Saturday, September 26, 2015

Overlord Volume 7 Chapter 4

Chapter 4: A Handful of Hope



(Re)Translated by: Nigel
Proofreader/Editor: Deus Ex Machina


Part 1

Such was the ferocity of the attack that it resembled a flood from a broken dam.

The enemy was only a mass of low-tier undead. They were nothing for Foresight to be afraid of. However, what could only be described as a human wave attack showed no signs of stopping.


Hekkeran wiped the sweat off his face after beating his tenth group of opponents since the start of the battle, a pair of Ghasts.


Although he wanted to rest, there was no time for it. He gulped some water from a pouch on his waist, and signaled a retreat as he calmed his breathing down. However, or rather, as expected, the enemy had no intention of giving them any time to rest.


A composite party of three Skeleton Warriors, each holding round shields, and a pair of robed Skeleton Mages with staves in hand jumped out of a side passage.


“Conserve your mana!”


“Got it.”


“—Fully understood.”


In a situation like this where they could be surprised at any time, magic—which could easily deal with any situation—was a trump card they could not use casually. Because of this, they had conserved as much of their mana as possible.


That being said, several of their abilities with limited uses per day had already been exhausted. This was the result of being swamped by the large amount of traps and undead.


There were Skeleton Archers lined up behind barred windows, and out of swords’ reach. It was difficult to put them down since the Skeletons were resistant to piercing attacks, but Roberdyck was able to turn the undead.


He was also able to eradicate the undead that were throwing bottles of poisonous gas at them.


When the Floor Imitators who glued their victims to the ground attacked in tandem with flying undead, Roberdyck destroyed them one after the other with his ability to turn undead


He also exorcised a mixed team of several undead that could cause status ailments like poison, disease and curse.


As a result, Roberdyck only had a few uses of undead turning left. Conversely, they had managed to conserve other abilities as well as mana. The only tough battle had been the one where something like a Flesh Golem had been mixed into a battalion of Zombies.


“Warning! Multiple footsteps from behind!”


“Undead reaction! There’s six of them!”


As Imina shouted her warning—followed immediately by Roberdyck—tensions ran high. The reason why the five skeletons ahead of them had not yet launched an attack was probably because they were waiting for a chance to execute a pincer attack.


Hekkeran considered their next move.


Several options appeared on a list in his mind. First, they could make a pre-emptive attack on the enemies in front of them and bring them down. Or they could launch a suppressing attack on the enemies in front of them, then turn to attack their pursuers. This plan would require good observation skills to determine the strength of the forces in front and behind them, then take on the weaker group first. They could also use magic to hinder one side, then take the opportunity to break through the other.


They were all effective, but none of them could turn the situation around. In a moment of inspiration, Hekkeran decided to trust his instincts.


“Hekkeran! What shall we do?”


“Turn back! There’s a path to the side! Retreat there!”


The instant his voice rang out, Imina, who had been the rear guard, began running. Arche and Roberdyck followed her. Hekkeran was one step behind them.


The fact that Imina was running meant that it was not an impossible distance.His other teammates were running with all their might, and so Hekkeran ran as fast as he could. The enemy would not let them escape easily, of course; they heard the footsteps of several undead pursuing them relentlessly.


“Have a taste of this!”


Hekkeran took out a bag of alchemical glue and tossed it behind him.


The alchemical fluid splashed out and spread over the ground.


The results were immediate; the sound of footsteps stopped instantly.


Intelligent undead might have made a detour, but such thinking was impossible for lesser undead. Furthermore, Skeletons lacked muscle power, and thus they found it very difficult to break free once they were stuck.


“More undead reactions! Four from the right!”


“It’s a wall!”


“No, it’s an illusion!”


Four Ghouls charged through the wall at. Although they were scrawny undead that were little more than skin and bones, they were still a fearsome sight when attacking with their outstretched yellowed claws. That said, there was nobody on this team who would be frightened by such an attack.


“Don’t look down on me!”


Seemingly unaffected by the ambush, Imina immediately unsheathed her shortsword and swung it at a Ghoul’s neck. Dirty-looking fluid oozed out in place of blood, and it fell. Beside her, Roberdyck swung his mace with all his might and crushed another Ghoul’s skull.


Judging that it was safe to leave those two alone, Hekkeran turned his attention to the rear. They were still being chased. Should he throw another bag of glue just to be on the safe side?


Just as Hekkeran was about to toss one, the shape of a terrifying undead being loomed into view.


“Elder Lich!”


At the same time, he noticed lightning crackling on the lich’s finger. Hekkeran was familiar with the spell in question.


[Lightning] produced a straight line of piercing electricity, and there was only one way to dodge it.


“—Push the ghouls back!”


Neither Imina nor Roberdyck understood why Hekkeran gave that command, but they obeyed without hesitation.


A bolt of white lightning flashed across the hallway just as the four of them pushed the ghouls through the illusionary wall.


The air crackled, and Hekkeran felt a magic circle activate under his feet. In the next moment, they were enveloped in an unavoidable pale blue light, and the scenery before them changed.


“Be careful! Stay alert!…?”


Although the Ghouls had vanished and the surroundings were different, they were still on edge from the battle. Even so, after such an unexpected occurrence, it was no surprise that they were dumbfounded for a few moments.


Hekkeran shook his head, regaining his focus. The most basic thing he had to do—although learning about their current situation was also important—was to ensure the safety of his comrades.

Imina, Arche and Roberdyck.


All the other members of Foresight had maintained their formation as the magic circle activated, and nobody was missing.


After mutually confirming that they were all safe and sound, the four of them continued observing their surroundings.


This place was a wide corridor, dimly lit and with a high ceiling. Even a Giant could walk freely through here. The flickering flames of faraway torches provided unsteady illumination, and in their light the long shadows seemed to dance. Along the tunnel and ahead of them was some kind of latticed gate, like a portcullis. Rays of white, magical light shone through the gaps in its surface. Behind them, the path stretched into darkness, and along the way, several doors opening into the corridor could be seen, lit up by torches.


With everyone remaining quiet, only the crackling of the torches could be heard.


In any event, they did not seem to be in any danger of being attacked immediately. After they realized this, their tension eased.


“Although I don’t know where this place is, it has a completely different atmosphere to what we’ve seen up until now.”


The style of this place was completely different to the tomb they had just left. In fact, signs of civilisation could be seen here. The members of Foresight surveyed their surroundings, and whilst they were trying to grasp where this place was, only Arche’s attitude was different from the rest.


“—This place is…”


Keenly perceiving the meaning behind the words, Hekkeran asked Arche:


“Do you know? Or perhaps you have a clue?”


“—I know of a similar place. The Empire’s grand arena.”


“Ah… indeed, you are right.”

Roberdyck grunted in agreement. Although Hekkeran and Imina did not say anything, they also shared Roberdyck’s opinion.


When Foresight had made their debut at the arena, they had passed through a place similar to this one when they were making their way from the waiting room to the arena.


“That means the arena should be behind that.”


Roberdyck pointed towards the latticed gate.


“That should be the case… then being teleported to this place means that… is that what it is?”


They were to fight in an arena. Although, they had no idea who or what might be waiting for them.


“—It’s dangerous. Long-distance teleportation is reckoned to be 5th tier magic. Being able to use that kind of magic as a trap has only been heard of in stories. This site must have been constructed by someone with unimaginable skill in magic. It’s not favourable for us to accept the opponent’s invitation. I suggest we proceed in the opposite direction.”


“But, if we accepted the opponent’s invitation, don’t you think there might be a path to survival? Wouldn’t rejecting the invitation antagonize the other side?”


“Both sides seem dangerous. Rober, what do you think?”


“There’s a case to be made for both arguments. But I have some doubts about what Arche-san has said. Is this really a trap laid by the person who currently lives here? Could it be that they're just using something created by an unknown third party?”


They looked at each other and exhaled in unison. There was no point in staying here and discussing the matter further. They did not have enough information and their opinions did not match, but they had to make a decision right now.


“—What Rober said makes sense. Who know, maybe it was made five hundred years ago.”


“Ah. Magical techniques were more advanced in the past.”


“Are you referring to the beings that dominated the continent and whose country shattered almost immediately, of which only the capital remains today?”


“—The Eight Greed Kings. They are considered to be the ones who spread the existence of magic through this world. If this is a relic of that era, then perhaps…”


“…I see. Then I’m in favour of heading out to the arena. In any case, since we were brought here by a trap, they would not allow us to escape.”


In response to Roberdyck’s statement, everyone nodded, gathered up their determination, and began moving.




When they approached the gate, it rose upward with impressive speed, as though it had been waiting for them all this time. The first thing they saw as they entered the arena were rows upon rows of audience seats around the arena.


The arena was no less impressive than the one in the Empire. In fact, it might have been even more so, given that it was covered in lanterns enchanted with [Continual Light], which lit the grounds up as brightly as if it were the day.


Everyone in Foresight was astonished, especially when they glimpsed the audience above them.


This was because sitting there were innumerable clay figures, the dolls known as Golems.


Golems were inorganic creatures created through magical means, who would obediently carry out their master’s commands once they received them. Without the need for food or sleep, and immune to fatigue and even the ravages of time, they were treasured as guardians and labourers. Furthermore, because their production took considerable time, effort and cost, even the weakest ones commanded a formidable price.


Even Hekkeran and the others, who were paid well, would find it hard to purchase a golem.


They were valuable constructs, and this arena seemed to be overflowing with them.


To Hekkeran, it spoke of how wealthy the person who owned this arena was, as well as how lonely he felt.


They looked briefly at each other’s faces, as though they had already come here many times before, and then they walked silently towards the centre of the arena.


“Outside?”


In response to Imina’s voice, they looked up, and saw the night sky. The surrounding illumination was strong and eclipsed the light of the stars, but even so, there was no doubt that this arena was open to the night sky.


“Were we teleported outside?”


“Then, we could use flight magic to escape—”


“TOOOOOH!”


A figure jumped from the balcony of the VIP box, in time with the voice that had interrupted Arche’s words.


The figure somersaulted in mid-air as it descended from a height that seemed roughly equivalent to a six story building, making people wonder if it might have wings as it gracefully landed upon the ground. There was no magic at work there, only pure physical ability. Even the rogue Imina had her breath taken away by the perfection of the movement.


The figure who had absorbed the impact with a mere flexing of its knees smiled brightly.


Before them stood a young Dark Elf boy.


The long ears which emerged from amongst the golden, silky strands of his hair twitched slightly, and he smiled as brightly as the sun.


He was fully dressed in a suit of tight-fitting, light leather armour, made from jet black and deep crimson dragon scales, over which he wore a white vest embroidered with golden threads. There was an emblem sewn onto the breast of the jacket.


Seeing his heterochromic eyes, Imina let out a gasp of surprise.


“—Ah!”


“—The challengers have arrived!”


The boy spoke into the rod-like object he was holding in his hand, and his amplified words resounded throughout the arena.


The arena trembled and shuddered in time with the boy’s bright and cheerful voice.


Looking around, it seemed that the golems which had remained motionless so far were stomping on the ground to make noise.


“The challengers are four reckless fools who have invaded the Great Tomb of Nazarick! And, facing them is the master of the Great Tomb of Nazarick, the Supreme King of Death, Ainz! Ooal! Gown-sama!”


The portcullis on the opposite side of the arena rose upwards at the same time as the Dark Elf’s voice rang out. From the darkness of the path beyond, a being stepped into the light. In a word, it was skeletal.


Crimson radiance flickered within the eye sockets of the white skull.


It was dressed in a gown-like vestment, and because there were no muscles where the robe was cinched about the waist, it appeared unbelievably skinny. Judging by the fact that it held no weapons, it was probably a magic caster of some kind.


“Ooh! And walking in behind him is our Guardian Overseer, Albedo!”


The members of Foresight held their breath as they saw the woman who followed behind like a servant.


She was a peerless vision that surpassed even the Beautiful Princess of Darkness (Nabe). Hers was a beauty that could never be reached by human beings, and two horns curved out gently from both sides of her forehead. At her waist were a pair of black wings. They looked so realistic that they could not possibly have been artificially created.


The arena quaked with stomping, as if to welcome the debut of these two new entrants, before turning into thunderous applause. It was a reception befitting the arrival of a king.


The two people approached Foresight amidst the thunderous applause from the surrounding Golems.


“—I’m so sorry,” Arche muttered. “We ended up like this because of me.”


What would follow was probably going to be the most grueling battle Foresight would ever have faced. In all likelihood, one or more of them might die. Arche probably felt that they had been plunged into such a dire circumstance was because of herself. Without her debt, perhaps they might not have accepted this task to go investigate a tomb they so obviously did not know enough about.


However—


“Oi oi, what nonsense is this girl babbling?”


“Indeed. It was everyone’s decision to go on this job. It had nothing to do with you. Don’t you think we’d have done it anyway even if you hadn’t said anything?”


“That’s how it is, so there’s no need to be worried.”


Hekkeran and Roberdyck smiled as they spoke, and Imina patted Arche’s head.


“Well then, although there’s no point planning now, we should still have a discussion. Arche, can you identify that undead creature?”


“—Seeing that it seems intelligent, perhaps it’s an upper-class skeleton-type?”


The skeleton in question, Ainz, waved his hand before them. The movement looked as if he was wiping something away.


The sounds disappeared. In an instant, the golems’ movements stopped, and the almost painful silence returned. Hekkeran bowed politely to Ainz, who was slowly turning to face them.


“Firstly I would like to apologise, Ainz Ooal…dono.”


“…That’s Ainz Ooal Gown.”


“My apologies. Ainz Ooal Gown-dono.”


Ainz stopped and raised his chin, as if he were waiting for an inferior to continue.


“We wish to apologize for entering your tomb without permission. If you can find it in your heart to forgive us, we will gladly pay the appropriate compensation to atone for our transgressions."


Time passed in silence. Then Ainz sighed. Of course, as one of the undead, Ainz had no need to breathe. However, he did so in order to get his message across.


“Is that how you do things where you come from? After someone else eats in your home and leaves waste behind which sprouts maggots, would you actually show him more mercy than a swift death?”


“Humans are not maggots!”


“They are the same. At least, they are to me. Or, not—perhaps humans are even lower than them. If a maggot is born, the fault lies with the fly. You, however, are different. You were not dragged along against your will, nor do you have any particularly compelling reason to come here, but you attacked a tomb which might have had people living in it, with the intention of plundering its treasures, purely for the sake of satisfying your worthless greed!”


Ainz laughed.


“Ah, do not take it to heart. I am not blaming you. It is only natural for the strong to take from the weak. I have done it myself and I do not consider myself an exception from this rule. It was precisely because there might be someone stronger than me that I was on guard… Now then, the time for idle banter is over. In accordance with the principle of the strong feeding upon the weak, I shall claim one thing from you.”


“No, actually, there’s a good rea—”


“Silence!” Ainz declared in a voice which allowed no interruption. “Do not upset me with your lies! Now then, you shall pay for your foolish mistake with your life.”


“What if we had permission?”


Ainz froze. Apparently, that had gotten through to him.


Hekkeran was surprised that a single sentence could have had such a great effect, but of course he did not let it show on his face. Just when all seemed lost, a ray of hope had shone through the darkness. Clearly, he had to seize it.


“…Nonsense.”


It was a still, small voice, almost on the verge of fading away.


“Utter nonsense, it’s nothing but a bluff. What do you gain from angering me?”


His unease was spreading, and even the Dark Elf boy beside him was starting to look uncomfortable. When he turned to look at the last person, goosebumps broke out all over Hekkeran’s body.


The beauty behind them was still smiling. But she radiated a murderous intent that beaded Hekkeran’s brow with sweat.


“And what if it was true?”


“…No… no… it must be a bluff. Absolutely impossible. You should all be offerings dancing in the palm of my hand…”


Ainz shook his head and fixed Hekkeran with a gaze that seemed to bore right through him.


“But… however… I… yes, that’s right, just in case, I will hear you out… who gave you this permission?”


“Don’t you know him?”


“Him…?”


“He didn’t leave his name, but he was a pretty big monster.”


Hekkeran desperately thought on where the goal line was, where he could evade danger.


It was a question that only a person paralyzed by indecision would ask, because only by asking could a person know what was true or false.


It’s as though he’s human, Hekkeran thought. This was not the reaction of a monster, but of a coward. This was a good chance.


“Tell me what he looked like.”


“…He was very very very big…”


“Very very big…”


As Ainz descended into another round of introspection, Hekkeran reflected that they had avoided danger yet again, and breathed an internal sigh of relief. He gestured to his colleagues with small movements of his fingers, telling them to find an escape route. Ainz would not act without confirming the truth or falsehood of Hekkeran’s words. This was all the time they had to think of how to get out of here.


“What did he tell you?”


Who knows, someone might have used a charm or dominate spell or some other special ability…


“Before that, I hope that you can guarantee our safety.”


“What? …If you have indeed gained the permission of one of my friends, then your safety is assured. Do not be afraid.”


A new word—friend.


Hekkeran analyzed the information he had just obtained. From the events of the negotiation, he had learned that Ainz Ooal Gown had friends, which he was currently not in contact with.


The secret of trickery was to expose the information your mark wanted, and then force him into a mistake.


“…Well? Why so quiet? Then let me hear what the person you met said to you.”


He had made it across all the goal lines so far. Now he had to do it again. His palms sweated profusely.


“He said to give his regards to Ainz in the Great Tomb of Nazarick.”


“…Ainz?”


His fidgeting suddenly stopped. Hekkeran noticed, and an “oh crap” expression spread across his face.


“…He said, to give his regards to Ainz?”


Hekkeran steeled himself. After all, words spoken could not be taken back.


“…Yes.”


“Kuhahahahaha!”


Ainz laughed when he heard Hekkeran’s answer. This was not a happy laugh. It was a laugh that could be best described as volcanic.


“Hah… well, so much for that. Though really, when you think about it calmly, there were bound to be holes aplenty in that story.”


Ainz’s movements stopped, and he turned to look at Hekkeran. The crimson fires blazing in his eye sockets turned dark, consumed by the black which surrounded them and reducing his pupils to points of red light. Hekkeran and the others took a step back, as though Ainz’s mere line of sight was exerting physical pressure on them.


Within that glare was the purest rage.


“YOU TRAAAAAAAASSHHHH! YOU DARE! YOU DARE TO TREAD YOUR FILTHYYYYYY! YOUR FILTHY BOOTS INTO THE NAZARICK THAT I, THAT WE, MY FRIENDS AND I, CREATED!”


So intense was his fury that Ainz was struck speechless. His shoulder blades moved as though he were breathing deeply, and he continued.


“AND YOU! YOU DARE USE THE NAME OF ME, OF MY TREASURED FRIENDS! YOU DARE USE IT TO TRICK ME! YOU SHITS! DO YOU THINK THAT CAN EVER, EVER BE FORGIVEN?!”


Ainz was screaming furiously.


It would not have been a surprise if his anger had gone on forever. However, his rancor suddenly vanished, and he returned to his usual calm.


It was a sudden change, as though the emotion had simply been switched off. The abrupt change was enough to make Hekkeran and his team, who were facing off against Ainz, think that something was amiss.


“…Although it made me angry, the fault does not lie with you. Of course you would tell an outrageous lie to preserve your lives. To tell you the truth, I’m still very mad… I guess I’m still too willful. Albedo. Aura. And all the Guardians who can hear my voice, everyone, cover your ears!”


The absolute beauty and the Dark Elf boy listened intently. The boy stuck his fingers into his ears, while the beauty delicately covered her ears with her hands. This was without a doubt to show that they were not going to listen to what he said.


“From the beginning, I was opposed to this plan to invite filthy thieves into my Great Tomb of Nazarick. But that said, I understand that this was the best method and I accept it.”


Ainz looked back up, and regretfully shook his head.


“Well, that’s all. Rant over. As a final mercy, I wanted to grant you a warrior’s death, but now I’ve changed my mind. Now I will dispose of you like the thieves that you are.”


While talking as though it were somebody else’s problem, Ainz shed his gown.


Naturally, there were bones below. A dark red orb floated under his ribs, emanating a feeling of dread. He had nothing on besides his pants and greaves… No, there was one more item. There was a leather collar around his neck, with a chain, broken halfway down, dangling from it.


“Ohhhhh!”


A strange sound came from above them.


Looking up, they could see the upper body of a silver-haired girl leaning out of the VIP box. She was immediately pulled back by a blue-gauntleted hand.


“…What the hell is she doing?”


“I’ll go scold her later.”


By the time they had managed to recover their senses and focus them back onto Ainz, he had produced a single-bladed black sword and a round black shield out of nowhere.


“Then, I’m ready over here. Let’s get started.”


He slightly spread his feet out—it was a fighting stance.


“Albedo and Aura, you can stop covering your ears now now.”


The two people addressed reacted immediately, and returned their hands to their sides.


“I’m in a very bad mood now. To think I would encounter fellows like this. So I’ll toy with them without killing them, and I’ll leave the disposal to you. Now, let’s begin.”


As Hekkeran stared down the sword-and-shield-equipped Ainz, Hekkeran’s first thought was that his opponent was not a warrior or a swordsman. If pressed, he would say that he was like a monster, the kind who would use their excellent physical abilities to overwhelm their opponent.


Both his posture and stance looked like those of an amateur. But he radiated a heavy pressure, appearing larger than life.


For a being like this, the fearsome move they could make might be to simply attack.


“Not coming? Then, allow me.”


Ainz rushed over as he replied.


His was a frightening speed that shrunk the distance between him and his foes to nothing in an instant.


He followed it up with a grand slash downwards from above.


The attack had openings all over it, but it had great destructive power. In the hands of a mighty being with incredible physical ability, it was a sword strike that could kill anything it hit.


—Taking it would be very dangerous.


Hekkeran came to this conclusion in an instant, as he sensed the high-speed blade descending on him. A hard block would turn this into a contest of power, and he knew that he would be overwhelmed if he pitted his strength against Ainz.


That being the case, there was only one option—


Ainz’s sword struck down into the ground, the lingering echo and vibration of steel against steel fading into the air.


—Parry the blow and guide it away from his body.


Normally, an attacker would be thrown off balance after being parried, and this would be a prime chance for a counterattack. But Ainz had not even moved. It was as though he knew that particular sequence of events was going to take place, and he had reset his stance to its original position.


Hekkeran realized that he had made a big mistake.


No good! I underestimated him! But, the only thing I can do is fight on!


He aimed at Ainz’s head. He used a martial art—


“[Twin Blade Strike]!”


The two swords inscribed gleaming arcs in the air as they scissored toward Ainz’s head. Normally, bludgeoning weapons would be more effective against a skeleton-type enemy like Ainz, but Hekkeran was more adept with slashing weapons, and not nearly as proficient with blunt weapons.


His main objective was to try to inflict some damage on Ainz. He flurried as many attacks as he could against Ainz, not caring if they hit or missed, in the hope that at least one of them would get through and strike him.


The twin swords sped toward his opponent’s head.


An average person would have taken it full-on.


A first-rate opponent might have only been scratched.


Then what about an absolutely top-class opponent?


“Hnh!”


Ainz interposed his shield in the path of the swords. Normal people would not have been able to accomplish it, but with overwhelming physical strength and speed, it was possible.


“—[Magic Arrow]!”


“[Lesser Dexterity]!”


As the shield blocked the two strikes, Arche’s spell sent a white bolt streaking towards Ainz. At the same time, while the sound of clashing metal still rang in the air, Roberdyck cast a spell to augment Hekkeran’s agility.


“Child’s play.”


Ainz did not even bother looking at Arche. The missile of light flickered and faded out of existence before it even managed to touch Ainz. A shocked expression appeared on Arche’s face.


“Spell immunity? But from where?”


“Hmph!”


In response, Ainz swung his shield at Hekkeran’s face.


A shield bash, is it!


The widely-known basics of fighting skills resounded in his head. Hekkeran decided to turn this danger into an opportunity, and made his move. He aimed at the belly, reasoning that the bulk of the shield would create a blind spot in the defense.


However, Ainz easily swept his weapons aside with the black sword.


—He saw through it!


His eyes followed the wall-like shield as it approached, and he barely evaded the blow by the skin of his teeth—and then a greave kicked at him from below.


A normal kick was nothing to be afraid of. However, through their brief exchange of arms, he was fully aware that due to Ainz’s incredible strength—despite having no muscles to speak of—any attack he made could kill him in a single blow. Taking the hit was tantamount to taking a mortal wound.


Hekkeran frantically rolled away. Without Roberdyck’s support, it would have been impossible. The vacuum in the kick’s passing sliced off several of his hairs, and a chill raced up and down his spine.


“This way!”


Imina launched two arrows from her bow. Because she had cried out, it was not a sneak attack, and Ainz casually avoided it.


The arrows flew past him, having missed their mark.


To begin with, arrows were not effective on skeleton-type monsters like Ainz. She had hoped that he would not bother with evading them and casually take the hits, but it seemed that was not going to happen. The arrows she had loosed had flattened heads, like a spade; they were specially-designed magic arrows which would do bludgeoning damage. If they had not been avoided, they should have been able to effectively damage even skeletal opponents.


At least, that was how it was supposed to happen, but even if that was not the case, there was nothing to regret. Hekkeran took the opportunity to stand up and slightly widen the gap between himself and Ainz. Imina’s cry had also been to give Hekkeran the chance to rise to his feet.


“[Twin Blade Strike]!”


“Hah!”


The two slashes were easily deflected by the single sword. The shock of the parry sent tremors through Hekkeran’s hands.


What a troublesome guy, is this what happens when you give warrior training to a monster with superhuman abilities? Just how strong is he?


The price of repeatedly using his certain-kill moves was the rapid draining of mental stamina. His brain felt like it was screaming from his exertions, so Hekkeran decided to back away.


Of course, Ainz would not permit that.


“As if I would let you escape!”


Ainz charged. That was only to be expected—backpedaling was slower than forward motion.


Just as he was about to catch up to Hekkeran, something whistled through the air as it flew past the side of his face.


A high-speed arrow came from behind Hekkeran’s back—hidden by his body. A normal person would not have been able to avoid it. However, against Ainz with his superhuman reflexes, it was still not enough.


“—[Flash]!”


“[Lesser Strength]!”


A brilliant flare of light burst in front of Ainz. Whether he resisted it or not, the spell would blind him for a moment, but it seemed pointless against Ainz. All it did was annoy him.


“Interfering busybodies!”


Ainz clicked his nonexistent tongue at Hekkeran, who had closed the gap thanks to his augmented strength and dexterity.


“—[Reinforce Armor]!”


“[Anti-Evil Protection]!”


Arche and Roberdyck’s support spells had solidified Hekkeran’s defense.


Having evaded Hekkeran’s attack and deflected his swords, Ainz was about to riposte once more when another arrow flew into his face.


“...Hmph!”


The casual ease with which Ainz evaded the arrow by simply turning his face was befitting of the ruler of the tomb, and of a monstrous warrior.


Hekkeran used the brief opening made by the support fire to back away, and sweat coursed down his body from the brief but intense combat.


He already knew this, but Ainz Ooal Gown was very strong.


Human beings could not hope to match his physical abilities. Worse still, he had the technique to make full use of his superhuman strength and speed. His observational skills could see through feints. He had the measure of every member of Foresight. Combined with his resistance to magic and the enchanted sword and shield he bore; he was everything a warrior wanted to be.


But there was a reason they could stand toe-to-toe with a man like this.


To be fair, he had been hard-pressed to hold his ground. If he had misread the angle of the falling sword and failed to parry, his swords would have been ruined and he would probably have suffered a fatal wound. A small mistake in estimating the speed of the black sword would have resulted in him being sliced neatly in half. The fact that all his coin tosses had come up heads was nothing short of luck.


Yet, there was an even more important reason beyond this.


That reason was teamwork.


It was precisely because they had walked the edge of life and death together, and were intimately aware of what each of the others was thinking, that they could move and act like a single organism.


This was how the united group Foresight could stand against the mightiest individual, Ainz Ooal Gown.


A faint smile lifted the corner of Hekkeran’s mouth.


Until now, Ainz had been untouched. Certainly, he was very strong. But he was not invincible.


With this conviction in his heart, he swung his twin swords.


Hekkeran’s sword strike, the fastest his augmented body could produce, was deflected by the round black shield. The arrow flying in was interdicted by the black sword. Arche and Roberdyck made use of this opening to enhance Hekkeran even further.


Ever since Ainz had clicked his tongue, his hostility toward them had been rapidly weakening.


After considering whether or not to press the attack, Hekkeran decided to back down and calm his frenzied breathing. The undead Ainz would not get tired no matter how long or how hard he fought, but humans like Hekkeran and the others would become exhausted. Dragging the battle out was a bad idea. He had to rest whenever he got the chance.


“So… as I thought, I still couldn’t deal a decisive blow. I thought I had the advantage in strength, skills and knowing what you could do, but when I’m actually engaged in battle, I’m still having difficulty… For instance, why haven’t I taken any of you down yet?”


Ainz shrugged his shoulders in annoyance. Hekkeran, who was watching from opposite Ainz, did not feel particularly irritated by his patronizing tone.


Truthfully speaking, this was the power of teamwork. Hekkeran smiled as though he had been praised.


In the midst of all this, the beauty who had been silent up till now finally spoke.


“—Ainz-sama. Perhaps you should end this charade here?”


“What?”


“Forgive my rudeness, but I find it hard to believe that you would permit continued freedom to these base knaves, these thieves who dared use the name of the Supreme Beings to deceive you. Perhaps it is time for the mercy you have granted them to come to an end?”


“Hey, Albedo. If you talk to Ainz-sama like that—”


“—No, Aura. That is a good point.”


Ainz shook his head.


“And that is enough. I have gained sufficient experience from this battle.”


“Truly marvelous. I expected nothing less of the Supreme One who rules me.”


“Hah, is that so. Well, this is certainly cause for celebration. Although I know you’re humoring me, praise from a warrior whose skills far exceed my own is still pleasing to me.”


“I would not dream of deceiving you with false praise. Those words came from the bottom of my heart.”


“Is that so? Then thank you. Cocytus can evaluate me later, and I still need to hear your opinions on future training sessions like this.”


Ainz nodded several times, looking very satisfied with himself, and then he turned back to Foresight.


The air between them had changed, and Hekkeran had a bad feeling about it.


His instincts that had carried him through many life-and-death situations were screaming to him: there is great danger here.


“Now then, that’s all for playing around with swords. It is time for a different sort of entertainment.”


Ainz cast aside the sword and shield he was holding, and they vanished before they hit the ground.


“What?!”


Discarding one’s arms was the universal sign of giving up the fight. However, Ainz’s attitude did not betray even the slightest hint of defeat, that he was in a situation where he was going to surrender.


This was not a gesture of capitulation.


Unable to figure out what Ainz was thinking, Hekkeran was filled with confusion.


“…What?”


At this, Ainz smiled. Or rather, he seemed to smile.


He slowly spread his arms. It was an action that resembled an angel reaching out to the faithful, or a mother welcoming her child into her embrace; a loving acceptance of what lay before him.


“You don’t get it? Then let me put it in terms you might be able to understand,” Ainz laughed. “I’ll play with you, so give me your best shot, humans.”


The mood had changed—


He had forsaken his weapon and his shield. That should have meant he had been weakened. But Hekkeran had the feeling that the Ainz before him now was more powerful than before. Indeed, it seemed as though his body had physically grown in size before their eyes, so oppressive was his presence.


A being that grew stronger when abandoning the sword.


When one thought about it, only two answers remained. One would be that he was one of those warrior monks who honed their bodies into living weapons. But if that were the case, his fighting style from earlier—the way he evaded attacks—did not seem polished enough for him to be one of their number.


Then, the alternative—


“—He’s a magic caster!?”


That cry came from Arche, who had reached the same conclusion Hekkeran had.


That was it. This was the question at hand. The being before them, Ainz Ooal Gown—was he a magic caster?


It was understandable that they had not considered that earlier. Who could have imagined that any magic caster could have fought on even terms with Hekkeran, the party’s strongest fighter and a veteran warrior?


Magic casters—especially arcane magic casters—had weaker bodies than warriors. After all, if one had time to train one’s body, one could easily spend that time on learning magic. As such, magic casters who could fight on par with warriors were nonexistent.


That was simple common sense.


Yet there were beings who could turn that wisdom on its head. Who could have imagined such a being would be standing in front of them?


For that reason, Arche’s voice carried the hope that it was untrue, and the desire that her hypothesis would be rejected. Because if it were true, that would mean that Ainz was far more confident in his skills as a magic caster than he was as a warrior. What that meant, nobody needed to say out loud.


Even casting a few spells could greatly improve battle performance. As Hekkeran had been demonstrating, several enhancement spells made a dramatic difference. But if that was the case—


“Did you finally realize it? How foolish you lot are. Well, it’s only natural to expect this level of intelligence from you miserable vermin, who track your filth into my—no, my friends’ Nazarick.”


However, as long as Arche was around, Hekkeran and the others could deny it.


“Arche! Is this guy a magic caster?!”


“No! I’m sure of it! At least, he’s not an arcane magic caster!”


“Hm? And what is that supposed to mean?”


“—I can’t sense any magical power from your body.”


“Ahhh. So you were using divination magic, then. How rude.”


Ainz showed Hekkeran and the others his hands. As one might expect of an undead, there was nothing of them but bones. He spread his fingers to show that each of them, on both hands, was wearing a ring.


“Once I remove this ring, you will understand. I also lent it to my subordinates.”


Saying that, Ainz removed a ring on his right hand. And then—


“Ugeeeehhhh!”


It was the sound of vomiting. Sticky fluid splattered onto the floor of the arena, and a sour, rancid stench wafted up around Foresight.


“What did you do?!”


Imina glared at Ainz, from where she had rushed over to assist Arche. Ainz seemed a little uncomfortable, but still answered in a displeased tone.


“What on earth is that girl doing? There’s a limit to how rude you can be, throwing up when you see someone’s face.”


“—E-everyone, run!”


Arche was shouting, and tears were leaking from the corner of her eyes.


“This guy is a mon—ueeehhhh!”


Unable to endure it, Arche threw up again. In that moment, Hekkeran understood why she had vomited.


Ainz had done nothing to her. Rather, she had been unable to withstand the combination of terror and stress caused by seeing the enormous magical power surrounding Ainz, and so she had vomited.


And that meant—


“—We can’t beat him! His strength is on a totally different level! Even the word monster can’t describe him!”


Arche began wailing as the tears rolled down her cheeks.


“No way no way no way—”


Imina tightly hugged Arche to her chest. The girl was violently shaking her head as though she had gone mad.


“Calm down! Roberdyck!”


“Got it! [Lion’s Heart]!”


Under the influence of Roberdyck’s magic, Arche managed to recover from the panic which had gripped her. Like a newborn deer, she rose unsteadily on shaky legs, using her staff as a crutch.


“—Everyone, we have to flee now! That’s not a being humans can beat! It’s an unbelievable monster!”


“...Understood, Arche!”


“Yeah, I get it. When he removed the ring, the entire world seemed to change. I felt it raise goosebumps all over me.”


“Yes. Powerful wouldn’t nearly be enough to describe this monster.”


The alertness level of the three of them had gone through the roof. They stared at Ainz with nerves wound even tighter than before. Theirs was an expression that understood that even an instant’s loss of watchfulness would spell their deaths.


“It looks like they won’t let us run.”


“The moment we show them our backs, we die. Although I have the feeling that just averting our eyes would be enough.”


“We need to buy time or we won’t make it.”


“…Not coming?”


Of course, Hekkeran would not be baited by Ainz, who was lazily scratching his skull with one long finger. The enemy’s fighting power vastly exceeded that of any being which had ever existed. That meant they could only count on one thing.


That was the instant when Ainz began casting a spell—a magic caster was most vulnerable when reciting an incantation. If he could cast a spell without incanting it, then it was over for them, but even so, that was a tiny possibility which existed for them.


As though drawing a bow taut, Hekkeran gathered his strength within himself.


“Then I will go. [Touch of Undeath].”


“What kind of magic is it? Arche!”


“I don’t know! I’ve never heard of it before!”


The black fog which covered Ainz’s right hand was an unknown magic which put them all on their guard. Hekkeran tensed his legs, ready to dodge at any time. His companions behind him were also wary for an area-of-effect attack, and began spacing themselves out.


Suddenly, Ainz began walking towards them.


Hekkeran’s eyes went wide. He had openings all over his amateurish advance. These were not the movements of a skilled warrior. Hekkeran knew Ainz was trying to bait them into a trap, but he could not read Ainz’s intentions.


Is he trying to use magic for something… or was that spell a close-range type? Or was it a defensive type?


Hekkeran was familiar with the more famous spells, but Hekkeran was not a mage by profession, and he could not understand Ainz’s intentions.


“Stay away!”


Imina’s angry cry pierced the air, as did the arrows she launched at Ainz.


Using a special technique, she had launched three arrows at once, but Ainz deftly knocked them from the sky with a bony hand.


“…You’re in the way.”


It was a small but cold voice.


The red blaze in the empty eye sockets flickered, but it was only Hekkeran, who was up front studying Ainz’s every move, who noticed it.


Just as the bad feeling struck, Ainz’s form vanished.


Hekkeran turned, trusting his instincts. In his eyes, he saw his companions’ shocked faces. However, there was no time to explain. Especially to Imina. Ainz was standing behind Imina, slowly reaching his right hand out to her.


Imina! She didn’t notice! I need to shout—no, useless things like that won’t help!


As he used a martial art to move at top speed toward Imina, a twinge of confusion ran through Hekkeran.


Was it wise to protect Imina?


Compared to Arche and Roberdyck, who could use support spells to enhance people, Imina’s usefulness and importance were relatively low. The best way to increase their survival rate was to discard the stumbling blocks at their feet. However—


Dammit!


This was the wrong thing for a leader to do. Even though this was almost equivalent to betraying his comrades, Hekkeran did not slow his steps at all. Emotion overruled reason in this matter.


He wanted to save Imina. That was all.


Suddenly, an image of Imina lying on his bed appeared in his mind’s eye. He smiled bitterly to himself, because in a life-and-death situation, all he could think about was her curveless body.


Even so—he put even more power into his feet.


This was the strength of a man who wanted to protect his woman.


“Get away!”


Hekkeran’s sudden charge created confusion, and thus he made it in time. Before Ainz could touch h, he had already knocked Imina out of the way.


Ainz was deciding which should be his priority—reducing their pain, the small whimpering voice in his head was saying—the man who had appeared in front of him, or the woman who got away.


“Hey! It’s me, dumbass!”


He followed up his yell with a martial art.


First, he used [Limit Breaker]. There would be a price to pay, but it increased the amount of martial arts he could use at the same time. Next was the technique which made his body feel like something was being broken inside it, [Dull Pain]. After that was [Physical Boost] and a [Twin Blade Strike] made under the influence of [Iron Fist].


His greatest attack was born from these.


His twin swords glowed.


Hekkeran was counting on the fact that Ainz would be used to his sword attacks from their earlier exchange, so the sudden change in speed would confuse his senses and make it harder to evade. It was the foreshadowing of a strike which would end the battle in a single blow.


Ainz did not react to it.


I’ve killed him!


Just as he imagined his swords slicing into the defenseless skull, the sensation which travelled up his hands was definitely not the feeling of steel cutting into bone.


He’s immune to slashing damage?


He had had similar experiences during his adventures as a worker.


He’s immune to both slashing and piercing attacks? What kind of monster is he?!


As Hekkeran tried to retreat in a panic, he felt an icy-cold sensation enveloping his forehead. It was Ainz’s hand. Hekkeran felt like he had been clamped in a vise, wanting to escape yet unable to move.


“Hekkeran!”


“Imina! He’s immune to slashing!”


Hekkeran tried to shrug off the intense pain and report what he had learned to his colleagues. While he was grasped by the head, he felt his entire body being lifted up. Although he hammered the backs of his swords into Ainz’s arm, the grip on his head showed no signs of loosening.


“Wrong. Piercing, slashing or bludgeoning—none of the weak attacks you can muster can do so much as put a scratch on me.”


“…That… what? The hell, what kind of con game are you running? That’s not fair!”


“He’s lying! Imina, if that were true, there would be no reason to fight at all. He must have some kind of weakness!”


“—I won’t fall for it!”


“It’s truly sad when you can’t even believe the truth that’s right in front of you. I would have imagined that you would have realized from the melee battle, and the conversation we had, that you were nothing more than useful test subjects. Did that little skirmish we had give you the hope that you could actually win here? Consider that wishful little dream to be my mercy to you in the hell that is to come.”


“What kind of mercy is that? You piece of shit, you goddamn bastard, let Hekkeran go!”


The arrow arrived at the same time as her voice. However, Ainz simply remained still, and the pain in Hekkeran’s forehead continued unabated.


“Do you really want to do that? You might hit this man.”


The pain in his forehead filled Hekkeran with fear, the fear that at any moment his head might be crushed by the hand holding it. Although he struggled, Ainz did not shift a millimeter. It was like attacking a steel block—the only thing Hekkeran hurt was himself.


“Did that hurt? Don’t worry. I won’t kill you just like that. A miserable little thief like you does not deserve that mercy — instead, paralysis.”

His body was frozen. No, it was not frozen, it had been paralyzed.


“Hmm, if I all I did was inflict paralysis, then maybe [Touch of Undeath] was a little wasteful.”


Hekkeran heard the words, but he did not understand them.


Imina’s bowstring hissed as she sent a continuous stream of projectiles downrange, but the only response was quiet laughter.


“So, how far can you… no, please, struggle as much as you want. That will only deepen your despair.”


Run away.


Hekkeran’s mouth would not move to make the sounds he wanted.


This was an opponent they could not simply evade just by running away. But fighting would be even more foolish. This was especially true given that once the vanguard was taken down, the battle line would collapse.


“Then, who will be next? Of course, you can all come at once, but that would be too boring, no?”


***


Imina turned to look at Hekkeran, who was lying on the floor of the coliseum.


He was not dead. But he looked like it. There was no way she could save him from the clutches of the logic-defying monster known as Ainz Ooal Gown. But even so—


“—You idiot! Just by common sense, you should have abandoned me! You dummy!”


She was angry.


“Idiot, idiot, idiot, stupid idiot! You moron!”


“…Directing abuse to a man who so gallantly risked himself to protect his comrades is only going to upset me, you know.”


It was a statement that showed a complete lack of understanding for Imina’s feelings. Then again, their opponent was a monster; trying to make him understand human emotions would be impossible.


“I already know that! I don’t deserve such a great leader!”


She took a breath.


“But still! You’re still an idiot! Running on your emotions like that!”


“…What?”


Don’t be confused…


Imina thought to herself. She was trying to suppress the feelings of a woman who wanted to save her man.


She had to abandon Hekkeran and bring this information back. She had to tell the outside world about these ruins, about the fearsome monster which inhabited it, and depending on how things went, they might even need to assemble a punitive force to deal with it.


—Demon Gods…


Two hundred years ago, the Demon King that laid waste to the continent must have been a creature like this


It felt as though the world she was living in had been touched by myths and legends. It clearly could not be like this, but some part of her, deep in her heart, was insisting that this was just a dream.


Legends, huh? It sounds so bizarre when you put it that way. It’s heroes that ought to be fighting a monster like this—


Inspiration struck in a flash.


That was it. The ones who battled the demon gods were the Thirteen Heroes—they were heroes. Then, the only one who could fight Ainz was also a hero.


“Give Hekkeran back! If we don’t return by the stipulated time, the strongest people in the world will force their way into this tomb! If we can return unharmed, you can use us to negotiate!”


“What is this, lies again?


Ainz sighed, a silent “haah” sound. Sweat beaded on Imina’s brow. it was genuine.


“No, I’m not lying.”


“—Albedo. Is there anyone who could be considered strong on the surface?”


“There are none, I believe she is just spouting meaningless lies.”


“It’s not a lie!”


The girl behind Imina was shouting.


“The adamantite-ranked adventurer Momon from “Darkness” is there! He’s the greatest warrior of them all! He’s stronger than you!”


For the first time, Albedo appeared perturbed. She looked to Ainz, panic written on her face, and lowered her head to him.


“M-my apologies! There is such a being! P-please, forgive me!”


“Mmm… ah, yes, I didn’t even notice, Albedo. Momon of ‘Darkness’, hmm. By the way, he’s… forget it, it’s not important. He cannot defeat me.”


He had been acting like a demon king until now, but the way he was slumping his shoulders suggested that he was hiding something. Exactly what he was hiding, nobody could tell.


“Momon is strong! Stronger than you!”


“…No, those are hardly grounds for negotiation, Give it up.”


Ainz waved his hand lazily to dismiss the topic.


“Now then, shall we begin?”


The time for idle chatter was over.


“Arche! Run!”


Roberdyck shouted, and Imina agreed.


“Yes, run!”


“Look up! This is probably the outside! If you fly, there’s a chance you can escape! Run, even if it’s only you! We’ll try to buy you some time, a minute, no, ten seconds!”


“Now that is an interesting idea. Aura, open the exit. I will humor them.”


“Understood!”


Ainz pointed at the direction Roberdyck and the others had entered from. Aura leapt up, the bottoms of her shoes glowed, and her body disappeared.


“Now then, Aura has gone to open the gate. Go ahead and flee. Abandon your comrades. Who was the one who wanted to run again?”


Ainz extended his hand. His skeletal face could not display any expressions, but from his gesture, it was clear enough. If he had flesh, it would have been twisted into an evil smile. It would have been a smile that eagerly anticipated these comrades to fall into infighting.


It was true that Workers were different from adventurers; they formed parties based on the power of money and useful relationships, and in a situation like this, the odds of them fleeing would be quite high. However, Foresight was different.


“Arche, run now!”


“Yes, run,” Imina smiled. “You still have your sisters, right? Then leave us and go. That’s what you should be doing!”


“How could I? This is obviously all my fault!”


Seeing that Ainz had no intent to press the attack right away, Roberdyck walked over to Arche, and then withdrew a small leather pouch from somewhere close to his heart for her to hold on to.


“It’ll be fine. We’ll beat that monster Ainz and then come right after you.”


“That’s right. When that happens, you’re buying the drinks.”


Imina also drew forth a small pouch for her to hold.


“Then, go. Use the money I left at the inn as you wish.”


“Mine too.”


“…I’ll hold you to that. Then, I’ll be going first.”


Of course, none of the three actually believed it.


Defeating the being called Ainz, whose power was far beyond their imagining, was something they could not even hope to do. Arche knew that this was their final farewell, and she was choking back her tears as she cast her spell.


“There are monsters in the sky that might still catch you even if you run…”


“—[Fly]!”


Ignoring Ainz’s warning, Arche’s spell took effect. She looked to her comrades one last time, and then took to the air without another word.


“…Ah, is that how it is. Well, it’s faster and less tiring than running,” Ainz said in a casual way. “However, it’s quite remarkable that you decided it without fighting with each other. I thought I would see your disgusting true selves on display here.”


“You would never understand. It’s because we’re comrades.”


“That’s true. Dying to protect a comrade is not a bad thing—”


A flash of insight struck Imina.


“—Were your comrades the friends you spoke of?”


“Muuu!”


“Your comrades must have been exceptional individuals, no? Then, our relationship is as close as theirs, and yours.”


“That’s right.”


The evil atmosphere vanished as though it had never been, and Ainz continued in a quiet tone.


“Greater love hath no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends—so it was written in the Gospel of Marco.”


“…It’s all right if we die. However, for the sake of the bond that we share, that you yourself, and your exceptional comrades shared, please let her go.”


“Mm…”


Ainz hesitated for several seconds, and then shook his head.


“There will be no mercy for thieves like you. All that awaits is suffering upon suffering upon suffering, followed by death. But for the sake of the lives that you are willing to throw away for your comrade, I will make an exception for that girl. Shalltear.”


Ainz carelessly showed his back to them, and called out to the VIP box. There was no chance he would be hurt, and it showed in his attitude.


No, that was the reality of it. There was no attack they could use which would work. This was mere fantasy after understanding the truth of things. The two of them had no method which could wound the monster called Ainz. Because of this, they could calmly turn their heads back. At the very least, they had to buy Arche the time to flee.


Although they had no cards to play, they still had to do it. Imina and Roberdyck exchanged looks, and nodded.


On the other hand, a girl’s voice came from the VIP box in response to Ainz’s voice.


She was a human girl with hair that gleamed like platinum. Although the two of them were filled with anger, they could not help but be captivated by that beauty, their eyes drawn to the girl who possessed it.


Suddenly. the beautiful girl shifted her line of sight to look at the two of them. Her eyes were an entrancing crimson. Imina felt as though they were squeezing her heart. Similarly for Roberdyck, he was having trouble breathing with the crushing pressure on his chest.


Even after the girl’s eyes left them, Imina and Roberdyck still felt a little hampered.


“Shalltear, teach that child the meaning of terror. Teach her the gulf between the sliver of hope for escape that she clings to, and the inescapable reality that awaits all who dare invade the Great Tomb of Nazarick. After that, do not cause her any pain, but slay her with the deepest and sincerest mercy.”


“Understood, Ainz-sama.”


The girl—Shalltear—smiled to Ainz. However, when Imina saw that smile from the side, a chill ran down her spine. Her instinct told her that this was a monster draped in a very beautiful skin.


“Do enjoy the hunt.”


“That was my intention.”


Shalltear bowed deeply to Ainz before setting forth. Every step she took was one closer to ending Arche’s life, but even if Imina knew it in her mind, there was nothing they could do about it. Imina and Roberdyck were both unable to move.


Shalltear walked past them without any sign that she had noticed them, without paying them the slightest bit of attention. Perhaps Foresight could close the distance between themselves and Shalltear immediately if they ran after her, but she seemed so far away.


“What’s this? Still not coming? If you have time to talk, you have time to fight… How unexpectedly honorable of you.”


He was not looking down on her. His sentiment was genuine. In response to it, Imina’s fighting spirit recovered somewhat.


“Wait! A question, please! What happened there, where is the mercy in that?”


“A priest… then, I will tell you. In Nazarick, a death without further suffering is mercy enough.”


Silence descended upon them. They would no longer speak with words, but weapons.


“Let’s go, Rober!”


“Yes! Ohhhhhhh!”


With an uncharacteristic battlecry, the charging Roberdyck brought his mace down on Ainz’s face. It was a strike made with all his strength. It was precisely because he thought that Ainz would not evade it that he put all his might into the blow.


Although Ainz took the full-power strike in the face, he did not react with pain as expected. Roberdyck followed up his attack, reaching out with his bare hand.


“[Middle Cure Wounds]!”


The healing spell was targeted at Ainz. When exposed to healing-type magic, undead would take damage instead. However, like the attack spell Arche cast earlier, it vanished uselessly against an invisible wall.


“Ahhhhh!”


Imina tensed her bowstring as she cried out. Then—she loosed. Although Roberdyck was next to Ainz, she was not nearly bad enough to actually hit him. Rather, at this range, there was no way she could miss.


Yet—the arrows struck Ainz, and fell to the ground without doing any damage whatsoever.


Ainz vanished.


It was the same tactic as earlier.


“Teleportation!”


“Not quite.”


As expected, the voice came from behind.


“I—”


Before Roberdyck could finish, Ainz’s hand gently settled on Imina’s shoulder. There was no hostility in that gesture.


However, it had a telling effect. All the strength in her body vanished, and she slumped to the ground. Although her mind was fully functional and conscious, her body felt like a puddle of immobile, insensate slime.


“What did you do to her?”


Roberdyck asked his question in a trembling voice, as his eyes went from the collapsed Imina to Ainz, who stood by her side.


“Was that a surprise? It’s nothing special.”


Ainz proceeded to explain in such a way as to break Roberdyck’s spirit.


“It was almost the same as just now. After casting a silent [Time Stop] I moved over here and cast the same spell I used on that man, [Touch of Undeath]. And then, I just touched her.”


The air between them froze into silence. The sound of Roberdyck swallowing was exceptionally loud in comparison,


“…You stopped time…”


“Oh yes. Anti-time stop countermeasures are very important, don’t you know? You’ll need to have them by the time you hit level 70. Oh well, you’re going to die here, so in your case, it’s largely academic.”


Roberdyck ground his teeth.


He was lying. If only he could say that. If only he could deny everything this monster—this god—was saying. It would be better if he fell to his knees and clutched his ears to shut the words out.


He understood that Ainz was very powerful.


However, even with that considered, stopping time and the like was something that should not exist in this world.


The march of time was a flow that could not be mastered or controlled by humanity. What could he do against a foe who was capable of such a feat? Cutting down an entire forest with a single sword would be an easier goal in comparison.


Ainz Ooal Gown. He was a being that the human race could never defeat. He was a man who stood in the realm of divinity.


He gripped his mace in both hands—


—and he felt a light tap on his shoulder.


“Ah…”


Roberdyck’s body stopped moving. He did not have to look to know who had done it. It was Ainz Ooal Gown—that godlike being who could control the passage of time—who was supposed to be standing in front of him. When had he vanished from his field of vision?


The cold flowing into him made him feel as though he had turned into an ice sculpture. Thus, any feeling and freedom were stripped from his body.


“—It was useless, wasn’t it?”


So spoke the gentle voice which carried no trace of enmity to Roberdyck. The mace fell from nerveless fingers, to the ground—


Then, Ainz muttered as he looked to Roberdyck who had lost all will to fight.


“Well, that was a waste of effort. I think I might have actually broken a sweat.”


—It was completely useless. Every tactic and trick he had tried could not do even the slightest bit of damage to Ainz. Thoroughly defeated, Roberdyck looked quietly at Ainz, and calmly asked him a question


“I have something to ask. What is to become of me afterwards?”


“Mm? Is it because you’re a divine magic caster and you think you won’t end up in the same state as those other two?”


With that as a premise, Ainz began his explanation.


“Well, let’s start with those two. Aura, take them to the Large Cave. Gashokukochuuou says he’s running out of nests.”


The Dark Elf’s ears twitched, and her eyes went wide.


“Ai-Ainz-sama! Mare! I can order Mare to go instead, right? Make him go there instead!”


“Oh, hm. Fine with me.”


“Understood! I’ll let Mare go instead!”


“As for that, I apologize. There will be no kind fate in store for them. As for you—the subordinate I sent in pursuit is also a divine magic caster, but the god she believes in is completely different from the gods you worship. When it comes down to it, I have no idea what the Four Great Gods you worship are. As such, I need to confirm the details on them. As their subordinates, you have names for them, but whether they’re the Four Gods or the Six Gods, these names are little more than job titles, like the Fire God, Earth God, is that it?”


“I, I don’t know about that.”


“I see… so they’re not superior beings who possess a mysterious power, they’re nothing more than great men of the past who’ve been deified—”


“—Impossible!”


“Well, do listen. That’s just my theory. But if that were the case, if you do borrow the power of the gods to work your magic, could dead people provide it to you? Or rather, what are the gods? Do they even exist? Are you really using the power of the gods?”


“…What are you trying to say?”


“…Have you ever seen the gods?”


“The gods are always by my side!”


“That is to say, you’ve never actually seen them directly, then?”


“No! When we use our spells, we feel the presence of a mighty being. That is our god!”


“…And who declared that that presence to be a god? The god himself? Or someone else drawing on that power?”


Roberdyck recalled the theological debates he had taken part in. There was no clear answer to Ainz’s questions. Until today, the priests still debated hotly over whether that was the proof of the gods’ existence.


Just as Roberdyck was about to speak, Ainz interrupted him.


“…Well, supposing these super-dimensional beings—which we shall generously term gods for our purposes—do exist, I wonder if that means they were originally colorless entities. Simply put, they are masses of power. Because drawing on their power dyes them in a different color and changes the thing… well, they do exist in a world with magical laws, I just wanted someone to chat with someone about this. It wouldn’t be funny if there really were gods.”


“…”


“My apologies. That was off-topic. The power of the god you believe in. I think we won’t be able to learn it… so do you want to take part in a human experiment?”


“…A human experiment?”


“That’s right. For instance, when we alter your memories so the god you believe in is someone else, what will happen after that?”


He’s insane. That was Roberdyck’s deepest and most honest thought about the situation.


No, he’s undead. It wouldn’t be strange no matter what he did.


Ainz took a step back, looking with deep interest at Roberdyck. That look was the way a scholar would examine a laboratory animal, and it made Roberdyck want to throw up.


“Why, why do you want to do that?”


“To prove that god exists… eh, I’m not going to bother going on with that joke. Truthfully, I want to become stronger by understanding the nature of that power. And if those beings you call gods really exist, I want to know if they have emotions or thoughts. I want to confirm that. As for me, I have never thought of myself as a chosen being. In truth, there are many others like that.”


Roberdyck had no idea what Ainz was talking about.


“Therefore, expanding military preparations is essential. Of course, it may be that no enemies exist, or if they do exist, none of them are as strong as we are. However, don’t you think that the leader of an organization shouldn’t be negligent? After all, if we rest on our laurels, we’re likely to have our feet cut out from under us when we least expect it. Confirming the existence of gods is part of that. “


Ainz shrugged as he finished.


Part 2


Arche panted heavily.


Her body trembled every time the grass rustled in the wind. Like a small animal, she looked fearfully in every direction.


She was surrounded by forest, and there were few places here where the light could reach. The spreading canopies of the densely-packed vegetarion blocked out any illumination from the sky, and so there was almost none on the surface.


Although this environment would normally be difficult for a human being to navigate, in lieu of illumination, Arche used the [Darkvision] spell, which made her surroundings seem as bright as day.


However, even with this spell, she still needed a lot of concentration to pick out grass patches which people could be hiding in, tree trunks that might conceal enemies behind them, and listen to the branches creaking as they swayed in the wind.


As an arcane magic caster, Arche could not count on her own physical strength to shake off any monsters if they leaped onto her and pinned her down. Normally, she would have help from her friends, but now there was nobody to support her, nobody to cover her, and nobody to heal her.


In other words, all she could do was remain alert for foes who were trying to advance into close quarters, keep her distance, and flee. She was on edge because she was keenly aware of this fact, and it sapped her mental strength even more than normal.


Her original plan was to use a [Fly] spell to make her getaway, since she was outside. But once she flew above the trees, she saw a huge black shape in the sky which seemed to be searching for something, so she abandoned that plan.


Once she detected the presence of the giant bat, she could not find it in herself to try and turn it into a contest of speed. That was because even though [Invisibility] could fool visual senses, it could not deceive the special sensory organs of a bat.


After verifying that her surroundings were safe, Arche took flight once more, at a snail’s pace.


She was proceeding as slowly as possible with her [Fly] spell because she wanted to observe her surroundings. If she went at full speed, she would not be able to react quickly enough even if she were on alert and spotted a threat, and that would mean she would be leaping into the mouth of any monsters which pursued her. In order to avoid this, she deliberately lowered her speed.


Finally, Arche felt the layer of magic energy surrounding her growing thin. Her [Fly] spell’s duration was about to run out.


She slowly descended to the ground.


The question now was what should she do. Casting [Fly] again would not be a problem. She could feel that she had enough mana for it. However, [Darkvision] was also a crucial spell, and she also had to reserve enough mana for defensive spells in case of combat.


The 3rd tier spell [Fly] was one of the highest-ranked spells Arche knew how to use. This also meant that it was one of the most draining spells she had. If possible, she wanted to avoid using it.


Ignoring the present circumstances, even she did not know how long it would take to get out of this forest without the use of spells that would stave off her fatigue. And without the ability to fly, she could not even confirm her current location.


On the way here, Arche had occasionally risen above the forest canopy and used the big tree beside the coliseum as a landmark. WHen she used [Fly] to travel, she lost her sense of direction. If she stayed in the forest, she could not spot the big tree, and she was not able to climb trees either.


“—Where can I rest…” Arche mumbled to herself.


Certainly, if she restored her mana through sleep, she could use [Fly] more often, and movement under the sun would be safer. This was particularly true for the forest, where the monsters tended to be nocturnal.


It might be better for her to curl up somewhere and wait for daybreak, rather than force herself to carry on in the dark forest.


However, Arche had no idea where the safe places were.


If Imina were here, she would probably know. And if Roberdyck or Hekkeran were around, she could rest easy even in dangerous areas. However, her reliable companions were not with her.


“—Imina, Roberdyck...”


Arche curled up beside a huge tree, and thought of her comrades.


“—Liars.”


There had been no word from them after so long.


As expected, they had not been able to escape.


No, that was something she had known from the beginning. There was no way they could beat the ridiculous entity known as Ainz. Even so, was she a fool for holding on to the faint hope of seeing them again?


Arche sat on the ground, leaned her back on the great tree, and closed her eyes. She knew it was dangerous.


Still, she wanted to close her eyes.


As the memory of the three of them came to mind, she squeezed her eyelids shut.


The icy-cool sensation of the bark against her head was very comfortable. It was only after she had rested for a while that she realized just how tired she had been. Her stress turned into emotional exhaustion, and it rose without stopping.


“—Haaaaa…”


She let her head rest against the tree.


And then she opened her eyes wide.


[Darkvision] painted the world of night in fresh, bright colors, but she had no explanation for what she saw in her field of vision.


Someone was watching Arche.


It was like nothing Arche had ever seen before, and her eyes seemed transfixed on the sight of the beautiful girl.


She was dressed in a velvet-soft ball gown dyed in the darkest shade of black, a garment that seemed thoroughly unsuited for her present environment. Her skin was as pale as wax. A single hand stroked her long, platinum hair, which seemed about to brush across Arche’s face.


Though she was a noble daughter, Arche had never seen a girl this beautiful before. If she were to show up at a formal dance, men would flock to her like moths to a flame, purely out of desire for her beauty. Her crimson pupils radiated an irresistible charm that seemed to draw Arche’s soul into them.


But Arche immediately returned to her senses. There was no way someone like that would be in a place like this. Especially not someone with both feet on the tree trunk, standing parallel to the ground in utter defiance of gravity.


It was obvious that this was a pursuer sent by Ainz. Still, it was not completely impossible that she might have been a resident in the forest for a long time.


“Tag. You’re it.”


Her fleeting hopes had been utterly dashed.


“—A pursuer.”


Arche leapt away to open up a gap, pointing her staff at the girl. The girl seemed disinterested in Arche, and neatly walked down the tree trunk and onto the floor.


“Come now, start running.”


“—if I defeat you here, I can flee more safely.”


Even as she said this, Arche smiled bitterly in her heart. There was no way she could beat any pursuer sent by Ainz, a being who existed outside the bounds of common sense.


Knowing this, the reason why she said so was to gauge the other party’s reaction.


“Then, by all means, although I can only play with you for a while.”


Her attitude said that she completely understood the difference in power between the two of them. Which was to say, if she fought Arche, it would be nothing more than toying with her.


“—[Fly]!”


Arche cast her spell and began to flee. There was not the leisurely, slow flight she had demonstrated on the ground. In one swift movement she was aloft, covering her face with her arms as she broke through the forest canopy and soared into the air.


Under the night sky, Arche looked around once more. She was on guard for the bat-like monster she had seen earlier. However, it seemed that it was nowhere around. And so, all that was left was to escape.


“Yes, yes, keep it up, keep it up,”


The beautiful voice called out to Arche, who was desperately trying to flee. Her heart lurched. Casting frantic glances around, Arche tried to see where it was coming from.


It was from in front and above her.


When had she—the girl from just now was there.


“—[Lightning]!”


Bluish-white lightning leapt from her staff’s head and cleaved through the night. This was Arche’s strongest attack spell. Even though it pierced the girl, the smile did not vanish from her face.


Arche was sure of it. This was a being on par with Ainz, which meant that there was no way Arche could defeat her. The girl cheerfully spoke to Arche, who was eager to flee.


“[Come, my familiars.]”


An enormous pair of wings extended from behind the girl’s back. They were like a bat’s in shape, but far, far larger. An enormous bat flew out from behind her, like it had detached from her body. And of course, no bat with glowing crimson eyes like that could be a mere beast.


The girl smiled from beside the giant bat, whose wings beat steadily through the air. It was a smile that froze Arche’s body like ice, a smile that did not seem to belong on someone her age at all.


“Well then, do continue to flee~”


***


Arche fled.


All she did was flee.


She flew into the forest to lose her pursuer, and the branches scratched her body as she fled.


Since she had discarded her companions to escape, that meant she had to make it out of here no matter what. In her mind, she would do anything to make that happen.


And after a flight of who knew how long, Arche stared despair in the face.


It was a wall.


An invisible wall stood in front of her.


The world went on beyond it, but Arche’s body was blocked by that wall. Arche was now two hundred meters above ground level and the invisible wall had reached this high.


“—This is—”


Arche muttered to herself as despair seeped into her heart. She flew and felt around with her hands. But… wall, wall, wall, still a wall.


No matter where she flew, her hands told her there was something hard in her way.


“What is this?!”


“A wall, of course.”


It was an answer to her self-directed mutterings. Arche turned around, with an idea of who she might see.


It was as she had expected. The girl from earlier. But now she had a trio of giant bats as her escorts.


“Though it seems you’ve gotten the wrong impression. This is the 6th floor of the Great Tomb of Nazarick. That is to say, you’re underground.”


“…This?”


Arche pointed to the world. The sky, the stars, the gently-blowing wind, the forest which stretched as far as the eye could see. Although she did not think this place could be under the earth, when it came to these people, even that might be a possibility.


“The 41 Supreme Beings, our most august creators, once ruled this place. It was created by them, and even we don’t understand all of it.”


“—They created a world? That would make them like gods…”


“That’s correct. To us, they are beings on the same level as gods. Gods with Ainz-sama as their leader.”
Arche looked around.


She had accepted it. As expected, after seeing all this, the only thing she could do was accept it.


There was no way she would be returning alive.


“Well then, not fleeing?”


“—Would it even be possible?”


“Of course not. There was never any intention to allow you to escape to begin with.”


“—Is that so.”


Arche gripped her staff tightly with both hands and charged the girl. She could no longer use spells since she was out of mana. However, even in this most hopeless of situations she still had to try her best until the very last moment. This was the duty of Arche, the sole surviving member of Foresight.


“There, there, you’ve done your best.”


The girl’s reply to Arche’s fully-determined charge was little more than bored dismissal.


“Then, your sad little escape attempt ends here... though it’s a shame I couldn’t see you break down in tears.”


The girl easily caught the staff with one hand, and yanked it toward herself. Arche was thrown off balance and fell into the arms of the girl. The two of them ended up embracing in mid-air.


In this position, the girl buried her face into Arche’s neck. Although Arche tried to struggle, the girl who stuck to her like glue could not be shaken off. She breathed hotly on Arche’s neck, and Arche’s body quivered.


“…Mm, the stink of sweat…”


Not being able to keep one’s body clean was part and parcel of the worker’s life for Arche. This was true for all Workers, adventurers, travellers, and anyone who spent time moving around outside. Even if they got dirty, the appropriate response would be “So what?”


However, she still felt deeply ashamed at being told this by a girl who was younger and more beautiful than her.


The girl’s face left Arche’s neck. A feeling of revulsion swept up over Arche as she looked into those crimson eyes. Within those eyes burned a lust for the female body, stained with the same carnal desire that men possessed for women.


“Be at ease. You will die without experiencing any suffering. Be grateful to Ainz-sama for his mercy.”


“——!”


Arche wanted to respond, but instead all she felt was surprise - surprise at the fact that her body had been immobilized. It was as though those crimson pupils had stolen away her soul.


At last, Arche realised the true identity of the girl. She was not human — she was a Vampire.


“…And then…”


The girl’s face drew closer to Arche’s, her tongue slipping past her lips to lightly lick at Arche’s cheeks.


“…Salty…”


The girl laughed, and despair swallowed Arche’s soul.


That only made the girl laugh harder.


Her lips split apart to her ears. The red of her irises spread to engulf their respective eyeballs.


With a cracking sound, she opened her mouth. What had once been neat, pearly white teeth were now things that made people think of medical syringes, in multiple rows like those of a shark. Her lascivious voice was laced with lewd undertones, and clear drool oozed from the corners of her mouth.


And then, terror enveloped Arche completely.


“Ahahahahaha!”


Arche’s mind lost hold on consciousness in the face of the laughing monster that reeked of blood.


The last thing that went through her mind was the faces of her two sisters waiting for her.


“Ooooooh? Fainted already? …Then there’s no need to knock you out with magic. You can embrace Death in your dreams~”


Part 3


After handing the intruders over to his subordinates to handle, Ainz activated the monitor within the Throne Room and scrolled through Nazarick’s data. The figure which most concerned him — their remaining funds — had only shifted very slightly. That was because they had hardly activated any cash-item traps. Thus, it could be counted as a very successful training exercise.


Ainz turned to Albedo — who was nervously awaiting Ainz’s opinion — and smiled broadly — although a skeletal face could not show any expressions — before praising her:


“Very well done. While the intruders were all weak, they were fairly skilled among the humans of this world. In addition, you eliminated them with barely any expenditures. It would seem I can entrust the task of defense to you in future.”


“Thank you for your praise.”


Albedo looked visibly relieved as she bowed her head in gratitude.


“Then, Ainz-sama, are there any problems with the time?”


“It’s fine. I’ve asked Pandora’s Actor; while the people on top think the Workers are taking their time, they’ve decided to wait one day, or until there’s some change in the ruins.”


After seeing that none of the Workers had returned by dawn, the adventurers had flown into a panic, but Momon — Pandora’s Actor — suggested that they wait another day and see. While they had already arranged that to leave the campsite and observe from further away in case of emergency, the word of an adamantite-ranked adventurer carried more weight than their previous plans.


“Then, may I occupy a bit of your precious time? In truth, I have a question to ask, Ainz-sama.”


“What is it, Albedo? A moment please… alright, it’s fine.”


Ainz turned around after making a final check on Hamsuke and the Lizardmen through the monitor.


“What is this question?”


“—Yes.” She looked around before speaking. “This concerns what those fools said just now; how high is searching for the Supreme Beings on your list of priorities, Ainz-sama?”


“At the top. So long as it does not place the Great Underground Tomb of Nazarick in danger, it will be our topmost priority, “ Ainz answered without delay.


“I see. I understand. Then, I have a proposal, that you will allow me to put together a unit under me that will search for the Supreme Beings.”


“What do you mean?”


Ainz’s tone had unconsciously grown stiff, because he realised the dark side lurking within his heart.


Until this date, he had several opportunities to actively search for his friends. However, he had kept pushing those plans back because he “lacked manpower” or “had insufficient information”.


This was because he was afraid of scouring every corner of the world and finding nothing, so he could not make that decision. Rather than work hard just to confirm that he was alone, becoming a famous monster held more hope.


“Yes. The lies those fools told just now were of a very low grade and were instantly seen through. However, we might encounter information in future whose veracity cannot be easily determined. Therefore, I would like to form a team to verify the reliability of this information, and at the same time investigate the whereabouts of the Supreme Beings. After I investigate in detail, I can report the results to you, Ainz-sama.”


Ainz caressed his chin with a bony hand.


“Is that so…” he murmured to himself. He thought about his conversation with the Workers, and what he felt was not anger, but emptiness. Wavering between hope and despair was truly a heart-wrenching thing. His own sentimentality aside, it would seem that as the group’s leader, it was time for him to decide to advance, even if it was only by a small step.


“You do not need to do everything on your own, Albedo. I hope you will be able to continue administering Nazarick well. If you intend to gather information by heading outside… would Mare or Aura not be better choices? I hear there are Dark Elves in the outside world.”


“It is as you say. However, there is one factor which makes me uneasy; ‘loss of control’. For instance, if she caught wind of Peroroncino-sama, Shalltear would surely abandon everything and do as she pleased. Similarly, if Aura and Mare learned of Bukubukuchagama, there is no telling what Aura and Mare will do.”


“I see…” Ainz smiled bitterly as he thought of Shalltear. “Indeed, I feel that is a possibility.”


“In order to avoid that, I feel a team which is directly loyal to me would be more appropriate.”


“...So you will not go berserk when you learn about Tabula-san?”


“Please be at ease. As the Guardian Overseer of Nazarick, I will not do so under any circumstances. I promise.”


“I see…”


When it came to Albedo, a wise person who was the most skilled at the internal administration of Nazarick, the chances of her going out of control due to her emotions ought to be very low. While she was a little off-kilter from time to time, there had never been any problems with the running of Nazarick while Ainz had been gone, and she was worthy of trust.


“Personally, I feel Demiurge would also be acceptable, but he has many other duties to cover. Having him bear the weighty task of gathering information about the other Supreme Beings in addition to those tasks would be somewhat burdensome.”


“What you said also makes sense. Then how about dispatching Pandora’s Actor?”


“I was about to mention that. If possible, I would like to ask you to assign me Pandora’s Actor as my adjutant, Ainz-sama.”


“I see. Having two of Nazarick’s most intelligent people working together will reduce the chances of mistakes compared to just one person, but… he still has his duties in the Treasury. I will lend him to you when the need arises.”


“Thank you, Ainz-sama. May I make several other requests?”


Ainz raised his chin, indicating that she should continue.


“I would like my subordinates for the Supreme Being search team to be powerful.”


“Of course, I will assign you a group of the highest-levelled vassals.”


“Thank you, Ainz-sama. In addition, I feel it would be very helpful if you could bestow upon an undead lieutenant hand-crafted by yourself.”


“That, I cannot approve. Indeed, the lieutenants I can make are level 90, but—”


Rather than mercenary NPCs, one of Ainz’s skills allowed him to use experience points to create undead beings — an Overlord Wiseman or a Grim Reaper Thanatos. Since he could only have one at a time, they were very powerful. However, this world was not like YGGDRASIL where large amounts of experience points were easy to come by, and so he wanted to avoid skills which consumed experience points.


“Yes, I’ll pass on that. Albedo, you will be in charge of the team, your adjutant will be Pandora’s Actor, and the other team members will be monsters.”


“Understood. There is also one more thing; I would like to keep this group secret and not let the other Guardians know about it.”


“Why is that? Won’t it be better to have the Guardians’ help?”


“No. If news is carelessly leaked, the Guardians or the other creations of the Supreme Beings might ask us to bring them along in order to visually confirm the sightings. In that case, they might end up falling into a trap if that news was bait. My abilities are oriented towards defense, so I might be able to escape on my own, but it would be more difficult if I had to protect others as well.”


“That makes sense. Very well, Albedo. We will proceed as you see fit.”


“Thank you, Ainz-sama!”


Albedo bowed deeply in thanks, and her long hair hung down, covering her face.


“That’s fine. Then, I’ll leave this to you.”


“Please be at ease, Ainz-sama! The secret unit executing your most important order will not disappoint you.”


Ainz was puzzled. The phrasing of her reply seemed a little strange.


Forget it, it’s fine.


“Then let us select your subordinates. I won’t touch the vassals already assigned to the various floors, but make new ones instead. How many level 80-odd monsters do you need?”


“Let’s start with 15.”


“15? That’s a bit too…”


Halfway through, Ainz shook his head. Searching for his past friends was an important task; he should not be considering the expense at all.


“No, that’s fine. I understand.”


“There is another thing I would like to ask; may I have command authority over Rubedo?”


“Denied.”


Ainz replied instantly.


Rubedo was the single most powerful individual in Nazarick. Purely in terms of melee combat, she was stronger than Sebas, Cocytus and Albedo. In all likelihood, even a fully-equipped Ainz could not beat her, and even Shalltear would be considered weak in comparison to her.


The only people who can beat her are the ones from the 8th Floor, and they’d have to use World-Class Items. No matter how strong she is, she probably wouldn’t be able to fight one of them to a draw, but...


“While the activation experiment was a success, I do not intend to mobilize it for the moment. I wish to ask you; why do you need so much fighting power?”


“It embarrasses me to say it, but would you be willing to listen, Ainz-sama?”


“Go ahead.”


“Since this is a rare chance to do so, I wanted to put together the strongest possible team.”


“Hahahaha—!”


Albedo’s wish might have sounded like that of a child, but Ainz keenly understood it, and he could not help laughing. The emotion was promptly suppressed, but ripples of mirth remained in its wake.


“Ainz-sama!”


Upon seeing the distressed look on Albedo’s face, Ainz smiled congenially to her — although his face did not move — and replied:


“Sorry, sorry. No, hm, that is quite interesting. So that’s it. In that case, since she’s your sister, I shall turn command authority over to you.”


“Will you really permit that?”


“Of course; go assemble your dream team. For all we know, we might need to use that team’s power in the future.”


“Thank you very much, Ainz-sama!”


Albedo bowed deeply, and so he could not see her face, but Ainz imagined she would be smiling benignly as always, and so he turned his attention to the monitors once more. Just then, someone entered the Throne Room; it was Entoma. She walked up to the Throne, then genuflected before him and bowed her head.


“My apologies.”


“What is it, Entoma?”


Albedo’s voice sounded very stiff. Entoma replied with a “Yes” and continued answering from her kneeling position.


“Aura-sama and Mare-sama are due to set out, and so I have come to report it to you,”


“Is that so… raise your head.”


Entoma replied with a clipped “Yes” once more and then looked up.


“There’s still time, so I will go send them off. Communicating with magic is far too boring. Entoma, pardon me, but go inform the two of them.”


“Understood.


Entoma rose and made to leave. Albedo watched her back as she went, then leaned over to Ainz and asked:


“...Ainz-sama, are you not displeased? They should have sent a maid other than Entoma. I will scold them later.”


“...Why do you say that?”


“No, I simply felt that they should not have let you hear that rude girl’s voice, Ainz-sama—”


“Oh, I don’t mind. In fact, it was my suggestion that Entoma take her — wait! Entoma!”


“Yes! Is something the matter?”


Entoma was just about to rush back when Ainz held out his hand to stop her, indicating that she should answer him from her current location.


“What happened to the other parts? Were they well-utilized?”


“Yes. The head went to a Silk Hat. The arms were shared between the Deadman Struggles. Demiurge-sama took the skin. The other parts were fodder for Grant’s children. I believe there was no wastage.”


“Really now? Very good. A hunter’s duty is to make good use of every bit of his kill. If all hunters did that, it would be called provision.”


“You really are… too kind. As expected of the Supreme One, you show kindness even to such filthy little thieves. Surely everyone in Nazarick would shed a tear if they heard what you just said, Ainz-sama.”


Albedo’s voice trembled with emotion as she spoke. Entoma’s eyes were filled with a respect that transcended the norm.


“...Umu. Ah, it’s fine… that’s just my personal opinion, it’s not meant to force you to be like me. Although, I still… feel that making full use of it is just common courtesy.”


“Understood, I’m certain the others will make good use of theirs too!”


As he saw the two of them bowing deeply before him, Ainz had a feeling like he had missed something somewhere, and all he could reply with was “Umu.”


Part 4


The Ministry of Magic had several meeting rooms and guest rooms. Fluder was headed to the most lavishly-furnished guest room of them all. It was a room which was only used for visits from the Emperor or other highly-placed people.


Fluder stood by the door of the room and checked his grooming.


His robe was exquisite and fit to be worn to the evening galas organized by the Emperor, while the splash of cologne on his collar and sleeves radiated a heartening fragrance.


Fluder had no interest in politics or social interactions. Rather, he hoped to be able to focus all his efforts on magical research, so he found all other matters annoying. However, he knew that he could not completely ignore such problems.


He did not want to wound the Empire’s dignity by appearing unkempt.


Very good, all’s well.


After assuring himself that his clothes were in an immaculate state, he knocked on the door, and then entered.


There were two adventurers in the luxurious room. One was a warrior, dressed in jet black plate armor like the Death Knight from just now. And then, the other one was a beautiful woman who was so fair that she even managed to mesmerize Fluder for a moment.


So they are Momon of Darkness and the Beautiful Princess Nabe, then?


“Forgive me for keeping the two of you waiting.”


As Fluder quietly closed the door, he suddenly had a strange feeling.


“...Odd…”


He remained at the door, staring at the jaw-dropping beauty.


...I can’t see it?


Fluder’s eyes should have been able to see an image superimposed over her. However, he could not see it now, which left him speechless from shock and puzzlement.


Fluder’s natural Talent was the ability to see the auras around arcane magic casters, and thus the tier of spells they could use.


However, Fluder’s talent could not sense the auras from around them, despite hearing that the Beautiful Princess Nabe of Darkness was an arcane magic caster.


Protection from divinations?


That was the only possibility, but that in turn raised new questions of its own. Why had she warded herself against divinations? Normal adventurers would not erect such defenses. That was because using their strength on such matters was too troublesome and few situations arose where one needed to be constantly aware of such things. Besides, not taking off one’s protection for divinations when meeting them was quite rude.


Well, I used a detection ability myself, which was somewhat impolite too… but why does she have to hide her power?


Fluder’s Talent was well known, and perhaps she had done so to protect herself, but he still did not know the reason for it.


Upon seeing Fluder frozen in place, his somewhat surprised guests asked:


“Is something the matter?”


“Ohh, please forgive my rudeness.”


Fluder sat before Momon, but he could not help sneaking peeks at Nabe.


“Ah, I see. Let’s begin, then.”


Begin what? Before Fluder could ask, Momon took the initiative and said:


“...Nabe, it’s time for you to take your ring off.”


“Understood.”


Nabe removed her ring. In that moment—


***


It felt like an explosion had gone off in his face.


A cry of “What—!” escaped his throat.


Nabe’s body radiated a world-shaking wave of power.


His body was not truly being assaulted by a wave of overpressure. This was a surge of might which only someone with Fluder’s talents could see.


Fluder curled up into a ball and trembled, like a man lashed by icy winds.


“Im… possible…”


It was not possible, it could not be possible. There was no way — no way that there was someone more powerful than himself.


But he could not reject it out of hand, because the scene before him was reality. His ability had never betrayed him before — her power was far in excess of his. That was the pure and undeniable truth.


“The 7th… no, don’t tell me, this flow of power is… the proof of the 8th…?”


If that were so, then it would be the stuff of legends.


Fluder could no longer speak, because magic of the 5th tier was the domain of heroes. And the 6th tier which Fluder had reached was terra incognita. And now, someone who had easily gone a tier beyond had suddenly appeared before his eyes.


And she was such a young and beautiful woman too.


Could it be that her appearance doesn’t correspond to her age?


As Fluder trembled in shock, he noticed Momon removing one of his black gauntlets, and then he removed one of the rings he wore.


“—!”


In that instant, the world was subsumed into light, and Fluder felt his consciousness flee him.


He could not understand what had just taken place before his eyes. Even Fluder, who had lived over 200 years, even this man who could use the highest tiers of magic humanity could reach, could not comprehend this reality.


“This… this… this is… this is too unbelievable.”


Hot fluid coursed down Fluder’s cheeks. However, he did not have the presence of mind or the composure to wipe it away. The immense shock had overwhelmed his mind.


Who could have imagined this? That the Dark Warrior of song and story was actually an arcane magic caster, and one who occupied a height so great that Fluder could not hope to reach the soles of his feet?.


“If that is the 8th tier… then this is the 9th… no… this really is… oh, gods…”


The overwhelming might emanating from the Dark Warrior Momon far exceeded that of Nabe, who sat by his side. Since he had surpassed Nabe, a magic caster estimated to be of the 8th tier, then exactly what heights of magic could this Momon reach?


Fluder’s soul answered the question that had appeared in the corner of his mind.


***


—The 10th tier. It was an absolute zenith whose existence was known, but which had never been verified. And now, a man who came from that exalted domain had appeared before his eyes.


***


Fluder rose to his feet, then knelt before Momon, tears streaming from his eyes


“...In the past, I believed in a lesser deity who governed magic. However, if you are not that god, then I shall promptly renounce my faith. That is because the true god has deigned to appear before me.”


Fluder kowtowed with all his might, plastering his head to the ground. There was pain, but the uncontrollable joy in his heart meant that the pain lost all meaning to him.


“I know this is extremely rude, but I beg a favor of you, upon my hands and knees! Please, bestow your teachings upon me! I wish to glimpse the abyss of magic! I beg you! I beg you!”


“—And what sort of price are you willing to pay for that?”


That voice was as cold as an iceberg. Fully a hundred out of a hundred would describe it that way; yet to Fluder’s ears, it was a sweet and pleasant voice that set his heart aflutter. Of course, he knew of the venom concealed within those words. Still — what of it?


Fluder did not hesitate for even a moment. He was willing to pay the price. He was willing to hand over his soul.


“Everything! Yes, I will pledge everything I have to you! O Lord of the Abyss! O unfathomable one!”


“...Very well. If you are willing to give me everything, then my knowledge shall be yours. I shall grant your wish.”


“Ohhh! Ohhhhh!”


Fluder ground his forehead into the floor as he shed tears of joy. His heart, frozen and stiff from jealousy, had melted. After waiting over 200 years, he had finally obtained a chance to fulfil the wish he had held for so long.


The utterly excited Fluder kept his forehead touched to the floor as he crawled over to Momon’s feet and kissed his boots. He had originally planned to lick them clean. However, the calm portion of his mind worried that his master and god would be revolted by him, and so he settled for politeness instead.


“That’s enough, I understand your loyalty.”


“Ohhh! Thank you!... My Master!”


“Now then, your first order. Deliver live sacrifices to my fortress—”


***


“Gramps! Gramps! What’s wrong, Gramps?”


Lost in thought, Fluder came round when he heard someone calling out to him.


Fluder blinked a few times, then he remembered where he was, and nodded to the person who had called out to him.


“Forgive me, your Majesty. I was thinking about something.”


Before Fluder was the only person who could call him “Gramps”. That person was the Emperor of the Baharuth Empire, Jircniv Rune Farlord El-Nix.


Normally, there would only be a few people in this room, but right now, there were many people gathered here. There was Emperor Jircniv and four bodyguards. There was Fluder Paradyne, the highest-ranking magic caster in the Empire. Then there were 10 loyal and capable ministers, whose abilities could effectively support their outstandingly intelligent Emperor. In addition, one of the people hailed as the strongest in the Empire — “Lightning Bolt” Baziwood Peshmel of the Empire’s Four Knights — was present.


All of them sat where they pleased, and they had been discussing the direction that the Empire would take since just now. The sheets of paper scattered all around bore witness to the intensity of their debate. One of them had even shouted himself hoarse.


The young Empeoror with the title of Bloody spoke something to Fluder that he would never have said to anyone else.


“No, don’t worry about it. After all, I’ve made you worry about a lot of things. You’re getting on in years, so I’d like to let you enjoy them. Unfortunately, there are many things which I must bother you about, so please forgive me.”


“I thank your Majesty for his concern. However, I am a faithful servant of your Majesty. Please, order me around as you see fit.”


After being thanked for his service, Fluder nodded his head slightly.


I’ve raised a good boy.


Those thoughts went through Fluder’s mind as he looked upon the handsome young man.


Fluder had begun working for the Empire about six generations ago.


His relationship with the Emperor at that time — the sixth Emperor before Jircniv — had been quite bad. However, Fluder was a skilled magic caster who could cast spells of a high tier, so after entering public service, he soon reached the middle to upper ranks of the Court Wizards.


For this reason, Fluder had become closer to the fifth Emperor before Jircniv. After becoming the Head Court Wizard, he began teaching the fourth Emperor before Jricniv about magic.


Ever since the third Emperor before Jircniv ascended to the throne, he had taken on the role of teaching the Emperor about all sorts of knowledge, and he had considerable influence in implementing policy.


And now, there was the present Emperor — his beloved boy.


None of the Emperors he had served through the generations were incompetent. The heavens seemed to have smiled upon every one of them; they were all talented and intelligent boys — thought the sixth Emperor before Jircniv had been old at the time. And among all of them, the current Emperor possessed intelligence to surpass all of them. He might have been begun laying the foundations for it since two generations ago, but the fact that he could successfully institute himself as an autocrat was thanks to his excellent competence.


Fluder deeply doted on Jircniv Rune Farlord El-Nix.


Fluder had taught him like he was his own son. He was certain that the Emperor too loved and respected him like a second father.


Even so—


***


Fluder could discard a man he loved like his own son.


I want to see the abyss of magic, Jir. I will cast aside anything for it without hesitation. Even a darling lad like you.


***


“Then, your Majesty, we’ve decided to completely halt the offensive against the Kingdom, is it?”


“Indeed. That’s because investigating the demon Jaldabaoth is more important. Gramps, did you learn anything?”


“I regret to say that despite my investigations, I have not found any information yet, your Majesty.”


Indeed, it had all been arranged beforehand.


“Paradyne-sama. Can you not use magic to investigate?”


Fluder turned to the man who had addressed him, carefully faked an expression, and then looked coldly at him.


“Indeed, magic is potentially capable of performing the impossible. That is—”


“—Forgive me, gramps. Once you start talking about this sort of thing, you tend to ramble on all day. Please dispense with that for now.”


“I understand, your Majesty,” Fluder replied with a somewhat unhappy look on his face. Then, he started speaking again in a pedagogical tone: “There are ways to resist magical investigation. For instance, this room is soundproofed; you all should know this. Similarly, impeding divination magic is also simple enough to accomplish.”


“...I see. In other words, there are ways to resist it, so it’s very difficult.”


“Precisely. However, you would be lucky to get away with a simple spell failure. High-end magic casters can even prepare counterattacks against this sort of magic; if things go badly, those can directly kill the diviner who is casting spells on them.”


What use would my pitiful grasp of magic be to the Supreme One… nobody is more fitting of being called the Supreme One. I need to demonstrate my usefulness as soon as possible—


Several people had disgusted looks on their faces when they learned that their adversary could instantly kill people in the process of striking back, but Fluder was utterly uninterested.


“So according to your words,” one of the ministers said as he picked up a sheet of paper. “Does the fact that you could detect the base of this Ainz Ooal Gown magic caster with a spell not imply that his abilities are beneath yours, Paradyne-sama?”


“Naive!”


Fluder struggled to keep himself from smiling bitterly as he continued in a harsh tone, the better to impress the depths of his annoyance on the other party.


“You are too naive. It was only after I witnessed him saving Carne Village… no, I noticed he had only saved Carne Village and then conducted magical surveillance of the area, which was how I noticed the ruins. Since I had no recollection of the ruins being there, I continued my observation, which was how I noticed a magic caster who looked like like Ainz Ooal Gown entering those ruins. You must remember that I discovered him entirely by chance, else you will be inviting disaster upon your own head!”


Part of that was the truth. Only a fool would take such a great being lightly. No, he too had been such a fool; ignorance was a truly tragic thing.


Fluder quietly laughed at his foolish self from the past. At that time, he had truly been clueless.


“Forgive me.”


Fluder waved his hand to accept the man’s apology.


“Oh, that’s right, Gramps. What about the Workers you sent into his home?”


“One of the spies following them sent back a report via [Message]. It seems they are all dead.”


Jircniv counted the days on his fingers, and then his eyes widened slightly. He had heard that the people who had been sent out were quite capable Workers. The fact that such fighting power had been annihilated in a day or less was quite surprising.


Needless to say, Fluder was not surprised. He felt that such an outcome was inevitable. However, the look on his face was one of disbelief.


“...Is that so? That said, magical information alone is not completely reliable. How long until the adventurers return?”


“They decided to fall back immediately since nobody came back alive, but it seems it will take them four days to come back.”


“Waiting for the returning adventurers to provide us with their information… That’ll be at least five days. Until then, our hands are tied.”


[Message] was a very unreliable way of transmitting information. That was because it became less clear the longer the distance between them. In addition, there was another reason why the Empire did not place its trust in methods like [Message].


The most famous example was the tragedy of Gartenberg.


Roughly 300 years ago, that country had set up a [Message] network between their cities to increase the speed of information transfer. It was a humanoid nation ruled by magic casters. Due to their over-reliance on [Message], it fell into chaos after receiving just three false reports. The cities warred against each other and on top of that they were attacked by monsters and demihumans, and thus the country perished.


Apart from that, the bards also sang songs about husbands who murdered their wives after being informed of the latter’s betrayal, only to find out that it had been fake news all along.


As a result, very few people trusted [Message] for passing on information. Rather, those who placed too much faith in [Message] were treated as idiots. Jircniv was one of them. He made use of [Message]. However, he corroborated it with intelligence from other sources; he would never solely rely on magic.


“Still, that man was a moron. If he had hired Workers from E-Rantel, things would have fitted our plan better. Of course, it’s precisely because he’s incompetent that he was dancing in the palm of my hand, but being too useless is problematic too. He ought to be better bait, at least.”


“It is as your Majesty says.”


***


Jircniv furrowed his brows as he heard Fluder agree with him.


Fluder had proposed a plan several days ago, which he had accepted. Said plan had two aims.


The first was to grasp Ainz Ooal Gown’s personality.


According to Fluder’s investigations, Ainz Ooal Gown’s reaction was to not leave the tomb for several days, so they determined that said tomb was his home base. Thus, they dispatched the Workers there, to observe how Ainz Ooal Gown would react.


Would he treat the people who barged into his domicile kindly, or mount stiff resistance?


In the end, the Workers had been slaughtered to the last, and from there, they had learned about part of his character.


The other aim was to ruin the Kingdom’s relationship with Ainz Ooal Gown. It would have been better to hire Workers in E-Rantel, but unfortunately things had not gone that smoothly.


It seems he was not that stupid after all.
All the Count had been told was that those were unknown ruins. It had been enough of a risk for a noble of the Empire to barge into ruins within Kingdom territory, and hiring workers from the Kingdom would have required even more courage. It was hard to fault him for using Empire Workers.


However that would mean they could not spoil the relationship between E-Rantel — or perhaps the Re-Estize Kingdom — and Ainz Ooal Gown. Therefore, in order to achieve their second aim, they had to send information on this unknown tomb to the Kingdom’s Adventurer’s Guild.


“Momon’s arrival at the Empire played right into our hands.”


“Indeed. Now, he will tell the Guild over there about the unknown ruins and how the Workers were all wiped out. This way, the Kingdom will know the Empire wants to search those ruins, and they’ll mount an official investigation on their own.”


It was in order to achieve that objective that they had forced the involvement of the Adventurer’s Guild in this. Of course, they had not done so in the Emperor’s name. They had simply spread some rumors through their spies to encourage such an occurrence.


This incident had to be treated as a foolish noble running wild. In this way, even if the Empire’s involvement were revealed, Ainz Ooal Gown’s hostility would be directed to the manipulated Count, and Jircniv could instead build a friendly relationship with him.


“Naturally, the Kingdom’s adventurers will invade the lair of Ainz Ooal Gown, who responds to intrusions with deadly force. What sort of response will a powerful magic caster make against the Kingdom? And what will the Kingdom do when it is attacked? I do look forward to it,” Jircniv laughed. Then, just in case, he asked:


“I already know the power of Ainz Ooal Gown. He can easily eliminate Worker teams. This matter ought to be neatly handled and taken care of by offering up the head of a single foolish noble.”


“But of course. We have taken great pains to handle this, and only the people here know the truth.”


“Good. But just in case — what was that?”


A tremor interrupted Jircniv’s words. The windows in the room and furniture rattled. However, it did not seem to be an earthquake. It was more like a single great shaking caused by some massive entity crashing into the ground.


“What happened? Hurry up and check — what’s this ruckus about?! What’s going on!”


The wails Jircniv heard were not just from inside the room, but outside as well. The walls of this room were thick and sturdy. In that case, just how loudly were the people outside screaming? What had brought about this screaming — the least suitable sound for this place?


One of his vassals looked at the courtyard from whence the screaming came and after examining the situation, his face turned pale as he answered Jircniv’s question.


“Your Majesty! A Dragon! A Dragon has landed in the courtyard!”


For a brief moment, a wave of stupefaction passed through the room. Nobody could immediately parse the meaning of that sentence. No, they could not understand it. Everyone knew that he could not be lying, yet they all ran to the window to witness it with their own eyes.


They practically tore open the heavy curtains. After seeing what lay beyond them, the scene outside the translucent glass window — that of a Dragon in the middle of the courtyard — every single one of them was speechless and gawping with their mouths open.


“Why… why is there a Dragon there? Where did that Dragon come from?”


“Foreign Affairs! Which Dragon-riding boor was scheduled to barge into the courtyard today?!”


“I don’t know anything about this!”


“Have you seen the Council Alliance’s Dragons before? Could that be a Dragon from the Council Alliance?”


“...That Dragon doesn’t match the description I was given. A diplomat told me, so it ought to be reliable.”


“All that isn’t important; surely the biggest problem is letting the opposition force their way into the Imperial Palace, right!? His Majesty is here; what are the Royal Air Guards doing!”


Dragons possessed powerful bodies sheathed in thick scales, their lifespans vastly exceeded those of mankind, they had all manner of special abilities and magic, and they were the mightiest beings in the world. Of course, Dragons’ strength varied between individuals, and there were occasional stories of an adventurer defeating a Dragon. But throughout the course of history, there were also cities devastated by a wrathful Dragon, and sometimes even entire countries. A city in a country from the south had been destroyed by a Dragon some twenty-odd years ago, and it was still fresh in people’s memory.


The fact that such a being had appeared in the middle of the Imperial Palace was a grave situation.


Even Jircniv held his breath as he surveyed the situation. Just then, he saw two people hop down from the Dragon’s back.


He squinted, and saw that they were two children whose skin had been tanned by the sun.


“Those ought to be Dark Elves.”


Fluder calmly stated the species of those two.


“Paradyne-sama! Where did that Dragon come from! And who are those two people?”


“Well, I don’t recognize that Dragon…”


The Dragon in the courtyard was surrounded by knights, to say nothing of the two people who had just alighted from it. Those knights were the pride of Empire, yet he could not bring himself to put his faith in them when they stood before a Dragon. That was the strongest living being for you.


A man strode forth from among the knights, a man who carried a shield in each hand.


“Oi, oi, is he going out there? While it can’t be helped… losing him like this would be a shame.”


The person who had stepped forth was one of the Empire’s Four Knights, “The Immovable” Nazami Enec.


He was one of the topmost warriors in the Kingdom, the most adept of the Four Knights at defensive battles. This warrior might be able to resist many energy attacks, but he seemed awfully insignificant when compared to a Dragon. Everyone could only nod in agreement at “Lightning Bolt” Baziwood Peshmel’s prediction of his colleague’s fate.


“Your Majesty, please take shelter!”


“Where can we run? Tell me where can we find safety?”


Jircniv snorted at the suggestion from the minister who had come to his senses.


“But!”


“—I understand what you want to say. But if we abandon the Imperial Palace and run, we will become the butt of jokes. The same applies even if our adversary is a Dragon. While it does not look like a Dragon of the Council Alliance, if our foe did this while knowing I would not flee… they say Dragons are very intelligent; it seems it knows the Empire’s political situation very well.”


Jircniv could apply pressure to the nobles because he had the military power of the knights as backing. If the Emperor and his knights quit the Imperial Palace and fled because a Dragon appeared there, they would certainly make light of the Emperor’s military power and revolt. He did not think he would lose to whatever ragtag bunch of misfits they could scrape together, but it would severely weaken the Empire.


Whether we fight or flee, we still lose. What a troublesome move. Where did that Dragon come from?


Soon, more and more people gathered in the courtyard. There were 40 Imperial Guardsmen surrounding the Dragon and the two people, as well as 60 knights. In addition to that, there were arcane and divine magic casters scattered throughout their number.


“120 people will not be enough to deal with them. I think I should go over too, your Majesty.”


Jircniv furrowed his brow slightly. Fluder was the trump card of the Empire. He was not sure whether playing that card against a mighty being like the Dragon would do any good. However, he was confident that Fluder could escape even after being pressed into dire straits, and that trust cut through his hesitation.


Jircniv did not know the truth.


He did not know that Fluder’s offer to go forth was to avoid Jircniv asking him to retreat with teleportation magic.


“I’ll leave it to you, gramps. Also, could you ask The Immovable to stand down?”


“Understood. However, those people are unfathomable. I feel they are incredibly strong; please prepare yourself to flee, your Majesty.”


With that, Fluder opened the window. He jumped straight out and flew into the sky with a flight spell.


***


“Er, can everyone hear me? I’m a subordinate of Ainz Ooal Gown-sama, and my name’s Aura Bella Fiora!”


***


Just then, an incredibly loud voice echoed through the surroundings.


***


“The Emperor of this nation sent a bunch of rude chaps to the Great Underground Tomb of Nazarick, where Ainz-sama stays! Ainz-sama is very unhappy. So if you don’t apologize, we’ll wipe this country out!”


***


Jircniv’s face twisted. Who had learned this answer, and how? How had he followed the clues back to the truth?


He looked around the room. Everyone was staring in shock at the Emperor. The people who understood the doubts in Jircniv’s heart all shook their heads.


***


“For starters, we’re going to kill all the people here! Mare!”


***


The other Dark Elf plunged his staff into the surface of the courtyard. In that moment, it was as though a localized earthquake had occurred in the courtyard. It was “as though” because Jircniv did not feel the earth move at all. However, the ground still split open around the Dragon and the Dark Elves, crevasses yawning open in patterns more complex than a spider’s web.


The knights, the Imperial Guardsmen, the magic casters — apart from the airborne Fluder, everyone was swallowed up by the earth.


The Dark Elf seemed to have skilfully excluded herself and her allies from the effective radius of the attack. She stood there nonchalantly, and once she pulled out her staff, the ground hurriedly put itself back together, just like when the earthquake had occurred. However, since it had come together too quickly, the ground swelled up, following the previous spiderweb pattern, and it became a small hillock.


The knights who had been gathered in the courtyard just now had all vanished without a trace. The end had come too suddenly.


***


“Alright~ we killed them all. Now then, for all the humans in this city… er, I don’t know who’s the Emperor, so never mind! If the Emperor doesn’t show himself right now, we’ll destroy this city! Emperor-san, please come out now!”


***


“Your… your Majesty.”


The Chief Minister was trembling, his face deathly pale as he ushered Jircniv forward.


“...So they rode a Dragon here because we trod on the Dragon’s tail, then?”


Jircniv fought to quash the trembling in his voice. The supreme being in the Empire, the Emperor who held all power in his hand, could not show fear before his subjects.


“Ainz Ooal Gown… what manner of man… no, now’s not the time to think about that sort of thing.”


Jircniv shouted from the window:


“I am the Emperor, Jircniv Rune Farlord El-Nix! I wish to speak with you! May I trouble you fine envoys to enter the palace!”


He turned to the Chief Minister:


“Prepare the finest reception for them! Right now!


The ministers scrambled out of the room, and Jircniv’s eyes went from their backs to the Dark Elves, who were looking at him.

“...I underestimated them. If those are just subordinates… don’t tell me I can’t handle these people… that said, I won’t back down here. If they wish to parley… then we shall fight a war of words. Ainz Ooal Gown, watch as I break your ambitions!”

239 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Back from ap magic tournament, now I can read peacefully

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  2. Thanks for the chapter !

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  3. Thanks translators! :D

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  4. GOD BLESS YOUR BEAUTIFUL SOULS TRANSLATORS

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  5. 'So come out, come out, Emperor, wherever you are!”
    Haha that is great.

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  6. Thank you for this chapter

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  7. Replies
    1. SKYTHEWOOD! SKYTHEWOOD! SKYTHEWOOD! HOORAY!
      thank you so much Skythewood

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    2. I just hope he doesn't stop if official translations come out. Official translations are usually sort of shitty when localised for foreign audiences.

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  8. Sky-sama, would it be okay to post a fanfic here on the comments? But I think it would be inappropriate due to some words used.

    Sincerely, Anonymous-chan

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    Replies
    1. By the way it's is kinda BDSM-ish... So smut.

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  9. Don Mark Surigao.. LOL

    All Hail Ainz-sama

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  10. Don Mark Surigao.. LOL

    All Hail Ainz-sama

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  11. OMFG you have to freakin pick commercial trucks to verify yourself. FREAKIN. COMMERCIAL. TRUCKS.
    #Like a puppet with its string cut. Like a puppet with its string cut. Pupper. String. Cut.

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  12. there was a mistake in "She was immediately pulled back by an arm wearing what looked like a green gauntlet" it's meant to be a blue gauntlet arm since it was Cocytus's hand

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    Replies
    1. nah it's maybe yuri aplha since she is the only character that introduced so far wearing a green gauntlet

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    2. it's not Yuri since she is still at the top of the tomb, and if you read the raw they use the color the color "青" witch can be translated into blue or green.

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    3. Why is Yuri still staying at the top of the tomb, her team killed off the people there really fast and early.

      I agree 青 usually refer to blue than green, thanks, amended.

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    4. Rather than position,I don't think yuri have the power to stop shalltear,I mean,yuri is around the 50s,while shalltear is 100,so it MUST be cocytus because he's lvl 100 and wearing blue gauntlet

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    5. She(Shalltear) was immediately pulled back by an arm wearing what looked like a blue gauntlet(Cocytus).

      “…What the hell is she doing?” (Ainz)

      “I’ll go scold her later.” (Albedo)

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  13. thanks you all so much for all the hard work!

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  14. Shit Shit I hate seeing Ainz in pain like this. It was hard to read.. That Bitch Albedo trying to take advantage of the situation. I want her dead. SHE CLEARLY WANTS TO KILL EVERYONE.

    Anyways, I was worried fluder couldn't be trusted but I trust him now if he sees Ainz as a god then it should all be good. Jirvic is already cornered and is underestimating Ainz too much. Not just in power.

    P.S I love Naberal!

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  15. Wha? Arche died?! She lived in the LN... as Shalltear's slave...
    due to Momonga's compassion-

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    Replies
    1. No she merely became shalltear sex toy then killed

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    2. No, in the wn she was live as shalltear's sex toy and happily life with her sisters in 6th floor.

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    3. in the WN you mean, this is LN version

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    4. That's really nasty...

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    5. the web novel and the light novel have differencies. U are lucky if u could read the WN wich wasn't translated. (I'm French).

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    6. In the WN she was alive as a Shalltear's sex slave. She taught Ainz how to dance

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    7. Wouldn't have mind seeing a scene with Ainz, who just learned how to dance, and Albedo ('Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows' anyone?).

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  16. I mean in the web novel

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  17. Thanks for the chapter.

    You don't mess with Ainz-sama or bad things happen.

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    Replies
    1. ..What happens if Albedo messes with Ainz-sama..?
      She's going around and creating problems for him behind his back now.

      Delete
    2. I'm not surprise if Albedo kills Naberal behind his back. She's been crossing the line and being even more daring. She's shown a lot of jealousy towards Nabel too.. She's on the Path to a Yandere

      Delete
    3. Except when your a minion of Nazarick. But seriously what will Ainz do when Albedo technically betrays him when she uses her chosen A-team, with the goal of searching for 'Supreme Beings,' but the team instead kills them.

      Delete
    4. He'd kill her or use his wish ring to change her loyalty

      Delete
  18. many thanks from indonesia. . . ^-^

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  19. Why does I get the feeling that albedo might kill the other supreme being if she actually find one. Going yandere like 'they threaten the position of ainz-sama heart and have to be eliminate' Her request is suspicious after all

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    Replies
    1. It's become obvious after he asked for Rubedo. There were no reason to use strongest NPC just for search.

      Delete
    2. Thats kinda obvious. Why would you choose muscle for supposedly intelligence mission.

      Delete
    3. Yandere is love
      Yandere is life xd

      Delete
    4. Albedo is seriously crossing line... how arrogant of her

      Delete
    5. doesnt see that one coming....

      that thinking sure is sick, really befitting of great tomb nazarick residences mind

      Delete
    6. Pretty much. she also picked people who are loyal to Ainz and not the other supreme beings. Pandora's Actor would kill the others no problem.

      Delete
    7. That's exactly what she plans to do. That's why she wanted to bring Rubedo along.

      She thinks they are traitors to the guild because they left when Ainz stayed. To her that is a rebellion against Ainz's authority. To them, it was just logging out of a game and saying goodbye to their guildmaster, but to Albedo, it's essentially defying God. Their existence, as traitors would be the only thing that could genuinely threaten Nazarick.

      Delete
    8. Overlord certainly has an element of tragedy in it... Ainz just wants to reunite with his friends. But that clearly isn't going to happen... until the last moment under his dying breath or his friends come a thousand years later to the tomb after Ainz has died.

      Delete
    9. but it willbe a surprise if ainz comrades were summoned before at the age of the 7 greed kings

      Delete
    10. but it willbe a surprise if ainz comrades were summoned before at the age of the 7 greed kings

      Delete
  20. Thanks to the translation team.

    This volume really marked the beginning of the Overlord. After all the careful information gathering, he now reveals himself to the world and already display his power.

    At this point, I feel it's safe to say that there is not much that remains of Ainz's human compassion. During his interaction with Foresight, he saw his prejudice that they were horrible people blinded by greed was wrong and they were true companions that cared for each other. Still did not stop him from sending them to their horrible fate.

    Ainz obsession with his guild was unhealthy back when he was human, but here, it will truly propel him in the role of the villain. This volume's interlude has introduced a few things that could challenge him and I expect this world will suffer an horrible war sooner than later.

    Then there's the problem of other players. If he encounters any that weren't from his guild, there is absolutely no doubt they will clash. Even his old guildmates may very well be disgusted. Add Albedo's machinations and I see no happy reunion.

    I greatly enjoy Ainz's character. I love his usual analytic nature. I like that his insecurities push him in directions he does not feel comfortable with. I am enthralled when I see him react so strongly to anything connected to his companions. This is the story of his rise to power and what motivated him to do so. I hope the Hero which will oppose him will be as interesting.

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    Replies
    1. Just one thing.

      You have to keep in mind that the invaders were going to die anyway. If they let her escape then, perhaps.. She could have gotten word out to a strong force capable of destroying Ainz.

      It doesn't really change them being blinded by greed.
      Having friends doesn't stop someone from going into a tomb, killing it's inhabitants and stealing it's treasure.

      Honestly speaking, having a generic Hero vs Evil Lord story would be a little.. Bland. Even Sebatian leading a revolt in Nazarick to dethrone Ainz would be more interesting.

      Delete
    2. Ainz himself got the information about Nazarick out. He made sure to have no one on the ground level until the trap was sprung. He planned this whole thing and all along he merely thought of them as testing Nazarick's defense. This was not self-defense.

      Every team except for the jackass' tried to negotiate when they met someone they could communicate with. Yes, at that point they were all in an obvious disadvantageous position, but if they simply met, say, one of the Pleiades on the ground level, I'm sure they would have done things very differently.

      Ainz being a MMORPG player is no stranger to plundering long forgotten ruins. They didn't know it was inhabited until it was too late.

      As for when Ainz asked their motives, well, I doubt many people would go in very much details. Money was a simple, safe bet. Why some of those like Arche needed that money is a different matter.

      I don't want a generic pure good hero to fight a pure evil Ainz. But, someone WILL rise against him. The intermission certainly suggested some candidates. I hope that person is nuanced and interesting like Ainz.

      For the general population, it will appear as black and white Hero fights Demon Lord. For us, we know Ainz is a more complex character and I simply hope it is the same for the Hero.

      Delete
    3. "They didn't know it was inhabited until it was too late."
      Uhhh.. No. They knew it was inhabited the instant they entered. E.g. Everything was cleaned up at the entrance, etc.

      They knew it was inhabited when they entered.

      Delete
    4. They even wanted to think that it was a golem which was cleaning things up for one instant. They pretty damn knew it was inhabited.

      Delete
    5. “—The team representatives discussed this earlier. There are no records of ruins situated around this area. Since the nearest village is far away, the possibility that normal people are living here are low. Most likely, they’re either illegal squatters or monsters. Considering the lack of footprints, they probably don’t require food, or they can provide for themselves from within the ruins. We have insufficient intelligence on hand, speculating further would lock ourselves into a fixed perspective and limit our minds. So let’s stop the speculations here.”

      Monsters or illegal squatters.

      In fact, twenty years ago, a group known as Zuranon occupied a ruin and conducted horrifying experiments, which led to catastrophic results. The information about this was scant, but a small city was destroyed.

      Illegal squatters can be VERY bad news.

      “Well, it should be undead as usual. If this place is occupied by the undead, it will be bad if we don’t wipe them out and drive away the negative energy with holy power.”
      “It is worse than you think. If we leave the undead alone, there is a chance of a more powerful undead rising. That is the reason why there are powerful undead in ruins.”

      Undeads

      “If an abandoned golem is carrying out the last order of its master and tidying the place up, that would be a godsend. One less thing to worry about. What is the plan after that?”

      The golem theory you mentioned.

      And no one to talk to in sight. For anyone who played any adventure game ever, those mean stuff to kill and loot.

      Besides, this is beyond the point considering if it wasn't for Ainz himself preparing that request, they wouldn't be there. Getting mad at people with poor intel who listened to your own request without ever trying to explain the real circumstances until you had already decided they were going to be tortured and murdered, that's not very reasonable.

      And you know what? I like this part of Ainz. I certainly don't confuse what he did for good actions, he's on a very slippery slope toward villainy. But, it's interesting. Seeing him become less and less human, having such a severe flaw that will create tension in the story, push him to extremes.

      Ainz is slowly shifting from an anti-hero toward evil without becoming 2 dimensional. He is still a complex character able to justify his actions to himself and I hope he will remain this way even if he gets to the point where he turns entire human cities to ashes.

      Delete
    6. You should also remember that Ainz is not the only bad guy in that world. The other humans (the Theocracy, Eight fingers, nobles, etc.) have done as much evil and cruel things to their fellow humans as them. Well maybe if we don't count Demiurge's hobbies.
      Those from Nazarick are just stronger and sometimes/often do it in a more gruesome way.

      Delete
    7. Honestly, other players probably exist in new world. There is literally no way that Ainz was the only player still logged in at the end. The thing is, new world may not be the only continent in the world Ainz was transported to. It's very likely that other players got transported to different continents in that world and have powerful kingdoms set up there as well. Like, that they would be separated by sea.

      I would almost bet money that other players got transported along with Ainz, but that they're not in any kingdom that's been revealed to the story yet.

      Delete
    8. Other players being somewhere certainly is a possibility. From a narrative standpoint, setting-up so much stuff about his old guild members like Albedo's plan has to come into play somewhere.

      However, the intermission told us there have been other players, centuries before. Obviously, they didn't disappear from the "real world" playing Yggdrasil centuries before so it could be that all players are being thrown in this world at different periods.

      Even if Ainz was the only player currently in this world and the next one came, say 100 years later, Ainz and probably most of Nazarick won't have died of old age by then. We could be seeing "the Overlord's rise to power" then another group of players come in later to "save the world". The real story being more nuanced of course, but it fits the theme.

      Delete
    9. I think the other players just appeared in this world in different eras, and that there are probably no other players than him currently.
      The 8 Greed Kings appeared together, then the Six Gods of Slaine, then the Demon god and this hero from the thirteen heroes... I have the feeling that less and less players appear at the same time as time advance.
      As for ther players being disgusted, it will strongly depends on their "race", as we can see with Ainz that being in the evil side strongly influence your mind (though it doesn't explain everything).

      Delete
    10. Yes but Ainz is being led by the nose by Albedo.. Hes far tie trusting to her and Ainz mistakes will slowly stab him. Don't forget about the things going behind his back. Things are getting messy

      Delete
    11. Are you not confusing them for humans? I dont know if undead are inmortals but what is a fact is that most of the beings on Nazarick have an extremely large life span. 100 years for them will be nothing. Aura and Mare will for sure be alive, Demiurge and Albedo too..........at least you would have to make it thousand of years later ( that is if they are not inmortal............ )

      Delete
    12. Yeah and it is said that a lich like Ainz lives until he is killed.

      But also I wouldn't speak of the killing as self defence. But he asked on beforehand to maybe stop then from going In there.

      Delete
  21. For some reason, I get the feeling that Albedo is making a Supreme Being annihilation force, rather than an investigation force.

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    Replies
    1. Somehow I had a feeling like that also. XD

      Delete
    2. She was trying to make Ainz lose EXP. I hope that doesn't happen... He might turn level 99 at that rate

      Delete
    3. "She was trying to make Ainz lose EXP. I hope that doesn't happen... He might turn level 99 at that rate"
      Not really no she doesn't even specify which undad she wants.

      Delete
    4. Maybe she wants only Aniz to rule and on one else.

      Delete
  22. Thanks for your hard work on these chapters! Things are getting really exciting!!

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  23. Thanks for the triple release!

    ...Are we getting a new volume start next week? *-*

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  24. Couldve spared arche :')..i hope the emperor dies tho.


    Thank you translator team ! Love you

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  25. Thank you translator taem.
    Great lord Ainz is really evilllll..... man this chapter is pure evil.
    Btw I had a feeling that by the end of this story, Ainz will be the last evil boss that will need to be purged. There's no way he will be hail as a hero right. Please no. I will hate if that were to happen.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That would be the most terrible plot twist ever.

      Delete
    2. That will be the logical one considering the atrocity, monstrocity and horror he has commited. Any less than beheading him is unaccepteble. XD

      Delete
    3. the end will be that Ainz get killed by the hero and then he wake up in the real world :D
      or he'll simply revive himself like he did when he was in the game

      Delete
    4. "There's no way he will be hail as a hero right."
      That's extremely unlikely. It's more likely that the world will worship him as a god, someone will execute him, or he'll get sealed away.

      Delete
    5. Perhaps, Albedo will kill all of the other "Supreme Beings", Ainz will be depressed and will end up taking off the auto-resurrection ring and using Heaven's Downfall on himself a few times.

      Delete
    6. In my version, He will rule the new world with Nazarick at its peak where people revere to him as a god and a demon. Because he already reached his goal and no one left to oppose him, he will get bored eventually.

      He will have to create heroes to oppose himself. He will be defeated but it was actually a his plot; to leave the new world using some sort of newly discovered magic to teleport the guild to another world to begin anew. The heroes actually work for him, labelling himself a villain to grant peace across the new word.(Similar to the Code Geass ending)

      That way Ainz Ooal Gown will be a eternal legend that way, similar to the Six Gods and Eight Greed Kings. He will leave a mark in history of the new world as god or a demon. But actually he is alive somewhere in a different world trying to conquer it and spreading the name of his guild.

      Delete
    7. Urmm.. The Code Geass ending is incredibly idealistic.
      Even if it brings peace for a short period of time, war will return.

      The only reason that the Eight Greed Kings are still mentioned is due to the city or whatever that they left behind. As for the Six Gods, they actually have their descendants (the Demigods).

      Who knows how many players came and went over the course of millions of years. Ainz's legend is a very temporary one. Perhaps, it'll survive for a few hundred years, but what about afterwards..?

      He could conquer many worlds and send governors to manage them for him and go in the direction of a multiversal conquerer, I suppose..

      Delete
    8. So it's ending will be like what happened in lelouch in code geass??
      The end justify the means?
      Well. If it's like that better enjoyed it till it last.
      Come to the dark side.
      All hail!!! overlord!!

      Delete
    9. I think he will be killed by a great hero and resurrect as a human in the same universe because his soul can no longer return home since his body has been long dead.

      Delete
    10. Lord Ainz the Overlord will die by the hands of Momon the Eternal Hero... how's that for a twist.

      Delete
    11. the internet game 'Yggdrasil' shut downs so there is no more "new one" from 'Yggdrasil' . aizn and his guild is the last

      Delete
    12. To become an eternal legend, one must leave a mark in history. The Eight Greed Kings introduced the magic system. Six Gods established Slane Theocracy and left some descendants. Demon Kings brought chaos and terror which lead to the creation of the adventurer's guild against them. Thirteen Heroes defeated the Demon Kings.

      What will Ainz Ooal Gown will bring?

      Delete
    13. Maybe he will bring unity amongst the races

      Delete
  26. Thank you author and the translators for this.
    This story is very good. Also unique one of its kind.
    A dark fantasy where instead of the usual hero or champion of humanity save the world and defeat the evil ��. We have an overlord with his minions bent on world domination, ohhh. I really like it. If only there's an English overlord novels I would buy it.

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  27. Thanks for the chapter

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  28. Damn I wanna know what Rubedo and The Youngest of Pleiades look like. Their both stuck on the 8th floor too.

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  29. Thanks for the chapter. I was getting frustrated about the 2 volume tangent about lizards and dandy butlers, but now I can understand why the author did it. The main character is inherently evil and he had to make the contrast. It's a good place for me to stop though, I've been reading a bunch of chinese web novels recently, and I've had enough of sociopath protagonists.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To be fair, it's mainly the Undead State which turned him into more of a sociopath. His actually fairly neutral and just does whatever the Guardians want. It just so happens that his surrounded by incredibly evil people.

      I kinda agree though. I've also read enough of those novels where people will massacre entire cities simply because there's a fly in their food or someone had the nerve to not bow down to them on sight or someone "looked at them wrong".

      And quite frankly, that's exactly the approach which the Floor Guardians would have, if they encountered that sort of situation. Ainz just does whatever they want.

      Delete
    2. Very well said comrade

      Delete
    3. I'm reminded of 'Eric the viking' movie (Comedy). Where Eric goes to Valhalla to end Ragnorok, and when he gets there he meets the Nordic gods and they're... children. They're powerful but alarmingly apathetic to the plight of mortals hiding in their own world in Valhalla, because they never matured the moral compass to care. I kinda get that vibe from Ainz and the guardians, they're children who haven't really matured. But they're also innocent and naïve to the world. Ainz might have to touch fire and get burned to realize this.

      Delete
    4. @Azareal that is also another "problem" here. With the current situation Ainz isn't much of an overlord. An overlord does what an overlord wants. An overlord does not do what he thinks his subordinates wants him to do.

      Delete
    5. Fully agree. I was actually a bit sickened by this chapter, and god knows I've read some sick shit in my time. I think it's the fact that the author went to so much painstaking effort to craft these highly sympathetic characters, ones I was starting to really like, only to butcher them pointlessly and cruelly for reasons that don't even make sense.

      I'm at the point where I really couldn't give two shits about Ainz anymore. That's the problem with antagonist centric stories - how do you hold a captive audience, following a character that is not actually likable? You can't, really. That's why stories like this are very few in number.

      I'd just about be rooting for anyone who wants to (and is capable of) taking down Nazarick, Ainz and all his subordinates at this point, and that's a bizarre turn around for me as a reader when I am usually fully into the role of the protagonist.

      Delete
    6. There's a term used for fools like you. Moral-fag

      Delete
  30. is it just me, or Albedo was very suspicious in this chapter ?

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    Replies
    1. Nah it's not just you albedo is really suspicious since volume5

      Delete
  31. as always thanks for the translation guys!!! with the anime ending this will be the only overlord doses i will take.

    lol fluder came when ainz and nabel take them ring off and albedo making a supreme being hunting party, really dark chapter too bad the team foresight died but since they entered the tomb their fate was already sealed.. ainz did gave them a lot of chances to back out.

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  32. Thank you so much.

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  33. It would be nice, if Ainz caught onto what Albedo's doing behind his back.
    His subordinates just keep screwing things up behind his back, and he willfully ignores all of the reports or the hard work of actually managing Nazarick as it might make him look "incompetent".

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  34. WHAT THE HECK! TABULA! YOU CREATED RUBEDO, ALBEDO, AND NIGREDO, HOW MANY NPC DID YOU MAKE!!!!??
    ALSO, WHAT EXACTLY IS INSIDE THE 8TH FLOOR!!!? IT SOUNDS REALLY REALLY REALLY DANGEROUS!

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    Replies
    1. Wow easy with the caps lock mate

      Delete
    2. Lol, I was thinking something similar. They mentioned that in yggdrasil special creations have a total lvl cap of 700...... Even if Ainz Ooal Gown (Guild) bought every cash item possible to increase that cap, I think they've surpassed that by a few thousand at this point. Just with Shalltear, Aura, Mare, and Albedo they are at 400. If Nigredo is stronger than them they she's at lvl 100 and that puts them at five hundred. You telling me that Cocytus, Pleidas, Victim, Sebas, Demiurge, and the others split 200 points? Impossible. Demiuge is lvl 100 ( I think)..... Where'd these seven hundred point limits go?

      Delete
    3. One theory is that the "Level Cap" is just the initial level of everyone. You create a bunch of NPCs up to x level, power level them past that, and end up with the current situation.

      Delete
    4. Couldn't happen based on what I know. It's stated that the guardians couldn't leave Nazarick before and there was no friendly fire in Yggdrasil. Besides, Ainz states that the NPCs only had the one raid's experience becuase the guild dealt with any smaller raids in order to save guild funds on the chance that the NPCs died or traps were used etc.

      Delete
    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    6. Wasn't it because guilds could buy extra data volume for real money?

      Delete
    7. There are 9 lv 100 guardians shown in the illustrations,Albedo,Demiurge,Cocytus,Shalltear, Sebas,Aura,Mare, Rubedo and Pandora's actor

      Gargantua is just a lv 100 bonus golem and victim is only lvl 35, add the others Nazarick already exceeded the level cap of 700,as expected for cash players

      Delete
  35. Finally Fluder will be able to fullfill his desire of knowedge.

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    Replies
    1. Will he? Ainz only really knows magic as far as what the system allowed him to learn. He is just using it from his bodies instinctual memory and not concious thought. Won't Ainz be playing catch up from Fluder at this point? Though if he's as much of a natural at magic as combat he'll learn fast. After all, from a few swings with.... ummmm I forget her name, crazy chick with the daggers, he learned about feints and planning several slashes ahead.

      Delete
    2. Ainz could easily solve Fluder's problem of being mortal with some cheap items. Mainly involving turning him into an angel or a vampire or an undead or something else.

      Delete
  36. Thank you translators.

    I expect for Ainz to die the same way the Leader from the Intermission died. He will die not because he is overpowered by others but as one typical of a character in a Greek tragedy; He will choose death because of his inevitably lonely fate. Ainz is both a god to this world and slave to fate. He is all yet lonely.

    He will question the meaning of his existence as the glory of ruling is overshadowed by his loneliness and shoddy purpose to rule the world.

    I'd say that as everything conquerable is within his grasp he will have the epiphany 'that everything is meaningless.'
    It will be a defeat more punishing than a warrior's death, far pitiable than an antagonist's loss, a fitting death for a choice-less outsider.

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    Replies
    1. That sounds more appropriate than the "he ends up getting defeated by a hero" ending that the others are pushing around here.

      If Albedo kills all of his comrades from the guild then, he won't really have much of a purpose after a certain point. It'll just be him pretending to be an omniscient god. At that point, he might just say.. Screw this.

      After that, Nazarick won't have a leader and all of guardians will start fighting each other and will tear the world apart.
      The second part sounds like the Eight Greed Kings.

      The thing with Fluder is that he atleast had a nearly eternal goal. Research magic. Ainz's goal is to find his companions and to reunite with them.

      Delete
    2. Anon, and I can't believe I'm going to say this, but I like your idea. However, I can't see it happening. This is for several reasons...though only two are good enough to mention.

      First, as an undead Ainz can't feel a sorrow so powerful that it would lead him to the end of his undeath...the most that he could feel is a constant mind numbing boredom similar to how Albedo's "Strongest team" comment left him with a lingering feeling of mirth,.... which is worse than the suicidal boredom...trust me I've experienced both.

      The second reason is, this is the guy that for an indeterminable amount of time (he may have mentioned it but I don't remember though I'm guessing it was at least two-three years from the way he talks about it) he did nothing but log into a game and sit around an empty table playing with the market to keep making gold to keep an empty guild running in teh vain hope that his friends would log in to say hi.... have you ever played an MMO where you were alone in a guild? That is some boring ass shit! Sure, you can sit in trade chat...but there is no depth to trade chat, just idle randomness of people letting out their inner ass to troll the random people that truly want to enjoy the game.

      Delete
    3. Just realized that I didn't conclude that second point after my trade chat rant.... in short Ainz would be able to keep himself alive just to see to it that the creations of his comrades don't tear themselves apart in abject depression. Even if he was miserable, he'd stomach it and keep pushing forward.

      Delete
    4. Hey, anon here! Thanks for replying.
      This volume makes Ainz's ending interesting.
      His emotions being tempered and his sustained dedication for his guild are good reasons for having an otherwise ending. Then either Ainz will be defeated or have a change of heart. Perhaps he may be able to soundly 'log-off' from this world.

      Yet despite Ainz is more of an undead player than a human player he still experiences the pangs of loneliness as shown by Imina. In then end he will inevitably choose a path of who he really is. Is he an undead Overlord or a human player?

      Either ending would be good. But I imagine a fitting ending with him seating on his throne with his staff, finding himself "both within and without."

      Delete
    5. Well Ainz turned undead and he becomes less ans less human. So it will probably that if he doesn't find his comrades, his boredom will lead to that undead rage. It was mentioned very often that the undead have an urge to kill every libing being.

      Delete
  37. Here's hoping Shalltear turns her so that the lolis don't cry..... Crying lolis are adorable but only when the tear filled smile is right around the corner.

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    Replies
    1. I forgot about that, actually. Shalltear probably could just turn her into a vampire. What's she going to do..? Run away and wear a mask for the rest of her life like Evileye..? Not to mention, Nazarick is a place away from her heavy debt.

      Delete
    2. I'm hoping that she marches right into her dad's room and rips his throat out before happily walking out the door with her sisters, hand in hand. This is after Ainz enslaves the emperor, of course.

      Delete
    3. there's no hope for that since entoma took arche's voice, and let the rest of nazarick divide up her body like a butchered deer. read closely at the part where albedo got angry at entoma for "making ainz-sama hear that bratty girl's voice"

      Delete
    4. I assumed Imina. Because Imina was the one being a rude brat.....though Arche was the one that threw up.....idk, wish they would have named her since there were two good possibilities here. BTW, could have sworn that Entoma said she was going to wait to get a new voice until after she got revenge on Evileye

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    5. I think it's because Arche is a blonde magic casting loli. Entoma probably just went "Close enough, I don't want to keep sounding so bad anymore anyway", or maybe it was because she appreciated it as a gift from Shalltear(assuming it was), or maybe she wanted to say to Evileye "Thanks to you taking away my voice, another cute girl had to lose hers"

      Delete
  38. ... Okay, so I was suspicious of Albedo from that earlier chapter... but now I'm certain she wants to betray Ainz in some way.
    First, she wants to take charge of finding the Supreme Beings. Ok. Her reasoning is fine, I suppose.
    Second, she wants to bring Pandora's Actor along, the most loyal follower of Momonga in Nazarick. Well, again, the reasoning makes perfect sense.
    Third, she wants the group to be kept secret from the other guardians? Hmm... I'm not satisfies with those reasons.
    Fourth, she wants to use the highest level undead Ainz can make, that will actually cost him strength just to form? That can't be right...
    Fifth, she also wants the strongest combatant in Nazarick to come along.
    AIIINNZZZZ YOU'RE IN TROUBLE

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    Replies
    1. Betray Ainz..? Not exactly. She obviously wants to kill the other "Supreme Beings" to make sure that the other Guardians stay loyal to Ainz forever, as if the other "Supreme Beings" show up then, the Guardians will side with their creators.

      Delete
    2. wow if you are right hell will break loose when ainz finds out she killed his friends for him

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    3. IDK, I keep thinking about what you said Az. But, somehow I just can't see it happening. I'm certain that the banner and name she wants to call out is Momonga's. This author likes to hint something and then betray expectations. that's why I can't see Albedo who is being set up to be a traitor to be a traitor. Somehow, I think she has concocted this elaborate and complex plan to remove Ainz's support ring to force him to take on responsibilities and grow as a person. Then, when he has gotten enough confidence, somehow get him to go back to the name of Momonga.....
      The only way I can see her planning to kill off the other supreme beings (who I don't think are even in this world, damnit) is that she hates them for inspiring the man she loves so much that it is driving her insane to feel things that she can't inspire in him: comradeship, love, loneliness, etc. and she hopes that by removing them she can prove that she is worthy to stand as his equal just as they did..... but it is just so farfetched..... I don't think Albedo (even in her apparently unhinged state of mind) is capable of doing something that she KNOWS would cripple Ai... Momonga so totally.
      But maybe this is just my selfish view of her.

      Delete
    4. @Azareal, it's still sort of a betrayal. But your words make a lot of sense.

      She's the yanderiest yandere that ever yandere'd.

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    5. If she ended up killing the other guild members, that would leave a bad taste in my mouth. If she were to kill other players, I wouldn't mind so much. That being said, Momonga should have known exactly who was online when he was transferred worlds, so technically, unless this magical phenomenon could affect people who were not logged in, there doesn't seem like there could be a chance that any guild members could be dragged in.

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    6. Yes she's betraying Ainz in a way if you recalled what she swore to him in the first volume

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    7. Albedo is madly in love with Momonga, so she just hates the 'Ainz Ooal Gown' guild of supreme beings who abandon 'Nazarick'. Albedo wants Ainz to named himself Momonga again, not Ainz Ooal Gown which mean to include other supreme beings.

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    8. If Ainz found out Albedo's intentions or if he learned that she killed a supreme being, he would end her on the spot. Either that, or strip her of all her items and torture her to death. Still, it's not like any of the old players are in this world. I still sort of want Ainz to discover her intentions.

      Ainz can even kill Rubedo if he uses The Goal of all Life is Death or one of his world class items like he said. The only way TGOALID would not work would be if the guild equipped Rubedo with revival items, (which they most likely did.) However, Rubedo is an automaton with greater priority to Ainz over Albedo so they would never fight.

      The reason Albedo wants to kill the other beings is she feels that leaving while Ainz stayed is a betrayal to Ainz and they are therefore no longer a part of Nazarick but instead, counted as enemies. Obviously Ainz does not feel that way but Albedo is extremely selfish.

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    9. "If Ainz found out Albedo's intentions" 'IF' being the keyword here. And I don't think Ainz has it in him to punish Albedo. If anything he might blame himself. Thus shaping him into the 'big baddy' in Overlord. Although he'd probably be more self-destructive and somehow loses himself and Nazarick. [although I do hope it doesn't get that grim for him and Nazarick]

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    10. Read vol.3 and you will see Albedo's absolute loyality to Ainz. Something like: "Even all the world is against you. I'll be with you."

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    11. She might even misunderstood Ainz searching. She may thing he wants to kill them as traitors.

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  39. Hey, anon here! Thanks for replying.
    This volume makes Ainz's ending interesting.
    If his emotions are tempered and he maintains dedication for his guild are good reasons for having an otherwise ending. Then either Ainz will be defeated or have a change of heart. Perhaps he may be able to soundly 'log-off' from this world.

    Yet despite Ainz is more of an undead player than a human player he still experiences the pangs of loneliness as shown by Imina. In then end he will choose a path of who he really is. Is he an undead Overlord or a human player?

    Either ending would be good. But I imagine a fitting ending with him seating on his throne with his staff, finding himself "both within and without."

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    1. He could join Fluder in his quest to "peer into the abyss of magic" to find some way to regain his humanity, I suppose.

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    2. He could already change his race.He has items that do that.

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    3. I'm not sure that it would allow him to jump from being an Undead Overlord to being whatever the equivalent for vampires or draconians or angels or whatever the hell he wants to be.

      It probably just lets him evolve to a higher level race that's compatible with the current one.

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  40. i am fine with the shitty asshole that getting killed by hamuske

    but no go for this one , i would be totally fine with him killing ppl that if they are the same as the bitch celimantine or what ever her name is

    and i wish that both albedo & shallter dies

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    1. another one with the mainstreams fantasy

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    2. You want both of the soon-to-be wives dead? Clearly a yandere.

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  41. Love Skythewood, love the translations, love the very atypical main character role. I can't tell you how much I appreciate and enjoy your work! There are a couple of things that are starting to grate on my nerves though.

    I'm getting a little disgusted with the amount of time the author takes to set up the demise of some random group of lizard men or adventurers (or "workers"). I understand the idea behind it, as it just makes the villain seem that much more villainous when he tears apart a family like unit that you can really just start to understand. But it's all just filler material. Can you stop making the actual main plot just bits of intermission interspersed between chapters of filler?

    There is a little too much Mary Sue (or Gary Stu) in this work. I mean, the only real challenge Momonga has is some world artifacts whose effects are negated by wearing other world artifacts, and he has freaking tons of them. The Shalltear battle was really nice because there was real threat and danger, but now it's just some superior being stomping on a bunch of ants. There's zero tension. The only tension is the comedic value of Momonga pretending he is as clever as Demiurge and Albedo. Can we have some challenge now?

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    1. I prefer seeing slaughter than than struggle to the death,it makes my day

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    2. Oh shut up you bleeding heart idealist

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    3. One thing to note is that they just brushed aside the whole incident with the Head Maid or whatever refusing to allow Ainz to slaughter innocents into the Drama CD.

      Quite frankly, that would have been somewhat interesting, as it would have shown that Nazarick isn't just a bunch of evil people or people who don't have the nerve to question Ainz.

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    4. Really? This is the first time they actually kill people they thoroughly introduced in a long while, and really the first time Ainz has killed someone that wasn't clearly evil. The lizard men clearly got brought back and are training Hamsuke for example. Climb and Brain both made it through alive in their chapters, along with Tsuare. Gazef obviously was saved. The only group that actually died was that first group, Dark Swords or whatever, and they got killed by the enemy, not Ainz.

      Reading through these comments makes me wonder what they expect from this kind of story. I'm actually glad Ainz has killed people who weren't just villains. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad the lizard guys are back, but reviving everyone he kills would just be lame. This shows that at least not everyone is going to survive, and some characters that are introduced will meet gruesome ends, and I'm glad about that.

      So many of the LNs in this genre start off with a lot of people dying, and then for the rest of it nobody dies. I'm glad Overlord looks like it's taking a different direction, and can't wait for what Ainz will do next.

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    5. The worker's set up this time wasn't that bad to be honest. Compared to the lizard men arc, I think side character set up this time wasn't that long. This volume didn't totally focus on them, we were also introduced to other stuff (like Fluder, etc...).

      And as for the overpowered fights, I feel that this is to make us fall into a false sense of security. Once someone who can take on Nazarick shows up it'll make it more suspenseful and make the cliffhangers more gruelling.

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    6. Original poster here. No one actually read my post. Not surprising seeing the knee jerk reactions of some people here.

      I'm not so much against the author killing off good people. I mean, I expect evil beings to do evil things. The problem becomes dedicating an entire novel to what is essentially a side story. The lizard men are a side story. So what if they train Hamsuke? Hamsuke is a side story as well. There are light novels that have spinoff books. I understand that. But this is too much. I want to know what happens next, and what happens next is not a side story.

      Climb, Brain, Gazef etc are not side stories. They have a potential role to play in the future. These guys obviously don't.

      As for Fluder, there were like two passages of him in the entire book.

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    7. "Reading through these comments makes me wonder what they expect from this kind of story. I'm actually glad Ainz has killed people who weren't just villains. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad the lizard guys are back, but reviving everyone he kills would just be lame."

      Killing people is fine to me but I found Ainz's excuse for being merciless a bit disappointing. He was angry at them because their primary reason for going to the tomb was for money and that made them greedy people. In the previous volumes it seems like Ainz wasn't entirely satisfied with his job either. Many people do things for money but that doesn't mean they are automatically greedy and he should have understood that from his own experiences.

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    8. You also forget that Ainz was monitoring ALl of the groups so he saw and heard everything they did and said. PLus Hekkeran was stupid enough to give him false hope of information about his former guild mates being in this world. Ainz had quite a bit of justification in his outburst

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    9. He really didn't have any good reason to be mad. He pretty much baited them there to begin with. Their reasons (Foresight at least) weren't actually all that greedy, and Ainz and his entire guild is founded upon the same thing he was pissed at them for doing; looting tombs, dungeons, etc. Not to mention his angst fests about his former companions bonds, only to not have even an ounce of empathy or remorse when Foresight display the same bonds with each other. Instead sentencing them to quite horrific deaths. He is, at the very least, a hypocrite and a sociopath.

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    10. Oh get the fuck over yourself. Their fate was sealed the moment they arrived in the arena. Letting survivors escape the tomb would only endanger the tomb.

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  42. Thank you Skythewood for the chapters!

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    1. not just skythewood! Don't forget the translators: Nigel, Ferro, Zack Tan, SifaV6; And the editors: Skythewood, Rockgollem, Namorax, NoirX, TaintedDreams, JcqC

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  43. Well her sisters are screwed and mare hahaha

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  44. For my 2 cents, here's how I think it goes down in the end:

    The staff of Ainz Ooal Gown is destroyed. They've put too much emphasis on this super artifact that will -destroy the guild- if destroyed itself.

    For extra credit, this is done by the hero...Momon of Darkness. Potentially his humanity is reawakened somehow and he realizes that while Nazarick may have been a cool and artistic creation of him and his best friends in a videogame he loved...HOLY CRAP things have gone downhill and it's now a very real bastion of ultimate evil and depravity that has to be destroyed (seriously, it's rivalling the Hell of Dante's Inferno at this point!)

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    1. Maybe in a novel that's not called Overlord =_=

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    2. I don't see that happening, unless his friends from Nazarick show up. The main reason that he sides with Nazarick is that it's the last legacy left behind by his comrades.

      If his comrades showed up and denounced their own creations then, that would be another matter entirely.

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  45. Good thing she and the others died in the end... I really thought that there will be another stupid twist that will save the lives of the thieves and make Momonga the forgiving entity... AGAIN. I like Ainz when he's being cruel and when he's acting like a real Overlord.

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    1. When has Ainz ever acted like a real overlord? :(

      He is a bored MMO player doing quests given to him by his NPC subordinates.

      Delete
  46. sorry to say, but this entirety didnt read like it was from the author of the previous chapters, this is so off, ainz would never act like this, this seems like fiction of some overenthusiastic kid! sorry

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    1. It's like a fan fiction? That's not a bad comparison.

      The thing is that we all thought that we understood Ainz as a character, and then he goes off and does this. Even ordering the use of heavy heavy torture which was only used in the past to some major enemies and even then.. It was for vital intelligence.

      As for the Rubedo thing..? What the hell was that about?
      Giving the golem to Albedo for such a as he would put it.. "childish reason"..? He never even briefs Pandora's Actor on what his mission is supposed to be. Albedo does it for him.

      Even if he trusts Albedo, he could at-least assign that golem to a task which might actually require one like guarding Nazarick or escorting one of his emissaries.

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    2. Ainz would never act like this? YOu clearly haven't been reading this series all that attentively. These fools dared to use the memory of his friends and bait him with small hope to save their skin. They did themselves NO favors in any of this.

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    4. Sorry but what?Ainz was never good and he has never really cared for humans.He only helped Carne Village because Sebas reminded him of Touch Me....

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    5. "These fools dared to use the memory of his friends"
      They're thieves. Mere fodder to bolster the undead armies.

      Besides, people desperately trying to survive equals being tortured for the rest of their lives..? And yet, one of them was spared (a quick death) due to "comradeship" while the others weren't..?

      Seems like his getting too into the Evil Overlord role here.

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    6. Any benefit Arche might have had for Nazarick, Fluder surpasses it. So really without her benefiting Nazarick in any way or being close to one of the guardians, her death was GUARANTEED. Too many bleeding hearts reading this novel.

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    7. Well he has never done good. The saving of the village was to test his strength, boredom and because of Sebastian. The stuff he has done for the others was to rise his fame and whoever stood in his way was killed. The lizard men were only spared because of cacyoutus.
      Ainz wanted to exterminate them.
      The one girl only survived because of a favor to Sebastian.
      The People he let die without pain just were innocent, while the invaders were tricked bug not innocent.

      He isn't a good one In any point, he never even tried to be.

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    8. not really..

      he put tsuare under safety because of "personal reason", which is the one with ninya on volume 2...

      and why? ninya had never helped him before... they did remind him of his comrades though..

      he even kept ninya's diary...

      i couldn't help but think he still have his humanity, even though it looked like his humanity is being overpowered by his subordinates opinion..
      and his attachment to his guild,which is kinda overboard IMO..

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    9. "he even kept ninya's diary..."
      He kept it to translate it....you know to learn more about the new world.Not because of sentimentality.That's just you not reading carefully enough.

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    10. The thing is that he threw them to be used as food or to be tortured. What benefit will he get from this..?

      He could have just turned them into undead. The mages could have become Elder Liches (since they're fairly high level to begin with).

      It might not seem like much, but it contributes to the army, and it's not wasting resources on using them as food or to satisfy Demiurge's obsession with torture.

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    11. @Azareal
      1.He used the cleric for experiments.
      2.The two others are used as nests for one of his NPC.
      3.Arches body was used for a lot of things(new voice,skin for Demiurge,etc.)

      So no he did not waste them.


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    12. He could have used one of the people from the Slane Theocracy from Volume 1 for the theocratic experiments.

      As for the nests, do they really need to use a human as a nest in particular..? Or would they be better off just adding that corpse to the Undead Army.

      As for a voice or a skin, it could easily be done by slaughtering Bandits off-screen. It makes no real difference to the story. And even then, turning her into an Elder Lich would have been more productive.

      Also, tell me how all of the other dozens of people being tortured is productive..?
      If the skin is for a scroll then, that's next to useless, as they already have dozens of people being skinned everyday.

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  47. Image file name: "Foreskin+quest+results.png" XD

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  49. thank you for your hard work guys.

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  50. Thank you very much, Supreme Translators!

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  51. Albedo want to find friends Ainz because she has realized that Ainz can easily be persuaded by them. An example, if you propose a tabula Ainz NAZARICK stop, he would accept without protest as the obsession of his friends Ainz equals she feels for him, so she wants to finish them and this was confirmed in the vol 3 in mauseleo .

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    1. It's more like.. Ainz is the top guy in Nazarick, however if Tabula for instance shows up.. Then, he'll only be the Guildmaster which while it's technically a higher rank.. It'll only remain that way for aslong as there's consensus among the guild members.

      Not to mention, that guild members have no obligation to treat the guildmaster as a god, which might be a massive insult to Albedo, as she practically worships Ainz.

      Also, Albedo might be offended by how the "Supreme Beings" who abandoned them are only coming back now.

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    2. Even if they come back there are only 4 of them including ainz that were still actice in the end. The rest quit the game and gave momonga their items.They also apparently don't actually have their chars anymore,so they would come back as either someone who is not regnoiced as a supreme being by the Npcs and/or as weak low level players(them only having remade the char for the last day.)

      Only 3 could actually pose a threat to him.

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    3. Depends, their avatars might still exist, they just might have stopped playing the game, and gave the items to Ainz out of good will.

      That said, they would start off with next to no gear when they're thrown into that world, but it wouldn't be that unlikely for them to get mid-level gear while rising up in the world.
      Possibly even divine gear, if they make contact with certain factions.

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    4. I think Ainz comments on how they could have made new chars for the last day in one the earleir volumes.That implies they didn't have their originals anymore.

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  52. Thanks for the translation sky and team. I really hope to read volume 9 soon. .. Lol ofcourse after vol. 8

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