Overlord (LN) - Volume 16 - Chapter 4.5

Hint: To Play after pausing the player, use this button

Part 5

Quite a number of Dark Elves had gathered in the plaza. It was likely that everyone in the village, excluding the children, were gathered here.

It seemed that they also used this plaza to hold meetings.

However, though it was called a plaza, because this was a Dark Elf village, it was mid-air. It was a place that looked like a giant tray held in place by the bridges that extended from the trees. It seemed like a place they couldn’t use if it rained, but they didn’t have a meeting hall in the village—there were no Elf Trees that could hold this number of people. Perhaps when there were far fewer people, they might have done it in one of the Elf Trees, but that probably wasn’t something he should ask about right now.

Ainz was participating in the meeting as an advisor.

Frankly, he wanted to refuse the role.

He wanted to decline with all his might a position with that kind of responsibility. Was there anyone, anywhere, who would be happy with this unpaid role in the first place?

The most desirable thing would have been to participate as an observer, but the other side wanted him to participate as an advisor. Since Ainz himself had been drawn to the topic of the meeting, he was hesitant, indecisive, and so bewildered that he just nodded in agreement while in that state.

What had drawn his interest was, first of all, the outcome. There was a big difference between knowing and not knowing what sort of conclusion they came to.

Next was who was for and who was against it? In what sort of atmosphere would they conduct their discussion? The things he wanted to know—things he wouldn’t understand just from hearing about it—couldn’t be learned by just reading the minutes of this sort of meeting. Even if some kind of conclusion came of this meeting as the consensus of the village, there would probably be people who would be dissatisfied with it or couldn’t accept it. He hadn’t decided on what to do about the village from hereafter, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea to take the course of disposing of those who would bring detriments to Nazarick. If they were beneficial to Nazarick, he would bring them in individually.

If it were Albedo or Demiurge, they might be able to infer everything without participating in the meeting, but for an ordinary person like Ainz, that would be difficult to do.

While looking out over the assembled Dark Elves, Ainz suddenly recalled his time in “Ainz Ooal Gown.” For instance, even in a virtual world, where faces didn’t move, the atmosphere of a meeting was clearly felt.

Be that as it may, it was never that big of a deal. At those gatherings where things were decided by a majority vote, the ability to read the room wasn’t that important. However, that probably wasn’t the case here.

{Being in this position might be unexpectedly convenient…If I leave in the middle and abandon my voting rights, then I won’t need to take responsibility for anything, and it's not like I have any degree of experience advising in a meeting anyway.}

To put it bluntly, Ainz didn't know much about meetings. Of course, he himself had participated in them before, Suzuki Satoru was a working adult after all. It would be rare for a company to not have any meetings at all. However, even if he did participate, his single vote was worthless. They were meetings in name only; they only served to receive orders from above. So his feelings toward them was only natural. Therefore, he only attended, nothing more.

Well then, how had it been since he came to this world?

Meetings in the Great Underground Tomb of Nazarick were hell for Ainz.

Because the opinions of Ainz, the ruler, were always taken as being correct no matter how wrong they were, it was impossible for him to say anything wrong. However, since the Guardians recognized Ainz as their absolute ruler and—for some reason—a genius who sees through all, they would keep asking for his opinion. This heavy responsibility was one of the main causes of Ainz’s psyche’s deterioration.

{Since my opinion is always prioritized in Nazarick, it sure would be nice if I could acquire some useful knowledge about how meetings are conducted. At this one, there aren’t any conjectures about what the absolute ruler is thinking.}

What he wanted to gain and what he was searching for were difficult for Ainz to put into words. Even so, he thought that if there was something that could expand his knowledge, he would want to obtain it.

At long last, the elders appeared.

They stood in the center of the U-shaped crowd, to their right and left stood groups of miscellaneous Dark Elves who looked like they were inserting themselves into the meeting. Ainz’s position was in a spot that was a bit separated from where the elders were.

{Hmmm, yeah, to be honest, I failed. Because I was hanging around the temporary master’s house, I couldn’t completely grasp the relationships between the Dark Elves in this village…}

Even at this gathering of the villagers, there were people who he had exchanged casual greetings with as well as those whose names he didn’t even know.

Ainz only worked hard on gathering intelligence on the VIPs of this village. However, if you were to ask him if he knew what shape the web of relationships took centering on those people, he wouldn’t be that well informed.

That said, he had clearly explained why it couldn’t be helped. Furthermore, even if he had worked hard and built relationships with them, he wouldn’t have been able to become close enough for them to drop all pretenses and talk to him about anything in this short amount of time.

{Adults…have a lot of things going on after all. I’d like to believe it’s not like that for children though…}

Based on Ainz’s shallow knowledge of such things, there appeared to be no particular meaning in this arrangement of attendees.

While thinking that he wished everybody had nametags, Ainz used illusory magic to put on a serious expression for the time being and waited for the meeting to begin.

“Now then, let us begin,” one of the elders, the younger man, spoke. “I believe you all have already heard about it from someone else. However, in order to determine what is factual, please allow me to explain it once again. Today, a messenger from the Elf King came to this village. He talked about how the country of humans to the north is launching an attack near the Royal Capital. Th—” 

Many eyes turned to look at where Ainz was.

No doubt they were thinking the same thing as the one who came to the Chief Pharmacist’s house. That was the reason why he had to promptly deny it. It would be extremely inconvenient for them to have some weird misunderstandings.

“—Excuse me,” Ainz raised his hand. It seemed that they didn’t have that sort of rule, but he had interrupted the elder’s speech, so he should at least do that much. “Just in case, let me say this. It is a different country than the one I come from. The attacking country is a country of only humans—an ethnostate where Elves are enslaved.”

A few voices of hatred rose up from the crowd in response to the word “slave.” No sooner than that could he hear whispers of “we know,” “elves,” and other things of less significance. Somehow, it seemed that a rather free expression of opinions was allowed at their meetings.

“The country I live in is as I have said previously, it’s a country where various races live together. Because they are protected by law, there is neither hostilities nor persecution…Oh! That means they are not targeted because of their race. There are not very many criminals, but it is not as if they are completely nonexistent, so if you were to walk around dangerous places, then just maybe…I cannot state definitively that such a thing wouldn’t happen. I am sorry for interrupting you.”

Ainz lightly bowed his head to the elder and he responded in kind.

“So due to another country’s attack, they have also requested for the Dark Elves to send soldiers.”

“That wasn't a request!” one of the youngsters shouted, his hatred apparent in his voice. “It was an order to ‘send.’”

Though soft, voices of agreement could be heard from here and there.

The elders also didn’t immediately try to stop them. At the very least, they probably held the same opinion.

“Then what should we do? Thinking that we should discuss this, we held this meeting. We intend to take the consensus that emerges from this village to the other villages and discuss it with them. Therefore, we would like for you to understand that this doesn’t mean our opinion as it is will become the opinion of the Dark Elves as a whole. In addition, even if we bring this village’s opinion to our talks with the other villages, not only may it not be adopted, depending on the situation we may not even come to a conclusion.”

To this elder’s words, another one continued. 

“—No, there’s probably a good chance of that happening. There’s even a possibility that this village, where everybody knows everyone else, can’t come to an agreement either. As a result of that, it may come to pass that the Dark Elves would split up and live separately from one another as it had happened once in the past,” the elder looked in Ainz’s direction for only a moment. “Not seeing eye to eye is by no means a bad thing. However, by not being trapped by one’s own opinions and exchanging them with others inside the village, we can acquire all sorts of ideas. We also believe it necessary to take a broader perspective on things to decide on our course of action.”

{How would that even work?} Ainz, having experience as a Guild Leader, couldn’t imagine doing that.

It would be wrong for the leader of an organization to support the idea of letting everyone do as they pleased and not unify their opinion.

If the members of a guild went against the guild’s decision for reasons they couldn’t accept, or that they didn’t like it, then wouldn’t it have been meaningless to create the organizations called guilds in the first place? The reason they were able to attain strength was precisely because they were unified; splitting up made everyone a good target to get crushed.

Be that as it may, Ainz didn’t say any of those things.

Under these circumstances, it wasn’t good for an outsider who thought that their own opinion was correct to impose it on them. To see it from a different perspective, how would you feel having an opinion forced upon you by an outsider?

On top of that, life in a dangerous place like the Great Sea of Trees might be the reason why they emphasized the idea of self-determination.

Though he had only lived here for about a week, Ainz got a strong impression that the idea of self-responsibility was stronger in Dark Elves than it was in humans.

When he thought about it, there seemed to be many problems with that way of thinking—one that had been cultivated for who knows how many tens or hundreds of years until now—being changed by the opinions of one foreigner.

The first one—

{—Wouldn’t the Dark Elves scattering be a benefit to Nazarick?}

“It was for that reason that we had he who knows of the outside world participate.”

The discussion suddenly shifted and Ainz, lost in the incoherence of his own thoughts, lightly nodded in agreement.

“I do not know if I will be of any use or not, but I’ll wring out as much of my wisdom as I can.”

“OOH!” Among the voices of admiration that could be heard, a dark elf tossed out a question to them.

“So then, what is it that the elders are considering we do? Sending someone even though we have no such thing as soldiers in this village?”

“We agree with that opinion. We certainly haven’t heard of a Dark Elf village being attacked yet, but that might just mean they are not being attacked right now. I believe you all know this, but our village lies on the outskirts of the Elven Country—and since it is located in the Southeastern tip, if the adversary is attacking villages in order, this village would be last, yes?”

“After they have exterminated the Elves, we the Dark Elves may not be safe. If that’s the case, we should cooperate and drive them back.”

“…That is where the question lies, elders. Just because the Elves are being attacked, that doesn’t mean the Dark Elves will also be attacked, does it?”

That certainly was correct. According to Ainz’s—Nazarick’s—investigations, there was no evidence that Dark Elves were sold as slaves. 

“And conversely, if we stood with the Elves and participated in the war, the human country might then regard Dark Elves as enemies. To begin with, can we even fight and win against the human country?”

The air trembled with commotion

It was a reasonable question.

The adversary had penetrated as far as the vicinity of the Royal Capital. From there it would be rather difficult to have a dramatic turnaround. If you thought about it logically, their prospects of victory were low.

“I endorse the elder’s opinion,” a dark elf said uncomfortably. “Melon. In the past, when we fled to this forest, the Elves accepted us. Do you not feel the need to repay that kindness?”

The dark elf called Melon, who had thrown out the question from just a moment ago, hurried to answer.

“No, that isn’t what I was talking about. To fight or not to fight aren’t our only options, right? For example, why don’t we just invite the Elves to come with us and run away? This forest is still so big. I don’t know what kind of creature the ones called humans are, but they’re probably not more skilled at living in this forest than we are. If we ran away, they might not pursue us…And if push comes to shove, we also have the means to migrate to a forest that is far away…Besides, why are the humans even attacking the Elves? Isn’t there a chance that the Elves were the ones who attacked first?”

“…If that’s what happened, then you reap what you sow.”

The one who whispered that was the Chief Pharmacist. It was a quiet voice, but loud enough for everyone to hear.

“…Certainly, why are the Elven and human countries fighting? Are the humans also living in this forest?”

The elder looked at Ainz like he was asking him for help.

“—No, my deepest apologies, but I do not know the reason for the war. Rather than that, it is my first time hearing that the human country has penetrated this far. However, I do know that the human country lies outside the Great Sea of Trees. I do not think this a struggle for existence by any means.”

“Was that right? This forest is too big for us to know everything about it, and that means the outside world is even bigger than that, I suppose… So what is it you think we should do?

{What? You’re asking me, an outsider, something like that? Well, this is awkward. For the time being, it doesn’t mean the Dark Elves are absolutely one of the races I would want…}

The existence of the Elf Trees and the Chief Pharmacist’s knowledge were among some of the things he wanted, but they were not incentive enough for him to absolutely want them.

{…But, well, it’s not like I want them to die. I just have to steer the conversation in a direction where they won’t die without lying about anything.}

The faces of Aura and Mare popped into his head.

He didn’t know if everything had been going well for them, but they might be saddened to know that the children they played with had died.

Ainz thought for a little bit and found his answer.

{Yeah. Leading them out of this situation is impossible, since I didn’t even prepare any presentation materials this time.}

He hastily put together a plan that was full of holes; he wanted to avoid having it become the seeds of disaster. If that were the case, he should just honestly tell them what he was thinking.

“First of all, if you have a debt of gratitude, betraying that would be disgusting. If something were to happen to you again, the Dark Elves would be considered a race that cannot be trusted, and no one would help you.”

The elders nodded their heads in agreement.

“On the other hand, the guarantee of victory—not what the Elves believe, but based on the information that all of you have calmly collected—is it guaranteed? If your answer is no, then there is nothing more I can say other than the fact that all of you going to fight would be madness.”

The youngsters nodded in agreement.

“Therefore, if it were up to me, I would choose something that didn’t make use of either of those options.”

Expressions of curiosity appeared on everyone’s faces. While feeling everyone’s gaze on him, Ainz remembered his time in YGGDRASIL when there were disputes between guilds. They would carry out a strategy where they joined both camps so that they would benefit no matter who won.

There were even nastier tactics for the same sort of situation, but Ainz and his friends only used those strategies because of their circumstances at that time, the Dark Elves certainly couldn't use them right now.

“First, each village sends a few people as reinforcements. Those people will probably die in battle, but you will still send them. The Elves will be certain to complain about the small number of reinforcements, but if you make excuses like ‘we’re taking the protection of the village into consideration as well, we could only send this number of people,’ then even the Elves would probably not be able to say anything more. That is more or less the reason why you sent the reinforcements. In the meantime, the remaining people will evacuate.”

When Ainz finished his explanation, voices saying “I see” could be heard here and there. At the same time, there were also voices saying “isn’t that a little underhanded?” However, it appeared that there were many people who viewed it favorably.

“As expected of the Dark Elf who lives in the city. We would never have come up with such a thing.”

Ainz made his illusory face change into a wry smile in response to the elder’s words.

{I’m not really getting much of a feeling that they’re praising me.}

However, it was clear to him that the elder hadn’t said those words sarcastically or snidely.

{At any rate, maybe the reason that something even someone at my level could come up with but didn’t immediately occur to them is because they’re naïve…But the lizardmen used that precise tactic…Oops!}

“Rather than it being because I live in a city, it is simply that I am just sneaky.”

“No, it’s nothing of the sort. Cutting off one part to save the others—it is a method that we often use in the vegetable gardens and other places.”

The Chief Pharmacist spoke up and looks of shock could be seen on the faces of several people. Maybe he usually didn’t make statements in this sort of place? Or maybe he usually didn’t even participate.

“Thank you very much, temporary master, and there is something important I forgot to mention. This is the only thing I would like you to remember.” After the attention of everyone there was completely focused on Ainz, he continued.

“That in the end, this is just my suggestion. It is only a single opinion. The ones to decide will be all of you who are up against time, because all of you will be the ones to bear the responsibility for whatever happens after.”

This was the only thing he absolutely had to say. He should say it even if it was just to remind them.

It would be troublesome if they shifted the responsibility to Ainz because he proposed it.

Those few Dark Elves who were chosen would almost certainly die. No, having them die would be better for them as a whole in order to have an excuse for the Elves. If that were the case, the surviving families of the dead Dark Elves might hold a grudge against Ainz.

Therefore, he had to make them choose independently, so he could say, “wasn’t it something you guys decided?”

{It won’t get through to people who have some misguided grudge against me, but there’s no need to build a friendly relationship with those kinds of people. Punitto Moe-san also said that it’s impossible to win over everyone into being an ally. But, if the parents of the children who played with Aura and Mare were sent, it could come back to bite us a bit into the future? However, it’ll be a problem if I butt in about it. Although…just in case, I’ll confirm it later…Considering how little time we have to work with, that’s going to be difficult…}

Of course, it would be different if Nazarick stood to benefit. He would butt in, loan out items that could be collected later, and exert himself to have them survive. However, those Dark Elves weren’t worth him going that far. Since they weren’t a people he would regret losing, he had no intention of putting in that much effort for their survival.

As an idea in addition to that, he had wanted to suggest surrendering to the Theocracy, but that couldn’t come out of Ainz’s mouth. Well, he had absolutely no idea whether or not their lives would be spared if they did surrender, and it also wasn’t always true that yielding bore good results.

“It was a wonderful opinion,” the elder shifted his gaze from Ainz and turned it towards the Dark Elves. “Do any of you have any opinions on it?”

There were no voices of dissent.

Ainz’s suggestion had been finalized for the most part; in fact, it seemed like it was a done deal.

From there, the discussion about how many people, who to send, and where to escape to, started.

Since they were going to have a meeting with several villages afterwards, making a decision right now might be too hasty. However, to hold off on deciding these things until that meeting would be a bit too slow.

Ainz looked over that scene in a complicated state of mind.

He felt his need for social approval and self-esteem had been fulfilled by having his own opinion accepted, but this wasn’t like the joy that came from giving a successful presentation. Maybe it was because he didn’t have a clear goal in mind this time.

It wasn’t that he was leading them in a way that would be beneficial to Nazarick, it was just that his suggestion generated responsibility. The only thing he could do was to flee at once and have someone else shoulder the responsibility. Furthermore—they were already stretched for time. They had to leave right now.

“—This is incredibly rude of me, but it seems that my presence here any further is pointless, and it’s about time I returned to where those children are waiting for me.”

The eldest of the elders spoke as their representative.

“You have truly saved us this time. Later, we want to unify our opinion and propose it to the other villages.”

While thinking that the elder didn’t have to be so deferential to him, Ainz responded.

“If so, then on that occasion, would you mind not mentioning my name?”

“Wh-why not?”

“There will surely be those who would oppose it if they found out it is the opinion of one who does not really have any connection to this village—and the Dark Elves who live in this forest.”

Of course, his true intentions were different. His aim was to lower, by even a little bit, the chances of someone bearing a grudge against him.

“…No, there won’t be anything of the sort. Though they may have left the forest, they are the words of a Dark Elf with whom we share the same ancestors with. There shouldn’t be anyone who would spurn them. However…I do understand. Let’s conceal that part of it.”

“I am grateful for that. Now then…it is much earlier than I initially planned, but it is about time for us to leave this village and return to the city.”

“What did you say!?”

“I am terribly sorry to spring this on you so suddenly, but if anything were to happen to those children, I would never be able to apologize to their parents.”

“…Is the reason for Fior-dono being on guard…because the humans are that strong?”

For a moment, Ainz was baffled, but he understood that they were probably thinking that if people as strong as them were leaving the village as if they were fleeing, that might be connected to the strength of the Theocracy.

“I do not know about that. I am confident that I can win against ordinary opponents, but because there is no way I can know of all the powerful people of the human countries, what will happen is an unknown quantity. I am thinking that if there is even just a small chance that something could happen to the children, it would be awful.”

The elder nodded in understanding.

“…While our parting is regrettable, I would like to get our things in order and leave.”

“That is a…at least even a farewell party…Even though we haven’t even held the welcome party, and now not even doing anything for your departure has become an embarrassment for us.”

“Not at all, it will not amount to that. Right now it is a state of emergency. There must not be any hindrances to the village’s safety in the future because of us.”

Repeating their back and forth of “I want to have a party” and “You don’t have to,” Ainz ensured his victory to persuade them. “This is not our final parting. I pray that there will be a time when we can meet again.” In the corner of his vision, Blueberry was doing some kind of weird dance for some reason. Perhaps he had intended to introduce his child to Ainz at the party?

“Well then,” Ainz said and was trying to walk off when an elder stopped him.

“Uh, Fior-dono. I had really thought that we would be able to discuss this when nobody else was around; this is a completely irrelevant question, but would you mind me asking?”

“What is it?”

“Has Fior-dono joined his hands with someone in marriage?”

Ainz was bewildered by the elder’s question.

“If you don’t have anyone like that, how would you feel about taking someone from this village as a wife?”

When he passed his gaze over them, there were no Dark Elves directing negative emotions toward him. On the contrary, the colors of expectation were in the eyes of the Dark Elf women. And it was not as if they were being sacrificed for the sake of the village, there were even people directing favorable smiles at him.

It wasn’t as if Ainz was particularly knowledgeable about women. On the contrary, he didn’t understand a single thing about them. However, even then, he was confident that the smiles the women had on their faces weren’t fake.

“N-no, I will decline. That…the truth is, there are quite a lot of women who have approached me favorably, you see. It really is quite a problem, you know. Haha…”

Shaken by an attack from an unexpected direction, his way of speaking became a little confused. However, the elder didn’t appear to be particularly worried about it.

“I’m sure it is. If it were a gentleman with outstanding abilities such as yourself, there would be many ladies who would hold affection for him.”

It seemed that one’s attraction to another changed with the level of one’s combat ability, it was the same as it was in human societies. No, when looking at the attitude of the women, that tendency might be stronger in places like this with danger all around them. But, there were signs that the women seemed to have accepted his excuse just now.

This should probably be the last thing he said.

“These will be the final words I leave you with, but if all of you…if you were all to decide that you want to abandon this village and flee to the city where I live, then I would be more than willing to help you. Should that need arise, do not hesitate to tell me. It may be a few months from now, but I would like to return to this village. If by that time it seems like you have reached the conclusion to abandon this village, I would like to have you bury a map with everyone’s location on it in front of the tree I stayed in.”

“…I pray that such a thing won’t happen, but should the time come, we will be in your care.”

The elder bowed his head and in time with that, all of the Dark Elves there bowed their heads as well.

Ainz, seeing that they had all raised their heads, announced, “Well then, I will be taking my leave here,” he looked over at everyone and bowed his head. Finally, he sent a sincere and deep bow toward the Chief Pharmacist.

And then Ainz walked off.

No one stopped him—of course, he had thought that sort of thing wouldn’t happen—Ainz walked until he was no longer in their line of sight.

The figures of Aura and Mare were there. His performance as an uncle had now ended. Their attitudes were those of Floor Guardians. Furthermore, Aura seemed to be extremely cautious, as she quickly ran her eyes over Ainz’s entire body.

“Ainz-sama…I am happy for your safe return. However, did they do anything to you? Before Ainz-sama finally walked away there was an unusual presence being generated over there. It had the air of hunters with nocked arrows to it.”

There was only one thing that came to mind.

“Ah, that was just a slightly bothersome proposal they approached me with. That might have been directed at me by the ladies. That being said, I’m fine. I deceived them properly.”

“Is…that so? Even when Ainz-sama was walking toward us, a bit of that feeling remained. No, I had a feeling that it became even stronger.”

Ainz knitted his eyebrows. It had appeared to Ainz that the women had accepted his excuse, but perhaps that wasn’t true? In any case, Ainz didn't know what he should do about that. Plus, they were already heading home, so there probably wasn’t a better way to deal with that than what he chose.

“Normally, I would’ve asked this beforehand, but is there anyone who is paying attention to us right now?”

“It’s okay. There’s nobody.”

Aura assured him.

If that was the case, then there definitely weren’t any problems. No, Aura already knew that, and that was why she tossed out that question when they met.

“—Now, I thought it was fine, but were you listening to what we were talking about?”

“Yes, Ainz-sama. I have already finished explaining the contents to Mare.”

Rather than talking here, it would be better for them to return to their temporary lodgings and do it there. However, the two of them might have noticed something that Ainz had overlooked. Depending on what it was, and while it would be a little embarrassing, it might be better to return to that place and participate in the meeting one more time. For that reason, it was necessary for them to talk here whilst being aware of the danger.

“In that case, did you not have any thoughts about it? Let me hear your candid opinions.”

The two of them looked at each other.

“There were no points of particular concern. I thought Ainz-sama’s suggestion was perfect.”

“Y-yes. From what my sister told me, uh, umm, I also thought that.”

{Hm? Could it be that they didn’t notice that the parents of the children they played with might be sent to the battlefield—sent to die? Or is it that they did notice it, but they can’t voice their objections because it was my suggestion?}

If it were the former, it might make the two of them feel sad and put cracks into the friendships they had properly made. He should probably ask them about it a bit more.

“You know, the parents of the children the two of you played with might be sent off?”

The two of them had curious looks on their faces. After looking at each other one more time, they returned their gazes to Ainz. It was Aura who spoke as their representative.

“—That’s right. Is there something wrong with that?” Her expression said that she was sincerely curious. “Is there something bad about that?”

“…No, nothing at all.”

He couldn’t ask them how they could make those sorts of expressions.

All that he could think was just that a friendship hadn’t been born after all.

{Or is it that…just as my friends prioritized the real world, these two are prioritizing Nazarick…If so, then what’s the right thing for me to do?}

While Ainz was not sure what to do, Aura cupped her hand behind her ear, the motion of her trying to hear distant sounds better. Maybe some important topic had come out over there. Ainz was silent so as to not get in Aura’s way.

“—Ainz-sama. It seems the subject of Ainz-sama has come up over there.”

“Could you let me hear what kind of things they’re talking about?”

“Yes. Generally, they’re saying things like this.”

Aura slightly changed the tone of her voice—although she wasn’t very good at it—and let him listen.

“Why did you decide to keep it a secret that it was his suggestion?”

“Because the country he lives in is close to the human country. If the human country were to learn the truth, that he stated that opinion here, it might cause trouble for him in the future, don’t you think?”

“The chance of that happening, is that what the elder is thinking about?”

“I don’t know. However…isn’t it matter of fact that we should do it so that something that could cause him trouble didn’t occur?”

“—All the other villagers agreed with this and decided to keep it a secret.”

“I see. Thank you, Aura.”

“Uh, umm, the fact that Ainz-sama led them to this decision, err, won’t be leaked, right?”

He didn’t have any particular memory of leading them to it, and he felt the desire to ask Mare why he thought he had led them to it. All Ainz had done was make a suggestion, but more important than that was the following.

“So long as there is mind control magic, if we want to perfectly avoid information leaks, it will be necessary to kill them…”

“Are we going to kill them?”

“No, we won’t. I feel there is no merit in doing so. No, should I put it like this? There are no demerits in the Theocracy finding out, because the Theocracy is virtually an enemy nation. It’s not like I particularly want to deepen our ties to them, and supporting the enemy of your enemy is an obvious thing to do…No, that itself has merit to it. I had a false appearance and name. We’ll have the Theocracy spend their efforts on useless things.”

Ainz stole a glance at the twins’ attitudes there.

“…However…I suppose it’s too bad. If the Theocracy had directly attacked this village, we really could have gotten a lot more benefit out of it.”

After the twins looked at each other and made curious expressions, Mare tossed out a question.

“Uh, umm, Ainz-sama? Why didn’t you make them attack the village? Ah, err, we should have killed the Theocracy’s soldiers, uh, umm, while disguised as Dark Elves and drawn them this way, shouldn’t we?”

He was exactly right.

The benefits to Nazarick should be greater by doing things that way, even Ainz understood that much. It wouldn’t have been hard to accomplish by causing MPKs. In spite of that, the reason they hadn’t done that was—

(T/N: MPK = Monster Player Kill)

{—Because I didn’t want to.}

Life in this village had been unexpectedly fun. Setting fire to this kind of village with his own hands felt distasteful to him for some reason or another.

That would be a very natural feeling to have. Nobody would want to do something they didn’t want to do. However, that was an absolutely unforgivable excuse as the absolute ruler of the Great Underground Tomb of Nazarick. The one who was the head of an organization should prioritize the benefits of the organization. In spite of that, he had prioritized his own feelings.

In a sense, this might even be considered a betrayal of Nazarick.

{So I told them to make friends, but I’m the one who enjoyed it the most. Is that how things ended up?}

It would be bad if he wasn’t careful so that he could prevent this kind of thing from happening again in the future.

Ainz had to think and act with the benefit of the Great Underground Tomb of Nazarick as his priority.

That was his duty as the sole remaining Guild Leader, and his role as the leader of the NPCs.

Swearing that in his heart, he was lost as to how he should answer Mare’s question. He should probably apologize because he had honestly been naïve.

“…That’s right. I also considered that. If it were to obtain benefits for Nazarick, that’s what I should have done. Yet in spite of that, I didn’t do it because I was naïve…That was improper of me as the ruler of Nazarick. I will strive so that this sort of thing never happens again.”

The two of them were googly-eyed.

“Uh, n-no…I-it’s nothing like that.”

“That’s right. Everything Ainz-sama does is correct!”

While the two of them were comforting him, they had arrived at their borrowed Elf Tree. Once they collected the things they had left there, their preparations for withdrawal would be complete.

Since they originally had hardly any luggage, they finished right away and carried their luggage outside.

There, Aura lifted up her face. When Ainz followed where her gaze led, he caught the sight of the Chief Pharmacist running towards them.

He arrived in front of Ainz’s group right away.

The Chief Pharmacist was slightly out of breath. He possessed high abilities as a pharmacist, so he could be considered as a being of moderate level, but his physical stats were low. It was unclear what Class he had taken, but it probably raised Ability Scores in the same kind of way as an arcane magic caster did.

He didn’t have the air of someone who had come to give them a souvenir. No doubt he came here directly from the meeting place. Perhaps he had come to say goodbye?

“What’s the matter? I apologize for not being able to say goodbye to you directly—“

“—No, I thought I’d give a final present to my temporary apprentice. A number of the women are trying to go with you guys to the city. I know because I saw them dashing off to their own homes. If you really don’t want to deal with that, you’d best hurry out of the village.”


“Whaddya mean, ‘what?’ They probably don’t intend to leech off you, but jumping into an unknown place, they’ll beg for your—the only one they can depend on—aid, probably as a tactic to slowly close the distance between you. Incidentally, if you can support them, our way of thought is that polygamy or polyandry aren’t really a problem. They're probably thinking that it wouldn't be too bad to reunite our separated tribes with you as the intermediary. And, if the other tribes find out about this too, well...I'm on your side get what I'm trying to say, right?"

This was bad.

If they made contact with his body, his true form would be found out. He couldn’t guarantee that the women wouldn’t make those kinds of moves.

The Elves regarded the undead as enemies. That was the same for the Dark Elves.

Until Ainz had completely won over the Dark Elves, he couldn’t allow them to know his true form. When he took placing the Dark Elves under his rule into account, he absolutely couldn’t harm the women of the advance party.

“What? You didn’t even imagine that it would come to this? Not even this much? C’mon now, are you serious? A guy as quick-witted as you? Perhaps you did think this might happen but you didn’t think they would put it into action this quickly, or something? …Oh, come on. Be grateful I came to warn you, okay?”

There was only one measure Ainz could take—

“…Let’s go, you two! We’re going on a little run! Well then, temporary master.”

—and that was to just run away.

Having barely finished his goodbye, the three of them slipped past the Chief Pharmacist and jogged off.

They immediately entered the forest, but they didn’t stop. Naturally, they ran until they reached a point where they believed they could no longer be pursued, and finally stopped.

“…We’re okay. There are no signs of any pursuers. So then, are we returning to Nazarick from here?”

Ainz, the sign of relief appearing on his face, grinned broadly at Aura’s question. Of course, his actual expression didn’t move an inch, or rather, he wasn’t even controlling his illusion.

“We won’t do that. Returning to Nazarick, assembling troops, and taking action isn’t a bad idea, but I don’t want to waste this perfect opportunity. The three of us—a select few—are going to carry out the strategy that Punitto Moe-san taught me in the past.”

“Wh-what might that be?”

Mare asked, his eyes sparkling. Ainz was a bit happy. If Mare had taken an attitude of “whoop-de-doo” here, his enthusiasm would have diminished.

Ainz answered boastfully.

“Strictly speaking, it’s a little different but—we’re kill stealing.”

Share This :


No Comments Yet

Post a new comment

Register or Login