He hated to look at himself in the mirror. All the markings, all the red scars, all because he couldn't hold his tongue. Keep back all his fury, all his hate.
He hated him. As he hated himself.
But he was gone now.
He stood there, the cries of a woman distant. Gazing at his hands, he could only wonder why he felt regret, why he felt something was missing.
Phantom was gone, and with him, the zombie tattoo. The zomebie tattoo, a silent mark of his strength. A dark reminder of what he had to achieve.
And it would always be gone, forevermore.
He sighed, the dark lines burning in his mind. The absence left an empty hole, another gash, in his soul.
How much pain had he endured to recieve this strength, this absolution, this result? How much blood had he shed, to get this far? Faintly, he wondered if this had been Phantom's intention all along, to shape him into an equal that could carry on his power, his legacy, his pain.
He smiled sadly at the dormant body, resting peacefully on his throne.
"Thank you, Phantom," he said quietly. "Thank you for making me who I am."