Spanning fifteen blocks across downtown Sapporo, Odori Park was one of the city's most popular landmarks. For decades, it had been a place of enjoyment for locals and tourists alike, providing them some respite from the bustling metropolis surrounding it. Additionally, it was the home of the 147-meter-tall Sapporo TV Tower, which stood proudly at the park's eastern end.
It was also the source of a sound that hadn't been heard in over fifty years.
The roar was so loud that it shattered windows in the immediate vicinity, and could be heard from several miles away as it reverberated off the distant mountains and across the Hokkaido countryside. For those who heard it, they knew it could only mean one thing.
Godzilla, the King of the Monsters, had returned.
The nuclear leviathan stood near the middle of the park, glaring furiously at his adversary several blocks away: Rodan. For generations, the giant pterosaur had been a close companion of Godzilla, often coming to his assistance even when he didn't really need it. But now, for reasons beyond Godzilla's understanding, Rodan had been possessed by a strange, sinister being, forcing Godzilla to do battle with his former ally.
At just seventy meters tall, Rodan was shorter than Godzilla, but what he lacked in his opponent's immense size and strength, he made up for with his incredible speed and agility. On the other hand, however, Godzilla very seldom lost a fight, and he had no plans of doing so tonight.
This would not end well.
With an ear-piercing squawk, Rodan stretched out his arms and began to rapidly flap his wings in Godzilla's direction. Within seconds, hurricane-force winds were buffeting against Godzilla's scaly hide. They were so strong that they lifted even the heaviest debris on the ground—cars, trees, statues, et cetera—and sent them hurtling towards the leviathan at hundreds of miles per hour. Despite this, the comparatively small objects did little more than bounce off of Godzilla's stocky frame, and the winds did not push him back even slightly.
With a displeased squawk, the possessed Rodan decided it was time to get physical. His wings still outstretched, he sprang from the ground, taking flight before swooping down towards Godzilla, baring his sharp talons. Before he could strike, however, Godzilla used his dexterous, four-fingered hands to grab hold of Rodan's legs, and suddenly the two kaiju were locked in a titanic grappling match, each one trying to gain an advantage over the other.
Rodan let out another frustrated screech as he flapped his wings madly, trying to escape Godzilla's grasp, but to no avail. With an immense show of strength, the nuclear leviathan pulled the giant pterosaur downward, allowing Godzilla to lean forward and bite his opponent's winged arm. Rodan cried out in agony as he began to struggle more, resorting to smashing his pointed beak into Godzilla's head like a woodpecker until it struck the radioactive saurian's eye.
Howling in pain, Godzilla released Rodan's arm from his maw, giving the flying reptile the opportunity to clutch onto Godzilla's arms with his talons. Then, still flapping his wings, he began to lift his opponent off the ground—an impressive feat considering Godzilla weighed over 60,000 tons. Fortunately for Godzilla, however, his immense weight proved to be too much for Rodan, and the latter could only lift him some fifty feet from the ground before having to drop him.
Godzilla landed on his feet, generating a severe tremor that caused some of the weakened buildings around him to collapse. He rubbed his injured eye, then began to look around. Rodan had disappeared from sight. Godzilla snarled, realizing his opponent must have taken to the air. His orange eyes scanned the night sky, searching for any sign of the giant pterosaur. Then he felt a pair of talons latch on to his tail, and all of a sudden he was pulled off his feet, wailing as he tumbled to the ground.
Rodan had reappeared, now dragging Godzilla by the tail across Odori Park. At the park's western end, Rodan released his grip on the nuclear leviathan and flew off, sending his body skidding into the surrounding cityscape, which crushed the buildings that stood in his path. Growling in frustration, Godzilla righted himself and began to rise back up, but was promptly sent crashing to the ground again when Rodan swooped down for another pass, slamming his spiked torso into Godzilla's before once again retreating into the darkness.
Godzilla finally managed to get to his feet. Looking around, he still couldn't see his adversary hidden in the night sky, but soon realized he didn't need to—he could easily hear the signature squeal of Rodan's wings in the distance as they pierced through the air at supersonic speeds. Godzilla listened carefully to the sound as it steadily grew louder, trying his best to judge where it was coming from, and how fast his opponent was flying before—
The radioactive saurian suddenly ducked. At the same time, he swung his long, whip-like tail upward into the air at a lightning speed.
Godzilla's timing was spot-on. His tail struck Rodan's wing as he flew overhead for another attack. Crying out in pain, the giant pterosaur immediately lost control of his transonic flight. The resulting crash landing was not a pleasant one—Rodan violently slammed into the ground head-first before plowing across the entire length of Odori Park, only to come to an abrupt halt when his massive body tumbled into the Sapporo TV Tower at the end of the park, toppling the once-proud structure in a matter of seconds. Now lying on the Tower's remnants, Rodan could do little more but warble weakly in defeat.
At the other end of the park, Godzilla roared triumphantly. Normally at this time, he would have finished his downed opponent while he had the chance. But Rodan was supposed to be his ally, and it was obvious to him that the giant pterosaur was not being himself because of this strange force—as a result, Godzilla was hesitant to inflict any further injury to him. Instead, Godzilla slowly lumbered towards Rodan to check if the flying reptile was truly down for the count.
Suddenly, Rodan's eyes opened, and Godzilla saw the unfamiliar, eye-like symbol flash across his pupils once again. Rodan swiftly rose and got back to his feet, letting out a defiant screech at the nuclear leviathan. Godzilla roared again in response, expecting a continuation of their fight. To his surprise, however, Rodan quickly turned around and took flight in the opposite direction, retreating towards the sea.
Godzilla's orange eyes narrowed as Rodan flew off. Then, within moments, he, too, started to make his way back towards the coast, following Rodan's path. Whatever plans this strange force had for his fellow kaiju, Godzilla was intent on putting a stop to it.
Yumi woke up in the hotel's lobby.
She didn't recognize the place at first; the entire floor space had been converted into a makeshift triage for those that had been injured in the carnage overnight. Several rows of medical cots, including the one she now lay in, had replaced the scattered furniture in the lobby, and several nurses whisked their way between them, tending to her fellow patients—many of whom had suffered worse injuries than she had.
Remembering her injury, Yumi sat up and clutched her forehead. Where there had been a severe gash was now covered by a large bandage. She looked up to find a TV hanging from one of the lobby's walls, tuned to the local news. She watched in horror as the wrecked skyline of Sapporo filled up the screen, looking very similar to what she had seen of Rodan's rampage in Tokyo the day before—minus the giant pterosaur himself.
Rodan. What had happened to that massive flying monster, anyway? Yumi couldn't remember. What she did remember before fainting, however, was that second kaiju that had arrived during Rodan's assault. And how could she forget it? The image of its gigantic, darkly-colored physique towering over the surrounding buildings, the maple leaf-shaped spikes protruding from its back, and—above all—its orange, seemingly infuriated eyes was permanently etched into Yumi's memory.
Yumi turned her head and saw Hiroki and their mother approaching, looking concerned. Both of them stopped and sat down next to her cot.
"How is your head?" Mrs. Ishiyama asked her daughter.
"It's still sore, but other than that, I'm fine," Yumi answered, still holding her forehead. She turned to Hiroki. "How about you?"
"Just some cuts here and there from those windows you shielded me from," Hiroki replied. "Thanks for that, by the way." Yumi noticed he had a few bandages on his forehead and arms, but none of them were nearly as big as hers.
"We were really worried about you both," Mrs. Ishiyama continued. "When that flying monster attacked, we were immediately told to go the subways; the hotel staff wouldn't let us wait for you."
"Why did that giant pterodactyl come here, anyway?" Hiroki asked. "And what about that other kaiju that came and fought it?"
Mrs. Ishiyama sighed in response. "I think that's a question better suited for your uncle." She shifted her gaze across the lobby.
Yumi looked in that direction to find that her father was approaching with another man in tow. The other man stood taller than her father, and looked considerably younger as well. It was the sight of this second man that caused Yumi's eyes to widen in joy. "Uncle Hiroshi!" she called out to him.
Promptly, Hiroshi Ogata left his brother-in-law's side and rushed to Yumi, greeting his beloved niece with a tight embrace, which she returned.
"How are you feeling, Yumi-chan?" Ogata asked her in fluent French, although he still addressed her with Japanese honorifics out of habit.
"A lot better now that you're here, ojisan." Yumi replied, grinning. "You haven't changed one bit since I last saw you."
"Ah, but you've changed a lot," Ogata responded back, sitting down on the vacant cot next to her.
"When did you get here, anyway? Weren't you in Tokyo when Rodan attacked?"
Ogata nodded. "When I found out that your flight had been diverted to Sapporo, I tried to get here as quickly as I could. I spent all of last night on a train, but our arrival was still delayed—nobody expected Rodan to suddenly come to Hokkaido. Your father only came to pick me up from the station half an hour ago."
"I thought it was crazy enough when Rodan came here," Hiroki joined in, "but then that other monster showed up and beat him up—you should've seen that, Uncle Hiroshi! I think it had a name, too—Gor-jee-ro, or something like that."
Ogata's face fell suddenly. "Gojira," he corrected his nephew grimly.
Yumi looked up at him, surprised. "You know about that thing?"
Ogata nodded again. "Half of the people in this country know about him," he said. "Outside Japan, he is called Godzilla."
"Godzilla?" Yumi asked, recognizing the name. "You mean that thing that attacked Tokyo back in the Fifties? That's what we saw last night?"
"Well, yes and no," Ogata answered, eliciting a confused look from his niece. "The monster that first attacked Tokyo back then was a member of the same species, but a different individual entirely."
"But where did they come from?" Yumi inquired.
Ogata said nothing for a few moments; instead, he stared blankly towards the ceiling, as though he were collecting his thoughts. Finally, he took a deep breath and began to explain: "During the Fifties, the United States was testing nuclear bombs in the Pacific. In 1954, one of them awakened something—the first Godzilla.
"The monster had been badly injured and mutated by the radioactive fallout from the test. It attacked Tokyo in retaliation, destroying over half of the city and killing nearly 200,000 people. It was Japan's worst disaster since the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki—not even the best weaponry of the time could deal any harm to the creature."
"How did they stop Godzilla?" Yumi asked.
"As it turned out, a chemist named Daisuke Serizawa had inadvertently created a chemical weapon called the Oxygen Destroyer," Ogata responded. "When he saw the devastation that Godzilla left behind in Tokyo, he decided to use it to kill the monster in Tokyo Bay. However, Serizawa was so horrified by the destructive power of his creation that he took his own life so that he wouldn't be able to create another.
"Sadly, though, Serizawa's sacrifice was in vain. Within a year, another Godzilla—much bigger and even more powerful than the first—appeared and raided Osaka. The Self-Defense Forces were later able to bury him inside an iceberg, but he broke free just a few years later; nothing has been able to stop him ever since."
"I see," Yumi acknowledged. "What about Rodan and the other kaiju that were mentioned on the news?"
"I was just getting to that," Ogata said. "In 1955, the same year that Godzilla re-emerged, a second kaiju called Anguirus also appeared. The two fought each other using Osaka as a battleground. Godzilla was victorious, while Anguirus just barely managed to limp back into the sea. Other kaiju soon followed; Rodan first emerged from Mount Aso in 1956, and was driven out of Japan by the Self-Defense Forces shortly after. As the years passed, even more kaiju began to appear all over the globe—Varan, Baragon, and Manda, to name a few."
Yumi listened to her uncle attentively, her interest—and horror—growing greater by the second. She hadn't known about it until now, but the Earth was home to numerous giant monsters. That in itself was a revelation she struggled to come to terms with. And not only had XANA known about it, but he had also found a way to use them as weapons against humanity…somehow, he needed to be stopped. Yumi could only hope that Jeremy was wrong and that he and Aelita could determine how to beat the A.I.
Yumi continued to listen as Ogata finished his narrative. "Eventually, the various governments of the world figured out that they would have to band together in order to combat the threat that the kaiju posed. Shortly after the first Godzilla's attack in 1954, they agreed to form a dedicated kaiju-fighting organization in the U.N. known as G-Force. They also agreed to ban all nuclear testing in 1966.
"Since then, very few kaiju attacks have occurred—with no nuclear bombs to disturb them, many of them have been dormant for the past several decades. Until now, that is. Apparently, something is waking them up again. But what, exactly?"
Obviously, Yumi knew the answer to her uncle's rhetorical question. But it was of the utmost importance to her and her friends to keep their struggle against XANA a secret—being the only ones who were able to fight him, they couldn't afford to risk exposure and possible arrest by the authorities. Because of this, Yumi held her tongue.
Shortly after Ogata finished talking, a ringing sound abruptly chimed from his pocket. Pulling out and looking at his cell phone, he answered it and began to speak to the caller in Japanese. The conversation was a brief one; less than a minute passed before he hung up and put the phone back in his pocket. He sighed deeply.
"What's the matter, Uncle Hiroshi?" asked Hiroki.
"One of my bosses just called me," Ogata answered. "When Rodan attacked Tokyo yesterday, he caused severe damage to the Geological Institute's offices there, where I work. Until they can be repaired, I am to be transferred to our sub-branch in Osaka."
Yumi's heart sank. "You mean you can't stay?" she asked sadly.
Ogata sighed again. "I'm afraid not. I wish I could, but the demands of my job are just too strong, even during an emergency such as this."
There was that word again—demands. What kind of demands were there for a geologist for a time like this, anyway? Yumi realized that her uncle was one of the most prominent geologists in Japan, so it made sense for him to be very busy. But I highly doubt that his job description mentioned anything about giant monsters, she thought.
"And speaking of this emergency," Ogata continued, "Japan is no longer a safe place for visitors now that kaiju like Godzilla and Rodan have returned. I've spoken with your parents, and they agree with me. You all will be heading back to France tomorrow morning."
Ogata hugged Yumi again. "I'm really sorry I can't stay with you," he said. "I was really looking forward to spending time with you again after all these years."
"So was I," Yumi responded sorrowfully, returning the hug. "Just promise me I'll be able to see you again soon."
"I promise." With that, Ogata separated himself from his niece and, after exchanging similar goodbyes with the rest of his family, left the hotel.
Paris Metropolitan Area, France
The Ishiyamas had returned to their home much earlier than they had anticipated. Spending the rest of the week in her house instead of Japan made Spring Break go by a lot faster for Yumi than she would have liked. Now it was Saturday, and school would resume in just two days. It was almost time for her to go back to her daily routine of hanging out and having fun with her friends, all while trying to deal with the stress that came with trying to maintain good grades. And fighting XANA, she mentally added to herself.
The new threat that the A.I. posed had been on Yumi's mind ever since that night in Sapporo. Remembering what her uncle had told her about Godzilla and the other kaiju, she didn't want to stand idly by while XANA used them to annihilate the world's most populated cities—and she knew that her friends wouldn't want to, either. So she decided to call Jeremy again to see if he had anything new to report since then.
Jeremy's first announcement was promising. "Aelita and I have just about finished rebuilding Lyoko," his voice told Yumi from the speaker of her cell phone. "We should be able to entirely restore all five sectors to the supercomputer by Monday."
"That's fantastic," Yumi replied. "You really spent all your vacation time to rebuild it?"
"Oh, don't worry, Yumi," Aelita's voice chimed in from the other end. "I was able to convince him to take breaks every now and then. Isn't that right, Jeremy?"
"Oh, um…yeah, Aelita," Jeremy stuttered in response, apparently sounding…embarrassed? Yumi wasn't sure, but she decided not to press the issue.
"What about the Digital Sea?" she asked.
"We've been able to make significant progress on that as well," Jeremy answered. "However, it will be a couple of weeks before we'll be able to travel to the Replikas. Which reminds me—I think I've come up with a way to destroy them."
"You have?" Yumi nearly exclaimed excitedly. That means we still have a chance to beat XANA!
"Yes," Jeremy confirmed. "Aelita and I still need some time to iron out the kinks, though. I'll tell you, Odd, and Ulrich more about it on Monday after we restore Lyoko."
"Sounds like a plan," Yumi acknowledged. "I just hope XANA doesn't send any more kaiju to attack us here in France."
"Don't worry about it, Yumi," Jeremy reassured her. "All of the kaiju that have been sighted so far have been all the way on the other side of the world, in the Western Pacific. That being said, though—" he paused momentarily before finishing, "I think it's only a matter of time before XANA does send one here to deal with us."
Jeremy's prediction sent a chill down Yumi's spine. From this point forward, fighting XANA would be nothing like it used to be. Unless they could defeat him quickly, nothing would be able to stop the A.I. from summoning more kaiju elsewhere in the world—including their own homes.
It would be a race against time.
For one unfortunate metropolis, however, this controlled chaos would be nothing compared to the mayhem that was about to ensue.
A small but noticeable tremor was the first sign that something was amiss. It was immediately followed by a second, larger tremor, causing people to glance around in alarm. The ground shook yet again, even more violently. These quakes were periodic, almost like footsteps—giant footsteps.
Suddenly, a woman screamed and pointed upward, drawing the attention of the crowd of people around her. That was when the panic began. Within moments, hundreds upon hundreds of people began to run away in terror—and with good reason, for a gigantic, clawed foot impacted the street, easily crushing the pavement and anything else below it.
That foot belonged to an unbelievably colossal creature. Green and reptilian in appearance, this monster rose taller than most of the buildings surrounding it. It walked on two long, slender legs, and used its clawed forearms to rip through and destroy any structure that stood in its way. A row of long, conical spikes extended from its head all the way to the tip of its winding, almost serpentine tail.
As the green monster laid waste to the city, a loud whirring noise caught its attention. It looked up, and spotted a pair of attack helicopters flying towards it. Before it had a chance to respond, the helicopters each launched a salvo of missiles towards the beast, which exploded on contact with its scaly skin. Enduring the punishment, the monster opened its mouth, revealing dozens of sharp teeth lining its jaws, and let out a deafening roar of defiance at the aircraft. Then the creature inhaled before opening its maw again—but instead of another roar, it unleashed a long tendril of orange flame towards the helicopters, vaporizing them both instantly. As the flame subsided, the green monster snarled and once again turned its attention to the city, seemingly taking no pride in such a mundane feat.
But before the creature could resume its destruction of the metropolis, it heard another noise. This time, it was a low rumbling noise, and coming from the ground. Suddenly, the street in front of it erupted in a vertical torrent of dirt. The monster paused, perplexed by the anomaly. As the cloud of debris dispersed, a loud, high-pitched screech pierced through the air, greeting the creature.
The green monster growled in hostility. The source of the screech was none other than a second monster—more accurately, a giant, brown centipede, clad in a hard, protective exoskeleton. The overgrown arthropod reared up on its many hind limbs, extending its height to match that of the green monster. The green monster roared territorially towards the giant centipede, which responded with another screech. Only one of these monsters could have the right to destroy the city, and they would fight each other to the death to earn it.
Promptly, the giant centipede curled its body into a ball, and began to roll towards the green monster. The green monster stretched out its forearms in an attempt to stop the centipede in its tracks, but the arthropod's momentum was too much for it to withstand. The giant centipede slammed into the green monster's body, sending it toppling into one of the surrounding buildings. The rolling centipede careened over the reptilian creature's body, and then disappeared out of sight.
The green monster righted itself, and then rose back to its feet from the rubble of the building it fell into. It glanced around inquisitively—the giant centipede had vanished without a trace. Then, looking down, it spotted a large, gaping hole in the street, close to where it had fallen. The beast peered into the hole for some sign of its adversary when the ground erupted again, this time just under its feet.
The giant centipede emerged from the ground and wrapped its body around the green monster, now attempting to constrict its foe to death. As the arthropod tightened its grip on the reptilian creature, however, the latter managed to wedge its forearms free from the former's grasp. Then, the green monster grabbed the centipede's body with its clawed hands, and began to pull its opponent apart.
With incredible strength, the green monster ripped the giant centipede's exoskeleton armor—followed by the rest of its body—in two. Yellow bodily fluids spewed out from each of the severed halves of the centipede, and the arthropod's upper portion released its hold on the green monster and fell to the ground on its back, writhing in pain. The green monster, showing no mercy, opened its mouth and unleashed another ray of flame down upon its rival.
Once again, the flame abated. The green monster looked down at what was left of its adversary. The centipede, its exoskeleton charred, now lay lifeless on the pavement of the street. Triumphant, the green monster raised its head to the sky and gave a mighty bellow that could be heard from miles away.
Boeing 787 Dreamliner, over the Sea of Japan
"Aw, come on!" cried Hiroki as those two words flashed across the screen of his handheld game console.
Having dozed off earlier, Yumi sat up abruptly in the adjacent seat, roused by her little brother's protest. With an annoyed sigh, she turned to him and asked, "Hiroki, do you think you could maybe keep it down? I've been trying to get some sleep."
"Why should I?" the Japanese boy retorted. "Sleeping's not the only way to pass the time, you know. Why do you think I brought along Kaiju Klash 3?"
"Hiroki, I'm serious," said Yumi, her temper growing.
Overhearing her children's bickering, Mrs. Ishiyama sat up from the other seat next to Yumi and looked at her son. "Hiroki," she ordered, "put that game away. We'll be landing in less than an hour."
"Oh, all right," Hiroki lamented, tucking his game console out of sight. Once he made sure his mother wasn't looking, however, he secretly pulled it back out and resumed playing Kaiju Klash 3. Yumi, on the other hand, leaned her head against the seat's headrest and closed her eyes, hoping to get as much rest as possible before the plane landed.
For the most part, the twelve-hour flight had been a very dull and uncomfortable experience. Yumi had never done well on long-distance trips like this—sitting in a cramped seat for several hours on end always left her feeling stiff and worn out. But she took comfort in knowing that it would all be worth it once they landed in Tokyo in just less than an hour. After all, she hadn't seen her uncle in nearly five years.
Hiroshi Ogata was a leading geologist; he had published countless scholarly articles and participated in several conferences that had to do with the geologic history of Japan, with topics ranging from how the Japanese islands had formed to the impacts of the devastating earthquake that shook Tōhoku in 2011. When Yumi was younger, Ogata used to make annual trips to France to see her and the rest of her family. These visits made the two of them very close to one another. Much to Yumi's sadness, however, he stopped visiting the Ishiyamas five years ago, explaining that the intense demands of his job no longer allowed him to take time off to see them.
Exactly what those intense demands were, Ogata had never made clear. But Yumi didn't care—since then, she had longed to see her uncle again, which was why she was ecstatic when her parents announced that they would be traveling to Japan to see him for Spring Break.
Yumi attempted to block those thoughts out of her mind as she tried to rest, but she couldn't help it. With every minute that passed, the plane—which was now descending as it crossed over the blue waters of the Sea of Japan—drew ever closer to Tokyo. Yumi was too excited to doze now. She wondered if her uncle would be just as happy to see her as she was to see him, or if he would still recognize her after all these years, or if—
A ping from the airliner's public address system stirred Yumi out of her thoughts. A male voice began speaking in different languages—first in Japanese, then in French, and finally in English: "Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. Due to circumstances beyond our control, the air traffic controllers in Tokyo have instructed us to divert to Sapporo. We will arrive there in another hour. We apologize for the inconvenience."
Yumi heard a series of groans echo through the cabin, and she almost added to them. Sapporo?! she thought, aghast. Sapporo was a city located on Japan's northern island of Hokkaido—hundreds of miles from Tokyo. As Yumi started to feel the plane turn left towards Hokkaido, she pondered why they could possibly need to divert so far away from their destination.
True to the pilot's word, the plane touched down an hour later at New Chitose Airport, the airport that served Sapporo. As they taxied off the runway and onto the tarmac, Yumi glanced towards the window. She could see dozens of airplanes parked just outside the terminal—seemingly more than what the airport had been designed to handle. This became especially apparent when the plane parked and shut its engines down a considerable distance away from the gates.
Taking notice of the predicament, Mr. Ishiyama got the attention of a passing flight attendant. "Excuse me, but why have we stopped so far away from the terminal?" he asked.
"The airport has been overcrowded with other flights diverted from Tokyo," the flight attendant explained. "We've been instructed to park on the taxiway. That's all I know." The flight attendant moved on.
Yumi was astonished. So they weren't the only ones who had been rerouted from Tokyo. As the passengers started to disembark from the aircraft via a mobile boarding ramp, her mind flashed through all of the many things that could be wrong in Tokyo. Had there been an earthquake? A typhoon? A terrorist attack? And a more concerning thought: what about her uncle? Was he okay?
Upon exiting the aircraft and entering the terminal, Yumi and her family were stunned to discover that the entire airport was congested by hundreds, if not thousands of people who had also been destined for Tokyo, only to be stranded here. As the Ishiyamas struggled to make their way across the terminal, Yumi noticed that many of the people they passed had worried looks.
"I have to use the bathroom!" Hiroki abruptly announced.
The Ishiyamas stopped in their tracks. Then, turning to Yumi, Mr. Ishiyama instructed, "Yumi, take Hiroki to the restroom. Your mother and I are going to try to book a hotel room for us to stay in tonight."
Mr. and Mrs. Ishiyama promptly left Hiroki and Yumi alone together, much to the latter's dissatisfaction. Yumi spotted a men's restroom nearby, and escorted Hiroki towards it.
"Don't take too long," Yumi told her little brother, stopping just outside the entrance to the restroom.
"Oh, don't worry," Hiroki replied with a snicker, "I'd never dream of leaving my big sis alone for more than two minutes."
Yumi rolled her eyes as he entered the restroom, and then she leaned against the wall, waiting for him to finish. She still had no idea why they had needed to divert all this way to Sapporo, and the need to find out was now much more than what she could bear.
As it turned out, she didn't need to wait long for an answer.
A sudden bout of commotion near one of the terminal's gates caught Yumi's attention. Intrigued, she left her post near the entrance of the men's restroom and trotted over to the source of the disturbance, where a large crowd of people had assembled. As she drew nearer, Yumi saw that they had gathered around one of the airport's many TVs, but the large number of people obstructed her view of the screen.
Yumi opted to get a closer look. "Excuse me, coming through…" she muttered to those in the crowd as she gently pushed her way through. At last, she had a clear view of the TV. It was tuned into a Japanese news station broadcasting live aerial footage of a city, which Yumi easily recognized as Tokyo. But clearly, something wasn't right—as the shot panned across the surface of the sprawling metropolis, she saw signs of severe damage that had been inflicted on the many buildings. Many smaller structures appeared to have been ripped to shreds, almost as if they had been blown away by hurricane-force winds. The large skyscrapers had, for the most part, fared much better—although Yumi noticed a few of them looked as though they had been partially crushed from above by some unknown force. Then the camera began to pan upward towards the top of one building, and what Yumi saw nearly caused her jaw to fall straight to the ground.
Perched atop the building was a massive, reptilian creature that stood tall over the surrounding cityscape. Its arms were stretched out from either side, revealing a pair of broad, membranous wings. The creature itself was dark red in appearance, save for some large, tawny scales and spikes that armored its torso and legs; and a dark, horny crest that protruded from the back of its head, nearly as long as its narrow beak.
Yumi continued to watch the TV, dumbstruck as the creature began to flap its gigantic wings before leaping from the building and taking flight. It was at this moment that she recognized the creature as a pterosaur—a flying reptile that had coexisted with the dinosaurs. As the pterosaur soared away from the shot, its wings directed powerful gusts of wind towards the ground, stirring a dense cloud of debris in its wake.
"Thanks for waiting for me, sis," spat a young, sarcastic voice behind Yumi. She spun around to find Hiroki standing right behind her.
"Wait until I tell Mom and Dad that you tried to ditch me," the boy snarled at her.
But Yumi would have none of it. "Knock it off, Hiroki!" she reprimanded him, then gestured at the TV, on which the giant pterosaur had reappeared. "Look at the TV!"
Hiroki did as he was told, and his typical snarky demeanor immediately gave way to one of shock. "It's a real-life kaiju!" he exclaimed. This wasn't a new word to Yumi—kaiju was a Japanese name for a monster. As she and Hiroki continued watching, the news report revealed more of the Tokyo skyline. Pillars of smoke were rising from the urban landscape, and the streets were littered with rubble.
It made sense now—this kaiju was the reason why they had wound up here in Sapporo. But as far as Yumi was concerned, this revelation only raised more questions than answers. Where did it come from? Why was it attacking Tokyo? And, of course, one important question remained unanswered: was her uncle all right?
Finding a hotel room was not an easy task for the Ishiyamas; hundreds of diverted flights from Tokyo had stranded thousands of people in Sapporo, and the cheapest available hotels had already been filled to the brim. Eventually, however, Mr. Ishiyama was able to book a hotel room in downtown Sapporo using a laptop he had brought along for the trip. Getting to the hotel also proved to be a challenge—the airport's below-ground train station was ill-equipped to handle the massive influx of passengers. But after riding the train from the airport to the city, it was only a matter of finding a subway line that led to the hotel. Nonetheless, it wasn't until after nightfall that the family had been able to settle into their hotel room—a modestly-sized room with two beds, a sofa, and a small bathroom.
Hiroki turned on the room's single TV, only to find the channels flooded with continuing news coverage of the massive pterosaur's rampage through Tokyo. The family was too still too stunned to say anything—they only listened as the reporters informed their viewers what was known. The kaiju had caused extensive damage to the Greater Tokyo Area, killing hundreds of people and injuring thousands more. The country's armed forces, the Japan Self-Defense Forces, or JSDF, had taken action against the kaiju, but were unable to inflict any harm to it.
The news only got more shocking as the Ishiyamas kept listening. Apparently, there was more than one kaiju; there were unconfirmed reports of an aquatic dinosaur sighted near the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, and that a Chinese frigate had suddenly sunk in the East China Sea. At the moment, however, the media was fixated almost solely on the pterosaur in Tokyo—so much, in fact, that it had even been given a name: Rodan.
The family was able to get a sense of how big Rodan was when he swooped down to perch himself atop a high-rise. He easily stood at least seventy meters tall, and his wingspan was as wide as a soccer field. The camera shot zoomed in to get a good look at Rodan's head, revealing a row of sharp teeth lining the inside of his beak, and a pair of large yellow eyes that regarded the cityscape below with a look of abhorrence.
That was when Yumi saw it. Rodan's eyes blinked, and then they appeared to flicker. Yumi leaned towards the TV to get a better look. Although it was brief, she made out an eyelike symbol within Rodan's pupils—one that she instantly recognized.
XANA! Yumi realized in horror. She should have guessed—the malicious A.I. she had fought for the past two years had possessed this strange creature and set him loose on Tokyo, though how he had done it was beyond her knowledge. She suddenly had another horrifying revelation: Rodan, under XANA's influence, had already killed numerous people. Not even a return to the past could bring someone back from the dead. And if it was true that Rodan wasn't the only kaiju in existence, XANA could seek to take control of more—if he hadn't already. More cities could share Tokyo's fate if XANA had an army of kaiju at his disposal. Hundreds of thousands of more lives could be lost. The world was facing a catastrophe…
Yumi purged those thoughts from her head. XANA hadn't succeeded yet, nor would she let him—not without a fight. She quickly determined what she had to do.
As Yumi contemplated, Mr. Ishiyama, holding a small cell phone in his hand, suddenly sighed in frustration. "I can't get a signal in this hotel room," he complained to his wife. "How the heck are we supposed to contact Hiroshi?"
Mrs. Ishiyama, although still worried about the whereabouts of her brother, did her best to reassure her husband. "Calm down, Takeho. Maybe there's better reception in the lobby," she suggested.
"It's worth a try," the Japanese man responded with a shrug. With that, the couple began to walk towards the hotel room's entrance door. "Yumi, Hiroki, we'll be back in about ten minutes. We're going to try to get in touch with your uncle." They left the hotel room.
With her parents gone, Yumi seized the opportunity. "I'm going to take a shower," she told Hiroki, hoping he wouldn't be nosy. As discreetly as possible, she removed her family's laptop from her father's bag and carried it towards the bathroom. As it turned out, however, her actions didn't go unnoticed.
"Whatcha going to do with that?" Hiroki asked with a snicker. "Email your precious Ulrich a love letter?"
Yumi huffed with annoyance. She didn't have the time to deal with this. Fortunately, she knew just how to counter her little brother's immaturity.
"Shut it, Hiroki," she commanded, "or else I'll tell Milly how much you missed her when we get back."
Hiroki's mischievous attitude was obliterated in less than a second. "Hey, don't you dare say a thing to her!" he exclaimed, his cheeks turning pink with embarrassment. "You got that?!"
Yumi strode into the bathroom without saying a word, although she was unable to suppress a triumphant smirk. She shut the door behind her and set down the laptop on the countertop before booting it up, and then she opened a video chat application on the computer. Yumi knew just who to call; she only hoped that they had a plan to fight this latest scheme by XANA.
"Jeremy? Aelita? Are you there?" she asked. In response, Yumi was greeted with the image of a blonde-haired boy with glasses and a girl with short, pink hair standing next to him on the laptop screen.
"Hi, Yumi," Jeremy's voice rang from the laptop's speakers.
"How is Spring Break going for you guys?" Yumi inquired. She already knew that the two were spending the holiday with Jeremy's family back home in France—with no other family to go to, Aelita had been invited to stay at their house.
"It's been a busy week for us, but fun nonetheless," answered Aelita. "Jeremy's family really knows how to make me feel at home."
"That's good," Yumi responded.
"So, are you in Japan now?" asked Jeremy.
"Yes, I am," she confirmed. "But let me tell you—something bizarre is going on here."
"We've heard about it," said Jeremy. "The giant pterosaur in Tokyo?"
"How did you know?" Yumi asked in surprise.
"It's been all over the news here—they're calling it Rodan. Aelita and I were worried that you were in Tokyo when it attacked."
"Our flight was diverted to Sapporo," Yumi explained, "but there's something you have to know."
"I was watching the news coverage of Rodan's attack, and I got a glimpse of its eyes. I think he's under XANA's control."
A stunned silence fell between the teens. "Are you sure?" Aelita finally asked.
"I'm positive," Yumi assured her. "I saw the eye of XANA as clear as day."
Aelita and Jeremy looked at each other for a moment. "That could explain the high power outputs we've been reading from the Replikas," Aelita told him.
"I was thinking the exact same thing," Jeremy agreed grimly.
"Wait a minute, what are you guys talking about?" Yumi asked, confused.
"Jeremy and I spent the holiday decoding the data that my father sent us before Lyoko was destroyed," Aelita explained. "We still have a ways to go before we're able to rebuild Lyoko, but we've learned a lot from what he gave us."
"According to Franz Hopper's data," Jeremy continued, "XANA has created several copies of Lyoko on the network called 'Replikas.' We think he's been using them to do his dirty work throughout the world."
"And you think they might have something to do with Rodan?" Yumi asked again.
"Correct," Jeremy replied. "We've already seen some of the Replikas give off unusually high amounts of energy—far more than what XANA typically needs to launch an attack, but enough for him to possess a creature as large as Rodan." Jeremy slumped back into his seat, now looking visibly concerned.
A thought occurred to Yumi. "I heard on the news that Rodan might not be the only kaiju out there," she said. "Do you think XANA might try to take control of more of those things?"
"If the energy output levels of the Replikas we found are any indication, I think he already has," Jeremy answered gravely.
"I see…" Yumi acknowledged just as solemnly. "Isn't there anything we can do to stop him?"
"Jeremy and I have been trying to come up with a way to reach the Replikas via the Digital Sea," Aelita replied, "but we still have no idea how to destroy them."
"Right," Jeremy confirmed. He let out a troubled sigh before continuing, "XANA has already killed so many people, so a return to the past won't do any good. And without Lyoko or a way to traverse the Digital Sea, we have no chance of destroying the Replikas. Nothing will be able to stop XANA from taking control of more kaiju. I—" Jeremy's voice faltered before he could finish, "I don't think there's anything we can do."
That last sentence struck Yumi hard. XANA had won? This can't be happening! she thought to herself, in denial. Yet here they were now.
Jeremy went back to checking his computer. As Yumi watched him work from the display of her family's laptop, she noticed his eyes suddenly grow wide.
"What is it?" Yumi asked.
"There's a particular Replika that Aelita and I have been observing for a while," Jeremy answered. "Its energy levels have been greater than that of any other Replika we've found so far. But now—"
"They're off the charts!" exclaimed Aelita, who was now also closely watching the anomaly from over Jeremy's shoulder.
Jeremy nodded. "And they're varying in intensity," he went on. "It's seems like XANA is struggling to keep control of something…" the young genius' jaw abruptly dropped. "The Replika's power regulation systems have been compromised! It's becoming unstable!"
"Unstable?" Yumi questioned again, confused. "Care to explain, Einstein?"
"The Replika is overloaded with power…" said Aelita, who, almost in as much shock as Jeremy, paused briefly before stammering, "it—it just destroyed itself!"
Jeremy, barely able to contemplate what just happened, looked up. "It's almost as if whatever XANA was trying to control was far too powerful, even for him," he explained. "But what, exactly?"
Yumi suddenly felt uneasy. She wasn't sure why, but the thought of there being a kaiju out there that could easily overcome XANA's possession was enough to make her feel apprehensive…
Suddenly, the laptop's monitor flickered, and her friends' faces promptly disappeared from the screen. "Jeremy? Aelita?" Yumi asked inquisitively.
The laptop's monitor responded by going dark, and then a red symbol—the eye of XANA—filled up the screen. Yumi took a step back, staring at the symbol in fear while the eye seemed to balefully glare back at her. Then the monitor shut off as the laptop died.
Before Yumi could comprehend what happened, she heard Hiroki's voice call out her name. "Yumi! Come here and look at this!"
Yumi opened the bathroom door and walked out, only to see Hiroki pointing at the TV. It was still tuned to news coverage of Rodan's attack on Tokyo. Except—as the camera panned across the damaged Tokyo skyline, the giant pterosaur was nowhere to be found. It didn't take long, however, for Yumi and Hiroki to find out why.
From offscreen, a reporter began to speak. Yumi and Hiroki knew enough Japanese from being around their parents to understand what she was saying: "The Japan Self-Defense Forces have just confirmed that Rodan has just left Tokyo airspace, and is currently flying north at speeds exceeding Mach 3. Assuming the monster maintains its present course, it will arrive in Hokkaido in under ten minutes. The JSDF is urging residents of Sapporo to seek shelter immediately, preferably inside the subways…"
"What should we do?" Hiroki asked his sister.
Yumi didn't answer at first. I'm such a fool, she berated herself. By contacting Jeremy and Aelita, she had given away her location to XANA. There was no other explanation for Rodan's sudden departure from Tokyo—now that XANA knew she was in Sapporo, he had directed the kaiju to fly there with a chance to kill her, one of his enemies, as well as potentially hundreds of innocent people she had carelessly put in harm's way.
But there was no time for remorse. She had to get herself and Hiroki to safety before Rodan arrived. She also needed to find her parents, if possible. "Hiroki, we have to leave," Yumi finally responded. "Now!"
A massive, taloned pair of feet crushed the cell tower from above, snapping its steel trusswork like a toothpick. Rodan touched down on the ground, atop one of the mountains that flanked Sapporo to the west. He surveyed the cityscape, its many lights illuminating the otherwise dark evening sky. It was a much smaller metropolis than the one he had ravaged earlier today, but this was of no matter to him—he was here for a greater purpose than just indiscriminate destruction. As long as those pesky Lyoko Warriors were around, they posed a threat, however minimal, to XANA's plans. Now that Yumi had inadvertently made her presence known, the kaiju's primary task was to eliminate her.
Of course, Rodan himself was not actually aware of any of this. Like any other living being possessed by XANA, he was stuck in something of a trance—his senses and instincts had been corrupted by the A.I. when he seized control of him. Now Rodan, deprived of any form of free will, was little more than a very massive, flying slave of XANA.
With a loud screech, Rodan spread his reptilian wings and once again took flight, quickly accelerating past the speed of sound as he swooped down towards the city below. The resulting sonic boom, coupled with the hurricane-force winds from his wings, either damaged or destroyed any buildings that stood in his wake. Then he banked and turned towards downtown Sapporo, honing in on Yumi's location.
All this was done under the guidance of XANA. But if it were not for the influence of his new master, Rodan would have easily sensed a second large presence just like him, closing in from just off the northern coastline…
Yumi cursed under her breath as she put away her cell phone. "No signal," she told Hiroki. "I can't get in touch with Mom and Dad."
"Shouldn't we wait for them?" Hiroki asked. His normally childish conduct had since diminished, and he was now more serious and fearful as the threat of Rodan loomed.
"No, we should get to the subways while we can," his sister replied, also sounding increasingly concerned. "Rodan could be here at any minute; hopefully, they'll take shelter before he arrives.
"Now stay close to me, Hiroki. I don't want to lose you in this crowd." Hiroki understood—they were in the hotel's lobby now, and there were dozens of people gradually shuffling outside to take shelter in the subways. He took hold of Yumi's hand as she began to lead him through the dense crowd. Eventually, they managed to exit the hotel, only to find themselves among hundreds of other people on the streets who were similarly heading towards the nearest subway entrance.
It was then that Yumi heard it. She didn't notice it at first, but as it grew louder, she became aware of a constant, high-pitched squeal, almost like that of a jet's engines. As she listened, she realized with horror that the sound was coming from the sky. She glanced upward just in time to see a massive, dark figure, barely silhouetted against the nighttime sky, streak by overhead before disappearing. Had Yumi blinked, she would have easily missed it.
That was when all pandemonium broke loose.
Suddenly, an ear-shattering shockwave pierced through the air, almost as if a cannon had gone off. Yumi, Hiroki, and many others on the streets clutched their ears and collapsed to the ground in pain. At the same time, the windows of the buildings above them shattered all at once, causing millions of glass shards to rain down on the hapless people below.
Noticing this, Yumi grabbed Hiroki. "Hiroki, get down!" she yelled, pushing her little brother to the ground and then using her body to shield his. It was just in time—the torrent of glass shards fell over top of them. When it subsided, Yumi and Hiroki rose from the ground, covered in fresh cuts, but otherwise uninjured.
Everyone on the streets was in a state of panic now. People were scrambling to their feet, trying desperately to take shelter in the subways.
"Come on," Yumi said to Hiroki, helping him up, "we have to get to the subways before—oh, no…"
Yumi was once again gazing towards the sky. This time, she saw the gigantic, winged figure of Rodan much more clearly, as he swooped down towards them for another pass.
"Take cover!" Yumi yelled as she and Hiroki dove to the ground again. Rodan passed by overhead, but instead of another sonic boom, the winds suddenly began to pick up, and within seconds they were blowing with the force of a severe storm. Debris left from Rodan's first pass began to fly wildly across the street, and a few parked cars even skidded away by several feet.
Yumi tried to stand up in spite of the harsh winds. However, this proved to be a costly mistake—before she had time to react, she was struck squarely in the forehead by a hard piece of debris, knocking her back to the ground. As the winds died down, she clutched her forehead in pain, but then pulled her palm away when she realized with shock that it was soaked in her blood.
Yumi found herself laying face-up on the concrete, looking up towards the night sky and the tops of the skyscrapers around her. People were still rushing by her, trying to make it to the subway. Then Hiroki came into her view, standing over her, with tears in his eyes.
"Yumi!" Hiroki practically screamed, horrified by her injury. Then he grabbed her hand, trying hard to help her get up. "Come on, sis, we have to get to the subway!"
It was then that Yumi noticed a large red shape descend over them. With horror, she realized it was Rodan again. Hiroki also took notice, and became even more desperate to help get his sister to her feet.
Atop one of the buildings across the street from the two, Rodan landed with a loud crunch, crushing the building's roof and sending more debris raining down onto the streets. Then, with an ear-piercing screech, he threw a malicious glare downward—right at Yumi and Hiroki. Yumi stared back at him, and noticed the eye of XANA once again flicker across his eyes. So this is how it ends, she thought to herself. She had always figured XANA might eventually kill her somehow, but not once had it crossed her mind that he would do it with a giant pterosaur. Just the thought of it was so ridiculous that she might have found it funny if it weren't so cruel.
Fate, however, had other plans.
All of a sudden, a short but violent tremor shook the streets, causing Hiroki to fall to the ground next to her and Rodan to even stumble somewhat on top of his massive perch. As he recovered, the tremor returned, even more intense than before. The giant pterosaur looked to his side, and then turned away from Yumi and Hiroki, cackling angrily. Yumi sat up, trying to figure out what he was looking at—and gasped.
Towering over the buildings ahead of her was another massive, dark shape, even larger than Rodan. It didn't take Yumi long to realize that she was looking at another kaiju. As she focused more on it, she saw that it resembled a gigantic carnivorous dinosaur, standing in a nearly-upright posture. She estimated it to be at least 100 meters tall. As it drew closer, Yumi was able to make out more details. It was charcoal-colored and muscular in appearance, and had sharp teeth and claws. Three distinct rows of large, jagged dorsal spikes lined the creature's back from its neck to its long tail, which the kaiju mostly dragged across the ground behind it, occasionally flicking it into the air like a colossal whip.
Suddenly, a pair of strong hands grabbed her arms, and Yumi realized that she was being dragged across the street by a stranger, with Hiroki trotting just behind her. "We're going to the subway, sis," he told her, trying to reassure her. "You're gonna be fine."
Yumi didn't answer. She was still staring at the new kaiju in awe. Then she saw another yet another detail that sent a chill down her spine: its eyes. They were a firey orange, and with them the creature gave a furious glare—not at Yumi, but at Rodan.
As Hiroki and the stranger began to help Yumi down the stairs to the subway, she saw the giant pterosaur let out another angry screech, and then spread his wings and lunge towards the new kaiju. The last thing she heard before blacking out was the stranger mutter a Japanese word she had never heard before: "Gojira."
It had been over five decades since he last stepped foot in Japan. Unlike the last time he came here, he had no ill will towards humanity; he had long since come to terms with the fact that they were a part of this planet, just like him. In turn, they seemed to recognize the same regarding him and his kind, and as a result, they put an end to their horrendous nuclear testing—the very thing that had made him into what he was today. So he spent those next several years hibernating at the bottom of the Sea of Japan without anything to disturb him…until now.
He had been awakened when a strange, sinister force tried to take power over him. It corrupted his mind, deprived him of his natural instincts, and then ordered him to lay waste to humanity, as he had once done all those years ago. That was its first mistake: it tried to give him orders. Within his mind, he began to fight back, only to be met with resistance from the strange force. Another mistake. As it struggled against him, his resolve only continued to grow until finally, it gave up and relinquished what little hold it had left over him.
It didn't take long for him to realize that he wasn't the only one of his kind to have emerged from dormancy. Hundreds or even thousands of miles away, he sensed that many of his former compatriots had also woken up. Although he couldn't deduce why, he suspected it might have had something to do with the strange force that had tried to take control of him. So he decided to go and investigate, which was why he had now come to Sapporo.
Upon arriving in the Japanese city, he realized his suspicions appeared to be correct. Rodan, one of his longtime companions, was now ravaging the urban landscape for reasons unclear to him. Only when he had made his presence known did the giant pterosaur cease his attack and turn his attention to him. It was then that he noticed something wasn't right—Rodan greeted his old ally with hostility, and an unfamiliar symbol seemed to flicker across his eyes periodically.
His lips curled into a snarl, revealing teeth the size of cars. This strange force, whatever it was, seemed to have succeeded in taking control of Rodan where it had failed to the same to him. Then the giant pterosaur stretched out his wings and cackled angrily.
He growled in response. This was no ordinary cry of protest. It was a challenge.
He assumed a fighting stance. He did not wish to hurt Rodan, but if this strange force intended to use his own kind against him, then so be it. It was then that he made a vow: no matter what the cost, he would fight it. Somehow, he decided, he would make it pay for taking control of his companions and then trying to do the same to him. And above all, absolutely nothing would stop him until he had exacted vengeance on this thing, whatever it was.
For he was the King of the Monsters.
He was Godzilla.
Hi, I'm The Eccentric Gamer, and, as you can probably tell, I play video games. But not the ones that most people play—such as Call of Duty, Halo, and Grand Theft Auto—I prefer the ones that few people have heard of, mostly the older ones exclusive to the PC.
I've perceived myself to be a terrible visual artist, although I am in the process of taking classes in school on drafting and design, learning how to draft both by hand (with the help of tools) and CAD.
I'm also a writer and I enjoy it, but of the many genres, fan fiction is the one that suits me the best. At the moment, the only works you'll most likely be seeing are fan fictions of my all-time favorite show, Code Lyoko. However, I suffer frequently from writer's block, lack of time (due to school and, during the summer, work), and lack of motivation.
Along with Code Lyoko, I have long been interested in Titanic—not just the 1997 film directed by James Cameron, but the actual ship and the stories associated with her, so don't be surprised if I may post things about that on here as well.