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Match 33:
By: Thomas Singleton

A giant rested at the bottom of the sea. Its eyes gaped blindly into the black abyss. Billions of creatures considered the ocean their home. But the giant saw it more as a prison. If it could muster the strength to leave, it would've done so ages ago. But its last battle left it badly wounded. It recalled those final moments of freedom as if it happened yesterday.

Many years ago, before becoming whole, it lived three separate lives. But exposure to a nuclear blast caused three organisms to fuse, creating the largest creature on Earth. Golden scales weaved its monstrous shape. Its snakelike necks supported three draconic heads. Atop each head was a crown of horns. Its large wings acted as solar panels, sapping up sunlight to increase its power. During the day, it was beautiful. At night, it was frightening. But it never had the opportunity to enjoy both settings, for its masters ordered it to hide for many years. When its masters summoned him at last, King Ghidorah wasn't free, for it was still a slave. While it delighted in wiping out cities and taking many human lives, it never had the chance to enjoy long enough.

Then it received new instructions to attack another giant like itself.

On an open battlefield, King Ghidorah located and fought Godzilla. It was winning, until its masters lost control. At long last, King Ghidorah was free! In its short yet precious moments of freedom, King Ghidorah strangled the so called King of the Monsters. But the atomic saurian broke free and unleashed its fury. Its radioactive breath lanced into King Ghidorah's middle neck, decapitating it. Unimaginable levels of pain flooded King Ghidorah's joint conscious. One third of its mind faded, lost in oblivion. Desperately, it tried retreating. It flew over the seemingly endless blue sea. When Godzilla fired its radioactive breath once more, it punched a hole through King Ghidorah's left wing, searing his abdomen.

No longer able to fly, King Ghidorah plummeted into the sea and remained there for centuries.

The faint rhythm of its heartbeat stirred the dragon from its slumber. Blackness greeted its four eyes yet again. Schools of fish cloistered around its segmented middle neck, nibbling at its ripped flesh. Scores of other marine life nestled in its torn surface, living off the nutrients King Ghidorah's skin provided. At times, it could hear whales calling out to one another with their songs. King Ghidorah had long believed if they ever ventured too close, it'd lash out, and satiate its hunger. But it couldn't even break free of the seaweed that tethered it to the oceanic floor. What hope did it have to ensnare an unsuspecting animal? All King Ghidorah could do was dream once more.

Its heart thumped wildly, pumping blood through its decrepit veins. Taken aback by the sudden surge of energy, muscles and bone alike were torn asunder. Cells quickly regenerated the damaged tissue, strengthening what was once old and brittle. It took several hours, but at long last, King Ghidorah moved. Fish and other sea creatures scattered as the monstrous dragon stood erect. Golden hued bolts flared out of King Ghidorah's mouths, destroying the undersea environment it had come to hate. King Ghidorah ceased its assault and ascended to the surface world above.

King Ghidorah burst out of the churning waters, rising high into the air. Beyond the azure lit sky hovered the Sun. Its radiance glinted off King Ghidorah's golden scales, enveloping the dragon in a shimmering aura. King Ghidorah's batlike wings absorbed the solar energy, diverting it to its central neck. What happened next startled even the heavens. The torn slits of the middle neck writhed, birthing a central head. Layers of skin and bone pushed it higher into the air until it met the equal gaze of the other heads. With its middle head restored, King Ghidorah cackled its defiance to the world. On golden wings, King Ghidorah soared across the sky, casting its demented shadow on the clouds beneath it, searching for something to kill.

In the distance, an island came into view. Waves washed up over its sandy beaches. Tropical forests covered its central portions. Dozens of rivers flowed freely, concealing numerous aquatic lives. Where sunlight was scarce, putrid swamps lingered. An active volcano stood at the heart of the island, surrounded by ash and molten rock. Mountains loomed in the backdrop, surveying the tropical paradise and its gigantic denizens. In an open pasture, the monster called Anguirus rested quietly, eyes closed. His charcoal gray skin basked in the Sun's luminance. Unlike most of its brethren, Anguirus was a natural byproduct of nature. On his back, hundreds of irregular spikes jutted out of an armored carapace. A small horn rested on the tip of his nose, while several larger ones curved out of the top of his head. Anguirus wagged his spiky tail back and forth across the soil. Only two teeth were long enough to protrude out of his closed snout. The ground funneled its warmth into Anguirus's underbelly, promising a long, peaceful day.

It was a commodity Anguirus rarely enjoyed.

Dark clouds rolled over the sky, blotting out the Sun. Behind the veiling blackness, thunder rumbled. Anguirus opened his eyes. A storm was brewing, one that shall consume the island. Reluctantly, Anguirus stood up on all fours and moved away, seeking refuge in the forests. A loud rumbling vibrated the sky, one that made Anguirus freeze. It wasn't thunder. Instead, it sounded more like a demon's laughter. A cold gust of wind washed over the reptile, shivering its spine. Anguirus gaped at the dark heavens, narrowing his eyesight. For the first time, Anguirus became accustomed to what humans referred to as fear. Descending from the clouds, singing a chorus of high-pitched cackles, was the three-headed dragon, King Ghidorah!

Anguirus didn't retreat. Instead, the noble reptile stood its ground. He knew he was about to fight a battle he alone could not win. With any hope, the other island inhabitants would come to his aid. Anguirus howled at King Ghidorah with his traditional battle cry. King Ghidorah's six eyes glowered at the puny creature. All three headed flailed wildly, spewing golden bolts of raw power. Anguirus braced himself as the energy bolts etched burning trenches into his flesh. King Ghidorah dived closer to meet its inferior foe. When it heard Anguirus's painful cries, King Ghidorah cackled with laughter. While it lacked the facials required to smile, its menacing voice would suffice. Each head spat golden bolts, ravaging the landscape and Anguirus's wounded visage. One of the bolts struck Anguirus's armored backside, creating a shower of sparks. Unable to launch a counterattack, Anguirus hollered in distress.

In a cavern, masked in shadow, a winged creature awoke. Its eyes slit open and peered out of its gloomy home at the outside world. Cries of war echoed off the stony walls, shaking the ceiling it clung to. It was then the mutated pteranodon called Rodan showed annoyance. Like a bat, Rodan slept upside down, obscured by the embrace of his crimson wings. It's been ages since Rodan fought alongside another kaiju. Being the last of his kind meant he'd live the rest of his life in solitude. Unlike those who sought out bonds of fellowship, Rodan liked being alone. But for some reason, Anguirus's mournful cries unnerved him. Rodan held no liking or contempt for the armored saurian. But something in his cries suggested there was a grave threat, one that required his support. Without further delay, Rodan tore out of the cavern to assist Anguirus in protecting the sanctity of his home.

Golden bolts mercilessly pounded Anguirus. King Ghidorah's wings blew dirt and smoke into Anguirus's eyes, hindering his vision. It was one of the most sickening displays of sadism ever recorded. It was also the happiest day of King Ghidorah's retched life. Bravely, Anguirus waded through the barrage of burning energies at a steady pace. Burnt, ragged flesh hung over Anguirus's damaged pores.

It was the most excruciating punishment Anguirus ever endured. And soon, it'd be the last.

King Ghidorah watched the injured creature crawl closer. Most would have considered the poor creature's bravery admirable. The three-headed dragon thought it was pathetic. It was clear Anguirus wanted to fight King Ghidorah in a physical fight. But King Ghidorah wasn't foolish enough to stop firing its gravity bolts. It'd pelt Anguirus for however long it'd take to put him down permanently. Suddenly, a loud screech caught King Ghidorah's attention. While one head kept torturing Anguirus, the other two sought out the source of its new playmate.

Rodan soared above a forest, flattening it in his wake. The flying reptile screeched once more, challenging King Ghidorah. Now all three heads focused on the mutated pteranodon. The twisted horns atop Rodan's head pulsated with atomic energy. Lavender hued energies blazed out of Rodan's throat and struck one of King Ghidorah's necks, singeing its golden hide. Irritated by Rodan's interference, King Ghidorah's three mouths opened, firing its destructive gravity bolts. Rodan dived into the air, evading a painful fate. He flew past King Ghidorah, unraveling the soil with strong winds. Blinded by a haze of dirt, King Ghidorah angrily expressed its rage by randomly torching the trees within the vicinity. Anguirus snuck up, using the dirt as cover. While Rodan bombarded King Ghidorah with his energy beam, Anguirus managed to get close enough to jump up and clamp his jaws onto King Ghidorah's left neck! King Ghidorah cackled in rage, never suspecting the weakling to be capable of injuring it. The dragon's middle head bent down, sinking its teeth into Anguirus's neck. But Anguirus did not relinquish its bite. It occurred to King Ghidorah that other methods were required to remove this pest. The middle head fired a gravity bolt into Anguirus's face at point blank.

Anguirus used the pain to intensify his bone crushing bite!

King Ghidorah augmented the gravity bolt with more power. As the strengthened energies incinerated Anguirus's flesh and boiled his eyes, Rodan landed on King Ghidorah's middle neck, tearing it with his talons. King Ghidorah's right head lashed out, biting one of Rodan's ankles. Rodan screeched in agony, his grip weakening. The right head yanked Rodan off the middle one, chucking it into the air. It quickly flayed the mutated pteranodon with its gravity bolt. Rodan plummeted into the burning forest, unconscious. Unable to resist the torment any longer, Anguirus released King Ghidorah's left head. Anguirus tried retreating, but King Ghidorah's three heads prevented him by hooking his skull with their jaws. In unison, all three heads used their tremendous neck strength to pick Anguirus off the ground and send him sailing into the wind. Anguirus landed on his back, his underbelly exposed. Without delay, King Ghidorah's mighty wings propelled it into the sky. When it was high enough, King Ghidorah dove down, slamming its bulk into Anguirus's chest.

The entire island shook.

Standing waist deep in the ground was King Ghidorah. Beneath its feet, struggling to breathe lay Anguirus. Satisfied, King Ghidorah jumped up into the air and hovered above the freshly made impact crater. Glowering at its still opponent, King Ghidorah unleashed a barrage of gravity beams, striking the helpless Anguirus without remorse. Even if Anguirus's flesh was stripped and reduced to a smoldering skeleton, King Ghidorah would not stop. But when an unearthly roar froze time itself, the three-headed dragon ceased. Its six eyes located the bearer of such a powerful roar.

A living monolith emerged out of the foliage. For every step it took, the planet itself quivered with fear. Sturdy muscles twitched beneath its black scales. The dorsal spines on its backside flashed an eerie bluish-silvery glow. Bloodshot eyes fixated its contempt on the three-headed dragon. But when it shifted its gaze to the impact crater and saw the burnt husk of Anguirus – its trusted and most beloved friend – Godzilla gritted his teeth and snarled with revulsion. King Ghidorah returned the gesture. Pure hatred emanated between the two giants. It was a rivalry destined to end in bloodshed.

Thermonuclear energy blazed out of Godzilla's gaping maw. Its sweltering essence lanced into King Ghidorah's sternum, blasting the three-headed fiend out of the sky. Godzilla charged at his fallen adversary, his spines rippling with atomic lust. King Ghidorah regained its equilibrium, readying itself to return fire. But as Godzilla lumbered closer, it suddenly felt a stinging sensation. Its right head bent down, examining the hole in its chest. Thumping behind its exposed ribcage was the dragon's black heart. King Ghidorah hissed at its adversary, insulted. King Ghidorah relentlessly pounded the atomic behemoth with gravity bolts.

Amid the ensuing chaos, Godzilla dropped to one knee. Scorched flesh hung over his ragged body. Before long, sizzling smoke obscured even Godzilla's massive figure. King Ghidorah didn't stop its assault. It was determined to destroy Godzilla, even if it couldn't see it. Meanwhile, Godzilla's cells were quick to repair the grisly wounds dealt to it by the insidious dragon. The King of the Monsters slowly rose to his full height, growling. Atomic energy embodied his dorsal spines once more. Before King Ghidorah could locate its target, Godzilla blindsided it with his radioactive breath. King Ghidorah's heads writhed in agony as a sea of thermonuclear fire washed over them. Burned beyond recognition, the three heads retaliated in kind.

Gravity bolts ripped Godzilla's throat wide open. Instead of funneling out of the mouth, Godzilla's radioactive flames were redirected out of his neck wound. If this action continued without stopping, then Godzilla probably would've died. Luckily, the creature managed to bring its atomic power under control. But the damage was too much for Godzilla to bear. With great pleasure, King Ghidorah watched Godzilla stagger to the ground. A wary King Ghidorah approached the fallen mutant. Before the dragon could confirm if Godzilla was alive or dead, Rodan rejoined the fight. King Ghidorah moved to blast it out of the sky once more, but Rodan proved too fast. Wedging himself in front of King Ghidorah, Rodan blew the three-headed beast away with its shockwave, and watched it crash into the burning forest.

Rodan perched over Godzilla, examining his injury. It'd take minutes for Godzilla's cells to mend the damage. Behind them, King Ghidorah started to regain its composure. Rodan knew time was running out. If he left now, he could survive to see another day. But if he stayed, then death was certain. At last, a decision was reached. Rodan stretched out his wings, preparing to escape. But before Rodan could flee, the pteranodon caught a glimpse of Anguirus's charred carcass. It occurred to Rodan that he had been stricken by the unlikeliest emotion: sadness. He actually cared for the fallen creature! Rodan's gaze settled on Godzilla. It too garnered Rodan's respect. Like Rodan, these other giants weren't just the first and last of their kinds.

These were also his family.

King Ghidorah emerged out of the burning foliage, its heads no longer burnt. Though its chest had not yet been fully healed, it mattered little. Soon the winged reptile shall perish. And then King Ghidorah will at long last fulfill its destiny by slaying Godzilla, the King of the Monsters!

Time was up. Rodan bent down, pressing his beak against one of Godzilla's dorsal spines. Rodan's horns rippled with atomic energies. He began funneling the energy into Godzilla. The huge intake of radiation enabled Godzilla to heal the neck wound faster than expected. Any second now, Godzilla would be back at full strength. Rodan watched Godzilla return to life. Somehow, the pteranodon knew he had helped save the planet. For the first time, Rodan knew peace.

King Ghidorah's middle head shut its jaw around Rodan's neck. The other heads seized Rodan's wings, constraining him. Rodan shrieked in distress, struggling to break free. But King Ghidorah's barbarism knew no limits. After all, it could relate to what Rodan must've been thinking. One moment, Rodan felt like he was on top of the world. The next, he was falling into an inescapable prison. All three heads twisted and pulled into opposite directions. Rodan's wings were plucked apart. His head was ripped completely off. King Ghidorah's jaws dropped the mangled kaiju. It turned its sights onto Godzilla. King Ghidorah marched to the fallen saurian, crushing Rodan's lifeless skull.

Fresh blood oozed out of King Ghidorah's mouths. The middle head slithered through the air, poised to deliver the first bite. Its blood stained mouth lunged at its prey. But a mighty hand shot up and grabbed its throat, stopping it. King Ghidorah's middle head hissed at the face suspended a few feet from its own. Atomic light lit up Godzilla's feral eyes. His upper lip curled, showing his fangs. Godzilla's hand squeezed King Ghidorah's neck like a vice, cracking its bones. Before the three-headed dragon could intervene, Godzilla swatted the middle head with his claw. With its vision blurred, the middle head could not respond in kind. But the other heads buried their jaws into Godzilla's skin. Godzilla seized one of their necks, skewering its golden flesh with his fangs. Never before had Godzilla tasted such vile blood. Dissatisfied, Godzilla slammed his bulk into King Ghidorah. King Ghidorah fell back, its mouths ripping chunks off Godzilla's hide. Godzilla loomed above the fallen dragon, seething with hatred.

In desperation, King Ghidorah bombarded the atomic saurian with gravity bolts. But Godzilla ignored the projectiles shredding and searing his skin. He ignored the flames devouring his home. He ignored the crushed, fried bodies of his dead friends. But what he didn't ignore was the dark heart beating in King Ghidorah's ribcage. With a mighty roar, Godzilla charged the bane of his existence. Nuclear energy embodied Godzilla's dorsal spines, heralding his most powerful weapon. Unlike before, the atomic light was not bluish-silver, but as red as fiery brimstone. King Ghidorah rebounded, recognizing Godzilla's intent. The three-headed dragon shielded itself with its wings. Godzilla unleashed a crimson blast of sheer destructive force. It bypassed King Ghidorah's defenses, incinerating the wings in a flash.

But it didn't stop there.

Godzilla dug his feet into the earth, recoiling in the wake of his power. Thermonuclear fire embraced King Ghidorah's right neck. Golden flesh and scarlet light intertwined in a burning conflagration. Before King Ghidorah could mourn the loss of its right neck, Godzilla repositioned his aim and fired another crimson blast! It lanced King Ghidorah's left neck, beheading it instantly. Dried golden blood churned at the stumps of King Ghidorah's cauterized necks. How could this have happened? With its mind broken, lost forever in perdition, King Ghidorah cackled in vain. Booming footsteps silenced its tongue. Godzilla marched up to the dying dragon, unopposed. King Ghidorah launched its last remaining head at the dark behemoth. It crunched Godzilla's wrist, intent on ripping it to pieces. Godzilla gripped King Ghidorah's head with both hands, holding it steady. The dragon continued gnawing, oblivious to Godzilla's plan. With sheer brute force, Godzilla twisted King Ghidorah's neck in opposite directions, shattering it.

Broken bones protruded out of King Ghidorah's neckline. Its eyes rolled up into their sockets. Blood leaked out of its open jaw. The neck slumped over, dangling helplessly around its exposed heart. Godzilla stomped closer, spellbound by the very thing keeping King Ghidorah alive. For most of his life, Godzilla sought the company of other monsters. Though he had fought countless battles, Godzilla did succeed in finding a handful of those he could trust. No matter the situation, Godzilla defended them. He loved them. Godzilla, the King of the Monsters, the most savage and infamous creature to ever stalk the earth, knew love. But King Ghidorah changed that.

Alone once more, all Godzilla could do was avenge his fallen brethren. Without mercy, Godzilla buried his hand into King Ghidorah's chest, grabbing its putrid heart.

And squeezed…

Godzilla's victorious cries escorted King Ghidorah to a cold oblivion. In a black void, King Ghidorah's vile soul floated aimlessly, silence being its only consort. But after what felt like a millennia, it heard a faint heartbeat. Awareness gripped the sinister dragon as it was snatched out of Hell and returned to life.

At the bottom of the sea, a giant awoke. Blackness greeted its blind gaze. It took a few minutes for it to realize it was all a dream. King Ghidorah cursed itself, infuriated by what its mind had done. To escape this icy prison, its mind fabricated the false pretense of freedom! Even worse, it betrayed it, going as far as allowing the very creature it hated to win yet again! Indeed, King Ghidorah's dark soul enjoyed the killing of helpless creatures. But above all else, it relished in the suffering of others, including its own.

Submarine spotlights pierced the dark waters. It focused on the giant's pale head. The submarine drifted closer, its spotlights reflecting off King Ghidorah's placid eyes. Unbeknownst to the dragon, the submarine heralded not the freedom it desired, but the shackles of servitude it loathed.