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As Godzilla climbed down the tunnel toward the subterranean cavern, he winced, trying to keep his weight off his injured leg. As he reached the bottom, Anguirus grunted in acknowledgment and stepped aside for him; Godzilla growled back quietly, but hesitated before passing him.

He wasn't looking forward to this.

A dozen creatures—winged, spined, clawed, many-legged and serpentine alike—were standing guard. The lone prisoner in the middle of the cavern was pinned down with great piles of stone on his wings. His two missing heads were growing back slowly, sharp bones jutting from torn flesh. He saw Godzilla approaching and writhed, teeth gnashing and tails rattling.

"Stop," Godzilla said. "You're not going anywhere. I came to… see if you need anything. Food, water—"

"Your heart!" The prisoner stretched as far as he could to fill Godzilla's view with his open jaws, laughing, a shrill stabbing sound, hysterical and furious.

Godzilla endured it with a grimace. "No food, then?"

The prisoner snorted in his face and sank back, suppressing a wince of pain. For a split second—maybe because two-thirds of his backup was missing, maybe because the pain had cracked his mask—he looked lost.

He wanted to look like a king. Look like a killer. Look like a maniac. Look like a stranger. He wanted to be fear and rage incarnate.

Godzilla was well familiar with the kind of pain that drove those dark desires.

"It's not too late for you to join me." This wasn't what Godzilla had come down to say; but it was what he'd desperately wanted to say for countless battles. "You can leave this behind. You can heal—"

"Not without your heart," he said, with mock sickening sweetness.

"You want it?" Godzilla snapped, and that startled him into shutting up. "I'm giving you a chance to save yourself. You can have a home here. It doesn't have to end like this." He jerked his head up, indicating the heavy stone ceiling of the prisoner's tomb, weighing down on them.

"Or you can join us. Throw off the people chaining you down. You have no idea how liberating it is to slaughter the things you once clung to. Burn down the world with us," he hissed. "You'd be so beautiful at it."

For the first time, he drew a wince out of Godzilla. The prisoner's gaze sharpened, searching for the weakness he'd struck a glancing blow to.

"Burn everything down, and all you're left with is a bunch of ashes to sweep up," Godzilla said. "That's why you keep moving on to fresh worlds, isn't it? Don't want to stick around long enough to develop regrets?"

"Ha!" He sneered. "We just don't want to be anchored down. Not like you."

Godzilla's gaze turned to the stones piled on the prisoner's wings.

"Which one of us is anchored?"