Author: Andrew Sudomerski | Banner: Matthew Williams
A weary thunderstorm clouded the shimmering moonlight, the settlement deprived of the moon’s downcast. But even the celestial body would avert its pure radiance from this place of evildoers. In the darkness of the night, shady backdoor dealings were exchanged, they hoarded the land’s natural resources, the chaste were defiled, auctioned slaves became part of a merciless labor system, and the wicked reigned over with fear as their iron rod.
Those subjugated to the abuse of the impious cried into the night, even if there was no one to listen. Suddenly, the very earth under their feet began to tremble. Their sudden wails ceased as massive claws tunneled out from under the depths, which pulled itself out of the pit. A grotesque prodigy that lurked in the shadows beyond the light of creation, it heralded a spiked, bony carapace that matched the deprived soil it emerged from. Orange armor coated its gargantuan forelimbs, with an abnormal growth sprouted from each of its arms’ posterior.
The demonic entity began to trample through the corrupted city, laying waste to everything in front of it.
From heaven above, an angelic being descended from the thunderclouds. Fermented with fluorescent lights from its abdominal region, they pulsated with utmost divinity. Two sets of ocean blue membranes carried its holy figure across the sea of clouds, propelled by holy flames that exuded from its back shell. It entered the mortal realm, washed over by the rainfall of mourning tears; those that clung to despair, those abused by their tormentors, and those who suffered a brutal, humiliating death. For the angel was designed to purge the world of those deemed evil, and such foulness had been defiling the surface world.
The ancient god saw the abomination ransacking the human settlement for all its worth, with a massive, endless abyss where the hellspawn emerged from. A hideous sight beholdened to those who saw it as it leaked poison from its irregular stature. Propped by four powerful limbs and equipped with two additional sets of small arms, the unclean thing leveled the jungle of man and left only fire and smoke in its wrathful path. Only the tears and hallowed cries of the suffering could quench the flames, but it did nothing to restore the ruins of this doomed city. But when the egregious monstrosity heard the resonate call from the angel, the earthly menace shifted its attention to the descending being. The Earthquake Beetle gritted its incisors and purred with anticipation, awaiting the expressionless foe to touch down.
With a gentle thud, the vermillion bird collapsed its four heavenly wings into elongated tentacles, tipped with silver pincers. It boomed a soft hum, prepared to banish the demon back to the underworld where it belonged. The Earthquake Beetle emitted a guttural growl, hoping to tear the angel apart, limb from limb, and proclaim victory over the heavens and the earth.
The legendary Ryuseicho stood its ground as the hideous Jinshin-Mushi broke into a gargantuan sprint, up-heaving the land and buildings with its tremendous footfalls. Ryuseicho remained steadfast, beckoning its lithe extensions to intercept the ghastly brute. Crimson tendrils zipped across the structures with nothing more than a gentle breeze. Four silver-tipped pincers parted open and spewed concentrated lasers of supersonic energies, tearing through the rainfall with little effort. Two of the beams found their mark on Jinshin-Mushi’s rugged, orange-plated forearms, harmlessly bouncing off of them. Others sliced into its dark, earthy shell and dug into them, oozing cascading waterfalls of blood. The unclean thing came to a gradual stop, swatting at the tentacles as they continued to fire sonic scalpels into its less resilient protection.
Jinshin-Mushi felt every time the sonic energies seared into its brown hide, eliciting pained shrieks from the abominable freak. If this kept up, there was no doubt they would be able to dice its body into pieces. So, the abomination improvised. Radiation swirled from its visor-like eyes in a bright glow, distributing the converted energy down its right forearm. It brought the bulky limb overhead and threw it to the ground, igniting a sudden, destructive blast of harsh winds. The shockwave displaced the pouring rain and tore trees and buildings from their roots, careening them as far as the horizon could see. Residual aftershocks caught up with the vermillion bird, blowing the superorganism off its feet, dragging its tentacles with it.
As Ryuseicho crashed into a collection of buildings, Jinshin-Mushi’s massive claws shoveled the earth beneath it and vanished under the warm embrace of the subsurface. Dust and dirt kicked up as the monstrosity tunneled deeper down, the rumblings equivalent to an earthquake. The downed Ryuseicho retracted its tentacles to its side, picking itself back up. The crimson angel split its four tentacles back into heavenly membranes and leapt into the air with a clap of its quadruple wings and a lively burst of azure flames from its back ports.
Ryuseicho saw the surface where it once was cave in on itself, with the orange brazen forearms outstretched and hurled into the sky. As more of the abomination’s form emerged from the ground, Jinshin-Mushi’s claws vice-gripped around the mighty avian’s ankles. Ryuseicho tried to resist by pulling itself higher into the rolling thunderclouds, but its efforts were in vain as it felt its entire mass being dragged downward. It concluded with a colossal crash that embedded it in a makeshift crater, exhausting the flames from its ports in the process.
Extended streaks flashed a scarlet hue as Jinshin-Mushi loomed overhead, peering into the dust-filled basin. Although the holy glow of Ryuseicho was ever-present, the angel had reverted its wings into tendrils and shot them out. They met the unclean thing and fired a ruthless barrage of successive sonic scalpels into the hideous demon’s earthy plating. Jinshin-Mushi staggered from the pain, but persisted in its own way. Energy crackled from its visors, which shone with a brilliant red, jaws drooling saliva with eager anticipation. As it saw Ryuseicho come into view, even while pelted by its sonic beams, the monstrous deep-dweller prepared to unload its greatest weapon.
Parting its jaws, Jinshin-Mushi elicited a cacophonous oscillation wave, destructive vibrations warping the rainfall and air around it. The supersonic roar overwhelmed the angelic figure, ravaging its throbbing body through sheer volume. Ryuseicho’s agonizing squeal was lost in the deafening boom of Jinshin-Mushi’s vicious attack. The angel could feel every fiber of its being rattled and torn apart from the intense frequency, its back armor and shoulder spires shredded from the onslaught. The vermillion bird’s bassinet and visor cracked and oozed blood as the fluorescent orbs that adorned its chest popped with bioluminescent puss, splattering across Jinshin-Mushi’s form. When the deadly supersonic wave subsided, the shaken Ryuseicho collapsed onto its spiky knees, its head ringing from the disorientation.
Jinshin-Mushi snorted. Long, yellow tendrils crawled out of the massive pores on the behemoth’s face, a set from the cheekbones and another near the jaw line. These arrow-tipped ovipositors scanned the broken seraph, prepared to strike like a scorpion’s stinger. However, Jinshin-Mushi relented, noticing the lack of radioactive substance needed to help propagate its kind. The ovipositors quickly retreated back into its abominable face. Now the unclean thing would bring an end to this futile struggle.
Ryuseicho’s head fell limp, profusely bleeding from the cracks and slits. It felt its residual strength stir within, but that last attack took its toll. However, that did not mean the vermillion bird was out of options. Channeling its strength, the Ryuseicho would catch the gargantuan beast off guard with its tentacles. A sudden light shone from the goliath’s right side, who gleamed at the nearby tentacles. Unlike before, the two pulsated with spherical lights that rivaled the sun, one which Jinshin-Mushi despised so much. Out of its wide peripheral, the Dragon Beetle took heed another similar light to its left, illuminated by the other set of tentacles.
Then, they fired.
A quadruple set of plasma fireballs discharged from the silver pincers, colliding against the colossal beast and became engulfed in purifying flames that tarnished even its hardened anterior. Jinshin-Mushi cried out from the lingering flames that clung to its armored hide, even the downpour did little to quench it.
The tentacles were issued commands as two of them were quick to wrap around Jinshin-Mushi’s bulky arms, constricting them as hard as they could. The pincer-like lances burrowed into the arms’ posterior, where it wasn’t protected by the thick, rugged armor. They sapped the life essence, channeling it through the entirety of the tentacles as they kept the massive forelimbs pinned to the ground. Jinshin-Mushi, even with the flames that coated its body, was prepared to muster all its strength; that was until a third snaked around its bulky neck and stabbed into its jugular. The unclean thing tried to cry out, only to be muffled by the tightening compression from the tendril. The fourth and last of Ryuseicho’s tentacles wrapped around the left rear leg, restricting Jinshin-Mushi’s mobility.
As the abomination struggled to break free, Ryuseicho used its spears to weakly support itself back to its feet. With slow, sluggish movement, Ryuseicho felt Jinshin-Mushi’s energy course through its body, but it wasn’t enough. Each step of its three-pronged feet brought it closer to the mountainous giant, ready to bring this all to an end. Extending its spears, Ryuseicho lanced them both into the shelled monster’s sides, eliciting a choking cry from the brutish demon. The blades flashed with light as they proceeded to drain the life essence from the ancient behemoth. Even Jinshin-Mushi felt the liquids sapped from the arrow-tipped pincers and spears, which deteriorated their armored resilience.
Restrained and unable to counter, Jinshin-Mushi reacted by raking the fallen angel with a series of slashes from its four inner arms. They easily tore through the fractured shell, spurting blood from the onslaught. However, the crimson angel had a countermeasure; six more tentacles burst from the small pod-like bulbs near the yellow core on its stomach, each held down and outclassed the manic inner arms of Jinshin-Mushi. It was a struggle between control and restraint; and all Ryuseicho needed was time.
The vile atrocity deflated the longer this stalemate held out. The wrists of its arms became too brittle to employ another shockwave blast, let alone being able to support its own mass. All of it was barely held up by the extension that protruded from the arm like a misshapen thumb. Jinshin-Mushi’s face became pale, unable to breathe from the viper of a tentacle that sucked the life out of its jugular. Ryuseicho, meanwhile, regained its lost strength. Its consciousness had fully cleared from any lingering dissonance. With its newfound strength, Ryuseicho pushed all its limbs harder. Jinshin-Mushi barely had the voice to even echo its suffering. Even the inner arms became too frail, snapping like twigs under the constraint of the abdominal tentacles.
After a mere minute, Jinshin-Mushi became a husk of its former self. The lights in its eyes diminished as its shriveled corpse fell to the ground with a thud, with smoldering flames lingering after the matter. The beaten and battered Ryuseicho stood over its fallen foe, glowing profusely from its ravaged bulbs. The translucent, fluorescent lights became a bright yellow, indicating that a demon had been slain.
It was then that Ryuseicho scanned the area. The poison Jinshin-Mushi leaked had propagated life in its own right; foliage overtook the ruined settlement, mana levels gradually rose, and the soil man had pillaged began to rejuvenate its nutrients. In addition, survivors and witnesses looked in awe of their savior, drenched with tears that fell from the sky.
A flash of lightning illuminated the crimson angel, followed by a thunderous boom. For it was not meant to be.
Beckoning all four of its lithe tentacles, each tip illuminated with the light of four miniature suns, unveiling their evils and wrongdoing. The tiny mortals turned away from the light, refusing to accept the truth. Without a moment of hesitation, the plasma fireballs reigned with destructive explosions, washing the land in a cacophonous bath of flames. The pure and damned alike were reduced to cinders, all the while Ryuseicho continued to set the entire city ablaze. The plant-life that sprouted was caught in the crossfire, burning away into ash.
As everything perished around it, Ryuseicho retracted two of its tentacles and aimed them for the sky. It changed its ammunition from the fireballs to the sonic beams as it discharged a beacon of light for distant eyes to see. As the sonic rays dissipated, Ryuseicho heard the cries of its sisters as they converged to a new home, a nesting ground for their species to populate.
For the end was nigh, and the angel of death would wreak havoc upon the world.