Author: Thomas Fairchild | Banner: Stephanie Hughes

[Continued from Match 50]

The fate of the world began with a thundering chorus of rockets, lasers, and battle cries. Bagan, a mountain of flesh sheathed in blasphemous armor and plates, answered their cries with an ear shattering howl. Rockets blew up harmlessly against his hide. Lasers burned into his body, disappearing in clouds of dense smoke and burning vapor. Armies of fighter jets, tanks, and maser cannons emptied their arsenal into the death god. None of their weapons had any effect. With one foul motion, Bagan’s unholy energies consumed their ranks, vaporizing them in goblets of explosions. Burning wreckage blanketed the battlefield. Smoldering ash tarnished the earth, marking the gravesites of countless soldiers. Demonic red eyes surveyed the massacre, pleased with the atrocities he had committed.

Onboard the advanced fighting machine Moguera, the crew stared in awe and hatred.

“You evil bastard,” Lieutenant Koji Shinjo hissed.

Lieutenant Kiyoshi Sato said nothing. Had the circumstances been any different, Major Akira Yuki would’ve considered this a blessing. But that couldn’t be any further from the truth. Yuki had no friends left in the armed forces, save his Moguera crew. But even he was visibly racked by the needless killings he had just witnessed. Never before had a single monster ended so many lives in such a short amount of time. What could describe this mayhem? Are humans really this weak? One quote from a Roman commander many years prior perfectly summed up this travesty.

Shadows and dust.

“Kill this son of a bitch,” Yuki commanded.

Moguera’s dull yellow optics erupted with ionized plasma. The golden beams streaked into Bagan, succeeding in only attracting his wrath. Before the demon could reduce them to a steaming river of metal, Kiryu and Mechagodzilla launched an onslaught. The demented shape of the horned devil disappeared in a cloud of fire. When the smoke settled, Bagan’s haunting silhouette emerged out of the light. Kiryu’s wrist-mounted lasers and Mechagodzilla’s Mega-Buster rays pounded its upper body. This couldn’t even slow Bagan’s stride.

“Yuki,” Akane Yashiro radioed over the com-link. “It’s me. We need to hit him and never let up. The moment we stop, he’ll retaliate. That’s when we’re done for. Sasaki,” she said, addressing the Mechagodzilla captain, “give us air cover.”

“Understood,” Sasaki replied. He was a stubborn man, but he knew better than to question a strategist of Akane’s caliber.

Mechagodzilla’s rockets burned to life, propelling the gigantic robot into the morning sky. Paralysis missiles shot out of their shoulder cannons, explosions dancing around Bagan, bathing the scarred lands in an eerie luminance. Kiryu’s metallic jaws opened, expelling yellow hued bolts of electricity. Moguera’s chest port opened, revealing a large maser dish. It crackled to life, discharging a powerful plasma beam. Both attacks snaked across the battlefield, striking Bagan with full force. Akane’s wisdom proved to be true, as the beast didn’t return fire. As long as they kept pressing their attacks, Bagan couldn’t retaliate.

Circling the battlefield, Mothra, Battra, and Rodan flew in perfect synchronization. Their energy beams distorted the air as they joined the assault. With her blue multifaceted eyes, Mothra could see in many different directions at once. This was very useful in combat. She could see the other monsters, robots, and guardians preparing to join the attack. Golden spores were bonding with the earth. Within the next hour, Biollante would become a singular army of vines, teeth, and acid.

When the time was right, Gamera discharged three fireballs. Every single one exploded against Bagan’s bony armor, drowning him in a sea of fire. Although the Guardian of the Universe meant well, the explosion made it extremely difficult for his comrades to locate and shoot their common foe. Bagan took advantage of this. White hot plasma shot out of the flames, rupturing one of Kiryu’s shoulder rocket launchers. Even in places not touched by the demonic dragon’s hellish flames, metal burned bright. Kiryu toppled, temporarily losing its instruments. Bagan concentrated, summoning one of his most dangerous attacks. Mechagodzilla and Moguera’s sensors went haywire.

“Yuki!” Shinjo shouted with alarm. “There’s a huge electrical disturbance! It’s as if the monster just created a Class 5 storm out of nowhere!”

Yuki glared at Bagan. All he could do was order them to attack. But even with lasers burning his hide, Bagan’s power would not be thwarted. Energy shaped diamonds fell from the sky, piercing and shredding the army of giants. Gamera wailed a high pitched scream as green blood spurted out of his newly made wounds. Rodan and Battra dodged the diamond storm, barely. Mothra wasn’t so fortunate. One of her wings had been severely burned. Unable to continue flying, Mothra crashed into the earth with a loud thud. Mechagodzilla and Moguera’s bodies disappeared in a cloud of sparks and smoke. While Mechagodzilla could at least absorb the energies and channel it to its primary weapon, Moguera had only its thick armor to compensate. It barely held.

A monstrous shriek silenced the battle. Bagan located its source, visibly intimidated by the awesome creature that defied him. Its dorsal spines clattered with each ground shaking step it took, crackling with an eerie blue-silvery glow. Its long, muscular tail whipped up and down. The living monolith knew no equal. It was an omen of Mankind’s sins and dark desires made flesh, but it was determined to find peace someday. Godzilla roared at the devil beast, knowing he could never live peacefully for as long as Bagan stalked life. Monster Island’s denizens followed their King into battle. Anguirus howled at Bagan with his peculiar roar. Godzilla stole a quick glance at his friend, paying tribute to his courage.

Anguirus galloped forward, charging at the indomitable monolith. Godzilla’s lips curled as he parted his jaws. Thermonuclear fire erupted forth, acting like a hot lance as it stabbed into Bagan’s abdomen. It succeeded in burning the hideous flesh of the dragon, an impressive showing. Bagan favored Godzilla with malice, he’d make the radioactive giant pay with his blood. But first, he would make an example of his spike covered friend.

The tenacious ankylosaur jumped at Bagan, ramming his bulk into him. But the demonic titan caught him, and in a savage display of strength and sadism, Bagan ripped the horn off the dinosaur’s snout and slammed the armored creature face first into the earth. The blow instantly crippled the courageous animal. Godzilla howled with rage, spewing atomic fire at Bagan’s face. He felt his eyes melt in their sockets, but all the vile destroyer could do was laugh.

Mechagodzilla answered with its Plasma Grenade, with its power amplified by Bagan’s unholy power, the orange-yellowish energy plowed into the rigid sternum of the demon beast. Even Bagan was forced to backpedal, no longer laughing as he gave ground. Moguera’s cone shaped hands opened, firing its Spiral Grenade Missiles. The giant rockets drilled into the thick carapace, succeeding with minimal efforts. Their explosions nearly brought Bagan down, Moguera and Mechagodzilla almost prepared to proceed with their attack.

“Stop,” Akane shouted weakly. Yuki and Sasaki looked over at the fallen Kiryu from their separate cockpits. Before either could question her order, they quickly learned why.

Godzilla. King Kong. Gamera. Gorosaurus. King Caesar. Ultraman. All of them came at the towering behemoth from several directions. Godzilla locked eyes at Bagan with fearsome ferocity, swiping his energy-infused claws at the sternum. King Kong and Gamera each grabbed one of his arms. Both were some of the strongest monsters on the planet, and yet they could each barely constrain just one of the thrashing arms! Gorosaurus circled around the demon, hitting its back with its bone shattering kicks. Bagan didn’t even feel it. King Caesar jumped up, kicking the armored dragon in the temple. Ultraman fired energy blasts at the bony-enforced arm and leg joints. It was then Bagan felt pain for the first time. Ultraman’s attacks made the bones in his joints pop and explode. Godzilla spat his atomic breath at point blank, carving open Bagan’s throat.

“My God, they did it!” Sato shouted with joy. “They injured the devil!”

As if hearing the human, Bagan responded in kind. He lunged forward, cutting open Godzilla’s face with his nasal horn. Godzilla cried out as blood sprayed out of his punctured skull. Bagan rammed his face into Gamera, freeing his arm. He immediately buried his claws into King Kong’s forehead. Both Gamera and Kong collapsed like a house of cards. With his arms freed, Bagan twisted fast enough to catch King Caesar’s ankle in midair, demonstrating yet another testament of his incredible strength as he used the ancient shisa like a baseball bat, hitting Ultraman and Gorosaurus off their feet. He then tossed King Caesar aside like a rag doll. All of this in less than ten seconds.

Although their pilots were intimidated, they all ordered Mechagodzilla and Moguera to open fire. Once again, Bagan felt the heat of their energy beams. Unlike before, Bagan felt pain. The monsters had succeeded in wounding him. Sizzling smoke and black pus secreted out of his ghastly wounds. It’d take a few minutes for him to make a full recovery, but neither Mechagodzilla nor Moguera were going to give him time. With his eyes already healed, Bagan could see them blasting away. They weren’t very far. Nearby, Kiryu wobbled to its feet.

Fighting the pain, Godzilla’s indomitable willpower urged him to continue fighting. As energy beams continued to pour into Bagan, Godzilla charged at full speed. Seeing his intentions, Mechagodzilla and Moguera ceased firing. Perfect timing. The nuclear leviathan rammed into the demonic brute, using all his strength to deliver a single decisive blow. Bagan roared in fury as he fell into the earth. He wasted no time, with thermonuclear fire engulfing the entire upper body of the phantom god. Blood vessels exploded, tainted flesh boiling from the atomic might. Bagan quickly climbed to his feet. Godzilla’s victory had been brief.

The King of the Monsters shrieked as the towering demon ripped his torso open with the swipe of its claws. Bagan grabbed Godzilla’s skull and squeezed it, intending to crush his brain. He would’ve succeeded had Gomora not intervened. The heroic saurian warrior rammed his horn into the behemoth’s ribcage, saving Godzilla’s life. As the monster king collapsed, Gomora defended him by jumping up, and smacking Bagan’s face with his tail. The devil beast roared in fury. He was so close to defeating Godzilla. There was now a special place for Gomora in Bagan’s dark heart, a place of unimaginable suffering.

The crescent horns crackled, reddish-orange energies funneling into and shooting out of the tip of Gomora’s nasal horn, blasting apart the exposed wounds. They had nearly healed, now it would take longer. Bagan charged, glaring at the subterranean monster, showing no fear as the reptilian mole stood his ground. Both monsters traded blows, but Bagan’s were stronger. Gomora felt his skin break and bones crack, yet still he fought on. Bagan ended their fight by sending Gomora hurtling backwards with his hellish flames.

There was no warning.

Bagan fired another barrage, blasting Kiryu, Mechagodzilla, and Moguera off their feet. Mothra’s booming chirp informed her compatriots they were needed. She swooped down, leading them closer to the enemy. Suspending herself above his head, her wings shedded golden bolts of lightning and pollen. Roaring in fury, Bagan tried getting out of Mothra’s pollen. It seared his skin, paralyzing his muscles. Battra and Rodan encompassed him, firing energy beams into the pollen cloud. The pollen captured their energies, reshaping them into glowing spears, and thrusted them into Bagan’s wounds.

Crimson eyes concentrated on Mothra. White hot flames shot out of the back of Bagan’s throat, though the pollen managed to contain and stop most of the beam. Only a small fraction of its power grazed the underbelly of the Infant Island deity, severely burning it. Mothra cried out. But she continued shedding her pollen. As more pollen gathered, the more sluggish Bagan’s movements became. Regaining consciousness, Ultraman joined in the attack. Energy beams lanced into the pollen cloud from every angle, instantly transforming into glowing spears. All of them stabbed into Bagan, ripping his body apart.

This time, Bagan didn’t howl in pain. He didn’t glare at his foes, promising pain and death. No, this battle only emboldened Bagan’s already immense power. He fired an amplified heat ray, piercing Mothra’s pollen cloud, and her body in the process. Her allies watched helplessly as burning pieces of her carcass fell from the heavens. Battra gritted his jaws, enraged by this madness. Mothra was one of his greatest foes, but she still loved the very Earth he had sworn to protect. It was a mutual understanding, the only thing that connected the two siblings.

Mothra’s pollen started to drift away, only for Rodan to fly in front of it, redirecting its path with the force of his shockwaves. Bagan’s demented gaze fell upon the diminutive pest. This winged reptile was no different than vermin as far as he was concerned. It would die like the rest. Battra roared, blasting Bagan with his eye beams. Bagan ignored the dark moth, which made the earth protector angrier. While Battra bombarded the armored superbeast, Rodan shot up into the air. Higher and higher he flew, until the monsters looked like ants.

Satisfied, he stopped, and flapped enough times only to sustain flight. With his binocular vision, Rodan saw the herald of destruction locking eyes with him, taking a step forward and crushing Mothra’s charred head. An already enraged Battra charged, slamming his spikes into thick flesh. Acknowledging Battra at last, the demonic dragon grabbed its head, and threw its body into the ground. Rodan heard the impact. Finally, Bagan faced the airborne pterosaur once more, white hot flames gathering in the back of his maw…

In her cockpit, Akane opened her eyes. Sparks and smoke obscured her vision. Red blaring alarms told her the situation was grim. Regaining control, Kiryu rose up just in time to see a smoldering Rodan plummet into the ground nearby. Gathering intel, Kiryu spotted Bagan trading blows with Ultraman. The silver giant used his agility to avoid the ferocious swipes, knowing the dragon would immobilize him with one hit. Ultraman backflipped, disappearing in a haze of dust. Bagan blinked in confusion. Where did that come from?

Within Kiryu, Akane grinned. What excellent teamwork. Titanosaurus roared, challenging Bagan. The aquatic saurian used his tail to create powerful winds, which kicked up enough dust to shroud Ultraman. Bagan gritted his teeth. But before he could express his disdain, a powerful energy beam blindsided him. The Specium Beam, Ultraman’s primary attack, cut into the demon’s head, disemboweling flesh and bone alike. Vile blood spurted from the wound, tarnishing the air. After a few seconds of standing still, Bagan slumped into the earth.

“This is our only chance,” Akane realized. Machines clattered and whirled as Kiryu’s chest opened. Golden energies smashed together as they transformed into a bright azure sphere in the center of its chest. Akane glanced at the control panel, realizing she couldn’t fire the Absolute Zero Cannon for at least ten seconds. Computers alerted her when they detected Bagan moving. White light hissed in Bagan’s throat. “Come on, come on!” Akane shouted, urging Kiryu to manipulate matter faster.

But there was no time left. Bagan was back on his feet.

Titanosaurus rushed to Kiryu’s aid. Right as the aquatic leviathan jumped, Bagan swiftly faced him, stabbing his heart with one of his horns. Titanosaurus cried an ear piercing scream. Bagan gritted his teeth, wishing he had more time to savor the dinosaur’s suffering. With all his strength, Bagan threw Titanosaurus at Kiryu. Akane cursed as she realized it was too late, there was no stopping it; Kiryu fired the Absolute Zero Cannon.

Unbelievable amounts of swirling white-bluish energies scourged the air. It was so cold, it left a trail of frozen air behind it. But what it found wasn’t the terrifying abomination known as Bagan, it found a natural byproduct of life, a living relic older than humanity. It hit the aquatic dinosaur in midair, turning him into a frozen statue. Titanosaurus died instantly, but his frozen body kept sailing. Kiryu hunched over, bracing for the impact. Titanosaurus hit Kiryu’s thick armor, shattering into a million pieces. Although she never liked or disliked Titanosaurus, the death of a comrade in arms opened up old wounds. Screaming at the top of her lungs, she ordered Kiryu to fire all weapons. Electrical blasts, yellow lasers, and missiles tore into Bagan, but the armored devil waded through Kiryu’s arsenal, unaffected.

Rejoining the battle, Mechagodzilla and Moguera joined their colossal ally by firing all their weapons. Bagan stopped as wave after wave of scorching beams and rockets struck every inch of his body. Blinding explosions and black smoke curled off his sizzling flesh. The demonic beast roared in defiance, charging through the onslaught with no fear. Above the enraged demon, Ultraman and Battra tried everything to stop him. Energy discs flew out of Ultraman’s hands; lavender hued beams blazed out of Battra’s compound eyes. Bagan’s blood, muscles, and bones exploded out of his armor. Black pus and other putrid substances oozed out of the wounds of the dragon, rapidly healing the damage.

“He’s coming right for us!” Shinjo shouted.

“If he hits us, we’re not going to survive,” Sato declared.

Yuki glared at the charging demon. “You mean when he hits us, Lieutenant.”

Sato gulped. Taking a deep breath, Sato took his hands off the controls, and tried his best to relax. If it was his time to die, he might as well die with honor. Shinjo, however, was pressing every button he could get his fingers on, launching every weapon in Moguera’s arsenal. Yuki pulled out a cigar, content as a veteran could be in battle. He inhaled the tobacco, allowing it to relieve him of his worries and doubts. Akane and Sasaki screamed over the com-link, ordering them to do what simply couldn’t be done. Yuki closed his eyes, picturing his deceased loved ones.

It all happened in a split second. Bagan slammed his bulk into Moguera. The robot was hurtled backwards, its body breaking apart at the seams. Moguera’s ravaged remains littered the battlefield. Bagan faced Mechagodzilla, granting its crew no time to mourn over his new victims. It didn’t matter, soon Sasaki and his crew would be joining them. White light crucified Mechagodzilla, overpowering its energy absorbing armor, and blasted off one of its arms. With the hull compromised, Sasaki knew there were internal fires raging throughout the system. With its armor obscured in flames and smoke, Mechagodzilla fell.

“Akane,” Sasaki gasped. The oxygen filter must have been damaged, making it extremely difficult to breathe. “It-it was an honor.”

Communication went dead. It was mind-blowing; two mighty robots destroyed in less than a minute. Bagan howled a challenge to the world, perhaps to the creator of life itself. Ultraman and Battra continued to fire upon the rampaging demon. Bagan ignored them, locking eyes with Kiryu. Desperate times called for desperate measures. Kiryu prepared to fire its Absolute Zero Cannon once more.

But before it could start, Bagan stopped.

Pain gripped his being as one of his eyes burst into a fountain of blood. Kiryu powered down its most powerful weapon. Even Ultraman and Battra stopped, taken aback. Who could’ve done this? Ultraman searched for Godzilla, finding him lying unconscious on the ground. Miles away, Gomora staggered. He couldn’t have been responsible. Gamera was barely moving. Then who could’ve done what these powerful creatures could not?

Jet Jaguar jumped out of the fountain of blood, increasing his size at an astronomical rate. With Bagan’s blood dripping down his armor, the artificial thinking robot greeted Kiryu with a thumbs up. The reptilian machine nodded in appreciation. Before the tri-horned beast could sink his claws into the robot, Jet Jaguar jumped up, and delivered a roundhouse kick. Stunned, Bagan stumbled in his stance. Kiryu readied its last shoulder rocket launcher. Previously, Bagan had ignited it with his vile hellfire; Now they would make sure to return the favor. With the last restraints lifted, Kiryu launched it off his shoulder. It raced towards the phantom god, its rockets burning brightly. Bagan caught it with his mouth, but it ripped the teeth out of his gums, and positioned itself deep in the back of his throat.

With the press of a button, Akane detonated the shoulder rocket launcher. It exploded within the demon’s maw, blasting his teeth, shrapnel, and other materials in all directions. Plumes of black smoke hissed violently out of the ruptured head. Kiryu and Jet Jaguar saw the vile, putrid brain pulsating in the titan’s shattered skull. Some of his teeth and the shrapnel from the rocket launcher had been dislodged deep into the brain. Most of his face had been blasted off. Remarkably, Bagan was still standing. His fingers twitched, his tail vibrated. Life was still lurking somewhere in this bloodthirsty monster. Akane found it disturbing how life would empower a being completely dedicated to the destruction of all living beings. And should Bagan succeed in slaughtering all life, what then? Would he destroy himself? No, Akane vowed. He would not have that honor.

Kiryu activated his thrusters. They were strong enough to achieve flight, but time spent flying would be limited. He knew this when he roared to meet the dying draconic demon. Kiryu unsheathed his wrist blades, empowering them with an electrical surge. With all the strength the mighty robot had at its disposal, Kiryu thrusted them deep into Bagan’s ribcage. As electrical sparks lit Bagan up like a Christmas tree, Jet Jaguar rushed to help his fallen comrades.

Gently, Jet Jaguar helped Godzilla to his feet. The King of the Monsters growled, warning Jet Jaguar to keep his distance. He found it embarrassing having to be helped up to his feet. Gamera, on the other hand, appreciated it. Jet Jaguar checked Anguirus’s pulse, detecting no heartbeats. Godzilla kept his distance, saddened by the death of his best friend. When his feral eyes focused on Bagan, Godzilla gritted his teeth. He would not rest until Bagan was dead.

As Gorosaurus and King Caesar regrouped, Gomora had other ideas. Ramming into Bagan’s posterior, the subterranean monster aided Kiryu’s electricity by using his horn as a bridge to channel his own destructive energies into the demon. Kiryu’s electricity and Gomora’s destructive energies fried Bagan’s veins. But it wasn’t enough. Gomora roared, wanting Kiryu to retreat.

Akane didn’t understand. But then she quickly knew why. “I’m a fool,” she confessed. “I should’ve used the Absolute Zero Cannon. But I didn’t because I wanted this bastard to suffer.”

Pulling his wrist blades out, Kiryu retreated. When the machine was at a safe distance, Kiryu opened up its chest once more. Recognizing Kiryu’s intentions, Gomora summoned every last bit of his strength, lifting Bagan over his head and tossing him into the air. Bagan landed hundreds of meters behind Gomora, the impact blasting soil thousands of feet into the air. Godzilla didn’t hesitate. Atomic flames erupted out of his gaping maw, blasting the deformed carcass. Gomora, Battra, and Ultraman joined the attack. Their burning energy attacks lanced into Bagan, rupturing arteries, muscle joints, and organs. The thick armor and mythical plates could not stop them from inflicting massive wounds.

Kiryu spent this time not powering up the Absolute Zero Cannon. No, Kiryu watched as the monsters used everything they had at their disposal. If it was enough, Kiryu would wait to recharge its energy instead of depleting all of it. Akane knew this was the right thing to do. She could not risk firing her last shot if patience would grant her another soon. She also couldn’t risk giving Bagan another chance to throw one of her allies into the crossfire, even if he was a charred husk. The monsters continued firing into him for a few more minutes before stopping. They exhausted large portions of their energy, it would take a few minutes for them to rejuvenate. During this time, Akane kept Kiryu on standby as he used sunlight to recharge his energy tanks, his metallic dorsal spines glowing as he did just that.

“No,” Akane whispered. Her eyes went wide with fright.

Even after having his face blown off and his body mutilated, Bagan was still alive. But he wasn’t just still alive, he was healing. It took a full minute for Bagan’s face to regenerate, cracking bones into place, and stretching flesh over said bones. The destroyer of life weakly started to rise. Godzilla, Gomora, Battra, and Ultraman backed away. None of them were ready to fire their projectiles quite yet, and engaging Bagan in hand-to-hand combat wouldn’t be smart. That didn’t stop Gorosaurus and King Caesar from attacking the demon head on.

Gorosaurus clamped his jaws around Bagan’s windpipe. King Caesar jumped on top of him, pounding the regenerating face with his fists. Bagan wasn’t strong enough; King Caesar’s punches broke flesh and splintered bone. Caesar’s punches sounded like loud gunshots. Although the superbeast hadn’t regained his full strength, he was still strong enough to cut down these fools. He’d start with Gorosaurus; slashing open the theropod’s belly, emptying his entrails. Powerful jaws continued to bite down harder, fighting the excruciating pain. Bagan forced open the jaws of the primeval allosaur and shoved the determined saurian away.

With his ally unable to help him, King Caesar jumped off right as Bagan was preparing to fling him off. In midair, King Caesar kicked Bagan’s face so hard it nearly broke it apart once more. Jet Jaguar and Ultraman joined King Caesar by sprinting in. They jumped up, kicking the broad chest simultaneously. Bagan retaliated, blasting Ultraman back with his white breath. Ultraman crashed into a mountainside, steam sizzling off his fried body. To make matters worse, the color timer on his chest was flashing red.

Jet Jaguar jumped to kick Bagan’s wounded face. Bagan intervened by whipping back, batting the robotic humanoid away with his tail. It was all it really took to decommission the robot, suffering from critical injuries to its chest, preventing it from partaking any further.

Bagan proceeded to shove his hand down Gorosaurus’s throat, squeezed the back of it, and ripped his head off. Gorosaurus wobbled before falling limp. With fresh blood spilt, Bagan’s sadism restored his strength. Hellfire greeted King Caesar’s face, incinerating the skin and blackening its golden skull. King Caesar’s lifeless body fell down next to Gorosaurus.

Battra flew at his top speed, ramming into the back of the tyrant’s head. Bagan toppled over only to quickly regain his equilibrium. Godzilla and Gomora battered him with their paws, tails, and bodies. When Godzilla reached for his neck, Bagan burned the charcoal arm to the bone with his plasma blast. The atomic beast cried as his burnt flesh boiled. It’d take a few minutes for him to regenerate. Nevertheless, Godzilla spat his atomic breath into Bagan’s face for good measure.

The demon beast ignored it, preferring to knock Gomora out with a bone shattering strike. Gomora fought to retain his consciousness, a true testament to his willpower. Before he could finish the job, Godzilla grappled with the towering monolith. Bagan was the largest, strongest monster ever to stalk creation. Even with his awesome power, Godzilla stood no chance; and yet, he continued to wrestle with the demon. When Bagan tore into the charcoal leviathan and pulled him close, he realized the nuclear titan wasn’t afraid. In fact, it looked as if he had something else in mind. Atomic light enriched Godzilla’s body, pulsating with his awesome power. Time froze for Bagan as it became obvious what he was planning to do.

Within an instant, blinding light washed over the draconic titan, consuming him in its atomic thrall. The nuclear pulse sent Bagan hurtling backwards, ravaging the demon by blackening its skin, blowing off its breastplate and armor platings. Godzilla shot at Bagan’s throat, adding further insult to injury. Showers of sparks and fire erupted across the vile dragon, howling in rage as he fought to his feet. Godzilla jumped onto the neck of the monstrosity, using both his mass and the laws of gravity to force Bagan to eat dirt. The god of darkness fought against the King of the Monsters, throwing the atomic saurian off of him. Godzilla tried to rise, but a dark shadow fell over him. Bagan towered above the King of the Monsters, mocking him with a sinister chuckle. A ragged mouth opened wide, radiating an eerie white glow. Godzilla braced for the worse, only for a fireball to scorch the air, smashing into the visage of the beast.

A large explosion shrouded Bagan’s entire upper body. Godzilla knew Gamera was standing behind him. As much as he hated to admit it, Godzilla was pleased to have Gamera fighting with him. Side by side, Godzilla and Gamera would face this horror together. Atomic beams and fireballs blazed into Bagan. Their efforts were admirable, but ultimately futile. Bagan overpowered them with physical strength alone.

Kiryu monitored the battle. Akane frowned, regretting her refusal to fire the Absolute Zero Cannon earlier. Many lives would’ve been saved. Kiryu’s computers raised an alarm. Someone was dying. They spotted Ultraman lying helplessly up against a mountainside. The Warrior of Light didn’t have much time left. To Akane’s surprise, Kiryu released a digital cry reminiscent of Godzilla’s own mighty roar. It was in a language only another kaiju could understand.

Gamera looked at Kiryu and then turned to face Ultraman. The Guardian of the Universe didn’t want to leave Godzilla in his time of need. Godzilla snarled, telling Gamera he could handle Bagan alone. But Gamera knew Godzilla wouldn’t be alone. Battra circled above, pelting the towering dragon with his prism beams. From a kneeling position, Gomora fired his Super Oscillatory Wave out of its horn. Bagan couldn’t understand it; he’d beaten them to the brink of death, and yet here they were begging for more. Their attacks were nothing. Even if they did harm him, Bagan would return stronger than ever before.

Gamera picked Ultraman up. Smoke shot down his legs as they were sucked up into his shell. Blue fire replaced the smoke, propelling Gamera and Ultraman into the sky at supersonic speeds.

Bagan shot Battra out of the sky. Gomora tried putting up a resistance, but Bagan struck him down with his slashing claws. Godzilla’s atomic breath carved a sweltering trench into the thick hide, but the three-horned beast responded with a plasma blast of his own. Godzilla found himself staring up at the sky, his dorsal spines splitting the soil. Bagan’s ray hit him so hard, he had hit the ground unconscious.

Stirring from his unconscious state, Godzilla blinked in confusion, only for Bagan to drive his foot deep into Godzilla’s throat. Blood stained foam gurgled out of his mouth. The monster king felt his life start to slip away. Bagan stopped, believing he had a far more suitable punishment in mind. Another electrical disturbance was detected in the vicinity. Kiryu’s instruments experienced minor malfunctions. Akane knew what was going to happen, wondering if Godzilla could survive it. But fate intervened. Bagan felt the electrical energies divert, converging elsewhere, snorting in contempt. What could it be this time? Kiryu found the one responsible. Akane smiled. A thundering roar challenged Bagan. The dragon searched for the source, wondering who’d be foolish enough to challenge him.

With electricity surging through his muscles, King Kong emerged out of the veil of smoke.

Violent jaws burned with plasma, but before he could fire, King Kong pounded the ground with his fists, electricity snaking out of his hands, merging with the ground as it broke apart around Bagan’s feet. The phantom beast hesitated for a moment, astonished by the enhanced strength of the primal island god. Kong made him pay for hesitating. The giant ape slammed his fist into Bagan’s lower jaw, dislocating it. Then with a firm clutch, Kong used the head horns to pivot the dragon over his shoulder, slamming Bagan headfirst into the ground. The impact was detected hundreds of miles away.

Inside an impact crater, most of Bagan’s body was buried hundreds of meters beneath the earth. Kong pulled him out, gripping one of his horns. Electricity surged out of his fingertips, zapping the horn apart and promptly used it as an edged weapon, stabbing the wounded chest repeatedly. Bagan felt the horn break his skin and puncture his sternum. It didn’t take much for the bestial primate to bury it deep enough to pierce his black heart. Bagan’s painful roar made the heavens tremble, but Kong silenced him with his own mighty roar. The bioelectric power of the ape empowered the horn, frying the demented heart of the devil. Red glowing eyes started to roll up their sockets, only for Kong to push the horn deeper.

Akane watched the battle unfold. Soon Kiryu would be at full power. It might not matter. Thanks to Godzilla, Bagan’s breastplate had been blown off in their skirmish. King Kong took advantage of this by stabbing Bagan’s heart with his own horn. Earlier, Akane was conflicted by how life empowered the destroyer of life. But it all became very clear to her now. Life is as sentimental as it is unforgiving. It will show no distinction; life is about experience. It favors both the good and the bad because it favors itself. It does it simply because it must experience every possible way of existence. We are all connected. Even Bagan is part of life, even if he wants to kill us all. But the very life he had taken for granted will soon be his undoing. There were enough destroyers in the cosmos; perhaps it was time for the worst one to die.

Bagan felt death start to take away his black soul. In the land beyond the living, the demon knew a hell was there waiting for him. Not because of some higher authority; he would do it to himself. So the least he could do was live forever. The horned colossus gripped one of King Kong’s arms and ripped it off, as blood sprayed out of the stump of his shoulder where his arm used to be. Kong ignored the pain, and with the only arm he had left, the great ape pushed the horn deeper. Bagan panicked. Life was forsaking him. Bagan hated life with all his being, which fueled his genocidal campaigns. The only reason why he wanted to stay alive was so he could annihilate existence. It was the only real choice anyone could ever make in this prison called existence. White light emanated out of his jaws, heralding the discharge of his most dangerous weapon. The last thing Kong saw was the light at the end of the tunnel enveloping him.

Kong slumped over, dead. Bagan’s plasma ray had shot a hole through Kong’s chest, vaporizing his heart. Life was just full of surprises, irony being one of them. Bagan loomed over the dead ape, wanting to desecrate his corpse. But green tendrils shot out of the soil, entangling his powerful limbs. Others acted like spears, piercing his bony hide. Mouth-tipped vines sprayed their acidity, allowing them to leak their acidic blood into the demon’s bloodstream. Biollante burst out of the earth, meeting Bagan’s towering gaze. She clamped down on his entire face with her massive jaws, vomiting radioactive acid. Eyes and flesh burned, but the enormous superplant bit down harder, trying to crush the demon’s skull. Hundreds of sharp teeth tore into the monstrous devil, and part of him knew he had met a foe he could not overpower with strength alone.

So, he improvised.

Another electrical disturbance was detected. This time it was more erratic, more chaotic. Electrical projectiles shaped like diamonds bombarded the towering mutant, shredding her vines and body apart. The reptilian plant cried out as green blood gushed out of her wounds. Plagued by pain and life threatening injuries, Biollante knew she needed help. Bagan snapped her tendrils off of him like twigs. He proceeded to blast apart her inner core, the source of her power. Fountains of green blood sprayed out of her chest, drenching Bagan in acid. Biollante felt her body quickly repair the damage, but she was losing considerable amounts of energy in the process. Briefly, Bagan marveled at her regenerative prowess; it was faster than his. But respect quickly turned into envy, blasting Biollante with another plasma beam, toppling the massive creature.

Lying in a pool of boiling blood, Biollante gasped for life. Her tentacles writhed in the sunlight. The light of her core diminished. Godzilla crawled out of the acid, his black scales sizzling. Bagan marched past Biollante, ignoring the acid eating away at his feet. His horn was still sticking out of his chest, cutting into his heart. Bagan seized Godzilla’s face, and lifted him off the ground with one arm.

Above the Earth, Gamera carried Ultraman out of orbit. There was no ozone layer to shield them from the full intensity of the Sun. As solar energies flooded Ultraman’s color timer, Gamera relaxed. This should take only a few minutes. Gamera dwelled on what was to come. He knew defeating Bagan would only be the beginning. So what if the day was won. Would any of it matter if the night unleashed something worse?

Bagan glared into the determined eyes of the atomic menace. Of all the creatures the super monster had fought and slain throughout the centuries, Godzilla proved to be the most stubborn. Death didn’t seek this one. The monstrous devil found this very frustrating. After failing to kill Godzilla so many times, Bagan started wondering if it was simply not meant to be. He growled, escalating the hatred he had for Godzilla further. Now he was having doubts! For this blasphemy, Bagan would make his painful death all the more sweeter.

But Bagan’s hatred blinded him from witnessing the return of Rodan, the giant pterodactyl catching the incarnation of evil off guard as he flew between him and Godzilla. Powerful winds blew Godzilla out of the demon’s clutches, saving the King of the Monsters. Bagan howled in fury; once again, he had been denied! And once again, his anger did not avail him. Rodan slashed through the air, swiping the armored abdomen with one of his wings. It sliced open, spilling blood.

The pterosaur circled and flew back, bombarding Bagan with his uranium heat beams. The harbinger of despair answered with burning plasma, annihilating the landscape as it tried hitting Rodan. But the agile avian was too fast. He knew he couldn’t defeat Bagan, but if he gave Godzilla enough time to recuperate, then he might have a chance. Gomora and Battra joined the fray, blasting Bagan with their respective energy projectiles. Fireballs and azure plasma burned into the demonic titan, preventing him from retaliating. The dragon looked on in disappointment as Gamera and Ultraman returned to the battle.

“Get ready, Kiryu,” Akane said. Kiryu was now at full power. If her allies can distract Bagan long enough, she will fire the Absolute Zero Cannon.

Unbeknownst to her or anyone else, there was another being at work. Tiny, green glowing moths descended upon Biollante, nurturing her injuries and spirit, seeding her vines with power. Biollante started to regenerate. As she started to make a full recovery, the tiny moths took to the skies. Soon the sky was brimming with millions of glowing moths. Everyone, including Bagan, stopped fighting, and looked up in awe. Battra had been hardwired to protect the planet. There was nothing more important to him than the mission. And yet he couldn’t believe his eyes. It was as if he were seeing a ghost. The moths encircled Mothra’s corpse, paying their respects to the fallen deity. Finally, the glowing moths fused into one powerful creature: Mothra Leo, the son of Mothra. Mothra Leo emanated great power, casting its divine light in all directions. Hope had answered their prayers.

The paladin moth charged into battle, using his holy energy to augment his speed and strength. Mothra Leo slammed into Bagan, the terrible tyrant feeling his ribcage shatter as he was sent sailing through the air, harshly crashing into the ground. With his adversary down, Mothra Leo charged his wings. Blue hued energies leapt out of his wings, sundering the earth as they convened around Bagan. Blinding energies erupted into the sky, consuming the devil of creation. Mothra Leo moved in, firing triple energy blasts out of his forehead. He will avenge his fallen mother; he will save the world from Bagan’s evil.

Painful screams reverberated across the vast lands as Mothra Leo burned Bagan alive. Energy blasts poured out of Mothra’s wings and forehead, searing the mythic platings and tainted skin. The great defender of Earth alerted his allies, telling them to prepare for one final assault. With his energy growing, Mothra Leo flew miles above Bagan. As the divine moth flew higher, he released rings of energy to pummel the phantom beast. Soon, a glowing halo ring appeared above Bagan, marking him for termination. Mothra Leo manipulated more energy, preparing to fire it.

Godzilla and the others stepped forward. Godzilla concentrated, summoning enough power from his reserves to fire crimson energies out of his mouth. Ultraman, Rodan, Gomora, Battra, and Kiryu unloaded their energy blasts. Gamera discharged several fireballs. Biollante sacrificed her tentacles as they shackled Bagan, tethering him to where they needed him to be. With his allies blasting Bagan apart, Mothra Leo knew the time was now. Unleashing his divinity, the blast added his power in the combined assault.

When the light faded and the smoke cleared, Bagan was gone. All that remained was his beating heart with a horn sticking out of it.

Mothra Leo joined his allies, wanting nothing more than to celebrate, and honor the dead. But Bagan refused to perish so easily. Within seconds, he started to regenerate. It would take hours for him to heal completely. Godzilla glared at the beating heart. Whether or not Bagan survived, he did not care. Godzilla’s dorsal spines crackled with light, but before he could fire, the wings of a thousand Gyaos blotted out the Sun.

Their sinister cackles quickly robbed Earth’s defenders of their victory. Gamera knew from experience these numbers were too much. But that didn’t frustrate him as much as not knowing why they weren’t attacking. Several of them descended to feed off the dead. Before they could feast upon Anguirus, Godzilla blasted them to smithereens. The King of the Monsters challenged the Gyaos swarm. But the Gyaos didn’t answer his call. Godzilla didn’t know if he should’ve been infuriated or relieved. Soon it became clear he should be more afraid than anything else.

The Gyaos were merely a prelude to the advent of other sinister beings.

SpaceGodzilla landed in a ball of burning light, creating a forest of crystals in his wake. Destoroyah formed out of billions of microorganisms, rippling with destructive power. Gigan made landfall, revving his chainsaw arms. Dagahra made his presence known, infesting the area with Barem. Desghidorah siphoned the life force out of Biollante’s vines, turning them into decaying skeletons. Legion burst out of the earth, preparing her soldiers for conquest. Kumasogami rose out of the fiery pits of hell, challenging Earth’s mightiest warriors. Megalon bashed his cone shaped claws together, screeching wildly. Megaguirus tore through the sky, distorting the air. Iris descended out of the Gyaos swarm, bending the reptilian vultures to his will.

But when the worst one arrived, it casted its three-headed silhouette over everyone. Throughout the years, it had been mistaken for some pathetic manmade creature. Renegade time travelers heard about this fearsome beast and sought to duplicate its awesome power. They succeeded in creating only a pale imitation. It was not worthy of the name…

King Ghidorah.

All these evil beasts have come, sensing Bagan’s darkness. They didn’t come here to help the demon nor gloat, they came here to claim his mantle. Destroying the heart of the dragon was only the beginning. Slaying the likes of Godzilla, Ultraman, and Mothra Leo would only elevate their status. Being empowered by the fear of an entire cosmos was everything.

The day was over, but the night had only just begun.

Winners: Battra, Biollante, Gamera (Heisei), Godzilla (Heisei), Gomora, Kiryu, Mothra Leo, Rodan (Heisei), Ultraman (Universal)