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)

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