Overlord Light Novel Volume 7 Prologue
Overlord Light Novel Volume 7 Prologue
(Re)Translated by: Nigel
Proofreader/Editor: Deus Ex Machina
On the lowest floor of the Great Underground Tomb of Nazarick, in the heart of the 10th Floor, the air of the Throne Room — which was hung with 40 flags — was filled with a quiet ardor.
The silent rows of vassals bowed deeply toward the throne to display their loyalty.
Their ranks were packed with inhuman shapes. The Floor Guardians aside, all the NPCs which had been hand-crafted by the 41 Supreme Beings and the direct vassals of the Floor Guardians were gathered in this place. There were easily over 200 of them here, and this was the first time so many had been gathered in this place since their arrival in this new world.
However, there was a great difference between this occasion and the previous one. The vassals gathered here were not the usual faces, but they were all high-levelled, powerful entities. On average each of them was above level 80.
Shalltear Bloodfallen — Guardian of the 1st to 3rd Floors — was typically attended by her Vampire Brides. Today, however, she was accompanied by the highest-level undead beings which had been bestowed upon her. In addition, even Mare — one of the 6th Floor’s Guardians — had brought out the two Dragons which were directly subordinated to himself and Aura, and which had never left his floor before. These dragons could only be obtained from the cash gacha — at an extremely low drop rate, no less — and they were close to level 90.
Among these carefully selected vassals, one group stood apart from the rest.
They were a group of undead who were a cut below the other entities present. They were level 40 at the highest, and numbered about 100 strong. They were formed up in separate ranks from the 200 entities mentioned earlier.
These undead should have taken up places at the rear of this sacred domain upon being summoned here, behind the ranks of the other vassals. Yet they were formed up into files, and the entities at their head occupied positions that were even closer to the throne — proximity to the throne being an indication of status — than even the Floor Guardians.
There was a perfectly reasonable explanation for this otherwise unreasonable treatment.
That was because these undead were the personal creations of the ruler of the Great Underground Tomb of Nazarick, Ainz Ooal Gown. They could not be slighted.
Everyone present here was Ainz’s subordinate, and nobody would doubt their absolute loyalty to the guild Ainz Ooal Gown. There was also a clear hierarchy among them. Naturally, the highest-placed ones were the NPCs who had been personally created by the Supreme Beings, and among them, the Floor Guardians who had been granted weighty responsibilities were at the apex of that group.
Behind the NPCs were naturally spawned (POP) monsters, or monsters summoned through YGGDRASIL’s mercenary system — the vassals. Their status was determined by their power and their assigned duties, but they were all formed up into ranks, without regard for their floors of origin.
In that case, where should the undead created by Ainz be placed?
This question had troubled the Guardian Overseer Albedo. She did not know whether or not to accord them the same status as the NPCs.
When she asked Ainz, he had laughed and declared that it would be fine to put them in the lowest position.
Ainz’s ability to create undead had a limited number of uses in a day, but there was no monetary cost needed to use it. In comparison, the high-level vassals which the Guardians had brought along were beings created through YGGDRASIL’s mercenary system and required expenditures of in-game currency or real money. The former could be created again for free if they were destroyed, but the money spent on the latter would be wasted if they died. Therefore, to Ainz, the undead he created — being free of charge, even if they required corpses to be made — were cheaper than the beings that were born through the use of money.
Of course, that was Ainz’s point of view, and not that of his loyal subordinates. Albedo was moved to tears after hearing her magnanimous master’s decision, but she could not answer, “I understand”. She agonized over the problem for half a day, and then finally decided to break with tradition by forming the undead into files, thus glossing over that problem.
Seated upon the throne, the highest position within this room, Ainz looked down upon his vassals — which Albedo had spent so much effort on organizing — and spoke unto them as though he was bestowing a revelation. No, to those who swore fealty to him, Ainz’s words were nothing less than the will of the gods made manifest.
“To begin with, thank you all for your long hours of information-gathering. Sebas, Solution, you have done well.”
Ainz looked down upon the two people bowing before him, and nodded in satisfaction. However, the problem was what came next. It was too difficult for a mere commoner to imitate the behavior of a ruler, and Ainz felt himself being crushed under the pressure. He saw his countless subordinates before him. Their eyes glowed with respect and adoration.
His supposedly non-existent stomach ached with pain, and his heart — which should have been similarly absent — throbbed within his chest.
However, that only lasted for a moment. The intense desire to flee this place with all his might was suppressed by the emotional override which was a special feature of his body.
Ainz finally felt like he could play the role of a proper ruler, and he ordered:
“The two of you, come before me.”
The summoned pair rose as one. They moved in perfect unison to the steps before the throne, as though they had rehearsed this before. Then they halted before Albedo, who stood in front of and to the side of Ainz.
The two of them then knelt once more, with neatly coordinated motions.
“Raise your heads. For your exemplary performance, I shall grant you a reward.”
Ainz looked to Sebas.
“Sebas, while you pleaded for mercy on Tsuare’s behalf, I extended her my protection in order to repay a debt. It has nothing to do with your job performance, so I will grant you whatever you desire. Come, tell me what you want.”
Praising one’s subordinates before an audience would spur others to work harder. That was probably why department awards and the like were given before all the workers. When one’s subordinates worked with passion in the hopes of being similarly praised, it would improve the organization’s performance. Thus, Ainz had made use of his working experience and gathered many of his subordinates to the Throne Room for precisely this purpose.
However, doing so also carried a great risk with it. Ainz had to act like a proper master before his many subordinates, by displaying his charm as a ruler (charisma). This was an arduous task for a mere salaryman. However, he was the final remaining member of the Great Underground Tomb of Nazarick, so he had to overcome this trial.
I need to repay the NPCs’ loyalty.
As this iron determination grew in Ainz’s heart, Sebas’ moustache quivered.
“Devoting this body to serve you is all the rew–”
Honestly, they really are loyal subordinates. But at the same time, it puts a lot of pressure on me…
“–Enough. It is a master’s responsibility to reward good performance from his subordinates. I would have you know that at times, a lack of desire from one’s subordinates sometimes displeases their master.”
“Yes! Please forgive your humble servant! That being the case…”
Sebas paused to think for a few seconds, and then said:
“I would like to receive clothing and daily necessities for the use of Tsuare, the human which you have so graciously placed under me, Ainz-sama.”
“…I can give you the clothing and so on from my personal inventory.”
In YGGDRASIL, once one missed the chance to acquire limited-availability items or player-made clothing, the chances of being able to obtain them again in the future were very low. Therefore, he had bought any and all outfits that had caught his eye without hesitation. Ainz was not the only one who had done so — all of his friends had the same tendencies. No, in all likelihood, just about any player would do that.
Peroroncino, the guild member who had created Shalltear, had something to say about this sort of tendency: “It’s like porn that you like, you just save it right away and worry about using it later”. After that, he added: “Although, I have no idea which folder they’re saved in.”
In truth, he was correct. Ainz had purchased a vast quantity of outfits, both male and female, but he had only stored it and never used it. SInce all they did was take up space in his wardrobe, it would be wiser to make use of them.
Ainz thought of the clothing he had bought from all over the place. YGGDRASIL’s clothing was largely overwrought in design, but there ought to be something suitable for Tsuare.
“No, there is no need to trouble you to do that, Ainz-sama. Tsuare has enjoyed your largesse until now; it would be too much to ask for more.”
“Is that so… alright, then. However, as for the clothes…”
This was a tricky problem for Ainz, who had never bought ladies’ clothes before. What if they felt he was tasteless? He might end up torpedoing the collective opinion which the ladies of Nazarick held of him.
“May I enlist Narberal for this task? I could not possibly trouble you, the ruler of Nazarick, with such a trivial matter, Ainz-sama.”
Sebas had probably not sensed Ainz’s unease, but his suggestion had been a great help to Ainz.
“…Narberal, do you mind?”
Upon hearing Ainz’s voice, one of the motionless NPCs beneath him bowed her head deeply.
“Very well, Sebas. I will let Narberal handle that task. Or…”
Ainz smiled thinly. Of course, his face did not move; it was only implied.
“You may also take Tsuare shopping. Consider it a date of sorts.”
Ainz had already heard about things between Sebas and Tsuare from the Head Maid. While a physical relationship had not developed yet, Demiurge had said that it was only a matter of time.
Speaking of which, why did Demiurge say that a physical relationship between Sebas and Tsuare was a good thing? Well, maybe he was wishing his colleague all the best in his pursuit of love. If that’s the case, then the two of them would actually be getting along surprisingly well. The mood in the air was a bit stiff when we were in the Royal Capital, but maybe that was just due to the circumstances. Still, that’s a relief; it’s not like I want to see them fighting all day…
The reason why the guild members Touch Me and Ulbert were at loggerheads sprang from a reason external to YGGDRASIL. In fact, it was because of Ulbert’s real-life jealousy.
I remember their relationship was strained ever since that argument… maybe that was the start of everything.
Ainz felt as though he was looking out upon a vast expanse of wasteland, and he felt that he understood now. Just then, Sebas’ surprised voice cleared away the thoughts in his mind.
“May, May I do so? Then, I would like to go with Tsuare.”
–It’s not like I’m bullying this sweet couple because I’m a bachelor.
If they had their date in E-Rantel, then he would just put on his Mask of Jealousy and tail them. As Ainz thought about pointless things like that, he raised his chin, indicating that the other kneeling person should speak.
“It is fine. Then, Solution. Speak your desires.”
“…I would like several humans, live ones, if possible. Ideally, they would be pure human beings.”
Ainz considered the humans he had captured. Many of the surviving humans were associated with Eight Fingers, the group which had displeased Ainz. According to the reports, everyone useful had been tortured and mentally broken. After that were the ones whom his imprisoned servants had flouted the rules to protect.
Those won’t do. After all, Pestonya and Nigredo were willing to defy my orders to protect them.
“I permit this. I shall give you several live humans. However, I cannot guarantee their purity. Forgive me for not being able to completely fulfill your request.”
“Please do not say that! Your servant did not deserve pure human beings in the first place! I am eternally grateful to be granted live humans!”
Ainz regarded Solution, who had bowed her head deeply, and nodded in a way which he believed best suited a ruler.
“…Is that so. Thank you. Then, you may step back. Next is Entoma. Come before me.”
As the two of them fell back, Entoma took their place on her knees before Ainz.
“Now then, Entoma.”
Ainz could not help but smile bitterly at her garbled voice.
“It seems your voice has not yet recovered.”
The Lip Bugs which Entoma equipped did not naturally occur in YGGDRASIL, but that did not mean they did not exist. There were several monsters summoned through YGGDRASIL currency in her room, and she could use them to restore her voice at any time. There was only one reason she had not done so — a personal grudge.
“DoeS mY VOiCe diSPleAsE yOu? I SHalL fiX It aT onCe!”
“Not at all. I do not dislike your current voice.”
“ThANk yOu, AInZ-SAmA!”
“Now then. You have given much of yourself and even sacrificed your voice. However, your efforts are somewhat insufficient to qualify you for a reward. While I may not be able to grant it like I did for the other two, tell me your desires anyway.”
Ainz felt that handing rewards out willy-nilly was not generosity, but a lack of consideration. Anything that was too readily available would lose its value.
From that point of view, Entoma’s efforts had not reached the standards which Ainz had set for her to earn out a reward. That said, she had been severely injured in the line of duty and not acknowledging that would be a pity.
I believe they call this a Purple Heart? I’m not too familiar with military things. If he were here, he could have taught me more about this.
AInz recalled a guild member who had been known as a military otaku.
“TheN… AINz-sAMa. If A chANCe tO KilL thAT WreTCH cOMeS uP, PLeaSE SEnD Me. I wiSH To STeAL HeR VOIcE.”
Ainz knew that she was referring to that suspicious girl in a mask called Evileye, and so he gave his consent.
“I understand. I will call upon you when the time comes. You may leave, Entoma.”
He watched her return to her previous position.
“Then, let us move on to the next topic.”
Naturally, nobody objected. However, Ainz could not find happiness in this development.
They considered Ainz to be their supreme overlord; if he said so, white would become black and so on. That was why they were silent, and not because he had chosen the correct course of action.
It looks like I need to install a few auditing and other agencies.
The first thing he ought to set up was a department responsible for handing out rewards. The problem with that was the NPC and vassals all believed that serving Ainz was a natural state of affairs and did not require any sort of reward. In addition, the criteria for being rewarded were very vague and essentially determined by Ainz, which was another problem.
If we’re going to operate as a group, I’ll need to lay down some concrete guidelines in this field… it’s all my fault for leaving the group’s management to Albedo and running from my responsibilities, now it’s come to bite me in the ass. Still, this is beyond the capabilities of a regular person. Almost none of my life experiences have been applicable so far.
Ainz (Suzuki Satoru) had been a mere wageslave in the past, and the strain of leadership was giving him headaches. However, he struggled to rein it in. He could fret about these things when he was alone in his room and could roll around on his scented bed.
“I will be deciding the direction Nazarick will be taking in the future. Demiurge, to me.”
The finest mind of Nazarick ascended the stairs, taking his place opposite Albedo.
“Guardian Overseer of Nazarick, Albedo. The keenest intellect of Nazarick, Demiurge. Our original plan is now more than half-complete. I order you to explain our action plan for the future. If anyone has any suggestions, you may raise your hands and speak.”
Ainz’s first priority was Nazarick’s continued survival. No, in the worst case scenario — even if he lost the place known as Nazarick — it would be enough for him to protect the NPCs, the children of his former friends. He could create a shelter and use other methods to solve that problem.
The second was to spread the name of Ainz Ooal Gown to the entire world. That was because Ainz considered that if his friends were in this world, they might come to find him. Perhaps this objective could be pushed back in terms of priority.
The third was to strengthen Nazarick. Perhaps he ought to move that up in importance.
Indeed, the more he understood this world, the more he felt that Nazarick was an impregnable fortress, while Ainz Ooal Gown felt like the strongest organization within it. However, someone had been able to mind-control Shalltear, albeit with the use of a World-Class Item, so arrogance and pride would be very dangerous. In particular, since World-Class Items existed in this world, it would be best to assume that other guilds existed here, lest they be ambushed. Thus, they had to take action to increase Nazarick’s strength.
Currently, they had enlisted the Lizardmen and Ainz had produced undead beings, but they needed to pursue strength more voraciously.
His fourth priority was to gather information. That had originally been his primary concern, but since it had already been partially completed, he had lowered its priority.
This was Ainz’s thought process. However, it was ultimately the product of Ainz, the commoner. There might be a hole in it somewhere, or he might not have analyzed the information well enough before using it as a foundation.
Because of that. Ainz had called upon a pair of keen intellects. If all he needed was their wisdom, then all he had to do was discuss the matter with them directly. There was no need to risk letting everyone know that his head was empty by putting on a big show to talk about this problem.
However, doing so would be a mistake.
As their master, he had to put on this show in order to play the role in which the NPCs envisioned him — though he felt it was more of a delusion. He had to play the role of Ainz Ooal Gown, an incomparable being and a thinker of fathomless depths, and do so upon a grand stage.
“The two of you will explain clearly to everyone present. These are the elite personnel selected by the various Guardians. Let them hear about our future direction and do not leave out any details.”
Indeed, Ainz had been forced to employ this stratagem. It was like telling them to “explain to the other Guardians” on a larger scale. His plan was to use the excuse that someone or everyone did not understand, then pretend he knew and listen to the explanation.
“Then, Demiurge. You will clearly explain what we now know to those who do not understand the details. In any event, start by telling them the actions Nazarick has taken in the Kingdom.”
Demiurge then began to address the NPCs beneath him;
This was what Ainz had been waiting for. At that time, Ainz had agreed with it. He had felt the wise Demiurge could do no wrong, but after thinking further upon the matter he felt that Demiurge had ended up doing unnecessary things.
“On the Kingdom’s side, we have successfully subdued the members of the criminal syndicate’s top leadership with the aid of Mare, Neuronist and Kyouhukou. All we need to do from now on is slowly permeate into them until we are in a position to rule the Kingdom’s underworld.”
Ainz quietly made his doubts audible. Why did they have to take over the Kingdom’s crime syndicate? It seemed somewhat different from the simple explanation he had heard back then. A reasonable hypothesis for that would be in order to harvest money over the long term, or to easily obtain information.
Just as Ainz was thinking, Demiurge closed his mouth and looked back, staring at him. While giving thanks that his body did not sweat, he asked:
“What’s wrong, Demiurge? Is something the matter?”
“No, I simply thought I heard you say something, Ainz-sama.”
“Oh, my apologies. I was simply indicating my agreement. It would seem you misunderstood me. Alright, carry on, then. Tell everyone the significance of taking over the Kingdom’s criminal organization.”
“Yes. Then, gentlemen. Taking over the syndicate is the foundation for achieving Ainz-sama’s objective; that is to say world domination. I trust nobody is stupid enough to not know that.”
Ainz glanced down at everyone’s face. They all looked like they understood, without exception.
Ainz was the only one who did not understand.
What the hell was that? When had things ended up like that? However, he could not ask about it.
This was the greatest exercise of Ainz’s intellect in his entire life. He spent several seconds reflecting and searching himself.
It had been far too unexpected, too difficult to accept. How had it ended up like this? All he had wanted was to keep a low profile, avoid making enemies, improve his reputation, and then find a way to communicate with his friends from the past who might be in this world. Those cute little wishes were all he had wanted.
However, right now–
World conquest?! How did things turn out this way?!
Ainz dearly wanted to reject those words but he lacked the courage to do so.
It was not just the NPCs but every single vassal which had that look of understanding on their faces, as though the words “But of course” were written there. It was evident at a glance that this was common knowledge, and that it had been engraved into their hearts. Ainz felt something like a hot wind blowing in the area around the throne.
Ainz Ooal Gown was the highest ruler of Nazarick, a Supreme Being. Now that he had become an object of worship, what would happen if he personally destroyed this image?
For all he knew, he might end up like an idol caught in some scandal by the paparazzi. While it was sad for an idol to lose fans and for their sales figures to decline, Ainz had the feeling that a more tragic fate than that would be waiting for him.
It seems too much has been invested in this scheme for me to call it off…
Still, when he thought calmly about it, world domination was not a bad idea.
Of course, it would not be as simple as it was in games. To a plebeian like Ainz, this large-scale plan was too vague for him to understand. However, he could understand that this was a perfect means for him to build his reputation — although it might end up being infamy instead.
The problem now was what his friends would think if they knew about this. At that point, all he could do was apologize for his inability to manage Nazarick well.
Besides, we might be able to deal with the unknown enemy who brainwashed Shalltear. That ought to work as an excuse, right? They’ll forgive me for that… right?
Having steeled himself, Ainz magnanimously nodded to Demiurge, who seemed to be waiting for praise.
“So… you still remembered.”
“Of course. I, Demiurge, have committed every word you have spoken to memory, Ainz-sama.”
“Is that so… I did bring it up then, did I not?”
“…From that time, then?
“That time… I see. This pleases me, Demiurge…”
“Thank you, Ainz-sama.”
“However, world domination is quite difficult.”
“It is as you say, Ainz-sama.”
“Then… what do you think we should do?”
Ainz wanted to praise his voice for not trembling.
“I propose that Nazarick ought to take its place upon the global stage, as part of our overall direction for the future. Since the entities who controlled Shalltear are acting clandestinely, it may cause problems for us even if we remain hidden.”
Was that really the case? Ainz felt it would be better to remain hidden. He had no idea how Demiurge had reached that conclusion.
“I concur, Ainz-sama. If we make ourselves known to the world, we can deal with problems in an aboveboard manner. We will not need to send small amounts of personnel to conduct secret investigations.”
“Ah, I see.”
Enlightenment dawned suddenly on Ainz as he heard Albedo’s explanation.
The idea of not having to hunt for a needle in a haystack and being able to move as boldly as they pleased was very attractive.
“So that is why we are to rule the Kingdom from the shadows and achieve legitimacy for Nazarick by various ways and means, am I correct? However, I cannot agree with the idea of allowing the land which Ainz-sama rules to become part of any other country.”
Demiurge shook his head at Albedo’s question.
“Of course, Albedo. I would not be able to tolerate it either. In addition, after perusing and contemplating our information on the Kingdom, I have come to the conclusion that the Kingdom — as it stands now — is not attractive to us in the least, one person aside. The same applies to all the other nations. I feel that having our organization work for any other country would be a foolish course of action.”
“And why is that?”
“When we must serve a nation, we will be limited in the actions that we can take. If the people who controlled Shalltear turn out to be an organization, and we are beholden to a certain country, we might be unable to respond promptly if problems arise. Therefore… Ainz-sama.”
Demiurge stared at Ainz, and solemnly delivered his proposal.
“I propose we found a nation known as the Great Underground Tomb of Nazarick.”