falls asleep, purring contentedly.

Winner
Baragon (Showa)