The lighthouse at Duel Academy. It used to be Zane's place to go and think. Today, Syrus sits there instead, remembering seeing his brother dueling on tv eighteen episodes ago. After a terrible losing streak, he was back on top in the Pro Leagues again, but his new evil smirk as he ruthlessly crushed his opponent and that menacing black outfit was not a pleasant sight for his little brother.
An ecstatic Jaden runs out to his somber friend sitting on the dock. Syrus doesn't even look up as Jaden tells him they're all getting ready to watch Zane's next duel. Syrus isn't in the mood. He can't stand to watch his brother duel like this; Zane just isn't himself anymore. Jaden slumps down next to him, agreeing Zane's gotten angrier these days, but he thinks it's just an act to make him look cooler and tougher. And since he's dueling better than ever and is more popular than ever before, they should be happy for him. Syrus still isn't so sure he wants to watch his brother's new bad boy act, but his best friend's upbeat attitude finally gets him to stand up with a smile.
The sunny blue sky above the boys fades into a starry night sky above the Kaiba Dome, where the new black-clad Zane is- what else?- winning another duel. Attack, blast, explosion, screams, smoke, cheers, and it's over. Zane stands basking in his victory for a moment as the announcers call for medical attention for his opponent. Zane turns his back without the least bit of concern and makes his exit, past his new manager, Shroud, who's thoroughly enjoyed his demonstration of savagery that so stunned the announcers.
Shroud congratulates his protegé on his win as the two are driven away in a black limo. It seems Zane's deal with the devil has actually gotten him exactly what he wanted- so he doesn't need him any more. Shroud doesn't understand what he's getting at until Zane tells him he's fired, throwing him to the curb to make his point.
The limo drives toward the airport as Zane reads a letter, inviting him to meet someone "at the top of the world." He takes out his deck and looks at his trusty Cyber End Dragon, deciding to take this all the way to the top. Another plane takes off, and the next shot is of snow falling on a rugged mountain range. Zane appears in a snowsuit, goggles, and climbing gear, slowly making his way up the cliffs in the thin, freezing air. He pulls himself up the last cliff and catches his breath before standing up to show us he's arrived at a dojo in the most secluded corner of the world. An image of the Cyber End Dragon is carved in a frame above the double doors, as well as on the doors themselves.
Zane approaches the stone doors, and they instantly open to let him into a primitive-looking temple with a stone roof supported by many pillars and several fires lit around the walls. Zane removes his gear as he scans the empty room... almost. On the wall across from him hangs a banner with, once again, the Cyber End Dragon, and below it stands the person who's been waiting for him, none other than Duel Academy's former principal, Chancellor Shepphard! Zane greets his "Master" as he remembers how he disappeared from his job at Duel Academy following that Sacred Beast Cards and Spirit Gate Keys incident. Nobody's heard from him since, but Zane realizes he should have known he'd find him here.
Zane hopes Shepphard didn't call him here to waste his time lecturing him. The two walk forward into the center of the room. Shepphard confirms Zane knows why he called him here. Satisfied, Zane slides on his duel disk, and the chancellor does likewise. Formalities are over. Now, it's time to duel!
Shepphard goes first. He places two cards face-down, then ends his turn. Zane's understandably perplexed that he ended his turn without summoning any monsters, but he won't admit it. Zane begins his turn with the Spell Future Fusion. He sends his three Cyber Dragons from his deck to the graveyard to summon "a card you know all too well" (no kidding!)- Cyber End Dragon! And Shepphard does know the Cyber End Dragon well- because he's the one who gave it to Zane! Zane may have forgotten his past since he got that new outfit, but Shepphard remembers how things used to be...
Zane was just nine-years-old when he was chosen to inherit the Cyber Legacy, here at Shepphard's dueling dojo. Zane's talent and determination set him apart from the other young duelists right away. Shepphard quickly realized as he watched himdrill and duel that Zane was the one he'd been looking for. One day, as he examined his pupil's deck, he asked how he chose his cards. The young Zane explained he knew the cards in his teacher's deck, so he imitated some of his strategies and chose cards he knew would be strong against them. Shepphard smiled in pride as he explained Zane had discovered the most important concept of dueling: connecting with your opponents and learning from them. "It's called Respect." Needing no more proof, he walked over to a white box on a stone platform and handed the boy a card: Cyber End Dragon.
After passing down Cyber End Dragon, master and pupil went their separate ways, only to reunite several years later at Duel Academy. They couldn't discuss their past, but Shepphard was proud of the duelist Zane had become. He was the top of his class, the strongest in the whole school, but he still always showed Respect to his opponents, and Shepphard never regretted trusting him with that card... until now.
Zane thinks this is turning into a lecture, and he's not interested. He didn't come here to talk; he came here to duel and get what he deserves: the rest of the Cyber Legacy, the opposite of his Cyber Series. Shepphard realizes Zane knows of the dojo's secret deck: the Deck of the Underworld, the Dark Cyber Series, as dangerous as it is powerful, so it was locked away. (As a side note, why do they bother creating all these potentially lethal cards in the first place if they're too dangerous to do anything with but lock them up?) Zane scoffs at the warning. He impatiently insists those cards are rightfully his, and when he defeats him, Shepphard will have no choice but to give them to him.
Shepphard vows never to reveal where the Deck of the Underworld is hidden, activating his Trap for emphasis, Cyber Shadow Guardna. It creates a Shadow copy of an opponent's monster for one turn. In this case, that would be Cyber End Dragon, but Zane throws a wrench in his plan. He plays De-Fusion and splits his dragon back into three Cyber Dragons. Now Cyber Shadow Guardna has to choose a Cyber Dragon as a target, so it's three against one.
Shepphard indeed taught him well, and Zane's more eager than Annakin Skywalker to school his former master. He attacks. Both his first dragon and Shepphard's, with equal attack strength, are destroyed, but Zane's got two left. Shepphard hasn't lost his touch, though. He activates his Trap, Byroad Sacrifice, which lets him summon a new monster when one of his is destroyed in battle. So he summons Cyber Ogre in Defense Mode. Zane's not impressed at its 1900 Defense points and attacks again, but Shepphard activates Cyber Ogre's special ability: sending another Cyber Ogre from his hand to the graveyard to reduce battle damage to zero. As an added bonus, once the attack fails, Cyber Ogre increases its Attack points by that of the attacking Cyber Dragon, for a total of 4000. Realizing there's nothing else he can do, Zane calmly places a card face-down and ends his turn.
Unruffled at his failure to cause any damage this turn, Zane warns Shepphard to hand over the Underworld Deck now before he pushes him too far. Shepphard doesn't look as composed as his student, but he refuses his demand and promises to end this now. He draws, and Zane wastes no time activating his Trap, Attack Reflector Unit, and sacrificing one Cyber Dragon to summon his Cyber Barrier Dragon in Attack mode. Just like in his duel with Camyula, once per turn, it can cancel out one attack. Shepphard realizes it would be useless to attack this turn, but he has another plan. He plays Monster Reincarnation to trade in a card in his hand for a Monster in his graveyard (it must be Cyber Ogre, since that's the only monster in his graveyard). He places one more card face-down before ending his turn.
Back to Zane. He summons Proto Cyber Dragon, then plays Photon Generator Unit, and since Proto Cyber Dragon counts as a Cyber Dragon, he has two to sacrifice to summon Cyber Laser Dragon in Attack mode. Once per turn, it can destroy a monster with equal or greater Attack or Defense points than its own, so for now, Zane has it destroy Cyber Ogre.
Shepphard counters with his face-down Spell Scrap Fusion. Now he can summon a Fusion Monster from Zane's Fusion Deck, with Fusion Material Monsters from Zane's graveyard. He tells Zane to hand over his three Cyber Dragons, and they fly out of his graveyard, materializing into Cyber End Dragon on Shepphard's field. Zane's inheritance is now back in its former master's control. Zane sounds angry but looks cool as ever as he says he gets it, places a card face-down, and ends his turn.
Shepphard draws the universally top-decked Pot of Greed, draws two more cards, and, pleased with his draw, summons the robotic Cyber Esper Attack mode. Now, even with Cyber Barrier Dragon's effect, Cyber End Dragon's attack won't be wasted this turn. Cyber Esper attacks and, just as Shepphard planned, is stopped by Cyber Barrier Dragon. Now Shepphard can destroy Cyber Laser Dragon with Cyber End Dragon, which he does. Zane takes the first hit of the duel, and a big one of 1600 points.
Shepphard ends his turn, placing one card face down, and Zane draws, but before he even looks at his card, Shepphard points out that Cyber Esper's effect lets him see every card Zane draws. Zane shows him... Pot of Greed. Boring. Zane plays it and reveals the two cards he draws, which are much more interesting: Limiter Removal and Creature Swap. Shepphard predicts he'll use Limiter Removal to double his Cyber Barrier Dragon's Attack points and destroy his Cyber Esper. Then he'll surely use Creature Swap to take back his dragon. Shepphard's counting on Zane trying to get back Cyber End Dragon, so then he'll play his Trap, Trojan Blast, which, like the Trojan horse depicted on it, will cause him damage equal to the Attack points of a monster he tries to take from Shepphard's side of the field. And knowing of Zane's strong bond with Cyber End Dragon, he has to try to take it back.
Shepphard remembers watching the young Zane standing before the banner of Cyber End Dragon, holding a hand of cards, wondering out loud how to summon it. The dragon on the wall suddenly glowed for a second, and a look of surprise and then understanding came over Zane's face as he looked at Power Bond and the three Cyber Dragons in his hand. He looked up and suddenly knew how to summon Cyber End by fusing the three dragons. The dragon had answered him! Shepphard knew then that Zane had developed a connection with a Monster Spirit, a rare gift that can't be taught. His bond with Cyber End Dragon has to bring the real Zane back.
As cold and impatient as ever, Zane activates his Trap, Lost Pride. What does he lose? A Spell card from his hand. What does he get in return? A Spell card from Shepphard's graveyard. And he's discarding... Creature Swap! What?! But now he can't get Cyber End Dragon! Zane bluntly answers he doesn't want it. He wants Scrap Fusion. Shepphard can't believe what he's doing, but Zane just smirks maliciously as he adds it to his hand.
The emotionless demeanor Zane's maintained so far is gone. Now that he's about to destroy his opponent, he's enjoying this- in a frightening, evil sort of way. He plays Ruthless Denial. Thinking "this should be fun," he sacrifices Cyber Laser Dragon to destroy the Cyber Ogre Shepphard brought back from the graveyard. Now that there are two Cyber Ogres in Shepphard's graveyard, he's ready to play Scrap Fusion (paying a thousand Life Points for getting it via Lost Pride). Shepphard keeps trying to talk to him, but Zane's not about to stop now. He pays his Life Points and summons the grotesque Cyber Ogre 2.
An amazed Shepphard demands an explanation, but Zane's here to duel, not talk. According to Cyber Ogre 2's special effect, it gains Attack points equal to half of Cyber End Dragon's, giving 4600 to Cyber End Dragon's 4000. But Zane's not done. Finally, he plays Limiter Removal, doubling that to 9200!
Zane mercilessly sends in Cyber Ogre 2 to destroy his old friend. The two lock in a bright conflagration of flame. The dragon's master callously walks across the field as its still burning.
Shepphard can't believe what Zane's done to his own monster. He used to share a powerful bond with that dragon. Zane says they still do. He can still sense its pain, hear its spirit begging for mercy... he just doesn't care! What he cares about now is winning, victory, being the best, and getting that forbidden, powerful deck- no matter what he has to destroy along the way. He looks up at his dragon with no remorse, no regret whatsoever, and cruelly says, "Cyber End Dragon, it's been real!" as it's finally destroyed.
During the explosion, the banner on the wall behind Shepphard is blown aside, revealing a black box on a shelf carved in the wall. Shepphard falls to his knees as his Life Points drop from 4000 right to zero, and his former student, without a word or a glance, walks past him and picks up the box. He unties the ribbon and removes the lid. It's the Underworld Deck. (Pretty secure hiding place for such a dangerous weapon, huh?) Shepphard tries to stop him, but Zane removes the deck and fans out the cards, drinking in the treasure he now holds in his hands. He condescendingly tells his former master to be grateful he didn't push him as far as he could and heads for the door.
As Zane leaves, Shepphard gets up and tells him to hold on. He tosses a small disk to Zane that he tells him he should take with him. Zane catches it and looks at it. It's a round, flat, blue and silver medal with the insignia GX. Shepphard explains where he's been the past few months: traveling the world, visiting dueling schools and leagues, in search of contestants for the "ultimate dueling tournament." (Another one?) To enter, every duelist needs one of these medals. He suggests Zane accept his ticket and attend. Zane's not interested in petty contests anymore, but since it could be a good opportunity to test his new deck, he promises to think about it before he walks off.
Shepphard tells him it would be in his interest to come, and with that, his former pupil is gone, preparing for the long hike down the mountain. Shepphard stares after the new owner of the Deck of the Underworld, the boy he was once so proud of who somewhere along the line abandoned his philosophy of Respect. He couldn't rekindle any spark of his old self today, but he has a Plan B. "I'm not giving up on you, Truesdale. If I can't bring you back, maybe your friends can..."
Far away in the Slifer Red cafeteria, Syrus is reading another magazine article about the young pro. He's even more worried about his brother than Shepphard. "What happened to you, Zane?" he wonders. "Sure, you were never Mr. Personality, but anything's better than this." Everyone wants the old Zane back, but it's not going to be easy.