Things became simple after the Sorcerer King’s victory. The demihumans had already lost the will to fight, so all that was left was to mop them up. There were practically no casualties on the side of Holy Kingdom, but the ground was littered with demihuman corpses.
Now that the enemy general Jaldabaoth had been defeated, nobody could stand in the way of the Holy Kingdom Liberation Army.
Recapturing the city of Prart and the capital city of Hoburns was practically instantaneous.
It would take a while longer to free the city of Rimun, which was further west, and there were still people suffering in villages which had been converted to detention camps, but this was already a big step.
The liberated capital was filled with joyous sounds, and their ardor had not abated even after a whole day. In fact, it actually grew livelier.
However, the brass ― Neia included ― knew that there was still a veritable mountain of problems to be dealt with.
The first issue was food. The demihumans had eaten everything and caused a shortage of food. It would surely hamper the progress of the Holy Kingdom in the future.
The next was the people who had died. Losses in the workforce could be replaced. However, if the deceased were skilled craftsmen, scholars, or people who might one day become them, then the loss of knowledge would be a fatal blow to the nation.
And then there was the matter of resources. The demihumans had plundered and destroyed many things, and rebuilding all of them would take a lot of resources.
Finally, there was the matter of time. The demihumans had taken a full two seasons during their invasion, and they would need to work twice as hard to make up for the loss.
And of course, there might be demihumans lurking within the Holy Kingdom. They would need to be rooted out and exterminated.
The location of most of the loot taken by the demihumans ― valuables and magic items ― was unknown. The demihumans all had separate cultures of their own, so adorning themselves with precious metals and collecting human wealth was hardly a strange thing, However, the strange thing was that there were no clues at all as to where those things had been taken. That was because they had been completely unable to track the enemy’s transport units.
Still, however many problems lay ahead of them, there would be people who felt that it would be fine if they could lose themselves in frank and honest revelry. They would need a short break before the painful days to come, and Neia agreed on that point as well.
However, she could not do that today. She could not lose herself in celebration on this day.
The reason for that was because it was a day of parting.
It was a very sad day.
There was a lone carriage stopped in front of the royal capital’s main gate, on the eastern side of the city. In contrast to the carriage’s plain exterior, Neia knew that its interior was lavishly and meticulously fitted, and its performance was also excellent. In particular, its seats did not hurt the bottom even after long periods spent sitting on them.
It was the carriage Neia had been allowed to share with the Sorcerer King when he had come to the Holy Kingdom.
In other words, today was the day when the Sorcerer King would leave the Holy Kingdom and return to his own country.
Originally, it would not have been a surprise to see a carriage of the Sorcerous Kingdom surrounded by demihumans. The Sorcerer King had united the Abelion Hills and brought many of the demihumans under his banner for the battle with Jaldabaoth. That said, there were none of them in sight, because the Sorcerer King had allowed them all to return to the hills.
This was not a matter of the past few days. He had let them return after the final battle with Jaldabaoth had ended.
When she had asked the reason for that, she had received the answer, “You must hate being around the demihumans, don’t you?” Such was his sympathy for the people of the Holy Kingdom.
Neia was deeply moved.
He had considered the mental state of the Holy Kingdom and let his own soldiers return home, saying that they would travel in the company of the soldiers of the Holy Kingdom, who were from another nation. This was by no means ordinary behavior for the ruler of a nation.
Indeed, unless it were the King of Kings ― the magnanimous Sorcerer King.
Neia’s group of like-minded supporters were also deeply moved.
Therefore, when Neia and her comrades had taken it upon themselves to become the Sorcerer King’s honor guard, nobody could bring themselves to protest. Of course, there was almost no more fighting, so for the most part they simply moved with the Sorcerer King, but the faces of her comrades were still fresh in Neia’s memories.
She remembered their joy at being able to walk with the person who had saved them, their pride at being able to accompany the hero who had defeated Jaldabaoth, and then the bliss of being allowed to stand by the side of the king they so admired. Their faces all blended these differing emotions.
They were nowhere in sight today.
All she could see were the walls and the main gate of the Holy Kingdom’s capital, and then the street leading to Prart ― which continued on to the Sorcerous Kingdom.
“Are you going back today, Your Majesty? The people are all abuzz with joy after the liberation of the royal capital. I feel it would not be out of place to have Your Majesty join us for the next few days, in a thanksgiving festival for the person who was the biggest contributor towards taking back the capital within a few days...”
She had asked that question several times in the past. She would probably get the answer she knew she would receive, that he was heading home. Even so, she still had to ask it again. It was probably the work of Neia’s feminine side.
“Ahh, I’ll be returning to the Sorcerous Kingdom today. I’m not confident in my ability to deal with ceremonies.”
As the Sorcerer King muttered to himself, he made a very exaggerated movement, like a comical shrugging of his shoulders, perhaps because he knew Neia would feel distressed if she took his words to heart.
“Surely you jest, Your Majesty.”
“Umu, well, yes I was, I was just kidding. Yes, kidding… In truth, I’ve done everything I came here to do. Thus, there is no need for me to stay here. I also need to guide the development of the Sorcerous Kingdom, in my capacity as its king. If I leave the throne for long, my Prime Minister Albedo will scold me.”
Neia’s mind conjured up the visage of the world class beauty she had seen but once. She was a woman whose beauty made her unforgettable.
Surely she can’t be that scary when she gets mad… or is she scary when she gets mad because she’s beautiful? While I don’t think that’s what His Majesty meant, it’s a little hard to imagine someone as pretty as that getting angry. Still… I’m envious…
Being allowed to speak to him like that, because she was close to him, was something that Neia desperately wanted, yet could not ask for, which made her very envious. How happy would Neia be if she heard the Sorcerer King she so respected tell others Neia will scold me or something like that?
“Is that so… still, it is a shame that there’s nobody to send off Your Majesty, given that you saved this nation.”
The Sorcerer King’s decision to go had been a sudden thing. The fact that there was nobody to send him off told a sad and lonely story.
“I already told Prince Caspond that it would be troublesome if the festival was too lavish. This nation will be facing a lot of difficulties from now on. Rather than waste resources and manpower on sending me off, I’d rather have them use it on rebuilding the country.”
Why did he have to go back?
If she clung to his feet and made a big scene of weeping, she could probably delay his return to his nation by a week.
While she keenly felt the desire to do so, she bore with it. She could not act spoilt around the most merciful Sorcerer King.
“Ah, it’s not because I want to act like some kind of big shot, uh, it’s just that this country really has nothing left, yes… like wealth. While I thought that asking them to leave a bit more might be good… What I mean to say is, ah yes, I would like you all to not mind me and keep working hard. Also... look, the stability of your country will be good for the Sorcerous Kingdom too, as neighbors. There’ll be trade between us and so on in the future, yes.”
So he had sensed what Neia was thinking, and he was fumbling to comfort her. While he was typically very cool and stylish, he sometimes spoke in a way that made her worry for him.
“Thank you very much, Your Majesty.”
“Oh? Hm, don’t, don’t worry about it. I came to this country for Jaldabaoth’s maids, after all. And now―” The Sorcerer King patted Shizu ― who had been standing beside him all this time, as though she were trying to mask her presence ― on the back. “―And now I have them, so it was worth coming to this country.”
Neia felt it was a little embarrassing that the Holy Kingdom could not give the Sorcerer King anything.
The Sorcerer King had gained Shizu ― the maid demon ― with his own strength. Neia and everyone who shared her beliefs felt the same way.
There had been discussions about what they would give to him, but someone had mentioned that since he was a king, having someone who did not represent the country giving him a present would instead be very rude, and so the plan had fallen through.
At the very least, Neia had hoped that Caspond would make some concessions on a national level, or sign a treaty which was unfavorable to the Holy Kingdom.
“...If you so desire, I can resurrect your parents with a grand spell that can only be used once every year, you know?”
“Thank you very much, Your Majesty, but ― there is no need for that.”
During the liberation of the capital city, one of the prisoners had witnessed Neia’s mother fall in battle. She had heard of her mother’s valiant last stand from him. Surely she would not be angry even if she was not resurrected.
In addition, it was said that resurrection spells required extremely valuable materials as a material component, and Neia would be hard-pressed to afford those. Perhaps the most merciful Sorcerer King might supply them for free, but she could not keep relying on the Sorcerer King’s largesse for her own sake.
However, it would seem the demihumans had disposed of the corpse, so she could not even bid her a final farewell, which was quite sad.
“Talking for too long will only make the parting hurt more. I ought to be going soon. Shizu, is there anything you want to tell Miss Baraja?”
Shizu extended a hand to Neia, who shook it.
And then, the two of them let go without any further ado.
“...Are the two of you alright with this?”
“...It’ll be… fine.”
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
“I see. Then ― we’re going, Shizu.”
As the Sorcerer King put one foot on the step leading up to his carriage, he turned back to address Neia.
“...This country will experience many difficulties in the future, but… I’m sure you’ll be able to work hard and pull through it. I hope to see you again.”
Just as the Sorcerer King was about to enter his carriage, Neia looked at his back and could not stop herself from shouting:
“Majesty! Your Majesty!”
The Sorcerer King paused on the step of his carriage and looked back. Neia gulped, worked up her courage, and asked in a trembling voice:
“Ah, excuse me! Could I, could I call you Ainz-sama!?”
The cheek of her. Surely she, as a commoner from another nation, would be scolded for daring to address him in such a familiar fashion.
“...Eh? Ahh, yes, you may… call me anything you want.”
“Thank you very much.”
She bowed deeply to the magnanimous king of another nation, and by the time she raised her head, it was Shizu’s turn to board the carriage.
“Take care, Shizu-sempai!”
Shizu stuck out her thumb, and then she vanished into the carriage.
Perhaps it had sensed the two of them had boarded, but the horse whinnied and trotted off.
“―Then, Your Majesty!”
As she watched the carriage move off, Neia could no longer hide her tears as she shouted:
“Long live His Majesty the Sorcerer King!”
She was not the only one shouting at the top of her voice.
There was more than one gate in the royal capital. Her fellow believers had used the other gates and secretly gathered so they could pop up outside the gate to loudly wish the Sorcerer King well.
“Long may he live!”
“Long may he live!”
“Long may he live!”
At the same time, they scattered the flowers they had struggled so hard to collect.
The carriage carried on amidst all this.
It was hardly a fitting send off for the man who had saved the Holy Kingdom. Even so, it was the best effort from Neia and the people who understood how she felt.
The carriage shrank in her tear-dimmed vision.
She felt so lonely now.
She wanted the Sorcerer King and Shizu to ask “Would you like to come to the Sorcerous Kingdom?” If they had asked that, Neia might have abandoned everything to go with them.
But they had not.
She hated it.
In the end, Neia had been nothing more than a squire for his brief stay in this country.
All manner of negative emotions roiled up inside her.
However ― that was wrong.
In Neia’s ears echoed the words which the Sorcerer King had said.
...This country will experience many difficulties in the future, but… I’m sure you’ll be able to work hard and pull through it. I hope to see you again.
In other words, he had expectations for Neia.
Something like, though the Holy Kingdom is in chaos, I’m sure Neia can pull the country together, or something.
It had felt like a long time, but also a very short time, but it had changed her life tremendously ― and now it was over. However, this was only the beginning. There were many things she had to do.
For starters, she had to repay the Sorcerer King’s kindness with her actions.
Then, she would need to rebuild this country. Justice and evil. Neia had never really understood what those two words meant, but now she could hold her chest high and answer.
The Sorcerer King was justice, she would say. And being weak was a sin. The important thing was to work hard to be strong, and so on.
Neia had to spread the truths she had learned throughout the Holy Kingdom.
“Baraja-sama, please wipe your tears.”
It was Beldran.
At a closer look, his eyes were also red. Perhaps he had wiped his own tears before coming to Neia’s side, but his voice was still trembling, so he had clearly wept recently.
Neia forcefully wiped her tears away, just like how Shizu had first wiped her face.
“Baraja-sama. The people who witnessed that battle all want to hear about the Sorcerer King. Many more have come with their families in tow.”
“I understand. We’ll tell them that His Majesty ― Ainz-sama is a truly noble king, and also about Shizu.”
Neia looked straight ahead.
“Goodbyes really are depressing. However ― Everyone! Let’s go! Let us spread the truth ― that His Majesty is justice ― to more people!”
Over 3,000 people shouted in unison, and then they fell into step behind Neia.
The carriage moved on.
The long project was finally over. Ainz had never experienced it himself, but this must have been what it felt like to be an expatriate. Even if he had returned to Nazarick from time to time, this might have been the first time he had been away from it for so long.
He had thrown the matter of ruling the demihumans of the Abelion Hills to Albedo, and he had handed the entirety of the Holy Kingdom’s future affairs to Demiurge.
In other words, Ainz had taken the weight off his shoulders. He sighed, subtly enough that Shizu ― who was sitting opposite him ― did not notice. While he had switched Demiurge’s script to easy mode halfway through, the fatigue from all the complicated events until that point had not yet been fully eliminated. However, he did feel the sense of relaxation which came from solving a previously insoluble problem.
That said, after returning to Nazarick ― E-Rantel, rather ― he would need to carefully and slowly take care of the work he had put off for the past two seasons. Once, he had put his stamp on documents in a slapdash manner, trusting that Albedo had already looked them over, only to be told, “Truly, only Ainz-sama could make decisions so swiftly. I am filled with respect.” Ainz had wondered whether that assessment of him was sarcastic or not.
Indeed. It was not because he had work waiting for him that he had not used 「Gate」 ― which could take him back in an instant.
There were ways to teleport to places one had not seen before, but it was still too early for that. It would do no good to show his hand. Of course, the Hanzo on the carriage had said nothing, and the anti-divination spell he had cast had not been triggered. It was a clear sign that nobody was monitoring Ainz and the others, but the opposition might be using methods which Ainz did not know about.
Since there’s time, I can wait until we reach a more sheltered place to cast the teleportation spell, Ainz thought.
Indeed. It was definitely not because he wanted to keep away from those documents he could not understand no matter how many times he read them.
Still, if there was a problem―
Shizu hasn’t said anything since she got on the carriage...
Neia had been that way too, but he always felt restless when he shared a carriage with someone else and they remained quiet. He could casually mention something if the other party were a man, but he would have to watch his words since she was female.
Can’t you say something, Shizu? That thought had been in Ainz’s mind ever since the beginning. Regretfully, it did not seem like it would be happening anytime soon. Finally, Ainz was no longer able to bear the silence, and after preparing himself for the worst, he spoke.
“Shizu, how do you feel about leaving Nazarick to work on your own? Do you have any questions or suggestions for the future?”
He would start by listening to a report from his subordinate, who had been busy with work when she had been sent out for an errand.
While he was not good at speaking to women, it was fine when he imagined them as female coworkers.
“...I think… worked hard.”
“Is that so? You have worked very hard.”
That was the end of the conversation. It was dead and gone.
Even if he waited a little longer, he ought not to expect Shizu to carry on.
Once the words “worked hard” were mentioned, it was very difficult to continue on from there. She had not answered the question about having any questions or future suggestions.
That said, these thoughts of his were merely the shallow contemplations of a superior. He ought to be thinking, Since she worked hard, all I have to do is wait for the results. There were also benefits in doing so. That was because the implication was that nothing had happened which might cause a problem or become an issue.
However, Shizu continued speaking.
“...It’s hard to think on your own and then take action…”
“Indeed, that is the case.”
Shizu had been working in Nazarick all this time, and all she had done was receive instructions and carry them out. However, he had only given her rough instructions this time, and then the actions she took based on the decisions she made within the scope of those instructions were her first task. For all he knew, that might have been too broad for her. Perhaps he should have started by giving her a simpler task, but Ainz also knew that Shizu had given him concrete results.
“Still, it’s hardly unusual for the Pleiades to go outside for their work. The fact that the maid demons are now the Sorcerer King’s minions has spread from the Holy Kingdom to the other nations by now. In future, you may be given orders which result in you leading subordinates of your own for activities outside Nazarick. This was a good experience. But giving vague instructions was a bad idea. Just as I thought, the person giving orders has to make them clear―”
At this point, Ainz sensed that he was digging his own grave. As the pinnacle of Nazarick, Ainz was the most likely to give out orders.
I can’t possibly come up with concrete action plans. Or rather, if I come up with shallow plans, Albedo and Demiurge will frown on me!
“―should emphasize adapting to the situation, and come up with plans that give a certain degree of leeway. In the end, it’s still the person on the ground who knows best!”
“...Yes. I learned a lot more compared to just following instructions.”
“Ahh, indeed, just so. I understand how you feel very well.”
Ainz scratched his head as he nodded, but then as he realized the difference in competency between Shizu and himself ― whose nonexistent stomach ached when he had read Demiurge’s reports ― he wept softly in his heart.
“Speaking of which,” Ainz decided to change the subject. If he went on, he might only end up shocking himself more. “It seems you and Miss Baraja got along very well. It felt like a shame that we had to part.”
“...I was interested... in her…”
“―Really!? That’s wonderful!”
Ainz’s expression of joy was genuine.
Suzuki Satoru had not had children before, but he could understand how a parent felt when one heard that a child who had no friends had made friends for the first time.
Ah, I’m glad I resurrected her… hm? What does being interested mean… don’t tell me she’s not a friend, but more like a toy...
“...Can I assume that you are friends?”
Shizu briefly bowed her head in thought, but in the end she replied with a “...yes.”
Ainz was filled with delight. However that explosion of joy was promptly negated.
While he was unhappy about that, the thought that this might be the first time someone from Nazarick had made a friend outside brought a trickle of joy to his heart.
Most of the people in Nazarick did not leave it, so they did not make friends outside. Perhaps if he let the other members go outside regularly, they would be able to make good friendships.
Ainz did not think that people with friends were superior to others. However, thinking that one did not need friends was also incorrect.
That said, it was always better to have the chance to make friends than not.
I had my friends from Ainz Ooal Gown. In that case, it might be good to let the other members go outside and give them free time to interact with others… especially Mare and Aura. No, it’s also possible that giving them all some time on their birthday is… umu.
“Have you arranged to meet Neia again?”
“...No… too far…”
“Ahh! No need to worry about that. I’ve already marked this place as a teleport point. You can go and have fun whenever you want. Just use 「Gate」. There’s no need to be shy. Mm.”
“...If I’m free… please let me do so…”
“That’s right! Free… I’ll give you lots of free time. I’ve been thinking about a holiday plan for some time now. I should give the Pleiades a vacation too. Wouldn’t it be good to go out and have fun with the others? I’ve arranged to have you placed under me, so it should be fine.”
Shizu thought briefly about it, and then shook her head.
“...It’ll cause problems.”
“Problems, you say…”
What does that mean? Problems for Neia? Or will it keep her from having fun with Neia? Or is it because the other members won’t approve...
“Well, if it causes problems then it can’t be helped. You’ll have to go on your own, Shizu. Speaking of which, let me change the topic. Miss Baraja’s parents are both dead. Is that all right?”
Neia Baraja’s parents were both dead. If she had asked him, he felt that it would be alright to resurrect them. If doing so would make her even more grateful―
No, that’s not right.
Simply put, resurrecting Neia’s parents was not worth the cost of doing so. It was plain to see that Neia was sufficiently grateful to him. In that case, there was no need to continue scoring points with her. In addition, Wands of Resurrection were very expensive, so he wanted to save them, if possible. If Pestonya and the others were to use resurrection spells, then she would require gold coins or jewels or other valuables as part of the spell’s cost.
In truth, there were practically no benefits to be gained.
However, it would be a different matter if it were Shizu’s friend. I wouldn’t mind giving Shizu’s friend benefits like that.
Because she seemed close to Shizu, he had asked her questions ― both Neia as well as Shizu ― to judge their reactions.
“..It’s all right… Special treatment isn’t good.”“Really? It would make an excellent present… in that case… well, that’s it, then.”
In truth, resurrecting the dead ― especially incomplete corpses ― could prove very troublesome. There would be many people who would go How come you could do it for him and not for me? Also, it would be troublesome if he was asked to resurrect the Holy Queen. Granted, Demiurge could probably handle the situation if he did resurrect the Holy Queen, but the demerits outweighed the advantages.
“If you want to play, how about reading that book? Would that be alright?”
“...It’s fine… it’s in the Doctor’s room.”
Shizu possessed knowledge on all of Nazarick’s mechanisms. Leaving it be like that was too dangerous, and she would not have been able to leave Nazarick. Therefore he had used 「Control Amnesia」 on her.
Shizu’s knowledge of those mechanisms had been part of the backstory her creator — a player — had made for her. While he did not know if the spell could work on such things, after casting it on her, he found that the spell worked as intended.
That was a technique Ainz had developed after repeated experiments on a guinea pig he had obtained. It felt like he could do incredible things once he mastered it.
The reason for that was because Ainz had the feeling he might be able to access the core of the NPCs. What exactly were the NPC backstories, the beginning of their memories? Still, that was simply wishful thinking on Ainz’s part, and it was very likely that they were completely unrelated. If he wanted to sort that out, he would need to further understand the spell, and understand everything to do with the human memory. In that case, he would need a lot of guinea pigs and decades to practice and research with, as well as preparing himself for the possibility that it might all be a waste of time.
Still, Shizu had currently been implanted with incorrect memories, so to some extent, she was a trap.
Anyone trying to use Shizu to enter Nazarick would have a very bad time in store for them.
“The Doctor… hm? Can those Shizus move?”
“...If the time comes.”
Aren’t they just mechanisms, then? Ainz wanted to say that, but he did not. It was just like how Santa Claus’s true identity was hidden under a veil of mystery.
While Suzuki Satoru did not remember him ever visiting, he had come to visit in YGGDRASIL―
“Although, they were actually the devs.”
As Ainz laughed forlornly, he noticed Shizu looking intently at him, and so he said, “I was just talking to myself.”
“...What is it, Shizu?”
She had addressed him by his name in the past, but now she had suddenly switched to using his formal address. That slightly ― or rather, greatly ― disturbed Ainz.
“...Been too familiar all this time… is that how it was?”
“What, what are you saying? I’d feel sad if you called me Your Majesty. Ainz-sama will do. Frankly speaking, you don’t even need the -sama. How about Ainz-san?”
“...That would be rude. I’d get scolded.”
“..Oh, I see. Well, you don’t need to call me Your Majesty, at least.”
“Oh yes, how about the runecraft thing that I told you about over the 「Message」?”
It would seem it had not gone well. Still, it ought not to be a problem even if it failed.
Still, maybe I should wait to return the items I lent, including that bow Ainz mused idly as he watched Shizu.
When he had left, he had shared his carriage with a girl who kept glaring at him. On his way back, it was a girl with a blank face. Both of them were unique in their own way.
As Ainz thought about this, he smiled.
Caspond looked outside from the deepest part of the royal palace ― the Holy King’s chambers.
His coronation would be in a few days. Therefore, he had come to this empty room ― including the break room beside this one ― to calm his thoughts.
The first person who would complain, and who would not mind her words was Remedios. She was currently meditating in her home. No, it would not be right to say she was meditating. Rather, she was gathering her strength at home. That was because he intended to have her find any demihumans that were still hiding within the Holy Kingdom and root them out.
That said, he had still moved to the Holy King’s room before the coronation had finished. This was a very good reason for Caspond’s enemies to attack him. He had insisted on doing so even though he knew that because the power struggles had already begun.
The aim was to establish the facts before the anti-Caspond nobles could say anything. Given that Caspond did not quite understand noble society, the ability to tell friend from foe was quite convenient. That too was part of the plan.
“...I’m sure some of the nobles must be unhappy by how I took the throne without making arrangements with the other nobles. That’s particularly true for the Southerners ― the ones which he did not oppress. In that case, what will the Northerners I fought with think if I listened to them…”
“They would surely be unhappy, and become a major divisive factor. That way, the plan to divide the country in two will be complete.”
Caspond’s self-directed mutterings received an answer.
It was a gentle voice that seemed to seep into the heart. It belonged to the entity which was Caspond’s superior.
Caspond immediately turned and knelt to the speaker. He bowed, and then raised his head.
“I bid you welcome, Demiurge-sama.”
He was not wearing his mask, and he had not changed his appearance before showing up. In other words, he was certain that this place was safe.
“I am here in order to move items back to Nazarick. Are there any problems?”
“None at all. Everything has gone as you have planned, Demiurge-sama.”
Caspond smiled, and Demiurge returned it.
“While there were some things which were beyond my expectations, the first phase of the plan has concluded without any problems, thanks to Ainz-sama’s actions. I look forward to your good performance in the future.”
Caspond’s head was bowed, but he knew those words were not true.
Demiurge expected nothing of him. However, if he was about to jump the rails which had been laid for him, he would immediately jump in to correct the plan and keep it on track.
He ought to have prepared several plans for revealing Caspond’s true identity. His instructions had included several items which made him wonder why he had to do them. Those must have been intended to prepare for that moment.
The first phase of the plan was to bring the Abelion Hills and the demihumans under the sway of the Sorcerous Kingdom. Before that, they would exterminate the troublesome species and then plant the seeds of a conflict between the Northern and Southern Holy Kingdom.
After that, Caspond would be in charge of the second phase, which was to bring North and South into opposition, and then conflict.
The final, third phase would be to have the Sorcerous Kingdom step in to take over everything.
“... I have a question regarding the item needed for that, which would be my corpse. Will you keep it here?”
“There is no need for that. It has already been brought to Nazarick. When it is necessary for the plan, it can be brought here.”
The true Caspond’s body was wrapped in an item known as a Shroud of Sleep, and it had apparently been brought to Nazarick.
This magic item could arrest the decay of a corpse. He had been neatly killed with instant death magic upon capture, and his body had been preserved before rigor mortis could set in. If one touched it, one could still feel traces of his body heat. With that corpse, one would simply assume he had died all of a sudden.
“Allow me to verify something. Do you understand what you ought to do, as Holy King?”
“Yes. In order to make this a country worthy of Ainz-sama, I must make it prosperous.”
“Mm, just so. However, you must keep the people unhappy. After all, dissatisfaction is the best spice to welcome a new king.”
“Yes,“ Doppel-Caspond replied. Then he asked Demiurge about a problem that had not been described in his plan.
“Speaking of which, what should we do about that girl?”
That was all Demiurge needed to realize who Doppel-Caspond was talking about, and for the first time his smile came from the heart.
“I once used the word ‘unfathomable’ to describe Ainz-sama… indeed, that is the case. Ainz-sama has prepared an excellent pawn for me. Her existence has cut years off my plan.”
Doppel-Caspond had the feeling that Demiurge’s eyes ― he could not tell exactly where he was looking ― had suddenly moved. They seemed to be looking at the wall. And over there is… on that topic Caspond remembered that it was the main gate of the capital.
“While he had said he wanted to enthrall humans to his side… to think he could actually make a girl like that in such a staunchly religious country. Although, I have no idea why he said it would be fine to kill even a girl to whom he had lent a weapon. No doubt it must have been to force her into the appropriate mental state.”
Demiurge seemed to be in a very good mood, and he did not seem to be telling this to anyone in particular. Caspond merely waited in silence for Demiurge to turn his attention back to himself.
“The instruction to help that girl was truly the right answer. No, if it were Ainz-sama, he would surely be able to correct anything that I did. While he did say in the past that he planned to introduce flaws into the plan to test my adaptability, to think he had laid such cunning plans… he is truly the one who united the Supreme Beings. Every time, he shows me how inferior I am compared to him… Kuku, what a cruel master he is.”
Demiurge seemed profoundly moved as he shook his head, and the interior of the room was silent. Finally, Demiurge adjusted his collar, as if to bleed off the last of his excitement, and then tightened his tie.
“Support anything Neia Baraja does with everything your position affords you. Do so in the name of giving thanks to Ainz-sama. That ought to further accelerate the conflict between North and South… I will soon hand you plans on what to do if someone tries to interfere with that girl. Until then, act as we have discussed.”
“Yes! ...But what will become of that girl? Do you intend to make her the next Holy King?”
In that case, he would need to make the appropriate preparations. That said, Demiurge had said he would be giving him exact instructions, so it would be best to do as he was told.
“That is not a bad idea, but it would be better to give her another mission. While there is no telling if Ainz-sama wishes to be regarded as a god, if he does intend that, then it would be better to prepare for it. The experiment of worshipping Ainz-sama as a god will surely be useful in that case.”
“Now then, is there anything else you would like to take this chance to verify?”
“Yes. It concerns that woman who is no longer necessary, Remedios Custodio. While the original plan was to have her run around as needed, would it not be better to kill her off?”
“No, just keep her alive and let her become a scapegoat for the nobles’ dissatisfaction. That was why I said she was the only one who was not to be killed during our first encounter. Transfer her to another post. Let the Vice-Captain become the Captain of the Paladin Corps and then make use of him. He can be put to meaningful work.”
“Deal with her when the conflict becomes evident.”
After Doppel-Caspond showing that he understood, Demiurge indicated that the conversation was over, and vanished with 「Greater Teleportation」.
The demon hiding in his shadow, and the Hanzo that Caspond could never defeat no matter what he tried were still at his disposal.
Doppel-Caspond rose to his feet and looked outside the window again.
While he could only see the courtyard, he imagined he could see the revelling people throughout the city. After that, he laughed mockingly.
“―Enjoy the taste of happiness for a while longer, my people.”