Disclaimer: All official Yu-Gi-Oh! GX characters & cards are property of VIZ, Shonen Jump, and Konami.

This fic is a joint project with two of my closest friends, Comic Master Alpha and Strawberry Bunny.


Zetsubou's Redemption

The throne room was all but empty save for two figures. Caius sat on his throne while Kage kept in the shadows as he always did. "The Gravekeepers have been defeated, the Vampires have been slain, the Dark Scorpions failed, the Blackwings are useless, Endymion is no longer within our control, the armies of Dark World are no more, Yubel was just a fake, the Magical Scientist has failed, and now Exodia has been vanquished." The Dark Emperor turned to the shadows. "And your subordinate failed!" Kage said nothing as the Shadow Monarch continued his rant.

"You may have been sent here as an emissary of the UnGod, but you have yet to produce results. And what happened to my hired mercenary and Jinzo?"

"If you feel so helpless Caius, perhaps you'd best handle this on your own," Kage suggested.

"No, that will not be necessary." Caius observed his scrying orb. "Thanatos shall deal with them. He has a plan to destroy their strongest warrior."

"For your sake, you better be right," Kage warned, "The UnGod is displeased with your subjects' failures."

"I assure you they will not fail again," Caius replied.

"Only because you've run out."

The Shadow Monarch ignored this last statement and focused on the orb and the images that appeared.

o o o

"Are we there yet?"

"Stop asking, Noah."

The boy had been asking the question repeatedly for nearly an entire hour that day as the group continued their travels and it had honestly begun to annoy them.

"Noah, if you don't shut up I'm gonna turn this goddamn car around!" Sammie finally said. Noah became quiet after that.

Meanwhile, Zetsubou had not heard any of it. He had been more focused on other things. Most notably his deck. Lately his Steelswarms hadn't been responding to him the way they had used to. And it was all because of one card. He sifted through his deck until he found the one he wanted: Steelswarm Hercules. For as long as he could remember, this one card always had a mind of its own and not just in the form of a Duel Spirit. Steelswarm Hercules was just so...evil.

Mikomi could sense her brother's troubledness and walked closer to him. "Are you okay, Zetsu?" she asked.

Zetsubou put his cards away and placed a hand on her shoulder. "I'll be fine, Mikomi."

As the group walked, Evilswarm Thanatos sat atop his black horse from a clifftop overlooking the Terran team. Behind him were his clan of Evilswarm demons. He watched the group for a moment before raising his hand and giving a signal. At once his men charged. Manna was the first to sense danger and turned. "Incoming!"

Zetsubou was the first to react. Drawing two of his knives, he moved in before anyone else could. Sako was the second, quickly setting up his sniper rifle and targetting his first victim. He fired his first shot and the bullet blew off his targets torso from his waist. Zetsubou leapt off the disembodied legs and stabbed two demons through the heart. While was down, he lashed out with his leg and swept three more off their feet before pulling out and backflipping to stab them. Two approached him for a frontal assault, which proved to be a costly mistake. Zetsubou threw his blades and they stuck in their heads. He then spun around and kicked another in the lower spine.

"Wow, Zetsubou's really going to town on those things," Sammie noted.

"Should we step in?" asked Getsu with her sword ready.

Evilswarm O'Lantern came flying over their heads and landed in a heap behind them.

"No, I think he's good," Sammie quickly replied.

Back at the fight, Zetsubou dropkicked Evilswarm Castor before pulling out a third knife and stabbing another attacker. He pulled out and flipped over to where his other two knives were buried within two fallen demons. As he got to his feet, he tossed one into the air and caught the hilt in his teeth. Zetsubou then spun around as several demons closed around him and slashed them all.

Suddenly the attack stopped. Evilswarm Thanatos had held up his hand and his minions backed off. He galloped forward and approached Zetsubou. "I had heard that your fighting skills were legendary. But your command over the underworld seems lacking."

"You're Thanatos," Zetsubou recognized.

"I'm glad you remember me."

"What do you want?"

"I'm here to test your command over the demons in your possession." Evilswarm Thanatos reached into a saddlebag and produced a jet black Duel Disk which he attached to his left gauntlet.

Zetsubou said nothing as he activated his own Duel Disk and the two combatants drew their cards.


Zetsubou: 8000

Evilswarm Thanatos: 8000


"I'll go first." Zetsubou drew his first card. "I set two cards and summon Steelswarm Caller in attack position." Two cards appeared at his feet followed by a black moth-like demon with orange wings (ATK/1700 DEF/0). "That will be all."

"My turn then." Still seated upon his horse, Evilswarm Thanatos drew his card. "Tell me, assassin. Are you aware that your Steelswarms have masters of their own?"

"What do you mean...masters?" Zetsubou inquired.

Evilswarm Thanatos chuckled. "You'll see soon enough. I summon Evilswarm Zahak!" In a flash of darkness, a dark and corrupted version of Dragunity Aklys appeared (ATK/1850 DEF/850). "Evilswarm Zahak, attack Steelswarm Caller!"

"You activated my Trap Card, Infestation Tool!" Zetsubou revealed one of his set cards. "By sending one Steelswarm monster from my deck to my graveyard, I can raise the attack power of one Steelswarm monster on the field by eight hundred until my End Phase." He sent Steelswarm Longhorn to his graveyard and a dark purple light surrounded Steelswarm Caller, raising its attack power to twenty-five hundred, more than enough to counter the attack. It avoided Evilswarm Zahak's attack and released a venomous powder from its wings that destroyed the corrupted creature.


Zetsubou: 8000

Evilswarm Thanatos: 7350


"I'll set one card and end my turn," announced Evilswarm Thanatos.

"I thought as much." Zetsubou drew. "I sacrifice Steelswarm Caller to summon Steelswarm Mantis!" Steelswarm Caller vanished and in its place arose the large mantis demon in his deck (ATK/2400 DEF/0). "And since Steelswarm Caller was sacrificed to Tribute Summon a Steelswarm monster, its effect will permit me to Special Summon one level four or lower Steelswarm from my deck. I call Steelswarm Sentinel in attack position." A cyborg-like demon with a single red eye appeared (ATK/1100 DEF/0). "Since he's in attack mode, Special Summoned monsters who are level five or higher have their effects negated."

"Now for Mantis' effect," Zetsubou continued, "Since it was Tribute Summoned by sacrificing a Steelswarm, I can pay one thousand Life Points to resurrect one dead Steelswarm."


Zetsubou: 7000

Evilswarm Thanatos: 7350


"Arise, Steelswarm Longhorn!" A demon resembling a longhorn beetle appeared on the field and loomed over Evilswarm Thanatos (ATK/3000 DEF/0). "Now Steelswarm Longhorn, attack directly!"

"I activate my Quickplay Spell, Fires of Doomsday!" declared Evilswarm Thanatos as two one-eyed black flames appeared, each a level one Dark Fiend with zero attack and defense points.

"Destroy one of the tokens!" ordered Zetsubou. Steelswawrm Longhorn continued its task and destroyed one of hte tokens. "Steelswarm Sentinel, it's your turn!" The smaller creature fired a laser from its eye and destroyed the second token.

"Steelswarm Mantis, finish up." Steelswarm Mantis lept across the field and slashed Evilswarm Thanatos with its arms.


Zetsubou: 7000

Evilswarm Thanatos: 4950


"Not much for being the masters of the Steelswarms," uttered Zetsubou.

"You have not yet seen their power." Evilswarm Thanatos drew. "Since you have more monsters than I, I Special Summon Evilswarm Mandragora." A Naturia Cosmobeet, corrupted and grown, appeared crouching defensively (ATK/1550 DEF/1450). "Next I Normal Summon Evilswarm Castor." A creature which could have passed as Constellar Pollux's twin brother appeared, but it had been corrupted by darkness (ATK/1750 DEF/550). "Then Castor's effect permits me to Normal Summon an extra lswarm monster. So I call for Evilswarm Salamandra!" A corrupted and darkened Jurrac Titano appeared (ATK/1850 DEF/950).

"Now I Overlay Evilswarm Mandragora with Evilswarm Castor." The two monsters transformed into streams of dark light and spiraled into a vortex that appeared. "I create an Overlay Network with my two monsters. Xyz Summon! Arise, Evilswarm Bahamut!" From the vortex emerged a black dragon resembling a corrupted version of Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier with two orbs of dark light orbiting its body (ATK/2350 DEF/1350).

"And now watch as I activate Evilswarm Bahamut's effect. By detaching one Overlay Unit, I can discard one Evilswarm monster from my hand and permanently take control of one of your monsters." Evilswarm Thanatos detached Evilswarm Castor and sent Evilswarm Cercyon from his hand to his graveyard. In doing so, Evilswarm Bahamut ate one of its orbs and then spread its wings and roared before lashing out with its tail and grabbing hold of Steelswarm Longhorn. Then with a swift yank it pulled it over and placed beside itself. "Next I'll activate Evilswarm Salamandra's effect. By banishing one monster from my graveyard, I can raise its attack points by three hundred. Additionally, this effect can be used twice per turn. So now I'll banish Evilswarm Zahak and Evilswarm Cercyon." He ejected two cards from his Duel Disk's graveyard and placed them both inside a saddlebag. In that moment, Evilswarm Salamandra began to burn with a dark fire as its attack points rose to twenty-four fifty.

"Now Evilswarm Salamandra, attack Steelswarm Mantis. Dark Titano Breath!" Evilswarm Salamandra's mouth started leaking black and blue flames before it released a steady stream of fire upon Steelswarm Mantis, killing it instantly.


Zetsubou: 6950

Evilswarm Thanatos: 4950


"Now Evilswarm Bahamut, destroy Steelswarm Sentinel. Dark Mega Flare!" Evilswarm Bahamut spread its wings and roared before it began charging up its attack in its open mouth and then unleashing a powerful blast of dark elemental energy.


Zetsubou: 5900

Evilswarm Thanatos: 4950


"Now I'll have the pleasure of sending your own monster in to deal the direct attack," Evilswarm Thanatos cackled, "Steelswarm Longhorn, attack!" Steelswarm Longhorn did as commanded and lunged at Zetsubou and closed his pincer claws around him.


Zetsubou: 2900

Evilswarm Thanatos: 4950


Zetsubou grunted as he tried to withstand the pain. But against the might of his own monster, it made it very difficult. "It's your turn," Evilswarm Thanatos declared and Evilswarm Salamandra's attack power returned to eighteen fifty points.

Zetsubou drew his card. "I summon Steelswarm Genome." A Steelswarm larva appeared (ATK/1000 DEF/0). "Next I activate Infestation Ripples. By paying five hundred Life Points, I can resurrect one level four or lower Steelswarm from my graveyard and I choose Steelswarm Caller." A pool of pink ooze appeared and Steelswarm Caller slowly rose from it. He looked in his hand. There was but one card that he knew could save him, but to play it was risky, especially after what had happened between him and it earlier. But now it wa his only hope.

"Now I'll the Spell Card, Double Summon. Now I'll sacrifice Steelswarm Caller and Steelswarm Genome under its effect." Both monsters vanished from the field. "I summon Steelswarm Hercules!" Massive black and gold Hercules beetle and demon hybrid rose up from the ground behind Zetsubou and towered over all the other monsters present (ATK/3200 DEF/0).

"And with Steelswarm Caller's effect, I'll Special Summon Steelswarm Sting from my deck." A black hornet-like demon appeared and buzzed loudly (ATK/1850 DEF/0). "Now I'll use Monster Reborn to resurrect Steelswarm Mantis." Steelswarm Mantis returned to life and stood alongside its fellow insectoid demons.

"Is this really a good idea?" Noah asked his fellow spectators, "I mean, we all know what happened with Steelswarm Hercules before."

"Now that you mentioned it, Thanatos doesn't look scared," Manna realized.

"He must have something planned," Mahad surmised.

"Steelswarm Hercules, attack Steelswarm Longhorn!" ordered Zetsubou. Steelswarm Hercules looked at Evilswarm Thanatos, who merely nodded. The massive demon uncrossed his lower arms and slammed his tail down in front of Zetsubou before stepping across the field and joining the demonic horseman.

"I was afraid of this," Mikomi muttered fearfully.

"It is no use," Evilswarm Thanatos laughed, "Your Steelswarms are all a subspecies of my Evilswarms. They obey us!"

"So that's what you meant when you said the Steelswarms had masters," Zetsubou said finally realizing the truth.

"Of course! The power of the lswarm virus corrupts all, as you have seen. These are but a small fraction of what it is capable of. But don't take my word for it." Evilswarm Thanatos drew his card. "Find out for yourself. Steelswarm Hercules, attack!" Steelswarm Hercules smiled and cocked back his arm before firing off a burst of spikes at Zetsubou.

"ZETSU!" Mikomi's words echoed across the field but were reached Zetsubou's ears over the roar of the incoming projectiles. He closed his eyes, but then suddenly a light illuminated and he opened them to see that the attack had been blocked by a barrier of light.

"Zetsubou," he heard someone say. He looked around but could not see who it was who had spoken.

"Who there?" he asked, "How do you know me?"

"We have always been there with you," the voice said, "Zetsubou Tejinashi the brave. You have overcome many obstacles to make it this far. You mustn't give up now. The pure do not falter. They do not surrender."

"What must I do?" Zetsubou asked.

"When evil changes its form and grows stronger, you must transform to meet it. Now rise, brave warrior. Rise, Zetsubou."

Zetsubou stood back up, as if in a trance. The others wondered what was happening to him and he slowly uttered a phrase, as if it were another speaking through him, "Hen...shin..." There was a flash of light followed by a flash of color as Zetsubou's Duel Disk transformed, taking on the appearance of an insect with large red bulbous eyes and silver antennae over a mostly black arm-mounted device. Zetsubou's left hand had also gained a bright red ring reminiscent of a helmet designed to look like an insect's head while his waist now supported a belt with a large stylized golden Z. The rest of his clothes had also been replaced with black form-fitting outfit allowing him perfect flexibility and mobility. His tattered cloak had become a fine maroon scarf. His hand had been magically replenished with six cards and as he watched his field, he could see darkness seeping out of his two monsters and suddenly they transformed before him. Steelswarm Sting changed into a warrior in yellow hornet-style armor wielding a large oversized tonfa while Steelswarm Mantis had become a creature in green armor with two enormous blades on his arms.

"What is this?" demanded Evilswarm Thanatos.

"Your infection of evil has no hold on us any longer!" the yellow creature decreed, "We have been purified and returned to our true forms."

"We are the Inzektors!" the green creature announced, "I am Inzektor Giga-Mantis!"

"And I, Inzektor Hornet!"

"And I believe it's my turn now." Zetsubou drew his card. "I play Monster Gate. First I tribute one monster and then pick up cards from my deck until I can find a monster than can be Normal Summoned. Then I can Special Summon that monster and the rest of the cards go to my graveyard. So I'll sacrifice Inzektor Hornet." Inzektor Hornet vanished and a portal opened up overhead as Zetsubou began picked up cards from his deck. "And look at that. Right away, the first card I get. I Special Summon Inzektor Dragonfly in attack mode!" A woman in a black bodysuit with crimson dragonfly-like armor appeared wielding a sonic blaster in one hand (ATK/1000 DEF/1800). "And with her effect, I will equip her with one Inzektor from my hand or graveyard. For this I choose Inzektor Hornet." Inzektor Dragonfly put her blaster away and picked up Inzektor Hornet's tonfa as it appeared. "Any Inzektor equipped with Inzketor Hornet shall have their level increased by three and their attack and defense boosted by Inzketor Hornet's." Inzektor Dragonfly's level increased to six as her attack power became fifteen hundred and her defense rose to twenty-three hundred.

"Now I'll use Inzektor Hornet's own effect to unequip himself from Inzketor Dragonfly." Zetsubou did as he said and Inzektor Dragonfly's stats returned to normal. "And thanks to that, Inzektor Hornet's other effect kicks in, permitting me to destroy one card on the field. And I choose...Steelswarm Hercules!" The female warrior spun her comrade's tonfa and flung it with all her might. The stinger in the short end extended and it stabbed Steelswarm Hercules in the head, felling him immediately.

"And since a card was unequipped from Inzektor Dragonfly, her effect lets me Special Summon one Inzektor from my deck," Zetsubou continued, "So here's Inzektor Centipede." A brown armored insectoid warrior appeared wielding a pair of bladed shields (ATK/1600 DEF/1200). "And with his effect, I'll equip him with Inzektor Hornet." Inzektor Centipede placed his shields on his back and was equipped with Inzektor Hornet's tonfa, raising his level to six and his stats to twenty-one hundred and seventeen hundred attack and defense points respectively. "And now I'll send Inzektor Hornet to the graveyard to destroy another monster." Inzektor Centipede threw the tonfa at Steelswarm Longhorn and equipped his own weapons while watching the flying one impale the target monster. "And with Inzektor Centipede's effect, I can retrieve one Inzektor from my hand and I choose a second Centipede, which I Normal Summon." Zetsubou did as he said and repeated the exact same process as he had using his previous Inzektor Centipede with Inzektor Hornet, this time destroying Evilswarm Bahamut.

"And now I'll equip Inzektor Dragonfly with an Inzektor Giga-Mantis from my hand, which will change her original attack points to twenty-four hundred." Inzektor Dragonfly holstered her blaster and gained Inzektor Giga-Mantis' arm blades, boostering her up to twenty-four hundred attack points.

"Inzektor Dragonfly, attack Evilswarm Salamandra!" Inzektor Dragonfly started flapping her wings and flew across the field. Once she was in range, she came down and slashed her target to pieces.


Zetsubou: 2900

Evilswarm Thanatos: 4400


"Now Inzektor Centipede, attack!" The first Inzektor Centipede threw his shields like boomerangs at Evilswarm Thanatos and cut him across his chest.


Zetsubou: 2900

Evilswarm Thanatos: 2800


He caught his weapons on his return and Zetsubou ordered the second Inzektor Centipede to attack. Evilswarm Thanatos ducked under the shields, but failed to avoid them when they came back around and cut him across the back.


Zetsubou: 2900

Evilswarm Thanatos: 1200


"And now Inzektor Giga-Mantis, finish it!" ordered Zetsubou as he took several steps forward before he ran toward his opponent with his monster alongside him. Inzektor Giga-Mantis flew ahead and slashed his target with both blades.


Zetsubou: 2900

Evilswarm Thanatos: 0


Evilswarm Thantos reeled from the attack and sat back up on his horse in time to see Zetsubou coming toward him with a fast flying kick. "Inzektor Kick!" His boot slammed into his target and sent the evil demonic god off his horse. He landed safely on his feet while his opponent hit the ground hard. Zetsubou stood back up and turned his back on Evilswarm Thanatos just before his body erupted first into an explosion of colorful smoke followed by a massive fiery explosion. He raised his arm and pressed his fingers against his ring, causing his Duel Disk to disappear.

"Zetsu!" Mikomi ran out to her brother while the others followed.

"That was impressive," Mahad commented.

"You beat Thanatos!" Manna exclaimed.

"And that explosion was amazing!" Noah added.

"What explosion?" asked Zetsubou.

"There was an explosion right behind you after you beat him," Noah tried to explain.

"I didn't notice any explosion."

"Are you telling me that you never noticed the seven story high fireball behind you?"

"You're crazy, kid," Sako muttered as he and the others filed past him.

"I'm telling you, there was an explosion right there."

o o o

"The Terrans have defeated Thanatos," Kozaky cackled, "That means they'll be marching upon the palace soon."

"Then the time has come for my plan to come to fruition." From the shadows, Jinzo stepped forward.

"I see your repairs are complete, Jinzo," Kozaky noted.

"Repaired and upgraded," Jinzo corrected as he stood adjusting his new gloves which seemed insignificant compared to the new suit and goggles he wore. "Have you heard from Albert?"

"He hasn't reported in for a while," Kozaky answered.

"Then we shall proceed without him. Such a shame to lose such a valuable colleague. Kozaky, prepare your machines." Jinzo stepped closer to the monitors. "It is time to initiate the final stage of the plan."

Next Week on Yu-Gi-Oh! GNext

The final stage of Jinzo's plan has come to fruition and the Terran team finds themselves caught in the middle of a terrifying conflict between Caius the Shadow Monarch and his Chief Scientist. Betrayal runs rampant in the realm of darkness. The final battle for Karheim begins next Friday on Yu-Gi-Oh! GNext!