Overlord Light Novel Volume 14 Chapter 2 Part 1

Overlord Light Novel Volume 14 Chapter 2 Part 1

note: if you have yet to read Chapter 1 Part 8, go here

Chapter 2: Countdown to Extinction   – Part 1

In the capital city of the Kingdom of Re-Estize, in the Valencia Palace.

One of the rooms had a kind of heat typical of the number of people gathered inside. Though that number was not high by any means, the room wasn’t spacious either. The point was, the people in that room were so serious and occupied with their tasks that they had begun to raise the temperature of the room bit by bit.

In the center of the room sat a rectangular meeting table and situated on the most important seat in the room was Rampossa III. Sat to his right was the second prince, Zanac, and the rest of the seats had been filled by the Kingdom’s courtiers and ministers. Due to the fact that they were all advanced in years, if you were to take a look around the room, all you would see were white hair on white heads and shiny bald heads.

If this was a normal situation, everyone except the king would have stood up to pay their respects and then properly initiate the meeting — this was the protocol after all — but that was not what had happened. Each one of them had a cup filled with tea in front of them, signifying the potential length of this meeting.

After confirming that everybody had received the materials they had prepared, Zanac said loudly,

“Let’s start the court meeting then. The topic of this meeting will be the declaration of war we have received from the Sorcerous Kingdom.” He had used a term as intense as ‘declaration of war’ in hopes that everyone would treat this meeting with the gravity it deserves.

The truth was, the white-haired interior minister, who was around the age of his father, had the most displeased expression out of them all. It seemed that he was deeply anxious about the emergency.

Zanac took a stealthy glance at the side of his father’s face. He was worried the most about his father’s judgment. Was his father still capable of fully understanding how dangerous this situation could be and take appropriate actions against it?

He probably has some convictions against the Sorcerer King who had killed ‘that guy’…

He had heard that after his father received news of the Warrior Captain Gazef Stronoff’s death, he was shaken to his core and couldn’t think straight. After it was explained to him how resurrection was not possible, he flew into a rage that had never been seen before. Zanac bore witness to it all as he was there with his father when it occurred.

Since then, his father appeared to have aged quite significantly. He had lost all motivation and was as lifeless as a mannequin constructed out of flesh and bone.

Would his father, who had been traumatized this much, be able to make a calm judgment against his sworn enemy, the Sorcerous Kingdom?

It’ll be up to me then—

Zanac felt uneasy so he took a peek at the ministers.

The topic of this meeting was something that was delivered to them days ago by an envoy from the Sorcerous Kingdom, an official document that bore the royal seal of the Sorcerous Kingdom. The content of the document reads, “A grain convoy meant to serve as humanitarian aid from the Sorcerous Kingdom to the Holy Kingdom had been taken by force by a citizen of the Kingdom. We deem it a hostile action against the Sorcerous Kingdom and hereby declare war on your country.”

The document also bore the seals of other countries that approved of the Sorcerous Kingdom’s actions.

As of now, the envoy was staying within the capital, waiting to deliver the Kingdom’s response letter back. Given that this was an official communication between countries through documents, it would not have been unusual to give the other side a week or two to respond. Even then, for them to reach consensus on a response, finish their preparations, complete investigations, et cetera would probably take them more time than they have on hand, even if they were to rush through every process.

“I’m terribly sorry, because we have had to investigate two of the six seals on the document from the envoy, it took us quite a bit of time.”

The one who had lowered his head was the minister of foreign affairs, who was also the minister of seals and was in charge of the investigation over the seals approving of the Sorcerous Kingdom’s decision.

“The ones we were certain of before were the four from the Sorcerous Kingdom, the Empire, the Draconic Kingdom, and the Holy Kingdom, correct?”

The minister of foreign affairs nodded in response to the minister of finance’s question.

“That is correct. Of the two remaining — one was from the Dwarven Nation. Though we had identified the design as Dwarven, the seal still had some variations compared to the ones on the documents we’ve had from them from two centuries ago. After we received the assistance from Re-Blumrusher with the investigation, we found a similar seal, so we judged that it was probably a remake of the original after a certain era. The other seal, the one that was next to the Holy Kingdom’s, appeared to be the seal of the one they call the ‘Faceless One’.”

“They placed an individual’s stamp alongside the seals of state?”

The minister of military affairs was in total disbelief.

He was the youngest of the ministers. Both him and Zanac lowered the average age of the room by quite a lot. With that said, he was already over 40.

His appearance did not do his rank of the minister of military affairs justice; he was skinny, weak, and had a face that suggested he was neurotic. He seemed more of a financial personnel than a military one.

His relationship with Gazef had not been great – or rather, he had deliberately flaunted his dislike of him – so he was not heavily relied upon by Rampossa and had been absent from court meetings quite frequently. The lack of contact between them made Zanac unaware of his capabilities.

However, since Marquis Raeven had praised his abilities to Zanac, he should be someone who could earn his keep at the very least. No matter what he was like as a person, he should at least be competent, right? No, if he wasn’t at least competent he wouldn’t have made it as a minister.

“It appears as though the minister of military affairs is not too familiar with this matter. Usually, when the Holy Kingdom applies their national seal on a document, their high priestess would also stamp on the seal of their temple. This must be something similar to that.”

“…so they’re trying to send the message that the ‘Faceless One’ had already overtaken the authority of their religious institutions, or that she has authority above that of their current religious institutions?”

“Your servant believes that to be the case, your Majesty. The document we received for the current Holy King’s coronation still had the seal of their temple, so it appears that she had begun rapidly consolidating power right after that event. So even though we had never seen the stamp of this ‘Faceless One’ and could not confirm its validity, since it was stamped next to the national seal of the Holy Kingdom, we could only assume that to be the case.”

“Other than the Council State and the Theocracy, most countries have approved of and joined the Sorcerous Kingdom’s condemnation of the Kingdom. This wasn’t subterfuge by the Sorcerous Kingdom, but the truth.”

“Yes, your Majesty.”

His father let out a tired sigh.

“Has the Draconic Kingdom also bent their knees to the Sorcerous Kingdom?”

“We can’t be certain, your Majesty, because we have yet to receive intel on what had happened in the Draconic Kingdom. Perhaps they had fallen prey to some honeyed words or perhaps they simply felt that there was more to gain by siding with the Sorcerous Kingdom than siding with us.”

The Dragonic Kingdom was probably only endorsing the Sorcerous Kingdom’s actions and was not participating in the war itself.

“Is that so? I understand, minister of foreign affairs. Thank you for your hard work. Now then…interior minister, how many of those within the Kingdom believe in the contents of this document?

“Yes. Though we’re not too sure about the entirety of the Kingdom, about seven-tenths of those within the court believe this to be a ploy of the Sorcerous Kingdom. About a tenth of us believe that it was done by highwaymen — that part of the peasantry that would be boorish and foolish enough to do such a thing. The remaining two-tenths believe that this could be the plot of a third nation.”

“Hmm, if it was a plot, their goal would most likely be to weaken the Kingdom and the Sorcerous Kingdom or to simply disrupt the peace between the Sorcerous Kingdom and the Kingdom. If that was the case, it has to be the Council State and the Theocracy.”

“Your Majesty, I believe that conclusion to be too rash. There’s also the possibility that the Empire is plotting to overturn its status as a vassal state. After all, if it was the knights of the Empire, they could probably easily charge and overwhelm a convoy.”

“—that would not be possible. The incident happened on Kingdom soil. Did our investigations not reveal that there were tens of men? Even if it was the Empire or the Council State and the Theocracy, there would be no way they could bring so many soldiers onto our soil behind our backs. Or maybe, they had help from within. Perhaps they had hired bandits within the Kingdom, mercenaries would also be an option — the specifics does not matter, what matters is that we as a nation had committed a mistake.”

The minister of military affairs asserted that it was impossible for this to have been a plot that had been executed by soldiers foreign to the Kingdom.

Everyone knew how hard he had worked to maintain the public order which had almost collapsed within the Kingdom after that battle. He had proven his aptitude through the debacle, perhaps that was why he was so confident in his own judgment.

“It would have been hard with bandits, but I still hope that we could absorb some mercenaries into our ranks, but we simply do not have the capital to do so.”

“Are you saying that our finances are not in order?”

“I did not say that at all.”

“But you implied it—”

“Minister of finance, minister of military affairs, please stop arguing. We do not have time for that.”

The two lowered their heads upon hearing the king speak.

The minister of military affairs continued to speak to a now silent room.

“But, I have no doubt that this is some sort of a plot by someone. I have testimony from the guards at the gates that the caravan was flying the Sorcerous Kingdom’s flag and had a pretty impressive security detail when they left the capital.”

Most of the Kingdom’s people knew of the massacre the Sorcerous Kingdom had committed on the Katze plains, so no one within the Kingdom would dare to provoke such a terrifying country.

If they had to deduce who was behind all of this, there was only one country that checked all the boxes.

—The Sorcerous Kingdom.

Everything made sense once they considered it as a self-orchestrated, self-performed plot.

They probably had ordered the caravan to burn or dispose of its cargo — or maybe they plainly did not load those wagons up in the first place — and made up the excuse that they were attacked by some non-existent entity. It was hard to imagine a more plausible explanation.

“Zanac, though not much time has passed, how much progress have you made on your investigations?”

“Actually…your son I had already found out who had started this incident.”

The courtiers all had shocked expressions.

“…It’s just that, that was what made it difficult. We had doubts about it being a conspiracy precisely because it was so easy to find the culprit. Would you be so kind as to give me a bit more time?”

“Of course, we have to investigate the exact details of this incident, but given the situation any amount of intel would be helpful. Can you report on what you have figured out — what you are absolutely certain of?”

“As you wish, my king. What we are certain of, is that the criminals in question include the one known as Baron Philip Dayton L’Eyre Montserrat and his serfs.”

The courtiers began to speak, “Montserrat?” “Have you heard of that name?” “A baron and his serfs attacked the convoy?” “Were they trying to avenge someone who died in the battle?” “Perhaps he’s one of those that does not put much thought into their actions?” “Emotions could lead one to go on unexpected rampages, couldn’t they?”

In the midst of this, the one to speak up was the minister of justice who appeared to be pretty miffed,

“Your Majesty, this…this has to be a scheme of the Sorcerous Kingdom, correct? Your servant could not fathom why a noble of the Kingdom would mastermind something like this.

“I concur. Is the Sorcerous Kingdom not a country that would nonchalantly use [Charm Person] in their courts? It is entirely possible that they couldn’t care less about using equally sleazy methods on a national level. For example — was that baron being controlled using [Charm Person]?”

The phrase “I see” could be heard throughout the room. Zanac couldn’t help but feel regret for leaking that information after hearing the accusations the minister made in the second half of rhetoric.

“If that’s the case, we need to offer protection to that baron as soon as possible. Though I’m not too versed on the matter, I have heard that the spell called [Charm Person] leaves the victim with the memory of what happened when the spell was cast on them. Therefore he would not remain silent.”

Zanac wasn’t as knowledgeable in magic as the minister, so he had made a rookie mistake.

“Summon that baron. Investigate what had happened. At the same time, protect him.”

“—my king,” Zanac did not want to say so, but after steeling himself he said, “after we find out what had happened, could we offer the head of that baron as an apology to the Sorcerous Kingdom?”

“What are you talking about?”

His father’s gaze was sharp enough that it felt as though it was piercing right through him. Even when he was reduced to a skinny old man, the man who had borne the title of king for the longest time still had an aura that was worthy of praise.

I doubt I have the same level of majesty, but, I won’t back down so easily.

Even if this was a scheme by the Sorcerous Kingdom, was it really worth fighting a battle on the battlefield the enemy had specially prepared for themselves? He was terrified of the prospect that they would be continually arguing back and forth about whether ‘it’s a scheme’ or ‘it’s not a scheme’ up to the point when they will be engaged in a full-scale war.

Rather than wait for things to get to that point, it would be better to just give up the head of the noble who had started it all sooner than later and hope that it would de-escalate the situation.

It would be absolutely foolish to fight an opponent who had already demonstrated their superior powers in their previous battle. If a war was to occur, it was hard for him to imagine that the nobles who knew about that tragedy would still send their levies.

Even if they were willing to send their own soldiers, they would just be endangering themselves.

“My king, I believe that we should avoid a war with the Sorcerous Kingdom.”

“And so you would be willing to offer an innocent noble as a sacrifice? Is that something the heir to the throne should say? My son, think before you speak.”

Zanac licked his lips and replied,

“My answer remains the same regardless of what the others may say. I believe that it’s imperative for us to avoid a large loss of life with a small sacrifice.”

“If we were to do that, should we just hand over the head of another loyal servant every time the Sorcerous Kingdom comes knocking on our door? Do you understand that simple logic?”

“I understand…but father should have seen the tragedy of the Katze plains which I had not. Would you still risk conflict with the Sorcerous Kingdom with that in mind?”

His father let out a sigh and curled his lips into a straight line. Zanac pressed home his advantage by following up with, “I am against the idea. Allow me to repeat myself, I believe that a war with that kind of country should be avoided at all costs, even if we have to sacrifice an innocent noble.”

His speech was hardly fit for the heir to the throne. He might get called weak behind his back and lose the loyalty of a few courtiers because of this, but Zanac believed that this was the only path through which the Kingdom would survive.

“…Your Majesty. Your servant supports his Highness’ proposal too.”

The one to agree with him was the minister of internal affairs, but he was about to add on to Zanac’s proposal,

“Your Majesty, your servant understands your desire to protect all citizens. So how about we just — become a vassal state of the Sorcerous Kingdom?”

The courtiers began shouting “What are you talking about!?”, “Have you lost your sense of honor!?”, and so one upon hearing what the minister of internal affairs had to say. The minister ignored them all with his gaze affixed towards Zanac’s father.

Faced with a suggestion that had branded the suggester a traitor, his father gradually let out a smile.

“That, I especially cannot do. That would be akin to betraying the loyalty of generations of people who had served this Kingdom. How will we be able to face them then? I apologize to you, earl. Thank you for your suggestion.”

“Your servant did not deserve that apology.”

Zanac saw that they were communicating on the deeper level through their gazes.

Would he be able to have courtiers who were this loyal?

His father was a merciful man, but nothing more. No — perhaps it was because of this that talented people were willing to serve him. His father was exceptionally talented in recruiting people more talented than him, like the Warrior Captain Gazef Stronoff.

Zanac felt that it was better for him to become king than his brother, who was more likely to become a puppet of the Eight Fingers or the Noble Faction and doom the country than not. That was why he had worked together with Marquis Raeven to become king or a powerful grand duke to prepare for the future.

But now — Zanac couldn’t help but feel inadequate compared to his sister’s genius and his father’s charisma. Even if he became the king, it wasn’t likely that he would have made the Kingdom a better place.

The only thing he could do was to improve himself, but it wasn’t such an easy task given his age and personality, plus he never wanted to self-improve anyways. He would probably keep his personality until death.

“—minister of military affairs, I want to propose a hypothetical. What could we do to win a war against the Sorcerous Kingdom?”

“Could we form an alliance with another country before then? Are we to face them alone?”

Zanac, Rampossa III, and the minister of foreign affairs exchanged gazes. Zanac, as their representative, answered with,

“We have not been successful in forging an alliance with the Council State. We had begun negotiations with them way back — just after that battle had ended. We were not able to form an agreeable alliance back then. If they knew our relationship with the Sorcerous Kingdom has worsened, the chance of rejection would only go up.”

“Is that so…then your Majesty, though this question may be out of line. What would you consider as the victory condition of this war? Do we have to drive the enemy off in battle? Or do we have to kill — or rather, destroy the Sorcerer King? If it’s the latter, I do not believe that we have any chance at a victory at all.”

“…minister of military affairs, that would not be the case. What if we only had to force the enemy to withdraw their forces?”

“Let me think about it…” the minister of the military tilted his head as he contemplated. He came up with the answer, “luck would have to be on our side, but if we were to march an army the long way around and occupy E-Rantel while their troops are still marching from E-Rantel towards the capital, we might have a chance to turn the tide of battle.”

“We would have to break through their three layers of fortifications?”

“Yes, your Majesty. It would be something that could only be accomplished if we were able to sneak an army that is as large we can possibly muster past their defenses — which was why I said that luck had to be on our side. Of course, if the Sorcerous King, the one who was capable of casting that terrifying spell without breaking a sweat, was to stay in E-Rantel then this plan would undoubtedly fail.”

Another way to put this was that if luck was not on their side, they had no chance of victory at all. Zanac wasn’t sure if his father understood the full implications of the minister’s words.

“If that was the case, then if the Sorcerous Kingdom had invaded us without a formal declaration of war, everything would have been over. A surprise attack would have rendered us unable to gather enough troops in time, in which case we wouldn’t even be able to carry out the plan.”

It was the tradition for formal declarations of war to be passed between nations, a sort of gentleman’s agreement or etiquette.

To send a formal declaration of war was to send the message that ‘our country respects etiquette’ to the other nations. If they did not do so, they would have been viewed as a barbaric nation, which would have had a seriously negative impact on their diplomatic efforts.

Between nations of different races, this tradition was not often observed. However, even when nations of different races were involved, it depended on the age, history, diplomatic relations with their neighbouring countries, and so on.

So given this context, how would a nation ruled by the undead, which hates the living, conduct itself? Would they provide a formal declaration of war?

“—My king. As I had expected, we would only have the slimmest chance of victory if we were to go to war. If that is the case, should we not try our best to avoid that outcome, by sacrificing a little?”

“Sacrificing a little…?”

“Yes, my king. We should summon that baron at once and put him on trial. Afterwards, we will have him take responsibility for his actions regardless of the outcome, and off with his head.”

“…We can’t do that, Zanac. To summon that baron and put him on trial would be fine, but if he was innocent or if we could declare his innocence, I will not do such a thing. I have a better plan in mind.”

“A better plan…? What is it?”

His father fell silent and shook his head.

After witnessing that, Zanac concluded that his father was probably lying. If there really was a better plan then he should say it out loud. If there wasn’t, he was probably lying to cover for the fact that he had not thought of a good reason on why they should spare that nobleman.

Zanac felt disappointed by his father and contemplated what he should do next.

No matter how I look at it, the future of the Kingdom seems grim…Looks like I will have to do it by force.

First of all, it was a necessity for them to pin all responsibilities on that baron.

Though the probability is slim, that baron may have been the source of all of their troubles anyways. In any case, if they could make that the truth, then their problems would be solved.

However, Zanac couldn’t think of a way to pin all responsibilities on him. What if he was to kill the baron on his way to the capital and then pin the responsibilities on him? His father wouldn’t be able to say otherwise if that was the case.

Even if his father objects to the plan, as long as he could pull it off on his own, everything would be fine. He had considered whether things would turn out this way the moment he had heard of the incident. He had already arrived at a conclusion back then.

The grave crime of usurping the throne.

He was so close to inheriting the throne, he didn’t even have to do anything but wait. The number of disadvantages of doing what he was about to do was too many to count. The only advantage of this plan was that it solved the problem at hand.

If that was to be the case then usurpation might be a stupid idea on paper, but if he was to allow the status quo to remain as is, there would not be a Kingdom to speak of soon.

Zanac had hoped that he could at the very least receive approval from the courtiers present. There was also a need for him to request the services of that man from his sister. Brain Unglaus was an indispensable part of his plan. If Brain was there, they would definitely have the upper hand in terms of strength.

—ah—how frustrating! Why do I have to plan this out in the first place! If only the Sorcerous Kingdom did not exist! If only that freakishly powerful undead being did not exist!

If not for the Sorcerous Kingdom, if not for its intervention with their annual battle with the Empire, though his brother may have become king already, the Kingdom would still not be forced into the corner as it had been now.

Zanac cursed in his heart.

And then, the sound of door knocks could be heard.

Zanac had a premonition.

To interrupt a meeting this important, it must be an emergency. To be honest, the way they were knocking on the door was quite violent too.

Issues of such importance were usually — no, they were definitely bad news. That was Zanac’s premonition.

Zanac, as their representative, gave his approval to let them in. A knight panickedly entered the room, just as he had expected.

“A forerunner from the Sorcerous Kingdom has just notified us that their Prime Minister, Albedo, will arrive at the capital in less than two hours!”

In their previous communications, the title of Guardian Overseer did not make much sense to them so they had apparently switched her title to that of the easily understandable Prime Minister. Did the arrival of a person of such calibre confirm his apprehension?

—-no, wait.

His premonition was off the mark. This wasn’t bad news — but the worst news.

So — for what purpose has she come for?

The envoy who had brought the official document was not inside this palace. Though he had wanted it to linger within the capital, they did not have the courage to let an undead creature stay with them. This was why it was currently staying within a mansion in the nobility’s portion of the city.

They had stationed guards around the mansion under the guise of protection, the perimeter was so tightly guarded that not even a slime could make it out without them noticing, but the envoy had apparently yet to contact the Sorcerous Kingdom.

Could they have been communicating through magical means? Or did they plan to visit the Kingdom even if the envoy had not returned?

Also, they had not sent the forerunner before they had departed, but rather this late into their journey. What for?

With that said — it doesn’t seem as though they’re here to declare war.

If they were here to declare war, they would not be sending their second-most powerful official into territories where they were uncertain of what could happen.

As an envoy from a foreign nation, the Kingdom would not dare harm her — though she might have that naive idea. However, from Zanac’s perspective, she did not appear to be the kind of person to wander into territories she knew would be dangerous to her.

“Grant her an audience. Prepare the throne room for an appropriate reception immediately.”

“Yes, your Majesty!”

The knight left the room upon hearing his father’s orders.

Usually, even if a foreign dignitary was to come to the capital, it wasn’t as though they would be granted an audience with the King on the same day. But, given their current situation, they couldn’t just tell the Prime Minister of the Sorcerous Kingdom things like, “you will be granted an audience in a few days.”

“Everyone, I apologize but can you all switch to more formal attire and gather in the throne room?”

Upon hearing their king’s request, the courtiers including Zanac, lowered their heads.

——–

Mini-FAQ:
Q: What are the titles of the chapter again?
A:
Chapter 1: An Unexpected Move
Chapter 2: Countdown to Extinction
Chapter 3: The Last King
Chapter 4: Well-Prepared Traps

Overlord Light Novel Volume 14 Chapter 1 Part 8

Overlord Light Novel Volume 14 Chapter 1 Part 8

“I have a question,” Shalltear said as she raised her hand,” I’m not sure I understand-arinsu. Even if that dolt of a nobleman was being manipulated into doing what he did, did his actions not constitute an attack against the Sorcerous Kingdom? If so, shouldn’t the Sorcerous Kingdom use that as casus belli to invade the Kingdom-arinsu? If it really was a trap set by someone, could we not just crush them?”

“That is correct, we should have done so especially if there were no hidden masterminds…but…hmm”

Albedo glanced at Demiurge, prompting him to answer, “that’s right.” Demiurge then turned his gaze towards Ainz before looking towards the guardians.

“It is extremely difficult to find the right balance in dealing with the situation. Though now that we have Ainz-sama’s superior insight, we’ve come to understand that the nobleman had committed this act without putting much thought into it. If we were to lightly punish him for this transgression, the Sorcerous Kingdom will be looked down upon by other nations. So, what do you all believe is the suitable punishment for someone who had attacked a caravan flying the Sorcerous Kingdom’s flag — something that essentially signified Ainz-sama himself — and had stained Ainz-sama’s public image?”

“We should kill him.”

“Yeah, I think onee-chan is correct.”

“That’s right. That’s how it should be. Now then, I must ask you all. Do we simply let this slide after we have dealt with the criminal himself?”

“That. Will. Not. Do.
His. Master. Must. Also. Answer. For. This. Crime.”

Cocytus nodded his head in silence.

Ainz had never been more shocked than he was at this moment.

Though it was surprising that the guardians would have such an overreaction, it wasn’t too out of the ordinary considering their personalities. What Ainz was shocked about was how they had accepted his throwaway comment about the noble as the truth at face value.

To be honest, it was quite scary.

“That’s right, I also agree with Shalltear’s judgement. For them to be dumb enough to make a fool out of Ainz-sama, I say we need to mete out appropriate punishments to the entire Kingdom! But, back then…”

“Ainz-sama once said that ‘to rule over a ruined nation would be bad for our reputation.’ I’ve also heard that Ainz-sama has no interest in standing atop a pile of rubble, so we should try our best to avoid that kind of situation.”

Upon hearing what Demiurge had to say, Albedo nodded her head.

Ainz had two questions in mind in response.

First, has he ever said something like that before?

If you surveyed a hundred of Nazarick’s denizens on the question, “Who is correct, Ainz or Demiurge?” perhaps a majority, no, 99 of them would be certain that it was Ainz. Only a single person would be against that notion and that person is Ainz Ooal Gown.

But how credible could he be as a person who couldn’t even remember what had happened a week ago?

Which was why, although Ainz had no recollections of this, since Demiurge had said so, he must have said something along those lines in the past. If that was the case then there was only one correct way to approach this.

“As expected of you to have remembered what I had said. Demiurge, you’ve made me very happy.”

“I-I remember too!”

“I do too, Ainz-sama.”

“Umu. Umu. Shalltear, Aura. I’m thankful for you two too.”

He couldn’t figure out if they had actually remembered or had not but were simply concurring with Demiurge, just like what he was doing.

Speaking of which, how have they still not figured out the truth that he’s incompetent? Was he really that good at acting?

Much time had passed since he came to this world as the overlord of Nazarick. He had been operating as their overlord this entire time. They should have seen through his ‘overlord’ disguise already, they should have seen through the useless nature of Satoru by now.

The conversation continued on as he agonized over this.

“So, in keeping with Ainz-sama’s wishes, we will not be punishing the whole of the Kingdom. However, we can’t just let them get away with a light punishment. We will also have to put the plan on pause or abandon it entirely for now. At the very least, it will require major deviations.”

Ainz couldn’t help but feel a great sense of guilt at the fact that his words held such prominence in their minds.

“…So that was why. But, Demiurge, did the plans really fail this time?”

Demiurge, Albedo, and their assistant in the Kingdom possessed an incomprehensible level of genius in Ainz’s perspective. Would the plan that was the culmination of their minds truly fail? If that was the case, he must keep in mind what he says to them from this point onward. It would probably be best if he kept his mouth shut from now on. So, just in case, he asked again,

“Are we really abandoning our plans? The Candy and Whip plan?”

“…”

Demiurge looked towards Ainz with a bewildered expression, he had seen this expression on numerous occasions. It was the expression he had made when he was trying to figure out the true meaning behind his words as if they were all euphemisms said by a being on a completely different level of brilliance.

Wrong. Demiurge. I’m just trying to reaffirm what you’ve said. There are no hidden layers of meanings. You should chill out by taking a bath first.

These thoughts disappeared right as Ainz was about to give voice to them.

Just as an unpleasant premonition surfaced in his mind, just as Ainz had expected, Demiurge stood aghast as if he had just had a sudden realization.

“…No wait, could it be…Ainz-sama. Could it be that you have had the same intention back when you immaculately brought the Empire under our dominion?”

His premonitions were right on the target.

What is he saying?

Ainz started ranting towards Demiurge in his mind, what kind of a thought process would lead you to that conclusion?

‘No, that’s not that case at all,’ would be the best response, right? But would that response really be appropriate?

“-that’s right.”

After he vacillated for quite a long time, this was his reply. For some unknown reason, Albedo’s eyes were opened as wide as Demiurge’s.

It was a bit, no, it was extremely terrifying.

“I see…so that was why Ainz-sama had repeatedly instructed us to do so…please forgive your subordinate for not realizing it immediately, I have disappointed my master.”

“No, Demiurge. How could someone like you, no, how could people like us ever hope to be able to fully comprehend Ainz-sama’s ingenious plans? To have forgotten that Ainz-sama’s every move was made with a multitude of intents may have been our greatest failure.”

“-that’s right. It’s just as you have said. To have applied the Candy and Whip policy on a national level. As expected of our Ainz-sama. As expected of the leader of the Supreme Beings…”

Hmph. Ainz laughed at himself.

He could no longer understand what these two were talking about.

In that moment, a thought flashed across his mind. What if these two had already realised Ainz’s incompetence and were just trying to cover for him?

They’re both geniuses. The truth is, I can’t even comprehend how much smarter they are than me. How long would people like them continue to mistake my stupidity for genius? No, that shouldn’t have even been possible!

“Ainz. Sama. Is. Truly. The. Greatest. Mind. Of. Nazarick.”

“Exactly, you’re completely correct, Cocytus. To Ainz-sama, someone who’s capable of planning on the scale of millennia and myriad years into the future, something on the scale of a few years is nothing.”

“Eh? I-is that true…? As expected of Ainz-sama.”

“To be able to plan for millennia ahead, I’m truly in awe…Ainz-sama.”

What is Demiurge talking about?

Who? When did they say that? How would someone be able to plan that far ahead into the future? Don’t make stuff up on your own. Ainz suppressed his desire to yell out his thoughts. It would be bad if the two naive children took it as the truth.

However, since he had been approving every single one of Demiurge’s suggestions, he didn’t know what was the best way to respond to him now. Plus, if he was to object now, it would most likely create issues for him in the future.

So I still have to act as usual?

If Ainz was capable of facial expressions, he would probably have a dubious smile right now. After racking his brain, he managed to come up with a response that neither confirmed nor denied Demiurge’s statement,

“No, that’s not the case at all.”

“There’s no need for our master to be so humble-arinsu. Oh great Ainz-sama.”

“To. Be. Able. To. Think. This. Far. Out. Into. The. Future…No., If. That. Was. Not. The. Case. Then. He. Would. Not. Have. Been. The. Leader. Of. The. Supreme. Beings.”

He couldn’t handle it any longer, he should just give up the facade.

Ainz made his decision.

“Now then, since we now have Ainz-sama’s permission, let’s give unto the Kingdom the most miserable of punishments.”

“Eh?”

How did the word “miserable” show up in their conversation up to this point? Ainz was completely baffled.

Albedo clasped her hands together and grinned brightly. The adorable Albedo and Demiurge spoke in unison,

“The Empire, who had surrendered immediately to Ainz-sama, had been given the Candy. The Kingdom, who had not surrendered, will be given the Whip. By doing so, we will be sending a message to everyone else. Candy and Whip, the people of this world must choose between them. Wooo, things are getting a little more interesting aren’t they, Ainz-sama?”

“…Uh”

—-

Hilma was violently thrown back to where she was taken from. The [Gate] that had transported her back was gone by the time she turned around to look.

She surveyed her surroundings as she nursed the arm that had made impact with the ground when she was thrown out. She was in a well-ventilated, spacious, and familiar room.

This used to be the head of the gambling division, Noah Zweden’s mansion. He had originally purchased this swath of land with the intention to build a casino on top of it, which was illegal. They had successfully built the associated mansion, but due to unforeseen circumstances, the remainder of the plans had to be cancelled.

Because of this, the mansion had included enormous rooms meant for gambling and Hilma was in the largest room of them all.

Hilma finally calmed down and sighed deeply.

Her body quivered as it was overtaken with joy.

“Hilma!”

Her companions rushed over to her. There were three others in the room, including Özkuzu who rang the handbell on the table.

Their eyes were filled with tears.

Surely their pale expressions were all out of concern for her wellbeing.

“Are you alright!? Is anything wrong!? How’s your stomach?”

“We have some fruit wine! Do you want to wet your beak?”

“The rest of them will come here soon!”

“Noah, Endio, and Özkuzu—” the three quieted down upon hearing Hilma’s voice, “—I’m sorry I made you guys worry about me.”

“Nevermind that! You must have suffered through a lot, you should take a rest immediately.”

Noah wiped the tears from the corners of his eyes as he said this. He must have thought that she had experienced ‘that’ or something equally as horrifying. Hilma had no option but to explain herself.

“I wasn’t put through ‘that’, they didn’t do anything to me.”

The atmosphere grew thick as the companions who had been surrounding her had their confused expressions gradually surface as if to say, was that something that was even possible?

“I also met with his Majesty, his Majesty the Sorcerer King.”

Hilma’s moist eyes were like a broken breakwater as a never-ending stream of tears flowed out.

“His Majesty the Sorcerer King…”

As his title alone commanded an inconceivable amount of fear, Endio made the sign of a God that he didn’t even believe in as he spoke while the other two began to frantically look around the room.

Perhaps they were trying to look for any eavesdroppers, even though they had never seen any. It was common knowledge between them that there was always the possibility that someone could be listening in on them.

“You met — no, you were granted an audience with him? Glad you were able to return successfully then.”

“Ufufu…”

Hilma, who was still crying, gave a smile as her reply.

Though everybody had been called on by the Sorcerer King, they had bowed the entire time so no one really caught a good look at his face.

However, through the intel they had gathered and second-hand accounts of people who had stolen glances at him, the Eight Fingers, including Hilma, arrived at the unmistakable conclusion that the Sorcerer King was the avatar of evil. No, he was simply a magic caster who would use such cruel methods of torture and could ruthlessly crush the soldiers of the Kingdom.

“His Majesty was…his Majesty was truly a reasonable master. Not only was he tolerant of my failures, but he was also merciful in his ruling.”

Suddenly the world around them felt as though time had stopped.

Noah was shocked for a moment, but then he shut his eyes as if to offer his pity.

In truth, if someone else had said this, the Hilma of a few minutes ago would have probably thought the same as they did. So that was what happened, she’s completely broken or something similar.

The two behind her spoke with bloodshot eyes, “Hilma…I’m more or less envious of your current situation.”, “Ahhh, if only I was there with you back there…”, and other laments.

“No, hold on a second. Perhaps she has some sort of mind control spell cast on her, Hilma, is that true?”

Noah wouldn’t stop asking. Of course, she herself knew that she wasn’t under the influence of any spells but at the same time, she could not prove it definitively to them. Because of that, she just simply ignored his questions and continued to talk. Whether they believe her or not is up to them.

“I didn’t think that I would be returning alive too, the reason why I could return without a scratch was because of our master. His Majesty the Sorcerer King — truly someone fit to be called a king. If our master wasn’t there…”

Perhaps she would have been forced to take responsibility for what had happened. Perhaps — no, this wasn’t a hypothetical, she would have definitely been implicated due to that idiot’s actions and suffer a hellish punishment for it. The Prime Minister of the Sorcerous Kingdom, Albedo, would’ve definitely done that.

If she were in her place, she would have also had someone take the fall for it even if the punishment was not death but simply pain and suffering. So from her perspective, the Sorcerer King’s decision was infinitely more merciful than the one she would have given.

“…Hilma. Sorry to interrupt your spiel on his Majesty’s mercy, but that was out of his Candy and Whip policy.”

“Is that so…? Ummm, perhaps that was the reason why.”

Though she had said so, Hilma did not believe that to be the case.

Hilma could tell a person’s inner thoughts by the fluctuations in their voice, their expressions, and their partialities.

This wasn’t some unusual ability, but just something she had picked up over time with experience. It was accurate to a certain degree and if those feelings were to be trusted, the Sorcerer King and Albedo were not playing the routine of Good Cop Bad Cop.

The reason why she wasn’t completely certain of her own judgement was because it was incredibly difficult to read the Sorcerer King’s thoughts given how he had no facial expressions to speak of. So there was a chance that his assumptions were correct.

“That’s right. After all, I’ve done so in the past too so I’m quite familiar with it. But…ahhh, how sweet is the Candy to those who had tasted the pain the Whip could inflict. Perhaps we were lied to, perhaps his Majesty the Sorcerer King is a terrifying being that could not empathize with people and his confidants were there to make sure that he doesn’t go overboard. Even so, I would still be inclined to believe him. No…or I wanted to believe him.”

Ladies of the night who were easily swindled by men and were subsequently devastated was something Hilma had seen one too many times. She knew that she was no different than those troubled women she had seen in the past. Even so, she couldn’t resist the Sorcerer King’s ability to draw people closer to him.

“…Hilma. You’ve bore witness to countless types of men. You’re the best out of us all in terms of understanding people, especially men. Tell the truth, what kind of man is his Majesty the Sorcerer King?”

As a high-class prostitute, it was true that she had seen all kinds of men, especially those who were high in status or had great authority over people. She had seen that type of men so often that it had become annoying for her.

If she were to compare and contrast them—

“If I were to describe him with a single phrase, it would be ‘a merciful master’. He has the clarity of mind to think and judge but also the flexibility to accommodate his subordinate’s constructive suggestions into his own train of thought. He does not seek schadenfreude as a hobby, which would have been par for the course. How should I put this…right, he just didn’t give off that kind of an aura, you know? Of course, he would still give out punishments callously if he felt they were necessary.”

“That is high praise, coming from you.”

The slightest suggestion of a smile broke out on Hilma’s tear-stained face as she laughed, “ufufu.”

“That’s right. Though our master is of the undead, he embodies justice and mercy. Even when he’s being callous, he isn’t being cruel. After all, the consequence of failure is punishment. He could have killed me to send a message to you all, but his Majesty did not do so.”

She didn’t know who had just swallowed audibly, but the sound was reverberating through the spacious room.

“I hope his Majesty the Sorcerer King will remain with us forever. If it was our master, he would have…”

A depressing silence weighed heavily on their hearts.

“Hoooooh…”

Someone breathed out the way a missionary would if they had borne witness to a miracle.

They did not know when that hellish fate would befall them, but as people who had lived in constant fear, this was salvation.

“I see…so you’re saying that we must be even more loyal than we already are, right?”

“Yes, Noah. We should do so…now that we know. But the prime minister of the Sorcerous Kingdom, Albedo, is still a terrifying master. I can’t imagine her saying the same words his Majesty the Sorcerer King had said to me…”

Though she had mumbled that last sentence to herself, her companions who had heard her all had looks of surprise on their faces.

It was difficult to read the thoughts of the demon known as Albedo, but her intuition had told her that something was wrong in that moment.

Perhaps it was because her brain was in overdrive under those extreme conditions.

Her intuition told her:

Even though the Sorcerer King could be considered a compassionate figure, Albedo was someone who saw people as mere toys. Something like that.

Hilma really wanted to try her best to make it so that she and her companions could become direct subordinates under the Sorcerer King. He would be the type of master to reward someone based on their performance and would not treat his subordinates unreasonably.

“Everyone. Let’s work even harder for his Majesty the Sorcerer King.”

Hilma said to the three in front of her and shared her thoughts. Afterwards, she began seeking assistance from various sources for the task she had been given by the Sorcerer King.

 

——–

Mini-FAQ:
Q: Where are we at?
A: As of this part: page 170/568
Q: What are the titles of the chapter again?
A:
Chapter 1: An Unexpected Move
Chapter 2: Countdown to Extinction
Chapter 3: The Last King
Chapter 4: Well-Prepared Traps

 

Woke up yesterday morning to be greeted by the dumbest shit I’ve read in my inbox. I’m no longer leaving the email address in the mini-FAQs, those of you who wish to provide genuine feedback should know it or where to find it by now. Hopefully this will minimize the amount of Philips who can’t read for shit and/or don’t have the IQ to use google filling up my inbox.

The line Demiurge was referring to was in the WN (chapter 94 part 7) and the comment on rubble was something Ainz had said to Fluder in volume 10, which also makes it a WN reference since the LNs haven’t shown the Demi x Fluder bar scene yet. These references were the reason for this delayed release, thank you Muchi Muchi Puririn