Just before lunchtime, the five Lyoko Warriors met up in the depths of the abandoned factory that overlooked the Seine. It was from here that they carried out their fight against XANA—or at least they had, until the A.I. dealt them a devastating defeat.
The last time they were all here, they had just admitted a new member to their group: William. With XANA getting more and more aggressive, the five teens thought it would be beneficial to have another member around to fight him. But disaster struck on William's first foray to Lyoko—what had started off as a routine mission to defend Lyoko's Core took a turn for the worst when XANA captured and possessed him. In the end, despite their best efforts, the Lyoko Warriors could only watch helplessly as William—under XANA's command—delivered the killing blow to the Core, destroying Lyoko and leaving the boy imprisoned somewhere on the network.
That was then.
Now, for the first time since Lyoko was destroyed, Aelita, Jeremy, Odd, Ulrich, and Yumi had all returned to their secret hideout in the factory's lower levels, which housed the supercomputer and all of its components. Jeremy sat in the chair in front of the supercomputer's interface, while his four friends stood gathered around him. None of them spoke a word to each other; rather, it was almost as if they were waiting for something…
A pinging sound from the interface broke the silence. On cue, Jeremy typed a few commands into it, and then let out a sigh of relief.
"And there you have it," he announced proudly. "The new-and-improved Lyoko is now fully online!"
"'New-and-improved'?" Ulrich asked incredulously.
"After Lyoko was destroyed, Aelita and I had a unique opportunity to rebuild it almost entirely from scratch," Jeremy explained. "With help from some of the data that Franz Hopper sent us over the network, we've made several changes to Lyoko that should make fighting XANA a lot easier for us all."
"What kind of changes?" asked Yumi.
"For starters, remember that pesky countdown we had to deal with every time we went to Sector Five?" responded Aelita, smiling. "Gone for good."
"That's a relief," said Odd. "I always hated having to avoid being turned into a pancake every time we went there. What else have you changed, Einstein?"
"Aelita and I figured that, once we rebuilt Lyoko, XANA would only try to destroy it again and send us back to square one," Jeremy answered. "So when we recreated it, we made several modifications to make it more secure for us."
"We've essentially converted Lyoko into an armed fortress," Aelita elaborated. "Jeremy and I added a protective firewall and other defensive measures to keep XANA and his monsters out of Lyoko entirely."
"Wait a minute," began Yumi, "does that mean we don't have to worry about deactivating towers anymore?"
"Correct," confirmed Jeremy. "At least, not on Lyoko. Remember that XANA is still manifesting several Replikas all over the network, so we'll still have to use our skills to beat him and his monsters, the same way we did on Lyoko. And speaking of the Replikas...let's not forget that XANA has been using them to wake up and take control of kaiju around the world."
Of course, there was no way the Lyoko Warriors could forget the problem that was at hand—Yumi still had the scars to prove it, after all. Earlier in the day, she had been swarmed by dozens of her classmates who had heard about her harrowing encounter with Rodan and Godzilla in Sapporo. Milly and Tamiya had even tried to interview her about it for their school newspaper, only to give up after Yumi bluntly informed them that she had been unconscious and remembered nothing about her near-death experience.
"Ever since Rodan and Godzilla appeared and fought each other in Sapporo," Jeremy went on, "Aelita and I have been extensively probing the Replikas to try and figure out what they're like. Apparently, each one is a carbon copy of a sector from Lyoko. And, most importantly of all, XANA has activated each and every tower on them."
"That's how he's able to control the kaiju," added Aelita. "Usually, whenever XANA launched an attack, he would activate only one tower on Lyoko, because that was all he needed. But it seems that possessing those huge creatures takes a lot more energy than what he normally uses, so he has to activate several towers at once in order to do it."
"So I take it our goal is to destroy the Replikas and free the kaiju?" Ulrich inquired.
At first, Jeremy only answered Ulrich with a grimace. "Our goal is to destroy the Replikas so we can ultimately beat XANA," he finally responded. "Our job is fighting him, not those giant monsters."
"But he's using the Replikas to control them!" Yumi protested. "Our number one priority should be to free the kaiju from XANA—that way, they'll stop destroying our cities!"
"We don't know that!" Jeremy countered harshly, although upon noticing Yumi's startled reaction, he quickly regained his composure. "I'm sorry, Yumi," he apologized, "but even if we do manage to free the kaiju, how should we know that they won't continue to destroy cities now that XANA's woken them up? Remember that Replika that destroyed itself while you were in Japan?"
"What about it?" Yumi questioned.
"Aelita and I ran some diagnostics after we got back," Jeremy answered, "and we discovered that this was, in fact, XANA's attempt to take control of Godzilla."
The other Lyoko Warriors' eyes widened in surprise, and they exchanged glances with each other.
"So you mean to say that Godzilla is not under XANA's control?" Yumi asked.
"That's correct, Yumi," Aelita responded. "He resisted strongly when XANA tried to use the Replika to gain control of him—hence those varying power levels. All that stress was too much for the Replika to take; it's almost as if he destroyed it using nothing but sheer willpower."
"That also explains why Rodan fought him in Sapporo," Odd chimed in. "If they'd both been controlled by XANA, Godzilla wouldn't have driven his comrade off."
"Exactly," Jeremy confirmed, turning his seat back towards the interface. "Still, the point stands that XANA awakened Godzilla when he tried to take control of him. Godzilla has ravaged Japan before—who's to say he won't do it again?"
"You must free Earth's Defenders," a pair of high-pitched, feminine voices interjected.
Hearing the voices, Jeremy swiveled his chair around to face Aelita and Yumi, staring at them blankly. In response, the two girls traded confused glances with each other.
"Jeremy, we didn't say that," Aelita told him.
"Then who—?" Jeremy began, puzzled, before the two voices interrupted again.
"You must free Earth's Defenders," they repeated.
"Look at that!" Odd suddenly exclaimed, pointing at the holographic projector in the center of the Lab. The other Lyoko Warriors looked at what he was pointing at…and they got the shock of their lives.
Standing on the rim of the projector were a pair of identical women, each one appearing to be in their early twenties. They wore the same garments, which looked as if they had come from a tribe in the Pacific Islands. But perhaps the most surprising aspect about them was the fact that they were very, very small—each one stood no more than twenty centimeters tall. They held hands with one other as they looked up at the approaching Lyoko Warriors.
"Am—Am I hallucinating?" stammered Ulrich, dumbfounded.
"We assure you that your eyes are not deceiving you," the small women said in almost startling unison. "This is very real."
"Then who are you?" inquired Yumi.
"We have many names," the women replied. "You may call us the Shobijin. We are the priestesses who serve the Goddess Mothra."
"Mothra?" asked Aelita.
"She, like her fellow Defenders of Earth, is what you call a kaiju," the Shobijin explained, though they could tell that this did little to clear the Lyoko Warriors' confusion.
"We realize that you are perplexed by these recent developments," one of Shobijin said.
"Let us take you to Infant Island so that it may be easier for you to understand," the other finished.
Before the Lyoko Warriors had a chance to question further, the Shobijin promptly knelt down, bowing their heads and closing their eyes, almost as if they were praying. All of a sudden, they began to glow brightly, forcing the Lyoko Warriors to shield their eyes. Then the glow faded just as quickly as it appeared, allowing the Lyoko Warriors to reopen their eyes.
Looking around, the Lyoko Warriors were bewildered to discover that they were no longer in the Lab—it appeared that, almost as if by magic, they had been transported to the inside of a large cave. The Shobijin were nowhere to be found, but in front of them, they could see a bright light, which they assumed led to the cave's exit. Sure enough, as the Lyoko Warriors approached the source of the light, they soon found themselves out of the cave and inside a much larger cavern. Here, sunlight poured in freely through a spacious hole in the ceiling. It illuminated a small pond—a spring of some kind?—as well as several tropical flowers and trees growing around it.
While it was a beautiful sight, the Lyoko Warriors ignored it; what lay beyond the spring gave them an even bigger shock than the Shobijin had.
Sitting on a large, stone plinth across the cavern from the Lyoko Warriors was a massive, multicolored egg. And perched atop the egg was, for lack of a better term, a gigantic moth.
The five teens stared at the spectacle, once again finding it hard to believe their eyes. The moth seemed to stare back at them with its sapphire compound eyes, and the Lyoko Warriors could feel a light breeze as it gently fluttered its orange, yellow, and black wings. A group of people—Pacific Islanders, just like the Shobijin, albeit normally-sized—were bowing down before the plinth, apparently worshipping both the moth and the egg. In turn, they were comfortably shielded from the blazing hot sun by the moth's enormous wings, which together easily spanned over 100 meters across.
"This must be the Mothra that those two girls were talking about," commented Yumi.
"Yes, Yumi, this is Mothra," the Shobijin responded.
Surprised, Yumi glanced to her right, only to find the Shobijin had reappeared, now standing atop a small boulder.
"How—How do you know my name?" Yumi stammered.
"We have been watching the five of you for a very long time," one of the Shobijin answered. "We are well aware of your struggle against the entity you call XANA."
"It is for this reason that we now ask for your help," the other continued. "As you know already, your enemy has enslaved Earth's Defenders, and is using them to spread death and destruction all over the world."
"I still don't understand," said Aelita. "Why do you call the kaiju 'Earth's Defenders'?"
"They have inhabited this planet for millions of years," the Shobijin replied. "It is their duty to defend it from those who wish to destroy it. If not for them, humanity would have never come to fruition."
"That doesn't make any sense," argued Jeremy. "They've wreaked havoc before—long before XANA came into being. What difference does it make now that he's taken control of them?"
"You must not judge them too harshly," the Shobijin responded. "Please follow us."
With that, the miniature girls descended from the boulder and went into the cave that the Lyoko Warriors first emerged from. Unsure of the Shobijin's intentions, the five teens went back into the cave. It wasn't long before they once again saw sunlight ahead of them, and they exited the cave shortly after.
The Lyoko Warriors now found themselves on a sandy beach, which, at first, looked exactly like what one would expect from the Pacific Islands. But as the teens surveyed their surroundings, they noticed that something was very wrong: there were no trees or plants to be seen. The entire landscape was barren and lifeless—a stark contrast from the greenery-covered cavern where they had first encountered Mothra and the natives.
"What happened to all the trees?" Odd asked the Shobijin, who were now standing just a few feet from where the ocean's waves sloshed against the edge of the beach.
"For millennia, our island was covered in lush rainforests and many different animals," the Shobijin answered. "There used to be more people as well. But then, just a few decades ago, our home was used as a testing ground for nuclear weapons, which decimated almost all of our flora and fauna. The only place that continues to support life is the spring where you arrived."
This revelation left the Lyoko Warriors stunned. They had all learned about the destructive impacts of nuclear weapons in school, but to actually see these impacts firsthand made them realize that words couldn't do justice to describe just how truly horrifying these weapons' destructive power was. Worse still, the teens realized, it seemed that the native people who they saw worshipping Mothra had to live with this—what had once been their beautiful home was now little more than a desolate wasteland in the middle of the ocean.
"It was destructive weapons like these that caused Earth's Defenders to awaken from their lengthy slumber," the Shobijin went on. "They lashed out at mankind in retribution, believing their home to be under attack once again. When humanity realized this, they quickly stopped their nuclear testing.
"Since then, Earth's Defenders have rested peacefully. But now, your enemy has awakened them once more, and is using them as agents of evil against their will. We beg you to free them from XANA so they may return to their peaceful nature. If not, millions more will surely die at their hands."
When the Shobijin finished, the Lyoko Warriors traded glances with one another, contemplating the Shobijin's plea.
"There are still some things I don't understand," said Ulrich, breaking the silence between the five teens. "How is it that XANA hasn't taken control of Mothra? And why can't she fight the kaiju herself?"
"Mothra is the most divine of Earth's Defenders," one of the Shobijin answered. "She is immune to XANA's corruption."
Both of the small women's faces fell as the other continued, "She is also nearing the end of her present life. If she were to fight any one of Earth's Defenders in her current state, she would almost certainly perish."
"There is, however, one who will fight those who XANA has possessed," both now stated in unison. Then, turning to face Yumi, they said to her slowly, "You have already seen him once."
"Godzilla?" Yumi asked, surprised.
The Shobijin nodded. "Godzilla is the mightiest of Earth's Defenders," they said. "He does not take kindly to those who threaten this planet or its inhabitants—your enemy is no exception. He will stop at nothing to fight any threat that XANA poses to them."
"So we have a common enemy," Jeremy acknowledged.
"Yes," one of the Shobijin confirmed. "Godzilla is as much of a threat to your enemy's schemes as you are. But even he can only do so much to stop him without his fellow Defenders of Earth. XANA knows this, and he will surely try to eliminate him."
"If Godzilla falls, then all will be lost," continued the other woman grimly. "That is why you must help free Earth's Defenders. If they are freed, they will join the fight against XANA—your fight."
The Shobijin fell silent, and once again, the Lyoko Warriors exchanged glances with each other. This was a lot of new information for them to take in. Not only had Godzilla been able to escape being possessed by XANA, but he was now fighting the A.I. himself, just like they were. And these other kaiju who hadn't been so lucky—if what the Shobijin said was true, then freeing them would cause them to do the same. On the other hand, however, they were still giant monsters. There was no guaranteeing just how much good freeing them from XANA's control would do. Were the Shobijin being dishonest? Would the kaiju only continue to destroy cities on their own accord?
The five teens weighed these pros and cons carefully. The risks were great, but again, so were the potential benefits. What mattered, most, however, was defeating XANA before he could take more innocent lives. After receiving approving looks from his four friends, Jeremy turned to the Shobijin.
"All right," he agreed. "We promise to do everything in our power to free the kaiju from XANA's control."
The Shobijin beamed with delight. "Then from this day forward," they said, "Mothra, Godzilla, and any of Earth's Defenders you free from XANA are your allies." The miniature girls began to glow again. "Thank you."
Once more, the light radiating from the Shobijin became too much for the Lyoko Warriors to stand, and they had to shield their eyes. Then, just like the last time, it faded, and the Lyoko Warriors opened their eyes to find that they were back in the Lab.
"Okay…does anybody mind telling me what the heck that was all about?" stammered Odd, clearly flabbergasted by the strange encounter with the Shobijin.
"One thing's for sure," said Jeremy, who was also visibly dazed by the experience, "unless we all suddenly fell asleep and had the exact same dream, whatever it was that we saw was real."
Just then, Ulrich noticed something hanging from Yumi's neck. "Hey, Yumi, where did that necklace come from?" he asked.
"What?" Yumi responded confusedly, feeling her neck. "I don't wear a—necklace?" It was at that moment that Yumi felt the unfamiliar, metallic object hanging from her neck. She grasped it and held it up for her to see.
It was a small but beautiful, golden medallion with an elaborate cross design carved into it. As she and the other Lyoko Warriors examined it, the Shobijin's voices interjected once more.
"Please keep this medallion with you," they instructed. "It is a token to remind you that Mothra will be on your side for as long as you fight against evil."
The five teens looked around the Lab again, but this time, the Shobijin were nowhere to be found—apparently, they had remained back at their home on Infant Island.
Use your powers wisely, Yumi heard the two women say again—except she didn't. Whereas she had distinctly heard the Shobijin's voices with her own ears before, this command, oddly enough, seemed to have originated from her own mind.
What? Yumi answered mentally, but got no response from the small girls. She was very confused, but there was nothing she could do except concentrate back on the matter at hand.
"So I'm guessing that we're going to free the kaiju after all," said Odd. "Right, Einstein?"
"You got it," Jeremy confirmed, sitting back down on his chair in front of the interface.
"And how are we going to destroy the Replikas?" asked Ulrich. "Didn't you say that you came up with a way to destroy them?"
"I did. But I'm not going to take all of the credit—in reality, most of the work was done by our new friend, Godzilla."
"What do you mean?" Yumi asked.
"When Godzilla destroyed the Replika that tried to take control of him, it revealed a severe weakness of the Replikas," Jeremy explained. "They're manifested on supercomputers much less powerful than ours. For this reason, they can't be subjected to extended durations of intense power. If they were, it would trigger a destructive chain reaction that would quickly annihilate the entire Replika. Does that make sense?"
Odd, Ulrich, and Yumi only stared blankly at Jeremy.
"Er…yeah," Odd finally answered, "but do you think you could explain it again for us, just a lot slower?"
Jeremy sighed in exasperation. Fortunately for everyone, though, Aelita understood all of Jeremy's complicated explanation, and simplified it for the rest of her friends.
"What Jeremy is saying is that the Replikas are vulnerable to large amounts of energy," she said. "When Godzilla resisted XANA's control, XANA tried to fight back by generating more power in the Replika. All it did was overload the Replika, destroying it."
"Right," Jeremy acknowledged. "Based on this information, I've created a virus code that should disable a Replika's power regulation inhibitors. All we need to do is get to that Replika and have Aelita enter it into a tower; once the inhibitors are disabled, the Replika will become overloaded and destroy itself, freeing the kaiju. Now do you understand?"
The other Lyoko Warriors nodded.
"That sounds great," said Ulrich, "but you still haven't addressed how we're going to get to the Replikas without being virtualized forever in the Digital Sea."
"I was just about to get to that," Jeremy responded. He turned to the interface and entered a few commands, and promptly, a digital image of a strange vehicle filled up the interface's screen. It was a long, rod shape with a large central pod on one end, with a pair of scythe-like wings attached to it. Connected to the rod were four smaller pods, each appearing to be a separate vehicle itself.
"This something that Aelita and I have been busy developing," Jeremy explained. "It's a submarine designed to transport us through the Digital Sea and into the Replikas. We're still adding the finishing touches to it, but it should be ready by the end of the week. After that, we'll finally be able to take the fight to XANA."
"Fantastic," said Odd, impressed by this news. "But while we wait, let's hit the cafeteria. I'm starving!"
North Pacific Ocean
While he was clearly a force to be reckoned with on land, what many people didn't realize was that Godzilla was actually better-suited to live in the water.
For instance, Godzilla had spent several millennia hibernating at the bottom of the deepest oceans. He didn't even need to breathe air to survive—as long as there was radiation for him to absorb, Godzilla could survive conditions that would easily be fatal for any other organism on the planet. Additionally, he was quite agile in the water despite his immense size; he usually swam at speeds that made it nearly impossible for most vessels to keep up with him.
Godzilla had been traversing the Pacific for almost a week now. Like a kaiju-sized bloodhound, he had been tracking Rodan's movements ever since he drove the giant pterosaur out of Sapporo. But now, the scent had run cold—as fast as Godzilla was in the water, Rodan was much, much faster in the air. He could be virtually anywhere in the world by now; the only thing that prevented the nuclear leviathan from giving up the search was his stubborn determination to put an end to the schemes of the strange force that had possessed his fellow kaiju.
That was when he sensed it.
Godzilla halted. A new presence had made itself known, and just like Rodan, it was one that Godzilla was very familiar with. Yet at the same time, the radioactive saurian could sense that this presence had the same malicious intent that Rodan did that night in Sapporo. Most importantly, however, Godzilla could sense that it was heading straight for Japan.
Godzilla weighed his options. On one hand, he could continue to track Rodan, but there was no way of knowing if he could catch the giant pterosaur in time before he attacked again. On the other, he could pursue the new presence and try to stop it before it had a chance to do the strange force's bidding.
The nuclear leviathan made up his mind. Godzilla abandoned his search for Rodan and turned around, heading back towards Japan. As he accelerated past sixty knots, a grim reality quickly set in.
He would have to fight another one of his allies.
Finally, the third chapter has been finished in its entirety! Thank you for being so patient while I've been writing this. Since I'm in college now, I can't say for sure when the fourth chapter will be published, but it will be a lot more action-packed than these first three introductory chapters, so it might take a while...Anyway, we're about to get into the meat of the story. Who is this new, XANAfied kaiju that Godzilla will have to fight next time? I hope to reveal that soon. I also hope you enjoyed this chapter!
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.
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.