Chapter 24: Together

Haruto's room was a child's paradise. Filled with multiple dolls and toys based off of Melffy's and Wind-Up's, as well as a large television and several games consoles. But for Haruto, it was simply the trappings of luxury that lessend the impact that this was his hospital room. Not even the neon star pictures on his ceiling could lessen this feeling.

Haruto had always been 'sick'. But not a normal sick. He had a lot of 'Order' that was unnatural, and weakened him from the inside out. His father has had him use his power to destroy garbage in order to burn the Order out of his body, but it was never truly gone. So, he had to stay in this room with constant monitoring, to stay alive.

He only had his brother, his father, and more recently, Yuma and Noda, who despite reaching out to in order to save his brother, were still really nice to meet.

"Haruto..."

Oh, and of course Number 28.

Titanic Moth was a blank card his dad had asked Kaito to give him, and almost immediately it became a monster that reminded him of the butterflies he used to hunt. And ever since, the spirit of the card had appeared to him. She was like a mother he never had.

When her spirit appeared and she wrapped her wings around him, it felt like being cuddled.

"Tell me, what is wrong?"

"I'm worried." He admitted. "About my brother, and my father, and Yuma and Noda. All of the Numbers have been taken by Heartland. All of their friends."

"Haruto." She floated in front of him, cupping his head in her hands. "Your kindness has helped Kaito so much before, and now you can do that again for all of them in this moment. But you must also remember that you are still a child, and you must stay safe. Nobody would blame you for being scared. It is your decision what to do."

Haruto blinked at her. Could he truly help everyone? But, how? He didn't know what he would be able to do...

"Haruto!" He was interrupted as his brother suddenly ran into the room with Orbital 7.

"Brother? Orbital?"

"Here." He carefully picked up Haruto and cradled him. "We're leaving. Now."

"Huh? But, what about father?"

"He'll follow later." He said that a bit too sharply. "What's important is we get you out of here. Orbital!"

"Right, Master Kaito!" Orbital saluted, before transforming into his jetpack form. It would be far too risky to take the elevator down, they had to get out now!

"Wait, Kaito!" Haruto pleaded, grabbing his brothers chest. "Yuma, and all the Numbers, they're-!"

"Yuma can take care of himself. Trust me." Kaito told him, with an actual soft tone. "What's more important is making sure you're safe."

"But, but I'm sick of being safe!" Haruto cried. "I want everybody else to be safe!"

"Everybody else is old enough to fix their own mistakes." Kaito almost begged Haruto's argument down. "You're a child, Haruto! And a vulnerable one. The best you can do for everyone, is relieving them knowing you're alright."

"No, nobody should have to fight alone!" The boy cried with tears in his eyes. "Not you, not Yuma, not father...I can't let them just fight and get hurt for my sake like you did! I want to help!"

"Haruto...!"

"M-Master Kaito..." Orbital beeped. "Mast Haruto...he's grown up a lot. I b-believe this is the first time he's asked for something so selfishly, yet it is still so selfless. I-Isn't it?"

"Orbital, not you too!" Kaito growled much more fiercely, making the robot beep.

"Please, Kaito!"

Kaito grit his teeth in frustration. He looked down the corridor he came from, several doors between where Faker kept the Sphere Field, where Yuma would now be trapped. Yuma, who had faced him again and again, trying to help the guy who had taken his keepsake and Numbers. And he looked at Haruto, his entire world, asking him to take him back towards the clutches of Heartland. He absolutely couldn't!

What was he supposed to do!?


ZEXAL and Hope faced down Heartland and Hopeless, the injured Faker behind them. They were both in anticipation of what Heartlands trump card against them was capable of.

"Allow me to show you Hopeless' power!" Hearland declared, revealing the card in his hand. "I activate the Spell, Seven Store! By tributing Hopeless, I draw a card, then another for each overlay unit it had. Thus, I draw three cards!" Heartland seemed practically giddy as his monster vanished and he replenished his hand. "Hahaha! Draw! Draw! Draw!"

"He sacrificed 98 so nonchalantly!?" Astral within ZEXAL gasped.

"With this, Hopeless..." He giggled. "Activate your effect." Suddenly, the Graveyard portal opened, and the Number reappeared in its sealed form, before once more emerging with 2500 DEF.

ZEXAL was defensive. "Hopeless is back?"

"Hopeless can revive in defence position when there is a Hope monster on the field." Heartland explained. "And then, I attach a Hope monster to Hopeless as an overlay unit! Hope Steal!" Black lightning enveloped Hope, shrinking him down into a purple comet that circled Hopeless. Zexal just grit their teeth. Hope was-! "Behold! The perfect anti-Hope card! Just for our Champion!"

Astral's spirit was baffled. A Number tailor made to counter their ace!? This Vector was dangerously cunning...

"With him out of the picture, I Normal Summon Heartlandtomato!" The heart mascot appeared next to the dark Number. "Battle! Heartlandtomato attacks you directly!" The monster chucked a giant heart-shaped tomato at ZEXAL.

"Trap card! Pinpoint Guard!" ZEXAL declared. "I revive a Level 4 or lower monster in defence position, which can't be destroyed this turn! Come back, Gagaga Magician!" The monster rose out of the GY Portal and used its chains to grab the tomato and toss it aside.

"Hmph! Ruining the mood!" Heartland scoffed. "But no matter. Now that I have Hopeless, your chances are its namesake! Numbers can only be destroyed by other Numbers, and the only one you have left is Hope! The moment its gone, your Hope is as good as heart-shaped candy for Hopeless to take!"

"With this, I am superior to both Hope and the legendary ZEXAL!" Hopeless declared triumphantly. "Finally, Number 39, you are beneath me!"

"I set a card and end my turn." A relaxed Heartland smirked. "I wonder what you can do now? Nothing, practically! Doesn't that mean you should just give up and hand it over?"

"Faker." Heart-eartH Dragon spoke to him. "Give me and 53 to Tsukumo, it's their only chance!"

"No, 92." Heart-eartH told his friend. "Heartland has already proven his tactics completely counter ours. Even if Tsukumo was able to summon me, we would be helpless against the Heartland monsters tactics."

"We must believe..." Both Numbers turned to the injured Doctor. "We have no choice now...we must believe in Tsukumo...like I...should have...back then..."

ZEXAL's resolve somehow strengthened even further. No way they would give up Hope! Their Extra Deck was diminished, having been changed out for all the Numbers in the Finals, so no Gauntlet Launcher or Onomatopoeia Xyz's, but with Astral's tactics swimming through his head, and the new Xyz Monsters that now resided there, he had multiple formulas for victory at the ready.

"My turn!" ZEXAL defiantly drew. "I Normal ZEXAL Weapon - Unicorn Spear!" Galloping in was a golden winged unicorn with 1900 ATK, that Gagaga Magician jumped on top of. ZEXAL's eyes narrowed. If they didn't have any options left...make a new one!

'Astral, let's do it!'

'Yes, let us do it, Yuma!'

"If you've taken our hope, we'll create a new one!" ZEXAL declared as their Extra Deck glowed and opened. "The strongest Duelists, can endlessly evolve alongside their cards!" He took a new card out and held it skyward flashily.

"SHINING XYZ!"

As ZEXAL looked at the card, a new tactic emerged. "I overlay my Level 4 Gagaga Magician and Unicorn Spear!" The two monsters galloped together into a galactic portal.

"Xyz Summon! Even if Hope is crushed, or lost, or abandoned, a single spark can make it shine forth once more! Be born! Number 39! King of Wishes - Hope Rising!" From the portal emerged a rainbow version of Hope, that flickered like a mirage, with 2000 DEF that rose to 2600 from Onomatopia gaining a third Kattobingu Counter.

"When Hope Rising is Special Summoned, I can revive a Number in Defence Position! Come back, Hope!" The original version joined its new self, defending as a fourth Kattobingu Counter appeared. "Now, I create the overlay network again with Hope!" The monster returned to its sealed form as it descended into the portal. "Chaos Xyz Change! Right now, show yourself, Chaos Numbers 39: King of Wishes - Hope Ray!" The Chaos version of his Number appeared in ATK Position, all monsters now boosted by 1000 from five counters.

"Two Hopes at once!" Heartland cried in fake shock. "However shall we overcome this!?"

"Simply more for me to take." Hopeless dismissed the play.

"You think so? I've already seen a way to stop Hopeless!" ZEXAL declared. "I activate Onomatopia's other effect! By removing two counters, I Special Summon an Onomatopoeia monster from my Deck! Come out! Zubababanchou Gagagacoat!" The bancho strolled out onto the field with 2400 ATK, looking as cool as it could muster. "I can use Zubababanchou's effect to revive a Gogogo or Dododo! So I can revive Hope Onomatopoeia who treats itself as such!" The chibi Hope appeared once again.

"I overlay my Level 4 Zubababanchou and Hope Onomatopoeia! Xyz Summon! The creator of miracles that protects wishes! ZEXAL Servers - Hope Sage!" Appearing from the red portal was a golden warrior with armour in homage to Hope, wielding a golden staff with 2500 DEF. "I activate Hope Sage's effect! By detaching two overlay units, I Special Summon a ZEXAL Weapon or ZEXAL Servers from my Deck! I choose ZEXAL Weapon - Tornado Bringer!" Descending from a stormy cloud was a serpentine crimson dragon with 1800 DEF.

"So this is your ZEXAL power, hm?" Heartland thought aloud. "Interesting! Defeating such a legendary power will truly make my vision of perfection reality! I activate my Trap, High Rate Draw! I destroy both Hopeless and Heartlandtomato to draw a card!" Both of his monsters vanished as he drew with a flourish. "With this, either one of your monsters is now a target for Hopeless!"

"I know that!" ZEXAL defied him. "Battle! Hope Ray attacks you directly! Hope Sword Chaos Slash!"

"Such a shame! But Hopeless' effect makes it revive, and I'll take your Hope Ray!"

"You are powerless against me, Hope!" Hopeless declared as it seemingly ripped Hope Ray's soul out of its body, that became its comet.

"But with that, you've used up all your moves." ZEXAL stated. "I end the battle, and equip Hope Rising with Tornado Bringer!" The red dragon turned into a blade for Hope Rising to now wield, giving it 1900 ATK. "The monster equipped with Tornado Bringer can't be targeted by card effects! Meaning Hopeless can't take it!"

"What!? You found a counter to Hopeless!?" Heartland gasped.

"I knew if I tried to equip Tornado Bringer before Hopeless used its effect, you would have taken the one I would have targeted to be equipped to, making Tornado Bringer go to the Graveyard! I played around Hopeless' greatest power!" Man, knowing all this was awesome! Astral really knew a lot.

"You were able to plan that far ahead with one card!?" The mayor cried, hiding his face with his hat.

Before applauding. "Bravo! Bravo! What a great tactic! As expected of you, champion!"

ZEXAL was actually taken aback. Nothing fazed this guy! That arrogant confidence was overwhelming! And worse, at this point, they knew, it was justified!


"What the hell is up with this place!? It's like a maze!"

Anna rocketed down pristine corridor after pristine corridor in a mad attempt to find something, as Noda had to prevent himself from being sick from being violently jostled on her shoulder.

"This sucks! How is anybody supposed to find anything here!?"

"Noda?"

She then stopped as she saw Kaito, Haruto and Orbital in front of her.

"You guys!?"

"Kaito? Haruto?" Noda spoke as Anna put him down. "What are you doing here?"

"We're..." Kaito sighed. "We're heading to the Control Room. That's where Heartland took Yuma and Astral."

"You're going there?" Noda questioned. "But Haruto-"

"I know, Noda." The young boy said. "I want to go. Me and Number 28, we want to help."

"Haruto wants to use his power for good." 28 spoke up. "He wants to help. And I also wish to as well, to save my friends, your friends, the Numbers. We wish to fight."

"That sounds like where we wanna go!" Anna said. "Mind if we tag along?"

"Sure." Kaito nodded, which made both of them actually pause at that. "I'll take all the help I can get right now. Orbital isn't much backup."

"Master Kaito, I am right here..." The robot somehow wept.

Kaito sighed, then gave off a cocky smirk. "Besides, we're friends. Right Noda?"

Noda didn't hesitate to nod. "Yep."

Anna looked between the two in confusion. "So, uh...wanna lead the way?"

"Got it. This way!" Kaito declared as they all ran together.


Litterbot's LP: 0

Kotori: WIN!

"Thanks for the help, Rio!"

"No worries." She grinned. "But wow, sure is difficult carrying all of you this hard."

"Oh shut up!" Ryoga barked as Valiant Shark Lancer destroyed a Recycle Rhinobot.

She just laughed. "But seriously, Kotori, you've gotten a lot stronger!"

"I was lucky to have so many people help me!" She smiled.

"Hey, can I get some of that help!?" Cathy waved.

"They just keep comin'!" Girag complained.

"Then we'll just keep knocking 'em down!" Alito rebuked.

The team all placed their backs against one another, facing the Litterbots that surrounded them with a small army of Junk Robot's. None of them were going down without a fight, which meant together, they refused to lose!


ZEXAL picked a card. "Tch! I activate the Spell, Xyz Gift! As I control 2 Xyz Monsters, I detach both of Hope Rising's overlay units to draw 2 cards! I set a card and end my turn!"

"Then it is mine!" Heartland sang with a draw. "I change Hopeless to attack position, and I Normal Summon Heartlandhog!" Hopeless drew its sword as the heart hog appeared next to it. "With Heartlandhog's effect, I give 1500 attack to Hopeless!" The dark monsters power rose to 3500.

"Battle! Hopeless attacks Hope Rising!" The two Numbers clashed blades. "In order to prevent Hope's destruction, you'll have to get rid of Tornado Bringer, leaving it wide open once more!"

"Why are you doing this, 98?" Hope Rising questioned as they traded blows. "Is victory all you care about? Tossing aside your honour!?"

"Do not dare look down on me, 39!" Hopeless yelled as they clashed again. "You, such a favourite child of Number 100! All your existence you were the most loved of us Numbers! Even now, you are ZEXAL's poster child! I am sick of it! I shall topple you, for the sake of all Numbers!"

"I activate Hope Sage's other effect!" ZEXAL countered. "By banishing it, I prevent Hope Rising's destruction, so Tornado Bringer is safe!" The sage became a bolt of light that bathed Hope Rising, before the duelling Numbers finally broke apart.

"Ah, so you truly did have it all figured out." Heartland chuckled. "I set 2 cards and end my turn."

"My turn!" ZEXAL drew, now that Tornado Bringer survived the turn, they needed to gain momentum! "I activate Onomatopia's effect again! I remove 2 Kattobingu counters to Special Summon Dodododwarf Gogogoglove from my Deck!" The gauntlet wielder banged its fists together as it appeared. "And I activate the Spell, Gagagarevenge! I revive Gagaga Magician and equip it with this card!" A coffin rose out of the GY which Magician burst forth from.

"I activate Gagaga Magician's effect, to change its Level to 5! And with Onomatopickup's effect, I make Gogogoglove's Level match it! I overlay my Level 5 Gagaga Magician and Dodododwarf Gogogoglove! Xyz Summon! One of the ultimate ZEXAL Weapons! ZEXAL Weapon - Leo Arms!" From the portal emerged an armoured gold, silver and crimson lion with a boosted 3200 ATK, roaring in triumph as it appeared. "When the monster revive by Gagagarevenge is used as Xyz Material, all Xyz Monsters I control gain 300 attack!" Both of his Xyz Monsters strengthened further.

"I then activate Leo Arms' effect! By detaching an overlay unit, I add a ZEXAL Weapon from my Deck to my hand! I add ZEXAL Weapon - Lightning Blade to my hand, and equip it to Hope Rising!" Hope's other sword was replaced by the white jagged sword that crackled with lightning, boosting it to 3000 ATK. "And I activate Leo Arms' other effect, to also equip it to Hope Rising!" Leo Arms transformed into several armour pieces that attached onto every part of Hope, granting it bulky crimson armour and 6000 ATK.

"My word, how impressive." Heartland giggled. "Unfortunately however, Hopeless' second effect allows it to change an attacking monster to defence position. No matter how strong your Hope is, it is pointless if you can't touch me."

"You think so?" ZEXAL challenged. "I activate the Quick-Play Spell, Xyz Import! With this, I attach a monster with less attack then Hope Rising to it as an overlay unit! Let's see how Hopeless likes becoming an overlay unit!"

Heartland gasped. "Not good! I activate High Rate Draw's effect in my Graveyard! I destroy Hopeless to set it on my field!" Hopeless vanished before it could be taken, as the backrow card reappeared face down.

"But Heartlandhog is now wide open! Go Hope! Attack Heartlandhog! Hope Sword Triple Slash!" Hope charged forth, raising his blades above his head before bringing them down in a destructive slash and huge explosion. "Did we get him!?"

But as the smoke cleared, Heartland merely dusted off his shoulder with his pompous grin. "So close! I activated my Trap, Defense Draw! I negated the damage and drew a card! But it was a marvellous display!"

"Damn!" ZEXAl cursed. But they were close! They were so close! "I end my turn!"

"Mine then! Draw! And at this moment, the cards I banished with Ledger of Legerdemain are added to my hand!" Heartlan'ds hand instantly became 5, and he beamed. "Marvellous! Look what I got! It's another copy of my favourite card, Land Power!"

"No!" ZEXAL gasped as Onomatopia was destroyed, replaced by the theme park Field Spell and causing Hope's ATK to drop to 5800.

"Yes! And with it, I Special Summon 2 Heartlandhog's from my hand!" The twin pigs appeared from hearts. "Then, I activate my Trap, Double Hooking! By discarding a card, I revive 2 monsters! So come back! My third Heartlandhog! And my mascot! Heartlandraco!" The four heart monsters all assembled.

"I activate the effect of my trio of Heartlandhog's! Power up our mascot with your combined 4500 ATK!" The three hogs all shot heart beams that hit Heartlandraco, making it gain a heart-shaped halo behind it and 6500 ATK.

"Hahahahahahaha! Playtime!"

"Now, Heartlandraco! Attack Hope! HEART BURNING!" The dragon shot out an impossible huge heart-shape meteor from its jaws, and ZEXAL held up their shield Duel Disk as it exploded into their monster, destroying it.

ZEXAL's LP: 3300

"Hope was..." ZEXAL recoiled from the attack.

"And now..." Heartland's grin widened. "I activate High Rate Draw! I destroy all my Heartland monsters, to draw 2 cards!" All four monsters vanished as Heartland extended an open hand like a commander. "And now, Land Power's effect! Dear Champion, please take 6500 damage!" Countless missiles and bombs shot out from all over Land Power, towards ZEXAL.

"I activate my Trap, Prevent Draw!" They cried. "This halves the effect damage, and lets us draw a card!" However, despite the Trap, the projectiles still set off a cacophany of explosions that enveloped ZEXAL, blasting him back.

"Aaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh!"

ZEXAL's LP: 50

ZEXAL crashed down onto the lower level face down, as Heartland stood above him on an elevated platform.

"How as that? Truly Heart Burning, yes?" He taunted.

"Heart...land...!" ZEXAL hissed, trying to stand back up, but their body betrayed them.

"Was that last attack a bit too much for you, perhaps? First Faker now you, all so disappointing!" Heartland scoffed. "But I suppose that's what happens when you put all your faith in the hope of something. It lets you down, and then all your dreams crash and burn!"

Heartland spread his arms out to Land Power. "Hope isn't needed in my world! Everything in Heartland is already perfect! Under my guidance, the world is free from all burdens, all united under one wonderland!"

"What a joke...!" ZEXAL scoffed, making Heartland scowl at the downed hero. "A world where everything's perfect...just because you say it is...!? Where nobody else ever has to hope, or dream...? That's boring as hell...!"

"Stubborn brat!" Heartland snarled. "Differing ideals breeds conflict! There will always be others yearning for power, stepping on others to climb to the top! My wish, will cut out that painful, laborious process, to create an unchallenged, joyful utopia! Hope is nothing more then a disappointment crushed by others! In the end, only one ideal can create ultimate peace...and that ideal, is Heartland!"

"I think I just threw up in my mouth."

Everyone stopped and turned.

"Kaito! Haruto!" Faker gasped.

"Noda! Anna?" ZEXAL huffed.

"Yuma? Is that you?" Kaito and Noda questioned.

"Father!" Haruto gasped, running over to Faker, with Kaito following him.

"What are you two dong here...?" Faker gasped. "I told you-!"

"I'm not happy about it either." Kaito sharply cut him off, yet still placing his hand against the mans chest to test his heartbeat. "But you know, I can't argue with Haruto."

"You snot-nosed ingrates!" Heartland turned on them. "After everything I've done for you-!"

"You stay right there!" Anna declared, aiming her cannon at him and protecting the Tenjoin's.

The man pulled a disgusted face, as Noda and Haruto ran downstairs and over to ZEXAL.

"You okay, Yuma?" Noda asked.

"Yeah! Never better...!" ZEXAL forced a smile, as Noda put on his D-Gazer.

"You don't look like it." Noda noted the state of the Duel.

"Don't worry about me..." He huffed, nodding towards the Sphere Field. "The Numbers, they're all in there. Noda, you gotta get them out...!"

"But-"

"Don't worry about us! Me and Astral are together...we can definitely win this!"

"Yuma, our current situation is unfavourable. Our formula for victory...it is not within sight."

'Come on, Astral! Work with me here!'

"Yuma..." Haruto spoke up, as he held out a card. "Me and Kaito, and Noda and Anna...we all came here to help you! I didn't know what I could do, but here!"

"This card...?" ZEXAL accepted it.

"I hope she can help." Haruto then turned to Noda. "Noda, I'll help you save the Numbers!"

"Okay. Yuma, Astral, you have to win!" Noda told them, as the two rushed over to the Sphere Field.

ZEXAL meanwhile looked at the card. "Haruto...everyone..." His different coloured eyes sharpened, as he forced himself to his feet. "Heartland!"

The man whipped around, as ZEXAL miraculously leapt in a bolt of light from the lower level to the upper level, facng down the man yet again. "We're not done yet! With Prevent Draw's effect, I draw a card!"

"You're still continuing this farce!?" Heartland growled. "I set a card and end! Don't you get it!? Any Hope you summon is now easy prey for Hopeless! Everything is perfect! You cannot win!"

"Maybe I couldn't. But now? We're unstoppable!" ZEXAL declared.

"Our hope may have been stolen by you, but Haruto came and renewed it! Kaito, Noda and Anna who came as well, all of them have given us strength!" Kaito helped Faker up as Anna kept her eyes on Heartland. The Tenjoin's looked down to the lower level at Haruto and Noda.

"Your so-called perfect world, is just your own ideals! That lonely world, I'll never believe in! Because the world I believe in, is others all sharing their own ideals, and love, and giving each other hope when they need it! My friends, right now, they've given us that hope!" Noda reached out to touch the Sphere Field, but got zapped immediately, recoiling his hand. Haruto took Noda's hand in his own, glowing with a blue light, as the two looked at each other and nodded, reaching out to the SPhere Field together, Haruto concentrating.

"Everyone's different wishes, all connecting and saving each other...isn't it amazing!?" ZEXAL yelled. "Your world, will never be true! It's our turn!"

"I Normal Summon Gogogo Golem, allowing me to revive Dodododwarf Gogogoglove from my Graveyard!" The two Gogogo's appeared on the field. "I then activate the Spell, Plus Star 123! This increases Gogogo Golem's Level to 7! And with Onomatopickup, Gogogoglove's Level matches it!" Both of them became Level 7.

"I overlay my Level 7 Gogogo's Golem and Glove! Xyz Summon!" The Sphere Field began to crackle, and open. Noda held Haruto protectively, as he reached in, towards the floating cards.

"On wings of love and devotion, carrying a child's wishes! Come forth! Number 28! Titanic Moth!" In a flash of light descended a spool of rainbow thread. The thread unravelled and unfurled into four giant wings, as the body of a giant moth was revealed with 2400 ATK.

"Haruto...I will fulfill your wishes." She spoke. "And Heartland, I have been dreaming of this moment!"

"Haruto's Number..." Kaito breathed, as Faker stared in amazement.

At the same time, Noda reached into the Sphere Field, protected by Haruto's aura. "Everyone! Can you hear me!?" But the cards did not respond. "Shamoji...Spider Shark...Lancelot...Dragulas...Tomahawk...78...!"

"Haruto! You and Noda can do it!" ZEXAL yelled to them. "Let's go, Titanic Moth! Attack Heartland directly! Fire Tornado!" The monster complied, unleashing a twister of fire.

Heartland spat out a sharp laugh. "You are so idiotic! At this point, you know I can counter that! Trap Card, Call of the Haunted! Revive! Heartlandraco!" The heart Number reappeared on the field. "With Land Power, you can't declare an attack!"

"We could've guessed that!" ZEXAL countered. "Whn Titanic Moth is the only monster I control, it can attack directly by halving the battle damage, bypassing your defence! Go, Titanic Moth!" The monster unleashed its twister of fire that enveloped Heartland, who cried out in shock.

Heartland's LP: 800

"You...dared...!" Heartland hissed, stumbling back. "But I still have Life!"

"No. Haruto wins!" ZEXAL yelled. "When Titanic Moth inflicts battle damage! I detach an overlay unit, to inflict 500 daage to you for each card in your hand! And you've got two!"

"That's...!" Heartland crushed the cards in his hand. "Not...FAIR!"

"Go, Titanic Moth!" "Naturally!" The monster beat its giant wings, unleashing a blast of wind that blew the screaming Heartland off of the upper level and crashing down to the second level, his hat falling off and his cane breaking in two.

Heartland's LP: 0

ZEXAL: WIN!

"You did it!" Anna cheered.

"With Haruto's help." Kaito actually smirked.

"All of your help." ZEXAL nodded to them.

At that moment, Noda finally managed to grab a card in the Sphere Field, and it glowed brightly.

"...Noda?"

"78!...I promised you, didn't I?"

"...Yes. You did...and I promised...to save my family!" At that, lights shot out of Number 78's card and into all the other cards.

"Huh? Where are we!?"

"I was having such a pleasant shleep..."

"Yargh! A rescue this be?"

"Bailout time, everyone!"

Noda and Haruto were thrown back, as all of the captured Numbers burst out of the Sphere Field, all flying around the room like stars.

"No! NonononononoNO!" Heartland pouted, as Heartlandraco and Hopeless were also taken.

"You guys are all back!" ZEXAL cheered as Numbers returned to his Extra Deck.

"You'll never get rid of us!" "Thanks for the save!" "Kattobingu!"

Hopeless quietly seethed and Heartlandraco just played with its tail as they were absorbed. Astral's spirit dwelled on the memories that returned to him, they were strange...as if remembering something fuzzy...

"It's good to see you all again." Noda said, as his Numbers all cheered.

"You...YOU!" Everyone turned to the downed Heartland, his hair a dishevelled mess and his glasses wonky. "This wasn't how it was supposed to go! My dream! My world!"

"Never yours to begin with." ZEXAL stated as everyone assembled in front of the mayor. "It's ours, and everyones."

"You've lost, Heartland." Kaito told him. "It's over!"

"What a joke!" Heartland snarled, trying to stand back up. "I...NEVER lose! Do you hear me!?"

"Heartland...damn what a sore loser you are! It's so hilariously pathetic!"

Everyone froze, as something appeared behind Heartland. A portal, with a red, ghostly figure in it.

Faker's eyes widened. "You're-!"

"Vector!" Heartland whirled on him in fear.

"That's Vector?" ZEXAL noted.

"Geez, Heartland, it was SO simple! Gather all the Numbers together! But you couldn't even do that, huh?" Vector taunted. "What a shame. Looks like you and me are gonna have to have a little talk about this, and a spanking! Get over here!" Vector seized Heartland's legs.

"No! Stop! Vector! You can't do this to me! I am Heartland! I AM HEARTLAAAAAAAAAAAAND!" Heartland cried in despair, as he was dragged into the portal that closed behind them.

Everyone just stared in shock at what had just happened, and Astral's spirit stared. 'Vector...they truly are a terrifying foe.'

Suddenly, sirens began to blare as the room flashed red, with ZEXAL shaking their head around. "Uh, is that bad? THat sounds bad!"

Faker struggled over to a terminal and studied it. "The Sphere Field's collapse caused an overload. The entire room is going to explode!" He quickly typed something in. "The main doors have gone into emergency lockdown. We must escape!" He pressed a button, causing the hanger that Heartland and Yuma had entered through to open.

"Great idea! We're leaving!" Anna declared. "I can carry two people on my cannon."

"Orbital! Transform into jetpack mode!" Kaito commanded. "Get Faker and Haruto out of here!"

"B-But what about you, Master Kaito!?"

"I don't matter! As long as you're safe!"

"Don't even think that, Kaito! Nobody is sacrificing themselves!" ZEXAL stepped forward, activating their Duel Disk. "If I can Summon a ZEXAL Weapon, we can all make it out of here!"

"Wait, you can do that?"

"Yeah, just need to-ugh!" They suddenly fell to one knee.

"Yuma, we're out of energy." Astral spoke. "We can't maintain ZEXAL...!"

"Oh come on...! Not now...!"

"Yuma!" Haruto suddenly held his hands in his own. "I don't know if this will help...but please! Please save brother!"

"Haruto...yeah, I promised you, didn't I!? Let's do this!" ZEXAL held Haruto's hands, as energy from the boy flowed into ZEXAL. " We can do this! I summon ZEXAL Weapon - Unicorn Spear!" In a golden glow, the steed manifested in front of them.

"Haruto, go with them." Kaito told his brother, as Orbital turned back into its jetpack mode. ZEXAL and Haruto sat on the back of Uniorn Spear, with Anna and Noda boarding the cannon, and Kaito carrying his father.

"Everyone ready?"

"YEAH!"

"Then let's get out of here!"

As the sirens reached a crescendo they all dived out as an explosion engulfed the room behind them.


The group panted, as they were surrounded by malfunctioning and retreating Litterbots.

"Hah...hah...yeah, you'd better run...!" Shark barked.

"Is everyone alright?" Kotori asked.

"All good here!" Rio gave her a thumbs up.

"Us too, thanks, Ice Queen." Alito half-mumbled.

However, they stopped as an explosion was heard in the distance, as smoke poured out of Heartland Tower's top.

"An explosion!?" Dennis cried.

"What about Yuma!? And Noda and Anna!?" Kotori cried.

The Duelists all stared at the smoke, as Cathy pointed out something. "Look! Up there!" They directed their gaces, to see three figures flying out of the smoke.

"Wooohooooo!" ZEXAL cheered as Haruto burst out into joyful laughter.

Kaito was sporting an uncharacteristic grin on his face. "I can't believe we made it out of that so well."

Noda didn't say anything, breathing incredibly heavily and clutching Anna, who beamed.

"You can see all of Heartland from up here!" ZEXAL marvelled at the view.

"Heh, the name sucks, but its still a nice city." Kaito admitted. "And it's got a pretty okay Champion too."

"Heehee! Thanks, Kaito!"

"No, Yuma." For the first time in front of anybody but Haruto, Kaito smiled genuinely. "Thank you."

The group wheeled in the sky, before they began heading downward.

"Hey look! It's everybody!" ZEXAL waved down, to where their friends had all gathered.

As the sky turned gold from the setting sun, everyone began landing, starting with Anna's cannon, then Kaito, Faker and an exhausted Orbital, with everyone running over to greet them.

But just as Unicorn Spear was about to touch down, it vanished in a flash as ZEXAL split back up, and Yuma, Astral, and Haruto all collapsed to the ground in a messy heap, making everybody else wince.

"Hah...hah...I'm...exhausted..." Yuma panted.

"YUMA!" "NODA!"

They didn't have a second to rest as they were swarmed by their friends hugging them in relief.

"I'm so glad you're okay, Yuma!" Kotori cried.

"You had everyone seriously worried, y'know!" Shark said.

Rio was smiling with tears in her eyes. "Oh, shut up and be happy!"

"You the man, Yuma the Champion!" Alito cheered.

"Man...a sight like this really gets the waterworks going...!" Girag sniffled, standing off to the side and wiping his tears with his arm.

"There, there, big guy." Dennis comforted him.

"Mission success, everyone!" Anna cheered as she clutched Noda in a headlock.

As this was going on, the Tenjoin family regrouped.

"Father, are you alright?" Haruto asked.

"I am, Haruto...knowing you're here." Faker breathed as he hugged his son.

"Father...I'm better now." Haruto told him. "Yuma took all the Astral World energy from me."

"Haruto-"

"Just like he said he would." Kaito stood over the pair, looking at the sunset. "Honestly, that idiot is incredible. I'm lucky he was so stubborn to be my friend."

Faker stared incredulously at his sons. Then down at the ground.

"Haruto...Kaito...forgive me. After your mother passed away, you both were everything I had left. I convinced myself to do absolutely anything to make sure you both lived a happy life...working for Heartland, sacrificing the Tsukumo's and Byron, making a deal with a devil, collecting the Numbers. But in the pursuit of trying to make sure you would survive...I was a terrible father. I don't think I'll ever atone for the things I have done. I am so sorry for everything you have been through, because of my mistakes."

Haruto just kept hugging his dad.

"Yeah, you're an old fool who did stupid things with noble intent. The worst kind." Kaito nodded, making Orbital become nervous, but then his arms fell limp. "But I guess that means I'm a fool too. Trying to sacrifice everything for Haruto too. All that means now is...looking forward." He turned to his family.

"Let's do it together. Father."

"Kaito...!" Faker's eyes glimmered with tears as his son called him father in what felt like forever.

"Dr. Faker!" He then was startled as Yuma, Kazuma's son, stood over him.

"Yuma Tsukumo..." He looked away in shame. "What I did to Kazuma and Mira-!"

"Thanks!" Yuma was...extending a hand. "You helped save us all back there!"

Faker just blinked at him. "...How? How can you be so lenient? Don't you know, what I did to your father and mother?"

"I understand, that they're both gone because of you." Yuma admitted. "A part of me is upset about that...but you were doing it for your family, weren't you? And if Tron could make it back, then I believe my parents are alive too!"

"It's okay, Faker." Noda nodded, as he also offered a hand. "Maybe you can't fix what's been done. All we can do now is do more right."

Faker just stared up at them in bewilderment. After everything he had done, he should be where Heartland was now. Even still, he was shown such kindness? It was wrong! So wrong. But as he looked up at these boys, he could see Kazuma and Byron reaching for him, like old friends. Yes. After today, there would be much work to be done, and for them, the fight was not even over yet. It was his duty, to set things right. For them, his family, and everyone.

"Yes..." He accepted their hands and was pulled to his feet. "Thank you so much, for being my sons friends." He then took two cards out, and handed them to Yuma. "I'll start with this. A reward for our Champion."

"Heart-eartH and Heart-eartH Dragon." Yuma smiled. "Thank you, Faker."

Astral closed his eyes as more memories flooded him. This was...the opponents he faced...Don Thousand...and the Seven Barian Emperors. He now understood, what stood in Yuma's way of peace. But as he looked upon the Numbers Club, celebrating happily, he turned to look at the sunset.

"Observation Number 50. When bonding with others, miracles can be created, endlessly."


"...Man, Durbe and Mizael are gonna be PISSED."

"Tell me about it..."

Alito and Girag had retreated to the BARian, in preparation to return home and give their report.

"At least we still got these guys." Girag tried to be optimistic, holding up his Numbers.

"3 out of 100? Better then nothing." Alito chuckled.

They both groaned.

"...Y'know, Alito..." Girag sniffed. "I'm hoping Yuma's dream works out."

"Really?"

"It's a real nice thought, isn't it? Even if it seems pretty much impossible. I'm gonna be right there with you in sticking my neck out for it."

"Thanks, Girag. Bet our next orders aren't gonna be pretty though."

"Whatever happens, happens. What's important is, we stick together through it."

"Right. Together."

They clinked their glasses, downed their drinks, and left the bar.

"Going without saying goodbye?"

Alito burst out laughing and Girag just sighed. "Mackfield..."

"Yuma's gonna miss you, Alito." Dennis said.

"We'll be seeing each other again soon I reckon...when the truth comes out." Alito inhaled deeply. "Now that the majority of the Numbers have been accounted for, both sides are gonna get desperate."

Dennis looked down in a mix of fear and anxiety. "I know. All too well. I just-" He looked up. "Hope that, maybe one day, we can all share a drink together."

"Heh. Wouldn't that be nice." Girag then held his fist out. "See ya round, clown."

"...Until next time, guys." The trio shared a fist bump. For they knew, until the end, next time, they would be enemies again.

A red portal appeared, and the two Barians stepped through, before it vanished.


Number 96 hissed in pain and frustration, lurking in the shadows of Heartland's alleyways. Humiliated not once, but twice! Him! Who was supposed to be the greatest Number, reduced to wallowing in the dark!

They looked down on him, all of them! Well he'd show them all! He knew, that his power was infinite! That he could usurp, all other Numbers! He had studied Astral's power when he was a weapon, and had learned of Chaos from Don Thousand. These tools within his mind offered potential that terrified even himself! But he lacked the starting push to obtain them! If he could just-!

What was that!? Someone else, moving in the shadows! Who was it!? A cloaked figure?

"Heyo! Number 96, right? I'm a huge fan!"

Who was this being who talked to him? He radiated Chaos! Could this be...?

"Name's Vector! And golly gee, I'm in the market for a new business partner! I've got an offer you'll just be DYING to accept!"


The Astral World was a vast expanse of calming blue energy. Cyan sand coated the ground, with orbs of light floating skyward, illuminating everything under a constant, star filled night sky. Pillars were the place of residence, dotted with windows as the spires climbed higher and higher into the sky. And in the centre of this world was the tallest tower of all.

On the balcony of this tower stood a regal, dominating figure, cloaked in gold armour and white robes, staring across the world. His eyes narrowing as he saw something crumble far off in the distance.

"If the filthy Barians will pool their resources into acquiring the Numbers, then that is where we will strike."

He swept his arm behind him, to a figure kneeling there. "That is what I command of you. Go to Earth, and kill the Barian Emperor's as they desperately scrounge for the Numbers!"

"Yes, Great Eliphas." The figure bowed, before rising, and leaving.

Eliphas narrowed his eyes. "Do not let me down also. Kurosaki."


Number Count

Noda: 5, 6, 8, 10, 13, 14, 15, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 35, 36, 37, 40, 42, 45, 47, 49, 56, 57, 63, 66, 67, 69, 70, 72, 73, 76, 77, 78, 84, 88, 94

Yuma: 7, 9, 11, 12, 16, 17, 19, 25, 28, 34, 38, 39, 41, 48, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 59, 60, 61, 62, 68, 74, 75, 79, 82, 83, 85, 86, 87, 90, 91, 92, 95, 98


And that is that, those are all the chapters of Yu-Gi-Oh ZEXAL: Self written at this point in time. So, at this moment, the story is completed.

As I said to begin with, ZEXAL is my favourite Yu-Gi-Oh series, and writing a story has been a long, but enjoyable process. In terms of writing this, the initial plot and many Duels were rewritten multiple times, especially as new cards came out, and strategies had to be tweaked. Even these last two chapters were completely rewritten in the time it took me to post these chapters.

However, now I am working a full-time job, so have little energy or time to write. I have so many ideas, Duels and plots planned for a Season 2, but writing it would be a long endeavour that may not be worth it. So whether this story will double in length or not two years later is uncertain. Apologies if this is not the answer you were hoping for.

But, I do recommend Nox Barian's 'Ice Queen Cometh' stories, which served as major inspirations for writing this, as well as other Yu-Gi-Oh fanfics like scififan's 'Hidden Memories' and 'The Fifth Circuit'. And of course DM and GX will always have people writing for them.

For now though, thank you all very much for reading ZEXAL: Self. I hope you enjoyed!