Remedios led the militiamen to another battlefield. They repeatedly looked back at him as they left.
Ainz looked at the empty space where they had been and muttered to himself.
“Eh? …That bitch, she actually dumped it all on me.”
This ridiculous state of events made Ainz reveal his true nature
Normally, wouldn’t we have a scene like “oh, let’s fight together~” or something? Or “thanks for coming, we’ll leave them all to you”? At the very least she could have been polite about it, we could have gone back and forth several times about “will you be alright here?” and so on… And not even a single word of gratitude after being saved? What the hell, man?
Frustration built in his heart. However, it did not reach the level of true anger, so it was not suppressed. It was like a tiny flame of indignation simmering inside him.
It was as though how someone had messed up and forced him to work overtime, and the person in question had said that they had something on and just up and left.
I would’ve been more angry. Like say, if I was going home to play YGGDRASIL… and the guild had plans already, and being late would cause problems for everyone. It happened before, and while everyone forgave me back then…
Thus fuelled, the miniscule flames blazed up into an inferno, and then they were forcibly extinguished.
“Hm… While my anger’s been suppressed, I’m still unhappy. That’s the first time I’ve been treated so rudely.”
While she had shouted “shut up” at him before, the situation had been different back then. In the first place, they had agreed that Ainz could sit this battle out, but Ainz had still rushed over as reinforcements. Surely anyone who had an inkling of common sense would have taken a different tone when addressing him.
Everyone Ainz had met until now had been at least minimally polite.
That was why Ainz found it strange.
After cooling his head and searching through his memories, Suzuki Satoru recalled having met people like Remedios several times before.
Still, none of it comforted him.
Ainz turned his still-irate gaze on the three demihumans.
Granted, it was not entirely their fault either.
Ainz understood that he was simply taking it out on them.
What should have happened was that Remedios’ relationship meter with Ainz should have maxed out when the latter saved her from danger, she should have apologized for treating Ainz this way all this time, and then worked hard for Ainz in all ways in the future. That was why Ainz had been observing Remedios from the air with 「Perfect Unknowable」active all this time, and then stepped in to help her when she was in trouble.
But in the end, things had turned out like this.
He could not understand how they had ended up this way.
If the department’s quota was not met and it was close to the end of the month and someone stepped up to make up for the shortfall, surely everyone would be grateful to that person, right? Especially if that person had finished his own work long ago and had come back from his leave to help them.
Ainz had been observing the battlefield from above, and he had a firm grasp of the big picture. There were many more dangerous places than this. He was even aware that the girl who had glared at him all this time was in danger.
Even so, he had chosen to come to this place because he wanted to sell a favor to the highest ranking person he could — better to rule in hell than serve in heaven and all that — and he had judged that the captain of the Holy Kingdom’s paladin corps was the highest-ranking person here.
“I really am annoyed.”
As he grumbled without thinking, Ainz heard a piercing laugh.
“Heeheehee. Looks like you’ve been left here. Heeheehee, how sad, how sad.”
“An Elder Lich. In other words, an individual that’s powerful as a magic caster. Is there a need to be careful? I haven’t seen that wall-making spell before, but it seems to be of a fairly high tier.”
“Hmph. So it’s still a magic caster, then? Don’t really feel like fighting it. In the end, you need to beat a warrior if you want people to sing tales about you.”
The three demihumans seemed to have recovered from the bizarre situation enough to banter with each other. Ainz turned to look at them, and his eyes focused on the ape-like demihuman among them who seemed to have laughed just now.
“Does it matter? First we kill him, then–”
Ainz interrupted their conversation and cast a silent eighth-tier spell,「Death」.
The ape-like demihuman’s smile was frozen on his face as he slowly collapsed.
“…What? What did you–”
“–I told you to shut up, didn’t I?”
Ainz once again cast a silent 「Death」spell.
The four-legged demihuman collapsed in the same way as just now.
“Eh? Ehhh? What happened? What’s going on?”
The female demihuman who remained still did not understand what was going on, but it would seem she had already understood who had done it.
“Was, was it you? You killed those two in an instant…?”
Terror was deeply etched on her face. Her body was shaking hard.
“Yes, yes,” Ainz carelessly cast a silent 「Death」on the female demihuman as well. “–Hmmm?”
She did not die. Ainz’s「Death」had been resisted.
In the moment he realized this, Ainz’s mind immediately switched into gears, entering a mental state that could be called a combat mode.
Was it a defensive racial characteristic? A protective spell she had cast on herself? Had she resisted it normally? Had a magic item protected her? Or was it something else?
While one could not completely rule out the possibility that it might have been a coincidence, surely she could not have resisted it under her own power. Ainz had observed the three of them as they fought. While he did not think that he had the full measure of their abilities, Ainz was certain that they could not resist the power of his magic in a direct contest.
As Ainz mulled over the reasons for this, he felt that it would be best to stay on his guard and let his opponent make a move.
Perhaps he might discover something that could only be found here. He would like to see the trump card wielded by someone who could resist Ainz’s usual attack methods.
“Hmm… Well, it doesn’t matter what she did. What a waste of time. If I’d known, I would have left that woman alone and gone to help elsewhere. I was thinking that if I fought together with that woman, we could have put on a show of hard-fought triumph, so we would have spent a bit more time on the back and forth…”
A chatty undead being stood before her.
What kind of undead creature is this? …The undead couldn’t possibly ally themselves with humans. Is it being controlled by a necromancer? Still, that power…
While she had no idea what he had done, he had instantly killed two warriors who were on par with her. Could such a powerful undead being even be controlled?
If his finger pointed to her, would she be the one to perish next?
The only people she knew who could do this besides the Demon Emperor Jaldabaoth would be the archdemons who were his confidants.
–That’s impossible! Anyone who could control an undead creature who was on par with those mighty beings must be on the level of a god! How could such a necromancer exist?
If this human nation such a necromancer, how could the Demihuman Alliance have pressed their invasion so far?
Should I run? Should I take the chance to flee while he’s acting all relaxed? Or can I even escape?
She did not possess any spells which were handy for escape. After all, she had never been in such danger before and had not felt the importance of learning such spells.
In that case, the only way out is through!
She used her battlecry to rouse her spirit, and began to cast spells with her trembling lips.
There was a fourth-tier arcane spell called 「Silver Lance」. It was a physical-type spell, but since it possessed silver properties, it was a tremendously damaging spell against enemies who were weak against silver. In addition, it also had a special effect known as “piercing”, which made it do more damage to unarmored opponents. However, it also had the drawback that its damage could be reduced by armor.
Her trump card was altering this powerful spell to produce new, unique spells.
There was the 「Burn Lance」, which inflicted fire-element damage.
There was the 「Freeze Lance」, which inflicted cold-element damage.
There was the 「Shock Lance」, which inflicted lightning-element damage.
These three spells all did elemental damage, so armor could not reduce their potency, and they still retained the deadly “piercing” ability.
Of course, in keeping with their deadliness, those spells consumed far more mana than fourth-tier spells.
She activated three of these potent — to her — spells at once.
She was simultaneously casting three spells, each one of which used a significant amount of mana. In addition, simultaneously casting spells was very draining in itself, and as the shock of using huge quantities of mana hit her, she felt light and floaty, as though she were about to pass out.
The three lances flew toward the undead being — and then vanished without a trace.
She could not understand what had happened before her eyes. She could understand if it had taken damage, or shrugged it off. But this — this was like nothing had happened at all.
The lances had simply vanished.
“Eh? Eh? What? What what?”
“…I gave you all that time and this is the best you can do? Is this the ace up your sleeve? Hm. I guess I didn’t need to let you make the first move out of caution. Now then, there’s not much time left, so hurry up and die. 「Maximize Magic Reality Slash」.”
The world was darkness
She did not even know who she was
She wanted to open her eyes — but she did not know what eyes were
Darkness, the world, she did not know what any of them were
She did not know why she was thinking of these things
She knew nothing
She was vanishing
She did not know what “vanishing” meant
But she was vanishing
However, suddenly, she felt like she was being pulled by something
From above, from below, from the left, from the right, somewhere–
A world that had reached its completion was pulling her
A pitiful being who had been completed by the works of their friends
Someone who had sealed their thoughts away because they felt nothing was more important than that
And then — an explosion of white light dyed the world
There was a tremendous sense of loss —
A sense of separation from a whole–
Neia Baraja blinked several times, seeking to return her vacant field of vision to normal.
She sensed that something had happened, but she could not remember anything about it. However, she ought to have been fighting demihumans. What on earth had happened?
“…That was a dangerous place.”
As she heard that calm voice, Neia narrowed her eyes and looked up with an abnormally keen gaze.
It looked dark.
It was not the darkness a child would fear, but the darkness which granted peace to those who were tired.
It was the Sorcerer King Ainz Ooal Gown.
Neia reflexively reached up to him, like a worried child reaching for her parents–
“Neia Baraja. Do not force yourself to move. Let me take care of this place and rest.”
Behind him, she could see the demihumans frantically attacking the Sorcerer King, stabbing him with swords, hacking at him, punching him.
However, the Sorcerer King completely ignored them. He spoke to her as though nothing was happening.
The memory of Buser came to Neia’s mind.
The Sorcerer King reached into the sleeve of his robe and after a brief delay, he withdrew a poisonous-looking potion. Normally, potions were blue.
Neia did not question the Sorcerer King even as he poured that poisonous-looking potion on her. What the Sorcerer King did must surely be correct.
Reality turned out as she had imagined it. The purple potion that he poured on Neia’s body healed all her wounds instantly. It would seem the Sorcerous Kingdom’s potions were of a different color.
“While a full recovery is a long way off, you should recover your energy before that — what a pain. Tch. The militiamen are all dead… looks like there’s a few left over there. In that case…”
The Sorcerer King turned to face the demihumans as they attacked him from behind over and over again.
There was fighting all over the city at this very moment, and someone was dying with every second that passed. However, in that moment Neia completely forgot about that, because her eyes were stolen by the glorious back of the Sorcerer King who had risen to protect her.
Her unease and worries about the demihuman army were completely gone.
That was — what Neia had longed for.
So it was here all along. I see…
Neia was certain that she had found the perfect answer to the doubts that she had been holding on to all this time.
The Sorcerer King casually cast his spells.
A dazzling stroke of electricity raced along the top of the city wall. It was apparently a spell called 「Chain Dragon Lightning」.
眩目的雷电在都市壁上奔走通过，那个似乎是称为<连锁龙雷>[ Chain Dragon Lighting]的魔法。
The demihumans on the wall were swept away in one go, so easily that it was hard to imagine there had been a life-and-death struggle here earlier.
“Did… yhou… dhefeat… them… all?”
“No, there were some people still fighting some distance away, so I was trying not to catch them in it. However — 「Napalm」ah, that’s all of them. Next we have to deal with the idiots climbing up.「Widen Magic Wall of Skeleton」.”
「不，因为离这有一段距离的地方还有人在战斗，所以想办法不将他们卷入。所以全部——<焼夷>[ Napalm]啊啊……这下就是全部了。接着是解决掉爬上来的愚者们吗。<魔法效果范围扩大化．骸骨壁>[ Widen magic．Wall of skeleton]」
A wall of bones suddenly sprang up on the outside of the city wall, where the demihuman forces were. While she could not see the other side because her vision was blocked, she could hear the demihumans on the ladders wailing, followed by the sound of something falling and hitting the ground hard.
“Now to take care of their forces which are already in formation… I sent some undead over there before this, they’ll take care of it in short order.”
As he spoke, he took out another potion. It was completely different from the one just now, being stored in a beautiful, slender phial. While she had no idea what the potion inside it could do, it looked like it must be a very valuable item.
“I, ahm fhine, Yhour Mhajeshty…”
“…Enough of that. I’m sorry I was late in saving you.”
The Sorcerer King shielded the upper halves of his eye sockets like he was being dazzled as he poured out the contents of the bottle. The sense of weakness she had been feeling since just now melted away. However, her body still felt heavy. She felt like something had been scraped away from herself, but matching it — no, exceeding it — was a warmth in the core of her body.
She could get up like this. While her body still hurt so much that she was in tears, she could not remain in such a disgraceful posture in front of the person who had come to save her.
“Stop — Miss Baraja. There’s no need to force yourself to stand.”
While she wanted to get up, Neia obediently lay back down as her shoulders were pushed down.
“Yes, like that… I’ll get someone to carry you. –You lot, over here!”
The Sorcerer King waved to what seemed to be militiamen.
It was at this point that Neia realized that for the sake of expressing her gratitude, she had not yet asked a question which had to be asked.
“Your Majesty, will you be alright? You came to help us and used the mana you should have been saving to fight Jaldabaoth.”
“It’s fine. It couldn’t be helped, considering that it was for the sake of saving you.”
“Your Majesty…” A weighty stone seemed to have fallen from her chest. “I understand.”
“Hm? What is it?”
The Sorcerer King waited for Neia’s reply.
“I understand what justice is.”
“–Ah, so you’ve found the justice that belongs to you? That’s wonderful. …Protecting the weak, or something?”
His voice was full of tenderness, and so Neia replied with confidence.
“Your Highness is justice.”
For a moment, the Sorcerer King froze.
“I understand now! Your Highness is justice!”
“…Ah, is that so. You must be tired. Don’t you think it would be better to rest? You’ll think of strange things when you’re tired. Surely you won’t want to roll around on the bed and make weird noises after you calm down, right?”
“I’m a little tired, but more importantly, my heart has cleared up. I am absolutely certain that Your Highness is justice!”
“No, nono, I said so back then, but I’m not justice. Look, what they call justice ought to be a concept like protecting the weak is common sense, or something, That kind of… uh, abstract concept. Right? I mean, normally speaking.”
“No. Justice without power is meaningless, but power like what Jaldabaoth possesses is not justice either. Therefore, being strong, and using that strength to aid others is truly justice; in other words, Your Majesty is the incarnation of justice!”
As Neia’s eyes went wide while she spoke, the Sorcerer King suddenly raised his hand, and then placed it over Neia’s eyes like he was coaxing her to sleep. The cold sensation of his fingerbones made Neia’s cheeks relax into a smile.
“…Ah. If you shout too loud, won’t it make your wounds hurt? After this, we can slowly continue what you were talking about just now.”
“Yes! Your Majesty!”
She heard the sound of several footsteps, and by shifting her gaze, she saw the forms of paladins and militiamen approaching her.
“Your Highness! Thank you very much for coming here to help us!”
“Don’t mention it.”
As he answered, the Sorcerer King slowly rose to his feet. Neia felt lonely as he stood up and wanted to reach for the Sorcerer King’s robe, but then she realised that doing so would be terribly shameful and so she curbed herself.
“–No, actually, maybe you should. Therefore, I hope you will take Squire Baraja to a safe place in order to show your gratitude. While you can’t see it from here, I’ve already sent the undead I made into the demihuman encampment, so it should be alright for you to stand down for a while.”
“–Neia Baraja. And also, the people of this country. Let me handle the rest. I promise you that I will do my best to save the people of this city.”
The Sorcerer King floated lightly into the air.
“Also, there’s one more thing. Can you help me transport the bodies of those three demihumans over there? They were strong foes, so I want to study them carefully.”
The three corpses to which the Sorcerer King pointed looked like they had once been very imposing demihumans.
“Move them with their wargear. Don’t worry about being rough with them, but do not misplace their equipment. I’ll leave that to you.”
As he watched the Sorcerer King fly into the air, a paladin turned to Neia.
“Squire Neia Baraja, while we would like to carry you… the lack of materials for a stretcher makes things difficult, so can you stand?”
Neia slowly got to her feet. Her legs were trembling, and they ached as soon as they took her weight. Neia grabbed onto the shoulder of a militiaman and leaned on him.
Looking down from the city wall, the defensive unit that was supposed to be near the west gate was gone, and there were no bodies. The sound of clashing blades on the wind seemed to be coming from far away, so taking the shortest route down from the side tower ought to be alright.
Neia sought the form of the Sorcerer King who had disappeared into the sky, and as she thought that it was a shame that she could not see him, Neia entered the side tower.