Editors: Ainz Ooal Gown, Lia, Turtle Truffle, Supreme Tentacle, Tsukino, Kira, Jin, Aegis
The Rhine battlefront, colloquially called the ‘the Rhine where the Devil dwells’, served as the border between the Empire and the Republic. In one moment, the thunder of firing artillery would boom, and in the next, a squad of soldiers would be minced into meat. Explosions shot through the sky as mages buzzed past firing mana-infused rounds. Despite being outnumbered and in a two-front war, the Empire was fighting the Republic to a standstill.
That is, until, it appeared.
A deafening earthquake shook the land between trenches. Both sides’ combatants turned their heads back towards their rear. Could the impact have unearthed their trenches? But to their surprise, no damage had been done to the land. Instead, at the heart of the Rhine, a massive tomb had appeared out of the blue.
Those who were currently on the battlefield were left dumbfounded by this sudden development. The tomb’s majesty would have been apparent to any onlooker, as if an ancient heritage site lost to time had surfaced overnight. However, that’s only if they could see the tomb in the first place.
This was—The Great Tomb of Nazarick. A level 80+ dungeon in the DMMORPG [Yggdrasil], and the guild base of Ainz Ooal Gown. Though Nazarick was referred to as a tomb, it displayed little to no sense of the decay that typically accompanied the stench of death. It’s construction had been completed in a time long past, but its white stone walls remained polished and undamaged. At the tomb’s center lay a mausoleum of majestic proportions, its beauty so serene that it almost appeared foreboding. Around the grand catacombs lay two pairs of smaller crypts. Despite the fact that they were described as smaller, the crypts were in no way of a petite scale. If anything, each of the smaller crypts was so imposing and monumental that the Rhine’s onlookers had anticipated them to house the kings of a long time past.
On the tenth floor of Nazarick within the Throne Room, the Guildmaster of Ainz Ooal Gown who had taken his guild’s name for himself was currently observing the Rhine through the [Mirror of Remote Viewing]. To his left was the Overseer of the Guardians, Albedo. To his right was one of the other two minds that could rival Albedo’s intellect in Nazarick, Demiurge. Both stood by silently as they watched their master gaze upon the mirror. The Tomb had been set to high alert, having been transferred to another world yet again. But like the first time, Albedo was sure that the one they worshipped as the Supreme Being was already formulating a plan of action in the short time since they were moved.
The Supreme Being in question was thinking this:
—Eh? Isn’t this kind of bad?
Were those trenches? And were those soldiers holding machine guns? What were those cannons in the rear? From the looks of it, it was not on the level of medieval cannons anymore, those were full blown artillery batteries!
It appears that they’ve been caught up in the middle of an Industrial Era war.
This was seriously bad!
Worst of all, after verifying that neither side had been damaged by the earthquake, they immediately resumed combat. Of course, that was due to the illusion spells that hid most of Nazarick from plain sight but even still, Ainz couldn’t wait for Sebas to finish scouting the surface. He had to act now.
“Demiurge.” Ainz called out.
“Yes! What is your will, oh Supreme One?”
“Send out Mare to protect the tomb immediately. If one of those artillery shells strikes the Great Tomb of Nazarick, it won’t end with someone just saying ‘sorry’!”
“[Artillery Shell]? No, my apologizes, I will dispatch him right away!”
With the [Ring of Ainz Ooal Gown], Demiurge teleported to the 6th Floor to contact Mare and Aura. If it’s Mare, he should be able to reshape the terrain and mitigate any physical damage to the tomb. In the meantime, Ainz had to think fast.
Exactly which war was this? If it were him during his dark history, then he might have been able to figure it out. During that time, he had been obsessed with the German Neo-Nazi’s and studied military history, even if he didn’t really understand the subtle nuances behind the events.
But now, he couldn’t recall a thing. He looked at the battlefield and barely recognized the German troops in the east, which meant that the forces to the west were probably the French. That was just by geography, he still couldn’t remember exactly which war those two nations fought each other in.
It couldn’t be helped, Ainz had buried those memories in the deep recesses of his mind.
But wait, during that time, didn’t he—
A light went off in his head.
“Albedo.” He called out.
“Yes, Ainz-sama. How can I be of service?”
“Head to the treasury and summon Pandora’s Actor. I want to consult him about this world.”
“Forgive me for not immediately understanding, but is there a reason why Pandora’s Actor would know something?”
“Umu. You see… I may have visited this world once in the past.”
“A-Ainz-sama has visited other dimensions on his own before?” Albedo asked with a look of shock and praise, “As expected of the Supreme Being, to have transcended the boundaries of space-time itself!”
“U-Unn… Anyway, it was quite a long time ago, and I may have trouble recalling. That’s why I want you to ask Pandora’s Actor, since I, uh… conceived him, during that time…”
“I understand. Now that you mention, Pandora’s Actor’s uniform does bear resemblance to the ones worn by those maggots cowering in the east. Of course, his is far more majestic than—”
“Cough, cough! Cough!”
“I-Is something the matter, Ainz-sama!?”
“N-No, nothing at all! In any case, you must hurry there immediately!”
“I-I understand, I’ll head over right now!”
Albedo disappeared, setting off for the treasury. A few moments later, she teleported back with an egghead in uniform beside her.
“Ainz-sama, I have brought Pandora’s Actor, as you’ve requested.”
“Oooh! To be personally summoned by the Supreme Being who created me, I am truly—”
“That’s enough.” Ainz interrupted Pandora’s Actor’s salute midway. “Let’s skip the formalities, time is of the essence. The reason I have summoned you here—is this.”
Ainz flipped the mirror around so that both Albedo and Pandora’s Actor could see.
“Oooh!” Pandora’s Actor cried out. “Could this be!? Could this truly be!?”
“What exactly could this be, Pandora’s Actor?” Albedo questioned.
“There is no doubt, this is—a [World War]!”
Did he hear that correctly? Did he just say [World War]!? His ear holes weren’t broken, were they!?
“[World War]?” Albedo repeated.
“Yes! A global conflict that engulfs every major nation on Earth in the flames of battle! That is, a [World War]!”
“W-Wait!” Ainz interjected. “You’re saying that this is a [World War], but, if I recall correctly, there were three weren’t there? World War 1, 2, or 3—which one are we in now?”
The Arcology War, otherwise known as World War 3. In 2118, this war broke out in Europe after the dissolution of the European Union and an upsurge of neo-Nazi fascism. The result was the world’s superpowers clashing with the full might of modern military technology. From what he saw so far, Ainz didn’t think that they were in that kind of war, but it’s been too long. He couldn’t be sure.
“By the looks of it, mein Führer—!”
“Stop it! No more German! Hurry up and get to the point!”
“Y-Yes… By the looks of it, we’re in either World War 1 or 2, I’m not really sure…”
“Good.” Ainz breathed a sigh of relief. “If it were World War 3, we would have had to deal with things like stealth bombing and satellite surveillance…”
“[Stealth Bombing]…? [Satellite Surveillance]…?” Albedo mumbled to herself.
“That reminds me, honorable father.”
“Oi, didn’t I tell you not to—no, never mind, continue.”
“Yes, honorable father! Since we cannot tell whether this the first World War or the second, we should be wary of nuclear weapons!”
“[Nuclear Weapons]?” Albedo repeated.
…Hmm? Nuclear weapons?
“Yes, [Nuclear Weapons]! They are large, explosive devices capable of obliterating an entire city!”
Eh? Huh? What?
“That sounds like it could be troublesome. Ainz-sama, I propose we immediately launch an investigation into these [Nuclear Weapons] for the sake of Nazarick’s security. We should eradicate anyone who possesses them and take the weapons for ourselves.”
—Eh? Isn’t this… really bad?
“Honorable father, I agree with—”
“T-This is serious issue! I can’t discuss it just yet! Keeping talking among yourselves!”
Albedo and Pandora’s Actor complied and asked no further questions. Ainz’s emotion override triggered several more times before Ainz could kick his non-existent brain into overdrive.
The prospect of nuclear weapons had completely slipped Ainz' mind, a mishap brought about by the fact that almost two centuries had passed since their last use. The UN had long since sealed the weaponry away due to the threat they posed to humanity as a whole. But as a Japanese citizen, a citizen of the only country to have ever experienced nukes firsthand, Suzuki Satoru still possessed some knowledge regarding the extent of their destructive capabilities. In fact, Ainz recalled that these deadly bombs had flatted not one, but two Japanese cities; the aftermath that followed was one that left many a dark tale in the nation's history books.
In this new body, would it be possible for him to withstand the force of a nuclear explosion? Certainly, he could buff himself with spells, or he might be able to cast [Black Hole] to suck up the bomb midair. If it could just end with that, he would dance in joy.
Eh? Do nukes count as magic or physical? Maybe they deal fire damage? Hmm, this is a hard question. I definitely don’t want to find out through experience. But what about Nazarick? And what of the NPC’s dwelling within? Could they withstand the blast?
The homunculi maids would certainly die if they were in the blast radius or even from the fallout that would most certainly cause radiation poisoning. But they should be fine as long as they stayed within the walls of Nazarick. In many ways, the tomb resembled a bomb shelter in how durable it is. In the worst case scenario, only the first three floors would be affected thanks to the work Ainz and his guild had put in when restructuring Nazarick. The original tomb was already quite durable, but the excess data crystals they used further increased the defence points of the dungeon.
But the surface would definitely be uninhabitable. Not only that, but the nuclear fallout would pollute the surrounding lands. His friend Blue Planet always lamented how humans had destroyed the Earth through war and pollution. According to him the two things that were the worst for the Earth were nuclear weapons and global warming.
Ainz Ooal Gown had once gone on a quest that took them deep into a mythical forest, where remnants of an old civilisation remained. The group had fought a mini-boss that would say pre-generated lines about burning trees for fuel and it would use attacks that were based on nuclear warfare, seemingly out of place for the setting. Though it did give one of the members of the guild inspiration when designing a certain battle maid. That day Blue Planet had fought extra hard, his rant when the boss died was both passionate and unforgettable.
As Ainz relished in his recollections, a pleasant feeling lingered in his non-existent heart. His nostalgia didn’t last long as Demiurge soon returned, bowing deeply before speaking.
“Ainz-sama, I’ve sent out Mare. Nazarick should be protected against all anticipated forms of attack. I’ve also gone to the trouble of putting all the Area Guardians on high alert.”
“Thank you, Demiurge.” Ainz spoke, “Tell us exactly what you told the others, I want you to make sure that those here are up to speed with your plans.”
Making it sound like it was for the sake of his subordinates; in this manner, Ainz could pretend he had already seen through the plan when he was actually hearing about it for the first time. The drawback was that his approval was already implicit, but since it was Demiurge, then there should be nothing to worry about.
“To start with, I propose Shizu help lead the assault on the external forces.”
The Pleiades Battle Maid CZ2128 Delta, or ‘Shizu’ for short. She was a heteromorphic being, of the kind known as Automatons, and held the ranged attacking [Gunner] class. On Demiurge’s summons, Shizu entered the throne room and bowed before taking her place beside Pandora’s Actor.
Oh? That’s not such a bad idea, afterall she specializes in ranged combat and her equipment is similar to what the soldiers are using. Though it’ll be troublesome if something were to happen to her since she is familiar with Nazarick’s unlocking mechanisms……but it should be fine.
“Now, I hope you’ll excuse my plan for being a bit derivative,” Demiurge nodded once more towards Ainz. “But I suggest we get straight to the point and take the initiative.”
Up to a few centuries ago, people like them might have been called reivers; hard men hauling up to a defenseless settlement on hardy horses under cover of darkness, looting and kidnapping before leaving their victims’ homes in ashes whilst painted with the blood of their former occupants.
In these more enlightened times, they were instead called the 203rd Aerial Mage Battalion. Their modus operandi had not changed in over three centuries; they struck out of the shadows, took everything that was valuable, and left destruction in their wake.
The reivers of old would have marvelled at the tools with which the Aerial Mages used to ply their deadly trade. Instead of border horses, they used mana-powered flight units, magic barriers instead of leather jackets, and the Type 98 Mage Rifle loaded with spell-shots that hit like lightning and exploded like thunder in place of the antiquated pump-action rifles from long ago.
However, they would have probably disapproved of what the Mages were doing at the moment. After all, the whole point of reiving was to carry things off, and the Mages were simply sowing terror and destruction in their wake.
Even so, the Mages have been trained for a brand new sort of war, so they could not be faulted if their methods differed from their greed-driven predecessors.
The fires lit the undersides of their bodies as Pixie Squadron flew away from their targets, visible only as orange reflections in the pre-dawn sky.
“Pixie 01 to all flights, report.”
“Two here, objective silenced.”
“Three, targets suppressed.”
“Four, some resistance, but it’s been mopped up.”
“Good,” Major Tanya Degurechaff said as she crossed their respective targets off a mental list.
Having been asked to fight on the Rhine front once more, Tanya took another moment to forcefully calm her stress levels. As always, the Empire was massing for an offensive in this sector, but they did not yet have sufficient troops in this area to make a deep push. For almost a year it had been a stalemate, the nation could only afford to fund this war for so much longer. Naturally, Tanya personally hadn’t planned on participating in each and every major battle that drew the war towards its eventual conclusion, but the problem was that the 203rd had long been classified a distinguished, named unit, a fact that often led them to be shovelled into the flames of war when the fighting started.
She had to get herself out of the theater, but a simple request to the rear would hardly cut it. If anything, submitting such a request would be more harmful than it would beneficial. Cowards often led the way whether they wanted to or not, and being the first into the breach was hardly conducive to one’s survival.
The solution was then to wear her unit out. By conducting intensive operations and gaining significant accomplishments here, she would build up goodwill and accumulate unit fatigue, enough for them to be relegated to the rear lines for R&R. It would technically not be slacking, because their work would soften up the front for the rest of the line troops.
“Major, we’ve got a problem.”
Tanya looked back at Visha, who had a worried look on her face. She raised her chin, indicating that the other woman should continue.
“There was a massive surge of mana static just now. We’ve lost all long-range detection.”
Tanya’s eyes narrowed. Their vision had been severely limited. Was this a prelude to an attack?
“Increase altitude just in case. We don’t need to engage while we’re low on mana and ammo.”
Even as she said that, she knew it was pointless. The clouds were too thin to hide them, and if they had detected them at this range and were pressing an attack, then—
“Are comms still working?”
“Yes, there is no issue.”
Tanya took a moment to compose herself before initiating a call. In such a scenario it was better to obtain orders from the higher ups than act individually.
“Pixie 01 to Command, we’ve—”
Before she could even finish something caught her eye.
Several shells whistled past them from below. Tanya was not too worried about those. Even the repurposed naval 3 inch caliber guns could only do meaningful damage to an aerial mage’s barriers with a direct hit, which was damn near impossible over a mile into the air against a human-shaped target moving at comparatively high speeds. The fragmentation from a concentrated artillery barrage might work, but most air defense emplacements did not mount nearly enough guns to saturate an area of space with that much steel.
It was unnerving, but ultimately harmless. The shells would burst over them, shrapnel would rain down, and they would be relatively unharmed—
Something was strange here.
She looked up, and saw the shells bursting in mid-air above them. That much she had expected. However, she had not expected the explosions to be so… weak. It was not a charge designed to turn the shell casing into a storm of killing razors, but gentler, as though it were just breaking open and dispersing…
Then, she glimpsed it.
For a fraction of an instant, she saw the yellow bands around the shell’s case glow as it split open and activated a spell.
Just then, one of her men began to scream.
His vertical height had been the highest, just as Tanya had remained at the bottom of the formation. Thus, he had been the first to run into… well, whatever it is.
His words broke down into incoherent wailing halfway through as he fell from the sky, being in too much pain to concentrate properly on his spells.
“Pick him up!”
His flight mates moved without hesitation and grabbed him by the arms before he could fall all the way out of the formation. When they saw him, they gasped. His eyelids were covered in rapidly-swelling blisters which blinded him, and his lips were swelling up as well. He coughed, and the sound it made was a wet, explosive retching that made his body shake and shudder in the hands of his rescuers.
Everyone was stunned. What had happened to him?
Only Tanya knew, and that was due to the merest whiff of horseradish on the wind.
In the world wars of her world, the Allied and Central Powers had devised a new class of weapons so fearsome that that they were nicknamed ‘a higher form of killing’. She was not a military enthusiast, and her experience with that sort of thing was limited, but she did remember the internet article which described some of the most dreadful and iconic of those weapons.
“Mustard gas! Dive! Dive now!”
More shells burst overhead as she said so, and the fear of meeting the same fate as the first, unfortunate man moved them faster than anything she could shout.
Chemical weaponry had been a major part of World War I in Tanya’s world, and there had been as many ways to deliver it as there had been other weapons on the battlefield. This particular use of it, however, was new. She had not heard of anyone using poison gas as an anti-aircraft weapon… though in this case, it made perfect sense. Mage barriers kept out almost everything except air, but gas weapons not only passed straight through them, they were often imperceptible. Aerial mages did not fly fast enough to avoid taking an effective dose of the gas clouds, and if they were incapacitated, they would be unable to concentrate on their flight spells and gravity would do the rest. By loading them into an anti-aircraft cannon and getting them into the general vicinity of a mage, they could overcome a flak shell’s lack of effective radius and bypass the mage’s magical defences, providing an effective method for taking them down.
So this is how the battlefield changes with magic! What kind of twisted genius came up with this tactic?
In any case, they had no way of telling how far the clouds of gas spread or how many shells they could send up here, which meant they were effectively prevented from rising. To supplement that, the gas was heavier than the air would thus slowly descend. That would naturally force them downwards.
Their best bet was to dive as fast as possible and hopefully outrun the settling gas cloud. It was risky, to say the least, but it beat letting a wall of aerosol vesicant fall on you.
Tanya led the way as she shot down like a thunderbolt, while the remainder of her squadron descended as quickly as they dared...
“Ainz-sama, there are no more enemy forces in the air thanks to Shizu’s wide-area attacks.”
Ainz nodded upon hearing Demiurge’s report. Although Shizu was created with Assassination in mind, she had several abilities that were modeled after World War tactics including an AOE attack that inflicted chemical burning debuffs on those hit. Since friendly-fire came into effect, Ainz had very few opportunities to test Shizu’s abilities on live targets. And, this also confirmed one important fact to them.
The enemy was at most Level 20.
“Let us go, I wish to take to the field myself.”
“Of course, let me accompany you. I believe Albedo is already preparing her armour for battle.”
Without another second wasted, the two left.
“Sir, a sudden mana spike is interfering with the signal. We still have eyes on the Devil’s squadron. The Devil appears to have been grounded by an anti-air attack.”
“That mana spike, what’s its source?”
“I’m not sure, sir. Though I’m getting reports that say some sort of yellow gas has been released.”
The Colonel was almost about to ask for more details, but then he dismissed it. What could he do even if he knew its origin? He still had a job to do, and if he was lucky, the gas would have seriously affected the Devil’s wing.
The original plan had been to wait for the Devil to enter the kill zone of his anti-air assets before firing, but there was nothing to be done about it now. The Devil had only been within the effective range of half their guns before suddenly rising. Had he detected them lurking below, despite their camouflage? Or was it in response to that mana spike?
Either way, he could choose between a botched ambush or no ambush at all.
He gave the word.
“All HS batteries, fire for airspace denial up to 5’000. Aerial mage teams, prepare to intercept.”
When Ainz stepped out of Nazarick, he was met with the sight of multiple forces engaging. Using the [Fly] spell, Ainz gently soared through the air and landed on a raised mound of dirt that Mare had created. Shizu was in a sniper position off in the distance, surrounded by 3 Death Knights.
“A-Ainz-sama! W-Why are you out here….Isn’t it dangerous?”
Before Ainz could respond, Demiurge appeared next to him and smirked, acknowledging the concern Mare had for their Supreme Ruler.
“Ainz-sama has already deemed that the enemy is too feeble to be considered a threat. And even if that were not the case, we have come fully prepared to safeguard his body at the cost of our own.”
“I s-suppose that’s true.”
“Honestly, look at those humans. They are too busy fighting amongst themselves to bask in the presence of our glorious leader. Such insignificant creatures.”
“But isn’t that because we are still hiding Nazarick with illusion magic?”
“Of course, however that just goes to show that the level of the humans is particularly low. Seeing past illusions is something that even the lowest of maggots should be able to accomplish.”
“Ahh… As expected of Demiurge. You thought of that too.”
“However don’t you think it’s time we show the humans our presence? It is only right for lesser lifeforms to pay respect to the Supreme One.”
“I agree. To not show respect to Ainz-sama is to forfeit one's life.”
Albedo spoke, wearing her full battle armour and wielding a greataxe. She was followed by Cocytus and Aura who were told ahead of time that their presence here was to gain experience in large scale battles.
“Ainz-sama,” Albedo bowed respectfully, “Shalltear is currently managing our internal defences and Pandora’s Actor has been sent back to guard the vault.”
Ainz finally spoke after taking note of the forces around him.
“It seems it is time to begin.”
With a wave of his hand, the illusion that shrouded Nazarick from the sight of humanity vanished.
The Guardians, as well as the three Death Knights that Ainz had personally created, tensed slightly, wary of a possible attack by another powerful foe. Shizu on the other hand carried on observing those in the distance with a cold glare.
For several moments no one spoke. In fact, the reality of the situation was aggravating enough to momentarily silence all the guardians.
“They are still fighting.”
“How could they!?”
“D-Don’t they see Ainz-sama’s majestic presence!”
“I’ll slaughter those maggots!”
Everyone instantly became quiet as Ainz raised his voice. Without waiting for further instruction Demiurge stepped forwards sensing his master's intentions.
“Cease fire!” Demiurge bellowed. “You will pay your respects to the one above all, the Supreme One, Ainz Ooal Gown!”
Just like that, the attention of two warring factions turned, finally noticing the presence of Ainz, his Guardians as well as the Great Tomb of Nazarick.
A batch of aerial mages, perhaps more disciplined from the rest, quickly moved forwards towards Ainz. Their leader, a small figure moving faster than the others, was quickly approaching their position. Of course to Demiurge who had already predicted this, dealing with a nuisance like humans was no trouble at all.
The group that had been seconds away from attacking were now frozen in midair. No matter how much they tried to move it was seemingly impossible.
“Ainz-sama, I believe they are now ready for you.”
“Thank you Demiurge, perhaps I’ll experiment with that group over there.”
Ainz waved his arms and conjured a magic circle that was shaped like a dome with a rough radius of ten meters. The red lights within his eyes socket shone brilliantly as his magic intensified. Sigils and translucent symbols rapidly changed on the magic circle, prophesying a magic that could engulf the entire battlefield. This was [Super Tier Magic], and any Yggdrasil player who saw it would immediately try to interrupt its cast. To prevent that, Albedo, Demiurge, Mare, and Shizu stood by ready to react.
Despite not knowing the scale of magic Ainz was casting, the soldiers understood one thing for sure, they had to stop the intensifying magic before it’s too late. The mages open fire in hopes of interrupting the magic cast but they were blocked by Albedo’s axe.
“Albedo. Must I repeat myself again? Such attacks cannot harm me. There was no need for you to waste your strength.” Ainz said.
“Please wait, Lord Ainz. No matter how many times it occurs, there is still a bare minimum that must be met to fight with you, Supreme One,” Albedo answered in respect. “To throw such insignificant pebbles at you…”
“If you say that, then yet again these insects failed to pass.” Ainz chuckled with nostalgia.
The mages kept firing shots over shots in hopes to stutter the magic caster. To their demise, those were just futile efforts. With his spell close at hand, Ainz began to fall deep into thought.
Having lived as a true undead for over a year, Ainz had gained some insight into the true nature of Humans. They were a foolish race that bared loathsome thoughts to anything that posed even a small threat to them, the Theocracy were a prime example of this mentality. The people were quick to intimidate, easy to bribe and sought nothing but their own personal gain. Of course there were exceptions, for instance the Warrior-Captain that had died on his own terms, or his good friend Jircniv. There was also another in the Kingdom that could be considered to be quite the unique specimen, but now was not the time to get into that matter. If humans didn’t act so foolishly and tried to be a bit more intelligent than he would deal with them normally, but if they ever posed a threat to Nazarick… This much was inevitable.
The area which contained a large number of Republic troops was filled with screams—that faded as soon as they started. A black mist spewed from thin air and ventured through the battlefield, swallowing every living being in its wake. Its swirls would mercilessly find its way through the cracks of armour, tanks and trenches, giving those it met the embrace of death. For those that had survived by chance, it was now as silent as a graveyard. Those that had not been caught in this whirlwind of death were chilled to the bone as they found their friends and foes lying on the ground, like puppets with their strings cut.
“W-What was that magic just now?” A Republic Major stuttered.
In the background, a lieutenant in charge of comms tried to make contact with HQ.
“HQ, this is Rhine Front, do you copy? HQ!”
“Commander, we can’t get through!”
The commander felt unnerved, but he kept his composure.
“Sh—, is that mist also jamming the signal?” He considered it quickly. “Emergency meeting! Request all first lieutenants in the near vicinity to assemble within five minutes!
Not long after, all the officers who could make it arrived. Some were visibly distraught, and the ones who couldn’t make it were catatonic.
“Status report.” The Major said.
“…Three battalions keeled over in the mist.” A lieutenant replied after some time. “We tried waking them but… They weren’t breathing. I think it’s safe to assume… that they’ve all perished.”
“…” The Major put his hand over his mouth. “…Continue.”
“All our artillery operators have collapsed.” Another lieutenant continued. “Headquarters has been… awfully silent.”
The news weighed heavily until an observer reported.
“Sir, observatory report!”
“S-Some kind of abomination was just sighted in the area swallowed by the mist!”
A loud growl echoed within the Rhine. In the field where the mist spilled through, an unknown creature emerged from the essence collected from the corpses of soldiers. A hideous four-legged beast covered by innumerable tentacles forged from the flesh of the dead. It had multiple mouths randomly located on its body—a Dark Young.
Even without seeing it close up, the Republic soldiers knew from the shivers in their spines: this was the end. They, praying to whatever god they could name off, wishing they would be spared from meeting a horrific end. Who could have imagined the disastrous whirlwind that had been cast here? That alone had slain over 14,000 people in seconds.
They prayed that they were home with their families.
They prayed that they had never participated in this war.
They prayed that they could live another day.
Of course, those were all wishes not to be granted by any God or Being.
From the position they were standing, they witnessed the rise of a Dark Young— an entity they did not know of. The tar-like beast was five to six times taller than an average human with the tentacles making it look even larger. The beast looked sluggish and slow by nature, that was until— the Supreme One commanded:
The Dark Young with its huge body moved nimbly in response to the command, charging into the Republic ranks. The ground shook as the beast marauded through the battlefield.
The army which was already in disarray went into further panic, not knowing what to do at the impending death that was closing in. Mages that had the privilege of flying deserted the battlefield, not caring if there was punishment, only possessing the will to survive. The ground troops however were not as lucky.
“Mages, where are you going!?” An infantry captain screamed through the comms.
None of them answered, sprinting through the sky and abandoning their groundborne allies. He then cursed on his own, who stood cowering in their boots. He too was shaken. He too was afraid. But he knew doing nothing at all was just asking for a death sentence. He scavenged up the what little courage he had left and stood firm towards his men.
“Men, pull yourselves together! That over there, is a demon from hell. A devil if I’ve ever seen one. But—that is why we must stand firm! If that thing over there is proof of the devil, then somewhere out there must be God. Let us pray that today, he presides over us, and gives us His blessing.”
His company settled down. That’s right, how could they forfeit without even fighting? What did they even come here for? From the very beginning, they were prepared to lay down their lives for the sake of the countryman. That much remained true, whether they fought the Empire or the hellspawn from the ninth circle of hell.
“On my command, we’ll fire a concentrated barrage at that demon. We can’t let that thing trample across the fields of our homeland… Men, take aim!”
The company raised their heads above the trenches, and took aim towards the incoming harbinger of death with their final whims of bravery. They awaited their captain’s solemn signal.
“May God be with us… Fire!”
The soldiers opened fire at the charging beast. The sound of gunshots echoed within the Rhine as hundreds of bullets flew straight at the Dark Young, but the bullets barely scratched its thick hide skin. It didn’t even flinch. The soldiers kept firing. They kept firing, with the desperate prayer that this slab of meat was somehow taking damage. But with a sickening gurgle and a thirst for blood, it trampled over their hopes without remorse.
Splat. Splat. Splat. Splat. Splat. Splat. Splat. Splat. Splat. Splat.
Splat. Splat. Splat. Splat. Splat. Splat. Splat. Splat. Splat. Splat.
Splat. Splat. Splat. Splat. Splat. Splat. Splat. Splat. Splat. Splat. Splat. Splat. Splat. Splat. Splat. Splat. Splat. Splat. Splat. Splat. Splat. Splat. Splat. Splat. Splat. Splat. Splat. Splat. Splat. Splat.
The Republic troops were squashed by the large hooves of the Dark Young. For those hiding in the thin passageways of the trenches, they were hammered by its waving tentacles, splattering their blood and guts everywhere.
Those who were a bit further in than the frontline decided to try and run away, but to their horror, the beast was far faster than they could ever hope to be.
The soldiers were squashed like a swarm of rodents. Each kill was quick and instantaneous, merciful as if to provide a painless death. The last thing they saw with their eyes was the terrifying form of the Dark Young.
As for the battlefield, the soil had turned into mud, holes turned into puddles, and the trenches filled into canals. If it had rained, that much would be understandable, but what flooded the whole area was a thick, overwhelming layer of fresh, human blood.
“What in the world is that thing!?”
A dark armored warrior wielding a large greataxe shot off the ground and flew in pursuit of the Republic mages.
“E-Evasive maneuvers! Hurry!”
At the last moment, the Republic forces scattered in every direction and the dark warrior pierced through the previously occupied space. The men’s sighs of relief were short-lived, for their foe turned midair and launched back towards them. Two men were caught off guard and drew their last breaths, as Albedo’s axe slashed through their flesh as if it were paper.
A silver-like object, larger than any man—no comparable to a tank, charged in and smashed the remaining lines of artillery. Within seconds, utter destruction was given to the forces on the ground. Cocytus carved lines into the battlefield faster than any Mage could hope to achieve.
Then, as if to add further despair to the situation, a child stepped forth. Wherever he looked the earth would shake, swallowing the bodies of soldiers that were dead or already dying. With the efficiency of Mare’s wide area magic, none would survive.
For the members of the 203rd Battalion, the carnage that they witnessed was more mind blowing than the strange effect that kept them in place. The measure of violence, slaughter and utter humiliation of humankind was severe that even their leader didn’t notice as the force that kept them in place released.
It was fortunate that Tanya and her subordinates were able to avoid the strange mist earlier which killed everyone in its wake. However, her luck seemed to have run out as nothing she ever encountered was as dangerous as the mysterious phenomenons she had just witnessed now.
As if mocking the damage done by the whirlwind, the appearance of the Dark Young trampling the soldiers around them further enhanced the surreal scene she was witnessing.
Her instincts violently screamed for her to retreat. She wasted no time to order her subordinates to flee from the slaughterhouse-cum-battlefield.
This was more than a slaughter, the utter destruction that had been orchestrated by a single person. Just who were they?
This was real life, and reality was exceedingly cruel.
On the battlefield one stood on the very edge of life and death, Tanya’s senses had sharpened into a razor as before, but this time she studied her enemy. Time seemed to slow down as she picked up everything around her in exquisite, almost painful detail.
For a moment, Tanya wondered if her stress was making her hallucinate. Her panic and tension briefly forgotten, she studied the thing which did not belong.
Twin points of crimson light burned brightly within the empty orbits of a bleached skull. Those two points of light coldly scanned Tanya and the others present, like a predator sizing up its prey. Within its fleshless hands it grasped an elaborately decorated staff that seemed divine in nature, yet inspired dread in equal measure. It was like a crystallization of all the beauty in the world.
It wore an intricately detailed black robe, and it resembled nothing so much as an incarnation of death, born from the darkness of another world.
Its arms spread in a ghastly parody of a mother’s welcoming embrace. In that instant, the air seemed to freeze.
It was as though time itself had stood still in the wake of a Supreme Being’s advent.
Tanya knew this feeling. It was the same thing that happened whenever her archnemesis deigned to speak directly to her.
“Being X,” she hissed, her face distorted into a scowl as she gritted her teeth.
But just as the rage came, it too left as a newfound realization came upon her.
This wasn’t Being X.
“Hmmm… it seems that a few persistent flies are still buzzing around,” Demiurge smirked as he watched the 203rd battalion fleeing the battlefield.
“…Roger. Should I, exterminate?” Shizu asked while taking aim at the 203rd.
“There is no need for that. Everything here will perish one way or another. Aura, proceed as planned.”
“Yes, Ainz-sama! As you wish!”
With an innocent smile on her face, Aura activated her [World Class Item].
[Depiction of Mountains and Rivers]
The space around the 203rd Aerial Mage Wing was swallowed into a painted world. Aura, as well as the other Guardians, Shizu and the Death Knights disappeared along with them, but Ainz was left unaffected.
“Well, that settles that—Hmm?”
Ainz realized he wasn’t alone. One member of the company was able to resist being sucked in.
Major Tanya Degurechaff was dumbfounded by this sudden development. She had felt an obscure calling that tried to pull her to another world, but she had rejected it. Now, she floated 12 kilometers in the sky all alone. Along with her group, her pursuers had disappeared along with them.
That just left one more: Being X…...no, Being A. It must have been his doing.
Was it so fun, toying with humans on a whim? However, this was acceptable. Her human meatshields were gone, but so were her enemies. And frankly, the skeleton king’s meatshields seemed more reliable than her own.
All that was left was Being A himself. Unlike Being X, he seemed to be content with facing Tanya in the open instead of hiding beyond the heavens.
“You, little girl.” His bony finger pointed towards Tanya. “By any chance, do you have a [World Class Item]?”
“Haah!? Who are you calling a loli!? And [World Class Item]? What is that supposed to be?”
“That is—no, never mind. Forget about it. The fact that you're still here already answers my question, which means that you’ll have to be dealt with appropriately. Although, truth be told, I feel a tinge of regret doing this to a loli—”
“Again, who are you calling a loli!?”
“—But, it can’t be helped. I won’t underestimate someone who wields a [World Class Item]. Surrender and swear fealty to me, or perish. The choice is yours.”
“Fealty or perish, either way I lose my free will… As I thought, you really are in league with Being X!”
“[Being X]? What is that? An end-game boss?”
“Prepare yourself, Being A!”
Tanya opened up the battle—by immediately running away. Ainz, who was prepared for his foe to fight to the death, was not expecting this development. But, he couldn’t let a World Class Item get away from him now. It would be critical to Nazarick’s security plans in the future.
“You’re not getting away!” Ainz flew in pursuit. “[Triplet Maximize Magic - Magic Arrow]!”
Three magic circles then apparated behind him, each circle firing 30 streaks of light directly at the small human target.
Despite moving out of the way and enacting evasive maneuvers, the magic bolts constantly managed to turn up to a full ninety-degrees and homed in on her wherever she went. Tanya flew as fast she could, but the beams were catching up.
Feeling the ends of her hair beginning to curl, she released optical decoys that scattered down towards the ground, which the arrows of light began to pursue. The decoys dug into the ground and were then pierced by the arrows, creating a large craters that dotted the ground.
That was really close!
If Tanya didn’t deploy her decoys to draw away enemy fire, she would surely have been skewered just now. But she didn’t just spend all her time running. She turned back to get a look at her foe.
Good, he’s taking the bait. Even better, he’s chasing in a straight line!
She wouldn’t underestimate Being A. After all, he was probably an associate of that piece of shit Being X who loved to toy with people. As much she hated to admit it, these so-called ‘Supreme Beings’ were capable of much more than she could do on her own. In that case, she didn’t have a choice.
“O God, grant me the strength to slay mine enemy. Praise the Lord, praise His Holy Name.”
Ainz was in hot pursuit when the red lights in his eyes flickered in uncertainty. A black rod detached from the girl, tumbling towards him.
What was that? Ainz was tempted to reach out and grab it, but he immediately had second thoughts.
Before anything could happen, Ainz teleported a distance far away from the rod. A moment later it exploded, engulfing everything within a 20 meter radius in a searing, white light.
That attack was no joke. It was on the level of his [Triplet Maximize Magic: Drifting Master Mine]. But what was far more concerning was—
“This feeling—the holy element!?”
Ainz might have had high magic resistance, but as one of the undead, he was critically weak to holy-element attacks. That aspect would completely override his stats in magic resist.
If he could swap out his gear, then he could make himself largely immune to it. But he was in the middle of combat and the enemy probably hasn’t tipped their hand just yet. What he knew now was that if wasn’t careful, this flying loli could inflict some serious damage to him. In that case—
He hovered an open hand towards Tanya. He really didn’t want to resort to this. It would be cruel to use on a child.
Again, the loli girl’s body split into clones, the result of her optical decoy magic. They moved in random and confusing patterns and Ainz quickly lost track of the real one. He had never been good at the shell game after all. Without knowing which one was real, he would just be wasting his mana. In that case, he would cast—
A spell that negated other magic, its effectiveness was directly dependent on the difference in spellcasting ability. Naturally, Ainz was far superior in that stat, and every decoy was instantly dispelled.
That is to say, all of the clones were decoys.
She got me!
While Ainz was distracted, the loli had probably disappeared into the clouds. He began casting [Force Explosion] on his surroundings, dispersing the clouds to try and find the girl. After performing such maneuver, he knew that his opponent was not one who would flee but try and counterattack.
Just as Ainz started to search, the girl appeared behind him.
Ainz foresaw this sneak attack and moved faster. Tanya stopped mid-air and coughed up blood—not. The magic failed to cast and her body—began to fade.
Then Ainz sensed it. Above him, floating in front of the sun, was the loli girl. Checking [Mana Essence], he discovered a massive quantity of mana building above him.
“No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper.”
“Impossible, could this be—!?”
“And every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgement thou shalt condemn.”
“It’s on the level of Super Tier Magic!?”
This was bad. He had to stop her now.
It failed to cast.
“What!? It can’t be… [Magic Destruction]!”
Tanya had positioned a decoy right in front of herself. The target that Ainz had tried to cast on may have looked and acted like Tanya herself, but again, it wasn’t Tanya. Such was the weakness of targeted spells.
“Damn it! Can I make it?” Ainz spat to himself as he tried to cast another spell and realized he might be slightly slower.
“This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, sayeth the Lord!”
It was in that moment that a huge explosion occurred. When Mana, condensed into a form so pure its essence radiated, was collected in such quantities even the slightest discharge could create a domino effect that would create a ripple of unfathomable proportions. When touching the material world, the air would trigger a chain of mana-induced explosions that seemingly tore space-time, yet merely absorbed the atomic elements at a surprisingly fast rate. This meant that after the self-inflicted event, Tanya was left in a coughing fit.
“D-Did I get him?” She choked out.
When the clouds cleared, the Being A was gone.
“Yes! I did it, it worked! How do you like that Being A!? And you, Being X! You’re next!”
Tanya tried to spread her arms out to celebrate, when she suddenly realized— she couldn’t. Her limbs were completely frozen and refused to bend to her will.
Her entire body was frozen. All she could move was her mouth. And then she felt it, that presence behind her.
“Is this a surprise? It’s nothing special.”
“Being… A…What… Have you…!?”
“Right before your spell went off, I casted a silent [Time Stop]. That allowed me to escape. But, color me surprised. To think that you’ve kept your senses while time is stopped, as expected of World Items.”
Of course she could! After all, how many times has Being X screwed with her during moments like these!?
“Although, it hardly matters if you can’t move anyway. Anti-time stop countermeasures are essential for even a warrior, as someone who uses magic it's a necessary precaution. You’ll need to have them by the time you hit level 70, as well as prepare strategies for somone that can use delay magic. Regardless, you’re going to die here, so it’s largely academic.”
“C-Curse you! Curse you, Being A!”
“Being A? That’s rather rude of you. I have a name after all.”
“Shut up! I’ll never recognize the name of someone who humors himself as a God!”
“It seems that there’s been a misunderstanding here. I have never once thought of myself as a God. You on the other hand, if I’m not mistaken, seem to think you draw power from one.”
“I met someone who thought the same thing. In the end, I found no confirmation of that. I wonder if you’re any different?”
“Oi, you prick. Don’t misunderstand. I never asked for this. This was just forced onto me by your associate, Being X…! Ah, whatever. I don’t care anymore. Do as you please. Just know that I’ll never acknowledge it! Whether its Beings A, B, C, or D to Z, I’ll never see you all as Gods!”
“Sheesh, this is why dealing with extremists is troublesome. They deny everything that doesn’t agree with their beliefs. They never question whether their God even exists. You… Why are you looking at me like that?”
“…W-What? Is there something in my teeth?”
“You. Were you even listening to me?”
“Um, you were talking about how you wouldn’t recognize false Gods, was it?”
“That’s, wrong—! …No. Let me correct myself. Strictly speaking, you’re not wrong, but the context you’re interpreting it in gives off the opposite impression! What I mean to say is that I don’t believe in God at all!”
“O-Ohh… But in that case, why were you praying to God?”
“What’s this? I guess Being X doesn’t hold daily coordination meetings to brief his associates. Being forced to carry a cursed relic that brainwashes me into praying every time I use it, that’s the only reason.”
“Why me? Why do I have suffer through all this? Why does a peace loving person like me have to fight, someone else is better suited for that instead! But then that piece of shit Being X takes me hostage and throws me into this world at war. I won’t accept it! Until I bash free market principles into that thick skull of his, I’ll never forgive him! And you too! You tyrants act like Gods who want faith, but all you do is pollute our memories! Just keel over and die already!”
It appeared that this loli had a lot of pent up resentment towards a mysterious supernatural entity. Schizophrenia? No, it would probably be best not to mention it.
Ainz thought that she was crazy, but maybe he could turn this to his advantage. This was probably the result of brainwashing child soldiers to enforce loyalty to the state, but this loli seemed to be breaking free from it. If he could convince her, the user of a [World Item], to hand it over and join his cause, then wouldn’t that be preferable to just killing her?
In that case, it would probably be best not to mention that he also brainwashed a priest.
Ainz suddenly went silent. His expression didn’t change; after all, it was just a skull. But, if he did have a face, Tanya thought that he would look quite amused.
“W-What? What’s so funny!?”
“…Hm? Ah, I was just thinking that I finally understood.”
“Is that so. You agree with me, huh? Then how about letting me go so that I can blow that pesky skull off your ribcage!”
“No, you’re mistaken. I meant to say that I understand your point of view. That much is true. However—!”
“…?” Being A seemed to pause for an unusual amount of time.
“—I’ve also come to understand something else.”
“Hooo? Then why don’t you enlighten me of what that is, O Supreme One?”
“I plan to do so.”
“O-Oh…” Why is he pausing again?
“That is, you—are arrogant.”
“…That’s all you wanted to say? I didn’t need you to tell me that. After all, it’s my right to look down on other people.”
“No, not that kind of arrogance. What I’m talking about is—the arrogance of knowledge.”
“The arrogance… of knowledge?”
“That’s right. I trust that you understand now that I’ve said this much?”
“…?” Again. Ainz paused again.
Why is he pausing so much? Then again, maybe he’s just old. I mean, Being X appeared as an old man, and he’s at least as old as the universe. Now look at Being A, he’s literally a skeleton! How old do you have to be to appear as a skeleton? I suppose I should cut him some slack considering his age.
Meanwhile, the skeleton himself was thinking—
Please. I’m begging you. Just leave it at that.
But reality was not that kind.
“No. I don’t understand. You’re going to have to be more specific.”
So cruel! This loli is so cruel! Can’t you just let me win?
For Christ’s sake, it was like he was talking to his boss. Truth be told, he had just said the first thing that came to mind and hoped that the other party would draw their own conclusions. Now that it’s come to this, the opposition won’t be satisfied until he makes a comprehensive pitch of his view.
Ainz began to let out a long, drawn out sigh. Start by expressing disappointment in the opposition. Naturally, he was stalling for time. “I suppose I’ll explain. What I mean by the ‘arrogance of knowledge’ is that just as someone who believes they know naught will come to accept all, someone who believes they know all will come to accept naught.”
“Haah? What is that supposed to be? A new form of sophistry? I don’t understand at all.”
“Hah hah, I expected as much.” Somebody, save me. “After all, you are one of those who believe they know all.”
“…What are you implying?”
“That is to say, you have stagnated and closed off your mind. Via positive feedback—” Please be the right term. “—You’ve come under the impression that your societal views are fact. No matter how much knowledge you accumulate, you’ll only ever see part of the whole, stuck in a stable equilibrium.”
Ainz threw some big words in for good measure, hoping that the loli wasn’t old enough to know what they meant.
“However, humans will adapt to their environment. They will change to fit the role bestowed upon them. This has been confirmed by scientific evidence. You are the same, aren’t you? Although, it must feel to you as if it's to enforce the status quo, this quality is actually a force of evolution. As their environment changes, so do they, and thus humanity is constantly advancing. But for you who has no imagination, you’ve forsaken that right and converted yourself into a perfect cog to turn in the machine.”
He let the thought simmer for a moment. For the both of them.
“And yet, this is fine. Why? Because you recognize that there is a hierarchy. That hierarchy is called ‘society’, and each member of its chain has their own role to play. I am well aware of that, and at the top of that chain is God. I have never once considered myself as a God. However, I am a ruler, and with great power comes great responsibility. And as a ruler, if my followers have no faith, then the model is wrong! And I will change it!”
“You can follow that much, can’t you? In that case, I once again give you a choice! Discard that [World Item] of yours and join me! This isn’t an order, but a business offer. You mentioned brainwashing, didn’t you? I can fix that. I have the technology. Submit your soul to me, and I will grant your deepest desires with the full extent of my power!”
Well? How was that!?
“I was wondering what you had to say, and then you go run your mouth off like that. What do you know about me, huh!?”
“…I’ll take responsibility.” I’m so sorry, you saw through me. I was just bullshiting, please forgive me.
“…In that case, it’s my loss.”
“Your words have convinced me of this much: you’re not an associate of Being X. You may not be human, but as one advocate of civil liberties to another, you have my respect… Although your wording sometimes pisses me off.”
Ehh? Did he manage to win her over? How? When did he that? And wait, it felt like she slid in a cutting remark by the end. Well whatever, all that matter was that the result was favorable. He would reconsider the details another time.
“But to think that you would lecture me on the Stanford prison experiment and external costs and benefits. As you’ve said, it appears that the world is bigger than I thought.”
Ainz nodded. He did vaguely recall Punitto Moe mention a certain automobile tycoon, Mr. Stan Ford, who conducted an experiment while imprisoned… Hm, now that he thought of it, maybe he was a friend of Mr. Nash? They both went to prison after all.
The remainder of the time stop came to an end. Placing her full trust in Ainz, Tanya removed the Elinium Type 95 from her neck and let it drop to the ground.
“Very good. Then as agreed, I will grant your desire to the best of my ability.”
“I have just one wish. If you can grant it…..one simple wish.”
“Umu. Let us hear it!”
“Let me rise through the ranks in the rear and live a peaceful life!”
And so, Being A established the Sorcerous Kingdom with The Great Tomb of Nazarick as its capital and ended this world’s first Great War. Another war would break out in the future surrounding the development of nuclear weapons in the Unified States, and they would go on to take the initiative in establishing the Unified Nations afterwards.
Through hard work and effort, Tanya gradually rose through the ranks of the Overlord’s government, eventually reaching the position of Chief Market Manager. Of course, the Type 95 was confiscated on the grounds of being a [World Item], but she said good riddance and bid it farewell. She never grew taller, and she begged Being A to rectify that, and also turn her back into a man. The only response she got was this:
—Umu. I’ll consider it.
He never got back to her on that.
Tanya still had her misgivings about the brainwashing, but considering that she managed to keep her principles and was now an elite cruising through life, she decided to refuse the memory treatment and call it a victory for democracy.
Although, she was working for a dictatorship now. Funny how life turns out.
Tanya was beginning to understand the prospects converting to a specific faith as an analogy to switching employers. If Being X would take a page from Being A, he would learn how to expand his followers.
Do you see this, Being X!? This is how you promote faith: concrete benefits, safe working conditions, and a healthy respect for your competent subordinates are a must. Such was the life of working for Being A.
All hail Ainz Ooal Gown!
Tanya woke up in her bedroom in Berlun, the Empire capital. She looked towards her desk and found that the cursed relic forced onto her by Being X was still there.
“…God damn it!”
It had all been a dream! At least, that was what she thought, until she found that a note had been left on the same desk, just as before.
Please report to General Staff Headquarters at once.
Tanya got dressed with all haste and ran down the halls.
Could it be!? Could Being A have visited her in her dreams just like Being X!?
She threw open the door to the General Staff Office. After showing the receptionist the note, she was sent down to Brigadier General Zettois. She gulped in anticipation.
“Ah, Major, I was expecting you.”
“Sir! Major Tanya Degurechaff, reporting for duty! I heard your summons.”
“Ah, yes. About that, I have some good news for you.”
N-No way! Is this really going to happen!?
“Starting today, you will be promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and transferred to the War College to serve as an Associate Professor of Logistic Management. I realize that this is sudden, but the General Staff has reviewed your contributions…”
The rest of the General’s words trailed off. Tanya’s mind was too busy celebrating.
Finally! She finally did it! She was now free from the front lines and would be able to live a cozy life climbing the ranks of the rear! She recalled the note in her room, and again, she cheered in her heart:
All hail Ainz Ooal Gown! Victory for the forces of democratic freedom!
“…Hmm? What seems to be the matter, Major?”
No good, she was spacing out. She should probably say something brave here. After all, she didn’t want the Brigadier General to think she was a coward. When he retired, which would probably be within a decade or two, the Reich would need to appoint a successor. At that time, Tanya hoped that Zettois would recommend her for the position. She cleared her throat and tried to look dismayed.
“—No, if that is the will of the General Staff, then I obey.”
“Ah, my apologies. Did this come as a shock to you?”
“Well, I can’t say that isn’t. It is rather abrupt after all.”
“Hah hah hah, you look rather disappointed, Major.”
“I think anyone would be sad to part ways with an opportunity to be of direct service to the Empire.”
“In that case, you can rest assured that you won’t be doing so.”
“Oh, but the promotion still stands. I was just joking about the professorial appointment.”
“A-Apologies, but could you further elaborate?” She felt her eye twitch involuntarily.
“Yes, I’m sorry for deceiving you Major. Ah, but it’s it’s Lieutenant Colonel now, isn’t it? Pardon me, I misspoke. However, today happened to be a special occasion. I couldn’t help it. More to the point, here are your real orders.”
He slid a folder across to Lieutenant Colonel Degurechaff, with his thumb over the date. He slowly pulled his hand back, revealing the text he had been hiding.
“Happy April Fools, Lieutenant Colonel. I hope you’ll forgive me for scaring you like that. Now then, your new orders are to assemble a combat group within…”
Tanya barely listened to the rest of the briefing. When they were finally done, she almost stumbled out of the General Staff Office and returned to her room. Closing the door behind her, she set the lock and tossed the documents over her desk. She took the note left on her desk and read it again.
She put both hands on the sides of the note, and ripped in half.
“God damn it! You tricked me, Being X!!!”
Thanks for reading this story that was brought to you by Western Lights. Special thanks to Nigel for giving us the material to start with and Sky for allowing us to post here. We hope you look forward to our future works!