Chapter 43

Into the Breach

There are a few moments in his life that Fox felt small in comparison. One was hard entrance exam into the flight academy that he attended before leading the Star Fox team. Another was when he asked Fara out for the first time. And now, in what could be the ultimate battle between good and evil between two universes, Fox McCloud, leader of the Star Fox team, and hero of Lylat, felt small compared to the beings before him. The Dark Breed, entities from a dark dimension, have shown up in full force in the Lylat System, led by the same person who had killed his father, and declared war on Lylat more than a decade ago. Andross made a deal with the Devil, and seems to be enjoying it, floating in front of the horde with a triumphant smile on his simian visage. However, there was something standing in his way; The Ultra race, defenders of another reality, and others, have shown up with their own army to combat this menace. However, they were outnumbered at least hundreds to one. However, even in the face of such overwhelming odds, the Ultra Brothers and Space Garrison knew that any one of their own was worth at least that many. Even the Cornerian fleet rose up from the planet's surface, and had ships from patrolling sectors form ranks behind the Ultras, willing to let the two opposing forces duke it out before becoming involved themselves. However, a Dreadnaught-Class ship named the Great Fox, the home base of the Star Fox team, floated behind the four fighters, who hovered next to the Ultra known as Zenith, also known as Jim, the team's sole Ultra member. Zenith floated alongside his father, Ultraman Hayata, while Zoffy and Taro did likewise. Hayata was the first to break the silence; "Andross, I will tell you this once more; give this foolish venture up. There is no way for you to win this day!" Andross laughed.

"You seriously believe that you have a chance at winning? You must be getting senile in your old age, Shodai."

"I am quite sane. However, it is you who does not realize the situation that you are in."

"How's that?" Andross asked.

"Gorzul has been fighting your influence since you merged with it. In its weakened state, it proved no match for you. However, over time since its awakening from hibernation, it has slowly regained its strength. Even if you had not awakened it, it would have come out of hibernation on its own, and finished what it started. You merely woke it up early, catching it off guard. And now, it yearns to be free. I'd guess that you don't have much time left before it fully absorbs your soul."

"Hm hm hm hm. Gorzul may be fighting me, even now, but rest assured that I am able to keep it under my most capable control. The reason why it regained control from me that one time, was because McCloud defeated me over Sauria." Fox stiffened when he heard his name. then, Andross seemed to look his way as he spoke. "Yes, you remember, don't you Fox? You foiled my plan to resurrect myself, not that I really needed it. The reason why was because I figured that the Krazoa would give me an extra boost of power, while eliminating that girl as well. Gorzul warned me about Krystal, so I devised that little plan to wipe her out, before continuing with my plan of taking the Lylat System, with the help of my new friends here." He gestured to the Dark Breed horde that floated behind him, waiting for his command to be unleashed upon them. The Ultras and Cornerians tensed while the conversation went on. Taro was the next to speak.

"You may have us outnumbered, but just one of us is worth hundreds of those Dark Breed that you seem to be so fond of." the horned son of Father and Mother of Ultra stated. Andross laughed.

"They are not like the Kaiju and Seijin that you are used to, Taro." The Warrior of Light stiffened when he heard his name. "Yes, I know about you, and about the Space Garrison, and the threat that they would pose. However, I have no reason to be worried. I hold within my grasp, the power to command an entire race. Now, let me show you true power!" As if by some unseen signal, the Dark Breed surged forward, passing the still-floating Andross while he laughed maniacally.

"Warriors of Light, ENGAGE!" Father of Ultra shouted. At that command, the Ultras flew at the incoming horde, along with Zenith and Hayata. That was when the younger Warrior of Light saw the four fighters fly alongside him, as did Hayata. They stopped, as did the arwings, which turned around to face them.

"Why are you stopping?" Fox asked.

"This is too dangerous for you. Head back with the rest of the ships, and protect the rear, in case the Dark Breed should break through our lines." Hayata ordered.

"As if, pal! We're not going anywhere, except with you guys!" Falco answered, which spoke for the rest of the team. Hayata turned to his son, and both nodded. They raised both of their arms, and twin beams of light shot out that enveloped the fighters.

"What the-" Fox shouted.

"We are sorry to do this, but you leave us no choice." Hayata says as the arwings are being flung back to the fleet.

"I can't let anything happen to you. Not to something like this, when it can be avoided. Please, let us handle it." Zenith adds. Once the fighters are back with the fleet, the pair fly off to join their fellows to engage the Dark Breed. The arwings were floating beside the Great Fox, the team looking out at the raging battle before them.

"Let them handle it, he says." Falco says, almost under his breath. "We freakin' live here, ya know!" the avian shouts at the battle scene before them. That's when the four pilots see an a most unexpected sight; Mebius and Hikari floated up in front of them, with Zoffy just behind them.

"What are you guys doing here?" Mebius asked, "We thought you'd be with Zenith and the others."

"We would, but he and his father sent us back here." Krystal said.

"They said some bull about it being too dangerous for us to handle. Doesn't he know who we are?" Falco adds. Mebius and Hikari look to Zoffy, and he nods to them. They return the gesture and look to the arwings.

"We will take you to the front with us." Hikari states.

"Really?" Fox asked. They nodded.

"We both out-rank Zenith, and Commander Zoffy out-ranks all of us. So, you really have no choice in the matter." the blue Ultra says with a hint of a smile in his voice. That was when the four arwings and three Ultras flew into the chaos in front of them.

The battle was not so much a battle, as it was confusion and chaos. Then again, all battles are like that. The Ultras, who seemed to be hopelessly outnumbered, were putting up a valiant effort in shooting down the Dark Breed in great numbers. The red and blue Warriors of Light's beams sliced through anything in their way, however, the enemy had massive numbers on their side, the demon-like entities letting loose their own volleys at the Ultras. It was quantity versus quality, where light and darkness were pitted against eachother. Hayata, Zenith, Taro, and the other Ultra Brothers were having their fair share of action themselves. Letting loose with their signature attacks, the ten Warriors of Light were in a ring, blasting down Dark Breed left and right. "Storiummu…" Taro powered up his famous finisher, as did Zenith.

"Meganiummu…"

"KOUSEN!" they both shouted. Both rays, one multi-colored and the other golden, struck out at the Dark Breed mass before them, and swept the rays opposite from eachother, with the rest of the Ultra Brothers doing likewise. By what seemed like by the hundreds, the Dark Breed were vaporized into ashes. However, were one was killed, ten more seemed to take its place as the demon-like beings began to close in on them. The Ultra Brothers ceased firing, the toll on their energy was starting to show. "What now, father?" Zenith asked, turning to Hayata. The elder looked at his son, but had no reply. Looking out at the horde before them, and watching as their own numbers were being diminished by the Dark Breed horde, things were starting to look hopeless for them. Then, two rays of light, one golden and the other blue, tore through the Dark Breed that were closing in in front of Zenith and Hayata. The pair looked up, and saw Mebius and Hikari descend, while Zoffy tore through another rank with his M87 Beam. Then, he too took his place beside his subordinates. "Commander!" Zenith exclaimed. His superior regarded him for a moment, then turned back to the horde before them. However, the show wasn't done yet; several explosions erupted from behind the Dark Breed. The demons looked behind them, and were instantly turned to fireballs by several nova bombs. The four arwings flew out of the horde, and then turned around for another strafing run at the horde. Zenith could only float there, shocked at the sight of his friends taking on the nightmarish horde by themselves. After several more of them went down with some more bombs and charged-shots, the four craft took up positions beside Zenith. The Warrior of Light looked at them. "I thought I told you guys to stay back!" he said, irritated.

"And you should know, Zenith, that every being has the right to fight for his and her home." Zoffy replied. Zenith looked at his superior, who nodded at him. Zenith returned the nod, albeit unceremoniously, but Zoffy didn't pay it any mind. He knew that Zenith didn't want to see his friends get hurt or killed out here, but at the same time, they also have been known to save Zenith himself on occasion. However, the biggest concern was whether or not anyone or anything could save them in this particular situation as the Dark Breed closed in on them. The Ultras took up their combat stances and the arwing pilots gripped the controls to their fighters as the army of darkness was getting closer and closer. Then, a laugh pealed through, and Andross himself materialized above the Ultra Brothers.

"What now, Star Fox and Zenith? As you can plainly see, your little army is being routed and the Lylat System is now mine for the taking. All I have to do, is just wipe you out from existence, and then I can finally claim what is rightfully mine!"

"We won't let that happen, Andross! I stopped you twice, and I'll do it again!" Fox shouted, gunning his arwing at the mad ape.

"You honestly think that you are a match for me? This isn't like the last two times that you fought me, Fox. I've grown even stronger since then!" Just when Fox's arwing was a mere hundred meters away from the mad ape, Andross lifted his hand, and the fighter stopped dead in its tracks. That's when the Zenith decided to fly up at the mad ape, and fired his Meganium Beam, followed by volleys from the Star Fox team, and the Ultra Brothers. However, the attacks didn't connect with Andross, as they seemed to be repelled by some unseen barrier. Fox looked around in a sudden panic as alarms on his ship began to go off. Andross continued to smirk as he closed his hand into a fist. Fox looked and saw that his canopy was beginning to crack, and his console began to throw sparks and smoke as his ship was being crushed by an unseen hand. Fox tried almost everything to break free as the arwing was being crumpled up. Zenith tried to reach for him, but his hand only enclosed on an unseen sphere of power, and was knocked away. Andross laughed maniacally as he watched this. "Now Fox, you will be erased from this world. The famed Hero of Lylat, defeated by the new Emperor of Lylat. How fitting." His laughing stopped abruptly, and he had a shocked expression. The Dark Breed horde stopped its advance, and looked up at Andross. Fox flew what was left of his arwing away from Andross, and looked up in confusion, as did the others. Andross grasped his head in apparent pain, wailing as if in sheer agony. "N-no! I won't…lose control…"

"What's going on?" Slippy asked. It was Krystal who answered.

"Gorzul is regaining control." that was when another voice spoke, only it seemed to emanate from everywhere.

"You old fool. You thought to control the most powerful force of evil in any realm without a price?"

"Wh-who?"

"It is small minds like yours that I really detest. You have no idea the kind of power that you sought to obtain. Such power cannot be given to one such as you so freely. You must give me something in return."

"NO! I am in control…I am…" With a yell, Andross slumped forward, floating freely in space. Then, he righted himself up, and looked at the Ultras before him, smirking. That's when both Zenith and Krystal felt it. Gorzul was back with a vengeance. The Andross-possessed Gorzul looked at them, arms folded across his chest as the Dark Breed swarmed around him. The Ultra army looked around as the Dark Breed left them together around their ruler. Then, something happened; Andross's face seemed to morph, then fall away, leaving a demonic skull-like visage with green flames dancing. Gorzul laughed, and pointed at the Ultras.

"I have waited a long time for this, Ultras. Now that I am free, there is nothing to stop me from taking this reality for my own."

"That's where you're wrong, Gorzul! You are still weakened from the exertion of taking over Andross. Even now, anyone of us can take you!" Zenith replied, and flew up at Gorzul. The flaming simian skull leered down at him, and almost appear to smirk.

"You want to face me? Very well. Follow me, little Ultra. Follow me if you dare." Gorzul floated away as the Dark Breed horde acted as a shield to block Zenith. However, the Warrior of Light merely plowed through them, followed by the Star Fox team. The arwings blasted away at the demon-like beings, while Zenith blasted away at them, or dispatched them with his bare hands. Then, several beams of light, blue/white and multi-colored, took care of the rest, while the Ultra Brothers routed the horde that surrounded the Ultra and team.

"We'll take care of the small fry. You five strike down Gorzul!" Hayata ordered, turning to face the Ultra and Star Fox. Zenith nodded and pursued Gorzul, followed by the five arwings. Gorzul saw this, and continued to fly farther from them. Then, something that neither expected happened; a white-hole opened up in the direction that Gorzul was flying.

"Can you follow me where few have dared?" he taunted. Gorzul flew into the white-hole.

"I do not fear the Dark realm, Gorzul! I'll follow you into the pits of Hell itself!" Zenith shouted, pursuing the Dark Breed.

"You're not going in there without us!" Slippy shouted as the fighters followed suit. What happened next, neither of them could have foreseen.

The Ultra Brothers tore through the Dark Breed, blasting the demon-like entities into so much dust. Despite being massively outnumbered, the Ultra Brothers were easily a match for the dark swarm. When the fighting was starting to die down, Hayata chanced a look, and saw his son and his friends enter the white-hole that Gorzul escaped through. He turned to Zoffy. "Sir, this is where I go on ahead." Zoffy turned to him, and nodded, as did the other Ultra Brothers. They felt like, they were never going to see him again, for he had told them of his intentions ahead of time. They resisted it at first, but given the circumstances, they relented. As Hayata flew off after the others into the white-hole, Zoffy said one thing under his breath.

"Good-bye old friend."

They were in the Cross Roads, the never-ending expanse that bridges all of the universes and realities together. The swirl of black and white, while numberless multi-colored ball of light floated everywhere before the five forms. Zenith and the Star Fox team stared out in awe at the sight before them, or rather, most of them did. Zenith looked this way and that, trying to locate his enemy while his friends 'oohhh'd and 'aahhh'd at the sight. "It's…beautiful…" Krystal said, almost mesmerized by the sight. The rest of the team were feeling the same way. Zenith shot forward, turning this way and that, and when he turned to face his teammates, his breath caught in his throat; Gorzul appeared behind them, ready to pounce.

"Guys, behind you!" he shouted, but the warning came too late. Gorzul trapped them in an energy field between his hands, the dark violet aura enveloping them like a net. While they were unharmed, they were unable to move. Zenith clenched his fists, feeling helpless to help his friends. Gorzul laughed, the green-flaming skull opening its maw.

"Well, well, well. It would seem that I hold the aces in this match, Zenith. What will you do now, I wonder. Will you sacrifice your friends in order to strike me down, or will you surrender, possibly guaranteeing their safety?" Zenith couldn't reply to the taunt. He knew that Gorzul had him pinned down this time around. So, he lowered his arms in apparent defeat.

"Jim, no!" Fox shouted.

"I have no choice, Fox! If I don't then you'll…you'll all be…" Zenith's fists clenched tighter as he spoke. He had not felt this powerless in a while, and he detested it even now.

"Jim, don't worry about us! Just end this guy!" Fox shouted. Zenith looked up as he heard this. "You're not just a Space Garrison member, you're also a member of Star Fox yourself. That means, that you have to do everything in your power to protect the Lylat System, no matter how hard the decision! People rely on us to protect them, especially from scum bags like this guy! So please, get him for us!"

"Fox…" Zenith stood there in apparent silence, while Gorzul laughed.

"How touching. Sacrificing yourselves for the greater good. How predictably noble. Well, what's it going to be, Zenith? I haven't got all day you know, despite the fact that we are in a place where space and time virtually have no meaning whatsoever. I have things to do."

"What sort of things?" Zenith asked, hoping to stall for time.

"I'll tell you. After I'm done with this little charade, I plan to take my brethren and take the universe that you've been protecting as my own. After that, well, use your imagination." Zenith took it all in, and seemed to be taken aback by it. "Well, it's been fun, but I do have a timetable to keep. Since you can't seem to make up your mind, I'll just do it for you!" Gorzul raised a hand at the floating group before them, and was prepared to fire an energy blast.

"You talk too much." Gorzul whirled at the sound of the voice, and was shocked to see Zenith floating right in front of him. The Ultra raised a fist at him, and swung. Gorzul blocked for the incoming blow, reacting on instinct. However, the strike come not from the front, but from the rear. He felt something sear and burn his back, and he gave a pained yell. He turned just in time to get a fist in his flaming skull, knocking him back. He flew back, but was able to regain control, and saw two Zeniths floating in front of the Star Fox team, while the team themselves wore a similiar expression to what Gorzul was feeling. One of the Zeniths laughed, and pointed at Gorzul.

"You fell for one of the oldest tricks in the book. While you were talking, I was able to slip one of my duplicates behind you without you even noticing. You'll have to be a lot sharper than that if you want to defeat me." Just then, one of the Zeniths disappeared, leaving one left. Gorzul felt rage boil over as the red and silver Ultra neutralized the energy field surrounding the team.

"Nice job, Jim." Slippy said. Zenith nodded while the Star Fox team floated beside him.

"How'd you know he'd fall for it?" Fox asked. Zenith shrugged.

"It's a stereotypical thing for villains. They just can't resist gloating." The team laughed a bit at this, then focused on the enraged Gorzul.

"You little pissants think that's funny? You hear me laughing?" Suddenly, a purple aura glowed around Gorzul's form, like a miasma. He looked up at the five figures, hatred burning in the eye-sockets of its skull. Zenith braced himself as he was forced back by an unseen force by what seemed like a few meters. When he lowered his guard, he could see ruler of the Dark Breed rushing at him. Unable to bring up his guard in time, the red and silver Warrior of Light was tackled by the Dark Breed. Both forms were hurtling through the endless reaches of the Cross Roads, each unable to get the upper hand on the other. Then, they broke away and faced eachother. Both combatants took up a fighting stance while circling eachother. It appeared that they were walking around on some kind of ground, all though none seemed visible. That's when the fight started. Gorzul attacked first, going in with a straight to Zenith's face. The Warrior of Light parried the blow, and came up with an upper-cut, knocking the Dark Breed ruler away from him. However, Gorzul charged forward, intending on slamming his full body-weight against Zenith. Zenith cart-wheeled out of the way, while coming back up and sending a shredding halo at Gorzul. The saw-blade managed to gut Gorzul along the flank as it gave a pained grunt in surprise. It whirled to face Zenith.

"Don't get too cocky, boy. I'm only starting."

"Oh, I certainly hope so Gorzul. For your sake." Both combatants once more circled eachother, then went at it again, this time Gorzul seemed to be on equal footing with Zenith. Gorzul threw a hay-maker at Zenith, who prepared to parry the blow. However, Gorzul feinted, and sent a side-kick to Zenith's ribs. The red and silver Ultra hadn't counted on the surprise attack, and took the attack in full. He grasped his side in apparent pain as Gorzul sent two jabs to his gut, making him stumble back, while a spin-kick sent him to the 'floor'. Zenith looked up in time to see Gorzul raise its foot, intending on sending it down on Zenith's skull. The Ultra rolled out of the way, and came back up in a fighting stance when the Dark Breed lunged at him, both fighters locking hands in death-grips. Both sent a side-kick his opponent's way, forcing the other to stumble back. Zenith leapt up, and performed a flying kick, which Gorzul evaded by somersaulting forward. Zenith landed just behind the Dark Breed, and Gorzul struck his leg out, sweeping Zenith's out from under him. Zenith fell, and rolled onto his shoulder, coming back up into a fighting stance. However, this gave Gorzul time to recover as well, and renew his attack. Both warriors charge at eachother, the shockwave of the two colliding with eachother sending shockwaves that are felt, even by the pilots inside of the arwings. Gorzul got to his feet, as did Zenith. The Arwings flew in closer, the only thing keeping them from firing on Gorzul is the fear that they might hit Zenith by accident. Both Dark Breed and Ultra continued to circle eachother, like carnivores over a fresh kill, each waiting for an opening. Gorzul laughed.

"You don't look so good, Zenith. Perhaps you are not up to snuff like I thought."

"I can take anything you can dish out, Gorzul. Perhaps it is you who is not as I expected."

"What?"

"I figured you would be a lot stronger than this. However, like my father said, freeing yourself from Andross has left you drained. Right now, you and I are about equal strength." Gorzul dropped his guard, as did Zenith as both combatants looked at eachother.

"I see…it appears that you are right. I should have destroyed you long before now…" Gorzul clenched its fists, then looked up, the glow in its eyes intensifying. "Fortunately, I have a back-up plan!" Gorzul raised both of its arms at Zenith, and twin rings of purple energy flew from them, and before Zenith could react, they wrapped around his body.

"What the…"

"Ha ha ha! You're trapped now, Zenith! And now I get to do to you, what I've been wanting to do to your father!" Zenith struggled against his bonds, as what looked like a wormhole opened up behind the Dark Breed. Zenith saw this, and gasped. "Your father sealed me away, with the help of the infernal Ultra Brothers. I planned on giving your father a taste of his own medicine, right after I get done with you. Go spend an eternity in Hell!" Tendrils of shadow shot out of the wormhole and wrapped around Zenith, slowly dragging him into the rift in space/time. The Ultra struggled against his bonds, but to no avail. Just then, several emerald bolts shot out from Gorzul's left, striking the tendrils. Gorzul turned and saw the arwings descend upon him and unleash their fury with lasers and charged shots, their nova bombs already having been spent. The bolts of green along red lanced across Gorzul's frame as he blocked against them. It provided Zenith enough time to break free from his bonds and tendrils, and focus on Gorzul. While the Dark Breed was focusing on the arwings, he failed to notice the silvery fist on a collision course with his face. The blow sent Gorzul flying, but he righted himself up, and faced the Ultra and Star Fox team. However, Gorzul wasn't done. Gorzul rushed at Zenith, and tackled him, sending both into the worm hole that the Dark Breed created. It closed up behind them, and winked out of existence. It was then that Krystal found her voice.

"JIIMMM!" However, for a reply, there was none.

In the Dark Realm, both Ultra and Dark Breed tumbled through, until they landed on solid ground. They separated just before impact, and Zenith landed on his feet, as did Gorzul. The red and silver Ultra looked around, taking in the scene: Dark storm clouds covered them from overhead while lightning danced around while thunder sang its song. As Zenith looked around him, Gorzul pointed and laughed.

"What now, Zenith? You are in my world, cut off from your friends and with no hope of escape. This is where you will die, your grave right here in the Dark Realm!" Zenith turned to face Gorzul, and rushed at him. However, the Dark Breed merely lifted up his hand, and Zenith stopped in mid-step, his arms at his sides as if he were being held by invisible bonds. Gorzul pushed back, and Zenith was sent flying. The red and silver Ultra got back up, and leapt at Gorzul ending in a flying kick right at the skull. Only, the attack never landed. Gorzul raised his hand up, and Zenith crashed into the ground. He got back to his feet, albeit uneasily, and fired his Meganium Kousen, but the golden beam was deflected off of an unseen barrier. Zenith was shocked by this, while Gorzul laughed heartily. The Ultra's warning light began to blink. "What's wrong Zenith? Getting a little worn? Here in the Dark Realm, you are separated from your friends. While your power does come from solar radiation, you also rely on your friends to give you the strength you need to keep fighting. Separated from them like this cuts your power in half. You are now a powerless Ultraman!" Zenith took up his combat stance against Gorzul, who continued to laugh. Then, Gorzul raised a hand, and a purple beam shot out, striking Zenith. The Ultra was sent flying back. He landed upon the ground, and lost consciousness.

Back in the Cross Roads, Krystal could feel something, but couldn't discern what it was. All she could do, was stare at the spot where Zenith and Gorzul had entered into the Dark Realm, unable to do anything. She couldn't feel him, like the time he went to the Land of Light for recovery. Tears starting to come down, and she turned away from the spot, unable to look anymore. Just then, another wormhole opened up. Krystal felt her heart leap when she saw it, but felt a little bit less jovial when she saw it was Hayata who came through, not Zenith. However, seeing him here does bring some sort of comfort, oddly enough. "Where is Zenith?" he asked. It was Fox who answered.

"He and Gorzul flew into some sort of wormhole. That's the last we saw of them." Hayata looked at them, then nodded in understanding. He looked at the area where the arwings were facing.

"Is that where the Gate Way was activated?" he asked.

"Yes."

"Alright." he said. His form began to glow brightly, until it looked like he was a living luminescence. Then, he thrusted his arms out with a shout, and twin beams of light shot out of his arms. They converged on the spot where the wormhole opened, and a new one opened up. The team was shocked by this, until Hayata spoke again. "Now, call to him. Let him know that you are here for him." Krystal reached out with her mind, hoping to reach him. In the Dark Realm, Zenith was still unconscious as Gorzul stood over him, laughing like a mad man. Zenith, however, was in another place. Inside the void, there was nothing but darkness as Jim floated in it, totally unaware of where he his. Then, he hears a voice, calling his name. His eyes snap open, and he turns his head. He is surprised to see Krystal floating next to him, smiling.

"K-Krystal.." he says finally.

"Come on, Jim. It's time to come home." she says, holding out her hand ton him. Jim looks away.

"How can I come home. I'm trapped in the Dark Realm."

"It doesn't matter. With us, you can break free and come back to us, to me, where you belong." she replies. Jim looks back at the vixen. Her smile never left her muzzle. Jim looks at her hand, and takes it. Instantly, he feels a warmth spread through his body as the darkness was suddenly lit up by a brilliant luminescence of red and blue. In the Cross Roads, Krystal's arwing glowed blue, then died. Fox looked over, and saw that her cockpit was empty.

"Hey! Where's Krystal at?" he nearly shouted. The others looked too, as did Hayata, who reassured them;

"Do not worry. She is where she wants to be, where she is supposed to be." Fox looks up at the red and silver giant, who nods reassuringly at him, and he returns it, looking back at the Gate Way swirling before them.

In the Dark Realm, Gorzul looked away from the limo form of Zenith to look up at the swirling clouds above him. "At last, I have finally killed the one who was destined to kill me! The prophecy was a farce! A FARCE! Ha ha ha!" That was when he noticed it. A type of glow was coming from behind him, and he turned and saw it was coming from Zenith himself. To his great Shock, Zenith stood up once more, the glow still coming from him. "What?" he shouts as Zenith is standing before him, glowing like a red and blue sun.

"Gorzul, I am never separated from my friends! Their power flows through me, and I will use that power to defeat you!"Zenith shouts in a voice that is not his, but sounds like a mix of his, and a girl's voice as well. Then, the glow intensified, and a multi-colored beam erupted from his form and impacted against Gorzul, who was swallowed up in the light. Suddenly, a great tremor shook the ground that Zenith was standing, and the ground split open, revealing licking flames from the world's interior. That was when Zenith decided to escape. He flew up high and fast. The swirling Gate Way shone clearly in space as the planet beneath him crumbled into dust and fragments. Zenith shot through the Gate Way, and was met with Hayata and co. He stopped just in front of them, and his form lost its glow as Krystal re-materialized in her arwing. She opened her emerald eyes, looking as though she had been asleep. Zenith turned to Hayata, who clasped his son on the shoulders.

"Well done Zenith. You have just defeated the evil that our kind has not been able to defeat. Because of that, countless worlds have been saved."

"Thank you, father."

"I'd prefer, if you didn't call me that."

"What do you mean?" Zenith asked. Hayata turned away, and looked out at the countless realities before him, twinkling like stars.

"I lost the right to call you my son when Gorzul stole you from me. I didn't help raise you. That was done by a human family in your home reality. I no longer have any right to be your father." He turned to face Zenith, his voice sounding like it was breaking. "All I ever wanted was to raise you, Zenith. However, I may have a shot at that. I have already put in a request to Father of Ultra, and he gave me the Okay."

"Okay for what?"

"My retirement." Zenith was surprised to hear this. His father, the legendary Ultraman Hayata, who had been the first Ultraman to show up on Earth, was retiring? "I have made up my mind, and Father of Ultra said it would be alright for me to retire from the force. Besides, it's in good hands, as I can see." Hayata grabbed Zenith's shoulders tightly, and embraced him. "Even if I did not raise you fully myself, I want you to know that I have never been more proud of you."

"F-father…" Zenith was getting a little choked up himself. Hayata broke away from him, and floated away. "W-wait!" Hayata froze in mid flight. "He's still out there, isn't he? Gorzul I mean."

"Yes. Although he has been beaten this day, he will come back one day to get revenge on you and Krystal. Although, with the amount of damage he received, that day is still quite a ways off." Zenith nodded, as did his father.

"Where will you go?" he asked. Hayata chuckled at this.

"Xetulu and I have found a prime reality for us to retire to. Since Gorzul doesn't exist in that reality, and that it bears a striking resemblance to the one that you are in, well…" he shrugged, and Zenith got the idea: an alternate reality. Krystal stiffened when she heard her father's name mentioned. "Take care, Patrolman Zenith." With that said, Hayata flew off into the Cross Roads, heading for a destination that only he knew about. Zenith continued to look out at the place where he left, feeling himself smile on the inside.

"Good bye…father…"

In the Lylat System, the Ultras and Cornerian Fleet had been anxiously waiting for what seemed like an eternity. However, when the Gate Way opened up, and the four arwings and one Ultra appeared, they breathed a collective sigh of relief, especially Peppy hare on the Great Fox. Zenith went to join his fellows, while the Star Fox team held back. Zenith told Zoffy what had happened to his father. His superior merely nodded, and spoke.

"It would seem that he has finally achieved what he has always wanted. We were all against it, at first, but then we relented when we found out his true intentions."

"True intentions?"

"To raise you, like he always wanted." Zenith nodded. "We leave the Lylat system in your capable hands, Zenith. I will be expecting a full and formal report on this soon, though not too soon. Be sure to take some time off and relax. You've earned it." With that, all the Ultras headed back home to the Land of Light. Zenith turned to the Star Fox team.

"My friends, shall we go home?" he asked. They nodded, smiling broadly. Then, they made their way to the shining blue planet of the Lylat System.

Epilogue: He doesn't know where he is, or how he got there, all he knows is that he is being led through some alien forest by what looks like a blue fox-kit. When he reached the village, his breath was taken away; it was huge, containing hundreds of structures and people, all looking like the kit that led him to a large structure in the center of the village. The people all stared at him, like he were some oddity out of a science-fiction novel. The structure that he was being led to had several spires coming out of the roof, like a great church or cathedral. Inside, were several giant marble statues of fox-like characters, all wearing different apparel. However, it wasn't these that he was fixated on, but rather at what was in front of him; three figures stood in the center of the room. Two were vulpine, one wearing a robe, the other wearing a tunic and pants. The one with the tunic turned to the robed figure. "You may go now, Randorn. I believe that your daughter doesn't like it that I keep you here so late." he said, smiling. Randorn smiled, and replied.

"Nor does my wife, Athena. We both know not to get on her bad side." Both of them laughed heartily, while the third figure smiled. It was this particular person that he was focusing on. He was a human, or human-like, wearing a black vest, tan tunic and pants with a belt and black boots, while wearing a red and silver mantle. He looked like he was about thirty or so, and he smiled at him. The boy rushed up to him, shouting "Father!" Hayata knelt down, and embraced the blonde-haired boy, who was wearing a similar outfit compared to him.

"Zenith. I trust that you got here alright?" Hayata asked. Zenith nodded, his blonde hair waving slightly. He turned to the vulpine next to him. "When can his training begin?"

"Right away, if you wish." he replied, smiling a bit himself.

"I'd prefer to wait a bit. After all, it is a new world that he is on."

"Of course." The vulpine turned to the girl. "Daughter, please be so kind to escort the boy to our home. He will be staying with us, and his father. Your mother already knows about their coming."

"Of course, father!" the kit says, enthusiastically. She practically dragged the human boy out of the building, and to her home, while both figures laughed heartily.

"Will your daughter ever change, Xetulu?" Hayata asked when he saw the kit and boy gone, the boy trying to keep up with the kit.

"No Hayata. I don't think she will, either of them. In this world, or the next." With that said, both figures followed the kit and boy home.

And so, a new journey begins…