16 – Apocalypse!!!
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Several decades had passed since Aziel had defeated that aquatic monster and had become the strongest creature on the planet. By claiming both land, sea, and even the skies as his own domain, he now stood at the true zenith (AN: See what I did there?), the true pinnacle of this new world.

Though he arrived at the top, he couldn't find any creature with an ability that would help him find a chance, a way back towards his old world.

He was stuck, with no path ahead for the current him. In his gloom, he gradually grew distant, apathetic to the events of the world. He had hunted all of the races, species he could find, yet he found nothing new, nothing that could push him towards his ultimate goal.

With the lack of intelligent life living on the planet, he slowly lost his interest in the primordial lifestyle. The harshness of the wildlife no longer posing any challenge to its existence.

He had tried many things to give himself a challenge. Swimming to the bottom of the ocean to adapt to the extreme pressure it held, jumping from the highest peaks he could find to increase his durability, he had even intentionally got himself struck by lightning from flying above the clouds during storms just to strengthen himself, in vain and ultimately hopeless attempt to unlock his still missing connection with the elements.

All of this soon posed less and less of a challenge, until it got to the point that they no longer stimulated him any longer. Aziel was now deeply depressed about how everything had turned out.

Crossing through some desert landscape Aziel was pacing towards no true destination, in particular, he was just a lone wanderer in a world filled with creatures of massive proportions. He was traveling the land to find a purpose in his existence.

His decades-long journey had led him to many different landscapes holding many different species, but none managed to give Aziel a suitable challenge; he already stood at the pinnacle.

He decided to spend the rest of his time exploring, familiarizing himself with the rest of the planet, and the environment as a whole.

In his exploration, Aziel had come in contact with many oddities he had never observed before, most of which were extremely poisonous plants and giant bugs, sometimes the sizes that would have even dwarfed over his original reptilian form.

Upon discovering these venomous plants, Aziel spent some effort in consuming them en masse, slowly, gradually building up his immunity to all known forms of it. After a while and countless attempts, he was now completely immune to any poisons that could be found in this prehistoric world.

When Aziel had come across the giant bugs in his journey, he was shocked at first, but he soon grew curious from the hardened carapace they held on their bodies. Upon realizing how durable they were he decided to absorb a few of them to increase his body's durability.

In doing so, he eventually evolved his old bone armor, enhancing it with a much slicker and sturdier retractable onyx-colored exoskeleton that he could utilize whenever he needed.

The new armor was several times stronger than the previous protection he formed automatically in his demi-human form. It would be formed from his skin hardening into an incredibly dense mixture of chitin and a bone-like layer of armor, shrouding and tightly fitting both his human and demi-human versions.

When he gained this new ability, he was excited by what it could do, but he soon became greatly bothered by it, as the armor only made him more powerful than he was before. This would just further decrease his chances of finding something, anything that could challenge him.

Aziel continued to walk the world in search of new stimuli to his existence. After several decades of boredom, he was slowly getting to the point where anything mildly interesting would suffice… Hunger, happiness, sadness, even pain would be welcomed, as he grew numb with the relentless passage of time.

He could now be seen above a volcanic biome, flying. He was growing tired of walking, so he decided that he would stretch his wings a bit, to explore the other parts of the land.

"Hmmm, what's that?"

He was flying above a biome populated with large mountains and hills. At the biome's epicenter, he spotted a peculiar-looking mountain that was much larger than the others surrounding it. The mountain was releasing an orange hue from its summit, attracting Aziel's attention.

Flying towards the mountain, Aziel landed on the side of its peak and looked over the edge.

"HOT!"

A gust of immensely hot air had burst out of the mountain as Aziel peered over the edge.

"Huh, is this an active volcano?"

Concluding that this mountain was a volcano at the center of this biome, he became curious once again. Feeling the heat from the volcano, an idea came to his mind.

"Maybe this can finally give me what I want!"

His eyes glowing with anticipation, Aziel once again looked over the edge of the volcano, observing the molten rock bubbling within its core. He was thinking about what he wanted to do, soon becoming hesitant the longer he looked down.

Shaking his head to free it from these negative thoughts, Aziel spread his wings and flew directly above the volcano.

"No, I can't miss this chance!"

Altering his trajectory, he folded his wings and dove straight into the entrance of the volcano. The immense heat began to sear his skin before his body even touched the surface of the boiling magma.

Reaching deeper into the volcano, Aziel closed his eyes as he was approaching the molten lava.

*BOOM!*

A small explosion rang out as Aziel dove into the lava. His screams of pain could not be heard as the hot boiling molten rock began seeping into his mouth, filling his lungs and invading his body.

The pain he was feeling was beyond excruciating, he couldn't remain conscious for even a second as his body burned up, his mind forced into darkness. [Essence Restitute] shifting into activity yet again, reconstructing his body only to be melted again and again. Each time gaining increased resistance to the impossible environment.

The years began to pile up, soon several centuries have passed, eventually even piling up to thousands of years. Deep within the soil of the now withered landscape, Aziel was in a state of advanced hibernation from the stunt he had pulled. His body needed time to set everything in place.

"Urgh…"

A groan could be heard coming from somewhere deep underground, seeping through the cracks of the surface. Aziel was slowly waking up from his millennial slumber.

Opening his eyes, he couldn't see anything, so he attempted to move.

*CRACK!*

*RUMBLE!*

Synchronized with his movements, the sound of rocks breaking and tremors rang out. The sound of the tremors was enhanced greatly by his senses, causing Aziel to be tortured by immense pain.

"Urgh…"

He winced at the pain and stopped moving.

"What was that?" - He questioned inside his head.

Going for a second attempt at finding an escape from his current predicament, the ground began to shake in response. The sound of the tremors was again amplified due to his senses.

Aziel was now stuck in a dilemma, every time he moved, the ground trembled in response which was then enhanced by his senses, causing him a great deal of pain.

He sighed in this realization. Not wanting to spend the rest of his days encased wherever he currently was, he started to move, trying to ignore the pain coming from the tremors.

Eventually, after some effort and a great deal of struggle, he had managed to shift into a crouched position. Once he got into the position, he was ready to try and attempt another escape from his entrapment.

*BOOM!*

An explosion rang out as Aziel launched himself from underground with a force comparable to a missile. The shockwave caused the soil to burst open violently, debris sent hurdling in all directions.

Escaping his tomb, Aziel was now climbing to two thousand meters above the ground. Losing velocity his ascension came to a sudden stop and he began to fall back down to the earth.

Escaping from his tomb, Aziel found himself flying high up in the air. Gradually losing his velocity, his ascension came to a halt, he began to float and to fall back down to the ground.

*THUD!*

Aziel landed with a heavy thud, sinking into the soil. The sounds are still being amplified by his senses.

"What is going on?!" He exclaimed, holding his head, wincing in pain once again.

Taking his feet from the ground and standing up, Aziel looked around.

Observing the surroundings, he saw nothing but destruction, the once flush landscape was painted charcoal black, many of the trees were withered away.

"What has happened here?"

As he asked in confusion, his mind was flooded with memories of what he did and where he was.

"Hmm… Did my actions cause this perhaps?" He pondered, feeling no response but genuine curiosity.

Aziel let this sink into the back of his mind as he began searching for any signs of life. However, despite his efforts, he found nothing for miles around the volcano.

Sprouting his wings, he took to the skies to further his search for any signs of life. Still not coming across anything, he decided to pick up his speed.

After some time had passed, Aziel felt as if he could go faster, he felt that his body was leagues above what it was before. Raising his wings, he directed his strength into them, flapping his wings as hard as he could.

*SWOOSH!*

Aziel shot forward with immense force, creating an air pocket as he flew above the trees. The shockwaves that followed pulled them straight from their roots.

Two minutes had passed since he had been flying at a speed around Mach 5 when he finally spotted the first signs of life.

He spotted a herd of massive long-necked dinosaurs, and he immediately flew towards them. As he landed in front of the animals, he had spooked them, causing one of the massive beasts to swing its tail at Aziel.

This wasn't a good idea.

*CRACK!*

An audible cracking sound rang out while the tail of the creature snapped upon it came in contact with Aziel's body. The creature, shocked by the unexpected pain, began to wail from its tail is suddenly broken.

"AAAAAAH!"

Aziel felt a sharp searing pain in his head. His senses were so greatly enhanced that the wailing was amplified to be comparable to him being next to an airplane jet.

"STOP! SHUT UP!"

Aziel couldn't handle the pain of his senses being overloaded, causing him to fall to the ground, the sound driving him insane every second that went by.

He couldn't take it anymore, he launched himself at the creature, knocking it over and quickly slamming his fist into its skull, killing it instantly, no pain, no suffering, just silence…

Aziel immediately spread his wings and flew away from the location at his top speed. He was tired, tired of these creatures, and how their only purpose seems to be driving him to the brink of insanity.

He flew himself into a mountain causing the entire range to tremor violently. He decided to seclude himself until he can adjust to his senses being enhanced to such an unbearable degree, closing his eyes he began to give his body time to adapt.

Several days later, with a loud rumbling bluster, Aziel came out of his distress as the area began to quake.

His instincts screamed at him of imminent danger, he immediately flew out of the mountain, causing it to collapse. What he saw when he exited the mountain had confused him. All the creatures were running, trying to escape from something.

Aziel didn't know what was wrong, but he knew something wasn't right.

All of a sudden he noticed that the daylight was getting brighter and the temperature was increasing dramatically.

Aziel immediately looked up to try and find the cause; what he had seen shook his very being, his body froze, his mind became devoid of all thoughts. Fear was the only thing Aziel felt, not since he arrived in this world had he felt such an imminent death.

What he had seen was a massive meteor spanning hundreds of miles across hurtling towards the ground.

He wanted to move, he wanted to fly away, to escape but he couldn't.

*BOOM!*

The meteor collided with the planet, causing a bone-chilling explosion, vaporizing all life within its range and melting away the rest.

Once again, just having awoken from his millennial-long slumber, Aziel was once again, forced back into hibernation for several millions of years, as the strange new planet gradually recovered from the mass-extinction event…

[End of Vol 01]

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