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  • Authors: Dao Zang Moua & Matthew Freese | Banner: Andrew Sudomerski

    Four years have passed since that fateful day in 2014. The day the world learned that Monsters truly exist. As such, the once secret organization, Monarch, had been doing its best to find and study these creatures. With the knowledge of monsters now widespread, the organization now had to rush to beat out other interested groups in finding these Titans in order to both preserve and prevent their use for destructive purposes. Put under fire by the US Government, the organization was now under scrutiny by the governing bodies of several other countries, all wanting the knowledge they had gathered over decades of studying the Titans.

    To some, that might seem as though all their hard work was being torn away like a leaf in the wind. For Shinichi Yamane, he was almost glad that this information was going to be spread out. The older man let out a long sigh as he sat in the back of an Osprey, a new hoverable aircraft built by Monarch. The knowledge they had gathered was mostly in ways to destroy the Titans, while some, like himself, sought to understand them. If this information was shared amongst the world, evacuation plans and emergency responses could be better created in case one of the Titans awoke and rampaged. As with how much good this would be in the long term, he had a feeling that Monarch would refuse to release it once again.

    The shuddering rumble of turbulence in the machine he rode did little to ease him, as he watched one of the many government meetings about the militarization and giving the military rule of Monarch, the organization being defended by a trio of Monarch employees. Being a second generation researcher at Monarch had its benefits, allowing for a better understanding of the organization as a whole and more freedom to search new locations. However, those also came with their own problems, as his old friend Ishiro Serizawa would attest, the man currently in said debate over the organizations’ continued existence outside of the military. The two of them were close friends, both their fathers having done much work together when Monarch was first founded. Though both sought similar fields, only one was busy representing an entire organization. As such, Yamane had a bit more freedom than his more well known friend, something he liked to joke about.

    However, Yamane felt that there was still something missing in his life. While Serizawa researched intently into Gojira and other titans with similar relations, Yamane preferred a more adventurous life for his old age, searching new areas for indications or hidden habitats for various undocumented Titans. His discoveries of several Titans and Titan fossils had earned him enough merit for him to simply study any of the creatures on Monarch’s radar he wanted, yet he continued on with his search for titans. Many believed he simply enjoyed the thrill of the hunt and adventure. Only he knew the truth. Unlike the others, he hadn’t felt a connection to any of the Titans he had found. None had gained his interest enough for him to devote his time to. As such, he felt as though he were always incomplete as a scientist, as though there was nothing truly worth devoting his time to.

    The feed soon cut off as the pilot alerted him they were nearing the location. Staring out the side window, Yamane watched as temples of various sizes and states of decay sprawled across the land. He was on assignment to the Tharabha Gate of Bagan. A recent earthquake had opened up a sinkhole to an underground temple nearby, dating much further back than those on the surface. If it weren’t for the depictions of Titans and the constant waves of hot wind blowing through from within the temple depths, it would have gone straight to some other historical researchers rather than the Titan-oriented Monarch. If this site had nothing to offer for him, he would pass it on to another researcher to take over and head for the next potential lead, a dormant volcanic island in the pacific where rumors of a giant monster nearby have spread.

    He could already see sprawling groups of various workers closing off the area and setting up research stations, all wearing protective gear. Near the gate was a massive hole in the ground, with various shrines having collapsed within. The moment the Osprey landed, he was already on his feet, meeting with a group of soldiers and researchers as he felt the unusual warmth of the surroundings.

    “Dr. Yamane, I presume?” a soldier stated in a slightly broken accent, holstering his weapon to hold out a hand. “I am Lieutenant Li Xiong, second in command of the platoon sent to monitor this location.”

    Yamane held out his identification pass and shook the hand, looking around at the various equipment and monitors set up.

    “Has anyone found the source of the heat waves?” Yamane spoke as he looked at the ancient structure, staring more closely at the two small shrines with statues of guardian spirits. In front of those two shrines and the gate was a large sinkhole caused by the earthquake. Staring inside, he noted that it had to be at least 30-40 meters of solid rock before the chasm revealed a large eroded cavern, now lit up with various lights and equipment.

    “Not yet, sir, but the heat appears to be coming from further down in the depths,” the soldier replied. “We have been sending down people in six hour intervals due to the heat inside the chamber.” The sound of hooks striking rock sounded out as several soldiers quickly shot onto the surface, each wearing temperature-regulating bodysuits and a mysterious mechanism on their waist. As they pulled themselves up, another powerful burst of warm air shot out of the hole, launching out one of the returnees who had shot off too much gas. With wires still stuck into the rock, he slammed down in an arc, back first onto the dirt at high speed. People rushed over to check on him as Yamane quickly realized what they were using.

    “So that’s the O.D.M. Gear,” he said, watching as people rushed to remove the gear from the injured soldier, the wires quickly retracting back into its container. O.D.M., short for Omni-Directional Maneuver Gear. A more refined version of the Katatsumuri device that allowed for better movement in a 3-dimensional space. Upon the discovery and usage of the Katatsumuri during the MUTO Prime Incident, Monarch had quickly hired the student at Japan University who invented the device and funded her to make her invention have better maneuverability in emergencies. As such, it was soon changed from a bulky, back-mounted mechanism that shot wires up and down, to a more streamlined waist harness mechanism that fired two retractable grappling hooks using a pressurized gas-propelled pulley system. A second version that used a more controllable, gun-like trigger mechanism was in the works, under the title of A.P. Modification.

    “As you can see, Doctor, the bursts of air were too powerful for us to use rappelling gear, so we asked Monarch to send us some of the prototype Maneuver Gear to get us down into the depths for the early stages,” the major replied. “However, once inside the cavern, we noticed various stone water pipes as well as ventilation holes releasing heat and water into a ravine.”

    Professor Yamane stared at the scene for a moment longer, the warm air billowing past him before slowing to a breeze. He wasn’t sure what it was, but in the back of his head, the professor felt something he hadn’t before during an excavation. As though something was calling to him.

    “I’m going down in the next shift,” he ordered. “Perhaps this is the one I’ve been searching for.”

    After several hours of waiting and greeting the personnel already working, the professor had changed into a temperature-regulated body suit, made by Monarch to protect against radiation from Titans and the temperatures of extreme locations. The suit came with a specialized helmet made to filter air in dangerous environments, as well as allowing for video recording and built-in communications. For the last couple of hours, Yamane had spent time with the soldiers who had already tested out the gear, learning the proper aiming techniques and how to use the mechanisms. It was this excitement to find new subjects that drove the professor as he stood over the billowing hole with groups of soldiers and researchers alongside him. The previous shift had just exited the hole, leaving this next shift to work through the night.

    “Are you sure you want to do this, Professor?” Lieutenant Xiong asked as he stood in the same equipment, holding his helmet in his arms. As hot air billowed out into the brisk twilight air, the professor stared into the depths before giving his response. Helmet lights on the others turned on as they prepared to leap into the depths. A large burst of warm air blew upward as several soldiers and researchers alike dove into the depths, cushioning their bodies with the winds as they fell into the depths.

    “A man once said, ‘When you’re ready, nothing can stop you. If something’s stopping you, you’re not ready.’”

    With his peace said, Yamane put on his helmet, hearing the hissing click as it locked into the suit, and dove into the hole. As he descended, he felt the air brushing past his suit before he shot out the anchors on his maneuver gear. Metal clamped into rock as the group descended into the depths, being sure to counteract their falling speed with bursts of compressed gas.

    The thuds of boots hitting broken stone and whirring wires echoed across the chamber as the group unlatched their hooks from the walls. The moment he hit the ground, the professor felt the heat brushing up against his suit. Unlike the crisp morning air above, the chamber was filled with an uncomfortable warmth, most likely cooled by the opening above. He began to look about his surroundings, various lights illuminating the dark cavern, revealing a large underground ravine cracked on one side as rocks and soil covered parts of the flooring. Carved into the walls were bas reliefs telling the tales of some civilization of the past. The roof of the cavern had several large and small openings, each releasing small bursts of hot or warm air into the room due to the damages of the collapse. Alongside them were several stone drains that were dripping water into the room, most likely being brought down and leading back into the nearby Irrawaddy River.

    “Interesting,” he spoke as he walked toward one of the walls, trying to decipher what story these carvings were telling. “How far have you gotten in exploring the temple, and how far back have you managed to date the rockface?”

    “So far, we’ve managed to date the stone carvings to about over 20,000 years,” one researcher said. “Though our equipment is still analyzing the samples, that is the most recent estimate. As for the exploration, several of the tunnels are blocked off by collapsed structures.”

    Staring up, he wondered what ancient civilization would make such intricate carvings, especially around that era. Most of history would state that such advancements in civilization should not have existed at such a period, yet some locations found by Monarch explorers had also, secretly, proven these ancient, and advanced for their era, civilizations existed at points where man should have still been living in caves.

    As he followed the walls, he found himself on the edge of the ravine, peering into the darkness as water fell down beneath him. Pressing a button on the side of his helmet, he activated his darkened headlamp, revealing the size of the ravine was far larger than he had assumed. Darkness still overcame the light of his helmet, barely able to see the wall of the opposing side hundreds of meters across. The depths themselves were still covered in darkness, leaving the ravine to appear like an endless abyss waiting to swallow him whole.

    “Careful there, sir,” one man said, staring at how close the professor was to the edge. “Wouldn’t want you to fall in now, would we?”

    “Of course not,” he replied back, joking along with the researcher as he turned back to rejoin the group. As he did so, the ground began to shudder as more heat filled the chamber. Panic filled the group as small rocks and dirt fell from the ceiling, the start of an earthquake in the making. The muddied ground beneath the professor quickly began to crumble, dropping him into the depths of the ravine behind him as the rumbling stopped.

    “Professor!”

    Shinichi screamed as he fell into the depths, his light frantically waving back and forth. Muddy water cascaded across his body as he reached about, trying to grab hold of the triggers for the Maneuver Gear. The hiss of the hooks firing outward and the snap of the wires stopping his fall briefly stunned the professor as he dangled, his vision covered in dirty water. An accidental press of the trigger mechanism from the snap caused a burst of gas to shoot out, launching the professor through the waterfall and into some rocks, his mask cracking from the impact and forcibly detaching the grapples from the rock. .

    “Gah!”

    With a cracked face protector covered in dirt and water, Yamane laid stunned on wet, yet oddly warm stone. He laid there for a moment, his back hurting from falling onto the maneuver gear before slowly sitting up. Turning back, he saw the large opening concealed by the falling water, lights flickering on the other side.

    “I’m alright!” he responded back, catching his breath from the rush. “I appear to have fallen into some sort of cavern.” As he stood, he felt the heat breezing past from behind, turning to see a long dark hallway covered in bas reliefs. “It seems I’ve found a passage leading further into the temple.” Static reached his ears before Captain Xiong’s voice came through.

    “We are getting video responses now, we can now see what you’re seeing,” Xiong said with some static in his voice. “I’ll send some people down, but we have no way of knowing exactly where the cave opening is with all the rushing water. You’re on your own for now.”

    With communications back in check, Yamane walked toward the halls, his headlight guiding his passage through the damp corridor. Peering upon the walls revealed more daily life of the civilization, though this time showing people bowing before a large pyramid with two horns. Behind the temple stood a massive beast, with horns like a triceratops, as well as two large shoulder spikes. Off to the side of the beast stood a more familiar entity to Monarch’s files, a certain ‘bringer of balance’ as his friend would say. As he looked upon the ancient art, he noticed beneath the murals were a series of ancient runic text, similar to other runic script of older civilizations.

    “Do we have anyone who can translate these runes?” Yamane asked as he backed up, viewing the entire Mural revealing more runic script and what appeared to be a massive creature etched into the stonework.

    “We have the translation program running over your video feed right now, but so far the only words that have been translated are ‘God of Darkness’ and ‘Bagan,’” a researcher stated.

    Yamane stared upon the mural in awe, the feeling in his mind coming to fruition. This was what he was searching for, his missing piece in his monarch journey.

    “Bagan,” he said, putting a hand to the mural’s horned beast.

    *****

    25,000 years ago

    Where life may flourish, humanity will always find a way to exist. Tall, triangular buildings of red stone stood upon the open plain of the land, protected by a large stone wall. A massive city spanning the land, built near a large river with man-made waterways bringing water to and from the city. Sprawling farmland spread far outside the walls, reaching out into the land until it reached the unending forests. Wooden caravans traveled to and fro among dirt roads through the forests, buying and selling their wares among the people of the city. It was here, on the edge of the forest that the Grand Temple of Bagan stood, made to honor the civilization’s great protector and their namesake. The God of the Forests, Bagan. Stood in front of the massive temple were two towers with long spires of stone, each with a minor gate guardian statue as massive hornlike spires jutted out from the forests behind the temple.

    People moved about within the courtyard of the temple, some kneeling down in prayer while others tended to the various flowers and small gardens beautifying the venue. Among them was a young woman dressed in white and green robes. Among the priests and priestesses of the temple, she was the highest rank, the divine translator between men and god. The high priestess, Hayma.

    Sitting in the midst of the garden, she stared toward the massive horns jutting from behind the temple’s structures. People bowed to her as they passed her by, yet she barely paid them mind. Even now, she could feel their outermost thoughts toward her, some seeing her with respect for her position while others held jealousy toward her talent, hiding behind masks of awe. Unlike the rest of the humans, Hayma was born differently, born gifted. She was born with the power to hear and speak to the hearts of both men and gods. People like her were found and brought to temples in order to hone their gift to translate the Gods words to the people, eventually finding the god that best connected with their personality. Though that was what the masses knew, the truth of the matter was for the gifted to use their talents to bond to a god, both to drive away angered gods, and for some, to control the gods themselves.

    Hayma sighed as she watched the spires move gently up and down. Even in his slumber, she could feel his thoughts in her mind. If she focused hard enough, she could even view his dreams if she so wished. Unlike what the masses would believe, the Gods didn’t speak like a human, but instead sent emotions and pictures through the bond as visions, sometimes even memories of past or future events. It was a bond that worked both ways, both beings sharing their hearts and minds together allowing them to see what the other saw. It was this bond that allowed those with her gift to connect humanity with the gods, sharing their emotions and experiences together. It was as she was viewing the glimpses of her god’s dreams, that she felt the mind of another drawing near. The mind of another god.

    Thundering footsteps shook the land, causing the people to panic. Some bowed down where they stood while others began to pray in a mass panic. Hayma did neither, walking up to the top of a tower in order to do her job as the High Priestess. As she made her way up, she watched as people moved about in mad prayer, others simply continuing business as per usual. However in all of them she felt a tinge of fear among their thoughts. She pitied them, knowing that their prayers were mere chitters of ants to most gods, unlike her whose voice could be heard and understood.

    Staring into the distance, she looked out into the horizon, searching for the god that was nearing. She had seen many of the great titans during her time as high priestess. Some were built like great animals, using their strength and power to overpower opponents. Others were built out of the elements themselves, showcasing the raw power of nature and reminding them of its might. However, she felt that only her god could compare to the monstrosity approaching. It’s power was something to be wary of.

    In the distance, she could see it’s coal black scales, almost rocky in appearance looming closer. Jagged spines jutted up like plates of sheared obsidian, flowing down in three rows along the spine of the reptilian creature. During her time learning to harness her power, she was taught to be wary of this god amongst all others. This creature was the balance bringer, the great destroyer, the King amongst the Gods. Gojira.

    Hayma stood there, staring at the massive god king as it made a path toward their city. As much as she hated having to do so, she knew only she and her god could deter the other gods of the world. With her mind made, she put her hands together in prayer, her mind pulsing with power as it began trying to connect with the oncoming god. It was a painful process, entering the mind of a god she had no bond with, yet she had to in order to keep them away from the city. However, trying to connect to this one was far harder than the others that occasionally made their way through. Briefly touching its mind, she was bombarded with information on its current purpose. Hunt, Kill, Intruder, False King. Alongside these messages came images of a great terror, one she had never seen before. A great shadow in the sky, covered by golden lightning. Pushing past the surface, she made contact with the God King’s heart, seeing the full picture for what it was. A golden destroyer descending from the stormy heavens, a harbinger of death and destruction.

    Now knowing his purpose, she began sending her own messages to the god, trying to dissuade him from trudging through their home. Surprisingly, she found it much easier to be heard then with other gods, as Godzilla stopped in his path. The great leviathan turned toward her location, as though staring straight at her. A feeling of understanding came through the bond, a weaker connection of trust compared to the one she had formed with her guardian deity. Sweeping his vision across the land, he noticed the city nearby, as well as the people bowing down in zealous fervor. With the people now in his sight and the pleading of the priestess in his mind, Godzilla turned to go around the city. Sighing in relief, Hayma unclasped her hands, readying to release her connection to the foreign god now that they had come to an understanding.

    This was not to be however, as a scent caught the alpha predator’s attention. Sniffing more, his eyes seemed to dilate as the powerful titan peered around once more, noticing the white spires jutting from the ground. Growling, Godzilla stood on guard, his sudden aggression catching Hayma’s attention. Blue energy pulsed through the jagged spines, lighting up patterns upon the rocky exterior as the titan king reared back. Memories flowed through the still open connection, memories Hayma had not seen before in other titans that wandered too close to the city. Unlike some of the other gods, Godzilla had been around far longer than the rest, having fought more battles than the rest of the titans ever had. It was through this experience that Hayma saw a vision, one from the long distant past.

    From where she stood, great burning flames washed over the land, the corpses of various titans, even other Godzilla, laid scorched and torn apart, rivers of boiling blood flowing along the molten ground. The skies were dark with soot and ash, occasionally lit up by the golden light of the moth goddess herself. Hayma watched as the goddess of light dove, her wings crimson red with rage before a stream of blistering white fire overcame her. His hatred was felt around her as the ground shook. From below her rose an injured Godzilla, blue energy billowing like smoke from shattered spines, anger marring his features. He roared out to the cause of this great annihilation, a dark figure that was revealing in the death and destruction strewn about. Shadows covered the monster’s form, yet Hayma recognized it all the same. As the figure turned to her, blinding light filled her vision, white flame striking blue.

    Gasping for breath, Hayma nearly fell over from the vision, her mind still connected to the god king. The vision she had seen showed her part of the past of her god, one she knew pieces of yet was still hidden from her. Her telekinetic power began to pulse with her panic, causing the civilians that were too close to collapse from the mental exertion. As she began to calm, the ground near the temple began to shudder. Dirt and rock shook as the mountain behind the temple slowly began to rise upward, raising skyward. Muscle and hide reddish brown, rippling with the might of the gods. Armor like great white marble covered its body, the two large spires that stood behind the temple jutting out of the shoulders like mighty pikes. Crowning his head were two large horns, a third nasal horn jutting outward like a blade of a dagger.

    Having felt the panic of his priestess, Bagan, God of the Forest, roared mightily into the sky, warning the oncoming titan to back away. Upon hearing the earth shaking warning, Godzilla growled to himself. His spines continued to flicker with their azure patterns, readying in case a fight broke out. Though his hatred for this abomination filled his mind, he had more pressing matters at hand then his rage. The monster king roared back, not in challenge, but in warning. A warning that a great calamity was coming.

    With the two conversing above, the people below prayed en masse in panic. They did not wish to be caught in the midst of a war between Gods. Even with her mind strained with the connection between two tense, powerful beings, Hayma still felt the innate fear of the people around her. It was over a moment later, as the god king backed away, still ready in case a battle were to break out. With the warning in place and the intruder leaving, Hayma unlatched her connection to the blue leviathan, her full attention now back on her god.

    Bagan looked down toward his priestess, sensing the rolling turmoil inside her mind. It transferred to him as well, letting him share in her emotions. He wished there was something he could do to comfort her, but he was lost on how to do such a thing in the face of his past darkness. It weighed on his heart like a stone.

    The stupor was broken by the low growl of Godzilla. Connected to her god, Hayma understood the meaning of the call through his mind. It terrified her.

    If this was Bagan’s territory, then it was his responsibility to handle the encroaching nightmare.

    The leviathan turned fully, walking away with only an occasional glance back. His heavy, booming footsteps soon faded into obscurity, leaving Bagan and Hayma with his parting message playing in their minds. Panicked murmurs amongst the people drew both their attentions to the horizon opposite Godzilla, revealing dark clouds creeping over it like grasping hands. Small flashes of yellow could be seen in the void.

    The priestess quickly made her way to the crowds, rattling off commands. “Everyone, prepare yourselves! Something horrible is coming, we need to be ready to weather this encroaching storm!” She repeated this a few times as the people scattered and ensured the message was spread far and wide. She turned to face her god, closing her eyes and clasping her hands before her face.

    “Please, protect us as you always have. You cannot fail here, not against this… abomination.”

    Bagan bowed his head slightly. This kingdom, its forests, and its people were his life. He would fight with all he had, until the last breath left his body. The glimpses he got of this entity from his priestess were enough to tell him that this would be a fight to rattle the heavens. Stretching his muscles as he adjusted to being awake, he reassured Hayma.

    With some of the fear lifted off her heart, Hayma went back to making preparations.

    Hours later, night fell. Bagan rested in his usual place, the psychic waiting by his side. She was tired, but her mind was focused on something else. She closed her eyes, reaching out once more.

    My god, can you hear me? She telepathically questioned. The bull dragon focused on her presence inside his mind, affirming. What did I see in Gojira’s mind? It was you but, it…

    The chamber of Bagan’s mind shuddered with myriad emotion, none pleasant. Anger, sorrow, fear, and shame. It was the ancient past, before ape became man. Control was lost, vast fields of death, unending mourning for what he had done.

    Hayma was taken aback when she “heard” that ever since that point, Bagan had restrained his true strength. Fearing that he would relapse and that day would happen anew. That was all he let his servant know, the rest of the knowledge locked away within recess of the colossus’ mind that could not be probed even if Hayma wished to violate his privacy as such.

    She felt his disdain for himself. He saw himself as disgusting and wretched, a disgrace to titankind. How could he call himself a protector with so much blood on his hands?

    Bagan suddenly felt a calming warmth in his mind, like an embrace. You have saved us in the past, no matter the danger you alone have stood to face it. In his slumber, the bull dragon’s mouth curled into a smile. Do not let your dark past define you. You have saved thousands of lives multiple times.

    Suddenly, the deity was transported to a scene, one filled with terror.

    A young girl ran through a city embroiled in chaos, a cacophony of agonized screams mixing with foul shrieks. People lay dying in droves, bleeding out and suffering as two-legged reptiles consumed them frantically, grey scales and a white skull-like face being stained with crimson as they ate like they had starved for a decade. Her vision was blurry from tears that continued to flow no matter how often she wiped her eyes, but even that did not stop her from noticing when one particularly colossal beast looked at her.

    Despite being big enough to crush a house flat with one step, the elder Skullcrawler still saw fit to madly charge at the young child, throwing itself full fervor at a target that would provide practically no sustenance. The hoarse, rasped call that escaped its cavernous throat, rolling past teeth stained with blood and decorated with viscera, nearly deafened her.

    As she turned and ran as fast as her small legs could carry her, the living nightmare’s mind brushed against hers, bombarding her with horrid images of her own mutilation and of the all encompassing madness billowing through the Skullcrawler’s mind. It was endless screaming, wrath clawing over agony only to be shoved down and overpowered by hunger, anguish returning in full force and waging war for dominance of the conscience.

    The ground shook as it drew near, only making it harder for her futile attempt to flee to create distance. The young girl screamed in terror and sorrow, adrenaline trying and failing to push her to safety.

    A roar that shook the heavens rang out. The earth was rocked by a tremor, sending the child falling down. She curled up into the fetal position, weeping as she awaited death, hoping it would be swift. Instead, there was another crash, combined with a call of immense agony from the cruel beast that had just tried to end her. Looking up, through her tears, she saw the Skull Devil.

    Its tail, pinned and presumably crushed beneath a pillar of ivory armor. Her gaze traveled further up, managing to still witness from the bottom of her vision as the column lifted up and reduced the body of her assailant into paste.

    Bagan saw himself through her eyes, standing tall and proud. The rest of the predators fled in droves, not attacking another living thing as their oft-ignored survival instinct took over. The deity looked down to the girl he had saved, face framed by glorious sunlight. Most found his glowing red eyes and sharp fangs ominous, even those loyal to him were hesitant to stare directly at his face.

    But through Hayma’s young eyes, and through her eyes even now, he saw himself as a savior. From the very depths of my heart, I thank you. For everything. She revealed to him.

    For the first time in eons, Bagan felt true joy.

    Days passed, anxiety rising with the darkening of the skies. Rain fell constantly, starting off as a light drizzle until a few days of increasing intensity made it a torrential downpour that threatened to flood the kingdom. Colossal bolts of golden lightning tore down from the heavens, blasting apart trees with their electric might or just leaving scorched patches upon the earth. Ferocious winds rippled through the trees, plucking away leaves and pulling off branches.

    Hayma was no stranger to harsh storms, but this one eclipsed any other by an immense degree. She waited within Bagan’s temple, sheltered from the soaking rain by its roof. From her perch she saw people fleeing into their homes, into stores and other similar places, and more than a few ran past the colossus standing before the temple to seek solace in the largest building. She, along with the others who tended to the temple, welcomed them in with open arms.

    “The temple shall not turn you away in this dark time, come forth and be shielded on this holy ground!” Hayma spoke, lifting the burden off many shoulders as they settled into some kind of comfort. She looked out once more, seeing her god standing outside. He cared not for the torrent, the lightning and howling wind gave him no fear. Bagan just stared out into the distance, claws flexing as he prepared himself.

    He did feel fear creeping through him, it was slight, but he could tell it was present. The single deadliest foe he’d ever faced was coming, how could he not feel some fear? But, Hayma was the rock his people leaned on for stability, and he was her rock in kind. The forest god remained steadfast, determined to not let weakness show.

    “Bagan shall guard us, his will and body shall remain as unbroken as it has for centuries!” The head-priestess chanted to her people.

    “Praise Bagan, our indomitable guardian!” Someone in the group shouted. The rest joined them in the chant, bringing a smile to Hayma’s face.

    The joy in her heart faded when she sensed it. A presence of pure malice, grotesque in its desires. She subtly reached out with her mind, only to mentally recoil like she had put her hand too close to a fire. Whispers crept through her brain, incomprehensible and maddening. Throbbing pain joined them. They faded as she connected to her god once more, trusting in his strength.

    Bagan looked into the bleak heavens, eyes trying to see through the shade. He knew something was in there, approaching. The colossus snarled, sharp teeth being bore. Through the lightning, he heard some repetitive sound. Sucking in air, the armored god let loose a mighty roar that rose above all other noise. Hands flew to cover ears amongst the civilians, shielding their hearing from the rolling, baritone call. Bagan’s crimson eyes narrowed as the repetitive noise became clearer.

    It was laughter.

    Lightning illuminated the silhouette, too complex for Bagan to make out what he was looking at in the instant before it faded. But what he did hear was the uproarious, deranged laughter layered thrice over. It was mocking, cruel, and callous.

    From the clouds they descended. Golden scales enshrouded the dragon, interlocked like armor. Colossal wings carried them through the air, lengthy, bony fingers with membrane weaved between them. Twin tails swung through the air, ending in clubs that rattled with spikes. Thin yet muscular legs ended with wicked claws, primed to dig into flesh and rip it asunder. And finally, meeting Bagan’s burning gaze, three heads adorned with crowns of horns. Snake’s tongues flickered out and tasted the air. The right head met Bagan’s wrath with its own ferocity, eager to rip and tear. The left stared with curiosity, taking in the features of their soon to be foe. And the center looked with utter disdain, seeing another fool standing in the way of their divinity.

    The golden serpent landed, sending mud and stone flying with the impact. They stood to their full height, spreading their wings and unfurling their necks. The sky still raged with the hurricane, the by-product of the demon’s sheer power.

    King Ghidorah screeched, announcing the arrival of the almighty.

    Bagan stomped the ground before him, bellowing in challenge.

    The xanthic demon balked at this. Was this one not impressed, not intimidated by their display? They called toward the bull-like behemoth, trying to prod and irritate him. He did not seize the bait, merely beginning to walk forward.

    The left head of the devil peered around, noticing the small structures around their feet. It transferred this information to the rest, who quickly put together what this situation was. A guardian, a giant who sought to protect the pathetic wastes of flesh and blood instead of torturing them for entertainment or snuffing them out en masse for the crime of being so weak.

    King Ghidorah knew full well how to draw the hatred of these kinds of foes.

    One tail rose high into the air, before coming down like a hammer onto one of the abodes, crushing it into powder. The thrice-headed fiend cackled as he felt the squish of organic matter amongst the stone.

    Bagan’s slow march transformed into a full sprint, his thick legs moving at speeds that belied his mass. Hayma was taken aback at the harsh, echoing call that left her god’s maw. Something about it reminded her of the visions of his past she had seen before…

    King Ghidorah’s joy was apparent with the cruel laughter that escaped their three mouths. They could just tell this would be a good fight, especially the promise of crushing the spirit of such a colossal behemoth! Getting low to the ground, the dragon’s wings came down and acted like another pair of legs, allowing them to charge forward far faster than they could have on just their legs.

    The kingdom shuddered as the serpent and the bull drew closer.

    With mighty calls, the two clashed, Bagan’s hands crashing into the jaws of the dragon’s outer heads with a shockwave that would have demolished any nearby structures if there had been any. They shoved, trying to overpower the other. Neither gained any ground, until King Ghidorah’s foot came up in a kick to the behemoth’s leg, sending sparks flying as claw scraped armor. The offset in balance let the defender god push his foe backward, and even when both of the demon’s feet were planted, they struggled to gain a solid foothold.

    The center head of the serpent turned and brought its teeth down on the wrist of its foe, earning a cry of pain from Bagan. Pulling itself free, the head which had been locked in the grip lunged forward, bashing its skull into the behemoth’s chin. The two released each other, backing away a step. Almost immediately, the two were back on the attack.

    Bagan’s claws crashed into the dragon’s chest, trying to pierce the golden scales. King Ghidorah’s heads lashed out, whipping themselves against the hide of their foe. The behemoth closed his fist, cracking it against one of the heads assailing him, earning a cry of anguish. The other two were quick to respond, clamping their jaws onto his arm and thrashing themselves back and forth to maximize damage. Armor began to crack and flake away, prompting the deity to turn his body and swing his arm, pulling it free. Swinging his own head, he tore away scales with his nasal horn, sending them and a shower of sparks falling.

    Snarling, the xanthic demon beat their wings, carrying them into the air high enough to send a dual kick into the guardian’s chest, cracking the hide and forcing Bagan back. As he stumbled, the dragon flew forward, crashing their bulk into his. With their left head staying back, King Ghidorah’s other two heads lashed out, biting and tearing at their foe. Their talons stayed latched onto the god’s stomach, their twin tails coming forth to wrap around one of his arms to let the devil press the attack. Bagan struggled as he staggered back, King Ghidorah’s weight pressing down on him as more chunks of armor were torn away. He reared his free arm back, but when he swung it forward, the left head shot forward and snagged it in its jaws, ceasing his counter.

    With the demon’s legs rearing back and crashing bladed kicks into his gut, trying madly to break through and pierce his gut, Bagan roared in outrage. The protrusions from his shoulders crackled with white electricity, drawing the attention of the fiend. The assault stopped as they watched the dazzling display, growing hungry for power at the sight. From the shoulders the power surged through Bagan’s upper body, reaching its destination as it danced between his trio of horns. King Ghidorah lashed out, seeking to steal this power and make it their own, only to be cut short as the god’s maw opened wide.

    An immense beam of blazing plasma, banishing the darkness with an azure hue, soared forth from the chasm of Bagan’s throat. Crashing into King Ghidorah’s chest, it lifted them off their foe and carried the devil through the air for a great distance. The shrieks of anguish from the serpent echoed across the lands.

    The golden fiend smashed into the ground, flattening a portion of the city beneath their mass. They began to rise after a few moments of laying still, groaning in pain as their blackened chest smoked. Bagan was already there, swinging a punch into the dragon’s gut that sent them spilling over once more, crushing more abodes in the process.

    The behemoth smiled, feeling the thrill of battle course through his veins again. It was exhilarating! He slammed a stomp onto the serpent’s tails, being rewarded with a snapping sound. It had been so long since he had been met with something that would challenge him.

    A brilliant light shined in King Ghidorah’s chest, quickly traveling up their throats. Bagan was taken aback at the sheer luminosity of it. The destroyer pushed themself up with their wings, then whipped around and opened their three jaws.

    The bull-like beast roared in agony as golden streams of alien electricity blazed into his chest, tearing through armor and burning the flesh beneath. The trio of Gravity Beams converged into one, all focused upon maximizing damage. When the assault faded, there was a blackened hole in the deity’s armor.

    Rising to their full height, King Ghidorah bashed their wing against the dazed foe, sending Bagan falling onto his side. The bull dragon’s bulk smashed into the ground, sending dust shooting into the air. Cracks spider-webbed down the streets.

    The serpentine destroyer leapt with the thrust of their wings, bringing their taloned feet down onto Bagan’s side. The earth was further disturbed by the impact, tremors flowing throughout the city. Another leap, another stomp to the torso leaving cracks in the behemoth’s ivory armor.

    Bagan glanced over his form, seeing the cracks in his hide slowly beginning to seal shut. He growled in disdain, they should have already healed! Had his self-imposed restraint truly dulled his capabilities this much? But, it was better to deal with this issue than that of himself unchained…

    My lord, fight! I know you have the strength to overcome this demon, you can do anything as long as your resolve withstands!

    His priestess’ reassurances lit a fire in the god’s gut. King Ghidorah prepared to take off once more, only for their foe to suddenly roll over, his palm slamming into the gut of the one who is many. Claws dug into scale and skin as the muscular arm drove King Ghidorah’s back into the mud. The fiend was already trying to rise, only for Bagan to once again carve a gash into the golden armor with his nasal horn.

    Quickly rising to his feet, the guardian returned the favor with an immense stomp to his foe’s gut. Screeches left the trio of mouths, only growing in fervor and pitch as Bagan’s foot shot forward and caught the underside of the demon, sending the golden nightmare soaring through the air.

    Stone and soaked soil defied gravity upon the devil’s impact, before slapping back down soon afterward. King Ghidorah rolled for a moment, groaning in wrath at the humiliation, but soon stopped. Back on their feet immediately, King Ghidorah charged right back toward Bagan with renewed fury.

    The divine behemoth charged his plasma breath, parting his jaws and discharging the holy wrath of his power. The golden serpent beat their wings, carrying them into the air as their throats shined with the alien energy within. A trench was carved into the earth, flash-boiling the mud and reducing grass and rock to ash as Bagan’s assault missed its target.

    Hayma cringed as the beam destroyed dozens of homes, hoping that no one would notice the accidental devastation. To her dismay, complaints rose behind her.

    “What the hell is he doing!?” Someone shouted over a chorus of angered whispers.

    King Ghidorah unleashed Gravity Bolts, sweeping them across Bagan’s form and his immediate surroundings. Lacerations as black as coal marred the bull dragon, as beautiful architecture that took months to craft became nothing in an instant.

    Hayma felt pain pulse through her skull at the building wrath in the temple, as if each growl of displeasure was a smack to the head. “If it wasn’t for him, our kingdom would be powerless!” She snapped at the crowd. “Do you expect him to effortlessly destroy something that even the other gods of the world fear?”

    Pulling his head up, Bagan carried his weapon into King Ghidorah’s path. Rogue energy flew off in sparks as the beams collided, the plasma breath breaking through the individual bolts. The xanthic demon ceased fire and tried to dodge, but failed to avoid the edge of one of their wings being clipped by the beam. With smoke rising from the torn membrane, King Ghidorah plummeted to the unforgiving ground.

    Hayma’s words, along with the change in the battle, seemed to subdue their anger for the time, at least enough to let her be able to breathe a sigh of relief. However, she could still feel the latent rage building in their hearts, and it was taking a toll on her mind feeling so much negativity in one location.

    King Ghidorah climbed to their feet, hateful snarls escaping their mouths. The left head peered over, witnessing the damage inflicted upon their wing. Smoke curled from tatters, strands of membrane falling free and sizzling away upon the mud. The information was fed to the greater conscious, only intensifying their fury.

    Bagan charged into battle, twisting his body to bring his shoulder crashing into the chest of the fiend. Moist soil flew as King Ghidorah’s feet dug into the ground, immediately replying with flailing headbutts, cracking off shards of armor. The forest god’s feet dug in as well, he refused to give an inch. His claws sliced across the golden armor, tearing away scales and leaving shallow grooves.

    The serpent’s foot lashed up, cracking against the guardian’s thigh. Bagan lowered his head, slamming the top of his skull against his foe’s stomach. He reared up, carving another gash with his nasal horn. King Ghidorah bit down on their foe’s horns, then swung his wings like fists to bash into the guardian’s sides.

    Pain shot through his form with each strike, but Bagan focused enough to charge up another Plasma Breath, loosing it into his foe’s gut. With their scales charring and flesh bubbling, King Ghidorah was shoved back, their grip forced to be relinquished. Homes were made into powder beneath their feet as they tore through the mud.

    Despite the anguish and damage wracking both titans, they marched toward each other like they had not been hit once.

    King Ghidorah’s three sets of jaws clamped onto Bagan’s throat, teeth digging in. The golden demon clamped down as hard as they could, desperate to taste blood. They forced Bagan back, madly thrashing their heads back and forth.

    Rearing a hand back, the bull dragon thrust it forward, driving the claws into the burnt flesh on King Ghidorah’s chest, lancing into the weakened hide and staining his fingers black. The fiend released their grip, backing away with shrieks of agony.

    But the pain stabbing into his throat had outraged the forest god.

    Lunging forward, one of Bagan’s hands grasped the left neck of Ghidorah, pulling it taut. The demon screeched in shock and panic, which morphed into agony when the bull dragon’s teeth clamped onto the throat. Empowered by his own agony and hatred, Bagan crushed down with all the might his jaws could muster, soon tasting the absolutely bitter wretchedness that was his foe’s blood. King Ghidorah tried to fight back, but Bagan just planted his foot in the fiend’s gut before yanking back with all he had. Gold scale parted to reveal pale flesh, which split into tenebrous fibers.

    And with the snapping of tendons, Bagan ripped his foe’s head off.

    The golden fiend stumbled back, vision growing blurry as blood like bile spewed forth from the stump. The two remaining minds were spinning with shock and horror, barely able to comprehend what was before them. Ignoring the bitter taste in his own mouth, Bagan crushed the skull between his mighty teeth, scattering shards of bone and globs of brain matter.

    The vile sound snapped King Ghidorah back into reality, drawing a primal noise from the depths of the twin throats. This wretch would dare to disfigure the superior being? To rip away a third of their consciousness?

    The wyrm would take so much more than a third in return.

    Still trying to rid his mouth of the vile taste, Bagan was caught off guard as King Ghidorah entered the air with a scream devoid of reason. The wound in their wing would have stopped a prolonged flight, but it did not halt the very short airborne assault.

    The destroyer slammed a foot down onto Bagan’s skull, then dropped from the air, sending the forest guardian crashing to the mud face-first. Grinding their heel against their foe’s head, King Ghidorah twisted in place and latched their other set of talons around one of the horns on Bagan’s head.

    The screams of the bull dragon were muffled by the soil as King Ghidorah rushed forward, dragging the guardian behind them. Trees and crushed houses flew like ash in a fire’s backdraft as the devil purposely sought to destroy all Bagan valued. Turning toward the temple, the killer of god and man alike let loose laughter that sounded like it escaped from the pits of Tartarus.

    The people within cowered, horrified at everything they witnessed, their terror growing into mortal dread as the serpent moved with all the fervor of the Skullcrawlers that had terrorized the kingdom over a decade ago.

    Bagan, it’s coming toward the temple, do something! Hayma begged telepathically.

    The god groaned, feeling himself be dragged once more. He lifted his head enough to gasp a deep breath, before slamming his palms into the loose ground. He pushed with all he had, earning a chorus of hatred from King Ghidorah as they were flung into the air, their feet becoming unlatched by the force.

    Hayma was too busy celebrating the sight of the fiend being hurled back like trash to notice the growing dissent amongst the people for the temple being saved, but not the myriad homes King Ghidorah had torn down with Bagan’s body…

    Breathing in heavy, ragged bursts, the guardian turned to face his opponent, his posture afflicted with a noticeable slouch. He needed to end this fast, he was running low on energy. If he tore off another head, surely the demon would flee. That was all he would need to do, then he could slumber…

    Golden agony crashed against his face, blinding him as teeth were shattered. Cracked armor was torn asunder down his torso as King Ghidorah continued the assault, the twin streaks of luminous death dancing across their target’s form. Trying to endure the pain, Bagan charged up another discharge of plasma, his shoulders glowing with the building power as it flowed toward his maw. The golden beams stopped.

    And then came again, each grander in scale as the wyrm tapped into the deep reserves of their power. They combined into one, a single spear of divine death.

    Bagan stopped charging as the combined Gravity Beam tore into his groin, shattering armor like dry wood. The entire kingdom heard the wheezed groan that escaped his throat, before he fell to the earth like a crumbling tower.

    Hayma gasped, her own fear only intensified by that of everyone else in the room.

    “So he’s going to cause all that destruction himself, and then die!?” someone shouted.

    “What kind of god only saves his temple and cares not for his people? One I would rather not worship!”

    Hayma turned to the crowd of hundreds, trying to reassure them. “Please, everyone remain calm! We need to trust in Bagan, especially in this dire momen—”

    There was a cracking, which echoed for all to hear. It sounded like a hundred trees snapping at once. Hayma turned to see it, even though her psychic powers revealed it to her already.

    King Ghidorah had broken one of Bagan’s arms underfoot. The guardian tried to get up, shaking and coughing with anguish. One of the serpent’s necks shot forth, encircling his body to wrap around the still working arm of the god. Opening its jaws, it sank its fangs into the flesh, relishing in the sweet taste of blood. The remaining head peered at its prey, seeing a cracked portion of hide. It hooked a horn beneath it, before pulling up. The sickening sounds of it peeling away were like a melody to the devil. With one last yank, there was now a patch of exposed flesh, which it greedily bit down on like a beggar receiving a meal.

    Glowing light was pulled from beneath Bagan’s skin, flowing into the teeth and down the necks like water. He writhed and moaned in agony, but it did nothing to deter the wyrm from drinking of their foe’s essence. With his power being drained, Bagan focused what remained and covered his body with white electricity. The only effect this had on his opponent was for the electricity to course over his foe’s scales, leading his power to be absorbed at double the rate. Immediately, the torn wing membrane began to sow itself back together, strands erupting from the wound and connecting together. The same was becoming true across King Ghidorah’s full body, scales regrowing to recover healing tissue, burnt flesh falling away and being renewed.

    From the limp neck, tendrils emerged like the grasping feelers of a cephalopod. They attached to one another as more grew, slowly but surely reconstructing the curious aspect of the thrice-headed one.

    The maelstrom of emotion amongst the hundreds, perhaps thousands, within the temple was like weights upon every inch of Hayma’s body. Her breathing was short and swift as she tried to calm herself down. The negative energy filling the chambers of the holy place made this impossible.

    “After all this destruction by his hand, the so-called god will just die and leave us all at the golden dragon’s mercy!” Shouted an older woman, cradling a crying child in her arms.

    Hayma tried to plead. “People, please, put your faith that he can break free and—“

    “I’m not putting my faith in that wretch!” a man shouted above the groaning crowd. “He’s just as bad as the storm bringer!”

    The priestess tried to respond, taking some hope in the glimmers of reverence in their deity amongst the gathered. “How can you say such a thing after he has protecte—“

    “After he had destroyed our homes, yet got a second wind to fight back when his temple was in danger! How can we be sure he has not just been guarding us because we bask him in praise!” A lower ranking priest called out.

    An elderly man responded before Hayma could even get a word in edgewise, his voice clearly weathered by age but still managing to echo. “We all saw how the balance bringer reacted when he drew near to Bagan! Tell us, oh great and high priestess, why the king of the gods wished to destroy our so-called god!”

    “Why, he merely did not… he didn’t recognize him! Gojira knew not of our god before their encoun—“

    “She’s lying, I’ve known her for years!” Shouted one of Hayma’s fellow priestesses, driving a blade of fear through the loyalist to the forest god. Even the other devotees to him were turning!

    She breathed a sigh of relief when another person spoke up for Bagan. Another elderly man, who spoke with reserve and calmness. “People, please! Can you fault our lord for struggling against such a mighty foe, and for not being perfect? I am sure that Bagan shall break free and drive the demon away, as he always—“

    The man cried out as another male struck him across the face, the younger man sending his elder to the ground. Gasps filled the room, but to Hayma’s dismay, she did not sense everyone in the room disagreeing with the assailant. “Shut the hell up, there’s nothing left for that demon in god’s skin to save!” he shouted.

    Tears were flowing from Hayma’s eyes. “You all cannot just reject him, Bagan has saved us all so many times, this one time is enough to drive you all away?” she shouted. There was silence, an all encompassing, frightening silence.

    It was quiet enough to hear someone unlatch a torch from off one of the pillars of the room. Suddenly, the commotion picked up again as a rough-looking, grizzled man charged through the crowd, holding the burning stick. He broke through the front, charging toward Hayma with a look of utter hatred in his eyes, not a single person in his path having tried to stop him.

    “My family was out there, damn you and your false god, witch!” he bellowed, before burning the priestess’ face with the flame with a strike. She fell to the ground, crying out in anguish. Burns now marred her once beautiful features.

    And that action ignited the kindling being wracked up inside the collective mind of the crowd.

    “Death to Bagan!” The chant echoed madly as people began tearing down tapestries depicting him and his battles throughout history. Fists flew into the faces of those who supported the deity, brutal and unrelenting as hysteria became king amongst them. Other torches were unlatched and used to burn works of art and altars devoted to him, filling the chambers of the holy place with smoke and drifting ash.

    Bagan wept as he sensed it all, transmitted to him from the tortured mind of his only friend. King Ghidorah let out muffled laughter, their two heads mentally conversing and sharing mockery toward the insects. Did they somehow think this display of barbarity would save them?

    But the golden devil would not object to a show with their meal.

    “How could you all do this!?” Hayma cried out, tears streaming from the one eye left unaffected by the assault. “After all he has done, you do this!?”

    Her attacker showed no remorse as he slammed a kick into her side, bruising ribs. Another man stepped toward her, brandishing a fishing knife. Men, women, and children cheered as he approached, roaring with delight at her incoming death.

    “No, please! What do you all hope to even accomplish!?” she begged of them.

    The knife-wielder just shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know, I’m just following the crowd. I just happen to be the one with a weapon.” He replied with a toothy, sadistic grin before plunging the blade into Hayma’s stomach.

    Time seemed to pause for her.

    She no longer saw the people she had communed with every day of her life, those she praised Bagan with, the people of her kingdom. She saw wild animals, savages following only their herd mentality. All it took was fear to turn them into this.

    She would give them something to absolutely dread.

    As her blood sprayed forth from the wound, the attacker pulling the blade out and preparing to drive it in again, Hayma screamed. Not of agony, but to their dismay, in horrid hatred.

    “Damn you all, pathetic scum!” She declared, the words echoing into their very minds. “Bagan breaks his body to serve you all, and you spit in his eye! I devote my life to ensuring his relation to our kingdom is good, and you do this!”

    At her last word, psychic waves lashed out, sending agony through the minds of all present. The knife-wielder sliced her across the stomach by mistake as he stumbled back, but Hayma seemed to care little for the excess blood flowing from her.

    Tears flowed from her eyes, but her wrath did not dim. “You all deserve what shall happen next!” Weaker-minded people fell to their knees as her mind continued lashing out in a frenzy, clutching their heads as their brains throbbed with agony. She looked to the man who had burned her, who was busy backing away with a look of mortal terror in his eyes. “Join your family.” She spoke to him, words dripping with venom.

    The crowd was suddenly afflicted with horrid images flashing through their consciousnesses. Skullcrawlers ripping them asunder, blood and gore flying in all directions as they feasted. The unending hatred and misanthropy flowing through the three minds of their assailant, images of them reducing the kingdom to ash and gruesomely torturing the survivors to death.

    Of Bagan’s true darkness unleashed, the corpses of gods forming a mountain beneath his feet.

    All of these and more grotesque sights flashed through their brains. The absolute pain and anguish of Hayma manifesting as bile which she vomited upon them all.

    The torch holding father, his mind spasming with all being forced upon it as he received it far more intense than any other, stuck his face in the flames. He accidently inhaled, pulling fire into his body and collapsing his lungs. He dropped like stones, joining the knife wielder as he plunged the blade into his own gut.

    People fought amongst themselves, some compelled into blind frenzies by the psychic assault. Hayma just laughed, a broken, pained cackle that tore at her throat. The last statement the people heard from her was this, blood flowing from her mouth.

    “Bare witness to the wrath that eons ago crushed the gods and made the Earth itself shudder in terror!”

    A crowd rushed over to her, stomping upon her broken body in a desperate bid to end the blazing needles being driven into their psyches. She merely closed her eyes, reaching out with her mind.

    Overwhelming pain. Even with the two headed serpent draining away at his life, the pain of its bite was nothing compared to the psychic power clawing into his mind. He could feel her, the one pillar of light he had left in this world. He could feel her injuries, her pain stricken body, her anger at the people, her sadness at their betrayal, but most importantly, he felt her fading away, her fading voice echoing one last message within his mind.

    I know you can win this. I know what you truly are, and I don’t fear it. From the very beginning, I knew that you were the one I wanted to serve. The visions of your past only cemented my thoughts on you further. The people don’t deserve you. We protected them, showed them mercy and kindness, and they responded with fear and betrayal. So show them. Show them your true power, my friend. Unleash your power, kill that false god, and regain your title as the true ruler of this world!

    With her last words embedded in his mind, the connection between man and god was severed at last. Silence filled the behemoth’s mind, the fading light of his friend’s presence turning to darkness. With her light now gone, darkness filled its void, violent and building with his rage and sorrow. Weakened by the psychic response and fueled by his feelings at the death of his only true friend in millenia, Bagan, God of the Forest was dead, and in his place, Bagan, the God of Darkness, was reborn anew.

    Electricity crackled across burnt armor, surging throughout the encaptured monster’s body and into the maw of the golden demise. The golden hydra hungrily lapped up the increased electrical charge, surprised at the sudden influx of power being given off as their severed neck seemed to increase tenfold in its regeneration. Blackened ash fell to the ground, replaced by ashen white armor and blood red flesh. Red eyes glistened and crackled with electricity as power surged through his very being.

    Lifting up his broken arm, he roared out in pure rage, the bones snapping into place, as he clawed into the neck restraining his other arm. Gripping with unrestrained might, he dug his claws into the beast’s golden scales, piercing deep into the foreign invader’s body. Ghidorah cringed at the pain assailing it’s other head as the third head finally finished its regenerative process, the only restraint left being the healing patch holding the head from forming.

    As the center head went to unlatch the clear membrane, it heard a loud crack, something long and muscular wrapping around its horns and maw before snapping backward. Turning around, it found the source of the bindings on its body, its opponent’s tail now extended, trying to yank it off the rest of the body. As it struggled to get free, it watched as the once shattered open wound it had been biting healed like it had never been struck.

    With pain striking their body, the right head continued to absorb the vast amount of power this creature was giving off. As powerful white energy surged through its neck, the head soon realized that the transfer of energy was going nowhere, coalescing and circling within itself. Confused at first, it wasn’t long before the head found itself sailing through the air, having been torn off the main body and sustained only by the energy it was absorbing. The God of Darkness roared out as he tore King Ghidorah off his body, swinging it around with his powerful tail, and tossed the golden being through the remains of the palace, sending the dragon hurtling across the land.

    White electricity crackled off his flesh, his hide fully healed as his regeneration returned to its true strength. The shackled darkness within his heart was now pulsing through his veins like pitch black fire as Bagan glared at the burning temple. Millenia of restraint began lifting as the dark power surged through his body hungrily. As his strength returned to him, he heard the angered cries of the people below. Turning his head, he saw the humans staring at him in fear, the corpse of his only friend lying in a bloody puddle in their midst. Seeing the ones responsible only fueled his anger further. He would not let them defile his friend’s body any further.

    There was only one fate for those who rebelled against their masters.

    Those in the above ground section of the temple had little chance of survival as burning hot plasma vaporized their very being, leaving behind nothing but molten rock. Turning his head, Bagan continued to unleash his rage upon the people he had once protected, the ones that would dare to scorn his kindness and centuries of protection upon only a single battle destroying their home. The cries and pleading of those below did nothing to appease his wrath as he burned all who stood before him. Without his friend, their prayers meant nothing to him.

    Stone and rubble scattered as the three headed monster exploded out of his brief tomb. Ghidorah was furious! With a loud cackle of anger, the devil’s wings opened to their full might, rocks and mud slinging backward. Turning their view, they glared murderously at the creature that dared to not only tear off their head once, but twice now. The power they had absorbed from their foe quickly kicked in, the torn stump growing at a rapid pace as the middle head tore off the remaining membrane of the other.

    The side heads flexed their newly formed muscles as they turned their hatred toward the beast. Bagan simply stood there, unleashing his flames onto the buildings below. It seemed they had managed to make their prey snap. What a pathetic thing to lose one’s mind over. This would only make the coming kill all the more sweeter for them. Golden sparks built up around the dragon’s body, traveling upward to the three heads. With three consecutive roars of rage, golden destruction surged outward, coming together into a combined beam of destruction.

    Hearing the crackling of lightning, Bagan stopped his divine wrath and turned to the storm bringer. Holding up a single hand, Bagan watched as the oncoming beam was completely negated, its electrical might reflecting off an invisible barrier of energy formed from his glowing claws, tearing apart the city below.

    Shocked that their foe had suddenly gained a new ability to stop their beams, King Ghidorah stopped their electrical assault and charged forth on their mighty wings. Power surged from Bagan’s horns, empowering his body as the great behemoth glared at the false king before him. The nasal horn shifted, moving closer to the center of his head as he leaned forward. Within an instant, he had surged forth, crossing the vast distance between them as though his heavy bulk weighed as little as a feather.

    The sudden burst of speed shocked the three headed serpent, unable to react as Bagan appeared in front of their heads, slamming horn first into their body. The powerful impact knocked the dragon backward, bones snapping like twigs upon hitting the heavily armored bulk of the dark god as they were speared through the chest by all three horns. Pain filled the golden monster’s being as Bagan flung the dragon upward off his head, his nasal horn flinging back to its normal position and slicing through flesh.

    As the golden destroyer was sent backward, it had little time to react as Bagan surged forth with another burst of speed, this time grabbing ahold of the dragon’s tail and slamming them hard against the ground. The earth shook as the foreign invader cratered into the mud, bones breaking and healing as Bagan threw the dragon back toward civilization. Ghidorah flapped their wings, trying to gain air only for the ivory god to barrel into them, shattering the scales on their chest as he slashed forth with his unrestrained power. A cross of energy seemed to form with his strike, rending flesh and scales apart like paper.

    The dragon crumpled across the ground, tearing through the city and sending mud and debris flying. Broken bones snapped and mended while blood pooled out of an X shaped wound with a long cut in the center going through their chest. With a powerful flap of his wings, the destroyer of worlds was airborne, launching themself out of grabbing distance. Snarling, the golden dragon watched as Bagan shot forth beneath him, electricity surging across the behemoth’s armored body as it failed to tackle the three headed monster once more.

    It seems that something had changed in their foe. The right head wanted nothing more than to dive back down and tear into the insolent beast while the center head wondered where this newfound strength had come from. As the other two were arguing whether or not to dive in, the ever so curious left head was quick to act, flinging their body to the side as white plasma scorched past their location, singeing the tips of their wing. The surprise at the now intensified heat ray nearly got the dragon burned as the beam moved after them, stopping momentarily as they flew into the clouds.

    Bagan’s entire being was filled with euphoric joy. The overwhelming strength, his strength, had returned to him. Such a long time restrained made the dragon god excited at the feeling of finally cutting loose once more. The heaviness of his armor was gone, his energy was unending, and his mind was far more clear without the need to protect the traitorous ants around him. As he reveled in his true strength, he glared at the false king hovering in the clouds above. He had a promise to keep. Charging up his power, he fired another blast of his plasma breath, relishing the intense heat it now emitted.

    As the dragon twisted about to dodge another plasma beam, they realized it was not only his strength of body, but the potency of their enemy’s energy that had also increased. The right head screeched in anger that this creature dared to hold out so much raw power on them as the center head began surging their body with a negative charge to prepare for a large assault. Lightning slammed into the dragon’s body from above, scattering and absorbing into the dragon’s scales. It started with a single bolt, before more began to surge through the skies. Bagan watched as bolt after bolt struck the hydra’s body, before eventually the entire sky was alight with golden light, a consistent stream of electricity flowing into the dragon above.

    Electricity surged across his body, converting raw energy into solid muscles as it healed his injuries. The Great Monster Zero roared out, the building energy surging throughout their body and wings before they arched their wings toward Bagan. Three streams of golden electricity shot out of the dragon’s maws, accompanied by more bolts of lightning streaming out of their wing tips. The oncoming surge of energy slammed into Bagan’s forcefield, slowly pushing the ivory destroyer back. Cracks began to form on the barrier, causing Bagan to unleash a fury filled roar. Energy crackled across his spikes as he unleashed his power upward in the form of three energy orbs. The spheres shot past Ghidorah, causing the right head to cackle in mockery. More energy spheres quickly began firing off, trails of electricity following them into the sky as the left head watched on curiously.

    The barrier soon shattered from the empowered assault, scorching the dark god with unholy might. Armor burned under the electrical assault as white electricity crackled over his bare hide, mitigating some of the damage with his own electrical power. Unlike before, the bullish monster held in his painful roars, focusing his power into his shoulder spikes before roaring skyward. Taking their enemy’s roar as one of a dying creature, the center and right heads continued their assault. It was only when the left head noticed a glimmer in the sky that it realized why the spheres had soared past them. Blinding white light lit the dark storm above, causing the multi headed destroyer to stop their assault in surprise.

    As Bagan’s scorched armor began regenerating, he roared out once more, the white light now shooting down like meteors. Glistening white diamonds of pure energy shot out of the stormy heavens, piercing aurum gilded armor like a hot knife through butter. King Ghidorah screeched in unholy pain as the first diamond shot through their wing, crashing into the ground and shattering into blistering hot embers. A second was quick to slice off one of their rattling tails as they dodged a third on its way toward their central head. More began to fall, prompting them to take initiative. If their foe wanted to attack them using their own storm as cover, they would show how useless the attack truly was.

    Wing lightning tore through the skies themselves as The King of Terror twisted about in the sky. Diamonds shot toward the golden hydra at high speed, none striking the more agile aerial monster. Golden electricity tore into white plasma, shattering them and sending particles of light scattering across the raining sky in a myriad of rainbows. Lightning fired from the right head as it continued laying waste to the diamond assault, the center head taking control of moving the body while the left head continued monitoring the surroundings for oncoming attacks.

    To the humans that remained, the stormy skies that once brought despair now appeared as a myriad of color, a deadly dance traversing the now colorful sky as the golden tyrant twisted and dismantled each attack.

    White plasma struck the dragon from behind as the diamond assault ended, scales and flesh scorching under the superheated assault as the beam burned through their wing membrane. Twisting their body around, the king of terror glared fiercely at the damn creature before them that refused death. They watched as Bagan’s burns quickly began to heal up, far faster than their own healing currently was. The holes in their wings were slowly getting smaller, and their tail started the process of regrowing. They had already used up most of the power they had stolen from Bagan’s body healing their injuries, the momentary storm charge having been used up in the ensuing destruction of the energy crystals.

    Bagan taunted the golden hydra from his position on the ground, energy building up as he prepared to fire another blast of his plasma breath. Seeing the sparking electricity flowing across their opponent, King Ghidorah began charging up their own attack, gold lightning crackling across their body and into their maws as they dove down to meet the demon in one final clash. Light gathered around the two demons as they fired their respective attacks. White plasma shot forth, striking the combined might of a trio of Gravity Bolts, neither side giving out. The surging power growing between the two attacks began building tremendously before a magnificent explosion overtook the two dueling monstrosities.

    Minutes passed as the dust began to settle. What was once a beautiful cityscape and forest now remained a scorched plain of hills and ruins. Rising from the muddy ground, King Ghidorah shook his bruised and battered body, burns and injuries bleeding into the mud below. Their left head laid limp at the side, most likely unconscious from the resulting explosion, as the right neck was torn in half from its jawline. Their wings were tattered, but still capable of flight for the moment. They would live, but the destroyer would need to find a place to rest to recover strength.

    The bruised center head looked around the battlefield, seeing no sign of their opponent anywhere. Letting loose a roar of victory, the dragon readied to fly away when a nearby mound of dirt and mud shook. From the ground burst an injured Bagan, blood oozing from several injuries as they started healing back together. The God of Darkness roared into the sky as he searched for his foe.

    Seeing this abomination still alive and somehow even healing, the center head of King Ghidorah knew it would have to retreat if they were to get their revenge. They had this abomination on his knees and dying before something kickstarted a second wind for this creature. They would have to recover and grow his strength before attempting to kill this creature. Flapping rapidly, the dragon took to the skies just as Bagan found them. By the time the bulky god had reached his foe’s location, the dragon was already airborne and about to enter his storm system.

    Rage filled Bagan’s mind. This creature attacked his territory, and now it was retreating all because he had shown his true power. If this creature thought they could escape Bagan’s wrath, they had another thing coming. White Lightning crackled across his spikes as he prepared to fire another Plasma blast at his enemy. Moments before he could, the limp left head suddenly came back to consciousness, a reactive burst of his gravity beam firing from his maw. The golden electricity smacked Bagan face first, blowing up his energy in his face and allowing the dragon god to reach the cover of his storm.

    Time seemed to slow as he watched the dragon’s tails slowly enter the clouds above. Inside Bagan’s mind, he began thinking of ways to reach the cowardly invader. His attacks wouldn’t reach him from this range and he couldn’t leap high enough to deal damage. As his rage at failing his friend’s promise filled his mind, memories began to flow in the back of his mind. Memories of his friend surged throughout the dark energy coursing through him, memories of the days they spent together and the resonant feeling of her death. All these thoughts flowed together like a river of light in his sea of darkness. It was through this light that a new power surged through the dark gods body. For even the deepest depths of darkness must always have a light to give them meaning.

    Shimmering Light burst from Bagan’s shoulder spikes, enlightening the darkness around him. The light began to shift and morph as it spread outward, glittering power surging forth as the God of Darkness took flight.

    Bagan roared out as he chased after King Ghidorah, his wings of light lighting up the darkness of the storm revealing the golden hydra. Ghidorah stared back in panic. They had not expected such a heavy foe to be capable of flight! It hadn’t even had wings to bring it airborne, yet here it was in their storm. In a panic, they attempted to fire gravity bolts at the white behemoth, only for the armored dragon to shoot off into the distance, his presence only being dictated by the trail of shimmering light particles circling about his storm.

    All at once, Bagan’s body surged with power as his claws extended to twice their size. White electricity covered his body as his speed increased significantly, his horns twisting and moving as he prepared to rush his foe. It was then that the alien king felt dread spreading through their body.

    At a speed that belied his size, Bagan sped toward King Ghidorah, white light trailing behind him as he slashed the dragon on the side. Golden scales and chunks of meat were torn off as Bagan sped past. Before the three headed monster could react, the ivory god had already twisted and curved around, speeding toward the dragon once more and severing the right neck with his nasal horn. Another curve in the air led him slashing his large claws across the wing membranes holding the golden dragon airborne as another blow knocked the dragon upward with a slasher claw. Several times did Bagan continue this rush of attacks, his speed constantly increasing as he circled about, slashing across his prey’s body with his horns and claws. Golden flesh scattered in the storm above as the rain turned red with blood, each blow tearing off more and more flesh.

    The King of Terror was in shock as they hovered, unable to move as their foe continuously hacked away at his body. The sky was alight with trailing white light, each illuminating the hydra’s figure as they sped past at Mach speed. It wasn’t until Bagan was hovering above the golden hydra did they realize just how powerful this demon god truly was. As the Ivory God of Destruction sped toward the alien Invader, King Ghidorah unleashed one last resort to hopefully buy them enough time to escape.

    A duo of Gravity bolts shot forth from panicked and shredded maws. Electricity shot out of neck wounds, burning the dragon yet they continued onward, firing the golden lightning and striking Bagan’s shoulder. The shoulder spike shattered under the electrical assault combined with the speed at which Bagan was moving, destroying one of his glittering wings and leaving him off balance.

    Ivory armor slammed into the golden dragon, spinning the two out of control as they shot toward the earth below. Not wanting to die, Ghidorah quickly latched onto Bagan with their two remaining heads and began draining as much as possible. In retaliation, Bagan snapped forth, tearing into and devouring the flesh of the center neck while stabbing his hand into the dragon’s gut. As they shot past the clouds, Ghidorah opened what remained of their wings, catching enough air to flip Bagan over to take the brunt of the fall damage. An explosion of dirt shot into the sky as the two crashed into the earth. The ground shook viciously upon their impact, fracturing and splitting open as lightning struck the ground around them.

    The two monsters laid atop each other, bleeding and broken as the muddied earth fractured open beside them, growing wide enough to swallow them whole. King Ghidorah groaned out as they lifted themselves off Bagan, the latter’s hand having shoved completely through their chest while the dragon’s center head had been ripped off, dead in the maw of Bagan as it slipped into the ravine. The armored behemoth’s white shell was all but shattered, his limbs and shoulder protrusions broken upon impact. The blood of both monsters coated them crimson as the left head turned, finding itself the last remaining head on the main body.

    The golden dragon could hear the panicked cries of more creatures, glancing into the depths of the ravine to see a horde of legged snake like creatures within various opened tunnels and chambers. The ravenous horde tore at the severed head with savage hunger, larger creatures snapping at the smaller ones in order to sate their hunger first. A snarl from the living dragon caught their attention, causing them to quickly drag away the head in fear, retreating back into their holes.

    Crawling away, it looked over their body to assess the injuries, finding several large gashes and holes covering most of the body, one of the tails missing and a leg broken. Unlike the aggressive, battle hungry right head and the battle hardened leadership of the center head, the left head’s purpose was to be cautious and curious in its surroundings in order to watch for hidden and oncoming attacks. As such, it found it in their best interest to use the energy they had stolen during their fall, to heal up their shredded and nearly cut off wings.

    Pain filled the body as flesh and bone rapidly grew outward from the tattered remains of his wings. It was in the left head’s best interest to be able to escape first before regaining strength to fight. As its wings healed enough to maintain a short flight, a huff of breath caught its attention. Turning their last remaining head around, the dragon watched in fear as Bagan slowly attempted to lift itself up.

    His arms were broken, as were his legs and ribs, yet Bagan attempted to get to his feet. Dark flames burned in his blood red eyes as the demon got to his knees, his need to finish this battle forcing him to rise. Before he could rise any further lightning struck his face, tearing into him and pushing him closer to the ravine. The Dark God cringed as golden electricity scorched away half his sight, stopping as it revealed the bone beneath his flesh. White lightning coursed through his healing body as Bagan readied to fire his plasma breath.

    With all his power surging through his body, the dragon turned to fire it all and finish off his enemy. However, he was unprepared to see the bleeding, one headed dragon already airborne, diving feet first toward him. The crack of bone shattering resounded through the land as King Ghidorah slammed into the dragon god’s skull, slashing out the dragon’s other eye with their talons. The hit to the face pushed the former guardian back just enough for his off balance, heavy bulk to cause the muddied ground he stood on to collapse, causing a landslide that pulled him into the dark ravine.

    As he fell into the depths, the God of Darkness roared, unleashing all his power at once. A pillar of light shot out from his body, overtaking and filling the crack in the earth with his power. The screams of the ravenous horde filled his senses as the light lit up their dark caves. Their roars were like a chorus of the damned leading him into hell as he fell from the surface. The Golden Dragon screeched out as the power knocked them backward, watching as what seemed to be a wall of light shot skyward, piercing through the storm clouds and into the recesses of space itself.

    Bagan raged as he felt his power surging out of his body, the pure energy being emitted shaking and destabilizing the foundations of the ravine. Rocks and mud quickly began to fall, as though to fill in the gap left in the earth and Bagan along with it. As the earth began to close on him, something curious began to happen to Bagan’s body. With his body severely injured and low on energy, his super regenerative ability kicked into overdrive, pulling out one last trump card to save his life. Instead of patching him up like new, instead his regeneration expanded outward like a tumorous growth, covering and shielding his body in a cocoon of flesh. As the ground began to collapse above him, the god thought back to the memories of his friend. No matter how long it took, he would be free of this prison, free to get his revenge. Free to take control of this world. Free to ensure his promise would be fulfilled.

    The earth shuddered and quaked as the ground seemed to fuse back together, the wall of light dispersing into the darkness of night. The King of Terror couldn’t believe it. All this trouble, all this pain and near death, all for their foe to succumb to mother nature’s wrath. Anger and relief seemed to fill the dragon’s mind, remembering how its other heads had thought this behemoth would be a satisfying beast to take down. Now however, all it felt was the pain of wounds healing slowly along with the anger that it was not them that truly finished off the foe but an act of nature burying him in the earth. Still, it would take this as a victory for the moment.

    With a single head remaining, King Ghidorah roared to the sky in triumph, spreading his wings as blood continued to leak from his many scars and injuries. What it hadn’t expected, was to get a response so quickly. A mighty roar responded to his call, one far closer and far more powerful than what it had let loose in his injured state. Looking around its surroundings, it wasn’t until a crack of lightning struck the earth miles away that he saw it.

    Glowing blue energy sparking across rocky hide and serrated spines. A glare of anger and determination filling the face of the charging god king. Growling, the dragon knew it wouldn’t be able to take on the oncoming alpha predator with his injuries. With a bark of warning, Ghidorah took to the sky, flying off as the great leviathan neared.

    Seeing the invader leaving so soon, Godzilla roared out in rage as he slowed down. He hadn’t expected for the earth’s dark destroyer to lose. Sniffing the air, he knew that the great destroyer of old was still alive, perhaps swallowed by the earth. Even if he had been holding back in restraint all these years, Godzilla knew that the Dark Titan should have been able to kill this creature. Perhaps the planet itself interfered and swallowed the dark dragon for a future task. Only time would tell if Bagan would return. Until then, he had a threat to the planet to destroy and balance to bring.

    As Godzilla left the area, what few survivors of the titan’s wrath began to gather. Those who had lost their faith in their god began to pray for his return, some migrating away out of grief for their fallen to lands in the east. Yet it was those who had survived the attacks of the forsaken who became the most zealous in their religious fervor. They began praying for the dark god to unleash his divine wrath, seeing their survival as a sign for them to be envoys of his darkness against the ones who would betray them. As such, they would begin to rebuild, even with the destruction of most of their homes and families. Years later, they would begin tunneling beneath the ground, hoping to reach their god once more and document the great battle that had taken place, even with the ravenous devil that made the depths their home. As it was so, with the ability to flourish and sustain life given by the dark god’s unleashed power, humanity would continue to live on in the land of Bagan.

    *****

    Present Day

    Professor Yamane dissected the new information within his mind. Despite orders to stay put, the professor had continued along the path, following the story the walls spoke of as he passed by the petrified remains of various skull crawlers. Soon, he found himself standing in front of two large doors of stone. Engraved onto the doors were the towering three headed destroyer flying above a carving of the Dark God. Yamane knew what the creature facing down Bagan was, yet the runic translations only referred to it as the one who was many. Monarch knew it as Monster Zero.

    If this Bagan was a superpredator on par with the likes of Godzilla and Monster Zero, then this site which was his tomb would end up heavily guarded in order to prevent his awakening. As he touched the door, he noticed what appeared to be a stone button embedded in the wall nearby.

    “Professor, it’s time for the next shift.”

    Xiong’s words went over his head as the professor reached for the button. Silent whispers spoke to him in the back of his mind. A silent, almost feminine voice, beckoning him forth with promises of ancient secrets as he felt the protruding stone.

    “Professor, Do you read me? It’s time to leave this dark place and return to the surface.”

    Pushing the button, he heard the grinding of stone, one left unmoved in millenia. As the doors opened, the radiation detectors in his suit began to rise, a large gush of heat pushing against his body as he saw what stood behind the doors. His camera system began malfunctioning as the power being emanated short circuited its systems.

    “Shit the radioactivity near him just spiked and his camera systems shut off. We need to get him out of there now!”

    Yamane walked forth into the chamber, staring in awe at the massive chasm before him. In the midst of this chasm, a large orb of flesh pulsed with life, white lightning coursing through its veiny surface as heat and steam vented from its surface.

    “Captain Xiong,” he said, staring with hidden glee at the discovery of this alpha titan’s dormant state, “Be sure to send a message to Monarch that I will not be accompanying Dr. Miya to Sergio Island. I believe I will be staying here to study this Bagan further.”

    Unbeknownst to the professor, something began to stir in the depths of the fleshy cocoon. A mind left slumbering for millenia slowly began to stir. Unknown sounds, muffled by his fleshy prison, began filling his once silent sanctuary. Yet, among these new sounds, familiar noises and unusual calls could be heard echoing through the world. There was a conflict in the air, one that Bagan knew he would be forced to awaken for, and with his awakening, he would find the golden dragon and finish their battle. White lightning coursed around earthy brown armor, claws clenching as the dragon continued to slumber. Soon, he would awaken and fulfill his promise. Even if he had to destroy the world to do so.

    Winner: King Ghidorah (Legendary)

    K.W.C. // November 20, 2020
  • Author: Joel Forsberg | Banner: Landon Soto

    With a howl of satisfaction, Gabara kicked another building away.

    After years of torment, the colossal ogre had finally found a perfect domain. He had ventured out to terrorize humanity, to finally claim territory for himself. But no matter what he tried, Gabara found himself defeated by some other kaiju.

    When he returned to Monster Island after his years of searching, he had been excited to vent his anger on his favorite victim, Minilla. Though Gabara found the son of Godzilla, another offspring of the Monster King has appeared in the green brute’s absence, and a very angry Godzilla Junior chased the emerald ogre out of his own home.

    Defeated and disgruntled, Gabara wandered the Earth until he found this place. The city below him was called Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the capital of the Galapagos archipelago. But Gabara did not know that, nor did he care. The only thoughts rattling inside its mischievous mind was the fact that he had finally found his own place to stomp into the ground.

    Amidst Gabara’s ecstatic rampage, a strange, high-pitched roar echoed through the air. The feline-faced kaiju snapped out of his daze and turned his head to the source of the noise, but the rocky beach revealed nothing. Gabara shrugged, and turned back to his reign of destruction.

    Another roar caused Gabara to snort angrily and whip around once more, his left eye visibly twitching. This time, however, he was greeted by the sound of rumbling. Gabara stared in confusion as a massive chunk of stone broke from the shallows.

    The ogre’s gut reaction proved incorrect as the creature arose. It was no rock, but a massive shell! Water cascaded off the shell’s sides as Kamoebas stepped upon the sand. He had been circling these islands for months, feasting upon seals, iguanas, and the occasional boat. This was his hunting ground, and he was not going to lose it. The turtle slowly rose to the land and turned to the green invader in his home, letting out another screech.

    A wicked smile spread over Gabara’s face, baring yellow teeth. Under normal circumstances, he would be angry that his reign of terror was interrupted. But this shelled monster was barely taller than the pre-pubescent monster prince. The bully cracked his knuckles and started toward the beach, snickering all the way. He was eager to make a memory; the memory of him smashing the first threat to his new domain into turtle soup.

    Kamoebas shook off the last of the water and lumbered toward the ogre, who had entered an excited jog. The terrapin waddled toward the invader, but Gabara was too fast. The green ogre kneed Kamoebas in the nose, eliciting a squeal from the chelonid. Gabara didn’t let that stop him, striking again from the left, then from below. Kamoebas’ head was batted around like a ball, making him dizzy and disoriented, but he still found enough clarity amongst the beating to heavily stomp down on Gabara’s foot. The invader howled in pain and stepped back, grabbing his foot and hopping around the other, crushing multiple buildings in his fit of pain.

    Kamoebas shook his head, trying to get his brain back in place. As his spasm ended, the turtle stared at his agonized foe. With surprising speed, he waddled toward Gabara and crashed into his remaining leg, toppling the bully with a roar of triumph. Gabara let out his own cry as he fell into the street, face planting into the asphalt. The lumpy green monster slowly rose to his knees, just in time to see Kamoebas charging back toward him. Gabara leapt to his feet as his loggerhead foe charged, and delivered a punt beneath Kamoebas’ chin. The walking island skidded to a stop, stunned from the blow, and groaned.

    With a reverberating laugh, Gabara reached under the shell of his enemy and flipped Kamoebas over. As the turtle squealed, he beat on his underbelly and neck. Even with the hard shell underneath, the blows were felt with all their force on Kamoebas’ ribs and organs. He flailed his limbs, but to no avail as Gabara continued the beating with his cackles of excitement. To him, it seemed Kamoebas was to lose this battle. The turtle, however, still had an ace up his sleeve.

    With a deep breath, Kamoebas extended his neck out to the same length as his body. It struck Gabara in the gut, forcefully knocking the air out of him. A wheeze left the bully’s lungs and he hunched over, grabbing his stomach. As the ogre tried to gasp for air, Kamoebas seized his opportunity. Launching his neck out again, he sunk his fangs into the side of Gabara’s head, driving out a scream from the horrid toad as he shook his head, attempting to shake the terrapin’s firm grip, but somehow managed to accidentally flip Kamoebas – and, hence, himself – over in the process. Gabara was smashed into a small neighborhood and Kamoebas landed on his feet, albeit very ungracefully.

    Although disoriented, the turtle kept his grip on the ogre. Gabara screeched again as Kamoebas dragged him through the neighborhoods and streets, shoving his warty body through concrete, steel and asphalt. As he neared the beach, Kamoebas loosened his grip, and with a swift movement of his head, the turtle tossed Gabara into the sea. The ogre’s green arms flailed above the water, accompanied by bubbles from his screams of fear.

    Kamoebas watched the water as his foe flailed about, eventually sinking below the waves, fingertips disappearing with a final burst of bubbles. The water became calm. The only sound was the gentle slap of waves hitting the beach.

    The chelonid screeched in victory, believing he had won, and began to turn his back to the waves.

    Without warning, Gabara burst from the waves with a reverberating cry. Before Kamoebas could turn to face him once more, the bully grabbed the turtle by the tail. Gabara’s horn then began crackling with neon blue energy, which traveled down his arms and into the turtle’s body. Kamoebas squealed as his whole body was exposed to the voltage. Violent spasms plagued him while Gabara laughed. Kamoebas could not hit the bully with his short legs, and the shaking of his body prevented him from turning around.

    Gabara’s cackles continued as he shocked Kamoebas, pleased with his foe’s suffering. Electricity, however, was not enough to satisfy his bloodlust. He began dragging Kamoebas backward into the water, where he would then pummel the creature into the seafloor.

    His mistake, however, was not letting up on his electricity attack as he did so.

    When Kamoebas hit the water, the electricity traveled through it and into Gabara. The ogre felt his own attack surge into his legs and up into his body. The voltage made him stand stiff and upright, and he let go of Kamoebas’ tail. Even without his grip on the turtle, the electricity kept surging through Gabara’s body for some time, allowing Kamoebas to escape his grasp and run onto the land.

    As the final surge traveled up to Gabara’s head and through his hair, Gabara stopped his convulsions. His hair blackened and tongue sticking haphazardly out of his mouth, Gabara couldn’t help but think of all the previous victims of this attack. The ogre found himself no longer blaming Junior for the barrage of atomic rays fired at him.

    Snapping out of his trance, Gabara watched as Kamoebas retreated inland and snarled, following after the rocky-shelled turtle. As he stepped onto the shore, Kamoebas flipped around, eyes rolling in his head. The electricity had disoriented him, but he was not about give up. Using his new path, Kamoebas announced his attack with a screech and charged toward the cat-goblin. Gabara responded in like, snarling and running.

    The two monsters charged each other with no sign of stopping. Cars and street lights were crushed in their wake, but they didn’t care. All they wanted was to rip the other to shreds.

    As the kaiju got close, Kamoebas tilted his head to snap Gabara’s thigh, but the brute was too quick. He brought his other leg around and struck Kamoebas in the throat, causing the oversized terrapin to choke and stop. Gabara, however, did not follow suit. With his right hand, he grabbed Kamoebas behind the jaw and unleashed a barrage of punches into the mutant’s face. Kamoebas cried out with each punch, giving Gabara a feeling of glee. But while the beating was satisfying, Gabara wished to not give the reptilian another chance to retaliate. Gabara reached his other hand behind Kamoebas’ head, and his foot on the turtle’s shell. With a mighty heave, the ogre pulled on Kamoebas’ head, attempting to tear it off.

    Kamoebas squealed as Gabara pulled, feeling the tension on his neck. Gabara, in turn, laughed and pulled harder.

    He kept pulling.

    And pulling.

    Eventually, the bully realized something was wrong. With a quizzical grunt, he looked at the turtle, wondering what had happened. Kamoebas met his gaze with blank eyes, looking somewhat unworried. Gabara furrowed his brow. How had the creature not been decapitated?

    He looked over Kamoebas’ head to see his extended neck, which had adapted to the bully’s tugging. With an amused chortle, Kamoebas quickly pulled his long neck back into its shell. Gabara was tugged along with it, and the momentum caused him to slam his face into the terrapin’s hard carapace. The warty ogre screamed and pulled his hands away to caress his broken nose, trying to numb the pain.

    Kamoebas shook his now freed head, trying to get rid of the dizziness. Another one of Gabara’s screams brought him back to reality, and he snarled. He compressed his neck even further, attempting to store up more energy, and set his eyes on the stunned feline’s gut. However, the electricity and beating together had disoriented Kamoebas. He launched his assault, but its destination was a bit lower than he had originally aimed.

    The turtle’s head struck hard and true. Gabara tried to scream, but the sound caught in his throat with a choking sound. Tears welled up in the bully’s eyes as he fell to his knees, his mouth frozen in a silent scream as he grasped the injured area.

    Kamoebas retracted his head and observed the oni’s reaction. His attack was a lot more effective than expected, but the chelonid was not one to complain. He took his opportunity and struck Gabara once more, this time in his already shattered nose. Gabara was sent back flipping into the water, landing in a colossal belly flop. The resulting splash traveled through the air and farther inland than even the destruction from the two monsters’ rampage. As the water flooded through the streets, Kamoebas kept a careful eye on the ocean. He had learned about assuming the death of his foe from his bout before, and he was not going to make the same mistake this time.

    Bubbles rose to the surface. Kamoebas tensed up, waiting for his foe to reemerge…

    Belly up, Gabara rose out of the water, clearly unconscious. Drool dripped from the monster’s open mouth as he began floating away, into the open ocean.

    Kamoebas watched as Gabara floated away, eventually becoming a green speck in the distance. Another cry of victory escaped the turtle’s maw, but this time it was final. After finishing his victory screech, he slipped into the water. The battle had left him hungry, and he could go for some seal.

    Winner: Kamoebas (Showa)

    K.W.C. // November 11, 2020
  • Author: Andrew Sudomerski & Tyler Trieschock | Banner: Landon Soto

    Deep Space – 1973

    There was only comfort in isolation. And for countless eons, it embraced the empty vacuum, going through the basic repetitive routines of its existence. Its birth was irrelevant. Survival was the only necessity to thrive in this cruel void. The nothingness, for endless ages, was its only home. But an urge pulled it to a globe of green and blue, a place it had never been to before. Was destiny giving it a chance at a new life? To prove itself worthy to live in a heartless world? Following its instincts, the amorphous lifeform dove towards the massive sphere.

    The time spent falling was nothing short of progressive. Time accelerated as gravity took hold of its form. However, it wasn’t long until it found itself splattered against the hull of a metallic capsule. Orbiting across the ocean of emptiness, the Helios-7 was a research vessel collecting data of unknown organisms within Earth’s exosphere. Little did it realize that it would serve as a ride for an alien organism from galaxies far away. Acting on primordial instinct, the amoeba clung to the vessel with all its might. Its cells, adapted to the absence of heat, were able to withstand the bitter void, which did not bother it in the least. So when it seeped through the cracks and navigated its way to the interior, it began to torture the men aboard Helios-7.

    Their screams faded before Helios-7 fell back into the atmosphere.

    And so, the Helios-7 plummeted to the wideness of the Pacific Ocean. The world would learn of its tragedy later that week, as the spacecraft vanished beneath the oceanic surface. Little would anyone know the truth of the matter; a virus from far beyond our world settling in, adapting. The first set of earthly victims of the amoeba would never tell the tale of what happened…

    *****

    Lagos Island – 1973

    Confident human eyes gazed upon an unbeatable leviathan.

    The three-headed dragonoid scanned all in its presence, uncurling golden lips to reveal razor sharp teeth. Bright hot energies sparked within the beast’s three maws. The air rippled from the intense heat gathering near the dragon’s jaws as it prepared its signature weapon of destruction. A bright light encompassed the humans as they witnessed the colossal creature’s unmatched power first hand.

    Gravity bolts tore into the ocean with unrelenting fury. Geysers of superheated vapor blasted high into the atmosphere, blanketing two men in a colorful mist which blanketed the ash-covered rock surrounding them. But even partially blinded, they could not look away from their biological creation, which possessed the power they desperately searched time and space for.

    An irradiated mutation born through manipulation of the past.

    A creature that ignited hopes for a brighter future.

    A monster their enemies would curse with hate until they vanished from existence itself.

    King Ghidorah.

    *****

    Pacific Ocean – 1973

    Caressed in gray clouds on a humid summer day, Smokey traversed nearly 10,000 feet over the Pacific Ocean. It remained invisible to the luminance of Earth’s star, but the heat was getting the better of the ship’s crew of three.

    “Big brother, are we there yet?” the young Akira complained, drenched in a layer of his own sweat. This was about the fifth time he asked, and frankly, it was getting under Hotaru’s skin. She knew they were almost there. Heck, she was steering the aircraft to their destination, but her younger brother just didn’t have patience. Even then, the sweat underneath their homeworld uniforms would prove to be a pain to wash off. And to believe they bathed just earlier this morning. Of the three siblings, only Hikaru kept his cool.

    “Almost,” he replied in a confident tone, “We’ll start descent in less than five minutes.” Smokey’s cockpit only consisted of two seats for the pilots to fly. Not that Hikaru minded. It was his responsibility to search and repel any major threat, kaiju or alien, and transform if it had to come to it. And according to the reports from their parents and grandfather, there was something lurking on one of the Bikini Islands.

    Hotaru couldn’t help but recall what their father said to them earlier in the day; a cluster of shipwrecks washed ashore on some of the nearby islands. The inhabitants, though far and few between, also accounted for that of an unidentified object within the vicinity. The specifics, however, were rather vague and conflicting. Some claim it to be the Oodako family, others Ebirah, and others something different altogether. If it was truly a space monster, it had her worried. Were the Garogas already here, scouting Earth before sending their armada? She prayed that this wouldn’t be the case. Sucking her teeth under her pink face veil, she decided to drop it. Her questions would be answered in less than a minute, so she would have to see and find out.

    “Should I start the descent?” Hotaru asked, with a tinge of nervousness.

    “Go ahead. We’re here.”

    Trying to mask her anxiety, Hotaru set Smokey on a steady slope down. “Activate the mist and keep Smokey concealed,” Hikaru said. Flipping switches on the control board, Hotaru encased their handy transportation vehicle into a cloud of thick fog. Although the effects were not immediate, at least they didn’t need to withstand the sun’s ultraviolet rays and heat waves anymore.

    Hotaru, relieved not to be at high altitudes, grabbed hold of a two-way handheld transceiver. Unlike those from the human military, these were wireless with a bandwidth that well surpassed the technology of the time. Small and compact, these ‘Zobots’ came in handy with long-distance calls; but for family only.

    “Land Supi to Mirifa. This is Zone Angel,” Hotaru spoke, clearing her voice of any downcast, “We’ve arrived at the site, and we’re going in. Over.”

    “This is Mirifa, this is Mirifa,” their grandfather, Raita, buzzed in from the other side. “I’m detecting anomalies that weren’t there before. Contaminated blood and several–” The feed abruptly cut off, arousing suspicion from the three.

    “Strange that we’re getting interference this far out,” Hikaru remarked.

    “And it’s concerning,” Hotaru noted, “What did grandpa mean by contaminated blood? I get there are waste fills in the Pacific, but I don’t think it’s that.”

    “I’ll go out and check. You two keep an eye out.” His younger siblings simply nodded in agreement.

    Smokey continued its decline, the friction of the air encompassing the aircraft. Straight ahead was their destination. Lagos Island. For the last few decades, this section of the Pacific was considered a hazard due to heavy exposure to radiation during the Atomic Age. The island, once undoubtedly harbored lush greens and silky white sands, was a dead-man’s land. Brittled trunks and charred bark stood erect, the sands coarse and ashened. Lagos had been devoid of natural life for a long time.

    While radiation proved to be toxic to humans, a Peacelander wouldn’t have much to fear. Their biology was naturally tolerant of high doses of nuclear material, although they could die if they were exposed for too long. In addition, they would still need radiation-cleaning for the safety of their environment and others. So when Hikaru leapt out of Smokey and into what was essentially a contaminated zone, his siblings knew there wasn’t too much to worry about.

    The g-forces pushed against Hikaru’s human shape as he continued to accelerate from free falling to his destined location. While he could easily enter flight mode at any time, he wanted to have a little bit of fun now that time allowed it. Performing a series of gymnastics he would see often on the television during his off-time, Hikaru enjoyed the current of the breaking wind cooling his body from the sweat sustained from the flight here.

    “Really, Hikaru? Really?” Hotaru muttered, softly chuckling at her brother’s antics as she brought Smokey to a slow halt. Outside of her and Akira, there was no one else watching. So why even do it?

    Akira, too, watched with admiration. ‘One day, big brother,’ Akira thought, indulging in his fantasies, ‘I will be the next Zone Fighter.’ However, out of the corner of his eye, he saw something.

    “Big sis, look over there!” Akira pointed in the general direction that he saw this object. Hotaru glanced where Akira was pointing, surveying the clouds. For a second, she didn’t notice it. But it was then that she noticed the object. A silhouette of something… Otherworldly. The even stranger part, she was confident either herself or her older brother would have noticed it first thing.

    Hotaru’s eyes widened. Had her greatest fears come to fruition? Without hesitation, she got a hold of the Zobot to contact their brother regarding the situation. “Zone Fighter, this is Zone Angel, do you copy?” Hotaru shouted, her voice cracking, “We have a reading on something!” Instead of their brother’s voice from the other end of the transceiver, only static greeted their auditory senses.

    “That’s not good…” young Akira muttered, “But it has to be from that UFO! No doubt about it!”

    “I agree. We’ll…” she paused, conjuring a plan in her mind. “We’ll investigate the spaceship, while Fighter scours the island for any clues.” Akira nodded. With that, the two pilots of Smokey veered a course to the object hovering in the cloudy sky.

    *****

    As the free fall closed the gap between him and the land below, Hikaru ceased his flashy airborne spins and flips. Arms outstretched and straightening his body, Hikaru took flight and skillfully settled on the coarse, blackened sand with ease. Ash and salt kicked up from his landing, though Hikaru’s face veil filtered most of the particles. His eyes surveyed the setting. A desolate wasteland, barren and fruitless.

    ‘It’s sad to think humans are capable of such destruction.’ He released a heavy sigh. ‘So many races have fallen into the trap of self-centeredness and waste, and it seems the Earth created monsters in response to these dangers. But they’re also capable of accomplishing great things. That cannot be denied–nor forgotten.’

    Before venturing in for clues, Hikaru twisted his head to observe the shrouded Smokey. While the camouflage rendered it invisible to the untrained eye, Hikaru’s sharp senses allowed him to see the vessel taking flight. But toward what? Before he could do anything, he heard something directly behind him. Swiftly turning around, he saw a massive figure rise from the ocean depths.

    “That answers that, I suppose,” he retorted to himself, dashing inland to avoid the wake of the strange beast.

    The waters churned as the first piece of the mammoth monster made itself known. A golden, snake-like head whipped out of the shallow ocean, glistening with water and shining in the presence of the few strands of sunlight breaking through the gray clouds. Its deep red eyes fixed on Hikaru’s tiny form with awareness. Massive water droplets, with the size akin to boulders, rained down from the dragon’s serpentine neck. Hikaru reflexively doged each and every one, sans the water globules from the exploding boulder-sized droplets. He needed to put space between him and the kaiju, and fast. Transforming too close to the enemy and they could easily take advantage of his brief vulnerable state post-transformation. Putting mild distance between them would help him observe the enemy in case of any surprise attacks and give him time to react accordingly.

    Hikaru outstretched his hands and took flight, then twisting his head he saw that wasn’t the full creature he witnessed. Two more identical heads with long necks shimmered in the light as the shores tore apart from the dragon’s gargantuan wings rising up. Cascades poured off of the golden dragon’s body as Hikaru recognized its shape.

    “King Ghidorah…” Hikaru quietly muttered. He recalled reading about this one when he and his family were conducting their research in human history. Though it was strange, as the terrible monstrosity he saw right in front of him differed from the photographic evidence provided by various news articles. Maybe an immature member of the same species? He wasn’t sure. Even as Hikaru found himself deeper inland, Ghidorah’s shadow gradually caught up with him as the terrifying ziz stood completely upright, letting all the loose water roll down his scaly hide. Ghidorah flexed his wings, outstretching them to the point where they blotted out the sun’s rays. Truly, a horrifying sight to behold, yet so majestic. But Hikaru had no time to admire or fear the monster. He had no choice, he had to fight.

    “Here goes nothing.” Hikaru turned around and made another perfect landing on the charred surface. The split-second he could get his footing, Hikaru knelt on one knee and brought his hands in front of him. He closed his hands, only leaving his index and middle fingers out as they pressed together. He brought both of his hands up, with the fingers directing all the needed energy into his helmet’s protrusion.

    “Zone, Double, Fight!” Immediately, a swath of light enveloped the young warrior. Not even a second passed as he grew at an exponential rate. The light deformed his body, altering it to be fit for this new form. Bigger and bigger he became until the light reached a size suitable for his gargantuan humanoid body-type. As the light dissipated, the gigantic humanoid only met roughly at Ghidorah’s neck bases, where the necks joined with the main body. Adorned by silver and blue patterns with jagged red streaks and a waist-belt with a blue light, it was time for Hikaru to show off the power of the Zone’s heritage and legacy: Zone Fighter!

    Six eyes glared at the new arrival. They held no disdain, anger or fear of the humanoid, but for Ghidorah, his thoughts didn’t matter anymore. His mind was now a prison within his own body. The humanoid was a threat, as his masters dictated. It was not his choice to choose to fight or flee and there was no room for backing down or disobeying their commands. In the end, Ghidorah held no choice, he had to fight.

    Ghidorah initiated the conflict when the maw of his central head generated concentrated energy. Within seconds, a wild burst of electric light crackled through the air, but Zone Fighter was quick to evade the first bolt. The other two heads followed suit, putting the massive humanoid’s athletic abilities to the test. The Gravity Beams carved the surrounding earth, exploding with sparks and chunks of flying boulders. For as impressive as a feat it was evading Ghidorah’s bolts, nothing could last forever.

    Gravity Beams soon found their mark, pounding against Zone Fighter’s massive figure. Sparks erupted from his body, scattering across the ruined Lagos Island. As Zone fumbled to get back to his feet, Ghidorah continued to press the assault without hesitation or mercy, knocking the champion of justice around as Ghidorah took several steps forward. Within the brief interval that his body wasn’t being bombarded by Gravity Beams, Zone Fighter generated energy in his hands and brought them together. Curving outward and bringing his hands down, Zone created a flat barrier reminiscent to that of a medieval knight’s shield. And just in the nick of time as the Gravity Beams struck against the pink energized shield. The Meteor Reflection Barrier, rather than dispersing the energy, took in the kinetic force of the beams and bounced them right back at King Ghidorah!

    The golden dragon shrillishly cackled, feeling the wrath of his own beams and ceased firing. He needed to adopt a different tactic, and so he did. Flapping his enormous wings, Ghidorah shook off all the leftover moisture and propelled into flight, heading straight for the Zone hero. With enough time passed to recuperate, the meteor man leapt back and allowed the energy to flow through his body. As King Ghidorah shattered the Meteor Reflection Barrier with his incredible mass, Zone Fighter charged his body with a burst of light and vibration as he made a mad-dash to meet the terrible beast head-on.

    Literally flying across the ground with his Meteor Jet ability, Zone and Ghidorah collided against each other in a massive shockwave, with the heroic fighter planting a firm Meteor Punch directly into Ghidorah’s chest cavity. Despite the golden creature’s incredible weight, thick scales, and pure muscle mass, the jet-like velocity combined with the powerful punch was enough to hurl the gargantuan hydra into the charcoal terrain on his back.

    Zone Fighter took advantage of this by leaping on top of the fallen dragon, throwing a series of quick and successive hooks and punches that broke through the sound barrier with each strike. Each of Ghidorah’s heads were on the receiving end of the relentless onslaught, with none of them given the time to retaliate due to the massive concussions inflicted on them. As each of the heads went limp from unconsciousness, Zone Fighter planted his knee directly on the middle head’s trachea with light charging on his right hand. His last Meteor Punch should do the trick. Zone Fighter screamed as he brought his fist down, but alas it was not meant to be.

    Even on the brink of unconsciousness, Ghidorah’s left head powered through the concussion and clamped his dagger-like teeth into the descending arm. Ghidorah pumped the arm full of his own energy as sparks and lightning flew off of the bite wound. Reeling from the pain, Zone Fighter cried out and backed off. The head limply released its grip, unable to hold out any longer.

    The alien warrior inspected the wound he received, still feeling the aftershock coursing through his arm and shoulder. Simultaneously, he observed the unconscious Ghidorah, wondering exactly how much time he had to spare. Unfortunately for him, it wasn’t as long as he hoped for. Even after suffering a series of concussive blows that would have rendered any other monster or Terror-Beast immobile, Ghidorah proved to be nothing short of stubborn. Even if this wasn’t the demon of the galaxy, this lesser Ghidorah was every bit as worthy to be called one. Dizzy and disoriented, King Ghidorah recovered from his unconscious state with his heads writhing on the ground. It looked like Zone was going to have to pull out the big guns.

    “Meteor Missile Might!” Zone Fighter shouted aloud, with his arms crossed over his chest. In a flash of light, each of his wrists were strapped with gauntlets, ready to open fire on the recovering Ghidorah. Now he would prove to the three-headed imposter his true might!

    *****

    Smokey crept in close to the stationary aircraft, hidden in their own artificial cloud. This saucer was unlike anything the humans had on record; it wasn’t Xilien nor Nebulan in nature, it wasn’t even of Garoga influence. What was clear in the minds of Hotaru and Akira Sakimori was that these guys, whoever they might be, were up to no good.

    “How are we going to get in?” Akira questioned. The unfortunate part in Hotaru’s mind was that it was a legitimate query. She hadn’t quite figured that out herself. Since the saucer hadn’t moved since they arrived, it was a safe assumption that they hadn’t been spotted. The crazy idea crossed her mind to just use Smokey to engage it in a dogfight, but she wasn’t sure if such a rash decision would be a wise thing to do. They had to be a threat, but the extent of their capabilities were unknown. A stealth-based tactical approach would have to do, at the very least, to get a better understanding of who or what they were up against.

    As Smokey closed in, hovering beneath the bizarre aircraft, Hotaru observed a pair of elevator-like doors protruding from the underside. “There,” she remarked, “I think we have our ticket into whatever this thing is.” She tapped on the control board, activating Smokey’s auto-pilot and kept it temporarily parked under the saucer.

    “Sis, look!” Akira exclaimed, pointing out of the cockpit window. Hotaru decided to glance out the window herself to see what exactly piqued his interest. From their vantage point, they could see Lagos Island and the unfolding battle happening before their very eyes. Their elder brother, Zone Fighter, locked in combat with a familiar figure recorded in human history as King Ghidorah, each hurling Gravity Beams and Meteor Missiles at each other.

    “Wh-what is this? King Ghidorah?!” Hotaru was indisputably shocked at seeing one of the galaxy’s most infamous threats here. Even before they arrived on Earth, Hotaru always recalled the myth of King Ghidorah as a fearsome destroyer from her youth. An apocalyptic punisher who, as legend has it, was born alongside the universe during its conception.

    “Maybe these, uh… Uh…” Akira struggled finding a good terminology for these visitors.

    “Aliens, Akira. They’re no different than us or the other races, at least to Earth’s inhabitants.” Hotaru stated.

    “Right. I knew that.”

    “Come on, we have to see what’s up. Maybe these visitors have the answers we’re looking for.” She pressed on the button that opened the roof door. It slid open, with Hotaru signaling Akira to follow her. The two siblings flew out of Smokey, with their Zobots in hand, quickly arriving in front of the doors in a matter of seconds. They scanned the surrounding area, surprised to see that there weren’t any cameras present.

    “I don’t see anything,” Hotaru noted, “Let me know if you see any air vents we can use to get in.” Her younger brother nodded. Yet before they could do anything, the doors automatically opened and a swarm of humanoid guards already drew out their advanced pistols.

    “On behalf of the Equal Environment of Earth Union, you are both under arrest for trespassing on government property,” the guard stated robotically, “put your hands behind your head, or we will open fire.”

    Hotaru was stunned. ‘Did they really have cameras already set? Or had they known of our arrival beforehand? What’s the Earth Union? EUGH!’ she winced, venting her mental frustrations. Realizing this, she quickly resumed a stoic expression, praying no one noticed. The unexpected predicament they were in didn’t have room for them to slice through the group of soldiers. Not only were they vastly outnumbered, but the ethical consequences of killing humans didn’t sit well with her.

    ‘At the very least, maybe we can talk with someone to figure out what’s going on here,’ she thought to herself. So she complied with their commands when she put her hands behind her head. “Come on, Junior,” she insisted, addressing Akira by his heroic alias as she hid her Zobot out of sight. He quietly complied, doing much the same, and was quick to do what she asked of him.

    “Good,” the guard was satisfied with their course of actions, “now follow us.”

    *****

    Zone Fighter and King Ghidorah warped the landscape with their onslaught of projectile weapons. They kept their distance from one another, though it was abundantly clear that golden hydra was more of a tank than the meteor man. Ghidorah ceased firing, shifting gears into a defensive stature. Tough membranes that were the wings concealed his body as the dragon tucked his heads within the empty space. Missiles continued flying amok, only to find that those that reached their target were merely deflected by the wings. Even worse, he started walking through it.

    The alien hero was hard pressed to believe that the Meteor Missile Might, one of two weapons he often resorted to as a last ditch effort, was as ineffective as it was. True, he was against a member of the Ghidorah species, so it wouldn’t be a cake walk. Still, it was concerning nonetheless. But now that Ghidorah was wrapped behind his wings, there had to be an exploit Zone Fighter could yield to his advantage. Then he saw what he could do.

    “Meteor Jet!” Zone cried out, summoning his jet-like speeds once more. Coated in a bluish glow, Zone Fighter closed the gap between himself and Ghidorah again. Time which Ghidorah had to prepare. Anchoring his golden trunks into the charcoal earth, the protected hydra pulled the weight of his twin tails, intending to use them as maces. Seeing through Ghidorah’s instinctual plan, Zone used the momentum built up to perform a twirling leap, completely avoiding the mace-like tails. This, in turn, left Ghidorah’s back completely exposed; focusing all the kinetic energy into one leg, Zone Fighter defied the laws of physics and plunged his sole directly into Ghidorah’s spine! Although it wasn’t enough to dislocate a spinal disc, as the scales and muscle absorbed most of the impact, the force was enough to plant Ghidorah into the crust, unable to unfurl his wings in time.

    Using Ghidorah’s back as a springboard, Zone Fighter spaced himself apart as to prepare for his actual finisher. Bringing his forefingers to his forehead antennae, it flashed with a brilliant light. This, in Zone Fighter’s mind, should do the trick.

    “METEOR PROTON BEAM!”

    A sharp blue laser darted out, lancing into Ghidorah’s golden hide with resounding success. An explosion of gold sparkles and red blood gushed from the wound, eliciting an animalistic cry from the three headed monster. For one reason or another, hearing Ghidorah scream struck a chord with Hikaru. It obviously wasn’t the first time he heard monsters cry out; plenty of the Terror-Beasts were more than capable of imitating pain, though that was only a survival mechanism implanted by the Garogas, as to avoid destruction. It wasn’t like they had the capacity for empathy. Even the Ghidorah known to Earth was nothing short of an engine of destruction, only screaming in wrathful fury when in pain. But this was different… Concerningly different. But Zone had a duty and an objective. This was a Ghidorah, and it had to be stopped.

    No matter the cost.

    Ghidorah’s scales and muscle mass buffered enough of the Proton Beam so as not to completely eradicate his spinal cord. Nevertheless, it was going to be painful to move around. Using his wings and legs as support like that of a quadruped, Ghidorah regained his footing and hissed at Zone Fighter.

    “Huh, I didn’t expect those wings to be so elastic,” he noted to himself. He glanced at the belt around his waist, noticing the blue hue shift into a concerning yellow. ‘The sooner, the better.’ The hero readied for round two until his ears began to buzz with static….

    *****

    A few moments earlier…

    Hotaru and Akira found themselves surrounded by human-like guards and encased in the confinement of this mysterious vessel. The interior wasn’t at all what Hotaru would have expected. It had a strange retro-sci-fi vibe… But she assumed there was more going on under the surface than she could comprehend. Even their rifles were akin to human engineered weapons compared to the other known races.

    They continued walking down the corridor in relative silence until they reached what Hotaru only assumed to be the main quarters of whoever these visitors were. The sliding doors opened, granting them access to the control room. With it, came many indecipherable screens, numerous other guards, and at the center were two distinctive figureheads who differed from everyone else.

    “Sir, we’ve detained the Peacelanders as you instructed,” the M10 guard stated. Hotaru and Akira were aghast at what they just heard, but didn’t utter a single word.

    One of the two Caucasian men, adorned in a business suit with graying hair, dismissed them with a wave. Immediately, all but one scattered and returned to their original stations. The one who remained, caucasian as well with short golden hair, stared at them with a smile which emitted a cold chill down Akira’s spine.

    “Who are you people and what are you doing here?” Hotaru demanded, in need of answers.

    “My my, direct and to the point, aren’t we?” the civil man responded before he began to walk toward his guests. “I am Chuck-”

    A crack emitted beneath Wilson’s foot stopping the man in his tracks. As he raised his right foot, blood, guts and other fluids of a small crab lay at the bottom of his sole. A look of distaste from the blue fluids took hold of Chuck before he wiped his sole against untainted ground.

    “Apologies, we were on the island a few moments ago and it seems the wildlife grew attached to our ship. I’m Chuck Wilson, and this is my associate, Glen Chico.” Glen Chico, the other man with red receding hair, offered his formalities. Unknowing of how to properly react to all this, the children bowed as a reluctant greeting. “We are here on behalf of the Earth Union,” Wilson continued, “collecting an experiment that will benefit all mankind.”

    “Don’t you mean the United Nations?” Akira questioned.

    “No,” Wilson corrected, “not in the least. Besides, I need some answers from you two. Exactly what it is you’re doing here?”

    “That’s none of your concern!” Hotaru snapped.

    “That so? Because if I recall not one second ago, I stated what our business was here. Equivalent exchange, I’m sure you understand.”

    Hotaru sighed. “We received reports about shipwrecks near here. So we were investigating… I guess these are also part of your ‘mankind saving’ experiments? Using a monster to kill innocent people?”

    Glen Chico’s eyes widened in confusion. “I’m not sure what you mean.”

    “The golden dragon thingy,” Akira intervened, “the creature that’s fighting our brother!” Hotaru motioned for him to zip it, but the damage had already been dealt. Akira gestured an apology.

    “I assure you, we and our Ghidorah have not done any harm since we arrived in this time-” Chico mistakenly commented merely to glance at Wilson who simply rolled his shoulders.

    ‘Wait, ‘our’ Ghidorah?’ Hotaru thought to herself, ‘How did they make their own Ghidorah?’

    “There is no harm in explaining Glen. Would it really change anything?”

    “You’re not of this time, are you?” Hotaru inquired as all the pieces in her mind began to form a single thought.

    “Very absurvent. Yes, we are from the 23rd century. The Ghidorah below is something of our own creation and we know all of you from records of our time describing your feats. The worship of heros continues even to our own time.”

    With a mere flick of Glen’s wrist, screen doors slid open to reveal multiple hi-tech projector screens. On them were surveillance footage of Zone Fighter, Ghidorah, the island, and its surroundings. Hotaru observed closely and realized all of these differentiating angles were impossible for standard drones to even observe, almost like a film.

    “If everything is going like you said it is, then make him stop fighting!” Akira demanded sternly, “We don’t want to fight you!”

    “Of course,” Wilson stated aloud, “so long as you tell Zone Fighter to do the same with your… Zobots if I recall our records correctly. They should work now as our communications were blocking your own.”

    *****

    Golden light gleamed within the dragon’s jaws, rippling the air from its heat, but the act did little to scare the mighty hero standing valiantly against the dragon’s onslaught. In preparation, Zone Fighter planted his feet deep within the ground and channeled energy to his fingers. ‘Come on, let’s see how you like a second round of the Reflection-Barrier.’

    Before either enacted their strategies, King Ghidorah’s light began to fade. Fury-filled eyes of King Ghidorah dulled to passive stares. The three heads turned their attention away from Zone Fighter, appearing to chat amongst themselves in complete obliviousness of his opponent. The buzzing in Zone Fighter’s ears gradually morphed into a familiar female voice, drawing his attention briefly away from his opponent’s strange activity.

    “Brother, please stop fighting Ghidorah. He will not attack as long as you don’t!”

    An unrecognizable gasp echoed from Zone Fighter whose fists tightened with concern. ‘Stop fighting? Hotaru, what are you thinking? It’ll bring destruction and terror to everyone and everything!’

    Zone Fighter kept his hands raised in a fighting stance. ‘No way I can let this thing live. I’ll need to end it now while it’s passiv-’

    An eerie bioluminescent light attracted Zone Fighter’s focused gaze away from his foe to the nearby waters. Whatever glowed, it was large in size and just beneath the coastal waters. Believing this to be the moment of betrayal, Zone Fighter switched his attention to Ghidorah, his fists sparking with energy for a Meteor Slice, merely to see the dragon equally focused on the light. Zone turned away, unsure of his next action only to see more lights in the ocean. He counted… One… Two…

    …then the ocean emitted an overwhelming light as far as the horizon stretched.

    *****

    “See, all friends here. Now, if you all wish to return to Smokey, we will be taking King Ghidorah back to our own timeline,” Glen enthusiastically explained to the pair.

    “Hold up a sec!” Akira stated with his arms raised. “Why do you have a Ghidorah here in the first place? Equivalent change and all that!”

    The enthusiasm seeped away from Glen who looked to Wilson for guidance merely to see his superior now staring at his hands with a look of unrivaled curiosity. Glen’s left eyebrow raised in uncertain concern, but with a shake of his head, he focused on more pressing matters. Deciding it best to answer, Glen began to walk over to the pair.

    “Godzilla in our time has gone on to destroy Japan completely, so we created a new King Ghidorah to combat him. We first arrived in 1992, but… we realized quite quickly the great machine we built traverses not only time, but space as we found a past unlike what we knew. A world in war, in ruin and overrun with-”

    Glen stopped his movement and shivered a moment in disgust and terror. “After the discovery, a few of our team stayed behind in that time while we dropped off our creation in your timeline’s 1944. Now, we’ve returned this year to retrieve our Ghidorah. Once he is safe, we’ll ensure our M10s will escort you-”

    An energy blast tore through Glen’s skull like paper leaving a headless corpse to fall onto the floor. Nearby computers exploded from the energy shot sending sparks showering across half the room. Miniature explosions from electric circuits took hold of the control room as monitors sparked uncontrollably while the perpreator formed a smile as he retracted his smoking weapon.

    “How… interesting,” Chuck Wilson commented as he looked at the gun, admiring it with intrigued, wide eyes. Before he could do anything further, a long kick from Hotaru struck him across the side sending him ragdolling across the room. Sickening pops reverberated from the human before he came to a stop, his body twisted and mangled.

    Hotaru stood over the broken man, her right arm outstretched so Akira would not see the state of the madman beneath her. “You… you killed your friend!”

    Wilson’s head turned beyond any normal limit, breaking cartilage as he gazed up at Hotaru. “To this body, he may have been a friend but to me-” Blue ooze began to glisten from the multiple wounds covering the Futurian’s body, “-he is nothing more than inferior. For I am all things. I am Yog.”

    “You’re a parasite.”

    Wilson’s eyes shifted their gaze to the flickering screens above Hotaru. “Oh, I am far greater and soon-” Hotaru looked at the screen, revealing Ghidorah, Zone Fighter, and an army of new monsters arising from the surf, “after I infect those two, I’ll be unstoppable.”

    Wilson’s body fell limp while a blue substance oozed from his dead jaws. An audible sound of disgust filled Hotaru’s closed mouth, but before she could utter a word, the room around her began to tremble. Sparking computers morphed into a swelling blaze, quickly enveloping half the room in its wake. A small hand yanked Hotaru out of her stunned state and forced the young woman to run while the fires rapidly spread.

    “Come on sis!” Akira yelled as he directed her to the door which they arrived through. Upon passing the door, Hotaru stopped in her tracks and glanced back to the massive screen showing the horror gradually unfolding beneath them. Fires glistened beneath the live feed, mirroring the racing of Hotaru’s mind. ‘Maybe Hikaru won’t have to fight this horde alone…’

    *****

    From the surf they arose in mass from their master’s order. Mere cuttlefish in origin, the squids now were mutated to monstrous size from the interstellar being coursing through their veins. Gezora, the Yog hive mind nicknamed these creatures. Tentacles dragged across the sand, gradually depriving it of all material until nothing but course rock remained. Greed filled the eyes of Gezora’s cold gaze inland to Zone Fighter, the hive mind urging the cuttlefish to restrain the humanoid so he too could join their collective. For with the warrior’s power and the dragon’s might, they could become more than just a meager army.

    The world would tremble beneath the might of Yog.

    Zone Fighter felt an iota of fear course down his spine from the horde which spanned the horizon. ‘Wait… so did these… are these what Father and Mother detected?’

    A ping in Hikaru’s ear snapped him out of his fear merely to hear the sound of running and harsh breathing.

    “Brother, can you protect Ghidorah?”

    “Wait, what? Hotaru?” Hikaru responded in surprise. “There are new creatures, a horde of…”

    “It’s a parasite!” Hotaru snapped in response. “They can control living beings and want to add you to its collection with Ghidorah.

    Zone Fighter’s gaze locked on Ghidorah’s fallen form, sparks cascading down his left arm. Aiming methodically for its necks, the warrior’s left arm raised, ready to unleash a ray which would end the immobbile creature. “If I kill Ghidorah, that won’t be a problem.”

    “There are too many!” Hotaru yelled, causing Hikaru to wince. “Besides, we need to stop the Yog here. If we let them escape, the parasite could spread. Hold them off and we’ll control Ghidorah from our ship?”

    “We will?” Akira’s voice skeptically inquired.

    “It’s the only way,” Hotaru assured.

    Zone Fighter refocused his attention on the horde of cephalopods and with renewed determination, he felt the fear which momentarily froze him vanish. Small steps evolved into a resolute sprint toward the incoming swarm and as he approached the hundreds of Gezora racing toward him, Hikaru uttered no words in response to his siblings, for they already possessed his trust and respect. All he needed to do, as always, was face the impossible. A mission Hikaru accepted without question as he launched a fist into the mass of flesh.

    The warrior’s hand tore through Gezora’s flesh like tinfoil, taking Hikaru by surprise as his hand punched through the back of squid’s head. Azure blood sprayed from the wound, red eyes rolled back into the creature’s body and with a thud, one Gezora lay dead in the shadow of Zone Fighter. The tremble of the earth from the remaining hundreds kept Hikaru’s first victory muted.

    An all encompassing screech of anger let loose from the horde of Yog, tentacles surging toward Hikaru’s body as the full swarm reached his position. The slimy appendages grasped nothing but recently vacant air as Zone Fighter rolled under the tentacles and reached safe ground. Outstretching his own arm, the hero of justice grasped a number of tentacles and pulled. A Gezora flung forth toward the hero who swung his right leg into the parasite infested creature, launching brain matter onto its kin as the leg ripped through blue flesh.

    ‘Can’t keep killing them single file like this. Time I jumped in.’

    With a determined yell, Zone Fighter launched himself into the air, evading a fresh wave of tentacles. His arms outstretched and flying at full speed, the horde watched the warrior perform an aerial loop before Zone Fighter flew parallel to the ground and like an arrow flying through the air, tore through all in his way, leaving a trail of dead or dying Gezora in his wake. Feeling his momentum slowing, the alien warrior tilted back up toward the open sky merely for tentacles to ensnare his legs. Whipping the hero back to the ground, Zone Fighter collided with the recently dead, creating a cloud of dust and azure blood.

    The horde of hundreds descended upon the fallen warrior, encircling him from every direction, but Zone Fighter refused to suffer such a grim fate on his back. Jumping to his feet in an instant, Zone Fighter demonstrated his defiance with overwhelming strength. His right fist cleaved the entirety of a single Gezora’s face off. Blood sprayed upon three squids who angrily charged forth, waving their slimy appendages in an act of intimidation. A spin kick plowed the trio of cephalopods to the blood stained dirt while a single elbow strike upon a squid behind the warrior ruptured its eye and sent it screeching backward in anguish.

    Even as the dead began to pile up, Zone Fighter felt no relief. The horde which encompassed him showed no sign of ending, no sign of stopping and their icy grip seemed ever tighter with every passing moment. Then, in unison, the swarm launched itself toward the hero from every direction. Tentacles constricted Zone Fighter while bodies buried him in a growing, monstrous mass.

    A few Gezora, scattered across the charred landscape, stood ominously as they watched their kin throw themselves upon the warrior. Inside their bodies, the unified Yog hivemind relished the sight and awaited the inevitable. The frigid bodies of Gezora would make resistance impossible, even for the powerful Zone Fighter, and soon he would become nothing more than another vessel. A new, unbeatable-

    The pile of Gezora atop Zone Fighter vanished in a monumental explosion and fire ballooned into the heavens. Within the blaze, a humanoid shadow arose with silver bracelets upon its outstretched arms and as the fires gradually died, Zone Fighter stood triumphant, bathed in the blood of Yog. Charred flesh crashed upon the earth like rain, a deathly gaze emanated from Zone Fighter and the bracelets upon his wrists clinked as they reloaded another volley for imminent fire. The horde of Gezora, or specifically the Yog’s hopes of a quick addition to its army vanished as Zone Fighter lifted his arms and screamed in defiance, “Meteor Missile Might!”

    King Ghidorah remained still on the warm, rocky terrain it lay upon. With no orders, it could not move any part of its body and so, like a prisoner within a cell, it remained stagnant, watching the horde of squids be shredded in a spectacular volley of explosive firepower.

    Why was the battle occurring? What were these new creatures? Simple questions like these entered the dragon’s mind, yet were disregarded with little care. For the only question the dragon truly desired to be answered, was when would shatter the submissive chains which bound him? When would it be free once again?

    *****

    Hotaru and Akira felt the ship listing beneath their feet as they dashed down flickering hallways. Sliding, metallic doors became nothing more than a blur to the pair as their eyes eagerly awaited for one particular entryway. Yet as distant detonations reverberated through the deteriorating vessel both knew their time of escape was fading. The groan of metal followed another tilt of the ship, turning the floor’s twenty degree angle to a thirty degrees.

    “How much farther!” Akira whined.

    “Not too much, just keep running!” Hotaru retorted through harsh breaths.

    The flickering lights surged with power and faded, acting as a precursor to the ship listing another five degrees.

    “We’re almost running on the wal-”

    “There!” Hotaru shouted in relief as the pair turned a corner. “Get behind me Akira!”

    The confused eyes of Akira snapped to her sister. “Wait, what do you mean?”

    From outside the Futurian vessel, metallic doors burst open and began a long descent to the land below. Hotaru, her shoulders extended so she could ram through the door, morphed into a suitable flight orientation as she flew toward the Zone family aircraft. Right behind her, Akira floated forth with his arms slouched, relief dripping from his expression.

    “That-that was close. I wonder how much time we had le-” Akira’s eyes widened in terror as he looked back to see the air which once housed the Futurian ship now vacant. An explosion of metal far below made the child forcibly laugh to himself as he entered Smokey with a vacant stare, ignoring his sister who scrambled onto the smokey’s communications.

    “Land Supi to Mirifa, this is Zone Angel. Do you read?” Hotaru urgently shouted. ‘Please let the interference be gone.’

    The line remained ominously silent until a familiar voice soon came to life, bringing great relief to Hotaru. “I am dear. What’s wrong?”

    ‘Yes! Now the hard part.’

    “Mother, we need grandfather’s help to save Hikaru. Can you reach him?”

    “Already here,” Raita Sakimori assured over the Zobot communication line. “When you three didn’t check in, your mother reached out to me in the lab. What do you need?”

    “Can you hack King Ghidorah?” Akira enthusiastically inquired.

    “Excuse me?” Raita replied while Hotaru sighed, clutching her forehead. “It’s a long story.”

    *****

    Standing over charred, dismembered pieces of at least a hundred Gezoras, Zone Fighter took a moment to catch his breath. A few battered and bloody Gezora still walked across the landscape to attack, some peeling themselves off the blood soaked land, but a single well placed strike ended their existence. ‘Timer’s red, but at least I cleared most of them. Maybe I won’t need King Ghidorah’s help after-’ Hikaru snapped his attention to where the dragon lay stagnant merely to see in the opposing horizon a far larger horde of creatures composed not only of Gezora, but two new creatures.

    The hivemind, once enraged, now grew arrogant with the unveiling of its full might and the deployment of its newest creations. With red eyes which extended from an exoskeleton covered body, multi-legged mutated crabs lumbered forward in the midst of its Yog kin. Snapping elongated pincers, the beasts Yog nicknamed Gamines would be a great asset along with the other, reptilian creatures hidden beneath black shells. The massive turtle mutations, or Kamoebas, crawled forth, ready to implement its master’s will without hesitation.

    A furious punch from Zone Fighter floored a nearby Gezora before he burst toward King Ghidorah to intercept the swarm. ‘Were all squids just a distraction? An easy win so I wouldn’t notice the main threat? Hopefully these new creatures are just as easy to kill.’

    Running at full speed, Zone Fighter jumped into the air and retracted his legs, soaring over King Ghidorah whose eyes watched him with intrigue. Touching down at the edge of the hydra’s wing, Zone Fighter rushed only a hundred meters more until he came face to face with the forward forces of the horde or specifically a lone Ganimes. A kick fueled with Zone Fighter’s momentum struck the crab’s abdomen, violently cracking the exoskeleton, while the mutation’s right claw sliced across the warrior body. Blood leaked from both wounds, yet each combatant showed little sign of giving in as they charged at each other.

    Zone Fighter ducked under Gamines’ swipe and moved beside the crab, unleashing two mighty blows upon its exoskeleton. Each fractured the protective shell, causing blue blood to leak, yet the crab showed no signs of slowing when it swiped at Zone Fighter again. ‘Alright, it’s far tougher but I can’t get caught up on this thing. I need a weak point!’ Spinning under the swipe, Zone Fighter swung his right leg outward and retracted it in, burying Gamines’ head into its own body with the heel of his foot. ‘And, found. Now…’ Zone Fighter spotted a nearby Kamoebas to practice on prior to the main swarm’s arrival. ‘Let’s see how strong you are!’

    Zone Fighter dashed forth, taking the turtle by surprise from the humanoid’s speed. Retracting his right arm backward, the warrior launched it with all the strength he could muster at the beast’s shell causing a sickening snap to echo. The sound of two bones breaking in Zone Fighter’s right hand. A monothlitic yell escaped Hikaru lips as he clutched his hand and from his pain, Kamobas found an opening and clamped its maw around the warrior’s left thigh. Hammer like blows struck the top of the turtle’s head in a desperate effort, but Kamoebas refused to let go. Infuriated, Zone Fighter clutched the terrapin’s skull and forced its thumbs into the creature’s eye sockets, impaling brain matter. A weekend howl echoed the turtle’s jaws before it finally vanquished its grasp, allowing Zone Fighter to stagger away from the dead creature.

    ‘Even tougher… great!’ As the ground began to tremble, Hikaru took a fighting stance and summoned latent energy to his arms. King Ghidorah would not fall into the parasite’s realm of control, not as long as he drew breath.
    .
    *****

    “We have an issue,” Raita’s voice echoed within the cockpit of Smokey. “We can’t remotely control King Ghidorah.”

    Hotoru and Akira looked to one another in panic. “What!” they yelled in unison before Akira proclaimed, “But, you gotta!”

    “Huh well these, Futurians you called them? They’re tech is impressive for humans. They used a high pitched frequency to send orders and another to enforce their demands. This second signal was their key. I can imitate the first frequency, but the second alludes me. Their key alludes me…”

    “So we can’t help Hikaru,” Hotaru worryingly questioned.

    A tired, old breath coupled with static echoed in the call. “No, we can. Using Smokey, I can send out a signal to break the lock on Ghidorah.”

    “So basically we free him and have to ask him nicely?” Akira remarked with dread. “Maybe brother doesn’t need help?”

    Hotaru nervously pulled up optical sensors within the command center of Smokey to assess the situation. A live visual feed of Zone Fighter’s position appeared revealing the warrior desperately fighting a literal sea of flesh and his timer now glowing a dire red.

    Hotaru, filled with concern, dug her gloved fingers into the control panel. ‘Brother, just hold on a little longer.’

    *****

    “Meteor Slice Chop!” Surging crimson energy from his fingertips, Zone Fighter thrust both his arms out, each angled to perform optimally. Arrow-shaped blasts sliced through the air, shredding through the limbs of the Gezoras like paper. Even the Ganimes caught in the crossfire were susceptible to the energized cutters, disarming the mutated crustaceans in the process. The Kamoebas, however, proved durable enough to withstand it, though it did chip their reinforced armor.

    ‘No matter how much it takes, we must fight!’ A Ganime rushed up to him, the meteor man shifted combat styles and plunged his fist into the disgusting visage of the cretin. Its eyestalks and mandibles caved in from the tremendous force of the impact, the ensuing kinetic energy flinging the dead crab away from him. Even so, a quick glance to his belt buckle was already cause for concern. ‘It’s still red. I have to let them know.’

    His compound eyes scanned what was in front of him, prepared to take down the next Yog spawn. However, unbeknownst to him, his Achilles’ heel shot with a sudden, sharp pain. With a twist of his head, Zone Fighter saw the dark shelled terrapin gnawing at the back of his foot. Before he could prepare another Meteor Slice to do the deed, he was suddenly jumped by a pair of Ganimes’, one of which was an unusual white color. Using his strength, he wrestled with the shelled triad, but found himself slowly overwhelmed.

    From the eyes in the sky, the pilots of Smokey came swooping down. “Zone Fighter, this is Angel, we’re coming in!” Hotaru glanced at Akira, and they both nodded. Fighter was in imminent danger, and he needed the help he could get.

    “Meteor Proton Beam!” the siblings shouted in unison as Hotaru pressed down on the joystick’s buttons. From the frontal nose of the alien craft, a searing blue laser washed over the aquatic marauders, eviscerating the brown Ganimes and carving off a piece of the Kamoebas’ face in the process. Freed from their grip, Zone Fighter hurled the white Ganimes to the side and, in an act that mirrored his siblings, brought his fingers to his antenna.

    “Meteor Proton Beam!” From the red-tip of his forehead protrusion, a bluish beam struck the albino crustacean and promptly ignited in a glaring fireball, even if it was far from the end of it. However, there was still a chance, so long as they could pull it off.

    “Akira, prepare for Zone Marker replacement!” Without missing a beat, Akira’s fingers prepared for the ol’ switcheroo. From Smokey’s belly, the red-tipped cap lowered into the outside world. “We only have one shot at this,” Hotaru added. “We have to be within 90 meters of Fighter, otherwise it won’t lock on.”

    Suddenly, the cockpit rocked violently. “What’s going on?” Hotaru’s eyes furiously scanned her surroundings until she noticed the source of their predicament. For a moment, she thought she had hit some terrible turbulence so low–but the reality was everso more unsettling. From the ground, many of the Ganimes reared their heads back and spat volleys of coalesced seafoam from their mandibles. While such a feat would be nigh useless against their brother or the mighty Ghidorah, the force of it was still enough to crush humans into paste. Or in this instance, bend metal.

    One of the watery spitballs thwacked on the nose cone, warping the metal and displacing their aerial momentum. “We lost the laser cannon!” Akira bluntly shouted, “We need to pull up!”

    “Hang in there,” Hotaru muttered under her breath, eyes laser focused on her brother, who was starting to lose balance from loss of Proton power. “Now!” Simultaneously, they cried aloud, “Zone Marker Change!” and fired the cap directly at the meteor man. The expired cap adorned on his head fell as the new one came in its place. He could feel the Proton power course through his giant form, the belt shifting from red to blue in an instant.

    Energized and prepped, Fighter gave a simple thumbs up. If nothing else, it delayed the worst of it–provided this ongoing war would ever come to an end… As Smokey was forced to retreat into the artificial clouds of its own creation, Zone Fighter saw a shift in behavior from the unusual lifeforms.

    “Wait… Are they….” Before he could complete his train of thought, he saw the others of the Yog-spawn divert their attention directly to the other target: King Ghidorah.

    “Oh no you don’t!” The meteor man boldly proclaimed, whipping out his Meteor Missiles Might bracelets into action. A flurry of missile fire erupted around them, temporarily halting the mad fiends in their place, if not outright destroying them in the process. Leaping to the air, the renewed Zone Fighter landed directly in front of the mass horde, eager eyes desiring to add them to their army.

    ‘As much as I’d hate to admit, I could really use its help right about now,’ he silently confessed in thought, continuing his relentless onslaught.

    If the threat wasn’t stopped here, then the entire world would befall into doom.

    Serpentine slits could only scan the environment around it, unable to act in accordance with its will. These dead shores and the basking sunlight reminded it of a time long since passed. Nostalgic memories flowed into its suspended consciousness… A place it had once called home. A home stolen by the great flames that forged it into the superbeast it now was. For a time, such a feeling granted it freedom, but much like the stasis it was in, was denied by its former masters.

    It saw the humanoid and the amassed army of sea monsters. They converged upon him, and he fought back rigorously. For what? Even if it was against its will, hazy memories recalled their recent bout. This alien man was a fighter and no doubt fought to kill. Was it… It couldn’t. Perhaps as a byproduct of the swarm that befell them, were the alien’s intentions truly altruistic? Unable to control its facial muscles, Ghidorah gawked idly from the lonely coast of its deserted home.

    Then, its eyes snapped violently as a sharp ringing resounded in its consciousnesses.

    A mental lock unhinged, decompressing the pressure that had plagued its brains for so long. For the first time in its existence, feeling returned to its body. Bat-like wings, feet, and tails stirred sporadically, at long last acquiring a body that belonged to it. Pulsating red sparks circulated around its heads, each one emitting their own cries of jubilation.

    As it reoriented itself to its will and control, Ghidorah continued to observe the fight that unfolded before their very eyes. All that transpired turned less and less favorable for the alien warrior. As strong as it was, even this proved to be far too much for them to handle. Ghidorah’s facial muscles contorted into a grin. Perhaps as a means of repaying the favor, the beast came to a decision. Not out of some comradery act of selflessness or righteousness that moved its wild heart.

    No, it was to prove a point of who the strongest really was.

    Hikaru continued to struggle, but a familiar darkness began to creep in from the edges of his sight. Appendages became numb from the multiple tentacles of Gezora which clutched his body. Gurgled sounds escaped the constricted warrior’s throat merely to fall on malicious ears of the horde which surrounded him. A tentacle gradually arose above the endless sea of creatures, dripping animated blue blood which contained the pure essence of Yog.

    The hivemind grew impatient as the torn appendage raised over an open wound on Zone Fighter’s body, waiting for a large droplet of blood to ensure the infection. Regardless of the time it would take or the tenacity of the humanoid, the Yog would grow stronger and soon, no living creature would be able halt the conquest of Earth. All would be Yo-

    A goliath of golden skin crashed in front of Zone Fighter, caving in the head of a Kamoebas and the body of a Gezora. Before the swarm could realize the situation, hurricane force winds blew dozens away while lightning like blasts ignited those too close to Zone Fighter’s body. Creatures burst into flames around the warrior’s body, creating a wall of fire which none of the horde dared cross. For now they faced a new opponent, one free of its chains and ready to unleash the pent up rage it harbored for so long.

    The horde of Yog would fear the wrath of the mighty, the unshackled, King Ghidorah.

    A wary cry echoed from each maw of the dragon and on bat-like wings the hydra ascended into the air. Its flight proved short lived as it crashed down upon the back of a Kamoebas, cracking its sides and flattening the soft flesh with its shell. Blood and organs jettisoned from the holes which the smooshed Kamoebas’ appendages stuck out of and standing proudly on the shell of the creature it killed, Ghidorah unleashed a torrent of gravity beams on all foolish enough to squirm in its shadow.

    The dragon took special interest in the cephalopods, frying them with such precision their fiery corpses littered the battlefield more than any other creature. Ganimes boiled within their shells from the energy blasts, venting steam from their cracking crustaceous exoskeletons; however, unlike their dying Yog infected kin, Kamoebas by the dozens crawled forth under the chaotic barrage. With heads retracted, the mutated sea turtles dragged themselves closer and closer to their attacker, infuriating the dragon.

    King Ghidorah’s three heads ceased their assault. Animalistic sounds barked from each draconic maw to the other on what to do with the persistent reptiles merely for each head to nod in agreement. Turning their six eyed gaze to the nearest Kamoebas, a continuous, triple gravity beam cascaded across the creature. The massive outer shell at first held strong, but its durability quickly faded. Sparks enveloped the Kamoebas while its deathly cry signaled to all its breathren its gruesome death, fires encompassing the fresh corpse.

    A once slow crawl evolved into stampede for the Kamoebas group, shaking the earth with reptilian heels. The sudden burst of speed took King Ghidorah by surprise and from its momentary confusion, three reptilian heads extended forth and clamped their jaws upon golden scales. Wails of anguish cried out from the dragon’s heads before it refocused on Kamoebas clutching its wing. King Ghidorah’s three heads snapped upon the neck of the creature and ripped its maw off his body before swinging it wildly like a club. The other two Kamoebas clutching him retreated to their shells, but the horde around Ghidorah could not hide so easily, allowing the hydra to flatten dozens. As flesh finally tore from the reptile’s neck, the gravely injured Kamoebas which acted as a club flew into the swarm and crushed a lone Gezora beneath its bulk.

    The Yog, its parasitic essence watching behind every set of eyes in the horde, grew furious by the display of sheer power from King Ghidorah. This dragon, imposing its size and strength may be, would succumb to it. It, the Earth, all would eventually be Yog!

    Tired breaths escaped Zone Fighter’s faceplate. The beeping of his color timer kept the alien warrior aware of every precious passing second as his belt flashed red while his mind raced. King Ghidorah’s unequivocal rampage through the mutated army proved an invaluable ally, but he’d grow tired soon, an opening would appear and just like his fight, the dragon would fall. Hundreds still remained and even if most of the creatures were focused on mostly focused on him-

    Rocks rustled behind Zone Fighter’s wary body. A new Gezora, appendages flailing wildly, charged toward Hikaru merely for the warrior to spin and thrust his elongated hand through the cepholopod’s head, right between its eyes. Blue blood spurted around the warrior’s embed arm, the squid’s eyes rolling up until the creature fell plummeted to the charred dirt, dead.

    Another tired breath exited from Hikaru.

    -it wouldn’t last for long.

    ‘Hotaru and Akira only had the one recharge pellet. Even with another, would that be enough?’ Hikaru chuckled at the irony as he remembered his thoughts arriving to the destroyed isle. ‘I need some humans capable of destruction right about…’ Zone Fighter’s eyes widened every so slightly while his gaze shifted to King Ghidorah, watching the dragon burn a Ganimes and a Kamoebas to smoldering corpses with his gravity beams. ‘Or maybe, just one of their creations.’

    Zone Fighter stood tall with renewed confidence, the dire buzzing of his timer ever present, and pressed the Zobot within his right ear. “Hotaru, Akira, do you read?”

    “Brother!” Akira excitedly replied. “Wait, what happened with Ghidorah?”

    “He’s fighting the swarm, why?”

    “He’s not under our control,” Hotaru admitted in a resentful tone. “We can request him to do things, but that is all.”

    “I knew protecting him would make him like-”

    “Akira!” Hikaru interrupted, “Tell Ghidorah to unleash his gravity bolts on me.”

    The communication between the two brothers fell silent, surging with life as Hotaru yelled, “Are you mad?”

    “It’s the only way to end this, please,” Hikaru assuredly pleaded only to continue, “and make sure you tell him not to hold back.”

    With silence returning to Hikaru’s ears, he focused on Ghidorah, awaiting the sign his message went through.

    Four separate sets of pincers launched forward, puncturing Ghidorah’s golden scales. Harrowing cries echoed from all three maws of the dragon until rage forced action. Gravity bolts spewed out in every direction, setting fire to two Gezoras and one Ganimes. Yet even as the trio of creatures perished, seven more took their place, forcing Ghidorah to screech in defiance. The horde retorted with action.

    Tentacles lashed out, entangling the dragon’s left head while Kamoebas’ heads launched out of the horde and grabbed a hold of the right head as well as the hydra’s legs. Pulling from every direction, the sea of mutated creatures struggled to make the golden creature bow, but as their relentless struggle intensified, Ghidorah felt itself inching toward the charred dirt. Realizing it was losing even with its immense strength, golden wings flexed out of the horde and with a mighty swing, launched Ghidorah into the safety of the open sky.

    Kamoebas, too stubborn to release their grips, plummeted like rain upon the mob who looked on with a unified glare of envy. Furious growls echoed from the swarm of Yog-mutated beasts, but Ghidorah cared little for their intimidation display, taking the moment to catch its breath and look upon what remained of the horde. Even after slaughtering so many, staining his golden scales with their blood, an endless swarm of the beasts remained. After the relentless fighting throughout the day, the dragon dreaded the thought of continuing any furth-

    Messages suddenly flooded the hydra’s three minds, orders to fire gravity beams upon the humanoid which protected it, sending Ghidorah into a bout of rage. He would not heed these new directives. It was free, it was… Ghidorah’s heads looked to one another, slowlying grasping it held control over its body. Was this a mistake? If they could ignore the orders, why would he receive them?

    A humanoid bellow rattled the heavens and drew the dragon’s bewildered attention as well as the hundreds of eyes of the yog swarm below it. Upon finding the source, King Ghidorah discovered Zone Fighter standing proudly, its left arm raised high with his right pounding his chest in affirmation. A second, confident yell echoed and as the horde began its charge toward the humanoid, Ghidorah’s three heads formed amused smirks, golden energy glistening within their maws.

    Zone Fighter’s open hands fell to his sides as the sky above him began to glisten a golden glow. Tremors rattled him from the approaching army of Yog, the charred earth beneath his feet fractured from the sheer approaching mass and his timer’s beeping notified him of the few dozen seconds he had left, but all the dire signs failed to sway Hikaru, even as golden bolts discharged toward him from Ghidorah’s maws.

    For what was there to fear? He would not be dying this day.

    “Meteor Reflection Barrier!” Zone Fighter proclaimed for all those that dared fight him.

    A curved shield, composed of hardened light, materialized in front of the warrior and upon its outward facing plate which reflected the silhouette of King Ghidorah, the gravity bolts struck. Lightning like blasts rained down upon the barrier, ringing it like a drum and causing it to become brighter and brighter until a mighty gravity blast descended upon it. The continuous, triple gravity beams flowed like water into the radiating shield, its glow rivaling the sun, and as King Ghidorah finished unleashing his reserves, Zone Fighter reached out and grabbed his creation’s edges.

    Immediately, the fingers of the warrior burned, sizzling from contact with his creation, but Hikaru refused to allow the meager damage to stop him. Hearing the barrier cackling with Ghidorah’s energy, Zone Fighter knew he possessed little time and pulled with every ounce of strength in his possession to reposition the angle of the shield. The ground cracked under Hikaru’s heels, small flames ignited around the warrior’s fingers, and a steady yellow drowned out the stampede toward his position. Gradually, the barrier shifted from a one-hundred and thirty five degree angle to a ninety degree formation, giving Hikaru a small sense of relief as the Yog horde nearly reached his position, their silhouettes reflecting in the barrier of light.

    Watching the Reflection-Barrier cackle with energy, Hikaru couldn’t help but launch his arms outward in defiance. This would be the moment the Yog, and all under its vile control, vanished from his planet!

    “Reflection Barrier: Gravity Maelstrom!”

    As if on cue, the barrier produced a singular gravity bolt of unparalleled size and destructive potential. The single Gezora standing directly in front of the blast vanished in a golden light and after it vaporized, all those behind it followed it into oblivion. The protection of Ganimes’ exoskeleton or Kamoebas’ shell failed to stop the blast and just as quickly as it tore the first Gezora to molecular dust, it cut a blinding hole through the swarm.

    The Yog horde’s charge transitioned into a disorganized frenzy as the beasts moved out of the blast’s way, but Zone Fighter would not allow their escape. Grabbing the shield once more, Zone Fighter pulled with all his might and shifted the barrier’s angle, sweeping the Gravity Maelstrom’s bolt across the landscape. Horrendous screams of hundreds of Yog filled the air, Zone Fighter too screamed in agony as he felt the skin on his fingers sizzle away, but the bolt continued firing until the alien warrior completed a three-hundred and sixty degree turn, his fingers burned to the bone.

    The Reflection-Barrier’s shield fragmented into nothing but droplets of light and with its departure, Zone Fighter collapsed to the charred landscape in exhaustion. The warrior pried his vision off the ash covered ground, watching a dark shadow encompass his sight, before he fell into the pits of unconsciousness.

    The familiar light of day welcomed Hikaru as his consciousness returned. To his left and right, Hotaru and Akira sat respectively, visibly smiling through their facial coverings at the sight of their brother’s awakening. Hotaru fought back tears in her eyes while Akira looked away, crossing his arms and doing his best to obfuscate his joyous sniffling.

    “I knew… you’d be fine,” Akira remarked, stuttering as he found it difficult to speak. As Hikaru’s hand placed itself atop his younger brother’s head, the child’s emotional barrier gave way to a warm hug upon his older brother.

    With one arm clutching his younger brother, Hikaru peeled himself off the ground and swept his gaze past his siblings to what lay beyond. In the distance, monstrous corpses set aflame lay scattered in every direction. The source of their burning showed no interest in hiding its actions as Ghidorah spat gravity bolts, vaporizing what Hikaru could only assume to be the remainder of the mutated swarm.

    A hand rested upon Hikaru’s shoulder, drawing his gaze to Hotaru. “The Yog is gone,” Hotaru affirmed with a confident nod. “Whatever’s left, he’s been burning since we got to you.”

    Hikaru looked back to King Ghidorah, a sense of unease and relief rushing through him greater than any lingering pain he felt. ‘So… what are we going to do with you,’ Hikaru contemplated.

    “So, we keeping him?” Akira remarked, breaking Hikaru and Hotaru’s thoughts as their eyes became wide in shock.
    “Why?!” Hotaru shouted.

    Akira eyes narrowed, his arms crossing once more in apparent disgust. “He saved big brother. We gotta help him out.”

    “It was an alliance of momentary, strategic convenience!” Hotaru snapped only for Akira to tilt his head, drawing a sign from Zone Angel. “It was only temporary.”

    “Ohhhhh, well we still gotta.”

    The rustling of Hikaru staggering upright attracted the squabbling pair to their sibling. Jumping to their feet as well, Hotaru and Akira noticed a confident, familiar smile form beneath Hikaru’s face veil, putting them both at ease.

    “We’re going to help him,” Hikaru affirmed without a trace of doubt in his voice. “And I think I know just the place he can live in peace.”

    *****

    Skull Island – 1973

    Within the chaotic storm walls which swirled around the island’s perimeter, monstrous flora and fauna dotted the archipelago’s landscape under near sunny skies. The ravenous emerald allosaur, Gorosaurus, hunted herds of Sker Buffalo across empty plains merely to see a familiar beast of golden scales descend on the far side of the island. Without hesitation, the beast unleashed a wail to alert all battle capable monsters and most importantly, the island’s king, before he charged toward King Ghidorah.

    Zone Fighter touched down in a sea of lush jungle and rolling hills. A harsh gust of wind blew past him while the ground ferociously quaked from the three-headed dragons landing just a dozen meters behind him. With a simple nod, the hero instructed King Ghidorah to follow, but the shaking of the ground halted any movement. From the jungle, beasts of monstrous size enveloped the pair, encircling every angle of the duo.

    Gorosaurus screeched with frenzy, bearing his serrated teeth in preparation to tear the vile invaders apart. Baragon continuously roared while he knelt low to the ground to pounce on the pair. Black Moth snarled viciously at the unwelcomed party, carving a line in the ground with her talons. The boisterous cry of Maguma acted as a warning. Before the group could lunge, a booming roar echoed, silencing any thought of action within the island’s defenders. All eyes turned to two ape-like creatures which parted the jungle with a flick of their wrists.

    Grey fur coated the larger of the pair who looked on his subjects and intruders with intrigue. King Kong’s primal eyes scanned Zone Fighter and King Ghidorah, weighing his options before the smaller Kong began to growl. The younger beast beat his brown-fur chest in an act of aggression merely for the larger Kong to bat him over the head with the back of his left hand. The undisputed king of Skull Island swiftly returned his gaze, deciding the best course of action.

    As primal eyes gazed into the dragon’s, King Kong noticed no terror or rage emitting from the beast. It seemed… lost.

    With a final grunt in preparation of his order, King Kong roared into the heavens of his decision, deafening even the mighty storm which encircled the island. King Ghidorah, at least this particular creature, could stay in his domain.

    As he finished his commanding bellow, wary eyes of the ape looked to Gorosaurus. The allosaur’s eyes twitched with rage, but gradually, the ancient dinosaur nodded slightly in acceptance giving the old ape a feeling of relief. With no other noticeable discontent, King Kong returned to the jungle with his heir following closely, and soon, the rest of the creatures in tow.

    With trouble avoided, Zone Fighter parted a wary breath and turned to King Ghidorah who looked at the alien hero with a grateful gaze. A mighty shout echoed from Zone Fighter before he launched into the sky, leaving his ally in the safety of the mighty king.

    King Ghidorah, an ally.’ The thought made Hikaru’s head spin as he soared through an endless sea of clouds which glowed under the setting sun. ‘Never thought that was possible, but against the Garoga, against the future the Futurians foresaw… I’ll gladly fight by his side once more.’

    *****

    Pacific Ocean – 1973

    Churning bubbles escaped the air pockets that remained in the submerged MOTHER, drifting ever closer to a watery demise. A state of being to be abandoned by the vision of man, forsaken to die a lonely death. Destiny was a cruel mistress. Fate had forgone the glory promised to it, and all value of conquest and propagation was lost because of it.

    Within the husk of a saucer, Yog persisted in the bitter void of the oceanic trenches. Conjoined to the host’s amygdala, bulged eyes of a desecrated, twisted corpse contracted in deep thought. It scoured the dead man’s mind for additional intel. What it saw, if it uttered the truth, terrified it beyond belief.

    From the eyes of its victim, it only saw the end ad infinitum. To it, this had to be the absolute truth. Yet such knowledge was so limited, even more restrained by the arrogance the deceased had once held near and dear to his shallow heart. The impossible and plausible all existed in equal factions, but only through his eyes did it see the end brought about by the red giant.

    Deep sea pressure contorted the metal framework of the saucer, compressing it like aluminum foil. The Yog remained in the heart of the vessel, clinging to the host for a physical form. Certainly, the Yog’s enhancements allowed the human body to survive depths it normally would be unable to breach. It wasn’t that it couldn’t abandon the body and find another host to parasitically infest. If it chose to, it could phase through the subatomic molecules and resume its mission anew.

    But the realization of the truth–a future where it no longer existed or would leave its mark in the universe–killed the instinctual drive to spread. With this existential knowledge burned into its sentience, could it really live knowing that it would be forgotten to time? Even if a future existed that would be more merciful than the one it saw, the results would be the same nonetheless. For Yog would never leave the lasting impact it had so desired. The fruits it bore would be infertile, for the seduction of the Earth’s worldly pleasures snuffed the life out of it.

    As the Futurian vessel plunged in the abyss, the host curled into a ball and waited for the inevitable. This planet would go on, but it would not. All that was left was itself and its thoughts, with only one solace to all of this.

    There was comfort in isolation.

    Winner: Zone Fighter, King Ghidorah (Heisei)

     

     

    K.W.C. // October 31, 2020
  • Author: Connor Clennell | Banner: Andrew Sudomerski

    The universe was an enormous place. In the 200,000 years that mankind had been around, they had yet to truly grasp the scope of the reality they lived in. Even far older and advanced civilisations struggled to answer such a boggling question. But every year, the knowledge of the universe grew as something new appeared from the infinite blackness of the cosmos, whether it be a new planet or satellite, foreign race, or type of interstellar fauna. In the case of the latter, knowledge was often accompanied by death.

    The galactic network had known for untold decades of beasts such as King Ghidorah and Legion, whose tales of terror had circulated far and wide across the Milky Way. But in recent times, new entities, both organic and artificial but deadly in their own right, had made their presence known. First, it was Bemular. Then Gigan, followed by Goliath, Mechagodzilla, and Orga in the years that came after. At the cusp of the next decade, alien invaders took focus as the major threat to national security over civil wars and terrorist attacks. With such lacking information on the world they lived in, none could anticipate when the next horror of the void would emerge and begin a new age of destruction.

    Crimson wings stretched wide across the empty vacuum, allowing the beast to sail with ease on the solar winds. It had been travelling for weeks now, leaving behind worlds stripped bare of life and resources in its wake. Billions had filled the drooling monstrosity’s belly, yet it still craved more. Its stomach growled soundlessly with unquenchable hunger, demanding sustenance, but there was none to be found so far. The newest solar system to suffer its presence was lacking in flora and fauna, leaving the foreigner more and more ill-tempered with each planet it visited. But the planet coming up looked promising, giving the scarlet intruder a glimmer of hope in finally sating the hunger that consumed it. Continents of green spread across its surface, divided by vast, blue oceans. To Bagorah, it was like an all-you-can-eat buffet. And it would eat everything.

    The alien’s wings folded inward, drawing close to the body as it began to descend through the atmosphere. A cone of heat engulfed the bat’s form as gravity began to take hold, dragging it down and increasing its velocity exponentially with every passing second, but it was no concern to the great beast. It knew that it would survive entry, and begin the feast shortly after.

    Even if the cosmic vampire had sought to make a stealthier arrival, its presence was instantly recognised. Other species of ancient titans dominated the blue planet, sharing a complex and fragile balance over resources and territory, and were none to accept disruption to their harmony from foreign rivals. Near the Kyushu Providence of Fukuoka, Bagorah’s arrival was taken note of for a different reason. Stone and earth that had remained undisturbed for centuries suddenly began to tremble and crack, falling into the depths of the planet as something under the surface stirred back to life. Tremors rocked the region, taking down freeways and office buildings as the quakes reached up to 8.0 on the Richter scale, but the source of them was uninterested in the consequences of its actions. It had hibernated for centuries, awaiting the return of its preferred prey. Although other giants had frequented the providence over the last decades, the forgotten beast had decided not to challenge them, as its once-great strength had faded with time. But the new arrival was promising, and while it was not among the list of creatures the ancient one once hunted, it was desperate enough to try.

    The earth visibly shifted and rose as the awakened titan moved under the crust, burrowing its way toward the most likely site of the invader’s landing. Genetically-wired instincts urged it on, regardless of its depleted resources, but the mission had to be completed. It was the last and only one of their kind left in the world, but soon, many more would be brought into it…

    The burning shape of Bagorah filled the skies over Nagasaki, casting a reddish-orange glow over the crowded, lawless streets. Millions abandoned respect for their fellow man in their desperation to stay alive, but the fact that the crimson xenoform was here proved it was already too late. Before it could make impact, the bat-like thing banked up, allowing the city to feel the ravages of its tail wind. Shards of glass fell like rain as thousands of windows shattered, only to be swept up along with anything loose and thrown across the landscape. As the screams of its prey filled its hypersensitive ears, Bagorah could only purr in delight. Its wings flapped in powerful strokes, bringing the interloper to an instant halt and blowing away the flames that coated it. The surrounding structures were immediately set ablaze, but it was of no concern to the great carnivore. All that mattered was the feast.

    Swooping just above the asphalt, it scooped up thousands into its open maw. So ravenous was its hunger that the chiropteran didn’t even wait to finish its mouthful before dipping its head again and filling its bloody gullet once more. As it went for a third helping, the foreigner stopped. It hovered in place and turned in the other direction, entranced by something in the distance. What it was, the bat had no idea, but it could hear clearly the sounds of the earth itself shifting and crumbling, growing in volume by the second. Its green eyes narrowed and searched for whatever had come. This was its bounty. It would not surrender it.

    Showers of soil erupted from cracks in the tarmac like geysers only yards away from Bagorah. The street started to sink into the ground, with debris erupting into the air just as quickly as it disappeared below the surface. Amongst the chorus of rumbling rock, the vampire caught a deeper sound. At first, it thought that the ground was rising up, but the black, jagged mass that emerged from the pit was most definitively alive. Huge, brawny forearms slammed into the pavement and pushed the colossus out, allowing the sunlight to wash over all of its bizarre form. Nothing else on Earth could compare to the newcomer in anatomy. Features of mammals, reptiles and insects were all present on its body, but there was no relation between any of those species and the ancient thing.

    The new arrival had many names given to its kind over the centuries. Some called it the Dragon Beetle, whose footsteps could shake the earth like thunder. Others cursed it as the Unclean Thing, for it corrupted the world with its essence. The oldest civilisation of all, lost from memory, knew the earthly demon as Jinshin-Mushi. All of these titles had been forgotten, but the modern age had given it a new one, upon discovering its connection to another lost species only recently documented.

    MUTO Prime.

    The hunchbacked creature let out a low shrill and stretched its tired, stiff limbs. It had slumbered for far too long, and now had to complete the cycle. Its elongated eyes were locked on its airborne target. It was not of this world, but the bat was the only choice it had to ensure successful reproduction.

    But Bagorah was not intimidated by the behemoth. Its nose, like its ears, was highly acute, and could sense the MUTO’s weakened state. A single whiff of its scent was all the bat needed to tell that the creature was not at full strength, yet had still come to challenge the scarlet invader. It couldn’t see a rival, but a greater meal that had delivered itself right to the starving predator. With a demonic shriek, the alien flapped toward the super parasite at great speed, spreading slobber into the wind as the urge to consume overpowered it. Its ferocity took MUTO Prime by surprise, leaving it slow to react as the flying fiend swooped overhead and raked its talons across its rocky back. A gigantic forelimb swung upward, but it was too late to strike the swifter killer. Dark blood flowed from the gashes left in its hide, dripping to the ground around the black titan as it struggled to turn in the confined street space. As it finally spun around, Jinshin-Mushi was assaulted by the chiropteran’s claws once more, slicing into its meaty flanks and retreating just as quickly. Once again, MUTO Prime lashed out with its massive arm, only finding hard granite and steel that shattered under its great strength. It grumbled slowly, becoming angered by its inability to land its claws on the red menace.

    Through the black smoke from the burning city, Bagorah screeched in an imitation of human laughter. Its prey couldn’t have picked a worse place to challenge it, in an environment that hindered it and gave the carnivorous xenoform plenty of cover to use. Even with the odds on its side, the invader should still have been cautious, but overconfidence and hunger clouded its logic and it dove down like a rocket. Its jaws opened wide, exposing fangs like needles and a green, flickering tongue, all stained with the blood of its human victims. Soaring over the parasite, it rolled to the side as one of its unusual forearms swung up, and swept over the behemoth’s back to lean its head down and sink its jaws into MUTO Prime’s shoulder.

    The beast from before Christ roared load and deeply, throwing its alien head back as pain surged through the assaulted shoulder like venom. The titan’s blood seeped into Bagorah’s mouth, which the galactic ravager lapped up with famished gusto. The taste was unusual to the great bat, but such a thing had never deterred it from a meal in the past. It jerked back to rip away a chunk of Jinshin-Mushi’s flesh, but the predator’s head didn’t budge from its spot. Confused, it tried again, only to meet the same lack of results. The hide of the ancient one was too taut and thick to be easily ripped away, and it was a miracle that Bagorah’s fangs had managed to pierce the surface in the first place. But as it tried to relinquish its bite, the chiropteran’s jaws remained locked to the site. Its attempts to main MUTO Prime has driven the crimson horror’s teeth deep into its tough flesh. It couldn’t pull free!

    Muffled screeches of distress left the flying evil’s stuffed maw as it struggled to pull free from the super titan. The invader’s wings and talons beat and scratched at the parasite’s form, informing it of the bat’s current position. It reached back with one colossal hand and clamped tightly around Bagorah’s mid-section, then pulled back, tearing the enormous creature from its shoulder. A reverberating groan escaped the maw of MUTO Prime as a chunk of its own flesh was ripped away as a result, and looked at the culprit squirming in its grip. Although its focus was to escape, the gluttonous foreigner could not resist gulping down the piece of the titan in its jaws before the chimaera’s own eyes. Gnashing fangs reduced the meat to paste, splattering Bagorah’s body with the blood of the Unclean Thing before swallowing and licking the remains from its drooling lips. It saw no need to hide its craving for the local’s flesh.

    This action drove an enraged cry from the black thing and the arm holding the invader swung out, throwing it into the side of the nearest skyscraper. The bat was instantly embedded in its structure, stunned from the impact and restrained by warped steel and broken concrete. With its enemy and target immobilised, MUTO Prime reared up, roaring into the darkened sky before slamming back down and charged at the helpless flyer. All Bagorah could do was widen its eyes as the herculean beast thrust its entire mass and godly strength against its crimson form, forcing the air from the demonic alien and robbing it of its voice. The imprisoning structure shattered under the unrelenting force of MUTO Prime, falling to the earth as a gigantic hail of rubble. Within the shower, Bagorah was thrown back, crashing to the uneven streets and skidding across the surface with wheezing breaths. When it finally stopped, the remains of its prison came down upon the foreigner, burying it under tons and tons of concrete debris.

    As the smoke and dust drifted away, MUTO Prime strode out from the haze. It grumbled silently as it caught sight of its pinned target, writhing and shrieking as it hastily started to loosen the concrete boulders restraining it. The killer of titans took heed and increased its pace, consumed by the drive to complete the seeding of the new generation. Bagorah’s efforts intensified as well once it noticed the behemoth’s approach, but its body was still held down under the hill of rubble. Its freed wings beat wildly, slapping the ground to try and lift the bat out of its prison as Jinshin-Mushi neared, finally casting the shadow of its impressive bulk over the struggling xenoform. Bagorah’s emerald eyes met the red, visor-like slits that were the parasite’s own and screeching loudly, trying to intimidate it into backing off, but the cries of the scarlet beast seemed to only aggravate the great one. Once more, it reared onto its hind legs, lifting its massive forelimbs in the air in preparation for the crushing blow.

    More debris slipped off the chiropteran’s chest, but it was still trapped and lacking time. The eater of ecosystems was not defenceless, however. Despite its alien origins and appearance, Bagorah was still a bat in nature, and possessed the same abilities as its earthly relatives, only greatly enhanced. The devourer’s jaws suddenly split open, emitting a long, piercing scream into the air. So powerful was the sound, the very space around the cosmic predator’s jaws warped and distorted from the high frequency. Windows across the block instantly shattered and buildings were shaken to their foundations, but MUTO Prime felt the full effects of the sonic blast as it took the brunt of it. The armoured titan lost its balance and stumbled, toppling over onto its back and roaring in agony in its disorientated condition.

    Now was the invader’s time to strike! With a final burst of power, Bagorah burst free of the restraining debris and flew toward its fallen adversary with a haunting shriek. Although pain coursed through the behemoth’s head, it recognised the incoming danger and tilted to catch sight of the incoming threat. Its inner pairs of arms lashed out, catching the ferocious carnivore inches away from its throat and held the starving thing back. Thick saliva splattered across MUTO Prime’s throat as sharp fangs snapped furiously, eager to taste of its flesh and blood. Bagorah’s wings flapped wildly and its taloned feet slashed at the tough belly of the colossus, scoring white lines across its surface. The great parasite pushed back with the strength it could muster, but its crimson nemesis was not so easily dispatched, holding vigour unfitting of its lithe form. But as the effects of the sonic attack faded, the hunchbacked goliath was able to refocus once more. Its whole body seemed to vibrate tremendously and its strange jaws opened, unleashing its own supersonic roar and returning the favour to the hellish alien. Bagorah’s hypersensitive ears took the blast in full and it screamed in agony, momentarily losing its hearing and balance. Unlike the chiropteran’s sound blast, the cry of Jinshin-Mushi was one of sound and force, which threw its attacker clear off and to the rubble-filled street.

    The predator of the stars hit the rough ground with a pained squeak and a veil of dust. It shrieked and thrashed as its ears ringed, trying to outlast the agony as MUTO Prime slowly climbed back onto all fours. It stepped toward its distressed target, pinning its wings to the ground with its forearms and leaning down to the bat’s level. From the sides of its face, four orange, luminous tendrils emerged from hidden sheathes, lazily twitching as their pointed tips slithered closer to Bagorah’s restrained form…

    The bat suddenly lunged forward, shocking the elder titan as its jaws flew past the tentacles and gripped its throat. Jinshin-Mushi howled and reared back, releasing its hold on the alien glutton and withdrawing the ovipositors.  As its attacker’s reaction pulled it up, Bagorah did not let go of the parasite’s neck, choosing instead to thrash its head back and forth to tear apart the behemoth’s flesh as its massive wings expertly kept it hovering in place. Its tongue darted out to taste the blood dripping into its maw at the source and it purred in delight. Like the vampire bat it so closely resembled, it lapped up the substance with drunken gusto, intoxicated by its exotic, earthly flavour. There was a sudden, powerful collision to its torso, and Bagorah found itself flying back, gasping for lost breath as MUTO Prime lowered its offending fist.

    Dark fluid flowed from the ancient one’s wounded throat and stained the demolished ground beneath it, but the damage was surprisingly minimal. It still hurt like hell, though, but MUTO Prime chose to ignore it and rushed its recovering adversary. The tactic was predictable, giving Bagorah enough time to ascend out of the angered beast’s path and hover above, looking down with its own snarling expression. Twinges of pain shot through its bruised chest with each wing beat, fuelling the fire of hate that the foreign killer had for its earthen opponent. The chiropteran’s jaws snapped, shooting a blast of high-frequency sound at the herculean monster that forced it to step back. The dark-coloured thing groaned and shook its head, dazed by the sudden attack but otherwise unharmed. Bagorah circled the confused titan, launching sonic bombs from its shrieking maw from all directions to surround it in a sphere of sound. The louder volume had a greater effect on the MUTO herald, disrupting its hearing and echolocation abilities. It swayed on its feet, struggling to find its balance as its head tracked the crimson stalker.

    While the tactic was sound, it was not what Bagorah desired. It craved the thrill of action, the rush of adrenaline from attacking its victims itself. It descended, triggering the xenoform’s foe to lash out with its forelimb. In its muddled state, the strike missed by yards, giving the bat the opportunity to sink its talons in-between the goliath’s shoulder blades. Flapping powerfully, it steered Jinshin-Mushi toward the surrounding buildings and slammed it through the wall of a smoking office building. Crushed debris slipped down its form before it was jerked back into the sunlight, roaring in fury at its alien offender. The great chiropteran pulled MUTO Prime across the desolate street once more, shifting its own body weight to send the bulky terran careening into another building with an ugly cracking sound.

    For the next minute, the action of smashing the dark behemoth into the surrounding structures continued, with the beast coming away from each impact more bruised and bloodied than before. Thick cracks ran across its exoskeleton and it swayed on its feet, still under the effects of the earlier sonic attack. However, it began to stabilise, lifting its head and spreading its limbs to gain better traction on the ground. It appeared that Bagorah’s attempt to bludgeon the bizarre giant had worked in Jinshin-Mushi’s favour. The sense had literally been knocked back into it by the blows.

    With a sound almost as alien as Bagorah’s, it charged, tearing down the roadway with the crimson predator clinging to its back. The foreigner screened in alarm as it was pulled along for the ride and flapped frantically to try and halt or change the colossus’ path, but its efforts could not halt its momentum. MUTO Prime’s limbs pumped faster and faster, increasing its speed by the second until it knew that it had enough. It bellowed long and loud as it drove the body of itself and Bagorah into a skyscraper, breaking the structure’s foundation upon collision. It fell apart, crashing down on the joined monsters and removing them from sight within a cloud of dust and falling rubble.

    As the remains of the building hit the ground and the rubble settled, silence fell across the cityscape for only the briefest moment. Although the impact and collapse were both impressive, it was not enough to keep the duo down. Crimson wings burst from the debris like a thing of nightmares, with Bagorah throwing aside rubble and standing tall seconds later. Its piercing, emerald orbs easily located the living mountain that was Jinshin-Mushi amongst the littered landscape and it let out a cry of upmost hate before taking to the air. It circled the ancient parasite as it pulled itself free from the concrete sea, moaning with fatigue.

    As it shook the dust from its head and neck, sharp talons assaulted its vision. The elder beast cried out as Bagorah’s claws slashed at its face, driving the confused giant back. MUTO Prime’s fists swung wildly, missing the gigantic extra-terrestrial’s form as it hovered above like a hummingbird, raking its bladed feet across the titan’s neck and shoulders and kicking at its hideous features. The aerial killer shrieked with glee and mocking laughter as it drove its prey down, growing more certain of its victory and the prize that would come with it. And oh, what a prize it would be.

    But like with all who grow overconfident, their pride will ultimately bring about their downfall. In its focus to take the great parasite down, the scarlet fiend’s senses dulled as it slipped into a blood-crazed trance. MUTO Prime’s arm lashed out again, connecting with and grasping the chiropteran’s tail with a surprised cry from the red invader. It slammed the predator down with a mighty crack as its body hit the pavement, stunning it for the briefest moment. Jinshin-Mushi lifted its arm again, heaving the heavy bat over its hand and smashing it back-first into the ground. Shrieking wildly, Bagorah flapped its wings in an attempt to break free of the goliath’s hold. Suddenly, it was flying across the city as it was tossed by its black nemesis. It shrieked wildly before it was cut short as it clipped the side of a building, knocking out a chunk and sending the aerial menace spiralling in another direction. As another building loomed, the bat’s wings extended, clasping onto the outside with its clawed tips to lessen the impact. It scuttled across its surface like some demonic gargoyle, seeking cover to re-focus and adjust its strategy.

    As it peeked its head around the corner, the chiropteran’s emerald eyes widened in shock at the chunk of debris hurtling toward its roost. Instantly, it fell back, releasing one wing from the building as the projectile struck, demolishing several floors only a kaiju-sized hair breadth away. Bagorah leaned out again, screeching with anger as it spotted MUTO Prime rip out another slab of concrete from the side of a skyscraper. As the forgotten creature hurled it, Bagorah ascended into the air, leaving the debris to shatter the xenoform’s perch. Its return to its element brought an enraged sound from the jaws of MUTO Prime, quite aware that it would nearly impossible to bring the colossal intruder back down. It would not give up, though. Its unfightable instinct to reproduce urged it on, and the progenitor of the MUTOs had no choice but to comply.

    The parasite’s arms reached out and dug into the ground, tearing up massive handfuls of metal and rock and rearing onto its hind limbs to lift both object. With a mighty throw from each arm, it sent both boulders flying one after the other at its alien target. The first chunk missed as Bagorah rolled out of the way, aligning itself with the trajectory of the second projectile with a cunning glint in its eyes. Reaching out, it grasped the boulder mid-flight and flipped in the air, throwing the projectile back at the armoured brute. For MUTO Prime, it was an easy feat to break the boulder with a swing of a forelimb, but a veil of dust was generated in the process, hindering the behemoth’s line of sight. Its arms waved clumsily to try and dispel the cloud, but they were too blocky for the task and the dust was too thick. From the other side, the top of a building was tossed, shattering against the ancient titan’s cranium and forcing it down with a pained cry. Bagorah’s haunting shriek echoed as the goliath lifted its head with a scowl on its features. Either the foreigner was adapting its strategy as they battled, or it was choosing to mock it with the black giant’s own stratagem.

    Bagorah’s claws reached out, embedding into the roof of a residential building and tearing away the top of the structure. Swinging its lower half forward, it tossed the building through the dust cloud with all the strength it could muster. The great carnivore’s rival had caught on to its scheme, however. Its throat rumbled as the structure’s dark silhouette appeared through the grey fog, and as it broke the corner and spiralled toward the elder beast, Jinshin-Mushi’s maw released its devastating sonic attack. The reverberating roar instantly shattered the flying building and dispelled the dust in the air, giving the parasite a clear look at its red enemy once again. But as the veil vanished, it found the bat bearing down toward it, screeching aloud and spraying spit into the wind. Raising its wings vertically, it slowed to a halt and hovered before the black colossus, ears twitching like tuning antennae. Its hypersonic scream erupted from the xenoform’s throat as MUTO Prime responded with its own high-frequency sound.

    As the two beasts quickly found out, unleashing two sound-based attacks at the same time was a poor play. Between the duelling waves, a sphere of literal sound began to form, fuelled more and more by both creatures in the span of seconds until it reached critical mass. The orb burst apart with a sonic boom, launching the warring titans across the landscape. The proud infrastructure of Nagasaki fell apart for miles, burying one of the region’s most important cities in the rubble of its own buildings.

    MUTO Prime skidded to a stop, drawing trenches in the already ruined tarmac as its claw stabbed the ground. Shaken by the explosion of sound, it was unsteady on its feet and struggling to hear properly. Its vision was clear, however, and it could make out the form of Bagorah, thrown much farther across the city due to its previous aerial position. The alien slowly crawled from the rubble, shaking its bruised body clean and flexing its wings, not sporting small rips across their membranes. The action brought something behind the beast to MUTO Prime’s attention, causing a new strategy to pop into its fuddled mind. Despite its fatigue, it reared up with upmost urgency, lifting its massive forearms up and slamming them down into the earth with all its weight and strength. The ground shook with the force of the greatest earthquakes, ripping down the buildings not completely demolished by the sonic boom. Colossal cracks raced away from the behemoth, creating deep ravines in their wake as the tremor rolled toward Bagorah. Although its senses were dulled, the bat’s hearing was still impeccable. The growing noise of the trembling earth sent a rush of adrenaline coursing through the foreigner, prompting it to take flight and evade the shockwave.

    As the tremor passed under the mammal-like xenoform, it cackled with mocking laughter and cast its green eyes on the panting Jinshin-Mushi. It failed to notice the cracks spreading behind it, but MUTO Prime’s tired features turned into its approximation of a grin, confusing the flying beast. What had it to be so proud of, so close to its end?

    By the time the ringing in its ears ceased and it could hear the crumbling granite, it was too late. All Bagorah could do was look over its shoulder and watch in horror as the skyscraper behind it, with its foundations weakened by the tremor, came crashing down. The scarlet thing shrieked and tried to fly away, but the falling tower slammed into its back and brought it to the ground, disappearing amidst exploding debris and thick smoke.

    Slowly and wearily, the Unclean Thing approached. It was tired and bruised, but now victory was at hand. With its forearms, it brushed away the remnants of steel and granite to expose the helpless form of its quarry. As sunlight washed over it, Bagorah hissed and tried to move its wings, only to receive a fierce punch to its face that made the ferocious invader cease its struggles. It chittered pathetically as blood drained from its broken nose and MUTO Prime leaned close. From the sockets of its face, the ovipositors emerged, squirming lazily as if to taste the air before homing to the bat’s form. A sense of pride flowed through Jinshin-Mushi as it relished its completed objective, its need to reproduce. The arrow-headed tentacles drifted closer, tapped the flesh of the immobile creature and…

    Nothing.

    MUTO Prime jerked back in a mix of confusion of rage. Nothing. Not a single rad of radiation, the element that its offspring needed to incubate and grow, emanated from the alien’s body. It had been there. It had sensed it, from the moment they met.

    Bagorah had been emitting radiation since its arrival, but it was stored from its travels across the cosmos. It had no means to harvest or store it, and so it began to dissipate into the atmosphere. At this point, there was hardly any left to register for a full rad. Without it, Jinshin-Mushi had no way of feeding its young. The parasite had wasted its time on an incompatible target.

    Which meant that the bat had no more use to it.

    With a roar of rage, it smashed its fist into Bagorah’s snout. A gurgled sound of pain came from the foreigner as it attempted to vocalise with its broken nose, but MUTO Prime didn’t care. A second strike dislocated the fiend’s jaw, and the third made it shatter like glass. It kept on punching, burning up the little energy it had to beat the chiropteran’s head in. Gore and bone flew in every direction as it reduced Bagorah’s skull to a bloody pulp, and still kept the beating going, spurred on by rage alone.

    Eventually, its rage shimmered and its stamina ran out. Gasping for breath, the giant slouched over the corpse of its former rival. Without its anger, all it felt was uncertainty. The reserves stored from its hibernation had been used up in the battle, leaving it with barely enough strength to stand. It was in no condition to seek out another host or defend itself should another predator come. It needed food.

    It looked down, studying the body of Bagorah intently. It wasn’t irradiated and lacked the specific energy required to refuel itself properly, but…

    Jinshin-Mushi leaned down and tore a chunk of flesh from the dead thing’s chest, throwing it into its maw and gulping it down with efficient speed. It cocked its head as it analysed the taste of the otherworldly meat, then grumbled in satisfaction and grabbed the corpse, dragging it back to the tunnel and its lair.

    In this universe, nothing can be certain. The most experienced beings can fall should they not be prepared for the dangers that they may face. For Bagorah, this was the end of its story of terror. After so much pillaging and slaughter, its hunger and pride had let it to its demise in the most ironic of ways.

    The tables had been turned. The predator had become the prey.

    Winner: MUTO Prime

    K.W.C. // October 20, 2020
  • Author: Anthony James Velez | Banner: Landon Soto

    Their plan had worked to a T. Godzilla was wiped out of the pages of history. In the place of the King of the Monsters was the three headed monster, King Ghidorah. No amount of opposition leveled at them by Japan was enough to fight it off. The Futurians were confident that the world would be theirs soon enough.

    As King Ghidorah shot lightning-shaped beams somehow made out of gravitation itself, their masters were preparing on how to implement their ideals on this world. There was no doubt there would be rebellion from the government and people of Japan, and the dictatorship would require a means to convince them that their takeover would be beneficial without reliance on King Ghidorah. Of course, word was already spreading via the news of their kaiju destroying their home, so the dragon could perhaps be used as an intimidation tactic until they had a long-term solution. Ghidorah, meanwhile, hadn’t the brains for such decisions. They didn’t have a mind for any actions not predetermined by their masters as it was.

    As such, they just focused on their mission on attacking Tokyo, destroying everything and slaughtering everybody in sight. As they continued their flight on their rampage, however, something in the nearby ocean caught their attention. The Futurians noticed Ghidorah stopping in their tracks and staring off into the waters in curiosity, turning toward the ocean themselves. What they saw had caught them by surprise. Familiar fins were coming toward the bay, cutting through the salt water like a swarm of ravenous sharks.

    It was pretty easy to tell that they were differences compared to the Godzilla they got rid of, though. The spines, though similar to the original Godzilla, resembled jagged stone and were smaller than the first. As more of him rose from the depths, his bipedal, bulky body with near stubby arms, giant legs, and a face resembling that of a komodo dragon marked the key differences of this new Godzilla.

    ****

    “So there’s more than one of the species left in the world…” Wilson mumbled to himself, drumming his fingers together.

    “We’ll just have to fix that. King Ghidorah, destroy it immediately,” Grenchiko commanded through a speaker in the MOTHER.

    ****

    King Ghidorah shook their heads, beginning to focus again and flew toward the new Godzilla. Godzilla let out a ferocious roar that shook the land itself as he charged toward his newest enemy. King Ghidorah brought their feet in front of them, closing in on Godzilla before slamming them into his chest. Godzilla grunted as he skidded across the ground, grabbing the legs of the golden atrocity and pulling them to the ground with a heave. As Ghidorah toppled atop the ancient predator, Godzilla bit down in-between their right and middle head.

    King Ghidorah wrapped their right neck around his left arm and began pulling him off, Godzilla raking its right set of nails across the golden scales in response. Godzilla wrestled his arm out of the grip of the head, only to get thwacked by that head in the chin and reel back. Quick to recover, Godzilla rammed his shoulder into King Ghidorah’s sternum, forcing the glimmering beast back as well. Ghidorah was quick to recover though and leapt into the air, their bat-like wings beating as their three heads spat gravity beams upon the elder Godzilla, staggering him.  The dragon spun in mid-air, swinging their twin tails into the face of its enemy, only to regret it when Godzilla bit down and slammed them back to the ground, smashing small buildings in the process.

    As Godzilla loomed over the Futurian creation, Ghidorah’s left foot slammed into the behemoth’s right knee. A howl of pain erupted from ancient jaws, allowing Ghidorah to arise without resistance and lunge at his foe with all three heads. The center neck wrapped around the titan’s throat while the others began pummeling him with gravity beams. Godzilla grit its teeth from the pain pressing into his chest with every shot as he grabbed the face of the middle head and tried to shove his nails into the dragon’s eyes. As Godzilla’s claws dug into his flesh, the dragon unwrapped themselves from his neck and aimed to shoot a bolt from their central mouth in retaliation, but it was cut off as their mouth was bit down on and shut. Godzilla put his impressive strength into practice as he lifted the body of the dragon with his grip on all three heads.

    The ancient creature slammed the dragon into the ground, pain shooting into their back. The dragon wrapped their tails around the new Godzilla’s legs and pulled, taking the fossil of a being down with them. Godzilla growled as a head shot toward him, only for it to be caught by a dragon’s head and slammed into pavement. The other two heads slipped free of Godzilla’s grip and bit into his hands, aiming to pull him off. The kaiju growled at each other, grappling desperately to gain a better hold over the other, but as Ghidorah flexed its mighty wings and found itself atop its foe, the three-headed beast flapped its mighty appendages.

    Harsh winds made Godzilla wince, but surely the dragon could not take flight. He was too-

    The nearly one-hundred thousand ton ancient leviathan found itself pried off the man-made city and taken into the air by its enemy. Ghidorah flew across the land, spectators yet to escape the devastation looking in awe at what they were seeing the dragon do. Awe transformed into panic when Ghidorah finally released Godzilla, screams filling the bay before a mighty crash overpowered the noises as water swept all on the coast away. Godzilla groaned in the shallow depths of the bay, but his gradually recovered proved short lived as. gravity beams descended from the heavens, keeping him pinned down.

    Godzilla kept himself from howling in pain, refusing to show weakness to the dragon as he prepared his own attack. The Futurians saw his spines glow and began to warn Ghidorah, but they were confident that they could keep him pinned and avoid the upcoming attack.

    The ancient behemoth proved them half right-

    As gravity beams rained down upon him, Godzilla alit the city in a azure tint. The concentrated atomic flames which raced up into the sky connected with King Ghidorah’s central head, burning its eyes with radioactive energy. The dragon descended to the city, wailing in agony while. Godzilla struggled to his feet and charged toward the dragon.

    King Ghidorah could barely see from their middle head, staggering about while shaking their head to try to shake away the blurriness. They were so focused on this, in fact, that when Godzilla had closed the distance, they didn’t have the time to react when the ancient king slammed his tail into the legs of the dragon, knocking them down through a row of structures. Godzilla bit down into the middle head and grabbed the right and left heads before slamming them into the ground repeatedly, the dragon kicking and flailing about. One last slam to the ground led Godzilla to throw the dragon across the air, Ghidorah screeching in alarm as they sailed across the land before slamming back into the city. The hydra screamed in pain from the throw, making it difficult to stand as Godzilla marched toward them.

    The city alit a familiar azure color. Flames danced with reptilian jaws, the building thrum of energy and illuminating dorsal spines giving the behemoth’s intentions away easily. Before the atomic ray could be unleashed, a plethora of  gravity beams collided into the leviathan’s knees, knocking Godzilla off his feet as the ray was unleashed. Buildings of varying size ignited, creating a wall of flame to the right of both monsters. Ghidorah vented breaths of relief while Godzilla’s eyes narrowed in rage, reflecting the light of the fires which burned beside them and lumbered toward Ghidorah.

    The distance between the pair vanished in an instant and Godzilla managed to grab the left head of the dragon before squeezing it like a soda can, but the other heads bit down on his right hand in retribution. Godzilla made do with what he had and closed his hand, squeezing the dragon’s left skull as Ghidorah shredded his right appendage. Blood spilled from both kaiju yet neither showed signs of relenting. Draconic wings flexed once more, indicating to Godzilla the dragon would soon fly, yet he persisted in his efforts to crush the Futurian mutant’s skull, not relenting for a moment as both he and Ghidorah ascended above the burning city.

    Higher and higher the pair flew into the smoke filled sky, sickening sounds indicated the pair’s flight would not last long. Sinew and flesh began to tear off from the middle neck as Godzilla continued his grip. Godzilla let go of the two other heads, grabbing the middle head with both clawed hands. Soon enough, three heads became two as the middle head was instantly torn off its original place, blood falling like rain as Godzilla descended upon Tokyo. A mocking roar boomed from Godzilla’s maw until the impact of the city silenced its cry. A shockwave ripped through the metropolis, putting out the flames while a tremor rattled all the residents within. As the smoke cleared, the mighty behemoth lay in a fresh crater, the severed head of Ghidorah in its clutches.

    *****

    “This cannot be,” Grenchiko gasped, watching the events of the battle unfold with disbelief. “Godzilla is defeating our King Ghidorah!”

    “You underestimate Ghidorah’s power, Gren,” Wilson said with confidence. “The loss of one head will not stop our monster from killing this ancient relic. Besides, we’ve already killed one Godzilla, history will repeat itself again.”

    *****

    The two remaining heads of King Ghidorah growled in fury as they watched Godzilla crush the severed head under its heel. A snort of air discharged from the leviathan’s nostrils while he bore his fangs, demonstrating the fate which awaited the two-headed beast. Ignoring the warning, King Ghidorah lunged toward the behemoth, gravity beams pelting the saurian’s frame. Eventually, King Ghidorah tackled Godzilla, the kaiju nearly getting knocked off his feet from the force. Launching its claws forward, the leviathan grabbed the left head by the muzzle and forced its jaws wide open while preparing another atomic ray.

    The right head tried to save the left by lunging for him, but was stopped by Godzilla’s forearm as he raised it in the head’s path. This action allowed the left muzzle to slip free, and it brought its jaws down on one of his fingers. Snarling in pain, Godzilla still fired, consuming the head with atomic flames. King Ghidorah’s head screeched in pain, its eyes and face melting under the intense heat and power spewed upon it. The right head added pressure upon the arm that had them trapped, aiming to break it. Godzilla felt his bones creaking and threw the left head away, allowing Ghidorah’s right head to wrap around his right arm.

    Godzilla growled as Ghidorah’s jaws pressed down further and further. The gleaming atrocity’s left head couldn’t aim without eyes, so when it tried to grasp the titan by the throat, it instead bit into his right shoulder. Suddenly, a loud snap resonated through the area, Godzilla’s pupils expanding from the intense pain. Ferocity flared inside him, urging pull the dragon’s right head apart. With a violent snap, the neck around his broken arm fell limp as Godzilla pulled it off. King Ghidorah’s remaining head tried to get back into the fight, but not being able to see and having limited hearing did not make this an easy task.

    Despite now having a broken arm, Godzilla pushed forward. Ghidorah began to try to take flight, but Godzilla bit down on his left wing before he could leave the earth. Godzilla’s body slammed the creature and dug his claws into the wing as he slashed it to shreds. Blood dripped off his claws as Ghidorah once again tried to bite Godzilla, but the saurian bit down on it first. Unable to tell where its jugular was, he grabbed the neck with his hands.

    The dragon kicked him in the back, toppling him on top of his neck. Godzilla slammed his tail against its legs, keeping it from attempting to do that again as he added his teeth and began to wring the neck. King Ghidorah began smacking Godzilla in the face with its untouched wing, each blow causing the predator’s grip to loosen. He was forced to let go, or else give Ghidorah a chance to attack after breaking free. With its freedom, the wounded dragon fired off  a single, continuous gravity beam at point blank range, scalding the leviathan in golden energy.

    With his remaining arm, Godzilla grasped the flailing head and directed it toward its intact wing as much as he could in his situation. The gravity beams tore through the wing, Ghidorah ceasing his flapping to prevent further damage and make an already horrible situation even worse. Godzilla began to twist the neck again, attempting every angle it only seemed to cause pain. His tail was beginning to tire from the constant blocking it needed to do from King Ghidorah’s feet, so he needed to think of something and fast. Soon enough, something came to mind as he bit down on the neck and pulled upward. His claws joined on either side of his jaws, digging into the neck and pulling in both directions.

    It seemed to be working as blood began to spill into his mouth. His tail did miss a kick and its foot slammed into his spine, breaking some spines from doing so. He changed position, his jaws keeping the head grounded while his hands pulled upward instead. Finally, the places where his hands were holding gave way as the neck had torn into three sections. The eyes of King Ghidorah were open and lifeless, staring into whatever remained of their battlefield.

    Letting the golden beast’s head slip from his grasp, Godzilla breathed heavily, exhausted from the battle against his natural enemy. This definitely wasn’t the Ghidorah he remembered, but having killed a Ghidorah was good enough for him in any case.

    *****

    The Futurians felt their dreams of a world under their rule disappear. Their greatest weapon had been dispatched by this new Godzilla and they needed to start the attack over again by scratch. This time, they needed to find what creature this thing originally was and kill it as well. That was assuming they could gather enough forces from the future to destroy it, seeing as its fully evolved form had killed a universal threat like their kaiju.

    As the MOTHER’s engines roared into life, preparing to return to their time, Wilson and Grenchiko gazed out of the window at the distant form of the elder Godzilla.

    “Damn you, Godzilla,” Wilson snarled. “Enjoy your victory over King Ghidorah. It will soon be rectified.”

    *****

    The MOTHER vanished in a flash of light, catching the momentary attention of the behemoth who stood within Tokyo Bay. Paying the lightshow little thought, Godzilla turned his attention to the corpse of King Ghidorah. He stepped on its chest, took a few breathes, and let out his victorious earth-shaking roar toward the heavens above.

    Now that whatever humans still around had heard the dominance of the new owner of this island, he began to pull the “king” away from his territory. Godzilla wished that he was still able to control his other arm, but he would have to be patient for the time being and wait for it to recover. He would have to live with this new handicap for a while.

    With the death of Godzillasaurus, and by extension, Godzilla, the world seemed to have been left without its most powerful creature, for better or for worse. This new Godzilla had made the news, revealing to the rest of the world that the name would be kept alive. The J.S.D.F. had to formulate a plan along with the United Nations on how to handle the creature that pretty much had the Japanese population under his thumb. The King of the Monsters was gone forever. In his place was a creature which proved itself above a king, a true Alpha.

    Winner: Godzilla (Legendary)

     

    K.W.C. // October 11, 2020
  • Author: KeSean Johnson | Banner: Landon Soto

    Energy… Power… Energy. It is what one needs to become faster, stronger, better.

    It was a peaceful day in Japan. No carnage, no wars, no Kaiju. A group of six American tourists and two scientists had come to the Land of the Rising Sun to learn and study about the most famous mountain in the Japanese mainland: Mt. Fuji. Fascination of the geological feature firmly grasped every member until their eyes gazed upon the wonder or in this case, the unexpected anomaly growing out of it like a tumor. The crystal pulsated a pinkish-white glow and concealed raw power. The tourists and scientists could not believe what they uncovered only two-hundred meters away from them. The thing stood near the huge mountain with a height they could only assume was near fifty meters.

    Dr. Christopher Kennen, professor at Harvard University, was more interested in the crystal spire than frightened by it. He knew there was something about it that was vital to some sort of organic being.

    “A wonder unlike any seen before,” the scientist pondered aloud with an amazed look on his face.

    Excluding the doctor, a nefarious vibe descended upon the group. The scientist’s daughter, Noelle Kennen, had just become an assistant teacher at a high school in Massachusetts. She went on this trip to learn about Mt. Fuji, not a pink, over-sized icicle. Unlike her father, worry over the mysterious feature influenced her actions. Her father’s arrogance would surely come into play when face-to-face with some unknown part of science like this. He had to study it. It was his addiction in life, a light of knowledge he couldn’t turn away from. A glow that would eventually-

    Noelle pushed through the group and moved next to her father. “Dad! Dad!”

    There was no answer. He wasn’t even attempting to learn about it. He was just gazing at it; his eyes reflecting the glow of the crystal.

    “Dr. Kennen!” With just those two words, he snapped out of it.

    “Yes, Ms. Kennen?” He said without even turning around.

    She never liked it when he called her that. “Please, don’t call me that… I’m not one of your students.” Noelle remarked with frustration.

    “But you’re one of mine,” her father said with a hint of humor in his voice.

    He always wanted her to grow up in his self-image; intelligent, good-looking, well-mannered, and to have a quest for new knowledge. The scientist with a PhD had a self-famous quote: “You learn something new every day. Acknowledge it. Make something of it. Put it to good use.” And he would not miss the pulsating opportunity before them both.

    Noelle’s father quit gazing at the crystal and turned back to the group merely for the ground to begin to shake. Everyone felt a faint rumble under the soles of their shoes and thought an earthquake might have just happened far away. After all, they were in Japan. Next thing they knew it happened again, this time with a little more force. Then again and again the earth quakes rattled the dirt beneath them. Save for the doctor, they had been too frightened to figure out what was going on. One of the tourists couldn’t handle the anxiety and ran away from the pack, unnoticed. Next thing the fleeing tourist knew, he was snatched right off the ground. The giant pushed the human upward to its chin until his entire body was impaled by some sort of crystal. He slid off organic entity and fell hundreds of feet, screaming in terror and in the process, alerting all those he traveled with of his killer.

    Everyone turned around and saw a huge, sleek, menacing creature walk into their valley. It stood eighty-four meters, with a half dazzling white, half diamond purple skin texture that shined quite beautifully. It had sharp claws, razor-sharp teeth, and crystals on certain parts its body. A crystal beard, multi-crystal tipped-tail, and longer, curved crystals lined its back. No one knew what this thing was, but it showed no sign of being friendly.

    “Part of me wants to study this diamond-like creature. The other part says to run for your goddamn life,” the doctor said aloud, his thoughts spilling out for all to hear.

    “Pick the latter, dad!” Noelle screamed.

    For once in his life, the doctor could not pick apart her assessment of the situation so with a hurried breath, he chased after her, looking back at the beast with a fascination that grew greater even as he ran farther away.

    * * * * *

    No one, not even the very monster knew what it was or where it even came from, but it had a name.

    Krystalak.

    Filled with malicious intent, it was clear as day what this thing was actually here for. Not to squash the pathetic, little insects in its new domain, but to win a trophy. A trophy of great magnitude and of awesome power. He needed it! It would be his.  Nothing was in his way and nothing was going to stop him now! Or at least, so he thought. The magnificent creature was mere inches away from unlocking his greatest achievement when the ground shook violently. Unlike his own footsteps, the tremors swayed even the mighty mutant.

    Krystalak stood his ground, not letting his trophy slip away from him that easily. The earth had stopped shaking after a full minute. Then out of nowhere, the ground exploded in a dramatic show of force, Something pushed its way out of the Earth and tossed Krystalak away with its monstrous strength. After Krystalak regained his equilibrium, he realized the crystalline tower was still intact and it made him chuckle with evil glee. Then he hissed, remembering something had thrown him up into the air and back down to the ground. He almost forgot, his mind so focused on his trophy, it took him moments to process the newest arrival. What stood in front of him was an ancient dinosaur with brown, wrinkly skin, a rock-like torso, long tail, crescent-shaped horns on either side of its head, and a small nasal horn.

    Gomora roared a cry of defiance. It sensed the crystal, the mutant born of its cosmic power and he would not let its actions go unanswered.

    The crystal-covered creature roared back, infuriated now. He thought it was his for the taking the second he laid his menacing eyes on it. Gomora had ruined his plans so now he was going to ruin his life!

    Krystalak decided to make the first move. He charged head first with his shoulders moving side-by-side and running at a remarkable speed for its size. The Crystal Terror was getting ready to scratch out Gomora’s life from existence when suddenly the Subterranean-monster side-stepped him. Krystalak just barely stopped himself from colliding into the glowing structure he desired before he turned ninety degrees to the left to look at his new enemy, only to receive a kick in the stomach which sent him toppling onto his back. Gomora marched toward the downed monster, ready to tear into its underbelly merely for the mutant’s tail to trip the nearing dinosaur. With his opponent within a plume of dust, Krystalak got back up in an instant and pounced onto Gomora. Krystalak showed no remorse, swinging his claws into Gomora’s face as if there was no tomorrow.

    Gradually Gomora raised his arms into a defensive-block, holding off the onslaught to the best of his ability. Rage coursed through every fiber in the dinosaur’s being until he could not contain it any longer. A swift uppercut smashed into Krystalak’s chin before Gomora followed up with a dual kick to the abdomen, launching the mutant away. After a climatic impact, both arose searching for the other.

    Hate-filled eyes glared at one another, their owners moving in a slow circle, waiting for the other to attack first. Krystalak’s patience quickly wore thin, sending the beast surging forth once again. The Crystal Beast swung at Gomora’s face who then ducked and shoulder blocked him in the gut. Krystalak retaliated with a karate kick to the leg which forced Gomora to one knee. Gomora hugged both of Krystalak’s legs and dropped him to the ground, smashing Krystalak’s head into a grouping of trees. Climbing atop the fallen mutant, Gomora imitated his opponent by swinging wildly. His hits proved stronger than any Krystalak unleashed as blows which glanced off Krystalak’s face splintered the broken trees around its head. As blood shot out of the fiend’s maw, Krystalak’s eyes widened in anguish and it lashed out, burying its fangs into the dinosaur’s left hand. Gomora wailed while fresh blood ran down its left hand, smashing his right into Krystalak’s head to try and release his foe’s grip, yet try as he might, Krystalak’s grip proved too firm. Deciding a new course of action, Gomora got back up and thrusted his knee into Krystalak’s chin, nearly dislocating it. The Crystal Terror head smashed into the ground, its painfilled grasp finally at an end, allowing Gomora to seize the opportunity and lift Krystalak. Stagnant above his horned head, the determined reptile slammed Krystalak him to the ground. The earth fractured violently, bending to form a shallow grave, but Gomora would not allow his foe to die so easily! Ripping Krystalak out of the ground once more, Gomora lifted him high into the air just as the mutant awakened.

    In a panic, Krystalak bent downward, reaching Gomora’s groin area and flipped his adversary through the air. Gomora unwillingly performed a front flip before crashing onto his back, eyes wide at the impossible move his opponent performed.

    * * * * *

    “Amazing!” Dr. Kennen shouted, “That monster was falling while being held by its will, yet it could change the velocity of which it was falling and curl up.”

    Gomora and Krystalak gradually entered a vicious close quarters brawl, each smashing their respective claws across the other, entrancing the doctor in thought. He walked toward the battle, completely focused on the crystalline creature.

    It was not a monster of mere brute strength like its adversary. It surely possessed intelligence. How extensive was its mind? Could communication be possible?

    Maybe… maybe I can reason with it.

    Noelle looked on in shock at her father. He’d surely gone too far. Lost in thought, in some type of foolish idea. Noelle tried to run after him but her group members held her back with all their strength. No matter how much she struggled, they refused to let go. They had her too tight in their grasp. She started to cry and scream at the top of her lungs to no avail, watching her father approach the rampaging beasts in a trance like state.

    The two monsters were still in battle. Krystalak gained the upper hand and mule kicked Gomora in the face. The saurian crashed into a nearby hillside, unconscious as the doctor neared Krystalak’s shadow. Just then, Krystalak heard the meager inquiries of the good doctor. Orange eyes glared downward and spotted the meager human looking at him. Did the pest shouting not understand what he was? The impudence of the meager being caused Krystalak’s claws to twitch, and with a swift slide of its heel, the pest vanished into a pool of blood.

    The Crystalline Beast roared into the air like he had conquered not just one, but two battles until his murderous eyes spotted the other humans in the distance. Deciding it best to strike fear into those that remained, Krystalak turned around and shot out a barrage of gigantic, purple crystals from his tail. Normally they’d explode on contact but this time they stuck into the ground, missing every human. Everyone quivered in fear, feebly trembling on the ground as if to appease the monster and be spared a quick death. At least all but Noelle. With eyes unleashing tears, but a vacant expression, the young woman remained unnervingly calm in the face of the beast. Her mind only focused on a single question.

    “Why?”

    * * * * *

    Gomora awakened. He knew where he was and definitely remembered what had KO’d him briefly. Rising to his feet, he spotted Krystalak giving him an evil glare, sparking rage Gomora never thought he could unleash. The dinosaur charged toward Krystalak and speared him to the ground. Quickly the dinosaur, stomping on Krystalak’s stomach repeatedly to make him cough up blood. Krystalak echoed cries of agony with every stomp Gomora delivered. Krystalak couldn’t take the physical blows any longer and made a counterattack with his tail. The elongated weapon shot up and hit Gomora in his side, reeling him back. His foe within reach, Krystalak leapt onto Gomora, knocking him flat on his back. Dagger like claws swiped repeatedly over the saurians face before Krystalak drove his right elbow into Gomora’s throat, forcing him to cough blood. Gomora wailed in agony, but his cries grew deaf as Krystalak crushed Gomora’s throat.

    Krystalak relished the carnage. Did the horned creature think he would show mercy? No it would die like the human. Like all that would dare to take away the power which surged within the crystal!

    The mutant arose and slammed his foot upon the dinosaur’s neck. Gomora’s struggle intensified as he felt his wind-pipe being punctured. Gomora tried using his strength to raise Krystalak’s foot, but he was unsuccessful from the lack of oxygen. Rage filled eyes began to grow dull, the life vanishing before Krystalak’s malevolent glare until a light began to illuminate the saurian’s nasal horn. Charging oranage energy from his crescent horns, Gomora fired off a Super Oscillatory Wave. The arrogance of the mutant vanished in an overwhelming orange light which launched him backward at high speed and plowed the earth with his body.

    Krystalak groggily got back up, surprised by the power the dinosaur possessed. The admiration proved short lived as the mutant realized Gomora was running full speed at him. Deciding surprise was needed, Krystalak awaited until the saurian was within striking distance and spun, kneeing him in the face. Gomora cried out in agonizing pain as his head bled a little bit before receiving a tail swipe to the stomach, sparks flying everywhere. Krystalak gave a devastating uppercut to Gomora, sending him falling on his back. Gomora rapidly spun over onto his stomach and got to his knees with his head still down. Krystalak ran toward him and punted him in the chin almost breaking it.

    Gomora was in pain. Deep pain. He has cuts, bruises, dizziness, and a monster sized headache, but he wouldn’t let himself give up like this. Not in this way. Not by this monster. Determination morphed into energy, energy poured into Gomora’s horn and from Gomora’s unwillingness to relent birthed a Super Oscillatory Wave. Krystalak, now furious, released a Prism Beam from his mouth. Each energized blast soared to the other until they collided in an energetic battle of will. Bolts of energy carved through the dirt, harsh winds blew down trees, but neither kaiju showed signs of relenting. Gomora noticed his beam advancing and realizing his beam held the advantage, the saurian dumped his reserves into a final surge.

    Krystalak couldn’t believe his eyes as the wave of orange energy neared. Even after sending more power into his own attack, his beam was losing! No, he couldn’t lose. If he lost he would lose his-

    An energized explosion of sparks and shockwaves tore across the mutant’s face, breaking open its grew skin and shattering multiple crystals across his body. Krystalak crashed upon the dirt, struggling to arise and giving Gomora an opportunity he could not pass up. The powerhouse ran toward Krystalak and impaled him with his nasal horn. Krystalak screamed in agony as his torso was punctured. Gomora relished the scream and answered his opponent’s cry by letting loose as much Super Oscillatory energy into Krystalak’s entire body as he could muster. Krystalak panicked, feeling his heart race in sheer panic, or so he thought…

    The fiend’s heart absorbed the foolish dinosaur’s energy like a sponge. Realizing something was amiss, Gomora retracted his horn merely to watch Krystalak mockingly arise, his body emitting an overwhelming aura of purple energy. The malevolent gaze of Krystalak peered into Gomora’s and found true fear. Satisfied with the discovery, Krystlak let loose a shockwave that vaporized all within his presence. A plume of dust and sparks enveloped all within the slopes of Mt. Fuji, but as it vacated, Krystalak found the saurian no longer in his presence. Instead, a new geological feature graced his sight.

    Krystalak bellowed into the huge gaping hole in the ground, letting Gomora know to never mess with him ever again. He then raised his head high into the sky and howled to the heavens; the world would now know he was not to be trifled with!

    * * * * *

    Meanwhile, back near Mt. Fuji, the group felt relief in their escape from a certain death. Dr. Kennen’s daughter, Noelle, was still stricken by her father’s death but she wasn’t crying anymore. Something that saddened her, but amazed her at the same time. Her expression remained rigid, eyes filled with a rage and a desire to carry through the impossible. She would see her father’s killer meet their end. A fate she would acknowledge, make something of, and surely put to good use. She merely needed the tools to enact her ambitions…

    * * * * *

    It was time! The Crystalline Terror had turned around and laid his undivided attention onto the crystalline tower he came to achieve from the start. Krystalak walked up to the glowed entity and smiled devilishly at it.

    Energy…Power…Energy. Krystalak could now posses it all and so much more.

    Winner: Krystalak

    K.W.C. // October 1, 2020
  • Author: Jake McDaniel| Banner: Dao Zang Moua

    The waves around Okinawa Island danced and churned like a boiling pot, a paradox of calm and eeriness. As the waves lapped the rocky coast of the Japanese island, gulls and pelicans strayed from their nesting grounds to dive into the sea to capture the abundant fish that the sea was rich with. But only a few of the seabirds satisfied their bellies, as most returned home empty handed, unable to find food no matter how desperately they searched. For the seas surrounding Okinawa had mysteriously become silent in the past few days. The fish had simply ceased and the seas had become almost a dead zone, beautiful from above but lifeless when one breached the surface.

    This was first noticed by the local fishermen of Okinawa, hardened men and women whose lives depended on the supposedly bountiful seas. As more and more ships returned home with barely anything of note, panic began to set in across the island. Local villages appealed to government offices for answers, begging to know why the fish had vanished. Scientists of all flavors were called in and offered theories, most blaming the event on global warming or overfishing. But of course, no conclusive evidence was reached and as the top minds of Japan continued to argue, the villages began to suffer, deprived both of their relied upon, hard fought incomes and indeed, food altogether. If the fish continued to not come, then they would be out of work and all they had strived for would simply vanish, in the blink of an eye.

    So, they pressed on. Fishing vessels continued to go out, praying that the fish would return. One such ship lingered now, about six miles off the island, bouncing among the waves under the late afternoon sun.

    The ship was a small vessel, well cared for but nothing impressive. Slathered on its side was the name Dancing Tiger, drawn in paint that was old and faded. Upon the ship, nestled on the side, was an old fisherman. He looked the part of a stereotypical man of the sea, his bald head hidden by a baseball cap, while a wool vest covered his lanky, wrinkled frame. Callused hands gripped his fishing rod, as the old man grimly cast it into the choppy surf for what felt like the hundredth time. He knew it was futile but there was a spark of hope each time he threw it. That this time he would get a bite. But, of course, he knew deep down it was hopeless. Yet to admit defeat went against his nature and more importantly, would say that his work was pointless. So he cast the line in the sea and sat upon a chair on the deck, sighing as he stroked his face’s stubble and began to wait.

    “Beer, dad?” A younger man’s voice came from behind him. The old man looked up and saw a fresh faced man approaching him from the other side of the ship. His son was a tall man, with a healthy build that would be the envy of any athlete. He bore a chipper smile upon his handsome features as he approached his father, two glasses of cold beer in his grasp.

    The old man sighed and raised a hand before shaking his head. “No thank you, Higa. I just want to focus.”

    Higa frowned before he shrugged and said, “Alright, more for me I suppose…” The young man sat next to his father, uncorking one beer. He took a drink and smacked his lips. “Ah, that’s the stuff…”

    The old man just grunted in response, continuing to stare at the sea. His son was his constant companion on these trips, lending his hand to the work and learning the family trade at the same time. He was a fine fisherman but not an expert and so, the old man handled the actual fishing while Higa did everything else, from driving the ship to manual labor. He was a dutiful son but the old man still worried about him, wondering if when he was gone, the boy would be good enough to inherit control over his life’s work.

    “Anything biting?” Higa said, pulling the old man from his thoughts. The old man glowered and simply grunted:

    “No.”

    “When was the last time you saw a fish shortage this bad?”

    “Never.”

    “Oh.”

    There was another moment of awkward silence, which Higa filled by taking a long sip of his beer. The old man just continued to stare at the sea, watching his line bob amongst the sloshing waves. He felt grim, staring out into that blue majesty, wondering if the depths below were truly lifeless.

    “What do you think’s going to happen?” Higa spoke up again. The old man took a breath, beginning to be annoyed by his son’s chatter. He needed to think, to focus.

    “I don’t know,” The old man growled, trying to make his frustration known. “Now be quiet. I’m trying to focus.”

    “But Dad, you said there weren’t any fish. What’s to focus-”

    “Just be quiet!” The old man snapped. Higa recoiled as if bitten, looking surprised. The old man waved his hand across the deck. “Just go and man the ship, alright? Check your Facebook or Twitter for all I care. I just need to be alone.”

    Higa bit his lip. For a moment, father and son stared at each other. Then Higa sighed and nodded. He rose and left without a word, disappearing down the stairs into the bowels of the Dancing Tiger. The old man watched him go before turning back to the waves. He exhaled in relief and leaned back in his chair, letting the salty breeze caress his features.

    He hadn’t meant to be so harsh. But he wasn’t in any mood to talk and Higa could be naively thickheaded unless one got the point across and more often than not, the old man had to be tough on him. He’d always been tough on his family, pushing them to work hard and he stood by that. The fish shortage was only proof that the world was growing harsher and it needed men to stand up to it, not children.

    Grunting, the old man finally began to reel in his line. This was pointless. He’d been out here for hours and not a single bite. It was time to go back in.

    As he did, however, there was suddenly a loud noise. It resembled the crash of a violent wave against the shore, all too familiar to the seasoned fisherman. He raised his eye, shielding his eyes from the sun as he scanned the waves. As he searched, he heard his son called:

    “Whoa! Look at that, Dad! Is that a whale?”

    There. The old man’s eyes widened as he spotted something in the distance. A hulking, giant rising up from the sea, a black shadow against the afternoon sun. Waves crashed around the monstrous thing as it rose taller and taller, until its form blocked the sun altogether and cast a giant shadow over their ship.

    There was a crash. The old man turned. Higa had dropped his beer bottle. The young man’s eyes were as wide as saucers, his mouth agape as he stared up. The old man dropped his fishing line, as a violent wave smashed against his ship. The Dancing Tiger was tossed around like a toy amidst the waves, water spraying over the deck as it lolled sideways. The old man lost his footing, slipping on the slick deck and gave a cry of pain as he slammed hard against the floor. He tried to move forward but the ship rocked sideways and he felt his stomach drop as his beloved boat lolled, a great groan escaping it as the waves knocked it back and forth. His chair was cast off the deck, spinning off into the ocean, along with other stuff upon the deck. He lunged out, his nails scratching against the deck, desperately searching for his son.

    He saw him, Higa, his arms wrapped around the guard rail for dear life. He was soaked and looked utterly terrified, another wave slamming violently against the ship’s underside. The old man reached out, trying to call for Higa, trying to reach him. But he had nothing to grab onto and the last thing he heard was Higa’s scream before he was violently ripped from the ship and fell.

    The last thing he saw was the sun in the beautiful cloudless sky, Higa’s scream still ringing in his ears before he slammed into the sea. The water felt like concrete as the old man rammed into it at pitch black speed and something snapped with a wet crunch. Pain flooded the old man’s senses before a wave dragged him into the cold depths and he knew no more.

    *****

    As the Dancing Tiger was torn apart by the churning sea, the shape that had caused its destruction finished its emergence. Water spilled off the creature’s bumpy hide, its red form contrasting against the crystal clear surf. It raised its long neck to the sky, its mouth curling back as the beast emitted a warbling roar that sounded like the mixture of an elephant’s trumpet and the cackle of a hyena. Its reptilian eyes moved over the sea, barely even noticing the human vessel it had smote with its breach before settling on Okinawa Island in the distance. The monster waved its bipedal arms and roared again before it began to stride across the sea, its titanic footfalls echoing across the ocean floor, its huge tail swishing behind its bulky form and generating more giant waves.

    Titanic was an appropriate word for the creature. For that was its name, bestowed long ago upon it by humans. Titanosaurus. A relic of the age of dinosaurs, the creature had survived in the depths of the ocean for many years, feeding off other giants such as whales and squid. Content to be left alone, Titanosaurus’s peace was disturbed when a human scientist had found him.

    Titanosaurus emitted another warbling noise as its mind twisted over the memories it half-remembered under the scientist’s control. It had done things, things against its very nature. Forced out of its natural habitat, it had been pushed into the world of humans and made to destroy. It remembered fire, it remembered violence, and most of all, it remembered pain. Titanosaurus’s entire body shuddered as it pooled over the memories again, thankful it had survived its time under the madman’s control. When it had been released, it had escaped back to the sea and returned to its domain, falling in and out of a comatose state as its many wounds slowly healed.

    But although its wounds were reduced to old scars at this point, the dinosaurian kaiju true wounds, its mental ones, had ceased to fade. Despite its memories being a dark fog of nightmares, they still cut deep. And over time, as Titanosaurus tried in vain to return to its former life, the monster’s emotions had turned from fear to hatred. Hatred of the creatures that had tormented him, hurt him. Hatred toward humanity itself.

    So, now Titanosaurus had emerged from the depths of the sea to enact its vengeance. It had followed its instincts and returned to the land it had unwillingly attacked years ago. Its grim gaze locked on the island and the prehistoric beast raised its great neck to the heavens, letting out a roar of vengeance to its former tormentors. A cry of revenge against not just the people of Japan but all humans. They would all suffer for what they had done to him.

    The colossal dinosaur continued its solitary march toward Okinawa, enormous waves lapping at its bulky thighs. But as Titanosaurus trudged ever closer to its destination, it suddenly paused. Its lips curled as it stopped, the miniature tsunamis it had conjured in its wake calming. The ancient monster twisted about, its clawed fingers flexing, as it sensed something. Another presence…another presence like him.

    There! Titanosaurus’s keen eyes, used to prowling the dark abysses of the sea, spotted another shape moving several yards away. The sea churned as something equally massive moved around him, glimpses of a giant shadow moving beneath the surface. Titanosaurus slammed its fists together before letting loose a warbling challenge! The dinosaur was not used to fighting but when pressed, it could be a fierce opponent. And now, it was eager to vent its rage on something, human or not.

    The shape continued to circle for several minutes and Titanosaurus began to grow impatient. Emitting an annoyed screech, the dinosaur raised its arms in a challenge and dived forth! Chunks of the seabed were torn away by the beast’s toes as the mighty dinosaur crashed into the ocean, intending to tackle whatever circled him.

    But the kaiju’s effort was for naught, as the monster burst downward and his claws tore harmlessly through the water. Snarling in rage, Titanosaurus twisted about in the water, searching for his unseen enemy.

    Movement caught the dinosaur’s attention, behind him. Titanosaurus spun around, bubbles bursting from his nostrils as he let loose another roar, muffled now underwater. There, he saw his enemy, the creature that had dared interrupt his desire for vengeance.

    It was another monster but the opposite, in many ways, to the lumbering Titanosaurus. This creature resembled a serpent, long and sleek, its scaly hide matching the color of the blue sea. It looked almost regal, tufts of hair and horns emerged from its snake-like head, as it opened its maw and hissed at the dinosaur. Two, small vestigial arms emerged from the serpent’s underbelly, grasping at the ocean floor, its coils swishing.

    This was Manda, former deity of the underwater kingdom of Mu. Like Titanosaurus, Manda had suffered at the humans hands, when an expedition of humans had arrived and using their technology, had destroyed Mu. The great kingdom that had withstood the fall of countless civilizations had finally fallen at the hands of the savage surface dwellers and Manda, for the first time, had been unable to stop its destruction. It itself had barely survived and at first, had considered joining its city in the great beyond. But after what felt like eons lingering among Mu’s ruins, Manda had decided that it could not die, it could not rest, until the humans had paid for their hubris.

    So now it had journeyed to the surface world and began a one monster war against mankind. It had begun with this island, taking it upon itself to frighten the fish that lingered in the coastal waters away. Like laying siege to a castle, it intended to starve Okinawa of its natural resource, slowly terrifying the humans until they were ripe for conquest. Then Manda would strike the killing blow, destroying each puny human settlement until they were all little more than ash. Mankind would pay, every last man, woman, and child. Manda would have no mercy for any of them, as they had no mercy for Mu.

    But now, a challenger had arrived. Manda glowered at the disgusting Titanosaurus, hating the sight of the prehistoric relic. This thing dared to challenge its right of vengeance? To defile the memory of Mu further by taking Manda’s final act from it? No. It would not stand in his way. Manda would have its revenge and no mere dinosaur would oppose it. Mankind was Manda’s to destroy!

    The two titans, fueled by mutual hatred, stared each other down. Titanosaurus’s claws flexed. Manda’s coiled form tensed. Then, without warning, they lunged for each other.

    Titanosaurus’s powerful tail propelled it forward, the dinosaur slashing out. Manda was faster and almost glided past Titinosaurus’s blows. It sank its fangs into the saurian’s shoulder and ripped through a chunk of flesh. Titanosaurus bellowed in pain and swiped for Manda. But the guardian of Mu easily avoided the blow again, slithering backward.

    Titanosaurus pressed forward, swimming after his opponent. The two chased each other through the waters, Manda’s graceful, almost dance-like movements easily outpacing Titanosaurus’s wrathful blows. Soon, the two swam to a rocky underwater canyon, Titanosaurus’s frustration growing with each missed swipe.

    Manda hissed in glee, enjoying the dinosaur’s torment. The sea dragon then swam forward, the dragon’s serpentine body ramming headlong into Titanosaurus’s torso. Surprised, the dinosaur was knocked backward and crashed against the ocean floor, chunks of seabed exploding under its weight. Manda pressed the advantage, its long fangs sinking into Titanosaurus’s neck while its body began to coil around the dinosaur, ignoring the saurian’s flails.

    Titanosaurus howled, its warble echoing across the ocean. The dinosaur’s fists pounded on Manda’s skull, but the sea dragon only tightened its hold. Its coils squeezed tighter and its fangs sank deeper into Titanosaurus’s neck. Blood flowed freely, bathing the scene around the two struggling giants crimson.

    Titanosaurus began to feel its bones cracking under Manda’s tremendous weight. Snarling, it lunged up and grabbed Manda’s midsection. With tremendous effort, the dinosaur pulled Manda’s jaws off its throat, chunks of its own flesh being torn away. Manda screeched, flailing, before Titanosaurus swung it sideways and bashed Manda’s head to the sea floor.

    Manda shrieked in pain, its head exploding in agony, its coils weakening around the dinosaur. Titanosaurus slammed Manda’s head down again, stunning the sea dragon enough for the dinosaur to stand up once again. With a mighty shake, Titanosaurus dislodged his enemy’s coils and freed himself from the guardian’s grasp.

    Manda hissed in pain but was cut off as Titanosaurus rammed its head a third time against the rocky seafloor. Tasting blood, Manda thrashed violently, trying to escape but the dinosaur but Titanosaurus held tight.

    Titanosaurus yanked Manda up, its claws tightening around the serpent. Manda began to struggle harder as the dinosaur began to strangle it, bubbles escaping its maw. Its tail slapped against the saurian’s legs but the blows were ineffective, barely noticed by the prehistoric titan. The saurian’s hold grew tighter and Manda felt its air begin cut off, splotches of black dancing in its eyes.

    Enough, The guardian of Mu thought angrily. Its tail snaked upward and slammed against the back of Titanosaur’s head. The dinosaur gave a cry of surprise and for an instant, its grip weakened. Manda slithered free like an eel and swam upward, giving Titanosaurus another tail slap as it passed.

    Titanosaurus shook itself and bellowed angrily before looking up, spotting its opponent fleeing. The mighty dinosaur roared, enraged that this creature was causing him such trouble. Pounding its arms together, it swished its mighty tail and pursued the serpent.

    The two kaiju pursued each other for several moments, exchanging challenging hisses and bellows before they reached the surface. Manda breached first, its long form slamming free of the underwater world below. Titanosaurus followed not far behind, the mighty dinosaur bursting out of the violent surf yards away.

    The primal survivor of the Mesozoic Era and the last guardian of Mu faced off amidst the surf. Such a spectacle was incredible, two veritable colossuses standing against one another, like forces of nature clashing. Titanosaurus reared up, shrieking, before striding through the waters, lunging for Manda.

    The sea dragon dived, slipping between the dinosaur’s legs. Titanosaurus’s claws clapped together, striking naught but water. Manda then burst from behind the saurian, lunging upward and slamming itself into the dinosaur’s neck, teeth sinking into the wound it had already made. Titanosaurus shrieked, staggering, before Manda’s coils wrapped around its torso, binding the beast’s arms against its hide.

    Titanosaurus staggered back and forth, Manda biting down, drinking the dinosaur’s blood. The saurian’s tail slapped against the ocean, but Manda’s grip was like steel and Titanosaurus could not break it, restrained as it was. Its teeth snapped ineffectively, feeling its enemy’s teeth sink deeper with each passing moment.

    Titanosaurus screamed in rage. This creature dared to deny him his vengeance? It dared to stand against him? It dared to deny him what he sought for all that he suffered? Was all his pain to be for nothing at the hands of this snake?

    No! No it wouldn’t be!

    Titanosaurus swung his neck sideways, jerking Manda back and forth. The sea dragon held on but its teeth rocked about and came slightly loose. Titanosaurus then pushed off the ground and fell sideways, slamming Manda hard against the sea. Manda’s head was yanked free in a rush of blood and flesh, sending pain through Titanosaurus’s body but the dinosaur had suffered worse.

    Before Manda could press its attack, Titanosaurus lunged forward and sank his own into the serpent’s snout. He bit down hard, his serrated fangs making short work of Manda’s nostrils. The sea dragon snarled in defiance and responded by tightening its coiled grip around the saurian. Titanosaurus’s pinned arms began to go numb with pain, his bones cracking under the strain. Titanosaurus merely narrowed its eyes and sank its teeth deeper into Manda’s snout.

    The two monsters held onto each other, Manda squeezing, Titanosaurus biting, each increasing the pressure on the other. The sea raged around them as they struggled for dominance, each trying to make the other submit, each refusing to give in.

    Finally, there came a loud crunch as one of Titanosaurus’s arms popped and snapped. The limb went numb and the saurian gave a muffled, warbling cry of pain but only increased its bite against Manda. Manda continued to squeeze, glaring eye to eye with the dinosaur, lips curling, coils tightening to break the dinosaurs’ second arm.

    Then, suddenly, Titanosaurus let go. Surprised, Manda let out a squeal of pain as the sudden release caused it to fly backward. Its coils unwound, releasing their grip at the sudden shock and Titanosaurus’s remaining arm yanked itself free. The dinosaur’s arm swung and knocked Manda off, the sea dragon crashing back into the sea, mammoth waves splashing against Titanosaurus’s belly.

    Manda hissed in rage, shaking itself as it recovered. It burst out of the ocean again, ready to renew its attack and finish the troublesome saurian. But as soon as it broke through the surface, it paused, surprised by what it saw.

    Titanosaurus had turned around, tail aimed at Manda like a cannon. Manda’s momentary shock didn’t allow it to capitalize on this before Titanosaurus’s tail suddenly opened into a large, organic fan-like shape. With a powerful swing, the dinosaur swung its tail back and forth, the huge appendage sending enormous tufts of gale-force wind to assault Manda.

    Manda screeched as it found itself buffeted by a hurricane. Winds tore at the sea, churning the ocean like a cauldron as whirlpools and enormous waves slammed into the sea dragon all ocean. The creature tried to fight, tried to push forward but the riptide was tremendous, even more than it could withstand. After mere moments of fruitless fighting, the winds yanked Manda backward and a wave yanked the sea dragon underwater, sending it spinning end over end until it slammed face first into the seabed, crushing chunks of abandoned reef and rock.

    Manda tried to rise, its stubby limbs grasping at the rocks. But Titanosaurus’s enormous foot ploughed through the water, slamming down on Manda’s skull and pinning it down. Manda flailed, enraged, but it was trapped beneath Titanosaurus’s superior strength. Titanosaurus grinded his foot against Manda’s head before raising it and slamming it down. And again. And again. And again!

    Each foot slam conjured a miniature earthshake, shockwaves ploughing through the ocean floor and reducing whole swaths of the abandoned ecosystem to dust. Soon, the water was a mix of black and red, dust and blood mixing together in a great cloud. Manda’s writhing grew weaker and weaker with each blow until at last, the sea dragon stopped moving.

    Titanosaurus paused. The dinosaur’s nostrils flared, its broken arm dangling uselessly at its side, its neck oozing blood from its bite wounds. Slowly, the saurian removed its foot and reached down into the water with its remaining hand. It searched for a moment through the dust cloud before it founded Manda’s unmoving form. He pulled the serpent out of the ocean and examined it.

    Manda’s body lolled in Titanosaurus’s grasp, the great guardian of Mu’s head barely recognizable anymore. The once beautiful creature’s head had been stomped until now it was a pulpy, splintered mess of brains and bone. Titanosaurus sniffed it before raising its head and giving a triumphant cry to the heavens. He had won! Manda was dead!

    Titanosaurus carelessly dropped Manda’s corpse, sending it crashing to its watery grave. The dinosaur then looked at itself and grimaced. Its new wounds would take time to heal and although it had been victorious, it was angered to know that it could not attack Japan in this state. No, it must return to its home once again, to rest and recover.

    Titanosaurus bellowed in rage, fixing Okinawa with a final, merciless glare before turning around and beginning its long trudge back home. Soon, the dinosaur had waded into deep waters many miles offshore and dived beneath the surface, disappearing into darkness once more. Calm came over the sea again, the afternoon sun glittering off the surface.

    ******

    In the aftermath, a young man washed up on shore some hours later, barely alive but was recovered by some locals and sent to a hospital. It was Higa, who had been thrown from the ship but somehow had managed to survive, even as the two kaiju fought tooth and claw around him. He had been knocked unconscious at some point and could recall little of the encounter but he knew one thing: the monster that had come from the sea had killed his father. As he lay recovering in his bed, he stared out the window, which offered a perfect view of the sea. Most patients would be grateful for the view but Higa could only muster revulsion. He requested his curtains be shut. He would no longer bear to look at the sea, for it had taken his father from him. He knew what lay beneath now and it was something dark, something evil. The only emotions he could conjure now when he thought of the sea was hatred and a newfound desire…

    A desire for revenge.

    As for Manda’s corpse, it rotted in the depths, an undignified end for the proud deity. But it offered one final, ironic thing to the sea it had called home. Its massive body attracted thousands of fish from miles away and slowly, but surely, the seas around Okinawa began to return to life. Out of destruction was born new life, an optimistic future for Okinawa being renewed…

    Winner: Titanosaurus

    K.W.C. // September 20, 2020
  • Author: Joshua Strittmatter | Banner: Andrew Sudomerski

    Janjira, Japan. 6:20 A.M.

    The first hints of orange light began to peek above the mountainous landscape of Japan, slowly changing the light of the night sky from a blackish-brown to a dark blue. Morning was just on the horizon, and the very first bird call announced itself to the new dawn, singing the songs that welcomed a new day into existence. Minute by minute passed, and the slowly growing orange light peeking bit by bit over the mountains illuminated the silhouettes of tall, rectangle-shaped towers of steel, concrete and glass. An old city, long abandoned by its human creators, with the buildings now slowly being overtaken by moss and vines. Whereas fifteen years ago only one species dominated this concrete jungle, now countless different creatures called this place their home in their absence. As the sun’s light bathed the slowly brightening sky in a heavenly, almost otherworldly glow, more slumbering lifeforms began to awaken from their carefree rest and begin their usual activities. Birds of all different kinds began to crawl out of their nests and spread their wings as they took flight, soaring proudly to new perches to search for breakfast or gaze from the tallest buildings and scour their human-made habitat. Insects, arachnids, and millipedes alike began to emerge from their sleeping holes and crawl silently across their chosen territories, searching for whatever biological matter their species’ diet consisted of to sate their morning hunger. The sun was now halfway over the horizon, outlining Mt. Fuji like a shadow as its rays of light reflected off the clouds and turned them into an alien pink color. Morning was now here, and the entire abandoned city of Janjira came alive at its coming.

    However, birds, bugs and small mammals weren’t the only organisms that heeded the silent call of the new dawn.

    The water offshore began to bubble and foam in massive gouts, with a bright cerulean glow visible underneath. Something massive was about to show itself to the island country of Japan for the first time in over half a century, the ominous glow from the deep growing brighter and brighter as the entity got closer to the surface. Finally, the foaming gouts of seawater billowed high above the surface and burst apart, falling back into the sea as a reptilian monolith emerged from the froth with a long, deep growl that rattled the island for miles. All organisms with auditory receptors froze in terror as the bipedal dinosaur waded through the shallow water, shaking the earth with each footstep upon the underwater sandy coach, until finally the behemoth took a step onto dry land. Both his eyes and his rocky, maple leaf-shaped dorsal plates glowing with blue bioluminescence, Godzilla, King of the Monsters released a growling yawn as he flexed his claws and cracked his bones into place, taking a small moment to enjoy the gorgeous scenery and the warmth of the newborn glow of the morning sun. After a good thirty seconds, the 250 million-year-old Alpha Predator snorted before beginning to trudge along the shoreline, following it to where he needed to be. About half a mile up was his objective-the old power plant, formerly the man-made womb of a male of the MUTO species. Even after a few years, he could still barely smell the scent of his now dead nemesis.

    But there were no MUTOs here-at least, he didn’t think so. Something else was amiss here, and the old power plant was the perfect place to wait before he pinpointed the exact location of whatever it was that drew him to this island for the first time in many years.

    Finally taking a right and lumbering onto dry land, Godzilla trudged toward the old outpost, the smell of decaying radioactivity and MUTO flesh growing in his nostrils. But strangely, he couldn’t smell anything else. No peculiar scents of any other abnormal entities, just all the natural inhabitants of this old habitat. Now where could this unseen being be hiding?

    Rearing his head back, the nuclear reptile curled his lips in a snarl and began to suck in a great breath of air through his bared teeth, filling his throat with it. If the unseen entity was slumbering somewhere hidden, somewhere that he himself couldn’t get to, maybe a battle cry would wake it up and draw it out.

    His throat now filled with air, the Monster King snapped his head forward and let loose the godly roar that he had made famous, keeping it up for a good eight seconds before finally letting it fade to a low drone that for a moment seemed to echo on for an eternity.

    Other than the many flocks of birds that now took flight in terror, there was no response. Eventually, everything went quiet once again, as if he had never made a noise to begin with. Seconds passed slower than they should have to the ancient leviathan as he waited, his peeled ears not picking up a single response. The land was tranquil once again… … …

    The faint noise of rocks rolling, so faint they might not have even existed, somewhat startled Godzilla as his head snapped in the direction of the noise. More and more small rocks and chunks of dirt and earth began to roll down the slopes of Mount Fuji as the area began to rumble and quake. A toothy sneer crept across Godzilla’s lips. He knew it was not an ordinary earthquake. Something had heard his challenge and was about to answer it. Now THIS was what he had been waiting for!

    Suddenly, the ground 300 meters away from the end of the mountain’s slope imploded, caving in to birth a massive hole in the earth, revealing part of an underground cave.

    And within it, something began to force its way out of the subterranean realm.

    Two leathery wings snapped in a V-shape out of the hole, pointed and scaly. Whatever it was, it wasn’t a MUTO. A loud cackle that rivaled Godzilla’s own roar ripped from the crater as another prehistoric form rose from the depths of the earth. The wings flapped powerfully as they soon revealed themselves to be attached to a bipedal pterosaur with flaming red skin. A beak filled with pointed teeth swallowed the remains of a rhinoceros-sized insect before opening to release another cackle, the beast’s two yellow eyes glaring angrily at the one who dared challenge it. A crown of three horns sat behind its bird-like head, giving the beast a rightfully regal appearance. Godzilla growled at this newcomer, his eyes narrowed into slits as they focused, his muscles tensing and readying for combat. Now he understood the sounds he had heard that had drawn him here. It must have been the awakening of this beast, and its feeding of its meal.

    The giant Pteranodon cackled angrily, demanding this newcomer leave his territory immediately. Godzilla only roared in defiance, his pride eclipsed all other emotions in this moment. Regardless of whose territory it was, Godzilla was NEVER one to back off at the beckoning of another giant.

    The Monster King could smell the high levels of radioactivity reeking off this new beast. While it was true that creatures from his time naturally used to feed off radiation, this creature’s radiation levels were WAY too high for it to be natural. Not to mention, the beast’s scent was identical to a species he still remembered to this day, a species he thought long extinct. One that flourished in the final stages of the age of the dinosaurs. Apparently, not only had said species survived, but this member in the present day had been exposed to man-made nuclear weapons and radioactive material that mutated it into a colossal beast like him, like the creatures he used to fight for a living back in his prime.

    The fact that it was an unnatural mutant made it even more dangerous, so Godzilla knew that this fight might be even more challenging than he thought. Even the look in its eyes showed no fear whatsoever, and that made Godzilla slightly nervous. Back in his day when he announced his presence, a good deal of his foes would show the slightest hint of fear. And rightfully so. But this creature didn’t seem to care about his kingly status in the slightest. However dangerous this was going to be, this was a fight that needed to be done nonetheless. This mutation may very well be too strong in power for the planet to support, strong enough to offset the balance of life, and for that it had to be taken down.

    Answering the nuclear titan’s roar with another battle cry, the mutated Pteranodon known as Rodan spread his wings and kicked off the ground, flying fearlessly toward this new threat to his territory. He didn’t want a fight, but it was clear that this beast had no intention of backing off from his mountain home. So, if it was a fight that it wanted, it was a fight it shall get.

    With shocking speed that took the Permian king by surprise, Rodan flew straight at Godzilla. Before the Monster King could counter, the pterosaur slammed head-first into his chest, knocking the wind out of him and sending him toppling to the ground. A reptilian snarl escaped Godzilla’s jaws as he snapped at Rodan, but he easily passed overhead. Screeching like a godly bird, the giant monster of the skies circled around for another go, the air itself seeming to warp behind him as he flew. Godzilla growled as he began to climb to his feet-only for Rodan to slam into the back of his neck from behind, flooring him once again. For the first time ever, Godzilla was the first to fall during a fight. Genuinely, he was both shocked and a little impressed. This foe was not only incredibly fast-faster than anything he had fought before-but also it was very physically powerful. It wasn’t often he met a foe with a weaker stature than his own capable of sending him crashing to the earth with a mere body slam. Even the male MUTO from a few years ago had needed to fully yank him by the shoulders just to pull him across a city away from its mate.

    Godzilla decided to lay low this time, immediately picking up on his foe’s attack pattern. If he were to stand up, he would just get knocked down again. It was time to do the waiting game.

    Rodan screeched as he flew in again, slashing Godzilla across the nape with his spiked chest, drawing a shower of sparks and pieces of scaly skin. Godzilla kept still, his belly pressed firmly against the ground. Noticing his foe had stopped moving, Rodan stopped to hover a few meters away, flapping his wings lightly to keep airborne. The irradiated Pteranodon blinked in slight confusion. Had his foe admitted defeat already? It clearly seemed to be in a bowed position, its head and neck resting on the ground in a submissive pose. But still, there was a problem-it was still in his territory, and Rodan wasn’t bent on sharing. He wanted this intruder out of here now, or else it might become his next meal.

    Rodan screeched a warning to the radioactive dinosaur, and still it didn’t budge. It just lay there, frozen in place like a sleeping turtle, ignoring him. Now the pterosaur was pissed! Cackling a second time, Rodan began to fly toward the still behemoth-and suddenly screeched in surprise when Godzilla burst from the ground like a crocodile and tackled him to the ground, jaws crunching onto his left shoulder. A roar of outrage ripped from Rodan’s throat as Godzilla slammed him to the ground, kicking up large clouds of dust as he did so. The king of the skies tried to right himself, but Godzilla wouldn’t let him and stomped a foot down onto his stomach. Roaring in temporary victory at how the tables had turned, Godzilla began to kick and stomp onto the downed Rodan, eliciting cries of pain and frustration that echoed across the ghost city of Janjira, causing countless animals to hide in their homes in fear. The King of the Monsters roared in domination as he assailed the flying reptile, stomping and kicking him into the ground until he decided when it would be fatally wounded. But even despite the pterosaur’s smaller stature, his armored body held together without breaking once. To say Rodan felt no pain from being kicked in the stomach repeatedly would be false, but it was saying something that his body prevented Godzilla’s 90,000 metric-ton bulk from stomping a mud hole through his seemingly frail build.

    As Rodan continued to shriek in defiance, Godzilla lifted his left foot over his chest, a killer look in his eye. Rodan just glared right back into those eyes, fear nonexistent. Godzilla didn’t know whether the pterodactyloid was either incredibly brave or unbelievably stupid to show no fear in the face of his executioner, but it didn’t matter. He seemed to be accepting his death, so Godzilla would give it to him. The nuclear giant slammed his foot down with all his might…

    A sickening crack of flesh being pierced echoed in the air, and the King of the Monsters bellowed in agony and recoiled, blood flowing from the holes ripped into his foot. Rodan, his plan having worked, roared in fury as he flew to his feet and rushed his opponent, Godzilla’s blood now staining his chest spikes. The ancient saurian thrashed in confusion as Rodan latched himself to his shoulders, pecking and biting aggressively at his head and face. Blood flew into the air as his beak continuously stabbed into his flesh, and Godzilla fought to grab him-only for Rodan to surprise him by quickly letting go of his shoulders and flying around behind him, continuing to peck away at the back of his neck. The Monster King snapped ferociously behind him in a vain attempt to shake the pterosaur off, but Rodan hovered just out of reach before continuing his attack. Having regained the upper hand of the fight, Rodan released a dominating cackle and repeatedly slashed away at the rock-hard skin on Godzilla’s back with his talons.

    But Godzilla was neither down nor out.

    Rodan kept up his attack-then shrieked in surprise when something hard collided with his back, sending him flying forward and crashing to the ground. Flapping his wings, Rodan struggled to regain his footing, and as he looked behind him he realized that the cause of his current position had been the nuclear dinosaur’s long, segmented tail. Finally righting himself, Rodan stood up on two legs and turned as quickly as he could to face his opponent, and immediately was startled to see Godzilla charging him like a sumo wrestler. The King of the Monsters slammed head-on into the winged Kaiju, and this time he didn’t take any chances. Seizing Rodan by the throat with both hands, Godzilla began to throttle the mutated Pteranodon, who gagged and choked profusely in a helpless attempt to cry out from lack of air. Yellowish foam began to build in the flying reptile’s mouth as he began to run low on oxygen, but still the mighty Rodan refused to fall.

    Flapping his wings as hard and fast as he could, Rodan kicked up a burst of hurricane-force winds point-blank at his captor, who soon began struggling to breathe himself due to the high pressure of wind blowing in his face. Rodan flapped faster, and soon the Monster King’s grip loosened.

    And Rodan capitalized on the opportunity.

    Lunging forward with a burst of energy, Rodan collided with the dazed alpha predator and plunged his beak into the left set of Godzilla’s gills.

    His eyes suddenly widening with pain and shock, Godzilla bellowed in excruciating agony as he felt his own blood began to spill down his throat and into his lungs. Realizing the saurian was likely to retaliate heavily, Rodan kicked off the wounded predator and landed a good 300 meters away just as Godzilla attempted to lash out. His claws slashing nothing but empty air, Godzilla huffed and puffed as he took a moment to stare at his enemy.

    This creature was a powerful fighter, far stronger than Godzilla ever thought possible. For the first time in many thousands of years, Godzilla had met a beast that was, from what he had seen, every bit his equal. He had to turn the tide back in his favor with a new plan of attack if he were to win this fight, otherwise there was a high chance he could lose not only his title, but also his life to this winged monstrosity. It was high time to bring out the big guns.

    A deep crackle followed by repeated hums growing in volume rang in the air, as one by one Godzilla’s dorsal plates lit up like Christmas Trees, glowing with inner radiation. His formerly orange eyes lit up with neon blue light, signaling the coming of his signature attack, the one he had carried out the execution of so many foes with. Godzilla took in a breath of air, Rodan realizing the error of standing still in confusion too late before the Monster King opened his jaws and a concentrated blast of pure radiation flew into existence. The atomic beam struck Rodan’s upper torso, and the predatory pterosaur cackled in minor pain as the blast singed his armored flesh, digging his claws into the ground as the beam pushed him back a fair distance. The Permian predator kept his atomic breath going for a good eight seconds before temporarily ceasing fire, his spines still aglow.

    Godzilla did not like what he was seeing.

    Normally an opponent would reel in agony from an attack like that, but this creature’s armored skin was too thick for his breath to deal a serious injury that he needed right now. So far, a black splotch mark of charred skin on Rodan’s chest was all the attack had achieved: unless other body parts of the pterosaur were more vulnerable to such extremes, his most powerful weapon was more insult than injury. Rodan stared hard at Godzilla, pride and fury glinting in his yellow eyes. So, this beast had a ranged attack, did it?

    Okay. Two could play that game.

    His spines keeping their glow, Godzilla charged at Rodan. The Pteranodon took flight once again, beginning to fly in circles around the radioactive behemoth. Standing in the middle, Godzilla waited patiently, keeping his eyes fixed on the flying reptile like a bird of prey. His gaze never left Rodan, who continued to circle around him like a malevolent vulture.

    Then, when Rodan was least expecting it, Godzilla suddenly fired a second time.

    His aim was spot on and struck Rodan in the face. The force of the blast gave the monster of the skies a mild concussion, causing him to fall to the ground with a painful thud! Godzilla took the opportunity to unleash cerulean hell upon Rodan’s spiny back, and sure enough the pterosaur’s screeches of pain were a little more deafening this time. His skin must not have been as armored as it was on his torso.

    The glow finally fading from his spines, Godzilla ceased fire. It would be a bit before his energy levels recharged to full power. His back and left side of his face burnt, Rodan shook his head as he regained his focus. He began to cackle and flap his wings, seemingly attempting to regain flight. But Godzilla wouldn’t let him, and immediately got low and charged at him. Rodan only smirked at this, ceasing his act.

    His ploy had worked.

    The horns on the back of his head began to glow and crackle with energy, and before Godzilla knew what hit him a purple beam of atomic radiation equal in power to his own burst from Rodan’s beak and struck his chest, searing his scales and eliciting a bellow of pain from the Alpha Predator. Rodan didn’t let up and continued to fire, the heat ray burning the flesh on Godzilla’s chest to molten slag. The King of the Monsters shifted himself best he could and presented his more armored back to take the brunt of the fiery assault, but that didn’t stop the pain. Ceasing fire, Rodan cackled at the old reptile before taking flight straight at him. Godzilla dug his feet into the ground to prevent himself being floored as Rodan smacked into him, piercing the burnt flesh with his beak due to its weakened state. Godzilla took advantage of his current position and swung around a full 180 degrees, smacking Rodan with his tail and sending him crashing down very close to the old power plant.

    Godzilla rushed him, attempting to reach him before he took flight, but quickly Rodan turned around and flapped his wings together, creating a powerful sonic boom that forced the Monster King away in a shower of sparks. Spreading his wings once more, Rodan took to the skies above the ancient dinosaur, spewing a second Uranium Heat Beam that seared into Godzilla’s shoulder. The savior of San Francisco bellowed angrily at the mutant Pteranodon, and the only reply was another Uranium Beam striking the back of his neck. As Godzilla recoiled, Rodan preformed a dive bomb and struck him in the side, causing him to fall to one knee. Godzilla lashed with his tail, but Rodan veered away and back up into the air, spewing a fourth heat beam afterward. Fighting the pain, Godzilla let the potent radiation be absorbed into his system, giving him a much-needed boost of power. Rodan preformed another dive bomb, and Godzilla swung around with his tail-only to be met with a shock when, mere inches away from him, Rodan suddenly clapped his wings together and shot upward like a rocket, creating yet another sonic boom that ripped through Godzilla’s form.

    That included his gills.

    Godzilla now realized that this beast was toying with him, and with a loud roar of frustration he demanded the pterosaur come down and face him. The only response he got was Rodan diving downward before suddenly straightening himself and flying straight overhead the Monster King, slashing his skull with his chest spikes.

    As Rodan tried to take back off, Godzilla snapped out a hand and grabbed hold of the pterosaur’s ankle. A surprised cackle left Rodan’s throat as Godzilla yanked him back, grabbing hold of his wings in his claws. Rodan screamed in rage as Godzilla dug his claws into the thin membranes, shredding them at the lower parts while he also chomped down on his neck. While Rodan’s neck was armored, it wasn’t enough to fully stop Godzilla’s teeth from piercing his flesh and drawing spurts of blood. Crying out in pain, Rodan was angrier than ever. Flapping his wings madly, Rodan thrashed like an enraged bird of prey, so much that even Godzilla was having a hard time keeping a firm grip on him. Clouds of dust were kicked up by the gusts of wind given off by the Pteranodon’s struggling, obscuring both monsters’ vision, but nevertheless Godzilla bit down harder.

    In a mad act of fury and desperation, Rodan thrust his head back repeatedly with all the strength in his neck, jabbing his crown of horns into Godzilla’s neck. The Monster King groaned and released his grip at the attack, gagging a spurt of blood. But he was unprepared when Rodan thrust his head back once again, jabbing his horns into the saurian’s gills. A scream of pain echoed from the dinosaur’s jaws, and with a jerk of his head Rodan tore free and ripped himself out of Godzilla’s grasp afterward, flying a good distance away before landing, taking a moment to rest.

    The mutated Pteranodon watched as the Permian apex predator heaved in pain from the previous attack, struggling to breathe properly with his bloodied, torn gills. And in that moment, Rodan understood. He now knew this creature’s major weak point, and he sought to exploit it. His eyes narrowing as a new plan entered his mind, Rodan put his rest on hold as he cackled at the King of the Monsters, who responded with a roar of his own.

    Kicking off the earth, Rodan flew straight at Godzilla, who’s dorsal spines began to light up once more. Realizing what this meant, Rodan still continued to fly straight at the nuclear titan, who he guessed would be anticipating him to preform another type of surprise attack.

    Godzilla, who was expecting the pterosaur to veer away at the last second and pull yet another fancy trick, was instead met with surprise when Rodan didn’t stop his course and slammed head-on into his chest, knocking him to the ground. Struggling quickly to his feet, Godzilla saw out of the corner of his eye Rodan preform another dive bomb from the side. His nuclear power fully charged, the Monster King snapped around and let loose an atomic blast that scorched the Pteranodon’s face, knocking him back with a roar of pain. Flying backward, Rodan repositioned himself mid-air before ascending higher above the nuclear giant, who fired off a second blast that continued to scorch his armored torso. Ignoring the minor pain, Rodan hovered for a moment before diving away when Godzilla started to aim the blast at his wings. His left wing suffering only a small tannish mark, the irradiated pterosaur dove down at Godzilla once again. Godzilla fired off a third blast, but the flying reptile was too fast and dodged it with ease before clapping his wings together as he passed Godzilla by, creating a shockwave that rippled through his right set of gills. Bellowing in pain and frustration, Godzilla spun around and fired off a fourth atomic ray that managed to minorly graze the pterosaur’s side. Rodan cackled almost mockingly before spewing a Uranium Heat Beam that struck the dinosaur’s chest, before suddenly moving it up to his left set of gills.

    Reacting immediately, Godzilla brought his arms up to take the full, painful force of the assault-which left him open to attack when Rodan ceased fire and dove straight at him. This time, Godzilla smashed his tail into the ground and jumped at the pterodactyloid-only for him to preform a loop and smack his beak straight into his forehead, sending him falling back down to the earth with a thunderous boom!

    As Godzilla groaned in pain and exhaustion, Rodan fired off another Uranium beam that seared yet again into his gills. Godzilla was beginning to have trouble breathing from the burnt slits, reduced to all but wheezing profusely as he struggled to take gulps of air. He tried to push himself off the ground, but with another blast to his side he was sent back down.

    Even though a part of him knew there was no way to counter his enemy’s spamming, sheer determination and pride to not lose his crown kept the King of the Monsters going as he rose to his feet once again. Even if this was the day he met his match, he would still fight with every last breath until death finally overtook him. And, with 250 million years of life behind him, he roared in the face of death. He had lived this long, facing countless different horrors that plagued the planet. He would try whatever it took to see to it that this was not his last day on earth.

    Godzilla bellowed as he rose to his feet, and almost immediately was met with a Uranium Beam to his face. Blindsided, the Monster King could only reel back before something immensely strong slammed right past him from the left, slashing his gills once again and drawing yet more blood. Rodan roared, his chest spikes stained with fresh blood of the Permian alpha, before proceeding to fire yet another beam. Beam after beam, dive bomb after dive bomb, shockwave after shockwave, Godzilla was all but helpless as Rodan trolled him for several minutes. But even in spite of the brutal assault he was undergoing, in spite of the horrible exhaustion that bit at every inch of his form, the King of the Monsters fought with every fiber of his being to keep fighting and standing no matter how many times he was knocked down.

    Rodan fired off yet another beam that scorched Godzilla’s gills, and as Godzilla strained in unbearable agony he was caught off guard when the mutated Pteranodon swooped past him and sliced open his other set with his chest spines. As the king of the skies came back for another round, Godzilla kept his eyes trained on him every second in spite of his slowly draining strength, trying his best to keep a level head in his desperate state.

    Suddenly, Rodan looped around and changed course, beginning to fly away. Godzilla blinked in surprise. The creature looked to be fleeing…yet there was no reason to be. Immediately, something felt very off about what was happening, and Godzilla braced himself for whatever deed the irradiated pterosaur was planning to carry out next.

    It first started as a faint ringing sound, like a fighter jet flying at the speed of light. As the noise grew louder and louder, Godzilla’s eyes widened at what they saw. Rodan was coming at him from a distance, and he was coming in fast. Faster than he ever had before. From what it looked like, he was flying in a straight pattern, with no signs of slowing down. If that creature hit him with such a force, the results would be devastating. He braced himself, flexing his tail behind him as he prepared to swing it, remembering when the male MUTO had preformed a similar feat so long ago, and how he had slain him. How ironic it was, that here he was now, at his nemesis’ birthplace, now he himself in a more desperate state than ever as he prepared to let fate decide whether or not the tactic he used to kill his nemesis would work this time. Time seemed to slow as the Pteranodon neared. The nuclear giant had only one shot at this… … …

    Rodan cackled as he began to near the old relic, who stood firm with a slight hunch, baring his teeth and glaring fearlessly. His own eyes narrowing, Rodan propelled himself at the fastest he had ever flown as he rapidly closed the gap between himself and the ancient predator. Closer and closer he drew, until he was right on top of him.

    Godzilla’s nerves snapped, and he readied to swing-

    -and another Uranium Beam shot from Rodan’s beak, striking Godzilla’s nose and burning his sinuses. With a roar that would’ve made the deepest cavities in the earth tremble, the Alpha Predator was helpless as Rodan collided into his upper torso at full, furious force.’

    90,000 metric tons of monolithic flesh and prehistoric muscle were sent flying a full mile away before the King of the Monsters finally splashed down into the water, vanishing in a towering splash.

    Flapping his wings and propelling himself backward, Rodan lost velocity as he finally landed upon the beach with a thud, letting loose a booming cackle of victory for all the entire island of Japan to hear. As his beak closed and stopped expelling his powerful cry, he continued to stand at the edge of the beach, waiting for any possible signs that the ancient leviathan might still be alive.

    Ten minutes that seemed far too long, more akin to several hours, passed before a towering shape did slowly rise from the depths of the water.

    Blood dripping from his hideous wounds, Godzilla stood up with a head hung low. Sheets of red poured from his nostrils and gills, his once proud stature now reduced to a broken imitation of its former self. The nuclear giant could not believe he was actually alive after such a powerful strike, but he did not know whether or not that would be the case for much longer. Once again, fate was a cruel adversary, and he would have to leave it to decide what happened next from here on out. His vision was blurry, his chest cavity ached savagely, his gills were torn and burnt to hell, his hearing was messy, even his legs still struggled to keep standing. Yet stand, he still did. Through his dazed ears he could just barely hear Rodan cackling at him in the distance, somewhere off at the beach. Was it a victory cry? Was it mockery? Was it a challenge? A threat? A warning to stay away? The ancient dinosaur did not know, nor did he care anymore. In his current state he couldn’t defeat the merciless mutant, and with that fact a part of him deep inside ached like never before. He couldn’t remember how long it had been since he had lost a fight. More than likely not since his early youth days, back when giant beasts still stalked this land. When the world needed him, he had always answered its call, and he had always won.

    For the first time in millions of centuries, he had failed.

    Godzilla, his spirit dented by today’s battle, slowly began to turn away. He did not know har far he would make it before his strength faded, he did not know where he would end up, he did not know whether he would ever open his eyes and draw breath into his mighty form again after his eyes closed. Old age might just do him in this time, and if it did, Godzilla could only hope that another force in the world would take his place. All he could do now was journey as far as he could, and hope that fate would give him the strength to carry on like she had so many times over countless centuries of his existence. Only fate could decide.

    And as if on cruel, sadistic cue, she answered.

    Taking precise aim while standing at the beach, Rodan fired off a Uranium Heat Beam that didn’t miss its target-Godzilla’s left set of gills. As the beam continued to burn away, Godzilla, once the King of the Monsters, was too weak to block or move out of the way. With all the air left in his system, a loud roar 250 million years old vented from his gaping jaws, lasting a full eight seconds before, as all the control in his muscles numbed and his eyelids began to slide shut over the once proud orange orbs…

    The old Alpha Predator fell forward with a splash, his legendary spines slowly sinking beneath the surface until finally they submerged completely beneath the ocean blue.

    The King of the Monsters had disappeared.

    A deep rumble echoing from his beak, Rodan flapped his wings as he slowly lifted off the earth, turning back toward Mt. Fuji. The ghost city of Janjira was quiet once again, the animals slowly beginning to reemerge from their hiding places as the victorious Kaiju flew away, rising higher and higher until finally he perched atop the peak of Mt. Fuji, gazing proudly over the gorgeous landscape. The old power plant was miraculously undamaged during the battle, but Rodan paid it no heed. This land was now his new home, his new kingdom, his new territory. After the defeated predator had paid no heeds to his warnings to leave, he had felled it, and he would do so to any other trespasser that would dare to challenge him for his hard-earned home.

    Standing proudly over his dominion, Rodan released one last screech of triumph into the sky, letting the entire world know of his power and warning all who could hear it what would befall any others who challenged him for his new home. He would let the humans far away live out their lives on their side of the island, while he kept his. But if they decided to pay him a visit with the intention of toppling him, he wouldn’t hesitate in the slightest to put them in their place. Curling his wings forward, Rodan stepped into the center of the mountain as he nestled into an area soon to be his nesting ground. Today’s battle was a long and tiresome one, and he deserved a well-earned nap for its troubles. Laying his head down onto the cool snow and soft ashen earth, the Monster of the Skies slowly closed his eyes.

    This morning had been his right to earn his territory, but tomorrow, at first sunrise, he would see to another, very special objective.

    *****

    The defeat of Godzilla did not go unseen by the world. Citizens of Tokyo, Japan had glimpsed it far off in the distance, watching as his once godly form fell limply into the sea. Videos had been taken, satellite images and military video feeds captured, and thus the world reacted with shock and horror. Monarch was left astounded beyond belief. The occurrence was all over the news.

    No one knew for the fate of the nuclear titan. Did he live? Had he been slain? Until he was found, until he showed his face in the future, no one would ever know.

    Godzilla, King of the Monsters, had sunk below the vast depths of the very place of whence he came, vanished into the immeasurable abyss of the unknown.

    Possibly never, on the face of the earth, to be seen again.

    Winner: Rodan (Heisei)

    K.W.C. // September 10, 2020
  • Author: Andrew Sudomerski | Banner: Andrew Sudomerski

    [Continued from Match 304]

    Osaka, Japan – Several months after the destruction of Infant Island

    Rainbow beams seared into the asphalt as Mechagodzilla-2 dispatched of the JSDF’s artillery fire. Maser cannons and fighter jets were lost in a vast array of explosions, with many lives lost. Super Jikiro funneled its magnetic prowess through the blocky left hand, pulling in tanks and jeeps from the ground as they smashed into its hand. Those within were crushed by the tremendous pressure as more and more tanks and vehicles stacked into a tight metal sphere. As the field cleared of the JSDF’s weapons, aside from those destroyed by Mechagodzilla, Jikiro dropped the ball—which resounded with a loud thud upon impact. Humanity’s efforts were futile, for their forces had been spread thin. And with their enhanced upgrades endowed upon them since the destruction of Infant Island, humanity’s end would be inevitable.

    Meanwhile, as many fled for their lives, a group of youths stood behind in the midst of the rampant chaos. Stealing desks from within the vacant school, they coordinated their efforts to recreate an ancient symbol, one thought to have called upon divine provenance in times of despair. The more they dedicated themselves, the faster the arrangement manifested itself in the form of a cross that seemingly emitted what resembled holy light. Even with all the death and destruction that surrounded them, they persevered and had faith this insane-brained plan would work.

    Then Jikiro took notice.

    The Garoga automaton scanned the ancient symbol and the puny insects that remained by the formation of school desks. What a pointless endeavor this was! For Jikiro would display that there was no hope to cling to when the Earth would fall into their hands! Its curved tail shone with a brilliant yellow light, its Gatling gun coursing with electricity as it aimed at the sign and the children. However, amidst the blazing evening sun, a shadow draped over the war machine. Jikiro’s sensors took notice of this, but it was far too late to react. With bursting winds following behind, the moth-like silhouette rammed into the mechanical heavyweight—grappling her multi-jointed legs atop Jikiro’s upper section and dragged the inorganic menace across the ruined streets with her incredible feat of strength. At the last moment, as she put distance between the alien fiend and the group of innocents, she released her hold and let Jikiro collapse onto the ground. The divine lepidopteran swooped around until she faced the alien threat, showing her true self that followed with a chirp.

    The Mothra of the new millennium, protector of a new generation, and the heir of the olden Mothra!

    With a loaded charge on standby, Jikiro unleashed its jagged Magnetic Ray from the barrels of its right hand. Yet with grace and elegance, the new Mothra avoided the lightning strands with relative ease. Before Jikiro could fire again, Mothra dive-bombed the techno-behemoth and sent the giant tumbling into an abandoned structure, crumbling under its sheer weight. Jikiro shifted through the rubble and tried to get back on its feet, but hurricane gales sudden overcame the mechanical titan that kept it pressed down against the ground. While it did not budge, the alien robot could not find the stable support it needed to get back up from Mothra’s powerful winds. The moth goddess kept up the attack, pelting the downed machine with the loose debris kicked up by the windstorm of her making.

    The beautiful insect observed with her brilliant bulbous eyes and noticed the mechanized reptile concentrating on her with cold, lime green lenses. She abandoned Jikiro, narrowly avoiding the Space Beams that zipped past her. With a mechanical screech, Mechagodzilla shot another round of Space Beams at the angelic moth, which barely grazed her plated abdomen with a quick burst of sparks. She dove at the doppelganger, with wings outstretched and titled until she was sideways. Her wings dipped in between the space of the streets as she rushed past Mechagodzilla, tripping up the mechanical menace and dispersing an array of excess rubble from the violent gusts in her wake. The mechanoid reptile twisted his head, once again prepared to fire his Space Beams at the airborne moth. Before Mechagodzilla could fire, a spread of light bullets pelted at the guardian deity courtesy of Jikiro, and forced a pained shriek from the insect. Mechagodzilla didn’t let this chance go to waste as he fired another set of rainbow lasers, this time scoring a direct hit! Sparks and flames chipped at her armor as she elicited another agonizing screech. Although the youthful and vibrant Mothra kept her airlift, she knew this battle wasn’t going to be in her favor. Nevertheless, she had to fight—for the well being of the very planet she was born to protect!

    Scanning with calculating eyes, Mechagodzilla squatted before his sole thrusters roared to life. With a powerful bound, the mechanical reptile took flight with a trail of smoke left in his path. He stiffened and straightened out his body, which ran parallel to the ground and face pointed forward. With an extra push from the rockets on his feet and tail tip, Mechagodzilla used his Unisot as a rudder in flight mode. He promptly began to pursue the target with the directive to clean up their unfinished business.

    Mothra turned her head and noticed her pursuer closing the gap at an alarming rate. She banked a hard right, climbed into a nearby body of aerosol, and vanished from visible sight. As she broke through the other side, she was surprised that her mechanical foe performed the same stunt, almost like a mirror. Mechagodzilla unlocked his arms and brought them frontward, prepping them like blades. Both of them charged, ready to meet head-on.

    With a thunderous clang, Mothra and Mechagodzilla passed each other in a brilliant spark of light as jointed feet and stiff arms clashed. The two descended in wide-angled turns to meet face-to-face for a second time, dropping beneath the clouds, and again their bodies collided in a shower of sparks as they zoomed by. Then it seemed as if they were arranging for another strike, Mothra clapped her wings and vanished into the thick stratus cloud. The airborne menace was quick to pursue, turning at a sharp angle and tore into the thick sheet of water vapor.

    As the dark grey robot tried to scan for his target’s bio-metrics, he had difficulty sustaining flight within the cloud. The compressed water droplets and ice crystals incidentally paved way for troublesome turbulence. Little did he realize that Mothra, who also struggled with the thick vapor cloud, sidelined him from behind outside his visor’s peripheral. Grappling with her hooked claws onto the blunt spines that lined along Mechagodzilla’s back, Mothra pulled the mechanical menace, both of them spiraling through the fluffy sheet. With another tug, she steered down until they broke through the clouds—diving straight for the abandoned district of Osaka.

    As they fell, Mothra felt a powerful jerk from the reptilian machine. Before she knew it, she was being hauled alongside Mechagodzilla by an unseen force. And it didn’t take her long to deduce the perpetrator behind it. Her compound eyes took heed of Jikiro, with its blocky left hand outstretched and the right Gatling gun hand outlining circular motions. Pulling back, Mothra abandoned Mechagodzilla as she left him under Jikiro’s magnetic influence. Then with a loud clang, Jikiro caught its mechanized ally and gently placed him back on his two feet.

    Detaching from the blocky hand, both of them directed their attention to the moth guardian. Jikiro’s tail flashed and fired another Magnetic Ray as Mechagodzilla assisted with a round of rainbow-colored lasers. Mothra was quick, but not perfect. Torrential energy fire grazed and seared against her as she tried to close the distance. The scales suppressed the lethal damage when the projectiles singed her wings, but that did not stop their onslaught. As Mothra got closer, Mechagodzilla ceased firing and sat on his legs, supported by the tail, with the kneecaps aimed at the airborne target. In a burst, high pressure Homyu shells propelled out of his kneecaps and buried into the outermost layer of Mothra’s thorax. She elicited a cry as the shells drew blood, which evolved into a hideous shriek as the delayed explosion kicked in. The brief paralysis from the explosion gave the automatons the opportunity to unleash their payload on the guardian. Unable to resist the assault, Mothra was forced onto the asphalt and left at the invaders’ mercy.

    Plumage of combustion and smoke rose from the many explosive shockwaves and fireballs that engulfed the fallen goddess. Not even a minute passed before all fell silent. Steam hissed from Mechagodzilla’s fingertips as his internal missile chamber replaced them with the new, more powerful revolver missiles. Jikiro’s four-pronged barrels sizzled with electricity, with the Magnetic Terror-Beast shrieking with delight. Mechagodzilla’s lime green eyes flashed with what would be considered anticipation as he set his fingers to finally obliterate their target.

    Mothra would perish, and the world would lose hope.

    Suddenly, their vision was compromised by silky string raining from the sky. The adhesive clung onto their metal frames, slowly building into thicker layers of webbing as the spray rained down on them. Jikiro flailed wildly, only to entangle itself more in the white mesh. Mechagodzilla kept his body movement restrained, only twisting his head to locate the source. Activity was detected, and the webbing had suddenly ceased, but there was no visible target in sight. With the buildings that stood in his way, the robot double of Godzilla could not get a fix on the target. Something he was quick to fix.

    A quick tug and the chest compartment flipped open, tearing the silky strings attached to the upper torso with relative ease. Orange lightning flew from the glass bulb and effortlessly tore through the obstructions in front of him. As the structures crumbled and the dust settled, Mechagodzilla finally saw the target that dared interfere.

    Its long, segmented, brown body called to mind a worm or a caterpillar, with a pair of soft blue beads for eyes attached to its face. Its muzzle twitched with uncertainty, as if it hadn’t anticipated in being found so quickly. The wormy creature released a quiet chirp, only to be promptly blasted by the orange bolt. As the durable larva was flung across the cityscape, Mechagodzilla moved toward his new target in slow strides. Their end would be inevitable.

    For Jikiro, the webbing may have stopped, but the machine had been wrapped to the point of near immobility. While the automaton’s oddball physical structure ensured limited sight, as its head was located on the upper torso region, the net still proved problematic for its primary arsenal. Try as it might, the mighty war machine flailed about aimlessly. That was until a sharp pain in its synthetic circuitry alerted it of a hostile on the tip of its rounded tail. Jikiro could feel the extra weight that held its bulky, robotic tail down. Although it could still yank it around, it proved to be incredibly cumbersome to manage.

    With muffled squeaks, the young Larva clung to the curved tail, fueled by determination. For every time Jikiro heaved its stunted tail, the Mothra Larva felt the brute force of being slammed against the pavement. Nevertheless, her resolve outweighed the pain that wracked her small body. However, despite being repeatedly smashed into the ground, it would not last forever. Electricity surged from the generator stored in Jikiro’s tail, shocking the mouth of the young Larva and finally forced her to release her bite. As the brown worm retreated into the abandoned streets, the mechanical giant tore through the web casing with a series of crooked bolts, which eventually freed Jikiro from its bind. It shook off the last of the sticky substance before turning to locate the intruder. Switching gears, Jikiro pointed its Gatling gun and fired several rounds of missiles, tearing through the structures to locate the target.

    Buildings crumbled under the Terror-Beast’s missile barrage. Meanwhile, Jikiro pulled the metal framework into its blocky left hand, clearing the area from as much debris as possible. The more it pressed on, the greater the dust cloud became. Jikiro knew it would find it sooner than later; but what it didn’t expect was what came next. From the dusty clouds, the segmented worm leapt directly for Jikiro’s face! Her mandibles clamped into the machine’s blocky, rectangular mouth, holding on with everything she could muster. All the while, the Magnetic Terror-Beast thrashed about in a panic, trying to shove the small creature off it.

    High pressure rounds bore into the worm-like insect as Mechagodzilla’s toes reloaded for the next round. The spinning missiles tore the exoskeleton and detonated, splitting the Larva’s natural armor with puss and yellow goop. The young Mothra shrieked from the excruciating agony, flopping over from the concussive aftershock. Her distress fell on deaf ears as Mechagodzilla loomed over her. Not a sound uttered from the machine other than the click, signifying that he reloaded.

    Suddenly, a mighty and powerful cry alerted the ruthless automaton of his original objective. With nothing more than a simple twist of the head, Mechagodzilla’s green lenses locked onto the adult Mothra, who beelined straight for him. In a moment’s notice, the homing missiles burst from his toes, eliciting an anguished screech from the baby Mothra. This only provoked the mother Mothra even more as she cried out for her child. The closer she got, the more Mechagodzilla silently prepared his next attack. Instantaneously, high-powered explosive charges erupted from the ports in a wild stream of flames. With a clap of her wings, Mothra elevated above the searing fire, barely avoiding Mechagodzilla’s surprise attack. Though its range was limited, the stoic weapon continued to pour ammunition into the Desto-Fire, rotating his head and tilting his body to keep track of the moth deity’s path.

    Enough was enough for Jikiro as it focused its concentration by pelting the infant worm with a barrage of light bullets. Plasma energies rained down on the Mothra Larva with a cavalcade of explosive sparks. Unable to brute force the pain, the youngling found herself releasing her mouthy grip and dropping to the ground. Without a second to waste, the mighty Garoga machine delivered a solid kick, hurling the brown caterpillar into the nearby Umeda Sky Building. With a jerky tug from its left hand, the magnetic influence pressured the metal framework to collapse in on itself, burying the Mothra Larva under thousands of tons of glass and metal, crushing her. Satisfied, Jikiro went ahead to assist his robotic ally against the true threat.

    Mechagodzilla ceased discharge when his head clicked back into place, prioritizing from the maimed larva to the adult. As the heat had melted the webbing away, Mechagodzilla was granted his mobility, turning his body and firing Space Beams at the Earth guardian. Elegantly, she evaded the rainbow lasers and dove in headfirst. In truth, rage coursed through her body. But now wasn’t the time, she couldn’t lose sight of the important responsibility she had to uphold, for her mother’s sake, for her family.

    Mechagodzilla’s stiff hands rotated, re-calibrating the revolver missiles he had yet to employ. The very weapon he had intended to finish off Mothra with would still fulfill their purpose. Both sets of fingers aimed and fired, converging on their primary target. A master of maneuverability and swiftness, Mothra zoomed past the lethal weapons and allowed them to slip by, not landing a scratch on her. The flames that propelled the revolver missiles fizzled out and began to fall in an arc. She accelerated and rammed her entire body mass into Mechagodzilla’s torso, relentlessly throwing the machine to the ground. Damages were sustained in its armored plating, dented from the extreme force applied. Mechagodzilla rose to his feet, undeterred from seeing this through to the end. Both locked eyes, examining each other closely to see who would pull the trigger.

    The wait wasn’t long.

    Mothra suddenly felt an explosive force against her back. Her chitin chipped away from the blast as her fur caught aflame. But it wasn’t done with her yet. Another round of the revolver missiles bombarded her, and more soon followed. Each repetitive strike whittled away the posterior of her natural armor, and each time eliciting a more agonizing shriek than the last. Once again, she found herself unable to sustain airborne flight as she was forced to the ground. While she tried to kick up winds to dampen the flames on her back, the metallic roar that came from behind informed Mothra all she needed to know.

    Jikiro’s Gatling gun hissed with steam as the automaton clanked its two asymmetrical arms together. For Jikiro had used its magnetic influence to pull the revolver missiles to itself, sucking them into the crease of the blocky left hand and out the barrels of its right hand. Jikiro screeched with devilish glee, eager to finally see all this come to an end. Mechagodzilla’s stoic demeanor expressed nothing, only an artificial will to seek and destroy. Both aimed their artillery hands at the fallen Mothra, only to once again find their visions compromised with silky web.

    The Magnetic Terror-Beast muttered and agitated cry. It knew in that moment the Larva it thought it had dispatched was still alive and kicking. Frustrated at their persistence, Jikiro prepared a Magnetic Ray, signaled by a flash from the tail, and turned to face the juvenile Mothra. As it threw the four-pronged barrels in front of itself, it discharged a streak of electric currents. At the last second, the segmented insect leapt over the beam, projecting to bite on Jikiro’s boxy head again. However, the mechanical giant swatted the bug with the blocky hand, ensuring the same tactic wouldn’t work twice.

    The Mothra Larva knew she had to fight against the mechanical reptile, even if she had already sustained lethal injuries from the inorganic imposter. She knew her sister was fighting to protect their mother, much like she was. Each second, she felt her life energy drain away the more she bled out. But her youthful, determinable will would not break as she continuously spat out a long string of silk. Even as Mechagodzilla discharged explosive flames from the nose ports to counter her web, she saw her mother in the distance. Her back was still aflame, bodily fluids leaked from Jikiro’s attack. Their eyes locked, and they recalled the warmth and love of home… She witnessed her mother scurry on her legs, crumpling buildings under her fluttering wings to take flight. Her desperate plea evolved into lamenting shrills, begging Mechagodzilla to stop.

    The Larva felt nauseous, her head spun around from excessive blood loss. She remained steadfast, even as her webbing vanished amidst Mechagodzilla’s lethal Desto-Fire. Her body was pressed down by her withering state; her blue eyes flickered in an attempt to persevere. Yet she knew what waited for her at the end. With his right hand, Mechagodzilla aimed his newly loaded revolver missiles at the grievously injured caterpillar.

    Her mother screamed, accelerating as much as she could.

    A simple rotation of the wrist, Mechagodzilla’s lime green eyes flashed.

    Click.

    Time slowed for the adult Mothra. She felt the gap between them widen tremendously, everything coming to an abrupt crawl. A sudden rush of memories of the recent-past came flooding in; how she migrated her people from the decimated Infant Island to the Bonin Islands, her rebirth into adulthood, the day she laid her egg and had twins, nurtured them to be strong Mothras for the next generation, how she promised to avenge those who had fallen before her… All that led to this very moment. With one final cry, she beseeched the metallic reptile to spare her child.

    Mechagodzilla gave no response.

    Her world shattered with a cacophonous boom. Sickening dread overwhelmed the imago Mothra as she saw the plume of explosive flames blossomed—and with it, chunks of brown chitin, yellow goop, and the ravaged body of her offspring, devoid of life. Her heart fell into the pits of despair, unable to process the reality that reflected off the sheen of her bulbous, compound eyes. She choked on her mourning cries, and golden glitter leaked from the tips of her majestic wings. Yet there was little time to grieve as her gentle blue eyes swirled into crimson wrath. She pushed her body and beelined directly for Mechagodzilla, who was already turning around to meet Mothra face to face. A trail of golden scales trickled from her wings, determined to exact her revenge upon her child’s killer.

    Mechagodzilla barely had the chance to react as Mothra recklessly slammed her entire mass against his space titanium plating. The mechanical imposter tripped back, with a noticeable dent engraved in his upper chest. Mechagodzilla scanned the purple sky, whose sunlight had already dimmed beyond the horizon, only to find a set of angry red eyes peering into his artificial soul. The moth-shaped form descended upon him, her loose scales clung on his extraterrestrial armor. Vicious swipes from her talons scarred Mechagodzilla’s snout with sparks and scraping of the metal. From the metallic menace’s perspective, an electronic interference muffled with his directory, unable to properly access the weapons stored in his head region. So, he improvised.

    With a subtle click, the hatch on his chest opened, prepared to use the Cross Attack Beam. But Mothra was quick to the draw, pulling her abdomen and shoved her blunt stinger into chest compartment, which housed the reddish bulb. Under its weight, Mothra grinded the weapon into dust, and even so continued to jab and dent Mechagodzilla’s armor with her incredible physical prowess. The machine’s control system went haywire, and shortly went limp thereafter. Lime green eyes faded, but even so, Mothra vented her sorrowful rage by raking the cybernetic corpse with her claws, dislocating the lower jaw and shredding the torso’s outer layer, only to reveal the inner circuitry… That was until she heard her other child’s cry. Abandoning the scrap heap, Mothra’s crimson eyes narrowed on Jikiro, the last of the invaders that had brought harm to her family.

    Another brutal kick hurled the second larva into a row of buildings, bringing them down under her weight. As the Mothra Larva chirped in anguish, she heard the clanging of Jikiro’s footfalls coming ever closer. The abnormal automaton cheered with a synthetic screech, holding out the blocky left hand. Magnetic waves stretched beyond to the distant horizon nearly three miles away. Courtesy of its enhancements, it tugged at the outlying Tsutenkaku’s shimmering red hue against the waning twilight. The magnetic force rocked the steel tower, which leaned over from the tremendous strain that influenced it. Then, not by its own volition, Tsutenkaku was pulled from its foundation and plowed through many buildings without any signs of stopping. Jikiro’s powerful magnet trembled from the force applied, but continued nonetheless. In less than a minute, the 103-meter tall tower found itself affixed to the blocky hand with a resounding shockwave, one that the Mothra Larva could feel the breeze of.

    For a moment, the Terror-Beast pulled its arm back and heaved the metal tower down like a sledgehammer. With quick thinking and intuition, the young Mothra rolled out of harm’s way, letting the structure slam into the asphalt with a destructive blast of wind and shrapnel. Even though she dodged it, the mere aftershock was enough to send the segmented worm crashing into another set of buildings nearby. Tsutenkaku’s reinforced steel frame had creaked and contorted, but Jikiro still had a use for it. Before it could try again, the Terror-Beast heard the angry shrills of a wrathful punisher from behind, diverting its attention. Jikiro saw the imago’s form plastered against a darkened sky, her eyes brimming with crimson hate. With an eerie war cry, Mothra dove down toward Jikiro, leaking a stream of gold scales in her wake.

    The Magnetic Terror-Beast knew she was out of range to use the Tsutenkaku against her, so it accommodated with a brilliant, yellow flash from its curled tail. Aiming its Gatling gun, a wild burst of electrical fury surged from the four-pronged tips and zoomed toward the moth deity. Much like in the past, Mothra’s reflexes saved her from a direct hit, only grazing her armored chitin. The rest of the lightning blast came into contact with the glittery trail left behind, resulting in a fantastic and blinding series of explosions, a reaction unlike the previous Mothra that Jikiro recalled fighting.

    Mothra continued her straightforward track, even when that put her in range of Jikiro’s new toy. The machine prepared an overhand, noticing that the divine moth made no effort to stray from her path. Before it could bring the full brunt of the tower onto the guardian, Mothra’s wings caught wind which dragged her to a stop, where she then followed up with a clap that dispersed a golden dust cloud. Golden scales swarmed the Garoga invader, searing into the machine’s armor plating. Perpetuated by the ensemble of Mothra’s divine wrath, Jikiro struggled to maintain footing. It wasn’t just a byproduct of the pain they brought; the Terror-Beast could detect several vital mechanisms within its body short circuiting, losing control over its functionality. It tried to bring up the Gatling gun, only for the spark within its tail-generator to die off; the magnetism that held the broken Tsutenkaku diminished, dropping the large structure to its side; and finally, Jikiro could feel itself collapse under its own weight as its eyes darkened. Even after the Magnetic Terror-Beast went limp, Mothra continued to pelt the mechanical monstrosity out of sheer rage.

    A small chirp beckoned the adult Mothra’s attention. She cocked her head and saw her child. The pace of her flaps slowed as the scales that left her wings diminished, leaving only a lingering cloud over Jikiro’s fallen body. Her wrathful red eyes vanquished as they returned to their gentle blue, filled with sadness and regret. The mother Mothra slowly descended to the ground, unable to maintain air buoyancy from the guilt she carried in her heart. The Mothra Larva crawled up and rubbed her nuzzle against her mother’s. Both of them cried and mourned, filling the air with sorrow.

    Mothra’s mission blinded her from what it meant to be a Mothra. To avenge was not the code of ethic, but to protect. Yet her pride got to her, and such a grievous mistake came at a cost. Ever since her birth, that arrogance seeped into her subconscious, even as she carried out her duty to the outside world. And it was one she hoped never to repeat again, for the sake of her last child and the generations that followed.

    The Larva noticed imminent danger out of the corner of her eye and warned her mother with a high-pitched squeal. The imago Mothra didn’t hesitate for a second, raising her body off the ground to cover her child from what came next. The scales that remained suddenly combusted into a fiery plume, one that the mother Mothra took the full brunt of, consumed by flames.

    Off in the distance, mechanical eyes glared at the billowing fire with indifference. Green lenses saw the remains of his former ally shatter into scattered limbs and pieces of armored shrapnel. But Mechagodzilla felt nothing of it; Jikiro was no longer a benefit to the cause. If it ensured the destruction of the Mothra lineage, then that would be more than enough. With a quick shot of Space Beams, Mechagodzilla had already set the golden cloud aflame… But the machine had calculative doubts that that was the true end of the Mothras. His eyes scanned his hands, detecting the particles leftover from Mothra’s rage-induced assault. They possessed reflective properties that induced powerful explosions, unlike that of the previous Mothra they had fought at Infant Island. Mechagodzilla tried to rotate his wrists, only for grinding screeches like nails on a chalkboard to emanate from the wrist joints as they struggled to spin efficiently. While his whole body had been peppered by the golden scales, his hands took most of the scales and left his arms virtually inoperable. Fortunately for the Simian mech, he didn’t need his arms for what he was about to do next.

    Even though the base of his head initially creaked, it didn’t take long for his spinning head to break into place. Faster and faster, his head rotated until he dispatched cyan energy from his eyes, which enveloped him in a cylindrical barrier. Now it was a matter of waiting out to see if the two remaining Mothras survived or not…

    Mechagodzilla’s spinning head came to a steady halt as the energized barrier became fully reinforced. Scanners observed the ruined city, more importantly the gigantic fireball where the Mothras were, to see if there were bio-signatures to be found. While it wasn’t immediately obvious at first, Mechagodzilla detected an immense spike of energy near the heart of the explosion.

    Flames and smoke warped as a fiery body flew out of the blast. The imago Mothra, encased in a body of fire, shrieked one final war cry; she was prepared to finish this ordeal once and for all. Mechagodzilla had anticipated as much, but was ready to bring it all to an end. In the span of a few seconds, the flaming Mothra closed the gap.

    Then, the moment of impact.

    Burning red fire and brilliant cyan energies clashed against each other, sparking in a beautiful cavalcade of conflicting sparkles. Mothra’s body warped the permeable barrier, inching ever closer to Mechagodzilla’s body. Yet even with the fire coat, it did not suppress all the damage; the harder she pushed, the more she lost her outer shell and wings in a burst of smoke and vapor. She inched ever closer to his metal torso…

    Unable to endure it for any longer, the flaming Mothra bounced back from the incredible force of the barrier, shedding her fiery fleece as she crashed onto the ruined city of Osaka. Her child rushed to her side, nudging her war-torn visage to wake up. Her eyes were dimming, which made the child anxious. The Larva took a glance at the mechanical threat that loomed ahead of them, dreadfully anticipating having to fight the robotic behemoth.

    Much to her surprise, turned out there wasn’t a need to.

    The Larva saw a cascade of sparks reacting from within Mechagodzilla’s protective casing. This led to a series of chain reactions, as one explosive scale ignited the next. For Mechagodzilla, the barrier became an inescapable prison, a coffin that cemented his fate. As more of the scales reacted, the more Mechagodzilla was consumed in a mammoth explosion. The cylindrical barrier warped and expanded, trying to contain the blast, and illuminated in a bright white light. But it was unable to contain all the energy within and popped from all the power. A flood of fire and shockwaves overtook the two Mothras and flung from away as the rest of the explosion manifested in a mushroom-shaped cloud. Soon enough, the thunderous roar of the blast quieted and left a raging fire in its wake. From the sky, shredded and charred pieces of Mechagodzilla rained down, marking the end of his reign of terror.

    The Larva awoke from the unconscious and scanned her surroundings, having been separated from her mother during the explosion. She quickly found her in the outermost ring and rushed to her side. Much to her dismay, she remained unmoving. Her head and wings were shells of what they once were just moments ago. The Larva pleaded to the natural forces of the world not to take her mother away as well. To lose all she cherished was too heavy of a burden on her mortal soul…

    The husk began to move. Dimmed eyes ignited in a brilliant blue light, reinvigorated with fresh life energy. The Larva squealed with a joyful surge as the mother cooed her child in assurance. Even with her damaged wings, the adult Mothra was still flight capable as she pushed herself off the ground. The two scoured the ruined Osaka until they found the last knot that needed to be tied before departing. They found the broken and mangled body of the fallen Mothra Larva, and now finally had the time to grieve. Mournful wails echoed across the battle-torn field, and those that heard it from a distance felt a deep-rooted sadness that accompanied it.

    Hours passed, with the scenery influenced by the midnight darkness and the soft glow of moonlight. The raging fire that had once burned died down as well. As their grieving session came to a close, the living Larva sprayed a silken web over her sister’s corpse, encasing it in a cocoon. The mother Mothra had her strength restored and grabbed hold of her child with her spindly legs. With several, successive flaps of her wings, her and the Larva took off into the starry sky, returning to their new home at the Bonin Islands—where their people awaited them.

    Before the flock of people would gather around in the morning to pay their respects, a messenger manifested from the sky. The minuscule, green-eyed moth gently landed atop the silken sarcophagus, cooing gently to the soul within. It was time to leave. The Fairy Mothra chirped as she lifted off, towing her grandchild’s soul with her into a world beyond the mortal coil, where they both could finally rest in peace.

    Winner: Mothra (Millennium)

    K.W.C. // September 1, 2020
  • Author: Andrew Sudomerski | Banner: Andrew Sudomerski

    [Continued from Match 267]

    Infant Island

    Fight until the bitter end.

    That was what Mothra thought as she evaded the merciless barrage from the mechanical invaders. It was more than just for herself; this sacred land was her home, her priestesses and worshippers were family, and most importantly was the egg she had fought so rigorously to protect. Even in her injured state, with a slashed wing and missing a leg from her encounter with Zilla, she flew with grace and elegance over the surface, then proceeded to clap her wings to gain elevation over the hundreds of missiles and light bullets.

    Mechagodzilla remained stationary as endless finger missiles and shells burst from his fingertips, kneecaps, toes, neck, and mouth. Even if they missed Mothra, Mechagodzilla and his mechanical ally were here not just for the destruction of Mothra, but the demise of Infant Island. Thus, it was of no loss when the missiles missed their primary target. Fortunately for Mechagodzilla, Jikiro had his back. The Magnetic Terror-Beast kept aim with its right hand, a Gatling gun, which fired a spray of yellow bullets. The projectiles burst into sparks upon striking the Earth spirit’s fluffy thorax, which compelled her to cry out. Even so, the injury did not deter her.

    As she closed the gap between her and her adversaries, Mothra fired twin orange beams from her antennae. Both individually blasted the robotic titans, which distracted Jikiro and simply made Mechagodzilla ceasefire. The lepidopteran deity flew over the mechanical duo and dragged a powerful gale in her wake. Jikiro simply anchored itself with its immense weight. Mechagodzilla stumbled back, but not before rotating his head 180 degrees. Red, calculating lenses projected Mothra’s distance relative to his own and fired a pair of Space Beams at her. The rainbow-colored lasers found their mark on her underbelly, eliciting a shriek from the moth goddess.

    She maintained lift and banked a hard right, curving around to meet with her enemies once again. Mothra prepared her next strike in the form of glittery scales from her wings. Both Mechagodzilla and Jikiro stood their ground, but were quickly overwhelmed with her divinity. Golden powder-like scales washed over the mechanical fiends and scorched into their metal armor. The Godzilla doppelganger was quick to react as his head spun in place and generated a cyan cylinder from his eyes, which wrapped around his form. The small specks of light were neutralized, but there was nothing Mechagodzilla could do but wait. Jikiro, on the other hand, had no such luck. It tried to fire its light bullets, but the buffer layer dispersed the energy into jagged strings, which redirected back at Jikiro with searing pain. The Magnetic Terror-Beast tried again, this time indicated by a burst of light from its tail, as it fired a concentrated Magnetic Ray at Mothra. To no avail, as the diffused electrical energy bounced about in the golden cloud and returned to its sender in full force.

    Energy wasn’t doing the trick, so Jikiro had to depend on old reliable. Shifting gears within its Gatling gun, Jikiro changed its ammunition. As it aimed its Gatling gun once more, Jikiro uttered a pained shriek with the continual burns seared into its body. With rapid succession, missiles shot out from the barrels, ripping through the golden cloud and embedded themselves into their target. Mothra’s shrill resounded across the battlefield as she was sent hurtling back, throwing her from the air to the ground accompanied by burning flames and shrapnel. Even if the scales left Jikiro weary, the war machine did not ceasefire until the particles faded from sight. When they did, Jikiro collapsed onto its knees and blocky left hand, still sizzling and barely keeping it together.

    The Earth spirit was burdened by the wounds she sustained, but even worse was that she had fallen onto her back. She fluttered her wings wildly, kicking up a dust storm, each beat straining her body. But her bulbous, bright blue eyes informed her that she wasn’t going to make it. For she saw the cyan cylinder dissipated from the false Godzilla, who shifted into attack mode. Mechagodzilla’s chest compartment flipped opened, then all hell broke loose. Rainbow lasers, orange electric currents, yellow atomic flames, and space titanium-infused artillery fire poured from the mechanical behemoth, overwhelming the Infant Island deity in a blaze of relentless pain and agony. Any of Mothra’s anguished screeches were lost in the deafening booms that surrounded her.

    Thick black smoke and heavy dust obscured the moth guardian’s being, but that did not stop Mechagodzilla’s onslaught. Although Jikiro could barely hear their opponent’s banshee wails, there were points where Mothra’s shrieks overpowered even that of the explosions—a direct hit! However, even Mechagodzilla came to a ceasefire, for the plumage was too immense to guarantee a solid shot. The automatons scanned and waited for any signs of life…

    Mechagodzilla’s lenses caught an energy reading. It was a miniscule ball of light particles that danced around the mechanical behemoth’s eyes. Scanners identified it as a moth, no more than 30 centimeters in wingspan. Had this been a normal animal, there would have been no reason to hesitate. But it wasn’t. The energy spike it produced told Mechagodzilla otherwise. The tiny blue-eyed, bright yellow-bodied moth squeaked, as if warning him. Jikiro, even in its weakened state, also scanned the entity with curiosity; that was until the Terror-Beast peered over the dust cloud. With wild screeches, Jikiro alerted Mechagodzilla of the threat that loomed.

    An anomalous holy light brimmed from where their target laid, and what came forth was nothing short of breathtaking. Numerous moths, far too many to individually account for. They were similar to the yellow-bodied one, their population blotted the sunlight with what may have been tens of thousands of tiny shadows.

    The smoke cleared away and revealed the grievously injured Mothra, charred, bleeding, and missing an eye, but her wings lustrous and bright. Hundreds upon thousands of minute replicas manifested from tattered wings, swarming their benevolent creator. With a loud chirping war cry, Mothra issued the attack!

    In an instant, all the yellow-bodied Fairy Mothras dove straight at the two mechanical giants, pelting them with their antenna lasers. Individually, one Fairy didn’t do much; but as a collective, they singed the armor that protected their circuitry. The swarm fluttered around the behemoths, throwing off their trajectory. That was until Mothra commanded them to disperse, in which she unloaded her antennae lasers unto the alien invaders. Both of them stumbled and collapsed into one another.

    Not wasting a second, she flew directly at Mechagodzilla! With her enormous mass, she rammed into Mechagodzilla’s upper torso and latched her miniscule legs onto his frame. Without a second thought, energy funneled through her claws as she pumped Mechagodzilla full of her divine wrath. The metal doppelganger of the Monster King jittered and spastically twitched uncontrollably as retribution coursed through his circuitry, frying them. Mothra continued her ruthless assault by discharging lightning from her wings, pelting the space titanium alloy until it was charred black.

    The downed Jikiro was pelted by the armada, but it carried out its orders by swiping and blasting the miniature Mothras into a flurry of golden powder. Light bullets scattered their energized carcasses, whilst magnetism pulled the minerals within the large boulders onto its magnetic hand, crushing the Fairy Mothras under its weight. The Garoga automaton switched gears and pulsated light from its tail, signaling a destructive discharge. A crooked bolt of lightning swathed the Fairy Mothras, incinerating their bodies down to atoms. It eased the load, but the army of moths continued valiantly with their given mission.

    Even though Jikiro was weakened, the Garoga machine would not lie down and wait. Pushing itself to its feet and shaking off the laser fire, Jikiro’s tail pulsated with yellow light. Channeling its electric prowess, the automaton fired its Magnetic Ray at the adult Mothra, searing into her body as it shoved her off of Mechagodzilla. Her thorax oozed with grotesque puss, resulted from the attack delivered by Jikiro.

    Even though he was saved by his ally, Mechagodzilla collapsed onto the ground, unable to operate its motor functions due to the damage inflicted on the Cybanek. The robot monster was left helpless, but Jikiro set out to complete what they were both here for; the destruction of Mothra and Infant Island. Try as he might, however, Jikiro couldn’t land a solid blow against the wounded veteran, each wave of light bullets only striking empty air as she maneuvered out of the way.

    Higher and higher, the winged moth elevated into the sunlit sky, out of Jikiro’s line of fire. She beckoned her armada, and they complied with no hesitation. Immediately, they disengaged their targets and offered themselves to their maker, shining in brilliant spores. The more that merged with her, the more intense Mothra became as she was encased in a golden hue. She began to circle around, leaving a glittery trail in her wake.

    Jikiro panicked, kicking his downed ally in an effort to get him back up. From the heat produced by Mothra’s assault, Mechagodzilla’s nostrils exhaled steam as a coolant. His flaring crimson eyes glared at his partner, at least until he heeded what Jikiro had to say. He detected a considerable spike of energy produced from their primary target. This was a danger for the both of them, and there were two immediate options at his disposal.

    Mothra’s output of power informed Mechagodzilla’s decision making in taking the best course of action. His neck creaked from the scarred metal, but continued to swirl all the same. Faster and faster his head rotated, then deployed cyan energy from his eyes to construct the cylindrical barrier around his body. If this was the guardian’s last hurrah, then perhaps it was best to wait her out…

    Jikiro pondered, leaving the stake of its artificial life in its own hands. Mechagodzilla was prepared to take the blow, and the divine moth nearly completed the inevitable spell she would cast. He had to think of something quick, or risk the slim chance of survival on luck… no, the machine refused to bow to such improbable odds. If it were to fulfill the execution of its orders, it would do so by its own ingenuity. It was then that an idea came to the machine. There were no other options to work with, not with more time. There were only seconds to spare—time it was unsure would be enough, but had to try nonetheless.

    Pointing its blocky left arm to the sky, Jikiro twisted the magnets by a simple rotation of its wrists, and then circled its Gatling gun arm around as many times it could humanely do. Air was displaced by the force of his spinning arm, which strengthened its magnetic influence. Jikiro’s magnets discharged an inverse magnetic polarization; rather than attract, it would repel metal and disperse energy under the magnetic field it produced. But would it be enough to protect itself from what came next? This was Jikiro’s only shot.

    A golden ring clamped together as the holy moth continued to forge the seal’s power. Within the empty space, the Symbol of Mothra manifested and illuminated ever so brightly. With a simple command, it made its descent with a massive boom.

    Then, it struck.

    A thunderous cavalcade resonated across the land as the last of Mothra’s might seared itself into the earth. Massive shockwaves spread through the foliage and broken rock. Even the natives had to hold onto whatever remained steadfast in the destructive wake. Jikiro’s magnetic waves dispelled some of the energy, casting it aside as the Earth does with the sun’s gamma rays. Even so, it wasn’t enough to completely withstand it, as the heat it produced melted its armor and pushed it further into the earth. Mechagodzilla only fared slightly better. The overwhelming energy warped the cylindrical shield from the immense force. So much so that even the mechanical menace dropped to one knee from the pressure being applied. Only a few seconds passed before the two were engulfed in a purifying light.

    Like the sun, the Symbol of Mothra cast its light upon the darkness, signaling a chance for hope and prosperity. Just as quickly as it appeared, it faded. Scorched land was imprinted with the symbol, a sign of her divine power. The elder Mothra flew in to inspect the damages—to see if the invaders were still standing.

    As she glided over, she saw the remnants of her foes. Mechagodzilla had collapsed onto his chest, whilst Jikiro was partially buried under scorched earth, with the rocks already like molten slag. It had seemed both were finally stopped, at long last. Nevertheless, Mothra continued her investigation and found herself hovering above Mechagodzilla’s carcass.

    It was then the lifeless head creaked, twisting his head to meet Mothra eye to eye. Red lenses flared to life as the wicked machine fire a pair of rainbow lasers at point blank! The Infant Island goddess was flung back from the surprise attack, failing to even register the loss of her two front legs. As Mothra crashed, Mechagodzilla rose to his feet and reoriented himself. Meanwhile, Jikiro’s tomb began to vibrate.

    With a theatrical display, the melted mineral crater exploded, revealing Jikiro in moderate condition. Swirling heat dispersed into the daylight sky, with only noticeable deformation in Jikiro’s armor. However, its left hand was lost, destroyed by the seal. So instead, Jikiro improvised with a sudden charge of electricity.

    Mothra had nothing left to defend herself with. All of it had been expended in the fight, leaving her nothing left to hold onto… Except for hope for the future. One she knew she would not live to see. The mechanical duo shook the broken earth with every step they took, prepared to finish what they came here to do.

    Jikiro approached her first, holding the Gatling gun out and spraying the fallen goddess with an electric burst. Disgusting crunches echoed as the energy tore through Mothra’s natural armor. Her cries resounded to all who could hear as she squirmed in absolute agony. The mechanical replica of Godzilla, meanwhile, prepared to unload all of his firepower. Jikiro backed off and allowed his Simian ally to eviscerate the corpse in a spectacular display. Her final cry was cut short as rainbow lasers, orange lightning, and many missiles and shells tore Mothra asunder, scattering her remains across this very island she was designed to protect. Now there was nothing that would stand in their way from accomplishing their goals.

    The Magnetic Terror-Beast took heed of the fleeing natives and gifted them with a spread of light bullets from the right hand. They were incinerated in an instant. The light bullets evolved into a stream of electricity, eviscerating the flora, fauna, and villages that dwelled in the foliage. Mechagodzilla proceeded to assist his partner by carving the island with his Space Beams and Cross Attack Beam, utterly laying waste to the island until it became nothing more than smoldering ruins.

    It was then that they noticed the mountainside Mothra had fought so rigorously to protect. They had to ensure that nothing could come from this. Both machines aimed their weaponry at the mountain itself, blasting it to kingdom come. The tumbling rocks further layered on top of Mothra’s domain, cementing the fate of Infant Island.

    The bright sky turned pitch black from the rolling smoke, only the flames served as a dark marker in history. Their masters were content and were ordered to return to headquarters. Mechagodzilla’s soles roared to life as he took off by rocket boosters. Jikiro, however, had to do it the manual way by taking a dip into the water. The Magnetic Terror-Beast followed the fiery trail left behind Mechagodzilla’s wake. Soon enough, after the raging fires had extinguished, all fell silent.

    Days passed, as those who were in the temple grounds of Mothra’s cavern were the only survivors from the merciless genocide, which only amounted to fifty individuals accounted for. They prayed fervently to the lone egg that stood perched among the rubble from the collapsed mountain. Even with the few they had, they performed ceremonial dances for the divine protection of their beloved moth god. The Cosmos sung the song of the Earth, clinging to hope for the future while wracked with grief.

    And an answer was delivered.

    The egg began to flash in a brilliant spectacle. All who worshipped fell back at its sight, even the twin priestesses. The shell cracked, and what emerged was her long awaited successor. The young larva screeched as she took her first breath in her life, defiant to let this be the end of the Mothra lineage and the wonderful wisdom of Infant Island. As she quieted down, the larva gazed upon her people, sensing the dread they all faced. She assured them with gentle chirps, that she would avenge her mother and those that defiled Infant Island’s beauty, for she was their last hope.

    Winner: Mechagodzilla (Showa), Jikiro

    K.W.C. // August 21, 2020
  • Author: Michael Allen | Banner: Andrew Sudomerski

    In the ocean’s dark depths, among the hundreds of ancient stones and sea life, a creature stirred. At first glance the object that moved would have easily passed for an incredibly large rock, its sudden movement being the only indication it was actually a living being. Limbs sprouted from the holes, unmistakably arms ending in clawed hands and a mighty head. The green eyes opened and the tusked maw parted in a growl. It’d been the first time in years Gamera’s sleep had been disturbed, but the call to battle was not to be ignored.

    Earth needed its protector once more.

    Sirens wailed out across the Sapporo streets as the infamous form of Godzilla made his way slowly across the landscape. The charcoal colored demon spat from Hell reigned destruction over any living thing that dared to exist in the same space as himself. The ground trembled with every step the King of the Monsters took, a trail of destruction already carved into the city behind him. Smoke and flames danced into the brightness of the day, the spines lit up a hellish orange and a jet of fire erupted from Godzilla’s mouth, consuming several blocks in a supernova.

    A high pitched shriek rose from the ugly mouth, watching the fire consume more structures and the lives that fled from his colossal frame.

    Godzilla faced no opposition for the time being, the Japanese dare not risk the lives of civilians at the moment…and were still baffled by Godzilla’s sudden appearance. The last satellite reports had indicated Godzilla was somewhere off in the Pacific many miles away from the Japanese coast. Yet somehow here he was in Sapporo, launching an unprovoked attack! There wasn’t even radiation in the area, no one could see a logical purpose behind this attack.

    Godzilla screeched again and proceeded onward…but this time his cry was answered by another. Orange eyes shifting to the direction from whence the sound had originated. The opposition came in too quickly for Godzilla to react. An airborne clothesline to the throat instantly toppled the nuclear leviathan. In a thrashing display of limbs Godzilla struggled to regain his footing, the ground shook even more violently as Gamera completed his descent, powerful legs keeping his shelled body upright as he gave another battle roar.

    He was surprised to see Godzilla get up so quickly, for something that had been struck with such savage force, Godzilla or not it was a remarkably fast recovery! He didn’t even seem winded! Gamera glared daggers at the saurian, he couldn’t understand what it was, but something about Godzilla was…off. They had never met before (though both had a considerable reputation) but Gamera instinctively knew something was seriously amiss. Perhaps it was the scent, or just a gut feeling. Either way, his suspicions were about to be answered.

    Both charged at the other, buildings shaken to nothing more than rubble as the titanic footsteps shuddered the city to its core. Gamera avoided a swipe to the head by ducking, jerking upward to bring his skull colliding with Godzilla’s chin, barely even staggering him. Unsheathing an elbow claw, Gamera followed up with a counter swipe as Godzilla came in again with an unearthly scream of his own. Despite having the organic blade rip across his midsection Godzilla did not cease in motion, bashing his shoulder into Gamera, the Guardian of the Universe stumbling back in surprise at the enemy’s great strength. Added further to his shock was the fact there was no blood. Not even a drop. And instead of entrails there was…a glint! Metal. Godzilla allowed his arms to drop to his side, and in a flash of blinding light the disguise was gone. The impostor’s true form revealed, no doubt.

    Mechagodzilla’s yellow eyes unblinkingly met Gamera’s green orbs, a mountain of metal in the vague form of Godzilla. A short, immobile tail and blunt spines ran the length of the machine’s back. Fingers and toes just as immobile, the whole thing in and of itself looked slow, but judging by how armored it was speed didn’t look to be a concern. Mechagodzilla’s heads up display identified its assailant as Gamera, combative options from its mechanical brain presented to it. Time to fight back.

    Before Gamera could make another move he was pelted by missiles, blasting into his plastron, blowing chunks of it off; another to the shoulder yielded green blood. Gamera cried out in agony as he realized Mechagodzilla’s fingers were in fact deadly missiles! With an emotionless shriek Mechagodzilla set its lasers upon Gamera, pragmatically watching as Gamera was lifted off his feet with another cry of pain and landing helplessly on his back. His shell pressing into the pavement, dirt and concrete shot high into the air, raining down into the battlefield. Mechagodzilla’s hands shifted into place, targeting system getting an easy lock. Were it alive it might have felt very pleased with itself. Before it could fire, the sound of jets firing up and thick, hot smoke engulfed Gamera from sight. It took Mechagodzilla’s computer brain a moment or two to process what was happening, the closest it could get to shock. By the time it fired Gamera was already lifting off.

    Lasers and missiles detonated harmless on vacant ground and buildings, the half of the city of which they now fought had been largely evacuated so Gamera had little concern for exploding buildings at the moment. Rubble and flames littered the decimated streets for miles around. Mechagodzilla screeched as its head swiveled about to try and lock onto Gamera, hands raised futilely as the turtle literally flew circles around it. Increasing speed Gamera flew to the left, lasers obliterating a structure where he’d been seconds before. Cutting off the azure plasma that gave him flight, the chelonian tackled Mechagodzilla from behind, with its blunt spikes and stiff tail he had no worries about being injured. The duo landed in a heap, Mechagodzilla shrieking as its arms raised up, Gamera grunting as missiles fired into the sky. With nothing to lock onto they spun and soared randomly before falling to the ground, detonating buildings or the streets. Growling, he seized the machine by the head and repeatedly slammed its expressionless face into the ground.

    But to Gamera’s surprise Mechagodzilla forced itself up. Were it not for fast reflexes, Gamera would’ve fallen over again. He grunted again as a hard metal arm smacked across his face, a chop to the head further stunning him. Mechagodzilla continued hammering Gamera with fast strikes, relentless in its assault. So it wasn’t as helpless at hand to hand as it looked. Despite the pain the blows caused, Gamera refused to back away, the second he did he knew Mechagodzilla would open fire on him once more. Instead he followed up with something even Mechagodzilla hadn’t anticipated: a plasma fireball to the chest!

    Mechagodzilla stumbled back, vision temporarily obstructed by residue of the explosion, but its display indicated no true damage had been dealt. Gamera roared at the machine, seeing its armor glowing white hot but little else. Heat and flames danced in Gamera’s jaws, alerting Mechagodzilla that another would be coming swiftly. It opted to spontaneously take flight in the blink of an eye, the fireball struck a building instead, instantly leveling it. The speed with which Mechagodzilla had been propelled caught Gamera off guard, but there was little time to think about that. Mechagodzilla loudly landed behind Gamera, a panel on its abdomen falling open, a jagged red laser beam shot forth. The machine had wanted to end the fight quickly by simply cutting Gamera in two with it, but saw it simply raze harmlessly across the terrapin’s shell.

    Whipping around, Gamera unleashed another plasma fireball, only difference was that Mechagodzilla had certainly anticipated it. Defensive measures were the best course of action, its computer brain decided. The head rotated around and around, quickly bringing up a body encompassing shield. The turtle’s eyes narrowed in frustration as his enemy’s defense held up unwaveringly. He knew he had only seconds to decide how to proceed as he was well aware of what awaited him when that shield went down. Gamera’s jets fired up again, smoke billowing around him as plasma fire took the place of his legs. Concrete exploded beneath him as Mechagodzilla attempted to blast him with its lasers, but Gamera lifted off just in time.

    With no other option the machine gave pursuit, its own jets carrying it upward. Gamera narrowly avoided three more shots of Mechagodzilla’s lasers, his powerful shell tending to the rest. They rose up into the sky faster with every passing second, but Mechagodzilla was gaining with stunning speed on its side. Gamera warbled in pain as lasers ripped across his left arm, blood bursting from the wounds freely, spattering Mechagodzilla’s armored body as its pursuit carried on. The wind whipped past each of them as Mechagodzilla continued to gain speed. If not for Gamera taking flight first, he would have been overtaken much faster, but despite his enemy’s speed he was far from helpless. He’d led the Godzilla doppelganger into the air for a reason.

    Now high above the clouds, Gamera withdrew his additional limbs within the safety of his shell, more plasma fire erupting from his arm sockets allowing him to spin like a UFO in flight. Mechagodzilla was certainly a shockingly fast flier, but it wasn’t particularly aerodynamic. With its head locked in a straight position, arms to its side left it rather vulnerable. Gamera ruthlessly bashed into its side, the machine spinning around uncontrollably for several seconds, world a blue and white blur before regaining its bearings. It seized a chance and let loose another volley of multicolored laser beams into Gamera’s more vulnerable underside, a roar sounding out from within the shell and more green blood showering out. But victory was short lived for Mechagodzilla. Again the airborne terrapin shot toward Mechagodzilla, slamming into it ruthlessly, sparks shooting from its body as the sharp edges of Gamera’s shell met with the space titanium.

    With a high pitched, but emotionless cry Mechagodzilla was able to twist itself away from Gamera, allowing its jets to switch off. A single arm raised, targeting system struggling to get a lock, Mechagodzilla falling faster and faster. It fired one missile the moment its system had a clear lock. One was all that was needed.

    The missile entered Gamera’s right leg socket. An explosion of blue and orange burst from it, followed by a terrible howl of pure pain. Instantly, Gamera himself began to fall as well, bloodied and in agony. But still he would not stop, reactivating his left leg jet he increased his speed straight toward the Godzilla impostor, tackling it head on. Mechagodzilla hammered on the shell with all its might, warbling in an attempt to free itself, their combined weight bringing them down all the faster. Space titanium or otherwise, Mechagodzilla did not want to see if the armor could survive a fall of this magnitude.

    Gamera on the other hand seemed strangely as ease, despite his injuries and the situation. Mechagodzilla’s system notified that they were seconds from impact, desperately it shot missiles from its knees into Gamera’s gut, bloodying him further but to no avail.

    The two fighters met the ground. Hard. The whole city shook, buildings rumbled and fell, dirt plumed outward, the ground split open as more explosions decimated the city. Vehicles had been sent skyward before returning to the ground, becoming little else that scrap metal in the process. The shaking carried on for only a minute or so, but to those who watched from a distance it felt like eternity before all was still.

    From the rubble, Mechagodzilla dragged itself, majestic armor dented and chipped quite visibly. One eye cracked and dim, tail hung only by crackling wires. Left arm dangled limply as it shakily stood up once more, dully it surveyed the city ruins. Slowly its head swiveled around to take in the sight of Gamera, half buried in rubble and unmoving. The head shifted to the front again, gears and servos audibly whirring and clicking with strained effort before the machine began to limp away.

    What it failed to notice was the fires near Gamera being consumed by him, like a supernova it engulfed Gamera’s body, drawing inward to him. Absorbed in a bright, even beautiful display.

    Green eyes snapping open, Gamera stood with another battle roar. Mechagodzilla slowly turned around in something akin to shock…and fear. Its mind struggled to understand how Gamera stood now without a scratch on him, rejuvenated by the fire. And empowered by it. The power glowed in Gamera’s tusked jaws, billowing out like it was desperately trying to escape. Its mind was still trying to process when a plasma fireball shot forth like a cannonball, larger than any of the previous ones that had been utilized against it. With the damage sustained, Mechagodzilla had no way of defending itself. And in that moment, it understood why Gamera was so at ease by their descent. The last thing it took in was flash for orange, its head exploding to bits of burnt metal that littered the streets. Its body followed suit and exploded seconds afterward, metal raining down like snowflakes.

    Gamera gave a triumphant roar of satisfied victory. He lifted off once again to return to the sea. He would sleep quite well knowing Earth was safe and the unnatural presence had been bested in heated battle.

    Winner: Gamera (Heisei)

    K.W.C. // August 11, 2020
  • Author: Harley Jameson | Banner: Dao Zang Moua

    There were whispers in Fukuoka of an abandoned school, lost to time. Where spirits of children wandered the halls and enticed any who stumbled across it to join their ranks and lure all who came across them to their shadowy death. But those were only rumors, right? (more…)

    K.W.C. // July 30, 2020
  • Author: Vincent Rodger | Banner: Dao Zang Moua

    The brightly lit sun rose as normal over the beautiful, towering city of Osaka, starting its usual process of warming everything that sat below it. Making the water from the bay glisten and the trees seem a bit more noticeable. The leaves of the trees turned a slightly pale green due to the light that shined through them. The windows of buildings produced small glares in their reflection as they mirrored back what they saw from both sides. All was well and peaceful, with no panic or widespread chaos. Although this city held beauty and grace, it would soon witness death and destruction.

    From the windows, a shadow overhead could be seen, cloaking the sun’s rays for that of split moments at a time. These small moments slowly started to increase to that of minutes. People in the streets start to look up to the skies in curiosity, running in terror when they finally realized what was rapidly descending onto their small civilization. Approaching quickly, he didn’t give people that much time to escape, creating a large bloom of dust and water vapor as he landed. The creature that landed was partly made of metal, sporting three golden heads and two large wings to carry itself on. The Golden Death let out a hideous laugh as he appeared to smirk. He then lifted his three heads to the sky and screeched before quickly aiming at the people and let a seemingly unending rain of gravity beams upon the city.

    For that was the wish of his master, his invisible strings otherwise known as commands tugging and pulling at him causing him to bring destruction. This master was the Futurians, watching their masterpiece at work from hundreds of miles away, and easily becoming pleased with the progress of their plan in motion.

    “Our plan is working. Soon Japan will be nothing be a fabled memory,” the Futurian leader said in a calm voice as he turned toward his colleague. Glen watched him with a small nod, appearing joyous with the words given to him.

    The two known as Chuck and Glen watched as the creation they had titled Mecha-King Ghidorah ravaged the city, barely leaving any rubble to remember it by. Mecha-King Ghidorah looked over his endeavor with great vigilance, checking over it for any movement to hint that life might still be there.

    Overhead, dark clouds started to gather, drawing Mecha-King Ghidorah’s attention, his eyes analyzing them and coming up with many different errors. He didn’t quit, watching them carefully. A few of the darkly colored puffs started to light up, threatening the ground below. Taking the chance, a strike of lightning lit the sky for a short flash with a loud and enormous cracking sound. This quickly caught the attention of the Futurians, and watched through Mecha-King Ghidorah’s eyes as the light faded from his vision for a split moment and he watched the smoke. Something started to form inside the clouds; a monstrosity in human form. Or at least, somewhat human, with green eyes that pierced the soul and plenty of muscle to back up its glares.

    Mecha-King Ghidorah looked at the beast with disgust. It was repulsive in his eyes, almost like a disfigured human. This new creature was being searched throughout every database that Mecha-King Ghidorah had, yet to no avail. There was no information about this “thing” that he had stumbled upon. He continued to stare at it with morbid curiosity, until it raised its hand to taunt him with a slight motion before getting into a fighting stance. Mecha-King Ghidorah looked at it with slight rage as he let out a metallic shriek and growl, ready to rip this thing to shreds. There was no way he was going to let this creature defeat him in combat.

    “What is that thing!?” Glen asked Chuck in a worried tone.

    “It is of no concern to us. It took Godzilla to destroy King Ghidorah before we mechanized him. If this monster thinks it can beat Mecha-King Ghidorah, then it is sorely mistaken,” Chuck merely mumbled in response. This calmed Glen’s mind and rattled nerves as he returned his attention back to a computer, searching the database for the beast.

    “Sir… this makes no sense. This creature isn’t supposed to be here for another five-hundred years.”

    Chuck turned toward Glen and walked to the computer. Both men looked at the file of the “Attack Titan.”

    “How is this possible?” Glen asked as he turned toward Chuck. “Perhaps it was a recruited weapon of Emmy, the traitor. She could have brought it to the past to stop our plan.”

    “But it doesn’t matter. If she recruited it or if it arrived another way to this timeline. He will be turned into nothing but ash by Mecha-King Ghidorah.” With this, Chuck and Glen returned their attention to the fight shown on the screen in front of them.

    The Attack Titan let out an eerie cry as he charged at Mecha-King Ghidorah like a rabid dog. The mechanized dragon cackled as he released his gravity beams and Triple Beam Laser at the approaching titan, striking him across the chest with a hard impact and sending him into the buildings of the city. The Attack Titan let out a monstrous roar of anger as he fell to the ground, with barely a scratch marring his thick hide.

    Quickly, the feral giant got back onto his feet and once again charged at the cyborg, increasing his speed with each step. Each stomp of his feet broke apart the ground beneath him and left craters in their wake. Mecha-King Ghidorah once again shot his beams from his gaping maws at the Titan, but this time, he managed to dodge the onslaught of electrical energy.

    He finally reached Mecha-King Ghidorah and charged at full speed into his chest, slamming the future monster into a skyscraper and sending the building collapsing onto his foe. The cyborg screeched in pain as he was buried under the debris, pinned in place as the unknown goliath wailed upon the dragon’s heads with his fists.

    The two Futurians were shocked that a simple-minded beast could overpower Mecha-King Ghidorah. “How is this possible?!” Glen demanded.

    He turned toward Chuck, who was surprisingly calm about the situation. “Do not worry,” Chuck stated. “This beast may have the upper hand at the moment, but soon the tables will turn.”

    The Attack Titan stood above the rubble, watching to see if his enemy had survived the attack, which he was certain that it had. Mecha-King Ghidorah lunged at the Attack Titan, grabbing his arms with his left and right heads and shooting the Laser Triple Beam from his middle head, tearing off the limbs at the shoulder and pushing him across the battlefield. Mecha-King Ghidorah rose with both the Titan’s arms in his fangs, grinding their wrists to paste.

    The Attack Titan looked at the mechanized dragon as he dropped the Titan’s arms from his mouth and cackled. He took to the skies and rose above the Attack Titan, dropping down and stomping on the monster’s body, crushing him with his enormous weight. The Attack Titan roared in pain as Mecha-King Ghidorah rose back into the sky, but the cyborg received suffering of his as his scales burned from the scalding steam and heat from the titanic man’s body. Mecha-King Ghidorah backed away, screeching in agony as the Attack Titan rose back onto his feet, steam rolling off his body and his arms slowing regenerating.

    Mecha-King Ghidorah roared once again when a strange light appeared below him. Before he could react, a gigantic figure appeared from the light and uppercut the three-headed dragon into the sky, only for him to plummet into the ground. The hero of light, Ultraman, had arrived to join the battle.

    “No matter how many enemies are thrown at Mecha King Ghidorah, he will destroy them all. Kill them all, Mecha-King Ghidorah!” Chuck screamed at the screen as he watched Ultraman arrive on the scene.

    The Attack Titan looked at Ultraman with curiosity. Was he an enemy or an ally? He did attack Mecha-King Ghidorah, but he did not know if he was also a target. Though he could not hear Eren’s thoughts, Ultraman answered his question as he nodded at him and charged at Mecha-King Ghidorah. The three-headed hydra rose from the ground and charged at his silver opponent, ready to slay the alien protector. He shot his Gravity Beams and Laser Triple Beam at Ultraman, but the bolts missed as the giant of light leaped into the air, hitting nothing but the ground behind his last position.

    The Attack Titan had regenerated his limbs and charged once again at Mecha-King Ghidorah, fuelled with pure animalistic instinct and human rage. Just as Mecha-King Ghidorah was about to pummel Ultraman, his opponent teleported behind the cyberized dragon and kicked him toward the approaching Titan. The Attack Titan slammed his fist into Mecha-King Ghidorah’s center neck, pushing the hydra back again, as Ultraman used his Slash Ray to cut the back of cyborg dragon, exposing the mechanical circuits underneath.

    The onslaught from both the front and back made Mecha-King Ghidorah crash into the ground with an impact to make a small crater. He began to take flight, only to suddenly stop and fall to the ground. He rose again, only against his will this time, and was hammered into the ground once more. Ultraman and the Attack Titan had grabbed each of the mechanized dragon’s tails and were slamming him into the ground, denting armor and rattling organs with each blow. Mecha-King Ghidorah rotated his heads and rained down his deadly rays upon the pair, sending them both crashing to the ground in blasts of flame.

    The impact destroyed many buildings around the duo, flooding the streets in a seas of fire. As Mecha-King Ghidorah stood, he cackled at them, but in his premature victory, the terror from the future was almost struck by Ultraman’s Ultra Attack Ray, dodging the attack at the last second by mere inches.

    The Attack Titan chased after him, hoping that he would catch Mecha-King Ghidorah. The cyborg dragon cackled once more as he watched the abomination try to reach him, but his underestimation of the Titan proved his downfall. The Attack Titan closed the distance in a moment, jumping over Mecha-King Ghidorah and clinging to the robotic hydra’s back. The titan started to savagely beat against the armor, trying to rip it apart, but was only met with the flesh from his hands peeling off his bones and steam rising from the wounds. With each strike, blood splattered on the armor and more of his muscle and skin were removed, revealing the bone underneath.

    Gravity Beams strafed the Attack Titan, causing him to screech as he was forced off and fell to the ground with an enormous thud. Smoke rose off the Titan’s body as his healing factor worked quickly to regenerate the damage, but Mecha-King Ghidorah was already upon him. The dragon cackled as he took to the air, but was immediately struck out of the sky by a jumping Ultraman, slamming his fists into the dragon’s armored hide and making the cyborg fall to the ground.

    Slowly rising to his feet, the Golden Death brushed the rubble off his body as he tried to regain sight. His vision was impaired. Something was wrong. Perhaps the fall was too much. He turned his left head to see if his mechanical one had taken damage and indeed, the glass that held Mecha-King Ghidorah’s eyes were shattered. The middle head tried to look for his opponents, when agonizing pain shot through his left neck. The neck slumped to the ground, severed by Ultraman’s Ultra Slash. The foreign warrior was familiar with the destructive power of creatures like the Ghidorahs. Even if this cyborg was a fake, he was determined to slay him where he stood.

    “Order him to retreat!” Glen ordered. “If you don’t, he will be slain by the Earth Defenders.”

    Chuck spared a glance at his partner, ignoring the command. The future terrorist had no reason to panic, for he already knew the answer to this conflict. He was determined to watch the pair be killed by his magnum opus.

    Mecha-King Ghidorah howled in pain and turned toward Ultraman, presenting its metallic chest to the guardian in a bizarre move. Before Ultraman could realize the intention of the action, it was too late.

    “Now!”

    Chuck pressed a button and ports on the mechanical dragon sprang open. The capture cables and Machine Hand were launched at Ultraman as Mecha King Ghidorah screeched loudly. The mechanical restraints snatched Ultraman’s wrists, knees and waist, holding him in place as millions of volts of electricity flowed through the cables into the hero’s body. Mecha-King Ghidorah ́s surviving head gave a grim smile as he watched the hero writhe in pain.

    Of course, the dragon had no way of knowing that Ultraman was highly resilient to electrical attacks. The alien giant was hardly fazed by the onslaught, but his struggles to escape were no less motivated, as he was still bound by the limits of his energy.

    The Attack Titan rose from the ruins of the city. Steam rolled off his body, revealing the now-healed flesh beneath. As he rose, the muscled man caught the sight of Mecha-King Ghidorah, slowly ripping the life out of his ally. Without hesitation, he searched for a weapon, grabbing the top half of an electric tower, which had melted from the heat of the fires to form a spiked tip at the end. Brandishing the crude lance, he charged at Mecha-King Ghidorah with an inhuman cry. Ultraman’s Color Timer started to turn red and rapidly go off, faster and faster. If Mecha-King Ghidorah was not destroyed soon, he would perish.

    Ultraman struggled to shatter the bonds of Mecha-King Ghidorah’s grasp, but the tough future metal would not budge. He once again charged his Slash Ray to try and cut through the cyborg’s cables, but was immediately shot down by an onslaught of beams from his maws.

    The earth defender went limp and struggled for breath. The mechanized dragon was close to killing him, he could feel it. The Futurians smiled from their control room, delighting in the victory that seemed so near – until they noticed the Attack Titan charging from behind.

    “Behind you, Mecha-King Ghidorah!”

    The mutated hydra quickly turned his mechanical head toward the Attack Titan and opened fire. Taken by surprise, the giant still managed to dodge the attack and lunged at Mecha-King Ghidorah. He raised the tower piece as if it were a spear and aimed at the cyborg’s center head, thrusting it forward with all of his strength. As the cyborg dragon was about to unleash hell, the spear-like tower piece penetrated his metallic skull. The mechanical head started to flail in seizure-like jerks, causing the rest of the body to follow suit. Even with the Futurians’ warning, he could not escape death.

    The right head turned his attention toward the Attack Titan and immediately paid the price. With what remaining strength Ultraman had, he blasted Mecha-King Ghidorah with his Specium Ray, breaking apart its armor like it was paper. Mecha-King Ghidorah howled as he fell, fire and sparks ripping out of his chest, and crashed to the ground, limp and lifeless. The great pride of the Futurians was no more.

    The Attack Titan howled into the sky as he celebrated their victory and turned toward his ally. Ultraman fell onto the ground, struggling, but managed the strength to nod in return to his ally. The light escaped his eyes and Ultraman fell to the earth, exhausted of energy. The battle was just too much for the noble hero. While he may have beaten the enemy, it was not without a great cost.

    Chuck gritted his teeth in anger with the destruction of their masterpiece. He hit the dashboard of his ship with a fist, denting the metal surface slightly. “One day… We will return and I will kill you… Whatever you are.”

    The Futurian ship started to glow, activating the time circuits. With a bright flash, it vanished, returning to the point in time from whence it came.

    The Attack Titan looked at his fallen ally and nodded solemnly at the corpse of Ultraman. In a way, he felt responsible for the death of the legendary hero, and regretted his inability to do more to save him. As he turned away, he passed the remains of Mecha-King Ghidorah, which he eyed with a furious scowl. He graced the carcass with an angry kick, unleashing one final hellish scream to the heavens before continuing on his path to the city’s outskirts.

    Winner: Attack Titan

    K.W.C. // July 20, 2020
  • Author: Dao Zang Moua, Andrew Sudomerski & Tyler Trieschock | Banner: E.J. Su & Dao Zang Moua

    The Earth was dying.

    Gamera felt the life of the planet slowly being drained from the pollution and destruction caused by humanity. Over time, Gamera learned as humanity polluted the Earth, new abominations and threats would awaken from their destructive tendencies. Destroying the forests unleashed the planet-eating, three-headed dragon, Desghidorah, from its seal, while oceanic contamination awoke kaiju such as Hedorah and Dagahra. Their wars created pollution and weapons strong enough to revive the Gyaos and even birthed their deadliest mistake: Godzilla. They created another weapon to destroy their mistakes and by killing the first Godzilla, a living Oxygen­ Destroyer known as Destoroyah drew breath. Their abuse of the planet had turned some of the richest of forests into desolate plains, which drove thousands of species to extinction.

    Human ingenuity to create and survive was killing the very planet they lived on, and this final instance of human apathy was the last straw in Gamera’s eyes. He used to sacrifice himself for the sake of humanity. Now, they proved nothing more than just another threat to the Earth. The balance had shifted for the worse, with the deaths of several guardians of the Earth; including Battra, Manda, Varan, and even the goddess of peace, Mothra. He felt the life force of these beings disperse into the Earth with their deaths, sending energy back to heal the planet as their souls left the living world. Even the mighty Godzilla had been frozen in an iceberg in Antarctica years ago, like many others before him. The only remaining Kings of Monsters were his children and an ancient defender. With Earth’s guardians dying and evil rising quickly, it was time for a desperate last-ditch cure to fix the world.

    A spiraling, serrated shell flew through the air toward the beautiful city of Okinawa. Below, missiles and planes attempted to curb his path as battleships fired skyward. Hours earlier, some populated cities in Indonesia were thriving; now they were mere ashes amongst the land. Gamera roared out as he entered the skyline of Okinawa, people screaming beneath him. With missiles tracking his position, he slammed through several skyscrapers, sending falling debris downward into the streets, killing hundreds. Missiles slammed into crushed debris, annihilating the remains of the buildings as dust clouds blew outward from the remaining impact.

    Gamera’s presence dominated the airspace, destroying all the buildings he could, including a pagoda. The twirling shell came to a stop as the blazing blue jets of fire shot downward, incinerating the city streets and the citizens below. With a powerful roar, Gamera retracted his flames and landed inside the city. There was a reason he started near Japan. The island country was one of the largest consumers of mana in the present age, weakening the planet with each passing moment. The giant terrapin fired three blasts of superheated plasma to the surroundings, setting the city ablaze to purify the Earth of the plague. Each explosion lit aflame several miles of city, incinerating all life within its path. Life caught up in the ferocious blaze never stood a chance. From the ashes and the flames he created, Mother Nature would plow its seeds and regain what life it needed to survive. Gamera continued on destroying the city, firing his plasma fireballs in every direction, massacring all.

    A multicolored ray struck the guardian of Atlantis from behind, forcing the turtle to stumble in his rampage. Gamera growled in fury as he twisted around, finding a large, metal destroyer flying toward him. More beams fired upon the turtle monster, only for Gamera to duck, letting the rays scatter off his shell and into the city.

    Having gotten close enough for battle, the Super Mechagodzilla began to right itself, hovering in the air above the flames and debris below.

    “Sir, we have him in our sights,” spoke one of the pilots as they began to analyze the ancient guardian.

    “Alright men, he’s caused enough damage already, let’s take him out.”

    Super Mechagodzilla roared a synthetic cry as it approached Gamera, when the nearby mountain exploded suddenly. A loud warcry sounded out as a Shisa-inspired golem rose from its deep slumber, awoken by the dying cries and pleas of its people. With one foe in front and one behind, Gamera decided to take care of the human machine in front of him first.

    Taking in a deep breath, he fired off a powerful fireball at Super Mechagodzilla, exploding against the diamond coated machine. Two more fireballs splashed across the mech, bathing the machine in a monstrous blaze and unknowingly charging up the machine’s greatest weapon.

    Thrusters roared to life and Mechagodzilla emerged from the inferno. From the machine’s maw, a Mega Buster fired at Gamera while it hovered backward, striking the monster in its chest. The turtle continued to trudge forth, brushing off the pain. Having forced his foe back enough, Gamera rushed forward and slammed his bulk into the machine, pushing it toward the oil refineries. By now, he could hear the thundering footsteps of another guardian rushing toward their location.

    “The Plasma Grenade is at full power, fire!”

    A port opened up in the robot’s abdomen, revealing a large lens that quickly started to flash yellow. Gamera noticed it and quickly tucked in his right arm, firing off his arm jet. The destructive plasma beam fired off toward the turtle’s head, only for Gamera to twist out of the way, tucking in his legs as he fell backward, igniting his lower appendages and taking off.

    In the distance, the golden protector of Okinawa, King Caesar, watched the nearing beam. Eyes filled with rage at the destruction Gamera dispersed morphed to confidence as he immediately dashed in front of the surging power, allowing it to be absorbed into his right eye. The Plasma Grenade entered in its entirety in the orb and burst forth from the other. The reflected beam shot just below the now airborne Gamera and struck Super Mechagodzilla with amplified power, knocking the large machine into the oil refineries and triggering a powerful explosion. Gamera called upon the flames surrounding the sparking Super Mechagodzilla and coated his fist in fire. As the mech got up, Gamera performed an aerial loop and flew into the unaware machine. A fire coated fist smashed into the Plasma Grenade port, cracking the weapon’s casing. Mechagodzilla was knocked back by the force of the punch as flames covered its form, falling to the ground a kilometer away. A plume of dust billowed from the fresh crater while sparks coarsed across the now damaged Garuda.

    “Sir, the left arm and the Plasma Grenade is damaged, any attempts to use it would destroy Mechagodzilla!” one of the pilots said as he flipped several switches. Another surveyed their damages. Screams echoed over the intercoms as the pilot of the Garuda cried in agony, the machine’s cockpit filled to the brim with fire. The flames covering Mechagodzilla began to dwindle as the mech got back to its feet, the Garuda still functioning, but its pilot painfully deceased.

    “Johnson! Damn these monsters,” the head pilot spoke as he shut off communications with the Garuda. The analyst then began flipping other switches, taking control of the Garuda while the copilot fired off the Mega Buster. Gamera, standing upon solid ground once more, took a blast to his shoulder in order to get close enough to slash his claws upward, uppercutting the machine’s jaw. His arm slammed shut the head of Super Mechagodzilla, sending the Mega Buster firing out between the metal teeth in all directions, shattering the metal outward. Gamera then slashed his arm downward at the Garuda’s cannon, slicing into the metal rod and bending it to the side.

    King Caesar roared out as he leapt into the air, prepared to roundhouse kick Gamera from behind, intending to bash the former guardian’s head in. Gamera tucked his head into his shell at the last second. Wide eyes of the golem signified the miscalculation as King Caesar’s leg struck the body of Mechagodzilla. The giant machine stumbled back as Gamera punched the machine in the chest, knocking it over. With one foe down, Gamera spun around and quickly slashed his large claws against King Caesar, which chiseled bits of rock and fur. King Caesar was quick to react and kicked off Gamera’s shell, knocking the terrapin into the fallen Mechagodzilla. Turning to face his current oppressor, Gamera’s head left his shell as he belched a blast of plasma against the golem’s scars, setting aflame the fur and destroying the golem’s stony exterior.

    Why couldn’t King Caesar understand? Humanity could not be ignored any further. They were guardians, protectors of the Earth, and if the golem dared to stand his way of saving the Earth, it would burn in ash like the city surrounding them.

    Mech and terrapin arose facing the other. Seeing an opening, Super Mechagodzilla fired off its paralyzer missiles and sent its shock anchors into Gamera’s arms. Bolts of chaotic energy channeled down the wires, electrocuting the turtle. Gamera screeched in pain as electricity coursed through his body while missiles bombarded against his back. This was a mistake, as Gamera allowed the high voltage electrical power to course through him, using it to fuel the thermal reactor within himself. Pulling his arms inward, Gamera slashed the cords with his elbow claws, then twisted around and fired one supercharged fireball at Mechagodzilla. Scorch marks ruined the diamond coating as the excess flames fed the fires around them. Gamera began to slowly absorb the flames into his body, not wanting his opponent to realize his strategy so quickly.

    King Caesar patted its burning furs with one arm as it prepared to defeat this threat to the people it had sworn to protect. The golem ran and jumped on top of Gamera and started to rain hard blows down on the chelonian’s body. Gamera switched his attention to the golem and flipped it over his shoulder. A cloud of ash leapt into the air as Gamera smashed the golden lion’s back against the ground, causing King Caesar to groan in agony. Super Mechagodzilla took this chance to unload everything they had available on the two kaiju. Paralyzer missiles struck the area around the two as Gamera picked up the golden lion and used King Caesar like a shield against the onslaught. Missiles that went past the golem hit Gamera’s shell, doing little damage to the Atlantean guardian. As the onslaught died down, Gamera pushed the injured shisa toward the human machine and took to the skies, spiraling around the two. Super Mechagodzilla tried to take aim at the flying monster but first had to deal with the angry shisa which currently clutched its leg.

    King Caesar used Mechagodzilla to lift himself back to his feet before the wrathful guardian flew toward them. Gamera slammed into both of them, using his shell to saw his way through King Caesar who lay atop the Super Mechagodzilla. Chunks of rock, shattered gems, and molten gold flew as King Caesar desperately slammed his fists into Gamera’s backside, trying to dislodge his fellow guardian. But such futile effort only widened the gash on his torso. He soon pushed against Super Mechagodzilla as Gamera broke through the golem, slicing him in half. Gamera did not stop, pressing on with thrusters roaring into the open air. Mechagodzilla tried firing off his Mega Buster, tearing the top half of King Caesar asunder before striking Gamera’s tough shelled plates. The beam chipped away at the terrapin’s posterior, but it was too late as the cracks on the Plasma Grenade became evident.

    “Sir, the Plasma Grenade has been breached! The energy is flowing backward into our systems!”

    The port to the Plasma Grenade crackled erratically as Gamera shredded his way into the mechanical doppelganger of the monster king, the metal glowing hot from the intense flames. With massive amounts of heat, pressure, and energy building up, the casing to the weapon cracked open as the backlash of energy set off in a fiery explosion, overtaking the city. The massive blast tore away the remaining buildings and killed what remained of the humans in its radius, expanding outward in a blazing sphere of energy.

    Then, the flames seemed to implode. The dying sparks of the explosion started to twist and curl inward to the center as the smoldering remains of the city revealed itself. In the center of the crater where the refineries once stood, the flames and sparks gathered, growing into an orb of fire revealing molten pieces of Mechagodzilla and a severely melted head of the once defiant golem. A monstrous roar sounded out as the rejuvenated Gamera stood over his destroyed enemies. His shell was littered in cuts and leaking blood in some areas from Mechagodzilla’s assault.

    He would have surely perished from fighting Mechagodzilla for too long if it hadn’t been for King Caesar taking the brunt of its assault. In a way, the golem did end up helping save the Earth. Regardless, the distraction no longer existed and humanity still resided on Earth. A long road of conflict remained ahead.

    With confident green eyes, Gamera looked to the ash choked skies. A cloud of white smoke enveloped the guardian before he blazed a trail into the heavens heading northward, not noticing as a mysterious humanoid metal object began its pursuit after him.

    “Madam Namikawa, Super Mechagodzilla is offline. Okinawa has fallen,” an operator said as he lost contact with the crew of the Super Mechagodzilla. “Gamera appears to be heading north, toward Kyushu.”

    Standing above the room of operators stood a woman in a white uniform. She was the head of the Earth Defense Force, in charge of monitoring all monster attacks in her section of the globe. She watched the large map of the world above her lighting up with conflict as a small light on Okinawa dimmed into darkness.

    “It seems Gamera truly sees us as an enemy now. One of our greatest allies has turned on us,” she spoke as several other alerts sounded out on the screens.

    “Two objects breaking through the atmosphere. One is a giant mass of crystals while the other appears to be an orb of blue energy.” Satellite video of the situation appeared on screen as a crystalline beast fired three energy orbs toward Japan. The other showed a blue orb bursting through the atmosphere at high speed.

    “SpaceGodzilla returns once more? Send Moguera and the Gotengo to deal with him. Meanwhile, try to intercept the other orb with Kiryu,” she ordered quickly and efficiently. “Any news on the Onagawa nuclear power plant and the disappearance of the Kusanagi girl?”

    “Gyaos are swarming in that region, and there have been reports of corpses drained of all nutrients and fluids in the area. We still can’t determine what’s going on,” one operator said, showing the recent information of the mysterious accident. “We still haven’t found any traces of Miss Kusanagi since the incident.” An alert sounded out from one of the terminals.

    “The blue orb has changed trajectory and is headed toward Gamera.” The screen revealed the change in course as the orb turned suddenly and shot offscreen toward Japan.

    “If that is the case, then have Kiryu back up the others in destroying SpaceGodzilla before he has a chance to regain the tower.”

    Gamera glared as he watched a cluster of crystalline energy slam into the ground near Lake Ikeda, a lake that the guardian Mothra once resided within. The explosion of energy had not only caught Gamera’s attention, but two other creatures that had taken residence nearby. Gamera had seen what these crystals had done since his awakening into this new age. Alien energy sapped minerals used to drain energy from both the outer cosmos and the planets they resided on. Looking back at the surroundings, he remembered days now past when there would be hundreds of trees and plant life around the lake. Now it was barely a grassland, with small patches of forest near the mountains.

    Towering crystals erupted from the earth, draining the surrounding mana to self-sustain. A massive orb slammed into the turtle guardian from above, landing nearby as it cackled with an evil laughter. Gamera never hit the ground as his jets sprouted with flames, catching himself before the crash. He brought his head out to observe his enemy, prompting him to stop his jets and land on the ground with a thud. A forest of alien crystals grew around them as Gamera turned to find the massive blue orb. The sapphire sphere burst open, revealing the evil creature within. It was a large, bipedal lizard with hundreds of spikes covering its back. Upon its flat face resided massive, toothy jaws and psychotic looking eyes. Bemular, the evil space fugitive, had arrived on Earth to destroy all life.

    As Gamera stared at the creature, he noticed a giant human running toward them, accompanied alongside a brown hairy humanoid creature.

    More obstacles slowing his inevitable goal. Threats to be burned to ash…

    Gamera roared out to the enemies in his path as he fired a volley of plasma fireballs. The large balls had eccentric trails of flames behind them as they soared toward Bemular. The space fugitive returned fire with a pale blue energy beam, firing it toward the plasma blasts. The beam struck one of the plasma fireballs head on, managing to detonate it just before it could strike their spiky, alien target. The other two soared past the reptilian space beast and struck the bodies of Frankenstein and Sanda, flooring the two humanoids down and setting their surroundings ablaze. Bemular stopped firing his beam after the fireball exploded, laughing maniacally at Gamera’s feeble attempt, only for the fourth fireball, hidden behind the first three, to soar through the air and strike his chest. The explosion sent Bemular backward into a crystal pillar. The explosion muffled the alien’s anguish filled wails while flames washed over his flesh.

    The once proclaimed Guardian of the Universe slowly trotted toward the fallen Bemular, destroying several white crystals in an attempt to return the stolen mana back to the Earth. Each thundering footstep caused his shell plates to shudder, like the armor of a mighty general. Bemular rose to his feet and stood up just in time to see two other creatures run past him with smoking burns on their clothes and fur. Gamera stood and prepared for combat with the giant human and its hairy friend. He fired another fireball at Bemular to keep him still, blasting the space kaiju through the crystal it was against.

    Sanda and his father Frankenstein had met up over the years and, through their love for humans, decided to stay nearby the lake to protect any settlements from other kaiju, especially the one residing in the lake. As soon as the crystals started spawning, they rushed out to find the cause of the threat merely to discover Gamera and Bemular. Two threats which endangered their home, and a pair which would regret the trouble they started.

    Sanda grabbed one of Gamera’s arms and began to punch his fist against his foe’s chest, while Frankenstein pulled out one of the giant crystals. Gamera used his superior strength to push back Sanda and slapped the humanoid across the face with his claws. Gamera roared as Frankenstein approached with his crystal club. As he swung at the black tortoise, Gamera blocked the club with his left arm, shattering the crystal. Through the haze, Frakenstein emitted a squeak of annoyance, only to watch Gamera retract his left appendage into his shell. Human eyes widened in shock as white steam vented thunderously toward him, burning the human monster as he recoiled from the flames broiling his flesh. Gamera rushed him, slamming his shoulder against the burning human before he flipped the meager mutant onto his backside. As Frakenstein lay in a daze, the wary green eyes of Gamera discovered Sanda’s current location. The landscape quaked as the terrapin took a step to face the brown beast, fire burning within his jaws. After three fiery plasma fireballs launched from Gamera’s maw, the surrounding crystals burst into an inferno, with Sanda running at full speed to avoid the rapidly expanding blaze.

    Bemular shook the dust off his reptilian hide as he arose, watching Sanda vanish into the raging fire and, more importantly, noticing Gamera, who’s back now faced him. Taking advantage of the distracted foolish creature, the cunning fugitive decided to charge. The distance between the two vanished as Bemular opened his toothy mouth to bite the turtle, merely for the guardian to turn, his gaze filled with animosity. Gamera slashed his claws and elbow spikes at Bemular, leaving a large gash in the space monster’s burnt chest and flooring him to the ash covered dirt. Just then, Frankenstein smashed another crystal into Gamera’s back shell, staggering the turtle. The mutated human emitted a war cry at his success and charged once more.

    Frakenstein had seen creatures like Gamera before, following their greatest instincts. For Baragon, it was his gluttony, as for Gamera, it was his intense sense of justice to right the wrongs done to the Earth. An instinct which now led him to a path filled with human tragedy. As such, he would do all he could to prevent as many casualties against the humans as possible by killing the turtle.

    Picking up a shard of the crystal like a knife, Frakenstein jumped up onto Gamera’s shell and tried brutally stabbing the terrapins’s neck. The discomfort made Gamera flail about as he smashed his back into several crystals, trying to dislodge his assaulter. Frankenstein held onto Gamera as he felt his legs being smashed against crystals, easily regenerating the damage. As they did so, Bemular fired his blue beam at the two. An explosion burst against Gamera’s armored abdominal carapace, disorienting the pair. Before mutant or terrapin regained their senses, Sanda rushed toward Gamera in the confusion and slid across the ground, kicking out the turtle’s legs from under him.

    As Gamera fell forward, his senses returned. Immediately, he tucked in his legs and arched upward into the sky, with Frankenstein holding on for dear life. Enamored screeches echoed from the mutant before he jammed the crystal shard into the turtle’s shoulder as a holding point. Now airborne, Gamera spun upside down and grazed over the tops of the crystals that tore into Frankenstein’s flesh at the tips, which shattered as they flew along. After a grueling, serrated flight, the giant human released his grip on Gamera, the pain having been too much for the mutated human. As Frankenstein fell, Gamera flipped over and rained down a volley of fireballs onto the area, creating a raging inferno below him that destroyed both human settlements and crystalline towers alike.

    Sanda watched in horror as his father fell from the sky onto the burning spikes below, impaled upon them to be roasted alive. He rushed forth to try helping his father out of his death, only for the intense flames to burst and sear his hairy body. Distracted as he was, he forgot his other foe until Bemular fired a beam at him, striking him in the back. Sanda staggered as he felt his shoulder burst from the beam. His left arm now useless, Sanda twisted around and ran toward Bemular with rage in his eyes. Along the way, he picked up a tree torn from the earth and started to force the log down his enemy’s throat with a rage he never felt before. Bemular struggled against his enemy’s strong grip, choking on the large log and tried vainly to fire his beam. Sanda quickly kicked Bemular into the nearby lake just as the tree exploded from the beam. As Bemular fell beneath the waves, Sanda went back to focusing on fighting Gamera, knowing his brother would deal with Bemular in the lake.

    Gamera landed near the burning Frankenstein. The modern Prometheus stared weakly at the face-turned guardian as he felt his skin blister and his blood boil from the raging flames below. Grabbing the crystal jutting through his body, he tried to pull himself off the bloodied crystalline structure as Gamera charged a plasma fireball in his maw. Rejecting his fate, Frankenstein screamed at the turtle as it readied a strong blast. Just as he was about to fire, a small and shiny object knocked Gamera’s head to the side, sending the powerful fireball off course and destroying several giant crystals in its explosion. The small object then flew down near Frankenstein and started to grow, lifting the giant off the crystal. The raging inferno below wouldn’t help in the healing process so the robot grew larger in size, nearly as tall as Gamera, and flew the injured Frankenstein out of the inferno.

    The robot hero Jet Jaguar gently placed down Frankenstein out of the flames for him to heal before turning to the enraged Gamera. He had been watching the ‘Guardian of the Universe’ for some time now, even before the turtle decided to erase humanity. He knew Gamera had to be stopped, this path of destruction he was walking would eventually lead to the death of humanity. As bad as humans could be, there were still good men and women in the world, those which held no responsibility for the sins of the many, especially the innocent children, so he would protect them. Jet Jaguar would stand against the fallen guardian.

    The odds of success were miniscule, Jet Jaguar knew this better than even his opponent, but what choice did he have. As far as he knew, the current King of the Monsters lay buried in ice and the prince wasn’t old enough to deal with something as powerful as this berserk destroyer. Even with low chances of success to combat the guardian alone, Jet Jaguar took a fighting stance in preparation of his battle to stop Gamera’s assault on the world.

    Gamera glared angrily at this robotic man, one he often witnessed while fighting the Gyaos. He knew that the small robot wouldn’t be able to hurt him, but now that he was just as tall as he was, it might be tougher. Gamera roared as he lumbered toward Jet Jaguar, the flames around him flowing around his wounds, melding into his flesh. Old skin was replaced by a new layer, a tinge darker and more rugged, a feat achieved through the manipulation of his chromosomes. This would be quick…

    Gamera discharged three blasts of superheated plasma at the robot, who dodged the dangerous spheres with meticulous precision. As they flew past him, the robot warrior generated an idea within his processors. Jet Jaguar back flipped as Gamera fired a fourth powerful plasma blast toward him. The fireball struck a crystal and destroyed several others behind it.

    Gamera’s eyes narrowed, growing annoyed at the defiant robot. It seemed he would need to get much closer to put Jet Jaguar down for good.

    A plume of white steam enveloped Gamera before the terrapin burst from it, aimed directly at Jet Jaguar with his arms becoming wing-like fins. His sharp ‘wings’ smashed through several space crystals as he flew at the elusive robot, focused on nothing more than crushing another destructive byproduct of humanity.

    Sanda ran over to his father and knelt beside the stagnant being. A furry hand rested on Frakenstein’s chest, gazing upon the destruction around them. His father’s wounds were grisly, but healing rapidly, which brought a sigh of relief to the noble gargantua. Relief morphed into rage as the ground quaked from Gamera’s flight nearby. Sanda snapped his attention toward the raging creature and tore a crystal out from the earth. A perfect tool to club the being which dared hurt his family.

    Gamera slammed his wing into Jet Jaguar, knocking the colossal robot to the ground. Gamera’s jets were replaced by legs as he skidded across the ground, a dust trail forming in his wake. Turning around, Gamera found himself blinded by a sudden flash of light emitted from his enemy’s robotic eyes. Jet Jaguar took advantage of this opening and flew around the rogue Guardian of the Universe, discharging an icy blast of liquid nitrogen from a port in his mouth over him.

    According to past research in his database, even with Gamera’s adaptability accounted for, it had been deduced that low temperature environments would force Gamera’s body into a state of hibernation in order to preserve his internal furnace. He tried to freeze the terrapin, even at an agonizingly slow rate, but he underestimated the gargantuan tortoise’s constitution. Gamera pulled in his icy limbs and head and spewed his fiery jets, slowly defrosting his body as he rocketed into Jet Jaguar, leaving scratch marks along the robot’s metal body. The jet flames heated up the metal in a faint, fiery glow. The robot slammed his arms atop Gamera’s carapace and flipped the shelled brute over, avoiding King Caesar’s unfortunate fate. The blow knocked the spinning guardian to the ground, tearing up dirt and foliage alike. Gamera’s disc-like form regained altitude and very quickly reared back to strike the robot hero once again, only for the machine to swiftly kick the turtles underbelly. Gamera lost control and was forced to land momentarily. Turning his head, he fired a ball of flaming destruction at the robot hero. It was just as the automaton had anticipated.

    Having run the calculations in his head and analyzed various footage of the rogue warrior’s fights, Jet Jaguar swiftly slammed the palm of his hand against the ball of plasma. Instead of bursting; however, Jet Jaguar caught it with enough precision and speed that it allowed him to redirect the plasma fireball past his body, bedding its trajectory so it harmlessly detonated behind it. With Gamera shocked at the display, Jet Jaguar rushed forth, leaping into the air and retracting his legs. A double drop kick struck against the terrapin’s plastron pushed him back. Another flash of his eye beams blinded the turtle long enough for the robot to kick out his legs and slam him onto his back. Reaching down, Jet Jaguar grabbed onto the turtle’s wounds and began pummeling the turtle with his other fist.

    The pain of having his foe jam his fingers into his flesh while simultaneously punching him in the face drove the guardian into a fury. With a ferocious swipe, Gamera knocked the robot warrior off his body. Jet Jaguar hastily recovered merely to find Gamera barreling into his body head first. Rockets propelled the monstrous turtle forward as they smashed into several crystals. Pulling his hands over his head, the robot slammed his clenched fists into the turtle’s shell, pushing his robotic body to its limit to dislodge him. This only angered the northern guardian further as he twisted their bodies, flying straight up. Claws grasped firmly into the metal man’s body, then Gamera flipped them back and allowed gravity to take its course, with propulsion assist. Jet Jaguar panicked as the two rocketed toward the ground, a cone of flames bursting beneath his back. Desperate to avoid colliding at such a high speed, he jammed his hand as hard as he could into the turtle’s neck wound.

    Gamera uttered a pained screech as he felt his foe once more jam his fist into his body, though this time Jet Jaguar clenched as hard as he could on the muscles inside. He released his hold on the robot in order to try swiping the arm out of his wound. This played right into Jet Jaguar’s plan as he countered the oncoming attack and grabbed a hold of the arm. Twisting their bodies around, Jet Jaguar spun around as they fell. Finally, he released his hold on the arm. This focused all the centripetal force into the hand inside Gamera’s wound, tearing out muscle as the deviant guardian was launched downward. Jet Jaguar attempted to slow down, though the speeds at which he fell caused him to crash land, a massive crater formed in the ground beneath him. As for Gamera, he slammed into the lake’s surface, sending water cascading high into the sky as he disappeared beneath its depths.

    Sanda watched the waters calm before movement caught his attention. The ground trembled as the brown gargantua neared the robot’s impact crater, wary of the newest arrival’s intentions. Dropping the chunk of muscle he tore off Gamera, Jet Jaguar waved at Sanda, showing he was a friend to the other giant. Sanda sighed in relief as Jet Jaguar gave a thumbs up before the robot took to the skies and started to vent his liquid nitrogen breath over the lake, freezing the top several layers thick to hopefully hold in Gamera.

    This meager barrier wouldn’t hold long against the Atlantean creation alone; however, it might give him enough time to gather the allies he so desperately needed. A monster powerful enough to maybe stand a chance against the rampant turtle and the newest intergalactic arrival, SpaceGodzilla. Hacking into the Monarch Satellite System, Jet Jaguar quickly began searching for concentrations of radiation in certain patterns around the oceans. Luckily for him, there was a large focus of radiation in the Sea of Japan. Waving goodbye to Sanda, Jet Jaguar quickly began triangulating the location and flew off to find a King of Titans.

    Gamera stirred as his brief stunned mind caught up with him. Turning upward, he noticed that the lake surface had frozen over. Growling to himself, plama gathered within his maw merely to see something stirring beneath him. Looking down, he noticed a green version of the brown haired giant attacking Bemular. The alien fugitive was evading the smaller kaiju, taunting him with quick swipes of his claws. Around the two were a large amount of crystals, lighting up the dark underwater environment with stolen mana. Tired of this alien creature, Gamera jettisoned toward the two and slashed his right elbow spike across the space monster’s abdomen.

    Bemular screeched out in pain as he felt something slice into his tough hide, blood shifting the color of the water red. Turning his head, he noticed Gamera rushing toward him with his arms ready to strike once more. Opening his maw, the space monster was about to fire his pale heat wave only for Gaira to kick him in the back. This allowed the turncoat turtle to slam his fist into Bemular’s body, twisting him enough for Gamera to bite onto the cut. The terrapin then used his clawed hands and started to push Bemular away from him, twisting his head side to side as he did so. The space criminal screeched in pain as Gamera began tearing a chunk of flesh out of his side. In response, Bemular unleashed his pale heat wave against the turtle’s body, wavering him off.

    Gaira wasn’t one to let up on an opportunity; however, he quickly swam up and grabbed hold of Bemular in a full nelson. With the monster in his grasp, gargantuan teeth sunk into the alien’s neck, causing the space criminal to writhe in pain. In his panic, Bemular’s beam struck violently into the surroundings. Vicious mud exploded while the thick ice above the trio cracked.

    Shaking his head to eliminate the disorientation, Gamera returned his attention to the two battling titans. Furious eyes gazed to the space beast as plasma formed within his maw. The water surrounding Gamera swirled and bubbled while flashing red, coating the entirety of the fallen guardian. Gaira and Bemular continued to thrash until the ominous glow caught their attention. A low growl reverberated through the water. Run or die. The two screeched in unison merely for the swirling mass to birth a circular ball of destruction.

    Gaira grinned in amusement and held the alien in place. With such tiny arms, Bemular struggled helplessly in the gargantua’s grip. The fireball struck Bemular square in the chest, detonating upon impact. Bemular roar of agony was drowned out by the concussive shockwave of the blast. His chest tore open, turning the water which poured into the vacuum a stark red. Gaira meanwhile flew backward through the water from the fiery blast, scorched, broiled, and surprised by the sheer power of the blast.

    How could he burn underwater?

    Bemular’s torched hide and visibly shaken body gradually reappeared to the annoyed guardian. How resilient was this thing? Gamera roared out with fury as he rushed toward Bemular, prepared to tear it apart with his bare hands.

    Seeing the pesky turtle rushing toward him, Bemular emitted a mocking cry. Did the guardian think he was finished? Before Gamera could realize its intention, Bemular twisted his body around and tail-smacked the chelonian in the face. Blinded momentarily by the attack, the alien fugitive continued his brazen rush forth and slammed head first into Gamera’s abdomen. Each following blow caused the turtle’s vision to blur slightly as the two thrashed about in the ice cold water.

    From the nearby darkness, a humanoid beast gazed upon the wounds he sustained and in ravenous hatred, Gaira roared out in anger. It wasn’t enough that the turtle tried to steal his prey, but it dared to challenge him, to hurt him in his domain! Gaira burst through the water and brought his knee up. The green appendage slammed it into the Bemular’s face before flipping onto his back and pushing off to attack the guardian. Gamera roared at the green kaiju as Gaira growled back. Gaira swam toward Gamera and tried to swing his fist only for Gamera to swiftly block with his arm. Gaira countered by opening his hand and pulled himself toward Gamera biting onto the giant turtle’s scaly arm. Gamera felt the pain but having his flesh torn apart several times before by several Gyaos hurt more than this green abomination trying to eat him. Gaira bit and tried to tear a chunk out of Gamera while kneeing him in the chest. Gamera decided to stop messing around and grabbed Gaira with his other arm. Tearing him off with his full strength, Gamera held the thrashing gargantua by his arms and opened his jaws. A brilliant, orange light burned into existence.

    Gaira panicked in terror.

    Gamera aimed for the humanoids’s head.

    Bemular fired first.

    A blue beam struck the back of the Atlantean guardian’s head. Gamera’s maw closed in response, allowing Gaira to gaze into the rage filled eyes of the being which clutched him. Gradually, Gamera tossed the gargantua away and looked on through the water to the space creature that continued to pester him, to defy him. This could not continue any longer… plasma rocketed from the guardian’s maw before it struck the impaired abdomen of Bemular. Water rushed past Gamera as he watched blood, organs and other vile fluids pour out, but the terrapin never looked away. He was in no mood to allow even the chance of mercy.

    In his final moments, floating to the muddy basin of the lake, Bemular weakly laughed. He had done his part, distracting such a powerful protector of Earth. Soon, the several strong presences he felt approaching Earth would arrive and surely finish what he started. His masters would be pleased…

    Bemular’s stagnant corpse placated the fury the terrapin felt. Remembering Gaira, Gamera turned his full attention to the humanoid, wanting to know if the green gargantua still wanted to fight. From the dark surroundings the green beast lurked in, Gaira growled, but found himself glaring at Bemular’s burnt corpse.

    He couldn’t win, that fact was as apparent as the rotting flesh on the other intruder. No matter, he could fight later, maybe even with his family, but for now he would feast and heal.

    Sensing the hostility at an end, Gamera’s green eyes looked to the ice covered surface. Not wanting to waste his energy, the guardian swam over to the outer perimeter of the body of water he resided in. Reptilian claws dug into the outer walls of the lake. Every swipe marked a step closer to freedom, an escape to the hasty prison created for the guardian. As the turtle dug through the soft earth, he could feel the presence of others fighting underground. They posed no threat to the Earth, even buried hundreds of meters below the surface, this was as clear as day to the terrapin, but would they be peaceful to an intruder? Thinking of Gaira, Gamera breathed a heavy sigh of cautious hope. As he struck the dirt in front of him to continue, the tunnel he traveled through collapsed. Gamera fell forward, breaking through a cavern’s wall and landed between two horned kaiju.

    Gomora and Baragon glared at the terrapin that fell between them. Each possessed numerous bruises upon their reptilian skin and wide eyes in shock of the new arrival. They had been fighting over who would gain domain over this cavern due to the crystals shattering the border between their dens, but that fight would have to wait.

    Gamera stood upright staring at the large underground cavern of glowing crystals which imbued the subterranean area in a marvelous multi-colored light. Hatred filled his eyes as the protector of Earth saw the crystals slowly stealing energy from his beloved planet and from the cosmos the longer they stayed embedded. With righteous fury, Gamera unleashed a fireball at the cavern’s ceiling, shattering a large swath of the parasitic formations, but destabilizing the ground.

    Gomora and Baragon roared in panic as fires enveloped the cavern and snapped at the aggressive invader. Seeing the danger Gamera possessed to their homes, Baragon screeched at the tall turtle before he jumped at him. As Gamera was preparing to fire a volley of fireballs, he felt the smaller creature head-butt his back, knocking the tortoise forward slightly. Twisting around, Gamera turned to face Baragon. Green’s eyes narrowed in frustration and the guardian cried out for the small dinosaur to cease its aggression. Baragon’s movement immediately stopped and he stared at the war hardened, threatening face of Gamera. Realizing the mistake he made, Baragon started to back up. Seeing Baragon backing off, Gamera turned to continue his destruction of the crystals only for Gomora to slam his horns into the turtle’s chest, launching the guardian backward.

    Steam vented from Gomora’s nostrils. Reptilian claws smashed together with confidence while an eager smirk formed. First this turtle broke into his home and now it wished to destroy it by causing a cave in? Not a chance! The red runt would have to wait. First, he’d crush this stupid turtle!

    The two slammed into a wall as Gomora tried to pierce the tough shell of Gamera’s with his horns. Not wanting to test the limits of his plastron, the turtle monster grabbed hold of Gomora’s two larger horns. The terrapin started to lift Gomora up by his horns only for the dinosaur to fire a quick burst of his Super Oscillatory Ray at Gamera’s right shoulder. The beam shattered through shell and flesh alike as the earth behind him exploded outward. In return, Gamera discharged a small, concentrated blast of plasma point blank at Gomora’s face, breaking off one of his large horns with a sickening crack.

    Gomora shrieked in pain at the loss of one of his horns as he backpedaled from the fight. It was then that Baragon rejoined, gathering courage to fight, having smelled the blood dripping from his enemy. Baragon fired his Magma Heat Ray at Gamera, striking the bleeding shoulder. The blood seemed to ignite causing some pain, though the flames quickly went to work converting into flesh. Gamera ignored Baragon and slashed his elbow claws into Gomora’s bumpy chest, sparks flying from the impact as pieces of armor were chipped off. Gomora fought back in kind, slashing his own powerful claws against the turtle’s shell, spreading his own sparks. The subterranean dinosaur then ducked under one of Gamera’s arms and slammed his shoulder into the turtle’s chest plate, knocking him back against the wall once more. A crack started to spread upward toward the rooftop as Gomora continued to batter Gamera against it. Each punch slammed the turtle further into the cracking wall. Baragon, seeing this, fired his heat beam at the dirt above, loosening it as he backed away, quickly tunneling underneath the two brawling giants.

    Gamera slammed his fist into Gomora’s chest, knocking the subterranean dinosaur away, roaring out as he started charging up another plasma blast. It was then that he noticed the ceiling of the cavern was beginning to crumble, dirt and rocks falling around them. Gomora cracked his neck, prepping to charge once more merely to notice the collapse as well. But to the two titans, neither showed any sign of backing down and unleashed their signature energy attacks against the other. A sparklingly flash briefly illuminated the destabilized cavern before it and the monsters vanished into an avalanche of darkness.

    Sanda carried his wounded father through the destroyed crystal battleground, but his pace quickened as the ground began to tremble. Large fractures tore open the grass-covered scenery and large swaths of land sunk into the void. As Sanda lunged into his cavernous home, the quaking seemed to fade. A relieved breath parted from the worried humanoid who placed his father down and lit a fire for the less hairy giant. He stared out at the sunken gorge as the earth started to shake once more. From the dirt rose the battle scarred Gamera, roaring out to the heavens above. An orange glow overtook Sanda’s brown fur and the landscape trembled. A great blaze swept across the ruined land, destroying the remaining crystals in a sea of unending fire. Within the torrent of hellish creation, Gamera soared off into the heavens, leaving the kinetic inferno behind.

    Knowing that the humans would be in danger if he did not pursue, the brown gargantuan made his decision. Sanda gazed upon his wounded father, emitting a pathwork of grunts as an apology for leaving him behind. He picked up a club-shaped crystal and took off after Gamera. Running at full speed, Sanda barely noticed the furrow trailing his movement.

    Gamera flew toward Fukuoka through blackened sky. Beneath his flight, the guardian noticed the land turned black from poison alongside melted crystals and skeletons. The crystals held no power within and seemed to be covered with some type of black sludge that coated the landscape. It was not SpaceGodzilla, but another abomination that wished to use the Earth’s harvested power to their own end. A creature coated with corrosive, black sludge that would be harder to kill than any he faced so far in his journey. But the stain on the planet would be removed…

    Gamera picked up speed while he followed the path of destruction, passing by several abandoned cities destroyed by sulfuric mist, littered with thousands of human skeletons. Disgust grew within the guardian until he began torching the cities of their filth. Humans may have created such destruction, but such a grueling death even made Gamera wince. Great fires burst into the sky, wiping away the poison before it and its creator eventually reached the crystal fortress of Fukuoka.

    The city was surrounded and covered with the crystals creating a serene, beautiful display. The path of corrosion went through the wall of crystal, having been melted down and drained of their energy. Gamera flew onward hearing the sounds of battle echoing through the crystal coated city.

    When chaos struck Japan, the JSDF unleashed everything in its arsenal to combat the threat. The crew of Moguera, the Gotengo, and the pilot of Kiryu were the instruments of the nation, expecting to fight the threat which endangered their homeland. To their surprise, it was not a single monster which threatened the nation, maybe even the world, but a rapidly growing army under the control of a single, malevolent being…

    SpaceGodzilla.

    In the heart of Fukuoka, a massive crystal rose from the ground, surrounded by crystalline towers siphoning energy from the Earth. The fortress’ creator, SpaceGodzilla, had returned to Earth after his rebirth in the outer cosmos, being drawn to the planet due to his Godzilla genes, as well as the two monsters forged by his crystals in the Earth’s crust. After awakening his creations, he allowed his two crystal brethren to wreak havoc against mankind and they would be the ones to fight humanity’s approaching mechanical creations. For a moment, SpaceGodzilla considered crushing the tools of man with his crystalline brethren, but why lower himself to such a menial task? Instead, SpaceGodzilla stealthily departed away from the nearing incursion. He had far more important items to attend to.

    “Akane, my crew will take on the purple one,” Akira Yuki relayed as he piloted Moguera toward the purple crystalline monster known as Krystalak. Yuki and his team took aim as they started toward the mutated abomination.

    “Alright then old man, Kiryu and I can handle the rock creature,” Akane, pilot of Kiryu replied. From within the Mechagodzillla, Akane felt the rattle of the machine’s descent. With the Griffons rendered useless due the electrical waves SpaceGodzilla gave off, there was no operational choice but to pilot Kiryu from inside. And no better pilot for Kiryu than her to face such a calamity from such a limiting control position.

    “Fine, I guess I’ll take care of the bastard clone,” Captain Gordon said sarcastically within the cockpit of the Gotengo. He and his crew, consisting of both humans and Mutants alike, flew off toward SpaceGodzilla to wage war.

    The cyborg Mechagodzilla touched down in the outskirts of the city with a climatic thud. A shroud of dust enveloped Kiryu, allowing only its golden eyes to be visible from the outside. With those sensors Kiryu detected, a half kilometer away, the elemental creature codenamed Obsidius.

    The lava golem trudged its way through low hanging structures, setting them ablaze with his radiant body heat. Upon seeing Kiryu, the mutation tilted its head, gurgling in confusion at what landed in front of him. The twin-masers from Kiryu’s maw striking his armored abdomen clarified its hostile intentions. Golden, electrical energy washed over the golem as it angrily roared out at Kiryu. Its maw opened up unnaturally large as it belched up a beam of magma toward Kiryu, striking its shoulder mounted rockets.

    “Tch, it seems Maser artillery doesn’t do much against it,” Akane remarked as she recoiled within her chair, sirens blaring around her. “Firing shoulder launchers!” she yelled, pressing several switches before flipping a lever.

    The melted, shoulder mounted rockets burst towards Obsidius, cracking its tough exterior in explosive flashes. The obsidian monster gurgled with utmost rage, smashing its fists into the ground and tore the street apart, throwing rocks aside. As the volcanic menace lunged with slashing claws, Kiryu dodged and slammed his shoulder into the creature, knocking it into a nearby dilapidated building with a crystal spire jutting through it.

    The fallen Obsidius growled, obscured from view by dust and debris. Kiryu began to open fire upon Obsidius’ location, bombarding it to kingdom come. The moment the assault came to a stop, Akane noticed the large hole left in the ground and began to search around for any potential attacks. A few short seconds passed before the ground began to shake. The street behind Kiryu burst open as Obsidius tore up from below, leaping high into the air. He landed on Kiryu’s back and grappled the cyborg from behind, energy seemingly flowing through him. Alarms blared within Kiryu’s computers as Akane noticed her power supply draining at an alarming rate.

    “It seems to have some form of energy absorption,” she noted, preparing emergency maneuvers.

    Kiryu began to spin, jets firing at max capacity. The two spiraled, causing Obsidius’ hold to slip as the two gradually began to ascend. With a lurch, Obsidius attempted to get a better hold on Kiryu’s body, only for the cyborg to grab hold of its outstretched arm. With a powerful tug, Kiryu tore Obsidius off his back and released him, sending the obsidian monster tearing through several buildings and wreckage in a daze. By the time Kiryu had reached where he was, the obsidian monster had already returned beneath the ground.

    Moguera moved in toward the purple crystalline creature known as Krystalak. Eye beams fired at the agile opponent, washing over its spikes and seemingly sponged by its mineral biology.

    “Stupid ass crystals,” Yuki said with seething breath. He moved closer to the creature, which seemed to circle the drill mech. Krystalak leapt into the air and slashed its claws against the tough metal exterior of the mecha. Latching on with one hand, he attempted to knock over the machine, sparks flying with every swipe. Twisting one arm toward Krystalak’s chest, the port popped open as a Spiral Grenade Missile launched out, tearing into the crystalline flesh. The explosions tore chunks from the creature as it moved to distance itself from Moguera. Energy built up in Krystalak’s body as it prepared to retaliate against the mech.

    “Fire the Plasma Maser Cannon!” Their beam fired just as Krystalak fired its own, both colliding with a shower of sparks and shattered crystals as they struggled to overcome one another. The stalemate was quickly broken as Moguera rapidly fired his Plasma Lasers, striking Krystalak head on, causing the Plasma Maser to consume the purple monster. Krystalak screeched out as it was knocked through a crystal wreckage, burying it as Moguera sped forth on its treads.

    Across the battlefield, SpaceGodzilla fired his Corona beam at the slimy creature attacking his crystals, only for his beam to break into electrical surges upon impact. Hedorah turned from his cosmic feast these crystals held and found himself facing a similar creature he had faced once before, though different. SpaceGodzilla fired another Corona beam at Hedorah, only for the same electrical sparks to occur to the space slime, doing the smog monster no harm. Hedorah seemed to mock SpaceGodzilla, laughing at the monster’s attempt to harm her. Her species were the pollution eaters of galaxies. Over time, they had developed an immunity to all forms of radiation, including the cosmic radiation this creature was utilizing. However, this immunity gave her species a newfound taste for objects that hold this cosmic energy. A gurgling laughter came from the smog monster as it fired an eye beam at the Godzilla clone. The beam was reflected off a crystalline barrier and shot off back at the slimy monster, singing some of the flesh dry. Acidic smoke rose from the burn wound, which seemed to soothe the pollution monster’s pain.

    SpaceGodzilla stared at this creature warily. His beam did no damage to the slime creature. Trying a different tactic, SpaceGodzilla gathered energy to his hands and slammed his fist into the space slime, his fist sinking deep into the muddy flesh of Hedorah. Hedorah’s extraterrestrial shrills reverberated as she felt energy sparking through her system. SpaceGodzilla, in turn, screamed as his hand dissolved from within the corrosive body of Hedorah. Pulling his hand out, he found it had been reduced to the crystal muscle with bits of bone. He could move it, though it would take a while to heal. Missiles suddenly bombarded SpaceGodzilla from behind, irritating the beast. Turning his head to face this pest that would dare attack him. With his attention diverted, Hedorah fired a ball of sludge. The acidic muck splattered against part of SpaceGodzilla’s crown and left eye. The space beast yowled in torment at the feeling of his eye dissolving rapidly. Hedorah fired more sludge at the crystal clone, inflicting tortuous agony as one of its shoulder crystals melted, revealing some of the components that made up the space demon’s muscular system. The sludge burned and melted flesh, revealing an energy sac beneath the left shoulder crystal, slowly melting its way through.

    “Don’t fire beams at him, they’ll just be reflected back!” Gordon hollered, holding his katana in one hand as he sat in his chair. “Instead, let’s drill through that bastard and bombard them with the missiles.” The Gotengo flew as SpaceGodzilla sent bolts of energy at Hedorah, singeing the creature’s flesh. As the airship grew closer, SpaceGodzilla swung his tail upward, striking the Gotengo with its crystal cluster. The club-like end struck it in the side, knocking the Gotengo off course. The machine deployed its missiles, striking the area around both monsters, shattering nearby crystal spires, and consuming them in bursts of flame.

    With a sudden lurch, Hedorah launched herself onto SpaceGodzilla, slamming into the reptile’s chest. Skin sizzled as the crystal menace felt the corrosive muck that made up Hedorah’s body being forcibly poured onto his body. Hedorah cackled as it released more sludge onto her foe, grabbing hold of the two crystals with her arms and dripping more of her acidic sludge. SpaceGodzilla cried out as his spines began to glow. Corona beams fired out of his maw, only to be met head on by crimson energy bolts, igniting a massive payload of toxic smoke as more missiles exploded around them, having been corroded by the smoke.

    Though the space monster didn’t need to breathe, the corrosive effects of the smoke were another matter. Skin began to burn around the monster’s face as smoke built up further. In a desperate attempt to get rid of the sludge monster, SpaceGodzilla began to rapidly absorb energy from the surrounding crystals. A massive burst of electricity exploded around his body, essentially tazing the smog monster, sending it flying back from the assault. The damage had been done however, as much of the reptile’s frontal flesh had been stripped to muscle. Much of his chest and face were now crystalline muscle, blood, and sludge dripping from his wounds. SpaceGodzilla started to float in the air as he sent several of his crystals airborne, screeching madly with anger.

    Hedorah turned to face the alien beast. This creature actually managed to damage her. With how much it resembled that other beast, the smog monster had thought it wouldn’t be capable of any electrical attacks to dry her out. Gurgling out in anger, the smog monster watched as the crystal reptile began to rise into the air. Blinding flashes began to flicker in the sky, mesmerizing the pollution monster. Within seconds, the reptilian beast had morphed from giant lizard to crystal cluster. With no flesh covering his torso or face anymore, his entire body appeared to be an assemblage of white crystal and red muscles, slowly regenerating the corrosive burns of Hedorah’s sludge.

    With a loud screech, he focused all his telekinetic might into his floating crystals, circling around the smog monster. With a thought, all the crystals began to turn to face the smog monster before sparking at the ends, becoming crystalline missiles. Crystal spears stabbed into Hedorah’s body before bursting open with cosmic power. With Hedorah skewered, malevolent eyes shifted to the human-made creation. He had not forgotten about the pathetic humans….

    Crystals changed direction in midair and soared toward the Gotengo. The machine in response fired off various blue lasers from atop its hull, destroying most of the crystals heading their way. The drill spun rapidly as the Gotengo burst forth, intending to slam into the massive crystal beast, forcing an amused cackle from the interstellar being. A single Corona beam tore into the right side of the human warmachine, spearing it and sending it crashing into a nearby building. In an act of superiority, SpaceGodzilla raised his hands and levitated into the sky, gazing down upon all the worthless beings within his domain. With a flick of his claws, a Gravity Tornado engulfed Hedorah and dragged the alien muck across the city, slamming it through buildings and crystals alike. As SpaceGodzilla roared out in glee, he heard a loud whirring echo reverberate through the sky.

    A spinning saucer, engulfed in azure flame, came into view of SpaceGodzilla, inducing a fierce glare from the space monster. The unidentified flying creature flew circles around his domain, as though searching for something, before SpaceGodzilla realized its target as it flew over toward Fukuoka Tower. With a warcry, the crystal monstrosity released the smog monster from his control and flew at full speed toward the oncoming monster. Just before Gamera could slam into the tower, SpaceGodzilla slammed his crystalline spines into him, tackling the turtle and slamming into the ground with an earth-shattering crash. Reverting to his bipedal form atop the fallen saucer, SpaceGodzilla fired off a powerful Corona beam toward the downed turtle.

    The orange ray at first flew toward Gamera’s abdominal armor, merely to twist in midair and detonate inside the appendage port of the guardian’s right arm. A painful cry called out as Gamera fired off his hind jets and took off back into the sky, performing a rapid one-hundred eighty degree turn. SpaceGodzilla’s eyes went wide. Without hesitation, a crystalline shield generated in front of the interstellar menace, only for Gamera to slam through the barrier, shattering the artificial barrier into millions of pieces. Blood violently ejected from SpaceGodzilla’s jaws as Gamera’s shell struck his chest, yet the doppelganger anchored his feet, skidding backward, and regained his composure. Crystalline claws grabbed ahold of Gamera, only for the terrapin to eject his head and arms to grab ahold of SpaceGodzilla. Telekinetic power clashed against fiery thrust, with neither showing any sign of yielding. Focused completely on Gamera’s impudent defiance, the crystal tyrant never heard the engine of the Gotengo flare to life behind him. Pain shot through SpaceGodzilla’s body, causing him to scream to the heavens with anguish. Blood and crystal rocketed into the air behind the Gotengo as the machine drilled into his lower back.

    “Keep it up!” Gordon ordered, pressuring the giant until the drill seemed to stall, overcome with muscle and crystal. “That’s deep enough, now, fire the Absolute Zero Cannon!”

    A blue light flared from the wound and drill as ice began to overtake the monster’s lower body. Solid flesh cracked as it froze, spreading throughout SpaceGodzilla’s legs like an infection. The loss of feeling momentarily took SpaceGodzilla’s attention until the top portion of his body began to give. With an ear-deafening shatter, the top half of the crystal tyrant’s body tore as Gamera won the battle of force, flying over the Gotengo before slamming the remaining stump of SpaceGodzilla onto the charred Earth.

    Crimson blood and strange, alien organs flowed out of the aghast tyrant while he looked at the frozen lower part of his body shatter in the distance from the Gotengo. His gaze gradually shifted as orange light drew him to Gamera’s maw, which channeled immense mana, the very energy he targeted the Earth for. SpaceGodzilla cried out before Gamera unleashed his pent up energy, causing the tyrant to vanish beneath a torrent of flames.

    Heavy breaths parted Gamera’s jaws before a high pitch squeal reverberated through the city, drawing the terrapin’s glare to the embodiment of toxicity as fires raged below him. Trudging over the fiery rubble, Hedorah screeched once more to Gamera, ready to continue its battle for supremacy over the fallen tyrant’s fortress. Such goals mattered little to Gamera at this point. This creature created pollution, harming the planet far greater than its food source. Like the ashes of the clone beneath his reptilian heels, Hedorah would be nothing more than black residue…

    Gordon scratched the right side of his face with his thumb as he decided the best course of action to take. SpaceGodzilla was no more, but that mattered little with the two threats approaching each other, ready to begin their brawl.

    “Let’s leave this to the monsters now, we have a tower to destroy. Again.” Gordon noted as the Gotengo departed for safer space.

    Gamera slammed his fist into the smog monster’s gut and charged up a plasma ball. It was then that Hedorah slammed itself against the terrapin, sending Gamera to the ground, choking the guardian on a liquid death. Globs of acidic ooze flowed over Gamera, but an orange glow quickly illuminated from within the black stream before multiple plasma fireballs burst from beneath the muck. Violent explosions tore Hedorah entirely to pieces and launched chunks of her body across the landscape. Gasping for air, Gamera pulled himself up from the poisoned land, shaking off the acidic muck still singing his flesh. The black, poisonous body of Hedorah fell onto smoking earth, merely to slither away, amassing in a virulent pool. With a flash of colorful light, Hedorah returned to her final form, cackling with glee.

    Gamera roared out at the endurant creature, only for red lightning to discharge from Hedorah’s eyes. The poisonous ray burst across the turtle’s arm, sending blood flying. The stabbing pain enraged Gamera further until a monstrous rolling sphere smashed into Gamera from behind, stopping the assault of Hedorah, who looked with intrigue.

    Gamera felt the large rock ball roll up his shell and into the air, powerful masers trailing behind and scattering across his shell. Turning up, he fired another plasma ball, striking Obsidius head on. The explosion tore small chunks out of the creature and coated it in flames. Obsidius charged Gamera, intending to smash his way through the turtle that would dare hurt its master. Gamera was ready to destroy this rocky creature when another crystal creature slammed into him, with explosions rocketing off its chest. Soon, Gamera found himself surrounded by Kiryu and Moguera on one side and all the others on the other side.

    “Command, Gamera has arrived in Fukuoka,” Yuki hollered into his headset as he took sight of the monsters before him.

    “SpaceGodzilla should be your main priority first. You can deal with the rest afterward,” a feminine voice retorted.

    “Negative, SpaceGodzilla’s no longer a threat,” Gordon answered over the radio.

    “Well alright, one down a lot more to go,” Yuki sarcastically replied.

    “Negative,” Akane asserted. “I’m still picking him up.”

    Yuki audibly sighed into his radio. “Okay, then where is-”

    A shockwave of power attracted every monster and man as pieces of rubble and crystal ascended into the air. The flames which once acted as SpaceGodzilla’s tomb gradually parted, revealing a floating stump of the tyrant in a vortex of cascading green energy. Even as a torso and with half his body unimaginably burned, its eyes still glowed in arrogance, determined to make all submit to his tyrannical wrath.

    Crystal missiles rained down upon the two mechs and Gamera. Gamera shrieked in pain as the crystals shattered against his shell and flesh, but nevertheless charged through the blasts, sucking in nearby fires. Kiryu began to fire its own wrist mounted masers at Obsidius, the beams of which did little to halt the creature as it charged at Gamera. It caught up with the shelled warrior, only for the giant turtle to grapple with the obsidian golem. Obsidius opened its mouth, building up with lava, but Gamera fired first. A powerful burst of plasma ruptured through Obsidius, vaporizing the beast’s head as molten fluids leaked from its body.

    Krystalak shrieked at the loss of its more stupid brethren as he jumped high into the air. He curled into a ball of crystalline spikes as SpaceGodzilla used his Gravity Tornado to launch his minion at his enemies. Krystalak flew at Moguera, only for the machine to fire its Spiral Grenade Missiles into its rotating form. The creature detonated in a large explosion, disconnected from his master’s gravity tornado and collapsed onto the ground below. By a miracle, he was weak, but alive. Though that proved to be short-lived as Moguera crushed its head underfoot, grinding with its heavy treads.

    Enraged eyes watched Krystalak fall until it spotted a human warmachine flying toward his prized possession, Fukuoka Tower, the very thing supplying him with the energy he needed to maintain his husk-like form. A reptilian hand outstretched toward the structure and a white, crystalline wall coated the building from every angle. A sadistic smirk overcame the tyrant while interstellar energy sparked within its maw.

    Did the pathetic beings of this world really think he would allow them to so easily destroy his tower? Even reduced to his paltry state, they were lesser than him, weaker than him, and most importantly, less intel-

    Gordon relaxed within his chair as Fukuoka Tower neared.

    “Dive.”

    The Gotengo struck the landscape at high speed, burying itself and cracking open the land it tunneled through. In seconds, the warmachine burrowed through the foundations of SpaceGodzilla’s pride, allowing it to topple leaving the tyrant stunned.

    Watching the fight from nearby, Hedorah decided it best to join the carnage and changed into her flying form. Toxic fumes enveloped Kiryu and Moguera, forcing the respective crews to shut every port or face a poisonous end. As they sealed themselves off, Hedorah’s sulfuric mist began to eat away at the metal exteriors of Kiryu and Moguera. Thinking her foes suffocated, Hedorah shifted its attention to Gamera who shrieked as toxic mist began to eat at his flesh. Fire channeled into Gamera’s throat, but before it could unleash his fury, Hedorah’s chemical trail touched open flame. The mist ignited, turning the gas into a monstrous cloud of fire. Hedorah gurgled in pain as the ball of fire overwhelmed her flightpath, sending her crashing in front of Kiryu. Belching a gurgled cry, Hedorah lifted itself up, merely to come face to face with an overwhelming blue light from Kiryu who was charging up its ultimate weapon, the Absolute Zero Cannon.

    “Shit!” Akane shouted as Hedorah launched forward into the partially charged bluish orb of icy energy, freezing over Kiryu’s metallic body. Corroded metal and circuitry were revealed as the frozen Hedorah had rendered Kiryu unable to move.

    “I can’t move!” Akane relented as her eyes noticed a green tint illuminate her screens. Kiryu moved its head around as it struggled in its bindings to discover SpaceGodzilla floating toward it, Fukuoka Tower hovering above the interstellar mutation in a massive Gravity Tornado.
    Blood dripped from the tyrant’s open rump of a torso while SpaceGodzilla’s eyes twitched in an obsessive rage. He wouldn’t stand this defiance any longer. If they wished for his prized tower, his enemies would die from it!

    Just before SpaceGodzilla could summon a new wave of crystals, several golden beams struck his back as Moguera began to move toward them.

    “Hold on Akane,” Yuki yelled, moving Moguera forward as his other two crew members fired off their mech’s weapons. SpaceGodzilla bellowed in fury and shifted his malevolent gaze toward the approaching mech. A Corona beam burst from his maw, twisting through the air until it struck Moguera from behind, a whirring sound reverberated behind the tyrant. SpaceGodzilla twitched his fingers and unleashed a burst of his gravity toward the approaching terrapin, throwing off course with a flick of his hand. Gamera slammed his rotating shell into the landscape, launching charred rubble while SpaceGodzilla gazed down upon all with rage-filled eyes.

    A high pitched cry rattled the heavens. It dared all to attack.

    Akane’s lone voice responded, “Fire everything we got!”

    “Tch,” Yuki snorted, “then fire everything we got at that son of a bitch!”

    Without a moment’s notice, the Gotengo and Kiryu fired its homing rockets and mounted maser cannons at the immortal abomination, which only served to irritate the menace. Moguera provided backup, blasting a set of Spiral Grenade Missiles from the cone-ports within its hands. Before they could even reach him, the space fiend erected a crystalline barrier in front of itself. SpaceGodzilla felt his stump being sewn together, a trait inherited by his despised progenitor. Bone and mineral muscle slowly reconstituted his lost body, but even that wouldn’t be enough. He’d need more time, but his ambitions far surpassed the need to evade. This was a fight he knew he’d finish.

    His evil eyes glanced at the battlefield and recalled where Gamera had fallen. He hated him for being one among many protectors of this wretched world, yet he felt something different when compared to the others. A righteous wrath that matched his own dark heart, something he had failed to notice until recently. Even so, Gamera fought for the Earth and the protection of life that thrived on it. Perhaps if he had been aware of this earlier, then maybe he could’ve swayed the rogue guardian to put the humans in their place. When his eyes failed to locate the chelonian, he grimaced. As he continually deflected the all-out assault with reactive barriers and warping gravity tornadoes, he peered his eyes above him, where the Fukuoka Tower hovered.

    And with it, Gamera.

    SpaceGodzilla reached out with anguished screams as he bore witness to the shelled warrior twirling like a saucer. Even under the pressure of SpaceGodzilla’s Gravity Tornado, Gamera shredded the conduit with his spinning form effortlessly, stealing one of the last things that gave the alien reptile the edge in this fight. With Fukuoka Tower’s destruction, he felt his immense influence fade. His Gravity Tornado ebbed in strength, unable to support his repairing body. By the pull of gravity, he fell to the ground below, under the line of fire from humanity’s greatest weapons. His spines punctured the soil of the Earth and was left at the mercy of a ruthless guardian. As SpaceGodzilla looked on, there was a twinge of fear in his soul. He knew his time here had been cut short.

    Thrusting at full speeds, Gamera brought his head and flippers out, eyes filled with animosity. He loathed SpaceGodzilla for being an enemy of the Earth, to pillage her resources for his own gain. He was no different than the humans, and therefore had to be put down. As the fearless fighter descended, his body shedded the outer layer of skin, revealing pitch-black armor under it. Jagged skin protruded from it, even harder now than it was before. Even his once green eyes were overlaid by a transparent yellow membrane.

    His mouth churned with radiating light, visibly swirling within his tusked maw. Spitting several fireballs in rapid succession, the blasts of high plasma detonated against SpaceGodzilla’s form before he could even generate a photon shield. His pained cries echoed as he felt his fragile body being torn asunder, his scales blistering and popping under the intense heat. Out of the corner of his compromised eyes, he saw the jet stream retract, replaced by Gamera’s legs as the rogue guardian went into a freefall.

    A few moments later, SpaceGodzilla’s stump of a body shattered from Gamera’s sheer weight. Every bone, rib, and crystalline muscle cracked and fractured under the Atlatean’s might. As if calling upon the flames that tortured SpaceGodzilla, they accumulated into his hands, encased in fire. SpaceGodzilla tried to retaliate with measly blisters of shoulder lightning, but did little to phase the wrathful hero. Like a sword of fiery righteousness, Gamera plunged his right hand into SpaceGodzilla’s left crystal spire, igniting an explosive blast that consumed them both.

    The turbulent shockwave displaced the crews of the Gotengo and Moguera, with only Kiryu holding its ground. They could only look on and watch the horrifying sight before them.

    “Whoever dies first, we finish off the other one,” Gordon stated bluntly. As if it wasn’t apparent who that would be.

    “Shit, get ground, now!” Akane shouted, noticing activity from her monitor. She saw Gamera over the broken SpaceGodzilla, swiftly plunging his other, fiery hand into the alien threat and its congruent shoulder spire. Another cataclysmic boom roared from the distance, with a destructive wave following suit. Again they had to endure, with the Gotengo nearly losing its functionality. Then, it all became quiet…

    …From the massive crater, SpaceGodzilla was little more than a shell of his former self. His skin now stripped to crystal muscle and bone. His eyeballs had long since been vaporized, yet he could still sense his surroundings. He didn’t need eyes to see what was coming to him next. He reached out with his skeletal hand, pleading for mercy against a wrathful god. Gamera shared no such sympathy. Gestating flames in his mouth, Gamera simmered the killing blow. And with one last discharge, Gamera brought an end to the extraterrestrial menace, detonating the stump of a body in an explosion of crystal, flesh, and flames.

    Gamera tensed up as he stood in the burning wreckage of the city, absorbing the flames around him to assist with his healing. His eyes glanced at the three human-made mechs, trying to recuperate from the aftershocks. He was starting to tire from the constant fighting, but the energy he was absorbing from these crystals helped with his fatigue.

    “Hey, see something different?” Yuki noted, “Gamera, he…”

    “If past research has shown us anything,” Akane pointed out, “Gamera can manipulate his genetic material, much like the Gyaos. Wouldn’t be surprised if he’s been adapting this whole time.”

    “Doesn’t matter,” Captain Gordon interrupted, “All ready to fire upon Gamera.” Without missing a beat, the now freed Kiryu stood on the opposite side of Gamera. Just before they could open fire on the once renown Guardian of the Universe, three burning figures fell from the night sky into the city with resounding thuds, with laser beams tearing through the landscape. From the craters, rose the heroic forms of Ultraman, Ultraseven, and Zone Fighter as they clutched unseen wounds. Ultraman’s color timer was already starting to flash red as he stood up, while Zone Fighter’s buckle was yellow, having expended some of his energy.

    A large, golden orb floated down toward the city, as three giant triangular ships detached themselves from the mothership. A loud screech was heard as the mechanical beast known as Gigan hovered in front of his alien masters, followed by the levitating Monster X.

    “Nice to see you cattle again,” the arrogant voice of X said as a video image of his face appeared in the three mechs compartments.

    “How did you survive the explosion?” Gordon blurted aloud, seeing the golden orb in the sky.

    “Did you forget we have teleportation on board our ship?” He raised his arm, sending the three triangular pieces of his ship out to do his bidding. “This time, I will enslave your race with my recreated army of monsters.”

    The alien vessels shot out beams of energy as they released Xilien controlled kaiju into the city for battle. The kaiju summoned had many of the same creatures the Xiliens had in their last invasion, such as Kamacuras, Ebirah, and Rodan. However, there was another monster which surprised the three crews as it cackled evilly, its three golden heads glaring around as it flew above the Xilien ship.

    “Like the new addition?” X asked grinning evilly as he saw the look on his enemies faces. “We found it at the bottom of the sea, though we couldn’t quite get our M-Base into its cells, we did manage to find its microwave control signal.”

    “King Ghidorah,” Akane said as she moved Kiryu toward Moguera. The three heroic alien defenders backed up toward their human comrades. Gamera knew he couldn’t take down all these kaiju by himself should they all attack at once, but he would give them hell nonetheless.

    All the surrounding kaiju began trying to provoke their enemies as they awaited orders from their master. As the Xilien transport ships reconnected, the enormous mothership was encased in its force fields. With a smirk, the Xilien gave the command.

    “All of you, annihilate them!” X shouted at the top of his lungs. Rodan was the first to charge forth, aimed straight for Ultraman. As the alien hero readied to grapple with the flying reptile, the ground burst open in front of him. Rodan swerved to the side as Gomora roared out, demanding a challenge. With a swipe of his claw, he knocked Rodan to the ground, the pterosaur screeching in pain as it struggled to get up. Seeing Gomora about to stomp on him, the pterosaur’s horns crackled with purple lightning as he shot off a Uranium Heat Beam, striking the dinosaur in the chest. With his foe staggered for a moment, Rodan quickly flapped back into the air and circled above.

    Gomora screeched as he saw the oncoming horde of creatures. Ultraman walked over to the ancient creature, greeting it as an ally. He had once faced one of these species before and lost to its powerful strength. This time, he would try to fight with one of them. That was his thought as he posed next to the prehistoric monster. Gomora thought otherwise, as it turned and grabbed Ultraman with one hand, slamming the alien into the pavement and stomped on him.

    Ebirah scurried toward Gamera and the others, alongside Rodan and Kamacuras. Monster X and Gigan rushed to face Zone Fighter and Ultraseven in combat as their opponents readied for the oncoming fight, Ultraseven detaching his Eye Slugger from his head. The two of them flew into the sky to fight their opponents, only for King Ghidorah to join the battle. The golden beast fired its gravity beams around the city wildly, striking everything in his view. The Gotengo flew up after the alien heroes to assist them in their fight as they fired several missiles at the giant kaiju above them.

    Kamacuras crashed into Kiryu as it dug its sharp claws into the mechanical dragon’s partially corroded armor. Kiryu’s left arm grabbed onto Kamacuras tightly, holding the insect close as it tried to fly away from the mech. Kiryu’s right arm unlatched its maser turrets as it turned into a drill. The drillbit pointed at the giant insect, prepared to gore it, Rodan slammed into the machine from behind, sending it falling onto the mantis. Kamacuras shrieked in panic as it tried to move out from under the giant machine.

    Rodan tauntingly screeched as it flew toward Moguera, with Ebirah rushing from the opposing side. “Let’s slaughter these beasts,” Yuki barked as Shinjo fired a Plasma Laser Cannon at Ebirah, striking the lobster in the eye. Uranium heat rays struck the mech from behind, causing them to stop their assault on Ebirah. Twisting their body, Moguera attempted to fire another beam at the flying reptile, only for Rodan to soar over the mech’s head, slamming his sharp, armored chest across its face. Before he could try to peck out the eyes of the machine, Rodan was forced to flap backward as a plasma fireball flew past the two. Turning his head, he saw Gamera flying toward him at full speed, with a rage-filled roar.

    Having already kicked off of Moguera’s face, the avian monster flew toward the shelled beast, ready to do battle with the triphibian creature as he readied to slam his bulk into Gamera’s body. What he didn’t expect was for Gamera to bite down on his neck just before the impact. Blood seeped out of Rodan’s neck into Gamera’s mouth as the pterosaur clawed at the giant turtle, flapping violently to try and dislodge the turtle’s bite. Gamera clamped his jaws tighter around the pterosaur’s neck as energy crackled in its horns. Rodan aimed at Gamera’s arm as he fired his Uranium Heat Beam, striking Gamera in the face, causing him to release his bite. As soon as he was free, the flying dinosaur quickly flew up to recover from their brief, but lethal scuffle.

    Meanwhile, Ebirah was struggling against Moguera, the mechanical creation holding the advantage due to its treads and ranged weaponry. Plasma lasers pelted the mutant lobster’s tough shell, Ebirah forcefully covered his face with one claw while rearing back the other. Ebirah then slammed his large claw into a building, sending a large chunk of cement and steel toward Moguera. It harmlessly bounced off its metal exterior, clouding its visors with residual dust. More cement-enforced chunks pelted Moguera as Ebirah flung large pieces of asphalt their way. Plasma beams fired at the chunks, tearing some to pieces, but not enough as it struck the machine head on. One last hurrah from Ebirah came in the form of a structurally sound building which it held in its claws, tossing it at Moguera. This alone knocked the machine over upon impact, with Ebirah chirping gleefully as it rushed toward the fallen mech, which struggled to get up.

    “Come on, don’t do this you asshole,” Yuki cursed, as he and his crewmates had to hastily reboot Moguera’s systems. Ebirah reached his target and started to slam his claws onto the machine. Ebirah clamped down one of his pincers onto one of Moguera’s arms, where the Spiral Grenade Missiles were launched from, and began to dent and warp the metal frame, sealing it shut. Ebirah continued to smash his claws onto the machine until it suddenly began moving. The machine stood upright, knocking Ebirah off it as it fired its Plasma Maser Cannon at the giant lobster. Ebirah screeched in agony as it was shredded by mechanical might, pieces of shell and lobster flesh scattered about. Amid the assault, yellow gravity beams assailed Moguera’s metal armor, tearing its weakened frame asunder. King Ghidorah slammed its feet into the mech as it smashed the machine into the ground. The Moguera crew started to panic, except for Yuki, who glared at the golden dragon that stood on them.

    “Take this, you piece of shit,” he muttered, pressing several buttons which fired Spiral Grenade Missiles at the golden dragon, irregardless of the other port’s condition. As one missile drilled into the tri-headed monster’s chest, the dented cone exploded outward. The explosive force of the missile knocked the dragon off as the second missile detonated, tearing apart scales and meat from the dragon’s chest. As Moguera stood up, it found Ebirah’s claw stabbing through weakened armor, its power beginning to fail. King Ghidorah rose to its feet and screamed in a mad rage, firing bolt after bolt of gravity beams into the machine. The dragon ensured that the mechanical giant would never rise again.

    Kiryu drilled its hand into the body of Kamacuras, the insect hammering away at the Mechagodzilla’s head. The mantid screeched and wailed as Kiryu opened its mouth, firing intertwined maser bolts point blank onto its oblong head. Kamacuras felt its life slipping away, taking one last swipe of its claw, smashing one of the machine’s eyes. Pulling its rotating hand out of the dying insect, Kiryu tossed it away, turning to help Moguera. Akane saw she was too late as she witnessed King Ghidorah tearing apart Moguera with its gravity beams.

    “NOOOOOO!” she yelled in an anguished scream, flipping levers and switching gears as Kiryu charged up its boosters. Bursting in high velocity, the mechanical dragon accelerated at maximum capacity within a few measly seconds. King Ghidorah never knew what hit it as a glowing Kiryu rammed into it, hurling the draconic menace off its feet. King Ghidorah crashed through some of the remaining crystals of SpaceGodzilla’s fortress, grinding to a halt on its backside. Kiryu fired its maser cannons onto the three-headed terror, King Ghidorah crying out in agony. The super monster returned fire with its gravity beams, knocking back the giant mech and damaging the metal plating. The two escalated into a beam battle, with neither side giving out.

    In dire need of an energy resupply, an invisible beam fired from one of the JSDF satellites in space. Having the fuel the cyborg needed, Kiryu’s spines started to glow as it absorbed energy being sent to it through microwave rays to recharge its fuel supply. Unknown to Akane, the microwave energy was disrupting the control over King Ghidorah, distracting it and destabilizing its beams. Kiryu then surged with power, the maser tearing through the jagged beams and scorching the three headed dragon’s center head.

    Ultraseven blocked with his Eye Slugger, using it to defend against Gigan’s chainsaw arms. The mechanical cyborg squawked as it pressured the boomerang-blade against the Ultra, firing his Cluster Light Ray that sent the alien agent reeling back in a pained shout. Ultraseven leapt back and brought his hands to his head, firing his Emerium Ray from the flashing forehead gem. The beam struck Gigan in his chest, knocking the cyborg alien back. As Gigan regained composure, the Gotengo fired several missiles at the mechanical beast, which the cyborg dodged with insane speed.

    Nearby, Zone Fighter was fighting against the Xilien monstrosity, Monster X. He swiftly dodged a gravity beam, which left a shallow crater where the Meteor Man once stood. Zone Fighter noticed the skeletal monster descend to the ground, immediately bursting into a sprint. Zone Fighter reacted in kind, mustering his energy and broke into a dash using his Meteor Jet. Monster X realized far too late as the Zone hero slammed his fists into the draconic humanoid’s chest. Still in extreme speed, Zone Fighter rapidly threw out a series of swift punches against the Xilien creature, each Meteor Punch cracking like a shotgun blast. Every strike cracked the bony armor covering Monster X’s body, with the occasional hit to the face, then buried the skeletal creature under the rubble through sheer force alone. Leaping off the space monster, Zone Fighter turned to help Ultraseven in his fight against Gigan, when gravity beams struck his back, plunging him into a building.

    Ultraman and Gomora were locked together, trying desperately to push the other back. A look of panic came over Ultraman’s face as Gomora’s horn began to surge in bright red. He was about to fire his beam, that was until a fireball struck between the two, just as Gamera crashed down past them. Turning around, Gamera screeched and bombarded the humanoid alien and Gomora with fireballs. Ultraman clasped his hands together and fired a stream of water, with the plasma exploding from the instant contact with the freezing cold water jet. A burst of steam clouded Ultraman, who rushed out of the steam. He saw a second fireball right in front of his face and blocked with his arms, knocked to the ground with flames burning around him.

    Gomora charged Gamera and slammed his tail into his foe’s tough shell, only stumbling the turtle on his feet. Ultraman weakly stood up and fired his Specium Ray at Gamera, striking the triphibian in the side. Gamera wailed as the beam knocked him into a building, bringing the whole structure down on him. Even against a downed opponent, Gomora tried to take advantage of this and threw his tail out against Gamera’s plastron. However, Gamera grabbed ahold of Gomora’s tail and jet flames flared from the leg ports, flying into the sky, taking the dinosaur with him. Ultraman felt his power waning greatly, and wanted nothing more than to escape into the atmosphere to recharge his energy. Though his wounds would still weaken him to less than the usual three minutes. He struggled to stand any longer, however, and fell to his trembling knees.

    “Yes!” X clapped gleefully, watching his monsters taking down one of the human-made machines. He watched as the airborne Gamera dropped Gomora into a large, burning building, and at the chaos reigning around him. Before he could bask in his eventual glory, a loud, reverberating roar tore through the burning city and stopped all the fighting, attracting X’s attention. Many of them had heard that roar before, and for some it brought rage. Others felt relief, for a vanguard of the Earth could finally put an end to this madness. Gamera felt tired, angered when he heard the roar. Of all the great beasts, it had to be him. Gamera retorted with a violent war cry in response, landing several blocks away from the bulky monstrosity, only to realize something was off.

    “How did he get so fat? I was only gone for a couple years!” X complained as he stared at the alpha predator of an ancient past.

    Godzilla stared at the lifeforms around him, with Jet Jaguar on his shoulder. Some he knew from ancient times, such as Rodan, Ebirah, and even Gomora, as he had fought their kind before. Then he noticed a creature similar to the false king that fought him for his title of alpha, alongside several alien lifeforms. The two that really attracted his attention were Gamera and Kiryu. One had the faint scent and look of a Godzilla and could feel its soul inside, wanting release from its metal prison. The other was full of powerful energy, almost resembling the planet’s very own life essence coursing through it. There was something else about the armored warrior that bugged Godzilla, as though a memory from a far off time, long forgotten, from the days of his youth.

    Godzilla barked a challenge as he charged through the burning wreckage of a city. Gamera screamed in return, charging toward the ancient one. Jet Jaguar flew off, heading to assist Zone Fighter with his fight against Monster X. Gamera and Godzilla collided against one another, trying to push the other back, with neither budging. Gamera’s strength matched the sheer size and weight of the ancient Godzilla as they pushed. Much to his own surprise, Godzilla felt himself beginning to be pushed back. Gamera kicked Godzilla back, knocking him through the destroyed wreckage. Godzilla growled back, headbutting Gamera and knocking the giant guardian back. Gamera recoiled from the blow as the larger kaiju quickly moved in and slammed his fist into the turtle’s gut. Gamera felt the pain as he slashed at Godzilla’s chest with his elbow spikes, leaving small slash marks across the giant creature’s natural armor. Godzilla reeled back from the blows, an old memory springing to the forefront of his mind. He remembered now. This creature and he had fought before, long ago when Titans ruled the Earth. This would be a fight he would mostly certainly enjoy.

    Kiryu stopped moving as its eyes dimmed. Akane struggled inside the control room within the mechanical cyborg of the first Godzilla, then several errors appeared on screen.

    “Damn it, Kiryu’s going berserk now of all times,” she uttered a curse, the room around her fading to an alarming red, her communication system shut off, only showing feed from the battle outside.

    King Ghidorah was puzzled by his opponent’s mysterious ceasefire, but tried to take advantage of it with a flying kick to the machine. He never noticed the red lines going down its eyes, turning a crimson red hue. Just as King Ghidorah closed in, Kiryu ducked under and grabbed onto the tails of an imitation, pulling the dragon to the ground. The three-headed monster shrieked, hitting the ground with a heavy thud. It heard a synthetic roar, one similar to Godzilla, come out of Kiryu’s maw. Maser beams fired out against the back of King Ghidorah mercilessly, scorching the golden hydra’s scales. King Ghidorah tried to fly into the air, but Kiryu had other plans. Tightening his grip on the dragon’s tails, he hoisted the dragon into the air with his enhanced mechanical strength and slammed it on its back behind him. He then started to spin, making sure that all of King Ghidorah’s heads grinded against the broken buildings and ground multiple times before he tossed the dragon away. Kiryu screeched as he rushed toward the other Godzilla, seeing competition in it.

    King Ghidorah crashed violently down upon the landscape merely to realize it wasn’t on any rough surface, but two living creatures. Golden wings brought the hydra upward while the two beings beneath its bulk jumped upward. Jet Jaguar’s robotic body staggered on its feet while Zone Fighter trembled on his weak legs, but both knew their new target and in unison, the pair burst forward. Jet Jaguar’s right arm and Zone Fighter’s left formed a single, powerful strike which slammed against Ghidorah’s chest. The center head roared out in pain while the other two heads reacted out of pure instinct.

    The flailing heads slammed against the heroes, with the center one biting into Zone Fighter’s shoulder. Jet Jaguar tried to help his ally, only for gravity beams to strike his chest, tearing into metal and damaging his internal power source. He was knocked away, sustaining battle-damage. King Ghidorah flapped his mighty wings and flew into the air, with Zone Fighter in his grasp. The Meteor Man tried to slam his fist into the dragon’s head, only for his arms to be caught in the maws of the other flailing heads. He tried kicking his way to freedom when the dragon’s twin tails wrapped around and snared the legs together. The two side heads began tearing through the Peacelander’s flesh with their teeth as the center head seemed to give an order to the others. Zone Fighter then realized the danger of his position as golden light began to emanate from each head. His screams of pain could be heard through the destroyed city as gravity beams shot directly into his body, tearing through his arms and shoulder, blood leaking from his wounds. He fell back toward the Earth as King Ghidorah and the recently composed Monster X both fired their gravity beams at him from above and below, blasting the Meteor Man and engulfing him in a giant explosion. Zone Fighter’s charred body plummeted to the ground with an eruption of soil and debris. He laid on the ground, bleeding out in pain, but forced himself to maintain his giant state, wanting to die fighting to the last.

    Jet Jaguar got back to his feet, only to witness his fellow hero being blasted from both ends. Despite his robotic appearance, an emotion belaying his happy smile began to fill the robot’s mind. It wasn’t until he found himself dropkicking Monster X that the robot realized it was anger. Monster X roared out as the colorful robot hero landed in front of him. Within seconds, the two were at each other’s throats, trading punches and kicks that sounded like thunder. Each hit was filled with immense power on both sides. Jet Jaguar punched his opponent in the face, cracking part of the armor as his foe returned in kind with his own punch, denting the robot’s metal body. Each strike Monster X unleashed were wild and powerful, metal bent from his punches and tore off revealing inner circuitry with every slash.

    However, unlike his enemy, Jet Jaguar had a much more powerful mind. Each of his hits were accurate and precise, hitting the same spots multiple times until Monster X’s chestplate cracked apart, revealing black, bleeding flesh beneath. The Xilien monster roared out in pain as Jet Jaguar thrust his fist into the creature’s body and grasped a hold of his black heart. With a powerful squeeze, Jet Jaguar tore out his foe’s heart, blood spurting out of the wound. Monster X gasped as his body began failing him. With what little life remained, he fired off one last Gravity bolt, striking the robot in his exposed chest. The beam managed to strike the robot’s powersource, shattering it. Jet Jaguar felt his processes overload as he rapidly grew larger, his power now unstable before it exploded, tearing off an arm and leaving him just as dead as his enemy.

    Gomora stood groggily and picked himself back up, recovering from his fall. He suddenly realized that Gamera had to still be around, searching for the turtle, only for a metallic-looking being to crash next to him. It was a war-torn Ultraman, brought to his knees, trying to escape. Unlike his cousin, Ultraman needed to recharge his energy within a three-minute time limit, and he was currently on his last dregs of power. If he hurried, he would be able to make it past the atmosphere with barely a second to spare. He never got the chance as an orange beam surging with power struck him in the back. His light blinked rapidly as he turned around to see Gomora firing his Super Oscillatory Wave at him. Feeling his life slipping away, he sent the last of his remaining power toward the sky, slowly creating a marking written in a language unknown to humankind. Seeing the writing glow brightly, his eyes dimmed as the giant known as Ultraman died. The beam tore a hole through the dead Ultra, stripping down to the red flesh underneath.

    Gomora roared triumphantly as he killed the Ultra and turned around, itching to fight another foe. Then just as abruptly, something slashed across his face, spraying blood and cracking his nasal horn. Kamacuras revealed its injured body, wanting to at least take out one monster with it before it bit the dust. It flew past Gomora’s injured body, slashing his claws across the dinosaur’s head and body, leaving various cuts scarred throughout.

    Ultraseven cried out for his dead cousin as he saw his torched body. Turning toward Gomora, he threw his Eye Slugger through the air and watched as it sliced off Gomora’s other horn, leaving only his cracked nasal horn remaining on his head. Ultraseven was enraged, yet blinded by his hidden distress as the crafty Gigan slashed his chainsaw arms across his back, taking advantage of the Ultra’s momentary state of weakness. Ultraseven turned to face the mechanical beast, only for gravity beams to sear into his back. King Ghidorah made his presence known with his death filled cackles that echoed through the air. Ultraseven caught his returning Eye Slugger, wincing in pain as he scanned the two enemies surrounding him. Even if it cost him his life, he would completely annihilate both King Ghidorah and Gigan before bringing an end to the Xilien’s cruelty. He knew that’s what Ultraman would’ve wanted.

    Gigan screeched in delight as two chest slots opened. Two circular cutting disks darted out, aimed squarely at Ultraseven’s neck. The Ultra quickly deflected them with his Eye Slugger, knocking them off course. It was then that he realized they were similar to his weapon of choice as they flew around behind him and sliced through his side. Clutching his wound with one arm and the Eye Slugger in the other, Ultraseven screamed and flew at Gigan, intending to slice the cyborg apart. Gigan screeched in return, as he too flew at Ultraseven with his chest saw revving. Meters away from each other, Ultraseven threw his Eye Slugger and fired his Emerium Ray at it, accelerating the boomerang even faster. Thinking quickly, Gigan tried to swerve out of the way, only for the blade to slice through his right arm. Gigan’s mechanical wail emanated from him, overcome with the sudden jolt from the lost arm. The severed chainsaw fell and sliced into King Ghidorah’s wings, leaving multiple punctured holes within them, causing the dragon to lose air stability and plummet. Ultraseven crashed into the injured Gigan and slammed him against the force field that covered the Xilien mothership.

    “Send out the fighters!” X ordered, teeming with frustration at the mere thought of losing a second time.

    “What’s wrong, can’t handle losing again?” Gordon said with a firm confidence as his face appeared on the Xilien leaders screen. The Xilien commander sneered at the cocky face of the captain.

    “Alright, kill the idiot in charge of communications, and how the hell do you keep hacking into our communications systems?!” Gordon smirked, silently mocking the irritated Xilien.

    “I have talented people under my command, unlike those beneath you who are… well, not.” The video feed disappeared, resuming to the battle below. The Xilien commander pulled out a laser pistol and shot the nearest Xilien to him. “Should’ve killed him sooner,” X grunted with a snort.

    The mothership’s two hatches pulled apart from atop and under the globe-shaped vessel, dispatching hundreds of thousands of combat drones at once. Under the will of the Xilien figurehead, their turrets discharged rapidfire lasers against Ultraseven, knocking him off the Xilien cyborg. Ultraseven generated a fortified shield to block the narrow lasers, which unfortunately allowed Gigan time to recover. The sociopathic cyborg grinned with its metallic beak, revving its chainsaws in eager anticipation.

    Gamera slammed his fists into Godzilla’s chest, sending the colossal beast barreling back. Godzilla held in his pained cry as he felt his ribs crack before he heard the roar of another Godzilla. Turning to the side, he had little time to react as several maser beams slammed into his face. Kiryu roared in a berserk rage as he continued to fire his energy attacks at the elder Godzilla. The maser cannons on his left arm and in his maw fired at several distinguished weak points, to which Akane had targeted on behalf of the berserk cyborg. Though she had lost control of the mech, she could still try not to die by helping to target the other monster’s weaknesses. Concentrated maser fire struck the Godzilla-type creature in his gills, causing them to rupture and bleed profusely from the assault. Gamera joined in the attack, firing his own enhanced plasma fireballs at Godzilla, knocking over the radioactive beast. Gamera didn’t care whether this Godzilla was a genocidal monster like his other brethren or a defender of the planet like the second Godzilla who had died long ago. He had joined this fight, and Gamera would finish it.

    As the former Guardian of the Universe came closer to the fallen Godzilla, maser beams struck the wound in his shell. Gamera shrieked in pain as the destructive maser energy tore into him. He twisted around and saw the berserk Kiryu, eyes searing with bloody tears as it roared out to him. Flames from the surroundings mystically flowed around Gamera, seeping into his wounds and gradually rejuvenated. Kiryu fired more masers at the turtle-beast as Gamera retaliated with his fireballs. One of the fiery orbs struck the beam, while another zipped under and hit the chest of the cyborg, which recoiled from the sudden impact. Gamera rushed the stumbling mech, prepared to hack and slash the berserk cyborg. Kiryu’s synthetic screech cried out in defiance, striking back with its own metallic claws, the maser turrets on its arm dismounting for mobility. The giant terrapin slapped Kiryu across its chest, sparks flying from the cyborg. Kiryu responded by slamming his claws into Gamera’s face, slashing one of Gamera’s eyes. Gamera backpedaled as he clutched his bleeding eye, though Kiryu would give the rogue warrior no such chance to recover. With heavy, mechanical footfalls, Kiryu marched on–prepared to put an end to this.

    Godzilla stood up groggily and held his bleeding gills. He hadn’t expected for such a powerful beam to strike at his soft spot like that. He scanned his surroundings, trying to take in the chaos. What he did notice was the weakened Zone Fighter struggling to get up. Staring at the humanoid curiously, he watched as it summoned bracelets to its wrists and aimed them skyward as small beams continuously pelted at the humanoid giant. His arms were clearly wounded, but the Meteor Man held fast, even with what little strength he had left.

    “Meteor Missile Might!” the alien warrior shouted, firing his signature attack at the oncoming drone swarm. Several booming explosions scattered through the air, destroying a vast majority of the aircrafts, clearing out the first wave with relative ease. Zone Fighter then redirected his signature weapon at the injured wing of Ghidorah, shredding it in a blazing inferno. Weakened and tired from the mass invasion, Zone Fighter collapsed to the ground as the light on his buckle died off. His body fell limp, no longer having the energy to return to human form as King Ghidorah finally crashed to the Earth. Godzilla knew that the alien warrior had sacrificed its life to protect this planet, and he would return the favor by killing King Ghidorah.

    Gomora fell onto his knee, panting heavily as he delivered a decisive blow against Kamacuras’s injured body. Even if the insectoid left gashes and scars across his form and took one of his eyes, Gomora remained triumphant. However, it was not to say that it didn’t come at a price; for the loss of his two horns made it difficult to conduct his oscillation energies. Nevertheless, he would continue the fight. Surging his Super Oscillatory Waves, the subterranean dinosaur unleashed his most devastating blast at the strange, alien sphere in the sky, shredding through the armada and barriers in the process, only to be stopped by the final layer. Yet fate would not allow for Gomora to have this victory, as the pressure from intense usage finally snapped it off, causing the oscillation energy to backfire into Gomora’s face.

    With a miserable whimper, Gomora was blasted back and collapsed on the ground, bleeding and struggling to stand. He heard a small chittering beneath him, opening his eyes only to see the claw of Kamacuras slicing at him. Limply, he lifted up his arm and caught the insect, pulling it close and falling down, squashing it beneath his bleeding body. It was then that Gomora died of blood loss and exhaustion, finally putting an end to that pest.

    Amidst all the fighting, barely anyone noticed as Baragon slowly dragged the remains of Ultraman underground. He had followed after Gomora and Gamera to feed on the spoilers of battle, only to find several meals among the city which could keep him fed for weeks. Like a prairie dog, Baragon stood upright for full visibility, observing the bloodied and fiery battlefield. Only a mad cackle distracted Baragon, promptly followed by a jagged gravity beam to the face.

    The golden dragon had noticed the smaller creature trying to scavenge for the dead and decided to drag it into the fight as well. Baragon cried in pain as he was knocked out of his burrow. Righting himself on his two hind legs, Baragon screeched in fury as he stared at King Ghidorah’s injured form. The primitive beast processed that if he could kill the dragon, then he would have an even bigger meal to feast upon later. Baragon leapt at the dragon, slamming his horn into its damaged chest and pierced the shredded membrane, followed by spearing his nasal horn into the muscle-bound chest. The three-headed monster cried out, but was quick to snap back as it bit down on the smaller creature. Using its powerful neck strength, the hydra lifted Baragon out of its chest and spun around, tossing it toward the injured Godzilla.

    Godzilla knocked aside the smaller dinosaur as blue energy finished coursing through his spines. Sucking in air, Godzilla fired his atomic breath at Ghidorah, screeching from the intense heat. Unlike the other Godzilla it had faced, this one’s atomic breath wasn’t just pure power and energy. Instead, it washed over his body, snaking its way into the hole caused by Baragon. Screeches evolved into an unspeakable shrill as the hole in the dragon’s chest boiled until Godzilla came to a ceasefire. King Ghidorah wildly fired his gravity bolts with reckless abandon, striking everything within eyesight, unable to think straight. Godzilla and Baragon braced for the aimless blasts, shredding everything around them. That was not to say that they didn’t find their targets; for one beam bombarded Baragon, while another struck Godzilla in the groin, forcing the alpha predator to fall in pain.

    Baragon fired its Magma Heat Ray, hitting the hole in King Ghidorah’s chest, applying insult to injury as it shrunk from the heat. Godzilla got to one knee and fired his own beam alongside Baragon’s, combining into a mixture of cool blues and hot reds, and converged on the three-headed monster’s chest. King Ghidorah felt like he was burning alive from the fused beams, struggling to press on. A flurry of gravity beams shot out front the heads, as all three of its brains popped from the heat that sweltered in its body.

    At the opportune time, Baragon leapt forth and knocked the dragon over, tearing into the left head. Godzilla came second and stomped on the right neck, gripping the center head tightly. Pulling with all his strength, Godzilla tore the head off King Ghidorah’s body in a bloody mess, as Baragon succeeded in tearing open the left neck, happily chewing the flesh within. The right head shrieked in panic as the two dinosaurs killed off the other two heads. It tried desperately to free itself, but the crushing weight of the armored saurian was cutting off the blood circulation to its last remaining brain.

    Finally, a violent, deafening crack of the neck bones ended its life. With the last head falling over, Godzilla heralded victory to the sky, indifferent to Baragon gorging itself. Looking at the small carnivore, he growled to see whether or not it would join the battle with him. The simple creature ignored him and continued eating. Turning around, Godzilla went to deal with the artificial Godzilla and the rogue guardian.

    Ultraseven struggled against Gigan. The mechanical fiend may have only had one double chainsaw hand, but it utilized it to the greatest extent it could. Gigan slashed toward the weakened Ultra, his chainsaw blades revved excitedly, a feeling that matched its wielder. Ultraseven blocked it with his Eye Slugger, which now had several chips from the several clashes they had in their aerial duel above the city.

    He was feeling weak from the constant fighting he had gone through, both in space and now, having killed several alien beasts who had been under the control of the Xiliens previously. Ultraseven quickly focused hard on Gigan as he held the creature still with his Ultra Psychokinesis. Gigan froze in the air, struggling to move his body. Seeing Ultraseven channeling energy to his hands, Gigan quickly fired his Cluster Ray at the space agent. Ultraseven expected for this to happen and started throwing small energy beams from his hands, countering the scattering beam attack. He followed up his assault as the small shuriken like beams struck against Gigan’s armored body, generating small, but painful explosions. Gigan screeched out, wriggling in the Ultra’s telekinetic grasp, feeling the attack slowly breaking his armor apart. He fired his twin razor disks from his chest panel in a panic, forcing the Ultra hero to dodge and stop his torturous assault.

    Gigan felt his body finally be freed from his opponent’s psychic attack, taking a brief glance at the damage sustained. It was badly dented from the explosions, and his chest buzzsaw had some of its teeth missing. The cycloptic kaiju released a cackling shriek as it quickly flew at Ultraseven, who had successfully destroyed one of the razor disks. Ultraseven turned to face Gigan, who flew by with his buzzsaw active. He sliced across Ultraseven’s shoulder, slicing into his solar panel protectors. Gigan laughed as he flew past, only for the second razor disk to fly into his eye, blinding him.

    Seeing Gigan struggling with its damaged eye, Ultraseven placed his hands together, firing his Swirl Beam to conserve energy. It struck the mechanical beast in its legs, severing them in a large explosion. Gigan released a shrillish cry as he started to fall, black fluids leaking from his missing legs and arm. Ultraseven turned to face the Xilien mothership and prepared to charge into it. Just before he could fly off, the double-bladed chainsaw jammed into his leg at the knee. They started grinding, a showcase that Gigan still had some fight left in him. The saws tore into Ultraseven’s left leg, scattering blood and flesh about the air. Gigan then twisted his arm sideways, snapping Ultraseven’s leg, causing the Ultra warrior to fall toward the battlefield. Chirping happily, the light in Gigan’s eye diminished for the last time as he fell to his final resting place.

    Ultraseven felt his energy draining, his beam lamp flashing rapidly. Usually, he would have reverted to human form with an injury like this, but with all the threats around, he couldn’t risk it. He tried to stabilize himself in the air, managing to stop his descent just meters from the ground. Looking to his leg, he saw it was cracked sideways at an odd angle and was bleeding profusely. A purple beam struck him in the back, knocking the Ultra hero to the ground as Rodan rejoined the fray, having sat on the sidelines with Ebirah as the two went to assault the weak alien. Ultraseven pulled out his Eye Slugger, knowing that if he was to die, he would die fighting.

    Kiryu ducked under Gamera’s swing and slammed his shoulder into the turtle, knocking him back. Gamera fired his plasma fireball, detonating against Kiryu’s face, causing one of its eyes to melt and short circuit from the explosive impact. Its face was now scorched and glowing hot as Kiryu roared out in anger. Akane growled angrily as she struggled to help the Mechagodzilla fight. She couldn’t escape due to the doorway being melded shut.

    “I don’t know what the hell’s gotten into you,” Akane vented, seeing at just how much had changed with the former guardian. “But you’ve done too much harm to humankind. Please, just die already you stupid turtle!” Firing the maser cannons at the corrupted Guardian of the Universe, they sent him reeling in pain from the attack. Suddenly, several missiles struck Gamera from the pitch-black posterior, while some made their mark on his head. From the air came the Gotengo, which was smoking from an engine loss.

    “You doing alright there?” the surly man asked with a confident smirk, with the communications systems finally rebooted.

    “Could say the same about you, Captain,” Akane retorted, taking solace in their brief exchange, “I need you to break the latch on Kiryu so that I can escape.”

    “I’ll see what I can do,” Gordon replied in earnest.

    “Kiryu is operating on its own, so be careful,” she warned him.

    Kiryu moved in and kicked Gamera into a large building, the still-standing structure crumbling onto the wounded warrior. From within the cockpit, Akane noticed that the nearby flames were pulled toward the fallen guardian, seeping through the cracks. She recalled the documents from Gamera’s first appearance and his ability to manipulate fire. “No wonder he’s been able to keep it up for so long.”

    Beyond the screen’s field of view, she heard the whirring from the Gotengo. She had hoped that Kiryu would allow them to do what needed to be done. Unfortunately, things wouldn’t pan out in the way that she wanted. Before Gotengo could try to free the pilot, Kiryu twisted around and shot the machine down with a maser beam, sending the airship plummeting to the ground.

    “Kiryu, no!” Akane cried out in anguish, trapped within the confines of the mechanical cyborg. Before she could mourn the loss of her comrades, the radio flared to life.

    “We’re still alive,” Gordon crackled over the comm links, projecting a video signal to Kiryu’s monitors. He had sustained some injuries from the crash, but knew he would be all right. Akane sighed in relief, only for gravity to go sideways, almost sending her flying into a wall. She muttered a curse under her breath, knowing full well she would have to endure the conflict of colossal monsters duking it out, with her fragile life on the line.

    Kiryu found itself engaged with the monstrous titan, only to be slammed onto the broken asphalt by the powerful hands of the elder Godzilla, who had returned with full intention of dismantling the cyborg to free the trapped soul within. Kiryu opened fire, pelting the armored saurian with the electric streams that emitted from the cyborg’s mouth. Yet against the titan’s rocky flesh, it only charred the outermost layer, giving the King of the Titans ample time to lunge his stocky foot into Kiryu’s face. Such force caved in the metal that reinforced the machine in addition to ripping the entire head from the body, disconnecting the thick wires and spinal cord from the rest of it, with the mechanical dragon’s blood red eyes fading.

    Sturdy claws picked up the limp machine, his senses guiding to the damaged metal on the cyborg’s form. Chewing down with his incisors, Godzilla tore the metallic armor wide open, shredding the mechanical shell that hosted the skeleton of its species. His spines ignited with a blue light, mustering his atomic power to finally free the soul trapped within.

    Yet before he could discharge his signature weapon, in an act almost like that of a divine sign, the sky lit up with an illumination that brightened the battlefield. Many of the combatants stopped fighting, including the recent arrival of Sanda, who was prepared to engage Baragon. Godzilla stared at the symbol in the sky, finding that the emblem Ultraman had created finally was complete. It resembled a sun with a large cross, and eight wavy diagonal lines. Angelic singing could be heard in the air, calming those who heard it. Even the irritable Xilien commander sat in his chair and listened to the song. Ultraseven knelt on his broken leg, even as he and the two Xilien controlled kaiju stopped their attacks momentarily.

    When the choir faded, a loud chirp was heard from the sky as from the smoke and clouds burst a rainbow colored moth. Mothra Leo, the son of Mothra, had arrived. The strongest Mothra chirped, having been called to action by his mother’s insignia. Looking around, he saw the devastation brought about by the various creatures and blasted Godzilla with divine recompense, stopping him from killing the human that was still trapped within her confines. As the alpha predator was hurled into a nearby building by the multi-colored tri-beam, the son of Mothra saw the one creature that served as the root of the problem. He saw Gamera rise from the rubble, feeling his soul being corrupted by the spite he held, which was already altering his appearance.

    “I thought that Mothra retired?” Gordon said aloud, trying to gauge an answer from someone who would know.

    Mothra Leo was devastated when the last Mothra died protecting the Earth, just as his mother died protecting him,” a voice rang in his ears, causing Gordon to look around. He noticed the equal amount of confusion stirring his crew, assuring Gordon’s sanity.

    However, with the coming destroyers in recent years and the attacks of the Gyaos, he had decided to return to the fight,” a second voice said before fading away. Though he never saw the origin of the voices, Gordon knew that it was most likely the fabled Elias.

    “Sir, we’re picking up a distress beacon,” one of them said, “It’s Yashiro! She’s alive!”

    “Then what the hell are we waiting for?” Gordon barked furiously, “Deploy a Mutant agent and get her the hell out of there!” Without hesitation, one of the Mutant humans did as the captain instructed to a T. Deep down, Gordon breathed a sigh of relief. He wasn’t sure what kind of miracle had happened, though maybe it truly was Mothra that brought much needed hope in these trying times.

    Rainbow Mothra hovered above the two as Gamera rose to his feet. Gamera knew this guardian, that this Mothra was one of the best in the modern world. He had defeated threats to the planet such as Desghidorah, Dagahra, and even the mighty Grand King Ghidorah once upon a time, while he was waging war upon the Gyaos. Even in spite of the respect he held for the rainbow lepidopteran, Gamera roared to the godly moth with a simple, decisive warning: stay out of his way.

    Mothra chirped for the disgraced guardian to stop its attacks on humanity, trying to reason with him. Gamera growled at the powerful moth as flames gathered toward his face, using it to restore the wounds he had sustained. In tandem, he began to molt with an even harder layer, reinforcing his skin and armor to endure what had yet to come. His skin became pitcher than black, and the transparent lens over his eyes completely took over with xanthic, glowing eyes. Heralding a nightmarish roar, bearing the guilt of his traumatizing acts, Gamera was prepared to battle to the death if he meant he could see his mission through to the end.

    Leo cried out to Gamera, even if his feelings couldn’t reach the former guardian’s heart. Deep down, he knew something had to give, but until he could find out what that was, he was given no choice but to fight the Earth’s closest ally. All the while, the rest of the kaiju resumed their respective battles, ushering chaos once more.

    Godzilla stood up and stared at the giant moth above him. He knew that this was the creature that attacked him, even if it was one of her descendants, he wouldn’t hold back to those who didn’t know their place. Both creatures coincidentally fired their respective attacks at Rainbow Mothra, who easily dodged the fireballs and projected a pressure field to redirect the flames of Godzilla’s beam toward Gamera. The atomic fire burned into the terrapin and forced him back. Seeing that the humans had picked up their comrade and escaped into the ground, the vanguard of prosperity flew above the two and unleashed his reflective rainbow powder, paralyzing and inflicting stinging pain on the two monstrous powerhouses.

    The hurricane force winds slowly forced the two toward the harbor, with Godzilla issuing another burst of atomic flames, only for the energy to reflect off the powder. The energy coursed through the powder and struck both kaiju, bringing them both more pain. Fueled by his suffering, the black tortoise blasted a plasma fireball into the cloud, causing it to explode and hurled the two titans in opposite directions. Gamera landed in the harbor while Godzilla landed on the dock near Fukuoka city. As Godzilla stood, Ultraseven was tossed into him, causing the ancient reptile to turn to see Rodan and Ebirah approaching them. Even though this being was alien to his world, something told the alpha that the humanoid was not one of the invaders who sought to pillage the Earth. Roaring out to the two pawns, Godzilla stood protectively in front of the alien protector, threatening them to make the first move.

    Rainbow Mothra relentlessly bombarded Gamera with an array of Mineral Chest Beams, winged jade bolts, and Cross Heat Rainbow Lasers. Gamera’s haunting screech resounded in irritation and fury as the beams pelted him repeatedly. The Atlantean creature tucked in his legs and rocketed toward the moth deity, grabbing his body and slammed the moth into the ocean, wanting to take away his challenger’s advantage. Gamera roared at the moth, commanding it to leave, or else he would kill him without hesitation. Rainbow Mothra shined in divine illumination, blinding Gamera for a moment before he was dragged down into the ocean against his own will. Gamera stared at the phenomenon that swam around him, just as fast if not faster than he could. The usually dark harbor was lit up by several glowing crystals when a sleek insectoid shape darted through the water.

    Aqua Mothra chirped at him, expressing a strong desire to talk it out with the corroded Guardian of the Universe. Gamera expressed little interest, but gave Aqua Mothra the space to speak, who issued Gamera a warning to leave humanity alone. This triggered sweltering rage as the Atlantean guardian unleashed a vented scream underwater. For as much as he respected the Mothra’s strong sense of nobility, he was naive to the destructive ignorance of humankind.

    The dark warrior quickly sped toward Aqua Mothra, his yellow eyes piercing the darkness, and fired destructive plasma fireballs. Aqua Mothra barrel rolled around them and retaliated with his Cross Heat Pulsar beams, which bounced off Gamera’s carapace and were sent skyward as the turtle slashed at the aquatic moth. His claws barely missed as Aqua Mothra zipped by, only to curve around and speed back to headbutt Gamera, firing his V-shaped Crescent Dash Beams. They struck Gamera in the chest as the succeeding headbutt knocked the giant turtle back into some of the underwater crystals, destroying them. Gamera tucked in his limbs and ignited in a burst of evaporated ocean water from the flaming ports, spinning toward Aqua Mothra and grazing on the divine moth’s side. Mothra chirped in pain, the grinding shell generating sparks against his tough chitin. Leo zoomed through the aquatic terrain, putting distance between himself and the rogue guardian before turning to face Gamera. With another speedy dash, he slammed into the turtle-beast as the two continued their clash in the ocean.

    Godzilla kept a close eye on the oncoming threats, keeping tabs on their whereabouts. Rodan circled above, ready to strike, while Ebirah stood with claws ready. Ultraseven grumbled from exertion, who could only watch as Godzilla charged forth, echoing a deafening roar that trailed for miles. This prompted Ebirah to engage, in turn cueing Rodan to dive down. The two landlocked monsters crashed into each other, Godzilla grabbing hold of one of Ebirah’s claws and body, with his foe managing to clamp down his other claw onto Godzilla’s arm. The ancient superpredator snarled at the every-increasing pressure applied by the powerful vice grip, which clamped down harshly on his rocky skin. Ebirah was shocked as he felt himself being pushed back by the large reptile, squeezing harder in an attempt to free his other claw. Grunting, the alpha predator began to lift his foe to slam him, but Rodan’s intervention prevented that from happening with a close-ranged sonic boom.

    Losing his grip on Ebirah, Godzilla redirected his attention at the flying dinosaur, who was swooping around to meet him head-on. With claws outstretched, Rodan began to claw and peck at the mighty Godzilla, with the latter trying to swat the aerial monster to the ground. This distraction allowed Ebirah to rush forth and tackle the monster king’s legs, knocking the dragon onto Ebirah’s shelled carapace. With the legendary giant down on his belly, Rodan’s horns crackled and unleashed his atomic fury upon the dragon’s back, firing a swirling purple beam. Godzilla screeched as the burning hot energy struck his body. Ebirah mustered everything he could and shoved the gargantuan heavyweight off of him, who landed with a resounding thud. As Rodan continued to pelt the dragon god with beams from above, Ebirah charged forth and stabbed his face-protrusion into Godzilla’s gut.

    The combined might of the lobster’s claws and the searing beams from the atomic pterosaur irked a pained cry from the Titan king. Igniting a blue flare from the tip of his tail, atomic energy built up along his dorsal spines, his ancient eyes locked onto Ebirah. Opening his maw, he tried to fire a beam, only for the lobster to clamp down on his neck, clogging the energy at its source. Blue fire burst out of his gills, torching the chelae and forcing Ebirah to release his hold. Atomic flames shot violently out of his mouth, his throbbing head feeling immediate relief. The ruthless display struck Ebirah across the face, boiling the crustacean alive. With a quick sweep, the atomic fire clipped one of Rodan’s wings, hurtling the great dinosaur into the devastated ruins of Fukuoka. As the fires stopped, the monster king slowly got to his feet. Ebirah reeled back and screeched fiercely, prepared to continue the fight.

    Nearby, Sanda held up the fragmented crystal, eyes locked with the bloodied body of Baragon, who glared at the gargantua with animalistic intent. Baragon stood on the dead, partially eaten body of King Ghidorah, mouth bloodied as he warned Sanda to stay back. Sanda raised his crystal club and grunted back in a taunting manner, waving the dinosaur to attack first. Baragon took the bait and fired his Magma Heat Ray at Sanda, only for the bigfoot to use the crystal as a shield. The red beam struck the crystal, various lights reflecting off it, dampening the heat that it emitted. Sanda charged toward Baragon, tearing through the heat ray and leapt at the subterranean scavenger. The Baranosdragon stopped his beam attack and jumped high into the air, well over Sanda, which led Sanda to bash his club on the corpse of the dragon.

    With cumbersome speed, Baragon twirled and slammed his tail into Sanda’s back, sending the gargantua stumbling forward, tripping on one of the busted heads. With his foe off balance, the dinosaur bit onto Sanda’s leg, who cried out in anguished pain as he awkwardly twisted around and swung his heavy club at the dinosaur’s face. Unable to withstand the brutal blows, Baragon released its bite and hopped back, clutching its face with its claws and ears. Sanda stood up and brought the blunt crystal upon Baragon’s covered face, sending the creature careening back into the carcasses of Gomora and Kamacuras.

    Baragon tumbled over their corpses and righted himself, unfolding its ears and barking at the brown giant. He began to rush toward Sanda, as the gargantua ran toward him in turn. Before the two collided, Sanda swung the crystal that he dragged with him, hoping for a solid blow against the scavenger. However, the dinosaur leapt over the club, which displaced the air in its wake, and fired his heat ray into Sanda’s face, setting him aflame. Sanda cried in pain as he dropped the crystal and patted his burning head. The subterranean terror took advantage of this and knocked the brown gargantua on his face. He bit into the bigfoot’s shoulder, tearing out flesh and swallowing it. Sanda screamed in pain as he felt himself being eaten alive by the same species of dinosaur his father had once confronted many moons ago. Swinging his legs about, he managed to kick one of Baragon’s legs out from under him and twisted around, elbowing the dinosaur in the nose.

    The underground monster found itself off its prey, licking its mouth to clean off the blood. Yet Sanda was on the move, not giving Baragon a chance to recuperate. The brown gargantua clung onto its back as Baragon thrashed the gargantua, who stubbornly held onto him by the ears. Sanda struck the dinosaur in the head, triggering him to spontaneously fire his heat ray. Curious, Sanda hit the same area again, with the same results. Realizing this may have been a pressure point, Sanda verified with a third smack to the head. Consistent and successful all three times. Seeing some potential in this, he kicked Baragon on the side that spurred the dinosaur to charge forward, trying to dislodge his unwanted passenger. Seeing as they were en route to encounter Ebirah, Sanda hit the spot on Baragon’s head, causing the dinosaur to discharge its beam and scorched the large lobster on the back.

    Even when the armored carapace diffused the flames, the residual heat made it feel like it was being cooked alive. Ebirah’s shrills resounded from the massive crustacean, smacking Godzilla one last time before diverting its attention to the interceptors. With Baragon’s reckless charge closing the gap, Sanda leapt off of the lizard and slammed his fist into Ebirah’s thorny head, something he immediately regretted doing. Pulling his fist back, Sanda held it tenderly, noticing blood from his shredded flesh. Its exterior was simply too hard for him to penetrate, at least with his raw strength. Ebirah lunged at the brown gargantua, who had to swiftly evade the sharp claws that the lobster possessed, some narrowly coming close to slicing him open. Sanda shouted at Baragon, trying to urge the dinosaur with the promise of fresh meat. Baragon retorted with a shriek, only to be met by a thwack in the face from Ebirah’s tail. The subterranean monster acted on its impulse, which earned the wrath of the Baranosdragon.

    The alpha predator’s eyes glanced at the dinosaur that had helped him against Ghidorah, who was preoccupied with the monstrous shrimp known as Ebirah. However, he heard something slicing through the air behind him, twisting around, preparing a heavy payload of his own. With a sluggish twirl, Godzilla swung his tail high as it struck Rodan, sending the pterosaur through many buildings, one after the other.

    Rodan thrashed on the ground as he tried his hardest to get back up. He noticed Godzilla slowly walking toward him, his spines still glowing. Rodan righted himself and stood on the ground, staring at the vastly larger foe. He screeched out at the giant creature, who opened his maw to fire his breath attack. Just before he could discharge it, Rodan fired his Uranium Heat Beam into Godzilla’s mouth, misdirecting the giant’s head upward and hurling atomic fire into the sky. As the atomic flames illuminated the sky in a blue glow, Rodan flapped his wings and took to the air, maneuvering out of the way.

    Under the waves, Aqua Mothra and Gamera were tattered with cuts and wounds, their eyes filled with a fierce determination. Bursting forth amid a cloud of boiling water, Gamera propelled with his back-jets at the aquatic paladin, his elbow claws on prominent display. Aqua Mothra chirped back, who too sped toward Gamera, energy coating his spinning body. When the two passed each other, Gamera’s muffled cries resounded in the oceanic environment as he felt his shell crack and his arm crossed with lacerations. On the other end, Aqua Mothra’s wings had fallen prey to Gamera’s claws, part of it shredded and leaking blood into the bay.

    The rogue warrior knew without a doubt in his mind that, even if he could combat against the son of Mothra, the aquatic terrain was simply not working in his favor. Accelerating up the slope of the seas, Gamera emerged from the surface as he took to the skies. His yellow eyes brightened, noticing that Leo was quick to pursue. The moth god altered his appearance, changing from his sleek, aquatic state into the rainbow moth, with most of his wounds rendered nigh invisible to the untrained eye.

    Tucking his limbs into his outer shell, Gamera spun around at tremendous speeds. Fire erupted from his ports, spiraling around him. Effortlessly commanding the air, Gamera’s disk-like state soared through the dreary skies, prepared to ram himself into Mothra Leo once more. Before he could, the Rainbow Mothra suddenly scattered into thousands of crystalline moths, which left behind a cloud of reflective powder. Unable to stop his momentum, Gamera flew right into it, with the searing flames igniting the scales in a catastrophic explosion.

    Rainbow Mothra was quick to reform above where the blast had occurred, observing any trace of Gamera. As if to answer his question, a sudden fireball erupted from the blackened smoke, just grazing the holy moth’s wings. With a few, quick powerful flaps, he extinguished the plasmic fire, but noticed something… Off. Gamera started to eject his plasma fireballs in more frequent fashion than normal, yet none of them seemed as dead-set deliberant as they had been just moments before. Mothra saw Gamera gestate another fireball, absorbing the residual explosion to supercharge it. In preparation, Mothra generated his pressure field to deflect the oncoming blaze, only except it never trailed his path. Instead, Gamera shot it to Leo’s port bow, igniting an explosion amongst the clouds. This caught him off guard, but in a few moments, he saw why. A burning carcass scattered into several hundred pieces, with the rest of it falling to its inevitable death.

    Even with Gamera’s terrifying visage and dark heart, there was one enemy who would always remain the absolute threat to the planet; the culmination of human ignorance made flesh.

    The Gyaos.

    As though that were the catalyst to start a war, the screeches of death overtook all other sounds. Golden light filled the night sky, hundreds of sonic beams lanced toward the ground, almost as though the heavens themselves were unleashing their wrath. Their beams struck all the monsters with no discernment, the living and the dead fell victim to the supersonic rays. They even pierced the barriers of the Xilien mothership with little effort, with only the densest layer diffusing the sonic rays.

    Many of the living monsters took their own approach. Rainbow Mothra upheld his field, deflecting the Sonic Scalpels into the sky, slicing several dozen Gyaos into large chunks. Godzilla felt the beams sear into his armored hide. Ebirah and Baragon were better equipped with their hard carapaces, though even they were subject to the fury of the sonic beams as they bore into them. Sanda and Rodan dealt with the matter poorly, rendering their flesh with relative ease and eliciting pained cries from them.

    Gamera retaliated with several subsequent bursts of plasma blasts, even as his body deflected the Sonic Scalpels that illuminated the skies. Each fireball found a target in the dense cloud of Gyaos, sending several of the ravenous beasts to a fiery death. Yet something irked Gamera in the back of his mind. A familiar feeling he had thought long lost to him. One he hadn’t felt since he went on a warpath against humanity. He had to dismiss it and refocus on the real threat at hand. Screaming a challenge, Gamera followed the Gyaos that dove into the broken city, prepared to bring an end to this eternal cycle once and for all.

    “What the hell are these insufferable creatures?” X shouted in annoyance, continuing to view the carnage from his monitor. The Gyaos continued to tear through the mothership’s barriers, each ranging in various sizes. Some were human-sized, others as large as buildings. Nevertheless, they shared the same characteristics throughout; triangular heads, deadly claws, strong wings, and nasty, slurping maws that craved nothing but sustenance. Some pecked and slammed their thin bodies into the shield, while others continued to fire their Sonic Scalpels. Several of the beams struck the same spot on the force field managing to pierce through for an instant causing a small explosion within the sphere.

    “It matters not, this is the perfect opportunity to add onto my army.” X held out his hand and tried to force his will upon the Gyaos around him. When they continued their assault, X looked confused and once again attempted to bring the birds under his control. It was then that he realized that these creatures, with only a single chromosome forged through years of genetic research in their DNA, had no M-Base for him to control.

    “Insufferable earthling pests! Rodan! Ebirah!” In that moment, he came to an abrupt realization. “Hold on, I’m really left with just these two? Nevermind that, kill these insignificant birds!” Without missing a beat, Ebirah and Rodan, even in their injured state, did as they were told and made their advance against the Gyaos horde. His video drones scanned for the Gotengo, nowhere to be found aside from a burrow in its place. Not only that, he took note of the alpha predator and especially the alien agent, Ultraseven. The Xilien grumbled in disdain. “This isn’t for you. The sooner this is over with, the sooner I can claim this planet for myself.” That was his only confession, one that would go unheard.

    Under the whim of their new orders, Rodan screeched to the blackened sky, dodging several sonic beams. He fired multiple Uranium Heat Beams, sending several Gyaos plummeting to their doom. Others evaded the heat rays with swift, sinister grace, lurching in to feed on the radioactive pterosaur. Yet Rodan was quicker to the draw, accelerating at supersonic speeds to outpace the ravenous birds.

    Ebirah, Sanda, and Baragon found themselves swarmed by the bloodthirsty avians, which screeched and taunted the lowly kaiju. Ebirah witnessed Rodan outpacing these monstrosities, an order from the Xilien controller. In this very instance, it was in best interest to cooperate than destroy each other from within. To the best of their ability, they would ward off the Gyaos horde. For every one that flew in, Sanda would crush them with his crystal club; another deep-fried by Baragon’s heat ray; and yet another found itself entrapped in Ebirah’s crisis scissors, snipping them into considerable lunks of disgusting meat. Unfortunately for them, much like the mythological Hydra, for every one Gyaos slain, ten more would take their place. Nevertheless, even against the odds, they fought alongside one another, being careful to cover each other’s blind spots.

    Among the endless swarm, a significantly larger Gyaos swooped by and landed with efficient accuracy. It silently lunged for Baragon, who had been preoccupied with dealing with the smaller meat-eaters. Only Ebirah noticed this, and took action to ensure their survival. Swatting one last Gyaos out of the air with his claws, Ebirah scurried along and intercepted the giant Gyaos. Its blood-curdling cry caught the attention of the others, but even they couldn’t provide much help. The crustacean knew he was going at this alone, but if it served for the greater good, then he’d die for it.

    This ‘Hyper Gyaos’ fired a narrow laser beam at the lobster-shrimp, whose armor barely withstood the full brunt of its might. While it had partially deflected off his carapace, the sonic lance bore into his exoskeleton more than it did resist it. Even under duress, Ebirah tried to brush aside the pain in favor of simply injuring the large carnivore. The Hyper Gyaos evaded, making Ebirah’s movements slow and sluggish by comparison. With a flap of its wings, the Hyper Gyaos brought its talons to the forefront, raking the crustacean’s outer shell. Using this moment, Ebirah clamped his claws over the Gyaos’ left leg and pulled it toward him. He applied pressure, stacking it on as the Gyaos flapped with its powerful wings, dragging Ebirah with it. Still within reach, Ebirah used his other claw and reached for the winged demon’s neck, holding a vice grip onto it. Like scissors, they snipped the wicked creature’s head off, landing with a thud. Its whole body collapsed and was left for dead, Ebirah proclaiming a miraculous and triumphant screech. The lobster moved off the Hyper Gyaos, only for another two of its brethren to swarm the fallen carcass and consume it in an act of indifferent cannibalism.

    The Gyaos army cast their evil shadow over the corpses, feasting on their remains. They picked apart the dead without conscious thought, slavering for more. King Ghidorah’s beautiful body was torn asunder; Kamacuras’ rotted carcass pleasured the grotesque fiends; Gomora was shredded and consumed down to the bone; even the remains of Ultraman and Zone Fighter were ravaged by the voracious predators, their taste like nothing of this world.

    Ultraseven felt true rage at his comrades–his friends–being violated by these ravenous birds. But with his leg shredded from Gigan’s last attack, he couldn’t do much. He was at least grateful for the presence of the ancient Godzilla that stood by, blasting down the Gyaos that dared tried to have them as part of their twisted buffet. Seven stood up, holding the shoulder of a heavyweight to keep himself up. The flying death swarmed over them, only to be met by a fiery demise or slashed apart by Ultraseven’s Eye Slugger. Even those that tried to employ their slicer rays ended with them being deflected, courtesy of the boomerang-blade’s sharp curvature, even with the damage it had already sustained.

    Unfortunately, a sonic beam lanced into Seven’s already torn leg, dropping to the ground and clutching it in his hands. Godzilla realized this and lifted his hulking tail until it was well off the ground. Then with a mighty heave, he twirled around with a strong, but swift tail slam. Whatever Gyaos foolish enough to be in proximity had their heads, ribs, and wings shattered under its tremendous weight; even the ones out of reach were still afflicted by the air displacement, tossing them from the skies they reigned over.

    Godzilla came to a stop, his head throbbing and his vision blurry. Even if he didn’t focus on them, Godzilla’s dorsals flared a bright blue; an intimidation display. But not all heeded his warning, insteading firing their Sonic Scalpels at the large fins. Though they merely chipped at his rocky scales, the stronger variants left scars along the back spines, which leaked with atomic fumes.

    Much to their surprise, a winged beast came to their aide. Spitting a flurry of consecutive heat rays, Rodan swooped in and sliced the anorexic wyverns with his wings, while others were torched alive by his Uranium Heat Beam. Seven jolted in surprise–Rodan was among the Xilien monsters. Was it mere coincidence, or did the Xilien commander realize the severity of the situation? His answers came when three others showed up–two of which was already familiar with through documents. Baragon, Sanda, and Ebirah. Seven placed his hopes on the latter thought as he picked himself back up, pressuring his right leg to hold his weight.

    A powerful chitter boomed across the dark heavens as Rainbow Mothra effortly blasted the heathens to kingdom come with an array of forehead lasers and chest beams. For the first time, Seven could cling to the faintest sense of hope, one he had hoped would carry them to the end.

    For united, they could bring an end to the darkness.

    Gamera fought alone.

    Killing Gyaos was nothing new in his repertoire of accomplishments. It was his mission, his birthright. But with that came an emptiness. Perhaps because Gyaos reproduced so frequently from human demolition, he didn’t feel like he was saving the world from anything–just suppressing the inevitability. To deal with a problem, it must be pulled from the roots. That was what happened with the ancient civilization of Atlantis. What will happen with modern humans. Deep down, a question troubled his conscience; even if he eradicated the surface humans, would that ensure the survival of the Earth? Would another human-like species take its place, be it from Earth or beyond? He had to repress such thoughts until he only felt nothing but apathy. There was no room to be swayed; he had a mission to accomplish and uphold.

    If humanity met its end, so would the Gyaos. Then peace would finally return to the Earth. That was his last hope.

    But was it the right choice?

    He buzz-sawed through several Gyaos with his serrated shell, spilling their hideous guts; another he clamped on its neck with his tusked jaws, then blasted it apart with plasma energy. More he fired down from the sky, engulfed in fire and brimstone. Even as the Gyaos tried to cut into him with their Sonic Scalpels and ferocious appetites, the black tortoise felt nothing of it. Yet in his mind, the nostalgic feeling came washing over him again. What was this? A promise from a time long past? Or something he once held meaning to? He wasn’t sure, but couldn’t let it cloud his judgment.

    Just as it seemed this nightmare wouldn’t end, Gamera’s blank, yellow eyes flared when he saw a cluster of demon birds emerge from the clouds, almost like a sphere. And with it, that feeling called out to him, reaching for his stone-cold heart. Killing whatever stood in his path, Gamera pursued the massive Gyaos horde–for perhaps it held the truth he had sought for so long.

    The four giants surrounded Ultraseven, protecting him from the oncoming swarm that threatened to devour them. Even if the odds were against them, faith would pull them through. Godzilla and Baragon, despite the latter’s injuries, sprayed the dark skies with their luminous heat rays. Sanda, still regenerating his wounds, clubbed more Gyaos heads in, leaving them bloodied, mangled pulps. Ebirah assisted the brown gargantua by smashing and slicing the fiendish wyverns without mercy. Even in his weakened state, Ultraseven leaned against a nearby building for support and made use of his telekinetic prowess by tossing the Eye Slugger, dismembering many of the Gyaos it came in contact with.

    Mothra fried the ravenous demons with a quick pulse of winged lightning, leaving smoking bodies in his trail like flies to a bug zapper. Yet even his agility and swiftness was imperfect, as a couple of Hyper Gyaos body-slammed him from above, tearing into his fuzzy abdomen with their talons. Mothra was quick to discharge more jade lightning and electrocuted the demonic scavenger, though Mothra bled yellow pus from the claw marks left behind.

    Deep down, Leo was grateful he wasn’t the only one fighting this army. He was quickly reminded of Rodan’s presence, who crushed the heads of several Gyaos by the sheer force of his sonic booms. Even more felled by the might of the pterosaur’s Uranium Heat Beam, with only the more evolved variants withstanding the blast.

    Still, Mothra didn’t forget about Gamera. While he was more than grateful that everyone shared the same enemy at the moment, he wasn’t sure what to expect by the end of all this. Would he have to fight Gamera if he refused to listen? He didn’t want to. But the value of human life was too precious to put to an end, and Gamera threatened that right to life. Hopefully, by the end of all this, there would be one last chance to negotiate and put an end to this reckless feud.

    Rodan stood strong against the hideous monsters, banking a hard left to avoid the oncoming lasers. Even if they chipped his wings or his talons, the atomic pterosaur remained steadfast in his combat against this blight. His binocular eyes took notice of the disturbed clouds above, with an enormous cluster of these pests following suit. Regardless of how he felt, his master deemed otherwise. The Gyaos had to be stopped, and he had no say in the matter.

    In a matter of seconds, the second wave of darkness dispersed, replenishing the numbers nearly back to where they were before. In the center of this was a new figure shrouded by dark clouds, a creature different from the Gyaos, yet led them. Before he could fully register what it was, two red lithe tentacles darted from the shroud and aimed straight for Rodan. Faster than even the speediest Gyaos, Rodan couldn’t even fire a Uranium Heat Beam as the tendril pierced through his spiked chest with ease. He was taken aback by this sudden attack, only for a second one to constrict around his neck, snapping it without a second to spare. They receded back to their wielder, tugging Rodan’s mangled corpse with it.

    As Gamera closed in toward the creature in the sky, he cursed its existence. Blue membrane made violet from the light of the flames revealed themselves as a silver armored creature with crimson flesh, which slowly floated down from the clouds and smoke. One of its two spear-like arms stabbed into the dead monster of the sky, draining its essence into itself. Discarding the husk for its subjects, Iris, the Ryuseicho, hummed a divine cry, quickly encircled by several Gyaos.

    Several plasma fireballs flew out toward it, only for the Ryuseicho to slap them away with its tendrils, killing many Gyaos and setting the broken city ablaze. The others swarmed the relentless Gamera, who spared no mercy to the drooling fiends. As he breached Iris’ personal space, the crimson angel channeled two different energies into its tendrils. In one, the staple Sonic Scalpel inherited from the Gyaos lineage; in the other, crackling purple atomic energies forged from Rodan’s lifeforce. Both simultaneously discharged from the clamp-like tips, puncturing the black shell of the rogue warrior. The Sonic Scalpel tore the outer shell, whilst the false Uranium Heat Beam seared the open wounds. Gamera elicited an agonizing screech and lost his aerial momentum, dropping from the sky.

    With light bursting from its posterior, Iris revved its own rockets and propelled itself toward the falling Gamera, unsheathing its spear-hands to gut the tortoise. Just before he could, several multi-colored beams struck him against his silvery shell and halted the otherworldly entity in its place. Focusing its attention on this new threat, Rainbow Mothra emitted a high shrill, who showed disdain at the Gyaos progeny. Mothra sensed the great evil that dwelled beneath its angelic surface, but there was something within it too. But that quick blast was the only assistance he could provide to Gamera, as Leo found himself overwhelmed by the Gyaos horde beckoned by Iris’ command.

    In that time, Gamera had reoriented himself and charged straight into Iris, plunging his tusked maw into the crimson bird’s abdominal region. With all his might, Gamera shoved the false god through sheer force alone. However, Iris was quick to redeploy two of its tendrils, pelting his shelled body with an array of sonic cutters and uranium beams. The black tortoise remained steadfast until one of the beams struck him in the cranium, forcing him to let go. Iris prepared its blades once more, though Gamera had different intentions in mind. Tucking his limbs into his shell, they spurted fire as he began to rotate. The shelled warrior made his descent–with Iris in hot pursuit.

    The sonic cutters weren’t ending.

    The advantage they once held came quickly crashing down on them. An ensemble of Gyaos coursed through the apocalyptic skies, many of which flooded onto Godzilla, trying to rend his armored skin. The King of the Titans boomed a deafening howl, swatting the pests with his claws and tail. Spurts of atomic fire torched those that came from the front, but even then their numbers proved too numerous, even for the mighty alpha predator. An obvious indicator as his back produced more nuclear fumes, all from the damage sustained on his spikes. The giant behemoth lumbered away, distancing himself from all the others in order to purge himself of this blight.

    Baragon felt more scalpels slice into his hide. He was tired, weary, from the constant torment his body had to endure. Not helping matters was his depletion of his Magma Heat Ray, a weapon that had proved useful until now. It wore on his energy reserves, making him hungrier than usual. He wanted to run, but even his primitive mind knew the Gyaos would just follow him and eat him alive. So it was better to fight and die than death by humiliation. Yet it was an action he regretted, with a plague of Gyaos swarming over Baragon, stripping him of his flesh.

    Sanda barged in and tried to tear them off his ally, beating the devil-birds with his crystal club. The partially eaten Baragon discharged a heaty ray, with the illuminating horn scaring off the smaller Gyaos that were still light sensitive. Both fought their very best, that was until several sonic beams disarmed Sanda from his primary weapon of choice. Shouting in pain, the gargantua was stunned from the shock before picking up his dismembered arm. He shoved it into the severed point, letting his regenerative power mend and reconnect the tissue. Because of this, there was little he could do to assist his ally, as Sanda’s face grew pale and had no choice but to watch Baragon be eaten alive.

    Ultraseven felt his life force being drained away, witnessing everything they fought for fall apart. But even so, he would continue his sworn duty. Even with locomotion limited, Seven relied on his telekinesis to control the Eye Slugger, slicing apart the flying embodiments of death in rapid succession. But even he knew his end drew near, given his poor condition. His eyes glanced around, noticing Ebirah struggling with this second wave of Gyaos. He also saw Sanda and what remained of Baragon, a grotesque sight to behold. Seeing as Sanda had the best chances, Seven shouted at the brown gargantua to flee. But the hairy man didn’t respond, almost as if traumatized. He empathized with him, but again tried to get his attention. When it didn’t work a second time, he had no choice but to demonstrate with his own life.

    With his Eye Slugger still under his influence, Seven pressed off the building he had been using as support. Mustering all his strength, Ultraseven flew into the horde of Gyaos. Their teeth and claws hacked and slashed him, even dismembering the shredded leg that bled white plasma. Crossing his arms into an L-shape for what would be his last time, Seven fired his illustrious Wide Shot with all the power at his disposal. The supercharged ray eviscerated the demonic cretins, twisting his body around to eliminate as many of them as he could. The dark skies illuminated in a sunburst of light, for those caught in its explosive path. Even when golden beams speared his body, Seven pressed on. He screamed in rage, emptying his entire reserves in the process. The ray slowly began to fade away as the beeping green gem on his head lost its light. Ultraseven’s eyes went dim and fell from the sky, his Eye Slugger losing its telekinetic handler and slamming into the ground.

    Even with his arm finally reattached, Sanda was slammed by some of the larger ones, knocking him to the ground. Even when he tried to use his weapon, it merely cracked under the pressure of the Hyper Gyaos’ teeth, reducing it to a mere stub. This was not turning favorably for him, leaving very few options at his disposal. His regeneration was the only thing keeping him alive, though this was also torturous for the bigfoot with each painful tear and bite.

    He looked ahead, trying to stave off the starving beast with his bare hands. Ahead, he saw the cracked Eye Slugger embedded into the ground, just within arms reach. Reaching out, he screamed as a large Gyaos slammed onto his arm, breaking it. The Gyaos taunted him as it charged up a sonic beam, teasing him the fate of death by slicing it off. Sanda released an agonizing shriek, but the Gyaos firmly pressed on his chest, with full intention to finish off the gargantua. Accepting his fate, Sanda closed his eyes and prepared for the worst. He heard the beam fire and flinched, only for nothing to happen.

    Looking up, he saw that Ebirah had somehow clamped his claw around the Gyaos’ neck, causing the beam to misfire. Ebirah cried out in pain as he slammed the ravenous beast to the ground, cracking its neck, and subsequently knocking off all the Gyaos on the brown gargantua. Having saved the hairy man, Ebirah proclaimed a screech before falling over, curling in like that of a shrimp.

    Sanda thanked the shellfish, only for it to seemingly ignore him. Going over to the lobster, he found that the creature had died from its substantial wounds, as the sonic beam had weakened his arm enough to sever the claw. Mourning quickly for the creature, he patiently waited for his severed arm to reattach. When it did, he picked up the fallen claw and placed it on the stump of his crystal club, picking up the nearby Eye Slugger as well.

    Before he left, a couple of familiar cries caught his attention. Sanda was shocked to see who they were, and welcomed them graciously. Equipped for battle with the remnants scattered on the battlefield, the three of them charged into battle–putting their lives on the line.

    From inside the Xilien mothership, X rampaged in heated rage, killing whoever stood in his way. All he had for five straight minutes were undefinable mumbles or outbursts of swearing that put sailors to shame.

    “Damn it! These stupid creatures ruined everything!” X shouted as the last of his monster armada had finally died. It would take him months to remake the army and rebuild Gigan. Yet his attention became focused on an emergency alert that notified him of something amiss. Suddenly, the foundation of the mothership began to waver.

    “What’s going on? Get us off this planet!” X demanded with a pouty stomp.

    “We can’t!” one of the Xilien soldiers informed him. “The engine room has been compromised!”

    “WHAT?!” Shoving the agent aside, X glared at the drone monitors himself to see what he meant. What he saw was nothing short of the worst case scenario as he saw Gamera and another lifeform locked in combat, shredding through the many facilities of the mothership.

    “How did they–” X cut himself off, not even bothered to finish that statement. With a simple command to rewind the footage, X saw exactly what had happened: Amidst their air battle, the strange tentacled monster possessed the same kind of energy as the Gyaos, only except it had the power to puncture the last barrier. When it had ripped open this temporary hole, the two beasts bypassed it and continued their battle in the mothership. At this realization, X’s face went pale.

    “Shit…”

    Their colossal bodies rummaged through the last home to Xilienkind, tearing through the many chambers without much effort. Many of the alien visitors either fell to their deaths or were torn apart by the rampaging monsters. Eventually, the two of them burst through a large wall, made of bright red, seemingly biomechanical veins. They entered a spacious passageway to continue their fight, regardless of the Xilien fighter drones that immediately swarmed them.

    Still tucked in his saucer-like form, Gamera plunged into Iris, grinding against the phoenix’s abdominal region. Though it did little to saw into Iris’ outer shell, that strange feeling completely washed over him. In that moment, he realized what it was… But even with this knowledge, he knew he couldn’t stop. But now his heart, his quest, had been split in twain. What was more important? His destructive ambition to destroy all mankind, or his selfish desire to save the last speck of hope he’d cherished?

    Their fight once again took to the walls, grinding against it until the veiny enclosure caved into itself. Taking this new path, Gamera and Iris were quick to find themselves in yet another spacious domain of the Xilien mothership. Within it, a massive generator circulated with energies only comprehended by Xilien science.

    “No…. NO…” X cried out in frustration, not a soul uttering a word for the sake of their lives. “Not the shield generator!”

    “We’re trying to deploy forces, they’ll be there–” the Xilien subordinate was shot dead before he could even finish. X seethed in an all-encompassing fury. Not another word.

    Gamera swerved around the dashing tentaclancers, evading the various beams they shot from their tips. The dark warrior retaliated with several bursts of plasma fireballs, each of which Iris either dodged or retracted its lithe limbs to deflect into the Xilien chamber. The longer they fought, the more devastation they wrought unto the generator, destabilizing the source of the mothership’s protective fields. Gamera mustered more of his plasma flames, channeling it into high plasma before discharging it. Iris moved out of its path, but the destructive fireball lodged itself into the reactor, igniting in a tremendous, electromagnetic explosion that consumed them both.

    Even visible from the outside, the blast ruptured from the port quarter on the lower hemisphere, and with it the shields dispersed into particles of light. The Gyaos that had been swarming the mothership realized they could finally dispose of this alien presence and began to fire their Sonic Scalpels at once. Hundreds of yellow beams tore the spacecraft asunder, washed over by supersonic energies. Without the barriers to diffuse the rays, more Gyaos joined the fray in the destruction of the Xilien mothership. They sliced it apart without caution, the ship sparking rapidly as it fell apart, glowing with energy.

    In the command hub, X could only grimace as the room began bursting at the seams. Explosive blasts killed his crew and brought the walls around him crumbling down. “I won’t die alone, I promise you.” With a loud and terrifying scream, the Xilien commander uttered his last words, promptly being consumed by a great light.

    Under pressure from intense flames, the Xilien mothership was brought to utter annihilation. Bursting with destructive fire, the last-ditch effort of the Xilien warlord was a self-destruct sequence, in which culled the numerous Gyaos that swarmed it. Every last one of them were engulfed in a fiery demise, leaving only charred skeletons in their way as the golden sphere went down in a blazing ball of glory, lighting up the night sky.

    The moth god flew through the ravenous Gyaos swarm, firing all of his arsenal. Mineral Chest Beams, Jade Bolts, Sparkling Rainbow Busters, and Cross Heat Rainbow Laser beams tore into the Gyaos, annihilating many of them while he did his best to protect his back and wings with his pressure field, deflecting several sonic beams aiming at him.

    Rainbow Mothra did his best in eviscerating as much of the horde as he could. He could feel their evil, ravenous hunger, and it disgusted him. He fired various attacks into the flock of wings, killing several of them, but he was starting to tire from constantly having to protect his wings from the sharp sonic beams these creatures would constantly use. He spread his paralyzing powder around as much as he could, with the beams deflecting themselves around, slicing apart those unlucky enough to be trapped within the cloud of scales.

    Soon, Rainbow Mothra had broken through the cloud cover to see the brilliant full moon above him. Hundreds of screeches were heard in the distance as the moth turned toward the sea. His compound eyes scanned across the horizon, where the sunrise would be, simply covered in blackness. It was said the wings of a thousand Gyaos could blot out the sun, but the millions coming forth would cover the land, truly bringing this world into the shadow of evil. It would take them nearly half an hour to reach their location by the moth’s estimates, though he knew that it would be a miracle for any of them to survive the oncoming war.

    As he continued to spread his bright scales into the clouds around him, Rainbow Mothra had a feeling that he would die tonight, but he would fight to the end doing so.

    The King of Titans was struggling as he wrestled with the Gyaos that swarmed his ravaged body, though his concerns were with the others trying to survive the neverending onslaught of Gyaos. His broken spines released rampant energy, though much to even Godzilla’s surprise, this had a benefactor in place. Channeling his atomic power, Godzilla distributed it through the shattered spines and unleashed a sunburst of nuclear energy, atomizing the Gyaos on his back and sending the other ones packing. For the first time in a while, Godzilla could breathe again, though his wounds proved too severe. His rocky exterior was slashed and torn apart, bleeding from the gashes left by the hungry pests. Attracted by the scent of blood, Godzilla had no doubt they’d try again to eat him alive.

    With another wave of the nuclear pulse, Godzilla brought an end to even more of the horde. Yet compared to the thousands that plagued the skies, his contributions were minute by comparison. He stumbled around, his energy had drained considerable since this war began. He watched in disgust as their brethren were quick to devour the dead with no regard. Mustering his power, he fired his atomic breath and burned them all, with only a select few of the cannibals taking flight. Flames coated the infighting Gyaos cooking them alive while powerful waves of burning hot atomic power pulsed out from behind, tearing asunder those unfortunate enough to be behind the king.

    Reserves ran dangerously low, and with only a few steps, the Titan king collapsed among the littered corpses. Next to him, he had mistaken the creature for a Gyaos, but rather found it was the brittle corpse of Rodan. His tired eyes gazed upon the fallen warrior, who seemingly had gone unnoticed by the disgusting birds. The pterosaur’s neck had been snapped, and his beak foaming with filthy froth. Godzilla took his mind off the frail dinosaur, instead focusing on resting and fulfilling his primary duty. Before he shut his eyelids, unusual activity flashed out of the corner of his eye.

    Even in its anorexic state, Rodan’s body began to glow with a radiant light. Every fiber of his being scattered into golden scales, dissolving his physical form until there was nothing left. In what was supposed to be his death, Rodan found himself clinging to life. And now, no longer a thrall for the Xilien empire, Rodan could decide his fate. This was his decision to choose. His sparkly remains embraced Godzilla in a warm cloud, energizing him with a surge of newfound power. Godzilla felt new life run through his veins, his scales flaring a crimson hue.

    Now he would fight back. Now was the time to rise.

    They tumbled and fell from the air, their descent into a living hell.

    Trailing with fire and smoke from the destruction of the Xilien mothership, Gamera slammed against the falling Iris, taking him down to the ruined city below. The two titans fought for supremacy, in the end rupturing the earth from their combined masses when they landed on their feet. They wrestled from where they stood, Gamera doing his best to claw at Iris, while the other tried to stab the other. Soon enough, Iris had managed to stab one of its tendrils into Gamera’s side, driving it deep into the monster’s inner workings. The Atlantean creation kept in his pained cries, grabbing hold of the tendril and bringing up his other arm. A quick slash of his elbow spikes sliced off the sharp tentacle-lancer, forcing a panicked hum from the crimson phoenix.

    He had to kill Iris. It was his given duty.

    Asagi flashed in his mind.

    Iris opened its remaining tentaclancers, each pelting Gamera with the false Uranium heat Beams. It scorched his skin, forcing Gamera to backpedal.

    Why was she still here? Why didn’t she perish like the rest of them?

    Pincer-like tips smacked Gamera around, but the terrapin went in for a decisive slash. It was blocked by Iris’ spears, rendering it useless.

    There was already blood on his hands. He was too far gone now to stop.

    The two tussled, with Iris’ enhanced strength giving him the upper hand. Gyaos flew overhead like vultures, eager to consume the fallen.

    He couldn’t possibly be redeemed.

    Gamera’s shell backed up against a massive crystal tower, a residual sign of SpaceGodzilla’s presence. Pinned between a rock and a hard place, Iris speared both its arms into Gamera’s palms, impaling them to the crystalline wall. Its other tendrils charged uranium beams, prepared to fire at any moment. Gamera roared in defiance, even as the beams grew ever so brighter.

    Suddenly, they dissipated. Iris wanted to ensure that Gamera would suffer. Altering the energy source to its hereditary Sonic Scalpels, the Ryuseicho bore its narrow lasers into Gamera’s tough exterior. Green blood profusely poured from the wounds as Gamera caterwauled from the agony. Iris savored every moment he could, at least before he showed Gamera what would be Gamera’s undoing.

    The mythic crimson beast recalled its revival, for human evil had made it manifest into the world once again. By supernatural chance or a mutagenic birth among the Gyaos, Iris quickly rose through the ranks and regained the strength that its predecessor had, even if it couldn’t recall the human host it so desired. Regardless, it laid waste to the Onagawa nuclear reactor, lowering the mana levels and allowing the Gyaos to thrive in such conditions. At first, they tried to eat and attack him before he forced them to learn their place by slaughtering them, draining their power into himself. But it was also at the reactor that Iris found something else, one that substituted nicely in place of its original target.

    That something was what it would show him.

    Iris hummed tauntingly to Gamera as the guardian felt his energy being siphoned, adding to the red devil’s array of powers. Iris unfurled its yellow core, revealing an unconscious woman with a restored magatama tied around her neck. She was held by several tentacles as Iris taunted the guardian. Iris knew that many of the Earth’s most powerful monsters had a weakness. Just as Godzilla had his son he would die for, Gamera had Asagi. The first modern human to bond with him had left a lasting effect on the turtle’s mind and Iris intended to take advantage of that.

    Even his blank eyes transformed into an emotionally-driven scowl, at last destroying the wall of apathy that had driven him up to this point. Gamera’s furious howls echoed across the battlefield, but Iris was sure the Gyaos would keep them at bay. The phoenix enjoyed every second of it.

    Deep down, Gamera always held Asagi in a special place, even long after he had severed his connection with her. His mind traveled to dark places. What would she think of him now that he was destined for hell? His anxiety drove him to the point of maddening cries, now lost on the true intention of his mission.

    Was it for the world? Or for her?

    After so long, Iris finally found a suitable host to reach its maximum potential. At this point, she was no longer a necessity, for the fusion had already been completed. Gamera refocused on the issue at hand. Even with the mental scars this would leave, he had no choice but to make a vital decision.

    He had to save Asagi.

    Gamera’s leg rockets burst to life, torching the Ryuseicho’s spiked knees and reduced them to cinders. Unable to withstand the heat, Iris pulled out its spear absorbers. Even with this immediate wash of relief, Gamera swung his pierced hand at the gene snatcher, placing a firm grip on Asagi’s prison. Not wanting to have its innards torn out, Iris willingly released the woman from its grasp. It didn’t matter, as she had fulfilled her purpose. All that was left was a shell of a young woman who outlived her usefulness.

    Iris backpedaled from Gamera, leaving the two be. As Gamera pulled the dying flames into his body, Iris quickly looked around for anything it could use. Its glowing orb took notice of the decayed Ultraman that laid next to it. This would do nicely. It stabbed the dead hero’s body, siphoning whatever lifeforce it could extract. Feeling the power of Ultraman flowing through it, another of Iris’ tentaclancers channeled the Specium energy into it. Conjuring its array of powers, the legendary phoenix was ready to destroy its enemy once and for all.

    Suddenly, a boulder smashed against its armored back. This nuisance it nearly dismissed, until all three of them rang their war cries. Iris turned and saw not one, but three hairy humanoids making a mad dash for itself. Sanda wielded the claw of Ebirah and the Eye Slugger of Ultraseven, prepared to end this fight; Frankenstein refurbished himself by stripping the armor off of the cyborg Gigan, with a lance made of crystal and tipped with the alien’s double-bladed chainsaw; and Gaira, who wore a helmet made from Gigan’s cranium, ran confidently into battle with no need for surplus.

    Each went for a different tactic, with their own methods in mind. Sanda and Frankenstein circled around the vermillion bird, weapons drawn and ready to fight against the lithe extensions. Gaira, meanwhile, opted for a straightforward approach. Ramming his scaly, seaweed body against Iris, Gaira pressed his weight against the ancient lifeform and tried to gnaw at its core. Iris was quick to guard its yellow center with its spear-hands, but had to compromise balance as it took a step back. Beneath the upper beak that once belonged to Gigan, the green gargantua’s eyes were filled with a fiery spirit, even as Iris regained its footing and anchored itself to the ground.

    Sanda had to contend with two of Iris’ pincer-tipped tentacles, clunking the red crustaceous arm of Ebirah against the nigh metallic limbs. With the other, he had to be more precise with the use of his fallen comrade’s Eye Slugger, miraculously deflecting the other tentaclancer when they got too close. That was not to say every hit was perfect. More often than not, Sanda found himself skewered by the metal tips, tearing his rocky skin open, each ecliciting a yelp or a cry. Nevertheless, he continued on, fighting for a future for his family.

    Frankenstein felt fortunate not having to compete with two, as only one of the tentaclancers had pincers attached to them. The other had been previously severed, Frankenstein had assumed that was Gamera’s doing. He thrusted the makeshift chainsaw at the lone tentaclancer, keeping the tendril at bay. He had hoped to shove the weapon into the creature’s body if given the opportune time. When that time came, he’d be sure to stop the apocalyptic threat that clearly surpassed Gamera. He still felt resentment toward him, but he trusted his offspring’s sense of judgement. A creature that could compete with the rogue guardian had to be stopped, no matter the cost.

    Iris gazed at their feeble attempts. Such foolishness. If there was some special trick they had, it failed to see it.

    Gestating within its fluorescent orbs, smaller tentacles ruptured from Iris’ chest region, strapping around the green gargantua’s neck. Gaira started choking, releasing his grip and tried to pry the constricting coils with his fingers. Perfect. Lowering its spear absorber, Iris lunged it into the green gargantua’s abdomen, which came out the other side. Gaira could only choke out a shriek before it became muffled gurgles. Energy siphoned into Iris’ body. Although such a fool held no power to harness, the life energy acquired was more than enough of a vampiric treat.

    Sanda howled upon seeing his brother fall victim. Without a thought, the brown gargantua tossed the Eye Slugger at the phoenix’s compromised leg. The bladed boomerang embedded into the Gyaos-spawn’s thigh, Iris releasing its hellish shriek in response. It retracted its smaller tentacles as Gaira’s blood helped him slip off the hand-spears. Iris’ orb flared, commanding the tendrils to go all-out. The two that faced Sanda opened wide, forming super-compressed heat in their openings. With only a second to spare, Sanda held Ebirah’s claw in front of him, which had to take the brunt of what came next. False plasma fireballs discharged, bombarding Ebirah’s claw in the process. It barely held, with Sanda taking the rest that came with it.

    Frankenstein grimaced, being unable to save either of his offspring. But he did the one thing he could. Aiming the chainsaw blade at Iris, Frankenstein charged with reckless abandon–he needed to land this hit. The chest, the legs, it didn’t matter. All he needed was a well-placed strike, but Iris wouldn’t allow that. For the sole tentaclancer harnessed the power of Ultraman, casually firing into Frankenstein’s makeshift armor. Even if Gigan was made of sterner stuff, it barely held under the raw might of the Specium Ray. Rupturing shattered armor and blood, Frankenstein yelped, but pressed on. He came so close… That was until he was strapped by the nub of a tentacle, coiling around the arm that held his weapon. With a swift and merciless crack, it snapped the mutant human’s arm, forcing him to relinquish his determined grip on the chainsaw-spear. With assistance from the claw-tipped tentaclancer, they hurled the broken and bloodied body of Frankenstein like it was nothing.

    With a wicked gaze, Iris jeered upon Gaira, who remained unmoving. Turning its back on them, Iris resumed what it was originally set out to do. That was until he casually noticed the brown gargantua.

    Blood leaked from Sanda’s jaws, his stamina all but gone. Before Sanda could react, a final white-hued sonic beam burst through his charred, but furry abdomen, spearing him like a lance. It was then the mighty gargantua felt his wartorn body finally fail him, falling without resistance in the shadow of Iris. It was then the battlefield fell near silent…

    Sanda’s, Gaira’s, and Frankenstein’s sudden harsh but steady breathing alerted the Ryuseicho the trio needed a final blow. One tentaclancer summoned Ultraman’s specium ray. Another channeled Rodan’s stolen power, burning the landscape around it while the final focused supersonic energy to form its signature weapon. Iris bellowed a final cry, instructing the gargantua’s that their attempts were all in vain merely for the heavens to screech in defiance.

    Iris’ tilted its head backward and gazed into the darkened sky to discover Mothra Leo dive bombing its position. The tentaclancers which once charged to vaporize the gargantuas turned upward, unleashing three rays toward the incoming guardian. Orange, yellow, and white energy struck their target, yet instead of Leo, the beams flowed around it like water, deflected by the moth’s pressure field. With the beams surging around him, Leo flapped its wings intensely to push itself forward, but the distance proved too great as the pressure field finally gave way. Fire and sparks cascaded around the guardian, its sight hazy but still focused squarely on Iris. Its chest flashed an emerald glow, the last vestiges of its power summoned to vanish the evil presence’s grasp upon his world, but the shadow struck out too fast.

    Two tentacles swung outward and with immense force, striking the dazed guardian with a climatic shockwave. Iris kept up the momentum though, pummeling Leo’s battered body through rubble in a circular path around itself. Dust filled the air along with Leo’s anguish filled cries before Iris’ tentacles slipped off the moth’s form, allowing the guardian to slide to a halt near the gargantuas, a land now encompassed in fire.

    Rubble around the humanoids began to rage in a blistering inferno. Crumbled buildings liquified into a crimson paste while a leviathan of ancient origin wandered into Iris’ view. Veins lined the arrivals body, flowing with nuclear energy as its body glowed from the fires coursing across his frame. The burning form of Godzilla let loose a warcry to Iris. He would be its end.

    Iris retracted its tentaclancers, allowing them to hover just behind his own head. An overwhelming, arrogant bellow boomed in response from the demon. It held only one meaning. Proceed.

    Flames snorted from Godzilla’s nose before he charged forth, alighting the ground beneath his monstrous heels. With his allies close he couldn’t risk a pulse, so he’d have to burn the abomination into ash! Godzilla bellowed a roar which shook the thick clouds above before he turned and swung his tail like a whip. Iris brought up his left, scythe like arm to intercept, tanking the full blow. Even with the deflection, superheated winds bathed the Gyaos mutation leaving no doubt he needed to avoid a direct confrontation with the titan. Iris stumbled back and as Godzilla faced him again, a variety of rays burst from his tentaclancers, hoping to force the king to kneel.

    The earth violently parted, a drill the source of the destruction as the Gotengo arose from the cavernous depths below. Its sensors prioritized the first battle, snapping to Godzilla and Iris before optical camera’s spotted the source of the chaos standing alone in a deepend crater, Gamera. Gordon held no remorse as weapon systems came online. His eyes focused on the battered fallen guardian of Earth, ready to blast it to pieces with his prized vessel for all the sins it enacted, but the sight of a young woman barely moving in Gamera’s open hand caused him to yell, “Hold fire!”

    The roar of Gotengo’s engines caught the attention of Gamera. Yellow, distraught eyes glanced at the incoming warmachine. The rage which coursed through him, the anger at humanities constant failures urged him to destroy it without a second thought, but for the safety of Asagi, he allowed it to land nearby. The terrapin took a step toward the Gotengo and gently placed Asagi beside the vessel, watching humans run toward her position to secure her safety. Gamera continued to watch Asagi from afar, but a withering cry from Godzilla brought a renewed fury to the guardian. He couldn’t stand by any longer, and only he could end the chaos of the night.

    A threatening snarl echoed from Godzilla’s fiery jaws before he smashed his right claws against Iris’ head. The demon recoiled backward a single step, his face smoking and sizzling from the brief hit making his next move all the more dreaded. Iris retracted his right arm, swinging it outward before he thrusted it forward with all his strength. An deafening cry of anguish followed.

    Iris’ right arm speared through the legendary beast’s armor with ease, but even as organs were shredded to nothing, the appendage which accomplished the damage morphed in seconds into nothing more than black ooze. Molten blood of Godzilla, mixed with the liquid remains of Iris’ arm, spilled from the fresh wound while both monsters retreated to tend their wounds. The Ryuseicho held his stub of a right arm close, withholding the urge to bellow in anger and hoping Godzilla would fall, but the leviathan smashed his right foot down, defiant even with such a mortal wound.

    Great swaths of fire churned deep within Godzilla’s maw. His spines cascaded with nuclear power, enough to vaporize the demon where it stood, but as two reptilian hands grabbed the titan’s spines from behind, Godzilla quickly realized something was amiss.

    Gamera’s wary eyes narrowed. If any monster possessed the power to overcome the shadow before them, Godzilla possessed it, but Gamera would not allow such a fate to befall the mad guardian. It was his rival, his mission which drew the shadow from the Earth’s depths and only he would send him back! The fires coursing across the leviathan’s body blew backward, enveloping Gamera who began to glow. The veins within Gamera’s skin illuminated crimson while his body entered a critical state of being unlike any he held before. With fire surging around his eyes and power cascading across his body, Gamera swiped Godzilla aside and charged at Iris, ready to end their fated duel once and for all.

    Iris panicked and brought two of his tendrils to stab the turtle only for Gamera to bring his elbow claws to bear. Energetic deflections from the claws sent the tentacles rocketing away, allowing the fallen guardian to move in close. Using every ounce of power in his reserves, from the crystals of SpaceGodzilla to Godzilla’s stolen power, the Guardian of the Universe concentrated it all into his maw, compacting it into a single, glowing hot, white plasma blast. Iris could feel the heat emanating from Gamera’s maw scorching his flesh but paid it no mind. If he were to die again, he would take the source of his hatred with it. What other end could there be? With his remaining tendril, Iris rushed it between him and Gamera and fired as his rival did the same. A white light unlike any the world saw before exploded outward, wiping out the surrounding Gyaos as it overtook all within the desolate city. The forceful winds knocked Rainbow Mothra into the harbor just as the flames overtook the air above the waters themselves.

    As the flames and light began to dim down, the world was silent. A massive crater now took the place of the city, with no trace of either monster inside. From the edge of the blast, a mound of dirt and rubble began to shake and shudder, blue smoke rising from beneath. With a loud crash, the rubble burst open, revealing Godzilla roaring out in pain. His body was covered with burns and wounds, his back trailing with blue smoke with the loss of his remaining dorsal plates. He then began to look around at the destruction before him. Everything was burning and crumbling to pieces.

    At the epicenter, where the two would have stood, remained nothing but glowing hot bedrock. Aqua Mothra burst from the waves and flew around the air as he took in the damage. Frankenstein, Gaira and Sanda, awakened from the cataclysmic detonation, warily gazed down the steep sides of the feature. As the final five monsters began to move closer, the ground began to shake and shudder. From the molten bedrock arose a burning Gamera, one arm lying limp at his side while his skin cracked and fractured. Pieces of hardened flesh, of visible trauma molted off of the victorious guardian’s whole body as he roared of his survival. When the light of the rising sun finally struck Gamera, it revealed not the nightmarish figure he had become, but the guardian he once was.

    “What the hell happened?” Gordon asked as he saw the six remaining kaiju stare at each other. Before any could answer, alerts began to sound out on several monitors causing the men overlooking the radar to visible panic in their seats. “What’s going on over there?”

    “We’re not sure, but the radar system… it’s… it’s picking something up,” the radarman yelled as the screen slowly began to turn red. Static filled the room as one of the monitors slowly filled with the image of the Commander, holding a weapon in hand as panic ensued behind her.

    “-ain Gordon, can you read me?” She spoke with a sense of urgency in her voice.

    “I hear you alright,” he responded, the beeping of the radar looming closer.

    “Good,” she said shakily, the sound of the building shaking echoing around her. “I am sorry about this, but I don’t believe you will be coming back alive this time”. This caused the captain to snap to attention for once. “Nearly half an hour ago, we got several reports from other countries that thousands of Gyaos were seen flying over their borders, all heading toward Japan.”

    The beeping echoed in the silent room as the radarmen began to realize the true meaning of the red band filling their screens. Dust and building debris fell around the commander as the screeches of Gyaos resounded. She looked around in concern, several mutants behind her shooting at the roof as she turned to finish her message.

    “We cannot send you any reinforcements as the entire force is currently fighting off Gyaos on all sides of the country, I truly am sorry, but it has been an honor.” With that, the screen cut out, showcasing the horizon where Captain Gordon could already see the violent flapping flickering across the sky.

    “Well then,” he said standing up, his voice now broadcasting across the battleship. “You heard the woman. If we are going to die tonight anyways, we might as well go out fighting.” Holding his sword up, he pointed toward the horizon. “Rise up men, it’s time for war!” With that, various Mutants began rushing throughout the Gotengo, some heading off to arm themselves for battle while others headed toward the hanger for fighter jet deployment.

    Aqua Mothra chirped to Gamera, warning him of the oncoming horde of Gyaos heading toward them merely to hear a grunt of acknowledgement. Gamera echoed another grunt for the moth to leave this warzone, wanting at least one guardian to survive the coming onslaught and repair the damage unleashed upon the planet. The Earth needed someone like Mothra Leo who could revitalize her mana, something Gamera could never do. The ground quaked beneath Gamera as Godzilla came into the guardian’s view, giving him a glare only reserved for those he wished to kill.

    Siphoning his energy. Attempting to kill him. Godzilla displayed the anger of such acts upon his face while he stared at the terrapin, but as he closed his eyes, he let the emotion fade. With a simple nod, he signaled he would stay, if only to ensure the turtle would not die so he could clash with him personally. With what seemed like a smile, Gamera nodded before turning and looked at Leo in its Aqua form and the humanoids watching from afar. Gamera made no roar to convince the others to leave, but summoned pure plasma into his jaws. This fight was theirs alone…

    Leo uttered a chirp of disappointment, but knew it could not stay. Reverting to its rainbow state momentarily, Mothra flew over the two giants, releasing particles of energy that seemed to revitalize Godzilla and Gamera as well as the ground beneath as flora began to grow rapidly. Bidding the two luck for the oncoming fight, Leo transformed back into his Aqua form and flew off toward the sea with the gargantuas roaring in support as they spirited just behind.

    Gamera silently thanked the moth for accepting his request to help the Earth recover her mana. As the Shadow of Evil overtook the Rays of Hope on the horizon, Gamera could feel a pulse of life through his bond with Asagi’s faint presence in the back of his mind. He and Godzilla would most likely die fighting the Gyaos, but they would show why they were two of the strongest defenders on the planet.

    He would show the world why he was the Absolute Guardian of the Universe.

    Winner: Gamera (Heisei), Godzilla (Legendary), Mothra Leo, Frankenstein, Gaira (Showa), Sanda

     

    A very special thanks to E.J. Su for again, creating some fantastic artwork for the K.W.C. We were excited to have him return in force for our three-hundredth match and he definitely delivered! In regards to his previous work, I would highly recommend checking out Godzilla Legends #4 or the many Transformers comics he is credited for including Revelation, Devastation, Escalation, and more. Lastly to see the unaltered banner, you can check out the image below.

    K.W.C. // July 12, 2020
  • Author: Harley Jameson | Banner: Christian Gonzalez

    Emiko still hadn’t sorted through all of her father’s old things yet. It had been a few years since he had died and even though his will stated that she and she alone got to keep his possessions, she didn’t have the heart to go through them just yet. It somehow felt like she was disrespecting his memory.

    With Ogata off at work though, she normally had the day to herself. She normally got most of her chores done by mid-afternoon. She smiled a little as she sipped her tea and watched the news, it was certainly easier to clean the house as a modern woman of the 80s than back in the 50s.

    The 50s… Emiko frowned, slowly lowering her tea. She looked down at her reflection in the liquid, and even though it had been 30 years, she could still see the wounded as if she were back in that field hospital. The moaning sounds of the dead, the constant crackle of a geiger counter. The terrible, deep roar of…

    No, she mustn’t dwell on that part of her past. She closed her eyes, willing the awful memories to go away before sighing. Perhaps she would finally go through her father’s old things and sort them out, what harm could there be?

    She set a few boxes down in her room and began to file through them, falling into the old habits she had thought she had forgotten back when her father was still alive, pushing all of his scientific papers in one neat pile, his personal papers on the other. She smiled a little as she unearthed an old photograph of the two of them, smiling together at a beach. It was one of the last pictures she had of him before she moved out.

    It was the second box that piqued her curiosity, pulling out a worn leather journal. She frowned, looking at it oddly. She didn’t recall her father being the type to keep a journal, and flicked on one of the lamps at Ogata’s desk and sat down, going through the old pages and beginning to read.

    November 17th, 1965

    Due to recent events, I feel compelled to write my experiences down in this journal. For what purpose and for whose eyes, I have yet to figure out. Perhaps Emiko will inherit this journal when I pass, for after the events of the past few weeks my heart feels weak and my spirit even less. The exposure from the radiation of that fateful Trilobite certainly has not caused my health to increase.

    But I write on anyways, so my conscious can be clear, for I know that they will cover up this event like they tried to do with Godzilla. And in some ways, I fear that this is worse.

    One week ago, I had received a call to my home. Emiko has moved away and I confess I am still not entirely good at socializing over the phone. I am grateful that Emiko didn’t get my social awkwardness. As I am retired, normally I receive calls from various colleges to give lectures or talks about my field of study. I am after all, still a paleontologist and a man of science, even if such titles have been strained recently due to Godzilla. While I do not consider myself an expert by any means, it seems the public has a different opinion.

    I picked up the phone, not really expecting much other than the usual offer to come out for one scientific discourse or another.

    “Doctor Kyohei Yamane?”

    “Yes,” I replied. “This is Doctor Yamane. To whom am I speaking with?”

    “My name is Captain Terasawa, of the JASDF.” I frowned, what on earth would the Air Self Defence Force want with me?

    “And why exactly are you calling me, Captain? I don’t believe a retired professor of paleontology can be much help for the JASDF.”

    “Ah, that’s where you’d be mistaken, Doctor. I understand this may be painful for you, but you’re the only expert we can really call on. There’s been a mysterious atoll floating around the area recently. And it’s soaked in nuclear radiation.”

    My heart stopped beating for a few seconds. I do not need to remind whoever may be reading this that the last time I had been called for such a task, the end result was none other than Godzilla. Had my worst fears come true? Had another Godzilla surfaced so soon?

    My hand was shaking as I held the telephone up to my ear properly. “Captain.” I said, “Does this have to do with Godzilla?”

    There was silence, and I closed my eyes and prayed that he would tell me no.

    “Mercifully, it appears that whatever this atoll is, it’s not related to Godzilla in any way we can figure out. Still, we can’t be too sure and we would like your expert opinion.” I sighed in relief.

    I am only the expert in “Kaiju”, as I believe the term was coined, simply because I was one of the few scientists who survived the attack in Tokyo, and have a first hand knowledge on such creatures of size and power. I admit it did not fill me with confidence at the potential idea of another, separate monster other than Godzilla, but as much as I hate to admit it, my curiosity is my weakness.

    “Alright, Captain. I think I can agree to your request for aid. Just be warned I am an old man now, even older than I was back in the 50s. I may slow you down.”

    “With respect, sir, your expertise will be most appreciated. We’ll send an envoy to your home to pick you up. We’ll be seeing you within the hour, sir.” I put the phone down and ran a hand over my head. I felt in that instance a deep regret that I let my scientific curiosity override my judgement, and yet I also felt a hope that perhaps this time, all I could find was in the end, nothing significant.

    Why do I continue to believe such foolish hopes, when in the end death is all that waits at the end of these rabbit holes?

    Despite my misgivings, I had packed up a few portable instruments and jars as i had done over 10 years ago. Old habits tend to die hard, I find, and I was already in a fresh suit when the military jeep arrived and a young, fresh looking face greeted me. He shook my hand and we exchanged pleasantries, telling me of my destination was going to take me across the waters of Tokyo Bay and out towards the pacific.

    I admit it was a strange sensation, stepping foot on the little dingy that drove me out towards the battleships. I could see the atoll in the distance, it was rather hard to miss of course, but my eyes were drawn towards the water.

    I can still picture that day in my mind as if it happened yesterday. The cheers and well wishes of the crowd as we all embarked on that fateful voyage. I will never forget the look of anguish on Serizawa’s face, his… his Oxygen Destroyer cradled in his hand like it was a child. In some ways, it was his child, and that child was going to be used in a purpose he had sworn to himself would never be done.

    As we passed by the very spot, I remember Godzilla pushing through the waves one final time as the Oxygen Destroyer claimed his life and the life of dear Serizawa. That final, unholy roar will be in my nightmares for eternity. I held Emiko as she wept that night over our loss, and to this day I am sad that there was not a body to be buried. At least his memory will live on, and his sacrifice never forgotten.

    But if there is one thing I have learned, is that all military ships look the same. I was helped on board the battlecruiser and shook hands with Captain Terasawa. He was a handsome young man, with a bright face and intelligent eyes. “Doctor, it’s an honor to meet you. Come right this way and I’ll be able to brief you. You must be tired from such a long journey.”

    Despite my age, I was not yet ready to admit that I was feeling tired. I straightened my jacket and gave him a stern look. “I am perfectly fine, Captain. The sooner we are capable of discovering this mysterious radioactive atoll, the better I say.”

    He chuckled, and lead me down into the bowels of the ship, the waves lulling gently against the hull as we walked into a briefing room, where a handful of people, other scientists and a few military advisors, I would later discover, were crowded around a small table. “Doctor Yamane.” He announced, and he indicated the seat that I was too take.

    I felt… very out of place at that meeting. I was the oldest there by quite some years, and they all looked at me with a mixture of emotions I am still unable to sort through properly. But they all clearly believed I was somehow worthy of their respect as the deliberations for what this strange floating island could hold.

    “For Doctor Yamane’s benefit, I would like us to recap events so far.” The Captain stated, sitting at the head of the table. There was a murmur of agreement around the room, and he cleared his throat.

    “There have been accidents recently around the coastal waters of Japan regarding this mysterious atoll. All of the accidents have reported to have been carrying radioactive materials in some form. The atoll also appears to have been moving more towards the land recently, towards the bay specifically. We are unsure if this is the natural trajectory path or something… else.”

    He cleared his throat, shuffling a few newspapers. “Despite this uncertainty, we can understand that the entire island as it were is completely soaked with vast amounts of radiation. If this were to reach near the shore, I don’t need to tell any of you gentlemen the consequences of it all. We’re hoping that you all here may be able to think of a solution to repel this back out towards the ocean, where it can be safely dealt with.”

    My intrigue was very much piqued. I steepled my hands together and dwelled on what the known facts were. I disliked the idea of nuclear material being transported so casually, but even after the attack on Tokyo, it appears my protests fell on deaf ears. The fact that it appeared to be moving on its own however, was curious. I leaned forward slightly. “Is there anything that we can detect that could be the cause for this.. Atoll to begin moving towards the bay? I do not need to remind you that the force needed to uproot and move such a landmass perpetually through the water would be far greater than anything we are currently capable of.”

    I didn’t want to let my mind dwell on the possibility that it was a monster of some form, hiding beneath the waves like Godzilla had done. Yet the intrusive thought continued to pervade as we continued the discussion, eating at my mind like a parasite.

    “Is there a way we can reverse it’s trajectory?” One of the other scientists, I’m afraid the name slips my mind at the moment, piped up. “Push it back with force, perhaps even destroy it?”

    “No.” I stated firmly. When will these fools learn that destruction was never the answer to their problems, when a rational head and calm observation could be more beneficial? “Whatever has forced this atoll to start drifting, we already do not have anything capable of pushing it back.”

    It made my temper rise slightly to think that it was man’s meddling in nuclear energy that had caused all of this. To think that once again that destructive energy could wreak havoc on my beloved home. Haven’t we suffered enough for our mistakes of the past?

    “That leaves us at a bit of an awkward position, Doctor.” The Captain said. “There is something I think is worth nothing however. I was in the air taking reconnaissance pictures, and I have to admit I’ve never seen an atoll look like this before.” He handed out copies of the pictures to each of us, and we all grew silent as we studied them.

    I confess that in that moment, I wondered if it really would be wise to suggest the idea of another monster like Godzilla. The images to me, as a paleontologist, reminded me of the skeletons we had unearthed of strange, bird like creatures where all thought the lost city of Atlantis might be. Of course, I never put much faith into the stories of Atlantis, but the fossils of these creatures have puzzled me to this day.

    But before me was the unmistakable outline of a what appeared to be a turtle shell.

    I licked my lips, feeling the cold adrenaline of fear shoot through my body. I looked up at the others, and I saw that they had absolutely no clue what to make of it. Perhaps, I was being paranoid. I could hardly blame them for thinking that considering my experiences, but had they not called upon me for that very reason?

    I cleared my throat. Perhaps it was nothing, but I would rather be sure. “Gentlemen, I believe…”

    Before I could even finish, the boat rocked violently. We all grabbed onto the desk and held on tightly. We all looked up in alarm as one of the crewmates burst in through the door. “Captain! The atoll is breaking apart!”

    Despite the Captain telling us to stay put, I don’t believe a single one of us actually bothered to do so. We all followed him out onto the deck of the ship, where to our astonishment and amazement, the atoll began to break away. Giant chunks of rock chipping away and falling into the ocean like falling glaciers, spraying water high into the air.

    Then someone gasped, and the rest screamed. I clenched my hands behind my back as my fears had come to flesh. Flexing powerful claws, white tusks jutting out of its massive jaw and eyes that burned like orange flames, was another monster.

    We had no name for it at the time, but after some more research I had discovered a potential name for this creature that I believe to be accurate. An ancient creature of legend, from a time where monsters ruled this earth, a vicious machine of flesh to purge the world of evil. I shall refer to this monster as “Gamera” for the time being.

    Gamera was, to my estimate, 95 meters in height. Although I am unsure of the exact measurements, I am positive that this creature was far larger than Godzilla had been. That observation alone filled with with such dread I was afraid that my heart would give out on the spot. We had been baffled at how a creature Godzilla’s original size could stand, and here was something even larger and undoubtedly heavier. I could see that there were sharp protrusions sticking out of his elbow as well, and his shell also appeared to have rough, jagged edges. I could not help but wonder at why this creature had needed to evolve such rough features and scary demeanor, for what could possibly be threatening enough to this creature to merit such evolutionary action?

    This is where I sincerely wished that I had kept my curiosity bottled up tightly.

    Gamera opened his jaws wide and let loose a shriek that sent shivers down our spines. Despite the fact that we were standing on an armed battleship, we were all rooted to the spot in fear and admiration. He marched further inland, wading carefully through the buildings. I could tell he was an intelligent creature, the way his eyes swiveled back and forth across the city. Looking for something.

    Then, for seemingly no reason, his eyes narrowed and he shrieked again. I could tell he was intensely angry about something, although what that something was I still to this day have not even the faintest idea. Even now, months after the event, my weak heart quivers in fear at what we saw next.

    Fire churned in Gamera’s maw. Before any of us had time to react, there was a blinding flash and the familiar roar of flames as the monster expelled a great fireball from his mouth. It detonated violently against Tokyo Tower, and before we knew it a towering inferno began to burn. It was a scene that made me temporarily believe that Godzilla had returned. Black smoke curling into the air and surrounding the monster in violent flames. The sounds of the dying loud in my ears, the wail of the sirens.

    “Right, all of you down below. Whatever that creature is, we need to stop it.”

    I turned and stared at the captain in that instant, watching as he directed his men all around the deck. The roar of fighter planes sounded in my ears and before I could object, they had torn off of the runway and began speeding towards Gamera.

    My heart clenched. The last time I had advised against such action I was ignored. I still see their blood on my hands as I sat in my dark house that night, listening helplessly as Tokyo burned.

    I would not let more people be sacrificed like this again.

    “Captain.” I moved forward firmly, ignoring the two men that tried to hold me back. “Captain, I beg you not to engage in a fight with this monster. We were unable to even so much as scratch Godzilla, you’re sending your pilots to their deaths. Do not aggravate the monster, it will only make things worse.”

    He rounded on me, and I could see his temper flaring. I must have seemed like a senile old man to him, and perhaps I was. His nostrils flared in anger and his tone was clipped. “With all due respect, sir, I cannot sit by and do nothing while this monster burns my home to the ground.”

    “Yes, I understand that.” I tried, desperate to at least try and save more lives this time. My conscious could not allow anything else. “But you must focus your attention on evacuation. You will only cause more damage to the city and cause more death if you engage the monster.”

    “Yes, you would say something like that. I had read you were the only one advocating for Godzilla to survive.”

    “Do not think that I am merely saying this because I want the creature alive!” I snapped. “You weren’t there, Captain. When the military tried their hardest to kill Godzilla, it only made him angrier, stronger. He became more determined to make Tokyo a burning graveyard, and he almost succeeded! Do you think I like seeing this happen again, do you?! Do you really believe that I am so careless that I would want thousands, if not millions to die because I believe the cost is high enough? Nothing is worth that price Captain. Now if you do not stop your men and get them to put the fires out and evacuate the city, then the death toll will be higher and on your head!”

    I… am not ashamed of my outburst. For too long I had hoped that people would see my logic and agree with my reasoning and simply do what was needed to be done. In that moment, I realized that I was truly an old fool, and the only way I could potentially save lives was if I acted on my instinct and did everything in my power. I only pray that what I did was enough.

    The captain stared at me as if he were looking at a new man. We both turned our gaze towards the city, to poor Tokyo which had once again be befallen by a giant monster. Gamera had paused his fire attacks and began watching the planes with a wary eye. He seemed unwilling to make the first move.

    “Do you not see it captain? Do you not see him gauging the threat of your warbirds? The second they attack him, he will attack back and destroy them in an instant. He will get angry and destroy even more buildings.”

    They opened fire with a rattling of machine gun fire and missiles. Although neither were capable of damaging Gamera, there was a furious shriek and a great burst of flames. I watched in silence as the planes began to fall from the sky in burning heaps, crashing into the city and detonating on impact. I resisted the urge to utter “I told you so.”

    The captain was gone now, giving orders to his remaining men to focus on the evacuation and fire patrol. With any luck, and if they were quick enough, the blaze could be contained and casualties left to a minimum. It even seemed that Gamera had finished whatever his purpose for awakening had been, for he turned back towards the bay and began to walk towards the waters.

    And then he stopped, and stared.

    The waves around our boat began to churn violently. I slipped and stumbled on the deck, having to be caught by two young soldiers. I held onto them tightly as another boat was literally shoved out of the way, the waves swelling up and carrying it across the water like a bath toy. The unmistakable charcoal grey and white tipped shape of dorsal plates burst from the water like the fins of a shark, the water swelling up to titanic heights before crashing down.

    I was sure I had died and gone to hell at that sight. For only in my deepest nightmares would such a thing happen in my lifetime. My darkest fears, my prediction that I made all of those years ago had come back into flesh.

    A new Godzilla had arrived.

    I pray to whoever reads it, and especially pray if it is you, Emiko, who finds this journal and dares read on, that this is not going to be for the faint of heart. The fear that I have felt is such that I have only felt that when I had learned of the danger my daughter had been in during the tragedy of 1954. This time, we had no Oxygen Destroyer, we had no real hope.

    This time, we could not kill Godzilla.

    Despite my overwhelming fear, or perhaps because of it, I was able to determine several things about this Godzilla through passive observation. He was also noticeably larger than the Godzilla in 1954, he appeared to be more muscular to compensate for this increase in mass and height. Although I only saw the briefest glimpse of his face, I was able to determine that this creature had fed off radiation and grew to this size more naturally than his predecessor, who looked scarred and burned from the atomic testings.

    I wondered if perhaps this Godzilla fed off of nuclear energy. That he had merely come here to feed off of the atoll that housed Gamera. But as these two monsters sized each other up, flexing their claws and snarling at one another, they both yelled out a battle cry and charged at one another. I realized far too late what this meant, and before I could get below deck the waves buckled violently and threw us all to the slippery deck.

    As I regained my footing, the sounds of battle were loud in my ears. Godzilla and Gamera were trading blows back and forth viciously, claws scraping against hard shell and hide. I could see a blue energy spark off of Godzilla’s claws as he swiped at Gamera’s face, the turtle howling in pain and being forced to retreat as Godzilla’s dorsal plates shone a deep blue and he fired a pure beam of what I can only describe as atomic energy, for it was certainly not the misty breath the original Godzilla had fired.

    Whatever it was, it was powerful. There was a deep scorch mark on the underside of Gamera’s shell, a blackened splotch that curled with smoke. Amazingly, this injury did not seem to deter Gamera, and instead only enraged him further, more fire boiling in his gaping mouth before he unleashed a violent slurry of fireballs. Each hitting home and erupting against this new Godzilla’s body.

    He gave a trumpet of pain as his whole front half was completely engulfed in burning fire. I had never seen such a spectacle in my life, as this Godzilla also seemed to fuel his never-ending anger into his rage, and the quite literally flaming Godzilla charged forward and crashed his bulk into Gamera, sending them both tumbling towards the ground. Godzilla squirmed around, the fires on his body extinguishing quickly, although due to the color of his skin I was unable to tell if he was badly injured by the flames. Injured or no, Godzilla rose swiftly and swung his mighty body around, slapping Gamera in the face with his rather prehensile tail, wheeling around in a full 360 degrees and firing another terrifying ray of his atomic energy, pushing Gamera through an apartment complex and sending the whole thing crashing down on top of the turtle.

    I believe we were all frozen in fear, and I do not know when the captain had rejoined us, but he stood there, silently watching the two gods’ deathmatch in the heart of our capital. “What can we do?” He asked quietly, although I suspect he was not seeking an answer, yet I provided one anyways.

    “We let nature take its natural course. These… these monsters, will eventually tire. One of them, if we are lucky, shall die.” But I knew, and still know to this day and will know on my death bed, that Godzilla would never truly die.

    For we had killed Godzilla once, and in 10 years a new one, even more powerful than the last had surfaced. What hope do we have ending this menace if a new one merely takes its place? Will my calls for study, to try and understand this creature’s biology, how he eats, where he lives, how he lives, finally be heeded?

    Perhaps they won’t be. Perhaps it is mankind’s destiny to be at war forever against the unknown might of the Kaiju. Perhaps I am nothing but an old fool.

    And yet, nature continued her battle for dominance. Gamera had retreated into his hell and to our astonishment, blue flames erupted from the holes. The ancient turtle had began to spin rapidly and rise into the air, shooting off like a rocket in the sky. We watched as Godzilla tracked the movements cautiously, only to yell out when Gamera slammed into his chest with such force that Godzilla was forced to backpedal towards the bay.

    Another atomic blast ripped from Godzilla’s throat, and for a brief moment I thought he would tear the very sky asunder with his power as he tried to hit the flying Gamera. The turtle, despite his head being hidden by his shell, was somehow able to perfectly coordinate his flight so Godzilla missed him, sticking his head out only to produce another ball of flames that detonated around Godzilla. Gamera had charged at Godzilla and drove him into the sea, landing back onto the shore as the water crashed around his ankles.

    He waited there, silently, watching. It set my nerves on fire as the quiet grew louder and louder, until the sea erupted in a violent burst of blue energy and Gamera was caught unawares by the blast, sending him toppling on his back as Godzilla quickly moved out of the waves, shaking the water off of his hide and advancing on his fallen foe.

    I could see Gamera retreating into his shell again, clearly preparing another take-off. But before he could ignite his natural rockets, Godzilla stomped hard on his sternum. There was a sick crack in the air as Godzilla kept stomping down viciously, almost sadistically against Gamera’s plastrum. Gamera wheezed in pain, flailing his limbs as blood began to exude from his mouth, until he finally stabbed Godzilla’s leg with his elbow spikes, ripping at his flesh and forcing the dreadful creature to back away in pain.

    As Gamera stood, we were all taken aback at how tough these monsters were. This was surely a beating that would kill men if they had been in a similar fight, and yet these two creatures were seemingly willing to fight each other to the death.

    Perhaps, on reflection, that this is simply the nature of these monsters. While to my knowledge there has not been another sighting of either of these creatures, I hold my breath in fear that this battle was only the beginning of what is to come.

    The two monsters quickly moved forward again, once again trading blows. Their battle had significantly weakened their respective natural armor, and even from such a great distance I was able to see the blood that was spilled as claws and spikes were raked against flesh and plastron. As hellfire boiled in Gamera’s mouth, so too did Godzilla’s dorsal plates light up with energy. Both monsters fired their long ranged weapons point blanked at each other’s faces, the resulting explosion knocking both monsters asunder.

    Smoke curled into the air as the monsters lay still. For a brief moment, I was under the impression that they had knocked each other out. Perhaps if they had stayed unconscious long enough, we might have had better luck evacuating the city.

    Alas, fortune has rarely been on the side of humanity lately.

    It was Gamera to be the first to stir. He shook his head, injured and bleeding. One of his tusks had been snapped off in the mighty explosion, and he rose in an almost gingerly fashion.

    At the same time, Godzilla had begun to rise. He too was bleeding profusely from his face, and I had to squint to see that one of his eyes had been mauled by the explosion, but I shall leave out the unfortunate details beyond that point. The two monsters were out of breath, each giving the other looks that made the expression ‘if looks could kill’ very astute.

    I have never seen or heard of such ferocious fighting amongst animals, for indeed despite their giant size and near invulnerability to conventional weaponry, it is an irrefutable fact that these monsters are still animals, and for the first time during this deadly brawl I was hoping that one of them would slay the other, to have the nightmare lessened slightly. One would be weak enough to be slain by the military.

    A foolish hope at best, but when your nightmares are given flesh and are standing before you, you hope for any solution that will end it, even ones you appalled.

    It was Gamera who once again struck out, with the quickness and precision like a surgeon, he had reared his arm up and stabbed it into Godzilla’s chest. Godzilla howled in pain, grabbing Gamera’s arm and trying to expunge the natural blade that had so grievously wounded him. Gamera had simply lashed out, biting down hard on Godzilla’s neck and shaking like a rabid dog, flesh tearing from his throat.

    Foam had begun to spill out of Godzilla’s maw as he gave a hideous garbled cry, his whole body surging with raw atomic energy before a massive explosion sent the ship buckling and sending all of us collapsing on ourselves again. By the time we had once again righted ourselves, Gamera had been blown clear away from Godzilla, who stood hunched over, clutching at his chest.

    Had Gamera pierced Godzilla’s heart? Could Godzilla even survive such a wound that would normally be fatal to most other creatures? As the original Godzilla had been disintegrated entirely, what little information we knew about the creature did not contain where his vital organs could be. For all I am aware, he could have a secondary brain in his abdomen and we would be none the wiser. Such a complex nervous system in a creature like Godzilla seems unlikely, however.

    Whatever the case, it was evident that Godzilla was grievously injured, and very exhausted. Gamera too seemed in a similar state, and it is rather obvious as I reflect on these events that neither of them had come expecting such a vicious battle.

    Now it was Godzilla’s turn to stare down at his opponent, as if viewing the opposite monster in a new light. There was an unsettling silence as Godzilla stayed nearly motionless, the unsteady rise and fall of his chest being the only sign that he was still breathing. Then, Gamera began to rise.

    The two monsters stared at each other. Godzilla opened his mouth and roared. Gamera had done the same. The two stared at each other again before Godzilla had turned around, and began to limp back home to the water.

    Gamera watched his foe disappear under the waves, and closed his eyes briefly. I had never seen anything like it in my whole life, and I doubt I shall live to see anything like it again. This would be the last time to my knowledge, that we have seen Godzilla.

    Gamera turned his attention back towards the city and for one frightful moment I feared he would resume his unprovoked attack on poor Tokyo. Mercifully, he had appeared to be too weak to either continue the quest, or had decided that it was no longer worth the effort. He curled up into his shell and flew away into the sky. That was also the last we have seen of this monster.

    Despite the damage done by both monsters, the amount of people who actually saw this fateful battle was surprisingly little. It was small enough that the government has deemed that this whole event never took place, that it had all started with a freak accident and the inferno had spread. They had sworn us into secrecy and forced us to sign documents swearing that we would never speak of these events.

    I am breaking that promise because I cannot continue to live with what little time I have left with the truth suppressed. I have seen so much impossible things in my life and I have also seen much death. What happened on that day should never be forgotten, and the world should prepare itself for any potential attack by any of these two creatures, or perhaps another unknown creature.

    To whoever reads this. To you, Emiko.

    Heed my final words and be safe. For if you are to be put in danger due to these words, then you are to burn this and lock this knowledge away in your mind. Perhaps it might be best for the world if they do not have to live in fear.

    And yet, I fear that we shall be confronted with even greater perils we are ill equipped to handle.

    Emiko closed the journal with shaking hands. Tears began to roll down her cheeks, and she had failed to notice how long she had been reading her father’s journal until she heard the door open and Ogata calling out to the living room.

    She quickly wiped her eyes and called out her location, and smiled as his handsome face appeared at the doorway. He frowned when he saw her puffy eyes and walked over, pulling her into a hug. “What’s the matter, Emiko? You finally going through your fathers old things?“

    Emiko nodded, sniffling at her eyes and handing him the journal. “I think it’s important you read this, Ogata. I’m not sure what to do with it.” She got up out of his chair and he sat down in it.

    Flipping the journal open, he began to read.

    Draw: Godzilla (Heisei), Gamera (Heisei)

    K.W.C. // July 4, 2020
  • Author: Matthew Freese | Banner: Landon Soto

    From the ground, it would likely just look like a red and blue streak sailing through a bleak night sky. If one were to get a closer look, they’d recoil in shock at supposedly seeing the dead in the realm of the living.

    The being soaring through the dark heavens looked exactly like the kaiju Iris, a mutated product of ancient science that terrorized the world in 1999. Fueled by the hatred of a misguided and vengeful girl, it had sought out the guardian Gamera and done battle with the terrapin.

    But the being now soaring through the skies couldn’t have been Iris, for Iris had been eviscerated by Gamera’s divine power.

    This wasn’t the Iris the world had witnessed before.

    Humans had discovered the ruins of Atlantis. And as with all things, humankind plundered it. They had discovered rusted, ruined technology. Found shattered streets and buildings littered with skeletons. Preserved text written in a language no one had spoken in eons. It seemed pointless, but still the humans carried on.

    And in one ruined scientific facility, they found an embryo frozen and preserved.

    An embryo that they managed to extract and cultivate, until it grew spear-tipped tentacles and had an all-too familiar skull shape.

    It was a miraculous discovery. Not only for the scientific ramifications of being able to study a kaiju as complex and strange as Iris, but also for the potential for a new guardian to directly protect humanity.

    The new Iris remembered hearing its founders discuss these things amongst themselves. About how most guardians only protected the Earth, with humanity often only being protected because Earth was their home as well.

    And when Iris looked to the night sky now, it was reminded of the reason why humankind had wanted a guardian to protect them rather than the Earth.

    The reddish-orange sphere in the sky drew the full attention of anything looking up. Just the sight of it was foreboding, as it harshly contrasted with the black backdrop. But the knowledge of what it was only made things worse. It was the end of the Earth in its totality, which not a single life form could stop.

    Gorath. It had probably been given a million names throughout its existence. Some civilizations had probably only seen it as a passing light, while others found themselves in much the same situation as Earth. Whatever the case, it was a dwarf star half the size of Earth, but with a far denser mass than any planet. It had entered the solar system humankind called home. It has wreaked havoc upon the orbits of several planets already, but Earth was directly in its path. It wouldn’t even have to touch the blue marble, the sheer gravitational force of Gorath would reduce the planet to nothing.

    Humankind was desperate for survival, so some of them were leaving the planet to search the stars for a new place to live. That was where Iris would have come into the equation, joining the escapees as a guard along with humanity’s mechs and whatever guardians could be convinced to come along.

    They had already left, but Iris still stayed behind due to a simple mistake the scientists tasked with raising it had made. A single action, which they had never even considered being a problem.

    When they selected someone to bond with the new Iris, they had chosen someone with a fearful mind. Someone who, as they gripped the small stone found alongside the mutated Gyaos to join their soul with the creature, couldn’t stop their mind from drifting. Drifting to knowledge of the first Iris, of what it had done and how it had fought Gamera. How this one could follow in those same steps.

    Iris, still in its larval state, was overwhelmed. With such a bitter feeling as fear being forced into its heart; with images, brief flashes that steadily grew longer as the scientist tried to avoid the thoughts, of itself slaughtering people en masse; with images of the first of its species battling a colossal, bipedal tortoise who wielded the power of fire.

    And with a single movement, Iris had sealed its fate by driving a spear-tipped tentacle forward and puncturing the person’s throat. But it didn’t stop there.

    Every scientist in that room were soon nothing but dried carcasses. As were so many other people and animals as Iris quickly grew into its adult stage.

    And now it flew toward Gamera, seeking to kill the terrapin, in some desperate attempt to find purpose in its brief life beyond seeking sustenance.

    Doubt festered and spread through Iris’ mind. Did it really believe that avenging the previous Iris would give its brief life reason, or that it was truly Gamera’s fault it was stranded on a doomed planet? It had no other option, so it forced the doubt down. It had to do this, for closure’s sake.

    This was Earth’s last night.

    Far away from the wandering, young soul was an ancient being, contemplating existence.

    Gamera stood atop a cliff, eyes locked onto his home’s approaching destroyer. The guardian’s mind and heart raced with conflicting emotions, none of them good.

    Doubt. All these years he had spent fighting off threats to this planet, were they meaningless? Every drop of blood spilled from his form, every life form he couldn’t save, and every sacrifice he had to make for the greater good. Did none of it truly matter? All because of an astronomically small probability coming true. Did any actions matter in this fragile existence?

    Anger. At those who had fled the planet, humanity’s last remnants. Not for having fled, it was more complex than that. He had considered leaving with humanity, like other guardians such as King Caesar had. But the Earth was always his top priority. And he refused to participate in what he knew would happen.

    The last vestiges had brought many sensible and kind minds along. Scientists, rulers who cared about their subjects, and the wealthy who used their power for good. But with them were horrid criminals who avoided rotting in prison thanks to their wealth, politicians that happily stamped upon the downtrodden to line their pockets, and businessmen that had been suffocating the Earth without a hint of guilt.

    Humankind would need a new planet to call home, and it wouldn’t fear getting its hands dirty with another civilization’s blood to do so. No matter what the sensible and kind had to say, those with shattered moral compasses always knew how to get what they wanted.

    Finally, sorrow. Not for himself, but for everyone else on the planet that could comprehend what was coming. Despite his belief in what humanity’s survivors would do, he couldn’t have brought himself to stop their escape. Despite humanity’s evil, they had too much good in them for him to doom the whole species.

    He felt sorry for all the people still on Earth. Those who had accepted their demise and chosen to take this time to be with loved ones. Those who chose to drown their sorrows in debauchery, with lives so hollow that physical pleasure was their only solace. Those who lashed out at everything in sight, hiding bitter agony with wrath until Gorath came to burn it all away.

    Then there were the kaiju still stuck on Earth, those that could comprehend their coming doom at least. He hadn’t stayed with any of them long, but he knew their pain. They reacted much like the humans were, divided between those choosing to spend their final moments in tranquility and those who uselessly thrashed against oblivion’s tightening grasp.

    Gamera sighed. The star light reflected off of tears flowing from his eyes, as he switched from contemplating the rest of the world to remembering his own life. He began to reflect upon all he had done.

    But this bitter tranquility was soon interrupted by the roar of blazing, distant, fire which quickly increased in volume.

    Iris held an arm back, ready to drive it forward once it closed the distance. It didn’t want to finish the battle before it started, but the Ryuseicho did want to assure victory from the beginning.

    Gamera turned, just in time to react to the incoming attack. The terrapin leaped to the side in a feat of athleticism that seemed shocking based off his appearance, leaving the mutated Gyaos to stab the space where Gamera had been less than a second ago.

    Iris landed and turned toward its target, as Gamera recoiled at his assailant’s identity. The Ryuseicho merely let out a droning bellow, tentacles rising.

    Had the dead been let loose to walk the Earth? Gamera knew that some human myths of the apocalypse had something along those lines happening, and in the face of this he wondered just how mythical those tales were. He almost couldn’t believe his eyes. He briefly considered if this was nothing more than an illusion born of grief.

    When the tips of Iris’ tentacles opened and filled with energy, the guardian’s doubt and confusion were smothered by his fighting instincts.

    Four sonic cutters pierced the air, directed toward Gamera. The terrapin shielded his face with his arms, then braced himself as four gashes were carved into him. Green blood spewed from the guardian’s arms and torso. But millennia of fighting had given Gamera a tolerance for pain that was unmatched. So, instead of writhing in agony, he charged forward.

    Iris recoiled at the sudden charge, having expected a more severe reaction to its opening attack. This allowed Gamera to close the distance quickly. The guardian raked a claw against Iris’ chest, only succeeding in spraying sparks from the point of impact. Gamera’s other hand went toward the mutant Gyaos’ throat, but was bashed aside as Iris finally started fighting back. The Ryuseicho sliced at Gamera’s stomach, spilling torrents of blood. With its other arm, Iris went to stab the wound it had just created. Gamera used one hand to catch the spear-like protrusion, then swung his free hand as a fist into Iris’ face.

    Before Gamera could attack further, he felt two tentacles wrap around his leg. They yanked back, staggering the terrapin forward. Iris lunged forward, striking the guardian’s forehead with the sharp end of its skull. This sharp pain made Gamera’s grip loosen, allowing Iris to free its arm and rear it backward. Gamera looked up, unleashing a fireball from his jaws straight into Iris’ face.

    A harsh, droning bellow filled the air as Iris recoiled. Its tentacles flailed blindly as it recovered, aimed vaguely in front of the Ryuseicho. Gamera fired two more fireballs at Iris’ chest, leaving black marks on its metallic armor. He waited for an opportunity to charge in, but Iris’ manic thrashing was a more than adequate defense.

    The tentacles stopped, then opened their points. Iris looked straight toward Gamera, then let loose with four sonic rays. Gamera could only shield his face once more, a wise decision he soon realized when all four rays tore into his arms. Iris kept feeding power to these rays, meaning the guardian knew he couldn’t just wait this out. Gamera stepped forward, only for one beam to divert and rake across the outstretched leg.

    Iris let out a hateful bellow when Gamera’s head sank into his shell, the terrapin’s arms and legs soon following. The colossal shell clattered to the ground, its rigid back doing a far better job of withstanding the assault than his flesh had. The yellow beams ceased, as their demonic wielder began aiming them toward the holes in the shell.

    Blue fire erupted from where Gamera’s limbs and head had been. Kicking up a storm of dust and dirt, the shell began spinning in place. Iris stepped back, unsure of how to proceed. The shell, now a blur of motion, lifted off the ground.

    The shell rushed toward the Ryuseicho in a flash, closing the distance in less than a second. Iris was forced back, fighting to stay standing against the assault. The air was filled with a harsh grinding sound, sparks spilling from the point of impact. A cry of surprise left Iris, but was drowned out by the whir of hard keratin on metal.

    The mutated Gyaos swung an arm at the shell, bashing it away. The shell, still spinning, flew away from Iris. The Ryuseicho looked down at its chest, seeing a shallow groove where Gamera’s attack had connected. As it processed this, its tentacles split in half down from the tips, forming blue membranes of flesh which resembled wings. Iris looked back toward the blue streak in the sky, before streams of fire erupted from its back to propel it into the air.

    Gamera’s mind raced as he tried to come up with a way to win. Whether or not this was the Iris he had fought before, it still had the immense durability and power he had struggled against before. Countless foes had been killed instantly or crippled by his spinning shell. But Iris didn’t even seem pained from having what was, in essence, an eighty thousand ton buzzsaw ram into its chest. But he still overcame the first Iris, as he would tonight!

    The retreating guardian’s arms and head came out of his shell. He turned back toward his approaching foe, and shot forth two fireballs in rapid succession. They slammed into Iris’ tentacle membranes, burning the blue flesh black. The mutant Gyaos stumbled through the air, groaning. But still it soared toward the terrapin, left arm-spear held before it.

    The mutated Gyaos slammed into the terrapin, its outstretched arm tearing a hole in Gamera’s side. If it hadn’t been destabilized in its flight, it would have pierced Gamera’s chest instead. The two colossi tumbled down through the air, madly striking at each other in a tangled frenzy of limbs. Blood flowing from Gamera’s wounds spilled all over both combatants, leaving splatters of bright green all over both. Iris’ tentacles closed, hiding the blue membranes once more and leaving the appendages ready for combat.

    Realizing they were near the ground, Gamera grabbed Iris’ skull and began shifting his weight. Iris was too engrossed in the battle to notice it was being put beneath its foe, nor that the ground was swiftly approaching. Gamera’s jets roared to life once more, propelling him off his foe. Before he could get far, two of Iris’ tentacles whipped into his side, knocking him off balance as the bladed tips tore into his flesh.

    The Ryuseicho crashed into the ground, Gamera doing the same a fair distance away. The earth shook at the twin impacts, plumes and walls of dirt forming and then falling just as quickly.

    Gamera stood up a moment later, breathing deeply. He was covered in his own blood, the stains now dark and muddy from the soil covering them. Fortunately, his present wounds were quickly healing and gushing less blood, his internal heat acting as a cauterizer. He searched the area, keeping an eye out for Iris.

    The momentary silence let Gamera reflect. This foe seemed to fight with more purpose than Iris had in 1999, which confused him as this foe also fought like it barely understood how Gamera fought. Was this truly a new Iris? But if so, why would it attack him like this? He didn’t sense anyone trapped inside its core, suggesting it didn’t have a connection to any humans. Or had something happened to Ayana in the time since that day? Had Iris killed her before seeking him out?

    Gamera felt his fists clench tighter at the thought. If Iris had killed Ayana, he would ensure Iris died by his hands this night! He would not let such an injustice go unpunished! Why did he care? The Earth was doomed, Ayana, along with every other human would be dead either way soon enough. But still, why did the thought of Iris killing her incite such anger within him…

    This inner turmoil and confusion was interrupted as Iris rose to its feet. Its head tilted to find Gamera, the glowing orb within meeting Gamera’s gaze. The mutant’s tentacles extended, traveling toward the guardian. The terrapin shot fireballs at the appendages, but they were deflected and left to harmlessly strike the ground. Gamera’s legs retracted into his shell, fire replacing them, only for the tentacles to grasp Gamera’s arms. The terrapin’s flight only made it easier for Iris to begin pulling him closer, leaving the guardian to uselessly fight against the grip of the appenadages.

    Iris walked forward, arm-blades extended. As the distance between it and its foe closed, Iris raised its arms toward the quickly approaching Gamera. Fireballs crashed against its form, but any damage they could have done was ignored by the Ryuseicho.

    Gamera slammed into the outstretched blades, driving them through his torso. Green blood poured from the guardian’s jaws, spilling onto Iris’ body. A look of agony and shock was etched onto his face, eyes and mouth as wide as possible.

    A luminous power flowed from the spears, traveling down Iris’ arms and into its body. The various orbs on the mutant’s body glowed brighter than usual as it took in Gamera’s energy.

    The thrill of combat had already filled Iris with exciting emotions it had never experienced before. All of the organisms it had slain to achieve this form hadn’t put up a fight, the most impressive specimens only managing a useless struggle. Truly battling an opponent worth time and effort was exhilarating to the young entity. But now, the feeling of such grand power becoming added to its own was a sensation that it could have never imagined. It more than made up for the fact that it now had to put an end to the pleasure of battle.

    Pulling Gamera free of its arm-spears, Iris roughly tossed the guardian to the ground. He made no attempt to get up, whether due to lack of hope or of strength Iris did not know. The ends of the mutant’s four tentacles opened, only instead of a yellow glow, they became filled with fire.

    Spheres of burning plasma crashed into Gamera’s still form, blasting apart flesh and keratin. Iris kept firing, intent on continuing until its foe was surely dead. Soon, Gamera’s body began glowing, causing Iris to tilt its head. What was happening now?

    Gamera smiled. So, this was a new Iris. If it had been the first one reborn, it would have known full well why turning the guardian’s fire against him was a terrible idea.

    Iris stopped firing when it saw Gamera’s wounds close, and began backing away when the terrapin got to his feet with an ease like he had just started the fight. With a body still glowing a brilliant gold, Gamera channeled power to his jaws.

    A colossal fireball was unleashed, soaring toward Iris. The Ryuseicho lashed a tentacle out to swat it away, only for the end of the appendage to be burnt to ash. Iris bellowed in pain a moment before the projectile crashed into its chest.

    The mutated Gyaos was knocked off its feet, crashing back first to the ground. Gamera charged forward, grabbing one of his enemy’s flailing tentacles. With one hand he held it as he raised his other arm high. A spike came from his elbow, which he drove into the restrained tentacle. The crimson flesh split against the strike, spilling ichor. The guardian raised his arm again, and drove it back down, severing the tentacle.

    Iris’ other three tentacles wrapped around Gamera’s throat, squeezing down hard.

    Fighting through the pain, Gamera pried the tendrils off of his neck, restraining them. Before he could do anything to them, Iris got to its feet. Though the mutant was incapable of facial expressions, the guardian could still sense hatred and anger boiling inside of it.

    It was so close! Gamera was at its feet, at death’s door! Had it done any other attack, it would have won. But instead, Iris had shifted the tide of battle considerably against itself. As well, this new power flowing through it was pointless! Using Gamera’s power against the guardian only empowered him.

    Iris thrust its right knee up, driving the spike into Gamera’s thigh. The terrapin released the mutant’s tentacles, allowing it to lash them across the guardian’s flesh. At this point, only two of them could do any meaningful damage thanks to their metallic tip. Gamera shoved Iris back, then shot a plasma ball to try and push Iris back further.

    The fireball detonated against the Ryuseicho’s chest, but it did nothing to force it back. Instead it lunged forward, slashing its left arm-spear against its foe’s stomach. It carved open a shallow wound, which only made Gamera fight harder. The terrapin swung a punch across Iris’ skull, knocking the head aside and making it stagger back. Both of the guardian’s hands grabbed the mutant’s skull, and began twisting it. Iris bashed its arms against Gamera’s sides, trying to get him to back away, but he would not release his grip. He continued twisting, trying to break his foe’s neck and end this now.

    The Ryuseicho’s tentacles scraped against the terrapin’s stomach, until one found the fresh wound Iris had made. The metallic point of the appendage was forced into the wound, then opened, separating the skin. A sonic cutter ray left it soon afterward.

    With a haunting shriek, Gamera relinquished his grip. He grabbed the appendage, pulled it free, and tossed it aside. Both combatants backed away, staring daggers at the other. It was like nothing existed except the other, and all that mattered was winning this fight.

    That is, until the ground began violently shaking. Both looked around in confusion, until their gazes fell upon the glowing orb in the sky, preparing to pull the planet apart like it was made of clay and scatter the remains through the void.

    Gamera’s jaw dropped. He had been so caught up in the battle that for a brief moment, he had forgotten about Gorath. How could he have been so foolish? Had it been affecting the Earth already, and only now grown intense enough to break his battle focus? Suddenly, he perceived a blade being thrust toward his side. Before it could sink in, he caught it. Turning his head, he saw Iris. The being was shaking, and not just from the intensifying quake.

    It had to kill him. It had to have a meaning in life, there was no other option.

    Iris brought its tentacles forward and shot their beams at Gamera’s neck. The terrapin brought his free hand up just in time to block them. The pain brought him back to his senses, and renewed his resolve.

    He would die with the rest of his planet, not by the blade of this foe!

    Still gripping one of the mutant’s arms, the guardian slammed his fist into its elbow. The strike failed to dislocate the joint, allowing Iris to pull its arm free. The other arm lunged forward as fast as the muscles behind it could push, leaving Gamera little time to react. His palm came up, stopping the spear from piercing something more vital. He cried out anyway, the spear digging itself in far enough to hit the insides of the wrist.

    The spear glowed as it drained blood, leaving the hand to grow pale. Even if Iris could not utilize its foe’s power, it could still strip that power away. The guardian’s other hand gripped the blade, attempting to rip it out. Iris’ other arm went for Gamera’s chest, forcing him to intercept that blade.

    The two struggled against each other, neither gaining ground for a time. Until the earth beneath their feet began splitting open, causing both to stagger. Gamera regained his bearings quicker, and freed his hand from its impalement by pulling it back.

    The hand was practically useless, unresponsive to any stimuli or commands. Not a drop fell from the gaping wound in the palm. Burning plasma began building in Gamera’s jaws, as he prepared to blast the useless hand off and unleash his second strongest technique.

    Iris slammed into him, leaving the prepared fireball to be sent sailing through the air. The mutant slammed its head into Gamera’s forehead several times, eventually causing a stream of blood to start flowing from it. The guardian began retracting his head and limbs into his shell, only for Iris’ remaining tentacles to grasp his arms. They held the limbs firm, keeping them from retreating.

    The guardian shot a fireball directly into his foe’s face, trying to get any kind of breathing room. The mutant wouldn’t allow it, choosing to ram one of its knees into Gamera’s thigh to keep itself from backing away unconsciously. Iris continued bashing its arm-spears against its foe, each blow further cracking and breaking Gamera’s shell. Occasionally a blow would land on actual flesh, breaking the skin and causing horrid bruises to surround the impact point.

    Gamera had seen this kind of thing before. A creature fighting without any kind of inhibition, without any care for anything except for the death of a singular target. Iris had nothing to lose. And he was quickly running out of options for how to deal with it.

    The Ryuseicho backed up slightly, to slice at Gamera’s chest. Ignoring the pain wracking his whole body, the terrapin retracted his legs and fired up his jet propulsion. He flew back, shooting a fireball to try and keep his rabid foe back. Iris opened up its tentacle membranes, what had once been four, now only two and three-quarters of a third. But it was still enough to let the mutant Gyaos fly, and so it did.

    Gamera looked down, the momentary break in battle letting him take in his surroundings. The ground was breaking apart beneath the two, shallow grooves in the ground quickly deepening and spreading. He wasn’t sure if life on Earth had even an hour left to live, but right now he didn’t have time to worry. Every second was life-threatening for him right now.

    Iris was quickly gaining on him, so he had to act quickly. Bringing up his ruined hand, Gamera severed it with a fireball. The hand had already gone numb, so no pain halted the guardian as his power flowed from his mouth to the stump.

    The mutant was not flying stably. It shook back and forth, rose and fell, but it still went forward all the same, and that was its only concern. There was no pause when its foe blasted his own hand off, that only helped it in its goal. No fear welled up when in the hand’s place a raging sphere of fire formed, fire had assailed the mutant so much during this battle. Its bloodlust only grew when Gamera stopped flying away from it, and instead flew straight toward it.

    Iris’ shaky flight was beneficial, for instead of driving the burning fist straight into the mutant’s chest as he had intended, Gamera instead sent his attack into the Ryuseicho’s side.

    There was a massive explosion as both kaiju collided into each other. Iris’ left arm, left set of tentacles, and massive chunks of its armor fell away from them. Despite the grave loss of body mass, Iris still retained the sense to ram its remaining arm into Gamera’s torso, keeping the two right next to each other as they fell.

    The ground beneath them was ripping asunder, as if the landscape was opening a grand pair of jaws. Gamera tried to use his remaining arm to strike Iris, only for the last tentacle it owned to come around and restrain the arm against the terrapin’s side. The guardian struggled against his binding, but he found his strength waning.

    Looking down into the pit as they moved past its opening, the guardian only saw darkness. It seemed bottomless, but to the terrapin’s relief, they weren’t falling straight in. The momentum behind the collision had sent them falling at an angle. All he could hope for was that smashing into the wall would let him free himself.

    The break in action let questions surface in his mind. Why was he feeling things like hope and despair at this point? Why did he care about winning a battle that had no consequence? Why had he cared about if Iris had killed Ayana?

    As a cavern in the rock wall came into view, which they were sailing directly toward, Gamera struggled to find the answer to his questions. He looked at Iris, who looked back at him.

    Did this matter? Would killing Gamera give it the meaning it sought out? Gamera hadn’t wronged it, the guardian hadn’t personally driven Iris to kill the scientists who had found it. It had done that itself. It could have done any number of things to try and find some meaning, and it chose murder. Was murder just an inextricable part of its nature?

    As they crashed into the cavern, becoming separated as Gamera rolled deeper into the cave than Iris did, they just stayed down for a brief time.

    Gamera began getting up, his mind putting together the pieces as he stared at Iris. Remembering the day he had fought the first Iris, which brought back memories of other battles in his life.

    He fought to save lives. The fact that those lives would end one day, no matter what he did, never stopped him. If this life had an overarching meaning behind it, the living would never know it. So, the meaning of one’s life had to be made by oneself. Gamera had brought hope to an often bleak world and given countless lives the chance to see another sunrise. He had lived a good life, and it had taken one last battle on his home’s last day to make him truly see this.

    So, when Iris got to its feet as well, and the jets in its back fired up, Gamera did not feel fear. When the Ryuseicho lunged forward, remaining arm-spear pulled back, and he found he could barely move, let alone fight back, he did not despair. When the blade tore into his chest, destroying his heart, his final moments were not in agony or sorrow.

    If there had been enough strength in his body, he would have smiled as his millennia long struggle against the shadows ended.

    Iris pulled its blade free, turned around, and stumbled to the mouth of the cave. Even as deep down as it was, it could still see the bringer of the end suspended in the sky.

    They both only existed to cause pain and destruction.

    It never broke sight with Gorath. This didn’t change as the ground beneath its feet collapsed, sending the mutant spilling into the darkness below. Iris’ gaze remained on the glowing sphere.

    Until all sensation was gone.

    Winner: Iris

    K.W.C. // June 27, 2020
  • Author: Michael Allen | Banner: Andrew Sudomerski

    Gamera growled deeply in his throat before he swiped. The head of the Titan on the receiving end of his blow did not so much get its head knocked off, rather that its head popped from the impact. Gore splashed the ground and the gray, malformed corpse swiftly began to dissipate into nothing. Gamera had learned since his re-awakening these creatures dissolved upon death once the head and neck were obliterated.

    He knew these poor, drooling, and seemingly mindless Titans had once been human. It was something instinctual, his connection to the Earth itself that told him this. And even more unfortunate was the fact that saving them was impossible. Death was their only release from the eternal hunger that gripped them in its deranged throes. He took comfort in the knowledge that they did not seem to possess any true awareness of their situation.

    Rubble of civilization long since dead trembled and was kicked about like pebbles as the remaining Titans scrambled toward him. Gamera roared back in fierce determination and charged them. A swipe from his wrist claw beheading a stupidly grinning Titan, grotesque gray skin pulled tautly over a tall lanky frame. It fell past him, dissolving. He crushed a small one underfoot, unaffected for the crunching of bone and fresh blood that exploded out beneath him as a result.

    A glow built up in his tusked mouth, heralding the unleashing of his plasma fireball point blank in the face of the last Titan.

    His green eyes scanned the surroundings of the ruined city. Architecturally, he could deduce a familiarity in the modernity of the structures, what remained at least. It must’ve only been a few decades after his final battle with the Gyaos that these Titans had risen to drive humanity to the brink of extinction. And he had been fighting them for a very long time. Gamera’s perception of time was not like a mortal beings’ conceptualization of it. He understood the cycle of change and repetition, the fact that as long as there was life certain things had the possibility of occurring again. No matter the era.

    He breathed out deeply, smoke billowing from his mouth. He did not know the full story of how these monsters had risen, but he could piece together the fact that humans were certainly in part responsible for it. Toying foolishly with powers beyond their comprehension as they had eons ago.

    But as always, he would fight. Fight for the Earth. Fight for those who had the power and hope to change the world for a better tomorrow.

    The guardian’s head shifted, a sudden wind stirring dust and trees and their summer leaves. He felt a call to the north.

    Go there. He was needed desperately.

    Taking flight, he would answer the call.

    —-

    Shikishima strode through the wastes of Monzen in his Armored Titan form. Beneath his left arm he hefted the last bomb comfortably. He found it humorous how humans of old would decorate their weapons of death with pictures, ranging from grim to silly. This one had the picture of a blonde woman and the sea. Amusing. A behavioral quirk one would be hard pressed to find in the subservient wastes that called themselves human in today’s hollow mess of a world. His armored face formed a hard scowl at the thought of these beaten down masses as he continued his lone trek toward his destination: the second wall. He would breach it and allow the Titans to swarm the dull eyed masses. Happy to live in slavery as long as it meant “peace.”

    Shikishima felt no pity. Apathy was as punishable as the wanton malice and greed those in power demonstrated. Orchestrating terror and tragedy to further their control.

    Without thought he passed through the remains of destroyed homes, businesses, and public gathering places. Dust swirled through the air and the sky was perpetually gray. Had it really only been two years since this wretched little place had been annihilated? Two years was indistinguishable from two hundred.

    He growled when a strange sound unlike anything he had before reached his ears and for once, he turned his eyes to the sky.

    A figure broke through the gray clouds; azure plasma fire carrying him through the air as he rapidly descended toward the Armored Titan.

    It couldn’t be…

    Shikishima was a knowledgeable man, especially when contrasted to others. He knew much of the world’s long history. Both the conventional nonsense they were taught and the secret history that swam beneath it like blood in the veins of an organism.

    He had seen the footage from the latter half of the 1990s. The time period humanity lived in was not the first time the human race had almost been brought to extinction. He’d seen what footage remained from the very being who approached him now, and his final battle with the beasts known as the Gyaos. In fact, the idea that the human race had come so close to destruction that year had been what prompted hundreds of illegal human experimentation that had spawned the Titans.

    The irony was not lost on Shikishima, who always appreciated a good joke, even if it was black as pitch. The humans of the past had repeated the errors of an even older past. The Atlanteans had created the Gyaos and that had been their undoing. Humans created the Titans. A poetic eternal recurrence.

    Gamera landed, the ground cracking and trembling thunderously beneath him. Green eyes bore into milky white as the two opposing giants stared each other down. To Shikishima’s surprise Gamera was taller than him by a good fifteen meters. The Armored Titan was hulking and powerful, but even he was dwarfed by Gamera. Last he had read, Gamera was eighty meters. Many speculated Gamera’s body evolved and perfected itself and evidently that was true. His gradual change in appearance and increase in power throughout the 90s had demonstrated that.

    “Gamera?” Shikishima spoke; though his tone was amplified by his great size in Titan form he addressed the guardian as one might speak to a new friend. He knew exactly who he was but he wanted to see confirmation for himself.

    A subtle nod from the tusked face. Barely noticeable, but within the nape of his armored body’s neck he grinned.

    “Come to stop me?”

    No response.

    He set the bomb that would assure a new future aside, tall grass whipped against its unfeeling metal form.

    Gamera growled, sensing the evil emanating from this unusual Titan. An evil that was conscious in nature rather than mindless beings simply devouring in primordial need. His clawed fingers tensed.

    “Then let’s see if you live up to the legends, Guardian of the Universe!”

    The two charged at one another, fully prepared to die for what each individually fought for.

    Gamera’s powerful legs carried him forward until they collided in a grapple. A boom reverberated the air around them, rippling like a lake’s surface. Steam billowed hellishly from the Armored Titan and the skin visible between the plates of armor pulsed from red to purple.

    The Armored Titan yelled as he found himself being driven backward by his foe’s superior strength. Growling, he threw his elbow into the side of Gamera’s jaw, stunning him. Pressing his attack, the Titan delivered several rapid fire punches to Gamera’s plated chest, but this only succeeded in making him stumble. Gamera roared, swiping with a wrist claw, but the long haired humanoid merely ducked with an exclamation that sounded similar to a laugh.

    “Too slow!” Shikishima jeered.

    An uppercut jerked Gamera’s head back and he allowed himself to take a few steps away in a feigning act of being overwhelmed. The Armored Titan was fast and skilled, but overconfident. And his following actions were easily anticipated.

    The humanoid swung his right leg at Gamera’s skull in a kick…and in a blur the guardian’s jaws locked onto the limb. Rumbling in his throat Gamera heaved, lifting the Armored Titan into the air and spinning him about and flinging him like a mere toy. The Titan’s plated armor glinted in the sunlight that peeked through the dreary clouds, his skin pulsating in mounting rage. He adjusted his massive frame quickly, acting on reflex. Tucking and rolling and popping up back on his feet gracefully. The remains of buildings trembled and rattled apart pitifully from the greatness of their struggle.

    Gamera pressed the advantage and closed the distance with a frightening speed. Though he would never openly admit, in that exact moment, Shikishima doubted his chances against the shelled warrior, unstoppably determined. Green eyes held the fire of battle, a battle he would never stop fighting as long as he could breathe.

    The Armored Titan blocked the impending swipe with his strong forearms, grunting in the strain against his opponent’s unambiguous superiority in might. But that was an easy way to predict an attack, and Gamera had not won countless battles by being predictable. Another swipe followed and claws tore deep, steaming gouges in the Titan’s nightmarish visage. Bellowing and half blinded he leapt back, wiping blood from his eyes. Gamera snarled, taking notice that this Titan could heal like the lesser of its brethren.

    He rushed the Armored Titan, slamming into him and lifting him off his feet and into the hollow remains of a building. Their roars rising to the sky, dust and rubble flying about in a great cloud. Like apparitions in the shadows, they fought on.

    Exploiting Gamera’s momentum, the Armored Titan seized Gamera’s left arm and, in a heave that required more strength than he knew he possessed, he flipped Gamera over his head.

    Hunks of earth shot skyward and the ground shook from the massive shell that now smashed hard into it. Wasting not a second, he began ruthlessly slamming Gamera’s head into the ground, wanting nothing more than to crack it into a million pieces. The Armored Titan’s head snapped to the geysers of hot exhaust that erupted from where Gamera’s legs had once been. The exhaust became plasma fire in the blink of an eye and he roared in rage, as with no alternative, he released Gamera.

    The Guardian of the Universe flew by and up neatly before landing a distance away, flattening the remains of a public market square, untouched for two years.

    Gamera roared in defiance and again met the Armored Titan head on. Glaring into his opponent’s eyes, he gripped his left shoulder, unharmed by the Titan’s high body temperature. His other hand grabbed hold of Shikishima’s left arm. One decisive yank was all it took to tear it completely out of its socket. Strands of flesh dangled and bone jutted from the injury.

    The Armored Titan bellowed in both pain and rage. Despite the power this white, armored form gave him, Shikishima could still feel pain. It seared his human body’s side down to his bones and his teeth gritted as he waited for his body regenerate. Hot blood spurted in gouts, dousing the earth as he hurriedly stumbled back snarling his hatred at Gamera. Without sparing it a glance, Gamera tossed the arm aside and pressed on. The Armored Titan’s body rapidly began generating a new arm, but not fast enough. Gamera effortlessly blocked the punch and jabbed the Titan’s gut. A wheeze. A hard left swing battered the Titan’s head and blood spurted from the dented face. Another punch cracked his chest armor and a harsh shoulder sent him sprawling.

    —-

    Eren, Mikasa and Armin watched the duel, slack jawed. They had pursued the Armored Titan through the remains of their dead home. Where they had spent their childhoods, where their loved ones had met horrific deaths at forces beyond their control. They had seen the figure descend from the sky and oppose Shikishima.

    Mikasa most of all.

    “Gamera,” she whispered. In her heart she felt a strange swelling. An emotion that could only be called relief. She remembered all the stories her grandmother had told her before bed when she had been just a small child. Stories of a great guardian god: Gamera. She had been told that one of her forefathers had been saved by Gamera when he had been but a little boy. The concrete name of the place eluded her somewhat, but she could have sworn she’d heard the name “Shibuya,” a place in a Japan that no longer existed. She remembered hoping and praying that Gamera was real. That he would deliver them from the Titan’s and the cold, unfeeling walls that penetrated even in her dreams.

    After all this time…were those childhood prayers being answered?

    “Mikasa?” Eren gripped her cloaked shoulder, looking at her questioningly.

    “It’s nothing,” she composed herself, “we need to get that bomb.”

    —-

    The Armored Titan coughed blood, Gamera’s wrist claw slashing his throat wide open. In spite of this he swung, his punch finding purchase to the side of Gamera’s jaw and he promptly followed up with a hard kick to the side of his left leg. Gamera grunted, moderately unbalanced, and Shikishima saw an opportunity.

    Stooping down, he took hold of Gamera’s ankle and jerked the leg, and with a roar gave an enormous twist of the limb in hopes of breaking it.

    Gamera shrieked and toppled over, the abused joint now throbbing. But he had suffered far, far worse than that. He loosed a plasma fireball and the Armored Titan only narrowly avoided its full wrath. Plates on the side of his body melted into disgusting sludge from where it had grazed him. The Armored Titan glowered in a deep rage that was beginning to encroach on something existential.

    Gamera stood upright once more, undaunted.

    “Why are you fighting to save these people?” Shikishima at last spoke again. “Certainly you must be aware they caused all of this?” The sneer on the giant’s face mirroring the one he gave in the confines of its body.

    No answer. Gamera stood as a shelled monolith, bathed in sunlight that seemed divine in radiance.

    “Time and time again, humans cause tragedy and perpetuate these horrors for their own gain! Apathy breeds this and only those with the will to tear it all down have a chance at changing anything!” Shikishima was genuinely frustrated at, in his own views, his inability to reason with someone who had every reason and more to hate them. To want to destroy them.

    “Is what you’re doing any different?”

    The thought entered Shikishima’s head in a voice that was not his own. Deep, ancient, and reverberant.

    The Armored Titan howled, body steaming.

    “I am nothing like them, I’m going to save the world!”

    To the trio that had at last found the bomb knelt by it and watched on. Unable to look away, Eren thought Shikishima insane at his attempts to communicate with the being that he battled so fiercely with.

    “Die with the rest of them.” The Armored Titan snatched up a large, blade-like object from the remains of a destroyed building.

    Gamera understood now. Shikishima was evil at the present time, but he found there was little that separated him from Ayana Hirasaka all those years ago. Angry, misguided. Hate born from a world where she felt she had lost everything to something outside of her control. Grief contorting her heart. This man was much the same.

    He ducked beneath the swing aimed for his neck, grunting when a ferocious kick nailed his abdomen.

    Gamera swiped and the Armored Titan pivoted his weapon, thrusting it forward with a yowl. Gamera caterwauled as the blade pierced into his right hand and pushed through the palm with venomous spite. Green blood trickled down his wrist and arm, staining the metal.

    The Armored Titan’s nearly lipless mouth pulled into a smile, satisfied at finally drawing blood. But that was far from what it would take to stop Gamera.

    The guardian lashed with his free hand and the Armored Titan felt the breath leave his body, coughing and choking on a flood of crimson that bubbled up in his throat and dribbled from his mouth. Gamera’s left hand broke through the plates protecting his gut and pierced through, bursting out the back. Without hesitation the guardian headbutted him squarely in the face, practically destroying the head entirely. The mutilated body stumbled weakly, desperately repairing the damage. Bony plates clattered to the ground and entrails wetly plopped to join them, sizzling in the increasing sunlight. From a distance, the two appeared to be bathed in the light of a supernova, and somehow the ruins of Monzen seemed alive once more.

    Gamera growled in suppressed pain as he pulled the weapon out of his hand. Momentarily he inspected it, his fingers tensing. The irony of the injuries mutually inflicted not lost upon him.

    Again, the battle was rejoined, the Armored Titan aiming another kick to his side. Angling his side, the kick harmlessly bounced off the serrated edge of his shell. The plates on the Titan’s belly absent, evidently the more heavily armored parts of his body took longer to restore themselves. Gamera grunted, eyes narrowing as a plan formulated.

    He caught the right arm that swung at him and squeezed, plates rubbing together audibly until the limb splintered under his vice grip. The Armored Titan roared in agony, that roar becoming a gurgle as claws ripped open his belly once more. Entrails dangling and Shikishima’s strength began to fade, his face twisting in an odd concoction of anger and despair.

    Gamera’s hands plunged into the fresh wound and his arms began to work. Muscle and bone fought hard to stay together as Shikishima realized with horror that Gamera was ripping him in two, tearing faster than he could heal. With a titanic roar, Gamera pulled up and an explosion of blood and gore followed. The upper body of the Armored Titan flew and twisted limply, the legs lifelessly toppling at Gamera’s feet.

    The upper body landed in a heap, groaning and gurgling feebly. Futilely clawing at the earth and gouging into the soil and grass, dragging himself away, slowly leaving a shining red trail in his wake, chunks of his own body rending from him. Was this all his ambition led to? A bestial struggle for his own life that ended with him pathetically dragging himself across the ground?

    Powerful footsteps followed him and he registered the gore smeared claws plunging into his nape. His world became black when Gamera tore him free of his maimed Titan body.

    The guardian looked at the vestigial mass that held within it a man. Unconscious and vulnerable. Angry and misguided, but with aspirations of changing the world. Turning his gaze to the three humans that still watched them, he slowly marched his way toward them.

    —-

    “He’s coming this way!” Armin gestured frantically at the approaching giant. He clutched at Eren and Mikasa, tugging at them fearfully, wanting nothing more than to run.

    “Wait,” Mikasa murmured, softly gesturing for them to wait and release their fear. Something about Gamera’s intent resonated with her. At the moment, she was not entirely certain if it was something metaphysical in his attempt at communication and stemming from the stories of him that had given her hope years ago or simple projection. She doubted the latter interpretation.

    Gamera stood before them and they were engulfed in his shadow, it spilled across the land like a wave. Sunlight hung behind him and burned like a halo. A gentle, hissing growl rumbled from him and slowly he knelt down to them, extending his blood caked hand carefully. Eren kept a brave face, not entirely certain of the giant’s intent. Mikasa unflinchingly looked him in the eye as he laid Shikishima before them. Alive. Unconscious, but alive.

    Mikasa looked at the captain who had trained her, and then she looked up at Gamera. He unmistakably nodded toward her.

    “I understand,” she spoke clearly to him and her voice felt small in his presence but she knew he comprehended.

    A beat of silence and Gamera set off once more, she still watched him.

    Once he was a considerable distance away, he took flight into the sky. He still had work to do. It would be a long road ahead but he knew with certainty humanity would have a future, in no small part due to those four.

    “Mikasa?” Eren spoke, awed, but confused.

    “He’ll come back when the last of the Titans are exterminated,” she doubted that likely would not be in her lifetime, but she understood the chance he had given them all. And the chance he had given Shikishima. Mercy was a rare thing, even rarer in the world they knew.

    They had work to do and like Gamera’s own mission, it was monumental. But in that moment of clarity, the three of them had a distinct knowledge that they would succeed.

    A roar of triumph and battle sang through the sky, ushering in a new era.

    This time, they would make sure it was not wasted.

    Winner: Gamera (Heisei)

    K.W.C. // June 20, 2020
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    In 2019, the world had witnessed the epic clash of two legendary titans; Godzilla and Ghidorah. The two fought for alpha supremacy, and during their fight, they awakened an army of monsters that rampaged across the Earth, before eventually converging to a single point: Boston. There these new titans saw the mighty Godzilla stand tall above a defeated Ghidorah. Among these titans were the fire demon, Rodan; the mountain titan, Methuselah; the giant crustacean-like Scylla; and finally, the earth titan, Behemoth. (more…)

    K.W.C. // May 31, 2020
  • Author: Connor Clennell | Banner: Andrew Sudomerski

    In the shadows at the edge of the solar system, evil resided. A delegation of the one of the great superpowers that had once plagued the galaxy. In decades past, they were at their strongest, but a set of defeats against the protectors of Earth had set the path to their downfall, and their once-wide empire fell apart. Star systems that had once belonged to the conquerors had been lost to the hands of other races or liberated by local resistance. Even their home world was now but a barren, lifeless rock, inhabited by naught but dust and ruins. (more…)

    K.W.C. // May 21, 2020
  • Author: Landon Soto | Banner: Landon Soto

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    K.W.C. // May 11, 2020