Author: Thomas Fairchild | Banner: Christian Salabert

[Continued from Match 14]

The Nakamoto Tower was the largest skyscraper in the Shibuya district. Unlike in America, where there were antitrust laws, Japan was a free-for-all. To the Japanese, business is war, and the Nakamoto Corporation was one of the best. Unlike the rest of the world, the Nakamoto Corporation considered Godzilla and others like him to be an opportunity. Whenever these titans rampaged through a Japanese settlement, the Nakamoto Corporation arrived to clean up the mess and reap the benefits. In return, they quickly became one of the wealthiest companies of the 21st century.

To symbolize their rising success, they fashioned one of the greatest skyscrapers ever constructed. Its design was state of the art. Like most skyscrapers in Japan, it was built to survive many natural disasters. The company’s chairman, Mr. Nakamoto, once boasted it was strong enough to support a kaiju without faltering. Many laughed. But few laughed when one monster decided to put his claim to the test.

King Kong sat atop the Nakamoto Tower, surveying the sprawling city. Dark skies clung to the heavens. Yet the city was alit with luminescent lights. Kong squinted, blinded by its shimmering beauty. Hundreds of feet below, thousands of people flooded the streets, searching for shelter. Some were trampled by the stricken mob, while others were abandoned by their loved ones. The alpha primate observed them with disgust. Be it on an island or in a metropolis, humans were savages. Save one. Kong snorted, preferring not to think about her. Though primitive in nature, he understood the concept of love. That was what he felt when she came into his life. That was what happened when beauty loved the beast. But she was gone.

She left him alone in this cruel world.

In the distance, an explosion shook the region. Kong watched the ball of fire rise into the night sky before turning into a dark plume. Out of the smoke, a giant emerged. Its tail flailed behind it, flattening buildings. On its back, three rows of spines jutted outward. Kong gritted his teeth, recognizing the leviathan stomping toward him. Multicolored lights bathed the behemoth, contracting with its black flesh. Godzilla shrieked as he destroyed several power generators.

Kong looked on as all the lights around Godzilla went out. Darkness masked the monster king as he stalked closer, the steady pace of his footsteps sounding like thunder. It must’ve been a terrifying experience for the people on the streets. One moment, there was enough light to show you the way; the next, it was pitch black, and the Earth shook in the wake of a giant. King Kong stood upright, pounding his chest in defiance. The nuclear menace stopped, curling his upper lip. In the past, kaiju avoided Godzilla at all costs. Some were brave. Few survived to see another day. So why was this giant ape mocking him? Did it wish to die? Godzilla stomped closer, eager to grant King Kong’s wish.

There was a glow in the sky. At first, it was as faint as a distant star, but it soon became brighter. The charcoal gray behemoth stopped, with both of them staring at the flying object. It stopped above ground, spinning like a flying saucer, bluish-white light streaking out of its sides. Then, it stopped spinning. Before falling to the ground, the streaks of light were replaced by thick geysers of smoke. Gamera reared out of his shell, his head, arms, and legs stretched out seconds later, with the ensuing landfall rattling several city blocks.

Recognition flared in Godzilla’s wrathful eyes. It had been over a year since he had last fought him. That fight ended in a draw. Since then, he had searched the world for Gamera, slaying all that got in his way. At last he would have his vengeance. King Kong glared at Gamera. Unlike Godzilla, the beastly gorilla never encountered this ‘Guardian of the Universe’ before. It didn’t stop Kong from hating him, for the giant ape perceived all kaiju as a threat. Kong roared at the giant reptiles, daring them to make the first move.

Gamera didn’t move. He came here believing the planet was in peril. Instead of finding flocks of Gyaos, he found something else. Gamera knew neither Godzilla nor King Kong posed a threat to the planet. That meant he came here under a false pretense. Before questioning his judgment, the shelled warrior looked down at the frightened people. So that was why he came; it was because of the people!

A frustrated growl left the terrapin’s maw. Once upon a time, he had shared a strong bond with humanity by connecting with a young girl. Her spirit gave him the strength to win and save another day. In time, the connection weakened him. To protect the planet, Gamera severed all ties to Man, allowing him to fight to his fullest. So then why did he come to protect them now? Fighting Godzilla was no easy task, he had nearly died last time. Then there was the ape. Even if Gamera risked his life for these people, the resulting battle would still devastate the city. Many lives would be lost whether he protected them or not. But he would soon realize he had no choice.

A bluish-white beam lanced into his shoulder. Gamera shrieked as his flesh was torn by the destructive energies. Godzilla glowered at the injured tortoise, snarling in contempt. As he cried out into the night, Gamera wavered but did not fall. Before Godzilla could strike once more, King Kong pounced onto the colossal leviathan, drilling him into the ground. Smoke and debris obscured the two dueling giants. Regaining his composure, Gamera’s dark eyes pierced the thick smoke, and watched as Kong battered Godzilla with his bone crushing fists, the reptilian tyrant’s painful cries being heard for miles.

In desperation, the atomic reptile reared up, sinking his teeth into the abdomen of the gorilla. Kong’s rage heightened, slamming his fists into Godzilla’s face. Atomic energy imbued throughout the dorsal spines with an eerie glow. Kong was no fool, he knew the glowing spines heralded Godzilla’s primary weapon. He jumped back right as the atomic beam shot out into the night. Its heat singed the hairs on his body, a testament of its power. Kong backed away, formulating a new plan of attack to take the fearsome tyrant down. But out of the corner of his eye, he saw Gamera standing behind him, and changed gears to attack the massive terrapin instead. Gamera waited until the last second to swat the primate in the face, sending him crashing into a skyscraper. For the time being, Kong was out of the fight.

Rattling the frail structures around him, the monster king began to rise. Gamera concentrated on his irradiated foe; maybe in some other life, Godzilla could’ve been his greatest ally. Both have saved the world from vile monstrosities on many occasions. It was unfortunate neither could coexist. It was why Gamera regretted his next action. Fire crackled in his gaping maw, churning the flames of the Earth’s Spirit. An enraged Godzilla stood tall; as he faced Gamera, he could do nothing else but brace himself.

Three fireballs were discharged from the parted maw. The first crashed into the scaly chest, nearly toppling the atomic saurian, leaving a steaming crater of flesh. The second hit the same place, Godzilla roaring as fire engulfed his being. Against all odds, he remained standing. The third, however, brought him down. Burnt skin dangled off his fried chest, the monstrous brute laying sprawled on a street corner, groaning. Gamera wanted to fire another salvo, but he lacked the energy to do so.

Godzilla’s wounds started to heal, as did his strength. Once more, he started to rise. It seemed no level of punishment could keep him down. When the maple leaf dorsal spines flashed, he immediately fired his atomic ray. The artificial testudine felt it blaze into his plastron, a pain he remembered all too well. Unable to resist, Gamera lost his footing and slammed his bulk into the street. Mounds of asphalt and dirt shot up, casting a thick cloud of dust over the fallen guardian. Godzilla wasted no time by closing in on Gamera, dorsal spines flashing. The atomic beast blasted the felled terrapin, caring little if his opponent was down and helpless. Gamera writhed in agony as his high pitched wails echoed into the ears of the monster king.

Primal eyes slid open. He couldn’t see anything. His hands moved up, clenching whatever was impairing his vision. Quickly, Kong rose to his feet, finding a piece of a rooftop in his hands. It must’ve come from the skyscraper he crashed into. It was then he felt the sweltering heat. The giant ape growled. It was that damned reptile again. To beat him, he’d need to somehow neutralize its atomic fire. To buy some time, Kong blindsided Godzilla by tossing the rooftop into his face. The furious tyrant stopped firing and growled, jaws unhinged. Kong pounded his chest, challenging Godzilla like before. He was anticipating another atomic discharge, but Godzilla surprised him by charging instead. The ruler of Skull Island felt the earth shake beneath him. Buildings wobbled as Godzilla closed in, claws outstretched. Gritting his teeth, King Kong ran to meet the reptile head on.

Two powerful monsters clashed in the heart of Shibuya.

Godzilla slashed the gorilla in the face with his ivory claws, blood trickling out of the claw marks. Kong ignored the pain by punching the heavyweight brute in the snout, knocking out a few teeth. In retaliation, the colossal reptile leaned over, smashing his head into the ape’s own. Dazed, Kong lowered his guard, allowing the ruthless destroyer to lunge forward, eager to use his heavier mass to bring the beastial deity down. But Kong had other plans.

The brown-furred beast ducked low enough for the nuclear menace to move onto his shoulders and, in an incredible showcase of strength, lifted Godzilla up and chucked him over a few city blocks. When the atomic saurian made landfall, the impact made buildings crumble. King Kong pounded his fists in triumph, but it wasn’t over yet.

Like before, Godzilla started to rise. Kong noticed his dorsal spines were glowing, so the ape ran over, clamping the jaws shut with his bare hands. Furious and desperate, the reptilian overlord tried breaking free, but Kong wouldn’t allow it. Godzilla felt the energy building up in his throat. He thrashed, knowing he couldn’t stop the buildup. Sharp claws slashed into the ape’s hide, warm blood seeping out of the wounds. Kong groaned, yet kept a firm grip on Godzilla’s jaws. It looked as if the monstrous beast was about to be wiped out by the very power that gave him life. To avert this, the energy needed to be redirected.

Bark-like scales radiated an azure hued glow, light streaking out of his pores; in a flash, a shockwave of heat exploded in all directions, buildings within a one mile radius were wiped out. Godzilla stood alone on a street of molten slag. Ahead, his feral eyes found Kong buried in rubble. The putrid smell of scorched flesh assailed Godzilla’s nostrils. Caring little of Kong’s fate, Godzilla moved to dispatch Gamera.

Unbeknownst to the lumbering giant, a Man stood in his path. Godzilla paid him no heed. He stomped forward, oblivious to the Man’s presence. Suddenly, columns of light enveloped his tiny figure. Taken aback, the beastial leviathan stopped. As the light grew larger, so did the Man. Before long, Godzilla was standing face-to-face with Ultraman!

Cold, primal eyes fixated on the radiant shine from the enemy’s eyes. Ultraman clenched his fists. At this point, a confrontation was unavoidable. Ultraman knew Godzilla’s history all too well. Since his arrival, he had learned of Godzilla’s origins, how he plagued humanity, the countless lives lost, and the cities that have been devastated. In times of great peril, the King of the Monsters stunned the world by saving it from a greater threat. Ultraman didn’t care. A few good deeds could not redeem a life of mayhem.

Ultraman punched Godzilla’s face, then followed up with a quick and decisive neck chop against the jugular, stumbling the gargantuan beast of devastation. With heavy footfalls backpedaling, Godzilla fought to retain his balance, but Ultraman used his faster reflexes to deliver multiple punches in rapid succession. The brutal tyrant growled in annoyance, yet try as he might, he could not land a single blow on his humanoid attacker. Atomic energy enriched Godzilla’s dorsal spines, leaving Ultraman only seconds to react. Radioactive fire spat from the beast’s maw, demolishing a chain of restaurants in its path.

Having avoided thermonuclear pain, Ultraman jumped behind the atomic dragon and threw a spinning disc of energy into his torso. Godzilla stumbled forward, with his painful shrieks loud enough to shatter windows. Smoke sizzled off his torso where burnt flesh dangled. Ultraman moved in to capitalize on Godzilla’s impending defeat.

But the nuclear behemoth heard his foe’s footsteps as he ran closer. Swishing the air with his tail, he struck the silver giant in the ribcage, though the hero of the stars lessened the blow by catching it. But it didn’t stop him from sliding across the street, ripping up the pavement with his feet. Godzilla stood there, trying to wrestle his tail free from the humanoid’s clutches. Both tried overcoming the other, neither noticing Gamera standing in front of Godzilla, his mouth churning fire. A single fireball singed the air, grazing the shoulder of the monster king. It was not enough to make it explode, and kept going until it struck Ultraman in the chest. An explosion consumed Ultraman, which blinded the eyes of the monolithic giants. Wounded and unable to move, Ultraman laid in charred rubble. No longer distracted, Godzilla focused on the creature that merited his wrath.

Gamera fell forward, digging his claws into the broken terrain. Smoke blew down his arms and legs as they were sucked up into his shell. Godzilla lowered his head, unsure of his foe’s motives, until geysers of smoke propelled the terrapin upwards. In a flash, streaks of azure energy erupted forth, replacing the smoke. The shelled saucer spun rapidly in midair, blowing cars and trees away. At last Godzilla understood what Gamera had planned; it was something he experienced firsthand in their last battle, and with having no way of evading it, Godzilla growled. The flying disc spun forward in a burst of speed that belied its size. Ultraman regained consciousness right as Gamera hurtled his spinning shape into the skull of the King of the Monsters, the collision resounding like a thunderclap. Thrown off his feet, the enormous reptile crashed into a luxurious hotel, out cold. Landing next to his unconscious rival, the protector of Earth roared in victory.

Behind the victorious guardian, Ultraman crossed his wrists, forming a t-shape. His vertical hand unleashed an energy blast that cut into the terrapin’s head, jolting forward and burying his face into a skyscraper. Ultraman watched the creature warily, amazed it could still stand. When Gamera didn’t budge, Ultraman moved closer. Smoke steamed out of the charred head, but getting closer was not a wise move.

With a sickening crack, the ancient warrior spun around and slashed Ultraman with his elbow blade. The giant stumbled, but retained his equilibrium. There was no time to waste. Ultraman lunged at Gamera, avoiding the tortoise’s claws and elbow blades. He battered Gamera in the face with a flurry of strikes, though the herculean tortoise leaned down, clamping Ultraman’s shoulder with his tusks, uttering a shout of pain from the alien hero. Lacking the strength to break free, Ultraman manipulated his molecules by teleporting through dimensions.

He reassembled in another district, catching his breath and regaining his constitution. Deep down, Ultraman didn’t want to eliminate him. He knew of Gamera’s heroic actions, his war against Gyaos, the Shadow of Evil. In a way, it brought relief to Ultraman, that there were others like him, other champions willing to throw away their lives for the greater good. So then why was Gamera here? It must’ve been a misunderstanding. They shouldn’t be fighting, they should be working together. Gamera gazed at the warrior of light with sharp ferocity. Gamera felt differently; he had sustained nasty wounds, and if he died here, the Gyaos would swarm the planet. At this point, there was no such thing as peace between monsters and galactic warriors.

A barrage of fireballs erupted forth. The gleaming warrior rolled out of the way as each of them made an impact. Explosions blossomed where apartments once stood. Maelstroms of fire reduced everything it touched to ash. Ultraman couldn’t believe his eyes, he was wrong about Gamera! This was no champion, this was an abomination! On Ultraman’s chest, his glossy pearl started to blink. He was running out of energy, and he needed to finish this fast. The giant of light fired the Specium ray out of his hands, but the chelonian was quick to doge it by shooting up into the sky with his rocket propelled legs. Ultraman took off after him, both soaring through dark clouds In a matter of seconds. Gamera left thick layers of smoke in his wake as he gained momentum. The silver humanoid increased his speed, wanting nothing more than to put a stop to this madness. Soon those dark clouds were beneath them. All that lay ahead of them were twinkling stars and an empty void. Swirls of heat enveloped both.

Neither was affected.

Fireballs escaped at near supersonic speeds, closing in fast on Ultraman’s position. The red and silver giant evaded them with ease. As he increased his flight speed, sonic booms reverberated off his speeding figure. He flew at the airborne testudine, unleashing cutting energy discs out of his hands. They dug into tough leathery scales, ripping his flesh as fountains of green blood spurted out of the wounds. Gamera propelled himself to meet Ultraman head on. Above the very planet they have fought to protect, these two defenders clashed in a fight to the death. Gamera bashed Ultraman’s face in, only for the silver humanoid to bury his fingers into the terrapin’s eye sockets. Gamera gashed the hero of light with his tusks and then slashed his chest with his elbow spike. Ultraman gathered solar energy into the palm of his hand, redirecting it into the chest of the guardian deity, rupturing his plastron.

Though both were bloodied and beaten, neither yielded. Ultraman basked in the solar light, recharging his energy. Gamera used the heat of the ozone layer to recharge. As the human-like giant moved to strike the leathery throat of his opponent, Gamera rammed his full weight into him. Ultraman lost control over the gravitational forces and started falling back to earth. When he regained control, he spotted the aerial tortoise flying to meet him at supersonic speeds. Fire pulsated in the gaping maw of the engineered beast. Ultraman channeled all the energy he had to his hands. Then without incident, he flew to meet the Guardian of the Universe.

And then the heavens trembled.

Small crowds of spectators gathered to catch a glimpse of the fallen kaiju. Dust covered their bodies. Dry blood masked their scars. Their faces were frozen in a state of shock. Not a soul among them could recall the lives they once had. Underneath mounds of rubble, Kong’s burnt arm stuck out. Not far, Godzilla lay sprawled on a wrecked intersection. Shibuya was one of the most popular Japanese attractions. Hundreds of thousands of Japanese and tourists alike came here every year, but all that changed. Buildings were reduced to rubble. Seas of fire gobbled up entire city blocks. Thousands of bodies clogged ruptured streets. Many more were lost beneath piles of wreckage.

For the past hour, these people would have gone to great lengths to escape these giants. That was no longer the case. One by one they crawled out of their shelters. One by one they gathered to see these creatures with their own eyes. Why? Nobody knew. Perhaps it was to show courage. Perhaps it was a way of honoring the dead. Whatever the reason, these people had experienced hell firsthand. They’ve seen and experienced atrocities committed by their fellow man. So perhaps these people have come to see the very creatures responsible for opening their eyes and helping them face their inner monster.

A bright glow lit up the night sky.

All heads looked up. The light reflected off their wary eyes. Some must’ve thought it was divine intervention. But as the light faded, two bodies plummeted back to Earth. It didn’t take long for the crowds to return to their shelters. Everyone knew what was going to happen next.

Ultraman landed in the center of a plaza. He sank beneath the pavement as if it were water. The impact created tremors that could be detected as far away as Australia. Buildings such as the Shibuya 109 toppled, unable to withstand the earth shattering impact. Seconds later, the Nakamoto Tower broke Gamera’s fall. It was like watching a soda can be crushed by an elephant. The Nakamoto Tower and everything else around it lay in shambles, areas that had not been affected by the monsters were now in ruin. The vibrations lasted for thirty seconds.

At that time, Godzilla’s eyes slit open, atomic energy slithering up the dorsal spines. It took a full minute for the leviathan to rise. His nostrils sniffed the air, catching the scent of his fallen adversaries. Then with his binocular vision, he spotted them miles away, unconscious. With a rumbling roar, Godzilla waded to the closest one: Gamera.

In an impact crater, where the Nakamoto Tower was once situated, Gamera shuffled. He reached out to the outer edges, finding the strength to rise. Green blood oozed out of his ghastly wounds. The gashes would take days, maybe weeks to heal. But the pain vanished when Gamera gaped at a familiar figure trudging in his direction. He groaned in disarray; of all the kaiju in the cosmos, Godzilla was the last Gamera wanted to fight. Regardless, he gathered the courage needed to rise and face his infernal nemesis.

Thunderous footsteps stomped closer, crushing the twisted remains at his feet. His dorsal spines crackled, bright bluish-white light flashing in his maw. Gamera was quicker on the draw, fireballs plunging into Godzilla’s bulky chest, enveloping him in flames. Losing his balance, the monstrous king crashed into a pile of rubble. Gamera fired another salvo, blanketing the nuclear menace in an inferno of hissing flames. From within, he saw the luminescent glow of maple leaf-shaped spines.

Then just as suddenly, thermonuclear energy raced out of the inferno, acting like a sledgehammer forged from heat and sheer brute force. Gamera was pushed back into the impact crater, landing on his back. Inside the searing sea of flames, Godzilla’s dark silhouette appeared, looking as if the devil himself was walking out of the pits of Hell. Smoke hissed off his black hide, feral eyes finding Gamera lying in the crater. Godzilla did nothing. He glared at his opponent with newfound respect.

This was not enough to save him.

Atomic energy enriched the dorsal spines of the enraged god of destruction. Gamera howled, vowing to survive no matter what. This planet still needed him, whether humanity wanted him or not. The atomic leviathan reared back, preparing to expel his signature weapon. Pallid streaks hooked into Godzilla, effortlessly raising the massive monstrosity into the air, leaving him helpless and vulnerable. Behind the floating giant, Ultraman stepped into the firelight. He had to act fast, there wasn’t time to waste. Cuffing his wrists like before, Ultraman fired destructive energies out of his vertical hand. The Specium ray punctured into the scaly backside, incinerating flesh, muscle, and fluid alike. In midair, Godzilla writhed in irritated pain, but Ultraman kept pouring the energy into the atomic dragon. At first the pain remained in one place, then it moved throughout his body.

A fireball shot out of the impact crater. Ultraman jumped up and hovered right as the fireball annihilated the ground under him. A second seared into his sternum, blasting him out of the sky. As he fell, Ultraman struck Gamera with an energy blast, though it wasn’t enough to bring him down. With Ultraman’s telekinetic concentration lost, Godzilla dropped, and landed on his feet. Gamera mustered the strength needed to walk up and blindsided the cruel warrior with a jab. Snarling, Godzilla responded in kind.

Both monsters slammed their bulk into the other, kicking up debris. Both slashed and tore chunks of flesh out with their claws and teeth. Even with newfound respect for his adversary, Godzilla showed no mercy. Green blood stained his teeth as he buried them into Gamera’s shoulder. The revered guardian retaliated by thrusting his elbow blade deep into Godzilla’s stomach. Ultraman jumped up, preparing to join the bloodbath. He hesitated; he had seen many horrors in his life, but none of them compared to the gruesome sight unfolding before him.

Ultraman joined the fray by wedging between the two reptiles. With his energy discs, he slashed their bellies open. At the same time, Ultraman punched Godzilla’s face and kicked Gamera in the plastron, though all that did was make them angrier. Tusked jaws parted, heralding blistering flames. Atomic fire spewed from the other’s maw, bringing the alien humanoid down. Ultraman, however, managed to slit Gamera’s throat with an energy disc, fire belching out of his split throat. The mass and fury of the monster king slammed into the wounded Gamera, toppling him over.

Ultraman ran over and at point blank shot his energy blasts into the wounded stomach of the beastial monstrosity. Painful shrieks were drowned out by thermonuclear fire, washing over Ultraman, obscuring him from the world. When it faded, Ultraman was still standing with smoke sizzling off his blackened armor. Gamera swatted Godzilla’s visage, breaking the lower jaw of the reptilian nemesis. Before Godzilla hit the ground, The silver hero pounced onto Gamera, punching him with all the strength he could muster. Metallic arms wrapped around Gamera’s throat, squeezing the life out of him.

The downed terrapin struggled to escape, only resulting in Ultraman squeezing harder. As the gargling warrior gasped blood out of his ripped neck, Ultraman wondered if the guardian felt any regret for all the lives he’d taken this night. All around them, conflagrations consumed most of the city. Gamera peered into the flames, hearing thousands screaming, seeing their charred corpses rot in rubble. Did he feel regret? Yes. But there was nothing he could do to prevent it. He was at war. And in war, people died. This was why he severed all ties to humanity. For the greater good, Gamera sacrificed his emotions. For the greater good, he sacrificed his humanity and tarnished his soul. With a mighty bellow, Gamera chucked Ultraman off. Godzilla’s lower jaw snapped back into place. He stood up, challenging his foes with a commanding roar. Ultraman got up. He couldn’t believe Godzilla and Gamera were still standing. Indeed, they were the mightiest monsters he had ever seen.

Underneath rubble, another stirred.

Thunder shook the heavens. Lightning bolts singed the air, cutting a swath into the slumbering Kong’s arm. It didn’t burn his flesh, it strengthened it. Kong emerged out of the rubble, his weary eyes gaped at the rumbling sky. Another lightning bolt came down, striking his chest. The electricity surged through his veins, augmenting his strength. Another struck, then another. Again and again, lightning marked Kong as its conduit. From their shelters, people watched in awe as the lord of Skull Island regained his strength. They were lost for words. What were the chances of an electrical storm forming above the one creature that drew strength from it? Kong had been left for dead. Under the unlikeliest circumstances, he returned. Primal eyes surveyed the burning city. Upon seeing the dueling distant shapes of Godzilla, Gamera, and Ultraman, King Kong moved to rejoin the battle, electricity flaring in his eyes.

Ultraman throttled at the monstrous ruler, and the beast likewise retaliated by burying his claws into the arm and back of the silver giant, forcing Ultraman to release him. Gamera charged, ramming into Godzilla at full speed. For support, the monster king anchored his feet ankle deep into the ground. Gamera whacked his powerful arm into the reptilian snout, uttering an irritated groan from the nuclear behemoth. Ultraman fired an energy disc into Gamera’s arm, rupturing flesh and bone. Godzilla lunged at the chelonian, battering him back.

At that time neither attacked. Both stared, acknowledging the injuries inflicted on the other. Both were bleeding profusely, even Godzilla’s regenerative cells couldn’t heal fast enough. Suddenly, the ground quaked. As it stopped, Ultraman flew past them, crashing into a pile of wreckage. Something incredibly strong just threw him. Cold reptilian eyes shifted, shocked to see King Kong standing next to him. Before Godzilla could strike, Kong was quick to deliver a fearsome uppercut against the self-proclaimed King of the Monsters. This stunt forced the towering monolith to falter in his stance. With his vision impaired, Godzilla’s eyes rolled back. But it wasn’t just the physical trauma that harmed him, it was more than that. There was a stinging sensation that accompanied it.

Seconds before passing out, Godzilla saw Kong grapple with Gamera. Electricity slithered out of the ape’s fingertips, electrocuting the shelled beast. Kong didn’t look back when Godzilla fell; no, his eyes never left Gamera. The guardian deity tried swatting the electrically amplified primate, though to his surprise, Kong caught his wrist. With newfound strength, the thunder god squeezed with all his might, breaking bone. It was impossible for the Atlantean creation to fight back. Every time he touched the ape, his skin sparked with an electrical burst. Every time the primal beast touched him, it was worse. If only Gamera could discharge a fireball, but with his neck still damaged, he’d die in the process. Kong saw defeat in his eyes; he saw it long before Gamera knew it. To commemorate his impending victory, Kong grabbed one of the fanged tusks and ripped it out. He held it up above his head and, with both hands, drove it into the skull of the once proud defender.

Gamera didn’t fall, not at first. He stared at the smoldering city, mesmerized. There was so much devastation. When Gamera started questioning his actions, he felt the very thing he had long suppressed: his humanity. There was sadness in his fading eyes. So many lives were lost in a battle he could’ve avoided. Should he survive this night, he would return to defending Mankind, even if it was from himself. Gamera closed his eyes, envisioning a world that didn’t need him, a world that didn’t need guardians, a world with no shadows.

King Kong spotted Ultraman rising to his knees. This was unacceptable. Kong sprinted over, seizing the back of the alien’s head. Ultraman did not feel the voltage, but instead the ferocity and renewed strength of the mighty beast. The pearl on his chest once again flashed. He wasn’t going to last much longer. The electrified gorilla lifted the silver human up and slammed him head first into the rubble. Weakly, Ultraman grabbed the ape’s rugged hand, fighting in vain to free himself. With both hands, Kong grabbed the fallen hero by the throat, lifting him in the air, and smashed him into the wreckage.

Having sustained too much damage, Ultraman had no other options. Bright lights erupted out of Ultraman’s pearl, blinding Kong. When the light faded, the hero of light was no more, having reverted to his human host. Kong looked at the tiny human. He snorted in contempt. He reached down, wanting to crush the human. Before Kong’s humongous hand could reach him, Godzilla’s chaotic roar screeched the air.

Twisted, charred buildings surrounded the two titans. One lived in a time when giants stalked the planet, long before Mankind existed. The other lived in a place where Mankind was as untamable as beasts, a place where he was king. These two living relics were the last of their kind. This night in the kingdom of Man, one shall stand and one shall fall.

Dorsal spines flashed, radioactive fire bathing the ruler of Skull Island in blistering heat that incinerated the hairs on Kong’s burnt flesh. The savage ape used that pain to fuel his rage. His thundering roar made Godzilla pause, giving Kong the perfect chance to strike. He slammed his electrically charged fists into the atomic saurian, flaying his dark hide. Godzilla buried his claws into Kong’s shoulder, though all it did was let more electricity into his veins. In contempt, the wrathful destroyer roared, clawing at the primal beast regardless of the pain. Kong observed the bleeding wounds, seeing a bone protruding out, exposed. It must’ve happened during the bout with Gamera and Ultraman. Not even Godzilla could heal a horrible wound in such a small amount of time.

Thinking fast, Kong grabbed the bone, and ripped it out. Godzilla dropped to one knee, stricken. He felt no pain, there was only shock. Kong dropped the bone, not caring if it was one of the ribs or something else. He then shoved his hand deep into the open wound, frying the reptile’s organs and marrow. With all his strength, Godzilla stood up on his hind legs, clamping his jaws around the dense hairs that coated Kong’s throat. The augmented deity pulled harder, tugging intestines out of the belly of the beast. In response, the ruthless tyrant clamped down harder, crushing Kong’s windpipe. With his other fist, Kong punched the charcoal monstrosity in the temple as hard as he could. It was enough to make the monster king relinquish the throat of the gorilla. Kong backed off, dropping Godzilla’s scalded entrails.

Thermonuclear light consumed King Kong.

Even in the face of temperatures hotter than the Sun, Kong did not die. When the cerulean flames ceased, a horrible stench assailed his nostrils. It made him nauseous. He had smelled its scent many times, yet it had never been this disgusting. Standing in a smoldering cloud, Kong glared with seething hatred. Godzilla didn’t recognize him. The burns had made him unrecognizable. Kong was once a magnificent creature of sheer brute force.; now, he looked more like a charred skeleton. His face was more bone than flesh. Yet still, he breathed in the rotten air, refusing to die. Godzilla waited, anticipating a retaliation of some kind. He had exhausted most of his strength fighting Gamera and Ultraman. Against an augmented Kong, the odds did not favor him. Godzilla struggled to stay awake. He had lost too much blood. His injuries were grave. If his atomic fire couldn’t defeat the ape, what else could he do?

It was then Kong lunged at him. To Godzilla, the ape moved like a blur. In a second, Kong had him down, pummeling him without any signs of stopping. The great beast of the apocalypse lashed out, clawing at his foe’s charred face, but it was all for naught. King Kong shoved Godzilla’s head deep beneath the earth and never let go. His arms served as a bridge for the electricity to travel across. Godzilla roared helplessly, as the electricity fried his face, finding its way to his brain. Once regarded as superb eyesight became distorted, seeing bright flashes. And then his eyes boiled.

Onlookers couldn’t believe their eyes. Godzilla, the mightiest monster Mankind ever knew, was losing.

Clawed arms dropped; he could no longer fight back. In surprise, Kong’s bloodshot eyes widened. He couldn’t close them for his eyelids had been burned. Smoke obscured Godzilla’s still shape. When Kong touched him, he felt a faint pulse. It’d seem the rumors about Godzilla were not unfounded. Perhaps the saurian couldn’t be killed. Kong reached down, wanting to put an end to that rumor. It was then he felt his newfound power fade.

Fatigued, Kong left Godzilla in a graveyard of rubble. The King of the Monsters was beaten. But like Ultraman and Gamera, he was still amongst the living. It was not known how long he would rest. Perhaps he would rise within the next hour, the next day, maybe even the next week. For a creature whose origins predated humanity’s own, time mattered little. It didn’t matter how long it’d take for him to rise again. It was inevitable. But when he does rise, and rise he shall, the world will tremble.

Kong stumbled. Every second pushed him to the brink. Around flames, dark plumes, and mountains of rubble, Kong dropped to his knees. He knew he was breathing his last breaths. Groups of survivors crowded around him, showing no fear. There was an unexplainable bond between them and the dying giant. All of them underwent what King Kong, the Eighth Wonder of the World, felt: the loss of a loved one. Kong blindly reached forward. At first, he saw only blackness, death’s infinite womb. Then there was a light. Stepping out of the light, shimmering with incomprehensible beauty, was his beloved. She stared at him, marveling at him and what he had become. To her, there were no burns, no battle scars. She saw only the champion within. In his final seconds, King Kong knew the peace he had sought for so long.

At last, beauty and the beast were together again.

Winner: King Kong (Showa)