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

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