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  • Longtime Toho Kingdom writer Nicholas Driscoll recently had the opportunity to interview William Tsutsui, longtime Godzilla-fan, academic, professor of history, scholar on environment and economics, and BBQ enthusiast. He has a distinguished academic background with degrees from Harvard, Oxford, and Princeton, and he has driven a Zamboni–but for Godzilla fans, he is most notable for writing Godzilla on my Mind and working as the editor on In Godzilla’s Footsteps–both of which Driscoll reviewed some years before. Here is the result of their interview!

    (more…)

    Interviews // July 22, 2021
  • Playmates Toys continues to release additional figures for Godzilla vs. Kong (2021), adding to the toy line for the latest MonsterVerse entry. To date they have toys for Godzilla, Kong, Mechagodzilla, Skullcrawler and Warbat. There are additional variants of the two title monsters as well, offering different accessories and ones for the Hong Kong battle sequence with different paint to simulate the lighting of the battle scene.

    Now joining the series is another figure for Kong depicting the character before he ventured to the Hollow Earth: Antarctic Kong.

    (more…)

    News // July 20, 2021
  • Author: Matthew Freese | Banner: Landon Soto

    Loneliness.

    It is a strange thing. All living things have experienced it in some capacity, and those with the minds to actually comprehend it reviled it. For Evolution has installed within them the drive to be with others of their kind, for loneliness meant that one was vulnerable and unable to pass on their legacy. Then, what if one were to be truly, totally alone in this life? Not a single other to even find any sort of comfort in?

    And what if they were restrained, with nothing but their own thoughts for eons?

    He saw nothing, nor felt, heard, smelt, or tasted. The only thing he had were his thoughts in this abyss, and those had quickly turned sour. This unending length of time had done nothing to sweeten the inner musings of the destroyer.

    Before internment in purgatory, he had been a cruel sadist who raided planets for sustenance. Life would flow from the plant life into his stomach, leaving fields of death and decay as he burned all sentient life. Fire would climb high into the skies, blanketing the dying worlds in smoke as he relished the horror he inflicted. He was unstoppable, gods and monsters alike being torn asunder and reduced to ash by his unholy power.

    But, why did he do it?

    In the past, he had never dwelled upon these things. Either he was too busy in a chaotic frenzy, or sleeping as he traveled through the depths of space. He had tried to sleep in this place, but how could he? He could not close his eyes, he never grew tired, if it weren’t for his thoughts he would not exist!

    Oh how he hated his thoughts. He did not remember how he was born, so he remembered no warmth of a mother or father. When the destroyer tried as hard as he could to recollect his most distant memories, it was all the same thing. Destruction, incineration, and genocide. No kindness, no peace, no… companionship.

    He knew why he did it on the technical level. To live. Though, what did he have to look forward to? To continue this cycle of mass extinction just to continue a meaningless life all alone? Could he go back to it, drown this self-reflection in carnage and return to what he had been?

    Especially with how this self-reflection had lasted so much longer than his life before?

    Suddenly, sensation. A rumbling, which ignited another feeling as a still heart began to pulse. Warm fluid coursed through a body rendered catatonic for sixty-five million years. The shaking continued, drawing a mind lost in eternal darkness and despair to something other than itself. There was a loud sound above, a muffled explosion.

    And particles of dirt fell upon a scale harder than any stone.

    Nerves flared to life, alerting the body of sensation. A raspy groan filled a chamber, bouncing off the walls and into three pairs of ears. Shriveled tongues scraped against the roofs of mouths as cracked and dry as the cavern’s walls. Six eyes opened wide, illuminating the void with harsh, red light.

    His mind was overwhelmed by the sudden presence of his body, feeling it cramped within this small space. But something rose above the countless thoughts rushing through him at light speed. For it wracked his whole form, a chasm within his body that ached.

    Hunger.

    He lashed out against the walls, ripping through them with ease. He stood, thrashing apart his confinement and sending tides of rocks falling upon him. They would not bury him, for he could feel his muscles stretching. As he continued to climb, something pierced the darkness aside from his own sight. It forced three hisses from the destroyer, for the light of the sun offended its still reeling and flailing mind.

    A mountain crumbled into dust, sending scores of people fleeing for their lives. Already, they knew that those within were dead, the excavation having gone worse than any of them could have pictured except in their wildest dreams.

    But a tragedy turned into a cataclysm when a form arose from the smoke.

    Black scales coated the form of a demonic titan. Three heads perched atop serpentine necks waved madly, opening mouths filled with knife-like teeth and bellowing to the heavens that he had returned. Four muscular, stout legs carried the dragon as he walked out, revealing more of his body. Two pillars of ebony rose from his back. A thick tail splitting into two at its end followed it as it walked.

    One of the heads swept its gaze over the workers, paralyzing many with fear and sending the rest screaming in horror about how the end had arrived. For they truly believed that the second coming of the apocalypse made flesh was now.

    For Desghidorah greatly resembled a golden dragon which had nearly wiped humanity off the face of the Earth.

    Ignoring the strange, screaming beings before him, the ebon dragon continued searching until he saw fields of green. Desperate to fill his stomach, he charged towards the forests, gait awkward as he adjusted to movement after so long of stillness.

    Emerald energy began to leak from the now wilting trees, traveling along the ground towards Desghidorah. It flowed into his feet, crawling up into his body as he absorbed the life essence of the plants.

    When one grows immensely hungry, the body will begin to get used to this and greatly lessen the pain. What this means is that if the stomach is even slightly refilled, the pain will return in full force, often driving the poor soul into a frenzy to fill the gnawing void.

    Desghidorah screamed as the first droplets of life energy entered his body, rushing further into the forest as he drained more and more from the plants. No thought went through his mind other than feeding, for it had felt like someone had carved open his body and pulled his stomach free. Mighty trees snapped like dried twigs beneath his feet, their dwindling essence still being pulled from their remains.

    The insane bellows of the hellspawn echoed across the landscape.

    As this unfolded, another being sensed a change. It would have been imperceptible to all but a select few beings, those who could feel the very essence of the Earth itself.

    She felt a dark spot arise on the aura of the world, hundreds of miles away from her current location. For now, it was small, almost insignificant. But what drew her attention was how it grew, each passing second its malevolent power rose.

    Translucent, gossamer wings of emerald spread from her back, adorned with elegant patterns and glowing spots that resembled azure eyes. Sharp limbs supported her thin body, the forelegs primed like a mantid’s claws. Blue eyes that shined observed the sky above as she beat her wings, gracefully taking off into the air. Trees were nearly flattened as she ascended, the sheer speed with which she flew generating powerful winds.

    Mothra made it her mission to purge this tumor from the world.

    Reports filled China of a strange object soaring through the air at rapid speed, most only getting to see the blur of the divine moth as she passed overhead. In a matter of minutes, she was over the ocean, racing towards Japan to combat the menace.

    Desghidorah continued to feed, feeling his hunger pains lessen with each moment. Animals fled in droves from him, but for this he did not care, for he was not concerned with the puny creatures of the land. More complex thoughts than “feed” would bubble to the surface, but he pushed them back down for the time being. They could be considered and pondered later.

    His rampage had just begun, yet already he left vast fields of barrenness behind him. Instead of proud standing trees coated in bright green, miles of forest were filled with gnarled, grey spires of dead wood. Soil, once rich with nutrients, now cracked and dry like a desert’s sands. And like grasping hands, the decay continued to crawl over the untouched splendor.

    Soon, Mothra had arrived. Even from miles away, high in the heavens, she witnessed the defilement of nature. It made her blood boil, prompting her to fold in her wings and descend like a rocket. Like all the titans of the Earth, she had developed a connection to nature itself, so to see this destruction was like seeing a beloved friend afflicted with painful disease.

    But for her specifically, there was another element. Many titans only cared for the smaller lifeforms beneath them on a vague, general level. They cared for life overall, but a few individuals being crushed did not enrage them. But her, and her symbiotic partner, felt a deeper connection with the smaller ones. Particularly those with sentience and intelligence, as foul as some of those may be.

    As she considered the loss of human and animal life this fiend could inflict, a better look at him stopped her descent. Her eyes widened as she saw the waving trio of heads and the spiked crowns adorning them. Was this thing related to King Ghidorah? Had it come to avenge him?

    Despite how high up she still was, Mothra was not a difficult presence to miss. One of Desghidorah’s outer heads saw her in its periphery, craning its thin neck up to fully see her.

    The alien had one main brain, connected to three organs in the heads which ensured that all three were in sync. So, what one head saw, they all saw.

    Desghidorah’s eyes widened. Brilliant, ornately patterned wings surrounded him in his memory, colossal moths firing streams of light from their antennae or flapping their wings to shower him with golden scales. He would unleash his power, only for the powder to capture it and thrust it back upon him.

    Mothra recoiled slightly as the three heads looked at her. The beast shook as he stared, faces rapidly flashing through different emotions.

    *****

    They lay dead around him, his teeth stained with yellow ichor. He breathed heavily, exhaustion digging its talons into him. Everything this planet had thrown at him, he conquered. He was unstoppable!

    Until a colossal light manifested above him, drawing his gaze up to reveal one more of the divine moths, creating a luminous sigil within the sky. Desghidorah howled in hatred as it shot down, enveloping his existence.

    And sealing him in eternal darkness.

    *****

    Mothra’s heartbeat skyrocketed when an unholy noise left those three jaws, the most hideous scream she had ever heard. His wrath rattled her to the core, shaking her resolve.

    And then three glowing fireballs of crimson raced out of Desghidorah’s maws.

    She dodged, descending further as more raced towards her. Despite the barrage coming her way, she gracefully weaved between each one as the distance between them closed. Only a few hundred meters away from her foe, the divine moth opened her mandibles and spat out a glob of gelatinous substance.

    It unfurled into a web when it struck the center head, keeping the upper and lower jaws together as it encircled them. Circling around the ebon dragon, she shot another ball of silk, doing the same to one of the outer heads.

    Despite how much time had passed, however much it had been, she still existed. The ones who had sealed him away still lived, and had almost immediately arrived after his freedom. They had to have been waiting, waiting for the day he broke free just so they could imprison him once more. He was not going back, he would rather die than be put in that hell once again!

    Streaks of flame left the gap between Desghidorah’s teeth, burning away the webs and allowing the formerly closed jaws to spew hellacious geysers. Mothra backpedaled, screeching in shock. Despite avoiding the Heavy Flame Wave itself, the heat it output filled her with pain like when the Fire Demon had assailed her. Blindly, the dragon thrashed his heads around, sending the flames flying in all directions.

    Dead trees ignited, sending a conflagration racing through the forest like scattering ants. Cutting off his hell’s flame, Desghidorah focused on Mothra once more, running forward as he bellowed promises of death. The guardian flew straight up, drawing enraged cries from her foe.

    Spreading her wings to their full width, Mothra shined like a miniature sun, making Desghidorah backpedal as his eyes snapped shut. Ignoring the protests of the destroyer, the guardian raced downwards once more, forelegs primed as the God Rays faded.

    Landing on the center head, she scraped her scythe-like legs against the black armor, casting out sparks. Fortunately for her, she had remained aware of her surroundings, otherwise she would not have been able to fly up and dodge the outer heads lunging and biting down. Instead of ripping into her wings, they clacked their teeth together through open air.

    More orbs of scarlet death pierced the air, barely missing the goddess’ wings. She did not feel like testing out her own durability against their power.

    Mothra found herself lost on how to proceed. Her foe was a thrashing tangle of powerful limbs and deadly blasts of flame. But, she knew she had to figure it out soon as his power grew with each moment. If her guess was correct, those pillars upon the destroyer’s back would soon prove to be so much more if he was not stopped.

    Desghidorah stopped firing wildly, taking time to walk towards a region of forest that remained untouched. He knew that blind fire would not incinerate his foe, not while he was confined to the earth. More trees rotted, acting as kindling for the raging flames spreading.

    Hissing in frustration, Mothra sped down, aiming behind the black dragon. Desghidorah’s heads whipped around, trying to bring her down with Pyroclastic Shots, but she folded her wings in and drew close. Distracting the heads with several globs of web, sending them flailing for a brief moment as they burned the silk off, she got behind the destroyer.

    Lunging forward, she landed upon his back. She raised her abdomen up, revealing it to be tipped with a cruel-looking stinger. Swiftly, she brought the organic blade down…

    Leaving sparks as the black scales stopped it cold. Panicking, she thrashed it back and forth, trying to work it between and pierce the skin. If she could just pierce the skin, perhaps it would create an opening she could exploit. Except, Desghidorah was not frantically trying to snap at her or incinerate her despite being on top of him.

    There was a flash of light, and before Mothra could even process what was happening, a wave of heat and force crashing into her body. A whitish-blue dome of energy erupted from Desghidorah’s back, hurling the guardian away like she was made of paper.

    Smoke curled off her as she crashed into the dirt, sending burning trees flying with the impact. The world blurred and rolled around Mothra, drawing a weak groan from her mandibles.

    Heavy thuds snapped her out of this stupor as she looked to see the ebon fiend turning towards her. Raising her wings into the air, she slapped them against the ground, pushing herself up onto her feet. Desghidorah charged forwards, howling as his feet splintered the earth beneath. Mothra left the ground, just in time as the ground beneath her detonated with fireballs slamming into it. The impact sent her spiraling through the air, frantically beating her wings to stay stable.

    Mothra screamed in agony as a stream of flame washed over her back, only lasting for a second as she fled out of its reach. Scorched darkness painted her exoskeleton and wings, cracking with each movement as she retreated. Desghidorah bellowed behind her, trying to snipe her out of the air, but she avoided them as she ascended into the clouds and out of sight.

    Deciding it would be folly to chase her when he could instead be gaining more power, the destroyer turned away and went back to feeding. He needed to be ready for when she returned with the rest of her kind, this time he would not let one escape his notice until it was too late.

    Far away, Mothra landed roughly, breathing heavily. She shook with each movement, her body demanded she rest, but she needed to get a message out. Raising her head, she let loose several shrieks in succession. Her wings dimly flashed as she did this. Once she finished, the guardian’s head dropped, her whole body going limp.

    Invisible waves traveled across the world, carrying her “words” with it. There were any number of titans she could have alerted, but there was only one she trusted. The echoed waves reached a single set of ears, so very far away, but he heard it like he had been right there with her.

    Deep within the abyss of ocean depths, a living monolith stirred. Dully-colored armor that had endured a million blows flexed. Yellow eyes that had witnessed countless thousands of years opened. Thick, muscular arms that had battered a hundred titans extended. A long, powerful tail which had slain tens of giants waved behind him. And jagged spines which only belonged to one creature glistened in the sparse light.

    Godzilla, the King of the Monsters, had been called into battle.

    Rising from the darkness, he sensed the growing evil. His partner had fallen in battle before the fiend, earning a dual reaction from the colossus.

    The first, wrath. He and Mothra’s bond stretched back through the millennia, a closeness akin to a mated pair’s. They always had each other’s back, and she had saved his life as often as he had saved hers. The titles given to them by humankind, King and Queen of the Monsters, were not inaccurate.

    The second, wariness. If it had taken her down already and still continued its meteoric rise in power, he would be hard pressed to find victory. Mothra was relatively small and fragile, but she knew full well how to handle foes larger and stronger than herself with a deadly grace. If she could not overcome, then something truly menacing had arisen.

    But he had risen to every challenge thrown his way, and he did not intend to stop anytime soon.

    Unaware of the power approaching him, Desghidorah continued feeding. No longer wracked with anguish from hunger, his mind was drifting. How much had changed since his imprisonment?

    Everything about this world felt different. The air, the landscape, the animals, all of it. Even the moth that had attacked him was only tangentially similar to the ones that had fought him before.

    But deep beneath these thoughts of confusion, the despair that had built up over eons lurked, threatening to bubble forth and consume him if he did not distract himself with other things. So, he focused on hunger and clearing his confusion.

    Above him, the sky began to darken. A black cloud began to spread, blotting out the sun as it crawled across the blue sky. Trees it passed over began to wither like Desghidorah had drawn near. The air began to grow toxic, causing smaller beings like insects and frogs to drop dead as larger creatures fled to escape a slow, painful death. Villages were blanketed by darkness, the people within unable to call for help as phone signals evaporated. All they could do was flee, hope to escape before succumbing to the poisoned air.

    Desghidorah’s cackles rolled across the landscape as he witnessed the extension of his will smother this place. Despair faded into the recesses of his mind as he indulged in sadism once more, growing high from the sheer power he wielded. It was beautiful, truly majestic to watch nature fall before him.

    Soon, the waters of the ocean rushed over an empty land, an unfortunate side effect of the passing of nature’s grandest guardian. But Godzilla did not focus on the devastation caused by his tidal wave as he looked into the heavens, seeing the blackened sky. The mephitic cloud stretched from horizon to horizon, blotting out the sun as he marched.

    As the leviathan made his way further inland, he witnessed the wilting trees and strewn about carcasses. His rage intensified as he moved, more helpless animals succumbing to the death filling the air.

    His fingers twitched as he desired to wrap them around the throat of the foul beast responsible. He carried no respect for bringers of mass death, especially those who took pleasure in slaughtering the weak. Godzilla was not quick to wrath, an immensely long life had tempered his temper. But this?

    In his mind’s eye, he pictured the humans who had once served him choking on this poison, and it made the fires in his gut rage. Once again, he would take pride in his role as mother nature’s fierce protector, brutally doling out her justice.

    Minutes dragged onto hours until he finally spotted the epicenter. Desghidorah sang his mad choruses as he crushed animals strong enough to survive his poison into red smears, relishing as trees perished around him in an instant.

    Of course the thing capable of such atrocity would bear such a resemblance to his vanquished nemesis. Had it come to avenge him, carry on his legacy? Godzilla growled, teeth grinding.

    This Ghidorah would join his relative as dust in the wind.

    The destroyer’s mirth was ended when the mightiest, most hate-filled roar he had ever heard besides his own echoed.

    Turning, his eyes widened as he witnessed a colossus charging towards him. When he had first come to Earth, he had encountered others of this one’s kind. But they were not like this one.

    They were slightly shorter, less bulky. Their back spines were small, not the towering spires protruding from this one’s back. And while they could run, they certainly had much to be desired when it came to speed.

    This one though, ran with a ridiculous speed that closed the distance between them in a matter of seconds. Desghidorah was barely able to counter due to his shock, leaving Godzilla to grab the outer necks with his massive hands and begin to squeeze. Scales bent and broke under the pressure, earning a panicked roar from the only head able to still release a cry.

    Godzilla released his grip, roaring in pain, when a stream of fire left the maw directly before him. This fire was not normal fire, that he could wade through miles of with ease, whereas this one was agonizing. Despite nearly having their windpipes crushed, the outer heads shook off the pain quickly and lashed forward like spiked hammers.

    Batting them aside, ignoring the pain they inflicted as they bashed his hide, Godzilla dragged his claws down Desghidorah’s chest. Sparks flew, but not much else as he failed to pierce. The ebon dragon reared up, slashing his own claws across the leviathan’s stomach, leaving shallow grooves.

    Lunging forward, Godzilla latched his hands onto Desghidorah’s back, and began to shove him back. Trenches were dug through the dirt as the dragon tried to resist, but he could not find purchase against the sheer power against him. The teeth of the monster king scraped against Desghidorah’s center throat, trying to tear through and rip free the jugular.

    Explosions against Godzilla’s body ceased this, making him wince as his push weakened. The outer heads cackled as they continued spewing Pyroclastic Shots, forcing the leviathan to backpedal as he tried to block the continuous fireballs. Once he was far enough back, the center head joined in, all three unleashing their attacks at once.

    Chunks of his armor was torn free and blasted away as the Triple Vortex Attack crashed against him, nearly throwing Godzilla off his feet. His bellow of pain echoed, drawing laughter from the demon.

    The air was filled with a crackling sound, snapping the destroyer out of his humor. Blue light began to crawl up the leviathan’s back spines, soon casting out a brilliant glow. Desghidorah panicked, recognizing this attack from those of this one’s kind he had fought before.

    He was, however, unable to counter before Godzilla stepped forward, opening his maw. A colossal stream of blue energy raced forwards, resembling a geyser of flame as it washed over Desghidorah’s chest. The ebon dragon screamed, trying to desperately back away. He was forced back as scales were incinerated and melted, until the beam faded and left his chest glowing for a brief moment.

    Godzilla charged forward, ramming his bulk against Desghidorah and nearly throwing the disoriented dragon to the ground. Blindly the destroyer unleashed his fire, madly waving his head as he tried to keep his foe back. The leviathan grit his teeth, before stepping forward and twisting his body, sending his tail hurtling through the fire.

    Desghidorah yelled as thick limb nearly dislocated his center jaws, cutting off the stream of flame. Godzilla grabbed his foe by the necks, and straining his muscles, he lifted the ebon dragon up off his feet. The destroyer was unable to attack in time before the monster king twisted his own body, hurling the dragon for hundreds of meters away.

    When Desghidorah was back on his feet, the fierce lord of nature was back upon him, swinging his heavy fists. The Super Darkness Dragon yelled as the pounding blows made him recoil, only to soon howl in rage. Driven by wrath, his three maws latched onto one of the leviathan’s arms, digging their teeth in deep. Before Godzilla could attack again, anguish speared into him.

    Crackling electricity traveled down the demon’s teeth, flowing into the limb. The bolts snapped apart sinew and peeled back skin, making it difficult for the radioactive titan to focus long enough to counter.

    Just as adrenaline had given his foe the strength to suddenly turn the tide, so too did Godzilla’s adrenal glands fill him with the power to fight back. Narrowing his eyes, he pulled back his free hand and sent a strike into the center neck. Strips of burnt flesh were ripped free as the mouth’s grip was dislodged. Scales had cracked under the strike, leaving the main controller of the destroyer flailing in anguish. With a strong pull back of his arm, Godzilla freed himself of the other two mouths.

    Every involuntary twitch of the injured arm hurt, so he favored the other as he swiped it across the necks of his foe, attempting to draw ichor. Scales were torn away as sparks flew, but Desghidorah still bashed his skulls against Godzilla’s ribs.

    The monster king backpedaled slightly, before being forced back further by the Heavy Flame Wave washing over his stomach. His groan echoed for miles. Suddenly, Desghidorah cut power to the infernal geyser, and began spitting Pyroclastic Shots from his jaws.

    Crimson bolts crashed against his hide and against the ground beneath Godzilla’s feet, kicking up walls of dirt and burning wood. He stumbled back further, losing sight of his foe as the air was filled with debris and dust. The assault ceased, and the ground began to shudder.

    Godzilla had faced many colossal foes, so he knew that the shaking of the earth growing steadily weaker did not mean his foe was approaching.

    The bellow of the nuclear guardian rang in the destroyer’s six ears as he fled towards healthier ground. He was not going to win this battle like this, that much was clear to him. Desghidorah was hurting his foe, but he was not dealing the damage needed to claim triumph being mauled to death or succumbing to the Atomic Ray.

    But he was so close to a transformation that would make all his problems cease…

    Godzilla watched as vast swathes of the forest perished, their lives flowing into Desghidorah. He charged, intent on stopping this rise of power. Energy began to course through his back, lighting up his spines.

    Desghidorah cackled to the heavens as he metabolized the consumed life essence. Sparks of power erupted from the pillars atop his back, as flashes of light obscured his whole body. His time in perdition had withered his body nearly as much as it had his mind, but with this, his former glory was in his grasp.

    The leviathan’s charge ceased when Desghidorah vanished in a cascade of luminance, but when his senses detected a change in the air and a spike in power, he redoubled his efforts. Atomic energy reached his throat, ready to be discharged.

    But it was too late…

    Three fireballs slammed into his torso, a trio of massive explosions following that knocked him to the ground. The geyser of nuclear power was involuntarily released, tainting the air with an azure glow. Looking up, the monster king recoiled before the sight of his foe.

    Grand wings, their membranes crimson as freshly spilled blood, stretched out from Desghidorah’s back. His outer necks had grown bulkier, matching the size of the central neck. Muscle rippled beneath his charcoal scales, even greater than before.

    Godzilla tried to get back to his feet, only to have Desghidorah launch himself forward. The dragon’s forelegs slammed into the leviathan’s back, earning a cry of anguish as he was forced to the ground. The destroyer dug his claws into the thick hide, piercing into the flesh beneath and spilling blood. Godzilla bellowed as chunks of meat were carved from him, rolling down his body and coming to rest on the ground.

    He stepped off his foe’s body. Reaching down, Desghidorah’s three maws clamped down onto the leviathan, filling his mouths with radioactive blood. The coppery taste was one he had missed for so long. Lifting the colossus into the air, he sent electricity through his bites once again, earning a tortured cry of anguish from the guardian. Godzilla’s thrashing only made his anguish worse as the teeth were jostled in his flesh.

    Curling his necks inward, Desghidorah swiftly straightened them out to hurl his foe forward, sending the leviathan crumpling to the ground. Smoke curled off blackened patches which were just next to bleeding caverns.

    The ebon bringer of end times began to breathe fire at the ground before him, manipulating his control over the power of fire to call upon the magma beneath. Soil and stone torn asunder as a colossal fissure formed, spitting tides of molten rock into the air. The boiling canyon was large enough to consume nature’s fierce guardian, something he was keenly aware of as it closed the distance.

    Horror filled the ancient warrior as he witnessed the display of vile power. He had never seen such an ability before in his seemingly endless life, what was he facing? Could he even stand before a being able to rip the earth asunder and spray forth its molten blood?

    Godzilla placed both hands on the ground, trying to push himself to his feet. A Pyroclastic Shot to his wound stopped this, leaving him prone and agonized as the ground beneath gave way. The alpha bellowed as he dropped into the boiling stone, disappearing from sight amidst the smoke and fire.

    Desghidorah paused as he heard the reverberating call, for it was not just a wordless sound of terror. It carried a call for a specific being, and something in his mind told him he knew exactly who it was. Especially, because shortly after he had beaten the moth, he heard the slightest echoes of a similar yell.

    Beating his wings, carrying himself away from this ruined forest, the fact that both his most recent foes truly cared for one another stayed on his mind like a stain. The chill of existential dread settled over the one born of hellfire, the devastation laid out before him beginning to leave a bitter taste in his mouth.

    Seconds turned to minutes as the destroyer left the scene of the battle. The roiling magma soon settled down, and silence fell over the land. A clawed hand shot forth from the molten rock, digging its talons into the stone. Its twin, joining it and latching onto the canyon walls.

    A head erupted from the fluid, shrieking in agony. Rivulets of orange leaked from Godzilla’s gills as he pulled himself up, dropping back into the pool. Slowly, one hand went higher, then secured a grip. The other rose to its level, then climbed higher before latching on. The leviathan’s arms and legs strained as they supported his frame against the wall, the claws of his feet similarly lodged within the wall.

    He violently shook each second, all his willpower being put to avoid falling back into the hell beneath. Godzilla sucked in gasps of toxic air, feeling it sting his mouth and throat. Lava ran down his spines, dripping down. Further he ascended, revealing more of his burnt skin.

    Two massive, weary hands gripped the rim of the cavern. The monster king slowly dragged himself further until he could get a foot upon the ground, then the other. He took a few steps to distance his tail from the crater, before dropping like a switch had been flipped off. His eyes were shut, and the only movement he made was the familiar rise and fall of breath.

    Godzilla had been in magma before. It was not something he desired by any means, but he had been through the boiling pits of the Hollow Earth and atop undersea volcanoes before. But that was when he was in peak condition, not after a pitched battle and a brutal assault.

    He was not sure how long he had slept before sunlight shined down upon him. Slowly, he opened his eyes as he groaned, looking up as a portion of the black cloud was parted. Godzilla smiled as he watched her descend like an angel from the heavens, wreathed in holy light.

    Mothra landed before her partner, a small bundle of metallic objects clutched in her forelimbs. Stepping forward, she dropped the objects with jagged edges, letting them crack open on impact.

    The King of the Monsters basked in the radiation they emitted, letting out a slight growl of thanks for this gift. Desperate times called for desperate measures, and it appeared that his partner had seen fit to raid one of humanity’s nuclear power plants to aid him.

    It did not bring him back to his full ability, but as Godzilla placed his hands on the ground and pushed up, he knew that he had been rejuvenated significantly. Rising to his full height, he looked down at his partner. Her back was still burnt from her battle with the demon, causing the leviathan’s fists to clench as he imagined her pain.

    The Queen of the Monsters replied with a chirp, adamantly stating that she would still fight. She could not just sit back and let this cataclysm continue, she added as she observed the surrounding landscape. Godzilla looked with her, and the sheer scope of it finally sank in.

    From horizon to horizon, death. Gnarled husks of plant life crumbled beneath their own weight, many still burning and casting smoke into the air. The soil beneath was totally dry, cracked and bereft of vital nutrients that sustained life. Countless corpses of animals laid like macabre decorations, their rotted faces warped in the anguish of their last moments.

    Mothra hung her head low, letting loose a subtle, mournful call. She had let this happen. This was all her fault, for failing to destroy the demon, for—

    A bellow above her cut off this train of thought. Godzilla’s rough, menacing face wore a warm expression as he looked at his partner, softly calling to her. She had tried, stood before what would make most titans flee in horror. He had failed to stop it as well on his own, it was not her fault. Now was not the time to wallow.

    Now was the time to stand up and fight, together.

    Mothra stood tall, and left the ground with the beat of her wings. Hovering before her partner’s face, she thanked him with her shrill cry. Godzilla thanked her, for always being by his side.

    Gently landing on top of the leviathan’s head, the guardian insect rubbed the side of her own head against his. He returned the favor the best he could, basking in the warmth of her presence. The two stayed like this for a few more seconds, enjoying each other’s company.

    Mothra flew back, and let out a harsher cry. The rumbling, harsh growl of the alpha joined it. The time was now, to purge this evil from the face of the world.

    And with that, the King and Queen of the Monsters moved as one towards the destroyer.

    Miles away, eruptions of flame joined anguished roars. Desghidorah stood within an abandoned city, trumpeting in outrage as he pulverized buildings with his horrid power. Walls of dust and debris rushed through the streets with each demolition. His tail ripped through a structure, launching the top half of the structure across the block.

    Why did he not feel the pleasure of destruction? The trees surrounding the city withered and died, but he did not feel the small joy of watching them fade. Dead people lined the streets, but they brought nothing to him.

    Nothing, nothing, nothing!

    The cosmic demon felt hollow despite the fullness of his stomach, but he knew that was not what was empty. For he had been forcibly reminded of what he had dove head-long into sadism in an attempt to bury.

    No, he had no proof for this. Desghidorah could not prove that the two foes he had faced were connected, any number of coincidences could explain what he had witnessed! But, that did not matter any more. Whether it had been them or his own subconscious, the fact was, it had been dredged into the light before his eyes. He could deny it no longer.

    Desghidorah had nothing.

    There was no communing with friends, no kind reassurance or tutoring from parents, and no warmth of a mate’s presence. The only warmth he felt was that which he spat forth upon the worlds and that which was spat upon him in return. He could not remember even seeing another of his kind.

    Were they all dead? Was he the last of his species, the pitiful wretch pointlessly spreading death across the cosmos? Would they have reviled him, or would they have been just as horrid as him? Perhaps they would attack him, for perhaps it was his, and their, very nature to be cruel and vile.

    But he could not stop draining worlds. It was needed for him to live, without draining life his own would wither away. The suspended animation he had been placed under was the only reason he had survived all that time without feasting. But he had just realized that he hated living, so why bother continuing it?

    Desghidorah’s memory flashed back to the pain that wracked him upon reawakening.

    Oh, so that was it.

    He was selfish, willing to purge worlds and cast countless billions into oblivion just because he did not like the pain. A pitiful creature of instinct was all he was, living from moment to moment doing as his impulses compelled him.

    Shrieking in rage, he torched a city block into ash, just trying to find some catharsis from destruction. But it was all he had ever done, wasn’t it? Tried to fill the holes in his heart and soul with carnage, deciding that if he could not enjoy life then none else would get to. It was only after a trip into hell and battles with the Earth’s guardians that the cancer in his subconscious spread into the conscious.

    He stared into the heavens, cursing them with his trumpeting call. Closing his eyes as he lowered his heads, he stood there for a time, how long he did not know. What was he supposed to do? His mind was clouded beyond belief, unable to decide on anything. No course of action seemed pleasant, so he just locked up.

    The mental fog was parted by a duo of calls, one a deep, rumbling roar, the other a shrill, piercing cry. Desghidorah’s eyes snapped open, his three jaws clenching so hard the teeth almost cracked. Steam left the gaps in his teeth as his breathing grew heavy and rough, leaving in a snarl.

    Godzilla and Mothra charged towards Desghidorah as one, the queen flying above her king. The destroyer turned around, locking his gazes with theirs. Crimson eyes narrowed as they met the piercing blue and yellow sets.

    The demon saw only one course of action. Seeing them filled him with a hatred that hurt with how intensely it flared in his mind, the world around them blurred and turned red in his vision as the two were the full focus of the destroyer. He shook, boiling saliva leaking from his jaws as he stared at the two that had fully driven into him how worthless his existence was.

    Godzilla and Mothra prepared to let loose another war cry, only to be stopped when Desghidorah opened his maws and released a hellacious noise that could barely be called a roar. Such bile and wrath filled the call that the duo backed away, rattled to their cores.

    Desghidorah’s heads flailed as he madly, blindly unleashed Pyroclastic Shots, charging forward meanwhile. Mothra flew higher into the air, seeking to avoid the blind assault as Godzilla braced himself. The projectiles hammered into his torso, but he grit his teeth and rushed forth, enduring the scorching assault as the distance between them closed.

    The flames stopped soaring, the three faces of the demon twisting in concentration. Godzilla’s hands crashed into the outer heads, creating a shockwave which sent nearby rubble flying. The two pushed, trying to dislodge the other. The leviathan’s feet began to slide back, especially as he jerked his head back to avoid the snapping jaws of the free head.

    Mothra swept down, scoring a shot with her silk onto the center head. It let loose a muffled screech in rage as the web bound its mouth shut, the surprise allowing Godzilla to push his foe back. Desghidorah planted his feet in the ground as a small fireball shot forth from his jaws, searing away the silk.

    Mothra landed on one of the necks being throttled by her ally, and began bashing away at the center neck with her claws. Sparks soared as the blades fell upon the ebon scales, drawing the enraged gaze of the demon as the central head tried to crane around to look at her.

    Godzilla lunged forward with opened jaws, clamping them onto the distracted throat. Instead of flailing his head back and forth like a rabid dog, he just put all his focus into biting down. Scales began to crack, failing before the teeth. The demon’s trumpeting calls echoed as he shouted his rage, then began building power within. The subtle increase of heat on the skin made the divine moth immediately take off, shouting a warning to her partner.

    From the destroyer’s body came a pulse of blue power, still stinging the leviathan’s front even though he had released and begun backing away. Marching forward, Desghidorah began beating his wings. Godzilla prepared to charge back in, only for a strong flap of the demon’s wings to carry him into the air. The leviathan was bashed in the face by the dragon’s tail as he passed overhead, sending him to the ground.

    As dust soared into the air behind him, Desghidrorah unleashed Pyroclastic Shots towards his airborne foe. Mothra dropped slightly, letting them pass over her head as she raced towards the dragon. Before the distance could be closed, she was forced to backpedal as the Heavy Flame Wave was belched forth from the demon’s main maw. The heat she felt just from being near it made her flinch, remembering the pain of the dragon’s fire.

    Desghidorah continued flying towards her, spewing hellacious conflagrations from his mouths. Mothra circled around her foe, but the demon twisted with her to ensure she could not go around his assault. A roar from the ground below drew both their attention as Godzilla’s backspines glowed with azure.

    Looking up, the guardian opened his jaws, spraying forth a geyser of nuclear energy. Desghidorah’s assault ceased as he madly flapped his wings, rising higher to avoid the attack. The twin ends of his tail were swallowed by the energy, singeing them and earning a cry of anguish from the dragon.

    Mothra shot forward like a bullet, crashing into the destroyer’s stomach. Her claws and stinger flailed forth wildly, scraping against the grey underbelly. Desghidorah and the divine moth flailed through the air as he tried to find an opening to attack her, the guardian being too low for his heads to properly aim fireballs at.

    A surge of pain shot through him as the stinger pierced his skin, squirming into the flesh beneath. Snarling, a cruel idea solidified in his mind. Folding his wings in, Desghidorah dropped from the air, Mothra still beneath him. His forelegs and backlegs moved inwards as much as they could, in an effort to pin her. The guardian shrieked in panic as the ground swiftly raced towards them, unable to free herself.

    Godzilla rushed forwards, full focus on what he was about to do. Before Desghidorah hit the ground, his partner crushed beneath the demon, the alpha titan twisted in place just behind them. His tail lashed out an upwards angle, crashing into the demon’s back thigh just before he landed.

    The dragon was flipped over, his bellows of shock echoing loudly. Mothra pulled her stinger free before flying up, traces of molten blood dripping from it. A cluster of buildings was reduced to rubble as Desghidorah crashed into them, casting up walls of dust and debris.

    Mothra landed on a skyscraper, trying to catch her breath. Godzilla stood nearby, bracing himself for the next attack. Tens of seconds passed, feeling agonizingly long as they waited for their enemy to make a move. There was no way that had put him out of commission, they murmured between each other.

    Rubble flew like it weighed nothing as Desghidorah stood up, releasing no call. The look in his eyes was haunting, almost giving the guardians pause. Suddenly, he unleashed the Heavy Flame Wave onto the pavement before him, calling upon his unholy power once more within the earth beneath.

    Buildings and ruins began to fall in droves as the ground split open, gushing molten rock up into the air above even the tallest buildings present. Columns of smoke began to rise as well when concrete and steel were cast into the hellacious fluid. Godzilla and Mothra ran in opposite directions as the unholy disaster reached them, avoiding the chaos unfolding as Desghidorah dove headfirst into the grand sheet of smog.

    The leviathan frantically looked around, trying to find where his foe had gone. The ground beneath him began to rumble, another quickly widening crack in the ground crawling towards him from the one that had just formed. He lunged forward, avoiding it by a moment. He took a moment to look back, seeing the chasm he had almost fallen into, barely seeing the glow of the magma past the churning smoke.

    Then three draconic heads lunged forth, clamping onto his tail.

    Godzilla’s roar of shock echoed across the desolate city, alerting Mothra. Desghidorah flew backwards, trying to drag the alpha titan into hell. Concrete split apart as the leviathan tried to hold his ground, but each passing second took him closer to the smoke and magma his foe lurked within.

    Desghidorah was not foolish, he had purged many worlds and faced many foes. His madness had blinded him for a moment, but now it fueled him as he set about using strategy. Divided foes were so much easier to rip asunder and slaughter than those joined together.

    There was a piercing, shrill cry. A moment later, too quickly for the dragon to react to the call’s meaning, a wall of light filled his vision. All three jaws unlatched from the tail, the destroyer staggering back and dropping onto the lava beneath him.

    Smoke was parted and dissolved, revealing Mothra standing there in all her luminous glory as she banished the darkness with her divinity. Godzilla thanked her with a growl, before suddenly the ground shook once more.

    Desghidorah, feet planted on the sides of the cavern, split the earth once more before him. The leviathan quickly ran, keeping away from the growing canyon. Mothra, no longer glowing brightly, flew with him. Their minds raced as they tried to figure out some way to overcome this new tactic.

    The echoing hatred escaping the trio of mouths sent chills down their ancient bodies. He shot straight into the air behind them, leaving a gap in the smoke as the wind generated pushed it to the sides.

    Every moment they lived made him want to vomit. No matter what, they were always there for each other, separating them was impossible.

    Descending at an angle, Pyroclastic Shots escaped the destroyer’s maws. Mothra shot up to avoid them as Godzilla endured those that landed upon him, turning around swiftly to roar at the dragon. Desghidorah ceased the mad firing and began to gather power, his jaws filling with flame as he hovered above his foe. Godzilla charged his atomic ray at the same time, prepared to overwhelm the dragon’s assault with his own.

    Three spheres of blazing, crimson energy were released at once, a geyser of scorching, azure power racing up to meet them. The Atomic Breath crashed against the Flaming Dragon Whirlwind, and for a moment they struggled against one another as the forces behind them clashed.

    And then a colossal blast of red and blue rippled outwards.

    Desghidorah was sent flying back by the shockwave, hurtling through the heavens like he did not weigh seventy five thousand tons, until he smashed into a city block and sent it collapsing upon himself. Godzilla was lost in the blinding flash, his roar of shock not rising above the mighty crash of the explosion. Buildings were flattened for miles around, the canyons carved open by the dragon shaking further apart. Even Mothra found it hard to remain airborne as the walls of force washed over her.

    When the chaos faded, she scanned the landscape. Neither of them was visible, which had an immediate effect on the moth as she felt her heart thud within her abdomen. Trepidatiously she called out, trying to get a reply from her partner. None came.

    Descending, she attempted once more, to the same result. He was unconscious, clearly, but where? How did someone one hundred twenty meters tall just disappear? The guardian’s frustration came out in another shriek as she searched low to the ground. This time, there was a reply.

    Only it was not the one she had sought.

    Mothra cried out in anguish as a fireball slammed into her body. She bounced off the ground, rolling as she groaned. Her eyes went in the direction the attack had originated from, and what she saw stole her breath for a moment.

    Desghidorah practically shook as he charged towards her, eyes fixed upon the divine moth with a rapturous joy that she had only seen once before. And just like then, it was three sets of eyes affixing her with that horrid happiness.

    Mothra raised her wings, ready to flap them and enter the air. Until one of the hellacious spheres seared off a massive portion of one of her wings, prompting another anguished wail. Frightened, she turned to witness the colossus bearing down on her.

    And in that moment, she locked up as she saw no path to take.

    As the center set of eyes locked onto the divine moth’s own, the side mouths lashed out, sinking their teeth into the gossamer limbs and shredding through the membrane with the utmost ease. A thick, elephantine foot came down and snapped one of the goddess’s legs like a blood filled twig.

    Far away, within darkness, the alpha slumbered. He drifted in dreamless sleep induced by physical trauma, and would have likely taken several minutes on end to awaken.

    Yellow eyes snapped open in the darkness as the most haunting, piercing scream he had ever heard filled his ears. Wasting no time he arose, revealing the shade of the heavens to him as cascades of rubble fell from his wounded body.

    Godzilla had seen many things in his long life, witnessed tragedies that would break the constitution of most beings. Been exposed to horrors that would send one into a spiral of either madness or depression. But still he carried on, his heart sometimes heavy with the memories, but never enough to drag him down.

    The sight awaiting him made his heart sink and his pulse race like nothing else. Mothra, suspended off the ground by her wings held within the jaws of the foul beast. Ichor profusely spilling from the shattered remains of one of her legs. Her face locked in a state of horrid sorrow and agony, which nearly brought him to his knees when her eyes locked with his.

    Desghidorah’s eyes widened at the scream that echoed from the Alpha Titan, telling him that he had incurred a wrath and power the likes of which he had never encountered.

    Jaws reaching down to the bases of the divine moth’s shredded wings, Desghidorah locked eyes with the barreling forward leviathan. Another bellow from the witness to his forthcoming atrocity, another shudder of joy and fear at once coursing through the dragon.

    He did not know why he derived pleasure from this, his mind a swirl of shifting emotions rolling over one another like chaff caught in a storm. But, why stop now?!

    Neck muscles strained as they pulled in opposite directions, Mothra shrieking once more as the sinews connecting her wings to her body were pulled taut. Godzilla’s footsteps hammered the ground, splintering the ground with each crash. Power was flowing up his body, racing towards his throat.

    But the mightiest beast Earth had birthed was not fast enough to save her.

    Despite being a dull, soft sound, the shearing of the queen’s wings from her body filled his ears like thunder. Mothra dropped, a pitiful whimper leaving her mandibles. Shakily, she tried to get onto her feet, shaking with each breath.

    Desghidorah stepped past her, looking the monster king dead in the eyes. He curled his tail away from the moth, and drinking in the hatred that filled Godzilla’s voice, he swung it like a whip.

    And sent Mothra’s broken body soaring.

    Godzilla watched her bounce against the ground on impact, leaving splatters of blood. She did not get up, remaining unmoving aside from twitches of her remaining legs. The moment of silence dredged up a grotesque thought.

    Had she laid an egg? Or, was she permanently…

    His world spun for a moment, refusing to finish this and consider such a thing. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed Desghidorah’s fire building up in his jaws, as the heads looked at the leviathan and aimed at her. And in that moment, Godzilla’s head became clear, the atomic energy built up inside him still waiting.

    And all of his wrath was vomited upon the destroyer of worlds.

    Desghidorah howled in agony, his jaws turning towards the king of the monsters. The side heads fired bolts of molten wrath as the center spewed an inferno. Godzilla’s nuclear breath faded, but despite the burns being laid upon him, he charged forth. His opened jaws crashed into the left neck, teeth clamping down hard on the ebon scales. The other two heads prepared to fight back, only for the alpha to snap his head up as he stood tall, sending Desghidorah’s feet off the ground.

    A crater was formed as the leviathan slammed his foe into the concrete, the impact digging his teeth in deeper. Both hands grasped the throat, squeezing tight as he shoved his fangs into the flesh. Explosions rippled across his abdomen, the other heads trying to save their other third, but he ignored it as he continued trying to pull out something vital.

    The blue shockwave rippled out from Desghidorah’s body once more, scorching Godzilla’s face as its full brunt washed over him. The Raging Sky Burst forced the alpha titan’s jaws from the neck, leaving behind two deep gashes that geysered blood, but it did not cease his assault.

    Hands shooting to the head currently screaming in agony as gore fled its throat, Godzilla grasped the upper and lower jaws. Adrenaline fueled his weary muscles to pull in opposite directions, spreading the maw as wide as it could naturally open. The other two heads screamed in spite, demanding to know why his foe had suddenly become so resilient.

    The pressure prying open a third of his mouths ceased for a moment, allowing it to close slightly. Godzilla’s eyes were shut as the restrained head looked upon him, preparing to unleash a gout of flame.

    A blue, burning gaze filled a third of Desghidorah’s vision before suddenly, the pressure returned in full force and then some.

    And with a moist popping and cracking, the head’s lower jaw was ripped clean off. A torrent of gore filled saliva flowed from the grotesque cavern left behind, the neck seizing up as the eyes rolled back into his head.

    Casting the bloody mass of bone and scale in his hands aside, Godzilla went to attack again, only for the remaining heads to respond in kind by shooting forward and digging their teeth into his gills. Immensely powerful amps flowed into his throat, earning a choked cry of misery from the king. His hands smashed into the necks, dislodging them at the cost of burning chunks of his gills being pulled free. Smoke poured from the alpha’s mouth as he tried to suck in massive gasps of air.

    With a snarl, he declared that Desghidorah had taken everything from him. The most important thing in his life, ripped asunder and cast aside like garbage.

    And with a hiss, his foe proclaimed that Godzilla and Mothra had shown him how futile life was. Right now, he only lived to destroy them, because nothing else brought him anything beyond another day in this wretched waste called a life.

    Energy began to build within their bodies, flowing simultaneously just like before.

    The darkness dragon had done all this to carry out some personal crusade? This was all the result of self-reflection revealing his faults, so he responded by committing these horrors?

    The alpha titan knew nothing of suffering. This pain he felt now was only part of what the demon had felt in his perdition for uncountable eons.

    Muscular hands shot out, grabbing the useless head with a grievous wound. Fire crawled out from the corners of jaws, four sets of eyes focused on the slits of the foe’s throat.

    Both thought the same thing at that moment.

    Only fire could cleanse the stain before him.

    Godzilla’s nuclear beam shot down the mutilated mouth, traveling down the serpentine throat and into the main body. Unprotected organs popped and sizzled as the radioactive flames seared them. The black neck in his grasp burst apart at the seams, crumbling away as it was destroyed from the inside out.

    And a second later, twin Pyroclastic Shots tore into the gills, blasting them apart. Godzilla wheezed as his assault faded, falling down limply as he struggled to breathe. Desghidorah backed away, writhing as his innards flared with unyielding pain. Blood-tinted steam flowed from his maws and the smoking cavern that had once been a third of his consciousness.

    Standing over his foe, Desghidorah breathed in deeply. The nuclear colossus was at death’s door, and all he needed was a good push. Opening his center jaws, the right head still reeling from the pain, the Super Darkness Dragon tried to call upon his power once more.

    Suddenly, crawling over top the body of Godzilla, Mothra hissed at the lurking demon. She bared her forelimbs in an attempt at intimidation, not quite achieving it with how she still swayed. Opening her mandibles, she showed that her ability to spit silk was undamaged as she landed a blob of webbing upon the center head. The mouth was still able to open, revealing the embers in his throat.

    Mothra leaned down, rubbing the side of her head on the rough, burnt scales of Godzilla’s face. His eye shifted to look at her, a tear beginning to flow from it. She chirped softly to him, trying to reassure him.

    Why did they still comfort one another…

    The divine moth spoke to her partner, a tender coo leaving her mandibles. She would always be with him. No matter the foe; no matter the circumstances; no matter anything. They were one being in two bodies, forever connected.

    How could they both face death like this!?

    The Heavy Flame Wave that poured from the dragon’s maw was nowhere near the intensity of those he had unleashed before. Yet, it was enough to destroy Mothra’s body, reducing her to ash atop her partner’s body. Blue dust fell upon the limp Godzilla, disappearing into his form.

    Desghidorah felt like someone had carved his heart out and crushed it beneath their foot. Not because his actual heart still stung with the heat that had grazed it, but because once again, he felt hollow. They had not died in terror, begging for mercy that would never come. Instead, the guardians had only become the closest they ever had.

    He turned away from the corpse, trying to purge it from his mind, but still it remained in his thoughts. They had something he could never understand. Earth’s chosen defenders had a joy that would elude him for all of time. When he passed, it would be nowhere near as peaceful. Either he would be ripped asunder like he almost had here, or would just pass away out of sight from the whole universe.

    The void in his senses also haunted him. Could he ever recover from such a grievous loss? Would this be his end, him dying of these severe wounds on the world that he considered hell? What would await him on the other side?

    Lost in his morose retrospection and pondering, Desghidorah failed to notice the orange glow beginning to form on Godzilla’s body. Subtle light peeked out from his scales and wounds.

    The demon wanted there to be nothing on the other side, like what he had been through before but without thought. Or, would there be further torment, punishment for all he had done with life? Reward, for truly appeasing this barbaric cosmos?

    Fingers twitched as the nuclear behemoth began to shift, the light intensifying. The concrete beneath him began to glow and melt away, surrounding piles of rubble doing the same as they became one.

    There was a heat on Desghidorah’s tail, prompting him to turn around. He shrieked in panic, mind racing at a million miles per hour yet reaching no conclusions as his worldview imploded and contorted before him. The air warped around the slowly rising guardian, his body now fully glowing with brilliant light.

    One thing tore through the smog of Desghidorah’s mind, the most primal instinct found within all life. For all his pondering of death, the urge to survive was unbreaking in the face of very real mortal peril.

    Turning around as a city melted behind him, the dragon’s wings began to beat.

    Above the sounds of melting slag and roaring heat, a violent crackling of power filled the two sets of hidden ears. Desghidorah did not turn, he refused to look back. The future and past were not present in his mind, only the very here and now.

    An advanced warning would have done him no good regardless.

    Burning Godzilla, spines flashing madly with the divine power within his core, opened his maw. A lance of crimson, nuclear death shot forth from it, incinerating one of the destroyer’s wings. Desghidorah hit the ground, falling over and flailing as his mind was overwhelmed.

    Four eyes watched the molten god approach, wide as possible with utmost terror. He could not muster the power to fight back, but something in his madly spasming mind told him that it would do no good. What was fire to a being who had become the embodiment of incineration itself?

    Godzilla bellowed mightily, a familiar screech manifesting alongside it. From his glowing form came a dome of crimson energy, adorned with the elaborate pattern that had decorated her wings. It washed over the demon, peeling off skin and boiling muscle beneath.

    The destroyer had proclaimed to himself that death would be preferable to returning to purgatory…

    The alpha felt no remorse as another pulse reduced Desghidorah to a screaming skeleton with melting organs. He drew closer, standing over the being who had brought about mass death and destruction; the demon who carried on the legacy of his most hated nemesis; and the bastard who had sought to destroy the god and goddess of the Earth out of spite and envy.

    Desghidorah’s last coherent was of the other side. Whatever it was, it would be better than mortality had been. Especially in this moment.

    Godzilla’s foot imploded Desghidorah’s rib cage, reducing the heart to nothing. And with one final pulse, one which swallowed the entire city, ensured that there would be no chance of a return.

    Standing in a crater of his own making, surrounded by a now blazing forest, the alpha titan slowly looked up. The shade parted above him, revealing the night sky. Stars twinkled in the natural darkness, around the beautiful orb of yellow humanity labeled the Moon.

    It was the second most beautiful sight he had ever witnessed. He would seek out the first whenever he next could, not knowing if it would even be there. Could he go on living if the egg was non-existent?

    She would want him to, regardless of her own fate.

    With that, Godzilla hit the ground once more, eyes slamming shut. The clean air felt good to finally breathe in.

    Winner: Godzilla (Legendary)

    K.W.C. Kaiju War Chronicles

    K.W.C. // July 19, 2021
  • As Legendary Pictures moves past Kong: Skull Island (2017) and looks toward the future of the MonsterVerse, naturally news is starting to build for the next appearance of Kong, as the character is set to tangle with Godzilla in 2021. This article is a news roundup for everything known related to the rematch between the two characters. It is ordered by date, with the latest news appearing first and oldest news at the bottom. (more…)

    News // July 13, 2021
  • Author: Connor Clennell | Banner: Andrew Sudomerski

    It was inevitable. It would have happened sooner or later, this conflict between legends. With reputations spanning half a century, it was impossible that, on such a small world, the two would never come into contact. And when they did, the very Earth would tremble in awe. A proud city would fall, millions of lives would be lost, and the rest of the world was left to question the future they strived for.

    Dark smoke coated the skies, shielding the metropolis from the sun’s warmth and light. Towering structures crumbled into ruin, unable to withstand the destructive forces imbued upon them. Hundreds of streets were crowded with people seeking to escape death. As Tokyo burned, a titanic shape emerged from the gloom, bringing with it destruction and despair. A relic from the past, given new life from the arrogance of mankind. Charcoal-grey scales, toughed by decades of radioactive exposure, acted as armour for its rippling muscles. The rows of enlarged, white dorsal plates adorning its back clattered against each other with each step the titan took. A thick tail dragged behind it, occasionally whipping around and striking the buildings around it. Its general shape was like that of a dinosaur, one that the world had never known until its first appearance over sixty years ago. It was the first and last of its kind. Palaeontologists were quick to label the natural form of this creature as a Godzillasaurus. To the world, it was known by a much more familiar title.

    Godzilla.

    The atomic saurian let loose a howling, ominous cry. The sound travelled across the city, forcing millions to cover their ears in an attempt to not be deafened. Many fell to their knees, unable to continue running as Godzilla’s roar tore into their ear drums. They refused to stand, accepting their coming fates. Few stopped to help them. Yet amidst the surging crowds, one man stood, unafraid. He stared up at the approaching destroyer, awaiting the challenge that lay ahead. Normally, the self-defence forces would have been here by now, attempting to fight off Godzilla while the civilians escaped. But something was wrong. In its darkest hour, Tokyo’s defenders were absent. Not a single tank or maser trundled through the streets. The sky was devoid of jets and helicopters. Not a single warship or submarine occupied the waters of Tokyo Bay. The man wasn’t sure what could have caused the Japanese military to not defend its capital in its time of need. Even if there were other threats to contend with, they should have been able to send something. But alas, there was no support given. As far as it seemed, Tokyo had been abandoned to the chaos of Godzilla.

    But there was still one last hope.

    The man broke into a run, charging through the crowds. People called out to him as he raced towards the very thing they sought to escape, urging the man to turn back before it was too late. The man ignored their pleas. The crowd began to become thinner and thinner as he neared Godzilla. Soon, he was the only one standing in the middle of a crossroad. Blocks away, Godzilla’s shape towered over, ignorant to his presence. No human could stand against his infamous power. But Shin Hayata had not been a mortal man for many years. He reached into the pocket of his jacket, pulling forth a strange, silver, cylindrical object. He looked at the object, then back at Godzilla with uncertainty. For the first time in many years, he had doubt in his abilities. The stories of Godzilla’s feats and conquests were well known to those inside and outside the kaijutology community. A look of determination crossed his features as he pushed these thoughts aside. The lives of an entire city depended on him. Even if his strength was not enough, lives would be saved by his actions. At the end of every day, that was his goal. Hayata thrust the Beta Capsule into the air and pressed the button on its side.

    Godzilla stopped in his tracks. His head tilted, sensing a disturbance in the air. Energy rippled through the air around him. The scale of this power made Godzilla wary. He scanned the area, seeking the source of the anomaly. Several meters away, a bright flash appeared in the city streets. As Godzilla’s gaze was diverted to it, the light began to grow. He watched, growling lowly as the light increased in size, morphing into a familiar shape. In just a few seconds, it had nearly matched Godzilla in size. The light faded, revealing to the atomic saurian the warrior beneath. Silver, armour-like skin coated its humanoid form. Patterns of red highlighted portions of its body. A pair of bulbous eyes, glowing with benignity, made contact with Godzilla’s savage orbs. On the being’s chest, a jewel-like object glowed a healthy blue. Godzilla reared back in alarm, taken aback by the new arrival. Its appearance triggered long forgotten memories of similar warriors. Godzilla recalled the encounters and conflicts he had shared with the two. But Jet Jaguar and Zone Fighter could not compare to Ultraman’s majesty.

    The two stared off in the middle of a burning Tokyo. Godzilla’s hands flexed and his lip curled, exposing twin rows of teeth. Ultraman tightened his fists, gathering his power. Across the city, millions watched on in anticipation. Rumours and whispers had passed around since the two had first made their appearance. The legends of Ultraman and Godzilla extended past the limits of Earth and to the stars. No one would say it, but many had wondered, when Godzilla and Ultraman would finally meet in combat after fifty years of co-existence, who would emerge victorious from such a legendary bout.

    The question asked for half a century would finally be answered.

    Godzilla’s head turned to the sky, unleashing his infamous battle cry. Ultraman shifted into a fighting stance, letting out his own signature sound. Both broke into a sprint at the same time. City blocks shook as the two shattered the earth with each step. Buildings trembled as they ran past, seeking the other’s destruction. The two met in the middle of an intersection, Godzilla slamming his bulk into Ultraman as the latter drove his shoulder into the nuclear spawn’s chest. Shockwaves from the impact ravaged the area, sending buildings crashing into the streets. Tremors could be felt from halfway across the metropolis.

    Godzilla and Ultraman stumbled backwards, taken aback by each other’s strength. Neither gave the other a chance to recover. Godzilla turned and swung his tail, missing Ultraman as he ducked low. As Godzilla spun to face him, Ultraman leapt forwards, delivering a chop to the titan’s neck. Godzilla stepped back, fighting to keep his balance. Ultraman capitalised on this by planting another chop on his chest. Growling in frustration, Godzilla swiped at the warrior, missing as Ultraman moved to the side. Godzilla’s mistake was punished by a strike to his right side. He snarled as he looked down on Ultraman. At first glance, Godzilla appeared to have the advantage in size and strength. But these two factors also worked against the king of monsters. His blows meant nothing if they could not find their target. Ultraman possessed the agility and speed to match his strength, expertly dodging and deflecting Godzilla’s slow, predictable strikes whilst delivering his own blows.

    As the one-sided battle dragged on, Godzilla’s rage intensified. To his fortune, Ultraman slipped up, misjudging a strike meant to block the nuclear menace’s fist. It smashed into Ultraman’s head with the force of a bunker busting bomb. Ultraman shouted in pain as he shot back. Godzilla strode forward, giving Tokyo’s defender no time or room to prepare. His claws clamped onto Ultraman’s shoulders and he shoved his weight against the warrior, forcing him backwards. Grabbing hold of the saurian’s shoulders, Ultraman dug his heels into the street, pushing against Godzilla to halt the atomic titan’s advance. Wide trenches were carved into the tarmac and concrete as Godzilla continued to force Ultraman back. However, his pace began to slow, struggling to overcome Ultraman’s strength. Eventually, Godzilla was forced to submit to Ultraman’s intentions and came to a halt, unable to progress further. His frustrated roar boomed for miles. Bolts of nuclear energy coursed from his hands, zapping Ultraman’s hide. The warrior of light went rigid as the energy assaulted his shoulders and neck, relinquishing his grip on Godzilla’s left shoulder. Godzilla’s brow furrowed, unsatisfied with this result. His left arm moved to deliver the same shocking energy to Ultraman’s other arm. The warrior responded to his intentions by raising his free hand. Energy channelled into the limb, strengthening it. Then, with extreme strength and precision, he thrust it into Godzilla’s gut. Layers of flesh and internal organs gave way to the hero’s sharpened hand. Godzilla’s hands fell from Ultraman’s body as he screamed, lost in a world of agony.

    Ultraman removed his hand from Godzilla’s abdomen, then thrust it in again with greater force than before. Regenerating tissue was forced to give way to his sharpened limb. Over and over his arm delved into the depths of Godzilla’s body, inflicting focused internal damage. Godzilla gritted his teeth, refusing to allow the pain to impede his actions. As Ultraman pulled his arm free for another strike, it was caught in Godzilla’s claws. The monster king’s gaze met Ultraman’s as the hero struggled to remove his arm from Godzilla’s grip. It was like trying to break the grasp of a python. Godzilla’s head shot down, jaws crunching Ultraman’s shoulder. The giant’s shout of pain pleased his ears. With Ultraman secured, he lifted him off the ground. Ultraman fought to break free, kicking and punching at the saurian, to no avail. With a flick of his head, Godzilla tossed the harbinger of peace aside. Ultraman crashed into a deserted street, rolling to a stop. A shroud of dust was kicked up, attempting to hide his form from Godzilla’s wrath.

    Through the gloom, a bright blue glow caught Ultraman’s attention. The dust settled to allow him a glimpse at Godzilla’s illuminating dorsal spines. The atomic titan’s reptilian orbs were filled with hatred, which he spat at the alien warrior as a stream of concentrated thermonuclear fire. It closed the distance within milliseconds, warping the air surrounding it with heat. Ultraman’s advanced reflexes saved him from destruction, but not from Godzilla’s wrath. The beam caught his left shoulder as he leapt to the side, earning a loud yelp as he crashed to the ground, rolling on impact and landing on one knee. He groaned as he clutched his scorched shoulder, feeling the sizzling heat upon his palm. This was not the first thermonuclear weapon he had endured, but it was unquestionably the worst. The heat and force behind Godzilla’s primary attack was astounding. It reminded Ultraman of Ragon and Gabora’s radioactive rays, only far greater in power. He didn’t need to be told to avoid a direct hit at all costs.

    Tremendous heat warped the air. Now familiar with the energy, Ultraman cast his gaze upon Godzilla’s flickering spines once more. There was little time to escape. Ultraman made full use of it, taking to the air as the second atomic beam was launched. It detonated on the spot where he stood previously, erupting into raging flames that consumed the entire block. The flames raced upwards, seeking to consume Ultraman in a fiery inferno. Flying at supersonic speeds, Ultraman easily escaped the flames. He hovered over the city, looking down at Godzilla and the destruction he had wrought. Godzilla averted his gaze to the airborne warrior, growling softly in frustration. Placing his hands horizontal to his Colour Timer, Ultraman gathered energy for his next attack. He threw his right hand forward, discharging a jagged disk of energy. The Ultra Slash carved into Godzilla’s torso, cutting and burning through flesh before dissipating. The irradiated saurian’s painful howl shattered windows for miles around. Onlookers brought their hands to their ears, deafened by the volume. Godzilla stumbled backwards in pain. Scorched flesh dangled from his chest. The putrid smell of his cooked body made him nauseous. The regenerative properties of his cells worked overtime to repair the damage.

    Ultraman launched into Godzilla from above, knocking the distracted mutant to the earth. The force of the impact sent both skidding down city streets, leaving a trail of ruin in their wake. Pinning the atomic king beneath him, Ultraman smashed his fists across Godzilla’s head. Godzilla voiced his fury as he attempted to remove his attacker. This only increased the severity of Ultraman’s blows. Blood and teeth flew from the frenzy and stained the streets as the champion from M78 shattered Godzilla’s skull. Consciousness began to leave Godzilla’s body. His unbreakable will and savage fury barely kept him from slipping into the void. As they began to slow, Godzilla’s dorsal fins shone with nuclear power. Ultraman was not oblivious to this phenomenon. His hands wrapped around the saurian menace’s throat, preventing the discharge of his atomic beam. Godzilla writhed in his grip, unable to break free. As the two skidded to a stop, the nuclear titan’s scutes still pulsated with eerie blue energy. Ultraman’s gaze stopped on them, confused. From Godzilla’s nearly repaired chest, the same glow emanated from his wounds. Ultraman’s head snapped down at it in horror, realising the saurian king’s true intentions.

    A wave of energy was released from Godzilla’s body. It tore Ultraman off and launched him across the city. Buildings crumpled from the destructive force. Smaller structures were annihilated in their entirely. Masses of people, thinking they were far enough from the conflict, were reduced to atoms as the shockwave washed over them. All this in a matter of seconds. Gravity captured Ultraman’s flying shape, dragging him to the ground. The earth trembled from the impact as several residential structures were flattered beneath the fallen hero.

    In the aftermath of the nuclear pulse, Godzilla pulled himself onto trembling legs. Bone cracked and flesh pulsated as his skull began the regeneration process. Through blood-soaked vision, Godzilla located Ultraman’s form amidst a grey haze. Part of Godzilla’s mind hoped that the warrior would stay down. Another wanted Ultraman to rise and continue the fight. Like his monstrous subjects, Godzilla identified with others through combat. The motivation for battle is what separates friend from foe in the kingdom of monsters. From the beginning of the battle, Godzilla had sensed no animosity from the alien warrior. Only a strong desire to protect. Godzilla could relate with Ultraman’s noble cause. He too had fought to defend his family, extended and biological, from harm. The similarities to Zone Fighter and Jet Jaguar were unmistakable. But unlike them, Ultraman had done nothing to garner his respect and trust. To Godzilla, the warrior of light was the enemy, and would learn what happened to those that stood against the King.

    Atomic fury flashed on Godzilla’s back. Ultraman dragged himself from the rubble, groaning with pain and dizziness. Godzilla’s brow furrowed, annoyed and pleased to see the giant still had life in him. Lingering internal energy from the nuclear pulse was gathered and added to Godzilla’s blossoming power. His dorsal plates shone brighter, crackling with enhanced power. Assuming a defensive stance, Ultraman prepared for the worst. From Godzilla’s opening maw, flashes of light emerged from his throat. A different kind of atomic beam was fired, composed of blue and purple and coated with a spiralling wave of energy. Melting the streets beneath it with its heat, the spiral atomic ray raced to ensure Ultraman’s destruction. It never succeeded in its goal. Ultraman extended his arms and traced a rectangle of light in the space before him. Between the glowing lines, a shimmering wall of energy materialised, catching Godzilla’s enhanced beam. The barrier doubled as a mirror, reflecting the spiral ray back at Godzilla. The atomic mutant’s eyes widened in surprise as his own ray crashed into his chest. A miniature nuclear explosion enveloped his torso, ripping away skin and meat in an instant. For the first time since the bomb, Godzilla’s body was raked with fourth-degree burns. Godzilla’s responding roar was mixed with a variety of emotions, of which pain was the loudest.

    Through the dense smoke, immense energy rippled in the air. Godzilla recognised the power instantly. Far opposite the atomic dragon, Ultraman aligned his arms to form a cross. Vast internal energies were diverted to his vertical hand, launching from the side as a powerful stream. Molecules of energised Specium moved through the air at incalculable speeds, appearing to the naked eye as numerous lines. The energy attack lanced into Godzilla’s damaged sternum, forcing his body to absorb its energies. Destructive power flooded his cells, resulting in mass combustion of organic matter. An explosion of fire and gore removed Godzilla’s upper half from view, but his painful shrieks proved the titan still lived. Ultraman lowered his hands, surprised that the saurian had survived the attack. For most monsters, a single shot would have ensured their destruction. But tougher foes had proven resilient to Specium energy in the past. The monster king’s tough exterior was irrepressible, but not impregnable. He had been weakened by the blast. If he wore him down further, Ultraman may have a chance at besting the scourge of humanity. As the smoke cleared, Ultraman’s hopes died swiftly. Godzilla’s torso was nearly devoid of flesh. Ribs and organs could be seen through exposed areas. The nuclear titan’s breaths were wheezing and ragged as his damaged lungs attempted to draw air. Despite the suffering, Godzilla refused to fall. Even now, his body was regenerating at an astounding rate. In a few minutes, his strength would be fully restored. Ultraman did not share this advantage. His time in battle was limited, requiring expert control of his finite reserves. To triumph over the irradiated dinosaur, he would require more power than he currently possessed. He cast his gaze to the ruined streets. Humanoid shadows stained the pavements. Thousands of corpses remained lost under rubble. Ultraman could feel the life forces of people fade all around him. Countless lives had already been lost as a result of their clash.

    Instinctively, Ultraman knew that many more would lose their lives today.

    Rejuvenating charcoal scales sealed the gaping wounds in the dinosaur’s chest. Deeming the repairs sufficient, Godzilla fired his nuclear beam. With only a second to react, Ultraman jumped high into the air as the streets were consumed in a sea of flames. Ultraman leapt over the towering monolith of flesh, driving his heel into the radioactive destroyer’s head. Godzilla growled as he was forced to look at the streets below. Fierce flames reflected off his reptilian eyes. The stretch of city resembled a scene from the apocalypse. He cared for none of it. Ultraman kicked off the leviathan’s head and landed behind him. As he turned to face Godzilla, the saurian’s thick, muscular tail whipped out. It swung into his side, creating an audible sound as it cracked ribs. The warrior was pushed across the pavement as he yelped, ripping up concrete and tarmac as he gripped Godzilla’s wormy appendage. At last, Ultraman gained control of the situation. He began to rotate, dragging Godzilla across in surprise. The hero spun faster, rapidly increasing momentum. Ultraman shocked Godzilla and the world by lifting the monster king off the ground and tossing him across the city. A skyscraper caught Godzilla’s falling shape, embracing him in a tomb of granite and steel. Through the cloud of dust kicked up by the impact, flashes of blue appeared. Godzilla burst off of the rubble, eyes burning with atomic rage as he bellowed. Atomic fire blazed out of his maw. In quick retaliation, Ultraman joined his wrists, channelling energy to fire the Specium Ray.

    The two sets of energies collided in a flash of intense light. People too slow to avert their gaze were permanently blinded. Unfortunate civilians foolishly close to the action felt their eyeballs burn in their sockets. Infuriated by Ultraman’s resistance, Godzilla funnelled more power into his stream. Ultraman continued to fire, fuelling its growing power with what energy he could spare. The sphere of light moved back and forth between the clashing powers, unable to be overcome by either attack. The energy fed into the orb eventually became too much, and it exploded. Powerful shockwaves annihilated city blocks, leaving a scar on the capital of Japan. Both titans remained standing in the face of the tremendous force, unable to be bested by its power. The light from the explosion was a different matter. Its blinding glare filled Godzilla and Ultraman’s vision. Evolution had granted Godzilla eyelids to save himself from blindness. Ultraman was not so fortunate. His bulbous eyes absorbed the light, temporarily robbing him of the ability to see. His hands sought his face, protecting his sensitive eyes as he groaned in agony. The earth shook as Godzilla charged, seizing the opportunity. Like a raging bull, his forehead crashed into Ultraman’s chest, launching the alien defender across the district. The pavement caved as Ultraman slammed into the earth, the imprint of his figure now forever embedded in that street. The Colour Timer’s healthy blue glow was replaced with a blinking red light, as a warning chime alerted the giant to his decreasing energy. Time no longer favoured the warrior’s mission of justice.

    The ground shuddered as Ultraman moved to stand. Godzilla’s chaotic roar echoed as he kicked Tokyo’s saviour down the street. He followed after, polluting the air with his radioactive essence. Godzilla turned with an elegance unfitting of his form and slammed his tail into the recovering Ultraman’s back, knocking him to the floor. Ultraman struggled to rise, only for another spine shuddering blow to hammer him into the ground. A third blow would surely snap his back in two. Before the strike could connect, Ultraman rolled to the side, allowing Godzilla’s tail to pound the pavement. He pulled himself to his feet, but Godzilla’s reptilian appendage was not finished with the hero. It swung up at an angle, slapping Ultraman across the head. Losing his balance, Ultraman stumbled into the side of a skyscraper. Godzilla whipped around to face him. His clawed hand slashed across the giant’s chest, drawing violent sparks. Ultraman retreated from the pain, allowing Godzilla’s fist to plough into his face. The warrior smashed into the earth, burying his form in the street. Ultraman frantically struggled to free himself as Godzilla’s massive heel came down, pressing him further under the street. Ultraman cried out as bones cracked under the pressure of the monster’s weight. Lifting his foot, Godzilla prepared to repeat the process. Ultraman could only watch on, forming his own tactic. The champion’s strength was not limited to his body. Concentrating his psychic powers, Ultraman disappeared in a cloud of particles as Godzilla’s foot shattered the road beneath.

    The nuclear mutation reared back in confusion, scanning the streets for the warrior. A burst of Specium energy struck his unprotected back, destroying tissue and spinal nerves alike in a violent explosion. The painful shrieks of an injured giant flooded the air as sixty thousand tons of saurian flesh and bone collapsed, unable to communicate with his lower half. A distance away, Ultraman lowered his hands, dropping onto a knee and panting in exhaustion. The teleportation technique was a severe drain on his reserves. Coupled with excessive use of the Specium Ray, his power was dangerously low. The pitch and speed of the Colour Timer’s ringing increased, warning Ultraman that his time was up. Ultraman ignored it, too focused on Godzilla’s rising shape. New nerves grew before his eyes before vanishing in an embrace of flesh. Godzilla’s constant cries informed the hero of the excruciating process. In no time at all, the creature would be ready for combat once more. Ultraman cursed his limitations, wishing he should stay and finish off the icon of destruction. The only death that would occur if he did not recharge would be his own.

    With his spinal column still exposed, Godzilla rose to face the weakened warrior. Radioactive might surged on his dorsal plates, eager for release. Gathering what energy he could spare, Ultraman tossed a shimmering buzzsaw into the monster king’s skull. Scalded flesh dangled over Godzilla’s eyes, working with the intense pain to distract the saurian. Taking the opportunity, Ultraman ascended into the skies, rushing to reach the stratosphere. Regenerative properties allowed Godzilla to overcome Ultraman’s distraction and cast his gaze upwards. An atomic ray fired, refusing to allow the champion to escape. The power of the thermonuclear weapon diminished as he travelled farther and farther from its projector. By the time it caught up to the fleeing hero, most of its kinetic force and heat had been lost. It struck Ultraman with a fraction of its true power, delaying him for only a second. Dark smoke shielded him from Godzilla’s prying eyes as he vanished into the clouds. Godzilla roared in anger, commanding the wielder of light to face him.

    Booming thunder and howling winds sounded as Ultraman ascended through the dark clouds. Bolts of lightning zapped his shimmering form, useless in deterring the warrior’s flight. At last, the clouds gave way to an empty void, peppered with specks of light. The vastness of space greeted the interstellar defender as he left the comfort of Earth’s atmosphere. Raw solar energy engulfed Ultraman’s form, recharging his celestial power. With this time, Ultraman observed the blue planet below him. This was not the first time that he had seen the Earth like this, but the beauty of the sight still remained to this day. Many religions believed in a higher power, watching over the planet and its people with love and compassion. Despite the power he wielded, Ultraman was no god. He has been born with the power of light, but the warning light on his chest was a constant reminder of his mortality and the goal of peace that his kind strived for.

    Ultraman and his kin had been watching Earth for more than fifty years. In that time, they had seen, fought, rescued and destroyed a whole array of monsters, demons, aliens and automatons. Yet out of all of them, Godzilla was an enigma they could not solve. It was after his service that Ultraman had learned of the monster king and his origins. The genetic urge for man to wage war was something that Ultraman feared would ultimately destroy them, and Godzilla was the closest thing to personifying those fears. Yet despite his destructive nature, the child of atomic warfare had been responsible for protecting the world on numerous occasions, only to threaten it once again. The titan’s uncertain allegiance was something that had captured Ultraman’s attention. It was not something that could be explained by animalistic intelligence, yet Godzilla had never demonstrated anything close to an intellect like that of King Kong or Gamera. His supreme commander, Father of Ultra, had once described Godzilla as a force of utter chaos. But chaos did not form alliances or father offspring.

    The blinking light on Ultraman’s chest returned to a solid blue. With his energy restored, Ultraman started re-entry, accelerating through the atmosphere at incredible speeds. Far below him waited an entity that Ultraman could not accurately describe. Out of all of Earth’s protectors, Godzilla was the most complex. Even as he laid waste to the city below, the silver giant knew that he would eventually return to protect the people he sought to destroy. If Godzilla saw Ultraman as unworthy, then he saw Godzilla as untrustworthy. He needed evidence that he could rely on the king of monsters to defend the planet in his absence. So far, he had nothing.

    Tokyo continued to burn. Pillars of black smog choked the sky, shrouding the desolate landscape in darkness. Emergency services used this brief pause in the clash of titans to rescue as many as they could from the wreckage, rarely finding people that had not been majorly harmed by the conflict. At the city’s epicentre, Godzilla stood motionless, his gaze cast to the far heavens. The ancient goliath knew that there was no point in continuing his rampage. Something in his mutated genetics told him that he would not have to wait long for the giant of light’s return. Godzilla knew he would return for the humans; that strange, indescribable species that had managed to capture the hearts of his previous humanoid allies.

    For the longest time, Godzilla had no care for the human race. They were a nuisance at best, tiny insects that attempted to match his might time and time again, and their distaste for him and his kin had almost lost any chance of ending this unwinnable war. Despite their hate towards him, though, Godzilla had been responsible for saving their tiny civilisation time after time. Even with their hate for one another, there was enough honour between Godzilla and Man for the two to make truces when peace was needed. Behind humanity’s anger and loathing was a kindness that Godzilla had never understood and never could. So long as the king of kaiju lived, humans and monsters would live in fear of each other. But when the opportunity came to end the war of the monsters, the humans showed their appreciation for his efforts at the worst possible time, and saved his life when he was prepared to give it away. He lost what he cared for, because humanity chose to be kind for once in their cruel existence. This was why Godzilla now despised humans. It was why, despite the respect he secretly held for Ultraman, he hated the warrior that the citizens of Japan held love for in their hearts.

    In the far distance, a speck of light glimmered. Godzilla’s binocular vision caught onto the approaching air-bound figure and his lips curled into a snarl. High above the waters of the Pacific, Ultraman shot through the turbulent skies at supersonic speeds, leaving a trail of disturbed clouds in his wake. He looked upon the city of Tokyo in the distance, preparing his newly-restored energy for his upcoming rematch. There was a sudden flash of light, bright and brief, between the towering structures of man. Seconds later, Ultraman sighted the azure wave of scorching nuclear death. With supreme reflexes, Ultraman maneuvered his course to avoid the atomic beam in the short pocket of time he had. The blast shot past, lighting up his reflective form with its bright radiance as Ultraman twisted around the cone of destruction. The attack had nearly taken the veteran warrior off-guard. He was still several miles from the metropolis’ shore, yet Godzilla had deemed the distance short enough to launch a premature and highly accurate assault, providing more evidence for Ultraman’s internal thesis on the dinosaurian giant’s intelligence.

    Now aware of the attack, Ultraman’s excellent vision homed in on his reptilian nemesis’ location. The luminous glow of the atomic dinosaur’s dorsal fins filled his sight, alerting the guardian to his next action. Ultraman swiftly decelerated, coming to a stop and hovering over the Sea of Japan. With his arms and legs still extended, he started to spin rapidly, flipping heels over head as streams of energy trailed from his hands and feet. As his movements became a blur, a shell of crimson power formed around the hero, materialising into his protective travel sphere. Now with protection against Godzilla’s thermonuclear might, Ultraman raced down to the capital in crisis as the second atomic ray launched. It struck the surface of the accelerating orb, but failed to inflict any damage, rolling across the sphere like waves of water. Scowling but undeterred, Godzilla spewed out another stream of atomic power, once again unable to damage or halt the travel sphere, his condensed atomic flames washing across its surface with no effect. With its course unaltered, Ultraman’s vessel rocketed towards the approaching city streets, surprising Godzilla with his incredible speeds that could match the velocity of Rodan, and seconds away from colliding with the king of kaiju. With no chance of halting or avoiding the orb’s course, Godzilla steadied himself for contact.

    The travel sphere collided with the atomic monster’s bulk, driving the air from his lungs and cracking ribs. The winded Godzilla drove his clawed feet into the concrete, refusing to yield to Ultraman’s force. Ultraman continued to push against the saurian, prevented from toppling the kaiju king by his impressive strength. Instead, Godzilla was pushed back through the streets, his colossal heels carving trenches into the tarmac and stone as Ultraman’s sphere forced him back into the depths of Tokyo. Rows of small businesses, residences and industrial warehouses were demolished without any impact on the two rivals’ path. Eventually, a larger structure looked to halt the duo’s battle. Godzilla’s heavy tonnage slammed into the skyscraper, ignoring the obstacle as he was forced inside. Concrete shattered, glass cracked and steel beams snapped as the monster of monsters came through the tower against his will and continued on, clawing away uselessly at the crimson shell. Snarling in aggravation, Godzilla grasped onto the orb as best as he could. Blue power surged through his spines, collecting power in his throat. As the gathered atomic fire was ready to be released, he swallowed it back down, directing the supercharged energies out of each inch of his body. The travel sphere was blown back by the nuclear pulse, spinning out of control as waves of kinetic and atomic force ravaged it. The orb burst apart, fading wisps of crimson energy waving through the air as Ultraman spun out of his control, plummeting to the ground not far below. The hero’s controlless period was forgivingly short, and Ultraman prevented a harsh landing by planting his palms against the street, flipping backwards to land upright without hazardous delay.

    Seconds passed as Ultraman and Godzilla stared down the other, assessing their next actions. Both knew that they could not underestimated their rival for even a second. Godzilla’s claws twitched impatiently as he considered what he knew about the warrior of light. Like Zone Fighter, the denizen of Nebula M78 was a formidable opponent, possessing strength near equal to his own and speed and agility to match it. However, Ultraman shared the same weakness as the Peacelandian warrior. Godzilla’s gaze drifted to the guardian’s glowing Colour Timer. Although Ultraman was powerful, he did not have a long period to harness that power. An average of three minutes was the longest he could spar in Earth’s conditions. It had taken almost that exact time to severely harm the monster king. In the first clash, Godzilla was unprepared, still understanding the warrior’s abilities and motivations. Now he had information to work on. A weakness to exploit. Ultraman was in the same situation. But while he had first-hand knowledge of Godzilla’s powers, his vulnerabilities were a different matter. Unlike himself, Godzilla possessed no inherent weaknesses to exploit. Humanity has found something akin to what Ultraman required: a secondary brain located near the saurian’s hips that controlled the functions of his lower body. While that factor had been exploited once, Godzilla had evolved and adapted since then. The chances of paralysing the nuclear menace the same way twice was slim. Ultraman would have to wait and see if further conflict revealed another exploitable trait. For now, he would have to try and take out the kaiju king through his sheer power.

    His hands tapped his chest once more, drawing the almost divine power of his inner light to his hand. Recognising the technique instantly, Godzilla’s atomic lust flared. With a toss of his hand, another churning Ultra Slash was launched at Godzilla’s reptilian visage. Halfway across the distance, the atomic ray slammed into the spinning buzzsaw. Sparks of nuclear fire spitted across the neighbouring structures as the beam fought to overcome Ultraman’s deadly construct, but the Ultra Slash managed to hold out, keeping Godzilla’s stream of death at bay. As the searing energies chipped away, the disc began to slowly crack. Godzilla’s ray eventually overcame the spinning cutter as it shattered, consuming its remains as it lashed towards the unguarded Ultraman. The noble warrior raised his arms in a cross, taking the full force of the atomic ray through them, and was pushed back, yelping loudly as the harsh heat penetrated his thick hide. As he tore through the roads, he focused his strength through his arms, imbuing his limbs with his psychokinetic power. Exerting his might, Ultraman swung outwards, ripping apart the nuclear beam instantly. Atomic fireballs rained down around and upon the buildings of Tokyo, erupting into towering columns of flame as Godzilla stepped away, awestruck. Against a wall of fire, Ultraman stood tall and triumphant, casting an imposing image onto the dinosaurian giant’s gaze. Godzilla drank in the sight, considering if, for the first time in years, he had poorly accessed his opponent.

    For Ultraman, time was of the essence. He sprinted towards the stunned Godzilla, taking advantage of every second the reptilian titan gave him. Godzilla snapped from his stupor, plates flickering and azure power firing at his humanoid adversary. With quick motions and quicker reflexes, Ultraman generated a fourth cutting disk. He held it out before him as he ran, aligning the flat edge of the saw with the incoming nuclear surge. It exploded against the makeshift shield, launching streams of sapphire heat to the sides of Ultraman. Trails of ravaging flame sparked up as the M78 veteran charged on, pushing back Godzilla’s continuous stream. No matter the strength put into his primary weapon, the irradiated reptile could do nothing to stop Ultraman from advancing. As the distance between Earth’s champions closed to metres, he shut off the atomic ray, preparing for close-quarters combat.

    It was a mistake.

    Ultraman’s agile reflexes allowed him to lash out before Godzilla’s claws could touch him. Aligning the side of the saw construct against his palm, he swung down through the dinosaur’s chest. The thunderous howls of pain from the king of titans choked the air as the whirling disk tore through organs and bones with minimal resistance. Blood sprayed from the gaping gash, increasing the crimson portions of Ultraman’s figure. He swung again, carving another laceration into Godzilla’s impenetrable scales. Harvesting as much focus he could muster, Godzilla lashed out. Claws hardened and sharpened by decades of combat lunged at thin air, unable to land on Ultraman’s vulnerable shape. Weaving between the monster king’s swiping limbs, Ultraman slashed and stabbed at the leviathan’s vulnerable chest and belly, carving his form up at a rate exceeding his regeneration factor. But despite the bleeding tears that now formed the saurian giant’s front, Godzilla refused to fall or falter. Ultraman reassigned the target of his assault, swinging his jagged disk at the reptile’s throat.

    Godzilla’s jaws snapped down at the oncoming saw, catching the weapon in his dagger-lined grip. Pulling back, he ripped the Ultra Slash from Ultraman’s telekinetic grip. Wild sparks leapt from the sides of Godzilla’s maw as the cutter continued to spin, grinding away at the saurian’s fangs. With a resounding crack, Godzilla’s jaws snapped shut, crushing the disk into glowing fragments. His claws lashed out and wrapped around Ultraman’s throat, hauling the giant from the ground. Fierce orange eyes glared into glowing domes with growing contempt and fury before Ultraman was struck by the reptilian’s other fist, launching him from the titan’s grip. Crashing to the asphalt, a spray of debris and ash covered all but the bright luminance of his eyes and timer from view. As he dragged himself up, Godzilla’s leg swung through the cloud, colliding with Ultraman’s chest to floor the great warrior once more. Godzilla’s amazing bulk pushed through the airborne particles, ash and dust rolling across his form in waves as his foot lashed out again, striking and sending Ultraman rolling with a cry.

    Pain surged through Ultraman’s limbs, affecting the warrior’s ability to recover quickly. As he reached his feet, Godzilla was on him, lashing out with clawed hands imbued with atomic energy. On instinct, Ultraman leapt back to avoid the swinging talons, awkwardly landing back on the earth. Godzilla pushed on his advance, striking out and driving the champion of light back before he could recover his balance. Eventually, the saurian’s augmented claws found their mark as Ultraman dodged at the wrong moment, slashing across the titan’s breast with a shower of sparks. Ultraman fell back, but he arched his body at the last second, planting his hands against the earth and flipping his body upwards. His feet slammed into the base of Godzilla’s jaw, causing the behemoth’s head to snap up with a shriek. As he stood upright once more, Ultraman adopted his fighting stance.

    The M78 being’s senses warned him of danger. Ultraman’s golden eyes kept watch of Godzilla, trying to determine the unseen danger. Then he heard it; the muffled sounds of fear and distress. It was not him who was in danger. Ultraman’s torso spun around so he could see the building filled with trapped civilians, scrambling to remove the rubble blocking their escape and banging on the glass as they called out for the giant of justice to save them. But Ultraman did not have the time. He silently cursed himself for allowing the battle to get out of hand. If he moved now, these people would die, and he would never allow that to happen. As he faced Godzilla, his fists clenched as he sought a way to continue the fight without spilling more innocent blood.

    Godzilla stepped closer, atomic light engulfing his clattering spines as he locked onto his adversary. Ultraman swiftly brought up his arms and placed his right hand atop the edge of the other. The Slash Ray shot forth, blasting Godzilla’s visage with golden, pointed bolts of energy. Smoke obscured the dinosaur’s head as he flailed in pain and roared in anger. Immediately, Ultraman took to the air, flying above the towering buildings and floated over his reptilian rival. Orange, cat-like eyes glared at the warrior, his skin shining in the few rays of sunlight that could penetrate the dark smog over Tokyo. Atomic fire blasted from the destroyer’s maw, targeting Ultraman as the airborne hero accelerated away. He soared over the city, keeping within Godzilla’s deadly range as blue lances of rage were spat towards him. It seemed suicidal, but Ultraman was willing to take the risks to his life to protect the metropolis’ people from the leviathan’s power. His incredible aerial speeds outclassed Godzilla’s swift reactions, preventing his fiery beams from landing their mark as the champion formulated.

    There was no way to face Godzilla hand-to-hand. The titan’s strength was too much for Ultraman to challenge directly with his time limit. His energy attacks were his best option, but Godzilla’s atomic power could counter most of what he could throw at him. As he continued to circle, Ultraman struggled to come up with a solution, but the answer never seemed to materialise in his mind…

    It dawned on the giant of light on what he must do. He instantly turned, ducking under another atomic blast as he rocketed towards Godzilla. The titan screeched in alarm as the warrior closed the distance, energising every fibre of his body to strengthen it as he rammed into Godzilla’s skull. Tons of decades-toughened scales and muscle crashed down as Ultraman impacted, shaking buildings apart in the process. Blood drained from his gashed forehead and pooled around his head as his vision blurred. Ultraman, too, hit the ground, feet carving through the asphalt before coming to a stop. As he turned, Godzilla pushed his bruised bulk up. A fading scar and fresh smears of blood were the only signs of his previous injury as he stood tall and snarled at the warrior. The effects of the cranial impact still lingered, yet the reptile king started his charge, picking up speed despite his skewed balance. Ultraman simply raised his arms, bringing them before his chest in an “X”. Uncertain of his intentions, Godzilla’s nuclear might flared in preparation for use.

    Ultraman’s fists clenched, but nothing seemed to happen. But with Godzilla’s next step, the titan suddenly stumbled as his foot failed to touch the floor. He lurched forwards, starting to fall, but stopped before he could. To Godzilla’s surprise, he was held upright. Surprise turned to confusion as he began to ascend, caught in an invisible force. The monster king cried out in rage as he tried to fight against whatever had him in its grasp, but his efforts were futile. Below, Ultraman’s gaze followed the immobilised saurian as he lifted him higher and higher through his psychokinesis. Godzilla may be able to match him in physical power and energy manipulation, but mental manipulation was an ability far beyond the evolutionary scope of the nuclear menace. Once the saurian had reached the desired altitude, Ultraman extended his arms towards his distant shape. Lasers shot forth from his middle fingers before he moved his arms once more to align them with Godzilla’s head and groin.

    A sharp tingling sensation overcame Godzilla as the lasers created a crackling barrier across the surface of his form. He thrashed around to try and halt its formation, to no avail. As he began to gather energy for a nuclear pulse, the dinosaurian titan froze. Godzilla’s eyes looked in every direction as the feeling suddenly disappeared from his body, leaving him paralysed miles above Tokyo. With the menace contained, Ultraman unleashed his assault without restraint. Glowing buzzsaws flew from his hands one after the other, locking onto and slashing the motionless titan, spilling floods of his radioactive blood onto the districts far below. Intense agony surged through every part of Godzilla’s form, but the king of titans couldn’t even scream or twitch in his current state. Though his regenerative abilities were impressive, his body was not able to keep up with the rapid damage and loss of blood. As he continued to be torn apart, his vision began to blur and fade from the immense loss of bodily fluids, his life slowly slipping away. For the first time, Godzilla acted out of desperation, his fading consciousness trying to cling on. Despite his efforts, his vision slipped into darkness, his mind fading away as his heart beat slower and slower…

    Somewhere in the city, an infant’s cries rang out. Godzilla’s eyes snapped open as his sensitive ears picked up the sound. In the recesses of his consciousness, a primeval instinct was reawakened by the noise. An irresistible instinct to protect and nurture offspring.

    An instinct Godzilla had failed.

    Anguish and rage overcame the bloodied king as the memories came forth of a situation similar to now, where Godzilla was weakened and helpless against a foe superior to him. Because of his impotence, a life dear to him was lost, unable to be replaced by the human’s actions. It was this event that taught Godzilla to never again be weak. To never submit to any other despite the great odds against him. To never allow this event to repeat itself.

    Burning emotions fuelled the nuclear giant’s atomic lust, the excess energy crackling across his scutes as they glowed bright and hot. The great power of his atomic energy forced his jaws open, spewing the spiral atomic ray at an unguarded Ultraman. The blast slammed into the interstellar warrior, detonating against his shining form with force greater than the bombs that had created Godzilla. Booming explosions drowned out Ultraman’s cries as he was thrown back, bouncing along the burning cityscape and rolling to a stop. With his concentration broken, the psychic prison restraining Godzilla flickered away, allowing gravity to re-establish its grip on the monster king and pull him to the ground. A featureless office building was the only cushion for the titan’s landing, crumbling like ash as Godzilla crashed down atop the structure feet-first. His soles smashed into the pavement with a loud and sharp crack, gaining a roar filled with agony from the reptile before he toppled over.

    A creature with Godzilla’s stature could never land on its feet from such a height without consequences. The ruler of the atomic age gathered his wits and pulled himself onto his feet. With his body weight channelled on both legs, Godzilla hissed as his right knee pulsed with pain. The landing had basically fractured the patella into pieces, sharpened fragments of the bone jutting from the flesh. A complex injury like this could not be quickly repaired even with Godzilla’s outstanding healing factor. Regardless of the injury, Godzilla hobbled on, set on ending this conflict.

    There were few times in Godzilla’s life when he had come so close to embracing death. The atomic dinosaur had always assumed he would be invincible, but the few and far moments where that façade was shattered… terrified him. The concept that there was something greater than him, something that could remove from his position at the top of the food chain brought genuine fear to Godzilla’s soul. In the past, he had used that fear to motivate him in his battles, to keep him from submitting and giving up. To keep on fighting for what he cared for. But now, with nothing for him to protect, how would this fear influence the king of monsters?

    Groggily, Ultraman made it to his feet. His head rang and his vision was blurred, but with lives still needing his aid, he could not afford to rest. Not far away, the wounded Godzilla limped towards him on a broken knee. It honestly surprised him how tenacious the atomic menace was. Other kaiju in the past had the common sense to abandon their fight against him when the odds did not favour them, yet Godzilla was dead set on continuing. Why? Was it pride? Sheer malice? Just determination to see this fight finished? Perhaps he would never know, but this battle had to be stopped before further escalation. A churning blade of light was hurled at the mutilated Godzilla, cutting into the side of his throat and only barely penetrating the toughened flesh. The irradiated titan flinched, gritting his fangs as blood drizzled from the wound, before opening his maw and spitting another empowered atomic blast. Rolling to the side, Ultraman avoided the deadly stream as it detonated against buildings in the distance, transforming them into a raging fireball. In the process of dodging, Ultraman caught sight of an interesting detail. As Godzilla fired, flickers of energy sparked from the gash in his neck, seeming to cause the dinosaurian giant pain in the process. If that wound could be worsened, it could perhaps turn the monster king’s own weapon against him.

    As his feet touched the ground and the atomic beam died away, the gleaming warrior sprinted towards Godzilla. Another Ultra Slash materialised in his palm, spinning rapidly but not released. Godzilla had already turned to face his charging rival, his eyes locked onto their form as his deadly power rose. The atomic light shining from his throat began to lessen as the wound began to seal shut, which Ultraman could not allow. As the next atomic ray fired, he narrowly managed to duck under the blast while keeping his momentum. As he dove past Godzilla, the hand holding his Ultra Slash lashed at the nuclear reptile, carving into the closing injury and tearing it open. Blazing blue energies burst from the wound, spitting onto Ultraman and coursing pain through Godzilla’s body. Flipping himself upright, Ultraman hurled his bloodied disc at the fiend’s wound, carving it open further and allowing more energy to be directed and spewed out of this new exit point. Intense agony consumed the monster king, only ceasing when the atomic ray stopped firing.

    As the sapphire flames decreased, the wound started to seal shut once more. Burning with anger, Godzilla limped around to face Ultraman. His scutes illuminated, knowing that the wound would have healed enough by the time he could fire. Ultraman was out of time, but knew he had to stop that injury from healing if he were to put a stop to this. His hands crossed, firing the Specium Ray at Godzilla’s throat. As the king’s maw opened, the beam struck, bursting into a cloud of flame and gore and splitting open the flesh as the spiral atomic ray fired.

    Godzilla screamed as his deathly ray exploded from the hole in his neck, shooting harmlessly into the sky as the extreme heat and force further tore apart the radioactive titan’s throat. Panic and fear overwhelmed his primordial instincts, fuelling his energy stores and keeping the beam firing. Fire-hot agony engulfed every fibre of his body. All other thoughts were replaced with the desire to stop this hellish pain as it consumed the king of monsters, sending him crashing to the ground spines first as his meaty thighs burned with torment. His ivory-white scutes disappeared into the earth, hammered in by the prehistoric giant’s titanic weight and pinning him down as the nuclear energies mercifully died down.

    The scaled fighter’s relief was short-lived. Bursts of bluish-white energy exploded against his body, aggravating unhealed wounds and opening up new ones. From crossed hands, Ultraman fired shot after shot of his Specium Ray, taking advantage of Godzilla’s position and mental state. Bursts of fire, sparks and blood erupted from wherever the beams struck, taking the monster of monsters apart piece by piece. The scent of burning meat filled Godzilla’s nostrils, but the leviathan could not even gag while he screeched through the blood filling his throat. Although his vocal cords were not in any state to produce sound, for the first time in his history, Godzilla gurgled out a cry for mercy.

    Ultraman continued to fire, his bulbous eyes unable to betray whatever feelings he held at this moment. Godzilla’s body was hidden by eruptions of smoke and fire, but the titan’s pitiful cries confirmed that his work was not done. He kept on firing.

    And firing.

    And firing.

    And firing.

    At last, the barrage ceased. The city was almost quiet, silence only prevented by the crackling of flames and the wheezing breaths of Godzilla. Ultraman marched closer, unsure to anticipate as the smog covered his enemy flowed away.

    Godzilla was a shell of his former self. Exposed tissues and blooded bone were visible over every part of his form. His lungs struggled to bring air to his bloodstream in their fragile state through his torn throat, and his closed eyelids signalled his departure from consciousness. It was so strange to see such a powerful and respected creature like him, reduced to this ravaged state. For Ultraman, it was the only chance to put an end to the world’s greatest menace. His hand raised towards the sky with a flash in his palm, transforming into an Ultra Slash. The champion of justice held his weapon high, preparing to bring it down on the nuclear menace’s neck. To end this cycle of destruction. To put an end to Earth’s greatest nightmare once and for all.

    So why did he hesitate?

    In his heart, Ultraman already knew the answer. King Ghidorah. Hedorah. Mechagodzilla. SpaceGodzilla. Destoroyah. Orga. Monster X. Ultraman was familiar with the threats that had plagued the Earth in his absence, and centuries of wisdom had given him the foresight to know that against creatures of such calibre, he would not have stood a chance. Earth had had many protectors outside of the Space Garrison’s members, and Godzilla was still one of the most complex. Through his entire history, he had gone back and forth between destroyer and defender, never sticking to one allegiance. But perhaps he had never strayed from his original goal in the first place. Godzilla was a by-product of war, but underneath those decades of agony and rage was the mind and body of a prehistoric animal, compelled by genetic urges to protect what belonged to it.

    Millions of years ago, Godzilla ruled the lands of Japan. When he was reborn in the twentieth century, his territory expanded to the entire planet. And ever since, he had continued to defend what belonged to him, which included humanity by extension. Yes, Godzilla was far from a benevolent ruler, but somewhere inside him was a spark of compassion that had led the king of monsters to actively protect mankind despites their attempts to destroy him. There was a conscience inside the nuclear menace, but at the beginning of the twenty-first century, that benevolent spark had faded as Godzilla cut all ties to humanity and retreated among his monster ilk. No one was sure of the reasons why he had abandoned them, but Ultraman, whose memory was longer than that of any human, could recall one event that would have destroyed Godzilla’s ties with Man…

    Regardless of his allegiance, Godzilla was a requirement for the continued survival of the planet. Even if he and humanity remained enemies, the Earth, his territory, would continue to be under his protection. Yet after witnessing his might and anger first-hand, Ultraman was uncertain if he could allow Godzilla to live on. If he ended his life here, millions of lives would be avenged and countless more saved. But could the planet survive with the absence of the king of the monsters? For Ultraman, there was little time to dwell on the future consequences of his choice. He glanced around the wreckage of Tokyo, reminiscing on his past experiences defending its people. Now he let it become this ravaged husk of itself. If Godzilla lived, he knew this would happen again. And the love and compassion in his heart could not let that occur.

    Earth could survive without Godzilla. He’d take that chance.

    In that time hesitating, Godzilla had slowly regained his senses. He knew he should be dead at this point, but the fact he was not confounded the ancient fighter. Perhaps Ultraman’s sense of right simply couldn’t deliver the finishing blow. In his position, Godzilla would not have given pause. Was it mercy? With all his deeds across the decades, Godzilla wasn’t sure if he deserved it.

    The monster king had committed many acts in his lifetime. Actions that had both instigated and halted the conflict between kaiju and humans. He regretted none of them. He was a combatant at heart. A fighter to the very end. He was never the kind to make peace, and he knew it. But all those years ago, he realised that if the conflict between the two species hastened, both would be driven into annihilation. To prevent this, as his life neared its end, he was ready to pass his title down to a successor. But kindness was shown to him on a crucial point, saving him from death and dooming his inheritor.

    Years of emotions bubbled within Godzilla, hastening his regeneration. The tear in his throat patched itself up, as his scutes blinked with radioactive light. As Godzilla’s strength recovered, the rhythm built up speed as uncontrolled emotions fuelled his recovery.

    There could never be peace so long as Godzilla lived. Until the day he died, he would continue to protect his kingdom and subjects. He would not show weakness. And he did not deserve mercy.

    Godzilla’s eyes snapped open, burning alight with a crimson aura. Ultraman flinched in shock, then raised his Ultra Slash. Beneath the dirt, Godzilla’s spines flashed brightly, illuminating the area surrounding him. Instead of neon blue, flaring crimson engulfed his back alongside crackling bolts. As the Ultra Slash was hurled down, his jaws parted, firing his rage and hate and pain as a surging, red nuclear blast. It swallowed the buzzsaw whole, atomising the weaker projectile in a second, and smashed into Ultraman’s chest with a breath-taking explosion. The alien giant screamed as the blast threw him back, slamming into the pavement. As he fell, Godzilla began to stand. His recovered knee assisted in his recovery to his feet, but he was a shell of his full might. Even with the enhanced speed of his regeneration, his body still bore the ravages of Ultraman’s assault.

    As he struggled up, Ultraman was hit by another spiral fire ray and launched away again. Pain filled his body as the Ultra warrior tried to recover. He groaned as smoke wafted from his scorched chest, but he still retained the strength to stand again. Godzilla’s spines flashed, melting nearby windows and scorching plant life as he fired again. Acting on instinct, Ultraman quickly erected an Ultra Barrier, catching the blazing ray. Unlike the spiral atomic ray, the crimson stream was not reflected and surged against the wall of energy. It did not take much effort to shatter the barrier, assaulting Ultraman’s body with its searing power for a third time.

    He fell to a knee, chest heaving in exhaustion. A familiar ringing graced Godzilla’s ears as the hero’s Colour Timer started to blink once more. It would be suicide to continue this further, yet he stood up, filled with determination. The end had to come soon for one of them as both fighters’ stamina began to drain.

    A familiar sense overcame Ultraman. He stilled, filled with dread as he hoped what he’d detected was wrong. But it was not. Behind him, a crowd of refugees cowered from the two titans, unable to escape. Out of the corner of his eye, Ultraman caught a recognisable crimson flare. Godzilla’s next attack could not be stopped or diverted. If he tried to block it, his death was certain. But if he dodged it… These innocents would die.

    Turning back around, Ultraman spread his arms, exposing his chest to the monster king. Though briefly surprised, he refused to hesitate like the warrior had, and spewed his spiral fire ray forth with nothing to stop it. Thousands of eyes watched as the enhanced beam struck Ultraman square in the chest. Its flaming energies blossomed over his shape, consuming his Colour Timer. Ultraman’s agonised screams filled Tokyo for the beam’s duration, and abruptly ended almost exactly as it did.

    Ultraman tilted back-and-worth, struggling to hang on as his domed eyes flicked. The direct shot to his Colour Timer had sealed his fate, though. He toppled back, crashing atop the asphalt. The light faded from his eyes, swallowed by darkness.

    The Warrior of Light had fallen.

    Silence nearly overtook the desolated city, interrupted only by the whistling wind as the event sunk into the consciousness of its observers. Godzilla’s thundering footfalls cut through the tension as he walked over to his adversary, each step straining his unrecovered body. His eyes wandered over Ultraman’s lifeless form to analyse his condition. Although the warrior’s eyes were dulled, the gem on his chest continued to flash. It would be so easy to crush the organ, to just raise a foot and stamp out the last of Ultraman’s light. A lesser, more malicious monster would have done so with hesitation. Godzilla, a monster with decades of memories, did not make the call.

    In a life that barely seemed like his own anymore, Godzilla had encountered other humanoid warriors. Like Ultraman, Jet Jaguar and Zone Fighter dedicated their lives to the protection of humanity. This fact alone should have made them his enemies. Instead, they became his strongest allies. Although they had never understood each other’s motives, there was respect and honour between the duo and the monsters that allowed them to fight and train at each other’s’ side.

    The battle against Ultraman had brought back memories of this better age; a time before Godzilla was consumed by anger. The Godzilla of that age seemed long dead, buried under the dark memories of his later years. Yet time and again, that side has resurfaced, where Godzilla had shown pity to a beaten enemy or lesser kaiju. Standing over Ultraman, seeing the giant in this weakened state, changed something inside the ancient ruler. Perhaps these memories ignited a spark of compassion within him. It could have been the respect he had for the mighty warrior. Or maybe he was just exhausted from the fighting, both here and across the years. Whatever his reasons, Godzilla chose to spare Ultraman’s fading life, hoping that he might recover from this battle and they would fight another day. Where the champion of light might finish the job he had started.

    Godzilla turned away and started towards the ocean. Every action shot pain through his form, but his immense willpower kept him moving. Once he was under the waves, he would allow himself to rest and properly recover. As he trudged across the acres of blackened concrete, a droning sound flooded the sky. Godzilla halted, head tilting and craning to locate the cause as the volume of the noise increased. Black smoke and fire suddenly blossomed from his back as small projectiles rained across its length. The titan stumbled and groaned as jet fighters soared overhead, dropping more bombs upon the wounded king. Across the ravaged landscape, military vehicles of many classes trundled through the ruins as they surrounded Godzilla. At last, the Japanese militia had returned from whatever task had delayed them to take on their country’s ultimate enemy once more. From the mass-produced Type 74 and Type 90 Tanks and the advanced MBT-92 and Type 90 Maser Beam Tanks, to the less common M24 Chaffee Tanks and Hyper Laser Cannons, every operational weapon targeted Godzilla’s weak shape, launching flesh far and wide with every impact. The leviathan stumbled under the barrage as he scanned the closing circle of firepower. Sapphire light flashed across his spines, but there was nothing the militia could do as the atomic power engulfed them. One wave of his attackers went up in flames, but the rest intensified their assault. These men knew of the risks when choosing this mission, but for the protection of their country and loved ones, they would give their lives and more.

    Never had the king of monsters understood this suicidal strategy. These scenario had repeated over and over in the sixty-plus years of his rebirth. What was gained from the deaths of these un-noteworthy humans? What was the point of giving up life if it could not protect what it was given for? Godzilla knew what true sacrifice was, but had been denied the chance to save what mattered to him.

    Far away, a crowd slowly gathered. People of all generations collected around the motionless Ultraman in mourning. For the majority, this was their first close-up experience with one of the giants that walked their world. To stand so close that you could reach out and touch the flesh of a legend. This was not how they had wished to do so.

    The Tokyo community had grown up around the history of Ultraman and his brethren. Many of the adults here had been children during the warrior’s first assignment on Earth, and passed on their experiences to their own children and grandchildren. If Godzilla was the shadow of Japan, then Ultraman was the light that drove it out. For every beast and invader that ravaged the country, there had been heroes like him to thwart the schemes of another. Now that light has gone, and so too, did the spirit of the people begin to fade.

    One parent held his son in his arms, comforting him even as tears trickled down his own cheeks. Whilst this scene played out, beams of sunlight leaked through gaps in the barrier of smog that choked the blue sky. Light flashed in the young boy’s face, causing him to squirm and moan as it blinded him. His father repositioned him out of the beam and checked him over before searching for the source, spotting the partly buried car reflecting the sunlight. The man covered his eyes as the light crossed his own face, hissing as he looked away from the annoying phenomenon.

    Something clicked in the man’s thoughts. He looked back at the car window as a memory from the past came back into focus. Light… it was the source of the Ultramen’s power. While starlight was their main resource, other types of natural and artificial light could recharge their strength. The man turned back to Ultraman, checking that his Colour Timer still flashed. There was a chance.

    He scrambled through the crowd, holding his child close while he pushed through to the wreckage. As he broke free, members of the crowd watched in curiosity as he placed his son down and dug away at the rubble with his bare hands. When the side had been cleared, the father called out for assistance as he tried to pry the damaged door open. People stared and murmured, unable to understand what he was attempting. Gradually, some began to catch on as memories similar to the father’s came to light. They joined the man and pulled at the door, while others smashed at its hinges with bricks and scrap metals. At last, it came away, and the group acted quickly to angle the reflective surface towards Ultraman. Sunlight was focused on his flashing beacon, but it was not enough. They needed more.

    Parties of people split off, seeking out glass and metal from the ruins and cleaning it to their best standard. As they positioned their crude mirrors, others scavenged lamps and torches from the untouched structures. Several vehicles pulled up, all in various states of disrepair, but still functioning. Their headlights flickered on at full beam, illuminating Ultraman’s body amidst the dull atmosphere. The crowd continued to grow, shedding more and more light and engulfing the hero’s body. No words were spoken as the people prayed in silence. This was not the first time in history that humans had saved an Ultraman, and surely would not be the last. His mission was not over. The people needed him to fight once again.

    Alone, a single man cannot hope to accomplish much. But united, humanity could achieve the impossible. Together, they could keep hope alive and fulfil their dreams. Their faith was something no monster could ever destroy. It was why Godzilla would never crush them. Now they placed their faith unto another.

    And hoped.

    Another lance of azure swept across the landscape, annihilating more of the militia and toppling buildings both ravaged and intact. The platoons spread out to avoid presenting larger targets before firing once more, striking at the tyrant’s exposed wounds. Godzilla groaned under the intense agony, retaliating with more nuclear fire. He could not keep this up for much longer. His radiation stores were greatly depleted from his battle and draining rapidly to fuel his regeneration. His body was slowly failing him.

    He was so tired from all the fighting, here and over the years. He had reached the end of his prime decades ago, and now he was far past it. Though he hid it well, Godzilla was no longer the monster he once was. His near-critical meltdown years back was meant to be the end of his era, the battle against Destoroyah the final tale in his legacy. As that century neared its end, he was ready to pass on his title. But in a miraculous twist, Godzilla’s meltdown had been prevented and his condition stabilised. Mankind had saved his life, but at the cost of another. They’d been foolish to save him, when he would only continue the war that had raged for a half-century. He was no longer meant for peace, and his former allies had prevented it from forming when they made the ultimate error. When they sacrificed the life of his son.

    Abruptly, the bombardment ceased. The platoon pulled back from their assault, leaving Godzilla perplexed. The weary dinosaur looked across his opposition as he tried to understand the situation. From behind, the sound of shifting debris caught his attention and made Godzilla’s eyes widen. That was not possible. But as he turned to face the cause of the noise, the monster king was forced to accept the reality before him in disbelief. Ultraman stood groggily from the rubble, bruised and aching, but alive. His Colour Timer remained blinking, but a second wind seemed to have engulfed the defender of peace. The crowds around him quickly scattered to safety, having learned to stay clear of the carnage. The two giants glared at each other from across city blocks, each holding the will to succeed. Their forms were broken and their power was sapped, but one last struggle would see an end to this conflict. A definitive answer to the half-century question.

    Crimson energy consumed Godzilla’s spines, flowing through his veins and illuminating the ravaged portions of his body. Steam radiated from the scorching patches to complete the pseudo-burning look. Opposite, Ultraman’s celestial power washed over his body as a blue aura, seeping across his torso and channelling into his arms. He crotched low, swinging his arms out as they shone brilliantly with intense Specium might.

    Surging emotions fuelled both combatants, improving their destructive power. For Godzilla, his thoughts were an odd mixture of joy and hate in what may be his final battle. Even if he won this bout, there was a chance that his wounds were severe enough to end his legacy. If that was the case, Godzilla was contempt with this worthy end.

    Ultraman’s thoughts were the opposite of sacrifice. He’d already given his life, and now saw the error in his judgement. If he fell again, if Godzilla succeeded, the country would be unprotected from his wrath. The people who had risked their lives to save his would be the targets of his wrath. Bound to the Ultra Code, Ultraman would not allow their destruction. This planet was young in comparison to the other populations in the universe. Their full potential had yet to be reached, the human race’s place undiscovered. If this, too, was Ultraman’s last fight, he would make sure that his light shone brighter than ever to ensure that the people could see the future that may await them in time.

    To remind them that they, too, could be Ultraman.

    At last, they fired. Godzilla’s jaws unleashed his spiral heat ray at maximum power, scorching the elements surrounding its path. Ultraman’s wrists crossed, diverting his energy to his right hand and unleashed a super-powered Specium stream. The shockwave of the blast tore apart the landscape and toppled buildings as it raced as fast as light. When they clashed, a miniature sun was generated between them. Waves and bolts of both energies shot in all directions from the sphere, further ravaging the landscape as structures nearly crushed evacuees and military weapons were vaporised in a second. Despite the growing carnage, Ultraman and Godzilla continued their struggle of beams. Every drop of power at their call was funnelled into their duelling streams, increasing the intensity with every second that passed. Even the very ground was ripped up and scattered by the tremendous shockwaves produced.

    At first glance, there appeared to be no victor. Both rays seemed equally matched in their clash, with the luminous sphere caught between them obscuring any struggle that may be taking place. Then the ball began to shrink. The sphere’s glow diminished as the equal energy output that fuelled it lessened. As the radiance cleared, Godzilla’s eyes widened in shock and disbelief.

    The spiral fire ray was pushed back!

    The scaled giant forced everything he had into his attack, fighting off the Specium Ray’s advance with what he could muster. Opposite, Ultraman did the same, his heels burying into the tarmac as he strained himself to keep the beam flowing. In this clash, there was a key difference. Godzilla only sought to save the life of himself and gain one last conquest. For Ultraman, victory held a different meaning than the destruction of his nemesis. It was not only his life he sought to protect, but the lives of every being in Tokyo. For decades, their city and country had been plagued by this tyrant, and now Ultraman had brought the weapon that could defeat the king of monsters. The one thing he once brought that the human race desperately needed.

    Hope.

    The struggle was for nought. Despite his efforts, Godzilla’s fiery ray was engulfed by Ultraman’s superior attack. Crackling atomic energies were replaced by rushing particles of Specium, striking the titan’s sternum. Not even a roar could be made before Godzilla was overtaken by flames and ash. A colossal fireball erupted from his position, overtaking the area where he once stood. Smaller explosions burst like fireworks, sparkling the cityscape with flickering embers. Like that, it was over.

    With all his strength drained, Ultraman collapsed. Falling to a knee, his chest heaved with exertion and the toll of the conflict. His body ached with an intensity he had not experienced in hundreds of years. And yet, he was not sure if it was worth it. Godzilla had been essential in the planet’s survival in his kind’s absence. With his life extinguished, what new problems would plague the Earth? Other monsters would arise to lay claim to Godzilla’s throne, destroying the world in their territorial disputes. Even in death, Godzilla brought disruption to Man’s society. Could Ultraman take the challenge to control the coming chaos? It did not seem within his power, but the task had to be taken by someone.

    The ground shuddered, dispelling the future possibility of a monster war. Ultraman’s head craned up, not believing the event happening before his eyes. From the smoke and fire, a bloodied and scarred king emerged. Despite the insane odds against him, Godzilla lived by a thread. His form was barely above a walking skeleton, covered by patches of flesh and tissues. Half of the reptilian’s face was burnt down to the bone, the empty socket staring blankly forwards. Even Godzilla was unsure how he still breathed. Little by little, his mass regrew at a snail’s pace, but he, too, was no longer in the condition to fight. He stopped before Ultraman, meeting the star warrior’s gaze as the wind whistled and howled. Neither moved or made a sound. They simply stared.

    Both had been pushed to their limits by this encounter. Not in decades had either experienced such an intense battle. Time would be the judge of whether they would ever fully recover. But they both lived despite the odds. Sheer will alone was not enough to overcome the damage inflicted to them. The only answer to their shared survival was a link to a higher power. Perhaps fate itself would not permit the deaths of these mighty defenders, but why? For what purpose did the hands of destiny need Godzilla and Ultraman for?

    There was a reason why Ultraman and Godzilla had co-existed for so long in the same environment. Like dolphins and sharks, they shared their territory by targeting enemies designed to suit their strengths. The foes of Godzilla were powerhouses, requiring extended combat to be effectively neutralised, while Ultraman’s enemies, though in a similar calibre, were more chaotic and simple, making their defeats much simpler and faster. The two possessed far different fighting styles that lapped over in areas, but should they swap their target groups, their chances of victory would be reduced. And yet every year, stranger and deadlier kaiju revealed themselves to the world in terrible fashion and increasing number. Eventually, some greater evil would emerge that would require both of Earth’s champions to put aside their rivalry and combine their might for the planet’s ultimate good. Godzilla and Ultraman, as strange as it seemed and sounded, were never meant to be enemies, but the characteristics that defined them had driven them into conflict.

    Now, standing in the aftermath of their duel, the two giants now seemed to understand the driving force that defined them. A king driven by pride and grief, unable to move on from the past and turned into a servant of mindless vengeance, and an alien more human than anyone had believed, who gave his light to protect the dream of a hopeful future. How could two so opposite work together? Only the sands of time would reveal that truth.

    But one detail ignited the start of this potential alliance. Godzilla had seen first-hand the lengths Ultraman had gone to protect the people, who had returned that heroism in kind. That event was sparked old memories from the time when he was a protector. A violent agent of justice convinced of the benefits of an alliance with humanity. In that era, he had found happiness, even if his coalition with Man was strained and blurred. For decades, he had assumed those traits of positivity were long lost. But something gained is no so easily discarded. Yet now, the embers of the Showa age warrior flickered once more. In time, that hero could re-emerge and bring back the hope he’d once delivered.

    In some sense, he could understand the human’s decision to save his life over Junior’s. It was more than returning his times of service. It was a call back to arms. The current era was far from one of peace, his son unprepared to take the responsibilities of king. Humanity needed an experienced warrior to bring about the end of the war between Man and monster. To make a perfect future for the offspring of both sides.

    Darker forces loomed on the near horizon. Godzilla had seen and experienced Ultraman’s power and honour intimately. When the hour dawned, he would fight at the warrior’s side. It was up for the hero of light to return that invitation.

    Godzilla turned, heading back to the distant coastline. With his newly healed eyes, he glanced over the destruction wrought by their hands. For the first moment in a long time, he felt an ounce of remorse for his actions. It was not a complete shed of his hate for humanity, but it was a start. With confused feelings, Ultraman stood up and watched the retreating leviathan. When Godzilla turned his head and growled at the giant, he understood the parting of ways. They’d fight again, perhaps on better terms and not here, but a second chance to end this rivalry would come. Somehow, Ultraman anticipated their rematch.

    “Shuwatch!”

    Ultraman leapt up, soaring into the grey heavens as Godzilla sank beneath the polluted waves. Across the metropolis, people spoke to each other in many tones, high and low, about what had transpired. Many could not have expected this outcome, but all were uncertain about what the future would bring.

    What events would transpire on a world where atomic mutants and celestial warriors could find peace?

    Draw: Godzilla (Heisei), Ultraman

    K.W.C. Kaiju War Chronicles

    K.W.C. // July 10, 2021
  • Kyle Byrd has been a big name in kaiju-related journalism, and is most well-known for co-founding the ambitious and prolific Kaiju Transmissions Podcast with Matt Parmley. Over the course of only about five years, the Kaiju Transmissions Podcast has really exploded and netted tons of huge interviews and over two hundred episodes! Byrd also was a huge part of the Kaiju Masterclass online virtual con, which our own Patrick Galvan also helped to work on. Nicholas Driscoll asked Kyle to do an interview on his kaiju-related activities, and he graciously accepted, with the following as a result.

    (more…)

    Interviews // July 8, 2021
  • Author: Brendan Sheehan | Banner: Landon Soto

    Odo Island was in chaos.

    After years of utter silence, their dreaded god, Godzilla, had returned. As the haunting sound of the bell echoed, the villagers stamped toward the shelters on the beach. In the chaos, a young man tried to help his grandfather run, holding him by one arm while telling him to move as fast as he could. He was so concerned with escaping, he missed where he was going, crashing to the ground. He pulled himself up, as his grandfather now took his chance to beg him to move, blinking sweat and dirt out of his eyes.

    Anything further was stopped when a metallic, hellish wail broke the air. The two men looked up to the hill that overlooked their village. There, the demon stood. It was almost a one-to-one replica of the creature that the boy had seen plastered in all the history books, perhaps only slightly slimmer. The kaiju turned its beady eyes down, almost as if it was looking directly at them, as it let out another howl. The boy hugged his grandfather and closed his eyes, waiting for his demise.

    The seconds seemed like hours as he waited still. Eventually, after such a large amount of time, he dared a glance. Godzilla stood immobile, his head now intensely focused on the sky. The boy followed the beast’s gaze, soon finding the entire crowd focused upon the sky above the village center.

    Floating in the sky was a metallic cylinder. It hung in the sky, almost as if it was examining the species before it. The boy turned to his grandfather, hoping for him to give an explanation, but the old man simply shook his head and gestured for them to keep moving. They hobbled over, going with some of the crowd, though most just stood, hypnotized by the mysterious object. The boy looked at those he knew, terrified to think what lay beyond that cold chrome exterior.

    On the inside of the ship, minds pulsed. They had found him. After all these years, Godzilla was once again in their grasp. Now, they would be complete. The ship opened up and a blinding light shot out. A gooey mass formed. Slowly, it stretched and molded, becoming a new form. The spell broke and the crowd began to run, screaming once more. The creature that eventually formed was hideous, a bizarre amalgamation. Leathery skin covered its body, misshapen like a child’s unfinished clay figure. Massive hands ending in long fingers stretched themselves out and twitched in anticipation. Stumpy legs trepidatiously firmly stood themselves on the earth. Finally, a head like a distorted viper looked up, amber eyes glinting and its mouth shaping itself into an evil grin. Orga, the ancient alien, slammed his fists into the ground and roared at his long sought desire.

    Orga did not wait for Godzilla to move. He charged forward, crushing huts and people underfoot. The ache to acquire the genome, to become whole, was the only thing that ran through his desperate mind. Godzilla screeched at Orga and shot at the beast with a blast of yellow fire. Orga leaped over the fire, soaring above Godzilla’s head, before slamming himself down onto the saurian, his fists smashing down on the creature’s head.

    The dazed Godzilla crumpled to the ground, so thoroughly discombobulated one could almost imagine the stars over his head. Orga lunged forward, his jaws ready to bite Godzilla, to take his very essence. Godzilla’s focus suddenly returned lightning fast, shooting up and smacking the leathery behemoth aside with a well-aimed elbow, knocking his foe into the cliff. Orga screeched and thrashed, wedged into the cliff. As Godzilla climbed to his feet he roared at Orga, rage contorting his features, but the alien merely sneered and crouched as Godzilla charged. The cretin believed he had him trapped. He was wrong.

    In a flash, the hole in Orga’s shoulder exploded with an explosion of plasma, slamming into Godzilla. The monster king squealed as he was sent flying across the village. Buildings turned into toothpicks as his tail and feet obliterated them. Finally, the king crashed motionless in the waves at the village’s end. The tables turned, Orga leapt once more and pinned Godzilla down by the chest with one hand. His claws tore through the monster’s skin with incredible ease. What remained of the Millennians in Orga’s savage mind noted this with curiosity. Godzilla had noticeably thick skin, and it should not have been penetrated with such simplicity. Their interest was drowned by Orga’s hunger for completion. He lunged forward, clamping his jaws onto Godzilla’s arm.

    Orga had expected many things. Blood, flesh, DNA, the sudden burning knowledge of true power, the feeling of wholeness, and the feeling of becoming the zenith of life. None of those came. Instead, his jaws clamped down on metal that dented under his jaws. Orga let go and looked closer at his pinned foe. The torn skin at Godzilla’s chest was not bleeding, but glittering, hints of a carefully constructed chest plate. And now that it had the beast pinned, Orga could see a cold, artificial light glowing behind “Godzilla’s” eyes. A primeval snarl came out of Orga’s mouth. Its mind could only come to one conclusion.

    He removed his hand and slashed the rubber off, revealing the sculpted skull of an android monster. Mechagodzilla shrieked and blasted Orga off of him with a blinding rainbow beam from its ocular devices. Smoke sizzled off alien flesh yet Orga arose with little care for the minor wound for he was steaming from the revelation both physically and mentally. This was not Godzilla. This was simply a metal construct, covered in a Godzilla-like false skin. Pure rage began to take hold. After all these years sleeping and the countless more searching, THIS was the result of their search?!? Some crude machine disguised as the one thing it needed to achieve perfection, as if someone was playing a cruel joke? Orga roared at the fake Godzilla. His UFO moved to ominously hover behind its owner. This construction had angered them and delayed their quest. It would pay for that!

    Simultaneously, both Orga and its ship blasted the mech with their Destructive Motion Rays. The robot was flung backward further into the sea. Smoke consumed that section of the ocean as it sank to the bottom, but Orga didn’t care. He turned and crawled over the remains of the village, beginning his walk to pastures new. He had hoped the search was over but this was clearly not the case. Now, it had to continue his hunt for Godzilla.

    Suddenly, a searing beam hit Orga. The beast turned around and roared to find a gleaming opponent rising from the surf. Rubber skin clung to its body as joints groaned and lights blinked behind its crimson visors. Mechagodzilla’s shrill screech echoed at its foe as the ultimate weapon stepped out of the ocean to oppose Orga. The millennial hive mind debated their options. They could leave and continue their search. Surely, this beast looked like Godzilla for a reason, meaning their query was still out there. But, a powerful emotional urge took over this rational thought, an emotion they welcomed with open arms.

    Vengeance.

    Their search had been delayed by this mech and now it had offered itself to them. They would enjoy destroying it. Nodding to itself, Orga slammed his fist in the ground, shaking the earth as he bellowed back at Mechagodzilla. He accepted this challenge. With that, the mutant ran forward to attack. He picked up speed in spite of his massive mass, knuckles slamming along as he charged. Mechagodzilla straightened up and with mechanical ease, stretched out its arms. They clicked to the side, and with a single command, an onslaught of missiles launched at the alien beast. Orga ground to a halt, as the missiles hit his hide to the point he was forced to simply crouch, hissing, his massive hand forming a makeshift shield. Fire and shockwaves ripped the environment around the alien asunder, turning flora to ash and sending the remnants flying but in the face of such overwhelming firepower, Orga remained steady, his rage pushing him through. The assault finally stopped after what seemed an eternity, and Orga dropped his hand, his cannon ready to blast Mechagodzilla. But to the creature’s shock, the machine was gone.

    Just as he was beginning to wonder if it had been driven off, from above, Mechagodzilla revealed itself flying above. A concentrated eye lasers split Orga’s skull in half, spilling green ichor across the abomination’s grotesque flesh. Orga screamed through torn vocal cords but only produced what sounded as a cross between gurgling and growling. The metallic imposter strafed over the wounded monster before making another pass with the deadly lasers. With the blast atomizing a chunk of the alien’s leg, the beast’s blind determination could not longer keep it standing. Orga collapsed as his insane regeneration tried desperately to heal the wounds, but it possessed only a fraction of the time it desperately needed. Mechagodzilla landed with a crash nearby, orange triangular eyes peering through the dust it created as the jets in its feet shut off. Not wasting a minute for its enemy to heal, a flap on Mechagodzilla’s chest opened to unleash a torrent of electricity. It danced wildly across the landscape before striking Orga, tearing open healed wounds and opening new ones. Orga howled, curling into a ball in an attempt to protect itself. The unfeeling machine did not care, however, and marched forward as it continued its all-out attack.

    However, this was a mistake.

    Like a massive frog, Orga suddenly launched himself forward. He slammed into Mechagodzilla, nearly toppling the mech. The millennial monster made quick work of his foe’s chest cannon, tearing it to pieces with its fangs. Mechagodzilla roared in simulated agony as its exposed circuitry was torn apart, thrashing in Orga’s grasp.

    The cosmic weapon began to spin its head at intense speeds, creating a force field that sliced straight though Orga’s hands! Shrieking in agonized surprise, Orga shied away like a beat dog. The two glared at each other through the force field as Orga’s hands grew new flesh, creating new bone and nerves in the matter of a minute. Cold, dead gold met primeval amber. If Mechagodzilla had the ability to create facial expressions, it would smirk. True, this brute was strong, but their weaponry was superior. All it needed was to hold out and keep pummeling it and soon, this organism would be no more.

    Almost as if on cue, Orga roared in primal rage and began to slam into the barrier, using his massive hands to try and work around it. Mechagodzilla mocked its foe as it screeched. It could not get through. Soon it would tire and then it would strike. The deadly doppelganger slowly moved its arms forward, its artificial brain already readying for the pleasure of missiles clicking into place and the death rattle that would soon follow.

    Just as the command was to be put in, Mechagodzilla’s mind exploded. He shrieked and thrashed about. What was happening? The shield fell as Mechagodzilla twitched and smoked. Its mind was filled with error messages and codes that it did not understand. By mere happenstance, the machine happened to look up. The Millennian ship hung above him. Realization just barely made it through the breakdown. Orga’s attack had only been a distraction, allowing for the brilliant savage to hack Mechagodzilla’s systems. System messages revealed it, everything was being shut down. Weapons, shields, combat programming, everything. While it still could, Mechagodzilla struck. It blasted the ship with his radiant Space Beams, causing it to fly off in an explosion of sparks. The damage was done though.

    Mechagodzilla turned and looked at Orga, helplessness and fear suddenly introducing itself to his artificial mind. For its part, Orga was stoic. His face betrayed no emotion, only a cold predatory gaze. Without a single roar, hiss or call, Orga began to prowl forward. Mechagodzilla quickly activated its only weapon as the Space Beams returned. Without an aiming system, they flew over the approaching monster’s head. Pure hysteria took over the mind of Mechagodzilla. Beam after beam was shot out, some hitting the smoking ruins of the village, others flying past all together, and a lucky few grazing Orga’s hide. Still, the hybrid kept coming. Mechagodzilla’s mind raced, searching for some solution, ANY solution that would kill Orga, that would let it get past-

    CRUNCH!

    The village’s bell tower was crushed to splinters, as an oblong shape crashed through it. It rolled on the ground before coming to a stop. Blank yellow eyes, with no more illumination shining to give them their menacing life, stared blankly, a jaw left permanently agape. With a single backhand, Orga had decapitated the robotic double of Godzilla, leaving a sparking stump. Orga stopped for a minute, watching the machine twitch. Then, with a deep roar, he lunged forward, jaws clutching the neck. Orga went feral on the mech, pure animal rage met with a calculating mind knowing just the right place to dismantle it. By the time he stopped, the mighty Mechagodzilla was simply scrap on the ground. Orga let out a final howl before he teleported back to his ship in a flash of light. As cathartic as that was, their mission still remained. They must find Godzilla. The ship took off, stuttering and smoking. The Millennians knew they had to start somewhere, and so they began to go through the data they had collected from Mechagodzilla’s brain before it had been destroyed.

    Slowly, the survivors of Odo emerged, awestruck. As the boy looked at his grandfather and tried to describe the godly battle that had just happened, he noticed movement further down on the beach. A group of men were walking up from the shore. They looked Japanese, clad in silver jumpsuits and were arguing among themselves. He ran toward them, assuming they were one of the people he heard came to fight these beasts. He was halfway down the beach when he fell to the ground with a crackle of air. The grandfather broke the silence and screamed as he saw his grandson, laying broken upon the ground. The leader of the group holstered his weapon and then nodded, before his squadron moved forward. By the time they were finished, the entire village had been slaughtered. A lone trooper walked back to the lone figure still on the beach.

    “Commander Mugal.” He gave a curt salute and stood at attention.

    Mugal did not respond at first. His gaze was focused on a piece of the wreckage in his hand; a shattered jagged piece of lens, all that remained of one of Mechagodzilla’s eyes.

    “Commander Mugal?” the soldier gulped. “Sir?”

    The commander finally turned his gaze to his inferior. Despite sunglasses obscuring his stare, the soldier still felt like he was face to face with a full-on death glare.

    “The council wishes to know what your next plan is,” he eventually squeaked out.

    Mugal sniffed and turned back to the beach.

    “Inform the science division that rebuilding efforts will begin immediately. Use the U-KEO 75 prototype so we can increase efficiency.”

    Relived that he and the rest of the troop had escaped another infamous breakdown, he began to make his way back to the ruined village.

    “One thing, Private Uchirados.”

    “Sir?” the Simeon asked.

    “Let me know when we’re done with Mechagodzilla 2,” Mugal chuckled, throwing the fragment back on the ground. “I want to make that thing’s skull into my next desk.”

    Mugal watched the inferior walk off, before giving the sky one final deep gaze. They were so close, but it still wasn’t enough. Still, always next time, as the apes say. For now, there was work to be done.

    Winner: Orga

    K.W.C. Kaiju War Chronicles

    K.W.C. // June 30, 2021
  • Toho has announced a new anime series for Godzilla, being produced by Toho while being created by anime studios bones and Orange. Set to debut worldwide in 2021, on Tokyo MX in Japan and on Netflix worldwide, the upcoming series is around the corner. The show won’t be Godzilla’s first foray into animation, although this is noted to be an all new and original series on the character. This article acts as a news roundup for the new series, titled Godzilla Singular Point. (more…)

    News // June 21, 2021
  • Author: Joshua Strittmatter | Banner: Landon Soto

    He dreams of monsters.

    Tiny, numerous, widespread, primitive yet cunningly intelligent, fragile in both mind and body, parasitic, destructive, sadistic, and arrogant. Monsters of miniscule size and pale hairless skin, clothed in strange uniforms, droning mindlessly in mass quantities amidst ever-growing ranges of concrete towers; always swarming out of their hiding places to fire their terrible weapons of war upon him. Pellets of lead and explosive projectiles that mercilessly bombarded his skin, eventually striking his neck and amplifying his already excruciating pain tenfold. Monsters that poisoned and eradicated the once beautiful ecosystems around the world, replacing the tranquility and beauty with their wretched waste. Monsters that drove countless innocent species that spent tens of thousands of years surviving unhindered in their respective ecosystems to extinction in mere centuries if not decades. Monsters that took his old life away, monsters that filled his once serene aquatic homeland with their nuclear trash.

    Monsters that made him the last of his kind… … …then turned him into the first.

    Haunted him all his life they had, these monsters. He had come to land, desperate in his never-ending quest to quench his painful hunger for nuclear energy–to his despair, the very power source for the miniature terrors. And the monsters came swarming out like attacking hornets, and there was little he could do to avoid them in the confusion. No matter how hard he fought back, how hard he punished them for causing him so much agony, they only evolved as rapidly as he. They only gathered their unified strength, came together from all across the world, and continued to bother him. To pester him. To torment him until his once mighty power ran dry and he was toppled like a statue. Fought to the end did he, but it was not enough.

    It was the finality of it all, that they imprisoned him. The last thing his conscious mind captured before plunging into the world of dreams was stiffening skin, a horrible cold that chilled him to the core like nothing had ever in his life, and a last agonized scream that vented from his gaping jaws just mere moments before reality suddenly faded away.

    It all began and ended the same way: with a cry. A final begging for all the pain to at last come to an end, to finally find peace after so much torture besieged him; for the monsters to go away and leave him be, let him go back to just being a simple animal looking for sustenance. But then ice encased his skin. His blood froze literally in time. And he became their prisoner.

    So, he dreamt of monsters. Advanced, yet so primitive. Monsters that seemed to cover the world like ants, destroying all that they touched and replacing it with their unnatural architecture. Over and over again, his mind relayed the same fearful scenarios for what felt like an eternity; all memory of the real world outside his brain suppressed by his deep sleep. The monsters kept evolving, kept multiplying, kept spreading. Through the seas, over the mountains, through the deepest and most sacred forests, around the entire planet itself, far off into space to colonize other planets, and further still. They would never stop spreading, and eventually they would cover the entirety of the cosmos themselves, with nothing to oppose them.

    But sooner or later, you always have to wake up.

    The scenario began to repeat once more in its strange eternity… … …until all of a sudden, the shadows fell. Mild at first, minor stains of blank darkness appearing in different spots of the corners of his mind. Then the stains grew into foggy clouds, and the once slow process began to intensify rapidly. The shadows descended, covering all that existed and seemingly erasing it one by one. Even the monsters were no match for it, and they were all engulfed by the soothing darkness that came falling in like a vaporous blanket. Retreating into the shadows they did, but somewhere deep down he knew that they were biding their time, and sometime in the future they would re-emerge when the shadows let up and would resume haunting him.

    But not now.

    The darkness deleted all, until nothing but blackness remained. And at long last the pain, the fear, the torment all came to a quiet end. No monsters, no destruction, no torment, just a gentle darkness that allowed him a moment of the only thing he ever sought in his life: peace. For a good few…what was it? Seconds? Minutes? Hours? He couldn’t tell. For every moment of it all existed in his mind, and his mind only, and it was soon rendered insignificant when he saw the first light that signaled the end of dormancy, the end of his nightmares. A light at the end of the tunnel. The memories all returned, the awareness snapped instantly into place, and the light slowly began to grow, banishing the darkness ounce by ounce as consciousness started to take hold. It was warm and calming, and he welcomed it gratefully. The darkness had served its purpose, and now it was free to take its leave.

    For the light was the reality–all else was just a dream.

    *****

    Date: October 11th, 2020
    15 minutes prior to reawakening.

    Yasuko Hashimoto sighed nervously as she downed the last of her coffee, the G-Force operator returning to her usual post as she let the effects of the drink begin its purpose of soothing her morning stress. Her eyes glued to the computer screen in front of her as she took a moment to re-evaluate the current circumstances of her job, ensuring that there were no abnormalities to catch her wary eye. Even having ingested such a sizable drink, the coffee did little to calm her nerves as she constantly switched between staring at the main screen before her, to looking at the date in the lower right-hand corner, to keeping track of time in hours, minutes, and seconds.

    Today’s assignment was the same as always: monitoring all activity of the frozen leviathan known to the world as Godzilla.

    Even before the big prediction in the past few months, Yasuko took her job very seriously from the moment she was first assigned to it. Yasuko herself would know on a personal level–four years ago, she had witnessed with paralyzed horror as Godzilla decimated Tokyo in an atomic blaze, killing her parents as well as her sister. It was a heart-shattering blow that she knew thousands more around the country felt just the same, and after Godzilla’s eventual defeat and the subsequent formation of G-Force, she eventually landed herself in a position where she could, even if in the smallest and weakest way possible, determine whether or not such a tragedy would ever befall any more Japanese civilians–or other civilians around the world–ever again.

    A mechanical vibration in her pocket, a faint hum resonating from within. Quickly, delicately, the G-Force operator flipped her phone into her hand to view the recent text. Her once tense frown was replaced by a small smile as she found that the text had originated from the person who just so happened to be her phone’s background picture. A beautiful woman no older than herself; flowing brownish-red hair, brown eyes, smiling for the camera as she held a clearly giggling three-year-old little girl in her arms… … …

    Yasuko closed her eyes as she held the phone close to her, taking a deep breath as the stress began to set in once more. Ever since Godzilla showed his scaly face to the world and brought the country of Japan to its knees, she and her family had lived in fear. While she and all of Japan had breathed a sigh of relief when Operation Yashiori proved successful in besting the nuclear reptile, the fear, however lowered, remained. Not a day passed by since she first took up this job that she didn’t wake up nervous, fearing that any day could be the day that Godzilla wakes up from his drug-induced coma; not a day passed that she didn’t dread the knowledge of how much danger her beloved and their pride and joy would be in if such a day came to fruition.

    Unfortunately, 2020 had proved to be a truly cruel year–a shocking prediction had come through that had given Yasuko and her co-workers terrible anxiety ever since. On May 16th, current Prime Minister Yukiko Takasu released to the public the last information on the planet that Japan–or the world, for that matter–wanted to hear.

    Godzilla wouldn’t be frozen for too much longer; it was hypothesized that by the end of the year, he would reawaken.

    Yasuko knew that the monster wouldn’t be frozen forever, but to now be living in the actual unseen countdown to the inevitable… … …to say it had put the fear of God in her couldn’t sum it up in the least bit. Yasuko and Chinatsu had recently begun talking about moving to Osaka, despite the immense respect and faith the G-Force operator held for her co-workers and their current Prime Minister. The fact that the country’s government was stronger and more competent than the one that had preceded it did nothing to stem the fear she held for the lives of her family–her wife and daughter were the lights of her life, and she would be broken beyond description if she lost them the way she lost her parents and sister.

    Then came July 29th, and in the early morning they were all besieged by a most horrific change.

    A swarm of hideous, Godzilla-like humanoid beasts had been spotted emerging from the dormant monster’s tail, frozen in place like statues as they seemingly reached out to the sky in preparation of their birth. But as teams rolled in to both investigate the new occurrence and evaluate the situation and its possibilities, the humanoids all but disappeared overnight. Gone, never to be seen again. How and when, nobody knew. As scientists and military personnel alike attempted to search for the missing beasts, the question of what they were or what purpose they served continuously lingering in their minds, the world’s leaders became increasingly anxious. It seemed that fate was sending them sign after sign that Godzilla’s return was inevitable.

    Then American political pressure strengthened, and tensions doubled for the already uneasy Japan. The current President of the United States had threatened to resume the countdown to drop a hydrogen bomb on Tokyo more than once, in embarrassingly ridiculous ways no President–or politician for that matter–should. Even after Prime Minister Takasu publicly called him out for such behavior in every way a true leader should, intelligently pointing out every flaw in such a concept and condoning a clear act of violence for the sake of violence without any true reason or strategy behind it, the President refused to listen as always. Even the former President of the United States intervened on the matter, pointing out how it was clear planning, unified scientific research and multiple countries working together that had ultimately bested Godzilla and not brute nuclear force by oneself. Furthermore, they also brought up the topic that an H-bomb strike might not even be effective against the monster, and that for all they knew he very well could emerge alive and kicking from humanity’s most destructive weapon all the while they needlessly wiped out countless lives and homes.

    But even the most heartful, desperate, intelligent, and pacifistic words fell on dreadfully deaf ears.

    Yasuko was more grateful than she could possibly put into words that Takasu was their Prime Minister, but the terror of an incompetent and unstable President threatening to bathe their capitol city in nuclear flames and add on to the already monstrous threat of Godzilla was becoming too much by the hour. No matter how hard Takasu stood up to the man, the only results her–and anyone’s–words got out of him were raging tweets of incoherent sentences and childish, even racist insults. All of which were eventually followed by public “speeches” consisting of the same embarrassing material as his Twitter feed.

    Yasuko sighed sadly. Unity. From the moment that man, who’s name she would not mention nor think about, stepped into the White House, the memories of many nations coming together as comrades and not as enemies to take down an ever-evolving threat seemed all but forgotten.

    Well, in the outside world of politics at least.

    Her co-workers at G-Force didn’t just comprise of Japanese. American, French, German, British, Russian, Chinese, Korean; all of some of the most brilliant minds of all ethnicities worked together to keep tabs on and, should it ever arise, combat a single common enemy. None of the needless in-fighting between the higher powers of the respective countries, none of the loathsome divisions that threatened to tear the world apart, just comrades in arms working side-by-side as if they were all one single tribe. Everything that Operation Yashiori had stood for, four years ago. Everything that Kayoco Anne Patterson, Rando Yaguchi, and countless more had opened the door for during an event that changed the world forever. Her work represented everything the world needed, now more than ever.

    A hand fell on her shoulder to give it a compassionate squeeze. Yasuko broke from her thoughts to glance at her fellow G-Force worker, smiling thankfully at him, before turning back to her phone and texting her reply back… … …

    Her computer screen began to blare, a sound that caught everyone’s attention. Her eyes bulged; her nerves lit up as if they had burst into flame. “We’re picking up a particularly large signal… … …it’s heading to the surface!”

    *****

    Thousands of gulls chirped and shrieked in terror as they soared across the overcast morning sky. Some accidentally flew face-first into windows or vehicles before stubbornly continuing on their way, while others sailed as fast as their wings could carry them unopposed through the skies as they fled for reasons unknown. All had gotten up out of their numerous hiding places and simply taken flight without a second thought, their numbers swarming the heavens like oversized bees on the wing. It was as if a biblical prophecy had begun to take shape; a divine warning that something a great deal above the average explainable phenomenon was about to take place.

    As if something big was headed their way.

    As the gulls eventually faded away to wherever their wings would take them, calm was restored–but the anxiety remained. Bewildered citizens, police, fire department, and military personnel alike looked about in equal parts awe at the spectacle they had just witnessed and suspenseful caution as they wondered what could cause such an occurrence–and if that was the end of it. A hopeful, but fatally naïve assumption that died as soon as it was born.

    The sea had begun to billow upward a mile away; the water swelling like a balloon on a pressurizer as it began to climb to seemingly unimaginable heights… … …and roll forward, picking up speed with every passing second. Soon, what was once heightened water became a most horrifying shape that had been burned into the minds of Japanese citizens who had themselves lived through such a terrible calamity: a colossal wave, speeding toward mainland Japan at a height nearly half that of Tokyo Tower itself.

    Another tsunami had come to visit them.

    The results were swifter than a cheetah catching its prey–and every bit as horrific as the day Godzilla himself first emerged onto land in the Kamata Ward. The giant wave crashed onto the shoreline with a force to rival the eruption of Mt. Saint Helens herself, instantly destroying any small buildings in its path and crushing cars and stragglers alike before sweeping their remains away. Those who hadn’t been crushed at close range were snatched and overpowered by the widening, slowly receding monster of a wave; buildings who hadn’t been destroyed were damaged horribly, while crowds of hundreds were covered and drowned en-masse. Power lines snapped and sparked like twigs as soon, the entirety of Kamata and Shinagawa was entirely flooded by debris-filled seawater that continued to run through the city in a newly formed river. Those who had been lucky enough to escape to rooftops of larger, stronger buildings watched in horror as the monstrous wave died into a makeshift river–and gasped as they saw multiple unmoving bodies floating at the surface, drifting with the hellish current as it carried them out of sight, but not out of mind.

    Before the earth itself suddenly rumbled… … …then trembled when an impact tremor vibrated through the mainland. And then another, and another… … …

    *****

    Yasuko trembled violently as she finished dialing Chinatsu, snapping her hand to her ear with breakneck speed all the while she continued to stare wide-eyed at the screen that had now been displayed before everyone in the room. Her breath came in rapid, repeated stutters of wordless terror as she waited for a response she feared may never come. She paid no attention to the doors flying open, and the Prime Minister herself trudging in alongside her respected cabinet… … …

    “Honey, are you there?!”

    Yasuko fought with every microbe that composed of her very being to stifle a cry of relief as she heard her beloved’s heavenly–albeit terrified beyond comprehension–voice fill her ear. “Chinatsu?! Baby, are-”

    “Yukari’s here in the car!” her wife finished for her, and Yasuko closed her eyes as she allowed herself a sigh of the sweetest gratitude on earth, an incomprehensible weight having been lifted from her shoulders with that sentence alone. “We’re at the park!”

    “Yasuko! This is no time for–!” Before Kouji Chujo could finish his sentence, Takasu snapped up her hand, stopping him in his tracks. “Let her have this!” she hissed firmly, causing him to fall silent as Yasuko averted her glare from him.

    “Honey, listen to me,” the G-Force operator spoke softly with undertones of urgency, “the city is going to begin evacuations soon. When they start, take Yukari and head along with them. Go straight for the shelters. Don’t go anywhere else–no other place will be safer. Okay?”

    “…Okay.” Yasuko’s stomach twinged at hearing the pain in her voice, her eyes closing as she took a deep breath. “How do you know the evacuations will start soon? I’ve heard the tsunami is dying…”

    A deep rumble that rippled through the Headquarters accommodated with her wife’s sudden cease of talking, and Yasuko didn’t have to ask whether or not she heard it too. Not that it mattered–for no one in the room was talking anymore. Instead, they were all staring wide-eyed, slack-jawed at what now lay in front of them on the screen. A spitting image of the dreadful nightmare who had changed their country forever, an entity weaved in a familiar outline–yet, at the same time, it was in so many ways very different.

    “Honey?” Chinatsu’s fearful voice crackled through the phone. “Honey…what’s happening out there…?”

    But Yasuko couldn’t form words, every attempt died in her throat before it could exit. Even Prime Minister Takasu herself couldn’t believe what she was seeing, standing up to her full height as she took in the sight before her. The signal had revealed itself.

    “No… … …” was all Yasuko could muster as her breathing began to increase. “… … …there can’t be ANOTHER Godzilla!”

    *****

    Seawater dripped in layers from his timber-gray body, falling into the hellish current he walked through. His ancient scales gleamed like quicksilver from the water still stained on his colossal form; three rows of rocky plates shaped like maple leaves ran across his back like a vertebraeic crown; a powerful segmented tail swung behind him like a biological war club, occasionally smashing into any undemolished buildings while the world itself quaked in terror from every footstep he took. His monolithic body rippled with prehistoric muscle as he walked; clawed hands attached to scaly, bear-like arms grasped and flexed as if anxious to engage in non-friendly conflict; blazing yellow eyes scoured the city with a gaze that sent a cold chill down even the most hardened war veterans.

    The beast towered above the buildings around him as if they were mere play structures, looming above the great city as the dominator of all. Giant nostrils flared loudly as he sniffed the air, lumbering in the direction his nose told him to go. The scent he craved was closer than ever now; its source drawing nearer with every step he took. A booming rumble that put the greatest thunder to shame boomed from his massive gut as his gills flared, several humans watching in dumbfounded terror as he waded past them without so much as sparing them a single glance.

    His eagle-like gaze focused up ahead, and even finally seeing it for himself he couldn’t help but feel a twinge of shock. But he brushed it aside–Godzilla had reached his destination at last, and he had a job to do.

    *****

    “Chinatsu, go to the shelters as fast as you can!” Yasuko cried. “Stay in there until this is all over. I’ll come meet you there, then. I’m going to have to hang up, soon!”

    “Okay…Yasuko, just… … …please stay safe…” she pleaded, failing to conceal the break in her voice.

    “I will, I promise,” the G-Force operator replied back. “Hey.” While no noise ran through the phone, the lack of any beeping made it clear that her partner for life had not hung up yet. That was all she needed.

    “I love you so much.”

    A long moment of silence… … …before being broken by a final reply.

    “… … …I love you, too.”

    Yasuko smiled, her hand beginning to drift away from her ear. “Tell Yukari mommy loves her.” Her thumb pressed the red icon, and her hand fell away as she finally re-entered her post. As she looked up at the screen, she met Takasu and Hayogata’s gazes, the two politicians staring empathetically at her. “The nearest shelter to Showa Kinen Park is less than half a mile away. Your family will be safe there,” Hayogata stated gently. “I know you’re worried sick for your family’s safety, Yasuko. Especially in times like this.” She looked about in the room, sweeping her powerful gaze across all before her.

    “But we must all keep our heads. If we have time for tears, we’ve got time to fight.”

    She looked back to Yasuko. “Operator?”

    “Ma’am?”

    “Take us to disaster level 3. We’re going to put our new weapons to the test–”

    “Ms. Prime Minister, we need to scratch that order and change priorities right now!” one of the fellow operators suddenly cried out. She turned her head sharply in her direction. “Why?”

    “The countdown just re-started!”

    All gazes jolted to the screen immediately, eyes wide with indescribable terror. The woman wasn’t lying–the timer, which had been frozen still for four years, had indeed begun degrading second by second. Takasu’s fingers curled into fists, her hands red from a mix of pressure and pure rage. “That deranged son of a bitch…” she seethed with a lethal fury. “He didn’t even give us so much as a warning. Or a chance… … …”

    Yasuko’s glinting eyes remained fixed to the now-moving timer. She was frozen to the spot, her heart threatening to stop at what she was seeing. At what it meant. “No…” her larynx finally built up the air to speak. “No… … …no… … …” she whispered grimly, her voice beginning to fail while she took in the now-inevitable outcome. The inevitable fate that would befall her wife, her precious daughter, the countless families that had barely even started the process of evacuation. At how little time there was left for anyone to do so… … …

    “Operator! Listen to me,” Takasu spoke quickly, snapping the anxious woman back to reality. Her expression softened, before continuing, “is the crew of the Super X3 on standby?” The G-Force operator nodded swiftly, taking a breath to stabilize herself. “They’re still in the hanger, awaiting orders.”

    “Tell them to suit up and wait for our signal. We’re at Maximum Disaster Level, now.”

    Yasuko nodded a second time, grabbing her microphone to adhere to the Prime Minister’s orders. As the operator proceeded to give the order for standby, Takasu turned away to stare hard at the screen with furrowed brows. “If that dictator loves violence so much, we can all find joy in denying him his wishes once more,” she assured. “Rando Yaguchi’s organization fought too hard to prevent another Hiroshima for such an exhausting battle to be rendered pointless by a spoiled man-child. If that excuse for a President thinks his term is equivalent to a monarchy, he has another thing coming.” She turned to her cabinet, who gazed at her in a way that spoke a thousand words in of themselves: they all agreed.

    “The shambled government before didn’t blindly follow America’s wishes when all seemed lost, and neither will we. They made a point. Yaguchi’s team did as they pleased. Goro Maki did as he pleased.” She smiled as everyone’s stares remained on her.

    “And we’ll do the same.”

    *****

    The prehistoric alpha predator grumbled as he drew ever closer to his goal, the anticipation of finally erasing what was quite possibly the biggest threat to life on earth fueling his primal instincts. But as he reached a nine-hundred-meter distance between himself and the frozen thing ahead of him, his ears were subject to a whooshing crack that thundered in the sky. He turned his head skyward, his yellow eyes furrowing into a glare. He should’ve suspected the humans would use their aerial constructs against him from the start.

    Five of the bird-shaped things descended rapidly from the sky, diving toward him in a V-shaped line. Godzilla winced a deep growl when lightning-like energy suddenly lashed forth from the strange tips of their wings and burned into his armored chest. The injuries were very minor at best and wouldn’t take long to heal, but nonetheless Godzilla was enraged. How dare these pests try to stop him from stabilizing nature’s balance!

    The metal birds swept over his head, circling around before coming back for another go. Godzilla prepared a swipe but winced again when another torrent of electrical bursts zapped against his scaly body. As the constructs swept overhead, the ancient reptile bellowed a challenge, demanding they face destruction at his hands like a real fighter. But the mindless drones only circled around again, preparing for another go. The legendary Godzilla sneered. Fine, if that was the way they wanted to have it, then they better not say he didn’t warn them.

    The old saurian stood still as a tree, completely ignoring the insignificant stinging of more maser blasts against his ancient skin. He watched as they circled around him again, before diving back and blasting him once more with their pathetic beams. They swooped away, circled, came back for a fourth round, rinse and repeat. And still he didn’t move.

    Wait for it… … …

    The metal birds zoomed over his massive skull, their filthy scent scourging his nostrils, but still he stayed in one place. Just a little longer, just a little longer, just a few more seconds and all that annoyance can be paid for, just a little longer and those little pests can pay with their lives for their grave mistake. Mercy, just a few more seconds… … …

    NOW!

    The legendary Godzilla bellowed a thunderous shriek as he whipped his lower body upward faster than anyone thought he could, his colossal tail snapping like an organic whip and cracking loudly upon smacking not one, not two, but four of the metallic vehicles out of the air. Two of them exploded from sheer impact; the other two plummeted away to crash to the watery ground below, never to fly again. The remaining construct did not circle around for another try–instead, it continued to speed away into the distance, fading away until it was but a dot that vanished in the horizon. The predator huffed in satisfaction.

    Yeah, that’s right. You better run!

    *****

    Takasu closed her eyes, her head bowing as a mournful scowl crossed her brow. She slowly, silently clasped her hands together, quietly praying for the now lost souls of the departed soldiers. She knew this job wouldn’t be easy; that when the inevitable came, lives would be lost. But that didn’t make it any less of a tragedy when it came to this point.

    “Ms. Prime Minister,” Hatogaya politely spoke up, “if I may.” The woman opened her eyes, her gaze drifting to him. She nodded in equal politeness, before muttering “Go ahead.”

    “It may be possible we need to let this creature continue on its way.”

    Takasu’s eyes widened, an incredulous expression on her face. Hatogaya noticed and immediately made way to explain himself. “What I mean to say is…!” he spoke quickly, doing sure as to be able to get his point across, “… … …look at that creature. Just look at the way he behaves.” Unsure of what the man was saying, but still willing to consider what she didn’t yet know, the Prime Minister did as told. She turned back to the screen, watching this… … …new Godzilla lumber about through the flooded streets of Tokyo. “Look at the way he moves… … …” Hatogaya continued. Takasu’s nerves began to flare slightly, still unsure of what exactly her aide was getting at.

    “But most importantly… … …where he’s going.”

    At this, the Prime Minister’s eyebrows rose. Even from the moment this beast had first revealed itself to them, not once did anyone in the room, including herself, bother to question why this second Godzilla had come ashore in the first place. In the back, Yasuko raised her head to look at them, her expression equal to Takasu’s. “You don’t mean… … …”

    “Operator?” Takasu turned to face her.

    “Yes?”

    “Does this creature appear to be headed anywhere specific?” But Yasuko was already on task, narrowing down the schematics until… … …

    “Yes, he is, ma’am!” she called. Everyone turned their eyes on her expectantly, waiting to hear the results. “He’s headed straight for–!”

    “Heartbeat!” another one of the operators suddenly cried. “I’ve got a clear heartbeat!”

    The entire room froze.

    *****

    It started with a pink glow from the frozen muscles on his back. Very faint, but the first glow to radiate from that body in four years. For a minute the glow remained there, faintly emanating from his dorsal region like a dying lamp. Trace amounts of radiation scattered to and fro around his back, no higher or further. But then the minute passed, and more obvious changes began to take place. The glow steadily began to brighten, changing from a faded pink to a more obvious blood-red. Steam began to billow from his brightening back as the ice that encased it melted, exposing his dorsal musculature to the world. The heat began to build, and soon his dorsal plates followed that same glow as the ice around them too, melted into water which in of itself evaporated into steam.

    The ice encasing his scarred skin began to shift with loud cracks. Fracture after fracture grew across every inch of frozen water that had entrapped his colossal being for so long, every crack echoing like a crumbling glacier. The glow of his dorsal region spread to the open sores and scars of his body; the exposed muscle tissue issuing the same crimson aura that began to melt whatever ice that hadn’t cracked yet. The same glow lit up the tiny gills on the side of his neck… … …just moments before, for the first time in ages, the ice encasing his hand cracked and his finger twitched. The frozen beast had moved!

    The twirled tail began to shift and contort, snapping off chunks of ice to reveal the bumpy skin underneath. More of the reptile’s fingers twitched and curled, breaking free of their subzero prison. Water began to run down the monster’s body in sheets, only adding to the effect of the melting ice as the glow of its internal fission finally reached its full state, and with a loud CRASH! All ice on the monster’s body shattered apart, falling to the ground to break into pieces that eventually melted into water. The water still clinging to the beast’s body evaporated, steam billowing off its glowing back, and the creature curled and uncurled its hands for the first time in what felt like forever.

    Then its eyes moved.

    *****

    It began the same way it had ended: with a calling.

    The light burst like a firework, encompassing all in its path and heating him to the very core. Warmth. It felt so nice, so soothing, so… … …real. Gone was the cold that had chilled him to the bone; ceased to be the nightmares that had once plagued his frightened mind in an incessant loop, banished by the darkness that subsequently gave birth to this heavenly light.

    And the monsters were gone.

    The light spread through every inch of his very being, warming him both physically and psychologically. So grateful was he for this light. It was as if one blanket had slipped off of him, only for a fresh and new one to whip in and wrap around him in a warm embrace. It reminded him of the sea, his place of ancestry, his peaceful solitude from the horrors of the surface world that frightened him so. The warm confines of the water, the ambient flowing that always permeated his ears and helped him fall aslumber whenever tiredness called.

    It reminded him of home.

    Then, through the light, different forms began to take shape. The warmth began to mix with a chilled cool as the morning air crept across his skin. The brightness dampened as the world around him took shape, his eyes refocusing as his brain finalized banishing the dreams and waking him back to reality. His vision cleared, and he was met with the last sight he had seen before being knocked into his long sleep. He was so taken aback at the fact he was back to the land of the living that his brain didn’t even allow his ears to register the earth-shaking roar that shrieked from his gaping jaws. It was no dream. It wasn’t a trick, a ploy of the mind. He was awake at last.

    Godzilla was finally free.

    The creature loosed a long sigh of pure exhaustion, his breath mixing with the cool morning air to form a wisp of short-lived vapor. The God Incarnate took a wobbly step forward, his body threatening to fall, but he held together as he focused his mind. Slowly, he took another step, reminiscent of the day he first lengthened his legs. The third step came without much trouble, and the fourth was as if he had never entered a coma at all.

    Godzilla stopped as quickly as he had started.

    His eyes had caught sight of a massive obstacle, headed directly his way with massive, loping strides. A huge shadow began to envelop the ground ahead of him as the obstacle revealed itself to be a hulking reptilian behemoth that towered over all in its path. Godzilla stood perfectly still as he watched the Titan approach, a deep rumble resonating from the pit of its scaly gut. Its heavy footfalls made mother earth tremble, so powerful they even rattled Godzilla himself; its golden eyes piercing him with a truly primal gaze, as if they were the eyes of a wrathful god. Eventually, the saurian behemoth came to an abrupt halt a good five hundred meters away from the evolved reptile; its final footstep sending chills through the earth’s crust.

    Godzilla’s long tail waved ceaselessly from side to side, the nuclear spawn continuing to hold still while he stared at the newcomer with his beady, shark-like eyes. As large as his brain was in capacity to his body size, Godzilla was still an animal. And like any animal, he relied a large majority on his instincts. To say he was mindless for doing so would be false, for relying on instinctual responses was an intelligent route to survival for all organisms. Nonetheless, there was always the capacity for cognitive thought going on through that brain, which opened the door for emotion. So it was that the lack of facial muscles prevented Godzilla from outright expressing the surprise he felt when he comprehended what he was staring at. Despite its numerous differences, this being…this creature… … …

    It looked like… … …him!

    So, the mutated beast made the obvious instinctual decision. He called to the elder creature, a greeting.

    And he waited.

    *****

    Godzilla never broke off his eye contact when the mutant abomination before him released a roar in his direction. The very utter of the call nearly made the alpha predator visibly wince. The ululation that flew from the mockery’s hideous maw was not the majestic, kingly cry indicative of his long-lost species, not the prehistoric shrill that told a story of a bygone age long forgotten by nearly all life on the planet; rather, it was a hollow, revolting shriek. A visible byproduct of the new modern age, a testament to a bastardized creation of the human race and its arrogant misuse of nuclear materials.

    There was not a single attribute about this creature that Godzilla didn’t despise with a thermonuclear passion. The body was a twisted, disgustingly deformed tumor; arms that were far too small for a creature like it protruded outward with no movements whatsoever; a ridiculously long tail at least three times the length of the body swayed behind it, the only other movement the creature presented aside from a few twitching of the fingers. The mockery’s skin was deeply, hideously burnt; rough and craggy like tree bark with countless bloody scars that exposed glowing muscle tissue and blood vessels. Scars of a very different sort from his own, gained from a body that both doubled in size without the skin growing with it and burned itself due to the nuclear fission in the body.

    And the eyes… … …evolution have mercy, the eyes alone threatened to take the title of everything wrong with this creature, other traits be damned. Just two beady white orbs with a single round pupil and iris, far too tiny for a mushroom cloud-shaped head that dwarfed his in size. There was zero personality in those eyes, zero character or soul reflected off those blank little orbs. They were the eyes of a lifeless corpse, staring back at him with no thought or intent of any kind–a fitting description for this abomination’s zombie-like appearance.

    Godzilla gritted his teeth and snorted at the mindless husk, who–no, which–continued to stare into space in his direction. His claws flexed, his arm muscles knitted together, and he puffed out his chest and roared as loud as his lungs would allow.

    *****

    Godzilla felt his heart sink when the Old One bellowed at him, screaming at a volume that threatened to crack his unseen eardrums. It mattered not whether or not they were related in any way shape or form–he knew exactly what that sound meant. Understood what it conveyed.

    This creature had just challenged him. It wanted to fight him.

    And, quite possibly, kill him.

    *****

    Yasuko held her eyes closed and drew a quivering breath through her nose as G-Center rumbled from the intensity of the distant sound that unfolded on the screen for all to see. The G-Force operator knew what was to follow. She knew that the event that was about to occur would become one of the biggest moments in history, and she would be here to witness all of it. She was going to watch an occurrence that would go down in books, photos, and documentaries for decades to come. There was no way of avoiding it–the Super X3 could not be used for such a task. They needed it on standby, for the time when the countdown reached its end. For this matter here, they could only stand idle.

    And watch.

    “Orders, ma’am?” Yasuko spoke up, opening her eyes. The Prime Minister merely stood unresponsive; her eyes glued to the screen. Fixated on the sight of two saurian leviathans facing one another in a monolithic buildup to the unavoidable. Then she swallowed, closed her eyes, opened them once more, and spoke.

    “Nothing to be done. We wait for the countdown to finish.” Then she turned to her audience. “Conflict is inevitable.”

    Yasuko slowly nodded, feeling a chill from the confirmation. Allowing herself a brief moment to close her eyes and caress where her wedding ring was, the G-Force operator grabbed her head-mic and issued with certainty:

    “Threat Assessment: Conflict Inevitable. Repeat, Threat Assessment: Conflict Inevitable.”

    She declared the evaluation one more time, then cut the contact. And the room was filled with grim silence once more. Takasu nodded gradually.

    “Let them fight.”

    *****

    Crispy vapor blew from the gaping jaws of the second Godzilla as he bellowed another booming challenge, gills flaring and eyes seemingly glowing with primal rage as he started his march. The original Godzilla would prove to surprise his elder counterpart when he raised his head into the air, his shark-like jaws snapped open to thunder an equally powerful roar in response. His tail swished like an enraged cat as he too began to walk toward the newcomer.

    Footsteps that echoed with the intensity of an earthquake mixed with loud booms belonging to footfalls that sounded akin to bombs going off. Natural and unnatural marched toward each other, glaring prehistoric eyes locking with unblinking human-like orbs. Armored gray scales charged toward radioactive keloid scars, the soil of Japan rattling like never before as they neared. Ancient war cry mixed with modern-day howl, the Alpha Predator readied to meet the God Incarnate head-on.

    A mere half-second before they collided, a photographer snapped a picture. Perfect aperture, shutter speed and depth of field all in one shot, masterful symmetry of the two bellowing kings about to meet in mortal combat amidst a devastated central Tokyo; a photo that would go down in history before the dawn of a new tomorrow arose.

    And then the island of Japan itself shook when 99,600 short tons met 92,000 metric tons in a collision that, like the battle it represented, would echo through the ages.

    *****

    The mutant abomination howled when Godzilla slammed his palms into its shoulders and lunged, plunging his powerful teeth into the lower base of its neck just above the right shoulder. Black claws dug into scarred flesh and drew rivers of boiling radioactive blood, exerting enough pressure to crack bone and pop muscle with ease. The abominable beast shrieked and screamed as Godzilla shook his head before powering his columnar legs forth, catching it by surprise.

    The mindless (was it truly mindless?) organism shrieked as its legs failed to catch up with his stride, and before long it found itself being effortlessly pushed back by Godzilla’s legendary strength. Clouds of dust kicked up as one powerful body ceaselessly shoved another backward in an intense show of physical prowess. Every footfall put the loudest of thunder and the greatest of avalanches to shame as the Permian Titan continued his push, the abomination thrashing about with its upper body as it seemingly tried in vain to do something about its attacker’s stride.

    Godzilla screamed into the abomination’s face as he flexed his muscles, but before he could put all his strength forth into a shove that would certainly send the living tumor falling, the cancerous beast lunged like a crocodile and bit down as hard as its jaws would allow; every single one of those hundreds of ugly teeth plunging into his flesh like hundreds of knives through butter. Huge sprays of blood fountained from the injury and the King of the Monsters roared in indescribable agony.

    The abomination suddenly powered its chubby leg forth with speed he thought it incapable of and kneed him straight in the gut. Godzilla dry-heaved as he backed up–which soon turned to a grunt of pained surprise when the abomination snapped its head from under him and clocked him upward with its mushroom cloud-shaped skull. With a whale-like moan, Godzilla was sent toppling backward and falling to the earth with a deafening CRASH!

    Godzilla’s eyes widened at what had just occurred. NEVER had he been the first to fall in a fight!

    *****

    The mutated saurian stomped the ground and shrieked a warning at the elder. A warning that unfortunately went unheeded when the prehistoric predator reared his head and bellowed forth a cry for blood. His muscles rippled as he pushed himself off the ground, and before long the elder rose back to his full intimidating height, towering just a head taller than the evolved reptile.

    Godzilla slowly pawed the ground with his left foot, his tail still swaying. Otherwise, he remained still. The elder snorted vengefully and lit up his dorsal spines with a beautiful cerulean glow, a certain intimidation display. But Godzilla remained unmoved, an infrasonic rumble booming from his throat.

    The elder charged once again with a roar, his footsteps rattling his mutated opponent through the core. Godzilla took one step back, readying himself–but came unprepared for what happened next. The elder suddenly stopped short a mere sixty meters away and hunched his head and neck down, and with equally shocking momentum he whipped his massive body around and slammed his segmented tail into Godzilla’s stomach. The crack of natural flesh meeting mutated flesh shook the air with such force that even the distant Mt. Fuji quivered, some of its snow cracking and falling in sheets.

    Like a broken statue, Godzilla collapsed to the ground with an even greater impact.

    The Incarnation of God groaned as he found himself in the same predicament as he had when he last fought the monsters that froze him. His massive body in of itself was a heavyweight powerhouse, his arms were quite tiny and could barely do anything to help push himself to his feet, but most troubling of all was that his lower torso ached horribly from the impact he had just sustained. Godzilla could barely rear his head before he felt tiredness fight to keep him down–which then turned to sheer force when a clawed foot came down and stomped his skull back to the earth in a cloud of debris. A screech of surprise left his jaws as the elder repeatedly stomped his head and neck into the earth, bellowing mercilessly.

    But Godzilla was only down, nowhere remotely close to out.

    His gigantic tail suddenly reared up like a mythical serpent, and before the elder could comprehend its presence it swung like a baseball bat and struck the predator head-on, sending him sprawling. Seizing the opportunity, Godzilla straightened the appendage before slamming it into the ground with all his force, forcing him upward and allowing himself to find his feet at last.

    The elder bellowed again and again as he thrashed about on the ground, his tail ripping up trenches in the earth as he quickly gained his footing and began to push himself back to his full height. The old predator balled his hands into fists as he announced his return with a roar, an ugly glare crossing his scaly mug. Godzilla opened his jaws ever so slightly, uttering a defensive alligator-like bellow in response.

    The elder growled as he turned his body half-around, slowly beginning to circle Godzilla. The God Incarnate stood like a fossilized tree, the only sign of movement still being that of his tail. He didn’t need to see the elder, even after he had circled around entirely behind him; his internal phased array radar could detect him and his movements flawlessly, akin to the pressure senses on a crocodile’s snout, albeit several times more effective. The old one snarled loudly as he continued to lumber a circle around the mutated saurian, but the only response Godzilla gave was a low infrasonic boom from his closed muzzle. The reptilian predator continued to walk on, eventually going behind the mutant for the second time. Low growls quaked from the elder’s jaws as he tried to provoke Godzilla into making a move of any sort, but Godzilla wasn’t buying it.

    The elder suddenly exploded toward the still behemoth, intending to take him completely by surprise, but Godzilla’s survival instincts reacted just a fraction quicker. The scarred reptile thrust his lower body sideways quicker than the elder could’ve anticipated and smacked him with his oversized tail, flooring him for the second time. But unlike last time, the elder only fell to his knees.

    *****

    Godzilla loosed a painful groan as his palms collided with the earth, a mixture of pain and shock keeping him from making way to returning to his feet. His gills flaring and his nostrils exhaling wisps of vapor, the Alpha Predator took a breather from the impact as he attempted to both fight the pain scourging the side of his torso and recollect his strength to get back on his feet.

    A sharp, stabbing pain suddenly knifed through his neck as he felt himself being hoisted up to his feet by something. It didn’t take long for him to realize that the abomination had his neck in its jaws, and was holding him like a crocodile with its catch–and then felt himself slung roughly out of its grasp as the cancerous beast threw him like a ragdoll to the ground. Godzilla howled with a yearning vengeance, unwilling to let these misfortunes continue. A foot suddenly slammed down on his neck, holding him fast to the earth, eliciting an even louder roar of rage. The abomination had traversed the distance between it and him faster than it looked, but not that it mattered.

    It was time to turn the tide of the battle back in his favor.

    Thrusting his arms to the side, Godzilla suddenly grabbed the abomination’s leg and shoved it hard, sending the beast sprawling with a shriek. It didn’t take long for both combatants to return to their feet and bellow their respective cries at one another, loud enough to make small buildings crack. Godzilla charged the abomination, reacting just as it lunged in for a bite. Grabbing it by the jaw with one hand, Godzilla planted his other on the monster’s chest and began to shove once more. The abomination scratched feebly at his arms with its tiny claws, but to no effect. Once more, Godzilla’s physical superiority allowed him to dominate the fight.

    The abomination snapped its jaws together, puncturing his hand with several ivory barbs, but despite the agony, Godzilla refused to relent. Releasing a dominating roar, Godzilla shoved the abomination to the ground, painfully ripping his hand out of the mutant’s jaws in the process, before proceeding to wail on the pinned monster. The mindless beast’s teeth still embedded in his hand, Godzilla used the pain to heighten his aggression as he slashed, punched, and bit at his prey; screeches of anguish echoing from the abomination’s bloody jaws all the while it tried in vain to dislodge the attacker. The cancerous mutant tried whipping its tail at the Alpha Predator, but Godzilla saw it coming this time and reacted accordingly. With one swift grasp of his arms, he held the writhing appendage in his claws. Biting down on it as hard as his jaws would allow, Godzilla yanked his head to the side, taking the abomination with it. Growling like a frenzied dog, Godzilla dragged his helpless prey all around the earth in a rage, ignoring the tail’s feeble attempts to whack him in the side.

    The heat of the abomination’s nuclear blood was beginning to test the limits of Godzilla’s jaws, however, and he soon found his mouth feeling uncomfortably dehydrated. The saliva in his gums had dried out, and a stinging pain was beginning to creep through the roots of his teeth. Unable to take any more of it, the King of the Monsters let go, instead electing to briefly let go of the mockery’s tail.

    Seeing his prey lying on its belly, Godzilla lunged. Slamming his full weight on its back, the Alpha Predator snapped on the largest dorsal plate he saw, and with a few hard twists and yanks, ripped it off in a spray of boiling crimson. The howling scream that ripped from the abomination’s maw was so loud it made Godzilla’s ears bleed, startling the nuclear giant. The cancerous beast continued to screech its agonized cries to the world, the sound threatening to make Godzilla go deaf, but only temporarily did the King of the Monsters stop his assault. Lunging down to snag another dorsal plate in his tyrannosaur-like jaws, the predator twisted and yanked once more, ripping the cancerous bone from its post in another spray of red.

    The abomination tried to rise, but a foot planted firmly on its back, staying it.

    *****

    Godzilla shrieked in pain as he felt another of his dorsal spines being torn from his back. At that moment, something occurred. Something triggered solely on instinct. Survivability kicked into overdrive; generating a shift, a change in the creature’s very being.

    Godzilla’s genetic information was eight times that of a human being; such a massive web that even after his four years of being frozen humanity still hadn’t sequenced all of it. The nuclear giant was the most evolved living organism on the planet, and a walking mass of limitless potential. The God Incarnate was a living representation of the driving force of evolutionary survival: change. In order to survive, to adapt to new changes, life must evolve with those changes. And Godzilla was capable of self-mutation over a short period of time–not generational over thousands or millions of years. Right now, he was met at a severe combat drawback. Despite being lighter in weight, the elder outclassed him in the category of sheer physical might.

    So, Godzilla would adapt. Change.

    Evolve.

    Deep within the mutant reptile’s blood cells, the very fabric of his complex DNA began to rewrite itself. Began restructuring, changing some of its ways. Perfecting what needed doing so. At first, it was an invisible phenomenon; solely restricted to the internal workings of the animal’s deoxyribonucleic acid. Unseen by even the sharpest eyes and the deepest X-ray visions. But as the changes came into effect, visibility was inevitable.

    Godzilla’s back began to glow a bright red, much brighter than usual. Waves of heat began to permeate off his dorsal region, catching the elder’s attention. The heat was merely a prelude to what was coming, much to the Old One’s dis-knowledge. Only when a loud, organic crack echoed across the desolate battlefield did the elder get a glimpse of what was coming.

    *****

    “It’s happening again… … …” Yasuko whispered, her voice laced with terrified recognition. Memories began to flash through her mind, images snapping in rapid succession with one another, as if she were witnessing it all over again. She didn’t hide her attempts of shivering as she watched the original Godzilla stand to his feet on the screen.

    “He’s… … …evolving… … …”

    *****

    The mutant’s arms cracked loudly as the bones that composed them began to snap, their density increasing by the second. Burnt skin split to make way for the thickening humerus, ulna, and radius. The original Godzilla bellowed in pain as the bones grew to the needed depth, but just when the pain couldn’t get any worse, the arms lengthened. New musculature and the thinnest amount of skin regenerated over the arms, barely enough to hide the bones–and then the nuclear fission of the reptile’s blood took effect and the flesh burned itself, outlining the bones once more.

    The second elder Godzilla stepped back in shock at what he was seeing, his eyes widening like grapefruits. The mutated behemoth howled one last time as boiling blood ran down his arms to collide with the ground, steam following its impact. Then, his fingers twitched.

    *****

    Godzilla took another step back; not in fear, but in pure disgusted surprise at what had just transpired right before his 250 million year-old eyes. For countless millennia he had overseen the evolution and adaptation of many species throughout the endless sands of time; had seen many strange and unique adaptations animals and plants alike had formed over generations to cope with changing habitats and survive to carry on generations into the future. But what he had just seen violated everything he had witnessed beforehand, went against everything in the natural order of things.

    The abomination had grown larger arms right before his very eyes!

    Evolution was supposed to be a generational process, taking thousands if not millions of years to successfully mutate and change the species. It was not supposed to be a physical mutation on a single animal, and one that took mere seconds nonetheless! This horrid creature was even more abominable and naturally offensive than he had originally perceived.

    The changes to the abomination were very minor in terms of appearance–the beast was mostly identical to how it was mere moments ago, but the adaptations were still obvious enough. The creature’s arms, while still relatively thin compared to Godzilla’s own and still composed of burnt musculature and blood vessel outlines, were longer and bulkier than they had been beforehand. The hands were slightly larger, the claws sharper and a bit more curved. The animal’s skin, while still hideously scarred, was now a charred reddish-pink in color as opposed to its original blackish-gray. And at the end of the tail, the fleshy tip that once housed a malformed skeletal face now replaced by a mass of small, pointed vestigial spines slightly larger than the ones that ran down the creature’s tail.

    Godzilla both internally and externally growled before puffing up his chest and roaring fearlessly in the face of the so-called “God Incarnate.”

    Barely even opening its jaws, the abomination uttered a deep, near-infrasonic reptilian hiss.

    Godzilla thrust his arms forward, and as expected the abomination instinctively reached out to meet them with its own. Two sets of clawed hands met with a loud boom! followed by a bellowing shrill and a baritone howl. Godzilla snarled as he strained and pushed against the abomination… … …before his eyes widened in surprise when the cancerous beast planted its feet firmly in the ground and began to step forward, pushing him back!

    Godzilla was so taken aback at what was happening, he had merely a second’s worth to react before the beast raised its right hand and slashed him across the face, claws cutting deep. The Alpha Predator howled miserably as the claws just barely cut next to his eye, releasing his grip to step back while blood flowed down his face. The abomination roared at him, the meaning entirely unclear to him, but he ignored it and stood back up to face the beast. His left eye seeing a red haze that perfectly matched his rage, he glowered at the mutant as he snarled a dare for it to come get him. But the monstrous animal remained stationary, its mouth slightly open as it gaped defensively like a crocodile.

    So Godzilla lashed out like a big cat. The abomination raised its arms defensively, but Godzilla bit down on one with all his jaw strength while he grabbed hold of the other with one hand. The Alpha Predator used his free hand to slash and jab away at the mutant’s scarred flesh. Screaming in pain, the abomination lunged in an attempt to bite its aggressor, only for Godzilla to pull a retreat and yank himself back, ripping a chunk of flesh off the mutant’s arm. The scarred behemoth howled miserably as it backed away–and Godzilla took the opportunity to charge.

    This time, the ancient reptile took the abominable beast full force. While pushing with his legendary strength, Godzilla crunched and tore at the abomination’s torso like a hungry bear; sturdy teeth crushing and ripping chunks of bloody flesh with repulsive cracks only barely muted by the mockery’s cries of agony. A loud CRASH! echoed across the Chiyoda ward as Godzilla finally smashed the abomination through a building, ignoring the masses of debris and glass falling on himself as he whirled around and threw the mutant forward with all his might.

    Despite temporarily staggering, the mutant smashed its tail into the ground, steadying itself before it could fall. Godzilla bellowed as he attempted to rush the beast, only for it to turn to a groan of surprise when the abomination turned and whipped him across the head with its massive tail.

    *****

    G-Center.

    Yasuko felt her stomach twist when she heard the sickening CRACK! of the original Godzilla’s tail smacking the second one upside the head ring through the speakers, the room itself rumbling slightly as a testament to the force of the blow. Even Prime Minister Takasu and her cabinet visibly winced, unable to comprehend how painful such a strike must have been, even against a skull as thick as that of a giant monster.

    For a moment, everything was quiet; the only noises being the occasional mutters of the workers.

    “Ma’am?”

    “Operator?”

    “Countdown’s at nineteen minutes.”

    *****

    Godzilla slammed his tail into the ground as he lowered his head, taking a moment to catch his breath. The abomination slowly lumbered toward him, its bomb-like footsteps threatening to topple even the highest buildings. His eyes drooping open and closed as he fought the concussion that poisoned his mind, the old predator struggled to keep focused on his nearing opponent, determined not to let it take him by surprise.

    The creature was regaining the upper hand of the battle–he needed to change that now.

    It began as a deep crackling which then crawled to a hum, as the first spine at the end of his tail lit up. Then the one in front of it. And the next one, and so on. The hum grew louder and more deafening as each of Godzilla’s dorsal plates lit up like Christmas Trees until the very last one at the tip of his neck shone like a light. Godzilla’s eyes narrowed and a slight smirk crossed his jawline as he stood back to his full height, holding his arms back as he puffed up his chest and took in the deepest breath yet… … …

    A focused blast of pure atomic radiation launched from his jaws, meeting its intended target with precise accuracy. The abomination shrieked as it stumbled backward, the blast pushing its 92,000 metric-ton bulk with little resistance. Godzilla kept firing as the mutated mockery tried to put up with the heat ray’s power, but even then its feet dug trenches into the earth as the atomic ray did its work. The Alpha Predator wished he could smirk while firing; they may be somewhat similar in shape but in no way were they the same creature. He wielded the ancient power passed down from countless generations of his long-lost kind that solidified their–and as a result, his–position as the apex predator. The beast that faced him was a mere accidental imitation that possessed mere fancy tricks with the laws of physical mutation, nothing more.

    Its evolution ends here and now.

    Taking a moment to cut off his atomic breath, Godzilla regained some air as the abomination took a step in his direction–a mere second before he let loose again. The atomic ray smashed and burned against the mutant’s emaciated torso, and with another roar the beast continued to be shoved back by the sheer force of Godzilla’s legendary weapon. Blue sparks flew, cerulean flames burned off the ray’s continuous impact, and the unnatural “deity” tried and failed time and time again to hold against the superheated stream of atomic energy. Eventually, the abomination released a lasting bellow as it bent low, panting with agonized exhaustion.

    The King of the Monsters grunted mightily as he finally cut off his nuclear payload–and his eyebrows raised when he saw the crimson glow of the creature’s back beginning to change color.

    *****

    Godzilla gave a terrible howl of frustration as he bent forward, the last of the superheated river burning into his shoulder before finally shrinking and fading away in a puff of fiery vapor. The scarred reptile hissed for breath as he recollected a much-needed dose of oxygen, tail swaying quicker than before due to heightened stress. Despite aching legs and a few lightly blackened splotches on his torso from where he had been blasted by the elder, he wasn’t any more injured than his already disfigured body. His blood ran on nuclear fission, powered by the same radioactivity that the elder’s breath composed of, and his skin was already burnt to the bone.

    Trying to kill him with radiation was more or less akin to trying to douse a forest fire with a flamethrower.

    Godzilla’s lizard-like eyes shifted to focus on the elder, his head remaining lowered. The predator’s dorsal spines were still glowing, indicating he wasn’t finished wielding his most formidable weapon. The God Incarnate’s notion perception proved right as the elder puffed in before releasing one last burst of his nuclear arsenal–but this time, it struck the scarred mutant’s back. Thermonuclear flames burned into the softer flesh, and at first Godzilla bellowed in pain. But as the beam lasted, his body began to quickly absorb its radioactive properties, giving the irradiated reptile a meal more than anything.

    Eventually the atomic ray ceased to be, and the elder’s dorsal plates stopped glowing–however, Godzilla’s own continued to do so.

    No longer were they the usual blood-red, the saurian’s back had now changed to a bright, violet hue. Godzilla could feel the radiation within him begin to skyrocket, so much so that much of it already began to taint the area around him. His scars glowing with that same purple light, the mutant reptile uttered a silent warning as his jaws slowly gaped like a snake, his lower jaw splitting in half as the radioactive glow shone from his maw like a ghostly flashlight. The elder roared and began to speedily march toward him, but Godzilla paid him no mind. Remembering how he had used this weapon last time, Godzilla mentally prayed he would have perfect control over the conflagration he knew would follow as he let loose.

    Rearing his head back and snapping downward, Godzilla painfully vomited an explosive burst of purple gas that rapidly rushed forward like a wave to encompass the elder’s entire form. The elder bellowed loudly as he was nearly knocked off his feet, but strain as he may Godzilla continued to vomit a continuous river of the radioactive vapor. It wasn’t to last, however, for the gas was merely a prelude to something far more dreadful to behold. Instinctively, a membrane of protective skin sealed shut over his eyes, and Godzilla wished he could take a deep breath before the inevitable took form… … …

    With a loud roar, the gas ignited into a colossal blast of atomic fire. Every ounce of the glowing vapor was ignited, and the elder Godzilla had barely a moment to roar before he was completely engulfed in a massive wall of flame that drowned out his howls of agony. The fire spread in all directions, turning the entire ground for half a mile to molten slag while decimating any buildings in its path. For a good twenty seconds, Godzilla fought with every ounce of strength in his neck to hold his head in the direction of the elder, bathing him in nuclear flames. It was then that the main event showed itself; the Thermal Flame quickly condensed into the saurian’s most powerful weapon, the Radiation Heat Ray.

    Fighting harder than ever, Godzilla held his body stiff as he fired the ray into the elder’s chest with pin-point accuracy. A booming scream thundered from the elder’s jaws as the Radiation Heat Ray welded near-effortlessly into his chest like a hellish blowtorch, cutting and searing prehistoric flesh, muscle, and bone out of existence. The elder’s roars were half of indescribable agony and half utter determination not to be dominated. No matter the gravity of his wounds, the old predator would never surrender. Booming a quaking growl, the elder fell to one knee and presented his more armored shoulder to take the brunt of the assault. Unfortunately for him, such a move proved no better than before as the Radiation Heat Ray lanced into his body and out the other end in no time.

    Painfully snapping his toothed jaws, Godzilla finally cut off his primary weapon as he gave the elder time to contemplate his options.

    *****

    At first, Godzilla saw nothing but white. Terrible, molten, pure white clouded his once razor-sharp vision; his body was on the verge of going into numb shock from so much pain. Minutes felt like hours as the white slowly began to give way to forming familiar shapes, the background of the environment reforming in Godzilla’s eyes. Or at least, what was left of it. Rumbling as viciously as he could make himself, the Alpha Predator painfully lifted his head to look at the abomination with newfound horror and loathing. It was bad enough the abomination had taken on his species’ basic physical outline; now, this disfigured travesty had stolen fire from the gods!

    It had committed hubris–now, it was going to have to suffer judgement.

    Godzilla stood slowly to his full height, his dorsal spines beginning to light up one by one for the second time. The abomination boomed an infrasonic rumble and fired its Radiation Heat Ray once more. Godzilla held his hands up in defense, only for the beam to weld straight through them in two seconds and begin drilling into his chest once more. Loosing a cry of defiance, the Alpha Predator reached his full charge and let loose his atomic ray to match that of his opponent.

    *****

    Both beams had locked in a battle that was every bit as spectacular as the one waged by their respective owners. The molten battlefield was bathed in a spectral blue-violet glow that looked as if a portal to another plane of existence had opened in the very heart of Chiyoda itself; radiation levels had climbed through the roof in measurements unlike any Japan had ever seen before.

    Both Godzillas stood undeterred amidst the otherworldly carnage, pouring every drop of atomic power they could muster into letting loose their respective weapons as one attempted to overpower the other. But try as they might, neither could best the other, and the struggle seemed destined to go on for eternity. The second Godzilla, despite his crippling wounds, still held strong against the heated current of the beam lock, only occasionally swaying to and fro as he kept his balance in the push to overcome his evolved foe. The original Godzilla moved nary save for the rattling of his immense body and thrashing of his tail, due to the titanic power of the heated conflict. If anything, he seemed almost rooted into the ground like a divine tree.

    Even the occupants within G-Center had to narrow their eyes to protect themselves from the blinding lights given off by the outside struggle. Yasuko didn’t bother video-taping this footage herself; the crew here recorded everything. If–no, when this was all over, she would have plenty of footage to show to her family for the years to come. Not that any of it mattered, for her eyes were glued to the degrading timer, and the timer only. The G-Force operator wanted to give the order to send out the Super-X3 right now, wanted them to go out and make short work of the thermonuclear warhead before it got anywhere at all close to mainland Japan, but she knew she wouldn’t do it without the Prime Minister’s confirmation. She trusted Takasu enough to know that she knew they would need to give the order at exactly the right time.

    Yasuko erratically sighed. Man truly was more frightening than Godzilla.

    The woman sighed, keeping all that she knew in mental order to steady her mounting anxiety. The Super-X3 was already prepared, its crew stationed and ready to take off. Its cadmium rounds were all prepped and ready, its ULT Cryo-lasers at full power, its TA32 heat layer at full functionality. When Takasu did give the order, they would do the same thing to the warhead that they had been trained to do to Godzilla when he reawoke. But despite knowing this, there was always the ‘what if’ that bit mercilessly in the back of her mind, infecting her heart with its fearful poison.

    What if they didn’t reach the warhead in time?

    What if they got close but missed it?

    What if it was only a one and a million chance they could possibly hit it?

    What if they got in the way and it detonated on the vessel?

    What if blasting it triggered an airborne detonation?

    Yasuko closed her eyes and drew another breath as she watched the timer decrease second by second; every one that passed was an inaudible tick that poked in her mind and mind only, her ears only able to register such a nonexistent sound because her eyes were so focused on a subject that was so often its source. A subject that often made noise with a second’s passing.

    Tick, tick, tick, tick… … …

    The real-world silence, the fact that the noise was relayed only in her head as the decaying numbers signaled every moment closer to the fiery doomsday that awaited her, her crew, her beloved angel and the angel of their own, was far more horrific than any audible ticking a clock could make. Far more blood-chilling than the relentless rumble that persisted through the bowels of G-Center from the nuclear beam-struggle occurring right before her very eyes, yet so very far away.

    Tick, tick, tick, tick… … …

    She would’ve given anything for there to be an actual clock in the room to make some noise. At least it would make for a mildly more tolerable replacement for the psychological substitute threatening to break her mind to pieces with frightened grief.

    Her eyes opened. Her exhale loosed softly from her throat.

    This was what she had signed up for. This was what she trained for. This was why she had taken the job. There would always be fear for what lay before her–that came with this job. Everyone held it themselves, and some like herself made no effort to conceal it. But she wasn’t here to just sit here and give in to the terror that haunted her being. Wasn’t here to mourn her losses before they had even come to light. Not one of those instances came with this job.

    She was here to put an end to those losses before they could even begin. She was here to aid in a fight to put an end to further tragedy stemming from the one that took her parents’ lives. She was here to do as her nation pleased when a mentally unhinged dictator sought to obliterate their livelihood and expect them to sit helplessly and take it as a ‘last hope’ to destroy a threat beyond mankind’s understanding. The organization she worked for was founded on, had built means to protect themselves from, the very notion of circumstances such as this occurring. Its very existence was to resist events such as this in ways the old government couldn’t.

    Tick, tick, tick, tick… … …

    The G-force operator exhaled, allowing a brief second to remember the most joyful day of her life, just one precious second to reminisce the memory of the day her life changed in a way she would never trade anything else for in her life.

    Her eyes opened. That one second was all she needed.

    “Send them out.”

    Yasuko grabbed her mic. “Super-X3, you are clear for takeoff.”

    *****

    The second Godzilla was every bit as relentless as his mutated counterpart when it came to terms of not giving a care in the world. The temperature around them had begun to distort the air, the entire battlefield itself was all but composed of artificial lava, and yet both kaiju stood heel-high in the molten material and kept on with their atomic struggle.

    The Alpha Predator poured more energy into his atomic ray as he took a step forward, testing to see if he could get a reaction from the God Incarnate. But the original Godzilla remained still and steadfast as ever, protective membranes still sealed defensively over his eyes. The old predator’s eyes furrowed into a vicious glare, his patience being tested to its limit like never before; nonetheless, he continued to pour every drop of power from his gaping jaws in the seemingly never-ending effort to topple the unnatural deity. Despite keeping his focus on the struggle, the elder Godzilla allowed his gaze to fall upon the mutant’s tail, which had suddenly raised and pointed itself stiff in his direction. The Permian Predator raised an eyebrow at this, unsure of what exactly it meant.

    Then, the violet glow of the original Godzilla’s back rapidly snaked along the entire length of the appendage, reaching the very tip as a purple spark flashed in the spines… … …

    Another Radiation Heat Ray, equal in power to the one flowing from the mutant’s jaws, shot forth from the tail and lanced deeply into the armored flesh of the second Godzilla’s back. But as if that wasn’t bad enough, the tail began to drift along the old one’s back, and before the predator could anticipate the mutant’s plan, it was too late. The tail beam nigh-effortlessly sliced off all but the entirety of the old one’s dorsal plates in bursts glowing blue smoke, causing the elder to at last cut off his atomic ray and shrill in agony. Both Radiation Heat Rays then swept downward to cut into his torso, bringing the second Godzilla to his knees.

    With a snap of his jaws, the original Godzilla cut off both beams with a growl. As seconds passed, the flash protection membranes slid back into the sockets to reveal his eyes once more, fixing the old Godzilla with that same animalistic stare. For a moment, nobody moved. The heat billowed around the two giants; melted rock, metal and plastic pooled around their clawed feet; the first Godzilla uttering a deep, thunderous warning to the second. Once more, the scarred animal was giving his elderly rival a chance to back down.

    Trembling like a dying tree, the natural Godzilla pushed his palm on his knee as he slowly began to rise back to his feet, upper lip curling into a snarl as he rose to meet the mutant eye-to-eye. No matter the severity of his wounds, he still refused to back down or surrender. Masses of cerulean smoke pouring from the shattered remnants of his dorsal spines, the second Godzilla bellowed in reply to the original’s warning, letting him know it had gone unheeded.

    Both Godzillas visibly twitched in surprise when they heard a distant roar, but one of an entirely inorganic source entirely. The reptilian giants turned their heads to the original Godzilla’s right, and sure enough both easily scoped out the distant metal bird that had taken flight several hundred meters away. Large and green, and had it been closer it would’ve been around half their own size. But it paid them no heed, never so much as turned in their direction, only flew along on its way as it seemed headed out to sea. The original Godzilla watched it with a mix of curiosity and caution, his snout pointed at it as if locking on like a heat-seeking missile. Like any animal, he instinctively waited for any sudden change in behavior of the mechanical construct, perceived any oncoming attack. But it never came.

    Rather, another one entirely.

    The elder charged faster than his massive size seemed to allow, but the scarred Godzilla reacted just as quickly. His dorsal spines glowing lavender once more, he let loose his Radiation Heat Ray. Despite the atomic lance driving into his body, the second Godzilla kept running, screaming a defiant war cry as he neared the evolved reptile in seconds. The first Godzilla lashed out with his hands, but the Alpha Predator ducked under and hoisted the God Incarnate onto his steaming back. The mutated behemoth roared in defiance as he slashed away with his claws, cutting deep wounds into the elder’s side, but this did little to deter the old predator.

    Roaring a malevolent eulogy to the irradiated saurian, the second Godzilla unleashed a literal Nuclear Pulse from his back point blank on the first, sending him flying hundreds of meters into the sky with a screech that would’ve broken the eardrums of thousands of birds had they been present to witness the event. Burnt flesh cracked from the beast’s torso from the force of the concussive impact, nuclear blood leaked from the injuries as the mutant soared… … …then, after meeting a point of standstill, 92,000 metric-tons of reptilian bulk plummeted back down to the molten earth with yet another howling shriek.

    Artificial lava exploded upward in a superheated geyser composed of anything but water. The second Godzilla roared to the heavens, denouncing his fallen rival as the shower of magma fell back to the ground. Amidst the dying lava shower, the natural Godzilla was able to make out a familiar outline, and triumph gave way to caution. The first Godzilla’s dorsal region protruded from the makeshift magma, still retaining its crimson glow. A subtle hint of the possibility that the nuclear behemoth still lived. Treading as lightly as he could on his feet, the Permian King of the Monsters stalked toward the unmoving kaiju like a leopard stalking an antelope, ignoring the searing agony of his wounds that had begun to catch up with him. His claws tensed, his jaws opened slightly to bare his teeth as he prepared to pounce… … …

    … … …and a building-shattering roar screamed from his 250 million year old lungs when a volley of lavender beams erupted from the first Godzilla’s back! Cutting into all different sections of the second Godzilla’s body, the unexpected burst sent him stumbling blindly away in excruciating torture while a massive form began to rise from the field of melted rock.

    Still keeping up fire, the first Godzilla rose from his superheated tomb with a baritone roar. The New Century King of the Monsters kept fire on the elder for a good twelve seconds, allowing his built-in radar to do the work of “seeing” the predator while he let him have it. Only when his radiation levels began to lower more than he felt comfortable with did he pull the ceasefire. The moment he did, an atomic ray slammed into his back, sending him stumbling forward with its kinetic force.

    Eventually the stream of radioactive particles came to an end, and both combatants were free to face one another and look over their wounds. The original Godzilla’s cracked torso had long finished healing over, having been damaged by the concussive force of the elder’s nuclear pulse more than anything. Some of his dorsal spines, though, had visibly broken off from the elder’s surprise attack–and already, new ones were beginning to grow and take their place like shark teeth. But even despite his relatively stable condition, the scarred saurian hung his head low with visible exhaustion.

    To say the second Godzilla was in a far worse condition was needless. Grisly burns and cauterized holes covered his once majestic build; one of his eyes had been seared out, leaving its socket crisp black; glowing blue smoke continued to weep from his back, mourning the loss of his beloved dorsal spines. Looking at him now, the old Godzilla’s age seemed on display for all the world to see.

    Yet life still persisted in the old king. And as long as there was life, there was gonna be a fight.

    The Alpha Predator’s vocal cords expelled a defiant trill, his unbreakable will seeming to glow from his one good eye. The God Incarnate answered with a defensive bellow, warning the natural Godzilla to back off. A notion that went unheard once more as the Permian Monster King sucked in a breath and spat an atomic ray that smacked into the mutant’s face. While the heat did little damage whatsoever, the force of the impact sent the original Godzilla reeling with a screech of pain, having gained a painful headache from the attack.

    But as the old predator charged him like a maddened sumo wrestler, the burnt reptile recovered just as quickly and held his ground to meet him.

    *****

    “How are we doing?” Yasuko’s voice crackled through the headset of Major Akira Yuki, who’s indifferent expression remained unchanged as he merely raised one hand to grab the mic while holding the control pedals with the other.

    “Systems are working just like in the drills,” he answered. He motioned to the young man on his right, who nodded back as he switched on the necessary panels in preparation for their current objective.

    “ULT Lasers are ready for discharge,” piped Koji Shinjo, giving a thumbs up to his co-pilots. Kiyoshi Sato returned the gesture across from him, before proceeding to answer back into the mic. “You all just sit back and let us do the work.”

    A colossal hybrid of a C1-30 and an F-18 sheathed in sleek olive armor, the Super-X3 roared across the cold skies flawlessly, flames howling from its engine as it streaked dead-set on its goal like a comet. 40 meters long and spanning a wingspan of almost 60 meters, the Super-X3 was already living up to its nationalistic reputation as Japan’s shining pride of defense. The strongest turbulence could not stem its resolve as it powered through the atmosphere with the pace of a hurled stone.

    On the monitor, Yuki’s already stoic gaze darkened when his eyes caught sight of the peril that had hung over their country’s head for four years. The B-2 bomber responsible for carrying out the task of transporting the warhead had already launched the missile, the aircraft itself seemingly nowhere in sight while the warhead now streaked toward the center of Tokyo like the harbinger of apocalyptic destruction it was. Even Shinjo and Sato, who were usually more talkative, held hardened gazes toward the missile as their vessel rapidly shortened the distance between them. They may be of younger age, but they too knew just how incomprehensibly high the stakes were as long as that device remained in existence. Such was the very nature of nuclear weapons.

    Yuki’s fingers wrung around the trigger as they neared, his crewmates following the same course of action. “Targeting systems are locked on,” Shinjo reported. “Prepare to fire ULT Lasers.” In accordance with his words, the ‘nose’ of the Super-X3 had opened, revealing the dish that served its subzero purpose. In spite of the considerable distance between the coming warhead and the futuristic fighter-plane, the dish pointed just perfectly at its intended target, locking on target as flawlessly as its manufacturers had designed it to be.

    Yuki didn’t waste a second.

    Without a word the Major’s fingers clenched the trigger, and the nozzle of the Super-X3 screamed to life with a jagged, focused beam of utter cold. The lowest, most frigid temperatures of Antarctica itself all contained into a single narrow blast that closed the gap between its owner and the nuclear warhead hundreds of meters away in less than a second, striking it with exactly the right accuracy. In an instant, the warhead was demolecularized in midair, frozen at such temperatures it was destroyed at a microscopic level and replaced with a sculpture of ice weaved in the shape of the missile, a process much like that of fossilization–but far quicker and the object turning to ice instead of rock. A third of a second later, it exploded harmlessly into a cloud of glittering vapor.

    It was all over in a second. A future of millions of lives lost in a colossal blaze of nuclear fire, an entire city reduced to a smoldering ruin rendered uninhabitable for decades to come, all put to an end before it could begin. He may not have shown it externally in the slightest, but Major Akira Yuki would be flat-out lying if he denied the patriot within him screaming joyfully and growing proud at what he and his co-pilots had just prevented; about the dark future that had just ceased to exist with the press of a button.

    “I’m taking to Twitter when we get back,” Shinjo said with a grin as he reached over to give Sato a high-five, “300 yen says he calls us an enemy of the people.” Sato shook his head with a half-sad, half-grateful smile.

    “If close to half the country supports a man who pulls stunts like that, then I’m proud to be their enemy.” Shinjo nodded in agreement. “Let’s just hope the bigger half will vote,” he replied. “Otherwise, we’ll have to keep embarrassing them like this on a regular basis.”

    Sato sighed, this time an apparent sadness in his tone. “Oh, what does it matter? 400 yen says nothing happens, and his cronies turn another blind eye.” Shinjo gave him a weak half-smile in understanding, reaching out his hand as the co-pilots prepared to confirm their bet.

    “Shinjo,” Yuki’s gravelly voice cut through the humorous atmosphere like a shuriken. Both young men turned to gaze at him, watching as he lit a cigarette before blowing a puff that they tried their hardest not to wrinkle their noses at. For a good twenty seconds, he said nothing, only continued to turn the Super-X3 around to begin the course back home. And then… … …

    “600 yen says he gets investigated and calls it a witch hunt.”

    Shinjo’s face rose back into a gleeful smile as he turned to Sato, and the pair laughed. “Alright, you’re on!”

    The Super-X3 roared across the heavens as it sailed like a triumphant ship toward its homeland.

    *****

    Tyrannosaur-like jaws crunched a scarred neck with a bite force among the most powerful on the planet. The original Godzilla hollered painfully as his ragged skin cracked like an eggshell under the Alpha Predator’s diamond-crunching bite, his blood seeping from the wound like a nuclear egg yolk. The second Godzilla recoiled from the mutant’s superheated blood, but nonetheless continued to slash and tear away at the injury with swipe after stab of his claws. The God Incarnate roared in the elder’s face as he grasped him by the shoulder with one hand, while proceeding to jab his claws into the elder’s torso and rake downward. The natural Godzilla snarled viciously as he lunged forward, this time chomping the cancerous reptile’s shoulder and quickly shaking his head to tear the injury.

    But the evolved Godzilla fought back with just as much animalistic fury.

    Ululating a feral battle growl, the New Century King of the Monsters plunged his needle-like teeth through the second Godzilla’s neck–including his right set of gills. The Permian Predator howled in painful surprise as he felt droplets of his own blood begin to trickle down into his lungs, a situation which only worsened when the God of Destruction began shaking his head as well. As if that weren’t bad enough, the mutant began to scratch away at the other side of the elder’s neck with his right hand.

    Nature’s Fearsome Guardian bellowed defiantly as he thrashed with a newfound aggression, deciding to try his luck maiming the apex of evolution. All the while he snapped his jaws in an attempt to grab the mutant by the neck, he slashed and cut away at his foe’s torso with his free hands. The original Godzilla noticed, but still continued to maul his most vulnerable area. So the old predator improvised in the only way he knew how.

    The natural Godzilla kept slashing his enemy’s torso just enough to catch him off-guard when an atomic ray thundered forth from his jaws, striking the scarred behemoth’s chest and forcing him off. The Alpha Predator kept the flow going for an impressive twelve seconds before ceasing, falling to one knee from fatigue; the cerulean steam flowing from his back slowly lessening in mass as his wound slowly continued to mend itself from “bleeding” its precious radiation.

    The original Godzilla took a booming step toward the old timer; fingers twitching, blood dripping from his numerous oral icepicks. The second Godzilla looked up to glare at him through the haze of radioactive heat as he huffed and puffed, saying a thousand words just with that look alone. The Permian King of the Monsters hoarsed a raspy snarl at the cancerous saurian, his feet sinking further below the molten floor as he began to push himself back to his full height.

    *****

    Godzilla knew what was coming the moment he saw the elder rise to his feet. Once more there was no backing down, no resigning for the ancient leviathan. The burnt behemoth knew his multiple warning attempts were all but hopeless; he had tried time and again to ward the old predator off and attempt by attempt yielded the exact same results. If he was going anywhere, he was going to have to finish this fight. If he wanted to walk away, he was going to have to best the elder in the end.

    It was quite possible, in fact, that he was going to have to kill him.

    Trace fingers of radioactive smoke rising from his damaged back, the elder’s one good eye seemed to glow through the molten ruins of Chiyoda as he roared at Godzilla; the detrimental aspects of his age seemingly all but replaced by the beneficial. Godzilla returned the roar with one of his own, one shorter but just as loud and bone-chilling, laced with layers of infrasound that actually startled the elder stiff for a second, like a tiger roaring at a deer. The elder’s remaining eye fixed Godzilla with a predatory glare, a bird of prey eying its victim. But try as he might to intimidate the irradiated reptile, Godzilla’s feral, animalistic stare of warning delivered the same intention and succeeded just as much. A blank but clearly vicious look that seemed to bore straight through his ancient soul.

    Rays of azure light began to travel up the elder’s back, shining as replacements for his severed dorsal spines. Godzilla’s back and scars changed from crimson to bright lavender, heralding his intentions. The elder’s remaining eye lit up with the same glow as his back, the hum of his inner nuclear power growing in intensity. Godzilla’s flash protection membranes slid over his eyes as he opened his maw, his lower jaw splitting in half once more. The elder opened his jaws, his maw glowing a brilliant sapphire hue. Godzilla’s mouth lit up like a Christmas light, shining with a ghostly amethyst shade.

    At once, they let loose.

    The Atomic Ray met the Radiation Heat Ray. Nuclear pyroclastic flow met atomic blowtorch lance in yet another clash of nuclear power. Tails thrashing, feet digging into the melted ground, the two titans squared off with their atomic arsenals yet again. No faltering, no sign of weakness or giving in to the building pressure, they were as unstoppable in their conflict as they had been the last time. A literal nuclear arms race waged by two prehistoric radioactive behemoths beyond humankind’s understanding.

    And yet it was here into the battle that the inevitable catalyst began to show signs of existence. The ball of energy in the center of the colliding heat rays was building in intensity and pressure. With every second that passed, more and more nuclear energy built up nonstop into the middle of the heated clash; its stability plummeting by the second. Like a dying star the sphere of energy dwindled as its balance ever lost control due to too much atomic power clashing at such a rate, growing at a rate beyond the control of either of its users. Even if they wanted to stop, which they didn’t, both monsters couldn’t stop the unavoidable outcome that was to befall them at any moment now. They simply stood in place like statues hardwired on finishing the titanic battle, pouring every last drop of radiation they had into overpowering the other until at last the beam lock couldn’t handle any more and its balance spiraled dead out of control.

    *****

    The occupants at G-Center covered their faces with their arms as a blinding light filled the room, a light of which both Godzillas disappeared into. Nobody needed to look upon the screen to know what that light meant–they knew what would be coming in short order. So they shielded their eyes for as long as possible, letting the light passing through their eyelids inform them of the state of things; sure enough, it didn’t take long for the light from the rupture to fade in silence. But that didn’t stop them from standing their ground, knowing what would follow.

    The floor vibrated thunderously–the shockwaves arrived.

    The crew were lucky that the desks and computers were rooted into the floor, because had they not a great many of them would’ve fallen off balance and shattered apart. Not even all of the crew were able to keep their balance and fell to the floor in place of their digital devices from the force of the tremors. None could tell just how large the explosion had been but seeing it on the screen wasn’t necessary to know it was a powerful one, and such a burst would likely pack enough radioactive fallout to leave the Chiyoda Ward uninhabitable for a couple or more years. One Godzilla alone had been enough to do so in mere minutes; it was impossible to predict the aftermath of an all-out nuclear war between two such creatures.

    Yasuko held steady on the trembling floor, having been knocked off her feet by the shockwaves. She kept herself in a sprawled position, like a crocodile, keeping low so as to not so easily get flung about the ground by the roaring tremors. The G-Force operator tried to steady herself with deep breaths, but such an exercise did little to stem the near-paralyzing stress. Thankfully, the fates grew more merciful with every passing second as the shaking began to lessen in intensity.

    When the tremors died to the point where physical mobility was an option once more, Yasuko wasted no time snapping up off the floor and back into her post. “Super X-3, do you have a visual?” she spoke into her retrieved head-mic.

    “Negative,” Shinjo’s voice replied, “too much smoke and debris. We’ll circle around at a safe distance to wait.” Yasuko nodded slightly. “Understood. Switching to aerial camera now.”

    It was only a mere five seconds after Prime Minister Takasu recollected herself and stood to her feet that the screen above switched views, providing an aerial outlook at the fiery aftermath of the blast. The flames were already dying rapidly, but the battlefield remained molten and superheated; so much so, that a portion of it was actually beginning to pool downward in a wide, conical fashion. Meanwhile, what looked to be a 700-meter radius of what remained of the central Chiyoda ward was enshrouded in smoke, obscuring all view of whether or not either one of the two Godzillas had survived the rupture.

    A small vibration in Yasuko’s pocket temporarily drew her attention, and she stole a glance at her phone. Her eyes teared up a bit when she saw the text from Chinatsu, a sigh of relief leaving her.

    We’re okay.

    Yasuko stroked her ring finger softly, praying that they had seen the last of the nuclear titans. That after so long of living in anxiety and dread, the terror that took her parents’ lives and plagued her and her family with a fearful four years was at last at a close … … …

    A prayer that unfortunately evaporated like a snowflake on the sun when a distant roar echoed through the fading smoke. Distant, but familiar.

    The smoke was slowly clearing but had faded enough that on the outskirts of the molten field Yasuko’s eyes spotted a faint outline increasing in visibility. “We have movement in the area. It’s Godzilla!” she announced.

    “Which Godzilla?” Chujo called to her.

    “The first one, sir,” Yasuko answered, recognizing the body shape and design of the dorsal spines.

    Takasu turned to her with narrowed eyes–not out of anger, but clear growing anxiety. “Operator, can you get a visual on the second?” Holding her head-mic closer to her mouth, Yasuko reached out to contact the crew of the Super-X3 once more.

    “Super-X3, do you have a visual on the second Godzilla?”

    After a few seconds of silence, Yuki’s voice crackled through a reply. “Negative, operator. All we see is the first.”

    “And he looks a little worse for wear, too,” Sato spoke up. “If the second one didn’t make it, we could go down there and freeze the first while we’ve got the chance–wait… … …”

    Eerie silence took over, but Yasuko didn’t bother asking why he had ceased talking. Her focus was no longer on giving or receiving orders–no, her gaze was glued to the screen, as were the eyes of everyone in the room.

    “G-Center, are you seeing this?!” Shinjo’s raised voice crackled through the mic, but Yasuko couldn’t find the breath to give a reply. Words failed her as she stared at the anomaly gradually growing in visibility on the screen. The original Godzilla was now fully exposed from the fading smoke cloud, standing ankle-high in the molten rock.

    And, through the smoke, something massive–something glowing–was wading toward him.

    *****

    Godzilla shook his head with a bellow as he rose from the liquefied earth. His scars glowed brightly as he absorbed the high levels of radiation in the air, the explosion having given him a helpful boost of energy in of itself. His body was all but unscathed minus the keloid burns that already composed his form, his swaying stance attributed to dizziness and exhaustion more than anything. His throat inflated and deflated ever so slightly with air as silent breaths wisped between his teeth, the mutated reptile taking a much-needed breather from such fatigue. He was thankful for the high levels of radiation in the vicinity, the meal providing a big help in his recovery. If his internal fission levels stayed at such a state, he wouldn’t have to raid a nuclear plant to replenish like he had beforehand.

    Godzilla’s internal radar sensed a change. The wind suddenly shifted, his unblinking eyes staring ahead. It didn’t matter that thick levels of smoke still obscured his eagle-like vision–his phased-array radar instinctively told him everything he needed to know.

    His rival still lived–and yet, there was an anomaly. A new aura permeating off of the scent… … …

    The smoke was fading, and with it a glow began to shine through. A different glow than the artificial lava that surrounded him. Significantly brighter and packed to one spot, and said spot was moving in his direction. Godzilla boomed a threatening rumble as the orange illumination continued to grow, a familiar shape beginning to take form the closer it drew. A thunderous quake growled into the air as the massive shape walked forward, its glow beginning to penetrate the dying smoke. Godzilla instinctively took a step back as the true, terrifying result of the explosion revealed itself.

    The smoke all but blew away when the shape stepped forward and loosed a powerful roar that nearly cracked Godzilla’s eardrums. The elder was glowing like a star; cracks in his armored skin shining with an orange hue to rival the sun, his eyes all but pupil-less from the atomic radiance than shone through them, rays of light beaming through his back in place of his dorsal spikes; his injuries having completely healed, even his ruined eye restored to its former glory. The old predator looked as though he were made of heated magma, his insides fueled by a biological nuclear furnace so hot that it was visible to the human eye.

    Godzilla held his ground as the powerful form of Burning Godzilla bellowed forth another godly war cry, deafening enough to shake all of Japan itself with a miniature earthquake!

    His back lighting like a violet lantern, Godzilla snapped his jaws open and unleashed his Radiation Heat Ray. At the same time, his tail snapped into a scorpion pose, its tip alight with nuclear power, and unleashed its respective heat ray. But to Godzilla’s surprise, both beams struck Burning Godzilla’s chest with seemingly no harm done. And the burning behemoth continued to march toward the evolved creature as if his attacks never existed to begin with.

    Godzilla cut off his heat rays and turned about face, his back still aglow with the same amethyst light. In mere seconds, another volley of Radiation Heat Rays erupted from his back, striking the elder in multiple places.

    Burning Godzilla winced once, then continued marching. The molten earth trembling with every footfall.

    Godzilla whipped about face once more, the violet rays of atomic light dying away. Taking a step forward, he roared aggressively at Burning Godzilla, the near oxygen-less air distorting from the unnatural cry.

    The already blinding radiance of Burning Godzilla’s hulking form began to brighten, a loud humming rapidly building up in the pit of his body. As the light brightened, the hum grew louder and faster, rays of light shining from every orifice. Godzilla snarled as his flash protection membranes snapped over his eyes, bracing himself as the fearsome guardian unleashed his true power.

    A nuclear pulse exploded from Burning Godzilla’s shining form, quickly expanding like a dying star as it washed over Godzilla like an atomic tsunami. Magma blew away in waves, some of it even hitting both monsters; any smoke caught in its path evaporated into glowing radioactive vapor; large patches of fiery energy burned on every inch of Godzilla’s crimson skin. Burning Godzilla howled mightily into the sky as he let the unstable fusion within him grow out of control, and in seconds another pulse erupted from his fiery body. The second pulse was even larger, stronger and hotter than the last, and it exhibited enough force to push Godzilla back.

    The fiery leviathan roared his denouncement to the God Incarnate as he continued to lumber toward him–but even such a powerful battle cry died down when he saw the clear results of his handiwork. And while glowing, his eyes did not need pupils to express the disbelief that he widened them with.

    Godzilla had suffered little, if any, damage whatsoever.

    The mutated animal began to march slowly toward him through the sea of molten rock, the heat but a minor nuisance, his scars glowing brighter than beforehand all the while. The evolved creature rumbled a bassy growl, prompting Burning Godzilla to let the nuclear power within him run haywire once more and unleash a third nuclear pulse. The atomic blast washed over Godzilla like water, cinders and embers igniting on his crimson skin… … …and then, in mere seconds, said embers faded and died away while his exposed musculature flashed a bright scarlet once, then died down to their normal intensity of red.

    Burning Godzilla screamed in frustration, his claws balling into fists. It was time to end their aggravating game.

    Powering his legs through the molten rock as if it didn’t even exist, Burning Godzilla charged toward the God Incarnate like a maddened rhinoceros, his body glowing brighter than ever. Godzilla waited until the elder was close enough, then whipped his tail–only for Burning Godzilla to catch it in his hands and sling him to the molten ground on his back. As Godzilla bellowed fiercely at him, Burning Godzilla roared back before rearing his right foot off the floor, and brought it down hard upon his torso.

    The moment his claws met Godzilla’s body, an atomic aura exploded to life that proceeded to engulf both kaiju, expanding to cover the entire Chiyoda ward and muffling a pair of mighty roars.

    *****

    “What radioactivity!” Shinjo exclaimed as he watched the radiation meter climb to immeasurable levels in seconds. As Yuki steered the Super-X3 away from the superheated expansion that would surely wipe out whatever was left of the Chiyoda ward, Shinjo and Sato sighed to themselves. When this battle came to an end, they were gonna have to freeze every inch of the leftover crater for possibly hours on end if they were going to fight the radiation levels that would surely render the spot uninhabitable. It might even take days to do so–and that said nothing about whether or not they would truly be able to eliminate the potent radioactivity. It wasn’t implausible that they could only stem so much of the damage, and the rest would half to wait two or three years before it could finally fade away.

    Nonetheless, they were thankful that this was all the damage they would have to deal with. Had the warhead reached the mainland… … …

    Shutting off that horrid line of thought, the young pilots let their superior drive their prized vessel away from the blinding rupture, covering their eyes for the time being as they silently hoped that the radioactive titans had roared their last.

    *****

    Godzilla opened his eyes to pure brightness.

    It took a few moments for the Alpha Predator to realize he was laying submerged in the artificial lava field–after the blinding light of his final attack, he wasn’t certain what had changed. The old saurian’s eyes darted to and fro, seeing nothing but the complex ripples of the melted rock that flowed around him. It wasn’t long before he felt his leg muscles ache, half-numb from staying immobile for goodness-knows how long. His legs stretched pleasurably, as if eager to become mobile yet again, as he pushed himself up out of his igneous tomb. His tail powered a swing, like an alligator swimming through the marshes, and with a geyser of melted rock he burst to the surface with a mighty roar.

    Godzilla sighed a mixture of content and exhaustion. His ancient body, no longer laced with burning cracks, had healed of its former injuries thanks to the elevated levels of radiation released into the air; though still his majestic dorsal plates remained absent. Not that it mattered–they would regrow over time. This wasn’t the first occasion he had lost them in combat with another monster.

    The King of the Monsters took a step forward, grateful to feel his legs working just fine, with little pain accompanying his movements. There was still some afterburn in the pit of his chest that ached now and then, but he knew it wouldn’t last. Steamy vapor snorted from his nostrils as he tiredly circled around, his head now facing the distant sea. He could smell no scents on the radioactive air, a sign that the mutated abomination that had caused him so much trouble was no more, that he had achieved his goal and restored balance to the planet at last. Therefore, aside from the option to stay and feed on the leftover radiation, there was no reason not to return to his watery domain. For the world, the threat of the abominable New Godzilla had expired, and thus another blight on Nature’s plane had been erased. Nodding with satisfaction, Godzilla puffed out his chest and roared for all of Japan to hear.

    There was only room for one king.

    *****

    Yasuko didn’t know how to feel about what her eyes told her, whether on the screen above or her computer right in front of her; both told the same thing. There was only one signal still active on her scannings–and only one Godzilla remained amidst a field of melted rock that was once the Chiyoda ward.

    The nuclear menace that had changed her life forever was no longer; his signal had vanished amidst the atomic blaze. It seemed as though the very power that had created him, given him the limitless capabilities that it did, had destroyed him in the end–a fitting demise for the spawn of nuclear disaster. Yet, Yasuko’s heart didn’t cry out with joy, nor smirk with satisfaction, or marvel at the ironic karma. The G-Force operator stared at the screen with a somewhat blank sense of indifference. Why, she didn’t know either. Perhaps because it had all happened so fast, one minute the God Incarnate still walked upon this Earth as the toxic blight he was, and the next he and all the worldwide nuclear desolation he heralded had been whisked from the face of this good Earth. Perhaps her brain didn’t know yet how to handle such an occasion, one that was seemingly too good to be true, becoming reality; that her mind had only just seen that it was true for a few seconds, and that it needed more time to line it all up and go over the facts one by one, processing everything that had just transpired long enough for whatever necessary emotions to ignite and come out when need be.

    Or maybe, it was because she had something new to fear in the original’s place–a new presence to haunt her for the days to come, a new fight that she and the organization she worked for would have to partake in someday. There was no guarantee that this victorious second Godzilla was finished doing business with humanity, whether it be today or at a later date. None of the crew in the room had so much as a clue as to what was going on through the saurian’s head right now and had no prediction of what he would do next. Would he head back out to sea, now that he had defeated his enemy? Would he turn his primal eyes toward the rest of the city? And if not today, would he be back sometime in the future? If so, would it be to protect them from a similar threat?

    Or would it be to punish them, to wreak just as much fiery destruction and havoc upon their nation as the first Godzilla had done?

    Yasuko took her eyes off the screen, averting her gaze to the one human being whom everyone acted on accord. The one person in this room she trusted more than any other. “The first Godzilla’s signal has been lost,” the G-Force operator announced, “all G-Force units are awaiting your orders, ma’am.”

    “Wait,” the older woman replied back almost instantly. “Wait until he makes a move.”

    An aura of uneasiness settled in, the rest of the crew gulping silently as all eyes fell back to the primal leviathan looming triumphant on the video feed. Watching him stand there, little sign of movement present, as if he too was contemplating what to do next now that his hideous opponent had fallen. Or perhaps, in ways they didn’t know, he was fully aware that he was participating in a stand-off. Perhaps he was waiting on them, on humanity, waiting for them to make their next move.

    No course of action came from either side.

    Eventually, the victorious Godzilla just snorted, and with a heavy gait put his back to the city and began to wade through the cooling lake of molten rock, in the direction of Tokyo Bay. The entirety of G-Center breathed a series of audible sighs of relief, Yasuko being among the loudest-

    The giant saurian suddenly stopped, his nostrils flaring and his eyes raising with clear alarm. To make matters more distressing, a second blip had shown back up on the radar, causing Yasuko’s heart to suddenly freeze like ice and drop to the pit of her stomach… … …

    *****

    The second Godzilla turned his back to the sea upon hearing a heavy splash, as if something had just moved within the miniature sea of magma he stood in. His eyes enlarged with shock when his suspicions were confirmed, when a section of magma not three hundred or so meters away began to shift and bulge, like something was trapped deep within its igneous pits. Something fighting, something trying to break free… … …

    The bulging and boiling of magma erupted with a warped contrabass roar that threatened to shatter the heavens themselves as the original Godzilla burst tall and almighty from the lake of melted rock, his keloid-scarred body unchanged in spite of the Alpha Predator’s last attack. His open scars blazed not red, but with the same godly orange light that the second Godzilla had been during his ‘burning’ phase. His back and dorsal plates shone with the same fierce orange, his flash protection membranes still sealed shut over his eyes, his keloid-scarred body trembling violently as if yearning to unleash all the stored nuclear power he had obtained.

    The second Godzilla would’ve sworn loudly for all to hear had his mind been accustomed to such human concepts, taking a step back upon realizing how badly he had screwed up. Had he only known that his greatest weapon would not harm or cripple his evolved attacker, but feed him instead!

    The Doom Inevitable marched toward his dumbfounded rival, his footsteps making the world tremble even with the layers of lava beneath his taloned feet. Heat was no longer an adversary to him; that weakness had long passed when he evolved from his third form to his fourth. His blood, already burning hot, ran on nuclear fission, and his dorsal plates acted as heat vents for his natural internal cooling system. Burning Godzilla’s atomic pulses had done nothing but power him up–their million-degree heat harmless against that of his regular nuclear blood flow; their immeasurable levels of radiation feeding the mixotrophic reptile. The Alpha Predator could’ve never hoped to beat the evolved mutant by overheating him–his one key weakness was, in fact, the exact opposite.

    Something unachievable on the old timer’s part.

    The second Godzilla had unintentionally given all that stored power to his unnatural rival free of charge, and now dire consequences would await him because of it. It amazed him how much this creature was able to evolve, how much potential it held within itself. Its capabilities truly were limitless! No matter what weaknesses any adversary could find on the creature, it was always only temporary. When the creature had a flaw, it righted it in seconds; whatever had hurt him before wouldn’t do so again. Whatever held him at a disadvantage the first time, would be countered the second.

    This animal, whether he liked it or not, truly earned the title of God Incarnate.

    His exposed musculature shining brighter than ever, the original Godzilla held back no longer. His lower jaw splitting snake-like in half, the New Century King of the Monsters fired his almighty Radiation Heat Ray–this time not purple, but the same fiery orange as the glow that encompassed his scarred body. Composed of the very power his opponent had unleashed upon him many minutes ago, the carrot-colored lance of atomic radiation knifed effortlessly through the second Godzilla’s chest and out his back. Before the elder could roar out, the end of the mutant’s tail flashed to life and fired another beam that speared through his upper leg. The appendage was stricken by agony so great it went numb instantly, and the Alpha Predator screamed in more misery than he had felt in centuries to the heavens, falling to one knee with a quake. The ancient saurian was not one to go quietly into the night, and with a puff of his chest he released an atomic ray against his enemy’s stomach, pushing him back.

    It was a most valiant, yet ultimately futile effort.

    The original Godzilla’s tail fired another heat ray, this time lancing through the guardian’s stomach. Cutting off his most formidable weapon, the elder Godzilla howled in agony yet again as the mutated mixotroph pelted him again and again with Radiation Heat Rays made up of his own power. Old wounds that had healed were re-burnt, cauterized holes punched straight through nearly every meter of his monolithic body, and in seconds Nature’s Fearsome Guardian was fighting with every last ounce of strength in his ancient body to stay standing. Bellows of pain filled the superheated air as the original Godzilla unleashed another atomic ray, this one striking the old one’s left set of gills, frying them instantly.

    The Permian Predator reeled back, but the moment free of the fiery torture was short-lived.

    Whipping himself around to face his dorsal region toward the second Godzilla, the God Incarnate didn’t waste a second before firing a dozen columns of blazing orange photons from his exposed back. There was no dodging, no fleeing, to time to even block for the elder saurian–he was caught dead-center in the laser light show. Beam by beam sliced like a hot dagger through butter through his flesh, muscle and bone and out his body, and a sensation unlike any he had felt in countless millennia overcame him. His vision was white; pure, molten, unrelenting white and nothing more or less. An agony so great that even scientists themselves would argue that it didn’t exist enshrouded every cell, every fiber, every last ounce of his prehistoric being, and a roar the likes of which the world had never heard before vented from his gaping jaws.

    And as the roar faded to a rumbling drone, the Old Century King of the Monsters fell to the molten earth with a colossal, splashing THUD!

    Pain began to give way to a pregnant numbness, a numbness accompanied by an old friend he knew all too well. An old friend he counted upon to bring him into the realm unconscious. Darkness. Oh, hello darkness, his old friend. But in those last few seconds before he passed out, he caught a last glimpse of the original Godzilla, standing as the undoubted victor of this long, drag-out conflict, his jaws gaping to unleash a howl of victory. But strangely, he saw not the abominable wretch that stood as a boil on this earth that demanded to be lanced. Not the scarred deformity that mocked the shadow of his great, ancient lineage. Not the hideous imitation of a species’ former self, nor even a man-made mistake.

    He saw a descendant. A successor. An… … …heir?

    The briefest hint of a smile crossed his toothy mug as his eyes finally closed, and his old ally darkness finally ended the pain and allowed him to journey to the most sacred corners of his mind in the realm of sleep, and he passed out.

    He saw another Alpha Predator. Just like him.

    *****

    He did not have to rely on his nose or radar to know the elder wasn’t getting back up.

    Godzilla tilted his head to aim his toothed muzzle toward the heavens, his jowls parting to boom a quaking roar that would’ve made the fallen angel himself empty his bowels–but despite victory having been achieved at last, such a concept was not the foremost thing on the mutant reptile’s mind. It was no roar of triumph that howled from his fanged jaws; it was a roar that warned all for miles around to stay away, to not come near. Relief only partially graced Godzilla’s nerves as his roar faded to a bass growl, his breath coming forth in ragged waves when he at last took a moment to simply pant for breath.

    His phased-array radar reacted instantly; his brief moment of rest came to an end when he detected an object rapidly approaching his vicinity. Metallic in nature and almost certainly artificial–and approaching from the air. As soon as he began to move, a wave of pure cold chilled through his very being as a burst of subzero energy struck his calf, freezing it in sheets of snow and ice.

    An attack that triggered an instant reaction.

    Screaming in utter rage, Godzilla snapped his back toward his airborne adversary and fired off another volley of atomic photons. The metal bird’s protective heat layer was not as resistant to the attack as it had been designed to be; the stored power of Burning Godzilla was second by second melting the protective barrier from the God Incarnate’s atomic wrath. At first, the metal bird powered through the onslaught long enough to fire a second cryogenic blast that struck his shoulder, freezing it over instantly.

    But, like the elder’s last attack, it too was a futile exertion.

    Godzilla’s nuclear light show was cutting holes through its hull, and as if it had a mind of its own the metal bird suddenly veered away with the last of its strength, whatever manipulated it knowing that it stood no chance against the saurian’s upgraded power. But as it turned and headed away, Godzilla allowed his back to follow it, the beams actually slicing off its wings as it lost its once fluid airborne balance. As Godzilla continued to unleash the rest of his stored power, the metallic object fell away into the distance, its distant crash echoing amidst the faraway towers of concrete and steel that still stood.

    Only after the last drop of radioactive power drained from the monster’s body and the orange columns of energy shifted back to their normal purple before thinning out and dissipating, did Godzilla finally cease fire. Only then did the God Incarnate take a moment to catch his long-deserved breather, to calm himself down after finally losing his temper. Loud hisses rasped from his half-open maw, like a giant panting crocodile, as Godzilla finally allowed the fatigue of all that had taken place in the last hour to catch up with him. He was awake from his coma; he had made it through what was undoubtedly his greatest challenge in life as a terrestrial animal.

    He was so… … …tired.

    Godzilla didn’t want to stay here anymore. He wanted nothing more to do with this dreadful place. Four years being trapped in an unnatural sleep and a subsequent attack by a creature that resembled him had sent the message clear through his head that this place wasn’t worth the effort. It was far past time he put his back to this strange land and departed. That he took his leave for a place he had been absent from for far too long. A place he held in the highest of regards, a place he longed to feel claim him once more. His birthplace, his home that he knew so well, even after so long.

    The sea.

    Godzilla raised his head a little as he felt the energy he needed flow through him. Standing in the middle of the cooling lava crater, absorbing the plentiful radiation in the air to satiate an age-long hunger. His dorsal plates drew in the radioactive properties like a solar panel absorbing sunlight, his back sparkling every now and then with wisps of crimson electricity as he gorged.

    Microsievert by microsievert, the radioactivity was drawn into Godzilla’s colossal body, disappearing as it re-energized the nuclear reptile, until eventually the only radiation left was that given off by his presence in the area. His nostrils flaring, Godzilla at last turned in the direction of the great blue sea he so desired to be a part of again, and with thunderous footfalls began his march to freedom.

    He paid no mind to the unconscious elder as he lumbered right past him, his blank eyes staring off into space as he continued his walk.

    Every step he took, the shallower the artificial magma became, until eventually he felt his taloned foot stomp upon solid concrete for the first time in nearly an hour. The tar and rock cracked under his mighty weight as an impression of his foot formed on the surface, but it was a mere background occurrence for him. Nothing to pay any mind to. So he walked.

    And walked.

    And walked until he lumbered upon the edge of the endless stretch of water that waved and rippled before him, the roaring of the ocean waves calling him home. A call he accepted with open arms as he took a step into the cold, familiar substance. Deeper he waded, straightforward with no sign of falter, and let himself lean forward and plunge into the heavenly sea with a massive SPLASH!

    His glowing spines knifed further oceanward as he swam, massive ripples forming from the swishing of his colossal tail. And then they sunk below the surface, disappearing into the endless blue.

    He was home at last.

    *****

    “Goddamn lizard!” Shinjo snarled as he sat back in his chair. The Super-X3 had lost functionality, and there was no moving from here on out. The once proud aerial vessel built for Godzilla’s defeat now lay sprawled, crippled and helpless somewhere in the middle of Tokyo, somewhere far away from the igneous battleground. Whether their prized battleship had been damaged beyond repair, none of the trio knew. As of this very second, however, repair schematics could come later–they needed to re-establish contact with their peers at G-Center. God knows where Godzilla was headed now that he had disposed of the last of his opposition–plus, everyone at the center probably knew more than they did at the current moment.

    “Got anything yet?” Yuki asked as Sato picked up his mic, tapping it to test its functionality. The static he had heard seconds ago came to an end, and the young pilot capitalized on the given opportunity. “G-Center, can you read me? Super-X3 is crippled, incapable of further use. Damage levels unknown, target whereabouts unknown. Respond, over?”

    No response.

    Sato shook his head. “Damn it,” he cursed. “Pick up, why don’t you?” he smacked his headset again, attempting to trigger a change. But nothing came through. “Shinjo, why don’t you-”

    “This is G-Center, we read you loud and clear!” Yasuko’s voice nearly made the men jump out of their seats. “Godzilla has left Japan behind. He headed out to sea not thirty seconds ago.” At this, Yuki sighed and pulled out another cigarette, lighting it for a puff. His crewmates’ faces fell in defeat and frustration along with him as he inhaled the tobacco and let out an exhale. “How’s the Super-X3 look from out there?”

    “You’ve lost your wings and suffered large holes in the bottom of the hull, but it doesn’t seem damaged beyond repair,” the G-Force operator’s voice replied through the comms, eliciting sighs of relief from the pilots sans Yuki. “You three landed in Shiroyama dori Avenue, in the Itabashi ward. You can emerge from the vessel, and we’ll send a rescue to pick you three up.”

    Shinjo nodded in reply. “Roger that, operator. We’ll send a flare when you get close.”

    *****

    Yasuko leaned back in her chair as she cut off the communications, sighing with gratitude. “They’re okay,” she announced, resulting in her co-workers cheering gratefully. Prime Minister Takasu and her cabinet exhaled with relief at the news, grateful that no more lives had been lost. “Thank God for that,” Hatogaya murmured in reply.

    “Get those choppers in the air. Let’s get them back to base right away,” Takasu directed, “make sure those three don contamination suits before they’re transported. God knows how much radioactivity the Super-X3 absorbed from Godzilla’s heat rays.”

    “And what of the second Godzilla?” Chujo asked. “Now that he is at his weakest, what is to be done with him?”

    “Based on his behavior prior to the first Godzilla’s return” Hatogaya interjected, “I think the option is simple.”

    “And?” Chujo was getting impatient. A common characteristic of the man–and what Hatogaya replied with only heightened his relatively short temper.

    “Do nothing. Let him go.”

    “NO!” Chujo slammed his fist on the table. “Extermination’s the answer!” he turned to Takasu. “A few maser tanks?”

    “Even if we gathered them to one spot and opened fire while he was asleep, they would only do just as well as our previous assault,” the Prime Minister answered. “Even if they are equipped enough to injure the creature, they’d have to spend days chiseling at him to kill him. And that’s just saying if he stays asleep, which is unlikely.”

    “Furthermore,” she continued, “if they fire at him while he’s awake, it will only lead to further collateral damage that will extend outside of Chiyoda, not to mention the needless loss of more lives.”

    She turned back toward the old man. “I don’t always agree with him, but I’m siding with Hatogaya on this. Our resources are all but useless, and our only weapon capable of truly besting him is crippled beyond further use. As of now, there’s little to do but wait until he wakes, and heads back out to sea.”

    “What about the President of the U.S.?” Yasuko asked from the back of the room. “How do you think today will affect his public position?”

    Takasu smirked slyly at the question. “He tried to wipe out a city of thirteen million with the first use of a nuclear weapon on Japan since World War II, all in broad daylight, and we put a stop to it and embarrassed him for all to see, subsequently embarrassing America in the process.” Her smile grew broader. “How do you think everything will unfold for him at this point?”

    “I’ll put it this way,” the G-Force operator responded with a smile of her own tugging at her lips, “I hope Yuki wins his bet with his co-pilots.”

    “Don’t we all,” Hatogaya shook his head with a light grin. “Nowadays, I wonder if there even is a limit anymore.”

    “Oh, I think there will be,” Takasu said. “Attempting destruction of an entire city without giving so much as a warning is a far different matter than anything that son of a bitch has done in the past. Even those close to him know that full well.”

    “In the meantime,” Hatogaya piped up, “other countries must be careful on how they use nuclear power–if anything, all of us should look to using new energy sources. Godzilla is back on the loose, and he reportedly lives off radioactive material. If he ever gets hungry, he might target France or the U.S. next.”

    “Let them have it,” Chujo scoffed, “after all they nearly cost us today–”

    Takasu fixed him with an intense glare, cutting him off faster than the blink of an eye.

    “Don’t blame an entire country of innocent lives for the sins of a handful of those in power,” she spoke calmly, yet fiercely. “Otherwise, we’re no better than them.”

    Whatever was building in the man’s vocal cords died in an instant, even his pride knowing full well when to quit. Takasu lightly shook her head before continuing. “If Godzilla lands on American soil, we’ll gladly come to their aid whether the current dictator likes it or not. And once he’s been kicked out of office and replaced by a real president, then current political strains will be lessened considerably to say the least. But there’s one problem…”

    “Problem, ma’am?” Yasuko asked.

    “We only have a single anti-Godzilla weapon formidable enough to potentially match him, and it was downed in battle not fifteen minutes ago.” She sighed, turning back to the screen. “We can’t rely on the Super-X3 alone. We need more means of defense–especially given that there are two Godzillas in the world now. Lord knows what else may be waiting for us out there.”

    She closed her eyes for a moment and took a silent breath.

    “This all may only be just the beginning.”

    *****

    Puffs of vapor wisped loudly from two gigantic nostrils as a slumbering lifeform re-awoke. Lids of scaly skin lifted to reveal two weary, orange eyes that gazed tiredly upon the environment around them. With every muscle and nerve that re-activated through his massive body, Godzilla hissed as all the pain suffered in his defeat returned ounce by ounce. The King of the Monsters gazed around and saw no sign of the scarred mutant. He took a whiff through his nostrils, and found only a vague whiff of the creature remained behind. A sure sign he had long departed by now.

    Summoning his willpower, Godzilla fought against the horrible pain as he strained to push himself out of the cooling artificial magma. As he rose with a loud grunt, he noticed that some of his injuries were not in as poor condition as they had been when he collapsed. It seems like the radiation left behind had helped somewhat in his recovery–but that said very little. Every inch of his monolithic form hurt like the lowest plane of oblivion, and the trace amounts of radiation left over from their explosive battle would be nowhere near close enough to restore him to his full strength. His time on this island was over.

    It was time to head back home.

    Godzilla lumbered through the viscous molten rock, his stride actually leaving marks in the solidifying substance as he moved. But when he reached the edge of the crater-to-be, his eyebrows raised upon glimpsing an unexpected memento.

    A four-toed footprint, with a familiar scent to it.

    The Alpha Predator stared at the taloned track for a moment, letting his surprise linger. And then, very slowly, he took his left foot, reared it out of the last of the melted rock, and stepped in the footprint. He looked forward, seeing yet another track left behind by the mutated reptile. Rearing up his matching foot, he stepped in it too. Track by track, he followed in the departed creature’s footsteps, smirking ever so slightly as he allowed himself to dwell on all the possibilities that could open up from this day, about the potentials that could be brought forth in the future following his newfound respect for his irradiated doppelganger. If a threat ever showed its face to the planet in the not-too-distant future, he may not be its only hope of defense.

    Godzilla smiled again as he dove beneath the waves, letting the soothing blanket of the water cool him down.

    For the first time in 250 million years, more than one Alpha Predator drew breath on this earth.

    *****

    Showa Kinen Park

    Her eyes had begun to water before she glimpsed them from afar, spotting them sitting on their favorite bench. Even from a distance, Yasuko could make out their shapes instantly; the little girl huddled against her mother’s side while the former’s arm wrapped around her like a blanket as they waited. For half a second, they remained that way–vigilant, tired, frightened, and waiting.

    And then the next half of a second passed, and they moved in a way that told Yasuko they saw her.

    There were times when one deemed it necessary to not show weakness in front of one’s family in times of terror and hardship, to remain strong so as to ease the family’s pain and fear, to make them feel at least a little better while something frightful loomed in their minds. But now was no such time for Yasuko–and she knew her family would hold no judgement to her for it. The woman’s face contorted into one of heartbroken relief and she elicited a half-gasp, half-sob as she took a brief second to cover her mouth with her hand, before her walk sped up as they got off the bench. Then her walk evolved into a jog, and soon the was full-blown sprinting at them as the first tears fell from her hazel eyes.

    She closed the gap between her and her running daughter in less than ten seconds, nearly sliding as she dropped to her knees and clasped the weeping four-year old in her arms with a protective grip only a mother could deliver. As little Yukari Hashimoto tried to hug her just as hard, Yasuko stood up with her daughter in tow when she saw the second shape sprinting toward her at what seemed to be cheetah speeds. The most dazzling human being in the world, her partner for life, her soulmate, her other half; weeping silently as she dashed to meet her. Throwing one arm wide open, Yasuko only took a step forward as Chinatsu Hashimoto ran right into it with an ecstatically relieved cry. Sobbing, squeezing with all their strength, the three gently fell back to the grassy earth in a warm huddle.

    And they stayed there for a while, bound together as one, under the golden-leaved tree.

    *****

    27 days later

    The photographer sighed with content as he finally allowed himself to sit against a suitable tree, letting his legs turn to jelly as he relaxed from a long, exhausting, but truly worthwhile hike. The wind sang gently through the forests of Mt. Fuji, a light breeze nipping at the sides of his neck while the remaining leaves trembled their death throes before plucking from their branches, carried away by the wind.

    The man clicked the directional buttons on his camera as he looked through the different shots he had taken through the course of the day, reviewing each and every aspect of every one, judging which ones were exactly fit to stay in his album and which ones he would have to re-take; and to his pleasant surprise, he detected no true error among his collection. As far as he could tell, each shot was primed and ready to be printed into physical form and added to his album when he got home. Every image possessed exactly the right color, mood, and style that he had individually intended; for now, he was free to rest his feet and enjoy the serenity of these sacred grounds personally. For these calm next few minutes, the camera could wait.

    SNAP!

    The photographer’s eyes jolted open, his once-soothed nerves snapping awake instantly when the sound of branches breaking entered his ears. Whatever had made that sound, it didn’t sound like any bird or macaque; no, it sounded like something big. Far too big to make the ground vibrate the way it did. Whatever had just broken those branches didn’t just make considerable noise–he could feel a sense of great strength shuddering from it. Perhaps it was a rather large branch, and it had finally fallen off its respective tree?

    SNAP!

    The crack echoed a second time, stronger than the first. More branches had broken, and whatever made that noise sounded as if it had gotten closer. The photographer climbed to his feet as quietly as he could make himself sound, not wanting to attract the attention of whatever was moving through the woods. He switched his camera on, wondering if he could snap a photograph of the unseen entity should it pass into open view.

    SNAP!

    With a final twisting and crashing of bark, the source of the noise stepped out from the trees and into the photographer’s field of view, not ten yards away. His heart nearly stopped at what he was seeing, his mind failing for a half-second to comprehend the being that had just emerged from the undergrowth to lumber before his very eyes. At first, his mind registered it as looking very human; tall and lanky with a round cranium and mouth full of similar teeth. But then the other details set in, putting it as anything but. The beast was at least twenty-five feet tall; It possessed blackish-purple skin, tiny yellow eyes and large canine teeth. A skeletal tail dragged behind it, and a single row of pointed plates of bone running down its spinal column. Plates shaped like maple leaves.

    The photographer jutted his camera up, and acting as quickly as he possibly could, snapped three quick photos of the humanoid giant that walked before him.

    Crossing the threshold of the path, the Godzilla-humanoid turned its eyeless head to look at the photographer, and for that brief moment the man stilled as he felt time freeze. This was it; this was the end. The ghastly creature had caught him in its sights, its little yellow eyes seemingly fixing him with its predatory gaze. He knew it saw him, and he was but an unarmed and defenseless prey animal. No weapons, no means of escape, no distractions. He was as good as dead.

    And then the humanoid turned its head back forward as it continued to walk, time resuming its normal pace to the stunned photographer as the skeletal creature crossed the path and lumbered down the hill. Seemingly not having given a care in the world about the flabbergasted human being watching it.

    And the creature vanished into the woods, as if it had never been there to begin with.

    *****

    Aurlandsfjord, Norway

    When used as an offensive weapon, cold would normally hinder the mighty Godzilla. But as he waded through the shimmering mirror of a fjord under the overcast sky, chunks of ice occasionally bumping against his keloid-scarred hide, the God Incarnate paid it no mind. The cold here was just one of many comforting solaces that pacified Godzilla, informing him of the near lack of civilization in this particular stretch of land and water as he lumbered quietly, peacefully through the frigid fjord. The mountains around him quaked and trembled with every impact of his clawed feet meeting the cold depths of the water as he walked, but such vibrations could not be detected by the saurian mixotroph. To him, everything was peace and quiet. Birds chirping from the mountains, distant reindeer barking to one another in a language Godzilla didn’t know nor care to understand, the water waving and rippling with every movement of his massive hips. All exactly as he preferred it.

    Godzilla roared, listening to his call bounce off the mountains as it echoed down the snow-laded gorge.

    The unnatural deity stopped still as the inanimate mountains around him when a sound different from his own echo bounced lightly through the fjord, catching his ears. Godzilla’s natural radar detected something down the gorge, a presence not too far away, not even a mile behind the mountains. And if his radar didn’t confirm the existence of a lifeform, his sense of smell certainly did. A scent had drifted into his nasal passage, and his nose told him everything he needed to know. That scent didn’t belong to a being of artificial nature–everything about it screamed biological.

    There was another animal in the vicinity.

    Godzilla roared again, resuming his locomotion… … …and sure enough, the call wailed back.

    The irradiated reptile didn’t know what he was going to find when he discovered the source of the wailing cry. He didn’t know if the unseen beast was friendly–or ferocious. Until first contact, he wouldn’t be able to differentiate friend from foe. So he walked, inching further and further down the fjord as he sensed the presence drawing ever closer; his instincts warily preparing him for the possibility of yet another conflict. Emitting rumbling infrasound, he practically stalked down the gorge as he prepared to meet whatever it was that lay ahead.

    A splash of water acted as the prelude to a reptilian quadruped emerging from behind the mountain that covered the right turn of the river. A carapace of spikes adorned its back, with fierce eyes glowering fearlessly beneath a head topped by a crown of curved horns. A spiked tail swayed behind it, signifying its own caution. Opening his razor-toothed jaws, Anguirus honked at Godzilla. The God Incarnate was stunned to see yet another Titan; he was beginning to wonder whether or not the terrestrial world was full of them. It seemed that his evolution through the years into a creature as large as he was had allowed him to step into a larger world, the surface of which he had only just begun to scratch.

    Godzilla hoped that what he was about to do would prove a benefit, and not a fatal mistake. Hope in of itself could be a fatal mistake–Godzilla had learned that the hard way. Hope could get you killed, so it was a concept never to be taken lightly when faced with circumstances in which survivability could be on the line. So, after a moment of hesitation, the mutated reptile decided.

    Godzilla called to the spiked ankylosaur. A greeting. Thus, he waited.

    And Godzilla hoped.

    Winner: Godzilla (Reiwa)

    K.W.C. Kaiju War Chronicles

    K.W.C. // June 20, 2021
  • A few years ago I translated a few pages of Terebi Magazine that described an early take of Mecha-Ghidorah that came from the 1980s—long before Mecha-King Ghidorah became a part of the Heisei canon. I had seen images of this fully-mechanized version of the monster floating around the Internet for years, and so I was pretty happy when I finally got my hands on a reprinted copy that came as a bonus with one of the Godzilla All-Movie DVD Collectors’ Box volumes. Many of these sets come with interesting bonus materials, and while I usually picked them up only if they had rare manga reprints of things like the manga adaptation of Godzilla vs. Megalon or Kazumine Daiji’s adaptation of Godzilla vs. Hedorah, sometimes a particular article reprint also caught my eye—and such was the case with vol. 47, which included the movie Varan (1958), and a set of six short stories titled “Giant Monster of Justice Godzilla,” published as a serial in Terebi Magazine from October 1972 until March of 1973. (more…)

    Translations // June 11, 2021