Overlord Light Novel Volume 14 Chapter 3 Part 4
Azuth sneered a little, yet that gentleman’s smile never faltered.
“Now then, do forgive me for my frankness — let us get down to business, Azuth Aindra-sama and the members of Blue Rose present,”
Lakyus squinted her eyes.
Her uncle had abandoned his title as a noble, but because he still retained the title of honorary knight, proper etiquette dictated that he must be referred to by his full name. However, Azuth was the type to dislike being called by his full name.
Those who were meeting him for the first time and wanted to follow protocol would have fallen into this trap.
This gentleman however, managed to avoid this. This meant that this man had done his thorough research, no, it was probably more accurate to say that the people behind this man had done their research.
“Lakyus Alvein Dale Aindra-sama. Evileye-sama. Tia-sama. Tina-sama. Gagaran-sama. We are here to persuade you to join our side. Though fighting to your last breath here is an honorable option, we do implore everyone here to consider the future instead.”
“Ugh. Such an impolite fellow. So, which country sent you?”
“It doesn’t matter which country we’re from. It’s all usele—”
Suddenly, a hand appeared from behind the woman and covered her mouth.
Tia and Tina drew their weapons in surprise.
Behind the woman stood a man wearing an odd outfit. His entire body, including his face and hands, were covered. Metal plates lined his clothing for better defense.
“Not good, it’s an assassin way beyond our league.”
“Not good, he’s much stronger than us.”
These two were the strongest — most vicious — assassins that Lakyus knew of, but this man was stronger than them both.
“Please do not worry and please sheath your weapons. If our goal was your demise, we would not have introduced ourselves in such a trifling method.”
The gentleman was correct. To have entered this room in a way where none of these Adamantite-ranked adventurers could notice must have included the use of an ability that was capable of completely masking oneself. To have revealed himself in such an idiotic manner meant that he wasn’t there to assassinate them.
Or perhaps this was part of their tactic too. They were reminding them that if they did not join their side, outstanding assassins could get them at any time.
“Also, as for my companion’s slightly inappropriate matter of speech, I do deeply appologi—”
“—Oy oy. What good does hiding that fact do for you? You guys are from the Theocracy, right?”
“Are they really from the Theocracy…? I can’t believe that people like this exist there.”
A shocked Evileye said. Lakyus was equally surprised.
They had fought against a unit that was burning down demi-human villages in the past and they were strong. Especially the captain of that unit, who was stronger than Lakyus was at that time. Yet, no one from that unit was as strong as the people in front of them.
“You didn’t know? I thought that you’d at least have heard rumours about them…they are the pride of the Theocracy, their unit of heros, the Black Scripture. It’s likely that all of them have reached the realm of heroes.”
Azuth was looking towards the barbarian.
That man put on the smile a beast would have right before it feasted on its prey.
“Hahahaha… Looks like you know quite a bit about us. But, don’t you have one too? Someone like me, or even stronger than me?” He pointed towards Evileye, “Evileye of Blue Rose. You’re a hard one to deal with.”
Yet his attitude was not of one admitting defeat, rather, his expression told them that he treated Evileye as an equal.
“…Hmph. There are people stronger than me…Hmm…excluding fiends, of all of the humans and demi-humans, only Momon-sama is stronger.”
“Only Momon? Hmmm…”
The barbarian muttered to himself while a faint smile bloomed on his face, and said no more.
“I say. People of the Theocracy’s secret unit. Why won’t you fight alongside us against the Sorcerer King?”
“Perhaps that woman also…no, that was…” Evileye continued to mumble to herself, but Azuth ignored her and asked the gentleman, who responded with his unwavering smile.
“To have received an invitation from your esteemed person is an utmost honour to us all. However, we are here on an express mission to convince your esteemed persons to join us. That is why we can only choose to ceremoniously reject your suggestion. After all, soldiers who participate in battles out of their own selfish desires would only bring harm to their organization.”
“Trying to use your orders as a scapegoat, I see. Still, I’m interested to hear your personal opinion.”
“What a bore — Aren’t things much simpler if we just followed our superiors’ order?”
The annoyed woman said. The gentleman’s smile faded away as it was replaced by a troubled expression.
“I bet you’re the type to find even your own thought process to be annoying.”
“That’s about right. As long as I carry out my orders, the responsibility for them will always fall on my superiors. It’s too annoying to have to shoulder responsibilities myself, so I don’t bother with it. I’m pretty good at shifting responsibilities onto others, I’ve even received praise for it~”
“They weren’t praising you.”
The barbarian whispered to himself.
“Hehe. Now then, Aindra-sama…my apologies. Azuth-sama, we understand what you meant. So, what about the members of Blue Rose?”
“Before that, could we ask a question? How can we escape from here?”
“I will tell you how after you join us. By the way, we have extended this offer to numerous other adventurer groups already and they have all accepted. Those groups have already been relocated to safer locations to sit this one out.”
“…Oy. Did you use violence or threats to force them to go with you?”
As Gagaran had said, if someone as strong as them were to threaten other people, it would be hard for them to refuse.
“We really do, from the depths of our heart, want to become comrades with you all. This is a cooperation for our future — for humanity’s future.”
The gentleman did not appear to be lying at all, his personality was probably the reason why he was chosen to be the negotiator.
Lakyus did not even have time to ask for everybody else’s opinions before Gagaran replied.
“No need for ‘I’…we will go with the leader’s decision.”
Her companions started nodding their heads in agreement upon hearing what Gagaran had said.
“Is that true…? Looks like nothing I could say will sway your opinion. Looks like I’m out of options.”
The gentleman took their rejection unusually well. Lakyus lowered her posture in case he resorted to force.
After seeing what Lakyus had done, the gentleman gave a wry smile.
“Please, there’s no need to worry, Lakyus-sama. We do not plan to use force. We hope that everyone here could avenge those who have fallen to the Sorcerer King. We have left a fee for your troubles at the reception, please do accept it before you return. Now then — we’ll be on our way.”
After the gentleman gave his orders, the people of the Theocracy began walking towards the exit. Things appeared to have concluded peacefully. Just as Lakyus breathed a sigh of relief, Azuth called out to the gentleman,
“Oy, speaking of which… The mister named Rufus or Roof-Ass, is he still okay?”
“Ru…? I’m terribly sorry. Our country spans a vast area so I do not know who you are referring to… If you could be a bit more specif—”
“—Ah, is that so. I suppose it’s only natural for people of your rank to not know him by name after all. So, how do you guys usually address that undead? Milord or something?”
Every member of the Black Scripture was stunned and were subsequently filled with malice. The entire room was suddenly overflowing with an aura of bloodlust that made them feel as though combat was about to break out at any moment. The gentleman was the first to make a move.
He extended both arms to stop the people behind him.
“Quie-chan. What’s wrong? Are we not killing them?”
The gentleman stared at Azuth with cold, unmoving eyes and calmly replied to the woman,
“He’s bluffing. Do not move of your own accord. This is an order.” The bloodlust that emanated from them disappeared as fast as it had appeared. The gentleman’s cold-eyed stare remained on Azuth, “…though I am extremely curious to find out the extent of your knowledge on this matter…I will report this to my superiors. Everybody, it’s time for us to leave.”
The members of the Black Scripture did not lower their guards as they walked out the room but maintained the attitude that if Lakyus’ group was to take any sort of action, they would retaliate in kind.
After a while, after Lakyus was certain that the Black Scripture had left already, she started ranting at Azuth.
“Uncle…you’re the weakest of us all. Please stop provoking other people.”
“Hah…? Indeed, that was pretty dangerous. I did not expect them to antagonize us that hard. If it wasn’t for that man with the fake smile, I would have been dead. They were probably thinking something along the lines of, ‘rather than dirty our own hands, it’ll be more beneficial if we let the Sorcerer King have his fill first before we have ours’ or something. Though I doubt we were worth that kind of consideration.”
Lakyus intentionally directed her sigh towards Azuth, who had been laughing loudly.
Was that really the case?
Her uncle had revealed to the Black Scripture that he had some sort of crucial intel on the Theocracy, it would not have been unusual for them to kill him to prevent that intel from getting into the Sorcerer King’s hands. The other probable outcome would have been for them to kidnap him to interrogate him or use magic to get the intel out of him.
The root of the issue was why her uncle had let the Theocracy know that he had that kind of intel. If he had not done so, the conversation would have concluded with nothing else happening.
Why would he intentionally burn himself?
Azuth wasn’t someone who couldn’t see the bigger picture. Given that was the case, there had to be something in the background that Lakyus did not know of.
She would not get an answer from thinking about it alone. Lakyus stopped that useless train of thought.
“For God’s sake…So, what does uncle plan to do next?”
“Hah? I plan to wait till the Sorcerer King’s army made its way here. The big boys up there seem to be planning to send soldiers to the neighbouring territories to take formations. To be honest, I don’t think they have a chance at victory. The Sorcerer King and his lackeys will come here sooner or later… You’re not strong enough to trade blows with him, just run away.”
He had made his intentions clear.
“Even so, I will not abandon this city to run away. Uncle…”
If something was to defeat the Sorcerer King, it would not be the strike of a warrior but rather, the stab of an assassin. Precisely because of that, Lakyus had to clench her teeth and simply watch as waves of men were sent out to defend against the Sorcerer King’s attack.
“If you wish to invite me to fight alongside you, I refuse. I have my own plans.”
“Yup. I will do what I do best, and you should do what you do best. However, for the sake of my cute niece I will reiterate again. It’s best for you all to run away. You are all nothing in the face of the Sorcerer King’s power.”
“…hmph, what does that mean? Are you saying that you could achieve more than us?”
Faced with Evileye’s question, Azuth laughed as if he did not have an answer to that.
“Indeed, even I could not win against the Sorcerer King. I am but a mere man. But, even if the Sorcerer King surrounds the entire capital, I alone could still escape.”
Azuth stood up.
“Now then, I’ll be going to the other room to work these hips, what will you guys be doing?”
Lakyus realised what her uncle had meant and furrowed her brows.
“We’ll go back. After all, there are still things we need to prepare for.”
Lakyus bid farewell to her uncle and descended the stairs carefully with the rest of her group. They took their pay on the first floor and left the inn. It did not appear as though the Black Scripture was waiting in ambush there.
At a distance away from the capital that would take the average traveller three days to cross, the Sorcerous Kingdom’s army could already be sighted. This report landed in Zanac’s hands. To receive the Sorcerous Kingdom’s army’s attack, the entire army of the Kingdom had mobilized under Zanac’s command.
On the plains about half a day’s worth of marching away from the capital, the Kingdom’s army had already established a front upon receiving news that the Sorcerous Kingdom was invading from the west. According to their battle plans, they were to wait for the Sorcerous Kingdom’s army there.
The front was built upon a wide bit of road that was locked down for this purpose. If the Sorcerous Kingdom’s army was to continue on their current, straight trajectory, this would be the most effective. However, if the Sorcerous Kingdom was to change their direction of approach, there would be a need to form a new front. Though they were worried about that possibility, the reports all indicated that the Sorcerous Kingdom was beelining for them. It appeared as though they did not have to worry about that possibility coming true.
Yet no one was rejoicing because of it.
The Kingdom’s army that will be facing against the Sorcerous Kingdom’s army this time around was comprised of levies from the neighbouring nobles, the capital’s militia, and able-bodied men drafted from the refugees. It would not be incorrect to call this army the Kingdom’s last hope.
In total, there were over 400,000 men.
To have formed such a large army was something worthy of praise, yet the reality was that they were scraping at the bottom of the barrel. Not many had suitable equipment, a lot of people only had a club.
Even under this situation, morale was high. However, the reason for that was purely because they had the spirit of a cornered beast. They knew the extent of the cruelty the Sorcerous Kingdom had displayed and thus took up arms through the sheer force of will to protect that which they hold dear. If their courage was to take a hit in any shape or form, the Kingdom’s army would surely instantaneously collapse.
The size of the army was a weapon in and of itself, the long lines of soldiers alone gave off an overwhelming pressure without them doing anything at all. So then, for what purpose was the Sorcerous Kingdom’s army advancing straight towards this army of 400,000?
Even those who aren’t too well versed in battle tactics would know that facing such a large army head-on wasn’t the best strategy. For the Sorcerous Kingdom, their best strategy would have been to ‘do nothing’. They had an army full of the undead, which did not require supplies at all. In comparison, the Kingdom’s 400,000 strong force was akin to a gigantic yet starving beast. As long as they manage to completely surround them and apply pressure inwards, this giant beast would soon doom itself by starving to its death.
Yet the Sorcerous Kingdom’s army marched in a straight line, destroying everything in their path. He knew of the Sorcerer King’s firm grasp of the bigger picture, so it was hard to imagine that they had done so with no purpose in mind at all.
The Sorcerous Kingdom simply had confidence in their imminent victory.
To something like the Sorcerous Kingdom, this was not reckless behaviour at all. To those who could defeat an army of 200,000 men with a single spell, this army of theirs could be wiped out with the use of only two spells.
Of course, Zanac, as the general, did not want to believe that that could happen. However, the people, especially nobles, who believed in that notion weren’t exactly a minority either.
He understood why they had suggested that their forces should be split into groups. Though they could fall one-by-one, they also avoided the possibility of their entire army succumbing to a single spell.
But they could not do that.
Due to the devastating loss they had experienced during the battle of the Katze plains as well as the current invasion by the Sorcerous Kingdom, not many noblemen who had the skills to command such a large number of soldiers and cavalry were left. Splitting their forces would not create smaller armies, this force of 400,000 soldiers would suddenly turn into 400,000 commoners instead.
It was precisely because they had this many men gathered — this many comrades — in one place that people had the courage to face the Sorcerous Kingdom.
They had been manning this front for two days now.
A lot of time had been eaten up by the preparation this many men required.
After both sides had set up their formations, the Sorcerous Kingdom’s army had adopted a prideful attitude that said loud and clear, “we gave you just enough time to prepare.”
Their forces numbered around 10,000, comprising 3-4 types of undead. This was a miniscule number in the face of 400,000 men. However, in terms of individual strength, the Sorcerous Kingdom’s army undoubtedly held an overwhelming advantage against them.
Zanac gave a prompt reply to the minister of military affairs.
The minister’s movements were stiff, almost comical at times, due to his unfamiliarity with the armour he wore. But, Zanac was not a pot to call the kettle black.
He was wearing what used to be Gazef’s armour, one of the treasures of the Kingdom. Zanac knew that it did not suit him at all, he was far from Gazef’s league.
But, Zanac was thankful for this magically-enchanted armour.
These past few days, Zanac had been packing on the pounds due his stress-eating habits. If it wasn’t for the armour’s enchanted nature, he would have had to request a blacksmith to add an inch to the waist area.
“Bring forth my horse!”
A steed was brought forth to Zanac’s large tent by a knight following his order.
It took Zanac quite a bit of effort to get on his favorite horse, which did not look too kindly to Zanac. He did not take any bodyguards along with him as he rode out of the front and towards the Sorcerous Kingdom’s army.
Even if he brought bodyguards along, if the Sorcerer King wanted to kill him, bodyguards would be completely useless. They could not serve as deterrents at all.
That was why riding solo was effectively a demonstration to the onlookers of his courage. If he was killed while riding solo, it would serve to damage the Sorcerer King’s public image.
The Hero of Re-Estize…has a nice ring to it
Zanac reached the midpoint between the two armies with no obstacles at all. He activated a magic item to amplify his voice.
“I am the prince of the Kingdom of Re-Estize, Zanac Valleon Igana Ryle Vaiself! I wish to seek an audience with His Majesty the Sorcerer King!”
Zanac did not plan to fight a battle of wits against the Sorcerer King. Things had already come to a point where that was completely meaningless.
He just wanted to find out what kind of a thought process would have led the Sorcerer King to do what he had done.
Ainz surveyed the front his army had formed from a three-sided tarpaulin tent. Due to the fact that the Sorcerous Kingdom’s army was comprised of undead beings that did not require food resupplies, the front they had formed was much smaller than what a conventional army would have.
From an objective perspective, there was no need to establish a front at all and some had even suggested this to him. However, Ainz believed that front building was a valuable experience to gain too.
Actually, from the several fronts they had formed already, the one in front of him looked to be a lot sturdier than what they had at the start.
At first, these fronts were formed with the aid of Mare’s magic, but due to a specific reason, Mare had been relegated to simply watching the soldiers build the front at Ainz’s side.
Aura was also watching the soldiers on the side, but it appeared that she was only observing her own servants.
No matter if it was front building or tents, magic could always produce an outcome of higher quality. However, due to the same reason as above, Ainz had ordered this tent that was currently being used as their mobile headquarters to be transported to this location through physical means.
It might be a good idea to leave all civil engineering tasks in the future to Mare.
Amongst the populace of the Sorcerous Kingdom, there were many races of demi-humans and heteromorphs that were adept at digging tunnels. It would be a good idea to make them subordinate to Mare. That said, Albedo or someone else might have also had this idea and put it into action already. If someone had done so already, then the relevant documentation for this should have already been perused by Ainz. There was a need for him to ask Albedo about this in a roundabout way later.
Was she being tacit? Albedo, who should have been working hard to establish the front, had returned with Cocytus.
“Ainz-sama. It appears as though the humans have sent an envoy. How shall we proceed?”
“Not a messenger to declare the start of the battle? Prepare a reception… Prepare the receptive drinks as well.”
As Albedo began to prepare the table, chairs, and such, a man wearing full-plate armour on horseback entered Ainz’s line of sight.
Ainz recognized the armour worn by that man.
That’s…I think that’s Gazef Stronoff’s armour. Is this man the Vice-Warrior Captain? He’s quite different from the descriptions I’ve heard.
The envoy stopped between the two armies and started yelling his introduction.
“I am the prince of the Kingdom of Re-Estize, Zanac Valleon Igana Ryle Vaiself! I wish to seek an audience with His Majesty the Sorcerer King!”
He could hear him clearly even from this distance. He must have used some kind of magic item.
“What should we do, Ainz-sama? If he is not here to declare the start of the battle then it would be a waste of time to converse with him. Shall we initiate the battle as is?”
“No, Albedo, We. Cannot. Do. That.
The. Opponent. Desires. To. Have. A. Battle. Of. Wits. With. Ainz. Sama, If. We. Rejected. Him. Outright. It. Would. Reflect. Negatively. On. The. People’s. Impression. Of. Ainz. Sama’s. Magnanimity.”
“What value do rumours hold?” Albedo sneered, “They are dead men walking, what good are rumours that fall on no ears?”
Ainz was not too keen on fighting a battle of wits or whatever, surely the royalty of this country would not lose out to him in anything other than combat prowess. Still—
“Albedo. Have you forgotten? About the possibility that the rumour could be transmitted through magic?”
“…I’m terribly sorry.”
“Hmm…I will go then. The royalty of our opposition came alone. If I were not to do the same, it would not reflect well on us.”
“Are you sure it will be alright? Ainz-sama.”
“I have no idea. Aura, if I were to be brainwashed or mind controlled, you should use your World Class Item to protect me.”
Ainz’s usual World Class Item was in Nazarick’s storage, so if Aura used [Depiction of Nature and Society] on him, he would be trapped in it. This way, even if he was brainwashed, they could not kidnap him through teleportation or other similar methods.
“Umu,” Ainz replied to Aura and left the front on a Soul Eater. It was worth noting that after Ainz had practised horse riding, he looked adequate while doing it. However, because he wasn’t too apt at it, to prevent making a blunder in front of the two armies, Ainz still chose to ride a Soul Eater to be on the safe side.
The other party was waiting for Ainz next to his horse, so Ainz also got off the Soul Eater upon arriving at his destination. No matter how bad this was going to get for him, Ainz steeled himself to do to others what they had done to him.
His opponent was a man on the chubbier side of the spectrum. Makeup caked his face to cover up the dark circles under his eyes.
“Nice to meet you, Your Majesty the Sorcerer King. My name is Zanac Valleon Igana Ryle Vaiself.”
“Nice to meet you, I am the Sorcerer King Ainz Ooal Gown. I will be in your care then. Now, a standing conversation would be neither here nor there.” Ainz cast a spell twice, producing two black thrones that faced each other. Because it was created with magic, the two thrones were naturally identical.
“Though it is hard and metallic, we should still sit down first. How do you feel about that?”
“I would be glad to, Your Majesty.”
As they both sat down on the thrones, Ainz cast another spell to create a reflective black table between them.
While Ainz had started casting magic the moment they had met, Zanac did not seem to be on guard at all. It appeared as though he did not have any intention to assassinate Ainz.
Afterwards, Ainz took out two cups and an ice-filled container from his inventory.
“How about some water? Alcohol would be inappropriate given our current situation so, what about orange juice instead…?”
“Thank you very much, Your Majesty. Just water would be fine.”
“Now then, we are all set for the talk. What should we discuss then? Perhaps about the justification of our invasion?”
“That would not be necessary, Your Majesty. I am more interested in the reason why you were insistent on carrying out such heinous acts? Why did you refuse our offer to surrender?”
That was a natural question for him to ask. Although to Ainz, his reasons were clear and justified, to them it must have appeared to be senseless slaughter.
“Umu,” Ainz nodded his head. Given how things had turned out, there was no point in hiding his intentions anymore. He began to exposit the Sorcerous Kingdom’s plans to Zanac.
“Because we stood to gain nothing from that. I intend to sacrifice your people as an example to the world of what would happen to them if they stood against the Sorcerous Kingdom. To that end, you will all be eradicated and the Kingdom will be rendered into a mountain of ash. That mountain will continue to serve as a warning after centuries, after millenia, of how foolish of an act it would be to go against the Sorcerous Kingdom.”
“…You do not appear to be jesting.”
“Of course not, I am just stating what is to come.”
“What do you mean?”
Ainz could not read between Zanac’s lines and thus replied with a question.
“Your Majesty the Sorcerer King is in possession of immense amounts of power. Even if you did not do what you said you would, the people of the world would still come to know your awesome power.” Zanac wetted his lips, swallowed a mouthful of saliva, and asked, “Why are you this petty?”
“Petty, am I?”
Zanac tensed up at the possibility that he had angered Ainz, but Ainz was not angry at all.
“What is your goal?”
Ainz grumbled to himself, “what is your goal?”
In the past, to Ainz— no, to Satoru, to have met the buddies he had in the game of Yggdrasil was the epitome of his entire life. It was such a wonderful memory that all he wished for was to be reunited with his friends again.
When the plug was about to be pulled from the game, when all of this was meant to be for naught, he was transported to this world instead.
The end turned out not to be the end at all,
But instead, it was a new beginning.
The NPCs created by his friends began to exhibit free will. From their every move he could feel the remnants of his former companions. No, to be honest, the shock he had experienced at the beginning confused him so much that he was constantly worried about their betrayal. Looking back, that was moronic of him. Nowadays, he just did not question their loyalty at all.
Yet, it did not seem like Ainz was the only one who was transported to this world. He could see the footprints left behind by other players.
Perhaps it was only natural then for him to think that his companions, the people who shared those good times with him, could have come to this world as well. It was only natural for him to wish for this. Of course, Ainz knew that he was transported here during the final moments of the game’s operation, which made his friends’ appearance in this world unlikely.
Actually, through the use of multiple spells and intel sources, he could faintly feel the lack of their presence. However, since he did not have concrete proof of that belief, the possibility of it happening still remained.
One might call him an idiot for holding on to such vain hopes, one might also call him a futile loser too.
But to the Ainz of yesteryear, that was all his life had amounted to.
And now that dream was gradually fading away.
Sure his friends were important to him, but now, the NPCs were important to him too.
They were essentially children that had been left behind by his companions.
Ainz, as the only one to have stayed behind, had the duty to protect them at all costs.
Because of this, Ainz was willing to sacrifice his all to ensure no harm ever came to the NPCs. In order to ensure that Nazarick would never fall to outside forces, he had to prioritize the empowerment of the organization’s every aspect.
Shalltear was dominated by some unknown entity in the past. Though he had succeeded in regaining control over her, if things had turned out any worse back then, important intel on Nazarick could have been made known to outsiders; consequently, it could have led to the destruction of the guild.
He could not allow something like that to ever happen again.
“What is my goal, you ask? I seek something that is difficult yet also easy to obtain. All I wish for… is a single thing. That is, happiness.”
Zanac repeatedly blinked in surprise.
Ainz laughed a little in response. He did not find what he had said to be so outrageous.
“No matter if you’re human or whatever, the pursuit of happiness is the ultimate goal, is it not?”
Ainz threw away his act and began to converse with Zanac as if he was a close friend of his.
“And you would step over others’ happiness to achieve your own?”
“Isn’t that obvious? If the happiness of those I hold dear could be guaranteed, those of others do not matter to me at all. If you could secure the happiness of your subjects by inflicting suffering on the citizenry of another country, what would you do? Would you say, abandon their happiness altogether?”
“Those are the extremes!” Zanac calmed down as the sentence trailed, he lowered his head and said, “That was out of line of me. My apologies, Your Majesty.”
Ainz went back to his ruler persona.
“It is fine, there is no need to worry at all.”
“Even with the intellect and power of Your Majesty the Sorcerer King, there are no other possible methods to guarantee happiness?”
“…Perhaps, but, I could only say ‘perhaps’. If you had a guaranteed method to obtain happiness, what would be the better option? To seek a perhap nonexistent secondary method or sticking with what has been tried-and-true? ‘The Goddess of Luck is bald at the back of her head’ after all, was that how the saying went?”
(TL’s note: Roman proverb, see Disticha Catonis II, 26. The English equivalent is “Take Time By the Forelock” but that cuts out the ‘Goddess’ part)
Zanac was absolutely incredulous.
“What a strange Goddess. Sorry, I did not mean to belittle the Goddess you believe in. Please do forgive me.”
“Haha, I don’t mind at all. That wasn’t something I believed in, just a proverb I remembered. Very well then, that is the extent of it all. For the happiness of my subjects, I must sacrifice your people. This is the basis for this war, do you get it?”
“I guess so. I do relate to Your Majesty’s desire. The pursuit of the betterment of one’s own country and a guarantee to one’s own countrymen’s happiness, that could be said to be the only responsibility of a ruler. If the destruction of our people guaranteed the people of the Sorcerous Kingdom their happiness, I do understand why you did not accept our surrender. I suppose it couldn’t be helped.”
“Right? You get it. Now then, it’s my turn for a question, but I don’t really have one…”
Ainz looked around while he pondered, “Ah, right. The armour you’re wearing reminded me of it, so I’ll ask about that sword. The sword that Gazef Stronoff wielded, who’s currently in possession of it?”
“It is currently under the safekeeping of a man named Brain Unglaus.”
“Brain Unglaus? Ahh, that man.”
When he dueled Gazef, there was someone by that name between the two men who had witnessed said duel. However, given how long ago that was, he could barely remember his appearance.
Although he planned to turn the capital into ashes, he still planned to recover a few items, one of which being Gazef’s sword.
“That man, has he come here too?”
“No, he has not, Your Majesty. He should still be in the capital.”
“Is that so? Then you wouldn’t have any issue with what kind of magic I use to destroy you all, right?”
The one in charge of sieging the capital was Cocytus so he would have to order him to watch out for the sword later.
“While I have no intention to forfeit in this battle, I would be eternally grateful if Your Majesty was to use magic that would inflict the least amount of suffering on my people.”
“…Hmm. You do have a point. I understand. After all, pleasant conversations like this one are hard to come by. For you especially, I shall try my best to kill you as gently as I could.”
“Thank you very much.”
Zanac had on him a brilliant smile to which Ainz could not help but feel amazed.
This man’s courage was quite sizable. If Ainz was in his shoes, would he have been able to do the same?
—I don’t think so. As expected of someone of royal blood. This has been very educational.
Zanac took the glass cup in front of him and downed the water in a single gulp, as if he was not worried about poisons at all.
“Delicious, Your Majesty. Say, I do hope you could answer one last question of mine — was Your Majesty the one who killed my brother, or was it one of Your Majesty’s subordinates?”
Ainz tilted his head and after a short while, remembered the prince of the Kingdom they had already disposed of. He could not recall his name, but did remember that it was super long.
“It was probably one of my subordinates.”
“Is that true…so he was dead after all…I feel like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders…Your Majesty, thank you for telling me. I suppose it is time for us to bid farewell.”
After saying that, Zanac began walking towards his horse.
Ainz walked towards the Soul Eater after he had tidied up everything, only to find that Zanac was still waiting by his horse.
Ainz questioned in his mind why he had not already gotten onto his horse as he climbed onto the Soul Eater. Only after he had done so, did Zanac mount his horse.
Between a prince and a king, it was easy to tell who held the higher status, so he had probably done so to avoid looking down on Ainz from his high horse. To Ainz, someone who had not studied equestrian etiquette, this was the proper protocol that the aristocracy should strive to follow. Zanac’s standing in his mind rose by a bit.
Looks like studying the etiquette of the upper-class has become mandatory…what isn’t at this point? Will the amount of things I have to learn ever decrease…?
The noblemen all came out to welcome Zanac back, almost every noble that had answered his call was there.
No one halted his exit from the front, yet now it felt like he could not get back in if he tried. That meant that everybody was anticipating for good news, the best of which would be if the Sorcerer King had agreed to handic—
Zanac answered their question with a curt reply.
“I couldn’t do it. His Majesty the Sorcerer King plans to kill us all, that was non-negotiable to him.”
What he found to be surprising was the fact that there were still nobles who turned pale at this news. Were they still hoping that everything would turn out fine even with the current situation?
Zanac got off his horse and left those nobles, who were all biting down on their lower lip and were deep in contemplation, behind to walk towards his own tent.
After he entered the tent, the minister of military affairs welcomed him, only for a sarcastic smile to surface on his face.
“That does not look like good news.”
“In other words, just as we had expected, but, well, one thing did surprise a bit.”
“Really? Speaking of which, I have never met with the Sorcerer King, just what kind of an evil monster was he?”
“He was more human than I thought.”
Q: Where are we at?
A: As of this part: page 345/568