The collapse of the continent.
Out of everyone, the ones most shocked by Jibru’s heinous act were the Stellar Vein’s followers.
The Stellar Vein has deeply rooted itself across the entire planet.
It also shares an intimate connection with the earth’s surface.
So what happens when someone forcefully shatters the continent?
The outcome is obvious.
The first one to make a move is the Death Dragon Ouronus.
Ignoring the other followers trying to stop him, he immediately heads to the earth’s surface through the “hole.”
Unleashing a Annihilation Breath to blast open a direct route, he makes it to the surface almost instantly.
What comes into his view is an unbelievable sight.
「The continent is…splitting apart…!?」
The earth is fracturing with fissures forming across the land.
The sea is splitting with tidal waves occurring.
Natural disasters are breaking out everywhere, and humans, monsters, all living things dwelling on the earth’s surface are helplessly being swallowed up by these threats.
「My sister…did this…?」
Destruction on such a massive scale.
Without a doubt, she must have used “Awakening.”
And unleashed the power of “Gluttony” without limit, bringing about this hellscape stretching out before me.
（Why…? Granted, the humans who invaded earlier were pretty strong, but still not to this extent…）
He couldn’t understand why his sister would commit such an outrageous act.
Then again, that’s only natural.
After all, he doesn’t have the “memories” which are the root cause.
「This is…rather unpleasant…」
Somehow, Alto Parto, another stellar vein’s dweller known as “The Fool,” is now next to Ouronus.
「Alto…what should we do?」
Stroking his chin visible through his hood’s gap, he appears lost in thought.
At the very least, stopping Jibru must be top priority to prevent further destruction.
However, every dweller of the Stellar Vein knows just how difficult that would be.
Even if Ouronus were to “Awaken” like her, could he stop her…?
（Even if everyone attacked her together, I doubt we could stop Jibru in her awakened state…）
If we’re prepared to sacrifice over half of us, then maybe we’d stand a chance.
It’d be the stronger ones like me, Ouronus, Mýrus, and Harsha dying first probably.
（Don’t joke around.）
To die for some inexplicable situation like this, no thank you.
Everyone else likely feel the same way.
However, if we leave this be, the continent’s collapse will lead to the Stellar Vein’s own collapse, then the planet’s, as damage spreads in a chain reaction.
So what should we do―――
（Let’s have Jibru rampage to her heart’s content for now. Leave her be, and focus on preventing the secondary disasters that would occur…）
Alto Parto swiftly makes a decision.
Indeed, while Jibru rampages, her targets are limited to just the human race and their kingdoms.
It’s obvious she has no intention of destroying the continent itself.
She simply wants to kill humans―the “aftereffects” are what’s causing the continent’s collapse.
「Ouronus, please “Awaken” and continue using “Annihilation.”」
「The magical energy surrounding Jibru. If you keep destroying that, we should be able to restrain the effects of “Gluttony” considerably.」
「…Is that alright? Wouldn’t that have considerable impact on the surface?」
Like Jibru, Ouronus’ “Awakening” is also powerful.
Once he unleashes his power, there’s no telling how greatly it would affect the surroundings.
「Better than letting the planet collapse. Yamu will manipulate the weather and tidal waves with “Heavens,” while Harsha uses “Holy Barrier” to protect the Stellar Vein’s deep layers. Protecting the Stellar Vein takes top priority.」
Via thought transmission, Alto Parto relays instructions to everyone.
「I will use teleportation to move even more humans near Jibru. The more we have for her to kill, the longer we can keep her confined to one area.」
「Wouldn’t that…potentially wipe out the humans?」
「That’s fine. They can take responsibility for the actions they started.」
「…Yeah. You’re right…」
Nodding with a faint gloomy expression, Ouronus then begins taking action to stop Jibru, alongside the others.
Several hours later…
Somehow, they succeeded in suppressing Jibru’s rampage.
Having exhausted her power, Jibru currently sleeps deep within the Stellar Vein Dungeon.
However, the damage is immense.
「…Rather than restore the fractured continent to normal, we’ve redirected the Stellar Vein’s flows with it split into four pieces. A desperate measure, but we managed somehow… Though due to that, the number of living beings surviving on the surface is miniscule now…」
According to the ants birthed by Mýrus, the Stellar Vein rooted into the four continents has successfully restarted its functions.
However, the human population has been reduced by almost eighty percent apparently.
（Well, that’s within expectations. Humans multiply so easily anyway.）
Despite matching the black ants birthed by Mýrus in their ability to increase, the foolish disorganized rabble had taken several thousand years to unify under that detestable man’s leadership.
Their foolishness irritates him.
It would have been so much better if they just died out completely.
Even now, Alto Parto barely stops himself from heading to the surface to make that happen.
The reason lies in what he sees before him.
「…So Ouronus, what’s with that human?」
What he sees is Ouronus having taken human form, a human girl cradled in his arms.
She isn’t alive, but isn’t dead either.
「…Um, I picked her up.」
「No, you didn’t just pick her up…」
Faced with Alto Parto’s exasperated tone, Ouronus hurriedly tries to explain.
「Oh, uh, so like, I’m making her my follower. One is fine right?」
For whatever reason he’s taken a liking to her, Ouronus gazes affectionately at the girl he holds.
The first human influenced by Ouronus’ “power.”
（The first dead person…I see.）
Yes, her existence is precisely why Alto Parto didn’t choose to wipe out humanity.
A soul’s inversion.
The birth of the dead.
The power of “Annihilation” unleashed by Ouronus’ “Awakening.”
It erased about half of the world’s magical energy.
However, it didn’t end there.
As if to fill in the void, the erased magical energy transformed, changing form.
Into negative magical energy.
The rise of new laws that affect not the living, but “death” itself.
Alto Parto tentatively named this phenomenon “Undeath,” and the transformed humans as “the dead.”
（The effects of undeath are unpredictable.）
Under these circumstances, carelessly slaughtering humans and increasing their numbers was not the wisest course of action.
（Above all, the nature of souls has changed… In a way, the dead are like reincarnation while retaining memories. And their lifespans are horrifyingly long. They can continue living unless their “core” is destroyed or they use up all magical energy…）
Even if these were my own instructions, for things to turn out like this…
No sooner is one issue resolved than a new problem surfaces.
Ah, what a fool I am.
「Well, I suppose beggars can’t be choosers in our situation.」
「It’s not beggars.」
「A figure of speech. Anyway, does that human have a name?」
「Yeah, what’d she say it was… Oh right, Rias. Rias Aurora.」
「I found her when I secretly went to the surface after Sis fell asleep. Something about her struck me hard, y’know. So―――」
Ignoring Ouronus’s words, Alto Parto considers what must be done going forward.
What the Stellar Vein needs now are forces and defensive functions to protect the dungeon.
Separate from the overwhelming might of Ouronus and Jibru, we require power that cannot interfere with the stellar network itself.
Followers specializing in barriers and defenses.
However, Zepar who can create them is occupied with repairing the network.
（Golem homunculi cannot be made without Lord Zepar.）
Alchemy that creates life… That is magecraft surpassing common sense.
Alto Parto lacks the magical skill to reproduce such a feat.
（Then, should we recruit externally…?）
Now that he thinks about it, Alto Parto recalls there being monsters on the surface having incorporated the Stellar Vein’s power, aside from that detestable human.
One named the Emperor Beast Agil, and the demon army horde he leads if he recalls.
They were practically the only force barely damaged during this incident.
According to Mýrus, immediately upon Jibru manifesting on the surface, Agil threw up barriers and focused wholly on defense, allowing them to weather her assault.
（Quite exceptional… And the so-called Emperor Beast likely wields power rivaling our own. Inducting them into the Stellar Vein may prove worthwhile.）
It is risky.
Everyone else may strongly oppose it.
However, right now we need all the military strength we can get.
Zepar has secluded himself in the deepest layer for repairs.
Jibru sleeps having exhausted her power.
While they are absent, I must somehow maintain the Stellar Vein Dungeon.
（Perhaps I should try fortune telling for the first time in a while… Hopefully the results will be favorable…）
And so, seeking to bolster their forces and enhance defenses, Alto Parto begins making moves.
Several days later…
A new follower is born within the Stellar Vein.
Jibru’s shattering of the continent, the Stellar Vein’s turmoil.
Ouronus birthing new laws for this world.
And the Stellar Vein’s own instinct for self-preservation.
These factors intersect, eventually giving form to a single monster.
Its birth was coincidence, yet also inevitable in a way.
Unlike Zepar’s intentional creations, an unwanted existence.
The monster unintentionally generated by the Stellar Vein’s self-defense instincts.
And that is precisely why contradictions were ingrained in it from birth.
Defense yet also interference. Barriers yet also alteration.
A monster boasting mutually exclusive abilities.
「Huh…? Where is this place?」
And thus, the monster―Dream Mist Joker―comes into being.
Though it will be some time yet before he earns that name.
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