A day in Nazarick
Editing: Skythewood, Namorax, TaintedDreams, Nigel, Ferro, NoirX, Zack Tan, SifaV6
Special thanks to Anon
Nazarick Time: 5:14
A little droplet started to form at the edge of a golden water tap. It expanded, and gravity eventually pulled the water droplet towards the floor of the bathroom floor.
In the Great Tomb of Nazarick, there were many places to bathe. This was one of them.
There was only one silhouette in this large marble bathtub which could fit many people at once.
A blue water droplet fell along the contour of the smooth white body. The colour “blue” was not a relative term, but a literal observation as if it had been artificially dyed.
When it reached the feet, the blue liquid that had flowed down the contour of the body defied gravity and started climbing with a movement different from typical water.
The figure unconsciously made a sound which echoed throughout the bathroom.
As if feeling embarrassed from its own voice, a slender arm sprouted out from the blue liquid. There was no sound of water drops hitting the floor or ripples on the surface of the liquid. That was because it had abnormally high viscosity.
With this outstretched arm, the figure rubbed its face. It was a face which was idolized by many for its handsome appearance.
The figure let out a big sigh and leaned backwards, but its body did not sink into the water. The blue liquid slowly lowered and supported the thin figure. Its movement and elasticity was like being embraced by an extremely soft waterbed.
The liquid definitely had a will of its own.
The blue liquid squirmed before sprouting several tentacles, each about the width of a couple of fingers. They moved as if hugging the silhouette of the figure.
Face, chest, stomach, arms and legs… and waist.
The creature jiggled as if being content at having restrained its prey. Its identity was “Sapphire Slime”, an advanced evolution of a slime.
The tentacle dug deep into that sensitive part around the waist.
Another moan flowed out. It was louder than before, but there was no effort to suppress the sound this time either. It was as if the figure had focused his senses on the slime that was squirming around inside its body.
The figure in the bath spoke to itself.
“…Ahh. I can’t hold it in anymore. I can’t describe this feeling with words.”
Murmured Ainz, who was in the middle of a slime bath.
He scooped up the slime and poured it on top of his head. The slime that had been enthusiastically cleaning the holes around his pelvis seemed to understand what its master wanted to have cleaned next. Ainz felt squirming sensations around the top of his head.
“Huu. This is heaven. Heaven indeed.”
Ainz’s undead body was comprised entirely of bones.
Because he did not excrete, his body neither got dirty nor did it smell bad. However, that did not mean he did not need to clean himself. Dust and dirt would accumulate on his body, and on certain occasions he had been covered in his enemies’ blood. It was purely to clean himself.
Plus, as a Japanese person, he could not bear to not take baths.
“I’ve only been to saunas in the original world. I just wanted to submerge myself as soon as I found out I could take a bath… Maybe bathing is an integral part of being Japanese?”
Ainz sunk deeper into the slime while imitating the motion of sighing. A slippery sensation slowly wrapped around his body.
Since it posed no danger to him, he thought of it as a very sticky liquid instead.
If I wanted to bathe normally, it would have been a pain.
Ainz looked down at the most inconvenient part of his body to clean: his ribs. To wash them one by one took an inordinate amount of effort. He remembered how much time he had to put into it the last time and even though he was not capable of breathing, let out a sigh.
That was not the only annoying place to clean. His spine was a problem as well. Due to the protrusions on the bones, the towels would constantly get snagged there. Meticulous effort was needed.
At first, Ainz cleaned every single nook and cranny, but even with his strong mental fortitude, he was sick of it. He wondered what kind of cruel joke it was to take over thirty minutes just to clean his body.
Then he tried whirling around in soapy water like how washing machines span around. It wasn’t bad, but the problem was that he did not feel clean at all. If he didn’t scrub his body with something, it never felt like all the dirt was washed off him.
Next he tried a cleaning brush with a handle attached to it. It was truly a fine idea.
It did spray soap bubbles all around him, but Ainz didn’t have to clean the bath. That was the job of the maids, and they were happy to have something to clean. It was like killing two birds with a single stone.
But even this idea had a downside to it. He could not confirm whether his body was really clean. Just like how some people get cavities even though they brush really well, he was always worried about whether he had truly cleaned his body thoroughly.
Thus, Ainz arrived at the last and final solution of dumping slimes all over his body.
“Of course… this was revolutionary and ingenious. It’s the perfect plan.”
Ainz murmured while watching the sapphire slimes crawling around his body.
He nodded with satisfaction at his own idea. Perhaps this was his best idea so far since coming over to this world.
“The more I think about it, the better it seems!”
Praising himself over and over again, Ainz looked at the slimes scouring all parts of his body.
Very lovely indeed…
Even though they were a dangerous monster that could melt flesh with acid and were strong enough to bend metal bars, they cleaned Ainz’s body extremely well. In some ways, he felt as if they were his pets.
Yeah… A slime bath is good, but sometimes I should take a regular bath as well.
Nazarick’s 9th floor had various facilities. One of them was the grand bathhouse. It was a facility modelled after a spa resort and served as a multi-purpose bathing facility with a variety of tubs and baths.
“Should I go…?”
But going there alone was no fun. Then—
“Yes! I should take the guardians with me. It’d be good if everybody had some free time.”
Ainz smiled brightly at his own brilliant idea.
Nazarick Time 7:14
There were two types of maids in Nazarick.
One group was the combat maids, who were represented by Yuri Alpha, and the other was the regular maids who had no combat abilities. The latter were homunculi, with a combined racial and job level of 1, and they were responsible for various jobs in the tenth and ninth floor of Nazarick. In particular, cleaning the various Supreme Beings’ rooms was a task of utmost importance to them.
Within that group of maids, there was one maid called Sixth who kept her composure while rushing forward. This skill was a common technique amongst the maids, nothing special. She hurried towards the staff canteen.
There was only one reason to go to the canteen this early in the morning. When she arrived, almost all her colleagues had already gathered for breakfast and started eating.
The canteen was predominantly white in color, with sparse decoration. The echo of the girls’ cheerful chatter echoed off the walls like ripples in water. It wouldn’t have been much of a problem if there was only one person, but since there were many people speaking, their voices blended into incomprehensible noise. On top of that, the sound of clinking tableware added to the din.
The maids in the canteen could be separated into four main groups. The first three were grouped according to their creators. There were forty-one regular maids in total, but it was not because each Supreme Being created their own maid. Rather, the regular maids were created by Whitebrim, Herohero, and Coup De Grâce. Strictly speaking, the last group wasn’t a proper group by itself, but composed of those maids who had detached themselves from the first three groups in order to eat in silence, to eat while reading or to talk to maids from the other groups.
Sixth, who came in late, belonged to the last group. She greeted the maids made by the same Supreme Being as herself —they were her sisters, in a sense— and then headed to her usual place.
“Good morning… have you eaten?”
“Good morning. And yes, we’ve already eaten. Breakfast was so good~ so smooth and creamy, so tasty~”
Foire delivered this deadpan reply. She was bad at lying, but lied anyway. She had short hair and her maid skirt was similarly shortened to match her energetic appearance.
Beside her was Lumiere, whose delicate face was crowned by her blonde hair which sparkled like stars.
“Good morning. Now then Foire, since you shouldn't need seconds, you can wait here for us. I haven't had breakfast yet, so I'm going to get some. Come, Sixth, let's go.”
Lumiere stood, trailed closely by Foire, who was frantically saying, “I was just kidding, really~”
After that brief drama, the three of them went over to the self-service buffet counter. Before they left, they had the maid called Increment, who was quietly reading a book, watch over their seat for them.
The first thing Sixth took at the buffet bar was a serving of crispy fried bacon. As a member of the faction which believed that “soft bacon is the devil”, she always went for that first. Next, she helped herself to some soup. Of the three flavours today —soup of the day, corn and onion— she selected the last. After that were sausages, french fries and danishes. Her other plate was piled high with onion salad, almost to the point of spilling.
Finally, Sixth placed an order with a masked manservant.
“Um, I'll have triple cheese, double onions, and extra mushrooms.”
The manservant nodded, and began making the omelette.
Sixth returned to her seat to put down her dishes, and then poured herself a glass of milk before returning to where the manservant was waiting with her freshly-prepared omelette.
“Thank you very much.”
The flawlessly-prepared omelette didn't have so much as a single singe mark on it, and she got back to her place just as her friends did.
“Then, let's eat!”
The three of them had their breakfast in silence. Slowly but steadily, they transferred the mountains of food — far in excess of what a normal girl would consume — from their plates into their bellies. It was because they all possessed ‘Increased Food Consumption’ as a racial penalty.
Because of that, even though they were among friends, they never shared while eating. Foire chewed while her cheeks were bulging with food, Lumiere ate elegantly, but her fork moved at a ferocious speed, and Sixth ate at a rate in between the two.
The three of them exhaled in unison and then looked at each other.
“Sounds good, but let's take a break first.”
“Yeah, I'm so stuffed~ Say, Sixth, isn't it your turn to serve Ainz-sama today? You seem perkier than normal today.”
Foire smiled mischievously, and so did Sixth.
“Lucky you, how much longer will it be until it's my turn?”
Lumiere counted off the days on her fingers.
The rooms of the Supreme Beings of Nazarick were massive in scale, so much so that one person needed half a day or more to clean one of them carefully. By numbers alone, it was possible for the maids to clean them all on a daily basis, even with Albedo's spare room factored in, but that would require a lot of people to work all day without any rest.
However, this was not a problem to the maids. They had been created by the Supreme Beings of Nazarick; it was only fitting that they should work their fingers to the bone for them in devout reverence.
And then, these fanatical workers had been told to stop by their god, Ainz Ooal Gown.
Ainz knew the hardships of working under unethical companies, and he could not bear to let these girls, who were like his friends’ daughters, suffer like that.
He had told them, “Don't clean the unused rooms so frequently”, and then “You will be grouped into teams for shifts.”
Thus, the regular maids of Nazarick were organized into two shifts; the day shift and the night shift. The former had thirty people and the latter had ten, while the one remaining person got the day off. After calculating the working days for the maids, the announcement that they would have a break every forty-one days was met with complaint.
It was not that there were too few days off, but the opposite. They protested the need to have a day off at all.
The purpose of their very existence was to work for the Supreme Beings. When they were told they didn't have to work, it damaged their self-worth and they felt like they no longer had a reason to exist.
As such, the maids took their concerns directly to Ainz. They said, “Please don't take our jobs”, “We want to do it all day and night”, and so on.
Ainz shot the suggestion down on the spot. A fatigue system existed in Yggdrasil and while it could be easily solved with magic, there was no guarantee that fatigue would be healed as easily in this world. Even with magic, it would be bad if the workforce was worn down to the point when it could no longer function, like a cog gradually losing its teeth due to overuse.
Yet, the maids adamantly refused to back down. Faced with their tears, Ainz gave in and proposed a new type of work for them, which was to personally serve him. That task entailed staying by Ainz's side to attend to his every need and whim, and the maids would take turns filling that role.
This offer was as tempting as sugar honey sprinkled with sugar to the maids, whose greatest joy in life was to serve the Supreme Beings. They accepted the order without a second thought, telling themselves that “we need to take care of ourselves and rest well the day before, so we can serve with all our strength when it's our turn.”
“We need our nutrients so we can work hard, you know. Plus, depending on the circumstances, you might need to skip a meal too.”
“Of course, when you serve Ainz-sama, your brain needs all the nutrients it can get.”
“I want something sweet~”
The three girls nodded in unison. It should be noted that all the maids carried several meals' worth of candy and other such treats on them. They would snack on them whenever they had free time while serving Ainz. However, be it fortunate or not, they simply could not find that free time. As such, the morning meal was very important to them.
“Have you heard? They say they're going to cook using ingredients from the outside world and have a food tasting.”
The other two gasped at Sixth's statement. She felt that was natural, because few of the maids thought well of the outside world — the world that lay beyond Nazarick. Some of them felt that the outside world was inferior to Nazarick, but most of them were afraid of it, because the floor right above their home, the 8th floor, had once been invaded by people from the outside.
“Can we all go to the tasting? Or will only a few of us be allowed to go?”
Just as Sixth was about to answer Foire's question, the atmosphere in the canteen changed. The air itself seemed to heat up. As the newcomer came into the maids’ sight, they couldn't help squealing in delight.
The person who had just entered the canteen was one of the Pleiades, CZ Delta.
The battle maids were like idols to the regular maids, and CZ was the most popular of them all. There were frequent struggles to sit next to her.
“Ah, the penguin’s here too.”
CZ held a penguin under her arm, and a worried-looking manservant was trailing behind her. It was the Assistant Butler, Eclair. He flapped his wings with all his strength, but there was no way he could escape with the strength of a level 1 Birdman. His futile struggles quickly lost their vigor while the maids looked on.
In the end, the penguin ran out of strength and went limp, like a wet dishrag.
“Shizu-chan! Over here! Eat with us!”
“No, come over here! Shizu-chaaaan~”
“Just throw that butler away! Over there would be fine!”
“Send that useless bird to the head chef, at least he'll contribute to Nazarick that way!”
There was a marked difference in the reception that the Assistant Butler and CZ received from the maids, but that couldn't be helped. He was disliked because he loudly proclaimed that he wanted to take over Nazarick, despite being a mere assistant butler. Even if he had been created that way by the Supreme Beings, his frequent announcements of those wild words made him difficult to have around.
CZ peered through the commotion around her, as though she was searching for someone. The adorable way in which she did so, like she were a child who didn't know where to sit, made many of the maids' hearts beat faster.
“How surprising, even that penguin looks cuter when Shizu-chan hugs him!”
“I want a Shizu-chan hug pillow, Albedo-sama seems to know how to make those, I wonder if she'll teach me?”
“Albedo-sama is very kind, I'm sure she'll agree. Why don't you try asking her next time?”
The sound of a book closing with an audible thud came from the next table over, and when Sixth turned to look, her eyes met Increment's.
“This place is getting noisy, so I'm going back. Since you're attending to Ainz-sama today, you should probably finish breakfast quickly and head over to him. Any mistakes you make will reflect on all of us.”
Having said what she wanted to say, Increment turned and left without waiting for a reply. As she watched her fellow maid leave, Sixth took out her pocket watch. Fortunately, she still had some time. After freshening up, she should be just in time.
“All right, I'll go grab some more stuff to eat while everyone's focused on Shizu-chan!”
Foire and Lumiere nodded at Sixth's idea.
“Oh~ that's a great idea~”
The sudden answer from the side made the three maids gasp.
With hands clasped over her lurching heart, Sixth turned to face the source of the voice. There hadn't been anyone there, but in the moment when everyone had been distracted by CZ and looked away, Lupusregina had appeared out of nowhere. She sat on a chair with her legs crossed and even had her food placed on the table.
“Aw, don't scare us like that, come on~”
Foire was still clinging tightly to Lumiere, her eyebrows pressed into a / \ shape.
“My heart almost jumped out of my mouth~”
Lumiere murmured like she was shocked out of her mind and paid barely any attention to Foire clinging to her.
Lupusregina —the friendliest of the battle maids— was unpredictable. Still, given that she spent her time moving between the different maid groups, being approached by her was a sign of good fortune. The proof was evident from the envious looks of some of the other maids, who had noticed Sixth and her situation.
“Ah, sorry, seems the experiment in the village was effective, you three made some pretty nice reactions~”
The way Lupusregina supported her face with her arm on the table, while having an evil grin on her face, made her look a little like a cat out of the storybooks. Although her smile was nothing but mischievous, it was still surprisingly attractive. The battle maid’s smile made Sixth’s head go blank for a moment. The other two seemed to feel the same way, but the first to recover was Fiore.
Foire tilted her head, which made her short hair scrape against Lumiere’s face. Resisting the urge to sneeze, Lumiere pushed Foire away before facing toward Lupusregina.
“Lupusregina-san, you work outside, right?”
“Yup, in the human village.”
“The human village, huh… it must be tough.”
Lumiere looked at Lupusregina with sympathetic eyes.
“Nah, it’s nothing like that! Since Ainz-sama ordered it, it’s worth doing! …Although, I have to say, it’s kind of boring. How should I put this… it would be so much more fun to squish them beneath my feet.”
Sixth has no particular reaction to that statement. Humans and their villages and whatnot were unimportant to her. Whether they prospered or were destroyed, the only thing that mattered was if they were useful to Nazarick.
“Even if Ainz-sama says that village has value, I still can’t see it~”
“Did Ainz-sama say that out of compassion for those worthless people in the village?”
“No, no, isn’t Ainz-sama like a hurricane of death? I’m sure he’ll grind them into dust when he feels like it.”
“What are you saying? Don’t you know Ainz-sama is the living avatar of wisdom? Even that wouldn’t be enough to describe him. All this must be part of his plan.”
“Ara, I can’t pretend I didn’t hear that, surely Ainz-sama’s power must be the best part of him…”
The four beauties stared at each other.
“Ainz-sama is a beautiful, compassionate person.”
“Ainz-sama is the incarnation of death.”
“Ainz-sama is an extraordinary hero.”
“Oh, looks like everyone has a different impression of Ainz-sama. Then, let’s have a competition to see who picks out the most suitable title for Ainz-sama.”
In an instant, everyone went silent. Lupusregina was wearing her usual smile, but she was determined not to let the other maids pull ahead of her in terms of appreciating her liege’s qualities. However, Sixth and her two friends felt the same way. Although the regular maids were weak beings, their love and passion for their master was no less than that of anyone else’s.
“Then, the three of you may begin.”
The first to speak was Lumiere.
“Then, as I said earlier, I wish to praise Ainz-sama’s beauty. So how about ‘A figure of beautiful porcelain, shining and flawless, the gentle lord of mercy.’”
Next was Foire.
“Well, if we’re going to praise Ainz-sama, then we should praise his awesome power right? What is more fitting than ‘Memento Mori’!”
The third was Sixth.
“Ainz-sama was the one who commanded the Supreme Beings, so his management skills would be excellent. So he is a ‘wise king’.”
Although everyone’s names fitted their master well, in the end they all thought that their own choices was the best.
Lupusregina coughed gently as Sixth, Foire and Lumiere looked at her. With a proud look on her face, she said,
“In the end, he is the absolutely strongest and most—”
“…There you are.”
The source of the calm voice was CZ. The penguin butler she had been holding under her arm had vanished to parts unknown.
“…Don’t use invisibility. So much.”
“Soz~ it’s a habit~”
“…And then. You had breakfast.”
A furious anger burned under CZ’s emotionless face. Sixth had a feeling that she shouldn’t be here any longer.
“…Ah, I-I have to go to Ainz-sama!”
“Then, I’ll go too.”
“I’ll send you along~”
Sixth and the others quietly vacated their seats, though they did feel a little bad ignoring Lupusregina’s pleading looks toward them. They only managed to go for one round of the buffet. Pangs of regret stung their hearts as they slipped away, but now was the time for work. Sixth paid no heed to the tension that was rapidly filling the air behind them. Instead, she lightly slapped her cheeks to focus herself.
Her face had the stern, brave expression of a soldier heading off to a war, but her footsteps were light and fast.
♦ ♦ ♦
Nazarick Time 9:20
6th Floor of the Great Tomb of Nazarick.
The undead that roamed all over the tomb were nowhere to be seen here. Instead, Aura’s beasts and other monsters that did not automatically respawn defended the floor. This floor was the widest in the Great Tomb of Nazarick and most of the floor was densely forested. It was an area befitting the word ‘sea of trees’.
However, the former members of Ainz Ooal Gown hadn’t been satisfied, and didn’t stop after simply covering the floor with greenery.
A Colosseum, giant trees, overgrown ruins, a lake, poisonous pits, twisted trees, mangrove forest, bottomless swamps, and various types of woodland were added to the floor. They had even accepted new residents recently, so there was a small village as well.
Amidst all the sights in this verdant expanse, there was a huge lake at the middle of the floor —though it was still smaller than the underground lake on the 4th floor— and it was surrounded by a plain rather than a forest. Compared to the entire 6th floor, the plain was as small as a cat’s brow, but for them, it was large enough.
The first one in the group was the guardian of the floor, Aura. The way she rode on top of her wolf with pitch black fur was gallant and could be described as nothing less than extremely skilful.
That was to be expected. To patrol a floor this large —though she possessed extraordinary physical abilities and just running around the entire floor was possible— she preferred riding on the back of the beasts that she had tamed.
There were two others with her.
One was the overseer of the guardians, Albedo. She didn’t wear her normal beautiful white dress, but was instead garbed in her black full plate armour used for combat. However, she did not carry any weapon or shield.
The other was Shalltear. There was nothing different about her from her normal attire. There was a slight glint in her eyes as if she was enjoying the situation.
“Then, I’ll start. Come, my steed.”
The skill Albedo activated was ‘Summon Mount’.
A monster with a coat coloured like silver armour appeared from nowhere.
With its silver mane and tail, it was a magical beast that resembled a horse. It wore a set of full plate barding, as well as a saddle and bridle. It was smaller than an average horse, but had an energetic aura about it. The final difference was the head, where two horns sprouted, pointing forward.
The first one to react was the one who was the most knowledgeable about magical beasts; Aura.
“Oh~ It’s different from a normal bicorn! The horns are amazing and its body is lean and muscled!”
Albedo smiled in satisfaction.
“Of course. This one is specially tailored to match my abilities. It’s something worthy of the name ‘War-Bicorn Lord’…. But it’s actually just a level 100 Bicorn.”
“Can it fly?”
“No, that’s too much. Its basic status is no different from a regular bicorn. It doesn’t have special abilities, only enhanced HP, strength and agility.”
“Ah, I guess if you don’t have ‘Rider’ class skills, it’s hard to evolve a mount. If it fights alongside us in battles between level hundreds, it could become a hindrance because of its lack of special abilities.”
“Yea, but I can protect this child with my skill, so it’ll be able to fight alongside me for long enough.”
“But do you not think it would be a waste to divert your resources like that? You will have plenty of openings in a battle like that. How about strengthening it by changing the equipment? I heard that mount-class monsters could be equipped with armour and horseshoes.”
“That’s right. You can change its equipment even if the mount was summoned with a skill. It’s somewhat related with Aura’s question earlier. For example, if you equip it with horseshoes imbued with the power of flight, it could go around flying, but since I already equipped it with speed enhancing equipment… That might be difficult.”
Albedo lightly petted her mount that was standing beside her. But the bicorn staggered a little as if Albedo had put some strength behind her tap. There was no way that the mount she summoned would be unable to bear such a light tap. When Albedo started frowning, wondering if the beast was being rebellious, Aura asked another question.
“Hehe~ So what’s the name?”
“It’s a bicorn, like you said earlier.”
“No, not that. I don’t mean the species name, but its name.”
“Does it need one?”
The vampire shrugged at Albedo, who looked like she wanted a second opinion.
“Probably? It is your pet after all.”
“It’s not really a pet… Does the same one come out every time I summon?”
On hearing Albedo’s question, Shalltear raised her voice after having a good idea.
“How about asking Kyouhukou? He is very skilled in summoning others of his species, so he would be very knowledgeable on the subject.”
“…I refuse. I feel bad because as a comrade in Nazarick, I shouldn’t dislike him, but I just can’t help it…”
“Ah… It can’t be helped. I’m sure he means well, but sometimes he tries to crawl up through your clothes. Though it seems like others like Entoma often visit him.”
“Do not speak of something so unpleasant. It makes my body itch just thinking about it… It truly is a room of terror. It is a floor under this one’s control, but I do not wish to ever go there.”
“…Shalltear, did you know? Entoma calls that room the ‘snack room’.”
“Eeeeeh? Really? Really?! Uwaaah~ I don’t want to go near Entoma ever again.”
Albedo agreed. She didn’t want to be near anyone who would go around calling those things snacks. Amidst the ominous atmosphere, Aura spoke in a loud voice to change the subject.
“Going back to the original topic, are you going to name it?”
“Well, if I do, what should I call it?”
Albedo murmured while sinking into deep thought. Since she would be riding it, she didn’t want to name it anything embarrassing. Amidst all the words and characters, an idea rang out like a song in her head.
“What could you possibly be mumbling about?”
Albedo answered as if she had just woken up from a dream.
“If Ainz-sama permits me, I will give it a name that carries all my feelings with it: ‘Top of the World’.”
“Hmm. It is a good name. Is it supposed to refer to the one who stands at the peak of the world, Ainz-sama?”
Albedo simply smiled but did not answer.
Shalltear’s brow rose to a dangerous angle.
Aura interrupted the tense atmosphere that was going to erupt at any moment between those two people.
“Well, what about it! Since you summoned the bicorn, let’s move on to the next experiment!”
While Shalltear was staring her down, Albedo turned around, stepped on a stirrup and mounted the beast with such a light movement for someone who was fully armoured. The moment she sat on the saddle, she could feel the bicorn’s body shuddering when they came in contact.
Albedo let out a loud exclamation in surprise. Her bicorn, which was level 100, should not be staggering around so easily. Then she remembered when she petted it. Perhaps the problems started back then, but what was the cause?
“Aura! Shalltear! My bicorn’s acting weird. Can you check it out?”
The two realized that the bicorn was already staggering and could barely stand.
“Eeeh, come down first, Albedo.”
Albedo finally thought about it after listening to Aura.
The bicorn staggered and finally collapsed. It was breathing hard and the skin was full of sweat.
“…Perhaps you put on a bit of weight, Albedo?”
It was not intended to start a fight. To a bystander, it looked like the most likely reason.
“That’s rude! Considering all the muscle, I’m in the ideal weight range!”
“Maybe its muscles atrophied because you didn't ride it for such a long time?”
“What? How’s that… Since it’s a summoned mount, shouldn’t it be the same as summoned monsters? There’s no way that would happen.”
“How about I try to ride it?”
“Regrettably, no. This is my mount. Others can’t ride it. If you try to do it by force, it unsummons.”
“How about just asking the bicorn directly? Eh, bicorn, what’s the matter?”
Aura asked. It was not because Aura could communicate with horses, but because bicorns were relatively intelligent enough for her to try. However, bicorns could not speak and made only horse-like sound.
“If talking is too much… Can’t it write?”
The bicorn neighed like it agreed.
The three looked at each other.
“Aura, can’t you do something incredible with your power?”
“What do you mean by ‘something incredible’? We already talked with each other long time ago to fully figure out the extent of our abilities. Did our Overseer forget that, too?”
“Ara… Then how do you normally communicate with Fenrir?”
“Normally, I just tell him to do this and that.”
“But do you not talk with it? If you put in enough effort, can you not do the same with this child?”
“Just because I can communicate with the ones I’ve tamed, don’t assume I’d be able to do the same with everyone. Plus I’ve already tried it. You know Rororo, the hydra that the lizardmen are raising? I can’t seem to connect with him.”
The three looked at each other.
“…When in trouble, is Demiurge not the solution?”
“Unfortunately, Demiurge’s outside Nazarick on Ainz-sama’s orders. He’s rarely in Nazarick these days. I can still contact him, but I’d rather not unless it’s for official business.”
There were hints of jealousy in Shalltear and Aura’s eyes. Demiurge, who was busy helping out the master, was the target of envy and jealousy amongst the guardians.
“Ah~ I’m so jealous. I know defending Nazarick is an important role as well, but if we don’t get any intruders, we can’t get any results either. How would we know if we’re of any use or not? I want to work hard for Ainz-sama on the outside as well.”
“I have only made mistakes so far…”
“It’s alright, Shalltear. Soon, you’ll probably be able to do— no, you’ll definitely be able to do work that will help Ainz-sama. But it might be a bit difficult until you get smarter…”
“Aura, do you not think your words are a bit… harsh?”
“My, my, it’s true that you’ve only made mistakes so far. Try to get some results befitting the title of a Guardian.”
Shalltear grinded her teeth at Albedo’s words, but soon made a bright expression like a lit lamp.
“Hohoho, why do you think I brought up a topic that was not advantageous to me? For you, who would not know anything if Demiurge was not here, I will extend my hand to help you. I shall find out for you!”
Shalltear took out a book. It was heavy and looked like it was easily over a thousand pages long. For Shalltear, who appeared to be a frail girl on the outside, but completely different on the inside, the weight was nothing.
“Huuuuh? That’s... is that..?”
“Kuuuh, it’s the gift you got from Ainz-sama!”
Aura and Albedo couldn’t help stare enviously at her.
“That is correct. This is the encyclopedia written by Peroroncino-sama! A reward for carrying out Ainz-sama’s commands!”
It was more like a participation prize than a true reward, but Shalltear still smiled because it was one of the greatest gifts she could receive. Or rather, that was how it was supposed to be. An item left behind by one’s creator was more important than any reward.
The dictionary named ‘Encyclopedia’ was given to every player at the start of the game. It was a unique item that was impossible to take by force unless the owner gave it away voluntarily.
Yggdrasil was a game that emphasized the joy of learning about the unknown. This was an item that reflected the developer’s intention of turning mysteries into exploration.
Once a player encountered a new monster, the Encyclopedia automatically recorded its basic data. However, the detailed stats were not recorded, only the name, appearance, and if it was a mythological monster, the myth behind them. If one wanted to fully utilize the potential of this item, they needed to investigate the monster’s weaknesses or special abilities themselves and manually enter them into the book.
The Encyclopedia that Shalltear held was an item that Peroroncino used to own and which he wrote extensively on. Ainz had given it to Shalltear after remembering that Peroroncino left the book behind in the Treasure Room before he quit.
But a considerable amount of records had been erased from it. It was as if Peroroncino had been afraid of someone reading everything that was written on there.
The item did not have much use, but Shalltear did not care for any of that. For her, it was more important to have an item that her creator once used.
“B… bi… bico…”
Shalltear kept turning the pages while murmuring.
Albedo and Aura tried to peek from the side, but Shalltear stepped back with her book and glared sharply at both of them.
“Hmph. Well, it doesn’t matter. I got a bracelet from Ainz-sama anyways.”
Aura gently ran her finger along the silver band on her wrist and Albedo did the same to the ring on her left pinkie finger. But there were other people who had received the ring other than her.
I want to receive something special just for me. A special item from Ainz-sama…
Just as Albedo was gently rubbing her lower abdomen, Shalltear spoke out. It appeared that she had found the page she was looking for.
“Bicorn! Found it, now…”
Shalltear suddenly stopped moving and looked at Albedo with a surprised expression. Then she looked at the book again.
“What? What does it say?”
Albedo asked cautiously.
“…A sub-species of unicorn. Unlike unicorns which represent purity, bicorns represent impurity. Unicorns only allow virgins to mount them, but bicorns are the opposite and virgins cannot ride them… Haa?!”
Shalltear and Aura opened their eyes so wide, it seemed like they could almost fall out of their sockets.
“That’s impossible… Albedo is?”
“What do you mean impossible? Just what do you think I am?”
“Huh? Uh, but, how should I say this, Albedo, aren’t you a succubus?!”
“S… su… succubus… succubus.”
Confused, Shalltear started searching for the page on succubi.
“Well, I am a succubus! I’m sorry for not being experienced even though I’m a succubus! But I can’t help it! I’m stuck in the Throne Hall as the Overseer of the Guardians! And Ainz-sama never calls me over to his bed… I don’t want to do it with any men besides Ainz-sama…”
Albedo suddenly raised her head after she had been murmuring while staring at the floor.
“If we consider that…”
Albedo glanced at Aura before swaying her head. If Aura was experienced, it would have been a problem.
“Shalltear, what about you?”
“…I have no experience with the opposite gender. But if you are talking about experience with the same gender…”
Aura tilted her head as if she did not understand for a second before realizing what it meant and made an ‘Uwaaaah’ sound while frowning.
“But! There are no suitable men around. I prefer the dead ones, but rotting ones are too much… right?! Right?!”
“Even if you want our approval, it’s too much for us to accept your weird fetishes, Shalltear.”
All three lowered their gaze to the ground along with a silent agreement not to talk further on the subject.
“Well… I understand why I can’t ride the bicorn… but this is nonsense. What do I do…”
Albedo frowned in unhappiness. The bicorn shuddered as though it had been scolded as well.
“Mmm… It’s like a part of Albedo’s abilities are sealed now.”
“But it is not like mounted combat is your specialty anyway, and it is only one of your abilities that you cannot use. If you cannot ride bicorns, why not borrow other beasts from Aura? Is a unicorn not fine as well?”
“Muu… I don’t have a unicorn. Although I want to get one.”
“There’s a better way. I just need to get some help from Ainz-sama to ride the bicorn!”
Albedo smiled while exclaiming loudly as if there was no better alternative.
“That is cheating!”
Albedo snorted at Shalltear.
“Would you mind watching your words, Shalltear? This is a necessary issue so I can fully utilize my powers as the Overseer of the Guardians.”
“Kuu! Hmph! If you cannot bed him unless it is for duty… you are a failure as a woman. It seems you cannot seduce him with just your charms alone.”
Aura interrupted the two staring each other down as if she was at loss for words.
“Hey, I’m starting to wonder what the heck you guys are talking about, so can you guys quit it? Let’s stop talking about irrelevant things and focus the matters at hand. Since you won’t be needing it immediately, it’s not a big problem, right? Can’t you summon anything else?”
“Well, I have a magic item, so summoning a mount isn’t so much of a problem for me.”
“Well, then use that. Problem solved.”
“If I summon using a magic item, then I need to switch my equipment or take out the item, so there’s an extra step involved compared to just using a summoning skill. Plus, a bicorn has better combat abilities…”
“Then you can just let the bicorn fend off the enemy while you use the magic item to summon a mount. It’s a very common tactic for a Beast Tamer who’s just starting out.”
“I guess that’s the only way.”
“Then I suppose we can say that Albedo became weaker.”
“Can you not laugh so cruelly at others misfortune?”
“You seemed very happy when I had my misfortune, Albedo.”
If she had denied it, then Shalltear would press on saying that she was.
“Afu, seriously… Let’s stop staring at each other here and go somewhere else. This is a rare vacation that we got from Ainz-sama.”
Albedo conceded as did Shalltear, who stopped arguing to nod. But—
“…I don’t know what to do even if we do have a vacation. We were made to guard the Great Tomb and serve the Supreme Beings. To work is our very existence…”
“However, since Ainz-sama told us to take a break. We must take a break.”
The reason why three of them were gathered was because their master said:
“All of you work so hard every day. Why don’t all the female guardians take some time off and spend it together every once in a while?”
It was because of that.
“Well, since we went out together and spent some time together, should we disperse? But does this really count as spending some time together?”
“Good question. If he asks if we spent some time together, how much time is appropriate? Speaking of which, what do you guys usually do with your time?”
“I patrol between the 1st and the 3rd floors. I also gather the opinions of the area guardians, check the security status of the floors, and when I have free time, I take a bath and touch up my makeup…”
“You work harder than expected.”
“What might you mean by ‘expected’?”
“A bath… What about you, Aura?”
“Mmm… When Mare’s at the colosseum, I’m patrolling the forest. There’re a couple newcomers as well. Then when I come back, I sleep… That’s about it.”
Aura and Shalltear looked at Albedo in surprise.
“That’s it. By newcomers, you mean the inhabitants of the new village on this floor, right? I’ve never been there before. Let’s go together.”
“Ara, you’ve never been there? Shalltear, what about you?”
“I have been there.”
Aura explained to Albedo who was making a curious expression.
“All the other guardians are the same. Cocytus took a look when he came by for the lizardmen, Demiurge likes to drop by and check on things, and others come for a visit once in a while. Mmm… then let’s go now. It’s pretty close.”
♦ ♦ ♦
Nazarick Time 9:38
The newly created village on the 6th floor consisted of about ten log houses. It would be more accurate to call it a ‘tribe’. To the right of the village were farming fields and to the left was an orchard several times the size of the fields.
The surroundings were obviously a forest and from the sky, it would look like a gigantic hole, hence the name ‘The Green Hole’. When cutting down trees and digging out their roots, it would be inevitable for the ground to be uneven. However, the village was strangely immaculate, organized and clean. This was thanks to Mare’s magic.
In the orchards were various figures hard at work. At a glance, they appeared to be human women, but they had skin coloured like tree bark. Beside them were creatures that could only be described as moving trees.
The former were dryads and the latter were treants.
The treants carried the dryads on their arms and raised them up to the fruit trees so that dryads could take care of the orchard.
“Apart from them, ten lizardmen live here. They often go over to the lake to the north, where we’ve just been, and play in the water. It’s not like they live in the water either, isn’t it strange?”
“It is bigger than the last time I was here. More residents as well.”
“That’s right. When we conquered the Great Forest of Tob, we found a couple of species suitable to live in Nazarick as well.”
“The species that are acceptable to Nazarick… must be non-human, require no food and be mild-tempered, those were the conditions, right?”
“Yea, Ainz-sama said that. More specifically it wasn’t ‘require no food’ but ‘must be a self-sustainable species’… Since dryads and treants can gather nutrients from the soil, they don’t really need to eat. Although if the nutrient in the soil is depleted or if it doesn’t rain, it might be a little dangerous.”
“Hmm, does Mare make it rain every once in a while? Or do you use a magic item?”
“That’s usually Mare’s job. Same with recovering the nutrients in the soil. Apparently there’s a magic that makes the land more fertile and it also completely recovers the land. According to the dryads and the treants it’s so delicious that they’re going to get fat… but I wouldn’t really know about how it tastes.”
Albedo, who had been coldly looking around the village like inspecting the tools for an experiment while Shalltear and Aura were talking to each other, showed a glimpse of emotion in her eyes.
“Oh? Isn’t that the sous-chef in the field over there? What’s he doing?”
Following her line of sight, they saw a mushroom-like monster squirming in the corner of a small field, surrounded by a fence which was covered in vines bearing red fruits. On a closer look, it was apparent that he was picking those red fruits while wearing clothes that he could afford to get dirty.
“It’s just what it looks like. He comes here from time to time to grab ingredients. He’s also growing this and that on the side. Want to take a look?”
Albedo and Shalltear looked at each other. Looking at each other, they saw that neither of them was opposed to the idea and felt as long as they were not interrupting their duties, it would be fine to see what their comrade was doing.
“Yaho~. Working and sweating hard as always!”
The sous-chef raised his head at Aura’s energetic voice and spotted the three.
“It’s not like this body particularly sweats either.”
He stood up and straightened his waist with a grunt. It was an appropriate gesture for someone who was working while squatting, but he didn’t really have any feature that could be described as a waist. Because his body was completely straight and there were no contours or narrowing points anywhere, it was difficult to tell whether he really was stretching his waist or was doing it for the sake of doing it.
Next, the sous-chef stretched his neck as if it was strained. His head was a mushroom and looked as if a purple liquid was oozing from it, but since it was very adhesive and sticky it never splattered anywhere.
“Is that a tomato?”
Albedo took interest in the red fruit in the sous-chef’s hand. He raised it up all the way to his face and tilted his head as if it was something strange.
“It seems like a tomato. It’s a tomato you all know very well. Not the type that gathers sunlight to explode, not the type that attacks you suddenly, not the type that glows like gold when you cut it, but a regular tomato.”
“So I reckon it’s a common everyday tomato used as cooking ingredients, right?”
“Yes. Since I don’t have the skill for it, I can’t cultivate any vegetables that confer special effects. Were you interested in it because you wanted a dish made with tomatoes? Unfortunately, I can only make drinks.”
“No, I was asking purely out of curiosity. Isn’t it Shalltear who would want a dish made with tomato?”
“…Why do you think vampires would drink tomato juice? Undead cannot receive buffs from eating food at all.”
“Speaking of which, there are not many people in Nazarick who need to eat.”
Just as Aura said, most NPCs used items, so they no longer needed to consume food.
“It can’t be helped. If they started eating as well, the upkeep for Nazarick would skyrocket. Especially big eaters like your beasts would be a problem.”
“Seriously? Then should I let them go outside and forage there?”
“It’s not necessary. Ainz-sama, along with the other Supreme Beings, calculated our income and expenditures in such a way that they would be balanced when they created this tomb.”
“Ahhh, is that why Ainz-sama ordered so that only those who were self-sufficient be allowed in? So it would not upset the balance of the population?”
“Yea… Don’t you know about it?”
Albedo looked at the faces of the other three, one after the other.
“This is troubling. Not knowing anything about the place you’re protecting is no good. Make some time for it in your schedules. I’ll explain everything then.”
Albedo let out a sigh and looked at the field without much thought. Then she recognized the plant leaves that were spread out in front of her.
“Is that a carrot… no, a magical carrot?”
“No, that’s not the case. Did the Overseer not receive any reports about it?”
“No, that’s not the case. Did the Overseer not receive any reports about it?”
“What do you mean?”
The sous-chef’s gaze headed towards Aura.
“Mm, nothing… I see. You weren’t told of it. Then Aura-sama, what should I do? Will Aura-sama demonstrate it? I believe I taught you as well?”
“I definitely put it on the report…”
Aura smiled before breathing in deep and shouting with a loud voice.
“—Long live Ainz Ooal Gown!”
The rows of leaves started moving in response. The main roots, which were covered by the soil like normal carrots, dug themselves out by vigorously wiggling left and right.
They were shaped like ginsengs, but there was a clear difference between them and ginsengs. They had distinguishable arms and legs, and moved with clear self-awareness. Around the stem were holes resembling eyes and a mouth.
Shalltear opened her eyes wide and spoke their name.
“Are these mandrakes? I thought they didn’t exist inside Nazarick…”
“Ah! So that’s what it is! I knew about it from the report, but it’s my first time seeing it up close.”
The mandrakes arranged themselves into a formation while shouting ‘Long live Ainz Ooal Gown! Long live Ainz Ooal Gown!’ in unison.
“They’re not too smart. It’s a shame, considering that their cousins Galgenmaennlein, Alruna and Alraune are pretty intelligent… We didn’t spot any of them in that forest. Maybe it’s simply too big and that’s why we haven’t ran into any yet. There was a pretty sizeable underground cave at the mountain range. It seems like there’s a myconid tribe in there. We haven’t touched them yet.”
“But I’m truly moved that you taught them to speak this much.”
The sous-chef picked up one of the mandrakes lined up in formation and stared at it. The mandrake was squirming about, as if being held by the stem on top of its head hurt.
“Long live Ainz Ooal Gown! Long live Ainz Ooal Gown!”
The mandrakes broke their formation and surrounded the sous-chef as if they were protesting the violence inflicted against their comrade. However, they only repeated the same phrase.
“I apologize, Aura-sama. Could you make them return?”
“Okay! Good! Go back!”
Along with the mandrake that the sous-chef gently lowered to the ground, all the mandrakes went back inside their holes. The way they burrowed underground again reminded everyone of animals getting ready for hibernation.
“I see. So it’s basically like an animal's cry.”
“That’s correct. They can only parrot certain words and can’t speak in any meaningful way. They also seem to have a minimum intelligence threshold and can’t speak if they have not passed that threshold. The details are under research right now.”
The sous-chef also added — “I’m just repeating what Demiurge-sama said.”
“Hmm, Albedo, will it be fine for me to ask you a question? Isn’t it a problem that you, as the Overseer, do not know about the newcomers? What would you have done if there were spies?”
Someone objected before Albedo could answer.
“Ahahaha, Shalltear, that’s a good joke. Of course, because the 6th floor is so wide, it would be obvious for you to think it’d be hard to find an intruder. If they manage to escape the colosseum… and scatter in every direction like baby spiders, it might get annoying if there’s a lot of them.”
Aura’s laughs were empty and her gazes were icy.
“But aren’t you underestimating me? This is my hunting ground. Whether they scatter or not, I can immediately hunt them down. Even if they plan on harming Ainz-sama and somehow manage to escape this floor, they’d still need to get past Guren’s area on the 7th floor, and they won’t be able to survive even a single step on the 8th floor. If they do decide to run away, they’d need to tread through the dark waters of the 4th floor and your area… Do you really think that’s possible?”
Shalltear shook her head.
“It would be impossible.”
“So that’s why it doesn’t really matter if there’re a lot of newcomers on this floor. You don’t need to worry about it.”
“Aura already said everything I wanted to say. The plan is to gather all the new monsters here, or so it’s being discussed.”
“Huh? Not just the plant-type monsters?”
Aura asked in surprise and Albedo simply smiled.
“That was the initial plan, but thanks to you, Aura and Mare, we didn’t observe any problems so far. So we decided to take a step further. But it’s still in the initial planning stage and I have no idea if it can be implemented. So that’s why I didn’t tell you even though you’re the guardian of this floor.”
Albedo stated that she was not finished yet and explained rest of the plan.
“The name is Project Paradise. Starting with the base Aura built, it’s a gigantic project designed to gather monsters friendly to humans to live here.”
“Why is there a specific requirement saying it has to be creatures friendly to humans?”
Albedo started laughing as if she was waiting for the question. It was a very evil laughter.
“That’s the core of the plan. The core of Project Paradise.”
“To be honest, I find it hard to understand. Aren’t we working hard because Nazarick has to be a paradise for the Supreme Beings? Why did you name it like that?”
“It is an appeal to the outside world that we can peacefully co-exist with others.”
“Ah-ha… Is that the angle?”
“My goodness. Shalltear actually understood…”
Shalltear glared menacingly at Aure, showing an expression that could wither even the flames of a century-old love.
“Did you perchance think I was stupid?”
“…W-wait a moment Shalltear. Do you really have to ask, after everything you’ve done so far? Hmm? Just take a moment and try to remember..”
In a moment, as if she had actually remembered all her mistakes, Shalltear’s pupils dilated like a dead animal and she averted her eyes.
After seeing Shalltear’s pitiful appearance, Albedo decided to change the subject.
“Uhmm, Ainz-sama proposed this plan as well. When we were talking about the 6th floor, he mentioned his desire to collect various monsters as well. It’s not an idea you can come up with a narrow view of the world. I talked about Ainz-sama’s talents with Demiurge before, and we came to the conclusion that he’s a genius as expected.”
“Everybody knows that Ainz-sama is a genius, but I have heard that he doesn’t speak much.”
“Demiurge said that, right? Well… Ainz-sama doesn’t reveal his thoughts easily. And sometimes he acts strange, but the saying ‘The wise may seem stupid and the brave may seem timid’ hasn’t been wrong so far.”
Albedo’s eyes moistened as she shook her head.
“I still haven’t figured out why he created the persona of Momon the adventurer, but he’s truly scary… For everything to have been part of his plan from then until now…”
“You mean Ainz-sama disguised as the adventurer Momon? What about it?”
“You’ll learn soon enough… It’s because he has Momon. He will become the foundation of Ainz-sama’s rule. He’s truly great… Even Demiurge’s plans might actually be the result of Ainz-sama’s guidance—”
“What might you be murmuring about? It is a bit scary.”
Albedo pulled herself together at Shalltear’s words and coughed a bit before looking at the other three.
“What was I saying again? Yes, yes! Ainz-sama’s words and actions have deeper meanings behind them. Even though it might be impossible to fully comprehend his intentions, try to put some effort into understanding his plans.”
“It’s too difficult. Ainz-sama’s too smart. Ah, it’s a Spear Needle.”
Two gigantic white lumps with a height of more than two meters slowly waddled their way to Aura from the middle of the village. They were monsters that looked like angora rabbits.
“They are very cute.”
Shalltear was petting one of the white bunches of fur standing beside Aura.
“They’re so soft, I want one too…”
“Feels good, doesn’t it? But when fighting, their fur turns as sharp as needles.”
The level sixty-seven monster, Spear Needle.
When entering combat mode, their fur turned into a thicket of thin needles. If killed in combat mode, the fur wouldn’t return to its original soft state, so it was important to kill it stealthily with a single strike. That’s why the players who hunted Spear Needles were much higher in level than the monsters themselves.
“Is that true? Oh my, how scary.”
Even after saying it out loud, Shalltear kept petting it.
“Well, it won’t go into combat mode unless I order it to, or if enemies are nearby. But realistically, is there anyone who’s really going to be an intruder here? I haven’t gotten any reports from other floors either.”
“Of course. After all, I placed servants with excellent detection abilities on the 3rd floor. It would be hard for anyone to get through them undetected.”
Aura suddenly stopped moving and turned her head towards the colosseum.
“What is it, Aura-sama?”
“A gate from the 7th floor just activated.”
“From the lower floor? Demiurge’s out right now… Maybe it’s one of his subordinates? Are you sure it’s okay not to check?”
“Mmm— Mare’s there, so it should be fine. If there’s a problem, he’ll contact me.”
Aura touched the earring piece on her necklace.
“It’s not something special either. If someone wants to get to the surface from lower floors, they’d need to go through the gate on each floor at specific points. Speaking of which, we have someone who uses magic so they don’t have to run, right~?”
“Eh-hem! The Great Tomb of Nazarick truly is an impregnable fortress.”
“Yea, even if someone uses the super-tier magic ‘Sword of Damocles’ or the World-class item I possess, they wouldn’t be able to destroy an entire floor. That’s why you must never lose the ring which allows you to teleport anywhere at will.”
Everyone looked at the ring on Albedo’s left pinkie finger.
“That’s right. When Mare goes outside, he always puts it somewhere safe. Thinking about it this way, I can comprehend the importance of that ring— Ah! Mare contacted me.”
Aura put some distance between herself and the group before she grasped the earring and started talking to Mare. Aura slowly frowned and by the time the conversation was over, her expression was quite dark.
“Sorry. I don’t know why, but Mare said he’s preparing to go out. I need to go back just in case.”
“Is that so? Well… then should we return, as well, Shalltear?”
“I have no objection.”
“I’ll finish up with the field before leaving. I also want to talk a little bit with the dryads and the treants.”
“Then let’s disperse for now. Thanks for today. I think I finally learned how to spend holidays. If we get the time again… yea, let’s go for a bath together.”
Mare looked away from the book he was reading to check for movement at the gate to the 7th floor.
He felt a little feedback of power and placed a bookmark before setting the book down beside the chair. He grabbed the staff beside him; the Divine-class item, ‘Shadow of Yggdrasil’.
Mare reached for the magic item hanging around his necklace with the other hand but stopped mid-action.
There was no need to contact his sister. Since there were no reports of an intruder, the person approaching had to be a comrade.
Mare shuffled his way down with small steps as he headed toward the gate.
His sister liked to jump down to the colosseum from the audience seats, but Mare didn’t. The stairs were there for a reason and using them seemed like a show of loyalty to the Supreme Beings. They probably intended for the stairs to be used.
I can’t say that to sister… She’d give me a scary glare…
So he decided that at least he would not let the generosity of the Supreme Beings go to waste and went down through the stairs. Beyond the waiting room, there was a figure standing in front of the mirror that sparkled in seven different colours.
“D-did you wait long?”
“Oh oh! Isn’t it the floor guardian, Mare-sama! For you to come here personally, I am honoured.”
The clown, dressed in a pure white costume with a mask shaped like a bird’s beak, bowed to Mare, who did the same.
“Hello, Pulcinella-san. What are you here for?”
“Well, I don’t know if you’re aware or not, but I’m currently working under Demiurge-sama’s orders. Today, I came as Demiurge-sama’s messenger. Please, take this.”
The clown handed over the folder he was holding.
“If it’s from Demiurge-san, is this the memo folder?”
“That’s correct. My, my, for Mare-sama to come out personally. I was really lucky. If it had been Aura-sama I would have needed to ask her to call you.”
“Huh? Is that so?”
The memo folder was a system devised by the ruler of the Great Tomb of Nazarick, Ainz Ooal Gown, himself. It was a system that allowed floor guardians to write down non-urgent messages and communicate with each other. Nothing similar existed until now.
When Mare accepted the folder, he got a strange feeling and muttered “T-this is…” while staring at it.
“H-huh? But why couldn’t you give it to my sister?”
Since Aura was a floor guardian as well, there was no reason why the message couldn’t be delivered to her as well. She was also a hard worker, so she wouldn’t just throw the folder in a corner somewhere.
“I don’t know the details myself. But Demiurge-sama gave me specific orders to not give it to Aura-sama and hand it directly to you.”
“I see… W-what about Demiurge-san?”
It was a short question, but Pulcinella understood what he meant.
“…I can’t say I fully understand what he meant either. However, I believe the answer or the reason would lie in that folder.”
“Ok… Uh, hmm, speaking of which, uh, what’s Demiurge-san doing right now?”
“He’s conducting a breeding experiment. Humans can breed with each other, but can’t breed with demi-humans. Is this not a true tragedy? For lovers to be unable to bear the fruit of their union just because they’re from different species! To save such unfortunate souls, Demiurge-sama is working hard. To develop that possibility between humans and demi-humans!”
The clown spoke as if he was reciting a speech with both arms wide spread and pointing at the sky. Mare blinked at Pulcinella, who changed so suddenly.
“Ah, please excuse me. I’ve gotten too excited over Demiurge-sama’s generosity of trying to bring joy to humans. Please, forgive me.”
“Ah, it’s, uh, fine.”
“Demiurge-sama said that he would make himself —or rather the demons— the target of the human’s hatred, so they wouldn’t resent each other. Such immense selflessness! This Pulcinella cannot even see because he moved me to tears.”
Pulcinella motioned to wipe his tears on top of his mask. Of course, there were no actual tears and he spoke in his regular cheerful tone, which didn’t sound sad at all.
“…Why would they hate him?”
“I cannot understand why they would hate our kind and generous Demiurge-sama, but he said that himself. Ah, speaking of which, listen to this. Because Demiurge-sama was so generous, he took pity on the starving livestock. So he made them exchange children with each other, roasted them and put them on the table. If he was heartless, wouldn’t he have served them up without exchanging them?”
“I-Is that so?”
“Of course. He even allowed them to say farewell by bringing over both parents and letting them sit by the table… For there to be someone like Demiurge-sama, who would be considerate enough for the family to say farewell while smiling… There won’t be anyone besides the Supreme Beings. I’m sure of it.”
Mare gave a flat response to Pulcinella’s enraptured speech. He didn’t care what happened to anyone who did not belong to Nazarick. After a couple of seconds, Mare erased all thoughts of Demiurge’s livestock.
“Plus, when starving, their head might say yes, but their stomach might not. Demiurge-sama thought ahead and after warning them, made sure they ate it all, down to the last bit. He is a truly generous…”
Feeling that the story would not end, Mare quickly interrupted.
“…H-how’s Guren-san doing? If I want to send the message back, I might need to relay it to him, but I don’t know what he’s doing and where.”
“…’he’ or ‘she’, I personally theorize Guren is genderless. Last time I saw that person was when Demiurge-sama wasn’t present and it was lying in ambush around the 7th floor’s gate.”
“I-is that so.”
Mare remembered what Guren looked like.
An area guardian which hid its gigantic body in lava and pulled the unsuspecting opponents into terrain that was advantageous for itself — Guren.
It was only level 90, but because it was optimized for combat, in terms of pure fighting ability, it ranked amongst the strongest in Nazarick and could even fight evenly with some floor guardians. Thus, it was the most suitable one to defend the 7th floor in Demiurge’s absence.
“Ah, it seems I was too chatty. Since I already passed on the memo folder to you, I will now go off to spread smiles and laughter.”
Mared bowed his head and Pulcinella replied softly.
“No need to thank me. I am satisfied just watching your smile, Mare-sama.”
The clown dramatically shrugged his shoulders .
“Until we meet again.”
He disappeared through the gate to the 7th floor while waving.
After watching him disappear, Mare opened the memo. Filled with feelings of superiority and treachery from the fact that only he could read it and not his sister, Mare quickly scanned the page. He blinked a couple times after he finished reading it.
This… it’s more like a message Ainz-sama sent to the guardians than a memo.
The message was addressed to only the male guardians and praised them for their usual hard work. The following content could be summarized as invitation to take a bath together if they had time.
The names of the participants listed were Ainz, Demiurge, Mare and Cocytus. The first two people had circled ‘participating’ between the choice of participating or not participating. Normally, Sebas’ name would be there as well, but he was out gathering information in a human city with Solution.
Uh, what’s the date going to be…
There was a side saying that the date was undetermined and will be arranged for the most convenient date for the participants. There was no reason to hesitate in circling the “participate” option. The message said it would be fine for them not to participate, but Mare just couldn’t refuse a proposal from his kind and generous master. No, there would not be anyone in the Great Tomb of Nazarick who would refuse.
Mare picked up the pencil that was included in the file and circled the “participating” next to his name.
He smiled while looking at the circle beside his name, but dark clouds soon shrouded his heart.
“Uh, but… how do I give this to Cocytus?”
There were several mentions across the message to not tell anything to the female guardians and Mare could feel his master’s intention of wanting to keep it a secret amongst the male guardians. In this case it would be best for him to hand the message personally.
If I keep it a secret and sneak out… it won’t be good, right? Because if I’m… uh, do they call it “attention”? While I’m getting that, she’d need to defend the floor alone.
Unless it was due to orders, Mare would always tell Aura where he was going, even if he was just going to visit the other guardians. It was the right thing to do since Aura and Mare were both tasked with defending this floor.
Mare grasped the magic item hanging around his neck.
“S-sis? Can you hear me?”
An immediate reply came.
『I can hear you Mare. What’s up?』
“Ah, that’s a relief. Uh, what was it. I need to go visit Cocytus right now. I’ll be back soon.”
“Yea. I need to hurry.”
『What’s it about?』
Mare’s shoulders flinched for a brief moment. He felt like his voice would crack, but then he barely managed to squeeze the words out.
“N-n-n-n-nothing? It’s nothing… but I need to go.”
Aura’s voice sounded as if she was suspicious, and the thought of that caused Mare’s hands to be soaked with sweat.
But, uh, I can’t help it. It’s Ainz-sama’s orders.
Apart from Mare and Aura’s creator —Bukubukuchagama— Ainz’s words ranked higher than any other Supreme Being’s. It took priority over anything else.
『Well, I guess it doesn’t matter. Go then. Remember that the 5th floor is cold, so protect yourself against it… Ah, but if it’s Mare there won’t be a problem.』
“Y-yeah. It’s fine if I use magic. Then I’ll be off.”
If he kept talking for too long, he might give something away. So Mare quickly took his hand off the magic item. It sounded like his sister was trying to say something else before she was cut off, but whether it was fortunate for him or not, he couldn’t hear it.
“A-alright! Time to hurry.”
Mare activated the most important ring he received from his master.
Immediately after he teleported, Mare felt something white sticking to his face.
It was snow that was flying in the air.
Mare’s breath condensed into a white cloud which was instantly blown behind him. It was the result of the snowstorm and the extreme cold in the area.
The snow and ice flew along with the storm in a frenzied whiteout, and the endless snow covered any trace of footprints almost immediately. Though the weather was designed to make any invader lose track of where they were, it was usually not this severe. Usually, the black clouds in the sky would drop a few sprinkles of snow, and even though this was a gloomy world, the clouds never completely covered the sky.
Mare looked to the left and the right. He used the Ring of Ainz Ooal Gown, so he should be close to where he wanted to go.
Mare moved swiftly after finding his destination. There were no footprints left where he walked. There was no soft sinking sensation like stepping on snow, it felt more like walking on hard ground.
This pure white world without a trace of anybody else seemed to be telling Mare that there was only snow here. Of course, Mare knew with his passive magical ESP that this wasteland was just a disguise. The ambushers knew that he was the 6th floor guardian, that was why they didn’t show themselves.
Mare arrived at his destination in silence. In front of him was a gigantic white sphere that resembled an upside down wasp’s nest.
Surrounding the structure were six towering crystals, their sharp edges pointed to the sky. There were human-like silhouettes visible on the inside.
As Mare stepped forward, an unnerving cracking sound came from below his feet. When he turned his attention to the floor, he could see that he was standing on a sheet of smooth ice, unlike the snow-covered plain he had been walking on thus far. The ice looked thick, but he could tell there were dark shadows lurking just under the ice.
Mare kept on walking. He took each step with confidence, as if he knew the ice would not break. Despite the cracking and crunching noise, Mare arrived before the gigantic sphere without a problem.
“E-excuse me. Uh, is Cocytus-san here?”
Mare spoke towards one of the gigantic crystals instead of the sphere.
In response, monsters with the appearance of a female human phased through the crystal. The number of monsters corresponded to the number of crystals and they wore pure white clothes. Their skin was bluish-white and their hair were black. They were “Frost Virgins” , a level 82 ice-type monster, that served as sentries for Cocytus’ residence “Snowball Earth”, as well as his bodyguards.
“Welcome, Mare-sama. Well met.”
“Uh, what about, uh, Coctyus-san?”
“Cocytus-sama is currently outside the Great Tomb of Nazarick, visiting the new lizardmen village.”
“I-is that so.”
The frost virgin replied while bowing.
“Yes. If you have a message to leave for him, we’ll take it for him. What do you wish to do?”
Since he came this far, he could just leave the folder in Cocytus’ room and leave a brief message with the frost virgins. But considering the content of the memo, giving it directly to Cocytus would be fully respecting the master’s commands.
So how would he go to Cocytus, who was outside.
There was no special rule forbidding the guardians from going outside Nazarick. However, there were conditions to meet before going outside. It was because the master had forbidden all independent activity outside the Great Tomb of Nazarick.
The information gathered so far indicated level 100 beings like the guardians of Nazarick were unimaginable walking disasters in the outside world. There would be no problem even if Mare, one such walking disaster, engaged in independent action. It would be the outside world that should be afraid of him, but that was a mistake only possible after forgetting one important incident.
There was an unknown enemy who brainwashed Shalltear and might possess a World class item. There were also glimpses of player activity in the shadows every once in a while.
They needed to take extra precautions because they could not assess how many or how strong the enemies were.
“Hm, mmm. What should I do…”
Anyone who wanted to go outside needed to be accompanied by at least five level 75 servants. Mare had two dragons as direct subordinates, but they were too big to be discreet. It would be best to ask his sister, but considering how the conversation went, he did not want to do something so scary.
Then an epiphany struck him. It was perfect in both level and number.
“S-sorry, but can you come with me?”
“I, I apologize, but we have been ordered by Cocytus-sama to guard this place. With the exception of Ainz-sama, we cannot disobey Cocytus-sama’s order… Please forgive us!”
“Ah, no, no, it’s fine.”
It could not be helped. If he had thought about it, then it would’ve been rather obvious that they couldn’t do so. The next idea that came to his mind was to ask the demon lords in the 7th floor, but unless he gave them a good reason, he would be rejected again. It was true that he couldn’t rely on any floor but the one Demiurge guarded. It was difficult to ask for help from any guardians outside the names that were written on the memo. Also, most servants over level 80 in the Great Tomb of Nazarick were direct subordinates of a guardian and those who were not, were few and far in between.
Because of that, Mare would need to ask Demiurge if he wanted to borrow the demon lords.
But how would I contact him?
The only way to contact Demiurge who was outside, was to dispatch a servant as a messenger or use magic.
But besides him…
Mare remembered the book he had just been reading.
Did he have any subordinates over level 75? But he’s not a guardian… Muu, would it be fine since he’s a man as well? If I ask him to keep it a secret…
“T-thank you! Uh, I’ll be fine.”
“Is that so? I understand.”
Mare activated the ring. His destination was the Grand Library in Nazarick’s 10th floor, Ashurbanipal.
Nazarick Time 9:54
The scenery changed immediately from a snowy plain to a large room. The room was decorated simply, with plain black as a base colour, while dim, reddish light illuminated the area. The ceiling formed a gently sloping dome, with a grand set of double doors on the opposite side.
Golems were standing on either side of the doors that led to the Throne Hall. They were almost three meters tall, nearly as large as the doors themselves. The golems were shaped like armoured warriors and because they were made from rare metals, they were stronger than regular golems made by the Supreme Beings.
“Excuse me, can you open the door?”
In response to Mare’s request, the two golems put their hands on the door and slowly pushed it open. After a heavy, creaking sound, Mare walked in through the open doors that were big enough for several people to enter at once.
The sight that lay before him was more reminiscent of an art museum than a library. Countless decorations added flair to the level, while the bookshelves and even the books themselves looked like ornaments on display.
Not a single speck of dust could be seen on the immaculately polished hardwood floors and the surface was covered in beautiful engraved patterns. The upper area was quite roomy, with a hall-like design, and a balcony extended from the second floor. Even on the second floor there were countless bookshelves, arranged as if they were peeking into the room. The semi-circular ceiling was covered in grand frescos and luxurious carvings.
There were even books in the numerous glass bookshelves across the room. There were many source of light in the room, but none of them too glaring. As a matter of fact, a regular human would frown, claiming it was too dark.
It was impossible to take in the whole interior at one glance because the bookshelves covered the scenery at every angle.
Amidst a silence befitting a library, the doors slowly closed behind Mare. It turned darker since there was no light coming in from the entrance. The stillness in the air panned out to create a creepy atmosphere that made silence sound like another noise.
Of course, for someone like Mare who could see in the dark just as well as during the day, it was not creepy at all.
Mare headed towards the inside at rather fast pace.
This was the “Room of Logic”. For the most part, the library was divided into three large rooms; the “Room of Wisdom”, the “Room of Logic”, the “Room of Magic”. There were also several smaller rooms designed for specialized uses and the individual rooms for the staff. His destination was quite far away considering the size of the area.
To either side of the tunnel were rows of bookshelves with countless books arranged on them.
The books in Yggdrasil could be divided into five large categories.
The first category was a collection of recorded monster data, which was required to summon said monsters as mercenaries.
There were three types of monsters inside Nazarick. The first type consisted of monsters that were created in a similar manner as player characters. The next type consisted of automatically spawning monsters that were under level thirty, and the last type consisted of monsters that were summoned as mercenaries. Mercenary monsters needed to be summoned using a book, a special summoning ritual and adequate amount of gold. Thus, they could not be summoned without a book.
The second category was magic items.
Certain data crystals could only be imbued into a book-shaped object. Items shaped like books usually tended to be single use magic items. The difference between a scroll and a book was that while scrolls could only be used by certain classes, anybody could use a book.
The third category was event items.
It was not uncommon for an item to be required when advancing into a special class, and some of these items came in the shape of a book. Even Ainz needed a “Book of the Dead” when he evolved from a Skeleton Mage into an Elder Lich. There were other books such as “Bibliography of Weapon Research” or “Anecdotes of the Four Great Spirits”. There were also books that taught new magic.
The fourth category was cosmetic skin data.
These books contained the cosmetic skin data of objects like swords, shields and armour. Players with certain blacksmith skills could put new skins on items with this and other appropriate materials.
The fifth category was novels in the form of book shaped items.
Normally, there would be old and classic literature whose copyright ran out a long time ago, but there were also background stories distributed by the development team and original novels written by players in Yggdrasil. There was also fanfiction based on the worlds of YGGDRASIL or game guides in the form of diaries or novels.
The majority of the countless books in the library belonged to the first category, to summon monsters as mercenaries. Of course, there was no need to actually hoard so many copies of them.
Even if they used the guild’s entire gold supply, they still would be unable to use even 1/10th of the books. Because the monster data was not very expensive, the guild members started making a massive number of duplicates. The intention had been to hide valuable items amongst a mass of useless ones.
Mare gave the books a sideway glance as he walked past them.
Then a ghastly shadow suddenly appeared from beyond the bookcases, as if stopping him.
It wore a black hooded robe that seemed to blend into the library itself. On its belt was a jewelry embedded wand, with various straps interweaved with crystals. It had a pale face that looked as if it had been embalmed. Every time it moved, darkness swirled around it ever so subtly.
It was an infamous monster amongst undead magic casters types, an “Elder Lich”.
Their nickname in Yggdrasil was “white palter of false wealth”. Since it was only level 30, it had the second-lowest rank in the hierarchy of Elder Lich type monsters. There were also other subspecies that had different colours called “red palter of false wealth” and “black palter of false wealth”.
What differentiated it from other elder lich was the fact it wore an armband on its left arm. The words “Librarian J” were written on it.
The elder lich bowed while speaking in a cracked voice that was barely audible. It bowed respectfully with one hand on its chest.
“I-I came to see the Chief Librarian. Is he, uh, in the inner chambers?”
The elder lich looked as if it was thinking for a second before replying.
“The Chief Librarian started crafting scrolls not too long ago, so he should be in the Crafting Room.”
“I shall guide you to him. Right this way.”
“It’s alright! I don’t want to interrupt you.”
“Please do not mind it. It is our role to help the visitors.”
It would be rude to reject him after all this.
“Alright, thank you then.”
The Elder Lich made a frightening smile and started walking. Mare looked at the other Elder Lich-type undead he passed by, while following the one that was guiding him.
“Then I shall return these books for you.”
“Ah, please. Thank you.”
The elder lich looked at the title of the book he received from Mare.
“Ah, ‘The Adventures of Tom Sawyer’. Did you find it interesting?”
“Yes, it was very fun! I was wondering what I should read next.”
“Then I have a recommendation for you. It’s a book that will make you laugh non-stop. It’s about murder— Ah, this way.”
Mare opened the door it pointed at.
The room was wide open, but the humongous bookcases at all sides of the room radiated an invisible pressure.
Inside the bookcases were countless catalysts such as minerals, precious metals, stones with special attributes, gems, various powders and the organs of animals, all arranged in a neat fashion. Besides those items, there were countless parchments both rolled and unrolled.
All these items were materials to make scrolls with.
Of course, these were not all of the Great Tomb of Nazarick’s resources. The Treasury contained several hundred times the amounts of the resources here. What was in this room was purely for what was needed here and now.
In the middle of the room was a big drawing board with a parchment on top of it. In front of it was a skeleton of something that looked like a hybrid between a human and an animal. It was not that big, perhaps 150 cm tall. It had two horns resembling those of a devil coming out from its skull, its hands each ended in four fingers, and its feet were hoofed.
This strange figure was robed in a saffron-coloured himation. Also there was one himation on its head, wrapped like a hood so the horn would not rip it, and there was one on its waist as well. There were other accessories, such as a silver bracelet embedded with seven differently coloured gems, a necklace with a golden ankh, various rings that looked like twisted fingers and gems on the himation that served as a waist belt. They were all magical items with considerable mana stored inside them.
Although its appearance and equipment were strange, it was actually one of the first undead species, a skeleton mage. It would be a step below the elder lich he had just met. But this skeleton mage was the Chief Librarian of this humongous library, Titus Annaeus Secundus.
It was an NPC created by a Supreme Being for crafting skills rather than combat skills. Its overall levels were also higher than the elder lich from before.
“Greetings, Guardian Mare. I welcome thee.”
“Hello, Titus-san. I have a favour to ask.”
“Of course, of course. I shall heed thy request.”
“Y-yea. Uh, you know, I was wondering if you could lend me some servants over level 75 from here.”
“I understand. Thou seek’st to go outside.”
“Huh? Y-yeah. You guessed it.”
“…Mine ears hath never forgotten a word from the Overlord, Ainz-sama. Also considering thy position, ‘tis an easily deducible conclusion — Good!”
He made a decision in a flash.
“I shall lend thee the Overlords of this Library: Cocceius, Ulpius, Aelius, Flavius and Aurelius.”
“Of course. Verily, their presence here is an extravagance. They would rejoice having the chance to defend thine person as opposed to these ancient tomes.”
“T-then, uh, thank you very much!”
“But that doth not mean it shall be for free. I shalt ask one thing from thee; to aid in the creation of a scroll.”
“Ah, yes! What do I need to do?”
“Be at ease. When I speaketh so, activate thine 4th tier magic towards the scroll.”
“C-can it be any kind of magic?”
“The decision shalt be thine to make.”
Mare frowned. It was most difficult for him when he needed to make a decision. He wondered if a regular spell would be fine.
Titus reached for a small table besides the drawing table with a parchment laid on top. There was a mound of gold coins gleaming on top of the small table — they were gold coins from Yggdrasil.
Some of the Yggdrasil gold melted under the skeletal hands and flowed onto the parchment as if it had a will of its own.
The golden fluid flowed to a point on the parchment before spreading out. In the time it took to take a breath, there was an intricate golden magic circle on top of the parchment.
Mare quickly cast the spell after waiting tensely and he could feel his magic being sucked into the magic circle.
A regular scroll would have been complete at that stage, or so Mare thought.
There was a scarlet flame.
Something that should not have happened occurred. As Mare watched on in panic, the parchment burned up like high alcohol content liquor and vanished within the blink of an eye.
There was no trace of what had happened, as if it had been an illusion all along. Not even the smell of burning remained. But there was one piece of evidence that spoke of what had taken place.
It was the ashes from the parchment.
Titus picked up the ashes as if he had expected it to happen.
“T’would seem, it cannot hold a 4th tier spell. The puissance of the wonderworker changeth nought about the outcome.”
Titus wrote down a memo saying “Heat — ten year's old skin cannot withstand” while grumbling.
“Uh, w-why was it like that? Did I?”
“Thou doth need not mind. Mine experiments with the bounty of this world hath been devised to limit the depletion of Nazarick’s reserves. But surely this harvest must be of a base quality.”
There were limits on what kind of materials could be used for scrolls, depending on the tier of magic they were intended to contain.
For example, regular parchment could be used to store 2nd tier magic, but nothing above that. A scroll made with materials of the highest tier, like dragonhide, could contain even 10th tier magic.
Of course, dragonhide was an extremely rare item that could not be obtained except from killing a dragon. All the members of Ainz Ooal Gown used to hunt dragons together back in the past, but that was back in the days of YGGDRASIL. Because of that, Ainz limited the usage of dragonhide until they could confirm the existence of dragons and other creatures in this world.
There was bound to be a moment they would need the materials, and it was foolish to use their supplies without being able to replenish them.
“No, not my dragons!”
“Perish the thought. No need for such measures exists. Thine dragons were specially summoned by the wills of the Supreme Beings. T’would be unthinkable to harm such blessed beings.”
Titus disposed the ash, which was all that remained of the scroll, into a waste bin. As he did so, he looked at the relieved Mare.
“Uh, does that mean the parchment from this world isn’t suitable for making scrolls?”
Mare looked at the ash.
“T’would be very likely. Or not— I recant my previous statement. ‘Tis difficult to tell. ‘Tis not unthinkable for mine methods of artifice to be a deviance in this world. For instance, the methodology of potion manufacture diverges vastly from those methods I know to be efficacious.”
“T-that’s a possibility? But are you sure it’s the parchment’s fault after just one failure?”
“Just one? I hath experimented repeatedly with various parchment materials from the surface. But with magic over 3rd tier, t’all ended the same; in flames. Tis most likely because the parchment could not contain the magic and combusted as the result.”
“But don’t the magic casters in this world use parchments like the one from just now?”
“In all likelihood, the magic casters of this world utilize regular parchment. I cannot conclude that practice is universal in all the countries of this world. But when utilizing the parchment found in the countries near Nazarick—”
Titus took out a roll of parchment that was a little different from the one he just used.
“—the experiment concludeth that 1st tier magic was the limit.”
“Does that mean humans have always been using crude and unrefined materials?”
“Probably not. The difference doth lie in the process of manufacture. Though it paineth me to admit it, their technique is quite refined. I can but master this new methodology and thereby improve myself.”
Mare felt respect towards the Chief Librarian who took great effort to polish and improve his abilities.
“‘Tis be thanks to all the Supreme Beings. Now then, Guardian Mare, I shall lend thee the Overlords as promised.”
♦ ♦ ♦
Nazarick Time 10:28
Mare arrived in a stone building in middle of the lizardman village after depositing the ring back in Nazarick and using mass teleportation.
The lizardmen did not possess the capabilities to build with stone materials, which needed a strong and solid foundation in humid and marshy land. It was a given that outsiders had built it — the ones dispatched from Nazarick.
The reason why Nazarick had bothered to send someone over to build something like that stood behind Mare, in the deepest part of the building.
Mare bowed towards the figure and so did the overlords who accompanied him.
The figure that was a couple steps above the ground was a stone statue of the ruler of the Great Tomb of Nazarick, Ainz Ooal Gown. The statue looked extremely realistic, as if Ainz himself had been petrified, and the way it was swinging the staff to the front gave a commanding aura that was befitting of a ruler.
There were numerous offerings laid out in front of the stone statue. From Mare’s point of view, all these offerings were worthless. They were trivial objects such as flowers and fish.
But Mare was not displeased by the offering. The tributes conveyed clear feelings of admiration and worship. For example, the flowers did not grow in the marshes, but in the forest. As the forest was dangerous for lizardmen, someone must have risked his life to get these flowers. Also, the fish were far bigger than the ones the lizardmen ate, and he could tell they had selected the best to offer.
Mare nodded his head in satisfaction. The fact that some rabble from nowhere had finally recognized the greatness of his master made him happy.
“Thanks for the hard work.”
Mare spoke first to the lizardmen who were fidgeting and stealing glances his way. They were there to clean the temple. These were some of the few lizardmen who possessed the abilities of a druid. On their neck was a medal with the guild symbol of Ainz Ooal Gown.
Between them and Mare, their difference in their statuses was like the gulf between the heavens and the earth. Their relationship was that of a ruler and a servant, and there was no need to praise them for their hard work. But due to the reasons previously stated, Mare felt a sense of satisfaction and praised them so.
Mare left behind the lizardmen who were bowing and left the temple with the overlords. What stood before them was the swamp and the lizardmen village. It was more prosperous than before.
Their population had decreased due to the war, but with the five tribes united, they formed a large and healthy village.
Wooden stockades surrounded a large area and though one would wonder how they had managed to erect watchtowers on soft ground, white skeletons, probably Nazarick Old Guarders, stood watch with their bows from the top of the watchtowers. They appeared to be patrolling to ensure no intruders could make their way inside.
“Uhmmm, where would Cocytus-san be?”
Coctyus was easily recognizable in more ways than one. If he was in the village, he would be spotted easily and even if he was in one of the houses, his servants would be standing around outside. Mare had looked around the entire village, but Cocytus was nowhere to be seen.
“Can someone ask where Cocytus-san is?”
“Understood. Please wait a moment.”
One of the overlords, Aurelius, went back inside the temple.
Mare looked at the swamp — the peaceful lizardmen village. There was no sign of anyone being wary of the Nazarick Old Guarders and the lizardmen children did not seem to mind either. They co-existed as if it was natural.
Even though the undead invaded this place and they’re now subjugated, they don’t seem to hold any grudges. Is it because Cocytus-san’s integration policy is working well or are the lizardmen naturally like this?
While Mare was wandering off in thought, Aurelius returned.
“I apologize for making you wait, Mare-sama. The ones working in the temple didn’t know where Cocytus-sama would be. But they said that Shasuryu Shasha… this tribal confederation’s chief might know.”
“T-then, uh, let’s go there.”
Mare and company walked with Aurelius at the head. Rather than cutting through the newly erected lizardmen village on the swamp, they walked along the lakeside. A forest soon appeared and they could spot several Nazarick Old Guarders here and there throughout the forest.
When they came out of the forest, there was another waterfront of a swamp different from the one before. A sizeable construction was underway.
The water was dammed off and close to ten stone golems dug up the dirt and the lizardmen carried off the dirt in a handcart off to somewhere. When Mare was observing and wondering what they were doing, a large lizardman came running out.
The lizardman had a magnificent physique, with scars all over his body. He stood out among the other lizardmen in many ways. The medal on his neck swayed left and right from hurriedly running over.
The medal was the symbol of being a subject and a way to protect them, but the medal itself had no magical properties. The fact they wore it around their neck showed that they were Ainz’s “property”. Thus, no one under the command of the Great Tomb of Nazarick’s Supreme Being was to harm the lizardmen. Of course, if there was a good reason for a lizardman to die, that was a different story. Whether they were lucky or not, lizardmen showed respect to the strong and none dared to step out of the line.
“Welcome, Mare-sama. My name is—”
“Shasuryu Shasha, right?”
“That’s right. It’s an honour for you to remember me.”
“Ah, I heard it from C-cocytus-san… Say, do you know where Cocytus-san is at right now?”
Shasuryu appeared to be deep in thought.
“I believe he headed out with his subordinates to subjugate the Toadmen with a sizeable number of lizardmen for area familiarization.”
“They’re demi-humans living in the north eastern side of the lake. They look similar to frogs and aren’t friendly with us. They have the skills to tame large monsters, so they’re a very annoying opponent for us. I heard there was a big war in my father’s time. It seems we suffered a devastating defeat, to a point that one of the tribes had to disband.”
“They sound strong. Fitting for a species living to the north.”
This lake looked as if two lakes were joined together in shape of a gourd. To the south was the smaller lake - where lizardmen lived with roughly half being the swamp and other half being the lake. Since the water level was relatively low, there were not many large monsters. Comparatively, the northern part of the lake was deeper with many gigantic monsters and they tended to be stronger. Of course, from Mare’s point of view, the difference was tiny.
“Aren’t those toadmen actually a species called “Tuveig”?”
They were monsters that lived in the poison swamp that used to surround Nazarick. His sister had tamed a few of them.
“Well, I wouldn’t know something like that. How about asking him directly when he returns? He should be back soon.”
“Then I’ll do that. This is a different topic, but it looks like you’re building something big here. What’s it for? It doesn’t look like a defense system for the village…”
“Yes, we’re building the fourth fish farm.”
Mare understood after Shasuryu explained the details.
It was good that the lizardmen tribes were united, but there was the issue of their food supply. Even though there were many who died in the war, there was limited amount of food they could hunt from this area alone. The solution was to go back all the way to where the old villages used to be and hunt there, but the new overseer of the Lizardmen, Cocytus, did not allow this.
Unlike when moving in large groups, like an entire tribe, when travelling in small numbers, there were chances of being attacked by monsters. Cocytus was worried that the already small number of lizardmen would be reduced even further. So Cocytus tackled the issue of food head-on for the prosperity of the lizardmen.
First, he brought over food from Nazarick — with Ainz’s permission — and distributed it to the lizardmen. Next, he searched for a way to gather food semi-permanently. What naturally caught his attention was Zaryusu’s fish farm. After a discussion with Demiurge, Cocytus went ahead with creating an even more effective fish farm.
The construction of fish farms were being carried out at extreme speed, and there were currently three gigantic fish farms, with this one, the fourth, on the way.
“But you can’t start farming them while they’re hatchlings, right?”
“Yes. Our - no - my younger brother’s knowledge only relates to raising the fish that were somewhat grown already. But Demiurge-sama taught us the basics, so we’re also preparing the fish farm for the hatchlings as well. I predict that within few years, we’ll have doubled the food supply just from the fish farm.”
“I-is that so. In a few years, we won’t need to bring in any fish from Nazarick. And of course, you’ll always be able to get them during an emergency.”
“We are all grateful to Ainz-sama from the bottom of our hearts. It was because he gave us so many fish… Speaking of which, the fish we received had no organs. How did they live? Are they creatures that don’t need food, like some monsters? No, considering they don’t have any bones as well…”
“It’s food made by the Supreme Beings like Ainz-sama.”
What Cocytus brought over was food made with item called “Dagda’s Cauldron”.
“Is that true! He could create enough fish for all of us to eat!”
Shasuryu shook his head.
“When Zaryusu and others staying over at the great castle came back for a bit, they told stories of a dream-like world. They told of the various worlds in the Great Tomb of Nazarick, like a true realm of a god. Does Ainz-sama possess the power of a god?”
Mare wondered why this lizardman was asking an obvious question. A surprised expression appeared on his face.
After all, Ainz Ooal Gown was the greatest of the gods and was his creator.
“Is that so. This is all thanks to Ainz-sama. Thank you.”“Alright. I’ll convey your thanks to him.”
Previous Chapter | Main Page | Next Chapter