Zenith Online: Rebirth of the Strongest Player

Death is sometimes not the end, and the zenith is empty. Legends rise and fall. Myths are born. Faced with death after a dismal fall from grace where glory, renown, and prominence were once found, Kieran's second chance is fueled by vengeance. It burns like a ruinous flame and drives Kieran's quest for power within and without. Though not an ingrate, he remains curious about why he returned to the past instead of dying. He has nothing but questions, but his death puts the beginning of his story into perspective, showing him that Zenith Online... is the beginning of the end — the end of the current Age. The zenith is empty and calls for someone to claim its throne, but to answer that call means to bear the consequences. Everything — especially choice — has a cost. Challenges lay in wait. The road to supremacy is wound in suffering, and to know the truth is to know madness. And so, the Maddened awakens...

ApexPen · Games
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Second Chance

Every day was a somber haze, a perpetual hell where Kieran could barely tell his yesterday from today or tomorrow. It had all become one big, draining blur.

And he was bored — so very bored that it hurt. 

He wanted change and activity, but he couldn't have that unless it were inside a dream that rarely came. He mostly had nightmares instead of dreams these days — snippets of lost glory that haunted him.

He hated his fall from grace, staring around his white prison listlessly.

It wasn't supposed to be a prison, yet it felt like one. 

He lay in a pristine, cubic medical room to prolong his life that drained with each passing day. He was reaching his end; he could feel it. Then, perhaps what awaited him was a hellscape.

'No, this place is my hell.' 

Regret and hatred burned in his mind, but he did not know where to offload it. He wanted to believe it was ownerless, but that was a lie. Kieran knew what he hated, what deserved despising — that accursed sickness that had condemned him to this waking hell.

Kieran closed his eyes, pursed his lips, and then let out a miserable groan, barely holding back tears of anguish. Who would want to live a bleak life confined to a bed when you were once someone great?

It was a terrible fate, perhaps the most miserable to a vain person.

'I'm not vain, though. I'm just… tired.'

Kieran exhaled. 

Then he opened his glossy, dull eyes and stared at the blinding white light falling from the ceiling. He could see a roaring crowd flickering across the rays of light for just a second before it vanished, and he fell back to reality.

His name — Kieran Silver — had been forgotten. Perhaps only he remembered the past filled with thrill, purpose, and triumph.

Realizing that his name no longer made waves stung like venom searing through his veins. The grandeur of his accolades had vanished in the time he spent moving from hospital to hospital.

The true pain, however, was his inability to make anything more of his life. His sickness had stolen his ability to move, then… it stole his happiness, and now, it was not that far from stealing his thoughts and claiming his life.

Kieran sighed again, this one more burdened than the last.

His mind was unhealthy — literally and figuratively. It was eating away at him, consuming his everything. Remembering hurt, and his memory faltered. It wasn't his fault, though. He had tried to solve the issue as soon as the symptoms became noticeable.

Needless to say, the search had failed. 

'If it was up to me… I'd end it all. But alas, I have no control.'

Let alone move, he could barely think. Each thought came out sluggish after languishing in his head for a few minutes.

Then, just when he only wanted to rest alone and wallow in despair, the room's door slid open, and several people strode inside — several… familiar people.

A medley of emotions brewed in Kieran's annoyed eyes while looking at these people stroll through the room. Their appearance alone made the room seem like a funereal battlefield.

Kieran did his best to ignore them and their routine appearance, but there wasn't much else for him to focus on. The beeping medical devices? The screen filled with an uninteresting show?

His thoughts were too heavy to be entertained by mundane activities. He had tasted thrills too great and was now numb to what others called normal.

Soon, all Kieran could do was give a glum look and then speak.

"What is it today?" 

His voice was grating and guttural like a rasp of death coming to life. It was clear he had not used his voice in a long time.

Though he had asked for the reason, Kieran knew why they were there. It was the same as always — they were vultures and sought his unspent and idle fortune. 

Without an heir, beneficiary, or relative to leave it to… it was just there. It was a considerable sum, too, and because of that, Kieran had time to determine what he'd do with it. Ultimately, he found it would best serve as a research fund for this ailment.

The cognition sickness that burdened the mind until it ate away at itself.

He had announced this decision to the executor of his estate. Since then, the visits from his former guild had grown infrequent. And Kieran cherished that peace.

Of the many that strode into the room, only one spoke up. 

It was a man with pale blond hair that hung past his eyes and intruded upon the frames of his glasses. He was dressed in a tidy suit, but his conniving eyes filled with cunning betrayed the genteel facade he was trying to weave.

"The same as always. But just a little different. You see… the guild has fallen upon hard times and requires a cash injection of massive proportions. And as I said… hard times — we do not have it. So, we must look beyond to greener pastures for help."

Kieran listened, but his impassive expression didn't budge. On the contrary, antipathy and rancor started to seethe below the surface.

"And? What does that have to do with me, Charles?"

The deceitful, blond-haired man, Charles, smiled thinly. 

"A great deal, Kieran. You are Golden Brigade's old legend — the Berserk King. As our legend, shouldn't you find it in your heart to help us? Your great benefactors? You rose from the shoulders of a Behemoth. It was our firm back that supported you. Now, we are in need."

It wasn't hard to tell from Kieran's current hateful gaze that this wasn't true. A lot of sabotage went on in the background that he never addressed because it worked out in the bittersweet end.

Still, his departure was not an amicable one. Malicious stunts were pulled, his integrity was questioned, and his sickness was doubted… until it couldn't be.

"Too bad. Ask your friends. If you have any remaining, that is. The Golden Brigade should have learned not to stab people in the back. I'm sure that's what landed you in all your binds."

Finally, Charles' facade began to fall apart. Hints of his malignancy and vile tendencies seeped through his mask of civility.

"Whether you like it or not… your assets can be seized. Your sickness makes you medically inept. Your mind is not okay. And you know it. That's why… this was super easy to obtain. Effortless, in fact."

Charles grabbed a beige folder from a subordinate and slid it across Kieran's torso. A bundle of paper spilled from inside, the header reading: "Seizure of Bound Executive Assets."

Kieran's gaze grew dark as it met Charles' treacherous delight.

"You may have departed from Golden Brigade, but the bylaws of the employment contract still bind you. Isn't the law amazing in that way?! Laugh with me, it's hilarious."

Kieran was not laughing. He was livid and filled with murderous thoughts. The gist of it was simple. They had named him unfit to make legal decisions — which he probably was given his sick mind — and assumed control of his estate.

It was all gained during his contracted period, and the administrator helped speed along the process. Who knew it would all come to bite him in the rear?

He was young… and youth was the time of rampant mistakes. Mistakes were the rite of passage that led to wisdom and understanding.

And Kieran was understanding that people could not be trusted.

"You thought we would give up in our pursuit of this new world? After coming so far? Never. But now we can go farther. And you…"

Charles smirked. There was something amiss with his expression. He continued, though.

"Now that we have control of all this, you can go on and die from your H-COS. Let it finish eating your mind. Ah, wait, but there's more! It gets better. You could have been cured and more robust than ever. But you're too difficult to control and not ideal to let grow into real power. Bye now, fool."

Charles turned around in a fit of maniacal laughter and strode toward the room's exit with the others, but just then, a voice straight from hell itself, seething with fatal indignation, erupted.

"What did you say?"

The decrepit gears in Kieran's mind started to turn, realization and understanding clicking together into a morbid truth. The Golden Brigade that he had once led from a high position… were the ones that had condemned him to death.

Grasping this led to Kieran's unbridled fury. A dam broke in his mind, in his heart, and suffused the room with something dreadful.

Everyone was petrified, and Kieran did something no one thought he'd ever do again — move. He moved. Barely, though.

Just enough to lift with his left arm with a disturbingly hollow gaze. As he pointed at the doorway, a sphere of berserk and ruinous energy gathered at his fingertip.

It was small but contained the might of a nuclear bomb. In his madness, Kieran wanted to obliterate everything… and he awakened the power to do so. 

A female voice cautioned in a panic.


As he cowered behind a strong figure, something wound up protecting the terrified Charles. A protective barrier had been erected. 

The entire room was wiped out, and when all was said and done, Kieran's lifeless body — what remained of it — fell to the ground.

Shaken, Charles stared at the body.

"What a way to die… Did he become an Inhuman at the very last moments?"

The woman frowned deeply with her eyes lingering on the burnt carcass of a human.

"Something like that. Just know, he would have killed you all had I not been here. You really… really dodged a bullet."

Kieran's eyes slammed open, and he sat up in bed with a deep gasp. He was in disbelief but also unbelievably wrathful. 

Unaware of his environment, Kieran looked around with tentative glances.

"Was any of that real? No… it had to be. I wasn't having some terrible nightmare."

He touched his body, examined it, and then looked around at his new setting — a small room in a dorm. He found this new scenery intimately familiar, and that's because it was. He had spent ample amounts of time in this exact room. 

A few years, to be exact.

He shuffled out of bed and looked in the mirror. His eyes were the same black color, but there was a brooding deepness to them that he didn't understand.

His hair was the same sterling black, almost like it was dyed to be so jet black, but it wasn't.

His skin… well, it was somewhat riddled with acne. Not such that it was an unsightly mess, but enough to know that hormones rampaged through him.

'…I'm a teenager again?'

Kieran had to sit down to take it all in, but he found himself brooding as the holographic receiver on his arm chirped.

News about Zenith Online's release, a new virtual reality game, caught his eye. But it wasn't new to him.

The mention of Zenith Online caused a deluge of memories, emotions, and knowledge. The more it surged, the hotter Kieran's fury burned. He was grateful but also spiteful.

Something had brought him back here but also ruined his life.

'First… life? A couple of years of my life?'

Kieran blinked with a distant expression. He was just as confused as any person could be in this situation. However, he didn't want to squander this chance.

He glanced at a picture of a young him and his deceased parents. Gone were those blessed days, but he cherished them like any child would.

'Zenith Online…'

Kieran idled for a few moments, then made an executive decision. He'd dive back in. He was back in a time period when peril had yet to take hold of him, which made him free to do many things. 

At the top of those things was a dark… homicidal list.

'Golden Brigade, your days are numbered. And Charles. Oh, Charles. The things I'm going to do to you will be unspeakable. Sweet revenge. Retribution. Whatever this is now.'

Rebirth, return, reincarnation — Kieran didn't care what this was. It was a second chance to make wrongs right, and in his mind, that began with the dismantling of Golden Brigade.

He waited hours for the cheapest VR Helmet to come, configured it, and then waited for the so-called wonder known as Zenith Online to be launched.




[Welcome to the new world… Zenith Online, the world of wonder awaits you.]

Hello all, just an aspiring artist with a penchant for LitRPG, specifically VRMMORPG stories.

As a result, I've endeavored to write my own. I hope you all enjoy it and notify me of any spelling or grammar errors so I can resolve them aptly.

That being said, I also implore you all to give feed as long as it is constructive.

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