The sun was up and a large black cloud of smoke hovered above Corn Town.
Every building, every vehicle, every corpse in the town was engulfed in flames.
Nathan was smoking a cigarette and watching from a distance, burning the fiery sight into his memory.
And despite being far away from the town, he could still feel the heat of the flames brushing against his skin.
"I wonder if Hell is this hot…"
He thought about the teachings of Iklas and Trinity.
One of the buildings in the town collapsed.
His lips curled up into a smile.
"So sad yet so beautiful…"
If this was before the zombie apocalypse, the chances of him witnessing such sight in person was very low.
And yet here he was, enjoying this view of an entire town drowning in flames which was his own doing.
Another building collapsed.
He sucked his cigarette one last time before flicking it away.
He turned around and there was a small mound in front of him.
Beside the small mound was a human-dog that was bound in chains and gagged.
It was Wesley.
Just like the other victims, this human-dog was completely naked, his eyes dug out, his teeth pulled out, and his hair shaved off and his limbs chopped off -- well, whatever that was left because Nathan ripped off his arms last night.
He also added his own little touch -- he pulled out Wesley's tongue because he got annoyed listening to his cries.
Nathan knelt in front of the small mound.
He thought about all of the things he has done since the zombie apocalypse and how has it affected him and the people around him.
"I managed to become this powerful but the price was…"
He thought about the time he almost died from a D1.
He thought about the time at the first stage of the Divine Tower where he was bombarded with fireballs and bullets.
He thought about the time at the last stage of the Divine Tower where Rose almost decapitated him.
"And the other price was..."
An image of Amir in the human-dog form flashed inside his head.
He gritted his teeth.
Last night, he admits that he snapped when he saw what they did to his cousin.
He would also admit that he started to develop a grudge but he doesn't know where exactly to aim it.
A part of him blames Amir.
A part of him blames Ashleigh.
A part of him blames Rose and her group.
A part of him blames the townsfolk of this town.
A part of him blames Walter and his group.
A part of him blames this country.
A part of him blames the god who unleashed this zombie apocalypse.
And lastly, whether he was aware of it or not, there was also a small part of him that blames himself.
"You know, I can't help but wonder how our family is back in Muwin…"
"Are they also suffering…?"
"Have they also been stripped off of their dignity and reduced to something less than human…?"
He forced a smile.
"Are they dead…?"
"Death would be a much merciful fate than to live a life carrying such scars if you were to ask me…
"I know you would definitely agree…"
"How could you not?"
An unknown amount of time passed.
"Cuz, I will find a way back to Muwin to search for our family before the next Phase begins. Whatever it takes I will return there and find them. I promise you that."
"And once that's settled, with all the power I have, I will find Red Dust and whoever is associated with them to pay for what they did to you, including that bimbo."
"You do agree with my plan, right?"
An unknown amount of time passed once again.
"Cuz, was Hae-won worth it?"
"I mean, what were you thinking, cuz?"
"We're in a zombie apocalypse…"
"Haven't you seen a zombie apocalypse movie?"
"Remember our talks about the Resident Evil characters?"
"Remember that night when you came home from your birthday party we had some drinks and talked for hours?"
"I even childishly and foolishly blurted out to you at that time that Ada was my waifu and we even had a debate who was the best girl between Ada and Jill."
Nathan shook his head in shame as he recalled that memory.
"I just don't understand it."
"We both know that we're too old to be that naive…"
"And you of all people should at least be aware of that…"
"It's just stupid…"
"I would've understood if it was that bimbo because she's a Chosen One, she can be useful, she has some value…"
"But a normal human being?"
"Come on, cuz, there's tons out there."
"Even I'm not as crazy and delusional as to bring someone useless or unimportant under my wing despite my power."
"So tell me, cuz."
He clenched his fists.
"Why couldn't you just treat her like the other women in your life?"
"Why did you have to think with your dick?"
"Why did you have to be illogical?"
"Why did you have to be irrational?"
"Why did you have to be a bloody white knight?"
"WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU SEE IN HER THAT MADE HER SO SPECIAL THAT YOU HAD TO DIE FOR HER?!"
He slammed his fist against the soil.
Realizing what he just did, he suddenly burst out laughing.
"You know what's so funny?"
"I just realized I'm talking to a dead person."
"And plus, you're not a Chosen One."
"So how could you relate?"
He covered his face with his hand.
After a minute or so, he finally stopped laughing and then wiped off the tears on his eyes.
"I'm sorry about that. I got carried away for a moment."
He thought about once again all of his actions -- the murders and experiments -- so far since the zombie apocalypse began.
"Did I do the right things…?"
"Did I make the right decisions…?"
He shook his head.
"I don't know…"
"I honestly don't know..."
"But I will admit that there were definitely a few poor ones…"
He gritted his teeth.
"I believe most of them were logical decisions that one would definitely do to survive in a zombie apocalypse!"
"I don't regret them at all…"
"Not a single bit…"
"I did what I had to do to get where I am…"
"This power that I hold…"
"And most importantly…"
He got up and raised a fist like a hero who triumphed in the end after undergoing a long and arduous journey.
"I am a Chosen One! I refuse to bow down to society! Society must bow down to me!"
He dropped his fist and stared down at the mound.
"What happened here, cuz, no one in our family, not a living soul will know."
"And if the entire world will know of it, I will burn everything and everyone in it until there's not a trace of it left."
"When I see our family, I will tell them you died a brave and honorable death."
"Not a fool's death."
He turned to Wesley and sneered.
"And you… You're gonna live the remaining days of your life as a dog!"
He removed the chains that were binding him and the gag on his mouth.
"ERRR EH, ERRR EH!" said the tongueless Wesley.
Nathan ignored him and looked at the small mound one last time.
He summoned his phone from his [Artifact] Gold Spatial Finger and looked at it.
The phone had life on it but was turned off. The last time it was on was during the time he was recuperating from the D1's attack and he hasn't read any of the messages and listened to the voicemails.
He tossed it at the mound.
"Farewell, cuz. I hope you're doing well wherever you are."
He raised his head up and stared at the blue sky.
Ignoring the black smoke coming from the flames, the sky wasn't as cloudy anymore compared to yesterday.
And in a soft and tiny whisper that wasn't even barely enough for anyone to hear, he said, "And I'm sorry that my actions have caused you so much pain. Please forgive me…"
He activated [Coward's Way].
This is the ending of Volume 1. I haven't yet decided what will be the name of this volume. But ever since I started writing way back in Chapter 38 to set everything for the Snapped Arc, the words "Introduction" and "Beginning" were always on my mind but I'm not satisfied.
I'll probably choose "Introduction" if I can't think of any.
Wait... I just thought about something. What if "The New Age" or "The New Birth"? Oh shit... It sounds so cringey and cliche like "The birth of a new hero." Omg... I'm getting so embarassed. Oh my fucking god. Please forgive me for my lack of creativity and originality!
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