So I've been thinking, and I've come to a decision. The original light novel for this series is written by a Japanese man, in Japanese. But he uses a fair amount of English throughout the whole thing. But sometimes it doesn't come out quite right, the meaning is correct but the parlance isn't quite there. For example, one term you hear over and over again is 'magic caster'. Doesn't that just roll off the tongue? Not 'spell caster' or just 'caster' but 'magic caster', two consonants right after the other, and the same consonant to boot! It just feels clunky and wrong. Hence why I've been using 'spell caster' throughout the story and will continue to do so.

In the same vein, I've been thinking about the term 'Elder Lich'. That doesn't seem quite right either. At first I thought it was some distinction, that there were Liches and then Elder Liches but nothing I've seen throughout all nine volumes of the light novel have mentioned that. And that makes me think that there's no such thing as a normal Lich, just Elder Lich. Which makes me think that Maruyama misheard or otherwise misunderstood things, or some other wires got crossed somewhere along the line. So to that end, I will only be using the term 'Lich' rather than 'Elder Lich'. I'm taking a stand for the English language dammit! The Japanese can come up with as many funky terms as they want in their own language and I'll go along with that, but when they start borrowing and misusing English terms I take umbrage, and will not hesitate to make corrections within my own work. Although, to be fair, the term 'Lich' isn't strictly English.

So that's where we stand now. I'll make notes as things go on if I'm going to be replacing any other Overlord terms with the correct English usage, but I don't think there will be many. 'Magic Caster' and 'Elder Lich' are the two big ones that you hear over and over again. There's one more for certain, but it isn't exactly relevant and I'm not entirely sure what I'm going to do with it. I'll bring it up when it's relevant.

Okay, I'm done, on with the show!

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Chapter 3

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Momonga and Tigris Euphrates walked down the stone hall, both silent and stern. This was no time for jokes; it would be no exaggeration to say that everything hinged on the next hour or so. Where did they stand with the NPCs? That vital question had to be answered.

A huge portcullis blocked the way to the arena proper. Twenty feet tall and at least half that wide, it was made of steel and engraved with numerous spells meant to deter those who would open the way by force.

The two all but ignored the potential obstacle and walked straight toward it without slowing down. As they got near it, the magical doorway rattled where it stood and slowly moved upward with the squeal of metal against stone.

Paying the phenomenon no mind, the two walked on. But Momonga hesitated for a moment. Tigris was twice his size and the portcullis wasn't coming up all that quickly. Should he wait here with Tigris until the door opened or go ahead without him?

Before he could come to a decision however, they had already reached the offending division. He turned to Tigris, ready to offer apologies about the wait, but what he saw startled him into silence.

Tigris Euphrates, human sized.

The red skinned figure, now only have a head taller than Momonga himself, gave him a quick wink and kept on walking, he had never even slowed down.

Momonga cursed himself for a fool as he hurried after Tigris Euphrates. 'How could I forget that racial trait? Of course that thing wouldn't be a bother for him, he can change his size as much as he wants, how could I have forgotten that?' How much else had he forgotten about his comrades after all this time spent alone?

Then the moment of introspection passed and the pair had walked out into the arena proper.

The coliseum was a massive stone construction seven stories tall and based on the coliseum in Rome. From where they stood they could see the numerous boxes of stands occupied by innumerable golems made of smooth stone. The entire structure was enchanted by the 'Continuous Light' spell so it was bright as day regardless of the time.

Momonga gazed up at the night sky that was projected over the ceiling. This was one of only two floors with an actual diurnal cycle, the other being the eighth floor. For a moment he just stood there, surrounded by the scent of nature, taking in the sky even though the stars couldn't be seen thanks to the coliseum's light.

Then the moment passed and he hurried to catch up to Tigris Euphrates, he hadn't stopped moving at all although he had grown back to his usual height of ten feet and change.

As he moved, he started looking around the coliseum. The twins should be in charge here….

"Hey there!"

He and Tigris both looked toward the source of the voice, the VIP box near the top, and saw a figure jump down.

It was a six storey drop, but the small figure landed as though it was weightless, absorbing the impact with the slightest flex of the knees, when it came back up it held both hands up in V's for victory and gave a smile that had all the warmth of the sun.

She was a dark elf, as shown by her long ears and brown skin, with short blonde hair and heterochromia. Her left eye was the deep blue of the ocean while the other reminded one of forest leaves. She wore a long sleeved shirt of red dragon leather under a white vest with golden trim and the crest of Ainz Ooal Gown embroidered over the heart. The pants and shoes were of the same white and gold style, while her hands were covered in gloves of tough hide. A necklace adorned with a golden acorn rested around her neck, a whip was coiled around her waist, and on her back she carried a longbow of white wood with delicate engravings.

One of the Guardians of the sixth floor, Aura Bella Fiora.

Tigris Euphrates stopped walking and gestured for her to come over as Momonga caught up with him. Without saying anything the young elf immediately started running toward them. Her steps were small and mousy, but they devoured distance with surprising speed.

In seconds she skidded to a stop before the two of them, wiped the sweat from her brow, although she wasn't sweating, and gave them a tentative smile like someone looking and hoping for praise. Her voice was high and sweet as she bowed and said "Welcome Momonga-sama, Tigris Euphrates-sama, welcome to the sixth floor!"

She lacked the elegance and respectfulness that Albedo and Sebas displayed, but it all felt more open and friendly. Throughout everything Aura never lost her sunny smile, but Momonga couldn't tell if that smile was real or fake, he lacked the kind of experience that would let him tell. But she didn't seem like she was going to attack like he feared.

Before he could scramble for some way to start the conversation, Tigris Euphrates did it for him.

"Aura Bella Fiora, Guardian of the sixth floor, it is good to see that you're well. Tell me, where is your brother? Shouldn't he be here too?"

In response, Aura immediately turned around and shouted at the VIP box. "HEY! The Supreme Beings are here! How long are you going to make them wait!?"

Momonga looked up, and he was fairly sure he could see a shadow quivering in the box's shade.

"Is that him?"

"Yes Momonga-sama. The scaredy-cat is too afraid to jump down."

A quivering voice could be heard, but it didn't seem to come from the box, it seemed to come from Aura's necklace. "Um… sister…."

Aura gave an exasperated sigh before looking back at the two of them, looking apologetic. "The thing is… Tigris Euphrates-sama, Momonga-sama, sirs, he's just timid and cowardly, he's not being intentionally rude."

Before Momonga could respond with some empty platitude, Tigris Euphrates stepped in. "We don't have time for him to be timid or scared or anything else, we need to talk to you both so get him down here, now." Tigris' glower was fierce and his tone brooked no argument. Aura visibly shrank before his gaze and turned back to the box, looking almost panicked. "Mare! You're starting to get them angry! Jump off now before I go up there and push you!"

Upon hearing that his hesitation was angering the masters gathered to see him, the shadow in the VIP box gathered every scrap of courage and leapt down to the arena floor. The landing wasn't as steady or controlled as Aura's, but he kept his feet and immediately started running towards them. He was swift, but nowhere near as swift as Aura.

Aura barked at him "Hurry up!"

"Okay, okay…."

He was a dark elf just like Aura, but while they had the same skin tone and the same golden hair, they differed in many ways. Where Aura's left eye was blue and her right was green, his were the other way around. Aura's hair was wild, his was well groomed. He wore a shirt of the same dragon leather but while hers was read, his was blue; her gloves were of tough hide while his were of the same white cloth and gold trim that made up his vest. Aura wore shoes, he wore calf high boots of the same hide that made up Aura's gloves, Aura wore socks while he had stockings up to his thighs. She had pants, he had a skirt that showed a fair amount of thigh.

He wore a forest green cloak around his shoulders, a necklace adorned with a silver acorn, and held a staff of twisted dark wood. Aura's twin brother and the other Guardian of the sixth floor, Mare Bello Fiore.

In Momonga's opinion, if Aura had all the brilliance of the sun, then Mare had qualities that reminded one of the moon, where she was fiery and passionate, he was humble and meek. Before he could consider the subject any more, Mare reached them and immediately bowed down.

"I'm terribly sorry for making you wait Momonga-sama, Tigris Euphrates-sama, please forgive me!"

Tigris looked down his nose at him, and Mare visibly shivered. After a moment the red giant rumbled "Mare Bello Fiore, it's good to see that you're in good health." Mare started to relax "However..." The boy tensed up again "However, the fact that you are in good health means that you have no excuse for making us wait as you did."

Mare went pale as a sheet.

"W-wait a moment!"

Aura's voice was high and panicky as she stepped in. She got next to Mare and bowed so low that she almost seemed to be talking to her knees. "Please Tigris Euphrates-sama, please forgive him, I promise I'll make sure that something like this never happens again. So please…."

Mare looked over to his sister, seeming close to tears. "Sis…."

Momonga looked on as Tigris Euphrates stared down at the two of them. He wasn't sure what to do, wasn't sure how he could step in. He wasn't really comfortable with how things were going, but Momonga knew that right now the most important thing was a united front. They couldn't afford to be divided, or to appear divided. So he kept his silence, determined only to step in if things truly got out of hand.

After several moments of glaring down at the twins, both shivering and sweating under his baleful gaze, he finally spoke. "Fine, it isn't worth the effort it would take to actually punish you for this. But I expect that there will be no repeat performance."

The twins sagged in relief upon hearing his words. Aura straightened slightly and looked up at him. "Thank you Tigris Euphrates-sama, thank you, I'll make sure that you don't regret this."

Mare was equally overjoyed "Th-thank you Tigris Euphrates-sama."

Tigris nodded. "Now, stand up straight. I said we came here to talk to you and we've wasted enough time with this nonsense already."

The twins immediately came to full attention, Aura was wiping real sweat from her brow now and beside her Mare was doing the same.

Tigris continued on "Not long ago, something happened to Nazarick. You'll get the full details in the near future, but for now we have a question. Has anything happened on this floor in the last several hours? Any changes, strange phenomena, anything out of the ordinary?"

Mare looked at Aura while she looked down and considered the question. After a moment she bowed and replied "No Tigris Euphrates-sama, nothing strange has happened on the sixth floor. I'm sorry that I couldn't be of more help."

The giant man nodded. "In that case, you should be aware that in about twenty five minutes we will be hosting a meeting here in the coliseum, most of the Floor Guardians will be in attendance, as will Herohero-san and Lucifer-san."

Aura stood up straight and responded "Then we will immediately begin preparations to receive them all, although… I'm not sure how much we can get done in so little time but we'll do our best to receive them properly."

Tigris shook his head. "Don't bother, there's no time and no point for something like that. We'll meet them all with the coliseum as it is now."

"Yes Tigris Euphrates-sama." The twins replied.

Momonga wanted to find some way to talk to the twins in a more informal manner, but that was looking less and less likely to happen given this strict atmosphere. After a moment though, he was struck by an idea for how to shift things towards what he wanted. He considered the elaborate Staff in his hand, and focused on the red gem in particular. He could feel the power within the gem, within the entire Staff, itching to be released upon the world. Finally with a series of words, he activated the effect.

"[Summon Primal Fire Elemental]"

A ball of light formed atop the head of the staff before flying away behind the twins. The moment the ball of light touched the ground it was surrounded by a whirlwind of blazing fire. Within seconds the creature took on humanoid appearance, made of roaring flame with what looked to be bones of ash and soot and smoke, everything below the figure's waist was nothing but a raging inferno.

All four felt the massive spike in temperature when the creature appeared, although only the twins were bothered by it. Tigris Euphrates was immune to fire, and while Momonga was weak to that element he had his equipment set up to completely nullify the typical weakness of the undead.

The strange thing was the feeling of connectedness he experienced towards the incarnation of ancient flame. A connection to its thoughts, to its actions, to everything that it was surged through him and he had no doubt that it would obey him.

Both the twins and Tigris Euphrates were looking at him, asking a silent question. Momonga responded "We have some time before the other Guardians arrive here, and nothing more to talk to you two about at this time. The two of us will wait up in the VIP box; the two of you can fight this to entertain us in the meantime."

Aura examined the Elemental with a look of pure excitement and eagerness, beside her Mare looked like he would rather be anywhere else but he didn't run. Aura turned to Momonga with a fierce and happy smile as she told him "If the Supreme Beings wish to be entertained, then as their servants we Guardians will spare no effort in ensuring that they are satisfied." She placed a hand over her heart and bowed low "Please, Momonga-sama, Tigris Euphrates-sama, if you will take your places in the VIP box we shall begin the exhibition at your order."

Momonga glanced at Tigris Euphrates, who looked a little confused by the sudden turn of events and change in topic, and then he glanced at the VIP box up above before using his Ring to teleport there.

The VIP box was a place of leisure. Located on one side of the roughly oval coliseum, it stretched along and provided front row seats for forty one soft, thick cushioned armchairs of red velvet. The entire area was covered in thick carpeting, shaded by the stone ceiling, and refreshments were available upon command. This was to be the private box of Ainz Ooal Gown members as unlucky intruders of the Great Tomb of Nazarick faced the worst that the sixth floor had to offer, which typically consisted of Aura, Mare, and numerous magical beasts slaughtering whatever poor fools managed to make it this far. Aura and Mare were the Guardians of the sixth floor and, in a way, the champions of the coliseum. Only one group had ever defeated them and that 'group' was better described as an army.

After a moment the giant joined Momonga in the box, his head less than a foot from the ceiling. About two feet from the front of the chairs the floor just stopped and one had a view of the arena that couldn't be beat. They could clearly see that Aura had put away her bow and taken her whip in hand, a fierce and predatory smile on her face as Mare took his position behind her as the two faced what was arguably the most powerful Elemental monster that wasn't a boss.

Momonga shouted at the top of his lungs, not that he had any, "BEGIN!" and mentally ordered the Primal Elemental to attack.

As the twins promptly attacked the Primal Fire Elemental, Tigris Euphrates turned to him. "So, what's the point of the living campfire down there?"

The skeleton shrugged as he moved to take a seat. "A couple of reasons. One was to see how summoning worked, if it worked at all. The other was to get us out of that conversation and buy us some time until the meeting starts."

Tigris shrunk down to roughly human size as he took the chair next to Momonga. "I see. So you thought I was doing something wrong? What? I thought I was doing pretty well for myself, they didn't look like they were going to try to start anything."

Momonga considered what he wanted to say and how he wanted to say it. "I think… that we shouldn't be that harsh Tigris-san. There was no need to go that far with your reprimand, don't you think?"

The red man leaned forward with his elbows on his knees as he looked down at the twins fighting. "I'm afraid that I don't agree. There's nothing wrong with making sure that your subordinates know what is and what is not acceptable and that you won't hesitate to call them to task for an unsatisfactory performance. I admit that I may have been a little harsher than necessary, but you only get to make one first impression Momonga-san. It's better to be feared than loved, as long as you are not hated. At least according to Machiavelli. I intended to make it clear that I have high expectations and will accept no excuses. I don't apologize for that."

Before Momonga could respond to that, a strange sensation echoed through his head. Almost like a ringing sound. Before he could really think about this sensation or what it meant it stopped and replaced by a voice. "Momonga? Can you hear me?"

He sat up straight at the sudden surprise. "Lucifer-san? Is that you?"

Tigris looked over at Momonga suddenly talking to himself but didn't say anything. Lucifer's voice, on the other hand, did. "Ah, good, the [Message] spell works. I thought you would like to know, Herohero has currently turned into a black hole."

Momonga was too stunned by the strangeness of the sentence to say anything. Before he could start to feel anxious or worried the voice continued. "He is currently eating an entire side of beef."

The skeleton sat back in his seat, mildly relaxed by the explanation. "Well, he did say he was hungry Lucifer-san." Lucifer's voice immediately responded "Allow me to clarify; he is currently eating an entire side of beef from a Jotunheim Bull."

That gave Momonga pause. Of the nine worlds of YGGDRASIL, Jotunheim was the realm of the Giants. Much of the local wildlife was built to the same scale. A Jotunheim bull was approximately three and a half times the size of a real world cow. A side of beef from such a beast was several times larger than a man.

"That's… a bit more extreme."

"And that's after he had no less than a dozen partridges and three entire roasted boars. Whole pigs. I suggest we get a time lock for the kitchens or this thing is going to eat us out of house and home. You should see him; he's just sort of extended over one side of it and moving slowly forward, dissolving the entire thing inch by inch."

"That's…."

"It's absurd is what it is, as soon as we have a spare moment we're getting him is a Ring of Sustenance and he is never taking it off. We're going to have issues enough in the long run feeding the maids, we don't need this nonsense too. Still, that's an issue for another time; I just thought you'd like to know what we're in for. By the way, not that it matters for you but I can confirm that the sense of taste works, which is impossible given current laws and the limits of Dive Technology but what else is new? How are the twins? Have they started plotting rebellion? Need we fear the heralds of nature crushing us 'neath their sandaled feet or did they fall in line just like I told you they would?"

"No, I don't think we have to fear rebellion, at least not from the twins. Tigris-san… took a firm hand with the matter."

"I see, well that's good to know. We received quite the welcome here in the kitchens, the head chef and sous chef were more than eager to create things to, and I quote 'sate the hungers of the Supreme Masters'. I'm starting to get a feel for how this all fits together Momonga, and if I'm right then we're looking at quite the favorable picture."

"Wait, you mean you know what happened!? You know how we got here!?"

"Goodness no, use your head. I was talking about our position amongst the NPCs. Long story short, we're in charge; don't give the impression that we're not. If Tigris Euphrates has the situation well in hand then let him do his thing." All of a sudden Lucifer stopped talking for several seconds.

"I'm sorry, but I have to go. Herohero just finished the bull and is heading for the freezer. I'll make sure that he's there for the meeting." Then the sensation of the spell faded and Momonga was left along with Tigris Euphrates watching the twins fight. Momonga peered down at the two who were fighting his summoned monster.

It was a dazzling display of teamwork. The Primal Fire Elemental was probably the most potent elemental monster in terms of attack power and durability, but its agility wasn't so impressive. Aura was almost completely the opposite and it showed. The dark elf girl had her whip in hand and continued to lash the living fire at every opportunity she received between dodging the elemental's vicious attacks. While the elemental was no doubt very powerful, for someone like Aura it was nothing more than a huge target.

Things would have been one-sided enough with just Aura, but with Mare in the wings Aura didn't even have to think about being concerned. Mare cast spells that strengthened his sister and weakened the foe. He shielded her from the constant damage that anyone would suffer from getting too close to the blazing piece of sentient magic, buffed his sister's stats and helped hinder the creature's movements too. Momonga couldn't help but marvel at the two of them, at the difference between fighting in the game, and the real combat that he was witnessing now. Between the two of them, the Primal Fire Elemental was doomed to defeat.

Until, that is, a third party decided to take a hand in these events.

Tigris Euphrates peered down at the two dark elves dominating the fight before making a snatching motion with one hand.

Aura, who was in the act of side-stepping to avoid an uppercut from the Elemental, stumbled.

With a roar of flame the Elemental uppercut struck Aura in the belly, sending her flying back in a burst of stellar heat.

Mare immediately stepped forward, casting a spell that bound the Elemental in place to prevent it from following up on the attack while Aura hit the ground, rolled, and quickly got to her feet.

The little dark elf's eyes blazed with fury as she gazed at the Elemental. "Okay, FINE! You want to take a cheap shot like that, I'll show you how it's done!"

With a swift motion Aura lightly struck her own hip and her weapon curled around and tied itself to the handle. By the time that happened she already had drawn her bow. While Mare held the living fire in place with magic, Aura began a ranged bombardment. The style of the fight turned from something that almost resembled a bullfight to an outright execution as Aura mercilessly assailed her helpless target.

Tigris Euphrates looked over at the stunned Momonga. "Well, good news, my skills seem to work just fine." He looked down at his hand. "Although I will admit that it felt a little odd. I think I'm going to need to practice with what I can and can't do here. There's no telling what works the same and what's different now that we're not just selecting abilities off of a menu."

Momonga finally regained enough to himself to actually respond. "Tigris Euphrates-san! Why would you do something like that? What if she finds out that you did that to her? The whole point of this is to find out where we stand and you go around helping them get hurt! Why!?"

The red man looked over, nonplussed. "For a variety of reasons, some of them inspired by you. As much as I'd love to explain, I don't think we'll have much of a chance. The fight is over."

The Primal Fire Elemental didn't last long under Aura's continued sniping. The creature roared, struggled against Mare's magical binds, and melted away into nothingness. Momonga noted that the connection he felt with the Elemental faded with the creature.

Tigris nodded, stood, and grew to his full size. "Come on Momonga-san, let's get down there. The meeting is going to start in a few minutes and we wouldn't want to be late." Without another word the red giant vanished and reappeared down in front of the twins. Momonga had plenty of things that he wanted to say, but he knew now was not the time. He activated the Ring of Ainz Ooal Gown and appeared beside Tigris.

Aura was suffused by a green glow as Mare healed her wounds, not that there were many. She only took one real hit and even that didn't do too much damage. As the spell finished both Aura and Mare bowed to the two of them. "Thank you masters for witnessing this exhibition, I hope we put on a good enough show."

Momonga jumped in before Tigris could say anything. "You both did a fine job, although I was sad to see you get hurt Aura."

Aura jumped a little at being addressed by Momonga. Then she let out a small nervous laugh and looked away while wiping the sweat from her brow. "I'm sorry you had to see that Momonga-sama, it was nothing really, I'm tougher than I look." Then she gestured to her brother "Besides, I've got nothing to worry about as long as Mare is around to heal me."

Momonga nodded. "Indeed, Mare provided excellent support throughout the battle."

Mare shied away from the sudden attention, but seemed to glow under the praise. "I-I di-didn't really do anything noteworthy, but thank you Momonga-sama."

Before Momonga could say anything else, the doors to the coliseum opened behind them. Everyone turned in time to witness a figure with twelve wings and a blob of purest darkness enter the arena.

The twins both gasped and immediately bowed down as the two approached them. "Welcome to our floor, Lucifer-sama, Herohero-sama!" "W-welcome"

Lucifer nodded to the pair. "Aura, Mare." He looked around at the surrounding ground, at the scorched and burnt patches left behind by the Elemental. "So, what happened here then?"

Aura perked up. "Ah, that was just us getting some exercise with the help of Momonga-sama."

Lucifer glanced over to Momonga. "Is that so?"

The skeleton nodded and reminded himself to display dignity in front of the NPCs. "Yes, I thought an exhibition would help pass the time as we waited for everyone to make their way here. How are you feeling Herohero?"

The Black Ooze twitched, and Momonga heard Herohero's voice in his head. "I'm still hungry. I don't know why but no matter how much I eat it doesn't really help all that much. It's kind of worrying."

Momonga felt worried for his friend, but wasn't really sure how to help. 'As a skeleton, can I even eat now?' But he wanted to assure his friend that nothing was wrong.

Before Momonga could try to reassure Herohero, a new voice made itself known. "Hmm? Could I be the first one to arrive?"

Darkness appeared on the ground before rising up into the shape of an oval. Out of the abyss stepped a girl.

She was dressed in a large ball gown, primarily black but with red trim. A tailored jacket of the same soft black material covered her from neck to waist, and long gloves covered her hands and arms. The entire ensemble was embellished with ribbon and lace. Her long platinum hair was held back in a ponytail, revealing a beautiful face, pale skin, and deep crimson eyes. The girl's chest was quite pronounced, in defiance of the rest of her figure, she was only about 4'7. The Guardian of the first, second, and third floors, Shalltear Bloodfallen.

Aura turned to Shalltear and immediately reprimanded her. "Teleportation of any kind is forbidden within Nazarick, weren't you deliberately told not to use [Portal]? There's a clear path to walk here, stop being so lazy and use your feet Shalltear."

The girl's voice was nothing short of frigid, but Shalltear completely ignored her, heading straight for the four assembled figures. Everyone nearby could smell her perfume.

"…It stinks."

Shalltear continued to ignore Aura as she went on "Maybe it's just the smell of the Undead in general since the meat is rotting."

Before things could go any further, Lucifer spoke up. "Aura, knock it off. Deliberately antagonizing her doesn't help anything."

Aura immediately bowed down. "I'm sorry!"

Lucifer nodded. "Better" Before anyone could say anything more, Shalltear had reached them.

She immediately threw her arms around Lucifer's neck and drew in to a close, tight hug.

Momonga, Tigris Euphrates, Herohero, and the twins all watched, stunned, as Shalltear hugged him close and licked her lips. "Ah, my beloved, my beautiful master. Words cannot describe my joy." She snuggled closer to him, pressing her face into his neck and breathing deeply.

Lucifer raised an eyebrow at the situation. "My my, aren't we forward? Now, come here…." He tugged at her arms and Shalltear quickly let go and took a step back, looking up at him, hopeful.

Momonga was sure that he was going to scold her. This was Lucifer for crying out loud. But if Shalltear's actions stunned him then Lucifer's actions almost caused his jaw to drop.

The floating figure drew in close and placed one hand at the base of her neck and gently raised it up, brushing her neck with his fingertips, to cup her chin. He drew closer and smiled. "Shalltear, there's a time and a place for everything, but I hardly think that this is the time or the place to do what you want to do. Patience."

Then he closed in and gave her a swift kiss on the cheek.

Shalltear's face went from a waxy paleness to beet red in seconds as she clapped her hands to her cheeks, staggering back, stammering. Momonga couldn't make out anything she said as she stumbled back several steps before her knees gave way and she collapsed on the floor.

Momonga had no idea what just happened. As someone who wasn't used to girls, someone who had never had a girlfriend, or any particular relationship with a woman, as a normal person, Lucifer's actions were nothing less than unbelievable. He couldn't even dream of being that forward with a girl or getting that kind of a reaction. All kinds of emotions bombarded him, jealousy, envy, anger, but after a few moments those all drained away and left him in a state of serene calm.

Herohero and Tigris Euphrates showed no reaction that Momonga could see, but Aura and Mare were watching the whole scene open mouthed. Momonga vaguely worried about their innocence. So far they had shown themselves to be like children in every sense. How should he explain what just happened?

Then he started wondering about Shalltear's sudden attraction in the first place. And if he could sweat he would undoubtedly do so now. 'We altered her programming so that she would love Lucifer-san, but if Shalltear reacted like that then what is going through Albedo's mind?'

Before Momonga could think on the subject any further, another new voice rang out. "Ah. I see. I am. Not. The last."

From the gates into the coliseum emerged a thoroughly inhuman creature. At a little more than eight feet tall, he towered over everyone but Tigris Euphrates. It looked like a mix between an ant and a praying mantis that walked on two feet, it had mandibles that could easily snap a man in half and its armor a pale blue-white and covered in spikes and icicles. It had a tail that was at least twice as long as its body, its back and shoulders resembled nothing more than the snapped off peak of an iceberg, and it held three weapons in its four hands. With its lower arms it held a mace emitting black light and a crooked broadsword while in its larger upper arms it held a brilliant silver halberd that seemed to freeze the air around it. When he set the butt of the halberd into the ground, the earth froze. The Guardian of the fifth floor, Cocytus.

Lucifer nodded. "Cocytus, it is good to see you in good spirits. I trust we didn't disrupt anything by ordering you down here?"

Cocytus exhaled a cloud of frozen air with every breath and more frost seemed to fall from every joint as he moved to join the other guardians. "An order. From. The Supreme Beings. Could. Never be. Considered a disruption. No matter. The time. Or the. Circumstances in. Which it was received."

Lucifer nodded again. "I see. It brings joy to my heart to see such loyalty."

"You. Honor. Me. Lucifer-sama."

The giant insect's presence instilled the entire area with primal cold comparable to the heat of the Primal Fire Elemental but nobody here paid it any mind. Every individual gathered here had at least some resistance to ice and cold.

Tigris Euphrates spoke up. "With the lack of intruders lately, you must have been getting bored."

Cocytus shook his massive head. "Even if. There are. No intruders. I never. Let up. On my preparations. I am. Always ready to. Defend my floor. For the glory. Of. The Supreme Beings."

Momonga leapt in before Tigris Euphrates could say something unwise. "It makes us very glad to hear you say that Cocytus."

Cocytus sucked in a breath of air before unleashing a massive burst of frozen particles. "All of. My. Hard work. Has been. Worth it. Just to. Hear. Those words. Momonga-sama."

A beat later he continued. "It seems. Albedo. And. Demiurge. Have arrived."

Just as Cocytus said, two more figures made their way through the gates and into the arena. The first was Albedo, looking just as she did an hour earlier. Accompanying her was a relatively tall man in a red suit and tie. His features had an Asian cast to them and his black hair was neatly combed. His eyes had a permanent squint to them behind the small round glasses perched on his nose. If it wasn't for the silver tail emerging from his back or the sense of menace that permeated his very being he might have been mistake for a lawyer or a businessman. He was Demiurge, the Guardian of the seventh floor and the commander of the NPC defenses.

Both Demiurge and Albedo bowed deeply to the four of them. "I seem to have made everyone wait, my sincerest apologies." Demiurge had a voice that was both deep and fascinating. Thanks to his skill [Domination Mantra] anyone under level forty who listened to his voice would be instantly captivated and forced to obey. For anyone above this limit all it did was make him pleasant to listen to, the same as Lucifer.

Demiurge took a quick glance around and continued. "It seems that we are two short. Neither Victim nor Gargantua is here. Shall I go and fetch them?"

Lucifer shook his head. "There's no point, those two never leave their posts. However we are waiting for a few more before we begin the meeting. In the meantime, Demiurge, I trust that the defenses are in proper order?"

Demiurge's bow deepened about an inch. "Nazarick stands ready to repel any and all intruders Lucifer-sama. Not one of the curs shall dirty the home of the Supreme Beings. I stake my life on it."

Albedo stepped in. "Before this meeting begins, I propose that we get the important things out of the way. Everyone, please offer your loyalty to the Supreme Beings."

With those words, the somewhat informal atmosphere evaporated. All the Guardians bowed their heads and quickly shuffled around to form a line.

Shalltear took a quick step forward, still red in the face, took a deep breath and said "Guardian of the first, second, and third floors of Nazarick, Shalltear Bloodfallen, has answered the summons of the Supreme Beings." She then took a knee, one hand pressed over her heart, head bowed.

Cocytus, the twins, Demiurge, and finally Albedo all stepped forward one after the other to offer homage. On one knee, Albedo intoned "With the exception of Gargantua, Guardian of the fourth floor, and Victim, Guardian of the eighth floor, all of the Floor Guardians have assembled to kneel down as ordered by the Supreme Beings. We would all pass through fire and ice for you without hesitation."

Momonga was speechless, his thoughts were in utter chaos. He was a chump salaryman, he wasn't used to being treated with anything close to this much respect and he was utterly clueless as to what he should do.

His thoughts were in such disarray that he accidentally activated a skill. A dark light emanated from him in his panic.

Herohero, Lucifer, and Tigris Euphrates all glanced at him and acted immediately. The faint glow that always clung to Lucifer expanded into a dome that engulfed everyone present. Tigris Euphrates seemed to burst into flame, tongues of flame licking down every inch of him. The air around Herohero took on something resembling a heat haze and the grass nearby him withered away and died.

Albedo stepped in before anyone could say anything. "Masters, it is only right to feel hesitation, since our strength pales in comparison to yours, but…." Albedo's smile faded away before a much more stern expression. "But make no mistake Masters, as long as you all order, no matter the difficulty of the task, all of us gathered here will go all out. Even if doing so meant our own destruction. We vowed to never shame the Forty One Supreme Creators of Ainz Ooal Gown."

"This I swear!"

The other Floor Guardians echoed in reply to Albedo's words. Momonga could not help but feel deeply moved at the strength and diamond hard determination that filled their faces and voices. He could not help but feel foolish that he ever doubted any of them. Momonga wore a winning smile, although his expression could not change due to the lack of flesh, the lights in his eyes became dazzlingly bright.

He glanced at his three companions, hoping to share this joy. Herohero couldn't be said to have anything resembling an expression, but he was sure that he felt the same way. Tigris Euphrates and Lucifer however, seemed unmoved. They both stared down at the assembled Guardians without any kind of expression that Momonga could identify. Lucifer briefly met his gaze, gave the briefest of nods, and took a step forward.

"Guardians, we have an announcement to make. As of several hours ago something happened to Nazarick. What precisely caused this event and the full effects of this event are currently beyond our knowledge. With this in mind, we must ask each of you, has anything unusual happened in your area of responsibility in the past several hours? You are free to speak."

"Nothing has happened on the seventh floor."

"Same goes for the sixth floor."

"W-what my sister said."

"The fifth floor is the same."

"From the first floor to the third, nothing unusual has happened."

"Supreme Masters, I would like to offer to check the fourth floor and the eighth floor without delay."

Lucifer shook his head before Momonga could say anything. "No, we'll do that ourselves. There's a chance you might miss something subtle."

Albedo deepened her bow as Shalltear spoke up. "Please allow me to take charge of the surface."

Tigris Euphrates rumbled "There's no need for that, Sebas and the Pleiades have already been sent to scout. They should be returning any moment."

The Guardians all showed expressions of surprise and shock at this. Sebas Tian was the strongest melee fighter outside of the eighth floor, and the Pleiades had a variety of abilities between them despite their relatively low levels. The deployment of such a force was seen as a gesture of extreme caution.

This was the point where the door to the arena opened once more to admit seven more people.

Sebas Tian and the six members of the Pleiades battle maids approached the group and took one knee. "I apologize for my lateness Momonga-sama."

The skeleton looked over to him and nodded. "It's alright Sebas, now please tell everyone here what you have learned of the outside."

"As you wish Momonga-sama. We inspected the surrounding two kilometers of land, and so far to the best of my knowledge we are currently in an area of lush grasslands without any remarkable features. There is no sign of any construction, nor are there any humans or large creatures."

Momonga had to make sure that there wasn't anything strange about the surroundings, he started looking for something familiar, something he was used to. "When you say grasslands, was it the kind where the grass is made up of sharp frozen blades that pierce you as you walk by?"

"No Momonga-sama, just ordinary grass."

"And there's no construction of any kind?"

"No Momonga-sama."

Tigris Euphrates joined the conversation. "Narberal Gamma, Lupusregina Beta, both of you can use the 'Flight' spell; I assume you took to the air to scout from above. Did you see anything other than what Sebas has said?"

The two named maids raised their heads, glanced at each other, and Narberal started speaking. "Yes Tigris Euphrates-sama. I flew as high into the air as I could to get a better view of our surroundings. The grasslands described by Sebas-sama extend for quite a distance, but in addition to that there are mountains to the north."

Lupusregina joined in, her voice low and abnormally solemn "There's also a big forest kind of close by, it seems to loop around south and then it goes west. It's really big, or at least it looked that way from where I could see it."

As Momonga started to think about where they might be, Tigris continued. "Solution Epsilon, Entoma Vasilissa Zeta, CZ2128 Delta you all have skills meant to detect things that others try to keep hidden. Have any of you discovered anything of note that has not been mentioned by Sebas or your sisters?"

"No Tigris Euphrates-sama"

"…Negative Tigris Euphrates-sama."

"I didn't see anything Tigris Euphrates-sama."

"I see."

Momonga was a bit frustrated with the lack of concrete information, although the tidbit about the mountains and forest was useful, he still couldn't guess where they might be, but he was fairly certain that they were no longer in YGGDRASIL. Looking around, he was sure that his companions felt the same way.

He figured that the best thing to do in this unknown situation would be to increase their security. If the land that they were occupying was under someone else's control then they would certainly be on their way here already. If that happened they had to be prepared.

"Guardians"

Every eye was immediately on him. "In this unknown situation, you are each to raise the security of your assigned floors. In the event that intruders enter Nazarick, they are to be captured alive, not killed, and you are not to harm them if possible. I am sorry to burden everyone with this during this unknown situation"

The Floor Guardians all bowed in acknowledgement of this order.

He turned to Albedo "Next, Albedo, I wish to understand precisely how this organization operates, how do the Floor Guardians exchange information during a situation like this?"

During the days of YGGDRASIL, each Guardian was in charge of their own floor and couldn't leave it. Nor were the AIs capable of exchanging information with one another. Momonga wanted to know how this might have changed.

Albedo raised her head to address him. "Each Guardian defends their floor according to their own judgment. However, Demiurge is in charge of the defenses so everyone shares their gathered information with him."

Momonga glanced to his friends. How was he doing? Okay? Was he screwing something up? Momonga didn't think he was but that didn't mean that he wasn't screwing up. But none of them seemed inclined to jump in, so Momonga took that as a hopeful sign.

"Okay, then as things stand Demiurge shall be in charge of the defenses and Albedo will lead the Guardians. Furthermore, Albedo, Demiurge, I want the two of you to design a more comprehensive management system. I want to be able to quickly and easily disseminate information to everyone significant in Nazarick at a moment's notice, understand?"

"Yes Momonga-sama, I trust that we aren't to include the eighth, ninth, and tenth floors in this planning correct?"

"That's right." Lucifer said.

"Understood Lucifer-sama."

Momonga looked at Lucifer, why would he not want the ninth and tenth floors included in the planning?

He wanted to ask, but now was not the time to do so, not with this audience. Rather than dwell on that, he decided to move on to the next idea.

"Aura, Mare… can you hide the Great Tomb of Nazarick with magic? With illusion magic… no, I don't think we could maintain an illusion large enough to hide all of Nazarick."

The twins looked at each other and thought about it for several moments before Mare spoke. "I don't think we'd be able to hide everything with illusions, n-not if you wanted to keep everything hidden all the time. But we could cover the walls with dirt and plants to hide them."

"You are saying that you would use mud to dirty The Great Tomb of Nazarick's walls?" Albedo's voice was calm, but chilling. Mare shivered. None of the other Guardians said anything, but they all looked like they agreed with Albedo.

Momonga acted quickly, before Tigris Euphrates or Lucifer could say anything. "Albedo, be quiet, I was talking to Mare."

"Yes Momonga-sama, I am extremely sorry." she quickly acquiesced and bowed her head low, her body tense with fear. The other Guardians, Sebas and the Pleiades included, all went still as though the order was meant for them as well.

Momonga turned back to the issue at hand. "Mare, you think you could hide everything with this? Wouldn't it look unnatural? Sebas, Pleiades, are there any hills in the area?"

"No Momonga-sama." They all echoed.

Sebas continued "However, Momonga-sama, there is a night cycle here. So at night it might fool others."

The skeleton briefly considered his options and said "Well, if we're just trying to hide the wall's Mare's idea might work, do you think we could make hills and dirt mounds to conceal the walls further?"

Mare immediately responded. "That should help to hide everything."

That was when Lucifer stepped in. "No, I don't think this is a good idea."

Everyone immediately looked at him, Momonga included. "You don't think this would work Lucifer-san?"

Lucifer shook his head. "No, we should try to avoid any disruption to the surrounding landscape. We're trying to hide ourselves here, yes? It might work to hide this place from someone just passing through for the first time, but we don't have enough information to make any kind of guess as to what we'll encounter here. Anyone or anything familiar with this area would notice a bunch of hills appearing out of nowhere one day, if anything it would be more obvious than a tomb. There are other considerations too."

He took a breath and continued. "According to Sebastian, there are no signs of humans or any other civilization. But that doesn't necessarily mean anything. Momonga, you're worried about the possibility that someone owns this land, right? And that they might already be on their way here, yes?"

The Guardians tensed as his words, at the possibility of incoming enemies. Momonga tentatively nodded and Lucifer continued on "If that's the case, then they likely already know where we are and trying to hide is pointless. If not, it's possible that using large scale magic to alter things could set off some kind of sensor that would alert such individuals to our presence here. Or otherwise gain attention that we'd rather avoid. For example, there's no guarantee that there are any humans at all here, the Great Tomb of Nazarick may very well be directly on top of a kingdom of Mole men, or there could be nothing at all out there. For all we know, we could literally be the only sentient things in this world and we'll never find anything capable of even having a conversation outside of this Tomb. We don't know enough to say anything in any case, nor support even the flimsiest of assumptions. With that said, we should try towards the subtle and the least obtrusive. We should go with illusion magic."

Momonga appreciated the insight, he brought up a number of points that Momonga himself never considered, or never wanted to consider, but he had to point out the flaw. "But, Lucifer-san, we don't have enough spell casters with illusion abilities to hide Nazarick."

"Incorrect Momonga, we don't have what we need to hide Nazarick at all times. There's a difference."

Momonga wasn't sure where he was going with this, but he didn't say anything, hoping he would continue on his own.

Momonga got his wish. Lucifer continued on "We can't maintain illusions of that scale indefinitely, but we could manage it for several hours at a time. I propose that we immediately begin scouting the surrounding area. We have to get well acquainted with the ground we will be defending. We determine lines of sight to Nazarick from every direction, as well as search for any sign of regular occupation or travel, roads, anything. Then we place watchers with stealth capabilities well away from Nazarick, far enough that they're at least half an hour away from even seeing Nazarick, to keep an eye out for anyone who might get too close. We give them each a 'Message' scroll. Upon sighting anything unsavory the watchers can use the scroll to warn us, and we can have our spell casters place illusions over wherever the interloper might see. If the watcher reports that there's someone in the northwest, heading south, we cast illusions to cover the north, west, and south to ensure that he doesn't see anything as he passes by. Then a watcher farther south reports that he's gone, we're all clear, and we drop the illusion to save mana. The issue would be anything that can fly, but we have spell casters and mana enough to place an illusion over the top of the Tomb twenty four hours a day and still maintain this system."

"Overall, I think that this is best. It may be pointless, and if we run into anything that can just see through illusions the jig is up, but we run that risk anyway. It's more work, but it should be far less obvious that we're trying to hide something rather than just erecting a bunch of hills. What do you all think?"

Momonga was taken aback by the idea, but as he thought it over he concluded that it had merit. There were issues, like Lucifer said anything that could see through illusions would spot them. But if they went with Mare's hill plan they'd still have to rely on illusions to protect their roof from sight so they were running the same risk either way.

The Guardians wasted no time on praising the idea. "As expected from one of the Supreme Beings, a superb idea." "I-I suppose that makes more sense than the hills." "You see Mare, you shouldn't be thinking about stuff like dirtying Nazarick's walls, you have to think things through." "A. Splendid. Idea. Lucifer-sama." "A flawless plan, I think I'm falling in love all over again."

Momonga glanced over to his allies. "Tigris Euphrates-san? Herohero-san?"

Tigris nodded. "I think that would be for the best."

Herohero made no motion but his voice was heard by everyone present. "No objections."

Lucifer nodded and pointed to Demiurge. "Okay then, Demiurge, you'll be in charge of scouting the surface and putting this into motion, understood?"

"Certainly Lucifer-sama, I shall ensure that everything meets your expectations."

"Good, then there's no point wasting time, everyone get to your posts and get started on your assigned tasks."

Momonga interrupted as the Guardians started to get to their feet. "Wait."

The Guardians froze.

"Before we adjourn today, I wish to ask a question. What do you, the Floor Guardians, think of the four of us?"

Shalltear glanced around before stating "Supreme Beings, unmatched in any way, in power, in ability… in beauty." Shalltear not so covertly glanced at Lucifer as she said this.

"Cocytus"

"Unmatched. In. Power. The. Supreme Rulers. Of. All. Of. Nazarick."

"Aura"

"Strong and wise, strict, and fair."

"Mare"

"T-the Supreme Rulers of Nazarick, without equal n-no matter where you look."

"Demiurge"

"In possession of both wisdom and swift action. Flawless beings without compare."

"Sebas"

"The compassionate masters who refused to abandon us, those who stayed behind to fight alongside us."

"…Albedo"

Albedo raised her head, looked directly at Momonga, and smiled. "Our absolute rulers, our supreme masters, and among them is my most beloved person."

If Momonga could swallow, he would. There seemed to be something lodged in his throat.

"…I see. I understand. The four of us shall discuss things further and give orders as we see fit. Until then, see to your assigned tasks."

As the Guardians bowed their heads, the four Supreme Beings vanished.

XXXXXXXXX

The pressures that kept everyone present kneeled to the ground vanished, but nobody moved for several long moments. Then, finally, someone sighed and the tension in the air dispersed. Everyone started getting to their feet.

"S-sister, that was scary."

"Yeah, I wasn't sure what would happen first, would I get crushed, burned, dissolved, obliterated, anything could have happened."

"As. Expected of. The Supreme Beings. Even towards. Their. Strongest servants. They. Would. Have an. Overwhelming. Effect."

"Although I knew that they were the Supreme Beings and therefore stronger than all of us I did not expect it would be to such an overwhelming degree.

The Pleiades got to their feet and stood off to one side rather than engage in conversation. They wouldn't dare speak out of turn in this meeting of their superiors, despite their feelings about the situation. The Guardians mostly ignored them as they discussed the effects the four had on them.

This would be due to the Auras that each of the four gave off. Momonga started it, and the other three responded with skills that would protect them from the effects of Momonga's skill.

Each of the guild members of Ainz Ooal Gown were stronger when within the Great Tomb of Nazarick, so the effects were enhanced beyond normal and the Floor Guardians got the full blast of all of them.

"That. Was. The. Supreme Beings. Displaying. Their. Prowess. As. Our rulers."

"Indeed, in response to our loyalty, they will show a true ruler's power."

"Yes."

Aura jumped in. "Momonga-sama and Tigris Euphrates-sama never let out their auras when they were together with us. Although Tigris Euphrates-sama was pretty scary after Mare made him mad."

Everyone glanced over at that. Cocytus inquired "You. Did. Something. To anger. Tigris Euphrates-sama?"

Mare quailed at all the sudden attention, none of it positive, and Aura did nothing to help. "Yeah, he loitered around at the top of the arena rather than jump down like I did. He made Momonga-sama and Tigris Euphrates-sama wait before finally jumping down. Man oh man, they did not like that."

"S-sis…."

Albedo shook her head. "We should expect nothing less of the Supreme Beings. They are our creators, and they clearly have the highest of standards. We must do our utmost to meet those expectations as best we can. We must not disappoint them."

Demiurge agreed. "The worst possible crime is to disappoint our creators. Of forty one, only four remain. We must ensure that we encourage them to stay."

A strange silence encompassed the entire group as these words were heard and understood. Out of everyone here, only two members of the Pleiades had avoided the dreadful feeling of having their own personal creator leave the Great Tomb of Nazarick. Amongst the Guardians gathered on the sixth floor, it was a pain they all shared equally.

It was Sebas who broke the silence. "I shall take my leave. Although I do not know where the Supreme Beings went, it is my duty to remain by their side and to assist them however I am able."

Albedo's face was the picture of envy, but her voice was calm as she answered. "Very well Sebas, serve them ably and do not disrespect them. If any situation arises, report back to me immediately. Especially if Momonga-sama calls for me. If that happens, drop everything and tell me immediately!"

"Of course."

Everyone stared at Albedo as she continued on. "If Momonga-sama calls me to his bedroom, inform him that I'll need a little time to prepare myself, although if he demands that I report to him immediately I'll go without hesitation. I always keep my body in top condition, and wear only the best clothes so that I can answer Momonga-sama's call immediately. In short I put the highest priority on-"

"Yes, yes Albedo, I understand. However I must take my leave, waiting any longer would be an insult to the Supreme Beings. Good evening ladies and gentlemen."

Sebas turned on one heel and made his way out of the arena, the Pleiades following behind him.

"It's kind of quiet. What happened to you Shalltear?"

After hearing Demiurge, the other Guardians realized that Shalltear was still on the floor.

The girl slowly lifted her head to look at the others. Her eyes were misty, and her face was flushed as she answered "After feeling all of that, after everything that happened, I couldn't help but get… excited."

Demiurge just put a hand to his forehead, and the other Guardians showed similar expressions of distaste. Mare was the only one that seemed unaware of precisely what Shalltear was talking about.

Albedo was having none of it. She glared down at the girl, full of jealousy and anger. "This slut."

Shalltear just smiled. "Ah, such a shame. Feeling Lucifer-sama's light was like feeling his arms wrapped around me. Tigris Euphrates-sama's heat, Momonga-sama's overwhelming pressure, Herohero-sama's all devouring gaze. Who could feel all of that and not get excited? It's the ones who didn't get wet that have the problem. Are you actually trying to pretend that you didn't feel any lust, you big mouthed gorilla?"

"You oversized lamprey, Momonga-sama's mere presence brings me the greatest joy."

"Momonga-sama is beautiful and powerful, yes, but he can't compare with Lucifer-sama's passion."

"Ha, give me fine control and a powerful mind rather than blind passion any day. Momonga-sama is better."

"Oh really, well without passion you'll never get anywhere. Lucifer-sama actually kissed me, how close have you gotten with Momonga-sama?"

Albedo froze at those words. "L-Lucifer-sama kissed you!?"

Aura scratched her head. "Yeah, he did. It was a peck on the cheek."

Shalltear rose to her feet, hands on her hips and looked unbearably smug. "Don't worry Albedo, feel free to lust after Momonga-sama forever, your feelings never to be returned. I'll be quite happy with Lucifer-sama while you're forever alone."

Albedo's wings unfurled as she took several steps forward. Shalltear's hands were wreathed in black mist as she went forward to meet her.

Demiurge just turned and started walking away, Mare and Cocytus beside him. Leaving Aura behind.

"H-hey! You can't leave me here with these two!"

Demiurge turned his head to look at her, but he didn't stop walking. "Problems between women should be dealt with by women. If anything happens, I'll stop it, but don't bother me about it until that happens."

"Wait a minute, you can't just leave this nonsense to me!"

The three male Guardians ignored her and kept walking. None of them wanted to be involved in that.

"Still. Is there. Any. Need. To quarrel?"

"I myself am quite interested in the results."

"What results Demiurge?"

Demiurge just smiled. "The results that will determine the future of the Great Tomb of Nazarick."

"U-um, I'm not sure what you mean."

Demiurge thought about how he should respond to that, whether or not to bestow adult wisdom upon the naïve dark elf, but he decided against it.

Demiurge explained. "Great rulers require heirs, yes? Even though Momonga-sama, Herohero-sama, Tigris Euphrates-sama, and Lucifer-sama stayed until the end, that doesn't mean that they won't lose interest in us one day and leave like the others. If that happens, it is imperative that they leave behind an heir for us to serve."

"O-okay, but who is the heir to the Supreme Beings?"

"That is. Disrespectful. It is. Our duty. To protect. The Supreme Beings. So that. They. May stay. Correct?"

Demiurge answered him. "I understand Cocytus, however wouldn't you want one or more of the Supreme Beings to leave heirs behind for us to pledge loyalty to?"

"Well… I would. Love. To. Pledge my. Loyalty. To their. Heirs." Cocytus couldn't help but imagine the possibilities, of training the children of their masters, giving rise to great warriors that he could eternally serve. For Cocytus, this was a wonderful dream.

Demiurge proceeded to ignore the giant insect rather than disturb his fantasy. He continued talking to Mare. "I'm also quite interested in the plans to strengthen Nazarick. I can't help but wonder how far our children could go. How about it Mare, want to have children?"

"H-huh?"

"Well, we can't manage that without a partner. So if you find any humans, dark elves, or wood elves, you'll have to capture them."

"Eh? U-umm. If it helps the Supreme Beings then I'll do it. B-but, how are children born?"

Demiurge smiled. "When it comes time for that, I'll teach you. You probably shouldn't try experimenting on your own, the Supreme Beings will probably scold you. It's important to maintain the Great Tomb of Nazarick's operating costs, so for now we should do our best to maintain the current balance."

"R-right, I heard th-that the servants are spawned using very precise calculations. I don't want to disrupt that, or I'll get scolded by the masters."

"I too do not wish to incur the wrath of any one of them. So we'll have to table this idea for now. Unless, perhaps we can set up some kind of ranch outside of Nazarick…."

While he was thinking about that, he asked a question that nobody ever asked Mare before. "By the way, why are you dressed like a girl?"

"Huh? This?" Mare plucked at his skirt and tried to get it to cover more than it did. "It was Bukubuku-chagama-sama's idea. She said it was called 'a trap'."

"Ah, so it was Bukubuku-chagama-sama's idea? Well, with the way you look it shouldn't be a problem, but do children normally dress like this?"

"I-I'm not too sure."

The most important thing was the decision of the forty one creators. By that metric, Mare's current attire was the only proper mode of dress."

"We will have to talk to the Supreme Beings about this. Should we have all children dressed like that? Also, Cocytus should be about done with his fantasies."

Cocytus was showing a broad smile, or at least as close to one as he could manage. "What. A beautiful. Scene. Truly. A. Wonderful. Sight."

"I see, that's wonderful. Are Albedo and Shalltear still arguing?"

Aura caught up with the group, looking haggard. "Yes. They keep bringing up points to compare Lucifer-sama and Momonga-sama."

"I see. I don't see how either side could hope to win that argument. It would be easier if they were arguing over the same one, then they could just share." It would be absurd for any of the Supreme Beings to have just a single concubine after all.

Ignoring the two arguing women, the four of them quickly left the arena to get started on their assigned tasks. If Albedo wanted to clarify anything later, they'd talk to her then. Nobody really wanted to bother her right now.

And, as the four left, the invisible figure that had been watching everything vanished.

XXXXXXXXX

Momonga appeared in the round table room on the ninth floor, the same place where they were talking before all of this craziness started. In moments Herohero and Lucifer had joined him.

The stress of the entire situation made him feel tired, even if he could not feel fatigue. "The Guardians, why do they evaluate us so highly?"

Lucifer moved over to one of the chairs and took a seat, his wings vanishing as he did so. "I'd say it's pretty obvious. If you can't figure it out, I won't tell you. Anyway, sit down both of you. We have a lot to talk about. First thing, where's Tigris?"

Momonga looked around and realized that Tigris Euphrates wasn't there.

Lucifer sighed. "Hang on, I'll get him. [Message]."

"Hello? Tigris Euphrates? Helllo~? Answer me you hick, it's a phone or close enough. You should know at least enough to manage that."

He sat there for another minute or so before shrugging. "I guess not. When you feel like rejoining the world Tigris, pick up the phone and call 1-800-Daystar."

Lucifer leaned back in his chair. "So either he's doing something really important and stealthy that means he can't spare a moment to talk, or he's off playing with himself. It could honestly be either one. So let's get this meeting started. Either of you notice something distinctly odd throughout that whole little meet n' greet?"

Momonga thought about it for a second. There was more odd stuff than 'normal' stuff depending on what you might call normal. "You mean Shalltear's behavior?"

"That's one thing, yes. You might also have noticed what Albedo said near the end there about a 'most beloved person'. We can safely assume that the NPCs are based on their personality programming."

Momonga groaned and put his head in his hands. "I can't believe we did that. How am I going to face Tabula Smaragdina-san now? How are you going to face Peroroncino-san? Speaking of which" He looked up to look at Lucifer "That was rather forward of you to act with Shalltear, don't you have any shame?"

Lucifer shrugged. "Not really. I was pretty sure that she'd do something like that and as for how I can actually pull it off, it's called a way with women Momonga. We're not all virgins like you, you have to know how to talk a woman out of her clothes before you can get anywhere."

Herohero spoke up "Honestly, with you I thought it normally involved payment Lucifer-san."

The blonde just shrugged. "Whatever gets the job done. Money works, but it's cheaper to just use my silver tongue. There's a joke there, but it's beneath me."

Momonga just shook his head. "So what are you going to do with Shalltear?"

"I think the better question is what am I not going to do with Shalltear. You both saw her settings. About a third of what that kid programmed into her disgusts me, but the other two thirds, well I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel like giving it a try."

Momonga glared at him. "How can you do something like that?!"

Lucifer looked him right in the eye, unfazed. "Are you seriously asking me that question? Do I have to give a remedial Sex Ed class?"

Momonga just put his head in his hands. "That's not what I meant. I mean, what are you going to say to Peroroncino?"

"Honestly I kind of doubt that's ever going to be an issue. But if he wants to say something about it he's free to come down here and tell it to me. Tabula Smaragdina is free to show up and tell you what he thinks of all of this. Until that happens, I'm not worried about it. By the way, you were pretty quiet throughout everything Herohero. You got nothing to add?"

The slime looked from Momonga to Lucifer and his voice was heard in their heads again. "Honestly, I had no idea what to say or do. I've never been in that kind of situation before."

"What with all the bowing, scraping, and kneeling? I don't think anyone any of us has ever met has been in that situation before. Unless maybe one of you two know a priest or a prince."

"No, I mean with all the… respect."

"Ah, well I can at least say that I've been there before. I see you two haven't."

Momonga finally calmed down, just as he always seemed to suddenly calm down. But some amount of irritation remained within him. "That's not important. The big question is what we're going to do now."

Lucifer rested his head in one hand. "You're right, that is a big question. But I've been deliberately stalling since we can't really answer that without Tigris Euphrates. Who should, in theory, be here at some point. He certainly knows that we're here. By the way, why did you activate the Desperation Aura?"

Momonga cringed at the sudden question. "I-I didn't really mean to do that. It was all so much, so fast, I didn't know what to do, and I just sort of did it by accident. What was with that nod before you jumped in and started talking to the Guardians?"

Lucifer gave a lazy shrug. "Well, first I thought that you making eye contact was some kind of a signal. You certainly seemed helpless enough to be giving one. Second reason was to prevent you from giving some stupid speech like what you imagine a chairman would say. We were doing pretty well there, I didn't want you to say something stupid and get us laughed out of the room."

Tigris Euphrates chose that moment to teleport into the room. He sighed and sat down in short order.

Lucifer looked over. "Took you long enough. We were talking about virginity, so are you one or not."

Tigris gave Lucifer the evil eye. "Of course not, what does that matter now?"

Lucifer just smiled. "Oh nothing, looks like you're alone Momonga. Clutch that V-card tight."

Momonga decided that it was high time that Lucifer was ignored. He turned to their most recent arrival. "Where were you Tigris Euphrates-san?"

He watched as Tigris got comfortable, took a deep breath and said "You know when you three teleported out? When you guys did that, I used 'Perfect Invisibility' and watched them for a while. I wanted to get a feel for what they were like without us hovering over them you know?"

Herohero leaned forward. "And?"

Tigris shrugged. "They're crazy. Albedo and Shalltear got into an argument about who was better, Momonga-san or Lucifer-san, Cocytus mentioned wanting to train our children into great warriors, that was about the gist of it. I should mention, for your sakes' that Albedo and Shalltear are both crazy."

Lucifer snorted. "They're female Tigris, that's synonymous with nuts. Anyway, you're here, now we can actually get started. First issue, what the hell do we do now? Which I think can be well started with a question. Do we want to go home? Tigris Euphrates, your opinion is the only real unknown here so please give us your thoughts."

Momonga looked up at that. "What do you mean his opinion is the only one that matters? What about me or Herohero-san?"

Lucifer looked over at Momonga with a look that he couldn't quite identify. "Do you really need to ask Momonga? You and Herohero, your choices are already made. I know what your life was like before this, and how much bitching did Herohero do before this started? Are you seriously going to look me in the eye and tell me that you're going to go back to a dead-end day job with hardly any education and no future? Is Herohero going to go back to a company that treated him as all but a slave? Quit joking around, for you two this is probably the best thing that possibly could have happened. Regardless of how this turns out, this is without a doubt the greatest opportunity for anything that you two are ever going to have. I don't think either of you are quite dumb enough to turn it down. So I ask Tigris Euphrates, because his opinion is the only one I'm not sure about."

Tigris stared down at his folded hands, not saying a word.

He stayed that way for a long time, and nobody else said a word, waiting for his decision.

Finally, after what seemed to be an age, he finally said, quietly "I think I'd prefer to stay."

Lucifer nodded. "Uh huh, I thought so. Just so we're clear though, why?"

Tigris shrugged. "Well, I'm not leaving much behind. A girlfriend. But there are other fish in the sea. What do I have to look forward to if I go back that I can't get here? I'm having kind of a hard time to come up with anything that I'd seriously miss. Plus I can SEE. My eyes were always bad, hell once, my doctor actually took pictures to use in a textbook he was writing they were so bad. Just being able to look at something and SEE it is an amazing incentive as it is. How about you Lucifer-san? Don't you have a kid?"

Lucifer nodded. "I have a son yes. But he's a grown man, he doesn't really need me to look out for him. Aside from that, nothing really permanent. Friends, sure, but I think if I laid out this whole situation they'd probably tell me to go. I'm semi-retired as it is, all I really do is play poker and YGGDRASIL these days. So while I'm leaving stuff behind, I don't think it really compares to what I stand to gain. They'll be sad sure, but that was going to happen anyway sooner or later."

Herohero quietly chipped in. "Then we're unanimous, we're staying here. Through thick or thin. But I have to ask, what if we're all just having some kind of shared hallucination due to an equipment malfunction? We're here having this conversation but our bodies are all in comas or something. How do we know any of this is real?"

Lucifer looked over at Herohero. "We'll know that for sure within a month."

Momonga looked over. "What's so special about a month Lucifer-san?"

Lucifer was quiet for a moment, considering the table. Then he spoke "I have always made it clear, to my son, to my friends, to my lawyer, to anybody who might be asked the question, that if I was ever permanently incapacitated, if I was ever put into some kind of a coma from which I could not recover, I told them to just pull the plug. If we're seriously in some kind of a coma, they know my wishes. I refuse to cling to life in such a pathetic state. I give it a month for the doctors to examine everything, to run tests, to come to the conclusion that I can't be saved. Plus time for my son to come to terms with everything and tell the doctors to do it. So, if we're seriously in some kind of shared coma dream, you'll know. If I don't suddenly drop dead within the next four or five weeks, then this is probably real. As insane as that may seem."

That just stunned the entire room into silence. Momonga couldn't think of, couldn't even imagine doing something like that.

Lucifer continued on rather than let the silence build. "Okay, so… if we're doing this then we're doing it right. If we're going to be in charge then we're going to be in charge. Here's my proposal, there are four of us and four things that need doing. First thing is exploring the outside, I propose that Tigris Euphrates lead Aura and Mare in this task. We have to know what's out there. Second is the defense of Nazarick. I'll work with Demiurge and handle that. Third, we have to be able to know what's actually happening with this place. I propose that Herohero work with Albedo in her duties as the Overseer of the Guardians. Learn what she does and ensure that you can do the same if you have to. Fourth, we have to know what's the same and what's different. I've already encountered at least one spell that didn't work nearly the same as it did in YGGDRASIL. What else is different? We have to know. So I propose that Momonga figure that out. Aye or Nay?"

Tigris immediately voted in the affirmative, Herohero did too, before Momonga could even consider a course of action.

Lucifer nodded. "Motion passed."

Momonga couldn't just let things continue on. "Hang on, Lucifer-san. The way you put that, it's almost like you want us to ensure that we can do the jobs the NPCs are doing now."

Lucifer looked at Momonga for a long moment and sighed. "That's exactly what I'm doing Momonga. Do you want to know how you know you're in charge?"

Momonga hesitated for a moment, then nodded and Lucifer continued on. "You know you're in charge when you can look into a room full of employees and know in your heart that if you needed to you could do any of their jobs at least as well as they can. If you don't, then how are you supposed to know whether they're doing a good job or not? We have to take the possibility of betrayal into account here."

"Lucifer-san, after seeing everything in the arena, I don't think we have to worry about betrayal."

"Maybe not right now Momonga, but what about in the future? Who knows, one day they may change their minds. If that happens, we'll have no choice but to put them down. If that happens, we need to be ready and able to take care of the duties that they will leave behind. So part of the current goals is to find out who does what and ensure we know enough about it to be sure that we can take care of it on our own if we have to."

Lucifer leaned forward, his elbows on the table, hands clasped. "So, now that we're on the topic. Let's talk about the NPCs, their personalities, what makes them tick. I think some are going to be more inclined toward betrayal than others. So let's have a talk about who we think we have to look out for."

"And then, let's start talking about countermeasures."

XXXXXXXXX

And that's it, it's done. Chapter three ladies and gentlemen. This is without a doubt the largest chapter I've ever made, by a lot. So I hope you all enjoyed it. It fought me every step of the way.

So, here's the next piece of Overlord lore.

DEATH

In YGGDRASIL, death is something to be feared. It's quite obnoxious. Every time you die, you lose five levels and drop a piece of equipment. If an NPC or other game character is brought below level one in this way, the character is deleted. Player characters however, are special. No matter how many times they die, they never get brought below level one. They don't have to fear their character getting deleted. It's possible to respawn at a town, or at a guildhall automatically upon death. The point of resurrection magic is that it brings someone back without losing the item, and with a reduced EXP loss. But that was in YGGDRASIL, who knows how things work now.

Next up, the character sheet. I'm going to put one down of a character the featured prominently this chapter. For those who haven't read the LN or browsed the wiki. Also, I suppose it should be mentioned that in all of the stats, the normal maximum is a hundred.

SHALLTEAR BLOODFALLEN

The Bloody Valkyrie

Alignment- -450 – Great~Extremely Evil

Job- Guardian of the First, Second, and Third Floors of the Great Tomb of Nazarick

Residence- Great Tomb of Nazarick, Second Floor, Burial Chamber

Racial Level- 20

Vampire Lv.10

True Vampire Lv.10

Job Level- 80

Valkyrie: Lance Lv.5

Cursed Knight Lv.5

Cleric Lv.10

Blood Drinker Lv.?

Others

HP: 89

MP: 77

Phys. Atk: 88

Phys. Def: 85

Agility: 70

Mag. Atk: 84

Mag. Def: 69

Resistance: 84

Special Ability: 86

Total: 732

Yes, I'm sure that everyone wants to see what I've got for Herohero, Tigris Euphrates, and Lucifer but I'm afraid that you'll have to be patient. Look on the bright side, you get to have more fun guessing who's what and who has what. Enjoy. Please review and tell me what you thought of everything so far, and I'll see you in the next chapter.