Author: Connor Clennell | Banner: Matthew Williams

Mothra sat atop her rock pedestal, listening to the soothing songs of the Cosmos. In this world of constant war and bloodshed even a goddess needed time away from her fellow monsters. Perhaps this time she would be able to get some actual rest without interruption.

Mothra’s head suddenly snapped up in attention. She could feel a disturbance on the normally peaceful shores of her island home. There was an intruder in her domain.

The Cosmos watched as the lepidopteron deity screeched and took to the air, flying out of her temple and toward the beach. There was no sign of another monster when Mothra arrived, and nothing seemed out of the ordinary. She was sure she had sensed something – perhaps she was mistaken? Mothra was just about to leave when the ground burst open below her. The giant moth was caught by surprise and quickly ascended, avoiding the boxy jaws of her attacker. Mothra circled around to identify who or what she was dealing with, and for the briefest of moments thought she was looking at Godzilla.

Zilla looked up at Mothra, barring his teeth and directing a threatening hiss at the insect. He’d been wandering the waters of the Pacific for some time now, looking for new territory to claim as his own. Infant Island looked to be the perfect place to settle down on, but the mutant iguana hadn’t expected the island to already have an owner. Still, his opponent didn’t look that tough, and he wasn’t going to be intimidated so easily. He was also starving after his long voyage, and while insect wasn’t his preferred meal, Zilla wasn’t a fussy eater when it came to food.

Mothra began the battle, firing golden energy beams from her antennae upon Zilla. The mutant screamed out in pain as they tore into his hide, unable to do anything to stop Mothra’s assault. Mercifully, the beams stopped coming, only for Mothra to ram into Zilla, knocking him to the floor and clawing him with her many legs. Amidst the pain, Zilla lashed out with his hand and struck Mothra on the chest. Now it was her turn to experience pain as the lizard’s sharp claws sliced through her armour-less skin. Green blood stained the ground and Zilla’s claws as the great moth ascended out of the mutant’s reach. Zilla was quickly back on his feet and leapt at the rapidly ascending Mothra. The lepidopteran’s wings began beating faster, not only increasing her rate of altitude but creating fierce gusts of winds that swept the iguana away.

Zilla landed skilfully on all fours and quickly began digging away at the sand beneath him. Mothra quickly realized the lizard’s strategy and fired off another set of energy beams. Both beams struck the ground, just missing Zilla’s tail as he disappeared down a tunnel of his own making. Mothra fired beam after beam down the hole, illuminating the dark cavern with each blast. When the reptile refused to emerge, Mothra cautiously moved closer, inspecting the hole Zilla had made. A challenging chirp left her mandibles that echoed down the dark passage, hoping to gain some reaction from the Godzilla copycat. After a few moments, Zilla did not emerge, and Mothra decided that the beast had either retreated, was unconscious or dead. Content with her victory, Mothra began her ascent.

The surface of the beach exploded beneath Mothra. Zilla leapt out of the forming dust cloud, jaws wide open. Taken by surprise, Mothra quickly slammed her wings against the mutant iguana’s skull, dazing him long enough for her to escape. A frustrated moan left Zilla’s maw as he turned around to enter his tunnel, but Mothra wasn’t prepared to let him go so easily. He had defiled her home and he would pay the price for his actions. Swooping in low, the moth deity grabbed hold of the retreating lizard’s tail, dragging him kicking and screaming out of his would-be escape route. Mothra continued to drag Zilla across the ground, away from the beach and further inland. Zilla clawed at the ground as he was carried along, desperately trying to gain grip on the ground, but the speed and strength of his captor made the task impossible. Switching tactics, Zilla twisted himself around and let loose a blast of highly pressurised flammable gas from his maw. The pressure of the wind blast knocked Mothra off-balance, forcing her to release Zilla as she tried to correct her flight path.

Zilla looked up at Mothra, unsure of what to do next. Not possessing any ranged capabilities put him at a disadvantage and he knew it. Perhaps this fight wasn’t such a good idea after all. His fears were confirmed as Mothra began raining down antennae beams from above, blasting apart Zilla’s hide and the ground around him. Almost immediately, Zilla turned and fled, Mothra continuing to fire after him as she pursued. Now on the move, Zilla easily outran the great moth, outpacing the rail of destruction forming behind him. If the giant iguana wanted to have a chance of winning or retreating, he needed to find some cover, and fast. Out of the corner of his eye he spotted a large mountain in the distance. That would do.

Zilla changed direction in an instant, sprinting toward the mountain before Mothra had a chance to follow. The irradiated iguana quickly dug into the mountainside, creating his own escape tunnel within mere seconds and burrowed deeper inside the mountain. Eventually, Zilla’s claws slashed through thin air as he broke his way into a large cavern. Zilla couldn’t hear Mothra anymore, but knew he was far from safe when he noticed the huge, gaping hole in the roof that allowed sunlight to illuminate the cave. With some time to formulate a new plan of attack, the mutation began looking around the cavern for potential hiding spots or escape routes in case the giant moth found her way in. Ancient man-made structures were carved out of and into the cavern walls, which were coated with paintings of Mothra. Zilla cocked his head in confusion, wondering what the nature of this place was. In the centre of the room was a large pedestal, carved out of rock like everything else in the cave. Zilla paid it no attention, instead focusing on the large, multi-colored sphere tucked to the side. Zilla cautiously crept closer, almost crushing the Cosmos underfoot as he approached the object. It looked like an egg, but Zilla was unsure. It looked too big to be one. The thing was almost as large as he was. Cautiously, he sniffed the sphere, immediately recognizing the scent of Mothra on it. Suddenly, the sphere moved, earning a shriek of surprise from the reptile. It was an egg. Mothra’s egg! Zilla had accidently dug his way into her temple. Panic filled the mutant’s mind as he envisioned all the possible deaths Mothra would provide if she discovered him in here. He quickly leapt atop Mothra’s pedestal and then jumped up toward the skylight.

Mothra rapidly approached the entrance to her cave temple, infuriated that she had let Zilla slip away so easily. While she couldn’t see Zilla, she could still sense the lizard and right now she could sense him inside her temple. She wasn’t about to let the mutation defile her home in such a way, and could only hope Zilla hadn’t had a chance to harm the Cosmos or her unborn child just yet. Just as she was about to enter, Zilla leapt out of the shadows. Both made a surprised sound, not expecting to encounter one another. Zilla crashed into the great moth, sending both tumbling down the mountainside, and when they stopped at the bottom, Mothra found herself pinned underneath Zilla. The spawn of atomic tests quickly took advantage of the situation, slashing and biting at the pinned insect’s thorax and wings. Zilla clamped his jaws around one of Mothra’s legs, causing the goddess to cry out in pain as he tore the appendage from her body and spat it out. The reptile’s claws, perfectly designed to dig through rock with ease, cut through Mothra’s fragile wings like a knife through warm butter. Mothra began to panic as her life force began to fade.

Zilla slashed at the deity’s chest once more, but was caught off-guard as Mothra’s two front legs grabbed his arm and began discharging energy into the limb. The mutant iguana roared in pain as Mothra’s holy energy scorched his arm, smoke rising off his skin as it burned. Pulling his arm free of her grasp, Zilla leapt off Mothra, nursing his injury. With a few strong flaps of her wings, Mothra took flight once more. Despite the damage Zilla had done to them, her tattered wings were still capable of providing lift. Mothra began to flap her wings faster, creating a small windstorm that knocked Zilla to the ground. Golden energy beams ravaged the mutant’s fallen form, drawing a pained moan with every strike. Mothra began to shed reflective scales and electricity from her wings, adding to the onslaught. By the time she ceased her barrage, Zilla’s body and the ground surrounding him was almost completely stained black. Chunks of skin had been vaporised, revealing patches of raw red flesh, and the stench of roasted flesh hung in the air. A weak groan escaped Zilla’s mouth as he weakly stood back up. Mothra had been more powerful than he’d anticipated, and now he’d not only lost his future home and meal, but almost lost his life as well. The mutant could only hope the lepidopteran deity would be merciful enough to let him leave.

But Mothra wasn’t finished with him yet.

Flying in closer, the mighty insect grasped Zilla by his head and began pumping energy into the mutant iguana’s skull. Exhausted from his ordeal, Zilla’s last reserves of energy were used to fuel his screams of agony as Mothra’s energy coursed through his brain. Mothra refused to let go even as the lizard fell to the ground, convulsing in agony. The irradiated reptile’s struggles quickly became weaker and weaker, until eventually they stopped altogether as Zilla went limp. Mothra released the lizard’s blackened head, observing the damage. The great lepidopteran’s attack had reduced Zilla brain to molten flesh, which was now oozing out of the mutation’s empty eye sockets, his eyes having been vaporised sometime during the discharge. The reptile looked dead, but Mothra fired a pair of energy beams that struck Zilla’s forehead just to be sure. The beast’s resemblance to Godzilla made her wary that it might share the same regenerative properties as the atomic saurian. Zilla didn’t respond, sending a wave of relief through the deity’s body. Her island and her egg were safe.

As she turned to return to her temple, Mothra sensed another disturbance. Something much, much stronger than Zilla was approaching, and fast. The mighty moth spun around to face her challenger. The shimmering form of Mechagodzilla slowly descended, touching down not too far away. The alien war machine let out a high-pitched screech from its maw, rotating its missile-tipped hands as it awaited the command to attack. Jikiro landed alongside the mechanical duplicate of Godzilla, the ground cracking open upon its touchdown, announcing its arrival with its own mechanical roar. They were here to exterminate Mothra and her offspring with extreme prejudice and raise Infant Island to the ground. Mothra gazed at the two automatons with worry. She had spent a lot of energy during her battle with Zilla and had sustained heavy damage herself. She wasn’t sure if she had the strength left to fend off her attackers. But she knew she had to. Not just for her life, but for the life of the Cosmos and her unborn child. As long as she could fight, Mothra would never give up.

With a challenging cry, Mothra charged Mechagodzilla and Jikiro as the two fired off their missiles and energy blasts, ready to defend her home and family to the last breath…

Winner: Mothra (Heisei)

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