Ruler of Death
There was no trace of the intense battle that had taken place earlier on the plains.
The light of the setting sun covered up the blood staining the grass, and the stench of blood was blown away by the wind.
There were two figures on the plains who had not originally been there.
Nigun of the Slaine Theocracy’s special operations unit — the Sunlight Scripture — looked at them with perturbation in his eyes.
One of them was dressed like an arcane magic caster. He(?) wore an evil-looking mask to hide his face, and a pair of iron gauntlets on his hands. He wore a expensive-looking black robe, suggesting he was a person of some status.
The other one was dressed in a suit of jet-black full plate armor. It looked very impressive, and it was certainly some sort of masterwork magic item. One look at the exterior was enough to tell that it was a high-end magic item.
The beleaguered Gazef and his men were gone without a trace. In their place were these two mysterious individuals. It seemed to be some kind of teleportation magic, but he had no idea what kind of spell had been used here. He had to be wary of the mysterious magic caster.
Nigun called the angels back, ordering them to form a defensive perimeter on their side. His assiduous gaze studied their movements, and then the magic caster stepped forward:
“Pleased to meet you, gentlemen of the Slaine Theocracy. I am Ainz Ooal Gown. I would be glad if you could call me Ainz.”
He was some distance away from them, but the wind carried his voice over clearly.
Nigun did not respond, and thus the mysterious man called Ainz continued:
“The person behind me is called Albedo. I would like to make a deal with you. Might I have a moment of your time?”
Nigun tried to attach some meaning to the name Ainz Ooal Gown, but it was no use. It might be an alias. Perhaps trying to glean some information from him would be more productive. With that, Nigun raised his chin, indicating that Ainz should continue.
“Wonderful. Thank you for taking the time to listen to me. Then, I would like to start by making one thing clear to you gentlemen. That would be — there is no way you can defeat me.”
He could hear the absolute confidence in that statement. This was not a bluff or a boast. This was something that the man Ainz Ooal Gown believed from the bottom of his heart.
Nigun furrowed his brows.
In the Slaine Theocracy, nobody would dare speak in such a way to their betters.
“Ignorance is truly deplorable. You will pay the price for your foolishness.”
“…Really now. Do you really think that will happen? I observed your battle earlier, so my presence here would indicate that I am confident of victory. After all, if I was not sure that I could beat you, would it not be wiser for me to leave that man to die?”
He was right.
An arcane magic caster would be better suited to different kinds of confrontations. Arcaners, sorcerers, and wizards could only use light armor, so they would want to avoid melee combat, using 「Fly」 to repeatedly launch 「Fireballs」 and other such spells from afar. Yet Ainz had chosen to face them head-on. He must have a trick up his sleeve.
After a period of silence, Ainz spoke again:
“I have a question for you, if you can understand it. The angels you have brought with you should have been summoned by third tier magic. Am I correct?”
He was stating the obvious.
Ainz went on, ignoring Nigun’s puzzled expression:
“The monsters you summoned are similar to those in YGGDRASIL, so I was curious as to whether the names were the same. Many of YGGDRASIL’s monsters were derived from mythology… monsters like angels or demons should be no exception. Said angels and demons are most commonly associated with Christianity, but it seems quite unnatural that something called an archangel exists in a world without Christianity. That would mean someone like myself must exist in this world.”
Nigun had no idea what Ainz was talking about and his ire was rising. He asked:
“That’s enough of your self-absorbed prattle. Now tell me; where is Stronoff?”
“I teleported him to the village.”
Nigun had not expected Ainz to answer. He thought of why Ainz would say that and replied:
“How foolish. Even if you tell a lie like that, a quick search of the village will—”
“—It is not a lie. I merely answered your question. Well, there is another reason for why I answered your question.”
“…Could it be that you want to beg for mercy? If you help us save some time, I can consider it.”
“Nonono… well… the truth is, I overheard your conversation with the Warrior-Captain. What a lot of balls you have.”
Ainz’s tone changed suddenly, and he continued speaking as he looked at the mocking Nigun.
“To think you would dare say that you would massacre the villagers that I, Ainz Ooal Gown, took the time to personally rescue. I cannot think of anything that is more offensive than that.”
Ainz’s robe rippled in the wind. That same wind blew across Nigun and company.
The cold wind just happened to be blowing from Ainz’s direction, but Nigun hurriedly brushed away the phantom image that loomed in front of him. Yes, that vision of death before him must have been an illusion.
“…What, what do you mean by “offensive”, magic caster? What of it?”
Although he was obviously frightened, Nigun did not change his mocking tone.
He was the commander of one of the Slaine Theocracy’s secret weapons, the Sunlight Scripture. How could he be afraid of a single man’s name? It was impossible. It could not be possible.
“I mentioned a deal earlier. These are the terms. You will hand your lives over to me without resistance. In exchange you will not have to suffer. However, if you put up a fight, then the price you fools shall pay is to die in despair and agony.”
Ainz took a step forward.
It was just a single step, but Ainz’s body seemed to swell massively before their eyes. Cowed by him, the men of the Sunlight Scripture reflexively took a step back.
Several hoarse cries came from around Nigun.
They were cries of fear.
His presence was filled with an unimaginable power. This was the first time Nigun had been faced with such might. Therefore, he could understand his men’s fear.
Nigun was a powerful individual himself, a veteran of many battles who had grazed the edge of death countless times, who had taken many lives. He could feel the might radiating from the mysterious magic caster, an oppressive, potent pressure. It must have been worse for his men.
What kind of being was he?
What was the true identity of this magic caster? Who was the man beneath the mask?
Once more, Ainz ignored Nigun’s panic and spoke coldly:
“That is why I did not lie to you and answered your question honestly. It is because there is no point in lying to those that are about to die.”
Ainz spread his arms and took another step forward. He looked like he was about to hug them, but his evil-looking fingers reminded them of a lunging monster.
A thrill of cold ran from the bottoms of Nigun’s feet to the top of his head. He had felt this countless times in his struggles along the edge of life and death. It was a sign of impending doom.
“Have the angels charge him! Don’t let him get close!”
Nigun’s voice broke slightly as he shouted his orders. It sounded more like a scream.
It was not to raise his men’s spirits. He was simply afraid of Ainz Ooal Gown.
Two Archangel Flames flapped their wings in response to Nigun’s command, launching an attack.
The angels flew straight up to Ainz, and stabbed at him with their flaming swords.
Albedo, who was standing behind him, should have blocked that attack. And so all of the Sunlight Scripture, who had been predicting that course of action, could not believe their eyes. It was not that anything happened. On the contrary—
Indeed, the man called Ainz Ooal Gown took no action. He simply allowed the angels to run him through. He did not dodge, block, cast a spell, or have his follower intercept it. Nothing happened.
Their shock became mockery.
That act, pretending to be some mighty figure, was nothing but a bluff. It was not that Albedo did not wish to block it, but that Albedo could not respond in time to the high-speed attack of the Archangel Flame. Now that the truth was out, they did not seem like anything special at all.
His men breathed sighs of relief. Nigun, who felt quite silly for being so afraid, turned to Albedo.
“How unsightly. To think he would try to scare us with a bluff…”
Suddenly, a question came to mind.
Why was Ainz’s corpse not falling?
“…What are you doing? Call back the angels. He can’t fall down with those swords stuck in him.”
“But, but we’ve already given the order.”
His subordinates’ confused voices startled Nigun, and he looked at Ainz again.
The angels were desperately flapping their wings, like butterflies caught in a spider’s web.
The two angels slowly moved to the side. However, their movements were very strange. It looked as though someone was pushing them aside.
Following that, the body of Ainz — which had been blocked by the angels — appeared once more from the gap between them.
“…I told you, didn’t I? There is no way you gentlemen can defeat me. Shouldn’t you heed the warnings of others?”
The calm voice filtered into Nigun’s ears.
He could not comprehend the sight before him.
He was stabbed through his chest and abdomen, but Ainz was still standing, as though nothing were wrong.
“Impossible…” one of Nigun’s subordinates moaned, giving voice to the words in Nigun’s heart.
Judging from the angle of the angels’ swords, they had to be fatal wounds. Even so, Ainz did not seem to be in any pain.
That was not the only shocking thing.
Ainz was gripping each of the angels by the throat. The angels struggled against him, but Ainz did not let them go.
Someone was muttering to themselves. Angels summoned from magic had bodies created from their summoners’ mana, so they were definitely not light. They weighed more than a grown man, and then there was the weight of their armor to consider as well. There was no way they could be lifted up by the throat so easily.
Granted, a well-trained warrior, with a stout and muscular body, might be able to do it. But the man before him, Ainz, was a magic caster who should have focused on training his intellect and arcane powers over honing his physique. Even if he were enhanced by magic, he would not be able to do anything if his base strength was low to begin with.
Then, why was this happening? Why did he seem completely unfazed, even after being impaled?
“…There must be some sort of trick.”
“Ah, definitely, how could anyone be fine after being run through by a sword!?”
Panic and fear spread through the Slaine Theocracy’s special forces unit. They were all veterans of numerous battles and had experienced many dangers in the past, but this was a sight they had never seen before. Not even the angels that Nigun could summon were capable of such a feat.
The doubtful mutterings about how he did not seem to be in pain and was speaking normally crept into Nigun’s ears.
“High Tier Physical Nullification — a passive skill that negates the attacks of weapons with low data content and low tier monsters’ attacks. It only protects against attacks of up to level sixty — in other words, attacks above level sixty can harm me. It is an all-or-nothing ability… to think it would actually see use here. Well then… these angels are in the way.”
Holding an angel in each hand, Ainz slammed them both into the ground. There was a thunderous crash, and the earth trembled from the impact — a testament to Ainz’s supernatural strength.
The angels died instantly, reverting to countless dancing motes of light which vanished into the air. Of course, the swords stuck in Ainz vanished as well.
“If I learn how you named these angels, I can then understand how you can all use spells from YGGDRASIL. But let us leave this aside for now.”
As Ainz slowly straightened up, he was still talking about things which nobody could understand.
However, that only intensified the Sunlight Scripture’s fear of his mysterious power.
“All right, we’ll end these pointless games here. Are you satisfied? Since it looks like you aren’t willing to accept the deal, then it shall be my turn.”
Ainz opened those hands of his, those hands which had crushed two angels to death. He seemed to be showing them that he had nothing in them.
His voice carried clearly through the bone-chilling silence, into the ears of everyone present.
“Are you ready? —It’ll be a massacre.”
A sudden spike of cold pierced his spine, followed by a surge of nausea. Nigun, the hardened killer who had presided over many slaughters, was now feeling something that he had never felt before.
He had to run. He had no way of beating Ainz, so doing battle with him would be very dangerous.
However, Nigun struggled to shake that feeling away. He had cornered his prey Gazef — how could he watch him get away now?
Still, a warning resonated from the depths of his soul. Nigun shouted his order:
“All angels, attack! Hurry!”
Every one of the Archangel Flames shot toward Ainz like bullets.
“What a lively lot… Albedo, step back.”
Nigun could hear the cool, calm voice of someone who was being attacked by angels, but did not care. Ainz was surrounded by so many angels that nobody could even see him, yet still his voice did not carry even the slightest hint of worry.
It looked like he would be impaled by countless blades — no, Ainz’s spell took effect before that.
The air shuddered.
A wave of black radiance erupted from Ainz, like the negative image of a camera flash. It only lasted for an instant, but it had an immediate and obvious effect.
Someone muttered those words, carried by the wind. They could not believe what was happening before their eyes.
The angels, over forty of them, had been annihilated by the black wave.
Their opponent had not used dispel magic to neutralize the summons. The angels that were blown away by the black wave had taken damage. In other words, Ainz had used a powerful spell to wipe out all the angels in one fell swoop.
Nigun could not help but tremble. He recalled the words of the Kingdom’s strongest warrior, Gazef Stronoff.
“…Hmph, you fool. In that village… is a man who is stronger than me. His power is unfathomable, but he could take you all out by himself… Trying to kill… the villagers he protects… is impossible for you.”
The scene before him proved the truth of those words.
Nigun erased those words from his mind, trying desperately to bring himself over.
Nigun knew that the members of the strongest special ops group, the Black Scripture, could also eliminate this many angels. In other words, all he had to do was treat Ainz as an opponent on their level. While he might be as strong as a member of the Black Scripture, he had the advantage of numbers on his side, so victory was still possible.
However, could those members of the Black Scripture take care of all these angels with just one spell?
Nigun shook his head to clear away his doubts. He could not think of that question. If he got his answer, then he would truly be done for. Therefore Nigun reached inside his coat, and touched the item within to give himself courage.
He fervently believed that as long as he held it, everything would be fine.
However, his subordinates did not have the same source of moral support that he did.
“What, what the hell!?”
“It’s a monster!”
Once they realized their angels were useless, they wailed and fell back upon the spells that they knew and trusted.
“「Charm Person」, 「Iron Hammer of Righteousness」, 「Hold」, 「Fire Rain」, 「Emerald Sarcophagus」, 「Holy Ray」, 「Shockwave」, 「Confusion」, 「Charge of Stalagmite]」 「Open Wounds」, 「Poison」, 「Fear」, 「Word of Curse」, 「Blindness」…”
All kinds of spells rained down on Ainz.
Yet, even as the storm of magic lashed against him, Ainz was unmoved.
“Well, all of these are familiar spells… who taught them to you? The Slaine Theocracy? Someone else? There are more and more things I want to ask you now.”
Not only could he slaughter all their summoned angels in one move, their spells were also incapable of harming him.
Nigun felt like he was trapped in a nightmare.
One of the men screamed wildly as he saw that his spells were ineffective. In desperation, he pulled out a sling and loaded it with a bullet. Although Nigun doubted the effectiveness of such a projectile when even an angel’s sword was useless, he did not stop the man.
The bullet that could easily shatter bone sped toward Ainz.
It was followed by a sound. That sound was like an explosion.
It had happened in an instant.
Since they were in battle, they could not take their eyes off their target. However, Albedo — who should have been behind — had moved in a mysterious way in front of Ainz to defend him. The source of the apparent explosion was because she had violently kicked off the ground to get to where she was.
With a speed that the eye could not even see, Albedo swung her bardiche, tracing a beautiful curve of the weapon’s sickly green light in the air.
After that, the man with the sling slowly collapsed to the ground.
Nobody knew what had happened. They were the ones who had launched the attack, yet the result was completely opposite — one of them had fallen instead.
One of the men went over to inspect his dead comrade, and he shouted:
“His, his head’s been smashed in!”
“…What? Smashed… don’t tell me it’s the sling bullet he threw!”
Why had he been killed by his own projectile?
Just then, the wind carried a voice into the puzzled Nigun’s ears.
“My apologies, It would seem my subordinate used a combination of the Missile Parry and Counter Arrow skills to return your projectile to your man. I believe you have some sort of magic which defends against ranged attacks on your persons. That would mean an attack that is stronger than the defense will break through it, no? It’s hardly worth panicking about.”
After his explanation, Ainz paid no attention to Nigun, and turned to Albedo:
“Although, Albedo, you should know that ranged weapons like that will not be able to harm me. There was no need to—”
“—Please wait, Ainz-sama. Anyone who wishes to do battle with a Supreme Being must have a certain degree of strength. A sling bullet like that was nothing more than an insult to you!”
“Haha, so, that means Nigun and his lackeys fail the test, then?”
“Ngk! Puh! Principality of Observation! Get him!”
In response to Nigun’s orders, the angel that had been standing by up till now suddenly spread its wings and flapped, propelling itself forward.
The Principality of Observation was an angel in full body armor. It held a mace in one hand and a round shield in the other. A garment that looked like a long skirt covered its legs.
The Principality of Observation was stronger than the Archangel Flames, but it had not been deployed into battle until now because of its special skill. In accordance with its name, the Principality of Observation had the ability to raise the defense of all its allies. However, this ability lost its effect once the angel moved, so the wise decision would be to order the Principality of Observation to hold its ground.
The fact that Nigun had ordered it to attack was a sign that he was grasping at straws. He had to clutch at anything which might turn out to be a lifeline, even if it ended up being chaff.
“Fall back, Albedo.”
As ordered, the angel drew up in front of Ainz, and raised its shining mace. Ainz nonchalantly reached out his gauntleted left hand to meet the attack.
While it would not have been surprising for that strike to shatter bone, Ainz’s hand was fine. He casually took the subsequent hits as they came.
“Good grief… I guess it’s my turn now. 「Hell Flame」.”
A small, wobbling mote of flame emerged from one of the fingers of Ainz’s right hand. It looked so feeble that anyone could blow it out if they wanted. It touched the body of the Principality of Observation, and looked terribly laughable against the glittering body of the angel.
The Principality of Observation was consumed by a black fire, so intense that even Nigun, a good distance away, could feel the heat. He could barely keep his eyes open.
The angel’s body melted and vanished amidst the the sky-scorching black flames, without so much as the chance to resist. The flames that devoured the angel vanished with their target.
No traces were left behind. The previous scene — that of the angel’s attack and the black conflagration — felt like they had been illusions, like they had never happened.
“How, how could this be.”
“In just one hit…”
“Im-Im-Impossible!!!!!” Nigun shouted amidst his confusion.
He did not even know he was shouting. He was simply converting his thoughts into words. It did not feel like shouting to him.
The Principality of Observation was a high tier angel whose offensive and defensive strength were in a 3:7 ratio. It boasted the strongest defense of all other angels in its tier.
In addition, Nigun’s natural-born talent, 「Enhance Summoned Monster」, could improve the stats of any monster Nigun summoned. As a result, there were very few people who could defeat a Principality of Observation summoned by Nigun.
Nigun had never seen anyone defeat it with just one spell. Even the Black Scripture, whose members’ power pressed against the limits of humanity, could not do it. In other words, Ainz Ooal Gown’s power exceeded that of mankind.
“It can’t be! It’s impossible!! Nobody can defeat a high tier angel with just one spell!!! What kind of man are you, Ainz Ooal Gown!!!!? It’s impossible that nobody’s heard of you before!!!!! What is your real name!!!!!!?”
There was no trace of calm left in Nigun, just his wild screaming in the hope of denying reality.
Ainz spread his hands once more. Under the light of the setting sun, the looked like they were drenched in blood.
“…Why do you think it is impossible? Is that not just the result of your ignorance? Or do you mean to say that this is all you know of the world? There is only one thing I can do to answer your question.”
Silenced reigned in the air as they awaited the answer. Ainz’s voice was as clear as a bell:
“My name is Ainz Ooal Gown. That is definitely not an alias.”
In the face of Ainz’s arrogance, Nigun was unable to rebut what he was hearing. It was something he did not understand from a man he did not know. That was the situation he was in.
Nigun was starting to get annoyed by his rapid breathing.
The sound of grass rustling in the wind was annoying too. His heartbeat sounded especially loud. He was breathing heavily, like he had been running for a long time.
Words of reassurance began appearing in his head. However, the sight of Ainz being stabbed with swords, as well as his mass slaughter of angels with just one spell, were telling Nigun something else.
—That is a monster beyond my wildest imaginings. I could never hope to defeat it.
“Cap-Captain, what, what should we do…?”
“Figure it out yourself! I’m not your mother!”
Nigun only managed to calm down after he could no longer see the face of the man he was shouting at.
Losing his cool in front of an unknown monster like this was a very bad thing.
The sun was slowly falling below the horizon, and darkness threatened to swallow the world. It felt like Death itself was opening its maw to devour everything. Nigun tried to force his fear back, and gave an order:
“Protect me! Protect me if you want to live!”
Nigun brought the crystal out in his trembling hand. His subordinates, usually vigorous and nimble, were chained down by fear and their movements were slow. Even these fearless men would hesitate when ordered to become a shield against a monster like the one which stood before them. However, he had to have them buy him some time, no matter what.
The magic sealed within the crystal could summon the most powerful angel known to man. It was an angel that had single-handedly destroyed a Demon God that rampaged throughout the land two hundred years ago.
It was an angel of the highest order, that could easily destroy a city.
Casting the spell to summon that angel again required an incalculable amount of money and manpower, but Ainz Ooal Gown, this mysterious being, was worthy of being eliminated by its power. More importantly, it would be worse if the crystal was taken without the spell being cast.
This was what Nigun told himself.
He concealed his fear that he would become a lump of meat like his deceased underling.
“I am going to summon an angel of the highest order, hurry up and buy me some time!”
Once they realized the truth, his subordinates moved swiftly.
Ainz, who was facing them, should have noticed the flames of hope blazing up. However, he made no move, instead babbling about some nonsense to himself.
“…Could that be a spell-sealing crystal… and from its brilliance, it should be something that can seal anything except a super tier spell. So they have a YGGDRASIL item like that as well… that being the case, what kind of angel can they summon… Seraph class? Albedo, protect me with your skill. While I don’t think they can bring out a Seraph Aesphere, if they manage to summon a Seraph Empyrean, we will have to fight them seriously. Or rather… could it be a monster unique to this world?”
While Ainz held his ground, Nigun ritually broke the crystal in his hand, and a brilliant radiance spilled forth.
A hidden sun seemed to have risen upon the land, dying the grass a blinding white. A dull fragrance filtered into everyone’s noses.
The legendary angel descended upon the earth, and Nigun exulted:
“Behold! The glorious visage of the highest angel! Dominion Authority!”
It was a mass of many shining wings, and among them were a pair of arms that held a scepter, symbolizing royal authority, but neither its head nor legs were visible. Though it looked quite disturbing, anyone could tell this was a sacred being. In the moment it appeared, the surrounding air turned bright and clear.
The advent of this supreme incarnation of goodness drew wild cheers from everyone who saw it. The blood of Nigun’s men boiled with excitement.
Now, they could kill Ainz Ooal Gown.
This time, he would be the one to be afraid.
He would learn his foolishness before the power of the gods.
In the face of their jubilance, Ainz barely managed to get a sentence out:
“This… this is it? This is what you call getting serious…? This is your ace in the hole that you were planning to use on me?”
As he saw Ainz’s shock, Nigun, who had been extremely uneasy, breathed a sigh of relief. In fact, his heart was filled with joy as he replied:
“Indeed! Your fear is only natural. After all, this is what an angel of the highest order looks like. While using it here seems like a bit of a waste, I have determined that you are worthy of it!”
“How could this be…”
Ainz slowly raised his hand and covered his face. To Nigun, it looked like a gesture of despair.
“Ainz Ooal Gown. The truth is, you deserve respect for forcing me to summon this most exalted of angels. Be proud of your fearsome strength, magic caster!”
Nigun nodded deeply, and continued:
“Personally speaking, I would like to bring you into our fold. If you are truly that powerful… however, I am not allowed to do so on this mission. At the very least, I shall remember you — the magic caster who made me decide to summon this mighty angel.”
However, the response to Nigun’s praise was a cold voice:
“Really… this is ridiculous.”
Nigun had no idea what Ainz was saying. To Nigun, Ainz was little more than a sacrifice to the highest order of angel, which humanity could not possibly defeat. Yet, his attitude seemed too relaxed for that.
“I can’t believe I was on guard against such child’s play… my apologies, Albedo. I made you use your skill for nothing.”
“Please, do not say that, Ainz-sama. We did not know what manner of monster they might have called forth, so it was prudent to reduce the chances of injury.”
“Is that so…? No, you’re right. It’s just that I did not expect this to be all. It was quite unexpected.”
Nigun’s mind could not keep up with their patronizing banter.
“How can you act like that in front of the angel of the highest order!?” Nigun shouted, He could not believe that Ainz and Albedo were chatting leisurely and completely ignoring Dominion Authority.
Their calm attitude of absolute superiority made the surging joy in Nigun’s heart vanish. In its place was terror and unease.
Could it be that Ainz Ooal Gown is more powerful than this mightiest of angels?
“No! Impossible! It cannot be! Nobody can be stronger than the highest-placed of the angels! This is a being which can defeat a Demon God! In the face of a foe that humanity cannot beat — it’s a bluff! It must be a bluff!”
It would seem Nigun could no longer control his emotions.
He could not, would not acknowledge this. He could not believe that a man who could defeat Dominion Authority was not only an enemy of the Slaine Theocracy, but was standing right in front of him.
“Use it! Use 「Holy Smite」!”
This was magic of the seventh tier and above, a realm humanity could not reach. Even the large-scale rituals in the Slaine Theocracy could not cast it, but this most exalted of angels, Dominion Authority, could do it by itself. That was why it was ranked among the highest order of all angels.
The magic that Nigun ordered to be cast, the seventh tier 「Holy Smite」, was such a mighty spell.
“I get it, I get it. Hurry up and make your move. I won’t do anything. That should satisfy you, right?”
However, Ainz’s relaxed attitude was like a pedestrian letting another person walk past him.
His casual attitude filled Nigun with fear.
This angel of the highest order had once defeated the Demon Gods of legends. Its omnipotent power was enough to qualify it as the mightiest being on the continent. It was invincible.
Yet, if someone could defeat it…
If the mysterious magic caster before him could do it, it would mean that this mysterious person was a far stronger being than a Demon God.
Such a person could not exist.
In response to its summoner’s wish to use its most powerful attack, Dominion Authority shattered its scepter. The fragments rose up into the air and slowly orbited its body.
“I see. So this is a once-per-summoning special skill that it uses to augment its spell power. It would seem this Dominion is about the same as the one in YGGDRASIL…”
The spell was cast, and a pillar of light broke through the sky.
With a loud whoosh, a seemingly endless cascade of holy blue-white radiance flooded down from the heavens, submerging Ainz, who simply raised one arm to shade his eyes.
The seventh tier of magic — a height humanity could not hope to attain.
This sacred power would annihilate all evil beings, and even good entities would meet the same fate. The difference was only if they were reduced to sightless atoms, or if there would actually be remains left behind. This was the awesome power of magic that exceeded the realm of humanity.
No, it would be strange if that were not the case.
Yet — he was still there.
Ainz Ooal Gown, the monster, was not blasted into glowing ash, sprawled on the ground, or pulverized into meat jelly, but he was still standing nonchalantly, and even laughing:
“—Hahahahaha, as expected of magic that has extra effect on those of evil alignment… so this is what taking damage feels like… pain, is it? I see, I see! Still, even though I feel pain, my mind is clear, and my ability to act is not affected at all.”
The pillar of light vanished. It had not had any effect.
“Wonderful, I’ve concluded another experiment.”
His voice sounded indifferent… no, it would be more accurate to say that he was satisfied.
Nigun and company thought that way, and the smiles on their faces froze.
However, one person was filled with anger.
“You, you inferior lifeforms!”
Albedo’s shout ripped through the air.
“You inferior lifeforms! How, how dare you do such a thing to my beloved lord, Ainz-sama!? You pieces of trash, how dare you cause pain to the man I love, my master Ainz-sama!? Do not think that I will allow you to die so easily! I will have you taste the greatest suffering this world has to offer until you go mad from agony! I will melt off your limbs with acid, cut off your genitals, and feed them to you as mincemeat! Then I will heal you and do it again! Aaahhhhhhhh! I hate you! I hate you I hate you I hate you so much that my heart is going to burst—”
Her arms, clawing at her head and sheathed in black armor, were writhing.
It felt like the world was distorting, with her at the center. A wave of world-twisting, courage-sapping malice smashed into them like a hurricane.
Something seemed to be crawling under that black armor, like there was an enormous creature that was about to break through the plates and reveal itself. Nigun knew this was happening, but there was nothing he could do but stand there and watch the emergence of a monster that would pollute the world.
Only one person in this world could rein her in. Ainz raised his hand and quietly said:
“That’s enough, Albedo.”
Those words were enough to stop Albedo in her tracks.
“…But, but Ainz-sama, these inferior lifeforms…”
“—It’s fine, Albedo… everything has gone according to my predictions, aside from the weakness of the angels. What else is there to be angry about?”
As Albedo heard this, she raised a hand to her breast and bowed in acknowledgement.
“…As expected of Ainz-sama, your insight is truly fitting of the title “fathomless.” I am in awe.”
“Nonono, the truth is, I’m quite glad that you would be worried and angry for me. However… your charming smile is far more preferable.”
“Gufu—! Char-Charming! —Cough, thank you, Ainz-sama.”
“Now then, I’m sorry you had to wait for so long.”
Nigun, who was stunned by their easy-going back and forth, finally managed to recover enough of his senses to shout:
“I know it… I know your true identities! — Demon Gods! You must be Demon Gods.”
There were scant few intelligent beings that Nigun knew of, which could stand on par with the highest tier angels:
The Six Gods which Nigun believed in
The kings of the mighty draconic races — the Dragon Lords.
The legendary monster who could destroy an entire country — Landfall.
And one more — the Demon Gods.
He had heard that the Thirteen Heroes had defeated and sealed away the Demon Gods. Judging by that wave of evil from just now, that must have been a Demon God about to break its seal.
At the same time, Nigun had the faint hope that if they were Demon Gods, then Dominion Authority might still have a chance to win.
“One more time! Use 「Holy Smite」!”
Ainz said that the spell had hurt. That meant that he had been injured. It might mean that he had trouble just standing up.
Countless “mights” popped up in Nigun’s mind. Without them, he would go mad.
However, Ainz would not permit a second attack.
“…Now, it’s my turn… know despair. 「Black Hole」!”
A small point appeared on Dominion Authority’s shining body. It slowly enlarged into a yawning black void.
The black hole swallowed everything.
It was so underwhelming that it made them stare in dumbfounded silence. It might even be laughable. But they could no longer see it.
As the radiance of Dominion Authority vanished, the light drained from the surroundings.
There was only the sound of the wind blowing across the plains. And then a hoarse cry broke the silence.
“Who… are you people…” Nigun asked these these impossible beings again. “I have never heard the name of a magic caster called Ainz Ooal Gown before… no, there can’t be someone who could destroy the highest ranked angel in one blow! Someone like that should not exist…”
Nigun shook his head powerlessly.
“All I know is that you are far beyond a Demon God… this is unbelievable… who exactly are you…”
“…Like I said, I am Ainz Ooal Gown. In the past, there was nobody who did not tremble at this name. Well, I guess we’ve spent enough time on idle chatter. Going on would only be pointless. Also, just so we don’t waste each other’s time, there is an anti-teleport effect surrounding me, and my subordinates are waiting in ambush. You have nowhere to run.”
The sun set completely, and darkness swallowed the land.
Nigun knew that this was the end. This was an unassailable reality. Just as his subordinates fell into despair one after the other, cracks appeared in the sky, like the breaking of a pot. They vanished in an instant, and the scenery returned to normal.
As confusion washed over Nigun, Ainz answered:
“Good grief… you know, you should thank me. It would seem someone was using divination magic to keep an eye on you, but because I was in the spell’s effective range, my anti-scrying offensive barrier activated, and you were not observed. Really, if I had known, I would have linked a higher tier attack spell to it.”
Those words filled Nigun’s eyes with realization.
The Slaine Theocracy must have been spying on him.
“A widened 「Explosion」 might not be enough to teach them how to behave… oh well, things being as they are, playtime is over.”
A wave of cold ran through Nigun as he picked up the hidden meaning in those words.
He, who had always been the oppressor, was now going to become one of the oppressed.
He was filled with an incomparable fear. The fear that he, who had taken countless lives in the past, was now going to have his own life taken. His subordinates saw his terrified expression and it frightened them as well.
He was on the verge of tears.
He wanted to kneel down and loudly beg for his life, but Ainz did not look like a compassionate man. Thus, Nigun fought back the urge to weep, trying his best to look for a way to survive. But no matter how he thought, he could not think of any way to get help from the outside. Therefore, his only hope was to throw himself on the mercy of Ainz Ooal Gown.
“Wait, wait a bit! Ainz Ooal Gown-dono, no, -sama! Please wait, we, no, I wish to make a deal with you! I guarantee you will not be disappointed! As long as you spare me, I will give you any amount of money you want!”
He could see his shocked subordinates out of the corner of his eye, but they were no longer relevant to him. The thing that mattered now was his own life. Everything else was of secondary importance.
Besides, he could find more subordinates, but his own self was irreplaceable.
Ignoring the countless angry voices of his men, Nigun continued:
“It must be difficult to satisfy the tastes of such a great magic caster as yourself, but I will definitely prepare enough money to please you! I have a position of some power in my country, so they will definitely pay any price to ransom me! Of course, if you desire anything else, I will do my best to meet your wishes! So I beg you! Please spare my life!”
Nigun panted as he finished his monologue.
“What, what about it? Ainz Ooal Gown-sama!”
A delicate, gentle woman’s voice responded to Nigun’s desperate plea:
“Did you not reject the compassionate offer of the Supreme One, Ainz-sama?”
“…I know what you want to say. You wanted to beg for your life because accepting his proposition would also mean your death. Am I correct?”
The black-helmeted head shook, as though it was tired of talking.
“You seem to have gotten the wrong idea. Since Ainz-sama, who holds the power of life and death in Nazarick, has already stated his will, inferior lifeforms like you humans should lower your heads and gratefully await the taking of your lives.”
Albedo’s forceful words were backed by an adamant resolve.
She’s mad. This woman is mad. Nigun, who realized this, looked hopefully to Ainz.
Ainz had been quietly listening to them. When he realized that Nigun was waiting for his decision, he shook his head in exasperation and said:
“Indeed… it is as she says. Cease your pointless struggles and lie down quietly. As a final act of mercy, I will kill you without drawing out your suffering.”
As he walked along the night-veiled plains, Ainz raised his head. What greeted him was the beautiful sight of stars in the sky.
Ainz sighed at the scenery for the second time, and then he headed back to the village.
He had gone a little overboard.
As long as Albedo was by his side, he could not afford to appear useless to her. As her master, he needed to act in a fitting manner in front of his subordinates. While he might have gone a bit too far, it still fit the role he was playing.
He did not know if he had passed or failed, but it would be fine as long as Albedo was not disappointed.
Ainz could not see Albedo’s expression of, Damn, Ainz-sama was so cool, kufufufu~ under her closed helmet. Since he could not tell what she was thinking, he went over the day’s proceedings once more.
“Still, Ainz-sama, why did you save Gazef?”
Why indeed? Ainz could not articulate his feelings at that time, so he tried to approximate them for her:
“This was a problem we caused, so shouldn’t we try and settle it ourselves?”
“Then why did you give him that item?”
“I was laying the foundation for future plans. Letting him hold it would be a good thing for me.”
Ainz had given Gazef a cash item from YGGDRASIL, but he had a great many of them. Although he could not replenish his stock of them, giving one away was not a great loss.
In addition, Ainz was actually happy to have less of those items.
That was because those were consolation prizes from the 500 yen gacha draws, which reminded Ainz of how profligate he had been with his spending and his poor lifestyle then. In addition, while he had spent countless 500 yen coins on finally getting the ultra rare item that was the top prize, his former comrade Yamaiko had gotten it on the first try. The impact of that incident cast an indelible shadow in Ainz’s heart.
He had wanted to throw those consolation prizes away, but when he thought of the 500 yen it had cost… he could not bear to wastefully dispose of it.
“Well, it doesn’t matter who ends up with that item in the end, or if it ends up being used or not. It’s no loss to me.”
“…Would it not have been best to let me take care of things? There was no need to trouble Ainz-sama to personally aid those inferior lifeforms… surrounding them was hardly a difficult task, which is why I submit that Ainz-sama did not need to personally take the field.”
“Is that so…”
Without a device to measure power levels, that was all Ainz could say in response.
In YGGDRASIL, one could determine the strength of an enemy by the color of their names. Beyond that, one could only rely on information from one’s friends and walkthrough sites.
Ainz could not help but feel nostalgic.
If only I had learned some divination-type spells — Ainz thought, with a hint of regret. Of course, he did not know if those spells could be used here. However, if he could, then he would not have to be as nervous as he was now.
Still, there was no point worrying about what he did not have. Ainz decided to think of something else:
“…I know your strength, Albedo, and I trust you. However, I would like you to discard such shallow thinking and remember that an enemy who is stronger than myself could appear at any time. This is especially true given that we do not quite understand this world… so I hoped Gazef could do our work for us.”
“I see… so you used him as a pawn to feel out the enemy’s strength. It is quite fitting to use inferior lifeforms like humans in that way.”
Although the closed helm revealed none of her emotions, her freshly-flowered joy was obvious in her voice.
Ainz had once been a human beng, and now he was undead. From just now, he had sensed that Albedo hated humans very much. However, it did not upset him or make him feel depressed. Rather, he felt that such thoughts were quite suitable for the inhuman Guardian Overseer of the Great Underground Tomb of Nazarick.
“…Indeed. However, that is not all. Since we saved him at the brink of death, he will be even more grateful to us. In addition, since the enemy was a special forces unit, the country’s higher-ups will not investigate the matter too openly. That was why I stepped in.”
“Ah… as expected of Ainz-sama… so that was why you took the commander and the others alive. Marvellously done!”
Ainz could not help but feel proud when he heard Albedo’s praise. After all, he managed to put together a sensible, coherent plan in a short period of time; perhaps this was his leadership talent at work. Just then, Albedo’s cheerful voice entered Ainz’s self-satisfied ears:
“…Still, was it necessary to take the angels’ swords with your precious body, Ainz-sama?”
“Is that how it looked to you? When we first came to Carne Village, we used the knights on the outskirts to verify that my High Tier Physical Nullification was still working normally.”
“Indeed, you are correct. I verified it with my own eyes as well. However, I did not wish my eyes to helplessly watch the swords of those despicable angels piercing your body, Ainz-sama.”
“I see. Though you were my shield, I did not take your feelings into consideration. You have my—”
“—And even if I knew you would emerge unscathed, which woman would want to see the man she loves being stabbed by swords?”
Ainz did not know how to answer, so he let it slide as he continued to the village. Albedo did not seem to want to press the matter and followed quietly.
Once they reached the village, the villagers, led by the Death Knight, came out to meet them.
They lavished praise and thanks onto them, and Ainz saw Gazef among the villagers.
“Oh, Warrior-Captain-dono, I’m glad you’re all right. I should have gone to your side earlier, but the item I gave you took some time to work, which was why I was almost too late. My apologies.”
“What are you saying? It is I who should thank you, Gown-dono. After all, you saved me… speaking of which, where did those fellows go?”
Since Gazef had changed his tone somewhat, Ainz decided to nonchalantly inspect him.
Gazef had taken off his armor and carried no weapons with him.
He was bruised all over and half his face was swollen up, like a strange-looking, misshapen ball. Yet, a fire burned within his eyes.
Ainz turned away, as though he had seen something brilliant. His eyes reflexively went to the ring Gazef wore on his left ring finger.
So he was married. It’s probably good that his wife won’t need to shed tears for him. As he thought about that, Ainz decided to carefully put on an act:
“Oh, I chased them off. I couldn’t take care of all of them, as I thought.”
That was a lie, of course. They had all been shipped back to the Great Underground Tomb of Nazarick. Gazef narrowed his eyes a little, but neither of them spoke. The air between them grew tense.
In the end, Gazef broke the silence:
“Truly amazing. I do not know how I can repay you for your help, Gown-dono. Please, look for me when you come to the Royal Capital. I will welcome you with open arms.”
“Is that so… then, I will have to impose on you when the time comes.”
“…Gown-dono, I do not know what plans you have, but would you be willing to travel with us? We will be staying in this village for a while.”
“Is that so? Well, I was planning to move on, though I have not decided my destination yet.”
“Still, it’s already so late, travelling now would be…”
Gazef cut himself off halfway:
“Forgive me, there was no need to worry about a mighty being like yourself, Gown-dono. Then, please seek me out when you reach the capital. My doors will always be open to you. In addition, I am deeply grateful to you for your gift of a full set of equipment from the knights who attacked the village.”
Ainz nodded, and decided that he had taken care of everything he needed to do in this village. There had been more things to do here than he had expected, and he had spent more time here than he had planned.
“Let’s go home, Albedo,” Ainz said in a voice low enough that only Albedo could here. She immediately turned around joyfully in response — although she was still wearing her full plate armor.