Proofreader/Editor: Ferro, M
Volume 10 - Epilogue
Demiurge walked happily through the 9th Floor of the Great Underground Tomb of Nazarick.
The sensation of returning after a long time was probably an illusion of some sort. After all, he returned to this place from time to time, and the longest stretch of time he had been away from here was a fortnight at the most. Thus, the reason for his misperception was clearly due to the joy he felt at walking through this place.
His mood lifted the closer he got to his objective.
Demiurge paid no heed to the guards Cocytus had stationed on either side of the doors as he adjusted his tie and inspected his appearance. Naturally, he paid attention to it at all times, but he did not want his master to see a side of him which was less than immaculate.
After a very earnest inspection of his personal grooming, Demiurge knocked on the door of the room.
One of the maids opened the door, poking her head out to see who was calling.
Demiurge wanted to try and spy out a glimpse of his master through the gap, but he could not do anything that embarrassing.
“May I know if Ainz-sama is in his room?”
“My sincerest apologies, Demiurge-sama. Ainz-sama is not in.”
His mood plummeted but he did not let it show on his face.
“Is that so. Then, where has Ainz-sama gone?”
“My sincerest apologies, I do not know… However, Albedo-sama might know something about it.”
She was right.
“Really now. Then, where is Albedo now?”
“She is in this room.”
Demiurge knew Albedo treated her master’s room as her workroom. Can’t you just use the room you’ve been assigned, he often thought, but after considering her personality, he ended up keeping quiet. The most important thing was his master’s approval. With that, there was nothing else for him to add.
“Is she working? ...Could you help me check if this is a convenient time to visit?”
The door before him closed. A moment later, it opened again.
“Please come in, Demiurge-sama.”
Demiurge thanked the maid and then entered. Before his eyes was the Guardian Overseer, seated on a chair in front of his master’s desk.
Her lowered line of sight moved, and caught hold of Demiurge.
“It’s been a while, Albedo.”
“Ah, Demiurge. You’ve worked hard abroad. What is it today?”
“Ah, it concerns the matter in the Holy Kingdom. I was planning to obtain permission for the final stages of the plan. I will need a Doppelganger… where is Ainz-sama?”
“He is somewhat far away. I doubt he will be able to return quickly…”
In other words, he is not in E-Rantel, Demiurge mused. Otherwise she would not describe it in such a strange way.
“That is somewhat of an inconvenience. Then, I shall perform preparation work on the 7th Floor until Ainz-sama returns.”
“If it is urgent, could you not communicate with [Message]?”
Demiurge frowned, and observed Albedo’s expression.
She had her usual smile on, but the perceptive Demiurge detected some other emotion within her.
If she was just toying with him, it would be fine.
Demiurge attempted to quickly study her, but he could not read that deeply.
It ached at him, but then again, this was not a contest in the first place.
Among all the people of Nazarick, the only two people he could not read were his master and Albedo. He set them aside as rare exceptions for the sake of his inner peace.
“It is not that urgent. If Ainz-sama returns the day after, I shall inform him myself.”
“Ainz-sama did not mention how long he would be gone. He might take a very long time.”
“Then, I shall go to Ainz-sama’s side, Albedo. It is not a matter which requires the use of [Message].”
“Ara? Why is that? If it is truly important, would it not be more loyal to inform him as soon as possible?”
The context of Albedo’s smile had changed. Earlier, it was her usual fake smile, but now it was a wicked, bullying smile. She must have some sort of ill intent in mind.
It would seem there was something she wanted to say, no matter what.
How tiresome, Demiurge thought as he stated his reasons.
“I desire to display my achievements to Ainz-sama, so I do not wish to use such methods to contact him. While I can receive his praise through a [Message], in the end, I would still prefer to hear his voice in person. That is all… Is that not the shared dream for all in Nazarick?”
“Mm, indeed, Demiurge. It is as you say. Anyone would feel that way.”
“Then, where has Ainz-sama gone?”
“He has gone to visit the Dwarf Kingdom, about which little is known and which has not made diplomatic contact until now. Thus, we do not know how much time it will take.”
“Who accompanies him?”
“Shalltear and Aura.”
That should be fine in terms of combat strength. However other aspects were more worrisome.
Aura was fine. All she needed to do was not inconvenience Ainz-sama. Yet, the face of the other person appeared in Demiurge’s mind.
“Still, by bringing Shalltear along, does he intend to destroy the Dwarf Kingdom?”
Mare would have been a much better choice for verbal negotiations. Thus, that choice was made for other reasons.
“—What are the other Guardians doing?”
“Cocytus is managing the lake. Mare is building a dungeon outside E-Rantel. Sebas is carrying out his duties in E-Rantel. Although I do not know what Ainz-sama intends, the fact that he did not bring an army along would suggest a peaceful visit, no?”
“...There is insufficient information for that. Why did Ainz-sama want to go to the Dwarf Kingdom?”
“Demiurge. We cannot predict Ainz-sama’s thoughts.”
It was as Albedo said.
His master, Ainz Ooal Gown, was the supreme ruler of Nazarick, who concealed countless stratagems within a single move of a chess piece. Demiurge — who had been created with outstanding talents — could not even hope to graze the soles of his brilliance with his outstretched hands. Attempting to read his master’s motivations was a mistake.
That said, sensing his master’s will and preparing for it was a mark of true loyalty.
If I don’t work hard enough...
As Demiurge rebuilt his conviction once more, Albedo picked up a piece of parchment from the table.
“This came from the Empire yesterday. I opened it after receiving Ainz-sama’s permission via [Message]. It contains an offer of vassalage from the Empire. The exact details of the vassalization are to be finalized later.”
Demiurge was shocked. This was much earlier than he had anticipated.
“What’s this? According to my predictions, the Empire should only have offered to be vassals after the Kingdom was destroyed…”
“That is the result of Ainz-sama’s visit to the Empire.”
“This is… As expected of Ainz-sama…”
“Say, Demiurge. Did you really think the Empire would only become a vassal after the Kingdom would?”
“Of course. That was how I planned it.”
“Regardless of what methods you used?”
“...What are you trying to say?“
“Ainz-sama often mentioned your name. It came up in the context of ‘Did you hear from Demiurge? Then it should be all right.’ In other words, there was something about you — about your plan which he could not accept.”
“What are you saying.. Albedo, why didn’t you tell me earlier? If that’s the case—”
“If what is the case?”
Demiurge could not speak.
“...Let me ask you again. Was there no way to make the Empire a vassal before the Kingdom?”
“...There was. However, it would have required Ainz-sama himself to act. It would be a shameful course of action for a subordinate to advise. In addition, I felt that it would require the execution of several methods — requiring at least a month — in order to cause a violent upheaval within a large city. That being the case, I believed that it would have been better to begin by subjugating the Kingdom and then applying pressure on other areas… how long did Ainz-sama take?”
“I was in the Kingdom, so I am not sure, but I think it was three days at the most.”
Demiurge’s eyes went wide.
That was too fast.
How had he demonstrated his subjugating might? How had he broken the will of the Emperor, who sought to ally with other nations?
Although Demiurge had prepared a perfect plan that would render the Emperor unable to take action, his master seemed to have crafted a scheme which surpassed even that.
“Three days? How did he do that…”
“Incidentally, there were almost no casualties.”
His gaping mouth felt like it had been stoppered. All he felt was an unstoppable flow of admiration and respect for that absolute ruler. He was like Death itself, quietly standing behind the Emperor and then crushing his heart.
The trembling he felt just now spread from the top of his head to his entire body. Savage delight, admiration, fear and respect mixed within him, and this complex blend of emotions made Demiurge shudder without end.
“As, as expected of Ainz-sama. Someone like me could not hope to even approach him. He is truly a peerless and perfect master. Nobody else could have led the Supreme Beings. I cannot help but envy Pandora’s Actor, even if just a little.”
Albedo went kuku, her smile full of superiority.
It must have been the sense of superiority a woman felt when she was ordered to love such a marvelous man.
“In addition, Ainz-sama has ordered us to decide how to handle the vassalage of the Kingdom.”
“Ordered us? Why?”
“Is that not obvious? Much of the developments in this field have been due to the use of your plan, Demiurge. Even so, Ainz-sama said nothing to you and pushed the vassalization of the Empire forward with his own plan. Thus, his heart ached.”
He could not understand that. Perhaps if he was displeased at his own incompetence, he could understand that. But not this.
“...Why? I do not understand.”
Hah~ Albedo sighed tiredly.
“It is because he trusts you. In other words… how shall I put this. You should be able to understand it with that mind of yours, but this is probably how it is. Not following your plan is equivalent to doubting your abilities. Ainz-sama awaited your communication because he did not want to do that. However, Ainz-sama felt you were too concerned about him. Thus, his independent action was meant to tell you, ‘don’t worry about me’, I believe.”
It was an answer he could accept. No, it would be better to say there could be no other answer but that.
“This truly is…”
Demiurge lowered his face in shame. At the same time, he was filled with delight after he realised how his master had thought of him.
“Demiurge. We must work to repay Ainz-sama’s kindness.”
“Of course, Albedo.”
Demiurge was excited.
“In order to fulfil Ainz-sama’s expectations, let us finish a vassalage plan for the Kingdom for him to see before he returns!”
“Indeed. Ainz-sama has gone in person, so there must be many schemes in store. He will surely be busy once he returns from the Dwarven Kingdom.”
“Indeed, Albedo. Indeed.”