As he greeted the demihumans invading the city with attack spells from the air, Ainz thought about the sequence of events which had transpired and wrinkled his nonexistent brows.
–That was a huge mistake. The order was all wrong. I should have prioritized Neia Baraja over that annoying woman.
Neia had died because he had helped Remedios and thus been delayed in going to Neia’s side. He had to use a high-level wand to resurrect Neia, because he was not sure how high-level Neia was, and he was afraid of her turning to ash like the Lizardman from back then.
In truth, he had no idea whether the price of resurrecting Neia was justified by the benefits she could bring to Ainz and Nazarick. That said, since the plan to help Remedios and indebt her to him had been a complete failure, he ought to at least try again with Neia, which was why he had chosen to resurrect her. However–
…Would it have been alright to use a Wand of Resurrection — a seventh-tier spell — as well? …It seems I was being too generous. Also, it’ll take an hour before I can swap out this ring.
Ainz was looking at one of his eight rings, the one on his right thumb.
It was the Ring of Wand Mastery.
短杖大师戒指[ring of mastery wand]
Said ring was an ultra-rare artifact dropped by a boss.
Normally, only magic casters of the appropriate tradition would be able to use the spells stored within a wand. For instance, only a divine caster could use a wand imbued with the first-tier divine spell 「Light Healing」. Staves — which were more expensive — could be used by magic casters of other traditions.
That said, a patch had updated certain wands so they could be used by all players. Unfortunately, the wand imbued with the ninth-tier spell 「True Resurrection」that he had used to resurrect Neia was not one of them, and Ainz would not be able to use it under normal circumstances.
However, he could use it as long as he had this ring.
Yet every time the ring was used, it only applied to one wand at a time, and he would have to wait an hour before he could change it out. It also carried the drawback of requiring mana to use, but it was still a very valuable item regardless.
Due to its high rarity, very few people in the guild “Ainz Ooal Gown” possessed it, and the one which Ainz had was left to him by Amanomanohitotsu when he had quit the game.
Eh, from here it looks like there’s nowhere else I’ll need to use that wand, so I shouldn’t mind it too much. Speaking of which, I just realised that when I cover her eyes, it feels like she’s paying her respects to me normally. Given what she said… does that mean I’ve gained her trust? Umu. I wonder what happened?
Ainz recalled Neia’s reaction.
Her gratitude sounded sincere… but at the same time it felt like she was glaring at me. Is it because her face is scary? How about recommending she wear sunglasses or something?
Ainz might have thought that, but of course he could not actually say it. In the carriage, she had mentioned being conscious of how scary her eyes had looked.
If one encountered a lady with body odour, how would they react when you said, “you stink” and gave them a bottle of perfume?
It feels like all the respect I’ve cultivated would vanish and she’d only resent me…
In addition, Ainz — Suzuki Satoru — was not a brave man who could say such things.
Ainz spotted a cluster of demihumans and discharged an area-effect spell at the ground, slaughtering them all. The militiamen who had been facing them waved their arms to him. Ainz raised his arm as well by way of response. Originally, he had intended to just raise his hand, but there was a distance between them, so he put his arm up high in order for them to see him.
That’s right~ It’s the merciful Sorcerer King~ Be grateful to me~ speaking of which, does resurrection magic make people go mad or act weirdly? Compared to that, it would be better if she was just being purely emotional…
AInz thought about Neia.
It felt strange no matter how he thought about it. She had been perfectly normal when he had parted ways with her, but she had ended up like that after being brought back to life.
Is she mad? Should I heal her with magic? It’s a little worrying if it’s a side effect of resurrection. I don’t want to end up warping her personality as time passes.
There had been a strange force in Neia’s murderous eyes, an insane, ferocious gleam that frightened him.
It’s so bad that she mistook me for justice, huh. Some rest ought to help with that… oh.
Ainz turned his gaze to the demihuman camp.
Half of it had already been destroyed, and Soul Eaters were walking lazily among the fleeing demihumans. Even that much was enough to send the demihumans collapsing in droves from their instant death auras. The Soul Eaters who consumed their souls became stronger in turn.
When Soul Eaters appeared in YGGDRASIL, they were almost always on-level encounters, so the chances of a player being downed by an instant death effect would only be one in a hundred or less. That was why this special ability of Soul Eaters rarely got the chance to see use.
However, it was different this time. This was the perfect opportunity to show it off.
“Souls, huh… oh no. I ought to experiment with this.”
Ainz suddenly landed. Then he used his ability to create mid-tier undead to craft a Soul Eater.
After he issued a mental command, the Soul Eater immediately began to move. At the same time, he sent an order to the Soul Eaters who were obliterating the demihumans outside.
It went: leave some prey for the newly-made Soul Eater.
Undead created with corpses did not vanish with the passage of time. But why did they not vanish?
If it’s not because they’re using the corpse as a medium, but the soul, does it mean that Soul Eaters which have eaten souls won’t vanish? … Well, even if I found the answer I wouldn’t know where to apply it. Still, knowing is better than not knowing.
He ascended into the sky once more, and verified that the city was safe. Most of the demihumans should have been wiped out by now, but he ought to be careful, just in case.
Muu, that annoying woman is there. Ignore her, ignore her.
Ainz looked away from Remedios and flew elsewhere.
As Ainz flew, he could hear cheers coming from below him, and Ainz responded with a wave of the hand. After verifying that there were no more demihumans — that the fighting had ended, Ainz began making his way to the war room. He would need a lot of time to return to Nazarick and take care of all sorts of annoying meetings.
“I need to handle this properly…”
A crushing surge of uneasiness flooded into him, and then his emotion suppression calmed him down. The only thing that remained was a chilly sensation in his heart.
I need to use Message to tell Demiurge to meet me in Nazarick.
Once Ainz made his move, victory was all too easy. After wiping out the demihumans attacking the city and finishing a couple of other things, Ainz returned to his own room.
One of those things was to show his face at Caspond’s chambers and ask him for some minor favors in the future. The long and short of it was that after trampling the demihuman encampment underfoot, he had no issue with giving them the leftover rations and everything else — magic items excepted.
Since Ainz had devastated the demihuman camp by himself, then the spoils from the demihumans would have rightfully belonged to him. Dumping them into the Exchange Box would have yielded quite a tidy sum. However, if he monopolized it all, the goodwill he had so painstakingly built up might end up losing its value. That being the case, he ought to write it off as an investment and give it all to the Holy Kingdom. Of course, there might be valuable magical items among the loot, and he had no intention of giving those up.
Normally, Ainz would have gone to the camp by himself and used 「Greater Magic Vision」, 「Detect Magic」and other such divination spells to examine the scene, but he felt that there was no need to do so. In addition, Demiurge ought to have investigated what magic items the demihumans possessed ahead of time. Even if something had slipped the net, there ought to be nothing there which could harm Ainz. If there was, then it would have been more eye-catching.
After that, he went to recover the equipment from those three demihumans. As expected, nobody had dared loot the corpses, and so Ainz recovered their magical items without incident. Of course, he had an idea of how powerful those items were from the mana they contained, but he still held out hope for something bizarre or unusual.
He dumped them onto the bed and prepared to magically investigate each and every one of them, but he had something he needed to do first.
He deliberately made noise.
Part of that was to psyche himself up, but there was another meaning to it.
There was something he needed to do before sending Demiurge a 「Message」.
Ainz took out a scroll — Demiurge-brand — and cast a spell, whereupon a pair of bunny ears sprouted from Ainz’s head.
He used them to check for nearby sounds, and it seemed like there was nobody hiding to spy on him. However, that was not enough to put him at ease. After all, there was magic, such as the second-tier spell 「Silence」, which could eliminate sound, and then there were also thief skills, so it was too early to conclude that there was nobody around just because he could not hear anything.
It’s thanks to Demiurge’s farm — which allows us to obtain raw materials easily — that I can use scrolls this casually. Dumping large quantities of produce into the Exchange Box means we can make back the gold spent on the scrolls without any problems. I’ve thought about this before, but I have a good feeling about the various ways in which Nazarick is developing.
They could still use the ordinary parchment from this world for first-tier spells like 「Rabbit’s Ear」. One would need YGGDRASIL materials to go any higher. However, part of the supplies problem had already been solved.
While it was true that they could only be used to substitute for up to the third tier, Demiurge’s contributions were already very great. The first and most indisputable thing was that when considering everything that had been done until now, he was the most deserving of commendation for his work. Next would be Albedo and her perfect management of Nazarick.
Ainz then went on to use his ability to create lesser undead and brought forth a Wraith.
Check the surroundings and see if anyone’s spying on me.
After receiving the order, the Wraith left the room without opening the door. Wraiths had astral bodies, and so they could move straight through walls and other such obstacles. Still, there was a limit depending on how thick those walls were, so it was hardly unlimited, but the thickness of the room’s walls were no problem for it.
Ainz focused himself on the ears he had sprouted.
Even if there was a skilful thief lying in wait, could he remain motionless if an undead creature suddenly appeared, especially if it was surrounded by an aura of terror? In addition, they would need a concealment ability that could hide them from detection by a Wraith. Of course, deceiving low-tier undead was easy, but if someone actually possessed these abilities, then they must be very capable indeed.
Ainz concluded that there could not be such a person. If there was someone like that in this nation, then they should have had them take part in the previous two battles.
That said, I can’t rule out the possibility that someone like that might be wary of me and thus lying in wait. Still, given that woman’s personality, it shouldn’t be possible… if there was someone like that, it wouldn’t be unusual for Demiurge to inform me about them.
It would not be unusual. As he thought of those words, Ainz wondered, is that really the case?
Surely Demiurge would not have felt that Ainz would have understood even if he did not say anything, right?
…Ah, the more I think about it, the more my stomach hurts…
If such a mistake had resulted, then he ought to gather his resolve and sit Albedo and Demiurge down for a good chat.
Eventually, the undead being returned.
“Was anyone there?”
The undead being replied in the negative. Ainz’s ears had not picked up any suspicious sounds either.
“Is that so. Then hide in the walls and keep an eye on the surroundings.
After watching the undead being enter a wall, Ainz mentally prepared himself.
Now then, I’ll be casting 「Message」 next.
It was a simple thing, but he could not bring himself to do it.
It was like an employee who knew he would be scolded by his boss after returning to the office.
Still, he could not stay this way forever. His heart would also be heavy if Demiurge contacted him first.
“Time to do it, me!”
After cheering himself up, he sent a「Message」to Demiurge. He had rehearsed what he wanted to say in his head countless times and had run more than enough simulations. All he had to do now was say it.
However the「Message」connected before he could breathe in deeply to ease his stress — or rather, there was practically no delay between casting the spell and opening a channel to Demiurge. The response had been way too fast.
“Demiurge, is that you?”
“Umu.” He had practiced this many times. All he had to do now was say it.
“…I was wondering if you had any questions about the divergence of my actions from the report, and so I contacted you. While I understand what you want to say, I feel that Albedo ought to be present as well if there are detailed questions. Return to Nazarick without delay. I will be returning presently as well. We’ll meet in the loghouse on the surface.”
『Understood. Then I will contact Albedo from my end.』
“Ahh, please do.”
He immediately cut off the「Message」. After that, Ainz sighed deeply.
Ahhh, that’s good. He didn’t sound mad. Ahhh, that was scary.
What should I do if a talented subordinate gets mad at me, he had thought. Ainz’s heart was full of fear; in order to put himself at ease, he channelled new strength into his faltering body and stared at the wall.
The Wraith’s mission was complete. Thanks to friendly fire being on, he could destroy the undead like Shalltear had, but there was no need to waste his strength. Ordering it to return was also a simple task. Incidentally, there was no need to speak either; he could simply issue a mental command. In that way, he could break the tenuous link between them.
That said there were countless such links stretching back towards E-Rantel. Over there, he was not confident of being able to give a clear order without speaking it. That much was true. However, Ainz had made very few undead in this place, so issuing a clear-cut command would be simple enough.
–Disappear. Now then, to return to Nazarick…
After this would come a very frightening task — a task of deception that had to be completed. He would have liked someone else to handle it if he could, but that was impossible, Besides, who could he hand it to?
He touched the magic items from the three demihumans on the table in the hopes of clearing away his unease.
Fufu. They’re weak, they’re cheap, but still, obtaining magic items in this world makes me happy… well, maybe I’m not as happy as Pandora’s Actor would be, but it does feel like I enjoy magic items too, huh?
The first thing he did was appraise the magic items belonging to the four-armed demihuman. Among them, was the armband that had protected against Ainz’s instant death spell, and its name was the Deathguard Armband. It could grant immunity to death magic once a day.
首先鉴定有四只手的亚人持有的魔法道具。那之中的一个，臂环才是防住安兹即死魔法的道具，名为死亡守护臂环[arm band of death guard]。一日里只能发动一次，赋予对即死魔法的完全抗性。
Ainz picked it up and twirled it in his hand several times, then put it back on the table.
Boring. If only there were better items. Now then–
Just as he was about to set out, he heard the sound of knocking on the door. A voice from the outside said, “Your Majesty, this is Squire Neia Baraja.”
Ainz immediately inspected himself. Then he looked around the room to ensure that his bearing was that of the absolute sovereign that was the Sorcerer King. After that, he slowly settled himself into a chair and the pose he adopted was King Ainz No. 24.
He did his best to speak in a low, weighty voice. This change in pitch was also the result of repeated practice.
The door opened, and Neia — her injuries now recovered — entered the room and bowed to him.
“I am deeply grateful to be granted permission to enter, Your Highness. I have come here in order to discharge my duties as a squire.”
“Umu. I am glad you came, Miss Baraja. But there is no need to fulfil your squire’s obligations today. While your wounds might have healed, the fatigue of the battle must–”
Ah, it’s been taken care of, Ainz thought. The potion he had used back then was one which removed both fatigue and exhaustion. It was a potion that Nfirea — his skin dry and rough — had praised to the heavens.
“I am able to fulfil my obligations as a squire thanks to Your Majesty’s power. Also — I am very happy to be allowed to stay by Your Majesty’s side.”
Neia smiled — or was it a smirk? One’s body would naturally go on the defensive in the face of a hostile or evil smile, but Ainz’s kingly poise was unbreakable.
“…Is that so. However, I must return to the Sorcerous Kingdom for a while to handle some critical tasks. I apologize for wasting your trip.”
She looked very disappointed, but she did not look cute at all. All he could think was that she was glaring at him. However, Ainz had already thought of a way to deal with Neia.
All he had to do was close his eyes. That way, her eyes would not frighten him any more.
“Speaking of which, I am glad that you are well — that you are alive, Miss Baraja.”
“Thank you very much, Your Majesty! All this is thanks to your power. In particular, without this suit of armor I might not have been able to hold on until Your Majesty arrived.”
But you didn’t hold on, you died… well, all’s well that ends well. Come to think of it, I heard she was fighting on the city walls, so giving her that armor which could defend against ranged attacks was the right choice!
“Fufu. Well, that is good to hear. How about the bow? Did you show off its power to the masses?”
“Yes… many people saw the great power within this bow… although, they’re all dead now.”
“What!? –I see, so that’s what happened. What a shame.”
He had failed again. Ainz was filled with a profound sense of regret. If everyone who saw it was dead, it was no different from nobody seeing it at all. Maybe I should give up on trying to advertise rune weapons, Ainz thought. Still — I think there ought to be a chance. Even if this plan failed, it doesn’t mean I’ve lost anything, and there’ll be great benefits if it succeeds.
“I am sure that without the gear which Your Majesty lent me, I would be in Heaven with the others… thank you very much, Your Majesty.”
Ainz sensed that her words came from the heart, and so Ainz thought, well done. Of course, he could not express that emotion. He had to keep showing her a ruler’s poise, after all.
“Pay it no heed. All you need to know is that a master’s duty is to protect his followers.”
Ainz cracked his eyes open a fraction to study her reaction.. Neia’s face had twisted slightly when she had heard the word “follower”. It was probably not anger, but it felt like some kind of unhappiness. If her present attitude and the flow of the conversation were to be trusted, that was not the case.
In other words, opening his eyes had been a mistake. Ainz closed his eyes again.
“Thank you very much, Your Majesty. Also, the people whom Your Majesty saved also wish me to express their gratitude to you.”
“Ho…” All right! Ainz struggled to hide the way he felt. You need not worry about it. I simply happened to save them because they were there. However, I hope they will not expect this good fortune to repeat itself, I used quite a lot of mana in this battle, so I might not be able to help next time, you know?”
“Understood, I will convey your message to them.”
“Ahh. However… that’s right. Please inform these people that I am glad to receive their gratitude… and now, Miss Baraja, I apologize but I really must be going. After this — yes, can you come back in four hours’ time?”
“Yes! No problem at all! Then, please excuse me, Your Majesty!”
Neia left the room, and Ainz opened his eyes.
Hm. Her gratitude does seem quite genuine. Looks like I’ve got one person at last. No, as the saying goes, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Should I give out free healing potions as advertisement? That ought to win me more gratitude… but can it make up for the mistake with the rune weapons?
Ainz took out the purple potion.
This was Nfirea’s potion. Its quality was slightly inferior to that of YGGDRASIL-made potions, and it was still in the development phase. However, its effects might catch up in the future, or he might end up being able to make YGGDRASIL’s red potions.
It would have been too wasteful to spread the news of YGGDRASIL’s red potions for nothing, so I didn’t use them… still, I don’t know whether people who are used to blue potions can accept purple potions. Using and testing them here sounds like a good plan.
Right now, he intended to have Nazarick conceal the potions which Nfirea and his grandmother had made. He did not plan to distribute the technology. However, that plan might change in the future, and the time might come when he could sell that potion. It would be good to prime the pump for such a situation.
This is complicated. There’s merits and demerits on both sides…
Frankly speaking, the fact that he’s discussing his sex life with me is causing me a lot of problems. I mean, at least they’re not doing it in front of me, but wouldn’t it be bad if word got out that he was talking about his wife?
In the first place, why is Nfirea even discussing this with me? Is it because he has no male relatives and is far away from the city he had lived in until now, so he thought that he had nobody to talk to? For all I know, he might be thinking that Narberal and I have that sort of relationship.
But he ought to know that I’m a skeleton…
While Ainz had thought of spying on their sex life to satisfy his curiosity, he felt that doing so would change his attitude towards the two of them, so he had curbed the impulse. However, every time Nfirea came to discuss it with him, it took a great deal of effort to suppress the curiosity that flashed through his mind.
I remember something about it feeling very good, so he was asked to do it a lot of times… could it be that the reason he made so much of that potion — some kind of nutrient supplement, I think — and then gave it to me was because…
In any case, he had decided to give it to those two Lizardmen so they would work hard on making more rare children.
The fruits of technology are first applied to the military, then sex and medicine. Is that true? …Ah, time to go back.