Neia quietly closed the door to the Sorcerer King’s room and turned on her heel. And then… her body quivered.
She lightly patted her somewhat scalding cheeks to force her face to tighten up before it completely collapsed. One reason for that was because she knew how her relaxed face made others wary, while the other, more important reason was because it deeply embarrassed her.
Neia did not want to walk around outside with an unseemly look on her face. She would have to meet others later, so at the very least she had to look presentable.
More to the point, Neia was the squire of the Sorcerer King, so anything disgraceful that she did would also damage the Sorcerer King’s reputation.
Still, I’m only acting as his temporary squire, so it’s the Holy Kingdom which would be disgraced…
However, the people who hated the Sorcerer King would not think that way. As the saying went, one was blinded by one’s hate. Or rather, those who hated swords hated swordsmiths as well.
Neia did not want the Sorcerer King to regret the fact that she was his squire. In other words, all Neia had to do was her job.
As Neia headed for the place where she had arranged to meet, she thought incessantly about the kindness that the Sorcerer King had shown just now.
–Is that so, is that how it is, what a shame.
She had sensed deep regret from the Sorcerer King when he said those words back then. There was no way he could have been rattling them off casually.
…His Majesty really is a kind person…
The Sorcerer King had grieved for someone from another country who had died in battle as though she had been one of his own people. Where in the world could you find a king like that? Of course, Neia did not know any other kings, so perhaps that simply reflected her dreams.
For instance, if Neia and the others had held on a little longer, they would have been saved along with Neia, and that father who had lost his child would also have survived.
Neia was not unhappy that the Sorcerer King had been late in his rescue. In the first place, she was grateful for the fact that he had come to rescue her, because he had already said that he had to conserve his mana for the battle with Jaldabaoth. In addition, she had heard some of the militiamen in Remedios’ unit say that he had fought several powerful demihumans at the west gate before he had come to rescue Neia.
The Sorcerer King had fought two demihumans who could each kill a paladin in a single attack and another one whose strength was on par with that of the Holy Kingdom’s strongest paladin.
The militiaman telling Neia all this had been hard-pressed to hide his excitement as he rattled the proceedings off like a machine gun, and he added, “We’d all have been killed if not for the Sorcerer King.”
Indeed. Neia felt her panties moisten.
The Sorcerer King had gone elsewhere to help others before coming to save Neia.
While she was slightly disappointed that the Sorcerer King had not prioritized helping her, it was wrong to feel that way. The defense of the city wall was important, but it would be a far worse matter if the city gate were to fall. If the gate had been breached and the demihumans managed to get into the city, there would have been merciless slaughters everywhere.
Anyone with any sense would have prioritized the city gate to save more lives.
People who acted according to logic were more reliable than people who were ruled by their emotions.
That’s the Sorcerer King for you!
Neia thought of the strongest paladin in her country.
Comparing His Majesty to a retard like that is an insult to him!
After that, the Sorcerer King had also hunted down the few demihumans who had made it into the city, and many people had been saved as a result. In fact–
“Ohhh! Squire-sama! Did you tell His Majesty for us?”
It would seem that Neia had reached her meeting point while she was pondering how cool the Sorcerer King had been.
In a certain sector of the city, six men gathered on a street which still smelled of the battlefield.
They addressed Neia like they had been waiting anxiously for her. In fact, they had actually been very anxious
“Yes, I’ve relayed your gratitude to His Majesty.”
Several people unconsciously went on the defensive as Neia looked at them, but after hearing her words, they smiled and thanked her.
“Ah, thank you very much. It’s hard to thank the king of another nation. Ah, although, it’s hard to thank even the Holy Queen-sama.”
“That’s true, you can’t even see her, to say nothing of actually thanking her.”
The people before her had ages which ranged from 14 to 40. However, all of them were squad leaders. Some of them had even been professional soldiers once.
Judging by their attitude, they did not feel any sense of dread toward the Sorcerer King because he was undead.
It was true that some people were still wary of the Sorcerer King because of his undead nature. In addition, people like that were more common among the smallfolk than the priests or paladin. They often said that the Sorcerer King was being kind in order to betray them at the right moment, and other such things.
However, Neia felt that their reaction was because they did not understand the Sorcerer King and had simply acted out of the usual disdain for the undead. The reason for that was the group of people before her. There were many people who had changed their way of thinking once they got to know the Sorcerer King.
“No, please don’t worry about it. I simply conveyed your gratitude intact to His Majesty. Ah, yes, His Majesty said that your thanks made him very happy.”
There were bashful looks on the representatives from the militiamen.
“Nonono, we’re the ones who should be happy… oh, what should we do…”
“That’s right, His Majesty really is compassionate. I’m embarrassed by how we used to fear His Majesty because he was undead.”
“Indeed, his Majesty is a kind person. However, I hope you will not expect such good fortune to happen again and again. After all, His Majesty did say that he had used a great deal of mana in this battle, and he would not be able to help you again next time.”
The group’s faces immediately sobered up.
“So we might not have His Majesty’s help next time… this is bad.”
“A lot of people will be afraid if they know they can’t borrow His Majesty’s power. My team especially.”
“You aren’t the only one. It’s the same on my side too… we can’t tell them about this.”
Neia quietly addressed the shaken group.
“Everyone, I have come to understand one thing. That is: weakness itself is a sin.”
Neia slowly explained herself to the people who had puzzled looks on their faces.
“Do you get it? If we were strong enough, things would not have gotten to where they are now. We could have saved our parents, our children, our wives, our friends, we could have saved all of them with our own strength. The Sorcerer King once said that we are the ones who value the things important to us the most highly. After all, His Majesty is not the king of this country, and he simply came to assist us for a special reason.”
Neia took a breath.
Neia raised her voice, in order to let the people watching her and the people of the Holy Kingdom passing by hear her words.
“…When the Sorcerer King defeats Jaldabaoth and returns to his own country, what will we do when the demihumans attack again? Will we cry and beg the Sorcerer King, the king of another country, for help once more? For all we know, the Sorcerer King might not help us next time. That’s because this time was an exception. Have you ever heard of a country’s king working so hard for another nation?”
Nobody answered Neia, because such a thing did not exist at all.
“Maybe you don’t feel happy that a girl like me is telling you this. But who else can protect the things that are important to you other than yourselves? That’s why I feel we need to become stronger. We need to be strong enough to protect others, strong enough that we don’t need to rely on the Sorcerer King’s strength.”
“Yes, you’re right. Exactly. I’m going to train myself.”
“Ah, me too. Next time, I’ll be the one to protect my wife and kids.”
“…I want to train too. I didn’t want to when I was first conscripted… but now I feel glad that I was drafted.”
“Still, the Sorcerer King does make a lot of sense. Valuing the things important to us… mm, when you think about it, that really is true.”
“So if someone else values my wife the most highly, I have to kill him, then?”
“…I, I don’t think so, right? I don’t think the Sorcerer King was talking about something like that, right?”
“…Hey, I’m just kidding, you know?”
“It didn’t sound like a joke…”
As the crowd laughed, Neia made a suggestion.
“Everyone, would you like to train with me? While I can’t teach you all swordsmanship, I know a thing or two about archery.”
Weakness was a sin. That was because the weak only created problems for the Sorcerer King, who was justice. In that case, all they had to do was become strong. She could not allow herself to cause trouble for the Sorcerer King next time. She had to allow His Majesty to focus on fighting Jaldabaoth. That was what she ought to do, as a squire.
“Ah, that’s a good idea.”
“We need to become strong. I’ll protect my family next time.”
“–Why are you all gathering here? Are you discussing something?”
“Ah — Captain.”
After being questioned out of nowhere, Neia looked back and saw Remedios Custodio standing behind her. In fact, Neia had heard her footsteps approaching, but she had not thought that it would be Remedios.
Someone annoying showed up, Neia thought as she tried to keep her face from showing how she felt. The militiamen representatives, on the other hand, looked like they were in distress.
“Can’t you answer my question?”
“Yes, ma’am! I was telling these gentlemen that I had conveyed their gratitude to His Majesty.”
“To him, you say?”
“…It is hardly appropriate to address the king of another nation as ‘him’.”
Remedios glared at Neia.
“The strong protecting the weak is common sense, is it not?”
“…I do not know if it is common sense, but I feel that only the strong are qualified to say such things, and not the weak.”
“What!? Are you saying that I’m weak?”
“Yes,” Neia replied on the spot. “Compared to His Majesty, you are weak… Captain, have I said something wrong?”
Neia stared back forcefully at Remedios.
“Hmph, it doesn’t matter if you want to be friends with the Sorcerer King, but he’s undead, you know that, right? A monster who inhabits a different world from the living.”
“Yes, I know that.”
“I said that because I was worried about you. It seems it was for nothing.”
While Remedios looked like she was disappointed, it felt very fake to Neia. That was not what the paladin before her really thought.
“I’m certain you must be busy with many things, Captain, and I would not dare take up your time. In addition, I have things to tell the others. Would it not be better for yourself to move on to the other places you have to be, Captain?
“…Very well then. You lot, it’s only natural for the Sorcerer King to help you. You don’t need to think too much about it, got that?”
Remedios left after saying so. As they watched her go, someone from the militia representatives spoke up.
“How should I say this… that was amazing… is that the strongest paladin of this country…”
“Yes, that’s what she is.”
After hearing the representative speak his mind, Neia unconsciously replied to him. After that, the militia representatives covered their faces with their hands. It would seem they had suffered quite a shock.
Although Neia had not done anything wrong, she still felt a little guilty.
“The, the paladins aren’t, aren’t all like that. How shall I put it… she’s a special education case. And she’s… ah, like that. Yes.”
“It’s hard for you, Squire-sama… I’d like to buy you a drink, if you can drink.”
“I appreciate your goodwill… uh, where was I again? Yes, training together. I can find a way to borrow a training area and equipment. Can I contact you later once everything’s ready?”
“We’ll let you handle that”, “Alright, we’ll wait,” the men answered cheerily.
Neia smoothly drew her bowstring.
She turned her keen gaze toon the target, and she could see the silent white wisps of her breath drawn to the edges of her vision by the wind, where it disappeared. Spring was close, but the weather was still cold.
Neia buried the random notions in her mind deep within her, staring at the target in a state of no-thought, and then she slowly drew herself back.
During the defense of the city, Neia had come to understand that nobody had time to slowly take aim on the battlefield, but right now they were training to improve their accuracy, so quick-fire drills could be left for another time.
And then — she released her arrow.
The arrow whistled as it tore through the air and flew in a straight line that ended in it striking the target dead on.
Hoo, Neia exhaled.
Of the ten arrows she had fired, not a single one had been off target.
This was an outstanding accuracy rate, but Neia took no joy in it.
She could not do it in the past, but right now, Neia could even split the arrow she had just launched. Of course, she would damage the arrow if she did that, so she did not.
The reason why she had ended up like this, why she could do something that was previously impossible for her was because after that battle, she was not just capable of archery, but of harnessing what they called divine power. However, the strange thing was that it was slightly different from the abilities that paladins were said to possess. This was because normally, paladins could only channel their powers through melee weapons, while she could imbue ranged weapons with her powers.
While she did not quite understand what that meant, the Sorcerer King had seemed quite happy when he had heard about this. Still, even the Sorcerer King had only said, “It’s hard to tell from just that, let me know if other abilities awaken.”
Applause rang out, and Neia smiled bitterly, because she felt uncomfortable.
“Wow, you’re amazing, Baraja-chan.”
“Oh yes, it’s the first time I’ve seen anyone with such great shooting, nobody in my village could do that.”
“Ahh, it’s true. I used to be a hunter by trade, and I knew a few people in my own right, but none of them had Baraja-chan’s skills.”
The people praising Neia were the majority of the people practicing archery in the same training field as Neia. Many of their faces had not been seen on these streets during the defense of the city three weeks ago.
The reason for that was because people were being rescued from the nearby prison camps and the city’s population has risen swiftly as a result. The people among them with a talent for archery or who had used bows before were drafted into archery units and placed under Neia’s command.
Normally, people would balk at being made subordinate to a squire girl, especially if some of them were old enough to be her father. However, none of the men — and women — gathered here protested.
The main reason was because nobody dared voice any objections after being subjected to her vicious gaze, and also because they had to acknowledge her skill with the bow. Some of them were even more grateful to Neia after learning that she was the Sorcerer King’s squire.
There were also some who were afraid she was undead because they had heard that she was the Sorcerer King’s squire, but not everyone was like that.
In these three weeks, the paladins had been sent out to liberate prison camps, but at the same time, the Sorcerer King and Neia had also gone out to attack camps and rescue prisoners.
When the Sorcerer King had first broached the subject, there had been a shocking number of objections. However, the Sorcerer King then said, “Now that the Demihuman Alliance is short on manpower, they will start to execute the captives if they judge that they lack the ability to run the prison camps, so they must be rescued without delay”, and that had convinced Caspond to accept the Sorcerer King’s suggestion and send the two of them out.
Neia had originally wanted to argue that the Sorcerer King ought to conserve his mana in order to battle Jaldabaoth. However, Neia admired how he acted to protect the people of another country and felt the justice emanating from him, so she could not bring herself to stop him.
And so, Neia and the Sorcerer King had freed many captives and brought them to this city. For this reason, there were people who were happy to serve under Neia.
“Ahhh~ I ought to learn a few things from Baraja-chan.”
“Yeah, that’s right. She’s amazing. Also, that bow you borrowed from the Sorcerer King — the Ultimate Shootingstar Super — you can do even more amazing things with that bow, right?”
「是啊、没错。真是太出色了。而且从魔导王陛下那借来的那把弓——终极超级流星[Ultimate Shootingstar Super]，使用那把弓的话就能发挥出更惊人的力量l 吧？」
“The Ultimate Shootingstar Super, huh. What an amazing bow…”
All their eyes went to the bow stowed behind Neia’s back — the Ultimate Shootingstar Super.
She ought to have used it during her training, but she had avoided doing so because she did not want to rely too heavily on her weapon.
“Yes, during the battle for the city walls, it was thanks to the Ultimate Shootingstar Super that I was able to survive until His Majesty arrived… no, that’s not it. It wasn’t just the Ultimate Shootingstar Super, but the armor I borrowed from His Majesty and all his other items that helped me too…”
Neia caressed Buser’s armor.
“This armor came from a renowned demihuman, it looks amazing to me no matter how many times I look at it…”
“She let me touch it once, and its hardness is amazing. I chopped at it with a sword and it just bounced off.”
“Seriously? I’ve never heard that before?”
As Neia’s wargear became a hot topic, she clapped to get everyone’s attention.
“Alright, enough chitchat, back to training. According to the Sorcerer King, Jaldabaoth’s preparing to make another move soon, so we can’t waste a single moment.
There was a chorus of acknowledgements.
“Alright, it’s time to begin practical shooting. Let’s start, everyone.”
As she watched her subordinates — the word sounded really grand, and it embarrassed her a little — disperse, Neia removed the item which covered half her face. It was an item she had borrowed from the Sorcerer King.
This magic item was a visor-shaped set of mirrorshades that allowed her to use a special ability known as the Serpent Shot once every three minutes. It was a technique that allowed an arrow to twist and turn in front of one’s opponent, like an animal bringing down its prey.
是眼罩型遮阳镜[Visor Mirror Shade]般形状的魔法道具，三分钟一次、变得能使用名为蛇射的特殊技术。在对手的面前打弯、宛如捕获猎物般射向对手的招式。
She was not too sure what it did because she had not fired it at anyone, but in all likelihood, one would need to be very agile to avoid it.
It was a very handy item for someone like Neia, who used the bow as her main weapon, but more importantly, the fact that it hid her eyes was amazing. Or rather, without that item, she could not have gotten along so well with the others.
Neia put her visor on, and took up her bow again.
Everyone here was experienced, and now that time was tight, she did not need to instruct them on the finer points of finger positioning. She had touched briefly on how to fire quickly, and after that all that was needed was to give them individual coaching and have them practice until their fingers ached. The most important thing for them was to accumulate shooting experience.
As usual, Neia wondered about requesting healing magic from the priests as she loosed an arrow.
Just at that moment, Neia’s keen ears picked up a noise.
It had come from the outside. While Neia’s shooting form nearly broke down, she managed to keep it together. It might not have been what she expected, and even if it was the person she had hoped to meet, they might have only been passing by, and not intended to come here.
However, the being that appeared at the door to the training yard was the great king with the skeletal face — the Sorcerer King.
In the beginning, everyone had feared the undead, but many of them had been rescued by the Sorcerer King during the defense of the city and from the prison camps. The clamor of respectful and thankful voices soon came to herald the arrival of the Sorcerer King.
However, nobody stopped practicing. Normally, they would have knelt before the Sorcerer King when he appeared, but the Sorcerer King himself had put a stop to it.
This isn’t a public place, so you don’t need to do that when I’m just showing my face, am I wrong?
No king, especially the savior of a nation should have been treated that way.
Even so, the Sorcerer King had said that they did not need to do so.
What a great person he is…
After sighing in awe, Neia went to the Sorcerer King’s side, and forced her slackening face to tighten up.
She kept her visor on.
That was because the Sorcerer King had said that she ought to be ready to fight at any time, so she did not need to take it off.
He was probably concerned about whether she could use a magic item like it was part of her own body and thinking that she ought to be on guard no matter what unexpected things happened. Neia was deeply impressed by the depth of the Sorcerer King’s considerations.
Neia understood that the Sorcerer King’s eyes had gone from looking into his hands to herself as she ran over. For some reason, observing the Sorcerer King’s habitual movements made Neia a little happy.
The thought that she understood the tiny quirks of an extraordinary individual made Neia’s cheeks relax.
“Your Majesty! We are grateful that you have chosen to visit this place in person!”
Neia was still the Sorcerer King’s squire, even after being appointed the commander of the archery unit. That said, it was hard to say that she had done a squire’s job properly, while leaving his side to train others in archery instead, not to mention she had even made him come here instead.
Neia wanted to prioritize her work as the Sorcerer King’s squire, but instead she had chosen to do this, because she no longer wanted to be a burden to him. And there was also another reason, which she had not told anyone else.
That was because the Sorcerer King refused to have anyone except Neia serve as his follower. He had said that to Caspond’s face with Neia in attendance.
As more and more people gathered, there were many more skilful or charming people than this mad-eyed maiden. Even so, he had said that Neia would be fine. The person she viewed as justice had said that about her.
Could anything have made her happier?
“–Umu. While I know you’re being humble, I don’t think this is a mere ‘place’. After all, it is where you sharpen your fangs, is it not?”
“Thank you very much, Your Majesty!”
She looked around — perhaps it would be disrespectful to look away from the Sorcerer King, but the visor she wore made it possible — and saw that her people had heard it and the tips of their ears were turning red. The problem was that their performance deteriorated, possibly because they were nervous, or because they had stiffened up their shoulders in order to look good for the Sorcerer King.
That said, her own ears felt a little hot too.
“…Miss Baraja. Your men have made a great deal of progress since last time. Surely that must be your accomplishment as their leader.”
His pleasantries both embarrassed Neia and left her at a loss for how to answer.
It would be embarrassing to say that they got nervous and can’t show their full ability because Your Majesty arrived. They would think so too.
Therefore, Neia decided to take his words as they were given. However–
“No, it’s nothing of the sort. I hardly taught them anything. They could have done that by themselves.”
“Is that so? Well, if you say so, then it must be true.”
In other words — the Sorcerer King did not think so. Which meant that the Sorcerer King thought very highly of Neia.
Neia raised her voice a little to try and hide her soaring emotions.
“In, in that case, Your Majesty, does your presence here mean that the meeting is already over?”
“Ah, yes. They’re done for the day, but that said, I did not make any special suggestions.”
Right now, this city had a mountain of problems, all of which stemmed from the increasing population of the city. The original population of this small city of Lloyds had been less than 20’000, but after gathering the people from the liberated camps, it was now in excess of 150’000.
The most recent of these overpopulation problems was the slimes used in the sewers — the Sanitary Slimes — whose own population had surged due to an abundance in food and had thus caused a panic when they erupted from the waterways.
When the slime population grew, they were typically burned back down with magic items, but the unexpectedly rapid growth meant that this was not done in time and several men and women had been attacked.
When these men and women were surrounded by the slimes, a group of rubbish-clearing monsters called the Filth Eaters appeared from the sewers to help them.
Unlike how they appeared, the Filth Eaters were intelligent monsters, and they knew that humans could produce a great deal of their food, and so they saved the people with their acidic bodies.
However, the people were not grateful to the Filth Eaters. That was because Sanitary Slimes were not infectious themselves, but the Filth Eaters who helped them were colonies of pathogens. Thus, the people they had helped had been infected by disease and were in a very bad state, particularly those who had contracted encephalitis.
In addition, it was winter now, so firewood and other fuels were scarce. Then there was the fact that there had been delays in the construction of housing. While there was no food shortage yet, that would become a danger in the future.
The Sorcerer King had been invited to many of the meetings to deal with these problems, possibly because they were counting on his prodigious knowledge to solve their problems.
While the Sorcerer King had simply said that he did not know that much and had merely sat aside to listen, such a person could not have been summoned to meetings time and time again.
The fact that he conducted himself so humbly despite being the king of a nation only deepened Neia’s respect for him.
“What do you intend to do next, Your Majesty?”
“Umu. I had intended to see if the moving of logs was going well… Are you busy with practice, Miss Baraja? If you don’t mind, would you like to accompany me?”
In order to solve the lack of fuel and housing, they were using the Sorcerer King’s undead horses to transport logs from a distant forest. Initially, many people had been averse to using undead horses for transport, but now there was a steady stream of praise for the merits of these undead horses.
“Ah, please allow me to go with you! I am Your Majesty’s Squire, after all!”
The knowledge that she would be able to perform her squirely duties at long last and her delight at being alone with the Sorcerer King caused Neia to unconsciously speak faster and louder. As a result, Neia’s ears burned.
“Is, is that so? Then let us proceed.”
Then, as though to interrupt her, a sky-blackening inferno erupted in the distance.
For a moment, Neia wondered what was burning.
But that was wrong. She had been too far off. That could not have been caused by any form of natural combustion.
That fire seemed to be enveloping the city. In other words, it was a wall of fire — Neia’s mind immediately recalled what the members of Blue Rose had said.
“–Your Majesty! That’s–”
“Ah, it is as you are thinking, and the same as what I heard from Momon… the time has come at last. It seems that bastard Jaldabaoth is attacking. Miss Baraja, I’m heading out.”
Had he anticipated this series of events? As though influenced by the Sorcerer King’s calm attitude, Neia’s heart calmed down as well. Or no, it would be better to say that the presence of a supreme being like the Sorcerer King gave her peace of mind.
“Ah — hm. Jaldabaoth’s aim is still unclear. So, ah — he might just be here to slaughter indiscriminately. However, if he has an objective, he’ll either be targeting me or the Holy Kingdom’s leadership, so it would be best if we met up. Tell your men to get ready for battle and then have them flee to a safe district.”
“They’ll be of no use against Jaldabaoth. In that case, it would be better to have them prepare to deal with any demons which might appear. Since the city will probably be in chaos now, once you form up your unit, won’t it be better to have them head outside the city?”
While his words had been unclear at first, perhaps he had organized his thoughts later on, because the middle part onwards was a nonstop series of instructions to Neia.
“Yes! Thank you very much, Your Majesty! Alright, everyone!”
While they had made plans in case Jaldabaoth led an army against them, they had not expected a blaze to surround the entire city. Another big problem was the fact that they did not know the extent of the preparations that the enemy had made.
Neia gave her instructions. There was only a single squad here and they could not do as they pleased, but as a team leader, she had a responsibility to do several things before her orders came.
The instructions were something like this:
Everyone in the squad was to take their families and head to the east gate, because if the enemy attacked, it was more likely that they would attack from the west gate. After that, they would form up at the east gate, and if there were demons outside the east gate, they would climb the walls near the east gate and attack them. In addition, they were to listen to Neia’s adjutant until she arrived and adapt to changes in the battlefield conditions.
Neia’s subordinates obeyed her instructions and moved swiftly into action.
After giving her orders, Neia turned back and saw that the Sorcerer King’s eyes were on his hands, while he had used a flight spell to rise to somewhere around the level of Neia’s head.
“Your Majesty! Let me go with you!”
Perhaps he was startled by Neia’s shout, but the Sorcerer King suddenly closed his hand and a quiet sound came from within.
“Hmm… well, alright.”
The Sorcerer King cast a flying spell on Neia as well. In that moment, she realised the greatness of magic as she learned what it was to fly.
Neia and the Sorcerer King moved as though they were skimming along the ground. They did not leave the surface except to soar over crowds of people, who had descended into chaos, because they could not get a grip on the situation. The reason for that was because flying in the air without cover made them very obvious, and if there were demons about, they might be subjected to attack spells from all directions.
Neia bit her lip in unhappiness, feeling like she was being a burden. Whatever spells the demons used, they could not possibly pose a problem for the Sorcerer King. She could not help but think that he had chosen to go the long way around instead of flying directly to his destination because she was around.
Eventually, they reached their destination — the headquarters, which also doubled as Caspond’s chambers.
The two paladins at the door had their hands full trying to manage the people jammed up near the door.
“Miss Baraja, we’ll go in from above.”
After seeing that it would be a little difficult to enter from the front door, the two of them floated up and arrived at the balcony. Just then, the window facing them opened up.
“Your Majesty! Thank you for coming.”
It was a paladin.”
“Are the others here yet?”
“No, Your Majesty. The priests are assembling. Vice-Captain Montagnes is off to liberate a prison camp and isn’t expected to return today. Right now, only Captain Custodio and Caspond-denka are present.”
“Is that so. Still, it’s good that the two of them are here. Lead the way.”
After the paladin led them to Caspond’s room, they could hear a loud discussion through the door. It seemed quite chaotic.
The paladin opened the door for them, and over a dozen pairs of bloodshot eyes greeted them.
“Sorry I’m late. We’re out of time, so what plans were you discussing just now?”
Everyone looked at each other, and Caspond spoke up on their behalf.
“We have not spotted Jaldabaoth yet. Your Majesty, could this fire have been made by a magic item or a demon other than Jaldabaoth?”
“I am unsure. After all, even I could not do such a thing.”
The others were shaken. The Sorcerer King employed magic that surpassed the imagination. How powerful must Jaldabaoth be if he could use a spell that even the Sorcerer King could not?
“In that case, what effects does that fire have? Blue Rose said that they managed to pass through it, then surely normal people can do so as well, right?”
After saying so, Remedios turned to look straight at the Sorcerer King.
“That won’t be a problem. As for its effects, demons standing inside the fire benefit from improved attributes, negative-karma spells will do more damage, item drop rates will increase and many other effects. But according to the results from the investigation team, none of those effects exist. However, it still remains to be seen whether it has any other effects.”
“Which means we can freely move in and out, right?”
“Hm? Didn’t I say that at the beginning?”
“In that case, we ought to evacuate as long as there are no demihumans or demons around, and then form up into units there. After all, I heard that demons appeared within the area surrounded by the fire when it was last seen in the Kingdom. Let’s go with that plan of action, everyone.”
After giving the paladins their orders, he asked the Sorcerer King again, “Can you use your magic to pinpoint Jaldabaoth’s location, Your Majesty?”
“If I could, I wouldn’t need to stay in this city now, would I?”
“You have a point.”
Just as the Sorcerer King was dealing with one question after another, everyone heard an ominous creaking.
It started out quietly enough, and then it steadily grew to drown out the clamor in the room. One by one, they realised that the sound had died down, and finally, in the silence, the only thing that remained was the sound of creaking.
Everyone looked around nervously in all directions, and just then, Neia noticed something odd on the outside wall of the building and exclaimed an “Ah–”
A crack appeared on the wall, and as everyone watched, it began to spread. The wall bulged, and then–
“Everyone, get away!”
Just as Remedios shouted, the Sorcerer King stood in front of Neia.
The wall broke apart and there was an explosion. Bricks flew through the room like a spray of shotgun pellets. Groans filled the air; they came from those people who had been hit by the high-speed chunks of bricks.
If the Sorcerer King had not shielded Neia with his body, Neia might have ended up groaning on the ground with them.
The Sorcerer King held up his hand to stop Neia before she could thank him, and then he pointed at the smoke-billowing gap in the wall to draw her attention there.
There was a gigantic silhouette there, the color of a roaring blaze.
“–Thank you for the warm welcome, humans.”
It was a deep and powerful voice.
As though cutting through the smoke, that being calmly poked itself through the hole in the outside wall and entered the room.
It was — a demon.
Due to his size, he had to bend down in order to barely fit inside the room. His posture looked a little stupid, but now was definitely not the time for laughter. Her throat could not work properly; she wanted to swallow the saliva pooling in her mouth, but it stuck there instead.
This was an overwhelming gathering of power.
Neia had never been very good at judging the strength of her foes relative to herself, but she understood that she could not win against him even with tens of thousands of Neias. She was swallowed by a swell of might comparable to the Sorcerer King after removing his ring, and she could not move a muscle.
It was then that she realised who she was facing.
That, that’s Jaldabaoth… the Demon Emperor Jaldabaoth…
His face was filled with wrath, his wings were red, and his burning arms — he seemed to be holding something in one hand, and Neia could not help but doubt her eyes.
That was — though she dared not believe it — a lower body. It emanated a vile stench, one of advanced decay.
It was a shout — no, a scream. It was a sound that only one who had burst the shackles on their emotions and fallen into madness would make. It came from behind Neia.
Neia’s back shuddered. The person making that sound was Remedios.
Remedios raised her holy sword high and charged straight at Jaldabaoth, not caring about her own defense.
This was too rash. Even Neia, who was not skilled with swords, felt that it was a foolish charge.
Those weighty, quiet words were accompanied by the sound of splashing sound. At the same time, Remedios flew in a straight line and crashed into a wall. Her impact made such a crash that it seemed as though the entire building would collapse. After that, Remedios — who had been swatted aside like a fly — collapsed limply from the wall.
It would seem Jaldabaoth had sent Remedios flying with the object that looked like a human’s lower body.
Neia would surely have died if she had taken that hit. But as expected of the country’s strongest paladin, her life did not seem to be in danger.
However, in its place, a revolting odor began to spread through the air.
The room was filled with chunks of meat from the decayed lower body that Jaldabaoth had used to strike Remedios.
“Ahh… what a mess. I sincerely apologize for getting the room dirty. Of course, it would not have ended up like this if that woman had not charged at me without thinking — well, that’s just an excuse. Please forgive me.”
Jaldabaoth slowly bowed his head. He seemed genuinely apologetic, but that only made everyone else more afraid.
And then, he casually dumped what he was holding — something that looked like the charred remains of a human ankle — to the ground.
“My my, I guess I got too excited when swinging it around and the top half flew off somewhere. It’s a dirty little thing, so I’ve been looking for a chance to dispose of it… but in the end I managed to make good use of her. Am I not a kind demon? She must be thanking me from the afterlife.”
Jaldabaoth muttered to himself.
Remedios touched herself as she wailed in anguish, fresh blood streaming from the corner of her mouth. No, she was collecting the chunks of meat that were stuck to her. What was she doing? Had she lost her mind at last, Neia wondered.
No, there was a method to her seeming madness.
Don’t tell me, that corpse was… how could this be…
Although the lower body had tattered bits of what looked like armor stuck to it, it should have belonged to a woman. In that case, she could imagine two people that it could have been.
If that was really the case…
“What a lovely sound,” Jaldabaoth waved his hand like a conductor. “In that case, I believe this is the first time we have met, Sorcerer King Ainz Ooal Gown-dono — or perhaps -sama would be a better form of address?”
“It doesn’t matter. Now then, I trust you’re here for a showdown with me?”
“Indeed. No amount of weaklings will make a difference.”
“I concur on that point. I have no intention of generating meaningless deaths.”
Still sniffling, Remedios looked towards the Sorcerer King.
“Your Majesty, you are strong. Stronger even than Momon. I hope you will allow me to adopt a strategy that will guarantee my victory.”
Jaldabaoth raised his hand, and a head poked itself through the hole.
It was a woman wearing a mask and a maid’s outfit. There were two of them, in fact.
“I trust you will not call me despicable?”
“–Uh, hm. Well, this is… mhm… uh… um.”
The Sorcerer King was starting to get worried. That was only to be expected.
Nobody could have expected Jaldabaoth to arrive with his maid demons in tow. However–
That’s probably not the case. The Sorcerer King is wise, and he must have anticipated this. In that case, why is he like this? Could it be that it’s because we’re here? Perhaps he’s not confident of protecting us all as well, so he’s worried!
“Your Majesty, please do not worry about us.”
The Sorcerer King made a tiny exclamation of surprise.
Neia knew very well that the maid demons were beings who could kill everyone in this room, and they were so powerful that she could not be at ease even if someone told her not to worry. Compared to someone on the Sorcerer King’s level, Neia and the others, probably including Remedios, were little more than valueless pawns.
However — she would rather die than get in his way.
She had once heard that the Sorcerer King’s subordinates were prepared to die if they became hostages. While the Sorcerer King said he had felt distressed by it, Neia could finally understand how his subordinates had felt. They did not want to become a burden to the person they respected.
“Hahaha! Do not worry, humans. I will torture you all to death afterwards. We will be waiting in the fountain at the center of town. Of course, you may flee if you wish, Sorcerer King.”
“I take those words and return them to you, Jaldabaoth.”
The Sorcerer King and Jaldabaoth stared each other down.
After that, Jaldabaoth turned — and Remedios jumped up, her holy sword in hand, and rushed at him.
The weakly-glowing holy sword looked like a band of flowing light.
And then, she stabbed it into Jaldabaoth’s back.
“What’s this? This is… Are you satisfied?”
–It was a cold, flat voice.
“Why… why… after taking a strike from the holy sword… you should be evil…”
Remedios’ back looked far too tiny and insignificant in comparison.
“I have no idea what to make of that. Why? What do you mean by why? It felt like a little prick, how about that? If you’re done, would you mind getting out of the way? I don’t intend to kill you here. I’ll decide after I kill the Sorcerer King.”
Jaldabaoth paid no heed to Remedios and spread his enormous, fiery wings before flying off. The maid demons followed him.
“…Then I’ll be going too. You should go take shelter so you don’t get caught up in the fighting. While I don’t think it’ll be a problem, I hope you’ll understand if this city ends up wrecked.”
“Your Majesty, will it be alright?”
Caspond rose from where he had dived for cover to avoid the debris flying about the room. His eyes looked at Remedios, who looked utterly defeated and could not rise to her feet.
“It’ll be fine — I can’t say that for sure, but there ought to be a chance. It would have been very troublesome if he’d brought the demihumans along as shields. Looks like he’s still underestimating me, and this is also a chance to bring the maid demons into my fold.
“It’ll be fine. It’s okay. My sister is still here. Kelart is still here. As long as she’s around, Calca-sama might…”
Remedios smacked her face as she muttered to herself, and then she forcefully rose to her feet.
“Sorcerer King! I’ll go too! Lend me a weapon that can harm him! I’ll become your sword for the time being!”
The Sorcerer King looked at Remedios, her eyes bloodshot and filled with hate, and then shook his head.
“…Forget about it. You would only get in the way.”
“What are you saying!?”
“Do you not understand? I speak of the disparity in strength. Or do you mean to say you understand it, but refuse to accept it? Simply put — you are a burden.”
Remedios glared at the Sorcerer King like he was her nemesis.
The Sorcerer King’s words were very harsh, but they were also true. Or rather, they were hard to accept precisely because they were true.
“Captain Remedios! I have another task for you. Evacuate these people outside the city!”
Caspond gave the order in a stern, commanding tone.
“The plan was to let His Majesty handle Jaldabaoth. You agreed to that too, didn’t you?”
“…Ahh, I know,” Remedios bit her lip, and then she forced out her next words. “You must kill that bastard.”
“–Paladins, carefully gather the remains of that body. Don’t leave a single piece behind.”
“Captain… that body is…”
The paladin had an idea of what was going on, and ventured his question in a trembling voice. Remedios replied in a tone that seemed to be telling him not to ask any more.
“Don’t forget that there might be demonic trickery at work.”
Remedios left without looking back. Several paladins followed her, with half-frightened looks on their faces.
“Your Majesty, I sincerely apologize for the way she treated you… May I apologize on her behalf?” Caspond lowered his head. “Please, I beg your forgiveness.”
“…I accept your apology. Now then, hurry up and evacuate. If he has to wait too long, he might decide to go back on his word. I’ll be heading off first to buy time, but I hope you understand that I can only give you about 30 minutes.”
“I understand. Everyone heard that? Get moving!”
Several priests and paladins moved out with Caspond.
The only people left in the room were the Sorcerer King and Neia, as well as several paladins and priests who were stuffing the remains of a certain someone’s body into a bag. In that case–
“Your Majesty, may I come with you!?”
There were gasps of awe and sudden intakes of air from all around her. But Neia ignored those irrelevant people. She took off her visor and looked straight at the Sorcerer King.
“…Umu. I cannot. He may have said all that just now, but he’s a demon. If pressed, he will reveal his true nature and use you as a hostage.
“But if that happens, Your Majesty will kill me without hesitation, will you not?”
“When you say that with such a serious look on your face, you make me sound like a cruel person. Well, if I can’t save you, I’ll discard you. I’ll hit you with an attack spell as well.”
“In that case–”
“–I am not doing this because I want to kill hostages, you know?”
“Ah! Forgive me…”
That was how it was. He would do it because it was the best choice available. If there were a better alternative, this merciful man would surely choose that instead. Thus, not letting Neia accompany him was because it was the best of the best alternatives.
“But… Your Majesty, you have used many spells and even your magic items and mana in order to free this city. As a magic caster, surely you must be weakened now. Will that be alright?”
“Mhm! Indeed, it might be dangerous, but I came here to defeat Jaldabaoth. Fortunately, he came to find me instead. Now I’ll destroy him and mape the raids… ugh, saying that I want the maids makes me sound like a dirty old man, hm…”
Neia smiled bitterly at the Sorcerer King, who could still make a lame joke at a time like this. She wanted to speak, but the Sorcerer King cut her off with a raise of his hand.
“Besides, I’ll be a laughingstock if I run away here.”
The Sorcerer King shrugged, like he was kidding. Neia sensed that he was not being serious, and so she raised her voice.
“Your Majesty! If they want to laugh, let them! I humbly submit that you should only fight him in top condition! Also, you came here to battle Jaldabaoth, but you ended up using a vast amount of mana and strength on the behalf of the Holy Kingdom. That’s not what you agreed to in the beginning. If we say that, the people of my country will…”
“Indeed, that is true. But humans are creatures who only believe what they want to believe. Even if you spread the word, nobody would take it to heart, Miss Baraja.”
“That…! In that case, I can be a witness! And…”
Neia looked out the corner of her eye at the paladins and priests listening to their conversation, Surely they would be willing to be witnesses.
“…Neia Baraja. I thank you, but there is no need for that. I will not change my intention to fight Jaldabaoth.”
“This — why is that?”
“Simple. It is because it is a promise I have made as a king.”
Neia had nothing to say. There was nothing she could say in response to that. A commoner like herself could not possibly say anything that could change the mind of a King.
There were murmurs of admiration around her. Indeed, this great and proud person was none other than His Majesty the Sorcerer King Ainz Ooal Gown.
Neia was filled with pride for the king that she held in such high esteem.
“Your Majesty, I know this is deeply disrespectful, but if you feel there is danger, I beg you to flee.”
Perhaps mentioning the possibility of his loss might make him unhappy, but even so she still had to say it.
“…But of course. It is a fool who fights without preparing a means of escape. Even if you lose one battle, you can make good use of the information gained in the next one. It doesn’t matter if you lose the first battle.”
“I expected nothing less of you, Your Majesty.”
An extreme interpretation of that was that if his aim was to defeat Jaldabaoth, then all he needed was to be victorious in the end. Neia was excited by this line of thinking, which was not a warrior’s mindset, but that of a king.
“Then I’ll be heading out first.”
Ainz walked toward the place Jaldabaoth had indicated. Along the way, he used [Message] to order the two Hanzos who had followed him to check for tails and if anyone was observing from afar.
After receiving a negative report on both those items, Ainz had originally intended to terminate the transmission immediately, but then he received a somewhat confused report that there were members of the Pleiades present.
Ainz acknowledged it and ended the [Message].
…We didn’t find any other players or World-Class Item holders this time round either. I keep thinking they ought to have shown themselves by now… but if they don’t exist, how do you explain what happened to Shalltear? Was it some kind of coincidence? It should have been the effect of a World-Class Item, right? Or was it the work of some Talent?
The fact that nothing had turned up despite going to these lengths made the whole thing feel like a trap for him. For all he knew, the opposition was waiting for him to lower his guard before striking.
Honestly… well, it doesn’t matter. Careful planning for the future won’t be wasted.
Therefore, Ainz contacted the other Hanzo squads with [Message] to verify their readiness and that his orders had been received.
Alright, preparations are complete. The next part is simple, I just need to follow Demiurge’s playbook. Even if I make a mistake, I can always say “I was just testing you” and so on.
That was good.
Ainz was moved by how light his tread was. This the first time he had felt so relaxed since coming to this world, and it was like floating through the sky.
Soon, Ainz came to an average-sized square.
This had originally been a periodically-activated fountain square for the citizens’ leisure. However, there was no water flowing through here after the demihumans had wrecked it. There were no plans to restore it for the time being, and the surroundings looked very austere.
A demon stood proudly there.
It was a huge demon with burning wings and two crimson, brawny fists.
This was the Evil Lord of Wrath from Nazarick. However, what stood here was merely a monster that Demiurge had called up with his Evil Lord Summons. It could only be used once every 50 hours, but it could be freely controlled for a time. Nazarick would not be diminished even if it were killed.
It was level 84.
As a physical-attacker type Evil Lord, it had a very high HP total.
Of all the special abilities that Evil Lords possessed, the most dangerous one was the ability to summon another Evil Lord which was lower level than themselves. However, summoned monsters could not in turn summon more monsters. Therefore, the Evil Lord of Wrath that Demiurge had summoned could not summon another Evil Lord.
If this Evil Lord had been created or made, then it could summon additional another other creatures. For instance, the Evil Lord of Sloth would often summon pack after pack of demons and undead, making them very hard to deal with.
In addition, one troublesome point about the Evil Lord of Wrath was that it was very hard to manage its hate.
The Evil Lord of Wrath built aggro more easily than other Evil Lords. He had heard tanks say that the most aggravating thing about dealing with multiple Evil Lords at once was how to keep the Evil Lord of Wrath from going off-target.
In addition, it had the special ability of doing more damage and gaining more defense the higher its hate value became. Still, that was not too frightening. The only thing that Ainz had to be worried about was its ability called [Soul-Bought Miracle], which produced unknown effects.
The spells it could cast included:
Tenth-tier spells: [Meteor Fall], [Time Stop], [Field of Unclean]
Ninth-tier spells: [Greater Rejection], [Vermillion Nova]
Eighth-tier spells: [Distort Moral], [Insanity], [Astral Smite], [Wave of Pain]
Seventh-tier spells: [Napalm], [Hellflame], [Greater Word of Curse], [Greater Teleportation], [Blasphemy]
Sixth-tier spells: [Flamewing]. [Wall of Hell]
Third-tier spells: [Fireball], [Slow]
While the exact number of spells that monsters could use varied with their level and type, it was typically around 8. However, high-level monsters like Dragons, Demons and Angels were an exception.
Still, as a pure warrior type, the Evil Lord of Wrath’s spells were not particularly fearsome.
It had no skills to strengthen its spells, and its magic-related stats were very low. While the Evil Lord’s attack spells were fire-element and thus targeted a weakness of the undead, there was no need for him to be cautious. Its mind-affecting spells were also useless against the undead, and Ainz’s karma values had been negative to begin with, so spells like [Distort Moral] were a waste of time.
To Ainz, who was of negative karma, Angels were harder for him to deal with than Demons.
As he contemplated his opposition’s data, Ainz glanced at the two maids behind the Evil Lord. He would think about them later.
“Now then, you have heard everything?”
“But of course, Ainz-sama.”
Hearing that weighty voice made Suzuki Satoru smile unconsciously from inside Ainz’s heart. That was because this demon — and all the monsters of Nazarick — were designed in accordance with their image.
Those voices were probably what the developers or their creators had envisioned for them. In that case, who had come up with the adorable voice that Lip Bugs had before consuming any vocal cords? Or did the whole seiyuu-in-your-mind thing that Peroroncino was talking about really exist?
No, that was impossible.
Pandora’s Actor was a good example. He was a being who did not feel like he reflected what his creator had in mind. And then there was the fact that even a being without vocal cords like Ainz could speak. All he could say was that magical worlds were truly astounding.
“If you’re addressing me in that tone, I take it the surroundings have been swept clean?”
“Then I will ask you the most important question. Are you prepared to fight with the intent of killing me?”
“Yes, I was ordered to do so.”
Ainz nodded as he heard the Evil Lord’s reply.
One thing that had made Ainz uneasy all this time was a lack of strong opponents to fight.
After the battle with Shalltear, Ainz had been worrying about not having chances to fight with all his strength.
After that, he had gained experience in close combat, and he could skilfully move his body as Momon and fight as a warrior of roughly level 33.
But how would this body function in higher-level combat?
He should have conducted combat training against high-level opponents. Unfortunately, he had not encountered such high-level monsters until now.
That was why he had ordered Demiurge to command the Evil Lord to kill Ainz.
He would defeat this powerful foe who wanted to kill him, and strengthen himself.
That had been easier said than done. The two of them had been strongly opposed to the idea and persuading them had taken a lot of time. One could not fault a mentally exhausted Ainz from thinking, “I thought we agreed that my word was law…”
In the end, after countless concessions and conditions, the stage had been set for this live battle.
A chill coursed through his body as he thought that he might die. It was a completely different sensation from what he had felt during the battle with Shalltear, because this was an unnecessary battle.
While I had a lot of PVP experience in YGGDRASIL, I realised in the battle against Shalltear that this world was not a game. If the time comes when I must face off against a level 100 player with a great deal of real combat experience, I won’t be able to win without an equivalent amount of experience. I have to know that fear is the road to defeat.
Ainz was very glad that he was undead and could suppress the fear he might have felt at the prospect of death. If he were still human, he might have curled up into a ball by now.
“Now then, Yuri,” Ainz said to the maid behind the Evil Lord. “Since you and Lupusregina are here, does that mean you will be fighting me together with the Evil Lord? How about the others?”
He saw no sign of Solution, Entoma or CZ. They must have been off doing work elsewhere.
“We are the only two who have come here. We sisters will challenge you together with the Evil Lord of Wrath. The reason is because Albedo-sama feels that allowing the people of this country to witness the maid demons is not a bad thing. In addition, the Evil Lord of Wrath alone might not be enough to satisfy your request, Ainz-sama.”
It was true that a single level 80ish Evil Lord would be hard-pressed to stand against Ainz. However, even the addition of Yuri and Lupusregina did not make it a very powerful opponent.
However, unnecessary, troublesome factors can become a disadvantage. Suffering because I underestimated my opponent would be foolish. I’d best stay on my guard.
“In addition, Albedo-sama ordered us to check something with you, Ainz-sama. Are you really alright with the condition that you will not leave Nazarick for the coming year if you are defeated?”
“Ah, that was one of the conditions Albedo insisted on before agreeing to this bout. If I lose, I will spend the next year working hard within the Great Underground Tomb of Nazarick, with Albedo, in the same room… aren’t you going to check the conditions that Demiurge mentioned?”
Ainz looked at the Evil Lord, but it said nothing. It probably felt that there was no need to check.
“Thank you very much.”
Now, there would be no room to change the plan. As he thought of how dire the situation was, Ainz could not help but sweat internally.
It would be easy enough to kill Yuri and the others due to the tremendous disparity in their respective strength, but Ainz Ooal Gown would never allow that. Killing an NPC for the sake of training was utterly ridiculous.
In other words–
I have to kill the Evil Lord without harming Yuri and Lupusregina.
Ainz could not help laughing. This would be one hell of a challenge. Still, there was nothing better for practice.
“Is something wrong, Ainz-sama?”
“No, it’s nothing, don’t worry.”
“Also, Cocytus-sama requested that we record this battle so everyone in Nazarick can learn from it. Do you mind?”
While he did not want to do so because he felt it was embarrassing, recording battles was very common in YGGDRASIL. With that in mind, he ought to approve that request.
“Still, recording the battle proceedings will trigger interference from the anti-divination offensive barriers. Shall I lower it?”
“Surely you mean the divination-detecting spell, do you not, Ainz-sama? And not the linked offensive spell model?”
“Ah, yes, that’s the one. After all, if it were the latter, it would be bad if someone from Nazarick were trying to find my position and triggered it.”
If he deployed the linked offensive spell barrier he had so carelessly done in the past, any member of Nazarick trying to cast a divination on Ainz would be very badly hurt. While he used to do that all the time because friendly fire was off, doing so now would be dangerous.
Of course, the denizens of Nazarick would not be hurt by the offensive barrier, given that they were protected by a World-Class Item, but the defense would incur a cost in gold coins. Rather, expenses like that were more painful for him.
“Then there’s no need to worry ~su.”
“No, I’d best deactivate it. Besides, offensive barriers disappear once they activate and have to be reset. In that case, I might as well just deactivate it from the start and have some peace of mind.”
“I see ~su, then I’ll leave it to you ~su.”
Ainz deactivated his offensive barrier.
“Alright — then let’s begin the combat recording. Whose point of view are you using? Mine is fine too.”
“I think I was supposed to do the recording ~su.”
In truth, Ainz was fine with anything. Anyone’s perspective would have been alright.
In addition, the memories of sparring with his friends were coming back to him, and Ainz began to enjoy himself.
Simulated battles with his friends were a fundamental part of devising new techniques and weapons.
He had often sparred with Touch Me, but those battles did not count and had not been entered in Ainz’s PVP record.
Since Ainz had never won even once, his win rate would have dropped if they had been recorded. He had never taken it seriously, simply treating it as “training” since he knew he could not win. Ainz always emphasized that.
“Shall we begin, then? You need to prepare yourself to kill me. Of course, I won’t kill you.”
“No, actually, it’s alright if you kill us.”
Before Ainz could say that he did not want to do so, Yuri stated the reason.
“Ainz-sama, we are not the actual members of the Pleiades. All of us are Greater Doppelgangers.”
“We are musicians of the Erich String Orchestra under Chacmool-sama of the Five Worsts. By Albedo-sama’s order, we have transformed into members of the Pleiades.”
“–Is that so?”
He looked at them several more times, but Ainz could not tell the difference between them and the Yuri and Lupusregina which he knew. He could not help but wonder if this was a lie they were telling so he could kill them without worries during the fight.
Perhaps one of them was fake. He had once heard that the best lies were those that were truths blended with some small falsehoods.
Ainz could not see through the Greater Doppelgangers’ disguise. There was a spell that could dispel the Greater Doppelgangers’ shapeshifting, but using that spell would keep them from transforming again for a period of time due to the spell’s effect. In that case, having them transform into the Pleiades would be meaningless. It would be a different matter if Ainz had learned lower-tier spells but–
“Hm, it does seem like Lupusregina is speaking differently from normal. What’s going on?”
Lupusregina’s face went blank for a moment.
“Is that strange, Ainz-sama?”
The Greater Doppelganger pretending to be Lupusregina changed its way of speaking. That was probably its usual speech pattern.”
“Ah, those aren’t the usual expressions she uses.”
“But Lupusregina-sama always spoke like that in front of us…”
When a Doppelganger impersonated someone, people closer to the target would find it more difficult to see through their disguise. That was because they used a form of telepathy during their shapeshifting to read the surface thoughts of the people they were speaking to and those around them in order to extract information related to the target they were impersonating and then apply it to their impersonation act — at least, that was what the monster encyclopedia said.
That was according to Pandora’s Actor, whose ability had become real in this world.
However, that was simply to discern the possible reactions that the impersonated subject might have, and it did not read minds or search through memories.
In addition, since this ability was a form of psychic attack, it was useless on Ainz and other undead creatures. One could also simply resist it if the level difference was great enough. That was probably why it could not discern Lupusregina’s possible reactions from Ainz and had revealed itself.
Incidentally, it was more likely that Doppelgangers would out themselves when facing multiple people, because each of them would have a different impression of the target.
Umu. Why did Lupu always add a ~su at the end of her sentences in front of them? Ahh, I see, so it was to make them sound disturbing. Perhaps she was trying to help me. What a cute little rascal she is…
“…Hm? My apologies. I have another question that is unrelated to combat. While that is Albedo’s order, if I were to tell you to abandon that order, who would have priority?
“Naturally, your words would have priority, Ainz-sama. However, I must sincerely apologize that we will obey orders from our summoner, Anyami Shirabe-sama, above all else.”
“…Hm? Who’s that?”
Was there an NPC like that? As the question grew in his heart, the flames in Ainz’s eyes flared as he heard Yuri’s answer.
“That would be Temperance-sama.”
“Eh? Temperance-san? Anyami? Ahhh… well, that does work as a physical description… but still, Anyami Shirabe?”
“Yes. Temperance-sama once asked to be addressed that way, so Chacmool-sama instructed us to do so as well.”
“…After I return to Nazarick, I would like to hear all about this. Anyami Shirabe, is it.”
This was the first time he had ever heard him refer to himself that way.
Ainz could not help laughing as he learned that a former friend had referred to himself that way in a place where nobody else knew. This was truly a cunning trap, set to decrease his fighting spirit.
Ahh, no, no. I mustn’t fall for Anyami Shirabe’s trap! Ku, kuku…
Though he knew it was not the right time to do so, he recalled the guild member in question.
How had he looked and felt when he had given that name?
Ainz narrowed his eyes as he reminisced about his friend from the past, and then he saw a surprised look on the face of the Yuri-Doppelganger as it tilted its head. Ainz sensed that he had become careless and pulled himself together.
He could remember his old friends later. Right now, he ought to analyze the Doppelganger’s speech.
After this, I’d like to question all the vassals and NPCs about the secrets they’ve been hiding. Kukuku — in that case, another question popped up.
In the absence of a direct order, vassals like Doppelgangers would obey the NPC in charge of them. In that case, what would happen if a certain NPC wanted to kill Ainz and gathered many high-level vassals and ordered them to attack Ainz with their strongest moves? Of course, this would be happening while Ainz was unable to detect or stop them.
Would they carry out that order? Or would they refuse orders like that?
“…You’re also ready to come at me like you want to kill me, is that it?”
“Yes. Those are the orders I have received, and I have determined that I also have your permission, Ainz-sama.”
The Yuri-Doppelganger’s answer made Ainz wrinkle his — nonexistent — brows.
…Isn’t this dangerous? It’s probably best to see exactly where the boundary lies here.
If even Ainz could think of this, then Albedo had most likely inspected it herself, Still, he ought to make sure, just in case. He could not let a safety loophole sit unfilled.
“…Indeed. I permit you to use your full abilities to kill me in this battle. Then swear on the name of Ainz Ooal Gown once more. Can you swear that what you said about your true identities just now was the truth?”
“Yes. This we do swear, upon the names of all the Supreme Beings.”
Yuri and Lupusregina transformed their hands into alien-looking objects.
“What? What is it, Doppel-Yuri?”
“Ainz-sama, there is one thing I forgot. Our equipment was borrowed from the Pleiades. Therefore, can we trouble you to recover them for us if we are killed?”
Doppelgangers could even copy the clothing and equipment of their targets if they wanted to. However, they could only duplicate appearances, and not the equipment’s abilities. Since they would gain no benefits from the gear, when fighting a magic caster like Ainz, the difference between them would be like that between heaven and earth. Therefore, they had no choice but to borrow the real thing from the originals.
Greater Doppelgangers can imitate people of up to level 60. However, unlike the NPCs, they can only copy up to 90% of the originals’ abilities. Even if they possess gear from the Pleiades, there’s no need to be worried… is there? In that case, killing them would be too much of a waste. After all, they’re mercenary vassals, which means summoning them cost money — as I thought, I should just remove their ability to fight. Do I need to put that into the rules after all?
“Alright! I will add one more rule. Once you Greater Doppelgangers are near death, you are out. I will monitor your health with [Life Essence]. You can hide your HP totals, right?” After Yuri replied in the affirmative, Ainz nodded. “Then suppress that ability for a while. If I judge that you’ll die after a light hit, I will call your name and rule you out. In that case, you will count as dead. Leave the battle area immediately. In addition, the same thing applies to the Evil Lord of Wrath. If I declare victory, the combat will end. Do you understand?”
The Evil Lord of Wrath and the two Doppelgangers indicated that they understood.
“Very well. Then we’ll start when the coin hits the ground… about 25 minutes has passed, so I guess they won’t complain even if we start.”
Ainz cast [Life Essence] and then took out a gold coin. Of course, this was not a YGGDRASIL gold coin, but a trading gold coin used in this world.
“Will you not buff yourself?”
“Ensuring you have time to buff up is also part of combat training.”
After replying thus to Doppel-Lupusregina, Ainz backed away from them, then flicked the coin up with his thumb so it landed between the two of them.
As the coin hit the ground, Ainz jumped back, then threw his hands out and shouted:
“Absolute Immunity Barrier!”
He saw the Evil Lord and the two Doppelgangers freeze up for a moment. However, the Evil Lord and Doppel-Yuri immediately rushed in.
That was it. That was the right answer.
Ainz’s previous actions were meaningless. There was no ability called Absolute Immunity Barrier in YGGDRASIL — or at least, there should not have been, was far as Ainz knew. Still, Ainz had shouted that name not simply to fake them out, but also for a different reason.
Ah– it feels like they’re a little slow. Could it be that they think something was done to them and they’ve become a little timid now? Well, that’s what happens when you wonder if you’ve fallen into the enemy’s trap.
The uneasiness that came from the fact that such a technique might actually exist in this world restricted their movements. One could say that this feint had succeeded because there were still unknown things out there.
Of course, that was not simply because of the unknown. Special abilities like the kind that were innate to Ainz were a good example.
During YGGDRASIL, there was no such thing as using a corpse as a medium to ignore the duration on created undead. This aberration had only sprung up after coming to this world. One could imagine that there were many other such changes that had happened in the process of coming to this world from the game. No, only a fool would think no such thing had happened.
In other words, making decisions with YGGDRASIL knowledge alone was very dangerous.
I ought to discuss this with Albedo… and the others, Cocytus included.
Ainz cast a silent [Fly] spell and began thinking as he retreated to the rear while keeping a fixed distance from his pursuers.
Albedo said that it would take about two years of preparation before destroying the Kingdom. Should I collect information until then? Expanding one’s nation means expanding the area that will be in contact with the outside…
I ought to throw these questions at Albedo and Demiurge and get their opinions. Hm — illusions seem to be surprisingly powerful, it might be very bad if we don’t watch out for them. It feels like you could do a lot with them if you were smart. If I meet a skilled illusionist, I should probably treat them well to recruit them. Fluder — whoa!
The Evil Lord had outpaced Ainz’s [Fly] spell on foot. Unfortunately, flying was not that fast.
After taking the Evil Lord’s maul-like fist, Ainz felt pain — though it was immediately suppressed. Though he had felt the same way during the fight with Shalltear, he was once against thankful for this body of his that could even suppress his pain. It was thanks to it that Ainz could fight.
After that, the Evil Lord pursued Ainz — who had been knocked flying — and closed the distance to him.
To Ainz, this was the worst possible thing they could have done.
Yuri’s circled around behind me. They’re using a pincer attack of two people who can do bludgeoning damage, which is my weakness. Meanwhile, Lupusregina’s keeping her distance and casting spells… hm, that’s a buff. Good grief, this is the best way to deal with magic casters. Is this because of the Evil Lord’s combat AI? Or is it because it’s choosing moves from the mind of its summoner, Demiurge? Ah, never mind.
If they would not let him keep his distance, then he would make his own space.
His field of vision immediately opened up, and the city spread below him. Under normal circumstances, he would not have been able to teleport to an unknown destination, but it would be alright as long as it was within line of sight. Having teleported 1 kilometer above the ground without any hesitation whatsoever, Ainz cast a spell. It was [Body of Effulgent Beryl].
是〈光辉翠绿体〉[Body of Effulgent Beryl]。
This spell was exceptionally effective because Yuri and the Evil Lord both did bludgeoning damage.
As he muttered, “Of course, that’s not all”, Ainz looked to the ground. “…If Bukubukuchagama-san or Variable Talisman-san were here, the backliners wouldn’t be getting beaten up.”
When playing as a party, skilled aggro managers like tanks would not make mistakes like allowing the magic casters in the backline to be attacked.
During the time when they had stopped playing the game — when he had gone out to earn the money to pay for Nazarick’s upkeep by himself, he had used mercenary NPCs to allow him to act with impunity. The only time he had truly fought alone was the battle with Shalltear. Perhaps that was why he could not help complaining.
It had been a while, so he had no idea where the Evil Lord was, but he had a rough idea of where the square was. While carpetbombing the location with attack spells was a valid tactic, that would be pointless. One could say that the objective this time round was to win in a full-powered contest with the opposition.
“[Widen Magic Delay Teleportation]!”
「〈魔法效果范围扩大化•转移延迟〉[Widen Magic·Delay Teleportation]」
Come to think of it, I used to get pissed off by the mercenary NPCs’ poor management of aggro. That was probably the devs’ way of saying “please group up with other players” or something.
He then confirmed that there was something large that was going to teleport above him, within the area of the [Delay Teleportation] spell — the Evil Lord. Thanks to the effect of the [Delay Teleportation], it would take a while before it appeared in the real world. In other words, it meant that these two weak enemies which had lost their strongest shield were completely exposed before him.
In order to weaken the enemy’s fighting strength, he ought to defeat the weaker two first. Ainz let gravity claim him, and then accelerated further with [Fly].
The added speed of the freefall meant that he was moving quite fast. The air struck Ainz’s face and flowed past him. At the same time, Ainz opened his eyes and observed the square.
“Though I think hiding in a house would have been better…”
Ainz muttered quietly and then selected Lupusregina — who was proudly standing in the middle of the square — as his target.
Yuri was some distance away. While she could see him, she did not look like she was prepared to intercept him. Leaving a healer alone was quite frustrating, but Yuri had made the right decision considering that she had to be wary of area-effect spells,.
Ainz ground to a halt — in truth, Ainz would not have been hurt even if he had crashed straight into the ground — and cast his spell.
Ainz chose one of the most destructive tenth-tier spells in his arsenal. At the same time, he used a special ability to maximize the spell. While he could have tripled the spell or something similar to do a great deal of damage, it would be very dangerous while he did not know how much damage the Doppelgangers had taken. He had to avoid the dangerous possibility that he might kill them by accident.
As he raised his hand, his hand was struck and damaged, and the spell fizzled. The mana spent on casting the spell was wasted.
What? Interfering with a spell through a ranged attack? Is it some kind of special ability?
Perhaps it was because he was undead, or because he was a veteran player, but his confusion only lasted for a moment. Ainz immediately analyzed the attack he had received.
Neither the Evil Lord nor Yuri nor Lupusregina possessed abilities like this.
Perhaps it’s the World-Clas Item holder who brainwashed Shalltear–
To think the Hanzos missed him–
And if it was a ranged weapon user–
If it was her, she could use a special ability to interfere with spell–
“–I fell for it!”
Ainz shouted as he found the answer.
Although Yuri closed in and delivered a punch, Ainz had already enhanced his defense with a spell, so he did not need to be so wary of her. After all, there was something more important than that.
The whole thing was a trap from the start! No, Yuri — I see! “Here” was referring to the square! That was why the Hanzos said “the Pleiades” were present! Dammit! I was wondering why they said “all of us” when it was just the two of them!”
All the points of data made a beautiful line.
CZ was attacking now.
It was not just Yuri and Lupusregina who were present. CZ was also on the battlefield. In all likelihood, Solution and Entoma were here too. All the Doppel-Pleiades were present in the city.
No, no, I need to calm down. Doppel-CZ was just lucky. It was easy enough for me to resist that because of the level difference between us. She won’t be so lucky — well, unlucky for me — next time.
“[Greater Word of Curse]!”
「<高阶诅咒>[Great Word Of Curse]」
The Evil Lord has finally caught up and he cast a spell, but Ainz resisted it without any problems. It was only threatening in close combat, so all he had to do was keep his distance.
Ainz ignored the Evil Lord above him and ignored Yuri, who had only done minimal damage to him from the start. He lunged straight at Lupusregina.
In that moment–
Countless Bullet Bugs flew over from the side. There was no doubt that it was Entoma.
He did not even need to use his High-Tier Physical Immunity to stop it. That was because non-magical ranged attacks could not harm Ainz.
Perhaps it was a weapon carried by the Pleiades, Ainz’s immunity would have been defeated thanks to the massive amount of data within them. The best example of that was CZ and Yuri’s attacks from just now. However, certain skills were calculated based on the user’s level. Entoma was a prime example, since she possessed many of these user level-based attacks.
Entoma was only around level 50, so her attacks did not bother Ainz at all. In addition, if all damage from an attack was nullified, none of the rider effects would take place either.
Therefore, he could ignore it.
Ainz did not even spare Entoma a glance as he moved in to finish off the healer, but just then, Solution erupted from her ambush point in front of Lupusregina. It would have been a futile gesture if she was facing an area-effect attack, but that was the only way to protect the healer.
However, Solution had made a fatal mistake. Ainz was a magic caster and did not need to close to attack. All he needed to do was cast attack spells from a distance. He had to think about why she would charge out from in front of Lupusregina.
Ainz had only one aim.
He wanted to expose the enemy and reveal whatever card they had up their sleeve.
Narberal’s not around?
He did not understand. She was not among the maid demons who had attacked the Royal Capital. However, one could not rule her out if all the Pleiades were present. It was possible that they were saving their ace in the hole for the last moment. Still, since he knew what kind of hand the opposition had, there was no reason to continue fighting in the middle of the enemy.
CZ did not interrupt his spell, and he managed to teleport under a roof within line of sight.
I need to remember what Yuri and the others can do. Who should I kill first? –Lupusregina, the healer. While I need to be very careful of CZ… I have no idea where she is… so I’ll let the others go first. The Evil Lord will take the most time, so I’ll save him for last.
He saw Lupusregina casting a spell on Solution. Had they not pursued Ainz because drawing out the battle was not a problem for them? No, it was because they understood that since Ainz could move at will with [Greater Teleportation], they could be easily scattered and individually defeated. After all, Ainz was hoping for that too.
It did not matter if they saw through him.
All he had to do was worry them with ranged spells and then take them out one by one. While CZ the ranged combat specialist was present, she would eventually expose herself if she attacked continuously. Therefore, she would only attack at critical moments. In that case, she would not be so frightening. Or rather–
“I didn’t see her, so let me guess, you’re standing in for Narberal.”
Ainz muttered to himself as he watched the Evil Lord land.
“Haha, you’ve become fat, Narberal. Shall we call you Gorillal now? And your element’s changed greatly too. Well — this is interesting. If the Doppel-Pleiades are my opponents–” Ainz flourished his cape. Of course, there was no meaning to it; he simply wanted to show off in a kingly way. “Then I ought to get a little serious.”
“[Twin Maximize Magic Re–”
「<魔法二重最强化·现——>[Twin [Maximize Magic·——]」
Just as Ainz was about to cast a spell at Lupusregina, another bullet hit Ainz’s arms and interrupted his spell.
Even if she had succeeded once by luck, she could not have interrupted his spell twice in a row. CZ was far lower level than Ainz.
Could he have been unlucky enough to fail his resistance check twice in a row? How unlikely were those odds? Or perhaps this was not bad luck, but certainty — for instance, if his opponent was not CZ at all?
The Evil Lord of Wrath spread his fiery wings and closed in on Ainz. Yuri came in from the right, and Entoma flew in from the left in a roundabout fashion.
What’s going on? Why is this happening? Is this some change that occurred after coming to this world? Or did Garnet-san give CZ something? Or is it not CZ? What did Yuri say just now? They’re sisters, but they’re Doppel… Pando–ahhhh!
The Evil Lord had closed the distance and then cocked his hand back, preparing to deliver a haymaker.
Dammit! I hate people like that who just rush straight in and start punching! If you’re a substitute for Narberal than attack with magic! You damn Gorrilal!
Well, if he had really cast a spell on him he would have resisted it, so it would have been boring anyway.
Ainz did not hesitate; he stepped in before his enemy could fully close the distance.
The Evil Lord had guessed that Ainz would flee, so his movements slowed by a beat. Behind him was Yuri, who was probably planning to completely surround Ainz with the Evil Lord.
The strike from the flaming fist — was a feint, which was why Ainz had managed to evade it by stepping into the range of the blow.
A pure mage had evaded the attack of a warrior-type monster.
While he thought that this would be impossible if he were a YGGDRASIL player, this was not due to luck. As mentioned before, the Evil Lord had not expected Ainz to step into the attack, so he had not used his full force. And then there was another point, which was that this was the result of his training.
Ainz had practiced this method of evading his opponent by closing in with them several hundred times with Cocytus. About one in every ten times, if Cocytus was not attacking in earliest, he could completely slip past an attack.
Cocytus did say that a good warrior would never make such incredibly flashy and telegraphed attacks, so I shouldn’t get careless… but it’s pretty useful in an actual fight, isn’t it?
And so, Ainz placed his bony hand on the Evil Lord’s sturdy chest.
And then he cast a touch spell.
While most spells had an effective range, some spells had a range that was practically zero. Such spells needed direct contact with the target to be cast, so only people with levels in spellcaster and warrior classes could use them well. It was because they were so inconvenient that they were more powerful than spells of a similar tier, being roughly a tier more effective,
Ainz used an eighth-tier spell from his specialty of necromancy, [Energy Drain]. It was a spell that drained the opponent’s levels and granted various benefits depending on the amount of levels drained. Naturally, this spell had also been maximized.
He beat the Evil Lord’s spell resistance and drained his levels. Thanks to that, he recovered almost all the damage Yuri had inflicted. That said, that was about as much as that spell could do in the way of healing.
Ainz’s parameters were all temporarily enhanced, and he received a special buff which would fade in a short time. On the other hand, the Evil Lord had received a level down debuff which could not be removed by the passage of time as thanks.
This time, the Evil Lord backed away.
His wrathful visage was tinted by something else.
Was it surprise, or was it admiration?
Ainz wanted to praise himself for successfully evading that blow too. That said, he had managed it because his opposition had been far too cocky. Just like how a magic trick became boring once you pointed out the gimmick, this move would probably not work a second time.
“Well, however good a plan is, only an idiot would use it more than once. Isn’t that right — Pleiades! Aureole Omega!”
That was how it was.
He was fighting five Doppelgangers, the Evil Lord of Wrath and a level 100 NPC.
Is Albedo trying to make me lose? I didn’t think she’s even use Aureole.
Aureole Omega was the lastborn of the Pleiades Seven Sisters. She was an Area Guardian of the 8th Floor and a level 100 NPC specialized in commander-type classes. As a commander, she could issue orders which buffed her allies. CZ must have been able to beat their level difference thanks to that.
While he had no idea what kind of special ability Aureole had used, if one looked at party roles such as physical attacker, magical attacker, healer and so on, then she would be a wild card — an allrounder. It was hardly strange that she would be able to do anything.
What exactly could Punitto Moe-san do?
Ainz never went head to head with his opponents during PVP< so Ainz had little experience in dealing with commander-type opponents. 因为在PVP的时候不会出现在正面战斗，所以安兹也没有多少对付拥有指挥官系职业的对手的经验。 She could not have left the 8th Floor and come here without my permission. That would mean that she must have buffed the Doppelgangers before they came here. That would mean she probably didn’t buff them too carefully - or no, is there a Doppegnger of Aureole here? (我没有发出过许可，她不可能离开第八层来到这里。这样的话就只是在二重幻影们来之前给他们加了增益，那么可以判断她们不可能会十分细致地增益过——不，来的是欧蕾欧尔的二重幻影？) --No. There was no time to think about such pointless things. Only one thing mattered. Could they completely shut down Ainz’s spellcasting, and could they keep it up forever? ——不对。没时间想那些没用的事了。重要的只有一点。是否能完全打消安兹的施法，而且还无限次地。 There were two kinds of special abilities in YGGDRASIL. One kind had a cooldown period after use. The other had a limited period of uses within a certain period. There were also combinations of the two. Yggdrasil的特殊技能分为两种模式。一种是使用之后会有冷却时间的类型。另一种是在一定时间内使用次数有限的类型。两种的复合型也不是没有。 In general, the more powerful the ability, the longer the cooldown or the fewer times it could be used. Ainz’s trump card of [The Goal Of All Life Is Death] that could only be used once every 100 hours was just such an ability. 要说哪种比较强的话，使用次数越少的越强、冷却时间越长则越强。就像安兹所持有的王牌“死亡是生命的终点”那样一百小时才能用一次就是这样的类型。 In that case, which type did CZ’s ability to interrupt Ainz’s spellcasting belong to? 那么将安兹的魔法无效化的希姿的射击又是哪一种呢。 That move just now was very handy, but it did not seem to have a long cooldown time. That would mean it was the use-limited type. 刚才的那个技能非常好用的同时也没觉得有多长的冷却时间。这样的话就是次数限制类吧。 However, he could not tell how long it would take for her to recover her uses. All he could do was hope that she could not recover them during the course of the battle after they were depleted. 但是无法分析出次数恢复需要多久。希望使用次数用光的话在这场战斗中无法再恢复吧。 --Though I think I ought to save my tenth-tier spells for when they’ve been depleted... (——虽然觉得应该在对面次数用光之前把第十位阶的魔法保留下来……) Ainz quickly verified the positions of the Pleiades and the Evil Lord. The Evil Lord was in front of him. Yuri was behind him -- and preparing to slug Ainz. While her ki-enhanced attacks could even shatter steel, they were little impediment in the face of Ainz’s levels. After reconfirming that the Evil Lord would soon be a threat, he turned his attention to the others. 安兹迅速确认了昴宿星团与魔将的位置关系。在眼前的是魔将。背后是由莉——现在正在殴打着安兹。虽然在拳头上附上了气的攻击连铁都能粉碎，但在安兹的等级面前也不是什么大不了伤害。再次确认了果然魔将是危险的同时，观察着其他人的样子。 Entoma was inside a house on the left side of the square. Lupusregina was in the square. Solution stood in front of her, like she was protecting her. CZ’s location was unknown. 安特玛在与广场邻接的左侧家宅之内。露普斯蕾琪娜在广场上。索琉香像是要保护着她一样站在她前方。希姿在哪里还不知道。 While not knowing a sniper’s position was the worst possible scenario, the fact that the enemy was now dispersed was the best case for him. 虽然无法确认狙击手的位置是最糟糕的情况，但敌人现在分散的状态则是最好的。 Ainz snorted. 安兹“哼”地笑了出来。 Though he knew that now was hardly a time to laugh, he could not resist the mirth welling up inside him. 虽然知道这不是什么笑得出来的状况，但是心中涌起的笑意却无法抑制。 Now this is interesting! (有意思！) “Alright, now get out of my face. [Maximize Magic Nuclear Blast]!” 「那么，给我吹飞吧！<魔法最强化·核爆>[Maximise Magic Nuclear Blast]」
Before Ainz’s eyes, the space between him and the Evil Lord flashed and swelled, consuming everything in an instant. Yuri was surprised, but that was only to be expected, because Ainz had been caught in it as well.
Using the ninth-tier spell [Nuclear Blast] as an attack was a questionable choice. It did composite damage — half fire, half bludgeoning — and it was one of the weaker 9th-tier spells in terms of damage.
Considering the Evil Lord of Wrath was immune to fire, this spell should not have even been considered for use. Even so, Ainz had his reasons for using this spell.
First of all, it had a very large area of effect. In that respect, this spell was superior to almost all others. In addition, this spell also generated all kinds of negative status effects such as poisoning, blindness, deafness, and so on. Anything of the Evil Lord’s level would be able to resist it with their raw statistics alone. The Pleiades ought to have countermeasures against all these effects. The main reason he had chosen this spell was because it also possessed a very powerful knockback effect.
Of course, Ainz would also be damaged by this spell. While friendly fire was off in YGGDRASIL and so using a spell this recklessly would not be a problem, right now he would be hurting himself. Even if his magical defense was very high, there was no need for him to go out of the way to take damage to cast his spell. Rather than act like a suicide bomber, he ought to have chosen another spell.
However, Ainz had it all worked out.
If he expended the [Body of Effulgent Beryl] spell to stop all the bludgeoning damage, the fire-elemental damage would also be negated, which would mean he would not be harmed. In addition, all those negative statuses were ineffective on the undead.
In other words, Ainz was undamaged by the spell.
Since he had completely resisted its damage, the knockback did not take effect either, and so Ainz was the only one left standing in the heart of the explosion.
Ainz laughed. The feeling of everything going as planned was very refreshing, after all.
Ainzs’ aim was to send the enemy flying and tear the enemy formation to shreds.
For a moment, Ainz briefly saw the guild members who had taught him various things — including this tactic.
Both the earlier simulated battle but even this battle where failure meant death reminded Ainz of YGGDRASIL, and made him strangely happy.
I wondered about this before, but I don’t think I’m a battle maniac…
“Come, it’s not over yet. The battle’s just beginning. I’ll show you the strength that I trained with everyone.
Unleashing the fury of that 9th-tier spell meant that the surrounding buildings had all been swept away, and there was much more space all of a sudden.
That could not be helped. After all, this city had outlived its usefulness.
However, he could have widened the spell to try and catch CZ in the blast. However, Ainz was worried about the problems that might result from destroying too much of the city, hence this method. For all he knew, it might have been a mistake.
Forget it, let’s leave it at that. What’s left is–
Ainz looked in Lupusregina’s direction. The enemy envelopment was in shambles.
Even with Aureole’s buffs, they could not avoid the knockback, and Ainz could see the enemy hurriedly getting to their feet.
“That’s about all the damage [Nuclear Blast] ought to be able to do, so–”
Ainz flew towards Lupusregina and cast [Reality Slash].
This time, he was not interrupted by CZ, and Lupusregina’s body fountained blood.
“[Widen Magic Sharks Cyclone].”
「〈魔法效果范围扩大化·巨颚龙卷〉[Widen Magic·Shark Cyclone]」
An extra-large cyclone came into existence behind him, swallowing up Yuri and the Evil Lord. This was both to obscure Yuri and the Evil Lord’s vision and also to buy Ainz time. In truth, Ainz had planned to create a cyclone before the [Nuclear Blast] to block their vision and then get rid of Yuri first, but after considering that the Evil Lord could probably break out of the spell easily he decided not to go with that plan. Instead, he had decided to use it when the enemy was confused.
There was the sound of rolling stones as Ainz saw Entoma push a pillar off herself as she rose to her feet.
He had no idea where CZ was even now. Ideally, she would be pinned under a fallen house.
“He’s coming here! Stop him!”
Solution shouted from her place in front of Lupusregina, but her voice could not reach the ears of Yuri and the Evil Lord, who were inside the cyclone. In particular, Yuri was shifting desperately within the cyclone to avoid being blown away. While certain classes could use spells or special abilities to teleport or go incorporeal and thus escape the cyclone easily, she did not seem to possess such an ability.
And that would mean Yuri had focused on strengthening other things–
After reviewing this battle, they ought to understand what gear they need to have and what preparations they need to make, right? No, that’s not it…
If they were the true Pleiades, they might have been able to deal with this this better. They were simply Doppelgangers copying the Pleiades’ abilities, after all. It only made sense that they would lose out to the real deal in terms of combat skills.
As Ainz closed the distance and prepared to cast [Reality Slash], bugs fell from the sky one after the other. They were large transport insects with no combat ability. The objective of this action was simply to block Ainz’ line of sight.
Such a use would not be possible in YGGDRASIL. Even so, Entoma — though actually a Doppelganger — could use them in this way. Ainz gave thanks in his heart as he incanted a spell.
After teleporting into the air and avoiding the rain of bugs, Ainz cast [Double Maximize Magic Reality Slash].
Even if CZ had Ainz in his sights, the fact that her target had suddenly teleported into the air meant that she would lose him. After all, the weakness of the humanoid body was its inability to follow sudden up and down movement with the eyes.
That said, if he were facing an experienced sharpshooter like Peroroncino, for example, they would be able to anticipate their opponent’s movements, even in the vertical plane. Therefore, it was possible that one could not even escape with teleportation magic,
Peroroncino-san’s aiming would have been like locking on to his target… CZ, you need to work hard to get on his level…
As he basked in the nostalgia, Ainz shouted:
Having to fight while keeping an eye on the HP of his opponents was very difficult. One could even call it a handicap. Therefore, if he was asked if Lupusregina’s HP was really depleted, Ainz could not reply with any confidence. Even so, he had to avoid any chance of killing Lupusregina because of a moment’s carelessness.
She’s a Doppelganger, so not only is she weaker than the original, but her HP isn’t the same as the original Lupusregina’s. Alright, now that I’ve taken out the enemy’s magic caster, it’s time to be a real bastard. [Perfect Unknowable].”
(因为她是二重幻影，不但比本尊要弱，HP也和原本的露普斯蕾琪娜不一样啊。好了，既然打倒了对方的魔法吟唱者，我就要开始使用阴险的手段了喔。〈完全不可知化〉[ perfect unknowable])
While there were ways to discover Ainz after he had cast [Perfect Unknowable], without the aid of magic items, the only member of the Pleiades who could do it was Lupusregina, and the Evil Lord ought to be unable to detect him too. Therefore, it would probably be safe to say that they had no way to deal with this underhanded means of attack.
Since I’ve taken out the enemy healer, I should go search for CZ. Don’t tell me she’s burning up consumable items?
Personally, Ainz could not forgive wasting the wealth of Nazarick on a battle like this.
“Where is he?”
“He’s gone! Is he using [Invisibility]?”
“I can find him if he’s invisible! But he’s not there!”
“Is this some other kind of invisibility?”
He could hear their confusion.
“You Narberals! He’s using [Perfect Unknowable]!”
“Lupusregina! You’re cheating!” Ainz shouted, but thanks to [Perfect Unknowable], others could not hear him.
Ainz scratched his head.
The Evil Lord and Yuri seemed to have broken out of the cyclone, and they were now looking all around for Ainz. While the best option would have been to drop another [Nuclear Blast] on them, that might end up killing Lupusregina, so Ainz abandoned that notion. Instead, he descended and kept tabs on Yuri’s position at the same time. After that, he compared the amount of HP Yuri was missing to that of the others, and verified that she had taken fire damage from the earlier magical attack–
“[Triplet Maximize Magic Vermilion Nova]!”
「〈魔法三重最强化‧朱红新星〉[Triplet Maximise Magic·Vermillion Nova]」
Ainz used the highest-level — super-tier magic notwithstanding — anti-personnel fire-element attack spell on Yuri.
It was only to be expected that there would be tenth-tier spells that could do fire-element damage.
For instance, [Stream of Lava], [Uriel], and the like. However, the use of both of them presented problems for Ainz.
比如〈大熔岩流〉[Stream of Lava]、〈神炎〉[Uriel]等魔法。但不论哪一种，安兹使用上都会产生困难。
First off, [Stream of Lava] was a divine spell which only a druid like Mare could cast. Therefore, Ainz could not cast it. [Uriel], on the other hand, was a spell that could be learned by a magic caster of any type as long as the requirements to learn it were met, but it only did its listed damage when cast by a magic caster with a maxed-out positive karma value. Its damage decreased as one’s karma value decreased, and for someone like Ainz, it would do less damage than a first-tier spell.
Therefore, this spell was Ainz’s only choice when it came to handiness.
Yuri’s health dropped drastically.
“He disappeared again!”
“He can’t keep getting away with this!”
“If only Ainz-sama would fight us fair and square!”
No, no, you’re in the wrong for not even thinking of a way around this.
“And besides, I have no idea where CZ is! You three never said anything about who was taking part in this battle! Now who’s being treacherous!?”
Ainz shouted, even though he knew the opposition could not hear him.
After coming to his senses, the Evil Lord charged at the place Ainz had been.
“Too bad, I’m not there anymore~”
Ainz had begun moving, so he was not there anymore, However, he would still be within the area of effect if the Evil Lord decided to cast area-attack spells, but just as Ainz thought that, the Evil Lord suddenly changed direction and came straight at Ainz.
Was he not invisible? That question was soon pounded out of existence by the pain he felt.
The Evil Lord sent Ainz flying back. Since he was much more serious than just now, Ainz found it hard to defend against or evade the attack. No, Ainz had been too relaxed — he had not even thought of evading.
Fortunately, the [Fly] spell helped control his posture and spared him the ignominy of rolling across the ground. It was just like how it had been in the Shalltear battle.
The Evil Lord jumped over, hot on Ainz’s heels, and his line of sight was most definitely tracking Ainz’s flight path.
…The Evil Lord of Wrath shouldn’t have the ability to see through it… Ah, he used it! His trump card, [Soul-Bought Miracle]!”
Inspired by stories of selling one’s soul to the devil to fulfil one’s wishes, this ability was truly miraculous. While he was not sure how the procedure worked, once one used this ability, one could use any one spell of under the 8th tier once.
Normally, when Evil Lords used this ability, they would almost always use healing spells — that was an unwritten rule. However, this time he had probably used a spell to see through [Perfect Unknowable]
Ainz silently gave thanks that the Evil Lord had used the ability of which he was the most wary even as he felt the pressing need to formulate a new battle plan.
As the Evil Lord closed in and punched him again, Ainz began to get worried.
While there was quite a large level difference between the two and he still had some room for laxity, he could not simply allow himself to continue getting beaten up like this.
“Cheh. Here, have some back. [Triplet Maximize Magic Call Greater Thunder].”
「啧，回你一记。〈魔法三重最强化‧万雷灭击〉[Triplet Maximise Magic·Call Greater Thunder]」
High-level demons had very high elemental resistances. While their exact resistance varied between type, electricity was one of the more effective energy types. After taking three hits of a maximized elemental attack spell, the Evil Lord’s body trembled.
Ainz cast another spell.
“Cheeeeeap! Ainz-sama, you’re so cheeeeeeap!”
Entoma was literally hopping mad, while Lupusregina was rolling around on the ground. Solution was the only one who was surveying her surroundings with a razor-sharp gaze.
In theory, each individual mercenary vassal should have been identical, yet they had developed divergent personalities like this. Was it because they had copied the relationships between the members of the Pleiades? Or had their personalities changed over time? The Evil Lord before Ainz followed his movements closely and shouted:
“Here! Use area attacks here, hit me with it too!”
Entoma breathed a black cloud from her mouth. It was her trump card, her fly breath.
However, it was useless against Ainz, because that move did piercing damage. In addition, Ainz was a skeleton; what would the flies eat? In the end, it only served to annoy the Evil Lord.
“Hey! It didn’t work on him! It only works on me!”
Being able to copy an ability and use it well were two different things altogether. Surely the real Entoma would not have made such an amateur mistake.
“I don’t have any area-effect attacks, how about you, Yuri-nee?”
“I’ve got this!”
Yuri gathered light between her palms.
The Kibakushou was a technique that acted as an anti-individual attack when it touched the enemy, but which became a spreading shockwave if it did not make contact. Naturally, as an attack intended for direct contact, it became very weak when used as a spread effect. Since monks were a class focused on fighting individuals, they had very few area-effect attacks — practically none, in fact — therefore one could say that it was completely useless.
“There! He moved!”
Yuri launched her area Kibakushou at the location where Ainz had been. Ainz wrinkled his brow — despite having no brow — as he saw this and reached a hand out.
“…No, no, you should have prioritized healing.”
Yuri could have healed herself with her qigong.
After making his jab at Yuri, Ainz cast his spell. Needless to say, it was a spell that he already knew to be effective.
“[Double Maximize Magic Vermilion Nova].”
Having cast an attack spell, Ainz came into view. He looked at Yuri, who was wreathed in flames, and made a cold pronouncement.
“Yuri, out — [Perfect Unknowable].”
Now then, things will get bad if I don’t find CZ. Having made that decision, Ainz began making a big detour as he kept an eye on the Evil Lord.