Following Konrad's orders, Astarte left to alert her superiors of the current situation.
Yvonne, Else, and Verena sat crossed-legged within the Empyrean Tower's highest floor, the Concealed Paradise. Initially, they all stood within their respective quarters. But a series of mental messages made them all gather within Yvonne's chambers. Upon stepping in, the still armored Astarte bowed in greetings.
"Your majesty, your graces, I believe master must have already given you a rough briefing. In short, Celestial Realm Devas are on their way as we speak and are very likely to belong to top-ranking houses. Moreover, a new demonic force has risen and cast their eyes on us.
Though hard to identify, their bloodline can't be underestimated, and their leaders will undoubtedly be mighty foes. Master asks you to take the reigns of the capital while he completes his breakthroughs."
Astarte explained in a polite but urgent tone.
Dressed in a golden gown embroidered with a ten-headed horned serpent, Yvonne nodded while Else and Verena's eyes shifted toward the unconscious Zeas and Violk who still hovered around Astarte.
"Although we can't be certain of the involved houses, there is no doubt that the house of Surya will be involved. With their relationship to the Celestial Founder and the sun spirits, they will be the first to step in. As for others…"
Else began while stretching her hand toward the unconscious Zeas who then flew toward her.
"Depending on the information revealed, the Brahmas might join the fray to -cleanse abominations.-"
Verena continued while waiting for Else to finish her investigation of Zeas' mind. And following three seconds of keeping her hand pressed against Zeas' forehead, Else sneered.
"Sealed memories. We can't get much from them with the usual method. That being the case…
Her blue eyes shimmered while she peered into Zeas' past through her Seer's Vision. No memory seal could block her sight, and in a flash, the entirety of Zeas' life unfolded before her. Her eyes contorted into a frown.
Seeing this, Verena cast her Seer's Vision onto Violk, surrendering him to the same examination. And she too couldn't help but see her face contort from what she saw.
"Those two were average soldiers within their ant colony and don't have access to critical information. However, from what I've seen, the strength of the demons we will face might trump that of those new devas."
Else said toward Yvonne who remained silent throughout their examination.
"They are Zenith Ants, labeled as the -world scourges- in the higher realms. They descend from the Primogen Slivaz, and their lineage used to rank extremely high within demonkind. Not only do they possess formidable innate strength, but their reproductive abilities are inarguably the highest of the Infernal Realm. However, they also possess one nasty habit that led them to antagonize all:
Just like incubi indulge in lust and crave domination, Zenith Ants yearn for destruction and slaughter. They need no reason to descend on worlds and obliterate all that lies within them. In the past, because they directed their destructive tendencies at the Celestial Realm, the other Demon Gods chose to turn a blind eye.
However, following Asmodeus' fall and Talroth's ascension as Southern King of Hell, Slivaz believed Southern Hell weakened, and allowed her descendants to wreak havoc within Talroth's Domain."
"Naturally, he didn't take it well. Like many others, Slivaz initially believed that Talroth must have used some kind of trickery to subjugate Asmodeus and didn't think him to be her match. After all, she'd been cultivating for billions of years, and while she didn't rank among the strongest Primogens, she wasn't too far from them.
"…she wasn't Talroth's match. He crushed her in battle, destroyed her body and soul, extinguished all the Gods of her house, and enslaved the Zenith Ants. He then had them sold in high-scale auctions throughout the Infernal Realm."
"Afterward, they were abused throughout eons, and no God ever rose from that lineage. When the time came for Marduk to descend on the Ancient Crystal World, only one Zenith Ant colony remained. All were dispatched to serve as his slaves.
However, not long after the descent, believing themselves freed of the Infernal Realm's Gods oppression, they resumed their murdering habits and rebelled.
Marduk slaughtered them to the last…or so he thought. A scant few survived by burrowing themselves in the roots of the World Tree and gave birth to a new colony. Since then, they've been slowly draining the vitality of the World Tree to fuel their growth and empower their physiques.
Their leader's current cultivation level is unfathomable. However, because of their ploy against the World Tree, the real Ant Rulers only communicate through mental messages and don't appear to their descendants. The elders are the strongest, visible force."
It was the Zenith Ants' constant siphoning of the World Tree's vitality that triggered the withering. And though Konrad's faction knew nothing of that event beforehand, they were now forced to confront it and the consequences it heralded.
At that time, Zamira appeared and bowed toward the trio.
"Nevertheless, the important thing is to device a way to keep the Anti Divine Power Screen intact. Be it the devas or zenith ants, neither would come if they didn't have confidence in their ability to shatter it. Perhaps they're relying on God-Artifacts, perhaps they possess some peculiar means.
In one case or another, they possess the means to shatter our most critical defense. Although we're no longer what we used to be, and our current force dreads none throughout the mortal realm, our current information is insufficient, and I fear that at best, we're heading toward a pyrrhic victory.
At worst, the consequences are hard to fathom."
Zamira appraised, and be it Astarte, Else, Verena or the silent Yvonne, all were forced to agree. However, agreeing was one thing. Finding a way to resolve the problem, another.
"Although the shroud is our most absolute defense against non-deities, while maintaining it, we can't use the Tower for anything else. That being the case, let's remove it, and crush the next wave with absolute strength.
Let us tell the world that the Jade Dynasty fears none beneath the vast blue sky."
Yvonne declared, and instantaneously, her harem sisters understood the hidden meaning behind her words.
"Yes, your majesty!"
Meanwhile, dozens of grey cocoons rose from beneath the World Tree, and from them, several dwarf-like figures emerged.