Author: Connor Clennell | Banner: Dao Zang Moua

For years, mankind had been plagued by monsters. No matter how hard they fought back, it seemed as if they had no hope to fully repel the larger-than-life beasts that shared the same soil as them. Had no choice but to watch them tear down their homes, steal away their loved ones, tear down everything they had worked hard to achieve.

Yet in the carnage and chaos, one nation had managed to avoid the conflict between man and monster. Whilst the governments of Japan and the United States sent out their armies and arsenals against the likes of Godzilla and King Ghidorah, the United Kingdom hung back, leaving its military and civilians out of a conflict that didn’t involve them…at least, not yet. As the other nations of the world suffered from the heavy loss of life and the costs of repairing the damage and building new weaponry to take down their gargantuan neighbors, they flourished. Rebuilding their economy, improving their quality of life, strengthening their defenses. What was once a tiny, insignificant island was quickly growing into a new international superpower.

The people of Great Britain had grown to believe they were safe from the terrors of kaiju. None had ever tried to set foot in their waters or on their soil before. Why would they now?

Today, they would be proven wrong.

In Blackpool, crowds of people carried on with their daily lives, not giving a care about the dangers that existed outside their waters. Atop the Blackpool Tower, a young boy was on the verge of crying as he watched his balloon float away from him into the sky above. He barely paid attention to the sudden shouts and screams around him, as people pushed and shoved each other aside in a desperate rush to get to the elevator. It wasn’t until his mother lifted him up to carry him and he could see over her shoulder that he saw what the cause for all the commotion was.

Few people saw the object flying in over the ocean at an astounding speed. Even fewer survived its arrival.

Hurricane level winds swept up helpless cars, trams, buses and people, scattering them across the town like garbage. Massive waves engulfed the beach and the promenade, wiping away treasured landmarks and memorials. Sonic booms shattered every window within Blackpool’s limits and reduced less structurally sound buildings to tons of concrete rubble. All this in the span of a single minute. Maybe even less.

When the carnage had died down, the town was unrecognizable to the survivors. Mangled bodies of vehicles and people littered the ravaged streets, obscured by dust and debris. Across the city, the cries of people in agonizing pain and in mourning of their deceased filled the air. No one could have expected this. Blackpool had been torn apart by forces brought about by the advent of Rodan.

The crimson pterosaur circled above the ruins of Blackpool, scanning for a place to roost after his long voyage. His sharp eyes found a suitable target, and he made his descent. Rodan came down atop the Blackpool Tower, crushing its observatory under his titanic weight. The rest of the structure wobbled and groaned in protest, but managed to support Rodan’s form. In the giant’s beak, a bottlenose dolphin flailed helplessly in its dying moments. Throwing his head back, Rodan opened his maw, allowing gravity to send the dolphin down his throat. He closed his beak with a loud clapping sound, only to open it again a second later, spreading his wings and releasing an echoing, challenging cackle. Blackpool was his domain now. Let any other creature challenge him at their peril.

His moment was interrupted, however, as the tower began to tremble beneath him. Rodan looked down, tilting his head in confusion. The streets below shook violently, the tremors bringing down buildings not fully obliterated by Rodan’s sonic booms. Huge jagged cracks appeared in the concrete and tarmac, spewing violent flames. From his perch, Rodan watched the cracks grow larger and the flames engulf the ruins below. Suddenly, the tower itself began to sink, disappearing into the inferno. Screeching in surprise, Rodan escaped a fiery fate by taking to the skies. He and the pockets of survivors watched with anticipation as the Blackpool Tower was consumed by the Earth, vanishing into a hellish pit of fire and brimstone.

Rodan looked down at where the tower had just stood, warily observing the gaping chasm that had appeared in its place. Unholy sounds escaped the sinkhole’s molten depths, filling the reptile’s soul with dread. Forms moved around within the flames, neither human nor monster, but creatures from another world. Thousands of tortured souls cried out, begging for freedom from their eternal prison. This gateway to the underworld was something beyond even Rodan’s intelligence and comprehension. He was sure of one thing, however: he was going nowhere near it.

To further compliment the pit, a colossal, inhuman form began to rise from the depths. A large four-fingered hand composed of rock clamped down on the chasm’s edge, followed by another, pulling a demonic creature out of Hell itself and to the surface. Kumasogami reared his hideous visage back, letting loose a haunting, atrocious bellow that pierced the souls of those present with fear and dread, announcing his return to the mortal realm after centuries of slumber. The former God of the Kumaso Kingdom had returned to walk the Earth once more and burn civilization to ashes.

Though as the molten beast scanned the broken shell of Blackpool, it seemed something had razed the town to the ground before him. Recently too, judging by the still setting smoke and burning fires. A screech from above caught Kumasogami’s attention. The demon’s single triangular eye regarded Rodan’s airborne form not with fear or anger, but boredom. While he enjoyed tearing apart his enemies and drinking the blood out of their still beating hearts, the pteranodon hardly looked to be a worthy foe. Still, if it wanted to die so badly, who was he to deny its final request? Kumasogami spread his arms wide and roared a terrible roar at Rodan, accepting the Lord of the Skies’ challenge.

Pulling his wings close, Rodan dive-bombed the molten titan at incredible speed. Taken by surprise by his foe’s speed, Kumasogami was left with little time to defend himself, and raised his arms to grab Rodan’s own as he closed the distance. Gripping the aerial predator’s arms tightly, Kumasogami grinned in sadistic pleasure as his superheated touch burnt and seared Rodan’s flesh, earning several painful cries from the mutated pteranodon. In retaliation, he brought the tip of his beak down atop Kumasogami’s head with extreme force. Kumasogami relinquished his hold, clutching the top of his head and hollering painfully. Molten lava dripped from his cracked cranium, corroding the ground below. Rodan used his foe’s distraction to ascend into the air, his natural realm. With a single flap of his wings, he created a powerful sonic boom that knocked Kumasogami back onto the beach behind him. As the dark one’s feet disappeared under the waves he growled painfully. But while the cooling waters doused his flames, it was not enough to wound the beast from Hell.

Rodan’s cackling cry echoed around the area, seeming to come from all directions. Kumasogami looked around frantically as he tried to locate the reptile, to no avail. Rodan cackled again, the sound closer this time, but before Kumasogami could react, the oversized pterosaur slammed his spiked chest into the back of the titan’s head, sending him crashing to the ground. Kumasogami quickly got back onto his feet, only for Rodan to slam his feet into his face, causing him to fall backward into the ocean. Both the demon and the waters hissed as his superheated form made contact, steam rising from all sides. Pulling himself out of the now boiling water, Kumasogami was knocked to the ground once more as Rodan swooped in low and sliced the demon’s leg with his wing.

Kumasogami groaned as he pulled himself off the ground. Rodan was just too fast to face while in the air, and if Kumasogami wanted to win this bout he’d have to force the crimson terror out of his element. The dark one’s arms fell to his sides as his hands began to shift and change. His left hand took on the appearance of a bow, the other morphed its fingers into three deadly arrows. Kumasogami joined the arrows with his bow and took aim. Rodan issued a cackle and dive-bombed Kumasogami again, but this time the demon was ready, spinning on his heel to face the pteranodon and fired his arrows. Skillfully twisting his form, Rodan avoided the molten projectiles and continued his attack, striking Kumasogami in the face with his wing before retreating once more. Kumasogami snarled angrily and turned to face Rodan’s retreating form as his fingers formed into another set of arrows.

He raised the bow and arrows to target Rodan, but did not fire, waiting for the pteranodon to get closer this time. Rodan began to pick up speed as he approached Kumasogami, cackling wildly, as he prepared to slam his beak into the molten titan’s cranium. Moments before he could, though, Kumasogami launched his arrows, striking the giant pteranodon’s armored chest. Crying out in pain as plumes of fire and smoke rose from his chest, Rodan swerved midair, abandoning his attack run. Kumasogami lowered his arms, letting out a low, sinister laugh at his foe’s pain.

Suddenly, Rodan stopped mid-flight and turned to face Kumasogami. The demon’s laughter died in his throat once he noticed Rodan’s crown of horns glow a bright gold, as flashes and sparks of energy crackled across them. Rodan cackled angrily before opening his beak and unleashing a violet beam of atomic energy, striking Kumasogami dead center in the chest. The dark one howled as chunks of molten rock and lava blood fell to the ground and staggered back. Rodan was not finished, however, and fired another blast of his uranium ray. Kumasogami’s left hand exploded into chunks as the beam struck, causing more agonizing pain to course through Kumasogami’s body and earning another deafening cry from his molten throat as he clutched the stump of his hand. Rodan’s mocking cry filled the demon’s ears as his hand regenerated, vengeance clouding his mind. As Rodan dive-bombed him again, Kumasogami reverted his right hand back to its normal state and broke into a sprint toward the giant pterosaur. The demon bent his legs, leaping into the air toward the descending Rodan. The mutated pteranodon cried out in surprise as Kumasogami planted his foot atop his head and kicked down, sending him plummeting to the ground hard. Kumasogami landed mere meters away and turned to face Rodan, still dazed from the impact, growling cruelly as he prepared to deal the finishing blow…

Pulling himself upright, Rodan spun around and blasted Kumasogami square in the chest with his uranium heat beam. Kumasogami stumbled backward from the blast and tripped on a pile of rubble, falling back and crushing Blackpool North Station under his bulk. As the demon flailed about trying to get back up, Rodan lifted himself into the air and approached Kumasogami. The molten titan lashed out in an attempt to grab Rodan, but the Lord of the Skies managed to stay just out of his reach and began pecking furiously at the dark one’s skull. Kumasogami roared in pain as each strike of Rodan’s beak worsened the damage already inflicted to his cranium, threatening to crack the demon’s head open like an egg. His hands desperately sought out a weapon to use against his crimson foe, eventually finding an abandoned DMU train. His right hand closed around the two vehicles, the heat from his body quickly turning them to molten slag, and he swung his arm upward, smashing the deteriorating train into Rodan’s face. The DMU exploded on contact, embedding shards of glass and twisted metal into the right side of Rodan’s head. Rodan ceased assaulting Kumasogami, rearing his head back and crying out in pain as shrapnel pierced his eye. He flew back and landed, trying to claw the debris out with his fingers.

Kumasogami stood up, using the time Rodan spent removing the shrapnel well. His right arm fell to his side, the fingers of his hand fusing together and extending to form a deadly blade. Raising his new weapon, Kumasogami swung it at Rodan, striking the reptile on his armored chest and drawing a shower of sparks. Rodan cried out in shock and leapt back, but Kumasogami swung faster, his sword cutting through the membrane of Rodan’s left wing. The crimson pteranodon cackled in anger and pain as he ascended out of Kumasogami’s reach. He observed his torn wing, assessing the damage. His wing was still capable of granting flight, obviously, but he could no longer harness his true speed, lest he damage his wing further.

Out of the corner of his good eye, Rodan watched Kumasogami’s hands morph into a bow and arrows once more. He quickly moved, avoiding the first trio of arrows. Kumasogami could tell Rodan was in distress, as he was moving a lot slower now. It made tracking him much easier. He raised his bow, firing another set of arrows at the mutated pterosaur. Two arrows struck Rodan’s underbelly, the other exploded against his neck. Rodan let out an angry cry and swerved toward Kumasogami, grasping the demon’s head in his talons and dragging him across the town. The Lord of the Skies released his grip, sending Kumasogami crashing down atop Bloomfield Road Stadium, partially burying him in several tons of concrete and steel.

Furiously, Kumasogami pulled himself up and glared at Rodan. The pterosaur’s horns glowed once more as he fired his uranium beam, blowing off Kumasogami’s bow-hand, then repeated the action with the demon’s other hand. Kumasogami shook his arms wildly, his stumps spilling lava across the area, as Rodan swooped in and smashed him in the face with his chest. Kumasogami fell back, roaring in fury. Already his hands were regenerating and morphing into new shapes. His right hand grew in size, his fingers sinking into his rocky hide to form a large ball. Several spikes grew out of the ball, finishing the weapon’s completion. His left hand took on a similar shape, then detached from his wrist, dangling on a rock-formed chain. Kumasogami swung his new morning star and flail, testing their weight and air resistance, then spun around and slammed his morning star into Rodan’s face, who had been sneaking up on the molten titan.

Wearily, Rodan opened his eyes. Kumasogami’s blow had been strong enough to not only knock him unconscious for a few moments, but send him flying halfway across Blackpool. Rodan felt the ground beneath him quake, and he looked up to see Kumasogami sprinting toward him, bellowing in rage. Flapping his wings, Rodan began to take off, firing a uranium ray at the charging demon. Kumasogami raised his morning star to take the blow, sacrificing the limb to continue his charge, and swung his left arm. His flail slammed into Rodan’s chest, breaking several ribs with an audible cracking sound. The crimson pterosaur’s cry of agony was literally drowned out as blood gurgled out of Rodan’s maw as one of his lungs was punctured. He blasted Kumasogami with his uranium beam, incinerating rocky armor and lava blood alike, as he clawed at the dark one’s face with his talons, ignoring the burning pain that shot through then with every strike.

By now Kumasogami’s morning star had reformed, and he smashed the medieval tool into Rodan’s side, sending the oversized pteranodon crashing to the ground. He leapt atop the fallen reptile and began pounding his face with both morning star and flail. Rodan beat his wings and kicked out, cackling painfully as he was crushed and burnt underneath the demon. His efforts were futile, and only served to increase the severity of the dark one’s beating.

After several minutes of non-stop smashing, Kumasogami finally relented. He stood up off Rodan to observe the Lord of the Skies’ broken form. His chest was singled completely black, raw red flesh poking out of several gaping wounds. The pteranodon’s head lay in a puddle of his own blood, his beak crackled and missing several pieces, which were scattered all around his head. Yet the slow but steading rise and fall of his chest proved Rodan was still alive. Kumasogami’s hands morphed into blades as he raised them above his head, ready to deal the killing blow. But then a much more sinister thought struck him. Why kill him and end his suffering, when he could make him suffer for all eternity?

His blades morphed back into four-fingered hands, and he bent down to pick up Rodan. Carrying the mutant reptile above his head, Kumasogami marched over to where he had come into this world. As he stood at the edge of the opening, he glazed into its fiery depths, disturbed glee filling his tainted soul. The moans and cries of the underworld, along with Kumasogami’s vile laughter, was enough to rouse Rodan from unconsciousness. With a surprised screech, the Lord of the Skies was cast into the pit, vanishing into the cloud of fire and smoke. Kumasogami’s laughter rose to a horrifying, booming volume as he turned away from the gate to Hell and focused his attention—

With a triumphant cackle, Rodan flew out of the pit, escaping the terrors of the underworld. Kumasogami spun around, his twisted visage frozen in shock. Rodan’s bruised and battered eyes narrowed as a furious cackle emanated from his throat moments before he expelled a beam of atomic hate on Kumasogami’s face. The dark one’s cries died in his throat as it was torn away by the force of Rodan’s heat ray, alongside most of his facial feature. As Kumasogami clutched at the remains of his face, Rodan blasted open the ground beneath him with two more uranium rays. The ledge Kumasogami resided on crumbled away, and he fell screaming as best he could into the pit, continuously being assaulting by uranium beams. Rodan never saw or heard him hit the bottom, if there even was one, and breathed a sigh of relief. With its only connection to the mortal realm severed, the hole to Hell closed up, leaving no trace that it was ever there.

Exhausted but victorious, Rodan made his leave. His new territory now reeked of the underworld’s dark presence, and he wanted to be as far away from it as possible, taking to the air and heading toward much greener pastures.

Winner: Rodan (Heisei)

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