Above the imperial capital―――
Laughing, Ouronus spreads his arms wide.
Dark magic gathers around him, transforming swiftly into a massive arm.
「Here, take this!」
Easily over thirty feet, the colossal arm stretches.
However, Jibru deflects it effortlessly. The moment it’s deflected, cracks appear on the dark arm, causing it to shatter.
Jibru’s “Gluttony.” A complete obliteration.
Jibru then pours magic into her mouth, releasing a dense mass of magical energy.
Jibru’s breath attack hits Ouronus directly.
A deafening explosion.
「AHAHA, IT HURTS, IT HURTS!」
Ouronus emerges from the flames, a broad grin on his face.
It’s clear the attack barely affected him.
Proof of this is that, despite the obvious chance to dodge the attack, Ouronus chose not to.
Did he not feel the need to dodge? Or was it something else―――
「Oh, the pain. It hurts, sis. How could you hurt your beloved brother like this? What a terrible sister you are!」
There’s not even a hint of melancholy in his voice.
No, it’s a voice filled with ecstatic pain.
Squish, squish. Ouronus sticks his fingers into his own wounds, playing with them as if cherishing them.
Pulling his finger from the wound, he gives it a quick lick.
「I’ve got a question, sis.」
「What is it?」
「Why are we fighting?」
Confused by the question, Jibru is momentarily taken aback.
「I mean, I’d love to fight with you for a day, a hundred years even. I don’t mind getting hurt, punched, kicked, insulted, yelled at, trampled, thrown around, nearly killed, or even sealed by you. I’m pretty much always open to it, but―――」
Ouronus shifts his gaze from Jibru and asks,
「…Why won’t you let me kill Gwyve?」
He looks at Gwyve, who has set up a barrier.
「If I move from here, you’ll kill Gwyve, won’t you?」
「Yeah. Isn’t it obvious?」
As if it’s the most natural thing in the world, Ouronus nods.
Why does my sister defend and protect the person I despise, the one I only wish to kill for the pain he’s caused?
Ouronus can’t understand it at all.
「And, of course, after I kill Gwyve, I’ll destroy his entire species too. After all, Gwyve is their chieftain. The sins of a leader are the sins of the whole group. You can’t isolate the blame. Plus, if I leave any of them alive, a second, a third Gwyve might appear. Threats need to be eradicated from the root. Oh, right, while I’m at it, I should also destroy his hometown. Only then will my anger be satisfied. So, why do you keep getting in my way, sis?」
Ouronus tilts his head, genuinely baffled by his sister’s interference.
There isn’t a shred of doubt in his voice.
He’ll destroy everything – Gwyve, his species, even the Eld Desert.
Hearing this madness, Jibru sighs deeply.
「…If I asked you to stop, would you?」
「No way, sis. Even if you pleaded, I can’t do that. After all, this is also for you. I’m trying to remove the obstacles between us. It’s an act of justice. It’s the right thing to do. If it benefits both of us, why would you want to stop me?」
After a moment of thought, Jibru proposes a compromise.
「…Let’s say, for argument’s sake, you do as you’ve said. After that, would you be willing to accompany me back to the Stellar Vein Dungeon?」
Ouronus tilts his head, crossing his arms in thought.
Eventually, he concludes.
「What’s the point of going back? Our wish was to get out of that dungeon. If we go back, we’d just be guarding “that thing” meaninglessly with those incompetents. It’s pointless. No, absolutely not. We deserve to live more freely, don’t we? Like, you paying more attention to me, for example.」
「There is a purpose. It was only after I left that I realized. We should be there. Our power is too strong for this world. If we don’t stay in our rightful place, the world’s balance will be disrupted!」
Jibru directly counters Ouronus’s claim of pointlessness.
Yet, her words seem to float past Ouronus like wind through willow trees.
「That’s why it’s pointless. Why don’t you understand, sis? Instead of all that, it would be much more meaningful to have fun and play with me.」
Ouronus seems unyielding in his beliefs.
Their conversation is at a standstill. No meeting of the minds.
「…There’s no helping it, is there?」
She sends a thought transmission to Gwyve.
『Gwyve, can you increase the barrier’s strength about four times more?』
『I can. But, I can’t guarantee how long it’ll last. Maybe five minutes.』
『Alright, leave it to me… HAAAAAA!』
Gwyve pours even more magical power into the barrier.
The shape of the barrier changes.
From a spherical form, it shifts to a cube shape, reminiscent of a die.
It’s to provide a platform to make it easier for Jibru to fight.
Then, he coats it once more with a barrier, strengthening it further.
The barrier, constructed with the utmost power that Gwyve, the White Wyvern, possesses.
This barrier could even contain a Dragon King in its “awakened state” for a few minutes.
But the purpose of this barrier isn’t to trap two individuals.
Quite the opposite.
It’s to prevent anyone from entering, ensuring no interference in the duel between the two.
It’s a precaution so Jibru can unleash her full power.
Even in Earth’s dungeon, whenever she would “awaken,” she set up barriers to ensure no external disturbances.
The impact a Dragon King can have on the world is that significant.
（The strength of the barrier… It’s sufficient. Thank you, Gwyve.）
Satisfied with the barrier, Jibru nods in approval.
She had convinced him, despite his wishes to fight himself, to take on a supportive role.
She can’t waste that resolve.
She takes a deep breath and releases her “power.”
Her unique technique as an Earth Dragon, “Gluttony”, reveals its true force.
Jibru’s body enlarges dramatically.
Easily surpassing a length of a hundred meters, she reverts to her original form.
「Whoa, amazing! So cool!」
She releases the magical power she’s been suppressing.
All the magic she’s been accumulating so far through “Gluttony”.
A power granted only to the true Dragon Kings – “Awakening”.
Once in Earth’s dungeon, she had overwhelmed the Celestial Dragon Yamu with this strength. No, she’s now unleashing even more power than that.
Booming and rumbling noises
Jibru’s body starts getting covered with an inorganic armor.
Full Body Armamentization. Earth’s trump card.
She effortlessly wields it.
A surge of overwhelming magical energy and pressure.
Upon receiving all of this, Ouronus mutters,
「Amazing! Just as I thought, big sis, you’re incredible! How can you be THIS overpowering!?」
Suddenly, Ouronus’s left arm is crushed.
In the blink of an eye, she closes the gap and, with her weaponized hand, crushes Ouronus’s arm.
Predictably, this makes Ouronus scream.
「Hey, wait, ow ow OWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOW! That really hurts! What are you doing, sis!? This is… a bit… no, WAY overboard! If I die, what then!?」
「I actually intended to crush your entire body just now.」
「What? …Sis, are you… trying to kill me? Your own little brother… wait, no, you’re joking, right?」
With a tentative posture, Ouronus asks Jibru.
Slowly, Jibru shakes her head.
「Disciplining a stubborn and disobedient little brother is also a big sister’s job.」
With a pitiful scream, Ouronus starts to retreat.
In the process, his left arm is torn off and falls to the ground. He doesn’t even stop to pick it up; he just keeps running.
However, he’s inside Gwyve’s barrier.
He’s quickly stopped by the barrier, and now there’s no way out.
「Guh! What’s with this barrier!?」
Ouronus swings his right hand at the barrier, but…
The barrier doesn’t even show a scratch, effortlessly repelling his attack.
「Shit! Shit! This is bullshit! Gwyve, HEY! Drop this barrier right now! If you do, I’ll kill you! My sister is seriously trying to kill me! Hurry up and drop this barrier, you idiot! If you don’t, I’ll kill you!」
Raving madly, Ouronus pounds on the barrier with his one remaining arm.
But the barrier, which Gwyve has poured all his magic into, doesn’t budge an inch.
From behind, Jibru approaches.
However, there’s no sign of complacency on Jibru’s face.
（I need to finish this now. Before Ouronus releases his “power”…）
Yes, that’s Jibru’s concern.
Ouronus hasn’t yet utilized any of his unique techniques as a Dragon King.
Just like the Earth Dragon’s “Gluttony,” the Holy Dragon’s “Purifying Flames,” and the Celestial Dragon’s “Heavens,” the Death Dragon Ouronus has his own unique technique.
The name of that technique is―――”Annihilation.”
An ability specialized for offense that can bring “death” and “destruction” to anything and everything.
When it comes to offense, it’s an ability that can even surpass Jibru’s “Gluttony.”
However, more troubling than anything, there’s this effect in the “Annihilation” ability.
One part of it is called “Counter.” It activates the moment you kill Ouronus.
It forces his killer to shoulder all of his wounds, including fatal ones, restoring his body to its original state.
It’s like he pushes his own “death” onto someone else.
Even Jibru would not get off easy if this ability was used on her.
If the activation of “Gluttony” isn’t quick enough, even she might die.
That infinitesimal delay, shorter than an instant, before “Gluttony” activates, could be said to be Jibru’s one and only weakness.
That’s why she needs to settle things right now, while he hasn’t activated that power yet.
While Ouronus fights using only the superficial strength of a dragon king.
「It’s over, Ouronus!」
「No, stop! Sis, please stopppppppppppp!」
Jibru’s claws tear into Ouronus’s body without hesitation.
His body turns into mere chunks of flesh.
「Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh… Sis… ter…」
Ouronus’s consciousness fades.
Immediately, Jibru activates her magical sense.
She tenses every nerve, preparing for the counter by “Annihilation.”
“Gluttony” isn’t activating.
The counter from “Annihilation” is uncontrollable even for Ouronus.
It’s an ability, almost like a curse, that acts automatically, regardless of his will.
In that case, it should have activated against the one who hurt him the most, who delivered the final blow.
That is to say, against Jibru.
「What on earth is going on? …Could it be?」
She quickly looks behind her, checking for Gwyve.
There stands Gwyve, unscathed.
She wondered if “Annihilation” had activated on him instead of her, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Gwyve is tilting his head, clearly as confused as she is.
She looks back at Ouronus’s corpse.
Without a doubt, this is Ouronus’s body.
Did he really die?
Could it be that Ouronus hesitated to use “Annihilation” on his own sister and former allies because he still had some feelings left for them?
No, that’s impossible.
Jibru, being his sister, immediately rules out that possibility.
So, what exactly happened?
Once again, she glances at Ouronus’s corpse.
There’s no sign of movement.
He’s definitely dead.
So, what’s this uneasy feeling?
Why is my heart in turmoil?
Why won’t my instincts silence the alarm bells?
A voice. She hears it.
It’s Ouronus’s mocking laughter.
「Ah hahaa~, I’ve been killed. Really been killed. By my beloved sister, my precious sister, my darling sister, by my sister, my sister, my sister, my sister, my sister, my sister, I’ve been killed by her aaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!」
Ouronus’s flesh starts to swell, expanding ominously.
「――――! Wha-what’s happening…?」
This phenomenon is beyond Jibru’s understanding.
Ouronus should be certainly dead.
There’s no “Annihilation” activation.
There shouldn’t be any way for him to come back to life―――…
But as Jibru ponders, a dreadful “possibility” dawns on her.
The worst-case scenario she could ever imagine.
As if responding to it, the swollen flesh pops like popcorn.
From those bursting pieces of flesh, “something” emerges.
「Oooooooh…」「Kishikishi」「Gigigigigi!!」「Goagoagoa!」「korororo….」「shashasha…」「baruruuuu…」「grrrrrr」「Aah aah aah aah aah aah aah」「Blub blub blub…」
A horse with jaws like a stag beetle and six legs.
A serpent with seven distinct heads, each sprouting wings.
A lizard, with insect-like joints and appendages resembling fish fins.
Some of these creatures defy description altogether.
That’s the only way to describe them.
These “somethings” that have been born, each one is distorted, looking nothing like any creature of this world.
If there’s a common feature among them, it’s that they all have a predominantly black hue.
What on earth are these creatures…?
「Ahahaha! What do you think, sis!」
From within the fleshy mass, Ouronus’s voice rings out.
「Ouronus…! What are these… these things?!」
Jibru demands, almost shouting.
「These are ‘Aberrations.’ New creatures born from my magic.」
His voice now lacks the joviality from moments ago.
It’s a colder, more reptilian tone, one devoid of warmth.
A smile that feels chilling, without the warmth of life.
「You thought that after being sealed for a millennium, I wouldn’t have ‘grown’ in some way?」
Yes, that’s the worst possible outcome.
Namely — besides the “Annihilation” technique, the Death Dragon Ouronus possesses another unique magic.
And he’d already activated it — the moment he was resurrected.
Jibru hadn’t realized it.
Even before the battle began, Ouronus had already “awakened” ahead of Jibru.
That’s why she hadn’t noticed.
Before her eyes, countless “Aberrations” are continuously being created.
She’s seen a scene much like this one, a millennium ago.
A new law introduced to a world where the dead had never risen before.
Due to Ouronus unleashing his power, half of the world’s magical essence “perished,” resulting in a negative factor causing this supernatural phenomenon.
This current event is probably the same.
A phenomenon caused by a power of Ouronus, separate from “Annihilation.”
From the fleshy mass, Ouronus’s voice echoes.
「Now, watch me more closely! I’m going to try even harder! Work hard to hurt you! So, watch me more! Hurt me more! Kill me! Properly kill me, siiiis!」
His eyes, filled with mad ecstasy, pierce through Jibru.
Moreover, the countless eyes of the “Aberrations” simultaneously fixate on her.
Jibru realizes her own naivety.
Somewhere―――in her heart, there was hesitation.
Siblings, bound by blood. That bond caused her to waver.
She should’ve killed him, without hesitation.
That naivety now comes back to haunt her.
The Death Dragon Ouronus and the “Aberrations.”
The true “threat” Jibru had been wary of now takes form and assails her.
At that moment, on the black altar―――
Having finished our break, Elibel and I decide to move again.
With Joker and Rias completely vanished, the black altar built from his power is gradually starting to crumble.
We can’t stay here much longer.
「So, we’re heading up, Earth.」
『Sounds like a plan.』
Elibel seems to be doing alright now.
Man, she’s mentally tough. I’m kinda jealous.
I brace myself and look upward.
Floating there is a barrier, looking like a white die.
Jibru and Ouronus are probably inside.
『That’s Gwyve’s barrier, huh…』
I never knew Gwyve could do something like that.
「I guess so. The White Wyvern, like the Mineral Dragon, specializes in ‘protection.’ But while the Mineral Dragon focuses on physical defense, the White Flying Dragon is more about magical defense.」
『Is that so?』
「Yes, it is! Didn’t you read that in my ruins?」
Eh? Did I?
I quickly search my memory, what I internally refer to as “Elipedia.” Oh, it’s true.
It’s written there that the White Wyvern excels in barriers and healing.
Hahaha, I must’ve skimmed over it.
Elibel just gives me a look.
Stop it! Don’t look at me with those pitying eyes!
As if mirroring Elibel’s emotions, the sky starts to cloud over.
『Let’s… let’s hurry up. The weather seems to be turning bad. Come on, let’s move!』
We can’t afford this tense atmosphere to linger any longer.
「Well, alright. We should quickly assist Jibru and the others———」
Mid-sentence, Elibel suddenly looks up.
What caught her attention?
Curious, I follow her gaze.
Suddenly—there’s a sharp, shattering sound.
We both cry out in unison.
The barrier Gwyve had put up… it’s broken.
Shimmering shards from the shattered barrier dance in the air.
And then, something… falls.
With a thunderous crash, it lands right before us.
『What is that?』
At first, I can’t even discern what it is.
『How… can this be?』
I stare in horror at the transformed figure before us.
Lying in front of us is just the severed head of Gwyve.
And beside it, the unrecognizable, ragged form of Jibru.
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