K.W.C. Match 436: Gamera (Heisei) vs. Orochi (Heisei) - Round 2 (2024)

Author: Tyler Trieschock | Banner: Thomas Johnson & Tyler Trieschock

Table of Contents:


Chapter 3: Ozaki vs. Tsukuyomi
Chapter 4: To Be Without Purpose
Chapter 5: Ozaki vs. Tsukuyomi – Round 2
Chapter 6: To Debate a God
Chapter 7: He Has Returned
Chapter 8: Gamera vs. Orochi
Chapter 9: Heart Break
Chapter 10: What the Darkness Fears

[Continued From Match 422]

Chapter 1: The Warrior & The Heart

Nikko Mountain Range, Northern Japan

A relentless chill swept over Ozaki’s stubble free face, specs of snow melting upon contact with the little skin that graced open air. The elements, hazardous as they were on the snow-filled highlands, were merely annoyances like the constant crunch of snow beneath his boots. Ozaki was not alone on his trek through the elements, and the woman walking in front of him was no friend nor a stranger, but a third option requiring his utmost attention.

His protectee.

Until the previous evening, the pair had never crossed paths – but now Asagi Kusanagi’s life depended on Ozaki’s superhuman abilities, or at least, those which he still retained. The exact details of the danger, including its form and power, were vague if not ludicrous – but the belief of the imminent threat was real enough for a stranger, Miki Yamane, to track him down and beg for his assistance. Whether the ancient god Orochi would descend upon him as Miki foretold or the threat would turn out to be something less legendary, Ozaki found his entry into the chaos tantalizingly invigorating. A nostalgic thrill only exceeded by the original Xilien invasion of 04.

‘Except I’ll avoid the fling,’ Ozaki mused, before the recollection of verbal fights with Miyuki Otonashi suppressed any and all trace desire to relive such memories, past or future.

‘Hopefully there’ll be at least something to pique my interest,’ Ozaki thought, glancing down the winding snow-covered path ahead with frustration, wishing his vehicle could maneuver through such inhospitable terrain. To his annoyance, the final distance would need to be covered on foot, with him painstakingly covering the snowy tracks of Asagi.

“You can stop hiding my footsteps,” Asagi declared, pausing her casual stroll to fully turn around to Ozaki’s dismay. While the woman’s pink quilted jacket, matching gloves, and black sweats were as non-threatening as powdered snow, the fierce glare blazing toward him piqued Ozaki’s interest enough for him to inquire about the sudden change in demeanor.

“My job is to make sure no one finds you here. Unless you want to be discovered.”

Asagi took a defiant step forward, sweeping her leg out and unearthing a trench through white powder, drawing Ozaki’s ire and undivided attention.

‘And now you’re five seconds from me carrying you to the cabin.’

“I know what we discussed, what Miki and I agreed to, but… I’d rather not hide. If I’m in danger, I want that danger to know I’m here.”

Ozaki warily raised an eyebrow in response. He had watched, albeit with little interest from the sidelines, as Miki convinced Asagi of the incoming danger. Asagi spoke only a few words that night, recommending a location to hide and a few words of thanks, but had it all been a ruse? Could that shy, appreciative woman have just been cloaking this defiant personality trait until she was outside of Miki’s reach?

“Why, impatient?” Ozaki pressed, testing the new resolve on display.

The young woman’s stare remained ever bold in the face of doubt. Reasons like apathy, impatience, or fear quickly were dismissed from Ozaki’s mind, Asagi’s resolve reminding him of his own unique brand of aggravating tenacity – or just plain stubbornness.

“I want to confront that danger. Hiding will only prolong everyone’s suffering… and put, others at risk.” Her gaze shifted off him a moment, trailing down the path. “Before you ask, I didn’t sabotage you or let our location slip. Once we get to the cabin, we can discuss how we lure that danger here.”

Could the woman’s actions be so noble? Ozaki thought to inquire why, to dig deeper into his protectee’s actions, but years of military training took center stage, leading him to decisive conclusions he could not argue with.

Nikko’s snow-covered mountains to the north of the country were relatively depopulated. Icey fields removed the element of stealth and, if Asagi’s description of the cabin was true, the treeless range between it and the forest ensured any clandestine trespassers, be it human or monster, would be spotted with ease. Of course, long-range high-caliber firepower would easily shred the cabin’s wooden walls, especially if from multiple attackers, but would a primordial dragon really use such a tactic? Even if in a human form? Ozaki’s doubts easily dismissed such a possibility.

‘She really thought this out,’ he mused to himself, admiring the intricately laid out plan.

A grin plastered itself upon Ozaki’s mug before he confidently strolled forward, ignoring Asagi’s footsteps as anticipation gripped his very soul. Refocusing on his glove covered right palm, Ozaki reveled in the action he hoped would come. Perhaps the moment he was searching to be restored, power and all, would finally come to pass. If not, then at the very least his time would be more productively used than the last six squandered months of failed investigations and inquiries over his unjust discharge due to the unsolved slaughter upon Mt. Fuji.

‘Gordon’s better at figuring out that type of thing,’ Ozaki internally admitted before subduing the familiar mental note. His mounting desperation was still unable to overcome the wound to his pride that would arise from asking the old Captain for help.

They hadn’t spoken in years. No need to disturb that buried relationship.

“Alright, if you’d like the direct approach, we can change our gameplan.” Ozaki whipped his attention from his right palm to Asagi, glowing with assurance and anticipation. He softly raised the now curled fist her way. “Sound good?”

Asagi grinned. Then she bumped Ozaki’s fist with her own – a deal forged.

“Any reason you kept this plan to yourself? Would’ve said yes last night. I’m not a stranger to stealth, but as the strongest person on the planet, one with enough power to supercharge Godzilla…” the protector’s explanation paused, allowing the full weight of the achievement to sink in on his protectee, “you can understand my preference for this situation.”

“She knows what you can do. I confirmed it last night too, but Miki’s…” Asagi’s voice trailed for a moment with disappointment, “not one for confrontation.”

Ozaki withheld any audible confirmation, merely forcing a nod for an assessment he likewise shared. “She’s what, a mind-reading director of a school or something? Lucky she found me.”

Asagi’s eyes fluttered. “Do- do you not know who she is? What she can do?”

Ozaki showed little interest to the inquiry, suddenly focusing in on the woods around them. As he turned to check on Asagi, a defiant stare still beamed from her, yet the accompanying sly grin of someone holding the world’s most interesting trivia, was a new creation.

“If she didn’t doubt herself, I don’t think you would be needed here.” Her attention turned skyward, looking for something within the cloudless sea. “And if I’m right… both of you might not be.”

That, I doubt,” Ozaki confidently affirmed before pausing, feeling the unnatural burn of a foul odor begin to grace his heightened senses as the wind shifted. Crunching snow behind Ozaki soon fell silent, Asagi surely noticing the change of expression on her guard.

“See something?”

Ozaki rejected the question without a word, eyes searching past the pillars of black bark for the flourishing, putrid aroma’s source. The unmistakable scent of decay thrived beside what surely could only be filth.

“We’re close to your cabin, right?” Ozaki inquired, his voice a whisper alongside the wind. Asagi audibly began to heave, a few deep breaths restored the ability of speech.

“We’re not far. What- what is that?” she remarked with a wince.

“No clue, but stay close,” he ordered before he began to stalk the last leg of the trail, his hand caressing the weapon holstered to his hip. Steady and slow, the pair moved into the open clearing to spot Kusanagi’s cabin and the lone figure sitting where the front door once existed.

“Looks like your preference doesn’t make a difference,” Ozaki said, placing himself between Asagi and the distant man who arose off the frigid ground. “The fight was already here.”

Chapter 2: The Guardian & The King

Twenty Thousand Feet Above Sea Level, Pacific Ocean – 1999

Fire danced in elegant streaks across the night sky, reaching out to grasp the darkness merely for the black heavens to sway, avoiding the plume’s destructive touch. What the blaze failed to accomplish, hues of red succeeded in reaching, yet hundreds of flapping shadows paid the light no mind for their ravenous attention fell upon the guardian amidst their flock.

Like a toy top spun by the hand of god, the guardian’s kaiju-sized turtle shell rotated with the lethality of a buzzsaw, its four fiery thrusters keeping up the momentum as it maneuvered through the living darkness. Up until a few moments ago, the defiant terrapin was joined with humanity, fighting the seemingly endless swarm of the Gyaos with their aerial fighters of war, but those brave souls were now all extinguished. Whether through lances of golden light or with the wyvern’s razor-sharp talons, Japan’s pilots were consumed by the Shadows of Evil, as would the truth the guardian knew, but would never accept, even if it cost him his own life.

Gamera, Guardian of the Universe, protector of Earth and all life upon its surface, was slowly succumbing to the inevitable.

He could not conquer the writhing darkness around him.

The odds against such overwhelming numbers were never in Gamera’s favor. Maybe if he had entered the fight at full strength, the horde’s seemingly endless shadow would be fracturing, but after fighting a grueling battle that left a monstrous hole through his abdomen and resulted in the destruction of his right arm, blood-loss and low mana reserves ensured Gamera’s hopeless fate.

Three orbs of plasma burst forth from the spinning guardian, a defiant volley the living darkness engrossing him easily evaded without a single casualty. Then as a fresh wave of black quarantined to the terrapin’s own psyche took hold, the guardian’s thrusters dulled to miniature embers. Gamera’s freefall toward the waters of the Pacific Ocean was but a blur, and then, as the guardian crashed against all odds on the coastline of an island amidst the vast ocean, clarity returned in a disorientating surge.

Sand rushed between clawed digits, compressing as Gamera extended his three remaining limbs from within his shell and ascended on shaky legs. Gamera’s spirit called for further defiance against the horizon spanning shadow descending upon him, yet his beleaguered body could not answer said rallying cry. The Guardian of the Universe, slayer of Gyaos, and protector of Earth, accepted the failure his inevitable death would bring and awaited annihilation.

Emerald pupils watched the Shadow of Evil engross white specs across the night sky.

Hope abandoned the spirit of Earth.

Darkness cried out, thousands of voices ready to carry out Gamera’s execution.

A foreign roar bellowed an earth shattering objection, drawing the attention of guardian and devils alike.

Orange light mimicking the radiance of dawn blossomed on the island’s interior, while fires plumed across the back of a new arrival whose form crested the nearby hills. Gamera weakly growled, hoping to deter whatever creature was caught in his war, but the bipedal, reptilian silhouette showed little interest in the idea of retreating.

Orbs burning with rage glared at the thousands within its domain. Immense radiation like a walking sun bombarded all from its presence, and with a thunderous roar, the glowing saurian challenged the Shadows of Evil without an ounce of fear, attracting their gluttonous wrath.

Evil cackled a retort that echoed with thousands of cries, calling the new arrival’s bluff for the insignificant gesture it was.

Golden lances descended upon the newly arrived leviathan by the hundreds, yet as the challenger unleashed a plume of sun-kissed radioactive fire from burning jaws, Gamera felt his consciousness fade for the second time, and the flames blinked away with the sky.

The light of day greeted the guardian from what he thought could have only been a momentary spell of unconsciousness merely to realize he was the only living entity in a tangible sea of bodies.

Gyaos corpses covered the terrain by the hundreds. Charred even blacker than their natural, nocturnal camouflage, the ravenous swarm’s dead floated off the nearby coast and down the vast beach. No ounce of land lay untouched by the fallen, either stained by the Shadow of Evil’s blood or peppered with an assortment of avian body parts and viscera. Every new region of bodies trembled Gamera’s impenetrable resolve until the movement of a lone Gyaos snapped his attention a few hundred meters to his right, plasma quickly materializing within his dual tusked maw.

Energy readied to dispatch the straggler, yet the realization that another creature was dragging the dead predator suppressed the raging fires Gamera hastily summoned. A four-legged ankylosaur, possessing a spiked carapace and a crown of horns atop its skull, shot the guardian a battle ready glare and then, sensing the decreasing hostility, proceeded to drag a decapitated Gyaos to a steadily growing pile in its effort to clear the beach. Fresh wounds covered its brown hide, an accessory from the battle which took place the night before, but whatever this creature was, it was not the fiery behemoth which interceded on his behalf. Then tremors rattled the blood-soaked sand beneath the guardian and with another head turn, Gamera came face to face with his savior and more than likely, soon to be executioner.

An orange blaze with azure edges, menacingly dancing within the saurian’s maw, gradually subsided, removing Gamera’s assumption of a prompt execution. While lacking the horrendous battle injuries of a lost right arm or hole through the abdomen, the saurian seemed plagued with its own scars of war.

Trenches of flesh were carved through hide from the wyvern’s lethal sonic scalpel, while an overwhelming amount of blood stained the reptile’s bulk. While specs of the leviathan’s natural black scales and white dorsal spines shone under the clear blue skies, the Gyaos’ blood seemingly stained most of saurian’s skin an unnatural dull green and his spines a salmon tinted red.

Staring at the destroyer of his greatest adversary, or at least a majority of the scourge, Gamera felt a hollowness at his very core greater than the hole currently placed in his gut. For years he battled the Gyaos, trying to rid the world of their ravenous, destructive potential and when the world finally seemed at their mercy, another creature took up the mantle and achieved the seemingly impossible. And yet while emotions like gratitude and joy swelled, they were dwarfed by an inferiority and emptiness which cracked Gamera’s unbreakable tenacity.

If the Gyaos were truly an irrelevant threat, what would that make their hunter?

The newcomer remained vacant in expression, green pupils dilating in thought or lost in agonizing shock from the grievous wounds plaguing the terrapin’s skewered body. Whichever of the two options caused the tusked creature’s daze, the fact the survivor was standing, let alone still alive, showcased an unwavering endurance that was admirable, maybe even envious. So with an impressed grunt the terrapin failed to register, Godzilla shifted his attention toward the tide, leaving Anguirus and Monster Island for the pitch black depths.

Warm pacific waters pleasantly washed over the leviathan’s hide, yet the salt water failed to remove the stains of the aerial invaders off Godzilla’s bulk. His naturally jet-black skin would remain bleached with their blood and while aggravated, hunger outweighed such minor grievances.

Radiation from his adopted father’s meltdown had fueled the King of the Monsters for years, but after the previous night’s conflict, the gargantuan reserves Godzilla once possessed were now running dry. Nuclear material would be acquired, more than likely in Japan, and while his arrival could result in some human loss, upsetting her, the behemoth vowed to avoid the denser parts of humanities’ habitat. Their kindness in his younger years… her kindness, would never be forgotten, even if they unleashed their weapons of war upon him.

Humanity could have their territory for as long as they respected his own, adopted domain – Monster Island.

Shifting his thoughts back to the survivor, Godzilla wondered if the terrapin would remain. Upon the island he called home, Anguirus and Gabara were his only compatriots, and while far from allies, they served to dull the ache of a world barren of others like him. Godzilla was alone, the last of his kind, and remembering the vacant expression of the visitor, the King of the Monsters recognized a trait he dreaded with all his being.

They both were lost and perhaps, one day, they’d find the purpose they were looking for.

Chapter 3: Ozaki vs. Tsukuyomi

Kusanagi Cabin, Nikko Mountain Range – Present Day

Putrid air choked the lungs of Ozaki as the stench of rot and death intensified with every bare footfall from the unknown figure’s approach. Ozaki’s right digits graced his holstered weapon’s metal shell, deciding his next, more than likely hostile action as the safehouse’s uninvited guest showed no hesitation in halting their steady advance. Whoever approached did so with palms dangling at their sides, and with no hint of a hidden weapon beneath the oversized gray sweatshirt he wore. As Ozaki noticed another set of oversized white eyes glare toward him from the center of the figure’s sweatshirt, the mascot’s miniscule orange body outstretched for a overzealous hug, the protector’s right arm fell away from his weapon, eyes sagging as his civilian experience overrode any personal desire to surge forth and deliver a crippling first strike.

Removing the very real threat on Asagi’s life from this brain, the skeletal individual haphazardly strolling toward him and Asagi with an orange koala logo beaming off the front of his oversized sweatshirt wouldn’t seem out of place if Ozaki spotted him outside his aging abode, begging for coin to lose at the many nearby pachinko parlors. Even the smell wouldn’t be out of place. What did matter, crushing every fiber of Ozaki’s soul, was that the action he hoped would arrive would instead be replaced by something far more tedious.

There was no doubt the emaciated man needed some type of assistance. Staring blankly at other humans while walking barefoot through snow weren’t optimum signs of sanity, but the local police would probably just escort the beggar to a cell for breaking and entering private property. A hot meal and a bath would be the better remedy, especially the latter in unknotting the scrounger’s excessively greasy black hair atop his head and below his chin.

Then again, the interrupted squatter could be a threat under the guise of a beggar, the logical side of his brain argued at the coincidence of such an encounter, but the horrid smell and lanky form acted like kerosine to Ozaki’s doubts. Yet that insolent logical fear still flared within his temple. A distraction he cared little to humor.

Confidence in his abilities grabbed his concern by the throat and strapped it down so it couldn’t run loose any further. Pity at the beggar’s situation then joined in, stuffing a gag down the fear’s throat. When Ozaki couldn’t hear any further complaints from those useless emotions of logic and concern, muffled as they were within his psyche, the warrior focused on his next steps.

Parting a foul, lung stinging breath, Ozaki begrudgingly whispered to Asagi, “I’ll… take care of this,” and then proceeded forward, shoulders sagging in defeat.

With the scavenger within ten feet, Ozaki courted the homeless man’s attention with a constant waive until the beggar’s listless gaze finally shifted his way.

“You’re not in trouble,” Ozaki assured, fighting past his stomach’s desire to violently eject with every decay laden breath, “but it would be best if you leave. I have spare cash if you’d like to get yourself cleaned, some warm food-”

Empty eyes blinked in rapid succession. Like a man exiting the best dream of his life to discover his surroundings, unmatched disgust radiated off the squatter. Eyes narrowed. Lips peeled back revealing perfectly sculpted teeth.

‘What you got a whiff of yourself? Yeah you smell like-’ Ozaki’s inner monologue ended the moment the beggar’s eyes seemingly ignited. Each pupil sparked menacingly blue, cackling wildly with unbridled power. Instinct fueled a near instantaneous reaction as leg muscle propelled Ozaki backward, but the twin beams of light which shot forth proved his reflexes’ superior.

Armor sizzled away. A scream tore across the open field. Ozaki flung back, carried forth by concentrated lightning, and while anguish gripped every cell within his frying body, what pained the warrior further was the inadequacy of his actions. As he struck bark, twin revelations raced through his mind while the wood behind him burned.

He’d failed to take what was an obvious threat seriously. A realization reinforced by the gagged noises coming from the secluded part of his psyche.

The other revelation, that burned through him like a hot knife through butter, was that he was probably going to die.

A barren Earth; a perfect world.

Every life taken was a step closer to achieving Tsukuyomi’s sole purpose, and as his eye lightning faded, the stagnant form of the human which dared defy his mission affirmed the fallen god’s indestructible belief. Life, at its very core, was fragile, undeserving, and needed to be purged.

Tsukuyomi’s gaze graced his female target who unexpectedly charged toward his position. While he’d normally bestow a quick death upon life in his presence, like the oversized man he collected his current attire from to blend in, another matter took priority. Uncurling his right digits, an open hand raced toward the woman’s neck, but just as he readied to begin his investigation to the whereabouts of Ayana Moribe, Asagi evaded his grasp, dropped to the snow-covered ground, and grabbed a silver object which had fallen from the previous victim.

Tsukuyomi’s malicious gaze shifted downward.

Ozaki’s pistol lifted upward, barrel glistening.

The weapon belched bolt after bolt of golden energy. Ionizing blasts turned the fabric atop the fallen god’s upper body to shreds, vaporizing any trace of the logo at the clothing’s center – yet in the face of such firepower, Tsukuyomi was unimpressed, his skin noticeably unbroken.

Launching an open palm through the blaster fire, he clutched Asagi by the throat and yanked her airborne, removing the pistol which proved as futile as it was easy to fire.

‘Now, tell me where Ayana-‘ Tsukuyomi’s thoughts slowed to a crawl in tandem with Asagi’s gasps for air. How could he be so forgetful? Such primitive beings needed to intake air and audibly create their language. Divine abilities such as telepathy were too advanced for the average insect to comprehend, so further debasing himself to the ways of those he wished to annihilate, Tsukuyomi inhaled tainted air and spoke.

“As-aah-gi!”

Sounding like a roar more-so than words, Tsukuyomi concentrated to refine his speech, drawing upon the shared memories of those created by his severed flesh. As the Fangs of Orochi imbued their collective knowledge, grunts of apathy smoothed out.

“Ayana Moriiibe,” he said, despising every mote of air that carried the blasphemous language. “Where. Is. She?”

Digits flexed apart an inch. While the pest in his grasp continued to thrash about, the increased oxygen gave way to no discernable intelligence, merely birthing fires of defiance within Asagi’s gaze.

Lightning danced on the periphery of Tsukyomi’s vision and then engrossed his sight entirely.

If the pest wished to resist his inquiries, then a slow, agonizing judgment would be bestowed until he received the desired information. Would her spirit remain so contemptuous if he atomized an arm? A leg? No… life polluted the world, and its fragility would always lay the foundation to its own ruin.

‘First anguish, then I’ll have my-’

An unidentified human fist snapped Tsukuyomi’s head ninety degrees to the right. Electricity dulled within his vision, taken aback by the sudden show of force. Digits kept their tight grip upon his target, yet as another strike struck the underside of his wrist, all four fingers around Asagi’s neck involuntarily loosened. A third impact launched Tsukuyomi noticeably backward and from the futile gesture, the fallen god felt divine fury alight his pupils for immediate retribution.

Tsukuyomi staggered upright, the icy snow beneath him reflecting a menacing azure from his piercing gaze. As he viewed the attacker for a fleeting moment, his vision distorted and blurred. All he could make out in the confusion was a streak of black atop a pale figure that charged forth with rapid intensity. With no time to react, the god let loose his murderous gaze just as he registered a knee careening into the bottom of his jaw.

Twin beams still burst forth, but with his head arched upward by the thunderous strike, the bolts of lightning raced above the assailant, carving a distant tree in two and alighting it in a sweltering inferno. Coupled with the inhuman speed, excessive strength tossed Tsukuyomi, keeping the fallen god’s body and senses spinning. Snow tumbled in and out of focus until the god’s human vessel slammed into an outer cabin wall, buckling the aged wooden construct down to its feeble foundation. Spotting the obscured assailant, bolts burning with indignant fury once again raced to catch the aggressor, but inhuman speed meant the assailant eluded the god’s electrical wrath. Evasion and elegance molded together as the figure ducked beneath the waves of energy in one fluid motion and channeled all of their surging momentum into an unavoidable kick.

Tsukuyomi’s body folded as the wall behind him exploded inward. Pieces of human furniture careened out of the way, launched haphazardly by the godly projectile. Even the wooden table directly in the god’s path failed to slow his momentum, or the following inner wall, bed, dresser, and finally, outer wall. As fractured pieces of debris followed his expulsion from the cabin, his limbs outstretched against the snow and dug their respective digits into the frozen terrain, carving up earth until the enemy of life finally grinded to a halt.

Glancing upward, the blur’s momentary position within the cabin’s interior sparked divine retribution. Electrical bolts discharged, letting loose the fallen god’s wrath upon the frail, human construct. Wood ignited instantaneously. Smoke choked the air while squeals of metal cried out in anguish. Seconds of constant bombardment gave way to an abrupt and satisfying collapse, ceasing Tsukuyomi’s destructive gaze to bask in the fiery plume of his newest wonder.

What meager satisfaction channeled through Tsukuyomi faded with the arrival of darkness. Curious eyes dragged themselves upward, noticing the blur blotting out the sun as it descended, right leg outstretched, foot pointed skyward. But in that moment before the inevitable impact, Tsukuyomi focused on the assailant’s identity and all the features comprising him.

Fierce brown eyes. A slender face expressing neither anger nor fear. Unwavering spiked black hair. These features Tsukuyomi relayed to his spawn, calling upon his choir to discover the identity of the man beyond humanities’ feeble physical limitations. In his mind Tsukuyomi focused, uncaring of the drop kick which drove his face into the frigid earth and used his head as the focal point to shatter the icy terrain in a destructive spiral like a meteor hitting the Earth.

A lone disciple answered its creator’s request. ‘Shinichi Ozaki. Mutation. Human.’

So with his face firmly planted into the dirt, Tsukuyomi felt the unshakable pillar holding his place in the universe crack, sequestering his desire to imbue death, if only momentarily.

Chapter 4: To Be Without Purpose

Monster Island – 5 Years Earlier

After the climactic battle over the Ogasawara Island chain, Gamera’s sense of purpose had remained elusive. For nearly a decade and a half the Shadow of Evil entered their own self-imposed exile, and mimicking his prey’s actions, Gamera hibernated within the Pacific’s depths. Whether it was fear of the new world, or a realization that their ravenous conquest would be better suited in the future, the avians slept, as did their hunter until the furnace within Gamera’s soul ignited one cursed day, sensing the few remaining Gyaos awaken en masse. The terrapin’s soul quenched itself upon the need of eradication and ascending like a meteor born of Earth, Gamera burst into the heavens, focused upon slaying his prey and whatever had stirred the Gyaos from their slumber.

Possessing many names, the tentacled siren that currently bellowed a call of vengeance felt like a kindred spirit. He knew not how, but instinct affirmed that they were created by similar creators – the Mu. And yet instead of killing or controlling the ravenous horde, Iris courted their wrath, bestowing destruction upon humanity as the siren blindly clung to the embers of vengeance bound to him by his priestess until that hatred led to his own doom.

But fifteen years later, Iris once again lived. Gamera possessed no answer as to how and none was needed for the miniscule curiosity he possessed. The Ryuseicho would surely bring about destruction with its mysterious rebirth and only a swift death could remedy the error before the situation became untenable. If Iris somehow restored its connection with humanity, with the woman who bestowed her venom upon him or protected the few hibernating Gyaos around the planet, the threat to all life across the globe would no doubt grow exponentially.

As he soared fast and high on a sensation of renewed purpose, fear took hold upon noticing avian bodies littering a nearing coastline’s white beaches. Gamera’s extended, wing-like forearms contorted to a downward arch, launching the terrapin into a meteoric descent. While fires flickered over the guardian’s plummeting body, Gamera retracted his arms, head, and other extremities into his shell before allowing his plummeting velocity to begin a steady rotation of his form. Chaotic spins morphed into a saucer-like appearance with the assist of four thrusters roaring to life. Just as Gamera’s neared catastrophic impact, the terrapin arched up, unleashing a shockwave upon the calm sea which propelled the guardian to discover a familiar battleground.

Crimson bodies littered the coastline. Avian forms were charred black, killed by an entity which bestowed them no shred of mercy. As a black, reptilian silhouette came into frame, Gamera felt the all too familiar hollowness engross his being; however, the dreaded feeling quickly vacated as the dorsal spined creature suddenly collapsed.

Fiery jets countered the terrapin’s rotation in one momentous blast. Appendages surged out through the fire, colliding against the dirt with such force a shockwave blew across all five immobile kaiju surrounding the freshly impacted guardian.

Ascending to his full height, Gamera beheld the carnage, the dead eyes, and broken bodies all around, and immediately, he knew his arrival had come just moments too late.

Gamera’s contempt burned anew as he laid his eyes on Iris’ lifeless form, the tentacled monstrosities’ abdomen split wide open. Plasma began to churn deep within him, and with a fiery detonation, the island’s invader was engulfed in flames and reduced to mere ashes upon white, glistening sand.

Gamera’s gaze turned to the gruesome remains of those who had fought without him; the decapitated green biped and skewered spawn of Godzilla slayed mercilessly by their enemy. They’d fought, of that Gamera held little doubt, and as guilt flourished anew, the shallow breaths of ankylosaur’s unconscious form did little to stem the growing tide of guilt.

Once again, the Guardian of the Universe failed his purpose and while the Shadow of Evil was vanquished, along with their siren, so too had innocent life been unjustly culled. And as he finally looked to the victor, the King’s body reduced to a battered reflection of the proud leviathan which bested the horde over a decade prior, the Guardian realized the consequences of the leviathan’s victory.

Grief would blossom and from its petals, bitterness or vengeance could take shape within Godzilla. Seeds of destruction would rain down upon the world, forcing further conflict and in all likelihood a clash between the Guardian of the Universe and the King of the Monsters. A preemptive strike against the unconscious black behemoth could settle the coming firestorm, end all hostility before it started, but that would ignore the two miracles performed by Godzilla.

A debt Gamera refused to repay in blood.

Another option was needed to repay what had been achieved.

The sky was alive with roiling clouds that seemed to tremble with anticipation. A brilliant golden aura illuminated the air briefly, before being drawn deep into the bodies of Gabara and Godzilla Junior. As the ogre’s severed head began to knit back together, the regenerative process rapidly sputtered out, its spirit too weak to sustain the resurrection. But as Godzilla Junior’s spines flashed with power and his wounds sealed shut, a loud rumble split the air, his roar of rebirth filling the sky.

Gamera and Junior locked eyes for what seemed like an eternity, sharing a silent understanding before the guardian took to the air, returning to his place of rest within the Pacific’s depths. For now, loss and purposelessness would be reserved for himself. With the world without need of his service, a deep sleep took hold.

Years passed by, blurred by the sweet bliss of unconsciousness. Individual Gyaos still awakened, stirring Gamera from the comforting depths of his mind to slay the ravenous beasts, yet on the two occurrences which tempted him to exit his rest, their draw quickly vanished after each perished by unknown forces.

The world, it seemed, no longer required a guardian.

Then a connection thought severed roared to life. Malevolent pulses revolted Gamera to his core. Defiance and fear radiated from the connection until a female call, for so long kept distant, dragged Gamera from oblivion back to reality, the furnace of battle igniting once more.

Something monstrous and vile threatened Asagi Kusanagi and in a world without purpose, Gamera answered the call from his priestess without hesitation.

Chapter 5: Ozaki vs. Tsukuyomi – Round 2

Kusanagi Cabin, Nikko Mountain Range

Whatever desire Ozaki possessed to kick his own ass for his “squatter” assumptions proved just as fleeting as his self doubt. Sure, the electrical blitz caught him off guard, made question if he’d survive the assault, but his body’s resilience to electricity was a pleasant revelation, if at the cost of his torso’s armor. Perhaps if he paid closer attention when he was on the ground thrashing like a wounded wild animal under the electrified torment of an alien conqueror all those years ago, he would have realized he suffered no burns from the Xilien Enforcer’s electrical wrath. Then again, that revelation was clouded by mind-numbing pain, a trait the possibly homeless but still hostile man shared with Ozaki while he pulled himself out of shattered earth.

‘Sure can take a beating,’ Ozaki thought before he began to shift to a fighting stance.

Ozaki’s right leg glided backward over fine powder. Knees bowed, reserving power while the warrior purposely tilted forward, arms mimicking angelic cranes’ long necks. His fingers smoothly conjoined while fiery pupils centered on target in preparation for the unavoidable clash.

He was ready for the war to continue, but as his protectee’s attacker arose, eyelids thoroughly shut, the warrior’s curiosity restrained the overwhelming instinct to attack.

“You’re different Shinichi Ozaki.” The man’s voice halted as if redirecting his mind’s eyes to the next sentence of a script trapped within his skull. “Human. Hybrid. Keizer. Not a god.”

Laughter, unsettling as it was unnatural, belched from the attacker and then just as quickly, molded back to the natural disgust which permeated his expression.

“I am, understand?” the man voiced with a hiss. “I am Tsukuyomi, I am Orochi!”

The man’s arms swept outward in self aggrandizing fashion, eyes sparking not with power as they opened, but unmistakable pride. The supposed god’s gaze remained fixed, unable to track the blur Ozaki transformed into as he maneuvered behind the arrogant fool. With unmatched swiftness, the warrior slammed an open palm into the back of his adversary’s head, plowing it back into the snow-laden earth with explosive results. Ozaki paused to marvel at what he had done before resetting himself into a fighting stance, watching the supposed god’s form intently.

“Now do you understand your futility?” Tsukuyomi uttered, muffled by the shattered earth and snow directly in front of his submerged jaws.

A bewildered gasp escaped Ozaki’s lips as his stoic expression was broken by disbelief. Frustrated eyes snapped to the sky before internal gears began to spin on the subject. ‘He hasn’t tried to dodge my attacks. But why let me pummel him?’ His gaze returned to the shirtless god, noticing a distinct lack of bruising or blood across the emaciated body.

‘Because he can take it. Bastard can probably take gunfire-‘ Gears spun further and six months of repressed emotion from a gruesome slaughter took center stage. The killer of Ichiro Miki, Inspector Osako, and the soldiers upon Mt. Fuji’s slopes, a being which possessed the same superhuman traits and electrical lethality of a Keizer; could this being and that killer be one and the same?

“True gods need not act against weakness,” Tsukuyomi stated with venom coated words to finally answer Ozaki’s earlier question while he arose with the grace of the undead, “The universe eventually bends to its creators, so come, Keizer,” the fallen god emphasized with a mocking growl, “allow me to demonstrate your own fragility.”

Ambiguity cleared to a glistening white. Mental shackles upon muscle melted away in response, ignoring the growing bite of the cold upon his exposed skin. Ozaki’s muscles tensed in preparation for what was to come.

Asagi would be protected.

The dead delivered the vengeance they craved.

In a burst of movement, Ozaki jettisoned forward, carrying Tsukuyomi’s body to the thickest tree he could smash the arrogant killer into. Thick bark rattled as flesh careened into its outer layer before a constant rattling echoed throughout the hibernating forest. Concussive blows careened into Tsukuyomi’s flesh, pinning the supposed god as Ozaki molded his target into an improvised punching bag. Every superhuman jab unleashed all Ozaki could muster, yet the being’s skin remained just as pale as the proceeding blow, free of cuts or even the hint of a bruise.

Twenty impacts failed to alter the effects of Ozaki’s all out assault. Even as the cacophony of blows were refined to precision strikes, meant to focus all the warrior’s blistering power into a minuet part of the body, by the thirtieth blow, no change in outcome was apparent. As the fortieth blow was flung forward, a crack within Ozaki’s resolve finally forced him to alter his current strategy.

Another path was needed and of all the options Ozaki could think of, only two possible paths remained for his endeavor toward triumph.

Thrusting his own body back with his latest blow, Ozaki sailed over pristine snow. A knife sailed forth from Ozaki’s sheath and then as he touched the glistening snow, the protector jettisoned forth with all the strength his legs could muster. The young man’s right leg extended forward and struck the blade’s hilt, plunging the edged weapon’s blade into flesh with a roaring crack.

The protector’s hopes fluttered at the prospect of pierced bone merely to be shattered as thoroughly as the black bark behind Tsukuyomi’s body. Through a flurry of splinters the god’s body flew, vanishing under the top of the soaring tree. A deafening chorus of snapping branches filled the air before the entire tree came crashing down, burying the god’s body under its fallen remains.

Ragged breaths let loose from Ozaki, filling the air with bursts of grey haze. Martial composure failed to compete against the exertion just placed upon his trembling body, but the results… how could he argue such an outcome? Under a coffin of bark the supposed god now lay for worms and insects to feed upon for all-

Twin beams of light dashed Ozaki’s optimism as quickly as it carved the fallen tree in two. Dried bark ignited with chaotic frenzy, kicking up a blaze that seemed to imitate an oversized campfire. A black silhouette casually strolled out of the dancing inferno, tossing the knife which punctured its body away without concern or interest. Loftily cracking his head left, and then right, the pulsing azure eyes silently conveyed Tsukuyomi’s venomous retort to Ozaki’s latest attempt.

Was that all?

Foreign, unending waves of futility washed over Ozaki. For an adversary seemingly on the edge of starvation, covered in decrepit signs of decay and lack of hygiene, his enemy’s body refused to fracture even under the most strenuous of pressure. If physical prowess wouldn’t be enough to ensure Asagi’s safety, he found no comfort in accepting his final gamble at success.

‘No choice then,‘ he realized, desperation guiding his words. ‘Now or never.’

Nervous eyes locked on the warrior’s right open palm before Ozaki shifted his attention towards Tsukuyomi, projecting confidence well beyond anything he truly felt. Ready for the anguish to begin, lightning burst forth in twin columns of crackling energy, swallowing Ozaki whole.

Every nerve seared under the torrent of flowing power. Attempting to concentrate through the mind-numbing pain brought Ozaki to the edge of sanity, but through sheer will he held his ground. For every moment of defiance, the warrior reached out for the monstrous power he desperately yearned to once again embrace.

And he waited.

And waited.

And-

The relentless current remained unaltered. Muscle fell numb first, followed by the give of a deteriorating stance. Defiantly Ozaki attempted to right himself, but his precarious bearing finally gave way to the un-ending electrical current. A cry of failure was uttered as the mutant was swept backward, the powers of a Keizer abandoning him to his doom.

The blackness of death enveloped around Ozaki, encircling him with a cloud of despair as he felt his life slipping from his grasp. But before the darkness could consume him, Tsukuyomi’s merciless torture came to a swift end. A feminine hand yanked Ozaki back onto his feet where his eyes snapped to Tsukuyomi’s soulless expression.

His silence, stirred by pain and confusion, ended with another yank.

“We have to go. NOW!” Asagi shouted, desperation in her voice as she drew in his weary attention.

Strength radiated off the young woman, drawing the envy of her feeble protector before unimaginable disappointment flooded his body after decades of denial.

For reasons outside his control, the powers of a Keizer no longer belonged to Ozaki. In the arms of his protectee, the warrior hobbled away on numb appendages, fleeing a battle his spirit lacked the strength to prolong any further.

If he could not stop Tsukuyomi, then there was nothing more anyone could do.

Chapter 6: To Debate a God

Tsuchi Building, Tokyo

Disorientation engrossed Tsukuyomi as he tried to make sense of the sudden shift in scenery. Where fields of snow once met his heels, thin carpet stretched out to human-painted walls. Cubicles, chairs, and other unnatural creations of humanity sprawled out in every direction, only checked by the oversized windows which would allow the insects which normally festered within the space to gaze upon their sprawling, metropolitan corruption.

Tsukuyomi’s discomfort with his surroundings led the fallen god to reach out mental feelers to his spawn, yet as his thoughts remained eerily silent, another crack rattled the pillar which held his divine place atop the universe.

“There is no threat to you here,” called a female voice.

The feminine words snapped Tsukuyomi’s attention to a woman whose mere presence dulled his wrathful impulses. Defying her aura, uncaring eyes parted to vaporize the female, but as energy failed to materialize within his vision, Tsukuyomi’s electrical wrath smoldered into contemptuous, verbal revulsion.

“What are you?!” he seethed without shaking his divine confidence.

The woman stopped her approach a few meters away. Usually, humans spiraled through fear, anguish, resentment, or horror when they faced him, but this insect was an exception; her outwardly calm nature didn’t fit the mold of those who crossed his presence before.

“My name is Miki Yamane.” The woman’s eyes fluttered as she fully gazed upon Tsukuyomi’s sickly human vessel. “Are- are you ill?”

Tsukuyomi paused, taken aback by the compassionate inquiry. His eyes matched Miki’s gaze, following her eyesight to the rolls of sagging skin off his emaciated arms and chest.

“Release me!” Tsukuyomi demanded, shifting topics off his starved human exterior. “Release me or your death by my hands will come only after immense suffering.”

The threat deflected off the pest as easily as gunfire ricocheted off his human shell. With no change in his environment or acknowledgement of his demand, the god reached out, nails extended like claws to grasp the woman which summoned him. But to Tsukuyomi’s surprise, his fingers phased through the woman, her body seemingly untouchable yet ever present.

“You’re not actually here,” she explained, her voice still calm. “What you see, feel, hear; it’s what I’m experiencing. You can do no harm to me nor will I hurt you.”

Venting an annoyed breath at the explanation, Tsukuyomi retracted his clawed appendage. Wherever he currently existed, the only path to escape lay in deducing the insect’s motive and its feeble, if not temporarily bothersome abilities.

‘Then you will perish.’

‘I’d prefer to avoid such a future,’ the foreign feminine thoughts affirmed within his own relative mind.

Tsukuyomi staggered back from the mental intrusion and then quickly composed himself from the momentary lapse of permanent disgust. Telepathy, a trait bestowed to the divine, now was sullied by life’s grasp too. What further degradation of the powers of gods would he find next?

‘I know what you have done, what you plan to do.’ Tsukuyomi lifted a brow as Miki continued, ‘I thought it best to talk to you given the opportunity. I wish no further loss. I want to understand. I want to find another way.’

‘Then you’ve prayed to the wrong god,’ he retorted in thought, disgusted by the attempt. ‘My culling of this world will not end until is barren. Then and only then, will it be perfect.’

‘Why must you kill innocent lives?’

‘Because they exist.’

‘That’s not a cause!’ Miki contested.

Tsukuyomi huffed at the human’s naïveté. Finding little motivation to continue to communicate with something beneath him, he began to stroll away merely for the world to snap him back where he once stood. Again Tsukuyomi attempted to depart the setting, but after a few steps, his relocation occurred once more, placing him beside Miki.

‘It is the only justification needed for those with great power,’ the god finally admitted before lunging upward only to snap back to his starting location. However, as Tsukuyomi shifted his attention to his captor, a new revelation gave him minimal amusem*nt. The calming presence Miki so far ushered into the environment seemed to be fading, replaced by growing irritation.

‘Were you so naïve to believe you could alter my judgment with a simple conversation?’

Silence between the pair blossomed, affirming his intuition merely for the ramifications to explode within his mind. The human possessed power, of that even Tsukuyomi could not reject, and while arrogance could explain the folly in logic, the woman’s nature seemed to reject such emotion as much as the previous human that crossed him attracted it.

‘If not arrogance, what?’ he mused.

Tsukuyomi placed the question within his mind and like a hunter attracting prey, the insect holding him prisoner seized upon the statement.

‘I don’t want Asagi, Hina, Shinichi, Ayana or anyone else to die. All life has merit, even the lives of those that are weaker than you. Possessing great power does not make your life or views more meaningful than theirs.’ Tsukuyomi scoffed before Miki continued. ‘I’m disheartened that I am not able to change your mind, but you’ll remain here until my friends are safe.’

Cunning eyes widened; the catch was possibly far larger than he could have hoped.

‘You know of Ayana, priestess of the Ryuseicho?’ Gluttony for knowledge, for that desired grain of truth fueled Tsukuyomi’s thoughts as he once more baited the insect. ‘Where she currently resides?’

Infuriatingly, Miki shared no direct reply; instead, the minute twitches across her ephemeral body confirmed all Tsukuyomi needed to know. The information he desired was before him. Now all he needed was to shatter the lock to the trove in this human’s mind. While it carried immense risk and would hasten his return, the fallen god possessed no doubt on how to proceed.

Tsukuyomi’s predatory gaze shifted to Miki who seemed to sense the growing animosity.

‘You’ve trapped my mind here, insect,’ he laughed, wearing a twisted grin, ‘but can your web ensnare a god?’

A monstrous roar erupted from Tsukuyomi as his skin split like dried parchment to reveal black, scaly flesh. Cranial bone splayed wide allowing eight squirming necks to elongate where one head once resided. Each tendril writhed while separating, crying out as the human body they were attached birthed a new horrendous shape. Tsukuyomi’s human vessel gave way to memory. The environment which once contained the god melted followed by a female scream trapped in a perpetual echo.

Sixteen eyes gazed upon the nearing blue heavens above the Nikko Mountain Range. Eight separate wails rejoiced as the entity felt his original body’s divine strength begin to return. A few more seconds were needed to reach his monstrous normal size, but in those moments, the fallen god relished another success.

Tsukuyomi felt his captor’s mind retreat from the shattered illusion she had created, unable to contain the monstrous presence within her web of deceit. As the illusionist withdrew, the god’s own telepathy launched a counterassault, tearing away sacred strands of forbidden knowledge. The location of Ayana was no longer a mystery, merely a newly acquired tool that he’d use to wipe the Earth clean.

A barren Earth; a perfect world.

Chapter 7: He Has Returned

Kusanagi Cabin, Nikko Mountain Range – A few moments prior

On hobbled legs Ozaki traveled. While no burns graced his skin, an incomparable weakness still clung to every fiber of his being from Tsukuyomi’s crippling power. If not for his protectee propping him up as he walked, Ozaki doubted he’d be able to move much less keep up the brisk stagger the dire circ*mstances forced upon him.

Apparently in the time he was failing to stop Tsukuyomi, Miki Yamane had psychically reached out to Asagi. Something had occurred in Tokyo and while the details were sparse, the psychic’s timing proved lifesaving. Using Asagi’s mind like a springboard, Miki moved from protectee to Tsukuyomi, locking the emaciated god in a petrifying trance which allowed Ozaki to once again evade the specter of death.

Defeated eyes shifted to his right palm which trembled from self doubt. For all his hopes of regaining his lost power, even a god’s fury seemed unable to draw out his latent potential.

How much further could he push himself in the pursuit of what had been lost?

Howling winds silenced the thought while a concussive bellow tore through Ozaki’s impaired body. Asagi stumbled forward from the force of the monstrous boom yet refused to fall. Protector and protectee alike paused mid-stride beside the burning Kusanagi cabin, looking back where Tsukuyomi’s stagnant body had once resided to discover a growing blob-like horror.

A bulbous mass of flesh raced to the opposing forest, flattening trees like a surging tsunami. Crimson scales bulged outward like bubbles racing from the depths of boiling water. A single long tail thrashed back and forth as it grew, but without legs, the mass seemed more slug-like than draconic. That changed as eight writhing necks sprouted like stalks. Fanged reptilian maws parted at their ends in tandem with sixteen lightning filled eyes, radiating destructive hues upon the glistening white world below.

Orochi, the Eight Headed Dragon and mythic destroyer of the ancient world, now graced the modern realm of man.

When the myth turned to stare down upon the warrior, genuine fear shredded Ozaki to his core. The terror derived not from the life he would soon lose, but to his failure to maintain his word or reclaim what was lost. Then as each draconic orb ignited with electrical fury, hell descended toward protector and protectee alike in the form of sixteen separate bolts of crimson lighting.

A pressurized wave of superheated air washed over Ozaki first. Overwhelming red light dulled his vision a moment after. Each sense forewarned Ozaki’s grim fate microseconds away, but they were minor footnotes to the third new phenomena that gripped every nerve and fiber of the mutant’s being – a sensation not felt in over a decade.

The presence Ozaki remembered in Tokyo felt as if the mutants he’d trained with since birth were right beside him, unviewable but witnessing his achievement swirl into existence. Now, a similar sensation surged through him, yet its clutches felt distinctly unique. This new presence felt singular and foreign. The fact he recognized the difference spoke to the extra seconds of life he currently possessed and forced Ozaki to take note of a miracle that he longed to be able to replicate.

Lightning still raced forth with murderous intent, mimicking a river bursting at the seams from torrential flooding. If the crimson waves struck, he and Asagi would be nothing but atomized dust in an instant, but the lightning seemed to defy the laws of physics, deflecting away as if repulsed by a greater, invisible force.

“It’s back,” Ozaki announced with as much confusion as euphoria.

Realization snapped Ozaki into a stoic pose, right arm extended toward Orochi. Pain urged him to back down, yet he persisted, attempting to manipulate the power back toward the dragon. Simply deflecting the dragon’s electrical wrath wouldn’t suffice, a counterattack was the only chance for Asagi and his own survival. However, no matter how much he pressed his mental or physical limits, the deflection on display never altered; instead, the arc of the barrier was gradually decreasing to a previously assumed deathly conclusion, while the presence within himself grew ever weaker.

‘I’m not strong enough to deflect it back!’ he internally cursed. ‘I’m going to- I need to-‘

‘RUN!’

Following the internal voice, Ozaki grabbed Asagi and dashed at a speed he would have thought physically impossible for his current wellbeing. Even with a fresh dose of adrenaline pumping through his veins, the mutant felt on the verge of his muscles giving out at any moment. As the tree line passed protector and protectee alike, tremors sabotaged his footwork moments before a wave of steam slammed into him, escorting his conscious mind to an all encompassing abyss, devoid of pride or doubt.

Chapter 8: Gamera vs. Orochi

Nikko Mountain Range

Billowing steam soothed the awakened god while sixteen cruel eyes scanned the smoldering environment. Where snow once resided, blackened earth stretched to the surrounding forest which now was nothing more than an endless series of flattened trees. The two humans were most likely consumed by the blast, but the momentary deflection of his awe-inspiring power stirred inquiries which could not be ignored.

Was the manipulation of his power the Keizer’s gift?

Why had the insect waited so long?

Where-

AAEEERRRR!

The distant roar trembled the heavens and drew Orochi’s undivided attention. The incoming airborne beast streamed forth like a missile over the mountains, but its bellowing cries of anger identified it as another weapon of mankind.

Gamera, Guardian of the Universe.

The creature had been hailed by mankind as a savior, a protector of the human race. But the arrogance of naming the guardian the savior of all space merely affirmed the undeserving pride humanity possessed. What would mankind say of itself once their “savior” was atomized? Orochi hungrily anticipated such a prospect.

Twisting crimson bolts lashed out in unison. Gamera’s approaching body vanished in a cloud of sparks, his jets no longer firing as his shelled body careened through the haze. Orochi’s eight maws twisted in delight; however, the dragon’s euphoric arrogance receded just as quickly.

The protector wasn’t merely approaching to commence a battle. Gamera seemingly possessed a far more direct strategy.

Limbs retracted into the terrapin’s shell at the last moment, allowing the eighty thousands tons of mass to floor Orochi off his elevated position. Wails of draconic anguish rattled Nikko’s mountains before Orochi felt gravity’s undesired embrace on his airborne form. The mountain he once resided upon shrunk to a fraction of its original size as the god was carried away to the human settlement residing in the region’s populated valley kilometers away.

The concussive boom mimicked that of his own meteor when it touched upon Earth, except instead of trees, houses and concrete violently sailed upward. Injury was of little concern to Orochi whose hardened scales absorbed most of the impact. Instead, annoyed eyes scoured the environment while his fanged maws grinded their jagged teeth together, a desire to inflict a decisive counter attack filling every throat with volatile fire.

On the opposing edge of the human settlement, Gamera arose unhindered, emerald eyes emitting a fiery glare. Dual tusks reared back on his bottom jaw, allowing the guardian to emit a cry of war before its right foot surged forth, flattening a structure under its gargantuan heel. Another step squashed a moving car at the center of an intersection, birthing a malevolent cackle from the fallen god.

If two lives stripped this supposedly noble creature of its love of humanity, what would a few hundred more do?

Draconic maws parted in unison, dousing a wave of fire over what remained of humanity’s settlement. Judgment flowed over buildings and humans alike, cleansing life’s scourge off the Earth. The blazing tsunami reached Gamera a moment later, shrouding his form with such intensity that any semblance of Earth’s protector vanished beneath the veil of fire. Ensnared by the destructive hues reflected off the mountains, Orochi stoked his blaze ever greater in ferocity, consuming the valley in roaring light.

‘Glorious! The first of many purges to-‘

Fresh information pulsed at the recesses of the god’s mind. At first, Orochi ignored the new trove of data from his creations, focusing upon the blazing carnage dancing before all sixteen of his murderous eyes, yet as the fires began to spiral, arrogance gave way to revelation from his progeny.

Gamera, Guardian of the Universe, consumed fire.

A fresh tremor affirmed his progeny’s warnings. Stepping forth through the inferno, Gamera’s piercing glare resurfaced without any signs of anguish. The fires washing over reptilian hide merely melted into the guardian’s skin like dry earth absorbing water. Orochi’s blaze grew ever greater, hoping to overwhelm the petulant creature’s limits, but Gamera showed no weakness to the increasing torrent, only growing strength as fresh, glistening fire churned within the terrapin’s maw.

A single plasma fireball let loose from the guardian and as it struck, the world vanished, consumed by roaring sun-kissed power. Blackened armor sizzled from the torrential inferno, and then as a second struck, Orochi finally let loose hellish screams.

‘This fire!’ he internally cursed. ‘It’s like that of a sun. Like that of-‘

A third plasma-laced sphere ended all thought. Action immediately spurned from instinct.

Twin draconic heels plowed into ash covered soil. All eight writhing heads speared through the hellish plasma, sinking jagged teeth into flesh. Fresh blood poured into every maw, amplified by violent thrashes before a unified push staggered the guardian backward. Orochi’s eyes and maw glistened anew. The fallen god processed every detail of the guardian, ensuring no immunity to lightning and with gleeful affirmation, he unleashed his ultimate technique.

Supreme Emperor Red Lightning; that was the name early humanity bestowed the attack in eons past. When those wretched insects witnessed the torrent of crimson energy unleashed upon him, the target matched furious power with unyielding celestial light. While the technique failed in its goal to vanish the golden god, how could a mortal abomination, haphazardly sculpted by imperfect beings, hope to survive against such power?

Brimming crimson luminance washed over the Guardian of the Universe. Skin charred upon contact. Gamera’s sorrow rung throughout the Nikko Mountain range, a horrid wail which Orochi relished until the arcs of electricity detonated. Snow not yet disturbed by the earlier demonstration of blazing rage steamed violently, vanquishing winter’s icy trace throughout the valley.

Through dissipating smoke and ash, Gamera’s fallen body, intermingled with the remnants of humanities settlement, lay perfectly still. Cracks which plagued the god’s pride sealed instantly at the sight, reaffirming Orochi’s place within the universe.

No guardian could safeguard life’s infectious grasp on the universe any longer. What would burn would be purged by fire, and to those which drew life from the light, they could look forward to tombs without the sun’s embrace.

To fulfill the promise, Orochi quaked the dead earth with roars of supremacy, imbuing his will into the land. The valley’s tremors intensified by the hydra’s spirit until the natural disaster the draconic beast called forth split the valley open and swallowed all that once lived. As Gamera fell forward into the abyss, Orochi dismissed his unnatural earthquake.

‘And gone is the presumed Guardian of the Universe. What foolish titles humanity bestows.’

Memory churned forth the god’s given moniker while pride lashed at its primitive design.

‘And of all things, I am just the Eight-Headed Dragon? No, I deserve more, I deserve a grander title for their prayers and fear.’

The ground began to tremble as if to honor the god’s coming rebirth.

‘Tyrant of the Universe! No-‘ Orochi cursed the thought with immediate disdain. ‘I wish for eradication, not to rule life. Dominator of the Universe may suit my tastes more. No… the name which shall invoke fear shall be-‘

AAEEERRR!

Open ground gave way to a rising titan whose emerald pupils showed no hint of death’s embrace. Orochi barked cries of confusion, his mind questioning how Gamera could break free of his earthly tomb merely for his progeny to respond to their god’s rhetorical inquiry.

Hundreds of voices replied in unison, ‘Gamera, Guardian of the Universe, could burrow.’

‘Silence,’ he demanded of his spawn before lashing out in rage toward Gamera.

Eight writhing maws launched forward merely for the terrapin to sidestep the sprawling mass. Each jaw snapped shut in the open air and from their failure, Orochi witnessed Gamera swing his right elbow outward, the long claw at the apex of the appendage growing in size before bone pierced optic nerve.

Anguish from the ruptured eye proved short as Gamera’s elbow claw cleaved bone and brain away from the writhing head. Organic material splattered the battlefield, and a roar of defiance boomed from the guardian. Orochi matched the cry with seven of his own before launching his remaining heads toward the Guardian of the Universe.

Reptilian claws clutched draconic scales.

Serrated fangs plunged into regenerative hide.

A contest of strength began between the pair, and Orochi felt his pillar of pride’s fate rested upon the outcome.

Draconic muscle pressed forward with all the might the god’s will could imbue; however, Gamera’s own physical power proved not only a match but even superior. A slow grind backward became ever more noticeable with every passing second. A head of Orochi unhinged itself off of Gamera in response. Twin piercing eyes gazed upon its own scaled body, searching for an explanation to why it was losing the contest of physical prowess. Memory churned through eons of life and compared Orochi’s body to that of its current status.

The answer was as infuriating as it was clear.

While still a monstrous entity, the colossal mass Orochi remembered in his prime dwarfed the body he currently possessed. His height easily matched memory, but like his human form compared to the mutant, every appendage of the dragon seemed emaciated, lacking godly muscle which if present, Orochi knew would turn the tide against the guardian.

‘Is my body tied to that of the human shell? What twisted punishment-’

Thought faded as blistering plasma engulfed a writhing head, reducing Orochi’s count to six. Lightning answered the loss of flesh, forcing Gamera to relinquish his hold but even as the terrapin suffered under the barrage, Orochi recognized his blasts would not deter the guardian’s assault for long.

If the culmination of his lightning failed to bring Gamera’s end, meager blasts would never heel the man-made abomination.

Orochi’s rebirth seemed destined to fail, but pride refused to consider retreat. Death, as incomprehensible an outcome as the god believed it to be, still proved the superior option compared to another lifetime of frigid isolation within a tomb of transparent terror.

And from the haunting torture, the god surmised a new path forward.

Reptilian heels slammed upon the blackened earth. Orochi’s wingless body glided into the air, malevolent energies twisting the fabric of reality to make his flight possible. Lightning which once sieged Gamera turned toward the nearby mountains, carving across their white exteriors. Undisturbed snow roared awake, racing down the surrounding mountains toward the bewildered guardian.

The surging avalanches, if successful, would bestow Orochi the time he needed to ascend into the upper echelons of the Earth’s atmosphere and manipulate his spawn for the precious answer he needed to ensure victory.

‘Where can I find a tomb for humanities’ guardian?’

Furnaces of rage stoked the fires of combat within the Guardian of the Universe and filled the void that the creature’s noble duty once resided. Wrath and obsession guided benevolent thoughts, and even as he watched the hydra flee, Gamera felt the anger bubbling within him assure him that the conclusion of this battle was without a doubt, absolute.

The contemptuous hydra would perish for the seeds of destruction it planted, no matter the great distances it flew or what paltry obstacles Orochi hastily created.

A lake’s worth of white powder poured over Gamera’s body. Charred skin and spilled emerald blood fell numb to the touch. Yet as the fires of retribution burned within the guardian’s heart, the frigid tomb lost its enticing embrace and the icy void of white gave way to glistening orange flame.

Multiple mountain tops worth of snow flash-steamed in an instant, allowing uncontested fury to gaze skyward toward a shrinking black dot. Biological engines of propulsion ignited to life, carrying Gamera into the heavens four times faster than the trailing sonic boom; however, while the terrapin’s speed never waivered, the guardian’s vengeful expression cracked with growing surprise as hundreds of fiery silhouettes appeared before him. As a blazing piece of debris rocketed past, his understanding of the coming natural disaster crystalized with frightening clarity.

A meteor shower, without warning or reason, now descended upon his ascending form.

Bellowing a roar overflowing in its defiant intensity, the Guardian of the Universe persevered onward, plunging head first into the incoming volley.

Gamera’s surging form adeptly glided through the incoming projectiles. Shining, silver exteriors revealed the fire-covered objects as human constructs, similar to what he remembered when facing the Super Gyaos in orbit decades prior. Mental troves of information supplied by Asagi Kusanagi over the years exposed these man-made creations as satellites before one construct in a chaotic freefall arced wide, detonating across Gamera’s head. The guardian’s trajectory remained static for a moment, but in that time, the shower’s fellow contents found their mark, pummeling Gamera’s airborne form with molten metallic fury.

Satellite after satellite struck true, but for every impact, the protector of Earth’s rage grew every greater in unbridled ferocity.

What were these trivial impacts compared to the struggle against the ravenous horde of Gyaos, against the maddening rage of Iris, or the unrelenting brutality of Legion? If Orochi dared to hope he would be bested with such an obstacle, the dragon knew not the depths of wrath awakened by the hydra’s ruinous behavior.

Gamera pressed his biological thrusters beyond their natural limits, mimicking a shooting star as he cut across Earth’s atmosphere. A few moments of exponentially increasing impacts gave way to an endless expense filled with glistening stars. Amongst their radiance, Orochi’s fleeing body raced across their white glow, but as the distance between predator and prey dramatically lessened, the god belched forth six distinct screams of ire interlaced with terror.

Arms outstretched. Terrapin jaws snapped open and with a thunderous boom silenced by the periphery of space, the Guardian of the Universe collided upon The Six-Headed Dragon.

A chaotic spiral beset Gamera and his target. Whether flung into the endless depths of space or merely launched back to Earth, all that mattered was balancing the scales of retribution. Claws tore apart draconic scales and as Gamera felt the warm blood of his enemy intermingle with his digits, the air began to sparkle with growing embers.

The answer to where Gamera’s impact would lead became clear just as flames engulfed his falling silhouette. Through the clear atmosphere the pair descended, trailing toward a land of white far too flat to be the mountain range their fight originated from, yet toward the unfamiliar arena they plummeted. He awaited the coming impact, but a foreign pull suddenly shifted Gamera and his adversary’s unified momentum.

Whatever power Orochi imbued his body for his unnatural flight curved their shared rapid descent parallel to the untouched sheets of white.

Dragon and terrapin struck the icy terrain, and as Gamera refused to relinquish his grasp, a song of ice and fire danced around their sliding titanic forms. Flames flickered across each body while snow violently ejected beneath Orochi’s gliding mass. The elemental rivalry seemed evenly matched before a bank of snow ejected atop the duo, drowning the miniature blaze and giving Gamera a view toward what would ultimately end their chaotic slide.

Towering like a wall of stone, icy cliffs stretched endlessly before the guardian. An oppressive presence that dominated the frozen landscape. The natural formation’s size easily dwarfed both kaiju and then, the impact the guardian expected finally arrived.

An oppressive darkness descended before fading into an eerie gray abyss. Even as the guardian’s senses gradually refined overtime, reality seemed distant and distorted. But then, the unmistakable blur of Orochi’s five writhing heads came into focus, taunting and tormenting the guardian’s soul.

The writhing features then hammered down on Gamera’s body in a malicious fury. Electricity, fang, and horn cut through the air and pummeled him with a relentless barrage. Even while blasted and beaten, his enemy still courted his wrath. It still hungered to take his life, one devoid of purpose, of understanding, and now… devoid of any human connection.

And with his heart bursting with rage, Gamera rejected the god’s pitiful attempt to end his meaningless life.

Plasma spewed forth in one fiery sphere after the other. Draconic heads vaporized. Crimson scales vanished without resistance, and the vengeance craved by the guardian seemed finally within reach. As the final fireball’s flames diminished, a single writhing head remained attached to the bulbous bleeding body of the god, its bloody jaw twisted in confounding delight.

The sight bestowed a haunting clarity the guardian wished he possessed moments prior before his attention finally shifted to what was around him.

Gamera stood within the confines of a crater but instead of horizontal, the vertical formation within the cliffside possessed the guardian at its core. Cracks spiraled in every direction, growing in size no doubt in part to the sun-kissed fury released moments prior.

He’d been driven blind by the need for retribution and as endless ice poured over Gamera’s body, the guardian’s burning spirit found itself in the bitter clutches of a cold reality his beleaguered self could no longer resist.

Chapped fingers pulled upon frigid flesh and ice in a void of darkness. Terror at the possibility of the solidifying ice containing the entity for another eternity increased Tsukuyomi’s thrashing until the upper layers of his grave burst open. A single blood stained appendage waived back and forth through open artic air before it gradually pulled Tsukuyomi into the frigid environment he lured Gamera to.

The freshly formed human shell instinctively trembled from the arctic cold at the top of the world. The pain and exhaustion across the emaciated body proved all consuming as the polar environment took its toll upon Tsukuyomi’s bare flesh, but curious eyes drew the fallen god’s gaze to the horizon-spanning wall of ice casting its shadow upon him. Within the transparent tomb, Gamera’s body stood frozen in place, trapped within a hell Tsukuyomi knew all too well.

‘A fate worse than death.’

Hardy laughter bellowed forth, reverberating off the titanic cliffs which dwarfed him until the god’s human shell fell forward in utter exhaustion.

The question, “But how far off am I?”, hissed out loud so his children wouldn’t hear, shattered his moment of triumph and brought a hard truth crashing down on Tsukuyomi’s world view.

As Orochi, at the prime of his existence, no being except one could halt his divine path. Nothing could match his impeccable power but now… now things were irrefutably different. Gamera, an abomination crafted from mortal hands nearly bested his true draconic self. To purge the world of life, that ancient strength needed to be reclaimed and as the god stared at his repulsive human shell, Tsukuyomi understood the soul crushing journey which needed to be taken.

“If this human shell is tied to my true self, then to become one above all, I can torture it no longer,” he said begrudgingly. “It must be- be strengthened. I must reclaim my old strength.” Tsukuyomi’s defeated gaze shifted toward the open sky, glaring at the sun for the horror it represented. “And I’ll need all my strength… it won’t be long until you arrive. Will it- brother.”

Chapter 9: Heart Break

Glenn Adams International Hospital, Tokyo

Peaceful darkness ended not with a bang, but a gasp. The disorientation which followed accompanied blistering waves of nausea. Various aches screamed throughout his battered body, but as medically induced neutralizing agents pumped through his veins, Shinichi Ozaki returned to the world of the living merely to be set upon by agents of hell.

Noble tormentors descended wearing bureaucratic suits. Their interrogation held nothing back, tearing into Ozaki for every thought and action which took place not only on Nikko, but during his subsequent encounters with Miki Yamane. His arrogance laid bare for judgment; Ozaki held nothing back. He detailed his useless actions down to every inconsequential blow against the supposed divine being, and as the torrent of questions seemed at an end, a final revelation made all the misery up to that point feel inconsequential by comparison.

Asagi Kusanagi, found like himself upon the Nikko Mountain side shortly after Orochi’s clash with Gamera, no longer drew breath.

Weight of his failure, the ear-splitting migraine, and the constant barrage of inquiries from Self Defense Force members kept Ozaki rooted within his hospital bed unlike the four days he laid in a blissful state of unconsciousness.

He was not a prisoner; infact, he could probably leave the premise at any time now that he divulged all he knew and so long as he could be reached, but what would that accomplish?

A blind path of vengeance, no matter how enticing, could only lead to ruin. Besides, while Ozaki knew his target, so many questions remained.

Did Tsukuyomi survive his clash with Gamera?

How did he know of Asagi’s location?

What was he searching for?

Without clear answers, Ozaki decided to stay as a patient in the familiar ward which specialized in treating those of uncommon human biology. The fluids which flowed into his veins mended muscle and cartilage faster than even his enhanced healing factor could ever achieve and judging by the two rotating guards which passed his circular window, he estimated that at least one other patient was receiving similar treatment. As the final group of investigators ended their questions for the day, a brief inquiry shed light on the other patient’s identity, knocking the final block from under Ozaki’s pride.

Miki Yamane, the one whose smile seemed indestructible upon her introduction, lay in a state of unconsciousness a few doors down.

Upon hearing the news, Ozaki wished nothing more than to jump immediately into the fray, but another action was needed. A phone call long overdue in its urgency to unbury a needed ally. His own stubborn pride be damned.

So as Ozaki hung up the receiver, the last rays of the falling sun filtered through his hospital window like a spotlight. He lay in bed, the orange hue glinting off the smooth sheets while rest beckoned its sweet embrace. The defeated warrior considered the mercy of a guiltless rest before he focused on combating the squelching ache plaguing his mind to catalog everything he knew about the looming threat.

It was possible Gamera ended the eight-headed invader, but his gut instinct kept that possibility at the recesses of his mind.

Light faded. Night took hold outside his window while Ozaki battled the migraine choking his thoughts, replaying every moment for details that he originally missed which led him to Tsukuyomi’s singular question to Asagi. The words were distant. The supposed god’s inquiry a hiss atop snow, but in their grasp carried a name. Through repeated playthroughs, he gathered pieces of sound until orally and mentally he recited the memory.

‘Ayana Moribe. Where is she?’. He paused, dredging his mind for an answer. ‘Who is Ayana- AHHHHHH.’

Ozaki threw his head back in anguish. Then as quickly as the pain intensified, like a breaking fever, the migraine which plagued him melted away. Information replaced the anguish in the form of a mental earworm on a loop, exceeding even the most catchy jingles for its inability to be pried off his consciousness no matter what he attempted. A familiar female voice on a loop answered the question he asked moments prior, forcing a series of actions through the early morning until a knock at his door attracted Ozaki’s attention.

The unburied ally parted Ozaki’s hospital door. Stepping past two guards without fanfare, the uniform clad individual wore Self Defense Force garbs not unlike some which entered over the last day. As the door clicked shut, the mustached mountain of a man approached, no sympathy or fatigue in his eyes.

“You look like hell,” Captain Douglas Gordon remarked, surely not to be cruel, but as an objective observation.

The brutal honesty of his old superior officer summoned a faint smirk from Ozaki’s depressed depths. It was a nice reprieve, but as he finished lacing the brown boots of the J.S.D.F. uniform given to him by his guards, Ozaki’s natural stoic nature returned.

“Change of plans from yesterday,” he explained with urgency. “I now know where to go. A helicopter is waiting for us on the roof. An extraction team is onboard, cleared by Aso.”

Gordon raised an eyebrow with skepticism, glancing out the window as if the transport was just outside.

“It’s… complicated.” Ozaki tried to clarify merely for Gordon’s impossibly raised brow to stretch that much further with curiosity. “I’ll explain, but first we need to move. We need to protect her. Protect… Ayana.”

Past Gordon’s immobile form, where the ward’s only other occupied room gleamed, Ozaki imagined Miki’s prone form within white sheets. Somehow, even though she lay unconscious, a telepathic loop relayed Ayana’s location to his mind and with that information, purpose inspired the beaten mutant forward.

A slight nod bestowed Ozaki’s thanks and repentance. A silent promise he wouldn’t fail Miki’s request, not again.

Ayana would be protected.

The dead delivered the justice they, and he, craved.

Chapter 10: What the Darkness Fears

Undesignated World, Andromeda Galaxy

Dormancy’s embrace unlatched its soothing hold on a being which traced its lifespan to early creation. The entity’s soul, which felt the sudden pull that came from another’s rebirth, stirred from countless solar cycles of inactivity. Layers of silver and gold buckled as the shining being’s protective carapace shifted, fingers flexed with life and then, the entity perceived the world through a featureless facial plate of impenetrable metal.

Meager orange light illuminated the decay of a structure nearly a thousand meters tall and just as many years old. The entity was surrounded on all sides by endless stone pews which sprawled across the creation’s base, allowing those who built the structure to gaze upon its silver and gold body for reasons the entity could not understand nor would it ever wish to.

The now extinct race were mortal; lifeforms which multiplied, withered, and died. In comparison, the armor-clad giant outclassed stars in its longevity. No interest ever formed to bond with life, yet the giant’s purpose, like the rising red dwarf cresting the horizon through the monolithic breach behind it, was to ensure life prospered. To try and form a connection with the multitude of flora and fauna that grew under its watchful gaze was-

The entities’ mind refocused off the thought, exiting the ruins in three long, earth trembling strides. Sapphire-colored foliage raced out to greet the ascending star, but what caught the entities’ attention, halting its short-lived walk, was the scarred earth beneath the foliage, only noticeable by the large craters still to be covered by vegetation.

A…fight. That was what the humanoid called the events which transpired, vaporizing swaths of untouched land and vast mountains for a purpose which eluded the giant like all motivations of mortal beings. Life died as a result of the- fight, but by its destructive conclusion, the tenacious defiler was no more – Belial, what the humanoid had called itself, was no more.

Yet through the defiler’s foolish attempt to match the entities’ power, the crimson and black clad humanoid demonstrated that life possessed other adversaries than the hydra which currently stirred on a far off world. Life by its very nature was a gift, bestowed upon the universe by the entities’ creators and no mortal being born under their watch held the right to imbue their will upon others. It was why the false instrument, the one which unleashed its misguided views upon the universe, needed to be contained.

Justice was demanded and so, the entity would fulfill its purpose and act as their shared gods’ blade.

Slits unsheathed from the armor-clad giant’s back and then in a flash, the golden being ascended past the atmosphere. He soared into the void of space at a speed eclipsing light.

Winner: Orochi (Heisei)

K.W.C. Match 436: Gamera (Heisei) vs. Orochi (Heisei) - Round 2 (3)

Special credit to Thomas Johnson, known by his online userhandle Thom.Artz, for the spectacular banner! Be sure to check out his art on Twitter/X and Instagram!

K.W.C. Match 436: Gamera (Heisei) vs. Orochi (Heisei) - Round 2 (2024)
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