The expedition to Infant Island ended in a blur of confusion and secrecy. Naturally, the entire world was eager to learn of what our party had discovered. But instead of a wealth of knowledge and the expected press releases, conferences, and bureaucratic shenanigans, the public was met with no answers, and few explanations.
Within days of our return to Japan, Dr. Rokh and most of the Rolisican half of the team caught a plane back to their home country, with no findings revealed or announcements made. Clark Nelson and his most loyal henchmen quickly disappeared into the night, and many believed that he too had returned home to Rolisica. The Japanese team also quietly disbanded; Dr. Harada returned to his work in studying the effects of radiation on living organisms, and I was welcomed back to Nitto Press as a hero. Although a brief stink was made about how I’d returned with no report to give the paper, the issue quickly dried up as the public’s interest turned to other things.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Fukuda-san’s assertion that he was welcomed back as “a hero” isn’t entirely accurate. Witnesses at Nitto report that Fukuda-san’s boss was fuming during the reporter’s absence, and that by all accounts, he let his frustrations out on Fukuda-san upon his return. Michi Hanamura (whose photographs accompany this half of the article) was also less than pleased with her partner, who had boarded the ship without informing her of his plans.]
But while I, like the rest of the expedition, was remaining intentionally tight-lipped about our discoveries on Infant Island, I was far from done with the story. And, as it turned out, so was Dr. Chujo. We had both become obsessed with learning anything we could about the mission’s wild card: the secretive and mysterious Clark Nelson. Neither of us could shake the feeling that something else had been going on with him, that he had motives beyond simple scientific exploration. And so, we put our heads together and began trying to track down any information we could find about him.
Several weeks after the end of the expedition, I met with Chujo-san at his home to compare notes and see what he’d discovered. As it turned out, nearly no specifics of just who Nelson was could be determined; it seemed that his birthdate and occupation had been scrubbed from all public records. We were later able to determine that his country of origin was, indeed, Rolisica, and that his family had operated a farm in the rural section of the nation. But beyond that, only one incident from Nelson’s past could be verified: apparently, back in 1954, he had taken part in an expedition to the Amazon in South America with the intent of rounding up the local natives and bringing them back to Rolisica for exhibition. Thankfully, he had not succeeded in his endeavor, likely because the Rolisican government had shut him down.
From our snooping, it seemed as though Nelson was a wannabe explorer and showman; a businessman who dreamed of making it big by exploiting exotic discoveries from faraway locales. While there were no records of criminal activity, it seemed likely to me that Nelson’s mysterious past involved plenty of skullduggery. He had certainly known his way around a gun, and my keen instincts told me that he had likely used one before on multiple occasions.
While never voiced during our meeting, I had developed a theory that I still believe to be highly likely concerning Nelson’s interest in Infant Island. While there has never been – and likely never will be – firm proof to back this assumption up, I wholeheartedly believe that Nelson was seeking to prove the claim made by the surviving men of the Genyo-Maru II: that they had been spared a slow, painful death from radiation poisoning thanks the a mysterious red juice. Given Nelson’s history of seeking out exotic get-rich-quick schemes, it seems likely that the idea of a radiation sickness-curing liquid would’ve caught his attention. Discovering and marketing such a liquid would no doubt have made him a rich and famous man, and such success would certainly – at least in Nelson’s eyes – be worth killing for.
What’s more, it seemed as though Nelson was dead set on paying Infant Island a visit. Thanks to a tipoff from Dr. Rokh in Rolisica, Chujo-san later learned that Nelson had quite literally bought his way into the expedition, paying all expenses himself and assuming complete control over the venture. His position as head of the party would’ve entitled him to any discoveries made on the island, including the radiation-proof liquid.
But in the end, Nelson had failed to find the source of this mysterious juice. In fact, no one on the expedition had put much thought into discovering and analyzing the potential benefits this juice could’ve offered humanity.
No one, that is, except Dr. Chujo.
During my visit to discuss Nelson, I was surprised to see the doctor pull out a collection of notes. These documents, he told me that day, had been made on Infant Island by his own hand, but intentionally kept from Nelson. Chujo’s treasure trove of research included notes and sketches of the island’s bizarre plant life, including the blood-sucking vampire plant and a strange, fungus-like growth that Chujo-san claimed he saw produce a viscous red liquid, likely the juice that the surviving sailors had been given.
However, the most fascinating piece of material the doctor produced that day was a rubbing he’d made of a beautiful glyph carved into a cave wall. Chujo-san revealed that he had traveled through the cave just before being attacked by the blood-sucker and saved by the Shobijin. The resulting rubbing had been smuggled back onto the ship, and despite Nelson’s insistence that all research be turned over to him, Chujo-san had successfully hidden it from the mysterious man’s prying eyes.
The glyph on the rubbing was simple: a cross-like shape surrounded by flowing lines that almost seemed to emulate the sun, or perhaps wings. The cross itself was quite similar to the Christian crucifix, but Chujo-san claimed that it bore no relation to any western religious iconography. Instead, the glyph was a symbol. More than that, it was a word. A word that Chujo-san had deciphered using his expertise in south pacific languages.
And that word, dear readers, was “Mothra.”
At the time, neither of us knew what it meant. And how could we have? But as baffled as we were in that moment, there was an undeniable power to the word, and to the symbol itself. It seemed to radiate a kind of energy, a sacred feeling of peace and love. We both felt it, and we were soon to feel it again.
In a perfect world, this is where the story would’ve ended: with a seemingly failed expedition, a secret kept from the world, a villain nowhere to be found, and two friends sitting in a living room surrounded by mysteries that our minds couldn’t hope to solve. But this was not to be, for as we sat in that room, the villain of this strange story was thousands of miles away, raiding the sacred place we’d tried so hard to protect.
Chujo-san, Michi-san, and I discovered the news the same way the rest of the world did: via the front page of a newspaper announcing what the press had dubbed “the discovery of a lifetime.” According to the article, Japan was set to play host to two remarkable guests: twin fairies with innocent faces and voices of gold. Two tiny lives, found and brought to our country for exhibition in a brand-new stage show. And of course, there was also the name and face of the “daring soul” who had “braved the dangers of a lost world” and “fought for his life against the primitive savagery of the local population” to bring a new wonder of the world to civilization.
Despite our best efforts, the secret was out. The Shobijin were now little more than exotic fascinations. And Clark Nelson finally had the fame and fortune he’d been willing to kill to attain.
Needless to say, the announcement left me mortified. It also left NItto Press mortified, but for entirely different reasons. While the idea of those tiny, beautiful girls being exhibited like animals in a cage sickened me to my core, the biggest concern for my employer seemed to be that another newspaper had gotten to the scoop before we had. And when it came to light that I’d known all about the fairies since returning from the expedition, your humble reporter came about as close as he’s ever come to being relieved of his job. No one on staff could seem to understand why I – the great Snapping Turtle – had decided to sit on what was quickly turning into the biggest story of tour times. And no explanation I gave them was satisfactory. To them, this scoop was a lost opportunity for sales, and nothing more.
The following few weeks flew by in the blink of an eye. Nitto Press published its fair number of stories covering the discovery, as did other newspapers. The reaction from the general public seemed mixed; some couldn’t wait to see the fairies for themselves, while others railed against the notion, crying out words like “slavery” and “oppression.” Without a doubt, I was in the latter camp. But in the end, it didn’t matter. Sensationalism usually tends to succeed over human decency, and this story was no exception.
Before I knew it, I found myself standing outside a massive theater, milling about at the end of a line that seemed to stretch for hundreds of meters. Standing tall above me was a showy, almost American-style billboard that advertised the attraction I’d come to see: “The Secret Fairies Show.” It was opening night, and not a single seat had remained unsold.
In traditional fashion, Nelson had restricted press access to the premier event. As such, I had been forced to purchase a ticket in the same manner as everyone else, as had Dr. Chujo, whom I hoped to meet up with in the auditorium. Once again, there would be no pictures, no reporting, and no truth told to the public. But regardless of this, I had to be there. Despite what Nitto Press might’ve thought of me and my relationship to this story, loosening my jaws and moving on was the last thing on my mind. I was in too deep. I had become a part of the story. And seeing this show, despite the horrors and cruelty it represented, was the next step in my journey.
And it was a night that I’ll never forget.
The show began with fanfare from a pit orchestra, and continued with Nelson himself appearing on the stage to introduce the “miracles” that we were about to see. With a wave of his hand, the house lights went down, and a spotlight shone on a small curtain covering a balcony box no more than a foot high. As audience members gasped in amazement, the curtains opened, and a tiny carriage emerged from the box and began gliding – as if by magic – down an unseen wire toward the stage. It was hard to see from my vantage point, but there was no doubt: the Shobijin were inside.
As the carriage neared Nelson, the stage lights came on again, illuminating a crudely painted set meant to invoke the exotic plants and rocky terrain of Infant Island. A group of dancers dressed as the Infant Islanders slowly rose to a standing position as Nelson reached out and gently plucked the carriage from the air. He then set it down, and the crowd began to cheer as he deftly unlatched the door.
Before our eyes, the so-called “secret fairies” emerged from the carriage, fully dressed in ornate gowns that surely must’ve cost Nelson a fortune to create in such a minuscule scale. The orchestra – and a group of actors on the stage armed with drums – began to play, and the Shobijin began to sing.
By this point, I had finally located Chujo-san, and we carried on a bit of Nelson-related small talk for the first minute or so of the performance. We hadn’t come to be entertained. We’d come to witness the event, to gather facts. In our own subtle way, we’d come to protest.
But eventually, my eyes and ears began to focus in on the spectacle unfolding on the stage. While the fairies had become hard to glimpse behind the wall of writhing dancers, I could see enough to begin noticing something unusual. The Shobijin didn’t appear to be in any great distress, nor could I see any signs that they’d been mistreated or harmed in any way. In fact, the twin girls actually seemed to be enjoying themselves onstage. Their dance was simple, but seemed choreographed, as if they’d done it many times before. Their tiny faces looked hopeful, even reverent.
And then there was the song. Like the dance, the melody was simple. But once again, I couldn’t shake the feeling that something else was happening, something greater than any of us understood.
The song had power. I could feel it, and I knew that Chujo-san could feel it, as well. This was no simple melody, or a show being put on for the benefit of an audience. This was a prayer. A call. A ritual that filled the room with an energy that couldn’t be described.
And as Chujo-san and I continued to listen, we heard the fairies speak a certain word. They spoke it over and over again, singing it as if pleading with some great unseen force. And that world was “Mosura.”
It goes without saying that Chujo-san and I were shocked to hear the word – the glyph we’d seen – spoken that night. We were more convinced than ever of its significance; it meant something, and we were determined to find out what it was, no matter the cost.
Once the show had wrapped up for the night, the two of us stayed behind, waiting for the crowds to disperse before making our move. We had decided that a confrontation with Nelson was inevitable, and that said confrontation was going to happen that night. Chujo-san hoped to appeal to whatever humanity he may have and convince him to release the girls, and while I certainly appreciated his morals, I knew as well as he did that no such appeal would work. Nevertheless, we hoped that something positive would come from meeting with Nelson on his terms.
However, when we entered Nelson’s backstage office, we found that Michi-san had apparently come up with the same plan that we had. We arrived just in time to see two of Nelson’s goons holding her roughly by the arms, intent on throwing her out of the room. Although they loosened their grips upon seeing us, they continued to hold her close.
Chujo-san wasted no time, and immediately began berating Nelson for holding the girls hostage. Unsurprisingly, Nelson’s reaction was only to laugh. He explained to us that the fairies – his fairies, as he put it – were little more than the research data he’d asked for during the expedition. He described them as “merchandise,” and claimed they “weren’t human.” It took every bit of restraint I could muster to not lean across Nelson’s desk and throttle him where he sat.
Whether by delusion or simple stupidity, Nelson was convinced that “his fairies” enjoyed performing, and that they were happy when they sang and danced. On this point, I couldn’t argue; it truly did appear as if the twins weren’t under any duress while on the stage. It didn’t make any sense, but I knew that there had to be an answer.
Eventually, we were successful in convincing Nelson to give us three minutes of access to the fairies. He was determined to prove us wrong, to show us that his captives were being cared for. The trade-off was Michi-san being forced to leave both of her large cameras behind. Of course, Nelson’s men had no idea that Michi-san is, in many ways, just as much of a Snapping Turtle as I am; when she wanted a photograph, she usually got one. And that day would be no different.
With guarded emotions and deep breaths, our party of four – Dr. Chujo, his younger brother Shinji-kun, Michi-san, and myself – entered the room. There, sitting on a table several feet away, was an ornate golden cage. And inside the cage sat the Shobijin, each dressed in tiny robes.
The events that played out next have been reported in a previous issue from Nitto Press, but the biggest revelations of our visit with the Shobijin bear repeating here. Despite only having three minutes of time to spend with the mysterious girls, our group learned quite a lot, including the fact that the tiny duo remembered saving Chujo-san on the island. We were also able to prove that the twins not only understood Japanese, but were able to speak it in unison through some form of mental telepathy.
However, the most significant piece of information we heard that day had to do with the word Chujo-san had discovered in glyph-form on the island. The same word that we’d heard the twins speak in their song that night, and a word that was soon to be on the lips of every man, woman, and child across two continents: Mothra.
From our discussion with the Shobijin, we were the first to discover that “Mothra” wasn’t simply a word: it was a name. The name of a great being, a giant creature of immeasurable power and otherworldly origins. A living entity worshipped as a type of protector deity on Infant Island, and regarded by the atoll’s residents as a genuine goddess. What’s more, the twin girls revealed that they shared a deep, psychic bond with their goddess, and that their minds were linked across vast distances. No matter where the Shobijin were in the world, the great Mothra would always know their location. The song they had sung that night had been a prayer. A call for help. A beacon to the divine beast they served.
The words of the twins were the final missing pieces of the story I’d dedicated so much time and passion into following. In the blink of an eye, it all began to make sense. The twins were more than just simple “fairies” or scientific curiosities. They were priestesses, vital to the self-contained religion of Infant Island. It was through these two girls that the will of Mothra was known, and through them that the mighty beast could be reasoned with and satiated.
The full weight of the situation came crashing down on me all at once. If the fairies were to be believed, their removal from the island had caused an imbalance in a place already fraught with the death and destruction caused by the outside world. By our world. The goddess of Infant Island had been insulted. Her people had been slaughtered by Nelson. Her priestesses had been kidnapped. Her home had been defiled.
And according to the twins, she was already on her way.
It was a great deal to take in. In many ways, I still feel as though I have yet to fully process the information that was supplied to us by the girls. The existence of miniature humans had been fantastical enough, but the revelation that a giant monster had awakened with the intent of rescuing them stunned even my seasoned mind. For most rational men, accepting such a story would’ve likely been a challenge. But after everything I’d seen and experienced, there wasn’t a shred of doubt: Mothra was real. Mothra was coming.
The following day, the Shobijin’s story was the centerpiece of a new edition of Nitto’s newspaper, complete with photographs illicitly taken by Michi-san on one of her disguised cameras. The entirety of Japan soon knew of the danger the fairies’ captivity posed, and the photos of the exotic beauties locked up in a cage led to the first significant wave of dissent for Nelson across the country.
Nelson, of course, was far from pleased to see these pictures in circulation, and even threatened Nitto with a libel suit. But the damage was already done. Nelson and his “Secret Fairies Show” soon became the center of attention in the news once again, and this time for all the right reasons. However, despite the turning tide of public opinion, Nelson’s show continued to run. Even more discouragingly, it continued to run to sold-out crowds on a nightly basis. For a while, it seemed as if all our work to expose Nelson had simply provided him with free publicity. His pockets with growing thicker with cash, and the Shobijin were no closer to being freed.
What’s more, despite our insistence that a giant creature was coming to save the girls, Nelson refused to believe that such a thing could be possible. However, even if he had believed it, I’m sure it wouldn’t have made a difference. I was convinced that not even the threat of monster-fueled destruction could provoke Nelson into a change of heart, and I would eventually be proven right in this assumption.
The biggest blow came when Nitto received word that Rolisica was backing Nelson, claiming that their interests lay in protecting the rights and business ventures of their citizens abroad. Without the help of the Rolisican government, Nelson remained free to legally run his show and make a profit. This mindset, of course, was still predicated on the notion that the Shobijin were merchandise instead of living, breathing human beings. However, despite the growing outcry from the public and mounting accusations of human rights abuse, Nelson remained seemingly immune. To say that this was frustrating would be a massive understatement. How could Rolisica stand by and allow Nelson to keep the Shobijin as slaves? It baffled me, and made me more determined than ever to help free them. However, despite this determination, I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t discouraged. Chujo-san and Michi-san felt similarly defeated. It seemed for all the world that nothing could be done.
But this couldn’t have been further from the truth. Fate was about to throw a curveball into this story, and soon enough, the world would be forced to begin taking the plight of the Shobijin seriously.
A week or so after our meeting with the girls, word came that an unidentified object being monitored in the South Seas had begun moving toward Japan. The massive shape was cruising steadily along much the same route that our research vessel had taken to Infant Island, seemingly confirming that the object had originated from the island’s vicinity. As the world scratched its head and the JSDF began preparations to deploy ships for an interception mission, my heart began to sink. It had been my dearest hope to save the Shobijin and remove them from Japan long before any destruction could be caused, but it was now too late for that. It was just as the Shobijin themselves had told us: Mothra was on her way, and nothing could be done to stop her rampage.
Within days, it was reported that the military had engaged with the unidentified object at sea. An object that was, of course, very much alive. More specifically, the beast – Mothra herself – was described by the JSDF as insect-like, resembling a gigantic worm or caterpillar. The creature made short work of the navy’s ships, sailing right through them and leaving the ocean to burn in its wake. No torpedoes launched at the monster could hurt its thick skin, and no missiles fired from attacking jets could halt its relentless trek to Japan. It was unstoppable, truly a god among men.
With the creature’s landfall becoming more and more imminent every day, it became clear that Nelson was ultimately fighting a losing battle. Worse still, his stubbornness had already cost human lives in the form of the brave JSDF men who’d been killed in the attack. And despite the fact that more lives were set to be lost, Nelson still refused to budge. In a last-ditch effort to avert catastrophe, Chujo-san, Harada-san, and I arranged to deliver a special gift to Nelson: a specially-designed box intended to block the transmission of brain waves. We hoped that Nelson might use the box to shield the fairies, preventing their song from reaching Mothra and, perhaps, averting disaster. But while Nelson accepted the gift, he remained convinced that both himself and his venture were safe.
In that regard, he was about to receive a long-overdue wakeup call. The monster whose existence he doubted had not only survived her battle with the military, but was now closer to Japan than ever.
What happened next was a series of events that I still have a hard time believing actually took place. As we made our way out of Nelson’s theater, we found ourselves privy to a sudden phone conversation between Nelson and who we assumed to be the local police. As the conversation continued, we watched with stunned eyes as Nelson’s cool and collected confidence began – at long last – to disintegrate before our eyes. He began to yell into the phone, enraged at what he was being told. But while Nelson may have been livid, his words were music to our ears: his show was being shut down.
However, before we could celebrate, Michi-san arrived on the scene with even more news: Mothra had made her way inland, and had been spotted in a lake within the vicinity of a nearby dam. Without thinking, we jumped into her car and quickly headed to the scene. I remember a feeling of anticipation crashing down upon my chest; so much was happening all at once, and the situation had escalated beyond our control. Nelson’s show shutting down, the arrival of Mothra, the lives in danger at the dam – it was all too much to take in. But I knew that I had to press onward. I had followed this story from the very beginning, and I wasn’t about to abandon it.
By the time we arrived at the small village surrounding the dam, the area had already been plunged into chaos. People ran in panicked crowds, attempting to get as far away from the lake as possible. The dam was on the verge of collapsing, and when it did, the nearby bridge that connected both sides of the lake would surely be swept away. We weren’t sure of what to do, or how to help. And for the second time during my pursuit of this story, I couldn’t have felt less like a reporter.
It was on that night that I first caught a glimpse of the creature known as Mothra. It was a brief look, but enough to fill me with an uneasy mixture of repulsion and awe. The monster was indeed quite insect-like, with a long, segmented body tapering from its bulbous head to a sharp stinger on its tail. The beast’s face was captivating, almost cute. But within its glowing blue eyes, I could sense determination. Determination, and something else: divinity. It truly was a goddess on a mission.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Curiously, Fukuda-san omits a shocking anecdote from his report. Apparently, according to eye witnesses at the dam, Fukuda-san risked his own life to save an infant abandoned on the endangered bridge. Running out amidst a spray of water, the reporter barely managed to make it back to the other side with the baby before the bridge collapsed. Why exactly Fukuda-san left this story out is unknown. Perhaps it was out of respect for the infant’s family, or maybe it was the growing sense of integrity that he claims to have acquired following his reporting on this event.]
By the next morning, the immense caterpillar had long since left the lake behind it, and had arrived in the vicinity of Tokyo. Innumerable buildings crumbled under its gigantic body, and no attempt on the part of the JSDF to halt its progress proved successful. If it hadn’t been clear before that the monster was heading in Nelson’s direction, it was painfully obvious now. And Nelson knew it.
When word finally came into Nitto Press that Rolisica had withdrawn its support of Nelson, it was too little too late. Nelson’s greed had officially turned into a politically volatile international incident, and there was no doubt that the Rolisican government had realized their mistake. The notion that they would backtrack on their stance only after the destruction had begun was, in all honesty, beyond appalling, and I still struggle to understand why their decision came so late in the game.
But in the moment, I felt nothing but relief. Rolisica had not only rallied against Nelson’s show, but had also made it known that Nelson must release the Shobijin to the Japanese authorities. It was a relief beyond words, and a day that I wasn’t sure would ever come. But come it did, and the happiness this reporter felt in his heart cannot accurately be put into words.
Of course, I should’ve expected that things wouldn’t be so simple. Perhaps it was blind optimism or excitement clouding my judgement, but when I arrived at Nelson’s theater shortly after Rolisica’s statement had been released, I foolishly hoped that I’d arrive to see Nelson – dejected and defeated – being relieved of his slaves and stripped of any power and influence he’d managed to hold onto. What I found instead was an empty theater, with Nelson, his goons, and the Shobijin nowhere to be found.
The only thing we did find was Chujo-san’s brother, Shinji-kun, unconscious and tied up under a pile of furniture. Apparently, the child had attempted to sneak into the theater and rescue the girls himself, only to be discovered and kidnapped by Nelson and his cronies. When news came that the authorities were on their way to seize his fairies, he’d fled with them and disappeared into the night. It was yet another crushing blow, made all the more ominous by the constant sounds of jets flying overhead and distant explosions coming from Tokyo.
We had come incredibly close to averting further destruction, but it had done no good. Nelson had slipped between our fingers, taking the poor Shobijin with him.
As the authorities sought out Nelson, Dr. Chujo, Michi-san, and I turned our attention to Mothra. As Michi-san’s incredible photographs vividly prove, the monster’s destruction was incredible and absolute.
The rampage lasted through the entire night. It was already well into the still-dark early hours of the morning when Mothra finally came to a halt in front of the new Tokyo Tower. Before our shocked eyes, the creature lifted its mighty head into the sky, arched its segmented back, and began crawling its way up the side of the tower as a normal caterpillar might slide its way along a tree branch. The exact reasons for the Mothra’s actions were lost on us at first, but the military didn’t offer much time to consider the amazing sight unfolding in front of us. A battalion of tanks began to launch a volley of shells at the monster’s exposed body, and the shots that missed the target struck the tower instead, weakening its midsection. We watched in horror as the tower began to buckle, and when it finally collapsed, it took Mothra down with it, leaving the insect seemingly incapacitated on its back.
For several minutes, it appeared as though the JSDF had come out on top, and that Mothra was down for the count. But underestimating a god is never wise. Not only was Mothra very much alive, but she was about to become even more unstoppable.
The military’s celebration was cut short when an otherworldly sound began to fill the air above the darkened Tokyo. Although the lack of light made it difficult to see, my eyes could barely perceive the wispy shape of a long, white web being shot from Mothra’s opened mandibles. The silk arced high above our heads, easily several hundred meters into the sky. The farther it traveled from Mothra’s maw, the slower its rise became until finally, after hovering in the air for several seconds, it began cascading back down to Earth. A passing helicopter became entangled within the string-like web, causing it to crash in a fiery explosion.
The webbing soon began to accumulate on the ground and the remains of Tokyo Tower. It was clear what was happening: this wasn’t an attack, but rather the beginning of a transformation.
Sure enough, by the time the sun had risen, the space where the Mothra larva had rested was now entirely occupied by a bizarre, silk-covered object. A cocoon, from which Mothra was no doubt preparing to emerge in a new and more powerful form.
And emerge it did, but not before one last fruitless attempt to murder the great beast while it slumbered. Perhaps in an effort to make up for their lack of action regarding Nelson’s inhumanity, the Rolisican government had authorized the use of a Rolisica-created weapon on Japanese soil. Dubbed the Atomic Heat Ray, these massive pieces of destructive machinery were towed by special tanks, and looked for all the world like massive satellite dishes. Similar weapons had been experimented with in the past, but this latest model was reportedly powered by a form of atomic energy. Their mission: burn Mothra in her cocoon, and end her life in a brilliant blaze of atomic fire.
I must confess, upon seeing these weapons reduce Mothra’s cocoon to a blinding fireball, even I had my doubts that she could survive. The inferno had been overwhelming, and I could feel its incredible heat even from several miles away. By all logic, nothing as delicate as a simple insect could’ve survived such an attack.
But Mothra was no simple insect. One does not simply burn a god to destroy it, and no such act could ever hope to extinguish the light of the divine. Despite the best efforts of man and his machines, Mothra lived.
The sound of her cracking cocoon echoed across a ruined Tokyo, shocking the nearby JSDF personnel and chattering reporters into silence. In a sight that will surely go down as the most miraculous thing I have ever witnessed in my entire life, a newly reborn Mothra pulled herself, slowly and steadily, from her charred prison. Her body had indeed transformed; a worm no more, she now resembled a butterfly, complete with giant blue eyes and a soft, downy fur that covered her entire body. As she came to a rest atop the remains of her chrysalis, two enormous wings colored in brilliant reds and yellows began to unfurl and stretch into the blue skies.
And with a mighty sweep of those beautiful wings, Mothra took to the air. The force from her liftoff caused a massive wind to wash over the area, nearly blowing me off my feet and even causing the gigantic Atomic Heat Ray vehicles to begin shaking and straining. Particles and ash flew into the air, blocking out the sky for the briefest of moments. But when the dust cleared, I could see the ethereal silhouette of Mothra disappearing into the sky to the north.
In the direction of Rolisica.
There was no doubt in my mind: Mothra had once again zeroed in on Nelson, and with the extra mobility afforded to her by the power of flight, she’d likely descend upon the nation in only a few hours. Another city was doomed to burn, all because of one man’s greed.
And so, with the end finally in sight, the final leg of my journey began. It hadn’t taken much convincing for Nitto to allow Michi-san and I to jump on a plane for Rolisica’s New Kirk City, promising that we’d deliver a report on Mothra’s quest to rescue her priestesses. To my surprise, I discovered that Chujo-san had been asked by the Rolisican government to act as a liaison between them and the fairies upon their recovery, and that he had boarded the same flight we had. It seemed only natural – perhaps predestined by fate – that all three of us should witness the conclusion of this strange tale together.
Unfortunately, the New Kirk City we arrived in was a city of pure chaos, and a great deal had transpired before we’d been able to arrive. Mothra had, of course, flown into the country’s airspace several hours before our plane had, and in that time, she’d caused a massive amount of destruction. New Kirk was a thoroughly modern metropolis, with skyscrapers towering over an endless network of roads, alleys, and bridges. It was a city on the rise, a city that represented everything that a 20th century city could be.
But by the time we’d landed, it was a city in distress. An architectural jungle tearing itself apart under its own crushing weight. Although we saw very little of the destruction happening with our own eyes, survivors saw the great shadow of Mothra fall over them, and the felt the winds caused by her wings blow them off their feet. All the monster had to do was simply fly over the city, and a sickening combination of wind and gravity did the rest.
But that wasn’t all that had transpired in New Kirk City. Mere minutes before our arrival at City Hall, Nelson had been discovered, cornered, and ultimately killed by the local police. I would later learn that Nelson – who at that point was, naturally, a wanted criminal and fugitive – had been spotted by a civilian as he attempted to flee the city with the fairies in tow. A group of angry men and women had surrounded his vehicle, demanding that he release the twins. There had been no violence, no threat from the crowd whatsoever. But this hadn’t stopped Nelson from drawing his gun and attempting to make a run for it. The police would describe his attitude as deranged, paranoid, and completely unhinged. After shooting and killing a cop and assaulting an elderly citizen, the police had opened fire. Nelson had died on the spot, and his men had been detained.
This was the last thing I’d expected to hear. It had truly seemed as though our pursuit of Nelson and the fairies might last forever. Yet there I was, standing in the capital city of Rolisica, being handed a suitcase that contained the tiny people that I’d been trying so hard to free.
I’ve often pondered if Nelson truly deserved to die for his sins, if the ends – our recovery of the Shobijin – justified the means. In the end, I don’t believe that I am qualified to dictate a definitive answer or pass judgement on another man’s soul. Whether Nelson got what he deserved or not it up to you, the reader, to decide, but I will say this: in all my ears of reporting, I’ve never met a man as greedy, as villainous, as self-serving, or as genuinely, blood-curdling evil as Clark Nelson. And I pray that I never encounter such a man again.
But on that day, such pontifications were the farthest thing from my mind. What mattered most was that, at long last, we’d saved the fairies. The real question was what to do next. If not for the telepathy-proof box that Nelson had – likely only out of desperation – placed them in, Mothra would’ve surely descended upon us and killed all in her way to reach the girls. There was no doubt that she was agitated, even confused; she knew that her priestesses were in the city, but she didn’t know where. It was our duty to let her know, to find a way to safely deliver the twins without incurring any more destruction. And we were fresh out of ideas.
That is, until Dr. Chujo’s brilliant brain connected the final dots in the Mothra story. In a moment of sheer genius, I watched a light shine in Chujo-san’s eyes as a revelation hit his mind. Before he even spoke, I knew he had the answer.
As we’d been standing in front of New Kirk’s City Hall, the nearby ringing of a church bell had begun. Perhaps it was divine timing, a tap on the shoulder from a benevolent God, but it was this moment – the combination of the ringing bells and the church itself – that gave us the solution we’d been looking for. With shaking hands, Chujo-san pointed to the crucifix atop the church, and explained that its distant relative on Infant Island – the mysterious Mothra glyph – was more than just the name of the monster. It was a religious icon, a symbol that linked mortal man to the immortal monster. The monster, its name, the symbol, the twins, and the melody they’d sung to their goddess – it was all connected. The cosmic brilliance and simplicity of it all left me humbled and in awe.
Within minutes, Chujo-san had formulated a plan. With the help of the local government and police force, we arranged to have an exact copy of the Mothra symbol painted in white on a nearby airport runway. At 3:00 on the dot, every bell in every church across the city was to ring in unison, mimicking the otherworldly effects of the girls’ singing. The goal was to placate Mothra, to calm her and prove that we weren’t a threat. In essence, Chujo-san’s plan was to conduct a religious ceremony. The city itself was to become an altar of sorts, a place where she knew she was welcomed, and where she would finally get what she wanted.
It was, to put it mildly, an insane notion. But I trusted Chujo-san with all my heart, and chose to believe that he knew what he was doing. And in the end, my faith was more than rewarded.
As 3:00 neared, the three of us made our way to the airport, the box containing the fairies safely in in our hands. I wanted nothing more than to open it and assure the miraculous beings inside that everything was going to be alright, but somehow, I was sure that they already knew.
By the time we arrived at the runway, a crew of paint-filled trucks had already completed the massive recreation of the Mothra symbol. Although our ground-level perspective was limited, it must’ve been magnificent from the sky. And when the bells began to toll several minutes later at exactly 3:00, the experience ceased to be a simple rescue operation, and became something much more.
The runway had truly transformed. With the bells and the symbol, it felt for all the world as if I were standing in the middle of a great Christian cathedral, about to witness a miracle. The air itself seemed to be chanting the name of “Mothra.”
In the distance, the agitated form of the distant goddess began to calm. She had been aggressively flying over a stretch of the city several miles away from the runway, but mere moments after the bells had begun to ring, she seemed to grow slower, more focused. More at peace.
What’s more, she was getting closer.
It didn’t take long for her mighty wings to carry her to our position. And after making several passes over the symbol on the runway, she began to glide closer to the ground. Finally, her massive body touched down, coming to rest a mere 50 meters from where I stood.
At last, it was time.
Chujo-san, Michi-san, and I gathered around the Shobijin’s box, and gently lifted the telepathy-proof shield from their cage. We were greeted by smiles from the tiny twins, who gleefully shed their opulent robes to reveal their original, native garb before departing through the cage’s open door. The joy on their faces nearly moved me to tears; after everything they’d been through, they still greeted us with happiness. Through their entire ordeal, they’d kept their faith. Faith in Mothra, and in the three of us.
Fighting back a well of emotion, I exchanged goodbyes with the girls I’d come to know as the Shobijin, as did Chujo-san and Michi-san. And then, with a sense of pride and relief, we watched as the girls sprinted down the runway toward their goddess, who leaned her massive head down toward them to pick them up. Although we’d long since lost sight of the minute fairies, we knew that they were safe and sound, set to ride back home on their divine steed.
As simply as that, the deed had been done. Mothra’s great and beautiful wings lifted her serenely into the air, and as her cry echoed through the air above New Kirk City, her shape began to shrink within the vastness of the blue sky.
And in that moment, as the three of us waved and bid the monster goddess and her priestesses goodbye, it suddenly dawned on us that we’d failed to take a single picture of the encounter. But instead of despairing, we couldn’t help but find ourselves laughing.
As we stood there, all smiles and chuckles as Mothra disappeared into the distance, I found myself in disbelief that, at long last, it was all over. The story of the Shobijin had reached a happy ending, and against all odds, things had finally been put right. It had not been without loss, but in a rare and beautiful change of pace, balance had well and truly been restored. I’d been lucky enough to witness something profound, something beyond human understanding. I’d followed my instincts to the very end, and as always, I’d refused to let go.
I often find myself wondering if my trademark tenacity will ever lead me down a path quite as fantastical and eventful as this one again. But truthfully, if this report really does remain the biggest accomplishment of my life, then that will be fine by me. Who knows what the future might hold, but I doubt that anything will ever compare to this particular adventure.
At the end of the day, I feel nothing but humility and pride for the small but hopefully meaningful role I played in this story. And if I’m able to leave one final message with you, my loyal readers, it’s this: be kind to one another. Recognize humanity in every human, no matter how different they may be from you. Preserve peace wherever you can, call out greed whenever you see it, and no matter how dark things may seem, remember to keep your faith.
Praise be unto Mothra, the mightiest monster in all creation! May she and her tiny beauties find peace and happiness forevermore.