Hello guys! It's been a long time, hasn't it? I don't have any excuses for not updating this time, other than I kind of forgot to make time for this and sank a lot of time on games and hanging out during my summer break. That said, I do have some words I would like to discuss with you.

As you all might very well know, there was a new Blu-Ray special released which contains new information on the Supreme Beings and the founding of Ainz Ooal Gown. I'm sorry to say that I won't be able to stick completely to the information revealed therein, as I had already made plans for a few of the details that were revealed (mainly Touch Me's race, and some other minor stuff). I understand this might disappoint you, but please have in mind that if I updated a work-in-progress to stick to every single tidbit released then the story might lose its consistency.

On another note, I finally got tired of calling Ninya a male. I think we all know that she's a girl (spoilers!), and even if you didn't know by now this is around the point in time in canon where the secret becomes irrelevant. Henceforth, Ninya will be properly addressed as 'she' by the narrator.

I was planning on writing an interlude, but given the sparsity of my updates I felt you guys might have been itching for a real update. So, here it is. I realized it's kind of short when I finished, but I'd rather release this now than make you guys wait until I've written the rest of this arc.

Chapter 12: The Die is Cast

Lightning flashed across the room, and the final devil's body was burnt to a crisp as it fell in defeat.

There was no cry of victory or celebration, however. Only a thick, tense silence congested the apothecary which had moments ago staged a furious battle. Though said confrontation was over, as the rapidly dissolving outsiders could testify, it was as if none of the underlying tension had faded.

As for its cause…

"Dine," Peter gasped out, the weapon slipping from his trembling hands as it clattered against the floor. He ignored it, stumbling towards the bloodied body of his best friend. "Dine, come on, there's no way that glancing blow did you in, right buddy? It's just a flesh wound right?" He approached his comrade's unmoving body, eyes trembling with unshed tears.

Peter's comrades -the other, uninjured ones- would have helped him, were they not too busy gaping in awe at the black sheep of the group. Lukeluther's expression simply reflected an incredible awe, while Ninya's was the same with a strong amount of disbelief mixed in.

They had known Nabe was an adventurer beyond their caliber, but they had not expected her to be so strong. The moment Momon had left them to chase after the kidnapper and ordered the beauty to 'protect them', she had started moving like a demon possessed, so much that Lukeluther couldn't keep up with her movements and Ninya couldn't even understand her spellcasting power.

It's not possible. Ninya breathed, in denial of the magic she had witnessed. I've never seen magic like that before- Was it 4th tier? 5th? J-just who is she? The spell which Nabe had cast to get rid of the bearded devils, [Chain Lightning], was unlike anything she had ever seen. She knew the lightning spell could hit all targets in a line, but she had never seen one changing direction in mid-air. If [Lightning] was a spell of the 3rd tier and she had cast a stronger version of it, then it only stood to reason that the adventurer's true abilities were not limited to magic of the 3rd tier.

In the face of their awe, said magic caster was content to simply look at them with a bored -even annoyed- expression on her face. In spite of this, her stance was straight and her eyes constantly swept over the room as if expecting another creature to jump out.

"NO!" The two adventurers' spell was broken when they heard their leader cry in anguish. Both of them turned to see Peter's pale face, his horrified gaze resting on the Druid's wounded chest. "Wh-what the fuck is this…" He said, as he slammed his fists against the hard wood of the ground. "What the fuck did they do to him!?"

Ninya and Lukeluther came closer, walking in a similar state to their leader, to see the source of his distress. When they finally saw Dine's state with their own eyes, their reaction was no less grim. Lukeluther had to cover his mouth to prevent the bile from escaping his throat, while Ninya's face turned chalk white as understanding dawned upon her.

"I-infernal wounds…" She stuttered, as her hands gripped the robes of the inert body of their comrade. "I heard some cursed weapons could inflict them, wounds that don't heal naturally and expand by digging thorns into the body. With the place of the wound…" Her body started trembling. "...One of them must have reached his heart..."

She couldn't believe it. Dine had been wounded many times, of course, it was part of being an adventurer. However, this wasn't a simple wound…

It was a deathblow.

"You're kidding, right?" Peter laughed, in a tone that was anything but funny. "Dine wrestles with fucking bears, and he goes down in one shot to some scraggly hobo in green?" He stood up abruptly, a teary glare on his face. "Don't screw with me! That's-"

"It's obvious, isn't it?"A smooth, yet ice-cold voice slipped into the airs like a frigid breeze. The three of them turned towards Nabe, who was staring down Peter with an expression that could be likened to disgust. "His guard was down, and so he died. Screaming will not fix him, it will just attract more enemies to this place." She uttered without a single ounce of sympathy in her tone. "So stop being so loud."

A dumbfounded silence stretched over the room, until…

"-You bitch!" Peter shouted, storming towards the unmoved adventurer. "You've been holding back on us all this time, and that's the first thing you say!? Are you even human!?" His hands gripped at the neck of her scarf, but-

"Don't touch me!" There was a resounding thunderclap, and Peter was hurled back by the back of Nabe's hand. He writhed on the floor, grasping at his hands and chest as he reeled from the force of the blow. He looked up, only to see Nabe's expression had turned to a snarl unlike he had ever seen.

"You're pathetic. You were too weak to help your comrade, so you seek to place the blame on the strong? As expected of a lifeform that's lower than a plankton." If looks could kill, Peter would already be neck-deep in the fires of hell. "And you call yourself an adventurer? If you can't accept death as a consequence of fulfilling your purpose, you're nothing more than a cowardly slug."

"That's too much, Nabe-san!" Ninya shouted, frowning in anger. The truth of her friend's circumstances was just hitting her, and she too appeared to be in a similar state to Peter. "Dine is our comrade, our f-friend! Of course we'd be sad! Can't you understand that!?"

She couldn't.

In the first place, Narberal was nothing more than a tool. Her entire purpose in life was to serve the Supreme Beings, and something such as self-preservation did not exist within her psyche. Indeed, if it was a request of the Supreme Beings then she would even be eager to throw her life away.

If one of her comrades died fulfilling their duty to her Masters, Narberal might regret their loss- But she would never let it get in the way of her mission. She would surely look back on them with pride for carrying out the Supreme Beings' will until the end of their days. There was no greater honor, after all.

Looking at the two before them, seeing how they cried and lamented when moments ago an enemy had been attempting against their lives, all which Narberal could see were a bunch of crybabies.

Even if the humans mourned the losses of their fellow filth, there was a time and place… Those were the thoughts that crossed Nabe's head.

"...She's right. Nabe-chan… Is absolutely right." Lukeluther, who hadn't spoken until now, surprised the entire room with his words. Peter's head turned to him in shock, but whatever he was about to say died in his throat when he saw the grief evident in his best friend's face.

"Dine was our friend. He was one of us, an irreplaceable comrade… But this isn't the time to mourn him." His trembling hand reached towards his face to wipe his tears, revealing a determined glare that was fueled by a myriad of feelings. "Our mission was to escort Nfirea until he completed his task… And as far as I know, that's a mission we're still involved in."

"For all we know, Momon-san could be out there being attacked by dozens more of these guys!" Lukeluther continued, his voice fierce enough to shake the other two adventurers from their daze. "Unlike us, he threw himself straight towards that freakishly strong bitch even though he could be walking straight into a trap!"

"Momon-san…" Peter mumbled out, the image of the mysterious swordsman firmly displayed on his mind even through the pain. If Nabe was cool as ice, then Momon was like an immovable stone- He was strong and reliable, someone you could rest on without fail, because you knew he could handle anything.

Even now, the image ignited a small flame of inspiration in his heart.

"...It's my fault…" Ninya muttered in a small voice. "If I hadn't been so scared, then maybe I would have noticed! Then, Dine wouldn't be…" Her head slumped, as the hands which had been grabbing at Dine's cooling corpse balled into fists. However, before she could follow the train of thought any further, a hand firmly grabbed her shoulder. Ninya blinked in surprise, following the arm's length to its owner-

"No. Nobody's at fault. This is just… This is just what a battle really is like." Peter sucked in a breath, but stood up straight. "I knew… I knew that our job was dangerous… But I don't think any of us had been ready for this- Ready to accept that any one of us could die at any moment." He chuckled darkly. "I even dropped my weapon… I guess we really are a far call from our namesake."

Nobody had an answer to that.

"But even if we're a cheap knock-off…" Peter started, as he picked up his sword from the ground. "There's no way I can mope around like this while Momon-san is facing danger head-on. I hate it, having to leave Dine behind like this…" He grit his teeth. "...But we can always bury him later. For all we know, there might be people in the city under the same or worse danger!"

"There is no 'might'." Nabe cut in, tilting her head towards the outside. "Judging by the sounds outside, it appears that there are indeed other humans being murdered in the city."

"...What!?" Lukeluther, who was closest to the shutters, reacted to those words. He approached the wooden blinds, and threw them open at once. What he saw brought newfound pallor to his skin. "...The sky is red… The city's on fire!"

"Then this is worse than I thought…" Peter said. "They aren't just here for Nfirea. Gods-damned infernals… They're going out of their way to massacre everyone in their way!" He took a deep breath, trying to calm his trembling body. "We need to stop them."

"Stop them…?" Ninya laughed. "When we can't even deal with six of them? There must be hundreds out there..." The way she slumped, it was almost as if she crumpled on the floor. "There's absolutely nothing we can do!"

"Those bastards will get everyone the same way they got Dine." Peter snarled out. "And we're supposed to just stay put? ...No." He gripped the pommel of his sword until he couldn't feel his own hand. "Sorry, but that isn't happening."

"The adventurer's guild." Lukeluther added, his expression serious for once. His two comrades looked up at him, intrigued by the statement. "That's the most likely place where a resistance would be organized. If we can get there, we can probably join them in beating back the devils."

"...Good thinking." Peter nodded. "If nothing else, it's a start." He paused after that statement, and turned towards Nabe with a troubled expression. "Nabe-san… Sorry about exploding at you earlier. It might be too much to ask, but can we rely on you to get to the adventurer's guild?"

The mysterious magic caster, Nabe.

None of the three knew what to really think about her. Even Lukeluther, whose heart had been captured by the mystifying beauty, couldn't bring himself to trust her wholeheartedly. Not with the monstrous abilities she had displayed in beating back the monsters. If they had possessed any doubts about Momon and Nabe's fighting prowess, the only thing they could ask themselves now was why the two weren't adamantite-ranked adventurers.

Because of that, they didn't know if they could count on Nabe's cooperation anymore. However-

"...No." Nabe remained in the same stance as before, hand tightly clamped around the grip of her sword and the other ready to direct her spells at an enemy. "I will remain in this place for the time being… And so will you." She glared at them tightly. "Those are Momon-sama's instructions."

"For the time being?" Peter ground out. "I don't know what Momon-san was thinking, but there's no way we can wait anymore like this! With the city in this state, what in the name of the Gods could we possibly have to be waiting for?"

"That would be me, actually."

Immediately, all four of them turned towards the Apothecary's doorstep, where two new silhouettes had appeared. The first of them stepped forwards, letting the magelights from outside illuminate his face.

It was a stranger, wearing glasses that protected his blank eyes.

He smiled. "Good evening, Swords of Darkness. Momon-san told me quite a bit about you."

"Who are you?" Peter asked in confusion, only for his eyebrows to shoot up as he saw Lizzie Baleare step in behind him.

"My name is Kazu, a simple merchant… And I believe we have much to discuss."

Overnight, hell itself had descended on E-Rantel.

Nobody knew where they came from, only that it started long after the sun had set. Few had been there to see the beginning of the nightmare, but thousands had been woken by the screams of those unlucky enough to have been prowling the streets at the time. Despite being entrenched between two districts, neither the guards nor the administrative offices had been alerted to the presence of monsters within the residential district.

At least, not until the buildings started being set on fire.

The streets were in a state of perpetual chaos. People broke out of their homes in a panic, desperate to flee from the horde of undead that shambled in the aftermath of their infernal overlords. With their teleportation abilities, the hellish creatures would pounce on the fleeing citizenry from the most unexpected locations, steadily killing more and more humans as the rest stepped over another in their futile attempts to find safety.

The garrison had soon been alerted to the presence of enemy forces in their city, but having been stationed in the outer walls it would take them precious time to muster any sizeable forces to be able to aid the citizens in the residential area. To add insult to injury, from what little they could gather about the situation of the city, they could tell that the devils were operating close to the outer walls and slowly making their way inwards, chasing the fleeing citizens.

In other words… They weren't just cutting a bloody swathe through the citizens. The devils were all cooperating in some form or another, using necromancy to raise undead corpses through unknown means… And they were doing so all the while they attempted to cut off the citizens from the garrison, into the innermost walls which contained the largest, most open buildings in the city.

They were trying to drive them into a cage of their own making, and in their panic none of the civilians could notice it.

"Keep the undead at bay! Leave this one to me!" In a secluded area of the residential district, a party of adventurers had stepped up to the task of protecting the civilians from the infernal menace. Their leader was a warrior armored head-to-toe in plate, and his gold adventurer plate shone clearly even in the night sky. His comrades all nodded, and turned to face the shambling zombies that were rushing towards the fleeing civilians.

"You're a confident one, huh…?" The devil opposing him chuckled, in an echoing voice that sounded like a hundred old men rasping out in unison. Its entire body was chalk white, and it had no muscles to speak of. It was as if someone had taken an emaciated man to its logical extreme, removing all flesh and blood from his body and leaving only the outline of the bones covered only by a sickly pallor.

However, the long spindly tail that emerged from the creature's back, as well as its elongated skull-like face betrayed its inhuman nature. "I will enjoy destroying you." At the end of its alien appendage, a bulbous stinger swished back and forth, looming over the monster menacingly.

"Just you try it, blighted creature…" The knightly adventurer bit back, lifting a greatsword with both hands. His muscles tensed, before he broke into a run straight towards the monster, his plate making loud rattling sounds as he advanced at the speed of an olympic runner.

As soon as he got within mere feet of the monster, the warrior turned on his center of mass and swung the blade he'd been holding at the ready. In that moment, the weapon's blade glowed with light as the swinging movement appeared to accelerate abruptly. This was [Straight Rush], a Martial Art that stressed straightforward offensive power in a straight line.

The devil was no ordinary creature- In many aspects, it was miles beyond the physical specs of its human opponent. However, [Straight Rush]'s explosive force would be more than enough to grievously wound it if the attack connected, especially with the weight of the greatsword that the warrior was making use of.


Instead of connecting with the devil's body, the warrior's charging attack was stopped by a massive wall of ice that spontaneously sprouted between the two combatants. As a testament to the Martial Art's power, the blade cleaved straight through the defensive formation, spraying crystals of the frozen water all around them.

He didn't use an incantation!? No… He didn't even have a casting time? The adventurer quelled his surprise, and with a mighty effort pried the sword away from the ice wall. Stepping back, he tried to seek out his enemy's position again… Only to find him missing completely. "What? Where did he go…?"

It dawned on him almost immediately. No way…!

The rush of air whistling past his ear was the only thing that saved his life. He did an almost complete turn and held out the flat of his blade, just in time to bounce back the stinger that had been aimed at his neck. What had appeared to be empty space then flickered to reveal the form of the devil, whose face was frowning in dissatisfaction.

"Invisibility… You fucking coward!" The warrior yelled, pursuing the revealed monster only for it to dodge his blows with the agility of an expert rogue. Despite his initial advantage, the warrior soon realized he was outmatched by the devil's superior agility as in his attempts to avoid the deadly-looking stinger he had received numerous minor wounds from the devil's claws, which were sharp enough to pierce his armor.

The warrior grit his teeth, as he heard the frantic shouting of his teammates. Clearly, he wasn't the only one with problems. But bad enough as the situation was, he couldn't even turn to check on them. Not with the bloodthirsty monster's stinger relentlessly pursuing his throat.

"Cowardice is an illusion… Just as your chances of victory are." The monster whispered darkly, right before he once again faded into nothingness.

The warrior cursed, and started frantically looking towards his sides, hoping for a sign -any sign- that would point him to the monster's location. He was painfully aware of the sound of his blood pumping, the sweat that poured as he gripped his weapon, and the faint rustling of the wind… But there was no sign of the monster.

At least, there was none on the ground- Wait… Don't tell me-!

By the time the Warrior turned to look up, it was too late. He felt the rustling wind, but wouldn't move fast enough to turn his blade against the monster in time.

Not against one who could use Flight to get the drop on him.

"You're finished!"


At that moment.

From a building's nearby walls, a figure exploded through. It flew past the two of them, causing them to halt their fight and stare in shock at the humanoid bullet that had crashed against the ground with a thunderous noise.

The warrior only had the chance to make out the tell-tale barbs of another of the devilish creatures before a second figure pounced on it with an earth-shaking impact, causing a cloud of crushed stone to temporarily blind his sight.

"What… In the Gods' names…?" Half scared of what he would see, the warrior slowly opened his eyes… Only to let out an awed gasp at what he saw.

"It's been two hundred years since I saw so many devils…" A deep voice rumbled beneath the man's platinum helmet, as he stepped into the magelights to reveal his imposing figure. Even though it was stained with blood, the platinum armor still shone brilliantly under the artificial lights of the city.

Tsaindoruks Vaison chuckled. "...Looks like my 'hunch' was right." As he said that, a green flash lingered in his visor before he turned towards the devil that had been attacking the gold-plated warrior. "Unfortunately, it looks like all of you are too weak down the ladder to be the real instigators behind this." He advanced towards the devil, taking a step forwards just as the corpse of his former comrade dispersed into dust.

The devil took a step back. "What… are you?"

"I'm just a knight, out to save this world from creatures like you and the ones who call them forth. The latter especially." The platinum knight said casually, as he pulled a glowing winged spear from seemingly nowhere. "I guess you could call me a 'hero', though there are very few of us compared to back then."

The warrior's eyes widened. Impossible… "One of the Thirteen Heroes…" He said, stumbling back in disbelief from the legendary figure. At the same time, however, an incredible relief filled his soul. We're saved… E-Rantel is saved…!

The bone-like devil growled, unfamiliar with the legend of the Thirteen Heroes but aware of the immense power the figure before him wielded. It's useless fighting against him. He thought as he started to float into the air. It's disgusting, but I have to retreat…!

However, as it turned invisible in order to make its escape-

"Where do you think you're going…?" Almost lazily, Tsaindoruks used one hand to twirl the spear like a windmill, before with a simple gesture he hurled it like a javelin.

The warrior's eyes almost bugged out of his head when the spear that had been so lazily thrown shot at speeds faster than an arrow and a scream of pain spread across the street as the invisible devil was impaled against a building by the chest.

"I-Impossible!" The devil coughed out, wounded but clearly not out of the fight yet. This is fine… I can still teleport away! However, as he thought of an alternate means of escape… He caught a sudden motion that caused him to look up.

"By the way… That spear has a dimensional anchor on it, so teleporting is useless." Tsaindoruks said, floating in mid-air as he gripped the spear that had trapped the bone devil on the wall. He easily caught the stinger that had been aimed at his face, and with a grunt ripped it off the tail it had been attached to, causing the bone devil to shriek in agony.

"It's a waste to try, but I don't suppose you could tell me about the Player who summoned you or your master?" The mysterious knight said, tone going slightly deeper when he uttered the word 'Player'.

"Fool!" The Bone devil spat out. "The Archdevil's schemes are too grand for you to-" Whatever it was about to say next was cut off when the same spear that had been in its chest severed its head from its shoulders.

"I thought so." The ancient hero uttered in disdain as the devil's separate halves fell to the ground, only to disappear into dust seconds later. With a sigh, he lowered himself back to the ground, where the warrior was still dumbfoundedly staring at him. "...Do you need my help here?" The knight eventually said to the gaping swordsman.

"Here! Hero-sama, please help us!" One of the warrior's comrades said, as he furiously struggled against the swarm of zombies that continued to assault them even after the death of the devil which had apparently been commanding them.

Tsaindoruks looked at the undead horde, and scoffed. "Very well."

Fetching his spear, the Platinum Knight pounced upon the horde of undead with his winged spear. Though they would be destroyed in seconds, Tsaindoruks knew it would do nothing to fix the situation that was spreading across the city.

If he wanted to truly save the city -and likely the world- from this threat, then he would need to cut off the head of the snake. He'd have to find out the one ordering these devils… And climb his way up the chain of command until he found the true mastermind behind this attack and the other incidents that had been happening all around the continent for the last decade.

If his 'hunch' was right, then the world was being threatened not by some silly 'King of Devils', but by a much greater threat.

He just hoped he could find the Player behind this before they ended up destroying the world once again.

"Whaaat? You're still chasing me!?" Clementine mocked the black swordsman, who insistently kept hot on her trail. "Girls don't like it when guys get pushy, you know~?" She said, even as a series of jumps sent her over another roof in an inhuman display of agility. Momon would not be dissuaded,

however, and with a similarly monstrous display leapt up to match her.

Their game of cat and mouse had stretched on for a long time. Initially, the fleeing warrior had been content to simply lead Momon through dark alleys and narrow streets, but as she grew bored in playing with him she became more adventurous in trying to escape him. The subtle chase using the night's cover was soon replaced by outlandish parkour and wild course directions in an attempt to lose him, but despite her best efforts Momon had remained hot on her heels.

Ahhh, did I get too confident again? Clementine fumed, even as she continued to lead the hero around. Though she'd given the boy to Khajit so the man could get his ritual started, she had decided to stick around in order to 'play' with the dark swordsman that clearly thought himself hot enough to take on the entirety of their forces.

However, not once had she been able to get the jump on the mysterious warrior. Even though she had done her best to use the cover of the night to ambush him, it was if he could see right through the dark and even then his senses were sharp enough that he wasn't losing her, even through the camouflage of the city.

Of course, there was no way Clementine could have known that the only reason Momon had not lost her yet was because he was cheating through his racial night vision and his high-level senses. While most Dwarves and Elves could more easily navigate under such circumstances, neither of them possessed the physical advantages of a max-level player character, even one of the mage class.

For his own part, Momon was concerned.

Though he'd decided to bite the bait that Clementine had used as her hook and chased after her, there was no sign of Nfirea or any of her other conspirators. Given what little knowledge he had, he could only devise that they had used Teleportation to flee to safety, or perhaps simply fled using some form of stealth.

This is troublesome, but I might have to acknowledge the fact that this woman might be trying to lead me to a red herring. It was a bitter thought, knowing that he was being forced to play right into the hands of a shady opponent. His cautious part was currently trembling inside his mind, and at any moment he felt as if it would start shouting 'you should have stayed behind in Nazarick after all!'

"You won't escape from me!" Momon bellowed as the two of them leapt higher, leaving the streets for E-Rantel's slippery rooftops. "Surrender, and I promise you a swift death!" Inwardly, he winced at such a corny line. Talking like this makes me feel like I'm back in the 'old days' again…

Clementine cackled at his words, and he idly wondered how she ran so fast while keeping that up. "Surrender?" She took a sharp turn, suddenly leading him into a deeper part of the residential area. "That's just priceless…!"

What's going on? The air just got heavier all of a sudden. Momon looked around sharply, as he finally noticed the clouds of smoke that were rising to the air all over the city. He'd been so concerned with Clementine that the state of E-Rantel had failed to register as he pursued her.

When they crossed over to another block, Momon finally saw them. In the streets below, a crowd was fleeing from a larger mass of bodies that seemingly ran over one another in their haste to get their hands on their fleeing prey. They chased them on the streets, into their homes and through any obstacles, seemingly without mind.

Intuitively, Momon immediately identified the presence of those beings as 'Zombies', thanks to his racial trait. The lowest kind of undead, they were nonetheless threatening to low-level adventurers in large numbers and boasted numerous resistances to status effects. He also saw a few Ghouls and other creatures, but what worried him the most were the other figures that seemingly shepherded the unliving abominations...

Devils!? ...No, then Herohero-san's fears were…

"You…" Momon growled at the woman. "What have you done!?" This bitch and her cronies are attacking the city now of all times? We never asked for this kind of a mess!

"Oh come on! Weren't you going to catch me and save your boyfriend? What does it matter if the city burns down as you do it?" Clementine giggled madly, even when Momon got close enough to attempt an attack against her, which she still dodged effortlessly and retreated from. "It's just a little fun on the side, after all!"

Inwardly, Momon ground his teeth together. If E-Rantel collapsed from these people's actions, then the risks they had taken in this mission would all become moot. He should have known that any facade of peace in this world was as flimsy as they went, considering what his first encounter with the outside world had been.

Had they kept a low profile a little longer, then they wouldn't have been caught up in this chaos…

"What? Nothing to say?" The woman mocked, as the two of them stepped into the smoldering rooftop of a burnt building. Though her steps were light, Momon had to struggle not to fall as the ground under his feet started to collapse under the weight of his armor. "Did the cat get the big hero's tongue?"

"You've gone too far-!" Momon stated simply, before he was forced to start back in surprise. The reason for that had been a long chain which had suddenly pierced the space between him and the runaway criminal. With a growl, he quickly tore through the moving metal by swinging his sword hard enough that its impact rang like a gunshot.

He glanced for a moment at the source of the chain, but as the figure slipped back to the shadows he promptly realized it must have been one of the devils aiding the woman. Turning his gaze back to the girl, he frowned when he saw the distance between them had noticeably lengthened.

So that was her game… Since she had not been able to get the jump on him, now she was trying to wear him down? It was certainly smart of her… But a futile endeavor. Hard as she tried, Momon wouldn't get tired. She could perhaps order the creatures to buy her time to escape, but as the time went by Momon was convinced that the girl was determined to off him in some way or another.

That was too bad, because there was no way she could win against him. Even if she thought she held all the cards, Momon had yet to run into something that he felt could realistically hurt him… And the girl was no exception. He hadn't tested his passive against her, but he felt that the girl was still somewhat weaker than the Dominion they had taken down.

"Too far?" Clementine repeated in a mocking tone. "Jeez, could you get any more predictable? Fools like you..." She licked her lips. "They're the kind of people I love to murder the most!"

She suddenly dived towards the streets below, and Momon followed… Right into the waiting weapons of two more devils that got in his way. He growled as he disposed of them.

Like I thought, she wants to play the waiting game then?

"All right," Momon whispered, his voice filling with a dangerous glee. "Let's play."

"Those bastards... Are attacking the entire city!?" Peter shouted in horrified shock, his friends sharing much the same. They had all listened to 'Kazu's accounts of the chaos outside, and couldn't believe the extent the damage had spread in such a short time.

"Nfirea… They took my grandson..." Lizzie muttered in despair, still pale from the horrors she had seen and the news of Nfirea's abduction. The group had led her to take a seat, as she appeared to be unable to even stand properly from her distress.

"Have you ever heard of something like this happening? Fiends and undead attacking a city en masse in such a way?" Kazu asked calmly, keeping his face level despite the nervousness he was feeling inside. He didn't feel as he thought he would have, but there was no way he could shrug off the situation that had been thrown on them.

"We know undead would gladly attack a city, but…" Ninya looked at the floor, face scrunched up in thought. "...But never like this. They just popped out of nowhere… It definitely feels like someone planned this. I'm not sure where they got the devils from, but if there's a group I'd have to blame… It's probably Zuranon."

The other members gasped at that.

"Zuranon?" The Player's eyes narrowed. "What's that?"

"It's a group of necromancers and practitioners of the forbidden arts that's been around since I was young." It was Lizzie who replied, face grave. "I heard from a few gossiping customers on how they had been growing bolder these last few years… But I never expected this!"

So it's a stereotypical death cult… With magic powers. That's one stereotype I didn't want to see in this fantasy world… Kazu thought it a mixed blessing that the rest of the Nazarick dwellers had already abandoned the city. Having to handle this attack with their covers was a bad draw, but on the other hand it was a saving grace that they didn't need to expose themselves too much.

"Kazu-san, are you an acquaintance of Momon-san?" Lukeluther asked, temporarily changing the subject in an attempt to slightly lighten the mood of the room. The recipient of his words appeared to take in stride, and nodded.

"We're friends, actually. We used to party together, but we ended up taking different jobs." The adventurers voiced their understanding, remembering what Momon had said about looking for his missing comrades.

"Forgive me for speaking out of turn, but… What shall we do, Kazu-sama?" Nabe spoke up suddenly, eliciting the incognito monster's surprise. "Is Momon-sama alright?"

"He's chasing one of the people behind this, right?" At her nod, Kazu continued. "Then I think I'll wait for him to tell me where that ends up, and support him if he needs to." This situation is too dangerous for us not to stick together, he finished the sentence in his mind.

"Huh? Wait for him to tell you? How would you do that?" Peter asked curiously, causing the glass-eyed man to flinch for an instant before he waved him off with a dry look.

"I have my ways. As for Nabe and you…" Kazu scratched his head, looking thoughtful for a moment. There's no way I can send them with us, even Narberal might be a dead weight… "What did you have planned?"

"We want to go to Adventurer's Guild and help organize a counter-offensive," Peter explained. "We might not be one of the cities with an adamantite-ranked adventuring party, but we have three different-ranked mythril parties, as well as a magician's guild. I don't know how strong these guys are, but those people are no pushovers either. The guild is probably still standing."

Kazu voiced his approval. "That's a good idea. With Nabe on your side, you should be able to make it…" He started, but then frowned in thought. Momonga-san likes these guys, but… I don't think if we can protect them from this. We can't risk Narberal falling to the enemy, even if she's not using her rare equipment we don't even know if we could bring her back… I'll have to tell her to run if push comes to shove.

"What about Baleare-sama, though?" Ninya interrupted. "We can't just leave her here…" She looked sadly at the grief-stricken woman, who continued to fidget nervously.

"I'll handle it. There's a place I know they won't be able to touch her." Kazu said easily, having already messaged Albedo to make the arrangements to transfer Lizzie to Carne Village. "Anyways, about your plan to go to the Guild-"

Kazu froze when a sudden message from Momonga started playing in his head.

"...A cemetery." Kazu said blankly, causing some mild shock on the Swords of Darkness. "Of course they're in a cemetery. They couldn't be more obvious if they tried, could they?" He muttered, drawing confused stares.

"Kazu-san?" Peter tried to nudge the suddenly quiet 'merchant'.

"...Momon-san says he found them." The man finally said, as he looked up at the party with a serious expression. "I'm sorry about your friend… But that's our cue to get moving."

Looking at each other, the three adventurers couldn't help but take a deep breath from a sudden shock of fear. They were very aware that by the time the sun rose again, none of them might be standing anymore. As was often said, they'd be heading out of the frying pan…

...And trading that for the fire.

Delas looked up.

"It appears…" The monster in the guise of a man hissed with a growing smile. "...That we have visitors."

"What!?" The Orb of Death almost slipped from Khajit's fingers, as his chanting of a spell was interrupted. "Are you certain? With the chaos in the city, how could someone possibly be lead to…" The deathly magic caster's words died out as realization dawned upon him. His grip on the orb tightened as much as his feeble muscles could allow. "...That bitch, Clementine! I can't believe she would be stupid enough to bring someone to this place!"

"Oh, but there would be no fun if all we did was sit here and bide our time, Khajit-san. Indeed, I am curious as to what this person can even accomplish, given how far we have advanced in our progress... " The devil laughed, and started to chant a scrying spell to perceive the form of their ever bold intruder.

When the magic slipped from his fingers as if there was nothing, however, he grew quiet. "...What?"

"Oh, what is it this time?" Khajit growled, as he tried to keep his attention on the magic tool he was using to fuel the creation of hundreds of undead. "Let Clementine handle it. As much as I hate her, she can clean up after her own messes."

Ahead of him, Nfirea blankly at empty space. The Crown of Wisdom decorated his forehead, glowing with a malignant essence that appeared to pulse alongside the Orb of Death's power.

"No... " Delas said, slowly standing up from where he had been observing Khajit progress the ritual. "No, I do believe I have to see this for myself. For this intruder to defy my power, only one such being has ever done such a feat before…"

At the devil's words, Khajit felt the urge to almost stop again. He had already been witness to the monstrous power the creature could bring to bear, and it was claiming it had been repelled in some way? It was enough to make him curse furiously in his mind… But he would have to continue the ritual regardless.

Everything had finally fallen into place. He'd obtained the Orb of Death, Clementine had finally owed up to all of Zuranon's previous support by bringing this relic, and finally he had managed to strike a deal with a creature of phenomenal cosmic power… All for the sake of his grand dream.

There was nothing, no one who could stop him! No human could survive an army of undead creatures and the high-ranked devils which had been summoned by his colleague. Even if the person was one of the Blue Rose, they would surely fall…!

"Very well, then." Delas stated. "I will go and observe this battle. Will you truly not participate? This intruder might be a bigger threat than you expect…"

"Fine," Khajit gave his consent. He had saved up the Orb's power for such a situation, anyways, so he could bring some strength to bear. "But this is all I will do." The necromancer concentrated, and held up the Orb of Death as he loudly called for its power.

-As the earth beneath the crypt started to shake, an evil long since buried starting to wake from its rest once again, Delas gave a toothy smile.

"I do believe… This will be more than enough."

Next: The Battle for E-Rantel