Author: Thomas Fairchild | Banner: Christian Salabert

[Continued from Match 25]

Sunlight glinted off the humanoid’s sprinting mass. For every step it took, it left a trail of dust high enough to dwarf even the tallest building. Up ahead, the beastial lion-dog charged with equal ferocity. Eons ago, science and sorcery allowed the Okinawa Royal Family to grant a giant golem life. In exchange, it was instructed to protect the royal family, no matter the cost. Today, it lives on, no longer bound to serve those who’ve long departed this life. In a world filled with robots, aliens, and mutations, it took fate into its own hands. Territories had already been claimed by its giant brethren, and so it claimed this land as its own. Jet Jaguar’s sonic cries echoed throughout the vicinity. It was a challenge, one King Caesar accepted.

Both giants jumped at the other, Jet Jaguar burying his knee into the shisa’s torso. Ribs would’ve shattered had the golem’s hide not proven so thick. In a quick showcase of speed, King Caesar jabbed the automaton in the face. The robot, caught off guard, shuffled in its fighting stance. King Caesar, seeing its foe at a disadvantage, used its strong legs to leap high into the air. Electronic scanners warned Jet of the imminent strike a split-second before the golem pounded the robot into the ground.

Dust obscured the battlefield, preventing King Caesar from inflicting further damage. Jet’s advanced optics, however, were not blinded. The robot blindsided the golem with a right hook, throwing the giant off him as King Caesar crashed into the ground. Jet Jaguar jumped onto the fallen golem, punching it repeatedly, but not even his lethal blows could rupture its stony bulk. The golem regained consciousness, grabbing the robot by the throat and squeezing it. But such efforts proved fruitless against the mechanical human, and realizing this, King Caesar tossed the robot aside with its sheer strength.

Jet Jaguar scanned King Caesar, searching for a weakness to exploit. The Okinawan Ronin approached the robot, debating how it was going to smash it. Thick skin covered most of its body, its arms, legs, and abdomen exposed the tough brown skin and yellow hair. Jet recalled his battle with the villainous Monster X; like Monster X, King Caesar had a humanoid shape and razor sharp fangs, which rested in the golem’s maw. Its tail wagged back and forth with every step it took. Jet Jaguar knew it was fighting a stronger adversary, but did King Caesar know?

The golem charged, eager for more violence. The metal man flipped out of the way, avoiding the attack. Without hesitating, Jet Jaguar jumped up, kicking the shisa in the neck. The beastly guardian lion fell to one knee. No matter how strong it was, a precise physical strike could still bring it down. Picking up a boulder and raising it high, the robot smashed it over the skull of the lion-dog, the boulder shattering on impact. Hoping to capitalize his foe’s vulnerable state, Jet Jaguar moved in for the attack. But such a tactic proved futile as King Caesar jumped up, barely even fazed. The metallic human skidded to a stop, realizing his grave error. This was a miscalculation. King Caesar delivered a bone shattering kick, sending the robot sailing off into the distance. As King Caesar crashed onto the ground, only to feel the shudder from the impact of its enemy.

Dust churned around the fallen shape, resting in a deep trench that nearly buried the machine, sparks sizzling about his damaged exterior. All available energy was diverted to Jet Jaguar’s power core, at last regaining awareness. It checked its optic sensors. The twin black panels sparkled to life, sensors analyzing the battered terrain, searching for the enemy. A shadow fell over him, captivating the robot’s immediate attention. Jet Jaguar, a robot gifted with artificial intelligence, felt what all sentient beings regrettably felt: fear.

King Caesar’s fist slammed Jet Jaguar’s head into the ground, smothering his face as gouts of rock and dirt shot up into the air. Satisfied, the golem picked him off the ground and tossed him into a hillside. It was dishonorable. King Caesar no longer deemed the robot a challenge. To the golem, Jet Jaguar was an expendable playmate. But the robot had other plans.

Rock-like fists cracked in anticipation as the shishi beast tottered closer. But Jet regained his composure and shot up into the sky. Using its incredible leg strength, King Caesar jumped up in pursuit, but just barely missed. As the furry golem fell back to earth, Jet stopped in midair, switching directions and dove down at incredible speeds. Before King Caesar’s very eyes, Jet Jaguar’s body started growing bigger. It took several seconds for the robot to reach a size large enough to make even a kaiju look and feel small! At last, the golem realized his true intention, and chose to brace itself instead of running like a coward.

Not that it could’ve gotten far, even if it tried.

Jet Jaguar’s titanic mass struck the Earth’s crust. Somewhere between disemboweled soil and shattered rock, King Caesar’s body writhed. In all directions, the ground was torn asunder. What at first glance appeared to be the impact of an asteroid was something far more unlikely. The aftershock would no doubt be recorded hundreds of miles away. At the heart of the smoldering crater, Jet Jaguar’s kneeling figure was faintly seen. Not even his increased size could withstand such an impact unscathed.

Black smoke filtered out of Jet Jaguar’s torn torso, with one of his cracked ankles sprayed a shower of sparks. If given enough time, he could repair the damages. But hundreds of meters away, a maimed yet still alive King Caesar stirred. Optic sensors analyzed the golem, whose ribs protrude out of its sides. Jet readied to strike, fast and hard, but realized the properties of the exposed bones were not organic; it had more in common with gold, and likewise its skin made from the minerals found in the soil beneath their feet. It appeared King Caesar’s mystic past confounded his database.

King Caesar growled, yet did not attack. Jet cautiously approached the golem, dragging his injured ankle. He assumed King Caesar was hesitant to strike a larger foe, and that for now the golem would growl and do nothing more. With every step, the soil shifted beneath his feet. Suddenly, the robot started to shrink. King Caesar widened its eyes and snickered in delight. In seconds, Jet Jaguar returned to his average height, tall enough to reach King Caesar’s shoulders.

The electronic robot came to a stop, rethinking his strategy. King Caesar took a step forward, intimidating the robot. Before the robot could determine the proper course of action, King Caesar broke into a sprint, forgoing its own injuries. After tackling the robotic human to the floor, it clobbered at the head with a flurry of fists, denting its shiny exterior. Every hit hindered its operating systems, replacing its perspective of the world with static. If this beating persisted, Jet Jaguar would’ve gone offline—permanently.

In a surprising move, one which perplexed even the robot, Jet Jaguar lashed out, grabbing King Caesar’s exposed rib. In seconds, metal hands snapped the golden rib in two. King Caesar backed away, roaring in agony. It appeared even a golem could feel pain. He took note of this fact and saved it to his memory. With all his available power, Jet Jaguar rose to full height, holding the rib like a blade.

A brilliant, yet dangerous strategy was formulated. Failure was not an option. Jet Jaguar had one shot to make it right. A berserk King Caesar charged, its ferocious roars shaking the planet. In a matter of seconds, Jet analyzed all available countermeasures. Its grand plan could not be utilized, not yet. King Caesar jumped forward, hurtling its powerful leg. Jet Jaguar tried to block it with its arm, it was all he could do. In one foul strike, the giant humanoid was sent crashing into the ground, its arm bent and broken. There was no time to tend to the injury, as King Caesar was once again on the attack.

Right as the Okinawan beast brought both fists down, Jet Jaguar rolled away, rock and dirt shooting off into the sky. Dust obscured the battlefield, buying the automaton some time. King Caesar didn’t move, its head was slanted downwards. As the smoke faded, hindering its vision no longer, the shisa found itself peering into the crater its fists created. Jet Jaguar wasn’t in it. Rage once again ruled the giant golem.

Hundreds of meters away, Jet Jaguar stood in its fighting stance. This was it. King Caesar snarled, heralding a charge. He observed the golem sprinting toward it, the plan finally being put into motion. He braced himself as King Caesar wrapped its muscular arms around his back and buried its jaws into his chest. Emergency sirens wailed throughout Jet Jaguar’s core systems, but had to ignore them. It had only one functioning arm, propelling it forward, driving the piece of rib he was carrying into King Caesar’s forehead.

The lion-dog stumbled, but did not fall. Its eyes rolled up into their sockets, as if they were trying to catch a glimpse of the rib jammed in its face. Its legs wobbled, fighting to stay upright. It moved in, unable to run at full capacity. The lobotomized golem slumped forward, losing the battle against gravity. Before King Caesar hit the ground, Jet jumped up, spun around, and kicked the rib deeper into its forehead. Jet Jaguar watched the golem fall. It didn’t move.

Triumphant, Jet Jaguar raised its head, jumped up, and soared above the clouds.

Winner: Jet Jaguar (Showa)