169 Chapter 169

Ainz sat in his office, but for once he wasn't reading reports or scrambling to find some kind of busy work. 'Thank Ulbert for Demiurge.' The archdevil proved to be quite capable of handling everything in Ainz' stead with a few specific general orders, and with the regular use of undead who needed only a single supervisor each, the most important internationally recognizable project, a complete system of roads, continued apace.

'Although some communications from more distant kingdoms have expressed dismay at the use of necromancy, nobody has used overly harsh language. '...concern for the wellbeing of the citizens of the Kingdom of Nazarick… properly appreciate the danger of the undead…' The only real concern is the Theocracy's. '...violating the very tenets of the six and the sanctity of life…' Religious motivations are especially dangerous, I'll have to keep an eye on those.' Ainz thought and shifted to another letter.

Ainz read through it silently, then, unable to help himself, he read it out loud. The parchment, not paper, indicated the significance of what was being written. Parchment was harder to produce than paper unless you used magic, and this had been made by hand, without magic, making it more exclusive even with the imperfections that magic did not leave behind. The tan document had flowing silver ink written in the script of the Re-Estize Kingdom, a script Ainz didn't really care for. 'Japanese is easier.' He thought and read it to himself.

"Dear Momon,

I write to you today with a trembling hand, for weeks you have been away, and each time I go to your manor, Lupu tells me that you are gone on business. I feel like a foolish girl, each time I step to your door, knock, and find you gone… I have faced countless enemies, trials, for longer than you can imagine, and yet I am more afraid of looking foolish and desperate to you than I am of being foolish and desperate in a fight for my very life. Lupu is… always hospitable, but very much herself, she drinks with Gagaran and teases us both as virgins. She says she is a 'mimidoshi' which evidently means she knows a lot but is kind of a virgin too… which I admit surprised me so much I wondered if you preferred men… even I must acknowledge her beauty…

But I ramble… I ramble on foolishly beyond words, largely to keep back from the edge, taking a leap that I know may change everything… will… will you work with me? Join with me on a quest… it may be dangerous, but I will feel better by far at your side than I know how to say… My sisters are busy, and I need help.

With deepest hopes,


Ainz set the letter down. "Right, I've been away a lot from Re-Estize, this letter reads a lot like a love struck girl who couldn't quite bring herself to say something emotional. What a wild thought that would be." Ainz rubbed his cheek. I'll send Pandora's Actor, I should station him there permanently, make it his mission to research magical items and go on quests in search for unique ones."

He scribbled a quick note and looked over to the corner where CZ waited. Out of all the Battlemaids, she was one of the easiest to be around in a human body, given that she was essentially an android. 'They've all accepted you so far… only Albedo remains, and she is the most dangerous in more ways than one…' He reminded himself and snatched a piece of paper. He wrote his orders to Pandora's Actor and held it out.

"Take these instructions to Pandora's Actor, he is allowed to act within his discretion in the role of Momon on a long term basis, he should focus on forming good relationships with other adventurers, a good reputation for the team, as well as research and categorize novel magic items. Pay special mind to Blue Rose, they're too important to alienate and should be thoroughly won over." Ainz explained, and the blank faced battle maid curtseyed.

"At once, Lord Ainz." She said, accepting the orders, she departed at once.

"Oh, and send in Demiurge, there's the 'other matter' to attend to as well." Ainz added and went to the next letter, he barely heard her acknowledgement as he went on to Albedo's report.

"Corruption… how very Albedo, of course the supreme Guardian Overseer, the finest of bureaucrats, would choose to topple a kingdom through corruption… and really… sex?" Ainz muttered under his breath, then sighed, 'Succubus, of course.' He thought. The high level doppelganger summons were well adapted spies from early in Yggdrasil's days, used for trying to scout bases before attacking them, both against NPCs and other players. They were rendered useless by the highest levels, and they normally had a short lifespan, but like death knights, doppelgangers summoned using bodies didn't seem to expire. Or if they did… 'None have yet.' Though their intelligence seems to vary based on how smart the corpse was…" Ainz wasn't quite sure what to make of that, but at least they were useful to Albedo.

He shifted a little in his seat, the notion of using even a summon that way made him uncomfortable, it felt vaguely wrong even though they were only summoned creatures using a corpse as a reagent. 'Is it technically necrophilia?' He wondered, and that made him feel worse.

'No more questions, Ainz, good god! No more questions.' He promised himself and focused on the specifics at hand. 'This is a very… very unexpected request from Albedo… I never imagined she'd do this but… I don't want to be a bad boss.' He told himself and stamped his authorization for it, and everything else she asked.

He just affixed the stamp to the document when there was a knock at the door. "Lord Ainz, you summoned me?"

'Demiurge.' Ainz realized and sat up straight, "Come in."

Demiurge opened the door, closed it behind him, then with three long steps he approached, knelt in front of the desk in the private office, and bowed his head.

"My Lord?" Demiurge asked with the deepest of reverence.

The crystalline eyes of the archdevil revealed nothing, but as if the demon was his own son, Ainz could feel the depth of affection and devotion exude off of him like heat from a winter flame. It was all he could do not to stand, descend, and hug the archdevil. Demiurge's belief in Lord Ulbert's passing and sacrifice had left him as emotional as a child who lost his father, and it left its mark on the archdevil in peculiar ways. His brutality in punishing Olasird'arc before flinging him through the mountain, and in his almost benign treatment of Hejinmal afterward suggested some unusual growth.

But now there was business to attend to, and Ainz could ask it of no one else. "About my… status." Ainz said, and Demiurge bowed his head even lower.

"My Lord, yes, after abundant research and questioning of the Theocracy Scripture captives, the spell they used seems to have been imbued by a world item. I know of only one world item capable of that feat, and we don't have it." Demiurge explained, his frown deepened. "Neither does the Slane Theocracy. According to my best efforts, the founders of the Holy Kingdom took some items from the Theocracy when they broke apart, and it may be that they have it. However, I don't believe they do." Demiurge clenched his hands into tight fists.

"Why not?" Ainz asked.

"Because they were repeatedly invaded by demihumans, and in Albedo's study of her target, she saw no evidence that it was ever used to protect themselves from the disastrous invasions. While it is possible, I just do not believe it is there." Demiurge shook his head, "Even pathetic humans wouldn't hold back in those circumstances." Demiurge concluded with a vigorous denial and a shake of his head.

"I see." Ainz said and folded his hands together.

"But there is still an option, My Lord!" Demiurge hastened to add, "We have low tier race change items useful for far weaker beings, I believe that if your esteemed self were able to make use of Wild Magic, the power of that item could be boosted to allow you to become whatever you wished!" Demiurge's wolfish smile returned.

"All it takes is a mass sacrifice of followers of a wild magic user, and it just so happens that there is a wild magic user in charge of the Draconic Kingdom. Sebas, Solution, and the Eight are coordinating the driving back of the Beastmen Kingdom. I have taken the liberty of ordering them to take mass prisoners, and I am setting them all to work on my Happy Farm producing scrolls for the Kingdom until we're ready to make use of them." Demiurge's smile grew ever more broad, "It's a far kinder fate than they would get as things were going."

Ainz gave a slow nod, 'Farm work and scroll making aren't that bad… and they would have died in battle anyway… plus… I don't want to stay this vulnerable. I may be the most powerful being in the world now, in war or in magic, but I could still choke on a cherry and die. Most paths to immortality offer too many drawbacks or threaten the loss of independence. This does seem a viable option…' Ainz thought it over, and then nodded to his subordinate.

"Very well, continue with that plan, Demiurge. I will have to address this with the Draconic Queen at some point when things are under control, but for now… just ah… keep up the good work." Ainz said authoritatively and Demiurge almost blushed.

"Of course, My Lord, of course!" He stood up, bowed, and backed away until he had to turn, open the door, and leave Ainz to his work again.

"Return to undead… or something else? Or just render this body immortal… so many choices." Ainz thought to himself and then reached for the next document, putting tomorrow's decision off for another day, and reading through another progress report from Albedo instead.

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